Archive for the ‘Dreams & Goals’ Category

Happy ‘International Women’s Day’!

March 8, 2009

Today (8th March) is International Women’s Day! Yay!

It’s a Sunday so it’s been a nice day to spend with the family and we all went swimming followed by dinner out where I had a cheesecake! (My fave)!

I have been thinking a lot about women this weekend (!) because yesterday I was at a women’s empowerment day in York which celebrated womens lives, helped us to see how we could turn the things around in life that aren’t helping us and generally how to get the life you want!  It was a personal development day and there was some real energy in the room.  There was a stage with lights and sound, then a band came on and played some toe tapping tunes including one of my favourites “Here come the girls”.

After the band were two keynote speakers and both of them had me in tears!  They were very inspirational women with great messages about owning your situation and proactively doing something about it.  I’m of this opinion anyway so it was nice to be in the company of like-minded women!

We all got a goody bag with some beauty freebies and there were chocolate truffles and sparkling pear and grape juice on tap throughout!  At the end of the day they broke out the bubbly and the ‘After Eight’ mints and we all had a cheeky sip to finish the event before heading home.  I loved meeting some fantastic women and having a day that was just for me!

I came home to remind my hubby that it’s Mothers Day in 2 weeks and that I want our kids (ie: him!) to get me a Flip Camcorder Tripod so I can take steady video instead of the wobble I currently get when recording!  Our oldest child is a 6 year old so he’ll have to buy the prezzie with his credit card online.  She doesn’t know how to do this yet but I’m sure it won’t be long till she does.  She can already turn on the laptop, log in and open up the internet browser and get it onto the Playhouse Disney website!  We’ll have to watch out when she starts taking an interest in shopping websites rather than just cartoon ones!


A woman’s guide to surviving the recession

March 3, 2009

I love strong women – I think we rule the world, but in a gentle, unassuming way.

One of my favourite quotes is by Eleanor Roosevelt: “A woman is like a tea bag- you never know how strong she is until she gets in hot water.”

So today I found a blog post by another strong woman – and I wanted to share it with you.  Penny Power is one of the founders of a business networking website which I’m a member of and this blog post of hers shows the hard work, tenacity and resourcefulness that goes into being a women in business.  I hope you enjoy it, I did!

You’re already a Supermummy – here’s how to be a ‘Mumpreneur’ too!…

March 1, 2009

I love getting parcels in the post, and this week I got one containing a brand new book which launches this month!

This book is aimed at mums who have just started or are thinking of starting a business, as it has lots of tips and information for coming up with a business idea and promoting this new venture. One thing I always look for as a business mum, is advice from people who ‘walk the talk’. I’m quite choosy about who I listen to just because I want to know that if you are telling me a way to do something, that you understand what it is like to be in my shoes, and this book doesn’t disappoint on that score. The writer, Mel McGee obviously writes from experience, knowing the little barriers that many mums put up to stop themselves from achieving great things, and Mel shows you how to remove them. There are some really powerful messages in the book around stopping limiting beliefs, something I’ve had to deal with in my past as a Mumpreneur and I know many Mumpreneur friends have too.

The book starts by building the reader’s confidence that they can start a business and the chapters are sprinkled with ‘Supertips’ to help you along the way. One message that rings out loud and clear from the book is that nothing is achieved without ACTION! And I fully agree – ideas are great but it is putting them into action that makes the money.

Even if you don’t have a business idea but are thinking that you’d like to start a business, then this book gives you some useful exercises to get started and help you create your money making idea

I really liked the tip about trying out your sales message on your kids or your mum. If they can understand the benefits of your business, you’ve cracked it! This is a great way to check that you are delivering the right message to your potential clients and getting to the point quickly and coherently. I worked in marketing for more than a decade before starting up my business as a Virtual Assistant and have never heard it said quite so succinctly before!

All in all, a very practical book loaded with advice. If you are looking for both a guide-book on starting a business and a cheerleader to encourage you along the way, this book is it!

It’s available from Amazon – check it out:

Five stars:

….. And the winner is…..

February 27, 2009

Terry Anne!

Terry Anne’s “Me Time” was inspired – it consisted of bubbles, massages and music! Absolute bliss!!

If you missed it, here was Terry Anne’s post:

“My me time has all year round availability. I venture out of the door into the garden and indulge in the 102degrees warmth of the hot tub.

I can relax quietly, listen to the CD player or have a massage with the various water jets.

The added bonus for me is that when in or around water I become very creative, so I often have “light bulb” moments and come up with great new ideas for my business.

Twenty minutes indulgence and I feel like I have had a weeks holiday and ready to face the world again. Bliss!!!”

Terry Anne wins a fabulous ‘Busy Book’ – a fashion led loose leaf planner to diarise her busy life!  It’s on its way Terry Anne – well done!

Ladies, I loved all of your ideas (except perhaps the Sudoku on the toilet – sorry Sam but it reminded me of my hubby who takes the paper to the loo and it drives me mad!!)    🙂

However if you really wanted your own exclusive Busy Book, you can still get one for £39.99 here.

Keep reading Time Management Mum because in the coming weeks I’m re-launching with a fantastic new blog design and will have some great Guest Bloggers, special features for busy mums and more competitions!  Watch this space!

I’m having the whole weekend as ‘Me’ Time now because I’ve just handed my book over to the publishers and this will be my first weekend off in months!  I’m also going to see the Live X Factor show with my daughter tomorrow!!!  Catch you later hot mamas!

Nadine – the Time Management Mum


Stylish women now have a stylish planner to put their dreams in!

February 19, 2009

This week I realized a long held dream and actually launched my own range of personal organisers! Some people get excited about colourful clothes, I get my kicks from colourful organisation and having a place to plan my day and my life! Here are some pictures of the planner and my press release so you can see what it’s all about!

Planning, productivity and prowess now comes in a red package with the launch of a new personal organiser designed for modern businesswomen.

‘The Dream PA’ personal organiser is a fashion led leather bound planner embossed with a stylish girl logo and adds a dash of colour to any business meeting. Who says planning has to be boring? This ‘Busy Book’ is a loose leaf personal organiser and reflects a stylish and practical way for the modern woman to schedule her activities.

Created by businesswoman and former London College of Fashion Graduate Nadine Hill, the planner appeals to the super organised. At A5 size it is large enough to cope with a demanding work and social schedule whilst the elegant ‘girl’ motif says the owner has flair and personality. The owner of this organiser is both savvy and fun!

The Dream PA is the name of a boutique Virtual Assistance firm based in Yorkshire, and the girl logo is the identity of the brand. The company formed in early 2005 to assist entrepreneurs and small businesses with PA services, and quickly grew to serve clients across the globe. The name now stands for efficiency, pride in a job well done, individuality and time management.

Managing Director of The Dream PA Nadine Hill says:

“I was frustrated with all the black organisers on the shop floor and wanted something that reflected my individuality whilst being spacious enough to handle my busy life. The Dream PA stands for effective time management so I created this ‘Busy Book’ to keep track of my many appointments and roles. I use the planner to organise me, my business and my young family!”

The Dream PA ‘Busy Book’ has a smooth stitched red leather cover and operates with a standard 6 ring mechanism. Perfect for everyday use, the A5 executive organiser features a pen holder, storage pocket and credit / business card holders, week to view diary and retails at RRP £39.99.

To make a purchase or for more information, visit



  • The Dream PA is a boutique Virtual Assistance business based in West Yorkshire, UK.
  • The business serves small business clients across the UK and Internationally (Australia and USA) with PA and Virtual Receptionist services.
  • The Dream PA spinoff product line launches with the exclusive leather Personal Organiser and will expand in 2009 to include mobile phone charms, designer mugs and fashion key chains.
  • Nadine Hill graduated from the University of the Arts, London (London College of Fashion) in 1995 with a Higher National Diploma in Fashion Journalism and Promotion.

What do you think? I think this organiser rocks!

I’ve already had one review in from a buyer – see below:

– 5 Star

“I was very excited when Nadine Hill of The Dream PA launched her own personal organiser “The Busy Book”.

I am very busy with my own business, young son, husband, etc (list to long !) so for me “The Busy Book” was a MUST have.

The organiser is good quality, very competitively priced, it is a good size, great colour and has just about everything you would need in it.

I use my Busy Book on a daily basis and it travels everywhere with me and it really does keep me organised.

12 February 2009

Caroline Coward

The Business Network (Leeds) Limited

Cranky and impatient – that’s me, not the kids!

February 10, 2009

Lately I’ve been getting ‘itchy’ – I don’t mean actual ‘scratching’ itchy, but I have that feeling of anticipation in my gut – permanently lately!  It feels like I need to pee but I don’t.  Is it butterflies?  Or excitement? Or just that the hubby and I haven’t had our rocks off for a couple of weeks?  I don’t know!  What I do know is that there is an itch that needs to be scratched!

I have loads of great projects on with work – I run my own business, master of my own destiny and all that, and I’m sooo thrilled to be doing some of the projects I’m doing and to be honest, I feel like I’m on the verge of something big – that work is about to snowball and that I’m about to be busier than I’ve ever been.  And I’m just so bloody impatient!

This isn’t like me – I can be very patient when it comes to the things I want.  I plan and take steps then wait then do more steps, and it comes to fruition and so on.  But this time I can’t wait!  I love writing this blog, and I want it to be at the stage where it has hundreds of subscribers but I’ve only just started it!… and blogs take time!

I am also writing a book and whilst I’m loving the writing process, I just want to get it finished already and ‘out there’ so I can breathe a sigh of relief that it’s done and I don’t have to meet my 1000 word target for the day!

When I started the book and the blog, I knew that if I just did a little each day, eventually I’d have an end product.  I decided that I’d spend about a year or so on getting content down then worry about launching the thing once I am fully up and running.  But now I can’t hold my fire!  I want to get on with things NOW!

This blog is about to be re-designed by a fab blog designer.  I’m just so excited to get it done and uploaded so I can sing and shout about the fab bright new blog!!  I can’t wait to get everyone’s opinions on it!

Phew! Just writing it down has made me feel calmer!  Haha – maybe this blog should be a confessional!  Relieving the world by allowing readers the theraputic act of writing.  So come on then, let’s do it!  What is your confession?  Tell all here and free yourself!

I’m less cranky now – smile on! I’m off for a sarnie!


PS: if you read my last post, I booked in for the bikini wax BTW – well, it is Valentines Day on Sat!

Happy ‘Twisting Time’ Month!

January 31, 2009

It’s official!  I’ve decided that February 2009 is Twisting Time Month.

What’s ‘Twisting Time’?

It’s a phrase that I made up because I like the sound of it.  I am a bit of a freak and for some strange reason I am ridiculously passionate about time management.  I love getting things done.  I love juggling a busy life.  I always have several projects on the go.  I love it when people say to me “Oh you’re just so organised!” but I also love it when I can give a hint or tip that might help make someone else’s life that bit easier.

I have all sorts of crazy ‘things’ that I do which I’m sure other people think are weird (I’ve been called both quirky and eccentric within the last month alone!) but these things help me to stay organised.  Whether it is wearing a lanyard round my neck with the car keys on or carrying a range of post it notes with me wherever I go (yes – seriously!)

So how can you get involved with Twisting Time?!!

If you think that tips, stories and observations on time management are something that you might like to know more about (written in a non techy, entertaining, and positive way of course!), then I’d be obliged if you could fill in my survey and give me your views.

I am currently working on the Time Management Blog with an awesome blog designer and I am writing the strategy for this blog which will be relaunched with a new URL very soon (I’ll keep you in the loop).  I’ll give you a link to this fantastic blog designer as soon as she has handed over my site but not before as I want my work completed in the timescale I’m working to and if she gets inundated, it might push my launch date back!

So go to the survey, give me your opinions and I’ll have a fab new site for you with the content you love very soon.

Habit Control – getting into good habits to make life run smoothly

January 26, 2009

Isn’t it hard to change a habit?  Like if you wear your watch on the ‘wrong’ wrist, it feels strange at first but over time, the new way will become a habit.  It’s the same with habits for productivity.

We all get bombarded with junk mail and bills and the occasional letter or other ‘nice’ communication, but the trick is to stay on top of it because more will come through the post tomorrow.  When you get 20 emails, they need to be read and dealt with or deleted because the next day will bring even more!  If you text message your friends, it’s best to acknowledge them straightaway as there will only be more texts tomorrow…

I think the message is to deal with things as they crop up.  This is certainly the way I organise myself and the family’s admin.

I have several ‘big’ projects on the go at any one time, and I have to diarise some time out each day to concentrate on them.  But each day inevitably brings more of the ‘hum drum’ daily activity.  Stuff that’s not urgent but is important, so it needs dealing with.

The habit I’ve developed and you can too, is to be ‘switched on’ to the task you are doing, when you are doing it.  Don’t do anything with ‘half a brain’ on it – give what you do 100% of your concentration then you can move onto the next task faster and knowing that you did a good job on the thing you were working on last.

There are only 3 or 4 activities that I ever do where I allow my mind to wander, and I often get my best ideas when doing them!  One is ironing.  I quite enjoy it when I get chance because it’s nice to be doing something productive but where I can afford to dream a bit too!  The other is sitting in the hot tub at the gym.  I lay in the bubbles and stare into space, allowing my mind to wander.  I hate to say it but driving is another activity where I can go on ‘autopilot’.  Not in a dangerous way and only when I’m familiar with the route I’m taking but I do have some great ideas whilst driving.  I keep a dictaphone on the passenger seat at all times so I can dictate any ideas and flashes of inspiration then they are not forgotten!  The only other activity would be watching TV which I don’t do much but sometimes it’s nice to put something mindless on when I’m tired and winding down before bed!  I don’t really get ideas when watching TV but it does send me to sleep so I get to relax!

For everything else, I’m ‘on the ball’ and present, which is great for me (I get stuff done quicker) it’s great for who I’m with (they always feel valued and important in my presence as I never glaze over when talking to them) and it’s great for my ‘To Do’ list.  Tasks done faster = more time to play!!

If you want to learn about time management and running a busy life, just ask someone with a lot of plates to spin like any modern working mum!

The big chill…

January 12, 2009

The best saying I’ve ever heard is so true – it goes like this:

“I am a human being – not a human doing!”

I heard this a couple of years ago at a personal development workshop and I’ve tried to remind myself of it frequently.  You busy mums will know – you have so much to do daily – just to stand still, never mind progressing with any dreams and goals, so we do end up spending a lot of time ‘doing’.

This weekend, I indulged myself with a rare treat – I had a pyjama day!  I slept in, had breakfast in bed, followed by a shower and into a fresh pair of pyjamas then I spent the day pottering around the house, watching a bit of TV, reading my book, and just generally enjoying doing ‘nothing’.  My husband took our eldest child to watch the rugby game and my 1 year old son and I had a nap, played with toys and generally hung out.  It was fantastic!

When your whole week is about schedules and getting places on time and returning calls, making meetings and responding to urgency, it is so nice to switch off and chill.  So this tip from the Time Mangagement Mum is to make space to do absolutely nothing once in a while.  It is necessary to switch off to be so ‘on’ the rest of the time!

If you want to know about time management, just ask a modern working mum!

Even ‘downtime’ is ‘action time’ for working mums!

December 27, 2008

Christmas is a special time of year and for mums, it’s a hectic time too!  The main present buying and card writing responsibilities usually fall to us and we also have to prepare the house for guests, plan activities for the kids who are off school and home all day, keep on top of the food shopping and decorate the place.  The planners amongst us will also anticipate potential situations and prepare a contingency plan for them.  This usually includes buying a couple of extra ‘general’ presents for unexpected visitors and ensuring the medicine cabinet is stocked with headache pills, hangover remedies and something to aid digestion!  We are like swans on the surface, seemingly gliding through the water – bringing it all together effortlessly, but under the surface we are paddling like mad!

For many people, Christmas is a chance to relax but for working mums, this ‘downtime’ is still ‘action time’!

What is special about mums is that what looks to people on ‘the outside’ like basic housekeeping is actually the most important job in the world – we are making memories for our children and providing the framework that they are to grow up in.  Think back to your childhood.  Did you have happy memories of Christmas?  Why were they happy (or why weren’t they?)  Was the house dressed up with tinsel and baubles?  Did you have a tree to decorate?  Someone had to organise these things.  Did Christmas feel like ‘an occasion’?  Our experiences form part of our environment and I believe that people are a product of their environment.  Mums across the world are shaping the people that their young children are going to be so even whilst we’re ‘relaxing’, we’re still ‘working’ on the most important job in the world.

If you are one of these busy mums, how can you sail through the festive period and enjoy the fruits of your labour, whilst still getting everything done and finding time to wind down?  Well the most successful ladies have done some pre planning on this, so work this out for next year.  The first task is more of a life strategy and you will find life run more smoothly in general if you have identified this for you.  Take some time to consider what your values are.  By this I mean what are the qualities that are the essence of YOU – what is important to YOU.  The reason that this is important is knowing this information is helpful in empowering you to say “NO” to activities or responsibilities that others try to hang on you, so knowing your values ensures that every activity you do is strengthening who you are and what is important to you.  We’ve all had an invitation that we say ‘Yes’ to when deep down we really don’t want to go.  What a waste of time!  If you know ‘up front’ what is important to you, you will feel less obliged to ‘keep the peace’ by agreeing to everyone else’s priorities if they don’t sit well with your own.

For example, one of my values is fun.  For some people this may not be considered as important a value as something like ‘kindness’ or ‘truth’, but it is a firm part of my make up.  What I do has to be fun or sit within one of my other values to be worth doing.  If you know that one of your core values is integrity and you are asked to so something that you don’t agree with or are invited to a charity event that support something that isn’t a priority for you, if you have a clear idea of your values, you can politely decline without feeling bad, because you are being true to yourself. Time is precious, so why spend it doing something that doesn’t benefit you by providing enjoyment or taking you nearer toward your goals?

My idea of fun is having a spa day, some pampering, having a meal out, socialising with friends at an activity like bingo or the cinema.  I do not find it much fun to go to a packed bar where you cannot get a seat and you have strange men you don’t know, trying to chat you up!  I know that this particular activity is fun to some people, but as I find it boring, I can say ‘No’ when I’m asked, and just tell them its not my thing.  Since I was honest with myself about what I actually enjoy, rather than trying to please other people, I have always looked forward to every outing with anticipation and excitement, rather than dread!  When I was younger, I cared about seeming ‘cool’, and knowing the hot places to go, or knowing who the latest bands were – I wasn’t as interested in that as I was about fashion, but my friends seemed to know all the music scene info so I thought I should too.  However now I just admit that I’m not ‘cool’, I don’t know about bands and to be honest, I don’t care!  I like to be comfortable on a night out – not standing all night on achy feet.  Part of this is growing up but also it is knowing my values, so know in advance what you like and what you don’t.  It’s okay to say ‘No’, we don’t always have to do everything that is asked of us.

Another thing you can do is to carve out some time just for you over Christmas.  Negotiate with a partner or parent to take the kids out for the day whilst you have a bubble bath or get your home back in order!  I like to have time to myself to write my blog, read a magazine and have a lie in so I arranged in advance to do this today whilst my husband takes the kids to the supermarket to restock our kitchen!  What do you need to have or do to feel like yourself again?

Managing your time during ‘unstructured downtime’ like Christmas or a summer holiday is just as important as managing your time when you have your business or a job which makes demands of you.  It’s the same skill just with a different principle.  The outcome of managing time in either situation is to gain something; in downtime, it may be to gain relaxation whereas in work time it may be to move forward with workload. So keep your eye on the prize and spend some time curled up with your journal or planner and work out what is important to you.  As the kingpin that your family revolves around, it is essential to look after yourself first too!

If you want to know about prioritising effectively, just ask the Time Management Mum!