Thursday, 7 October 2010


At today's meeting, Debbie Austin of Utility Warehouse gave a presentation entitled "Less is More!"

Debbie gave a short presentation on what she does, how she can help people save money with their household bills. She also showed how the Utility Warehouse can help you save money when shopping at major retailers (also helping cut spending), thereby making it easier to budget. In fact, the Utility Warehouse can benefit anyone who is interested!

Debbie can be contacted through

Thursday, 2 September 2010



Today's talk was given by our friend, Steve Bowkett, Hypnotherapist. He spoke about, and demonstrated 'Self-Hypnosis and the Creative Mind'.

As Steve explained prior to his presentation:

"The subconscious is an incredible resource of memory, experience and creative energy that complements the logical, reasoning part of the mind. Especially in today's society most people try to rely solely on conscious thinking abilities to solve problems and make decisions. But harnessing the subconscious complements and empowers the conscious mind so making it far more effective.

This workshop will demonstrate how the mental state of self-hypnosis can help you achieve this. Steve will run a group relaxation session for those who want it, and then work with Kate Jackson on an individual basis so you can see the techniques in more detail."

As always, Steve was happy to answer questions after his presentation (of which there were plenty!) I think we all learned a lot about hypnosis and self-hypnosis and some of us found it quite upsetting to have to remove ourselves from such a tranquil state!

Steve aims to carry out another workshop for HAHA members at his home practice very soon. I can't wait!

Steve can be contacted at

Thursday, 5 August 2010


This morning was the August meeting of HAHA. We were, alas, very thin on the ground since so many of our (luckier) members are sunning themselves on beaches around the globe!

The meeting was attended by Kate Jackson (Provision TLC), Steve Bowkett (hypnotherapist), Wendy Bowkett (Unique craft shop) and Phil Shepherd (Harborough Chamber of Trade and Commerce) and, of course, myself. I'm very grateful to those who came along, especially Kate and Wendy as Kate didn't have her usual (other) networking event afterwards (so made a special journey into town), and Wendy is recovering from illness! So, thanks, girls!

It was disappointing that Phil attended when the numbers were so low. However, despite that, we chatted amongst ourselves for quite some time and learned more about the work the Chamber of Trade and Commerce does. Which, I must say, is quite extensive!

I am attending a networking meeting tomorrow morning with Phil so will post some feedback on this and the HAHA blogspots.


Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Ah... sunshine again!

Well, it's nice to see the sun back! I was beginning to think the summer had been and gone!

So, we are all into garden mode! I am working in my garden office with the doors and windows wide open and it's absolutely lovely and VERY tranquil! I drove into Market Harborough yesterday and spared a thought for those cooped up in offices - I remember only too well what that was like!

Guy and the boys are still working in London right now, but hope to be putting up wooden garden offices in the Midlands again very soon! It's encouraging to see how the work-from-home message finally seems to be spreading through the country. It seems to be quite an accepted practice in the South East, but here in the Midlands with all those road links, people seemed to miss the point a little bit.

However, the media seem to be pushing the message and, as a Telegraph reader, there are often features about working from home or from a shed in the garden. It's all very encouraging, both from the perspective of Work Shacks and the planet!

So, let's all spread the word: you no longer have to GO TO WORK! GET A WORK SHACK and let work come to you! You can even work in your PJs!


Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Where has the sunshine gone???

Well, was that it? Surely summer hasn't passed us by already?!

I can't believe I've spent the last couple of days in my garden office listening to the rain on the roof and the water running down the windows! Fortunately, I was dry and happy!

I would like to mention the interesting evening I had in Market Harborough on Monday. I had been invited to the book launch of The Ideal Marketing Company's Alastair Campbell. I have spent a lot of time with Alastair and have never failed to be motivated by his ideas - I can only hope I carry them out to their full potential (but I have a niggling feeling I may not quite always do so!)

With Guy currently working in London, I am Bunty-No-Mates, so was delighted to see three members of the Harborough Area Homeworking Alliance there - Wendy and Steve Bowkett and Karen Waugh. The room was packed and everyone seemed to thoroughly enjoy Alastair's short seminar which was very informative and gave a brief idea of the topics covered in his book (which I'm looking forward to reading).

The evening also gave me the opportunity to have a chat with a few people and I was thrilled to be able to meet up with an old school friend who I hadn't seen for years (apart from quickly spotting him at a Parents' Evening!). It was Martyn Dimblebee of Advanced Building Chemicals of Market Harborough ( with whom I had spent many a happy hour as a kid! It appears he now deals in adhesives (which could be very useful to a business like ours that deals with wooden structures). I shall keep his card for future reference and drop him an e-mail very soon!

It was also a pleasure to meet another couple of friendly chaps - Paul Bishop of Fractal Telecom Services ( was a real giggle to chat with and, having checked out his website, sounds as if he could do us all a good telecommunications deal!

Also, it was a pleasure to talk to Ian Guyler of Pedigree Filbert Business Consultants ( An interesting man who clearly knows a lot about business!

So, all in all a great evening - thank you, Alastair!

Don't forget, news of HAHA presentations can be found by clicking on the 'HAHA' link on this website. A schedule for the August meeting will be posted in the next week or so.

Well, I think it's time for a cuppa. Not far to go, as I brought the kettle and milk up with me (how lazy is that?!). Then it's the school run and the end of the working day for me! So, back to the house at that point (oh no - the mess! That's why I love working in my Shack!).

Bye for now, all!


Friday, 2 July 2010


I was alerted to a brilliant piece on the BBC1 Breakfast programme on Wednesday:

The article covers the ever-growing numbers of homeworkers who are working in sheds and shacks in their gardens!

Now, some of us have thought this is a brilliant idea for quite a long time now, but for some, it's still a relatively new concept. But, it's a concept that's getting there!

For a long time now, the little wooden hut has been a kind of sanctuary for the creative elite. Writers such as George Bernard Shaw and Philip Pullman have celebrated the small-but-distinct space between the world of domesticity and the world of make-believe! And, they're now not alone!

In the clip, author and illustrator, Ted Dewan, speaks of how he is able to escape the modern, tech-filled world when he is in his shed. In fact, it was Philip Pullman who gave the shed to him as a gift - with the proviso that it be used for creative purposes! Indeed, writer, Penelope Thompson, is also clearly passionate about her very upmarket shed! The humble garden shack has clearly become the location of choice!

The clip also talks about the latest exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum which is all about small spaces and hideaways. This would seems to be a very fast-growing concept indeed!

So, all those with a Shack - pat yourselves on the back for being cutting-edge without being corporate! And all those yearning for a Shack - give us a call on 0845 234 0674 or speak to Guy directly on 07950 935917.

Thursday, 1 July 2010


I have only just found time to publish this blog following today's successful HAHA meeting.

Our speakers today were Wendy Aspland of Smart Cat, and Kate Jackson of Provision TLC.

Wendy and Kate are two independent Personal Development Coaches who come from quite different professional backgrounds. Today, they pooled their knowledge to present a very thought-provoking, fun, interactive talk.

In the exercise they gave us, we all had to stand in a circle around Wendy. Kate then announced what she could see when she looked at Wendy (ie, two eyes, two hands and two feet). As we moved around the group, people saw less of Wendy's eyes, hands and feet and then others saw more as we moved round to those facing her. The point being made here was that the subject remained the same but we all saw different things according to our particular perspectives.

We were then asked to interact with others in the group to complete a questionnaire aimed at finding things in common. This was a great deal of fun, and very useful to the more introverted of the group who aren't quite so comfortable with striking up conversations. They were grateful for the opportunity to 'go up to someone' in this way. Most useful!

Thank you, Kate and Wendy, for a most enjoyable and highly effective presentation!

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Summer in my Shack

Well, it looked like summer was here last week! What has happened?

Last week, I was cool and shaded in my wooden office, with the sounds of the birds around me! Today, I am working from the house! Although I know it would still be comfortable, I don't want to get wet running up the garden! Isn't that pathetic?! Still, at least I'm not stuck in a traffic jam on my way to a sweaty, people-packed office (I've done that before, and I didn't like it!).

Guy and the team are currently working on a building project in London, so no Shacks right now, although there are a number of enquiries in the pipeline. It's encouraging to see how many people are switching on the idea of working from home. And, with an office or therapy suite in the garden, they don't need to lose their spare bedroom!

We hope the next Shack we build will be nice and close to home - somewhere within the Midlands, would be nice (Leicestershire or Northamptonshire would be fantastic!). The good thing about this neck of the woods, of course, is that it is commuter belt. All those people trecking all those miles when they could carry out their work just as well (if not better) from the comfort of their own home office. And they money they spend on the building won't disappear (unlike the hundreds of pounds spent of petrol/train fares), but will be an added asset to their homes.

Updates on the Work Shacks front will follow in the near future. Best regards to all.

Friday, 4 June 2010

Successful HAHA meeting

I would like to thank Andrew Seaward of Cocktail Shaker Boys ( for giving the HAHA members an extremely informative and enjoyable talk about marketing your business free-of-charge using the internet and social networking sites. Andrew used his experience in the marketing industry and applied it to Cocktail Shaker Boys to show how easy and convenient this is.

Andrew has given me the spur I needed to find out more about marketing both Work Shacks and the Harborough Area Homeworking Alliance via such methods. Thank you, Andrew!

More information about the Homeworking Alliance to follow shortly.

Thursday, 6 May 2010

HAHA meeting today

Thanks to all who attended today's HAHA meeting - it was yet another hugely enjoyable morning out!

I would also like to thank Julia Trustram Eve and Emily Keal for giving their fascinating presentations.

Emily taught us about the world of pearls (how they are formed, what their values are and how to tell one from another). We got to handle (and buy) some lovely jewellery and, on a personal note, Emily has been kind enough to mend some of my own pearl jewellery. She is clearly very talented! You can learn more about Emily and her work at

Julia gave a marvellous presentation on the wonderful world of English wine. Julia has worked in the industry for years and is hugely knowledgeable. I think we all learned a lot about English wine and how well it is selling these days (and how many awards it is winning!). I think a wine-tasting is on the cards for later in the year!

As always, it was great to see everyone and I very much look forward to our next meeting.


Tuesday, 20 April 2010

The latest Shack is complete!

I thought I would let everyone know that the latest addition to the Work Shacks' portfolio is now complete!

The two-office Shack, built in the garden of a rural Leicestershire house, is large, airy and ready to receive its occupants! And, with its own loo, there's no need for anyone to be leaving it until the end of each working day. And it's big, too! In fact, I have lived in smaller spaces (no kidding)!

Guy, knowing how big the Shack needed to be, pushed the size just to within the Planners' limits. So, no Planning Permission required here! A superb bespoke design for considerably less than an extension of equivalent size would have been!

Well, our customers are delighted with their new office and Work Shacks are very proud to have this beautiful garden building in their portfolio.

We look forward to bringing news of our next Shack!


Thursday, 1 April 2010

HAHA meeting today

I would like to say what a super meeting we had at HAHA today. Our speaker was Steve Bowkett, Hypnotherapist, and he gave an informative and highly enjoyable talk, sharing with us a little about how the therapy works and highlighting this with a couple of case studies.

As well as being a former teacher and the author of children's books and instructive texts, Steve has worked for some time as a Hypnotherapist in the south Leicestershire area. He clearly has a lot of experience and is a great speaker. Thanks, Steve!

Steve can be contacted at, or on 01858 565657.

Thanks to all who attended - it's always good to see the Homeworking Alliance members!

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Snow, snow, go away!

Well, I hate to be a misery as I really do love snow, but it's all getting a bit much now!

I mean, it's great when you've nothing more urgent to do than to go sledging down a hill on a tea tray, but when you're trying to work outside, it can become a pain!

I'm referring, of course, to Guy's current Work Shack project in Skeffington, Leicestershire. The ground works are underway, but the snow is seriously impeding progress! I believe it's difficult to work on the ground, when you can't actually see it!

However, things are going well with the new garden office. It's pretty much on schedule and Guy is trying to work on the roof in a friend's barn while the snow is about, so we're getting there!

I am tucked up nice and warm in my own garden office. With all this insulation, I believe it's probably warmer in here than it is in the house - in fact, the dogs have opted to join me, so I think it must be the case!

I will check in with more news very soon.


Saturday, 20 March 2010

Homebuilding & Renovation Show

Yesterday, Guy and I attended the Homebuilding and Renovation Show at the NEC. It was very interesting and we've seen some good stuff for our garden buildings/offices (such as underfloor heating!) Crikey, I can imagine living in a wooden cabin in your garden could easily become more luxurious than living in your house! Hell of a sight cheaper, too!

I will let you know what innovative products we incorporate into our shacks!


Thursday, 4 March 2010


Afternoon, Work Shackers

Just thought I would update my blog with details of the third HAHA meeting. It was very successful, with attendance growing to 22 - how wonderful!

Today, we were entertained and informed by our speakers Steve Brewin, Sellmore Business (email details to follow), who helped us understand the selling process; Elaine Steel, The Colour Studio ( held a demonstration of how colours suit/don't suit certain people's colouring and the effect of getting it right compared to getting it wrong! I was the model, so she was challenged from the word 'go' really! And, once again, our friend, Wendy Bowkett of Unique ( brought along a selection of Mothering Sunday cards and gifts.

Well, on with some 'real' work now, I suppose! There is likely to be a new Work Shack being built in the very near future, so watch this space!


Monday, 15 February 2010

New Work Shack garden office

Hi, Work Shackers

Well, today Guy started work on a new Work Shack project. It's a bespoke, two room garden office in the Leicestershire village of Skeffington. Being local is good for us, too, as we are eager to further establish ourselves in the Midlands (particularly the Leicester and Northampton areas).

Designed by Work Shacks, the wooden garden office will be fully insulted, painted and finished to a high standard (as usual, of course!) but will be the largest garden building in our portfolio to date, with the added luxury of its own loo!

It's a very exciting project for Work Shacks, as it's given our design team the chance to get creative and show just how much can be built in a garden, yet still not require planning permission! A very effective way of producing space, at minimal cost, for maximum results!

More details will follow as the garden office is constructed.

From my garden office - checking out for now,


Thursday, 4 February 2010

Another HAHA meeting

Afternoon, Work Shackers

Well, we have just had another interesting and most enjoyable HAHA meeting. Our attendance was up from 15 at the last one (which was also the first!) to 20! Fantastic!

We enjoyed presentations from:
Steve Lane, PC Pal ( who discussed internet safety;
Rob Dunnicliff, AIMS Accountants ( who talked about his life in accountancy and how he is able to help the small business; and
Louise Jeffs, The Staged Home ( who showed us how she is able to transform a dismal space into a new and vibrant one!
Wendy Bowkett, from Unique (, brought along a selection of Valentine's Day cards and gifts from her home-shop is Ashley.

So, all-in-all, a wonderful morning. I hope everyone is enjoying HAHA as much as I am, and I hope we are all able to help each other progress with our businesses.

Will check in again soon from my garden cabin.


Thursday, 7 January 2010


Evening, Work Shackers!

Well, let me begin by wishing everyone a HAPPY NEW YEAR!

I can't believe Christmas has come and gone and, after all my good intentions, I was so busy with festive preparations, I never got the chance to post a blog!

However, now that we are back to normal (or as normal as the snow will allow) I am back at my laptop in my Work Shack (complete with heater, I hasten to add!)

All us home-workers will be feeling a little smug, no doubt, that the rest of the country has been trying to do mad stuff like DRIVE TO WORK in the snow! As Harry Enfield would say, "You don't wanna do that!" Get yourself a little office in the garden and then all you have to do is shovel a little path up to it and you're sorted!

Well, I must tell everyone about Work Shacks' latest venture. It's a small, informal group that goes by the name of HAHA (Harborough Area Home-working Alliance) and is sponsored by Work Shacks. We met today for the first time and I was thrilled at the turnout! Let me explain what it's all about...

Having attended last November's Enterprise Nation 'Home Enterprise Day', I was inspired to create a social/networking group for my local area. Having worked from home for some years, and having friends who are also home-based, I knew I would have a nice little gathering from which to launch the group. So, I went for it, and HAHA was created.

The thing that stood out most about this group of self-motivated individuals was how diverse our skill-base was. We had everyone there from sales, to accounting, to a hypnotherapy practitioner! Wonderful!

The next meeting is scheduled for Thursday 4th February, then every first Thursday in the month until... well, forever, I hope!

I will keep everyone updated about the progress of HAHA and, of course, any developments on the Work Shacks front.

So, until then, keep warm, everyone!