What I've learnt from my first six months blogging

By 9/29/2015


I've been blogging for around six months now and wow has that gone fast! I had to take a hiatus when Isla decided to put me into hospital at 31 weeks trying to come out far too early; luckily they managed to stop the labor and she held out another 7 weeks.

Since coming back into blogging after Isla was born I've been looking back at my old posts and blog design and I can't believe how much everything has changed in such a short time.

So here are some of the key things I have learnt since I started blogging; I hope that anyone else just starting out like me finds these points helpful.


I am not the Queen of social media

Before I started to blog, I'd only really used my personal Facebook and I rarely posted on my Instagram; I signed up to everything I possibly could in an attempt to network but I've realised with a 4 month old baby it's nearly impossible to keep up with pinterest, instagram, twitter, facebook, bloglovin' and the countless other options. I couldn't find the time to put into all of them what I wanted to. Now I've settled for being active on just two or three social media sites I've found I'm able to connect and post often and it's much more enjoyable.

Social media means being social

To begin with, I would post and get no reaction and get a strop on. No-one would tweet me, no-one was following me. It's a bit of a confidence dropped to start with but then I read a really great post (I'll link it if I find it again!) talking about comment karma and it hit me that not many people in the real world will talk to you if you stay silent! I've learnt that to get interactions sometimes you have to put in the effort; tweet someone, like something they have posted, leave a nice comment on their blog post and they are likely to return the favour and you can make some great friends along the way.

Keep the design simple

I have changed my blog design at least 4 times in the past 6 months. I've had excessive widgets, excessive font changes and crowded headers. I realise now that a lot of my styles and choices made the blog seem cluttered and unappealing; I would yearn for the simplistic and sweet style that other people had but even when I changed it, it still didn't seem me. I stopped lusting after fancy designs and learnt some simple CSS and now I have a clean and clear design that I am happy with and will probably keep for a long time.

Speak in my own voice

When I read blog posts I really enjoy feeling as though the writer is speaking directly to me through their text; it is more of a narrative or story. I've always tried to ensure that my writing voice is accessible and entertaining. I don't want to sound like Wikipedia or like I am over complicating something unnecessarily to sound smart. If I'm overthinking what I'm writing it's more likely to sound forced and if I was really enjoying talking about something out loud it would flow, so why shouldn't it flow in text form?

Don't get hung up on numbers

With all the sites and stats and follower counts it is really easy to get hung up on the numbers. I do join in with some ranking sites but I'm quite far down and honestly that doesn't bother me. It did to begin with; if I dropped rank even though I thought I'd had a great week or month I'd get really downhearted but it doesn't mean I'm rubbish at what I do. I might not be the highest rank or have the most followers but I really enjoy what I am doing and I love the people I do follow and who follow me even if there aren't many of them.


I may not be professional or award winning or followed by thousands, but I am so proud of my little corner of the internet. I've been given opportunities and met some wonderful people (albeit only online so far!) and it's such an amazing outlet.

Do you have any tips or advice for people new to blogging like me?

Thanks for reading

Steph xo

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Milestone cards from Landmark Moments & GIVEAWAY!

By 9/21/2015


Isla is now over 4 months old and is very thoroughly photographed and filmed. I've had to clear the memory on my phone so many times to make way for more memories and I want to make sure I never forget a moment.

I was recently contacted by Landmark Moments to review this wonderful pack of milestone cards. I've seen similar products being used by other mums on my Facebook and Instagram feeds and wish I'd had something like this when Isla was first born!

Visit their Amazon store at http://www.landmarkmoments.co.uk

The idea is the card has some milestone or landmark on and this will make it easier for you to take a photo of a special memory with a cute picture card addition and a date that you can add. Not only do they make a lovely photo accessory, they've made me pay so much more attention so I can make sure I catch the moment on the cards.

We were a week late on this one but you can see how great they look!

Even though Isla has missed the opportunity with the younger baby cards, there are still so many more for the next year that we can use and the pack comes with a blank selection for you to record your own special moments that aren't included and I can't wait for her to hit her next milestone so I can use them more!

The cards themselves are really well made- they have curved corners and the card is a good strong material so if your little one is as dribbly as mine they won't get chewed to bits during a photo opportunity!

So- how exciting- I've been given the opportunity to host my first competition & giveaway! You have the chance to win your own full pack of 38 beautiful milestone cards. Even if your little ones are grown up they make a great gift for someone who is expecting or just had a new baby!

Complete the entries below for a chance of winning and good luck!

Landmark Moments Milestone Card Giveaway


The winner will be provided with one 100% discount code to claim their pack from the Landmark Moment's amazon store via email, with instructions on how to do so. Please ensure you enter the correct email when entering.

Note: I was sent one pack of milestone cards for the purpose of this review; all thoughts and opinions are my own! I also received one 100% discount code for the giveaway winner to claim their own pack of cards.




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Our Holiday to Skegness

By 9/21/2015


Nothing beats a British seaside holiday and we've been so lucky that we managed to fit in our second this year.

My Dad and his girlfriend packed us off for an amazing trip to a Park Resort in Skegness for four nights and we really had the best time.

Picture it- a tiny caravan with five people- one of them a baby who rarely sleeps through the night and every single adult snored. It may sound like a nightmare to a lot of people who prefer to go for the flash static caravans but being all cramped up together and running to the toilet block (which was really nice compared to what I was used to as a youngster!) in the middle of the night...this was a proper English caravan holiday!



The first day we were woken up to the smell of home made bacon egg muffins, and a crowd of friendly ducks wandering around the entrance of the awning.

We spent most of the first few days at Fantasy Island. When you think about seaside funfairs, you picture rusty log flumes and a few spinny rides- this was beyond that by far! There was three massive roller coasters, drop rides and more adrenaline rides than I ever imagined. We were lucky enough that they were hitting the end of season and the usual £16 wristband was being offered at a BOGOF rate for £5! Safe to say we got our moneys worth!

Jack managed to haul me onto a ride that I've always been nervous about whenever I've encountered it and I spent the whole time being thrown upside down and backwards crying out and I honestly swore it was worse than giving birth. I'm a wimp but I did it (even though Granddad saw them doing something with a wrench while we waited for our turn and it was out of order for the rest of the holiday. Jesus Christ!)

They have an enormous market that took us hours to get around and I had more than my fair share of sweets and slushies- a sugar crash was definitely the cause of me being so exhausted by the evening.

We headed over to the park entertainment hall because nothing beats tacky entertainment on a seaside holiday. After reading reviews I didn't have my hopes up but the acts were actually hilarious with a lot of naughty jokes that only the adults would understand.

On the Friday we spent the day on the Skegness promenade; we went go-karting on a track worthy of Mario Kart after 7 years of promising Neomi that we would do it. I was far too cautious and nervous to go very fast and was nearly lapped by the other two so many times...how embarrassing.

We even got ourselves all dolled up for some old-timey photo shoots!



I spent way too much money in the arcades over the course of the holiday and other than Jack getting a yo-yo we came out short. Luckily Isla was presented with this huge-ass turtle (god knows where this giant will live but I love it!) from her Nanny & Granddad and she seemed quite keen on it.



We of course went back to the funfair and went back on all our favourite rides (the spinning upside down ride of doom was still out of order....) and even got a stint on some bumper boats by the sea.

To finish off, we headed to the beach and tried to build a sandcastle. Neither myself or Jack are very creative however, so we dug a massive hole instead like the grown ups we are haha.

We made so many memories on this holiday and if I was going to write about them all you'd be reading this for hours. I love a good seaside holiday and it was so nice to all spend time together as a family (and to be with two people who are strangely desperate to take on the nappies and night feeds!).




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Don't let the toilet dinosaur eat me!

By 9/03/2015


Children have the silliest fears, and I've been thinking recently that one day I'll have to deal with Isla's. Will she think their is a monster in her cupboard? Will she be afraid of the doorbell for some ridiculous reason?

Looking back to when I was a little girl, I had some of the craziest fears and theories about monsters that might jump out and get me, and I decided to share them with you.

The Toilet Dinosaur

Everyone loves Godzilla right? Jurassic Park? Well I'm sure that you've all seen the second installment to the JP franchise, and have a clear memory as I do of the scene with the T-Rex in the back garden. The little boy see's the T-Rex, it eat's his dog, drinks the pool water... terrifying.

I had nightmares about dinosaurs so much. It got to the point where I had a genuine belief that if I flushed the toilet at night, a dinosaur would hear me and come to eat me. If I did have to flush, it'd be a crazy sprint into bed to ensure the dinosaur didn't see me through my curtains and gobble me up like that poor Jurassic Park puppy.


Alien Motion Sensor

Picture it- I'm a young sleepy girl, snug up in the top bunk at my dad's house ready for bed. As I blink and look at the ceiling, I see a tiny red dot moving around it. I watch for a while, unable to figure out why it is there and why it won't go away. Oh- I'm not dreaming!

I cried for my dad and yelled bloody murder until he rushed in- I pointed at the ceiling. It was gone. This was repeated several times with me sobbing and blubbing about aliens and lights that no-one else could see. I was dreaming, he said. What rubbish.

It turned out the next morning that my dad had been stood outside with his laser pointed wetting himself silly the more and more freaked out I got. He'd wait a moment before pretending to rush in, turning it off as he did. Looking back it's hilarious but I was genuinely terrified.

In my dad's hallway, there was a motion sensor in the corner over the bathroom with a little red light. Of course, even though he told me the ceiling dot was him, I was still reasonably nervous that it was the work of aliens and was petrified of going past it to pee at night; combine this with the toilet dinosaur theory and having to jump into a top bunk for safety...using the bathroom at night became something I avoided heavily.

All children have some irrational fear; did you have any or do your children?

Thanks for reading!
Steph xo

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August Round-Up

By 9/01/2015

Happy September everyone! How is it September already? I thought that now I was an adult the summer holidays might slow down (they used to fly by as a child) but apparently they still go just as quickly! I am excited to be getting closer to Autumn; Autumn brings Halloween, bonfire night and warm fluffy jumpers!

So last month I made a nice little list of things I wanted to do this month;

Hopes for August:

  • Go to our first party/night out since having Isla 
  • Get under 12 stone at last and stay down at size 12
  • Take Isla for a proper swimming lesson
  • Get our spare bedroom organized and set up with the new bed
  • Keep on top of the housework
  • Investigate a mums & babies group to meet more local mums
  • Do something exciting for bank holiday weekend

We did go for our first night out and it was amazing! You can read all about that here. It was a great start to the month and such a great night out. I really think that parents should ensure they get out for a grown up night every now and then.

We managed to clear out our spare room junk room  and built our single bed and Jack's weight bench- it's nice to have it more organized and it's made the upstairs of the house feel so much more open and clutter free.

We are heading off to the Harry Potter Studio Tour in October, so I've also managed to get Jack to watch the films with me this month- he's got three left and if we spread them out we should finish right on time for the tour next month!

This month, Jack's Grandad turned 70 and we had a lovely night at their house, catching up with family, drinking champagne by the fire and doing quizzes.

Weight

I'll admit I've given up some of my efforts. I've realised that while we are still out of a proper routine and so busy all the time, it's hard to have healthy home cooked meals and exercise. I'm still cutting down my snacking but I've realised I'm quite happy even though I'm bigger than I ever have been. I'm staying healthy but I'm not going to fixate on the weight loss.

Day Trip- Woburn Safari Park

So bank holiday weekend we originally had plans to go to one of the farms near us for a day on the Monday, and do a couple of car-boots on the Sunday morning. The car boot was a bit of a washout and my brother just so happens to work at the Safari Park and got us all in for a great day out! I'll be making a post about the day soon- I will say now it was so so much fun!

Isla

Every day Isla is trying harder and harder to roll over- she can manage it so well if she is propped up slightly but when she is flat she can't quite manage it. She is getting into a great routine; I can pinpoint pretty much exactly when she is going to be waking up and wanting her food. She's full of character and loves being out and about in her pram. I regret introducing her to certain things; it seems now the only way I can make her laugh is singing 'Teletubbies' in the same really god-awful annoying voice over and over again.

I didn't manage everything I wanted to do this month, but it was still a great month full of new experiences and I really can't believe how fast it's all gone!

Hopes for September:
  • Finish watching all the Harry Potter films!
  • We're off on holiday to Skegness- I wan't to have a good time.
  • Go for at least two walks a week
  • Find time to blog more- there's so much I want to write this month!
  • Go to one of the mum groups running again now summer is over.
  • Find the time for a date night with Jack.
Hope you had a great month!
Steph xo

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