My Top Little Luxury for the perfect home office

I love that word – luxuries, it’s something everyone needs in their life. Not in a fancy car, huge house, safe full of diamonds kinda way, just a little pat on the back for your efforts, a little luxury to keep up the motivation to work and reap the rewards.

I’m slowly falling back into love with my home after putting it on the back burner while divorce stuff was being sorted, and now my home office (by that I mean desk in the corner of my dining room!) is a settled feature and a place I can type away with blissful abandonment, but I’ve also been looking at making it a more functional area.

Yesterday was spent having a sort through of all the paperwork and receipts which were building up, I work much better in a tidy environment and a tidy desk, for me, is key to a productive day. my littlest boy is in preschool an extra day so I’m getting my work buzz on big style.

I just need to make my workspace as productive as I possibly can so get the most out of those kindred work hours.

“So what about these luxuries Ali!”I hear you say.

So, say you’re typing away at home, a diary to your right (I’ve gone for a Stick To Stigu again this year BTW, love it) glass of water to your left. An inspirational quote at eye level, amazing smelling reed diffuser to stir those feel-good senses. It all seems pretty simple, right?

Yet there’s but one little thing missing; the coffee break. I don’t have the luxury (see there’s that word again) to pop out to a barista for the perfectly brewed latte, but if there’s one thing in life which I refuse to compromise on, it’s coffee.

So my top little luxury, the top of my list for all the above, the one which completes the perfect home office has to be a small yet funky coffee machine.  The type which will guarantee me the perfectly roasted caffeine hit at the touch of a button, my Dolce Gusto is one of the more a compact coffee machine with a minimalist design, which won’t take up too much room.

small luxuries for a home office

I simply don’t have the time to faff around grinding beans, measuring out, waiting for machines to heat up or pots to brew. I’d much rather walk 10 paces to the kitchen, pop in a pod, fill up the tank, press a button then get back to my desk and crack on. (And the great thing about a coffee machine is you can buy pods to suit whatever coffee mood you’re in, now the braces are off, I’m not tied to lattes.)

I draw the line at a water cooler though, I know they’re a pinnacle meeting point of most offices, it’s just I can’t argue that one,

what with having a tap and all that, which pretty much does the same thing!


This is a collaborative post 



5 ways to save your blog from a slump

Building a loyal following of regular readers will take time and effort, so when your blog falls into a slump, it’s very disheartening. The following tactics, from your choice of web hosting services to seasonal content, will help to battle the slump.

For many people, a blog is a digital journal where they can rant and rejoice about their day-to-day life, but for others, it has the potential to be an exciting career path. Either way, there’s no denying that a blog will need time, effort and a whole heap of creativity to be successful, you’ll find you’ll need a little tech knowledge too.

No matter how much content you write or how frequently you market your blog, there will be times that your site’s performance drops and fewer people are reading your posts. While this isn’t the end of the world and doesn’t mean your blog is doomed, it is something that you should be looking into and planning to rectify, even the most seasoned blogger will need to keep on top of there game. 

 The following tactics, from your choice of web hosting services to seasonal content, will help to battle the blog slump.

  1. Optimise Your Website for SEO

As a blogger or anyone else who spends plenty of time online, you will have heard of SEO. It stands for ‘search engine optimisation’ and includes the various marketing techniques used to make your website rank higher on search engines. Whether you’re a casual blogger or it’s your primary source of income, SEO is vital if you want people to be reading your content.

Including keywords in your writing that relate to your niche is essential. Keywords are the words and phrases you enter into search engines, so take a moment to think of keywords that relate to your blog and start using them more in your content, just make sure it sounds natural and in keeping with your tone of voice. 

Another important aspect of SEO is backlinks. These are hyperlinks in your blog posts to (ideally) high-authority websites which support what is being said. This demonstrates to search engines that your blog is a reputable source of information relating to the chosen topic.


  1. Write Seasonal and Relevant Content

If your blog is running a little dry in regards to topics and ideas, you should always take note of current events that relate to your chosen niche, as well as seasonal content. For example, Christmas is right around the corner, which gives you an enormous range of potential topics. With so many people searching for Christmas content online, there’s a good chance they’ll stumble upon your website. Don’t forget to create Pinterest style images with your keywords in the alt tags which will help send people to your site, seasonal topics are big searches on there. 

Current events and special days during the year also provide you with a multitude of angles to use. A great example is World Mental Health Day (October 10th) which has just passed. This not only allows you to write meaningful and engaging content, but you also know that many people will be searching for keywords regarding mental health around this time.


  1. Embrace Social Media

There have been many game-changers throughout the digital age, but the internet and social media are arguably two of the most influential to date. In their most basic form, websites such as Facebook and Twitter are an innovative way to communicate with people all over the world. But over the years, social media has also evolved into a powerful digital marketing tool.

As a blogger, you should be taking full advantage of everything social media has to offer. It gives you access to a worldwide audience and allows you to promote your blog content for free. Millions of people visit social media websites every day, so if you’re yet to use it for marketing purposes you’re missing out on a tonne of potential readers! (see above about Pinterest!) 


  1. Reevaluate Your Web Hosting Services

At some point you might want to purchase website hosting services , this allows you to get a blog online and provides you with the bandwidth and web space to maintain a website. Although now you may have invested some money into various aspects of your blog, in the early days, you may have understandably opted for the cheapest web hosting option to save a bit of money.

Cheap web hosting or inefficient website hosting companies can cause a variety of performance issues for your blog. One is slow loading times — which, because of the high-speed internet of today, isn’t something that people expect or tolerate from the sites they visit. High-quality web hosting gives you better site performance and keeps your readers happy and you’ll get access to support and customer service. 

Bad website hosting can also lead to unexpected downtime. Although slow loading times are annoying, your readers will be able to access your site eventually. With downtime, there’s no site to access until the issue is sorted. This will massively affect your site’s SEO, as well as your ability to make money through your blog.


  1. Explore New Avenues of Creativity

If your website has been recording fewer visitors recently, it could be because they’re bored, or that your content has become predictable. If this is the case, now’s the time to explore new topics, niches and other creative aspects of your blog. This isn’t to say you shouldn’t continue to write the type of content you have done previously, but mixing it up with brand new, unpredictable content will help immensely.

While the general consensus is that you should focus on one niche to be more successful as a blogger, adding another area of expertise to your repertoire will give your more topics to write about and expand the audience who will find your blog or website appealing.


This is a collaborative post


Top Tips For Working From Home

I’ve been working from home for 4 years now, grabbing snippets of work time when ever and where ever I can. With a laptop perched on my lap, I’d multitask most evenings with the TV on in the background or wake up and switch on while in bed. It suited my needs at first, with a baby and no set free time it was always a case of getting on with things as soon as the opportunity arose or putting those endless moments breastfeeding a baby to good use.

Recently though, I’ve been a lot more constructive with my time. Work has picked up and my youngest going to preschool has meant I’ve got set hours in the day to crack on. This was the perfect opportunity to reassess how I work and get the most out of my child free day. It’s so easy, when your home is your office, to never have an off switch and the nature of my job means I can get a little done on my phone while waiting in a que or walking the dog, but I also needed moments to just get on with tight deadlines or scheduling work so I could go away. These are the main switches I’ve made to make sure working from home has worked for me.

Create a defined workspace

I tried this once before by arranging my dressing table into a multiuse area but it was so difficult to keep organised that I found it easier sitting at the dining table. The main problem with working this way is you have to keep clearing it away and would waste precious moments looking for my diary and notebook just to get started.

By investing in a small desk from Kit Out My Office, which I should proudly gloat, I put together all by my self while entertaining a toddler and not swearing. I’ve rearranged my dining room to create a small office area and have noticed a massive difference in the amount I can achieve, as well as being much more organised in general.

Fresh flowers help it blend in to my dining room and not look so officey, a ‘keep positive’ quote as well as essential oil room diffuser calm my stresses (I’ve currently have Meditation by Oleo Natural Bodycare sitting pride of place ) While there’s space for my Pirongs organiser, super stylish Kate Spade notebook as well as my BusyB paperwork folder  which are all to pretty to hide away!

I chose a desk with a small drawer in my dinning room colour scheme  to keep all my clutter away and one place so I don’t have to keep getting up to find things, wasting precious time.

top tips for working from home

Lock The Front Door & let friends or family know your work times

When everyone knows you’re always around, it’s easy to be the go-to person they can pop round to see whenever. I love having guests and chatting over a coffee but when I have deadlines to meet, it can be hard giving your guests your undivided attention while you’ve got the nagging worry you’ll be in for late night and you can hear emails pinging away on your phone.

So I have had to start to be quite firm and let people know I’m working and not available. It’s much easier to be upfront than come across rude as you’re trying to maintain a conversation while your minds elsewhere, unless you’re having a really good gossip, I’ve always got time for that!

Use a timer app

And finally, as I have a few different clients for my freelance work which all require different amounts of time, I use the timer app Yast, (other apps are available!) which makes sure I’m diligent with my working time, don’t over or under work. You can assign each client separately and it just becomes second nature to start the timer every time I switch clients.

It’s very easy to get carried away on a campaign and find you’re doing way more than expected so I check in at the end of each day to balance my time and plan the following day accordingly.

For me, maintaining a good work / life balance has been key to making sure I enjoy my job and that my  working is time is as productive as possible equaling less stress or that feeling that your never away from my desk!


This is a collaborative post 


Super Styling Your Freelancer / Blogger Life

I’ve been a blogger and freelancer for a few years now and since graduating from the Digital Mum’s Social Media training recently I’ve decided to up my game and kick my jumbled, chaotic way of working into touch. It’s time to get organised and I thought I’d share some of my plans with you should you feel the need to join me.

This isn’t a new idea mind, it’s been on my must do list for some months now and a regular feature in my Goal For The Week check list. The lack of ticks a telling sign that it’s yet to be completed.


Historically I’ve always been good at making a list and checking things off, even my lists had lists. But ‘winging it’ closely followed by ‘flying by the seat of my pants’  has been more of a life motto.

So what’s the plan?

I've been colour streamlining my blogger and freelancer accessories with some mint and gold products from the new Kate Spade range

Get yourself a fancy notebook, asap. And make it large one.

First off, as the title suggests you need a note-book. Everyone has a planner, my Pirongs  one is awesome. But I also need a place to mind-map, store my ideas and plans for world domination. I also like pretty things. And gold. Gold’s good. I have a rather fancy Kate Spade one which is pretty AND has the trademark Kate Spade spots along with an inspiring quote so make me smile. It’s also spot on for someone going through a major life change and needs a little reminder not to take life so seriously every now and then.

I've been colour streamlining my blogger and freelancer accessories with some mint and gold products from the new Kate Spade range
I’ve found mine on the luxury living website Rooi . It takes pride of place on my Welsh dresser and my handbag for when I’m out and about. One thing I find as a freelancer is that every second counts. When you have deadlines to meet and especially trying to work around family, if I can grab 20 minutes being productive when having a coffee in town then its happy days. And when an idea pops into my busy little head, I can write it down pronto.

You never know when that moment of inspiration is going to hit. I’ve lost many a good idea by not having the means to cement it in a note-book.


Add The Little Freelancer Extras

A nice pen helps too, along with a matching travel cup. Total colour streamlining going on right now in mint and gold. Even my camera bag, which doubles as my handbag is in there, rocking the mint theme. Which also happens to be the name of my new social media business. <I’ve just clocked into to the fact that the word mint is a dominant feature in my life right now. Crikey, how did I miss that one?>

In blogger mode I often have to take my DSLR camera out and about. I invested in a lush Jo Totes bag which is large enough for my notebook, iPad and all the other essentials which I need when out and about. It’ absolutely no coincidence the style shares my name, none what so ever. Honest. (Love that it’s called Allison!)

I've been colour streamlining my blogger and freelancer accessories with some mint and gold products from the new Kate Spade range
Right, lets recap. Choose a colour you like, by some really nice stationary and bags in it and you’ve pretty much super styled your freelancer / blogger tool kit.


This is a collaborative post 




What IS a blogger? (And how do they make money?)

“So what do you do?” It was a question I’ve had many times over, and every time I pause before giving an answer. This time was no different. It was a noisy bar and the person asking was seven sheets to the wind. Not sure if they were really bothered what my answer would be, I quickly weighed up a reply in my head.

Do I go for my fail safe Social Media Manager? After all, I am now fully qualified and so it feels like a perfectly valid answer, or do I go for the pre courser, the role I cut my teeth in, in all that is social media; a blogger.

Feeling in the mood for debate, and sensing one looming with said person asking, I replied “I am blogger.”

There was a pause.

“I don’t get all that blogging malarkey, what is a blogger?” was the eventual reply.

This time it was my turn to pause. I needed to give a full and valid reason for being a blogger only in laymen terms, while giving the profession the justice it deserves. Simply because that’s what it is to me – it is a profession, after all I gave up a career, a 9-5, for blogging.

Yet that title is never one which can be translated into a sentence and be done with. It needs explanation and clarification.

So that’s what I did……

“well, I share my opinion and snippets of my life on a website which I built and maintain myself. Sometimes I share reviews of a product which a company has sent me and sometimes I just waffled about things which are going on in my head.”

And the debate continued.

“That’s not a job though, that’s a hobby. You can’t make money blogging.”

f you're looking to make your business more environmentally friendly then why not consider running a paperless office? Starting with my own small

3 years ago I’d have completely agreed, it was just a hobby. An outlet to share my professional training and to keep it fresh in my mind while on maternity leave. Which it did. But pretty soon I was being contacted by brands to review their products on my blog. I only ever accepted things I thought were relevant to my readers or I needed, it helped keep me in my niche and stopped looked like a total advertising platform.

12 months in though, my social media followers were building up nicely and soon the offers for sponsored posts were pinging into my mail box. I was being paid to write a blog post by companies. My little blog had become a trusted advertising or brand awareness referral platform for other companies. My hard work had paid off.

It’s still a little difficult to explain if you don’t fully know how the internet works. In a nutshell, companies collaborate with bloggers to help spread the word about their product or service. We have direct access to readers who follow our blogs on social media or receiving our latest blog posts straight via email. It’s a much more personal way of reaching people; Our experience with the brand or company we are collaborating with is bound within a story within an underpinning back history on what is going in our life.

Almost like having a chat with your mates, telling them how great something is (or rubbish) having moan about life or shouting from the roof tops how great it is. I’ve turned down work offers which I don’t think I can find anything interesting to write about or doesn’t fit with anything which is going on for me right now. I’ve refused to write about products or experiences which I have no interest in or I wouldn’t want to recommend to a friend.

A lot of my day is spent replying to emails with a polite thanks but no thanks. So don’t ever feel you’re being fed a line, if I tell you I liked it, I liked it. If I write about it, it’s because I’m interested in it.

Plus, it’s actually a lot harder to tell a lie than share a truth.

And don’t EVER think that blogging is all about the free stuff, it’s NEVER free, any product I review has been exchanged for my time spent putting the product through the nitty gritty, writing a blog post, photographing and editing, sharing and promoting across my social media and the time spent maintaining my website. Most of the time the product I’m sharing doesn’t equate to the cost per hour spent doing all the above.

Which is precisely  why I will thing long and had about whether I want to review it. My time is precious.

I’ve been criticised for over sharing and ‘spreading myself all over the internet.’ Which I don’t disagree with one bit. You do have to give a little bit of yourself away to draw your readers in. It’s the curiosity of humankind which makes a blog such compelling reading. A little like a reality TV show, I guess. But the pros far outweigh the cons, the messages and feedback of support and thanks I get as a blogger keep me reaching for the keyboard and sharing my story. And while I do sometimes find it difficult being so public, especially with my current situation.

It’s also the most cathartic thing I can do both for myself, anyone else in a similar situation and for my family and friends who wonder what’s going on in my busy little head most of the time!

Blogging isn’t for everyone but it is for me, the hours are long but the rewards are fantastic!

I'm happy to shout about being a mumpreneur, turning blogging into a business while working around my family. It's not an easy option by any ,means but is a lifestyle choice I will never regret