BIC® KIDS is running its Young Artist Awards for the second summer in a row to engage children in  getting  creative over the summer and before they return to school in September.

As a creative family we love to come together over a good colouring book and new crayons. I love to encourage the kids creative side and we often have days making and creating cards and gifts for family. With a competition to enter over the summer this will give us the perfect rainy day activity too!

Let me know if you enter!

More about the competition:

The innovative and ambitious crowdsourcing campaign rewards talented young artists by transforming their drawings into billboards. Operated in partnership with Mumsnet once again, the competition has been designed to support sales of BIC® KIDS’ drawing and colouring ranges, including the BIC® Kids Evolution®Ecolutions® Colouring Pencils, Kid Couleur® Felt Pens and Plastidecor® Crayons.

Open to all 5-11 year olds, the Young Artist Awards will run from 2nd July to 5th August. To enter, parents simply need to take a photo of their child’s masterpiece and upload it to the BIC® KIDS website before the deadline at 11:59 pm on Sunday 5th August. Entries will then be judged by an expert panel of creatives from the marketing, publishing and illustration industries, to establish regional winners, before a public vote will determine the national champion.

Each of the 13 regional winners will have their artwork plastered on local billboards and the national champion will then get to see their entry displayed nationwide.

Rebecca Huda, BIC® UK and Ireland’s Product Manager – Stationery, said: “We’re delighted to be returning with a new and improved BIC® KIDS Young Artist Award for 2018. Last year’s competition was a wonderful success and we were overwhelmed by the quality of the entrants.

“We can’t wait for this year’s imaginative entries to start pouring in ready to be displayed across the country, there’ll be some proud parents for sure!”

As well as the priceless opportunity to have their drawings published, the 13 deserving winners will receive a hamper full of BIC® KIDS drawing and colouring instruments. Specifically designed to help children to hone their artistic talent, the hampers will include an array of exciting stationery products including the BIC®Kids Evolution® Ecolutions® colouring pencils, Kid Couleur® felt pens and Plastidecor® crayons, to name just a few.

We are so pleased to have Louise pop in to share about her holiday experience and tips. She talks about her family travels and camping adventures. Here she shares her latest adventure…

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I have been on a bit of a self care roll lately but I have noticed that the common misconception about self care is that it is all about spending a day in a spa but it is often way more than spending money and more about doing essential things that YOU need.

Self care is very individual and for me it is all about my day to say functioning. I have started having a list of non negotiable that I do everyday. Part of this for me is making sure my mind feels on track from when I wake up to at least when I collect the kids from school.

So I thought I would share my essential self care non negotiable list. This is my contract with myself and may not be for you, then again it may help you too.

Daily Lists

I write a daily list of what I need to get done and what I would like to get done. I write during the last half hour of my working day so that I don’t wake up feeling stressed out before I start the day. I use the Inspire Now Journal for this as it prompts you to pick 1 thing you must do today, while also goal setting for the day (task list), reminders and a reward. It asks you to think about your wellness and development. I like the fact it also sets up a daily morning and evening ritual – my morning is to start incorporating an online yoga course before I start work.

Reward Yourself

When I say rewards I don’t mean having to spend money, eat food or a glass of wine at the end of the day. I think about something I really want to do. At the moment it is read uninterrupted for 30 minutes. I am hoping to gradually increase the time and on some days this will be a walk along the beach, lunch with friends. I have found this is good to help me feel balanced and I am sleeping better for it too.

My other reward is if I finish all my work on time is a long hot bath with a favourite scent. I am addicted to Olverum at the moment and the smell is a really relaxant. Having a quiet bath while our home is completely silent is bliss to me. I have the travel set so I can take it with me if I go away.

Take care of your mind

Over the last year I have signed up to a life coaching diploma and off the back of that have signed up to a few other courses relating to this (including a couple more A level tuition options). It has not only helped me see where I need to work on but given me some career development too. It has made me feel more than just a mum as well as given me the confidence to explore a new career as I am heading towards 40.

Take care of your body

This is also important. As a mum I have found myself heading for a nightly glass of wine but am trying to switch that out for alternative ways to relax. Healthy eating, exercise and self care is super important for your body. Drinking water and using a good skincare routine is vital to me looking and feeling well. I am also using this fab HiGlow stick to give me a bit of summer colour – the sunshine glow makes me feel fab and perks me right up!

I don’t sit around in PJs now as that lowers my motivation and instead I’m often up before the kids setting up packed lunches, getting their clothes ready and then ensuring I am dressed and look presentable for the school run. This is important to me. I have to take care of myself and how I look, what I wear is part of this. If I stay in my PJs it isn’t shutting motivated and productive to my mind.

Talk to people

Having a supportive network is integral to my daily functioning. I work from home and this is often lonely. Gav calls or texts me during his lunch break everyday and it is great to have friends to support me from their home working too. If you are having a down day being lonely at work has such an impact so even a few seconds of adult conversation is bloody brilliant.

Let me know how you focus on your self care, what helps you?

This is a guest post from a friend of mine who has been smoking for over 15 years. I am all for one to look towards healthier lifestyle changes and that covers everything from fitness to diet and incorporating self care and wellness into our daily lives. So here is why my friend is quitting cigarettes and making the switch towards vaping and then giving up smoking.

Why I am making the switch from cigarettes to vaping.

I decided to make the switch to VIP e-cigs mainly due to the rising cost, a holiday to Europe, where smoking is considerably cheaper I realised quite how much I was spending on cigarettes here in the UK, unfortunately circumstances dictate that I cannot move to Greece so I have to quit!

I’ve tried various nicotine replacement stuff over the years but nothing has worked, I think this is mainly due to not having the ‘feel’ and taste of a ciggie, also smoking is a good way to take a break from work! Vaping or an e-cigarette seemed like the best option as I’d get all of the above, without a lot of the harmful cigarettes in a ‘proper’ fag.

What were my first Impressions?

Checked the post box today and found my new starter e-cigarette pack, first impressions are very good! It’s fairly lightweight and looks like quite like a real ciggie, opened the packaging, checked the instructions and took a drag… It’s great, it actually tastes real, very excited about using this in the future!

How I am finding the difference a few days in..

It’s been a few days and things are going ok… I’m not ready to break the habit fully yet and have been carrying a pack of 10 in my handbag… Keep forgetting I have the e-cig so I’ve had 3 real ciggies today and a few drags of the e-cig.  The e-cig is really good and I have found I don’t need to have anywhere a whole cigarettes worth of drags to get that murderous ‘must have nicotine’ feeling to diminish.  Today has been an incredibly stressful day at work and I’ve found that the brand that I am using is as good, if not better than the real thing.

 

Self care isn’t always about the pretty things that can make life look nicer, in fact there is much more to it. If you are thinking about making your own self care your number 1 priority then here are a few ways you can help yourself!

Bullet Journalling or Art Journalling

Both of these can release your busy mind. Focus on the page in front of you and what you need to organise or get out.

Bullet Journal can help you organise yourself which will help alleviate stress or feeling like you have too much on.

Art Journalling can help you get your creative side back, carry a notebook and doodle. I have a little watercolour set that is handbag friendly.

Escape for a weekend

If you are like me and always find things to do around the house even if there is spare time then a trip away can really focus the mind on enjoying the moment. Book an apartment in a new city and experience what it has to offer. You don’t need to take the kids – why not switch a weekend with your partner and then focus on something that is entirely for you, visit art galleries or snuggle in the apartment and watch Netflix until 2am with the knownledge no-one will be jumping on your head at 6am!

Look after your mind

Self care isn’t always about a spa day.  There is so much more and mental health is one of those things you need to look after. Pick up a book or start a course – something that will get your interest peaked and work with your intellect. I love taking a new short course or picking up a book. I’ve just finished Witch by Lisa Lister and although it has taken me 3 months every time i picked it up those moments were just for me.

Create a Ritual

Whether it is concentrating on your breathing first thing in the morning, a short online yoga class, that first coffee of the day or a bath make sure that before you start your day to do something unique to you. I love that first coffee of the morning and saviour it as much as I can. I find that something to start the day the right way makes my creativity flow better. Rewards dont always have to be at the end of the day.

So what rituals do you include in your self care plan?