The Time I Tried A Digital Detox

I’ll put my hands up to once being in the camp of social media hater. I knew I should  join the masses, but I hated the idea of the intrusion. Why should I be sharing my new happy, little life with people I didn’t particularly know very well anymore?

It just didn’t sit too well.

Don’t get me wrong, there were many old friends who I loved catching up with, poking, liking, private messaging old times.  But there were also the ones who could barely muster a glance, let alone a smile or courtesy “hello” in public yet here they were, having complete access to the ins-and-outs of the nitty gritty, I or anyone who tagged me, decided to share.

They’d know where I’d been on holiday and whatever mood I was in without even having to waste breathing space in my general direction. And that was wrong, in my eyes, wrong.

Call me picky, but I just didn’t see how having a bulging Facebook friends list was going to make my life any better. And don’t even get me started on Twitter. All I knew was that someone had insulted Stephen Fry (his tweets were boring, apparently) so he’d taken umbrage and left.

But surely if Stephen Fry couldn’t hack the Twitter pace, there was no way simple old, not very exciting me, was going to risk it!

Yet here I am with my handles and profile photos, living the social media life as all that changed as I slowly  realised I could hold the virtual reins in the social media stratosphere. That for my blog and soon my business to succeed I needed to venture in with both eyes open and embrace this ever evolving world.

A world where pretty soon I wouldn’t even need to stroll down to the newsagent to buy a magazine, as I could find out all about the latest must-have products  at the touch of a finger tip, Pretty soon, my recreational and research reading was all online.

Even soap operas took a step out of my evening’s entertainment, I had my own reality show here, online. A morbid urge to pry and indulge the gossip all there, for my viewing pleasure.Friend or celeb, I could hear it all, whenever, and however I pleased.

And despite being in what could-have been a very lonely position on maternity leave as I left friends and colleagues behind, it was quite the opposite. Instead I  had access to a community of like-minded people, day and night.

This digital world wasn’t shaping up to badly after all.

I was hooked as my world would become more and more digital. I’d socialize, bank, work, take photos, share photos, research, plan, watch and shop all from the comfort of my friend, my companion, my iPhone.

And that’s when it hit me, my life was being played out in silence, over a screen. I’d become so absorbed in this lifestyle which I’d once tried to resist, that I was missing the real life. I’d watch fireworks through a lens instead of just enjoying them, my quest for preserving that feeling for ever was lost and the reality was I’d never really been part of that feeling in the first place.

So I took a digital detox.

A 4 days, 4 nights, no iPhone, no laptop, no social media digital detox.

The first day was easy. I was hitting the ground running while stressed to hilt. Any moments free, where I would normally reach for my phone were pushed aside.

I needed a break, I must have a break, I will have a break.

I played games with my son, kept myself busy and reminded myself that all would not be lost if I didn’t Instagram that really cute photo. hash tag or no hash tag. I will not pick up that phone.

the time I took a digital detox, a complete break from social media and the laptop. see how I got on here;

Day two came and went, I’d completely de-stressed. I even sat and watched the trees blowing in the wind. (not done that without the urge to reach for my phone and photograph it in a long time) in tranquility, I gathered my thoughts and noticed how much slower my mind now seemed.

For the first time in years I wasn’t racing round in my head with a list of to-dos. It felt nice. And oddly I had no interest in seeing what everyone else in Facebook world was up to.

It felt really, really nice. Liberating almost.

By day three I was there; The calm, digital free world I’d planned for. My fingers had lost their familiar ache and I had no desire to share anything with anyone, ever again. I’d gathered my thoughts and calmed my mind. I’d rebooted ‘me’.

Then I lapsed. One momentary, lapse. A photo which, ironically, represented the freedom and unplugged moment I was living, and I shared it. I wanted everyone to know I was still here, not forgotten, just chilled. Why I needed to  share escapes me, more boredom than anything I suspect. My calm mind was now boring me and I needed connecting. Or distracting, that’s what I needed, distracting.

So I wrote, with a real pen and paper, I wrote. I’m a writer, a blogger, by trade. It’s where I dump my thoughts to make space for the new ones and so I needed to transfer the calm, gentle thoughts I now had floating in my head somewhere. Instinctively I reached for my phone, just like I do any other time I have a moment free.

87 Facebook and 20+ Twitter notifications, 112 emails.

And I caved. not spectacularly, more a slippery slope. Those numbers glaring at me, beckoning me into see what lay beneath.

And that was the end of my digital detox. 2 days, 2 nights and a smidge of a morning. But in that short space of time I had time to think, time to breath and time to appreciate the world around me,

As it was, in high-definition.

In real-time.

what happened when I took a digital detox

 

Follow:
Share:

Fostering Enthusiasm At Little House of Science

Many moons ago, in a previous profession I delivered parenting and baby development classes. They weren’t your run of the mill ‘do this, do that’ type sessions, more about teaching you about how your baby and child see the world. It was something I was very passionate about, you see a whole new perspective on things when looking through their eyes

It was during these classes that I would find myself handing out the same key message over and over again and no-no matter what the age, was to think of your baby, toddler or child as a little scientist. Everything they do, is about testing a hypothesis and understanding how something works. It’s how they figure out life and play is the best way to do it.

I’m not alone in seeing childhood as such a vital time of learning, the ladies who founded Little House of Science also saw the ever-growing demand from children wanting to learn more about how the world works!

From Little Discovery classes for 6 to 24 months where preschool activities are designed to support the love of learning and encourage all the children to interact with the world right up to Big Science classes where 8 – 11 year olds have a weekly project based science workshops.

With a drive to wanting their own children (1 boy and three girls between them) to explore and find answers to the questions about their world around them…such as how plants breathe, the universe, its galaxies and stars to name a few. The partners at Little Science  felt it would be great to have a safe and fun environment for kids to learn about science and all the questions around it. An environment which is active, full of project based learning, hands-on and stimulating.

With a guiding principle to ensure the kids go away with inspiration and enthusiasm about learning and wanting to know more about nature and the supportive facts, Little House of Scientists  hope to capture that enthusiasm from preschool while encouraging characteristics of learning identified in the EYFS,

and with that setting up a love of how things work.

I love that idea!

(There classes are currently London-based at present but if enhancing learning and early years experiences is something you feel passionate about why not check out the franchise options?)

the little house of science is the perfect baby, toddler or kids class to help extend children's natural curiosity into how things work

Follow:
Share:

I’m A Mumpreneur And This Is My Story

It’s coming up to a year since I left the workplace and started life as a mumpreneur. That’s 12 whole months of a daily commute from my bed to the sofa and now my multipurpose desk.

12 months of one woman planning meetings

12 months of late nights and early mornings

And d’you know what? I’ve loved every cotton picking minute of it!

I’ve given it my all and managed to make working from home a success.  I knew I’d come to a natural end in my previous job, I’d lost my mojo  and was dreading my maternity leave ending. Knowing it wasn’t just the thought of leaving my boy, I had an opportunity to trust my instincts so weighing up the pros and cons, my mantra became

you just don’t know until you try it

Having a back up plan

Now don’t go thinking this lady’s a serious risk taker, I always have plan B! With a family to support and mortgage to pay I have to play safe with my big ideas as well as making sure I have the full backing of those closest. The tipping point to my latest adventure was the desire to be at home with my family, see my boy grow up as I’d done with his older brothers and not have the stress of arranging childcare (and paying for it.)

And I’m not alone, I recently stumbled upon a story in the Telegraph dated  back to April 2014 and titled the ‘Rise of the mumpreneurs‘ It told how the rise in childcare costs meant more and more mums were considering becoming their own boss or mumpreneur

– a stay-at-home mother who keeps one eye on the children and another on a fledgling business.

So I handed in my notice in and joined the mumpreneur army. My renewed enthusiasm for ambition and desire for success giving me the kick I needed to get things off the ground.  First off, was to rekindled a personal blog, initially  to keep my mind busy in the fog of new baby days, but I soon realised that I could actually make a living doing something I’d come to love.

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

My sensible head knew I needed a steady income as  my ‘bread and butter’ so set up a business which I could use my professional training and experience. I had short term and long term goals. If you’re embarking on a new business you need to know where you’re taking it in order to allow it to flourish. And simmering away in the back ground were my plan b’s and c’s. The ones I would fall back on if things went belly up and the ones which I might up following.

One thing I picked up along the way was that as much as goal setting and planning is vital in business development, being prepared for change and opportunity to progress in other areas is also a key.

The story so far….

And that is where I’m at now. While I close the door on one adventure, I’m opening a much bigger one. I still have my plan B should things stop gathering momentum but that’s the beauty of being a mumpreneur, or self-employed anything, there is no one saying “wait till I’ve checked with so and so” you just go for it!

There are good days and bad, it’s just the bad aren’t really that bad at all, more mediocre and there are still  those who step in your way simply because they don’t like the cut of your jib, don’t think you are up for the job  or just a general pain in the bum, it’s just now I’m not sitting opposite them in an office! (saying that The Toddler can get pretty feisty, pre nap time some days)And  I’m not saying that being your own boss is easy, far from it. I still find it hard to define working hours and tend to work much longer and later than I intend and then bow under the guilt when I’m not ticking off my to do list.

The house isn;t as tidy as I like it to be and I get a lot less sleep and downtime than I did as an employee but  also get the buzz of seeing results, meeting new people and seeing my efforts pay off.

So as I type this with my faithful spaniel at my feet and the toddler stealing kisses with his arms wrapped piggy-back round my neck, making the mumpreneur switch has been the best life changing decision I have made.

(And a sneaky little thank you to the people who nominated me for a second year in the Mum and Working Parent Blogger of The Year awards! You really shouldn’t have, but I’m so glad you did!)

we've been nominated blog award

 

I'm a mumpreneur and proud! a self employed mum working from home around my family. It's not the easiest option but I have managed to make being a blogger a business, read my story here;

Pin this for later

 

Cuddle Fairy
Share the Joy linky at TheJoyChaser.com
Follow:
Share:

Lost Your Mojo? You Need A Plan!

I’ve been planning, always a good sign for me but a nervous one for my husband.

Ever since studying for my degree during for which  I had to evidence short term and long term goals, I’ve applied this idea when mapping out my ambitions for family life as well as professional. As a mum I plan our family meals, appointments and holidays. My life is all about lists, even my lists have lists.

But when life got a little hectic recently and I felt I swimming against the tide, a little reminder from Michelle at The Joy Chaser ( you can find her how to prioritise when you’re overwhelmed post here) got me reaching for my planners once again.

Notice I said planners as in plural. I have 2, it’s not gluttony or me succumbing to a hankering for stationary (although it does support that indulgence to a degree) By having 2 planners I can keep personal and professional compartmentalized. A tactic I learnt from a previous profession where I needed to keep all elements of my family and private life separate from anything work related to preserve some sanity & optimism.

Making sure you never run out of printer inks and one less job for mum! with HP instant inks

You see Mum in a Nutshell is my profession which takes a big element of planning to keep things on schedule, to stick to deadlines and make sure it’s running at optimum capacity. It’s all too easy to let other things slip though when you’re planning so stringently in another area of your life and that’s where things got a little messy at home. Mainly housework & missed appointments.

So it was back to basics and plan, plan, plan. Not just the week ahead, I needed to go back and work out my short, medium and long-term goals for me, my family and my business. I needed my mojo back!

I have plans, big plans, but it’s the little plans, the foundations of you like, that cement those big plans and if I’m going to aim high then I need to build that road to success.

Everyone needs a destination. Somewhere where you see your self in 1, 5 0r 10 years time. It helps keep you focused and when life gets a little crappy, which it has a tendency to do now and then, going back and revisiting those plans for your destination helps you reboot and get back on track.

It doesn’t have to be huge life changing plans, just a vision for something to aim for. Take little ambitious me for instance. At 24 I was pregnant, not by surprise, it was a planned happy pregnancy and within my plans to be a young mum. What took me by surprise however was the urge to make a better life for myself once my son was born.

I worked in a factory prior to this moment of enlightenment. I hated it, it was boring but at the same time a means to an end to pay my rent and fund my party weekends. Each week I counted down to the weekend, it was like trawling through toffee to the finish line. I wasn’t proud of where I ended up after 5 years of grammar school education and I knew deep down I was wasting opportunities, that I should have gone to university and I should be starting a profession.

So while on maternity leave I rebooted my life and I planned. My destination was a career and so my first short-term and long-term plans were cemented. I needed to study to get to where I wanted and I had to gather experience to travel to the right destination. 4 years studying for an Open University degree later and I was heading in the right direction. It was by no means easy juggling a young family, working and even learning to drive half way through.

But I got there.

And from there I plateaued  I cruised along for 5 more years, slowly loosing that ambition and mojo.

So why am I sharing this with you? Well mainly to give you hope, to let you know it’s never too late. After the late arrival of my third son I took the opportunity to reassess my life.

Was I going in the right direction?

How could I make it better?

What was my destination?

So at 40 I got out my planning hat once again and listed my short-term and long-term goals and in the process, found my mojo once again.

So if you’re still reading this as you’re feeling like life’s got a little monotonous, get planning. Sit down with a pen and paper and work out your destination, how you’ll get there and what you need to do first.

Reboot and take a different path to a bigger better life.

creating a multi use workspace in a bedroom

This post was sponsored by positive thinking, vitamin D and an enthusiastic conversation! 

Pin me to come back to this when you’ll need it.

Planning short term and long term helps get you on the right path to getting your mojo back, here's how I do it.;

Share the Joy linky at TheJoyChaser.com
Follow:
Share:

One Less Mum Job Thanks To HP Instant Inks

I have a love hate relationship with my printer. It’s well used and much-needed but very temperamental. My biggest bug bear, other than having to lug it out of its hiding place each time I need it, is when I run out of ink. The whole process of trying to find a good deal online, making sure they deliver quickly and making sure I’ve ordered the right one takes precious time I simply can’t waste.

Quite often I’ve been enemy number one in the house because they boys have to print off their homework and seeing the familiar wishy-washy print out, have gone into panic mode. Then realising that I’m not as magic as they thought in not being able to fix it, needing someone to exercise said panic mode out on. I get the

why didn’t you realise it needed more ink?

“Errrrrrr because I was busy making sure you were fed, clothed and emotionally stable and quite simply, the printer is at the least of my priorities”

But in their eyes anything which isn’t DIY or Batman is mum’s job.

So one less thing to ignite a teenage meltdown is a welcome addition into Chez Nutshell. HP, as in the electronics market and not ketchup, must know this familiar scenario as they’ve come up with the idea of instant ink. Saving you up to 70% on ink and making sure you never run out again, you buy an HP eligible printer, choose a monthly plan based on the number of pages you print, and get HP instant inks delivered right to your door.

You can find out more by watching this   HP instant inks YouTube video which explains a little more. I think it’s safe to say my printer is on his last warning and the minute it starts showing signs of malfunction as the thought of one less mum job is so appealing!

Disclaimer

This is a sponsored post

Follow:
Share: