Give Your Blog a Treat with These 5 Merchandising Ideas

There are many ways to spread the word about your much-loved and carefully-crafted blog, and that can include having some personalised merchandise made to get your message across. 

Our personalised phone skin
from Case App
Every blog is different and it's fun to play around with a variety of ways of letting the world know about it.

Here are my top tips for some inexpensive ways to get your blog name on everyone's lips.

1 Create a Personalised Mobile phone or iPad Skin

The wonderful people at Case App UK let me have a sample phone case for free. It was so quick and easy to creat online using an existing photo. I could add text and clipart and choose from a variety of backgrounds. The case arrived swiftly and we all love it! 

Case App skins usually retail at £19 but Downs Side Up readers can get a 20% discount by using the following code: DSUCASE20

2 Design a Logo

If you are arty, have a go at creating your own logo or blog header or ask a friend to help. You can then use this as your standard avatar and people will quickly grow to recognise it.

3 Get Some Business Cards

There are many companies offering a range of quality and price ranges. You can even get free cards made if you shop around. Try not to make the same mistakes I do and leave the whole box at a conference or forget to get them out when you meet people for the first time because you are too busy talking...

4 Pin a Badge

You can have a couple of badges made with your logo, photos or products on them to wear to events or invest in a bulk purchase and hand them out to your readers.

Downs Side Up badges

5 Get T-shirty

This is something on my to-do list. I have a shocking memory for names and when I have to remember the blog name and avatar as well as the face I am really struggling. A blogger in a T-shirt really helps their blog stick in my mind.

Get Set Go! Our SEND Cycling Tips

Sometimes being a parent to a child with special needs is a dilemma. We never want to set limits on what our daughter can achieve, but we also want to accept her for the person she is and not be guilty of pushing her relentlessly to try to meet unattainable goals. 

Get Set Go! Our SEND Cycling Tips

This would make her miserable and feel as if she had disappointed us. We of course love and accept both our daughters just the way they are.

Cycling was a case in point. 

'So Good I've Read it Twice', Mia reviews Sister, Sister

It's Summer, (apparently).

The school holidays are here and there isn't a moment to breathe. Blogging takes a back seat and reviews are bottom of the list of priorities. But one request stood out. Would we like to read a book? 

"If it was out of 5 stars, I'd give it 5 stars. 
It's so good I've read it twice!"

A book called Sister, Sister. A book for tweens, where one sister has an illness and the other has to decide if she can save her life by donating bone marrow.

Mia reviews Sister, Sister by Jess Bright. "So good I've read it twice."

Meg's Marvellous Dressage Success

Megan Wilcox is an RDA and para dressage rider with her sights set high. From Harrogate, she and pony Dunkie are aiming for the special and 'real' Olympics, and it's looks as if they are well on their way.

Megan agreed to share her story with us, and this is what she wrote about her pony and her riding career. We can't wait to follow her progress.

Megan and Dunkie are set for dressage success

My name is Meg and I have Downs Syndrome but that doesn't stop me being amazing. 

I have recently qualified for the Disabled Association National Championship for dressage.

Caroline Playle Reviews Resource for New Parents: Down's Syndrome

Review of Talking About Downs Syndrome Cards

unnamedI’m excited to share this lovely review with you all of Hayley Goleniowska’s Talking About Down’s Syndrome Conversations for New Parents by Caroline Playle.
Caroline Playle is a Mum to three children. One of whom has Down’s Syndrome. When Seb was born she was shocked to be told he had Down’s syndrome. She knew nothing about the condition, aside from outdated assumptions and stereotypes, and was full of unnecessary fear of what the future had in store for her family.
The reality could not be further from that vision. Caroline and her family lead a typical life together, facing the same joys, wonders, challenges and experiences as any family. Caroline started sharing snapshot’s of their lives together to show that Seb is a typical six year old who attends mainstream school, loves reading, football, chips and ice-cream and hates having his hair washed. Caroline shares that her son is a reflection of his family and upbringing, he is not a list of characteristics in a textbook and he is more like their family than anyone else with an extra chromosome 21 . 
What I love instantly about these new Fink Cards is their simplicity. The bold, confident colours and clear font makes them very approachable.
When I was told my baby had Downs Syndrome I threw myself into researching the condition. It was utterly overwhelming, so much information to take in at the same time as becoming a new parent. These Fink cards are absolutely perfect, they are beautifully concise and the card format means they can be taken in small chunks and you choose when and what feelings you wish to explore as and when you feel ready to take on more information. Plus we all know that talking helps with coming to terms with an out of the blue diagnosis. These cards encourage talking in a really gentle way. I can imagine these being so useful at support groups of parents with new babies, getting to know one another and sharing their experiences.
Best of all these cards are about YOU, YOUR baby and YOUR feelings. They are not telling you what will or will not happen, they are not filling your thoughts with all sorts of scenarios that may never come to fruition and they are not limiting your child or your child’s ability. This for me is the genius part of the idea. These cards allow you to explore your thoughts whilst keeping the focus on you and your child and not anyone else with Down’s syndrome.
My biggest regret when I was told my son had an extra chromosome 21was wrongly seeing him as “Down’s syndrome” instead of seeing him as my son. These cards will go a long way to allowing parents to take on board how they are feeling and where they are heading without the unnecessary fear and pressure of a stereotypical idea of what they might otherwise have thought lay ahead. I have no doubt this resource will go a long way to making sure new parents facing a diagnosis don’t miss out on precious, early moment by fearing an outdated or unknown future.
A really fantastic resource for any new parents faced with a recent diagnosis, their families, and medical and health professionals. I have even found them useful in exploring my own feelings, 7 years down the line!
For more information about Caroline please visit her Blog or find her on Twitter and Facebook.

Resource for New Parents: Talking About Down's Syndrome

School Camp for Children with Special Needs: Our Top Ten Tips

Last week one event made me more highly strung than a Wimbledon player's racket, and when it was all over, the headache, light sensitivity, strange metallic taste and exhaustion of a migraine befell me.

What on earth had made me so stressed? School report? Annual review? Meltdown in the supermarket?

No....   Natty's first school camp! 

Here are our top ten tips to avoid that headache when it's your child's turn.

Natty, who has Down's syndrome, returns happy from her Summer camp

A Poem by Jo Adamson: Would a Blood Test Have Helped

Jo co-owns a fabulous shoe shop in Bristol called Oddsox and is a busy Mum of 3. Big brother Alex is 16, Kitty, pictured below, is 8 (and has Down's syndrome) and Larry is the youngest at 6. 

Jo approached me a little while ago with a heart-felt poem she had written following the launch of the new ante-natal screening test for Down's syndrome. Simply called Would A Blood Test Have Helped, it sums up what many of us feel.

Kitty, 8, is the motivation for Jo's moving poem

Would a blood test have helped