What Mumpreneurs do when they’re just being Mums!

The Rings

What is the difference between an entrepreneur and a mumpreneur?

Well, kids mainly, it has to be said!

Mumpreneurs work their business around their family, or sometimes their family around their business, dealing with the regular housework stuff of shopping, cleaning, cooking and laundry, the school runs, the “I’ve not got any socks” and “there’s a hole in my trousers” last minute panics, as well as the bed time stories, homework and “Can I have Giles for tea?”

 

 

Sherlock was an honoured guest

Needless to say this mumpreneur has been busy on all the above, as well as turning a national on-line retail business into an event management company and an international wholesaler!  Which means it’s left very little time for blogging, and I’m sorry, but blogging comes AFTER ‘preneuring and AFTER family!!

 However… I thought it would be fun to pop up on my blog something entirely non-work related for a change.  As this week, for the first week of our school holidays I took three days off and organised a teddy wedding!

Wedding Bells for Fluffy and Dog!

I say now… this wasn’t my idea.  My youngest was given another soft toy dog for his birthday and declared his regular night time dog (of the missing fame, for those who’ve been following me a while) needed to get married before he could sleep in the same bed as “Fluffy” the latest addition.  Living in sin wasn’t an option.  Believe me, I did ask…

Fluffy and her father all ready to go
Vicar Elephant
Elephant Usher helps Dog on with Hat
All the bridesmaids

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anyway, after a whirlwind romance and an incredibly short engagement, this week saw the conclusion of several weeks of planning (and some last minute panics as I suddenly found 3 bridesmaids had been added into the wedding party, not to mention 2 ushers and 2 pageboys, and of course a 3 tiered cake complete with gravy bones as pillars).

Cutting the cake

 

And so… July 22nd 2014 – I oversaw the marriage of 2 soft toys, complete with vicar-elephant and buffet reception, wedding photos and the throwing of the brides bouquet (and I apologize now to the poor mother affected by that!)

 

All the boys
A big hug for the cameras!
Getting some help from the Bridesmaids with her make up
You may now kiss the bride

 

However I can confirm, success was achieved, as after a day of wedding activities, Fluffy finally made it into bed with Dog that night!  My son spent all morning designing them a honey moon retreat in our loft, only to find at bed time he couldn’t be parted with Dog!  So he joined the honeymooning couple!

 

The next challenge is to find a few soft toy dogs small enough to be a litter of puppies, as apparently that’s next!

 

Exchanging rings
All the guests
Success! Dog and Fluffy together, forever

 

When I grow up…

I know, I know, I’ve been shockingly tardy at posting blogs…but, in my defence it’s been a busy few weeks, and only today has the business calmed down sufficiently to allow personal blog posts (and I admit I’m shirking…from business tasks this morning as I’ve got something I don’t want to do…)

Also in my defence I have been keeping up to date with my alter ego – posting as Dr Whiting for the business’s mascot Sherlock on: Dr Whiting’s Blog

Of course, with so many weeks gone past, this does mean there’s been a saving up of anecdotes from the children…

Things like…

“Mummy, what does Daddy want to do when he grows up?”

and….

“Do you think I can go to a funeral one day – before you die?”  (admittedly although the request sounded odd, he did have his heart in the right place… he wanted to make sure he had been to a funeral of someone he didn’t care about first, so he knew what to expect… and yes… this IS from a 6 year old).

and…

I think it looks like a large gold cheese grater.” (Yes, you’ve guessed it – the olympic torch!)  Which passed the end of our road one early morning to much un-excitement.

What can I say?  Yes, it REALLY was just a piece of flame sitting on top of an oversized cheese grater, and really, quite frankly, not at all interesting.  We might as well have been watching killingholme oil refinery chimney stacks… which are a lot easier to see from a distace.  I suppose, had it been darker, the flame might have been more visible, which might have helped, but in bright sunshine (a rarity in itself these last few months) there was very little to see.

Added to that there was the dissappointment of realising that the olympic torch itself wasn’t being passed around the UK like a relay race, but rather each torch was simply lighting another one in a chain… perhaps I was naive to expect more, I don’t know, but it really was such a non-event that we all simply went home and ticked it off the “bucket list” wondering why it was even on the list in the first place!!

As to what I’ve been up to on the writing front, well, there’s going to be a screening on the Local Freeview for my first ever TV program script sometime in 2013.  Seems ages away I know, but filming starts this summer, and there will be a winter live show as well to get the footage.  All good fun and a great experience getting it looked over by a professional TV producer.

There’s also been a lot of progress on the business front, with licensee requests from abroad for the retail side (translations into dutch), and in the UK, Florida, Dubai and Ireland, for the event management side, so that’s been tying me up for a bit; added to that, there’s a series of new You Tube films on the cards (keep your eyes out for our “Come die with me” video, AND I’m presently in the middle of drafting a script for our first ever video based team building game which will hopefully be filmed in the autumn and available in the winter for companies who want a different team building experience.

And if that isn’t enough, we’ve been preparing for the arrival of Mycroft Herring.  (And yes, I make all the mascots).  So that’s kept me busy too!

Kids and the things they say…

wantedposterThis week has been another week where my youngest has had the experience of losing his dog (bed time toy).  Fortunately this time around he’s a little older, 5, and is prepared to adopt another toy to sleep with, but the fact poor dog went missing again was a disaster for him even at this age.

Given that his sister hid it last time around our first port of call was, as you’d expect, his sister.  Who said “Why do you always blame me?”  To which we replied, “Because last time YOU hid it”.  Obviously she rejected that as being totally unfair… strop strop strop. (she’s 7 going on 17…)

Anyway, after a day’s searching I turned to my son and said:

“I just can’t find him anywhere, Tristan, I’ve looked everywhere I can think of.”

To which he replied,

“Then mummy, you’ll just have to start looking in places you can’t think of.”

The logic of a child!!

And perhaps I should mention before closing… it DID turn up – on an incredibly high shelf behind a stack of books because his SISTER had thrown him up there…. vindicated!

Reflections on a rabbit…

Bedtime bunny We had an interesting if frantic half an hour this evening when my daughter (nearly 7) realised she’d left her precious bed-time bunny at Rainbows by mistake.

I haven’t seen her so distraught for some time and it got me thinking… did I have anything I attached that much importance to any more?

After all, this rabbit isn’t very much to look at.  It’s threadbare, the stuffing has clumped where it’s been through the washer so many times, it’s ears have been munched to tatters and, in truth, it was never a very handsome bunny when new.  She has lots of other toys, all of them in better condition – and yet, it’s this bunny that is the most precious item in her small life.

On the walk home I thought long and hard about her bunny.  Did I have anything in my life I would distress myself over, jump through hoops for?  And then I remembered… she doesn’t “own” her rabbit.  She loves it.

So yes… in spite of the fact that my own husband is showing a bit of wear these days, his stuffing is not in all the right places, and he isn’t quite up to David Tennant standards – I still wouldn’t be without him.  I’d walk back to Rainbows to collect him, and I wouldn’t go to bed with anything else.  🙂

That well known Cowboy State.

My husband (a teacher) recently told me all about a survey conducted recently in America about people’s awareness of science.  It seems the report was damning:

  • Only 53% of adults know how long it takes for the Earth to revolve around the Sun.
  • Only 59% of adults know that the earliest humans and dinosaurs did not live at the same time.
  • Only 47% of adults can roughly approximate the percent of the Earth’s surface that is covered with water.

(If you want to see the full report you’ll find it here: Science Daily Summary )

I (like him) was shocked that so few people understood basic science and together we smugly said “the UK must be better then that”.

And so – it came as quite a shock when I walked into my local fancy dress shop to obtain a jockey costume for the next murder mystery at Doncaster Racecourse and heard the following:

Girl in changing rooms (getting dressed as a cowgirl): Where is it cowboys come from again?

Shop assistant: Somewhere in America.

Girl in changing rooms: It’s one of those states isn’t it… which one was it again?

Shop assistant: Tennessee I think.

Girl in changing rooms: Tennessee… yeah, that’ll be right, but there’s another isn’t there…?

Shop assistant:  Tennessee and… Canada isn’t it?

Girl in changing rooms: Canada.  Yeah!  Thats the one!

Canada!  Canada?!  Oh dear!  We might do better at Science in the UK – but clearly our geography is distinctly lacking!

 

Sloe day…

The summer isn’t really summer for me without jam making.  Usually it’s an afternoon strawberry picking followed by a boil up at home, but this year we’ve discovered that my better half is allergic to strawberries – apparently not as uncommon as you might think – and so strawberry jam is out of the question.

Fortunately we don’t just make strawberry jam.

Yesterday we set off blackberry picking  – a favourite autumn pass-time of mine – I just LOVE free food!  (Field mushrooms are good too – but I haven’t seen any this year…)  Anyway, yesterday it was a few jars of blackberry jam into the store cupboard for the winter, and a blackberry and apple crumble for tea.

This morning I was out again, doing an early morning raid three doors down where the house is rented out and the blackberry bush trailing out from their front garden was just laden!

Yes – I know… it’s in their garden… but is it really scrumping if a) it’s hanging over the public pavement, b) they won’t do anything with them anyway and c) it’s just weeds?? – I don’t know – but I have to admit it’s one of the reasons I did an early morning raid when they were asleep in bed instead of picking them yesterday afternoon just in case anyone leant out of the window and said Oi!)

Today – we went out with the kids to a play area about 20 minutes away and what should there be at the edge of the field but the most heavily laden sloe bush I have ever seen in my life!  Now, I love sloe gin, but I’m far too impatient for anything like that – but such a crop of sloes was hard to resist – so I didn’t.

Getting them home I googled Sloe Jam – there must be a recipe somewhere.  But was there?  No.  At least, not one that didn’t involve me going out and buying (YES BUYING) more fruit to go with it.  (Cooking apples in this case.)  And so… we invented our own recipe with what we had in the house.

So – for those needing a sloe jam recipe (if you happen to find a bush cropping as heavily as I did this autumn)… here it is:

SLOE JAM

1.2 kg sloes (approx)

400 ml Orange Juice (cheap shoddy concentrate was all we had in the house)

300ml water

1.2kg preserving sugar (it has to be Preserving sugar NOT jam sugar).

METHOD:

Clean all the twigs etc from the sloes, and then put them in a large pan with the water.  Bring them to the boil and simmer for around 10 minutes.  Mash them with a potato masher.  (You may need a bit more water depending on how much evaporates out.)

Strain the sloes in a muslin bag or through a sieve – getting out as much juice and flesh as possible, but leaving the stones and skins behind.  (we used both the slow drip and when that wasn’t fast enough for me, the squeezing to within an inch of their life technique).

After that you should hopefully have around 600gm of sloe juice and strained flesh to make jam with.  The rest is rubbish – just throw it away / compost it (but be warned – there’ll be a ton of pips in your compost).

Add the sloe juice and flesh, orange juice and preserving sugar to a LARGE pan ( the jam rises while boiling so you need to be aware it might boil over – we used a massive stock pot).  Bring to the boil and boil for 15 minutes.

After that – just decant the jam into jam jars and hey presto – Sloe Jam (or in this case probably Sloe Marmalade as it’s got the orange in it as well.

Either way – it’s delicious!  Can’t wait until it’s cooled down!

Anyway – that’s my “recipe for the day” and “what” you are asking – “does this have to do with murders?”

Oh – well take a look at the straining sloes – could easily be blood…

It’s a dogs life.

And it’s raining here in Grimsby. A fact which didn’t escape the MET office who on the radio this morning said (and I quote):

“It’s been raining throughout the night, so this morning sees a very wet start…” Yes… well… I could have told them that! Puddles everywhere… not least in the kitchen which means the shower is once again leaking.

Still, I digress… I was going to talk about dogs. In particular OUR dog who informed me today by his look of total contempt that it is FAR too wet for him to even set foot outside the back door.

Oh yes. There he is, first thing in the morning skidding accross the laminate flooring doggy legs spinning, desperate to visit the garden, bark at anything of note and wee on the plants.

I just can’t open the door fast enough for him. The keys rattle in the lock – doggy whining, the bolts clatter back, a whimper of excitement, door bangs open (it get’s stiff in the wet, you have to pull it HARD) and the dog, rather than burst into the garden in his usual fit of vibrant morning energy just takes one look at the huge drops falling from the sky and then fixes me with those big contempting eyes as if it’s all my fault.

Dogs do not go out in the rain Jo. What were you thinking?

Well, I was thinking that he has a nice warm fur coat, freshly shed all over the carpet so that it is maximumly waterproof. But no. Regal dogs do not get their paws wet.

Dog is definately on the mend

Couldn’t leave the doggy “tail” where it was. So decided a follow up was in order.

Tristan removed the bandages this morning so I took a look at the scar tissue. There is the expected amount of puckering, but no inflammations or redness so it seems my indoctrination from all those years reading “Twinkle” paid off.

Scar Tissue:

So – with the bandages off, Dog is feeling and looking a lot more like himself and ready to get up to new tricks. Let’s just hope none of them involve lightbulbs…

Of course, like all dogs, this one needs a bath. He smells. There will be no line-pinning this time though, instead he’ll get all fluffed up in the tumble drier. I’m sure he’ll like that. It’s certainly less painful on the ears…

Spring Cleaning 2009

(Did I hear someone say I was barking?…)

A miserable pooch.


Oh dear. Poor Dog. He really does suffer. Back in May 2009 he was lost for nearly 48 hours (found after 2 days of searching) and before that he lost one eye (it was bitten off by his owner – hence his eye patch), and just yesterday he underwent major surgery following a 4th degree burn to his back leg.

Needless to say the poor little thing is in recovery now, and “nurse Tristan” is doing his best to make up for the fact he left him hanging over the light bulb in his bedside lamp.

This is of course Tristan’s bedtime pal – which is why the toy is so moth eaten and has been surgically assisted instead of just simply thrown away.

I must admit, I feel a little like “Nurse Nancy” right now. Did anyone else get “Twinkle” as a child?

Health Visitors

Tristan had his 3 year check on Monday. He passed. How could he not when he was bright enough for this:

Health visitor hands him a box of brick style toys. “What can you make with this?”

Tristan tips out the box at his feet. “A mess.”

Kids!