more about my life

When you are self employed then the workloads fluctuate, and after almost a whole year of being busy with client work or plenty of internal updates and changes to my own website and marketing, I finally seemed to have caught up, and last Friday had a quiet day.

I spent some time working on my Mail chimp account, with the plan to produce a regular email newsletter, to showcase my latest work each month.

There are a few potential jobs in the pipeline, one job designed but waiting for the artwork information, and some quotes I am waiting back on, plus 2  free websites to finish, but am currently waiting on clients for feedback.

So, after a good steady flow and a peak of invoicing a couple of weeks ago I find myself in a bit of a trough.

That’s the nature of the beast, I know, I have read it enough times. And although from experience I know that next job is undoubtably just around the corner, you can’t buy carrots and bananas on just around the corner.

Well not if you want to get the best value for money. Just around the corner buying, means using that magic 20th Century plastic card, called credit. Which means that you have to go to the big supermarkets……..

You will all obviously be aware that the whole county is still in a financial trough at the moment too, and I for one have not seen too much evidence of us climbing out of it, despite what you hear on the news.

. . . .  so, here we all are, but still needing our carrots and bananas, so which way to turn. – Which indeed – Which best supermarket of the year 2 years running!

So I have finally jumped on the ALDI bandwagon, particularly after my sister-in-law, who often would mention the lovely treats she enjoyed from Waitrose, spoke to me of being an ADLI convert.

And the other thing that tipped the balance, was the appallingly ridiculous price of my favourite conference pears, in Tesco, which are two-fifths of the price in ALDI! – yes for the same thing!

So I am now on my third week of buying my essential 5 a day from Aldi, (but there is potential for more) before scooting across the car park  to Tesco for the rest.

And what is particularly nice, is the fact that I don’t need to be selective in my choice of vegetables, its not this OR that, now I can have my cake AND eat it. I can have this AND that, AND IT IS STILL CHEAPER!!!

And the bonus. . . .

Niggling previously at the back of my mind was always the fact that actually Five a day was not really the true amount of fruit and veg required to be properly healthy.

I read, on a few occasions, that it was indeed closer to Nine, but guess what, I can now have my nine, because an ALDI nine still costs less than a Tesco Five, and just as good quality as far as I can see too.

So there you have it, a bit of a work trough, but all is not lost, I am now on a healthier peak.

I was also particularly aware on Sunday morning that Aldi was extremely busy, and the car park noticeably fuller week on week. . . .

. . . . while Tesco was alarmingly quiet, while I did notice they had suddenly reduced the price of their milk to a “going down and staying down” price.

Too little too late may be the case for a lot of people I am afraid. . . .

Incidentally, as my workload is slower at the moment, then it’s a great time if you need something in a hurry. . .

AND being the unique and helpful person I am, I can offer you the option of paying just around the corner, with monthly interest free credit.

Can’t say fairer than that . . . .

Reminder – FREE website offer, for all design orders of £50.


My seven year old son is obsessed by Lego, and all things lego related, and we had it scheduled to go and see the lego movie last week in half term, which indeed we did – at Tamworth Odeon.

Both boys enjoyed the film. I must admit I had a little nod part way through, before it seemed to get a little more interesting. (maybe I was genuinely over tired – it is unlike me).

I got a bargain on the price too, boosting my tesco vouchers and exchanging them for odeon cinema codes, then buying online, and using the automated ticket machine in the cinema foyer to print them out.

All very organised and easy to do, and the 3 of us for £11, instead of £19, and definitely not the £27 for the 3D version – really? £27 for 90 minutes in a cinema – maybe its just me – getting old.

The thing now, Lewis wants to get “Lord Business”, the lego figure. The character, obsessed by doing everything by the rules, following the instructions, making everything exactly as it was meant to be!

Anyway, we had a good time, and generally we had a pretty good week during half term. Meeting cousins at Sudbury, going over to Nottingham to my mums, who usually comes to us, so a treat for the boys, who always ask to go to Grandma’s house.

All in all, a successful week, with quality mum and children time – AND I even managed to do some design work, while the boys enjoyed valuable free-play time, or watched DVD’s.

I sent 3 invoices, managed a few phone calls and tied up some loose ends. – All in a week where I may not have expected to do much of anything work wise.

SO feeling pretty good about what I had achieved, we went to our usual monthly messy church on Sunday, and I was chatting to one of my neighbours who is in the process of setting up his own business and doing a lot of networking.

“You should come the the rugby club on a Friday for their 6am breakfast meeting” he said, “you would get loads of work – or come later it doesn’t start till 7am” . . . . . .

Can anybody see my immediate (mother) problems with this statement? . . . . .

1. 6am (so I would have to leave at 5.30am) and the boys are asleep in bed.
2. 7am, my husband departs for work – and the boys are asleep in bed.
3. 8am, The boys are getting dressed, etc, breakfast etc
4. 8.40am we are walking Lewis to school
5. 9.10am I am driving Lucas to preschool.
6. 9.30 am I am free now – is the breakfast meeting still on???????

I must admit I did rather snap back at him, he is a parent, but maybe men really are from Mars, as he genuinely did not seem to appreciate my predicament.

“Well if you want your business to be successful . . . . . . don’t you have anyone who could have your kids?”

I did apologise as I realised that I had been a little blunt – but I still struggled to see how he could not relate to my predicament.
Of course I want my business to be successful – but it depends on how you measure that success.

My business is about working around my children, being able to spend the quality time with then and provide the stability they need and deserve. Putting them first.

Its about achieving a successful life, as well as a business.

I would love to be able to attend a regular networking group, I have investigated a few – but for logical reasons most are breakfast time. . . . I have not given up looking.

Volunteers to come to my house for 6am, get my – very stroppy, no concept of time – children up, dressed, fed and to school all welcome. (and not charge an arm and a leg to do so).

As you may gather, I do not have anyone who could have my boys – in the above scenario.
(maybe as an emergency one off ) but not on a regular weekly basis.

It does demonstrate how different men and women are though, the instinct to be protector and provider at all costs – The Lord of the business- success measured in material wealth and countable assets. That’s nature I guess – he is just doing what men are designed to do.

Where women (maybe just me) have to be Lord of the dance, juggling the household, the children, the cooking, the play dates, the after school activities, the finances, plus if they work . . . their own jobs. Where success at the end of the day can be a pretty hard target sometimes.

Women just doing what women are designed to do. Being “Wild Style”, (another lego movie character) the master builder, making it up as she goes along, adapting to each situation . . . using the pieces she can find to build her own world – without needing the instructions.

As Linda Wild, owner of Wild Ideas and graphic designer, I think I may have a little Wild Style in me!

It has made me think though, and I should thank him for that . Made me question my own convictions, although I am annoyed at how much it has bothered me. . . .

Am I not taking my business serious enough?
Should I be finding a solution for someone – (a childminder?) to have the kids?
OR If you know of any flexible networking groups in and around Lichfield . . . . . .
comments and opinions most welcome . . . . . .

If you read last week you will remember at the end, those Bon Jovi lyrics that helped me to get my head in the right place to be motivated and positive, but most of all not to stress too much if I did not quite achieve everything I set out to do.

And I am still in a good place, part way there, living on a prayer.

A couple of jobs on the go, two in the pipeline, a potential one coming up (fingers crossed). One that did not materialise – but you can’t win them all!

Business goals in tact so far. – and written up on a chart in front of my face to remind me every time I am sat at my computer. – “We’ll make it I swear”

I had a personal goal too, and I never actually wrote it down yet, so here goes:

To not lose sight of quality family time, and to make sure I spend some time every evening with my husband. (The fingers crossed AIM is to turn off the computer by 9pm).

While everyone’s reason to work – of course, is to earn more money – to spend on the material family luxuries, which are seriously lacking in our household, for rather a long time now . . .

You can categorise your luxuries in a different way:

Are they just material things like a bottle of wine, a meal out, an expensive dress, hand bag, power drill, sky TV subscription, foreign holiday, X-box, Wii.

or are they, making material sacrifices, allowing you to be a stay at home mum to be with your pre-school children.

or are they also, a relaxing evening snuggled on the sofa, just mum and dad time, the lights low, the heating on, a warm mug of coffee . . . .

a bar of chocolate, (tesco value is impressively very tasty and only 30p per large bar) . . . and a good BBC drama, or ITV movie on the telly . . .

. . . an old classic like Top Gun, on ITV 2. (hubbies favourite film) the soundtrack is good and a young Tom Cruise is easy on the eye, so who’s complaining. . . . (all on Free-Sat TV – we cancelled sky 18 months ago – thats £612 in my pocket not theirs)

. . . .and then getting to bed at a sensible time – (sleep is under-rated by too many people).

And even though working late every evening on my business, sitting up alone on the computer, may get me more clients and more work, and ultimately earn me more money . . . .

Working 24/7, pulling all nighters socialising more with FB than HUBBY, and feeling really tired all the time . . . .

All work and no play – makes jack a dull boy, (‘The Shining’ – who remembers that?)
and makes Jill a grumpy mum, and puts jack and Jill’s marriage (they are married in ‘Puss in Boots’) on the slippery slope towards the well of divorce – (OK maybe a bit harsh but you get the idea)

would you class that as one of life’s luxuries?
No me neither, so I am focusing on getting the balance right!

The one exception, My business USP:
I will go that extra mile, and reply to a Saturday night email, from a client, after all that is what sets me apart from the corporate’s with their 9-5 hours. I try to give outstanding service.

However, I am a big believer that money IS NOT EVERYTHING – And so far so good, the scales are level and the balance is working and I feel happier, and healthier.

The little things are important, and the most important little thing in my life – is my 4 year old son. ( the 7 year old is not little anymore). And he is getting his balance right too

This weekend we got him his own balance bike, an ebay bargain, (his big brother’s was just not quite small enough and he had been struggling to get on with.)

And now his head is in a good place too, and he is riding it on the school run, and balancing brilliantly.

I am doing a design for a lady at the moment who specialises in Ayurvedic therapy – and although I have not used her services, I seriously feel like my Dosha is in the right place . . .

. . . and If I stay true to my family – work balance plan then maybe some more Dosha will be in my bank account too. .

So her’s to a little bit of dosha and a lot of happiness to come.

Are you balancing your dosha too?

I was singing this by the end of it

it was actually last Friday (better than a Monday), which at least meant I had the weekend to recover.
I had always known it was going to be a busy one as it was all in the diary. But best laid plans I guess.

My youngest goes to pre-school all day and I had my regular meeting with Christine Thomas my business coach and friend.

This month she had also invited me to the Griffin and King networking group she attends a Hotel in Walsall for their Fish Fryday.

After rather too much winding down over the holidays, I had been struggling to get motivated again, despite the fact that I have plenty of work at the moment, and so was really looking forward to the opportunity of meeting some new contacts.

So 9.15am I dropped little Lukey dukey (Lucas) off, and drove down to Lichfield Holiday Inn for my meeting with Christine.

Last Wednesday I had also attended an FSB meeting at Drayton Manor and done a Goal setting session with speaker Clare Whalley  –

So I was part way there with getting back into things and Christine helped me further with her Life Summary and Business summary wheels, and life achievement wall. (of which I am part way through).

At 12noon we set off towards Walsall, in a convoy of two, for the Fish fryday lunch, which was a thoroughly enjoyable event, very civilised and lots of nice business people to chat to,

and I met up with Annie Dunn, from Tall Order promotions (thanks for the calendar Annie) whom I had been emailing and speaking to about a client job.

And this is when it all started to go a bit pear shaped, you see as a busy mum and business woman I generally do not get much “me time” to enjoy myself, and you know what, I was actually having too much of a good time.

And what happens to time when you are enjoying yourself?

Well 12.30 becomes 2.40, and you are still merrily chatting away even when others have already left.
One casual glance at my watch and the dread of reality sets in.

I have to collect my Lucas from pre-school in Alrewas at 3pm – 20 minutes time – and here I am in Walsall about 14 miles away. ( I phoned the pre-school of course) but . . .

Its, not going to happen is it – and you know what – it didn’t.

Why is it when you are in a rush every single traffic light turns to red in front of you?

I was in unfamiliar territory too and had to drive down the single carriage road, following the road signs (A446) when there might have been a quicker way. (I do not – by choice – have a sat nav either, regular readers will remember).

I ended up phoning my hubby, who works in Tamworth, but can be home in 15, as he finishes at 3.30pm anyway, and his very lovely boss (who is a mum too), is always good enough to be flexible with staff hours.

The pre-school were very good about it, but even hubby was 40 mins late, and I arrived in time to do a drive by and Lucas came home in my car.
(I discovered this morning there will probably be a £20+ bill to cover staff wages and extra rent on the village hall).

But if its 3.40 – what about my other son – who is getting him from school ?- I hear you ask!

well he is at the NEC rehearsing for Young Voices concert that very evening, so I don’t need to pick him up from school – no but instead . . .

. . . . I have to drive by myself to the NEC, in the dark, in Friday night traffic (might be raining) and without a sat Nav to go and watch him, then bring him home afterwards.

BUT before that….. we still had more to fit in, Manic mumday is not over yet!

So back home, its 3.55 and we need to get Lucas to his new swimming lesson, now the refurbishments to the Friary swimming pool are completed. He needs to be in the pool for 4.30 till 5pm.

I was a little anxious, as he has not been swimming for quite some time, although he was desperate to go again. And you know what – he absolutely loved it, and they were so impressed that they are moving him up to the next level.

Then dad is meeting us at the pool to get Lucas dressed so I could dash off to the NEC to be there in time to pay the exorbitant £8 parking fee, and have time to eat my pre-packed picnic box tea in the car, before going into the LG Arena for the event.

I did not really know what to expect, and although I knew some of the mums, I am not best pals with anyone, and was sat next to those I do not know. But I did enjoy it and the kids singing sets were very emotionally moving!

It was a great event, well sorted and varied, and the kids seemed to be having the time of their lives, as well as them singing we were all entertained by assorted celebrity singers, including X factor’s – Stacey Solomon.

It would have been nice to have had some company, there I was all alone in a big crowd of people, pondering on the business goals I had been trying to set.

And then as I was feeling a little bit sorry for myself, this guy Keith (somebody) performed one of my all time favourite Bon-Jovi hits, and I felt so much better.

Listening to (and singing along with) the lyrics they seemed to be telling me a message in relation to my business goals I was struggling to believe in . . .

and hold on to what we’ve got
it doesn’t make a difference if we make it or not – we’ve got each other and that’s a lot

we’ll give it a shot – oh we’re half way there, but take my hand we’ll make I swear

That’s when I felt so much happier, and motivated – nothing like a bit of feel good music to lift the spirits.

Roll on 2014.

Today is my first proper day back to work after the holidays, and “mummy duty” with the boys.
Dad was around too but it was 3 weeks without any exclusive “me time”.

School started yesterday and Lucas is back to playschool this morning so its my blog day.

We all seem to love christmas, but I think it is more the idea of it, as for me it never seems to pan out the way you hope, always some little niggle to spoil something*:

This year my youngest was just the right age to get sooooo excited he just could not contain himself,  . . .
. . . .but then moaned at Santa on christmas morning for getting “the wrong” mystery machine for his scooby doo people. (*spoil  1)

Then my oldest son moaned at me that his lego star wars watch was not the same one he had chosen himself and witnessed us buy as he was certain it had a real Darth Vader lego mini-figure not just one that is part of the strap. . . . (*spoil  2)

. . . . we had swapped it for a cheaper version – without realising the difference – so eventually I owned up (to stop him from convincing himself he was going mad) but the purchase of a proper Darth Vader mini figure was 3 times the original saving!

So by 8am on christmas day, I felt quite annoyed that all my efforts had not been appreciated as both children greeted me with their complaints!

Were we like that as children?

And my oldest son also decided that he did not believe in Santa, as they were all fake with false beards, just people dressed up.

But he is happy to believe in the real Santa, who apparently has endless funds, and so he has already started planning his “rather expensive” requests for next year.

I had better get some work done then!

Thankfully the rest of my christmas was pretty good, a nice relaxing day with me, husband and children, and my mum came round, dinner for 5 went well, and the boys actually ate without complaining too. . . . .

. . . which was better than last year (when my youngest had a tummy upset, and threw up his christmas dinner).

The mild weather meant we got out for our family walk round Blithfield reservoir – on Boxing day, and had our traditional picnic in one of the many bird watching hides they have there. . . .

(not heated of course – but a proper enclosed wooden shed with 4 walls, a roof and a door – seats and open-able window lookouts over the bird feeding area, so sheltered and dry.)

. . . with my youngest unusually NOT moaning about his sandwich, but still being extremely hot blooded and racing around the woods in a T-shirt while me and his Dad are shivering in our thermals jumpers and coats.

I did manage to prove myself right to him though when we went for a family cycle around Fradley Junction…..(on Saturday 28th – I think)

… he absolutely refused to wear thermal leggings and long sleeved cycling shirt, insisting he would be Ok and warm enough in a T shirt and thin fleece. . . .

. . . .so when he finally admitted to being quite cold on his bike (he was being towed by Dad – so not pedalling or moving much) I was able to say I told you so. . . .

. . . . unfortunately the long sleeved extra layer that dad thought he had brought with us had actually been left at home, so everything backfired and we had to head home rather sooner than planned. (so spoil number 3).

And after that the weather went very wet, and the boys went stir crazy stuck indoors – despite all the new toys to play with?! – they continued to fight and antagonise each other – all normal there then!

Oh finally what a joy to get them back to school –  is it just me? – I seriously doubt it!

This morning I resumed my social networking (did not miss it) and looked over my Facebook messages and newsfeed and the general consensus is that we are all glad to be back to some kind of normality and reality.

Me too – after reading the comments and statuses of friends I felt quite an affinity with people.

But with normality comes the January blues, the miserable weather (although fingers crossed no snow) and the, arrival of credit card bills, with the OMG – did I really spend that much!

I had better get some work done then!

The purpose of this blog is for you the reader to gain a bit of an insight into me as a person and what I do as a designer, so that you can gain some kind of affinity with me and therefore be able to trust me as a person and a designer.

Then when ( and if) you need any design work doing you will feel comfortable approaching me, to take on that design work for you.

This weeks blog therefore has been bit of a personal insight into my family christmas, I imagine  at least some of you will relate to part of it.

But now I need to get back to it, as I have one design job to complete, another to start, and another to quote for . . . .

I had better get some work done then!
And if you are planning on needing some design work soon then this is the time to take advantage of the offiliated offer with my partners at DBN web design . . . .

Offer – with all design orders over £50:
• Free Domain name registration
• Free 1 year web page hosting (with standard template design layout).
• Free 1 year email hosting

and for design orders over £100
• Free design for your webpage too.

I suddenly realised this week that its the last week of November, and then the countdown to christmas will be starting.

My seven year old calls it the countdown, like its an officially recognised event, but I guess of course it is, but its more of an ADVENT rather than an EVENT.

And I was reminded about how close we are with four things that happened this weekend:

1. On Saturday there was the village Christmas fair, and my four year old visited Santas grotto.

2. Then we went to our local Messy church (in Fradley) on Sunday and were presented with the mini leaflet with all the list of lovely Christmas services for December, from the Christingle on the 8th.  . . . . . . .

( there may be a service near you on a different date –

 . . . . . To the carol service with mulled wine and mince pies on the 18th.

3. Then my sister ( Hello Marion), who lives in South Korea, emailed with questions and suggestions for the children’s presents – she always gets sorted early, to allow for posting times.

4. Then whilst at my same sons gym class last night  . . . .
(  – if you live near Tamworth, and your children  – preschool to teenage – want professional quality but fun relaxed gym classes then check this out )

 . . . . . . I was chatting to another mum, who was panicking because she had no idea when she would find the time to wrap all the presents she had bought, or start writing the christmas cards . . . . . .

I then I realised . . . .  I am not really ready – oops!

But in my defence – I have been busy creating some great new designs for my longest and best client Jacqui Davis ( )

If you live in Derbyshire, anywhere near Ripley, Matlock, Belper, and have pre-school children you should check out her fantastic music and movement classes. Lively, fun, loud , exciting, friendly, and now with cake and coffee too!

And also creating an exciting and colourful new chart to help that same 7 year old to learn to tell the time. (This chart will be available soon on my website).

To be fair I am not completely un-ready – I have made a start – back to the seven your old who has been telling me ( and showing me in Tesco) exactly which lego set he wants me to get, and which set he wants grandma and granddad to get and Aunty this and uncle that.

So I have actually bought some things.

Then there is my 4 year old – well he saw what he wanted and promptly told me everyday for a week that he wished it was christmas.

But now I have checked my calendar, and realised that Advent kicks off next Sunday – so I will need to send hubby into the loft for the wooden advent calendar, and buy some chocolate this week to fill it with . . . . . .

. . . . and then print off the annual Being good for Santa charts . . . .
( buy once and re-print out every year).

. . . . . .to focus and motivate the children’s attention on the right behaviour – because as they know Santa only comes to good boys and girls.

So – Are you ready? – FOR ADVENT


1. This is your last week to order one in time for the countdown – or get a FREE one when you buy any other of my motivational charts.

2. Then take a look at this fantastic site ( to get a free personalised video from Santa.

OK – 1. tick done . . 2. tick done.

So now, the children have:
their “I am being good for Santa” chart (
and their free PNP video. (

YOU HAVE a stress free month of perfect behaviour! ?
( at the very least a couple of excellent tools to motivate with).

Leaving you with one less headache to deal with, and allowing you to focus on . . . . .

the presents, the food, the wrapping, the who is coming, the how many chairs do we have, the is aunty Ethel sleeping over? did we fix the hole in the blow up bed?
the cards, the stamps, the long distance posting times to family in Australia – (did I leave anything out? probably).

OK, now you have all that sorted, as long as you keep up the momentum, then there is enough time to be ready for christmas too!

Happy shopping
Linda x

Two things happened this week to make me ponder how we handle our time.

It’s been a lot of years since I can say I had any spare, and especially since the boys came along then there are never enough hours to squeeze everything in.

The first thing: Once a year we (depending on how you deal with it) there is the opportunity to get an extra hour.

I am of course talking about British Summer Time, or in fact the revert back to real time. When we know that the summer is well and truly gone and the dark cosy nights draw in.

It is the one chance when I get to “turn back time” and have an extra hour to myself.

Now we all know we are supposed to alter our clocks at 2 in the morning, but I guess not many of us actually do it then.

I tend to do it earlier in the day, to avoid forgetting (I’ll tell you why later**), so I chose to get the boys in bed and then at 8.30 in the evening when they were all tucked up and I was ready for my evening with hubby, he altered our clocks and hey presto it was only 7.30!

Well the boys are never in bed that early, and it’s Saturday night, so we really did get an extra hour – bliss.

**So to the reason why I alter my clocks early. . . .

Once (and once only) I did completely and totally forget to alter my clocks, when there was a special service at our local church (at 9.30am) the next morning that I wanted to take the boys to – I could not understand where everyone was . . . had I made a mistake? had I got the wrong church?

Determined we were going to church whatever, now I had made the effort – We went to another one in Belper and as time caught us up people began to arrive – I felt rather a numpty when I had to have my error spelled out to me by a very nice lady there.

So I realised my mistake (and that I had been an hour early) and decided we would be on time to return to my original church. . . .
. . . where I discovered that I had indeed also got the wrong church and in fact the service at the right church was an hour later than normal!
So I felt really like a numpty then, and threw in the towel at that point heading back home (I was not waiting around another hour).

And the reference to numpty leads me nicely onto the second thing. Making time to check your job.

One of my clients this week used the word to describe himself, when in his haste, busy-ness, or just lack of enough time he missed a mistake on a design job that I was producing for him.

As it was a digital job, I had not pushed him to double check the contents, and it was easily rectified, all be it at extra cost to him for my time.

But those clients of mine who have had finished printed work produced by Wild Ideas, or had final production files created by me to transfer for production of T-shirt embroidery, or vehicle graphics, will be aware of me emphasising in capital letters that they CHECK AND DOUBLE CHECK EVERYTHING BEFORE APPROVING THE FINAL JOB.
BEFORE it gets printed. – Its too late and very costly afterwards!

1. Do not believe you are incapable of mistakes.
2. Do not assume your designer has checked it for you
3. Assume that you have made a mistake, and take the time to check.
4. Read over your job determined to find at least one mistake.
5. If you cannot find one – then look for it again.
6. Get someone else to read it – to make sure it makes sense and is understandable.
7. Then just read it again for the hell of it – but keep looking for that mistake.

I am now taking some time to check that my boys and husband are having an enjoyable and productive half term holiday, and have some time off to spend it with them.
See you next week!