#inthespotlight @themamamanual

#inthespotlight - amandalia.com

There are so many talented people out there. So, this year, I figured, why not get to know some of them a little bit better?

My 2018 #inthespotlight monthly interview series will kick off with none other than  the inspiring Nakita Attard Vassallo at @themamamanual.

I’ve been following @themamamanual on Instagram for quite a while now and I have to say, I’m impressed. She even has a debut book coming out this Summer!

 Nakita, I would love to know more about @themamamanual. How did all this start?

It all started with a book! I’ve been dreaming of writing my own ever since I was a wee girl with a sizeable home library of my own.  It’s not the first time I’ve picked up a pen or a laptop and poured my heart out, but I never really put my finger on what I wanted to write.

One night two years back I could not sleep with excitement.  It had finally hit me!  My book would be about time management for busy mamas, and how to create time for the things you love, but most importantly, for yourself.

When the book’s initial draft was ready, I felt I had so much more valuable information to share, and I had to take it a step further.  I was very keen to connect with and help like-minded mamas manage their time better and prioritise self-care, and a blog would be the perfect way to do it.  The name ‘the Mama Manual’ was born after long hours brainstorming.  I wanted something catchy and original – and it felt right!

Care to tell us more about the woman behind @themamamanual?

I am a multifaceted woman 🙂  I’m a mama, wife and a homemaker around the clock.  My two adorable kids, Yanik –  12, and Nina – 3, keep me happily busy.  I’m married to the love of my life and best friend, Neil.  I’m also a working mum, and I’ve worked hard to build a career for myself.

By night, I am a writer and a blogger, and I run ‘the Mama Manual’ brand with a passion. Time management and organisation skills are my forte; I could spend hours happily decluttering and organising a space, or planning busy days to perfection! Food (not only eating it – but also cooking it!), travel, reading, and slow days at home or in beautiful surroundings with my family and friends are things I enjoy doing and make time for on a regular basis.

From where do you get your inspiration?

Inspiration is all around me!  I never in a million years expected such a phenomenal response from ‘the Mama Manual’ social media pages.  The amazing women I connect with everyday are my sole inspiration and basis for doing what I do.

Being both an entrepreneur and a mother doesn’t come without its challenges. How do you manage everything?

You know how they say ‘do what you love and you will never work another day in your life? That is exactly how I feel about the work I do with ‘the Mama Manual’ brand.  I literally crave working on the book, the blog, and social media every evening – so it’s easy to get started – but challenging to stop might I add!

Of course, effective time management is the secret to being able to make time for my work.  Planning, being organized and pre-empting are essential tools to have.  I am a perfectionist when it comes to having our meals all planned out for the week, as well as cooking wholesome but very quick meals so as not waste precious time.

 

themamamanual-byamandalia
I know there are many women out there who would love to take the leap. What advice would you give someone just starting out?

If you have not yet had the courage to do so, do not feel like you have to go all in or nothing.  You can very well start off slow.  If you are a working mum, keep your job and side hustle.  A mere hour a day is better than no time at all! You can always decide to dedicate more time as things pick up, or go full-time when you feel confident that what you are doing is what you want to do and is paying the bills.

Whatever you do – be patient!  It’s easy to look at successful people and think that everything ‘just happened’ for them.  Being successful takes a lot of work, dedication, time and perseverance.

Where can we get your debut book? I know I want to read it and I’m definitely not the only one.

the Mama Manual – How busy mums get organised will be available for sale on my website: 🌐  www.themamamanual.com, as of the end of the month!

Should you wish to receive an email notifying you that the book is for sale, please let me know on nakita@themamamanual.com.

Go follow!

1   2

 

#meetingswithyourself

byamandalia

Every day is scheduled, planned, structured. I actually write a to do list first thing when I wake up; even before I take the first sip of tea. A daily to do list, a weekly to do list, a monthly to do list. You get the idea. My calendar is brimful of deadlines and meetings. And time seems to simply fly by. It’s Tuesday. I blink and it’s Friday again. I blink and it’s July already.

Yesterday, I decided to set a meeting with myself. It felt weird to say the least. I spend so much time with other people, that being alone in a public space felt off. At first.

But now, I am happily sipping my coconut cappuccino while doing my favourite thing – writing. Sometimes, it doesn’t matter what I write, as long as I do write. It’s very much like:

amandalia

I know for a fact that later is synonymous with never. I’ve been there a couple of times. And all the planning and scheduling go against and sometimes take over my spontaneous side. So, without giving in completely to my organised self, I decided to spend time with myself.

No matter what it is that you do in life; student, full-time employed, mumpreneur, freelancer, stay-at-home parent, you should seriously start thinking about doing this. Spending more time alone can be beneficial. It actually helps with refocusing, improving your concentration and even getting to know yourself better. So be it at home, in a cafeteria, out for a walk or at the beach, it’s good to find the time to disconnect and think.

Is this something you already do? I would love to hear your thoughts 💙

Amanda x

 

#goingfreelance #1yearlater

@byamandalia

It has been a year. The 16th of December marks the day I left my 9 to 5 job (it was more like 10am to 6pm) to start afresh. How time flies! And honestly, looking back, I wonder why I didn’t take the leap before that.

It was a year of firsts. The first time I had my own clients, the first time I gave out training sessions on digital marketing, the first time I truly challenged myself to reach new heights. Forget about the New Year‘s resolution. If you want a change in your life, do it. Don’t wait around for another year to start; that’s a waste of time. And time is something you will not get back because once it’s gone, it’s gone forever.

So, here’s a little insight. Working as a freelancer is not all glitter and might I add, is not for everyone. It’s not a shortcut like some people seem to think. It’s more of a long and bumpy ride. After all, you’re starting from scratch. And, on your own. The first month being the toughest because your income will suffer. But, and that is a big BUT, I have to say that if you put your mind to it, it will get better.

It’s challenging because every day is just not the same. I see this as a plus. However, some people are scared by this; about not having a Monday to Friday routine. But that’s just it. There is no Monday to Friday, 9 to 5 routine. Because this way, you can meet up for a coffee on a Monday morning after working on a Sunday afternoon.  It’s more about learning to find your pace. And, more importantly, managing your time wisely.

Until next year!

Amanda x

 

 

#wallart #creativewednesdays

BLOG TITLES

You know how you tend to take care of everyone else’s needs and always postpone your own? Yes, well, this week, I made it a point to do at least this one thing.

A couple of months ago we got this Scratch Map® from Luckies of London which I went crazy about (and then felt bad after scratching off so little.) We came up with this idea of hanging the map on the bedroom wall with our travel pictures surrounding it. And for once, we decided to be in the pictures because usually we just print the beautiful scenery, maps, quotes – and that’s practically it.

Photo displays are super easy and fun to do if you don’t have a gazillion photos to choose from.  The only thing I dreaded in fact, was the idea of having to sit down and go through all our travel pictures and choose only one from each travel adventure (Stefan, my husband, never seems to let go of his camera whenever we’re abroad).

travelphotodisplay #byamandaliaI usually start by sketching the layout first after taking the wall measurements. And in the meantime, select my favourite pictures so I can design according to their orientation (portrait/landscape).

Ideally, the centre of the display should be at eye level. But to be honest, there are no rules! That’s the beauty of it! You can go frame-less, vary the frame sizes and material, have them in the same colour, different colours, display the pictures on shelves instead of walls…You’re telling a story with your photos, so there is ample room for creativity!

I love creating and designing photo wall arts. For the most part, I do it for others.  But, after I got the one on the stairwell done (proof below), I was constantly being reminded (or rather, nagged) that we had to do this other travel photo display. Now all I need to do is frame and hang them (hopefully this month!)

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Amanda x

#howtobecreative

blog-titles

There is a perfectly good reason for delaying this blog post by 2 days.  In reality, there are 30 reasons!

Yesterday was my husband/best friend/partner in crime’s birthday – the big 3 – 0 and I wanted to do something he wouldn’t easily forget. When it comes to gifting, I tend to take it super seriously. And I always want to make it personal rather than just buying something off the shelf. For me, purchasing one gift is a safe bet but rather ordinary. Coming up with 30 gifts is crazy. So I decided to roll with the latter.

My organised self couldn’t resist not creating a list. So, I started jotting down his favourite things, foods, places, personas, films, books and even things I heard him yammering about needing for weeks on end. Once I had that covered, it was all about putting the plan into action. Design, print, purchase, wrap and HIDE! That’s the most difficult part, I guess, when you live together with your partner. And hiding 30 gifts is no joke. I had to mark one of the rooms off-limits for a couple of weeks!

Once the plot was revealed, I posted the image below and a lot of people were curious as to what I got him – 30 gifts, after all, is kind of a lot. To be honest, it was never about the actual amount! You have to understand that purchasing 30 gifts was a little well over my budget.

 

I asked myself, how can I be more creative? For instance, at the time, I did not afford to buy a ticket for a football match abroad. So, I took a step back and thought about it. Football was never my thing and I’m a real pain whenever there’s a match on; I’m fully aware of that. So, I tried looking at the football-related gift from another perspective. I can’t buy him a ticket but I can not complain during a match, right? It may sound silly and it did actually make him laugh! So I got to creating funny and cheesy “gift vouchers”. I also found our very first photo together taken in 2007 and had it printed and even spent hours logging 10 years of footage to create a 1 minute short trailer commemorating our years together!

So, it’s not about the amount of gifts but the fact that you cared enough for that significant someone to create something fun, memorable, personalised and meaningful.

The final gift; gift number 30, was a surprise party. I knew that he never had one thrown and that he secretly craved it (no one is old enough to want a surprise party it seems). And so I invited close family and friends for a personal get together. Given that I love baking (runs in the family), my lovely mum and I, spent the whole afternoon preparing finger food and mini desserts. This was yesterday and I’m happy to say that it turned out pretty great!

My point in sharing this with you: do not think that you are not creative. You are when putting your mind to it. And if you need a little nudge, just google your initial idea or go on Pinterest for help and you will be blown away with tried and tested ideas! S/he will definitely love every one of your gifts because ultimately, you put your heart in creating something memorable!

I’m sharing one of the coupons I designed with you. You can download and print for yourselves if you wish! Now get your creative juices going and enjoy every second of it!

Amanda x