Lip Primer: What is it and do I need it?

Going through all my beauty box samples looking at what I am going to keep and which ones I’m not as part of my minimalist challenge, I seem to have collected a fair few lip primers.  Collected and never used because I’m not sure what to do with them.  So, while I’m asking, “should it stay or should it go?”, I thought I would take a bit of a look and see just what it is and why I should be using it.

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Finding friends after forty

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This weekend, my husband and I went for a few drinks in town. Sitting in the pub, I saw a familiar face, someone called Mike who I knew from my volunteering. Mike joined us at our table and the next few hours were spent chatting and laughing. Before we knew it, the bell for last orders was being rung and Mike and my husband, who had found common ground over music, were making plans to meet the following week to see a band.

In a lot of ways, this doesn’t probably seem like a big deal, but for us it was because – since moving to a new area two years ago and being more than a little over 40 – making new friends has felt like a hard slog at times. Meeting someone I knew and making plans to see them again felt like we had turned a corner and were on the upswing, especially as a few days earlier I had met someone else I hadn’t known for long for coffee and we talked about future plans. Continue reading

Weeds Instead of Roses

I love my back garden but I am not much of a gardener. When we moved into our house, I thought I would be. I poured over books, made detailed plans, planted, watered, pruned. And was left disappointed. I do not, it seems, have a green thumb.

Enter my dad who, possibly tired of my moaning about what I wasn’t achieving and how, because I didn’t know was in my garden half the time, didn’t know if I was pulling up a soon to be beautiful flower or a weed, said “If you like it, it isn’t a weed. Don’t worry.” Continue reading

April in a sentence a day

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, though I haven’t for a few months. I have missed looking back on what I’d been up to though, and feeling grateful for all the good in my life, so I thought I would get back on the horse this month.  Here’s what I’ve been up to… Continue reading

Easy ways to give back to your community

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In my ‘before’ life, I spent a lot of time saying how busy I was and how I just didn’t have time for much more than work and being a mum. I hadn’t always been this way.  When I was younger and before my daughter I used to volunteer a fair bit. And I enjoyed it. 

One of the things I wanted to do when I started working for myself was find time to give back again.  Six months in, I’ve started doing just that. It feels good (and it should, research has shown that giving back is good for your mental health).  It also makes me feel rather silly for thinking I couldn’t have done anything before because what I’ve realised is that giving back to your community doesn’t have to take much time or effort.

There are so many ways you can give back, from ones that take a few minutes, to one that take hours, days or weeks. So, if you are looking for a way to do just that, you might want to try some or all of these ideas… Continue reading

Learning to Say No

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.

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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

Simple websites (and why I need one)

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.

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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

Reasons to be Happy (part one)

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

Updated: Mini goals (to get me motivated)

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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

Relief, reassurance and resolutions…

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As people who have been following my blog for a while (or have read my early posts / about me page) will know, last October I took a bit of a leap into the unknown, quitting my job and setting out on my own.  I had a plan, though perhaps it wasn’t as fully thought out as I thought it was when I handed in my notice, and a huge desire to change my life.

The plan, to work freelance doing what I was already doing – bid and project management – whilst moving into a new field – writing, editing and proofreading.  I knew it was a big change, though there are lots of transferable skills with what I do now, and that it would take time.  I had figured three to six months before I even saw a sniff of new work and maybe a bit less for my current field.

Three months later, where am I?  Well, I’ve had two offers for temporary work doing what I do, which has been a relief, and I’ve been training up for what I want to do, learning the trade from the ground up and not expecting too much but enjoying every bit of it.  Which was another huge relief – what if I hadn’t?

I have also spent some time getting to know other people who are currently doing what I want to do.  They are a wonderful group of people, helpful and supportive, and it has given me courage to keep going.  It’s also made me readjust my timelines for getting where I want to, but that’s o.k. I had wondered if I was being overly optimistic anyway and I wold rather be realistic and not be disappointed when the results are slower than slow…as long as there are results.

My days are fuller than I thought they would be and so much better now the stress of my old job is gone.  The lack of early starts and calls till late into the evening are not missed, and neither is the pressure. Just before Christmas, I met with old colleagues and my old boss.   Going to meet up with people, I was anxious.  I wondered how I would feel, if I would miss work once I started seeing people again, that I had made the wrong choice.

Listening to them talk about work, about the politics, the drama and the stresses left me knowing – without a doubt – that I had made the right decision to leave.  Realising this was another big sigh of relief and reassured me that, whatever happens, I will be o.k. because I am better in myself than I have been for the last few years.  I look better, I feel better, and I know others have seen it too – though what they were saying about me before given what they are saying about me now, I have to wonder 🙂

Now, though, the big push comes.  The training is done and the work of promoting myself and getting that first job needs to start.  Which brings me to my new year’s resolution (well one, the others are getting fit, eating well – the usual).  I want to write it down here so I don’t forget and – putting it out there – will hopefully spur me on.  In 2018, I will be brave.  I will not fall back on doing what I do but push forward so that this time next year, I can change my LinkedIn Profile and leave bidding and project management behind.  What about you – do you have any work-related resolutions?

Emma x