Inspiration from a teenager with real style


What were you doing when you were 14? Going to school? Hanging out with your friends? Me too, which is why I was a little bit jealous when I read Blurb’s interview with Tolly Dolly, a 14-year-old fashion blogger who’s already been featured in magazines and on the BBC. Oh, and she gets to live in France, too. Anyway, check it out to get inspired to make stylish, unique custom books and maybe start up a fashion empire of your own.

Earning Extra Money on Your Maternity Leave Can Help Manage Low Mood

Guest Post from The Money Shed


It’s no great news that being a mum is difficult, but for some people the challenging task of motherhood can sometimes have other additional stresses. The two that I have been affected by personally are low mood, which in its most severe form is called postnatal depression, and secondly money worries. It is likely that most new mothers in the first year of their child’s life will be affected by one, if not both of these issues. I’d like to tell you about how I juggle being a mum with a baby under one, earn extra money and stay happy.


I have three beautiful children, aged 8, 5 and 6 months all of whom fill my life with endless amounts of joy and happiness. When I’m not a mum I work part time in the NHS, in very fast paced job, that requires a huge amount of concentration, planning and knowledge. And this is where the problem lies. I love being a mum, but I have always felt like there is a piece of my life missing when I’m on maternity leave. When my babies are around 3-4 months old I start feeling lost, isolated, lonely and like I have no purpose in life. Which I know probably sounds crazy because of course my main purpose in life are my kids, but I start feeling down all the same. For those who haven’t felt this way it can be hard to understand, because they see a woman with a healthy, beautiful baby, who has time off work and goes for long walks in the park. But the reality is somewhat different. Enjoying my children is a big part of my life, but it is by no means all of my life.  So the juggling act for me has always been between being the best mum that I can be, whilst also staying sane at the same time.


Working in the NHS means that I have a relatively good maternity package, receiving full pay for 8 weeks, then half pay until my baby is six months old. However after that the pay is minimal, and disappears completely after nine months. So for any mum wanting to take the full 12 months off, money worries tend to be a real issue. So much so that most people I know go back to work well before the 12 month period. My way of getting around this issue was to try and earn some money from home, both online and out and about. But if you’re thinking of doing this yourself, please make sure that your employer has approved it, especially if you are full time, or you could risk losing your maternity pay, and having to pay back what has already been given to you. As I only work part time normally, I’m allowed to work about 18 hours a week legitimately. The amazing thing is that by keeping my mind busy with extra work, I have avoided becoming low in mood, and am enjoying my baby and the time I have with her more than I would have otherwise. I think the expression is two birds with one stone!


My first port of call was joining a good money earning forum site, after trying a few, I found The Money Shed. The Money Shed is a relatively new site is full to the brim with ideas on how to earn money from home, on the internet or out and about. I can’t thank this site enough for not just the practical information, but also for the very warm welcome I was given and the constant support and encouragement I get from the members.  The site has different threads discussing everything from survey sites, apps that pay to real full time employed jobs from home e.g. call centre work. Most of the work I do at the moment is done in the evenings when my kids are in bed. However I have also found a few useful money earning ways that can be done at other times…. Even when I’m breastfeeding my baby! I’ll talk you through a few that I use, but to get a better idea of what is available I suggest you pop over to The Money Shed and take a look for yourself.


So I know you’re dying to know how to earn money whilst breastfeeding. Well, the main one for me is an app called Spare5, which pays you to do simple tagging tasks such as writing as many words as you can to describe an item of clothing or interior design photo. This is particularly great if you have experience in fashion and design because you’ll get access to more task that way. This app will generally earn you about £4 an hour, however I have on occasion found tasks that pay much better, and have earned around £9 an hour. The plus is that you can do this whilst feeding the baby, watching your kids on the playground or waiting for the bus.


Product testing is also another great way to get free stuff and save yourself money. The two sites that I use, and that are genuine (unlike many scam sites out there) are BuzzAgent and The Orchard at Tesco. I only signed up a few months ago and have already had free pizza, ice cream, E45 cream and now a Chromecast device! If you decide to do this you need do three reviews for each campaign, and the better your reviews the more campaigns you’ll be invited to.


There are also two great apps that you can earn from, and both allow you to earn whilst looking after your children. They are Field Agent and Roamler. Both offer jobs out and about (good for your sanity), and get you doing things like price checks, audits and product checks. Apparently they have a lot more tasks available on the run up to Christmas, so this would be a good time to get involved.


With regards to online work you can always try survey sites, but know that the money trickles in and takes time to build up. Sites I like include Pinecones Research (do a google search for a referral code), Your Word, iPoll and GlobalTestMarket. For online work that is better paid register with WhatUsersDo, to get paid £8 each time you test out a website; and edigitalresearch who are an online mystery shopping site.


Mystery shopping is also another option, but not all jobs can be done with a baby. I have only just started with this, completing most jobs in the evening when my husband is home to watch the kids. Again if you look on The Money Shed you can get a lot of ideas about reputable companies to sign up to.


So for anyone who struggles with low mood during the first year of their baby’s life, or who needs a bit of extra money, head over to The Money Shed for some inspiration, and we’ll give you a very warm welcome. Good luck to all of you.

Miffy Comfort Blanket raises funds for premature babies

miffy1Launching on World Prematurity Day, 17 November, priced £14.99


With survival ratios of UK-born premature babies having tripled in the last 20 years, this year’s World Prematurity Day (17 November 2014) sees the launch of a Comfort Blanket featuring the classic character Miffy to raise funds for Bliss – the national charity which supports the one in nine babies and their families who need its help.

miffy2Whilst soft toys are not allowed in ICU incubators, nurses actively encourage new mums who can’t hug their premature babies to use comfort blankets to transfer their natural scent. Packaged in a luxury gift box, the Miffy Bliss Comfort blanket is made of soft white velour with satin edging. It would make an ideal gift for any new born baby.

Available from 17 November from, the Miffy Bliss Comfort Blanket is priced £14.99, £3.50 of which will be donated to Bliss.

Dick Bruna’s much loved white bunny character celebrates 60 years in 2015; the launch of this Comfort Blanket is the first in a series of fund-raising products and activities to support Bliss throughout the anniversary year.



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