The UnNatural Mother

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  I am in no way trying to say my children’s diets are perfect, nor am I going to profess to be the greatest cook in the world but I am a huge advocate of…

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Christmas 2017 was the first Christmas since the age of 20 that I had to think about the amount of money I was spending on presents for family & friends. I no longer have the comfort of a fat monthly wage packet and with blogging work slowing down from November onwards it was a case of making every penny count. The cost of Christmas has been on my mind since I left my corporate job back in July and I have previously written a post titled  How Are You Going To Afford Christmas ? . Luckily for me I took some of the advice given by my fellow Bloggers and put some money & vouchers to one side each month to cover the cost, but after reading a survey conducted by Ferratum UK us millennials seem to be sticking our heads in the sand when it comes to overspending during the festive period. Over 1,000 people aged 18-34 were interviewed and here are some of the key findings

Facts & Figures

 41% of millennials said they are worried they won’t have enough money to pay for
Christmas 2017.

 27% are planning to borrow money to pay for Christmas. 48% have had to borrow money over a previous Christmas period.
 1 in 4 millennials would cancel Christmas this year to clear all their debt.
 37% would borrow money to avoid missing an event they really wanted to go to.

  42% of millennials have hidden debt from their partner, friends, or family.
 35% were worried that their partner, friends, or family would find out about their debt.

Makes depressing reading doesn’t it ??? With January 15th ( also known as the most depressing day of the year ) arriving next week I thought I would share some positive ideas to make January less blue and help you save more green £££.

  • Make extra money by selling unwanted Xmas presents or clear out your wardrobe and list items on eBay.
  • Check out specialist websites like KatyKicker.com and find out ways to make money online.
  • Do your own financial audit and consolidate any debt to reduce your monthly interest.
  • Own a fancy gym membership but never have time to go? Take advice from The Money Whisperer  and cancel any ongoing memberships you haven’t used in the last 2 months.
  • Why not batch cook your meals? Savings 4 Savvy Mums  is an expert at not wasting a penny in January by going back to basics, utilising what she already has in the cupboards and meal planning out her week.
  • My friend Clare has a clever trick where she pushes back food shopping by 1 day each week of January by making do with whats already in the fridge/freezer. By the end of the month, she has saved nearly a whole weeks worth of shopping budget and this takes the pressure off in February.
  • Take the opportunity to enjoy the free of charge great outdoors like the Ankle Biters Adventures . Fresh air & quality family time helps blow away the January Blues.
  • Don’t keep your debt problems to yourself as Tony the Country Manager for Ferratum’s suggests. ”People could benefit from the knowledge and support of their friends and family if only they would reach out and ask for help”
  • I really love the symbolic way Have Kids Will Travel UK uses to get rid of any negative thoughts from 2017. We took a walk with the kids to the sea and had a think about the year gone by. Talked about what we liked and wanted to do more of and what we didn’t like. For all the things we didn’t like, we picked up a rock and threw it into the sea and then for the things we’d like to do more of, we made a bucket list

 

I hope that none of my readers are suffering from financial fatigue and that 2018 will be a year of greatness for each of us. If you think you are in need of help to sort your finances out then contact Citizens Advice  for ways to get your finances back in shape.

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This was was in collaboration with  Ferratum UK  but all my thoughts and opinions are my own and that of the people mentioned.

How was your 1st day back at work after the Christmas break? Have the January blues set in yet? Even sat at home in my office ( only 10ft from my bed ) it took me 2 hrs, 3 brews and a large slab of leftover Christmas cake to open my laptop and start working yesterday. With all the festivities and fun over and done with, the reality now kicks in that we are slap bang in the middle of winter with only months of cold winds and rain to look forward to. So as I was sat in my fancy new office chair from Furniture at Work , staring out into the pouring rain I fantasised about transporting myself Narnia style through my filing cabinet to a tropical island.

I have truly loved seeing all my family and spending some good quality time with the kids over Christmas but what I really crave is time on my own. I would transport myself to a hot tropical beach where a handsome waiter would serve me ice-cold cocktails and an array of tasty hot tapas. Far to lazy to read a book I would instead listen to a couple of classic novels on Audible before checking out the latest fashion crazes on the pages of Vogue. As this is my fantasy I would once again be a perfect size 8 wearing a very tiny but hellishly expensive bikini. My Chanel sandals would match my Chanel beach bag and my long blonde locks would remain frizz free and move gently in the sea breeze. I am forever running around after the kids so on my fantasy day I wouldn’t move off my sun longer preferring for my handsome waiter to look after my every need ( no mucky thoughts, I’m married women). I would enjoy a day of sun, silence and San Juan Tea ( click here for the cocktail recipe ) and watch the sun go down listening to Ibizan hits play in the background. Before returning back to reality ( and my cold office ) I would change into a fabulous vintage Oscar De La Renta evening dress and enjoy a 5-course feast on the beach accompanied by a bottle ( or 2 ) of Dom Perignon while watching fireworks go off in the night sky. Just before returning to the door back to life as I know it  I would collect some beautiful seashells to sit on my desk and remind me of my tropical excursion. That wraps up my fantasy day away , but where would you go to ? Comment below or share your dream day using the hashtag #OfficeNarnia. Here are a few ideas to get your imagination into action.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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This post was in collaboration with Furniture@Work but all my thoughts and opinions are my own.

 

I am not sure I really knew what I was letting myself in for when I wrote 2017 Plan Of Action – No More Winging It this time last year. I knew that things needed to change and had a pipe dream to give up my day job to blog full-time but even as I write this now I can’t actually believe I did it. Unlike many people, I won’t be waving goodbye to 2017 and welcoming 2018 with open arms as 2017 was a pretty good year for me. In my personal life we purchased our dream house and celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary, career-wise my blog has gone from strength to strength and I started a new career. This has now stood me in good stead for a strong start to 2018 but for the first time ever I am scared of what the next 12 months will bring. There is no easy way of saying this but 2018 is the year I either sink or swim. Financially I need to have a regular monthly income and for my own pride, i need my ‘brave move’ to workout.

I am well aware that I put far too much pressure on myself to be perfect and find it hard to give myself a pat on the back but I did achieve many of my pie in the sky business objectives for 2017. I hit my target 80% increase in 3 out of my 5 platforms (Instagram, Pinterest & YouTube) Overall I increased my social media following by 72.8 %. I have had my work published by Mumsnet & BritMums, I earned well over my target of £1,000 and most major of all I left my day job for a new career in Social Media.

The theme of 2018 is bigger is better. I need to increase my following and get The UnNatural Mother in front of as many brands as possible to secure as much paid work as possible.

My Social Media Following & Targets

Presently – Twitter – 2548    Instagram – 1769   YouTube – 159    Pinterest – 169   Facebook – 1320    ( click on links to subscribe )

Target –     Twitter – 12K      Instagram – 10K      YouTube – 1K     Pinterest – 500    Facebook – 5K

Overall Goals

Business

  • To complete and pass my Digital Mums Social Media Management Course
  • Earn £10,000
  • Get paid work as a SMM
  • Take a YouTube editing course
  • Set up and run 2 paid courses for local business’s  – How To Set Up & Blog For Your Business & Social Media For Beginners.
  • Upload 1 YouTube Video per week
  • Post 2 blogs per week
  • Pitch to 3 companies per month

Personal

  • Go to the gym twice a week
  • Loose 1 stone in weight  ( working from home and endless cups of tea does not help your waistline )
  • Enjoy more time on my own ( maybe just go to the toilet on my own would be a good start )
  • Put Charley back into nursery part-time ( mama needs to work )
  • Start saying ‘no’ as I say ‘yes’ far too much
  • Run a 10K race

Quarterly Goal Breakdown

Quarter 1

  • Complete & graduate Digital Mums SMM Course
  • Complete ‘How To Hussle’ bolt-on Digital Mums course
  • Take on 2 new clients social media accounts
  • Plan Social Media For Beginners Course

Quarter 2

  • Retain working with 2 clients and look for 1 extra to work with
  • Advertise and run Social Media For Beginners Course
  • Complete a YouTube Editing Course

Quarter 3

  • Retain 3 clients SM accounts
  • Plan and run How to set up and blog for your business course.
  • Have booked or completed my 10K race

Quarter 4

  • The UnNatural Mother to be a recognised brand
  • To be the go-to social media expert for local businesses
  • To have made money from my YouTube channel.
  • To have hit all my social media follower targets
  • To have earnt £10,000 income between my blog & my Social Media Management Company

What are your plans for 2018? Do you have a work goal or dream to concur? Comment below on your 2018 plans.

 

 

 

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Stock pictures used can be found at  http://www.rekitanicole.com/

 

You will all have seen my pictures on Instagram of me & Lee on our recent child-free day to Liverpool, having fun and knocking back the shots like teenagers. Having spent 7 years working in Liverpool I count the city as a 2nd home and have a great love of the ‘scouse’ way of life. Until my departure from my day job in July I spent many happy lunch hours having my ‘curly blow ‘ done and shopping in the worlds best Primark while sporting a head full of rollers. It was partly down to me missing my adopted city that we changed our annual Christmas Markets visit from Manchester to Liverpool .For anyone hasn’t been to Liverpool in the last couple of years or has wanted to visit Liverpool but didn’t know what the city has on offer I thought I would give you a quick guide to whats on this Christmas and where to go.

Liverpool One

No trip to Liverpool would be complete without a visit to Liverpool One. With a huge mix of shops from high street favourites like  Zara, Victoria’s Secret & Hollister to high-end luxury labels like Boss & Michael Kors. Between the restaurants, bars, and cinema you could spend the whole day just in this one area.Over the festive season, Liverpool One is running a campaign #GetChristmassy and have a selection of events running to truly get you into the Christmas Spirit. Why not enjoy Christmas on the park with a glass of hot mulled wine or if you really ‘have’ to bring the kids why not pop by the Disney Store to write Santa a letter. Liverpool One has something for everyone and whether you are just looking to grab a coffee before hitting the shop or you or you want a romantic lunch, Liverpool One is the place to start your day.

 

 

The Ice Festival

Having only experienced the manic , tightly cramped Christmas Markets in Manchester I was hugely relieved to see that the Liverpool Markets outside St Georges Hall and the Ice Festival at Pier Head provided ample room to walk about and had a lot more activities to get involved in as well as a large selection of bars and food outlets. Not wanted to return home with a broken ankle I skipped the Ice-rink in favour of the Ice Bar. A unique cool ice experience featuring a glittering room of crystal clear ice sculptures where even the bar, tables and chairs are carved from real ice. The shots on offer help keep the chill-out and if you are feeling like a true Ice Queen you can relax in a throne made entirely from ice. Prices are £7.50 pp inc a shot or soft drink and if only for the extremely instagramable scenery it well worth the price.

 

 

Cavern Club

The most Iconic club in Liverpool is still the place to go for amazing live music. The rise to fame of many of Liverpool’s stars inc the Beatles & Cilla Black all stems from performing on the Caverns stage. You will find a statue of John Lennon & now Cilla Black on the cobbled street entrance to the club and many of its locals can still tell you a few tales of ‘ Paul or Ringo getting up to mischief before they hit the big time. If for anything else it is great to soak up the atmosphere of the place and you can still feel the buzz bouncing off the walls.

 

 

I have given you a little taste of whats on in Liverpool this Christmas. For more inspiring ‘Things To Do ‘ check out the Liverpool One events diary HERE

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This post is in collaboration with Liverpool One but all my thoughts and opinions are my own.