Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Making it Happen with Heather Masterton

Today we meet Heather Masterton for our #MAKEITHAPPEN series.  Much like myself Heather carved out a working life to suit her family life and, most of all, her priorities.  Want to know how to do it all? Read on...

My name is Heather, I’m a 29 year old first time Mum with a 9 month old daughter. I’m the editor of a Scottish wedding blog www.brawbrides.com which features real weddings with real stories, styled shoots and advice on the overwhelming process of wedding planning. I like to champion weddings in Scotland and small Scottish businesses. I do this by running a small networking group of wedding suppliers; we meet up once a month, big each other up on social media, and work together on styled shoots and most recently a ‘Wedding Workshop’

I’ve been writing Braw Brides since January 2013, after getting married in May 2012 I just couldn’t leave the wedding world behind and saw an opportunity to work with and help some lovely businesses who had helped me create the wedding day of my dreams, and I wanted to continue to network with people in this creative industry. I am a qualified Graphic Designer and after spending 6 years in the print trade and another year as an events co-ordinator, it was already time to do something different.

{the journey}

I’ve tried a few ‘business’ opportunities… I’m an all or nothing personality and found I never wanted anything enough to give it my all (apart from in my running career, but that’s another story), until I fell pregnant. I want to spend all my time with my child so much that there there was no way on earth I was going back to full time employment.

I’m going to make a bold statement but it is honestly how I feel; working a full time job and raising a child is not an option for me, we would not have started a family if I had to go back to work full time. End of. I know some people do it and thats fine, I couldn't and won’t, and I’m willing to sacrifice things for that time with my child, for example, doing up our house quickly, or going on holiday, or on a personal note, my gym career has taken a dive, as has my wine drinking career. Who cares, we’re together.

I just want to be the best woman I can be.

Braw Brides is giving me enough of the ‘me’ time I need, but the be all and end all is raising our baby.

I’m goal orientated so working on Braw Brides is just an endless list of goals to hit, which is what drives me. Seeing people motivated and passionate about what they do is something else that I love, and that’s where my small networking group comes in.

{support along the way}

I read a lot of articles, I didn't think I did until I say things to people and it always starts with ‘I read online that…’ I read, or start to read, a lot of books… recommendations being ‘What to Expect When You’re Expecting’, ‘How Not to F*** them Up’, ‘How to be a Hip Mama Without Losing Your Cool’ ‘How to Start a Business from your Kitchen Table’ ‘Born to Run’ ‘Bounce; The Myth of Talent and the Power of Practice’

I keep an open mind; I’ll literally try anything. If someone suggests it, or I read it, I’ll give it a go. Attachment parenting, okay, I get that. Slings, yep. Breastfeeding, one of my biggest achievements. See that placenta tablet thing, I’d try it, and I’m not afraid to say it (told my husband that yesterday, he didn't look so impressed). Barefoot running, that’s cool. 

Yoga is one of the best things; I try to keep doing it. Bikram yoga, even better.

I’m from Glasgow; not a lot of folk do the above stuff ^^

My Dad is one of my resources, he’s the most open minded person ever.

{how to achieve the goal}

Know your own mind. Make decisions quickly. Don’t question them. Make lists.

If it goes wrong, accept it (I’m still learning that one)

Don’t worry about what anyone else thinks (Reaaaalllly still learning that one).

{words of wisdom}

Never say ‘I don’t really have a choice’ because you do.

{days off are important} 

Oh how this has changed from only a year ago… yoga, swim with the baby, play with my Mums puppy, laugh with my husband before falling asleep.  

{an inspirational woman is...}

My daughter inspires me every day to be the best woman I can be. Her tiny personality amazes me already and I want to do the best I can to nurture her and help her grow. "Strong Women, may we know them, may we be them, and may we raise them." 

"It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all - in which case, you fail by default.” JK Rowling

You can find Heather at www.brawbrides.com which features real weddings with real stories, styled shoots and advice on the overwhelming process of wedding planning. It really is a go to if you are planning a wedding wherever you are in the world it's jam packed full of gorgeous wedding inspiration, looking for an insight into Heather's mumlife pop over to her instagram for an adorable dose of #daisybaby isn't she gorgeous? 
Connect with Braw Brides here:

If you are reading from anywhere other than Scotland here's a little FYI from Amy...

  1. fine, good, or pleasing.
    "it was a braw day"

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Making it happen with Sharon Fitzmaurice

Today we meet Sharon Fitzmaurice for our #MAKEITHAPPEN series in honour of International Women's Day that I am continuing throughout the month of March.  Sharon's journey shows how its possible to overcome adversity, a truly inspiring woman.

I am a 44 year old woman, married to a wonderful man and have two beautiful teenage children, a boy and a girl - a gentleman's family in Ireland! Along with my role as a wife and Mother, I also work as a Meditation Teacher/facilitator, Angel Reiki Therapist/Teacher, Happiness Coach and Psychic Medium, just to name a few :-) I am so blessed to be able to work around my family and choose my own hours of business and being able to take 'time off' when needed, I only have me to ask.

{the journey}

In 2004 I miscarried my third child and it broke me, I fell apart. I relaise now it was the best thing that ever happened to me asI finally started to question myself and what I really wanted from life. I started to count all the blessings in my life and work from there. As a result of my mind being so confused I started to meditate, through this daily practise, I started to find calm and peace in my life. I had a place to go where I could find clarity and guidance from my own inner strength, strength I never really truly believed I had inside of me. The more clarity I got, the more I could see myself and where my strengths and abilities lay. I still wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with my life apart from still being a great mother to my kids, I knew there was more!

{support along the way}

The resources I used came from deep within, it was a pushing of myself to continue to get better and to go out into the world with my message that I could do anything if I set my mind to it and believed, this was a message I wanted to share with all others, especially women. When I started out there was only text and email, social media was still unknown to me so I relied on weekly emailing to my contacts and asking them to spread or share the word. I gave weekly hand-outs to my groups with tips on to help them on their journeys and shared stories of my own daily struggles and achievements to encourage them and also remind myself what we can do even through our challenges.

{how to achieve the goal}

Firstly be realistic when you start off, don't try and do everything at once. When you set a small goal for yourself and achieve it, you will be more determined and motivated to reach your next goal. The more you achieve the more you want to do, the more strength and self-belief you have in yourself and your business. Feeling a sense of achievement is amazing as you start off, but you must stay focused and grounded in what your initial goal was, you may build on it as it and you grow and develop. There is no limit to your potential but don't try to do everything at once, one thing at a time, one day at a time. And most of all, keep enjoying it. 
{words of wisdom}

We all need support and trying to do everything is just not realistic or practical. Ask for help and assistance when you need it, don't be afraid to fail, just get back up and try again. 

{days off are important} 

Yes it's important to keep your priorities in your mind but remember to give yourself some fun and downtime. Try and schedule in hours for your work and stick to them. With all the social media at the moment, you may feel as if you have to be constantly online and this eats away at your downtime. Keep everything in balance and you will be a healthy, successful and very happy person :-)

Sharon Fitzmaurice is a Spiritual Channel for Healing and Guidance. Sharon works as a Reiki & Seichem Master, Teacher & Practitioner in person and also distantly. She facilitates meditation groups, workshops & retreats in Ireland and abroad if requested. Sharon works alongside your Angels, Guides and Loved Ones in Spirit in helping you heal yourself. You can connect with her on the following links.

Thursday, 12 March 2015

Making IT Happen with Michelle Gregory

Today we meet Michelle Gregory for our #MAKEITHAPPEN series if you are reading this thinking I wish I could do something like that let it be known...you can!  Keep reading for Michelle's tips that she has picked up along the way.

Michelle, I’m an accountant but not your run of the mill accountant. I love working with small businesses, especially mumprenuers and in the salon industry, to make a difference in their lives. Most of my clients come to me because I am approachable, unintimidating and just a little bit right brained in a left brained industry (I would use the word creative but that’s not a good word to use in accountancy). 

{the journey}

For years I wanted to set up in practice but never had the confidence to do it.  Then I became a Mum at 40 years old and my whole world changed.  After a wonderful year at home with my daughter I felt obligated to go back to work. While my work supported my flexible working on paper it just wasn’t working in practice. I hated feeling torn between work and my daughter when she was ill. My daughter always came first but I just felt guilty when I got back to work. I was constantly tired because I hated my job and feeling like I was failing at work, my daughter was still waking regularly at night and I had zero time to myself.  I made a promise to myself, and my daughter, that I would be self employed by the end of the year.

{support along the way}

Having a business degree and a management accountancy background meant I could draw on my knowledge and experience to work up my business plan.  Since I’ve been in business I have found some amazing mentors and resources, especially as a woman in business. Leonie Dawson and Claire Mitchel are two online resources I have used. I also had some great business coaching from Beverly Anderson (the Business Boost Expert).  

{how to achieve the goal}

Firstly, make sure you know what are your most important goals. You don’t have to be a wonder woman and achieve everything. Niche marketing is very important as it is impossible to be all things to all people. Confidence and belief in yourself is very important. I have gone from someone with little confidence and needing reassurance to having a great self-belief.  Working on my own I make my own decisions and I love it.  

{words of wisdom}

Talk to people.  Go to some local networking groups and get on to some Facebook groups such as “The girls mean business” and “Mindful Directions”.  Once you start talking to people about what you are thinking of doing you will find amazing support out there.  Get Leonie Dawson’s workbook “2015: Create your shining year” and start formulating what you want to do and how to do it.

{days off are important} 

Cycling, running, being a child with my daughter – I just love being outdoors.  I ran the Glencoe Marathon last year. Before I had my daughter I cycled over a lot of climbs in the French Alps and Pyrenees as ridden by the Tour de France.  I also used to do a bit of high altitude trekking too. Might not be what people think of as fun. I’ve done my fair share of partying but I love the buzz of pushing my body in the outdoors…and treating myself to wonderful food and drink afterwards.  I also love music, especially going to gigs. I went to a concert every month during my pregnancy. 

{an inspirational woman is...}

My mum, Ellen Orr. My mum started her own auction business in 1997. She saw a gap in the market in Tauranga, New Zealand and went for it! The business is still going strong despite my mum having a major set back. Five years ago my Mum was diagnose with an aggressive form of Melanoma. She was given a 20% chance of survival and had most of her scalp removed and replaced with a skin graft. Last year Mum was given the all clear but she is permanently bald. While most will say she is lucky to be alive I know it is hard for her. The most amazing thing is that she was back to working in her business after major surgery and radiotherapy within weeks.  

{final thoughts}

Going into business has been the most amazing experience in my life.  Working in a corporate environment where people are a bit despondent, and some try to destroy your confidence, you think this is just life. But working with other small business owners, who really appreciate what I can do, has been an uplifting experience. And networking with inspired, enthusiastic, happy business owners is just a buzz. Yes you get tough days and weeks but it’s like living a different world.

Michelle's passion lies in helping mumprenuers, freelancers and small business owners get control of their business finances and helping them achieve their dream business. With 20 years of corporate accounting, a chartered management accountant qualification, an International business degree and soon to be qualified in business coaching we think you will agree Michelle is doing everything she can to Make it Happen.  Michelle is finally realising her dream of working with small business.  She specialises in the salon industry and working with small business who want to get to a six figure income...perhaps she can help you make it happen too?

You can contact Michelle here  
LinkedIN - uk.linkedin.com/in/michellegregory

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Working up to a statement lip with a wearable lip stain

After the fun lip stick quiz I posted a while back, what does your lipstick say about your personality? (Click here if you missed it) I had lots of ladies telling me they wished they could wear a statement lip but it just feels weird or foreign on them.  This is the thing with trying different make up you might really love it but are just not used to seeing it on yourself. Its all about working up to it.  

This is a lighter, more translucent version of a statement lip which is more wearable, requires less maintenance, and is a good way to start getting used to colour on your lips.  Follow these instructions to create a stain for your lips, be prepared for some funny faces! 

{the diy}

This is all about getting your lip product really into your lips top create a stain.  
1. Choose your lipstick or product, opt for a pigmented lip product, so something that's quite rich in colour (not translucent)
2. With a lip brush apply a coat of lipstick all over your lips (this can be quite a generous coat as you will be working it in)  start from the centre of your pout and work the brush out towards the lip lines so you can use your brush perfect the lip line
3. Keep working the product in with the brush back and forth really getting the pigment deep into the lips
4. Do a bit of lip smacking and blotting with your finger (cue funny faces)
5. Voila! A wearable and low maintenance pop of colour for you to go about your day with! I usually top up with a tiny bit of lip balm just to take away any dryness and give my lips a bit of shine and comfort.
{shop the look}
If you are a non lipstick wearer I dare you to try this 3 times this week just to get yourself used to it join me later in the week where I invite you to transform this into a statement lip!

*This post contains affiliate links*

Monday, 9 March 2015

Making it Happen with Erin Blackwell

All through March I'm celebrating inspirational women in honour of International Women's Day 2015 #MAKEITHAPPEN.  Today we kick it off with an amazing lady who runs her own successful photography business whilst juggling life and raising a gorgeous family.  Want to know how she got there, read on...

Erin Blackwell the owner of Erin Blackwell Studio, LLC a beauty portrait studio in Denver, CO. She's also a wife and mother to 4 beautiful children!

{the journey}

About 5 years ago my family and I were living in my mom's basement struggling to make ends meet. I wanted to find a way to contribute to the family income, while still being able to be home with my kids. I hadn't done photography in over 10 years (back in high school), but I had always dreamed of being a photographer. I used my tax refund to purchase a very used camera and taught myself how to shoot, market, and build my business! Over the last 5 years I have photographed over 300 women, been featured on several national blog publications and won two awards. It really is a dream come true and my family and I have come a long way from that day in my mom's basement!  My husband recently quit his job to pursue his dream of videography and we're planning to move to Boise, Idaho in June and live on some land. Life has changed dramatically and it's all because I took a leap and believed in myself!
{support along the way}

I had a lot of help from other photographers, as well as watching every course I could on Creative Live. Photographer Sue Bryce has been instrumental in building my photography and business skills. I also have some amazing photography mentors like Jeffrey Brown, Denise Birdsong and Michael Buchanan who keep me learning!
Recently I joined the FPA (Female Photographer's Association), Revealing Epic by Alicia Cain, and the Mission for March Challenge put on by the Female Entrepreneur Association, all of which give me support, keep me learning and working hard towards my goals!

{how to achieve the goal}

Setting specific goals, then working REALLY hard to achieve them. Small business ownership is not for the faint of heart! You have to be tough and open to hearing other's ideas and criticisms. You also have to provide amazing customer service and value.

{words of wisdom}

Just do it- don't sit there and think about it! I could've looked at my circumstances (having 3 little kids under the age of 5, living in a basement, having no money) and said, "There is no way I can start a business." But I didn't. I just went for it, learned everything I could, worked hard and never looked back.

{days off are important} 

My favorite thing in the whole world is going to the movies- especially any movie with Robert Downey Jr. in it. I also love reading, shopping, having dance parties with my kids and Netflix binging with my husband. 

{an inspirational woman is...}

Any woman who has a job (her own business or not) and children is a huge inspiration. It takes a LOT of work to raise children and work, and women who do so successfully should be looked up to!

Erin Blackwell is an award winning photographer, published author, wife and mother. She owns Erin Blackwell Studio, LLC in Denver, CO and is the creator of the 28 Days to Gorgeous Beauty Challenge (#28DtoG). You can find her website at www.erin-blackwell.com, on facebook, or follow on Instagram at @erinblackwellstudio

Sunday, 8 March 2015

Inspirational Women Make It Happen, Everyday.

I first heard about International Women's Day (IWD) when I was working for the government here in Melbourne,  I was lucky enough to go with a huge group of ladies (and men) who I worked with to an event that celebrated women and it really highlighted to me just how many amazing women there are out there working their asses off, all with their own story, their own problems, but there they are everyday, making it all happen.  Ever since, every year, I wait for it and hope to do something worthwhile to mark the event.  Last year Kirsty and I were going to hold a Made Over Ladies event to celebrate the 5 year anniversary of our business when the decision had been made I was moving back to Australia we decided against it (maybe I decided against it I'm not sure) but it is a decision, in hindsight, that I regret.  We worked so hard in our five years of business together, at the same time as having children, remembering to feed said children, getting married, setting up new homes, coping with all the things that being a woman/having a business/going to work/being a mum throws at you we should have had that party...not over it but moving on.

So this year I've decided to celebrate IWD by highlighting some amazing women and their own journey's to Make it Happen.  I hope you'll join me along the way, get to know them, pop onto their website or hit that like button on facebook each one of them has worked their little butts off in this big bad world to do something they love and value, give them a high five and let them know you think they are doing a good job.  I ensure you will feel inspired by each and every one of their stories.  If you want to learn more about IWD, their aims and how you can support please do so here if you are a man reading this and feeling ever so slightly left out there is also a International Men's Day (IMD) I urge you to do something for it. 

Anyway back to us women, watch out for my Make It Happen profiles throughout March, get involved whether it's to say 'thanks for inspiring me' or just 'hey you're doing a good job', join me on Facebook and tag a woman in your life who has been an inspiration to you...lets name and fame them #makeithapppen

I sat for ages wondering what photo I should use to accompany this post about dreams and making them happen and all that is involved in that, and there she was, that little bundle of power and sheer determination, dreaming away right in front of me. Even though we may be small we should never underestimate ourselves and we should always, always dare to dream....

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Storyboard- Peonie Dreaming...

Well March where did you come from? Out of the blue for me.  I thought a wedding storyboard of my favourite  images of Catherine & Robs wedding would be the perfect way to get you daydreaming about blue skies and gorgeous blooms. There is some absolute divine wedding inspiration here and you can see all of their glorious big day featured over on 'One Fab Day' but for now here's my daydream board of an absolutely perfect wedding...

Images by  Craig & Eva Sanders
Be sure to stop by Catherine's fresh and floral home and lifestyle brand Peonie Cole