O5rcB_NXbIeHbJV7JFNcdfqL-vY Mummy From The Heart...: February 2011

Monday, 28 February 2011

How to have a Great Holiday at Home...

For the second year running I have enjoyed a holiday at home for the February half-term.  Have you ever tried to holiday at home?  I would sincerely recommend it.

What constitutes a holiday to one person is another person's version of hell so I won't be offended if this is not your bag and to be honest I would not do it as my only holiday in the year, but holidaying at home holds several benefits -
  • Comfy, warm house with all the home comforts you could ask for
  • No packing or unpacking
  • No opportunity to leave the beloved teddy at home, the kids have every toy they could possibly want
  • Wi-fi connection and cable TV
  • No massive petrol costs
  • Hot shower and plenty of water
  • Safe outdoors space
See, sound tempting? Of course it may not suit you as you might not like your house but I love mine and I especially love my big comfy bed.  So in case you do fancy giving it a go, I thought I would share some of my tips on how to have a great holiday in your own house without it costing the world -
  • Get the house fully cleaned prior to the start of your holiday.  I visualise this as arriving to a clean holiday house that I will then just maintain a basic standard of cleanliness over the holiday week
  • Keep the computer turned off during the day, so you spend the waking hours with the kids, keep away from any smartphones too!
  • Keep cooking to a minimum. We have tended to either go out or buy M and S prepared foods, that also has the bonus of keeping the washing up down.
  • Save vouchers for times like this.  We have used Tesco deals for a Pizza Express meal and Necter points for a meal at Ask. Tesco deals are also excellent for days out such as London Zoo, Chessington etc
  • See what your local extended schools service are offering.  JJ has been to a Spy School day for £1 and been to play at a local park for a couple of hours with the play rangers for free!
  • Investigate your local theatre/ cinema to see what they are offering.  We went to see Animals United with the kids for £2 per ticket.
  • Check out the local shopping centres, they often have events for half term.  Today the kids went to a free craft session and were very proud of their makes!
  • Pick up a couple of Argos catalogues and a cheap scrapbook and cut and stick 'rooms' with the kids. 
  • My kids always think it is a real treat to get the face paints out.  Here are our efforts from one afternoon.
The girls wanted to be Puppy Dogs!
Army JJ
Oh my, look what they did to Mummy?

  • Buy a couple of cheap DVD's to watch during the week.  A two pack of Underdog and Beverly Hills Chiuowa were picked up for £5 at Sainsburys.  Then some microwave popcorn and the lights dimmed and the kids think it is a real treat!
  • Get the board games out and just enjoy some old-fashioned fun with the kids.
  • Other suggestions for cheap fun at home with the kids is to bake, play with play doh, make a collage and do some sticking
  • and lastly re-discover the great outdoors, even though it is wet, windy and there is mud in abundance! My Mum has been here with her dog so we have been out walking and playing in the local parks and the kids just love being outdoors.  The cleaning up afterwards is a pain but frankly it is worth it for their joy at the time.
The week is drawing to an end and by the time you read this I will have returned home and fully cleaned the house!  Then Sunday is to be a day of joy, just my three gorgeous kiddies and me before Daddy returns home about 9pm.  It will be fab to have him back - I'm looking forward to the cuddles.

Saturday, 26 February 2011

What were you Born to do? It's a Big Question!

Right now I am sitting here with a big lump in my throat, I am on the verge of tears and I can hardly breath.  What I want to do is cry my eyes out at the injustice in our world but I won't do that, as although it may make me feel better, it will actually help no-one!  So what I will do is tap away at this keyboard and put my thoughts out for all to see......  and hope that my tiny inept mutterings will affect even just one person and make them think about our world and what they can do to help.

Today there was a conference in London for bloggers, held by Save the Children and I was unable to go as right now my husband is in India. Mumbai today I believe but he has been in an area called Latur, he has been living amongst some of the poorest people; playing with children in a  local orphanage, being with people in a Leprosy colony and meeting widows and people outcast who need help.  I fully expect him to come home a changed man and through this my life may change too. As Christians we believe it is our duty and honour to be able to give to those less fortunate in any way that we can.  I know that many believe charity starts at home and take it back 10 years and I may have felt the same way but I have changed and I am so glad I have. Since we changed our thinking to give first we have been blessed in so many ways. It takes some faith to give before you meet your monthly obligations but from my experience you are richly rewarded for your faithfulness.

Before dh went away he looked at our finances and felt there was £200 he could take with him without us being in dire straits.  You may be thinking, that is OK for you, you can obviously afford it but let me tell you we have a hole in our bathroom ceiling at the moment and a suspected leak causing it but how does this compare to the 3 courses of medication for 12 months that this £200 will provide for some unfortunate people suffering with Leprosy?  It is a no brainer to me, human life has to come before a decorative matter in our warm and safe house.


Save the Children's campaign Born To is really touching my heart at the moment.  How can it possibly be right that in this day and age 8 million under 5 year olds die needlessly every year?  Doesn't that make you want to scream?  It just rips my heart in half.  I feel so small and insignificant and I could feel defeatest and say 'well what can I do, I am just one person' but if we all join together, we are more than just 1 person, we are a very big and powerful voice and we can make a difference.  Sign up to the Born to campaign and find out what you can do.  Yes you can donate but there are lots of other things too.  Raising awareness is also very important and many of you reading this will be bloggers and you have the platform to be able to help with that awareness.  Write a blog post, put a twibbon on your twitter and facebook profile and start conversations with people, ask them what they were born to do. Simple things...but when we all come together and join forces we can make a difference.

Watch this, please watch this....  don't just turn it off and think it does not affect you.  It will take just 3 minutes and then I ask you to take time to think about what you were born to do?



Were you born to teach, run, sing, organise events, look after children, cook, make things?  Whatever it is, think about using that skill to make some money for Save the Children in the next month.  Every penny counts.

No child should die needlessly, every child is born to shine - they just need the chance!

As for me, I am sat here thinking about what I was born to do and I do not really know.  I pray one day I will work for God and do something really worthwhile, but for now I know these few simple facts:

I was born to ... Care
I was born to...  Give (money, time...)
I was born to...  Speak up

What about you?  Think you can join me for those 3?

Friday, 25 February 2011

I Love You my Children, So Much!

The Friday Club

Ella at Notes From Home runs a carnival every Friday and I have joined in once before and always mean to join in more, as she is one very lovely blogger but I forget and get distracted and all those kind of things........ but this week I saw her theme of '5 things I would like my children to know about me' and I have been thinking on it all day.  I am a really open person, even with my kids I will admit my faults, I'll say sorry and as they get older I will tell them about all the silly things I have done in my time so I am having trouble trying to decide what 5 things I would like them to know about me but I'll give it a go... and I am writing this to my children -
  1. I love you, my children so much.  Yes the really obvious one but where else would I start to be honest?  I never thought I would have children, I had no interest in them and had hardly even held a baby before JJ came along.  It just shows that when you are with the right person nature takes over and you want to reproduce. My babies you are the heart of my heart and I would be lost without any one of you.  Each of you completes me and brings a little something different to my life.  You each have taught me important life lessons and helped me to develop as a person. My increased patience, my tolerance, my ability to love and my kindness have all improved due to you special little people and in the same vein I love each of you equally.  This amazing concept still baffles me. Once I had JJ my heart was filled so full of love for my gorgeous boy that I did not think there would be room for anyone else but then along came you girls and my heart space grew.  Each of you is so different and unique and it amazes me each day how much I love every one of you.
  2. You need to know that I will never judge you. I empower each one of you to fulfil your own potential, whatever that may be.  You are free to make choices and make mistakes, I hope you will learn from them but it is your personal journey and what will be, will be. If you make any choices in your life that mean you do not follow what society holds as the norm that is not a problem to me.  I hope you will stay within the law and that you will be kind and respectful people but outside of that, knock yourself out - just go for whatever floats your boat!
  3. That as much as it may hurt me, if I need to take the hard line in parenting I will. If you are going off the tracks and need reigning in, that is Daddy's and my job, we are parents first and friends second.  Parenting is not supposed to be easy it is supposed to be rewarding.  Watching you develop and grow into adults will be an amazing journey for me and one which I am totally loving thus far.
  4. That my faith is incredibly important to me and that I would love for each one of you to grow up and choose to stay with the Christian faith.  However, you need to know that if you do not I respect that and you will be treated no different to your siblings no matter what each of you choose.  Daddy and I chose to marry as Christians and this means we believe God is a part of our loving marriage.  Daddy and I have committed to spend our lives together and a big part of the joy of doing that is you three. I hope to grow old with your Daddy as much in love with him when I am 70 as I am today.
  5. When you are older I will tell you about my battle, the demon I fight with every day.  The one that I sincerely pray you will avoid.  I love each of you too much to know that I have passed my food obsession to you.  It is painful being an addict and watching the harm you do to people as you try to sooth a craving. At the moment my recovery journey is a painful one but this is because I am working and I am discovering and I am trying to mend my ways.  All this I do with the hope of being content and happy in my own skin and I long to be able to pass this legacy of being content on to you.
I leave you my babies to look at these pictures - can you tell how much Mummy loves you?




So there we go, not as hard as I feared actually.  Those are 5 key things that I would like my children to know about me, at the right stages of their lives of course.  Thanks Ella for making me think about some important stuff today.

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Reasons to be Cheerful 1,2,3 - Week 8



Reasons to be Cheerful at Mummy From the Heart
 
Oh my!  Just typing that - week 8.  That is two months practically.  I said I would run this linky for at least a year to give it a good go and see if people liked it and wow, I am already one sixth of the way there - how times flies when you are having fun!  and I am having fun....  Thank you all.  Some weeks I get to every post linked up and others I don't, life gets in the way, I know you forgive me.  This week I aim to make it one of the weeks when I get to every post.  Even if the link ups exceed all my dreams, I am going to come and stalk you all!

This week has been a great week as we have been having a holiday at home (I'll do a post about that tomorrow) and I have a multitude of reasons to be cheerful, here are but a few -

  1. The weather has been much better than I expected. I  often hear people moaning about how cold or wet it is but I am just grateful it has not been snowing here and that there have been days dry enough for my kids to get out and do this
  2. My JJ has been having a swimming lesson a day during this half term.  He is normally one of 6 in the class and this week he is one of two, I can see what a difference this has made to my little un-confident man!
  3. I have been opening my heart on the blog the last couple of days and the comments have really encouraged and inspired me to keep going, Thanks x
So now it is your job to share your gratitude and joy.  What are your reasons to be cheerful this week?

Don't forget to take the blog hop code from below the linky and paste this into your blog so that new readers can jump from blog...to blog... to blog and also promote your post and the link up by tweeting with the hashtag #Reasons2BCheerful





..and before you go, I must remember to point you over to Maxabella's I'm Grateful for... link up.  Join up your reasons post there and make some new Aussie friends.

Of course Jen's Blog gems is still open too. Link up every other Sunday and air your archives.

Wishing you a fabulous week, Mich x

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

I want to be a Firework!

The last couple of weeks I have had a post going round and round in my head.  I keep wanting to ask you dear readers, How do I learn to love myself?  Do not get me wrong, I do not hate myself and there are no worries about me doing anything rash like self-harming but I have realised of late that I do not love and treasure myself as much as I should.  I can easily find fault with myself and when I am not performing at my optimum I am very hard on myself and seem to find it impossible to accept that my best for that day is good enough.

I am completely a woman of contrasts, I will happily tell you all that it is right to try your best and that good enough is just that but apply that logic to myself and I go deaf.

What is even more sad is that I know this, deep down I know this and am able to write it in this post but I just do not feel it.  I have wondered if I need to look in the mirror and start to tell myself that I like what I see.  I like my hair, I like the colour of my eyes.... there is a start!

I think I am a bit lost on my journey through life at the moment if I am honest.  I am not necessarily unhappy and certainly not depressed but I just get confused about what is right and what is good enough.  Many people would say that I need to give myself a break.  I am not interested in comparing myself to other people, I know I measure up on that count, it is about how I measure up to my own standards and expectations that I have a problem with.  Of course, realistically these are too high and it could be that character defect 'perfectionism' at fault here.  The great ED (Eating Disorder) workshop that I went on recently was titled Progress not Perfection and I do think that is an excellent sentiment, if only I could buy into it with my heart and whole being.

So there I was pondering this today and I sat down for 5 minutes to fold the washing and Katy Perry came onto the music channel.  She started to sing and I thought 'ohh I love this song, I had no idea it was her or that those were the words'.  What really struck me though was watching the video that goes with it.  It is truly amazing and I have now been inspired to be a firework.  What particularly struck a cord with me was the curvy young woman stripping off to her bikini and joining in with the fun at the pool party.  Life is for living and in that split second she seemed to realise that and put all her self-conscious feelings aside.

Now, if only I could follow suit and know that I am a firework and love myself enough to stop stuffing my face with unnecessary food.  I kid myself that it is a comfort or a treat but I know that deep down I eat to stay fat.  What I do not yet know is why, but one day I will find this out and for now I know that progress on this journey is enough....

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

It's all about Me, Me, Me!

What an amazing revelation I have had the last week or so!  You may have known this for some time, but I am sorry I just had not seen it at all.

It was a real lightbulb moment!  There I was at an ED (Eating Disorder) meeting last Saturday and someone was sharing their recovery journey with us and I heard them share about how something had gone wrong and automatically they assumed it was their fault, that they had created this problem.  Time stopped, things went very quiet and very slowly and then I thought 'yes I do that!'. 

Dh is quiet = I have pissed him off. 
Kids are too manic = oh dear that is my crap parenting influence.
Bloggers commenting on anything in a less than positive light = oh that is me they are taking a pop at!
Friends go out without me = they didn't want me...

Oh woe is me,  who would have known that the world revolved around Michelle?  When did I get raised on a pedestal and become the most important person on earth?

So here is what I have realised, I have become too serious, life is being taken too seriously.  I have stopped laughing at myself.  Fun needs to be had.  I have to stop staying up too late and losing my perspective on things as I am over tired.

What can I do about this?  I am not exactly sure.  It would be very easy for me to make a big list here of all the changes I will make but chances are that I would then just give up on the list and end up feeling a failure.  That's not particularly useful is it?  So I won't do that, all I will do is resolve....

...resolve to change (one small step at a time)
...resolve to learn to love myself
...resolve to laugh

Sunday I made good progress.  At Church I was brave and went to the front when the Pastor asked if anyone felt broken and in need of offering their problems to God.  So I went and laid myself out on the floor before the 200 strong congregation and just thought of God and how much I wish to give my food issues to Him.  For today, I gave my will over to God and I wish for him to make me whole and teach me how to love myself and not assume that I am at the heart of every problem.

The bulk of this post was written over a week ago and I realised last night that I really have made progress on this. I read a post at Typecast yesterday and felt really cross at the opinion expressed.  If I had been in 'Woe is me' mode I would have thought that @Nickie72 aimed this directly at me. Pretty self-centered huh? Nickie and I both commented and basically the outcome was that we agree to disagree and that is perfect, that's life.  We are all different, we do not have to agree on everything we just have to respect each other and I do respect Nickie, she is a very helpful blogger who openly expresses herself.

To be honest I was reading this post far too late and started to question myself if I was naive or too trusting?  Did I lack a backbone and was a bit of a pushover?  I went to bed pondering this and also thought about it today and I came to the conclusion that I like my bright outlook on life.  I like to think the best of people and only if they prove me wrong do I need to feel anything other.  I may be nicely naive but I most certainly have a backbone, I stand up for what I feel strongly about and at work I am definitely the people's advocate.

So, since realising that I can be self-centered and that I want to release myself from that and also that I am a nice person (I don't care if that sounds wishy washy to you, it is best word to describe what I mean) I vow to give myself a break and to be positive about my attributes. Mich has full permission to like herself!

What about you?  Do you need to give yourself a break?

New Bloggers Fortnight: Post Round Up!

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Well it is a sad day as we have come to the end of New Bloggers Fortnight.  However, in one way I am glad to have my little old blog back, now I can write as much drivel as I like, when I like without feeling I am nicking someones slot!

To finish this fortnight off properly I thought I would do a round up of the posts and rec-cap what we have learnt this last couple of weeks.
  1. Try and establish an identity for your blog. Have you got one great image you can use? Do you want to have your blog professionally designed? Have you thought about making sure your handle (user ID/ screen name) is the same in every place - comments, Twitter, facebook, BMB, Blogger.ed, Technorati etc These things help to make you stand out from the crowd. Sometimes I chat to someone on BMB and then tweet them and visit their blog and have no idea they are the same person as they have a difference picture/ avatar in every place. It confuses the hell out of me! For more tips revisit Metal Mummy's earlier post. I also have to point out the fabulous blog name chosen by Qwerty Mum and her strap line rocks too 'Have keyboard, not afraid to use it'.
  2. If you find that having read Metal Mummy's post that you want to enhance your blog you may find some of the tutorials gathered here last week are useful to you.
  3. Ghostwritermummy gave us the low down on finding your own original blogging voice.  It is so important to be the best you can be and not to be a cheap imitation of someone else.
  4. Relationships are key to blogging.  It is a reciprocal thing, you can not just sit there and wait for the comments to come rolling in.  Go out and find other blogs to follow and comment on, use twitter and make friends with other bloggers via great forums like BMB and Blogger.ed. SAHM Loving It gave us a great insight in relationship building from a Marketeers point of view, check it out again.
  5. Following on with the reciprocal love thing, Inside the Wendy House pointed out just how useful Meme's and Bloghop's can be to help gain new readers and to get your blog out there. There are some fabulous ones as Wendy's post highlights.  Might as well have a plug of my own while I am here!  Link up to Reasons to be Cheerful 1,2,3 every week on a Thursday night/ Friday or beyond...
  6. Mummy@Bodfortea then took this one step further and gave some advice on the giveaways that she has just run as a new blogger with only about 4 weeks experience under her belt.  How fab is that?  it took me months to be brave enough to dip my toe into that sort of thing. The key tips were to keep the entry requirements simple, promote your giveaway and to put a link to the relevant giveaway in your sidebar, so all visitors are pointed to it. I love that one, will be doing that next time myself!
  7. Before you launch into working with brands, reviewing products, being an ambassador or running giveaways have a good think about the bigger picture and the longer term.  Do you really want this?  Can you maintain it?  Is it what your blog is about?  If yes, then revisit this post written by me for some tips on where to start.
  8. Trish from Show and Tell reminded us in her post that it can be really stressful being a newbie blogger and that we should take it easy on ourselves and enjoy...
  9. Then lastly Alexander Residence gave us some real good food for thought.  How do we blog about the big stuff?  When someone is dying or has died is it our story to tell?  Should we be blogging it?  How do we make our decision?
and if you are still looking for more.....  then go and visit my pick of the new parenting bloggers.  I published part 1 and  part 2.

Thanks to everyone who has supported New Bloggers Fortnight.  I hope you have gained something useful and if you have ideas for posts or features that you would like to see here at MFTH... then just leave a comment.

Cheers, Mich x

Monday, 21 February 2011

Flipping Mad! Will you be Pancake Tossing on Shrove Tuesday 8th March?

The kids are pancake mad in this house.  What started as something we just had on Shrove Tuesday turned into something we would have for breakfast or dessert on any special occasion date such as birthdays or Christmas, to now being a wonderful cooking event that all the family can share. Daddy is the one who is great at encouraging our young children to get in the kitchen and have fun with him. The girls will make the mixture and organise setting the table and getting out the toppings and JJ will actually help Daddy to do the cooking.....  and Mummy? well this is one of the occasions where I just get to relax and enjoy the fruits of their labour.

Not so today, as you probably know Daddy is away in India on mission at the moment and as I had been asked to write about Betty Crocker's pancake mix I felt I ought to try them out to give an honest opinion.  So, as the only adult in the house it was up to me to get cooking and JJ made no bones about the fact that he expected to cook with me! The kids chose the American Style mix and all I had to do was add water - super easy.  Even better it is half price at Morrisons at the moment, just 74p.  I can recycle the plastic tub or I could even up cycle it if I could think of something fab to do with it?  Any tips in the comments please...  and talkign of tips, if you need any for pancake day then take a look at the Betty Crocker facebook page.

Betty Crocker's Shake to make Pancakes

I found cooking with a very hot pan and a 7 year old who wanted to toss the pancakes pretty stressful, hence the lack of 'in action' photos but once they were done I was pretty chuffed.  The pancakes looked divine (we do have a pancake pan which helps loads) and tasted excellent. Now if Daddy had been here, it would have been a different story and this is how the pancake tossing might have looked (enjoy Kati, the stunt Pancake tosser!) -



After a big breakfast of 2 pancakes each I don't think the kids will need much lunch! Maple syrup seems to be the accompaniment of choice with pancakes for breakfast, add some crispy bacon and even Mummy would be very tempted...

A very proud young JJ!
It is really important to slow down and take time to help our children become comfortable in the kitchen. I find it so easy to feel intimidated by the uber mummies out there who vlog whole cooking sessions with their kids and never use a pre-prepared product but each to their own.  Children enjoy however much or little you can give them and it is the fact that you are spending time with them that makes all the difference.

and just to show that us Christians can laugh at ourselves and do have a sense of humour (sometimes!), I'll leave you with a little joke -
It was Shrove Tuesday and Mrs Thomas was making pancakes for her sons, Aaron 6, and Kelvin 8.
As usual, the brothers began to argue over who should get the first pancake. Their mother saw a wonderful opportunity for a moral lesson.

If Jesus were sitting at the table, He would say, "Let my brother have the first pancake".

Quick as a flash Kelvin turned to Aaron and said, 'Aaron, today you can be Jesus!'
I can just see that happening here!  JJ would be the one telling his sisters to be Jesus, nothing but nothing gets between JJ and his food!

Sunday, 20 February 2011

#SilentSunday: Time For A Change...


Dedicated to @CosmicGirlie who is having a week off her link-up this week, while she takes part in a big important Concert. Thinking of you Jay x

If you want to visit more #SilentSunday posts, check out the hashtag on Twitter.  Even without a link-up there will still be lots of us posting I am sure.

Silent Sunday

Saturday, 19 February 2011

Writing About the Big Stuff

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There you were thinking that New Bloggers Fortnight had finished but not so. Peppa Pig may have come and intruded but there are two final post to come. Today we have a really insightful post from Penny at the Alexander Residence to see us out. This is what Penny says about herself -

Writing about life with small children.

Being a mum to two under five. Being me. Finding the balance.

I gave up my teaching career to be a mum, but after four years I have itchy feet. My thoughts generally revolve around escaping suburbia, making space to write, reminding myself to make the most of my wonderful small children now, while furiously plotting what to do next. I am working on a creative writing diploma with the OU.

(Subtext – My mum has brain cancer and I am scared)
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Firstly thanks Michelle for having me, I really admire the support you are giving to the blogging community and your honest yet positive outlook. There are so many types of blog out there, and there have been some excellent posts this fortnight about finding your voice. I asked Michelle if I could write this post about blogging about the darker sides of life.

Deciding how deeply to delve into your life when blogging is a big decision. Opening up absolutely terrified me as a new blogger. Do you know that feeling when you post something, then feel hideously exposed and have to sit on your hands to stop yourself deleting the post?

I didn’t write about my Mum’s cancer initially, partly because she was reading my blog, but also because blogging was an escape from thinking about cancer. The day I won the Fresh Voice category of the British Mummy Bloggers Brilliance in Blogging Awards, I found out mum was dying. I had a huge bubble of subtext which was about to explode all over my fairly upbeat blog tales of day to day life with kids, which people were now looking at. More importantly, my offline life was exploding.

I thought a lot about whether to blog about mum dying. I am glad I did it. Writing about my feelings was very cathartic. I worried people would stop talking to me, but the opposite was true. My posts put me in touch rapidly with people who had similar experiences. I gained some great perspective from knowing I wasn’t the only one to have lost someone.

Even if people haven’t been through the same experience, emotions like loss, grief and guilt are part of the human condition. Every comment brought comfort, even when people protested they didn’t know what to say. Just the fact people said something was special. Blogging helped me in my offline life too. Friends read my blog and understood how to support me. I printed off my blog posts to help the celebrant who led the funeral service gain a picture of my mum.

I worried about hurting my nearest and dearest. I asked my family’s permission to post about mum’s death because things happen more slowly offline. The rest of my family’s grief is personal and I respect that.

I went through a long process of grief, but to those who haven’t, the thought of losing a parent is a very raw and painful thing to contemplate. I am generally a positive person, and I choose to write honestly, but positively, and with hope. I felt a sense of responsibility to my reader, and to myself, to find that hope. Again that’s another big, personal decision.

There are days I desperately want my old blog back, to post whatever I like, and for my grief to not be part of it. On the flipside I could write about my mum in every post, but my blog is one of many sounding boards.
I took my time thinking about how to write and I wrote at a time when I had made blogging friends to support me. The blogging community amazed me. I am beginning to give something back, to offer my support to other bloggers going through tough times.

Deciding whether to open your heart is a very personal decision. Another option is to blog anonymously on a friend’s blog, or via blognonymous, a network of established bloggers who host and support posts by anonymous writers:

Paula at Battling On

Jay at Mocha Beanie Mummy

Nickie at Typecast

Emily at Mummy Limited

Bumbling at Bumbling Along (some of our bloggers are anonymous too!)

Sandy at Parent Confidential

They are also on twitter; follow @blognonymous

Thank you so much Penny for such an honest post you have certainly made me think about what and how I post in the future. I think that we all need to stop and think carefully when we blog about other people's stories. I have massive admiration for you being able to write this post now at such a raw time for you. Thank you, Mich x

Friday, 18 February 2011

I am Giving away a Family Ticket to Peppa Pig World @ Paultons Park


Peppa Pig can do no wrong in this house!  If I said to you that I have twin 3.5 year old girls that may be saying enough!  They love Peppa Pig, they love everything about her, so much so that we have the lunchboxes and cups for school, the pyjamas which Mummy has to wash far too often as others are turned down, the day clothes, the play sets, the soft toys, the snuggle pillows, the duvet sets, the books, the DVD's....  Oh my goodness, I had no idea we were that obsessed with Peppa Pig in this house!  You see the thing is, it is not just the girls, I love Peppa too.  It is one of the few kiddie programmes that I will sit and watch and even JJ is not too cool, at age 7 he is still happy to watch it, 'just for the girls though Mum!'.  Yes of course, my darling.


So when I heard that Paultons Park were opening a Peppa Pig World I did a small jump in the air.  Have I mentioned this to the little ones - no way!  I want my sleep for the next few weeks. Peppa Pig World will open on 9th April this year, there will be 7 new rides to enjoy as well as fun animated attractions, indoor and outdoor play areas and a Peppa-themed toy shop, so take your pennies. My girls will be super excited to hear that there will be a Muddy Puddles water play area and JJ will enjoy Daddy Pig’s Big Tummy Café.


I mentioned this new opening the other day to a group of Mummy friends and the general consensus was that we will all be visiting this year.  Isn't it funny how once you have kids your enjoyment is gained through their delight. In the old days I might have got excited about a trip to Paris and nowadays it is knowing my kids will have a ball at Peppa Pig World. How times change!  So, if like me you are excited, you better book your tickets now.


Check out the dedicated Peppa Pig World website at www.peppapigworld.co.uk to ensure you don’t miss out. The website is packed with fun activities to entertain your children such as maps of the park and pictures of its rides to get them really excited! 


Now I did mention giving away a family ticket, didn't I?


You can win a ticket for a family of four to go to Peppa Pig World on their golden ticket day on Saturday 2nd April 2011.  You will feel like a star, as this event is a week before the park opens to the general public, you can enjoy all the fun on this special day.


To Enter
  • Leave a comment to answer the question. What is Peppa Pig's Dad called?
  • If you would like a second entry, then please do like my facebook page!
  • For a final entry (max of 3) you can tweet 'Wow, #PeppaPig World is opening, I want to #win a family ticket from @michelletwinmum and @paultonspark http://bit.ly/i8OiY7 '
Terms and Conditions
  • The giveaway will close at 12 noon Saturday 5 March 2011
  • The winner will be contacted within 3 days of this giveaway closing
  • The giveaway is open to all but you have to be able to make your own way to Paulton's Park.  Travel costs are not part of this giveaway.
  • The winner will be chosen by random number generator
  • There is no cash or prize alternative
  • The ticket is only available to use on Saturday 2nd April 2011
  • Your ticket will be organised by the PR company
Good Luck!

Ohh and just to mention that Paultons Park, the family theme park in Hampshire (Where Peppa Pig World is) has 60 plus rides and attractions. Thrills and excitement are the order of the day! Paultons Park is open for February half-term from Sunday 20th February 2011 and daily from Friday 1st April 2011... Check the website for full details and daily closing times which vary.

My family is being offered complimentary entrance to Peppa Pig World and as such I am able to hold this giveaway.  Once I have attended the event in late March I will write an honest review of Peppa Pig World and publish it here at MFTH...

Congratulations to @GKMummy, you are the lucky winner.  Please either email or DM me your address details to pass on to the PR.  Many thanks, Mich x

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Reason to be Cheerful, 1,2,3 - Week 7 - I am Extra Cheerful!

Reasons to be Cheerful at Mummy From the Heart
 

Good evening, how are we all today?  I am feeling super chirpy today! I hope you all are as well.

I want to start by saying a big thank you to all the people who keep taking part in this linky each week, it is fabulous to see you searching really hard to find some reasons to be cheerful on tough weeks!  I love knowing that even when the going has got tough you took 5 mins to count your blessings.

Lets start with 3 great reasons to be cheerful!
  1. I have a new job at work!  I went in last Monday and was approached and by 11am I had the job. I am off work next week and then I start on 28th.  I am going to be the Trainer for our new HR system. Wish me luck...
  2. My hubbie has gone off to India.  Now this is not a reason to be cheerful for me but I just know the Lord will bless him immensely and also he will bless all the orphans, widows and lepers that he is going out to work with for 10 days.
  3. The part that is a blessing about dh being away is that my fabulous Mummy is coming to stay with us.  Being half term we will all have a ball.  Roll on Friday....
  4. I attended a wonderful ED (eating disorder) workshop last Saturday and then Church was amazing too on Sunday so I am pleased to be abstinent from compulsive overeating by the Grace of God and I have developed some super awareness about some of my character defects.  I will be posting about the first of these on Saturday!
So now it is your job to share your gratitude and joy.  What are your reasons to be cheerful this week?

Don't forget to take the blog hop code from below the linky and paste this into your blog so that new readers can jump from blog...to blog... to blog and also promote your post and the link up by tweeting with the hashtag #Reasons2BCheerful



..and before you go, I must remember to point you over to Maxabella's I'm Grateful for... link up.  Join up your reasons post there and make some new Aussie friends.

Of course Jen's Blog gems is still open too. Link up every other Sunday and air your archives.

Wishing you a fabulous week, Mich x

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Mummy@Bodfortea Shares her Experience of Running Giveaways

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We are almost at the end of New Bloggers Fortnight now but still a couple of goodies to fit in!  Following on from my post yesterday about writing reviews for your blog Mummy@bodfortea talks about running giveaways on her blog. I'll let her introduce herself -
Hi there, mummy@bodfortea here. I'm a stay-at-home Mum to my 18 month old darling daughter (known as DD) and wife to an overworked consultant husband who is often away more than he is at home. We currently split our time between the UK, where we have a home, and China where OH is doing some work. Yes China. I know, I must be mad. I'm a self-confessed control freak and frustrated writer and I blog to stay sane. Sometimes I wonder if it's working :)
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When Michelle asked me to write a post for the New Bloggers Fortnight, I looked behind me first and then pointed to my chest, "Who me?", I asked. Sometimes I still can't believe that my little blog is up and running, let alone with almost 40 lovely followers and an 'explorer' Klout score. Since I launched Bod for tea four weeks ago I've loved every moment of joining the blogging community. I've made some great new virtual friends and had so much support both from both fellow newbies and more experienced bloggers such as Michelle.
So what advice can I give to other newbie bloggers like myself? Well, with my first two giveaways currently running on my blog I thought I'd share my experiences of hosting them.
When I was first contacted by a brand to run a giveaway, my initial reaction (wheeeee!) quickly dissolved into anxiety - I didn't know the first thing about running a giveaway online! So I turned to my first source for all things helpful; British Mummy Bloggers. I posted a question on the newbies group and soon had loads of advice and links to check out. Here's some of they key things I learned from this and from subsequently hosting my own giveaway:

The best advice I received was to take a look at the giveaways hosted by bloggers I admire such as Not Super Just Mum and Second Time Mummy. That gave me the confidence to go for it and some good ideas for how to craft my post.
Another key learning was not making entrants jump through too many hoops to enter the giveaway. People have a finite attention span online (or is that just me?) so make it quick and easy for them to enter and then, hopefully, move on to read the other posts in your archive.
If you build it, they won't necessarily come. If no-one reads your posts it may hurt, but if no-one enters your giveaway the PR or brand may think twice before contacting you again. So do publicise it. I'm by no means expert at this (my second giveaway only has one entrant so far!), but I've used Twitter, the British Mummy Bloggers Competitions group, the Prizefinder competitions site and Money Saving Expert.
Do add clear terms and conditions to your giveaway and disclose where the prizes came from.

When you add a new post to your blog after your giveaway is live, add a link to it in your sidebar to attract readers from your new post.
And finally, I think it's an easy trap to fall into to run giveaways all the time, and I'm conscious here that I've got two running consecutively myself at the moment. They can bring you lots of traffic, but a lot of it is fleeting, with people popping in to enter and never coming back. Real followers that come back time and again and comment on your posts are gained by sharing your story, whatever it may be, through posting. So go for it, host a giveaway, and I'll probably enter! But do keep posting too.

Thanks Mummy@bodfortea, you raise a good point at the end there.  Keep a balance on your blog, some giveaways or paid content but loads of real life 'you' stuff, that was what attracted your readership in the first place.

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Paid Content on your Blog/ Undertaking Reviews

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A while back I asked new bloggers what they would like to see posts on during New Bloggers Fortnight and the question asked by JoJo was 'How do you get to review products?'.  Chatting to people over time I have found that many new bloggers are interested in this area. Let's be honest who does not like a little something for nothing?  but is it really something for nothing?

First things first:  What to Think About
  • The first thing I would say when you start to think about having paid or sponsored content on your blog is to think long and hard if this is the route you want to take.  We have to be realistic, some readers hate reviews and any kind of paid content and they will stop reading.  Are you prepared to see your follower numbers drop?
  • Be realistic, remember there are literally 1000's of parenting blogs and well over half of those will all be vying for the same reviews and paid for links or posts. How are you going to make your blog stand out?  What makes you different?  Try and find a USP (unique selling point) for your blog.  Mine is my honesty.
  • Will you get stressed?  When you have 6 freebie products that you then need to write reviews on and you are wondering how to space them on your blog so it does not just look like a sell out. How will you feel?  Only you know, personally a while back I realised I had to be far more picky with the reviews I accepted and I also set up a separate review blog.  However, I now find I am struggling with time for both blogs!
  • Have you got enough time for this?  Running competitions takes time - tweeting, getting them put on comping websites, dealing with the PR, keeping track of all the entries.
So if you have had a good think and you decide that you do want to do reviews then read on.  I am sure some of you are thinking 'So and so does and my blog is much better than theres, so why not!'

The First Practical Steps
  • Set up a blog dedicated email address and make sure your contact details are easy to find on your blog.  Have a contact page or put it in your side bar.
  • If you want to accept paid content and work with brands have this stated on your blog. You'll see I have a separate page called PR/ Reviews.
  • Think about having a disclosure policy.  Look for examples on your favourite blogs or visit http://www.disclosurepolicy.org/ where you can set yourself one up for free.
  • Consider displaying the British Mummy Bloggers Integrity badge to show that you understand the need to be transparent in your dealings with brands.
  • Decide how you will label your sponsored posts. There has been a lot of conversations in our community recently about whether the title should state review or such so that people do not feel let down when they get to the end and find it is sponsored content.  This is your call, you are accountable to you! I have moved to being very explicit in my description of what I received for a sponsored or review post, see here or here.  Read this article on blogger.ed blog, it is about how you might disclose your working relationship with the brands.
Your blog is set to go - What now?
  • Do a couple of trial reviews.  Something that you use everyday or a venue that you visit.  This way you have something to show to a potential brand and they can see your writing style. My first unpaid review was of Chessington.
  • Or have you got friends/ a partner who has a business/ product that you could review?
  • Make sure you are a member of the working with brands group on British Mummy Bloggers and join the Blogger.ed Forum you will find that bloggers will post opportunities to review/ attend events that are not of interest to them but they want to pass on.
  • If you see a review or a blog you read and you feel you have a relationship with that blogger, ask them to pass your contact details onto their PR contact.  This does work, I have attended a fab event due to this and been able to gain other bloggers nice review opportunities when I recommended them to my contacts.  Don't be greedy, I don't think any blogger will pass you their little black book but most people do not mind helping a newbie get their foot in.
  • Be prepared to start with products that you might think are not sexy and are boring.  I had a wonderful event invitation because I believe my details were passed over by a PR that I did CD and batteries review for.  Small acorns and all that...
  • Think about whether you want to promote your blog by joining a ranking of parenting blogs such as the Tots 100 or Wikio.  Once you join the Tots100 you can select if you wish to be contacted by PR's.  Again be realistic, I think there is about 1000 in the Tots100 system now days. If you blog is new, it may take time...
  • Lastly you can always approach companies direct.  Take a look around their websites and look for the contact in marketing who deals with social media and send them a friendly email and see if they work with parenting bloggers.

All that is left to say is good luck!  My personal opinion is that you should give your blog a few months first before you start to take on too much sponsored content, this will give you time to develop your voice and establish a good readership.

Tomorrow Mummy at Bod for Tea will talk about her experience of running her first two giveaways on her blog.

SAHM Loving It Realises it is all about Relationship Building

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Today we welcome Heather from SAHM Loving It. This is what she has to say about herself -

My name is Heather and I'm a blogoholic.  I'm a 36 year old (feel 56 at the mo!) stay at home mum to a 22 month old girl and wife to a 34 year old man currently known as 'useless feck' as he's fractured his ankle - muppet!  I never thought I'd become a stay at home mum but after working full time in marketing for about 18 years I think I deserve to have some time off for good behaviour.  I love comedy, food, travel, photography and general madness.  I started blogging 31st December 2010 and haven't looked back since!
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I’m so honoured to be writing this guest post for Michelle as when I started blogging just over 5 weeks ago, I never expected anyone to read it. It was just a place to dump some mutterings, a place for myself to ponder on my life, an escape almost. Then I stumbled across BMB - the support I’ve received from Michelle and the many other fabulous bloggers has been overwhelming.

My decision to start blogging was somewhat an overnight one. It was that period between Christmas and New Year where you’re getting slightly fed up of watching crap on TV and eating leftover food. I just thought I’d give it a try as I’ve always enjoyed writing but little did I know just how much I would come to love blogging.


Being a stay-at-home-mum I thought I’d left my days in marketing behind me. I thought, for now, I was destined for days of caring for my daughter, cleaning and cooking (not that that’s all I do obviously!). I didn’t think I would ever use the term ‘CRM’ (Customer Relationship Management) again. But as I sit here thinking about what to write for this guest post I suddenly realise that blogging is ALL about relationship management. I realise that in order to make your blog work and gain some readership you have to commit time to it but, more importantly, you have to network and build relationships with other bloggers.

For me, this involves:


• Investing time within the blogging community


• Visiting other blogs to spark ideas


• Commenting on blog posts I enjoy


• Getting involved in blog hops to make new friends


• When people leave a comment on my blog, visit their blog and comment back – share the love


• Extend myself beyond the blog by utilising other forms of social networking i.e. Twitter


I’ve found Twitter to be an extremely useful tool in building relationships. It’s not just a place to tweet your new blog post a couple of times but a place to make friends and extend the relationship beyond the blog. I find it’s through Twitter you really get to know people more.


I’ve been on Twitter a while and had grown to use it more and more towards the end of last year but it wasn’t until I started blogging that it really took off. It’s quick, it’s simple and best of all it’s a powerful tool for making new friends and building up strong relationships – and having fun!


Maybe that’s why I like blogging so much? Maybe its part of the old ‘marketing girl’ in me has been reborn? Michelle paid me a big compliment the other week, she said it was as if I had been around the blogging community for much longer. If this is only the beginning of my blogging journey I’m so excited for where it’s going to take me!


Thanks so much Heather for taking the time to write this, we know you are busy at home at the moment looking after your 'big baby!'.  Tomorrow I get to post something on my blog - how novel is that?  Come back and read about working with brands and taking paid content on your blog.

Monday, 14 February 2011

Ghostwritermummy talks about the Importance of finding your Blogging Voice

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Today it is the turn of ghostwritermummy to take the hot seat! Here is a little more about her -

I am a mother, a wife, a daughter, a sister, a friend, a writer, a teacher and a blogger. I started my blog after realising that writing would help me deal with the traumatic birth of my son. Since blogging about my experiences, I have met many fabulous women who have been through similar experiences and as a result, I feel stronger. I want my blog to help other families who have suffered birth trauma and to raise awareness. Other than that, my blog has re-awakened my first love- writing.
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If I said I wasn’t feeling slightly honoured to have been asked to write a guest post on Mummy From The Heart, I would be lying. Seeing as the reason for this post is to help new bloggers along the way, not being truthful in the first sentence would be failing at the first hurdle. What I’m trying to say is that one of the most important things I have found since I started blogging is to be honest. It’s also vital that you have a voice, and that you remember your audience.


I have read so many blogs in the short while since ghostwritermummy began and I am lucky enough to have read some fabulous posts and articles that have inspired me to write my own. I have been welcomed by the mummy blogging community with open arms and now Michelle is opening those arms a little wider to help all of us new bloggers find our feet a little more easily. So, here’s what I think is important to consider:

BE HONEST


This incorporates so much. Firstly, Katie at Sluiter Nation (one of my most favourite blogs to read) has put this so much better than I could in her post which she wrote as part of For The Love of Blogging. Be honest about where your inspiration comes from- if another blogger has inspired you, give them credit and link them in, like I just did there. See? Clever, me. So, yes. Be honest. Link back to your inspiration and thank them. It’s appreciated.

Being honest is also about

HAVING A VOICE


Again, Katie puts this so well in her post and it really is important. If you like to write funny posts, then do it. If you feel more comfortable writing serious posts, then do that instead. Don’t worry about putting people off because once they know your style they will know what to expect and we’re all perfectly within our rights to read the blogs that appeal to us personally. BUT that doesn’t mean you should only ever write in one style. This is YOUR blog. Which leads me on to my next part...

REMEMBER YOUR AUDIENCE


I blogged about this as part of For The Love of Blogging in my post, Writing Wednesday. As I wrote in that post, it’s important to remember who your audience is- as I tell the children in my class when they sit down to write ANYTHING. Without an audience there is no purpose to the writing. I’m not talking about obsessively collecting page view figures or subscription rates- I’m talking your audience, who you are writing for... YOU. A mummy blog, such as mine, inevitably begins as a way to put down your inner thoughts and, like mine once more, can begin to snowball once you start to get readers and comments. But I think it’s important to remember that the first member of your audience was always YOU and so you should write about what matters to YOU.

This last one goes back to the first two. Don’t write about something you know nothing about, don’t care about or isn’t honest. You’ll lose the reason why you started the blog in the first place. If someone asks you to review disposable nappies and you are a staunch believer in cloth nappies, then say no. Your blog is your online diary and only you can say if you’re 100% happy with everything in it. Don’t be tempted to write something just to please the people who read your blog or just to get lots of views. Just be yourself, write what matters to you and enjoy being your own boss.

Oh, and READ. The best way to develop your own style, angle and opinions is to read other blogs and get yourself involved in the community. There are so many fabulous blogs out there to read! I will leave you with this article by Kari Henley for the Huffington Post. Read it. She talks about the power of mummy bloggers and there are some fabulous tips on there too. Be inspired. Write.


Super advice there ghostwriter mummy, my blog was born of the need for me to be honest, hence the name Mummy From The Heart...  Let me just point readers to this awesome post too where one well respected blogger talks about why it is important to her to stay true to herself.

Tomorrow Heather from SAHM Loving It will make her guest appearance here at MFTH..., she will be talking about relationship building.

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Pick of the New Parenting Bloggers- part 2

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A short while, back I published a list of new blogs that I had found and was enjoying.  Here is instalment 2 of the same.

Choc Orange City Mum - This city banker/Mum started her blog in January as a way of trying something new after her very sad miscarriage on Christmas day. In 2 short months she has gained 63 followers and given herself a nice little blog makeover. Definitely one to watch for the future...



The Boy and Me - What a lovely blog, you can tell this Mummy has a real dedication to her little man. Some super pictures in the 365 project and she is currently dreaming of money trees, white chocolate truffles and an extra 4 or 5 hours in the day.  Oh and you must check out her post about the things they do not tell you when you are pregnant.  Classic!

Alexander Residence - Penny started this blog last September and it is the full package.  She won the Fresh Voice category in the Brilliance in Blogging awards earlier this year and it was very well deserved.  Penny is having a sad time at the moment so visit her and say hi.

This Mid 30's Life - Another blogger been going since September and this one is really funny. You know those lucky people who just seem to be able to be funny without trying?  Yes, this lady seems like one of those chosen few and she recently won the Brilliance in Blogging award for the funniest post.  Go on have a read HERE.

Unpacked Mummy - A great blog which has only been going for a couple of months.  Unpacked Mummy spent 19 months travelling with her daughter and this blog now records her time back in the UK.  A mixture of topical and mummy posts, it makes a great read, there have been some incredibly powerful posts.

Of course it goes without saying that you should also go visit and follow all my fabulous guest posters from new bloggers fortnight-

Qwerty Mum
Metal Mummy
Inside the Wendy House
Show and Tell
Ghost Writer Mummy
SAHM Loving It
Bod for Tea

Thanks for reading, tomorrow I will welcome ghostwritermummy, who wants to share with us why it is important to find your own blogging voice and be honest.

#SilentSunday - A Comfy Seat? It Must be a Twin Thing!


For loads more great pics, go and visit Jay at Mocha Beanie Mummy.

Silent Sunday

Friday, 11 February 2011

Trish Shares the Stresses of being a Newbie Blogger!

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Another day and another blogger....  and you won't be disappointed, this lady will make you laugh, she has a fabulous talent for it!  Or maybe it is just me who finds her funny?   Leave a comment and let me know.  So here is Trish from Show and Tell Ideas introducing herself -

I am a mother, lover, blogger and former professional CV writer. After falling asleep on my computer keyboard several years ago….and accidentally mass emailing the CV of a major bank executive to everyone in my email address book….I decided I needed a fresh challenge. As luck would have it, I found myself wading chest-deep in a muddy lagoon gathering frog spawn for my daughter’s kindy “Show and Tell” the very next day. Aha! A lightbulb went off inside my head. So I subsequently set out on my own personal mission to turn “Show and Hell” into “Show and Tell”. I now author my own website, offering fun and easy Show and Tell Ideas for kids and busy parents. I blog because I love writing about life, making people laugh and meeting new bloggy friends.

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Now Mich has invited me to guest post on her blog to cast a little insight into some of the more stressful aspects of life as a newbie blogger. “Wow, what a gig!” I hear you say. And, yes, you’re absolutely right. What a gig indeed. So thank you Mich for inviting me into this special space you have created at Mummy from the Heart.

I started blogging in early January 2011. And what follows is my story so far.

Now, let me start by saying that when it comes to some aspects of life (like blogging), you could call me a little naive….Okay, very naive….Okay, I still believe that my daughter didn’t eat that last chocolate biscuit in the fridge last night even though her face and hands were smeared in some suspicious brown, sticky, delicious, sweet stuff. (Well, actually, yes I do believe it. I just had trouble accepting it. Tears were involved….Mine not hers. Well, she got to the biscuit first, damn it!).

But I digress…..cravings for sweet things are another subject entirely.

Where was I?…..The stressful perils of being a newbie blogger and being naive.

Now, when I first walked out to the edge of the diving board of Blog World….and peered down into the lustrous, aquamarine depths of the Blogging Pool below….I was overcome with a very unfamiliar feeling. I poked around inside my head for a while trying to figure out what this unfamiliar feeling was. Eventually, one of those very useful little light bulb thingies went off inside my head.

Confidence. Yes, that’s what I was feeling. Confidence. Confidence that I could leap high into the air off the Blogging Pool diving board, execute a couple of extraordinary Bloggy acrobatic moves, and slip effortlessly into the Blogging Pool below….(all to the muffled sounds of the crowd cheering and applauding my incredible Bloggy success, of course). Seconds later, I would triumphantly emerge from the Blogging Pool to see Bloggy Judges holding scorecards, every one of them perfect Bloggy tens.

So, armed with my Bloggy confidence, I decided the first thing I needed to do was form a Bloggy Action Plan (BAP for short). Now this took only a few seconds.…but my BAP was very sophisticated nonetheless. “Build it, and they will come. ”What do you think? Pretty original isn’t it?

Still, I had to get this just right, so I decided to break my BAP up into two very important parts. The first part was “build it”. So I immediately went in search of free blogging software. Aha, success. Within a matter of minutes, I stumbled across numerous sites offering such software.

Now, apparently any trained monkey can get a blog up and running in a matter of minutes. And this actually turned out to be very true. What they failed to add, however, is that if you’re a newbie blogger with zero technology skills (such as moi), your new blog will also look like it has been put together by a trained monkey.

Now I call this phase of implementing my Bloggy Action Plan, “Serious Setback No. 1”. And it was a very stressful time. I mean, given that I had so much confidence when I first set out on my Bloggy Adventure, I had immediately made my blog public to “the world”. Now I couldn’t find the damn button to make my blog un-public. And that glaring bloody great “PREVIEW” button had somehow escaped my notice as well.

So, “the world” watched on as I fumbled around with my standard template, adding and removing gadgets, trying to upload pictures and hyperlinks and generally stuffing things up a good 80% of the time.

And speaking of stuffing things up, I am also here to tell you that there’s a damn good reason why so many of those “text colour codes” start with the letters “fffff”. Because that’s how many times you’ll say “the f word” before you finally hurl yourself on the floor in tears and accept that you’ve ventured into the “Advanced” section of your blog template designer way too soon. Unless, of course, you have tech skills, in which case all the “fs” might stand for words like fun, fantastic and fabulous!

Now, after enduring many days of incredible stress and humiliation over the fact that “the world” was so publicly watching me learn to master the technical aspects of setting up my blog, I then encountered Bloggy Action Plan “Serious Setback No. 2”.

Yes, this was the moment when I realised that in fact “the world” wasn’t watching me fumble around after all.
In fact not even my own family was watching!! This was indeed a serious setback, because it threw the whole second phase of my Bloggy Action Plan into serious jeopardy. Remember, “build it and they will come”? Well actually, no, they won’t come. Because no-one even knows I exist!!!!

Okay, I need to rectify this situation quickly if my BAP is ever going to work. How do I let “the world” know I am here….toiling away writing incredibly important and meaningful stuff that they simply must not miss another second of?

Now, somewhere in the depths of my memory I remembered that the words “Twitter” and “Facebook” had
become pretty popular in recent years. But what were these things? I decided to Google them to find out. A few hours later, armed with a wealth of new found knowledge, but with my stress levels still escalating, I decided it would be wise to take on only one of these new things at a time.

So I opted for Twitter. Yes, I signed up for my Twitter account….walked to the edge of the Blog World diving board….and dived right in. Holy crap!! Clearly I hadn’t paid enough attention to language classes at high school. Suddenly I was immersed in a world of English-speaking people fluently speaking to each other in another language. And, what’s more, once I’d figured out this new “secret language”, I realised that they weren’t always talking to me. They appeared to be talking to each other. Was I being rude? Should I listen in? Was it okay to interrupt the conversation with my own thoughts?

Now I have to be honest and say that while I’m still not always doing a great job keeping up with my tweeting, I’ve actually come to quite like Twitter. It allows me to plug my blog so that “the world” does know I exist. More importantly, through Twitter, I’ve met lots of great new friends around “the world”. Friends that do actually pop into my blog and read my latest blog post and leave lovely comments that make me smile.

Which leads me into “Serious Setback No. 3”. Now that “the world” is finally reading my blog, “the world” actually expects me to write something. Go figure!! And here’s the thing. Not just once. No. “The world” actually expects me to keep writing. In fact “the world” expects me to write something new at least 3 or 4 times a week. Every day even! Hell, what do they think I am? A blogger or something?

So, here I sit….only a month into this blogging gig….with everything just starting to come together rather nicely thank you very much….but with a mild case of “Post Traumatic Bloggy-Action-Plan Syndrome” nonetheless. Yes, sadly, I am feeling a tad stressed and overwhelmed from trying to keep all my Bloggy balls in the air all at one time.

And I know it could have so easily been avoided. I mean, I could have decided not to set up my blog and post my first bloody blog post 5 minutes later. I could have learnt the technology of Blog World “behind closed doors” instead of revealing to “the world” (okay, my cat) just how technologically inept I really am. I could have taken a night course in how to speak “Twitter” so that I understood that RT stands for Retweet and not Railway Timetable . I could even have pre-prepared a few incredibly witty, insightful or poignant blog posts about my life, all ready to upload at a moment’s notice, lest I feel under any pressure.

But did I do any of this? No. Sadly I’m a “fools rush in where angels fear to tread” kinda gal. So, instead, I walked right up to the edge of the diving board of Blog World and I dived straight in. An act of foolishness? You betcha. But I’m here now. And I am gradually starting to unwind and enjoy it now that I’ve clocked up my first month.

But if I had my time over again, would I do things the same way? Are you kidding me?? Hell no. I’ve almost driven myself insane in the past month just trying to keep up.

So you see, while it’s definitely too late to save myself, if you are about to jump off the diving board of Blog World and become a newbie blogger, I can almost certainly save you.

Thank you Trish.  Tomorrow will bring you another great guest post as part of new bloggers fortnight here at MFTH... Tomorrow we say hello to Ghost Writer Mummy who will talk about being honest and finding your own blogging voice.
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