How to Achieve the Work-Life Balance Everyone’s Talking About*

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Work-life balance- it’s a term that’s often bandied about by everyone from politicians to busy mums but I’m willing to bet that there are very few of us who have actually obtained the holy grail of perfectly balancing our time at work with time spent at home relaxing, working on hobbies and spending time with our families.

If you’re content with seeing your office colleagues more than you see your partner/kids and working more than you do, well anything else, then that’s great. For the rest of you reading this, who would love to strike a better balance between your obligations and your desires, check out these tips to help you achieve the perfect work-life balance that everyone’s talking about:

Turn Off Work Notifications

To start with an easy way that you can get more of your personal life back and redress the balance between working and relaxing is by turning off your mobile phone once you leave work- or at the very least turning off work notifications. You might feel under pressure to check your emails every five minutes or check if your colleague has finished that report, but do you really need to do it now? Your free time should be just that and you shouldn’t be scared into giving it away by bosses and colleagues who can’t ever switch off themselves. In fact, you might want to point out that the more time spent working the less productive and more stressed out you’ll be, which is hardly going to do your work any favours!

Learn How to Say No

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Similar to the above, if you have a boss who’s very demanding and always wants more than it is reasonable for you to give do yourself a favour and learn how to say no. Just because you work for someone doesn’t give them the right to encroach into your private life and unless it’s written in your contract they have no right to ask you to stay behind to do an extra job, complete an extra project or answer emails at midnight. So, if you don’t want to do something say so. Be polite but be firm. The time spent with your family is more important than time spent trying to impress your boss, hands down. I mean, few people ever wished they had worked more on their death beds!

Say Goodbye to Perfection

If you’re a perfectionist you probably spend considerably longer on tasks than your peers who know that good enough really is good enough most of the time. Therefore if you can fight the urge to make everything you do absolutely perfect you can claw back some considerable free time to spend with family, friends, pets or even a good book.

Work from Home

More and more companies are allowing their staff to telecommute- working from their own homes. If you can swing this it’ll mean that you no longer have a daily commute to contend with and you’ll possibly be able to create your own schedule which in turn means more time spent doing the things you love.

Retrain or Start Your Own Business

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If none of the above help you to create a better work-life balance you could think about either retraining to go into a career than offers more flexibility, or even better starting your own business where you can call all the shots. Becoming a personal trainer with the help of Origym, setting up your own blog like I have and monetizing it or starting your own graphic design business are three very viable options for setting up on your own but there are literally thousands of ways you can change your career to give you more control over your time.

Work Smarter

Whether you’re working for an employee or running your own business it always makes sense to find ways that you can work smarter rather than harder. For example using software programs to automate your most monotonous tasks or creating new spreadsheets that can process data in a fraction of the usual time will mean that you can get things done much more quickly, giving you more free time to do what you truly love. Many employees don’t much care when you’re in the office as long as everything gets done so this is a really good option for any of you who don’t want to leave your jobs but do want to have more free time.

Do you have a great work –life balance? What steps have you taken to achieve a better life?

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A Baby Shopping Gift Guide*

I’m at that stage in my life where people are getting married and having babies. I seem to have passed through the weddings phase for now, but pregnancies are being announced seemingly every few days and with that comes the desire to buy the perfect gift.
Having spent quite chunk of time over the last few months searching for the perfect gifts for expectant friends I’ve decided to pop together a little gift guides of items I’ve either bought for babies, or will be buying in the future in the hopes that other people also benefit from the dose of inspiration.

Cot Decoration: The White Company | Swaddle Blanket: Jo Jo Maman Bébé | Elephant Toy: Jo Jo Maman Bébé | Foot Muff: Babythingz | Bath Robe: The White Company | Nursing Pillow: Babythingz

The initial instinct I get when it comes to buying for a new arrival is to head to the nearest shop and stock up on all the cute and tiny clothes! It’s so easy to get carried away but these days I’m trying to show some restraint and leave the clothes shopping to the parents to be- after all, they know their taste best and also how much of each size they have and therefore need. Instead I’ve tried to think outside the box and opt for useful items- although making sure that they remain aesthetically pleasing.

Some of the things I’ve bought with success in the past are swaddle blankets- you can apparently never have too many of these! Nursing pillows, cute cot decorations and fluffy bath robes. Asking friends what they need other things have popped up too that I wouldn’t necessarily have thought of such as cosytoes for the buggy or even the seemingly boring, but ever useful option; the humble gift card- perfect for picking up forgotten bits once baby has arrived.

Do let me know if this post has helped you out at all, or even what kind of gifts you’ve been buying for both parents to be and for the squishy little bundles of joy- it’d be great to build up a store of even more ideas, I get the feeling the baby boom in my life has only just started [great for an endless supply of cuddles whilst I still get to grips with being responsible for myself, let alone another human life!]

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Trends to look out for this autumn*

It might seem a little early to be discussing autumn when summer has barely arrived, but in the fashion world trends are forecast well in advance and the A/W show season has been and gone. As, we all know once the summer has passed and the weather takes a turn dressing can become that little bit more difficult- or at least less exciting.

I have teamed up with Trilogy Stores to provide you with the hottest trends that will help you prepare and transition in to the autumn months (depressing as that may seem). By following this guide you’ll be able to make the most of autumnal-chic and glide effortlessly into the winter months without any fashion faux pas.

The female suit
The power dressing look is forecast to be global by early September. The female suit is a look that keeps you warm when the colder months arrive, whilst oozing independence and power.
You can create an elegant look with a few little extras. Pressed double-breasted jackets are all the rage this autumn; together with statement shoulders and shoulder-width trousers the suit helps to create a masculine look for the female fashion-forward. Don’t panic though, this isn’t a return of the eighties; it’s power-dressing in 2017.
The new ‘it’ colour
When you say goodbye to summer weather you also say goodbye to your summer colour palette. However for autumn 2017 the trend for all things pink can simply be swapped with dusky modest blues. Labelled as the new ‘it’ colour the moody notes incorporated by dark blues within an outfit can really make an impact.
Keep it subtle with a pale blue shirt with slim-fitting trousers, or why not try a brighter coloured blue mac to create a contrast between your outfit and the autumnal environment around you? Anything to liven up the duller days!
Show off your waist
A belted coat is perfect for keeping you warm whilst expressing effortless sophistication. The belt adds an extra layer of depth to your coat and helps to define your waistline in a way that is super flattering.
There are several styles of coats to choose from when it comes to a belted waistline- whether you decide to wear a statement fur jacket or opt for a for a leather trench coat the belt is the key piece within this ensemble, wear it either knotted or fastened depending on the look you’re channeling.
In line with the belted coats, wide waisted belts in general are making a comeback as a statement fashion accessory. This autumn they are versatile – they can be worn over your coat or they can be added to an evening dress to help define your curves. Look for browns, blacks and reds to channel the natural colours of the season.
Nylon jackets
No matter what the occasion a nylon coat is a transitional and versatile piece of clothing. Without the risk of wrinkles, this type of coat is similar to a mac but can easily be stashed away for weekends away or days when the weather looks like it could turn in the blink of an eye.
Look no further than Jumper 1234 for a sure fire way to keep you warm with fashionable designs that encompass the colours of the season.
If you’re going for a casual look pair the jacket with ballet flats or cool sneakers. Alternatively opt for a pair of heels or boots if you are going out and want to dress it up a bit. Blacks, browns and greens are all going to be key colours next season so keep your eyes peeled for pieces various co-ordinating shades for an instantly updated look.
What autumn trends are you most looking forward to?

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Father’s Day Inspiration with Red Candy

You may recall it was only a few weeks ago that I featured Red Candy on the blog, raving about my long term love for the online retailer. It’s with great pleasure that I have collaborated with them once again, this time on a Father’s Day themed post…looking for the perfect quirky gift? Allow me to direct you to the Red Candy Gifts for Him department.

I was once again very kindly allowed to pick out some products from the huge selection that Red Candy has to offer so I thought I’d make this post a place where I talk about these great pieces as well as sharing some other favourites that would be perfect for Father’s Day.

So, firstly I picked out this fixie pizza cutter which I just thought was brilliant to be honest. Great for both the kitchen gadget geek or the lover of the great outdoors, it also looks fantastic on display.

I’m a sucker for novelty lighting and I think it makes a great gift so I was immediately drawn to this Triceratops mini LED lamp. You can either run this via USB or batteries so it’s a good all round novelty gift that looks cool rather than gimmicky. To be honest this one is being kept entirely to myself- I’ve amassed a small collection of random lighting and it’s a collection I’m keen to grow.

Finally I picked out this rather sleek looking alarm clock. How gorgeous is this? I know most people rely on their phones as alarms these days but my Dad doesn’t and I am sure there are others out there who are the same- and even if it never gets used for it’s intended purpose it’s still a pretty snazzy looking addition to any bedroom!

On to my other favourites from Red Candy…let me know if this post has helped you out with your Father’s Day shopping, or what the best present you’ve ever bought someone is.

Light | Clock | Globe | Picture | Planters

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Father’s Day Inspiration with YourDesign

Usually when it comes to doing gift guides for Mother’s day and Father’s day I tend to focus on ideas for Mums and get stuck completely when it comes to Dads. This year sees this reverse itself though- I massively struggled to come up with any ideas for Mother’s day, both for the blog and in reality and yet I have several posts coming up with gift inspiration for Father’s day (and I’m getting there with my ideas for the perfect gift for my own dear Dad).

The first of these gift guides comes in association with YourDesign who kindly sent me over a selection of their personalised gifts which are perfect for showing your dad how great you think he is!

The website has loads of ideas for Father’s day gifts with items to suit all budgets and tastes- all with the option to personalise them for that extra special touch.

The item I was most drawn to for my own Dad was the Father’s Day “Reserved” cushion. In our house Dad has his own armchair and woe betide anyone who tries to park their backside on it (at least when Dad’s around). This cushion makes it pretty clear that sitting there isn’t a great idea and if you want to go one step further you can have it personalised with your Dad’s name- although I stuck with the more traditional approach to parental titles myself.

I also picked out a couple of smaller gifts to showcase what YourDesign can offer. The personalised drumstick keyring only costs £4 so makes a great extra little gift for any music mad Dad. These are so cute and fun! I didn’t get them engraved which I now regret, although I now have the perfect excuse to keep them for myself!

The final item I picked was this personalised glass candle as I don’t think candles should be restricted to female gifting only. This one has a lovely fresh scent- lime, basil and mandarin that isn’t the slightest bit girly and again the personalisation adds a great finishing touch.

Have you started shopping for your Dad yet? If you’re taken with any of these products or see anything else in YourDesign’s extensive range then they are kindly offering a 10% discount on all orders when you use the code DaisyChain10 at the checkout.

Let me know what you think, and stay tuned for the next little gift guide…

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