Grand Canyon Trek 2017

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For a while now I’ve really wanted to trek the Grand Canyon (don’t ask me why!). I’ve finally decided to bite the bullet and sign up with Charity Challenge to take part in a 6 day trek through the Grand Canyon, trekking a total of approximately 73 kms, in aid of Farleigh Hospice.

By buying from Bumble and Boo, you’re helping Farleigh Hospice in Essex to raise much needed funds. 20% of the profits from each sale go towards sponsoring me to trek the Grand Canyon.

Fortunately I haven’t had to experience the work that Farleigh Hospice do first hand, however I know from friends of mine how much they help people with life limiting illnesses and their families.

They have to raise an awful lot of money just to keep running each day, however a lot of people aren’t even aware of them until they need them.

My dad passed away in 2012 when he was living in Las Vegas (the place where the trek will finish). Not only will it be good to see the place he was living but if he had been in the UK throughout his illness there’s a big possibility that he would have been helped by a charity such as Farleigh Hospice.

During the challenge I’ll be:

– Trekking between 5-6 hours a day.

– Manoevering through tunnels and ladders that are not for the faint hearted.

– Experiencing high temperatures of up to approximately 30 degrees.

– Actively participating in the setting up of camp and preparation of meals.

Follow my story or sponsor me at http://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Amber-Phillips

Bumble and Boo Update

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Hey! Long time, no see!

I just wanted to say, I’m still here! As I said in my last post, I have paused Bumble and Boo for now so that I can get my design business off the ground. However, products are still available to buy on my website, it’s just the range probably won’t be updated for a little while yet and any handmade products have been put on hold.

Amber Phillips Design, my design business, is going quite well at the moment but I’m still incredibly busy with the biggest to do list EVER. I’ve actually just started a blog for Amber Phillips Design if you’d like to take a look. It’s all about business and design, and it’s aimed at helping other small businesses. If this sort of thing interests you, I’d love if you could follow me on Bloglovin here.

One of my latest posts on the blog at Amber Phillips Design is ‘Improve organisation & productivity with this simple app‘. Hope you like it!

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Pausing Bumble and Boo

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When I became self-employed a few months ago I thought I’d have endless amounts of time to do both my freelance design and Bumble and Boo. Turns out I was wrong! I never thought running a business would be easy, but I thought I’d be able to manage my time and motivate myself to do EVERYTHING. But now I see no one can do everything!

You might remember me talking about wedding websites. Well, now I have another business on top of the two I started with! A family friend approached me about wedding websites and suggested we team up to create a separate business. Be on the look out for Weddsite.co.uk coming soon! All very exciting, but all very stressful as I’ve got way too many things going on at once.

I’ve read in so many blogs and business books to narrow your focus in order to be more successful (at least at first so you get strong foundations) and I’ve always ignored that because I want to do all of these different things and didn’t want to give anything up. But now I’m going to give it a try while I set up Weddsite and get Amber Phillips Design going how I want it to. Still more than one focus but I can’t give up either of those!

So Bumble and Boo will still be here with products available in the shop but for now, everything else is paused until all else is under control. I may pop up for a bit on social media and blog posts when I can but that’s it for now. I’ve worked really hard to design new products and rebrand the business so I don’t want to give up completely but I don’t know how long everything will take. Maybe that’ll be motivation to get going quicker so that I can get back to Bumble and Boo!

Either way, *Arnold Schwarzenegger voice* I’ll be back!

7 tips to give your business a Spring Clean

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I hope you’re enjoying the lovely Spring weather (Is it lovely? I can’t keep up…). I don’t know about you, but my mood is definitely affected by the weather. I always feel so much happier and much more productive when it’s sunny! Maybe that’s why Spring cleaning exists…uplifting weather, longer days, springy mood and a lovely freshly cleaned and organised house to go with it. Why not take the same approach with your business? If you’re like me and all of a sudden feeling much more motivated to improve on your business and your income, why not begin with a quick business spring clean to get going?

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Trying something new

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I’m not usually a massive fan of trying new things, although I definitely think I’ve improved in the last few years. For example, when I was a kid I refused to eat cheese or any new food. Plain and simple for me! Now I’m trying sushi (to be fair it was chicken and duck rather than raw fish…still counts) and I eat cheese quite a lot now. How can any of this be life changing I hear you ask…well trying new food probably isn’t, but trying a new hobby or a new method of doing something could have brilliant consequences!

A lot of the time, my confidence issues hold me back from trying new things that could potentially save me time and money but could also turn out to be something I love. I don’t know if it’s because I’m getting older or because I’ve simply decided I don’t care as much anymore but I’m trying to get out of my comfort zone a little more. I’ve been talking to people about sales on the phone (big deal for me!), I attended a wedding fair where I had to talk extensively about my products, I’m involved in setting up a new potentially huge company, AND perhaps the biggest of all, I finally went swimming!

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Cinderella Collection

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I’m a bit of a Disney freak…I might have mentioned that already… I went to see the new Cinderella film as soon as it came out and it was brilliant! All beautiful and inspiring, and wow just look at that dress! Did you know, you can get a real adults sized dress like hers? The one above was my favourite on Etsy! Take a look at all my favourite Cinderella inspired products from all corners of the internet.

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What are Wedsites?

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It’s all been quite exciting lately at Bumble and Boo and Amber Phillips Design (the two businesses that I run. The first is gifts, the second is freelance design). Both businesses have launched new products. You’ll see Bumble and Boo’s new additions in the shop very soon…hopefully! Busy busy bumble bee!

The new product that I’ve launched in the last few weeks at Amber Phillips Design is Wedding Websites, or Wedsites. They are quite a new thing in the UK but apparently 75% of married couples have had a wedding website according to a poll in the US. I just LOVED the idea and thought this would be a unique addition to my services.

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Business stress and 2 ways to deal with it

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Lately I have been so stressed and worried about my work that I’ve been paralysed into doing nothing. It made me feel even worse when I kept thinking “but this is what you want to do, so why aren’t you doing it?!”. Turns out a lot of people feel the same! Almost by accident I stumbled across a couple of different blog posts with ideas of solutions for this sort of problem.

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A simple strategy to increase productivity

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Struggle with organisation and productivity? I’ve always thought of myself as a REALLY organised person but when I left my job to go freelance I found my to do list getting longer and longer and the amount of tasks I was doing getting less and less. It’s a pretty stressful situation when you feel like everything’s getting away from you, especially if you’re a control freak like me!

I then came across Tuts+ (which is amazing by the way!) and found not only does it have tutorials for things like coding and design but almost everything I could think of that I’d ever want to learn, including increasing productivity. They had a series called Build Your Own Productivity System, and I’d strongly recommend reading the whole series if you’re looking to improve organisation and productivity.

The key system that I now use for myself is the Eisenhower Matrix, based on a quote by US President Dwight D. Eisenhower.

What is important is seldom urgent, and what is urgent is seldom important.

The idea is you organise your tasks into 4 separate categories:

1. Urgent and Important
2. Urgent but Not Important
3. Important but Not Urgent
4. Neither Urgent Nor Important

I’ve made a printable to do list as April’s Amber Phillips Design Freebie, that you can download here. There’s a full colour one or a black and white one to save using too much ink. You could print the full colour one and laminate it so you can write on and wipe off as you go.

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March Favourites

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Another month been and gone. Feels like it’s only just been Christmas, time goes way too quick! March has had it’s ups and downs but hopefully I’m now on a steady upward path (more on that in a future blog post…business and stress and how to overcome it!).

Highlights of this month:
– Celebrating my 21st birthday and Mother’s Day with my family! Lots of wonderful and creative presents, lots of cake and lots of fun 🙂
– Attending my first wedding fair to promote my new product at Amber Phillips Design, Wedding Websites.
– Finding out that Zak has booked us a trip to Greece for my 21st birthday present. A well needed break that I’m VERY excited for!
– Completing my first card out of my birthday box from my mum – Cinema, TGI’s and cocktails
– Successfully completing my first product tests and creating 6 lavender bags with the new process. Coming soon to the shop.
– Re-opening my Folksy shop and putting my first new products in. Check it out here.
– Lovely daffodils popping up everywhere – It’s SPRING! 😀

Favourite blog post:
My favourite post from this month is my Fimo Fingerprint Jewellery. I haven’t had much time to do tutorial blog posts for a while but this was one of the first that I wrote on my list to do months and months ago and now I’ve finally done it 🙂 Easy to do, looks good and great for kids to do themselves.

I’d love to hear your March highlights 🙂 Feel free to chat on my social media pages below.

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Great gift idea – birthday box

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It was my 21st birthday on the 15th March and unlike most 21 year old girls, I chose to go to the zoo and have a nice quiet meal at my favourite restaurant with my family! I received so many amazing presents and I’m grateful for every single one. Zak even booked us a trip to Greece in May – woohoo bring on the sun!

My mum had a great idea to do 21 different presents. In a lovely little box, she decorated and wrote 20 cards with 1 big card at the end. Each card had different things to do inside e.g. go to the zoo again, go to the beach, picnic at the forest, theatre trip to see Mamma Mia etc…all brilliant things that I’d love to do! And the last card at the end was a joint present for my 21st and my sister’s 16th so we can go to Disney! All exciting stuff that makes me want to be 21 every year haha.

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How to turn a ripped canvas into a light up photo montage

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I bought a huge canvas from Hobbycraft a while ago for an art project and was left heartbroken when I found a rip in it after storing it, maybe a little too carelessly, in my garage. I didn’t want to just throw it away though and it remained in my garage for a couple of years before I finally sorted everything out and found it again. We had a great idea to upcycle it with a string of battery powered fairy lights we found alongside the mess!

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A bit risky but totally worth it in the end, I cut some extra holes into the canvas and poked fairy lights through the holes. It looks awesome all lit up although it was hard to capture that in the photo (Excuse the background…it’s so big I had to take a picture of it on my drawing table with my gift wrap rack in the back!).

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