Every other week Roy drags our big black bin and our recycling out the back of the workshop, down the lane and all the way down to the main road so that it may be picked up by the council. He might put it out around 9pm the night before or 6am in the morning before he goes to work. The bins don’t get collected until perhaps 10am or even 11am on our specified day and so our rubbish could be sat exposed for twelve hours or more.

When I consider how much paper I receive as a business owner, never mind the household bills and mailings that seem to pour through the door, leaving our rubbish out (which could be littered with personal info) makes me feel somewhat uneasy. Or it did…

Fellowes are strongly supporting National Fraud Prevention Month and have asked me to spread the word, sending me what may only be described as a rather gorgeous (and seriously effective) shredder to help me sort my own piles of paper securely. As part of the scheme Fellowes are challenging parentts to give their family home a “Shred Over”, ensuring that the family’s identity information remains secure, even on recycling day.


During half term Fellowes invite you to take part in the fun #shredoverchallenge – shredding your unnecessary paper properly and perhaps even having a bit of fun in the meantime (shredded paper makes great stuffing for homemade toys, for filling a sensory hide and seek box and in my home, snow which may be sprinkled from one side of the house to another).

We emptied the office of unnecessary paperwork, got rid of junk mail and sorted the “home” files and was rather amazed to find that even shredded into tiny pieces we managed to fill two whole big black bin bags to the top. Had even half of this hit the bin without being properly shredded (as opposed to torn up and scribbled on) identity thieves would have had a field day in our names.

Fellowes have provided these handy hints and tips, as well as identity fraud information to get people started and educate us all a little more about staying safe. ID fraud really is something that needs to be considered these days, with households having so many accounts, banks, clubs and so many documents relating to them sent through the post or being printed off.


For more information on  how to combat ID fraud visit www.stop-idfraud.co.uk and to find fabulous Halloween shredded paper inspiration and more visit the  Fellowes Ideas Centre for instructions.


Don’t forget to tweet Fellowes at @FellowesUK and show off your shredded paper crafts or your bags of shame (our two bags have been collected by the recycling now so I don’t have to think about how much paperwork I’d accumulated and previously not discarded effectively).


I work from home full time and am my own boss. In my previous life (before children) I worked for the National Autistic Society, an unbelievably rewarding career and one which did tend to take up a fair amount of my focus, whether I was in work, on call or not. It was a fabulous position, offering so much variety and a real opportunity to make a difference. I worked in adult services and dealt with anything from hands on support to recruiting staff, training, rotas, pre-appraisals and more. It felt like more of a vocation than a job.

I fully intended to go back to work after Kieran was born and even got as far as my back to work interview. I sat and listened to how my role would be changing, my hours would be different, about key changes within the service and the organisation and all I could think of was how I couldn’t come back, that I didn’t want to come back.

In the short time since I’d been on maternity leave my focus had shifted monumentally. I was a mother now and had different priorities. I stood up, thanked the person I was speaking to and told her I wouldn’t be coming back. I’m not sure who was more surprised to be honest, her or myself.

I went to see Roy at his workplace afterwards to drop my bombshell and was amazed at how thrilled he was. He knew how much I loved my work however also knew that inside I was struggling with the idea of going back into my extremely hour-intensive position. He’d wanted me to make the decision to make changes without him influencing me, something I love him for, and so my first steps into self-employment began.

The road was anything but smooth in the early days as a cut in income like that overnight has a hell of an impact however neither of us regrets the decision for a minute. I’ve been my own boss for eight and a half years now and have absolutely no intention of rejoining the world of work as an employee again.

When I’m working at 4am to meet a ridicuously tight deadline or those times when I’ve had to get heavy with someone who thinks paying an invoice is optional I’ve for a fleeting second thought “Wouldn’t it be easier to go to work, come home and have a fixed income?”. Then I laugh at myself. I absolutely love my life, I love my work and most of all I love the flexibility it allows me  so that I may be on hand whenever my family needs me.

Taylor woke up this morning and he was decidedly “off” for want of a better description; parents just know when a little one is not at their best. After breakfast he actually took himself off to bed again so I got in touch with his (fab) childminder and told her Taylor was staying at home today. Work has been shelved (to be continued after tea tonight and very early tomorrow morning) but today was for Taylor. True to form by 9.30am he was absolutely fine, if not a little tired so we’ve enjoyed a wonderfully chilled out day together. We watched tv under a pbanket, coloured in, toasted teacakes and just spent a day enjoying each other’s company.

I didn’t need to ring in sick, apologise for taking time off, use holidays to cover the day off, the same way I don’t for sports day, Christmas carol services, half terms and other special events.

And THIS is why I work from home and for myself.


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