What I got from Blogfest 2016

scummy-mummies

When I booked my ticket for this year’s Blog Fest I felt like it was a total whim. I didn’t know who else was going and I certainly didn’t have a burning desire to gather tips on photography, vlogging or monetising or any need to feign interest in starting up a relationship with the likes of Unilever, Barclays or Coca Cola. What did intrigue me was the guest list, the entertainment value and the panel discussions.

I went to Blog Fest back in 2014 and I really enjoyed the day – meeting up with people I’d only ever seen in 2D and soaking up the atmosphere, being in a huge space filled with like-minded women (for the most part – once again the attendance of the dad bloggers was entirely minimal – I briefly chatted to Tim (Slouching Towards Thatcham) and another dad blogger called James and I think they said they were two of five dads attending!).

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Blog fraud (the posts that passed me by…)

blog-missing-in-action

Call out the blog police – I’m still calling myself a blogger even though I haven’t posted a thing for weeks – and not only that but I’m off to Mumsnet Blogfest at the weekend which seems doubly fraudulent!

I guess the main reasons for my lack of input are these: life lately has been both mundane and complicated; full disclosure is not an option; it feels like things have changed so much since I began this blog back in July 2013 and despite the fact that I’ve never really stuck to a niche or a formula with regards subject matter, I am still struggling to decide what I want to write about and share.

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Blogging: taking stock

blog fail

For quite some time now I’ve got used to the idea that blogging is not a central part of my life any more. I no longer, eat, sleep, breathe in the blogosphere, planning posts, framing moments in time, taking a camera everywhere so as to prepare my next post’s illustrations and tailoring my life’s moments to fit in with this or that linky.

I seem to have naturally fallen into a routine whereby I write just one original post a week and, along with my own “Truth about…” linky, that is all that I publish on any given week.

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Flatline

Flatline

When your stats flatline because you’ve abandoned your blog – and I’m not talking about taking a ‘blog break’ here – I’m talking about putting the whole thing down both literally and figuratively, and walking away completely – then you really begin to understand what the whole thing means.

I’ve been completely AWOL from these pages for the best part of the last three weeks now and it has been both very easy and quite upsetting. I’ve ignored emails from PR people; I haven’t taken any photos; I’ve abandoned the Facebook groups; I’ve stopped trying to think about interesting or fascinating or thought provoking subject matter to blog on; I’ve lost my way with words.

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The blogging community: changes afoot?

tumbleweed computer

There seems to be a lot of talk lately about the loss of that sense of community on our personal blogs. I’m not sure about everyone else but I seem to be added to a new Facebook blog group every week at the moment and after my recent post about my love/hate relationship with that platform it occurs to me that this may be another part of the problem. I get notifications every time anyone adds a comment to a thread I’ve shown an interest in so every time I look at my phone I seem to have at least 16 notifications which gives me a dose of social media/information overload.

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On missing Blogfest 2015

Rabbit jumpingBack in June 2014, a year into my blogging journey, I missed the first Britmums Live conference I had the chance to attend – even though I’d bought a ticket. As I’ve mentioned before I managed to double book myself that year and our family holiday took precedence. However, despite having a really lovely holiday, I was really gutted at the time. I remember sitting in the car as we drove home from Norfolk flicking through my Twitter feed relentlessly, torn between the desire to pretend it wasn’t happening and wanting to feel in some way connected to events. I took in every Morrisons cake and staged selfie and worried that I’d missed the boat as far as bonding with the people I’d been chatting with for many months was concerned.

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Distractions

distractions-1

I once wrote a blog post called “Someone Help Derail My Train of Thought!!” and I guess this is another one a bit like that. The past week – October half term – has seen our family have a little holiday (essentially our main holiday of 2015). We went to Shorefield Country Park in Milford upon Sea – New Forest. We were lucky to have the opportunity to stay in a really lovely ‘lodge’, or ‘static caravan’ for a reduced cost through our employer.

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Five ways in which motherhood has changed my life for the better

Five ways motherhood...Any given choice we make is a matter of swings and roundabouts (or, if my children had their way, slides and climbing frames) – we’re all different and no-one has the key to a perfect life. Having said that, I have spent a lot of time thinking about the parenting journey over the years and wondered, for a while, whether I was just another stupid idiot who had foolishly succumbed to that irritating ticking – you know: the biological clock.

You may read a lot of wonderful reports about the ‘overwhelming love’ that children bring into your life* but then again you may read tales of woe centred around any number of challenges that parenthood throws up on an almost daily basis. They bring us to our knees some days. I haven’t seen the light at the end of the tunnel but I have seen the end of my tether. Regularly.

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The evolution of a blogger

scrabble blog

I know it doesn’t happen the same way for everyone – I am part of several Facebook groups and I regularly read people coming to the forum as newbies – I mean up and running from scratch for about a month – saying “I am currently getting 1000 page views per month, have 500 followers on Twitter – how do I build my following?” to which the rest of us go “bloody hell, I’ve been up and running for two years and I don’t have a flipping clue how you’ve managed that – can you give *me* some tips?!”.

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The Mediocre Blog Awards

The MBAs

Firstly, let me just say, I don’t write an award-worthy blog, I know that and I’m under no illusions about it. But I do love my blog and I love blogging – over the past two years it’s become a huge part of who I am. So when the MAD (Mum and Dad) blog awards took place last week and my newsfeeds began filling up with pictures of some fabulous ‘compatriots’ (for want of a better word) being pampered, treated to a gourmet three course meal, and showered with praise and adulation for doing some of the kind of stuff I do (but better), I was thrilled for them – but – I was also deflated. I get the feeling that I may be the only person willing to say this publicly, because, let’s face it – there is a huge stigma attached to admitting that you feel disappointed in the face of other peoples’ success. A lot of people would rather resort to trying to tear others down – jealousy is the kryptonite that trolls harness to try to build themselves up whilst simultaneously knocking the work/thoughts/opinions of others.

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