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Author of my own destiny

This week is a biggy. A biggy in terms of stepping into my light, sharing my struggles so as to empower and inspire others. And also a biggy in terms of realising a life long ambition.

A couple of months ago I said yes to an opportunity totally outside of my comfort zone. I have always loved to write, and dreamed of one day being a published author. So I said yes to co-authoring a book, writing a chapter, three thousand of my own words to be shared with the stories of many other inspiring women. The Divine Power of the Feminine Collective is empowering, inspiring, and being part of this project has quite literally changed my life.

The premise of the book is to inspire other women to begin their personal journeys, to reconnect to their inner wild woman and step into their power, into their unique light. I will be going live on my facebook page on Sunday to share my reasons for taking part in this project as part of the launch celebrations.

Taking part in this process, of facing some tough emotions and committing them to text, has been therapeutic. Sharing my darkness, my struggle with family and friends, has brought it to the light. It has definitely been a bit of an emotional one. But I feel more aligned and purposeful than I ever have before, I feel connected to my wild woman, to my higher self and I feel guided by my intuition to continue to write and continue to spread my light.

I have created a new facebook group called Divine, Aligned and Reconciled, hence the change of name in this blog! I aim to combine business-y stuff with mindfulness, meditation and inspiration to help others to find their power, to pursue their passion and live the fullest and richest life imaginable.

In times of uncertainty I am more determined than ever to realise my dreams, every single one of them. Who’s joining me?

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She’s back, kind of

Being a small business owner is tough. Being a mum in business, who home educates and works around 3 kids aged 4 to 16 is, at times, mind blowingly impossible! I spend my days juggling, though give me an actual set of balls and I’d drop them all in a heartbeat! For all the time I spend planning and organising, when it comes down to it sometimes things just don’t get done. We’ve had dinosaur maths worksheets for about 3 weeks now – 4-year-old not interested. But he has built some amazing wooden machines, been on epic adventures and mastered writing the alphabet. We’ve had phonics worksheets for the same time, the first one has been done but no more. But the 6-year-old has read Disney Princess stories unaided for the first time, she’s made and fixed 1000 different slimes and has taken really good care of our new pet rabbit. And I have a to do list a mile long, mainly practice admin tasks but at least my own accounts are up to date! Sometimes my days run smoothly, productively, everyone is focussed and on the same page. Most days, however, are the opposite! But that’s life and that’s ok. Its ok not to have everything together. If more of us admitted we don’t have everything together perhaps there would be quite the mental health epidemic, particularly amongst mums, that we have now. This is something I have struggled with for a few years and every day takes a conscious effort to be mindful of where my own head is at, my own energy, and to not punish myself when the day doesn’t go as planned and not everything gets done. You can’t be a perfectionist at life, unless of course you have a team behind you doing every little thing – and by team, I mean a nanny, cook, cleaner, personal assistant! The rest of us stand no chance and need to let go of the idea that we can be everything to everyone. Because trying to be everything to everyone only leads to being nothing to no-one when you burn out. Trust me I know first-hand how that feels!

This blog is on my to do list indefinitely and is one thing that always gets “carried forward” but without the red pen. (Red pen carry forward means must get done this week!) I have procrastinated, I have been overwhelmed, I have been underwhelmed, I have been idealess I’ve had too many ideas…and the result is that it has been years since I wrote anything! And I love to write, its soothes my soul, I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was a teenager and its something I know I should nurture. I decided on January 1st, instead of setting new year’s resolutions which I never keep, I would make 2020 the year I do more of what sets my soul alight, I would do things that bring me joy, that raise my vibration and that serves my greater good (though I’m still to determine what that is!) My first decision was to buy a caravan. I have wanted a caravan since I was a girl, my auntie had one and I loved watching them get it ready for a holiday, we even holidayed with them a few times. We briefly had a trailer tent but its not quite the same thing! At a home ed forest school session last summer, talk of caravans came up again with my lovely friend Helen (she writes a fabulous blog find it here – https://wittyhoots.com/cms/) and that really got me thinking about it again. My busiest month of the year, my most profitable month of the year, is January. And an opportunity came knocking that I threw myself into headfirst! So I am now the proud owner of a tourer caravan with a permanent base and I cannot wait for the season to start so that I can spend time in my happy place, the caravan of chill, that I can be inspired by the seasons and get my creative juices flowing again. So, I’m planning on caravan time being blog writing time! I’m even doing a blog writing course to uplevel my skills!

So really this is just a big hello from me, I’m back and will be creating new content over the forthcoming months. So watch this space!

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Happy Birthday To Me!!!!

Today is a very special day for GA Bookkeeping NE – my very first birthday! It seems a bit mad that 12 months have flown by already – a whole year of trying to promote and grow my fledgling business and more importantly a whole year of juggling the aforementioned with family life! And we are all still here, in one piece, and about to become one more in a months time! I have (just about!) survived my first summer holidays as a work from home mum – though not as much work got done as I would’ve hoped! I have celebrated today by being super-productive – I have ticked 16 jobs off my To-do list something I am extremely proud of, almost as proud as turning 1! So being full of motivation I thought I would write tonight and reflect on the year that has gone by far too quickly.

I have shared my birthday with the cycling #tourofbritain visiting Northumberland. I managed to sneak a quick glimpse of Mr Wiggins and co out my bedroom window! I am not a fan of cycling i’ll admit I can barely pump up a tyre but I totally get the exhilaration & freedom & the wind blowing in your face! Given my current state being 8 months pregnant I think the bike would run away rather than let me sit on it though!

So of my first 12 months, I have spent 8 months getting larger and more uncomfortable each day as my new little man grows bigger inside me. I am very grateful to have the freedom to put my feet up when I need to, to work from the sofa with the laptop on my knee or just take time out when I’ve had to. I have admitted this before and I shall say it again – I am not very good at asking for help. I am extremely grateful to the admin team of the Northumberland Mumpreneurs for being amazing ladies, fantastic friends and taking the reins from me. So with tasks in hand today I have taken a step back as I finish up GAB work and wind down for the start of maternity leave on 1 October and then await little Harry’s arrival!

Its been quite a year, from the Business Northumberland Start Your Business Event in January & being interviewed by Helen Ford on ITV Tyne Tees News about my views on the election (!) to being featured on the Be Digital website, being invited VIP to their official launch later this month (I’ve even bought a frock for the occasion that doesn’t resemble a bin bag or a tent! lol) and being identified as a Top Young North East Entrepreneur and invited to an exclusive evening event in Newcastle to celebrate with some of the regions biggest business names! Exciting stuff – just hope it doesn’t send me into early labour! Though that would be quite a headline and massive PR opportunity for the Northumberland Mumpreneurs wouldn’t it!

Eek just seen the time, 1am and I still have to iron uniform and make packed lunch yet – oops! Better put the GAB pen down, put my Mam pinny on briefly and then get myself to bed in preparation of another productive day tomorrow!

Bonne nuit a tous!

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“I want to inspire people. I want someone to look at me and say because of you I didn’t give up”

This is one of my favourite quotes. Ever. I have been
reading about the law of attraction, practicing gratitude and trying to
appreciate all that I have been blessed with (even the teen and toddler
tantrums – aren’t I so lucky to have been blessed with such spirited independent
determined children she says through gritted teeth!) and it really is the
little things that make life good. More than good, amazing in fact. I last
blogged about getting into a routine and becoming super productive before my
new little man arrives. I am getting more productive but not by way of routine!
Sometimes life doesn’t work out that way and you have to embrace change and
just roll with it. I am rolling with it big time. My personal life, my marriage
in particular, has been the biggest challenge of all lately. And the hardest
decision we’ve ever made has worked out to probably be one of the best. My
husband moved out a few weeks ago. I still love him, he still loves me. But we
have reached an impasse and instead of plodding on regardless destroying each
other in the process we jointly decided to stop, to take a break, have some
space and get our individual selves back on track. Without the stress and
pressure of the almost constant arguing, we are both happier, we are both more
focussed and driven. We are both determined to make the most of the quality time
we spend together with the kids. And it’s working, I have my friend and
confidante back not just someone who annoys the hell out of me, kills my
positivity and leaves dirty washing randomly about the house! So since he has
moved out once the kids are in bed I have my (albeit late!) evenings to myself
to work! Hence I am more productive! I wrote down my ultimate to do list and
have spent the last 3 evenings slowly chipping away at it and I am starting to
see progress. And loving the snowball effect, I am feeling the benefit of
ticking jobs off that have been there for some time and clearing the long time
blockages from my journey & my eternal quest for productivity!

So the routine bit hasn’t worked out quite yet, but we are
only 3 days into the summer holidays there’s time yet! They have been 3
particularly fraught days as well – I have been suffering with my hips and a
baby that appears to enjoying putting particular pressure on my right one so
negotiating the toddler, a heat pack and paracetamol in humid weather whilst
not sleeping great hasn’t had me in the best fettle. And when the pre-teen
outstayed his curfew by 3.5 hours on Monday – yes you read that right THREE AND
A HALF HOURS – I was about ready to run or rather waddle away! Parenting is a never-ending
constantly changing challenge of all challenges and after a very emotional end
of primary school last week has been the ultimate rollercoaster just lately! I
read a very amusing article earlier though about childrens bedtime routines and
it kind of put things into perspective a bit. They are not children for very
long. I can testify that I do not honestly know where the last 12 years have
gone, I feel like I have blinked and suddenly we are about to start high
school, but it seems it was only yesterday he was clinging onto my leg and
sobbing at not wanting to go to nursery! In fact it seems only yesterday that I
was starting high school! How can I now have a child about to embark on that
journey?! I want to enjoy my children, I want them to enjoy their childhoods. I
want them to grow up & want to be the kind of parent that I am if that
makes sense. I want them to be inspired. I want their days to be filled with
magic and wonder, optimism and positivity. I want them to aim big and dream
bigger. So I am not putting pressure on the routine, I choose to have extra
cuddles, I choose to sleep with a toddler leg strewn across my face because
that means that in the morning I get the snoozy snuggles and before long she
won’t want snoozy snuggles. When the pre-teen left for his school residential
trip without so much as a bye never mind a hug or a kiss I wish I had hugged
him that little bit tighter before we set off for school. I chose to embark on
my self-employment mission to spend more time with them, to be present, to teach
them & show them that commitment, hard work & dedication for a greater
goal pays off. So I better had hadn’t I! I’m sure we’ll get there, eventually!

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I have the power!

I can’t believe it is the end of June already! My last post
was the end of April, a shockingly fast 3 months ago! Apologies avid readers
(and my perpetually busy mind which needs the regular download!)

A lot has happened in the last 3 months. We hosted our first
Northumberland Mumpreneurs Event, Chocolate Tea Party in aid of Sick Childrens
Trust. The event was a bit last minute, very chaotic & a tad stressful but
enjoyed by those that came both visitors and participators and we managed to
raise £155.50! You can read about it in our blog here.

We’ve had a whole host of guest speakers at the mumpreneurs
meet ups – from holistic therapist Yvonne Bruce of Try Therapy who ran a
fabulous EFT workshop; to Victoria Fleming from Buzztastic Ltd who wowed and
inspired us with her sales secrets; to Graham Soult of Canny Insights who
showed us how to pep up our kerb appeal. We have also chosen our first
Northumberland Mumpreneur of the Month the lovely Kirsty Slaven with her
business Little P’s Pretty Occasions and the first mumpreneur newsletter is
well into production! Oh and in further news Northumberland Mumpreneurs is now
a limited company and is receiving support from the fabulous Cris Napier of
PNE. The group continues to inspire and motivate me, we had our first social
media brain storming session this morning and are planning a monthly accountability
meet up. With the support of each other we will achieve our dreams! Which leads
me nicely onto my main topic for discussion today!

GA Bookkeeping NE is keeping me busy things are going from
strength to strength & as my workload is increasing I am finding managing
my time to be my biggest hurdle at the moment. Apparently I am very good at
planning, less so at doing! Anyone else like writing lists too?! And having a
tantruming toddler, a very elderly Labrador & a husband who is on standby from
work in the house not to mention the ever growing bump is adding to my daily
challenge! Exhausted just typing that! So I have a new goal which is to get
more physically productive, get into a routine & keep my motivation up so
by the time this bump becomes a baby he will seamlessly fit into my well-oiled
GAB mumpreneur machine! With the help of practicing positivity and gratitude,
daily meditation (using the fabulous app Headspace if you haven’t heard of it I
highly recommend!) creating a work in progress board for clear visibility of
the jobs I have on, using a weekly planner & time blocks to plan my working
week in advance and splitting my new ultimate to do list into 3 achievable daily
tasks – I should be onto a winner! Got the tools I need in place just need to put
the plans into action now. One of my new favourite quotes is “Whether you think
you can or think you can’t you are right” – I am the only person stopping me
from fulfilling my goals. And after a fabulous workshop with Gillian Smellie of
Lifecycles last week where she shared her secrets for turning dreams into
reality I am determined to achieve! I have my goals. I have the tools. To paraphrase a famous 80s childrens cartoon character “I have the power!”.

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Have you missed me?!

Well Good evening! Apologies for my absence but I lost my way a little, had a mini crisis, world was imploding you know the jist. But after a break I am back and I am buzzing and I am inspired! I am also expecting a baby! Lots going on at GAB HQ!

So my last post was many months ago, the way this year is going (are we really at the end of April already??!) it feels much longer! I have been on somewhat of a roller coaster ride and I am not a fan of fun fairs so it has not been the most pleasant of experiences! In February we lost my furry old boy Wes at the fabulous age of 14. My big black labrador pal was such a character and his deterioration was so fast it came as a real shock. I have been very lucky that in my almost 33 years I have never really suffered grief. Some people will say they’re just dogs or they’re just animals but a labrador is a faithful friend, a loyal companion and a happy waggy tail at the end of a long and tiring day. I still miss him every day but I am blessed to still have his big sister Cassie still with me at the ripe old age of 15 (92 in dog years!) I found it hard to come to terms with his loss and I completely lost my mojo, all the passion and drive I had after the previous months events disappeared overnight and I just couldn’t function so took some time out, some time to reflect and process the journey I’ve been on so far. And now I’m back and feeling energised (in between bouts of morning sickness!) and I have a new challenge to face – running my 2 businesses whilst juggling the start of high school for my eldest, with a toddler and a newborn at home, & with a husband who works away! Quite a challenge you might think! But I do like a challenge and after accepting that I need to be flexible and can’t control absolutely everything I feel driven to find a way to succeed! Heck I will make it work so I can share how it can work for you too! I want to inspire and encourage mums to go for it and what better way to do it than by living it, taking every business and parenting challenge that comes along one day at a time! I will endeavour to become the Ultimate Mumpreneur!!!

So I am feeling inspired and re-excited tonight after attending the Business Northumberland thank you event. Business Northumberland has been a fantastic service and it is sad that there is only short term funding for projects like these. All the staff are amazing, helpful, friendly, supportive and I feel proud & privileged not only to have received the fantastic support that i have but also to be associated with them. I got a very lovely surprise tonight at the event when my logo appeared on the screen during the presentation. I have been trading for 7 months now and I still get really excited if I see my name or my logo (designed myself on paint of all things!) or I get a mention somewhere. And I mean really excited that I think I squeaked during the presentation!! And then when project manager Ian Coull talked about Business Northumberland success stories me and the Mumpreneurs got a mention! So that’s twice in the space of about 10 minutes! That’ll be my confidence cup refilled then and I’m now too excited to sleep tonight! Despite the long day and being pregnant and constantly really tired! So I am writing this instead!

So I just want to end by saying a huge thank you to all the staff at Business Northumberland for the amazing job they have done and continue to do in different guises. I am very proud to be one of the 2000 people you have helped to start their businesses. I will continue to build my business, I will endeavour to help more Mumpreneurs build theirs, and I will be forever grateful for the opportunities you have given me & the experiences I have had that will last a lifetime. Thank you all and best wishes for the future.

Good Night 🙂 x

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Big up the Mumpreneurs!

What a meeting! And what a response! I was physically and emotionally drained last night but at the same time buzzing with excitement, ideas and possibility! Our biggest group yet over 30 ladies attended the February meeting of the Northumberland Mumpreneurs. Lots of new faces, lots of putting faces to names of people who have been active in the facebook group for some time but this was their first meeting. And for me, new clients! Always a bonus! I feel like a mother, this group is my baby and I am proudly watching her grow and develop! Over the last few months she has started to walk, toddled off to nursery and then yesterday in her brand new too-big uniform she started school! I am a very proud mother right now and like every mother I want the best for my child, and I want her to grow to do amazing things! Which I know she will, just like my real babies will achieve greatness so will my imaginary one!

Having so many people wasn’t without its hurdles, Willow Farm is a great venue for us as it has the play area, but it is still a pub and the layout isn’t exactly designed for speaking to a large group, nor are the acoustics! But easily solved next time with a bit of a rejig and a microphone! The manager of the pub Stew is lovely, very helpful, very accommodating, and I am sure we will find a way to make it work seamlessly! So now to plan the future of the group, get guest speakers booked and inspire “my” ladies into being the best that they can be and showing them that they can achieve their dreams.

“If you hang out with chickens you’re going to cluck and if you hang out with eagles you’re going to fly” – Steve Maraboli

We are flying! And its time we flew higher! I intend to write some press releases this weekend, the story of the Northumberland Mumpreneurs and get the name and our story out there, reach more mumpreneurs and spread the inspiration county wide, and get the attention of the local business community who might then get involved! The North East gets a bad press. I am not a northerner by tongue, my dad was in the RAF so I have lived all over, but I am definitely a Northumbrian in my heart – all my family are born and bred here, I have Northumberland in my blood! But for all the bad press, northerners are the best people – strong, determined, driven. Wise man Kofi Annan said “There is no tool for development more effective than the empowerment of women.” I am definitely feeling empowered and after the comments and responses in the facebook group last night I think that feeling is pretty mutual!

So now I have my work cut out, getting guest speakers and planning ahead. But as I learnt first hand yesterday trying to do everything myself and I nearly forgot the raffle, I really need to share the work out and I have lots of offers of help. Samantha Rickelton, North East Family Fun and Northumberland Mumpreneurs Executive Committee member has been using her contacts and online influence to tout for speakers and we already have one in the pipeline after just one day! I have tweeted Katie Bulmer-Cooke and am in negotiations with her manager. I am going to start hounding celebs on twitter, after all if Gary Barlow turned up to sing at someones wedding after she did just that, who knows Richard Branson might one day turn up! Gotta set my sights high!

So this is just a brief recap from yesterday, onwards and upwards work to be done!

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Mumpreneur at work

My new planner has yet to arrive and I feel a bit in limbo, like it is a crutch to my productivity, my goal planning and my ever increasing task list! Which is ridiculous I know I am ultimately responsible and I hold all the power! But yet again I have signed up for yet more marketing bumf – this time a free 14 day improve traffic website challenge that I have yet to open the day 1 email for (think I’ve got 4 days worth so far!) But I am sure that this planner with its personalised weekly goals, task list and notes section will be the key to me getting properly organised and less distracted!

That’s not to say I haven’t been busy – because I have! Inspired by The Girls Mean Business I have thought long and hard about what my facebook likers might want to see, and how to get more engagement. So I now have structured daily posts, designed on Canva with my new GA Bookkeeping NE branding. I have set posts on set days and hopefully in time it will get established and people will engage with the page! I have also redone my website www.gabookkeepingne.com in keeping with the new branding and then spent an almost sleepless night trying to work out key words and all that jazz. but that’s not nearly as complicated as Google+ in my opinion, but that’s another story, I don’t wish to relive the nightmare of trying to set up one page and ending up with three! I can totally understand why there are so many social media management businesses now, and I can’t wait to earn enough to hire one!!

My final act of extreme busyness this week has been setting up my swanky new office. Cleaning and clearing and sorting and reorganising. I now have the ultimate workstation and my office is complete with rocking chair with views of the garden, toddler slide and play area! Yep you guessed it, my swanky new office is in our conservatory! Still need a couple of extra layers on before I go in but I have a sign on the door so that makes it a proper office. And I am very excited!

Now that I have a proper workstation (no more dining table yippee!) there’s no stopping me! Little legs has been quite happy watching the birds, playing on her slide and sorting paperclips so I think this is a good move. So now the dining table has been reinstated to its proper use and our open plan house is no longer cluttered with accounts paraphernalia and equipment, and the tension that has been lingering like a bad smell for the past month has dissipated, the sense of calm is very welcome! Its also nice to have the separation – I can now shut the door and leave work behind, although I am currently on the sofa at 1am with the laptop on my knee. And as the husband is away at work I haven’t been switching off my phone of an evening either! But its company and keeps me occupied in his absence, otherwise it would be just me, the TV and the snoring Labradors! When he returns in 8 days I will be back to switching it off, though he is currently embarking on his own new business adventure so we’ll see how it goes now roles are reversed! Its hard when you embark on this journey and you share your life with loved ones, family and friends who don’t understand it, they don’t share your passion – its your business, your baby, not theirs. Its hard to share excitement in something they just don’t get! But now he does get it, now he shares the ambition, the drive, the determination for my business as well as his own. And its great to be able to support him fully as I know exactly how he feels! My husbands journey is in network marketing, something I knew didn’t understand and knew little about so I am learning a lot through him. He is part of a team who served together in the army & although that chapter of their lives was over some time ago, the comradeship and brotherhood is still very much alive and the support they have for each other is much like me and the Northumberland Mumpreneurs, although we haven’t survived a war together just the never-ending battle of motherhood! I am inspired by their energies and their stories, and I feel proud and privileged to be able to support them like I do the Mumpreneurs as well. One of Team Elite, Ross Austen, has a particularly inspiring story you can check out his website here www.livelifetotheplus.co.uk.

Well its now gone 1am and the toddler is wide awake – joy! Didn’t let her nap today to try and get her to bed at a reasonable hour, I guess that’s backfired! So instead of heading to bed I shall now be watching back to back episodes of Bing bunny until she dozes off again! Still, silver lining and all that gives me more chance to schedule some twitter posts or prepare for Thursdays Mumpreneurs meet up! This one is the biggest yet with 28 confirmed attendees in the facebook event! I shall definitely be writing after that, I think I will have much to download that night!!!