Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Travelling rabbit - visiting Caroline Watts in Yorkshire

Once again I find myself coveting the life of a fabric rabbit. (This can't be normal, maybe I need to see someone?)

Anyway,  yes Sylvain has been on his travels again, and this time he has been to lovely York - a place very close to my heart as I went to university there in the early 90s. Happy days.

He has been to stay with Caroline from Caroline Watts Embroidery and as ever he has had himself a marvelous time.

Read the full story over on Caroline's blog. And here are some of my favourite photos.

Gazing in the window at Betty's famous tearooms 
I used to eat these cakes, 'fat rascals', when I lived there!

Sylvain meets 'the hairy one'

A multi-talented rabbit, he has now mastered the art of machine embroidery

Settling down for a night of TV

Thank you so much Caroline for looking after him so well - and please can I come with him next time?

Thursday, 11 April 2013

A day out at the WiRE conference 2013

I had a day out of the office yesterday, to attend the Women in Rural Enterprise (WiRE) annual conference.

As anyone who reads this blog regularly will know, I am not one of life's natural networkers but one of my resolutions this year was to try and 'get out a bit more', so last month I took the plunge and joined WiRE. And this month I decided to plunge a bit deeper and attend the conference, a day of speakers and networking at Harper Adams University in Shropshire.

Things kicked off with coffee and mingling. I can drink coffee for England but the mingling bit I find harder - and yes I did a fair bit of standing around, feeling awkward. But to make things easier some WiRE members had stands around the room, so there was the opportunity to shop and chat to stall holders. My favourite stand belonged to Sam Morris of Cow Art. Do visit her website if you have a hankering for a cow painting. Sam is lovely.

And then early in the day I met Josephine Murray who runs Rains Starts Play, an online children's clothes and toy shop. Obviously we had lots to chat about and it was really nice to find someone with an interest in similar things.

The first speaker of the day was Alison Howell, the really inspirational woman behind Foot Trails, a walking holiday company with a difference (think more cashmere socks than hiking boots). She spoke with a real humility about the ups and downs of business life, and I truly enjoyed listening to her.

And the last speaker of the day was a lady I already know through social media - Rosemary Jameson from Rosie Makes. Some years ago now Rosie had a section on her website on cordial making and kindly shared one of my little films on her blog.

(And here it is again, just in case any of you haven't seen it...)

And in between we had more coffee, a talk on PR, lunch and cake, a talk on branding, a Q & A session, and more coffee.

And there was a goody bag! Mainly leaflets etc but two exciting items - a packet of seeds from Sage the accounting people (I spent ages wondering what the seeds were before it dawned on me - yes, of course, sage) and a little bag of chocolate coins from another lovely woman, Jo Dale at Flourishing Incomes Streams - she is the woman for you if you want help finding nice clients for your business.

Today I have felt a bit exhausted - 6.30am to 7.30pm is a long day out of the house for someone who rarely travels further than the local post office! And I am also feeling quite reflective - the conference raised quite a few questions for me, but that's a good thing, and all in all it was a great experience.

Oh, one last thing. I posted a profile on the WiRE website today (which even involved an impromptu photo session so I could include a pic of me and Rudolph - cue an hour of faffing around with camera on timer mode etc) so do have a look. And browse through some of the other members on the marketplace, it's a great business resource.


And if you are a woman working for herself - and I know there are some of you reading this blog - I would so encourage you to think about joining WiRE. It's really not that scary. And there's plenty of coffee :)

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Travelling Rabbit - Sylvain goes to Maryland

Sylvain is now officially better travelled than me.

For his latest trip the lucky little rabbit wangled an invite to Maryland, United States. Yes, for the last couple of weeks he has been living it up in Flintstone with his host Linda and by all accounts they've been having a yabba dabba doo time!

Here he is arriving after a long transatlantic journey:

Who is in the box?

 It's Sylvain!

He had great fun inside with lots of new friends....


He even made friends with Pirate the Cat!

...and he had great fun outside in lots of snow


And of course, no trip to Flintstone would be complete without meeting this little lot:


So, a huge thank you to Linda for looking after him so well. He left Flintstone last week on the 4.30pm postal bus from right next door to Linda's house, and I have just received news that he has arrived at his next destination. Where is he now? Watch this space....!

And, as ever, if you would like to host Sylvain rabbit please just send me an email enquiries@cottontailsbaby.co.uk and I will add you to the waiting list - he is very polite, fully house trained, and all we ask in return is a photo or two for his ever growing scrapbook.

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Working from home - the spare bedroom

People often assume I have a little warehouse somewhere, or at the very least some proper premises, but no, I work from home, currently squeezing Cottontails into a spare bedroom.

This is not a permanent solution - we are going to sort out some kind of office in the garden. (You can see the post here which outlines one of the possible options - although I think we might be having a rethink and building a new garden office).

But for now, I am just across the landing in the spare bedroom. I quite like it. The journey to work takes about 3 seconds. But it is an almighty squeeze and frequently descends into chaos.

I had a big tidy up over the Easter weekend, and here are a few before and after photos. It probably doesn't look that different, but at least I can move around without having to breath in!

Desk - before

Desk before (yes, there is a desk there)

Before - from doorway

After. I told you there was a desk. 

Look, there it is again

After - from the doorway

Even Rudolph's corner is neat and tidy