25 Days of Summer

July 2017 was utterly nuts, stand out highlights include being cut out of a far-too-tight cat suit, co-hosting LIMF TV at Sefton Park and giving up dating. Yep, nuts.

I’ve just had a week off that was easily more stressful and manic than actually being in work. Three kids, age 11, 5 and 3 all wanting to do different things coupled with persistent summer rain made for a shed load of baking, den making and trips to the cinema. (PS, Captain Underpants is pretty funny).

Kate Reilly James Captain Underpants

The Guide Liverpool broke some new ground at work throughout July, creating a live set at both British Style Collective and LIMF 2017 and the team worked their asses off to broadcast more than 80 live episodes over two weekends. Our sexy live tv set garnered a lot of attention and here’s hoping we’re back on location again very soon.

About the cat suit…..I took my eldest daughter to MCM Comic Con Manchester at the weekend and for the first time I really fancied dressing up. I’ve reported on Comic Con in Liverpool a number of times and love the vibe, so this time I was well up for releasing my inner Cat Woman or Black Widow. Unfortunately the cheap-ass £8 cat suit I ordered last minute from Ebay had other ideas. Unless Captain Saggy Ass Camel Toe ever becomes a thing, I’m sticking to jeans and Adidas! After much hilarity, I was cut out of the binbag with a zip and it was well and truly binned. MCM Comic Con was ace though, never been, get tix and go!

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The images of my failed super hero attempt on Instagram (@kate.reillyjames) resulted in some interesting DM’s, and had I not already given up on Tinder, Bumble and dating full stop by the time I posted them, I’m sure I could have been much more busy over the summer. Dating in your 30’s is fun, but its also completely exhausting and has a way of making even the most confident of people, feel a little disposable. I’m flying solo for summer and I’m cool with that.

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So work is going from strength to strength, it’s high pressured at times and difficult to juggle quality home-life and family time with a role that never sleeps (I’m also the biggest culprit for not being able to switch off, even a walk to the shop for milk can inspire a story) but getting to do, experience and enjoy the things we do, with a brilliant team, makes it all worth while.

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I’m about to embark on my 25 days of summer in Liverpool. Every single day between now and 24th August has an event, appointment or engagement to attend, write about or report on and I’m ready and raring to go. (Plus the thought of my flight to Paris on 25th will no doubt help spur me on!).

If you’re looking for what’s on info, from family fun, nights out, where to eat, brand new cocktails, festivals and gigs………..me and the team are on it over at The Guide Liverpool.

Back on 24th x

Walk Like an Egyptian in the heart of Liverpool

Today I saw the ancient world version of a tweet. Seriously!

I was filming for The Guide Liverpool at World Museum this afternoon for the press view of Ancient Egypt: A journey through time, two days ahead of the official opening….and it knocked my sarcophagus off!

 

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Not sorry about my Will Smith red carpet pose!

 

Having visited the Egypt gallery regularly for many years (more than I’m willing to admit) both as a child and with my own brood, I expected to find a revamped space with much of the same artefacts we’ve come to know and love. What I discovered was so much more.

I learned more about our city’s links with the ancient world in the 20 minutes I wandered around the gallery and spoke to the team behind this mammoth project, than I could ever have imagined. From scarab beetle tweet-like messages and guy-liner to 10- stunningly presented mummies in all their finery, the entire 1,000 square metre gallery is phenomenal.

 

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Thebes/Liverpool we’re all the same when it comes to looking sharp and nailing those eyeliner flicks!

 

Head on over to The Guide Liverpool for our video and all the details about the official launch on Friday 28th April at 10am. If you do one thing this Bank Holiday weekend, discover a little bit of Ancient Egypt in the heart of Liverpool.

Kate x

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I’m lacing up for Cash for Kids

It’s no secret that I absolutely love my Nikes and I’ve amassed quite a collection, so what better way to support Cash for Kids Superhero Day 2017 than by putting them to good use?

 

Cash For Kids

You can get involved in Superhero Day 2017 too, details below

 

I’m lacing up and embarking on an ambitious running challenge to raise much needed funds for local families in need. And it means I can wear a cape too….winner!

May 5th 2017 is SuperHero Day and Cash for Kids is supporting When You Wish Upon a Star, a charity that works tirelessly to grant the wishes of children with life limiting illnesses.

Having heard first hand from parents and patrons of the charity at the launch event at the Hilton Hotel, Liverpool One, last week, about the phenomenal experiences the charity organises for desperately poorly children and their families around the UK, I was moved to tears and inspired to help.

 

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Just a snapshot of some of the wonderful experiences When You Wish organise for children and their families.

 

I have pledged to raise £250 in support of Cash for Kids Superhero Day 2017 and to hit my target, I plan to run 250km throughout the month on May. 31 days to rack up 250km, while also sustaining my job and family life and not twisting any ankles (I’m the most accident prone person EVER).

Family and friends will be loaded up with homemade cake, biscuits and honesty boxes to lure donations from their workmates, I’m going to attempt a sponsored silence (this will definitely require duct tape) in the office, and I’ll be rooting around in pockets and down the sofa for loose change, to help hit my target.

 

Cake for Kids

That’s worth £250 alone in my humble opinion

 

I’d really appreciate your support. As ever, just £2 can make a huge difference for those little ones and their families facing unimaginable pain. I’ve set up a Just Giving page to make it even easier to donate. Head over to www.justgiving.com/fundraising/KRJ and do something awesome for those in need.

 

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This is how happy your donations make me!

 

I will of course be sharing my daily escapades on my social media channels with tweets and videos. Mainly Twitter, @Katereillyjames , Instagram @Kate.reillyjames and Facebook here and everyone who throws me a few quid will get a personal thank you x

You can also sign up to get involved with Superhero Day 2017 here.

Donate £2 and make a wish come true x

 

 

 

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Woodlands Hospice Bunny Run 2017

On Sunday I got my face painted, donned a pair of rather fetching bunny ears, pinned on a fluffy tail ran 3.2 miles at the Woodlands Hospice Bunny Run 2017.

Croxteth Park had never looked so utterly stunning, bathed in early Spring sunlight, the hall itself was a hive (or should that be warren?) of activity as fundraisers, runners and tonnes of dogs, came together to support this Woodlands Hospice fundraising event.

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Roped in by my friend and organiser, Pauline Cox, I signed up to run the 5k course with the lovely Michelle and Kerry and French bulldog Oscar (who completely won the day by being ridiculously cute!). We (just about) got through the warm up with PT Mark Riley before limbering up on the start line.

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Woodlands Hospice Charitable Trust is an independent charity committed to delivering the best possible practice and development of Specialist Palliative Care for people with cancer and other life-limiting illnesses with complex needs. It honours people’s right to dignity and respect at whatever stage of their illness by its aim to improve the quality of life for patients and their families

Woodlands Hospice

More than 50 runners, old and young turned out to support this amazing cause alongside a team of the most encouraging and smiley volunteers who clapped and cheered every single runner to the finish line. The Lord Mayor of Liverpool, Cllr Roz Gladden handed out medals to all the participants and laden down with Easter eggs and goody bags we set off for ice creams, fair rides and a well earned sit down.

If you’d like to get involved with raising much needed funds for Woodlands Hospice, click here to check out what events are coming up.

 

 

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The Lord Mayor of Liverpool’s Charity Fashion Show 2017

On Thursday evening 8 of my friends took to a catwalk and strutted their stuff to a classic Whitney track……and I teared up with pride.

The Lord Mayor of Liverpool (the lovely Roz Gladden) hosted the third annual fashion show which raises vital funds for four local charities and also gives aspiring designers, models, make up artists and event managers an opportunity to roll up their sleeves and experience it first hand.

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I signed up to create and show a collection back in September 2016 and the biggest lesson I have learned from the whole experience is that leaving absolutely everything – including the actual making of the clothes, until 24 hours before hand, is not a good idea.

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However, three sewing machines, two acrylic nails and the best sister in the world later  (thank you so much Cazzy), a mini collection of 13, 1940’s Land Girl Army inspired pieces, was born. Who doesn’t love a head scarf and a winged eye liner on a Thursday night?

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Having grown up as an ‘Army brat’, married into the RAF and more recently worked closely with 156 Regiment in Allerton, I felt that the armed forces theme was the way forward, and my second thank you is to Maj Laurence Roche, who very kindly donated his mess jacket (Which I wore) and tartan trousers (worn by Cath Bore), which inspired the rest of the collection.

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I specifically asked friends of all ages, heights and shapes to model my collection. What society calls ‘real women’. Ensuring there was a range of sizes from 6-16 was important to me, as was empowering my models to go out into the limelight and own the catwalk. No sullen faces, but plenty of attitude, a bit of a dance and ear to ear smiles.

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Thank you from the bottom of my heart to all the girls who battled nerves, victory curls and my wonky-tailoring, to show the 150+ crowd of smiling faces, just how utterly amazing you are. Thank you Cath, Leanne, Steph, Caroline, Paige, Meg, Deanna, Ashleigh and Michelle.

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For the first time I truly appreciated just how much make up and hair makes a collection really pop. Thank you to Hayley and Ashleigh for creating razor sharp, sultry flicks, red lips and victory curls that brought everything together. You absolutely nailed your first show, and Ashleigh even ended up modelling for me too! Legends!

It all came together at the very last minute – as these things tend to do. Kudos and huge thanks to Andrew, Anna and Emma – seasoned pro’s at smashing out breath-taking runway looks as standard!

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A few people to thank:

To my three beautiful children – I almost broke under the pressure so many times, trying to juggle everything, be a good mum, progress at work, do my small bit for charity. I don’t always get the balance right, but coming home every day to hear you all arsing about, giggling makes it all worth while. Love you millions x

Emma for the best show day surprise I could ever have imagined and for supporting me every step of the way and at all hours of the day and night.

Jay at The Guide Liverpool for allowing me to shirk work for a few days to create the collection and also show it on the night. John at The Guide Liverpool for filming all the action and not being phased by half-naked models running about!

Thank you to Andy and Geoff at 156 Regiment for the loan of the berets and flags. I’ve never been so nervous of borrowing something so precious!

Paul, Pauline, Tash and especially little Kaidie, thank you for being there to support us all on the night x

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My biggest thanks and admiration are to Jodie McShane. I have no idea what I’d have done without you and considering we’d not met before, you read my mind and kept everything running smoothly when I was flapping! I’m really looking forward to working with you again.

Lord Mayors Fashion Show

Led by the lovely Sofia Spencer, the show ran smoothly and raised just over £1400 for the Lord Mayor’s charities. To see all the official photos from Ian Williams and Andy Forster and video clips of The Lord Mayor of Liverpool, Cllr Roz Gladden realising her daughter was on the catwalk……click here. Also check out my Gallery page for all the backstage pics and shenanigans too!

Same again next year?

x

 

 

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Five More Years

I have every intention of writing a St Patrick’s Day piece today, given it’s the celebration of all things green, white and orange, but having logged into my website, poised to type, something way more important was brought to my attention.

It turns out that I started blogging 5 years ago today. I’m mega chuffed about this coincidence for a number of reasons. 1 – because I will never forget this anniversary ever again, given the date, 2 – I have another excuse to go for a drink, and 3 – its been FIVE years….wow! I’m absolutely chuffed to be able to confidently say that I love writing now even more than I did back in 2012.

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Yep…..it’s goosed!

Having launched myself into the passenger seat of my car, one sunny spring day back in 2012, I slipped and ruptured two discs in my lower back, and thus a writing career was born! Actually it was more like the following 9 months of daily agony that encouraged me to write as there was little else I could do while I waited for neurosurgery to fix it!

Who’d have thought that my humble, little Geordie’s Girl blog, and the comfort it gave me to get though months of insomnia, waiting around in hospitals, and the early days of recovery, would blossom into a year at college to gain my NCTJ qualification, a junior writers job, many freelance roles, radio broadcast opportunities, my first ever hosting gig and of course my beloved editorial position with The Guide Liverpool. All that from a slipped disc, not bad going huh?

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If I’ve learned one thing from this rollercoaster journey its that luck, Irish or otherwise can only get you so far. Hard work, determination and integrity are the real stepping stones to the top.

Here’s to St Patrick, and five more years!

x

 

 

 

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Sorry I’m Late…..

Slightly disgusted that it’s taken me until March 9th to post my first blog of 2017, but in all honesty, I’m late for most other things too.

Hello! Happy New Year, Happy Australia Day, Valentine’s Day and whatever else I’ve missed in the last few weeks. Assume you’ve all completely abandoned any New Years resolutions by now and are, like me, pretending to have a go at Lent instead? As well as being late for stuff I’m also incredibly undisciplined.

Moving swiftly on….

Global Scouse Day

2017 has been epic so far. I’m rushed off my feet with work as The Guide Liverpool goes from strength to strength. I’ve stepped in front of the camera on a number of occasions and (thanks to our ridiculously talented videographers) it looks like I did an okay job! Check out all the action from Global Scouse Day here. (Ps, scouse pizza is the bomb).

Lord Mayors Fashion Show

I’m (just about) still on course to show a capsule collection of military chic couture at The Lord Mayor of Liverpool’s Charity Fashion Show on March 30th at the Devonshire House Hotel. I’ve absolutely no idea how I’ve pulled this off because there really aren’t enough hours in the day to keep up!

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I did manage a little trip over to Belfast with my curly girl a couple of weekends ago. We had a ball exploring the city together and spending the best part of £50 on tacky gifts to bring back home. You can read our very serious review here.

Radio City Cash for Kids

Looking ahead, I’ve just become ‘Face 38’ in the Radio City Cash for Kids 1000 Faces Campaign. The charity are looking for 1000 local faces to sign up and raise just £100 each for local children and their families facing hardship. It’s an incredibly worthy cause, I’ve pledged my support and you can too here. Alternatively just give me some change or you know, like £100 the next time we meet up. That would be great thanks.

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Aside from work I’ve been back on the dating scene, which let me enlighten you, in your 30’s is an entirely different ball game to being 21 and full of confidence! Luckily Liverpool is an amazing city for a night out and any place you can dance your little heart out to an 80’s covers band until 2am on a Tuesday morning is alright with me….and him.Eric’s Mathew Street – You guys rock!

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I’m ridiculously excited to be reporting on MCM Comic Con Liverpool this weekend (March 11-12) and cant wait to be surrounded by passionate people (including my curly girl, mad RWBY fan) who nail their cosplay costumes every single time! How many Jokers do you reckon I can get a selfie with? Check out all the details of which TV stars are attending here.

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So lucky to be working with designer Alice James again after she ‘dressed’ me for last year’s Merseyside In Business Awards. This time I’m attending the James Bulger Memorial Trust Black Tie and Tiara Ball in support of my lovely friend, Jay Hynd as he hosts the star studded event, and Alice James has stepped in to help me update a vintage gown I fell in love with over a year ago…..all will be revealed on March 18th at the Crowne Plaza, Pier Head.

There’s tickets still available and if supporting the charity isn’t enough to make you snap up a ticket, boyband 5ive are headlining the entertainment! Tickets here.

Just don’t be late!

 

 

 

 

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Less Resolution More Revolution

I can’t quite remember from who or where I’ve stolen that title but it’s a belter isn’t it?

2017 is all about making waves for me, causing a personal revolution and generally saying yes to whatever comes my way so I’m ditching the unrealistic resolutions and looking at them as fun goals instead!

I’ve thought long and hard and come up with a compact list that is realistic yet challenging. It might look fairly basic to you but I’m the type who derives immense joy from ticking off lists.

(I’ll admit to writing some tasks on my list when I’ve already done them to give myself a bit of a boost, I know, I’m weird).

So anyway, 2016 was pretty damn awesome for me, so I’m going to have to go some to up the ante.

Here we go…..

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Travel Inspiration – Kasbah Ruins, Morocco

1 – Spend at least 30 days out of the country and visit two places/cities/countries I’ve never been to before. Morocco is currently top of my list followed by the lost city of Petra, Jordan. Eeeeek, excited!

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Hair and Style goals – Linda Rodin and pooch, Winky.

2 – Right this one is huge (for me). I’m going to stop dying my hair. Oh god I’ve said it. It’s no secret that I’m destined to be a silver fox, and despite a 5-month-long failed attempt earlier this year, I’m gonna give it another go.

Thank you to the lovely lady on reception at Radio City for encouraging me to embrace the grey! Much respect, and you look bloody fabulous x

 

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Goodbye Chicken Fried Rice, it was good while it lasted. I love you x

 

3 – I’m on a roll now! I’m also giving up take-away. Not all crappy food, (I really love pic n mix), just actual take away. No Just Eat, no Deliveroo and no deliciously gooey and chocolatey fabulousness from TreatyPie. I must prepare and cook actual food….for a whole year.

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Repeat After Me: I Do Not Need To Check My Phone Every Five Minutes…..

4 – Technology goal. No switching my phone on until 9am (kids in safely in school and nursery etc) and off again at 8pm EVERY.SINGLE.NIGHT. Yep.

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Oh Hi pretty food that wont give me diabetes!

5 – Try Sushi! Utterly ridiculous that I’ve made it to the ripe old age of 34 and I’ve been too scared to try sushi! January for sure this one!

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Problem Booking Taxi: No available cars in your area…..til 2018…..unlucky

6 – Last one. No taxi’s. I need to learn to manage my time so that I don’t have to last minute.com all the time and ring a Delta. Plus I’m hardly Rockefeller so think of all the savings! Could pay for one of my trips, girl with a plan.

So that’s it. 365 days of cute bite-size, cute food, foreign adventures, silver hair, healthy meal prep, Instagram posts (between the hours of 9 and 8 only) and generally improving life as I know it.

Doesn’t matter how you do it, resolutions, goals whatever, be happy and make 2017 count.

Happy New Year

x

 

 

 

 

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Boxing Day Musings

Hello again all, I hope you had a very merry Christmas?

It’s Boxing Day, 3:40pm and I’ve lost sight of my living room carpet again for the second day running, which is a sure fire sign that my children have been spoiled, and more to the point, I am fully relaxed!

 

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My 11 year old daughter lining up my wine glass for a classy Christmas photo!

 

Springing up off the sofa to throw the vacuum around or repeatedly ask my dudes to tidy their new toys away is just not on the agenda……well not until tomorrow.

I’ve not written very much on the blog in the latter stage of this year, mainly because work has been insanely busy and writing for pleasure had lost its appeal. I’ve succumbed to the more convenient few lines on my Facebook page instead, but it’s on my resolution list to write here a lot more.

As 2017 draws near (I filed my NYE nightlife copy this morning!) I’m reminded of the importance of taking a moment to just breathe and put things into perspective. Yesterday news spread around the world that another pop legend, George Michael (I’m a big fan), had passed away and coupled with quite a few glasses of festive bubbly, I found myself sobbing watching Love Actually on my own, feeling incredibly sad.

Professionally I’ve enjoyed some soaring highs this year. Joining The Guide Liverpool as a graduate, being promoted to Head of Editorial Content and working with some of the industry’s brightest stars had been phenomenal.

 

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Huge career highlight for me, a masterclass in rugby with the legend that is World Cup Winning Rugby Player, Maggie Alphonsi MBE at Liverpool One.

 

Personally I struggled to come to terms with a couple of crashing lows that just as my friends and family assured me, would take time to heal. It also took a wonderful long weekend in Paris and a whole lot of laughs.

2016 has been a real up and down year for a lot of us. So many high profile deaths, personal challenges and bouts of illness, yet I’ve had my fair share of mind-blowing experiences and opportunities and so looking back, I can’t complain.

I’m starting the new year planning and designing my first ever clothing collection, ready to grace the catwalk of the Lord Mayor of Liverpool’s Charity Fashion Show in March. Paying homage to my military upbringing and a mark of respect to those who have served and those who continue to keep us safe.

Also, I’m absolutely delighted to report that I’m joining Hugh Baird College as an industry representative in an attempt to help media students gain valuable experience of the industry while building their portfolio’s and contacts list. Super chuffed about this!

 

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The Guide Liverpool Team. Director and Presenter Jay Hynd, Videographer David Wright and me and the MIB Awards following our nomination for Best Creative Business

 

And as if that’s not enough, The Guide Liverpool continues to grow and 2017 is going to be absolutely belting. We’re constantly evolving and adapting to how the public wants to consume information, whether that means me taking part in the Santa Dash 5k with a Gopro strapped to my head (yep I did that) or recording live from gigs and events right across the north west, I’ll be part of the hardest working team around, bringing you all the action as it happens.

As you look back on 2016, I hope you can say you lived life to the full? If not, keep it in mind as 2017 rolls around and make it a year to remember for all the right reasons.

Happy New Year x

 

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I’m a Story-teller, whats your superpower?

It turns out I don’t have super powers in the traditional sense, I mean I can’t fly, nor can I become invisible, although I can turn into the HULK when my kids really try my patience!

I do have some super skills though, in the form of being able to turn my hand to a number of jobs which over the years have kept me afloat and helped me to turn situations into stories that engage with readers.

When I was studying to be the next Stella McCartney, I cleaned toilets at Broadgreen Hospital at the weekends to afford bolts of Calico for my first ever clothing collection. I’ve been a call centre operative, a kitchen assisant, a merchandiser, a sportswear sales assistant, a facilities manager, an administrator, a auditor, a receptionist and an exectuive PA.

Throughout all of these roles, I’ve stored the memories and drawn on them when looking for inspiration for characters and searching for examples to give to clients. Plus interviews no longer phase me.

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I’ve also juggled full-time parenting during these roles as my little brood expanded from 1 to 4 in just 10 years. Being a mlti-tasker comes as standard.

Being a Journalist is all I ever wanted to do. I worked hard during my NCTJ course, juggling classes, work experience and my children. Just a year since I started out I’ve picked up a tremendous amount of experience, some incredile contacts and ultimately my dream role.

What I love about freelance work is that its so unpredictable, the absolute opposite to how my home life works. Everything is regimented at home. From packed lunch boxes to bedtime routines, it’s all done to the letter……because it’s the only way I can get us all out of the house by 7:45am.

The other aspect of freelance work I like so much, is the relationship building. Some clients I work with on long projects that involve developing and implementing strategy over a number of months. Some I work with for just a day. No two days, nor clients are ever the same.

I absolutely love hearing people’s stories. How they came to be in business, what they sacrifice for the sake of providing a service or developing a product and being their own boss. The long hours, taking work home, never being able to switch off. It’s an exclusive gang that only those who are self-employed, or closesly related to those who are, really understand.

Helping people is second nature to some, and being able to support businesses with their admin, marketing, social media and advertising makes me happy. Whether its turning my hand to tax preparation or writing advertorial articles……or even hand writing 100 company Christmas cards, to know I’m relieveing a little of the workload gives me great job satisfaction.

Can I help you? Drop me a line katereillyjames@gmail.com

 

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