Do you fancy a customized sign for your home or workplace that says something about who you are and what you believe?

As a family we have a bit of a thing about surrounding ourselves with inspirational messages on signs. That’s great but increasingly you see the same messages everywhere in the real and virtual world.

Customized sign for your home or workplace

Imagine having a sign that is just for you and yours! Smartsign is the leading provider of customised signs for the home and workplace. You might want a sign to promote your blog or an inspirational quote to keep you going on the days where the juggling gets too much for you.

What messages would you want to have to inspire your children so that they remain mentally and physically well whatever the world throws at them?

Sign of the times

I fancy a sign that reminds me husband to acknowledge my housework efforts every time he gets home from work.

My daughter has loved anything to do with art and design since the first time I put crayons in her hands when she was throwing a tantrum at a party when she was about 18 months of age. She drew a colourful pattern that looked like a lizard to me. At that point we decided she was a creative genius and have encouraged her real love and passion for making up stories, writing songs and making her mark on the world with different media.

Making things has got her through dark days too particularly when she was bullied at school and when she lost her grandparents. A creative spirit helps you find your own sanctuary.

So I told her about a blogger challenge and asked her what she could come up with.

Customized Sign

I love how she has used her own handwriting and celebrated her individuality. She has used some of my favourite colours too and the frame is really different. The little heart at the end reminds me that she carried out this project with love.

Finally, even though I did not give her a specific brief at all, she has neatly made me feel better about the fact that I am no domestic goddess but I encourage creativity within our household.

 

This post is an entry into the #MyCustomSign www.smartsign.com blogger challenge.

I was recently asked to share my tips for attending a blogging event.

Does Blogging Make You Feel Less Alone

“Dear Kate on thin ice,

This will sound really silly but I have blogged for a year or so and made some good online friends. I have seen the adverts for blogging events like BritMums Live 17. I would love to attend one day to meet people in the real world and to learn more about blogging. However, I get really anxious in social situations and just think I will be left standing on my own feeling isolated and stupid.”

Dear Bricking It Blogger,

Thanks for getting in touch. The first thing to say is that your feelings are completely normal and opening up about them in a brave first step. You obviously really want to go deep down or you would not have put pen to paper about the situation. Here are my top tips based on personal experience and from talking with other bloggers.

It’s not all about you!

1. Instead of focusing on what ifs which involve you having a terrible time or making a fool of yourself, focus on the what ifs that see you making a new friend, having a giggle and just feeling like a person in your own right for a change.

2. Read about the experiences of other bloggers and you might realise just how many feel like you or have done so in the past.

3. Could you reach out to a blogger that you could travel with or at least meet up with to enter the venue together? It’s a courageous step but you could be doing that blogger a huge favour too.

Seek support

4. If you really want to go for it. contact the event organisers and ask if you could have a role at the conference perhaps on reception or even hosting a workshop. Often if we have a role, we can hide behind that label a bit.

5. Read up the facts about social anxiety and find out how you can take baby steps to overcome it.

The event itself

6. On your way to the event, perhaps read an inspirational book. I find “Feel the Fear” by Susan Jeffers very simple but also very powerful.

7. When you get to the event, look out for people who are on their own or trying to merge into a wall. A really good place to find the nervous tribe is in the loos! That is why they get so crowded!

8. If it all gets too much for you , build in breaks where you can go somewhere just to breathe and take things in a bit. You do not have to attend every aspect of blogging events.

9. Reflect that whatever your fears, it has to be worse to be sitting at home reading the social media updates from everyone who is there and having an amazing time.

The really great thing is that WHEN you go, you can come back here and say what worked best for you thereby helping others in the future.

Can anyone else share their tips for attending a blogging event to help a anxious blogger?



Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

Cuddle Fairy
3 Little Buttons
ethannevelyn.com

It is the time to celebrate my reasons to be cheerful this week.

1. Yesterday I had a day out in London with my 11 year old son.  It was great to have some one on one time with him.  We attended a blogger event and I did not know anyone there although knew their blogs of course.  Although my usual shy self, I don’t think I did too badly in terms of chatting to people.  My son was amazing talking of films, history and social networking.  We bought cheap and cheerful gifts for the other two children so everybody was happy.

2. My son and daughter are doing so well with their swimming every weekend and are now jumping in happily and have forgotten all about armbands.  We have decided that after this series of lessons, we will take them ourselves and join in the fun.

3. I am feeling upbeat about BritMums Live next week.  OK, so I am speaking, but how much damage can I realistically do.  It will be fine and the more I meet bloggers, the more I realise how most people are genuinely warm and wishing you well.  I have new shoes as I ended up not able to walk in my boots yesterday so got some flat shoes.  I have various outfits from the charity shop to try on.  I need a haircut and then I am all set.  If you want to find me for some reason, I will be at the Give As You Live stand at 1.45pm on the Saturday and am trying to work out a way to persuade people to come and say hello and find out more.  All suggestions welcome.

4. I made a decision to not waste any more time on one particular issue.  Sometimes things cannot be resolved and you have to let them go. 

5. I get the sense that Him Indoors is getting very committed to me having a life of my own and doing all he can to facilitate that.  This makes me cheerful as I want new chapters but want him by my side too.

6. I feel we are making use of the land this year both in terms of growing vegetables and by getting out there to play badminton and so on.

I am sure there are lots of things I have forgotten but that goes to show that life is pretty happy right now.

Now pop over to http://mdplife.blogspot.com to meet some very positive bloggers sharing their smiles.

Last September, I was grossly overweight, fed up with my lot in life and hoping to find paid work.

My instincts told me I would only change with the back-up of other women.  I decided to set up a blog hop and was so pleased when other mums came forward and said they wanted to effect changes in their lives too.   Inspired by all things Eighties, I called us the Groovy Mums and we set off with our knapsacks on our virtual backs towards an undefined but a “It’s got to be better than this!” future.

There was a definite first set of mums who got involved and there was lots of accompanying banter and support on Twitter as well as via blog comments.  That has got less probably as we got involved in various tasks towards getting our groove back.

We found that when mums were struggling, some would not post at all and some would in great detail and end up helping others with their sadder posts as well as with their happier ones.

9 months on, I am aware that some participants found that Groovy Mums was not for them or could not find the time to join in.  I am proud to see all the changes that mums have made, both baby steps and huge ones.  I think we have worked out that when we achieve some things, a lot of us still want to move on to new ways of thinking and different activities.  Perhaps there is not a destination after all but rather a fascinating journey.

So where now for Groovy Mums and me?

My life has changed a lot since last year.  I lost a considerable amount of weight so feel better health wise.  I have stones and stones to shift still but I know I can do it now.  Nothing seems hopeless anymore and that is largely down to the impetus of the Groovy Mums.  Thank you.

I have paid work now and can see new opportunities to acquire more at a pace that suits me and my family.

I am a member of the BritMums team and am speaking at BritMums Live in less than two weeks.  There are nerves naturally but my reality is now that I will be fine and contribute well to the event.  My thinking has shifted about what I am capable of.

I am involved in supporting charities and am a proud ambassador for Give As You Live, the organisation that ensures that money goes to charity when you shop online (but you do have to sign up and can do so here http://www.give.as/savingbabieslives ).

So I have changed and I feel ready for a big adventure after BritMums Live.  I am working on the finer details but I feel the time is right for me and look forward to sharing in due course.

I have noticed that less people are linking up when I do Groovy Mums posts and challenges.  On a level, this does not matter but on another if I am going to be busy and the posts are not helpful to folks, I wonder if I should continue with them.

We have had a few Groovy Mums Twitter parties which appeal to a wider audience and seem to assist in linking up mums who can help each other in terms of support, tips and information.  Should we do some more?

I never was a great guru and never had all the answers.  I was just a fat mum stuck in a small village who wanted to feel like herself again.  Groovy Mums was as much about helping myself as reaching out to others.

So although I feel quite clear about where I should go next and what I should do, my question is where next for Groovy Mums?

Should it be allowed to die a natural death?

Should it continue in the same way?

Should it change radically?

Should I share the load more as some mums seem keen to help out in some way?

I would love to know what people think whether they join in with Groovy Mums or not.  I am also not going to make any major decisions on the future of Groovy Mums until after BritMums Live because sometimes I too need to take time out to reflect and to ease up on myself.

Over to you …