At Home Column #18-Get the Real Housewives of Orange County Look!

Girls, it's time to take a break from the daily juggle and pamper yourself silly! at home blogger Nadine Hill is back with another video post and this time, the busy mum-of-two is showing readers how to achieve the look of The Real Housewives of Orange County – make sure you watch until the end to see her super-glam transformation!




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!
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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

How Will You Fill The 6 Week Holidays?

The 6 week holidays are a coming and there is a lot of time to fill. So do you prefer the 'lazy summer days' philosophy or child boot camp?

Here is my video blog on my preferred option!!



PS) If the video is not showing in this post correctly then please scroll to the bottom of this blog where the video will be located in the footer of the blog! It's crazy how it is doing this lately and I'm on with figuring out a solution, but for now that's where it is!! If that fails then it's online at YouTube here!

Thanks for visiting! You are looking hot today! x

Things I Wish My Computer Had...

My laptop finally died a death this week, after chugging along on its last legs for a fortnight or so. Fortunately I could see the end coming so I made back ups of all my documents, but when the laptop finally showed its last pixel, I had to go back to my 7 year old laptop which had been in storage for the last few years. On that laptop I found these pictures of things you wish your computer had. It made me laugh and how true! Enjoy!











Thanks for visiting! You are looking hot today! x

It's Time For CyberMummy 2011!

This weekend it's CyberMummy 2011- the biggest blogging conference of the year and I can't wait to go!

My bags are packed, I'm catching the train tonight and staying in a hotel (courtesy of Kellogg's who have sponsored me - thanks guys!) and tomorrow I'll be catching up with old friends, making new ones and also delivering a workshop in the afternoon on my topic- 'The Blog Life Balance'!

Part of what I'll be talking about in my workshop is being organised in advance. How a bit of pre planning can really make a difference when it comes to alleviating the pressure and stopping the rushing, so to 'walk my talk', I'm doing as I advise and getting organised!

I've uploaded a link below to the formulas of eight types of blog post. This is one of the segments I'll be covering and these documents are designed to help bloggers who are stuck with what to write. Maybe they have writers block, or maybe they have too much potential blog material going on in their head that its hard to extract just one idea and develop it, so these formulae will help to separate out ideas and know what to write in what order to get the post done quickly!

Feel free to download and use them to help with your own blog post writing.

http://www.mediafire.com/?8v89rqvspcqau57

I'll also be selling copies of my new book during my workshop at a special event price and can sign them if desired! The book is aimed at bloggers, authors and aspiring writers and is called 'I Don't Have Time To Write'. Here is a copy of the cover.


...and if you are at CyberMummy tomorrow and see me around, give me a wave!!

Thanks for visiting! You are looking hot today! x

Man-Made and Freestyle!

My kids have been an endless source of amusement this week- both in what they come out with and the way they do things!

My 3YO son made me howl with laughter after his sister asked me what 'man-made' was', having seen it on a plastic bottle so I explained. A few hours later he said to me "I am a man, and you are a maid!" Little monkey!

Then at the weekend my daughter and I did the Race for Life in aid of Cancer Research. She did the 5K and I did my first 10K. She is 8 years old so she walked round with her Grandma and I'm so proud of her that she completed the whole 5K without moaning that she was tired! This is a big deal! But the thing I love most is that she walked, jogged and cartwheeled her way round! She has her own style and is not afraid to use it! I love the lovely young woman in training that she is becoming. She is a little star and I adore her ability to be herself. This is the most important job I have, to protect that ability so that she continues to be who she is and not stifle herself to fit in.

What have your kids done to make you smile this week?

Thanks for visiting! You are looking hot today! x

At Home Column #17- The Cyber Play Date

I've done the play dates in the park, McDonalds, cinema trips, Wacky Warehouse (always a favourite) and we've had the odd trip to the beach in the school holidays when my 'mum friends' and I drive in convoy style, one in front of the other so no-one gets lost, to the coast with our kids for a play date with a difference. But this is something altogether new. My eight-year-old has started having 'virtual play dates'! Kids in the noughties eh?

She's a user of Moshi Monsters (www.moshimonsters.com) and Club Penguin (www.clubpenguin.com) and she goes on her dad's computer for these activities (I'm always at my computer busy blogging or getting down ideas for my next book!)

What on Earth is a Moshling?!
On Moshi Monsters she collects Moshlings and on Club Penguin she collects coins which she uses to buy Puffles - a Puffle is a kind of virtual fluffy blob who is your pet, or so I'm told! But the thing is, on both sites she can link up with her friends (kind of like a Facebook for eight year olds!) and on Club Penguin, she can visit her friends' house. This is a virtual house but she can go see Melissa, look at her Puffles and they can chat.

I asked my daughter if she had a house on Club Penguin, and she does, however, in her own words; "It isn't as good as Melissa's because she's a member and I'm not!" (you have to pay to be a member and I have said no thus far!). Also, "Melissa has clothes and I don't" (again, because Melissa is a member) so what kind of mother am I? Allowing my daughter to wander round cyberspace naked, visiting her friends houses who are better than hers, looking at each other's Puffles?!

Feeling Old!
This is a whole new world and no wonder my own mum feels out of touch. She's 60+ and hasn't been on a computer for years, although my husband's nanna is 70+ and she's on Facebook every day, so age isn't a factor. If you are not plugged in nowadays, it's easy to see how you can be left behind, unaware of these new worlds that are opening up for our children. The key to staying up to date as a Jugglista is to take your lead from your kids – they will be able to educate you, just as my child has educated me about cyber play dates!

I've just been up to my daughter's screen to see what they are doing on Club Penguin at the moment and I see a world I don't recognise. Gone are the cute looking fluffy penguins and Puffles and there are some creepy insect like spiders crawling across the screen. When I asked where Melissa's house was, she replied, "come on Mum, I'm on Bin Weevils (www.binweevils.com) now! You can get new nest items every 30 minutes!

Mum’s verdict – gross! I preferred the cute Puffles and Moshlings!

What aspects of 21st century parenting have surprised you? 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

Review: Knights and Castles app

**This is a Product Review Post**



Product Name: Knights and Castles by Encyclopædia Britannica
Buy Online Here: Download either on www.britannica.co.uk/apps or via the iTunes store
Price: £4.99
Star Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

The blurb: Children across the world can now learn about heroic knights, courtly love and historic castles at the touch of a button, as Encyclopædia Britannica releases its latest educational mobile app.
Knights and Castles, which has been released on iTunes looks at the rise of the chivalric knight and knightly orders, life inside a medieval castle and further medieval legends.
Aimed at children aged 8 – 12, the app is sourced from Britannica’s expert curriculum-based content, and is specifically designed to help them with homework, projects and exams, when looking at the middle ages.

The app also includes exclusive content on:
The complete A – Z of Arthurian Knights
The history of castles in Europe
A history of Knighthood
Daily life as a Knight
Further information on life in the Middle Ages


Initial Thoughts: My 8 year old daughter is such a history buff. She absolutely loves to learn about how people lived in the middle ages and has covered topics like the Great Fire of London and Ancient Greece in her schoolwork, so I thought this app would be perfect for her. She studies at home for the fun of it- always watching the Horrible Histories videos on You Tube and watching the show on TV so I was excited to lend her my iPod Touch for the afternoon to show her this new app. Unfortunately she wasn't impressed.

The app promised to be 'packed with facts, interactive features, quizzes and games' but we found it lacking. It certainly had plenty of facts, but it came over rather 'text-booky' which made it seem like 'hard work' rather than the learning through fun that she gets from Horrible Histories.

It's probably unfair to compare, as Encyclopædia Britannica deals purely in educational facts whereas the information she gets from Horrible Histories is acted out, so there is some entertainment value there too. The actors give historical factual information, but presented in a modern day way, so you might get an 'X Factor' style contest to pick the best King and references to modern day people who wouldn't have been alive in the eras they are depicting. However learning with Horrible Histories is great fun- I never enjoyed history at school and can't remember much from those lessons, but now I know exactly who King Henry VIII's six wives were, in what order and whether they were divorced, beheaded or died, or the one lucky girl who actually survived! I've learned this because my daughter has enjoyed watching the You Tube video of King Henry VIII singing his tale of his wives! So in reality, King Henry VIII probably didn't sing, and seemed like a miserable old sod, but factually the information about his marriages has been learned and 'cemented in' to not only my 8 year old's brain, but mine too. The information in this app was sadly, rather forgettable.

What I Liked and What I Didn't: I did like how the app was designed around the curriculum to help children with homework, projects and exams. The facts presented are exactly what they are learning so from that point of view, it does the trick. There are games on the app, but mainly these seemed like 'afterthoughts'. I only say this because the games are not there to emit more information on history. They have not been designed to educate whilst you play- they are just games. For example, there is a jigsaw game where you can take a picture of a castle or a knight and shake the iPod to shatter the pieces, then you have to move the pieces to put the picture back together. Challenging, yes. About history, yes. Did we learn a new fact from it? No. It was just a jigsaw. The other game was called Brush Off. Here you get a close up of (for example) some stonework- a castle wall. You have to swipe your finger across the screen to reveal the image underneath, and who gets it first wins - it's kind of like a historical version of Cathphrase. It was fun to play a few times but ultimately, the novelty wore off quite quickly, and we were not more knowledgeable for playing it.

Overall: The Encyclopædia Britannica prides itself on having an understanding of what knowledge seekers need in the digital age, but sadly I didn't agree. The next lot of apps need to have more gameplay where things are learned as a result of the games. The app cost £4.99 and if I was going to spend a fiver on this kind of material, I'd put it towards a hard copy book about the facts, as I'd get what I'd expect with a book. No games, lots of facts and plenty of historical information. An App suggests more, so I would only be prepared to pay £0.59 for this app. It seemed expensive compared to the price of thousands of other Apps you can buy.

I'll leave you with the Top Ten Facts about Knights and Castles which we enjoyed:
1. A Knight’s education began at the age of seven
2. Before becoming a Knight, a young man would serve as a page, a squire and then an armour-bearer to a nobleman
3. Knights were “dubbed” (officially given the title) at the age of 21
4. Knights were governed by the Chivalric Code of Religion, Honour and Courtesy
5. The word comes from the Old English word “cniht”, meaning horseman
6. Most castles were built in Europe between AD 800 and 1400
7. Keep castles began to appear in the 1100s as builders preferred to use stone over wood
8. Castle walls were often more than 4.6 metres thick
9. The castle’s defences were managed by the constable, who commanded the guard
10. Castles were often self-contained, with kitchens, storehouses, stables and other buildings to serve the residents

The Encyclopædia Britannica has kindly agreed to give away two Knights and Castles Apps to readers of this blog. Despite my negative comments above it is very factual and would benefit a child who was learning about knights and the middle ages for school, so if you would like a free app, leave your email address below and I will arrange for them to send one to you. The first two addresses given will get the Apps- there are only two to give away.

Thanks for visiting! You are looking hot today! x

I Just Want Studs With Staying Power!

Don't get too excited- I'm talking about my earrings!

They never seem to last long. A back always falls out or I lose the stone at the front. I like the diamante look - I'd never trust myself with real diamonds, I'd be too scared of losing them, so I get those cheapies from woman's fashion shops, but sooner or later, I lose one and I'm left with a box full of odds and ends.

Can someone manufacture some diamond look stud ear-rings that DO NOT FALL OUT! I have an active lifestyle and will swim in them, go running, do Zumba, sleep, and generally walk around- does anyone know of any studs with real staying power? Message me below!


Here is a post I wrote last year about companies who market to busy mums!
Us busy women need solutions. So now I've turned this post over to the universe, I can't wait to see what comes back. I hope I get informed about nice jewellery stores but I'm a little worried about how some might interpret the blog title- those people who don't actually read the blogs just skim keywords then send in spam. So make my day- find me some studs with staying power!

Thanks for reading! You are looking hot today! x

Being A Woman in Business and the Business of Being A Mum!

Anyone who knows me knows how much of a female supporter I am! I think that women are multi talented, strong, capable and worth a lot more than sometimes they think they are. It breaks my heart to hear a woman pull herself down- or worse, pull another woman down. We are so omnipresent, yet discreetly in the background - the newest P&G advert shows it beautifully, you can see it here.

So I was delighted to receive two new books written by women, for and about women. One is a business guide for women who want to start their own business to make their dreams a reality, and the other is a guide for parents to help protect our daughters and nurture them into being the strong, confident young women they were born to be.


Business in Red Shoes written by Rebecca Jones is a guide for women who want to start their own business. You can read my review of the book here where I've posted to Amazon. I particularly liked the books title as I have been known to wear a nice patent red heeled shoe when I'm out at business networking events, promoting my business! Its become something of a trade mark, and it started because the girl in my business logo is 'red'! Here is my logo:

...Yes I know my girl wears black shoes but her skirt is red!! I also have a red skirt with a poodle on it, just like the girl in the logo but I rarely wear it anymore!! If you look at my blog header image, that is me juggling my work, kids and cats and I'm wearing my logo'ed shirt!

The other book is called 'Where Has My Little Girl Gone?' and is written by Tanith Carey. This book was absolutely excellent and I would highly recommend it to parents of young daughters. With my girl being 8 years old, I feel I've read this book in time to take on board the pointers in it to help my daughter through her upcoming pre teen years, and I plan to re-read it each year to stay informed! You can read my Amazon review of the book here.

I respect the work that Tanith has done, because I really enjoyed her last book too. I reviewed it on this blog when it came out in 2009 - you can see that review here.

So now I've given you lots of great reading to do, you just need the time to do it!! Stay tuned to this blog, I have loads of great time saving tips!

Thanks for visiting! You are looking hot today! x

At Home Column #16- Big Boss Mum

Most mums will have at some stage, thought of working from home. It’s part of the daily juggle of life with kids – “how do I earn a living whilst looking after my children?!”. Childcare costs a fortune and who wouldn’t want to get rid of the daily commute? There has even been a Love/Hate Travel debate launched recently as so many workers have something to say about commuting!

I remember when I handed in my notice to my full time job to start a business working from home, my colleagues said “how nice, you’ll be able to answer your emails from your garden!”. We were both naive at that stage because I agreed with them! I didn’t realise then that in order to get incoming emails to answer in the first place, as a self employed person you need to ‘get out there’ and ‘hustle’ up some business rather than reactively waiting for emails to come in! The mindset of an employee is very different to that of a self employed worker, and its’ usually only when you have taken the leap that you find this out.

Change of Career
Setting up a home based business is one of the most worthwhile things I’ve ever done, but it has definitely been a rollercoaster along the way! A couple of years into my business I decided to write the book I wish could have existed when I started out and the act of doing this lead to a passion for writing which has produced a second book and taken my career off into a completely new direction that I couldn’t have envisaged when I was at the start. But all the while, I’ve also been at home, managing the kids’ routine and being there for them in a way that would have been very hard to achieve when I worked from 9 – 5.30pm.

It’s never going to be an easy option if you work from home, but if you are a mum considering this for your own family, here are a few tips that might help make the going easier.

1. Use social networking to get your message out! Sites like Twitter and Facebook are free to join and will help you to let people know you are there! To get clients, people have to have heard of you, so pledge to spend a little time each day on this form of marketing.

2. Website design has become easier than ever to achieve and with the new Serif Web Plus x4 software, you can create a professional looking site with no HTML skills! It can be pricey to pay a web designer to create a site, and this little tool practically does it all for you! Serif also has software to help you create designer business cards and leaflets too!

3. There will be times when you are not available to answer the phone but you still need to create a professional first impression with callers. www.dontlosebusiness.com is a telephone answering service that will take care of your calls while you are doing the school run or having a meeting, so you can juggle home life and business more effectively.

4. Create some space for working that doesn’t interfere with the usual running of the home. If you don’t have an extra room to dedicate to office space then earmark a desk and let everyone know this area if off limits! To divide a room for home office use, Spaceslide is a UK company that makes room dividers so you can create a home office in just 3 hours for around £250!

5. Flexibility is key! This works both ways- you will have the freedom to attend your child’s sports day but also you’ll find yourself working evening and weekends to get jobs done! Don’t worry too much about the structure of 9-5. Top work at home Jugglista’s have learned to roll with it and having a flexible attitude will keep your stress levels down!

Are you a WAHM (work at home mum)? Do you want to be in future? Share your comments or any top tips 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