Sunday, 27 March 2011

Incy Wincy Spider

Thanks to the fab Sally Walker for this great piece of digital art, which I won in a competition - very goth :)

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

"Let's move to France" I said...

It all seemed so easy; "Let's move to France" I said...

See, I run my business from home, with a team of people from all over the world, all working in their homes. So as long as I have an internet connection and a computer, I can 'do my thang'.

And as the female head of a 'blended' (as they call them these days) family, things were getting a little hectic.

My partner's ex wife and their children lived in Belgium; we lived in England with my daughter from a previous marriage. Our whole lives seemed to be about travelling between the countries at great expense while trying not to let any of the kids miss out on quality time.

Then the landlord of our rented house told us he was selling it - in 3 months!


"Let's move to France" I said. "It's halfway between Belgium and England, I did a bit of French at school, my daughter is homeschooled - we can live anywhere we want"

My partner, the gloomy Eeyore to my bouncy Tigger wasn't so convinced. But he had known me for some time, and knew that if I put my mind to it, it would happen.

And happen it did - 3 months later we were on a ferry with everything we owned in a rented lorry, ready to start a new life in France.

And that's where my positivity and optimism started to wain a little.

Don't get me wrong - I love living in France. I love the culture, the people, the food, the lifestyle - pretty much everything except the beurocracy in fact!

But I couldn't be ME. In the UK I dealt with everything that needed doing - from plumbers to bills, to deliveries to getting extra phone lines in.

In France I had to let my partner do it, as he was the fluent French speaker, not me.

We made friends very quickly, but even now, 3 years later, those friends don't know the REAL Nikki - they know the French version of Nikki, which is like the abridged study notes, not the original hardback ;)

At first I found everything difficult - shopping, hiring help, sorting out business things, putting my daughter into school - not at all as I expected, and I very nearly gave up a number of times.

But slowly and surely I got to know more people, the language came a little easier, and our house started to feel like a home.

Business wise I was a little worried (although stubbornly wouldn't admit it!) that people would not want to use my services once they found out I was in France - but in fact the opposite has happened, as I've never been busier!

Of course, I'm very lucky that what I do can be fitted into any country, anywhere and any time.

I wouldn't advise everyone to make such an impulse move as we did, but it worked for us and I'm glad we did it.


Nikki Pilkington is owner of, an Internet Marketing Agency based in the UK and France, specialising in website promotion through SEO and Social Media. She can be found on Facebook ( and twitter (@nikkipilkington) as well as on her own blog at

Thursday, 6 January 2011

Are you proud of you?

Image representing Facebook as depicted in Cru...Image via CrunchBaseFound this on Facebook:
I may not be the most beautiful or the sexiest, nor do I have the "perfect body". I might not be someone's first choice but I'm a great choice. I don't pretend to be someone I'm not because I'm good at being me. I'm not proud of some of the things I've done in the past but I'm proud of who I am today. Take me as I am or watch me as I walk away... Post this if you're proud of being you..

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Thursday, 30 December 2010

How to cook your Christmas turkey in the dishwasher and live to tell the tale

So, a week before Xmas my oven decides to stop working. All the local shops can't deliver a new one for 6 weeks, and I have 7 for Christmas dinner... aarrrgghhh!

So what did I do? I turned to trusty Twitter and Facebook for an answer. After posting out my plea, I received back many ideas:

  • microwave it
  • BBQ it
  • deep fry it
  • cook it in the dishwasher
Yep, that's right, cook it in the dishwasher.

Now, I admit that one of the other three options must be easier than the dishwasher suggestion, but come on - when have I backed down in the face of a challenge? The dishwasher it must be!

I told the family and they looked at me aghast. "Cook the turkey... in the dishwasher....?" All except Leigh, who said "What a great idea for a blog post!" (glad to see she inherited my nose for drama ;) )

And so, on Xmas morning we duly got out the turkey:

Well, to be honest it was a Chapon not a turkey as such, but it once had feathers and laid eggs so I'm not quibbling :)

The recipes I found online said to wrap it in stemaing bags - we didn't have any so we extra quadruple wrapped it in thick turkey foil while we were running the dishwasher through on empty to make sure it was clean.

Then into the dishwasher it went:

Here's the turkey in it's home for the next few hours:

It was a 3.5KG bird, so we put it through 4 cycles at the highest temperature (75 deg) - checking it after each cycle to see if it really was cooking. Leigh was on standby with chicken nuggets if it didn't, and Shaun mentioned many times how glad he was having fish that could be cooked in the microwave (wuss!)

After 4 cycles, we unwrapped it and took a look:

It was cooked! OK, it was a bit pale and anaemic looking, but nothing a quick blast in the microwave grill and copious amounts of gravy couldn't sort out.

Most importantly, it tasted yummy - moist, flavourful, and very definitely edible - with not a trace of detergent to be found ;)

The rest of the Christmas dinner was cooked in the halogen oven we borrowed, in pans and in the microwave, so it was a bit of a 'take it as you find it' affair, but all in all it worked well and everyone had a lovely Christmas dinner, as well as having created a bit of a talking point!

 They tell me I'm brave to have tried it on such an important meal; there's a thin line between bravery and stupidity; I'm not sure which side I'm on LOL!

So for those of you who thought it couldn't be done - it can! For those of you who thought I wouldn't do it - I did! And for those of you who want to try it - do it! It really didn't take much longer than cooking the traditional way, and the end result was most pleasant.

What would you have done with your Christmas turkey if your oven broke a few days before Christmas?

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Tuesday, 14 December 2010

A morning in the life of a multi tasking Mummy

Image representing iPhone as depicted in Crunc...Image via CrunchBaseI know us women are supposed to be able to multi task, but what a day so far today!

07.30: Wake up to find that baby O has vomited all over her bed in the night and then slept in it!

07.45: Put Baby O in bath and change bed

08:00: Feed Baby O her breakfast as she is all smiles

08.15: Clean up the sofa, carpet, high chair, floor and ME as Baby O has vomited everywhere again

08:30: Find out that the internet in the house isn't working, and the Doctor's isn't open until 2pm

08:35: Frantically try to rearrange Skype mentoring calls as no Internet or phone lines, while entertaining a miserable 9 month old

09:00: Nanny arrives to look after 9 month old while I go to Macdonald's to get free Wifi

09:30: Arrive at Macdonald's to find I've forgotten my purse and there's no plug to plug my laptop in. Also the 'a,bient' music is so loud I can't make Skype calls...

10:00: Happily have rescheduled all calls, explained situation to clients, and found some money in my pocket for a coffee and a muffin.

10:30: Important emails done, can now go home and continue working on my iPhone

10:45: Go to car to find that battery is flat and car won't start. Go back into Macdonald's to start up laptop to charge phone as battery is dead on that also!

11:00: Telephone friend to get her to come and pick me up

11:15: Think friend is lost - standing in freezing cold outside McD's

11:30: Friend turns up, takes me home. 9 month old still not well, so start other car to go get petrol to be able to get to pharmacy after doc's appointment

11:35: Get to petrol station and realise still don't have purse - drive home again, pick it up and fill up with fuel. Doc's not open until 2pm

11:45 Get internet tehering on iPhone working for internet access, Skype still crap

12:00: Finally get a cup of decent coffee!

Baby O is ok, just has an upset tummy - we'll be off to the doc's at 2pm! One car is still stranded at McD's, but luckily the other one is running (although my penchant for old cars may work against me here!).

I still have a days work to do - and I'm knackered :)

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