In my series of interviews with bloggers, I spoke to journalist turned blogger Nicole. I hope you enjoy her story and visit her blog.

Journalist

Why did you start to blog?

Before I became a SAHM, I was a journalist with a lifestyle newspaper. So writing has always been a huge part of my life. When my son turned two and started part-time nursery, I found some free time and decided to get back to doing what I loved – writing.

I had written for all mediums before from newspapers to magazines to websites, but I had never blogged. And blogging seemed the best avenue to pursue writing around being a full-time mum. And so my second baby – Tales from Mamaville – was born in Jan 2016!

How did you feel when you started blogging?

Extremely excited and completely clueless! I was glad to get back to writing, excited to be starting my very own blog but quite clueless about it all. Thank God for google in the beginning, and then as I found my feet in the blogging world, the blogging community helped me hugely.

How do you feel about blogging today?

I wouldn’t know what to do with my time if I didn’t have my blog! It has consumed me, but in a lovely way. I am forever chasing deadlines and making mental notes about posts, always on my phone catching up on social media, and staying up late to get blogmin done – and it’s exhausting doing it around being a full-time mum – but I love it. It’s given me a new sense of purpose, and I like referring to myself as a blogger and not just a SAHM.

What is your proudest achievement related to blogging?

It would have to be the fact that I self-learnt everything I know about blogging and literally started from scratch! I did a lot of research before hitting publish on my first post, tried out themes, thought long and hard about my blog name etc etc. And even though I still have loads more to learn, I’m proud of the fact that words like SEO and DA don’t frighten me as much. And I’m so much more confident with tech!!!

What is the most exciting event you have attended as a blogger?

I’m attending my first-ever blogging conference this year (booked my ticket already) and I can’t wait to meet so many bloggers who I interact with online and of course learn so much about different aspects of blogging.

Do you monetize your blog and, if so, how?

I recently started to do so – another mini blogging achievement for me! It’s nice to be able to earn a little income while doing something I love and can do while being a SAHM. I do reviews, sponsored posts, link insertions and social media advertising.

What do you find most challenging about blogging?

Finding enough time to do it all. There is SO MUCH to do from planning posts to writing them, finding or clicking suitable images, SEO-ing the text and images, pinning the posts, promoting them, scheduling future promotions. Then there are deadlines to meet for paid opportunities and emails to send to PRs and brands. And the blogmin is another day’s work – fixing broken links, updating plugins… blogging is a 24/7 job. There is no off switch.

What surprised you most about blogging?

The fact that it is so time-consuming and that promoting your content is so crucial to your blog, especially if you want to monetize it. If you just write and sit tight, nobody will know you or your blog exist!

How do you balance blogging and family life?

I’m still figuring that one out haha. I try and sneak in blog work whenever I can during the day (like catch up on social media or reply to emails on my phone while cooking or waiting for the kettle to boil), but most of my blog work is when my son is at nursery or late at night.

What would lead to you giving up blogging?

I don’t know if I could not blog now. I’m addicted haha. I might slow down when we plan and have baby number 2 or when other responsibilities come calling, but I think I am too much in love with it to give it up completely.

What is your top tip for a new or inexperienced blogger?

Be yourself and write for yourself first – let your personality and own writing style shine through your blog. Promotion is key but content is king.

For more tips, here’s a post I recently penned…

https://talesfrommamaville.com/post-on-blogging/

Is there anything else you would like to share?

I’d like to add that the blogging community is absolutely FANTASTIC. Bloggers are so helpful and sweet, even to the newbies, and if you ever have a question about anything blog-related, just ask on a blogging group or social media and boom, you’ve got your answer! I have made so many blog buddies online who I hope to meet in real life soon.

Blog: https://talesfrommamaville.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MamavilleTales

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MamavilleTales/

If you would like to share your blogger story, please do get in touch.

ethannevelyn.com
Mummies Waiting

Where do you fit in? That’s the hugely personal question I am asking you to reflect on this week as part of the  Best Boot Forward campaign to improve your life positively.

Fit In

Have you ever done a jigsaw and believed that one piece did not fit anywhere at all? It is frustrating and we can sometimes feel like that ourselves in life perhaps particularly if we are introverts or experience social anxiety.

Have you ever tried to make a jigsaw piece fit even though you know deep down it is not a smooth fit so belongs somewhere else? Perhaps you have felt a bit like that jigsaw piece as you stay in a relationship, job or course that is not quite right.

It is thrilling when we get a piece of a jigsaw in its right place and all the more so if we have struggled to find that place. Are you struggling to find your place perhaps in a new location or in life generally?

So my questions this week should you wish to answer them quietly in your own head/heart, in a blog post or over on our Facebook community are …

  1. Do you feel you fit in and if so, where and who with?
  2. What prevents you fitting in? Should you accept this or change it?
  3. Are you forcing yourself to stick with something that is just not healthy or right for you? Who can support you to extricate yourself from that situation?
  4. If you could find your ideal place anywhere whether location or circumstances, where would that be and why?

I will be answering these questions myself and posting about them this week. I think there might be some deep insights to be had as I address them to myself and I hope they help you plan some positive baby steps to a better future too.

If you blog about how you are improving your life one baby step at a time, please link up with us.

BESTBOOTFORWARD LINKY RULES:

1. Add a backlink to this post using #bestbootforward and fear not, our badge is coming soon!

2. Please comment on this post and the one from Chloe at Indigo Wilderness and at least one other. Obviously the more you comment, the better and it is a super way to get to know other people and to interest them in your blog.

3. Link a maximum of 1 post per week.

4. The linky is open for a week so there is plenty of time to link up.

5. Tag myself @kateonthinice and Chloe at @IndigoChlo on Twitter for a Retweet with #Bestbootforward

Best Boot Forward

It takes time and effort to look good when you step outside, right? Wrong. This season is all about minimal outfit planning and maximum style.

The ‘effortless style’ trend is catching on fast — and why wouldn’t it, when you can look incredible without hours of prepping and customising? Effortless style is the art of using key wardrobe staples to create a perfectly polished and stylish outfit with none of the effort.

Want to learn more about slashing your getting-ready time while achieving the same fabulous look? Check out this quick style guide.

Long-sleeved dresses

Almost zero effort is required to rock a long-sleeve jumper dress, and the style is perfect for these dark mornings and chilly evenings. There is no time wasted choosing matching garments and with long, knitted sleeves, there’s no need to scour your closet for a complementing coat, either.

Got a special date coming up? Show off your curves with fitted jumper dresses and wrap a chunky belt around your waist for a sultry hourglass figure. When it’s time for a catch-up with the girls, wear your jumper dress with over-the-knee boots — the ideal dressy-casual outfit.

Footwear

With rain and snow still making appearances, now’s the time to make the most of everyone’s go-to footwear: ankle boots. As they look good with anything and offer maximum comfort, this shoe style is famous for offering an easy solution to your wardrobe dilemmas.

Go for a chunky-heel ankle boot in tan, grey or black that you can wear both day and night, or slip on a pair of sock boots featuring a pointed toe, high heel and textured fabric that fits to the ankle. These go great with skinny jeans and cropped, woolly jumpers.

Knitwear

Who has time to waste picking out layers of clothing on a morning? When you can’t be bothered to match t-shirts, jumpers, cardis, and coats; opt for knitwear. The woollen trends predicted for this year include; stripes, cable-knit and oversized jumpers. So, treat yourself to a selection and mix them up with jeans, tapered trousers and skirts.

High-neck tops

This season will revolve around this top style. Pull on a polo neck underneath a square-necked top for an eye-catching blend of styles, then slip on your trusty pair of ankle boots with a pair of dark denim jeans for the perfect outfit for the start of 2018.

When it’s time to head to work, nobody wants to run late because of a wardrobe malfunction. Wear a turtle-neck top with a tailored blazer combo for a cosy office-ready look. On warmer days, you can also pair a roll-neck top with a pinafore or sleeveless sundress.

Jewellery and bags

Focus on a small selection of your favourite pieces to save time customising your outfit in the morning. Leather is eternally stylish, and a small black bag in this material can put the perfect finishing touch to any outfit. Black is an ideal option to go for if you’re hoping to use it every day, but why not buy one with a cute pattern to keep things interesting? Or go for a brightly coloured one and wear it with matching shoes, a pair of black jeans and a complementary dressy top.

 

Statement earrings featuring tassels and huge hoops are capable of bringing any outfit to life. Choose a black or gold pair and keep them in your bag to wear for after-work drinks — saves you time sprucing up your entire outfit.

 

Clearly, dressing on-trend does not need hours of prepping and planning. Simply purchase a few pf these staple pieces for your wardrobe and dress them up or down for each event.

 

http://www.vogue.co.uk/gallery/autumn-winter-2017-knitwear-trends

http://www.theblondesalad.com/fashion/trends/nyfw-the-new-fall-winter-2017-2018-trends.html

http://www.mirror.co.uk/3am/style/celebrity-fashion/london-fashion-week-2017-7-9882484

https://ego.co.uk/blog/aw17-ankle-boots/

Mummies Waiting
My Random Musings

How do you make the move from nervous to confident blogger. In my series of interviews with female bloggers, Cath from BattleMum describes her journey.

Confident Blogger

Why did you start to blog?

I began my blog as a sort of online diary when our son was 10 months old. I had kept paper diaries throughout my pregnancy but a long and slow recovery after his birth meant I never kept my writing up. Fast forward 10 months and I felt it was time to start documenting our lives together and BattleMum was born.

How did you feel when you started blogging?

I was nervous if I’m honest. I didn’t think anyone would read my blog and in the early days I felt like a fraud, like no one was interested in what I had to say. I had no idea what I wanted to get out of it and had no idea where it was going to go, or what the point of my writing was. To say I was completely unsure about what I was doing would be an understatement.

How do you feel about blogging today?

I feel a lot more confident and know, now I have found my niche, that I have useful things to say that will be helpful to people. I am happier now that I have a few years under my belt and am happy to help fellow bloggers where I can. I feel experienced enough to speak out when newer bloggers are running into problems and need help. I also know that the articles I am writing and publishing on my blog are of a much better quality than in those early days too.

What is your proudest achievement related to blogging?

My proudest achievement has to be that I’ve stuck with it for over three years. In the early days when I really didn’t know what I was doing, there came several times when I thought “what’s the point?”. However, I carried on and with time more people started reading my posts, commenting and sharing them and it boosted my morale. My blog is now over three years old, and while it hasn’t got the huge statistics other bloggers who have been at it for as long as me, I still get readers and their comments mean the world to me. I’m surprised I’ve lasted this long!

What is the most exciting event you have attended as a blogger?

I attended BlogON in September 2016 and I had a blast. I met some lovely bloggers there, made contact with brands I went onto work with and came away with a refreshed feel about my blog. BlogOn renewed my love for the blogging community and everything around it as a whole and I’d love to attend again.

Do you monetize your blog and if so, how?

This is something I’d love to do but haven’t had much luck with. Although I’ve managed to drill down and focus on one niche for the last six months, I haven’t had anything of real value in terms of money come my way. And to be honest, I can’t see it happening for me. Whether it is just too tough a niche to monetise, or whether my readers just aren’t interested in the links I have, I don’t know. But I’ll keep trying for now.

What do you find most challenging about blogging?

Fitting it all in. People looking in from the outside think blogging is simply writing some words, sticking a picture in and pressing publish. But there is so much more that goes on when it comes to blogging. A blog post needs nice graphics for both social sharing and Pinterest. The pictures have to fit the post and look good at the same time. And after you’ve hit the publish button it doesn’t end there. There’s the promotion of your blog posts, engaging with your readers and followers, and networking to build up your presence. So, the biggest challenge I find is fitting it all in around day-to-day family life.

What surprised you most about blogging?

There have been a few things that have surprised me about blogging. The first thing is the work involved to even get a blog post published, and looking good, as I’ve discussed. How I used to fit in blogging while working a full-time job I’ll never know. The second thing is the friends and contacts you can make. I’ve met some amazing people through blogging. Also, the opportunities that came come your way as a result of your hard work.
But there are also some not so nice things to blogging which surprised me. The jealousy that some people feel towards other bloggers who they think might be doing better than them, or are getting more brand opportunities than they are, is something that shocked me. I’ve seen this more evident in the Irish blogging community, possibly because it is smaller overall than the UK community (I’m Irish myself). There can be a lack of support for fellow bloggers and it often comes down to jealousy and it’s something that has both shocked and saddened me.

How do you balance blogging and family life?

I try to do as much as I can these days while my son is in kindergarten, but it doesn’t always work out that way. The guts of my blog work is done during the day but I will freely admit I can still be glued to my phone in the evenings catching up on blog threads on Facebook and responding to comments on Instagram. However, I don’t blog at the weekend and keep my social media to a minimum so that we can enjoy family time. I also take this stance while we are on holiday, possibly only posting a picture to Instagram now and then. But it’s a constant struggle.

What would lead to you giving up blogging?

If I lost my passion for it, or it became more of a trial to write than an enjoyment, then I’d give up. There is no point in continuing with something you no longer enjoy. It would become something to do for the sake of it and, I believe, it would become apparent in the posts being published.

What is your top tip for a new or inexperienced blogger?

If I could only give one tip, aside from going self-hosted as soon as possible, is to take your time, write good quality content at your own pace and try to get your head around SEO for posts you want to rank for on Google. I had no idea about this when I first started and am only now feeling like I know what I am doing for those types of posts which I want Google to rank me for. I am having to go back to old posts, particularly ones that give me organic Google traffic, to ensure they have better SEO. I think once you do it for a few posts it’s much easier to do for future posts going forward. It can be a scary term for someone starting out, but it really isn’t that bad.

Is there anything else you would like to share?

Blogging has been a great way to find a little piece of the Internet all for me. What started out as parenting blog has now transformed into a family travel and lifestyle blog and I’m so much happier writing in this space than I ever was before. Writing about travelling gets my fingers typing furiously on the keyboard and they are the posts that come much easier to me. I enjoy sharing our travels with others, and hope that I can inspire other families to get travelling wherever their budgets allow. I know many people fear travelling with their kids, especially while they are young, but I hope I can encourage them to take that leap of faith by showing them what we’ve managed to do with our son since he was a few months old.

Huge thanks to BattleMum for sharing her story and if you would like to share your blogging journey with me, please do get in touch.

Are you a nervous or confident blogger?

Your child has decided to go to university. It’s exciting. It’s scary, and it can be heartbreaking but there are ways you can help your child, and you, deal with them setting off on their new life.

Help Them Plan

There are plenty of ways to assist when it comes to sending your child off to continue their studying. From budgeting advice to planning where they are going to stay. From helping them to organise their reading lists to looking at Urbanest student accommodation near to their University.  Parents can become so submerged though n the idea of their child going away it masks what happens when they actually leave, and that can come as a bit of a shock.

No Good at Goodbye

It’s here. The day you knew was coming, the day you have been planning for months, yet all too soon it’s on your doorstep, and you don’t know how to feel. Although it’s very common for parents to feel emotional, even parents who have been avoiding the subject can’t help but feel a little sad. This is unavoidable, this day marking the end of what was normal family life and is moving the family dynamic into a whole new era. Of course,e you will continue to be a guiding light for your child yet the time for you to be at the centre of everything they are doing has come and gone. It’s a vast and often overwhelming occurrence, but there are ways to help all of you deal with the adjustment.

Plan the departure day as much as you can. Many parents drop their child off, seeing them into their accommodation or dorm and then walking away after that lingering cup of coffee. If you do decide on this route, then be prepared for how wrenching this can be. Your child will also feel this, though of course, they may be less inclined to show it.

No matter how you are feeling, try to remain upbeat about how fantastic your child’s choice is. They have committed to continue their studying and to expand their knowledge, and you should be very proud of that. If you can manage it, try to save your tears until they are out of sight. This will ultimately make it easier on both of you in the long run.

Returning Home To The Nest

The sense of loss you may feel is genuine and shouldn’t be overlooked or undermined. It is merely a sign that you have invested yourself entirely and been a fantastic parent so pat yourself on the back for that. You may want to remind yourself that you have raised and encouraged an independent and responsible adult, one prepared to better themselves. Well done.

Saying that there is no way around the fact that it hurts. You grieve. And you must give yourself and your partner time to do this. You may also find they are dealing with it better than you think you are or they should be and this may cause some resentment. Be kind to each other and try to be as comforting as possible.

Always On The End Of The Phone

It will be necessary for both of you once you have settled into your new routine not to be overly in your face in contacting your child. Tough as it is, you have to accept your child is an adult and as such will get on with things on their own as much as they can.  Of course, you will still be there for them at the end of the phone, but they will no longer perhaps share all the details of their days and nights. Before they leave, agree on how often you will aim for contact and how via email or phone or texts and try your best to stick to it.

As tough as it is, this could now be an exciting time for you both to start a new phase and look forward to exciting new futures.

3 Little Buttons