How love letters paved the way to business success

What started as a thoughtful gift led one creative mum-of-two to her business idea.



If ever there was a reason to finally embark on that craft project you have been threatening to do for 3 years, this is it. For those of you who like to ‘make’ this is a fabulous example of how one crafter grew her good idea into a thriving business (and for those who don’t, it’s next Christmas and mum’s birthday sorted. You’re welcome) Analisa left behind a career in magazines after the increasing popularity of her hand-decorated letters encouraged her to take the leap and launch Love Letters by Analisa.

She juggles this along with raising two children and all her reviews on Etsy say she is efficient, professional and generally really nice to deal with. We like this girl. Here is a peek into her typical day:

Who are you and what do you do?

My name is Analisa, I’m 41 and have lived in London my whole life.  I’m married to Bridge and we have two children Scarlett, 4 and Harrison 2.5.  Whist on maternity leave from my job in advertising with Harrison, I started making decorated initials as birthday gifts for friends and family, I got a lot of encouragement to keep going and loved making them, so I decided to take the plunge and make a go of it full-time and handed in my notice at work.


7 am – Alarm goes off and I spend about 15 minutes on my phone checking orders that have come in overnight (I have a lot of American customers), reviewing my Facebook, Instagram and twitter accounts and responding to any messages.  Haul myself out of bed, quick shower, get dressed and make a large coffee!
7.40 am – Wake the children up, dress them, make their breakfast and take the eldest to nursery for the day.
9-12pm – Harrison and I will hang out at a playgroup, park or soft play for a few hours.  I try to avoid being on my phone too much as I’m conscious of spending quality time with him, sometimes it’s hard though when I can see notifications popping up – best to keep the phone out of sight!

2018-02-18-PHOTO-00002341Harrison naps so I try to get as much done in those two hours in terms of physically making product and packing them to post out”

12-1pm – Lunchtime for Harrison and I will catch up on the mornings work activities, checking and posting on social media, responding to messages, ordering stock if needs be
1-3pm – Harrison naps so I try to get as much done in those two hours in terms of physically making product and packing them to post out
3.30pm – 5pm – Pick Scarlett up from nursery, we may have a playdate, ballet, or if the weather is good go to the park – always via the post office to post out orders (I feel like the Post Office is my second home!)

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5-7.30pm – Make supper for the kids, often make supper for us so it’s ready for later, run around the flat like a headless chicken, tidying up, getting things ready for the following day, bathing the kids, reading a bedtime story and then praying they go to bed like angels by 7.30pm – normally fail ha!
7.30 – 1am – Work, fit supper in at some point, perhaps try to watch a film or TV series at the same time with one eye so it feels like my husband and I have some time together!! Then collapse into bed and start again the next day!

What three things can you not survive the day without?


  1. Phone – I can run pretty much my whole business from my iPhone – other than physically make products it does everything else!
  2. Coffee – Before kids, it was all green tea, litres of water on my desk and no caffeine, fast forward 4 years and it’s lots of coffee and green tea and water when I remember!
  3. My lovely mum – From home-cooked meals and emergency babysitting when I have a surge of orders that need turning around quickly, to being my Financial Guru for all my accounting needs.  

Analisa x


Phew! Makes me want to go and make something beautiful and drink a vat of coffee. If you like the sound of Analisa’s love letters then check out her Etsy store here.

And follow her story on Instagram, twitter, facebook and joyfully pin your initial to your board on pinterest

Why it’s time to put yourself first

Kat Horrocks is a woman on a mission; to encourage us all to engage in a little self-care.



Impatience, procrastination and imposter syndrome. Sound familiar? When life gets hectic these three little gremlins (and their friends) love to invade your head space and scupper the best laid plans. It’s so easy to lose sight of yourself and your purpose but it needn’t be this way according to the lovely Kat Horrocks . By embracing the wonder of self-care she firmly believes we can all be living our best lives, especially when it comes to entrepreneurialism.

Kat took time out to share her thoughts on how to silence the negative and embrace the positive.

We all need a Kat in our lives.

Who are you and what do you do?

My name’s Kat, I’m a blogger, coach and podcaster. I’m passionate about empowering women to put themselves first and make time for their personal goals. I support and encourage the women in my community to make time for self-care, set goals and live their life on purpose. As of January 2018, I now work alongside Holly Wood at WeBlogNorth, where I get to support fellow Northern Content Creators.



Kat Horrocks_PKB_8_Cooler_High Res

“Get nurturing. The world is full of amazing ideas”


With her entrepreneurial hat on we asked Kat to share her thoughts on crappy days, mates and eureka moments…


What is the trick to staying motivated when you have a bad day?

Not beating yourself up, because some days you’re just not feeling it! On those days I embrace the flexibility of being self-employed, and take myself out of the work environment to clear my head. A brisk walk, an hour to myself relaxing, nipping to the shops – something small can take my mind off it, and help me reset and come back feeling much better later on.

Never go into business with friends‘, do you think there is any truth in this or can it be done successfully?

I think in this situation the dynamic of the working relationship has to make sense, and the conditions of the partnership like who does what, money, etc. have to be officially recorded on paper. I’m lucky that Holly and I are friends first, colleagues second – we’re open book, we discuss everything and our differing strengths/weaknesses balance out to be a really great team. It’s all about being on the same page with where the business is going (and where you want it to go!), honesty and ongoing communication to see what’s working, what’s not and how you are supporting each other moving forward.

One of the challenges many of us have is nailing that one brilliant idea that we can transform into a business. Do you think great ideas come in a eureka moment or can they be nurtured and if so how can we get nurturing?

Get nurturing! The world is full of amazing ideas. The difference is, some people take action, some people don’t. My advice would be get moving, forget what it’s ‘supposed’ to look like in your head and allow it to grow and take shape as you continue to take the next step.

What three things can you not do your job without?




  • My Bullet Journal – it’s my notebook full of tasks and to-do’s, and it keeps me sane
  • Asana – it tracks our ongoing projects and makes it super easy to delegate tasks, discuss work and see where everyone’s up to
  • Can I say my fella? He’s not a thing but I’d probably be working 12+ hours a day if he didn’t drag me away from my phone/laptop. He keeps me grounded, which in turn makes me calmer and better at what I do.


How important is a support network when you are doing your own thing and who should these people be?


You have to have a core group of people, even if it’s just 2-3, who you trust, can turn to for sound advice and know they just get it. These people are hard to find, but I’ve found these relationships develop organically if you’re consistently putting yourself out there – getting involved with your niche’s community online and offline, attending events, telling people what you do. Don’t force this kind of relationship, but if you ‘click’ with someone – keep in touch with them, ask them if they wanna grab a coffee, and eventually
you’ll have found ‘your people’.
Kat Horrocks_PKB_14_Cooler_High Res

“It’s so common to feel the fear when you’re starting a new challenge, so know you’re not alone – but dig deep and crack on regardless of how scary it is.”


We then asked Kat to swap hats (she has alot of hats this one) and asked her about self-care and confidence…


How important is it to practise self-care if you are an entrepreneur or run your own business?

You really can’t afford not to be practising self-care in business. Burnout is real and it can sneak up and bite you on the bum, so you have to create consistent healthy habits that nurture your physical, mental, emotional and even spiritual health. Whether it’s a Sunday evening to pamper yourself, playing on your local sports team on a Saturday morning, or even that 15 minutes in bed every morning drinking your coffee and reading a book – find your self-care ritual, and prioritise it just as you would an important meeting!

Motherhood can have an impact on confidence, what advice would you give to a mum keen to get her mojo back and maybe start something for herself?

I struggle with feeling qualified to advise Mums because I’m not one! But one thing I wish every Mum knew was she’s bloody amazing and doing her very best, and that’s something to be proud of. Also, that doing something for yourself allows you to be a better Mum – if you’re the best version of yourself, that positive energy is present with your family, and they can feel it! It’s not selfish to focus on what you wanna do, and what you need to feel good.

Do you find yourself coaching many fledgling entrepreneurs and are there common themes that come up?

Many budding entrepreneurs struggle with taking brave, bold action I’d say. Accepting that it’s never gonna look perfect, and you really do have to have a go, get your hands dirty and figure it out as you go. Mindset is another huge one – whether it’s perfectionism, imposter syndrome or other confidence issues – know that your product/service is valuable, and learn to own it and pat yourself on the back. It’s so common to feel the fear when you’re starting a new challenge, so know you’re not alone – but dig deep and crack on regardless of how scary it is.

“I’m excited to support more incredible women in my coaching practice this year”

Now a bit more about Kat and what inspires her. Read and copy unquestioningly…


Which books have inspired you recently (fact or fiction and everything inbetween)?

A book that changed the way I look at my work and creativity is ‘Big Magic’ by Elizabeth Gilbert. I also love ‘Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway’ by Susan Jeffers. Two must-reads for business owners!

Who do you spend the most time following on social media?

For social media and business stuff, I will always keep up to date with Gary Vaynerchuk. His word is gospel to me when it comes to what’s new and what I should be focusing on. I also love to follow positive female bloggers who are using their platforms for good and raising awareness of body positivity, health and other things women face – Alice Liveing, Grace Victory, Zanna van Dijk, I could go on!
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Who are your heroes and why?

My amazing clients and the women in my community, who continue to take brave, bold action towards their goals and put themselves first every day.


And finally what’s on the horizon for Kat Horrocks, what should we be looking out for in 2018?

So the podcast, Put Yourself First, is my big creative project for 2018. I love it! Look out for lots of exciting guests and weekly inspiration, alongside my blog and video content. I’m also excited to support more incredible women in my coaching practice this year – spaces are limited for 1-on-1 sessions, but I’m always on emails if people have questions. Finally, WeBlogNorth has LOTS of exciting plans this year, and any Northern Bloggers, Vloggers or Creatives reading need to get involved with what’s going on.
Kat x
Inspired much?! If you want to be coached by Kat or just want to keep an eye on what she gets up to in 2018 you can follow her on Instagram, tweet her on Twitter, Like her on Facebook, listen to her on soundcloud and generally check her out here.

How one designer leapt from buzzy Soho to the tranquil Swedish countryside

Meet Kerry, she lives in a little wooden house on the edge of a forest in Sweden. Short of having blue-birds brush her hair in the morning she is essentially living in a Disney film. She is also a designer and loves nothing more than getting creative on her Mac overlooking the wood.

*Warning* this post may induce serious life envy.

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A coaching guru recently told me ‘It’s all about having a vision’. This vision can change but if you are embarking on a new chapter it helps to envisage where you want to be this time next year etc. Interestingly Kerry Owens, founder of KOHQ never really envisaged the life she now has until she had her first child and something had to shift. This gal is an amazing example of how where you live should never stand in the way of working for yourself. If anything her new tranquil surroundings have enhanced her creativity and work/life balance.

Here is a little peep into life in the forest…

Who you are you and what do you do?

I am Kerry Owens – the KO part of KOHQ. Buckinghamshire born and bred. Lover of all things colourful and creative. Mum of two. Honorary Swede residing in, and renovating, the old school-house of Säljesta, Järvsö – otherwise known as the (very beautiful) arse end of nowhere.

house in snow

“I conjured up my own “head quarters” – a place where I could work on a variety of different things that I love, as a freelancer.”

How did KOHQ come about? Is your background in design? 

My education background is actually fine art. After graduating from Goldsmiths University, I landed a job with a big London publisher and worked my way from events to design. After five amazing years, working on lots of different magazines and websites, I became a full-time mum and moved out to the Swedish countryside. Finding myself in need of a creative outlet and a way to earn money from a remote location, I conjured up my own “head quarters” – a place where I could work on a variety of different things that I love, as a freelancer.

What inspired you to make the move from the steaming metropolis that is London to the wilds of Sweden?

Johan, my Swedish partner, spent many years trying to persuade me that Järvsö was the place to be. I wasn’t buying it. Even though I agreed that it is beautiful, and we spent many happy holidays here, it wasn’t until our first child turned one and I was faced with redundancy from work, that I began warming to the idea of country life and a slower pace (as slow as life can be with small children!) 

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“When we first moved here the silence was deafening, but I appreciate the peace here now. My mind is less cluttered. I’m more contented and I can really focus.”

What are your experiences so far of working for yourself? Things you love and dislike?

Great experiences so far. I love to sit at the computer and draw, so when I’m getting paid to do just that I feel like a total winner. It’s been quite a slow process business wise, because I’m really still a full-time mum, although I now have a precious 15 nursery hours each week to spend working without interruption. But I have been lucky enough to work with some really talented individuals and small companies who have inspired me to go for it.

Oddly, I think many of the things I love and dislike end up being one and the same. Like I love being able to work curled up on my sofa, with a beautiful view of the forest outside the window. But I can miss the buzz of going out to work in the city. I love that it’s so peaceful here and I can think clearly, but I can miss the busyness of an office and a team to bounce ideas off. The one thing I dislike the most is the lack of dedicated tech support! 

What effect do your surroundings have on your working life and life in general? 

I did find London so inspirational. I loved the galleries, the architecture, the mix of cultures. I was in awe of the people around me when I lived there: amazing artists, designers and stylists. But now that I’m living much closer to nature and in a more isolated environment, I actually feel more personally creative.

When we first moved here the silence was deafening, but I appreciate the peace here now. My mind is less cluttered. I’m more contented and I can really focus.

What inspires you when you design?

It depends on the project, but inspiration comes from all over. I love searching for beautiful fonts and colour palettes online and I am often drawn to anything playful – from clothing prints or wallpapers, to classic picture books or childhood toys that I’m revisiting with my own kids now. And the kids themselves are a daily inspiration to be fearless and just go for it. I also love listening to successful creative people talking about their approach. Ilse Crawford is great, to give just one example.

I spent many holidays in the Swedish sun and snow before we actually moved here and I think it really helps to ‘try before you buy’.”

What do you think is the biggest challenge to working on the edge of a forest? (Squirrels?)

Lol 🙂 It’s not so much the squirrels as the ants taking over every summer. Keeping them at bay is not easy. But the heaving ant hills in the forest are mesmerizing and observing the little creatures in their relentless pursuits across great distances is awe-inspiring. 

What advice would you give someone considering a similar move in both location and free-lance design?

I spent many holidays in the Swedish sun and snow before we actually moved here and I think it really helps to “try before you buy”. If you’re moving somewhere remote, learn to drive first and try to avoid being pregnant while you do it: the morning sickness doesn’t help at all! With the freelancing, it’s comforting if you can create a support network around yourself. Befriend like-minded individuals, and seek out people who excel in the areas that you don’t, so that you have a team of sorts to turn to. Failing that, never underestimate the power of a YouTube tutorial when you feel a bit stuck.

What 3 things can you not function without at work?

  • Builder’s tea (on tap). 
  • Adobe Illustrator.
  • My idol RuPaul playing on the stereo – “cause if you can’t love yourself, how in the hell you gonna love somebody else?”

What’s next for KOHQ? What are your plans?

This is just the beginning and there’s so much more to do. The HQ is buzzing right now on a project I’m loving, creating branding for an amazing yoga teacher. This year I need to overcome my aversion to social media, get connected and become more visible. I’m working with my daughter on a book of poetry for kids, which I hope to finish soon and share. The dream both Johan and I share is to build an uber-modern treehouse as an office. Fast forward a year and maybe we have a shed, but you have to start somewhere, right?

Kerry xx


Tree houses, social media and a poetry book for children written with her daughter, busy times in Järvsö! Can’t wait to see all this unfold. If you want to follow the further adventures of Kerry or commission her contact her here: KOHQ . AndSoSheDid will be keeping a beady eye on this one and will update you as and when we hear more of her adventures.

Just goes to show that you really can set up something special anywhere, city or country alike as long as you embrace the positives that each environment gives you and learn to see beauty and inspiration regardless (see Ant hill reference!)



How to knit your way to happiness!

Anna is an ex-teacher turned knitwear designer. Born out of a life long love of all things woolly (or yarn-y) she made the decision to make teaching the side-hustle and dedicate her time to design.




Meet Anna Elliott, taking the knitting world by storm! During a couple of years of upheavals, re-locations and redundancies, knitting and designing kept her sane. When the dust settled after the move to her current home in Herefordshire, she decided to take the plunge, dial down her teaching career and follow her dream of being a knitwear designer full-time (nearly).

From her home-studio Anna conjures up beautiful designs, shoots podcasts, knits and tries not to get too distracted by the sheep passing her window. We asked her to give us an impression of her typical day and how this transition came about.

(n.b. I really want that jumper)

Who are you and what do you do?

I’m Anna. After doing my degree in English Literature and working as a business journalist, I retrained as a primary school teacher. Not long after qualifying I got married and had my two children, going back to work in part time roles after maternity leave each time. During my second maternity leave I also started getting freelance work writing knitting patterns- I’d learned to knit as a child and gone back to it as a relaxing, creative hobby later. A couple of years ago a change in my husband’s job meant we had to relocate a couple of hundred miles across the country. Like many teachers, I’d been finding the work/life balance increasingly difficult to get right, plus my husband’s new role was going to involve a fair bit of working away from home, so we decided that it would be good for the whole family if I switched my side-hustle of designing to my main job.

I now take on a small amount of teaching- mainly to fund the renovations on the old cottage we bought to live in- and the rest of the time I work from home, building up my range of independently released knitting patterns and working on commissions for yarn companies and magazines. My next step is to combine my knitting and teaching skills by running knitting workshops- in real life at first, with the possibility of online versions in the future.





“Mornings are my best time for detail-oriented activity”


8.00 am Unless I’m doing teaching work that day, I try to walk the children to school. I wear my running gear for the journey there, so that I can run on the way back, it stops me procrastinating. I use the Nike app to track my run and sometimes the Spotify running playlist– I must have music to run to or I have zero motivation. If we’re running late and I drive the children to school, I sling my notebook onto the passenger seat. The traffic just after the school gates open is awful, so while I wait for it to calm down I sit in the car and write my to-do list for the day. I run a sort of bullet journal for my knitting business but it does slightly scare me that if I lost one of my notebooks a whole lot of vital information could go with it, so I’m trying to get to grips with Trello for project planning.

9.30 am Whichever way I’ve travelled, once I get in I do a quick Yoga with Adriene session. I can end up being very desk-bound doing this job and getting joint problems when you work with your hands isn’t good news, so I feel like it’s important to start off the day with a good stretch.

10.30 am  – 12.00 pm Mornings are my best time for detail-oriented activity; so I will tackle tricky emails such as customer queries or writing design proposals; check pattern copy or do number crunching on spreadsheets to grade for different garment sizes at this time. I try not to stray onto social media too much in the morning, for fear of falling down the procrastination rabbit hole, but I might go on some of the closed Facebook groups for knitting designers that I’m a member of if I need some advice or moral support on a particular issue. I also try to take a quick half hour or so mid morning to post something on Instagram. I’ve been trying to build my audience of potential customers there recently, since I find it one of the most productive channels for getting interest in my patterns at the moment.

I’m no good at eating breakfast, so often end up making something more like a brunch. While I’m at it, I often put something together ready for tea that night, pasta sauce that can simmer on the stove for the afternoon, for example – as that extends my working day a little.


I take smaller projects in the car with me, so that I can sneak in a few rows while I wait for the children to come out, or during their after-school activities.”


12.00 pm – 3.30 pm In the afternoon I do more creative jobs – sketching ideas for patterns; drawing colourwork or cabling charts using Stitchmastery software; writing ideas for, or recording, podcast episodes; composing and sending newsletters and updating my profiles and entries on various social media. At the moment most of my pattern sales are online, as pdfs, so I have to take building my online profile pretty seriously.

3.30 pm – 8.00 pm Most of the actual knitting I do is usually after school run time. I take smaller projects in the car with me, so that I can sneak in a few rows while I wait for the children to come out, or during their after-school activities. Knitting samples is the part of my job I can do while I’m looking after the children, so I’ll listen to them read, supervise homework, get food ready for them and so on with my needles and wool close at hand.

8.00 pm – sometimes late! Once they’ve gone to bed it’s yet more knitting while I watch TV or listen to audio books – if I’m up against a deadline I have been known to knit into the wee small hours, but even without that pressure I’ve usually got knitting in my hands. I feel like I’m pretty fortunate to be doing what I love for my job.


What three things do you rely on the most each day?


  1. Wool! Not really a surprise, but for lots of reasons I really like to use UK sourced wools, especially from smaller businesses. It makes sense environmentally and ethically and often it’s the material itself, or the story behind it, that gives me the inspiration for a design.
  2. My calculator. Knitting design involves a lot more number work than you might imagine and I recently bought myself a good old-fashioned desk calculator, which saves me messing about opening the relevant apps on my laptop or phone.
  3. The internet. A huge part of the knitting community is still very much an IRL thing, but for me the internet is where I meet and communicate with my colleagues and collaborators; find work; sell my stuff; publicise my work; gather ideas and information and source most of my materials.

Anna x


If you are keen to hear more about Anna’s adventures in knitting, or simply want to lose yourself in one of the most beautifully cosy Instagram feeds around, make sure you check her out. The podcasts are fab and make me want to take up knitting….and buy an old cottage…and take up yoga…and get some sheep in my back garden.

Facebook- Anna Elliott 

Twitter- @audreysteashop

Instagram: @annaelliottdesigns

Check out the website here

And for the knitters watch this !



A day in the life of a super-blogger and super-mum

Hooray for Holly Wood! The founder of WeBlogNorth takes us through a typical day (and unpredictable night!)



Meet Holly, Queen of the North (well Northern bloggers at least). A move to Manchester from down south prompted the need for a new gang of friends and what better way to reach out than through the blogosphere. A redundancy and the arrival of a beautiful daughter the following year meant a re-think and what had started as a social sideline grew into the magnificence that is WeBlogNorth.

Holly’s love for blogging was her path into being a girl boss: a perfect example of how recognising what you love can lead you to your killer business idea. (It can be right under your nose, you just have to look…go on, dare you 👀)

Here’s a day in the life of this very busy but extremely focussed female founder….

Who are you?

I am a thirty-something blogger, mum and start-up business owner. I created and run WeBlogNorth and am founder of the annual event The Northern Blog Awards. I’ve been blogging for nearly 6 years now, focussing mainly on travel, food, interiors and parenting and have worked with brands including Silver Cross, Christy, Boden, La Belle Assiette, Malmaison, Vileda, EatWith and Festival Number 6.

I am a champion of micro-influencers and believe that quality engagement is just as strong (if not stronger) than quantity when it comes to collaborating with brands. I’m passionate about championing the North and the amazing content creators we have up here and encourage brands and agencies to do the same. Our ethos at WeBlogNorth is COMMUNITY – INSPIRE – COLLABORATE.



“I just knew there was a demand for a community that brought together and championed content-creators here in the North”

What is WeBlogNorth and how did it all come about?

I started WeBlogNorth (formerly WeBlogMCR) back in 2014, as I’d not long moved to Manchester, was the only blogger I knew and essentially wanted to make some friends! I was sick of the blogging-scene being down in London and having to travel for events and inspiration and wanted to build my own community here in my hometown. I found that there were lots of others wanting that too and before I knew it, that little community was building. We’d meet-up, chat about blogging, share experiences and teach each other. I prided myself on being informal and approachable and open to all.

Within a couple of years, the meet-ups became more regular and turned into seminars and workshops and I was introducing brands and agencies to the mix too – but I was still doing all of this on the side of a full-time job.




Then, in 2015, having been made redundant on maternity leave and with a 6-month old baby, I decided to make a business out of my passion and WeBlogNorth grew and became something I focussed on with more vigour. I didn’t know how the business would look at that point, I just knew there was a demand for a community that brought together and championed content-creators here in the North, as well as offered platforms to learn, be inspired and collaborate. I also knew there was space to bridge the gaps between brands and agencies who just didn’t know who they should be working with here in the North.

Two and a half years later, I’m 7 months pregnant, the business is still forming, I’ve taken on a part-time partner and momentum is really building. I balance motherhood and working life by being at home with my daughter twice a week, and having 3 “office days” to get my work done. Around that, I squeeze in work each day when I can and try to maintain a good work-life balance.



“I have a lot of different areas to my daily work – from writing blog posts, to filming vlogs, to organising my next event, to answering emails, to pitching to brands and agencies – and everything in between”

Here’s a day in the life of this very busy but extremely driven female founder…

Overnight – I co-sleep with my 2-year-old who doesn’t sleep through the night. Our nights are always interrupted, some worse than others, so I never quite know what we’ll be faced with when we go to sleep and how many hours I get. On a good day, I get 7 hours of broken sleep, on a bad day 4-5.

7.30am (ish) – Wake-up when my daughter nudges me and start our morning routine.

7.30-8.00am – Rush around like a zombie, brushing my teeth and hers and scrambling through drawers for something to wear. Make sure we’ve both had a drink, packed our bags and pile into the car to head to nursery. (Unless I’m really running behind, I like her to have breakfast at nursery, so I can get home in time to start my working day ay 9am).

8.30am – Daughter successfully dropped at nursery in time for breakfast and me heading back home for work.

8.45am – Breakfast (usually toast or cereal) in front of the news (or Lorraine!)

9.00am – Sat at my home office desk, ready to start the day. I work from my “Best-self journal” and Asana task list to keep me organised and productive. I have a lot of different areas to my daily work – from writing blog posts, to filming vlogs, to organising my next event, to answering emails, to pitching to brands and agencies – and everything in between. So mapping out the day ahead of me is vital (I try to spend 20 minutes doing this the night before, but if not, I’ll spend the first 20 minutes of my day doing this).

9.30-11.00am – This will usually be admin, emails and desk-time. I’ll check in on my instagram, film a couple of insta-stories as I go and check my twitter feed too.


This feels like my adult time, where I get to be an adult and have adult conversations and not think about toddler snacks and CBeebies”

11.00am – Off for a meeting at a local coffee shop – could be with a brand I’m hoping will sponsor one of our events like The Northern Blog Awards, or an event supplier or even a fellow blogger who is interested in being a part of the WeBlogNorth network. This feels like my adult time, where I get to be an adult and have adult conversations and not think about toddler snacks and CBeebies. I also feel energised after a good meeting!

12.30pm – Home for lunch, which I make myself and is usually pasta-based. I tend to eat at my desk and skim my emails and social media, but occasionally will sit in front of the telly to give my brain a rest, depending on how I feel.

1.15pm – Back to work and getting stuck into the logistics and marketing of my next big event. I’ll work through my various project lists which are broken down into tasks falling into the following areas: social media and marketing, sponsorship, venue and logistics, suppliers, ticket sales, PR, Goody bags and Other. I have to outline everything I need to do, or else I’ll forget and get distracted. So having check-lists for me is vital!


“I’ll tie-up all loose ends for the day and make notes for anything urgent to tackle tomorrow…then off to do the nursery pick-up”


3.30pm – I’ll be mindful that my day is running away with me and will move on to any other urgent tasks for that day, check my emails again and make sure there’s nothing out-standing I need to move on to.

4.00-4.30pm – I’ll touch base with Kat Horrocks, who is a fellow blogger, a life-long member of WeBlogNorth and who has recently come on board part-time to help me grow and develop the business (and to cover a short maternity leave in the Summer). We’ll bounce some ideas off each other and engage on social media with our members, plot and plan for what else we can do.

4.30-5.00pm – I’ll tie-up all loose ends for the day and make notes for anything urgent to tackle tomorrow.

5.00pm – Off to do the nursery pick-up – I like this time, as I get to listen to the radio on the way and always get greeted with an excited face, and a huge hug from my daughter when I arrive.

5.30-6.30pm – Home with my daughter and into mum-mode. We usually grab her a snack (hummus and breadsticks for example), have a cuddle on the couch and either watch her favourite cartoons for half an hour, or read a book before I attempt to make dinner whilst keeping her entertained.

6.30pm – Husband home and takes over parenting, whilst I finish dinner. He usually does bath and bedtime routine and I usually do dinner. We try to eat before she goes to bed and she sometimes has dinner with us too (depending on how hungry she is).

7.00-8.00pm – Bedtime is either a success and happens within 20-30 minutes, or it’s tougher and takes the hubby an hour. I usually take this time to chill, catch-up on some trashy TV or indulge in a bit of instagram.

8.00pm – Both on the couch and in honesty, usually looking at our emails or social media and working. But we do try to watch our latest Netflix binge and have a couple of hours to ourselves too, before the inevitable wake-up from our daughter at approx 10pm.

10.00-11.00pm – off to bed and it all starts again!

Holly x



Sounds a lot more productive than my standard office work day (*hastily downloads Asana). And all that done on a night of broken sleep. Well done that girl!

If you are a northern blogger, fancy having a go or want to hear more about Holly’s adventures check her out…

Twitter: @Hollynicol @WeBlogNorth @northernblogawards

Instagram: @_hollygoeslightly @weblognorth  @northernblogawards

Youtube: Holly Wood

And yes her name really is Holly Wood.






How to leap from selling to life coaching

Life coaching was B’s calling all along, it just took a throwaway chat to ignite the spark.

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Introducing Rebecca Levene or B to her friends and clients. After years in academic publishing she decided to re-train as a life coach and has never felt better (or busier). A prime example of someone who could silence that inner voice no longer and took the leap towards something she loved and had a natural affinity for. I caught up with B, our first ‘start-up sister’ as she gets ready to launch Rebecca Levene Life Coaching in April.

Love this girl, she can coach me any day…

Who are you?

My name is B, I am a life coach, my fledgling biz is called Rebecca Levene Life Coaching. I live in Manchester with my boyfriend who is called Ian, my small child who is called Ted and my large lurcher who is called Blue. I am 40 years old in body and permanently 25 in my head.


How would you describe your business today, right now?

My business is in its infancy although I have been coaching people since April 2017, and, as it transpires, being doing some form of coaching all my life, although I didn’t label it as such. People have always felt able to talk to me about their problems and come to me for help and support. Currently I am setting up the business ready to go full-time in April.

I am a real life coach who works with real people who want to make a change in their lives and who want to talk about this with someone who is down to earth, kind and who just gets it.


I might actually be able to make a living out of it– and that’s the dream isn’t it?


How did all of this come about?

The premise of coaching is something that I have natural proclivity for although for many years it was just below the surface and something I never really thought to label, it was just part of my personality and how other people related to me.

The seed came when my cousin told me she had been to see a life coach (early last year) and my ears pricked up and I found myself far more interested in this than perhaps normal. I wanted to know why and how and who and what it was all about. The whole idea just totally captivated me and so I started researching life coaching courses and what it might take to be a life coach and the rest is history.

At the risk of sounding quite ridiculous I feel it was something I was born to do. An extension of me that I might actually be able to make a living out of – and that’s the dream isn’t it?

What was the driving factor that made you start it and continues to drive you?

The biggest driving factor for me, other than a deep desire to help people with my coaching, is making change happen instead of just thinking about it, and dreaming about it. The desire to not have to answer to anyone except myself and to be in control of my own time. Freedom and flexibility and a real connection with what I do. I was miserable in my current job and so the situation demanded looking at properly. Life coaching just made absolute sense on every single level.


“The other big learning curve is not to compare”

What’s been your biggest learning curve?

There have been so many this last year, if I had to pin it down I would say that learning about how to be a coach has fundamentally changed me, in terms of how I approach things and how I view my life and what happens in it.

I have learnt that how I experience the world is through my own lens and it’s only my take on things,  so I have the power to change how I see things or what I choose to pay attention to. This has profound implications for how I tackle the everyday challenges of setting up the biz, learning my craft and juggling life’s balls (lol). This sounds horribly coach-y but it’s true. And it works. You’ve just got to let that shit go.

The other big learning curve is not to compare – I am on chapter 1 and looking at those who are on chapter 101 and freaking out is not going to serve me well. We are all exactly where we need to be.



“I feel so strongly that I can make this work and that this is right for me that the blocks tend to be ignored most of the time”

Did you have any reservations/blocks to starting your business and if so how did you overcome them?

In coaching lingo these are called limiting beliefs – and yes I had a bunch. The biggest one being that old favourite – money. Giving up a well-paid full-time job with a company car to step into a brand new career of my own making was a block that it took me nearly a year to scramble over. And it is still trying to rebuild itself when I’m not looking. But I feel so strongly that I can make this work and that this is right for me that the blocks tend to be ignored most of the time.  As the old adage goes if nothing changes then nothing changes and the thought of staying where I was work wise was far more depressing and scary to me than going down this untrodden path. So here I am.

From a practical point of view when it comes to money I have also done sums and worked out the reality of what we can afford and what I need to bring in so that makes it feel less scary. 

I would never advocate being reckless but I would certainly advocate being brave and excited about the unknown, you don’t need every single step mapped out just the first few.


Where do you find your inspiration?

My friends and family – especially those with their own businesses or those who are brave enough to challenge the status quo. My little boy – he loves life and isn’t scared of anything. Life coaches who have made a living from doing what they love. Instagram. Ted talks. Mums everywhere. Myself.

3 things you couldn’t do your job without? 




My laptop, my phone and my kettle!


Even though you are early days with all this, what would you say to anyone thinking of doing the same?

Get in touch I can coach you on this. I would say to anyone thinking of getting into life coaching to attend the 2 day free coaching workshop run by The Coaching Academy – there is no obligation to work with them or do any of their courses but it gives you a great insight into what it’s all about and a chance to practice a little bit in a safe and fun environment.

I would also say get involved with looking at other coaches online and see what they are all about, what they are offering and whether any of this resonates with you. I would in all seriousness also say go and see a coach – this will change your life and give you the chance to talk it all through with a person who has no agenda other than to listen and question and support you in working it all out for yourself.

To people thinking more generally of rocking their boat and doing something brand new I would say if you’re thinking about it it’s because this is what you want to do, deep down, there is something going on inside you that must not be ignored. Scratch that itch, start with small steps and see where it takes you, you’ve one life darlings and you don’t have to stay anywhere forever..  What’s the worst that can happen? I promise you that whatever you thought of in answer to that question will not happen.

What keeps you awake at night?

Checking Instagram on my phone.

My toddler



What’s next for Rebecca Levene Life Coaching? What should we keep an eye out for?

As I mentioned the business goes full steam ahead in April – I am working my ‘day job’ concurrently atm but that comes to an end in April. The website is nearly up and running so there will be noise around that when it’s finished. The Instagram feed is growing too, so this is the best place at the moment to check me out and get in touch. I will be launching my coaching packages as well with some special intro prices available for a limited time in April and May.

I have so many ideas on what I want to do beyond that, but I think that’s enough for now. I honestly believe that everybody can benefit from life coaching. It doesn’t matter whether you have a plan or if you have no idea what you want to do next. If you feel like there is something that needs to change or that something is not quite right and you need to go digging around in that to see what’s going on – examine those feelings of unease, dissatisfaction or frustration with how life is now – then get in touch!  

Love and light xx


What a gal!

General setting-up-your-own-business-and-marketing resource recommendations: 

  • Sam Bearfoot Instagram whizz
  • Talented ladies club for loads of great info on business/social media etc.
  • Lucy Green of Brand New Mum is AMAZING, she is a business coach and was instrumental to my early business planning. Check her out!

If you are keen on Life Coaching here are just some of the courses B found useful:

Other coaching schools worth looking at are:

  • Co-Active Coaching
  • Animas
  • Strategic Intervention (based in the US but can be done online/via webinar)

Closing note from B:

The schools need to accredited with the ICF (International Coaching Federation) to be worth their salt really – there is a lot of guff out there so it’s worth doing your research – some universities and colleges also offer coaching courses – usually from a business/management perspective but not always.


Keep track of B and her adventures into life coaching on Instagram or Facebook.

Lush photos courtesy of Anna Hardy