Saturday, 30 April 2011

Shellybobbins "Heart of the Month" Winner ~ Lovely Sarah x

Richard nominated his lovely wife sarah for Aprils "Heart of the Month" unknown to sarah that any of this was actually going on ! A winner was picked using a random generater, Sarah still didnt know she had won until yesterday when the lovely parcel arrived in tube and her lovely certificate arrived with a handmade made & embroidered heart wrapped in tissue & tied with a ribbon.

Richard sent this lovely picture of sarah holding her heart & certificate he said "Sarah was thriled with her Heart of the Month, Its a lovely idea to offer such a competition, and thank you for helping me being able to show my wife how much I love and appreciate her by holding this competition.

Thank you for sending sarah's picture richard xx Thank you to all those that entered

Remember this competition Runs EVERY MONTH, I will let you all know when the next one is xx

Love Shellybobbins xxx

Monday, 25 April 2011

Shellybobbins invites Philip Bell from Beachy Books to the Spotlight

Welcome this competition will be on until 1st of may 8pm which is next Sunday winner will be chosen from the comments below :- Good luck & a fantastic competition too thank you so much xx

The “special” importance of reading to your child – and you can do it anywhere!

The Education secretary Michael Gove recently announced he wants British school children to be reading 50 books a year. Children’s Laureate, Anthony Browne, said in response: “It’s the quality of children’s reading experiences that really matters.”

Whatever your view, a book a week may be a tall order in a world where children’s attention is courted by social networking, computer games and TV, and, according to The Literacy Trust, school children’s top leisure time reading choices are text messages, magazines, websites and emails.

But there’s no hope of ever becoming a voracious reader unless you start them young. Research carried out by The Literacy Trust has repeatedly shown that parental involvement and engagement with reading, and access to books at home, is the key to encouraging a child’s enjoyment of reading, which ultimately forms their future educational achievements.

So how are we going to get children’s books charting as the top leisure reading choices? The Department of Education’s guidance for early years for reading, from birth to 11 months, recommends that children should “Listen to familiar sounds, words, or finger plays.” Any parent reading this will have already stirred their child’s love of books if they’ve simply sang their child to sleep, retold a nursery rhyme or read a tongue twisting verse from a picture book. This is important as it also encourages early talking, language and vocabulary development, listening, reading and writing skills.

Only last week, research from Mark Taylor of Oxford University, who says: “How much you read isn’t that important, it’s just a question of whether you do read,” conducted research on 17,000 people born in 1970 and concluded that reading for pleasure when you are young increased the chances of going onto further education and achieving career success. He also found there was “something special” about reading for pleasure.

I like that, something special. There is something special about reading for pleasure. Or, for young children, being read to for pleasure. Any parent who has cuddled next to their child to share a picture book has witnessed the special connection between you. The enjoyment, engagement and ideas a child receives is invaluable in my opinion. I admit this is not always reciprocated from a tired worked-to-the-bone parent desperate to get their child to sleep and escape to the sofa, which is why sharing a story shouldn’t be confined to bedtime reading.

There are many places you can share a book with your child. Our picture book, Jack and Boo’s Bucket of Treasures, is set on a beach in summer, following the adventures of two children discovering beach treasure at low tide. We’ve had feedback from parents who’ve taken the book to the beach on holiday to read after a picnic and used the spotter guide in the back to help them tell a slipper limpet from a mussel.

Our books are inspired by our own family trips into nature – beaches, woods, countryside. In fact, the reading of a book, within it’s context and setting – on a beach for example – only helps inspire the imagination because, as well as pouring over the images in the picture book, the child can look all around their environment, all the time making connections between the story and real world experiences.

Reading together provides the child reader with a platform to talk about ideas raised in the book – Questions? Questions? Questions? Kids are full of them! Children are hungry for knowledge and thirsty for experiences. And it’s not called sharing a book for nothing because you’ll learn things you never knew too, like what’s a Hagstone?

I’m giving away a copy of our children’s picture book, Jack and Boo’s Bucket of Treasures, picked by as one of their books about summer for children, to the person who tells Shelly the most original place you’ve ever shared a picture book with a child? Answers on a blog reply below and then we will pick out a winner. Good luck and happy treasure hunting on a beach near you!

Philip Bell has occasionally earned money professionally from writing, but mostly writes for love. He is the author of the children’s picture book, Jack & Boo’s Bucket of Treasures (available at and together with his illustrator wife, Eleanor Bell, he runs an independent children’s publishing company called Beachy Books. More information at

Thank you Philip for being a guest on the Shellybobbins Blog, we appreciate your offer of a fantastic price, I'm sure every child will love this book.


Thursday, 21 April 2011

Shellybobbins invites sincerity gifts to the spotlight #State V #Private Schools

When i had my son 22 years ago, I was a Nursery Nurse with many years experience working and running a nursery and working in Infants and Junior Schools. I knew the system and the schools well and was working in both the nurseries and junior schools my son and his 3 other siblings went to. So I am writing this with a view from both as a parent and as a member of staff.
My boys went to the local schools from Nursery to Juniors. We were happy with the school. The classes were large (30) but they were happy and thriving. Due to the large classes, lack of staff and the need for extra support for a number of the children, the school relied on the good will of parents to help with reading and other activities so that the teachers can focus on teaching. This isn’t a perfect situation, but one that is adopted by schools to help with the increasing number of pupils per class, and shortage of staff.
We were happy with our boys education until we decided to move further out of London. By that time I had my twins who were about to start nursery. Our problems began when we tried to look for schools for our boys. Overcrowding in the local schools meant we were unable to have both the boys in the same school which was very distressing for them. My twins were also at another nursery which resulted in me travelling to three schools everyday to collect. Total nightmare.
My boys went on to the local comprehensive. It was walking distance and everyone was happy. However the school was big and the classes over crowded. Grades we not very high, and staff shortage was a big problem. My twins were in infants by then, and I started noticing problems with the girls. N was showing difficulty in reading and maths. Having worked for many years with children, i knew there was an underlying problem. When I approached the school for help, I was told there was no problem that they could see and besides there were other children in the class that needed more attention. I was also told that my other daughter who had been top of the class had got very lazy and didn’t wasn’t working as she should. I suggested maybe she wasn’t being challenged enough. She was finding everything too easy and was bored.
By the time the girls had got to year 3 we made a decision to remove them and place them in a local Private School. It wasn’t an easy decision, they had their friends there, it was local and free. However, we felt they were not getting the help and support they needed due to the large classes and lack of funding and staff from the school.
The new school had small classes. Within a week, my daughter had been diagnosed with Dyslexia and was given the support and one to one she needed. My other daughter suddenly found she was no longer top of the class and started working
hard again. Their education improved, so did their confidence. The school also prepared them for entrance exams and made sure they went on to a good senior school.
The difference is that Private Schools offer smaller classes (12) and more extracurricular activities than State Schools. Private schools are expensive, but then so are houses near a good public funded schools. With Private schools you have a choice of school, (via entrance exam) whereas in state schools although you have a choice of school, the reality is that you will only get into a school in your catchment area.
My daughters had a choice of going to the local or going to a private school, but we were only offered a school quite far. We also spoke to 3 local state schools in depth, and they all said that they wouldn’t be able to offer N much support with her dyslexia and she would in effect be lost in the system. We couldn’t allow this to happen again. So we decided to opt for Private again.
My eldest son went on to University despite poor teacher attendance and having to retake an exam because the year had been taught the wrong syllabus! , my other son opted to go straight to work, My girls are in year 9 now and doing well. N has alot of support at school still and extra tuition at home to help her. The classes are small, just 12 to a class and only 3 classes in a year. The financial side is crippling, but we wouldn’t have it any other way. Their closest friends are still from their first school. They have seen both sides of the education system and N admits would have had problems in such big classes.
All children should be entitled to this level of education and it makes me angry that they are not. It’s not the teachers fault. Their hands are tied. They work very hard and have to cope with endless hours and cuts and overcrowding.
As it stands right now, given the choice, I would have to opt for Private again. My children have been through both and I have seen the difference in their education. Don’t get me wrong, I have no objections to State schools,I went to one myself and so did my sons, however, if your child needs extra support, or one to one attention, thats when the system starts to fail. On the other hand if you child has the love and support at home, they will do well in whatever they decide to do, and coming out with all A* s will not necessarily make you a successful person in life. But a good education is essential in life.
Monica Cove

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Shellybobbins invites Nadine from Sweaty Betty to the spotlight #State V #Private School

What I Expected from Primary School and what the Child actually received

Well I obviously set my expecations too high as it is not at all what I expected.

Usually State schools require parents to live in the catchment area in the hope that their children will get into a really good State school.

This is exactly what I expected, I live in a lovely small village and the intake per class before my son started School was 19.  I thought great, small classes means he’ll get more attention to do well.  However, when my son started there was a new Head Teacher and there was 27 children in his class with one full-time teacher and a part-time teaching assistant, though some days the teaching assistant would be teaching on her own.

At the School they introduced a reading and writing program as the Ofsted report said the School was lacking with childrens’ writing skills.  Read Write Inc was introduced.  I bought some books so I could help my son at home and he thrived on it so much he was put in a higher class – in Year 1 instead if his Reception class (along with 5 others from his class). 

However, now my son is in Year 2 and he is not being pushed to his full capacity.  I am told by his teacher that “he has everything in his head – he just needs to put it on paper”.  The thing is he needs motivating (bribing even) to do things.  He is lazy and if he can get away with writing one sentence instead of five he will do.  I feel the School is not motivating him enough – but then there are other children struggling who need more help.

He is in a higher Maths group within his class, but he still thinks it’s easy. 

My son says he gets bored.  If this continues he will become easily distracted and will not want to learn at all and become naughty instead.

Why I think it’s happened

The School will take in children from out of the Village to get more children in the class as the School will get more money. 

The Head Teacher was off for a year on long term sick due to stress.  This led to inconsistencies in teaching.

A New Head has now been appointed but is a Manager and business person – not a teacher.  She is results driven and is upsetting a lot of parents and teachers.

Teachers are upset because she is putting pressure on to do more – one teacher is off on long term sick, and she is a really good teacher, my son did really well with her.

Parents are upset because the children are being bullied; lunch times are not supervised properly as there are lots of fights and rough play (one incident resulting in a broken collar bone).  The Bullies then get rewarded for good behaviour.

In fact one boy had a serious fight and the next week in Assembly was awarded the Head Teacher Award for being well mannered and polite!  What kind of signal does that send out to the pupils (and Parents).

My son tells me that some of his class are teasing him and he is too nervous to tell any Teacher.

The bullies do not get punished enough they get internally excluded but not expelled, if they were externally excluded this would affect the School’s results.

Bullying should be nipped in the bud!  For example there were a group of girls who were bullies at Pre-School.  The same girls continued to be bullies in Reception, Year 1, Year 2 and guess what they are still bullying in Year 3 so why wasn’t it nipped in the bud in Reception!

Several children have left the School because they were being bullied. 

Two children have left my son’s class.  One has gone to another State School (because of bullying) and is doing so much better.  The other one has gone to Private School (as she wasn’t being pushed enough) and is excelling in everything, her Parents have told me her behaviour and manners are much better too.

Also Parent Governors are not fully informed, e.g. one of my friends is a parent governor and she had no idea the Deputy Head was taking a Secondment for a year.

A friend told me there are three levels of pupils (so true):
1.   The ones at the bottom who need help get left behind – their parents spend a fortune on extra tuition.
2.   The ones in the middle are helped to get the results for the School
3.   The ones at the top are left as they will automatically succeed in getting results for the School.

There are also a lot of children with special needs at the School and they do get one to one support.

There are some really good teachers at the School but I think they need more support.

I wouldn’t say that all State schools are the same I know there are some really good ones out there and I have other friends who very happy.  Unfortunately I am not happy with my son’s School.

What I want

All I want is for my son is for him to be able to do his best and be well behaved.

In fact during the Easter holidays my son is better behaved away from School.

Unfortunately, due to the size of his class and lack of support, the environment is more about controlling rather than learning.

What I don’t want to do is pay for a better education, why should I!  Especially as I don’t have the hassle of the School run, we walk to School every day, it only takes five minutes.

Given the choice which would you choose?

Having looked around lots of Private Schools in the area, I have to say I am very impressed and would love my son to go to a Private school.  The only downside is that you have to pay for it, but then you do get what you pay for:

·        Smaller class sizes – more conducive to learning
·        Children are better behaved
·        Children have neater handwriting
·        Pushed but not to the extreme where the child finds things too difficult or feel too pressured
·        Have the option of moving up a year
·        Read more books appropriate to their level
·        More sports facilities
·        Lots of after School care clubs and before school care too
·        Lots of extra curricular activities, including drama, music and different sports
·        More challenging
·        More focus on the individual
·        Peace of mind
·        Better equipped for life experiences

If only I could afford it, I would have no hesitation in sending him to a Private School.

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Shellybobbins invites lovely B Organic skincare ~ #State V #Private school

I have never written a blog before, I am honoured being asked by Shelly to share my thoughts about education and what I want for my 4 year old daughter. I was asking my friends this evening if any of them were sending their children to private school and their view of what difference it makes to a child being privately educated.

I was privately educated all my education life so I always thought my little girl will go to private school to give her the best start in her academic life. When I tell this to my friends they always tell me it’s a waste of money to send a child to private primary school, but after discussing with many of my friends and colleagues on twitter it looks like I was right all along wanting to send my little girl to private school.

It is such a hard decision, finding and choosing the right school for your little ones.

My main worries are;
·         Her being bullied in school
·         Academically the school not being able to give her the tools she needs
·         if she needs any help with anything, are the teachers and school able to help her

I just think if you are paying for an education you have more say into what and how her education is structured and give her all the tools she might need in her academic and social life as well as further on her career.

I think it’s not fair having to pay for an education as all children should have the same right to the level of education, but in reality unfortunately this is not possible and I  believe private schools can provide more social awareness and education and help them to find themselves in real life by moulding them into what their abilities are rather than “one suit fits all” mentality.

My husband  is dyslexic and struggled all his childhood in school, made to feel like he was stupid and not clever enough to read like the rest, as in those days people didn’t even know what dyslexia was. He ended up having a private tutor and they taught him how to read and cope with the dyslexia.  He is now a very successful IT Programme Manager working with budgets of tens of millions for worldwide companies. It only makes me think what if his family didn’t give him the private tuition and treated him like he was just stupid. He would not have the choices in front him he does now.

Being a parent is a lot harder than I thought It would be, having to make all these decisions for your little ones can affect their entire life and you are in charge of such an important decision. I’ve been thinking and asking everyone I know about their private school and state school experiences and the problems they had to deal with, so far everyone I spoke to is in favour of private school for the choices and support they can provide for the little one.

In a world where lack of choices means that some young girls only options in life are to fall pregnant at an early age in order to get government provided housing and the more babies they have translates into the bigger house they will give you, I want my daughter to have so many choices and options that something like that doesn’t even have to be a consideration or even a thought in her mind.

We have a very important decision to make before us and I just hope we will make the right one for our daughter.

Thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to share my thought Shelly!

Monday, 18 April 2011

Shellybobbins invites Emily Betty Spaghetti ~ Daddy to the spotlight

Emily Betty Spaghetti

We first found out the amazing news that we were going to be parents in January 2010. We married in September 2009 and in the December we decided we were going to try for a baby the following year. Bingo! Pregnant straight away! We both really wanted children so we were completely over the moon!

I had always wanted a daughter so for me my mind was made up; I was having a little girl! I hadn’t even considered the fact it could have been a boy! My wife Beth read all the books and kept me informed of the baby’s progress, one week we found out the baby’s heart was the size of a poppy seed, so that was it for me, ‘she’ was now nicknamed ‘Poppy’!
We decided not to find out the sex of the baby and as the months went by Beth was feeling the pressure about me wanting a girl (I don’t know if all pregnant women get this?) and turned me around to the possibility that it could be a boy (in fact she did such a good job I actually did think it was going to be a boy!)
Then on the 27th October at 11:24pm (still 100% convinced it was going to be a boy) all my dreams came true and out came my beautiful baby daughter! It had been a tough labour for Beth and I was crying tears of joy and relief when it was all over. The week after was one big blur and every time I looked at the baby I was so happy I just wanted to burst in to tears!
The first few weeks at home with the baby were really tough, especially on Beth. I was doing what I could to help but the hardest part was the night feeds. Beth had decided to breast feed so there wasn’t much I could do. Fortunately the baby kept me busy whilst I was on nappy duty!
A good week or so went by whilst we decided on a name (we were literally so convinced it was going to be a boy we were going to name the baby Jake!) and finally we settled on Emily Betty Masters (or Emily Betty Spaghetti as her Daddy likes to call her!). It’s funny really how we took so long to decide on a name but now she always has and always will be an Emily to us.
Becoming parents has been the most amazing thing that has happened to us. We previously led fantastic lives, plenty of holidays and weekends away. We now lead even more fantastic lives, only now we take our little bundle of joy with us and we wouldn’t have it any other way.
Emily is starting to get her very own little personality now, making us laugh with all the funny things that she does. I am extremely lucky to have my very own alarm clock that wakes me at 7am every day with lots of little coos and squeaks that make me smile. I will really miss her when she goes into her own room.
I have to travel and stay away a lot with work and it kills me when I have to leave Emily, and she almost seems to be annoyed when I get back! She looks at me as if to say ‘and where do you think you have been?’ A couple of kisses and cuddles from Daddy usually does the trick though.
My work/life balance has been crazy too, when I work from home how am I supposed to get things done when my little Emily is downstairs! I’m up and down the stairs like a yo-yo, making excuses to come down and see her!
All I know is she makes me the happiest man alive! I’m so proud to be her Daddy and I’m so proud of Beth for making me my little Emily Betty Spaghetti

Thank you so very much for such a wonderful story Rob & Beth you have such a wonderful daughter just loved reading this, really lovely to have a daddies point of view & how you felt Emily so cute I love this picture and im sure everyone who sees this story will too

Love Shellybobbins xxx

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Determined To Succeed By Shellybobbins xxxx

When you hit rock bottom the only way is up, waiting for funding that could make a change for the better, researching, planning, courses, designing, making proto types, coping with rejection, bills needing paid, struggling with dyslexia, being disabled & constant pain, not having the right equipment to do what you need to do ie - land line & wifi, waiting for people to ring you back, helping others, blogging, finding stockist, suppliers, updating facebook, twitter, being a mum, a wife, quality time together, cooking, shopping, planning birthdays, planning a head too trying to find seamstresses (just in case) how do you publish a book when you've never done anything like this before ? ......................................NO THIS ISN'T A MELT DOWN ...........................................

I have come to far to ever give up & give in my first name is Determined, middle name is To and last name Succeed

AKA Shellybobbins xxxx shellybobbins on facebook or shellybobbins on twitter

Saturday, 9 April 2011

Competition "Heart of The Month" Who will you Nominate ?

Hello Welcome to heart of the month this competition will run every month for a whole year, what I'd like you to do is very simple 'Just write a comment' and 'Nominate'

Nominate someone you think deserves shellys heart of the month, maybe your sister, your mum, It could even be someone you've never even met but get to know either through twitter or facebook,

Its nice to be nice, smile at someone, or simple just send them a message knowing you care, life is really too short, so take just a couple of mins to nominate someone - make them smile xx

A winner will be chosen at random on the 17th April 2011 at 8pm I will announce the winner on here, facebook & twitter too - I will then need there name and address to send there heart & certificate out in the post by recorded delivery

Over March & April ive received some lovely hearts

Becki from Scarlett Parties  sent me this wonderful handmade heart and a very sweet and thoughtful note with it thank you becki I wish I had enough hearts to send to everyone love shellybobbins xxx

another heart I received this month was from Di from Peggyknits  A knitted heart how lovely, so kind of you love shellybobbins xxx

This is another heart given to me this month by my lovely daughters on mothers day I Love It thank you my darlings xxx

Its so nice just to give, doesnt matter how much it costs, how big it is, where its from, designer or not, handmade or bought. Making someone smile and feel special ~ cant get any better than that xx

This will be your gift Its been handmade & embroidered too, the certificates lovely with nominated by .... so don't forget if your the winner to include your name too. then ....a space for the nominees name & also signed shellybobbins

Its a lovely gift, its rolled up & sent in a tube
PS. please no nominating yourself x

With Love Shellybobbins xxx

Ive been asked if people can nominate loved ones who have passed away the answer is yes, I would get the certificate laminated xx

Sunday, 3 April 2011

Thank you to Theo Paphitis & Boux Avenue & lovely twitter friends x

Big Thank you to everyone who sent me a lovely message

just a selection of messages sent to me, I just wanted to say thank you for all your lovely messages, on twitter, facebook, direct messages meeting theo at the Boux Avenue launch in Glasgow was very special xx

if you've not had a look & signed up you dont know what your missing

With Love Shellybobbins xxxx

Dont forget today is Small Business Sunday make sure you tweet theo between 5/7.30pm today with your tweet, It must include #sbs and 6 people will be chosen for a retweet by theo himself 

Good Luck - it was great to get mine signed !

Happy Mothers Day With Love From Shellybobbins™

What are you doing on mothers day,
Are you just thinking of your mum
Because shes passed away,
Are you able to spend time with her,
Make her laugh, hold her hand
Give her a hug just because you can,
Will you ring her that day,hear her voice,
See your mum, make time that day,
Mums are special, its the first person we see
When we are born, held in her arms and
Loved a lifetime
                                   By Shellybobbins

Happy Mothers Day Have a Wonderful time x

with love from Shellybobbins xxx

Friday, 1 April 2011

Shellybobbins meets Theo Paphitis at the Launch of Boux Avenue in Glasgow

What an amazing day Ive had !! Boux Avenue Launch, when I arrived just an hour early to be sure I was on time, all the windows were blacked out security men with ear pieces in & wearing dark glasses, red carpet was out too !! You couldn't get near the window taking a peek at all, so many people turned up, lots of press there too !!! I was So EXCITED !!!

Ive taken a video of Theo cutting the Boux Avenue Ribbon and saying thank you to everyone who turned up so when I can work out YouTube again Ill up load it for you to see xxx

                                                                      THEO !!!!!

Amazing, helpful staff really beautiful  & very smartly dressed - Oh and they actually talk to you !! Oh and SMILE !!! yay explain to you tell you that the lace has been specially designed for Boux Avenue - so you wont find it anywhere else, Cant think of another name for changing rooms - these were amazing with mood changing lights !!! wow spent ages trying on lingerie - even got myself measured too, I don't know about you but Ive always felt uncomfortable how can I say, like having my space invaded, I hope I'm coming across to you OK, this is probably why Ive been wearing the wrong bra for years, I was made to feel at ease straight away - claire was lovely so helpful, nothing is too much trouble at all, I felt very special, Claire really explained everything to me, bras are very important in supporting you - So I think you all need measured I'm chuffed to bits gone up 2 sizes !!! LOL

Thank you Claire you made my day darling :-) xx It was such a pleasure to meet you I hope you ll keep in touch as I will be back x

Theo in the shop window !!!

Very vintage !!

Little luggage cases with digital photo frames in !!

The ranges that they had where really Stunning !!  take look also the Blog is amazing stunning pictures !!

Just a few little treats xx

Lace printed tissue !! love that xx

Theo even signed my enlarged picture tweet !!! which will be framed of course along with my picture x thank you Theo

Even though I had Shellybobbins on my t-shirt, Theo did say - "I know who you are" and smiled "Shellybobbins"

Shellybobbins Finally Gets her dream to met Theo Paphitis - You didn't just make my day or week - You made my year, It was so lovely to show support for you on such an important day, I'm so glad I was able to make it  

Love Shellybobbins xxx