Hello September | Setting your autumn goals 🍂

Too soon to be thinking about autumn?! NEVER! We all love a summer break but there’s something magical about the fall months – the changing weather, red, brown and golden colours, the lead up to the big C…. {it’s definitely too early to mention that right?!}

New month, new academic year, signs of autumn on the way – the best time to revisit your goals and set actions for the coming season.

Introducing The Goal Getter {mini} Academy

Ready to set your autumn goals? Introducing the Goal Getter Academy – a FREE 5 day mini workshop sent straight to your inbox starting Monday 13th September.

Are you ready to take back control and start building your dream life?

Together we’ll work through everything from broadening your mindset and gaining confidence to setting your goals and taking action to see them become reality.

We’ll set achievable action plans and learn about how to create discipline through habits. We’ll look at how you can challenge your mindset and discover your inner confidence.

PLUS you’ll get an exclusive Goal Getter {mini} Academy workbook and sneak peek into the new 2022 Life Planner {available to pre-order nowFREE DELIVERY with every pre-order ends Monday 6th September!}

Sign up via the link below and you’ll receive an email every day for 5 days from Monday 13th September full of FREE content – work through the Goal Getter {mini} Academy either everyday or at your own pace to help create your best life in business health and/or home.

Did you miss our September freebie? Sign up to the Goal Getter Academy to receive your FREE downloadable September monthly planners PLUS the I Believe in Me daily planner straight to your inbox.

Happy goal getting!

2022 Life Planner Pre-Orders NOW OPEN | + Exclusive Bank Holiday Offers

I am so excited to announce that PRE-ORDERS for the 2022 Life Planner are NOW OPEN!

Plus I have a couple of Bank Holiday offers for you – FREE DELIVERY with every order placed until Sunday 5th September 2021 PLUS 15% off TODAY ONLY!

More about the planner

There’s nothing more satisfying than starting fresh with an empty, clear diary. To me it signifies a clean slate, a chance to set goals, brainstorm, get my thoughts in check and have a good old mental declutter. But finding the perfect planner which includes all aspects of our busy lives can be hard. This is why I created the Business Health & Home Life Planner.

As a busy mum of three, homemaker and business owner, I know what it feels like to feel overwhelmed and chaotic. This planner has been designed to help women take back control of their busy lives and make time for the things which are most important to them; whether that be creating a dream home, working on health goals or building a business.

The 2022 Life Planner includes pages for:

♥︎ Vision board and goal setting
♥︎ Task lists
♥︎ Vehicle and password logs
♥︎ Meal ideas, meal planning and shopping lists
♥︎ Exercise and weight tracking
♥︎ Project and event planning
♥︎ Day out and holiday checklists
♥︎ Christmas planning
♥︎ Financial planning
♥︎ Annual, monthly and weekly planning
♥︎ School/work planning and meeting notes
♥︎ Note pages
♥︎ Annual overview and 2023 at a glance
And MORE!

Planners will be dispatched October 2021 ♥︎

Find out more about Business Health & Home at:

www.businesshealthandhome.co.uk

Instagram @businesshealthandhome

Facebook @runellierun

Contact ellie@businesshealthandhome.co.uk

Back to School 2021-22 | Plus your FREE Checklist

Who intended to get organised for school right at the start of the summer? *puts hand up* Who then left everything until the last minute? *hand stays up*. Ok so truth be told I was slightly organised this year in that I raided the PTFA second hand collection for basically anything else I could lay my hands on {go me!} {And trust me when I say I will NEVER again buy new uniform unless I absolutely have to – if your school offers second hand items – literally bite their hand off!}

That aside, I then ordered name labels mid way through August {again, go me} mainly because I knew P would be starting nursery and I happened to be talking to a friend who’s little boy starts school this year to whom I recommended the labels we use {find them here} which then prompted me to take action.

{Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash}

That same conversation then got my brain ticking about all the other bits we would need. “I’ve got most of it” I confidently thought…….. but for some magical reason children seem to grow twice as fast during the summer holidays. Sun, soil and…. sweat {?!} obviously does wonders for their cell regeneration. And here we are, with two 6 year old boys who have outgrown 80% of their wardrobe {socks included} and now fitting into 7-8 year sized clothes. Throw into the mix a 3 year old who also seems to have grown a few inches and mummy and daddy’s bank account is suddenly preparing for a proper bashing.

The boys will be starting their 3rd year at school {although technically they are yet to complete a whole school year thanks to Covid} and although the stress of getting all the right “stuff” is notably less, I still feel my brain cranking out of summer mode trying to recall what they actually need.

And I’m guessing I’m not to only one……! So I’ve created a FREE downloadable checklist to help jog your {and my} memory and get us back to feeling like the organised superstars we always intended to be.

There are 2 lists – one in colour and one which is more printer ink friendly {you’re welcome} – both have 2 pages, one with my suggested list and a blank version to create/add your own items specific to your school/setting/child. Simply follow the link below to get your list delivereddirectly to your inbox.

I’d love to hear your feedback – get in touch to let me know what you thought or tag @alifetwintastic on Instagram to get features on my stories!

All my best for your little ones starting or going back to school and enjoy the rest of your summer 🙂

Welcome to BH&H | supporting women to take back control and design their best life

Hello and welcome to the newly rebranded Business Health & Home {previously a Life Twintastic}.

Why the rebrand? Good question! A Life Twintastic was originally formed to share my life as a mum of three and wannabe perfect housewife. I then started to explore entrepreneurship and started my own profitable side hustle {Pro Clerking} in 2019. Since then I have found a real passion for business and alongside a lot of highs and lows, lessons learnt and a focus on my own personal development I want to take you along on my journey to designing my best life – in business {or work/side hustle}, health and {of course} home.

Hence BH&H was born. With the tagline of Enable | Empower | Equip BH&H aims to:

  • Enable women to say yes to their goals, values and dreams
  • Empower women to know they are enough and can do anything they set their mind to
  • Equip women with information and resources to help balance the things which are truly important to them, whether that be starting or growing their side hustle, taking control of their health and well-being or creating a relaxed, functional home

Great! So how exactly is this blog going to help me create my dream life?

Another great question! BH&H will publish two blog posts a week rotating around the three main focus areas {business, health and – you got it! – home} providing hints and tips, inspiration and motivation as well as a real life, current account of my own journey to create my dream life.

You can also join me over on Instagram or Facebook to see what’s going on in our day to day lives and connect on a more personal level!

Anything else?

Well I’m glad you asked 🙂 BH&H is soon to become home to one of my true passion projects {which has been going around and around in my head for literally years} – to create beautiful, functional planners and organisers to help women take back control of their busy lives.

The 2022 Annual Life Planner is currently in production and will be available to pre-order from September 2021 – check out the Planners and Organisers page, head over to Instagram or Facebook or why not subscribe to receive more information directly to your inbox?

What’s next for BH&H?

As always, my brain is on overdrive with ideas for new products and services, including:

  • More planners including the BH&H Blog Planner and Clerks’ Annual Planner {linked to Pro Clerking}
  • Online programmes and eBooks – Design Your Best Life, The Goal Getter, Me My Mind and I and more!
  • Documentary – I have been invited to be part of a Dermatillomania Documentary which will hopefully be filmed later this year 🙂

Lots happening 🙂 Don’t forget to subscribe to stay up to date with the latest blog posts and offers.

New Branding | Under {construction}…..

You may have noticed things have been a bit quiet around here. But let me tell you – it’s been a flurry of activity behind the scenes here at HQ {aka my little home office!}.

If you follow me on Instagram you may have seen a Life Twintastic is undergoing a makeover. ALT will soon become Business, Health & Home {BH&H}. The website is being given a spruce up and soon all the ALT handles will become @businesshealthandhome. I’m aiming for everything to be fully back up and running by the end of the month – same content, same value, new name and new branding!

The blog will continue to post twice a week on all things business, health & home as well as become home to my passion project – creating beautiful planners and stationery to help women take back control in their busy lives.

Alongside this I’ve been doing A LOT of work on my other business – Pro Clerking – which will be launching 1:1 and group coaching plus a members club from September 2021 – it’s all go go go!

I just wanted to take this opportunity to say thank you for continued support and I’m looking forward to sharing the new Business Health & Home endeavour with you soon.

Ellie ♥︎

ALT Newsletter {July 2021} | New Product, Business Pivot + Summer Plans {Oh My!}

Hello and welcome to the July edition of the A Life Twintastic {ALT} newsletter!

I’ve been a bit quiet posting on here over the last couple of weeks – as some of you may know I’ve recently invested in a personal and business coach and to be honest it’s taken up the majority of my brain power! That and it being a busy time of year for work have meant I’ve let my goal of posing two blog posts a week has been lacking – BUT after a pretty epic mindset shift I’m back on task and ready to take action 🙂 I’ll be posting more about my personal development journey soon 🙂

But for this newsletter see below for what’s been happening on the blog this last month plus information on my new digital Life Planner, a change in direction for my business and plans for the summer!


Business

Well well well! Lot’s going on both in front and behind the scenes. I launched my second digital Life Planner at the end of June – this undated, re-branded, updated version has a new style, new pages and means you can start using your new planner at ANY time of the year! Find out more here and remember ALT followers get 20% off with the code LOVINGLIFE 🙂 {PLUS don’t forget to check out FREE “How-to” eBook to find out what a digital planner is all about – INCLUDING a FREE prototype planner to try before you buy 🙂

Following on from that I’ve started doing some groundwork to print and publish my first hardback planner – more information coming soon!

There is also lots going on behind the scenes of both ALT and my other business, Pro Clerking {which is focused on supporting, upskilling and empowering Clerks and Company Secretaries in the education sector} – taking action to move my dream of having hardback planners forwards, making BIG decisions in the direction I want to take my businesses and getting braver around injecting my personality into {especially} Pro Clerking and connecting emotionally with what I offer which is going to have a HUGE impact on delivery of services and products going forwards.

I also launched my Governance Compliance Resource Package and delivered free compliance and end of year task overviews to my Pro Clerking community PLUS more than quadrupled my email subscriber list with a freebie {more on this in a later post!} plus started work on my next launch – the New Clerks’ Network UK 🙂

I’ve also taken a change in direction with Pro-Clerking and handed in my notice to my day to day clients {eeek!} in favour of growing the mentoring and coaching side of my business. I’m really excited about this new opportunity {although I have dabbled in coaching previously} and looking forward to seeing how things map out!

On the Blog:

TIME MANAGEMENT TECHNIQUES {FOR YOUR SIDE HUSTLE}

HOW A BLOG CAN HELP GROW YOUR BUSINESS | {AND ADD VALUE TO YOUR CLIENTS}

Health

My personal and business coaching has been focused around my own personal development and mindset. The process is by no means easy and it’s been a rollercoaster of a ride. Changing your mindset involves taking action and discipline, two things I am starting to incorporate into my daily life. As previously said, I’ll be posting more about this soon 🙂

On the Blog:

AMAZON BEST BUYS | {SUMMER 2021}

Home

Not much has been going on on the home front other than the start of summer holidays! We’re really lucky that the boys’ school has an open air swimming pool which we are able to use as part of the school community. Along with their school swimming lessons we usually go 3 times a week and the boys have really improved in both their water confidence and swimming. I make sure I take P at least once a week too to either the school pool or another local “splash” pool to build her confidence having not been in a pool since she was less than one years old due to Covid. She’s just turned a corner and is now happy to float and swim about on her own using these great pool floats and even jumping in!

{Miss P loving the swimming pool!}

We haven’t got any holidays planned this week, mainly because Mr H will be working all summer but we have got some lovely days out planned – make sure you follow our mini adventures over on Instagram! We also have family visiting at the end of August which we’re really looking forward to.

On the Blog:

PROJECT SIMPLIFY | 6 WEEK {DECLUTTER} CHALLENGE

What plans do you have this summer? Has it been sunny where you are?

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How a Blog can Help Grow Your Business | {And add value to your clients}

Did you think a blog is just for people who want to share their latest cupcake recipe or “how-to” guide as a side hobby to their “real” job?

Well, well, well my friend. I’m here to tell you not only that blogging is a REAL JOB {which you can make money from no less} but also that having a blog can help you to GROW your business and/or brand and add VALUE to your clients or customer base. When done properly starting a blog for your business can create a whole range of new opportunities and boost your marketing power.

BONUS – head to the end of this post for an exclusive offer to help get you on the right road to creating a KILLER BLOG!

Don’t believe me? Read on….


10 Ways a Blog can Help Grow Your Business {and add value to your customers}

1. Increase brand awareness

Having a blog is a great way of not only advertising your business but it also allows another avenue of increasing your brand awareness and personal brand. A blog post is a great way of being more informal and letting your personality shine! They also help bring businesses to life and create consistent branding to create more leads and therefore more customers.

2. Provide direct links to products or services

Don’t have the swipe up option {aka links} on Instagram stories? Me neither! Blog posts are great for allowing you to add direct links to products, services, categories or collections without having to reach a certain number of followers or subscribers. Hazzah!

3. A chance to showcase your products, services and expertise

Why not write a blog post about how a customer can use your products/ a particular product or how your services can improve working or personal practices. Blogs give you a chance to share more information, really diver deeper into your products or services and showcase your wonderful products.

4. Create new leads {hello blogging community!}

Creating a blog opens up a WHOLE new platform of potential leads – the blogging community is VAST and will therefore the opportunity to expand your clientele just by simply having a blog!

5. Improve your Search Engine Optimisation {SEO}

Done properly, blogging can improve your website’s Google search rank, bring more people to your website and therefore create more leads. Basically the more activity you have on your website the higher it’s likely to rank in searches – regular blog posts will help maintain your search engine rankings.

6. Increase credibility

By showcasing your expertise, the quality and functionality of your products and/or services you will improve your business’ reputation and build a strong LIKE, KNOW, TRUST factor.

7. A way to flex your content ideas for social media

Are you stuck for content ideas but are still keen to stay consistent and present? Blogging adds another string to your content bow by allowing you to write about a whole range of material from the history of your product, how you started your business, customer Q&As or showcase customer reviews. Having a few blog posts in your back pocket can help ease dry spells and can be automated to post at a time and date of your choice.

8. A change to set up a regular newsletter or email list

A lot of websites {such as GoDaddy} allow you to create a blog within their hosting package. Plus they also allow people to subscribe to an email list {more on this in a later post!} to which you can send out links to your latest blog post or a regular newsletter. Don’t have a website? You can create a blog for FREE on platforms such as WordPress which you can create a direct link to from your Instagram bio or Facebook page. Platforms such as MailChimp also allow you to set up an email list – so there are lots of options!

9. Give you a chance to write a Call to Action (CTA)

A great way to turn cold leads into warm ones is to add a CTA at the end of each blog posts. For example you could leave your contact link if they would like more information or if they would like to work with you or include your social media links. People are more likely to follow through when they are given direct instructions!

10. Answer FAQs and customer queries

Lastly – a great idea for a blog post is create a one stop shop for any frequently asked questions or customer queries. Are people always asking what colours are available for a certain jewellery line? Write a blog post! Are you always getting asked about upcoming event? Write a blog post!


Creating and maintaining a blog for your business can create a whole range of new opportunities – but remember, when it comes to growing your business and adding value CONSISTENCY IS KEY!

BONUS OFFER!

Don’t know where to start or what to write about? My good friend Anjali from This Splendid Shambles’ has created an invaluable Confident Content Creation Course in which you can learn the strategies and skills to get your content seen by more people, and showcase your products and services as well as ways to stay consistent, organised and motivated when it comes to creating content for your blog, business or social media.

Find out more about the incredible Confident Content Creation course HERE and use the code TWINTASTIC20 at the checkout for an exclusive 20% off for ALT followers!

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Deep Dive into Project Simplify | {Declutter Challenge 2021}


This is a repurposed post from May 2020 which links into my current Project Simplify Declutter challenge:


Truth be told I’ve had a version of this blog post in my head for probably close to 2 years now. It started when I was pregnant with Penny and had an overwhelming desire to declutter {hello nesting}. We had {have} SO.MUCH.STUFF. It was exhausting. Constantly cleaning, moving things around, re-organising, getting rid of stuff then at the same time buying new things in an attempt to make our home look and feel better. I’d flit from project to project as time and motivation allowed never really finishing anything or feeling like I was making any headway. I never felt that {possibly unreachable} point of feeling content. Never reaching that “perfect” point where I could sit back and relax into my little world.

When Penny was about 5 months old {January 2019} I read Marie Kondo’s Book The Life Changing Magic of Tidying {which by the way I LOVED} and started following The Organised Mum on Instagram closely followed by the online phenomenon that is Mrs Hinch. This was what this post was originally going to be about – how I worked through and implemented aspects of these methods to finally “complete” project {simplify}. Fast forward 15 months and I’m still not there. I still have too much stuff. I still don’t feel like the house is “together” or that I’m in a good housework routine. And actually things have changed. My mentality has been through the ringer and {partly thanks to some pretty intense counselling sessions} I began to realise project {simplify} was about sooooo much more than my home. My whole being felt claustrophobic, enclosed and over complicated.

Penny {at 5 months} helping with a Marie Kondo inspired clothes clear out

The definition of {simple}

So what does simple mean to me. When I broke it down here’s what I came up with:

In a nutshell, project {simplify} meant creating physical and mental space in which I felt good, clean, healthy and productive. A space which felt achievable, clear, inviting and welcoming. A space which felt natural, light, spacious and sustainable. A space where life felt uncomplicated and I could be creative and relaxed at the same time. Sounds like a dream? Maybe so. But for me project {simplify} on some level isn’t a wish list, it is a necessity. I believe it will have a life-long impact on my mental and physical health and open up my creativity to enable me to achieve things that always felt out of arms reach. In essence, I believe it will make everything better. Not perfect. But better. And that’s perfect enough for me.

Where to begin?

Note : This is not so much of a “how to” post but more of an amalgamation of thought processes from the last 24 months.

Inspiration

When you scroll through Instagram accounts filled with beautiful homes what do they have in common? Chances are they are {seemingly} uncluttered. They are usually quite simple and have some kind of theme or style, full of beautiful pieces which bring joy and delight. Achieving an Insta-perfect home may not be realistic for your life {or budget!} but noting down some of the elements you love or creating a vision or Pinterest Board of achievable ideas is a great place to start. Is their toy storage amazing? Does the style of their bookshelves look uncluttered and inviting? What exactly are you drawn to? Is it the colour scheme or the artwork on the walls? Are you drawn to beach homes with a huge open view? Do you love simple, clean cut outfits or bright floral prints? Remember this is more than your home. Project {simply} is about your life.

My {recently decluttered} favourite spot

Implementation

Clear out books, ornaments, clothes, make-up, toys, paperwork, emails, stationery, bank accounts, your instagram feed. Clear all the apps off your phone you don’t use. Change notification settings so you’re not bombarded with information 24/7. Unsubscribe from email chains you no longer engage with. Have a switch-off Sunday where you turn notifications off or delete your social media apps for 1 day a week. Take active steps to clear space. This may be in bite-sized chunks or full Marie-Kondo-ing the s**t out of your home. It’s hard. Really hard. To clear out stuff you’ve held onto for one reason or another. That may have been a gift or has sentimental value. But it is necessary. Think of what you would want to leave behind {without sounding too morbid!}, what makes you happy {sparks joy as Marie would say}, what is actually needed and used. Try not to overthink it. You may chose to clear things out in waves. There are things you may not be ready to let go of and that’s ok. There is no right or wrong to this process. The aim is to reach a place where YOU {and your family} are content. Whether that’s for a season, a year, 5 years or a lifetime. And remember to be realistic about where you are now. If you have children there will be toys. If you have animals there will be pet paraphernalia. If you are saving or don’t have the finances to fund your dream home/wardrobe you will have to make the best of what you have. This is YOUR life. YOUR style and YOUR space. Don’t try to copy someone else – that brings with it a whole heap of other issues!

Decluttering mental space

This is a big one. For me decluttering physical belongings is only half the project. Creating mental space is not only necessary. It’s vital. It’s vital in feeling well. It’s vital in managing the bad days. It’s vital in finding inner peace and acceptance. It’s vital in being the best mother, wife, sister, friend and colleague I can be. Not perfect. Not “high functioning”. But the best version of me {warts and all}. It’s saying no. It’s ending toxic relationships {personal and professional}. It’s nourishing my mind and body. It’s knowing where to go for support. It’s giving myself space to breathe. It’s creating routines which work for our family. And {for me} there is a definite link between mental and physical clutter. I can’t have one and not the other. Physical clutter makes me feel anxious and uneasy. Mental clutter makes me unproductive and unmotivated. Creating a space for mindfulness and self-care is essential to survive and thrive. Filling your cup so it overflows to others.

Having a {mental} declutter

Lockdown

This brings me nicely onto what prompted me to revisit this post. We are now at the end of week 6 of the COVID-19 lockdown {at the time of the original post}. We have been social distancing, furloughed and self isolating for well over a month. This past week I’ve felt incredibly anxious about what happens post-lockdown. We’ve been inside our own little bubble {which in itself has come with it’s own ups and downs} and although I’ve been very active on the old virtual community I’ve been feeling incredibly disconnected with the outside world. I already fear the overwhelm of being re-introduced to society, strange as that may sound. Part of my anxiety is around regretting not making the most out of being at home. {Noting not everyone is at home – the reality for key workers and those who are feeling incredibly lonely and isolated or unwell is very different}. As a way of trying to ease my own anxious brain I decided to make a list. A list of things I would like to do over the next few weeks {or longer}. Not to put pressure on myself but as a way of re-focusing what is important at a time when there is so much uncertainty and need. Here’s what my list looks like:

  • To make progress with project {simplify} {this counts right?!} {see below}
  • To make time for health – self-care, nutrition, exercise, mental health, my skin, weight and fresh air
  • To home school the boys to the best of our ability – including a {flexible} structure to our weekdays
  • To use The Organised Mum Method {TOMM} to help feel/stay on top of housework
  • To implement switch-off Sunday – turn off all social media notifications during the day every Sunday
  • To plan out/start or even complete one of my e-book ideas
  • To start Dermatillomania Support UK
  • To make space for creativity – blogging, writing, painting
  • To support others by reaching out, offering support, listening, laughing, crying or being an Insta-friend – whatever I can give that people need
  • To enjoy my little family

My initial aims for project {simplify} are:

  • To implement TOMM {as above}
  • To clear out my office space and paperwork
  • To finish decorating the kitchen
  • To clear out my dressing table drawers, make-up and medicine cupboard
  • To clear out our garage
  • To simplify my email accounts and unsubscribe from chains
  • To allow myself space for family and creativity by implementing switch-off Sunday {as above}
  • To simplify our belongings to create light, spacious and uncomplicated surroundings

Clean. Clear. Natural. Achievable. Sustainable. Open. Simple.

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Amazon Best Buys | {Summer 2021}

{This post contains affiliate links for products I personally use and endorse – find out more about affiliate marketing here}

The sun is shining and the shorts are out – summer is finally here! This week I wanted to share with you some of my Amazon best Buys for summer 2021 {and beyond!} As you may know I am a HUGE Amazon fan so of course I jumped at the opportunity to create my own Amazon Storefront to share my favourite products as well as adding another sting to my side hustle bow as an affiliate marketer. You can find out more about why I love Amazon and the affiliate scheme on my Amazon Best Buys {Health and Beauty} post.

My Amazon Best Buys for Summer 2021

{All of which are available on my Amazon Storefront – prices as at June 2021}:

For You

Sarong Dress – £12.99

The perfect cover up for by the pool or in the garden or for if you just want something super lightweight to throw on! Available in loads of colours.

Womens Sarong Bikini Cover Up Short Swim Wrap Spaghetti Strap Mini Beach Swimwear Dress Royal Blue


Shorts and Long Sleeved Top Loungewear set – £23.99 – £26.99 dependant on size

The perfect loungewear set for crisp summer mornings or to relax in during cool evenings this shorts and long sleeve top combo is super soft and comfy.

Mengar Womens Comfy Cotton Pyjama Sets Casual Loungewear Autumn Pjs Sets Long Sleeve Shirts and Shorts Sleepwear Set (Blue S)


Clear Dome Copper Dots Umbrella – £15.09

Unfortunately we {usually} still have to deal with some rain during the summer months {especially here in the UK!} but even a down pour can’t hamper my spirit with this gorgeous copper dots clear dome umbrella which I keep in the boot of my car.

SMATI Clear Dome – Stick Umbrella Colorful dots for Woman – Windproof (Copper)


Starbucks Cold Cup – £9.95

Why not sip your favourite summer smoothie, iced coffee {or drink of choice} in style with this reusable Starbucks cold cup?

Starbucks Siren Logo Reusable Plastic Cold Cup, 24 fl oz


Wireless Earbud Headphones – £17.84

I absolutely love my wireless earbud headphones {when the toddler hasn’t hidden them!} At a fraction of the cost of branded {aka Apple} equivalents they {in my opinion} do the job just as well. I always have one in around the house or on my morning summer walks listening to my favourite Goal Digger Podcast or taking calls on the go.

Balhvit Touch Control Wireless Earbuds Headphones, HiFi Stereo 5.0 Bluetooth Headphones in Ear IPX6 Waterproof Wireless Earphones With Mic, 35H Playtime TWS Bluetooth Earphones With Fast Charging Case


Packing Organisers – £16.99

If you’re lucky enough to get away on holiday this year these packing organisers are an essential! Not only do they help organise your luggage but they also help create more space {= more room for extra biknis!} I also use them at home for storing out of season clothes or holiday bits.

Packing Cubes for Suitcase,Geediar 9 PCS Travel Luggage Packing Organizers Waterproof Travel Essentials Bag Clothes Shoes Cosmetics Toiletries Storage Bags(a-Grey)


Aloe Vera Revitalising Cream – £5.44 pack of 3

I’ve talked about this {a few times} before – but here we are again! My favourite moisturiser of ALL TIME. Gentle on your skin and fantastic for after you’ve caught the sun – plus an absolute bargain prince – it’s a no brainer!

THREE PACKS of Cyclax Aloe Vera Revitalising Cream 300ml


Kiss Gel Fantasy Nails – £7.99

I talked about these in my last Amazon Best Buys post but these stick on nails are perfect to add instant glam for a summer girls night out – easy, quick to apply and no fear of smudges this no hassle set has 24 nails so you can easily replace any lost nails, simples.

Kiss Gel Fantasy Nails – Fanciful, 1-Pack (1 x Pack of 24)


For Your Home / Kids

Bestway Fast Set 8ft Pool – £46.95

Our number one investment piece for summer 2021 – we’ve been circling round cheap and cheerful pools ever since having the boys 6 years ago and they very rarely make it past one summer season. So this year, now the boys are bigger, we decided to invest in an 8ft fast set pool. Our 2 year old loves it too and she can literally swim around in it with her floaties {see below}! Since the pool takes ~3,000 litres of water it’s something we want to fill and keep up all summer long. Therefore we also bought a pool cover {which helps keep it clear and retain heat}, Flowclear water pump {to filter the water} and Clearwater Pool Chemical Starter Kit which includes chlorine granules, pH adjusters, testing strips and algaecide {links to all these products below}. The perfect combination for years of summer fun!

Bestway 8ft x 26in Fast Set Swimming Pool no pump 57008

Bestway Pool Cover {£14.80} + Bestway Flowclear Water Pump {£36.90} + ClearWater Pool Chemical Starter Kit {£27.93}


Kids Swimming Float Discs Set of 6 – £17.99

I get asked A LOT about Penny’s swimming float discs – because they are amazing! Again recommended by a mum friend {same one as the roll on sun screen!} – they come in packs of 6 and slot together so you can use all 3 on each arm {which is plenty to fully hold Penny and the boys’ weight in the water} then gradually remove a disc at a time when your little one gets more confident with their swimming. No inflating, quick to dry, comfortable and easy to use I would recommend these to anyone!

ZCOINS Kids Child Float Discs Learn to Swim Arm Bands(6pcs per Set)


Water Blaster Back Pack – £15.95

These water pistol back packs guarantee hours of fun and a great way to keep cool for your kids on balmy summer days. Super easy to use and re-fill – both my 6 year olds and 2 year old love their water blaster back packs!

Grafix T-Rex Dinosaur Water Blaster Backpack Gun Green Kids Outdoor Soaker Pistol Boys Kids Toy Gift


3 Pack Animal Head Pool Floats – £8.99

Noah asked for a penguin pool float so when I came across this pack of THREE animal floats I was like YES – Penny was more than happy with a flamingo and Ollie loved the duck! An absolute bargain and a great size for our 8ft pool {see above} – the kids absolutely love them!

Intex 3 Pack – 59220Ep – Animal Head Split Ring Pool Floats Bundle Includes Frog, Duck, Penguin


Roll On Sunscreen Factor 50 – £3.99

I first started buying roll on sunscreen for the kids when the boys started school and were told to bring sunscreen in with them. Of course I started thinking how on earth are they going to do this themselves easily {and without spilling half the bottle of sun cream down their school uniform!} A mum friend recommended roll on sunscreen and it’s been a game changer! The boys {and even Penny!} can use it themselves without worrying about difficult pumps or messy bottles and they just live in their school bags for the summer term!

Nivea SUN Kids Protect & Care Caring Roll-On (50 ml) Sunscreen with SPF 50, Roll-On Kids Suncream for Delicate Skin, Immediately Protects Against Sun Exposure


And there you go! A few of my favourite summer buys for 2021 {and beyond!} all in a one stop Amazon Storefront shop {that was a mouthful}! Why not see what other products I use and recommend?

What are your best buys for summer? Let me know in the comments below!

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Time management techniques {For your side hustle}

{This post contains affiliate links for products I personally use and endorse – find out more about affiliate marketing here}


Just looking at my weekly planner its easy to see how so many of us feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day. You often hear people say that everyone has the same number of hours in the day but the fact is that everyone also has very different priorities and commitments. As a mum of 3 {one of which is a toddler with erratic sleeping habits}, primary caretaker of said children at least 5 days a week due to my husbands working hours, homemaker and small business owner who also works part-time and has dreams of more entrepreneurial endeavours/growth plus is also trying to keep my own sh*t together, get enough sleep, eat well, be a good friend, daughter, sister, volunteer etc. I can tell you right now that I GET IT.

Time is constant. It does not speed up or slow down. You can only choose to embrace each moment.

@alifetwintastic

Finding time for LIFE is hard enough without adding additional plates to spin, especially when they seem like “additions” rather than “necessities”. And this is how a lot of side hustles can feel, especially in the beginning. Is my blog my main source of income? No. Do I want to give it up to focus on more “priority” tasks. Also no. It brings me joy, {I hope} helps others {or at least brings some light relief!} plus has given me the foundation to take the leap into new ventures I could have only have dreamt of {hello Life Planner – launch at the end of June 2021!} It’s something that genuinely makes me happy and therefore it’s somehow easier to “make” time for it. To push it up my priority list or to slip into procrastination mode drafting posts when I have work deadlines looming. Is that enough to quit my 9-5 and focus on my blog? Not right now no. But who knows what it may look like in 6 months, a year, 2 years.

If you are passionate about a side hustle {or pursuit of choice} there are ways to find pockets of time to dedicate to it. You may find that right now you can’t commit as much time as you’d like to but life and priorities change – what may seem impossible now may be able to become a reality when {for example} your little ones start school or other commitments lessen. A bit like having children, there is no perfect time to start a new endeavour. But if you want it enough you will make sure it fits into your schedule.

As a self professed queen of procrastination I don’t like to work too hard, but then I also hate being late. It gives me anxiety. I love to be organised yet I still find consistency challenging. I’m really a very simple creature at heart and don’t like to overcomplicate things – so creating methods, habits and systems helps keep me on track and create time to work on those things which bring me the most fulfilment.

{Warning – this is a beefy post but stick with it for FREE resources, a sneak peek and an exclusive offer!}


Time management techniques

As somewhat of a seasoned juggler of life I wanted to share with you some of the tips and techniques I use to help keep my plates spinning. These are not fool proof and of course curve balls are thrown our way at which point we have to stop and decide which plates to {carefully} put down and which to spin faster but the basic aim is to not drop all the plates at once. Ready? Lets go!

1. Top 3 priorities

This is the first job I do every morning. Whether it’s in preparation for a day at home or a day of work setting my top 3 priorities helps keep me focused and prioritise tasks. It helps me to create a basic plans for the day and can be responsive to how I’m feeling and what’s happening around me. For example, if I’m not feeling particularly well or am lacking in sleep my top 3 list may be something like 1. Arrange for boys to be picked up from school 2. Prep dinner 3. Put a load of washing on. Or if I’m feeling super productive and have time blocked out for work my list may be 1. Client A deadline 2. Prep launch timeline for product X 3. Respond to top 5 emails. Or of course my top 3 often encompasses priorities for both home and work. I may have a longer list of jobs to do but singling out those top 3 helps keep me on track, plus I also find it helps me to delete unnecessary tasks from my physical to-do list and make it more of a focused priority list.

2. Eat the frog

Following on from setting your top 3 list – You’ve probably heard the term “eat the frog” hundreds of times but a great way to get started on a task you’ve either been putting off because maybe you don’t feel confident in what you’re doing or simply don’t know where to start is to just do it – eat that frog and take a leap of faith! If one of your top 3 jobs is to brainstorm ideas for your side hustle or to prep some market research and you find it’s something which keeps slipping from day to day – make it your number 1 priority and make a start {more on this under point 9}.

3. Break down tasks/projects

Another reason you may not get started on something is because it’s so bloomin’ daunting! Going back to my post on being a perfectionist, it can be really easy to put off doing something unless you feel you can do it fully and do it well. By breaking down tasks or projects into smaller chunks {or workflows} it can help make them less overwhelming and break that all or nothing mentality and using techniques such as creating effort based goals can help focus on smaller goals. I also like to use planning software such as Trello which creates a really good visual way of breaking down tasks into tick list items. You can also use Trello to create repetitive task lists and delegate to team members {if you have them!}

4. Set boundaries

My post last week focused on the importance of setting healthy boundaries to help prevent overwhelm and inspire wellbeing. I cannot stress enough the importance of setting boundaries both in your personal and business life. Your time is precious.

5. Utilise your personal peak productivity time

There is absolutely no point in you getting up at 5am every morning if you feel like death and end up spending an hour hitting snooze or staring vaguely out of a window. Not a morning person? That’s ok! Think about what time of day {or even what day of the week} you feel most naturally most productive and {depending on what commitments you may have at that time} utilise those endorphins!

6. Batch work and time block

Batch working and time blocking are both really popular time management techniques. Batch working basically means scheduling like for like tasks together – so for example if you are writing content for social media posts, write content for posts for the next week or fortnight all at once. This will help get you into the flow of the task and therefore make you more efficient. Time blocking is a technique whereby you {literally} block out sections of time to focus on tasks. This is a technique I use a lot, especially when working from home, as it helps me flip from work to mum mode rather than trying to blend the two. So for example I will block out 7-9am and 4-8pm as family time for me to concentrate on the kids, meals, bedtime etc. I will then block out 9-12pm to my top 3 priorities and 1-4pm to any follow up tasks or if I’m in a particular flow with something. This may sound very simple but by blocking sections of the day I am almost “allowing” myself to be just mum or to work on my business and it helps my brain to segment the two and create those healthy boundaries. {Also see FREE resources under point 9}.

7. Schedule in buffer time

As an addition to point 6 – a common mistake I still make is to underestimate how long tasks will take {see more on this under point 8} or I cram so much in that I get overwhelmed and as a result productivity levels drop and stress levels rise. Try to leave some “buffer” time in your schedule to factor in flexibility, extra time to work on your task or just time to take a break!

8. Track your time

Not sure how long to set aside for a task? If it’s something you do fairly regularly then consider timing how long it takes to complete. This will help either show that actually you have grossly underestimated the time allowed or that something you’ve been putting off actually only takes 10 minutes. For example, I used to hate making the bed after washing the bedcovers. Then I timed how long it took me. On average it took around 8-9 minutes. Now I think of that and just get on with it!

9. Smart scheduling

Ok so you’ve worked out your time blocks, you know roughly how long a piece of work is going to take you and you’ve scheduled some buffer time. So now you need to be easily able to both see and use your schedule. Depending on your personal preference you could use your diary, a notebook, an online calendar or a planner you keep at the front of your work file or on your noticeboard. The key is to make it easily assessible as both a reminder and to keep you on task and accountable. I like to use a combination of my Life Planner {updated version due out at the end of this month!} and Google/Microsoft Calendar to schedule appointments and tasks but I like to then transcribe these to a paper planner which I keep next to my computer as a constant visual aid of how I’ve planned out my day or week. To get you started I have created FREE daily and weekly planner resources which use the time blocking technique for you to download, print and have a play around with – alternatively you can download and use these on your digital device of choice with an app like Notability or Noteshelf.

10. Manage expectations

In my guest post for Isabella and Us I talked about resetting expectations both in and coming out of the 2020/21 Covid lockdowns. Part of managing expectations is to know {and stick to} your own limits and boundaries. So if, for example you’ve said you are not contactable for work between the hours of 6pm and 8am then you are not contactable. You will, of course, get back to people as soon as you are able to but those are the boundaries you have created, made clear and expect others to adhere to. Another aspect of expectations is how you manage those of others. In addition to being clear about your “office hours” you also want to be clear about how long a task or project is going to take, how much time you have to dedicate to it and what their expectations are for it’s completion. I always ask clients for deadlines {if one is not already obvious} so I know straight away what their expectation is. If this is not going to work with my schedule I will discuss it with them there and then rather than wait until I struggle to meet or even miss a deadline. It may be that they initially want something by the end of tomorrow but in reality it can wait until next week, plus it helps me to plan my workload and prioritise tasks. Another technique I use is to under promise, over deliver. So, for example, if I am writing a report for Client A I will firstly agree a reasonable deadline they I will strive to finish that report a day or two prior. Not only does this method keep your clients happy but it builds in that bit of buffer time in case something comes up.

Over promise, under deliver

@alifetwintastic

11. Create the habit of being a {insert pursuit of choice here}

In addition to “eating the frog” James Clear talks about creating the habit of doing something in his book Atomic Habits. So let’s say you want to become a writer. To do this you need to create the habit of becoming a writer. What does a writer do? They write! So instead of saying I’m going to sit and write a book, or even a chapter, start creating the habit of writing by sitting at your desk, opening your notebook or laptop and writing no holds barred for 5 minutes. Doing this consistently every day {or how ever many days you want to commit to} will not only mean you’ve started writing, but you’ve started identifying as a writer and creating this habit will either naturally gain momentum or you find you can start adding small blocks of time or even decide that actually, this isn’t for you after all, no harm done.

12. Create systems which allow creativity on the go

I recently wrote a post called How to Create Systems that Work. One of my tips in this post was to create systems which can be easily accessed and used on the go. This may be in a notebook or diary you keep in your bag or apps like NotabilityEvernoteOneNote or even the voice notes app on your smart phone make it easier than ever to jot things down or work through your systems on the go across multiple devices. The trick is to keep it simple and choose one or two methods or apps to use so it’s easier to keep track.

13. Work smarter

Work smarter not harder right? Great advice, but how exactly are you supposed to do that? Again my post How to Create Systems that Work talks through different ways to create systems to help make your life {and business} easier. One of these is to automate repetitive tasks. It may take a bit of time to initially set this up but once you have it will make your life sooooo much easier! From scheduling social media posts to sending out welcome packs to new clients and managing your finances there are so many great automation apps and platforms available.

14. Digital and physical declutter

If you follow me on Instagram you’ve probably picked up on the fact that I LOVE a good old declutter! And with good reason. Having a clear space promotes having a clear mind. If my space is tidy and organised I’m more likely to feel more motivated and settle into focused work more readily than if I’m feeling slightly deflated by the sheer amount of stuff or having to wade through piles of paperwork to find my notes. The same goes for digital clutter. Simply clearing your download folder or desktop can do wonders.

15. Create simple filing methods

Moving on from decluttering, having a simple and effective filing system is paramount to saving both time and energy. Paper files may be a bit sparse these days but if you do still have them make sure they only contain information you need or have to keep {noting document retention laws}. In my experience, keeping files as simple as possible is the absolute best way to keep them organised. For electronic files there are a magnitude of online filing platforms to choose. From DropBox and GoogleDrive to the Microsoft suite {SharePoint and OneDrive} and iCloud. I personally use the Microsoft suite for professional documents and GoogleDrive for personal and blog related documents. Two words of advice when it comes to filing electronic documents. 1 – always save your work online. If you are still saving everything to your hard drive and your computer goes caput then bye bye hours of hard work. And 2 – try to choose just one or two online filing platforms and keep them simple. There is nothing worse that knowing you have created something then not being able to find it or remember which login you’ve saved it under. Huge time wasting potential right there!

16. Create and communicate with your support network

Having a strong support network in place is the equivalent of creating firm foundations before building a house. Support could come from your family or spouse or from an online network of likeminded entrepreneurs, mums, gymnasts etc. It could be having coffee with a friend who you can share your ideas and challenges with. It can be your mother in law taking the kids for an hour after school so you can dedicate time to your side hustle. It could be someone simply saying “you’ve got this” from afar. We all need support and someone to be our cheerleader. It’s also important to feel you are able to ask for help and support. Don’t know how to get something to work on Canva? Chances are there’s a Facebook group for that! Hate doing your annual tax return? Maybe it’s time to outsource your business finances. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness, it’s strengthening your foundations. A side note on communicating with your support network – a great piece of advice I was given was to be clear about whether you are working but interruptible or working and on “do not disturb” {setting your boundaries}. This has really helped me and my family especially when working from home.

Asking for help is not a sign of weakness, it’s strengthening your foundations

@alifetwintastic

17. Practice discipline

Ok so this may be easier said than done but there is definitely the need for discipline with time management. I am pretty darn disciplined when it comes to showing up on time for events or appointments. Yet I am also a huge procrastinator when it comes to sitting down to do the task at hand. This is where maybe I need to re-evaluate the sliding scale of work vs. home life or how much some aspects of work are no longer a priority for me or bringing me enough fulfilment to continue. Food for thought. Discipline can be a painful barrier to breakthrough. This where forming habits can help you maintain productivity and success without relying on motivation – read more about creating habits in my Habits over Motivation post.

18. Clear vision/goal

{Don’t worry we’re nearly there!} My next tip is to have a clear vision and/or goal in mind. And a bit like scheduling your time this might be something you keep really accessible as a reminder of why you do what you do {bee-do}. Feeling a bit afloat or not sure what task to start with one day? Head back and reconnect with your vision or goals and remember what’s important {then jot down your top 3 and eat the frog!} I have a private Vibes board on Pinterest which I check in with every so often and then transfer my favourite images and quotes to the Vision Board section of my Life Planner.

{Sneak peek of the Vision Board I created in my new Life Planner}

19. Stop multi-tasking

There was a time when having the ability to multi-task was seen as a huge positive. However, it now seems people are veering more towards single-tasking as a way of “less haste more speed”. A bit like batch working, single-tasking allows you to fully concentrate on one task at a time rather than flip between jobs. This may not always be possible {hello #mumlife} but I can definitely see the benefits and this is something I now try to practice. It has also helped in terms of my time blocking mindset and being in “mum” mode or “business” mode.

20. Block out distractions

Last but not least. The good old turn your phone onto silent/do not disturb or pop it in a drawer in another room technique. An oldie {well as far as smartphones go…..} but a goodie. Still working from home now restrictions are lifting? Maybe consider setting up in your local library or coffee shop for a morning of uninterrupted work time. Turn off notifications for your phone apart from phone calls {if you have kids at school/nursery etc.} or need to be contactable. Move shiny objects out of sight {if you know you know right?!} I’ve also just started using the Pomodoro Technique which is a time management system where you break your day into 25-minute chunks separated by five-minute breaks.

And remember – Done is better than perfect!


Want more time management tips? This Splendid Shambles’ Confident Content Creation course includes a whole module full of tips and tricks for successful time management plus ways to stay consistent, organised and motivated when it comes to creating content for your blog, business or social media.

Find out more about the incredible Confident Content Creation course HERE and use the code TWINTASTIC20 at the checkout for an exclusive 20% off for ALT followers!

What techniques do you find help you manage your time? Are there any tips in this post you’ll be trying? Let me know in the comments or over on Instagram!

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