BIZU – Review

I have to confess I am far from a crafty person, my patience is so thin and my fingers to stubby, but my girls love to make and create different things. So when I was asked to review a BIZU decided why not.

When it first arrived I was wondering if I had bitten off more than I could chew as the whole thing seemed a little beyond me. Also the instructions weren’t really that easy to follow but thankfully the 10 year old grasped the concept pretty quick.

The style studio has four separate sides in which you store you beads. When you have  decided what bracelet to make you spin it around and then the chosen bead, charm drops out. You then string them altogether and fix with the provided clip.

The kit came complete with 40 beads and even some design cards for inspiration.

My daughter did really enjoy making the bracelets but would have preferred more grown up beads. But as a first jewellery making kit for younger children BIZU would be great fun.


BIZU style studio is available from Argos, ASDA, The Entertainer, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Toys R Us. The Style Studio RRP £ 19.99 and the packets of additional beads start at £5.99.

A great idea for Christmas!!!


*We received BIZU style studio free to review. All views are my own.

Rio – Review

I love it when I get asked to review DVD’s we all love to enjoy a good movie it’s even better when I receive one that suitable for whole family.

Rio fits into this category it’s a fun, laugh out loud movie for all ages.

Made by the creators of Ice age, Rio is an animated comedy that has moments of sweetness that even had my husband saying arrahhh.

It’s also one of those movies that I class as double layered, it has great in your face humour that everyone gets but also a second layer of innuendo which at times goes over the younger children’s head.

My youngest loved this film and has watched at least five times since we received it. She tells me she keeps finding things she missed before.

“Blu is an exotic bird who believes he’s the last of his kind. But when his owner learns about Jewel, Blu’s female counterpart in Rio de Janeiro, they set out on an adventure of a lifetime. Even though he’s never learned to fly, Blu befriends a group of wise cracking city birds who help him find the courage to spread his wings and follow his destiny.”

Brodie tells me her favourite part of the film is when Linda goes up on a float and she is wearing a bikini with blue wings and a big bum. She has to dance in front of thousands of people and is told to “shake your booty”.



Rio was released on Blue Ray and Triple Play on October 24th. I recommend you check it out.

Also have some Rio fun

Play Rio games:

Rio in a row

Birds -vs-monkeys



Changing myself

The only one thing I can change is myself, but sometimes it makes all of the difference.’. Unknown

As you all have probably realised I love quotes. I adore them on paper, screen, wall art, notebook, magnets anywhere. They inspire and uplift me.

The quote above is pretty apt for the stage I am reaching in my life. For a long time I haven’t really liked who I was. To chubby, to weak, to thick, not dedicated enough , terrible wife, dreadful mother have all been thoughts that have crowded my mind at one point or another.

I’ve never allowed myself to see what I’ve achieved or how far I’ve come. Or how strong I have been. The negative has definitely overweighed the positive.

Yet today while mucking about in a clothes store with Alan my husband I finally realised the difference between vanity and respect for oneself.

Looking in the mirror and saying “hey you are pretty ok”. Is not the same as saying “hey world look how great I am”.

The time has come for change, I believe I have a lot to be proud of. I have achievements I should respect.

As the quote says “‘The only one thing I can change is myself,” but doing this has made a difference.



Business Mums Unite 2011

On Wednesday I had the pleasure to attend the first ever Business Mums Unite Conference and Exhibition held in Nottingham and to be completely honest it was fabulous.


From the moment we walked into the venue we were met with a friendly welcome. Quickly guided to our stand we were impressed with the set up and the space we had been given. The whole exhibition hall was rather remarkable and Livvy’s Smile was proud to be able to be part of it.

The venue The Albert Hall Conference Centre was simply stunning; I confess I spent a long time admiring the beautiful stain glass windows in the great hall.



After quickly setting up we ventured upstairs to listen to the speakers.


The opening welcome was given by Charlotte Pearson the organiser and creator of Business Mums Unite. Charlotte gave us a little background of how she first found herself starting out a stay at home mum who also ran a full time business. Her story was a testimony to her driven personality and her motivation to be there for her children. My only problem with Charlotte’s speech was that it was not long enough. I would have happily listened for a lot longer.


The keynote speaker for the event was Elaine Hanzak- Gott, to try and fit all Elaine had to say into one blog post would be impossible. She is one remarkable woman who has faced some horrific things in her life but she is courageous and determined to make the best out of any situation. Her opening slide stated the words “Dreams big, Worries small” and they speak for themselves. Elaine was simply inspiring and I was so excited to get to speak to her later in the day about our shared experiences.


The second speaker for the day was Naomi Timperley who again spoke with passion and gave some great business advice about being prepared and to have fully researched your market. Naomi had faced and survived Dragons Den, way to go girl!


Sally Pettit followed after a short break and gave us five great tips for successful networking. Sally is  The Motherfactor and her tips were of great substance and gave me some great ideas.


The last speaker of the morning was Rebecca Jones also know as The Red Shoe Biz Woman, Rebecca was so vibrant on stage her energy was contagious. I was ready to leave the building and get started on some new ideas I had and to make plans for the future. Her honesty in what we can expect and what we should expect of ourselves was liberating. Two of her statements being “Do less, but be more successful” and my favorite “There is no such thing as superwoman”.


The array of speakers  presented at Business Mums Unite were simply first class, they all left me feeling inspired, motivated and with a new found belief in what I was capable of achieving and of what I had achieved.


The whole standard of service at the Albert Hall was outstanding and this carried on into lunch time. The food was delicious and there was plenty of it. The constant hot and cold drinks were well received all day.

The afternoon played host to a series of workshops that we had to choose two to attend. Choosing was hard as I really could have benefitted and enjoyed at least three or maybe four of the offered.

I attended the small business workshop presented by Joanna Martin. My husband is stepping out into the world of commerce and we both found the workshop informative and engaging. We left with a list of valuable points that we need to consider.

Our second workshop was Sales with Julia Bramble. This again was informative and interesting; I found it quite exciting to learn of new ways to promote both Livvy’s Smile and my own writing.

The day then drew to a close with a small speech of thanks from Charlotte and a prize draw.

I left the venue exhausted but exhilarated. I had a lot of notes and information to digest all of which I am slowly working my way through still.

Business Mums Unite for me was a fantastic day; the event was well organised and prepared. The venue was first class and the speakers well chosen.  I took a lot away from this day and really hope to hear news of a Business Mums Unite 2012 very soon.



* While I was given the ticket to this event for a write up blog post, all opinion’s are my own.

Life is an experiment

“All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better. ”
Ralph Waldo Emerson

I found myself struck by the above quote today. It wasn’t new to me, it fact it’s one I’ve read many times before, yet for some reason today I read it with new eyes, a new understanding.

Maybe its the journey I’ve been on the few years, so many things have not gone as I had planned or even perceived. The twists and turns of my life have left me suffering badly from motion sickness. But unlike some crazy fairground ride my life hasn’t stopped in a few minutes it’s carried on and forward.

Don’t get me wrong it’s not all been bad,along with the darkest of moments there has been have been ones of pure light and unadulterated joy. Life has certainly been for living that’s for sure.

Like the quote states the more experiments you make the better, The decisions I’ve made in life haven’t always been the best but I’ve learned from mistakes, changed where things when wrong. Rectified and moved on and in doing so got better at it (I hope).

I have to smile at the youth of today they seem to expect everything to come easy to them. Life does move at much faster pace but something’s take time. A friend of mines son was so sure it wouldn’t take him long to learn how to drive. I mean hey he had watched his dad do it so many times. It looked easy enough and on his xbox he was one of the highest scorers in that driving game.

So when he stalled the car over three times on his first driving lesson he became disheartened and gave up. “driving was overrated ” it seems.


I’m sure most of us would smile at this story but I asked myself the question “am I any different”.

I have started things I was sure I would achieve only to struggle and lose my way. I’ve given up on things rather than persevere. I’m not proud to admit this but it’s true.

Take blogging as an example so many times over my first year I nearly gave up. It seemed that nobody was reading and that everyone else was having dramatic success.

Then I looked at what I believe to be the core reason for any success. The reason for doing!

Why did I write? Why did I blog? I could carry on filling notebook after notebook with my words and not stress over people’s opinions or views.

The reason I write is that I wanted to share my words with others in hope that someone may take something away from them, may enjoy them, relate to them. So I’ve carried on and far from being one of the top blogs I’m slowly building a community of readers that I’m proud to be part of.

My friends son, he is still young but I’m sure there will come a time when wanting to drive will become more important to him than his pride. When he needs a car for his chosen career or transporting his family round. He will get back behind the wheel and restart his driving lessons.

Life is full of challenges and lessons that we need to learn. I’m learning to embrace them.

I was once told ” the only truly stupid question is the one you didn’t ask”. I love this philosophy of life.

I was glad of this reminder today. Life is an experiment but remember some experiments bring incredible results.


My words have a meaning

Writing to me is not about a series of words or striations across a page, my words are from the heart. They share my heart and my mind.

So when I am blessed to use my words to do something worthwhile, something that means something to me. My heart sings with the gift.

I am honoured to me a featured guest contributor on the new Compassion UK blog.

Compassion is a wonderful charity that is bringing so much too so many. Compassion is an international Christian child development and child advocacy ministry. They are committed to the spiritual, economic, social and physical development of children living in extreme poverty in 26 countries, enabling them to become responsible, fulfilled Christian adults

Compassion’s founder was inspired by Matthew 15:32 where Jesus says, ‘I have compassion for these people – I do not want to send them away hungry’ (NIV).

The new Compassion UK blog is a place where we hope you will get an insider view of the ministry. You will hear from people who work for Compassion, enthusiastic sponsors, church staff who work with the sponsored children around the world and many more passionate supportive people.

My faith my heart will be in my blog posts this much I can promise. Pop over and enjoy my first contribution.



Taking my breath for granted

Breathe in breathe out breathe in breathe out.

It’s such a normal action we don’t register that we are doing it, until the moment we struggle.

Asthma is something that has played a big part in my life for nearly 16 years and if I’m honest maybe more. I remember being at school running the 1500 metres and wondering why I just couldn’t catch a breath. I was incredibly fit but at times it required real effort to control my breathing. Yet it was when I was pregnant with my eldest the real problems began, it seems my lungs didn’t have the strength to work for two people, without extra help.

What is asthma?

Asthma is a condition that affects the airways – the small tubes that carry air in and out of the lungs. When a person with asthma comes into contact with an asthma trigger, the muscle around the walls of the airways tightens so that the airway becomes narrower. The lining of the airways becomes inflamed and starts to swell. Often sticky mucus or phlegm is produced. All these reactions cause the airways to become narrower and irritated – leading to the symptoms of asthma.

My asthma has a few triggers, stress being a big one. But also a simple cold can bring on an attack.

It’s strange the fear that an attack can breed. One moment I’m fine the next I’m fighting for a breath. I’ve been hospitalised due to asthma but thankfully it’s been under control for a while.

Until yesterday, maybe I should have been expecting it a few warning signs had been about. Pain in my chest, the walk up the stairs feeling like a mountain climb .

Yet I was still surprised when eating dinner I couldn’t catch a breath, I tried to control the breathing, staying calm, breathing in deep but no the attack was in full battle mode.

For what seemed a long time I struggled, my husband was making plans for a hospital visit, my daughters in tears with worry. When finally the inhaler started to take effect the breathing began to slow and become easier.

I was so exhausted, I fell into a deep sleep, only to be woken a few hours later with chest pains.

Let’s just say the night was long and the doctors appointment booked.

So many of us take breathing for granted yet the number of people with asthma is rising.

5.4 million people in the UK are currently receiving treatment for asthma: 1.1 million children (1 in 11) and 4.3 million adults (1 in 12).

There were 1,131 deaths from asthma in the UK in 2009 (12 were children aged 14 years or under).

On average, 3 people per day or 1 person every 8 hours dies from asthma.

These Statistics are frightening and also a great wake up call for me to sort out an asthma review.

Last night scared me.

All my information and statistics were found here asthmaUK

It’s a great site for more information.


Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

William Ernest Henley