General ramblings

Looking back to look forwards

I know we haven’t had Christmas yet, and most of us are entering pre-Christmas panic mode, but I find my mind is becoming increasingly contemplative as the year draws to a close.

2015 has been a bit of a roller-coaster: I launched a website, wrote an e-book, and then closed a website. I started pitching for more writing work, and ended up having a crazy week or two and panicking that I’d wrecked my kid’s lives (I haven’t).
Our youngest has started school, and now seems reasonably settled, and we are all adapting to a new routine.
A new routine that theoretically leaves me with a little more time to do stuff, without the ‘help’ of the children.
I want to still be around for the kids though, for the school runs, and the assemblies, the sports days and the nativity plays. But I also need to be making a contribution to the family coffers, and to society in general.
I LOVE this blog, and all of you. The support you give me when I’m having a wobble, or a moan, or when people leave nasty comments in the Daily Mail.
It feels like a real community, and that we are all united in making our own small changes to our lives, our own ripples, that are spreading, and helping to change the world.
I am so grateful to each and every person who reads the blog, or follows along on social media. I read every single comment, and try my best to answer every one.
What started off as a slightly naive challenge to spend a year Buying Nothing New has totally changed my life, and the way I see the world. And that is largely due to you guys. Without readers, there would be no blog, and it would be harder to appreciate the amazing impact that our journey has had, and is having, not just on our lives, but on other people’s as well.
So thankyou. Truly. From the bottom of my heart, thankyou.

I want to do more of this, this blog, and more writing, and more speaking. I want to shout from the rooftops that we can all make a difference.
But I can’t carry on doing it entirely for free. I need to work out a way to earn some pennies.
Because this is a ‘Buy Nothing New’ blog, it feels very wrong to advertise random stuff on here, and I really want to keep this site ad free. So that’s one obvious income stream out of the window, and I need to think of alternatives to selling/advertising ‘stuff’. I’ve tentatively tried a couple:
:: I dipped my toes into a different type of site, Make Do and Mend-able, with a Directory of places where people could learn new skills, but for a variety of reasons it was a huge headache, and was the source of quite a few tears. It may well be an idea I come back to in time, when I’ve finished licking my wounds, and have processed the lessons that I’ve learned.
:: The Back to Basics e-book was a huge step out of my comfort zone. It is full of amazing content, and I genuinely think it’s a brilliantly useful resource-it teaches all the skills your Granny would have had, all the things you need to know to be more resourceful, to save money, and to re-skill. But I’m not happy with the aesthetics, and my attempts at marketing it have been at best half hearted, and at worst, apologetic. My plan is to re-do it over the next month or two, and then to re-launch it, maybe even as two books as there is so much content in there-what do you think?

I have plans. Lots of them plans. Some of them may be crazy, some of them might actually work. But I need your help to work out what would be useful, and ultimately what people might be prepared to pay for.
I’ve come up with a little survey, that should only take mere minutes of your time (I know this is a crazy time of year, and probably totally the wrong time to be asking people to fill out forms) and I’d love to hear your thoughts. Just click on the picture below and you’ll be whisked straight to the survey!

Mini fir cones

If you don’t have time to click through, but do have ideas/suggestions/comments, then do leave them at the bottom, or send me an e-mail (jen at makedoandmend-able dot co dot uk), or tweet me @makeandmendyear.

I’ll be a bit quieter over the next couple of weeks, while I hunker down with the family and we spend some time together playing board games, going on walks, and probably annoying the hell out of each other.
See you on the other side!

Mince pies frosted

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  • Reply Helen Butt December 25, 2015 at 11:34 pm

    Filled in the survey…. Best of luck with finding a way of earning a living now that one of your children has started school. I have the same kind of conundrum. Yes, I do actually have a paid job but would like to be able to support myself differently.

    Anyway, it seems as though you’ve already made a positive start – with your blog, an article in a national newspaper and your e-book. It does take time to establish yourself but it will happen. Good luck!

    • Reply Jen January 3, 2016 at 8:39 am

      Thanks so much Helen, and thanks for all your support 🙂

  • Reply Heather A December 22, 2015 at 9:52 pm

    It’s been a fabulous year! Packed full of exciting making do and mending. I’ve filled in your survey, I hope it helps.
    Wishing you and your family a relaxing and happy Christmas, and I look forward to reading more from you in 2016.
    Heather xx

    • Reply Jen December 22, 2015 at 11:47 pm

      Thanks so much Heather! And a Happy Christmas to you too 🙂

  • Reply LOVINGLY MADE LTD December 22, 2015 at 5:06 pm

    What a year Jen! Fabulous on you for working so hard and getting things done, writing passionately about your heartfelt thoughts, getting those pieces written and trying new ideas. I’m in awe!
    You’re right, together things, attitudes and behaviours can change. Even if it’s just a little bit forwards.
    Forwards is always a positive in our lives.
    I look forward to hearing and reading what 2016 brings for you and how it might change my thought processes too.
    It’s easy for others to throw “stones”, just remember those stones can be made into something tangibly positive in your favour.
    Keep up the good work!
    Best wishes,

    • Reply Jen December 22, 2015 at 11:48 pm

      Thanks so much Trixie! Onwards and upwards for 2016!
      Lots of love to you and John-have a fabulous Christmas 🙂

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