Next Mummy Stylist Competition

Well, it’s official… I love a good competition and I always seem to find one hosted on the fabulous blog “All Baby Advice” Actually I’m rather lucky to have got my entry in. The competition finishes tomorrow and I’ve only just discovered it!

What competition I hear you ask? The Next Mummy Stylist competition, the one where you can win a £500 Next Gift Card… WOW… some of that please.

What an amazing prize, one that would take care of the children’s fashion needs for this summer (and probably next)! Having three little monsters I’m most definitely giving this one a go.

All I have to do is come up with an outfit(s) up to the value of £500 from either the Next maternity or kids wear range giving you all the reason for my choices.

This seriously is my type of competition. Firstly, I love Next, secondly, I love creating outfits, and thirdly… I love to shop even if it is just window shopping.

Browsing through the Next online store I feel head over hills in love with the girls summer range. I could just see Alice-Sara kitted out in my creations below…

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I love Navy and white and it seems to be a pretty hot trend this year. Alice really looks great in these colour combinations, what with her long blonde hair and blue eyes. At age 9 she already has an eye for fashion so she has worked with me to create the chosen pieces.

1) Navy Strip Bow Dress £18.50 I love it as its easy to dress up or day with the help of one or two accessories. I’m not big on pink but this slash of baby pink gives it a really pretty edge.

2) Navy Print Bow Playsuit £17.00: Again this is adorable. Great for the beach, looks fantastic and really easy to wear. Simple but pretty it would look great with flip flops on the beach or pumps.

3) Navy Stripe Espadrilles £14: Great holiday shoes that would complement any of the above outfits. To cute for words.

4) Team GB Trilby £14.50: Oh… Love it. Would work well with the Playsuit and its much more of a fashion statement then your standard sun hat. With the 2012 games in less than a month lets show that we are proud to be British!

On that last note, I really couldn’t pass these up… Stunning and very Brit chic

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1) Union Jack Prom dress £29: WOW… Alice-Sara is lusting after this very pretty girly dress that couldn’t get anymore British if it tried. This would have been perfect for a street back we attended for the Jubilee, I just wished we had seen it back then.

2) Red Patent Bow Shoes £28: These lovely patent flats would really lift the dress making it great party wear and can be teamed with skinnie jeans for a bang on trend look.

3) Union Jack Denim Shorts £19: I love Denim and these would look awesome with the above blazer and shoes making it perfect holiday wear or even a great outfit to wear to the games.

4) Union Jack Blazer £28: You have to admit that this is dead cute but very smart. Would look great with almost anything it’s teamed with especially denim as mentioned above.

As you can see I really couldn’t pull myself away from the GB colours and would love Alice-Sara to be able to add these additions to her summer wardrobe.

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1) Blue Lace Shift Dress £19: I think this is stunning and a really great price. Would look lovely with flats, including those above. The shift dress is very “Now” and I’ve seen some very pretty ones this season (I’m also lovely wearing shift dresses as they are so flattering).

2) Red Woven Blazer £26: Yep another blazer, this time a plan red one to add impact to the blue dress or if it’s not that warm, teamed with the blue Chinos instead.

3) Blue Chinos £18: Smart and a great colour. These look like they are a great cut and I love how it can be teamed with a red belt if desired.

4) Reversible shopper £9: This goes with all my chosen outfit and Alice simply loves it. Two bags in one, what more could you want.

5) Spot Pumps £13: Simple and pretty, these spotty pumps will fit perfectly with all off the above.

Now I was going to leave it at that but have now decided to share a few of my favourite boy pieces. After all the range on offer is very smart and I couldn’t help but take a peek.

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1) Stars and stripe hats (2 pack) £9.50: I love bright colours and the orange would suit Harley really well with his big brown eyes.

2) Crab Tee £7: Really simple but sweet, perfect beach wear which again displays some of them bright bold colours like those of the hats.

3) Fluorescent Chino Shorts £9: Smart but casual in a nice bright colour! You can be sure not to lose the toddler when wearing these… love em!

Once more I have gone for the British theme, how could this mum resist.

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1) Flag T-Shirt £8: Bang on trend and wouldn’t he look adorable stood next to his big sis.

2) Mid Badge Jogger Jeans £13.00: I love these so much these are ordered lol. The length is great and with converse hightops these would be awesome.

3) Baseball Jacket £15: I love this style and feel that the jacket would be perfect for chilly evenings. How great it would look teamed with them jogger jeans.

4) Red and White Espadrilles £13.00: I had to add these, they are fantastic and I’d love Harley to model these on the beach this summer.

So there it is… My style creation. I didn’t style anything for my eldest Little man. With him I need to consider textures and cuts etc in much more detail. This is because his tactile defensive and very fussy when it comes to clothing. Through I’d love to kit him out in something other than tracksuit bottoms and t-shirt.

All the above comes in at just under £320.00

So, it’s been a fun couple of hours drooling over all the lovely children’s wear over on the Next site. The competition closes tomorrow, So, you still have time to enter if you hurry.

”All

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Crafting Using Decopatch

If there is one thing i love its a little Arts and Crafts. I’m always putting my hand to something and trying to release some inner creativity.

One thing i really do enjoy lately is Decopatch

I first discovered this awesome creative hobby via a crafts site and then i scanned the web for UK suppliers. It seems you can obtain whats needed to Decopatch at almost any craft outlet. Ive been stocking up at Hobby Craft and brought some lovely heart twinklet boxes (big and small) and some pretty rose pink Decopatch paper to cover them in.

If your wondering what the hell Decopatch even is, its a playful creative art which involves cutting up (or tearing up) pieces of paper and then using them to vamp up objects by pasting the paper on the object of choice then vanishing it. It’s a really fun creative products that can help turn junk into shabby chic treasure. You can just about cover anything in Decopatch, opting for simple designs to more complex works of art using different designs of paper (as to make a type of patchwork effect.

Now even though I’m not using my creative side to refurbish old shabby furniture but instead a couple of shop brought heart shaped twinklet boxes, I still had lots of fun and just loved the results.

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Basically all I did was cut up the paper then working on my larger box first I covered the lid with glue adding the paper as I went. I ensured to slightly overlap each piece adding a second layer of glue on the top of each piece.

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I did this till I had covered the entire box and did the same for the smaller box.

I was sure not to cover the inside base and outside base of each box. Instead I had drawn around the lids of each box using pencil onto a piece of black foam. I cut them out and stuck them to the inner base of each box.

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The whole process is actually quite easy, however it’s very messy and I spent the next half hour peeling off the glue from my hands before washing them. It’s important to note that by using Decopatch papers you are left with a great finish and the paper is less likely to rip both during the making process and after. Decopatch papers produce a smooth texture and a paint effect as the paper is deep-dyed and glazed. The glue isn’t just any glue but Decopatch Glossy Glue which gives it that vanished finish.

I was pleased with the end result and admittedly felt like running off and Decopatching my entire house. These twinklet boxes make great storage for my jewellery and they look awesome on my dresser.

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Decopatch is a really funky fun activity. If you don’t have anything to revamp, try some of the Decopatch paper mâché shapes and boxes. You can find all the papers, glues and vanishes in Hobby Craft or other craft shops. Decopatch even have their own site. Also available are paints and gems to add extra touches to a project. I haven’t personally tried this but I’ll be sure to let you know what they are like once I have.

Checkout my mini “How Too” Decopatch video I made for the heart Decopatch twinklet boxes.

Self diagnosed eBay addict

I wake up in the morning reach out for my iPhone and here’s what I do…

1) Check my email
2) Check my twitter
3) Check my blog
4) Check my eBay
5) Check my Facebook

For goodness sakes I’m not even joking! I often sit and try to cast my mind back to those days before social networking and online auctions such as eBay bloody existed, I know my life wasn’t boring so why do I now consider it to be just that if I’m unable to check-in to my 5 online hotspots throughout the day?

Yes, Social media is taking over the world and i’m happily clinging on and going for the ride!

Seriously though, I don’t sit for hours tweeting and liking, life won’t allow me. Yes, I’m a mother, I have a family to contend with! Yet I do find myself frequently popping in and out to my online life, modern technology such as the iPhone makes this an easy task to achieve.

Now, if you noticed number four on my list is to check my eBay. Now this much loved online auction site has griped many including myself, only I’m surprised just how long that actually took to happen.

As a lover of shopping its rather strange that I’ve only actively been buying and selling through eBay this year. My friends and everybody else I know seem to have been at it forever and although I’ve always been completely aware of such happenings I had never found myself needing, nor wanting to use it… Well till now!

I think that maybe the sensible side of my brain made sure I stayed away. I’m the kind of person whom is quiet easily drawn in and rather hard to suck back out!

Hands up… I absolutely love that land called eBay!

Now although I have recently sold items on eBay I’ve actually brought a considerable amount more. So, what is it about buying on eBay that I just can’t seem to get enough off?

The fonder of eBay in my opinion is one very clever so & so. It’s simple, we’re not just get the frill associated with shopping we are also getting the buzz of winning! Then there is that aspect of getting a bargain and who in gods name doesn’t like getting one of those.

I have had my fair share but a bargain can only be that if we really need such items in the first place. I’m currently hooked on bidding for dresses and pretty vintage style clothing for my daughter. I’m also always on the hunt for trendy boys wear for little man and the toddler as well as indulging my shoe habit a fair bit of late. But although you’ll often hear me state “You can never have to many pairs of shoes” in all honestly one can and I probably have!

So, what is it I’m checking when I’m reaching for my iPhone at 7am. First thing I need to check is that of my buying list… You know, items i’ve won and items I’m winning! Then I’ll check my watch list and make the early morning decision on wether I want to bid on any of them items. Next up its of to my Selling list, where I’ll check to see how any of my listings are proceeding and maybe share them via my connected social networks.

Now although I’m holding my hands up here and admitting that yes maybe I am a little bit of an eBay addict, I can still say with confidence that items I’m bidding on get a max bid which I stick to. There has been the odd item I’ve battled for but now I use a special technique “Would I buy it right now in a shop for the same price?” this normally does the trick.

As for selling, this is a buzz in itself. It’s great to list a desirable item then kick back and watch the interest and watchers grow. It’s also rather lovely to watch your item ending especially when the price rises beyond what was expected.

With three growing children and my own over flowing wardrobes caused by obsessive shopping trips and hoarding items for donkeys years I have a fair bit of stuff to sell. Unfortunately eBay are only allowing me to list 10 items per month and despite my continuous request for a higher selling allowance and ebays promise to send me a letter as verification of my address they still have failed to send it so I’m stuck. Another problem with selling on ebay is the fact that I never seem to transfer the funds made from my listings back into my bank account via PayPal to withdraw! Why not… Because I use it to buy more!

I’ve been reasonably lucky with my listings and this is mainly due to some great sellers tips passed around by friends here on the net. Here’s a few I’ve been introduced to which have worked well for me!

1) In most cases list items as singles (especially when selling branded clothing and lovely children’s pieces) this also cuts down your postage costs.

2) Don’t start your listing to high as it puts people off.

3) Add photo packs (great for free and reduced insertion days)

4) Be reasonable with P&P and offer a combined postage.

5) Recheck spellings before confirming a listing as you don’t want to be coming up on the listings over at “Fat Fingers”

6) Add pictures from varying angles

7) Don’t list for no less than 10 days ( this means your item gets seen more and end up in many a persons watch list)

8) schedule listings to finish at around 9pm as this is normally a child free time (unless your living in my house)! It’s true though it’s the most least busy hour of a person’s day, unless you work nights or are tucked up in bed.

9) List brand names and picture the labels

10) Reframe from listing a “Buy it now” price (this often makes people reluctant to bid more in the end if the item doesn’t sell before the end time)

11) It does no harm to hit the share button and blast out to your followers on social networks.

I do follow the above and for me it’s been beneficial.

But what about buying on eBay?
I’ve got some awesome buys for a steal, example… TOPSHOP woman’s coat (brand new with tags) original price £75.00 won bid at 99p and the P&P was £3.00, Infant Red LEGO Kickers won bid at £1.04 and the P&P was £2.70 and another great one was a bundle of girls clothing consisting mainly of dresses from next, monsoon and Zara, number of items 13 won bid at £6.00 and p&p 4.00

So… Is there a trick in getting things for monkey nuts?

The TOPSHOP Coat and the Lego Kickers both had typos within the listings title which I found using the “Fat Fingers” app available on iTunes. The clothing bundle consisting of 13 pretty dresses made the mistake of listing within the wrong category as well as having an early hours ending time.

I have found in the short time I have actively been using email that feedback is of great importance. I now read this before biding (unless the item is ending within seconds when I’ve discovered it and I really want it that is). I brought a pair of Adidas women’s trainers for a steal at 99p but the seller took my PayPal and seemingly never sent the item. I’m all for giving people the benefit of the doubt, but when you state, “I’ve sent so out of my hands” when I inform you it hasn’t been delivered. Then tell me on a second occasion, “I don’t care it’s your problem” then I get the sneaky suspicion you never sent it anyway. Yes it’s just 99p with a fivers P&P but it’s beside the point and after several attempts to reason with the seller and opening a case with email I gave her bad feedback.

Feedback helps buyers feel more confident in bidding on your items making you more money. As a stay at home mum and full time carer I just sell the odd item and then use the funds to bid on items I need for the children. But I can sell the money that can be made easily with the help of eBay and it’s something I’d consider come Christmas. If my sellers allowance is increased that is!

I’d love to hear from any eBay pros, please feel free to leave your comments and any useful tips or wise advice within the comment section below.

Below is a picture of a few items I’ve brought and what I’ve paid (yes there are plenty more from where they came from)!

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