So, I made it to the papers over the last couple of weeks! Now looking forward to the #SBS Event 2013 in Birmingham, and meeting some of the lovely people I have met via Twitter, as well as the man himself! Am keeping everything crossed that new winners will get the photo with Theo that last year’s winners got.

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And even better, the kids now think they are famous:

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My neighbours were joking that they now need my autograph. How funny! My new Christmas stock is coming in though and I am very happy to be able to have my favourite caterpillar back in the shop! Watch this space…… :0)

Whirlwind Week!

Well, the launch of the website went well and I have had lots of positive reaction to it. The competition was very well spread and Chris the Caterpillar was sent off to his new owner, so I was a happy bug anyway on Sunday. Once the draw had been taken I flew over to Twitter to send my weekly #SBS tweet to Theo Paphitis. Every Sunday small businesses like me are able to tweet Theo with the hashtag #SBS between 5 and 7.30pm and he then re-tweets his favourite six on the Monday evening at 8pm. I have been entering #SBS for over a year. I have tried funny, silly, serious, straight, topical and rhyming tweets to win Theo’s attention and recognition. I even made a little spoof video of Dragon’s Den called ‘Dragonfly’s Den’ with my family and was brave enough to send it to both him and Deborah Meadon!

So, that done I just carried on as normal. Often on a Monday, depending on how well bedtime goes, I am able to sneak a peek at 8pm over on Twitter and wish my fellow tweeters ‘Good Luck’ for #SBS. This time, however, my son had been on a walk with cubs and was hyper. I was reading to him in his bedroom when the phone rang. I’m afraid I just ignored it thinking I would check later who had called. The it rang again 5 mins later and I immediately panicked! Someone really wanted to get hold of me, so I had to go and check.

On the answerphone was an excited (VERY) Scottish voice. I’m sorry Ally @vital_pa but I couldn’t understand a word first time around ;0) , So, I listened again and it went something like “Hi Siân, It’s Ally Vital PA, YOU’VE WON Get on Twitter now pleeeease” This time I got the ‘you’ve won’ bit and I just went all wobbly, really! Very strange feeling. So, I looked at my phone – over 100 new mentions? That’s not normal, since I had looked about half an hour earlier and only had a couple! At this point my son was out of bed saying “What’s happened, what’s happened?”.

So, on with the computer and there it was, I had won #SBS !! So, the weird wobbly feeling got wobblier as the phone rang AGAIN. This time I had the lovely Kim @Welshroyalcrystal on the other end saying she’d called all of Mevagissey trying to get hold of me! My son immediately assumed Theo was calling me and shouted “Did she win because of Dragonfly’s Den?”. At this point I think I got a little screechy (sorry Kim) with excitement and started thinking of everything I would need to do this week. I did manage to pour myself a glass of red, as my son put ‘Celebrate’ by Kool and the Gang on o his CD player and started bouncing on the bed (yep bedtime was a bit of a disaster that night)! He also asked if I would buy him his own TV now….hmmmmm!

So now I am having a very hectic week. Lots to do, and I keep pinching myself that this has really happened. For some time I’ve been part of a supportive, exclusive group of wonderful businesses on Twitter called #SBSWIW (#SBS Winners in Waiting) who provide encouragement and exchange ideas with each other. I’m now keeping everything crossed for my fellow #SBSWIW to follow me into this new club. I am ‘meeting’ other #SBS winners every day via Twitter and I hope to meet them in reality when we have the #SBS Winners Event in November, when the man himself, Theo Paphitis will be there to offer his advice to us all.

Here’s the tweet that caught his eye:

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I feel like the new website played a part here. I was selling soley on Ebay before that. I don’t know that for sure though, and I am just pleased that Mr. Paphitis decided my shop was worthy of his recognition!

So, if you do are doing #SBS the motto remains, Never Give Up! :0)

 

Exciting Buggie News!

Well, my poor blog has been in hibernation for a while, and I thought now would be the perfect time to come and tell you all my news! The next step of making The One Stop Bug shop has been made. I have spent the last few months making a brand new website, to run alongside the Ebay shop. The difference is that, unlike on Ebay, I now have the freedom to add certain products I could not before! This is my main reason for taking the plunge. All my lovely puppets have come over to the new site, due to changes in the rules of the supplier, and there will soon be more buggie friends there that cannot be sold on Ebay! This should soon become the Bug Shop of my (crazy, ladybird-spotted) dreams!

So, I suddenly had to become familiar with a whole new world of widgets and html, frustrating buttons that won’t go where I put them, and the tiniest little things becoming yet another learning experience for me. Luckily I chose to use a build-it-yourself company, so I have some support along the way (they may be fed up of all my emails by now of course!). The company was recommended to me by lovely, experienced twitter friends and supporters. Again, I have to say, the twitter community is a real support to new businesses and I wouldn’t be without them! The lovely Alison from https://twitter.com/AlisCraftStudio went above and beyond to offer advice (thank you Ali). And Sarah from https://twitter.com/Lilac_Dragonfly  has also helped with advice, being a lot more experienced on site-building than me (Thanks Sarah!)

So, after a while, I realised I had better just make this thing live and carry on tweaking things along the way. I mean, otherwise, would I ever have been happy with it? So, the brand new, bright and bold, labour of love that is http://www.onestopbugshop.co.uk  (phase two of the plan hatched in 2011) is here! To celebrate I’m having a competition to #win this fab caterpillar sockette puppet, who goes by the name of Chris:

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To enter, just find me on facebook: http://www.facebook.com/TheOneStopBugShop and like the page, then share the competition post, OR just RT my competition posts coming up on twitter https://twitter.com/OneStop_BugShop . The winner is being picked out of a hat tomorrow, Sunday 22nd Sept at 6pm. Good luck!

I am very excited about the new look site, and hope you will love it too! Feedback is very welcome :0)

Gorgeous Grasshoppers & more!

Gorgeous Grasshoppers & more!

Some additions I have not blogged about are the amazing Barefoot toys! Ethically produced in Sri Lanka, handmade from scratch by one person, so each one unique. Cotton, so washable. On the grasshoppers all clothes & wings are removable for more interactive fun! Girl and boy available http://www.onestopbugshop.co.uk

Beautiful Home-Grown Butterflies!

Well, the long school summer holiday is in full swing now, and, like many mums, from the start I had a list of things we could do together to alleviate too many complaints, plus a healthy dose of boredom in there too of course. I won’t start the “in my day….” conversation, but you know what I mean! Just before the holidays started I ‘hatched’ a little plan of product testing at its best. I thought it would be wonderful for my children to experience the metamorphosis of a caterpillar into a butterfly first hand. So, we opened up our Butterfly Garden to see what this entailed. The kids seemed happy to play with the pop-up mesh habitat we found in the box, while I quickly entered our code into the manufacturer’s website to order our caterpillars!

A few days later a little box was delivered, and inside was a little pot, with five of the tiniest caterpillars I have ever seen inside. I was a bit worried at first because they barely moved, and got very excited when I saw one having a munch of the strange food that is deposited in the bottom of the pot.

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We put the pot on a shelf high enough to deter curious hands, but low enough that everyone could see inside, and waited. After only one week the caterpillars were much more lively and much bigger. Lots of scoffing was going on now and they grew…and grew and grew! A couple of them seemed to be dropping fluffy poo, but it looked a lot like their own body parts, and I think it probably was, as they quickly got much larger and started to move up to the lid of the pot.

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Under the lid, at the top of the pot, is a thin piece of paper which the caterpillars started to hang from. I noticed the first couple hanging there and thought “This is it!” The kids were absolutely enthralled at this point, checking every day for changes, as gradually, all five caterpillars hung upside down and made themselves a chrysalis. We managed to see one actually in progress too. Lot of effort & wriggling ensued, and by the next day the crazy, beautiful, alien-looking chrysalides were all hanging there.

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Now, following the instructions carefully, I transferred the paper to the mesh habitat and attached it near the bottom so that any fallers wouldn’t have far to go. We had one on the floor of the pot already, which I placed on kitchen towel at the bottom of the habitat. Now, for the wait!

Every day we checked, and I believe it was about 10 days before the first one came out. This prompted HUGE excitement in our house, and the first of many arguments about the name of our new, beautiful butterfly. When they are new, the butterflies drop a red liquid, which is called meconium, yes, like babies and their black poo! For the butterflies this is left over after the formation of the wings. It did make their habitat look a little gruesome, like there was blood all over the place, but I guess it’s all part of the experience. As they emerged, one by one, we decorated the habitat with buddleia, and gave them a juicy piece of orange each day. It was fascinating watching them sip at the orange too!

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The very best moment was setting them free though. The older, and I guess more confident ones, flew right up and away without a backward glance ;0) One or two had to be coaxed though.

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One was so sweet, and sat on the childrens’ fingers calmly for ages, before we put him on the buddleia. This was just a magical experience and one which we are sure to repeat! 

 

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Attention Budding Entomologists – Buggie Wonderland Alert!

Today I have finally added a range I have been hankering after for a while and I’m a happy bunny! I love cute & gorgeous gifts based around butterflies, ladybirds and the like, and enjoy selling these, but I know that bugs are also creepy crawlies that scuttle around your garden and provide a great curiosity for little ones too, and I wanted some products to help study these too. Now you can get your bug magnifiers and catchers at The One Stop Bug Shop! I have had this supplier’s catalogue for a while. Luckily I have a son who is slap bang in the middle of my target market, so his opinions were my guideline. He provided me with ticks and crosses next to the products he liked & wasn’t bothered about, and a big ‘I LOVE YOU’ written next to a couple of products too! Here’s a great favourite, the Creature-Peeper, which allows you to safely house the bug and view it from above and below at 3x magnification:

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All of the new products come under the ‘Educational’ category in my shop as they all provide an insight into the life of bugs. You can house ants in a special (non-escape) ‘Anthill’ and watch them create a labyrinth of tunnels and hidey-holes in the special sand provided. You can purchase a butterfly habitat with  all you need to take care of five caterpillars through metamorphosis into beautiful butterflies! These are the products I did the most research on, understandably. I am happy to know that no live creatures come with the kit, these are purchased separately via a coupon in the kit (for an extra shipping charge) and sent directly from the manufacturer, along with the food supply. Phew, I was certainly not going to post caterpillars! I have had lots of people tell me these are amazing kits and fantastic for little ones to watch over the weeks it take for the transformation. Then you can enjoy releasing your butterflies into the wild!

I love these bug goggles too. I know both my children will be ‘seeing like a bug’ for some time to come, that’s for sure. Three fantastic bright colours, and prismatic lenses to show you what it’s like to have compound vision like an insect!

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So, these products have brought balance to the shop! I am certain we shall be examining all sorts of creatures over the summer and learning about them. Fun and learning, what’s not to like?

P.S. The Big ‘I LOVE YOU’ from my son was for this fantastic bug catcher (mums, it’s hands-free – I’m thinking spiders here ;0)  )

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Dragonfly’s Den

Well, here we go, this is the little video my family did to help me with the shop. I even had the guts to send it to @Theopaphitis as my #SBS entry that week, yes,I really did! It has been around Twitter a bit too :0) My kiddies loved doing this and have watched themselves so many times that they can quote back what they said! I have two little budding actors there, or two little show-offs anyway! 

Bank Holiday Bugs

Well, the May Bank Holiday is upon us and the children have enjoyed making their own little dens in their tents outside. Dad has had to do the running around today as I found myself at the computer a little more than usual after winning Purpledognet’s #purplebiz of the day on Twitter. I have been juggling doing the washing with tweeting away about the shop, spreading the word far and wide. Last weekend was also dedicated to the business as on Sunday as we pulled together as a family to create a little something to help advertise The One Stop Bug Shop. More on that later!

This week I also discovered ‘Draw Something’ on the iPhone, which is addictive to say the least! I cannot draw, but find myself compelled to try and depict words such as ‘android’ with my meagre skills and four or five basic colours. Apparently this craze to draw soon wears off, so I am waiting for that moment as I am currently involved in about 10 games against people from all over the world……such fun (little Miranda homage there)!

Anyway, I’ll just drop in a pic of one of my favourite little bugs, the Very Hungry Caterpillar. Who wouldn’t want to take this little guy for a walk?

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Bugs are Back to Blogging…….

Hello stranger, you blog you. I am sorry I have neglected you for so long. Last time my link didn’t go to Twitter and I had a moment of harumphing and thinking I don’t have time for this etc etc. Anyway, I am sorting it now and it’ll be fine. So, what has changed in the world of Bugs recently? I have a few new lovely things in the shop, including the spider brolly pictured, appropriate for the current April showers we are having. I also added some really cute Kidorable bee T-shirts, Ladybird and butterfly bucket hats for the sunshine yet to come, and flip-flops which have clever elastic straps around the heel to keep them on little peoples’ feet! All this in the hope we get some lovely sunny weather in which your little munchkins can wear them. My social-media education is continuing, and I am a regular on Twitter now. Every Sunday between 5-7.30pm I am entering #SBS , in which small businesses tweet their biz to @Theopaphitis and he goes through them to choose 6 he rates. He then retweets these to his followers and you become part of a supportive club of other #’SBS winners. If you have never thought of doing this, please do, you never know! I happen to tweet with several #SBS winners on a regular basis and aspire to be able to join this group of wonderful business people! I know I am just one mum, working from home on my little business, but I don’t see why that should stop me from reaching for the stars! Cornish life is wonderful as ever. We had a warm and sunny Easter break, lots of visitors down here and we made the most of the beaches. Now we just hope these torrential rain showers will go away! 

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