Bringing balance to February ☯️

What an amazing January, I feel very grateful to have had the chance to make the changes I did at the end of last year. This month has gone so fast. Working on some lovely projects and for amazing brands has kept me more than a little busy and I am loving it.

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Not only do I feel like I’m more present at home with Indi-Rose and Mr. Stink, I’ve used my new working pattern and flexibility as an opportunity to do something for me. I am back on the healthy train, choo choo!🚂

The end of last year saw my personal wellbeing take a backseat. Working full time, attempting to build a basis for my new venture, being Mummy and everything else meant I de-prioritised something, which I know affects every other part of my life. Put it this way I am generally a much nicer, more positive, productive human being after a run, as apposed to after a night of pizza and too much gin (although sometimes that is just needed 🍕🍸🍕🍸🍕🍸🍕🍸🍕🍸🍕🍸).

This time last year I was training for a half-marathon with my amazing Aunty & Uncle and felt great, however after said half marathon had been run, somehow my exercise took a backseat and takeaways very much jumped into the front.

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A stone heavier at Christmas and ready for the big changes ahead I decided that of course (how cliché?!) January was the right time to do something about feeling better physically and mentally.

I love all of the body positivity messages I see on Instagram for all shapes and sizes and I am trying to instil them within myself, for the sake of me and my daughter. Although I will always struggle with loving my body at it’s chubbiest.

Now do not get me wrong this is not just about weight, in fact that’s a bi-product of what I needed, yes I do want to feel better on the beach this Summer 👙 but as I get older I try not to focus on that stupid number as I once did.

I needed to get that positive ‘I can bloody do anything’ attitude back in my life, I was feeling like I was getting there by launching Happy Hippi, something I’m so happy about. However getting my healthy habits back into gear too, just means that in those moments of self-doubt (because I can assure you there will be many) I can pick up my runners or head to my training session, get my head back in the game and focus on the positive and turn my self-doubt around.

I love the odd bit of yoga, have picked my running shoes back up and I ’ve started one training session a week with an amazing trainer, who I was introduced to by my lovely sister in law Clarabell. Clare has been going since last Summer, after the birth of our gorgeous niece Harper Mae and she is one hell of an inspiring lady. Serious goals….you should see her plank! 💕 I am already learning more about my body and what it can do.

I am attempting to heal that unhealthy relationship with the scales that I have always had, not by pretending I don’t care and eating for England, but by being healthier and bringing the balance, treating myself when I feel like it and becoming one strong mama 💪 with my new work outs and a couple of runs a week.

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As I move into February and new work opportunities present themselves I need to ensure that I am maintaining this amazing balance that I have struck. After all life is indeed all about balance, prioritising love over worry, making time for fun and health is for life, not just for January.

Good vibes only! ✨

 

 

 

 

New Year, new networks 🎉

Happy new year! How long are we still allowed to include “Happy New Year” in our emails? A week, the whole month? Something that I struggle with every January *first world problem, I know*

Anyway I’m (officially) almost a week into my new venture and I’ve been thinking about how I’ve come to build the business relationships which have ultimately lead to me being able to ‘make the leap’, this wonderful new year. I’m feeling very lucky.

I’ve never considered myself to be ‘good’ at traditional networking, I find sales pitches and the rubbish that come along with them a complete turn off, so venturing into the realms of selling ones-self was initially a little (**very**) daunting.

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That’s me in the middle, networking my ass off (with fizz).

However once I gave myself a little bit of a talking to and relaxed into being happy with who I am and what I can offer, I’ve found the whole experience much easier than I thought (and even at times enjoyable). So here are my top networking tips for beginners:

  1. BE INTERESTED

    Make a positive first impression, offer a sweet, drink , make a compliment, ask a question?

  2. SMILE

    A big smile and open body language shows that you’re comfortable in somebody’s presence , or will make you seem as if you are, even if perhaps you’re feeling nervous.

  3. BE YOURSELF

    Operating with kindness and being yourself will automatically make you more likeable. Nobody is impressed by those who are competitive and bullish from the outset.

  4. KNOW YOUR STUFF 

    Do your research, come prepared and try to answer any questions as well as you can, try and remember names if you can.

  5. DON’T OVERSELL

    Prepare to impress, as above but be honest, if you’re asked a question you don’t know the answer to don’t make things up (you will get found out) and listen to others. Networking is not all about you, you’re there to learn too.

Work Hard and be nice to people

Ultimately I believe that networking is all about gaining trust and building relationships, with humans. Humans like to be heard and also benefit from listening. Be kind to others when they don’t seem to be giving you chance to talk in networking situations, as chances are that they are just as nervous as you are.

I’m pretty sure that working hard and being nice to people is what it’s all about! (I hope so anyway).

Good vibes only! ✨

 

 

Christmas vibes and new beginnings ✨

Almost Christmas & almost organised, a few more presents to wrap before my little family and I can really relax into the celebrations properly. This is my first post in quite some time but I have to say I believe, my most exciting one to date.

New year often brings new beginnings and 2018 has some seriously exciting times in store for me, which I’m eager to share. I’m excited to introduce my new business, Happy Hippi Social Media.

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I’ve been working in Marketing for the last 10 years and have always been an employee, working to develop the amazing brands that I’ve had the honour of working for. Most recently working on global luxury homewares brands and previously within FMCG, the leisure industry and also local authority. I have always enjoyed a new challenge and new experiences.

Although happy in my roles and excited that I’ve been able to develop my digital marketing, particularly social media management and content creation skills, for the past few years I’ve always had the urge for something more, to become my own boss and make work, work for me and my family.

I’m so excited that I have now been able to ‘take the plunge’. My new business Happy Hippi Social Media can provide social media management and content creation services for businesses and brands that need a helping hand with developing their digital stories. Connecting your business with it’s target consumer effectively, developing digital relationships, which convert to brand loyalty and sales.

T H A T ' S M E

I finished at my full time place of work just yesterday and I will be entering the new year with some lovely new digital content creation and social media management projects ahead of me. However there is still room for more, in my working week from January and if you or someone you know might benefit from help from somebody like me, I would love to hear from you.

This is such an exciting new chapter for me – I take pride in the feeds that I manage and the brands that I represent, developing brand personalities through tone of voice and imagery. Connecting and engaging with consumers, building relationships with content and also creating paid social campaigns to deliver those all important conversions to up the e-commerce sales number or drive footfall to your physical business.

Wishing you and yours a magical Christmas and a fabulous 2018!

With love and good vibes only! 🌈

 

 

Taking photos of beautiful flowers 📷🌺

If you follow me on Instagram you may have noticed my new obsession with flower photography… I am loving it.

I was lucky enough to go on a fab photography course at the beginning of May  in London, which has really has renewed my love of getting behind the camera (as apposed to the iPhone) for my content creation. I loved geeking out over all things aperture and shutter speed…

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The course gave me some great pointers that I am now using all the time and I’ve included my three top tips below.

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Rule number 1: for lovely flower shots: switch off autofocus and turn down your aperture settings to really make the most of those blurry backgrounds. Use low apertures at really close range to maximise detail. You’re really after that depth of field.

On the day we were based in Shoreditch and spent an afternoon photographing flowers in the local park. The Allium above is one of my favourites from the day…I 💜purple.

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Rule number 2: use the lowest ISO setting possible for your surroundings, ideally 100 or 200, depending on your light. But again stay away from auto to really make the most of your camera.

What is really great is that I am being asked to take photos as part of my social media manager role more regularly. This year Wedgwood (for whom I Social Media Manage) are partnering with the RHS. Which means lots of floral photography opportunities pour moi. Happy times.

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The shot above was taken at this year’s Chelsea Flower Show – I just love the pink in the foreground as the focal point but the various rainbow of colours out of focus in the background.

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I have also discovered a new love for tulips. I did not realise just how many variations there are, how different they look and how beautifully they photograph.

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My 3rd and final rule for flower photography is: watch the weather, the best light is ultimately going to deliver you those stunning images. The above shots from Chelsea were taken inside but when we were out and about in Shoreditch it was bright but overcast in places, which made for ideal conditions.

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Hope this is helpful if you enjoy all the beautiful blooms at this time of year as much as I do.

Expect much more floral photography from me in the near future as this week I’ll be at the RHS Chatsworth Flower Show  with Wedgwood and I now have the flower photography bug. ✌️

Baby Shower fun at the World of Wedgwood 💙

Yesterday a group of lovely ladies and myself descended on the World of Wedgwood for an afternoon of fun and tasty treats in celebration of my very soon to arrive, niece or nephew.

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The Wedgwood Tea Room is within the world of Wedgwood just through the stunning Wedgwood flagship store. As it’s Spring the whole place was brimming with floral displays, which to be honest are Instagram heaven 📷.

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The whole afternoon was planned in secret so lovely Mum-to-be, Clare was blindfolded from the car park to the tea room and overcome with happy tears when she realised where she was and who she was with – special times 💕

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Much to the surprise of lots of the ladies joining us, who had never visited before, the tearoom itself is decorated delightfully. The wallpaper is based on the Wedgwood Hibiscus pattern and with the golds and blues of the rest of the decor is a real interior style statement.

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The place was buzzing as the Sunday we had chosen was also the monthly Fine Food And Artisan Craft Fayre, which happens on the second Sunday of every month.

There were over 50 stalls offering local handmade goods and delicious treats. This was in addition to the fantastic Wedgwood Flagship store and the new Brand Junction store which stocks sister brands: Waterford, Royal Doulton and Royal Albert products. Shopping a plenty!

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The Wedgwood Afternoon Tea itself is as quintessentially British as the beautiful china it’s served upon. Fresh finger sandwiches, scones and cakes are all served with a choice of teas and the option to add in some fizz if you so wish, of course.

After catching up and filling our happy faces with delicious treats it was time for the games to begin, organised amazingly by Mum-to-be’s little sister, Jessica.

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What more could we want than an opportunity to chat away about impending baby cuddles over cakes and Prosecco. A perfect Sunday afternoon. 👌

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Vitamin Sea ✌🏻🌊

 

At the beginning of this week I was taken to Wales along with my toddler boss (Indi-Rose) and the furry one (Roxy the Springer) by the grandparents, to enjoy some well earned beach time. The husband didn’t come this time as he’d used up all his leave and I’d carried lots over following a rather hectic year at work.

After packing far too much for 2 nights for me, a dog and a toddler, we squished into Nanny and Grandad’s car and were off. The drive to Wales from Stafford is so beautiful and my Dad’s satnav definitely took us the most scenic route. 🐑

drive to wales

We stayed at my parents’ friends’ lovely caravan at Greenacres, Porthmadog and I think Indi-Rose literally thinks it is the BEST PLACE EVER. Right on the beach, pooch friendly, swimming pool and all the arcade and park fun an almost 3 year old could possibly need.

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As soon as we got there we hit the beach to give the pooch a run a get a dose of that amazing ‘vitamin sea’. I really wish that we lived nearer to the beach, there’s nothing like taking in that breeze and looking out to that beautiful sparkly expanse of water. I find it very therapeutic and that it always blows away the cobwebs.

Nanny and Grandad on the beach

As we had two nights with a toddler at a complex that has kids entertainment on site we thought we could sit and have a drink or two whilst Indi-Rose ran around the dance floor with other small people. No such luck, this child is OBSESSED with the arcades and the ‘party room’ is right next to the flashing lights, 2p machines and dreaded mechanical horses that she loves so much.

So Nanny, Grandad and I ended up taking turns running around the arcades after the little monkey in shifts. Very relaxing – NOT! Red wine and cheese and biscuits back at the caravan, was very much deserved and enjoyed afterwards. We were all shattered.

Rox with ball at Criccieth

The next day after a quick swim with Indi-Rose we took a drive out to Criccieth, so camera in tow (and toddler in need of a snooze, so asleep in the car with Grandad) I enjoyed some quality time with the pooch practising snapping away on the beautiful beach and near the castle.

Criccieth

Such a gorgeous part of the world even with April showers. With just two nights away we had another night taking shifts running round after Indi before leaving our lovely caravan (much to Indi-Rose’s disappointment, she definitely thought we lived there now) the next morning.

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Beautiful Betws-y-Coed

We left early enough to take a slow drive back and do some exploring on the way home, so decided to stop at Betws-y-Coed – I’d never been and I will definitely be going back. Like something straight out of Lord of The Rings (personal fav.) it felt totally magical and I could’ve stayed for hours. A gorgeous little train station, complete with art gallery and craft village.

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Edith the Rhino – an ace community art project…

A lovely couple of days with  Nanny and Grandad, enjoying quality time with my two baby girls made for a happy Mama. Gave me time to reflect on how lucky I am and It’s a shame to have to come back to reality…

Roll on the next one! Good vibes only… ✌️

Sunny Saturday Fun ☀️

Weekends are precious and this one was no exception. The plan of action was ‘no plans at all’ and I think they always end up being the best ones.

Saturday saw an impromptu get together with my 2 best friends & their husbands (still don’t feel old enough to say that) and ended up being a classic P, P & P (not classic at all, made up yesterday). With my 2 best mates and I having a toddler each it was always going to be pretty low key, but pedals, park and pub turned out to be a pretty awesome afternoon – throw in some sunshine for good measure, happy days!

Pedals

Indi-Rose always get pretty excited when the bikes come out and we’re really lucky to have a cycle route, which is an old railway line, right from the back of our house straight to the lovely park in the centre of town.

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Park

Slides, sandpit and swings in the sunshine for an hour or so was a great way to entertain the toddler bosses, and us to be honest. I just love it when the weather picks up and you can finally spend some time outside in the fresh air, really helps with the mum-guilt too.

Of course all that cycling, throwing toddlers down slides and trudging round the sand pit worked up a thirst for us parents, that it would’ve been (quite possibly) fatal if we’d not quenched. Onto the pièce de résistance of the ‘p’s – the pub!

Pub

On a sunny day like yesterday, classic beer garden weather,  it would’ve been rude not to spend at least a little time in such an establishment. The afternoon was finished off perfectly, for the parents among us, with a couple of cold ones at our local The Sun.

Pub Saturday B&W

To top it off, not a toddler tantrum in site. We do have crisps and the blessed Ipads (not for too long) to thank for that.

Yesterday was a great example of how life is about balance – in this case balancing the little people’s happiness at the park with ours in the pub.

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An ace Saturday all round – enjoyed by little people and knackered parents alike.

Good vibes only! xx ✌️

 

 

Happy Snappy Mama 📷🌸

Happy Friday lovely people – hope you’ve had a good week…🌸

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For this Mama it has been one seriously busy one, snap snapping away! After an amazing Easter weekend of fun (and far too much chocolate) my always busy social media manager job went into overdrive. With a short week, holiday planned next week and lots of deadlines looming it has been social media content creation central around here. Phewf – pass me the gin!

Travel Props

I manage the social media for 4 ceramic and crystal lifestyle brands. This week I’ve found myself surrounded by trays of product, props and delicious treats (all in the name of social media photography of course…!) at home and then part of an office move at work – crikey.

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This is all fab and I LOVE my job – being able to plan, photograph, copy write, schedule and measure content from start to finish is ace. However there are days I do have the added fun of my little Social Media Assistant, my toddler, Indi-Rose. This week she has definitely been on hand to “assist” with my kitchen photoshoots in the evenings and on “our Wednesday”. Since returning to work from maternity in 2015 I have worked a 4 day week, so to keep a day mid-week where I know I’ll be spending it with my mini-me.

Indi Marmite Face

In recent months the job has got bigger and busier so my Wednesday with Indi-Rose has become my day working from home, just stick her in nursery I hear you cry…well I will but at the minute I’m still officially on my 4 day week contract so until that changes she’s staying with me. However throughout the challenges this week has flung at us, after many hours of organising and editing, I’m pleased with the results of “our” handy work. Here’s a sneaky peak of one of my images for a new Wedgwood collection …

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I’ve always loved photography and am a complete social media addict so I’m lucky to be able do a job where I get to get my creative juices flowing, can work from home from time to time and which I truly enjoy (and Indi seems to enjoy too, especially the macarons!)

Good vibes only! xxx ✌️

 

Fruit o’clock 🍓

My 2 year old daughter is my hero! She genuinely 100% loves fruit and veg. She would happily munch on a banana, an apple or some raisins over crisps and rubbish. I often wonder how she could possibly be my daughter…

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Indi-Rose pinching fruit from the new Royal Doulton x Ellen DeGeneres collection

I mean I like it now. But not as much as I like gin & crisps with loads of dip and cheese…mmmm I love cheese!

I recently ran my first ever half marathon, fitting in all those runs around work, mummying and everything else was hard. But I did it and it felt good. 💪

Half marathon

 

(That’s my uncle Keith who is 60 and also ran the Stafford Half Marathon – faster than me!! Ace)

I used my training as an excuse to eat whatever the hell I fancied, burning calories meant eating more and hence the scales managed to go up and not down – boohoo! However the half marathon is now done, hours of long runs are over so it’s time to start eating more healthily. Summer is coming and so are holidays – so it’s time for a re-think.

You may have seen my overnight oats post from a couple of weeks ago? I do really enjoy them for a healthy breakfast but its’ time to up the anti on the fruit front a few days a week so I have invested in a smoothie maker. AKA fruit o’clock…🍓

I’m making my recipes up as I go along at the  minute – but I’m really enjoying my creations of various fruits and almond milk.

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I work in an office with a canteen and lovely restaurant and tea room with amazing afternoon tea on site. With all those temptations near by it’s essential that I get my prep on as much as possible. Mason jars are such a cool way to prepare more than one lunch at a time. Take a look at my breakfast and lunch all ready for a hard day’s graft, just the other day.

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I’m still going to be carrying on running, I find that I’m more focussed, positive and find it really sorts me out when I need to un-jumble my brain from all the mummy/work/ life stuff. BUT shorter distances (I just signed up to a 10k race in May) so I can try to balance my healthiness with food AND exercise, not just one or the other.   I’m feeling more positive already!

Good vibes only! ✌️

 

 

Hello Spring 🌱

It’s April 🌼 officially Spring – at last! and it’s feeling like it too, sunshine and blue skies make me very happy!

We moved into the house we are in now almost exactly a year ago. We brought it from my hubs brother and dad who had completely transformed it from the shell they bought two years previous to that – we fell in love with it and so did our Indi-Rose.

Although everything they did was fantastic and gave the house a really amazing homely feel 💕there’s still lots to do. Tons of potential – I love planning, changing and updating interiors (almost as much as I love food, but not quite)

We’ve spent the last year making the house our home and mostly the mahussive garden usable. We’ve got lots more to do but we keep doing little bits at a time and are really starting to enjoy our space.

Yesterday hub and I spent a rare day off together. We brought a couple of things for the house, made some plans and cleaned and tidied throughout – sad, but so calming to wake up to the house feeling lovely today.

Kitchen so far

I like to think our style is calm and eclectic, I love calm colours contrasted with bright splashes and if I can feel like I’m being taken to a far off place, even better. I spotted these canvasses in Next (£22) yesterday and loved the colours. We’ve decorated with Dulux Polished Pebble in our living room and these colours complement the light and bright grey nicely.

I also love scented candles, they relax me – I have been lucky enough to be gifted some lovely Jo Malone beauties in the past, but the price tag means that they’re just not an everyday item for a Social Media Manager like me. So when I had a tip about some bargain luxury candles in Aldi a few weeks back, I’ve been making sure I’ve kept my eye out ever since. I finally found some when I was shopping yesterday and I have to say they smell gorgeous! The lime, basil and mandarin is my favourite. I love chilling with the candles lit in the evening and these look so nice for just £3.99 each.

Aldi candles

I love the change in season a new beginning and time for Summer plans…and especially the sunshine! ☀️

Good vibes only xxx ✌️