Archive for May, 2009

Summer Camps in Ireland

It’s that time of year again – the days are getting longer, the birds are chirping in their nests, the buzz of busy lawn mowers can be heard throughout the land …. and parent’s thoughts turn to the upcoming school holidays. Depending on your plans, you can have days upon days of having the kids around the house looking for things to do to keep them busy and occupied. The familiar refrain of “I’m bored” will ring out in family homes across the length and breath of Ireland.

The solution could be to pack the nippers off to a few weeks of Summer Camp. Over the last few years the variety and range of camps available has increased hugely. So to offer some help in finding the right Summer camp for your kids, I have compiled a list of some of the camps available and also linked to sites giving more detailed listings.

Please note I haven’t tried any of the camps myself (!) so can’t vouch for them. This is more of an introduction and is not an exhaustive list. And if anyone would like to let me know about any camps that they would recommend I’ll gladly add the details to the list.

And lastly, if you’re sending your kids to an outdoor camp in Ireland this Summer, don’t forget to Pack your PuddleDucks!

General Listings – listings here – listings here

MyKidsTime – listings here

KidsCamps – listings here

Sports Camps:

Irish Rugby Summer Camps – details here

VHI  GAA Cúl Camps – details here

FAI Soccer Summer Camps – details here

Educational Camps

Whizz Kids IT Summer Camps – details here

Anyone for Science Summer Camps – details here

Outdoor Activity Camps

An Oige Eco Adventure Summer Camps – details here

Horizon Summer Summer Camps – details here

Let’s Go Summer Camps – details here

Update (12th June) ————-

Irish Language Camps (Campaí Samhraidh) – eolas anseo

Coláistí Samhradh – eolas anseo

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PuddleDucks make a Splash at the Net Visionary Awards

We’re delighted to say that we at PuddleDucks have been voted as the winner of the Best Online Trader award at the Irish Internet Association/Enterprise Ireland 2009 Net Visionary Awards (quite a handful). The award was announced at a ceremony on Thursday 21st May at the Crown Plaza Hotel in Dublin. Winning the award was very unexpected as we were shortlisted with four other great online businesses – some of them much bigger than us.


So we’d like to say a big thanks to everyone who voted for us. It will mean a huge amount to PuddleDucks to have the added credibility and recognition that the award provides.

Thanks too to the Irish Internet Association for organising the awards and for a fantastic ceremony and to Realex Payments for sponsoring the Online Trader category.

Below is the text of a Press Release we have sent out today:

Co. Cork, IRELAND, 25th May 2009 – For immediate release. was voted Best Online Trader at the 2009 Irish Internet Association & Enterprise Ireland Net Visionary Awards at a ceremony at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Dublin on Thursday evening.  A small family run business, specialises in selling waterproof clothing for children and adults.  
The award of Best Online Trader was awarded after a three-stage process of nominations from the public, judging by an industry panel of experts and voting by the public. ( was founded in 2005 by husband and wife team, Suzanne Kingston and Aedan Ryan.
“We are delighted and honoured to receive this award.” commented Suzanne Kingston, “It gives recognition and credibility to small internet-based companies like us, that trade alongside much larger and better known companies. Our business model of secure online retailing of unique products combined with a high level of customer service seems to be paying off.”
The Cork-based business was set up in 2005 as a part-time home based business for mum Suzanne.  Two years later when Aedan was made redundant from a US multinational, the couple decided to invest the redundancy money into expanding PuddleDucks.  The product range was increased and the website redesigned and upgraded.   Aedan said ‘It was a lifestyle choice as much as a financial decision and it’s been a huge learning curve for both of us. Thankfully we now know it was the right decision and look forward to building on this in the future”

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Google Adwords Tip – Increase Click Through Rate

I’ve recently read some very useful posts on the RevaHealth Blog about managing your Google Adwords campaign and increasing your Click through Rate. This got me thinking about how we use Adwords and I though I’d write about my own favourite tip to increase the Click through Rate (CTR).

The tip is to use the {} operator in your Adwords ad text so that the actual keyword or keywords entered into the Google search box are repeated in your displayed ad. And when the actual search phrase is repeated the CTR is always higher.

Here’s an example of how I have used it. Normally when composing the text of the ad you just fill up the header of 25 characters and the two detailed lines of 35 character each with your most popular keywords and some enticement for the user to click your ad.

Here’s an example of one of our “normal” ads:

Adword 1

This ad is triggered by a large number of key words and phrases built around the words “rain wear” and “rain gear”.

Now as an alternative to specifying the exact text to be displayed, use the {} operator. By doing this, you can ensure that the exact phrase entered for the Google search is repeated in your displayed ad.

So for instance, when writing the ad text –  instead of entering the text above, I have used the following:

Adwords 2

This means that the keywords entered in the Google search box will be displayed in the sponsored ad on the header line and on line 2 and will appear in Bold text. If the keyword phrase is too long to display, it will default to displaying the phrase “Kids Rain Gear” instead.

To see this in action – I entered the keywords “baby rain wear” into Google. This is one of the keyword phrases in this campaign and ad group. From this search phrase, this is our ad as displayed in the sponsored links:

Adwords 3

So the exact phrase “Baby rain wear” is repeated in the ad. Research has shown if the exact search phrase is shown in the ad, then this ad is much more likely to be clicked. Therefore the Click Through Rate (CTR) should be higher. I tested over the last few days and here (if you can read them!) are the results: 

Adwords 4

The Click through Rate (CTR) of the ad with the {} operator is 6.56% – whereas the CTR for the ad with the normal text is only 2.04%. Well worth using, I’d say. Of course, getting a good CTR is only one part of the story. You also need to get good site usage and eventually conversions from a percentage of those clicks.

I’ve now learned that this feature is called “Keyword Insertion”. Some more information is available in Google Adwords help here.

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PuddleDuckers Out and About 8

The latest in the series of customer stories we call “PuddleDuckers Out and About” comes from Roseanne Smith from Dublin. I love this photo of Roseanne’s two kids skipping happily to school wearing their PuddleDucks gear.


Over to you Roseanne …

Living near Dublin City we normally cycle everyday finding it the only mode of transport that allows the time needed to argue the boys up, dressed, fed and ready to go. Myself and my husband have been taking the boys on the bike since they could support themselves sitting.

When I first read about PuddleDucks gear in the Irish Times 4 or 5 years ago, I was delighted especially when I discovered the hi-vis gear the nippers are sporting here, hi-vis being essential on the bicycle during those long winter months. The other thing I like is that the gear is more than roomy enough to fit plenty of warm clothes underneath. Sadly we even need this feature here in Ireland in May!

Two other features I like are the elasticated over the shoulder straps because they allow plenty of room for growth. While I enjoy watching my children grow and  develop sometimes my wallet groans at the prospect of purchasing a whole new selection of trousers or shoes! The other features on the coats which I love is the loop to hang the coats up and also the label with the space to write the child’s name. A must-have for school! You would be amazed at the number of coats that I have had to take a needle and thread to add on a loop and a nametag.

Thanks a lot Roseanne for allowing us to post your photo and story.

If any other parents would like to tell us their experiences of their children wearing our gear please contact us at

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Seth Godin on Tribes

Here’s an interesting and entertaining  presentation from Internet marketing guru Seth Godin about Tribes – leading and connecting people and ideas. He argues that the days of mass marketing are over and the new way to affect change and to get your ideas across is through building a community of like-minded people.

In our own small way at PuddleDucks,  we try to create and connect a tribe or community of our customers – people who like our products and are happy to spread the word about them to others. Word of mouth referrals have always been our main source of new business. We often read on our new orders that people have heard about us from ” a mother in the park”, ” a family of the beach” , ” a lady in a shop”, “friends”, etc.

The ways we currently build up our community are through the “PuddleDuckers” section on this blog – where customers tell their own stories, our Facebook Fan page, our presence on IGOpeople and by having  customer reviews on the PuddleDucks website. As stated in the presentation it’s no longer “a mass thing” and that with only 1000 true fans who believe in your products and are happy to spread the word, you can create and run a viable business.

This talk was given by Seth Godin in February 2009 at the TED conference in Long Beach, California. You can read Seth Godin’s blog here – it always makes interesting reading.

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Business Blogging Presentation

Posted today on the IIA blog, my slides about the PuddleDucks blog – with audio that I presented at the IIA Business Blogging – Join the Conversation Briefing on April 22nd. Thanks to Brendan Hughes of and for meshing the slides and the audio together and posting it up on Slideshare. And to Roseanne Smith for posting them on the IIA blog.

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PuddleDuckers Out and About 7

The latest in our series of customer stories and photos comes from Orfhlaith Tuohy from Dublin.

The photos of Orfhlaith’s daughter Alannah, were taken on Easter Sunday in Mount Usher Gardens, Co. Wicklow. Orfhlaith says that many other parents passed by and their children looked “enviously” on at Alannah being able to mess around in the water wearing her PuddleDucks dungarees. 



Thanks for the photos Orfhlaith. It great to hear the dungarees are a success.

If any other customers would like to feature their stories and photos on the blog please drop us an email at

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The Starlings are Back

We get our annual visit from a family of starlings every year around this time. They take up residence under the tiles at the corner of our house and raise a brood of noisy and hungry chicks. It’s great to welcome them back.

Just like with us humans, it’s hard work being a Starling parent. Once the little ones have hatched, mum and dad are constantly bringing tasty morsels of worms and grubs to the nest. I’d say they bring the food every 5 minutes and when they return, the chicks make the loudest chirping they can to grab the attention of mum or dad. They quickly feed the “kids” and off they go for more. We’re looking forward to the fluffy young birds making their first appearance outside the nest in a few weeks time. 

Here’s a photo of one of the parents making a delivery of worms earlier today. 


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More Songs about Rain

It’s been a while since I posted videos of “Songs about Rain”. So to catch up and to celebrate the long weekend here’s three rainy videos to ward off the rain for the weekend!

1. Bob Dylan – A Hard Rain’s a Gonna Fall.

2. Blue Nile – Tinseltown in the Rain

3. Garbage – I’m Only Happy When it Rains

PS: While going through YouTube for these videos I came across some film clips of rainy scenes. So my next series is going to be “Great Rainy Scenes in Movie History”. I hope there’s a few good ones on YouTube. Any ideas gratefully accepted.

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