Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Potty training Toddler Tyke!

Today was the first day of big boy pants for Toddler Tyke. I feel like we have been preparing for this day for a long time, and putting it off for even longer! But today was the day to bite the bullet and go for it.

Toddler has seen many of his friends go through the whole process and teddy has been potty trained now for quite some months. Pants have been sitting in the drawer waiting to be used and we have had lots of chats about using the potty. We have read a book about using the potty a zillion times but Toddler didn’t really seem all that interested. I put it down to him being a boy!

Signs that Toddler was ready to take the plunge:

- He could tell me what was in his nappy – wee or poo

- If he had done a poo, he would say “No mummy, don’t come near, don’t touch”

- He would run to find me if I went to the loo

- And then give me a running commentary of what I was doing (great fun when using public conveniences!)

So day one and, apart from two parcel runs to the Post Office, we had a stay at home day. Toddler spent most of this sat on the potty in front of his favourite Fireman Sam dvd whilst I bribed him with ‘treats’ if he could do a wee. Ok, maybe not the best method but it worked.

By bedtime, we had had 3 big wees on the potty, an even bigger one in his pants (my fault for giving him a drink and not thinking of the consequences until too late) and a poo in his pants (silly mummy, I should know that a poo often comes after lunch).

I had received lots of advice on what to put Toddler in during the day. I thought about no pants but he was really keen to wear them. I didn’t want to put him in trousers because they would be too tricky to mess around with if he needed to go ‘now’. Being as it was too cold for just pants, I decided to give pants and tights a go.


- Keep legs warm

- Easy to wash

- Soak up wee before a puddle is created


- Can't pull them down himself

These worked fine but I was constantly pulling them up and down for him.

I then looked through his drawers and rediscovered his huggalugs. Perfect! Why hadn't I thought of these before?  Warm legs and no need to pull them down. These should be on the shopping list of anyone deciding to potty train in winter! So, after raiding the stock room for a new supply of Huggalugs, we are ready for day 2!

Oh, and just so as you know, Huggalugs are currently 2 pairs for £10 on the website, just click here to take a look ;) Bargain!

Sunday, 13 November 2011

A Tykes Christmas

Christmas 09
This Christmas is the one I have been most looking forward to and most dreading all at the same time. Ever since Toddler Tyke was just a tiny bump, I knew Christmas would never be the same again! I didn’t realise at that time just how different!

Christmas 09 and Toddler was just 8 months old, far too young to appreciate the excitement of it all but he loved the sparkly lights. The day itself was just any other old day to him but to me it was the best Christmas ever! After all, Christmas is all about children. I got excited as I opened his presents for him and became a kid again myself.

Christmas 10 and Toddler Tyke helped me to decorate the tree, or rather undecorated it! He was old enough to unwrap his own presents although was bored of this quite quickly. Again, the sparkly lights were a big hit and again, it was little more than a normal day to him – just with lots of extra toys to play with.
Christmas 10

Christmas number 3 – Toddler Tyke is a fully grown toddler – walking, talking, with his own ideas and opinions and a good understanding of what is going on. The Christmas I have been waiting for!

Already, Toddler is talking about Father Christmas and telling me what he would like to receive. This weekend, we went out shopping to choose some lovely new decorations for the tree and got lost in the sparkly lights, tinsel and baubles. He also met Father Christmas and put in his request. He is now old enough to get excited! I can’t wait to see his face when we put his little stocking out, when he sees presents under the tree, when we read the stories about Christmas and most of all, when he opens his presents to find the orange ‘puter he has been absolutely desperate for.

The only downer on the whole thing is the fact that Christmas is a time for families and Toddler will never spend a Christmas with his whole family around him. That makes me really sad. Since being unwillingly transported into the world of the single parent family, Christmas will never be the big family gathering that I wanted him to have.

Even more of a reason to make the most of Christmas this year and realise how lucky I am to get to experience every single second of it. I can’t wait! Bring on the baubles!

Toddler Tyke and Father Christmas - November 11

Friday, 11 November 2011


Today Toddler Tyke had his first dentist experience. I have always been very strict about teeth brushing, not drinking juice out of lidded cups, sweets in moderation etc with the aim to promote the importance of dental hygiene to him.

Today I had a check-up at the dentist and decided that he was probably the right age to come along with me and see what it was all about.

I had been preparing him for several days, talking about how excited I was to go and see the dentist and how he could show the dentist his lovely clean teeth. On the way, I talked very positively about what a lovely time we would have and if he was a good boy, the dentist might give him a little present. Sitting in the waiting room, he chatted happily to some of the other patients and played with his toy cars.

We were called in and he watched with interest as the dentist looked in my mouth and took a ‘photo’ of a tooth that had been giving me trouble.

I smiled lots to reassure Toddler that everything was ok and it was a good experience. The dentist showed Toddler the photo of mummy’s teeth and then he got a chance to sit in the chair like mummy. He was fascinated by the fact that the chair moved up and down.

With a bit of encouragement, Toddler eventually decided that he would like to show the dentist his teeth too and opened wide.

After a quick peek in his mouth, he was presented with a lovely green balloon which he quickly passed to me and asked me to put in the bag.

Once we got to the car, I asked Toddler if he wanted to hold his balloon.

His response “I don’t like that balloon – it’s too greeny!”.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

"When I thought I couldn't go on, I forced myself to keep going. My success is based on persistence, not luck." - Estee Lauder

At the end of last year, I was celebrating my wedding anniversary and looking back over 5 years of wonderful life with a man I loved. Just weeks later my world was blown apart and I found myself facing a scary future as a single mum. Looking back now, I don’t think I have any real recollection of the first quarter of this year. Most of it was lived through a haze, a basic survival instinct and nothing more. My only reason for getting up each day was Toddler Tyke. Despite what was going on in our lives, he still needed his mummy, still needed to be fed, dressed, nappy changed etc.

As we head towards winter and the end of 2011, I keep reflecting upon this year and how it has changed me. When things were tough, everyone kept telling me I was tougher, a strong person who could get through this. It is only when you really need it do you actually realise how strong you can be. Your inner strength comes from somewhere, deeply hidden and takes over to carry you through.

Tykes Tights took a major battering at the start of the year. Like I said, I could barely function let alone work on a new business, devoting the time and energy it needed to send it into it’s first spring and summer. I spent a lot of time wondering how other people do it, how do other’s cope?

I read about Rebecca Taylor, who at 23 was a single mum sleeping on her Grandmother’s sofa. With a lot of determination and hard work, she turned her life around and is now owner of The Original Lash and Nail bar in the North of England with an average annual turnover of £200,000.

You may have heard of Sharon Wright, inventor of magnamole, a magnetic cable device to help put cables through walls. Another single mum who worked hard to achieve her dream. She is now an award winning inventor with a hugely successful business and has published books.

And of course, there can’t be anyone who hasn’t heard of Kirsty Henshaw of Dragon’s Den fame. Single mum who created a dairy and nut free desert for her young son. Since then, she has developed a range of products available on the supermarket shelves and Worthenshaws Freedom is set to become a huge name.

And that’s when I realised. Troubled times are sent to put us down or ruin our plans, they are sent to give us determination, to build our characters and help us to find the motivation we need to move on to a brighter future. So here I am, Winter season 2011 building a brighter future for me and my boy 

Sunday, 9 October 2011

How will you keep your family warm this winter?

So it looks like our Indian Summer is over and has disappeared as quickly as it arrived. Who would have thought that this time last week we were baking in temperatures of nearly 30 degrees and I am now digging out winter coats and seriously considering turning the heating on.

So how are you going to keep your family warm this winter?

When Tykes Tights started, it was all about tights for boys but since those early days, our range of stock has gradually increased to include girl’s tights, socks for both boys and girls (including boy’s knee socks), slipper socks, and our latest addition, thermals.

Our range of thermal wear isn’t just for the kids either. We have thermals for the whole family, whether it be long janes for mum, thermal t-shirts for dad or vests for the kids. We also have fab adult thermal socks which have been tried and tested here at TT HQ.

Are you planning a winter skiing holiday? Do you or your partner work outdoors? From farmers to builders, market stall owners to lollipop men/women, we now have something for everyone!

So, how are you going to keep your family warm this winter? Easy – Tykes Tights!

Pop along and see what we have for you and your family ;)

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Calling all business mummies and baby forum users!

While facebook and other social media sites are without doubt one of the best ways to get your name known and promote your business, I have become increasingly frustrated with another excellent source. Stick ‘tights for boys’ or ‘boys tights’ into any search engine and, as well as finding us!, you will find links to a whole range of parenting websites and forums. Mums and dads all over the country are starting discussion threads “where can I get tights for my boys?”. The answer is simple – Tykes Tights of course! Except it’s really not that simple. The rules on these forums state that you are not allowed to advertise your business. I was even banned from one forum for thanking a particular mum for adding a link to my website.

I can see all these people that need a little nudge in my direction and there is nothing I can do about it! It is so frustrating! As a mum who had exactly the same problem, I would have appreciated someone sending me a link but when I write on these forums, in the mediators eyes, I am no longer a mummy, I am a business woman touting for business. Gah!

So, I have to just sit back and hope that someone else will mention Tykes Tights.

How do other people get around this? I would love to hear your thoughts and ideas.

Oh, and if you happen to come across a discussion on a forum and wish to mention us, please feel free!!!

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Mixing Business and Babies!

Juggling a tiny person and work commitments is hard for any parents and the reason why many mums and dads choose to look for a new way to earn money - a route where they can manage their time more effectively in order to meet the demands of a growing family.  I had never planned to start Tykes Tights, the idea came looking for me and I realised that it could work.  Yes, it has taken a lot of time and some days, I feel like I let my son down because I have orders to pack, emails to reply to and blogs to write rather than getting stuck in with the play doh.  Other days, I can give my son 100% attention and leave the admin side of things until he is safely tucked up in bed.  Working, whether for yourself or someone else, and being a parent is always going to be juggling act but hundreds of new mums are full of new business ideas, looking for a way to make family life a little more manageable.

When I started Tykes Tights, I can across mumsclub where I found all the help and advice I needed from like-minded mums, as well as making great business contacts and good friends along the way.  Each year, Jane at mumsclub organises a Business and Baby Show where mums (and dads!) with new businesses or just a seed of a business idea, can gather for advice, whether it be on the legalities, setting up a website, managing social media, advertising and even gaining funding.  At the show, there is also a 'mumpreneur alley', a row or two of stands showcasing businesses who are run by mums. 
A couple of weeks ago, I entered a competition to win one of the mumpreneur stands and was delighted to find out that we were one of 20 businesses chosen to go along.

On Friday afternoon, I packed up Toddler Tyke and drove him to stay with his dad whilst I carried on my journey to Birmingham.  After an overnight stay at a local premier inn, me and Nanny Tyke were up early to head to the venue and set up for the day.  As well as selling our products, there were lots of seminars and networking events set up throughout the day.  I went along to listen to Antonia Chitty talk about the use of social media and how to promote your business.  I also went along to a 'speed networking' event where I met a host of other business mums and learned about their businesses as well as talk about how we could work together and help each other out.  It was great to finally meet some of the other mumsclub regulars who I had 'virtually' known for over a year but never before met face to face.  For any mum thinking of setting up a business, or even running a business, it was a great day with lots of information and help available.  Whilst I was busy making contacts, Nanny Tyke did a great job of promoting our products and we returned home on Saturday night with a lighter car load. 
A big thanks to mumsclub for organising the event.

I was even more delighted when I got home to find out that I had won the prize draw from Vitabella, a fab new company offering gorgeous beauty products direct from the heart of Italy.  I had tried out the handcream at the show and it smelled gorgeous, as well as sorting out my dry skin.  I can't wait for my prize to arrive so that I can try out some of the other products.  VitaBella are also looking for consultants to host parties so that they can expand the areas they reach out to.  if you are a mum looking for a way to juggle work and family, this could be an ideal opportunity!

Friday, 23 September 2011

Win a pair of our gorgeous slipper socks!

Whilst I have been getting lots of positive feedback from our customers, it would be great if other customers could see it too. If you have purchased or received any item from Tykes Tights, we would love to hear what you think.

We will be giving away a pair of slippers socks (£9.99) in the next week. To be in with a chance of winning, all you need to do is pop onto the website, find the item you ordered and write a quick sentence or two about it by using the ‘reviews' button then 'write a review'.

 All reviewers will be entered into the competition and given a number. The winning number will be chosen with a random number generator. The more reviews you submit, the more chances you have of winning.

We look forward to reading your reviews! The winning number will be chosen next Friday (30th September).

Good luck!

Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Happy Birthday to us!

It’s hard to believe that it was a whole year ago that I was sat here waiting for those first orders to come through to officially begin the TT journey.

Our first Winter season was amazing – far better than I ever imagined it would be. I was certainly on a huge learning curve and feel that I now have a much better understanding of what our customers actually want. I have made mistakes along the way and I am sure that I will make many more but Tykes Tights is now well and truly on the map, with orders and enquiries coming through from all over the world.

This last year has also been a huge journey for me. Learning the Tykes tights ropes as I have gone and dealing with huge upheavals in my personal life. It has certainly been a mentally, financially and massively emotionally draining year. All of which has been taken on board, dealt with and made me a stronger person, ready to deal with the challenges and successes of the coming twelve months.

Our range of stock has also increased with the addition of thermal underwear for the whole family, British made and excellent value for money. We also have our old favourites including our popular leather soled slipper socks which are now available in 5 different sizes!

With Christmas markets and baby fayres booked up throughout the Autumn and early Winter, I am sure that Christmas will be here before we know it.

So, let’s start that Christmas shopping now and as a huge thank you to all of our customers who have been part of the journey, please feel free to take advantage of our birthday present – 20% off all orders made on our website before midnight on Friday. (use BIRTHDAY at the checkout) 

We will look forward to meeting some more of you at the Christmas markets this year, please pop along and say hello.

Thursday, 30 June 2011

No tweeting good!

I have tried. I really have. I think I have failed. Twitter sucked me in, chewed me up and spat me right back out again. What did I do wrong?

Having read blogs about the power of Twitter, I knew I had to harness this and make it my own. I made an account, designed my background and started following people. All good. My number of followers steadily started to increase and I even managed to dabble in Follow Fridays too! I had a few chats with fellow business mums and all was well – for a while.

Twitter has this habit of sucking you in. Right in. So far in that everything else gets neglected. In order to establish relationships, I found I was sitting glued to Twitter for hours. Following conversations so that I could contribute with informed or interesting information of my own. It was taking over my day.

I decided I needed to pull back. This is where it went wrong. Imagine being in the playground. Everybody is chatting and getting on well. You don’t know what they are chatting about because you weren’t at school yesterday. You missed the vital information that would lead you into the conversation. You try to start a conversation but they have already moved on, discussing something else that you missed. You stand there, alone, in the corner of the playground watching what is going on around you but not being privy to it. You give up and go inside. Fail.

Twitter – an excellent social tool when in the correct expert hands. I fear I do not have expert hands. Am I alone? How can I make Twitter work for me and my non-existent spare time?

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

The Thermal Trials - Part 3 (and the end!)

Our final victim tester(!) in the thermal trials was toddler Alfie who kindly volunteered (or at least his mummy did) to try out the childs long pants.

Boy’s thermal long pants - £5.95
When we unwrapped the long pants my first thought was that they were soooo soft. Alfie made a grab for them and run off to a corner to cuddle them so I guess he thought the same thing! The next day we were heading out for a mainly outside day so we gave them a thorough test. Size wise the pants were generous but not to the point of being too big and seeing as Al isn't quite 2 yet I think the sizing is fair.

Alfie proudly wearing his soft long pants

At each nappy change through the day I am pleased to say that Alfie's thighs were toasty warm and due to the lovely soft stretch of these there was no wicking from a soggy nappy that we sometimes experience with tights. When we got home it was lovely to be able to take Alfie's trousers off and let him roam around in the long pants - usually if he is wearing tights I have to take them off and put trousers back on so he doesn't slip on the wood floor, and if he is wearing legwarmers they tend to slide down with the rough and tumble of toddler play resulting in cold thighs.

 The long pants came out of their first wash as lovely as they came out of the packet and Alfie decided he wanted to wear them round the house during an 'at home' day. They proved just as popular as 'out and about' and were really comfortable for him to wear both for play and nap. After their second wash the pants still felt as they did new from the pack and fit as well too. Overall I think they are a great product and would happily reccomend them to a friend - in fact I have already!
The price point of £5.95 is a little higher than I would choose to pay but they are a really great product so I would probably stretch to it for a couple of pairs if we were going on holiday somewhere really cold or sking perhaps. (Emma R)
A huge thanks to everyone who has helped by testing out our new thermals.  We are really excited about the new range and there really is something for everyone.  Check them out at

Monday, 7 February 2011

The Thermal trials - Part 2

So, time for a man's point of view...
Paul, a seasoned long john wearer and therefore almost expert in such matters, trialled our men's long johns.

Men’s thermal long johns - £7.95
Just dropping you a line expressing my thanks for the men's full length long johns. As you know, I purchased them mainly for playing golf in and when I'm out walking on these bitter cold days. I found them a perfect fit and extremely comfortable, much better than a leading store brand. The garment is very practical due to it's lightweight properties, easy to wash, dries quickly and no need to iron. Taking all this into account, I have found the garment extremely good value for money. (Paul R)

As well as the full length long johns, we also sell 3/4 length long johns which are perfect for men who like to wear them under work trousers to meet their socks.  They are also more discreet around the ankle.
Coming up...our third and final thermal trial - children's long pants.

Sunday, 6 February 2011

The Thermal Trials - Part 1

A couple of weeks ago, I put out a request for testers.  Tykes Tights are introducing a range of thermal wear for the whole family and I needed to know whether the stock I had in mind was going to be up to the job.
Based in the UK, our suppliers manufacture the stock locally, meaning that we have no huge shipping costs, customs fees or bank charges to worry about.  This is great news for the customer as we can offer really competitive prices on fantastic quality thermal wear.
So, what did our testers think?
Boy’s thermal long sleeved t-shirt - £6.95
Size wise as an age 3-5 it was pretty generous. Will wears a size 4-5 long sleeved t-shirt normally and the thermal vest was longer in the arm and lovely and long to keep his bum warm! I really liked the cuff on the sleeve and the material was lovely and soft.

I layered a short sleeve t-shirt over the top as I would with a normal white tee and it looked fine.

He was warm around the house with no heating on and very toasty out and about. I forgot his gloves and he didn't once moan his hands were cold like he normally would.

It is a lovely soft and warm higher than normal quality thermal top that I would definitely recommend.”
(Lee-Ann S)

Thank you to Lee-Ann and Will for testing for us. 
Next did Paul fair with the men's longjohns?

Saturday, 22 January 2011

Too much information?

I have often wondered how much of ‘me’ I should reveal to my virtual audience. 
I follow blogs, tweets and facebook updates of friends, aquaintances, colleagues and people I admire.  Some of those I know really well in real life.  Some of them I may have met once or twice and some of them I have never met.  Quite disturbingly, it is some of the people that I rarely ‘know’ that I actually feel like I know the most.  God, that makes me sound like a stalker – I’m not.
It is very easy in our virtual world to ‘follow’ the lives of practically anyone we choose.  Pick a person, any person and you could probably use the internet to discover their address, phone number, date of birth, names of family members, what they do for a living, where they shop etc.  You don’t need to be a master criminal to discover this information.  Millions of people every day are sharing this stuff openly for all to access.
My facebook page has recently been full of people updating, through their iphones, their current location.  ‘Bob’ has checked in at Pizza hut.  Fab.  Thanks Bob.  Why would I want to know this, or even more to the question, why would they want me to know this?  Why would anybody want to publically advertise the fact that they are out of the house, probably for a good hour at least?  Check the rest of their profile, photos or another social media outlet and you could probably find out where they live and where they keep their most valuable possessions.  Perfect burglary information.
Don’t even get me started on the updates that tell us all when so and so is going on holiday and when they are back. 
I still don’t know how much of me to reveal to the world.  When does ‘sharing’ your life on-line actually become ‘living’ your life on-line?  As a teacher, I was ‘miss’ in front of the class and a completely different person in the privacy of my own home.  I played a character at work.  Do I play a character on-line? 
Social media is the way forward for business.  I am fully aware of that.  How do you use social media to get to know others without leaving yourself open and vulnerable?  Is it a case of less is more?  How much do people really want to know about the real me?  There is a real living, breathing person behind the TT logo.  I am Tykes Tights.  But I am also me.  Where does one end and the other begin?

Saturday, 15 January 2011

Going Thermal!

It has been a busy week at TT HQ, with lots of phone calls, meetings and wheeling and dealing.  The result?  Tykes Tights will proudly be retailers of thermal underwear for boys, right through from age 2 up to age 13.  We can’t wait!
So far, in our catalogue of thermals, we have boys long pants, t-shirts and long sleeved tops.  And it’s not just about the boys – what about matching thermals for dad too?
Our men’s range contains the same items as the boys as well as three quarter length long johns – perfect for those men who don’t want to risk their long johns being spotted around sock level!
Our thermal wear is British made and manufactured by a company in Leicester.  All stock comes directly from the factory meaning that we are able to provide the customer with both fantastic quality and fantastic value for money.   Over the next few weeks, some Tykes customers have kindly offered to ‘test-drive’ a few of the items for us.  We can’t wait to see what they think.  We will, of course, publish all results here on our blog and website for you all to read.

Saturday, 8 January 2011


My best blogs float around in my head late at night when I am trying to sleep.  They are word perfect, inspirational and informative.  When I wake up, they are gone.