10 gift ideas for the creative business owner (all from Etsy UK!)

I know you know how much I love supporting the little guy and shopping small when it comes to gift buying. With this in mind I’ve created a gift guide that both supports small businesses, crafters and makers AND is a list of what to buy the person in your life that runs their own small business, whether they are a freelancer, blogger, a maker. Make sense?

When you work for yourself motivation can be tough, especially when it’s just you staring at the same four walls each day. I’ve looked for gifts that are fun, give motivation and are all useful. I do feel like I need to put a disclaimer up here before you scroll down, these are more aimed at women, purely because I’m a woman and a small business owner so I’ve kind of gone for things I like!

 

If at first you don’t succeed mug- Veronica Dearly 

This one makes me giggle for sure! I’ve made many mistakes while running my small business, there is a lot of trial and error and you can’t be afraid of failure, as a few misses are inevitable.

£12.75 with free UK delivery

Shop here 

Seriously Succulent desk planner – Betty Etiquette

Having something to give your week shape and get everything out of your head and onto paper is so useful. The ‘to do’ list can be never ending and this is such a good basic visual reminder with space to tick off jobs.

£9.95 plus delivery

Shop here 

‘She persisted’ embroidery hoop – Stitches of Anarchy

This was just too pretty not to include. A bit of motivation to adorn the office or work space wall can’t ever be a bad thing.

£24 plus delivery

Shop here

Concrete and copper phone dock -Ethereal Polygons

Phone docks are fab and this one is just so stylish it will look great on your friend’s desk, and at £10 it’s a snip.

£10 plus delivery

Shop here

 

‘I’m the boss’ print – Dottie Rocks

And don’t you forget it 😉

£10 plus delivery

Shop here

Letter board -Boho Lake

These are great fun, whether used to inspire or for a reminder. This one is 10×10 inches and comes with 290 letters.

£27.90 plus delivery

Shop here

Personalised coffee gift – Novello UK

You know coffee would have to feature in this somewhere. I love that these can be personalised and you get a choice between whole beans, cafetierre coffee, filter coffee or espresso coffee. If you’ve got a coffee loving friend this is the perfect gift.

£5.50 plus delivery

Shop here

 

2018 wall planner – Doodle Love

Like a desk planner, this is another one for the visual processor. Having the whole year there at a glance is really helpful for planning campaigns.

£11.50 plus delivery

Shop here

Pyramid terrarium -The Art of Succulents

A little bit of low maintenance greenery is perfect for an office space. I love this stylish terrarium full of little succulents. You can buy a whole terrarium kit and the recipient can make it themselves with everything provided that they’ll need.

Prices start at £28

Shop here

 

Paper storage bag – Humble Abode Homeware

You can never have enough storage solutions, whether for stationery, small bits of stock or bits and pieces with nowhere else to live. I couldn’t resist adding this botanical printed paper storage bag to the list.

£9 plus delivery

Shop here

So there we have it 10 gift ideas for the creative business owner! In buying these you are supporting two small business owners, you’re treating your friend and sustaining the seller. The gift that keeps on giving, eh?

What do you think of my choices?

 

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This post contains affiliate links. Featured image credit –Ben White on UnSplash

morgana10 gift ideas for the creative business owner (all from Etsy UK!)
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More podcast favourites for female creatives that work for themselves

Earlier in the year I shared with you my favourite podcasts for female creative business owners and bloggers, if you missed it you can catch up here (be sure to pop back when you’ve read it). I know lots of you enjoyed it and found some new podcasts to try so I thought it might be time to share a few more. Podcasts are perfect to listen to while driving or even cooking. If I’ve got editing or website tweaking to do or anything that doesn’t involve a lot of thought I’ll pop a podcast on then too. It’s amazing what you can find time for when you’re a bit creative. This isn’t a secondary list to my first post of podcasts, I hold these equally alongside those I’ve already mention it’s just that these are newer to me. Ok, enough waffling lets get sharing..

 

Small and Mighty

Sam Burgess is social media and branding coach for small businesses. In her podcast, Small and Mighty, Sam interviews small business owners and creative entrepreneurs. There is a great variety to her guests and I love hearing from so many people from different sectors. I actually discovered the One Girl Band podcast that I mention later on through Sam interviewing Lola. I’ll pop the link to that one below too.

Some favourites

Holly Tucker MBE, Not On The Highstreet, Holly & Co – I read Holly’s book, Build a Business From Your Kitchen Table, written with Sophie Cornish, and it helped me hugely when setting up Little and Fierce. In this episode Holly talks about her new venture, creative agency, Holly & Co.

Helping Your Shop to Thrive and Not Just Survive with Lucy Ward, Brand Director, Trouva – I love Trouva, and listening to Lucy talk about it made me love it even more.

Lola Hoad, LH Design and One Girl Band

 

– LISTEN HERE –

 

Lola Hoad – One Girl Band

I’ve followed Lola for a long time now, she’s the super hero behind this graphic, that you might have seen on Instagram around this time over the past few years.

What I love most about Lola’s podcasts, and what makes them a must listen each time an episode is released is her authenticity. She is honest and open and it feels like you’re having a pep talk from a friend that just ‘gets it’. Her strapline for the One Girl Band is perfect and I’m kicking myself that she got there first – ‘a podcast for female entrepreneurs and creatives who work for and by themselves’.

Some favourites

What to do when you feel stuck  – this episode is SO GOOD. I was feeling low and a bit, well, stuck, the other week and listening to this really helped me to re-focus. It’s reassuring to hear that you aren’t alone when it comes to the pitfalls of being self motivated in business.

How to fire your inner critic – I am terrible for letting my inner critic run riot and end up stopping new projects before even starting them. Lola talks through ways she has worked on moving past this and I found it really helpful.

– LISTEN HERE –

 

Courage and Spice

Sas Petherick is someone that I discovered through Sara Tasker’s podcast, Hashtag Authentic (I featured this one in my previous post). She mentioned the launch of Courage and Spice in an episode and I made a mental note to have a listen when it was live. Unlike some of the other podcasts featured here this one focuses on one main topic, understanding and overcoming self doubt.

Self doubt is crippling and is especially prevalent in women. I know it can creep up on me and massively impact on my work and productivity. The more you let it grow, the more it will take over. This podcast is so helpful in addressing this issue and giving advice and sharing the experiences of others.

Some favourites (with my favourite people in too!)

Imperfection and Instagram with Allison Sadler – I LOVE Allison, and have been a huge Insta fan of hers for years now. She started up the hashtag, #freeupmyinsta in response to the algorithm and everyone getting stressed overthinking their instagram feeds. 

Success and Self Doubt with Sara Tasker – 

– LISTEN HERE –

 

What She Said

This is new podcast for me and one that I would say is aimed at bloggers. Lucy is really easy to listen to and I love her calm and chatty style in this podcast. Each episode interviews a different blogger and gives them a platform to share both their story and give tips on relevant topics.
Something to be aware of with this podcast is the sound quality isn’t always great, especially on the older episodes and you’ll need to push the volume levels up high to catch bits.

Some favourites

Starting a blog, minimalism and avoiding comparison with Jessica Rose Williams – I love Jessica’s blog, I don’t even remember how I stumbled across it now. Maybe Pinterest? Either way as someone that’s into slow living and minimalism I find her blog super inspiring. What I didn’t know was just how new she is to blogging, she’s getting fantastic levels of engagement and traffic for someone so new to the scene. If you’re a blogger this is a lovely listen.

The Power of Focus, Community and How to Sell with Kayte Ferris – Kayte has such a beautiful blog, Simple and Season, it’s one that I read regularly so this was a must listen for me. As Lucy says, if you want to learn how to sell without feeling gross or need a boost of focus and creativity this ones for you!

 

– LISTEN HERE –

 

Janet Murray – Soulful PR 

This podcast is a must listen for those with small businesses that are looking for more media and PR coverage but not sure where to start. I’m in Janet’s facebook group and have found it so helpful to chat with other business owners and talk through any problems we’re having. The Soulful PR podcast is more ‘business’ related than inspirational or creative. Don’t let that put you off as it’s packed with practical tips and advice that people pay a lot of money for and Janet shares it for free! There are hundreds of episodes so it’s a fantastic resource if you’re looking for help on a particular topic.

Some favourites

How to get more engagement on Twitter – Episode 214


This is so helpful if you’re new to twitter or feel like you’re floundering with little purpose.

How to tell stories using video with Xanthe Berkley – Episode 215


Xanthe is the queen of creative video and I love listening to interviews with her. I find her really inspirational and this podcast episode is full of 
 

– LISTEN HERE – 

Do you listen to any of these inspiring podcasts?

Got any to add to my list?

morganaMore podcast favourites for female creatives that work for themselves
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My Start Up Story of Little and Fierce Kids

As you know my Start Up Stories feature has been going strong for a couple of years now and I’ve had the joy of sharing the businesses of fellow parents living the Start Up Life. While planning in the next few months of interviews I realised that I hadn’t really shared my own story of my business Little and Fierce! Some of you may know about my store while newer readers may not have read me reference it here that often. So I do hope you’ll indulge me while I share my own Start Up Story this month.

 

Tell us a little bit about your business 

Little and Fierce Kids is an online boutique selling children’s fashion accessories and gifts, including things like hair clips, stationery and necklaces. When I first thought of this store back in 2014 there was so little on the high street for children that was good quality and fun. I wanted to curate products that were from small independent makers and brands that you couldn’t find on the high street that would be a hit with both children and their parents.

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

I spent a lot of time on my business plan and doing research and then looked at getting funding to start me off. I applied to the Virgin Start Up programme and after a lot of back and forth business plan tweaking I was approved. The money hit my bank account and I was matched up with a fantastic business mentor. I was also fortunate enough to be loaned money from family too. I have to say one of my favourite parts of this job is researching and sourcing brands to stock. Before launching I went to trade fairs, scoured Etsy and lived on Google searching for brands and businesses that would be a good fit for the store I wanted to create. I looked for fun, vibrant products that were good quality with a mix of handmade and factory produced. My husband helped me set up the website and in November 2014 I opened up Little and Fierce’s virtual doors.

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?

Oh gosh, it’s been a huge learning curve. I found managing the money and planning stock levels to be the hardest. It’s so tricky knowing just what to buy and how much to invest in a brand for each season. Sometimes I’ve got it right and other times I’ve taken a risk and it just hasn’t paid off. When this happens I’ve had a moan and a cry but then dusted myself off and reflected on what I can learn and put that into practice for future decisions. An example would be, that I got feedback from a few customers that I don’t have enough aimed at boys. I took that on board, did market research and ordered more ‘boy’ products for the next season. It bombed. I couldn’t give it away. From then onwards I decided to stick to what I knew fit well with my brand and bring in less gendered items where possible. 

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?

My favourite platform for Little and Fierce over the years has been Instagram (@littlefiercekids), especially in the early days. I’d post any new products or offers and get orders in straight afterwards. With the change in algorithm it’s been a challenge to get seen, and I’ve not spent enough time investing in my Instagram feed as I should have. My tip would be plan your social media content in advance, know what products or lines you want to promote and then plan round them. Try not to be too sales-y and mix it up with lifestyle images, fun images and product shots. I know my customers love it when I share their photos on my feed – with their permission of course!

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?

Having something that’s mine. I can look at my business and know that it’s something I created from the ground up and that in itself is something to be proud of. A moment I’ll never forget is seeing our products featured in an editorial in OK! Magazine. It was such a great feeling of validation.

 

Has being a parent influenced the way your business works? 

Being a parent has been a fundamental part of Little and Fierce. My girls have been where I get my inspiration from when it comes to choosing new products and lines for the store. As a parent I’m not a fan of spending money on accessories for my girls that are novelty and break easily, so with that in mind look for quality and value for money and that underpins my ethos for Little and Fierce. 

 

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

I am the worst for getting overwhelmed and wanting to hide under a duvet. With running a store and a blog as well as having a family with no extended family nearby it can all get a bit much at times. I can end up feeling like I’m doing so much but actually achieving so little! I find I’m at my best when I have set goals and plan out my time. I also try not to do too much and set my expectations too high. It’s important to be realistic when thinking about what you can achieve. The worst feeling is that constant feeling of failure, set some easy wins and move up from there.

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

I particularly like the Oh K! Korean beauty inspired range. I think it’s really cute and always goes down well when I do pop up events.

 

I’m also excited about these new accessories that arrived just this week, 

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

Know your numbers! It sounds dull but make sure your business is viable and you’ll actually earn from it. You might want to take that leap and quit your day job but make sure that decision also makes financial sense and you’re not putting too much pressure on your fledgling business too soon. On a less practical note love and believe in your business, it’s going to be your baby so protect and nurture it and believe in yourself. You’ve got this!

 

*********************

I’ve put together a pre-Christmas giveaway where you could win a pre-packed silver stocking with these items, Little Cloud Necklace and Silver Star Necklace by Rockahula Kids, Unicorn Nail Stickers, Blue Hair Bobble Set and Meri Meri Unicorn and Rainbow 3D stickers.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck!

 

In the meantime..

Just click on the logo to get shopping!

littleandfierce.co.uk

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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

 

morganaMy Start Up Story of Little and Fierce Kids
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Paper Joy’s Start Up Story with discount code and free printable

Stories like this one remind me just how much I love social media and what fantastic opportunities it has brought into my life. I discovered this month’s business, Paper Joy, through Instagram and became a huge fan straight away. The rainbow colours, unicorns and mermaids prints are mine.. I mean.. my youngest daughter’s favourites, but to be honest all of Kerry’s work is so bright and positive that it’s actually hard to pin point which print I love the most. Oh and did I mention she’s got one with succulents on? I hope you enjoy getting to know Kerry and learn more about her art print business, Paper Joy, in this month’s Start Up Story.

Hi, I’m Kerry. I love bright colours and I spread happiness and positivity through my artwork. I design, produce and sell art prints. For every art print sold a portion of the sale goes to plant a whole tree.

I’m so passionate about leaving something positive behind. My art prints are happy and bright, they’ll last years and years. Art is so valuable to the human experience, visually evoking happiness is a powerful tool that I feel carries great responsibility for myself as a designer.

 

Tell us a little bit about your business 

My middle name is Joy, that’s how I came up with my business name – which is Paper Joy. My first name is Kerry, hello *excited wave*. I’m a mum to Max, my gorgeous, lively 2-year-old boy and I run my small business from Hull in East Yorkshire. I live with my husband Darren who diligently puts up with my whimsical nature.

My business started about 3 years ago. I left my graduate job in London and never looked back. I still to this day believe in the old saying that it’s better to be building your dreams than someone else’s. I worked for John Lewis Head Office and I must have been mad to leave such a great company, but I think most small business owners have got to be a bit bonkers to do what they do. I work from my small studio at home and I’m the happiest I’ve ever been sending out my art prints all over the world.

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?

Having left a large retailer I should have been well equipped to start up a business, but I muddled around for a while trying to find my feet. I think it’s important to point out that most of us really just don’t know what we’re doing initially (even now occasionally). Working for yourself is an endless education. It’s having the motivation and willpower to keep yourself going that is the key.

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

I really wish I liked coffee for the energy boost, but I’m not really a coffee or tea drinker. When I remember I do take them I have Floradix Iron and vitamin tablets, they can help with fatigue.

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?

Without a doubt Instagram has been my strongest social media platform. The thing to think about with social media is ‘why would my target customer follow me?’ they wouldn’t follow you if all you’re doing is forcing spammy ‘buy my product’ posts down their necks. People want to see behind the brand, get personal and honest BUT keep it Instagram pretty.

 

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?

Working for myself allows me to manage my time, so when we want to take a trip to the playground we can. Though that inevitably means I’ll be at my desk till 11pm that night, it’s so worth it.

Has being a parent influenced the way your business works? 

Yes. How could it not! My main drive is to give my family a nice life, having the flexibility to work from home and spend time with my little boy is priceless.

Running an online business that’s so design led must get overwhelming at times, what do you do to manage your time and what tips do you have for avoiding being overwhelmed.

Any creative business will struggle with having to do the boring side of running a business, because all we really want to do is create. The sheer volume of tasks besides designing is completely overwhelming. To do lists are my friends, if I’m feeling overwhelmed I make sure I’ve ticked off at least one thing from my to do list because at least then you are moving forward. Remember little steps are OK.

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

My absolute favorite art print I’ve done to date is my latest design, the Mermaid Riding a Unicorn. I love mermaids and I love unicorns and I love rainbows. So I decided I wanted to incorporate all 3 into a print.

Got any new products or projects in the pipeline?

I’ve added a lot of typography style prints to my collection recently, all with warm messages that I hope will resonate with people.  Plus I’ll be bringing out a range of art prints that will have a portion of sales go to lots of different charities.

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

Imposter syndrome lives in all of us, you are not alone in finding it hard to call yourself an entrepreneur. Every day won’t be a success but that doesn’t mean that you are not a successful person. If you are supporting your family comfortably then you are doing great.

 

*********************

Kerry has created a fantastic free printable for all my lovely readers!

Click here to download

AND

 I’m excited to share a huge 30% off discount code for Paper Joy – HAPPY30

click on the logo to get shopping 😉

paper joy discount code

Shop – ETSY | NOTHS | WEBSITE

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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

 

Sign up to The Start Up Life monthly newsletter for inspiration, practical tips and much more..

(photos all used with permission – PaperJoy. Discount code valid in Etsy store until 30.11.17)

morganaPaper Joy’s Start Up Story with discount code and free printable
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Beau Baby’s Start Up Story

I love this lady that I’m introducing to you this month, we met last year at a local event and really got on. We recently met up for coffee where I got to ask her a few questions about her business, Beau Baby. What strikes you straight away about Rebecca is just how passionate she is about supporting women and providing the best service for them. If I was going to have another baby I’d be calling her up straight away and signing up to all her classes and sessions! I hope you enjoy getting to know her and her gorgeous business through this interview.

My name is Rebecca, I’m married to Paul, have a little boy called Ralph and two stepsons Oscar & Harvey in their twenties. This year saw me leave the NHS after nearly twenty years as a Senior Sister in paediatric nursing, to focus on my passion for supporting women through my business Beau Baby. I love a challenge and next year I’m running the London Marathon, and let me tell you I’m no runner! 

 

Tell us a little bit about your business 

I set up Beau Baby back in 2015, and we specialise supporting women through Fertility, Pregnancy, Birth and Post Natal. This is through classes, and private support in areas such as pregnancy relaxation, hypnobirthing, Fertility Massage Therapy (there are actually only 250 Fertility Massage Therapy practitioners worldwide that are trained in this specific technique!) 

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 main thing I’ve found the hardest is adapting from working for a huge organisation like the NHS to working for myself. I have to be everything, there’s no IT department, or Finance department, that’s all me! It’s been a huge learning curve, but I’ve sought advice and networked with others to learn the skills that I need. I’m passionate and want Beau Baby to be the best that it can be.

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

All the C’s…! Chocolate, Crisps, Cake, Chips, Carbs & Coke (diet..!)

 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 Facebook and feel a sense of loyalty to it but my heart is with Instagram, I love the squares and getting to know others through watching their Stories. I’m learning to be more true to myself so people can connect to me and the brand in a new and passionate way, through using Stories as well as through my main feed. I find the Instagram community hugely inspiring.

 

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?

My most recent ‘pinch myself’ moment has been receiving the news that I’ve been nominated and short listed for Female Innovator of the Year, in the Lancashire Women in Business Awards run by Down Town in Business (You can vote for Rebecca here). When it comes to Beau Baby however my favourite moments are ones that involve the women I’ve worked with, like my first ever fertility client messaging me to tell me she’s pregnant, and the first ever hypnobirth baby and the thanks I got for the birth. It’s those stories that are what Beau Baby is about for me, for every pregnancy and every birth.

Has being a parent influenced the way your business works? 

The idea of Beau Baby actually came from my own experience of being pregnant and seeking support for my anxiety and worries around giving birth. Working as a paediatric nurse I saw child birth trauma first hand and I carried those related worries into my own pregnancy. I struggled to find the support that I needed, until I came across hypnobirthing. It worked so well for me and I thought if I can do this then there must be something in it. What started as a hobby or side business has grown and become a full time job. It’s my passion to support women and I love that I get to do it for a living.

 

You’ve recently gone from being a ‘one girl band’ kind of business to taking on a new team member. How has it been sharing your ‘business baby’ with someone else?

So much easier than I originally expected! Sarah, as a former health visitor, also has a longstanding NHS background and she was a Beau Baby mummy herself! She shares that passion and drive to support mums, babies and families. I cover Lytham and she covers Preston so together we can reach more mums across the North West.

 

What’s your current favourite aspect of your business? Running a class? One to one support?

That’s such a tough question, it’s like asking someone to choose their favourite child! Every woman who wants a baby should have the chance to become a mother and through Beau Baby I can support that whole process. Starting someone off on this amazing journey will enable them to experience all parts of Beau Baby.

Got any new projects in the pipeline?

Our post natal support services are expanding, which will include baby massage and I’m undergoing Doula training so that I can help provide that much needed emotional and physical support after birth.

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

If you’re currently working, then continue that work and start your business parallel to it. Yes, it’s a short term nightmare but for a huge long term gain, and your passion and belief in your business will reward you. You need to be sure that you are taking the right steps in starting a business – don’t hand in your letter of resignation until your business is viable. If you believe you’ve got what it takes you most definitely will have!

 

*********************

Live locally (Preston/Lytham) and interested in this service? 

Get in touch!

Quote COFFEEWORK and get 10% off any hypnobirthing course

 

 

www.beaubaby.co.uk

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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

 

Sign up to The Start Up Life monthly newsletter for inspiration, practical tips and much more..

(photos all used with permission – Beau Baby)

morganaBeau Baby’s Start Up Story
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5 things I do when I feel emotionally drained

I am naturally an introvert and can find spending a lot of time with people and socialising pretty draining. As much as I love a party or a long talk with friends there is only so much I can do before I feel the need to retreat. I find this can be the case when I’m feeling emotionally drained too. I love listening to people and helping friends work through problems but bizarrely I can find myself taking on their emotions or worries and carrying them with me afterward, I think this is just an aspect of my personality type. I know myself well enough now to recognise the signs that I need to take a step back and look after myself a little. This doesn’t just benefit me but tops me up again, so to speak, so that I can be me again, to be there for my children and my friends. If I don’t do anything and just keep going I am no fun to be around at all! I can be irritable, lack patience and definitely lack compassion, it’s like I shut down, this doesn’t make for a good friend, mum or general human being!

Here are some ways I’ve found that help me when I’m feeling emotionally drained.

 

   1. Have a hot bubbly bath

There is something so magical about easing yourself into a hot bubbly bath. Being a mum it can be hard to find any sacred space that’s just for me. I’ve learnt that hard way to wait until I’m one hundred percent certain that both my girls are asleep before even attempting to run a bath. I’ll never forget getting into an eagerly anticipated bath only to be joined in the bathroom by my very chatty six year old wanting to read to me while she sat on the loo. Not ideal. 

   2. Lock myself away with Netflix

Grabbing some time to just switch off and binge watch something is so relaxing to me, obviously it doesn’t need to be Netflix, any provider of binge watch fodder will do! To immerse myself in another story or world and taking that time to check out is so special. Even if it’s just a snatched thirty minutes while the girls are playing. I need to be careful with this though and make sure if I’m watching for a recharge then it shouldn’t be a series that’s particularly tense or with an emotional storyline, a fun comedy like Kimmy Schmidt or Odd Mom Out usually does the trick.

   3. Read a book

This is where an absorbing fiction book is just perfect. Curling up on my comfy chair in the living room and getting lost in another story gives me that time out I so often need. I usually reach for one of my comforting favourites when I’m feeling drained. There’s something so easy about dipping back into a well worn book and familiar characters. A new book can be more difficult to concentrate on when I’m feeling overwhelmed or down and I definitely would struggle to process a non-fiction read.

   4. Switch off

This is done at varying degrees, depending on need and of course circumstance. Taking that step back, whether it’s ignoring calls and turning off notifications, or just turning off your phone for a set amount of time. As I’ve got older I’ve learnt that setting boundaries is so important and ties in well with this. As terrible as it sounds sometimes we need to ignore that call if we’re not emotionally able to cope with it. Instead just send a little text saying you’ll call back and then speak to them when you’ve topped up a little. When I’m feeling drained I struggle to even engage on social media and places like Instagram make me feel down and inadequate rather than a place to share creativity and share in people’s lives. Sometimes I’ll take a social media break for a few days (and try not to worry about lack of engagement or losing followers!!) as I know that when I come back to it I’ll be refreshed and ready. 

   5. Have a time of prayer and mindfulness 

This may sound airy fairy but taking the time to centre myself when I’m overwhelmed is often the most necessary and important thing. This can be lying down and with calming music, listening to a thoughtful podcast, praying or just sitting in silence. I find that when I’ve given myself this kind of space I feel so much better for it, though often it can be the last thing I feel like doing! Looking after myself spiritually is just as important as taking care of physically needs, in fact it’s all connected really.

 

Can you relate?

What do you do when you’re feeling emotionally drained?

 

things emotionally drained

(featured image by Robyn Swain Photography)

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Fabric and home ware designer, Helen Baker’s Start Up Story

As a Cornish girl at heart I love homeware that is reminiscent of this coastal county, and this is just what Helen Baker captures. She designs fabric and homeware with a laid back coastal theme that’s just perfect for any family home. When Helen got in touch with me to share her story and business I knew she’d be a perfect fit for a Start Up Story feature. As a fellow parent and business owner Helen knows the juggle first hand and 

Hi, I’m Helen, a self-taught fabric designer, living in Wiltshire with my husband and two sons. I was a primary school teacher for nearly ten years but left after having my second son. Being the only female in our household I wanted to furnish our new home in stylish gender neutral designs after we had moved from Cornwall to Wiltshire with my husband’s job. Unable to find what I was looking for, I researched how fabrics were designed. After a busy year teaching myself pattern design I used our home to test some initial designs. I then went on to create a contemporary coastal inspired collection titled ‘You can take they girl out of Cornwall’ based life in modern day Cornwall.

Tell us a little bit about your business 

I launched my debut fabric and homeware collection in May of this year and I sell my designs as fabric by the metre, cushions and lampshades through my website www.helenbaker.com

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

It was probably about 18 months from my initial ideas to launching the business. Living in a digital age, I feel so fortunate to have so many resources and information at my finger tips. I taught myself surface pattern design from Skillshare, an online learning platform run by creatives, for creatives and listening to lots of podcasts for the business side of things. This style of flexible learning means I can fit it around busy family life which is a priority for me and an advantage of working for yourself.

 

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?

For me, the hardest part is doing everything myself so if I don’t know how to do something I have to find out and learn new things. Talking to people really helps. My husband has been really helpful as he ran his own business for ten years and knows what’s involved. I also was on a business support programme where I got 12 hours of EU funded support which was invaluable.

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

Depending on the time of day, tea or coffee, with biscuits (of course!).

 

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?

As my business is very visual my favourite platform is Instagram. It’s great to find like minded people, engage with them and to keep up to date with what’s going on in your field. My tip would be to not get hung up on follower numbers. I try to remember that everyone has started from zero and through consistent posting of content that’s relevant to you, your following will grow.

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?

For me, the best part is the flexibility to do what I want when I want. My pinch myself moment was at the supermarket last month where I first saw the feature of myself in Country Homes and Interiors as their favourite designer maker of the month. It was such an honour to have been in such a prestigious interiors magazine.

Has being a parent influenced the way your business works? 

Yes it has. As I work from home I am able to do the school runs each day which I feel really lucky to do. This means I have to be very focused with my working time so I have to prioritise what I can get done between 9am and 3pm. I will then work evenings and weekends when I need to.

What makes you tick? The things that gets you up in the morning to make your business a success?

I am passionate about creating family friendly homes and I really love the friendly world of interiors that I am now part of so working on this feels so right. ‘Design the life you want’ is an ethos I love to help decision making and to drive me forward.

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

I love the Cornish Clouds fabric design which is an updated version of the classic seaside stripe with a graphic inspired cloud motif. It’s simple yet striking and based on the Cornish coast which always makes me smile.

Got any new products or projects in the pipeline?

I’m putting the finishing touches to a British Gardens collection, which will again incorporate my style, nature-inspired silhouette shapes, that people can relate to but with a contemporary feel.

 

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

Podcasts. I have learned so much from other people who have been in similar positions starting up their own business who offer advice and tips.

 

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morganaFabric and home ware designer, Helen Baker’s Start Up Story
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