Business training and Burts Bees lip balm

This week I have been attending The Princes Trust Enterprise Scheme.  I have to say, it was day 2 today and I am really enjoying it.  It is a good mix of people doing the course along with me and everyone has a different idea of what they want to do.

I may already have a management degree and my a-levels are in business studies and retail but the course is acting as a great refresher and helping me learn how to put all the principles into practice for my business.  It might sound wrong but I am actually excited to start my business plan.

I was really surprised (and pleased) to learn that we can gain a level 1 qualification in enterprise just by completing our course book during the week and if we would like to work towards a level 2 (which I believe is GCSE equivalent) we can continue to do so after the course.  I do love a chance for new qualifications!

Each day we have different people come in to talk to us about their business success and a topic that we are covering that day.  So far the people we have spoken to have been really inspiring and have gone above and beyond their duty of being helpful.

Honestly, I have said it before and I will say it again but if you are looking to set up your business and are under the age of 30 then get in touch with The Princes Trust, they really will offer you a world of help.

On another note I had one of those “Arghhh” moments yesterday.  About 2 weeks about I bought a new Burt’s Bees lip balm in pomegranate.  It smells lovely and it’s really nice to use, I bought it because when I glanced at it I could see it had a BUAV logo and (what I thought was!) a vegetarian leaf.  Imagine my shock when yesterday I seen a blog on the Beauty Brains website stating that it contained carmine (an alternate name for cochineal which is crushed insects – used to create a red dye).

Now I emailed Burt’s Bees to tell them about the fact that this leaf looks very like a vegetarian logo and I was very upset to discover that the lip balm is in fact not vegetarian.  I can not read the writing around the leaf on the item, nor did they advise me what it was for when they responded to my email but they did respond.  In fact they responded the same day they received my email which is pretty speedy IMO.  They apologised and have said they will pass my comments onto the relevant department.  They have also kindly offered to refund the cost of my lip balm so I can purchase another.

I am still very saddened that I made this mistake by assuming the leaf was a vegetarian one.  I find it rather insane that a company who uses only natural ingredients felt the need to colour their products pink with such a product.  They really have no need as their products are good, pink or their natural yellowy colour.  I do however appreciate that they have done their best to rectify my problem. 

I just wanted to share the story with you to show the importance of reading the ingredients list on your beauty products.  It really is amazing what companies will put in the products we use knowing that most people won’t read the label.

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So that’s it, my place in level 3

So that’s it, my place in level 3 is now confirmed.  My interview was supposed to be yesterday but silly me thought it was next Wednesday!  They kindly took me in today for interview anyway.

Off I toddled and brought my passport and my qualification reports for GCSE’s, A-levels, Degree etc as although the college have these things… apparently they wanted me to bring them in again.  They also wanted my most recent “school report” which again they had… as they wrote it.  Sadly I didn’t keep mine when they sent it in January or so, why would I?  It was telling me about, well me and I already know how often I go to college and what my standards where.  It wasn’t like it was sent to let my mum know.  Anyways, I digress.  I went in for the interview and was asked for my paperwork, I hand it over and explained I never kept my report as nobody told me at the time I would need it.  I was promptly told “you will be marked down for this in your interview, lack of attention to the entry requirements”.  I didn’t know if I should just laugh at her or try and look like I had been chastised.

My attendance was 96%, my grades where high and so I am pleased to say I was offered an on the spot confirmation of my place on the level 3 course.  Amazing, I made it despite my inability to keep such important documents ha!

Yesterday I also had my introductory session with the Princes Trust.  I have also been accepted onto their Enterprise scheme to help me refresh on all the skills I need to set up a business as well as help to sort out my business plan.  Better still if all goes well then I can apply for their loan to help me with the home salon.

It’s nice to feel like things are progressing but I am still frightfully fed up of the lack of stuff to do while I’m at home so hopefully this course next week will keep me out of mischief.

I also enquired about when I will get my certificate for my level 2 as I want to sign up to do a gel polish and a body wrap course during the summer.  It seems we won’t get them until mid July.  The tutor did however kindly offer to write a letter on headed paper for me to use as proof of qualification if the companies will accept that.  My mission for the next week (along side attending the Enterprise programme) is to find out if the training locations will accept a letter as proof of qualification.  Fingers crossed.

We won the auction :)

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Excuse the bits sitting about – it was OH’s birthday the day we picked up the couch hence the party decorations and fizzy drinks!

This is the couch that we managed to win at auction.  Having only ever bid on an ebay auction in the past I didn’t realise that we also had to pay the auction fees (I assumed the seller would) so it cost us £51 in total.  Still not a bad price but I was a little sad that one end had a small cut in the fabric which wasn’t there at the viewing and so it has happened either during or after the auction.

Little Miss loves it, she wanted to sit on it and play her DS and as it gave me an excuse to put it up and photograph it I figured she might as well have a play with it too.

With regards to big items such as furniture, I see no reason why not to buy second hand and save ourselves a bit of money.  I plan on trying to find a few other pieces on gumtree if possible to continue building towards that home salon without paying an arm and a leg for everything.

So what’s it like to study with a baby/child?

I got asked a variation of this question yesterday and so I thought I would answer it here.

While when I started my beauty therapy course I had a 5 year old daughter, I did actually fall pregnant with her when I was in university. After a year out I went back to complete my degree when my daughter was 9 months old.

Depending on the age of your child and circumstances will affect the method of study you will be best choosing but I am a believer that if you want something bad enough then you can make it happen.  That said, living the dream doesn’t mean that you won’t have to make some sacrifices.  For me, I decided to go down the route of full time study both for my degree and my NVQ.

I am very lucky that I had a fantastic support base and so when in uni and indeed now while I am in college, I know that I am not short for help with looking after her or picking her up from school.  Better still, now she is in school, they offer a breakfast club which for me means I could leave her to school at 8:15 on the 2 mornings I started at 9am ensuring we both got to class on time.

It was very different when she was younger though.  Even at 9 months old, I still wished I could have stayed at home with her.  I also chose to breastfeed and if I had gone back to study before she was on solids then it would have made this a whole lot harder.  It’s amazing how easy it is to not realise how much your boobies will actually ache if you miss a feed or two in a day.  Worse still, they can start to leak without you realising! (TMI I know, I’m sorry).  While a 16 hour a week course doesn’t seem that long right now, when you are leaving a baby it can seem like a long time.  A time when you can be missing first steps, first words and even those funny stories that you just wish you had been there to witness.

Money is another aspect to think about.  For me money is tight.  I work part time and although I qualified for some financial help from the college by way of a grant it in no way replaces a fulltime wage.

Is it worth it though? For me, yes.  I find it important to ready myself for a new career that will make me self sufficient.  I want to know that regardless of where I decide to move in the future that I will be able to create my own work.  Money may feel tight for the now but I hope to prevent that happening again for the long run.  I also want to make my daughter proud and indeed she is.  She loved when I graduated from university, she made me a card, came to my graduation and clapped and cheered (all 3 year olds love a reason to get excited).  She loves that mummy is going to be a beauty therapist and can’t wait until I have my home salon.

So if you have a family and want to be a beauty therapist, I say go for it.  There is nothing to stop you doing it providing you have arranged a good support network around you, be that family or childcare. 

As a mum you have already done the toughest job in the world, have confidence in yourself, study hard, listen to what your tutors are saying and you will sail through your course!  Good luck x

Deviating

I have been trying really hard to kill the free time I now have until September.  Man it is hard!

So I took into my daughters room and rather than making a person look beautiful, I made her furniture look beautiful.

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I really enjoyed the process of doing up the furniture and making it look special.  I used paints from the Annie Sloan collection and they made the job so easy.  In fact so easy that I decided to start on our coffee table last night too.

To save the other half from pulling out what little hair he has left, I went to an auction tonight to try and find some bits of furniture I could buy to paint up and sell on.  There were a few bits there but what really caught my eye was a bright pink therapy couch!  Yes a little village auction with a therapy couch in the auction, so I have left my first ever proxibid in the hope I can win the item for a great price. 

I am not sure pink would have been my colour of choice had I been buying brand new but if I can get a bargain it will save me money to put towards other bits for my home salon.

I also had my letter from The Prices Trust this week to confirm my place on their Enterprise course in 2 weeks time.  Really excited as this is the course I am hoping will help me secure funding to set up a perfect home salon.

I have been a bad blogger and slacking a little due to being busy doing things that aren’t specifically beauty related.  I am going to try and make it my mission to come up with a few blog topics tomorrow and I can then work on them next week.  Feel free to give me inspiration on topics you would like me to write on as I am happy to do a bit of research to keep my mind ticking over and knowledge expanding 🙂

I think I forgot to mention…

…that I am actually done now and have completed my level 2!  A nice 6 weeks early so an extended summer break for me to spend with the littley.

I was a little gutted that I actually only got a merit for my waxing (1 point off the distinction) because I did not take note of “hair type” nor tell my clients what exfoliater and moisturiser to use and how to use them?  The reason I am gutted is because I am nothing but thorough in my consultations and aftercare and I genuinely was NEVER told we needed to do this. 

I told my clients to exfoliate and moisturise regularly (twice a week preferable) so as to keep the skin soft and to prevent ingrown hairs.  I also told them not to exfoliate or moisturise for at least 24 hours after the treatment to avoid skin irritation.  Had I known I needed to say “when you exfoliate please use XYZ product, apply it in a scrubbing motion and use it in the bath or shower to rinse off” etc then I would have.

In fact, when I mentioned to other girls in the class that I had got a merit and this was why they all looked slightly confused and said agreed that they never knew this was something we had to say.

Still I guess I shouldn’t complain.  I have done better than most, distinctions in everything with waxing being the only exception.

The next stage is waiting for a letter to tell me I have been invited back for an interview to apply for my level 3.  This is likely not to be until July or August as I think they wait until they have actually sent us our certificates for the level 2.

In the mean time I am still looking for some beauty related job that has more hours than my current job in order to help me fund more bits for my home salon – yippee!