Nest Natter: Skylarks, what’s new?

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So as we all know we have had our share of ups and downs, as any business does. We have been registered for 18 months, yay! But in that time, we have talked about, designed, made, talked about some more, redesigned and finally completed cockpots. We have also had to postpone our launch because of a few teething problems and have completely changed our product range, from cockpots to home and gift ware (very cute home and gift ware I might add) but completely different to cockpots. This is the short version, no need to bore you with the details but the point being, we all have trials and tribulations to go through before perfecting the end result.

All of this sounds like a lot of hassle, but if everything had gone smoothly to this point, we’d have been the luckiest company in the world. There is not a company in the world that has had it easy and if anything it adds confidence to our abilities, to learn we must first make mistakes. I guess this post is more just to check in and update you all on what’s going on. We will have cockpots at some point in the future, do not rule us out, you will be given plenty of notice and we will certainly update you when we have news, but for now we have sourced some delightful bits, especially good for stocking fillers this Christmas. So take a trip to http://www.searchingforskylarks.co.uk and take advantage of the fact that you don’t have to drag yourself to the shops in the cold, wet weather and delivery is free. Not only do you get to have us do your shopping for you but you don’t even have to pay for it to get to you. Who can resist that? Log in, fill your basket and we will deliver it straight to your door, saving you from sore feet and wet clothes. Searching for skylarks love to help their flockers.

Nest Natter: Engagement

Recently we’ve done quite a few topical blogs and we do love them, actually they are fascinating, but we are a business and so we wanted to take it back to basics and write something about business advice. Mainly, regarding engagement via social media.

We have written several items about social media and the benefits it holds for businesses. But what about when it is not working as well for you as you would hope?

Lately, we have noticed a serious dip in the amount of people seeing our posts on Facebook. We are going from lots seeing our ecards/memes/funnies and topical posts, things not specifically about Skylarks, to a maximum of 11 seeing our blog, product and website posts. People are not able to see our business related posts. Why?

At first we thought people just didn’t like certain posts which is fine, people have the right to choose. But that doesn’t make a lot of sense. Anybody who has a business page, can see that you don’t have to have likes or comments on a post for someone to see it. We then considered that the likes we had, had hidden us from their news feed (please don’t do this, we only want you like us if you want to see our posts). This is another theory that doesn’t make sense because of the reach on our other posts.

So we started asking for and receiving feedback from flockers. Flockers like our Facebook, follow us on twitter and on Pinterest. Therefore they clearly like our pages and want to see our posts, you don’t like something you don’t want to see. The feedback we were getting would suggest that they can’t actually see what we do or who we are. The only posts that are being seen are the funny and topical ones. So we did ourselves some research and it turns out that Facebook isn’t always as helpful as we may think. It is clear they are in charge but when we set up our page we did not see that advertising was not actually ‘optional’.

Why are we bringing this to your attention?

There is no need to rush for your purse there is something you can do. Also be aware that even if your posts are firing on all cylinders now, you will probably find in a while that you will start experiencing something similar. Vary your posts, keep it so you are not ‘spamming’ with just your business. Obviously the point of a business page is promotion but nobody appreciates ‘spam’ and neither does Facebook. Encourage your flockers to speak up when they see something they like, by liking. commenting and especially sharing as many of the posts that they enjoy as possible. Do this by adding different topics, humour, sharing other peoples posts etc. Find common areas that have relevance to your business and post direct business items in between.

We hope this is useful and stops you worrying about your posts.

Follow on blog from #WhyIStayed and #Yesallwomen

This further compliments our previous post about hashtag activism. Last week we posted a blog about the domestic violence support hashtag #WhyIStayed and #WhyILeft, –

https://searchingforskylarks.wordpress.com/2014/09/19/nest-natter-whyistayed-the-power-of-the-hashtag/

A few weeks before a blog about #YesAllWomen –

https://searchingforskylarks.wordpress.com/2014/07/30/yesallwomen-notallmen/

This week #Heforshe.

Twitter is the most popular social network and not for fun, like places such as facebook and pinterest, who do cover world affairs but not in the same way.  Twitter is genuinely used widely for business and topical news. When we started Searching for Skylarks ltd, it was clear that social media was our strongest platform to use for promotion, connections and information, Twitter was and still is our strongest!

I don’t think hashtag activism is new per say, however, it is redefining how we, the world, deal with hugely important topics! It is so effective at getting people’s voices heard. Of course people do not have the same views, therefore it also offers an outlet for all sides of the spectrum, which is desperately needed. Sexism, domestic violence and gender equality, or should I say inequality, have been taboo topics until relatively recently. There has never been so much opportunity for people to speak so freely about their feelings towards this and fight for their own rights. It is not just women, men are subjected to this hideous reality as well and they are joining in with each hashtag and finding help there as well. The hashtag is gender neutral, the world should be too. It is astounding how effective twitter really is.

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#Heforshe (www.heforshe.org) has come about after Emma Watson talks about moving for gender equality –

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/womens-life/11112842/Emma-Watson-Im-a-feminist-because-Ive-known-sexism-since-I-was-eight-years-old.html  –

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pTG1zcEJmxY&feature=youtu.be

Read and watch her outstanding speech here.

She is the UN Women Goodwill Ambassador. She spoke in New York this weekend about a new campaign for gender equality. The new hashtag has already exploded, with people joining in with the movement. Emma Watson dubs herself as a ‘feminist because i’ve known sexism since i was 8 years old’. Being feminist doesn’t mean you hate men and think women should rule the world, feminism is just a movement that calls for both genders to be equal, which they should be! She is saying what everyone is thinking. The fight for equality has been a long and strenuous one but we are not there yet and she is using her position and fame to make a positive difference to the world.

‘We are struggling for a uniting word but the good news is we have a uniting movement. It is called HeForShe. I am inviting you to step forward, to be seen to speak up, To be the he for she. And to ask yourself if not me, who, if not now when.’

Emma Watson’s finishing statement, calling people forward to help and join the movement for unity. She doesn’t want just women to make a difference, she wants men to be equal too. The picture below is a photo from the story via the telegraph (link above).

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The more people that know about something the more coverage and therefore effect it’s cause has! So if you are experiencing any of the issues highlighted by these powerful hashtags, follow their pages which you can find on our twitter, @skylarksnest, we follow and retweet them all, find the comfort and power you need.

Nest Natter: #WhyIStayed – The power of the hashtag

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It is astounding how something as simple as the ‘#’ could be so very powerful. Social media is still up and coming, improving daily and now the world has found a way to use social media for the higher purpose of support and unity. Who knew something like this would ever help so many people find an outlet for their grief, struggle and find support in others who have been through the same thing.

Previously we did a blog about the #Yesallwomen trend that went worldwide instantly, https://searchingforskylarks.wordpress.com/2014/07/30/yesallwomen-notallmen/. This was in reaction to Elliot Rodger and his ‘Day of retribution’, a young man who’s reason for committing mass murder, was because he had been ‘rejected’ by all women and they deserved to die because, in short, they didn’t want to have sex with him. http://www.documentcloud.org/documents/1173808-elliot-rodger-manifesto.html. #Yesallwomen gives women a place to share their daily experiences of chauvinism and sexism, it is ridiculous how often this occurs. Reading the tweets, a lot of men don’t even realise they are being sexist. It is constant. In relatiliation, men created their own hashtag #Notallmen, explaining that all men should not be tarred with the same brush and that they do respect women as their equals. Both incredibly strong cases and captures a worldwide audience. These trends started in May and are STILL going strong,! More and more people need support on this particular subject, from both sides of the pond and have been able to find it. 4 months and continuing, how amazing is it that so many have been able to share their experience, get comfort and in such an accessible place!

Following this a new hashtag trend has begun. It is another issue that thousands of people suffer every single day and we wouldn’t even know if it was right under our noses- Domestic violence. #WhyIStayed – is the world’s chance to speak out and explain why they feel they have to stay in and cannot leave an abusive relationship. Started by Beverly Gooden @bevtgooden, last month, following the emergence of footage of American football player Ray Rice, abusing his now wife. The footage shows him knocking his then fiancee, Janay Palmer, out in an elevator with a punch to the face and then dragging her unconscious body out. Despicable! http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/sep/08/tmz-video-ray-rice-punch-fiancee-elevator. Following this, before people knew of it, she went on to marry him. When it surfaced that Mr Rice had abused Ms Palmer, now Mrs Rice, her friends, family and the public felt forced to ask ‘Why did she stay?’.  Who would stay after something so horrific? Was this an isolated incident? How long had it been going on for? The immediate questions that spring to mind as soon as any case of domestic violence is discovered. This sparked the world to say why they stay/stayed in abusive relationships. Having read the messages, done the research and having known sufferers myself, leaving just doesn’t seem like an option. Something as intensely complicated as domestic violence does not have just one simple answer, how could it? In February it was reported that ‘more than 1.1 million or 7% of women and 720,000 or 4% of men have been victims of some kind of domestic abuse in the past year, official crime figures reveal.’ and those are the reported cases, far too many people live in fear and never report any of their abuse. So if they can’t report it, how can they leave? This probably helps to prove why trends like this are so very helpful, even if victims aren’t amongst those tweeting, they are still able to read them and find some peace knowing they are not alone. Hopefully from that peace will come strength and the power to overcome their abuser and leave.

The stories you read are absolutely heartbreaking but there is an air of reassurance that those who feel most isolated, do have an outlet. An additional reassurance is  following #Whyistayed, #Whyileft emerged. People telling their stories of violence, their reasons for staying and their strength and reason for leaving, saving themselves and their families.

‘#Whyistayed I was afraid of being alone, too beaten down to understand and scared. #Whyileft i was even more afraid of being in a grave’

‘#Whyistayed because i wanted my son to have a father. #Whyileft because i wanted my son to have a mother’

‘#Whyistayed she brain washed me to think i deserve abuse and unhappiness. #Whyileft I finally believed in myself and believed she was wrong’

This begs the question, why is this new ‘hashtag activism’ so popular? There are helplines and groups offered to people but this seems to get a much bigger reaction. Why?

We asked our flockers, as we always do and the most common answer is support and comfort. Being able to see so many others that have suffered in the same way as you is chilling but lets people know that they are not alone. Loneliness and the fear of being alone is what cripples people into staying with their abuser. They feel that if they leave they will be judged and hated and therefore alone. Also there is the ‘what do i do now’. So many people stay because they have been made to feel that nobody could ever love them as much as their abusive partner, or they are ‘damaged’ and nobody could ever love someone with as many ‘problems’ as them. It is disgusting to think that these people are made to feel they have no way out so let’s hope that this new form of release encourages others to come forwards and save themselves from any further torture. If there is something, anything, to let people in need know they have choices and will be loved, understood, listened to then it can only be a good thing!

If anybody is ever in need, the UK number for the domestic violence helpline is 0808 2000 247 http://www.nationaldomesticviolencehelpline.org.uk/ – don’t ever suffer alone! You ARE worth so much more!

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Nest Natter: Online Boutique

 WelcomeOnlineBout2 http://www.searchingforskylarks.co.uk

Hello lovely ladies and gents,

As you will have noticed on social media we have recently launched our Online Boutique.

In true Skylarks fashion, we are writing this blog to tell you what’s occurring.

Cockpots are not gone, they are just not here yet. We are so grateful to everyone who was and is involved in Cockpots and do not want to disappoint you. They will be available over the next few months and will keep all of our fabulous followers up to date.

In the mean time we have been off in search of some simply fabulous items, to fill our boutique with. Playful Elegance is our game and we aim to bring fun and glamour to all of our Flocker’s lives. We know how important it is to feel special and we want to be the ones who help you to feel great or make a friend feel fabulous. With loads of different items to choose from we know that you will find something that takes your fancy. Also expect lots of puns, wherever possible, it’s all part of the flocking fun! Let’s not forget the extra special part, we are offering free delivery on everything until the 24th of August so head over to take advantage of low prices and free delivery.

We have divided all of the bits into 3 sections to make things as easy as possible for you:

We urge you to Treat Yourself with a token of appreciation for yourself because frankly you rock and absolutely deserve it. Share The Love with your friends and family and show them exactly how much they mean to you and finally live luxuriously with our Luxurious Living products!

Take a look around and you can also enjoy the usual #Callitaweek cocktail recipes, Nest Natter blogs, topical or business realted (such as this one) and some Funnies from the Flock, where you send us your favourite ecards – flocker, skylarks or cocktail related.

Here are just some of the things you can find in our Boutique.

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We ‘Moustache’ you to place your drinks down carefully with these hilarious novelty coasters (4 coasters per pack)

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BOOM, ZAP, POW! excellent scatter cushions, on trend with the comic patterns we are seeing around so we just had to get involved.

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A very cute trinket tin, somewhere to put ‘owl’ of your bits and bobs! 🙂 We do love a pun.

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This super stylish feminine bow tie, I love to wear mine to a meeting instead of a necklace, so much for professional and let’s be honest it’s pretty sexy.

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Need a new wallet? Look no further than our sixties meets naughties wallet, big enough to fit all of your neseccaries yet small enough to fit in all bags and large clutches.

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Love this bottle opener, different from the usual boring metal ones, this chirpy chap is the perfect gift to take to a party or give as a small gift.

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And personalise any gift with our quaint gift tags, four colours to choose from!

This is a very small sample of our simply fabulous items. Have a look around, browse and enjoy.

http://www.searchingforskylarks.co.uk

Nest Natter: Dieting – Who do we really want to change for?

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Recently, we initiated a discussion on Facebook about dieting.

The reason we wanted to discuss it with our flockers is because, usually, as soon as summer hits we all start to panic about the way we look. Size, weight, even skin tone and everyone stars taking drastic measures to change all of these things. From crash diets ‘lose 15 stone in a day’ to quote Peter Kay to inch loss treatments and sun beds, all of which we are told over and over again are bad for us, but then the media shows perfectly tanned, toned bodies everywhere.

This year was no exception for me personally. I am by no means overweight but I am the biggest I have ever been and that made me panic. I love food, which is mostly the issue but being a bridesmaid with size 8-10s made me feel very uncomfortable about being in forever pics looking like the elephant of the group. It was personal choice, for me, no crash dieting or unhealthy decisions, just eat healthy foods, home cook and follow the ‘acti-diet’ flexi plan where I have two of their sachets a day with one of my own meals, plus 3 litres of water a day and lost a stone. Therefore, this prompted me to ask how other people feel about their weight and dieting.

The answers to this question were pleasantly surprising. It seems that instead of dieting in an extreme way, people have almost calmed down and are now choosing to eat less fatty and sugary foods for themselves, to feel healthier, have more energy and shed a few unwanted pounds as opposed to be stones. Which is not only a healthier way to lose weight and live but it is a much healthier attitude and mind set.

‘For me personally, I like to enjoy what I eat, as I’m a real foodie, but occasionally I recognise something that is unhealthy or I’ve gotten into a bad habit and I’ll cut it out. I generally love healthy wholefoods, and when I’m organised with my shopping, my diet is great. I will sometimes go back to a no wheat, no meat and a no dairy diet. I personally don’t believe in hardcore diets unless someone is happier on them because happiness is the most important thing in life.’ – Fabulous Flocker Charlie.

‘I’ve been following a low carb high fat protein diet for years and lost loads of weight. Size 8/10 for a long time. Now been naughty and been off it a while I’ve put weight on, although people say I haven’t, I know! It’s not really about diet, because I ate very well on my regime :)’ – Fabulous Flocker Julia

‘Im only trying to lose weight because it effecting my mobility a little and i dont want it to get worse, as for what others think of me, i’m past caring  I am me take me or leave me .’  and the wonderful Sharon.

It is so reassuring to see that people want to be healthy for themselves and their families, not because society tells them it is the ‘best’ way to be. It is refreshing that we are also seeing plus sized models, although I am not sure I would agree that a size 12 is plus size, however there are sizes 14, 16, 18, 20 coming onto the scene now which is more my style and I much prefer to see such rather than a ‘size zero’ skeleton who just need a good home cooked meal. I do believe that society still has flaws when it comes to how we are all expected to view ourselves and each other but we have definitely come a long way in the past couple of years and let’s hope this new ‘I am me and that is fabulous’ attitude is the one that prevails.

Thank you for your wonderful input Flockers and keep up the wonderful work.

#YESALLWOMEN, #NOTALLMEN

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Prejudice has always been and probably always will be a prominent issue in society. Specifically regarding the attitudes towards gender roles. Specifically the sexualisation of men and women. Misogynist views that women are ‘only good for one thing’, females always being portrayed as sex objects in the media, make up adverts only directed at women, no gut busters out there for beer guts but plenty of tight fitting underwear because heaven forbid we have a little flab after bearing all of those children and men suffer prejudice when they decide to take the 21st century view of choosing to stay at home whist their partners go out to work. All of this makes for a pretty uncomfortable world to live in. How we are supposed to win is beyond me.

Back in May of this year (2014) there was another mass shooting in California. Troubled Elliot Rodger rampaged through the streets of Isla Vista, California with a gun (which he had been given a license for but that’s another story) and killed 6 men and women, wounded 13 more and finally shot himself in the head, on a day he titled ‘The day of retribution’. Why? It basically boiled down to his want and need for love and sex from women, which he thought that he was ENTITLED to and his hatred towards those men who had the pleasure of a relationship.

He posted a few videos on youtube, one a few days before the shootings, talking about why he thinks his life is unfair because he has never had a girlfriend. But the final one, which he posted on the morning of the attack, was entitled ‘Elliot Rodger’s Day of retribution’. This video stated his reasons for his premeditated attack, such as… ‘[I will slaughter]all those girls I’ve desired so much, they would have all rejected me and looked down upon me as an inferior man if I ever made a sexual advance towards them, while they throw themselves at these obnoxious brutes’

‘Girls all I’ve ever wanted is to love you and to be loved by you’

‘you are animals and I will slaughter you like animals and I will be a god, exacting my retribution on all those who deserve it and you do deserve it, just for the crime of living a better life than me and it is a crime’

The reaction to this was staggering and sparked two worldwide media frenzies #NOTALLMEN and #YESALLWOMEN. #Notallmen was and is the hashtag to show that not all men share Rodger’s views, they are not all misogynists or chauvinists with the expectance of sex or anything else from women. However, #Yesallwomen identifies that although not all men may have that attitude, women suffer at the hands of misogyny and chauvinism every day regardless, in ways that we do not even notice. For instance, when a girl leaves home for the first time and say goes to university, she will be told to be careful, never go anywhere alone and perhaps be given gifts such as pepper spray or a rape alarm. A man, on the other hand, will be given a big pat on the back, told to take care and he will most likely take condoms in his suitcase. Not by any means because he plans to rape someone, but because in his head there’s no rejection filter to tell him that there’s a possibility nobody will want to. These things have become the norm in this society and are not even questioned. This is not a feminist blog post, just a realisation of the facts and that is not to say that men do not suffer similarly, I have heard too many cases of men being raped or abused, but Rodger’s was only concerned about the female of the species and his views were so extremely outrageous it made the entire world panic. How on earth did this happen? How could he be under the impression that he was owed sex? It is as if he expected every woman to find him irresistible and fall to his advances regardless of what he had or hadn’t done. Rodger was clearly a troubled man and his horrific actions are in no way reasonable. However, it does raise the question, what gave him this impression? I am actually unsurprised that this was his opinion, this is not in any way condoning his behaviour but why feel he had no other choice. This culture does make people uncomfortable and adds so much extra pressure to times such as puberty, when your body is already changing, that just don’t need to be there. We were all there once, when our friends were having sex and we weren’t, being teased because of sexual exploits or lack of them. None of us went on a killing spree but we did all suffer. How did society manage to become so fundamentally wrong?

Men and women even now are needlessly separated in everything. There are few things that can’t be done by both (unless you want to be the queen or king, those genders are fairly set in stone) but should someone deviate from the ‘norm’, e.g. a house husband for instance, he will be ridiculed and belittled, not only by his friends but also by his wife sometimes. Then there are the women who stay at home with their children, because frankly sometimes there’s no other option, who are ridiculed by their husbands, families and friends, some of whom have children and have done it themselves and some of whom haven’t. Everyone has their own impression of what ‘should’ be done and it clouds our judgement so much that we can’t see to help those who need it. A woman doing a man’s job gets paid less, a man doing a woman’s job feel inferior, why?? It isn’t too much of a stretch to think that some people will feel confused in such a world.

All of the thoughts we have stem from what we are taught, so I welcome you to change one thing, realise that things are not always black and white and teach your children not to live their lives in this narrow minded way.

Nest Natter: If it were easy, how would we learn?

 
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We are always learning, especially with searching for skylarks. 
We launched cockpots at pulse this month, as many if you know and as it was our first trade show we weren’t sure what to expect so we did the research, read books, asked people and business we knew who’d had experience and prepare from that. This meant, to some extent, we went in as rookies, and although we tried to have everything prepared and ready for customers, we could only assume that what we had done was right.
Whilst we were there we met lots of experienced businesses, and the response was overwhelming, everybody loves Cockpots. Nobody had seen anything like it and the majority of people who came to our stand, some had sought us out, took away further information and listed their interest in cockpots – yay! But there were some things we could improve on. Since pulse we have been talking to more and more people and businesses and it is very clear to us that business and life aren’t easy but if it were how would we learn? However, to our delight, all feedback we have received is positive and things we can absolutely work with to improve on.
 
So to the end, what feedback have you received recently? Home or work? Can you work with it or is it a lifestyle change? Don’t be afraid of criticism, positive or negative, hold your head high and be grateful that someone took the time to think of you and communicate with you. It’s much better to know.

What are your achievements?

Looks like I found a good quote for my younger daughters room.

After watching the London Marathon today we are feeling a bit awe struck. Our designer Carrie Osborne (http://uk.linkedin.com/pub/dir/Carrie/Osborne) not only creates amazing Cockpot patterns exclusively for Searching for Skylarks ltd and our Flockers, works for illustrious names such as Liberty’s and Harrods, but she has also managed to find time to train for the London Marathon. Carrie selflessly ran the Marathon for her friend Carly, who tragically suffered life changing injuries in an accident. Completing her first ever marathon in 3 hours and 45 minutes! What an inspirational, fabulous lady she is and what a truly wonderful accomplishment! We are gushing with pride in the nest to have had the pleasure of working with such a fantastic person.

This got us thinking about what our achievements have been, both in our personal and business lives. We may not have run a marathon but we are well into the beginning of our own journey as Searching for Skylarks ltd, being successful business women and as parents and partners. We are not the first and we will certainly not be the last to juggle full time jobs, raising a family, supporting our partners and families and trying to find time for ourselves as well. But we think it is imperative that we recognise it. Otherwise, why bother?

Our lives are very busy, in business at the moment. Which is of course amazing. Cockpots are really popular and we are now offering them exclusively to our Flockers (that’s you) for pre order at www.searchingforskylarks.co.uk, which is an achievement in itself. Any business that can get its first product to market is doing something right. To follow this it is our first birthday next month (May) we find it hard to believe is has been a year already, time sure does fly when you’re having fun. In line with this, as we may have mentioned a couple of times, we are officially launching Cockpots and Cockpot glasses at Pulse in London (www.pulse-london.com). Pulse is a massive trade show, where high end buyers such as John Lewis go to find their new products, it is also open to the press, so as you can imagine the pressure is on to have everything prepared for our product, our stand and ourselves. People don’t just buy into a product, they buy into a brand. Which is led by the people representing it – us!

We are so pleased that Searching for Skylarks ltd, has become a brilliantly strong brand. We speak to well over 5000 daily and this number increases constantly, we wanted to bring people together for fun with a touch of glamour; ‘Playful Elegance’. Having created such a brand that people remain loyal to, is another fantastic achievement and we will continue to delight and involve our Flockers.

For instance, to encourage our Flockers to celebrate with us, we are asking you to create a birthday cocktail and send it to us. We post all entries across our social media pages and our favourite will be chosen to celebrate with on our birthday and will be forever famous on our website. Please do get involved, we want you to be as absolutely creative as you possibly can be. Post them to facebook.com/searchingforskylarks, twitter.com/skylarksnest or on our Flockers Cocktail repin exchange on pinterest.com/flockers all using #birthdaycocktail.

As you can imagine this in itself is a triumph and also very time consuming. But doing that as well as running full time jobs, raising families and maintaining relationships is rather taxing on us. That’s not to say that we aren’t enjoying ourselves.

Our days are spent mastering the art of metaphorical juggling. 15 balls up in the air on any given day. We are managing to kick bottom in every aspect of our lives so sometimes it is nice to say it out loud and give ourselves the recognition we deserve from ourselves, when others notice as well, that just makes us feel fabulous. Remember to take the time to congratulate yourself on a good job! Treat yourself to a #callitaweek cocktail http://www.searchingforskylarks.wordpress.com/callitaweekcocktails, put your feet up and look back on a job well done.