According to the Food Standards Agency, in the UK we threw away over 7 million tonnes of still edible food last year and about half of it came from homes, not shops and restaurants. It is such a shocking figure, especially when you think that so many people are going hungry and relying on food banks. It’s also expensive. The estimated cost of those 7 million tonnes is £13bn and the average cost per household is £470. Cutting back on food waste, and your food bills as a result, is easier than you think. Here are five easy ways to do it… Continue reading
Recently we opened a children’s bank account for my daughter, who has just turned eight. It’s one I technically control but which we’ve put her in charge of. She’ll decide what to put in and what to take out. There isn’t a bank card attached so I still have to press the button, meaning it’s pretty risk free, but it’s part of my master plan to get her to understand what money and how to manage it…something I didn’t quite get till my late 20’s and after more than one mistake with bank loans, overdrafts and credit cards.
We started off as everyone does I think with a Piggy Bank, and just the idea of money, what it is, how much you have and why you should save it up. Each week, from when she was really small, we would give her a pound to put in the bank and any extra money would go in there too. Once it was full, we would empty it, count it and she could go to the toy store to spend her ‘hard earned’ savings. Continue reading
When we moved into our current house, we got ourselves a smart metre to monitor our gas and electricity use. If you ignore the fact that I can’t help nervously glancing at it every time I go past to see how big a bill I’m racking up with the current weather, it was one of the best things we could have done. Since we’ve installed it, we have been watching how much energy we use and, so far, have reduced our bill by about £10 a month without significantly impacting our lifestyle. Here’s what we’ve done so far… Continue reading
One of the things I was looking forward to when I finished work last September and started working for myself was the control I thought I would have. No more having to get up at five in the morning because my manager needed me to go to a meeting at the other end of the country that lasted all of an hour (what’s wrong with a phone call I ask you?), no more working weekends because I was given something to do at 4:55 on a Friday afternoon that was needed by 9:05 on a Monday morning, and no more having to smile and say “yes, of course,” when I really wanted to say the complete opposite and turn the air blue.
For the most part, I am pleased to say my move into self-employment has been pretty successful. There’s been no more early, early mornings and only a few late, late nights. Where I am struggling, though, is the not saying yes part. I am just no good at it and, after a recent conversation where my brain was screaming at me to say no but I still said yes, I’ve decided I need to do something about it. And not just when it comes to work but in life in general, where I am just as bad if I’m honest. Continue reading
Back in January, I wrote about my plan to set-up a website for my new life as a freelancer. I’m not going to lie, it hasn’t been easy – nowhere near as easy as setting up my blog, and definitely not as easy as I thought it would be. It’s there, but it’s not great and I haven’t been sharing it with many people as a result.
Recently, I attended a networking event with people doing exactly what I do and the need for a website couldn’t have been brought home to me more; each of the twenty-odd people round the table said most of their work comes through their websites, which is a huge benefit for them as small business owners and sole traders, and would be a huge benefit for me. Continue reading
Abraham Lincoln said, “Folks are usually about as happy as they make their minds to be.” At least I think it was Lincoln. Whoever said it, it’s very true. This week, I was feeling more than a bit grumpy. I was working on a project that wasn’t inspiring me at all and – over on my book blog – a reading slump was getting me down; not even my favourite author could get me back in the groove.
Then, last night, sat with a glass of wine and an episode of Real Housewives, I had a bit of a lightbulb moment. Life really wasn’t that bad and the things that were getting me down just weren’t worth getting down about at all. I went to bed feeling a little lighter and determined to see the good and feel the happy…. Continue reading
I first came across this post on Natalie the Explorer’s blog and thought it was great. She, and some other bloggers, share their month in a sentence a day. I thought it would be fun to join in, and that’s what I’ve been doing for the last few months. I’m really enjoying looking back on what I’d been up to – and feeling grateful for all the good in my life. So, here’s what I did in January… Continue reading
I’ve always been a “stresser”, one of those people that over-think everything and look at it from every angle before making the decision that – nine times out of ten – I instinctively wanted to in the first place. I find it hard to switch off, to let go, and just enjoy the moment. I know I’m not alone out there, and we all – I think – have our stress triggers, things that set us off and send us down the rabbit hole into sleepless nights or over-eating or drinking etc. etc. etc. Continue reading
Since Christmas, I have been struggling to get back into the groove. Over the holidays, we stayed up too late, ate too much cheese and chocolate, and drank too much wine. Normally, after New Years, I do what most people do and cut back on all of these, trying to be a little healthier if nothing else. And, I had to go back to work, meaning routines were quickly fallen back in to.
This year, though, the schools didn’t go back till last week which meant my holidays lasted longer than normal. Plus, I didn’t have to go back to work straight away as I now work for myself. Now, it feels like my eating, drinking, and late nights have became habits I need to break. And that’s where I’m struggling. Continue reading
For the last ten years or so, I have been working from home, at first for a couple of large national charities and now for myself. The work I was doing required a lot of flexibility in when I worked as everything was deadline driven and this included late nights and weekends. In theory, this flexibility was returned by the companies I worked for. In reality, this wasn’t actually the case and there always seemed to be plenty to do to fill up the days.
As a result, I often worked way over my 40 hour week and found myself tired, irritable, and missing my family (even if they happened to be in the next room!). For the last couple of years, especially, my work-life balance was shot and it’s the main reason I have decided to start working for myself. I need to be able to breath, eat, sleep, exercise, be a mom and generally have a life. This week, I got my first contract as a freelancer – exciting. Not so exciting was the comment the manager I’ll be working for made about sending emails at 11 at night – just what I don’t want to happen! Continue reading