podcast episode no. 29 – the one where i tell you that SMUG is closing

:: by Lizzie


Screen Shot 2019-12-05 at 10.38.11


So it’s time to fill you in on some big news for me, my business and my family. I have decided that after more than 10 years of having a bricks and mortar store, that I am ready to close 13 Camden Passage and focus on new and exciting aspects of my business. Founding and running SMUG has been completely wonderful and I’ve been so fortunate to have my dream job for over a decade. I have decided though after lots of reflection, that I’m ready for new challenges and am excited for a different work life balance over the next decade of my life. There are so many things that I do and want to grow, that it feels the right moment to let the biggest thing go. I want to do this in order to spend more time on the smaller, newer elements of what I do. These things I have realised that I am so very passionate about. Please do listen to the podcast episode below to hear me talk this big decision through with you and catch you up on my plans for SMUG and for myself.


SMUG won’t be closing until the end of January 2020 so you still have lots of time to do your Christmas shopping and to come say hi. We’d really love to see you at this special and pivotal time. Thanks for reading and listening as ever and speak very soon, Lizzie x







podcast episode no. 28 with Alice Olins – how to curate your life

:: by Lizzie


Step Up Club Photo Shoot May 2019 London 17/05/2019 Photo: Zute Lightfoot


In this weeks episode of my podcast ‘How to Curate your Life – Work Life Balance for the Creative Entrepreneur’ I meet Alice Olins of Step Up Co. Alice started the Step Up Co to make her female-focused business and career advice accessible to us all. As well as sharing her knowledge, the Step Up Co is a place to connect. Her aim is to get you working smarter, feeling more confident and fulfilling your potential.


Her website and podcast are full of helpful and free info for women wanting to ‘Step Up’ in their careers. Her new membership offering the ‘Step Up Club’ launches in October and if you’d be interested in this kind of support and taking your career to the next level in this way then check out the show notes for details of her early bird special offer.


S H O W  N O T E S :


Booko – booko.info/smug

Step Up Club Instagram – @thestepupclub

The Club officially launches on 1st October, but anyone on the waitlist will be offered early entry from 16th September, a bonus group coaching call with Alice and a 20% discount on their monthly fee (down from £24.99 to just £19.99 for the first 3 months).

Here is the link: https://stepupclub.co/membersclub/

Every month Step Up Club members will get:

– A full and diverse career/business development learning bundle, using videos, podcast recordings, downloadable worksheets and plenty of written content (all research based, subjects include: Make Me More Confident, Nab A Mentor, How To Enjoy Networking… and more)

– Speedy hack videos recorded by my accredited Step Up coaches, subjects include Setting Smart Goals, How To Embody Your Superhero Persona, The Languages of Communication…. and more

– Monthly group coaching calls

– Industry specific mentoring circles

– A private, but very lively and supportive online community (there are already several hundred members)

– Nationwide meet ups and events

– Monthly style advice and much more

Mindful Goal Setting Workshop – www.lizzieforsmug.com/goal-setting-workshop

Book Club ‘Your Dream Life Starts Here’ – www.lizzieforsmug.com/book-club




episode no. 27 recognising and moving through overwhelm

:: by Lizzie


overwheled landscape


This week’s episode of my podcast ‘How to Curate Your Life – Work Life Balance for the Creative Entrepreneur’ is a solo show. In the episode I drive right into the subject of ‘Overwhelm’ and what that might look like for any creative entrepreneur, employed person, or stay at home parent, juggling lots of different roles.


Many of you wrote in on Instagram sharing your experiences of overwhelm; what triggers it and what you have found that helps you move through it. I’m aware that I’m not an expert on this subject and can only share my experience and be the mouth piece for the experiences of others within this community. My main aim in recording this episode was to normalise overwhelm and remind us all that it’s something that may well come up regularly and that that’s completely normal and manageable.


In this episode we talk through ways overwhelm might show up for you as well as tools that you might choose to use to help you through it. If you’d like to talk more about this subject then do comment on this post, or find the grid post with the same image on my Instagram and comment there. Hope to speak soon. Thanks for reading/listening. Lizzie x


S H O W  N O T E S :


Booko – booko.info/smug

Lisa Stickley podcast episode – www.the-smuggler.com/podcast

10 Ways to Cope with Anxiety – www.the-smuggler.com/health-and-fitness

Lola Hoad podcast episode – www.the-smuggler.com/podcast

3 Game Changing Productivity Tips blog post – www.the-smuggler.com/smug-insider

Emma Gannon’s If It Feels Icky, Say No – studio.whalar.com/emma-gannon

Headspace meditation app – www.headspace.com

Rituals meditation app – www.rituals.com/app

The Life Centre Yoga – thelifecentre.com

Mindful Goal Setting Workshop – www.lizzieforsmug.com/goal-setting-workshop

Book Club ‘Your Dream Life Starts Here’ – www.lizzieforsmug.com/book-club

Nancy Straughan podcast episode – www.the-smuggler.com/podcast




podcast episode no.26 with Lisa Stickley – how to curate your life

:: by Lizzie




Designer, author, illustrator and SMUG fave and alumn, Lisa Stickley, joins me for a catch up and a walk down memory lane. Her story is so important to hear and I’m very grateful to her for sharing it with us. It’s a huge reminder that as creative entrepreneurs and small business owners, our careers and purposes often shift and flex. Sometimes in ways that feel negative at the time. Lisa is so utterly resilient which is inspiring in itself. But her story also teaches that if we’re able to be open to change and able to accept seasons coming to an end, there are so many opportunities to flow into. It’s okay to do different things and Lisa shows that whatever skill she is focusing on, she very much does it to her own personal style and brand and her values come through. It’s who she is.


S H O W  N O T E S :

Booko’s website – Thank you to our sponsor Booko

Curate Your Life Book Club – Saturday 7th September

‘Your Dream Life Starts Here’ by Kristina Karlson – use offer code BOOKCLUB for 20% off

Lisa Stickley Website

Lisa Stickley Instagram

Emily Rowan’s Stitch Therapy Workshop

Photos of Lisa by Ben Anders



my mood board for our living room refresh

:: by Lizzie

As promised in my Living Room Tour and Plans for an Update post, below is a mood board I’ve been working on as inspiration for our living room refresh. I’ve also got a ‘How I Curate My Home – Living Room Refresh’ Pinterest board going, so take a look there too if you fancy it.


The exciting news is that we’ve now ordered the corner sofa that we fell in love with at the MADE.COM showroom launch earlier in the year. It’s the Scott 4 Seater Right Hand Facing Chaise End Corner Sofa in Blush Pink Cotton Velvet. Rather a mouthful I know but also an eyeful in our opinion. In a very good way! It’s pink, as you can see, so a bit of a statement but it’s also very simple with clean, mid century inspired lines and it’s oh so comfy. We’re super excited to have a major piece like this to set the tone of the whole room and to lift the vintage sideboard we’ve owned and loved for years. The hope is that, as well as the sofa providing the place we’ve been missing to pile in and cuddle as a family, it will also inject a bit of colour blocking and consistency in style to the room.





Because we’ve collected our furniture over the years, it can sometimes feel a little too bitty unless there are intentional pieces pulling the whole thing together and our living room has never quite had that. It’s a lot of pressure to put onto one item but it’s going to take up a lot of space and we’ll even need to loose a few chairs to my studio at SMUG in order to make room for it, so it’s got to be perfect.


Other items on the list to update the space include some new planters in blush rose and dusty blue. Both from Ferm Living and available at SMUG. The Bau Pot will house our ever growing Fiddle Fig and the Plant Box will go on the now much more minimally styled sideboard to inject a bit of green, (hopefully in a contained way that Constantin finds difficult to grab!)


The paint colours are not new to us but I wanted to include a picture of the Farrow and Ball Skylight paint colour that we’ve used in the alcoves of the windows and behind the Vitsoe shelving as it’s an important element when setting the tone for the room. We’ve also used Pink Ground in the alcove on the other side of the fireplace behind the door. Speaking of the fireplace, we’re thinking coloured terrazzo for the hearth. We have samples on the way so keep your eyes open on Instagram stories if you’d like to see the different options and what we settle on in real time.


Also worth mentioning are the Vetro Table Lamp and Levvy Table Mobile we have coming from MADE.COM which have been kindly gifted. They too will be gracing the sideboard and it’s new, more minimal curation. Can’t wait to show you as things start falling into place! I’ll be unveiling the finished room update here on the blog so watch this space. Thanks for reading. Do let me know what you think of our plans. Are you renovating or refreshing your home? If so I’d love to see what you’re up to. You can follow the hashtag #howicuratemyhome on Instagram to see more of our flat as we update and refresh each room. Speak soon, Lizzie x



Screen Shot 2019-07-08 at 21.36.40

podcast episode no. 25 – my new dreaming practice

:: by Lizzie




It’s back! Season 3 of my podcast ‘How to Curate Your Life – Work Life Balance for the Creative Entrereneur’ launches today. This first episode is a solo show talking all about alignment before action and my new practice of dreaming. I announce our next Curate Your Life Book Club book and share about our new sponsor Booko – the clever way to buy books online. Welcome back and thanks for listening!




S H O W  N O T E S :


book.info/smug – The clever and cheaper way to buy books online. Do you Booko?

Curate Your Life Book Club – Saturday 7th September

‘Your Dream Life Starts Here’ by Kristina Karlson – use offer code BOOKCLUB for 20% off

The Lifestyle Edit podcast – Naomi Mdudu interview with Kristina Karlson

Writing to your intuition – Jess Lively

Tara Mohr

Follow Naomi Mdudu of The Lifestyle Edit on Instagram

10 Ways to Cope with Anxiety – my blog post

Money Manifesting with Sarah Akwisombe and The Money Medium

– follow Sarah on Instagram or check out The No Bull Business School

Weekend: In – How to Build a Brand Retreat

Abi Dare, Cat Byrne, Olivia Tripp

Teach your workshop upstairs at SMUG




summer skincare update

:: by Lizzie

I’m 36 this summer. It’s crazy to think that when I was 29, I was using Simple purifying cleansing lotion on cotton wool pads to take off my makeup before bed, that was it. That was it! My whole skincare routine. Fast forward 7 years and I look after my skin SO much better.





Quite quickly after turning 30, I decided it was time I started taking proper care of my skin and I’m so glad I did. Not only has this journey into skincare improved the texture, oiliness, dryness and redness of my skin, it’s been good for the whole of me. I would go so far as to say that it’s improved my mental health and self care. Carving out this little bit of time to treat my skin to what it needs, both in the mornings and the evenings, really helps with my mindset. It helps me get into alignment at the start of my day and wind down for rest at the end of it. Since having my son Constantin in 2018, it’s also kept me doing something just for me in the midst of juggling his needs, SMUG, my wider career and my values around the kind of wife, mother, daughter, sister and friend I want to be.


I thought I would share with you here the skincare products I’m using and loving at the moment. As I already mentioned, me and my skin are 36 years old this summer. My skin is combination dry and oily. It gets very tight if it isn’t moisturised deeply enough. But I also get a super shiny nose and still have to cope with it being covered in black heads at this ripe old age! I thought that would be something I grew out of for sure. Maybe the extra oil keeps me looking young!? I have redness too, particularly on my right cheek. I get the occasional spot but not many these days. Although they do seem to leave a dark blemish for a long time which sucks. Hopefully those details will give you a little context around what type of skin I have and that these products will work really well for. Of course I’m not an expert but wanted to share with you my experience of what’s been good for my skin. Do let me know in the comments or through Instagram if you use any of the same products, have any recommendations for me to try, or would like to ask any questions. I hope you find the below interesting/helpful/inspiring/educational (delete as appropriate) when it comes to making time for yourself and taking care of the skin you’re in.





Since properly cleansing, using a hydrating serum, introducing a glycolic acid into my routine and finishing up with a rich moisturiser and eye cream, my skin has hugely improved! In my 20s I didn’t really go out without make up on. In my 30s I do all the time. Here are the skincare products that I come back to time and time again and will be using all summer long.


Bioderma Sensibio H2O – I use this Bioderma cleaner to remove my make up if I have any on, so this is isn’t a product I’d use in the mornings but is the very first step in my evening skincare routine. I have a highlight on Instagram called SKINCARE of my whole night time routine process if you fancy a look.


Clarins Instant Eye Makeup Remover – I very rarely use water proof mascara (weddings and funerals only) but if I do then this is the best best best product to get it off!


Oskia Renaissance Cleansing Gel – I use this fabulous oil/gel cleanser every morning and evening to wash my face. I take one pump and massage it into my skin (it feels so luxurious!) and then I remove it with a damp face cloth. I rinse the cloth and go in again so my skin is super clean. In the mornings and on days I’m not wearing makeup, this is the first step in my skincare routine.


REN Ready Steady Glow Daily AHA Tonic – Usually in the mornings but sometimes in the evening too if my skin is feeling a bit clogged up, I take a cotton wool pad and push down a couple of times on the pump of this bad boy (great packaging which makes this super easy) and sweep it over my face. It does what it says on tin so to speak and creates a ‘glow’ by lifting away a layer of dead skin cells. It’s v gentle though so works for my sensitive skin.


Glossier Moisturising Moon Mask – I try to do a face mask every couple of weeks or once a month. The real skincare pros would do once a week or more but I’m not quite there yet! This mask from Glossier is a firm fave of mine. Defo leaves the skin feeling super clean and gunk free but is also moistening and evens out your skin tone. You may have noticed that these are the two things (a moisture boost and more even skin tone/glow) I’m after in pretty much all my skincare products. I also love the Glossier Mega Greens Galaxy Mask which is more detoxifying.


Drunk Elephant B-Hydra Intensive Hydration Serum – Drunk Elephant is a newer brand for me and I’m in love. I was waiting with excitement for it to land at Space NK last year, as before that, you couldn’t get hold of it in the UK. The B-Hydra Serum does exactly what you’d expect and it has been a game changer for me in keeping my skin better moisturised.


Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Framboos Glycolic Night Serum – Speaking of game changing! The combo of these two serums seems to have been the key recently to my better moisturised skin with a more even skin tone. I use this one at night only as you’d expect from the name of it. It’s probably the most ‘active’ of all of the products I use but it’s still gentle on my sensitive skin and I’ve seen great results with it.


Drunk Elephant C-Tango Multivitamin Eye Cream – I like this eye cream. I should mention too that the Drunk Elephant twist and pump packaging rocks. I also like the Kiehl’s Creamy Eye Treatment with Avocado. These are my two faves and I’ve tried quite a lot of eye creams. I do find eye creams a bit tricky though as it’s hard to know if they’re making an impact. It’s more of a product I feel I should use to avoid ageing rather than one I use that instantly makes me feel like it’s doing something. There’s a bit of trust involved I guess. An investment I think is worth it for my older eyes!


Herbivore Moon Fruit Night Treatment – This guy is new to me. I only picked it up this week. I’ve been feeling that I wanted something to use at the end of my evening routine that is moisturising enough that I don’t need a traditional moisturiser on top but that is more ‘active’ than a night cream. I’ve used it three nights in a row and am loving it so far. It was the inspiration around doing the skincare routine video on stories (again, now saved as a SKINCARE highlight if you want to see it in action). I’ll keep you updated as to the results once I’ve used it a little longer but so far, so very good.


Glossier Priming Moisturizer Rich – Moisturisers are so up my street. They totally do feel like they make an instant impact and for me, most of the moisturisers out there not pack enough of a moisturising punch. This Glossier bad boy is defs rich enough and leaves my skin feeling deeply moisturised. Also in that category and equally good in my view, is the Drunk Elephant Lala Retro Whipped Cream. If anything I might like it slightly more. My all time moisturiser fave though is Charlotte Tilbury’s Magic Cream but it’s pretty pricey so it’s more of a Christmas present treat from my mum type thing.


Pixi Rose Oil Blend – One way of boosting your existing moisturiser is to add an oil to it. This Pixi one is something I always have in my stash in case I want even more moisture umph. I’ll either add a drop or two to my moisturiser once on my hand and rub the two together, or I sometimes use it as a night treatment alone by popping a few drops all over my face and neck after I’ve applied my moisturiser. I tend to wake in the morning all dewy and super moisturised which is rather nice.


Kiehl’s Ultra Light Daily Defence – In the summer months I finish my morning skincare routine with an spf and this is my fave. It’s super important to keep your skin protected from the sun. You only get one skin, take care of it etc etc. This spf is light, moisturising and soaks in quick. Done and done.


Clarins Liquid Bronze Self Tanning for Face and Décolleté – Keeping my face properly protected from the sun usually means it stays a little lighter than the rest of my body and it’s sometimes nice to bring a little warmth to it the safe way and catch up with the colour of the rest of my skin. I use this as the last step at night if I want to give my face a warm glow by morning. It’s important to wash your hands well afterwards but I’ve had no probs at all with darker tan close to my hairline or any unevenness. This product is super gradual and just gently warms things up for me so it’s easy to use and gives that nice even skin tone look I’ve been banging on about.


living room tour and plans for an update

:: by Lizzie


The number one question I get, in both interviews and chats with customers alike, (aside from “how do you find time to squeeze in all that you do!?”) is “does your home look like SMUG?” I do share some snaps of my home on Instagram and am often chatting away on stories from home, so chances are that you’ve seen bits and bobs of what our flat looks like and the way we like to style it. So what do you think? Does it look like my design store SMUG? It is certainly full of products by the designers and brands that I love and so also stock at SMUG. Another similarity is that it has evolved over several years much like SMUG. I’m a collector (read hoarder) by nature and so our home tends to become layered deeper and deeper and then recurated month on month and year on year.





Almost all of our furniture has been gathered over the years previous to living in this flat. Some pieces, like the sideboard, actually came with the flat which was a nice bonus. Other than the Parker Knoll armchair (which needs recovering), we’ve not actually purchased a single piece of furniture for this living room. That, combined with the fact that Constantin (our 14 month old son), is now cruising around the whole room and can reach everything on the sideboard (eek!), means that we feel it’s time for a declutter and a restyle.





Right at the top of our list for the redesign is to incorporate a corner sofa. We don’t currently have anywhere that the whole family (me, my husband Dan, Mabel our daughter the cat and Constantin) can all chill together, lying down if we so wish. This means a big layout and style shift for us as the vibe has always been lots of smaller bits of seating placed around the room. We currently have a reupholstered Ercol two seater sofa, which will most likely move to my studio above SMUG, as well as various Eames rocking chairs and of course the Eames lounger, which we will hope to squeeze in on the other side of the room. The idea is to put a corner sofa (big enough for all four of us) right where I’m sitting in the photo above, spanning the space taken up by the current Ercol sofa, into the corner the Eames lounger currently sits in and then out along that wall like a big upside down L shape.





As I mentioned, I’d like to reupholster the armchair in a beautiful new fabric but keep it where it is location wise. We’re also thinking of switching up our lamps and are on the hunt for the right artwork to add to our gallery wall in the space above our ceramic dog Gladstone’s head. We’ll be moving plants around of course (our Monstera is getting HUGE) and we would also like to splurge on some new cushions and or blankets to complement what we already have and to hopefully pull the whole thing together.





We still love so many of the collections we have had on display on our sideboard but it’s time for a much cleaner look now that Stan’s on the move. I’m working on a new vision for the sideboard which is still us but very paired back compared to our curated museum-esque look of recent months and years.





We’re hoping to install a hearth below our fireplace so interesting tiles are also on the list of must finds for our living room update. As you can see, we are rather partial (much like we are at SMUG) to accent pops of pale pink and mustard yellow and these wont be going anywhere. We’ve actually fallen in love with a pink velvet corner sofa from MADE.COM which would defs bring more pink into the mix as well as quenching our comfy corner sofa desires. I’ll be back soon with a mood board including inspiration images (I might have to start a new Pinterest board!) and material samples we’ve gathered. Would love to know your thoughts. So excited for this living room update. Thanks for coming along for the ride. Speak soon!





Photography by Alex Reyto


podcast episode no. 24 Q&A with Dan Gleadall and Lizzie Evans

:: by Lizzie


Lizzie and Dan Q&A


It’s the final episode of season 2 of my podcast ‘How to Curate Your Life – Work Life Balance for the Creative Entrepreneur’ and this episode is a Q&A with me and my husband (who’s also a creative and has recently gone freelance), Dan Gleadall.


Thank you Instagram followers for sending in your questions. I hope we’ve done them justice. We certainly had a laugh recording this episode for you! Stay in touch via Insta or over at www.lizzieforsmug.com to be in the know about season 3 of the podcast! Thank you so much for listening. Lizzie x



S H O W   N O T E S  :


Trouva’s Instagram – @wearetrouva

Mindful Goal Setting Workshop – www.lizzieforsmug.com/goal-setting-workshop

Curate Your Life Book Club – www.lizzieforsmug.com/book-club

Tara Mohr’s Instagram – @tarasophiamohr

Grow Your Brand Group Coaching Programme – www.lizzieforsmug.com/grow-your-brand

Dan’s Instagram – @dapperdang

Mother pukka Instagram – @mother_pukka

Asana – asana.com

Monday – monday.com

My Birth Story – www.the-smuggler.com

What I’ve changed up so that I now love doing my accounts – Blog post for Xero




AD | what I’ve changed up so that I now love doing my accounts

:: by Lizzie




It’s that time of year again isn’t it!? The dreaded accounts rear their ugly head. Whether you’re self employed, freelance or have your own small business, being a creative entrepreneur isn’t all fun all of the time, is it? Particularly when it comes to the stressful and boring bits like book keeping, VAT and income tax. Doing your accounts, whether you attempt to do them yourself or you have an accountant to work with, can be very stressful and time consuming. Often stopping you from focusing on the things that actually move your business forward, help it grow and make you money, accounts can be an absolute pain. Designing, styling, curating, buying, shooting, writing, recording, teaching, coaching – those for me are the fun bits. But being a small business owner (as with great power), comes great responsibility.


In June of 2018, only three months after my son was born (a time that I was hoping to focus my energy on him and learning to be a new mum) I discovered that SMUG’s till operating system was about to become obsolete and that our card machines were going to stop functioning any moment as well! Our till and our card machines were also hooked up to our accounting programme, so this was a lot of stuff to go wrong all at once. You can probably imagine that this was pretty stressful news and that working out what on earth to do, how to do it, when to do it and with what software, was a huge and time consuming job. I now realise, in hindsight, that this major ball ache was actually a blessing in disguise. We’d been using out-of-date till and accounting software for years and now that the business had grown as far as it had, the systems in place really didn’t serve us anymore. Our tech, although it was functioning, had been super limited and in fact, had essentially been letting us down for years. It took the urgency of the whole thing giving up on us, for me to take the time and do the research to find out what would actually work for us and make running the business much much easier in the long run.


In the end the till software I went for was Vend. One of the main reasons for this was that it worked seamlessly and automatically with the accounting software I’d been thinking about moving over to for years, Xero. Now was my chance to make the change and it couldn’t have been better for us. SMUG’s card, cash and web sales go through our till and arrive automatically in Xero. Our orders of new stock once placed and received on our till, are sent wirelessly over to Xero where the brands and invoice numbers are recognised and matched to payments made through the SMUG bank account, which has a live feed straight into my Xero account. This also helps hugely with bank reconciliation as it updates transaction daily and my favourite bit, lets you set up ‘rules’ so that Xero will recognise and match transactions to and from people you pay regularly, or receive income from regularly. You just set up the rule once and it takes all the repetition out of it for you. It’s pretty seamless and soooooo much easier and less time consuming than our old system. The most valuable element though is that I have a much clearer picture of the health of my business than ever before. I can now see much better where we’re making money, where we’re losing money and areas where I could be finding ways to save some money. It’s also super easy to calculate the amount of VAT due and have a proper digital record of your accounts that you can access anywhere with wifi. I have the Xero app on my phone so can even do the bank reconciliation while on the go. It’s amazing.




But I don’t just use Xero for my SMUG business. In 2016 I was lucky enough to be in a position to buy 13 Camden Passage, SMUG’s premises. This left me however, in a strange position. I was now the tenant and the landlord and needed to charge myself and pay myself VAT. It was at this moment that in addition to SMUG’s VAT number, I registered myself personally for VAT so I could be both landlord and tenant. I would also for the first time, be liable for income TAX due to the rental income I would receive as the landlord. I’m telling you all of this because I know that each of us have our own complicated stories of how our small businesses work. Sometimes these eccentricities and anomalies can feel a little overwhelming and keeping track of all of the details, let alone communicating correctly and clearly with HMRC, can be really hard work. This is another reason why I am so grateful for Xero. Since registering myself personally for VAT, I have starting taking on freelance work through my Lizzie for SMUG Studio. I’ve been working for brands on sponsored blog posts (like this one), getting sponsorship for my podcast ‘How to Curate Your Life – Work Life Balance for the Creative Entrepreneur’, selling tickets for workshops and coaching, being hired to teach webinars and speak at IRL events. Because I am VAT registered I need to charge VAT on all of this and I need to be aware of the income TAX I will be liable for. These new extra pressures when it’s come to my second set of accounts and communicating with HMRC in a new way with personal VAT and income TAX returns could, to be honest, have been so overwhelming that I’d have been put off from following my dreams and growing my business in this new way. Finding several revenue streams that all lead to work that I love has been the dream for some time now and because of Xero I’ve been able to keep a proper track of my own Lizzie for SMUG business as well as SMUG’s. Because it’s all there safe, accessible and trackable, I’ve been able to employ an accountant to do my personal VAT and TAX returns this year. The dream! How do you file your VAT and TAX returns?


HMRC is making it mandatory for small businesses to file VAT returns online. Xero have produced some indispensable guides to help you understand and prepare for Making Tax Digital (MTD). On this page, you’ll find the answers to any questions about this you have. There’s even an animated tax adviser – Dexter, who can tell you all about MTD and what it means for you. The programme goes live on 1 April 2019 so, if your turnover’s more than the £85k VAT threshold, you’ll need to file your returns directly and digitally. The good news is that Xero have been working closely with HMRC since they announced the plan, so their software’s compatible for them and straightforward for you.


Making Tax Digital (MTD) means you won’t be able to keep and submit manual records after April 2019. Instead, HMRC will only accept VAT returns sent using software that supports Making Tax Digital for VAT. The use of this technology is compulsory so it’s a good idea to start thinking about your accounting software soon – that way you can avoid any potential complications from upgrading or migrating your software mid financial year. It’s worth remembering it’s far easier to submit returns using online accounting software compared to traditional desktop software anyway so, like me, you might find that this change is actually a huge blessing in disguise.




Just as a quick recap, the things that I find really valuable and you should look for when choosing an accounting software are: Automation – You want something that automatically calculates the tax you owe (including VAT and payroll tax). Connectivity – your accounting software should pull transaction data straight from your bank, invoicing software, or POS systems and finally, Continuity – your software should update transactions daily, helping you to stay on top of bank reconciliation.


I hope you’ve found this helpful and educational :) Who would have thought it – TAX can be fun! Thanks for reading and do feel free to get in touch via Instagram or in the comments below if you have any questions. Lizzie x