Winning At Work/Life Balance

busymum

It’s a year since I made the leap from office job to working freelance. I wish I’d done it sooner! I remember thinking to myself, years ago, that I could never work freelance because I’d miss the buzz of the office too much. I also think I was a bit scared of the unknown. But now I’m doing it? I love it. Aside from some unexpected side effects – namely working far too much without having that 6pm hometime goal to work towards each day, and putting on some weight without having those daily speedy walks to the train station and from the station to the office, each day – it’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

I get such a kick out of having a day where everything runs like clockwork. I get up, sort breakfast, put a load of laundry in the washing machine, take the four-year-old to pre-school, head to the gym then go to my favourite coffee shop to work for a few hours. By the time I head home to make some lunch, the laundry is clean and if it’s a dry sunny day, I’ll hang it out in the garden to dry. I realise it sounds utterly lame but the idea of housework kind of just happening while I work makes me happy.

And working on my laptop while the laundry dries in the spring breeze makes me feel like I’m totally winning at work/life balance. Right now, as I type, my new Supreme Supima Hygro towels from Christy, that I’ve been asked to review, are hanging up to dry.

Christy towels review

So what’s my verdict on them? Well, boy are they super soft, thanks to the 100% Supima cotton. They even carry the COTTON USA International trademark for quality U.S cotton products. When I wrapped up the four-year-old in one of them after her bath, I asked her if she likes the new towel, and she grinned and told me how soft it felt on her skin….

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A Spot Of At-Home Pampering With Le Salon

Le Salon review

Like most people, I have a crazy-long checklist that I have to get through before any holiday. Working out what we need to take, making sure all clothing is laundered and clean, organising any airport parking, booking the cat sitter, buying new sunglasses. Oh and being freelance that teeny tiny matter of doing a week’s worth of work before I go, to make sure I only need to do minimal work while away.

Less important things (writing a blog post, having my nails done, changing up Euros) usually fall by the wayside as I realise that I’m not superhuman and shouldn’t try to fit everything in – after all, what’s the point in going on holiday if the lead-up to it makes you feel stressed?

But just before our recent trip to Portugal, Le Salon swooped in to the rescue. Le Salon is a beauty app that allows you to book premium beauty services quickly and efficiently with the technician arriving straight to your door. If you live or work in London, it’s super easy to book, just entering your postcode, the service you’d like and the date and time that suits you.

Le Salon review

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Prices are reasonable too – their Classic Mani is £25 and you can have an Express Mani & Pedi for £40. The technician who arrived at my door was Christine and she had all her kit in a handy trolley suitcase – all the kit is clean and sterilised and they only use OPI and Essie polishes, so you’re guaranteed a good quality finish. The scrubs and lotions she used smelled AMAZING – lime and papaya if my memory serves me correctly, and got me in the holiday mood!…

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34 Things That Will Happen To You As A Parent

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The Baby Years

1. You will feel more tired than you ever thought possible. More tired, in fact, than the time you stayed up all night queueing for Take That tickets when you were 16. More tired than the time you went out every night, drinking Bacardi Breezers, for a whole week, when you were 22.

2. You’ll get a four hour block of sleep and feel like a NEW PERSON and feel like you can take on THE WORLD.

3. You will feel judged for your choices: breast or bottle, routine or baby-led, co-sleeping or cot, purées or finger food, home-made or shop bought…. the list is endless.

4. But you will learn to block out any judgement. Just smile and breathe!

5. You will post baby spam on Facebook – even though you swore you’d never become that person.

6. In a matter of weeks, you’ll go from being confused and befuddled by vests, baby grows, nappies, breast pumps, nursing bras, Sudocrem, Jumperoos, Bumbos and buggies…. to being the biggest ever expert. In the whole world. You might even write a book on it all. Just because you can.

7. You will strike up conversations with strangers who have babies. She has a baby! We have so much in common! She might end up being by NBF!

8. You will discover a whole new world of guilt. Guilt about giving your baby formula milk, guilt about leaving your baby with a family member, guilt about giving your baby Calpol for the first time. You’ll look back on all of this stuff and wonder why you felt guilty. But at the time! Dying of actual guilt.

9. Your baby will have a massive nappy explosion at the worst possible time – usually just as you’re about to leave the house, or when you’ve just arrived at a friend’s house, or right in the middle of a Baby Sensory class. Oh and you’ll have forgotten to bring any baby wipes with you. So you’ll have to ask to borrow some from a friend. And you’ll feel like a fool.

10. You realise the hard way that a hangover and a baby don’t mix well. Would it be frowned upon to vom outside the church hall after a Sing ‘n’ Sign session? Oh and why is the CBeebies house so brightly coloured, even when you’re watching it wearing sunglasses?

The Toddler Years

11. Your child will do something amazing (count to 20, build a huge tower with peanut shells, moonwalk at eight months old…) and for a split second you’ll wonder: “Maybe my child is an actual GENIUS” before realising it was a fluke/something all kids can do.

12. You’ll text a friend before realising it’s 6.10am and chances are, since they don’t have a small child, you’ve probably just woken them up. Oopsie.

13. You will step on a Lego brick and discover a whole new world of pain. “FUUUUUU-n times.”

14. You find stickers everywhere. On your child. On you. On clothing that has been through the wash. On walls. On tables. On food. On the cat.

15. You will find the following positively applaud-worthy: urine in a potty, poo in the toilet, the eating of vegetables. Dark days.

16. You see any time after 11.15am as a suitable time for lunch. See also: 4.30pm and tea.

17. You start to develop a crush on CBeebies presenters. Hello Mr Bloom and Dr Ranj…

18. Your child will have a tantrum over at least three of the following: a t-shirt being the wrong colour, a banana being peeled for them, having to wear shoes to go outside, milk being poured on their cereal, having to go into the bath, having to come out of the bath, the fact you can’t fast forward live TV….

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Switching Off From Reality at Pine Cliffs Resort with James Villa Holidays

Pine Cliffs resort Portugal review

Going on holiday often gives you a kind of out-of-body experience. You know exactly what I mean – you’ll be sitting on the beach, or by the pool, and your mind will start to wander. You think about things and you’re somehow able to look down upon your life and see it with a bit of clarity. I reckon it’s just the change of scenery but also the fact you have time to think and that, on holiday, you’re away from your everyday routine (and possibly the things that cause you minor stress) that allows your brain enough space to be able to do this.

Right now, I’m writing this while sitting on the terrace of my villa in Pine Cliffs resort in Portugal. I’m drinking a cup of tea and the four-year-old is sitting next to me, playing games on her iPad and munching dry Cheerios. It’s so quiet – well, it’s not even 7.15am yet – and the sun is rising, hitting the golf course and trees in the distance.

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I feel like I could stay here forever, but that’s the beauty of holidays, isn’t it? They allow you to relax, get some perspective on life back home and spend precious time with your family. Even though I work from home, I work full time (actually, if truth be told, I probably work nearer 50 hours a week) and even on the four-year-old’s day off from pre-school, it’s Mr P who spends the day with her while I work. So having a whole week to hang out has been fab.

Every day, we’ve had a long drawn out breakfast in the villa, with rounds of cereal, toast and croissants plus cups of tea and coffee for the grown ups. Then the only decision we need to make is: pool or beach? There are three pool areas here – the main pool (which has waiter service to your sun lounger), a smaller pool area (with heated pool) and a tiny pool in the children’s play area. The beach is a ten minute walk away, down some beautiful paths towards the cliff edge (gorgeous views!) and then down in a lift to the sand. I have to admit, I’m definitely more of a pool girl. I love being near the sea, and I love sitting listening to the ocean, but that sand gets everywhere. Does anyone actually enjoy getting sand stuck to their suncream-smeared legs and hands?

Pine Cliffs resort Portugal review

So we have been spending most of our days by the pool. We did that classic holiday thing of spending €12 on an inflatable toy for the pool, yet the four year old still keeps eyeing up all the other kids’ inflatable toys – which seem much more desirable than hers. We’ve also spent a large proportion of our days playing with the random buckets, balls and spades, abandoned by holiday-makers gone by. We really should leave our inflatable, in pay-it-forward style for next week’s families….

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