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  1. The 3 things having children has taught me to appreciate

    I recently wrote one of my favourite blog posts ever as a guest post for Naomi’s World which you can read here: Things I’ve Learnt Since Becoming a Mum.  It got me thinking.  There are lots of things I have learnt, but there are also lots of things I appreciate more since having children.  Things I never gave much of a thought about before as they just didn’t seem so important to me. 

    Here are three surprising things I appreciate more now I have children:

    The 3 things having children has taught me to appreciate

    Time

    I never really used to think much about time.  In my early twenties I didn’t think anything of wishing each week away so I could just get to the weekend as quickly as possible to party!  Now I just wish time would slow right down.  It’s unbelievable how quickly it goes once you have children.  I used to hear people say this, but not take any notice.  I mean, how can time move any faster?

    Believe me, it does.  I assume because I am just so busy all the time.  Running around after two children, slotting school runs and after school clubs into the daily routine, managing mine and my husband’s diaries, finances and home stuff, working full time from home, doing up our house and garden, the list goes on.  There’s rarely a moments peace or a break to sit down and do nothing!

    Time is whizzing by and I’m not sure where it’s going. I really believe it when people say the kids will have left home before we know it!  Bella is now five years old and I have no idea where five years have disappeared to.

    Every season

    Before having children I was only obsessed with summer, which ties nicely into the first point as I wished every other season away.  The sun makes me happy and it still does, but since having children I have learnt to appreciate the other three seasons too.

    I now get so excited for autumn walks crunching through the leaves with the children and watching fireworks.  Winter is so much fun as we relive the magic of Christmas through our children’s eyes.  I am so excited every year to see their faces on Christmas Day and to experience all the festivities with them.  Spring is the start of picnics and lots of trips to playparks.  The kids love to see the daffodils blooming and blossom on the trees.  I now notice so many more things around me each season which I just didn’t appreciate before having children.

    The little things

    Children make you appreciate the little things and simple things in life once more.  Pre children I was a consumer who wanted bigger, better, more.  I was a party animal whose only hobby included wild nights out on the town.  I didn’t know what was important in life and I hadn’t discovered my true self.

    Having children made me take an almighty step back and reassess what is important in life.  No longer do I need to spend extravagantly to make myself feel happy or important.  No longer do I need to be out socialising every night to feel liked and less lonely.  I’ve rediscovered my love of nature, unearthed my passion for writing and embraced a lifestyle of healthy living, all with thanks to my children.

    What have your children taught you to appreciate more?  Let me know in the comments.

    Related blog posts:
    Proud mummy – encouraging my daughter to swim
    Monthly family roundup – what we got up to in July 2017
    Realising I’ve always had a passion for writing

    Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

    You Baby Me Mummy

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  2. Things I've Learnt from Running My Own Shop Business (the things no one tells you)

    When a lot of people think of Lylia Rose, they think of an online fashion boutique and not a blog.  This is because Lylia Rose started as exactly that.  In the beginning my website was an ecommerce store with a blog on the side.  Now it has switched.  Lylia Rose is now a UK lifestyle blog with a small shop on the side.  Before discovering my passion for blogging, my passion was in ecommerce.  I’d spent several years working as an Ecommerce Order Fulfilment Manager for a popular clothing label.  It seemed only natural for me to set up my own online store as I had such a passion for online selling. 

    I never researched the market and just took the plunge when I was on maternity with my daughter.  What started as making and selling cards on Etsy, evolved into a fashion accessories website of my own.  I never had a business plan or an aim.  It all just kind of happened.  I secretly hoped I could make lots of money from it, but realistically I knew it was just something smaller on the side and a hobby if anything at all.  It’s now a small side hustle of mine and after considering closing my store, I have decided to continue with my little shop with a much smaller selection of goods as blogging is now my main focus.

    Here are a few (honest) things I learnt from running my own shop business:

    Things I Learnt from Running My Own Shop Business (the things no one tells

    (Your new best friend when you run an online shop from home)

    Everyone is doing it

    Yes, really.  Everyone is doing it.  When I started I didn’t realise quite how many people were trying to do exactly the same thing as me.  As soon as I started networking on Facebook and Twitter back in 2012-2013 I quickly realised every man and his wife was trying to set up their own business selling something, or at least every mum on maternity leave!  This meant my idea was not unique and it was easy to be lost amongst the waves of other people selling the same or similar items.  Unless I had a very unique selling point I really wasn’t that different to anyone else.

    There is a positive though – I was able to virtually meet and network with so many wonderful likeminded folk on a daily basis, sharing the highs and lows of trying to set up our own businesses as busy mums.

    Outgoings can be a killer

    After 3000 orders in 3 years (taking off my maternity leave) I’ve learnt quite a bit!  I’ve learnt that outgoings for a small ecommerce business selling low value items really can be a killer.  With the majority of my items selling at around £5, there really isn’t much profit to be made.  Take away the cost of the item, the packaging, the postage, the eBay fees, the PayPal fees, the advertising costs and there’s really only pence left.  It’s much better to be selling a higher value item, especially if selling on eBay.  Be savvy with your postage too.  There can be huge differences in postage costs between companies.  Use Parcel2Go to find the best deal for your package.

    They won’t come

    ‘Build it and they will come’ is perhaps the most useless saying I have ever heard.  No, they won’t come.  You have to get out there and sell, sell, sell!  Interact, engage, build a community and fan base, talk to your customers, network with likeminded businesses, promote on social media, and build your email list.  Just because you build a website, it doesn’t mean they will come. 

    I naively thought as soon as I built my website, I would be found on Google and the customers would be flocking over to purchase my wares, but not so.  After a few days of no website visitors I realised I had to get out there and market myself to the max.

    I only had daily sales when I was promoting my shop all day long on Twitter (or Facebook in the beginning).  Plus I took part in up to 13 networking hours a day chatting to likeminded folk.  When I didn't do this, sales would stop.  

    It’s hard, hard work

    Running your own business is hard work.  When you’re doing it by yourself you have to be everything.  The photographer, the content creator, the website designer, the admin, the finance, the picker, the packer, the marketer, the advertiser and so on!  Every role is covered by you.  There’s also no switching off.  Your business will quickly become your baby and you won’t be able to stop thinking about it!  The determination to succeed will make the hard work worth it, but it can also be exhausting.  I really don’t think anyone understands how much work goes into running your own business until they’ve tried it themselves.

    Though these may all be seen as negatives, they really don’t have to be.  It’s been a huge learning curve and from every negative comes a positive – a lesson learned, an eye-opener, a deeper understanding of a process.  I really have learnt so much from running my own business over the past few years.  With thanks to my online store I have surprisingly found a new passion in blogging and have managed to make my blog my full time job!  You really never know what is around the corner and what opportunities will arise for you unless you give it a try.  If you are thinking of launching your own business, I say go for it!  You can learn along the way like I did and make plenty of mistakes (like I did) which will help to better yourself in the future.

    What lessons have you learned the hard way through running your own business?  Let me know in the comments!

    Related blog posts:
    How I became a lifestyle blogger (accidently)
    The story so far – how Lylia Rose began
    5 ways to manage your time effectively when working from home

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     Things Ive Learnt from Running My Own Shop Business (the things no one tel

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  3. 7 Ways to Achieve a Modern, Minimalist Look For Your Living Room

    There’s something be said for those classic traditional living room decors, but it’s hard not to fall in love with the recent spate of minimalist designs that are cropping up in homes across the UK and beyond.  If I had to describe my décor style it would be natural, boho and minimal.  I’m a natural minimalist.  I can’t stand clutter or mess, it makes my head fuzzy.  I only want what I need and use.  I regularly have sort outs to see what we no longer need.  It’s a bit of an obsession of mine.  I’m happiest when everything is organised and in its place and there is no extra.  I do like a cosy room though which is where the natural comes in.  Wood, wicker and house plants keep our home from being too bare and boring.

    If you’ve not heard of minimalism before, it’s essentially a movement that emphasises a ‘less is more’ approach. Rooms styled in this way are simple, mind-positive places that allow its inhabitants to escape the noise of the hectic 21st century.  A calm clutter free environment creates a calm clutter free mind in my opinion.

    Here are seven ways you can give your living room a minimalist makeover:

    Simplicity Itself

    Many people have a habit of filling up living areas with anything and everything, and as such, they can very quickly have a cluttered look. This is the opposite of minimalism, so the first thing you’ll need to do is get rid of everything that doesn’t have to be there. If it doesn’t add anything to the room, then remove it: it can go in storage elsewhere in the home or if you’re fully embracing the minimalist lifestyle, carted off to a charity shop. Keeping items in the room to a minimum will be a good start to the process, but you won’t be finished yet.

    Colour Coding

    Minimalism is all about keeping things simple, and you’ll want to reflect this in your colour scheme. There are two trains of thought when it comes to how you should decorate a minimalist room: you can go uber-simple and only have clean and plain colours; think cream, white, and black. However, for some people this look is too modern, and in some cases, impractical; children or a dog with muddy hands/paws can very quickly ruin the aesthetic! In that case, go for two complementary colours, like clean blue and yellow.

    Essential Furniture

    You won’t be packing your living room with furniture and cushions: when it comes to minimalism, you should be selecting what you need only. If one sofa and a single standalone chair are all you need to seat the members of the household, then that’s all you should have. You’re trying to achieve a sparse look. The tone of the room should be light, airy, and spacious. Because of this, this decor style lends itself to living rooms of all sizes; even the smallest rooms can be made to look bigger if there’s little inside.

    7 Ways To Achieve a Modern, Minimalist Look For Your Living Room

    Adding the Fun

    Minimalism doesn’t mean boring. You use your living to unwind and have fun, and you’ll be able to do both. It’s just about unobtrusively adding the fun, ensuring that everything you add to the room has its purpose. Glass TV stands are inconspicuous, and an effective way to ensure your television doesn’t compromise the clean, uncluttered look of your living room. A bookshelf also works especially well in a minimalist living room, as long as the wall isn’t overflowing with them. Indeed, books strike to the heart of the minimalist ethos, because they serve a purpose.

    Quality Accents

    Your living room will look a bit dull if you don’t have any features at all, so don’t be afraid to add a few homely touches to the room. A vase of flowers on a coffee table will brighten up any room, while a rug on the floor can help bring the room together. When it comes to decorations, it’s about quality, not quantity. It’s much better to have one work of art on the wall that really suits the room and stands out, than a dozen cluttered pictures that get lost amongst each other.

    Natural Features

    If you have a big window, then let in as much natural light as possible. Also, a few touches of wood blended in with any glass and metal, as well as a few stone accents, will help you to achieve a natural look. You’re trying to achieve a clean look in the room, and nothing is as clean nature, so try to bring the outdoors into your home.

    Everything In Its Right Place

    There’s a lot of stunning minimalist designs you can get ideas from, but the whole purpose is to keep things simple, so it’s more than possible to go solo and find your own way. The key is to live by the minimalist code: less is more, and everything should have a purpose. If it doesn’t, it’ll be subtracting from the simple, calming look you’re trying to achieve.

    Related blog posts:

    Why every woman should create a capsule wardrobe

    Quiz: What interior design trend suits you most?

    Boy’s bedroom toy storage solutions

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    *collaborative post