My Friday Favourites (12/10/18)

Where has this week gone? I’m on countdown for half-term. Amy finishes school today so I’m rapidly trying to squeeze in as much work as I can before 3.15pm. Fun times!

So these are my very quick Friday Favourites…

I’m going to start with a product that has literally made me very happy! I

Silver Serum. This has changed my skin so much. Worth a go if you get spots!

discovered this serum (Silver Serum) via my Mum as she knew that I was getting large spots (sorry TMI) on my neck and chin when I was feeling quite hormonal. I ordered this stuff due to the rapturous reviews on the website and after about a week of using it twice a day, my spots were smaller and I now have less every month. How do I know it works? This summer I ran out and didn’t order more due to holidays and being disorganised. The spots returned! Argh… I ordered more and they’ve disappeared. It has really changed how I feel about my face.

 

Another game changer for me is the Free Prints app. You get 45 free 6×4 printed photos every month and you just pay postage.

Perfect for printing your photos out.

It is brilliant getting photos printed from your phone. I use it for Amy’s school/Beaver/craft projects and also to refresh photos in my “Hall of Fame” as I call it!

 

 

Lastly I am a huge fan of The Pool – created by the ex-editor of Red magazine Sam Baker and journalist Lauren Laverne. It has numerous articles that appeal to me (37 year old mum, working from home) and they let you know

A great website with considered, curated articles.

how long they think it will take to read each piece. It is perfect for just having a small break from work and catching up with the what is going on beyond the school gates. It has also tamed my addiction to the “sidebar of shame” at the dailymail.co.uk (I’m not proud).

 

 

That’s it for today! Short but hopefully sweet. Have a lovely weekend!

 

How I handle half-term

Hello! How are you? Week going okay? We are based in Leicestershire and the school holidays here are always slightly out of sync with the rest of the country! Which is great in terms of going to visit tourist attractions when it isn’t so busy but can be tricky when being on holiday a week before everyone else. It normally means that it can take longer for me to finish tasks as when I’m away, everyone is at work and when I’m back, well you get the picture!

As a freelancer, I am hugely lucky that I can pick and choose when I work. But it also means that I do not get any holiday pay whatsoever. Therefore during school holidays, I tend to take a hit on my income because I do not have set childcare in place. The bonus is that I’m around for my daughter and we do fun things but I also could potentially lose money too.

Here’s what I do:

I look to see if there are any extra projects I can work on before or after the break.

Take on an extra project:  I look at my schedule and see if I can fit in another project before or after a planned holiday. This does mean extending the 9 to 3 to working in the evenings after my daughter has gone to bed but I find that it is worth the pain.  I have a friend who takes on a few extra baskets of ironing and walks a few more dogs in the run up to a holiday so that she has a little more cash in her pocket.

Tell my clients: I have a couple of clients that I work for daily and I let them know that I’ll be making up the time either the week before or after, plus I’ll be answering emails during certain hours. These tend to be 7-9am and 7-9pm. I find that you end up doing more work (which is unpaid) to make up the week you took off. Or is that just me?

Forget the admin: A lot of my time is spent organising my company’s admin – accounts and follow ups. During the holiday, I leave it to one side and then pick it up afterwards.

Hootsuite
I use Hootsuite to plan my social media

Schedule all Social Media in advance: I know lots of people that do this already but I really enjoy the conversation flow of posting in real time however during the holidays, I’ll use Hootsuite to schedule a few posts and then I’ll pop as well when the timing is right.

Childcare:  Yes, if there is an opportunity that cannot be missed, I’ll ask my Mum or a friend to look after Amy for me. This can be for a few hours or a whole day. To be honest, this happens more in the summer holidays. With half-term I can juggle a bit more but I endeavour to let me clients know that I’m not around but will make up the time.

Breathe:  The holidays are always quite stressful when trying to combine children with work but once I made the decision to not take on as much and

Live in the moment and try to forget about work.

then step up before and after the break then it made me really determined to enjoy the break.

Have a great day!

How I Work: Me

Heads up: I’m going to be featuring people who generally work 9 to 3 on this blog. Just so you don’t get bored of only hearing from me but also to hopefully provide inspiration and help for anyone looking to see if a) they could work 9 to 3 and b) what careers are out there.

To be fair, I thought I ought to share my own:

How I Work.

  1. Photo of Laura working from homeName: Laura Brudenell White
  2. Name of Business: Laura White PR (www.laurawhitepr.com)
  3. What do you do: I’m a self-employed freelance publicist working mainly in publishing and the art world
  4. Where do you work: Most days I am based in my house (mostly in the kitchen as its the warmest room in the house – in the winter and the coolest in the summer). I do visit London once a month to see clients or attend events.
  5. How did you get to this point in your career: I’ve worked in the area since I graduated from University (with an Economics degree – no idea how I ended up in PR) and just loved it. Every day is different. I went freelance in 2008 when I had an opportunity to work with multiple clients.
  6. The best part of my job is: Getting coverage for my clients. It is still a huge thrill.
  7. The worst part of my job is: PR can be very soul destroying – you can spend days/weeks/month on a campaign and get very little but send one email to someone and get a ton of coverage. It is hard to account for my time.
  8. Favourite time-saving trick: Plan plan plan. Read everything. You never know where inspiration will strike.
  9. Best advice for anyone working 9 to 3: Understand your workload and your time commitments outside of work. Put in place procedures to help you focus during your working hours. Then switch off to be with your partner/children/dog.
  10. Favourite social media accounts/blogs: Too many to mention them all! But I do love The Organised Mum (she just feels very genuine), The Home Edit (they are hilarious), Getting Stuff Done in Heels and Erica Davies
    Erica Davies
    I love to follow Erica Davies on Instagram. Her clothes choices and Sunday Shop stories are fab. Image from : The Lifestyle Edit

    as they both select great clothes and leave me inspired. All of these accounts have children and work their career round their children. I love that.

 

My Friday Favourites (05/10/18)

Hello! I thought that each Friday I would highlight just a few things that I have been using that I rather like! It will be a mix of stuff – sometimes apps, gadgets or books and other times perhaps a coat or beauty product.

Bobbi Brown Intensive Serum Foundation.

I love this – gives me such a glow!

I’ve used this foundation for at least two years but recently had a break from it. Why? I have asked myself multiple times since buying a new bottle? It is really great – gives me a fresh look each morning and most importantly has a SPF40 in it. Perfect for the harsh Autumn winds when walking my dog!

 

Lucifer

Lucifer on Amazon Prime
I’m on Season 2 and its great!

This is on Amazon Prime. This is a fun, easy to watch series that I watch when I’m ironing or need a little downtime during the day.

 

 

 

@theinstagramexpert. (SueBZimmerman) I’ve just found her but I’m using her free downloadable print out and helping set up a decent account. I’ll be using this a lot as I get to grips with this blog and social media.

 

My Slow Cooker. I’m lucky enough to have an Aga (it came with the house!) and it doesn’t get switch on until next week after its service. With the weather getting cooler, suddenly salads and grilled meat just ain’t cutting it anymore. So I picked this beauty up from amazon for £20! Its really good and happily feeds a family of 3 with leftovers to stash in the freezer. I’ve been using The Organised Mum’s slow cooker recipes and can confirm that the Fakeaway Korma is superb. Ditto the Cowboy Beans.

 

Perfect for after swimming lessons

A Towel Turban that I bought from a pound shop! Its perfect for after Amy’s swimming lessons.

Smells divine! Quite a masculine scent. Even my husband loves it.

PaddyWax Literary Travel Tin Candles – as a family of book lovers these are perfect for us! The burning time feels like forever and I love the literary quotes. They are great to taking with you to places but we currently have them popped around the house and in guest bedrooms.

Have a lovely weekend everyone!

My favourite apps and blogs for my daily workload

Gosh that is a catchy header! I really must work a bit harder on thinking up a snappy title but in all honesty, that really is the gist of this blog post. What I use to make my 9 to 3 as efficient as possible.

Hours Keeper

Hours KeeperIf you’re like me then you work for several different clients every day/week. I have clients that I work for on set hours per week and month. This gives me the freedom to either dedicate a day or perhaps an hour a day on them. As I like to keep my brain ticking over, I try and mix up the hours spent with each client. It keeps my thinking fresh.

My husband noted that I was rather lackadaisical about my time-keeping which meant that I would overwork on every account. But never bill for the correct amount of time worked. I think a little bit over every time is fine but as he pointed out, I was spending hours doing something that I wasn’t being paid for. Not really efficient or economical!

I downloaded Hours Keeper to help me keep track. Its not perfect as you need to remember when to switch on and switch off but it does help me see how many extra hours I do. And I try and reduce these as a result. It does have an Invoicing capability as well but I don’t use that. The simple clock-watching is enough.

Skype

SkypeDoes this count as an app? I use this for lots of my interaction with my clients as a few live abroad or are based miles away from me. It doesn’t make sense for me to travel to see them every time for one meeting. The bonus is that you can chose to do audio only as well for those bad hair days. In fact I’ve worked out that nobody looks their best on a Skype call. I have a few tricks that I use which I’ll share another time.

Hootsuite

HootsuiteWhere would I be without it? This allows me to generate and schedule all social media posts for my clients. I normally do this on a Monday where I plan my posts for the coming week. I do dip in and out of the likes of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram across the day (I manage accounts for some clients) but this gives me clarity. I can see what will run, choose when (optimise the posting) to run and check the overall ‘story’ for the week.

Its free – to a point and hasn’t gone wrong yet.

Mailchimp

I use this with all my clients – its free up to 2000 subscribers (which reminds me, I should have a sign up for this blog as well – practise what I preach Laura!) but I digress. It tries to be simple but I do struggle with its options sometimes. Mostly it is great and a good way to track your clients reactions to content.

The Organised Mum Method

She’s not an app but a blog – although I hear that maybe in the works but her Instagram account is brilliant. I started following her (Gemma Bray – hi! love your work) last year when working and keeping up with the housework was dragging me down. She gives you a prompt for every day – which room to clean and tells you to do what you can in 30 minutes. There is even a play list. It does work. My house will never be tidy but it is clean and I feel more ‘with it.’ My Mum even mentioned how much better the house seemed! She also does Weekly Menu plans (something I’m a fan of – we’re having Vegetable Stir fry tonight – and you?) and well, other stuff too that just helps ease my stresses. (that didn’t mean to sound weird)

Citymapper

CitymapperWhen I have meetings in the Big Smoke (London) then I use this all the time. Having lived there for 12 years you would think that I would have the hang of the place but no, my sense of direction is appalling. I use it to time how long it will take me to get from A to B sometimes via C and onto D. It means that my London days are full but I arrive everywhere on time. Or if I don’t it isn’t my fault – its London Transport. (and we all like to blame the traffic). Seriously, this is a life-saver and I like the different option s it gives if I fancy a bus route only or just the tube.

There are many more that I use but I thought I’d start with these. They are the ones that I would say I use the most. Efficiency is (almost) my middle name!