Help needed: Ironing out the kinks

As you know I ran a bit last weekend…OK it was a mere marathon, but when I headed out for my next training run on Monday my legs felt a bit on the heavy side. This got me to thinking that it was a while since I had last had a sports massage to iron out the kinks and keep everything moving smoothly.

Unfortunately I haven’t got a regular place to go since the local place failed to call me back after numerous messages when I was last in need. A real shame as they were within walking distance and this made it quite convenient. As someone who has their own business I like to try and support local businesses, and other entrepreneurs when I can. So I thought I would give a new app I had heard about a go. Enter Bidvine!

BidVineBidvine is a new local services start-up and it has a handy iOS app which I downloaded onto my iPhone (Android coming soon). The concept is simple… you chose the service you need, enter in the relevant details and then local suppliers review this and bid for your business. You have the opportunity to connect with the bidders to discuss things in more detail if you need to, and then you chose the right fit for your needs. What better way to support local people and businesses?

The app is really easy to navigate. First choose the type of service you require from the presented options, or just type into the search box. The services are really well broken down into granular detail, so if you aren’t quite sure of the search term you can easily browse and see what resonates best with what you are looking for. There seems to be sections for all sorts of crazy stuff, including Pokémon Go Walking and Wardrobe Organising!

BidVineOnce you choose your service, you enter your post code and answer a range of questions relevant to the service. For my sports massage query, these included questions like the reason for the sports massage, the regularity that I might require it and whether I wanted someone to come to me or whether I was happy to travel (and how far). You also get to choose the level of urgency for your need.

The request gets submitted and relevant suppliers get notified of your request so that they can decide if they are able to meet your needs on the timescales you require.

Straight away I received a warning that they didn’t have many relevant suppliers for sports massage logged in my area. It was actually nice to have this heads-up (and to be honest I expected it as I haven’t managed to find a good one locally in my previous searches). They promised to drum up what they could and would forward bids as they came in, with a deadline 4 days later.

BidVineSo that was it, just a case of sitting back and waiting (or in my case doing a few more short runs with lead legs). Unfortunately on this occasion Bidvine weren’t able to find me a match, but given they are a new company and are probably signing up more main stream category suppliers more easily (cleaning, decorating etc are I am sure all well represented) I don’t see this as a failure. It gives them an indication of a need in an area and will help the team know what areas to target as they build up their supplier database.

I will definitely give Bidvine a go for other services as I need them. At some point we’ll need to get our windows cleaned, and so I think I may give them a shot for that too. It’s going to be a nice way to try and shop local without having to do all the leg work myself. It’s almost like a service concierge service and I think it will be a brilliant service as it gets more established.

New branding, new business cards

With my recent development of focus on getting the Tailfish By Pyry Etsy store up and running, and the fact that I have joined the Female Entrepreneur Association and the Awesome Business Club (it’s all about self-development don’t you know) I realised that I am probably going to be meeting more people and attending more networking events.  I also realised that I needed to make sure I am able to share my latest contact info when I am out and about.  So the desire for new, more relevant business cards was born!  Luckily this coincided with a review opportunity when auraprint.uk contacted me to offer the chance to design my own business cards, in exchange for a review.  Perfect timing and not one to say no when the universe throws shiny things at me I said yes.  All views in this review post are honest and my own!

Of course, before you can have business cards you need to have a bit of a ponder on your branding, and it was at this point I was glad I stumbled across the Business Beautician (a fellow Awesome Business Clubber) who was offering a brand quiz on her Instagram.  It was simple, fun and the output reinforced some ideas I had about Tailfish, both the blog and the store.  She gives a great little summary printable highlighting key points too align with your brand’s personality and one of the highlights was around font use.  So I used this to design my new Tailfish logo, and decide on the fonts I wanted to use for that and the text on my new business cards.

Auraprint.uk are a small firm based up in Huddersfield and they were great to work with throughout the process.  I had decided that I wanted to use their Impakt Colour Core cards as the basis for my new business cards.  There are 6 colours available and I went with red, not only because I love bright colours, but I felt it would work well with the plans that were forming in my mind.  The cards can be printed on a double-sided basis, which gives you plenty of scope to be creative.  I decided to go with a big, bold logo on one side and my contact information on the other.
Orange is for Tailfish
As part of my logo design I had used the Adobe Capture app on my phone (free if you have a Creative Cloud account) and used this to choose my colour palette.  This resulted in me choosing a bold orange for the logo, and a greenish colour for the contact font.  The awesome thing with the app is it then gives you the colour codes of each colour (in a range of formats) which is great from a design perspective as it enabled me to be really specific with the information I was giving the auraprint team.

As part of the ordering process you load your design files to the site, providing details of how you want things put together.  I tested them to the limit by being very specific on the colours I wanted, but also tried to help them as much as possible by providing the files of the fonts that I wanted to use.  I also asked if they were able to use social media style icons on the cards, rather than using words to highlight which contact info related to what.  Once they had all the details of what I wanted they scurried off into action.

New business cards from Auraprint.ukThey pulled the design together and sent a proof through for review.  I was really impressed!  The colours looked great, the fonts were exactly as I had requested…there was a minor typo though (and to be honest I wasn’t surprised, everyone always spells Kathryn wrong) and I had become Katheryn.  No bother though, I let them know of the error and it was quickly corrected.  A fresh approval proof was issued and we were good to go.

A couple of days later the cards arrived, 4 boxes, well packaged and looking great.  They were exactly what I had asked for and the quality is spot one.  The cards are really thick and feel nice to the touch, the coloured centre really makes them stand out too.

They also received positive feedback from others when I was at the She Means Business book launch on Wednesday night.  Everyone I gave a card to really liked them, the sturdiness and solid feel received positive comments and the coloured centre really made them stand out from the crowd.  The information is clear and I think they are a really good representation of my brand!  I can’t wait to go to more events and share them with people.
New business cards from Auraprint.uk
From end to end, the auraprint team were a pleasure to deal with, you can really tell that they care about design and printing and I am sure if you had any questions about how the process works, or needed advice on how to best plan your business cards or other design needs they would be more than happy to guide you.  At the moment I don’t have plans to professionally print my printables, but if I do decide to change that in future then I would definitely get in touch with them and see how they could help bring Tailfish By Pyry to life even more.  Please do check them out if you are looking for new business cards, let them help bring your brand to life too!

An Audacious Approach to Aqua Acquisition

You may have noticed that I like running, I also like supporting other runners and that means that this year I have a few weekends pencilled in where I will be taking care of other runners rather than running myself.  I am always on the lookout for items that are going to make my life easier whilst I am out and about, so I was stoked when Audacious Rhino got in touch to see if I wanted to review one of their flasks.  I was given a free flask in exchange for me testing and reviewing it for them.  As always all views are my own (and you know I am a bit on the fussy side).

I went for their 800ml Camouflage flask because if I am going to be in a car hopping from place to place for over 24 hours I want as much hot water with me as I can, that extra 300ml could make a big difference!  It has a nice rugged feel to it, with a strong handle and an additional strap that you could use to tether the flask to a rucksack if you were on the move.

Audacious Rhino 800ml Camouflage FlaskI really like the outer design, it has some sneaky inclusions like a rhino image and a heart….but it definitely isn’t girly, in fact I doubt anyone would notice it if they weren’t looking.  The flask itself has a wide neck, which means you can easily fit ice cubes in it.  This is going to be essential for me as I plan on using it in summer races so I always have a stock on ice on hand if I start to over-heat.  After last year’s issues I want to be as prepared as I can to keep my core temperature down and allow me to get a long, long run done.

I haven’t tested out the claim that cold drinks stay cold for up to 24 hours, but based on my heat tests I have no reason to doubt it.  I’ve been using the flask in an “in office” test as I haven’t had any races in the last week.  This has meant I have been filling it up in the morning and feeding my herbal tea habit over the course of the day.  The fact that it has a pop-up top means that you can pour the hot water without fully opening the flask.  This must help keep the water hot for longer as you aren’t letting cold air in all the time.

Audacious Rhino 800ml Camouflage FlaskI also did a test where I filled the flask before bed, and then used the water in the morning.  It wasn’t boiling, but it was certainly warm enough that if I was tired and needed coffee that it would be hot enough to drink!  All in all I was very impressed with its heat retention properties!  The cup that comes with it is also sturdy and holds a decent amount of water (something that can’t be said for my 500ml flask which would barely make an espresso in the lid).If you want something a bit more subtle, or don’t need such a large flask, you’ll be pleased to know there are also smaller, more understated designs in their range. You can check them all out on the Audacious Rhino Amazon store.

What are you waiting for?  These are great flasks, perfect for use on the move, or at home…I can now happily keep myself supplied with tea throughout a day of back to back conference calls!

Audacious Rhino 800ml Camouflage Flask

Olives aren’t just tasty….

Whilst I have been a bit slack on the yoga front so far this week I am really enjoying it.  Taking some time out from my busy day not only makes me fitter, but it improves my mental health as well.  No matter how much you enjoy your job, or are happy with life, sometimes you just need time out to look after yourself.  This is why I was excited when I heard that the lovely ladies at Naturelle Cosmetics wanted to send me a product for review.  Of course I said yes!  I had visions of something pampery, that I could use to treat myself with and get a bit of “me time”.  All views henceforth are of course my own.

Here’s what the team say about themselves

Naturelle Cosmetics is a private, family-owned and operated business based in UK that aims at popularising natural and organic beauty products in Europe. Through the years, it has been our obsession and passion to offer you only nature-sourced cosmetic products, bringing you only the purest products from organic, certified farms in France, Italy, Portugal, Spain and United Kingdom.

Who We Are

Our beauty consultants are composed of experts in the industry, with knowledge on natural and organic cosmetics. We do not only promote natural beauty solutions but also offer you advice and guidance on the best body, hair and skin care products that suits you.

Mission

To provide only organic and natural, body care, hair care and skin care cosmetic products because we in the power of nature in nurturing and healing our bodies and giving us our desired beauty and purity in the most natural, chemical-free way.

Naturelle Cosmetics: Room Perfume ReviewSound pretty cool right?

My parcel arrived and I excitedly unwrapped it, and there was a glass bottle with a funky styled top…I was hoping for fancy bath oil or bubbles, so I will admit my heart fell a bit when I saw it was a room perfume.  OK, let’s be honest, I was gutted!  Then I gave it a squirt and had a good sniff…..I actually really liked it!

Then the panic set in slightly, I had sprayed my home office whilst the Boyf was out, possibly not a good idea.  The Boyf is VERY smell sensitive, and this smell had a hint of familiarity to it that I couldn’t (and still can’t place).  My worry was that it would be a smell that he would instantly recognise, and worse, instantly hate.  I waited with trepidation for him to return and dragged him in to assess.

The good news, he really liked the smell too…..the bad, he can’t place it either, and as neither of us have been roaming in olive groves it isn’t just because the scent is Olive Wood!  We haven’t been to Provence either, and that’s where this was made, so it isn’t some random French school trip lurking in our memory banks.

Naturelle Cosmetics: Room Perfume ReviewSo why, you may ask, did I start this post talking about yoga and then start chatting about a French room perfume with an olive wood scent?!  Well I have been spraying the room with it before my yoga sessions.  Not only has it been encouraging me to breathe more deeply as I really like the smell, but the scent seems to have a calming effect on me.  Whether it’s some deep seated memory or just my imagination starting to picture a gentle breeze wafting through the green of an olive grove as I lay on my yoga mat at 6:30am I don’t know.  I am however really glad that the team at Naturelle Cosmetics sent me this and not something more cosmeticy!  It’s definitely a purchase that is outside my normal comfort zone, but not only do I feel that having it has made me happier, it also lasts longer than a facial or a bubble bath.

They have such a great range of products on their site, it makes them a perfect choice for gifts or self-treats, especially if you are health conscious and like choosing natural organic products.  I’d certainly recommend checking them out, and don’t be afraid to give their Olive Wood Room Perfume a try…it really does have a pleasing smell that will lift your mood!

Review: Perfect Glasses from Perfectglasses.co.uk

Review post: Perfectglasses.co.ukSummer is coming…it may not be close, but it’s on its way, and so I was happy to accept when PerfectGlasses.co.uk got in touch about a site review. All views that follow are my own.

I am always on the hunt for the perfect sunglasses, and I always have a struggle deciding whether to buy off the shelf or get prescription glasses made up. I wear contact lenses for the most part, but do wear standard glasses if I am travelling (who knows I might want a nap), or if I just feel like a change. So I need to consider this when I am deciding on sunglasses too. Do I get a pair that I can wear over my contacts, or do I get a prescription pair?

The great thing about PerfectGlasses.co.uk is that you may not even need to make that choice! They have such a wide range of frames at bargain prices, that you could even double-up and get two pairs, one with a prescription and one without. Don’t feel that you need to be a “glasses” wearer either, there’s absolutely no reason that you couldn’t just use the site as a bargain way to get sunnies. Shopping for glasses online is WAY better than the trawl for glasses in the shops. No smeary fingers, no screaming kids (unles they’re your own) and no people barging you out of the way as you try and see if they suit you in the mirror!

The process is simple (if you are going for a prescription pair, either sun or normal, then make sure you have your details to hand).

First up browse the frames….with over 2000 designer and less designer brands to choose from you could be some time! Use the simple filters to narrow down the choice, either based on styles you are thinking of, or your budget.

Ready to try them on? Spot a pair you like and you can try them on virtually. Either load a photo, or take one with your webcam, phone, tablet etc and work your way through your shortlist!

The site has loads of useful measurements under each set of glasses, so you can use that to help you narrow down your choices. If you have a tiny head like me, this helps you avoid buying hugely over-sized specs.

Review post: Perfectglasses.co.ukMake a decision!

Once you have chosen your frames, you then choose the type of lenses you want, (prescription or non) and then any available lens coverings etc to build your perfect pair. In the end I went for some mirrored Polaroids, without a prescription. In the summer I tend to be wearing lenses and so they’ll get more use than if I had gone prescription.

The glasses arrived quickly, a couple of days after order (complex prescriptions can take slightly longer, but you’ll be used to that if you have weird eyes) and were well packaged and free from finger prints! Total win!

Review post: Perfectglasses.co.ukI have been really impressed by the service of PerfectGlasses.co.uk , they have a huge range to choose from in a range of prices to suit all pockets. They seem to have a good range of offers on the site as well so if you are in the market for new glasses, or prescription sunglasses then I would definitely check them out! With delivery taking place 48 hours after order, you can definitely have a pair in your hands before summer arrives!