Getting back into the swing of work…

Hello! Just thought I would pop on and finally write a quick post. These last few months have been a little strange and I’m afraid that this blog is the first thing that I stop paying attention to when work/life gets full on. I have really missed writing on here so I’ll endeavour to get back to it.

How are you? I’m fine. There have been many ups and downs along the way but basically after March my work really just disappeared which did enable me to homeschool my daughter but not to earn any money. Since she returned back to school, I’m delighted that things are picking up. It takes about a month for work to come in and although I’ve had a frustrating September, I’m really looking forward to October with exciting projects ahead.

What I’ve been doing to reconnect with clients:

  1. I’ve sent out brief emails to let clients know that I am back into my work routine.
  2. Updated LinkedIn and commented on other people’s posts.
  3. Invited new clients for a socially distant coffee
  4. Updated myself on new releases and sent suggestions to clients
  5. Followed up with calls – where necessary.

While I have been waiting for projects to start, I’ve kept myself busy with bits and pieces around the house including:

  1. A full declutter of toys and clothes (Yes, I watched Get Organised on Netflix)
  2. Painting the Sitting Room (added a colour wall – F&B’s Card Room Green)
  3. Adding ‘warm touches’ to Amy’s study room (I loved this cosy throw from Matalan)
  4. Getting the garden ready for winter (I’ve tried a ‘bulb lasagne‘ from Sarah Raven)
  5. Updating my financial accounts (it makes life less stressful!)

By having these projects, I’ve kept myself busy but also eased myself back into simple tasks, completing projects that didn’t involve my daughter. I missed my daughter hugely when she returned to school and it has taken me a few weeks to adjust to being by myself again. These projects really helped, gave me a sense of achievement and I feel ready for work now!

What have you been doing during the quiet work months?

How I cope with the ‘post school holiday blues…

…before starting my new work routine.

I woke up this morning not feeling my brightest (although who does at 6.30am?) and as I write this (it is currently 12.55pm), the feeling hasn’t really gone away. It is unusual for me to feel a bit ‘meh’ for so long but it is a feeling that I have come to recognise as it is so specific. It occurs around 3 times a year and the worst is always a few days after my daughter goes back to school at the end of August.

As I work from home, I notice the quiet that falls once she returns to school – after 6 weeks of noise filling the house, it at first is elating – peace and quiet! Being able to go to the loo without telling her, making drinks when I want etc… but after a few days, the elation disappears and I have to mourn the loss of the old routine, before I can move on to a new one.

So instead of ‘working’ through it – I’ve learn over the last few years that it doesn’t work for me, I embrace it and have a quiet day. Here’s what I do:

  • I eat anything and everything I want – just for that day, if I want chocolate for breakfast, then I’m having it. (I did today!)
  • A lot of trashy, easy on the eye television gets watched. Today it was TOWIE and a few YouTubes, plus I finally watched the Beyonce Coachella documentary on Netflix.
  • A long, hot bath is always required, sometimes with a face mask too. (I’m in love with Garnier sheet face masks at the moment)
  • None of my cleaning routines get achieved. (Sorry Team TOMM)
  • I refuse to feel guilty for anything – for missing her, missing work or not being what I feel I should be doing. I truly wallow.
  • At 3pm, I shake it off, dust the biscuit crumbs off my clothes and go get her. I smile and move on.

This might seem a little strange but it truly works for me. Yes I will still miss her tomorrow but because I’ve had my moment of complete wallowing, I know I can now get myself back in gear and start with my new September routine.

ps I *may* have also eaten an entire packet of Jaffa cakes whilst writing the post…

Why Wheatgrass has changed my life

It really isn’t as bad as it looks…

Nothing too dramatic about that statement! Hand on heart I can say that a daily ‘shot’ of wheatgrass has made a massive difference to my energy levels and my health.

It all started in January when I saw Caro Greenwood (@SpikeyMama) talking about the wheatgrass shots that she was given at Christmas. I honestly thought that you could only have wheatgrass anything from health shops and well, anywhere slightly metropolitan. I’d seen smoothies in Pret, Eat and others and always though they looked a bit ‘off’ and really expensive. So I did a little bit of internet research and discovered that you could purchase packs of frozen wheatgrass shots in bulk.

A wheatgrass shot mixed with apple juice.
The finished shot!

Just a little bit after this revelation, my neighbour invited me to a health talk that she was hosting. This was a talk by a Wheatgrass specialist who was not only able to talk about the benefits of taking a daily dose, but also had women there who could vouch for it too. Most importantly, I got to try it. I was DELIGHTED when I was told that I could mix the shot with a juice – to make it more palatable. It works – I have a frozen shot every morning with a bit of juice, bunged into my blender. It doesn’t taste terrible at all. In fact, I’ve managed to get my husband onto it as well. It costs around £1.70 a shot, which as I no longer live in a city and drink coffees everyday is an expense I can manage. I order a bag that gives me 30 shots at a time and just leave them in the freezer until I’m ready!

How do I know the power of wheatgrass? I took a month off having my ‘shot’ whilst I was on holiday and also I did get out of the routine (oops) and I noticed that my energy levels were not as high, I got tired quicker in the evening and I seemed to get every cold going in the vicinity. I’ve been taking a regular dose now for about a month and can already feel the benefits. My skin is looking brighter, I’m still tired but not as much and I’m not craving sugary foods. Win for me!

I use an organic wheatgrass shot because it was about the same price and I thought it would be better for me.

I use Britt’s Superfoods to get mine and I couldn’t recommend the service enough. This isn’t sponsored at all – I’m just a fan.

To learn more about wheatgrass, I suggest reading this article.

Out of Office – taking the financial hit

How I save before holidays…

Going on holiday is great. There is nothing better than going away and having a break from your usual life. The only snag that I have (except missing my dog) is a loss of income. During the school holidays, I take a small dip in income as I do not take on as many projects but I still work and juggle childcare.

If I’m away, I really do not want to take my work with me – I can’t do anything half-a*sed and I want to be away away and not glued to my phone constantly checking emails. It isn’t a holiday. (I’ve written about half-term adventures on this blog post.)

This sadly means that I do have the potential to lose money – I won’t charge clients for work that I’m not doing and I can’t exactly give myself holiday pay. It is the only downside I feel for being self-employed.

I plan, plan and plan for holidays so that there isn’t a major dip in income

How I get around this potential income loss is the following:

  1. Plan my workload – we book our holidays fairly in advance and I know when we will be away, this means I can see the potential income dips.
  2. I tend to take on an extra quick project a month before we leave – this is sometimes a bit bonkers as I’m not only working longer hours but I’m also having to plan our packing. It however soothes me to know that whilst I’m away, income will still be reaching my bank account.
  3. On return, I’ll look at my schedule and see if I can hustle for an extra project as well. This can be tricky because in my line of work, the busiest time tends to be in March and October. Finding extra work in August is often pointless but I’ll try!
  4. Budget – I’ll see where I can save money in the month before my holiday, perhaps not visiting a coffee shop for my Wednesday treat or meeting a friend at their house instead. I’ll also limit my travel as train tickets to London can be expensive.
  5. Blitz the house and attend a car boot sale. I am yet to do this but I have friends that have a clear out and regularly bring back £200.
  6. Lastly I save up every £2 coin that I’m given for a year – this can often add an extra £100-200 to my budget and I really recommend it.
Holiday to mean means switching off the laptop.

Do you factor in holidays with your financial planning or are you happy to work when you can?

Recommended reads:

How I work: Lizzie Woodman

Lizzie Woodman – blogger and freelance writer

I first came across Lizzie Woodman from another Instagram account and was immediately taken by her effortless style, wit and calm nature. Based in the Cambridge area with two boys, she works from home and juggles life/work like the rest of us. I was delighted when she agreed to feature on my little blog! She takes gorgeous images and shares her thoughts on matters of the day with articulated thought. She works with numerous brands on her blog and never fails to inspire me. Please do have a read and go visit her blog and Instagram. You won’t be disappointed.

  1. Name : Lizzie Woodman

2. Name of Business:

3. What do you do?

I’m a blogger and freelance writer. I also help businesses with their marketing and social media – taking photographs, writing captions and press releases. 

Lizzie works from home and her gorgeous cats are featured on her account

4. Where do you work?

I work from home. I have a big desk in our open plan kitchen space, but usually prefer to perch in an armchair with my laptop. My two tabby cats are usually close by!

5. How did you get to this point in your career?

I fell into freelance writing after starting a blog in 2014. I’d been a stay at home mother since 2009 and craved some creativity that didn’t involve glitter and PVA glue. Blogging taught me to be a better writer and photographer – plus it helped me believe in myself. My first paid work was for sponsored posts commissioned by brands for my blog. Over the last couple of years this has blossomed into writing for other people too – from ghost-written blog posts for big brands to writing product descriptions and helping at influencer events.

6. The best part of my job is?

The flexibility. I do all the school runs and can take time off to be with my children during the holidays. I also love meeting new people. I’ve met and interviewed so many people over the last couple of years and it’s been fascinating.

Her clients include brands such as Fat Face and Joy where she creates content for her blog and Instagram account.

7. The worst part of my job is? 

Getting lonely. I miss chatting to colleagues – which is probably why I spend too much time on social media. I also find it tough to motivate myself. When you’re a freelancer you have to be your own best cheerleader all the time. Picking yourself up after a disappointment can be tough and it’s not for everyone.

8. Favourite time-saving trick?

Ignoring the housework until the children get home. I don’t like wasting my work day putting on loads of washing and cleaning the shower. I tend to get my chores done when the boys are busy with their Lego after school. 

Lizzie’s Instagram is well worth a look!

9. Best advice for anyone working 9 to 3?

Don’t try and do it all. It’s easy to think you can move mountains while your kids are at school, but in reality, it’s a very short day. Prioritise the things you really need to get done and try not to feel guilty about everything else!

10. Favourite social media accounts/blogs?

I’m addicted to Instagram and it also forms a big part of my work. Creating a beautifully curated feed is like my shop window and helps put me in touch with people. I try and write about three posts a week for my own blog, Lizzie Woodman. I find Hannah Gale’s blog very inspiring. 

Other posts you may like to read:

How I work: Jenna Bissell from That Mum Moment

My Freelance Story: Lizzie Woodman

The joy of freelance: How to be Freelance