Saturday 26 December 2009

I'll Be Back!

Will be back soon - Taking some time out with my boys following the sad passing of my husband in October. We won the battles but ultimately lost the war. Memories last forever.

Sherry xx

Wednesday 2 September 2009

The Irony of Life

I gave blood for the first time today. I have been meaning too for a while, but as with many of our intentions they never come to fruition or they take a long time! A year ago my husband received a blood transfusion. At that point I vowed that I would give blood. It has taken me a while but I got there eventually. I was booked in to do so a few weeks ago, but my husband was rushed into hospital so I had to cancel. I rebooked for today. It always makes me smile when life's situations create coincidences that have a certain irony! I knew last week that my husband was going to be in hospital today but I did not find out until late yesterday that he would be having 3 units of blood transfused. So there I was laying on my bed as a virginal blood donor whilst my husband lay in his hospital bed several miles away receiving his blood. His transfusion will give him the strength he needs to start his next round of treatment and fight on. Did you know that one unit of blood can save 3 lives? I read that somewhere this evening. I just want to give back and contribute to the gift that my husband has received from some kind and unknown individual somewhere.

You see we could all need blood at some point. It is natural for us to always think things happen to other people. To associate transfusions with life-threatening accidents and surgery and avoid thinking that the need for someone else's blood could possibly apply to our own lives or those of the loved ones around us. But we never know what life holds. I can vouch for that.

Nearly everyone I spoke to today had a story, a reason as to why they were there. Mostly it was due to a loved one receiving a transfusion, a newly born child, a family member with cancer, a friend who had major surgery or someone they know having a life-saving transfusion following a bad accident. Whatever the reason they were mostly there because there was some event or person in their life that had suffered, needed blood and they recognised what the gift of blood can do. The same applies to me. As humans we often need an emotional catalyst to spurn us into action. It is not that we don't care, its just that until such things touch our own lives we tend to plod on blissfully unaware of the need.

My husband has obviously not received my blood today - he is a different blood group anyhow! But in some small way I feel like I have given back what has been used for him today. I will be a loyal and regular donor. Yes I have an aching and bruised arm but someone somewhere will benefit tremendously. So if you have never been a blood donor and are fit and able please give it some thought, you could truly be giving the gift of life to someone somewhere when they desperately need it.

Become a donor

Thursday 28 May 2009

Batman is in the house

My youngest is currently infatuated with his batman outfit. It was a hand-me-down from a relative and is a little faded and raggedy but he adores it. Yesterday morning he could be seen playing 'his version' of chess, full dressed as Batman, complete with shopping bag and crocs...and eye-catching combination to say the least. In fact my youngest is very particular about what he wears. He has never liked slogans or pictures on his clothing generally and from around the age of two he has often asserted what his choice of outfit for the day was to be. He took this to a new level a couple of days ago when, now 5, he insisted on selecting his entire outfit for the day without any assistance whatsoever. Well not sure if I have a little fashion diva (suppose it is divo for a boy!) but he came down in a completely co-ordinated look. Navy shorts, yellow and navy striped polo shirt and a pale yellow Ralph Lauren jumper to complete the look! He even went as far as to explain why he had selected each item and how it complimented the look! He fell somewhat short by then selecting his bright turquoise crocs as footwear, but hey you have to have practical footwear for the garden.

But yesterday, well it was a Batman day. He even insisted on putting the outfit back on after his shower - well it is the school holidays and I am in a lenient mood...what harm will it do for him to sleep in his Batman gear if that is what he wants? He slept until 8am this morning so he obviously wasn't uncomfortable - we did of course forego the cape and the mask for bed in case any of you are worrying - I also made him leave his Batmobile on the driveway!

Not sure how long batman will be around for this morning, but he is definitely 'in the house' at the moment. Have a feeling a pirate may visit or perhaps Spiderman (complete with foam six pack), he has been absent for a while!

Friday 8 May 2009

Motherly Destruction....

Oh dear - I feel so guilty. In one fair swoop I managed to destroy the Ark of the Covenant and a digeridoo. Yes I know it sounds strange, it sounds even more bizarre when I tell you I did it with the roof of my mini! Rather easily explained though I am afraid...sunny day, convertible car, arms full of childrens things amidst school put things on roof...hey presto! Amazingly neither myself or my two sons realised what had happenend until we reached Waitrose a while later...we found the remnants of the digeridoo on the ground by the rear of the car. The Ark of the Covenant and the digeridoo had been lovely made by my eldest son at school. I am obviously biased, but he is such a sweet and loving boy, when we realised what had happened I could tell he was very disappointed but he put his arm around me and said 'Don't worry Mama, you couldn't help it, it was an accident'. What a darling. Despite this I felt awful and desperately searched for fragments of each item in the hope that we could perhaps reconstruct them at home with some TLC and glue! Alas this was not possible. Somehow his kindness made me feel even more guilty, but I was so proud of his attitude, amazing for a seven year old. One of my friends is a teaching assistant in my son's class - I told her what happened and her comments made my guilt plunge to new depths. Not only had my boy had to make the Ark of the Covenant unaided, he had to draw it to scale and build it from plan - a fine feat for a child his age. So how bad do I feel? Off the scale. But my gorgeous little boy made me proud and realise that it is okay for mummies to make mistakes too!

Tuesday 5 May 2009


I read an article about 1989 in the Times Sunday Magazine. Now as a lady I don't want to give too much about my age away, but in 1989 I was in my early adult years and remember a lot of what they talk about in the article. It was also a key time in terms of relationships....whilst our friendship remained platonic for a number of years, it was in 1989 that I first met and became friends with my adorable husband. We were both working for a Japanese bank in the City - so the article's mention of Sushi having no equal in the City was very apt for us! There was not the conveyor belt service that you can get today, but with so many large Japanese banks in London and so many of their staff, great Japanese restaurants were not difficult to find. I particularly like Tatsuso in Broadgate, not sure if it is still there now?

I think sushi was one of the more upmarket elements of 1989....but I do remember watching the Simpsons when it was new and hip. I remember watching 'the scene' from 'When Harry Met Sally' and the dawning of the chick flick. I loved 'Love Shack' by the B52's and vaguely remember dancing to it with a group of friends apres ski in Austria - all a bit worse for wear - okay, off our faces dancing on a table, we were young! The sound of the Fine Young Cannibals singings She Drives Me Crazy also resonated in the background of many a night out. My father and brothers laughed out loud to Blackadder - I just didn't see what all the fuss was about it at the time - but now I too cry with laughter. A rare case of being thankful for the re-runs.

Bodies - yes those tops like a leotard with poppers underneath....nice smooth line, no riding up - yes I wore those too, but they were bloody uncomfortable! They do not feature in my current wardrobe...and haven't done since!

Dirty Den was killed off in Eastenders, sorry but I wish they had killed off the entire programme. Having been born in the East End of London I am afraid it bears no resemblence to my memories of living there until I was 10 years old, and I have never known a more miserable programme to grace our screens.

Finally we come to shell suits....the nemesis of many a photo album no doubt! I honestly did not wear one of these - at the time I thought they were somewhat of a fire hazard let alone a walking fashion disaster. However my then husband did sport a rather un-fetching purple and black one on occasion - perhaps that is one of the reasons I divorced him soon after!

So many memories!

Friday 24 April 2009

The Gurkhas

My late father-in-law was a Sergeant Major in the Paras during the WWII. He trained and fought alongside the first airborne gurkhas. During the war he fought through Burma and liberated Japanese prisoner of war camps.

I often used to sit and chat with him and try to glean information from him about these days. He did not say a lot, her certainly never boasted about his efforts or his bravery, he was very modest in that respect. But he did tell me how he admired the Gurkhas, how loyal and hardworking they were and what wonderful support they gave to this country.

Over 40,000 gurkhas died in the 1st and 2nd world war and they have been loyal to this country for over 200 years. They are fighting now in Afghanistan. The decision about their application took four months - produced one page and was posted on a website.

Surely these men, who have risked their lives, should be treated better and be given the opportunity to reside here without a long list of qualifying criteria that most will not meet. I know that immigration is a very hot topic these days - but in my opinion these men deserve to be near the top of the list when it comes to being allowed the choice of living here or not.

I know my later father-in-law would be extremely upset by todays events. I sincerely hope that they, Joanna Lumley and their legal team continue to fight for justice in this matter.

Wednesday 22 April 2009

The Budget

Despite constantly being told by the government that they are encouraging small and medium sized businesses to drive the economy – the budget is devoid of all incentive for small business. Huddle & bliss have been fortunate to experience consistent growth since its launch in March 2008, but there is nothing in this budget to underpin my confidence in expanding my workforce in the months going forward.

But then I expected no different!

Tuesday 21 April 2009

St George's Day - A Moment to Reflect?

I really do believe that St George's Day should be a national holiday.... we should all stop and appreciate this green and pleasant land in which we live. In today's environment we are bombarded with headlines of doom and gloom about our country and what state it is in. And yes, the situation is indeed dire....but it is not the be and end all. Whilst we are all affected by the current problems, there is more to life than the economy and negative headlines ....I know....without elaborating at this point, my life encompasses a very unwanted element at present which has given me a unique perspective and enables me to appreciate the positives in my own life. Whilst we all need money to live and have bills to pay , it is not such things as money that touches our heart and uplifts our spirit. It is the simple things in life, the irreplaceable things of no tangible value that mean the most. But we often miss this in the day to day rush of our busy lives. It is only if something makes you stop or falter that you realise what counts.

Our country is beautiful, but most of us have never travelled through more than a tiny portion. A holiday here immediately spikes thought of bad weather, bad food and naff beach resorts. And yes there is that element...but like most things there is always another perspective to consider....I would love to sit on a cliff top watching a storm play out over the sea (from the safety of my car of course)...well-cooked fish and chips is delicious and we have an abundance of coastline littered with little unspoilt bays. Okay if you want a suntan England or the UK would not be your first choice, but it depends what you are looking for. My family not being able to travel abroad, in the last few months have had a couple of breaks in the UK, not at all the sort of holiday we would normally plan ( I really am a fan of hot weather and 5* hotels). In doing so I have discovered another type of holiday that I enjoy....just being away from it all - a simple escape from routine ....not caring what the weather is like...but enjoying the days with my children with kites and bikes and rockpooling on the beach and simply enjoying the view....spending the evenings with close family around a fire with a box of trivial pursuit and simply enjoying being with them.

We have much to be grateful for in this country...for most of us probably people and places. I am fortunate that I live in a village with a close community. People do say hello in the morning, there is a community of which we are very much a part of. Whilst there is always a bad apple for the most part people are kind and good and trustworthy and more than happy to help....and we should focus on these tremendous positives, particularly in times such as now. I have cows in the field next to my house and a river running along the bottom of the hill but I am often too busy in my whirlwind of a day to stop and look. This St George's day I am going to stop and take the time to appreciate my family, friends and surroundings which for me are England, my green and pleasant land.

Tuesday 7 April 2009

I Love Computers...When They Work

I truly do love computers...I really don't think that I could survive without one...okay, of course I could survive, but I do rely on them for so much, my business, food and clothing to be delivered to my door, organising everything from a doctors appointment to a holiday, keeping in contact with friends and family here and abroad....and I know you can do all these things without a computer, but well, it is so much easier to do it with them!!!!

But today has been one of computerised frustration - when you do rely on them so much well when they don't do what you want them to, when you want them to do it, it is a right pain in the backside. For some reason today my email decided to pack up and not receive could send but not much for BT Office Anywhere....well my handset was receiving everything but my main office certainly wasn't! It was only for a few hours but well when you are juggling that is a long time - I had organised my boys and their friend, they had been fed and were playing happily in the sunshine in the garden and I set myself up within full view of them, nice cup of tea, radio on in the background - all ready to sit down and work on some documents that I was due to email! Typical...juggling and the balls drop to the floor!

Never mind - will the world of course not....things will be just delayed a little, the huge pile of work on my desk will get a little higher...particularly as I am off for the day tomorrow and taking my boys to London for the day...even a workaholic knows you have to stop sometimes!

Will have my blackberry with me and am trying to set up twitter on it at the can still do a bit of work...was tempted to pack my netbook...small enough to go in my rather large bag...but that might be pushing it a bit.

There seems to be problems on Twitter and Facebook at the moment...or perhaps it is just me today...I can watch Shameless after all!

Monday 6 April 2009

A Change is as Good as a Rest!

Well that is what they say and I agree! When you work and have children well yes the school holidays can definitely be a testing time in terms of the balancing act we all do. And I am sure that I am not the only mum who treasures this time with my children but at the end of it experiences a certain amount of relief when it is time to revert to the normal weekly routine!

What I love most about the school holidays is the calm that falls over the place of the morning marathon to get out of the door. Normally armed with book bags, homework, packed is rural where I live so I have to drive my boys to school but I still feel like a packhorse making it to and from the car! I get up early and am organised and do as much as I can in advance, but why can we never avoid the last minute rush...every mum I know says the same thing....if you have the key then let me know!

This morning everyone had a little lay-in, and when the boys did get up they snuggled on the sofa with toast and hot chocolate....and I went back to bed with a cup of steaming tea, the tv and my laptop....nice way to start the day! Just hope the weather holds out as the boys love being outside and they entertain themselves in the garden for hours - and I think it is good for them, fresh air and no Wii or DVD's. We have a few days out planned and some of their friends are going to come to play. So hopefully I will achieve a good balance of keeping on top of the business and spending some time with my family.

Saturday 4 April 2009

SEO Saturday

SEO for those of you that don't know... is search engine optimisation...still none the wiser? Well basically it is words and terms that you include in visible and invisible areas of your website that the search engines can pick up on and then help people find your site and individual pages...sounds thrilling doesn't it! Sadly it isn't quite as simple as it sounds and that is the tip of the iceberg. It is an enormous task and requires many hours of concentration and have to get in the 'zone' a little so it is not something that you can dip in and out of, and for a busy mum this makes it all the more difficult. So a few weeks ago I decided that Saturday would become huddle and bliss SEO day. My boys are here of course but they are getting to the age where they are happy and in fact entertain themselves. My husbands business is Mon-Fri so I can pretty much concentrate for a set number of hours on my huddle and bliss work ....last Saturday it was 18 hours non-stop!!!! It becomes a bit of a challenge though...and I love a challenge. And besides I enjoy it. As I always say....I have no off switch.

There are a lot of businesses out there doing seems to be the next web or marketing 'thing' and I lose count of how many calls I get offering SEO. I really think it can be a big money-spinner. But I am a staunch believer in that no one knows babies and baby things like a mum...and no one knows huddle and bliss like me so I think with a little help from my IT guys and a bit of reading I can do it myself. At the very least I will gain an extensive understanding of it...I wonder how many business people out there have handed over thousands of pounds and they really have no clue how and why their particular keyword terms have been selected, or if they are even doing what they are supposed to. Now I am sure there are probably a number of SEO'ers out there shouting back at me....please get in contact, if I am missing something here then I would love to know! At the end of the day for anyone setting up a business there is nothing like hands-on experience and someone leading a business has to know every aspect of it. I have done and still do on occasion, everything from making up swing tags, constructing our gift boxes and working in customer services. I believe it is crucial. It has to be a constant learning curve - bit like being a mum! You never know it all and you have to be prepared to learn along the way. Each stage with your child brings a new set of dilemmas and challenges but overall joys!

So here it is SEO Saturday. By setting a day aside for it I also ensure that I make progress on this enormous task at least one day a week!

Before that though I need to go and cook breakfast for my boys...they are calling for bacon sandwiches this morning....mmmmmm....don't normally eat breakfast (yes yes I know I should) but am sure the smell of bacon cooking on a Saturday morning may bet my appetite going...if nothing else I need to up my caffeine levels, always takes three cups...the cafetiere is calling!

Friday 3 April 2009

Where will I find the time?

Frankly I have no idea...but I am certain that I will manage it somehow. If I set my mind to something, well then I generally do it. Even if I start reading a book that I find terribly hardgoing well I really do try and finish it...there are literally one or two books in my lifetime that I gave up on...sorry can't remember what they were!

Being a mum and running a business, well you can imagine how many hats I wear! Just as well that I am impulsive and love flying off at suits my lifestyle well. I have three boys to look of which is my adorable husband...the others are my gorgeous sons of 7 and 5 years respectively.

So no doubt this blog will be squeezed in amongst a whole host of other things. So you must excuse my lack of continuity, my spontaneous bursts of activity and my odd disappearence into the depths of my in-tray!