My not-so-typical workdays

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I see this question on my friends’ expressive faces whenever the topic of work arises. What does a day in my life look like? Well. It depends on which day because every single day is different.

Saturday, I spent most of the day planning work, creating content for social media (client work) and following online courses to stay updated and to further broaden my knowledge. Yesterday was slightly toned down. I started out with a hearty breakfast in Sliema, which was cut short thanks to Nina’s incessant barking (currently undergoing training). The morning transitioned into quite a ‘lazy’ afternoon of conversations, coffees, baking, creating lists (always) and writing.

A lot of people don’t really get what it is that I do. I saw the confused look on my aunt’s face a couple weeks ago; she was still trying to wrap her head around the idea of not having a salaried job. Just this month, it also happened with my friends. I have explained to them time and again what my work involves. One of them simply stared blankly at me and said, “You’re our Chandler.” If you haven’t watched FRIENDS, that comment is lost on you, as it was on me. Apparently, it means something along the lines of, “What you do remains a mystery.”

Let’s unravel this ‘mystery’ once and for all:

1. Content and creative writing

This is my absolute favourite. I love creating content from scratch; be it scripts for radio ads, TVCs, newsletters, newspaper articles, blog posts, website content or copy for social media. Storytelling has seen me through my toughest years and keeps the imaginative little child within, alive.

2. Social Media Management

Through my love for words, media, and communications, I found my passion for social media marketing. To date, I have helped businesses and individuals create and maintain their online presence on multiple social media platforms.

There is a misconception that I would like to address.  Some people think that taking care of, say, a business Facebook page is something that anyone can do. All you have to do is publish or share a post, right? Well, not quite. There’s so much more to take into consideration than just that. And this is exactly why the work of professional social media managers goes unappreciated.

Let’s put you in the picture for a second. These are some of the things I work on:

  • Planning & creating eye-catching graphics
  • Creating the right copy in the correct tone of voice for the right audience
  • Planning and creating targeted adverts and campaigns
  • Close & constant monitoring of accounts, comments & incoming messages
  • Creating monthly & quarterly reports

The list goes on. I’m writing a separate blog post on must-have skills for social media management to help anyone interested in learning get started.

3. Consultation

Through my coaching experience on digital marketing in collaboration with the Malta Communications Authority (MCA), I realised that helping small businesses and self-employed individuals who are willing to learn and expand their knowledge, is something I love doing. I have helped individuals understand the works of email marketing, mobile marketing and social media, in particular. Seeing them succeed gives me the boost I need to keep going.

It’s exciting to work on multiple projects and meet different people every week. It keeps me on my toes. One thing I’m sure of about my work is that it never gets boring. Hectic, yes. Crazy, maybe. But never boring.

Amanda x

Finding Inspiration: Interview with Caroline Ciantar-Barbara

It is safe to say that one of the hottest topics hogging the headlines is property. We have been debating the inflated prices, questioning the existence of a property bubble and shaking our heads in resignation at every block of apartments we see in construction.

But, in this article, published today on the @Times of Malta, I deliberately chose not to go there. Instead, I reached out to the talented interior designer, Caroline Ciantar-Barbara, to learn more about what comes after investing in a new home.

Get today’s e-paper to read the interview: Click here

[Property & Construction Supplement]

Check out Caroline’s work:  🌐 https://www.ccb.com.mt/

Go follow!

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Travelling to #Porto?

Porto - amandalia

Porto was added to my travel list the minute I saw this ⬆️  ⬆️  I was doing some research on Portugal 🇵🇹 at the time and inevitably came across this charming port city.

It was late June when I arrived there and as expected, the city was flooded with tourists. Next time, I’d probably go during a less popular month (there will definitely be a next time). Thing is, the main reason for this mini-holiday was to finally see Muse play live @Rock in Rio.

Going around is as easy as communicating. The locals are super helpful and friendly. Knowing the local language is always a plus. However, I had only started learning Spanish then. And this, whilst trying to learn Japanese (still a long way to go). So, there wasn’t too much room for Portuguese as well! Even though I could understand the written word (e.g. menus, signs), the spoken language sounded completely different. The only key phrases I managed to master were:

  • Obrigado/a Thank you
  • Bom dia Good morning/day
  • Boa noiteGood evening/night
  • Por favor Please

And that is an extremely sad, short list. Still, I managed to get around just fine  🙌🏼

As a writer and total bookworm, I wanted to visit Livraria Lello. That was high on my list. Experiencing a port wine tasting will also be worth your while, trust me. Portologia is somewhere I highly recommend. And, for a heavenly lunch or dinner, Jimão is the place to go. I wanted to stay there forever.

Pictures below 👇🏼👇🏼

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Amanda x

 

 

 

 

#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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Adopting a puppy

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“I remember how timid she was at first, sleeping all day long. She’s now seven months and all over the place; a highly energetic explorer. And, our bundle of joy!”

Check out my latest article featured on @dogsofmalta.

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

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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?

 

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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