Saturday, 2 February 2019

A Snapshot of life lately

I love reading posts rounding up some of the normal day to day realities of family life so I thought I'd start my own and share a few things we got up to in January 2019 which did not necessarily make the blog. January was the longest month ever so it feels like I squeezed a lot in.

A Snapshot of life lately

We began the New Year with a family party at my aunt and uncle's house. The kids are old enough to stay up (and don't need too much supervision so we can have a few glasses of wine). It was a fab family night with a quiz (the Rickelton's were the winners - Steve is a pub quiz pro), lots of yummy food and drinks. Harry was our 'first foot in' and even gave a little speech.

Is it even New Year if you don't go for a family walk? We decided to head to Bolam Lake which is somewhere I've not visited before and we loved it. The walk around the lake is nice and flat, not too strenuous and there's lots of wildlife to spot too. We'll definitely re-visit in the summer with a picnic. You can see more from that walk by checking out my Instagram highlights from that day here.

The kids have taken up a few extra-curricular activities recently and have gone swimming after school a few times. Heidi and Jack are taking Yoga classes at school and it sounds so cute. For one of the moves they have to reach up full the sunshine from the sky, place in on their head and then imagine the sun is pulling them up towards the sky. Harry is also part of a drama club this term and writes for the school paper in his spare time. He's written a few articles including one about scientific discoveries in 2018 and Brexit! Young reporters in Secondary School are given a BBC reporters lanyard too which is pretty cool.

In terms of school, the kids continue to do well. We have had a few issues with Heidi's homework though. She absolutely hates doing it and lives in her own little world daydreaming so it takes her hours. I'm talking 3 hours for 10 sums! It's not that she can't do it, it's just that she's a dreamer. Anyway, for the past few weeks, she's said she either hasn't had homework or that she's already done it at school. I believed her until school phoned and asked why Heidi hadn't completed her homework for the past 3 weeks. Ooops! She's been telling school she's lost it which is a bit of a lie and a bit extreme for 3 weeks worth. Anyway, at least I know now and instead of Heidi doing her homework with the boys in the living room, we shut her away in the desk in our conservatory with no distractions and although it did take her a while, she was a lot quicker than normal so I think this is going to be the way forward. If I had my way, I'd stop homework altogether as it causes too much tension at home! I think when Heidi starts Secondary School she will definitely benefit from going to homework club at school.

Harry opened his first proper bank account this month and has been enjoying using his contactless debit card (although this is mostly at Poundworld). It is so much easier transferring pocket money into his account for him as I never have cash on me. He rides his bike to school and had his first puncture too. Steve showed him how to repair it but I'm not sure how much of it actually went in! Lets see if he can do it next time.....

I tend to meet my old school friends for coffee every couple of weeks and tragically, we only managed to meet up once this month. We usually meet at Wetherspoons (unlimited coffee is a winner) but realised that there are too many babies in our group now so we're going to try Concordia cafe next time which is quieter and has a lot more space. It will be double the price but you really can't put a price on catching up with the girls.

This month has been quiet-ish on the blogging scene as January always is. I am super picky about my assignments these days and really enjoyed blogging for Preston Park and working on a social media campaign for intu Eldon Square (you can see the Facebook highlights here). The CMA released new guidelines for social media influencers which has created a lot of fuss (read my thoughts here). February is busy, busy, busy with a big trip to Cornwall in half term - I really hope the snow disappears by then.

Lack of funds has meant we haven't been on many date days this month. We did pop to see the Exposed Exhibition at Laing and booked lunch at The Muddler during restaurant week. I absolutely adored the exhibition and it was £8 well spent - I'd highly recommend if you get the chance. We also enjoyed a glorious Sunday lunch at The Cook house in Ouseburn. I love going out for Sunday lunch as a family and this was a real treat. January saw me escape to the theatre with my bro to see David Rudolph (from the Staircase) in conversation at Tyne Theatre which was fascinating and I enjoyed a cheeky brunch at Cafe 19 and a walk along the coast with Steve on the last day of the month. Their coffee is perfect.

The downside to January is that I have been SO skint. I've had a few big invoices due to be paid but not until the very end of January/beginning of February. One of those invoices is for work I carried out between May-November 2018 and it STILL hasn't been paid so I've had to start court proceedings which absolutely sucks (especially when it's a huge global brand). I have three other invoices due to be paid next week and I'm just crossing my fingers and toes that they're not late otherwise my stress levels will be through the roof - we have two school residential trips to pay for next week and our spending money for Cornwall which isn't going to be cheap plus Steve and Harry need their passports renewed and I want to sort it sooner rather than later.

It absolutely sucks as a freelancer that you have to complete the work first then accept a 30 or 60 day payment term AND THEN IT'S LATE. It really makes it difficult to budget and this is how many of us end up in the situations where we accept adverts or work we wouldn't normally, just because we know they pay quickly and we need the £££. I try not to do this myself but I can see how tempting it is.

It took me all month but I finally set myself some resolutions. I've never really been one to set myself social media targets and as much as I hate it, social media is a numbers game at times for bloggers and although I feel like engagement is more important, there's no doubt in my mind that I don't qualify for certain Instagram or blog campaigns because I still have under 10k followers on Instagram. So this year, I'm really going to focus on organically growing my Instagram account and try and reach that elusive number so if you see me plugging it here, there and everywhere, you know why. I've also recently signed up to Tribe which is an advertising platform for those who have more than 3k followers on one network. Brands advertise the kind of sponsored social media posts they're looking for, influencers or bloggers create something that matches their brief and if selected, payment is made within 24 hours of posting. It's a quick and easy way to make money and I'm hoping that working with Tribe this year will help me to deal with some of the stresses I feel through long payment terms and late payments through traditional blogging and working with agencies.

I would also love 10k monthly readers on this blog (I'm at 5k so far) which is good going for a second blog but within reach I feel and I'd love to reach 20k followers on my Facebook page. 2019 is definitely a year for me to focus on growth rather than remaining complacent which I feel has maybe been the case for the past 18 months.

So....if you'd like to help me out and follow my account on Instagram/recommend to your friends, here I am:

Let me know how your January was and if you can relate to any of the above. 


  1. Can't believe Heidi! LOL!!!! Wonder how long she thought she was going to get away with that for? I always hated homework, I used to do mine in about 2 seconds on the way into school, have always worked much better under pressure!

  2. Loved reading this Sam, and how crappy that you have had to start court proceedings against a brand. Heidi sounds like my Katie, would rather do anything than homework. Thankfully if she doesn't do it in high school, I get a message on the app so I tend to know straight away. Little devils aren't they lol x


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