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.

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/battlemum
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheBattleMum

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.

No Good At Goodbye

3 Little Buttons

Starting to run became a reality today. After a visit to a jumble sale this morning, the children were doing their own thing and Himself was slumbering on the sofa. So having talked about possibly starting running this year to improve my physical and quite possibly my mental wellbeing too, I actually went out for a run this afternoon.

In the past I have fancied trying running. One barrier to this is that I was rubbish at P.E. lessons at school and picked on for being a slow runner by teachers as well as pupils. Another is that as I carry too much weight, I fear being made of when out and about jogging.

However, it is important to challenge self-imposed limitations whatever their roots. I have a private road here so can pretty much guarantee nobody will see me as I start my running journey.

I went out in a normal outfit because I don’t have any special running gear. It is freezing cold so I had to push myself out of the door. I bumped into a neighbour but I did not let that stop me. As soon as I was out of her view, I started to run. At first, I actually had to ask myself how to do it. I started tentatively and noticed how the world moves about more when you are running. It made me feel a bit dizzy at first but only for a few seconds until I got used to it. I kept going and found myself wanting to go a little faster. I got to the end of the road and then took a break. I felt mildly nauseous but again not too bad.

Should I walk home or run? After all, I am just starting to run!  I decided to keep running but found it harder now as my heart was racing. I took a couple of breaks on the way back but only for about a minute or so.

I came into the house and a half-awake husband asked what I had been doing. When I told him, I got the super high-praise of “Nice one””. He then went back to sleep so I went on social media to try and access some more positive support. Then I started this blog because I want to remember these challenging days so I can look back and enjoy them when I find running so much easier. Presumably my fitness levels will build up and it will get easier. I did quite enjoy it which surprised me. As with many things, I can do this one baby step at a time.

Have you got any tips for someone who is a newbie and just starting to run?

 

 


R2BC at Mummy from the Heart

”My

”tammymum”
My Random Musings
Pink Pear Bear
Cuddle Fairy

Saving money on heating bills is a big issue especially when it is so very cold outside. Fuel bills are a big part of most families’ expenditure so every pound saved helps the struggle to make ends meet.

Saving money on heating bills

Phil Wicks, managing director of Focal Point Fires, shares his advice for saving money on your heating bills this winter: “A built-in thermostat, available on most modern electric fires, is a convenient way to control a comfortable level of heat in the room.

“Digital displays on models such as the Pasadena (available from B&Q) allow you to set a temperature and a timer. By using the thermostat less energy is required to maintain a constant level of heat as, opposed to switching a fire on when you get cold and off when you get hot – this, in turn, saves the pennies as it is more efficient to use a set level, rather than turn on and off.

“Gas is often a cheaper way to heat your home, a flueless gas fire doesn’t require a chimney and turns 100% of the fuel to heat for the room, rather than escaping up the chimney. The Leirvik (available from B&Q later this month) is a brilliant alternative to solid fuel stoves or older open fronted gas fires, all that is required is access to a gas supply and installation from a Gas Safe registered engineer.”

Gas or electricity?

Taking British Gas rates as an example, 1kWh of gas typically costs 3.89p compared to 14.36p for electricity (both costs including VAT). This tends to make gas the number one choice for homes, despite the advances of electric fires. Combined with high heat efficiencies and low running costs, today’s gas fires offer affordable warmth, visual comfort and are a powerful weapon in the fight against fuel poverty.

Facts for reference

  • British Gas rates correct as of 21/09/2017
  • 84% of the 24 million homes in the UK rely on gas for heating and hot water
  • Gas fires emit half the CO2 emissions of an electric fire
  • Flueless gas fires do not require a chimney or flue and therefore offer a cleaner, more convenient, household alternative in comparison to solid fuel stoves
  • Gas fires are never subject to disrupted power supplies and there are no complex electronics to worry about
  • Typically, electric fires require more maintenance than gas
  • Natural gas is one of the safest sources of energy
  • The low cost of running a gas fire also means that the elderly and those trapped in fuel poverty don’t need to worry as much about their heating bills each month

Do you have any tips for saving money on heating bills?

Saving Money On Heating Bills

 

”tammymum”
The Pramshed

Technology has made it easier and much more affordable to expand a business internationally these days. However, that doesn’t mean it isn’t without its challenges. In fact, there’s many ways your global venture could fail, or at the very least, damage your reliability.

If you’re looking to retain your reliability while expanding overseas, below you’ll discover 3 tips that can help.

  1. Ensure you have the right resources

While the internet has reduced the need to have an actual base in whichever country you’re choosing to expand to, that doesn’t mean you won’t need some additional resources. There’s still a lot of work required to start offering your products and services abroad. Therefore, you need to ensure you have adequate resources to not only expand, but to maintain your existing local business too.

Do you have the manpower, good suppliers and funds to ship goods to international customers? If not, you’re sure to lose your reliability.

  1. Choose a reliable courier

If you are shipping goods abroad, you’re going to need a really good courier you can trust. Shipping is always risky, even with the advanced tracking and features available today. Therefore, it’s imperative you choose a reliable courier such as TNT.

Speed, tracking and reliability are the key things to focus on when setting up international shipping. Even though they’re in a different country, your customers and clients will still expect fast delivery. If your parcels are delayed, or they arrive at their destination damaged, it’s going to really negatively impact your reputation.

  1. Make use of social media

In order to establish yourself as a reliable, international business, you need to ensure you provide excellent customer service. You can’t always prevent things from going wrong, but you can make sure you sort any problems out quickly, professionally and effectively. One way to do this, is to make use of social media such as Facebook and Twitter.

Both these sites are popular with businesses, and they enable you to respond to any customer queries and complaints quickly. As both sites are free to use, it’s also a more cost-effective way of providing great customer support.

There’s a lot to think about when you’re expanding your business abroad. The above are just three ways to ensure you don’t lose your reliability during the process. Always do as much research as you can prior to expanding. The more prepared you are, the more likely you’ll be to succeed.