Tag Archives: business

On September

September has always felt much more like a new year to me than New Year itself. Even in the in-between years between finishing Uni and my kids starting school, when term times were irrelevant apart from their effect on holiday prices, September always presented itself as a new beginning. The slightest whiff of a tiny chill in the early mornings, the leaves starting to change colour, these things always filled me with a feeling of promise and excitement for the year ahead.

This September feels like a significant one – lots of things are changing for the kids and for us. For the bigger kids it’s the usual stuff – new classes, new teachers – plus the excitement of starting term in a brand new purpose built school and all the changes that brings – new route to school, different park afterwards, being part of a huge three-form entry school instead of the small primary they are used to. For my youngest, this will be his last year of babyhood – he will be starting nursery every morning at the same school as his big brother and sister. If I am honest, I don’t feel ready for this at all. It’s not that I want any more kids, it’s just that I want time to slow down a bit.

All change for me too – I have just started a four day a week contract, which is an exciting opportunity for me, but a bit (a lot) nervewracking. As the job is working across 4 different organisations, this means four times the pretending I am half competent, four times the names and faces to remember, and also adding travelling time into my day away from the kids (how I will miss my seven-minutes-including-a-co-op-stop-commute of the last 12 months!) On the plus side it’s a great chance to gain more experience, and also I am immensely grateful that I have a job at all in these times.

On the business side, we will be tying up loose ends from the first project that the Husband and I undertook together; we sold our coffee shop last November but there’s still final accounts to file, tax bills to get sorted and so forth. This is the closure of a huge chapter of our lives. I’m mostly happy about it – our time had run its course and we had definitely fallen out of love with it by the time we sold it. But I do miss the proper coffee on tap whenever I’m in town!

One door closes and another opens though, and I have a feeling that this will be a very significant year for Rules of Play, which the Husband and I co-own with a friend. After three and a half years of slogging away, we have now brought the business to a stage where we can come up for air and pause for breath. Instead of thinking about next week and next month, we can begin to sit down and plan for what we’d like to do with the business next year and even over the next five years. That feels like a massive achievement for three friends who basically shut their eyes tight and took a huge plunge into the unknown, armed with not much more than a basic business plan and a conviction that we could translate our vision into a living, breathing enterprise.

And – perhaps most excitingly for the year ahead is that the whole Cardiff Pound idea is beginning to gain traction in and around Cardiff. I am not sure yet what shape this will take, but I am determined that we will have our local currency in the not TOO distant future!

Bring on September!


On #shopcardiff


So here’s the challenge, Cardiff – for one week only, try and shop only in local, independent businesses. You might be surprised at what you find – and at what you save!

Up for it?

  • Find out about the best Cardiff businesses at independentstreet
  • Get involved – tweet your experiences using #ShopCardiff
  • Get a bargain – check out #shopcardiff deals from indie retailers
  • Share the love – via Facebook, Twitter, your blog


ps – for inspiration, check out the story of the Pugh family, who are 20 weeks into a challenge to go a year without a supermarket!

On who made my pants

Yes indeed, this post is about who made my pants. Why? Because it’s an important question, that’s why. And it’s not only my pants (or yours) – the question could equally be – Who made my jeans? Who made my phone? Who made my milk? For 99.999% of the stuff I own, I don’t have a clue who made it. The supply chain for most of the stuff we tell ourselves we can’t live without is so vast that it is impossible to discover who, actually, did make the vast majority of it. But one thing we can all be pretty sure of – it’s not the folk that made our stuff, that benefit from us having bought it.

This bothers me. I would consider myself to be a reasonably ethical purchaser, yet really and truly, I know that pretty much every day, I’m lining some corporate fucker’s pockets, at the expense of the people who are squashed into an anonymous, frightened heap at the bottom of the supply chain. It bothers me – but I feel powerless to do anything real about it. So I muddle on, trying to do the best I can, and trying not to listen too much to the guilty voices in my head.

Well – luckily for the world, there are some amazing people out there, who don’t just ‘muddle on.’ And one of those amazing people is Becky. Becky set up a company called Who Made Your Pants back in 2008. In a nutshell, Who Made Your Pants exists to create work for women who would otherwise not have any, and, of course, to make luscious pants! Have a look – they really are lovely. And best of all, they come with a little tag attached that tells you who actually did make your pants!

I’m not going to shy away from the fact that the cheapest pair of pants these ladies make is priced at £12.50. Admittedly, my first reaction was ‘£12.50? That’s more than I spend on pants in a YEAR!’ (sad, but true – I must confess to being an M&S 5-packer for most of my born days). But then I got to thinking. If it costs £12.50 to produce a pair of pants, from remaindered lace that would otherwise end up in a skip, for a social enterprise that is not set up to make a profit, then what are the REAL costs of my bargain 5-packs, made who knows where in who knows what conditions? And once the thought had formed itself, I really couldn’t hide from it. So now, my pants drawer is being slowly but surely replenished so that eventually, every day I will know that at least ONE item I wear is making a real difference.

I wasn’t really planning on posting details of my (half now lovely, half still crap, old and holey) pants drawer on the blog, but in honour of Red Nose Day, Becky and the team are giving £5 to Comic Relief for every pair of these ravishing red pants  bought by midnight tomorrow night – and I figured it might just be the excuse you need to treat yourself! 🙂

November 2014 – I’m joining this post up with Sam’s linky ‘The Truth About’ – click below for more truthful tales!

And then the fun began...