kids

Steinar-La-Engeland-unsplashSo, as you may or may not know – I’ve done my time as a working mama – in the corporate world, away from the kids –  with my partner being the full-time Stay at Home Dad (SAHD) – changing the nappies, doing the shopping, doing the cooking – you know, the stuff that usually falls to the Mum in the household – not wanting to be toooooo gender specific!

All that changed about three years ago, when my partner, husband and man of my (working-mama) dreams went and got himself a job that took him away from the home and our house (and all that THAT entailed as a SAHD). He lived in another house, another home, for four out of seven nights, and we had to really rethink our family strategy.

So, I shifted my hours, and became that person who re-heats her coffee in the microwave, and works the ‘night shift’ to fit in all of the mama stuff around my kids – from cooking their meals (and encouraging them to help every other night) to stacking (and unstacking) the dishwasher – lots of these jobs we shared between us (under some duress) however, it really did make me appreciate how Mums (and Dads, obvs.) really are superheroes and their efforts and commitment to the family should be universally appreciated. Being a parent is a full time job, on top of our careers. So this begs the question, what is your ‘mum salary’?

Well, I’ve found a really fun questionnaire* (click here) for you to have a go at playing with… Simply, enter the weekly hours for each of your motherly (or fatherly) duties to find out what your ‘mum salary’ is. (not sure who is going to PAY your mum salary, perhaps we can deduct it from our child’s first pay packet, a sort-of-student-loan? That would work? right?!mum-intro

Whether you are a stay-at-home mum or dad, or out working each day, the contribution you make to your family is invaluable.

Written in association with *SunLife who have calculated our ‘Mum Salaries’ based on average salaries for a range of different occupations that mums’ and dads’ daily duties are most like.

Photo credit:  Steinar La Engeland

 

 

charity, create, education, gardening, gardening with kids, key stage 2, kids, life

Q&A with a community gardener

Q&A with a community gardener

Hannah and Kevin

Community gardener and founder of yourspace.sutton Kevin Plicio runs local community garden nursery Seears Park Nursery in Sutton. This nursery runs on pure volunteer manpower and community spirit, running training courses and therapeutic activities in a calming and peaceful environment. He has been running the beautiful non-profit nursery for almost six years, transforming it from a run-down nursery to a social and stunning community hub which has just recently been opened to the public.

As his daughter, Hannah, I’ve grown up around the transformation of the park, seeing it go from overgrown and slightly wild, to open space and inviting. Perfect for family days out and picnics, the nursery offers scenic and photogenic open areas, free for the public to utilise.

13118933_577749772401247_5145497625308435159_n13119073_577749822401242_8007960149422514965_nQ- So, tell us about what made you want to run a community project?
Well, the idea originally stemmed from me working at other projects, but these projects were all tailored to one specific group of people, or had one specific service, and I wanted to do something more socially integrating and open to all users, regardless of their background, age, or ability.

Q- What is there to see?
Honestly, there’s so much! We have this really great pond that’s just teeming with life, frogs, fish, newts, and even in the evening we get the occasional duck family coming to stay – it’s such a sight! We also have vegetable patches, some art display inside the main classroom from a local artist Santiago Plicio, the polytunnels have a great plant selection, including a great cactus area. We’re also in the process of making smaller gardens as part of the garden nursery, where 6 out of the 16 planned are complete. We also have this really stunning willow circle, which is just beautiful.

photo-1465405269228-024e4723a8d9
thanks to Stephanie Krist for this photo

Q- Tell us about your volunteers, and who helps run the nursery.
We have quite a large group of volunteers here at the nursery, and without them, there would be no way that the place could be running. Some people volunteer for a month, and some have been volunteering for years, and we appreciate every bit of help we get. Their generosity and time is something I’m always going to be so grateful for.

Q- You’ve just opened to the public for the first time in almost six years, how does that feel?
It feels amazing, we’ve been getting this place ready for the public for so long and now it feels as if our work is finally paid off, and we can do what we’ve always set out to do, create a community project that everyone can benefit for. We’ve been running training courses and school placements for years which is so amazing, but now we can finally make it open to everyone, which was always the plan. We now run a plant sale every Saturday from 10:00am until 4:00pm, and the nursery is otherwise open Monday-Thursday from 9:30 until 5:30.

sale

Q- Got any last words or comments that you want everyone to know?
I’d just love to see you there! Bring your friends, family, dogs, come and experience and enjoy the nursery, see what’s here, and if you want to contribute in any way then we’d love to hear from you too!

 

Seears Park Nursery is open to the public from 9:30am-5:30pm Monday to Thursday, and 10:am-4:00pm on a Saturday for the plant sale and general public use. Follow them on Facebook for events and updates here

Note from Ali – Thank you so much, Hannah, for introducing me to your dad’s amazing community project. Here’s a picture of a pond that my 13-year-old son made, with the addition of the Junctus that he bought from the Nursery!

13652431_980345098746058_2050378783_n

Written by Hannah Plicio-Keattch

create, life

Colour Lover YELLOW

Colour Lover YELLOW

MiniModernsHello – My name is Ali Clifford and I go by the name of @incredibusy, and I rather like the colour YELLOW.

I think this colour penchant is quite a recent phenomena  – if you look through my instagram feed, it seems to be somehow dominated with brights, and spots of yellows – I don’t really think it was intentional, it just seems to evolved that way!
We even had a ‘sogoodineveryway‘ theme a couple of weeks ago! #sgiew_YELLOW click here to read about that.

Ali Clifford Britmumslive ringsWhen I was a child, with red hair and freckles, my mother would tell me, “oh no Alison, you CAN’T wear yellow! It just doesn’t suit you….” so I started rebelling… From my eyeshadow at art school (seriously, not a good look, like a gone-wrong watermelon) to the frocks I wear today.
I’ve all sorts of outfits, and accessories in yellow now, and even have a small collection of yellow shoes.

yellow shoesI’d LIKE to be maybe someone who wears more muted colours – I love the style of friends like Ali Dover – we have similar colouring (oh, and the same name), and she just always looks so fabulous – denims, and stripes, straight out of the Toast catalogue… I do try, but the wabi-sabi in me means I’m better off multi-coloured (and a bit scruffy…)

My favourite flower in the garden happens to be yellow FORSYTHIA – to look out through the kitchen window on a rainy day and see that Forsythia bush shining like the absent sunshine, really lifts my spirits too.

Laying on a carpet of grass looking up at the blue blue skies… (#nofilter!) We have enjoyed our half term break; but it’s got us thinking about the SUMMER (and getting away from ✈️ flight paths!) – any top tips for festivals this year?? Late summer September looks like a weekend at the @goodlifeexperience – and we have August covered off with a week at the @fforestgather summer camp, a festival that’s not a festival (see blog link in profile for more on that!) but what about you lot? Anything early summer festival-wise we should check out? Anyway how about we celebrate the impending SUMMER with a new #sgiew hashtag? If you’d like to join in next week; this is a “heads up” that we will be looking for your #sgiew_goodlife photos; so tag us on your festival pics; school fête photos; tea in the garden; bunting on your tents; and how about we throw in a PRIZE TOO? We have two adult tickets with camping @goodlifeexperience worth £198 up for grabs – get tagging! Use #sgiew_goodlife to join in #sgiew #blueskies #laburnum #bunting #teainthepark #teaparty #festival #summerfete #belltent #greatoutdoors #goodlife #summer #simpleandstill #slowliving_nurture #underthefloralspell #theartofslowliving #aslowmoment

A photo posted by Ali Clifford (@incredibusy) on

Evening sunshines! 💛 Finally finished our latest mid-century-modern upcycle project with the help of @madebymrsm and her AMAZING fabric design… *windows*. Two #found chairs given some love. We appeared on #periscope today sharing this project and asking whether to chalkpaint the back-rest, or legs, and the result is just divine! What do you think? We have three further chairs, should we leave them unpainted or try yellow this time? #wildandwolf #retro telephone prop courtesy @4_living http://www.4living.co.uk/ Oh I have 25% OFF for you until Sunday MIDNIGHT with discount code *incredibusy* Colours: 💚peacock green 💛English mustard (seen here) 👤black 💙petrol blue 😺concrete grey #midcenturymodern #upcycle #AnnieSloan #ParisGrey #chalkpaint #london_by_incredibusy #homedecor #interior #design #capturingcolour #epig #abmlifeiscolorful #DScolor #yellow #retrophone #midcentury #textiles #upholstery #upcycling

A photo posted by Ali Clifford (@incredibusy) on


I’ve even started painting furniture in tones of yellow and grey, that combination really works well for me, you can watch me making some desk stationery below in some beautiful fabric by my friend Kate madebymrsm – (oh, and I appear to have a yellow telephone prop too… guilty!) And – really – you have to check out Kate’s hashtag – #100daysofyellowstuff

Rustic Chopping Board

And finally, I’d like to give a big shoutout to instagram, for helping me find my creativity again – after a long absence from my art school hobby of photography, I’m back in the game – finding the love of yellow peppers – probably my biggest ‘like’ on instagram to date!

Thank you Becky, for the prompt, loving all of the colour stories over on colourlover.co.uk!

life

Top Five Summer Hair Trends

As well as refreshing your wardrobe with lighter coats, floaty tops, short pants and strappy sandals, Summer is the perfect time to shake out that hat hair and shake up your look with some new season hair trends. From the headscarf headband to the hun, here are five favourite Springtime looks for locks:

benoit-missolin-petra-bow-headband-product-0-240737647-normal

The Hun

If you’ve got long hair and only try out one new hairstyle this Summer, make it ‘the hun’. The half up, half down bun has been seen on celebrities galore, from Khloe Kardashian to Hilary Duff to JLo, and is a doddle to do. Just pull half of your hair up into a messy bun and – ta-da – you’re bang on trend in no time at all!

Plaits and Twists

Pretty plaits and twists are a great solution to combat summertime showers and blustery weather – plus they’ve got the catwalk seal of approval, having been seen at the Gucci, Giles, Herve Leger and Alexander McQueen SS16 shows.

Asos-corsage hairFlorals

Nothing says Summertime better than flowers, which makes floral embellished headbands, crowns, clips and hair ties the perfect way to pretty up your hair. ASOS has a whole garden full of blooming beautiful floral hair accessories to choose from.


benoit-missolin-red-estel-polka-dot-headband-product-0-245198737-normalHeadscarf Headband

The retro-style headscarf headband, often in a bow style, was big last summer and is set to be just as on-trend this year. If you want to treat yourself, Benoit Missolin has a super cute and quirky range of headscarf headbands in bright primary colours, spots and stripes. The Red Estel Polka Dot headband is very Minnie Mouse!

berry-gold-starfish-headband-metallicRose Gold

It’s time to say goodbye to grey and hello to rose gold as the new colour trend of the season. A super wearable take on the pink and copper colour trends, it’s a gorgeously rosy burnished blonde shade that will look lovely in the sunshine. If you’re not keen on committing to a new hair colour, tap into this trend with metallic hair accessories instead. The Gold Starfish Headband by Berry is just right for an early season holiday abroad!

education, Uncategorized

BritMumsLive 2016 Instagram Panel

So, this year I’m back at BritMumLive…

BritmumsLive Instagram workshop

And at 14:50 in the afternoon of Saturday 25 June 2016 I shall be joined in stage by some rather lovely friends – we’ll be talking about Instagram,

Our team:
@incredibusy – that’s me, Ali 
@redtedart – Maggy  www.redtedart.com
@coldatnight – Sian www.coldatnight.co.uk
@paintsewgluechew – Diana  www.paintsewgluechew.com

I’ve known Maggy for a long time, we are good friends and neighbours with similar creative and social media interests, and we also curate a craft blog together, click here.

Our instagram feeds are similar, yet quite different – I think this is perhaps due to the age gap between our families? And Maggy crafts and creates a WHOLE lot more than I do… Plus, I spend time creating and curating content for my clients’ instagram feeds too, so we perhaps don’t dedicate the same time to to our accounts as each other! (I’ll be wearing a couple of them – www.Po-Zu.com and www.BryonyandCo.com so make sure you follow their instagram feeds for me!!)

I was late to instagram, well, two and a half years ago I didn’t have a phone that supported the app, and experimented with my iPad – if you scroll back through my account, you’ll see I was having fun with filters and frames, and although I cringe at some of these shots, I’m loath to delete photos, as each tell #littlestoriesofmylife – and my family’s life.

This garners a couple of questions – do you delete old photos?? and do you feature photos of yourself and your kids??

Maggy and I both share an interest in themed photo challenges – we co-host #KidsCrafts101 and #SGIEW – two weekly hashtagged instagram challenges which we’d love you to join in with – go find the hashtags, and see what this week’s challenge is, we’d love you to join in!

https://www.instagram.com/explore/tags/kidscrafts101/

https://www.instagram.com/explore/tags/sgiew/

For me, this has been an amazing way of finding new accounts to follow and connect with, it’s also been a wonderful prompt for me more recently, to be creative, as my own boys have grown older, they are less inclined to ‘craft’ yet have really enjoyed creating stop motion animation – so we’ve been experimenting with that too!

It’s about evolution – your own evolution, perhaps as your kids get older, or indeed, just looking back at how your feed has developed and changed. I don’t particularly have a theme or a style, and neither does Maggy – however, if we turn to our other panelists, and look at their instagram feeds, you will see that both @coldatnight and @paintsewgluechew have definite styles, and consistent feeds…

I’ve invited Diana and Sian along to #BML16 to share their own experiences of instagram, so if you’re lucky enough to catch them ‘live’ on Saturday, you’ll find out more about them – needless to say, I hadn’t met them before the introduction of instagram in my life, and now have a little look at their feeds every morning, to see what they’ve been up to, and to say hello, good morning, and sometimes good night too! I’ve been to stay at Sian’s amazing place, Fforest {luxury camping and outdoor living at its very best} and would recommend it, an amazing space – and great for the kids….

So – at BritMumsLive we’ll be focusing on:
How each of the panel have grown their channel, their instagram philosophies and working practices
How they make their feed look fantastic plus any photo styling tips/props
We’ll be asking the panel to share their favourite instagrammer/s…
Their best tips on gaining followers. When they were growing what strategies did they use?
What they use to edit pictures
Their use of hashtags, and favourites
Which Instagram communities they love

Here’s a link to each of our panel’s most recent photo:

[ so good in every way ] #sgiew theme… #sgiew_BISCUIT ☕️ Oh we are LOVING a bit of baking at the moment, so we thought you might like to join in with this week’s #sgiew theme to join in with is “BISCUIT” – some comfort in this the first week of summer, yet we’re wearing wellies and grumbling about the clouds… 🌧🌧🌧Join in by following your hosts, @incredibusy @redtedart @willowdaygram and tagging #sgiew #sgiew_BISCUIT – PLUS, biscuity-bonus, we’re delighted to welcome an old friend to be our guest judge – @NikkiMcWilliams! Nikki will select x9 at the end of the week, to feature on the @sogoodineveryway grid – and you have until Midnight Sunday to join in, so whether it’s a cookie with your coffee, or a biscuit with you breakfast tea we want to see them! Oh and we might just have a little prize this week too; more on that later in the week☕️ can’t find the tea cup emoji but it’s something to do with that!! Thank you @teapigs 💛. . #littlestoriesofmylife #cookies #biscuits #mymonthofsundays (if you are following me on snapchat you’ll know we made these on Sunday morning!) #aquietstyle #coffeelover #string #coffeecam #coffeeandseasons #flatlaylover #flatlayforever

A photo posted by Ali Clifford (@incredibusy) on

More reading on Fforest:
fforest-gather-2016

fforest-and-welsh-woven-blankets

switch-off-enjoy-fields-silence

Uncategorized

Guess the celebrity – children’s drawings

In this era of technology led creativity for our kids, we should totally embrace our own children’s drawings. Start them really young, with big fat crayons for their little hands, and water based paints in the garden in the sunshine – get them drawing!

SunLife-Guess-the-celebrityMy earliest memory of my own kids drawing a PERSON – a recognisable figure, was in the bath with bath crayons (totally the best early birthday gift from friends).

My son clearly drew a figure, a round face, with arms sticking out where the ears should be, but totally a ‘person’ and it was that relaxing time in the bath that engaged and excited him to start drawing – He’s never looked back!

So when you take a trip on the train, or to a restaurant, don’t take the iPad, no… please just pack some paper, or a notepad, and a selection of pencils and pens – believe me, this is so much more rewarding, and you can even join in yourself…

I’ve taken to asking my kids to ‘draw Mummy’.

So looking, and then putting pen to paper – just like these kids have done over on this little fun quiz here – so can YOU guess who these celebrities are meant to be? Massive hints, and five more to guess over HERE 

Celebrating the blossoming creative talents of several nursery school children and challenging your artistic eye and knowledge of the latest celebrity glitterati with this fun quiz. See if you can guess who these nine celebrities are, based on the creative interpretations of toddlers! click here
This post is brought to you in collaboration with SunLife!

 

competitions, travel

WIN tickets to The Good Life Experience

WIN tickets to The Good Life Experience

SGIEW-goodlife-prize-draw-incredibusyWho would like to win two tickets to The Good Life Experience festival? Read on!

It’s Tuesday and we are back on track post-half-term-break so let’s launch this week’s #sgiew challenge! {@sogoodineveryway hosted by @incredibusy and @redtedart} I would have posted sooner but just spent a good hour looking at our wedding photos!!!! This week the theme is #sgiew_goodlife so let’s see your photos; tag us on your festival pics; school fête photos; tea in the garden; bunting on your tents; and how about we throw in a PRIZE TOO?
We have two #GoodLifeExperience adult tickets with camping from this week’s judge @goodlifeexperience worth £198 up for grabs – get tagging!

The Good Life Experience –  A festival of Music, Culture, Food & The Great Outdoors. Curated by Cerys Matthews & others.16-18 September 2016.

Use hashtags #sgiew_goodlife to join in #sgiew

And to read more about the hashtag #sgiew click here:

 

Ts and Cs:

The prize is two adult tickets with camping, to The Good Life Experience 16-18 September 2016.
Use hashtags #sgiew_goodlife to join in #sgiew
One winner will be selected by @goodlifexperience
No purchase is necessary to enter the competition.
The competition is not open to employees (or members of their immediate families) of The Good Life Experience or any other participating company.
The closing date for the competition is Sunday 12 June 2016 at midnight. The winner will be chosen at random from all the entrants who have used the hashtag #sgiew_goodlife
We will notify the winner by DM on instagram. If we do not get a response to the note within two days, the prize will be offered to a runner-up. You can find out who has won a particular competition by contacting Ali at @incredibusy. The Good Life Experience’s decision will be final and no correspondence will be entered into.

crafts, FREE printables, kids

FREE downloadable Butterfly Mandala colouring sheet

FREE downloadable Butterfly Mandala colouring sheet

butterfly mandala colouring sheetThe mini beast invasion is here! And you’ll love this wonderful FREE downloadable Butterfly Mandala colouring sheet – CLICK HERE to download!

If you like coloring, have a go at downloading this fun template – a colouring sheet with a fabulous repeat pattern of a butterfly, logo courtesy of ethical shoe brand Po-Zu.com

And perfect for a our instagram photo challenge theme this week – #bugsandbutterflies #kidscrafts101 theme with @buggyandbuddy ! Check out co hosts @babbledabbledo @redtedart and @incredibusy for more ideas too!
🐛🐝🕷🐞🐜🐝🐛🐌🐞🐜🕷🐝🐛🐞🐌
Find out more about the conservation of butterflies, moths and our environment over on the Butterfly Conservation website – formed by a small group of dedicated naturalists in 1968 following the alarming decline of many beautiful butterflies.

kidschaos-Logo-Repeat-butterfly-colouring-in-sheetMost British butterflies remain a cause for concern, with three quarters of our native species in decline. Four butterflies and over 60 moths became extinct last century. We aim to halt and reverse these declines. Our vision is of a world rich in butterflies for future generations to enjoy. Butterflies are beautiful and intrinsically valuable. Together with moths, their sensitivity to environmental change makes them valuable indicators of the health of the countryside.

Falling numbers are an early warning to all wildlife that cannot be ignored. We have more than 25,000 members in the UK and 32 volunteer Branches throughout the British Isles. We employ over 50 people including many highly qualified scientists, making us the world’s largest research institute for butterflies and moths.

Reference:

Po-Zu.com

butterfly-conservation.org

theatre reviews

A warrior’s tail – kids film

We recently watched a family film with the boys – the tale (or should I say ‘tail’) of  young boy’s heart-warming bravery and imagination in the animated adventure A WARRIOR’S TAIL, (in cinemas from April 1st 2016 and out on DVD April 11th 2016, courtesy of Signature Entertainment)

A warriors tail

Milla Jovovich (the Resident Evil series, The Fifth Element) leads an all-star cast of voice talent that also features the legendary Joe Pesci (Home Alone, The Good Shepherd) and Sharon Stone (Alpha Dog, Casino) in a truly epic adventure guaranteed to pique the interest of families everywhere this Spring. The fabulous Whoopi Goldberg (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Toy Story 3) also stars – as seen in this clip…

Nine-year old Savva (Jovovich) lives with his mother in a small village in a forest once protected by a pack of white wolves. When the wolves leave under mysterious circumstances the village is left at constant risk of attack from ruthless curiously colourful hyenas and only a powerful magician can help. Escaping the hyenas in search of the magician, Savva finds himself in a magical world he had only heard stories of, meeting a host of new friends who are also seeking the magician, including the white wolf Angee, the curious pink monkey character Puffy (Stone) and a very odd mosquito (Pesci); all of whom must evade a treacherous simian army led by the evil three headed monkey mama JoZee (Goldberg) on their path overcoming the forces of evil (the favourite characters for our two were the rather menacing baddies – the Rikis…) and reclaiming Savva’s village.

From Gregory Poirier, the writer of The Lion King II: Simba’s Pride and National Treasure: Book of Secrets, A Warrior’s Tail is as heart-warming, thrilling and imaginative as they come and is a family adventure for all ages.

IN CINEMAS FROM APRIL 1st 2016

ON DVD FROM APRIL 11TH APRIL 2016