Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Merry Christmas from Illustrate My Name


We would like to take this opportunity to wish all our customers; past and present, a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

We have experienced a very productive 2009 here at Illustrate My Name, gaining a great increase in new and repeat business and committing ourselves to customer care throughout our service.

We have seen a delightful increase in the range of gifts we offer, and will continue to add to our range so our customers are provided with a continued variety of gifts for children of all ages for any occasion.

Also a big thank you to all our suppliers and stockists, and of course everyone who follows Illustrate My Name.

We have some exciting developments taking place in the new year so please continue to support us in our growth, and we look forward to another productive year.

Now lets enjoy the Christmas festivities x

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Theo's First Christmas School Play

I just could not resist showing off my 4 year old son Theo in his Squirrel costume, which is for his first ever Nativity play (I know, not sure where the squirrel comes in - but very excited to find out next week!)


And yes its very handmade, but equally I was quite impressed with my first attempt at making a costume for him, especially the tail. I must also admit it took me 3 attempts to get the ears 'just' right, after lots of 'one is bigger than the other', maybe I was being a bit fussy - Just a very proud mummy moment for me and very much looking forward to the performance x

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Personalised Christmas Stars
for all the Family!



Having just received these adorable Christmas Personalised Stars from one of our very talented suppliers.... I just had to get a group shot! I think you would have to agree that these stars for Mummy, Theo, Daddy and Max all lined up ready for Christmas is simply perfect!


They are beautifully hand painted and personalised with your choice of design and name, not to mention the choice of a personalised message on the reverse to add an extra special touch. These our sure to become keepsakes to bring out year after year! I was even thinking about hanging them from some vintage rope or chunky ribbon to make a beautiful bunting Christmas decoration! They would look lovely absolutely anywhere, the possibilities are endless x Christmas Personalised Stars

Monday, November 16, 2009

The Ultimate In Christmas Gifts!

It can be very difficult finding unique christmas gifts, especially with so much out there to choose from. Whether its a gift for your Mother, Teacher or a New Baby in the family, we believe in pointing our customers and readers in the right direction towards some great, reputable websites and our favourite gifts!

For Him - This adorable leather tray for all those bits and bobs they always come home with, whether its change, business cards, or the weekly lottery ticket, he can't blame you for loosing anything. In fact its a nice desk tidy for absolutely anywhere in the house! £25.00 from Cox & Cox


For Your Friend or Teacher - These adorable small cushions are just perfect, having just recently received one to give as a Christmas present this year, I must say they are so unique and I love them! They are available in different designs for only £9.50 from Live Laugh Love


For Her - This beautiful set of 3 vintage rose plant pots will brighten up any room and is an ideal present for any lady who loves her garden or plants. Bring the summer inside this winter! And doesn't everyone love vintage, so these will make an ideal gift. Priced at £37.50 from Graham and Green.


For Little Ones - This is very easy for us to point you in the right direction! Illustrate My Name pride ourselves with bringing the very best children's and baby gifts together in one place, the majority of which are personalised gifts, making a lasting impression. Please do take a little look at the adorable range of gifts we have on offer, lovingly handmade just for the special people in your life x Children's and Baby Gifts

Just try and make sure you enjoy the rest of your Christmas shopping, we all know too well that it can start to become a bit of a chore, especially if you leave it until the last minute. I must admit I have enjoyed mine so far this year, by giving myself a person each week to focus on, it has not only meant I have found some lovely gifts, but it has spread out the costs. Tomorrow its off to do some of my boys presents, which doesn't excite me as much....... only because its either Ben 10, Transformers or Star Wars, but at the same time it is equally as fun!

Personalised Christmas Gifts, Children's Christmas Presents, Baby Christening Gifts, Unique Baptism Gifts, Gifts for Him, Gifts for Her, Gifts for your Teacher ........ We believe in taking the stress out of your Christmas Shopping!

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Tell Us About Your Products......


As things continue to grow for us here at Illustrate My Name, we are always sourcing new and unique children's personalised gifts. If you, or anyone you know has something unique they could offer us to add to our range, please do point these talented individuals and companies in our direction. Simply email us at enquiries@illustratemyname.com
or call 01993 882399 and tell us about your products. We would love to hear from you.....

We are also committed to promoting and marketing our range of gifts to both our existing customers and the media. As a result of this, we were delighted to have recently been featured in the following magazines in the last few months:

Your Home, London Brides, Angels & Urchins, Oxford In Business and Vogue! Full details of which will soon be added to our site.

With Christmas just around the corner and the majority of people in the industry are saying November is 'Christmas Shopping Month' there seems to be a huge recorded rise in online sales overall, which is great news! Also, with the Royal Mail postal strikes and disruption, I believe most people are thinking along the lines of 'order early to avoid disappointment'. If you have any worries about a specific date you require our gifts by, then just contact us, and we will do everything we can to meet your requirements. Please remember we also offer a guaranteed courier service at only a small additional cost.

Monday, November 02, 2009

The Countdown to Christmas is on - Only 52 Days Left!


Here we are again, either counting down or not to the BIG day of the year (well in my opinion anyway!). I must admit I am a bit of a big kid when it comes down to Christmas, having two young children to prepare the Christmas magic for is no excuse for me, I have always been the same! I just love everything 'Christmas'

Now it is especially exciting to watch the magic and excitement through your children's eyes, especially my 4 year old, last year was amazing let along his little face this year! Creeping down the stairs to see if 'he' has been or not, takes me back to my Father leading us girls down the stairs, saying 'I don't think he has been girls' and then the pure excitement when we burst through the living room doors to find presents, presents and more presents!

Christmas time is very important time to see friends and family, and I love that it brings everyone close together! The children love all being together and its what makes it my favourite time of the year. Growing up we always went to my Grandparents from Christmas Eve for a whole week, we never went home, even though we just lived around the corner, it was a complete holiday! The memories are still very close to me now - I really miss my Grandma she always made it so so special x

Now with the countdown only 52 days away, and everyone looking for gifts that will really impress, why not look for something Personalised!

Personalised Christmas Gifts really are a great way to impress, especially where little ones are concerned (the parents will love them too), equally my 4 year old loves receiving gifts where his name is on them, he has so many things in his room that will grow up with him and he loves that they spell out his name - The inspiration behind the start of my business, I illustrated him a piece of art for his nursery and thats where the story began....

Why not take a closer look at the adorable Personalised Christmas Stockings, Personalised Christmas Sacks, Personalised Christmas Hearts and not to mention this adorable Santa Arrow, don't forget you have to point Santa in the right direction this Christmas!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Are you being hit by the Royal Mail Postal Strikes?

I have had such a headache and continue to do so with the recent actions and news of Royal Mail's postal strikes, just having heard another will take place Thursday, Friday and Saturday of this week - whatever next?


Here is some great news for small businesses, and all of you who heavily rely on the Royal Mail for business. Visit this great website PARCEL MONKEY. Obviously if your customers are prepared to pay a little more then this is the way forward. It is so easy and simple to use, set up an account, and follow the online route to send your parcel to your customer in time and tracked by a reputable courier.

I have had the most efficient customer service from this company, not just through their site but also asking lots of questions and receiving immediate response, also I was upgraded as a customer, so it really is worth taking a look. I just had them come to my studio and pick up 4 parcels, hassle free...... :o) now who is smiling

At least when my customers agree, we can now have their order sent tracked via this route, so no chance of lost parcels, or delays beyond our control. Its also nice to spread the word about Parcel Monkey and even become a fan!

Please do forward this BLOG on and tell everyone about PARCEL MONKEY. Whilst you are spreading the word please tell all your family and friends where the best Baby and Children's Personalised Gifts can be found.......... Illustrate My Name - Everything from Personalised Christening Gifts to Personalised Christmas Gifts and much much more!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Don't you just LOVE these Personalised Christmas Sacks!

Only 64 Days to Go......



A very very talented individual makes these adorable Personalised Christmas Sacks for us at Illustrate My Name. Tailored for the whole family, such a perfect final touch under the Christmas tree this year! Get the children one each and even personalise them with 'Mummy' and 'Daddy'! They will be bought out year after year and really beat the plastic ones I had as a child! Although saying that they did still get bought out year after year but I think a fabric sack such as this has been so lovingly made and will be lovingly cherished by the owner, no matter what age you are x

They really are my favourite Christmas Gift we are offering; in saying that just take a look at the entire Christmas Gifts Range, which is constantly being added too, I am sure you will find something you just can't resist ...... Stockings,Keepsakes, Santa Arrows, Personalised Dressing Gowns, Hearts, Hearts and more Hearts!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

MAKING A NAME IN GIFTWARE!


It is always nice to hear about us in the press, not to mention when it is local recognition! It really has made my day and such a joy to read such a lovely piece about Illustrate My Name (and myself, pictured above) in this weeks Oxford Times InBusiness Magazine

I have always felt the importance of being acknowledged and recognised locally as a big step in the growth of any business. For Illustrate My Name to get coverage like this will not only tell everybody about the business, but also you get to see the person behind the business; and although lots of hard work is involved in the running of my business, alongside bringing up my two children, it is a huge achievement to be operating such a successful online gift store, making lots of people smile with the beautiful gifts on offer.

I am also extremely proud that I design and produce the illustrated artwork myself, these being the Illustrated Framed Names and Silhouette Art, which are in fact our top seller and how the business began for me. I am also proud how much of the business is based on word of mouth and repeat sales, something which proves we are offering a great service from the actual product ordered to delivery and complete customer satisfaction.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Andrew Smith (Business Editor), for such a great coverage - And of course why not take a look at the adorable Christmas Gifts we have on offer, its not too early to start looking for that special present!



Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Trick or Treat Memories & Halloween Personalised Gifts


Not everyone will enjoy the spooky part of October, but as a child my memories are still very well remembered! From trick or treating in the dark with friends, then coming home to hot dogs and treats, whilst counting out the sweets and treats we had managed to get from our neighbours. Obviously in this day in age its very apparent that it is becoming more unsafe and not liked to actually go trick or treating. Our village will put a pumpkin outside if they want to participate, so at least the children can go to some homes! Its a bit disappointing for us though in a village with no street lights, we don't have any visitors down our lane, but there is a close in the village where the torch lights and pumpkins can be seen!

I believe the fun is to have a small get together (well for the children), ask them to invite a few friends, or family round and do some yummy halloween treats, not forgetting decorating the house a little with spooky spider webs and lots of candles (up high if your children are young). And seen as though this Halloween 2009 falls on a Saturday, all the more reason to have a little party! Then when the children are tucked up, get a scary movie on, with some nice nibbles and wine and have a scream!!!!

We only have a few Halloween Gifts available, just for a little keepsake for the children, these adorable Hanging Spiders and Ghosts are a must have! A range of beautiful children's personalised gifts and baby gifts can be found at Illustrate My Name. Don't forget to take a sneaky look at the Christmas Gifts, now available!

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Little Max the Model! SMART BABIES


It was lovely to not only promote the products available from Illustrate My Name at a recent photo call for Smart Babies, but to have my little Max as a model, appearing above in a number of shots to promote the group locally, was a proud moment for mummy.


Smart Babies is a local group made up of a number of local Oxfordshire based companies, promoting products and services for you and your baby, once you become a member you receive a wide range of special offers and discounts. Ranging from offers on baby products to free photo shoot sessions. Its worth becoming a member! If you are interested email us direct at enquiries@illustratemyname.com

It is lovely to see a selection of our products on display in these shots, from the Personalised Canvas Clocks to Hanging Personalised Knitted Bunting and Personalised Canvas Bags, all available online from Illustrate My Name x

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Illustrate My Name is delighted to be involved in a very new exciting venture coming to Oxfordshire! Smart Babies is a formation of various companies dedicated to providing baby services/products to the parents of Oxfordshire. Formed by a small group of successful local businesses in and around Oxfordshire, it will be a club where freebies/benefits/special offers and much more will be available for all parents to take advantage of and enjoy!

I am very excited about the photo shoot next week - where my own baby Max will be a model! Not to mention it has also been a personal pleasure to design the logo above for the group - and everyone loves it!

More information about Smart Babies will be announced soon - for all your personalised children's and personalised baby gifts visit Illustrate My Name - Bringing you the Very Best Gifts a Child could want x

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Illustrate My Name Featured in Your Home Magazine Decorating Inspiration



We are delighted to be featured in this months Your Home magazine! How lovely to receive such prestigious recognition for one of our best sellers, our Personalised Themed Name Plaques are available for £23.00, continuing to be one of our most popular gifts for babies and children.

Your Home is a great magazine for everyday ideas and inspiration, at only £1.99 its packed full of great features, recipes, beautiful homes and not to mention a make and do section! Check out the lavender hearts - so simple but so appealing to take the time and make yourself and give as a little gift.

Our name plaques have been featured alongside some other beautiful inspirational products to brighten up your home! It appears everywhere you look the Nautical and Union Jack appeal is growing, its so bright and contemporary and really brings to life any interior - The new Shabby Chic! The beautiful nautical detail to our Themed Name Plaques is timeless! Every child's interior needs one, with 4 designs to choose from, they really are a centerpiece for any children's bedroom.



Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Do you LOVE Stylish Boutique Hotels? but need a Baby Friendly Hotel?

I am a huge fan of indulging in beautiful stylish boutique hotels, whether in the countryside or somewhere in a central city location. Being made to feel special with those extra touches such as little gestures being left on your bed each evening, or personalised fresh fruit and drinks bought to your room on arrival.

Being a mummy of two children under 5 its hard to imagine being able to get away on a break of such nature, or find somewhere so ideal that would start to be child friendly. Finding somewhere that understands it doesn't just take a high chair and cot to be child friendly, whilst at the same time Mummy and Daddy can indulge.

The Answer = BABY FRIENDLY BOTHOLES

A faboulous and comprehensive website, bringing lots of options to your fingertips. Search by UK or overseas destinations, or whether there is play area facilities, heated pools, the list goes on - Catering for your family, to make it the perfect short break or holiday which the entire family will enjoy! Thats a 10/10 for me!

We are delighted to add a personal touch to Illustrate My Name, not just inviting you to take a look at the products we offer but also bringing some great websites which mums everywhere will love, such as tips, advice, things to do and the very best finds! Baby Friendly Holidays has to be a great find for today, so we wanted to share it with you!

Follow our blog here and keep informed of all Illustrate My Name news and launches - we want to offer you more than just gifts as valued followers of Illustrate My Name - Thanking everyone for their contiued support.

Unique children's and baby gifts ranging from: personalised letter cushions, wooden money boxes, hanging keepsake hearts, christening presents, personalised framed names, girls gifts, personalised keepsaks, newborn baby gifts, adorable wooden handmade gifts, boys gifts

Saturday, May 23, 2009

CHOCOLATE PIZZA! Yes I am being Serious!

After spending the morning at the Taste of Summer Event at Blenhiem Palace, I walked away with one amazing find!
The Gourmet Chocolate Pizza Company!!!!!!!!!! Honestly, everyone should take a look, what an amazing gift for someone, or centre piece for a party, making a delicious and striking pudding for your guests. We took just one slice away and my son, niece and nephew enjoyed it very much for pudding today. I will be going back for more soon, as they deliver nationwide and come in amazing authentic pizza boxes, large or small. Genius idea, putting a great big smile on all you chocolate lovers faces mmmmmm! 



Everything from Heavenly Honeycomb to Raspberrymac - Loads to choose from!

For all your children's gifts and personalised gifts to treasure, Illustrate My Name has lots to choose from and lots more coming soon. Enjoy your Bank Holiday Weekend x 

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Lights, Camera, Action........

Its really nice when our suppliers decide to take the time to commission photo shoots for their products, recently one of our suppliers has taken the time to picture their products in some great lifestyle shots! I think this pictured 'B' was probably the order I placed at Christmas time for a customer who just fell in love instantly with them and the lovely choice of fabrics! 



Our beautiful Letter Cushions are a huge hit, and are the first product I added to Illustrate My Name alongside my very own back in 2007.  They were my inspiration that out there were many talented individuals and businesses who could add to the delightful gifts on offer to our customers. Ranging from Little Hanging Letters to Giant Letters, they really make an impression, I love them so much I have bought them for lots of little people. I am also just about to order the Luxury Letter Cushions for mine and my husbands new bedroom! Look below, what a statement! I just cannot resist! 


For all the very best for your children's bedrooms, or even your own! Visit our ever growing range at Illustrate My Name.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

How Does Your Garden Grow?


After a beautiful day and the sun being so very kind to us in Oxfordshire, the question I am asking you all is.....How does your garden grow???

Whether you are green fingers mad or not, it was only last year when I was pregnant with Max that I really got the itch to make my garden somewhere I was proud of, well if only for the summer months!! I am still learning, with lots of help from family, who have given me cuttings and helped with showing me and telling me what works and what doesn't, much better than reading a book, you get to appreciate your garden and spend time with family who teach you something, its never too late to learn! 

Also a very special moment for me earlier this year was when my late Grandma's tree, which my Granded asked me to have in my garden, decided to bloom.  I had a tear in my eye when I first saw it, I do believe my Grandma is watching me and it was so beautiful, no wonder it was her favourtie, I am still trying to find out what its called, will upload a photo soon, see if anyone knows.  I am so lucky to have something that is so special in my garden, not to mention our beautiful Wedding Cake Tree which my Mother in Law bought my Husband and I as a wedding gift back in 2004! It has not only travelled to 3 different houses, it now resides in a beautiful spot outside my kitchen window! Adorable, and very special, reminding us of our special day!

This afternoon I felt it about time, as I have been slacking with the garden, to get down to the roots! So the gardening boots came out, my beautiful shabby gardening gloves (what I would do without them) made a spectacular appearance, and I seriously got down to the weeding! And don't I know it now (back is aching!), after an afternoon of trying to weed, around my boys either wanting mummy or trying to join in, I feel I have achieved something and now its time to hit the garden centers tomorrow for some inspiration! 

Don't get me wrong there is nothing established about my garden, but its growing and as with everything in life, it has to start somewhere, just like Illustrate My Name did for me back in 2006, when I started believing in myself to make a success of my own business working around my first child, and now 3 years on with 2 children, I am so thrilled to offer a great children's boutique, offering an array of personalised children's and baby gifts to the entire world. Only last week I sent products to Malta and Australia!

Please enjoy the gifts and treats, as well as my BLOG! I enjoy bringing a personal touch to Illustrate My Name!  So wake up tomorrow and enjoy the garden, I do believe the weather is going to stay for a little while!

Friday, May 08, 2009

Are you an Adventurer or Not!

I think we all have some kind of an adventurer in us, whether you are the kind to travel somewhere different and go on a simple adventure walk, or thinking back to some child hood books I read about amazing adventures, do you tend to try and find hidden places and remember the great adventure films like the infamous GOONIES!

Even now when we go away I play games with my son about being on an adventure, and having boys its always makes them smile, especially if we find things, my son was really into the WATER HORSE last year so when down by the coast near a rock pool, we found an egg shaped rock, well we kept it for a week in a bucket of water, as he was convinced he had found CRUSO! Bless him, we had to pretend he had hatched and gone back to the sea! Its great having Children, seeing the world through their eyes is the most fascinating thing to ever happen to me x

This link below is just a bit of fun! Honestly I know its a bit crazy really, I never usually have a go at these things, but worth a few seconds out to see if in an adventure scenario, who would you be like!!! It made me laugh :o)


Which Adventurer Are You?Quiz brought to you by
Tripbase - Vacation Ideas



Thursday, May 07, 2009

Freebies and Cheapies in London!

We are delighted to be offering London For Kids a £5 OFF VOUCHER from Illustrate My Name, which you can easily download and take advantage of by clicking on the link below. 

London For Kids - Freebies!

Not only does London For Kids offer some great freebies and cheapies to families in London, basically its a site telling you Where To Go for Kids in London, Where to Stay for Kids in London and What to see for Kids in London. So take a look! Activities, Museums, Theatre, Parks, Hotels, what more could you want all in one place, especially as we all like a day/trip to the Capital every now and then! 

I am just trying to organise tickets to take our son to go and see 
OLIVER in London, my husband and I went back in January and were lucky enough to see Rowan Atkinson make a legendary performance, not to mention Jodie Prenger also showing everyone just how 'Nancy' does it! A great show, and seen as though our son love the musical, we are so excited to take him to see it on stage, he will probably want to jump on the stage and join in just like his mother! 

If you are in the mood to spoil your son or daughter, then check out the gifts we have on offer from Personalised Cushions to Personalised Bookends and lots of great options to decorate your child's bedroom! The very best in Personalised Children's Gifts bought to you by Illustrate My Name

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Food Glorious Food

Oh I am so so excited that our new kitchen extension is almost complete, after buying some beautiful accessories over the weekend, polka dot baking trays and vintage scales, I can really feel a Nigella Lawson moment coming on. Just check out her wonderful recipes and ideas! Just love her, she is an inspiration to me and my kitchen!
 

I am just about to prepare an easy version of a Goats Cheese and Butternut Squash Lasagna! Yes vegetarian too, and so yummy, even my boys like it cause I also add some slices of sweet potato! Its so easy, just replace the layers of mince with thin slices of goats cheese and chunks or slices of butternut squash. At least dinner is prepared and I can get on with all the other chores! For a more detailed recipe try Waitrose. I have tried this and it really is a treat for all the family to enjoy.

I have to make a confession that my favourite cheese is Goats Cheese and I must use it in so many recipes, I know not the best for the waistline, enjoying cheese, but if its time to indulge then cheese it is for me, especially with some olives and a glass or two of wine :o)

If you are searching high and low for unique children's gifts to really make an impression, then try our Product Directory which will be working soon, it just shows our range at present but soon you will be able to search by product or occasion! Also its great to be attending two ladies evenings in the next few weeks, where a showcase of our products will be on display for all the ladies to enjoy browsing through and spoiling their little ones too, not to mention some yummy little treats for the ladies!

Illustrate My Name prides itself with bringing you the very best in children's and baby gifts for any occasion!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Children's Interior Ideas |  Decorating your Child's Room | Little Extras for your Child's Room | Kids Rooms



I think I could honestly change my son's bedrooms every month, there is so many lovely themes and ideas out there. I am glad with my first son we opted for the traditional nautical theme, now 4 years on, its still all in keeping with him, he hasn't outgrown it at all, so thats one good thing for the pocket, especially if you spend a bit more on the bedding which we did from Laura Ashley, its still in great condition. 

He absolutely loves the little paper boat bunting hung around his wardrobe, not to mention some lovely keepsakes I have picked up from maritime museums and gifts shop down by the coast. Beautiful lighthouses, boats and ropes to complete the look. Just perfect like him!

I always say its great to go for off-white or pure white walls, with either a boy or a girl, then you can go totally mad with the extras you add to the room. Adding special things that are important to your child, like photographs, personalised items (great to get them recognising their name) and even their own choice of poster, I have given in to the Dr Who and Ben 10 poster, on the back of the door is my trick! Oh how mean am I! He he

My youngest who is now 8 months is still waiting for his room to be complete, due to having an extension and him being moved around a bit, we wanted to wait till everything was complete before making his room a real adorable place to be! I have gone for a more contemporary look, lots of bright/vintage looking bits against off-white walls. His bedding is my favorite of all, the Cath Kidston mini cowboy range! Not to mention the fabulous alphabet wall art stickers which are bright and funky, and some little extras I have picked up like 'laugh' hooks (above), vintage disney pictures framed, everything of which is all ready to put in place, just once the extension is complete! Not long now Maxie!

I haven't had the luck of being able to decorate or even think about a little girl's room! I suppose thats where I compensate with my business, as I love all things pink for little girls and their rooms, so I like to make sure my range has something for everyones taste and various themes. Only yesterday a customer requested she didn't like pink for her daughter, so she went for my very own Silhouette Art in lilac and purples, I really believe in offering options and different colour choices to suit your child's bedroom or playroom, so always ask if there is something you can't find or see within our range. 

If your little girl likes princesses, fairies or even toys! And your son is dinosaur mad, we have so many themes and adorable interior extras which are the perfect little extras for any child's room! 

Enjoy browsing the full range at Illustrate My Name.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Customers can say the nicest things!

I am so busy moving Illustrate My Name into my new studio tonight, so only time for a quick blog. Are you a working from home mum? Are you working from home around your children? I am indeed an official mummy working from home, and although very hard at times, I try and enjoy it as much as I can. I think one fond memory will be when I first went into labour with Max back in August last year, I was actually processing orders on my iPhone as we drove to the hospital - nothing like a working mum my husband said!

And there I was today working from home for just an hour, around my two little ones and I had the pleasure of receiving a lovely email from Amanda Wring: "Hello, Firstly what a superb website full of many lovely goodies!!! I can feel a real spending spree coming on!!! " 

Amanda Wring who is from Bristol, emailed me today and then we went on to talk on the telephone, it was comical and the usual story, the minute I decide to pick the phone up, my two boys decide to cause chaos! Amanda totally understood, as I was so apologetic that there was commotion in the background, she went onto tell me she is also a working mum and said I think most mums these days are working from home around the children. Thanks Amanda for being so understanding and shopping with us today. She went onto email me this evening, which bought a smile to my face:

"I will pass your website about amongst all my friends. Many thanks and please do not worry about being a working mummy, its better than you having to be stuck in an office block all day - its nice you create and source such lovely things to sell, well done you! You should give yourself a big, pat on your back you know! Take Care and I look forward to receiving the gifts for my son"

As well as this, its great to be following my sister-in-laws blog Unique Gifts 4 Kids. Whether you are looking for children's gifts or some great party supplies take a look at Joanne's site. We are happy that we are both working from home to be with our children and do as well as we possibly can from being working mum's in this day in age. Its really important to support your family and we are proving this first hand.

Right no rest for me this evening, although I must say its extremely exciting to be moving in to my purpose built studio to continue growing Illustrate My Name - for all your children's gifts and for any special occasion, we are here to help you.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

My Best Friends Wedding - What a film!

It was so lovely to sit back and enjoy 'My Best Friends Wedding' last night, which was on TV, a real chic flick if ever you are with the girls or just need a good girly film! It bought back wedding memories, as I have been lucky enough to experience some lovely weddings over the last few years. 

My own best friend had the most amazing winter wedding in November 2007 in Broadway, just outside of Cheltenham. The day was very magical, with fairy lights decorating the beautiful venue, not to mention christmas trees and real burning fires completely set the scene! And being her bridesmaid was a true honor.

Then my brother and sister-in-laws wedding in Spain last October, was very intimate and a beautiful summer beach wedding! Little touches like a table just for the children, with their own little boxes on with gifts and things to do, and we all got a lovely gift too, it was a special day for the family, not to mention my little Max who was only 6 weeks old and had his first trip abroad to share in the special day.

And going back almost 5 years was my own special day just outside of Oxford at Eynsham Hall, it was a sunny/rainy day in July, but even a few showers didn't change the day for anyone, it still is one of the happiest days of my life, on top of the arrival of my two sons! This is us pictured below x



Anyone planning their wedding will know they want to get everything just right, but no matter what you decide as a couple, enjoy every minute and appreciate every minute; do it just how you dreamed and it will be perfect - all the best to those on the trip to married bliss! 

Plus, if you have any new arrivals, or perhaps you a seeking high and low for a personalised bridesmaid gift or personalised pageboy gift, we have some adorable products which would be something your special bridesmaid or pageboy would treasure for years.  We are also going to be adding a section to our store to show the best for different occasions such as bridesmaids gifts and pageboys gifts, naming day gifts, baptism gifts and much much more.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Delicious Doorstops! 

Everyone will want one of these, they are adorable and personalised, and will soon be available within our beautiful range at Illustrate My Name. 



The Ideal vs A Great Deal
The pictured doorstops are priced at £37 each, but you couldn't make more of a statement with one of these holding your door open, so all you Yummy Mummies out there will love them. Also they are available in lots of lovely fabrics for girls and boys! But in these economic times I know too well that we are all looking for a DEAL when shopping online, which is why we will also have a range of doorstops around the £20 mark, so something for everyones pocket, just finalising the details with a very talented individual.

The added benefit is they are not just for little ones but gorgeous for mummy too, I am definitely going to be adding one to my new study when I move in next week! 



For all your children's and baby gift ideas visit US
My Baby Won't Sleep!! Please Help I am Deprived of Sleep

I think every mother at one point or another will be pulling their hair out why their baby isn't sleeping and why it seems everyone else's baby is! Well my first child took over a year to fully go through the night and although to some people that probably seems a long time to have the 'all through the night routine' its not compared to others I have spoken to. My second child who is now almost 8 months, is still waking just once, which of course feels so tiring but actually is quite quite normal at this age. 

I personally would recommend Gina Ford Books to anyone expecting or anyone who has just had a baby, read the Contented Baby Book, as early as you can is the key. I read the book when my first son was 3 months, although eventually it worked, lots of sticking to the routines of course, I felt I was a little late in implementing the techniques. 

Having read the book and seen the outcome, I decided to try again with my second child, but this has been so difficult, firstly when you have a toddler you just cannot stick to some of the techniques like controlled crying, as you don't want a toddler and the your new baby awake at 2am! 

So how impressed was I to find out Gina Ford is launching a brand new book called 'Contented Baby with Toddler Book' - she is a genius!  Although its not out to buy until July, so my little one will be almost a year, I will still have a read! And definitely recommend to people who are expecting their second child. We all do things in our own ways but she is a realist more than preaching what is right and wrong. Focussing on ways and means that may or may not work for you and your family environment, not to mention your child, they are all so very different and mothers instinct is always right - remember that.

I think we all can agree anything is worth a try when your deprived of your sleep - Good luck to all new and expectant mothers out there and why not treat your little one to something from our range of  Baby and Children's Gifts at Illustrate My Name. 

My Little Max at just a few days old x

Monday, April 20, 2009

Personalised Children's and Baby Gifts -
Why not spoil your little one because you love them!



We are adding a huge range of new products soon to Illustrate My Name, some of which can be found at our COMING SOON page, not to mention the personalised children's fabric doorstops which we have sourced from a very talented business and can't wait to show off!

As well as this I have personally been spending lots of time illustrating a new artwork for children, pictured below! These are being added in the next few days and are so bright and contemporary. I am thrilled that already a number of companies are adding them to their select ranges, so not only available at our online baby store, but at other reputable online and retail stores. My sincere thanks go to the businesses and individuals who have continued to support me and my own Illustrated Name Art since I began supplying this to trade back in 2006.



NEW SILHOUETTE NAME ART (above) featured in Fairy Pinks and Boys Toys Themes! I am busy illustrating lots more themes, not to mention Dinosaurs!

For all your baby, christening and children gift needs - visit Illustrate My Name

Sunday, April 19, 2009

So, what is your favourite penny sweet?

One thing when we are all grown up is we never grow out of penny sweets! Everyone must have a favourtite, I think mine has to be the really chewy flat strawberries (which I think were always 2p). Thats what I love since being a child, penny sweets are still penny sweets, and although I am not one to encourage sweets for my children, it is a real treat when we pop into a shop where the infamous penny sweets are, that I let my son have a paper bag and choose 10 little sweets! 



Having looked on the internet a few shops that I like which focus on some all time favourties and lots of options from filling your bowl to just some real great sites to bring back some of your penny sweet memories are:

Get Creative!



I had a little go at being creative and made these lovely sweet cones, out of some adorable vintage wrapping paper, so easy to fill with someone's favourite penny sweet and tie up with a beautiful bow! I had some time out with my son on Saturday and we made these and we added them to a birthday present as a little extra for a family member, and yes it was a grown up because we all love sweets for a treat! I have been busy making lots more to take to my next events and fairs I visit in and around Oxfordshire. I am going to place them in an ice cream cone tray so people can pick their favourites and buy for either presents or just a little treat on the day!

If you are looking for that all important present for a new baby or child, we specialise in personalised gifts for any occasion, whether its unique christening gifts or newborn baby gifts we have so much to offer. 

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

MUMS JUST LOVE! 
The Best recommended products for Mums!


Illustrate My Name now feature in the mumsjustlove product directory.  mumsjustlove.com find the best products, retailers and offers online for mums and their little ones. everything promoted on the site is hand-picked by their editorial team, no listings are paid for which means they are really showcasing the best! 

We are thrilled to be part of the mumsjustlove range! 

Friday, April 10, 2009

We put the 'Yummy Mummy Factor' into our local event in Oxfordshire!

Are you a Yummy Mummy? Do you like everything Yummy? We sure do, so look our for future Yummy Mummy events coming soon in Oxfordshire and to the web!

Pictured above from left to right: 
Laura Hardwick of Choochee Comforts and Jodie Gaul of Illustrate My Name. Photography by Studio 8 Photography

Myself and a very good friend, Laura Hardwick worked extremely hard in organising and promoting the recent 'Yummy Mummies' event which took place in Oxfordshire on 26th March 2009. We were lucky enough to get some great press coverage locally prior to the event and with our own hands promoted the event around West Oxfordshire to get as many mummies through the doors. The event was held between 10am till 2pm, allowing mums of older children to come along while their children were at school and the younger children to enjoy the crafts we had on offer!

We had a huge table for easter crafts, ranging from easter cards to easter puppets and more, as well as The Pottery Place attending which allowed the children to paint easter cups and more. I am so please The Pottery Place are designing a selection of exclusive ceramic products from cutlery sets to name plaques, all made exclusively for Illustrate My Name. 

As this was our first event, myself and Laura were delighted to see a huge amount of people come through the doors, who not only enjoyed our own products, including personalised children's gifts and toys. A selection made by our very own hands, but also on the day visitors got to enjoy health care products from Forever Living; fair trade jewellery and accessories from Sago Jago and much more. It was great to have Studio 8 Photography at the event, they displayed a range of their contemporary family photography and also took photos on the day. The venue we chose was Carterton Community Centre which is a brand new purpose built community hall, with its own cafe area, we received lots of positive feedback from the day about the event and the venue itself. Our next events our in the pipeline, we are hoping for a 'Summer Yummy Mummy' event and a 'Winter Yummy Mummy' event so we will keep you posted.

YUMMY MUMMY BLOG - Coming soon will be our very own Yummy Mummy Blog bought to you by myself and Laura Hardwick, working together for all you yummy mummies out their who love everything 'yummy'! Lots of treats and tips coming soon from great ways to prepare your body for summer to places to enjoy just with your friends, perhaps a lunch out or a day at a spa. We all need some time out from the children, but of course we will also bring to you adorable treats and gifts for the children.

MORE NEWS - Not only have we exclusive gifts from The Pottery Place coming soon to Illustrate My Name, we are delighted Precious Parcels, who produce beautiful handmade gift and decorative treats are supplying us a selection of their adorable gifts to add to our store, with thanks to Natalie Hickey.