I am delighted to share my interview with Rachel Bustin where she shares her blogging journey including the sad reason she started blogging and how her blog has developed from a hobby into a job.

Blogging Journey

Why did you start to blog?

I started to blog in March 2015 after my 3rd miscarriage. It was my husband who suggested it to me to take my mind off things.

How did you feel when you started blogging?

I was feeling down after my unlucky time of trying to get pregnant, so blogging was my release. In fact I fell in love with blogging very quickly. Back then I blogged about books, gardening and competitions. Slightly different to the family lifestyle I blog about today.

How do you feel about blogging today?

It’s amazing! I have finally found my thing in life, my career!

What is your proudest achievement related to blogging?

That I’m able to help support my family and have that little extra money for things.

What is the most exciting event you have attended as a blogger?

Living down in Cornwall, events are few and far between!

Do you monetize your blog and, if so, how?

My main source of income is sponsored posts. I do have some adverts but have made like £32 from Google Adsense in 3 years! I have made a few pounds from affiliate income sources but it’s not a lot. I think you need huge amounts to make real money from these. 

What do you find most challenging about blogging?

The promoting of blog posts. I never seem to have enough time to promote once I have written the post I’m on to the next one.

What surprised you most about blogging?

The online world of bloggers I never knew existed. Always there to help and advise. It’s an awesome community.

How do you balance blogging and family life?

I’m not sure to be honest. I work full time in my day job, so do lots at lunch times at work. Oh I don’t have much time to sleep either my brain is always coming up with blogging ideas. I have a never ending list of things I need to get done with the blog. I think the balance need to be better for me and I’m aiming to take an evening off a week…..maybe!

What would lead to you giving up blogging?

I can’t see anything that would ever lead me to give up blogging, but you never know!

What is your top tip for a new or inexperienced blogger?

Go straight to self hosted. I started off on blogger for about 14 months but was limited in what I could do. 

Is there anything else you would like to share?

Blogging for me started as a hobby, now it’s a job, but one I love. Hopefully after I have had my second baby this year I can afford to drop hours when I go back to work in 2019. 

Huge thanks to Rachel  for sharing her story so generously.

Every blogging journey is different and if you would like to take part in my interview with a blogger series, do get in touch.

Blogging Journey

Reflections from Me

 

Run Jump Scrap

I love to feature women who have shown guts and changed their lives ideally helping other women along the way. Today, I am pleased to share my interview with Jane who changed her life by setting up the Natural Birthing Company which supports women through pregnancy, birth and life as a new mum.

Natural Birthing

1. Can you tell me a little about your childhood and teenage years?

I grew up with a younger brother who I constantly bickered with! (We do get on now though) I was quite a creative child, and I enjoyed playing music in the school bands. I think I must have always had a strong work ethic as my first job was around the age of 13 as a Saturday girl in a hairdressers. I progressed to working on an egg stall on an outdoor market in all weathers and then left school at 16 to take up a Retail Management Apprenticeship with the local Electricity Board. My Dad was self-employed and my Mum initially stayed at home full time but then as we got older she also had her own business. So I came from an entrepreneurial family.

2. What made you want to become a midwife?

I came into Midwifery later in life after having my children. I’d always been interested in biology at school and my previous jobs had all involved working with the public. Then when it came to being pregnant I was fascinated with it all and I saw the role my midwife played and it really interested me. I looked into it just after my youngest was born but the time wasn’t right with a young baby, so I shelved the idea and did a couple of other jobs before revisiting it again 5 years later. I got in the first time I applied and as the time came to leave work to start the Midwifery training I had a wobble and started doubting my decision – in fact I remember breaking down in tears to my old manager! It was a life changing decision at the time – deep down I knew it was right but to leave a job where I felt comfortable to go into the challenging unknown made me doubt myself.

3. What led to you changing your career?

It started with wanting to offer women an alternative to the antenatal classes available locally. Either the NCT were run people who weren’t Midwives so women were coming into hospital with misinformation. Alternatively the NHS ones were a bit fierce with forceps blades being waved about! So Natural Birthing Company was formed to offer HypnoBirthing, Antenatal and “Preparation for parenting” classes with a natural feel, run by Midwives. Very quickly we decided to book a stand at the Baby Show at Birmingham NEC – the stand was very expensive and we worried about how we would make our money back. We had a love of natural remedies and we used aromatherapy in the hospital with women so we knew the benefits, but we also knew there was nothing available for women to buy that was ready made & safe for pregnancy. So we decided to explore the idea of making some products. To cut a long story short we went to the Baby Show with a pilot range of products and they were really well received by the women. This led us to present the range to high street retailers and it just snowballed from there! Initially there was a lot of juggling of nightshifts, studying for a degree and running the business – never mind having time for my husband & children. I reduced my hours at work, but when we took investment on board and moved to the next level I wanted to reduce my hours again but I wasn’t allowed so I had to make the decision to leave. It’s a shame particularly when they are so short of Midwives and I’d been there 8 years but it ended up being the best result for me because it has given me the freedom to grow the business and I feel so much better in myself by not working shifts.

4. What do you do now?

I’m now the Managing Director of Natural Birthing Company. We are a brand for pregnant women and new mums, providing them with natural products to support them during their journey from bump to baby and beyond. It has been a steep learning curve but I now consider myself as a business woman. We launched the products in 2014 and I’ve worn many different hats within the business over the years, having to juggle finance, marketing, sales, purchasing to name but a few. However I now have a fantastic team around me which enables me to focus on wearing less hats and having the time and energy to be the voice/face of the brand and drive the business forward. I still work as a Midwife as I like to keep current in my practice. I enjoy caring for women and getting to deliver the odd baby! So I have a varied work life with no two days ever the same and I love it!

5. What is special about your brand?

We’re quite unique in that as a midwife I know from experience what women go through during the pregnancy journey. So using this knowledge we’ve developed products that support with issues such as mood swings, hot flushes, swollen ankles, perineal tearing, stitches, haemorrhoids, engorged breasts, low milk supply and sore nipples and anxiety.

The products are all made from naturally derived ingredients so there’s no nasties such as parabens, SLS’s or mineral oils. We are also registered with the Vegan Society giving assurance that the whole range is cruelty free and vegan friendly and everything in Made in Great Britain.

6. Who has supported you as you built your business?

My biggest support has been my husband – he was amazing whilst I was training to be a midwife – he literally did everything at home and for the children for the three years that I was studying and working shifts in placements. Now with the business – he’s still by my side, supporting me every step of the way. Both of my children have got involved as well with some graphic design or helping out at Baby Shows. The District Council and other local initiatives have helped from the beginning with grants and free training and mentorship. After a local Dragons Den we secured two local investors which allowed us to fulfil our Boots contract. A further Director came on board a couple of years ago who has brought so much knowledge and experience it’s really taken the business to the next level– it’s good to have that mix of skills within the business.

7. What are your top tips for someone scared of changing direction?

It’s perfectly natural to be scared of changing direction –it’s the panic of leaving your comfort zone and the fear of the unknown. So try to take the emotions out of your decision making and write down a mind map including things like:- what your plan is, why you want to do it, how you going to achieve it, what you need to be able to achieve it, the pros & cons etc. I think if everything is down on paper it helps you to see more clearly & encourages all the thoughts out of your mind. If the change of direction is fully researched and looks the right thing to do on paper then take that as your answer. A good support network will help you with the understandable wobbles along the way.

8. What is your advice for someone who wants to set up their own business?

Get in touch with your local Council. They tend to run free courses for start-up businesses and they often have grants available too which would help fund things like getting a website built. If they can’t help you they’ll be aware of other initiatives running in your area. Get yourself to everything free that you can, you can learn so much and it’s a great way to network and pick up tips from other business owners. Write a business plan – it really encourages you to think about all the elements of a business.

9. How do you envisage the future of the NHS?

It’s pretty grim! A growing population, a rise in the number of the older generation and obesity are all putting our services under an enormous strain. Staff shortages and cuts in services are just compounding the issue. My parents told me recently that they were frightened to grow old as the thought of waiting on a trolley in A&E for 7 hours or being sent home when they weren’t fit and ready filled them with dread; I find that really sad. I don’t know what the future will bring but I don’t see any light at the end of the tunnel yet.

10. What are you hopes for the future?

We have a lot of exciting new developments in the pipeline and we plan to expand the team this year. I’m looking forward to growing the brand and spreading the word to women so they can learn about the benefits of our products. Top of my “to-do list” is to get vlogging – I went on a course recently but I need to find time to put it into action as I’d really like to connect with women through short video clips of tips & advice – so watch this space!!!

I wish Jane all the best with those exciting video plans and I wish I had known about the company when I had my children as I was so keen to use aromatherapy but scared to do so. I am sure her products would make lovely gifts for mums and I am always very keen on reminding people to treat mum as well as the new baby.

Sharing so openly takes a huge amount of courage so please do consider sharing this post by clicking one or more of the buttons below.

If you would like to share your story on this blog please get in touch.

Winnettes

Who wouldn’t jump to have more money for their family if they could? You know your family deserve the best. You want to take them on holidays, buy them the best clothes, and ensure they have rich experiences. But how can you make more money for your family? Follow the 4 simple steps below:

Start Up A Side Gig

Starting up a side gig is fairly easy to do. It’s what many people who want to make more money set out to do. You don’t even need to start a business that requires a lot of your time and involvement, although you can if you like. Starting up a side gig could be as easy as becoming an affiliate for online sites and making a commission each time somebody makes a purchase.

Sell Stuff You Don’t Want Or Use

Chances are, you’ve got lots of things lying around the house that you don’t use or want. Adopting a minimalist lifestyle can help you by clearing out unwanted junk, making money selling the junk, and stopping yourself from bringing even more junk into your home. Try selling online or in person.

Ask For A Promotion Or Pay Rise

Been with your current employer for a while? Ask for a promotion or a pay rise. Simple waiting for one isn’t usually the best idea, as you could be waiting longer than you would like.

More Money For Your Family In 4 Simple Steps

Save Money Like A Champ

Saving money is simple when you know how. The infographic below can help.

 


credit to sunny.co.uk

Run Jump Scrap
The Pramshed
Mummies Waiting

If you can’t wait to pop the question to your partner, but have no idea which engagement ring to choose, this guide is for you.

Even if you know your future spouse inside and out, you might still be worried that you’re going to present them with a ring that isn’t quite what they had in mind. To make sure your proposal is flawless, check out this quick quite to finding the perfect engagement ring — including stone, band, colour, and design!

Stone and ring design

If your partner is into clean cuts and modern aesthetics in their fashion and interior design choices, it’s worth bearing this in mind when choosing the overall look of their engagement ring. On the other hand, they might adore vintage clothing and retro looks — in which case, and antique engagement ring could be perfect.

How about the stone choice? Some love colour, while others might enjoy the luxurious purity of a clear diamond. For example, if your future wife or husband keeps on talking about sapphire rings, go for a sapphire cluster ring. Although many think traditions should be adhered to when it comes to weddings, there’s no reason to go for a bold colour or quirky design, if that is what your partner likes. The only thing to bear in mind is that some stones are softer than others, so will need some extra care. Diamonds, however, are the most hardwearing gemstones, with a hardness of 10 on the Mohs scale!

Going for diamonds

Interested in the coveted diamond engagement ring? We don’t blame you, they are almost guaranteed to impress your other half! An engagement ring is going to be worn daily, and a diamond solitaire ring a perfect, durable accessory that also complements any outfit! Needless to say, a diamond ring won’t go out of trend.

What type of band suits your partner best?

Similar to the overall design choice, which metal band you opt for depends on your partner’s personal preference. White gold and platinum seem to be the most popular options, with platinum having the added advantage of being more hardwearing. Have a look at your partner’s jewellery box — do they have more yellow gold jewellery or more white gold pieces?

Everything you need to know about selecting the ideal diamond

There is much to learn in the art of diamond choosing. However, we’ve broken the lesson down into four important chunks to help you learn what you need to bear in mind when diamond shopping…

Clarity:

Essentially, this is how clear and shiny the stone appears. A diamond’s clarity is determined by the size, number and location of ‘damages’ (called ‘natural inclusions’ in the industry) when viewed under 10x magnification. The range varies from an IF, internally flawless indicating no inclusions at all, to SII3, which will be an included stone. Any stone higher than an SI2 (slightly included) will show a good brilliance and the inclusions will not be seen with a naked eye.

Colour:

Many people are unaware that diamonds are available to buy in various shades. However, despite this choice, the most popular ones are white — with a colourless stone being the highest grade. Diamonds are graded from a D colour (colourless) to a Z (light yellow). Generally, anything higher than an I colour can be considered a very high colour grade with a nice white hue.

Cut:

Old European round:

The old European round cut is a ring created prior to approximately 1920. It must have been hand cut and usually looks very similar in style to the modern brilliant round design. An old European round cut diamond will not be as “neat” as a modern one, but it will have a distinctive, classic and antique design that many people adore. What is also remarkable with older stones is that, in addition to a beautiful aesthetic, such gemstones represent better value for money.

Asscher:

First presented in 1902 and square in cut, the Asscher diamond has become very popular since the Millennium. Featuring a high crown and large facets, the Asscher cut diamond is renowned for its level of shine and sparkle.

Modern brilliant round:

Many experts in the industry claim that this type of ring is the most popular as an engagement token. A solitaire, modern brilliant round ring does not necessarily have to be a single stone, it can be embellished on the shoulders or can be arranged around the main gemstone in a halo-like design.

Transitional modern brilliant round:

This is the option you should go for if you want something slightly vintage with a hint of contemporary. Transitional modern brilliant round cut diamonds were typically cut during the 1930s and 1960s, and these stones are often very similar to modern brilliant round cut designs.

Princess:

The princess cut diamond can be either square or rectangle in shape, however, it must have pointed corners. Overall, the princess diamond is considered the most popular non-round diamond cut.

Emerald:

Unlike the princess diamond above, the emerald cut diamond has tapered corners. However, it is also square or oblong in shape. The pavilion (underside) of a princess cut diamond has a faceted cut, which helps create an elegant appeal that many soon-to-be spouses love.

Carat:

In the diamond sector, a stone’s carat is simply its weight. However, this is very important, so make sure you check it before buying. As the carat weight of a diamond increases, so does its rarity; this will be reflected in the price — the bigger the diamond, the more the expense.

Extra tips

Still unsure which way to go when picking an engagement ring? Why not take a friend or family member who knows your partner to help? And remember: follow your instincts!

What You Need To Choose The Perfect Engagement Ring

 

My Random Musings

This winter, there has been a dominant story across the media: the National Health Service (NHS) is in trouble. Whatever your personal feelings regarding the reasons for the NHS’ struggle, it is undeniable that the health system that cares for the nation is facing very testing times.

GP Appointment

For those who have tried to obtain a doctor’s appointment, the above will come as little surprise. Obtaining a standard GP appointment is, sadly, incredibly difficult. Though the problems vary between regions, for the most part, people struggle to see a GP. This is due to lack of availability of GPs and restrictive appointment times that aren’t conducive to modern working patterns– a fairly potent mix that has no simple solution.

So, given the fact the NHS is going through such a rough time, what should you do when you want to see your GP but can’t obtain the appointment you require? Here are a few ideas…

Go to a pharmacy

For minor conditions, a pharmacist will be able to prescribe you treatment just like a doctor would. The list of conditions that pharmacists can treat for is limited, but for issues such as allergies or eye infections, they will likely be your best port of call. Not all pharmacies offer the consultation service, however; you’re best to look for big brands rather than small, independent pharmacies.

Contact an online doctor

Thanks to the wonders of the internet, you can now talk to a qualified, registered medical professional via an online Dr app. The app will allow for a full face-to-face (well, screen-to-screen) conversation, where you can detail any issues you are experiencing and even obtain a prescription. Just remember to update your doctor of using this consultation when you next see them, especially if you are prescribed medication.

Walk-in clinics

Many hospitals operate a walk-in service, which is sometimes called Urgent Care. This can be used if you can’t see a doctor and you don’t feel like the problem can wait. However, do be warned that you’re likely to experience delays– many other patients are attending Urgent Care clinics because of a lack of GP appointments, so you might be in for a long wait. If possible, attend during the day, as the attendance levels tend to pick up in the evening. An Urgent Care doctor can’t refer you for scans or tests like a normal GP, but they can issue prescriptions for immediate complaints that you need relief from in the moment.

A warning note

It is not advisable to go to Accident and Emergency for issues that are anything other than, well, accidents and emergencies. There is every chance you will be turned away, so try all the other alternatives if your issue is not urgent.

If you have an underlying health condition, are pregnant, or caring for a young baby, then you will always be best calling your GP and asking for an urgent appointment. For anyone else, if you have concerns about your health, you can always call the NHS’ 111 phone number for further assistance.

Good luck!

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