Working from home

Ah, what weird times. I decided to avoid all the hassle and distance myself socially for the time being. For everyone’s benefit 🙌

I’m honestly used to staying inside for a long period of time. I have been growing my business and working from home for the past three + years now. So really, it’s just another day at the office!

Still, I so miss grabbing my laptop and heading out to my local cafe’ for a nice cup of frothy cappuccino while I work. And meetings. Actual face-to-face ones. I miss those 😥

Come to think of it, it’s been a while since I could just get up, grab my things and leave for a little change in scenery. It takes me at least two hours to get little Beth and myself ready before we actually leave the house.

I think I spend half an hour preparing the bag alone. Parents would know about the bag: Change of clothing, nappies, snacks, bottles, milk powder, water flask…there’s more. But, my intention is not to bore you out of your mind.

Funny how we take the little things for granted in life, right? The minute we’re denied something, a temporary ‘lack of freedom’, we’re done for. Spare a thought for people fleeing for their lives with nothing but their clothes on their backs. People who were denied their freedom even before they were born.

It’s not the easiest time for businesses. I get that. Believe me, I do. But we will get through this. So, in the meantime, if you’re staying at home, make the most of it.

Read more, rest more! Perhaps, find a cause you believe in and help out remotely for the time being? The NGO I voluntarily work with, bBrave  (anti-bullying), is always on the lookout for new members 😉 Just saying!

Stay safe,

Amanda x

 

 

Here’s to new #beginnings!

The reason behind my online absence? Little Bethany 💙 She became my number one priority way before she came into this world. She is also the reason why I’m not getting any sleep. Not even a wink.

Working on my projects and taking care of Beth is a new challenge I’m diving into, head first. I cut back on some work for the first few weeks but am slowly getting back on track. It’s not like no one ever went through this before but it hits you right in the face when you’re actually experiencing it.

One thing you’re in dire need of if you’re a working mum is flexibility. I must admit that being my own boss does help. I can get work done when she sleeps, be it at four in the morning (I’d be awake anyway) or 11 at night. And perhaps also try to squeeze an hour of sleep in between. 

As an avid planner myself, I am now aware of how naive I was to think I had everything under control. Once a newborn was in my arms, I realised that planning was not going to be on the agenda any time soon. 

My clients were extremely understanding. I couldn’t have asked for a better lot ❤ I made sure to meet up with everyone before I popped. And together, we planned and scheduled most of the work. I wanted to make sure I had everything covered. And, I did. 

When my water broke, the first thing I did (after taking a shower & calling my better half), was to sit back down and tie loose ends. An hour and a half later I was in the labour ward. 

I quite like privacy and am not one to shower my social media with pictures of myself and my family. In fact, most people didn’t even realise I was pregnant. Not until after I posted a picture showing Beth’s tiny feet.

I’m also aware of the irony given my line of work. But being or becoming an ‘influencer’ has never been on my agenda. I have always been a behind-the-scenes kind of person.

Having said that, I will be sharing just a few pictures in the coming days on my IG account 👇

Follow me on Instagram

It took me forever to write this blogpost! The minute she closed her eyes, I sprinted to my laptop. Inspiration hit and I wanted to pour it all down. It feels good to be back 💙 

Amanda x

 

 

Christmas: Staying vs. Leaving

Celebrating Christmas means different things to different people. For most, it’s the right opportunity to spend time with their loved ones. Where I come from, Christmas is the pure definition of family time. The first time I suggested travelling during the holidays, the air went still at home. 

If you come from a family who never missed one single family Christmas gathering, I believe you can easily relate.

The option of travelling against staying at home during the holidays is a constant internal battle. It’s something we start debating once we realise that summer is almost over and we still need to plan out our remaining leave days […]

New article @timesofmalta

Get the e-paper to read more: Click here

[Christmas Supplement, 2 December 2018]

#inthespotlight @Elizabeth Cortis

#inthespotlight - amandalia

My passion for writing led me to Elizabeth earlier this year. I was writing an article for the Times of Malta last March and Elizabeth helped me shed light on being a mumpreneur.

Mumpreneur: the modern superhero

After our virtual chatting, we then had the pleasure to meet up at Nakita‘s book launch event. In case you missed her interview, click here!

Elizabeth is one of the most interesting persons I have met thus far. She is positive, driven, and extremely focused. Our conversation flowed easily over a cappuccino in a quaint coffee shop in the heart of Rabat. It was a nice way to start the day; especially on a Monday morning.

I started off with what would seem like a basic question.

What does proofreading involve?

When I proofread, I’m improving what can be improved and eliminating any errors. It’s the perfect version of your own work. I like to refer to it as the four-eye principle; having someone else look at your work with fresh eyes.

Technically speaking, proofreading takes place during the final phase and involves checking the written work for typing errors, missed words, punctuation marks etc.

I find that most people confuse proofreading with copyediting. The latter involves sentence structure. Say you’re writing your dissertation and the ideas are still unclear or not flowing. Sometimes, clients mean they need both. Nowadays, proofreading is a requirement and an essential part of the academic career.

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What is unique about your business?

I set myself apart from others who work on proofreading as part-timers and have an unrelated full-time job. Don’t get me wrong, they have my respect! But, this is my passion and my focus 24/7.

I approach it as a professional. That is, I’m fully aware of the responsibilities involved. For most students, thesis-writing can be a stressful moment and I acknowledge and respect that – that is why I meet deadlines, read guidelines and work to the best of my ability.

My 11 years of experience provides me with not just knowledge but also an understanding of how things are done. For example, I know what universities expect and can see things from a much broader perspective than the client does.

 

What does a typical working day look like for you?

I have to balance my two roles; a mother and a business owner. I have two little kids who are still in their formative years and who need a lot of my time. On the other hand, I’m a business owner; not just a proofreader or book editor. So, I have to run and further develop my business as well.

Typically, I work around my kids’ schedule. I’m also lucky to have the full support of my family, especially my husband. So, if I have to put in more effort or schedule meetings, they back me up every time. I believe that the role of a mumpreneur is managing your business as well as your family without denying yourself anything. For instance, you need the time for yourself because it’s important not to experience a burnout.

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When did you decide to take the leap? Was it something you have always intended for yourself?

Running my own business has always been my dream. I’m an ambitious person and always try to think of ways to develop and grow my business further. I spent 10 years of my life teaching English; which I loved. But I wanted more. It was a huge leap. I remember my friends questioning my sanity.

Quitting a safe job was not easy but I don’t regret it because I’m doing something I’ve always wished to do. And that is, spending quality time with my children. Up until they were three years old, I still worked but less intensely because they were my sole focus. I don’t believe a mother should forget about her aspirations just because she becomes a mother. The will to work, aspire and improve are all great skills to pass on to your kids. They see you as alive, driven and passionate about your work. We have our crazy days, but we make it work.

 

What is your biggest failure? Your biggest success?

What is a failure anyway? I am a very positive person. I don’t acknowledge failures; they’re small setbacks. It’s all about how you look at it. I see it as learning something new about your skills or about your limits. You either going to give it another go and be more prepared or decide that it’s not something that you would like to pursue. Either way, you have grown. Self-growth and improvement mean everything to me.

I believe that small everyday successes are still successes. Getting out of my comfort zone and doing things that are challenging drives me onwards. Another one of my biggest successes is seeing my kids grow, and not just physically. Looking back, I feel extremely satisfied that I managed to give them my all.

 

What advice would you give female entrepreneurs?

Find time for yourself and set small goals. Don’t set big targets and overstress yourself. I try to take things one step at a time to stay motivated with short-term goals. Try creating a personal plan and keep in mind that not everything will go as planned either. Don’t close up shop just because you’re having one bad day. Be kind to yourself, be realistic and don’t be too hard on yourself.

That is when I realised how important it is to be part of a support network. If you’re in need of help, don’t et your pride get in the way. Know your limitations and accept the help you’re being offered.

Don’t try to do everything yourself. You don’t have to be an expert in every area. Outsourcing can save you time because trying to do everything on your own is a struggle.

Join the Group: Malta Mumpreneurs Network

 

Three (3) tools you would recommend to anyone starting their own business?

Google Keep – for your to-do lists. Or, more likely in my case, the I WILL DO list.

Self- Motivation techniques – I believe in these techniques. E.g. when I’m tired, I try and work five minutes more; just a step further to improve self-discipline.

Take mental breaks – You need your off days. When I don’t have tight deadlines, I take pleasure in reading and listening to motivational business speakers.

Oh, and coffee! Haha!

Quick questions 🙂

Tea or coffee?

Tea to relax, Coffee to work

Books or movies?

Books

Time travel or teleportation?

Teleportation I’m a very realistic person – li I just leave and visit different countries/places. I love travelling.

Winter or Summer? 

Winter

Adventurous or Cautious?

Adventurous; I love doing things out of my comfort zone.

 

Go follow!

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🌐 www.proofreadingmalta.com

#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!

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On becoming a #dad

Featured on the @SundayTimesofMalta – 10 June 2018

Being a dad is a beautiful thing, isn’t it? Discovering you’re going to be a dad for the first time is a big deal. It’s exciting, surprising, overwhelming even.

To say that the journey of fatherhood is not a bumpy one, would be untrue. Most fathers would agree that it is not a walk in the park. After all, you are now responsible for another life and not just yours.

amandaliatimesofmalta

I asked some dads about their first reactions to get to know their side of the story.  The first person I asked was my own father. True, it’s been 29 years since I was born and 25 since my brother came into this world. Inevitably, I had to ask him whether he remembered any of it; getting the news, the waiting, the delivery.

“Some things, you never forget,” he simply said. He remembers being mind-blown when he got the news. “I looked at your mum, thanked her and cried with joy.”

Read more (get the e-paper): https://www.timesofmalta.com/epaper 

#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

 

Last time you read a book?

 

bookamandalia

I spent this whole week (except for Monday morning) indoors. Hence, my radio silence. I missed out on work, my brother’s birthday celebrations, coffees and beautiful sunny days. The flu got me this time, and it was everything but pleasant. And so, I had (and still have) to rest as much as possible. Doctor’s orders.

Watching TV or too much time in front of my laptop worsened my headaches and made me feel even more drowsy. But, staying at home doing nothing gets boring after a couple of hours; even though I have Nina, my hyperactive puppy, by my side.

I grabbed a book. I bought it last January on my way back from London and had only managed to read a couple of pages. In fact, I didn’t even bother sticking a bookmark inside. There was no point.

The first thing I weirdly enjoy doing once I open a book, is smell the pages.  I don’t know if any of you do this. Maybe it’s just me and my weird habits. Alas, my nasal congestion denied me this simple pleasure. I can’t even taste anything at the moment.

The feel of the pages, though, is soothing. Don’t you miss reading an actual book book and not swiping away through articles, books and magazines on your smartphone? Ah, I remember going to the local library every week and read until my eyes watered. I used to bring home five books at a time (I think that was the limit back then), read the last sentence of each and start with the one I found the most compelling. Again, weird habits. I found solace in fiction and spent hours on end with my favourite characters. How times change.

Back to the present. As I sipped on my honey infused cup of hot water, I read through the first chapter. And then the second. And now, I’m hooked. It’s actually a pretty good read; Anthony Horowitz’s Magpie Murders, a captivating #whodunnit story within another story.

It feels good to be able to absorb the words on the page without having to go through the same paragraph at least three times. There is no clatter in my mind; only the author’s story (or in this case, stories) unfolding. Nothing else.

I know how hectic life can get, believe me. And it’s exactly for that reason why reading can be beneficial.  Leafing through a book can be therapeutic. Plus, I have also read somewhere that it helps boost your concentration. Think about it. You’re exercising your mind whilst enjoying a good page-turner.

I guess it’s nice to free up some time for yourself to simply read without any distractions. You should try it.

Now, I will take my leave. Magpie Murders awaits.

Amanda x

#newbeginnings #puppylove

Quick Post! We have welcomed home our new family member, Nina Penelope. Why two names? I’m not really sure myself ! 😅

It has been 2 weeks already since we got her from Gozo SPCA . I have to say, they are super dedicated, patient are doing such a great job!

She was so timid at first, exploring her new home and getting to know us. Now, she’s all over the place. Our little bundle of joy 💙

Here she is:

 

P.s. I had difficulty writing this post with her head resting on my arm. She looked too cute and peaceful to move!

Amanda x