Fffffrrrreeeeeedddddooooommmmm!!!

2C04F89B00000578-0-image-m-16_1441578120202Now this is a weird one. As you all know, I have two kids, Jack (6yo) and Poppy (2, sorry nearly 3yo) and we are a close family.

I mean, the first time that jack has slept away from BOTH parents was the night that Poppy was born (we have both been away separately, IMG_7279but one parent had always been with him). Now, since having two kids, they have had, I think in total, three nights away from us both and one was the 20th Jan. One of my Christmas Present from Henry was tickets to see Jason Isabel in Bristol. He had arranged for the kids to stay over. Now the funny thing was, we both were as sick as dogs losing in our battle to fight Poppy and Jack’s colds we had been having for ages. But damn it, we went, had a great time and I, (not Henry, he went to work) had a lie in until 9am before my 10am meeting!!! AMAZING

However, Jack is growing up way to quickly. He spent the 17th at my parents over night without his sis as they took him to the panto. Then this Saturday to Sunday, he is at Beaver camp. Now I miss him! Poppy misses him and Hen misses him. Poppy misses him so much she sleeps in his bed! 

 Now, I know I should celebrate the freedom, spend time with the husband etc but I can’t help but feel guilty when they sleep somewhere else. I mean they are my children, my responsibility, the true loves of my life.  

end-times-jill-greenberg-1One of Jacks friends passed away before Christmas and he has truly handled it well. Me, on the other hand, it has made me not want to let him out of my sight. To hold them more. To tell them every single minute that I love them. Jack is very proud to be Frazers friend as, due to organ donation, Frazier went on to save 8 lives. To Jack, he is a superhero. 

Frazier’s mum has set up a charity called Believe, which is to get people talking about organ donation. T o support this, Jack and his karate group are doing a sponsored kick – 50 kicks in one minute (it is actually harder than you would think)! If you would like to donate, please comment and I will get back to you. 

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Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes

OS  DIGITAL RISK MAITANDI was in my previous job for 8 years and the one before that, a year. However, the thing that I am learning about being self employed is that change is a regular occurrence. Before, change scared me and I have spent the last year on edge thinking that when contracts aren’t renewed, it is something that I have done, that I am not good enough and that I am plain useless and cant do this! 

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I have had one main client now for a year and that contract is coming to an end for no negative reason. The company has grown and need someone there full time. This is not for me. When I was first told, I was sad, scared and started to be bloody hard on myself. However, I realised – hang fire, this could be the start of something amazing.

And you know what?…I was right. It made me go out and network. It made me get out of my comfort zone and do the things I have been putting back. 

shutterstock_55931275I, finally, started to set up my mental health project, My Discombobulated Brain. I started to reach out to people that I wanted to work with. People who or whose product I believe in. The reason behind this is that it is way easier to be a part of something if it excites you. If it gets you right there in the gut. 

Now I am not, by any stretch, saying that the work I don with my longest running client doesn’t excite me – it really does. I mean, I am SO BLOODY HAPPY that they have grown, had their investment and need someone full time.  I feel that is a huge part of what I do and it appeals a lot to the mumma side of me – the nurturing development of it. 

 download (1)I am a completely different person to who I was when I started with them and that is down, a lot, to them. They built me up, stood by me and picked me up, sometimes literally! I have made some life long friends whom I will never be able to pay what they have done for me back. 

The key thing that I am learning is change is good. yes the battle of the finances is a graft but you know what…it is worth it, every darn second!

Also I got to quote the late, great Bowie for the title so to make you smile here is his video for, ‘Changes.’

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2015 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 2,800 times in 2015. If it were a cable car, it would take about 47 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Harry Holland

Today’s blog is about Harry Holland a man that I have been lucky enough to work for. Harry is an amazing artist!

Harry Holland

Harry Holland is widely regarded as one of Britain’s best craftsmen, producing technically brilliant and very beautiful paintings.  His style is distinctive and immediately recognisable, something which every artist seeks. 

thumb_7261944The paintings are suggestive in the sense that they imply situations, events, or relationships that are not directly expressed; this fills them with an engaging sense of mystery.  A master of painting, Holland works with uncompromising commitment and sincerity to produce art that is intense and rewarding.  He has a predominant interest in the formal and technical aspect of painting.

Born in Glasgow in 1941 he spent his childhood in various parts of the UK settling in London in 1949.  He trained at St. Martin’s School of Art from 1965-69 where he first exhibited in 1969.  In 1973 he moved to Cardiff where he lives and paints today.

joniI am very lucky to class this gentleman as a friend. Yes, Laura but why are you telling me all of this! Well, Harry has relaunched his website and is putting great videos showing him sketch and draw. Harry has had an amazing career, I mean even Joni Mitchell (yes THE Joni Mitchell) has one of his pieces. He is also going to be doing a blog once a month and you would be mad to miss it!

Watch this time lapse video and marvel in the amazingness!

 

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Christmas Traditions

11855667_10153556074987442_2245968308611609691_nWe are all in the thick of it. I mean, this week alone I have had two Christmas dos – a third tonight, a school nativity and countless questions to why can’t I open all the doors of the advent calendar!

 But I do really love this time of year, especially nowIMG_4397 I have kids. There is nothing more amazing than seeing them happy and excited, in awe of the lights and decorations. As adults, we lose that and I for one am trying to bring it back into my life and live the wonder like them.

12342428_10153773203157442_4380311720577637269_nAnyway, back to the title…traditions. One thing I love is finding out people’s Christmas traditions. Every family has their own ones for many different reasons. In my childhood, the rule was you ate breakfast before you went into the living room to see if Santa had been – he always had…like you would even question if I was on the nice list! gummiebearsAlso, every year, my dad and I would watch a video of a ZZTop documentary and then Gummi Bears.

IMG_0035In my husband’s home, they would all go into his parents room, sit on the bed with his parents and open their stockings. I have other friends whose traditions range from one present before church to one present on Christmas eve.

One of the things you don’t really think of when you get married is how to combine these traditions, what do you keep? If any!

My-Favorite-Christmas-Tradition-Is-300x300We have created our own family ones- mainly as we couldn’t agree on any bar Gummi Bears! So here are ours:

•           New Christmas Eve PJ’s

•           Not 5am!

•           All go downstairs together

•           Take it in turns, we watch and interact it’s not a free for all! This includes the cat!

•           We have a lot of candles…a lot – Sainsbury’s Christmas scent is the best

•           Homemade rum truffles – lots of rum

•           Homemade Christmas cake – A LOT of sherry

•           Champagne and beer

•           Sainsbury’s red currant jelly

•           German gingerbread  

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What are yours? I would love to know.

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Why Social Media is good!

I have put a wee list of reasons why you need to be on Social Media. It just so happens that this is something I can help you with. I can give you a social media plan, analyse your social media or even run it for you! So here is the list:10-Tips-to-Buying-Gemstones1-239x300

  • It allows you to create relationships with your audience and helps to build trust. It makes your business seem more human and something your audience can relate to.

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  • You can receive instant feedback from your customers, which gives you a valuable insight into what it is they are looking for and allows you to react quickly.

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  • You can share your message with a large potential audience as quickly as possible.

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  • You can increase your audience and find many more potential customers by being visible.

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  • It is easier on your budget than traditional marketing channels. Facebook and Twitter may make it difficult to reach all of your followers without paying for ads, but they are still a cheaper alternative even if you go down the paid route.

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  • You can learn about your audience, something that is key to your success. This allows you to target your audience more effectively.

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  • You can learn more about your competitors too, helping you stay ahead. What do they do well and what do they do badly?

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  • Social media is an easy way to direct people to your website. Get more shares and you increase your search ranking as well.

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  • It helps you to increase brand awareness by being more visible in the places your customer are. Everyone is on social media! Remember, this also means that you have to be responsible for what you post.

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  • Whether you are on social media or not, your customers are and they could be talking about you. Why not talk back?

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Here comes Christmas

 baahumbugNow some people might put me in the category of bbbaaaa humbug, but I don’t start Christmas until December. This is for two reasons, one I am married to a Scot who won’t let me do it any other way and the second is that it is my eldest’s birthday on 18th November so up to then it is just all about him.

 So with Christmas coming, everyone is starting to think about the Christmas Holidays! Are you wondering how you are going to do your social media, emails etc over the holidays? I have the answer…ME!!!

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Sorry that turned into a sales pitch – not really sorry…or am I? 

crazy ffamily But anyway! December is the really crazy time for business’ and families so it is a time when you may find that someone like me in my role, where you can utilise me for as much or as little time as you need, could be useful! I can do things from Christmas present sorting (oh yes I do that too!) to sorting your social media and answering your emails over the Christmas period. Want to send a Christmas newsletter but don’t know who to or have time…call me! 

 Yes, ok, this was a total sales pitch!

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Quality not quantity

So on Friday I didn’t do a blog. The reason behind this was, well several things. I was super busy and had been all week. No, I’m not telling you this for sympathy because I love it. Also I hadn’t written anything that really fitted. Sometimes I write and it froze and sometimes I stare at the screen. Sometimes it is best to say nothing then say something for the hell of it. So why have I even written this piece. I wanted to let you know that you haven’t been forgotten. That I do love writing for my blog. However I would rather give you quality and not quantity.

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Naysayers

blogIf you follow me on social media, you will see that recently I have been posting about naysayers. The people that say you can’t do it. The reason why this is on my mind is that it was exactly a year ago that I started to seriously consider going self-employed. I started to do the maths and convince myself no. Then I convince myself yes and so on and so forth.

diaryBasically, nearly every Dernie is born in October or November. This means with Christmas coming up too, this is the most expensive time of the year, so it was easy to talk myself out of starting up, along with the help of some naysayers. These are people who say you can’t do it. They say this because they’re not living their dreams. They say this because they wanna break you down.

IMG_4222However, some of them say these things because they’re scared for you. You see, my thoughts on this go full circle. I would advise any friend to seriously consider if this is what they want to do. Going self-employed is fun and I love it but it doesn’t suit everyone. There are stresses.
I’ve got two kids and a husband, a mortgage and the cat! I have to consider them as well.

But Taylor Swift puts it best when she says the haters gonna hate (hate, hate, hate, hate) and the best thing to do if you truly believe that you can do this, if you have sat down and you’ve worked everything out, if you have spoken to the other people that it’s going to affect, then you just have to shake it off, shake it off!

Yes, I have basically ripped off T Swift for this!

12002153_639545886188361_233385032975899758_nThe reason I say this is my family are amazing and so supportive. It was a year ago when I started considering leaving my full-time employment, however, I didn’t take the plunge and do this full-time until March the following year. Since then, I have loved every second. Jack, my eldest, says I’m a better mummy. My husband says I’m happier. People say I look physical different and I’m hoping that isn’t related to my weight!

So many people will tell you no, you can’t do it, but do you know what…you can. You can do anything that you want to. Never let anyone else’s opinion stop you living the life you are meant to.

 

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Crying again! Thanks John Lewis.

john-lewis-logoCongratulations John Lewis, once again you have made me cry with your advert! I think this one resinates with all of us as we all have parents and grandparents. However, I wonder how much pressure they are under each year to produce this masterpiece that costs them 7 million pounds!

cocaCoca-Cola started this trend when they created the Christmas Coca-Cola Truck back in 1995.The thing is, Coca-Cola haven’t really developed this any further, because they haven’t needed to. They are such an iconic brand that once they decided what they wanted a Coca-Cola Christmas to look like, they never needed to change it. They made a handful of Christmas adverts and have remained the icon that they are. People, including my family, have Coca-Cola advert competitions where the first person to see it contacts the rest and announces they have won – we all then owe the winner a drink. The biggest problem for me is they tend to do it during X-Factor and I don’t watch it, which tends to mean that I end up having to buy one of this lot a drink! familyIn fact, the advert should be first shown in the second ad break of the X- factor this Saturday should you play! 

The advertisements may cost millions and millions but how many of you buy into it? It may seem like a giant outlay but the revenue that they make from it and making them an iconic brand is worth every penny.

iron brewI think that it is time that I share with you my all time favourite Christmas advert. As most of you know, my husband is Scottish so we sometimes spend Christmas in Scotland and that is where I saw this. The Iron Brew Christmas advert. The best one ever so sit back, get that hot chocolate and enjoy my favourite advert.

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