Are you looking for a new linky to join? I encourage you to celebrate blogging positively with Best Boot Forward. Before we get started, I though I would answer some of the questions bloggers have already asked.

Why have you set up a new linky?

I know how important it is to live positively to make magical memories for ourselves and our families. Experience of depression and loss made me wake up to that! By bringing a community of bloggers together (and you are invited!) we can be inspired to do this every day.

Who are the hosts?

Myself and the wonderfully quirky and creative genius that is Chloe over at Indigo Wilderness.

When does the linky go live?

Best Boot Forward will go live every Wednesday and remain open until the following Tuesday giving you plenty of time to link up.

How many blog posts can I link up?

We don’t have a harsh limit. Link up posts that you feel could be described as “blogging positively”. If your posts show you taking baby steps or even huge ones to make life better, you will be helping other people too. Consider Best Boot Forward your flexible linky friend  – we are not going to around with a big whip and just ask that you blog positively and act with a good heart.

What’s in it for bloggers?

The Best Boot Forward linky is a superb way to promote your blog to some new readers. Joining in linkies is of course fabulous for increasing your domain authority which in turn can lead to more review and paid opportunities. My domain authority is 37 and an awful lot of that comes from being an active participant in linkies.

Chloe  and myself will comment on every blog post linked up and share them on social media.

Participants are encouraged to comment on as many posts as they feel they can manage (because life is busy!) but definitely on one of the host’s posts and the post linked up before theirs.

Anything else I need to know?

Best Boot Forward will also have a Facebook community and we will be active on Instagram and Twitter with hashtag #BestBootForward

So are you ready to showcase how you are blogging (and living!) positively with Best Boot Forward?

 

Kate on thin ice

My own mum died of Ovarian cancer so I was very keen to feature Helen from Sew Helen who is using her skills to develop a business and also to help charity following the loss of her beloved mom. We all have our own ways of handling grief but it is interesting how many of us rethink our own lives following loss and do more good in the world realising that life really is short.

 

 

 

Can you tell us a little about your childhood and teenage years?

 

I am really lucky to have had a lovely childhood and uneventful teenage years.  Although I didn’t think about it at the time, looking back makes me appreciate how fortunate we were.

 

I lived with Mom, Dad and my older brother by two years and although we didn’t have much I had some lovely friends and a small close family. Memories from Christmas and birthdays were of handmade gifts and one year Dad made my brother & I wooden string puppets and Mom made the matching outfits – we still have these now over 40 years later.

 

I left school and went to sixth form to study A levels although at that time I still didn’t know what I wanted to do for a career.

 

What career did you pursue and why?

 

When I left college, I started work as a Veterinary Nurse. Although I loved the job I knew this wouldn’t be a long term career. By chance a lady I worked with mentioned a new course in Birmingham awaiting validation for direct entry Midwifery. As soon as I heard about this I knew this would be my chosen career. I had never wanted to be a General Nurse and Iwas looking forward to working with healthy women going through a normal physiological event.

 

I undertook my training and qualified as a Registered Midwife in 1993. My career has evolved from normal antenatal, intrapartum & postnatal care to high risk pregnancies and for the past 15 years I have been supporting & caring for families when a difference has been found with their baby. I also perform detailed fetal cardiac ultrasound scans in my own clinics and alongside Paediatric Cardiologists – I am still amazed at the detail we can obtain on little babies hearts whilst still in the womb.

 

How did you learn to sew?

 

I have grown up sewing and worked alongside Mom as a little girl. She worked from home taking in dressmaking orders and so it was only natural that I also made clothes for my teddies and dolls. Over the years, and with Mom’s guidance, I made my own clothes and soft furnishings for my home and have continued sewing most of my life – 50 years in March! I have tried most forms of textile art and recently returned to embroidery and applique.

 

What health issues have you had to cope with?

 

I have two boys, born in 2004 & 2008, and my health had always been excellent until 2011 when I felt some lumps in my neck. After a visit to the GP and blood tests I was diagnosed with Auto-immune Thyroiditis & nodules in my Thyroid gland – a fairly common hormone-based condition for women of a certain age! After a year of monitoring and blood tests the nodules had changed slightly and I asked to be referred to an Endocrinologist as literature I had read stated that any nodules should be biopsied. Four biopsies later (2 failed) I had a result that gave a 10% chance of Thyroid Cancer.

 

My treatment included unilateral thyroidectomy on 8.10.12 which confirmed Thyroid Cancer, 2 weeks later I had the rest of my thyroid gland removed and underwent Radioactive Iodine treatment to destroy any remaining cells at the beginning of December 2012. I started Thyroxine medication after the radiation treatment and will remain on this drug for the rest of my life.

 

I am now 5 years clear of cancer and it took a long time to get my Thyroxin levels right – I have probably only felt well for the last year and a half.

 

Please tell us about the loss of your mum and her legacy?

 

Health issues aside, I was content with my life until February 2015 when my Mom had a severe bout of abdominal pain & vomiting and attended Accident and Emergency  – to our shock she was diagnosed with ascites (fluid in her abdomen), bowel obstruction & after a CT scan also an enlarged ovary. Fortunately, on this occasion the bowel obstruction cleared and she didn’t require surgery. However, from my medical background I knew this wasn’t a good prognosis.

 

A couple of weeks later she met the Consultant Oncologist and following a Multi-Disciplinary Team Meeting Mom was told that she had advanced Ovarian Cancer. It had spread throughout her abdomen and surgery was not an option. She was offered Chemotherapy which may have prolonged her life for a short while, but she decided straight away that she didn’t want to spend her remaining time by being unwell from treatment. Mom also had the sad memories of nursing her own mom with the same condition 50 years earlier.

 

66 days later, on 4th May 2015, Mom died peacefully at home with Dad, my brother and I at her side.

 

Having always sewn, and after making remembrance pictures for some close friends shortly after Mom had died, I started thinking how I could use my sewing skills to create a small business in memory of Mom and at the same time raise money and awareness around Ovarian Cancer.

 

Just Sew Helen was created with the underlying principle to raise awareness of the symptoms of Ovarian Cancer and to make donations to charity from my sales.

Describe your business

 

I design, create and sell textile art incorporating applique, hand embroidery and sewing.

 

Most of my items are remembrance gifts and over time my work has evolved to include Baby Loss gifts. I also make keepsakes such as cushions & pictures to preserve children’s drawings. I love doing all types of products and am also very happy to receive custom orders.

 

I had a massive learning curve researching handcrafted business development, online selling, book keeping, distance selling regulations, web design and marketing. I continue to work as a Midwife and am developing the business for the time when I can retire from the NHS.

 

I currently sell on Etsy & via my own website and promote my products on social media including Twitter, Instagram and to a lesser degree, Facebook.

 

My business is evolving and the most popular items I make are Baby Loss gifts & I have lots of plans to expand the Angel Baby range. I’m keen to to create items from treasured fabrics such as clothing or blankets and would love to design and make baby loss burial gowns suitable for little ones born too early.

 

I am slowly developing my blog to include the topics on Women’s Health, Pregnancy & Loss, Bereavement, Textiles & Sewing and a Handcrafted Business.

 

 

Do you support charity and if so which ones and how?

 

I have chosen to make donations to Target Ovarian Cancer – a UK charity working to improve early diagnosis, research and support to women with Ovarian Cancer

 

I made the decision early on that I would make a donation to the charity each time I made a sale, from every platform I sell on. My husband also does sponsored events and donates to the same charity.

 

Recently, I have been accepted by the charity to undertake information reviews and plan to contact the other main charities for women’s cancers to offer my services.

 

Using social media, I have an ideal target audience to raise awareness of the symptoms of ovarian cancer as the majority of users in the handcrafting community are women.

 

 

If you could give one tip to someone who is experiencing grief, what  would it be?

 

There is no time limit nor right way to grieving. It is individual but, over time, if is affecting how you function on a day to day basis seek help from professionals.

If you could give one bit of business advice to a woman what would it be and why?

 

If you have an idea just do it and don’t put it off. It is so true that life can be short and there is nothing to lose if you do your research before investing a lot of time or money.

 

Google is a great tool and there are many online forums that can help with setting up a small business.

 

I work part time and one day would like to leave the NHS and continue my own business – it has suited me to take it slowly and I have learnt so much about web design, distance selling regulations, social media, postage & customer service.

 

How would you encourage a woman to experiment with creativity?

 

I would encourage a woman to choose an art that they love and again, Google and YouTube are excellent resources for tutorials. When they have mastered the basic techniques they can then develop their own unique style.

 

If you could recommend one book to a woman what would it be and why?

 

Marti – A Coward’s Chronicles

 

I found this a hard question as, although I read a lot, I don’t currently read many books. However, this book has stayed with me for many years and occasionally comes to the forefront of my mind.

 

This book is inspiring about a woman who survived a difficult childhood, her career and her battle with cancer. She tells her story with humour and strength and a positive outlook right up until she lost her battle with cancer.

 

If you could recommend one website apart from your own to a woman what would it be and why?

 

I recommend the website https://whileshenaps.com by Abby Glassenberg

 

I came across this website from a sewing point of view, but it interested me as Abby doesn’t just focus on the craft side. I named and designed my business/website to be sewing based but not too specific as I envisaged changes as things evolved. I was concerned that my site wasn’t focused enough but didn’t want just another sewing blog. Seeing Abby’s site has given me the confidence to make my site exactly what I want – which is eclectic incorporating sewing, business, bereavement and in particular women’s health.

 

When I read about setting up a blog all the information points to focusing on one niche but there is no reason why you can’t make your business exactly what you want and Abby achieves this on her website.

 

 

Is there anything else you would like to share?

 

It has taken me a long time (45 years) to be less self-conscious & not worry about what others may think about what I’m doing – it doesn’t matter what others think as long as you are honest and respectful and believe in yourself.

 

Sharing so openly takes a huge amount of courage so please do consider sharing this post by clicking one or more of the buttons below.

If you would like to share your story on this blog please get in touch.

 

 

 

Tammymum
School Runs and Shopping Trolleys
Cuddle Fairy
Run Jump Scrap

Struggling as a mum is something many of us experience when the whole parenting deal does not quite live up to our rose-tinted expectations. The best mums in my opinion are those who are honest about their thoughts and feelings and then go on to help others. One such woman is Sarah from MummyKind a website about the realities of mothering.

Please tell us a little about your childhood and teenage years.
I was born up in Yorkshire, though moved down south when I was about 5 and very quickly lost my Yorkshire accent! My childhood wasn’t the best and neither were my teenage years – I battled with depression from a young age and my family situation was far from ideal, leading me to leave home at 16, but it’s a good job I did because that led me to meet my future husband!
What was your first job/career?
When I was 14 I worked as an office cleaner for a friend’s dad! Oh what a glamorous life I used to lead. I’ve only done part-time work alongside university!
Tell us about becoming a mum and how you feel you have handled that life change?
I always wanted a baby and thought I wouldn’t be able to have one, but that isn’t the case and having one completely put me off ever having another! Becoming a mum was difficult, I hated my pregnancy and suffered PND and anxiety for months afterwards, but now I’ve managed to find my groove and just try to enjoy the good parts (it’s not so easy to enjoy it when your child screams 24/7)
What are you spending your time doing these days?
I’m at university full time while I’m training to become a barrister, and I’m working part-time to help pay for childcare! When I have free time I like to blog or volunteer when I can
What was the reason you started to blog?
The first blogpost I wrote was on my someonecallsmemummy blog, a letter to my 8 week old baby as she was sleeping next to me. I think I just needed an outlet for the emotions I was going through at the time. It was all so overwhelming!
How does blogging help you when you are struggling as a mum?
Even though it’s baby-related, it doesn’t always feel like it. It feels like it’s something fun, something for me to do and it reminds me that I’m a human when I read what other people are going through too. I like to think that maybe Mummykind can help another mum who feels like they’re sinking sometimes.
Are you a fan of collaboration with other bloggers and if so, why?
Our Mummykind blog is one big collaboration – so yes! 6 mummies all sharing experiences of parenting reminds us that everyone’s journeys are different and there is no right or wrong answer
Who has supported you in life?
My amazing husband has been there from day 1 for me. He was there the day I got my A Level results, he was there when I graduated and he’s always supported me as best as he can through my mental health, even though I know he doesn’t really understand it fully.
What are your words of wisdom to a mum who is struggling emotionally?
There’s light at the end of the tunnel, and to get there, you need to drop the guilt. Who cares about the state of your house, how you feed your baby, how the birth went, whether you had a c-section or not, or how you look? Only you, so if you can’t do things how you wanted to, don’t carry the guilt with you.
If you could recommend ONE book to a woman what would it be and why?
Atonement by Ian McEwan – if this doesn’t teach you to change things you’re not happy with before you regret the choices you’ve made then I don’t know what will!
If you could recommend ONE website other than your own to a woman what would it be and why?
Stumbleupon – I love this site because it has ALL THE BLOGS and they’re just on there randomly for you to read at 3am during the night feeds… Honestly, try it out!
Is there anything else you would like to say about struggling as a mum?
 
If you’re struggling with motherhood, just know that you’re not alone, and seek help as early as you can. You need to get to that place where you can just love being a mum to your little baby!
Oh, and have fun, that’s the number 1 rule of parenting!

Sharing so openly takes a huge amount of courage so please do consider sharing this post by clicking one or more of the buttons below.

If you would like to share your story on this blog please get in touch.

clairejustine
Twin Mummy and Daddy
My Random Musings

I would like to thank Su from Ethan and Evelyn for nominating me for the Sunshine Award. I am tasked with revealing all by answering some questions set by her.

Sunshine Blogger

I will then be nominating some other bloggers and giving them 11 questions to answer.

Q1. Your blog’s name – why have you given this name to your blog?

I guess I have an ego and wanted my name in the blog title. Also I did not want it to have mum or any variant of that in there as I feel I am more than a mum. I looked up some phrases with words that rhymed with Kate in them and somehow with my mad life of wobbles and overcoming them, Kate on Thin Ice seemed just right as Goldilocks would say about her porridge.

Q2. When did you start blogging?

I blogged a couple of times when totally depressed about my situation as a stay at home mum who just felt she could not cope. I started blogging regularly in 2009.

Q3. What prompt you to start a blog?

My mum came to spend Christmas with me for the first time in 2008. She sat up till the early hours one night drinking her favourite tipple Bell’s Whisky. She told me she thought I should write as I had always wanted to be a writer from childhood. I think she thought it would help me feel better to have that creative outlet. She said “even if you just keep a diary”. I thought about getting a pretty notebook or diary but then thought my young daughter would pinch it so I chose to blog instead. There was no master plan.

Q4. Name one favourite blogger that you are a big fan of right now.

How can I pick just one? How about Letters to my Daughter for just one of many great favourites.

Q5. Why is she/ he/ they are your favourite blogger at this moment in time.

I like the female focus and the sharing of experiences and lessons learned.

Q6. Where one place on earth would you go if you received an invitation to go traveling without money bring the limit? & Why?

I have always wanted to visit Moscow. As a very young child I wanted to visit Moscow and own leather sofas. I have done the leather sofas so Moscow is next!

Q7. What is your one favourite cheer up food when you are feeling down in the dump?

A beautiful cheeseboard with everything except blue cheeses and it must include goat’s cheese.

Q8. What’s your one favourite thing to do with your family?

Walking and enjoying nature together.

Q9. What is your dream job when you were young?

I wanted to a barrister after watching Crown Court a lot on the telly and also because my Dad had legal experience as a police officer and an insurer.

Q10. What is your dream job now?

I would still love to write a novel one day.

Q11. If you can to give back to the world – what would that one thing be?

I would wave my magic wand and get rid of all abuses of power in life including in domestic, education, housing and employment situations.

The rules

Once nominated, if you choose to accept, write a post where you:
•Thank the person who nominated you for the Sunshine Award and link back to their blog
•Answer the questions set by the person who nominated you
•Nominate other bloggers and give them 11 questions to answer
•Notify your nominees through social media or commenting on their blog
•List the “rules” and display a Sunshine Award logo in your post

Copy and paste the following questions and answer them in a blog post.

1. What is your favourite childhood memory?

2. What is your all-time favourite book?

3. How much do you spend in an average month on make-up?

4. How many hours per week do you spend on housework?

5. What is your most hated housework task?

6. What is your perfect night out?

7. What is the skill you are most proud of?

8. What is the personal quality you are most proud of?

9. Who is your hero?

10. What is your favourite word?

11. How would you describe parenting?

Nominating some very lovely bloggers ….

http://www.ramblingthroughparenthood.com/

http://www.adventuresofariotgrrrl.com/

http://www.missljbeauty.com/

http://stressedmum.co.uk/

http://www.ricecakesandraisins.co.uk/

R2BC at Mummy from the Heart

”My

Cuddle Fairy

You learn a lot when you become a blogger. One of the benefits of blogging for me is learning about things I did not know enough about. This includes special educational needs. It is so inspirational how parents share their stories so openly and do their utmost to support other families. Blogging about special educational needs matters and I am delighted to share my interview with Ann Hickman who writes Rainbows are too beautiful  and was a finalist in the BAPS SEND Blog Awards 2017. Ann is also Britmums SEND Round-Up Editor and contributes posts to The Mighty Site and Huffington Post

Why did you start to blog?

It really was a spur of the moment decision.  I was in the playground one day with my autistic son and for the first time ever he played with another child for a few minutes without my help.  Sounds small, but for me, having a nearly non-verbal five year old, it seemed amazing.  I wanted to tell someone about it.  After I got home I googled ‘start a blog’ and wrote my first post that afternoon.  I wrote several times a week about the little things and then it just sort of expanded.  

As my sons and family grew I was being asked for advice by people and I thought I actually had a bunch of information and experience in my head that others might like to know so started sharing helpful information too as well as our stories.

How did you feel when you started blogging?

Excited.  It was new and something I’d never done before.  The blog never really ‘took off’, just slowly built up.

How do you feel about blogging today?

I enjoy it. I think about what I want to write about.  I feel less pressure to write all the time which is nice.  I also love that it brings me friendships and opportunities such as speaking and writing, that I value very much. 

What is your proudest achievement related to blogging?

It’s the small things, like helping others when they feel alone or changing an opinion.  Last year I responded to a journalist who wrote about a disabled child in a restaurant.  My post changed her opinion of kids like mine and that’s something I’m proud to have done. 

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

Oooh.  I’m the Britmums SEND Editor at the moment, so I like attending the Britmums events.  But it’s probably going to the BAPS Awards.  It’s a smaller blogging awards especially for special educational needs bloggers.  As a group we don’t tend to get out much as out kids can need specialised help sometimes and it’s wonderful to meet up with these bloggers – that’s always the highlight for me at most events. 

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

Very little. I include helpful information, services and products in my posts which come with a payment or in exchange for goods. These are sometimes reviews and sometimes links.  I turn down things that don’t fit in with our blog and our readers – making money is not what my blog is about. 

What do you find most challenging about blogging?

I blog about some quite sensitive topics.  Sometimes the real things I’d like to publish I don’t.  I sometimes read them out to my other half to tell me if it’s ok or not. 

What surprised you most about blogging?

I liked it! I’m still doing two and half years later and I didn’t think about that when I started.   

How do you balance blogging and family life?

This can be a hard one.  Being mindful helps and asking what do I want to do now?

What would lead to you giving up blogging?

If I didn’t like it anymore.  I like positive reinforcement and if things start to go down hill, I tend to jump ship with everything except family and friends. 

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

Enjoy it. Figure out what you like and what’s important to you and your blog and try to stick with it. 

Huge thanks to Ann for sharing her blogging journey with us. Do you have a story about blogging that you would like to share with me?

Winnettes

#FabFridayPostOct17

ethannevelyn.com