Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Ooh, new cards are in.

Well, I've gone over my due date now (+4 days) so I've given myself 100% guilt free permission to just sit and lounge around watching what I want (Partridge, League Of Gents, Prometheus, zombie stuff), wearing what I want (pj's, no bra) and eating what I want (mostly crisps and chocolate).

This all sounds great on paper, or even on a computer screen, but it actually gets tired pretty quick! So I've been getting some of the greetings card ideas out of my phone notes (where most things start off tbh) and into real life print.

I'd love to show you just a few of the more recent ones which now seem to have a sort of pregnancy/baby theme.

Pregnancy congratulations greetings card

First up, we have this little cutie. Some women seem to have a rough time during pregnancy with unwanted comments and advice etc. unfortunately barely anyone who isn't in my circle even acknowledged my pregnancy, this includes our local Priest who even now is yet to ask us when the baby is due!
One lady did ask me if I'd prefer my egg yoke hard in a cafe a while back, I almost cried I was so happy ♥
But yeah, there's a stage when you start to show when there's only a small difference between being fat from pregnancy and fat from, well, just getting fat. If you know someone who's going through this right now then this is the perfect card for them.

 New baby greetings card

This next one is for the proud parents or parents to be. It's pretty cool because it's unisex or gender neutral or whatever we're saying at the minute with a mint background and little hearts.
It can be given either after the pregnancy announcement or after the birth.

thank you card for midwife

Here we have a card to say thank you to your midwife, this is not something I'd even thought of until a few of the ladies in my FB pregnancy group mentioned they were planning on taking in a card for their nurses, doctors etc.
It's also a great choice if you know someone who has recently qualified.

New baby smell card

Last up we have this beauty which conveys just what we all want when we hear that much anticipated bundle of joy has finally arrived, to have a good sniff!
Available in three colours too.

So there you go, a few little ideas for you surrounding all areas of pregnancy. If I've missed any then please let me know your ideas in the comments.

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Doing internet stuff, what happens when the baby comes?

Since I found out the super amazing news that God had let our planets align and we were able to make a baby, I've been quite conscious of what this means for my business.

Being pregnant really makes you go through your life with a fine toothed comb, I totally wasn't prepared for that. And when I say go through your life, I mean from childhood and your earliest memories to right now, and into the future too!
A pregnant brain can somehow dig up all kinds of random conversations, decisions, actions you've ever taken, purchases you've ever made and make you question your very core! It's not too bad actually, a sort of shakeup and let's do this slap in the head.
Good times ☺

So once I'd finished beating myself up on a personal level, I started with my business. All in all it's doing ok, but at the moment it's very much a seasonal affair; Christmas, Valentine's, Mother's/Father's Day then the long hard summer, wait, and start over.
It could be better and I realised I've been a tad neglectful in certain areas where I'd made plans to compensate for the quieter gifting times.
My prego beast mode brain is strongly urging me that it's time to fix up, look smart and start getting some ducks not only in order, but shooting the shit out of them too.*
So here's an insight into what my plans are, where I've fallen down so far and what I actually do when I'm 'doing my internet stuff'.

*I re-wrote this sentence a fair few times, but there's no analogy I could use that seemed to work as well. If you're upset by the thought of shooting tin ducks in such a graphic guns blazing 'let's do this' manner then I just don't know what to tell you.

Rise of the Mummy bloggers

As I'm self employed, if I choose to take maternity leave I cannot work at the same time (although there is a 10 Keeping In Touch Days clause).
This is a little frustrating as I've lost count of the amount of ladies I've seen who go on mat leave from their 'regular' jobs, start a biz and undoubtedly turn into one of these 'monochrome/mummy blogger/I'm a mum but don't you dare label me as that' Mums that my feeds are slammed with these days.
I'm not taking the piss or being mean, but that's just the way things are swinging at the moment, heck I've even dedicated a small arm of my business to this trend (more about that below)!
You can legally work as self employed whilst claiming SMP from an employer, but cannot legally work as self employed whilst claiming MA (equivalent self employed version).

I know I'm going to be fully engulfed by this baby and I am sooooo excited to be a Mummy, but I also know myself well enough to recognise that I always need a side project running too, and if I'm not allowed to work on that project then it's gonna leave me a little empty inside!

So I'm going to werk, werk, werk, werk, werk. 

Well what does that look like?

 Malluma Koro

Late last year I opened that aforementioned monochrome shop over on Etsy. This shop is purely digital downloads, all black/grey and white and targeted at all thoses bebes/littles/smalls that Instagram keeps telling me about (babies & kids to you and I).
I think you can tell that I felt a bit like I was selling out at first with this one. I worked a couple of days and made a few designs, set up shop and just left it to its own devices. This is a great little shop but I'll be honest, I need to work on the SEO, get in more products and put my heart into it. But for the moment, it's ready and waiting for me.

 Illustrated succulent pillows
I've been putting some efforts into my Society6 store.

 cactus bags
Pregnancy really closed off the creativity and ideas part of my brain for a good 4-5 months but once it came back it was pretty prolific. I started using my Wacom and spent some time doodling and making these cactus and succulent shelves amongst other things like cats, bar carts and sauce bottles! I really love Society 6 as you essentially become a surface pattern designer, uploading your work and choosing what products to sell. S6 then manufacture these products and send to your customers and you get a percentage of the sales each month.
Again, I can be selling product here whilst sat watching TWD and feeding the baby, win/win ☺

 cactus clipart
So I really enjoyed drawing and ended up with quite a few clipart items so guess what, I made a clipart store!

Probably my most favourite thing that has happened since my brain came back online is the new card range I created for my main store.
Again, these are a result of my doodles, SO much fun to be had here! Whilst they are not digital, the only thing I have to do is walk a block around the corner to the post box so it's not too much extra if the baby is not happy that day.

 Printable planner pages

Oh, and here's my sweet little planner shop. I always forget about this little gem, I don't have much in there but I do love it! Again, all set up and ready to go with a teeny bit of work.

40 free etsy listings link
Etsy has been the best discovery for me and if you're on the fence about it then why not have forty free listings on me! (I'll get 40 too, like). Just click on the pic above.

There's also my website and blog (you are here ☺) which I fall in and out of love with on a seemingly weekly basis! They're set up with ads so I get passive income from this too. Of course I have to keeping knocking out that content and driving traffic but as I said I have a funny relationship here, it's like having an event you're dreading going to but when you're actually there it's bloody brilliant. Well, that's how I feel about my stand alone sites, once I'm on I love it ☺
I also set up Shopify late last year, but guess what, I've let it slip.

Well, there we go, hopefully I've made the right decision for us but no matter what happens I'll be having a cracking time with our new little munchkin!

At the time of publishing I am 40 weeks and 3 days pregnant, come on baby. I'd love to know how you juggled your biz and baby, let us know in the comments ☺

Monday, 22 May 2017

The second trimester. Bird songs, baby clothes and bed.

Aghh, the second trimester. I'd heard good things about T2 so was really looking forward to some blue skys and bird songs.

And you know what, it's been nice. I magically thought that the transition from the first to the second parts of my pregnancy would be night and day, like I'd wake up one morning singing the hills are alive wearing a flower crown and a fancy prego dress. But no, one bled into the other, I barely noticed the changes until they'd fallen away or started to be part of the norm.

I actually look pregnant now, which is great. For a long time I just looked like I'd put loads of weight on! I guess all those Pringles had to go somewhere and as I write this snippet now at 26 weeks, I have gained 29lbs. My Mum keeps telling me not to worry about the weight and probably for the first time in my life I chose to listen to my old Ma's advice.

I've been getting all gooey eyed in the baby clothes aisle, and so has my husband!
There's something kinda special about seeing the father of your child smiling at tiny denim jackets and cute lion face baby grows. We bought the lion baby grow, still not knowing if he really IS a boy, but heck, girls like lions too right?
We've also amassed a few other bits and bobs, the most 'shit just got real' purchase, funnily enough, was not the pram, but a sweet little lilac polka dotted changing mat. Everything is in my office at the moment so I glance over at it a couple of times (maybe more) a day and imagine our little alien on it.

My brain is kicking back into gear slowly, well, sort of.
I'd heard this phrase 'baby brain' banded about for a while and always thought it just meant you forget stupid things, leave the tv remote in the fridge etc.
But I've definitely noticed a distinct change in the way my cogs are turning for sure. Words disappear from the tip of my tongue or are replaced with an associated meaning that doesn't make complete sense. I have to write things down that normally I'd be able to remember, I've had to make a Google Calendar to remind myself about things for flips sake!

The ideas, organisational and logistics section of my brain closed, I'm pretty sure at conception, but it reboots in fits and starts at the moment and when I'm in the zone I've just gotta go with it.

Comfort is key.
Getting up off the couch, turning over in bed and sitting for more than half an hour at my desk became problematic and although my husband finds some of the noises I make whilst trying to manage even the most basic of tasks (climbing the 14 steps up to our flat, getting into the car etc.) a great source of laughter (as do I sometimes) it really is uncomfortable!
So we made some adjustments.
I got a gym ball so I don't seize up while I'm working, we bought some foam squares to make my armchair higher (bloodyhell this is comfy even if you're not up the duff) and I got a 12 foot pregnancy pillow which both myself and the cats have been enjoying, husband not so much :(

I'm pretty sure this is just the tip of the uncomfortableness iceberg right now, I still have 3 months to 'grow'. I haven't been to my physio since before we found out so my dodgy SI joint and gammy hip are, I'm pretty sure 'a bit off' but I'm thinking about going later on to get things straightened out as if I go now I'm not sure I'll feel the benefit.

So yeah, all in all I think I've got away relatively unscathed. I've had a few hormonal wobbles when I've had to just spend the full day in bed crying over things like gardens, money and if the baby will even like me. No health concerns other than my itchy hands have gotten even more itchy to the point my hands look a little like those of a crystal meth addict. But best of all, my husband hasn't left me over my random ten minute rages (something I'm not willing to put into print!).

I think the biggest things to come out of T2, for me, are that it's now normal to feel something moving around and kicking inside and not be too freaked out by it and the realisation that 2nd trimester energy is a myth! Yes, your energy returns but it's generally for a few hours once or twice a week.

I'd love to hear your 2nd trimester findings, so let us know in the comments.

Friday, 5 May 2017

Fiver Friday, my new favourite thing on Etsy.

I'm in a few groups over on Facebook, one of which runs a weekly 'Fiver Friday' campaign when Etsy sellers can offer certain products for the bargain price of just £5.   
Whilst I'm not entirely sure how long this has been running, I discovered it last week and instantly grabbed a bargain.

I got this amazing crochet blanket for a bluey! It's 20x20" and it will look super cool in the pram covering our little nugget's leggos. It was from ThePaperChefShop so do go and check them out and see all the fancy goods ♥

This week I seem to have found myself looking at crochet items again! I found this cute flower brooch, again, a mere snip at £5. You can find this here along with other unique items from CraftyScreechCo

Lol, don't kill me, but here's the next (and last) crochet item! I swear I didn't type in 'crochet', it was just the things that caught my eye all happened to be in the same medium.
I'm constantly on the look out for bargains and treats for little Logan (or Loganna, JK) So these teeny tiney 'Baby Loafers' really pulled on my heartstrings. They're from the super talented Suzy over at SuzyMadeThis so go and check out here store.

Now, I didn't end up going for the loafers this week as I'm not sure if my little predator is going to be wearing shoes when he's born, because what's the point other than to make him look even more cuter, plus it's hard to know sizes etc. So I'm saving them on my faves list for when he's here.

I went for this planner mystery box containing a mix of stationery and planner bits. I'm a sucker for stuff like this and I thought I deserved a treat! I am VERY excited to see what's inside and what I can swoon over. Go and see Justine over at LovePinkZebra and she'll sort you right out for cool stuff☺
I'm in love with this Fiver Friday idea. Not only is it great for the customer as we are getting some top quality bargains, but it gives both customers and shops the opportunity to connect when they might not have ordinarily. Some of the shops involved in this campaign, I wouldn't have come across otherwise but they are now on my radar and some I have purchased from. 
It's great for us as shops to have a sales blast, gain a new audience and even clear off some stock!

I hope you've enjoyed looking at my finds and I'd love to know what bargains and new shops you've come across so let us all know in the comments.

Sunday, 12 March 2017

My first trimester.

I always thought pregnancy would be sunshine and roses, that I'd feel all womanly, I'd be glowing and feel like a goddess for the whole time. What a dickhead right?  Whilst I think I've been really lucky overall with my first pregnancy, I'm certainly a tad more prepared for next time. I'm pleased to say that now, I am feeling much more awake as each day passes. I swear I've been asleep for a fair whack of this pregnancy so far, but my afternoon snoozes are now getting shorter and I'm spending less time thinking about doing stuff and actually doing stuff.

Here's my recap of the first few months.

1st trimester blog

I think I've been really lucky with this little tot, he's given me hardly any trouble and stuff I was expecting to go through, I've not.
Particularly throwing up, I noticed pretty early on that for me (and I know this doesn't work for everyone) it was important to never ever EVER let my stomach be fully empty, this is the point at which I'd feel really sick, but if I ate a biscuit or something small I'd feel ok again. This led me to develop the habit of having ginger nuts, rich tea, custard creams or some other sort of biscuit with me at all times, a few occasions I've had to have a quick bite in Church on a Sunday morning!
Speaking of food, there were times when I simply could not get enough, my appetite was raging and no matter how much I ate, I just didn't feel satisfied. That's an odd feeling, you know that normally if you'd eaten that much you'd be in trouble, but I somehow developed hollow legs (managed to put on 12lbs so far though).

One big thing (well, two if we're counting!) are my boobs, funnily enough it was my boobs that first let me know I'm pregnant, actually, the milk ducts in my armpits were the never experienced before feeling saying hey, there's something going on here! But yeah, who knew that turning over in bed or drying off after a bath could make your eyes water with pain.

The blood. TMI, so look away now.
When I got pregnant I thought I probably wouldn't have to see any of my own blood again for a good while. I was wrong. I've had about 3 nosebleeds, something I don't usually suffer with so the first time was a bit of a shock! My teeth bleed from time to time, like, a lot. And I had a subchorionic haematoma at 11 weeks which really knocked the wind out of me.

subchorionic haematoma positive stories

This is the scan of the baby to check he was still in fact, ok, after the bleed. It was the first time we'd seen him, so amazing. I can't put into words how it feels to see your baby on the screen for the first time, he was moving around and punching his arms out as if to say 'look, I'm fine'.

That haematoma took 24 days to clear and it was a pretty dark time. The scariest/most helpless/woe is me/what did I do wrong month of my life. I knew that it was nothing I had or hadn't done, that all we could do was carry on and that it is pretty common but yeah, shit got real after that!
One of the hardest things for me about the first few months was the tiredness. It's a full all consuming mind, body and soul kinda exhaustion that is impossible to fight. I think I got touched with the blues around that time as I just wasn't into anything. I didn't update the shops or website or blog for a loooong time, I didn't want to see anyone and the flat looked like we'd been burgled for most of the time! It's a pretty weird one and I'm glad I'm out of it now, I almost feel embarrassed admitting it but I couldn't be bothered doing anything, then I'd feel bad about not doing anything, then I'd do even less. I'd beat myself up thinking how ungrateful I was as this is all I'd ever wanted and I was just being a big lazy PJ monster.

craving pringles pregnancy

Now, believe it or not, salt and vinegar Pringles have played an important part in my pregnancy. They are an instant mood lifter, a great meal alternative when your appetite just cannot abide anything else (no judgement, right?) and OMG, they taste like heaven! There's been a few times my husband has brought a tube home for me and I've burst into tears.
Which brings me nicely onto the last main player of the first trimester, the crying. I can pretty much cry at anything these days; seeing a happy dog, running out of chilled water or the announcement of the Alien Covenant release date. Unfortunately, a few weeks into T2 and I have realised this is probably going to go on for a good while.

So yeah, we're one third down! I'd love to hear your first time prego first trimester experiences, so let us know in the comments. ☺

Saturday, 11 March 2017

Happy Mother's Day from the cat.

It seems like a lot of posts I write at the moment seem to start with how quick time is going. So here's another one, I can't believe it's almost Cat Mum's Day again!

If you're wondering when Mother's Day 2017 is then here we go, this year it falls on Sunday the 26th of March and I thought I'd show you just a couple of items that are proving rather popular so far, if you're looking for ideas.

happy mother's day from the cat

First off we have the 'Best Cat Mum' mug. To be fair these are great all year round cat lady gifts but I certainly see a mad rush on them at this time of year. I love this mug, it holds a fair sized brew and is nice and chunky, just the right size for hot chocolate too!

cat related gifts for her

And here we have another all year round fave, the 'Best Cat Mum' cat Mother's Day card. This has been very popular again this year and it always makes me happy to know that I've been involved in giving the Mother of cats in so many people's lives a little burst of happiness!

So there we go, a few little options for you, of course there's plenty more in the shop.
Of course I couldn't resist showing off a little pic of my own two fur babies, Geoff and Una. I say babies, but they're actually older than me now in cat years.

Whatever you're up to this Mother's Day, I hope you get spoiled rotten and have a fantastic day.


Thursday, 9 March 2017

How to make a notepad. Cute cat printable.

printable stationery

Who knew that making your very own notepads would be so easy? I never seem to have anything 'of purpose' to hand when I'm looking to write something down really quick. So it either gets written onto my laptop, YES, I physically write on the laptop itself, only with pencil mind you, on my desk (same principal) or I'll waste a bit of printer paper.
I didn't really fancy buying one of those cube stacks and wanted to have something a bit more me so I put this little guy together.
You can get the download here or if you're a dab-hand then why not design your own.


So first off, you need to cut out the sheets. If you have a guillotine that's brilliant but scissors will do just as good a job.

diy notepad

I also cut a piece of blank card in the same size to act as a backing. If you don't have any blank card laying around then why not whisk yourself back to years gone by and get cutting up a cereal box.

National stationery week

Let's get sticking! Now, please don't be jealous of my PVA there, I know it's a heck of an impressive stash but my good old Dad is a retired joiner and he gave it to me after having a shed clear out around four years ago.
There's a few ways to hold the pad whilst drying but I went for some mini bulldog clips and just holding it in the sunshine.

diy notepad tutorial

I used a clip either side to keep all the pages and backer together and smoothed on a good layer of the PVA with a paintbrush (you could also just use a finger if you don't have any good brushes to hand).

cat stationery

Once you've got the first layer of glue on, depending on the type of paper and glue you're using it may warp a tiny bit but just keep pressing until it smooths and once the glue is tacky you can add the clips at the top until fully dry.
When the glue was dry I added another couple of coats of just to ensure all the pages stayed together, there's no need for the clips as this stage.

get car, go to Liz's

And there we have it, a super cute notepad to write my to do list and other very important things of the day!
I hope you've had fun making this notepad and don't forget if you don't have time to design your own you can purchase the template here.


Sunday, 26 February 2017

What the flip happened? 2016 the best year ever.

Aghh, I have a feeling the next few months worth of posts might be slightly sentimental, pregnancy related and just generally me harping on about how I'm feeling all the time.
I promise I have no plans on turning into a Mummy blog and all my products will not be aimed at 'bebes' and 'smalls' from now on.

Last week my sister reminded me it's my birthday soon, how crazy is that! I hadn't even realised as the only thing I'm tracking is little Logan these days (we're 16+1, FOUR months, the second trimester).

So in Church this morning it came as quite a shock when I noticed in the newsletter that it's Ash Wednesday this coming week (same day as my birthday!) Now, this time last year I had already started my Lenten journey (there's that word again) which got me to thinking;

What the flip happened to the last 12 months?!

Oh yeah, THIS. ☺

I got baptised.
Probably the most intense and rewarding thing I'd done in my life up until that point. At the time, some of it was pretty scary and unknown but I always trusted that everything would be just fantastic.
We got married.
The next most intense and rewarding thing after my Baptism. Wow, what can I say about marriage? Well, we love it and that's all I have to say about that.

We made a baby.
I doubt that even if I lived a thousand years, I could find anything in this world that can compare to this one. It turns the whole world upside down, mixes it up and puts it back together in the right order.
Our tot isn't even born yet but I am so in love with him it makes me almost combust with tears and happiness. These little sandals are a gift my husband bought me for Christmas, it'll be a while before they get any use but I can imagine some little tootsies popping out, awww, I've gone again.

A lot of people said 2016 was the worst year ever, but I strongly disagree. What was your best year?

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

First Valentine's as a married couple, plus some cute gift ideas.

Aww, this was our first Valentine's Day as a married couple. And aww, this was the Valentine's Day that I was pregnant and all I was good for was lounging around feeling sorry for myself. And awwww, this was the day that The Walking Dead came back from the Christmas break.

Now, it's up to you to decide on which was really the most exciting thing for me about Valentine's Day 2017 but another thing that made it even more special was that this year, I actually managed to get Pete a card.
It's a pretty sad state of affairs that I can't even remember the last time I got the chance to buy him a card or really even acknowledge the day. I'm usually so busy making sure I get all my customer's V-Day orders out in time that everything else goes by the wayside. This year however, being pregnant and (I don't like to use the word) miserable, I cut back a LOT and made sure I had some proper chill time.

Valentine's cards

I try not to follow other card sellers but this lady came up on my FB feed one day and I just couldn't resist taking a look at her website and OMG, lol, this woman is talking directly to me. I don't know how she is doing it but some of her cards kinda freaked me out at how accurate they are! The tagline on the little postcard that came with my order is 'printing what you're thinking'. Brilliant ☺
So go check out Love Layla. You won't be disappointed.
I got the Love Hearts at the PO.

If you've been reading my blog for a while then you'll know the phrase 'we are an effective team' is peppered about in one way or another and I just love it. I first heard it in that Tom Cruise film, Oblivion, which I loved, but a lot of people slammed (turds).

So yeah, a lovely lady appeared on my Instagram feed, I don't know how or when but she was there lol, I find this a lot. Her name is Kelly and she runs the fantastic KellDoodles so go and check her out now! Kelly has an amazing talent for illustration and has various prints in her store plus many different custom portrait options too. I couldn't resist ordering as soon as I saw that she offered this service and yes, naturally, the tagline had to be that!
My husband was absolutely made up with our portrait and yes, of course I cried with joy when I was opening the package. 100% satisfaction from us.

1st trimester gift

As I mentioned earlier I was having a few woe is me weeks, pregnancy-wise (I'll have to write a whole other post on that) so I also treated myself to this 'Positive Pants' pin badge and I absolutely adore it, also from Kelly. See, what a talent!

So yeah, that was Valentine's 2017 and I'm soooo happy that this year not only did I get to give my husband the gifts he deserves, but I also got to help some fellow small businesses too.

cat themed gifts, gift for cat lady