WHY SHE INSPIRES ME – CELEBRATING FEMALE BLOGGERS – MICHELLE – MAKING SENSE OF CENTS

This blog series is me wanting to stand up and celebrate the strength and resilience of wonderful women. Female bloggers who, in my eyes, are quite frankly unstoppable. I wanted to celebrate these women and share with you their blogs in the hope that they inspire you too.

 

In my second installment of Why She Inspires Me – Celebrating Female Bloggers I wanted to share with you the inspirational Michelle Schroeder-Gardner who is the fabulous blogger at Making Sense of Cents.

 

For those who don’t yet know Michelle – where have you been!  She is a finance and lifestyle blogger like no other.  She has gone from being $38,000 in debt to running a blog making $1 million last year all while touring North America living in an RV!

 

Making Sense of Cents

 

 

Why She Inspires Me

I don’t really know if Michelle is aware of just how much of an inspiration she is.  I read her blog constantly and get so much from her posts.  What I find remarkable is that she shares her expertise so willingly.  She is constantly thinking of ways to help her readers get to a better place whether that’s making extra cash or changing their career to full time blogging.  I have certainly been blown away by her commitment to this.  Michelle is one of the most passionate and determined women in the blogging world.  How else would you go from being in debt to earning $1 million dollars blogging?

 

Making Sense of Cents

 

Michelle kindly took time out to answer a few questions to help you get to know her better:

 

What makes you smile?

Life is great, so a ton of things make me smile 🙂 My husband, family, dogs, friends, full-time travel, and more, all make me smile pretty much every single day.

 

If you could trade lives with one person for an entire day who would it be and why?

I don’t think I’d trade lives with anyone. Everyone has their positives and negatives so I’m sure if someone’s life seemed great, that there would probably be something there that wouldn’t be great – since that is normal in life. I am happy in my own shoes.

 

What accomplishments are you most proud of?

Everything in my life! I’m proud of my business, having my friends and family, traveling full-time, and more.

 

If you could give your 16 year old self advice, knowing what you know now, what would it be?

There are so many things that I would tell my 16 year old self. I would tell 16 year old Michelle to not spend all of her money on clothes and food, to not care about what people think in high school, and to spend more time on improving herself.

 

What drives you to do what you do? What motivates you?

Lots of things drive and motivate me. I am always looking to better myself and reach my goals, so that helps me to keep my eyes on the prize. For example, back when I was doing a ton of things to make extra money, I kept my goal of paying off my student loans on my mind constantly so that I would constantly be motivated to pay off my student loans quickly.

 

 

I do hope you head over and read Michelle’s blog Making Sense of Cents, there you will find inspiration. I hope it motivates you as much as it has me.

 

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Making Sense of Cents

 

To read about other inspirational female bloggers:

Why Laura from Mum on a Mission Inspires Me

Why Katy from Katy Kicker Inspires Me

Why Jenna from A Balanced Belly Inspires Me

Why Jordanne from The Life of A Glasgow Girl Inspires Me

Why Victoria from Lylia Rose Inspires Me

 

 

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HOW TO DESIGN A COZY THATCHED COTTAGE INTERIOR FOR YOUR HOME

While the modern and contemporary decors of home living design are starting to slow down, another Ye Olde English design is making waves. Periodic dramas that depict the wonderful British countryside and the humble surroundings of the fair and yearning Black Country as more popular than ever before. People have realised that certain styles are purely for pleasing the fashion masters down the road and perhaps getting a nod of approval from the in laws. The real design for a splendid, warm and hearty home, should be natural, stocky, thick and full of character. There’s nothing quite like a thatched cottage home, with exterior and interior design philosophies incorporating the wilderness together with a sense of humble living. But, where to start and what first to accomplish?

 

Entering the home

 

When you enter a home, it should feel like one. There should be as much usage of space as only needed. When you enter your home, the first thing that should strike you is the quality of the flooring. Be using aged and dried yew tree flooring; the floorboards can be interlocked together and still remain rigid. Cheaper but equally as attractive hardwoods are viable, although, their sheen isn’t as deep and dense as a good quality wood. You should also make use of candles, encased in a glass bulb, but able to be taken off. The handles that prop up the candle can be polished brass or perhaps a glimmering steel.

 

 

Stature and boldness

 

The bedrooms and the living room is where the family will spend most of their time. Redesign your ceiling and get rid of the plain post-modern plaster artwork which generically features in most homes built a decade ago. Why not go back even further by using oak in a living room, with dried oak timber for the beams. The wood is strong because all the moisture that causes bending under pressure has been evaporated naturally. The beams would lay over the top of the walls, supporting the ceiling structure. A great sight to behold, and sure to impress visitors and guests.

 

Natural warmth

 

Every thatched cottage in the countryside has a fireplace, and your home should be no exception. You could install a fireplace to give the room a natural way of warming, as well as provide heat for the entire home. This is a great addition to your living room if you have a chimney running through one of the walls. The design should be an authentic, charcoal black, pure cast iron frame, with a hardened clay brick interior to insulate and stoke the fire.

 

Basic is beautiful

 

The kitchen of the traditional thatched cottage is pure for working and cooking. So, do away with the lavish designs, and adapt a less is more approach to the decor. The cabinet can change to a pure white frame, with a large opaque sheet of glass covering the door. The cabinet is taller, with a vertical, inwardly carved design like stripes, and usually in a sky blue or a darker, natural wood brown.

 

The traditional English countryside cottage has a great persona attached to it that has traveled the world. Basic, warm, cosy and very minimalistic, it’s very easy to fall in love with this decor and design approach.

 

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WHY SHE INSPIRES ME – CELEBRATING FEMALE BLOGGERS – VICTORIA – LYLIA ROSE

I have been blogging just over a year.  In that time I have found some very inspiring female bloggers who have helped me along the way.  I wanted to celebrate these women and show my support for them by starting a blogging series called Why She Inspires Me.

 

This blog series is me wanting to stand up and celebrate the strength and resilience of these wonderful women. These female bloggers are in my eyes quite frankly unstoppable.

 

For this post I wanted to share with you why lifestyle blogger Victoria from Lylia Rose inspires me.

 

Why She Inspires Me

Victoria reached out to help me when I started my blog back in July 2016.  She came to my rescue as a new blogger when I was unsure how and what to do.  Sometimes I really get down about the world of blogging and how I’m getting on within it, Victoria’s income reports and insights in to blogging have kept me at it.  Victoria’s journey to full time blogger also inspires me and her passion and dedication is infectious.

 

 

To get to know Victoria a little better I asked her a few questions…

 

What makes you smile?

When everything is going well; my children and husband are happy, if everything is paid and we still have some money left at the end of the month and having lots of lovely plans to look forward to.

 

 

If you could trade lives with one person for an entire day who would it be and why?

Honestly, I’d just like to be me! I’m not sure there’s anyone I’d like to trade lives with.

 

What accomplishments are you most proud of?

My beautiful children of course! Also earning a living myself through my own employment. I’m still amazed every day that I’m earning a full time wage from home. I’m pretty proud of myself for this and I would never have thought it was possible a few years ago.

If you could give your 16 year old self advice, knowing what you know now, what would it be?

Don’t bother going to university! Or pick a very different course. From age 16-18 I was in sixth form without a clue in the world of what I wanted to be when I was older. Yet I felt pressured to choose a course and go to university as that was the done thing. I didn’t enjoy university and quit after one year, still not knowing what I wanted to do. I wish someone had told me that not everyone knows what they want to do at 18, so just get out there and experience life. I should have worked, saved and travelled the world, then decided what I wanted to do after that.

 

What drives you to do what you do? What motivates you?

My children are my main inspiration. Without them I would never have taken the plunge to start my own business, in fact I would never even have thought of it and would no doubt still be in my pre-baby job!

I’m also motivated by the sheer number of people who complain day in and out about their jobs. I don’t want to get to say 60 years old and be in a job I hate or always wish I’d done something for myself.

My passion for working for myself also drives me. I love what I do and I’m naturally a highly motivated person who wants to succeed and work hard. These qualities make me highly suited to being self-employed. It’s not a struggle for me, but I can imagine some others find it hard to work when they are surrounded by so many home comforts and distractions!

 

 

Join me in celebrating female bloggers who make a difference in your life.  Those female bloggers who support us, who encourage us and who inspire us.

 

I’d love to know who inspires you.  Join me in sharing the wonderful stories of female bloggers.

 

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To read about other inspirational female bloggers:

Why Laura from Mum on a Mission Inspires Me

Why Katy from Katy Kicker Inspires Me

Why Jenna from A Balanced Belly Inspires Me

Why Jordanne from The Life of A Glasgow Girl Inspires Me

Why Michelle from Making Sense of Cents Inspires Me

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EASING THE BURDEN OF HOME RENOVATION PROJECTS

 

Starting a new project is a big task. If you’re going to be doing some room restructuring or putting in some new lights and windows, you need to use your head effectively to make sure that the process goes as smoothly as possible. Projects hang on a knife edge, they can very quickly turn sour if you don’t get everything right on the first try. This sounds unrealistically hard to do, but if you prepare properly and take all of the necessary steps, it won’t be! Keep on reading if you want to know how to ease the burden of big projects.

 

 

Can You Really Do It Yourself?

This is one of the biggest questions that you have to ask yourself, and is often the most difficult because you have to put away your pride when you ask yourself this. If your project involves a lot of technical work like messing around with wiring and piping, you have to ask yourself if you really have the skills to do it. Most people won’t even think about this and they’ll blunder into a project without having thought about whether or not they can do it, which can lead to some very disastrous eventualities! There is a very good reason why plumbers and electricians have to be well trained, and that would be because it’s a very hard job to do right. If you know that you don’t have the skills to get a job done, which there is no shame in admitting, it’s best for you to hire a tradesman to come out to your house and do whatever job needs to be done! This keeps you out of danger of hurting yourself especially with live wiring, and prevents any mistakes that could ruin your home!

 

 

Is There An Alternative Option?

Oftentimes, people will just think “I want to change this room” and use the first idea which comes to their head and set off with that. This idea tends to be completely changing everything in the room, which isn’t always the best plan of action! You need to sit down and really think about what you want to do with your rooms to formulate a coherent plan so that everything has continuity and actually makes sense. Don’t just do something because you can do it, do something because you want to do it! It can serve to hire an interior designer, these professionals are able to listen to what you want done in your home and suggest the best option for it, perfect for those of us who don’t quite know the best way forward, which is most of us!

 

 

How Long Will It Take?

The timescale in which you do your project matters a lot too. It will determine how much you have to pay your workers, and how long it is until you’re finished and get to look at the end result! What you must keep in mind about large scale projects is that they are very disruptive to everyone in the household, which can be especially upsetting if you have toddlers and babies.

For us adults, it’s just plain annoying having all of those drills and banging noises occurring all of the time, you just cannot wait to get your house back. For this reason, it’s good to be able to see how long everything is taking by documenting it all in an excel document, you can record how far through the job you are and how much money you owe the contractors, a much better alternative than paper!

 

How Much Will It Cost?

 

Possibly the largest determining factor in how much you’re going to do to your house is how much it is going to cost. Money makes the world go round, and this is not an exception. You have to decide how much money you’re going to be able to spend on a project before you start, otherwise you could find yourself doing one of two things; You could end up planning a huge project and having to take out a huge amount of money from different lenders to fuel your project. This is something you want to avoid, even though you’ll have your dream home you’re going to be in a lot of debt which is something everyone needs to avoid in order to be financially stable. To remedy this you can get debt consolidation personal loans that help you put all of the payments in one place, but we want to avoid this. The other thing that can happen is that you can get halfway through your project and have to stop doing it because you cannot afford to complete it, leaving you with a half finished house that is not going to be nice to live in! In order to avoid this, all you need to do is plan accordingly. It can be difficult to plan everything on paper, so it’s good to get project planner apps for your phone that tell you how much of your budget you have got to play with, what you’ve already done and what you’ve got left to do! Getting one of these apps can really help you avoid any kind of financial disaster, perfect for those of us who find ourselves getting carried away too easily!

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WHAT ALL PARENTS NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THEIR CHILD USING SCREENS

My goodness, as a parent to a teen and a teenager it is difficult to miss how much technology has changed.  Since my childhood anyway!  Screen time and the use of devices plays a major role in children’s lives.

 

I have read extensively on the topic of screen time.  I was shocked at what I read.  I know screen time on various devices has provided significant opportunities for children at home and in school for learning, creativity, entertainment and socialising.  However, the amount of screen time is a constant battle in our house.

 

This is what I found out:

 

OFCOM (2014) research reported that 65% of children aged between 12 and 15 years of age owned a smartphone; the amount of time 8-11s and 12-15s spend online has more than doubled since 2005 from 4.4 hours a week in 2005 to 11.1 hours in 2015 for 8-11s and from 8 hours to 18.9 for 12-15s; and half of parents of 5-15s with home broadband use time-limiting software to manage their child’s online access.

 

Child Development

According to a leading child development expert Chris Rowan, early exposure to technology can disrupt the development of a child’s brain.  He also suggests that overuse of screens has the effect of families rarely interacting with each other.  I know I can relate to this point!

 

The impact of rapidly advancing technology on the developing child has also been studied by Dr Aric Sigman , with doctors at the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health calling for government health officials to set limits on the amount of time children spend watching screens, advocating for under-threes to be kept away from them altogether.  There is also the issue that children could develop hand injuries with excessive use of technology.

 

Speech delay in toddlers has also been linked to the amount of screen time.  The research conducted by the University of Toronto (2016) found that the more screen time by a child, the more likely the child was to have delays in expressive speech.

 

As if that wasn’t enough, a University of Bristol study which involved more than 1,000 children aged 10 measured the time children spent in front of a screen and found that children who spend longer than two hours a day in front of a computer or TV are more likely to suffer psychological difficulties than other youngsters.

 

Child Health and Mental Well-being

A research project which follows the lives of around 19,000 children born in the United Kingdom in 2000-2001, suggests that children who have regular bedtimes and limits on screen time are less likely to be obese.  Furthermore, a  large study (University of Glasgow, 2015) which involved more than 5,000 children who were followed for over two years, found a link between time sitting in front of a screen and an increase in blood pressure rates.  It found that children who spent more than two hours a day on screen time over the two years were at increased risk, as were those with low levels of physical activity.

 

Social

A study of 6,000 children in Germany has found a link between phone dependency to health and behavioural problems, suggesting that 28% of children within Germany are either addicted to their smartphone, or will be soon (2017). The researchers reported that children who are introducted to smartphones can develop health problems including hyperactivity or aggression which can also lead to internet dependency.

 

Children refusing to put down their smartphones has also led some parents to send their children to what is known as ‘smartphone rehab’.  (Independent, 2017)  These ‘rehab’ centres have been established in Seattle, offering ‘intensive recovery programmes’ for teenagers who have developed an addiction to their smart phone and other devices.

 

 

So, what do you think?  Do you have concerns about the amount of time your children spend using screens?  I’d love to hear your thoughts on the matter.

 

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