I feel like this has come full circle now, I previously wrote about how I started my creative businessquitting my job to run a businesstime management tips and my struggle with childcare while working from home. Now I’m writing about my decision to close my business and go back to work doing something similar to what I was doing before I had children.

The main reason I wanted to stop running the business is that it got a bit too repetitive for me. My most successful product were the wedding dress hangers, so during the summer months I’d have long days and even longer evenings working. It was also really stressful during those busy times. When I was on holiday in October, holed up inside during Hurricane Matthew, I was answering work emails on my phone and realised I needed to take that stress away. The day I got home, I checked for vacancies online and found the perfect job and the following week after a very stressful interview, it was mine. I like to think it was meant to be.

That’s the short version anyway. When I first started the business my only aim was to make enough money so that we could move closer to family while I looked for a new job – it was never meant to be a permanent thing. As you all know, it took off and I was able to just run the business and be home with my two children for almost 4 years. I set up the blog in 2015, just as somewhere else to be creative and that ended up earning me a little bit of money too. I considered quitting the business and blogging full time but thought that would be too risky so decided I would start looking for part time jobs when Evan started preschool in January 2018. After the stressful Summer of 2016, I was ready to quit the business sooner than planned. But it all happened quite a bit faster than planned so I’ve had 6 months of working part-time (four days a week, with an hours commute each way) and running the business in order to get rid of most of my stock. Now I can finally say I’m done running my own business. That’s not to say I wouldn’t start up something again, I’ve enjoyed being my own boss, just maybe not something so seasonal!

Going back to working for someone else is challenging but in a good way, my job is tough, I have to think and problem solve and be creative. I’ve learned something new every day. The best part is that I can leave work there. And that I get to drive around the Lake District regularly.

The kids have settled well with this new way of life. Evan has always been quite clingy with me, I’m his favourite person and that hasn’t changed. He hasn’t gotten any worse though and he loves nursery so I’m happy. Annie started school in September so there was quite a lot of change for her in a short space of time. She punished me at first – just little things like wanting her Dad to put her to bed or pick her up from school – but it was noticeable to me and Stu, I’m used to being the favourite parent! I think it was just her way of coping, I’m glad she’s as close to him as she is to me. I’ve been off for most of the Easter holidays with her so she’s very happy with me at the moment. Even though it’s been a little difficult with Annie, I’m really excited for this new chapter in my life and I’m really proud of the time I’ve spent at home with the children over the past few years.

Parenting is a juggle for everyone, the stay at home parent might be feeling isolated and be making sacrifices to be able to afford to stay home, the working parent feels guilty that they don’t spend much quality time with their child during the week and the working from home parent gets the best and worst of both worlds. I’ve felt all of the above at times but feel like now it’s my turn to do something different. For me that’s working part-time plus the blog, the business is no more. For now.

Last year I set myself the New Years Resolution of getting outside more, even in bad weather. I wanted to get outside more by myself as well as with the kids. I ended up running my first 10k as an ambassador for Women’s Running UK and starting a veggie plot. This year I know I’ll continue to get outside just as much, though I have different challenges now that I’m at work 4 days a week. My main aim is to get my veggie plot as productive as I can, creating at least one meal a week out of ingredients I’ve grown (more in summer, hopefully).

At a time when air pollution is in the news alongside a courgette shortage and Brexit causing prices of fruit and veg to increase, this is also my way of making sure what I eat is as environmentally friendly as possible. That’s not to say I won’t keep buying blueberries for the kids in winter – obviously I will – but at least growing my own keeps me in tune with where my food is coming from and what tastes best when. Almost everything tastes better when it’s freshly picked.

I currently grow a little bit in my own garden and in a few beds at the community garden. I’ve got quite a few strawberry plants, a rhubarb plant, I’m growing garlic, turnips, kale and purple sprouting broccoli as well as a few herbs – lavendar, mint and chives.

Last year my most productive plants were my courgettes, we use this as spaghetti and also in my artichoke stir fry so I’d be happy if we got so much again this year. Peas were a big hit with Annie – we had some growing at the community garden and some in our back garden which she loved. I’m planning to do the same again this year.

I’ve bought quite a lot of seeds and couldn’t wait to get started so there’s quite a few seedlings on my windowsill already. There’s a lot of space at the community garden so I’ve bought enough squash and pumpkin seeds to get a good patch going. Even if I end up growing far too many for us to eat, I can share with the other gardeners down there. I’ve also got multi-coloured carrots, beetroots, popping corn and sweetcorn, french beans, shallots, cucamelon, tomatoes and lots of flowers too. I’ve also got seeds for asparagus and artichoke plants – planning ahead for next year, because we eat this a lot.

I’m going to be updating regularly on my instagram but will do seasonal updates on here too. Let me know what you’ve got growing, I love hearing about garden plans!

He doesn’t appear very often on my blog or on my instagram and I rarely write about him, we don’t need to publicly declare our love and it goes without saying that he’s a great dad. But actually I am going to say it. If this little blog is going to be a record of how our life looks now, then this picture of Annie and her daddy says it all. JORD got in touch with me and asked if I’d like to review their wood watches and I decided it would be a great chance to give my lovely husband a thank you gift for being so amazing.

The past couple of months since I’ve been commuting to an office once again, he’s had to pick up all the slack at home. He always helped out anyway, we’ve probably shared school and nursery runs 50/50 but now it’s pretty much always him. And when Annie was first born he did a 4 day week to spend time with her, so he’s pretty happy to be doing the same now with Evan. He likes being with the kids as much as I do and you can tell they love us equally. I know not every child is so lucky to have both parents be so hands on. So this is my public thank you to my husband, please consider this your valentines / father’s day and birthday present for this year!

Anyway, onto the review. I chose the Conway Kosso & Midnight Blue for him because he couldn’t decide, he liked the Sawyer series and the Dover series and pretty much every colourway of them all. I thought this one would go well with his navy blue suit as well as a couple of his shirts and jumpers. It arrived quicker than I expected from the US, around 2 weeks I think. There was a customs charge of about £16 because it costs over £135, so make sure you order when you’ve got time to get to the post office. Luckily my husband was pretty excited about this arriving so he offered to get it!

The packaging is gorgeous, it’s a solid wooden box which will now be living on my husbands bedside table. The watch itself is so much nicer in real life than I was expecting but I think wooden items always are – it’s such a tactile material. The colours are exactly what I was hoping for, it’s such a rich coloured wood and it goes beautifully with the midnight blue face. My husband is made up, he’s wearing it at every opportunity.

If you’d like to win a $100 gift code to spend on a JORD wood watch, enter via this link: https://www.woodwatches.com/g/anniebobs

N.B. Thank you to JORD for sending the watch in exchange for an honest review.

Luxury Wooden Watch

You might remember back in September, when it was still warm, I reviewed some coats by Lighthouse. If you follow me on Instagram you’ve probably seen that my Reva coat has had a fair bit of use out of it now so I thought I’d add to my review of it and confirm that yes I still love it.

It’s my go-to coat for the winter, even above my beloved Zara coat from last year. It’s really warm, long enough and the hood actually works. I’m not normally a hood fan but I forgot my umbrella this morning so unfortunately had to test it out on the way to the office. I love that it’s a bright colour, perfect for gloomy wintery days. And it’s been well tested around the Lake District for warmth – it’s freezing up here at the minute!

The kids also got coats from Lighthouse – Evan’s had slightly more wear out of his Ollie jacket than Annie has out of her Ellie rain coat, but that’s because she’s at school most days so she wears a bigger coat just in case. They’re both more suited to the Autumn / Spring than winter as they’re not thick coats, so they’ll both be in them more once the weather warms up a bit.

If you’re in need of a decent coat, I’d really recommend these – plus there’s a sale on now (link below). For more pictures of our coats, take a look at the original review post here.

Lighthouse Winter Sale with up to 35% Off!

UPDATE: This competition has now closed and the winner is Liam Bishop. Congratulations!

If you hadn’t already noticed, I love taking photos. I especially love taking photos of my adorable little kids. Using photos to personalise gifts means that I get to use those photos and reminds me to print off a few for myself too, so they don’t all stay on my phone / camera. Every Christmas I buy a calendar filled with pictures of the kids for ourselves and our parents and normally a few prints and cups too. I previously reviewed the canvas I got my sister from Printerpix, which she loves, I’m happy with the ease of use of their website and the quality of their prints so I’ll be using them for my Christmas gifts this year.

With Christmas creeping up very quickly, now is the perfect time to buy personalised photo gifts for your nearest and dearest. There’s a Cyber Monday sale on Printerpix today too, saving you up to 85% on the normal price. You can even buy it now and create the gift later if you’re short on time. Definitely an incentive to get the Christmas shopping done earlier this year – I’m normally very last minute!

If you missed out on the sale, you can enter my competition below to win a £100 Printerpix voucher. Spend it on a calendar for the family, a photobook of this years holiday or fill your cupboards with picture mugs – whatever you like.

To enter you can either leave a comment below telling me what you’d use the voucher for or you can enter via Rafflecopter (multiple entries are permitted, details and full T&Cs can be found via the Rafflecopter link below).

a Rafflecopter giveaway

N.B. Thank you to Printerpix for providing the £100 voucher and for compensating me for my time. All opinions are my own.