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NCC Home Learning – Creative Writing Diploma Review

NCC Home Learning – Creative Writing Diploma Review

*I have been provided with access to the NCC Home Learning Creative Writing Diploma, for the purpose of this review. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own. 


Taking home learning courses has long been one of my favourite things to do. Ever since I became self-employed back in 2012, I’ve taken a variety of distance learning courses in order to broaden my knowledge and skill set. Some I’ve really benefited from, as they’ve provided me with ways to grow my business. Others I’ve never revisited after completion. I’ve enjoyed every single one though and even if I haven’t always applied my new skills, the learning journey has been invaluable.

I’m a huge fan of home learning, mostly because you’re able to fit studies around daily life. Even before I had children, I would have found it difficult to commit to structured learning as I worked all hours. The only way for me to continue to learn was to invest in distance learning courses. Educating myself in this way has opened so many doors for me, whilst also allowing me to continue to build my business by day.


Why should you choose NCC Home Learning?

As much as I have always enjoyed learning from home, I have had both good and bad experiences with distance learning providers. Most I would use again in a heartbeat, others I would now avoid like the plague. The beauty of having so much experiences in this kind of education, is that I know a good company when I see one. I know what it takes for me to learn to the best of my ability and so I thought I’d pass on what I love about NCC Home Learning. They are a provider that I have been impressed with from the outset and I couldn’t be happier to recommend them to anyone who is in the market for a little home learning!

First of all, NCC have hundreds of courses available to choose from. Whether you want to top up your existing qualifications or learn something completely new, there’s a course for everyone. There are also a lot of courses to choose from if you’re considering a career change, that will provide you with a good grounding to finally take the jump. One of the best things about NCC is that they have a great tutor support system in place. So if you need a little help, or you want to discuss some aspect of your course there’s always someone at the end of the phone to help you.

As you’re probably already aware, distance learning can often cost a tidy bit of cash. The journey is always worth spending the money, but not everyone can afford to enrol. That’s why NCC price match their courses and they offer an interest free payment plan, to help make reaching your learning goals even easier. By enrolling with NCC you also get access to a free NUS extra card, which is always a bonus when you’re trying to look after the pennies.


Another string to my bow –

As I’ve been blogging and freelance writing for over two years now, I decided that the ideal course for me would be the Creative Writing Diploma from NCC. I felt that this course would expand my knowledge and give my writing more depth. There are also other writing genres that I would love to explore, including novels and poetry, this course will give me the head start I need to take things to the next level.

I’m part way through my diploma and I’ve found the course so interesting and easy to follow. It’s been a few years since I was last enrolled on a course and honestly, I’d forgotten how much I love them! It’s so easy to get lost in the learning process and before I know it hours have passed by. What I adore about this course is that it has provided me with a new challenge. I find that it pushes my boundaries and really makes me think, I’m learning so much along the way.

Thus far, I’m incredibly impressed with the Creative Writing Diploma from NCC. I’m very excited to complete my course and I’ll see you back here in a couple of months time with an update and another string firmly added to my bow!


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Creating My Perfect Home Office with Calibre Furniture

Creating My Perfect Home Office with Calibre Furniture

When I began blogging and writing, it was a hobby that I’d fit around the children – usually perched on the sofa in front of the television. Fast forward eighteen months and things have gotten more serious than I could ever have imagined! Now, blogging and writing is no longer a hobby, but a fully fledged business that continues to take a lot hard work and determination!

These days sitting on the sofa to work just doesn’t cut it. Watching TV doesn’t provide me with the inspiration I need to be as creative as I possibly can. I have so much ‘blogging stuff’, that I need somewhere to store my accumulation of hardware, resources and reams of information for each project I’m working on. I need an office space!

As well as being a saver of lives, my husband is great around the house. Hubs can turn his hand to anything and so with a little office furniture expert advice from Calibre Furniture, he’s taken on the task of creating me a home office to rival Pinterest’s finest!


Furniture Options


Since this will be an office for my work alone, I really want it to work for me. I’d like a modern look, that’s practical and has oodles of storage. I’ll be spending a lot of time in there, so it needs to be just right! Calibre Furniture have some really great furniture options and I’ve spent a lot of time perusing their site, to find furniture that would fit the size of the room and suit my needs.

I’ve always dreamt of having a big desk to work at and with so many office desks to choose from, I was spoilt for choice! My desk of choice is this Verdi Executive desk. I love how clean and neat it looks, as well as the amount of desktop space it has – perfect for all of the paperwork I have floating around.



Photo Credit Calibre Furniture


Now, we all know you can’t have such a beautiful desk without a chair to match! I’m a big fan of comfortable office chairs, there’s nothing worse than sitting for hours on end whilst you work in an uncomfortable chair. Personally I like the high-backed chairs, ideal for stretching and resting in between projects. This wasn’t an easy choice for me, as much I love a modern look, I was totally drawn in by the classical collection. In the end I chose this amazing leather number. With such a rich colour, I just couldn’t resist!


Photo Credit Calibre Furniture


One of the most important things about an office space is storage. This is even more important for me, as our house isn’t the biggest we need to utilise every inch of space. The right office storage is key to getting the space we have, working for my needs. The Shine Credenza Units are a great combination of useful and attractive. Being able to store all of my unsightly goods inside such an attractive unit, means that my office will be clean, tidy and ready for me to work in at all times!


Photo Credit Calibre Furniture


I simply cannot wait to work in my new office space. Not only will it feel nice to work in, having a separate space means that I can shut the door on my office to get a break from the daily grind.

If you’re thinking about creating your own perfect office space the Calibre Furniture blog offers some great advice to keep you working at your best!


*This post was written in collaboration with Calibre Furniture.

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How to Create a Work/Life Balance to Suit You

How to Create a Work/Life Balance to Suit You

Having a good work/life balance is essential for you to thrive. All work and no play makes for a very dull existence and all play and no work is just not a sustainable way to live. I wouldn’t go burning the candle at both ends either, that’s a sure fire way to reach burnout at top speed!

Balance is not always an easy thing to achieve, especially when you have a demanding job and a family to support. Somewhere along the line something has to give. Compromises have to be made to make sure that you’re getting the most out of life.

For me, working from home has proven to be a challenge of epic proportions in relation to creating a decent work/life balance. First and foremost I am the primary carer of our two young daughters, they come first no matter what. That doesn’t mean that I don’t have to work though. It doesn’t mean that I don’t have deadlines to meet on a regular basis and that more often than not I’m spinning plates.

In my experience, there are ways to help yourself. At particularly busy times in your life, when you feel like those plates are going to crash to floor any minute, you can regain your balance. All it takes is putting a little thought and action into the following:

Be realistic –

Know what you can and can’t achieve at any given time. If it helps divide your day up in to time slots and dedicate an activity to each. Don’t try to fit in tasks that you know you won’t be able to finish and don’t let tasks that should take you a little amount of time, spill over into the next time slot.

This may seem like a very regimental way to live, but being realistic with your targets and abilities keeps you feeling on top of the game. You won’t feel overwhelmed by the intensity of your workload as you’ll have it all planned out and ready to complete in due course.

This plan doesn’t just have to be for your work life, allocate time to leisure activities too. The more balanced your planner appears when you look at it, the more balanced your mind will feel. Ah the power of organisation!

Learn how to say ‘no’ –

Saying no can be really hard. If you’re a people pleaser, you want to take on everything that comes your way to keep the guys on the other end happy. Now I’m not saying that you should become uncooperative and decline everything. Just have a clear idea of what you can and can’t fit in to your already busy schedule.

It’s a common misconception that people will resent you for saying no. Often people respect you more. Look at it this way, how can you expect someone to respect your worth and abilities if you don’t respect them yourself? Be strong and fair, you’ll feel so much better for it!

Utilise time saving technology –

These days there are apps out there for everything, reminders, planners, lists, schedulers – you name it. Use them! You’ll be amazed how much easier you can make your life by ditching the pen and paper and going ‘appy. The time you save by doing this can then be spent enjoying a break from work, it’s all about the balance!

Stop comparing yourself –

This is crucial! We waste so much time and energy on comparing our lives to those of others. Valuable time that could be spent hitting your next target, or taking some time out to enjoy your family in the present. Making comparisons holds absolutely no weight, because even the person who looks like they have everything together has their troubles.

Remember that everyone has good times and everyone fights battles, the best thing to do is concentrate on your own!


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Freelance Writing – The Low Down

Freelance Writing – The Low Down

Freelance writing is a great way to earn a living from home. It often means that you can work flexible hours, this is especially convenient if you have children at home. I decided that I wanted to become a freelance writer and blogger soon after my eldest daughter was born. I left my old job behind and decided building my own freelance business was the best way to ensure the happiness of my family and I.

Although it looks easy, writing for a living has its challenges. Doing so from home and around a family just amplifies those challenges. If like me, you too want to be your own person outside of being a mother. If you need to work for your own sake, to thrive and to be content then freelance writing could be for you.

There are a few key points to consider before you make any decisions:

Are you familiar with basic grammar?

You don’t need to be an expert but having basic grammatical knowledge is a must. We all make mistakes, that makes us human. However if you know that grammar isn’t your strong point, it might be worth rethinking your next career move or spending some time brushing up on your core skills.

Do you have a good imagination?

Writing requires a lot of imagination. Think about staring at a blank page knowing that you have to fill it, often with only a keyword to start you off. Are you able to think quickly, providing yourself with a clear direction. Research is a big part of this too, but being able to generate quality and engaging content from almost nothing is a required skill.

Can you type quickly and with minimal errors?

Freelance writing can be a great little earner, if you can type quickly enough. When you’re assigned projects, they are often worth a set amount. If typing is not your strong point, making your money as a writer may not be feasible, as taking more time to write than you should immediately devalues your work. For example, a five hundred word article should take around 30 minutes to complete. Any more than this and your hourly rate won’t reflect the amount of work you’ve put in.

Do you have good research skills?

When you’re writing articles it’s not unusual to have to do a little research along the way. Think about how efficiently you’re able to search for facts and to decide whether the source is reliable. A simple google search doesn’t always suffice. We all know that not everything we read on the internet has depth and so it’s important that you’re able to decipher the good from the bad. After all, you don’t want your work to be discredited due to poor research.


If you think freelance writing is for you, you can find out more HERE!


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Work Ethic – Seeing Mummy Work isn’t a Bad Thing

Work Ethic – Seeing Mummy Work isn’t a Bad Thing

Have you ever picked up your phone in front of your children and felt guilty? Have you ever spent time on your laptop, whilst your children have been in the same room? I have, a lot.

When I first started to call this writing lark my work, I tried my best to confine my working hours to when the kids were napping or in bed at night. It just wasn’t enough though. I’ve been self-employed for many years and I know what it takes to build a business. I know that an hour here and there will not suffice. Work does leak into the hours that my children are wakeful and do you know something? That’s OK.

At first I felt a tremendous amount of guilt. I thought that my children shouldn’t see me on my phone or laptop. They should have my undivided attention, no matter what. I was the one that chose to give up my business to bring up my children, who was I to decide to build up another in the mean time?

I know, ridiculous right? Building up a business is an amazing achievement. The first time I did it, I literally had no choice. It was sink or swim and do you know something? I swam, exceptionally well. I put in the time and effort it takes to build up an incredibly successful business and that’s something to be proud of.

So you see, it makes no sense that I’ve felt guilty for working in front of my children. It makes no sense that I’ve tried to shelter them from witnessing the hard work that goes into making something of yourself. Surely this is something they should witness.

I’ve come to realise that the hours I spend working on my blog, the effort I put into writing for some amazing causes and brands should be recognised, not pushed to the side. So what if mummy is on social media, it paid for the last holiday we enjoyed as a family. So what if mummy is constantly taking photographs, it paid the electric bill last month.

The most important thing to take from this is that having drive and ambition is an amazing trait and it’s one that should be celebrated. Your children seeing you on social media, writing blog posts and replying to emails just demonstrates what it takes to be successful in the world of work.




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#WorkshopWednesday – How to Instantly Increase your Productivity

#WorkshopWednesday – How to Instantly Increase your Productivity

Welcome to #WorkshopWednesday, my weekly feature with a focus on all things blogging! Each week there’ll be tips, tricks and advice on how to get your blog running like a well oiled machine!


Procrastination is one of the hardest things we battle when it comes to getting out heads down and working. There’s always something that seems more important at the time. Whether it’s errands that can usually wait or the devil that’s social media, we all have little habits that can seriously affect our productivity.  However, when we do finally knuckle down and get some work done, the feeling of satisfaction that comes with a good days work takes some beating!

As a work at home parent it’s far too easy for me to let procrastination get in the way, so I’ve developed a few little life hacks to instantly improve productivity…

Create a to-do list –

Creating a to-do list in priority order is a great way to improve productivity. Without organisation it can be easy for your workload to become overwhelming, so take some time to figure out what’s most important and what can wait until later.

Plan tasks –

Drawing up a quick plan prior to completing tasks, helps to walk you through the process step by step. It’s easy for our minds to wander as we stop halfway to think about the next bit, so have a direct route to completion avoiding all detours along the way!

Allocate time slots to complete tasks –

Allow tasks the time they deserve, no more and no less. Giving yourself these deadlines means you know that tasks will be completed, without eating into your time elsewhere.

Restrict social media usage –

We all love a bit of social media, but it’s one of the top ways we find to waste valuable hours when we should have been working. Restrict yourself to twenty minutes of social media per day, whether it’s in the morning to kick start your day or in the evening to unwind. Don’t while away hours reading about your mum’s, neighbour’s, dog when you could have been finishing the post that’s been sat in your drafts for the last week!


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Working from Home – Are you Ready to Take the Leap?

Working from Home – Are you Ready to Take the Leap?

Do you dream of working from home, but the possibility of it just seems a million miles away? Are you scared to make that jump from employed to self-employed, even though it’s what you’ve always wanted? Sound familiar? You’re in the right place! 

When I had children I had a vision of working from home, so that I could be the one to look after our girls. For us, nursery wasn’t an option and so I had to find a way to build a business inside of my own four walls. After a lot of blood sweat and tears, OK maybe not blood but you get the picture, I’ve managed to set myself up in professional blogging and freelance writing. I have a passion for my work, which is something I’ve never had before and I’m bringing in the bucks, helping to support my little family. I’m living proof that your dreams can become your reality!

It goes without saying that making the jump is daunting and incredibly hard work, but failing because you’re scared to begin is not the answer.

Thinking about biting the bullet? Here are some things that you should consider:

Passion and drive –

What makes you want to get up in the morning? Take some time to think about where your passions lie and what you’re good at. Let this positive thought process build your confidence and give you the lift you need to believe in yourself and your abilities.

Goals and achievements –

Set yourself goals. Where do you want to be six months, a year or even 5 years from now? Setting realistic targets will give you something to work towards. As you achieve your goals, the feeling of satisfaction will add fuel to your fire, giving you drive and confidence to achieve more.

Pros and cons –

Think about how working from home will affect your life. Changes to your work will also have an effect on the people around you. Therefore, it’s essential that you know you’re making the right decision before you go for it!

Scheduling your workload –

Working from home requires a strict schedule in order for your business to thrive. Take some time to work out a routine that fits in well around all other aspects of your life. Testing out your new routine before putting it into place is a great way to see how your lives will tick over, should you make the transition to working from home.

It’s also important to know that with a new venture will come setbacks, that’s life. The key to success though is to work through the tough times and learning from them, but don’t let them break your spirit!


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Make Money from Home by Putting your Writing Skills into Practice

Make Money from Home by Putting your Writing Skills into Practice

For many people working from home is a dream that they never think will come true. Finding legitimate work that you can undertake from inside own four walls isn’t easy, but it’s not impossible either. One of the best ways to work from home is to take up freelance writing. If you love writing, have top notch grammatical skills and have the drive to work on a self-employed basis, freelancing may just be the career for you.

As a work from home mum, I’ve become well versed in making money from home. It means that I don’t have to stick to the 9-5, that I’m here for my littles and that work is now my passion, not just a means to get by.

So, where can you find work?

There are some great sources of freelance writing work online, you just have to know where to find them. Each of these sites offer the opportunity to to write, learn and progress!

Upwork is almost like a market place for jobs. Once you’ve signed up and completed your profile, you can start applying for work that is at your skill level. Once you get to grips with the system finding work is quick and easy. Upwork isn’t restricted to freelance writing jobs either, have a search of the market place and see what other skills you may have that will line your pockets!

Freelancer is very similar to Upwork. It’s an online market place for freelance work of different types, from writing to offering your skills as a virtual assistant. Again, all you have to do is set up a profile and start applying for work at your skill level.

Copify is an online platform that has work readily available on a daily basis. To become part of the Copify team you have to pass a writing assessment. This means that once your in there’s no applying for, or bidding on projects. You can accept as much, or as little work as you want to and the payment process is super simple!

Great Content work very similarly to Copify. There’s an assessment you have to pass to become a Great Content writer, but once  your in there’s work readily available on a first come, first served basis. Payment is quick and easy, meaning there’s no chasing anyone for your money!


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All of these sources offer great ways to show off your skill set and become the creative, entrepreneur you’ve always wanted to be. Life as a freelancer offers freedom, job satisfaction and a world of opportunity. There’s no reason why you can’t get in on that action too!  




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Freelancing – Earning a Living as a Stay at Home Mum

Freelancing – Earning a Living as a Stay at Home Mum

It has been said a million times, but it’s true, being a stay at home mum is more work than a full-time job, and your shift never really ends! However, many of us still feel unsatisfied in regards to our careers, or are simply a bit short on cash, and crave something to help with both. It might be simply impossible, or you may just not want to go back to a job, which would mean leaving your kids with a childcare professional (and therefore adding an extra expense) while you are at work. However, it is possible to make money from working, on top of taking care of your family. Freelancing offers work that fits around your schedule, and as much or as little as you’d like. Perhaps a few adjustments will have to be made to give yourself some time, which is not always easy- but since when was motherhood ever easy? Here are some tips on why, and how you can go freelance.

Going freelance is a good idea, specifically for full time parents, because it enables you to choose exactly what type of work you want to do and how many hours you are willing to work. Instead of a 9-5 job that often requires sitting at a desk all day, a freelancer has complete control to choose how her (or his) career goes. The more experience gained, the better and higher quality projects come around. That means the responsibility and money earned is completely dependent upon the determination of the freelancer. It is also means that no workday will look the same.

If this seems like a good idea for you, you should take a moment whilst the kids are sleeping in the evening, or while they are watching TV to go onto your laptop and have a look at what is out there. If you are reading this article, chances are you enjoy reading blogs and sharing ideas, and there are some really useful sites such as blog Jobrapido, which offers realistic and professional advice on all aspects of job searching.

You’ll find many different freelancing options, for all different job types with different companies. For example, take freelance writing. Many blog owners will hire freelance writers to write articles on their blogs. If you enjoy writing and being creative, but are also willing to do the research to create quality articles, this is work that is high in demand. Or there is website design. If you love design and are familiar with Photoshop, you can take these skills into the freelance space. Learning the goals and personality of the website owner can help you create one of a kind pieces on your own time and earn some money along the way.

Working as a freelancer can have a very positive affect on a mother’s life. Having the ability to make money and keep the career-motivated part of you satisfied helps those who are interested, stay more balanced and happy overall. Overall, freelancing/doing what you love and being a stay at home mum seems pretty close to balancing the best of both worlds.


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*Published in partnership with Mary Johnson.

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