Money worries are something I know a lot about. Over the years I have had my own and as a debt counsellor, I have helped so many families and individuals get out of debt and manage their finances better.
One thing that always strikes me is how troublesome the emotions around money worries and debt issues can be. It is so difficult to take practical action when you are in a blind panic as to who will knock on the door next, what threatening letter will appear in the post and how you are going to manage to put on a show at Christmas for the kids.
I asked some parents to describe their feelings when bills are high and income sometimes does not cover basis expenditure.
“When money is tight I feel suffocated and overwhelmed.” – Kirsty
“I have a mental money line beneath which I get extremely stressed” – Kati
“I hate being in debt and wish I could be done with it once and for all” – Claire
“I hate having money worries. When I do I am in a bad mood and miserable” – Victoria
“Money worries can leave you feeling very lonely. When my wife was pregnant with our third child and had stopped working I didn’t want to tell her we were falling more and more into debt” -. Peter
“Completely out of my depth and very uptight” – Kimberley
“I feel awful that we are having to be so tight with money Myself and my husband work 4 jobs between us and we still have to tell the girls no. As a parent it really hurts” -. Jade
“I hate it. It make me fell like all my options, choices and freedoms belong to somebody else like I have to justify every treat or non-essential item to some invisible banker. It makes me feel like I have no control over my future” – Luschka
Using my experience as a debt counsellor, I have put together a little money plan that will help people take baby steps to tackle money trouble. Subscribe to my blog and I will send you this resource. This is free of charge and just might help you get on track to solving those money issues once and for all
I am grateful to Beki Gowing who has shared her story of changing direction by leaving a safe job to set up a business. I found some of Beki’s business tips really helpful and I hope you do too.
“I remember sitting in a meeting with my boss, and senior management from numerous other teams. She’d had a great idea, and was trying to get it passed through the bureaucracy of the business. As I watched her negotiate numerous complexities, watering down her idea with each one and taking on more and more work, I realised that I didn’t want her job.
On paper I was in a great position. I’d left university with a first class degree, and won a place on the highly competitive John Lewis Graduate Scheme. I’d been there three years and was working as an Assistant Buyer in their home ware department. I ran projects, travelled to overseas factories, managed a small team, and created products to sell in shops. However I had never fallen in love with the job, and missed the creativity and freedom I’d experienced while studying textile design at university, freelancing as a designer, and interning with fashion and design companies.
Deciding to leave was a big, terrifying decision, as I loved the people I worked with, and knew I was leaving a safe, secure job for something unknown and very risky. I spent over six months researching, planning and securing funding to see if my business was possible. I would recommend anyone considering starting a business to get as much support as possible. Try and go to as many networking events, trade shows, webinars, and free events, and see what free support is available from your local council, chamber of commerce, and local groups. You will get lots of unhelpful advice, but ideas and feedback from people who aren’t involved with your business, and the feeling that you’re not on your own, will make a huge difference.
I set about creating what would become Print & Press, London in the evenings, weekends, tube journeys, and any spare time I had. I knew the important thing was to create a point of difference with my company, so it could offer something different and better than other fabric printing companies in the UK. One of the easiest ways to start creating an identity for your company is to look at your competition. Put yourself in your customers’ shoes and visit websites, shops, and markets. Find out what you like, what seems overly complicated, what seems to be missing, and decide on your unique selling points. I decided that Print & Press, London should give excellent, personal customer service; have an easy to use website; clear, easy to understand prices; and a focus on high quality professional prints suitable for designers and businesses. These aims gave me the foundation for the business, and everything we do relates back to this.
When I left my job (with lots of tears, and a small amount of panic), I thought I was cutting ties with my buying career, and starting something completely new. Since then, I’ve realised the opposite is true, and the importance of playing to my strengths. Most of our customers are small businesses and designers, who want to sell their products to earn an income. My previous retail and buying experience has been invaluable, as I have been able to offer support and advice on pricing, working with suppliers and retailers, launching collections, and building a strategy. I do this partly through our blog and weekly emails to help our customers grow their business, and am looking to develop this further to offer bespoke training and coaching. This is an avenue I would never have considered when I set up Print & Press, London, and I would encourage anyone considering starting a business to think about all of their skills (even if they seem unrelated) to see if they can be incorporated.
The past year has been tough, and I have had too many top of the world highs, and ‘I’ve made the biggest mistake’ lows to count. But not only do I now want my job, but I have the power to make my ideas happen without watering anything down.”
Beki Gowing is the founder and Manager of the digital fabric printing company Print & Press, London. They help customers to print their own fabric, and create printed textiles for numerous small fashion and homeware brands in the UK.
Are you thinking about leaving a safe job to set up a business?”
It takes a lot for the women I feature to share their stories so openly so please do hit one or more of the sharing is caring buttons below.
My personal blogging story began 10 years ago. I am going to reflect back on how it changed for me over the years and to share my lessons in the hope they might inspire some new bloggers because we need to hear women’s voices loud and clear.
The blogs that never got a single comment
When I first started blogging, I was in a mess. I did not know what I was doing. I just knew I was miserable, had no idea how to juggle 3 children with anything approaching aplomb and I hated having somehow ended up being a nobody. So I would start a blog, rant about household and parenting disasters and then give up a few days or weeks later.
The anonymous blog
I blogged anonymously for a few years with a blog called Giggling at it all. My mother could see I was suffering from post-natal depression. One morning when she was celebrating Christmas at our house, fuelled by whisky, she told me in a way that she should be obeyed, that I should start writing. She did not say it was for therapy but I think that is what was behind her advice. She knew I had always wanted to write and I think she felt it would give me a sense of identity. Within a few weeks, she announced that she was terminally ill with cancer. Now let me tell you when you covet statistics, let it be known that these are often got through blogging openly and honestly about horrendous times and loss. Be careful what you wish for is my advice when it comes to statistics! Ditto awards for being inspirational – the come with a price tag!
I had no ideas about the bells and whistles of the tech side of blogging and did not know that blogging networks existed. If you are at this point in your blogging journey, know that it is OK to not know anything and that this will be looked back on as one of your most joyous times of blogging. Once you know about stats, review opportunities and monetisation, you can never blog quite as freely again, My blog at this time did not even have photographs on it as I am very much the wordsmith.
The lovely thing was that people started to want to know who was behind the blog so I felt I had to come out. I posted a photo of myself thinking everyone would comment on my ugliness but our greatest fears rarely happen.
Kate on thin ice
Kate on thin ice was born in 2011 when I was having issues with Blogger that I could not be bothered to work out and ever one was raving about WordPress so I made the switch. By now I knew about blogging networks, linkies and awards. I set up my own linky going by the name of Groovy Mums. People came to this as if by magic and it touched a real nerve with people who were a little lost perhaps due to confidence issues, depression, relationship breakdown or just the stuff that shows up when we become mums. I loved hosting Groovy Mums and have always felt I gained more from it than the beautiful women taking part. I learned that women are not always as they seem and may not be revealing the very real personal torments they are going through. I learned to take risks and we got Groovy Mums trending on Twitter when I hosted a Twitter party. Of course I was clueless or I would have collaborated with a brand and made some money out of all this. However, I made what money can never buy in terms of heartfelt friends that are with me to this day.
Blogging events were totally outside my comfort zone as it meant meeting people in real life. Offline I am shy and introverted often found in the loo or trying to disappear into a wall. I actually volunteered to speak at BritMums Live as I knew that was the only way I would not bottle it completely as I had done the year before. As for the speaking, well I was never invited to do it again so I will leave you to draw your own conclusions. I have now attended a handful of blogging conferences and facilitated at BritMums Live usually to be found working out if my underwear will stay up and keep everything in place.
My blogging story was emotional
It was not planned but my blog covered emotions right from the start partly because I was so immobilised by post-natal depression and partly through the sense of loss before and after my mum’s passing. I found out people seemed to find it helpful when I told the truth warts and all so I shared my memories of childhood, my adoption, my martial issues, my parenting troubles and my grief when my Dad passed away.
I had always joked with my husband about the fact that some bloggers had gone on VIP trips to Orlando. I knew I did not have the profile for that type of thing so it was easy just to use it as an example to where blogging might take you as my husband saw my blogging just as a hobby. Never ever write yourself or your blog off! In 2013 just when my son was really struggling to come to terms with my Dad’s death and was having troubles in school, we were invited on a press trip to Orlando. I said yes because my friend Polly told me I would not have hesitated to go when I was 21 and because my Dad would have said “Go because they would not have invited you if they did not want you there!” which was always his advice when I was invited to parties and trying to convince myself that everybody hated me. I was out of my depth with proper journalists and bloggers when we got to Florida with my cheap camera and lack of notebook. I will be forever grateful to Jen, Kirstie, Sally and Kelly who were so lovely with us. That is another lesson – if you tell other bloggers how you feel they will do everything they can to help with a couple of exceptions and we don’t talk about them because they have their own issues going on.
It was years before someone offered me a review and I did not know they existed so did not ask for any. Our first review was a toy hamster that chatted away. There must be some deep meaning in that! Lovely things followed and I particularly remember a Christmas hamper from Marco Pierre White partly because we were skint at the time and it made our Christmas special.
Working for BritMums
It was probably in 2012 when I started working on the charity round-up for BritMums that my profile went up but along with that came the idea that I had more confidence that I did. I moved on to being social media manager before the amazing Aby took over to show how it is really done. I have said it a few times but Susanna and Jen at BritMums changed my life in such a positive way even if they still don’t quite understand my Yorkshire accent.
What next in my blogging story?
I have found my niche which was staring me in the face all the time. I asked what I was all about and my husband said “supporting women obviously.” It was a light bulb moment and my focus from now on as the blog covers self-care, parenting and the troublesome challenges like debt, housing, employment and family stuff that can hit any of us at any time. I will be offering free advice on the stuff women struggle with so if you have a problem/issue you would like me to tackle let me know via my “Contact Me” page. You can also subscribe to my blog to access freebies of the useful variety throughout the year.
I believe in myself more than I ever did and will proactively seek out exciting opportunities. I always was far braver than I made out. I just needed to feel it for myself and the reasons for my insecurity are pretty clear seeing as I spent the first year of my life in a convent waiting for adoptive parents to show up. When they did they were superb and my blogging will always be my mum’s legacy and what a lovely one it is too.
Watch this space – the next 10 years are going to change the world or at least one mum’s life that needs a little support.
Happy Anniversary Kate on thin ice – you did not slip as many times during your blogging story as you thought you would and you are a writer just like you always wanted.
If you would like to share your personal blogging story please leave a comment or you could feature your story on my blog and let others now what blogging means to you.
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The health of our gut affects almost every aspect of our mind and body; from our mood and immune system, to digestive health and comfort – so everyone can benefit from eating the right foods to keep it happy.
To help you give your gut the care and attention it deserves, ‘gut guru,’ nutritionist and cook Dr Joan Ransley has selected a range of gut healthy foods for the Love Your Gut campaign.
Dr Joan Ransley’s food picks are full of gut loving fibre and micronutrients and low in components that might upset the gut such as fat and poorly absorbed simple and complex sugars.
Enjoy the foods knowing you are giving your gut the love it deserves!
Bananas (not too ripe), blueberries, melon, oranges, pineapples and strawberries are all great gut-friendly options within the fruit category.
Carrots, broccoli, spinach and kale are amongst the vegetables which provide a great source of dietary fibre, as well as a mix of micronutrients and polyphenols which are good for the bacteria in the gut.
Herbs and Spices
Gut-friendly spice options include cinnamon, coriander, cumin seeds, ginger and turmeric. Herbs include chives, parsley, fresh coriander, tarragon and dill.
Oily Fish for gut health
Oily fish such as salmon is a great option for the gut as they contain omega-3s which can help to combat gut inflammation.
The outer layer of the oat kernel is high in a soluble fibre called beta-glucan which retains fluid and gently stimulates a stubborn bowel.
So how is your gut health and are you committed to trying some of the kitchen must haves that improve tummy health?
Getting over post-natal depression is possible and I really want women to know that as I know how truly awful the condition can be. I am writing this post to talk about some of the signs of post-natal depression that families, friends and colleagues can look for, I will also highlight some of the tools that can help a mum going through post-natal depression. I am hoping that mums who are starting to recover but might not feel that will be given hope by this post as highlight some of the signs mums are on the mend.
Signs of post-natal depression
Poor personal hygience
Finding it hard to throw the duvet back in the morning
Never getting thrilled about anything
Seeking out darkness
Being scared of other people
Things that help women in getting over post-natal depression
Online support via social networks and mum groups like Net Mums and Mumsnet
Baby steps and not expecting too much of yourself
Writing or blogging it out can be helpful
What happens when you start to recover from post-natal depression?
Even in tiny ways you will start to feel like a somebody rather than a nobody. It is so easy to lose sight of yourself as a mum.
Tackling health issues such as needing to lose weight or gain weight
Investing in treats for yourself
Looking after yourself
Not accepting everything people dump on you
Noticing light and that there really is one at the end of the tunnel
You realize your story can help others
You stop always putting other people first
You start to say yes to positive experiences rather than hiding from them
You know you can make a fresh start
Expressing your thoughts and feelings and saying what you need
Recognizing your own talents, skills qualities and achievements
You realize you are not alone
You stop self-medicating with booze or other negative influences
Is it worth seeking help for post-natal depression?
There is lots of help out there both medication and talking therapies – neither define you as bad or mad although your poor friend depression might try to convince you of that until you get better
You will enjoy parenting in a much fuller way when you start to recover.
You will also be a better parent to your children although you are a good enough mum right now
You can make up for the dark days by making new and positive memories for you and yours
What needs to change?
Better recognition of the signs of post-natal depression
More resources for mental health services
More recognition and support for mums in the workplace
I know about getting over post-natal depression because I have done it but it was a long battle and I want to speed the recovery period up for other mums if I am able to do so.