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Paw Print Necklace for Marly’s Mum

teardrop paw print necklace modelled by marlin

Back in August 2020, I created a Paw Print, Teardrop Necklace for Marly’s Mum. Marlin (Marly for short) is a Red Fox Labrador who, at the time of going to press, is adored by almost 15k followers on Instagram. Marly’s account has the most gorgeous photos featuring Marly and her Mum’s adventures.

Having a Paw Print Charm is the best way of capturing a special memory of your dog. Your dog’s real paw print is used to make the charm. When Marly’s Mum placed her order for a Pure Silver, Paw Print, Teardrop Necklace, I sent her a Paw Print Kit, consisting of an Inkless Wipe and Special Paper.

Capturing Marlin’s Paw Print

At the time, Marlin’s Mum was one of my ambassadors and she did a fantastic job of taking a short video of her using the Inkless wipe to capture Marlin’s paw print which you can see below.

Marly’s Mum captured her paw print perfectly using the inkless wipe and paper

Preview in new tab

Once this was achieved, she sent me a DM of the prints to check that they were suitable for use. The prints were gorgeous! I chose the best paw print and got straight to work with making the charm.

marly's paw print captured using the inkless wipe on special paper
Mary’s Mum captured her paw print using the kit sent with her order

A special technique is used to create a negative of the paw print which is then transferred onto a rubber stamp. This rubber stamp is then used to imprint onto silver clay.

Next, Marlin’s name is added to the front of the charm and the charm is then left to dry for 24 hours.

sanding to finished polished silver paw print charm
Once the silver clay has been imprinted with the paw print and name, it is left to dry for 24 hours

Final Stages of Making the Paw Print Charm

Once the silver clay has hardened, it is hand-polished, then hand-fired using a blow torch to reveal a Pure Silver charm. I’ve captured a short video for you to see this process.

Firing the silver clay charm using a blow torch

My favourite part has to be the final stages of polishing! I love seeing the transformation. A high shine is achieved using three grains of special sanding paper. A polishing solution is also used to highlight the paw print detail and personalisation.

highly polished silver teardrop paw print charm featuring marly the Labrador's paw
Final Stage of sanding to produce a high shine

Once the charm is finished, it’s attached to a Sterling Silver chain. For this particular charm, I used a beautiful, fine diamond-cut, belcher chain at 18 inches long. This length allows the chain to sit elegantly, just below the collar bone.

Finally, the Paw Print Charm Necklace is ready to be sent to Marly’s Mum. It’s placed in a lovely, grey gift box and is packaged safely, to be delivered by post.

Marly’s Mum was so happy to receive this gorgeous charm and months later she was still enjoying wearing her necklace, Marly reported:

“The human still says this is the best thing she has ever gotten, has pride of place round her neck everyday.”

I love hearing this kind of feedback from my customers! Now Marlin’s Mum will always have a special part of Marlin with her. Wherever she is, an imprint of Marly’s Paw Print will always be with her.

marlin the red fox labrador proudly posing with the teardrop silver paw print charm made for her mum
Marlin perfectly posing with her Mummy’s Paw Print Necklace!

If you’d like to create a memory like Marly’s Mum has and have your very own, pure silver, paw print necklace, you can see the product details for the Teardrop Necklace which is currently part of our January sale!

Follow the adventures of Marly and her hooman on their Instagram account: marlin_the_red_fox_labrador. You’ll discover featured dog products, exclusive discount codes for Marlin’s followers, and an insight into the life of this gorgeous Labrador. From, ‘Tongue out Tuesday’ Posts, to beautiful sunset pictures, Marly really is living her best life!

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7 Great Independent UK Dog Accessory Brands

7 great independent dog accessory brands

I’ve found 7 great, independent, Dog Accessory brands all based here in the UK. They all have online shops and sell across the country.

Choosing handmade products to buy from independent brands is a fantastic way to support our economy plus buying from a UK brand means your supporting home-grown talent.

7 great independent brands for dog accessories

Your dog would look dapper in any accessory from these 7 brands!

Each shop sells something unique in terms of beautifully handmade dog accessories such as bandanas, bows, collars, leads and dog tags.

Take a look and show your support. These 7 great brands have been listed in no particular order.

Accessories for your Dog: Bandanas, Bows, Leads and Collars

  1. The Collar & Lead
7 great independent uk dog accessory brands

The Collar and Lead produce colourful, fabric dog leads and collars. In addtion, their bright coloured bows come in two different sizes so you can choose the right size for your dog.

Handmade in Staffordshire, the owner, Sabrina, initially started making dog collars for family and friends, eventually extending the range to include leads and bows and so The Collar and Lead was born!

Sabrina’s shop can be found here on Etsy and prices range from £5.00 for a Dog bow to £9.00 for a ‘Dog Bow and Collar Set.’ Furthermore, all prices include free UK Delivery.

For Social Media, follow The Collar and Lead on Instagram.

2. Raise The Woof Designs

raise the woof logo 7 great dog accessory brands

Raise The Woof Designs is an independent business that came about when the owner’s son helped her with a difficult time of coping with anxiety.

All profits go towards Holly’s son as She wanted to give something back to him as a way of showing how grateful she was that he helped pull her out of a dark time.

Accessories for your dog includes funky bandanas and bows which can be further personalised by add-ons such as pom-poms, buttons, gems and tassels. All accessories can be customised to your requirements.

Prices start from £4.50 for a bow and £5 for a bandana. To customise yours, go visit Holly’s Etsy shop. Follow Raise the Woof Designs on Instagram and give the furry CEO, Elsa a follow also!

3. Kiki & Jakx

Kiki&Jackx 7 great UK based dog accessory brands

Beautiful Bandanas, Bows and Leads is what Kiki and Jakx make! Your Dog’s Bandana can be personalised with their name to make for an extra special accessory.

The owner, Sarah-Jane, also creates scrunchies that can be made in the same fabric as your dog’s accessory to make a perfect match!

Why not go one step further and create a matching scrunchie for you and your dog for the ultimate matching duo look for your dog walks?

Prices start from £3.60 for a bandana which can be personalised with your dog’s name for an additional £3.

Visit Sarah-Jane’s Etsy shop to see her full range of dog accessories. Also give Kiki and Jakx, a follow on Instagram

4. C&I Collars

C&I Collars UK Dog Accessories 7 Great Brands

Based in the North East, one year old Siberian Huskies, Cairo and Indie are the inspiration behind this brand of uniquely made braided collars, rope collars and rope leads.

Visit C&I Collar’s online shop and you will see the array of colourful combinations of braided collars with quirky names such as ‘Bubblegum’, ‘Rhubarb and Custard’ and ‘Peach Bellini!!’

Select the size and attachment (Nickel or Rose Gold) to customise your collar or lead for the perfect style.

Prices start from £8 for a braided collar, £9 for a rope collar and £14-18 for a lead.

To see how gorgeous your dog could look wearing one of their designs following C&I Collars on Instagram and give CEO’s Cairo and Indie a follow too!

5. Doxie Threads

Doxie Threads 7 of the best uk dog accessory brands

A fellow, Birmingham based small business is Doxie Threads. The owner, Libby, creates handmade dog bows using retro and vintage inspired fabrics. 

Your dog will look gorgeous wearing a bow made from fabrics such as Tartan, Pinstripe, Polka Dot, Tweed and Floral. Other fabric designs include, Ladybird, Stars, Camper Van and my favourite, Glitter Ball!

There’s plenty of fabric choices to choose from so visit Libby’s Etsy shop to view all possible fabric options and treat your dog to a new accessory!

Prices start at £5 for a bow. Give Doxie Threads a follow on Instagram to keep up to date with their latest creations.

UK Brands – Dog Accessories: Tags And Keyrings

6. Happy Penguin Designs

One of a kind, hand stamped, personalised Dog-tags and Keyrings is what Happy Penguins Design offer here for Dog owners.

Whether it be a tag for your dog’s collar or a keyring, you can personalise the words and design to suit your needs.

Go for a dog-related message such as ‘Serial Licker’, ‘Chief Sock Hunter’ or my personal favourite, ‘Excuse The Drool!’ Alternatively, have your dog’s name stamped and decorated with a charm or hand-stamped motif ranging from paws, stars, flowers or a dog bone.

Prices start from £4 for a custom pet keyring to £6 for a custom made dog tag.

Visit Happy Penguins Design online shop, follow them on Instagram and to keep up do date on what their CEO, Willow’s been up to, give this Malticockapoo a follow too!

7. Twiggy Tags

made in the uk 7 best accessory dog brands

A luxury, dog-tag company created by Lo and Rich, inspired by their miniature Labradoodle, Twiggy.

Their dog tags come in three different sizes for you to pick the right size for your dog.

Dog tags are hand-stamped from Brass or Aluminium, are 2mm thick, making the tags durable for your dog to wear. They also produce keyrings – see the matching set in the picture below!

Design your choice of tag to include your dog’s name, add a charm and hand-stamped motif to personalise your order.

In addition, Twiggy Tags are 100% compliant with UK Law (Control of Dogs Order 1992) meaning their tags can include your address, postcode, number and name (dependent on the size of the tag.) A perfect way to keep your dog safe when they’re outside in public spaces.

Prices start from £10.50 for a personalised ‘Pawrents’ Keyring to £13.50 for a personalised slogan tag.

To get 10% off, use code TRUE10 when ordering from Twiggy Tags!

To choose a customisation for your dog tag visit their online shop plus give them a follow on Instagram. Their CEO, Twiggy also has an insta page!

I’ve hope you’ve enjoyed finding out about each of these 7 great Dog accessory brands here in the UK, all providing you with the opportunity to buy unique accessories for your precious dog.

Further reading: Dog Health and Behaviour – Why Do Dogs Eat Grass?

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Why do dogs eat grass?

why does my dog eat grass

There are many reasons why dog owners believe their dogs eat grass.

One of the most common reasons believed is that they eat grass to induce vomiting when they are not well.

Another common belief is that dogs eat grass when they are lacking nutrients such as fibre as grass is largely freely available, it’s an easy quick fix for dogs.

Seeing your dog regularly eat grass could pose many unanswered questions so let’s find out what those answers could be and what you could do about this behaviour.

why do dogs eat grass

1. Does my dog eat grass because they are unwell?

Many dog owners have observed their dogs eating grass only then to vomit it up moments later increasing the belief that this is a dog’s way of self-medicating an upset stomach.

This has not been scientifically proven and in one study it was shown that less than 25% of dogs actually vomit after eating grass. Therefore, dogs are more likely to eat grass because they enjoy the taste and texture of it, especially in the morning during Summer months when the grass has higher stores of sugar due to photosynthesis.

2. Does my dog eat grass to get rid of worms?

Some vets actually believe this is another reason why dogs resort to eating grass. Again, although not scientifically proven, it’s believed they eat grass to purge any worms they may have. Nevertheless, to avoid the growth of intestinal parasites, ensure your dog receive a regular worm treatment.

3. Does my dog eat grass because they lack fibre?

Another common belief is that dogs eat grass because they are lacking a vital nutrient such as fibre. Some vets do advise putting a dog on a fibre rich diet if excessive grass eating is observed. If you think this might be the case with your dog, seek the advice of your vet.

4. Does my dog eat grass out of boredom?

Some believe this to be the case with some dogs that they resort to eating grass because they are not getting enough outdoor stimulus. Introduce throw and catch games and hide and find games with your dog to keep them stimulated.

throw and fetch games

5. Does my dog eat grass because it’s their natural instinctive behaviour?

It is widely agreed that before dogs were domesticated they would have ingested grass as a natural part of their diet due to consuming small animals such as rodents and birds.

Should I be worried about my dog eating grass?

If this is not a normal behaviour, then in short yes. Observe whether they are excessively gulping down the grass as opposed to grazing. If this is a change in behaviour seek advice from your vet.

Also, consider the type of grass your dog regularly eats and has access to. Is it sprayed with pesticides? If so be wary as pesticides such as glyphosate (a pesticide commonly used in weed killer) which can be toxic to dogs and lead to lethargy, vomiting and diarrhoea.

teach the leave command

What can I do to stop my dog from eating grass?

You could try to distract your dog from this behaviour using the Leave Command technique.

You also try a more enriched fibre diet and observe if there is a reduction in this behaviour.

Alternatively, if your dog is happy and in good health, then there’s no real cause for concern. Instead you could ensure the type of grass they are eating is at least safe for them by making a grazing patch in your garden or grow special pet grass, using non-pesticide grass.

Suggested further reading: A study published in 2008 on this subject

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Top 10 Free Printables for Children

There have been a wealth of free printable companies are sharing to help parents keep children entertained and busy during this lockdown.

The level of provision schools are providing for parents seems to vary. I’ve seen on social media that some schools are providing regular materials for parents to print at home whilst others haven’t provided anything since the first week of being off.

This week marks Witsun half-term so many of schools will be closed and won’t be sending out activities to support learning at home.

With this in mind, I’ve scoured the internet for you and found free printables, all aimed at Primary School Children. The list below is in no particular order.

Top 10 Free Printables To Use

  1. The Wildlife Trusts have free downloads for children to take part in their 30 Days of Wild challenge. Families are challenged to do 1 wild thing a day ranging from making your own card with fresh leaves to making a natural face mask!  
30 days of wild
Picture credit: The Wildlife Trusts

2. Little Bins for Little Hands is a great website for all things STEM including a wealth of lego challenges such as this Rainbow Lego Challenge and these Lego Figure Math Sentence Sheets to complete.

rainbow lego challenge
Picture credit: Little Bins for Little Hands

3. Tickled Moon is offering a free download Monster Fun Activity Set. The set includes; dot-to-dot, spot the difference and mazes to complete.

tickled moon monster fun
Picture credit: Tickled Moon

4. This website has a lovely printable Worry Tree to make to encourage your child to talk about any worries they might have – perfect for this time.

kiddy charts worry tree
Picture credit: Kiddy Charts

5. Can you identify different types of bark, tree, fruit and their seeds? Become a nature detective with Woodland Trusts free printables.

6. RSPCA have some fun resources including instructions on how to make an ‘Egg Box’ animal, Build A Birdfeeder and Become a Pet Photographer!

RSPCA Egg Box Animals
Picture credit: RSPCA

7. Children who love the Disney Film, Finding Nemo will love these printable images to cut out and stick to create their own underwater scene.

8. Who doesn’t like The Gruffalo and other great books by Julia Donaldson? These Activity sheets from Donaldson’s best-selling books will provide lots of fun for your child.

gruffalo child dot to dot
Picture Credit:

9. How about a Covid-19 Lockdown Time Capsule? Perfect for children to make a record of this unique time we are all experiencing.

2020 covid 19 capsule

10. A simple story to explain the virus to younger children.

If you find any other resources you think would be good to share, leave a comment with the link and I’ll update this blog post. Thanks for reading!

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Easy Bakes For Children – Coco pops Cereal Bars

I love recipes that are really easy to achieve with children. Making these Easy Bakes, Coco Pops Cereal Bars means that you’re children will be involved in the majority of the making process.

There is no actual baking involved, only melting of white chocolate over a stove or in the microwave.

My son loves making these, there’s only 3 ingredients; honey, Coco Pops and white chocolate!

It takes no longer that 20-30 minutes to complete, perfect for those young ones and toddlers who just cannot wait to taste their sweet treats!

All three ingredients are still readily available at the supermarket during lockdown. As flour supplies are hit and miss, depending on where you shop, these ingredients mean you can do a last minute, quick baking session with no disappointment!

I’ve written below how we made these simple, tasty cereal bars. If you’re child is not keen on Coco Pops, you could substitute it for their favourite cereal whether it be Frosties, Rice Crispies, Cheerios or other. Also, you could swap honey for golden syrup if you prefer but watch out for the sugar content!

It only takes 20-30 mins to complete! Perfect bake make for small hands

A PDF of this recipe can be downloaded here

Ingredients needed

3 Ingredients, you’ll need;

Coco Pops


1 Large Bar of White Chocolate


Just to note, I used about half the contents of the Coco Pops and using a square baking tin. You could use any type of baking tin you have available, such as a loaf baking tin.

Break the white chocolate into squares, then melt the chocolate over a pot of water using a waterproof bowl or in the microwave. Put the chocolate to one side to cool.

Pour 4 tablespoons of honey into a bowl of Coco Pops and mix, stirring to make sure the mixture is evenly covered.

Tip the contents into a lined baking tray and flatten with the back of a spoon.

Next, pour the white chocolate over the mixture, making sure the mixture is evenly covered.

Use a spoon to scoop and and spread any excess white chocolate over any part of the mixture that isn’t covered.

Finally, leave the mixture in the fridge for 30 minutes to chill.

When ready, cut into bars or squares and enjoy! (It never stays for long in my house, so make sure you have your fair share!!)

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Lockdown Learning: Review of the Night Zookeeper

Before you read on, please note that I was not paid or given any discount to write this review on the Night Zookeeper. This review is solely based on my opinion and user experience.

I am always on the lookout for resources that help with my son’s writing. Since being on lockdown it’s been even more crucial to keep his enthusiasm going when it comes to writing. My nine year old son will admit that writing is not his favourite subject and that he’ll choose Maths over writing any day!

What is the Night Zookeeper?

My Facebook Newsfeed kept on showing me an ad for the the Night Zookeeper so I finally signed-up for the 7 day trial. What is it?

night zookeeper
Picture credit: Night Zookeeper

It’s an interactive platform, created by a teacher, to inspire children to write stories, descriptions, poems, facts, the list goes on! Aimed at children aged 6-12, it’s tablet friendly and can be accessed on laptops and computers.

There are also games that help children to develop their reading and spelling skills. Writing comes to life by children being able to draw and create their own animals as part of the Night Zookeeper.

Once I signed up, which was very easy and quick to do, it gave me a Username for my son to use. Unfortunately, he didn’t like the name (which I knew immediately upon seeing it!) I wrote a quick email to their support and they quickly responded with an email to say that I could change it which I did so I was impressed straight away with their level of support.

How Did My Son Find Using It?

When I showed The Night Zookeeper to my son, he was instantly blown away and I was happy as he’s not easy to please! I followed the parent guide which was available to download straight after signing up. My son came up with a username, then was immediately prompted to create his avatar and his animal.

night zookeeper logo
Picture credit: Night Zookeeper

Next, he had to write a description of his animal and once finished this was saved and ‘submitted’ to a tutor who marked the work and gave feedback, which included any grammar that was missed and suggestions on how to improve it.

My son has been using the program for almost a week, not everyday, but most days and it’s never a struggle to get him to write. Initially, I had to help him navigate the different areas and it was useful being able to refer back to the parent guide.

So far, he has written a character description, answered some comprehension questions on bird migration, completed a lesson on National Tea Day, read poems from other children within the Night Zookeeper community and played lots of fun spelling games. He is looking forwarding to ‘free’ writing where he gets to let loose his creativity and write a story of his own.

night zookeepers amazing writers
Picture Credit: Night Zookeeper

Everytime he completes a piece of writing, he has the option to save as a draft and come back to it or submit for one of the teachers to review.

My Final Thoughts

Would I recommend it? In short, yes! I’ve been amazed at how well my son has received it and how enthused he is to now write. He’s 9, so is proficient enough with using the laptop/computer. I think it works well as it gives children the opportunity to revise and edit their work as they type, a skill some can struggle with when they’re writing.

I do think younger children may find it a struggle and more frustrating if they’re not so familiar using the keyboard/mouse and you’d probably need to support them more when completing their tasks.

I have now fully subscribed to a year’s membership and was very happy to benefit for the 52% discount they were currently offering on all levels of subscription.

If you think you’re child would like to use this fun learning resource then I have a referral code for you to use which means you and I both get 5% credited to both accounts.

Are There Any Free Resources To Use?

Yes, there’s a free Creative Writing Resource Pack to use when you sign-up to their newsletter.

*Please note this is an independent review based on my own and my son’s usage and opinion of this learning platform.

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Unique and Personalised Gifts for Mother’s Day

mothers day gifts

I’ve compiled a list of unique and personalised gifts to make any Mum smile on the Mother’s Day.

These items are listed in no particular order and can can be bought online, making the process of buying quick and easy.

Gifts for Pregnant Women and New Mums

Pregnancy is such a special and unique time in any women’s life, it’s an experience she’ll never forget.

Keep these precious memories alive by documenting them in a Pregnancy Journal and create a perfect keepsake to share with your child when they’re older.

For instance, a pregnancy journal like the Childhood Memory Journal, from Mama Journals, chronicles the growth and experience of your child from 0-18 years.

Sections in the this journal include:

  • Pregnancy Notes
  • Family Tree
  • First Day At School for Primary and Secondary
  • Family Traditions and Photos
  • Recipes To Pass Down
  • A Letter To Your 18 Year Old
  • Words OF Wisdom.

In addition, these gorgeous journals are bound using Buckram, a hard wearing material, to ensure you can enjoy this journal for years to come.

Unique Gift To Celebrate Breastfeeding Mums

A gift to acknowledge a Mum’s breastfeeding journey are these wonderful, Breastfeeding Milestone Cards from Liquid Gold Mamas GB. Made from durable card these celebrate the rewarding experience of breastfeeding in a fun, quirky way.

breastfeeding milestone card
Breastfeeding Milestone Cards

These humorous and uniquely designed cards for Mum celebrate Mum’s graduation from 1 month ‘Ruby Boobs’ to 12 Months ‘Golden Boobs!!’ Also available as a Deluxe Milestone Pack.

Gifts for Mums Who Love Wall Art

For Mother’s who love to display works of art in the home, a portrait of her child would be the perfect gift.

Little Peach Portraits create amazing, portraits of your child’s unique profile that is instantly recognisable. Choose from different collections such as The Metallic Collection, The Ink Collection and The Colour Collection.

Prices start from £65 for a Single Print from the Colour Collection. Turnaround is about 3-4 weeks. However, to guarantee your portrait arrives in time for Mother’s Day, photos need to be sent and approved by 1st March.

Gifts That Celebrate Family

Surprise Mum with a gift she can proudly display on the mantle or shelf at home.

Created by Annabelle’s Crafts ‘n’ Creations. These Printed Wordsearch Plaques feature the names of your family members displayed within a Wordsearch.

Add your own special message to the acrylic plaque to make for a unique mother’s day gift to enjoy for many years to come.

printed word search plaque
Printed Wordsearch Plaques

Sweet Treats For Mum

The Honeywell Biscuit Co creates beautifully made novelty biscuits for all occasions. Furthermore, Biscuit Gift Sets can be personalised to make for a truly unique gift.

Why not buy a gift set such as the Best Mum/Mama/Grandma Gift Set? It contains hand painted biscuits using edible paint and comes decorated with a touch of 24 carat gold leaf to add a bit of glamour.

Moreover, The Bunch of Biscuit Flowers are hand-iced flower shaped biscuits that come with a speciality tea from We Are Tea. Prices start from £22. A special treat for any Mum who likes her biscuits!

Personalised Jewellery for Mum

Personalised jewellery doesn’t have to break the bank. Here at True Love Keepsakes, we’ve got you covered!

For example, our gorgeous, ready made, charm necklaces start from £19.99. In addition they have a short turnaround time (3-5 days) perfect for any Dad who’s left gift buying to the last minute!

A Mum who loves contemporary jewellery will love this Silver Disk Necklace.

silver disk necklace
Comes With A Special Printed Message

Personalise it with a meaningful message for Mum to proudly wear. This lovely necklace comes with a gift box and a pretty card insert that reads:

MUM  – Thank you for always putting others first, in everything you do, to the kindest, most amazing mum, thank you for just being you.

rose gold plated disk necklace
All Necklaces Include Free Delivery

Alternatively, a Rose Gold Plated Disk Necklace is available and comes in a lovely gift box.

Do you know a sentimental Mum who wears her heart on her sleeve?

For instance, such a Mum would love this Heart Charm Necklace that comes with two extra charms, one pink the other crystal complimenting the main personalised gold (plated) heart charm.

gold plated heart charm necklace
Add A Special Message For Mum

Add the names of her children or add a loving message for her to remember why she is so special. Comes in a beautiful gift box.

Check each link for further details on how to order in time for Mother’s Day!

Each of the products I have selected are from small businesses based in the UK. I love supporting our home grown talent and love showcasing unique products.

Mother’s Day is truly a day of appreciation for all the love and devotion Mum’s give to their children and family each and every day so give her a special gift, made with love.

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Flex Appeal for Flexible Working

I came across the #flexappeal when I began following Mother Pukka on Instagram. Reading the founder, Anna Whitehouse’s goal to encourage employers to use flexible working hours for their employees struck a chord with me. Previously, before having my child in 2011, I worked as a full time Primary Teacher. Although it was a job that commanded a lot of my time, I simply loved it and believed it was a career I would always want to do.

Roll on 2013, a year since returning from maternity leave and I found myself hating my job, not because of what I was doing on daily basis but the amount of time I was having to spend away from my son who I had put into nursery 4 days a week.

flex appeal is a flexible working campaign for all employees in the UK
campaign for ALL employees

I eventually decided to leave a job I had been doing for almost 10 years because I could no longer commit to the hours spent marking late at school, at home and planning over the weekends. Luckily, Supply Teaching became my lifeline, it offered a way out of an endless battle of dividing my time between work and my family.

Mother Pukka does Flex Appeal

Anna Whitehouse (aka Mother Pukka) created the Flex Appeal campaign through similar circumstances. Being charged a late fee and chastised for collecting her child late from Nursery one evening, she took matters into her own hands. The birth of Flex Appeal was just the start.

happy mother and child in park
Ensuring the hours you work don’t affect your home life.

She realised that it wasn’t so much the circumstance that failed her but instead it was a work system that was flawed. A system that seemed to demonise employees that had other responsibilities outside the workplace.

The Flex Appeal for flexible working campaign isn’t just for parents. It’s for anyone who would need flexible working hours due to a number of reasons. This could be health issues, a disability or being a carer for someone else. It’s a campaign which is promoting a need for change, change in the way we work to ensure both employer and employee are happy.

A happy employee is a healthy employee and one that will do their upmost to fulfil the duties that their job requires. Flex Appeal campaign aims to educate and inform UK employers of the benefits of enabling their employees to work suitable hours.

Nowadays, most people need a laptop and internet connection to do their jobs so location also plays a factor when discussing flexible working for employees. Connecting remotely from home to the office could mean a world of difference to the work-life balance of an individual.

women working from home with laptop on her bed
Many jobs can be fulfilled outside the office with connection to the internet and a laptop so why isn’t it done more?

Flexible working and job satisfaction

A survey carried out by McDonalds showed that out of 4,000 respondents, 70% had a desire to work flexible hours. 65% stated that working flexible hours would increase their well-being and their job satisfaction. Unfortunately, only a third believed their employer would be in favour of flexible working.

Flexible working is also something that could benefit people with a disability who are able to work. There are 11 million people classed as disabled in the UK. When it comes to working there’s a 30% difference between disabled and non-disabled people gaining employment.

When it comes to equal opportunites, adapting working hours to suit individuals is a must.

Anna Whitehouse believes that flexible working shouldn’t be a ‘nice extra if it’s possible.’ It’s time for companies to change and adapt to the way they expect their employees to fulfill their duties.

She’s campaigning for change in the way employers think about job employment for their employees. She’s serious about spreading the message far and wide. So far Flex Appeal for Flexible working Flash Mobs have occurred, a collaboration with McDonalds and an appearance on TEDx talks.

Spending long hours in the office or wherever your place of work is doesn’t prove your output is more. Hours that suit you means you’ll be more productive and motivated to get the job done. Consequently, the high quality work you put out is exactly what is expected of you. Therefore, Flexible Working is a win, win.

Employers who support work flexibility

More findings from the McDonald’s survey showed that 61% of people considered ‘good jobs’ to be those that offered flexible working. There are companies that already adopt a flexible working ethos here in the UK. They realise to get the best candidates for the job they have to provide flexible working opportunities.

Spread Awareness of the Flex Appeal movement!

What can you do to help spread the message? Share this story and the #flexappeal on your social media pages to spread awareness. Ask questions on your pages to open discussion for better working hours for all. Follow Mother Pukka and Papa Pukka on their social media pages for updates on this campaign.

Sign this petition here to get this heard by those in the House of Commons. Making progress to bring about this change to make Flex Appeal for flexible working available for all.

On the government website for Department for Business, there is a survey to complete. It’s an opportunity for you to put your views across regarding working hours transparency and family leave and pay. The survey also covers questions on job advertisements pay and closing the pay gender gap. You only have until October 11th to complete and it only takes a few minutes.

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Lego Discovery Centre Birmingham

We spent the day out for my son’s 8th birthday at Lego Discovery Centre in Birmingham. It’s an indoor centre as opposed to the outdoor Lego Land we’re all familiar with. The venue is aimed at children aged 3 – 10 years.

Having purchased a combo ticket that included an Entry pass to the Sea-Life Centre just over the road, I went online to the Lego Combi Ticket page to book my timed slot. Now I kept on going back to re-adjust the time as my son had his usual swimming lesson so I wanted to make sure that he didn’t miss out.

I made more than three changes for the time to arrive as we couldn’t agree on a time to get there. Consquently, a warning flashed up, alerting me that this was the last time I could change the time – so be warned!

Having booked an early afternoon slot for 11 o’clock. We arrived about 15 minutes ahead of time and joined a queue specifically for pre-booked tickets. We were lucky to walk straight pass a long queue of people buying tickets on the day. There was no-one in front of us and we walked straight in!

Entering the centre – what to expect

We were immediately led to a long bench and prompted to pose for photos standing next to some Lego models. The first opportunity to encourage you to buy that all important family photo! It was very light-hearted and no hard sell (we did buy it in the end, they did a combi deal which was 2 photos for £12.)

The whole experience is underground, meaning you have to go into a lift to take you to the discovery centre.

As you exit the lift you’ll arrive at the first of two rides. There’s a train like short ride called Kingdom Quest which takes you through a short ride mission to free a captured princess. To Save the princess, have these toy pistols to zap the baddies and objects which consists of spiders, skeletons and rock men.

The ride it’s pauses towards the end so that you can again pose for a photo. As a result, when you exit you’ll see a kiosk that will have your photos to purchase if you should want to.

Miniature Lego City of Birmingham

The path then leads to the bit I found most fascinating! The Model village of Birmingham and the surrounding landmarks across the West Midlands.

I could have spent ages looking at all the tiny details from the stream and boats of the canal infront of the mailbox and cube to the rock stage and moving, guitar playing lego men at the arena. There were also intricate models of Warwick Castle, Grand Central, The Botanical Gardens, Aston Villa and the Bullring Ring.

Other attractions at the Discovery Centre

Everything is included in the entrance fee. Meaning depending on the age of your child you can spend a good few hours entertaining them there.

After the miniature city, You’re lead out to the main play area consisting of a small soft play area andcreative classrooms. Workshops on how to build specific items are held there and classes run throughout the day.

Included in the price is a short 4D Lego Movie in their auditorium lasts for 20-30 minutes. There are various show times throughout the day and it works on a first come, first serve basis. You queue to get into the auditorium. My advice is to look at the show times (infront of the autditorium) and plan your time there around this. It’s a great activity to do and prepare to get a little wet!!

A digital play area where children can build Lego pieces and create a short animation. Another fair-ground ride called Merlin’s Apprentice is towards the back of the floor. Duplo and lego play stations and pits are dotted around the area. Finally, a coffee shop, serving hot and cold drinks, sandwiches, pastries and snacks sits in the middle of the room

I saw many families eating their own food in the cafe area, there wasn’t any signs or objections from staff. On the café page, it does state that people are not permitted to bring in their own food. However, on the FAQs Page it states that if you have an allergy, you can bring your own food in.

Book tickets online to save money

Have unlimted visits and save money with a Merlin annual pass. Included in the price is entry to visit the Sea-Life Centre situated over the other side of the canal. Keep checking Money Saving Expert for up to Merlin pass deals and discounts.

Booking online will save you money as opposed to buying tickets on the door. Buy a Combi Ticket online for £25 (£30 on the door) and get access to Lego Discovery Centre and the Sea Life Centre. Your combi ticket is valid for up to 3 months so you don’t have to visit both on the same day.

One adult and toddler ticket costs £14 when buying online. The ticket includes admission for 1 Adult and 1 child (5 years and under.)

Book Group bookings of 10 or more online, great for family reunions and birthdays. There are no specific party packages or private rooms and your guests would have to buy from the Café as there are no specific foods for parties.

Before you go

Check online for updates and visit the Events Page to see what’s happening ahead of your trip. Special events take place during the school holidays or busier times of the year such as Easter or Christmas.

For instant up to date news, don’t forget to visit the centre’s Instagram and Facebook pages.

Have fun and let us know now how the experience was for you in the comments.

Loretta x

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Heartfelt Mother’s Day Gifts

Heartfelt Mother's Day Gifts

Put a huge smile on any Mum’s face with these great, heartfelt gives I have compiled.

Mother’s Day falls on March 31st this year and it’s a hard task trying to find that special gift for a Mum who deserves to be spoilt. So to save you some time, I’ve scoured the internet to find some gorgeous, unique gifts.

Personalised Jewellery

Loving Mother’s always put their children first so therefore will love this beautiful Tree of life/Circle of Life Sterling Silver Necklace. Engrave the names of her children and add up to 5 birthstones to make it a truly heartfelt gift.

Mum’s who already own charm bracelets such as a Pandora, Chamilia, Links of London or Thomas Sabo will love these additions to her collection. A Fingerprint Bead Charm, featuring the actual fingerprint of her child would be a lovely gift for her to cherish.

Alternatively, any Mother would love having the actual handprint of her child imprinted onto this Heart Bead Charm. Both charms can be worn on an existing charm bracelet.

Futhermore, there are other gorgeous Fingerprint Jewellery options to choose from. To find out more about our Fingerprint Jewellery Range, see this page.

A heirloom ring

Engraved with the names and birthstones of her children, Mum will treasure this heirloom Family Ring for a life time. Choose the right ring for your Mum by opting for either Silver or Rose Gold.

Personalised Home Decor

An elegant, Personalised Crystal Vase would be a lovely gift for any Mum who loves fresh flowers in her home. In additon, the Vase can be personalised with a sentimental message.

Give Mum something ‘from the heart’ on Mother’s Day by choosing up to 10 photos for this Personalised Cushion. You can make it extra special with a printed message. Plus, change the colour of the text to suit your preferences and have the perfect gift for Mum or Nanny.

Lampshades are a great way of adding personality to your room and home. The company, Bags of Love, prints your favourite photos onto a lampshade. You can choose a Table Lamp or a Ceiling Lamp. There are a choice of four sizes to choose from and you can design the arrangement of the photos. Alternatively, you can upload your own designs or add some text.

Natural Skincare

The Cleanse and Polish Cleanser is an all time favourite of mine because it gently removes dirt from your face whilst keeping it moisturised. I think The Liz Earle Essential Kit would be the perfect introduction to this range.

Introduce your Mum to Nourish Skincare Try Me Collection and she’ll thank you for her newly pampered face. It contains organic ingredients and no-nasties to ensure your Mum experiences a premium home facial. There’s enough products to give you 15-20 treatments. In addition, Botanicals offer free delivery on orders over £40. Furthermore, as an extra treat, spend over £40 on your first order and you’ll receive a free £5 voucher.

Indulgent Skincare

Mums who love Chocolate and Skincare will surely love the combining of both with the Chocolate Skin Heaven Beauty Bag. Created by Evolve Organic Beauty, the bag contains two products; a face mask and cream to make your skin glow. Even more, it gets extra marks for being Vegan and Cruelty Free.

Mother’s who love being indulged head to toe will love trying Head to Toe Kiehl’s Care. It contains travel size products to enjoy including a shampoo, conditioner, body cleanser and body creme.

Found any other special, heartfelt products for Mother’s Day? If so add them to the comments section. I would love to see what you have found.

Loretta x