Oh hey there, remember me? I wonder how many blog posts I’ve started like this when I’ve been gone a while. I really shouldn’t apologise because well… I’ve been busy.

There I said it I’m busy… busy, Busy, BUSY!

I feel we aren’t allowed to say we’re busy anymore, for a while it was cool to be the busiest person in the world, but recently I feel it’s become rather uncool.

No one wants to be seen to be working all the time, but instead showing how you can make your money while spending your days lunching with friends and shopping at organic food markets.

Well I haven’t yet found the magic formula for making (enough) money in my sleep, but I have managed to forge a fairly lucrative life from working really bloody hard! My Grandpa would be proud.

I love this blog and last week passed my 8 year blog birthday without a fuss (Happy Birthday to me, feel free to send a present and make a fuss…) which means for another year it is the one thing in my life I’ve stuck to for the longest and not wanting to break the record here I am saying hello again.

Happiness in the peak District

Before I start with the travel blog posts I thought I’d share a little life update on what I’ve been up to the last few months. If you couldn’t care less what I’ve been up to the last few months then skip to the Balance section which is a bit more ‘thought provoking’ maybe and less me me me! 😉

Work..

I’ve been working for myself for 5 years now and as I’ve said before there hasn’t been a single day that has gone by when I have regretted handing in my notice to go it alone. Not a single day. Honestly the Best. Decision. Ever.

So the last few months I’ve been beavering away at everything but blogging… I’ve been contracting at a council in London doing anything from 1 to 5 days a week as a UX Designer and Scrum Master (ask me another day to explain what these are if you don’t know) I have been working with a fab small team to build lots of awesome websites for the council. Like this one for London Borough of Culture and this one to encourage more people to Foster a child.

Alongside contracting I’ve been delivering lots of training, including the Third Sector Digital Leaders course, training for students on building their brand online and facilitating the University Business Challenge, a simulation and training days on business and entrepreneurship.

I also became a Certified Happiness Trainer and have already started putting my new HAPPY skills to the test. More on this coming soon…

ice cream in Jersey on the beach

Aaand I’ve been doing some Digital Marketing work for some clients and of course lots of volunteering for my new role as Chair of the Peak District National Park Foundation.

To finish I’ve been beavering away behind the scenes with some new ideas (especially around happiness) and I’ve started with a Business Coach to help decide what direction I might go in next. All in all it’s been busy (there I go again) but fun and most importantly varied. Just how I like it.

Life.

So life has been largely work, read on to find out about balance.

The main news being since finishing renovating my property I’ve put it up for sale and my boyfriend and I are looking for a new project together. We’ve even been considering building a house… from scratch… but with that we need a plot and planning permission, so we will see how we go on those first. Needless to say I’ve already bought a domain name and planned my beautiful renovation blog… maybe I should rethink my priorities?!

Jen and Olly

We’ve fitted in a few travels so far this year, (alongside my weekly trips to London and beyond for work) including a weekend glamping in the Cotswolds, a weekend in Jersey and most recently a trip to NYC and back to New Jersey for my 15 year high school reunion. Gosh that makes me feel old!

Lots of blogs on all of this to follow…

Balance.

aaa Work Life Balance the age old dream we all want. But isn’t that the thing, its old! Back in the days where you work really hard, chill with your friends and family all weekend and call that balance.

These days it’s not enough. You’ve got to be having fun when you’re working, working on your off days, but barely noticing and ideally travelling the world at the same time… all while giving off this air of calm and looking like you never work, yet somehow afford the high life.

Peak District lambs at Chatsworth

My reality is… In March I spent 3 days at home and had about 3 days in total when I didn’t work (these weren’t the days I was at home).

March was all work, less life and not so much balance… but I still enjoyed it. I was busy, I was hustling, I was a Girl Boss… anymore freelance cliches I can fit in this sentence babes?!

Though as much as I enjoyed March if someone had told me I had to do March all over again in April I’d have burst into tears then screamed in their face. I was tired.

On the other end of the scale, this week I’m at home all week and other than a couple of days of contract work for the council (from home) I can spend my time however I want. It feels weird, I feel tired and want to scream in someone’s face!

Needless to say I don’t think I’ve quite got this balance thing down… yet!

Balance is a different thing for everyone and changes as you change. Balance for me means different things every week. Olly asked me what I like to do in the evenings and my answer… read or… work! Maybe I do have the balance right I’m just always striving for more and different things.

I love what I do (most of the time) and most importantly I love that sometimes it’s crazy busy and sometimes a bit calmer and allows me time to lunch with friends and shop in organic food markets.

Really balance is similar to contentment which is similar to happiness. We can strive and push and chase the next high, but really it’s about just making the most of the situation you’re in right now.

You’re doing pretty well you know! Yes YOU!

Anyway… back soon with the travel tips and thanks for sticking around while I’ve been gone x

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