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Saturday, February 08, 2014
Ethan Knows.....
 
 

Hello again,

Inevitably Ethan had to be told. And so he was. So when he entered the door on Saturday night, mumbling to himself (in the way he does most nights) disgruntled about his boss at work, I expect he hadn’t really been prepared. I watched as he slammed the rickety door and let his bag roll of his shoulder with a dull thud. ‘Change the ending why doesn’t he…’ His voice had trailed of as he walked to the kitchen. I had heard the kettle switch on and him pull out his favorite ‘keep calm and May the odds be ever in your favor’ mug I got him at Christmas. Heard the grainy tea bag drop to the bottom, and the gentle flick of the kettle. All while I sat in a sea of fruit and nut chocolate bar wrappers and more than I would care to admit Pringle tubes. Usually I was an all-organic, type of girl, the kind that went to the gym and on runs most days. My latest’s attitude towards that had been, I am going to get large anyway so why not just eat what I want?

Ethan had walked back to the living room, smelling of his favorite lemon green tea and newspaper ink. Over the years it had become how I identified him. He let out a small gust of air, probably surprised by my lack of concern for all the artificial, processed rubbish I had just shoveled in to my body.

‘Well, someone was hungry’ and with those words I exploded at him. Half of the things I had shouted are probably far too rude for the Internet. Regardless of this, he had just stood there, with a bewildered look on his face that quickly contorted to a hurt wounded look. I stepped back assessing the damage I had done, waiting for my anger to be fueled by an equally fiery reaction, one that had never come. Quietly, he had walked to the faded leather sofa and sat down next to me, placed his steaming drink on the side and attempted to put his arms around me. Now, me being the irrational woman my mother brought me up to be, soundlessly shrugged of this act of comfort.  Wrapping my arms around my knees, I had started to weep. Disgusting fat tears had streamed down my cheeks; Ethan had of course seen me cry before, when I had fallen out with Nicole, when I hadn’t got a job. However, nothing like this, I wasn’t even sure if I had ever seen me cry this much before.

Half an hour, numerous cuddles and a cup of green tea later, I had just about calmed down. He brushed a stray stand of my curly dark hair away from my eyes, just like when he had first kissed me and for a moment I let myself be enveloped by the warm memory. Then I had blurted it out, too fast to comprehend, to shocking to sink in. It had sounded like ‘EthanIampregnant’. Eons passed, the silence only being occupied by a content purring Nutmeg and heavy breathing. Eventually he put a large hand on my pointy chin, titled it up and kissed me on the forehead. I let out a big sigh of relief, and realized that I had been holding my breath. He smiled cheekily and then said ‘You do realize that this means we may have to see your mother’ we had both laughed, so hard Nutmeg had sprung up in fright. It is all going to be fine.

Until next time,

Anna


Saturday, February 01, 2014
Hello!
 
 

Hi, my name is Vivianna, and before assumptions are made, I am not nearly as posh as you may be thinking. Mostly I get called Viv, Vivianna is only the name my mum calls me (and usually says it in a disapproving tone). Ethan on the other hand calls me Anna, a name that stemmed from our first encounter. Near my house there is a minute costa coffee, with a blender that’s constantly on the fritz. When I first walked in there around two years ago I remember buying a small cappuccino and collapsing on the nearest fraying sofa (A day in stilettos, that your mother bought too small for your feet, can do that to a woman). Then behind me I heard an angry soft American accent, repeating his order for the third time. Surprisingly enough the soft American accent is now the thing I hear most evenings in his erratic non-stop chatter. But anyway, after inviting himself to sit down at my table, he had asked me my name. And with the unfortunate timing of the blender, the words had got warped into Anna, and I suppose it stuck. We have now been together for two years and the biggest commitment he has made so far is our two cats; Nutmeg, the fattest laziest excuse for a cat I have ever seen. And Ginger who, if I am lucky, I see once a day.

With all the excitement of introductions, I have gone off on a bit of a tangent. The real reason I have decided to start writing a blog is because I believe that most good stories start with a significant change to the main character’s life. Take Harry Potter for example, he discovers he is a wizard and therefore changes life styles. Ok off on a tangent again but the point I am making is a change has happened, not as amazing as finding out I am a witch. But anyway, I am pregnant, and if I may add terrified. I don’t know if it’s the pregnancy hormones raging through my body (which according to Google is called HGP) or the suddenness of the whole thing. But I feel happy, scared, nauseous and fairly grotesque all at the same time. I am fairly sure that I wasn’t as bad as this when I was an adolescent, however if you ask my mother I am sure she will contradict me. I am looking at my stomach now, while Nutmeg warms my lap, and am trying to comprehend the fact that inside me is a human being. Or should I say, baby or a fetus? Is it normal to feel this…detached? I only found out this morning with a small blue line confirming my assumptions, it had been so surreal, unbelievable. Literally, I had to have three more tests and then a doctor’s visit, before the news really sunk in. On instinct I had picked up my blackberry, about to ring the only person that immediately sprung to mind. My best friend Nicole, the person I had known since the womb, the person I had told first when I started my period, lost my virginity. But it only took the memories of her speech from earlier that week, about how when women reached late twenty’s / early thirty’s they were just expected to start pushing out babies. I had set down my phone after that. Now I hear you asking yourself why Ethan didn’t come to my mind? Well the brutal truth is, Ethan has never really been the ‘father’ type, or the ‘husband’ type and now when I think about it for quite a while he wasn’t really the ‘boyfriend’ type. It only took an innocent peek in the baby section, to make him jump a mile in fear. Unpredictable, unreliable Ethan, of course he does have some redeeming good qualities, apart from looking like a god, he is an amazing cook and is the only man I have ever found that indulges my child-like love in fiction books. I mean, who else would I enjoy heated debates over ‘The Hunger Games’ or what really happened to Alaska in ‘Looking for Alaska’. Which is why telling him about the baby is going to be the hardest thing I’ve ever done.

Until next time.

 

Anna x

 


Friday, October 25, 2013

Exhibition Numbers Update
 
 

Thought I would just include an update on my last blog.  The last show we did have announced their visitor total of 11083.  Based on the number of free tickets we were given as an exhibitor, assuming all other exhibitors received the same this means an absolute minimum of 4640 of the 11083 were free tickets.  This number does not include the free tickets the event managers were giving away themselves right up until the day before the show, so it is likely the actual true number of free tickets was far in excess of the 4640. As I said in my initial post I do think that the number of free ticketed footfall affects sales considerably.  I totally understand why free tickets are distributed but as an exhibitor you should not underestimate how it can create an inflated view of footfall and spend!

Sherry


Monday, October 21, 2013

Exhibitions - Time to Ring the Changes? My Views
 
 

I have lost count of how many shows I have done since I launched huddle & Bliss at a consumer show at Excel in 2008.  What I do know is that as a small family business the commitment is not only financial but logistical, emotional and damned hard work before and after.
 
Following ExCel in February 2014 I have decided that huddle & bliss will take a break from doing our usual exhibitions and explore new avenues.  It seems I am not alone!
 
For over a year now I have been having second thoughts and misgivings about shows and exhibitions.  It was one of my nagging ‘gut feel’ things which seems to have been reinforced during the course of 2013. This time last year I had already planned not to rebook Earls Court /Olympia – this decision was reinforced when we and many others had a dismal show at Earls Court!  We tried a few alternatives throughout the course of the year.
 
I have always treated exhibitions as a marketing cost, never under the illusion that I will necessarily walk away with an immediate profit on the day.  From the beginning I saw the bigger picture – publicity, exposure , networking and meeting your trade and consumer market directly.  Essentials, particularly the latter for solely online businesses like mine. But 6 years in I really can now say that with a couple of exceptions they have always left me feeling a little disappointed, even taking the follow up business into consideration.
 
The most recent exception was our presence at the Conservative Party Conference.  It was a late booking and was an amazing experience all round.  A great opportunity to showcase our wares, ethos and British-manufacturing to a completely different audience.  It has paid dividends.
 
At our usual exhibitions the number of new exhibitors who have approached me at shows to ask ‘is this normal’ ‘how is it going for you?’ and expressing general disappointment has increased considerably in the last year or two.  Many of these people have invested their life-savings, their redundancy money, or borrowed funds from family to pay for their stand.  This is in contrast to the larger brands for who this type of expenditure is just small change.  Small business cannot simply compete with them on any number of fronts.
 
This leads me onto one of my qualms about these events: big brands.   None, if any of these events offer a special small business package to cater to the needs and budgets of new start-ups and truly small business.  Yes they may negotiate a little on optional extras like lighting and power, or reduce stand costs at the last minute rather than have empty space. But on the whole the little guys pay the same per square metre as the big guys.  You will be enticed into rebooking a year in advance at a preferential rate when you haven’t even really seen the full outcome.  My advice, don’t do it!  Wait analyse the event as a whole, including the 3 month follow up and make an informed decision.
 
Visitors to our stand have mentioned numerous times in recent shows, how disappointed they are that there are so many big brands present.  As a consumer I too would be very unhappy to have paid a considerable ticket price to enter one of these events to be confronted with Mammas & Pappas, Marks & Spencer or Babies R Us or sometimes all three and more!  When we chat to clients they tell us they go to this type of event to find niche brands and something different from the average generic high street that we all have access to on a daily basis.
 
I do not deny that the events management companies have a very difficult balancing act to achieve. They need to fill the venue, they need to attract the right balance of exhibitors and need to attract a large and eager consumer audience. But I really am not sure that this is the way forward, certainly for huddle & bliss.  I cannot escape the feeling that the independent exhibitors are being somewhat short-changed.  For what I have spent on shows & exhibitions in a year I could have rented a local high street shop.  And although I know they say the high street is dead, I am confident the overall takings would have been far greater.  In fact the cost of a mid-sized stand at Earls Court for 3 days is slightly less than a years local shop rental.  Add in your hotel, travel, subsistence and marketing costs and they are fairly balanced.
 
In my experience, advance-purchase ticketed shows are better rather than free or pay on the door kind.  Note, you will be told how many thousands of visitors to expect.  As event managers struggle to achieve the necessary balance we appear to have seen a plethora of free tickets being distributed to this type of consumer show.  This is certainly not the only reason why this type of show may be in decline, but it does seem to be a contributory factor that hits the exhibitor’s pocket too.  Perhaps increasing the number of browsers and bargain-hunters rather than indie-seeking shoppers looking to buy on the day?
 
Do not underestimate the amount of hard work that you will need to put into such an event.  The preparation is far greater than loading your van or car if you are to make the most of it.  As a small business or independent trader think also about the disruption to your family life – for me in the past it has been a logistical nightmare arranging childcare etc.  In the first 2 weeks of October alone I was away from home 9 nights.  Had I been doing Olympia (thankfully I am not!)  I would be off again in a week or so for further 3.  Many of you I know have set up yourself in hope of achieving a better work/life balance, so this is a big consideration.
 
What do you think?  Do they work for you?  I would love to hear your comments via @sherryhornagold on twitter.  I am not saying not to do them, but do give each and every exhibition a lot of thought and consideration.  Don’t rebook a year in advance, analyse your post show sales first.  Check out the ratio of exhibitors to visitors – a very important factor.  The best show I have ever done had a low number of exhibitors but high visitor rate (simple maths).  Check out the competition, particularly in relation to your own best sellers and the big brands– they will be able to offer prices you cannot match.  Ask about advance ticket sales numbers as opposed to overall visitors.
 
Finally remember there is only one thing worse than having a grim show – an event where everyone denies the fact, which in my experience is often the case……
 
Please feel free to comment and let me know about your experiences, ideas and thoughts!
 
Sherry
Small Business Owner

huddle & bliss
 
@sherryhornagold
@huddleandbliss
#exhibitions4smallbusiness


Tuesday, July 09, 2013

The Royal Baby at huddle & bliss -Exciting Times!!
 
 

The Royal Baby at huddle & bliss

 

The announcement of the royal pregnancy and the lead up to the birth of the royal baby has meant exciting times for huddle & bliss.  When we first heard in December it set tongues wagging at huddle and bliss HQ as to what we could do to celebrate the Royal Baby and how we could best mark this exciting event by producing a royal baby clothes collection.   It was important to us that the royal baby collection embodied the usual huddle & bliss focus of quality, comfort and practicality and of course be Made in Great Britain.  As the first royal baby in a long time we felt it gave us a real opportunity to showcase the best of British babywear and the quality of our little brand.  We were very chuffed when we were approached to supply Visit Britain, the official online shop of the British Tourist Board.  A wide selection of the huddle and bliss Royal Baby Collection was jetted off to New York City for a bit of a do at the British Consulate General where it made a big impact with the New Yorkers!

 

The huddle & bliss collection has also been shown by Sky News in a feature by Enda Brady.

 

Our traditional baby layette has always been a popular choice and we used this as the starting point of our royal baby collection.   We selected baby clothing essentials that were real must-haves but have made them extra special with an individually embroidered royal crown emblem on each garment.  We opted for our usual understated style, the less is more approach.  The delicate crown can be embroidered in either silver, pink or blue.  The design is simple but effective adding a truly regal touch to our royal baby layette.  This sumptuous gift is presented in our signature gift box and ribbon and is a great new baby gift to make a memorable impression.  Hello! Magazine included the layette in their royal baby gift collection and say that the royal baby layette is perfect for Baby Cambridge. 

 

The huddle and bliss team then went on to select individual items to add to the Royal Baby Collection across a variety of garments and prices.  Our Royal Baby HRH bibs start from as little as £9.50 including gift box.  It’s a precious and stunning new baby gift for less than £10.  Want to make it that extra bit special….include the name of your prince or princess. 

 

Looking for the ultimate royal baby blanket?  We have it, our handmade heirloom receiving blanket.  What more could you want to wrap your little prince or princess in?  Made from a blend of British Falklands Merino and Devon Tussah Silk, this mix of luxury natural fibres is truly the King of yarns, so perfect for a royal baby and definitely one to hand from generation to generation. 

 

Lots of new babies love the secure feeling of being swaddled, will the royal baby?  Huddle & bliss have the perfect traditional rectangular swaddling blanket.  Embroidered with our delicate royal baby crown emblem, add that special touch to another quality essential item.  Unlike shaped swaddles you get miles of use out of our traditional cotton blankets – babies are only swaddled for the first few weeks, the rectangular style can be used for years after as a pram or cot blanket.  OK! Magazine have selected our Royal Crown Baby Blanket as one of their royal baby gift selections.

 

We were very excited to be asked to participate in a Royal Baby Special filmed by theITV Tonight Programme.  It was an amazing experience at theIce Tank in Covent Garden.  Sherry was interviewed by Laura Kuenssberg, the ITN News Editor, about the impact of the royal baby on the economy.  A number of our royal baby clothes are featured in the programme, which is to be aired shortly after the birth of Baby Cambridge.

 

 

Our Royal babygrow is a hot favourite, as is the Royal Baby Gift Set which in addition to the royal babygrow includes a cute knotted hat with the crown emblem, all presented in a pretty re-usable organza bag.   Add a royal baby bodysuit and you have a great going home outfit!

 

Whilst the arrival of the Royal Baby will be a momentous occasion for the royal family and the nation, ultimately, at huddle & bliss we feel all babies are royal.  All parents and families treasure their little princes and princesses.  Our royal baby collection simply adds that royal touch to our supersoft baby clothing essentials.  Made here in Great Britain, the huddle and bliss royal collection is a real statement of quality, care and a little bit of fun!

 

To see the our collection of Royal Baby Clothes then simply click!!!!


Thursday, June 27, 2013

My Labour of Love by GP Denise Searle
 
 

 

Our labour of love hospital bags have been reviewed and awarded a fantastic 4.5 out of 5 by Nursery Trader!  You can read the full review here

New mum and GP Denise Searle also tells us what she thinks of our labour bag based on her experiences when having baby Emily recently. 

I like so many first time mum's was no exception, working until the last minute as a GP and university lecturer and renovating a house! So on my 36 week appointment my midwife suggested I really should think about the imminent birth of my baby. My birth plan was written - it was short and sweet as no birth can be planned! Fortuitously I was helped with the rest of my preparations with the arrival of a fantastic huddle and bliss Labour of Love bag and a significant number of pass-me-downs from relatives.

 
My Celine bag is wonderful. It is sized so it is easy to carry, but large enough to add essential items such as underwear, toiletries, camera etc. The grey and white flower design is really funky. Inside it was pre-packed with goodies - super soft pure cotton baby clothing, soothing natural rehydrating toiletries and of course a practical birthing shirt. All beautifully wrapped. The hassle of packing a bag was completely removed. I just wish Huddle & Bliss offered to do the same for holidays!
 
So my due date passed. The dog as walked several times a day and all the normal tricks were tried. My bag remained in the car ready for the trip to hospital. Eventually following a whole day of contractions I made my way to the labour ward at 3 am. I slipped into my birthing shirt and proceedings began. The baby was lying facing backwards so I opted for an epidural to relieve the back pressure.  My shirt rolled up easily allowing the anaesthetist access and the neck was loose enough to easily top up the epidural without having to keep changing positions.
 
During my 36 hour labour I was warm but not too hot. During my 3 hours of pushing, failed ventouse then forceps delivery my husband fed me water and gently spritzed my face and applied the soothing lip balm with the organic products from my Celine bag. This made me feel more human and helped with rehydration.
 
Unfortunately, when Emily arrived her breathing was quite erratic so she and my husband were whisked off to the neonatal unit. I was put in the bath but I admit to not using my super soft, cerise towels in my bag at this stage, I saved them for the next day.  I was then able to go and see Emily who had made a complete recovery.
 
My birthing shirt allowed me to walk between the wards with dignity, discretely covering the catheter I now had insitu and more importantly the front buttoning allowed me to have my first delicious breast feed with my baby. The slippers were also a god send as my feet were cold and slightly swollen.
 
I then had the pleasure of dressing Emily in her Huddle & Bliss Sleepsuit. She had a drip in her hand and monitoring on but the sleeves allowed for this and it was reassuring that the soft cotton would not rub against her skin or the leads monitoring her.
 

I would thoroughly recommend any of the Labour of Love bags. They make a fantastic present for an expectant mum and really do take the hassle out of packing. And after they make a really cool change bag!

 Check out our pre-packed labour & birth bags available in 4 designs here


Tuesday, May 14, 2013

What to wear in labour? By Sarah Mees
 
 

I am the sort of person who loves to be prepared, probably a bit of a control freak in some ways. But being organised makes me calmer. When I was pregnant with my first child I was extremely nervous about labour and birth. I naively did my birth plan thinking that this would give me some element of control over the proceedings! As I began to prepare my hospital labour bag I asked myself what should I wear? To me the most important things were comfort and discretion. Oh I know experienced mums say that you don’t worry about such things during labour and just put an old t-shirt on, but that just isn’t me…and you may well relate to that too! I personally felt that to be as relaxed as possible I needed to be a) comfortable and b) be covered somewhat!

I looked at maternity nightdresses, considered a baggy t-shirt and pj bottoms – but these just didn’t tick all my boxes. I wanted something sleeveless so that I could remain cool and a midwife friend said sleeveless was best as it made it easier for medical staff to take your blood pressure etc. I wanted the option of breastfeeding immediately without exposing my entire body and I wanted to be able to be intimately examined without showing the world my wares!

Hence my excitement at discovering the huddle & bliss labour & birthing shirt! Perfection! No sleeves, unbuttons down to your tummy and has this amazing scoop at the front. At first I thought the scoop was a little odd but when I was pacing up and down, sitting on a birthing ball or being examined I got it entirely. One of the best things was the fact that the birthing shirt is made from 100% cotton and is so soft, breathable and has lots of give! My midwife even asked me where I got it as she thought it was such a good idea. She now recommends the labour & birthing shirt to all her mums-to-be. It was so comfortable to wear, I restrained myself from wearing it before I actually had my baby, although I was extremely tempted. I wore it at home for several weeks after the birth – with leggings it was a great cover up and easy to feed my baby in. With hindsight I wish I had bought 2! One of my experienced mummy friends has just used the birthing shirt for her 4th child and admits to wishing she had one with the other 3. So the answer to the question ‘What to wear in labour?’ is a huddle & bliss labour & birthing shirt ☺ Sarah x


Monday, February 11, 2013
Buy British Brands Inspired Businesses
 
 

Just Ask Mel @JustAskMel - '@BuyBritBrands Became tired of saying "I could do better than that"... and proved myself right.' 

Just Ask Mel is a Housekeeping and Home PA service. They are here to give you an extra pair of hands, whether you need regular help or once in a while. Their service enables you to outsource your chores, errands and to do lists and leave yourself time to enjoy life and your family. Just Ask Mel aims to provide a superior service every time by getting to know you and the needs of your family, whilst building a long-term relationship you can depend upon.
Mel is a wife and mother with lots of experience running a busy household therefore understands how stressful life can be and how important family life is to us all.

 

Laylamay @laylamayuk - '@BuyBritBrands less work, more life, less China, more Britain, less brands for brands sake, more good clothing for our kids love.'

Laylamay is a new British made girlswear brand launching for Autumn/Winter 2013. Their items are not just designed in Britain, but made here too. Their designs will have a vintage feel but with a modern twist. Their A/W signature fabric is tweed from a local Yorkshire mill. They arer passionate about producing their clothing as locally as possible which we think is great! We sure can’t wait to see their collection when it’s launched.

 
Hopper and Space @HopperAndSpace - '@BuyBritBrands Preserving British design heritage inspires us. This stuff is part of our history! #BuyBritishBrands'
 
Love all things Mid 20th Century furniture and design. Their furniture collection is an investment in functional objects of beauty for your space. They focus on bright colours, stylish lines and sturdy timeless design. Their upholstered pieces offer a great opportunity to grab a unique piece, which Is designed to last and become a part of history. Their upholsterer also specialises in antique restoration and hand building furniture from scratch. Their quality of work is second to none. Their collection is updated on a regular basis so keep your eyes peeled for the gorgeous pieces they have lined up!

www.hopperandspace.com

Heather & Grace @HeatherGraceHQ - '@BuyBritBrands Inspired by the talent of Britain. So many amazing things are created in this country by talented people with big ambitions :)'

Heather & Grace is run by Mum of two, Holly. They sell handmade and vintage style unique gifts sourced from some of the best UK suppliers. From bracelets to bunting, their range includes inspired gifts and interior decorations to put a smile on anyone's face. We love the fact they aim to support individuals and small businesses in the UK.

Bertie & Jack @bertieandjack - '@BuyBritBrands our children inspired/continue to inspire us. We wanted to be in control of our destinies & offer the world fun affordable art.'

Bertie & Jack is proudly, The Original Cut-Out Design Company. They use their hand drawn illustrations as cut-out designs and are available unframed or framed. Their prints change seasonally and are always bang on trend with their themes and colours. We especially love their Union Jack inspired pieces.  

www.bertieandjack.co.uk

Jonathan Meare @jdm_designs - '@BuyBritBrands took voluntary redundancy 5yrs ago, decided to become an inventor, www.thebeachtowelclip.com now has stockists in 20+ countries.'

The Beach Towel Clip is the simple new way of keeping your beach towel in place. Comes in a handy pack of four and when snapped apart they are simply pushed into the sand at each four corners of your towel to hold it in place. The Beach Towel Clip is 100% made in the UK and is distributed all around the world. We think this is a genius idea and will be sure to add it to our packing list for our next holiday!

www.thebeachtowelclip.com

 

Friday, February 01, 2013
Does a 'normal' day exist?
 
 

So what is a normal day....do we even ever experience such a thing?  I don't really think I do.  I suppose I expect a normal day, one where nothing unexpected happens, nothing changes my plans or makes me deviate from what I intended.  But for the most part if I am honest to myself, 'normal' days are rare!  Today was meant to be one of those clear diary days with a list of things to do.  My first inkling that things would not pan out was the honking cough I could hear through the bedroom wall throughout most of the night.  Son no.2 restless and eventually sleepless, despite being snuggled up with me.  The raging temperature at 6am confirmed everything without doubt.  I am lucky, I work from an outbuilding attached to my house so poorly children off school are much easier for me to deal with than for most working mums. 

 

Then came the blocked drain.  In fairness it has been an intermittent problem in the last couple of weeks but today was the point at which I couldn't use the kitchen sink, the dishwasher or the washing machine - drastic action was therefore needed.  Once again I am lucky as my father is a retired builder!  With much rodding, flushing and somewhat of a deja vu moment of blockages past....we got it sorted.  Not your usual father and daughter activity but nonetheless very satisfying! 

 

I should really have realised by now that any to do list I create is rather more of a 'Wish I could do list' or a 'Fingers-crossed, I do a few of these' list!  From the birth of my first child I set myself up for a fall.  Planning what I would get done each day and then feeling a failure at bedtime as the only thing I had achieved was to care for my newborn.  The demands of motherhood were such a shock to me (despite being the eldest of 5, one of whom I am 19 years older!).  I never really factored in the loss of control you have as soon as you become a parent....I suppose who really does?  Of course none of this matters in the big picture, as long as your children are cared for, provided for and safe, nothing else really matters. 

 

But eleven years on I still fall into the trap of thinking that things will go as planned!  That I will achieve what I need to. Believe me I have had more than my fair share of life experience, so perhaps in a way this is a good thing, a sign of my unrelenting positivity!  Perhaps that is what got me through my darkest days!  Overall I think all of us have to realise that a to do list is an 'intent' not a hard and fast task list to tick off in a 24 hour period....more a list of priorities and reminders to give us head-space. Certainly not something to feel a failure by! 

 

If our days passed by accordingly to our lists, they would probably be boring and certainly unchallenging.  And besides I love spontaneity...just not everyday!! I am going to stick with the line 'variety is the spice of life' do what I can get done each day and accept my to do list is forever-ongoing!

 

Sherry

Twitter @SherryHornagold


Thursday, January 31, 2013
Dolly & Ted's London
 
 

Last but not least of our 'inspired' selections is Dolly & Ted's

@ A daily DOUBLE journey on the A12 and 2 bouncy us!

I used to have a boxer dog called Daisy and anyone else who loves boxers will not fail to get where the inspiration for Dolly & Ted's has come from!  Their beautiful bone china mugs are made in one of Engand's oldest potteries in Staffordshire using traditional methods.  You can buy these delightful mugs direct from their Facebook shop and they ship worldwide.  And they are dishwasher safe!  I know from personal experience that traumatic life experiences do make you stand back and evaluate all aspects of your life and those around you.  Lisa, the owner of Dolly & Ted's relates very much to this, having suffered loss she too took time to review what she really wanted to do.  Much time spent travelling by road with boxer pup Dolly by her side gave her ideas and direction. The result was Dolly & Ted's and around a year later,  4 equisite mugs in production.  Lisa tells me that there are many more dogs waiting to be 'mugged'! Do you want your dog mugged? If so get on over to the shop!


Wednesday, January 30, 2013
www.luxuryandlittleones.com
 
 

Our Fourth of our 'inspired' selection is  www.luxuryandlittleones.com

Oh how I could have done with this website site a few years back when my boys were younger!  I searched high and low for suitable holidays that gave me a bit of a rest too, but like the founder of Luxury and Little Ones I ended up opting to renting villas etc….meaning no real break for me.  The Luxury and Little Ones website makes light work of finding hotels suitable to take young children too but with a little luxury for the big people too!  They have done all the hard work of sifting through those hotels that simply accept children and those that go out of their way to cater for them and ensure the whole family have an absolute ball!

luxuryandlittleones ‏@luxlittleones

@BuyBritBrands @MaryPortas set up our luxury travel website dedicated to travelling with kids. Child friendly luxury is difficult to find

 


Monday, January 28, 2013
www.toomuchtoot.co.uk
 
 

The third of our 'inspired' selection is too much toot- www.toomuchtoot.co.uk 

@toomuchtoot - 'I make things that make people stop. Make people smile. Make people inspired to make themselves. toomuchtoot.co.uk #BuyBritishBrands’

too much toot has a waste not /want not approach to jewellery, accessories and gifts. All their items are handmade, making new from old, and sold at very affordable prices. Their unique range includes vintage necklaces, statement earrings and unique smart phone covers. We love too much toot’s approach to giving old things a new twist. The key necklaces are our favourite, they have a lovely antique feel and it’s great knowing they were once used to open jewellery boxes! 

 
 

Sunday, January 27, 2013
www.sugarjones.co.uk
 
 

The second of our 'inspired' selection is Sugar Jones- www.sugarjones.co.uk

@SugarJonesUK- 'Inspired by a love of design & a brain overflowing with unique fresh ideas sugarjones.co.uk #BuyBritishBrands’

Sugar Jones is a designer making gorgeous unique jewellery and accessories in their little Brighton workshop. They have been promoting British manufacturing over the past 10 years, designing and producing here. Their style is very funky, vintage and quirky. They are extra special as their items are not mass-produced. Sugar Jones also offer a bespoke service where you can request a custom made piece. We love their eclectic style and admire their passion, wanting to bring manufacture, creativity and innovation back to Britain. You will most definitely stand out in one of Sugar Jones’ striking pieces.


Saturday, January 26, 2013
www.madeonmydoorstep.co.uk
 
 

The first of our 'inspired' selection is Made On My Doorstep - www.madeonmydoorstep.co.uk

 

madeonmydoorstep@justnicestuff

 

@BuyBritBrands I tell my kids they can do anything & inspired to believe it myself. Unique gifts #lovinglymade near you.#BuyBritishBrands

 

 

After having four children close together, Founder Kate wanted to hatch a plan that would enable her to stay at home with her children.  The result is a great selection of unique gifts for all the family, including some special finishing touches such as personalised wrapping paper, which is definitely on our shopping list! A great way to make a gft that extra bit special!  Kate produces many of the items herself and now also offers a hassle-free outlet for other sellers too.  We particularly adore the baby shoes and sausage dog toys! All the items are lovingly made from homes across the UK.  There is a real emphasis to buy not only British-made goods but locally made ones too.  We can't wait for a time when Made on My Doorstep is able to offer a wide collection from all corners of the UK!

 


Friday, January 25, 2013
Great British Finds from @BuyBritBrands
 
 

As you now we manufacture in Britain and always have.  We are passionate about supporting all British brands and business and as part of this we founded @BuyBritBrands and #BuyBritishBrands on twitter.  Each Wednesday evening we promote thousands of British manufacturers, businesses and brands.  Last week we asked the question ‘What inspired you to start your business?’ We selected the five answers that struck a chord with us.  We will be sharing these little gems of British inspiration, ingenuity and hard graft with you over the next few days. In no particular order!


Wednesday, April 25, 2012
A Great Family Resort - Le Meridien Al Aqah, Fujairah
 
 

 

 

 

Had a great break with hubby and my boys at the beginning of the Easter break.  Like most people who have their own businesses for me a holiday is a balance of time out and chilling by the pool but still keeping my hand in when I need to! Le Meridient Al Aqah Beach Resort delivered 100%

 

Having been to Dubai several times but wanting the weather, we have in recent years started to work our way around the other Emirates.  This year it was Fujairah. 

 

The hotel is in a stunning setting overlooking the Gulf of Oman with the backdrop of the Hajar Mountains.  We booked a Royal Club room, which being on the 18th floor gave us amazing views over the resort and the coastline. 

 

I popped down to the Club Lounge each morning and each evening to make use of the wifi and check my emails.  Apart from a bit of tweeting, reading and making notes I chilled by the pool with hubby watching my boys have fun.  The mojitos were fantastic!

 

Two things about this hotel stand out of for me. 

 

Firstly the staff.  Not only is the service exemplary but the friendliness and willingness of every member of staff is outstanding.  I was amazed at how long most of them had worked there.  Attentive, happy and an eye for detail, as a team they stand out from anywhere else I have stayed.  And I have been fortunate enough to stay in a good selection of quality resorts.

 

Once I met Patrick Antaki, the hotel manager, I knew why.  A warm and approachable person who obviously values his staff highly, and lets them know. 

 

Secondly the facilities. The pool is one of the largest in the UAE and includes a swim up bar, zero entry point (great for the kids).  The team of life guards gave me confidence to give my children freedom and let myself relax. 

 

A great range of restaurants, my favourite being ‘Taste’ the Thai Restauant.  Gonu by the beach also hit the spot!  The best thing about the restaurants is the  availability of a children’s menu throughout the resort.  The standard child menu is the usual selection of predictable child meals but of extremely high quality.  But it doesn’t end there… when we visit Saad the Indian restaurant my boys chose from a ‘child-friendly’ Indian menu, my eldest having his first curry.  Same in the Thai Restaurant ‘Taste’ the boys had a selection of delicious but appropriate Asian food to choose from.  It was fantastic to have such choices and flexibility for family dining.  The hotel also offer a 50% price on adult meals for a child portion off the main adult menus.  In terms of family eating Le Meridien Al Aqah really does mean the world’s your oyster.

 

 

We will definitely be heading back there, along with the many other families who have been returning year upon year! Check it out...

http://www.lemeridien-alaqah.com/

Sherry x


Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Baby Massage - by Claire Poole
 
 

 

Claire is a Senior Lecturer in Health Studies and qualified in Nursing and Baby Massage.  She is a mother of 2. 

 

Baby Massage

 

Many cultures have used massage as part of baby care for hundreds of years, and research shows it can have a host of emotional and physical benefits for both parents/carers and baby.

 

Massage enables you to learn about and respond to your baby’s body language.  It is a wonderful way to make your baby feel safe and secure by showing that he or she is loved and cared for.

 

Massage has been found to help bonding and interaction between baby and carer.  It also helps to develop muscle tone and co-ordination, as well as enhancing baby’s immune system.  Furthermore, it is also beneficial in helping to relieve colic and constipation, as well as promoting relaxation and sleep.

 

Baby massage can be particularly beneficial during times of stress.  Furthermore, research has shown that baby massage can help break the cycle of negative interaction between mother and baby; which is often seen in mothers with Postnatal depression.

 

  Benefits for babies-

· develop muscle tone

· Help with co-ordination

· Enhances immune system

· Relieves colic and constipation

· Promotes sleep and relaxation

· Reduces stress

 

 Benefits for parents/carers-

 

· Enhances carer’s confidence

· Reduces stress

· Helps promote bonding and attachment with baby

· Quality time for you and baby

 

 

 

Written by Claire Poole, RMN, MSc, PGDip, PGCTHE

 

 


Thursday, March 29, 2012
Manufacturing in Britain & what it means to me
 
 

I visited our factory for the first time about 6 months ago. I had no idea what to expect! But I was very excited to meet everyone and see where our gorgeous products are made. Walking in it was great to see the working conditions for the employees- there is clearly nothing to hide. I’m sure not many people would be able to say they have seen there products being made? Not long after being there we were given samples of new patterns for sleepsuits- they have now been added to our collection and given us more variety for our mix and match selection!

Having a local manufacturer allows you to build good streamlined relationships with them. If we come up with a new idea or design we can jump in the car and visit the factory. It allows us to produce samples quickly, test them and market them as soon as possible. In fact our best-selling labour & birthing shirt was designed by our team. We went down to the factory with the idea and they made a sample up for us there and then. You wouldn’t be able to do that anywhere else. I can’t imagine what it would be like to have an overseas manufacturer. How would you build relationships? What if you had a problem? How long would it take to make up a sample?

Let’s not forget the quality of British manufacturing. Just ask Prada, Burberry and Chanel who have all brought their manufacturing to Britain. That must be saying something? We have excellent quality control. Since I have been working here we haven’t had to send anything back to the factory. Also because our products are hand-finished in our workshop we can make sure they are done to the highest quality and standards. Not only that, but we are preserving the local crafts and skills by having a team of seamstresses hand-finishing our products. We even have a lady down the road that knits our shoes for us.

It was just this morning that I put on a pair of knickers I had brought a few weeks ago and there was a hole in them (they were made in China). I bet that wouldn’t happen to Mary Portas’ Kinky Knickers! It’s made me realise that the saying ‘pay cheap pay twice’ is very true. You may be paying a little more for the label ‘Made in Britain’ but it is most definitely worth it!


Tuesday, March 06, 2012

The Bond Between Parent & Child by Kristin Wells, Guest Blog
 
 
The bond between a parent and a child is something spectacular. It is perhaps the most fundamental of human ties. It is a different sort of bond than one that might exist between spouses, significant others or siblings. With a parent child bond, there is strength and a connection that is unbreakable and unbending. Certainly, we have all heard the words "unconditional love" at one time or another. These words are meant to describe a love that can't be broken. It is a love that stays strong through all kinds of adversity, no matter what circumstances life might throw into the mix. An unconditional love is one of the things that make a bond between a parent and a child so incredible and unbreakable. Possibly, the bond between a parent and a child may partly stem from a genetic connection and in being a true part of one another. That child is a part of each one of the parents. Most often, the connection between mother and child is the strongest because that child grew inside of her, but this does not always have to be the case. It can be equally as strong with the father as well. Either way you look at it, a healthy bond between a child and a parent can contribute to an instilled stability and confidence in a person that you usually won't see in those who have grown up without it. Kristin Wells is a recent college graduate from The University of Georgia and an aspiring writer. She wants to make a difference in people's lives through her writing.

Friday, March 02, 2012
What Marie Curie Cancer Care Means To Me...
 
 
It was a dark and very dismal night at the end of October 2009. David was finally succumbing to the ravage of the cancer that he had fought so bravely for 18 months. There is always hope, but sometimes you do have to accept the inevitable. We had done that a matter of weeks before. Extremely difficult but all ‘part of the process’ as he used to say. The process of bereavement. David was diagnosed with terminal oesophageal cancer in May 2008. Initially he fought hard and long against the disease, amazing us all at how well he coped with not only the illness but the treatments too. It took well over a year and numerous procedures, treatments and operations for his mental and physical stamina to finally begin to wane. 
 
David only became immobile during his final week. I was fortunate enough to have reached a stage with my business where I could let go of the reins and take the time out to nurse my husband around the clock. It was something that we very important to me. A need that I had to ensure that I personally tended to his every requirement. Being a carer, under any circumstances is tough. But however hard and tiring it is, when it is for someone you care for and love you somehow manage to find that miniscule amount of energy left to do what you need to do.
 
We had an amazing team of family and friends around us. But groups of people such as this that are stricken with emotion are really capable of offering the support you need. This is when Marie Curie Nurses came into my life.
 
It was all arranged via our local surgery that we would be allocated a nurse whenever possible during David’s final nights. By this time I was far too tired and disengaged to refuse any form of help or support. I knew accepting the help of this wonderful organisation was the right thing to do for David for me and for my family as a whole.
 
‘Mary Poppins’ arrived on my doorstep. Oozing serenity and peacefulness. Her warm smile, kind eyes and tactile nature immediately brought comfort to me. It may seem a strange thing to comment upon, but she had the most perfect make up. She looked so very neat in her uniform. She was so very collected in her actions, so tranquil in her mood, she simply gave me confidence to face each dark hour that loomed ahead.
 
I was so at ease with her I was able to drag out the questions I needed and wanted to ask. ‘Can David hear me?’ ‘Can he feel my touch?’ . I was even able to ask my most-dreaded question… ‘How do I know when he is actually dying?’ ‘What are the signs that death is imminent?’. She answered me candidly but with great consideration and in her choice of words. She told me exactly what I needed to know, no more, no less. Her judgment of me as an individual, of the nature of my family and the mood of the household was impeccable. Her experience shone through, lighting the way for us during this desperate time. 
 
The first night she came David was still conscious and she was able to see a glimmer of his very self-deprecating sense of humour and his gregarious and fun nature. That meant so much to me.
 
She returned a day or so later when David had slipped into a coma and was in his very final day or so. She helped me care for him physically, with great respect for him and for my need to do things. She ensured I eat a little, have a cup of tea and took time out for some rest even if I was unable to sleep. She gave me strength.
 
I thank ‘Mary Poppins’ and Marie Curie from the bottom of my heart for being there and doing the job they do, so wonderfully. I thank them for aiding me in making David’s final days and hours comfortable and dignified. I thank them for helping me to cope and remain focused on the things that mattered to me most at that point in time. David passed peacefully in my arms surrounded by love, calm and hope for the future.
 
‘Mary Poppin’s’ gave me an understanding of life and death that I had never had before. I had indeed had time to prepare for this, but how does one prepare for something so dreadful? She was a very big piece in the jigsaw. Our many conversations helped me to have hope for the future. To know that happiness could once again be a part of the lives of me and my two little boys. 
 
And she was right. Somehow when I was ready, I was able to leap into the future and do what David wanted and asked me to do. He wanted me to live a happy life and to have a partner and he wanted his boys to have a dad present….these are all his very generous and selfless words. He Well I did it. I am remarried to the most wonderful man, Jonny. He and my boys adore one another and we are an amazing family unit. 
 
My little boys and I carry our fond memories of David forward into our future. He will always be a part of our lives, even though he is not here in person.
 

I support Marie Curie whenever I can. I want other people to be the recipients of this utterly amazing service this charity provides. When Jonny and I married we asked for donations to the charity. I now donate on a monthly basis directly funding the nurses. I am wearing with my daffodil with pride as I write this, as I truly understand and endlessly value the Marie Curie Charity. Without them, and specifically my ‘Mary Poppin’s’ I really don’t think I would have come through this so well.

Sherry x


Sunday, February 19, 2012
Time Out
 
 
It seems as parents we can do little right these days. The pressures of working to provide for your family, cooking a wholesome meal, helping with homework, doing all the other household chores and admin. Taking children to clubs, lessons and giving them social time with friends. And then of course quality time together as a family. That thing that we all feel so dreadfully guilty about because we feel we simply don not do enough of it. I do not condone taking children out of school without good reason, but like many parents I do take my children out at carefully selected times in order for us to spend some quality time together on holiday within a reasonable cost. For instance this coming Easter holiday I am taking my boys out (with authorisation) for two extra days. This knocked a huge £1000 off the price of our holiday and made it affordable. My children attend the most wonderful village school and with permission of the headmaster are permitted 10 days additional leave for family holidays and occasions etc. There are guidelines as to when this can be taken and it is certainly not taken for granted by any of the parents, but very much appreciated. Any decent parent never takes their child out of school for anything other than illness or the occasional holiday to spend some time together as a family away from the everyday pressures of life. There are indeed parents who do not ensure their children attend school and pay no attention to truancy. But I think this is an entirely separate and far more important issue to the odd family holiday. That is my general view of the situation. My personal circumstances are somewhat different to most, in that the father of my children passed away in 2009 after 2 years battling cancer; my boys were just 7 and 5 years old. We are very lucky in that we were left very well emotionally equipped and had time to prepare and we have coped well. We have rebuilt our lives with fond memories and since 2010 have had a wonderful new man in our lives. I am extremely happy to be remarried to the wonderful Jonny and my two little boys have the most amazing step-father whom they adore. We are so fortunate to have rebuilt a stable and strong family environment. However…..we are now a military family. My husband is currently posted overseas. The ability to take my children out of school on a small number of days a year allows us a family to spend much valued weekends together that we would otherwise be apart. With my business commitments, my husband’s work commitments finding dates for holidays are challenging to say the least. Due to our experiences of loss, experiencing what can be the harsh reality of life and being a single parent for the most part, those times when we are together as a family are so cherished. A few days out of school in exchange for time with my husband and my two little boys ….. Seeing joy on their faces and watching them do boy-stuff with their step-dad after the sadness they have been through, well Mr Gove…for me it’s a no-brainer and I think as a government you have far more serious issues to tackle. Sherry x

Wednesday, October 19, 2011
My First Baby Show... Wish Me Luck!
 
 

My first Baby Show is coming up fast and I’m really excited. We are busy busy busy here in the office doing all the preparation for it. It’s a lot of hard work but I’m sure the end result will be well worth it. I can’t wait for our customers to get to see and feel our products in the flesh.

 

The rest of the huddle & bliss team have done baby shows in the past so I’m a newbie to it! They have been telling me a lot of funny stories and how we make up for the hard days work back at the hotel bar! I don’t have any children but for those who do I’m sure it’ll be great to get away from all those mum duties for a few days.

 

The Baby Show is in Earls Court and being held on Friday the 28th until Sunday the 30th October. We would love you to come and say hi! We are on stands E72 and C82.

 

For your chance to win tickets then check out our competition on our facebook page www.facebook.com/huddlebliss. Or purchase them now at www.thebabyshow.co.uk

 

Look forward to seeing you there!

 

Harrie x


Thursday, September 29, 2011
EVery Generation Has It's JFK Moment...9/11 is ours...
 
 

Check out Sherry's latest blog http://www.sherryprosser.blogspot.com/


Saturday, September 17, 2011
Pregnancy Fashion Dungarees V Jimmy Choos
 
 
Why do some people think that pregnancy equals all loss of style and fashion? When I announced my first pregnancy a friend very kindly offered me her entire maternity wardrobe. She arrived at my house loaded with a number of those large plastic laundry bags than a number of people seem to favour as luggage in T3 at Heathrow! I really appreciated her generosity but was slightly relieved when absolutely nothing fitted me! I therefore avoided a) the embarrassment of actually having to wear some of the items and b) offending my dear friend.
Everything was a just large, shapeless, some weird colour or lurid pattern and frankly fogey! I just know a smock dress with velvet bow was lurking there somewhere! She had even brought a selection of shoes with her, assuring me that at all times during pregnancy I must only wear and will only want to wear FLATS. Now don’t get me wrong, I love a nice pair of pumps, but I also quite like my heels and I wasn’t going to forego those for 9 months. Particularly as due to my changing size and shape they would probably be the most obvious fashion statement I could make!
I wanted to show off my bump, when I got one! I wanted to wear jeans not those hideous maternity dungarees. Why is it that some women would never be seen dead in dungarees until they are pregnant? Are they really that comfortable that you are willing to forget what you look like? Sorry but I really have never seen anyone look good in them. 
I adored my maternity jeans. I bought several maternity vest style tops with built-in bras and waterfall cardigans in a size bigger.   I had a great fitted black maternity dress  - my equivalent of a pregnancy little black dress! It was smart for business and teamed with some great jewellery was fantastic for evenings out. And yes I wore heels with it! Great big whopping heels that made me feel elegant and sexy despite being 7 months pregnant!
I think that pregnancy means you tweak your style a little not suddenly adorn yourself in smock tops, dungarees and crocs….
For my birth, of course I wore theh&b birth shirt, but I do admit to leaving my Choo’s at home on that occasion!

Monday, September 12, 2011
Omg they've put me off for life!
 
 

Hi my names Harriett, but most people call me Harrie. I started a few weeks ago as a Marketing Assistant here at Huddle & Bliss.

I am really enjoying and getting into my job role here. All my colleagues are great and we get along really well, they have made me feel very welcome and helped me settle in.

I am the only one here that isn’t a Mum yet but ‘oh my god’ I think they have put me off for life! They have been talking about morning sickness, the pain of labour and the years of sleepless nights. I can’t add my own experiences into their conversations but listening to them has definitely made me think pregnancy is not as easy as it looks. But saying that, my older sister is pregnant and has just found out she’s having a girl! I’m very excited about being an Auntie. I’ve already brought her the wonderful newborn baby gift set in pink. The sleepsuit, hat and mitts are perfect for her on her journey home.  I’m sure I will be spoiling her and Mummy with a lot more of the Huddle & Bliss goodies!

Love Harrie x

Ha ha Harrie!.....check this out and you will definitely be put off!  20 things no-one told us about having a newbornOn a brighter note, every member of the team will tell you they are so so worth it.  Amy x


Monday, August 01, 2011
Wootton Bassett
 
 

Check out Sherry's latest blog about her moving visit to Wootton Bassett..... www.sherryprosser.com


Wednesday, May 11, 2011
It should be a choice!
 
 

As ever it seems there is a neverending tirade of surveys, reports and studies about breast V bottle!  Every few weeks yet another thing comes out that contradicts previous advice.  I was astonished to hear earlier this week that apparently breastfed babies are apparently better-behaved than bottle ones!  I have done both.  And frankly I did what was best at the time for me and my baby.  I think it is so wrong to pressure mothers into one or the other.  All mothers want to do the very best for their baby, it is a natural maternal desire, however I do think it is entirely wrong for any mother to be pressured into breastfeeding, whether it be by midwives or the media!  And to suggest that if you don't you will have a badly behaved child....well....need I say more.  We were all talking about this at huddle and bliss the other day and on our reckoning and experience it makes no difference whatsoever!!! Some of our breastfed offspring are right little monkeys to say the least!  The child we voted best behaved went to one that was completely bottlefed!!!  So much for your studies.  Mothers out there....do as you wish and what you feel is right for you, your child and your circumstances. 

Amy x


Thursday, April 14, 2011
Perfect Resort
 
 

Have just returned from a fantastic break in the sunny emirate of Ras Al Khaimah, a refreshing change from the hustle and bustle of glitzy Dubai....and cheaper too!  I stayed at what is very much a family resort but manages to successfully combine all the facilities and entertainment for your little ones, whilst still catering for the adults in terms of good restaurants, a few child-free zones and of course the baby-sitting service. Althought I did refrain from using the service again after 'Florence' our sitter seemed to think it ok to allow the children 3 chunky kitkats each! A number of pools, bars and restaurants are spread throughout the hotel and villa complex amongst tropical gardens which means that no one area ever seems too busy despite it being Easter!  The beautiful white sand beach is divided into a series of safe little bays each with a lifeguard.  So all in all everything to ensure the perfect family break.  The resort I went to was http://www.hilton.co.uk/rasalkhaimahresort?WT.srch=1

Sitting by the pool, with a lime daiquiri, Ipod, a good book whilst sunning myself, I realised the one key ingredient you need to make the most of such a wonderful set up is a skill that only results from experiencing parenthood itself.  It cannot be provided by even the best family hotel.  It is the ability to ignore and extract the noise of exuberant children in the background!!!!  When you have graduated to the higher echelons of this skill, you are able to remain aware of any cry made by one of your own flock whilst successfully ignorng the noise of all other children in the vicinity.  Even plugged into your Ipod you need to apply this ability, albeit at a much lower level.....I found that even with Robbie Williams shouting out 'Let Me Entertain You' loudly in my ears that the shrill cry of one consistently whingeing little girl managed to penetrate my peace!

And let's be honest, there is always one or two repetitive tamtrum throwers around!  Sadly this means that their voices do begin to register in your mind and it becomes more difficult to 'extract' them.....you just have to hope they have lots of days out and go home before you....worst case scenario is probably that they are sitting next to you on the plane!

P.s.  I think that men are actually much better at the noise extraction skill, bearing in mind their genetic tendancy towards selective hearing!

Sherry x


Wednesday, April 13, 2011
To Know or Not To Know...that is the question!
 
 

Everyone seems to have an opinion as to whether you should find out the sex of your baby or not.  I did and most people I know did and do, but generally for different reasons.  Some of us want to know for practical reasons, making it easier to know what colour baby clothes to buy or how to decorate the nursery.  Others just cannot stand not knowing, Whereas somelove the anticipation of a surprise on the day.  I think it is up to the individual and not really right for any of us to judge.  We all have our reasons and at the end of the day it is a personal choice....and let's be honest not much about being pregnant remains personal!

At huddle & bliss we have introduced another unisex colour in our classic cotton baby clothes range....a beautiful fresh yellow.  Perfect timing for Spring!  The new colour will of course be part of our unique mix and match range, offering parents complete choice across colours and sizes in all baby clothing essentials.  Combined with our new 'burberry' style check pattern in delicate pastels, there is a whole host of new colour combinations available to select from.  We will shortly be introducing a bespoke element to our baby layette, which is one of the most popular baby gifts we sell.  Customers will be able to select different colours and patterns of sleepsuit and swaddling blankets etc....making a truly individual gift for the new arrival. 

It is of course lovely to buy new things for your baby, whether it is your first or not.  But when you do get onto the second child and so on, I think it is also nice to unpack all those items that you have used before and ponder the memories they hold. That is one of the good things about white and unisex colours, at least you have the option to use baby clothes again irrespective of the sex of any of your offspring!  Newborn baby clothes do generally get very little use with the speed at which our little ones grow, so to use them again is practical and cost-saving above all else.  White baby clothes are certainly the best-selling line at huddle and bliss.

So even if you do know the sex of your forthcoming arrival, do buy the majority of items in white or unisex colours and who knows what you will have next time around!!

Amy x


Saturday, April 02, 2011
Hello!
 
 

Hi, I am Amy.  I am the newest member of the huddle & bliss team.  I will be working on the marketing part time and will be blogging regularly.  Exciting times at huddle & bliss.  The stunning hospital bag, The 48 Hour Bag is undergoing a bit of revamp to include lots of lovely new things.  We are expanding our colour ranges in our premium baby clothes. The website is due a bit of an overhaul so lots and lots to be done. 

Look out for my blog!
Amy x


Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Baby On The Move
 
 

A mother’s work is NEVER done.... Argh! Tell me about it!
Having a baby doesn’t make for a tidy house that’s for sure.  Most of my time these days is spent removing an extra crawly baby away from areas of the house she shouldn’t be in.

The X-Box is a firm favourite of my daughter Poppy, 10 months. If she’s not turning it on and off to get a green flashy light disco, she’s sinking her teeth into the CD tray! Problem is, you move her away and she just keeps going back for more!   Actually...Maybe I should let her bash it with her building blocks for a bit – might even induce the red ring of death and break it for good! Then again I don’t know what’s worse? A grouchy hubby with no Xbox..  Or being a 'call of duty widow'?  Hmmm???

So just HOW fast can a crawly baby go? Answer – Not as fast as a curious baby in a baby walker! I turned my back for a second this morning to wash the pots and as well as being reminded several times over that I have ankles, my cheeky little Miss also managed to empty the contents of the grocery cupboard onto the floor and pull the bin liner to shreds all over the dining room!
So.... how do I manage to put on a load of washing or make a quick sandwich without the worry of Little Miss Mischief getting up to no good then?  EASY – A play pen!  I discovered this little gem whilst I was browsing through a baby catalogue last week and I have to say it was the Best baby buy ever!
Not only can I get a few things done safely, but the Dog can occasionally come within a metre of Poppy without getting his tail pulled! RESULT.


Lisa


Saturday, August 28, 2010
Things that made me laugh today!
 
 

Watching my friend waddle around with a plastic baby bump strapped on her...whilst shooting the latest photos for our labour & birthing shirt.  I suggest they use these plastic ones in Soaps rather than those silly soft ones....far more realistic in terms of how they restrict your movements....and bloody uncomfortable too!!!

I have just been watching the Gadget Show....a fave of mine...and have been reminded that I have never been able to do the Rubiks Cube! And then wondered why on earth I would ever want to!

The announcement that Spanx have brought a new line for men.....at last...equality!!! Check it out here.

Shooting Stars, Who's Been Framed...happily they were on my Sky+. Oh and Total Wipe Out USA, I know...sad but true!!!

My entire Magmum lolly falling off into my cleavage.

The thought of my boys faces if I told them that they could only spend time with me by appointment and in 15 minute slots at that....Madonna calls herself a mum!!!!! Check it out here.

The stupidity of the woman who thought she could sneak a tiger cub in her luggage!!!! Check it out here!

Thinking it was rain I could feel on my hand and then realising it was the bubbles from the sparkling water I was holding!

An article in a Forces family magazine that makes it very clear that being a mum is far harder than being a soldier....no offence soldiers (the article is written by a former soldier) and we all appreciate what you do immensely....especially at huddle & bliss....use code FORCESXJ9MK for your discount!

Nick doing impressions of me. Well I had to laugh to make him feel good.

Some old pictures of me with bushy eyebrows and spots....no I am not putting them on here!

Charlie insisting that his jeans were on the right way and then demonstrating how useful zips were at the back!

As you can see...I have laughed a lot today!!!


Gaby xxx


Thursday, August 26, 2010
Winkelwagons & Baby-Dumps!
 
 

I am in Holland at the moment...or to be politically correct...The Netherlands! I have been spending quite a bit of time here recently.  The differences between countries are notable and often highly amusing...if somewhat juvenile....such as my continued laughter at 'winkelwagons'....shopping trolleys to the uninitiated.  I also drove past a 'Baby Dump' yesterday!  Still trying to figure that one out but I think it may be the name of a creche!  Double cream is slagroom! If you want a coffee go to a 'Lunchroom' not a 'Koffie Shop'....you would find a lot more on the menu in the Koffie shop - none of it legal in the UK!  There is a local Ford Dealer called 'Jos Bogman'.  We have nicknamed the local supermarket - Albert Hines..'Albert Einstein'!  And you can't seem to buy either a whole chicken or a cut of lamb in there!  But I adore the cafes and bars, some of them in the middle of a row of houses, the numerous parks, the bakeries, the pride the Dutch have in their homes.  The beautiful florists shops, seeing very elderly ladies on scooters, and the fact that everyone stops at zebra crossings for you.  I have been trying to learn Dutch but they make it so easy for you not too....I have not come across one person who does not speak English to date!

But I will be back in Blighty soon!  I have taken some time off in the last year and am now raring to go!  huddle & bliss has been ticking along nicely. I am looking forward to being in the thick of it again, moreso than ever!  We will be focusing our attention on maternity clothing and baby clothes but will be expanding the colour options available in a number of our best selling products.  Our baby hats and scratch mittens, bibs and baby swaddling blankets will soon be available in the ever popular pastel candy stripe.  Our sleepsuits sell so well in this fabric! We listened to you! We will be launching an organic cotton version of our famous labour and birthing shirt

We are stepping up our presence on facebook and twitter after having a bit of a break from the social media arena for a while.  You will be able to see us as usual at The Baby Show as usual.  However at Earls Court our stunning 48 hour bag will have it's own well-deserved stand.  The main huddle and bliss stand will be hosting the regular special offers that it has at The Baby Show.  Make sure you don't miss out!  

The website is also having a bit of an overhaul so watch this space for our fresher look.  Our beautiful baby gallery will soon be up and running so make sure you visit and upload a picture of your own beautiful babe!  We will be running regular competitions with fantastic huddle & bliss baby gifts and products as prizes.

Lastly the entire team at huddle and bliss would like to congratulate the Cameron's on the birth of their daughter, indeed a special time for any family but perhaps more poignant in light of the sadness they experienced following the loss of their precious son Ivan.  We wish them much happiness.

Well, I best be off....got to get down to Albert Einstein's to hunt out a lamb chop with my winkelwagon!

Gaby xx


Wednesday, August 25, 2010
We're Coming Back
 
 

Dear All

I am back!  Watch this space for my next blog...

 

Gaby x


Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Apologs for our Absence!
 
 

Apologies for our absence.....we have had a very sad time at huddle & bliss recently.  We have suffered a bereavement and being a firm of family and close friends it has obviously hit us hard.  We are working from a business perspective as normal and plan to resume our blog as soon as possible.

Best Regards

Gaby x

 


Thursday, October 08, 2009
The natural progression of things……
 
 

I have decided that there are some things that appear to be in-built when it comes to children. The love of sweets, and the dislike of all green food groups. The hero worship of Mr Tumble, the excitement at the mention of any outdoors activity, and the fear of the naughty step! The above has been the case with every little person I have known, but it seems to run deeper and have a distinct boy and girl theme as well…..

 

For example,

 

When my little girl was one, I had every “In the night garden” Toy you could name under the sun, it was the first programme she sat watching and captivated by. She could say most of the characters names, even though she was only just about saying “mummy” and “daddy” at the time. She would laugh and shriek as soon as Uppsy daisy’s bed rolled onto screen, and the dance at the end was so exciting it inevitably ended with a nap being required from sheer excursion.

 

At two this stopped with the arrival of “Peppa Pig”, bye bye Iggle Piggle and hello, Mummy Pig, Daddy Pig, Peppa and George. She would sing the theme tune constantly, had all, and could name all the characters, we had books, DVD’s and even Peppa’s house……..but then we turned three and the Princesses started.

 

I am now surrounded by Princesses, and my daughter has informed me that she is in fact one herself……I’m a Queen apparently! I have now seen “Sleeping Beauty” around 200 times, this is not of course counting the first 200 times I watched it as a little girl myself. We fight (most mornings) over the practicalities of wearing the “sleeping beauty” dress to nursery! I know every word to every song in “The Little Mermaid” “Beauty and the Beast” and “Aladdin”, as does she…..and even my other half has been known to shout out to me in toys shops….”Wow, look at these Snow White clip clop shoes”……????? Not that he would ever let her wear them!

 

I can’t help but worry what will come next, I’m sure to go through the Hannah Montana stage…and then the High School Musical stage……so long as I keep her away from the Boy stage for at least the next 30 years…..I will be happy!

 

Lily x

Email:  lilyp@huddle-and-bliss.com


Thursday, September 17, 2009
Is it me?
 
 

The advertisements on TV leave a lot to be desired.  There are always a number of them that just confound me.  Firstly because I can't believe that someone actually came up with the idea and moreover that a room full of company executives liked it and said yes!  On the other hand there are some truly amazing adverts that I love.  The Cadbury's ad with the gorilla playing the drums has to be one of my all-time favourites. 

Some are completely naff, others so boringly predictable, a selection that purport to be intellectual - so much so that no-one actually sees the point.  One of my favourites is the Virgin advertisement.  It is attention-grabbing, the Frankie Goes to Hollywood 'Relax' theme tune is so apt - perhaps it is just simply of my generation.....Relax is a cult tune of my era, I remember Virgin launching and being this hip new airline (still think they are hip)...I particularly like Bransons response to comments that the ad is sexist....'well I did think that the pilot was a bit too good-looking'.  I have seen it so many times but it still makes me stop and watch.  A true masterpiece....I can't tell you why but it makes me want to fly Virgin again.

The current series of Specsavers ads are good....the rollercoaster one make me chuckle the first time I saw it.  Some of the worst ads are for sanitary items.....what is this rubbish with a pin ball thing going on on a towel and having a 'happy period'.....whoever came up with that idea has obviously never had one.  Pictures of blue liquid and ladies in tight-fitting white trousers sping to mind.

The recent flurry of online bingo ads fall very firmly into the naff category.....and whilst I am a great fan of BMW, they truly are the ultimate driving machine.....I am not to sure about this 'making joy' angle they have come up with.  Though car ads are generally good, Volkswagon in particular make memorable ones that strike a chord.  Can't remember which bank it is (says a lot for the advert!) but there is this series of ads with a haunting theme and animated characters with bulbous heads and pointy noses.....again wouldn't make me pick that bank....especially as I can't even remember who they are!

Marks & Spencer ads are generally catchy and have a good theme these days.  The Sainsbury's ads with the actress who was in Corrie at some point are rather irritating......the whole perfect family on a budget with the mum who just happens to work at Sainsbury's wore a bit thin after the first one. 

I am not sure why....but I do love the Meerkats....perhaps it is George and Charlie's impressions of them or the uniqueness of the approach.  I have not yet visited the www.comparethemeerkat.com site....but I am very tempted....will it make me use the main site?  Never in a million years!  I think the meerkats are far more interesting than the product they promote.

And what is this rubbish with mascara ads where there is a women, a celeb or whatever, with the most amazing set of eyelashes, advertising some new mascara that will make your lashes 20 times longer and thicker and then at the bottom of the screen in text is says something about false lashes being on the model.....do they think that the consumers can't read? 

I particularly dislike the ads with post pet food too......whilst I love animals I really don't think it is necessary to feed them some gourmet dish....will they be having a starter and desert next?

There is currnetly a nappy ad that goes on about 'golden' something or other......any experienced mum knows that yes occasionally your baby may wake if they are particularly wet or there has been some sort of leakage....but come on now....no brand of nappy whatever is going to make your baby sleep for 12 hours!  If there was one I would have bought them for George by the bucket load!  After 13 months of no sleep I would have tried anything believe me.

The Old Speckled Hen ads wore thin very quickly.  The present Ikea one...well I can't find the words...Simple but effective, the babies laughter in the Cow & Gate ad is very infectious. 

I do have to admit to going onto the website of one of these recycle your mobile phone companies.....I wasn't as naive as to think I would get £150 for my old phone but I was a little taken aback at the £2.58 offered for an old Blackberry!  But top of the list at the moment for annoying ads just has to be online bingo and cash for gold!!!!!!  I know a sign of the times perhaps......but surely they could do better?

Love Gaby x

 


Thursday, September 10, 2009
My little girl starts nursery tomorrow…..she can’t wait, and I’m a bag of nerves!
 
 

I’m sure that she will be fine, and once she gets settled it’s going to be great. But I have the voice of my mother in my head. And I distinctly remember a conversation from a few years ago in which she informed me that after the hell I put her through when I started school, it would serve me right if I had to re-live the experience with my little girl.

“Was I that bad?” I ask, amazed that she can remember that far back,

“You were a nightmare” She informs me.

 

And It all comes flooding back, I was fine on the first day, the novelty of a new experience and new toys, but had decided by day three that it was not for me, and I would rather stay at home. First I tried crying, then begging, then I would lock myself in the bathroom cupboard in the hope that I would be forgotten, or it would be too late to go. This moved on to making myself sick every morning, which would normally happen whilst on the bus and my poor mother was wrestling with my 2 year old sister, a push chair and a hysterical, crying, and vomiting me!

 

This went on for quite some time, and my poor mum tried everything, the promise of toys, the promise of the park, threatening the raff of my father…..nothing worked! Until my rather clever and extremely lovely 1st grade teacher hit on the idea of a school play. Which would be sleeping beauty (My favourite at the time). I would be sleeping beauty, on one condition; I came to school everyday for two weeks without crying and without being sick. I was hooked! The thought of losing out on being sleeping beauty was too horrid to even contemplate; I was the model student for the next two weeks. Wore a beautiful blue glitter dress (made by my mum), and still have the photo’s of me playing sleeping beauty in the school play. I never cried again!

 

I am hoping my daughter will be different, and I’m keeping the butterfly’s in my tummy a secret, I do however have a sleeping beauty princess dress in the cupboard………..just in case!

 

Lily x

 

Email:  lilyp@huddle-and-bliss.com


Friday, August 14, 2009
I have just got back from two weeks of sunshine hell……..
 
 

I know your thinking “what does she mean sunshine hell”, and “given the current weather system, sunshine of any description would be a wonderful thing”…..but I’m talking about 2 weeks of holiday sun, two weeks with 3 hot children (My sisters as well as mine), all under the age of 4……..a relaxing experience it was not!

 

I was worried about the flight out, which turned out to be needless worry as all three behaved beautifully, lulling me into a false sense of security, as from the moment we arrived at the hotel things soon changed!

 

Whilst trying to check in, the 3 monsters ran around like monkeys high on sugar (they hadn’t had any), I was informed by my other half that they were just overtired…..I have never quite understood this little explanation…surely if your over tried you should be near sleep, not running around at 100 mph!

 

We got to our room and my little one decided she did not like her little bed, which lead to her sleeping in with me for the next two weeks. I love hotel rooms; I love the fact that in nice hotel’s you often get two double beds, one for him and one for you. The option to visit each other is always there, but fundamentally a good, fidget free and snore free night will be had by all. Not the case for me however as no matter how attractive I made daddy’s bed appear, it was mine she ended up in every night, and it was my back that was kicked and my face that was accidentally punched and it was me sleeping on a tiny corner while me three year old either had the whole bed, or slept wrapped around my neck.

 

The food issues started at breakfast the next morning when two of the three decided they didn’t like the look of the continental breakfast and wanted to know where the coco pops where…. And that continued for the rest of the holiday…..

 

I was calm as we arrived at the beach, a chance to catch up on some missed beauty sleep (thanks to my daughter) and at last a chance to start the book I had been wanting to read for the last six months. It was at this point that we realised my sisters youngest didn’t like sand! Yes, Sand, and when I say didn’t like I mean she would’nt even put her foot down. So my sister and I took it in turns to hold her, while my other half refused to apply sun cream to the other two children, muttering something about not liking the feel of the cream on his hands….???????? I still haven’t read my book!

 

The children didn’t like the pool because it was cold! They didn’t like the sun because it was too hot….the only thing they enjoyed was the crazy golf. In fact I knew every one who worked at the crazy golf’s name by the time we left as I spent so much time watching the kids play.

 

I was happy to get home….I was looking forward to getting home….and have decided…..No more beach holidays until they are all old enough to appreciate it a little more. As for me, my sister and I have booked a long weekend away at a beach next year, no children just us…..maybe I will get to read that book!

 

Lily x

Email:  lilyp@huddle-and-bliss.com


Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Blooming? (Lisa Edwards)
 
 

I’m well into the second trimester of this pregnancy, my third.   What do the books say about the second trimester then? Morning sickness should have eased off; appetite picked up... no more fatigue.. ..Darling you should be ‘BLOOMING’ right now!    Blooming what I ask you? Blooming fat? Blooming irritable? Blooming fed up?  Cos I certainly ain’t blooming like a flower that’s for sure!
So yes, the morning (ahem all day sickness) has passed and I can physically stay awake past 8pm now but what other joyous things can we expect from the second trimester?
Braxton hicks... Yippee! That’s good right? The uterus is ‘ripening’ itself for labour. Great fun!  The first one was quite exciting, but after the first half a dozen you kind of want to stop feeling like someone is squeezing your abdomen in a vice! 

Then there’s the increase in breast size... What woman wouldn’t give for a bit of a enhancement in the boob department? Ok so a bit of a pump up is fine but hell, carrying these bazoomas round all day sure isn’t good on the old back (Not to mention the hammocks I’m having to buy to carry them in) Goodbye style, Hello second trimester.

So it can’t be all bad can it? Well there are always the cravings to look forward to – an excuse to eat as much chocolate and cake as you could possibly want. Fantastic! Indulge to your hearts content...But what’s the deal with the crazy craving combinations then? Pickled onions and custard, chocolate covered gherkins.. Not to mention pieces of coal and the smell of leather shoe shops! 

So readers, pregnancy is most certainly not a walk in the park (even in the blooming second trimester)! But moans and groans aside, let me remind you of the most wonderful things about pregnancy.  You just can’t beat all that anticipation of a new life growing inside you, the absolute thrill of the feelings and movements within and of course there’s the excitement of all the cutesy baby shopping too!

Enjoy!

Lisa Xx

 

Many thanks to Lisa, our first guest blogger. Lisa lives in the northeast of England with her husband and two children.


Tuesday, July 28, 2009
First Guest Blogger
 
 

Lisa Edwards is going to be our first guest blogger - her blog entry will be live here soon!  Thanks to Lisa for entering - she will receive a selection of huddle & bliss goodies for her contribution!

 

GabyX


Sunday, July 26, 2009
I really did believe them....
 
 

...when they said we would have a fantastic summer and endless heatwaves!  Must be wishful thinking!  I know we have had a few odd bouts of sunny and warm, okay, hot days, but it hasn't quite been the mediterranean summer I had imagined and frankly set my hear upon.  As Sherry mentioned in the week, they also didn't mention the word 'monsoon' when they were forecast the long summer days and warm balmy evenings - and lets be fair we experienced a bit of monsoon-like weather in the last week or so. 

I have been dreaming of long lazy alfresco lunches, picnics with my boys, endless barbecues with the delicious wafting aroma of meat and seafood grilling in the garden.  Sipping chilled glasses of rose wine whilst reminiscing of provencal holidays of the past.  I had really already created and lived this fantasy summer and an idyllic 'staycation'.  Yes I had the word staycation too but it does simply sum up a break at home.....but personally hot weather would be an absolute essential or otherwise I would end up clearing out the cupboard under the stairs!

They now say that August is going to be 'the' month....but I have to say that my confidence is somewhat dented now.  The eight-foot inflatable swimming pool is still sitting in the shed untouched.  The sunbeds, well I gave them away and have been waiting to buy new ones, but well now I might as well wait a couple of weeks and get a mega-deal in the summer sales.  My stock of suntan lotion is still high, having bought 3 for the price of 2 anticipating high usage.  My freezer is well-stocked with spare ribs, steaks and minted lamb chops.  And my optimistic stock of rose has hardly been dented, and that has all been drunk of the sofa in front of the television.

But at the end of the day I am a great believer in PMA - positive mental attitude.  So everyone out there send out those positive thoughts and ensure us an August to reme
mber! 

Gaby Px

  

 


Thursday, July 09, 2009
Domesticity....
 
 

My family of four have been struck down one by one with a nasty cold recently.  As a female, I had a cold but for Nick and the boys, well it was obviously full blown flu!  Thankfully not the swine kind!  As you can imagine whilst I soldiered on and did the school run, shopping and all the other usual stuff when it came to my man and my boys well all activity on their part came to a grinding halt.  But being the industrious person that I am I have used the time to get stuck into a number of domestic tasks that have been in need of attention for a while.  Couldn't leave the house so why not make some improvements!  I have painted the family room, cloakroom and kitchen.  I have blitzed the toys and made various donations to school, the local nursery and of course the dump!  A few subtle changes in the kitchen have made the room look twice the size.  De-cluttering is indeed therapeutic, and when in this mood my moto is 'if in doubt, chuck it out!'  Still have lots to tackle, but well I am getting there.  I was amazed to find only two tins of food on my shelf that were out of date - I am sure we are all familiar with the horror of finding a grotty can of fruit cocktail in the cupboard that went out of date three years previously!

I am amazed at the social stereotypes that my boys use already, despite being brought up in a house of 'equality'.  Whilst Nick was lying in his sick bed I decided to sort out our eating arrangements.  Our dining room is now my study/office and we have been using the kitchen table as our main eating area...though it was a bit cramped and awkward to fit us all round the table.  I found a great bargain, small round table and four chairs that fitted perfectly.  I built it by my own fair hand...it did help that the instructions were in plain English, understandable and that all the pieces were there!  But my boys simply refuse to believe that I built it!  They still insist that grandad snuck round and built it whilst they were in bed....or that Nick somehow managed to drag himself out of his flu-zombie state and just threw it together!   Now my boys have often seen me with screwdriver in hand or putting up a picture so I cannot for the life of me understand where their disbelief comes from.  Must be something in the male gene!

 

Gaby x

email me at gabyp@huddleandbliss.com

 

 


Monday, July 06, 2009
Would you like to be a guest mummy blogger on huddle & bliss?
 
 

We are looking for some mums to 'guest blog' here on the huddle & bliss site.  We would love to hear from you if you are interested.  You will receive some lovely huddle and bliss goodies for your contribution.  Just email me at gabyp@huddleandbliss.com to let me know why you would like to do it. We will be selecting one mummy each month and eventually will have a regular contributor.  Get in touch!

 

Love Gaby x


Monday, June 22, 2009
I, like most tennis fans watched Queens last week and began to believe again!
 
 

Ok, I have to admit that I get swept up in Wimbledon every year. I can even remember my first, the first time I watched from beginning to end, and truly believed that my chosen tennis crush for that year would make it all the way.

 I watched with my hands clamped firmly over my eyes holding my breath as Pete Sampras scoured the final point that sent Andréa Agassi (My all time favourite player) out of the semi’s that year. I was studying for my GCSE’s. Yes, I was supposed to be studying, but I was then and am now hooked on Wimbledon.

And it’s getting worse, now I have to contend with the whole patriotic thing as will. This great nation has started to produce tennis players again. Tim Henman who I followed for many years. This always however resulted in Henman depression, after he was knocked out of a match that was physically painful to watch, particularly for those sat on Henman hill!

And now we have Mr Murray, our brightness chance so far, and already I’m pre-empting the stomach churning hours ahead of me, preached on the edge of the sofa hands waving around, screaming at the telly that the ball was in, covering my eyes at every match point, and even turning over for a few minutes every now and then when things are going very badly, in the hope that when I turn back the game will have changed.

But I still can’t help thinking, that this year might be the year we have all been waiting for, bring on the pain!

 

Lilyx

Hi everyone, just to let you know I will be posting throughout Wimbledon, as you have read I am a bit of a fan. I will also be posting any feed back from our customers so please get in touch and let me know which games you enjoyed and how the tournament is shaping up for you.

 

Email:  lilyp@huddle-and-bliss.com


Tuesday, June 02, 2009
Family Days Out
 
 

Like most parents Nick and I try to do some family things during the course of each school holiday.  With the long summer holidays now looming I thought I would try and be a bit organised and get some things, at least ideas, sorted!  This is never as easy as it seems.  The boys will disagree about where they want to go, you read the description of the place and decide best not to bother, or you actually make it to somewhere and the heavens open and it poors down all day.  I do think a lot of places are a bit of a, well 'let down'.  I know children can be easily pleased, but as a parent I do begrudge paying out for a 'fun family day out' which amounts to nothing more than someones half-baked effort to bring a few punters in and make a few pounds.  The 'winter wonderland' place that was all over Sky News in December springs to mind and sadly it is reflective of many places here.  Lets be honest, once you have done 'Disney' well there is a lot to live up to!  

Disappointments in recent years include, Madame Tussauds - I really only took George to see the Planetarium, but after queueing for hours and whizzing through the waxworks (none of whom George recognised) we found that the Planetarium as I know it is no longer there. The only moment of excitement for George was the aged taxi-car ride, which costs about £10 a minute by my estimation!  Santaland at Earls Court can be added to the 'let-down list' - the Christmas display at Milton Keynes Shopping Centre put that one to shame.  During Easter the queues for the National History Museum did dent our enthusiasm a little, particularly when you make it inside only to find that you then join yet another 45 minute queue for the dinosaurs!  Cadbury World was fun for a while but by the end of it, well the smell of chocolate and the monotonous sales pitch all became a little wearing.

During one of our trips to Wales went to a place called Folly Farm.  It was a snap decision on a rather rainy day.  The first of the week during November, so we considered ourselves lucky.  Folly Farm, is well, a typical holiday resort family day out place.  Nothing special, somewhat dated, a number of empty animal pens but those with animals, well very stinky, many rides closed due to poor weather, the aroma of chip fat in the air and the ability to get even a half decent cup of coffee or tea, well remote to say the least.  One thing about Folly Farm did intrigue us though.  George and Charlie were holding their noses looking at a sow and her piglets when they noticed what they called a 'map of a pig' on the wall.  Their map was in fact a butchers chart showing all the different cuts of pork that you can get and where they come from.  Now is it me....or well....is this a little troubling????  I quickly explained to the boys that it was a chart to show you the name of the parts of the pigs body and scooted them away.  Gladly George is not a big meat-eater so despite being a very good reader he did not pick up on the rather ominous words such as 'back bacon' or 'loin chop'.  Nick and I did laugh, but to be honest, with disbelief.  Of course children do need to learn about food, but is a supposed fun family day out looking at cute little baby piglets the best way to break the news to them?  These places amaze me.  

There are some nice places though.  A couple of years ago Lily and I took all the children to the Sea Life Centre in Brighton and they had a great day.  The National Space Centre in Leicester is okay.  We love Whipsnade and have been a couple of times, most recently for Charlie's birthday.  Our favourite zoo by far though is in Palmyre near La Rochelle in France.  It is divine.  Small and neat, happy animals with lots of little babies, picturesque and yes being France - well you can get a decent snack and a good cup of coffee, if not tea.

I still have some unused tickets for Legoland, and based on what everyone has said to me, well the queues will be the problem.  I have considered Diggerland, but it is a long way from Northamptonshire.  I only want a couple of suggestions of some good places to go for two little boys, that don't cost too much, are not too far away and will be worth the effort!  Combined with some good weather, the garden, local country park and friends, well the Summer holidays will be sorted!  But any ideas are more than welcome!!!

Love Gaby Px

Email:  gabyp@huddleandbliss.com

 

 


Friday, May 29, 2009
A good book……or 4?
 
 

I have just finished reading all four of Stephenie Meyer’s Vampire romances. Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse and Breaking Dawn…..I could not put them down!

In fact I read all 4 in 10 days. As you will all know I love a good read, and always end up completely submerged in the characters, to the point where my own mood will reflect what is happening in the book. If our hap-less heroine is having a bad time, and being treated like dirt by the books womaniser, I will take it out on my other half. Its got to the stage where I will literary take myself to bed with my book at 8 o’clock and read until 2am, if the story has me engrossed.

I must say I was a tad sceptical when my sister handed me Twilight, a vampire romance aimed at teenage girls?????? But she assured me I would be hooked and in five pages I was.

In fact Edward Cullen has now been added to my “Defiantly Would List” or should I say Robert Patterson….the young actor who plays him has.

How did I relate to a book about vampire teenage love, when I am myself a thirty something mummy? My other half does resemble a vampire at 6 o’clock in the morning when I open the curtains and the sun shine’s through…but the main reason was Stephenie Meyer’s writing, because within 10 pages I felt like I was 17 again.

And it appears that I’m not the only one, everyone I know is also hooked.

So my vampire obsession is now rampant, but I must admit it started a while ago, I think we have Brad Pitt in “Interview with a vampire” to thank for that. Unsurprisingly he is also on the “Defiantly Would List”.

 

Lily x
Email: 
lilyp@huddle-and-bliss.com


Wednesday, May 27, 2009
In the Dog House
 
 

I don't currently have a dog but most people I know do.  George and Charlie are extremely keen to get a puppy but as yet I have managed to refrain! I used to have a boxer dog called Daisy.  she was a sweetie but a handful when she was young.  When we were out walking the mere sight of another canine creature in the distance and she was off!  I screamed her name hopelessly but once she was off she was off. I frequently had to apologise profusely for her misconduct and my lack of control over her and suffer the glare of another owner with a perfectly behaved pooch.  

My friends recently got a chocolate labrador puppy.  Now I have heard that they are a bit mad, but they do look gorgeous and can understand anyone wanting one.  Particularly with the reputation that Labradors generally have of being fantastic family pets.

The dog in question, Gertie,  has been at the centre of many a story, some of which have left me lying in heaps of laughter on the floor.  She, like my boxer loves to shoot off into the distance at a moments notice. However Daisy the boxer did come straight back whereas Gertie likes to go completely AWOL.  Her owner has had to abandon their search for her on several occasions and wait for her to be picked up by the dog pound or the police.  

One of the best stories is when the entire family were out on a recent walk with a rather feisty Gertie.  True to form she ran off, but this time she was seen disappearing into a house rather than the distance.  It wasn't long before Gertie emerged carrying something in her mouth.  An enormous shoe, far larger than the average man's foot.  My friends stared in disbelief at the thought of the size of the owner.  Not only had Gertie trespassed into someones property but she had even picked the house of a giant!!!  My friends made a quick retreat back to the car looking constantly over their shoulder for someone the size of Harry Potter's Hagrid to appear.

But with the boys I am running out of pet alternatives.  Don't want a cat, couldn't possibly have any type of rodent, don't want to have to clean out a rabbit, and want a useful pet that will guard the family as well as being fun....looks like I don't have much option. Just need to make sure I avoid the Gertie's of this world.

Love Gaby Px

    


Tuesday, May 05, 2009
The Boys Get Packing
 
 

George and Charlie were off to stay with a relative this weekend.  It was not planned but rather a last minute necessity.  It was only for one night so there was not a lot to pack for them.  However the boys were very keen to pack for themselves.  I said that I would take care of the 'boring' things like PJ's but that they could do the rest.  Their luggage for the night included the following items:-

2 x Nintendo DS with a selection of games and a charger

1 x broken toy car

1 x tartan hat complete with attached ginger wig and bagpipe sound effects

1 x Comic Relief red nose

Teddy Edward & Geronimo the Racoon (George)

Bunny, Crocodile, dog and selection of other various soft toys (Charlie)

Selection of colouring pens

Sketch pad

Sand lighthouse from the Isle of Wight

Wooden Calendar

Some new door placques with their names

1 x fluorescent green back pack

1 x battered blue wooden suitcase

1 x pair of night vision goggles

and last but not least some huddle & bliss top to toe wash, 2 croissants, a plastic spoon and an elastic band !

My boys are prepared for any eventuality!

Gaby Px

 
Love Gaby Px

Email:  gabyp@huddleandbliss.com

 

 


Sunday, May 03, 2009
Don't Forget Madeleine
 
 

It was with great sadness that my boys and I replaced the yellow ribbon around the tree outside our house.  Two years on and this little girl is still missing.  As no doubt all of you agree, this little princess should be at home with her parents and her little brother and sister.  How they cope day to day with the gaping hole she leaves in their lives, well I really don't know.  The not-knowing must be a daily torture to them.  George and Charlie often comment on the ribbon as we drive in and ask if Madeleine has been found yet.  I truly cannot wait for the day when I can perhaps tell them that she is home safe and well with her family.  None of us must give up hope.  I am so pleased that the anniversary has brought her back to our minds and our screens.  Many families will no doubt shortly be heading off to the area where she disappeared and the campaign is right - someone, somewhere knows something.

Madeleine, you are always in our thoughts.

 
Love Gaby Px

Email:  gabyp@huddleandbliss.com

 

 


Wednesday, April 29, 2009
May Day will be a high day!….
 
 

We have an outing planned for May Day.  A big group of mummies, daddies and children (about 20 of us in all). It was all my idea, so if it goes horribly wrong or rains, I will be the one in the firing line.I’ve done my research (on my laptop) and looked into indoor and outdoor options.  I looked at indoor climbing frame and this was discounted because they scare me to death. I’m always the mummy clinging on to her child for dear life trying to explain that throwing ones self off a 10 foot slide is not a good idea, and bad for my heart. Or worse still I will volunteer to go down the slide with them, which always results in raised eyebrows from the other parents and whispers of “grow up”, I want to shout “I’m not doing this because I want to - I have vertigo - I’m doing it to hold on to my delicate little baby!”I then looked at swimming pools, but to be completely honest I’ve never really liked changing rooms and the thought of having to change several children back into their clothes while I stand dripping, wearing only the socks I managed to put back on first, doesn’t really do it for me. While all us women file into the communal baby changing room because it’s bigger, and the children throw a fit because they didn’t want to get out and now are cold, the men will sip coffee in the coffee shop having successfully negotiated a cubical of there own. No not for me!

I looked at the big theme parks, which of course is always a favourite with the older children, but I always feel sorry for the little ones who can’t go on anything and have to stand and watch everyone else fly past on a rollercoaster. Unless of course you have a father like mine who thought it was a wonderful idea to take my sister and myself on a huge pirate rocking boat aged four and six. How he managed to persuade the man at the kiosk I will never know (although it was one of those slightly suspect fairs at a beach, which always move on to god knows where!). Anyway the first few swings were fine, we quite liked it. We’d even managed to get my sisters doll ‘Emily’ on for the ride and my sister was quietly informing my dad that Emily was having a wonderful time and really liked it…..however the swings got bigger, the boat went higher and much much faster. And soon my sister and I were begging our dad to make the man stop the boat……PLEASE DADDY… while he panicked and clung for dear life to me, my sister and Emily. I remember my sister informing my Dad as we left the boat (in one piece amazingly) that Emily had in fact not enjoyed that and thought it was a very silly idea, all he did was nod, whilst looking a sort of whitish-green. Looking back maybe this is where my fear of heights comes from…..thanks Dad!

So I went for a castle and a picnic…..hence my worry over the weather, we are all bringing food, I’m on the cream teas, I decided it was suitable being May Day. The idea is the kids can run around while I (sorry we), all sit and eat the food. It should be a good day, and the kids can’t get into to much trouble at a castle, although they can be quite high! Arrrhhhhhhh, if you visit a castle this May Day with your family and notice a women matching my description hanging onto her child, at the top of a turret, please excuse her she has vertigo……Thanks again Dad!

Lily x
Email: 
lilyp@huddle-and-bliss.com


Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Any Excuse for Cake....
 
 

 I agree with Lily, we should certainly do more to celebrate our Saint’s Day...poor St George doesn’t get much of a mention really.  We are very patriotic at huddle & bliss as you know and we really are proud of the fact that nearly all our goods are manufactured in good old Blighty!  

Well the school is doing their bit.  They have a regular cake sale each month to raise funds for additional equipment etc and the theme this week is going to be St George’s Day.  I image a sprawling trestle table filled with fairy cakes with white icing and red crosses.  I did some last year, but my icing was a little runny and well, mine looked a little more like pink stars than red crosses – but oh well they say it is the effort that counts...they did taste delicious though , I of course had to test them thoroughly before unleashing them on the school children....six may have been taking it a little too far though.  I think some mum’s may have over done the cochineal though....do they still use that in red food colouring???  There was a large number of children wandering around the playground with bright red lips and teeth.  Most of them also had long red smears along the arm of their school shirts where they had wiped themselves!

I have decided this year to either opt for the icing that is a bit like play dough – is it royal icing?  So that  I can cut my crosses out.  Failing that I will have to devise some sort of template.  Oh I know a lot of effort you are crying...but it is awful when you can tell your children are a little disappointed with your efforts and they look longingly at Mrs Perfect Mummy’s cakes on the plate next to yours.  

Talking of cakes we will be shortly sorting out our selection of cakes for our Baby Showers....Lily was first to offer to be the chief tester, but I felt it absolutely necessary that we had a balanced opinion so I just have to take part too.  We really want those absolutely divine frosted ones, beautifully presented on a cake stand.  No doubt we shall have to test out quite a few before we find the right ones....

And well St George’s Day is as good as any for an excuse for a cake – after all, tea and cake is very very English! 

 
Love Gaby Px

Email:  gabyp@huddleandbliss.com

 

 


Tuesday, April 21, 2009
St George’s day……. let’s have a party!
 
 

My other half is of Irish decent and St Patrick’s Day in our house is a big deal. If he could I truly believe he would paint the house and our daughter green. We really enter into the sprit of things, as does all his family. And my poor daughter is subjected to endless stories from relatives about the Ireland of old, as well as countless “jiggy dances”, she loves it and can now tell anyone who wants to know, why we celebrate St Patricks day. We always end up having a wonderful day even before the Guinness starts to flow.
But when my little girl asked me this week what we would be doing to celebrate St George’s day, having seen something about it on the telly, the best I could come up with was “I’ll buy you a flag darling”. Which was met with an unsatisfied look and a huff, and then she asked “What do we do on St George’s day mummy” and after much deliberation on my part, I answered “Not a lot!”
Which is true, I’ve never really done anything to celebrate St George’s day before, and it got me thinking about why? The Irish, the Scottish and the Welsh all seem to have a fantastic time on there respective saint’s days, so why don’t we?
Let’s face it; it’s not as if we all couldn’t do with something to lift our sprits a bit. Wouldn’t it be nice to turn on the news and see people having a good time as opposed to, fighting, war, recession and people losing their jobs!
The doom and gloom headlines have unsettled us all over the last year, and maybe St Georges day is just the tonic we need. A bit of reflection, a chance to look at this beautiful country we live in, to marvel at its glorious history, and appreciate all things English!
Even Boris, thinks’ it’s a good idea, and London is up for the celebration. So why don’t we organise something ourselves……Buy a Flag, find out more about Saint George and tell your children, organise a street party! Lets all get in on it and lift the sprits of this great country we call England!
I’m off to buy a St Georges day dragon!

Lily x
Email: 
lilyp@huddle-and-bliss.com


Monday, April 06, 2009
In My Easter Bonnet With Chocolate Eggs Upon It…
 
 

I can't say no to chocolate and let me tell you Easter is a bad time of year for a chocoholic. I don't know if you've noticed but over the last few weeks chocolate has been appearing everywhere?  It is quite literally in my face...and I really do find it difficult to say no.  The worst thing is, I know in a week or so it will be in my house! Little chocolate treats of every egg-shape, colour and size will be arriving at my door for my little girl.  Would it be wicked of me to post a sign at the door that reads 'for the sake of Lily's bottom please do not bring chocolate in any form...be it egg or not… into this house' ? Or is it worse to do what I usually do and wait for my little girl to go to bed and raid the egg store - only stopping to make a cup of tea and turn on EastEnders?  I do try to go down the treat route myself.  "Mummy is taking you to the zoo for Easter", or "Too much chocolate is bad for your teeth darling so Mummy and Daddy got you these face paints, you can be an Easter bunny instead".  But no matter how much of a tight 'no chocolate' ship I keep, it always manages to creep in.  Normally bought by grandparents who give no thought to growing bottoms and appear to have never heard of the expression ' a moment on the lips, a lifetime on the hips'.  My other half Richard will say to me, "Oh Darling, just have a little bit, that won't do you any harm".  But you see that is my problem, I am unable to have just a little bit.  I will in fact eat a lot.  I will eat until the chocolate is gone and when you are talking about 15 eggs this does take some staying power believe me.  But I will make my way through the lot in a few days at the most. 

 

I will enjoy my Easter lunch.  I do love the family getting together and all the children up at the table munching their way through roast lamb and apple crumble.  However my nightmare will start when we all sit down to watch the afternoon film, which will no doubt be ‘Mary Poppins’.  Someone will quite innocently say "Shall we open one of our eggs?"  My heart will beat faster and I will have to start thinking of an excuse and a way out and hope the children will understand when I eventually tell them that a bunch of bunnies snuck into the kitchen and took the Easter eggs...and then feel utterly awful when they ask me if I have eaten them all again!

 

Lily x

 

Email:  lilyp@huddle-and-bliss.com


Tuesday, March 31, 2009
What a long way we have come...
 
 

My dishwasher currently requires an accessory in order to work….a toothpick!  I thought it was meant to be a ‘good’ brand…in fact I distinctly remember the Comet customer service person volunteering what a good choice I had made!  This is only around 2 years ago and an engineer has already been out twice to repair it.  On this third occasion I blatantly refuse to spend any more money having it repaired.  It goes through the whole cycle fine, it just needs to have a toothpick or cocktail stick shoved into the side of the ‘on’ button to get it to work in the first place!  So I have decided to stick with it until it simply works no more or falls to pieces.  I abandoned those breakdown cover policies they try to get you to buy a couple of years ago, after two washing machines that I had took more than six weeks each to get repaired (no, not at the same time!)…no washing machine, a baby and a toddler…think about it, it was a nightmare!  

And why is it that it’s never just one thing that breaks down….I think my laptop is nearing the end of its life…the kettle is looking distinctly aged (despite being about a year old) and the Sky Box in the kitchen keeps jamming…take your pick which will be the first to go completely!  

I remember my mum getting her first washing maching, a ‘twin tub’ that she used a big pair of wooden tongs to transfer the sodden clothes from one tub to the other…it was a few years before she had an ‘automatic’.  How did she cope with three children and no washing machine?  I distinctly remember sitting in the launderette with her waiting for the dryer to finish and making sure we had enough 5p’s.   

I also remember getting a telephone – it was bright red – am I giving my age away here?  

I remember going into a neighbours to watch Princess Anne get married in colour…at that time it was so cool!  My boys just laugh when I tell them that TV’s used to be black and white, I don’t think they remember anything other than a plasma hanging on the wall!  

Nick calls his first mobile ‘the brick’ he swears it was roughly the same size and weight!  I don’t quite remember those but I do remember them being a little heavy and having to slot them into a holder in the car to get them on handsfree.  

As for email – well I remember ‘Lotus Notes’ and thinking how great it was.  I remember my first visit to the ‘World Wide Web’ and being a little daunted at the prospect and not really knowing quite what it was….but now, well, I am tied to it…wouldn’t be without it…first port of call for anything and everything I need to know, do, book or organise.  

Nick’s granny lived to be a 100.  And what 100 years it was.  In her lifetime everything from the car to the space shuttle was invented – there was so much for her to comprehend and so much change for her to acknowledge.  Surely the 20th Century must have been the single century of most technology and engineering development?  From the first Ford to a Bugatti Veyron, from a little bi-plane to Concord, from towers to skyscrapers, the first telephone to an iphone, gramophone to an ipod…..what a way things have come.

And for me…dishwasher to toothpick! 

Love Gaby Px

 


Saturday, March 28, 2009
The Apprentice
 
 

What was all the excitement about?  Who were Empire?  They didn't sound like a baby business.  Strange Stand - birthing pool complete with water and a large rocking horse selling for a few grand.  Is it me or is this a strange combination to sell - even at a Baby Show?  We have done a number of these shows now and there are always a couple of stands with a somewhat tenuous link to baby or maternity products.  It wasn't the products themselves that caused our comment - but the combination of the two on the same stand!  Then we saw Margaret, Nick and the cameras and it all became clear - the latest series of Sir Alan's Apprentice was in town.

We all love the Apprentice in the office so the added excitement of them actually being at the Earls Court Baby Show lifted our mood and put a spring into our step towards the end of what had been a busy and tiring few days.  At one point Nick was obviously taking some time out and was very interested in the Volvo cars on the stand facing us.  Margaret marched by and we saw just how really scary she can look!  Various Apprentices flew up and down the aisles with camera crew in tow.  I am not sure how many times we mentioned 'Sir Alan' that afternoon but it did become a little bit of a joke.  So if you are a fan of The Apprentice you must look out for us in the background of the Baby Show episode - we will all be watching avidly and of course hoping for a passing glimpse of our stand!

We don't know how Empire did and we didn't even see Ignite so sorry but we can't spill the beans - and in any case we really wouldn't want to upset Sir Alan! We were simply too busy ourselves....but we did wonder if you got a good discount if you bought a birthing pool and a rocking horse?

Love Gaby Px

Email:  gabyp@huddleandbliss.com

   


Wednesday, March 25, 2009
huddle & bliss give the latest technology crazes a big hug!
 
 

Kelly has been an avid member of Facebook for sometime and has encouraged us all to join up!  So huddle & bliss, Sherry, Gaby and I are all now on board!  I have really enjoyed adding ‘huddle bliss’ as a friend. And I can’t wait to get to know the huddle and bliss gang better as part of “The huddle & bliss Mama Club”.
We have also decided it’s time to start twittering! Because quite frankly you appear to be a bit of a twit if your not involved in the whole twitter revolution. So you can now find me, Kelly, Gaby, Sherry, and huddle & bliss on twitter as well as Facebook! 
Please come and make friends with all of us at Facebook and Twitter.
huddle & bliss, Gaby and I in particular will be Facebooking and twittering as much as possible, with our usual observations on family life and our day to day goings on. We would love to hear your feedback. Perhaps you would like to suggest a topic we could discuss and tell us one of your stories?  There will be rewards and prizes for the best posts.
So to get the latest on new products; join in our discussion topics, be the first to receive information on exclusive discount codes and competitions come be our friend on Twitter and Facebook.  Many of these offers will be exclusive to our Friends on Facebook and Followers on Twitter!
Where you can find us:
Go to
www.facebook.com – simply do a search for huddle bliss and make a friend request
Go to
www.twitter.com  - simply search for huddleandbliss and click the follow button

Lily x

Email:  lilyp@huddle-and-bliss.com


Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Blessed Brian
 
 

I am not generally a channel flicker like Nick...in fact I feel distinctly uncomfortable having control of the remote when Nick is around - just as well we generally like the same programmes.  The other day I did have rare control of the remote and came across the shocking site of Brian Blessed in a cod piece! I had to go back to the channel to see if ithis image were actually true.  Surely, thespian Brian was not wearing such a get up...can things be that bad????  Oh dear, it was true and what an unsavoury sight it was.  Lets be honest despite having great presence and that deep resonant voice he is not exactly an adonis - and to be frank the part of his body that I least wish to have my attention drawn to is his crotch. 

His character is 'Banzuki Brian'....he does some sort of commentary on one of those Japanese game shows.  Now work is perhaps a little thin on the ground but why on earth he has to wear such a get up heaven knows. I really don't think it adds to his performance. That poor man.  Whilst Craig Charles' voice over on that similar programme 'Takeshi's Castle' (Charlie and George love it - I think it is Craig Charles....?) is reasonably fitting...his enthusiasm does somehow add to the ridiculousness of it all....I really have problem placing classical Brian in a similar role, particularly with a red plastic cod piece and other paraphenalia of his costume!  Whatever next....no Dame Helen, don't do it...ever!

Gaby Px

Email:  gabyp@huddleandbliss.com


 

 


Sunday, March 08, 2009
The day of rest?????
 
 

That is what they call Sunday's isn't it?  Well I am well known for being a bit of a workaholic and constantly being attached to my laptop...seven days a week.  It is just how I am, ideas come from all angles at all times and well I just have to act on them.  I thrive on achieving tasks, I am a doer...no doubt irritatingly so for some!  But a while ago I decided that Sunday was going to be my day off. 

Instead of becoming a day off...it has in reality become the day of domestic chores - oh well they say a change is as good as a rest!  So I have swapped my laptop for the washing machine, the iron and the vacuum.  Still manage to fit in the odd hour on the laptop which keeps my addiction ticking over, but I do try to keep Sunday as my day of organisation, the day that will hopefully make the rest of the week run just that little bit more smoothly.  To make the role of pressured working mum that little bit more, well laid back perhaps...who am I kidding!  Certainly none of you in the same position out there.  Today I have been shopping (didn't order an Ocado delivery in time and the cupboards were bare), ironed all the school uniforms, done the daily tasks of making beds and vacuuming etc, polished the boys school shoes, cleaned the bathrooms, and sorted out about six loads of washing to do today and tomorrow....at present, yes I am on my laptop again, whilst cooking dinner for eight, loading the washing machine, and updating my overflowing diary....day of rest indeed.  Another multi-tasking moment.  But I know I will sit down at the end of the day...around 11pm going by usual standards and look back on what I have achieved...then I relax..for about an hour before I go to bed.  Happy that it has been a productive day...even the day of rest.

Perhaps I need it to snow more often so I can relax and 'seize the day' again!

Still that is how I like it I suppose.  Can't relax if there are things to do...although I do have an avid interest in doing lego with my boys at the moment...very therapeutic...I loved doing it when I was a child...difference is now I have a glass of red wine by me and George to scramble through the box finding the right pieces.  I think my boys have a new respect for me now they are aware of my lego-building skills.  I dare to guess that they even think I am cool!

Love Gaby Px

Email:  gabyp@huddleandbliss.com


Monday, February 23, 2009
I love Pancake Day……no really….I do!
 
 

And I have loved it for some time, I had a very good friend who I lived with just after university and every year without fail little stickers would start appearing in our kitchen, on the cupboards, on the work surfaces, on the door, all of them said the same thing “Don’t forget Pancake Day!”…and the date it was on that year. He had them printed every year, and said it was because he just couldn’t cope with me asking at least 30 times a day for the first two weeks of February “When’s pancake day?”

As you can probably tell by my love of pancakes I don’t exactly find it easy to stay a healthy size 12, and every few years usually after an embarrassing moment (the last of which was an old female relative asking me when my baby was due), I get very determined and I will stick to an intense diet and excises regime until I’m back in my size 12 jeans. The only exception to this is Pancake day, and I really do mean the only one, (if Christmas was to fall in the middle of my diet I would be sitting with rabbit food in front of me watching everyone else stumble around a little bit tipsy while I drank my water) Pancake day is different, I have never missed pancake day.

This is the woman who went to New York for the first time a few years ago. Was I dreaming of shopping…..NO, Did dreams of ice staking in central park fill my head….No…….It was the pancakes…….New York is famous for them.

Yes it is all about the pancakes, I can’t get enough of them. My filling of choice is banana and golden syrup, I must say it has taken years to perfect this combination, I look back on the sugar a lemon years, and the maple syrup and ice cream years, all of which helped me to arrive at my ultimate combination.

Every year Richard and I have a pancake party, I buy every pancake filling and topping you can think of, we get everything laid out in boils and then everyone helps themselves….oh and Richard makes the pancakes, I can’t, I have tried but unfortunately they always taste awful or end up a doughy ball in the middle of the frying pan.

So whatever you’re filling of choice is…say it Loud and proud…..I love Pancake Day, how many am I aloud?

Lily x

Email:  lilyp@huddle-and-bliss.com


Sunday, February 15, 2009
Superstition..Thursday 12th?
 
 

I have never paid much attention to the superstitions surrounding Friday 13th.  I suppose I am quite selective about which superstitions I observe.  I always salute a single magpie but I am not particularly fussed about walking under ladders.  But I do think the collection of events that that took place yesterday will make me slightly more cautious the next time there is a Thursday 12th of a month.  We are away on another break in Wales.  The boys were very eager to fly their new kites at the beach.  Despite having reverse parking sensors, Nick managed to reverse the car into a fence creating a rather large golf-ball sized dent at the corner of the back wing.  Although this did pop out of its own accord during our journey.  Whilst we were at the beach a boat came into shore and much to Charlie's delight was towed from the water by a tractor.  George and I wanted to get a closer look so followed Nick and Charlie.  We had to get across a mini sea-filled ravine - okay yes that is a bit of an exaggeration but in any case it was a narrow stretch of fast moving sea water with rocks and sinking sand!  I tried to help George across, as any mother would, but frankly he is filling out, getting heavy and is the tallest in his class.  Well I lost my footing and we both ended up in the sea.  We did laugh - well I did once I realised we hadn't broken any bones and my Nikon was okay!  And after all we did have a change of clothing - or rather George did.  My sodden jeans were becoming rather chilly in the February coastal wind!  My feet were dry in my wellies but from my knees to my waist I was saturated.  I maintained my dignity in the car with a blanket over my lap!  Nick kindly emptied the water from my jeans along with the front door key of our holiday house!  We obviously didn't realise this at the time.

The afternoon passed without event, save for the brown cord hipster flares that Nick got me in extra long to replace my wet jeans!  They didn't last long, a quick dash into another shop and a pair of dark denim skinnies rectified the worst sartorial disaster of the century!

The issue of the front door key only arose when we arrived back at the house!  I put my hands into my jean pockets and the horrifying thought struck...just in case I double checked my bag, the car...but no I was certain they had been in my jeans before I got soaked.  Nick was not happy...after some futile attempts for any of us to reach an open skylight window without breaking our neck, he jumped in the car and sped off back to the car park where he had emptied my wet clothes.  I managed to get in touch with the owner and a gentleman very kindly brought a spare set down to us.

Amazingly Nick found the other keys exactly where he tipped my jeans out...along with a rather sodden £20 note...can you believe it! 

The next morning a bag of wellies and boots accidentally got thrown onto the recycling tip along with all the rubbish from our stay.  I have a bruise the shape of Asia on my left thigh. But we got home in one piece and had a great time in Welsh Wales as my boys like to call it.  I might just be a little more careful on Thursday 12th in future!
 

Love Gaby Px
Email:  gabyp@huddleandbliss.com


Thursday, February 05, 2009
Seize the day!
 
 

I know that snow causes huge problems but on occasion for some it does create an opportunity - and in this case it did for Nick and I.  The chance to spend an unplanned day playing with our children, playing games that evoke memories from our own childhoods.  School was closed, the hot dinner van couldn't make it into the village.  I think this is the most snow that certainly Charlie has seen, if not George too.  The last time we had snow in the village we were on a beach in Egypt...which was of course prefereable at the time!  To see the excitement on the boys faces as they donned hats, gloves and the salopettes I have bought for our forthcoming trip to Wales, well it was infectious.  We started with snowball fights - that Charlie is such a good shot for a four year old.  Mind you he always had been, when he was 18 months old he lobbed a toy car at my father and it landed slap on the bridge of his nose causing a rather nasty cut.  It was then time to create snow angels - which of course Nick and I had to join in.  Even the dog had a go not wanting to miss out on the fun.  Our dog is a rather beautiful but old white fluffy german shepherd.  It was very endearing to see such enthusiasm from the old girl!  It was then time to build the obligatory snowman.  George insisted he be the largest snowman in the world, but after a bit of convincing he was fine with the largest snowman in the village.  So that is what we did - we built a very large and imposing snowman and he really must be the largest in the village.  He is on the grass verge at the front of the house to welcome our visitors and has in fact become a bit of a local celebrity.  He is a rather stylish snowman with a trilby and a checked scarf.  I did want to give him a pipe to complete the ensemble but I supppose that is not 'PC' these days! Passing children have been posing for photos with our snow giant towering above them.  The first thing the boys do every morning is look out the window to make sure he has not melted over night - no chance of that at the moment!  For some reason we have called him Harold.

To get a day where you are simply unable to do many of the things you would normally do can be a great break from the pressures of everyday life and should be seized with both hands.  'Quality time' and 'work life balance' are often banded about in the press and in conversation but in reality are difficult to achieve for many, particular in today's economic climate.  Such an unplanned day playing with your children, looking at the world from their perspective, is the best quality time you can have as a family and is a fantastic way to relax. Does it matter if that report for work is a day late?  Can that pile of washing wait another day?  Of course it can. It is all too easy to get caught up in the momentum of life, but time with our families is what really matters at the end of it all.  So I am sorry for all those people who the snow caused problems for, but I am thankful for a special and frivolous day with my three special boys!

Love Gabyx

Email:  gabyp@huddleandbliss.com



Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Father Christmas is watching!
 
 

The boys are now really convinced that Father Christmas is watching... well at least Charlie is.  Actually it is all down to Richard, Lily's other half, so I can't really claim victory on this one.  He told Emma that the flashing red light in the corner of the room is a sign that Father Christmas is looking in.  Emma, being only two, instantly believed him.  I wasn't sure if I could get away with this one or not, but thought I would give it a go.  I never realised that alarm PIR sensors could be so useful, other than for your alarm of course!  Richard is definitely inventive!

The first time I mentioned it to George he simply said, 'No mama, that light always flashes when you move'.  I managed to blurt out some explanation along the lines of Father Christmas and his elves having some sort of alarm system in Lapland that lets them know you are not sitting quietly - I think he has accepted it for now.  To be honest I am completely gobsmacked that he didn't simply say ' Don't be silly Mama, it is the alarm sensor'.  Not much gets past George!  Charlie was somewhat easier to convince and being a little monkey on occasion means that the red light has to flash quite a bit - this means a team effort by Nick and myself - one of us to distract Charlie and the other to wave frantically in the background to get the PIR to react! 

The best film to reinforce this belief is definitely Polar Express.  If you haven't seen it, then do and you will know exactly what I mean.

The boys have seen Santa three times already this year.  Once in Wales where Father Christmas appropriately spoke with a broad Welsh accent - George noticed this and said that as Father Christmas spoke differently he must definitely live in Lapland.  The second occasion was at the school Christmas Bazaar at the weekend.  Charlie was so sweet, when asked what he wanted for Christmas he simply said that he was happy to leave it up to Father Christmas to decide - bright boy, he got an extra gift for that one!  The third occasion was last night when the Rotary Club did their annual Santa Ride around the village and collected for charity.  The boys have gym club on a Monday and on the way back we went on a 'Find Santa' trip around the village, we knew he would be there somewhere....but alas, at first he could not be found.  I listened to their avid conversation about him possibly being delayed, perhaps he had missed the landing strip on the village green, or whether or not there were enough Christmas lights up for him to spot the village at all.  All the boys doubts were put at ease when they saw a house bedecked in lights - this they all agreed was Santa's marker and he would no doubt be aiming for it!  I stopped at my friend Anna's house to see if he had already been by but he had not.  The starting point of Santa's visit is the local pub and Anna mentioned that perhaps he was still in there - we quickly realised that all three boys were listening, Ben, Anna's son,  found it highly amusing that Santa would be in the pub, and we had to quickly explain that the reindeers probably needed a drink after their long flight!  We did eventually track him down.   Charlie was a little scared at first but George was full of excitement.  The loud Christmas music and the flashing lights did the trick at first, but the sight of the estate car towing Santa along did dampen their enthusiasm a little.  I explained that the reindeers were probably still tired but George stepped in helpfully and explained that there were only two reindeer which meant that four were missing and it was too much for them!  He then added that they were not real anyway and that wooden cut out reindeer could not fly.  I am not sure what Charlie made of this, he remained quiet, hiding behind my coat and was no doubt still scared by this stranger in a red coat sitting behind two wooden reindeer being towed by a Skoda estate. 

Father Christmas is due to make another visit to a tea party we are having for the children on Christmas Eve.  All the huddle & bliss children and babies will be there. Nick has dutifully volunteered to do the FC honours once again.  He is just adamant that the children must not suspect.  That means the false nose, the gloves, theatre make up and padding must come out once again.  Just as well he is good at impressions and accents - I wonder what regional accent Santa will have this year?

Love
Gaby Px
Email:  gabyp@huddleandbliss.com


Tuesday, December 09, 2008
All change for Christmas...
 
 

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas……”I know this is true because I’m beginning to resemble a five year old!”

I had been reliably informed several years ago by some close friends with growing broods that Christmas takes on a whole new meaning when you have Children at the age of believing. I remember a time when my main concern was what to wear to the office Christmas party, and whether to stay in the UK for the traditional family Christmas or jet off somewhere extremely hot or cold and celebrate on the beach or spend the day trying not to break my leg whilst skiing…….
Don’t get me wrong I have always loved this time of year but more in a obsessing about coordinating tree decorations and wrapping kind of way.
But this year things are different, and I have found myself informing all those friends that they were so right, this year I have a two year old who truly believes that something magical is coming….and it’s contagious because now so do I.

I began to notice a change in my behaviour a few weeks ago……..

I have been subjecting my little one to every Christmas film ever made, and even though I’ve seen all of them many many times. It feels like the first time, when my little girl gasps at Father Christmas on the screen, I’ve sat, silly little smile on my face at “Miracle on 34th Street” at least 50 times this week alone.

At a visit to a store Santa I found my excitement growing as we wondered through the grotto on our way to meet the main man, my little girl was a little unsure at first and shyly recited to Father Christmas that she had been a good girl and really wanted a fairy castle. I had to hold myself back from jumping on Santa’s knee and merrily informing him that I had run out of my favourite perfume and really wanted the Desperate Housewives box set, as I too had been a very good girl!

I’m incredibly lucky and live in a town where Christmas takes over every year, and there are loads of wonderful things for children to do in the run up to Christmas. Last weekend was Santa’s annual visit to the park (by helicopter) to meet the children. We arrived early to grab a hot chocolate and get a good spot.  Well shortly after our arrival I found myself eyeing up the front row in a bid to find a spot where me little girl and her cousins would have the best view….and after I’d found it…that’s where I stood like glue….desperate for them all to have a fantastic view of Father Christmas as he arrived. The children, blissfully unaware of my goal were off playing on the rides and getting balloons. After an hour of this my husband Richard came to find me as he noticed I’d been missing for sometime,
“Why don’t you come over with us and watch the children on the rides?” he asked.
“I’m fine” I say “and I want the children to be able to see when he arrives”
“Ok, but you’ve been standing here for nearly an hour and there is still half an hour to go”.
“I’m fine” I say and of he walks away looking a little concerned at my determination. It was at this point that I looked around to see the entire front row was full of other mothers and nanny’s all with the same determined grin as mine and all sure that there children would see Santa.

And I’m having a fantastic time, I always said I would never be one of those mother hunting around and cueing outside the shops for that year's Christmas present must-have, my little girl is two and I’m doing it already.

I can’t wait to put my decorations up (uncharacteristically early this year), I’m going to let her take charge and do what she likes, I don’t even care if its all on one side and it doesn’t match. She can hang paper chains from every wall, and I will help…..

I can’t wait…………………………………

Merry Christmas

Lily x

Email:  lilyp@huddle-and-bliss.com


Monday, November 03, 2008
Wow...Wales!
 
 

Sherry, Kelly, Lily and I are all on a bit of a break together at the moment.  Don't worry there is someone back at huddle & bliss- Louise, Marie and Sarah and the workshop girls are holding the fort.  We have escaped to the beautiful wilds of Wales with our children and few other family members.  We are in one large house, yes it is complete chaos with all of us here, but it is a beautiful old coach house with open fires and enough bedrooms for everyone.  Best of all is the grounds.  11 acres of rolling hills, babbling brooks, rolling rivers with trout and salmon and woods to wander....yes I know it sounds idyllic and it is!  I haven't really done this sort of holiday for more than a weekend before, I am normally more of a beach girl, but I have found a real escape.  Even Sherry and Kelly are relaxing after the initial shock of discovering the mobile broadband does not work here!  They didn't even mention work for the first couple of days which is unheard of!  Don't get me wrong, they are not slave drivers, but just incredibly passionate about what they do, living and breathing it every minute. Mind you our wellies tell a different story....guess who's are who....two of us went down the fun and funky route whilst two of us opted for the classic green hunter look! Which ones belong to who?  I wonder what you choice of welly says about your personality! 

One thing we are all hoping for is SNOW.  Yes we know it is childish but the four of us simply love it.  The last few days have been crisp and beautifully sunny, which realistically is the best weather we could hope for....but some snow would add a bit more adventure and everything would look even more beautiful than it already does.  We want to build snowmen with the children and have snowball fights.  George and Charlie haven't really had much experience of snow.  When I moved up to Northants around ten years ago, I was under the romantic illusion that as I was moving 'north' then the winters would be colder and there would be much more snow.  In reality the weather in Kent was much more extreme!  My village was at the foot of the North Downs with one windy steep lane down to the centre and not a winter went by where we didn't have some bad snow at some point.  Within weeks of moving there we were snowed in for five days.  Even with a four wheel drive I could not get anywhere!  The mood amongst locals was fantastic, everyone sharing their food, the local pub handing out milk, probably the nearest thing our generation could experience to war morale!  During the worst spell of snow in Northants I was on a beach in Egypt, but here I am in Wales in November and very hopeful, particularly as it snowed at home before we even left!

This morning we have awoken to heavy cloudy skies and a much lower temperature.....so fingers crossed it snows and doesn't rain.  As I have said before it is difficult to maintain any resemblence of being a yummy mummy in wet windy weather, but here in your wellies and extra thick layers it would be nigh on impossible. 

We have only been here a few days but the h&b four have had a truly wonderful time exploring with our children.  We plan a mini adventure for them each day, today we are going to pan for Welsh gold in the brook.  We have fed the farm animals, played pooh sticks, fished and tried to get our kites in the air.  There are some really lovely touches here - pooh woods features some lifesize statues on Pooh and Piglet.  Rabbit's House is down in an old tree trunk by the stream.  Pooh's little house has a table and chairs and a fireplace for the children to sit around.  Next to Pooh's house there is an owl box in a tree.  I have to admit that my mum and I were out walking with the boys and we thought it did contain a real owl....I wonder how many people have opened the door slightly as we did and quickly shut it again having seen something inside.....it wasn't until a walk the next morning that we realised that it was a soft toy owl and not the real thing!

Wish us luck panning for gold today!

Gaby Px

Email@  gabyp@huddleandbliss.com


Thursday, October 30, 2008
A Most Haunted Confession....
 
 

Lily....I have a confession to make....I have just read your last post and have to admit that I am sitting watching Most Haunted Live NOW!   I never knew we shared this affliction.  But I should add that Nick is sitting here watching it too!  To be fair we do make sarcastic comments throughout and generally slate everything....but I think we do both secretly hope that there is some indisputable paranormal activity!  What makes us laugh most is the people texting in who are having 'Most Haunted Parties'......tonight there was unbelievably a comment about someone having a 'Most Haunted Wedding Reception'.   No surely not!  I have to also admit that I have insisted that we set up Sky + to record 'Living with Yvette & Karl' whilst we are away this weekend.....surely one not to be missed!

p.s. Paul Ross has just said that Brian has succumbed to voodoo interaction....oh my god!  Then again perhaps this will preempt some sort of thought or idea of his own......I have yet to really see his pyschic capabilities!

Gabyx

Email:  gabyp@huddleandbliss.com


Wednesday, October 29, 2008
The Biggest Male/female divide in my house? ......Television!!!
 
 

Richard very rarely feels the need to give me the “I’m the man of the house” speech. To be honest we’ve always just been equal.   I’ve always worked and had my own money, that’s how I like things. I like to take care of myself, or at least I do until there’s a light bulb that needs changing, or anything new and electrical comes into the house.  Unfortunately in these circumstances I instantly become a bit pathetic and helpless.

However, last night we had a very heated argument over the remote control, and more specifically over me wanting to watch Most Haunted Live, which I love….and he can’t stand. I was told in no uncertain terms that control of the evenings TV schedule and more importantly the remote control was his, as I am constantly subjecting him rubbish!

I couldn’t help but recite to him the long list of endless and repetitive junk he subjects me to most nights. The format is simple: for him to enjoy and want to watch a programme there must be…..Police, CCTV Cameras, Sport (of basically any kind), Car Chases, Politics, and those old history programmes that have now been restored from black and white to colour.

I, on the other hand have a very different view on what makes a good TV programme. Game shows for example, I loved the Generation Game when I was a child, and would quite often sit and watch it with a huge grin on my face.  This was also the case with 321 and Dusty Bin! Nowadays my ideal nights viewing would start with an episode of “Friends” followed by “Desperate housewives” and rounded of with “Sex in the city”.

I love make over shows, in particular house make overs….and I will quite often go to bed with my laptop and watch “Escape to the county” or “A place in the sun”….
Oh and the soaps I love my soaps….

So for me watching the telly is about escapism, I’m living in New York, in a newly decorated apartment, I’m out every night with a group of diverse and awe-inspiring friends and all my neighbours are caught up in remarkable capers….

And for Richard it’s about realism. Crime is taking over the streets, recreational sport has replaced the work place and we all discuss politics, current affairs and history all day long.

I can’t see any way of us coming to a compromise on this and issuing a cease fire.  Oh well with the ever-changing expanse of telly, maybe someone will come up with a programme that we can both enjoy…..policemen on ice?

Lily

lilyp@huddle-and-bliss.com


Tuesday, October 28, 2008
It’s Halloween…..and I want to do the monster mash…!!!
 
 

I have to say it’s growing on me this one…..all of a sudden it’s cold and dark outside and I have convinced myself that I can sculpt one of those fancy pumpkins, you know the ones with spooky houses or flying witches. I’ve even bought cooking magazines with Halloween recipes for cobweb cakes, ghoulish gingerbread men and witches brew…….all of which look brilliant but completely inedible. 

My excitement at Halloween is a new thing.  When I was a child it was Guy Fawkes we all looked forward to, although I do remember bobbing for apples in a brownie hut. I have over the years been to the odd Halloween party, and I must say my friends and I made fantastic vampire brides a few years ago. I’ve even been to see the Exorcist at the cinema at midnight with my then boyfriend for a special Halloween showing, I watched the entire thing through my hands, which were clamped to my face and then spent the rest of the night putting up with his awful impressions of “the voice”…………………….. Joy!

I’m enjoying a different angle to this holiday now though, and like so many other things in life it’s all changed since the arrival of my little girl. And I don’t see Halloween as an adult or parent thing any more it’s all about the children…

Last year she was a little witch and this year she has decided she wants to be a fairy princess, (I know not very scary, but at two and being very girly every discussion about dressing up will inevitably ends in a fairy costume…)

As she is still quite young the scary factor is not an option at the moment, in fact we turned the telly on the other day to be greeted by a spooky pumpkin on cbeebies, let’s just say it didn’t go down well and led to a long discussion about pumpkins being vegetables and nothing to be scared of. We will be standing at the door on Friday night handing out sweets to all the trick or treaters, she will be dressed as a fairy and I will have on my witches hat….I can’t wait!

So Happy Halloween to you all, whether you’re decorating the house with skeletons and werewolves in preparation of a childrens party, covering your front door with cob webs for the trick or treaters, or picking up a sexy little devils outfit for a friends party…..have a great time!

Lily

lilyp@huddle-and-bliss.com


Sunday, October 26, 2008
Childhood Innocence
 
 

I have been helping out at the boys school one morning a week.  At first I had no idea how I would fit it all in, but wanted to do my bit.  The boys were also very excited at the prospect of mummy working at school and the added bonus of me then being able to go along on school trips.  Although I will not be volunteering for the trip to the butterfly farm - I have nothing against them, they are beautiful but I do have a violent aversion to moths!  I think rather than help out on such a trip I would be a liability!  The thought of a moth landing on me, particularly the large hairy ones, makes me feel physically sick!

When I was at school this week the final task of the morning for the children was to complete the title and front cover picture of a little booklet they had worked on throughout the week about the local church.  One little girl did a marvellous illustration of the church complete with gravestones...which she then finished off by adding the names of her classmates!  The innocence of children is so wonderful...

It made me remember a similar incident when I was a young girl myself.  The entire school had been called out to stand at the roadside and wave union jacks for Princess Margaret.  She was opening a new factory and I suppose they needed to drum up a bit of support.  Well we all stood their dutifully with our little flags, waving them furiously as the royal cavalcade passed.  In our own childhood innocence we continued to wave our flags enthusiastically as a further fleet of black cars passed by.....we remained oblivious to the coffin, the flowers and weeping family!  But what send off that person got!

Email:  gabyp@huddleandbliss.com


Thursday, October 23, 2008
When are you too old for skinny jeans and prom skirts?
 
 

I must hold my hands up, I am a little bit addicted to fashion, I say a little bit because I am happy to peruse the latest fashion mags and buy a selected few items to add to my wardrobe every now and then, but I don’t go mad! Although, I would love too. I do however have to admit that like most women out there I have been caught up in the occasional trend that…well lets just say didn’t actually suit my body shape…….

In the 80’s my obsession began I was covered in Lace and power dressing.

In the early 90’s I went through a bit of a grunge stage, but when I say grunge I mean well put together grunge, I did have a pair of doc martins and I loved them.

By the mid 90’s I had an entire chest of drawers dedicated to Lycra, be it leggings or body suits I had the lot in every colour. And I lived in my Calvin Klein jeans.

You name a trend………………………..

Boot cut Trousers
Cow boy Boots
Biker Jackets
Leopard Print
Neons
Flares
Military
Floral Skirts
And Maxi Dresses

And I’ve been there…..and done them all…..

But at a recent shopping trip with my sister I began to worry. I have been wearing boot cut jeans for as long as I can remember….for about the last 15 years in fact. But forced by my unstoppable urge to be “fashionable” and by my sister….I stood in front of the mirror in the changing rooms looking at my mummy body squeezed into a pair of skinny jeans…I don’t know if it was the bad lighting…(always the case in a changing room), the extra roll I now lovingly refer to as my c-section belly, or the fact that I couldn’t breathe, but suddenly I had a moment…an epiphany……had I become one of those mothers???? The ones who refuse to accept that at their age they really should start dressing with some dignity and without exposing themselves. A flash went through my mind of my daughter trying to explain to her friends that her Mum was standing at the school gates dressed in a tartan pom pom skirt and thigh high boots because she had seen it in her latest copy of Vogue.

And then it hit me, hadn’t I stood here before? Yes I may have been 15 years younger and about 15lbs lighter but I recognised this girl……and these jeans!, Maybe second time around is a no go area! That’s it!!!!! From now on I’m going to stick to comfort and style, I’m going to be fashionable yet practical……………………..I’m going to put these jeans back and I’m going to buy what I know suits me…….

I have worn my skinny jeans a lot over the last week, they are growing on me….quite literally they stretch as you wear them and they look much better. I know what you’re thinking but I couldn’t help myself! My name is Lily and I am a Fashion victim!

And I need help, how long will this go on for? I’m already worrying about how my poor grandchildren are going to explain the sixty year old women at the school gates in the silver jumpsuit and platform boots!


Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Great to Meet You!
 
 

I just wanted to say how great it was to meet the ticket winners at The Earls Court Baby Show at the weekend.  I am sorry if I was not on the stand when you came along, but it was great to meet as many of you as I did. Being an online business it is such a great opportunity to meet our clients face to face at the Baby Shows, we really appreciate the time and effort you take in in visiting our stand.

I will be doing the same for the tickets for the Manchester Show shortly so keep a look out for my email and enter as soon as you can!

Gaby Px

Email:  gabyp@huddleandbliss.com

 


Sunday, October 19, 2008
Not As Organic As You Might Think!
 
 

During the development of our new natural mother and baby skin care products I have been looking at a lot of skin care labelling.  I was absolutely dismayed to realise that some of the products I have been buying for a number of years are not quite as organic as I thought.  In fact they only have one or two organic ingredients and with some selective wording on the main product title they can get away with making it appear to be completely organic - or rather they rely on the consumers assumption upon seeing the word 'organic'.  In most cases it is the essential oils that are the only organic ingredient.  Essential oils make up a minute part of the ingredients of these products so it really is very misleading.  I was determined that we would not do this with our huddle and bliss products.  We have kept our labelling simple and clear, in fact we have kept packaging to an absolute minimum and invested in the product itself rather than fancy and unnecessary packaging.  We have stuck to 100% natural/botanical ingredients rather than simply putting in one organic essential oil and intimating that the product is organic when in fact it really is not.  Our materials are ethically sourced and are derived solely from plants.  I think consumers would much rather an honest natural product than a suggested organic one!  Well I certainly would.  I don't mean to go on or sound off but I am really appalled by all this.  I don't want to seem self-righteous but we really are pleased with the products we have produced, we are proud to be honest and open about their ingredients without wrongly suggesting they are something they are not!  So take note out there and check out the small print on those labels - all that appears organic may not be quite as organic as you think! 

Gaby Px

Email:  gabyp@huddleandbliss.com


Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Lily was here......
 
 

I love that piece of music...but Lily....where are you??????

Gaby Px

email:  gabyp@huddleandbliss.com

 


Friday, September 26, 2008
Congratulations!
 
 

I just wanted to congratulate Natasha and her husband Justin on the birth of their beautiful baby boy yesterday!  As you know we were all ecstatic when Natasha became a fan of huddle & bliss and opted to used our birthing tee shirt and 48 Hour Bag. The photo she released is absolutely gorgeous and she looks so happy with her new role! 

Best Wishes

Gaby Px

Email:  gabyp@huddleandbliss.com


Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Invisible Crusts Indeed!
 
 

Charlie is not impressed by the claim by a certain breakmaker...'invisible crusts'.  No he has spotted that indeed there are crusts and made the bold comment that the crusts are simply hiding in the normal bit of the bread.  I have to agree with him to a certain extent...there is a sort of crust that is just the same colour as the rest of the rather limp slice.  I have convinced him now that a doorstep of proper bread is far more tasty, even if it does have seeds and 'bits; in it.  He is slowly coming round to the idea.  I wonder why children do not like crusts?  I wonder even more why they would want to eat them just because you say it will make their hair curly  - where on earth did that one come from?  Anyone have any idea?  I would love to know.

Charlie is still doing half days at 'big' school at the moment.  But the full day will be here soon and I have already started searching my mind as to what to give him for lunch.  He would in fact get on okay with the hot dinners at school, but as big brother George prefers a packed lunch he will no doubt want to follow suit.  But what do you give the child who does not like sandwiches?  He loves humous with breadsticks and crackers with cream cheese, but without the sandwich option things are a little more limited.  I looked longingly at an Annabel Karmel packed lunch book but there was hardly anything in there that both boys would eat and that wouldn't take an entire evening to prepare! 

On the whole Charlie does eat a much wider variety of things than George.  Surprising really as George was the one that I laboured in the kitchen for preparing wholesome homecooked meals pureed to a pulp.  He used to love pureed spinach or any vegetable for that matter....then he reached 18 months and decided he didn't like it anymore.  He loves apples and anything with cooked tomato, bananas and sweetcorn, but try to give him something green....oh no, no way is that entering his mouth. He will physically gag at the thought alone.  Charlie will devour any fruit on the planet and loves salad, but put a green vegetable on his plate and he shows the same aversion as George. 

I done the whole hide the vegetables thing - my bolognese is full of carrots and celery, but I have to admit to finding it somewhat harder to disguise green vegetables.  Lets be honest, if Charlie can spot an invisible crust then he will see a pea lurking a mile off!

Love Gaby Px

email:  gabyp@huddleandbliss.com


Saturday, September 20, 2008
Early Thirties?
 
 

Early thirties????   You are older than me and I am 36????  hahahahhahahahahhaaaaa  Mind you I have convinced George and Charlie that I am 29!  Okay you may look younger, but we both know the truth!

Gaby Px

email: gabyp@huddleandbliss.com


Friday, September 19, 2008
Nice to Meet You!
 
 

Hello everyone,

I’m so excited to now be part of the huddle & bliss team, Gaby’s been raving about all the delicious baby things for months, and as a busy mum myself, ( I know…I’ve never met a mum yet who isn’t busy!), with little time on my hands, I can never resist my favourite pastimes……Shopping and surfing. It makes life so much easier when you don’t have to leave the house and can sit with a well earned cup of coffee and look at beautiful things.

So I jumped at the chance to help out with the blog…which also pampers to my other favourite pastime…..chatting!

So let me fill you in on a little about me. I’m in my early thirties… (Which sounds so much better than the actual number). I live with my partner Richard in Surrey, and I have a little girl, Emma who was two last month. I work from home, so I have Emma with me all the time, and spend most of my day trying to write whist fixing Peppa pigs house for my impatient little girl.

You know I love shopping already, I also love the cinema, the theatre…when I have time to go, and a good book….I adore reading, in fact I will read anything I can get my hands on, be it fiction, fantasy, a glossy magazine or an instruction manual, if there are words…… it’s for me. I can submerge myself in pretty much anything, given half a chance.

I can’t function without my friends, I love my Family, I bite my nails…and I would wear my ugg boots every day if I could even in the height of summer, as for some reason I always have cold feet.

So that’s me in a nutshell, I’m sure I will share more with you as we get to know each other properly. I will be here, chatting away about what ever is on my mind…..whist trying to fix peppa pigs house……….

Lily x


Saturday, September 13, 2008
We love Natasha Kaplinsky!
 
 

Bit of a buzz in the office at the moment....the stunning and beautiful Natasha Kaplinsky is a fan of huddle & bliss!  If we had hand-picked a famous face to showcase our products we could have not done better, she would have been top of our A-list.  Natasha exudes class and sophistication and always looks stunning, very definitely a yummy mummy. All the girls at huddle & bliss are ecstatic and it is a hot topic of conversation at the moment!  Natasha has our labour & birthing tee shirt and will also be using our iconic and luxurious 48 Hour Mama & Baby Bag, along with our stylish unisex leather change bag. Sadly she is not able to personally endorse our products due to her contractual commitments with Channel 5, but we hope that she will be snapped with one of our stunning items and we are simply over the moon to know that she loves our site and our products.  As her due date nears, all the mums at huddle & bliss wish Natasha and her family their best wishes and we can't wait to see pictures of her no doubt gorgeous new baby.

Love Gaby Px

email: gabyp@huddleandbliss.com


Thursday, September 11, 2008
New Kid on the Blog!
 
 

Do you like the title?  I impressed myself with that one.....well there is going to be a new kid on the blog....no I am not pregnant.....Nick would have a fit!  But as you may have noticed the postings have become a little few and far between ....sorry but I have just been so busy!  And it is one of those things that it is easy to say, oh I'll do that tomorrow...and then it gets pushed to the next day.  I am sure you all know what I mean.  Well so that we can increase our postings a little and give you a bit more interest my friend Lily will be joining me on the blog.  I am sure you will love her - she is warm and fun and mum to a very sweet little girl.  Anyway I will leave her to tell you all about herself.  I have a couple of postings half finished to add to the blog so it will probably go from one extreme to the other and you will now be bombarded!  I will be keeping an eye out for the picture that Lily posts of herself.....she was downloading shots of Cindy Crawford and Eva Longoria lookalikes the other day!  Hell knows why - she is beautiful!

 

Love Gaby Px

email:  gabyp@huddleandbliss.com

   


Wednesday, September 03, 2008
A German Escape!
 
 

At the last moment Nick and I shot off to Germany last week.  He had some business to take care of and I had a day or two spare. Most of Nick’s meetings were in Frankfurt, but we also had to go to a town about 50 miles away called Bad Orb. It is a spa town renowned for its therapeutic waters.  I was a little worried when I was trying to find a hotel…some of the wording was hilarious…although I cannot really say too much as I don’t speak a single word of German, but the promise of a ‘foot bath in our communal gardens to make friends’ at one hotel was a little bemusing. 

We had booked a smart car and the lady at Avis was horrified to see our luggage and asked if we were aware of the lack of space in a smart car!  I thought I had done really well on the packing front. Were my efforts to pack a capsule wardrobe for both of us that fitted into one small wheelie case all in vain?  We had to wait for our car to be brought over from another terminal.  There were so many Americans there, due to the bases I expect.  They really are such a patriotic bunch, which is by no means a bad thing.  There they were with their state flags ready to welcome their guests – and what a warm reception their guests received!  Cheers, shouts and team hugs!  I wondered if the people from the British bases stood at the airport with a union jack or their county flag and cheered their arriving visitors in the same way?  I doubted it.

Despite only having that miniscule case and a laptop, we approached our dinky little hire car with trepidation.  Excited at having such a fun little car at our disposal for the weekend and being able to park with ease….but worried that our wheelie case would have to be towed behind and that I would have a laptop case on my lap the entire trip.  Not sure whether the Avis lady needs her eyes testing but we could get twice the amount of luggage in with ease.  So with a sigh of relief we headed on our way.

With the wonders of Sat Nav at our disposal we put in our destination and went on our way.  We were a bit surprised when the the Sat Nav lady announced that we had reached our destination after about four minutes and less than half a mile!  Technology is a wonderful thing when it works. We successfully reprogrammed our little machine and managed to find the autobahn. 

As I said earlier I had struggled to find some suitable accommodation.  I picked what I thought was the best to be had in Bad Orb.  I hoped the picture of the hotel on the web didn’t do it justice, but when we pulled up I realised that it did in fact look like something out of Gotham City.  Some sixties concrete monstrosity darkened to a particularly unattractive shade of grey over time.  Pleasingly, though this was somewhat lifted by the array of red geraniums that adorned every balcony.  They had obviously not spent any money on refurbishing the public areas of the hotel for sometime.  It really reminded me of some of the countless European hotels I had stayed in during my youth when working for a travel company.  Many of those were in Germany!  I have been up and down the Rhine too many times to remember!  Gladly they had spent their refurbishment budget on the rooms instead, which is after all where you sleep.

The hotel exterior may have been less than attractive but it was situated in the most beautiful park with running stream, tree-lined avenues and a selection of methods to sample the local therapeutic waters. 

We had a great weekend – yes Nick had to work, but it was really relaxed and it was great just to have a little bit of time to myself.  We had long leisurely lunches where we watched the world go by and did a fair bit of people-watching, which lets be honest can be great fun.  We strolled in the park and paddled in the ice-cold water.  It was so cold that it made your legs numb – surely this is not good for you?  My lower legs were a particularly fetching shade of blue when we had finished!  We had a wonderful dinner where I finally discovered and after dinner drink that I like.  Nick has been searching for years for something that I like….brandy and the like are really not my bag….but I do love Marsala! In fact I loved it a bit too much and the next morning did have to resort to some headache tablets to make me feel a little human – oh well does you good to let your hair down sometimes.

We spent the last night with friends who lives just outside of Frankfurt.  A great lunch at a pavement café followed by an afternoon sitting on a balcony catching up.  A long leisurely bath with no interruptions then dinner!  Simply bliss. 

The restaurant itself was beautiful and a short walk from our friends apartment.  I have to admit to feeling a little uncomfortable when in countries that I speak none of the language – and Germany is one of them.  I speak a fair deal of French and a little Spanish and lets be honest, outside of France people generally speak English as a second language anyway.  So when we go to Germany it is good to have our friend with us to decipher the menu!  You can guess a lot of things, but I don’t think I would have got the pig’s head, sweetbreads or other rather unappealing animal parts on offer.  Now don’t get me wrong, I am not a fussy eater, but save for liver, offal and other less common parts of an animal are really not that high on my favourites list.  So my choice from the menu somewhat dwindled!  But the company was great and the wine was good and we had a great evening.

We flew out early the next morning and as usual I couldn’t wait to see my boys.  It’s weird, when I am away I cope well.  I was determined from the beginning to be able to leave them (they always stay with my mum and have a wail of a time! – I really think it does couples good to have some time alone.  I am fine until I am on my way home and then I just can’t wait to get there and fling my arms around them.

It was only a couple of days, but so enjoyable and relaxing.  Then back to the real world and the endless rain in England!


Tuesday, September 02, 2008
The Big Return
 
 

Thank you to the person who decided it was a good idea to put a space in the back of clothing to write your child's name.  Thanks to the person who invented the laundry pen.  So much easier to write the name in the back of an item of clothing than the other methods on offer to us poor overworked mums!  Stitching them in certainly is the best way to ensure they stay there as the iron on type always come off after a few washes.  The last time I got sew-in ones I got just our surname....that way any hand-me-downs to Charlie didn't have to be re-labelled, master stroke!

I now actively seek out items of uniform etc that have the space to put the name!  Labelling school clothes is such a laborious task!  When they were at nursery it was worse...every item in their wardrobe had to be labelled - at least it is just school clothes and PE kit these days.  Mind you it doesn't always do the trick, George's school fleece has been missing for months despite being very clearly identified with his name...perhaps someone needed a new one and helped themselves to his, either that or it has disappeared into thin air from the school cloakroom!

I love school holidays, apart from the time you get with your children, I love the change of routine.  The fact that I don't have that mad morning rush to get out of the front door by a set time.  I can start work in my pj's.  I love the break from making packed lunches and trying to dream up some new variety of sandwich that is healthy, tasty and that they will actually eat.  I love the lack of pressure to get them in bed at the set hour.  I love not having the mad weekend wash and iron session to get the uniforms ready for the week ahead.  The break from ensuring that homework is done is welcomed.  They say a change is as good as a rest but I am really ready for them to go back to school. 

I am ready to hear the peace in the house during the day, I am ready for a proper 'weekend'.  Ready to watch something other than Spongebob Square Pants.  Ready to plan a schedule for my day and on the whole stick to it.   I am looking forward to focusing on my work without wondering why they are so quiet in the other room.  A break from being a referee will be much welcome.  The lack of pressure of planning 'to do' fun things and then worrying whether the weather will wreck anything I propose.  Yes, I love George and Charlie dearly but I am ready for the big return!'

I have done the 'Clarke's Queue Ritual' and kitted them out with their new shoes - being an experienced mum I managed to do this without batting an eyelid over the cost despite knowing that I will be there again in a matter of weeks all set to get the next size!  The uniforms are hanging neatly in their wardrobes, their PE Kits are ready...all I have left is the packed lunch shopping which I can't do until the last minute anyhow.  So all-in-all pretty well organised, visualising the moment when I return from the school run to an empty quiet house and sit down with a steaming hot cup of tea. 

Love Gaby Px

email: gabyp@huddleandbliss.com

  

 

 

 


Monday, July 07, 2008
Sex in the City....or Hot Chocolate in the Suburbs!
 
 

Excitement was growing all week about our girls night out to the cinema. We had all loved every series of “Sex and the City” and a night out with the girls….with no children…..no one driving…..was just too good to be true!


We have spent the last week discussing our favourite episodes, and having the “which one are you conversation…..?” All of us… 2 Carries, 3 Mirandas, 3 Charlottes and a Samantha….(oh help us!) had just about given up on all other topics of conversations by the time the night came……we were very much already in the City before we left the office.

Cocktails first……..of course!

We had heard that a little cocktail bar in town had been perfecting their Cosmopolitans all week and we decided it was befitting of the nights big event to start as the girls of “Sex in the City” would………. in a swanky bar with delicious Cosmos and titillating conversation. The Cosmos were certainly delicious, as to titillating conversation?... Well not sure there, although we did manage to stop talking about children, huddle and bliss and the weather after ten minutes or so! I think every woman in a 10 mile radius had gathered together with her girlfriends for a make believe night in New York. I have never seen so many Cosmopolitan cocktails in my life; they lined the entire bar and every table. The atmosphere was fantastic and there was not a man in sight.


The main event……….


Every face I had seen at the bar appeared to have followed us to the cinema, and as we all took our seats, I looked around and saw a whole room full of Carries, Mirandas, Charlottes and Samanthas. As the film began we all cheered eager to find out what had happened to our 4 heroines since we last saw them. The noise soon settled and we all focused on the screen checking out what they were wearing, how their hair was…and of course just how fantastically glam and thin they all look!

The film was over far too soon, and we all loved it! As we left the cinema someone (who shall remain nameless…you know who you are…) suggested more Cosmopolitans!

And before I could suggest coffee instead, yes I really did (those cocktails really do have a kick!) we were back at the bar with most of the cinema in tow.

A couple of Cosmopolitans later and we were all ready for our beds, except for our very own ‘Samantha’ who wanted to stay! Still she is footloose and fancy free and doesn’t have the worry of her baby waking her in the small hours! For the rest of us it had been a great night out but our beds were calling with thoughts of making packed lunches, sorting clean school uniforms and doing the school run before work. So we climbed into our taxis and made our way home. Appreciating the night off but a little disappointed that the experience had ended and the excitement was now over. I was tucked up in bed with a cup of hot chocolate (yes the Cadbury’s Luxury one I went on about) within the hour and trying to explain to Nick why a film about 4 women watched by a room full of women was so thrilling….. he is still not convinced that the Cosmopolitans had nothing to do with it!

We all agreed the night had been a huge success…. Having now heard the advert for “Mama Mia”….the tickets are booked… and the singing has started!

I pity the girls in the office – I know all the words to ABBA songs but my voice, if I am honest, is appalling! I love my Ipod and the children think it is really cool so we often play music at home or in the car…that is until they have had enough of my dulcet tones and ask me to stop – it really must be bad if such young children find it difficult to tolerate!

Love Gaby Px

Email: gabyp@huddleandbliss.com


Monday, June 16, 2008
Should I be doing my bit and turn half of the garden into a vegetable patch?
 
 

 

Like most mums I find the school gates the ideal place to pick up on current mummy trends. Living in a rural village but still close enough to London to be classed as commutable, makes for a varied selection. There are the ‘off to the office’ mums, the ‘just off to the gym’ mums, and the ‘morning TV’ mums. But on closer inspection there appears to be a new breed of ’just come from the allotment’ mums. There have been any number of them crossing the playground recently with their freshly picked muddy vegetables…and sporting a rather funky pair of wellies and the odd garden tool.

For me, I have to say this current trend is a little worrying…..you see, I hate gardening! I like sitting in the garden, looking at neat gardens, I can stretch to planting up a few pots and hanging baskets…or even doing something exciting with cress for the children….but that’s as far as my love for gardening goes… the whole maintenance side of it bores me rigid. I don’t really have the hours of spare time it seems to require either, and to be honest I’ve never really derived any pleasure from doing gardening. When pushed I will join in, but it is generally under the duress of my conscience or Nick asking specifically for a hand with the weeding, which to me is the equivalent of going around the house picking up the mud and dust from the carpet on my hands and knees….I have a vacuum to do that…..why won’t someone invent the weed vacuum! All in all it just ends up added to my “to do” list……Another pressure!

Although I don’t like gardening I do know the names of lots of plants! So I can at least sound knowledgeable! We have lots of low maintenance flowering shrubs – so for a full summer display we simply have to fill in a few gaps with some geraniums and hey presto the garden looks great! It is easy maintenance…..which appeals to my lack of love for gardening.

So you can see my dilemma, do I give in to my mummy guilt and get my hands dirty in a bid to follow this latest trend? Lets face it, it does make economic sense, is good for the environment and will teach my children valuable life lessons…I would hate for Jamie Oliver to have to explain to them what a cucumber looks like in a few years time……Or do I hold my hands up admit defeat and just buy some new sun loungers instead?????

I could always pop into the supermarket before school and casually walk in with a bunch of carrots, you know the ones with the tops still attached. Do you think anyone would be able to tell the difference?

Love Gaby Px

gabyp@huddleandbliss.com


Wednesday, June 04, 2008
Recovery Mode
 
 

Well guys we have been in recovery mode since the Baby Show at the NEC….hence my quietness. We thought ExCel was great, but wow, Birmingham just blew us away! You loved our birthing tee once again, and the mix and match offers we did on our rompers, sleepsuits and body suits all went down a treat – in fact we sold out of many items in white for newborns! The other runaway success was our iconic 48 Hour Mama & Baby Bag – luckily our base is not too far from the NEC so we were able to re-stock with these! Well done to Amy Perkins who is our lucky winner of our 48 Hour Bag competition. The black leather change bags that we launched at the show were extremely popular with mums and dads alike. Thank you to all of you who visited our stand. We had a fantastic show, it was extremely hard work but so great to meet so many of you first hand and receive your feedback and appreciation of our products and website.

Just can’t seem to get on top of anything at the moment. All of the children have been unwell with a temperature for a day or so, one after the other….nothing much more than that but their little bodies are obviously fighting off something! Coupled with post-show recovery, and my general day to day work and well the washing is mounting up around me! I got stuck in and sorted all the washing and put it into piles on the landing and well it resembled a sort of laundry Himalayan mountain range – I thought by queuing it all up I would get the oomph I need to tackle it properly – instead it just fills me with horror every time I see it! The various piles just never seem to reduce! I need to clear out my email inbox or no doubt I will soon get one of those messages telling you that you are out of space and can’t receive any more mail….I am normally quite good with things like this...but everything has just spiralled out of control in the last couple of weeks. I keep finding things on my desk that I have forgotten to do – in fact my office does resemble a burglary crime scene at the moment! This is all so unlike me…I must be truly exhausted to have let it get this bad – so out of character! What should I tackle first? Washing or admin? Admin or washing? I think I need a list to begin with – I like lists, always have done. I have the view that if you write it down you can forget about it – at least until you read your list again! Saves all that clutter in your brain, and believe me with a husband, three children, home to run and a full time job, my brain is constantly cluttered! It does have odd moments of clarity but sadly the frequency of these is diminishing as I get older! Still I always manage to get there in the end!

The worst kind of weather today…rain and wind…arghhhhh. It really did not stop all day long. I aquaplaned most of the way up the M40 coming back from London. The rain was so persistent, I had to concentrate so hard that I arrived home with a headache and no doubt a few more wrinkles. So dosed myself up and snuggled up on the sofa with the children when I got in. This is one of the benefits of my type of job and working from home – at least I have the choice of working in the evenings and taking the afternoon off with my children. We sat and watched a film on television whilst the rain hit the windows around us – it seemed like a gloomy November afternoon, not June! But it was so nice to sit there and do nothing….yes I should have tackled that huge pile of washing but sometimes it is just nice to stop. And stop I did. Probably why I have the energy to sit here at half past midnight tapping away on my laptop! I have a cup of ‘luxury’ Cadbury’s hot chocolate next to me – if you are a fan of hot chocolate and haven’t tried this yet, then you should, it is divine, powdered hot chocolate will never suffice again!

love Gaby Px

Email: gabyp@huddleandbliss.com


Saturday, May 03, 2008
A Ribbon for Madeleine
 
 

 

Outside of my house I have a large grass verge. We can’t use it for much but is does set the house back from the road. We have a weeping willow tree in the centre that has been growing for a number of years now. When Madeleine McCann first went missing last year, my children and I tied a yellow ribbon around the tree. Every time we drive into the driveway we see the brightly coloured ribbon on the tree and it reminds us of Madeleine. It is a small token of our thoughts. It is unimaginable what her parents must be going through, a year on to know nothing more…how they cope I will never know. It is of course a parents worst nightmare, and they live that nightmare day in and day out. I am sure the fact that they have two other children to consider is what keeps them going.

Today we have visited the tree to replace the ribbon. It is of course the anniversary of her disappearance. The children and I have put a new yellow gingham ribbon around the tree and paused to talk a little about her. George obviously understands the most, and whenever he sees her picture on the television he asks me if she has been found yet.

On the news they say that it is the ‘first anniversary’ of her disappearance. I hope sincerely that it is the only anniversary and that she is returned to her parents safe and well in the near future. I hope I never have to replace the ribbon around my willow tree. I long for the day when I can visit the tree to remove the ribbon completely. My thoughts are with her and her family in the wish that they are soon reunited.

Love GabyP xxx


Thursday, May 01, 2008
You love it....and we thought you would!
 
 

Well girls, our h&b birthing tee-shirt has been a runaway success! We knew you would like it, but oh, do you like it! This item is truly an amalgamation of all our labour and birthing experiences…and is now firmly on the list for everyones labour bag or hospital bag.   Between us we have had 15 babies and all the mums at huddle and bliss agreed that it was the one thing we struggled to find, and invariably what we did buy was not in the end wholly suitable. Oversized t-shirts are fine for the last leg when you are on the bed pushing….let’s be honest, at that point most of us are not too concerned with our sartorial elegance! However, what about the bit beforehand – pacing the hospital corridors, bouncing on your birthing ball, hanging on your partner’s arm etc? T-shirts are too short to cover you up sufficiently so you may have to wear a dressing gown, this makes you too hot. And lets be honest, many of us do feel a little conscious, or at least worry that we will beforehand. To get a t-shirt or nightie to fit your bump, it is invariably huge, hanging off your shoulders and looking like and old sack. We all agreed that we needed something that was good not only for the birth itself, but was appropriate for the labour leading up to it when we wanted to walk about and help things along! Cool and comfy, but long enough to give discretion when required. The birthing tee-shirt makes a great maternity nightdress before the big day, and a great feeding nightdress after. We are all different and have varying levels of inhibition…we really felt that this was a product for everyone and you have proved us right! Many of you have asked for a darker colour too, so in around two weeks we will be launching our birthing t-shirt in black. We are extremely grateful for all your feedback. Thanks once again! 

 

Love Gaby xxx

gabyp@huddleandbliss.com


Sunday, April 20, 2008
Is Eccentricity.....
 
 

 

….the first sign of your parents getting older?  I have always thought of my parents as ‘young’.  Their home is modern, light and airy, they wear fashionable clothes and like current music.  But I think the first signs of growing older are upon them.  They needed a new toaster but sadly the first replacement they bought did not toast the entire slice of their preferred loaf!  To overcome this problem and avoid buying another useless model they decided they would make a cardboard cut out of a slice of the bread they like.  Unbelievably they then roamed around the likes of Comet and Curry’s slotting it into various toasters to see if it would fit!  I only know this as my father marched into my kitchen, slotted it into my toaster and announced woefully ‘Gaby’s is no good either!’  I am so glad that he did not try this with my toaster some fifteen minutes earlier as his Blue Peter cardboard toast template would have gone up in flames from the residual heat!

I suppose it is a bit like preferring a certain coffee or tea, liking it made a certain way and wanting either a cup or a mug.  It just seems to become more important as you get older!  My Dad retires in a week or so and we have been teasing my parents about coach holidays in the Lake District, although I think a couple of weeks in a five star hotel in The Seychelles would be more their cup of tea!  A coach holiday to France 25 years ago put them off for a lifetime! 

Why is it when you get older that you succumb to ‘involuntary noises’ when simply rising from a chair or picking something up off the floor?  Why do you constantly drop things and forever lose your glasses?

One of the most worrying things is when you watch programmes like Grumpy Old Men and Grumpy Old Women….watching them alone is bad but when you find yourself nodding in agreement, well you are on a slippery slope.

Nick certainly has is GOM moments – Grumpy Old Man Moments to everyone else.  The great thing is that he is aware of them, he just can’t stop the words coming out in the first place.  I find it difficult not to air opposing views when watching things like Question Time – best not to watch this sort of thing if you want to chill!  How people watch daytime television I will never know. I hate it, but find it impossible not to comment on the dysfunctional families that appear on the likes of Trisha or Jeremy Kyle.  No for me it has to be Radio 2 or perhaps Sky News.  Is this perhaps a sign that I am getting older?  Probably, but I won’t be popping down to Comet with a cardboard cut out anytime soon!!!

We are now gearing up for The Baby Show at the NEC.  We are all really looking forward to this one.  Following our amazing launch at The Baby Show ExCel, we feel really positive and a lot more organised.  Experience is a great thing! Although our stand is much bigger so we have a bit of layout planning to do.   We have had thousands of hits on the site since ExCel and a huge amount of follow up business, which has spurred us on despite all being so exhausted.  We have had some new products arrive, our h&b Birthing Tee- Shirts which are already a runaway success, our cotton romper suits for summer babies, and our summer sleep sacks, which are a lovely soft cotton lightweight sleeping bag for babies. 

At The NEC Baby Show we will be running another competition to win our iconic 48 Hour Mama & Baby Bag.  Our lucky winner from the ExCel Baby Show receives her prize this week – she is very excited and I don’t blame her.  The bag is spectacular.  The matching white leather change bag is doing well and will be joined by a black leather version at the next Baby Show.  The black bag is a great unisex changing bag and a couple of dad’s have already reserved theirs! 

Kelly helped to host our first Baby Shower at the weekend.  Our baby shower product is still in development but it was a great opportunity for us to sponsor the shower of a close friend of Kelly’s.  Our goody bags were a great success and the beautiful baby shower basket that we presented to the mama-to-be was the star of the show!  Everyone commented on the softness of our cotton and how wonderful it is that our products are made in England. 

A busy few weeks ahead for us.  Shortly after the NEC Baby Show we are at the Brighton Baby Expo which we are really looking forward too.  We think our organic cotton baby clothing will do really well here.  In the meantime our 48 Hour Bag is being featured in two magazines, FQ (which is a trendy dad mag) and NOW magazine.  Now magazine are also featuring our white leather change bag and our Maiden Nightdress.  So exciting times.  After all this then we really have to start planning for Christmas – seems weird to be thinking of this for July, but as a business we must! 

Anyway off to make my hot chocolate before bed….don’t worry, hot chocolate is fine at any age, it is Horlicks you have to worry about!


Thursday, April 10, 2008
I am not sure what is worse....
 
 

I really am not sure what is worse?  A man who does nothing around the house or one who takes over!  No doubt some of you will immediately scream out that anything is better than doing everything yourself….and yes I know that there are some very helpful men out there who do their fair share around the home. Although I don’t mean to generalise…. to be fair there is a distinct category of men who, despite their wives also working full time, really don’t get stuck in the domestic tasks as much as they should.  Nick has always been willing but did require a list of detailed instructions.  However, he has been at home quite a lot recently and has taken it upon himself to ‘organise’ things…..yes a scary thought!  Helpful but definitely scary.  I have obviously been very busy with huddle & bliss and in particular developing our baby shower gift range.  So a few jobs have been neglected, things like clearing cupboards out etc.   It was quite helpful having Nick to help with the school runs and cooking dinner, it really took the pressure off. But when he started moving things in the kitchen I started to panic a little.  First it was the coffee machine.  The he cleared all of the cupboards out.  He then showed me how to make spaghetti Bolognese, having already enjoyed my recipe for many many years. And then last week  I was then given tips on how to put on a bed sheet - how have I possibly managed all these years?    He has claimed proud ownership of the dishwasher and frequently recounts exactly when it was last emptied and at what time, they really have bonded.   I have pointed out that I still appear to retain full responsibility for the washing machine and tumble dryer and as yet he has not ventured into these areas…. So definitely very helpful but still somewhat selective.  I don’t mean to be ungrateful, his help has been invaluable recently, but even helpful men seem to seek eternal approval and acknowledgement for the small tasks they have carried out once in a blue moon – things that a busy mum does day in day out for years on end without a second thought.  Why is it that a basket of clean washing at the bottom of the stairs is invisible until you specifically ask for it to be taken upstairs?  Why can our curtains be pulled back and the duvet aired, but the children’s rooms sit in darkness and untouched!  Why can they always find that little bit of space to squeeze one more thing into the overflowing bin?  I really don’t mean to moan, and in fact I really don’t get wound up by things like this – there are more important things in life, but I do find the predictability of it highly bemusing!

Why can men never find anything?  Well we all know it is because a quick glimpse without moving anything rarely uncovers what you are looking for, but how do the male species develop this ability so early on.  George and Charlie are already fully fledged at the ‘boy look’.  This is a phrase I heard a nurse say last year when I was laying in A&E with appendicitis.  The young dashing doctor could not find something and she shouted to the other nurses that he was no doubt ‘taking a boy look’.  It really tickled me, despite being in agony, perhaps the morphine helped, but anyhow I have adopted it ever since and the boys find it very entertaining! 

What about their inherent dislike of shopping - George developed a very definite dislike of shopping from about six weeks old.  He has now moved onto ‘this is boring…….  Is it genetic?  Nick does actually enjoy shopping if he is in the mood, otherwise he refers to himself, albeit good-naturedly, as the donkey!  My funniest moment in a shop with my children was when George was about three.  I was standing at the counter waiting to pay – George had vanished in a matter of seconds and then quickly reappeared looking very pleased with himself…when I looked down at his feet I noticed the rather fetching pair of black patent stilettos that he was wearing!   He had even put his own shoes on display in place of the ones he was wearing.  Bless him. 

I suppose I should really start training my boys now.  How to look properly for things, how to enjoy shopping, what housework really entails, etc etc etc.  Perhaps then their future wives won’t have the same problems as we do – somehow I doubt if it will make the slightest bit of difference!

Love Gaby Px

Email:  gabyp@huddleandbliss.com

 


Sunday, March 23, 2008
I Love Their Little Words...
 
 

Charlie really made us laugh today.  The children were eating their dinner and Charlie was obviously listening to Nick and I talk.  My sister-in-law frequently makes us dinner, which we appreciate so much.  I had one of her casserole dishes sitting on the side from the last delicious meal she made us and I really didn’t want to return it empty, hence the rather enormous pot of chilli that was cooling.  I mentioned to Nick that I hoped Patricia would like her meal, Charlie asked what was in the pot for Auntie Patty and I said chilli.  He replied that he did not like his dinner cold, he liked it hot!  It did make us chuckle. 

 

It made me think about all the little words and sayings that children have of their own.  George used to say ‘minished’ instead off finished and the entire family have ended up saying it, along with ‘I love you so lots’.  Apparently when I was small I called apples ‘moyees’ – don’t even ask me how I got that one!  One of my brothers used to stand at the top of the stairs and say he was either dizzy or that he was a failure.  Of course we have the MD’s son Louis and his special word for his comforter, his ‘OOmah’.   Come to think of it one of the best is Charlie’s word for fish fingers, ‘bitu bingoos’ and yes the entire family have now adopted this name as well. He also has his own special word for stubble, ‘Pums’ which we think came initially from the word pins as this is obviously what it feels like to him!  We also have a DDD player in our house, not a DVD.    

 

I called my granddad ‘Ganger’ a name that stuck throughout his life and was also  used by all my brothers, my granddad loved his special name. Charlie calls my dad ‘Gang Gang’.  You may have noticed on the huddle and bliss website that we use the word mama….this is because our children use this name as opposed to mummy.  I love it, it makes me feel special.  Charlie also calls huddle and bliss ‘hubble and biss’. 

 

Their little words and ways are so touching, it gives them character and individuality, mind you, Charlie is certainly not short on that front anyhow.  The boys are now at the stage that they have in depth conversations with each other, I find it fascinating to listen to them.  The other day they were discussing the prize money on Wheel of Fortune – George has taken a liking to these type of game shows, I don’t mind because he loves spelling out the words and reading what is on the screen.  George was telling Charlie the amounts and Charlie was then expressing his disbelief at how much money they had won.  They then took it in turns to guess what the next letter would be.  George has also got into ‘Brain Training’ on his Nintendo DS Lite.  Bless him, he is quite worried that he has the brain age of an 80 year old at the moment and keeps telling me that is strange as he is only six!  I have to take this opportunity to brag a little – did it myself the other day and the first time I got 24…I was amazed…mind you to be honest I have not managed to maintain such a level!  Think it depends how tired you are and how many cups of coffee you have had.  The boys are also into Nintendo Wii – yes Father Christmas did manage to get his hands on one at Christmas!  Although it is an American one so the £150 worth of games that he bought for it out of Argos do not work….any suggestions anyone about how to sort this (have heard you can get them ‘chipped’ but wary of this and don’t know how to go about it!)  Anyway Santa’s Helpers have managed to ship a few games in from the States.  Actually Nick and I do quite enjoy it too.  The good thing with it is that we all play as a family.  Even Katie is quite good at bowling.  We had what the children called ‘a real bowling night’ last week with all the trimmings, popcorn, hot dogs – they loved it and to be honest so did we!

 

Love GabyP x

Email: gabyp@huddleandbliss.com


Saturday, March 15, 2008
I would love a lay-in!
 
 

I know, wouldn't we all. But George and Charlie have started to get up so early! It must be the lighter mornings. I have black out blinds but they seem to make no difference when the days get longer. Katie sleeps in a little bless her, but she has always liked her bed! Charlie was up at 4.45am the other day - he would simply not go back to sleep. He occupied himself for a while in his bedroom but did visit me every fifteen minutes to tell me what he was doing. Trouble is he then gets tired in the afternoon, needs a nap and if he does then he is not tired at bedtime - it ruins the whole routine of things. George has always got up early - he is a busy child if you know what I mean, mind you I was always busy when I was little so nothing has changed much. George will entertain himself for hours either watching a dvd (he has been able to operate the machine since he was two), he adores books and drawing. Although his current habit of tearing up paper into hundreds of little pieces has become a little tiresome. George also goes to bed beautifully - being asleep within minutes. Charlie will find every excuse in the book to get me upstairs. At weekends I sometimes let the children stay up a little later - although generally they are tired at the usual time. But if they do go to bed later it seems to have no effect whatsoever on the time they rise! You might sneak an extra half hour if you are lucky but never much more. Their body clocks simply kick in and they are awake. Sadly this ability does seem to fail with age - I can't ever remember waking up feeling refreshed and ready for my day without at least three cups of coffee and a shower.

Actually as I am typing this I am sitting on the floor of Charlies bedroom. He is rather awake having fallen asleep on the sofa this afternoon! I have to admit falling asleep with him, which was wonderful, except that I found it very difficult to come to afterwards. I think I could have stayed there throughout the evening. Handy Manny is on the tv and I am using the 'give them company but don't talk to them method' which usually works quite well. Charlie just likes you to sit with him sometimes. He is normally asleep within 15 minutes or so but alas not tonight. His eyes look a little heavy but he still appears to be concentrating a little too much on the tv! Still he is chilled and happy.

Think I will head off downstairs and make myself a delicious cup of the new hot chocolate I have. It is flakes of chocolate rather than a powder and it is simply scrumptious. Probably has a huge number of calories in it, but oh it is Saturday and I have worked all day, so what the hell, I will treat myself to a chocolate biscuit too! Then off to bed - who knows what unearthly hour I will be getting up!

Love Gaby P x

gabyp@huddleandbliss.com

 

 

 


Tuesday, March 04, 2008
I have Ex-Lag.....
 
 

I, and the rest of the h&b team are suffering from the effects of what we call Ex-Lag, a bit like jet-lag -  but we only went to London!  I know it sounds ridiiculous but that is exactly how we feel, like arriving home from the States or having just landed in the Far East!  We should perhaps call it 'Ex- Lag' to be more accurate but the feeling is identical.  We had our launch last weekend at The Baby Show London Excel - it was a phenomenal success and despite us being extremely confident that eveyone would love our products as much as we do, we were a little surprised at the level of the response...it was simply amazing.  We have existed in the twilight zone of  the exhibition/show world for four days.  We sold so much across our range of babywear, with the favourite items being all our Classic white babywear range and the beautiful knitted pram coats.  Our lovely feeding wraps went down a treat also.  We had three lucky winners of our Labour of Love Bag, h&b Change Bag and of course the simply stunning 48 hour mama & baby bag.  The winners are duly being notified and will also be announced on our site soon.  Two people even tried to purchase our competition box - although it was rather pretty, and someone else wanted to buy the bunting off the stand!

Whilst we attempt to recover from our 3 day launch marathon we are now preparing for our North West launch at The Littleones Fair at Haydock Park on Saturday 8th March and Sunday 9th March.  So another hectic week ahead.  We are all walking around like zombies with puffy eyes, dry lips and black circles - but completely buzzing nonetheless.  It really does feel like jet-lag though.  Anne said this yesterday and after a moments thought we all agreed.  The sudden overwhelming tiredness just hits you.  And even when your brain feels awake your eyes can barely stay open.  Anne was fantastic on the stand.  For the best part she supervises our workshop but we all agreed that she would be perfect on the stand.  As a glamorous grandmother she chatted  to the mums and entertained the babies alike.  She can talk for Britain and she was simply in her element.  The rest of us younger ones all agree that if we have a single ounce of her energy when we are older we will be on cloud nine.  She really is amazing! 

It is definitely hard work on the stand. On your feet for a minimum of 8 hours, not counting the pre and post show preparations.  Little likelihood of lunch or a coffee and if you want to go to the loo you need to plan it a few hours in advance.  Mind you, you don't really want to go that much as you are so dehydrated from all the talking, walking and the air conditioning that the latter point doesn't really matter!  But we wouldn't have it any other way, we were simply so busy. 

And so the huddle & bliss baby is born, I look forward to sharing our early development years with you!

Love Gaby P x

email:  gabyp@huddleandbliss.com

 


Sunday, February 24, 2008
I knew it would come in handy!
 
 

 

 

For years I have suffered the embarrassment of not being able to tie laces like a normal person…yes it is true.  Whenever I have to tie laces up I make sure that no one is looking too closely.  It took Nick years to realise that I used the ‘two loop’ method.  He thought it was hilarious.  I did find an ally a couple of years ago when I saw Leah’s husband tie his laces – and yes he used the same method as me.  I am really glad that the children’s shoes tend to have Velcro these days.  At least I don’t have to try and teach them something I can’t even do myself!

 

As a young girl, my father repetitively tried to show me how to do it, but it all just ended up a lopsided mess. It just feels cack-handed to me.  I never know what bit goes where, and even if I manage to tie it – it looks awful.  I can even tie a bow tie from scratch, but no I have never quite mastered shoe laces still.   I remember my father bought me this book from Petticoat Lane that had pictures of shoes with real laces on the front of it and this is how I learnt my ‘two loop’ method.  I was 19 at the time – only joking!

 

Well, now my two loop method has come into its own and found its real creative niche!  The huddle & bliss bow is a ‘Gaby Creation’.  I did all the prototypes of the gift boxes that we have, and naturally used my usual method of tying.  Those poor girls in the workshop have been trying for hours today to get their bows to resemble mine….no such luck with the standard method I am afraid….I have had to come clean about how I do them, but who cares now - none of them can achieve the beautiful bows that I can!  My only worry is that I will be stuck with the job of bow-tying forevermore.  It is difficult enough trying to fit in all my other work with my family, let alone tying a few hundred bows a day!  But just remember that when you order from huddle & bliss, that beautiful bow was probably tied by my own fair hands, albeit my ‘two loop’ method! 

 

Love Gaby P x

gabyp@huddlandbliss.com

 

 

 

 


Wednesday, February 13, 2008
Why do they do it?
 
 

I was thinking that I really need to be adding something to my blog…but didn’t get round to it or nothing inspired me – then I had a call from a friend who had just returned from A&E after her son had inserted a fluorescent green plastic bead into his ear.  Why do children do this?  Both of my boys did something along these lines at between 2 and 3 years old…is there something about the age?  Is it boys more than girls?  George for some reason known only to himself inserted a rather large piece of chicken into his left nostril whilst eating a  bowl of chicken pasta.  I thought I had removed all of it until I could smell this rather strange smell the next morning.  Despite not being able to remove it, the Practice Nurse down at the surgery managed to spot the chicken lurking high up in his nasal cavity. So off we went to A&E and many hours later we returned home after George had been admitted, given a general anaesthetic and had the large piece of meat removed.  The consultant said that it was almost a daily occurrence that he had to remove something from a child’s ear or nose, but it was the first time that the offending article had been a piece of chicken!

 

Low and behold, last year Charlie decided to see how far he could stick something up his nostril too – and yes it was the left one.  I thought it was the apple from the MB Operation Game that the boys had been playing with the day before.  I rushed to get my tweezers and extract it myself as it was clearly visible, but by the time I returned Charlie had inhaled and up it had shot, completely out of reach.  Off to A&E again, then on to another hospital as our Ear Nose and Throat Department closes at weekends (????) no, seriously – they ship all the in-patients out to surrounding hospitals by coach for the weekend.  Eventually after a general anaesthetic another surgeon removed the item, which turned out to be a plastic button from the waistcoat of Woody from Toy Story!  Don’t think it quite beats the chicken, but it was still a surprise.  The lovely nurses on the ward said to me that it happens so often that when a parent doesn’t actually have any idea of what the item is – they hold a sweepstakes!  We still have the button in a little plastic sample jar that the surgeon handed to us.  Think I will save this and put it into Charlie’s keepsake box for when he is older – obviously can’t do the same for George as he used perishable goods!  I do not know anyone else who has had two children do it!

 

Love Gaby P x

gabyp@huddleandbliss.com


Friday, February 01, 2008
Three in a Bed!
 
 

No, nothing like that! I have been testing out a body cushion that we are thinking of including in our mama-to-be range. They are so comfortable to snuggle up against and really do stop you getting back ache. When you are pregnant they would be a godsend – all that support for you bump! I remember building what I called ‘my pregnancy pillow ramp’ when I was heavily pregnant with my children! Actually I still have to build it now occasionally when I have sciatica! Anyway, Nick says it is like having a third person in our bed as the pillow is so big – to be honest I think he is a bit jealous of the pillow, particularly as I have been cuddling up with it instead of him! So much so that we have called the pillow ‘Dave’. I don’t know why we picked Dave but it just seemed like a good name…very apt at the moment with that TV channel called Dave also. The other good thing about ‘Dave’ is that he doesn’t snore, fidget or have an alarm clock that goes off at 5.30am everyday, and continues going off every five minutes for the next half an hour!

It is George's birthday this weekend. As he is now a mature six year old, I asked him what he would like to do for his birthday, ‘Go to New York’ was the reply! I am sure that he would adore New York with all the big buildings, trucks and particularly the continual, sirens, but we are taking him and some friends bowling instead! Slightly less expensive and only five miles down the road. I have promised though that I will take him to New York in a few years. The last time I was in New York I experienced one of my many ‘extreme weather’ holidays – oh yes, that happens to me too. Fifth Avenue was flooded and all the shops were closing early – so much for shop till you drop. From there I travelled on to New England, having to make an unplanned stop at Hartford in Connecticut due to some rather large snow drifts. Had a great evening though at an ice hockey game that was punctuated every few minutes with loud bursts of ‘We will, We will Rock you’. And for some strange reason, Hartford is full of MG cars….I have never seen so many in one place, let alone in another country. Bizarre. My trip continued on through New England eventually reaching Boston after various blizzards, flooding and more blizzards. I then jumped on a plane to Florida where there was a heat wave. My first day in Hong Kong was spent inside the hotel due to a typhoon and I once got sunburnt in Paris in April.

The launch is nearing and we are getting all set. Excitement is building amongst all of us and there is a pleasantly pressurised atmosphere – I am sure that will all turn into blind panic rather soon, but it great at the moment. We have a few new members of the team to help things along and we are all mucking in doing anything and everything at the moment. Good practice though as in small businesses you need to be able to cover a number of roles – at any given time!

Anyway – my eyes are heavy and there have been a lot of late nights and early mornings this week, so off to bed I go. Nick went up a while ago and I am guessing he has probably hidden Dave or banished him to the guest room!

Love Gaby Px

gabyp@huddleandbliss.com


Sunday, January 27, 2008
I Have Lost January!
 
 

Where did January go!  I have been extremely busy, working from around 6.30am until 11.30pm, punctuated only with the school runs - but I really do seem to have lost the entire month.  Ask me what I have done and I would have to refer to my diary to tell you.  But great progress on the website and we will soon be ready to launch.  Then even more hard work I suppose.  But I am not moaning I am really enjoying it - it would be nice if my brain would just switch off occasionally - but I just can't stop thinking and this is how I sometimes come up with my best ideas. 

I am really fed up of this wet and blustery weather...I do try and make a bit of an effort in the mornings (I find I work better that way) but my attempts at vaguely being a yummy mummy are soon obliterated by the gale force wind and sheets of rain that hit me the second I get out of the car.  I don't mind me it being cold at all, in fact there is nothing like walking the dog across the fields on a crisp but sunny day.  I would rather it snow than rain to be honest - I know it causes lots of disruption in this little unprepared country of ours but as least it looks pretty for a few hours!  And of course the children love it.  Last year when it snowed in February quite heavily the village school was closed and I think every single child was out on the village green - it was one of those moments, and I have had a few in the last year or so in particular, that I appreciate just how lucky I am to live in a beautiful little village with a a friendly community.  Sports day at the school was the same, I really felt quite overwhelmed, surrounded by family and friends on a warm sunny July day (yes there was one) watching all of the village's little children participate so enthusiastically.  It made me stop and appreciate my life.  Since my son George started at the village school we have become so much more part of the community.  Despite living here for several years beforehand as we live in a smaller hamlet just out of the main village we didn't really get to know lots of people other than our nearest neighbours.  But now we have made lots of friends and really love it, I wouldn't move for the world.  The finale of sports days was made that extra bit memorable for the children when quite by coincidence the Red Arrows flew over!  They were ecstatic and yes of course all the parents said it had been arranged especially for them!

Well warm July days are far away at the moment, sitting here on a Sunday evening at my laptop.  Although I have been working it has been a bit of a chilled day...no real pressure.  Nick and I even went out for dinner last night.  I had a lie-in in the morning (Nick and I are very fair about things like this and take turns) and I have to admit that I did have a bit of a nap this afternoon - oh well you can't work round the clock and not expect to conk out for a few hours now and then! I try to be superwoman but afterall I am only human.

Love Gaby P x

gabyp@huddleandbliss.com


Thursday, December 20, 2007
Charlotte has arrived in time for Christmas!
 
 

The baby has arrived! Leah gave birth to beautiful little Charlotte on Tuesday morning! Charlotte has a wonderful mop of thick black hair and the tiniest little head that I have ever seen and a lovely little rosebud mouth. She is utterly beautiful! Leah road tested our huddle & bliss labour products as promised and is convinced that the bath oil helped enormously – Charlotte simply popped out shortly after! She said the aroma was relaxing whilst fresh and the clary sage obviously did its job very well indeed! So the formula has been approved and will be available later in the year along with all our other natural and organic toiletries for mama and baby. We are all really glad that Leah has such a wonderful experience this time. Luca is very taken with his little sister.

 

Charlotte will also no doubt be modelling our new Made in England Organic cotton range too. These wonderful products are beautifully soft, kind to the environment and support our home grown industry too – what a combination! They too will be available in February – why not come and see them at the Baby Show London ExCel.

 

Although it has been a busy week, what with the baby arriving, huddle & bliss, school plays and Christmas looming – I now feel quite laid back. .. I have spent the early part of this week sitting on various motorways around the country which is not how I would choose to spend my time – but do feel more or less sorted now. I think what has really helped is my ‘Christmas Formula’. I can’t believe that it has taken me until my late thirties to perfect the plan…but I think I have finally done it!!! I have been ordering all my gifts online for a few years, but had not managed to escape the two evenings spent bent over a table or the floor wrapping things up! I do like gifts to look nice, so I probably spend more time than is necessary – but no more! This year everything has come straight out of its delivery box and has gone into a gift back….so simple…so time-saving…how could it have possibly taken me so many years to arrive at this system!!!! So I feel like I have gained two evenings and prevented backache in the process! Father Christmas has not wrapped any of the children’s presents either but he has simply put them into large reusable Christmas stockings…this young all that unwrapping is just too much for George, Charlie and Katie – far better that they just open the stocking and see what it is! So hopefully I can spend Christmas Eve with a glass of wine on the sofa rather than wrapping children’s gifts until 1am. It was almost a ritual for Nick and I to do the children’s wrapping each Christmas Eve – and build various things – but I have to say the novelty has now worn off somewhat!!! But then of course – Father Christmas brings all the children’s things any how! Just like the nice man from Ocado delivers all the food these days – so much better than the trolley cannon ball run that I used to get involved in each year at the supermarket. Nick always volunteers to get the last few things on the way home each Christmas Eve which is another great help. Nick loves to go to work on Christmas Eve – each year he takes in champagne and croissants for everyone – another little Christmas ritual I suppose. I always have this vision of him driving home with Chris Rea’s ‘Driving Home for Christmas’ playing in the background!

 

We managed to ‘sort’ the Christmas Eve cooking a couple of years ago too – you need one thing – The Jamie Oliver Christmas DVD! It is fantastic….We follow his instructions to the tee – not only a bit of festive viewing whilst you are in the kitchen but so time-saving….on Christmas morning we simply ‘Whack’ everything in the oven – as Jamie himself would say!!! It means we can spend the morning with the children properly and have a real family day.

 

More or less set for the tea party on Sunday. The children are ecstatic! Their excitement really took off when the Christmas trees went up at the weekend! Yes, trees, somehow we seem to buy another one each year! The house is festooned in white lights and it does look quite magical…they really believe it is nearly Christmas now. Charlie really has it all worked out this year and the threat of Father Christmas watching has been a great help at times. They have spent many hours dancing to Christmas music and are really getting in the spirit of things…! I love Christmas music, my ipod has a good collection which I dutifully reload onto it each December – and I have to admit that the children have had my company when they have been dancing around the tree the last week! It is something we do a lot – I remember doing it with my mum when I was little.

 

Merry Christmas to you all and a Happy New Year!

 

 

Love GabyP x

gabyp@huddleandbliss.com


Friday, December 07, 2007
Hi from GabyP
 
 

Oh well Christmas has come around again…normally a busy time of year but this year can only be described as manic!
But then again that is how most of us busy mums lead our lives anyway!

We have set the date for the first phase of the huddle & bliss launch as Ist January…this date being and appropriate date we thought!


By the way, I am Gaby, well to my friends, although even at 36, I have not quite escaped ‘Gabrielle’ when it comes to my family – and I am part of the huddle & bliss team. We are all working mums with a bit of a penchant for understated high quality pj’s, bed linen and baby wear…to name but a few things! After being exposed for years to naff quality superhero and lurid pink stuff for our own children, we thought we would do something about it! And here we are…huddle & bliss is about to be born!

I am 36, married to Nick and have two beautiful boys, George 5 and Charlie 3.  And too many brothers to mention! The girls have always been serious out numbered in my family!

 

I am a busy mum, combining family life and working, like many of you do! It can be a real struggle sometimes but I do love being able to be there for my children and also using my brain in the business sense! My life is a constant round of prioritising and re-prioritising, deciding what is most urgent, file the VAT return or wash the children’s clothes, but somehow I get there and everything gets done – eventually!

 

I hope you will enjoy my ramblings on the huddle & bliss blog. I am sure many of you will relate the dilemmas in my life and the hectic schedule I keep. Perhaps we can have a laugh or two together and share our stories! You can email me at gabyp@huddleandbliss.com!

On 23rd December we are having a tea party for all the children, we are all looking forward to it as hopefully it will signal the start to a bit of a break for a week. The children will be dressing up…my two have their outfits already planned – George, is to be an elf, following on from his character in the school play, Charlie, three, is hopefully going to wear the dragon costume we bought for Halloween that never did actually make its way onto his body.

My wonderfully cooperative husband Nick has agreed to be Father Christmas on the basis that none of the children know that it is him! So I have gone to great lengths to ensure this – not only finding a suitably realistic suit and accessories, beard, wig etc, but also a false nose and theatrical makeup! I have not managed to get the ‘nose’ out from the box yet, despite it arriving several days ago, as I cannot contain my laughter at the sheer thought of it all! But we really need to have a bit of a practice session before the day otherwise he could well end up looking like a pantomime dame or pinnocchio! How do you spell Pinocchio???? Not a word I would expect spell check to work on really! We have all worked our butts off for months so a break and a bit of chilling with the family will be great – that is if we can actually manage it – it happens all the time – either Sherry the MD, or Kelly her co-director have one of their brainstorming sessions and off we go again! Their enthusiasm and passion is so infectious we all just can’t help to jump on the bandwagon of discussion – whatever our plans! Sherry and Kelly are much worse when they are together and yes they will obviously be in the same room at the party! Who knows where huddle &bliss will be led this time! Or what they will think of next. Our first phase is based on all our beautiful ‘Made in England’ baby wear – we are doing our bit for the little manufacturing industry that we still have in this country! Along with some great nightwear. We are really excited about the natural and organic mum-to-be and baby toiletries that are being made in a wild wood in Norfolk – and yes it is a wild wood, I can vouch for the fact that I have to wear my wellies whenever I go there…first time I had kitten heel boots on and it was a definite no-no, not only felt a complete plank but they got ruined! But perhaps most of all we are most excited about our ‘ Mama & Baby Collection’. The star of the show is our ultimate mama & baby hospital luggage - the stunning white leather 48 hour bag, which contains everything you need for the first 48 hours, from bed socks to keep your feet warm to our wonderful labour bath oil, complete with co-ordinated white leather accessories such as atomiser, mirror and much more – you really can be a yummy mummy from day one!

Leah, Kelly’s younger sister has agreed to road test the bag for us…her second baby was due two days ago but this little girl is still currently nicely snuggled inside her mummy’s tummy! We all really hope that Leah has a much easier time of it than she did with little Luca…it was a long hard slog for her, as is all labour, but she did have it bad! We are all doing our best to convince her that second babies simply ‘pop out’! Easy for me to say as both of mine had to be by c-section! It is amazing it doesn’t matter how many you have, or how they come out, the first time you lay eyes on that new little person is so special! Nothing can diminish that first moment with your new baby!

I enjoyed our chat and I will keep you informed on how our huddle & bliss baby grows and the arrival of Leah's baby,

Love Gaby P x

gabyp@huddleandbliss.com

 



































































































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