A 29-Year-Old PA With A Side Hustle Making Candles On 35k

Eufemia Didonato

Day One

8.20am: I’m working from home this week which means a two-hour lie-in compared to when I’m working in the office as we normally have to commute from deep, dark Surrey to London. My alarm goes off just as my boyfriend, A, kisses me on the cheek on his way out to appointments. The cat is snuggled up on my chest and it takes every ounce of willpower to get out of my warm cocoon and into ‘business up top, lounge down below’ attire ready for my morning calls. I feed the cat because he is shouting at me for his breakfast.

9am: First team call over, I carefully make two bergamot and patchouli candles that were ordered last night (it has taken me a week of extensive testing to get the melted wax to behave when setting and I’ve now got it downnnnn and am so happy with them). It’s also a good excuse to get up from my kitchen table that was definitely not designed for the work-from-home setup.

9.35am: I carefully bubble wrap, handwrite a note and pack two candles that were made a few days ago; one for my best friend and one for an influencer who is vegan and loves candles and has agreed to promote my business for free on her Instagram so I am super happy. I take time making sure that the packaging is PERFECT.

10am: Time for my second workout of the week. As I’ve only got a few dumbbells and lightweight kettlebells I have to seriously increase my reps in order to feel the burn as much as I do when I’m in the gym using heavier weights. The 45-minute session passes by in a flurry of shoulder presses, press-ups, lateral raises, tricep dips, burpees (they seriously never get easier) and renegade rows. These make me feel like vomming in a good way. When I’m done I take my weekly progress pictures for my trainer and compare them to last week’s – definitely looking stronger!

10.50am: Hop in the shower. A month ago I Braved The Shave for Macmillan and I’m now rocking a buzzcut which has seriously changed my morning routine. It takes me literally two minutes to shower, shampoo (with HASK coconut shampoo) and shave my legs, then I chuck on some moisturiser (Drunk Elephant Protini), get changed into jeans and a sweatshirt and head out to the post office to post my candles. £6.20 for postage.

12.30pm: After another hour of calls I’m suddenly ravenous so I heat up a bowl of broccoli-stilton soup that A made yesterday and have it with a plain ham wrap because I have to up my protein intake on this fitness plan. Yum.

2pm: Another afternoon of calls and diary management, and I realise I’m running out of vape liquid. I buy this in bulk to save money and only need to get some every two/three months. I know it’s not the healthiest habit but since quitting smoking eight years ago I’ve found it so hard to stop vaping and it’s helped massively with my stress levels because #2020. £43.75

2.30pm: I buy 500ml of mince pie candle oil to make my candle range more seasonally appealing. I’m not one for sweet-smelling candles but the reviews are fantastic and it’s the kind of gift (I’m hoping!) people will buy as stocking fillers and Secret Santa presents. This amount should make 25 candles. £28.99

5pm: A has been obsessively watching Rick Stein and gets inspo for a sea bass dish to make for dinner tonight (which we have so much of in our freezer from his fishing trip a few weeks ago) so he heads out to get the ingredients for it: lentils, cabbage, pancetta, chicken stock, ale and shallots. He pays as I bought the last few top-up shops.

6pm: Finished work! I celebrate by pouring a Clean Gin and slimline Fever Tree tonic. This drink has changed my life over lockdown. When we were first told to stay home, I found adjusting to working from home really difficult and would always end up pouring a G&T to signal the start of my evening. One drink became two, two became three etc… After a few weeks of getting into that habit I found my anxiety and depression were really bad. I came across an ad on Instagram for Clean Gin, which has a very low alcohol percentage and tastes delicious, and now I feel like I’m still having a grown-up drink just without the awful hangover the next day.

7.30pm: Sea bass time and it doesn’t disappoint – god bless you, Rick.

8.30pm: After some snuggles on the sofa with A and the cat, I run myself a bath and light a few of my candles (perks of the job). Having a buzzcut means I don’t have to worry about getting my hair wet in the bath anymore and I slip down into the bubbles with the new Lisa Jewell book ( Invisible Girl). I finished The Fall last week which used to be my go-to bath binge but my eyes are very grateful for the blue-light break.

9.30pm: Nicely chilled after my bath, I pop a mirtazapine (I have been taking 30mg before bed for about two years, and have been on and off other antidepressants for 11 years – this particular pill helps me to have an uninterrupted night’s sleep, which I really struggled with before my GP recommended it), tone my face with Simple toner, slather on Drunk Elephant marula oil and crawl into bed. A joins me shortly after, *insert whatever euphemism Money Diary readers can tolerate* and it’s lights out for us all.

Total: £78.94

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