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By Fi or Becs, Feb 1 2018 11:00AM

We have NEWS… we've just welcomed a new small human into the world! Another little boy to join the ranks of male offspring in our family... 9 boys in a row so far...!

They're both doing amazingly well - Josh has settled perfectly into the Fi & Becs life (lots of selfies and getting snuggled whilst the adults sip tea) and we love him!

If our Fi & Becs website and socials are a little quieter than normal, it's due to the general noise levels that Becs makes being reduced. All will resume to normal around September time when Becs returns from maternity leave. HOORAY!

By Fi or Becs, Dec 18 2017 11:25AM

Corr blimey there's only a couple of days left at work before:

1. We finish for Christmas!

2. The craziness of festivities begin!

3. Becs finishes for maternity leave... did we mention that she's due to have baby number 2 in January?

Thank you all for such an amazing 2017. We genuinely appreciate all of our incredibly ace clients and love you all lots.

Fi & Becs xxx

By Fi or Becs, Aug 6 2017 08:59PM

Ah the summer holidays - an ideal time for playing, pottering around and having adventures.

Like many other parents this month, we're spending lots of time with our small humans trying to fill rainy days (well it is the North England), provide non-mind-numbing entertainment and generally make our children exhausted for bed time. So... when our lovely client More-2-Explore asked Becs to try out their award-winning Adventure Belt with her four year old Ollie she was delighted to have a useful yet child-friendly task.

We've wanted to try one of the super-clever Adventure Belts ever since we worked on the branding, illustration and packaging design - it's like the next generation of kiddie reigns!

Designed to give parents hands-free peace of mind (it attaches around your own waist) the Adventure Belt is great for keeping children safe when you're out and about. It's also got a super-cute pouch for kids to pop their bits and pieces whilst out on adventures... obviously highly important when you are four years old and you have important dinosaurs to carry around.

Armed with the Adventure Belt and an iphone Becs and Ollie braved the dodgey weather this week to head down to Anderton Boat Lift and make a video of their Adventure Belt exploits. They managed to cleverly avoid the nettles, have a picnic whilst the rain stopped and Ollie used his pocket money (kept safely in the Adventure Belt of course) to buy some cinoculars (binoculars).

Watch the video:

We'd definitely recommend the Adventure Belt! It was really fun to use and Ollie now wants to wear the belt all the time so he can take important stuff on days out.

You can find out more on their website:

By Fi or Becs, Jul 3 2017 01:38PM

We did it last year... and we're doing it again... our summer shut-down is a-coming!

Here they come - the summer holidays are looming upon us with a speediness akin to a swift footed wolf. In other words… we’re about to start our SUMMER HOLIDAY SHUT-DOWN!

Apart from some ongoing projects we already have booked in, we won’t be at our laptops much from the 31st July to the 4th September whilst our kids are off school.

If any of you need us during August just pop an email over to [email protected] or [email protected] and we will get back to you as soon as we can.

If you need anything doing super quickly beforehand just let us know!

By Fi or Becs, Dec 16 2016 10:00AM

Chatter from Becs:

Hands up if you love Christmas pudding, hands up if you hate broccoli… hands up if you’re EXCITED FOR CHRISTMAS! This is the endless game that my four year old likes playing at the moment. Needless to say I am required to put my hand up. Frequently.

Like many other households this month, the crazy Christmas excitement is reaching fever-pitch in our home. Sleeps are being counted, advent calendars are pounced upon first thing in the morning (we even have one for the dog!?) and letters have been scribbled to Father Christmas. While the kids are going doolally, the parents are wishing they had never bought that bloody Elf on a Shelf (otherwise known as “you do the sodding Elf tonight”) and planning their childcare plans over the holiday period. If you’re not lucky enough to have helpful grandparents within each reach, juggling work with childcare plus Christmas is the standard festive reality for many families during December.

Three years into running our business my sister and I have wised up to the horror of trying to work through Christmas with our excitable kids around. After going slightly mental in year one, we decided to do a Christmas shut-down in year two and we’re repeating the same plan for a fortnight in year three. It’s honestly the only way that we can all stay sane.

The other day MPs debated whether to force UK shops to close on Boxing Day. I watched the debate online with a starry-eyed glimmer of Christmas hope for all the parents working in retail who might get their own slice of shut-down sanity too. Alas, our Government decided that it wasn’t its place to ban shops from opening on the 26th of December. Shame.

Back to Ollie’s hands up game… hell yes I love Christmas pudding. I disagree about broccoli, (just wait until he spots the Brussels sprout…) and as for Christmas excitement – just imagine the millions of retail workers with their hands up if they didn’t have to work on Boxing Day. We all know what would have happened if this was Miracle on 34th Street.

By Fi or Becs, Dec 1 2016 04:28PM

Becs' old university (the lovely University of Nottingham) asked her to put together a 'Day in the Life' vlog for them... and here it is!

Becs did a degree in American and Canadian Studies at Nottingham University and she bloody loved it. She spent four years studying American history, US politics and reading fascinating novels. She even got to spend a year studying at Toronto University in Canada which was pretty amazing - although very very cold.

Becs firmly believes that all the researching, reading and writing she did during her degree led to her copywriting career... so sod all of those people who think arts degrees don't lead to jobs in business!

Enjoy watching the video!

By Fi or Becs, Dec 1 2016 08:00AM

Chatter from Becs:

Cumbria is an entrepreneurial county: discuss.

My opening sentence sounds like an essay question from a business studies GCSE. Well, I wouldn’t actually know because I didn’t do business studies at school (though I wish I had) but I do think it’s an interesting topic.

Ever since I started my business with my sister, people have asked me ‘why did you do that?’. I’m never entirely sure whether they think I’m crazy for working with a family member, or they don’t understand why I quit a steady nine-to-five job to enter the uncertainty of self-employment, but my answer is always the same – I just thought it was normal.

As a kid growing up in Lamplugh I thought it was standard for parents to run their own businesses. My dad was (and still is) a self-employed accountant who worked at home every evening and my friends’ parents were farmers, butchers, ran B&Bs and owned shops. Ten-year-old me assumed it was commonplace for people to run businesses.

Fast forward 21 years and in Greater Manchester my self-employment is the minority. Most of our neighbours and friends work for big businesses, in schools or for the NHS.

Last week, I was excited to be invited to my old school in Keswick to talk about my career, starting my business and (of course) The Apprentice. I decided to test my theory about Cumbria being particularly entrepreneurial. I asked 150 teenagers if they thought they would work for a big company in an office when they grew up. Fewer than 10 hands were raised.This surprised and impressed me. I had asked the same question a week before at a school in Manchester and over half the room had put their hands up.

The difference? Maybe the Keswick School pupils are lucky enough to grow up in Cumbria and see more family-run or independent businesses instead of big chains and corporations? I might be totally wrong, but I know that growing up in Cumbria hugely influenced my career path. Here’s to Cumbria – maybe all that rain grows good entrepreneurs.

By Fi or Becs, Sep 13 2016 04:52PM

Amazingly this October we will have been running our little business for three years (blimey). This feels pretty long, yet it's also flown by crazily fast in a blur of logo designs, website building, school pick-ups, new clients and copywriting.

With three years under our belt (and 120 clients in our portfolio!) we have finally realised that we may need to work with some nice freelancers to keep up with our workload... but we also want to make sure that our clients keep getting the same Fi & Becs friendly and approachable service.

So... we have put together some Fi & Becs rules of business! These are the rules that we both live by and that we love about our business - we think our clients might love them too.

Here is the Fi & Becs rule of business number one:

Never call a client a warm lead. Or a hot lead. In fact, never call a client a lead at all.

If you work with Fi & Becs, you can guarantee that you will never be called a lead. We will not treat you like a lead and we will never pester you, speak to you like a sales person or email you to "touch base". In fact, this kind of dreadful business speak makes us want to vomit in our cups of tea.

Our potential clients (and existing ones) are never leads, they are lovely, individual businesses who we love providing with a bespoke, personable and fantastic service. Leads are quite clearly only for dogs - as proven by Becs' photogenic dachshund Bongo.

By Fi or Becs, Jul 29 2016 08:00AM

Chatter from Becs:

You may have already noticed (more kids in the park, harassed parents posting on Facebook, less commuter traffic, news features showing queues for the Dover ferry) that the summer holidays are upon us. If you work and you have children of school age, then you’re probably filling the next six weeks with an ensemble of annual leave, hastily booked kids clubs, helpful childminders or the goodwill of grandparents (if you’re lucky enough to have them nearby). My little boy is only three, he hasn’t even started school yet I still experience the summer holiday upheaval because my childminder has her own children and (understandably!) takes her holidays in August too.

For the last two years my sister (aka my business partner @fifi_designlady) and I have dealt with the summer holidays in a slightly panicked manner. Around mid July we realise that we have a huge workload and THE HOLIDAYS ARE COMING. We will have our own children. All day. In our homes. Requiring attention, lunch and suntan lotion applied regularly. Bah!

In year one we drove ourselves crazy working until 2am most evenings whilst grinning manically at our clients and nodding our heads to all new projects. In year two we evolved (slightly), booked some child-cover, planned our workload and took two weeks off work. Now that we’re in year three we have been brave – we’ve stopped all new work until September and taken the whole of August off. We even announced it in advance on our social media like this:

**FI & BECS** REPORTED MISSING. During the month of August we are officially missing (well… not really, we are just hanging out with our small people). We won’t be checking emails very often until the beginning of September. Sorry for any inconvenience … but it’s the summer holidays!

Surprisingly we haven’t had one client (out of the 120 that we work with) even bat an eyelid at this decision, some of them have actually emailed me wishing us a well-earned break! I have a feeling that in year four we may repeat our summer holiday shut down – although lets wait and see how we cope after a month with our children...

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