Compact Home Office On A Budget

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One of the great things about blogging is that wherever you are, as long as you have access to your PC, tablet or mobile you can always busy yourself in someway or another. Drafting up a post from the comfort of your own bed or catching up on your favourite Instagram feed on the bus. This can be really handy but I never feel like I’m in the best frame of mind to write unless I’m sitting at a proper workspace. For months my proper workspace was the end of the kitchen table but I got sick of the laptop constantly being there along with the homework, marker pens, unidentified crafty creations etc etc. Oh, and sometimes we even needed to eat our meals on there.

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Blogfest, an honest review.

Sooooo Blogfest. One of the biggest, most anticipated blogging events of the year hosted by Mumsnet and offering a day of sessions, seminars and keynote speeches.

I imagine there are already a lot of reviews floating around out there and almost a week after the event you’re probably sick to death of hearing about it so I’ll keep this short and sweet. I’ve purposely tried to avoid reading anything Blogfest-related since Saturday as I was really struggling to figure out a way to put my thoughts into words. In fact to be entirely honest I’ve been struggling to know what to make of the event at all.

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So I won’t bore you with every detail but here are a few things that have been bouncing around my brain since Saturday:

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I’m going to Blogfest!

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So tomorrow morning a whole gaggle of excited blogger types will be alighting at King’s Cross Station for one of the biggest blogging events of the year: BLOGFEST. This year I’m more than a little bit excited to be one of them! Excited, but nervous. Luckily the monumental effort that goes into organising the rest of the family in order to allow this to happen is keeping my mind busy enough that I don’t have time to stress about it too much.

Here’s how  today is looking:

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Cooee!

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Hello!!

Just a super quick half pint of a post today as I refamiliarise myself with a laptop and poke my nose around the screen to say “Hi!”

So it’s been 3 weeks, did you miss me? Pah, bet you didn’t even notice I’d gone. Charming! Well I missed you lot, keeping me entertained and distracting me from all the very important things.

We’re at the end of our first week back to school here and so far, so good. With the exception of just one little meltdown (me, in the middle of M&S) we’re settling back into the old routine nicely and so far nobody has lost any uniform and Mummy hasn’t forgotten anything important. OK, I forgot the cheque for school dinners but apart from that, all good. On reflection my kids appear to be doing school a lot better than I am, hmmm… Oh, oh and we’ve walked to school four days in a row now and only had to run twice to beat the bell – I can tell you’re impressed. To be honest though, that’s mainly because we got stuck in a traffic jam on Day 1 and Spud was almost having kittens at the thought of being late for school, as a result we are now too scared to ever drive again JUST IN CASE.

Anywho, now that the chalk dust has settled and I’ve had a chance return the house to some sort of order I’m sooooooooooooo looking forward to getting back to blogging, lots of ideas I’ve been itching to crack on with over the holidays.

More of that soon, school run beckons – lovely to be back, looking forward to catching up with you all next week.

Have a great weekend!

Charlie.

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Carry on Blogging!

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After last week’s epiphany following my weekend break from blogging I’ve been enjoying a newfound sense of balance and sanity (well, where blogging is concerned anyway). I usually take an ‘all or nothing’ approach so trying not to get bogged down with ALL THE THINGS  is taking a bit of restraint but overall I feel much better for it. There’s no limit to the amount we can do in a bid to grow and promote; interacting via linkies and twitter chats or just enjoying reading a few posts with a cuppa for the hell of it.

Generally, you get out what you put in and rightly so. I know there are pro bloggers out there who work day and night growing their brand and running their blog as an actual business. There are also parents who work full-time and yet find the time to post regularly, run linkies and competitions, hang out on Twitter and still remember to bring the PE kits on the right day and fashion a solar system costume out of some loo roll tubes and a grapefruit the night before ‘Space Day’ (HOW?!). I am neither of these people and unfortunately have no plans to be anytime soon so I need to accept that and be realistic about what I can  achieve in the time I’m willing to dedicate to my little blog baby.

So that’s that all sorted, jolly good. This zen-like approach lasted all of a week before it suddenly dawned on me: OH MY GOD IT’S ONLY THREE WEEKS UNTIL THE SCHOOL HOLIDAYS!!!!!!

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If I’m struggling to keep up now how on earth will I manage a whole 6 weeks (8 in Ireland) with the kids at home?! Over half term there was an understandable lull in activity amongst a lot of my fellow parent bloggers; however that was only a week or two, hardly a huge deal but the whole of the school holiday? How the hell does that go?  Seriously seasoned #pbloggers , what are we looking at here? 6 weeks of tumbleweed or an enormous increase in ‘pre-loved’ posts? (Actually I don’t really mind these unless they are about how to make a Minion Jack-o-lantern in the middle of April). I had considered entitling this post ‘EVERYBODY PANIC!’ but then realised it may just be an overreaction on my part, the pros have probably been preparing for this since new year.

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The obvious solution would be scheduling posts and while I totally get why a pro would go down this route, it just doesn’t sit well with me personally. My little blog is mainly ramblings on what’s happening in real-time, a natural progression from one post to the next depending very much on what I’ve experienced/read/discovered prior to writing the post. Rightly or wrongly, I want my posts to be authentic, reactive or even just a good old chinwag depending on how I am feeling, not something premeditated or written under duress because I feel I should be ‘keeping the blog ticking over’. I am not saying scheduling is a bad thing for other bloggers, just that it doesn’t fit naturally with my approach right now. Like I say, I’m not a professional blogger so this may not do me any favours or could be perceived as detrimental to my success, whatever that may be, but I can only make decisions based on my gut – hey, my blog, my rules!

Ok so I think we’ve gathered that scheduling probably isn’t going to be a way round this little dilemma (unless we’re scheduling extended toilet breaks?), so what are my options?  How can I cobble together something remotely cohesive without it taking even longer despite 649,352 interruptions, mainly due to snack demands, tending to imaginary injuries and bum-wiping requests?

Now I know you may think I’m overreacting slightly here, I mean it’s not like I post every day but every blogger knows it’s not just about firing out a post, it’s as much about joining in and sharing the love too. So here’s my master plan, or how I intend to juggle a decent amount of blogging while actually enjoying the holidays with my little cherubs:

 

1. Time Management: It takes me bloody ages to write a post. I am simply unable to bang out a post without agonising over whether or not it’s perfect. At least 80% of that time is spent faffing, so there’s definitely a case for just trying to minimise the faffery and getting on with it. In truth faffery is to blame for most of my time-wasting sins including getting distracted by notifications of posts I follow (I’ll just have a quick peek…an hour later I’ve commented, clicked on 3 in-post links, signed up for a free subscription box and started a 7 day trial on PicMonkey!)

I’m experimenting with setting a timer while writing this post and so far I’ve had a phone call from my brother and a man turn up 4 hours early to quote me for replacing the garden fence panels. Both of which are great but also perfect examples of how my futile attempt at time management has gone to pot without the kids even being here!

Cunning Plan: It’s pretty obvious that most of these distractions can be avoided by just switching my phone off for an hour. NEXT!

2. Choose Your Moment: Now onto minimising interruptions of the non-technological variety AKA kids, who unfortunately don’t come with a ‘silent mode’. Of course I don’t expect them to let me get on with anything uninterrupted for longer than 3 minutes despite my desperate pleas for a bit of peace ; (in a similar way to how they suddenly have no end of urgent questions and require an abnormal amount of trips to the loo when you’ve asked them to get into bed!)

All parents waved goodbye to the certainty of uninterrupted time lonnnnnnng ago and it would be selfish of me to expect them to behave like anything other than normal, inquisitive, rambunctious little scamps anyway.

Cunning Plan: Time to get clever, think about what really holds their attention. An afternoon film and popcorn is usually a winner in our house when the kids are hot and tired and should guarantee some peace once a week. 

3. The Notebook: A trip to the playgroynd, moochingat the library or a scoot around the park. There’s a good 30 minutes where I am basically surplus to requirements (in their eyes) with the exception of the odd swing-pushing request.

Cunning Plan: With my trusty pad and pen by my side that’s just enough time to plan out the bones of a post, catch up on a linky, enjoy reading that post I bookmarked or reply to blog comments.

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4. Brucie Bonus: Sunny day? Fill that paddling pool, slap on the factor 50 and the kids are good to go for the day. Arrange a playdate rota with friends so you have a day child free couple of hours every so often. Suss out what’s on locally for kids; lots of councils, sports clubs and churches run free or reasonably priced sessions over the holiday- take advantage of them.

Cunning Plan: When opportunity knocks……………BLOG!

5. Bribery: So the post is ready to publish and you literally need FIVE MINUTES to do a final read through. Suddenly a little person appears at your side requesting the entire contents of Hobbycraft for something really cool they just saw on Mr Maker.

Cunning Plan: The promise of ‘getting the paints out’ in exchange for a few precious minutes if perfectly acceptable in such an emergency.

6. Lower your expectations: When I had my first child one of the pearls of wisdom many parents offered me in relation to housework was ‘lower your expectations’. You will never again have the ‘luxury’ of being bored enough to wash down the skirting boards or vacuum the curtains. Similarly, with little people around to keep you busy, lowering your expectations of what you can realistically achieve with your blog will save you a lot of stress.

Cunning Plan: Relax. Remind yourself you are not the only one short on time at the moment. I’m a Mummy before everything, that’s my priority and I refuse to feel guilty about enjoying that time with my kids free from the pressure to post. 

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I’d love to hear what your blogging plans are in preparation for the holidays – are you a fan of scheduling or just planning to take a bit of a step back and enjoy the Summer?

XX

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Blog : OFF

After the months of excitement and build up, one of the biggest blogging events in the calendar finally arrived last weekend: BML16. A day of talks, workshops and networking opportunities for bloggers and a great excuse to share an actual bottle of bubbles (rather than the usual virtual emoji variety) with all those fellow online chatterboxes we’ve been looking forward to meeting.

If you saw my last post you already know I couldn’t actually make it which I’m still a bit gutted about to be honest. However, my alternative plans involved flying to Amsterdam with a group of girlfriends for the weekend, which softened the blow a little (pun intended).

So while a lot of those who made the trip to Fancylondontown for BML16 will be writing up their experience of the event, I can crack on with a post about my weekend’s shenanigans in another awesome capital. Except I won’t.

While it seemed like a perfect opportunity to write about something exciting, I just didn’t want my weekend with the girls to be blog fodder. This was a getaway- from normality, from being a mum/wife/daughter/sister/blogger, from shopping lists and meal plans, after-school and weekend clubs. A brief, but much appreciated break from the routine of day-to-day life. Sorry guys, what happens in Amsterdam….

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Image: Defining Hopes

So I had made the decision in advance that I wasn’t going to blog about my little Dutch adventure. I neatly folded my Blogger pants, put them to one side and mentally switched the blog OFF. Then chucked my Party pants in the case and headed straight to the departure lounge bar.

However, my Twitter feed was obviously awash with #BML16 excitement and the temptation to have a quick peek was there as long as I had my mobile attached to my hand.

In an attempt to keep my nose firmly out of Blogland for a couple of days (harder than you’d think, even without the BML buzz!) I had to be strict with myself on a few occasions and in hindsight it was definitely the right decision. I really did manage to completely switch off and enjoy just being Charlie Brown for a few days and I would thoroughly recommend it to anyone who is struggling to find the blog/life balance (actually leaving the country is optional).

So if you feel like you’re becoming a slave to your blog, or it’s seriously impacting on other areas of your life (she says, currently avoiding eye-contact with the vacuum cleaner), here are my 10 tips on how to survive going cold-turkey. Think of it as a quick stint at The Priory for some blogger rehab, you’ll come out the other side with an empowering, newfound sense of balance.

  • Decide which dates you’ll be checking into rehab and make them official, put them in the diary and tell someone, preferably someone who will be happy to have your full attention again, well for a while anyway.
  • Try to avoid dates that coincide with a MASSIVE blogging event but if this is the case, drop a tweet to explain your absence and wish your pals a fab time. There’s always next year.
  • Plan alternative coping mechanisms. Preferably something you’ll look forward to, this is no time to be ‘getting on with stuff’, the whole point is to remember what life was like before writing posts about everything. Remember the good old days when you did stuff purely so you could brag about it on Facebook?
  • Do some pre-rehab admin. If you’ve joined in a linky every week from day dot without fail, warn the host of your plans in advance to avoid a serious case of dreaded blogger’s guilt.
  • DO NOT schedule a post. Although this may seem like a good way to ‘keep the blog going’ in your absence, this is about realising you can just STOP for a while and the sky will not fall in. Scheduling posts is cheating, plus the temptation to read or reply to comments may be too much!
  • Ditto scheduled tweets. In fact delete the Twitter app for the duration or just switch to your personal account if you have one. You don’t want your phone having a fit everytime you enter a wi-fi hotspot as the result of a bunch of Twitter notifications- avoid the red circle of temptation.
  • Take a tonne of photos if you fancy but do not actively seek out or set up Instagram friendly shots. I’ll admit to posting one teeny shot over the weekend, but that was because it made me smile and was too lovely not to share – I mean, a ceiling of clogs – how cute?clogs
  • Once you’ve successfully completed your rehab session take a moment to reflect. Hopefully, after the initial shock wore off, you will have experienced a strange sense of freedom, the blog fog will have lifted and it is almost as if you are seeing the world through the eyes of a normal person. Congratulations – you’ve regained your grip on reality!
  • Where you go from here is up to you. Try to avoid diving headfirst into 3 days worth of tweets  (sooooo tempting with all the exciting ‘stuff’ happening this weekend) or binge reading the backlog of posts from every blog you’ve subscribed to. Nobody will be offended, trust me. More importantly, you will realise that nobody has forgotten who you are, a few tweets in it’ll be like you were never away.
  • Chill yer boots. Don’t feel pressurised into panic posting! Grab a cuppa, choose a few posts to read and enjoy. Actually enjoy. I went with

6 personal reflections on #BML16

by  Tim at Slouching Towards Thatcham – a great honest review of the 1 day event this year versus the 2 day format of last year.

I’m a Loser – Britmums #BML16

by Stevie from A Cornish Mum, her words, definitely not mine! A refreshingly honest, funny, (sorry Stevie- it did make me chuckle!) ‘losers’ view. If you ask me she’s totally winning at Blogs.

Finally a totally BML16 unrelated, but great, personal post on a sensitive issue by Vicki at Honest Mum

Let’s Talk About Race, Racism & Feeling Like The ‘Other’

So there you have it, my slightly tongue in cheek, but (mostly) failsafe 10 step plan to recalibrating your blog/life settings to suit you and realising the importance of maintaining a healthy balance going forward.

I hope you enjoyed it, I’d love to hear your thoughts on the subject and if/how you try to achieve the right balance for you?

 

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Back in the game- ish

Helloooooooooooooooo!! Good to be back after a fun filled half-term. I took a whole week off playing blogs to enjoy the break with the kiddos without my phone being attached to my face. Am I allowed to say it was really rather nice? With the exception my New Year’s Resolution FAIL post (in conjunction with Robinsons #enjoymore water campaign), a weeny bit of linky lurking and Twitter-ing I spent zero time in the old Blogosphere.

I’d love to say I’m back feeling pumped and raring to go but the truth is, as far as my blog is concerned, I’m feeling a bit like this little guy right now…

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It’s not so much that I’m feeling bad about it, just a bit erm…flummoxed? I’m still pretty new to this game and over my ‘week off’ have been thinking about where, if anywhere, I want my blog to go from here. Do I want to step it up a bit in terms of posting, promoting, analysing stats etc etc or just carry on as I am happily tapping away as and when the notion takes me and enjoying the many brilliant blogs I’ve discovered over the past 5 months? Ooooh decisions decisions…..

I don’t want blogging to become a chore, that sounds like no fun at all, but if I do manage to get my act together and actually plan stuff in advance (!) will it be worth it or am I just creating one massive headache for myself ? I’d hate for that to happen but let’s be realistic, there are only so many hours in the day I can get away with ignoring the long list of Mum jobs and cake orders before it’s school pick up time and therefor only so many hours I can actually don my blogger pants . Obviously it’s do-able, I just don’t know if I’m ready to be that dedicated (yes I’m admitting it!), just yet.

Funnily enough, writing this post has made it quite apparent that I’m not ready to become a slave to the Blogger’s Checklist just yet (are you sensing that??) but I could definitely be more organised in my approach, with a view to gradually ramping things up a bit in the months to come.

That leads me onto the next quandary – THE IDENTITY CRISIS!

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See what happens when I take time off and am allowed to think? Dangerous I tell you. Niche, tribe, category, whatever you want to call it, it’s something I am very aware of in the world of blogging but have no clue where I fit in? I’m a Mum, and sometimes I mention my children but I wouldn’t really describe my blog as a Mummy/Parenting Blog – God help you if you ever needed to come to me for advise on that sort of stuff. I appreciate peonies, cute stationery and a beautifully arranged shelf as much as the next person but I’m not a Lifestyle blog. I love reading other people’s fashion blogs, but I’m quite happy in my T-shirt/skinnies/Converse uniform thank you very much. There are LOADS of categories that I know I don’t fit into but none that I really do. I know it’s early days and I’m still learning SO MUCH STUFF about blogging having never even written before (in the professional sense, obviously I know how to write, although my 7 yr old’s knowledge of grammar puts me to shame. I still don’t know my graphemes from my phonemes!).

Write what you’re interested in, write what you would want to read. Good advice. Christ, we all know that sinking feeling when the linky post in front of yours that you know you now have to read is sooooooooo not your thing right?! And I do write what I’d want to read, even if it’s a review post I like to combine it with something I actually want to write about and would enjoy reading myself. Recently I posted ‘Why Body Shamers Can Kiss My (Squidgy) Butt!‘ and ‘All The Carbs Please‘, two posts that were quite personal, on a subject I feel very strongly about. I really enjoyed writing these posts, for the most part the words came quite naturally and I had the most amazing response from a lot of those who read and identified in their own way. I’m also aware that that this may not be everyone’s cup of tea, here she goes, banging on about diets again (SPOILER: If that is your cup of tea my next post is me, banging on about diets again!!) However, some days I might just feel like writing about my lovely new nail varnish (still going strong btw!). I’ve read articles about how not focusing on one main genre is detrimental to your following etc etc but I started this blog for me and it’s still wet behind the ears in comparison to most. I don’t want to become a people pleaser for the sake of my stats – surely that’s what page tabs were invented for right? To sort posts nicely into various categories.

Basically, I just need to figure out how to add tabs.

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Eek- I’ve gone PUBLIC!

 

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Hello!

 

When I started my blog 3 months ago I knew I was going to be a secret blogger to begin with. I’m not a ‘proper’ writer. My blog is work in progress and I’ve barely scratched the surface when it comes to figuring out the many different aspects of blogging. The thought of anyone I actually know reading my posts makes me feel a little bit sick. So why go ‘public’ I hear you ask?? Well, it’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot since I started blogging. While I am not a confident writer, I did say in That Difficult Second Post that “I want you to know I am human”. While I enjoyed the security of anonymity I always felt equally uneasy about it,  as if I wasn’t being 100% honest with the reader. I also know that I personally prefer it when I visit a site and can see who the blogger is either through their About Me page or Twitter profile. Oh, and I have an atrocious memory so an image definitely helps me remember and differentiate between all those brilliant bloggers that I want to follow.

 

A couple of things last week helped me make up my mind to ‘out myself’ properly; although my family and I have actually popped up in images within previous posts and I still haven’t quite advertised it to all and sundry, I have decided to change my Twitter profile to a mug shot and added an ‘About Me’ section to my blog. So still *slightly* wussy but if anyone who knows me stumbles upon my blog it would be quite obvious who was behind it!

So what was it that gave me the final nudge I needed? Firstly while I was on holiday last week I had a message from a friend to say that she had started a beauty blog if I wanted to check it out and having enjoyed a large glass of Merlot (the irony) I decided to ‘fess up, come clean, shout it from the rooftops (to the 3 people included in the message, my oldest, closest uni-mates) that I too had been dabbling in a bit of blogging! So that was that. Actual real people knew. Gulp.

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Of course they have been very lovely and supportive with their comments (and fluffed my ego up no end) but that’s what friends do right? Plus I’d kill them if they said anything to the contrary.

 

Secondly I read a great post by Honest Mum, What Other People Think of You is None of Your Business where she talks about trying not to worry about other peoples opinions of you and having enough self-worth not to be shaped or limited by them. You should check it out if you get a minute, she says it much better than I did! It definitely made me consider how much of what we do (or don’t do) is as a result of the fear of being judged. So I put my big girl pants on and went for it.

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Image: Pinterest

 

I still cringe every time I think about the fact that eventually more and more people I know may read the odd post and I’m not sure yet if this will have any impact on my writing but I know that I feel a little bit proud of doing something even though the thought of it scares the pants off me!

Can any other bloggers relate to this? I would love to know what you think and the reasons why you decided to be a secret blogger or not?

X

 

 

 

 

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Why am I blogging, really? 10 good reasons.

At the moment I’m still finding my feet as a blogger, having only posted a handful of blogs since my initial foray into this wonderful world a couple of months ago. If I’m excited about the prospect of starting something new, I tend to have a  ‘just do it now and figure it out as you go’ attitude. And boy have I been busy figuring it out! The realisation that blogging is  actually pretty hard work! (I know, shocker!) came quite early on,  the actual writing part makes up a small percentage of what you actually need to do if you want people to SEE you and interact with you. So as the initial excitement of ACTUALLY STARTING A BLOG! wears off and I continue to get to grips with all the different aspects involved, I found myself asking:  “Why am I blogging, really?”

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Luckily, I managed to think of lots of reasons – yay! So here are my own personal Top 10 Reasons for Blogging :

1.Skills! – I am not a writer. Or a food stylist. Not an ex-editor of ‘insert glossy mag name here’,  or a freelance writer or any such role that has ever required me to ever put words down in the understanding that someone is actually going to read them. Ah. While this would have been MEGA useful right now, I’m seeing it as a positive that at almost 37 (practically a dinosaur in my kids eyes) I’m on a steep learning curve as a result of my decision to start a blog ‘just for fun’. I am extremely lucky to have the time to indulge myself in some reading or writing blogposts while the kids are at school and although I probably spend far too much time doing this I do try to justify it to myself by getting the dark wash on and a bit of exercise in first! It definitely stretches the grey matter more than daytime telly that’s for sure.

2.It’s mine, all mine! MWAHAHAHAHA…. – At the moment my role of Mummy, SAHM, homemaker or whatever you want to call it is made up largely of taking care of my family, which I LOVE and appreciate every day. It was a conscious decision that Himself and I made after Flump, our second, was born and one I have never regretted for one second. However, giving up my job undoubtedly had its downsides too (apart from the obvious lack of cash appearing in my bank account every month). I definitely feel that I have lost my sense of independence, or that I at least have to try harder to be recognised as an individual, rather than someone’s Mummy. Starting a blog is a great way to have a project that is completely my own and although I would definitely consider it a ‘Mummy’ or ‘family’ blog (hence the name), its something that I keep totally separate from time spent with my family. One day my role as  wiper of noses, tables, bottoms or tears, will come to an end and I don’t want to wave my kids off into the world thinking “Wow, that was great but who am I again?”
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3.Comradery – WOW, my experience of the blogging community so far has been nothing but positive. Such a welcoming, entertaining, intelligent, awesome bunch of people to hang out with! I’d say I’m generally pretty happy in my own company, I never really get lonely at home during the day and would much rather go out for the day by myself than with friends (is that really bad? I love my friends, I’m just not someone who needs to see them or be on the phone to them regularly. In fact preferably only when there is wine and no children involved). So in that respect, making new connections online suits me perfectly. I can happily converse with a total stranger on my thoughts on parenting/Topsy and Tim (please go away)/Cumberbatch (please come back), etc etc without ever having to leave my kitchen or tidy the house before you arrive!
4.Enrichment – OK, I’m aware this is now at risk of turning into one massive post so I’ll try to keep it short and sweet from here on in (*must work on waffling less). I’ve found joining in with linkys in particular a surprisingly enriching experience. Aside from the obvious benefit of a few people hopefully reading my blog, I have read and enjoyed articles which I never would have found otherwise. Some may be funny or useful but others have actually made me think about subjects which I would have never normally considered.
5.Confidence –  That’s not to say I am lacking confidence especially but would I want my nearest and dearest to read my ramblings? Probably Absolutely not, because in relation to writing, I am most definitely NOT confident (hence, for now anyway, I’m a relatively secret blogger).  Like most new skills, its a learning process, and the more I blog, the more my confidence grows little by little in my writing. Every tweet, every reply, every little comment from other bloggers or readers means a great deal to me, like a virtual ‘keep up the good work’!
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6.Dear Diary – I couldn’t bring myself to refer to it as Journaling. When did that become a thing anyway? Isn’t that just a term that we stole from our American friends for writing in a diary Adrian Mole style? OK maybe Diarising doesn’t have quite the same ring to it (*waffling again, naughty). Anyway, there are already moments that are woven throughout my blog that I would have without a doubt forgotten had I not written them down. A family event, a special moment or an awesome experience that I will now be able to look back on in the future and remember fondly.
7. I got Style! – Or do I? In relation to the contents of my wardrobe I got ‘jeans and t-shirt’ style but as far as blogging goes, developing a writing style is actually something that never really occurred to me. I naively assumed that writing just consisted of getting the words from your brain onto the page. Nope. The more I read other blogs, the more I realise that there are actually quite a few different writing styles and that I have no idea how I come across to the reader. Another learning curve. For now I’m just writing the same way I would probably say things out loud, but minus the swears and with the help of spellcheck.
8. Contributing something – Despite starting a blog just for kicks, I would like to think that some of what I say might actually be read and enjoyed by other people. I mean, otherwise I may as well just keep it to myself right? I’m not talking changing the world with my views on e.g. the antics of CBeebies finest, but it’s nice to think that as I mooch through a linky, cuppa in hand, someone somewhere might be doing the same, enjoying something I wrote.
9.Wearing your Blogger hat – I feel like there should be some sort of official process whereby you need to sit an exam, or complete a challenge or at least do a meaningless 95% discounted Groupon course in Grade 1 Blogging before you should be allowed to refer to yourself as a Blogger?! But then I suppose I didn’t have to do any of those things to become a mother so…never mind. I now find myself questioning the most random of topics, thoughts or products as possible blogging fodder. Luckily for you, the majority of these ideas fall down the back of my brain never to be seen again but starting a blog definitely makes you think more about all aspects of life, however ordinary and I love that!
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10. Courage of convictions – regardless of subject matter, blogging forces you to think before you type. Once you hit that ‘post’ button your words are out there for good, so you better be prepared to be accountable for them! Questioning what I truly feel on a subject, either on my own blog or when commenting on others has been a new and interesting  experience for me. Honesty is the only way, in my opinion, that you can write with conviction while building your own credible identity online, giving readers a true reflection of yourself at the same time.
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this post, I did go on a bit didn’t I?! Sorry. I’m sure there are lots more reasons that I love blogging that I’ll remember later. I’d love to know the driving force behind your blog – what made you want to start and more importantly made you want to carry on?
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That difficult second post

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It’s been exactly a week since my first blog post. It’s out there, floating around like the new girl in class, smiling at all the other mummy blogs shyly, giving a little wave while thinking “please like me, please like me” but mostly getting ignored by the cool girls who’ve earned their spot at the top through hard work and dedication.

Rightly so. There is no magic formula for a successful blog but if you’re willing to put in the hours reading, researching and trying to figure stuff out (oh and actually enjoying the process of learning along the way) then at best, other people will want to read it too and at worst you get to enjoy your own little corner of the internet to do with as you please!

It’s a strange feeling, writing a blog entry that may in fact never be read – a bit like the online equivalent of talking to yourself. I definitely feel a bit crazy doing it- but I like it!!

Since my last post I’ve been swotting up, there’s a lot of ‘how do I…, beginner’s guide to… and ‘top tips for new bloggers’ in my search history. What do I blog about? Who is my target audience? What identity do I want my blog to have? Basically A LOT OF QUESTIONS. Obviously there are many amazing bloggers who I enjoy following (check out my blogroll) but I don’t want to (nor could I even attempt to) steal their style.

It seems obvious that I blog about what I know and love, mainly my family, my home, food, fun and the odd random sparkly life-size unicorn thrown in for the hell of it (don’t you just love TK Maxx?!). I want my posts to be honest, light hearted and enjoyable. I want you to know that I am human. I want this to be a journal of all of the above in one place like an online equivalent of a child’s sprawling ‘What I did this Summer’ scrapbook. I think Oscar Wilde, my undisputed king of quotes says it perfectly, “Be yourself, everyone else is already taken.”

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