Wednesday 31 August 2011

Living Aboard Part 1: Costs

There is a great blog post on Boatshed Grand Union about how to choose a boat for living aboard. But after you've bought your boat what will living aboard cost?

When you are looking for a boat to buy you may wonder if living aboard is cheaper than living in a house. Your costs will depend on the particular house and boat that you are comparing. I started looking for boats for sale in London in the year 2000. I was renting a room in a shared flat and decided to buy a second hand narrowboat. Taking into consideration the BW licence fee, insurance, mooring fee, boat loan repayments to the bank, the cost of gas and coal etcetera I found that the lifestyle was similar in monthly costs to my lifestyle ‘on the bank’. However, a big motivating factor for me was to be able to own my home.

Liveaboard costs will largely depend on the size of your boat, how you have financed it, the luxuries or mod cons you have on board and the cost of your mooring. On a mooring you may pay for a shore-line of 240 volt metered electricity, yet while cruising you will generate your own 12 volt electricity. Heating may be gas, solid fuel or a diesel stove. A small space is economical to heat and diesel used for domestic purposes (as opposed to propulsion) is duty free. Your domestic water may be heated by gas, an engine calorifier or a back boiler from your main heating stove. So, the diverse number of options available means that it is difficult to calculate the typical running costs of a boat, per se. (This is of course also true of houses.)

If you don't own your boat outright you may be paying a marine mortgage or regular bank loan repayments. Mooring fees can vary across the country depending on the location and the facilities provided. The longer the boat the more expensive your insurance and BW licence will be. Engine maintenance is a sporadic and sometimes unpredicatable cost that you will have to budget for, unless you are a talented marine engineer and other systems on the boat, (e.g plumbing and electric) all require maintenance and repair from time to time.

Another regular cost is a boat safety certificate. A boat safety check must be undertaken every four years in order to validate your insurance. The boat safety examiner may make recommendations of changes you should make to your boat before he will renew your certificate, and these changes can incur costs.

So, don't let the temptation of a cheaper lifestyle encourage you to live aboard. You will derive more value from living on the waterways if you have a keen interest in canal heritage and towpath nature walks!

Buy Curious? Visit Boatshed Grand Union to browse boats.

Galley with dinette
A cosy home

Tuesday 30 August 2011

How to Make Money From Blogging

I wouldn't say that a blog can directly earn you money, but you can earn money through or with your blog. It takes a lot of time to build it up, and you need to increase your readership to about 100 visitors per day. However, once it's set up it can be a low maintenance passive income. My top 5 tips are,

1) Get more readers. Use Twitter and Facebook. Tara Cain (top mummy blogger) has written a great article for beginners, on how to use Twitter

Comment on other people's blogs daily. Join a bloggers network like BritMums.

2) Join eBuzzing. eBuzzing is a platform for bringing advertisers and bloggers together. Bloggers can monetise their blog by blogging in support of campaigns initiated by advertisers.

3) Affiliate marketing. I am a member of Amazon Associates because I love to read and write about books. You can select books relevant to your blog's topic. Like this: Have you read Narrow Margins by Marie Browne? It's about a family who move onto a narrowboat and refurbish it while living aboard.

4) Join the Ace Blogger free eCourse. It's a step by step guide to growing and starting a blog including using Facebook, SEO, favicons, gravatars, slideshows and more. It might sound technical but I found it was fun! (And I'm technophobic!)

5) Write great content. Write something unique to you. Write about your passions. Write regularly.

Take action now! Leave a comment below with a brief description of yourself and your blog. Some of the other people reading Narrowboat Wife may be interested in reading yours!

Visit for remote secretarial services, web copy and design, or freelance writing commissions.

Visit Become a Mumpreneur for free eCourses and more.

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Friday 26 August 2011

Reasons to be Cheerful - Working From Home

I am really enjoying working from home.
I am doing some freelance secretarial work for Boatshed Grand Union. I wrote my first blog post for them here. It's a brief biog of me and my boat life, and my varied career so far. Working for myself is a big wake-up call. I have to work quite hard as I charge by the hour. If I took long extended lunch breaks I wouldn't earn much! But it's great to work in a job that has everything to do with narrowboats.
So my reasons to be cheerful this week are;

1) Spending more time on our lovely boat (bought through Boatshed Grand Union brokerage).
2) Part of my job is drooling over looking at all the lovely boats on their website.
3) Flexible working. Mums: you know what I am sayin'.

To read why other bloggers are feeling cheerful click on Michelle's R2BC linky badge below.

If you think flexible working from home sounds too good to be true try a free eCourse with Become a Mumpreneur. That's how I started! (Affiliate link). Now I'm on their BaM course, developing my freelance secretary, writer and blogging business ideas!

Visit for remote secretarial services, web copy and design, or freelance writing commissions.

The office/Boatman's cabin/Girls' bedroom

Reasons to be Cheerful at Mummy from the Heart

Tuesday 23 August 2011

Stuck on You

Sticky the Fairy
 When I got back to the boat there was a parcel with my name on it on the front deck.

Royal Mail don’t deliver to people of no fixed abode so how on earth did this get here? I thought.
“I hope you like it,” said a little voice. I looked up and saw a tiny pink fairy fluttering beside the front door.
“I’m Sticky,” she said. “I mean my name is Sticky. It’s nearly Back To School time. I visit all the good mummy bloggers and give them sticky labels and other personalised products.”
“Really?” I said suspiciously. “My children aren’t at school.”
“You’d be surprised how many things get lost at nursery,” said the fairy. “If your children’s things are labelled you have a much better chance of them being returned, or identifying them in the lost property box!”
I sat down on the side-bench in the well-deck and began to open the parcel: A pink backpack with my daughter’s name on it!
“It seems quite strong and sturdy,” I said.
“Child proof!” grinned Sticky.
There are packets of sticky labels in fun shapes with both of my daughters’ names on them; cupcakes, fairies, unicorns, mermaids and butterflies. There’s also the cutest pack of clothing labels that read, ‘Melmoth Girls’.
“I remember my mum having to painstakingly sew our name labels into our school uniforms each year,” I mused.
“Not anymore,” said Sticky. “These just iron on!”
“How cool is that?” I replied, smiling. “These are all much more cute and funky than I remember name labels being when I was a kid.”
“Well it’s not just about the labels,” said Sticky. “There’s drink bottles, learning books, canvases, height charts, backpacks, lunchboxes, library bags, personalised clothing and more.”
“Where?” I asked, looking around the front deck for more.
“On the website!” laughed the fairy, her voice fading as she fluttered up towards the sky.
“Is there anything for mums?” I asked cheekily. The fairy rolled her eyes and then waved her magic wand. A small packet of business cards appeared at my feet. I picked them up and opened the packet. They’re so much better than my old business cards. They’re blue translucent ovals of plastic with a squiggly flower drawn onto each one. A few days later I gave some to my friend who works in publishing.
“In case you’re ever telling someone about my blog,” I said. “It has my blog address and everything on it.”
“These are cool,” she smiled. “Where did you get them from?”
“Well, because of that blogging conference, Cybermummy, you know? I got to review some products from a company called Stuck on You. I just loved the little Bloggers Survival Kit bag that they gave us; and a cool little notebook full of tick boxes that says ‘Things To Blog About’ on the cover. I even used that bag as my handbag for a bit.
Am I weird?”
“You’re weird if you believe there is really a little fairy called Sticky,” said my friend.

Disclosure: I received some free samples from Stuck On You. I was not told what to write. I was not bewitched by a fairy. I genuinely love their products. Carrie Felton is a mumpreneur who first began at home creating labels for her son, and now has a global business. - Labels for every Tom, Dick or Harriet

Back to School Super Special - they deliver within 7 - 10 days!

Become a Mumpreneur – Affiliate Link

Friday 19 August 2011

The Boatgirl From a Parallel Universe

Lyra: Intrepid Boat Cat

I met a girl on the Grand Union Canal who had travelled here from another dimension. Amy comes from a universe like ours, but different in many ways. We first met in cyberspace, a dimension that connects our two universes. In Amy’s world, on the River Cam, continuous cruisers must move every forty-eight hours! So Amy and James travelled like 'gyptians' for some time, until they found a mooring in Cambridge. This summer they left that mooring and headed for London, in our universe; the place where they first dreamed of a narrowboat life.
Unlike us, they travel fast. Amy and James cruised from Cambridge to London in 10 days, doing more than 185 miles and 136 locks along the way. As our ships passed in the night Amy, her daemon and I took shelter in a nearby tavern and, although we'd never met in real life before, we talked about boating and blogging incessantly before happily wandering home up the towpath. Amy's daemon's name is Lyra and she has taken the form of a cat.
"You don't have daemons in your universe?" hissed Lyra through the darkness.
"We kind of do," I said. Philip Pullman wrote books about them; daemons and other things."
"His dark materials," mused Lyra. She had heard of the books.
"But some of it is based on truth don't you think?" said Amy.
"You mean, there could have once been travelling narrowboat people with their own kind of dialect: People that had their own community and didn't have much to do with those on the bank? Working boatmen who people mistakenly thought were like gypsies because of the coloured painted designs on their boats?"
"It's possible," said Amy.
"Well I think Philip Pullman made it all up," I said.
Click each image to see Philip Pullman's legendary best selling books about Lyra on Amazon.

Disclaimer: Nothing in this post is true. Except I did once meet a travelling boating girl called Amy and we did go to a pub. She writes about her true adventures living on board a narrowboat with James and Lyra at  Catch up with them now (they’re fast!) and read the archives to follow the journey they made to London and back to Cambridge again.

This post contains affiliate links to Amazon.

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nb Lucky Duck

Wednesday 17 August 2011

Writers Wanted

Canal Activities For Kids - eBook

I am currently creating an eBook called ‘Canal Activities For Kids’. It is a collection of articles contributed by narrowboaters who live or work on the waterways.

Topics covered include; narrowboating, a boat themed recipe, arts and crafts, days out, waterways museums, cycling with kids, fishing with kids, history, foraging, reading waterways stories, wildlife walks and camping. The book is packed full of ideas for low cost family fun.

I am actively seeking writers with a waterways connection who would like to contribute to the book.

Please contact me by email to indicate which topic you are interested in writing about, or if you have a suggestion for an activity not listed above. Articles can be between 400 and 600 words with one or two pictures. Your article should include details of any equipment required, where to obtain that equipment and what ages the activity is suitable for. You may also recommend suitable books for further reading. (Topics already allocated to writers are: narrowboating, cycling, fishing and foraging.)

As this is a small scale project there is unfortunately no budget for the book. However, I can include a short biography of you and/or your business and a link to your blog or business website. You will also receive a complimentary copy of the eBook, upon publication.

Monday 15 August 2011

Coming Soon: Narrowboat Families eBook!

Have you ever wondered what it is like to live on a narrowboat with children? Is it cold in winter? What if the children fall in the water? All of your questions answered!



  • Narrowboat Wife - how and why I became a narrowboater
  • Narrowboat Life - answers to frequently asked questions
  • Meet the Boaters - interviews with families who live aboard and those who left the water after having children
  • Parenting on Board - how is it different to living in a house?
  • Beautiful colour photographs of narrowboat family life

Free eBook

To receive the brand new eBook by Narrowboat Wife, as soon as it is published sign up to the monthly Narrowboat Wife newsletter. There are a lot of exciting developments planned for the Real Life of a Narrowboat Wife website. The monthly newsletter includes a round-up of the best of this month's blog posts.







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