Who’s Who (Who’s shoes?)

shoes

So who’s blog is this?

I’m Elaine and I’ve previously blogged for my (now closing / closed) business Littlesheep Learning and been @littlesheep on twitter so some of you might know me from there.

I live in south Warwickshire with my husband (Mr Littlesheep) and our four children – three boys and a girl. I’m not very good at saying no to volunteering for things so I’m involved with NCT as a volunteer locally, regionally and nationally, I’m chair of the PTA at the primary and nursery school the youngest three attend and often get involved with community projects. I work for nine hours a week as the Administrator for a local charity run community centre.

In my previous blog the boys were named Biggest, Middle and Littlest Littlesheep and then when our youngest was born she was given the blog monika Miss Littlesheep to save the confusion that renaming everyone else would cause! I quite like calling them the Littlesheeps so I think we’ll stick with that for now…

So introducing them all…

Biggest Littlesheep – T –  is 11 – he’s in Year 7 and growing more and  more into a teenager by the day with his independence of getting the bus to school, his mobile phone and his laptop. Over the last few months he’s really discovered reading and is devouring book series as fast as he gets them but most of all he lives for tennis – if he isn’t playing it, he’s watching it or reading about what has happened at the various tournaments that I’ve never heard of – so if he is mentioned on here then it’s probably going to be tennis related.  Oh and he’s a Scout…

Middle Littlesheep – R – is 9 – he’s in year 5 and loves Harry Potter (currently awaiting his letter to Hogwarts). He’s a bit of a stats geek and can memorise all sorts of facts about all sorts of sports but in particular F1. He loves reading too (currently on the Harry Potter books for the second time since September!), is a Cub, plays the piano and flute and sings in a local children’s choir.

Littlest Littlesheep – E- is 7 – he finds life as the youngest of the boys hard at times as he’s constantly trying to keep up and that is hard. Outside of school he goes to swimming lessons and Beavers but most of all loves Lego (an advantage of being the third boy is that we have quite a Lego collection!).

Miss Littlesheep – M – is 3 – she started in the school nursery last half term for three mornings when I started work and now is extending that to her full 15 hours (adding two lunch times and afternoons). She loves anything pink and sparkly (so much for not gender stereotyping), Peppa Pig and has just discovered Disney Princesses.

So why this blog?

Well truth was I was missing having somewhere to ramble so it might fizzle out or it might not – lets wait and see!

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Favourite Blogs

MAD Blog AwardsI’m very proud to have been nominated for ‘The Best School Days’ blog in The MADS 2013 having been a finalist in the now defunct ‘Best Business Blog’ category in The MADS 2012.

I am thrilled to be nominated and there is still time for you to get your nominations in… so please do go and nominate if we are your favourite!

Last year I wrote about who got my votes and I thought I would share with you here some of my favourite blogs from my blog reader (sadly I can’t nominate them all so I’ll leave that to you to decide)…

The Five Fs – I knew Kate before I knew she was a blogger (perhaps before she was a blogger?) but her blog is a great read with a mixture of things about her favourite five things – Family, football, food, fitness…. and fun! I love reading her posts about cooking because I know that I should really me more effort.

Patch of Puddles – Merry has been blogging *forever*, I first came into contact with her on mums in business forums and she is my hero as a working mum because she seems to juggle a much bigger business than mine with even more children than me. I love reading about her children’s adventures in the world of home education.

Coombe Mill – Fiona won the Best Business Blog at last years ceremony and I love reading her blog about life as a family on the farm and the developments of her holiday cottage business… plus think her photograph montages are fabulous (must learn how to do that!).

For craft, activity and other incidental learning ideas you can’t go far wrong reading Red Ted Art (although Maggy is a judge so sadly can’t win again this year!), Play Activities, Rainy Day Mum and Science Sparks. For ideas linked to books (and ideas of books you’ve never heard of that your children might like you need to read Playing by the Book.

For blog and business support there is Geekalicious and Mumsclub in my reader, plus I love to read LiveOtherwise, MymumdomEdspire and many many more.

There are hundreds of blogs nominated so check out The MADS nominees if you are looking for new blogs to read and don’t forget to nominate your favourites before 18th February!

Photographic Flashback of 2012

Over at the Boy and Me they have been busy taking photos every day for a year and have posted a review of these as a photographic flashback of 2012 – so here is the Littlesheep Learning’s year in photos:

January – learning out and about (cold and frosty morning)

cold and frosty morning

February – finding out more about the Kids in Museums manifesto

March – learning whilst cooking

April – practicing writing

May – Littlesheep Learning’s Birthday

June – celebrating being able to work flexibly showing the ‘other me’

July – enjoying reading

August – Summer holiday fun

September – Celebrating the MADS

October – World Book Day

November – more exploring out and about (noting the changing seasons!)

December – a new Littlesheep

A-Z of 2012

As the year draws to a close here is the A-Z of Littlesheep Learning’s 2012:

A  – Award Winning – 2012 saw us win a Mumsclub Award and become a finalist in the MADS (Mum and Dad Blog Awards) 2012.

B – Business Blogging – 2012 has seen us continue Littlesheep Learning’s blog highlighting our business successes and helping you help your children learn by sharing our educational activity ideas.

C – Conferences – in 2012 we were lucky enough to get a ticket to Blog Camp in Birmingham where we met lots of other bloggers.

D – Days Out – 2012 saw us celebrating Kids in Museums and taking a trip to the Science Museum Live Show.

E – Extra-curricular Activities – in 2012 we launched our ‘Featured on Littlesheep Learning’ series; if you run an after school activity for children and would like to be featured please do get in touch.

F – Facebook – Throughout 2012 we’ve continued to use our Facebook page – have you liked it?

G – Games – Orchard Toys Games continued to be a best seller at Littlesheep Learning – which one is your favourite?

H – Helping – We’ve continued to help our customers throughout 2012 by providing information about the products we sell, suggestions about suitability and making sure that we dispatch items as soon as possible (especially when they are requested for a specific date) – we love receiving feedback from happy customers.

I – Independents Day – on 29th February 2012 (and a few other months after that) we celebrated Independent businesses.

J – Jubilee – in 2012 the country celebrated the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and we did too!

K – Kr8iv! (Creative – Please excuse the very creative spelling!) – we had a new advert designed to celebrate 2012.

L – Linkies – in 2012 we took part in the Ultimate Blog Challenge, regularly joined in with Silent Sunday, The Gallery and Country Kids plus entered other linkies as we came across them!

M – Maternity leave – in December 2012 we celebrated the arrival of Miss Littlesheep!

N – New products – we didn’t have that many new products in 2012 but we did some planning for 2013 – so keep an eye out for our new lines coming soon.

O – Olympics – like lots of people we joined in with London 2012 and enjoyed the Olympics and Paralympics.

P – Publicity – In 2012 we had our best ever press and publicity coverage with a range of articles in newspapers, trade magazines and online.

Q – Queuing – In 2012 we had another great year with Littlesheep Learning exceeding our targets which meant lots of queuing in the Post Office to post our parcels!

R – Reviews – 2012 gave us the opportunity to review some products that were relevant to us as a small business or that help children learn.

S – Seven – Littlesheep Learning celebrated it’s 7th birthday in 2012; we celebrated, looked to the future and reminisced about the other businesses owners we knew when we started.

T – Twitter  – We’ve continued to use Twitter in 2012 – do you follow us?

U –

V – Vlogging – After attending the talk at Blog Camp we published a vlog from Spring Fair 2012.

W – Work Life Balance – In 2012 we have continued to juggle the business with family life

X – eXciting (sorry a cheat there) – 2012 was full of exciting opportunities and surprises (mainly linked to the Awards!)

Y –

Z – Zzzzz – tired out at the end of 2012 we took a few weeks off for a Christmas break!