Minute Mum Tip- Make A Note to Yourself!

If things ever pop into your head then back out again because you have nowhere to write it down, here's a tip!

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Review: Rockport Woven Sandals

This is me modelling my new shoes! (How I wish I'd have fake tanned my legs before taking this picture!)

**This is a Product Review Post**

Product Name: Katja Woven Mule by Rockport
Buy Online Here: http://www.rockport.co.uk/
Price: £120.00
Star Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

The blurb: While traversing through the open air markets and artisan's studios of the world, we are inspired by the details rooted in traditional craftsmanship.
Rockport brings the unique combination of contemporary style and engineered comfort to metropolitan professionals around the world. We create collections that are sophisticated and stylish without compromising on comfort or functionality.

Initial Thoughts: When I opened my box containing the Katja Woven Mules, I felt like Olivia Newton John in Grease- y'know, the bit at the end where clean cut Sandy Dee becomes a vixen in skin tight black and smoking a cigarette. These mules reminded me of the ones she wore to stub out the cigarette on the floor then push over poor John Travolta who was mesmerised by her transformation! So we were off to a great start- when I slipped these shoes on, I already had positive thoughts in my head, but when I started to walk in these heels, I really felt good as they were just so comfortable!!

I've had some wooden mules in the past, but found them hard to walk in and quite 'clumpy', but the Rockport's have got new Adiprene by Adidas technology within them which makes for a more comfortable base for strutting your stuff around the pavements of the city! When you feel these shoes, they are really solid, well made and substantial- you know they are not 'cheap' shoes, so you would expect this to translate into something that is more difficult to walk in. Us girls know that great fashion shoes don't always equal comfort or ease on our poor feet, but I was pleasantly surprised with these mules. They look high fashion, they look good quality but they are also wearable - you could last all day in these without having to put your feet in a foot spa when you get home!

I Liked: The attention to detail. The studs down the side of the mules have a letter 'R' on them for Rockport, and the woven part is double stitched and secure, so your feet feel enclosed enough that the shoes don't 'clickety clack' as you walk! The tread on the underside of the shoes is also soft rubber so there is no loud sound- this means if you are walking across a marble lobby you can do so discreetly and let people glance at you because of your style rather than glare at you for all the noise! I know when I've come into a business presentation or meeting when the room is quiet, it can be embarassing when your shoes are making all the noise and you end up having to do a silly tip toe creep across the floor to get to your seat! At least these shoes navigate that particular hurdle!

I wasn't Keen: The only downside I felt about these shoes and the reason I gave them a 4/5 rather than a full marks is because the soles of the shoes are inflexible (because they are made of wood!) but this means I could not drive in the shoes. I had to take a pair of flip flops with me for the car then change into the mules. This isn't a massive deal but it does mean you have to plan ahead if you know you are driving when wearing these mules!

Overall: These shoes are very well made, certainly fashionable and because they are priced at the 'top end of the High Street' in shoe ranges, you know that you are less likely to bump into someone wearing the same shoes as you at an event! If you like your look to be a little more exclusive and 'quality' focused, you will love wearing these shoes! Plus, the woven trend is going to be big this summer, as are wooden wedges, so these shoes hit the right note for all the fashionista women out there!

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At Home Column #13 - WHAM, BAM, Thank You Ma’am!

Let me tell you a story. A year ago I met a man at a business networking event that I regularly attended. I was there to promote my business The Dream PA, he was there to promote his office venue in a city centre location. At this lunch meeting everyone round the table gets to talk about their business for 5 minutes, we listen and see if we can spot opportunities to put them in touch with people who need their services. It’s networking – being a connector and people will also use these same principles to assist you (or so you’d hope!)

After this meeting, the man in question pursued me for a further meeting. He was insistent that we should meet as we’d have plenty of business to discuss. We were all in the room to grow our businesses and I try to be a good networker, so as this man thought we’d have lots of ways to work together, I agreed to the meeting.

It’s no secret that I’m a ‘Work At Home Mum’ (WAHM). I made this choice when I set up my business for the sole reason of being able to work from home which meant I could be around for my children, do the school run etc. But being a WAHM brings its own set of challenges, and in this case, it was a challenge to find childcare for the time when this chap wanted to meet up. Working mums will know, unless you are paying a day nursery or childminder to care for your child, you have to rely on the kindness of family or friends (even if you decide to pay them!) So I managed to recruit my mum in to help that day, whilst I went off to my meeting with the promise that I’d be back by 1pm as she had something to do later on.

Toddlers don’t seem to like it when ‘mum’ gets a businesslike outfit on. They usually decide to run at you with Weetabix on their fingers, or cry at the thought of you leaving, want a cuddle then wipe their snotty nose on your shoulder! So I took my suit jacket and top in the car with me, wearing a T shirt to do the drop off. I’d had to pack a bag with a few toys and changes of clothes for my boy, as well as remembering my handbag and everything I needed for the meeting, but due to good planning and anticipation of what I may need, I was able to seamlessly do the drop off and get to the meeting place on time.

I sat, and waited. This guy who had pursued me for this meeting in the first place, so desperate to meet- was 15 minutes late. When it got to 20 minutes I called him to see what was going on. I will usually allow 20 minutes for emergencies then if I’ve not heard anything, leave. Time is too precious to spend wasting it and 20 minutes is usually long enough for anyone to get to a phone and call the person they are due to meet to explain they will be late. He was still on the road but promised to be there in half an hour. I wasn’t expecting to be kept waiting so long, but as he’d been so insistent that we should talk, I had in the back of my mind that there may be some business there for me. Plus I’d already gone to the trouble of arranging childcare, so I went off for a quick look around the shops, planning to return to the meeting place 30 minutes later.

When I got back he had arrived. There was no apology for having kept me waiting so long – he didn’t seem to think it was a problem. He’d also turned up in jeans and a knitted cap- looking very trendy but not very businesslike, and I was expecting a business meeting – not a date. He’d also brought a friend along! So keeping an open mind, we got a coffee and I waited for him to speak. Basically he’d picked up on the fact that I’m a WAHM from the business meeting where we met. As I worked from home and he rented out office space in the city centre, he thought that I’d be a great candidate for his services - he’d got me there to do the hard sell!

I’m not interested in renting office space. If he’d asked me at the time we met, I could have told him then and saved us both a trip out. The point of working from home is that I actually work from home! I could have also saved the ‘favour’ from my mum in looking after my son, for another meeting which would have been more productive for my business. I could have saved the little cry that my son had when I dropped him off. I could have saved the petrol it cost me to drive to the meeting, and I could have saved the precious time I’d wasted on this guy, who was not only late in the first place, but had absolutely nothing of value to offer me! He was a typical example of ‘Wham, Bam, Thank you Ma’am’ – he wanted to get what he came for and leave, and who cares what I might want.

Secret Shopper...
This isn’t a very good way to do business, but so many people do it. Assume that they know what you might want then ram it down your throat. Mary Portas tackled this very concept in her recent Secret Shopper series – the fact that people selling are ‘hard selling’ and don’t actually ask questions and listen to what their customers might actually need. I’d say to anyone in business, don’t bullishly assume that you know what the other person wants or needs, just ask them and listen to the answer - it might surprise you. But above all, have respect for the other person’s time, and waste it at your peril.

This guy will never get a sale from me, and I’ll never recommend anyone else to him either. I’m polite when we meet, but there is never any warmth there from my side. I have observed that other people feel the same way about him that I do, simply though their body language. The women around him close up like a venus fly trap when he’s around. Legs get crossed, arms folded, they start to inch away from him, and he can’t see it. I think he’s of the opinion that everyone loves him, such is his thick skin!

Unfortunately it’s not just men who can be insensitive to other people’s time. Recently a mum in business who I know asked me if we could chat. She wanted to pick my brains about juggling work and kids and how to market her business. We’d set up a phone call for one evening but events that day meant that I wasn’t going to be able to make the call so I emailed her with an hours’ notice that I couldn’t talk, and my apologies. We re-scheduled for the Sunday morning and she was going to call between 9-11am. I was hoping she’d call early then I could go out for a run, but she didn’t. I waited all morning at home and no call came. I got an email several days later asking if we could re-schedule. She wanted my advice so here it is: If you want to run a business and are calling me for business advice, be more businesslike! Stick to the arrangements that have been made and if they need to be cancelled, then give notice – beforehand! That was the last Sunday morning I will waste –I may be a Jugglista, juggling those balls like they are going out of fashion, but a Jugglista also knows when to set a ball down, and time wasters is that ball.

What experiences have you had of bad business practise? Drop me a comment below.

I write a fortnightly column for At Home - the Premier UK celebrity and lifestyle magazine, and this one appeared on their site www.AtHomeMagazine.co.uk a month ago. Do visit At Home and leave me a comment on the post there so they get to see your opinions too!
About the Author
Nadine Hill is a busy working mum (“Is there any other kind?!”) who has a fascination with time management which borders on the obsessive! She loves to find more effective ways of doing the daily juggle whilst enjoying the journey and has lots of practise through raising her two children, managing her small business, being a best-selling author, running her home, public speaking and finding time to get to the gym! Nadine’s ambition is to help busy mums claw back a bit of ‘me time’ so she shares her tips with at home in these fortnightly columns and her own life stories on her blog- Juggle Mum.
She also micro blogs on Twitter where she is @Businessmum. You can learn more about Nadine at www.NadineHill.com

Minute Mum Tip - Never Lock Yourself Out or Lose Your Keys Again!

Here's another tip from my 'Minute Mum' series. This time, how to never lock yourself out of the house ...or lose your keys again!

(Note: if the video isn't displayed here, just scroll to the bottom of the screen and you will see it at the bottom!)

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Review: Onzo Energy Saver

**This is a Product Review Post**

Product Name: Onzo Smart Energy Kit by Onzo
Buy Online Here: www.Amazon.co.uk
Price: £74.95
Star Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

The blurb: The Onzo Smart Energy kit is a sensor, display and website designed to put you in control of your energy use. It helps you see the energy your home is using, empowering you to make positive decisions about the financial and environmental cost of how you use it.
There are energy tools on the display that help you understand when you should be thinking about your energy use and when you don't need to, so that energy saving becomes second nature.

Initial Thoughts: It took me a few days to get my head around using this device because I had to connect it to the electrical cable that goes into my fuseboard and being someone who never ventures near my electrics, I wanted to have my husband around to help in case I did something wrong! As it turns out the device was pretty easy to set up although I did have to concentrate on the job in hand - no multi tasking when you are sorting this out!

At first we got an odd buzzing sound from the direction of the fuseboard but after consulting the booklet, I managed to stop this by re-positioning the sensor. It was quite alarming when the display shot up to 2450 from a zero starting position, and I had no way to gauge at that time whether 2450 was low, high or middling. It seemed high but I decided to place the display on our kitchen fridge freezer (it has a magnetic back or can be stood on a desktop) and see how things went over the first few days. The pictures above show the Onzo on my fridge door.

By observing the display over a few days, I could see that the initial reading of 2450 was in a high demand period in our home. The washing machine and tumble dryer were on and 2 TVs from different rooms. I got readings as low as 140 and everywhere in between, but it's fair to say I've never paid so much attention to my energy consumption as I have done since getting the Onzo.

I Liked: With day to day living getting more expensive these days, I liked how the Onzo kept me informed about the amount of energy we were using. I felt empowered when I called up our energy provider to chat about the tariff that we're on, as I felt like I knew more about my circumstances when I called. Not that it mattered for the content of that telephone call, but it was an attitude shift in me. The electricity I use has never been forefront of my mind or something that I knew much about. Armed with my evidence of everyday consumption as displayed on my Onzo, I could see which appliances were using the most power, and in order to try to cut our household bills, we've changed our behaviours towards energy by not using the tumble dryer for each load as we did before out of habit. I was also able to get the kids interested in our household energy consumption by showing them the readings and how they altered by putting the kettle on, and they agreed to help reduce our useage by being careful to turn off lights and TVs when they leave the room.

I wasn't Keen: The instructions could do with some fresh eyes on them and working out what the consumer will want to know! For example, all the set up information is very clear, but there was nothing about how to set up my Onzo device in connection with their website.
On the instruction booklet that came with the Onzo, the website listed on the back was Onzo.com however this is a bit of a 'corporate' site, rather than consumer facing.
I had to trawl through the corporate site to find another URL buried within it, this was for the Smart Energy Kit. I was hoping I could find a way through this website to sync up my device online and take advantage of the online features, but there was nothing there! All I wanted was a simple URL to go to, to find out where I can track my electricity useage online and it wasn't printed on the instructions or listed online!!
I hopped back over to the Onzo corporate site and under a tab called 'Solutions' in the 'Customer Touchpoints' sub-header, there was an image of the customer website. I had to click on this image to view it more closely to see that the image was called myonzo_dashboard3.png. I worked out that this must be the consumer website and tried the URL www.myonzo.com in my browser - fortunately this worked! However I shouldn't have had to become a detective to find a simple URL! The instructions really need to make it clear where to go for what information. There are plenty of references to 'the website' in the Onzo User Guide, and it would be helpful to actually state the URL next to each reference. I don't think there is such a thing as 'overkill' or 'too much information' when you are dealing with factual information or product instructions and I'm sure lots of people would find this helpful.

Overall: This product has a lot of great features like the ability to see in real time what levels of energy you are using and to track your useage over time via their website. However I only gave this product a 3 out of 5 stars because I think it is still in a 'Beta' stage where there are kinks that need to be worked out.
I was one of the first people in the UK to use the Onzo, as part of a launch group of bloggers invited to try it out. Onzo are due to launch a new website in late April 2011 with e-commerce and support in preparation for their consumer launch which is expected late May/early June 2011. Therefore at the stage where I tested the device there were some issues which I seemed to fall down on. In my case it was uploading my data to the Onzo website.

I'm on my third Onzo display because the first two became frozen and unresponsive after connecting them to the computer to do an upload. They would update so far but fail to complete and it would be like the system crashes and just stops working. To their credit, the team at Onzo are very on the ball and extremely helpful when I had an issue - one of the Tech guys even worked remotely with me on my PC to try to work out what the problem was. We came to the conclusion that it must be a compatibility issue with my Windows Vista Operating System, so until they are able to tell me that this issue is resolved, I'm unable to connect my Onzo to the web, although I can still use it to see my 'real time' information on my home's useage.

The Onzo is a great idea and once it has all the early tweaks fixed, it will be a very useful tool for eco and cost conscious households, but for me at this stage unfortunately I wasn't won over.

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The War of the Printers - The Results!

I've been doing a 5 week trial with HP and a Kodak photo printer. Here are the models I tested. (Kodak, left - HP right)

HP contacted me to see if I'd be willing to put their latest photo printer to the test and let them know what I thought of it, against another leading model. I'd get to keep my favourite at the end, so I've thrown loads of tasks at both printers over the weeks to see which I prefer. At one stage I was leaning toward a particular printer as my favourite, but this all changed at the last minute when on Mother's Day 2011 I just wanted a lie down through sheer exhaustion and one of the printers really pulled through for me and enabled me to do just that! Intrigued? Then read on!

HP Vs Kodak
First impressions: The Kodak one was attractive looking - it reminded me of a music system in its appearance!
The HP one came with its own bag- I doubt I'll be carrying it around very much but it was a nice touch!
Verdict? Kodak wins on appearance

Installation: I installed the HP one first and it had step by step instructions. The print cartridges came with their own 'shopping card' to put in your purse which was a useful extra- making it much easier to purchase new cartridges whilst you are out. The printer pretty much installed itself. I did what the on screen prompts said and it sorted itself out. Just as I like it!

The Kodak was also easy to set up with step by step instructions but it was more difficult from a 'hardware' point of view. I didn't like having to install the printer cradle myself and it wasn't easy to get off the orange bits that were there to help everything stay intact in transit. This printer was a bit more laborious to install and I prefer hassle free!
Verdict? HP wins on installation!

Fitting in with my Systems:I wanted to see how the new printers slotted in to my existing systems, so I was disappointed that the HP printer installation had left 5 shortcut icons on my desktop which I had to put into their own folder to keep things tidy.
The Kodak printer only left 1 shortcut icon on the desktop and I prefer an uncluttered desktop!
Both printers have a 'standby' feature which means you can leave them on in a low power state so that when you are ready to print, they are ready for action. I work from all over the house- sofa, bedroom, kitchen table, even my car as well as the office, and so it's great to be able to print from any of these locations via my wireless connection. Printers have come such a long way in the last few years and these models are both very sophisticated compared to my old rusty printer which only does one thing!!

General Use Both printers were excellent on the 'everyday printing' - things like printing emails or invoices, printing out kids homework, letters and other traditional 'ink on paper' formats. The first time I tried to print photos, the HP got a paper jam in the photo tray which made me worry that I'd done something wrong but I think the jam was because the paper trays had been brushed past when someone walked by the printers and the trays gotten dislodged. With the Kodak printer, the paper tray is moulded into the whole design of the box so it's impossible to dislodge the tray - I liked this better for my busy household!

Photo Printing:I preferred the Kodak on photos at first, the prints seemed glossier and dried quicker, but then HP told me I was using the wrong kind of HP paper for my prints. When they sent me some advanced photo paper it all just got easier and the print quality was great. When the pictures got wet, the Kodak paper wilted whereas the HP pictures stayed strong, so they were more hard wearing!

Wishlist:A feature I'd like to see on these printers in future is a way of storing the printed papers neatly until I go to my printer to collect them. Currently on both printers the papers print then fall onto the floor (the desktop I have them on is a small desk, only big enough to hold the machines, so the papers come out of the printer and drop!) It is old fashioned to think that the printer will always be used next to the working area - I work from everywhere but at some stage I'll have to go to the printer to collect the work. If it was a long document that printed, it could be all out of order by the time I've picked it off the floor.

Economy:The HP printer goes into standby mode a lot sooner than the Kodak which can be a blessing from a power saving point of view. The HP also had individual ink cartridges which are more cost effective than the Kodak's bulk ink cartridge which may mean replacing the whole unit before each colour is completely used. However the Kodak advertising on TV says that its printer has the lowest priced cartridges so ongoing ink costs would be lower.
My verdict: it's a tie on economy!

Overall:I'm glad to have taken part in this task, as I've discovered a lot more about both printers capabilities than I would have done if I'd chosen them myself at the store - taken home and installed. Thom from HP - the 'techy' guy who set us the assignments, gave me a task to do each week to try out what the printers were really capable of, and through these tasks I learned that I can print without my computer (from a memory card or USB stick) and I can even crop pictures and remove redeye directly from the printer! I would never have known this!

The Twist!:
Towards the end of the trial the Kodak was my favourite. It was easy to control and make do what I needed it to do and I liked the look of it. The HP didn't make it easy for me to scroll through my pictures - the touch screen was not very sensitive to touch or at times, too sensitive! I got frustrated a few times when I was trying to scroll to a particular photo so I could print it and the touch screen let the one I wanted whizz by before my eyes and not stop where I wanted it to!
At the end of the trial I told Thom that I wanted to keep the Kodak..... Then Mother's Day happened!

I'd had a busy weekend and wanted to have a sit on the sofa in peace but the kids were bored and wanted to do something. I didn't have the energy to play games and I wanted the TV on my channel and not Disney, so I told my 8YO to load up the HP printer and print off some templates for her and her brother to colour in!

The HP comes with apps in the printer for Disney, Crayola and other child friendly names, with ready made templates for colouring! The kids can scroll to what they want and print directly from the printer without having to load up the computer and send something to print from there. The Kodak doesn't do this- to get colouring templates you have to find them on the web and send them to print from your computer, so the HP definitely won here on ease. It was literally child's play to use the machine in this way!

The other thing that I loved about the HP was the ePrint capability. This meant that the printer has its own email address so you can be away from the printer and send a document to print by emailing it so that it is waiting for you when you get back. This is a fantastic time saving tool and as a busy mum, a lifesaver for me! The Kodak didn't have this feature, so I ended up telling Thom that I had changed my mind! The HP was the best for me, running a busy household and having the technology to cope with what my kids and I could demand from it.

Thanks HP for my gorgeous new printer. Even though I preferred the other one at first, the HP has won me over!

Minute Mum Tip- Get Out Of The Door On Time!

Here's a tip from my 'Minute Mum' series. This time, 'How to Get Out of The Door On Time!' If you like it, leave a comment! If the video is not displayed directly below, simply scroll to the bottom of this blog to see the video. Don't ask me why but Blogger is a little temperamental with my vlogs!

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Review: Kitchenware from QVC

**This is a Product Review Post**

Product Name: Funky, Bold Kitchen Essentials by QVC
Buy Online Here: www.QVCuk.com Or use the Orderline 0800 50 40 30
Price: £16.92 for the set of spoons, £21.84 for the set of knives
Star Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Here is my picture of the spoons and knives and I just had to show you a spoon in action! If you look closely you'll see it in the pan!

The 2 Products I tested were:
Lori Greiner Set of 4 'No Mess' Kitchen Utensils with Silicone Handles, Item Number 759189
Kuhn Rikon Peek A Boo Knife Sharpener & 2 Piece Knife Set, Item Number 831341
The blurb: The Knives: Make your knives last longer using this knife sharpener and two-piece knife set from Kuhn Rikon. The knife sharpener is perfect for refreshing your current knife collection, and is suitable for all blades (except serrated). You'll also get a paring knife and a chef's knife crafted from Japanese steel, renowned for its precision and durability. Plus, thanks to their non-stick and non-corrosive coated blades, you can chop and dice food with ease.
The Spoons: Make messy cooking a thing of the past with this set of four cooking utensils from Lori Greiner. They're designed to hang on the rim of most pots, pans and serving dishes so you don't leave mess on surfaces and tables by putting them down. Your hands are protected from heat with silicone grips, and the spoons can be used when cooking and serving food.

Initial Thoughts: When the packet arrived from QVC I unwrapped all the items and immediately loved the sturdiness of the spoons! They felt substantial in my hand, not like some of the more 'wimpy' spoons I've had before! The knives looked almost plastic because they were red - even the blade was red, and for some reason this made me think it wasn't as sharp as it obviously was, so I had to be careful putting it back into the protective cover. But the blades were a good size and I couldn't wait until preparing the dinner to try them!

I Liked: On the night the utensils arrived were were having fajitas so I had chicken to chop up with the chef's knife and some red and green peppers and an onion to slice with the paring knife. Immediately I could tell how sharp the blade was- it cut through the food easily with no 'sawing' required, which I've had to do in the past! The red coating on the blade of the knives make it non stick, but the blade is made of Japanese high carbon steel, so even though its colourful appearance makes the knife seem 'friendlier', make no mistake, it would be easy to lose a finger with this blade. I know I probably sound paranoid, but with young kids in the house, I'm hyper aware of kitchen dangers and because these knives are so colourful and attractive, they'd get the attention of young children who love colours, so be careful!

The spoons I used the next evening when we had a casserole, I'm one of those people who likes to tidy as they go in the kitchen whereas my husband tends to leave it all laid out on the side and tidies away afterwards. The spoons appealed to my tidy instincts, as I liked the fact that I could leave the spoon in the cooking pot and this meant no mess on my surfaces. I usually get out a small plate to rest my cooking spoons on during cooking - I used to have a spoon rest but no-one knows what happened to it! I suspect it got broken and no-one wants to own up, so I've used a side plate as an alternative until now. However this means I have one extra item to wash up at the end! Hey, every little bit takes up time that I could be spending doing something more fun than washing up or loading the dishwasher, so getting rid of my side plate means a thumbs up from me!!

I wasn't Keen: There isn't anything that disappointed me about these two products, hence my 5 out of 5 star review! If I was pushed to state something I'd just say to be aware that the colourful knives look plastic from afar but certainly aren't when using them! But knives are supposed to be sharp so this can't be a negative point!! Just to be aware for safety.

Overall: These kitchen items represent very good value for money and they look like they will last for years. My husband is a real 'foodie' and even he was very impressed with the knives and their precision. Spoons don't float his boat as much- maybe this is a man thing?! But he could see how happy I was with them!

If you want to check out their colourful kitchen range for yourself, you can get the QVC Channel on Freeview Channel 16, Sky Channel 640, Virgin TV Channel 740 and Freesat Channel 800

Thanks for visiting! You are looking hot today! x

At Home Column #12 - Head Over Heels

My son is sitting across the table from me. We’ve just looked up at the same time, and studied each other. I admired his soft, rounded face, the way his skin is so smooth, and the lovely dimples in his cheeks. I glanced over his little boy haircut, thinking how it makes him look a bit older, and then he broke into a big grin and his face lit up - literally. I smiled and told him to come to me, when he did I grabbed him in a big bear hug, so tight that he couldn’t have got away, and kissed him all over his face while he chuckled. I am head over heels in love with him, he’s a mini version of his daddy.

As we were having our hugs, my daughter came into the room so I swiftly switched the boy onto one of my legs, making room for her on the other. She doesn’t have the soft, rounded frame that my boy has. She’s more elegant - God knows where she gets that from! But in all other ways she is a mini me. She’s passionate and creative, she has a big heart and isn’t afraid to wear it on her sleeve. She’s loyal and trustworthy and always tries to do the right thing. She’s also got the cute dimples, but she’s very much her own woman, even at the tender age of eight. She knows what she wants and she’s a little negotiator – I know better than anyone how good she is at getting what she wants and I have to admire her for that. She doesn’t let anything stand in her way.

As I sat on the dining room floor with them both at 8am on a Tuesday morning, I felt absolutely blessed. I have the whole world in my lap. One arm wrapped round each child, giving them kisses and not wanting to be anywhere else than where I was at that moment. Being a modern mum can be really hard sometimes, most of us cannot afford the luxury of living off one salary like our parents did. This can make life seem like one huge rush at times, dashing from one place to the next, working, dropping kids off, picking them up, always on the move and never really stopping. Doing the daily juggle and never really having the time or space to enjoy our kids, to just enjoy ‘being’.

One of my favourite phrases is “I’m a human being, not a human doing”, and I believe that as women, keeping all the plates spinning, we also need to ensure that we nurture our ‘being’ side and not just the ‘doing’ side. If we are to be a true Jugglista, juggling ALL the balls, this includes the ‘stopping’, ‘resting’ and ‘enjoying’ balls too – as well as the one that is marked ‘kissing your kids’!

I don’t want you to leave a comment today - use the time to squeeze your children, call your parent or hug your pet, and come back in a fortnight for more Businessmum tales and tips! And to women everywhere – Happy International Women’s Day.

I write a fortnightly column for At Home - the Premier UK celebrity and lifestyle magazine, and this one appeared on their site www.AtHomeMagazine.co.uk a month ago. Do visit At Home and leave me a comment on the post there so they get to see your opinions too!
About the Author
Nadine Hill is a busy working mum (“Is there any other kind?!”) who has a fascination with time management which borders on the obsessive! She loves to find more effective ways of doing the daily juggle whilst enjoying the journey and has lots of practise through raising her two children, managing her small business, being a best-selling author, running her home, public speaking and finding time to get to the gym! Nadine’s ambition is to help busy mums claw back a bit of ‘me time’ so she shares her tips with at home in these fortnightly columns and her own life stories on her blog- Juggle Mum.
She also micro blogs on Twitter where she is @Businessmum. You can learn more about Nadine at www.NadineHill.com

School's Out for Easter!

Yikes! It's the Easter holidays and there is a LOT of unstructured time this year with all the Bank Holidays, Inset days and an extra Royal Wedding day! Here is how the JuggleMum household will cope with all that free time!

Thanks for reading! You are looking hot today! x

Check Me Out on Finish's Microsite!

I recently worked on a trial project with Finish Quantumatic, to test the new product and see how it fared in my home with my family's dishes. Part of this trial meant that Finish sent a photographer round to my place to take a picture of me for their website!!

Here are shots from the recent shoot in my kitchen:
Me having my photo taken:

Me taking a photo of the photographer!

...and my husband sorting out the disco ball!! (We have a disco ball in our kitchen, and the photographer wanted it in shot!)

The finished result of the photo-shoot can be seen here at the Finish Quantumatic microsite! This is the address: http://www.finish.co.uk/thetrial/

You can see me and the other jurors who have given their verdicts, and learn more about what they had to say too. I was the juror representing busy, juggling mums out there with dishwashing needs for a general family useage, but the other jurors had different interests with their dishwashers! Here are my fellow jurors!

The other jurors are:
Midlife Manual
Bringing Up Charlie
All Baby Advice
A Thrifty Mrs
Lunchbox World
Kitchen Delights
Cooking, Cakes & Children
Busy Woman
Moan About Men

On a side note, as a blogger I have to say how refreshing it was to deal with the PR people representing FINISH. When they initially approached me about becoming a 'Blogging Jury Member' I actually felt like they'd been to look at my blog and targeted me specifically, rather than throwing out a blanket email to any old blog writer to see who responded. The team have been on the phone checking how many times a day I used the dishwasher before and after the trial, and also to arrange my spa day! (thanks guys!)

As the brands & Bloggers relationship is so new in the UK, both parties are still finding their feet and this company were ones I will benchmark all future blogging spokesperson offers against. I really enjoyed working on this with them, and I hope that you have enjoyed reading about my thoughts on the product!

As a special treat for blog readers, Finish have sorted out a £5 off coupon for anyone wishing to try out the Quantumatic for themselves! Get yours here

Thanks for reading! You are looking hot today! x

The Best Bit About Shopping? Showing your Friends Afterwards!

OK, So I'm aware that 'vlogging' sounds like a vaguely sexual term, but all it means is 'video blogging' and this was my first proper video blog recorded at the start of March!

I recently attended a workshop in London to learn more about how to edit video, so future vlogs will hopefully feature graphics and will have been edited, but I did this vlog before I'd attended! In fact I wore the dress I bought here on the day!

So here is my first 'haul' vlog! Having been a WAHM for several years, my wardrobe consists of school run clothes and cocktail dresses from a cruise holiday!
When I was called to London for work, I needed to get something suitable to wear - my old 'work' clothes are hideously out of fashion, so I went off to ASDA and picked up a whole outfit for £40 - and this includes shoes, a watch and jewellery! Check out my bargains!

Mother's Day Gift for You...

HAPPY MOTHER’S Day everyone!!!!!
Here is my special gift to my readers.....

A mother has strengths that are so amazing. She can handle troubles and carry heavy burdens. She holds happiness, love and opinions. She smiles when she feels like screaming, she sings when she feels like crying, cries when she’s happy and laughs when she’s afraid. Her love is unconditional.
There’s only one thing wrong with her – she sometimes forgets what she is worth….
Pass this on to every beautiful mother you know, I just did.

Why Do I Blog? My First Assignment.

I'm a member of the British Mummy Bloggers Network, and one of about 20 cherry picked members to be invited to make up a launch group of 'vloggers' to accelerate the medium of vlogging into the network.
Our launch meeting took place in London in March 2011, and our first assignment was to answer the question: "Why Do I Blog?"
This is my answer!

If for any reason my video doesn't embed above, you can see the video at this link:

Thanks for reading! You are looking hot today! x