The reality of working from home with a toddler - review of hairy bikers bread machine

I had so many plans for when I became a work from home mam. I would cook from scratch daily, bake regularly and make my own bread. Aria and I would spend a lot of time crafting, and also go out on play dates at least once a week. My house would be spotless and the washing baskets would never overflow again. Who was I trying to kid!?!

The reality has been somewhat different. In fact, the only one of those things that happens on a regular basis is the bread making, and, to be completely honest, The Hairy Biker bread maker from Ideal World* makes it so easy that there is no reason I couldn’t have made my own bread back when I was working and blogging, so there is definitely no excuse not to do it now.

Review of the Hairy Bikers bread machine from Ideal World

It’s a  winner though, and I am glad that this is one of the few things that I actually do. Aria loves the bread maker, she sits on the worktop watching it, giggling when it kneads the bread and mimicking the whirring noises as the machine does it’s thing. I’ve yet to get her to eat the actual bread but getting her to eat most things is a challenge, except stock cubes of course (see facebook for more on this particular subject!). Spencer and I on the other hand absolutely love the beautiful, thick doorstop bread fresh from the machine. Getting used to it has taken a while, the paddle got stuck in the bread on the first few attempts but a good coating of oil on it seems to have solved that problem now.

As with most things in life I love to cut corners which is what makes the Hairy Biker’s bread maker perfect for me. I’ve decided to ignore the booklet full of recipes that comes with the machine and just buy ready made bread mixes. I simply measure out the required amount of water and pour it into the machine followed by the bread mix, close the lid and press go. As simple as that. Around three hours later I have a delicious loaf of super fresh and tasty bread. Winning.

blog review of the hairy bikers bread maker from ideal world

As for the crafts, well I was a bit clever there, I know that I always put crafts off so I signed up to become a Bostik Blogger which means that I HAVE to do crafts with Aria at least once a month. It is usually a last minute panic a few days before (or on the day of!) the deadline but she loves it all the same. My crafts are made with a lot of help from Aria so they never look great but believe me when I say that Aria puts a lot of effort into them and yes, I get incredibly frustrated watching her do them, especially when she sticks eyes on bums and that type of thing. It takes a lot to stay strong and not take over.

toddler crafting - the realities of a work from home mam

I dreamed of having weekends and evenings off when I become a work from home mam, and I do tend to take weekends off which is lovely. As for the evenings they are usually spent on the ‘gram, although I do try and stick to a posting schedule of Sunday – Thursday so that I get some evenings off. I’m putting a lot more in now and as a result I am getting a lot more out. My Instagram feed is nicely curated and my following and engagement have increased, and I’ve managed this without neglecting my blog. None of this would have been possible if I were still working part time and running a blog.

I wish I could tell you that I was now more organised with my working schedule. But that would be a lie.

And my house is still a tip. I like to spend my days off with Aria having fun, not cleaning and I like to spend my working days, well, working.

While being a work from home mam isn’t exactly what I had expected it to be, I wouldn’t change it for the world.

*Disclosure – The bread maker was sent to me in exchange for promotion*

As I had hoped quite a few of my outstanding payments from January and February came in during March. Thankfully all but one paid without chasing, huge relief as I hate having to chase people.

My stats have taken another big drop and I’m not at all surprised. House viewings, finally selling our house and going on holiday has meant that I’ve taken a lot of time away from blogging and just haven’t had the time to create and promote new content.

During April my blog received 11,635 page views, 7,847 of which were from unique users. I finished the month with a domain authority of 29 and a Klout score of 70. My Tots100 score has dropped slightly but I am still sitting pretty at 72, while I remain in the top 100 I can happily cope with a drop of three, although I am quite concerned about the next update due to my huge drop in page views.

My followings on the 2nd April (I forgot to jot down the figures yesterday!) were as follows :

Facebook : 946
Twitter : 6,705
Instagram : 20,652
Pinterest : 1,000
Google+ : 404
Bloglovin’ : 1,153
YouTube : 163

My earnings during March were :

Sponsored blog post fees – £692
Commission/referral fees – £25

Total income – £717

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Hosting fees – £9.98
Paypal fees – £7.44 (I get charged when companies pay me via Paypal)
Animation & Header image – £100
Photoshop – £8.57
iCloud Storage – £0.79
Social media scheduling programme – £9.98

Total Expenses : £136.76

Total income less expenses : £580.24

On top of the income I received the following to promote/review.

Degustabox, Trespass hiking trainers, Huntleys shoes & outfit for Aria, Blade & Rose clothing for Aria and a holiday to Butlin’s.

I currently have outstanding sponsored post fees totalling £153 which is a little worrying as it is quite a low figure, but I am in talks for a few other projects and have got another £215 worth of work to invoice today so hopefully all will be well!

My five most popular posts published in February were :

Blogging Income & Stats February 2017
Motherhood, The Lonely Truth
The Disorganised Mother’s Guide To Money Saving
Bluestone On A Budget
Office Makeover Part 1

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A Parenting and Lifestyle blogging income and stats report - showing earnings, expenses and stats throughout the month of March 2017

I am the disorganised mummy blogger. Find out how I plan to become more organised in the next financial year.

I’m a disorganised mummy blogger – there I said it. Working from home is both a blessing and a curse, especially when you have children. The flexibility that comes with working from home is great, but it can also result in unnecessarily taking time off, such as cancelling childcare because she is a little under the weather, or because she was sick once twelve hours ago. Whilst it is great that I can take a day off work to clean the house when a potential buyer wants to come and view it, the five viewings last week have resulted in me falling extremely behind.

I’m behind on everything. I’m behind on day to day admin, all the background stuff that goes into running and boosting your site in the rankings and just general housekeeping, I dread to think what kind of state it is all in as I haven’t looked at any of it for such a long time.

I’m behind on reviews. The problem is that I don’t like to just ‘bash’ reviews out, I like to thoroughly trial any item before recommended it for my readers sake, I strive to take the perfect photos for both the sake of my blog and the PR companies.

I’m behind on replying to emails. I like to try and reply to emails straight away, I worry that if I don’t I may well miss that perfect op. My problem is that I mentally respond, and then Aria interrupts me, then a week later I realise that I still haven’t actually responded. I also have this same problem with messages from friends.

Don’t even get me started on my accounts. I assumed that when I started blogging for a living I would have plenty of time to devote to all the boring jobs as well as the fun parts of blogging. My accounts haven’t been touched for a very long time. I like to get my accounts in as soon after the tax year ends as possible, purely because I know that I will forget about them if I don’t. This means that I need to get my accounts into some kind of reasonable order very soon. While there isn’t much that I can do about any of the other issues, (well, I could hire a VA but I’m not actually busy enough to justify that, I just need to organise my time more efficiently), there is something that I can do about my accounting and general organisation issues.

I’m looking into starting a free trail of Xero to solve my accounting woes. Xero, Britain’s leading online accounting software, allows you to run your business on the go, easily send and track invoices (even down to letting you know when they are opened) and reconcile your accounts in seconds. The great news is that they offer a 30 day free trial which means that I can find out if it really does work for me before committing to it.

With a business performance dashboard, contacts and smart lists I really am hoping that Xero could give me the organisational help that I need for a super low fee.

If, like me, you are looking to get organised this coming financial year sign up for a 30 day free trial of Xero.

an honest income and stats report of a part time family blogger

February hasn’t been a great month blogging income wise, it isn’t that I’ve not been getting the work, it’s just that people aren’t paying. I have quite a bit outstanding now so am hoping for a bumper month in March to make up for the slow February.

My stats have gone back down quite a bit following the increase in January, I guess all those people searching out Slimming World recipes have given up on their diet now! This combined with having a day of down time on the blog when moving over to WordPress and being a little poorly hasn’t helped.

 

My blog received 15,524 page views 9,683 of which were from unique users. I finished the month with a domain authority of 28 and a Klout score of 70. Last month I mentioned that I was chuffed to have broken the top 100 of Tots100, this month I am even happier to report that I am now number 69!

 

My followings on the 1st March are as follows :

 

Facebook : 917
Twitter : 6,369
Instagram : 19,103
Pinterest : 900
Google+ : 404
Bloglovin’ : 1,151
YouTube : 151

 

My earnings during February were :

 

Sponsored blog post fees – £295.16
Commission/referral fees – £153.11
Total income – £448.27

 

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New blog theme – £39
Hosting fees – £4.49
Paypal fees – £4.76 (annoyingly I get charged when companies pay me via Paypal)
Social media scheduling programme – £9.95
Photoshop – £8.57
iCloud Storage – £0.79

Total Expenses : £67.56

Total income less expenses : £380.71

On top of the income I received the following to promote/review.

Pen Heaven Journal, scooter, balance bike & helmet, jumpers & changing bag, Degustabox and Peppa Pig World tickets.

I currently have outstanding sponsored post fees totalling £430 so I am hoping that they will all be paid in March along with a few other new projects that I am currently in talks for.

 

My five most popular posts published in January were :

 

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Blogging income and stats report for the month of February 2017

This month has been a worry as it is my first month where blogging has been my sole income. To be honest I think that every subsequent month from now on will be a worry. Thankfully I needn’t have worried this month. I earned a little more than I would in a part time job which is the main aim.

I’ve really struggled this month, the plan is for me to have childcare three days a week so that I can knuckle down and work, this month however the first week Aria was ill so I only had two days childcare and the third week Aria was ill so I had no childcare. Thankfully I managed to plow through and get quite a bit done, I now have a laptop which is a great help because it means that when she is ill and just watching Peppa Pig I can crack on and do some work done.

Thankfully a lot of people are researching Slimming World recipes right now so I received a lot of traffic from Pinterest and didn’t see a dip where I may have normally. I have also really been working at social media promoting and this is beginning to show.

January ended up being one of my best month’s, if not THE best month, for me traffic wise. My blog received 23,277 page views 13,602 of which were from unique users. I finished the month with a domain authority of 28 and a Klout score of 71. The top 100 of Tots100 has been a very distant dream of mine for so long, but for now, I am smugly sitting pretty at 90!  My followings on the 1st January are as follows :
 
Facebook : 887
Twitter : 6,015
Instagram : 17,062
Pinterest : 850
Google+ : 402
Bloglovin’ : 1,146
YouTube : 136

Sponsored blog post fees – £396
Sponsored instagram fees – £125
Advertising fees – £63.79

Total income – £584.79

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Paypal fees – £18.91 (annoyingly I get charged when companies pay me via Paypal)
Social media scheduling programme – £8.38
Photoshop – £8.57
iCloud Storage – £0.79
BlogOn Ticket – £47.48
Facebook advertising – £3

Total Expenses : £87.13

Total income less expenses : £497.66

On top of the income I received approximately £918.84 worth of products to promote/review.

Total income, less expenses + review items : £1,416.50

Review items/products to promote were : Mattress, HelloFresh box, Bluestone holiday, various Nuby items, Book of Everything, outfit from Yours Clothing, Bostik craft box, Degustabox, Teami teas and Kate Spade stationery

 
I currently have outstanding sponsored post fees totalling £241, I still have £18 of eBay commission sitting there, I had expected it to be paid in January but it wasn’t, maybe I’ll get it this month. I’m feeling a lot more confident going into the month with over £200 outstanding fees. Knowing that they will (hopefully) be paid this month means that I can relax a little. 

My five most popular posts published in January were : 

Blogging for a living
Income & Stats Report December 2016
Toddler Girl Bedroom Makeover
Money Saving Plans for 2017
The Twatty Twos