Self Care – Five Quick Pick Me Ups

I mentioned on my Instagram Stories last that I find this time of year, the tail end of Winter, to be a bit blah. January is such a busy month for our family, that along with the new start and plans for the year it feels like we hit the ground running and just don’t stop until the end of the month. I always joke that I’ll need to nap through February to compensate so I guess that’s all part and parcel of that really. Pondering over the ‘blahness’ of February in particular and chatting with some of you on Instagram has got me thinking about prioritising self care with a few quick pick me ups when we feel a bit down. Feeling this way isn’t exclusive to this time of year after all! I wish the answer could be a free holiday to some beautiful destination, I should be so lucky! Instead I wanted to share some little tips that don’t cost the earth. These ideas are very much biased towards the introvert, which I am, so if you’re an extrovert your ideas may look very different to this.

 

A good book and an early night

self care easy pick me ups

I’m someone that needs sleep, I wish I could say that I can survive on a few hours but everyone around me would fall about laughing. I am my worst self when I am tired (or hungry, or both!!). I have no tolerance or patience and turn into a right Negative Nelly. I now know that to give myself the best chance at being the best version of me I need to get an early night and not stay up scrolling Instagram Stories or watching just one more episode of whatever series I’m currently obsessed with. Reading a book rather than reaching for my phone is an ongoing battle. I think I need to plug my phone in somewhere else to take away any temptation to reach for it when I climb into bed or when I can’t sleep. 

 

Flowers

Now this may seem a little frivolous, but plants and flowers really brighten my mood. I honestly don’t know why but grabbing a £1 bunch of daffodils at the checkout to pop in a vase at home makes me smile. This time of year as we are teetering at the start of Spring is just my favourite for flowers. Like I said, you don’t have to go crazy and get a huge bouquet delivered – though if you want to and can afford it then by all means go for it!

 

A little treat

 

Whether it’s a new nail polish, a candle, a face mask or just a quiet coffee these are all little pick me ups that give me a sense of pampering without breaking the bank. A new book often does the trick for me, especially if it involves wandering around a book shop! You might stretch to getting your nails done, a new haircut or whatever, just check your budget and go from there.

 

Exercise 

Before you roll your eyes and keep scrolling, and I’m talking to myself here more than anything! Regular exercise really does help lift your mood. In whatever way that looks for you, a run, walking the dog, a yoga class or a workout dvd in your living room. There’s definitely something you can do that fits your ability and lifestyle. When I’m feeling down often the last thing I want to do is exercise. I’d much rather wallow and eat my feelings, I’ve learnt that this habit just doesn’t help me – funny that eh? And by learning to make healthier choices I’m improving my mood and my health. While I’ll never run a marathon, going out for a job a few times a week while listening to a podcast is enough for me.

 

RE-setting boundaries

Sometimes we have to learn to say no. I’ve found that this is especially hard for me at this stage of my life. I no longer have endless energy and free time, I have to be so aware of my time management skills. Like so many, my life is often dictated by my family commitments, as well as work. Doing too much and over committing can lead me to feeling overwhelmed, exhausted and irritable. I’ve worked on this area of my life so much that I’m conscious now of what I take on and what I say yes to. I cannot give my best self when I’m stretched thin. When I start to feel that foreboding sense of overwhelm set in I have to take a step back and review what I’m doing. What can be dropped for a while, can I do something in a more efficient way – or even am I being a martyr and not asking for help?! Talking this through with someone and making a list will usually give me perspective enough to reset my boundaries.

 

These are just a few of my ideas, and some my resonate with you while others won’t and that’s ok. My main aim when writing this was to encourage thought and discussion around the topic. Most importantly I think is to reflect on what healthier choices you can make for you when it comes to self care. It might be something like learning how to say ‘no’ to things and respecting your boundaries or maybe you first need to set yourself boundaries! Take a few minutes now to reflect on what you can do be better at self care.

 

When you’re going through a bit of a blah time, or feeling a bit down what are your quick pick me up tips?

 

If you enjoyed this post you might like this one – 5 Things I Do When I Feel Emotionally Drained

morganaSelf Care – Five Quick Pick Me Ups
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Holly the founder of Rocks Design shares her Start Up Story

I’ve followed Holly’s business, Rocks Design, on Instagram for sometime now and love seeing her business grow and develop. I know you are going to love her designs, just as much as I do and get ready to add loads to your wish lists! Settle in with a coffee (or any drink of choice) and read her Start Up Story….. psst and make sure you don’t miss the huge giveaway at the end!

My name is Holly, I was born in Cornwall but am now based in sunny Suffolk (apparently, the driest county in the UK – lucky, lucky me!) I have moved house 7 times in the last 11 years, not through choice, but I’ve loved it. I’m a mum to 3 year old Max and a military wife of an RAF PTI (Physical Training Instructor). The newest member of the family is Olive, she’s a miniature dachshund. She has more pep than a coffee with an extra shot. If you follow me on social media you’ll already be enjoying your weekly dose of ‘Sausage Spam.’

Tell us a little bit about your business 

I started my business properly, in 2015. I’m a trained Graphic Designer and I specialise in prints and cards. I LOVE to design for new babies AND us mums, because we need treats too! My business was triggered when my husband was deployed with the military for 6 months. Max had just been born so it was a bit of shock. So, off he went and there I was, a new mum, 6 hours from all family and our support networks, holding the forte. Right, OK. This was going to be a very long six months unless I did something to take my mind off him being away.

Once you had the idea how did you go about turning it into a reality?

Of course, I had Max and this was the most wonderful, wonderful thing. He was a dream. But, in reality we all know how hard and consuming a new baby can be without any escape of ‘me time’ or something for ourselves. Design has always been a huge part my world. So, I thought, I think I’m going to set up my own business, I’ll do it in six months, whilst Paul is away. From then, Love Island (2015 – guilty pleasure!), this crazy business goal and Max were plenty to get me through and keep me distracted. I was accepted onto notonthehighstreet.com on my 30th Birthday and my Etsy store was born a little after. My first orders started to trickle in and I was away!

 

What’s been the hardest part of your life as a start up business so far and how do you overcome those kinds of hurdles?

The hardest thing about running my own business is when tech breaks down! Although, my husband is fast becoming my in house IT helpdesk! I also really miss office cheer! The Starbucks, Dominoes, Twanger and Crème Egg runs. And just the general company of other colleagues and friends.

I run on black coffee and chocolate biscuits when I’m working, what couldn’t you live without?

A dog walk first thing in the morning clears my head. One of the reasons why I wanted a dog was because my head was so consumed in work that I needed something else to help break up my day. She makes me stop to walk her, then I think, well I might as well have lunch now! Before I had Olive I would go a whole nine hours on just coffee, water and maybe a healthy homemade ‘make sure you drink your shake – it’s in the fridge’ shake.

I know from running this blog and my own online store that when you’re a primarily online based business you need a strong social media presence, which is your favourite platform and do you have any tips for running it?

I LOVE Instagram, It’s the most creative platform in my opinion and I love seeing all my fellow business friends on there. I adore seeing how creative people can be with those tiny squares. It’s the best way to connect with my lovely followers too, I love hearing from them and being able to communicate and chat with them.

 

What is the best part of running your own business? Has there been a ‘pinch yourself to check it’s real’ kind of moment for you?

The best part…I used to love working for other people because in a strange way I used to like being bossed around. I don’t know why. Working for myself is a whole different ball game, but I still boss myself around! I’m very hard on myself as I want my customers to have the best products and the best experience and service when they shop with me. One of my pinch me moments was when I bought Olive. I’ve wanted a dachshund for as long as I can remember. Because I now work from home, it seemed like the right time to sneak off without Paul knowing and go dog shopping. She sleeps in my office whilst I work. I also love that I can take time off without having to ask anyone. I still have to schedule it in and work really hard before and after any time off but, being able to pick and choose when I work is really lovely and gives me the freedom to spend time with my family whenever I want to.

Has being a parent influenced the way your business works? 

Absolutely. Max is my whole world. Everything I do, I do for him. Your world changes when you have children and your priorities shift to a new dimension. I want him to have the loveliest life he can possibly have and grow up knowing that his mummy built a little magical empire for us all to enjoy, whilst bringing joy to other families with my work.

 

Running an online business must get overwhelming at times, what do you do to manage your time and what tips do you have for avoiding being overwhelmed?

Lists. I LOVE lists. I never used to write them and my days would turn into disorganised carnage. I have a huge white board in my office that Paul bought for me. Every Sunday I spend 30 minutes planning the following week. I set time limits too for each task. I use an online management system for most things but for some reason I like to physically write these big tasks down. I tick them off as I go then by the end of the week I know I’ve got everything done. I get so SO much more done now.

What’s your current favourite item or range in your store at the moment?

I love my ‘Hello’ little girls print. I love the colours and the words, I also love my rainbow prints that give you a little boost on those rainy Mondays.

 

Got any new products or projects in the pipeline?

Just in time for Mother’s Day I’m launching my range of jumpers! 

You can see the range here – Mother’s Day

 

Whether practical or inspirational, what is your top piece advice for anyone out there wanting to take that leap and start their own business?

You have to believe in yourself, you have to really believe. Have faith and follow your own path. Be yourself and try not to be influenced or swayed too much by others. Be true to your own passion. JFDI is something I always live by too. (Just Flipping Do IT) (some people insert a much ruder word in place of Flipping – whatever works for you!) I tend not to put things off now as I find they never get done, so I schedule it in, then I do it. Eat the frog…in other words do the hardest/most difficult thing  then the rest of the day will be filled with the lovely things ie. Not frogs. Twangers, Crème eggs and unicorns. Remember doing that when you were little? Always eating the sprouts and turnip first so you could then enjoy the reason why you sat down for roast.

As the Rizzlekicks once said ‘Skip to the good stuff’. Try not to be too hard on yourself and understand that it is a marathon not a sprint. And…you know, I also believe in ‘celebrate the little things’ It’s SO important. It took me a while to realise. WHAT? I can’t spend a penny of my hard earned cash on myself. No way! How dare I! It must go back in to the business. No. Every now and then treat yourself. You’re doing a fabulous, fabulous job. Give yourself a little pat on the back and you’ll realise and remember why you’re working so hard. It doesn’t have to be a Miniature Dachshund, it could be something that needs less commitment like chocolate or a new bathroom!

 

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What fantastic advice to end on! Like Holly I’m a huge advocate of getting the tough stuff done first – Eating the frog- as well as celebrating the little things. In the spirit of treating ourselves and celebrating the little things Holly has kindly offered to giveaway £100 worth of Rocks Design prints of your choosing! What a fantastic prize, I wish I could enter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck!

*****

Have a browse around Holly’s store

www.rocksdesign.co.uk

Twitter | Instagram | Facebook 

 

Want to read more inspiring Start Up Stories? Just click on the image below 

Start Up Stories a series of interviews with parents that started up there own businesses

 

 

 

morganaHolly the founder of Rocks Design shares her Start Up Story
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Celebrate the small wins

I don’t know about you but at times it can be tough staying positive and motivated, whether this is in work life or even in home life. When things feel like they are getting on top of you, or if it seems like everyone else is more successful or more organised than you are we can end up in a negativity funk. I find this is especially the case being a lone worker or small business owner. As much as it’s freeing and exciting to be your own boss it’s also all on you to work hard and be successful, there can be little or no space for down days or failure when there are bills to pay. With this in mind when we fall into the trap of comparison and negativity we need to address it, quickly.

Social media is a wonderful, often free, tool to market ourselves, to make friends and get inspired. I love following creative people and seeing what they’re up to, whether that’s through Instagram or chatting on Twitter. I can tell the frame of mind I’m in when spending time on social media ends up leaving me feeling deflated or even jealous. We’ve all heard the quote, ‘Comparison is the thief of joy’ and this is especially true when instead of cheering friends and other businesses on in their successes we end up feeling down, and wondering when that’s going to happen for us. Don’t be fooled, this is something that can affect everyone, from the tiny start up to the Instagrammer with 100k+ followers. There’s always someone we perceive to be further ahead or achieving more.

I’ve been reflecting on this and the root of all of this it seems is fear. Fear of never reaching our goals, fear of being a failure, the fear of not being good enough. Comparison and unhealthy competition both come from the fear of feeling like we are not enough. This can be an incredibly lonely and isolating feeling and one that is a breeding ground for negativity.

 

Celebrate the small wins

When I spot these signs of falling into a negativity funk, I know it’s time to do something about it. One of the ways I’ve learnt to combat this is to think of the things in my life that have gone well. I’m not talking about hitting those huge goals, I mean the small wins, the ones we often forget or even dismiss. You’ve had a positive review left on your Etsy store, someone has commented on your post telling you how helpful it was. Maybe you’re a mum with a young family and you managed to get a shower today. We know what an achievement that can be! Maybe you’ve managed to tick off all the tasks on today’s ‘to do list’. These small wins will look different for each of us as individuals. It’s going to depend hugely on your own mindset and your business, home life or overall goals.

 

Nothing is too small

Reflect on your goals or aims, those big ones you’ve set for yourself. Then grab a pen and start listing your small wins from the last week, firstly the tiny things that are related to your big goals. You’ve got an income goal of £x what little things have you done to work up to it? Have you pitched to a new potential client? Ordered new business cards?  Then think of the unrelated feel-good wins, like going for a run, getting up the courage to talk to a mum at the school gate, making a phone call you’ve been putting off. Nothing is too small! It might feel silly at first, but don’t dismiss your wins. Maybe you haven’t achieved that big goal you’ve set yet but I’m sure you’ve taken little steps towards it.

Just this small exercise can kick start a change of mindset in me, it’s a practical way of getting perspective and focus. It helps me stay in my lane, so to speak, to focus on my life and situation, and not fall into the comparison trap. I spend Monday morning reviewing the past week and making plans for the week ahead and setting goals. Listing the small wins of the week is perfect to incorporate into this and definitely helps me if I’ve found the previous week tough or difficult. Why not make this part of your weekly routine, you could even keep the lists to look back on.

Download this helpful worksheet to remind you to think of your small wins each week

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t stay in that fearful negativity funk, celebrate your small wins and let’s get back to cheering each other on!

 

 

 

 

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morganaCelebrate the small wins
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Robyn Swain Photography’s Start Up Story

I’m kicking off this year’s Start Up Story feature with someone you might be familiar with if you read my blog last year. Robyn has collaborated with me on lots of projects for CWSR doing photography shoots for me. I was so nervous in front of the camera before our first shoot but Robyn is so good at her job and super friendly that I felt at ease as soon as we got started. It’s a privilege to share how she got started and her journey so far as a photographer.

Hi, I’m Robyn.  I’m a photographer at Robyn Swain Photography and I blog at The Little Woman Pretends, though rather than being two separate things to work at, a lot of the time they just blend into one.

Little fact about me, I once worked at the armed forces radio station (BFBS) when we, my husband Sam and I, were based out in Cyprus. Somewhere in the archives there will be an advert I recorded reminding people to get regular STI checks, as well as a game we played where I had to pretend to be really drunk and sing karaoke – listeners had to ring in and guess the song!

 

Tell us a little bit about your business 

Well, it’s a photography business. After finishing my Level 3 in Photography last summer, I had a choice between going to University, working for someone else, or starting up on my own. So I chose the latter. It was only going to be a trial through the summer holidays, but I just love the freedom so much, I’ve not really looked back. My main love is family lifestyle photography. I love natural light, candid moments and outdoor adventures for our sessions. As well as that, I also cover commercial, and the odd newborn sessions as well as blogger sessions and my own lifestyle shoots for my blog.

 

Once you knew you wanted to pursue being a professional photographer how did you go about turning it into a reality?

I’ve had major issues all my life trying to find ‘The one’ when it comes to a career. I’ve never really found enough fulfillment in anything I’ve done to commit myself fully. Photography was different though, it gripped me without me even realising and then before I knew it, I was hooked. It’s funny really, I remember Sam getting me my first camera five years ago, I’d never shown any interest in photography, but he’d got me the full kit, studio kit, lighting. Everything. I was a right mard-arse about not getting anything I actually wanted for Christmas! Ha. Now it’s my job!

Getting to where I am now has been a long journey. Because I wasn’t really that interested, I had no motivation to learn. So I’d just try and get some decent-ish blog photos every now and again. Then one day I took a photo of Izzy (the youngest baby) and I just saw something in it, the light was beautiful, her eyes popped. Looking back it was technically a rubbish image, but it ignited something in me, and so I’ve been learning ever since. Every few months I like to take a week (or the whole of November like I did last year) to learn, brush up on certain skills, get out with my camera just practicing things I want to get better at. I don’t book in any work, I just focus on learning.

I think that along with my decent prices are what’s kept me so busy since the summer.

What’s been the hardest part of your life as a start up business so far and how do you overcome those kinds of hurdles?

Honestly? Myself. As with everything in my life, I’m the most difficult part of it!  Overall, I’m fairly confident with my abilities and what I’ve achieved so far. I’m realistic with myself, but not afraid to step up to new challenges. However, every now and again, like most people, I go through periods of self doubt. Like proper crippling anxiousness about my work. Its always the same stuff, “I’ve not been to university”, “I’m self taught – that doesn’t make me a real photographer.”, “My prices are too high, for my quality of work.”, “I’m not going to be able to make this work full time”. Because I just love what I do, so much… it really does get to me and shakes up my confidence. What I like to do when I get like this, is just strip it back to basics. I fell in love with photography when capturing candid moments of my girls around the home. So I’ll spend a day just shooting. When it comes to editing later that evening, I one hundred percent always find an image I love, one that just reminds me that though I may not have a degree, I know how to get the job done. And that’s all that matters. 

I run on black coffee and chocolate biscuits when I’m working, what couldn’t you live without?

Tea. Lots of it, every day. And its not even a caffeine thing, because once it hits 8pm I’m onto de-caf. I probably drink way more than I should, but it’s the only bad habit I have left! Oh and I need my diary, because my life just wouldn’t work without it.

 

When running a business these days you need to build a strong social media presence, which is your favourite platform and do you have any tips for running it?

Oh without a doubt Instagram. Though I do use and subsequently get a lot of work through the business Facebook page, Instagram is just much more me. I find it so easy to be authentic over there, whereas Facebook is a lot more formal. Tip wise, I’d say only really follow those accounts you really do love, its so easy to interact then. Interaction is important – though I don’t think I’m really in any position to be handing out advice on how to gain followers! Ha – Use relevant hashtags too, especially as a photographer, it is after all a visual platform. Audit your images before you put them up – again as a photographer – I don’t put anything on that hasn’t been taken by my camera, and even then it has to be work I’m proud to show. I do love the addition of Insta stories last year though for just popping up any old random stuff.

 

What is the best part of running your own business? Has there been a ‘pinch yourself to check it’s real’ kind of moment for you?

Well, its one the best things, but its also one of the worst… I love that its all on me, that I have full control over how this whole thing goes, I don’t have to check in with a boss, or okay an idea. I can just jump right on in with everything. On the flip side, it is all on me. If I don’t do it, no one else will, there’s not space for half ass-ing it in this job. Also, I love that I have full control over my schedule. I don’t clock out, but photography is a way of life for me, my camera is pretty much always with me and I’m always observing. I’m completely happy with that.

One of the pinch me moments was not so much with the photography side, but as a blogger. Last summer I was invited down to London, on an all expenses paid trip to feature in a Christmas edition of the Style at Home magazine. Though it was all lovely and fancy, actually the pinch me moment and my favourite part of it all was seeing how everything worked, asking questions, getting stuck in with the backstage stuff, speaking to stylists and editors, and of course working with an extremely successful photographer and being able to ask all the questions I could possibly think up about shooting these sort of sessions. It was an incredible experience, I learnt so much that day.

 

Has being a parent influenced the way your business works? 

Absolutely, if it wasn’t for my children, I probably wouldn’t even be doing this as a job! They come first, flexibility is a must, but I also want to have it all – I’m not sure if that makes me a great or terrible example to them! Ha.
They of course have always been my number one priority, and so work really does have to flex around them, one of the fab things about this job though is that I can organise it to work for us all. There’s the odd big job that means we might have to change our Saturday trip out plans, but ultimately I’m here in the morning, I get to take them to school, pick them up, make their dinner, ask them about their day and do their homework, and I get to tuck them up at night. It doesn’t get much better than that really does it?

Running a business and a blog means you have a lot on your plate, what do you do to manage your time and what tips do you have for avoiding being overwhelmed.

Oh absolutely, but it’s so worth it! My diary is the number one thing. Once a week – usually on a Sunday evening. I sit down figure out everything I need to do for the week (as well as meal plans for the week, these are a must! Gym sessions I want to get done, any appointments or after school clubs we may have etc.), and split it all up into tasks through out the week. Some days I wake up and don’t stop until my head hits the pillow that evening, some days I’ve shared everything nicely through the week and so I lounge about eat toast and watch ‘This morning.’ No week is ever the same as the last. Another thing I like to do, is blog wise, write ‘3 month’ post plans, And if possible I like to create posts a week in advanced. 

 

What’s been your favourite shoot so far and why?

Oohh, I’m not sure! I’m going to say the Halloween session day I ran last October. Up until the week before it just terrified me. I’d advertised, barely sold a ticket, the location was covered in rubbish from fly tippers, everything was just a mess. But I just pulled up my socks, sold out the whole day, got everything organised, cleaned up the location, decorated it all up and even though it was freezing and absolutely hammering it down, every single kid went to so much effort with their costumes and just loved it. It was incredible! The smoke bombs where a huge success, the parents where happy. The images turned out amazingly. Yeah, I went to bed with great big smile on my face that night. 

Got any new projects in the pipeline?

 Oh so many! I have to just remember I’m only one person!  2018 is the year I want to be a bit more business savvy. I turned down so much work last year because it didn’t ‘fit’ with the type of work I do. Which is a ridiculous way to do business. Who turns down work that early on?! Anyway, I’ve listened to what my customer base wants and I’m ready to deliver something that blends my style and what they want.

As well as that I want to become a bit more of a ‘fancy pants artiste’ – I may even start wearing a beret – and create a series of some sort. Something that’s a bit more out there, not what I’m used to shooting, not what people are used to seeing from me. I have no idea where this will take me, but I hope it’ll produce a selection of work I’m super proud of!

I’m also currently in talks with the wildlife trust team about them using a selection of my images in adverts for Brockholes Nature Reserve which is just incredible! It’s one of my favourite places to shoot and the fact that they want to pay to use my work is amazing – this does make me feel like a proper photographer!

 

Whether practical or inspirational, what is your top piece advice for anyone out there wanting to take that leap and start their own business or even become a professional photographer?

Practice, every single day. I know its so cliché, but it’s just the best thing you can do. Everyone has to start somewhere, so even at the beginning, on days when nothing is looking the way you want it to, keep practicing. It’ll click into place and before you know it you’ll create an image that you just love.

Business wise, and I think this is pretty much how I live my life, is to just take each day as it comes. Write your lists/goals and split your tasks, you don’t have to look at the entire week ahead – it will overwhelm you. Just tackle each day, complete your to-do’s. Then do the same again the next day. By the end of the week you’ll have done it all with no fuss, by the end of the month you’ll be nearer your end goal. By the end of the year you’ll have achieved so much than you thought you could. Oh and also, agree to things, even if they terrify you. You’ll figure it out, and you’ll be glad you said yes.

 

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 You can find Robyn here…

Website|The Little Woman Pretends blogFacebook | Instagram 

 

 

Want to read more inspiring Start Up Stories? Just click on the image below 

Start Up Stories a series of interviews with parents that started up there own businesses

morganaRobyn Swain Photography’s Start Up Story
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Why I’m shutting up shop

For the last four and a bit years I’ve been running my own business separate to this blog, an online store selling children’s accessories and gifts. You can read all about how I set it up and the story behind it in my Little and Fierce Start Up Story I know a lot of you are familiar with it and many have even bought from it. That’s what makes this next bit so hard, the time has come for me to shut up shop. The irony is not lost on me that I’m telling the story of closing down a business in a section titled Start Up.

Even though I’m only closing now, I actually made the decision to shut it’s virtual doors back in the summer of last year, so in some ways I’ve worked through the process of saying goodbye to it. Nothing prepared me for making the announcement yesterday though. I felt genuinely sad. It makes sense though, Little and Fierce in one form or another has played a huge part in my life for over five years. From the idea all the way through to the every day of packing orders. Lots of small business owners refer to their business as a baby or child and this was definitely the case for me.

My main reason for closing is not being able to compete with the high street. When I started up the high street was hugely lacking in fun and creative children’s accessories. The only store that catered for kids in this way was the store with a popular girls name and as a parent I was sick of spending lots of money on products that were poor quality and mass produced. I wanted better quality and to support smaller businesses and makers. That’s how Little and Fierce came about. I loved researched brands and makers, trying out samples and sourcing quirky and fun accessories. Over the years, however, the highstreet has played catch up and has now pushed out so many independent brand and stores. We’ve all seen examples of how big stores have copied small makers. From supermarkets to clothing stores they’ve all been quicker at jumping on trends from the independent sector and reproducing designs and items on a huge scale for a fraction of the cost. This has made it near impossible for small labels and for stores like mine to survive. Why buy from a boutique when you can pick up something similar with your groceries for a fraction of the cost? As a consumer I get it, I really do.

I tried to ride it out, but I just didn’t have the capital to reinvent and go another more creative way. I just wasn’t making enough money to justify the time I was spending on the business. It’s sad but unfortunately it’s one of the realities of running a small business. So many independents that started out at a similar time to me have closed or are in the process of closing. 

It’s not all doom and gloom though, I do have new projects in the pipeline that I look forward to sharing with you soon. Obviously, I’m still a huge supporter of small businesses and will be cheering on and sharing the stories of others both in my monthly Start Up Stories feature and in general. My passion is to use this blog as a platform to support the ‘one girl bands’ out there, whether that’s bloggers, makers, freelancers or creative business owners. So expect more of this as well as my usual smattering of style and general lifestyle content.

Finally, thank you for reading this blog and if you supported me and my store in any way I am so appreciative. Please, please, support small independent businesses when and where you can. It’s true that when you order from a small business there is an owner doing a happy dance. You’re helping that person do what they love and to support their family.

 

 

 

 

 

Featured image rawpixel.com

morganaWhy I’m shutting up shop
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My word for 2018

Over the last few years I’ve spent time in January thinking of the year ahead and what I’d like to see and achieve. I’m not one for unattainable goals and self improvement resolutions as you know, from my recent New Year, Same Me post, but I like to pick a word to inspire me. It’s not a woo woo kind of thing where the word has some magic properties, it just encapsulates what I’d like the year to reflect.

Last year my word was grace and oh boy was it put to the test at times! 

For this year while working through Jen Carrington‘s book, Your Wholehearted Year, I grabbed a piece of paper and started to jot down ideas for words that could reflect 2018 for me, both personally and professionally.

I kept coming back to the same word.

S i m p l i f y

Like most families these days we live busy lifestyles, with dictated draws on our time, whether it’s children’s hobbies and activities, our own, our overflowing business responsibilities or most probably all of the above. Familial and professional responsibilities are often non-negotiables. So how do we cut back and focus on what’s necessary and important instead of facing that uneasy sense of overwhelm.

This is where simplify comes in.

 

What can go that we just don’t need?

What can I change to make things run more seemlessly?

What can we do differently as a family to make the most of our quality time together?

 

One of the big things we’re working on to help simplify is decluttering.

I should I say I’m working on it.. my children are yet to embrace this and let go of their hoarding ways! I’ve made a little headway with my youngest and have managed a small bag of toys she’s grown out of for charity and a bag a rubbish and broken toys for the bin. But oh boy, her negotiating skills are something else!

 I’m a firm advocate of William Morris’ wisdom,

‘Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful’

It’s just a shame my children have very different definitions of beautiful and useful to my own!

It’s a learning curve for all of us and I need to remember that and let each person go at their own pace. As frustrating as that can be at times. The last thing I want is this intention to simplify to become a source of stress.

I would like us to be more mindful of what we buy and bring into the house. Less clutter and less waste being key in that. The girls are keen to do this, especially after watching Blue Planet, the marine documentary. They want us to use less plastic and less electricity, which I’m one hundred percent behind.

All this is key to us embracing a more minimalist lifestyle. Slow living and minimalism are two movements, (excuse how lala that sounds!) that are so appealing to me. I’m really enjoying reading blog posts in these genres and following Instagram accounts to encourage it. Of course there’s an Pinterest board to help me too, I’ll share it at the bottom of this post.

Above all else simplifying should not be chore or a goal, it is a word and an intention. I’m not going to stress or get worked up about it, after all that is the opposite of what we’re trying to be like! This isn’t about resolutions or a having set of goals to work to doggedly and rigidly, it’s a shift in mindset and an opportunity to be more mindful in the choices I make and that we make for our family. It’s supposed to be helpful, not a hindrance to our lives.

 

What do you think of choosing a word to reflect your intentions for the year?

Got any bloggers or instagrammers that I should follow for inspiration? Please do link them below.

 

 

morganaMy word for 2018
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New Year, Same Me

You know that phrase, New Year, New Me? 

Yeah. I’m not really a fan of that kind of sentiment.

 

It’s rather crazy to think that we’ll wake up changed or that somehow everything we haven’t managed in the last 30 odd years we will miraculously do, or even be, next year.

This New Year craziness includes physical self improvement like dieting. Aiming to get into that pair of pre-child birth jeans that have been hanging in the wardrobe for years and stare at you disapprovingly every time you open the closet doors. I’m not saying that getting back in those jeans won’t ever happen and who knows what can be achieved if you are motivated (I’m not). All I know is that giving away that pair of jeans was the best thing I ever did. Moving more and getting out of Christmas mode, ie eating Christmas cake for breakfast is the kind of New Year aim I’m going for.

When it comes to life, both personally and professionally, sure set goals, make healthy changes, and set boundaries but don’t heap pressure on yourself, or set unattainable, unrealistic and unmeasurable goals. There is no worse feeling than constantly being smacked in the face by perceived failure. I say perceived as when we set aims and goals that are unrealistic we are always going ‘fail’ and not take into account all the work and changes we’ve made to try and reach them. 

Set small targets first and be sure to celebrate those small wins.

Far too often we forget the steps we’ve taken and the positive changes we’ve made when faced with the ‘big picture’. 

I’ve fallen foul to this too many times, and it’s taken a loved one to carefully point out the things I have achieved or the kind of person I’ve become.

 

A new year is the perfect time to look how far you’ve already come, whether that’s professionally of personally. Start the year positively. Don’t just look at how you can change yourself or improve.

And remember, YOU are enough.

 

(Featured photo by Tessa Rampersad)

morganaNew Year, Same Me
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