Bidvine: Connecting Customers With Service Providers Needed

Bidvine is a tech start-up based in London that connects customers to the local service providers they require. Like most people, I don’t have spare time to spend looking up services and getting quotes when I need something done. This website takes the hassle out of it and is a real time saver!

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It is really quick and easy to use; you simply type in your postcode and the specifications of the service you require, submit your request, then wait for the bids to come in. It is simple to do this via the website on desktop, tablet or mobile, or you can download the app if you have an IOS.

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I have been thinking about getting some professional headshots done, since I am determined to continue developing my blog further this year. However, it always ends up being put lower down my priority list, and therefore not getting arranged, because it takes time to organise and there is always so much else to do. But with Bidvine, I just pulled out my mobile, tapped in my postcode and selected that I need a photographer. It then asked me a series of questions in order to ensure that the service would meet my requirement; such as budget, travelling distance or whether I wanted them to come to me and a few other details. They were tick boxes and only took a few seconds to answer, it really was so straightforward.

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An example of the specification questions.

Once I had submitted my request, it was simply a case of waiting for photographers to email me with their details, while I continue with my busy daily life. Simple!

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Generally, responses take anywhere from 4 hours to four days. However, I was surprised to find bids came in almost immediately, and I was contacted by five different photographers within a few hours. They all met my exact criteria and provided all the relevant information without the need for further correspondence. So it was then just a case of comparing them and choosing one. It made the entire process incredibly quick and stress-free. Great life hack! 

Bidvine covers a range of services too. You can search for anything from cleaners to painters, and piano lessons to plumbers. I can see myself using this alot in future because it is so user-friendly and makes life so much easier!

Find Bidvine here:

Website: www.bidvine.com

IOS app: itunes.apple.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/Bidvine

Twitter handle: @bidvine

Instagram: www.instagram.com/bidvine


This is a sponsored post in collaboration with Bidvine. Thoughts and opinions are my own.


Reasons Why I Am #RockingMotherhood

Parenting is hard. And it is easy to focus on the mistakes we make, the things we haven’t done and the things we could do better. All too often we criticise ourselves, and give ourselves a hard time, rather than celebrating our own achievements as a parent, the things we did right and how much we actually rock! So I really appreciate both Mama Wilkos and The Baby Boat Diaries tagging me to write this post about the reasons why I am, in fact, rocking motherhood

  • I know my child. Ok, this sounds like I am stating the obvious, I’ll admit. But she is a very complex child with some major additional needs, and I really get her. It doesn’t always make it any easier to deal with of course, but at least I understand exactly where she is coming from!
  • I am her mum, teacher, friend and therapist. I am her rock. I am even her business partner! I do my best to be absolutely everything she needs me to be.
  • I have taught myself the extra skills that I need to support her as fully as I possibly can with her needs, including CBT. 
  • I have adapted our lifestyle and carved out our own path to better suit her unique needs, even though it isn’t always easy to go against the grain. 
  • I support her in finding and developing her true passions in life, and to follow her interests.
  • I give her the freedom to learn at her own pace, and allow her the time and space to enjoy a raw simple childhood.
  • I teach her to be comfortable and confident with herself and who she is. 
  • I make sure she is never afraid to fail or try out new ideas.
  • I help her to be a solution-focused, free thinker who throws away the box completely! 
  • I nurture her sense of wonder and exploration of our natural environment and the world around us, and teach her how to protect it. 

RockingMotherhood

I tag the following awesome mamas to take part in this challenge too!

Friendly First Foods

Me Becoming Mum

Better Together Home

Cups Of Charlotte 

Mrs Mummy Harris 

Rules

  • Thank the blogger(s) who tagged you and link to their blog.
  • List 10 things you believe make you a good mother (This is just a guideline, it can be more or less, I really don’t mind)
  • Tag 3 – 5 bloggers to join in the #RockingMotherhood Tag.
  • Grab the #RockingMotherhood badge and add it to your post or sidebar.

If you would like to, you can also tweet your post to me at @followourpath and/or @whitecamellias (the lovely mum who started this challenge). We would love to read them and RT for you! 

My Hopes and Wishes For 2017

​Moving on slightly from my new year resolution post, I was kindly tagged by Devon Mama and Friendly First Foods to share my wishes for 2017 in different areas of my life. I am grateful to be involved in this because it helps me to focus on my aims for this year; I do like to set myself goals, as I said previously! 

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Personal Wishes

  • To make time to dance, go to gigs, listen to music; do the things I love.
  • To meet more like-minded people and build new friendships.
  • To try new activities/ do different things/ go to new places; be adventurous!
  • To volunteer at a couple of events.
  • To keep developing myself and continue with my inner growth.

Blog Wishes

  • To increase my reach, so that more lovely people read my blog!
  • To meet some more fellow bloggers in real-life, maybe even make it to one of the blogging events this year.
  • To start my nature linky, which will motivate me to post regularly about our outdoor adventures. It will also help me become more organised about blogging too!
  • To continue my guest series ‘A Quick Cuppa With….’ because it is a lovely way to connect with other bloggers and support small businesses, plus it helps me to have scheduled posts in advance!
  • To seek out more paid opportunities as my blog continues to grow. 

Family Wishes

  • To organise a good balance of home ed activities that interest and develop Squiggle, whilst giving her plenty of freedom and the flexibility needed, to meet her needs.
  • To explore some new days out, such as Kew Gardens for example.
  • To have a family holiday.
  • To expand our etsy shop to sell more sustainable clothing with Squiggle’s own designs.
  • To continue taking an active role role in protecting our environment.

Hopes and Wishes

  • That 2017 is a peaceful year.
  • That we stay happy and healthy.
  • That we are able to overcome challenges and find solutions.
  • That we maintain our sense of wonder for the world around us.
  • That we set a good example and inspire.

So that’s my list of hopes and dreams for 2017! 

I tag the following lovely bloggers to take part too…

Han Plans

Waffle Mama

The Amphletts

Big Family Little Adventures

Life As Mrs D

Five Little Doves

Mummy Miller
I look forward to reading your posts!

New Year Resolutions

I don’t usually make any New Year Resolutions, I prefer to generally set myself goals throughout the year. I do get it; new year, new start. But do you know what? Every single day can be a fresh start. Heck… any given hour, or any single minute in fact, we can choose to change our lives in some way. Vowing to make a new start, take on new challenges and aim for new goals is something any of us can do any time we want. New year resolutions, I feel, mean we kind of put undue pressure on ourselves and build it up too much. I think that level of hype works for some but yet can be the downfall for others. 

So my own new year resolution is very simple; to build on what I started in the past year. For me personally, 2016 was a time of change and inner growth, the year I begun to rediscover me and who I really am, and to find my direction again. So this year, I aim to keep growing, developing and moving forward. 

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Everyday, whatever the challenges, I remind myself of the ideas that inspire and motivate me. The things that really resonate, and help to lift me higher and to do better. Some of you might relate, whereas I suspect a few of you actually probably hate this kind of stuff! But that’s ok, we are all different. I need them, so I am sharing here as a reminder to myself as much as anything else. Here are some of the inspirational and motivational quotes/ ideas that I live by:

We all have the same 24 hours in a day. I used to think this was utter nonsense! The original quote I saw mentioned Beyonce, and I just thought “yeah right, she has a tonne of help and support around her to get things done. Everyone can achieve more with so many extra hands on deck, it’s like the equivalent of having a spare week available everyday!” But now I see I was missing the point. Maybe we can’t all be Beyonce (obviously, unfortunately!) But everybody can stay focussed, work hard, use their time effectively, do their best to overcome barriers and achieve (great) things. And as for her entourage, that brings me onto the next thing…

We can achieve more when we work together. When we collaborate with others and team up, we can achieve more and achieve it faster. Network, seek out others who share similar goals, build up a support system, ask for help, and find your tribe. And on that note, my door is always open (well my inbox is anyway!) if anyone would like us to work together on anything. I am hoping to connect with others who share similar values and collaborate more this year! 

It’s never too late to start. Alan Rickman got his first major TV part at the age of 36. Fashion designer Vera Wang didn’t design her first dress until the age of 39. At age 39, Stan Lee created his first comic. Henry Ford found success at age 40. Morgan Freeman got to 52 before he became an international star. Nelson Mandela made history when he became president of South Africa, he was aged almost 76 by that time. It is not too late. Repeat. It is never ever too late to start over, to try again, to begin something new. 

Keep moving forward. Set goals, achieve them. If it is a difficult patch, remind yourself that it doesn’t matter how slowly you go, as long as you keep going. In a year or two time, you will be glad you kept at it, even if it feels like tiny baby steps that won’t get you very far at the time. Progress is progress. Keep going. If you need to rest, then pause. But don’t give up.

See the opportunity in everything. Look for solutions, not problems. Don’t be afraid to fail. Mistakes are an opportunity to develop. Failure teaches how to do things better/ differently next time. Challenges can be overcome. Don’t let obstacles stand in your way. Attitude makes all the difference! Don’t stand in your own way.

Richard Branson ~ If somebody offers you an amazing opportunity but you are not sure you can do it, say yes – then learn how to do it later!”


Balance. Know when to keep fighting, but also know when to let go. Prioritise. Word hard but take time to take care of yourself too. Life is a constant juggle, so figure out how to keep up!

………………………………………………..

So those are the philosophies that motivate me, and have helped me through 2016. There have also been a number of charities and non- profit organisations that have been truly inspirational and changed my life. 

Thank you to the following in particular: 

Turning Green 

The Wildlife Trusts 

Lonely Whale 

WhaleFest 

Ocean Unite 

Surfers Against Sewage

If any of your New Year Resolutions include green living, protecting the environment or conservation, then be sure to check them out!

What are your new years resolutions? I’d love to hear them, let me know in the comments!

The (Not Big Or Fat) Quiz Of The Year!

Since it’s the end of the year, here is a little Q&A quiz just for fun, to reflect on this past year and look ahead to 2017…

What was your highlight of 2016?

Getting my first paid opportunity from my blog! (Not because of the money itself but because of the sense of achievement and what it represented!) There were lots of non blog-related highlights too, of course, but since I am currently writing this as a blog post and my head is on blogging goals etc… it’s the first thing that came to my mind at this moment in time lol!

Name one thing you are most likely to remember about 2016 if asked in five years time?

Hmmm. Brexit and Trump sadly I think will come to my mind. And the loss of so many greats. Hopefully I will also remember it as the year of so much personal growth in all aspects of my life too though.

Sum up 2016 in one word.

Change.

Name one pearl of wisdom from 2016 that you will carry with you through 2017.

I have surrounded myself with some hugely inspirational people this year. They have helped me to grow in a number of ways that I most certainly will carry with me. I think this deserves a separate post of its own to be honest!

Do you have any new year resolutions?

I don’t really do new year resolutions as such, I prefer to set myself goals throughout the year instead.

How are you seeing in the new year?

I’ll be at home. We do a fake new year earlier in the evening so Squiggle can get to bed when she is tired, due to her needs. Hopefully she won’t get disturbed once asleep but that’s probably abit optimistic!

What would you most like to do in 2017?

Travel. Anywhere really!

What are your main goals for 2017?

Continue to grow my blog. Help Squiggle to develop her etsy shop selling sustainable clothes with her own designs. Collaborate with others, and support some awesome charities.

I tag Mummy FoxThey Grow So QuickThe Baby Boat DiariesJust Average JenSophie Ella and MeAccidental Hipster MumBig Man in the WoodsEmma Plus ThreeWaffle MamaTo Aufinity And BeyondLisa Cowan and Living With A Jude to answer these questions next. I look forward to reading your posts! 

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Wishing everyone a very happy and healthy New Year! 

Merry Christmas!

Happy holidays everyone… and for those who celebrate, Merry Christmas! Thank you for all the love and support this year, I appreciate you taking time to read my blog and connect with me!

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I love snapchat filters, in reality I was sat in my pjs and no make up when I took this 😂

I hope your day is filled with laughter and fun. But if today is difficult for you for any reason, as I know it can be, please remember you are not alone. Feel free to message me if you need to, via email or any of my social media accounts.

Helpline Numbers:

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Helpline numbers (UK)

Wishing you all a happy, healthy 2017!

Katie xx

5 Places in Hertfordshire to Visit For That Festive Feeling

Are you trying to find festive things to do with the kids that will get you all into that Christmas spirit? Here are five places to visit in Herts for some family fun that will leave you feeling wonderfully festive…

1. Willows Farm Santa Spectacular

We go to this Santa Spectacular event every year and it’s a fantastic day out. Not cheap but plenty of festive fun to be had! More information on my previous blog post here.

2. Notcutts, St Albans

Notcutts is a nice place to pop into on a tight schedule, because you don’t need much time to enjoy the festive magic yet is still well worth a visit if you are local, mainly for the giant dancing snowman! I have heard santa also visits on occasion, sometimes even for breakfast or tea with guests! (Event must be booked in advance). 

Notcutts, St Albans, Hertfordshire, Christmas, Santas Grotto, snowman

3. Ayletts Nurseries, St Albans

I have already written about this lovely local garden centre, because it was Christmassy enough to warrant its own separate post! Great festive atmosphere.

4. Van Hage Garden Centre, Great Amwell (nr Ware)

Again, Van Hage is so fabulously festive that it has a post of its very own! With an ice rink, grotto and wonderful Christmas displays, it is enough to take the scrooge out of anyone! 

5. Christmas Drive or Walk

Earlier in December, St Albans Christmas market would probably have taken this spot. But a Christmas walk or drive to see beautifully decorated houses is something that we all really enjoy and is a well-loved activity for many families. Our personal favourite is Beech Road in St Albans, who are raising money for Mount Venon Marie Curie Cancer Wing with their amazing display, but I’m reliably informed by Diary of an Unexpectant Mother that there are also brilliantly decorated houses on Brocket Road near Lemsford and lovely lights on Handside Lane in Welwyn Garden City. Amy from The Smallest of Things also suggests Blair Close in Hemel Hempstead too. Wherever you walk or drive, you are bound to spot plenty of festive sights! 

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And two more just outside of Hertfordshire…

Centre: MK (Milton Keynes)

There is an excellent Christmas event in Middleton Hall, which is situated within this large shopping centre. There is a carousel, train, snow globe and huge igloo which houses santa and his elves. The activities charge separately and aren’t cheap, but it does mean you can pick and choose, and it is a great treat. Plus, even if you skip any of the parts that cost and just have a general wander, it is still beautifully festive.

Crews Hill Garden Centres (Enfield)

If you aren’t familiar with this area, Crews Hill has a long row of garden centres. It’s a fab place for garden or outdoor enthusiasts at any time of year, but during Christmas it becomes a mini winter wonderland. Don’t miss Springtime nurseries, which is particularly festive! It has real reindeer, plus an indoor train ride to visit the grotto, an ice rink and a snow globe. 

Springtime nurseries, Crews Hill, Christmas, garden centres, Living Life Our Way

Do you have a favourite place to visit for that wonderful festive feeling? Please share yours with me in the comments section! 

Christmas Tag!

I love reading about how other families spend their Christmas and sharing abit about how we spend ours, so thank you to Bell and Bear for tagging me in this festive Q&A! Here are my answers…

What’s your favourite Christmas movie?

Love Actually. I have already watched it several times this month! I used to love Santa Claus: The Movie when I was a child. The bit where the reindeer finally does the super duper looper to save the kid always made me cry bucket loads. Every. Single. Time.

Have you ever had a white Christmas?

Not that I can remember. Perhaps when I was a child, maybe? I’m not sure.

Where do you usually spend your holiday?

At home. I have never been away for Christmas. When I was a child we used to go round to visit my grandparents on Christmas day but they were local (well, same county anyway!) But that’s the furthest I have ever been for Christmas lol!

What is your favourite Christmas song?

Merry Christmas Everybody – Slade

Do you open any presents on Christmas Eve?

Of course not, how could we? Santa won’t have been yet! 😉

Can you name all of Santa’s reindeer?

In a word… no! Erm, Rudolph obviously. Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Blitzen…  How many are there? Oops, I think I just failed the parent test. Oh dear….

Which holiday traditions are you looking forward to this year?

Making our gingerbread house together on Christmas eve.

Is your Christmas tree real or fake?

Fake. It’s child size, blue and decorated by an 8 year old. What could be better than that? (Do not answer that! 😂)

What is your all time favourite holiday treat/food/sweet?

I can’t think of a specific answer to this really. But I loved the vegan meal we had last night for our Christmas do, it was delicious!

Be honest, do you like giving or receiving gifts better?

Giving. Honest answer.

What is the best Christmas present you ever received?

Anything from my daughter!

What would be your dream place to visit for the holiday season?

New York would be high on my list, definitely.

Are you a pro present wrapper or do you fail miserably?

Terrible, I fail miserably. I hate it and I suck at it. Fact.

Most memorable Christmas moment?

There are lots of memorable moments! My daughter spotting ‘Santa’s sleigh’ in the sky for the first time a few years back, that was magical!

What made you realise the truth about Santa?

I have no idea what you’re talking about… 😉

What makes the holidays special for you?

Spending time with family.

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So, that’s my Christmas tag answers! And I’m tagging LeeLee Loves, Mum Times Two, Adventures in Homeschool, Emma and Family, BecsterJust Average Jen and Emma Plus Three to take part too!

MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE!!!!

BritMums and Penguin Random House Children’s Books Christmas Present Challenge #StoriesForLife

We were delighted to be selected to receive three lovely books from Britmums and Penguin Random House Children’s Books as part of their Christmas Present Challenge. Stories are such an important part of childhood, and really do last a lifetime! Squiggle has the most wonderful imagination and expresses her creativity in so many ways, this includes spending alot of time making her own books and writing her own stories. I can actually picture her stories in print one day! 

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Girl Online: Going Solo  Zoe Sugg (aka Zoella) This is the third book in this bestselling series about the adventures of a 15 year old blogger. I think this novel would be great for pre-teens and teens, especially those who are interested in the world of online celebrities. In this story, Penny is busy helping others and making new friends, while tackling some boy dramas too. I will gift this to one of Squiggle’s slightly older home ed friends, who I know loves these types of stories. 

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Double Down Jeff Kinney This is book number 11 in this whopping and hugely popular series, that continues the adventures of Greg Heffley. Can he get his mom off his back by making a film or will he be in yet more trouble? I will gift this book to the awesome Chloe (child YouTuber) because I know she is a big fan of this series and is hoping to read this one soon!

The Racehorse Who Wouldn’t GallopClare Balding This is described as a heartwarming story with a girl-power message. This book sounds like it would be well-received by any animal or horse lover and I’d be tempted to keep it for ourselves (as is the case for any of them!) but I am going to give it to a fantastic local charity where donations such as this are gifted directly to someone suitable who is less fortunate this Christmas. I chose this one in particular because of its uplifting and inspiring message. 

As a younger child, I absolutely loved classics such as The Hungry Caterpillar and other Eric Carle stories, We’re Going on a Bearhunt and The Tiger Who Came to Tea, which I have since passed down to Squiggle. At her age now, or perhaps abit older, I was into The Secret Garden, The Famous Five and anything by Roald Dahl. My favourite pre-teen/ teen stories were anything about pets, Judy Blume books and the Point Horror series. There are so many fabulous stories, I had better stop now though before this turns into a very long post! #StoriesForLife

Disclosure: I was kindly gifted three books in exchange for this post. Opinions my own. 

Eco- Friendly Christmas Decoration Ideas

We love it when it’s time to decorate for Christmas and turn our home into a festive wonderland! For us, it’s all about getting into the spirit and having fun together. But one thing that is also important to me is finding ways that we can make our Christmas decor abit more eco-friendly. We always try to be mindful of the materials we buy or choose to use, and the amount of waste we create, but Christmas can be an extra tough time for the environment. So on that note, here are some wonderful creative festive ideas that won’t cost the earth…

If you are looking for an alternative to a traditional Christmas tree then take a look at these great DIY versions by Inhabitots. We have a cardboard tree from IKEA (sadly no longer in stock) which we love because it can be reused – ours is on it’s third year – and can be easily recycled once finished with. The design could easily be recreated at home if you are feeling creative!

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The Forestry Commission have some beautiful suggestions for natural homemade decorations on Pinterest. Squiggle has been asking to make our own wreath, and there is a lovely design for us to try out.

I also love these ‘reuse and recycle’ ideas from Festive Lights. I didn’t know that gingerbread cookies can be varnished to make longer lasting decorations; I’m very keen to try that out, such a simple but effective idea, and a fun family activity! I also particularly love the snowman fridge too, so cute!

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Salt dough Christmas tree ornaments are natural and fully biodegradeable, yet are easy to make and look great! There is an excellent detailed step-by-step guide by MommyPotamus here. Squiggle had fun making some recently!

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Do you have any eco-friendly decoration ideas? I would love to hear about them!

Disclosure: This is a collaborative post.