Leaping Into The Unknown


Before Christmas and all the drama that ensued, I signed up to do a Social Media Management course and I also started up a little business with a friend.

It’s been a bit slow to get off the ground, as so much happened over Christmas, but I can happily say we now have 5 good clients and 2 new ones just about to join us.  We are doing this on top of our day jobs – we both just need a bit of extra money and wanted a whole lot of learning and excitement and new strings to our bows.

It’s frightening what you can jam into just a day – running our company, looking after Hubby’s company, working, studying, helping my mum move countries, rebuilding our house and of course all the kids/house/life stuff.  But I have always enjoyed a challenge – just don’t mention that I haven’t brushed my hair or that the floors of my house are a little bit crunchy when you walk on them.

So, what are we doing????  It all started with Hubby’s company – he wanted to get some more clients, and also to steer the company to more project management, rather than just fixing.  I started fiddling with his LinkedIn and created a webpage, Facebook page and Twitter account.  He has since got a big new client and lots of interest – so really chuffed.  Then Baby Girl’s dance teacher needed help – so I set up her Facebook page.  Anyway, it has just gone on from there.  We are helping very small local businesses to get on Social Media and to manage and post for them.  It’s so much fun.

We are helping electricians, builders, hairdressers etc.  We are not a big advertising company, we are just two mums who know a bit of techy geek stuff and know how to write nice stuff and choose nice pictures.  Well it’s a bit more complicated than that, but you get the gist.

We are helping the people that just really don’t have the time to post and fiddle and twiddle on Social Media.  They have usually spent all day doing what they have to do and then the last thing they want to do when they get home is sort out their social media.  We also help those people that don’t want to know about techy social media stuff (…. Hubby….) or the ones that are frightened of it all.  We are also helping the companies that don’t have huge advertising budgets, but are just surviving month to month – just like us.  So, it’s all very local and relatable.

Our lovely hairdresser, brought her gorgeous little girl to our first meeting and my partner promptly went and found all her daughter’s dolls for her to play with.  We like a happy meeting 😊

It’s all very exciting, but I must say it’s quite daunting to put yourself out into the real world and sell yourself.  I am more hide behind my computer screen and my written word kinda girl.  Luckily my lovely partner is a great saleswoman, so we make a great team.

Do you know what I like about it?  I like seeing the real results – the “likes”, retweets and comments.  It’s an immediate pat on the back for the work you have put in.  I also like when a client is happy and they are seeing results.  It’s nice to help people.

So yes, I am busy, but I’m using my creative techy geeky side of my brain and I am making a little bit of extra money and learning so much – love learning new stuff.  I am a happy, if somewhat tired woman.

So, if you want to see and maybe like or follow or even comment, please do, we would love you to join us on Social media.  So wish us luck on our endeavour and if you know anyone that needs a bit of social media help and loving send them our way 😊.








Death and Paperwork

When my Dad died and my sister and I went home, it was interesting the roles we took in the whole episode.  Being a nit-picking, list ticking, pedantic nutcase, it seemed best I took on all the bureaucracy and paperwork.  I have since been ringing Mum everyday to support her in all the things she has had to do since and it breaks my heart, that I can’t just do it all for her from here.

It has surprised me just how much there is to sort out and how messy it all is and how many unexpected surprises/shocks that we have had.

For example:

campbellMy poor mum lost one of their dogs, just after Dad died (he was very old and poorly, but still not a nice thing to happen.)  Anyway, a box got delivered.  It was medicine for the dead dog.  Mum had no idea about it.  She rang the company and said she didn’t want it as the dog was dead.  The lady said “Oh dear, well it’s a monthly order that your husband has organised, we will need to talk to him.”  Mum said, “He’s dead as well.”  The poor woman at the end of the phone must have gone into complete shock – but kindly offered to take the medicine back and stop the monthly payments.

My mum then tried to sell her TV and as it was brand new, she wanted to transfer the warranty as well.  But Dad had bought the TV, so Mum had to fill in forms, get a justice of the peace to sign a statutory declaration and a copy of the death certificate.  JUST TO SELL THE TV!

The solicitor has been trying to organise the sale of Mum’s house – but Dad had forgotten to sign the end of the mortgage papers in 1989.  Mum had to troop off to the bank with all the forms.  The woman said that she would have to take the forms home and get them signed by her husband.  I think at this point Mum had had enough and promptly and loudly stated “I can’t get him to sign them, he’s dead!”  Who would of thought that something from the 80’s, other than our dreadful perms and plastic jewellery, would come back to be a problem.

Then get this one… so Mum needs to move her money over to the UK when she leaves Australia for good.  The banks in the UK won’t let me open her a bank account until she is physically present here.  But the Australian bank won’t transfer her money if she is not in Australia. She is going to have to put it in my account, which will set the worlds fraud alerts off and I will get a phone call from the somebody querying it.  Honestly why do people have to complicate things so much.  Surely with internet banking, it’s just a matter of transferring some numbers on the computer.  They don’t actually have to package up the notes and post them over or anything.

Anyway, here are my top tips for dealing with paper work when and before someone dies.

  1. Talk to your partner or the person who will deal with everything after you have gone. If possible, do not leave them with surprises and if possible give them the information about everything.  I have started a “What if” book.  It has who we have our electricity with etc., bank accounts, email passwords etc.  My hubby has no idea about any of it and he wouldn’t know where to start.
  2. If possible, put money away for a funeral – THEY ARE EXORBARANT – even the cheap ones.
  3. Do not go and pay all the outstanding debts without querying them. THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT!!  So, pay attention.  If the debt is only in the deceased’s name – the widow does not necessarily have to pay it.  The company or bank WILL NOT offer you this information, as they want it paid, no matter if the grieving widow can’t afford it.  Always push for information of the legal requirements.  For example: A secondary card owner of a Credit Card Debt is not liable.  They will not tell you this!  And they will try and chase it.  But hold firm.
  4. Expect surprises and lots and lots of silly paper work. Start a little notebook to keep track, as there is A LOT!
  5. When contacting companies, banks, government departments always search out the bereavement contact number and/or if you are dealing with older people, the pensioner line. This will get you through quicker and to a more helpful person.
  6. When talking to people about sorting it out, admit complete confusion and keep talking about the drama of it all – being a grieving widow, daughter – gets you a lot of help, and people are more likely to go above and beyond for you. Bit harsh saying that – but at this time, you need all the help you can get, so you might as well play the card.
  7. To find out the hidden things, scan the bank accounts for the last year, look for things that are paid regularly – they may be a set up payment you need to cancel etc. It’s a really good place to start if you have no idea what’s going on.
  8. Lastly expect it to take time and don’t fret, just take it step by step, one silly paperwork issue at a time.

I hope this helps someone, sometime.  Because trust me – it’s been a HUGE learning curve for me and more so for my poor Mum.  But this time in 4 weeks she will be here with us and I will be so grateful.

I Said NO

giphyI say NO in a loud Australian accent to my kids ALL THE TIME, constantly.  Do they listen. NO!

But when it comes to other people – I am not very good at saying no.  If it involves work or helping someone, then I can’t seem to say it.  It automatically comes out as a YES!

Recently a lovely lady at work asked me to take on a new task.  And with everything happening in my life at the moment, I was reluctant, but as usual I said yes.

I shouldn’t of.

For the last couple of weeks, I have been finishing work really late and I have been in a permanent state of panic.  And then I made some mistakes.  I don’t like making mistakes – it makes me nauseous even thinking about making mistakes.

Eventually I had to admit to myself I wasn’t coping at all, not even a little bit.  I had to write an email and say NO.

It hurt.  I was letting them down.  I was pulling out.  I felt absolutely dreadful.

But I have made the right decision.  Today was the first day without the extra task and I have lost the swirly feeling in my tummy.  And I might, just might, even get to lie on the sofa and watch some of the hundreds of TV shows I have recorded, that I haven’t had a chance to watch since before Christmas.

I think I need to say NO more.  But I wouldn’t be who I am if I didn’t run around like a mad thing all day every day.  If I said NO I would be very relaxed and chilled out and sit on the sofa a lot and that just wouldn’t be right.

But I will consider my answers from now on and will weigh up just exactly how much time I have available before I promise anything.  Mainly because I could end up even crazier than I am now and that would scare the children.

Love from Mum

mum1Today has been an emotional day.  Tears have been streaming all day and that’s unusual for me as I am a bit of a hard nut.  And it’s also made working at the computer all day a bit blurry!  Not good.

But the reason is that my mum has booked her flight to come over here for good.  I think I have been holding everything in and together until I knew that it was really going to happen.  Can’t imagine what it’s actually going to be like at the airport – I am expecting floods.

So, I thought I would let my mum guest post on my blog today.  This is an email she sent out today to all her friends and probably what set my tears off.

Love from Mum

The last two months —what a drama, a catastrophe, a kerfuffle, a chaos and an altogether life changing experience. I have been through many stages – loneliness, indecision, panic, tiredness, lethargy, self-doubting, worried, confused and bamboozled.

The garage sales were successful, irritating and exhausting–the house looked like a bomb had hit it with (treasures, possessions, clutter, crap -take your pick) everywhere. Then it was mostly all gone and the remainder sent to Animal Welfare (picked up in a truck) bless them.

The next step was to get the house ready for inspection. Well that was an adventure to say the least. More decluttering, scrubbing, bleaching, painting, sawing, hammering, washing curtains, plugging up millions of picture holes in the walls and making the house beautiful for the photographer. Friends were amazing, energetic, practical and supportive. Without them it wouldn’t have been possible. Thank you to everyone— you know who you are.

Finally, with only one minor hiccup, the house was sold due to a mammoth effort from my estate agent, and the next stage is slowly getting under way. I have to get boxes to go on the ship, sell the remaining furniture (house sale on Saturday -7.00 to 1.00), get the dog her rabies shot and her dog box to practice sleeping in, get my flu shot and history from the doctor, decide what to pack in the boxes , what to discard and what to pack in my one suitcase to last me at least a couple of months, book my ticket, finalise the bills etc. and of course play a bit of golf and have a farewell party. Writing this down gives me a shock –but it will get done somehow. I plan to leave on the 12th of April and be in time for Easter in England.  Springtime in Southampton??? Flowers, sunshine and family or maybe rain, cold and family. Whatever– I will be there.

Love to everyone –come and see me sometime–Betty Lou.