Today I am delighted to share my blogger interview with Sam from www.stressedmum.co.uk Every blogger has a different journey and I hope you enjoy reading about Sam’s as much as I did.

Blogger Interview

Why did you start to blog?

I used to love reading blogs, but when my daughter was approaching leaving primary school I decided to start my own blog, even if it was just for me to read back on.

How did you feel when you started blogging?

I felt a little lost, as our lives were changing and my daughter would not need me as much and I felt I needed to do something for me.

How do you feel about blogging today?

It has become part of my life. My blog is all me and it is something I can have full control over. I can share my tears and laughter. It can be very therapeutic. It can also go the other way and become manic and very stressful. But I just take a deep breath tell myself I am in charge and go at my pace.

What is your proudest achievement related to blogging?

When someone comments or messages me privately about a certain topic I have
written about. Usually chronic illness which is great to be able to spread the word about. Last week I got a nomination for someone’s blog of the week who is a new follower. Tt is the little things that I find the biggest achievements.

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

I rarely go to blogger events, but I went to the Chocolate Show recently which was amazing

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

I do by hosting sponsored posts and also the occasional advert

What do you find most challenging about blogging?

For me it is the constant social media and keeping a presence out there. There is a lot of work that goes into blogging that a lot of people do not understand.

What surprised you most about blogging?

The blogging community as right from day 1 of blogging I have been amazed at how supportive it is. Everyone will offer advice or even pass on opportunities to others.

How do you balance blogging and family life?

My life has changed a lot since I started blogging, due to my daughter’s illness. I find that I can work my blog life around my family life. I can be here for her and can just drop everything if needed, as it really is not a 9-5 job.

What would lead to you giving up blogging?

I really can not see why I would want to give up blogging.

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

Join a great bloggers’ group. You can ask any question and get honest replies. No question is too stupid to ask and we all started somewhere.

Is there anything else you would like to share?

For anyone who has thought about starting a blog, I would say go for it, Honestly is the best thing I have ever done and have made so many friends along the way.

Huge thanks to Sam for sharing her story and if you would like to take part in my blogger interview series, please do get in touch.

Tammymum

What is the joy of blogging that makes people stick with it? Are there any troublesome challenges along the way? Where can blogging lead? Today as part of my series of interviews with bloggers, Kerry shares her experiences as a blogger over at https://www.moneysavingjourneys.com

Joy Of Blogging

Why did you start to blog?

I loved reading blogs and had started a WordPress.com blog a few years ago. Unfortunately, this was at a time when I did not have much spare time and it quickly fizzled out. However, the urge to blog never left me. Fast forward to October 2016 and I took the plunge again, this time going self-hosted.

How did you feel when you started blogging?

Nervous! I didn’t have a clue what I was doing but I like to learn new things and I threw myself into everything blogging related. Suddenly the TV could not hold my interest, I would rather be reading up about social media or watching a YouTube video about using HTML.

How do you feel about blogging today?

I absolutely love it. I love that I am constantly learning. I love that I can write about my passions and I love that people come to my blog to read.

What is your proudest achievement related to blogging?

That has to be receiving my first ever payment for a sponsored post. I didn’t specifically start my blog with the intention of making money. I knew it could be a possibility as I had read and heard from many other successful bloggers. I just didn’t think that I would ever get to that postion.

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

I have never attended an event. I still don’t feel like a ‘proper’ blogger. I am constantly in awe of the bloggers I see around me.

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

Yes, I started off adding some affiliate links but as I blog about saving money (amongst other topics) find these do not always fit well with my content.

Recently, I have been lucky to receive some sponsored posts.

What do you find most challenging about blogging?

Time. I have a day job and I have two boys (16 and 12) so time is limited. I do make the most of every spare minute I have, which is easy really as I love blogging so much.

What surprised you most about blogging?

The support you receive from other bloggers. I have joined some brilliant Facebook groups and it always surprises me how helpful everyone is.

How do you balance blogging and family life?

I have to be super organised and love making a list and crossing things off! My lists mean that when I do sit down to work on my blog, I know exactly what needs to be done next. For example, my dinner is cooking as I am typing this.

What would lead to you giving up blogging?

Wow, at this moment in time I can’t imagine not blogging. It would have to be something serious to stop me.

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

Keep going. At the beginning you can feel overwhelmed by everything that you need to do. Focus on one area at a time, learn it, master it and then move on to the next area.

Huge thanks to Kerry for sharing her story about the joy of blogging. If you would like to share your story, please do get in touch.

Twin Mummy and Daddy
Me, Being Mummy

I do love a good blogger story and will be highlighting some very special bloggers partly to show how very different bloggers are despite sharing a lot of the same joys and challenges of this particular art form.

Blogger Story

Today I meet Rhian Westbury and I hope you enjoy her sharing her individual blogging story.

Why did you start your blog?

I started my blog because I was doing a lot of freelance work for clients and will I loved writing I didn’t always enjoy having a brief and an outline of the style and content. I wanted somewhere where I was the creative controller so I began writing and it evolved from there.


How did you feel when you started blogging?

I felt relieved to have an outlet but I didn’t really do anything properly. My images were rubbish, I had no schedule and would sometimes go weeks (or even a month or so) without a post.

How do you feel about blogging today?

Ultimately I feel proud about blogging today as I know how far I have come with my skills involved such as social media management, photography, organizational planning and other areas. And while I post 5 times a week (sometimes more when it’s busy) I still love it.

What is your proudest achievement related to blogging?

I would probably say it would have been being picked to go on a four day trip to Ischia a few months back. I applied on Twitter and didn’t think much of it but when I got the email offer I thought it was fake to begin with but it hit me that someone had chosen me for whatever reason be it social stats or my blog and liked it enough.

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

For my normal blog I haven’t really been to many events, just two in the last month. But I also edit a large music website and through that I have been to a number of festivals and I’d say the most exciting event would have had to be Download Festival.

Do you monetize your blog and if so how?

I do monetize my blog to some extent but only through sponsored posts with brands who fit my blog and are a natural interesting fit. I have tried affiliate work but never found it to work before but it’s something I need to look into.

What do you find most challenging about blogging?

Trying to keep on top of everything. As I work full-time and I am a music website editor, alongside wanting to spend time with friends, family, my boyfriend etc I find it can be tough managing my time. But it’s worth it.

What surprised you most about blogging?

How time consuming it is. It’s not just writing a post and clicking publish there’s so much more to do such as taking the right photo, optimizing your post, scheduling social media, promoting and so much more.

How do you balance blogging and family life?

I balance blogging with a full-time job in marketing by using my time wisely. I blog and do admin before work in the mornings, I am productive at lunchtime and scheduling is my friend. I batch take photos, batch schedule social media so I can have time off when I need it to enjoy life.

What would lead you to giving up blogging?

I can’t actually imagine not blogging. I think the only reason I would give it up would be if I had a health issue and physically wasn’t able to, although even then I’d like to think blogging would be a good outlet.

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

Buy your own domain straight away. They’re so cheap so it’s not a huge investment but it means you can start building your DA right from the start as opposed to when you change over a year after you start.

www.rhianwestbury.co.uk

You can also find Rhian on Instagram and Twitter @Rswstbry

Do you have a blogger story you would like to share. If you do, please get in touch with me.

The Pramshed

I think blogging still remains a bit of a mystery to some of my readers who don’t blog themselves. I also think every blogger can learn loads from the stories of other bloggers. With these things in mind, I have started a series to highlight  bloggers and their journeys. Here is my interview with blogger Kacie Morgan from www.therarewelshbit.com

Why did you start to blog?

I began blogging after completing a journalism degree at Cardiff University, because I needed to develop a portfolio of published work and I thought a blog would be a great platform upon which to showcase my writing skills. I had no desire to move to London to find work and I have always been passionate about food, so I focused on this initially. Over the years, my blog has developed to cover travel as well.

How did you feel when you started blogging?

When I began blogging seven years ago, there were nowhere near as many blogs as there are today and so the competition wasn’t as fierce. I enjoyed publishing my writing online and it was nice to be able to voice my opinions on the Welsh food and drink scene.

How do you feel about blogging today?

Today, blogging is actually one of my primary income sources and it has enabled me to quit my full-time job in marketing. It is a business for me, although I often publish posts that I haven’t been paid to write if I am particularly passionate about something.

The increasing popularity of blogging has made it harder to stand out though, and nothing annoys me more than when I can tell that a newbie blogger has used bots or bought followers to artificially inflate their rankings and increase their appeal to brands. I can spot the tell-tale signs and as a blogger who has developed a genuine, loyal following over seven years, I find it very frustrating. However, there have been signs that PRs are now wising up to this and social media platforms like Instagram are also cracking down on dodgy apps, so lets hope blogging will regain its authenticity in the near future.

What is your proudest achievement related to blogging?

I was chosen to represent Wales in a Sainsbury’s magazine feature on regional food, drawing upon UK bloggers’ opinions.

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

Notting Hill Carnival 2017 in London – Travelodge provided me with complimentary accommodation for two nights so I could attend the event and write a blog post, mentioning my stay with them.

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

Yes. Sponsored posts, occasional advertising. I need to find more time to focus on setting up affiliate advertising, as I’m not making the most of it at the moment.

What do you find most challenging about blogging?

It can be challenging to have a steady flow of content going out regularly, while also juggling my freelance writing deadlines. I always try to think of interesting and original ideas for posts too, so that my content appeals to both new and existing readers, and hopefully, gives me an edge over other bloggers in my niche.

What surprised you most about blogging?

It always surprises me how much time and effort I have to invest in promoting my blog posts, as well as writing them.

How do you balance blogging and life?

I do try to have a work-life balance and I always tell myself I won’t do any work after 7pm, although in practice, this doesn’t really happen all the time.

What would lead to you giving up blogging?

If I was no longer able to produce an income from it – I enjoy blogging, but I don’t think I could go back to working in a full-time job and blogging for the fun of it.

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

Find your niche. The blogging market is saturated, and that is only set to intensify over coming years. Don’t just cover ‘food’, ‘travel’, ‘fashion’ or ‘lifestyle’ – find a specific theme to focus on, and stick to it.

I hope you enjoyed my interview with blogger Kacie Morgan and that you visit her amazing and beautiful blog.

If you would like to take part in this series of interviews, please get in touch with me.

 

Cuddle Fairy

Parenting with Multiple Sclerosis brings its own unique challenges. I am grateful to Patricia for sharing her individual story of living with Multiple Sclerosis and being a mum to Elliot.

Parenting With Multiple Sclerosis

“Six months after my miscarriage I was ecstatic to find out I was pregnant again. It was a long and nervous nine months that followed. Then a difficult 14-hour labour, ending with an emergency caesarean section. But all 10lbs and 3 ozs of the wonderful, healthy baby Elliot had arrived safely in this world. We were over the moon and almost instantaneously forgot about the difficult road we had walked together to become parents and to have our precious baby boy.

 

The days and weeks that followed were to be expected. Sleepless nights whilst breast feeding on demand went hand in hand with tiredness and emotional turbulence. But what was not expected was my lack of co-ordination and wavering ability. My fatigue was overwhelming and when I started to lose feeling in my feet and abdomen panic set in. Doctor after doctor diagnosed exhaustion and post-natal depression. I knew instinctively there was something more sinister wrong with me, so I pursued the matter with greater urgency as each day passed. Eventually referred to neurology and put through months of tests, scans and waiting. Weeks before Elliot’s first birthday I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. My immune system had attacked itself in error, confused with the foetal cells after the birth. The timing was cruel.

It really did all feel impossible now. The first year of Elliot’s life was an indescribable roller coaster bringing the most wonderful highs, through the joys of motherhood, running parallel to those terrifying lows of cold hospital tests, unbounding fear and my body’s betrayal.

With a diagnosis of a long term progressive disease alongside my bouncing one-year old boy I was lost to begin with. But I wasted no time in acting on the day of my diagnosis and headed straight to the bookstore, with Elliot safely tucked up in his pram. I bought the Self- Help Guide to Multiple Sclerosis by Judy Graham. And that was the beginning of a new and circuitous journey for me and Elliot and our small family.

I had a chronic disease, but I was a mum first and foremost. That gave me the lethal determination necessary to not accept my medical prognosis of a life towards disability and vulnerability. To reject the toxic drugs and their side-effects, which had no proven success in treating MS. Instead I would set off into an unknown world to find ways to manage my symptoms, to try and heal my body and my mind. All I was sure about was what I did not want. I did not want to be a sick individual, but more poignantly a sick mum. I did not want anyone else caring for Elliot and I refused to even contemplate that anyone else would need to care for me. I did not want Elliot coming home from school to a sick mummy or to hospital visits. I had dreams of motherhood and family life. I had dreams for my child and his future. Multiple Sclerosis would not stand in the way of those dreams. I did not know, to begin with, what I would do and how I would do it. But I had my unyielding spirit and relentless perseverance to face whatever lay ahead. And I had my son’s future hopes and dreams in my hands. To anyone who thought that what I was going to try and achieve with my medical prognosis was impossible, I would say to them to get out the way whilst I got on with doing it.

Elliot meant so much to me and it had been such a challenging road to bring him into the world. My feelings as a mum were so strong and powerful that there was no possibility I was going to surrender to this disabling disease.

Day in and day out I would find new ways to do old things. I would turn negatives into positives. Fear into hope. Anger into love and disability into different ability. My future would be different, but I set out to make it positively different for myself and my beautiful son. Elliot and Multiple Sclerosis may have been ‘born together’, but it was in my hands how they would grow and live together.

I have written a book about my compelling and uplifting journey, Born Together. You can find out more information www.patriciagachagan.com

 

Are you parenting with Multiple Sclerosis? What is your story and what has helped you to cope?

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