Improve your holiday snaps – competition!

Have you ever forgotten to bring your camera charger or even your camera on holiday? Or turned up to the school play, ballet or karate display without a camera? As the summer holidays are almost upon us we thought it was high time that we got some expert advice from photographers that specialise in family photos.

Using a phone?

Phone cameras are actually pretty good and not easy to forget! But if you’re using a phone, turn it sideways as the final image will look heaps better on screen. The photo on the right is ‘bad’ photo of the type many people take – adult standing up pointing the camera down at the child, says photographer Justin Ward. However, by getting down to the child’s eye level, close in and  turning the camera sideways, the image of the same moment is dramatically improved and will look much better when shown on a screen.
As camera-phones are so light try to keep the phone as still as possible – www.justin-ward.com.

Choose the right camera

Technology is changing constantly and choosing the right camera is so personal so do seek advice from a camera shop. The London Camera Exchange www.lcegroup.co.uk or a branch of Jessops www.jessops.com are both great. Physically check the weight and size of the camera before you buy as if it’s too heavy you won’t take it anywhere, says Helen Bartlett www.helenbartlett.co.uk.

Do it like a pro

It’s far better to just focus on selected events from birthdays to beach holidays but to do them properly. Make an effort. Take lots of different shots – close-ups and from a distance. Really try to record the event like you’ve been hired to do it. When taking shots of children lower your camera or crouch down to the same eye level for a better perspective, says Richard Williamson owner of family media company McKay Williamson http://mkwcreative.com.

Background, framing and texture

What you leave out is just as important. So check whether there’s anything you don’t want in the photo like a telegraph pole or rubbish bins before you take it! Try to frame the image. Draw the eye to your subject by shooting through a doorway, archway or through kiddies play tunnel. Look at texture too eg the contrast between a baby’s soft skin on a fluffy blanket  – Kitty Phillips www.kittyphillips.co.uk.

Get the kids involved

Holidays are the perfect time to get the kids to film or take photos. Get them to ‘shoot’ one day of your holidays really properly. The beauty with digital is that they can take as many as they like!

The Selfie…

The Selfie has become part of our vocabulary so make sure you do it right! Hold it above you for a more flattering angle (especially if you’re over 30…) and choose a good light. For a Selfie without arms use earphones with a clicker to take the shot – Sandi Friend www.sandifriend.co.uk

My Nametags Photo Competition!

To enter the Nametags’ competition please email us your photo containing one of our nametags by Friday 5 September. The My Nametags team will choose the best pictures to post on Facebook. One one lucky reader will win a set of iron-on or stick-on name labels.

Attention: Please send your photos to marketing@mynametags.com. Your entry will not be taken into consideration if you reply to the Newsletter or emailing us to sales@mynametags.com or sales@mynametags.ie.

girl with sunglasses and my nametags labels

Last minute summer holiday ideas

You may have booked your summer holiday months ago or not have anything in the diary yet! We asked family-friendly travel agency www.babygoes2.com for some last minute holiday ideas. From long to short haul, budget or blow the budget, there’s something for everyone. Babygoes2 customers get exclusive offers and the best prices plus there’s a £15 (€18.95) Amazon voucher for all My Nametags customers booking a holiday through babygoes2* and quoting My Nametags. Call 01273 230669 or email contactus@babygoes2.com.

* terms and conditions: bookings must be of value £1500 (€1895) or more and voucher sent on completion of stay.

BREAKS IN THE UK WITH AUGUST AVAILABILITYCourt Farm Holidays

Cornwall – Court Farm Holidays: Very popular spacious child-friendly self-catering accommodation with hot-tubs on a 100acre working farm in Cornwall. Lots of shared facilities including heated indoor swimming pool, games room, play area and for the parents on site Spa Treatments and catering service.  Cottage (sleeps 5) has some availability in August £1675 (€2116) for a week.

Lakeside Gloucestershire – Lakeside Lodge: Stylish, contemporary, spacious house (sleeps up to 8) with fab lakeside position and good resort type facilities including PC and internet access, plasma TV, honesty bar, library, south facing terrace, gym,  outdoor tennis court,  man made lakeside beach, freshwater lake swimming with diving platform, picnic areas,  play area & trampolines, tree houses and dens, football pitch, petting shed with resident guinea pigs and rabbits.

Luxury in Suffolk - Ickworth – Luxury Family Hotel: Hotel and apartments set on the Ickworth Estate in Suffolk in 1,800 acres of parkland. Relaxed chic, very family friendly, with indoor and outdoor pool, gardens superb playground, walks with deer hyde, great food, crèche and kids club.  Some August availability, rooms from £299 (€377)  per night for a family of up to 4.

MAURITIUSImage of hotel Le Telfair, Mauritus

A fantastic luxury destination for families – not too hot or humid (it’s their winter right now) – but plenty of sunshine, lots to explore culturally and scenically, superb resorts with excellent facilities and activities for both children and adults. Flights are direct and can be overnight – so although long, are relatively pain-free.

Fantastic offer – Le Telfair – top 5 star on beautiful, sheltered south east coast: discounted rates plus guaranteed room upgrade, a second FREE room for children aged up to 17 and FREE FULL BOARD: valid for travel until September 30th – prices from just £1599 (€2020) per adult  for a week including Air Mauritius flights.

RANCH AMERICAImage of a ranch holiday in the US

For something completely different and an unforgettable holiday experience try a ranch experience in the USA. Sample life in the wild west – days in the saddle and evening round the campfire. There are ranches to suit families of all ages and experience and a wide choice of locations: Arizona, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado to name but a few. Prices from £1400 (€1768) per adult.

TOUR THE USA

Another great option for the adventurous family. Tour New England or California in your own RV (huge, luxury camper-van!) This is a once in a lifetime family holiday experience- all tours can be tailormade to suit your requirements.

CARIBBEANImage of Buccament Bay resort, St Vincent Grenadines

Get luxe-for-less at the 5 star Buccament Bay resort, St Vincent Grenadines with a 50% discount this summer. Buccament Bay is arguably the top choice for a Caribbean holiday. 1, 2 or 4 bedroom villa rooms and a whole host of activities including excellent football, tennis AND, new for this summer, performing arts academies, diving, and water-sports.  Adult prices from £1245 (€1572) ALL INCLUSIVE per adult. Book by: 31 July, 2014.

EUROPEImage of a gated pool

Villas with gated pools – Families with young children often worry about pool safely – so a gated or fenced pool is a huge plus. This is obligatory in France, and is becoming more common elsewhere in the Med. There are lots of options on www.babygoes2.com.

August availability –  Lovely house in Menorca near Ciudadella: 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, walk to sea and bathing platform, wifi, fenced pool. Available: From August to September vary from £895 – 2095 (€1130 -2646) .  Central Algarve Guia: pretty 2 bed 2 bathroom house with air con, wi-fi pool and childrens pool. Short drive to lovely beaches. Available August £1350 (€1705) per week.

Small resorts – Small, intimate groups of apartments or villas with shared pools work really well for families with children. There’s plenty of space and flexibility, and the chance for children (and grown ups) to socialize around the pool, but all set within a peaceful environment.

Corfu: Kasomitria small group of apartments near sleepy unspoilt San Stefano in Corfu. Beach and taverna within 800m, shared pool. Good value. Tuscany: Orcio Spacious 2 bed appt with wi-fi in lovely restored stone building, Set in a great location in Tuscany, mid way between Siena and Florence, only 2 mins from nearest shops and restaurants. Gardens and shared swimming pool. And an estate manager on hand to help and who can arrange all sorts of extras – tours, cooking lessons etc.

Image of Hotel Gruner Baum in the Austrian TyrolSummer in the mountains – Swap hot, sticky beaches for sun-bathed mountains and crystal clear air….the charming Hotel Gruner Baum in the Austrian Tyrol is fabulous for families – with lots of activities and has a free night offer for the last week of August: 4=3 or 7=6 nights. Its package includes half board, daily child care from the age of 3, torch hike through the idyllic Kötschach valley, children’s swimming lessons, fishing. Great walking all around and lots to explore.

Villas or apartments with resort facilities – The privacy, space and flexibility of a villa combined with the facilities of a hotel –often including kids club babysitting, spa etc – is for many the ideal solution to the family holiday conundrum. There are some excellent options still with availability in August.

Spain: LAS LOMAS at La Manga: large upmarket resort with a great combination of activities and sports for all ages plus spa, restaurants etc. Any 7 nights after 24 August in a 3 Bed View Apartment on self catering inc return transfers £2,046 (€2584), 2 bed appt from £1600 (€2021).

Algarve: VIDEMAR: newish 5 star resort with contemporary styling, again with very good all round facilities including kids club.

Cyprus: APHRODITE HILLS Another very good 5 star resort with excellent facilities including spa, golf, tennis, watersports cycling, riding – good activities for all the children, including teenagers.

Tenerife: BAOBAB SUITES: new all suite resort with very spacious, stylish suites set in the upmarket Costa Adeje area. Kids club.

Active holidays – Mark Warner offer excellent activity-based holidays in some great locations throughout the Med. They offer really good sports and watersports tuition for both adults and children, along with excellent children’s clubs. The perfect opportunity to take up a new skill or perfect an old one! Good late minute summer offers too: currently up to 40% off peak season August holidays – starting at £650 (€821) per person including flights and half board. Sardinia, Rhodes, Corsica Kos, Sardinia all with availability. Special 5% discount for babygoes2 clients.

 

Stylish family beach holiday essentials – 10% discount!

Beach holidays en famille are fantastic especially if you’re prepared and have the right kit. Vacation wear outlet, Flo & Joe,  was set up in 2004 after a very disappointing online search for stylish flip flops! Vanessa Holloway set up the company while on maternity leave with her first baby. Flo & Joe has since expanded the range to include beach and holiday wear for children and adults but still today have the largest collection of Havaianas.

We’ve negotiated a special 10% discount for My Nametag newsletter readers. Go to www.floandjoe.co.uk and use discount code SUMMER10.

Beach essentialsNali Fluo Pink Clutch bag

Pack essentials like a bottle of sun cream, phone, keys, money etc. in a large clutch for a bit of beach glamour. When you go for lunch you can take this with you and leave the bulky items on the beach, says Flo. Try the Nali Fluo Pink clutch bag £29 (€36).

Image of Flight 001 clear bagClear view

Put family necessities like insect sting spray, plasters, tissues etc. in a clear bag so the rest of the family can see what is in there without emptying the contents onto the sand! We think Flight 001′s medium clear toiletry bag £15 (€19) does the trick beautifully.

Image of Flight 001 wet suit bagWet suit bag

There’s nothing worse than a wet sandy beach bag! Keep super organised by stashing wet and sandy swimmers in a separate bag away from clean dry clothes, says Flo. Try Flight 101′s Clean Wet Suit Bag £20 (€25).

Image of NY taxi sarongKid-friendly sarong

A lightweight sarong/pareo made of soft, breathable cotton is far nicer than damp towelling for small children to snuggle under in the shade. We love the NY taxi sarong which comes in white or pink. Oh, and it’s a super stylish cover-up for you too for just £25 (€31).

Stylish and safe girls

Buy your children beachwear in cool, fun designs that they’ll want to wear but that are also safe in the sun. For girls this gorgeous Sunuva yellow rash vest with exotic orchid design is super cool, quick drying with UPF 50+ protection. Matching bikini and lovely summer dress available too. £39 (€49) each.

Image of Sunuva Girls Yellow Orchid Rash VestImage of Sunuva Girls Yellow Orchid bikini

 

 

 

 

 

 

Uber cool boys

We love this Indian Headdress design for boys. The UV rash vest in fabulous bright orange features a cool Indian headdress design is made of breathable UPF 50+ fabric, which blocks out 97% of the sun’s harmful rays. The matching orange swimmers feature the same fabric with UPF 50+ protection too. Both £38 (€48).

Image of Sunuva Indian Headdress Swim Shorts

Image of Sunuva Indian Headress UV Rash Vest

 

 

 

 

 

Havaiana heaven

Don’t forget your Havaianas. They come in a plethora of shades and styles and for the smallest of feet too! Kids Brasil Logo Navy Havaianas £16.00 (€20), Kids Freedom Pink Gold Sandal Havaianas £22.00 (€27).

Image of Havaianas Kids Braxil Logo NavyImage of Havaianas Kids Freedom Pink Gold Sandal

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Check out our (and your) green credentials

DSC_0058When My Nametags started in 2004 one of the key aims was to be as environmentally friendly as possible. Our biggest contribution to the environment is to sell a product that helps children keep hold of their belongings! And by labelling your children’s clothes, trainers, lunch boxes etc. you are helping to reduce lost property and waste.

The Managing Director of My Nametags, Lars Andersen, has always been interested in the environment. When he set up My Nametags ten years ago he was determined to make every effort to make it as green as possible.

“We have invested a lot of time researching the best materials available in Europe for our children to safely use. Our non-BPA, non Phthalates PVC colour labels are free of any toxic plasticisers,” says Lars. My Nametags’ colour labels are made with eco-ink and the cartridges are sent back to the manufacturer to be recycled and refilled.

bpa phathalate free

We’re also environmentally conscious inside the office too. Last year we got a Carbon Smart Blue Certificate in recognition for using recycled paper, recycling eco-ink cartridges and reducing the carbon footprint in our office. See www.carbonsmart.co.uk/certification for more information.DSC_0492

Did you know that we will give you free blank labels to cover your child’s name so you can pass items on to older children, friends or charity shops? If you need some blank labels please email us. And do tell everyone that they too can be greener by labelling their things.

 

Send us a picture of your pet – win tags!

Image of a baby rabbitThe UK is without doubt a nation of animal lovers. It is estimated that 13 million households have pets.  The pet population in 2014 stands at around 65 million – including fish, according to the Pet Food Manufacturers’ Association’s (PFMA) annual Pet Population report.

 

Owning a pet is a wonderful experience for children. We’ve had hamsters, goldfish, cats and now the kids are keen to get a dog. Having a pet helps children learn to take some responsibility for someone else’s welfare and teaches younger children that pets are real and have feelings too. I remember coming back after a tricky day at my new secondary school and finding great comfort in playing with my hamster or taking the dogs for a walk.

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If you want to enter the My Nametags’ PET competition please email us a picture of your pet by Friday 13th of June. The My Nametags team will choose the best 20 pictures to post on Facebook. The pet with the most likes will receive a free set of nametags for each child in the household.

Attention: Please do not send your entry by  replying to the Newsletter or emailing us to sales@mynametags.com. The entries should be emailed at marketing@mynametags.com. Sadly they will not be taken into consideration.

 

Here’s a list of the top ten UK pets in 2014 (based on running totals over two years), according to the PFMA.Image of a dog

 

 1. Fish kept in tanks: 20 – 25 million

 

2. Fish kept in ponds: 20 million

 

3. Dogs: 9 million

 

4. Cats: 8 million

 

5. Rabbits: 1 million

 

6. Domestic fowl: 1 millionImage of goldfish

 

7. Caged birds: 1 million

 

8. Guinea Pigs: Half a million

 

9. Hamsters: 400,000

 

10. Lizards: 400,000

Image of a guinea pig My Nametags - budgies

 

Arts and crafts made easy with toucanBox – free trial

I know the kids have only just gone back to school but the summer holidays are just around the corner! It’s always good to have a few things up your sleeve to do with the kids especially if the weather is bad…Image of an open toucanBox

My children love arts and crafts projects but the problem is I rarely have all of the kit to make the robot or a hanging mobile that they suddenly want to make. We came across toucanBox and thought they were so good that we negotiated a special free trial for My Nametags newsletter readers.

Virginie, mum of two, says she came up with the idea for toucanBox when she was at home with a newborn baby and a toddler. “My three-year old daughter was desperate to make what she’d just seen on the television but the glue had dried up and we just didn’t have the ‘everyday’ materials including the 24 ice lolly sticks that the project required! “says Virgine.Image of girl painting

“A lot of parents want to have quality time making things with their children but the big headache is sourcing all of the things you need. So I thought wouldn’t it be great if you could receive a tailor-made selection of materials and activities delivered to your door all in one handy box?” says Virginie. And, hey presto the idea for toucanBox was born.

Together with her business partner, Sara Barokas, who has 15 years experience as a Montessori teacher, they set up toucanBox – creative boxes for children aged 3-8 years. “Kids love the excitement of receiving a colourful box with their name on it. Plus the activities are not just fun but are educational too. The larger boxes include a book as well,” says Virgine.Image of boy doing arts and crafts

It’s well known that arts and crafts help promote core skills including concentration, hand-eye coordination, problem-solving and numeracy. “The more practice they get at home at manipulating a paintbrush, scribbling with a crayon, cutting with scissors and squishing and pulling play dough, the easier it becomes for them to pick up writing skills,” says Sara.

Each box is themed, and contains 1, 2 or 4 crafts that bring that theme to life. There are over 50 themes, including Dinosaurs, Treasure Island, Garden, Minibeasts, Ocean, and many more. The boxes contain everything you need (except scissors). You can get party favour boxes too and toucanBox have just launched activity boxes for kids’ parties.

To get your FREE Petite toucanBox click on the link http://www.toucanbox.com/taster and use the code MYNAMETAGS. There’s no commitment and you can cancel at any time.Image of petite toucanBox

Spring fashion trends 2014

Spring has landed! It’s time to peel off the layers, ditch your boots and get your wardrobe ready for warmer weather. Our friends at Style Doctors, an award winning team of image consultants, have the low down on what’s hot this spring. Plus there’s a great reader offer on any of their styling packages.

Pastel everything!

Beautiful, bright pastel hues are a major trend this season. Whether it’s a soft pink, baby blue, or a peachy orange, you can’t go wrong. Keep it up-to-date with a cutout top.Image of John Lewis cutout neck blouse

Floral prints

Another must-have piece in your closet this season is anything floral. Just perfect with chinos or skinny jeans.Image of mint velvet printed top

50 shades of denim…

Echo the pastel trend with a lighter wash denim this spring.Image of Gap washed denim shirt

Brogues

Pretty pale shades are well-paired with warm, neutral coloured brogues.Image of Aldo brogues

Candy-coloured handbags

Not sure if you can wear the pastel look? Just add a gorgeous candy-coloured handbag to your outfit.

Image of gap purseImage of Zara messenger bag

Printed shoes

These printed shoes will bring a smile to your face and keep a spring in your step…Image of M&S metal heel court shoes

Accessorize

Another great way to echo the trends of spring are through your accessories and makeup. Add a statement earrings or a necklace for an even more feminine touch or update your lipstick and nail varnish with the latest tones or to give the same effect.

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READER OFFER

We’re really pleased to offer My Nametags newsletter readers 10% off any of Style Doctors styling packages—from a colour consultation or a wardrobe makeover to personal shopping trips. Prices start at £60. Quote Spring14 to get 10% off.

Style Doctors also have a great monthly service for £15 – your own stylist anytime, anywhere. For more info visit http://www.styledoctors.com/247_personal_stylist_shopchat.html. Call  0333 5777 110 or email info@styledoctors.com.