Archive of ‘Blog Blog Blog’ category

Three Bloody Brilliant Bloggers to Fall in Love With

bloody brilliant bloggers

One of the loveliest blogging souls I have the pleasure of knowing, Jaki Jelz, made my month recently by naming me as one of her three Bloody Brilliant Bloggers. I was tempted to break out the champers before 11am.

 

What is Bloody Brilliant Bloggers? It is a fab tag series started by Mommy and Rory and Odd Hogg to recognise the amazing blogs that the internet has to offer, giving their owners a virtual slap on the back.

There are some wonderful series out there now aimed at supporting other bloggeres and spreading the bloggy love:

The talented Claire of Life Love and Dirty Dishes does a monthly Blog Love feature
The clever ladies Lucy at Home and Naptime Natter run the feel good #BlogCrush Linky,
Just when you thought every blog love idea had been covered, the fab Jane of Maflingo recently started Blogging Good Reads
Oh and some woman called Prabs launched #BlogStars in 2016 to showcase posts that have particularly caught her attention, ahem.

 

Bloody Brilliant Bloggers reflects the same ‘pay it forward’ spirit, boosting other bloggers and just reminding each other that the hard work is all worth it! 

How Does #BloodyBrilliantBloggers Work?

Here are the rules that explain it all:

    1. Write a post to proudly show you’re a bloody brilliant blogger.
    2. Include the introduction (copy and paste as below) in your post, along with this set of rules and don’t forget to thank the blogger who nominated you:
      The Bloody Brilliant Blogger Tag – Run by Becky and Kimberly the tag is all about showing recognition to the amazing blogs the internet has to offer. Giving their owners a virtual slap on the back and celebrating some flippin’ fantastic posts. 
    3. Nominate three bloggers who you think are bloody brilliant and tell us a bit about why!
    4. Don’t forget to stick this gorgeous bloody brilliant bloggers badge somewhere on your post
      bloody brilliant bloggers
      THIS IS THE BADGE CODE:
      <div align=”center”><a href=”http://mommyandrory.com/” rel=”nofollow” title=”MommyandRory “><img src=”http://mommyandrory.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/IMG_1903-800×800.png” alt=”MommyandRory ” style=”border: none; height: auto; width: 300px;” /></a></div>

    5. Please share your post on Twitter tagging your bloody brilliant nominees along with myself (@mommyandrory1) and Kimberly (@oddhogg) – make sure to tag us to be in with a chance of winning the #BloodyBrilliantBloggers crown.

 

So WHO did I pick as MY Three Bloody Brilliant Bloggers?! 

Heavens above, the effort of narrowing it down to three! I’m a typical Pisces who can’t make a decision at the best of times so you can imagine how hard I found it choosing just three bloggers from the immense sea of talent. Mucho difficult!  There were numerous bloggers I went back and forth over but I kept coming back to these three:

 

Muma on the Edge

Oh my days, how I love this girl! From the moment I first read Lindsey, it was blog love (which was a relief as I actually met her at an event before discovering her site and frankly it would have been très awks if I didn’t like her blog after getting on so well with her in person!). If you haven’t read Muma on the Edge yet, she’s often feisty without coming across as angsty or confrontational (which is not an easy thing to pull off), hilarious even when she isn’t trying to be (which just makes her even more endearing) and switched on. An utter breath of fresh air. I’ve been at this blogging lark for a good while now and it’s easy to feel jaded thinking you’ve read e-v-e-r-y blog topic ever thought of. Not sure how Lindsey does it but she can take a topical news subject (that everyone and their aunt has written about) and somehow comes up with another perspective that is captivating and makes you forget you already read a whole heap on that subject. Damn her cleverness.

Mumbelievable

Where do I start? Go-getting. Confident yet humble. Articulate. Empowering. Kind-hearted. I could go on and on about Ursula. I first saw this inspirational human being across the floor at #BML16 (did I mention she’s also annoyingly beautiful and hard to miss?). I wondered who this utter goddess was as I didn’t know her blog at the time. Upon returning to Malta, I found myself in a Twitter chat with her where I learned she however knew my blog and had in fact cheered me on at the awards. Clearly this made me like her instantly and a mutual appreciation was born. Seriously, Ursula is possibly the best example I’ve come across of how you can use your blog for good. Through her blog and related social media, this powerhouse is striving to revive women’s confidence and self belief, equipping them with the tools to remember their worth and go out and achieve their dreams. What a great purpose, what a great woman.

Single Mum Speaks

Ah the inimitable Min! What a tonic. A blogger who doesn’t shy away from issues.  She’s intelligent. She’s got cajones (gotta love a woman with cajones) and tells it like it is.  And she tells it with incredible eloquence. I don’t know how many times I’ve almost salivated over a sentence Min has conjured up. She’s also funny. What’s not to like?! Min’s parenting journey is an interesting one. A single parent with a slightly more unusual back story than ‘most’ I’ve come across, this woman can write about pretty much anything. I think she’s been blogging as long as I have and her blog is one of those I will always go back to when I want a sure fire good read that won’t let me down. Single mum speaks? Yes she does and does it brilliantly!

 

Voilà. Three bloody brilliant bloggers I’ve fallen in love with and I hope you do too.

I can’t believe it’s taken me more than two months after Jaki nominated me to write this post. But good things are always worth waiting for. Bloody brilliant things even more so.

P x

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Absolutely Delighted to Be a # BiBs2017 Awards Finalist and Would Love Your Vote!

 BiBs2017 readers choice vote for me image Prabs and champagne

THIS WEEK I ALMOST FELL OVER UPON FINDING OUT I’M A FINALIST IN THE 2017 BRILLIANCE IN BLOGGING AWARDS

To say that I’m astounded to be on the BiBs2017 shortlist in the Reader’s Choice category no less (‘eek’ is not sufficient!) alongside bloggers such as Whinge Whinge Wine, Slouching Towards Thatcham, The Mum Project and a ‘certain other blogger’ is an understatement.  It’s just amazing to have got through, given the thousands of blogs that are nominated and I don’t really understand the mechanics of it (I didn’t get one single ‘I’ve nominated you’ notification from fellow bloggers…ok I literally got one single one and can only assume my mother got all our relatives to nominate me) but I shall try not to understand it and just enjoy it!  I know I sound cheesy considering words like astonished, gobsmacked etc are used a LOT during ‘finalists week’. I’m fully aware this may sound like fake modesty and you’re probably raising a sceptical eyebrow given last year’s outcome but this really is the post I was not expecting to write this year. In fact, I was SO sure I wasn’t getting within 10 miles of the shortlist that I only realised it had been announced when I received a hilarious one word message from my friend and fellow finalist (yay!) Claire of Life Love and Dirty Dishes, that certain other blogger.

This is the bit where I have to say a huge thank you to YOU my dear readers because without you, there would be no point in me blogging. I don’t think I ever truly realised how much I love writing until I launched this blogette. The outlet it’s given me for expressing myself, the opportunity it’s given me to do something beyond being a mum, the feeling I get when somebody ‘gets’ what I’m saying in a post, it’s amazing (and the path back to financial independence is not bad either). Whether it’s a new visitor messaging me to say they binge read 10 posts upon discovering my blog, comment love from a fellow blogger who’s a loyal reader or my FB followers who interact regularly with funny remarks, my heart sings every single time and I suppose one could say that this kind of engagement is all the reward one needs and awards are irrelevant. In fact…

 

I MUST ADMIT I HUMMED AND HAWED ABOUT WRITING THIS ‘I’M A BIBS2017 FINALIST SQUEAL! POST’.

…I can’t deny that I went to bed that night questioning if I should be celebrating at all, given some of the reaction I saw that day and in general. Chatter about the selection process, the voting system, the lack of dad bloggers and indeed the whole point of blog awards has been put under the microscope this year in a way I didn’t witness previously (maybe I was oblivious before?).

As I myself said in my article about the notable absence of a writer category this year, I’m fully aware that blog awards are not the be all and the end all. They don’t define what blogging is. They most certainly do not determine what/who makes a successful blogger and nobody goes into blogging (or indeed anything) to win awards.

 

NEVERTHELESS, I’M THRILLED TO BE A FINALIST AND MUST SAY A HUGE THANK YOU TO EVERYONE WHO NOMINATED ME AND HELPED ME GET HERE!

If this is indeed as far as I go, then I’m honoured to have done so. However, it goes without saying that winning a blog award would be extra wonderful validation for all the hours spent formulating ideas, writing, promoting on social media, spending far too much time on photoshop (and crying/swearing at the computer over tech glitches). Plus I get to fly over to London for a party. On a boat. On the Thames. I get to wear a dress and  and everything!

 

SO HERE IT COMES…!

IF YOU THINK I DESERVE TO WIN THE #BIBS2017 READER’S CHOICE AWARD, I WOULD BE SO GRATEFUL FOR YOUR VOTE. IT TAKES SECONDS!


JUST CLICK ON THIS LINK TO THE VOTING PAGE,
fill in boxes 1, 2, tick Absolutely Prabulous in box 13 and you’re done. Easy! 
Voting closes July 2nd.

Thank you again to my amazing readers for continually reminding me of why I blog.
You make it fun.

Mwah.

 

Dear Brands, Here Are 8 Things You Should Know if You Want Bloggers to Help You

blogger brand collaborations image of prabs a laptop

Dear PR

Firstly, let me thank you for your email addressing me as ‘Dear Absolutely’.

Now, before I cut to the chase, I must point out that I have had the privilege of working with some absolutely lovely brands whose PRs/CEOs were an absolute pleasure to deal with. There are plenty of good people out there to whom most of the following doesn’t even apply.

That said, a few months ago I wrote 25 Things That Annoy Bloggers which featured contributions from several people. Let’s just say it was eye-opening how often working with brands came up as a source of annoyance.  I have to say, having been at this blogging malarkey for a few years, I have received too many emails and wasted inordinate amounts of time embroiled in conversations with PRs that defy belief. And the previously mentioned post got me thinking…

So I thought it might help everyone if I put together a list of tips for you to bear in mind when working with bloggers.

Now we both know you are in the business of strengthening and growing your brand and you have recognised the benefit of working with bloggers to get your product/service offering in front of relevant audiences. That’s fantastic.  However, there are a few things you need to understand with regards to how to manage blogger brand collaborations without making a mess of things.

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MANNERS

1). Please do not think that we exist merely to blog at your whim. 

I really do feel this needs explaining (although it shouldn’t) as I actually receive emails assuming that I will just publish a press release on my site, write an entire promo article or feature guest content without ANY discussion of why I would do so. I can’t speak for everyone but I didn’t launch my blog so that I could merely produce bland articles promoting everything from a door knob to a cheese slicer on behalf of brands who believe my blog’s very existence is to serve them and them only.

I will not compromise on quality or relevance to my readership so please don’t ask me to write something that has no connection whatsoever to a family and lifestyle blog and then behave like you are doing me a favour by asking.

 

2)Please Visit a Blogger’s Site Before Contacting Them

I know how things work. I know you generally send auto-generated emails to hundreds of bloggers for the same project and it’s actually not time efficient for you read every blog. But here’s the thing:
– not getting my name right is not a good way to go. I cannot tell you how positive it makes me feel about considering working with you. (I cannot tell you this because it doesn’t make me feel positive. FYI my name can be found on my sidebar on every page of my site.)
– you shoot yourself in the foot with generic lines in an approach email that clearly show, as surely as night follows day, that you have never even been in the same room as my website. At least look at the home page, check the about page or get someone else to! As Whinge Whinge Wine said in 25 Things That Annoy Bloggers “If PRs actually read blogs rather than just telling you they had, they would know whether someone was a ‘good fit’ and whether they were someone they wanted to work with before they emailed you and wasted everyone’s time”.
– repeatedly sending me the same auto-generated email after we’ve already chatted doesn’t instil confidence.

 

3) For Goodness Sake Please RESPOND to a Blogger Who Has Taken The Time And Had The Courtesy to Reply to YOUR Original Email.

You wouldn’t ignore somebody standing in front of you answering a question you’ve just asked them (well I hope not) would you? There you go then.

 

4). Please Remember It Is Not Respectful to Assume a Tone of Expectation That We Produce a Promotional Article for You Within an Unrealistic Timeframe.

This follows on from the ‘at your whim’ theme. Some/many of us work to a schedule and whilst willing to be flexible where possible in the name of professionalism but we tend to bristle at being told to have something ready by your deadline rather than being politely asked where in our schedule we can accommodate you.

 

MONEY

5). Please do Not Make the Mistake of Thinking That a £10 Water Beaker Is Fair Compensation For All The Work That Goes Into Promoting Your Brand.

I admit this may not apply to newer bloggers who are happy to be considered at all; I definitely fell into that camp when I first started reviewing products because I felt I was ‘just getting my foot on the ladder’. Then I realised that regardless of how long I’d been blogging (because actually you could have been blogging for six months and have more site traffic and engagement than someone who’s been at it for six years depending on how much time you put into it), I was still putting in a lot of dedication into promoting on your behalf. The thing is, most of us don’t just stick a picture of your product up on our site with a lack lustre one liner saying ‘Go and buy this, it’s good’. Personally, I produce a comprehensive review with quality photos that took time to set up, writing that I carefully crafted, imaging with your logo and perhaps a stock image etc. I then promote said article on social media. The £10 tshirt really isn’t going to cut it.

This is not a ‘I won’t get out of bed for anything less than’ mentality; it’s called being remunerated for the work one has done and the benefit your brand will receive as a result. So please, next time you’re thinking of fobbing someone of with one of your low value items in exchange for feedback and exposure, think twice about the long term goal.

 

6). Please do Not Make a Sponsored Post Offer So Low it Makes a Fool of Both of Us.

I totally understand the blogosphere is enormous and people will have different situations, expectations and charges based on blogging experience, engagement, following and exposure. I totally appreciate you have your budget; I’m sure you understand likewise I have mine. Of course it would be bad business for you to offer more than you could in fact ‘get away with paying’. However, like many others, my blog is my source of income and whilst I have learned the importance of compromise and the art of negotiation, you and I both know when you are ‘just trying it on’.

And the £25 you just offered for me thinking up an angle, structuring and writing a post, devising strong SEO, sourcing and creating images and promoting your post is definitely you trying it on.

 ]

7). Bloggers Who Work with Brands Treat Their blog as a Business, Not a Public Service.

Although point 1 sort of covers this, I feel the need to amplify. Why? Because amongst the many things that have been said to me is this absolute cracker (incidentally, don’t ever follow in this PR’s footsteps):

“If you just write a short post mentioning us, that’s actually at no cost to you. Can you also mention it a few times on social media and tag us each time?”  

Er no. Let me explain:
The brand you represent sells a product/service for which it expects its users to pay the set price. It’s the same for bloggers: ie if you wish to use my product (in this case my website and exposure to my audience) to advertise your brand, there is a naturally a cost for this. If your brand is mentioned anywhere on a blog via a banner advert/article, this is called advertising.  Advertising is not usually free. Furthermore, just as you expect to receive your salary for the outreach/PR work you do each month, it’s the same for me: I expect to be remunerated for all the work required. Would you tolerate it if your employer decided not to give you your payslip? There you go.

By the way…on that note, how would you feel about your employer not paying you on the agreed date? Yeah…about that…bloggers like to be paid on time too… Just saying.

 

METHOD

8) Don’t Just Follow Follower Numbers and Don’t Be Seduced by Stats…Get Wise

A couple of things: if someone has thousands of followers but only gets about 50 likes on their posts, those are most likely ghost followers.  Another thing: low stats/high engagement; high stats/low engagement. You’ve got two bloggers, one in each camp and you’re only looking to work with one. Who would you choose? What’s my point? Look beyond numbers and check out actual interaction (although be aware just how hard the social networks have made it for bloggers to get engagement from the followers who really exist). Do you really want to promote your brand on a site with an apparently massive reach which is in fact made up of mostly empty views? Do you?

And I’ll throw this ninth one in for free…

Remember Bloggers Know Each Other and We Talk.

I’ll just let you figure that one out…

Yours ever so sincerely,

Absolutely

I’M A FINALIST (EEK!) IN THE READER’S CHOICE CATEGORY OF THE BRILLIANCE IN BLOGGING AWARDS.
IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO VOTE FOR ME TO WIN, I’D BE SO GRATEFUL AND HONOURED!

Just click on this THIS LINK and fill in boxes 1, 2 and 13. 
Super quick and easy!

 

My Sincere Apology to You for What is About to Happen

I’M WRITING THIS FULL OF THE NASTIEST COLD I’VE HAD IN YEARS.  

The headache is messing with my brain, i can’t stop sneezing all over the ruddy keyboard (yuk) and my preoccupation with my aching throat is robbing me of my comedic juices.

It’s a right chuffing nuisance as I was going to heavily rely on those comedic juices to endear myself to you. You know…

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..BEFORE I DO THAT THING FOR WHICH I OWE YOU MY SINCERE APOLOGY.

Anyway, it’s been over a year since I:

joked about wanting a podium moment, mentioned how I had this fab dress I wanted to wear
and got all misty-eyed over how the only things I’d ever won in my life were a packet of four felt tip pens at the age of 9 and a an oversized phallic gold trophy for an 8 mile race at the age of 45 (seriously).

And now it’s that time of year again! That time of year where I need to use every trick in the book (sympathy, comedy, outright begging) to get you to do that thing for which I owe you an apology.  Instead, I’m staring at the floor, shuffling nervously and can hear myself talking in a small embarrassed voice. Yep…

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AWARDS SEASON IS HERE AND NOMINATIONS FOR THE BRILLIANCE IN BLOGGING AWARDS ARE NOW OPEN. SO I’M ASKING FOR A 30 SECOND FAVOUR FROM YOU!!

Ok, yes it’s a bit cringy and embarrassing but 1) if I don’t ask, who will on my behalf? and 2) if you don’t ask you don’t get.

To have a hope of overcoming that first hurdle…you have to show up at the starting line first.

So even though I know there is a lot of conflicting chatter at the moment about blog awards – and I myself recently wrote about the absence of a writer award this year – I AM showing up the starting line and putting my best foot forward. 

Enough with the dreadful metaphors.

Now, the problem is, as I’m a sick bunny, I’m lacking in the ‘every trick in the book’ creative department and don’t have the energy required to come up with a load of clever, witty or compelling  reasons for you to vote for me. (Think of it this way, it certainly keeps the post short.)

 

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|SOOOO, ALL I’LL SAY IS IF I’VE EVER MADE YOU:

LAUGH AT POSTS LIKE THIS PUNTASTIC ‘NEWSPAPER STORY’

extreme eyebrows newspaper article title image girl with bushy eyebrows

FEEL MOVED BY SOMETHING RAW AND PERSONAL THAT I’VE DISCUSSED

To Musical M on your 12th Birthday title image Prabs and M

NOD IN AGREEMENT AT ONE OF MY OPINION PIECES

How has it come to this title image of Prabs sitting on beach pondering

OR RELATE TO MY PERSONAL EXPERIENCE 

 

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PLEASE COULD YOU NOMINATE ME FOR THE READER’S CHOICE AWARD?!

Pretty please with golden syrup on top, would you?

All you need to do is go to the nomination form before Wednesday 7th June midnight and fill in your details in boxes 1,2, 3 and then the details below in box 14.
Hit the pink submit box. That’s it!

HERE IS THE NOMINATION FORM

You’ll need the following info:
Blog: Absolutely Prabulous

URL http://www.absolutelyprabulous.com

Twitter handle: @abprabulous

Email: prabs@absolutelyprabulous.com

URL of favourite post: any of the ones I mentioned above or one of your choice

Reason for choosing this blogger: Your choice!
(Or these lovely words
 by Debs might help: “Prabs is the queen of provoking emotion. I can’t read her without laughing out loud, filling up or nodding along!”)

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YEP, THAT’S IT FOLKS: MY FEEBLE BUT HOPEFULLY SUCCESSFUL ATTEMPT TO GET YOU TO VOTE FOR ME!

Seriously, I teach my kids they have to try at things in life so I need to embody that philosophy myself.

Sincere apology (and thanks in advance).

 

 

 

What Happened to the BiBs17 Awards? Doesn’t The Writing Matter Anymore?

BiBs17 awards title image Blog letters in gold

I THOUGHT OF SEVERAL REASONS WHY I SHOULDN’T WRITE ABOUT THE BIBS17 AWARDS OR AT LEAST THIS TOPIC. 

What if:

  • people just skim through it, missing crucial points and get the wrong message?

  • I come across as disrespectful towards blog awards organisers?*

  • people think I’m wilfully setting the cat among the pigeons in an attempt to get massive views?**

  • a clear explanation has already been published somewhere and I’ve managed to miss it (likely as I generally live in my own clueless hole)?

  • even worse, nobody gives a crap because blog awards are by no means the focal point of blogging?!***

  • worst of all, please God no, people think I’m being churlish due to last year’s awards!

So…

*This post is not a tirade against the BiBs17 awards organisers. I’m not that foolish or rude (bloomng hope not anyway!)
*Given the sheer saturation of parent blogs out there, I’ve got more chance of scoring a date with Chris Hemsworth than getting crazy stats on this post.
***I totally appreciate nobody starts blogging to win awards (and many people question their existence anyway). So maybe none of this is a big deal and it could all just read like a  mountain-out-of-a-molehill whinge-fest! 

However, at the time of writing I honestly don’t know the answer to the question in the title and frankly I can’t not write about something that is on my mind just because it may go down the wrong way with people…what’s the point of blogging then?  Here’s the thing: 

 

THE OTHER DAY, I WAS DOING MY LINKY READING, COMMENTING AND SHARING AND ALL THAT JAZZ.

One of the posts I read was by the poetic genius Rhyming with Wine: her absolutely brilliant poem about blog stats that describes  the utter head wrecking preoccupation with views/rankings/SEO/social media 24/7 activity /yada yada that ends up eating away at many a blogger’s energy and self confidence like some awful disease. There is also another brilliant post on a similar topic – which you will not regret reading it is SO ridiculously funny – by a Life Just Ordinary.

stressed woman at laptop writer award post

 

As another good blog friend of mine – whom I won’t name without her approval which I can’t get right now as she has FAR better things to do on her Saturday night than write blog posts about blogging – put it (better than I ever could):

Everyone is so busy thinking that they have to stumble, link, pin, tweet, YouTube and Instagram that they forget why they started blogging in the first place – to connect with others and share stories.

I’m one of those people!!

Ok I know the phrase ‘why they started blogging in the first place’ is highly subjective and I’ll address that shortly.

Anyway, I loved Dawn’s stats post so much – and just as strongly disagreed with her claim that she still hasn’t ‘found her voice’ – that I commented I was voting for her in the writer category of the BiBs17 awards. It’s never an easy decision when they are so many über talented wordsmiths out there but I’d decided this about a month ago based on loving her work for some time.  Cue much expression of love and thanks from Dawn. Later in the evening, I popped onto the BiBs site so that I could start casting my votes for everyone I had in mind. I stared at the screen confused, thinking I must be mistaken.

 

THERE WAS NO WRITER CATEGORY IN THIS YEAR’S BRILLIANCE IN BLOGGING AWARDS! YES AN EVENT THAT CELEBRATES AND HONOURS BLOGGERS’ WORK HAD LEFT OUT AN AWARD THAT CELEBRATES AND HONOURS THE VERY WRITING OF BLOGS!

I was totally surprised, felt bad for Dawn and frankly felt like a plonker for my public promise to her earlier on.  I couldn’t help ponder over what I see as the puzzling removal of the writer award from this year’s BiBs17 categories.

a quote about the importance of words in BiBs17 awards post

 

OBVIOUSLY THE ORGANISERS KNOW THEIR REASON FOR REMOVING THIS CATEGORY AND SEE IT AS A JUSTIFIABLE ONE.

Perhaps it was felt the Readers’ Choice somehow covers it? I’m not sure I see how to be honest as surely that is an overall all-encompassing category.  Surely removing a specific category that honours the actual writing on blogs is counterintuitive? Perhaps it’s nothing other than logistical/budgetary reasons? Only x amount of money for prizes or whatever.  I don’t know.

Anyway, without ANY disrespect intended towards the BiBs17 Awards organisers – I have several questions.

 

 

IS THE ABSENCE OF A CATEGORY THAT RECOGNISES THE WORDS ON THE SCREEN, A REFLECTION OF WHAT BLOGGING HAS BECOME?

As many people said in relation to 25 Things That Annoy The Hell out Bloggers, there are massive blogs out there with eye watering daily visitor numbers and a social media reach beyond even most brands’ wildest dreams…that are poorly written. Some of us will see those sites as the very embodiment of successful blogs. Others will see the formulaic content and linguistic errors as hardly an example of a successful blog.

The very astute Katie of Squirmy Popple says in this excellent post:

The bloggers with the biggest following and the most influence [are] the ones who are good at all the other stuff that goes along with blogging – social media, networking, branding and self-promotion.

 

Now, this post is in no way trying to belittle such blogs. If you have the resources to hire people or are switched on enough, social media savvy enough, hard working enough and whatever else enough to build a mahoosive blog, well bloody done. I can’t do it as I just don’t have the energy level or ability to drag myself away from Mad Men Netflix binges for long enough (yes I do know about laws of attraction and that famous Henry Ford quote about self belief so if I tell myself I can’t build a massive blog, well…then I probably never will). 

Ok, now remember the line about going back to the reason we started blogging in the first place?

 

OBVIOUSLY, THERE ARE A MYRIAD OF DIFFERENT REASONS WHY PEOPLE BLOG AND NOBODY SHOULD BE PUNISHED OR JUDGED FOR THEIR REASONS. 

My reason for blogging will be different from your reason which might be different to that of Janet over there etc

  • Many bloggers have the goal of monetisation from the start. High traffic and social media follower numbers will be king to them. Nothing wrong with that. We all need to put food on the table.

  • There are those who do it for the love of the written word and the reaction their writing receives. They would trade 1000 empty views for just one comment like: “I was meant to write two blog posts this morning but instead I spent three hours binge reading you. Can’t get enough of your blog.” 

  • There are bloggers who get a buzz out of having a positive impact on others, be it through their words or photography. As I’ve said before, if I stopped blogging tomorrow my marriage post is the one I’ll hang my hat on. The immense effect it had will stay with me forever. To Musical M on Your 12th Birthday which I thought would bring me vitriol instead brought me confessions from parents who felt less shit as a result (or at least just as shitty but in good company!) A BLOGGER’S WORDS CAN HELP PEOPLE.

  • Some of us want to simply document our family/individual memories. A blog provides a structured and logical platform for this, rather than regularly emailing everyone we know or clogging up Facebook.

  • Of course, there are those bloggers who want share their knowhow:  recipe sites, craft blogs, budget advice, IT tips and son on.

what's your story image for BiBs writer award post

 

Your blog, your prerogative. However, whatever reasons people have for blogging…

 

…HAS IT NOW BEEN DECIDED WE DON’T NEED TO RECOGNISE THE WRITING PART OF WRITTEN BLOGS?

No blog can exist without words.  Are the words on the screen no longer important? And what about the blogs that aren’t heavy on photography or video etc? The ones that are just about the writing? Surely, they’ve been sidelined?

 

I admit I’m a linguaphile. I studied French and English at uni and when I launched my blog, friends and family said ‘words are your thing Prabs’ (judging by the average length of my posts, they’re a little too much my thing). I even launched #BlogStars (no that’s not a shameless plug…ok a little bit) because I needed to share my excitement at other bloggers’ great wordsmithery.  Words DO something to me. Ok, words aren’t  everyone’s thing. I get that. My husband doesn’t think language is that important. He’s not the least bit bothered by a poorly written email or a text message filled with errors. For him, it’s more about just getting the message across – and getting it across quickly. (Seriously, how we’re even together is a miracle.) Me? Sloppy incorrect English makes me break out in a rash. Fair enough, not everybody gets hung up on the language of every blog they read, but surely it has to count for something?

quote about writing in BiBs17 awards post 

 

DOES IT MAKE THE WRITER AWARD GIVEN TO PREVIOUS WINNERS MEANINGLESS?

No it’s not a Pulitzer or the Victoria Cross for incredible bravery in battle. No I’m not making this about me (my piece of glass isn’t shown off to every Tom, Dick and Harry who comes round but in fact sits discretely in my bedroom) but honestly, I can’t help wonder.

 

WON’T MINIMISING THE IMPORTANCE OF WRITING, BY GETTING RID OF THE WRITER AWARD, JUST MAKE THE AFOREMENTIONED BLOG DESPAIR WORSE?

I see countless mentions, including when I was compiling that aforementioned Annoying Things post, that for many (most even) bloggers, the writing is the ONLY part of blogging that they enjoy amidst the sheer weight of blogligation, as Dawn brilliantly calls it. No you don’t need an award to make you carry on enjoying writing – that would be slightly bonkers with thousands of bloggers out there but only one writer award  – but what message does it send those of us who love the writing aspect? Do you get me?

 

WHAT DOES THAT ACTION SAY ABOUT THE IMPORTANCE OF LANGUAGE TODAY AND THE FUTURE OF BLOGGING?

Society, as we already know is on a downward ‘dumber and dumber’ spiral. Maybe I’m old and cliched and simply repeating what our parents said and their parents before them but surely the Kardashianised culture, a super power leadera super power leader who can barely string an intelligent sentence together, the narrow minded vile comments on chat threads that erupt on social media are just some of the many symptoms of this dumbing down of intelligence.

It may sound like a tenuous connection but I actually genuinely wonder if eliminating the writer category in a blog awards list is symptomatic of this dumbing down.

 

 

OF COURSE THERE IS THE POSSIBILITY THAT IT IS NONE OF THE ABOVE!

Maybe this year there is no writer award because after last year’s #Jeangate incident, they now associate that category with calamitous wardrobe fails and didn’t want to risk it.  Rumour has it some saddo squeezed herself into tight white jeans (can’t remember her name). Nobody needs to see that again.

I’M A FINALIST (EEK!) IN THE READER’S CHOICE CATEGORY OF THE BRILLIANCE IN BLOGGING AWARDS
IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO VOTE FOR ME TO WIN, I’D BE SO GRATEFUL AND HONOURED!
Just click on this THIS LINK and fill in boxes 1, 2 and 13. 
Super quick and easy!
(Voting closes July 2nd.)
Thanks muchly!

 

 

 

THIS POST WAS PICKED FOR:

rhyming with wine dream team

 

Bloggers’ Cafe S1 Ep4: Running a Dual Blog – Sarah and Louise

bloggers' cafe running a dual blog red typewriter on black leather couch

 

AFTER A WEE PAUSE #BLOGGERSCAFE SEASON 1 IS BACK FOLKS!

Alright, it was more than a wee pause, ahem. Sick kids, a poorly website (seriously DON’T talk to me about web hosting or ‘users’ on my site right now), a bereavement and then a trip back to the UK over Easter for my brother’s big fat Indian wedding (phew!) all conspired to put Season 1 on hold.

But as Tom Cruise said in one of my all time favourite films, Jerry Maguire, “We are so very back”.

Helen and I are delighted at the support you’ve shown the series, you lovely people! Now here we are at episode 4 talking about running a dual blog, which I am particularly excited about as:

THIS EDITION BRINGS YOU THE WONDERFUL SARAH AND LOUISE

from Mums The Word. If you haven’t read their blog yet, you are in for such a comic treat. We were so delighted to meet these two and find out about their reasons for/experience of setting up a dual blog together. They were soooo much fun!

IF YOU MISSED ANY OF THE SERIES SO FAR, CLICK HERE TO CATCH UP.

NB. IF YOU’D LIKE TO SHARE OUR BLOGGERS’ CAFE POSTS/VLOGS ON SOCIAL MEDIA (I MEAN WHY WOULDN’T YOU?!), PLEASE USE THE HASHTAG #BloggersCafe
(and tag us if you don’t mind pretty please)

Twitter @abprabulous @justsayingmum
Facebook: @AbsolutelyPrabulous
Instagram: @absolutelyprabulous @justsayingmum

 

TO WATCH BLOGGERS CAFE EPISODE 4, CLICK, SIT BACK AND ENJOY!

 

I’D LOVE TO HEAR WHAT YOU THINK OF THIS EPISODE OF BLOGGERS’ CAFE!

YOU CAN COMMENT via the Facebook or website comments box below.

SHARE THIS POST! via the social media share buttons below.

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20 More Brilliant Posts You Have to Read: Blog Stars 4

BLOG STARS 4 IS HERE!

#BlogStars is my happy place. I get such a kick out of running this series. Sorry if I sound cheesy but I love compiling each edition for the feel good factor it brings both myself and the featured bloggers.  Despite how much I enjoy running the series though and the reception it’s had, it’s been on pause as I took a step back from linkies for a while and then had a blog break due to a major family wedding.  So I do apologise to the regular readers among you for but I’m back with Blog Stars 4 and ready to bring you some corkers!

Blog Stars 4 featured image

If you’re new to Blog Stars, it is where I round up a bunch of posts I have truly enjoyed reading,  that have had a profound effect on me and which, in my opinion, deserve an extra shout out. FYI I don’t just feature posts from the month of the #BlogStars edition (especially as this is not always a monthly feature). This would mean excluding brilliant content purely on the grounds of date of publication, which is a pity if I’ve only discovered it months after it was published.

There’s a flavour to suit hopefully every taste.  You’ve got thought-provoking ones, you’ve got useful content, you’ve got the ‘make sure you’ve got kleenex on standby’ tear-jerkers and…of course, it ain’t Blog Stars if there ain’t no laughs.


A FEW iMPORTANT THINGS INCLUDING TWO NEW FEATURES!!

1) If you want to share this post (or any of the individual posts from it) on social media (course you do) Please Use the Hashtag #BlogStars.

2)  This edition of #BlogStars has been divided up into the previously mentioned themes.

3)  For future editions of #BlogStars I’d like to include a few  posts chosen by YOU my readers. So if there is a post that has stayed with you and that you’d like to see featured, let me know!

 

WITHOUT FURTHER ADO, HERE ARE MY 20 #BLOGSTARS 

Featured Blog Stars, don’t forget to Grab Your Badge! Feel free to stick this on your featured post and/or your blog sidebar or both!

Generate your button code

JUST FOR LAUGHS

A Life Just Ordinary: How to Make Friends and Influence No-One

This popped up in one of those Facebook groups and the title made me literally snort. And click. It’s quite possibly the funniest and best post e-v-e-r about this bizarre, fabulous, endlessly frustrating, really gratifying, lonely, friend-making insanity that is blogging and is utterly hilarious from start to finish.  By the time I got down to the Twitter ‘tips’ and the line:

you could also achieve similar levels of success by shouting your blog posts out in full whilst walking down the street

I literally hurt from laughing.  (Actually, he should take his own advice and walk down the street shouting this very post out as it’s so good.) Dale Carnegie, please give me a sign that you’re laughing from your grave at the clever appropriation of your famous book title! Although, as I’ve already said to James, I am quite frankly bitterly disappointed and may well do my Miss Piggy hissy hair flick at him over the fact that he did not actually have the answer to how to increase one’s site traffic by 127,000% in just 4 days. #MustTryHarder [Stomps off in a hissy fit.]

Island Living: Your Father is Dragging me Back to the Dark Ages

Emma and her mother! (There’s a book title right there.) Heaven help me, every time her mum is mentioned, I know I’m in a for a laugh (and if the price is right, I’ll even tell you what Emma said about her mum just before we all stayed in a London hotel for the BiBs). The Daily Mail…the way her mum refers to it/Emma’s Dad. The bra doodles and the ‘vandalised property. And the aubergine. The aubergine! If you’re not intrigued by now…how on earth not?

Life Love and Dirty Dishes: My Husband Cheated on Me While I Slept Upstairs and…

Picking a post by the uber-talented Claire of LLDD for an edition of #BlogStars is as difficult as trying to use a paper umbrella in the rain. It doesn’t work. Not in a bad way! She is such a  gifted and funny writer that it’s an almost impossible task trying to settle on one. (Not that I think of particular bloggers I want to feature and then go and choose a post. It’s very much the other way around: #BlogStars is led by the content rather than the blogger.) I knew I’d read a great ‘cheating’ post but when I went to Claire’s site to get the url, found myself distracted by all the other great posts. This one is in a league of its own though. Notice how I’m skirting around describing what the post is about? No way I’m spoiling that one…go read. Soooo good and let me know if you guessed the big reveal before the end.

Nursery Whines: A Toddler Self Help Parody

I love clever bloggers, the ones that write something that makes you think “Damn, wish I’d thought of that”. This ‘alternative’ self-help guide for those of you with cantankerous belligerent toddlers (is there any other kind?) is just what you need! Frankly, I’m way past that stage as mine are much older but I’m kind of thinking I’ve come full circle and could do with this guide for my about to be teens too! The ‘accepting help’, ‘being open to other options’, ‘admitting when you’re wrong’, just the whole things. So funny from start to finish and I just love the dry tone in which it’s been written.

Sarah and Louise: The Day I Shat all Over Myself

I have to say this post needs to come with some sort of health and safety warning (or at least a sick bag). The girls need a medal for being brave enough to publish this one but mercy me, it is damned funny! To be honest, for me Sarah and Louise are much like This Mums Life in that I’d happily read their grocery shopping list because even that would be funny. Choice bits in this one?  How about:

Do I just hang myself on the emergency cord above the toilet so I never have to face the humiliation and embarrassment?

or the cream leather seats of the father in law’s car (!) and the pièce de resistance…[cue famous Psycho ‘screech’ music]…the HOSPITAL GOWN [Guffaws.]

 

TISSUES AT THE READY PLEASE

All The Beautiful Things: I Was the Mum

You see a lot of the same issues covered the more you blog and there will always be the regulars that crop up but of course, everyone’s experience is unique to them.  In this post by Helen, she talks about having one of those days in parenting; you know the one!  The one where nothing goes right and your child just doesn’t comply and you just wish you could manipulate time to bring bedtime forward and end the day.  This is one of the better posts I’ve read on this. I don’t want to call this sad or heartbreaking as Helen ends it on a positive beautiful note with the maturity to recognise parenting isn’t a walk in the park and you just have those days and it’s ok. I did feel for her when she walking out of the shopping centre feeling tearful 🙁

Beauty Baby and Me: One for the Husband

The one and only Fi. If/when I finally meet her, I shall squish her muchly with hugs; consider yourself forewarned Fi!  We all have our demons – yep even the most outwardly confident amongst us – but most of us aren’t good at revealing them. Fi puts it out there, warts and all on her blog. She’s one fine writer (who was actually featured in the second blog stars with a hilarious swipe at parenting experts) but for me, this is the one…the one I’ll remember a year from now when I’ll have read a further trillion posts, many of which will have faded from the memory because my brain just can’t hold that much in it. Such a raw, brutally honest, relatable and yet somehow funny post…how the heck did she pull that off?! If blog posts were edible, I’d have at least two helpings of this.

Five Little Doves: We are All Mums

Well I think it’s safe to say that it’s nigh on impossible to read a post by Laura without requiring an entire box of tissues or a stiff whiskey (preferably both) at the ready.  You won’t regret reading this stunning post because it’s a masterpiece. But you will regret not having those tissues or drink ready. This woman breaks me almost every time I read her.  I try not to skim read blog posts; I’m generally not a skim reader by nature anyway but in the interests of time management, what with All. The. Blogging. I am ashamed to admit I do sometimes have to do it out of necessity.  I don’t skim read Laura.

Ever.

Nor should you.

Just Saying Mum: You Were Once a Babe in my Arms

Helen is one of my go to/won’t let me down bloggers. If I’m having a bad day, I know I can visit her blog and my spirits will be lifted by her words. She’s just so good at what she does, whether it’s making us laugh at ourselves growing older or blooming CRY at our kids getting older!I I’ll admit, I actually groaned at myself over including her in yet another edition of #BlogStars because I’m sure regular readers will think it’s cronyism with certain bloggers cropping up in more than one edition! But how do I leave out something I loved reading? How do I skip a post that totally deserves a place in a roundup of amazing posts?! It would be almost dishonest to do so, just because it’s by a good friend every cell of whom I love dearly.  Do yourself a favour and read this. Just remember… #NotWithoutKleenex

Mouse Moo and Me Too: The Bad Mum Files

I don’t know how to describe this post. I read it a few months ago not long after it was published and just stared at the screen almost numb with disbelief and relief in equal measure. It is no discredit at all to Sam’s brilliant writing (so good it turns out I’ve in fact previously featured her in this series) to say that I still don’t know how to describe it, such was its raw visceral effect on me. Things could have turned out SO differently for her and her kids on the day this happened and thank goodness she lived to tuck her kids (and herself) into bed that night. Huge cyber hugs to Sam.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Madhouse Mum: Time on our Side

Alison writes with a sensitivity and beauty that just gets me every single time. She’s also bloody funny at times too.  This post about having one of those rare occasions where you actually just have the chance to get time with one kid (I guess you have to have more than one child to really appreciate this or have grown up with several siblings) is a beaut. “It feels as if I snatch at parenting them….” Sigh. Such a clever writer. In fact such a clever writer that I simply had to share another of hers:

Sexual Control

I almost winced when I saw the title of this because I was fairly sure I knew where Alison was going with this. It’s a very well written and frankly scary prognosis of the sexually-obsessed culture our kids are now growing up in and the enormous burden of worry and uncertainty this places upon us as parents. As the mother of a boy and two girls, the eldest of whom is 12 at the time of writing (and who has come home telling me the most hair-raising things about what her friends know/talk about/watch), I totally related to this post. The info about the porn industry’s core target almost gave me heart failure.

Mother of Teenagers: The Value of Female Friendships

Although happily married I am not a woman who regards my husband as my best friend and am always somewhat surprised and intrigued by those women that do.

Hear hear! I nodded all the way through this eloquently written post by the rather fabulous Jo. It’s a rather beautiful appraisal of friendships that come and go throughout our lives and the role that her husband plays in her life and how it all fits together. I’ve watched Jo handle ‘that birthday’ with aplomb throughout her blog and social media posts and she’s rather an inspiration to me in so many ways. And boy does she know how to write.

My Random Musings:Birth Rape

Where do I start regarding this standout post by Debs? The term ‘thought provoking’ feels fluffy and almost dismissive as a description. I had never heard of the term birth rape before reading this. At the risk of incurring wrath or falling foul of my readers – and not wishing to belittle anybody’s birth experience – I do agree with many of the points raised by Deb in this article and respect how thoroughly she has covered it trying to see the topic from all sides. It is an emotive issue, one that I can see polarising people. All I can say is go read and let me/Deb know what you think!

Pink Pear Bear: You Will Only Ever Have Half my Attention

Ah can there be a mother out there who wouldn’t relate to some or all of this? Louise has a way of writing as though she’s just chatting to you and I actually felt like this post was a chat  over a cup of coffee (you know while one of her kids tugged at her to go while Louise thought of three things she needed to do!)

I feel like I’m juggling sand…like I’m on one of those airport moving runways and thoughts are whizzing past me as I try and grab them

A well-written post that perfectly encapsulates what it is like for most women raising families, working and just trying to keep their s**t together.

TeacupToria: Finding the Courage to Walk Away

This is not a new one at all (and I’m thrilled that since writing it, things seem to have improved for Tori)  but it had such an effect on me when I read it that I filed it away in my mind for future revisiting. I found this post about the breakdown of a marriage (almost as soon as the couple were in fact wed) absolutely heart-wrenching. It comes across as though every word was carefully chosen yet never feels contrived or geared towards attracting sympathy. It’s just a very honest and even beautiful account of a mother’s hurt, fierce determination to protect her son above all else and calm ability to make the right decision. I believe good things finally come to those who deserve it.  Tori and her gorgeous son deserve some good luck and judging from her recent posts, things are starting to fall into place.

Toby and Roo: Let’s Talk about Sex Baby

Remember the fab 90’s tune by Dimitiri: “The Last to Know”? No, of course you don’t; you’re too ruddy young. Ugh. Anyway, that’s me. Always the last to find out the big news, the last to adopt the latest trend etc, a lifelong Little Miss ‘oblivious to what’s going on at school/uni/workplace/school playground’. So you can ALL go ahead and have a jolly good laugh at how I only discovered Toby and Roo a couple of months ago (universal gasps).  I pootled around her site and stumbled across this. No I’m not going to talk about sex with you baby…I’m going to let Harriet do that as she’s far braver and better than me on that front. PS Fave bit? The ‘Chinese take out drive’. She’s a bit good that Harriet.

Winnettes: Parents vs The Internet

I’m still not decided how I feel about some of the issues raised in this. I’m a bit of a dinosaur. I cannot for the life of me understand how so many parents give their kids devices (even if it’s ‘just’ letting their kids play on their phones whilst in the car/in a doctor’s waiting room/at a restuarant) or phones from an early age. I don’t understand how children under the legal age for Facebook account ownerhship are allowed to have a FB account when under that legal age etc.  I’m a traditionalist who’s had to be dragged kicking and screaming into this ‘kids need devices’ era we now live in; shall I describe the ‘joy’ I felt when Hubster decided to let our then 11 year old have a phone, without discussing it with me first? However I can’t deny Kirsty makes a good point regarding getting wise about technology and she really has made me reconsider my reluctance to show my kids’ faces here on the blog and my AbPrab social media. It’s a thought-provoking post and any post that provokes thought is worth sharing.

HELPFUL STUFF

Life with Baby Kicks & Toby and Roo: From 0 to 50k in 12 Months on Instagram

50K? It’s enough to make you spit your coffee out isn’t it? All the blogging, all the Twatter, all the Faceberk aggro, all the pinning (God give me strength I haven’t yet mustered up the energy for the great big Pinterest overhaul of my blog) and then…then…Instasham. Seriously, I love blogging but the whole follower number thing makes me break out into a cold sweat. Sound familiar? Fear not, Harriet is here again! This time, she’s on form with a series of these-will-do-nicely-thank-you tips to help you get your Instagram on…and who better to advise you…because since writing it…she’s now got 75k IG followers!! Plus it’s a guest post for my blog bestie Laura so she gets a nod too.

Motherhood the Real Deal: Make More Money from Your Blog, How I Doubled My Earnings

Well as I invariably end up saying if that isn’t a ‘does what it says on the tin’ title for a blog post, then I don’t know what is!  Talya’s one of my mentors, is always there for me with no nonsense advice and is seriously switched on as i’ve said in my post about reaching for the sky.  What can I say apart from go read it to find out how my blog wife Talya made £2000 from her blog recently.

You Baby Me Mummy: Why Your Blog’s Not Growing

Excellent one from Aby here. Obviously with all the blog tips she’s known for I could choose any number of posts but this straight talking super informative one caught my eye a while ago and has stuck in the brain ever since. It’s not a long list that ends up leaving you feeling overwhelmed and unsure of which bits of advice to implement; just a solid few points that make SO much sense….and how much did I love the ’80/20 rule’ which caused a proper blog epiphany with yours truly?!

 

BEFORE YOU LEAVE WHAT DID YOU THINK OF BLOG STARS 4? I’D LOVE TO KNOW!

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5 Things People Need to Stop Doing on Twitter!

THIS POST HAS BEEN GIVEN THE FOLLOWING RATING:
Sarcasm level: 7/10.  Rant level: 9/10 

Why write about what people need to stop doing on Twitter?

Nope, it’s not because I want to spread negative energy. It’s not because I’ve morphed into a grumpy old woman who only writes rants…although…there have been a few!

Annoying Things About Blogging
the Donald Twunt one
keyboard warriors and much more
and er…the s***sttorm post about Malta

No, it’s actually because ages ago, I was involved in a conversation about Twitter

 following this post by Debs’ Random Writings.  Everyone on the chat said they find auto DM’s (like the ones by Crowdfire) just irritating.  A couple of them who are very good blogging friends of mine, urged me to write about this when I made the mistake of admitting I hated this aspect of Twitter too.  #MeAndMyBigTwitterMouth.  So I sat down initially to write about DM’s…but then…

I got thinking of All. The. Other. things that irritate me about the Twitterverse! Voilà, a post about what people need to stop doing on Twitter was born.

5 things people need to stop doing on twitter angry bird

Now first things first.  I LOVE TWITTER, let’s be clear!

I never thought I’d say that as I just didn’t get it at first, loathed the messy format and took great affront at the 140 limit.  Seriously, I am prone to using ten words when five would do the job.  So, asking me to communicate in 140 character morsel-ettes felt more painful than my three c-sections put together.  Twitter had to be kidding me.  So I didn’t bother with it.

Fast forward and I can’t even recall what got me to take another stab at it.  But take another stab I did.  And got hooked, as you can see from point 3 of my Confessions of a Guilty Blogger post.  I’ve been told I’m ‘good at Twitter’ and called ‘Queen of the Hashtag’ by Mum Revised and Life with Baby Kicks (thank you ladies…cheque’s in the post).  Alright, I can’t build relationships with every single follower but I love what I do get out of Twitter: the camaraderie, the laughs!, content sharing, discovering amazing tweeps with interesting opinions and of course brands.

5 things you need to stop doing on twitter angry twitter bird image

I don’t have a massive following, (4600 at the time of writing), because I just don’t put any effort into that side but it hums away nicely at a pace I’m happy with, growing daily, and one that I can manage. It’s so easy to get caught up in the numbers game and become obsessed with wanting as huge a following as possible. However, for me Twitter is about:

  • building mutually beneficial working relationships
  • enjoying content that I can relate to or learn from
  • and growing my following in an organic genuine way.

Would I love a following of literally thousands?  Well I wouldn’t complain!  I’m only human so the blogger ego would be nicely fed.  But actually how beneficial is that x-thousand strong following when it is impossible to have meaningful interaction with that many people? No.  Forget it.

Anyway, even though I’m a big fan of Twitter, I’m afraid I do need to moan about the five things I wish people would stop doing on Twitter!

 

1) FOLLOWING ME, THEN UNFOLLOWING ME AS SOON AS I FOLLOW BACK

No surprises  here or explanation required. It’s easily the thing most Tweeps hate about the platform. Utterly rude.  End of.

2) UNFOLLOWING ME BARELY TWO DAYS AFTER I FOLLOWED BACK, JUST BECAUSE I HAVEN’T YET FOLLOWED BACK!

5 things you need to stop doing on twitter words 'follow me' and a figure walking off

Oh please, must we really do this?  Newsflash: some people are busy with work, kids, home life, studying, maybe even having leisure time (the sheer audacity!).  Learn some Twittiquette and give people a frickin chance to follow you back would you?!  I don’t mean YOU you, dear reader, I mean them…you know what I mean. This image just sums it up for me…it’s like ‘follow me or I’ll just walk off in a huff!’

 

3) FOLLOWING ME AND ASKING ME TO FOLLOW BACK 

harrassed-penguin-and-annoying-twitter-dragon

 

Amazingly, people generally do this after they’ve barely exchanged two words with me and equally amazing: they do it after RT’ing something off mine, as if merely sharing my content to get my attention and reel me in.  Don’t get me wrong: I’m very grateful if a tweep retweets me.  However:

I didn’t know RT’ing had become the new ransom: ‘I retweeted you, now follow me back or else’.

Heavens above.  Do they really have to behave like a five year old at a birthday who can’t stop asking for their party bag?  Grow up.

 

4) TWEETING ME EACH TIME THEY PUBLISH A POST

man-yelling-with-megaphone

 

Yes, I do send out tweets for #BloggersCafe the blogger chat show series I host with Helen of Just Saying Mum, the #OopsFiles my ’embarrassing stories’ series featuring brave shameless bloggers (!) and #CandidCuddles, the linky I run with Becky called #CandidCuddles.  It’s generally accepted as part of hosting/publicising a series. But every post I publish? Do I tweet my entire catalogue of posts to the same poor soul? Er. No.

I get it, we all want to be read.  I can’t remember where I saw it (and if I did I would credit the source) but someone said

Twitter is like standing in the middle of a 5-lane motorway at rush hour shouting into the loudest megaphone, only for nobody to listen.

It can be hard to get the views on a post you’ve put hours of love and work into and there are only so many ways to promote your content and get it seen.  I honestly don’t mind being tweeted the link to a post by someone with whom I’ve interacted regularly and people with whom I have a blog relationship.  I see the logic in being informed of the latest post in a guest series I myself have participated in or being told of a new linky.

After all, this is a social media channel so let’s be social and use this media method to publicise ourselves, so far so understandable.  But there has to be a level of ‘measuredness’ and finesse and sensitivity.  Frankly, being bombarded out of the blue by a blogger I barely know, with whom I’ve had the minimum of interaction, each time they bring out a post leaves a bad taste in my mouth. I am not as irritated by this as I am by the above but still…!

 

5) THE WORST HUMDINGER OF THEM ALL…THE ONE THAT MAKES MY TEETH HURT! AUTOMATED THANK YOU DM’S

I was going to apologise in advance to anyone reading this who uses auto DM’s.  But frankly, if they are relying on a piece of software to thank people, it’s highly unlikely they’ve ever made it to my blog and won’t see this anyway.

Why does it irk me so much?   Where do I start?

Firstly, isn’t the whole essence of thanking someone about the sincerity of that thanks?  Alright, it’s a sweeping generalisation to imply that all tweeps who use auto DM’s are an insincere bunch.  But really what is the thought process, signing up to an app that thanks people on their behalf??  How is that supposed to encourage me to even bother interacting with them?

Secondly, receiving a “Hey thanks for following” and the even more annoying “Check out my Facebook/Instagram/Pinterest/Google+/website/granny’s local bridge club/whatever else I can harangue you into following…” message and sometimes the special added bonus of ‘Dear Absolutely’ I could silently scream.  That is single-handedly the most effective way to make sure I don’t look at any of their stuff.   (Which is a shame as I obviously had looked at their Twitter timeline before deciding to follow them only to be met with that dumbass DM.)  I guess it works for people who are into the numbers game, and not the genuine relationships and engagement I mentioned earlier…

I love love Twitter.  But sometimes…

It turns me into a grumpy woman with a leaning towards sarcasm and ranting.

And sometimes…I think the name should be changed to Twatter.

Right, excuse me, I’m off to thank some people and follow them back.

 


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Bloggers’ Cafe S1 Ep3: Lucky Things Blog

#BLOGGERSCAFE SEASON 1 IS WELL UNDERWAY FOLKS!

So I’m back from freezing cold London where I went a week ago to film the remaining episodes of Bloggers’ Cafe Season 1.  I actually can’t believe how willing people have been to travel in and meet Helen and myself not to mention how excited they’ve been to take part.  Thank you SO much for all the love and support you’ve shown the series so far, you lovely people! And now here we are at Bloggers’ Cafe S1 Ep3.

IF YOU’VE NOT YET WATCHED OUR FIRST GUEST CHAT

with Moment with Franca, you can catch that episode here.

 

BLOGGERS CAFE EPISODE 3 IS UP!

This edition brings you Sunita from Lucky Things talking some pretty inspiring talk about Blogging and Beyond. Relax and watch!

NB. IF YOU’D LIKE TO SHARE OUR BLOGGERS’ CAFE POSTS/VLOGS ON SOCIAL MEDIA (GO ON!), PLEASE COULD YOU USE THE HASHTAG #BloggersCafe
 (and tag us if you don’t mind)
Twitter @abprabulous @justsayingmum
Facebook: @AbsolutelyPrabulous
Instagram: @absolutelyprabulous @justsayingmum

 

I’D LOVE TO HEAR WHAT YOU THINK OF THIS EPISODE OF BLOGGERS’ CAFE!

YOU CAN COMMENT via the Facebook or website comments box below.

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Bloggers’ Cafe Episode 1 Has Landed!

IT’S HERE, IT’S HERE.  BLOGGERS’ CAFE EPISODE 1 IS HEEEEERE!!

bloggers cafe episode 1 featured image

I’m ridonkulously excited to announce we’ve FINALLY launched Season 1 of Bloggers’ Cafe!  This is quite possibly the most excited I’ve been about anything in a very long time! As some of you know, last December I flew back to the UK to start filming a brand new vlogging venture with the incredible Helen of Just Saying Mum. I can’t begin to describe how much fun it was or how many times we felt utterly lucky to have gained as much interest and participation as we did from willing bloggers.  (You can read this separate post about the weekend itself, hilarious moments and a background on how Bloggers’ Cafe came about.)

I ALSO CAN’T BEGIN TO DESCRIBE HOW CHALLENGING IT WAS ON CERTAIN FRONTS!

Helen’s right when she says we had this ridiculous idea that two vloggers who live in two different countries could make this work. But we did and we are! We didn’t have a location til the eleventh hour, the mic on the fab camera that Helen got for filming wouldn’t cooperate, we ended up using our phones and having a fair few storage issues…and don’t talk to me about editing! Suffice to say, I need a hair appointment as I’ve got grey hairs from fighting with Adobe software etc and I ended up hiring someone from Fiverr.com (no this is not a sponsored post for them!) to work their magic.

 

WE MAY NOT BE TOTAL VLOG VIRGINS BUT IT WAS STILL A LEARNING CURVE!

This is our first attempt at something like this so Season 1 of Bloggers Cafe may look a bit rough around the edges (well I am from Wembley and Helen’s from Essex so what do you expect? Joke) but I hope you enjoy it and bear with us while we figure out tweeks here and there.

I for one thing certainly learned that:

  • it doesn’t matter how BIG the ‘please do not disturb…filming in progress’ sign is, people WILL disturb and actually move the sign aside while they come up to see what’s being filmed!
  • in fact, they’ll then stand there and watch you for a good few minutes
  • a grown man won’t spot three women on a sofa in front of a camera and he will play a game of pool whilst those three women are filming (even my best Punjabi glare didn’t get his attention)
  • sometimes it’s easier to get a coffee at Pret a Manger than in a hotel
  • there will always be some eventuality you couldn’t predict such as ‘overestimating December’: it went dark where we were filming and no lights came on!
  • or underestimating one’s iPhone brightness (this vlog is rather ‘well lit’)
  • Malta, my adoptive home, doesn’t have the monopoly on noisy construction 24/7 and it is possible to sit in a swanky hotel talking loudly above clanging lift repairs
  • we need lapel mic’s to cut out background noise for Season 2
  • bloggers are the best!
  • Helen is even bestest and I’m super lucky to be working with such a pro.

THAT’S ENOUGH PREAMBLE FROM ME. LET’S GET ON WITH THE SHOW!

Here you go, Bloggers’ Cafe Episode 1…eek!

NB. IF YOU’D LIKE TO SHARE OUR BLOGGERS’ CAFE POSTS/VLOGS ON SOCIAL MEDIA (GO ON!), PLEASE COULD YOU USE THE HASHTAG #BloggersCafe
 (and tag us if you don’t mind)
Twitter @abprabulous @justsayingmum
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If you have trouble watching the video from this page, you can go through to YouTube and watch it by clicking on this link.

Our warmest thank you to the Hyatt Andaz Hotel for kindly offering their venue to us.

I’D LOVE TO HEAR WHAT YOU THINK OF THE FIRST EPISODE OF BLOGGERS’ CAFE!

HAVE YOUR SAY! by using the Facebook or website comments box below.

SHARE THIS POST! via the social media share buttons below.

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How to stop Linkis from adding their link to your tweets!

This has been written in response to increasing confusion amongst bloggers about what Linkis actually is and does.  The purpose of this article is to highlight that a vast number of Linkis ‘users’ are in fact using Linkis without realising they are doing so or understanding what they have signed up to. You will find instructions on how to delete linkis towards the end of the post if you choose to.

 

black twitter bird with title on front

DO YOU RUN A WEBSITE/BLOG ON WHICH YOU SPEND YOUR VALUABLE TIME WORKING TO CURATE/WRITE CONTENT?

A site that is your baby, your brain child, your own corner of the internet? If the answer is yes, then let me ask you this.

ARE YOU SURE YOUR OWN URL IS SHOWING WHEN YOUR POSTS ARE TWEETED? OR IS A THIRD PARTY APP REPLACING YOUR URL’S WITH THEIR OWN?

A third party app that in fact then obliges people to activate an account BEFORE THEY ARE ALLOWED TO READ YOUR POST and then only lets them read your post within that app’s own screen WITHOUT ANY MENTION OF YOUR OWN SITE IN THE BROWSER WINDOW:

What am I talking about?

 

CHECK YOUR TWITTER TIMELINE

    • Do your tweets (for your content) show YOUR url or a Linkis In.is/com url?

    • Do your tweets (sharing other people’s posts) show THEIR url or the In.is/com url?

If the answer to either or both of these is yes, then you may want to do something about it! Why do I say this? Blogger Life of Tont tweeted me to ask:

Do you know that Linkis.com have taken over your Twitter account?

I didn’t know what he meant. Upon closer inspection, I noticed this:

 

ALL MY POSTS WERE GOING OUT ON TWITTER WITH IN.IS/COM/…INSTEAD OF MY OWN URL’S

screenshot of tweet sharing blog tips

I was horrified. It turned out I had unintentionally activated a linkis.com account.

 

I THEN REALISED MANY BLOGGERS HAVE AUTHORISED LINKIS AND EACH TIME THEY SHARED MY CONTENT, THE SAME PROBLEM WAS HAPPENING!

Here is a recent example. Look at this tweet that my blogger friend Jane of Maflingo kindly sent out to share my post 25 Things that Annoy the Hell Out of Bloggers (in which this linkis issue is number 20!)

screenshot of Maflingo tweet of Abprab post

 

See the problem? Instead of being shown my url http://www.absolutelyprabulous.com/25-annoying-things-about-blogging you are being shown In.is/com/eR1rP.

Upon realising that this was in fact a linkis customised tweet, Jane was dismayed as, like so many others, she had not even realised what was happening to her tweets. She has since revoked Linkis access to her tweets…see below on how to remove Linkis prefixes from your tweets. 

 

HERE’S THE KICKER

If you were to click on the link in that tweet (on Twitter I mean, not here) you would be  greeted with this:

That’s right. Same problem as on the tweet itself.

  • Instead of being shown my url http://www.absolutelyprabulous.com/25-annoying-things-about-blogging you are shown In.is/com/eR1rP.
  • Can you see how my site is hidden underneath? You have to click on that authorise button to get to my site. (It’s even more galling when you’re trying to click on your OWN content and have to authorise an app to view your own site.)
  • However, upon doing that, you would be viewing my site from within the linkis frame to which they then add a further bar showing the details of the linkis user (who tweeted the post). Hang on. Where does my site feature in all this?

 

WHY IS IT PROBLEMATIC WHEN TWEETS FEATURE THE LINKIS URL? SURELY IT’S JUST A URL SHORTENING SERVICE LIKE BIT.LY, OW.LY ETC?

Linkis.com describe themselves as a link customization service. Unlike URL shorteners, Linkis allows its users (who in most cases don’t even realise they are Linkis users!) to add their own information, image, bio, social accounts etc to their tweet. Linkis also adds a further top bar above the content (ie your post) that its users share. This is marketed as a benefit.  Perhaps there are bloggers out there who see it as a benefit to share someone else’s content (but change their link while doing so) whilst also adding their own ‘promotional extras’.  I must clarify that this does not apply to Jane’s tweet obviously.

But think of it this way.

 

WHAT IF YOU’RE WORKING WITH A BRAND FOR WHOM YOU’VE WRITTEN AN ARTICLE…AND THEN SOMEONE ELSE (A LINKIS USER) TWEETS THAT ARTICLE, ADDING DUBIOUS UNWANTED TEXT ETC IN THEIR TWEET?

You have no control over this!  All your hard work can go down the drain just like that. Whilst doing my research for this post, it wasn’t clear if linkis cover themselves in their T&C’s about the user being responsible for using the linkis service.

 

RE: COPYRIGHT, WHEN DID YOU GIVE YOUR PERMISSION FOR THOSE OTHER PEOPLE TO SHARE YOUR CONTENT VIA LINKIS?

If like me, you have copyright notices on your blog, then those people using linkis to share your content are committing copyright infringement. Yet they don’t realise as they’re not doing it deliberately or maliciously.

 

IT’S ALSO REALLY DAMAGING FOR YOUR SITE TRAFFIC/SOCIAL MEDIA GROWTH

  • John Doe see’s Jane’s tweet about my Annoying Things About Blogging post. He thinks “Wow this looks worth reading” (he’s a smart fella…it is quite good, if I say so myself 🙂 ).
  • He reads it, staying within that linkis screen and doesn’t register he’s on absolutelyprabulous.com because that bar on the screen shows Jane’s avatar and social media buttons, not mine.
  • Worse, he’s so put off by the authorise button, he clicks away without reading it at all. Reader and potential follower lost.

 

IT ALSO SEEMS THAT LINKIS HAS A SINISTER ALMOST MALWARE-LIKE ASPECT TO IT.

Firstly, look at this survey Tony carried out on Twitter.

Incidentally,  according to Tony, the ‘No I love them’ 1% response came from…. Linkis.com!

Now consider this:

  • John Doe see’s Jane’s tweet about my Annoying Things About Blogging post. He thinks “Wow this looks worth a read”.
  • He clicks on the tweet, then hits that authorise button.
  • BOOM he’s now a linkis user meaning that EVERYTHING he tweets from now on will be replaced with In.is/com/etc
  • He loves the post so much (thank you John), he retweets it
  • John’s friend Joe Bloggs sees his RT. Joe thinks “Wow, this looks good” and clicks and reads
  • BOOM he’s now a linkis user… See what’s happening here?
  • History repeats itself and like a contagion, the linkis usage spreads uncontrollably and apparently with very few people realising they’re infected and that they’re infecting others.

The final straw for me is when I looked at my daily stats and noticed that one of my ‘referrers’ was linkis. Hang on. Someone has shared my content (thank you to them) but linkis assumed ownership of the post url and is then referring my traffic back to me?! Er no thank you!

I set about solving the problem and restoring ‘ownership’ of my tweets.

 

THE PROBLEM IS THAT WHILE YOU CAN DO SOMETHING ABOUT HOW YOUR OWN TWEETS ARE GOING OUT, YOU CAN’T DO ANYTHING ABOUT OTHER LINKIS USERS’ TWEETS THAT SHARE YOUR CONTENT.

The only way to extinguish this Twitter wildfire problem is for bloggers to be aware of this negative side of Linkis and SPREAD THE WORD. Hopefully, if enough people catch on – PlLEASE SHARE THIS IF YOU FEEL STRONGLY ABOUT THIS ISSUE – that will spread as effectively as the linkis issue. (In the spirit of transparency, there is a caveat at the end of this post explaining Linkis’s side of it.) However, f you are not convinced of the ‘positive’ side that Linkis promotes in the articles mentioned in the caveat, then do the following:

 

TO REMOVE LINKIS IN.IS/COM/… FROM YOUR TWEETS AND REINSTALL YOUR OWN URL’S TO YOUR TWEETS DO THIS:

  1. Go to your Twitter settings

  2. scroll down to apps and locate linkis amongst authorised apps

  3. click on revoke access. 

You can’t see linkis in this particular screenshot because I removed mine but if you’ve authorised Linkis, they should show up in this tab. If not, see option 2.

 

DID THIS WORK? IF YOU CAN’T SEE LINKIS AMONG YOUR AUTHORISED APPS BUT YOUR TWEET URL’S ARE DEFINITELY REPLACED BY LINKIS THEN TRY OPTION 2:

  1. Go to linkis.com. (Don’t worry, you won’t be accidentally authorising them to do anything on your behalf by signing in!) You sign in via Twitter.

  2. Turn off ‘auto-branding’. 

  3. That’s it! Your linkis is deactivated and you are linkis-free!

 

CAVEAT

Linkis.com claims to offer a service that enhances your branding and promotes your Twitter account as well as other apparent ‘benefits’ such as stats info. Readers can decide for themselves if they think Linkis offers a beneficial service by reading these links:
http://blog.linkis.com/index.php/stats-for-every-link/
http://linkis.com

I did ask Linkis to clarify what benefit they think they bring (although in hindsight, I should perhaps have asked how it is in fact legal given the aforementioned copyright infringement).

screenshot of question to linkis re clarification of their service

At the time of writing this article, I’ve not yet received a response.

If you’d like to pin this post please do!

black twitter bird with title text

HAVE YOU BEEN HAVING LINKIS ISSUES? DID YOU FIND THIS POST USEFUL? 

HAVE YOUR SAY! by using the Facebook or website comments box below.

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Thanks Muchly!

25 Things That Annoy the Hell Out of Bloggers

 ***DISCLAIMER***

This post might be seen as controversial but that is not the intention.  I came up with ten annoying things about blogging myself and then thought I’d ask some others to contribute. It turned into a much longer list! Fact is, I’ve written this after countless conversations with/comments from bloggers; much as most of us love what we do, this was a post that was begging to be written! So I admit it may seem as if there is a LOT to dislike about blogging…to the point where you may wonder why we bloggers don’t just stop blogging and become window cleaners instead. 

Problem is, I’ve never been good at cleaning windows…

 

I LOVE BLOGGING FOR MANY REASONS

I’ve been at it for three years at the time of writing and can’t quite remember how I existed before it to be honest.  So far so warm and fuzzy.

I also hate it at times.

GASP! Uh oh, she’s throwing her toys out the pramt!  No not really. Well, a bit.  As with any job or hobby, there are aspects of blogging that aren’t great. They don’t exactly make me want to hide away in a dark room and suck my thumb but I can’t deny they do get on my wick. So I thought I’d cover some of those downsides.  Surely, however, when there is real crap going on in the world – war, famine, terror, rape, unparalleled refugee crisis, Trump – pondering over the annoying things about blogging is some bourgeois luxury? And it’s not like it’s the first time I’ve wrung my hands about this job/passion/addiction.  No, that’s a tad simplistic and we wouldn’t do, speak or write anything about anything if I always assumed that position.  So without any further preamble, here is a list (along with some hashtag snarkiness) of things that annoy bloggers.


Featuring contributions from John of Dad Blog UK, Tony of The Life of Tont, Talya of Motherhood the Real Deal, Sam of Mouse Moo and Me Too, Sarah of Mumzilla, BM of The Adventures of Beta Mummy and Fran of Whinge Whinge Wine.


 

THE ALL CONSUMING NATURE OF IT

1. TIME!
The bane of all blogger’s lives. Unlike with a lot of ‘regular’ jobs that one leaves behind at the office, you can blog 24/7. The very freedom it gives you can also create a prison because you’re always aware you can blog anywhere anytime.The writing and the promotion and the brand collabs and the reading other blogs and the linkies and the social media and the e-v-e-r-t-h-i-n-g. And apparently I’m meant to drink at least two litres of water a day and remember to breathe. When? WHEN?! Basically, there just aren’t enough hours in the week life for it all. #PleaseSendVodkaAndChocolateButMainlyVodka

For me it’s all the behind the scenes tinkering that goes into your website. I installed a plugin that messed up a load of posts so I had to fix all of that but the tech side is totally invisible to the reader. So you can stay up til 1am crying over a bit of code that may as well be Latin but to the outside world it just looks like you’ve not posted for a week. Because there’s no sodding time! Sam

2 ALL. THE. SOCIAL. MEDIA.
Probably one of THE most annoying things about blogging and perfectly summed up by Sam and John. Actually I think Sam’s suggestion should be the law:

Time blocking social media doesn’t work; it’s a total fallacy. If you’re not on it 24/7 you feel like you’re missing out which is a horrendous blight to the work/life balance! I wish the whole blogging world could take Sundays off. Sam

“If there’s one thing I dislike, it’s having to remain constantly active on social media. I use Twitter, IG, FB, YouTube, Google + etc. and while I love the interaction, discussion and debate, keeping on top of all channels is time consuming and it can be difficult to switch off.” John

#CantGetOffTheHamsterWheel

 

ALGORITHMS & RANKINGS NOBODY UNDERSTANDS AND MIND GAMES

3. INSTAGRAM FOLLOW UNFOLLOW FOLLOW UNFOLLOW
Seeing your Instagram followers go up and down like a yoyo, thanks to Instagrammers with  too much ego and too little sense playing that ridiculous game of ‘follow to unfollow’.  What a disheartening and frankly mannerless waste of everyone’s time to wake up to notifications about a bunch of new followers only to find your overall follower number is in fact lower than or the same as it was the day before. I love the feelgood factor of this platfrom but the unfollower thing? Instasham!  The school playground was a long time ago. #JustGrowUp

4. FACEB*STARD
murdering post reach so you’re forced to spend money to boost posts if you want anyone other than your granny and her pussy – excuse me – to read your content. Clearly your followers would rather see adverts for self-improvement courses and chakra jewellery than your latest post… #ImNotNiceWhenImAngry

And the never-ending mystery and frustration (or maybe I’m just doing something wrong?) of no longer being able to like or comment on bloggers’ posts (on their page) as your own page id. I don’t publish my name anywhere on my blog or Facebook page for privacy reasons and can’t understand why Facebook expects me to show my full name when commenting on a person’s page. What benefit is that to the blogger or me? (Sadly, in order to join Facebook groups, I’ve had to reveal my name which I’m unhappy about beyond all measure.)

5. KLOUT DISCONNECTING LINKED NETWORKS WITHOUT WARNING OR EXPLANATION
You put a tonne of work into growing your IG regularly only to notice your Klout has dropped several places! Upon closer inspection, it turns out Instagram was disconnected. No idea why, no idea when.  And it keeps happening. #MakeItStop

6. RANKINGS
Cue silence.  From me that is. I’m far too chicken to say anything on this topic. Luckily, the inimitable Fran isn’t.

Blogger ranking schemes take into account everything but the quality of the writing; some brilliant blogs get overlooked just because the bloggers behind them can’t be arsed to play the instagram game. Fran

7. LOSING OUT TO BLOGGERS WITH FAKE HUGE FOLLOWER NUMBERS (THAT PEOPLE BELIEVE)
Okay, I couldn’t stay silent.  Seriously the shortsightedness here would be funny if it weren’t so damned frustrating. How do people not see what’s going on? It doesn’t take a social media expert or statistician to work out that if someone has several hundred thousand followers, is only following a few hundred themselves and gets about 40 likes on their posts – those are ghost followers. Ain’t no engagement, ain’t no real person. #GetWithTheProgramme

I simply can’t be bothered and am frankly too busy to:

spend [my] evenings following and unfollowing on twitter and the like. Fran

 

WORKING WITH BRANDS!

This is an enormous topic that I could (and should) write about separately. Grab yourself a drink (actually can you get me one too?) and let’s do this! #InhaleExhale

8. BEING EXPECTED TO PROSTITUTE YOUR INTEGRITY AND TIME FOR FREE

The expectation that you will write about anything and everything just because somebody has pitched it to you like you are there to blog at the whim of everyone else and their agendas…NO, just NO! (You can pay me for that…and then maybe). Talya

I get annoyed by people wanting to work with you and then flinging the follow link bulls**t in after you’ve done the work. Sarah
9. WHILST HAVING TO TOLERATE RIDICULOUS SUGGESTIONS AND COMMENTS

“If you just write a short post mentioning us, share it on social media with our name and maybe mention us elsewhere on your site, that’s really no cost to you.”  Er…so you mean you want me to work my bits off for nothing, give you a follow link AND give you free advertising? Wish I could unsee that email out of all the daft emails. #DidIJustRemoveMyOwnBrainWithoutRealising

“Your metrics are not good enough to justify the payment you’re asking for” Guess what? This was said by the same PR as above to a couple of my blog friends whose stats are to die for. Short of having an orgy with the heads of Google and Facebook to raise their rankings even further, I don’t know how their metrics could be any better. #BeCarefulBloggersDoTalk

10. THE GAP BETWEEN THE TIME AND EFFORT YOU LAY OUT AND WHAT YOU RECEIVE
Hands up if you’ve put in several hours writing a comprehensive review with quality photos that took time to set up, in exchange for an item that is so low value that actually your labour and effot cost more than the item itself.

11. OUTREACH REPS/CONTENT WRITERS WHO CAN’T GET YOUR NAME RIGHT…

I’ve received so many emails starting with “Hey Absolutely” my eyes want to bleed. Come on, I know Indian names aren’t the easiest but seriously? My first name is not Absolutely and my last name is not Prabulous, #TotalFlippingTwonk  

12…AND HAVEN’T THE FAINTEST IDEA WHAT YOUR BLOG IS ABOUT
What’s more, does this sound familiar?: “Hey your site is awesome, especially your articles about fashion.”  Thanks, my site is awesome (inside my tiny delusional brain) but as I’ve never written about fashion, it’s more obvious than 90% of Barry Manilow’s face now being plastic that you’ve never read a single thing I’ve written.  #NowPleaseNaffOffAndDoYourResearch (Especially)

13. PR’S WHO DON’T RESPOND ONCE YOU’VE REPLIED ETC
Rude!

If certain PRs weren’t so lazy and actually read blogs rather than just telling you they had, they would know whether someone was a ‘good fit’ and whether they were someone they wanted to work with before they emailed you and wasted everyone’s time. Fran

 

THE BLOG COMMUNITY, THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY

14. FOLLOW LINKS OR NO FOLLOW LINKS?!
I’ve had so many conversations and read so much about this, I just want to go into a dark room on my own and suck my thumb for a while. There is a LOT of conflicting opinion on this from bloggers, digital marketers, reputable SEO experts and so on. I happen to be married to someone who’s specialised in online marketing for 15 years. I listen to him! And this lady…I listen to her succinct appraisal!:

I hate how people get hysterical about the right or wrong way to do it (e.g. accept or don’t accept follow links). BM

15. SOME ‘MEGA’ BLOGS ARE ACTUALLY NOT VERY GOOD
Eeek! #WhatSheSaid

where the quality of the written English is terrible compared to other little blogs with brilliant writing. BM

I hadn’t thought of any of the following points in this section until Tony responded so this is all him:

16. THE NUMBER OF BLOGGING GROUPS

In 2016 I was added to 24 blogging groups that all did essentially the same thing. Many of the same people asking the same questions in multiple groups. The notifications did my head right in. Tony.

17. BLOGGERS BEHAVING BADLY

Rather than work hard to improve their brand, a minority seem inclined to just want to bring others down rather than build themselves up. I’ve met more nice people than mean, but that minority sometimes ruin the experience. Tony

18. THE VASTNESS OF THE BLOGGING COMMUNITY

One of the beautiful things about blogging is that anyone can do it, but because anyone can do it, everyone does it. Fighting for a larger slice of the pie has become so competitive and PR and brands exploit it. Tony

TECHNOLOGY (GOD HELP US ALL)

19. THE NEVER-ENDING LABYRINTH

I can’t even. I’ll just start weeping as I’ve still got PTSD from a hosting issue a few months ago. So I’ll let Tony take this last one too!

Technical stuff, coding, resolving design issues, head sections, analytics all confound and confuse me. I wish I had the time and patience to learn this craft better. Tony

20. LINKIS SOFTWARE
Feeling more violated at your tweets being taken over by that linkis third party software (replacing your own URL’s with the in.is ‘prefix’) than if your house was burgled. No joke, we were burgled just six days after moving into our house and I honestly was less affected by that than this problem that I only knew about thanks to Tony again. If you are seeing this in your Tweet links: In.is/com/, I’ve written this post on how to delete them and restore your own links.

21. BLOG/SOCIAL MEDIA IMAGE SIZES
Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, YouTube…headers, featured images, thumbnails,  landscape, portrait, rectangular, square… I know I sound childish but whyyyyyy can’t there be one standard size? #MyHeadHurts

AAAAND THE REST!

22. TROLLS

The fact that there is always some d***head who takes it the wrong way, and goes out the their way to tell you that you’re an awful parent. It can be difficult not to dwell on that one person even when the other reactions were brilliant. Fran

23. HOW BLOG AWARDS WORK
I wasn’t sure whether to mention this as I’ve won one and I don’t agree with one of the main opinions! General consensus is that winning a blog award is about the numbers game (which I used to think): ie the more followers you have, the more votes you’re going to get.  Actually my IG, FB & Twitter numbers are even tinier than my boobs and yet I was still shortlisted despite all the other finalists having bigger followings. Basically I don’t think anyone knows the mechanics of it!! But I know from talking to bloggers and reading posts like this one by Frenchie Mummy that this is the general view:

Awards are often about your social media following rather than quality.  [There are blogs that are] not very well written but have legions of followers and some beautiful writers miss out. Sarah

24. LINKIES AND RULES
This might throw a spanner in the works but for many, certain rules which oblige the linker to comment on specific posts just because of their place in the link up – regardless of whether it’s the sort of thing they want to read – make it unenjoyable.

The fact that if you join linkies you end up having to comment on posts reviewing a random product or day out at a castle in Derbyshire. Sam

25. BEING ASKED “SO YOU JUST GET FREE STUFF AND WRITE A FEW PARAGRAPHS?

This may well be in a lot of bloggers’ top five most annoying things about blogging.  Yes. Basically that is ALL we do. Oh and this. Because we’re fundamentally lazy.

 

SO WHY ON EARTH DO WE CARRY ON BLOGGING?!

Because while many feel these frustrations, it’s strangely addictive and rewarding.
Because while it can make you want to stick pins in your eyes, it’s also gratifying when people get what you write (or read it at all).
Because the support and camaraderie is wonderful.
Because many of us (particularly mothers) ‘find ourselves again’ through blogging.

IT GETS IN YOUR BLOOD
I can no longer just watch a film/TV show without playing Name That Font in my head for every credit or subtitle I see. (I now I need help.) I get more excited over noticing a blogger’s new website theme than if they told me they were having a baby. And if you think I’m just plain sad, check out How to Tell if You’re Officially a Blog Geek and see how many points you relate to!

IT CAN GIVE YOU OPPORTUNITIES YOU NEVER EXPECTED

“I love blogging. Although it wasn’t my intention, I kickstarted a career as a blogger and writer, one that I am able to fit around my family commitments, this is vital for me as a stay at home father. John

YOU SEE HILARIOUS STUFF LIKE THIS
Yes, you so need to be a blogger to find this funny.

screenshot of FB conversation

Image courtesy of ukparentbloggers FB Group and http://www.amumtrackmind.com

FINALLY, OF COURSE THE SURPRISING ICING ON THE CAKE
You make friends through it…awwww

(…and hopefully some cash *cough*)

If you didn’t like that Hollywood ending, I’ll be in that dark room…sucking my thumb.

[She hit ‘publish’ and then thought of five more points she should have included… yep that’s #26 on the list of annoying things about blogging!]

SO WHAT DO YOU THINK?!

HAVE YOUR SAY! by using the Facebook or website comments box below.

SHARE THIS POST! via the social media share buttons below.

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Thanks Muchly!

 

I Have Some Exciting News to Share With You

I have some exciting news that I really want to share with you!

lightbox saying exciting news

 

So I’m typing this late at night even though I’m dog tired from only hour’s sleep after a hectic few days and a hideously early start to catch my flight back to Malta.  I got back today from London where I spent five days shopping for Christmas presents and sorting outfits for all six events my brother’s wedding (yes six and I’m all sorted!).  This was my third trip to the UK this year, the most amount of trips I’ve done back to Blighty since moving to Malta eleven years ago.

But no, that’s not my exciting news.

 

Of course, there were the usual ‘interesting incidents and setbacks’ that I always seem to experience when I return to the UK, such as:

  • realising I’d only booked 15kg instead of 20kg baggage allowance and was 4kg over…I never book 15kg!
  • ransacking the house trying to find my MAC lipliner (basic survival item), finally sending le Hubster to buy a new one after he’d finished an evening work meeting, discovering the old one in my handbag the next day as we were leaving for the airport (quietly closing my hand around the offending item praying he hadn’t noticed)
  • almost leaving my phone behind in Malta and rushing back to the house to fetch it
  • wanting to chunder in the Costa Coffee queue at Malta International when the chap in front of me erm ‘evacuated’ some pungent air
  • enduring a multi-change train journey to get to my parents’ house  (you know how I love to play that traditional game of ‘Musical Platforms’ aka ‘Don’t They Have Lifts in England?” which is best played with at least one heavy case) which prompted my dad to wonder if I’d in fact flown back to Malta and my brother to point out that there is in fact a much easier route from the aiport to ma and pa’s
  • discovering I’d come to the UK without my bank card but with my husband’s tootbrush

But no, none of those is my exciting news either. 

 

My exciting news is that I’m launching a brand new vlog ‘chat show’ called Bloggers’ Cafe (#BloggersCafe) with Just Saying Mum and it’s coming to a screen near you in January 2017. Eeks.

I’ve been dying to say that bit ever since we first had the idea!  Our new YouTube venture will bring you bloggers opening up about their experiences, tips, funny stories, opinions on blog ‘myths’ and hot topics.  We’ve just spent two days filming it all in London (because that’s what I like to call the placing of an iPhone on a tripod and pressing record), thanks to the wonderful bloggers who came along to chat to us and of course the Hyatt Andaz Hotel for offering us a space in which to do it.

 

tea and coffee tray at the andaz hotel

 

If I’m honest, I’m looking at those words in awe because now I’m back on my sofa in Malta, I actually can’t quite believe we pulled it off.  It’s a miracle we didn’t suddenly chicken out, upon realising the daring ambitiousness of our last minute idea, given that we were attempting to carry it out in the midst of the annual Christmas run up when people are so busy.

 

How two bloggers in two different countries pulled Bloggers’ Cafe together from the original nugget of an idea to the actual realisation in just three weeks and in the middle of December, I just don’t know!

One thing I’ve learned is that Helen is much like me; when she’s got an idea, she’s like a dog with a bone. Neither of us was going to let the timing, location, different countries or parental constraints thing get in the way.   Oh and did I mention we only had two filming days in the whole month to offer our guests as were tied to my existing flight dates?

A quick run down of what was involved:

1) well it started with a fair amount of excited squeals and a very long video call between Helen and myself.
2) properly conceptualising the idea, format, objectives etc because let’s face it, after the initial excitement and novelty of ‘we’re good blog friends and we want to do something together’, we needed to really think about the series’ benefits and why anyone would watch!
3) putting the call out for participants (which may have mentioned a cryptic reference to Helen’s and my failed attempt to share a bed at #BML16 but I can’t confirm or deny that).
4) putting explanatory info together for interested bloggers (I actually want to frame the email that went out because I’m a bit proud of it…I know, I need to get help).
5) securing participants (no mean feat in December given that people use their Saturdays to shop and there was also the parent blogger issue: #Childcare).
6) scheduling time slots for seven people (which despite its challenges was considerably easier than doing lunch boxes for three children).
7) coming up with the name, logo ideas etc (frankly I’d have cried if our participants refused to use that sign in the image above – all will be revealed next month as to how they use it – given the time it took farting around with stock photo libraries, photoshop and font sites because you know me…as mentioned above, when I have an idea, I have to see it through and I don’t make my life easy getting there.
8) a lot of Facetime, video calls, whatsapping, Facebooking, wifi problems and diary clashes while Helen and I tried to liaise with each other on the details.
9) the small matter of finding a venue, a matter which I had to dump on poor Helen as I couldn’t do much on that front from Malta. Let’s just say it went down to the wire and it’s the first time I’ve ever heard Helen say she felt stressed! We can’t thank the London Hyatt Andaz Hotel enough for their generosity.
10) actually filming it over the course of Saturday and Monday.

 

I honestly love love LOVED the whole experience and can’t actually believe that just three short months ago, I said no to the thought of vlogging… 

…and yet here I am not only doing my own individual vlogs but working with other bloggers in front of the camera.  Motherhood the Real Deal you are so right: vlogging is addictive! Of course, we had a few hiccups such as totally unexpected noisy lift repairs delaying the filming of our last session (you were so right Dad Blog UK about those lapel mics which I’ll definitely have to order for Season 2!), someone playing snooker even though he could see we were filming, people just moving the ‘filming progress’ sign to come and stare at us and of course the inevitable cancellations because it is not only the season of good will but also of bad colds and bugs.

But we did it!

 

My Vlog Partner Is Fab…Just Saying.

I can’t possibly end this post without a warm gushing soppy shout out to my friend and vlogging partner Helen whose refreshing blog I started following around March and whom I only met in person for the first time in June. The second time was…yep when we filmed Bloggers’ Cafe! There are those people in life with whom it’s just effortless and you feel like you’ve know them for ages. Helen is that person and we make a great team, if I say so myself and I just wish I could do all my vlogs with her.

Just Saying Mum sitting on sofa

I sincerely hope that Season 1 (I’m loving using words like ‘airing’ and ‘season’ as this is the only time in my life I’ve got a legitimate excuse!) is just the beginning of something wonderful.  It has the potential to be, especially given the reactions to our various social media posts last weekend, not to mention those by the participating bloggers. You could sense the buzz and support. But you know what?

 No matter what the future holds in store for #BloggersCafe, I think you just have to try in life. Nothing ventured, nothing gained and all that.
It isn’t always about crossing the finishing line; it’s just as much about making it to the starting point too.

So there you go, that was my exciting news.

Huge thanks to everyone who gave up their time to come and talk to us.  

And to end…a vlog of course!  Here’s a wee totally raw unedited vid we shot after we finished the first season.

WATCH THIS SPACE FOR BLOGGERS’ CAFE, EPISODE 1 COMING TO A PHONE/LAPTOP SCREEN NEAR YOU IN JANUARY 2017!

Blog Stars 3: 20 more amazing posts you need to know about

blog-stars3

#BlogStars is Finally BACK After a Crazy Long Break With 20 Amazing Posts!  

Frankly, the word break is almost embarrassing.  It’s been months since the last time I put one of these together and I’ve missed doing this post.  It really is one of my blog babies as it’s such a great feeling promoting other people’s content, not just my own all the time and an honour feature good writing.  If I say so myself, this edition of my amazing posts round-up is ‘a bit good’ people.   Tis a veritable gallery of amaze balls talent and content.  There are belly laughs galore, total  heartbreakers, useful blog tips and thought provoking posts..  If I had a cheeky sense of humour and no filter, I’d crack a joke about having had multiple bloggasms reading the incredible posts listed below, but you know I’d never do that.  Ever.  Not cheeky. At. All. And my filter is well adjusted.

So, a couple of bits before we get on with the #BlogStars show:

 

1) Featured Blog Stars, Grab Your Badge!

Do feel free to stick this on your featured post and/or your blog sidebar or both!

Absolutely Prabulous

 

2) If you enjoy this post and want to share it anywhere on social media – blogger or non blogger – can I ask you to use the hashtag #BlogStars? Cheers Big Ears!

 

Amy Treasure What It Really Feels Like Long Term Trying to Conceive

Amy Treasure was one of the first people to lend me a helping hand when I was bumbling through the initial stages of taking my blog to the next level.  Next time I see her, I’ll be giving her an enormous hug.  Why? Because with this tremendous account of her battle to conceive again, one of the UK’s most successful bloggers has written one of the best posts I’ve read in almost 3 years of blogging. (And I don’t say things like that often because I’m a self-confessed language Nazi.) I stared at the screen with awe and emotion after reading this.  Every word is perfection, the flow and structure superb, the story utterly gripping and the end…oh my… Ulltimately it’s a personal insight.  It may be slightly graphic in parts but we’re talking making babies, not origami and frankly, this is REAL LIFE people! Not a puff piece about what handbag this Hollywood actress is currently ‘wearing’ or which latest human barbie doll that famous singer is screwing. Instead, what you have here is a profound article about the human condition, utter bloody will and sheer resilience. So if you enjoy reading engaging stuff that gets to your heart, I urge you to read this. Amongst the best two minutes you could spend.
Twitter: @AmyTreasureblog Facebook: AmyTreasureBlog

 

And Another Ten Things What Would Your Parenting Out of Office Say? 

Heavens above, how clever and hilarious is this post?  You know when you read a post and think er…hello?…why the heck has this not gone viral?  Its style, tone, ingenuity and amusement level puts it right up there as one of the funniest I’ve read during this blogging lark.  If you want short, sharp and entertaining, then click on that link and treat yourself. Idontgiveashitandjuststarvethen.com Ba ha HA!
Follow on Twitter @Another10Things Facebook And another ten things

 

Blind Intuiton: 12 Months Blind Happy and Independent

Where to start?!  What a wonderful bitter sweet uplifting saddening inspiring (I guess Sarah will hate that remark but it is) breath taking and oh so many other adjectives post. I am almost having to sit on my own hands to stop myself typing the complimentary comments Sarah doesn’t like people making because of course when I read bits such as the fact that she runs…well…I can’t even finish my sentence because I’m in such awe. I get it.  When life deals us the cruellest of blows, we have two choices: either curl up in that ball and stay angry and defeated for the rest of our life or pick ourselves up and just get the heck on with the business of living and parenting.  Clearly this blogger/mother/wife/woman made the right decision. Awesome.
Twitter: @blindintuition Facebook: blindintuition

 

3 Little Buttons Blogging is like sailing on the ocean

This post put the wind back in my blog sails, excuse the dreadful pun. It’s not a long post at all and doesn’t need to be.  Annette says what she needs to say (so instinctively as usual) with beautiful concise simplicity and I really do think she nails the description of blogging  “From new little dinghies to established battle ships…” Pure magic!
Twitter: @3_littlebuttons Facebook: 3 little buttons

 

First Tooth Our Family in a Hotel Overnight Would Never End Well

Oh Lizzie Lizzie…whilst I am jealous you went to Lego Land when I’ve still not managed to get there despite scoring free tickets last year (ugh)…I am not jealous you went to Lego Land.  What are you on about Ms Prabulous?  This: “face mask” and “coco pops”.  Eff me I laughed.  To be fair, this post is about only one part of the First Tooth family stay that wasn’t so great but the rest of the visit went well.  I’m very happy for Lizzie and all that but frankly, it’s all about the face mask and the coco pops for me.  Priceless.
Twitter: @firsttooth Facebook: firsttooth

 

Irish Baby Fairy

Sorry…couldn’t decide on one post from this wonderful blogger (I’m a Pisces…decisiveness is not my forté).

 A Man’s Role in the Labour Ward

This is brilliant. From start to finish, it’s just brilliant. I can’t tell you how many times I laughed because I honestly don’t know.  I do love how the ironic belly laughs give way to beautiful useful tips (alright they’re a bit funny too) at the end;  a wonderful, unexpected touch.  And the quotes from the dads are just genius.  I won’t spoil it for you but the ‘silent movie…Exorcist’ line had me howling.  PS praise your partner as much as possible.

Breastfeeding Journey of a Midwife

[Hides behind sofa] Don’t hate me but there are certain topics I tend to scoot past when they crop up in my social media feed/linky circuit. Breastfeeding is one of them.  Been there, done that, got the milk-stained tshirt.  With a 12, 10 and 7 year old, my baby years are behind me and I’m in a very different stage of parenthood from many of my blogging peers.  Translation: I’m ancient. BUT when I noticed this post by the Irish Baby Fairy I suspected I might be in for a treat. And I wasn’t wrong.  This is one of those ‘is it bad that I laughed?’ posts because it describes an experience that was clearly not much fun for the person writing it.  However, Lisa is just wonderfully funny and yes I did really chuckle in places (and wince in places too as the sheer pain of breastfeeding suddenly came back to me).
Twitter: @IrishBabyFairy Facebook: The Irish Baby Fairy

 

Mess and Merlot/Rhyming with Wine She Loves Herself

If it was possible to eat a blog post, this would be it (which is possibly a bit ironic given the subject matter).  Simply one of the most beautiful blog posts I’ve read to the point where I struggled to think of how to describe it because I’m not sure I can do it justice.   It is part of the clever and thought-provoking guest post series that the fab Charlie of Mess and Merlot is running about body image issues called She Loves Herself.  Every post I’ve read so far has been engaging and touching and this one…awww…it just radiates dignity and positivity and gorgeousness.  Frankly if you’re not in love with Dawn of Rhyming with Wine by the end of it [mimics audible gasp of disbelief].  The pledge to use actual makeup remover to take off makeup rather than her pillowcase (I howled!) and the mantra at the end blew me away (I’ve actually vlogged about that by the way).
Twitter: @MessandMerlot @rhymingwithwine Facebook: rhyminwithwine

 

My Little Babog Blogging Tips, The Ultimate Beginner’s, Business and Blogging Guide

Well if that isn’t a do what it says on the tin title, I don’t know what is! It really doesn’t matter how long I blog or how much I think I may already know, I never ever get tired of seeing Bloggy Tips posts and recently wrote one myself (it’s not shameless plugging when it’s on one’s own blog, ahem!).  I’m sure there are those who get jaded as they’ve been around on the blog scene for a while but despite going for three years now, I’m still a blog advice junkie.  And this post by Kellie fed my habit nicely.  I can’t believe I’ve only just looked at her site when I’ve known of this award-winning blogger for a while but hey ho, life.  Anyway I thoroughly recommend you read this, especially if you’ve not been blogging for long as I’m sure you will come across something you didn’t know or knew but had forgotten/not got round to putting into practice.  Let’s face it; there is just so ruddy much to remember on the blog.  Mental note to self: send Kellie a thank you card for the line about StumbleUpon. What she said!
Twitter: @MyLittleBabog Facebook: mylittlebabog

 

OMG It’s a Girl Why Did you Leave Me

This is the blog post that broke me. A post that will stay with me long after others have faded.  I’ve actually just welled up again typing that.  Written by one of my most supportive blog mates Alan, (he reads almost everything I write, never hesitates to share my posts and knows flattery works on me…I adore him!), it just made my heart ache. And ache. It’s an account of him finally meeting his birth mother again many years after she walked out of his life as well as the effect that her departure has had on him throughout his life and on his own parenting. I pretty much read it with my heart barely daring to beat. You may feel like avoiding it if you’ve run out of kleenex.  To which I say, just go get the toilet paper instead…because deeply sad as this is, it is well WELL worth a read.
Twitter: @omgitsagirl Facebook: OMG It”s a Girl

 

Life Love and Dirty Dishes Push Present: Hell Yes

A quality offering from Claire. Again. Mind you that’s almost as pointless as saying the roads in central London get busy.  Claire doesn’t know how to not do quality.   So who better than Claire to talk about Push presents (no I’d never heard of them until Claire’s post but that’s not saying much because I’m always the last to know anything!). Honestly, she already had me with her description of that classy fella Kanye *sarcasm* and the bit: ‘may be a bit much before lunch’.  The part that really made me laugh, however, was her mini rant explaining in no uncertain terms why pregnancy and birth are not a joint effort.
Twitter: @lifeloveanddd Facebook: Life Love and Dirty Dishes

 

Motherhood the Real Deal

The second time in this edition of #BlogStars where I struggled over which post to choose.  There are two by my blogging bestie Talya that have stood out for me recently which show why she is just so flipping good at what she does because they are totally different:

10 Things Parents Hate about the School Run

I read this partly laughing my head off, partly going “Oh my God what? Parents actually do that?!!” (and I’m a parent myself ha ha) and partly thanking my lucky stars I don’t endure many of the points mentioned in this post. Talya just cracks me up; I can actually imagine her turning up at the gates, suddenly remembering an item that was due, being glared at by some self-righteous smart arse of a parent and just coolly pulling on her shades and hiding behind her oversized coffee and letting it wash over her!   The bit about someone discovering the toddler alone and eating leaves. Ha ha!

I’m Stopping at One Child But Sometimes It Hurts

Now I have to say, I’ve not read many posts by my blog wife that are as revealing and  personal as this.  I tend to see her list posts (such as the one I just mentioned before) that are hilarious or her blog tips or perspectives on parenting.  This gorgeous heart wrenching post about her decision to have no more kids was an eye opener for me and in my opinion, a rare insight into the woman/mother herself. That last line…I won’t spoil it for you but it’s breathtaking.  Do yourself a favour and read this.
Twitter: @motherhoodreal Facebook: Motherhood the Real Deal

 

Mouse, Moo and Me Too So What’s Wrong with Your Husband

Yes I admit, I clicked. This probably speaks volumes about my character and suggests I have a voyeuristic nature (to my surprise) but I’m sure Samantha is not unhappy that I clicked because we bloggers want to get read don’t we?  What awaited me was a surprising, bitter sweet, gently funny (semi informative too!) but somewhat sad post about Samantha’s husband. It really is worth a read for all these qualities and the overriding message which I won’t reveal here.  (She’s just lovely too.)
Twitter: @MouseMoo_MeToo Facebook: @Mouse, Moo and Me Too

 

Not an Effing Fairytale Blog Mummy Princess Goes to F***ing Primark

“And the brave blogger award goes to…”  Er, not me.  Because I’m a total chicken and I put asterisks in ‘that’ word in the post title. I don’t type the F-bomb on my blog because despite having a truly hideous potty mouth in RL (and I mean hideous), I just can’t bring myself to do it on the blog.  Terry-Ann swears a teeny bit on her blog. Not much actually. In fact, hardly at all. Seriously, go see for yourself.  She’s ridiculously funny and hands down one of my top
three blog discoveries of the last few months  Poor thing almost died in Primark by the way. Tis a tough life.  You know…when you look nothing like Princess Kate, you have two spirited children and a lazy husband. That’s just made me want to swear…
Twitter: @cookiekibbles

 

Our Rach 10 Things NOT To Say to a New or Expectant Parent

Remember what I said earlier about generally sidestepping past breastfeeding posts?  Not sure how to say this without digging an even deeper grave for myself but I almost didn’t click on this for the same reason.   No disrespect to the talented fun Rach but when you’ve got kids as old as mine, most parenting topics have passed before your blogger eyes.  That sounds so jaded doesn’t it?  Anyway, the main thing is I did click on it and boy am I glad I did…because I ended up reading it three times.  The bit about banking sleep made me chuckle and by the time I got to ‘naff off and worry about your own tits’ I was on the flipping floor.  Even her ‘follow me’ Twitter thing on her blog is hilarious!  She’s such good value this lass. Always.
Twitter: @ourrachblogs

 

R is for Hoppit The Pig in the Wig

Like a few others on here, I’ve featured this blogger before and there is just no way I can publish this edition of #BlogStars without featuring her standout parody/poem about the ‘man of the moment’ Donald Twunt.  I’ve used the phrase ‘this is genius’ before and I don’t like over using phrases and diluting their meaning.  But this blogger is just ridiculously clever (and I felt like writing a letter of complaint when she didn’t get through to the last five at the Brilliance in Blogging awards this year).  So go read this.  Then come tell me you don’t think this post/she is genius.  I’m not a gambling woman but I’m willing to bet money you can’t.  Hilarious and yet depressing at the same time, it is…genius.
Twitter: @sillymummy88

 

Single Mummy Speaks Am I Just a Blogging Failure?

I had the pleasure of meeting this young lady at #BML16 earlier this year.  I think I may have stunned her with a hug if I recall.  She happens to be one of my favourite bloggers.  Her writing is just brilliant and I never fail to come away from reading her material nodding my head in agreement or thinking ‘wow how does she write like that?!’  She also happens to be a blogger who has quite openly pondered what blogging is all about and has talked about that dreaded blog demon: angst.  And voilà, this post.  Once again, she hits the ball out of the park and I can’t help find it ironic (sad?) that someone so talented with such a knack for the right turn of phrase at exactly the right moment, questions her blogging abilities.  There again, blogging does that to us all!  To be honest, the title of this post shows that Min is actually very savvy.
Twitter: @babyorbankrupt

 

This Mum’s Life How Not to Do a Spin Class

Ah Lucy Luuuuuuucy. If anyone can write a hilarious list of Do’s and Don’ts, it’s you! There again, I’d read anything by this blogger including her shopping list. This had me howling doing my linky reading on a Monday morning (you know while I was in my dry, fresh-smelling running gear…which I then got out of hours later without actually having run, ooooops).  My faves were #1, #13 and #14 or more accurately #WhatAmISayingTheWholeThingIsFunny PS please consider publishing your grocery shopping list because it actually would be funny.
Twitter: @ThisMumsLife Facebook: @This Mum’s Life

 

The Unsung Mum Why Mothers are All Child Abusing Knobs

Well I considered just leaving my commentary on this post at: Oh. Ma. Laad. That. Is. Well. Funny.  But this is clearly a bit meagre compared to the write up everyone else gets.  Thing is this post is so good – and let’s face it the title alone is enough to make you click and if it isn’t HUH???-  that all I really need to say is: it’s a brilliant take on a topic I see written about a lot when it comes to motherhood and the blogger cleverly avoids using the obvious title she could have chosen.  Someone please give this woman a medal because I can’t think of a better way to end this edition of the #BlogStars. Ballsy, well written and funny.  What more do we need to end with?!  Go stalk (her words) Laura forthwith with great haste etc on
Twitter: @TheUnsungMum Facebook: @the Unsung Mum

 

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Thanks Muchly!

 

15 Things I Want to Pass on From Three Years of Blogging

15-things-i-want-to-pass-on-from-blogging

 

Absolutely Prabulous, my Fourth Child is Three Years Old!

November is a mad month for me and my fam.  Two nephews’ birthdays, parents’ anniversary, two of my kids have birthdays three days apart (hail my legendary family planning skills NOT) and the day after the second of those birthdays, my blog has its birthday (or blogiversary as it’s known).  Now nature and biology are what they are; I couldn’t do an awful lot about my kids’ dates of birth once the baby-making deed was done. But quite why I chose to launch my blog the same week in which I am drowning in birthday organisation and my kitchen is covered in flour,sugar and eggs, I will never know.  Excuse me while I sit down.

Anyway, I Thought I’d Write a Blogiversary Post…

Now I’ve never written one of these before as it didn’t dawn on me to do so and frankly I wouldn’t think I have much to say.  However, I’ve noticed blogiversary posts here and there and it got me thinking that it would be a good idea to get a few thoughts down.  I mean surely  I’ve learned something right? So here you go, these are just fifteen of the many things I’ve learned in three years of blogging!

 

1) Almost Every Blogger Goes Through Blog Angst and Eventually Comes out the Other Side (one way or another)

Blog angst? I could write the book on it. Trying to do it all: write great content, build that  Faceberk/Twatter/Instaglam following, read a dozen posts on just one linky and comment my bits off to support my fellow bloggers (and maybe pick up a new follower) get published on other sites in the hope of traffic and backlink benefit, work with brands offering nice-to-have products and ambassadeurship opportunities, writing sponsored posts that don’t make me feel like I’m selling my soul, earning an income SOMEHOW out of the whole damned gig.  I could go on!    I’ve written about the whole blog/family/life balance thing in Confessions of a Guilty Blogger and I Love Blogging but I’ve Made a Decision.  What’s more, recently I read a cracking one by Squished Blueberries on this issue.  I still go through phases (frequent phases ha ha) of wondering what I’m doing but I think I’m more at peace now than I ever have been with my blog (my close blogging friends will probably laugh reading that bit).  I think more or less bloggers can be split into four categories:

Some bloggers lose themselves down a rabbit hole and give up altogether.
Some make their peace upon recognising the enormity of effort required and settle for doing what they can when they can.
Some decide what they want from blogging from the start and go after that.
Some have a laid back approach to the whole thing but end up being unexpectedly successful.

 

2) It’s okay to Write What People Want to Read but Don’t Forget to Write for Yourself Too

Now I know the super league élite will shake their heads at this.  Obviously, if your game plan from the word go is to build a highly-monetised blog with incredible monthly stats, this doesn’t apply. That game plan involves writing specific content in a calculated stye.  But I honestly believe it’s so important to write posts for you, posts that are straight from the heart whether they’re sensitive or controversial, content that says what you really feel rather than soulless words you’re typing just to be seen to have typed them, posts you simply have to share no matter if it’s only you and your mum reading them.  As the Glorious Life said recently (in a post about blogging) the one thing that you have is you.  Nobody can write what’s in your heart like you can, because it’s in your heart.  Nuff said.

 

3) It’s Fab to Win a Blog Award but Life Doesn’t Change Much and You Still Have to do the Laundry

A tongue in cheek one here!  Winning my BiBs award was the biggest highlight of this year.  I still smile about it. It was also an interesting lesson…I went through a lot of doubt wondering if every post I wrote had to be amazing after that.  I wouldn’t say I had any more brand approaches than those I was already receiving.  And rather annoyingly I still need to do  mum things. Pfft.

 

4) You Learn SO Much as a Blogger…but You’ll Never Know Everything

I often think I don’t know much about blogging, yet repeatedly there are examples of just how much I’ve learned in the last three years.  From building my site to how to get Faceberk to stop pulling the wrong images to SEO best practice to cross-posting to duplicate content penalties to photoshop to THIS! (<p>&nbsp;</p>) to plugins to DA’s to putting the right person at the front of a tweet to getting grips with YouTube to hashtags to the correct social media images sizes…the list goes on.  Yet despite knowing a crazy amount of stuff and being quite fluent in blog speak, it’s impossible to know everything. I can still spend hours trying to figure something technical out which once figured out, will then change some time later due to Google changing its rules or Faceberk messing around yet abloodygain with its algorithm or Instagram deciding it no longer allows this, that or the other.

 

5) Not Everybody Understands Reciprocity and at Some Point You Probably Will Experience a Bloggers Behaving Badly Incident

Yeah…I’ll let than one hang there in the air for a while and perhaps elaborate on that in the future. For the time being I’ll just say, be kind.  Good karma is…well exactly that. Good.   Sharing someone else’s post doesn’t take long and it makes them SO happy. Pay it forward.  The blogosphere is big enough; there is room for all of us. And when another blogger does you a kind deed, be it sharing a post with a big write up or just a simple RT, thank you goes a long way.  I know we all get busy doing life and sometimes the day/week gets away from us. But thank you takes seconds. Just saying.

 

6) Content Will Aways Win over Design but a Shiny Looking Blog Doesn’t Hurt!

Okay, we know it.  You can have the sexiest best designed blog everrrr. But if you’re not writing engaging/useful/moving/informative/relateable (pick your adjective of choice depending on what you’re all about) content that people want to read, then it really doesn’t matter how nice your blog looks, that reader ain’t staying.  However, just throwing in my AbPrab tuppence worth here, it doesn’t hurt to have a well designed blog that is easy on the eye. (Ignore the design of mine, it’s driving me nuts after three years and I need a change!) I’ll be honest, superficial as this may make me sound, I’ve immediately clicked away from blogs the layout/colour/fonts of which gave me a headache. If your site is easy to navigate and half decent, it MAY just be the difference between that person staying on your blog a wee bit longer to see what else you have to say and clicking away. Simples.  Talking of content:

 

7) You Can Spend Days Labouring over a Post You Think is the Best Thing Ever and it Bombs, Then Bash one out in Minutes and it Goes Viral

Go figure.  This is why I’m not sure scheduling posts actually works for me.  I find they are the ones that are too thought out and almost a bit soulless.  The ones I write after a whimsical idea work best.  So I’ve decided not to put the same level of meticulousness into every post I write, as I used to.  I’ve actually made myself let posts go out recently that are 90% ok instead of endlessly reworking them as I used to.  Hubster once told me the saying:

Better an imperfect plan executed today than a perfect plan put off til tomorrow.

 

I kind of agree even though the perfectionist in me wanted to rip her own ears off when he first said it.  He also said something else which has turned out be proven right time and time again.  In fact, this very post has been one of those examples because I almost scrapped it thinking it would just come across as self-aggrandising rather than helpful (and am just adding this bit a week after original publication as so many people have described is a really useful tips post):

Don’t second guess whether you should publish a post because it’s ‘not good enough’. It’s not actually up to you to decide what people do and don’t want to read. It’s up to them. So just write the damned post!

In fact, this also ties in with something else he pointed out (number 8).  Honestly, I might want to wring his neck sometimes but the man doth speak sense:

 

8) You Need to Learn What to Write for Human Eyes and What to Write for Google Eyes

Love it! Epiphanyyyyyyyy. (Can you hear me singing that?)  Believe it or not, not every post needs to be a masterpiece. No I’m not at all encouraging churning out post after post at the expense of quality.  However, it is in fact alright to write some posts with enormous attention to detail on all fronts while publishing others in which you have invested very little time, (purely to score brownie points off those Google bots who have a thing for regular posting).

 

9) Blogging Can Help You Find a Sense of Purpose

I love my kids but SAHM motherhood can make you lose yourself in a parenting wilderness of permanently sticky floors and endless birthday parties.  Launching AbPrab helped me find a huge part of me again that had somehow got lost along the way with all the nappy changing, packed lunches and homework. It has also ignited in me a dream I never knew I actually had…to write for newspapers or magazines or I don’t know SOMETHING that I’d never ever have thought to do if it weren’t for AbPrab.

 

10) Your Blog Goals Can Change and That is Just Fine.

I can’t imagine there are many bloggers whose outlook hasn’t slightly shifted or indeed fully metamorphosed since they started out.  I’m mulling over my own goals a fair bit at present and I may change my mind next week (I’m a Pisces after all) but I think I’m leaning away from heavy monetisation of my blogette. I’ll still carry on deriving some income from it but I think I may instead pursue paid content writing.

 

11) Getting on the HuffPost is Nice for Your Media Kit but…That’s About It.

I hesitated to include this as I don’t want to burst anyone’s bubble.  I see posts from ecstatic bloggers excitedly announcing they’ve got on to the Huff – and yes I did that too and I’ll be honest there is still something nice about seeing my name and bio under that hallowed Huff header – but sadly, it is well documented that it does nothing to drive traffic to one’s site. I guess the exception might be if they feature you on their front page as a pick of the day/week.  Once I realised that was the case for me, I stopped contributing regularly and just picked the occasional post to send to them. I then decided to submit more often when I remembered I do get the benefit of the powerful Huff backlink which helps DA score. Except guess what?  Rumour has it this is no longer the case because of changes made to the HuffPost platform and follow link policy.  No more link juice baby.

 

12) Blogging Gives You a Legitimate Excuse to Make Friends Online Without Feeling like a Weirdo!

And if you’re a blogger you don’t need me to explain that one. At. All.  Seriously, the camaraderie I am blessed to have with Cuddle Fairy, Island Living 365, Just Saying Mum, Life Love and Dirty Dishes, Life with Baby Kicks, Mum Muddling Through, Motherhood the Real Deal and Mess Stress and Fancy Dress some of whom I speak to often, many of whom I go to with blog queries and all of whom make me laugh.  Then there are those friendships with those I don’t speak to as regularly but adore such as Beauty Baby & Me (Fi is so good for my ego!), Mess and Merlot (Charlie = total honey), Mumbelievable (sickenly beautiful with the coolest blog name to boot), Muma on the Edge and This Mum’s Life both of whom are riotously funny. I can’t possibly name everyone but I am so grateful for all my blog mates.  And yes, I’m fully aware that Google isn’t going to like me link-packing this paragraph but sometimes you’ve just got to give your friends a shout out. #rebel

 

13) Blog Success is Subjective (and some of it is smoke and mirrors)

Crazy monthly traffic?  Collabs with amazing brands?  High engagement? Awards?  High Klout/Tots scores?  A DA above 40?  We all see blog success differently.  And sometimes all is not what it may seem.  None of us really knows what is going on behind the scene screen with a blogger. I’ve been lucky (and totally bemused I might add) to be described in high terms by my fellow bloggers and often go to cafes/ladies’ nights out and meet total strangers who recognise me and talk effusively about the blog. I’m taken aback and think really?  But I’m not earning large, I’m not working with a huge amount of brands, my DA is in the respectable bracket but not high high.  Meanwhile other bloggers look at me (I”m told) in terms of the award and other finalist place or the not too shabby looking blog design or…or…whatever it is that makes them think I’m in some blog super league because honestly I’ve no idea what they’re looking at!!  Ultimately I’m too close to it anyway but I’m convinced it’s all relative and what one perceives as a successful blog can just be a case of smoke and mirrors.

 

14) Do What Suits YOU First Because Nobody’s Paying as Much Attention to Your Blog as You Are.

I know. GASP!  It’s truuuuuuue.  (Well alright not if you’re a super uber mega league blogger whose every post people are hanging on for.)  I’m not being unkind; I just mean when we are too close to something, we think everyone notices what we see.  Fact is, unless you’re on an official deadline (linky hosting, guest posting or publishing a sponsored post) nobody will even notice if you don’t publish that post today, or tweet 30 times on Wednesday or Instagram the hell out of your whole week.  And if they notice, they’re hardly going to hold it against you.  Fair enough, I’ve been caught out by subscribers wondering if they missed an email from me (mental note to self, send out next email to my subscriber list).  I freely admit, I need to take my own advice here as I get into the flow writing and stay up blogging when I should just go the hell to bed or shut the laptop and hug my kids on the sofa in front of a film already! But I’ve become aware of it and am working on it.

When all is said done, you just have to do what works for you, your family, your sanity…  As Louise of Squished Blueberries put it so eloquently in her fab post Some Thoughts about Life and Blogging

I will never write a post because I feel like I should, because everyone else is writing those kind of posts, because I think it’s what other people want to read, because people might search for it on google, or because someone has given me a free pack of ham.

 

 

15) Fight Your Fear and Do Things You Didn’t Think You’d Ever Do

Vlogging is my big one.  Seriously, if I can put my aversion to seeing and hearing myself to one side, then anyone can!

Oh…looky look..talking of vlogging…

 

 

I know I’ll remember ten more things tomorrow but I bashed this post out super fast as I’m trying not to over think all my posts to death!  The other reason is that it’s now time for my linky with Becky to go live, I need to talk to another blogger regarding something and I still haven’t made dinner and my kids are starving.  (And tonight’s delectation is baked beans on toast because Mum’s been too busy blogging…what was that about balance?)

I’M A FINALIST (EEK!) IN THE READER’S CHOICE CATEGORY OF THE BRILLIANCE IN BLOGGING AWARDS
IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO VOTE FOR ME TO WIN, I’D BE SO GRATEFUL AND HONOURED!
Just click on this THIS LINK and fill in boxes 1, 2 and 13. 
Super quick and easy!
(Voting closes July 2nd.)
Thanks muchly!

Linked to:

Oh. My. Vlog! Absolutely Prabulous is on YouTube.

image of Prabs behind mobile phone

Oh my Vlog….  What do you do when:

  • you are super uncomfortable being in front of a camera because you feel it screams “me me, look at me!”(as if blogging doesn’t do that enough already)   ??
  • you feel like a fraud expecting anyone to watch you on film as you don’t feel you have anything useful to contribute   ??
  • you struggle to even breathe without pulling four different facial expressions   ??
  • you say ‘you know’ a ridiculous number of times   ??
  • you think your accent makes you come across as ‘up yourself’ and oh my God is that a faint hint of Indian accent in there somewhere?!

What do you do? Anyone? You at the back… You start vlogging. Obviously!

Yes, it’s finally happened.  I am following the herd wisening up about the benefits of YouTube for my blog (I think) and joining the millions of people who vlog.

Vlogging? I didn’t even know the term til a few months ago, being the ‘late adopter’ that I am.  Seriously, Hubster mentioned a few years ago that I resist change and don’t take easily to new trends/technologies/tools.  The little upstart had the cheek to point out that when I do try something new, I grumble and almost throw my toys out of the pram at e-v-e-r-y  little hurdle that I come up against (honestly that man…who does he think he is reading my character so well and making me aware of something I didn’t know about myself? Pfft #marriage).

I’m trying not to feel daft talking about my vlog efforts because I really do see myself as a writer (and to be honest felt like a fraud even calling myself that until the whole awards thing this year). I really don’t feel comfortable calling myself a vlogger.  Ridiculoso.

But amazingly since uploading my first vid and literally mentioning it just once on Faceberk, it’s actually had views and I don’t simply mean from me and my husband.

 

So Why Vlog?

Believe it or not, after spending the last few days chewing my poor husband’s ears off spewing out negative energy in the form of:

I don’t ‘get vlogging

Why do people vlog?

What on earth should I vlog about?

Who would want to watch a fast-talking over-animated person like me?

I’ve no idea why I’m spending time on this…


…I had a sudden epiphany at around 9pm the day my first vlog went up!

Of course, if I’d just bothered to quit moaning for long enough to google the benefits of vlogging in the first place, I’d have found out that it’s apparently a good traffic-driver if done well (you’ll have to decide for yourself whether I did well when you watch the clip below) and that one third of all internet traffic goes through YouTube. I believe the phrase one uses here is no brainer.

No, being a lifelong lover of taking the short cut only to find that it leads to the long cut, I’m afraid the ear-chewing thing and zero googling took place.  Then the following dawned on me: I was inputting the titles and tags for the videos on my YouTube Channel.  As I inserted simple ‘does what it says on the tin’ titles, I realised that

Vlogs don’t have to be complicated masterpieces that take hours to put together, requiring perfect SEO (take that Yoast with your green light!), attention-grabbing titles and eye-catching images, like blog posts do.

I can make short snappy videos about certain things that I wouldn’t necessarily write about, either because I don’t have the time to write up every idea I have or because certain subjects don’t even lend themselves to the written form. The large waves we had in Malta last weekend are a perfect example of this or the rubbish vacuum cleaner I’m having problems with.  Because you know what? Somebody somewhere will be on YouTube looking for videos of waves (yes really…it’s already had views and I haven’t mentioned it anywhere) or specific vacuum model issues.

People can be far more inclined to watch a brief video that they can just quickly digest in their lunch hour than read a War and Peace length tome of a blog post (she said doing a bad job of promoting her blog ha ha). People go to YouTube to look for something specific.  If you’ve got a video on that specific thing and you’ve thought your tags through even on a minimal level, bingo…you’ll get views.  Frankly, my very limited experience of it so far seems to be showing that:

So much less work is required getting people to see your YouTube content than your blog content.

I’ve already got ideas running through my brain about the many things I can vlog about that I would never ever bother to write about but which are actually really useful things to throw out there in video format.  Reviews will definitely be on there…I’ll be using my channel, where possible, to review the products I’m sent by brands.

 

What Did I Talk About and How Did I Do on My First Vlog?

Er…you’ll have to watch it won’t you? Pah…you didn’t think you were getting away that lightly did you.

It’s really worth watching. Honestly it really is.  There’s:

  • a rogue power cable (seriously how did I think just moving it to the left a bit would hide it? muppet).
  • inappropriate leg flashing (as I used my phone and had to walk to and from its location as there was only one okayish place light-wise/where it wouldn’t fall over)
  • me in that standard totally conventional vlogging position: on my knees (to be honest I didn’t think anything of this because I’m trying to change my general perfectionist/overthink everything to death behaviour so I just went with it)

Last but Not Least

I do think I need to do a bit of a shout out to some of my blogging crew Emma, Helen 1, Helen 2Becky, TalyaClaire, Sarah and Laura  These poor ladies tirelessly listened to me moan and tried to advise me on tech stuff during my two-day near breakdown.  No joke: I was fighting back tears of utter frustration at one point because I had so SO many blog duties from reviews to post writing to linkies to email list management to blah blah (you know how it goes) awaiting my attention. Yet again I could see my day being obliterated and my ‘comeback resolution’ – to only work in the mornings and down tools at 1pm to do lunch/dinner prep/housework before the afternoon school run/homework/activities schedule takes over – totally failing.

They also watched my painful first vlog attempt and some of them signed up immediately.  Oh…that reminds me (what a coincidence):

If you want to subscribe to my YouTube channel, you can do so super quickly by clicking here and hitting the red subscribe button far right.  

I won’t stop you. I’m nice like that.

prabs-signature

 

 


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What Really Happened at the MAD Blog Awards 2016

I sat down to start catching up on the mountain of blog work that awaits me now that I’m back from my trip to London for the MADs and realised maybe I ought to write something about my trip to the UK!

uk-mads-trip-feature

You can read about my thoughts on going before I actually left for the UK here in this post which was just an excuse to be silly. Meanwhile, here’s what did happen at the MAD Blog Awards 2016 it went something like this:

  • Dropped kids at school in Malta (if you’re new to my blog, I don’t mean I went to Malta to drop my kids off at school, I mean I live there) and gave them wet sloppy goodbye kisses.
  • Usual delayed Ryanair flight which is one of the privileges you pay for when you book with them…I always look forward to that bit…TOTAL fun (especially the bit where people nevertheless stand for forty minutes plus in the queue at the gate despite the fact that the plane hasn’t even reached the airport yet never mind be in a position for them to board it or the fact that they’ve got allocated seats which nobody is going to take away from them whether they stand or sit).
  • Crazy turbulent flight in which I hung on to the iPad for dear life and got some blogging done, which was a minor miracle considering the guy next to me just would Not. Stop. Talking. (it’s my fault, I’ve got to stop smiling at strangers and frankly I do it so much I might get my British passport taken away from me  *sarcasm*)
  • Arrival in London and a total oh-ma-Gawd-this-is-as-hot-as-Malta-I-LOVE-it moment as I realised I could leave my jeans in my case and just keep my thin  dress on.  Yes, I was wearing white cotton in London, in September! Oh the giddy excitement; I almost did a jig on the tarmac.

uk-mads-trip-train-from-luton

  • Inevitable fight with the e-passport machine inserting, reinserting and generally d*cking about with my new passport, being viewed like a total moron by the assistants (although to be fair, by now, even I don’t blame them) who are clearly wondering how someone who managed to dress themselves and get on an aeroplane can then find it so hard to put their damned passport in the right way without setting off the ruddy alarm. (I didn’t dare point out I somehow manage to raise three kids.)  Having said that, the machine probably rejects my passport each time because it doesn’t like the photo of me looking about 300 years old and like a total reprobate who sells dodgy substances to minors…should have photoshopped the fricking photo before applying for the passport.
  • Further inevitable problems buying a Thameslink ticket to get me from Luton to my friends’ place because everything in the UK has gone so cash-averse that everything has to be done by card. What on earth one is supposed to do when one’s chip/back strip is knackered rendering machines unable to read the card properly, I just don’t know.  The look the assistant gave me when I explained I had to – shock horror – use dare I say it cash, I mean actual paper money. I’m surprised she didn’t call a guard to escort me out of the building.
  • Thankfully, after the trauma of the train journey from Luton when I came in June, a smooth trouble-free connection (well let’s forget about the ridiculous business of trying to find a lift that worked to get me to the right platform) and train journey. I almost fist-pumped the air when I noticed I had the carriage to myself…before remembering that when I lived in London I would never have sat in a carriage by myself.  Because crime.
  • Much photographing of cotton dress and bare legs due to one’s glee over the warm temperature, as well as comfortable train compartment conditions, for one’s instagram account (followed by realisation that one doesn’t have UK mobile account and cannot use 3G to upload)
  • Much sending of inane excited messages to one’s friends to say one was on the way.
  • Bit of an obstacle topping up my Oyster card because – you know it – the machine wouldn’t accept cash, followed by a breather over coffee and a croissant outside the station, having a bit of a London moment watching the world go by before making the final part of my journey.
  • Getting to my friends’ road and totally forgetting their street number, loitering outside several houses peering above bushes and looking into people’s windows trying to work out which was the correct house before finally plumping for one with devil maycare abandon and just knocking on the door, then retreating to the safe distance of the pavement in case I had the wrong house (I even hid my case around the hedge in case I had the wrong house and needed to do a runner). The look on my friend’s face when she answered the door was priceless. #TrueStory

Anyway, I had a lovely evening with my friends, had a not so lovely night’s sleep due to noisy neighbours (I thought I was back in Malta at one point) and the foolish alcohol consumption of the evening and woke up the next day with a heavy head. Yes. On the day of the MAD blog awards. Go Prabs, she who makes the wisest decisions and is a role model to everyone. N’t. I also woke up to a dramatic temperature drop in which we’d gone from Indian summer to Autumn, just like that, in typical British weather style (and to be honest it was a welcome relief as I knew I’d bake in my outfit for the evening if it was still hot).

As mentioned in my previous MADs post, the one and only Talya was coming to the MADs to give me company

(such a sweet gesture as that was totally her idea) and after a close call where I almost caught the wrong train, met up with her as planned at Harvey Nichols so that we could pretend we are posh ladies who lunch (I don’t think the waiting staff quite bought that one however after our inept attempts to get a bloggers’ selfie).  Inevitably, being bloggers, the conversation of course turned to blogging and I’m indebted to Talya for helping me out with a few issues I’ve been unclear on. I can’t deny, being women, there was also talk of makeup (don’t judge me) and yes I did go in search of a Bobbi Brown counter downstairs in an effort to find that magic wand thing that’s supposed to make under eye circles/bags invisible (if you look at this post’s featured image you’ll see I don’t just a wand, I need the fairy godmother that usually comes with one) what …only to discover Harvey Nicks don’t stock it. So a mad dash to Harrods was required (where three failed shades later I gave up) and then on we went to the awards venue.

But you know it wasn’t quite that simple don’t you? You know we had a mini drama trying to book an Uber cab right? You can feel it in your bones that we then considered a black cab only to realise Friday traffic would make it pointless, don’t you? You don’t need to be told that 1) Talya started getting off the train at South Ken while 2) I stood near the doors, insisting we needed to stay put and connect two stops later, only for 3) people to huff and puff as I was apparently blocking the doors (have you seen the size of me? I wasn’t blocking the doors for flip’s sake and my home towners so need to chill out) and then 4) I basically got carried off the train in spite of myself along with the sheer volume of passengers trying to disembark (yep I’ve lived in the Med for way too long if I’ve forgotten this happens) while 5) Talya looked totally bemused at the sight of me hugging my enormous handbag looking baffled and 6) I realised she was right about the stop, culminating in 7) us laughing at he realisation that when in each other’s company, we are in fact Patsy and Eddy. We then couldn’t agree who’s who, both of us refusing to be Eddy (sorry Jennifer) and finally decided we’re both Patsy. #TrueStory Meanwhile you’re sitting here in disbelief that people in their 40’s (not Talya, me) actually still behave like this.  And given that NONE of this is made up and is as I say totally true – and I’ve actually missed bits out – I’m so with you on that.

We made it to the Royal Garden Hotel and I snuck off to get changed super speedy in the bathroom.  

uk-mads-trip-table

Then it was time for the long wait for hair and makeup (what…you thought I’d skip the chance to have my first makeover since my wedding?) in which there was time to talk to various lovelies like the wonderfully bubbly Laura of Milton Keynes Kids, oh so supportive Josie of The Whimsical Adventures of a Not So Supermum, the ever friendly Claire of Tin Box Traveller, my blog crush Polly of Right Royal Mother and the über stylish Anna of Zeit My Geist and Fran of Whinge Whinge Wine to name not even a handful.  I can’t write this post without mentioning my Punjabi blogging twin Harps of Baby Brain Memoirs (she likes to refer to me as her older sister, I tend to prefer twin as it just makes me feel less like her aunt) whom I was so excited to finally meet and who WON BEST PRESCHOOL BLOG. Darned proud of her.

uk-mads-trip-harps-me-talya

To round up and summarise the main bits of my MADs evening:

  • I was stone cold sober the whole night barely touching a drop, partly due to starting the day feeling rough and ending it feeling nervous! To be honest though, I don’t think people would have enjoyed the sight of me stumbling about in heels and legless (oxymoron).
  • Talya and I managed to have a total Patsy and Eddie Patsy moment and both video Harps accepting her award instead of tag teaming whereby one of us photographed, one of us videoed and hilarious words were exchanged afterwards (she calls me her blog wife, I think she’s my actual wife now and am making her sign a contract promising to stay in my life forever)
  • I didn’t stay to party after the awards as I panicked about travelling back alone (you’d never think I used to be a Londoner).
  • I didn’t win but on the bright side, the very person I predicted to pick up the award Storm in a Tit Cup did indeed do just that. Obviously, I’d have absolutely loved to have ‘done the double’ as the hilarious Lucy of This Mum’s Life calls it. Winning two writer awards in the same year would have been phenomenal on so many levels but was probably a bit of a greedy aspiration, (although I did nearly die each time someone pointed out how lucky our table was as we had so many winners and I just knew the lucky streak couldn’t continue by the time it got to my category!)

Finally, after declaring on social media and here on the blog, that I would not have another wardrobe disaster

after the infamous does-my-middle-aged-bum-look-illegal-in-these-white-jeans episode at the BiBs awards in June, what did I do? Yep, I forgot to pack appropriate undergarments (I’m Victorian and we say that) for the dress I was wearing and for the gazillionth time in my life, I ended up showing my bra to everyone.  I also spent the entire evening sucking my stomach in and showing people this as my party trick. #mortified

So dear reader, given that it would have been difficult to approach the stage doing a side shuffle to conceal aforementioned bra oversight, and nigh on impossible to keep my stomach in without giving myself back ache, it’s a good job I didn’t win really.

Ah, there it is…

Island Living 365

Massive congratulations to all the MAD Blog Awards 2016 winners!

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I Love Blogging but I’ve Made a Decision…

computer, earphones, sunglasses and coffee

Hulloooooo!  Did you miss me?  Say yes.  Go on.. SAY IT.  

Well the Kids are Back at School.  So Mummy Prabulous Needs to go Back to the Blog. Right?

By the way, before I go any further, just to give you the heads up, I’m off to the UK again for the MAD blog awards, which you can read about in this goofy post here.

Anyway, it’s been wonderful taking time off.  My ‘official’ break has lasted exactly a month.  But, to be honest by the time I wrote my “I need to take a blog break or my head will explode cos I’m just so flippin’ exhausted from working so hard this year plus I can barely write for shock after winning that award so frankly it’s best for you/me/my kids/my neighbours/anyone who knows me that I sign off for a while” post, it had already been four weeks since I’d done any ‘real’ blogging with the exception of my OopsFile feature. #Slacker

Seriously, I did feel bad  during the course of July for not being very productive apart from doing my #BML16 round up as well as thrashing out an angry woman rant. As I took my kids to swim camp three times a week, tried to tackle the mountain of chores that had gone neglected for too long (aka basic cleaning) and larger projects such as kids’ room changes and storage reorganisation, not to mention haul my bum out for a run in the oppressive evening heat, I couldn’t shake off the awareness that I ought to be blogging ‘properly’. Frankly, it just ate away at me.  There was nothing for it but to take an official break which would free me from agonising over the blog.

Taking a Break Massively Helped Alleviate the Permanent Blog Guilt I Feel

I mean I actually Got. Stuff. Done. without  Seriously, we can now see out of the windows! Well, okay not all of them; it’s a work in progress. #I’mTheCleaningLady The floor is looking less and less like a storage device.  I’m not fully there yet but my goal (the holy grail) is for the floor to just be a place for our feet and furniture and not much else. I still have quite a way to go with getting the house totally straight – and to be honest that will take a whole load of help from a certain Swedish company starting with I and ending in A – but at least I’m no longer dicing with death every time I open a cupboard risking something falling out and hitting my head. And it’s so nice to see the kids’ rooms coming together slowly but surely.

Not only that, it was simply phenomenal to see my younger two go from slightly nervous pool swimmers to fearless fish and Musical M, already a mermaid, just amazed me with her machine-like lengths up and down the pool for a whole hour.  I did well too (by which I mean I drank loads of iced coffee while I watched them swim…very dedicated of me).

Cheeky K sitting by pool at swim lessons

Cheeky K waiting for her lesson to start

 

If you Have Read Confessions of a Guilty Blogger, You’ll Know I’ve Been Really Struggling

as it seems many bloggers are judging from the feedback – with the blog-kids-home-life balance thing (not exactly helped by my shockingly woeful time management).  Long story short, after adopting a more serious attitude to the whole blogging gig earlier on this year, any balance I had went out the window and the blog simply took over.  Zero balance.  My blog buddy Talya of Motherhood the Real Deal has a little chuckle over this actually in her post about the madness that is blogging.  Now, on the one hand, I could say the more than full-time schedule, that saw me working til the-birds-are-now-singing-o’clock, paid off and resulted in a lovely shiny piece of glass courtesy of the Brilliance in Blogging Awards.  (And for that I’ll always be truly grateful.)  On the other hand I could say (and in fact I am saying) that I’m no longer comfortable  neglecting the house to the point where nobody can find anything (including clean underwear), nor willing to ‘cultivate’ the rather fetching dark under eye hollows that I’ve given myself through months of late night blogging.

I’ve had a think about my schedule, the time I spend writing just one post, the house, exercise regime, proper meals instead of resorting to eggs or beans on toast with alarming regularity and of course, the kids who need me on several levels.  So…what to do?  Going forward, I need to establish a sensible workable balance in my home and blog life.

Laundry will be done before everyone ends up going commando, school forms signed on time and nobody will almost suffocate under an inch of dust on my watch! What about blogging? 

In Absolutely Prabulous, I’ve created an exhilarating, stressful, addictive, uplifting, rewarding, demanding, validating, confidence-boosting thing in my life. But I swear it can be harder than raising three kids!  I LOVE blogging (my fourth child). But like all jobs, when I’m not loving it, I’m feeling overwhelmed.  

This is because blogging isn’t just about the writing (and that takes enough time on its own).  There’s sooooo much else that goes into it (joining linkies, blog reading, social media growth, behind the scenes admin etc) and it got to the point where I felt like I wasn’t doing any of it particularly well or managing to properly promote what I’d spent so much time writing.  And there was something else that was also suffering:

Anyone who Understands Blogging Knows That You Need to Venture Beyond Your  Blog to Get Exposure for Own Your Site.

Basically, I simply wasn’t finding any time to explore crucial guest writing opportunities on other sites, which was in fact my main goal for the blog this year, a goal which has fallen by the wayside as I chase my tail trying to cover all bases on my own site.

So, whilst I will still aim to write a certain number of posts a week, adhere to a schedule to keep myself on track and of course do right by my lovely #OopsFiles guests, I also need to get my writing out there in the big world, looking at you Glass House Girls, Sammiches and Psyche Meds!

I’ve Had a Chance to Think About Things and Make a Decision About the Blog.  

I can’t help thinking of the old adage about quality versus quantity.  I’d love to be a serial poster like my gorgeous fellow blogger and BiBs Fresh Voice winner, Emma of Island Living 365 who writes fab posts time after time.  (I’ve come to the conclusion that she just doesn’t sleep which is how she manages to get so much writing done.)  But I’ve simply had to admit to myself that I’m just not a 10 posts a week blogging machine…nor a 5 posts a week blogger…nor…ahem…  And that’s not just because of the time investment or the need to be a mother and wife too.  I’ve realised that it’s also not in my heart to do so because I KNOW, just as surely as Malta has sunshine or I have a Häagen Dazs habit, that I’d end up churning out half-baked crap.  So I have to accept that I’m about the quality not the quantity. (By the way if anyone thinks I’m making sideswipes at those who produce several posts a week I’m not.  There’s no scandal here as there is more than one way to blog.)   I totally tip my hat to those who can consistently write good posts!  As for me? I’ve decided that:

I Won’t Kill Myself Blogging and Getting my Priorities Wrong Anymore.

Yes, I know I need to maintain a sense of professionalism in my blogging endeavours, particularly as I seek to work with more brands.  So if I have a deadline, well then, I need to honour the deadline as I always do and not just head off to the beach (don’t worry, I don’t do that!) ha ha.
Yes, I guess the ‘I’ll just do what I can physically manage to do’ attitude wouldn’t get me very far in the ‘real’ workplace!
Yes, I want my blog to continue to be successful and wish to maintain (and further develop) the reputation I seem to have acquired for my writing.
Yes I do want to continue my plans for world domination – whoops –  monetisation and I realise that if I’m only going to publish two posts a week, substantial monetisation will not come soon.
Yes I’ll still try to join fab linkies (and not be so crap at commenting) such as #BloggerClubUK, #StayClassy, #DreamTeam, #FartGlitter, #CoolMumClub, #MarvMondays, #BigPinkLink to name a few.

But jeez I need my sleep! Translation: I’m NOT happy with those ruddy under eye circles.

I’m not going to let the blog engulf me and my family anymore. Translation: sometimes, life just needs to be lived; not blooming Instagrammed. #BlasphemousBlogger  This will require  time limits and goals regarding post writing and promotion and linkies etc.

Soooo, What’s On the Absolutely Prabulous Menu in for the Coming Weeks?

Ok, I’m thinking we should have another round of Blog Stars.  This feature has gone down well so far and I really enjoy spreading the old bloggy love through it.
It’s definitely time for another Life in the Prab Lane.  because quite frankly, it would be rude not to.
Of course, I have some cracking #OopsFiles posts lined up for you. This series has turned out to be better than I could ever have hoped for with utter belly laughs provided by these bloggers so far.  Incidentally, if you’re a blogger and you want to get in on the act by sharing a funny embarrassing story please do; details are here.
And frankly, it isn’t Absolutely Prabulous (in my humble opinion) if there are no laughs.  So there will be laughs.
Erm and a rant or two. Because. My Blog.  Can if I want to. So there.

Well, the above-mentioned are part of the plan.

I can’t promise I won’t get carried away with paint swatches for Cheeky K’s bedroom or creating a nautical theme in Dreamy D’s room or trying to make sense of Musical M’s apparently untameable bedroom storage (and I might grab a couple of mornings to finally go down to the end of the road for a cheeky snorkel before the weather turns).

But for now…this is the plan people! It’s good to be back.

So tell me.  Did you miss me?  (Say yes.  Go on.. SAY IT.)

PS So much for the new me with good intentions.  It’s now 2.30 am. Dammit Janet.

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How NOT To Do a Blog Awards Acceptance Speech #BiBs2016

BiBs-finalist-board

It’s now almost two weeks since the Brilliance in Blogging awards in London.

Almost two weeks since that gorgeous, astonishing, unfathomable and unexpected moment when I heard the opening of an envelope followed by Carol Smillie (TV personality turned  cofounder of Diary Doll) say two words I thought I’d misheard: Absolutely Prabulous.

I know…mad right?!

Video courtesy of kind-hearted blogger New Mum Online who took it upon herself to film all 14 winners (and even threw in a marvellous raspberry blowing moment).

Yes, somehow I won the BiBs Writer award, thanks to the beautiful voters and ‘amazing panel of judges whose taste I think is rather good’ (yep just quoted that from my awards acceptance speech).  Yet I’m only just writing my BiBs Awards post now! #LaziestBloggerEver  Truth be told, it’s not laziness (for once).

You see, something unexpected and frankly a bit inconvenient happened in the aftermath of winning…

I started writing something when I got back to my hotel room after a wonderful dinner out with some of my blogging besties but was in too much numb shock and a tad distracted by Glastonbury on the TV.  I tried again the morning after, as I sat in the fab Hoxton Hotel restaurant, getting my London on, with the help of eggs benedict and a ridiculously healthy smoothie that was soooo green I thought they’d pulverised Kermit and stuck the poor sod in a glass.  In fact I did write something but I thought it was a bit meh so I binned it.

picture of brunch at the Hoxton Hotel

 

Then I tried again upon returning to my room after brunch.  (Yes, I’m aware this is sounding less like a description of a blogger trying to write and more like the story of a woman trying to get pregnant.)

I gave up and just took selfies instead.

selfie of Prabs in "Bloggers do it Better" sweatshirt

Yes dear reader…I’d lost the ability to write…just hours after winning an award for my (apparent) writing skills.

Gotta laugh!  In fact, I ‘misplaced’ my entire blogging mojo for about a week.  Zut alors!  Très careless. “Call yourself a blogger?”  “Shame on you!”, “We want our money back” “What a Prabulous fraudster you are” etc etc.  This time it wasn’t for any of the reasons I described in My Turn to Struggle with This (thank goodness).  No, this time, it was two other reasons…

First, daft as it sounds, I think my brain fogged with panic at having to write something.  Okay, it’s not the Booker or the Pulitzer prize but still, one kind of feels like anything one produces after winning an award for writing – especially a post about winning an award for writing – has to be nothing less than stellar!   Second, full blown exhaustion hit me the day of #BML16 (dreadful timing as it caused me to miss pretty much the whole afternoon and I don’t feel like I was mentally there for any of it to be honest).  I’m talking the kind of fatigue I’ve not felt since I was up all night feeding the babies years ago, that continued through the rest of my stay in London and the first few days of my return to Malta, where the heat and humidity didn’t exactly help in relocating my lost mojo.  Honestly, just ask Laura how much I banged on about how tired I was; she must have thought I finally get some kids-free time and now I’m lumbered with this grown up toddler whining instead.  I’ve also recently talked about my difficulties balancing blog, life and family so I guess it was a triple whammy: exhaustion, a mild case of writer’s block and just general imbalance.

So here I sit at crazy o’clock again, bashing the keyboard.  Now the kids are home for the school holidays, I’ve just resigned myself to blogging in the ridiculously small hours as per normal…because it’s at crazy o’clock that the writing inspiration hits.  Gah!  Terrible for my health and a nightmare for my deepening under eye dark circles but it’s how I’ve blogged since the beginning and it led to an award so maybe I shouldn’t go changin’?  Answers on a postcard please.

So, what do I say about this most marvellous of not-Oscar-or-Pulitzer-but-still-blooming-fab bloggy outcomes?

Well, I could tell you how despite lovely little successes like going viral three times with three entirely different types of post (about my inept parenting, my marriage and Malta mayhem) and seeing myself on various favourite blogger lists and the whole Huff Post thang (which actually does very little for one’s site traffic but hey who cares, it still feels great to get on!), the simple truth is that I genuinely had NO idea there was so much love for my wee little blog.  Pinky swear.  Didn’t realise (despite the many times bloggers have tried to tell me and despite the tremendous feedback the posts have always received).  Fact is, there are better blogs/writers out there.  FACT.  Maybe it’s just luck, good timing, stars aligning, whatever.  But I will never ever cease to be touched by it.  As I said on a recent Facebook post, when life is getting me down, I’ll just hit the play button and listen to the whoops and shrieks on that video to remind myself of how incredibly blessed I am.

I could tell you a heart tug inspiring (translation: vomit inducing) tale of how (as a then new twitter user) I saw tweets about the Unmumsy Mum winning various awards last year and subconsciously thought how cool she was…and how maybe hypothetically sort of not that I really care all that much whatever (ahem), it would be nice to win an award for blogging myself.  And then did just that a year later.  Oh and finally met Sarah who was in the writer category too and who is not surprisingly très cool indeed.

I could go all cheese central on you and list some of the amazing things that happened after I won.  Not to preen, blow trumpets, puff my chest out and all that jazz.  But to spread some light and warmth in the depressing midst of Brexs*it, various bombings, Blairgate and bigotry…  And show what an utterly amazing, life-changing, confidence-boosting and exhilarating force blogging has been for me these last two plus years.

Things such as the private messages, bloggers’ tweets, my parents’ reactions (I’ve never seen my Dad so proud of me), my husband’s message in his congratulations card which almost choked me, my friends’ pride and so on…it means the world to me.  I hesitate to feature too much on here, as nobody likes a jumped up #BlogDiva (least of all me!) so I’ll just show you a couple:

This whatsapp message (written by a child who clearly took in what her mother said in 40 Lessons to My Kids):

 

screenshot of Prabs' eldest child's congratulations message

And this from one of my favourite bloggers and biggest cheerleaders, Helen.  I deliberated over publicising this for fear of my motives being misunderstood but I just have to show you what amazing friends I’ve made through blogging.  Pure #BloggerLove and God bless her sturdy ankles (she’ll get it).

mess-stress-award-message web

 

Things such as Franca whom I met for the first time at #BML16, coming up to me after the awards and saying something so kind about positive energy and auras.  I won’t fully quote it but suffice to say, her words will stay with me because they blew me away.

Things such as my #BlogFamily, along with people I don’t know, going a little bit nuts when my name was announced.  A massive affectionate shout out to Cuddle Fairy, Island Living 365Just Saying Mum, Life Love and Dirty Dishes, Life With Baby Kicks, Mess Stress and Fancy DressMotherhood the Real DealMum Muddling Through, Pink Pear Bear and This Mums Life.  There aren’t enough beautiful powerful words to describe these supportive women.

But no, I think I’ll just do what I’m more comfortable with: poke fun at myself and explain how not to behave at a blog awards ceremony in general…

photo of Prabs outside the Brewery holding Brilliance in Blogging Writer award

 

Don’t stand in front of the hotel room mirror and say “What do you think you’re doing getting all dressed up when you’re not going to win the award?”, then take off the gorge oh-so-flattering white strapless top and lace skirt that you’d brought over especially…and instead INSTEAD squeeeeeeeze yourself into oh-so-not-flattering tight white jeans that you have no business being in the same room with. #PancakeArse [Mental note to self: immediately visit Does My Bum Look 40 in This? and learn from it]

Don’t sit in your seat open-mouthed forcing one of your blog mates to practically elbow you so you get up after your name is called out.

Don’t panic over keeping the lovely Jen, Susanna, Nadine and of course Carol waiting on stage consequently almost running towards it (although please could all we do a quick respectful nod to how fast I was able to move in those heels? DANG that was impressive if I say so myself).  Furthermore, don’t peg it back to your seat afterwards…what was up with me?  Did I think my friends were going to finish all the drink before I got back to the table?

Don’t, for the love of blog, practically snatch the bubbles, that are part of your prize, out of poor Jen’s hand with barely a thank you.  Is it my imagination or did I hear someone mutter “You can take the girl out of Wembley, but…”  Oh hang on that was me. #Classy

Don’t look so shocked at winning that you actually look like you’re frowning and mutter something daft to the ladies on stage about how you are genuinely happy but are also grimacing and that your grimace is actually your happy look and flip only knows what else because instead of looking shocked, you just look like a right mardy grump.  (My gorgeous bloggin besties have assured me that I didn’t look miserable or ungrateful and that I just looked overwhelmed but I pay them vast amounts of money to say things like that to me.)

Don’t stand at that podium – the one you cheekily allowed yourself to dream about standing at in those award fantasies you never for one second thought would actually come true – and make a speech at warp speed, that even you are barely understand.

Ab Prabs' son's pic of his mum making her speech at the podium

Had to include this: my son’s card showing his mum at the podium!

 

Don’t, for blog’s sake, forget to thank your blog wife who is actually on her blooming knees  filming your awards acceptance speech.

Don’t sit back down in your seat, zap out a post on FB first, tell your mum and siblings second and then only tell your other half THIRD (by which time he’d already heard one of your siblings shriek “She’s won!” as she saw the FB post before you even whatsapped him). Duh.

But most importantly, don’t try to be all clever and explain how your friends are the family you choose for yourself and get it so wrong that it sounds like you’ve just insulted your actual family and worse still (could it get worse?) FORGET to mention your mum, sisters, brother and hubby.  #KillMe

So there you have it.  Not a stellar post.  But a post.  By the way…in my delusional little head, this is my Booker/Pulitzer moment…

Right, I’m off to find the address of Louise Candlish (the Writer category judge) so I can send her that cheque (whoops I mean flowers) and then put another laundry load on.

Because apparently, I still have to do crap like that around here despite being an award winning writer.

I know…mad right?!

Thank you to everyone who voted for me and believed in me.  You’re just incredible.

Much love.

prabs-signature

 

 

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13 Things I Learned From my First Blogging Conference #BML16

I Went to BML16 with photo collage of Prabs' weekend

So #BML16 is over. Everyone’s returned to their ‘normal’ life. Hopefully those that had their eye on specific sessions benefited from them and returned home with applicable valuable tips. Presumably people said hello to some of the bloggers they were eager to meet in person. And I should imagine many people started this week with a renewed vigour about their blogging endeavours and goals.

So with this in mind, I thought I’d share what I learned from my first attendance at #BML; my first time at any blogging conference in fact, thanks to my wonderful sponsor Lucas Frank Clothing. These are the main things I came away with:

I need to be careful when going to a friend’s hotel room to freshen up during a conference. I spent several minutes waving the card key in front of Cuddle Fairy’s door sensor panel, before finding a doorman to figure out why it wasn’t working, only to notice his unimpressed face looking at my own card key…for an entirely different hotel.

Having worked in conferences and events in my pre mum life, I think on the actual logistics side the organisation of #BML16 was superb. Anyone with event management experience (for many people their wedding day is the closest they come I suppose) will know just how much behind the scenes effort and on the ground work goes into organising an event like BML16. It’s. Not. Easy. I’m assuming (hoping) that the hardworking founders JenniferSusanna and the bubbly and friendly Nadine slept well Saturday night!

It’s good to have a general plan for what to say to people whose blogs you’ve not visited. I honestly can’t remember the number of times I went up to a blogger and squealed hello at them (believe me it really was an over excited squeal rather than a calm professional greeting), only to realise upon a close look at their name badge that I had never heard of their blog.  At this point my brain froze and ridiculous as this sounds, I couldn’t think of anything to say. It may sound contrived – and by ‘general plan’ I don’t mean ‘have a load of rehearsed sentences in your head’ – but still, an idea or two would be good to avoid embarrassed silences.

On the topic of looking closely at name badges, said badges could probably do with being on a shorter cord/an actual pin so that they hang/can be manually placed higher up on people’s bodies. It’s a small thing but I found myself eyeballing the nether regions of people I didn’t know, all because of where the name badges ‘fell’ on people’s bodies. So it’s actually a big small thing.  In fact, Claire has hit upon the sensible idea of having people’s logos on the name badge which would really help identify them (from a slightly less dubious distance!). Just saying.

I was ridiculously blessed to finally meet all my blogging family in the flesh (the ones already mentioned in my I’m Going to BML post) who were all pretty much as I thought they’d be.  Best of all, we got on like a house on fire.  When I started blogging, I had no idea I’d form friendships through it.  I can’t adequately describe what it meant to me meeting these amazing supportive talented hardworking girls.  And their reaction when I won the Writer award (which I’ll write about separately) was beautiful…  This fabulous tweet by Claire of LLDD, featuring one of my favourite photos, a group selfie (groupie?) of the whole trip, sums things up brilliantly:

BML-dinner

Sadly this pic is missing the fab Mum Muddling Through and Motherhood Real Deal as they had to leave after the BiBs Awards

The above pic was taken at a le Côte restaurant that my close blog friends and I went to on Saturday evening.  And then here are some others:

Top left: my fave selfie taken outside the Hoxton Hotel when my close blogging friend (and birthday twin!) Becky came to fetch me before going to dinner with a Twitter bestie on Friday (which lovely Sarah of the Unmumsy Mum liked so much that she reserved a selfie slot for the next day which you may have spotted on the main image at the top also including Emma, Brummy Mummy of 2).
Bottom Left: A pic at the Friday night party at the Holiday Inn with my blog wife (old joke) Talya of Motherhood the Real Deal and Cuddles
Top Right: a pic in the Tent in which I’m apparently too lazy to hold the board myself!
Bottom right: afternoon wine (after I’d napped a bit in Becky’s room!) with (going clockwise from behind me) Laura of Life with Baby Kicks, Sarah of Run Jump Scrap, Lucy from This Mums Life, Meagan from The Mum Project, Admissions of a Working Mum, Claire of Live Love and Dirty Dishes, Helen of Mess Stress and Fancy Dress and Kirsty of Something Crunchy Mummy.

It would be good if there are different streams based on people’s stage of blogging.
As far as I can remember, the BML ticket booking form asks for the attendee’s level.  Perhaps individual streams with content aimed specifically at Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced level bloggers would be something to consider for next year’s agenda.

I’m a muppet for ordering 100 business cards mentioning my BiBs finalist place!
I simply hadn’t considered the possibility that I might win! I am now lumbered with a load of rather redundant cards – because I hardly handed any out – that I guess I’ll need to take a biro to in order to write winner.  Duh. Really classy.  Really professional.  Way to go Prabs.

Absolutely Prabulous business card from the back

On the plus side, I suppose this proves I genuinely didn’t expect to win because I wouldn’t have intentionally committed this (slightly costly) mistake!

Front’s alright at least!

business-card

I should have paid much closer attention to who was going as I’m kicking myself over the number of people I didn’t meet.  I simply found it overwhelming checking out every single post on the BML linky or trying to follow the Facebook group page to match people’s actual names to blog names.  But I now realise I should have been more diligent about reading the various posts as there were far too many people I didn’t realise were going and ended up missing.  The day came round and frankly, between staring at people’s crotches – I mean name badges –  nipping into  sessions to try to learn something, meet brands and get some food and drink down me, the whole thing went by in a blur (not helped by the freight-train-like impact of the exhaustion caused by months of late night blogging/the flight delay coming over from Malta/not sleeping properly/travelling into London etc).  I’m staggered at how many people I missed/barely spoke to/only ran into briefly after the BiBs awards.

In fairness, it wasn’t simply because I didn’t know half of them were going.  The day really does go fast and there isn’t really that much time for chatting when it comes down to it.  I would have loved to have a proper chat with Pramshed, The Mum Project, Sons Sand and Sauvignon, Whinge Whinge Wine, Mum in Brum, Bridie by the SeaBeta Mummy, First Tooth, The Less Refined Mind, MumbelievableDays in Bed, Occupation Mother to name just a few.  I did chat to some of them (Natalie, Lizzie and Kate of Mum in Brum, First Tooth and Less Refined Mind were just lovely after the BiBs ceremony) but it was all too brief and I simply cannot believe how little I saw my good friends Pink Pear Bear and This Mum’s Life.  Kicking myself. But this also brings me onto another thing I realised, which in turn leads me onto another suggestion for next year:

It would be fab (assuming it’s not a headache to implement) to have boards with all the blogs listed alphabetically and a recognisable accurate picture of each blogger next to their blog listing.  Maybe it would just be a logistical nightmare to actually put this into practice and clearly, a fair few boards would be required (!) but I can’t help thinking it might possibly make it easier to recognise people.

I’m definitely going back to the Hoxton Hotel the next chance I get. Its hip vibe and gorgeous well designed modern rooms are totally up my street and remind me of what I don’t have here.  Yes, there is a review coming up.

It was the first but definitely not the last blog event I attend.
It’s a shame that all blog events are a flight away for me, living in Malta as I do, but hopefully I’ll have the opportunity to attend more, especially ones with a meaty structured agenda that I can get stuck into.

It did me the world of good getting away but this was the longest I’ve ever spent away from my kids... Six days was enough and I can’t describe how happy I was to see them when I got back…at 2am thanks to a crazy Rynair flight delay…to a household that was fast asleep, only to hear the patter of little feet coming downstairs at hearing me walk in.

I may have LOVED being back in my home town of London, soaking up the buzz and meeting friends. But six days of hardly any sun and being surrounded by buildings and city environment was enough…and I was so glad to be back in my adoptive home of Malta (once my Ryanair flight actually decided to take off) with a summer of sun, sand and sea ahead of me.

Thank you to all the wonderful bloggers who made #BML16 one of the highlights of my year.  Much #BlogLove to you.

 

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Introducing my #BML16 Sponsor!

Introducing my BML16 sponsor title image

So just weeks after having the privilege of reviewing their rather dashing Stuart Point rugby top

I’m absolutely delighted to announce Lucas Frank as my #BML16 sponsor.  In case, you’ve missed my previous post, Brit Mums Live is the UK’s biggest blog event of the year!

Now, it could just be the overall growing excitement at the thought of spending a weekend hearing inspiring blogging stories, learning essential blog success tips and meeting some of my blog heroines not to mention hanging out with my awesome blogging besties…

It may just be the thought of spending some me-myself-and-I quality time (despite being blessed with three easy well-behaved kids, if I say so myself, I’m still glad to be getting some kids-free time before the onslaught of Maltese heat/11 plus weeks of school holidays/swimming lessons three times a week)…

It might simply be the happiness of being back in my beloved home town, London, and spending time with really good friends the second half of my six day trip…

Or it may just be the giddying fact that I am about to attend my first ever blog event.

But as I sit here writing this on the aeroplane, waiting for my flight to depart (one hour delay and counting by the way) to take me to #BML16

and the Brilliance in Blogging Awards (in which I’m up for a Best Writer award along with four other finalists, which you can read about here), I’m having to stifle the urge to do a happy dance.  Because I genuinely consider myself ridiculously lucky to do what I love and love what I do.  Launching Absolutely Prabulous has enabled me to indulge my passion for writing, put a few pennies in the mummy piggy bank and work with some fab brands that fit with my family’s and my lifestyle.

And this leads me on to my #BML16 sponsor.  For Lucas Frank is exactly such a brand.

This company’s products and ethos really have resonated with me. Their boys’ clothing range is right up my street.  As I said in my review, I often struggle to find clothes that I like for Dreamy D. My daughters’ wardrobes are infinitely better stocked but finding things for D that a) fit his rather small slim frame b) look good and c) don’t break the bank cost-wise, hasn’t always been easy.  I was so happy (and more importantly my son was) with the top we received from the LF guys and I’ve already picked out other items in their range that I love. It’s no over zealous compliment when I say I fell over with excitement when they contacted me a while back to work with them.

I freely admit, I’ve had the biggest smile on my face since Linden and his team confirmed they’d sponsor my #BML16 attendance.  As the daughter of two people who worked relentlessly and tirelessly to grow a grocery store business (in the face of burgeoning supermarket chains) for over fifteen years, I am passionate about supporting newer retail businesses making their mark, if they offer a product line I can put my faith in.  It’s such a thrill and honour to be supported by – and lend my endorsement to – the Lucas Frank clothing line (which you can purchase from here by the way).

Finally, over to the LF chaps themselves, to see what they have to say:

Once upon a time, in a hospital maternity ward far, far away – well, right here in Yorkshire actually – a boy by the name of Lucas Frank was born. He didn’t know it yet but he was soon to become the inspiration of a brand new clothing company. As his parents carried their little bundle of joy home from the maternity ward, they decided right there and then, this little chap deserved the best – of everything.

Much like Lucas, your little man deserves the best too. Designed and created in England, using a 100% renewable manufacturing process with 100% organic cotton, you can be sure that what you are buying is the best. With a mark of quality along every seam, we believe that the small things – like our Lucas – really count.

With polos, tees, hoodies and rugby wear via Britain’s greatest sartorial talent, the Lucas Frank site offers something for every little man. We know what style-conscious parents are looking for – and we’re always ahead of the game when it comes to trends. Love, care and attention goes into each and every stitch of the clothes you’ll see here on the site. And we have the very same focus behind the scenes, too.

Looking for stand-out kids’ fashion? You’ve just found it.

So there you go!

Look out for my mentions across my social media, of Lucas Frank Boys’ Clothing

over the next few days while I’m doing my thang at Brit Mums Live.

And thanks again to Lucas Frank, you lovely lot, for sponsoring me!

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Yeah Baby…I’m Going to Brit Mums Live 2016!

 I'm Going to Brit Mums Live title image

 So I guess it’s time I write the standard I’m going to Brit Mums Live post.

Because in a few days’ time, I’m getting myself on a flight from Malta to London as I’M GOING TO BRIT MUMS LIVE, the social media event where 500+ bloggers come together to learn about social media strategies and blog success tips!  Believe it or not, in uncharacteristically organised fashion, I bought my ticket way back in November after chatting to Amy of Mr and Mrs T Plus Three.  That is where all semblance of organisation ended however.  I then, in much more typical Prabulous fashion, took three months (after its expiry) to renew my passport, consequently only booking my flight in April and then didn’t manage to sort out my hotel til mid May (by which time there were no more single or twin rooms left.  So I shall be staying in a double room at the rather cool Hoxton Hotel and as I’m coming into town on the Friday for the pre-conference drinks, that’s two nights including Saturday night as it will be too late to get home after the Brilliance in Blogging award ceremony and the dinner I’ve got afterwards.  I’ll also be spending some quality time with Becky of Cuddle Fairy on the Friday before everything starts too so I’m really blessed.  Am I ridonkulously excited about the possibility grabbing a drink (you know just the one) at the fab Hoxton bar?  Yep.  Am I super excited that some of my blogger friends are also staying there.  Yep.  Am I excited that I get to have two (well actually 5 in total as I’m in London for a few extra days) nights kids-free?  YEP!  Mind you, I’m only spending the first night alone.   Good grief where is she going with this…? You’ll see.


Anyway, here is the BML lowdown:

My Name Is

Prabs.  No jokes about it sounding like Crabs thanks or I’ll inflict my full name on you and make you pronounce it, Indian accent and all.

My Blog

Absolutely Prabulous is an honest mainly humourous blog by a key-losing, housework-avoiding, vodka-deprived former Londoner/one-time Parisian/now full-time Malteser who talks about motherhood, marriage, beach life and various nonsense.  In a nutshell ha ha.

Find me on social media at:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AbPrabulous
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AbsolutelyPrabulous
Instagram: https://www.instagram/absolutelyprabulous

How I look:

I can’t lie, my initial reaction to this was What? Why should it matter how I look?!  I’m there to learn about social media/bloggy stuff and meet bloggers I admire in the flesh.  That is, until I realised Duh, people need to know what I look like, so they can identify me in the throng.  (Yes please do reread that last bit in case you misread it.)  So this is the least tired looking pic I can find.  I’d had about 3 hours sleep as I’d been celebrating my BiBs shortlisting the previous night and er…judging by that wine glass, I was apparently still celebrating!

wine for BiB

I’m a rather diddy 5ft 1.5 (yes the .5 is crucial!).  But what I lack in height, I make up for in erm…actually I have no idea…you’ll have to be the judge of that when we meet I guess.

Is this my first blogging event?

Yes indeedy.
#EverSoSlightlyExcited

I will be wearing…

I doubt my wardrobe choices are of interest to anyone but I’ll be placing the emphasis on comfortable chic (is that even a thing?).  As I’m flying two days before the event, I may have to pack about three different options as the English weather will change half a dozen times between me landing and the conference starting (I’m so cheeky).  I also have the additional need to think of an outfit to wear for the BiBs awards party as I’m – eeek – a finalist!

If I’m feeling particularly patriotic, I might wear my ‘Brit shoes’ (although bizarrely they don’t seem all that Brit in this pic for some reason):

brit-shoes

What I hope to gain from #BML16:

On the blog front, inspiration and advice on how to take my site to the next level.  On the bloggy love/social side, the chance to actually meet and hang out with my great blogger  friends Cuddle Fairy, Island Living 365, Just Saying Mum, Life Love and Dirty Dishes, Life With Baby Kicks, Mess Stress and Fancy Dress, Motherhood the Real Deal and Mum Muddling Through, Pink Pear Bear and This Mums Life, not to mention the many other wonderful bloggers I’ve got to know.  I’ve also been contacted by several newer bloggers recently who are hoping to squeeze in some time between sessions for some mentoring tips; really don’t know if there’ll be enough time for that but if any of you are reading this, I sure will do my best (not that I know what help I could offer)!

My tips for a great conference:

I’m the worst person to ask for advice.  But one thing that has really struck me on FB groups and people’s own BML posts is how nervous so many people are feeling.  I may have missed something here – and I may suddenly get so anxious myself that I chunder into my handbag – but I can’t imagine there is anything to feel nervous about.  I know we are all different but my tip would be relax, enjoy putting faces to names and voices to faces and if you’re a parent, enjoy the kids-free time!

Oh and try not to end up sharing a bed with a blogger you’ve never met before because there were no single rooms left…

Oh you don’t do that kind of thing?  Just me then?  And yes, if you are really good to me, there may be a blog post…

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