Archive of ‘Blog Blog Blog’ category

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
Facebook: @AbsolutelyPrabulous
Instagram @absolutelyprabulous @justsayingmum

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.

DON’T MISS THE NEXT POST! just pop your email address in the orange top banner.

TO FOLLOW my pearls of wisdom entertainment on social media check out:
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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.

SHARE THIS POST! via the social media share buttons 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?!

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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?)

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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.

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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.

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  • 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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Blog Stars – The Second Edition

 

blog-stars-second-edition featured image cinema screen with title

Firstly, a huge thanks is due to everyone who read, commented and shared the first Blog Stars post (#BlogStars), helping get this new feature off to an amazing start.

I was actually a bit blown away by the love it received.  I really started it as a way of simply giving back to the amazing bloggers who pour their heart, soul and effort into their blogs; little did I realise a) how totally chuffed my first lot of blog stars would be to be featured b) that others would say they’d use the series as a tool for catching up on their blog reading or c) that the featured bloggers wouldn’t just read their own blogs but would go check out the other blogs listed.  So, a great result all round and I’m so grateful to you all.  What a lovely bunch.

So I’m back with a second batch of bloggy treats for you!  There’s some thought-provoking stuff, some tear-inducing stuff, some helpful tippy stuff and it can’t be an AbPrab post without plenty of laffs.  Agreed?  If you concur, here we go!  Enjoy x

 

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
Generate your button code

 

Now, there is one thing I’d like YOU to do!  

If you’re one of my Blog Stars – or indeed a blogger who reads this and enjoys it – can I ask you to retweet this post with the hashtag #BlogStars?  Cheers Big Ears!

This Edition’s Blog Stars Are: 

3 Little Buttons The 10 Things That Get on My Nerves

This is not a new post but as explained in Blog Stars the First Edition, one doesn’t always come across a post that was just written that month.  I could pretty much relate to all of this post which made me relive my London commuter days.  Shudder.  Annette did make me laugh with her descriptions of the types of plonker behaviour that goes on on the London Underground and the fab illustration, oh my… The post made me think of last Summer, when I was back in the UK visiting Ma and Pa etc; there was one week where I had to use the Tube every day…I swear it was the longest week of my life…NO idea how I used to do that every day for work).  Annette also made me mentally renew my vow to never live or work in London ever again.  One of the greatest cities it most definitely is.  But if you need me, I’ll be on the beach…

 

The Adventures of a Beta Mummy The Mum’s Night Out

I am super duper lucky to have a good social life (I don’t know if it’s an island thing or just a Mediterranean thing) and I’m very blessed to have ‘my girls’.  I was going to say I’m now through to the other side as my kids are no longer babies but if I”m honest, even when they were little it was easy to get out.  The tiny non-UK distances make it easy here too.  But although Beta Mummy’s post is far from my stage of parenting or experience, I did love her take on the need to Get. Out. Of. The. House.  There was no way I was leaving this post out because…because…OMG…the PICTURE!  How much did I love the picture?!  The ‘seats’ bit and the ‘I’m knackered’ and the drawing itself and oh the whole thing!  Perfection.  Bravo Beta Mummy.  Now step this way and come illustrate for me!

 

Beauty, Baby and Me Contradicting Advice…Cheers for the Headwreck Leading Experts!

Oh my word this post is fab.  Fi talks in hilarious fashion about the myriad of conflicting suggestions and advice so-called childcare experts give out over the course of books etc.  The Do/Don’t bullet point list she starts the post with had me howling and the memes are so up my street.  Poor girl, she really reminded me of my angst with my first two kids (and how by the time it got to the third, I was so busy running around after the first two, all the angst was gone and she almost had to bring herself up!).  The last paragraph warmed my heart as I’d been feeling so sorry for Fi throughout the post, wondering what reassuring advice I could impart as a ‘seasoned’ (but totally unwise lol) mum, only to find that she’s got her head screwed on and a great approach to the whole thing.

 

Confusing Diaries of a Puzzled Mummy Take My Kid Out of Your Box

An excellent post about the problem that British education and parents are facing with the endless testing of students for no other reason it seems than to tick boxes, satisfy statistic-obsessed academic boards and march to the drum of whichever education minister happens to be in power.  This is such a well-written post that had me nodding my head furiously, asking myself yet again what the hell today’s education system is doing to our children’s mental well-being (and thanking my lucky stars that mine go to a school in Malta that totally champions the individual/creativity/inquisitive learning approach).

 

Cuddle Fairy How to Increase Domain Authority

I first became aware of the term DA during a twitter chat with Amy of Mr and Mrs T Plus Three several months ago.  I had no idea what it meant (and…er…was too embarrassed to ask her!).  In the last few months however, I’ve seen a lot of articles on it and was delighted to discover my DA is respectable.  This post is for sure one of the better ones I’ve read on this topic.  If you’ve not read Cuddle Fairy yet (although that’s probably unlikely), you need to check out her ‘tips’ posts.  Queen of helping other bloggers, she writes ‘how to’ posts in an easy-to-digest friendly manner, jam-packing them with helpful advice and info.  There is no way you’re leaving this caring sharing blogger’s site without having learned something.  I promise!

 

Life as a Rambling Redhead In Honor of the Forgotten Anniversary

You know when you know about a blog but the whole ‘life getting in the way’ thing I mentioned in the first #BlogStars happens and you just don’t get round to reading them for the longest time? Yep.  That one.  A very good friend of mine regularly shares Jenn’s posts and this one popped up in my feed when I was busy writing a post (and by writing a post I mean faffing about on social media achieving nothing much of anything).  It’s not a recent one but who cares?  It is SO damned funny.  Not only does this woman get my vote for actually forgetting her own wedding anniversary – seriously rock star lol – but the erm ‘alternative’ less than conventional wedding photos she shares in this post and the hilarious explanations… Nearly broke a rib laughing.

 

Life With Baby Kicks Expat Living: When You Don’t Know How to Say Goodbye

I’ve said goodbye to more people than I can recall over the last ten years of life on the rock.  It used to be a real blow in the early days but I’ve said goodbye to so many now, it doesn’t affect me much anymore as I’ve just hardened myself. But there was one that made me cry two years ago to the point where my then 10 yo had to console me! The worst aspect is how many best friends my kids have had to say goodbye to. It’s such an awful part of expat life but of course an inevitable one. When I was out with some of my besties a few weekends back, we said how we have to make a pact to never leave Malta. We joked that the leaving do of the next person to go will require a dress code of funereal black as we’d all be in mourning. This is all a long-winded way of saying that I totally got every word of this gorgeous post by Laura who has written many a post showing a real love and respect for the place that is Dubai.  I truly sympathise with her over that in limbo feeling one has between country moves; just the whole thing.

 

Live Love Blog Blogger’s Best Blogging Tips

You know when you start writing a post or at least start planning the outline of it in your head…only to come across something very very similar already written?  Yep.  My heart sank a bit when I read this fab post by the power house that is the Live Love Blog team, in which they’ve rounded up advice from various bloggers.  Sinking hearts aside, I thoroughly related and am hard pushed to choose a favourite tip.  However, the two that really had me nodding in agreement were those of Angela from Days in Bed and Emily of A Slummy Mummy.  I could not agree more with Ange’s comment about those who are genuinely interested in your blog gravitating towards it; whilst I do see the sense in going after a specific target market and sticking with that, I do feel it depends on whether that makes you happy.  As mentioned recently in my Confessions of a Guilty Blogger post, I’ve finally ditched the niche angst and now just write what I want to write.  Ever seen the film Field of Dreams?  If you build it, they will come…that!  And I almost squealed with delight at Emily’s comment – and actually wanted to reach through the screen and hug her for – ‘don’t get it right, get it written’. Halleblogelujah.  I so need to remember that as I drive myself nuts with wanting e-v-e-r-y freaking detail to be exactly right in a post (not that I have any intention whatsoever of divulging how long it’s taken me to put this one together!)

Motherhood In Real Life Looks Like We Made It

This really is one of those posts that takes your breath away; it’s so touching when a mother writes a heartfelt post for their child.  I kind of held my breath as I read it and felt so much sympathy in parts and could relate to other parts.  Becoming a mother throws enough of a curved ball but struggling with an ill child is a tough cross to bear and  Motherhood in Real Life bears it brilliantly and writes about superbly well.

Mess and Merlot All the Carbs Please

I featured Charlie in Life in the Prab Lane and the first #BlogStars.  I’m sure people are going to think we’re sleeping together or that she’s paying me.  But what do you do when a post is too good not to be featured?  You feature it dammit!  The bit about homemade flapjacks full of nuts and syrup being “ALKALINE and therefore good for [her] and the vodka and menthols ‘diet’ and ugh the whole thing…and the memes!  I just had to.  (Although just what the heck she’s doing ingesting blueberries combined with spinach is just beyond me…wink emoji.)

Mum Muddling Through When the Blog Days are Over

Yes, Sarah featured in the very first Blog Stars.  And with good reason.  There is a handful of bloggers who draw the kind of reaction from me that Sarah’s writing does.  I have such a deep respect and admiration for how this blogger uses words, choosing them carefully,  shaping them into the most perfectly crafted sentences that I wish I could reach into the screen to grab and eat.  (She’s probably going to laugh self-effacingly and say she slaps them together without thinking!). ‘Are we all one unexpected event away from hitting publish for the last time?  Or will we just get bored of it?’…I welled up a bit.  I would never ever think of using phrases like ‘Bloggerati’ and the ‘Pearly gates of blog heaven’ but this lass does.  And phrases like that, as well as the rather emotional response I had to the whole post because right now I can’t think of my blog days ending as they are my life, are why she’s in Blog Stars 2.

Mummy in a Tutu How To Get Noticed as a Blogger: Boobs and Arse

Oh my…I just wanted to reach through the screen and hug Katie for this one, as it kind of saddened me in some ways.  Not that I’m implying for one second that it is a plea for sympathy on her part, by the way, as it clearly isn’t.  It just got me thinking about other posts I’ve seen about the slightly, well, dare I say it. ‘unfortunate’ side of blogging: the side that sees bloggers getting hung up on stats, the side that has bloggers eyeing another blog with envy, the side that sees bloggers feeling a bit down during awards season.  To tell the truth, I was almost relieved that I was such a clueless blogger in the first 18 months and that I had no real drive if I’m honest!  I can’t help wondering if I’d have felt deflated if I was aware of even half the things that Katie already knows in the few months she’s been blogging.  I just hope she knows is a very clued up blogger who is doing everything she needs to be get noticed.  It will come…

Plutonium Sox A Letter to a Busy Mum

I feel it’s so clichéd trotting out the phrase ‘heartfelt post’ but that’s what this post is.  And honestly, I had the biggest lump in my throat reading it.  In fact, out of this month’s #BlogStars, this is the one that broke me.  Kleenex was required.  I’ve touched on this sad side of parenting where we feel we don’t spend enough time with our kids (and don’t know a way around that) myself and I have no excuse as I’m a SAHM (albeit one whose blog is taking over her life)!  Read this, then go hug your baby/babies.

The Secret Life of the Baby Day 38, A Birthday Celebration

I can honestly say hand on heart, this post is one of the funniest I’ve EVER read.  I pretty much decorated my side of the sofa with erm my own personal ‘spray’ as I snorted and spit-laughed all the way through.  The great thing is that I missed my yoga and pilates classes the week I read this but it didn’t matter.  This hilarious post written by ‘Baby’ about mummy’s birthday celebrations including daddy’s pathological lying and mummy’s dubious taste in clothing, gave my pelvic floor and abdominals enough exercise.  There is literally no way I could ever read this aloud and not end up in bits laughing, so don’t ask me to read it to you.  Go do it yourself (and let me know what you thought of it)!

The Secret Life of the Baby Day Seventy Three

Yep, I’ve put two posts by this blogger in this round up.  Maybe it’s cheeky but it’s my blog so there.  Sorry, what I meant was this chick is so ridonkulously clever, talented and funny and I loved this post so much, it would have been dishonest and unfair not feature it.  The line about Dad’s haggard look due to illness (the one about age…I won’t spoil it because it’s too good), ‘I’d put a solid five hours in yesterday and I found it quite bizarre that they were recalling past illnesses with such fondness’… Oh my.  This woman is genius.  ‘You haven’t been cooking again have you?’  Ba haaa HAAAA.

And Then There Were Two My Babies Haven’t Read the Sleep Rules

Okay, so I know there are a lot of posts written about babies not sleeping (link to Laura).  You know, just a few… Oh alright, it’s probably THE most written about topic in close contest with breastfeeding.  But this one really made me laugh, erm, even though I’m not exactly saying it’s funny when babies don’t sleep.  You’ve got to hand it to a blogger when they take a topic that is causing them genuine angst and headaches and write about it with humour.

Tea or Wine 9 Ingredients for a Succesful Blog Post

This is by far my favourite so far of Cheryl’s although I did nearly throw myself on the floor and cry as I had just started writing something similar of my own!  This is truly excellent spot on advice.  Go read and listen to her people!  Nuff said.

 

Thanks to the fab linkies run by these hard working awesome bloggers!  Without you, I wouldn’t have found half these posts.  Mwah.

I hope you find some posts you enjoy.  

I for one, am in awe of these talented #BlogStars.  See you next month!

 

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A Big Fat Prabulous Thank you #BiBs2016

A Big Fat Prabulous Thank You

As many of you know (because I banged on and ON about it and frankly how did you put up with it?!), in April I was shortlisted for both the MAD Blog Awards and Brilliance in blogging awards as Best Writer finalist. I was absolutely astonished to make one shortlist, let alone two.  I’m not sure I’ll ever believe or understand it. I’m simply too close to my blog to be able to see what others see in it.  So I started writing this post earlier on the beach on a glorious hot sunny afternoon after fetching the kids from school.  (Yes I know, there should also be a shortlist for smug tossers.)

I just felt compelled to write a little something about the BiBs 2016 final shortlist.

So, a month of votes campaigning started which was all rather out of my comfort zone and I’m sure I drove the whole of Facebook crazy with my numerous posts asking people to vote for me (as if they weren’t already fed up enough of the please ‘nominate me for the shortlist’ posts that had gone before).  Luckily for the Twitter crowd, me being rather ditzy, I totally forgot to tweet about it after the first week of initial ‘pleeeeeze vote’ posts, so I think they were spared more than the FB lot.

Thursday 26th, (after a restless night caused by the surprise announcement that the Brit Mums team were announcing the Brilliance in Blogging Final Shortlist a day early), I woke up, saw an awards-related message from my good friend Cuddles and told her I felt too sick with nerves and planned to avoid social media (as I was sure I wouldn’t make the final five).  I promptly tried to go back to sleep.  Nice try.  I’m too curious for my own good; worse than any of my kids.

The avoiding Twitter etc idea failed miserably; the phone was back on a short while later.

And there were messages.  Sweet funny messages.  Mainly about me still being asleep.

island-living-dm

From Emma of Island Living 365

cuddles-fb-message-BiBs

From Becky of Cuddle Fairy

What can I say? I did tell you a couple of months ago that I’m the most the likely to win an award for my sleep skills.  And there were of course lovely congratulatory tweets.  Big love.  I’d made the final five.  So had Cuddles.  So had Island Living, she of the hilarious message.  And breathe.  I was actually really calm and subdued.  I put it down to shock.  But a few hours later Hubster said something that made me realise it wasn’t that.  More on that in a sec.

Of course, I’d love to pick up the award June 25th and do my best tearful Gwynnie-esque speech

(minus the bubble gum pink doll-toilet-roll-holder-style gown).

But this brings me to Hubster’s comment.  Once he put me back down after his proud bear hug, when I told him the news later on, he said

You made it this far and as far as I’m concerned, that’s a win.  Anything else is a bonus.

Wise words.  Then Musical M said “Mummy you are a winner just for writing your blog in the first place”.  Amazing, she’s not even 12!  In that moment, I suddenly understood why I’d been so calm in my excitement.  It wasn’t because I wasn’t bowled over; it was because I was just relieved and happy. If this is far as I go and I don’t win, I’m already a winner…  Reaching the shortlist of ten finalists was amazing; but then to have got as far as the final five is more than I could have hoped for.  To win would obviously be incredible – and after I’ve finished writing this I need to go practise my best awards ceremony ‘face’ – but maybe I should just be thrilled I’ve got this far.

So if this really is as far as I go, (all my bits are crossed that it isn’t but if it is), then I have to say a big fat Prabulous thank you.  

Thank you, you blooming fabulous lot who nominated me and got to me to the initial BiBs shortlist, then voted for me and got me through to the final five, sent me amazing messages, left ridiculously amazing comments on my social media and here on the blog.  How do I ever repay you?!

I also need to thank a certain dad blogger.

A year ago, I received a tweet from Rod of Modern Dad Pages inviting me to join what’s called a blog link-up.  We’d never tweeted one another before and I had no idea what a linky was but tried it and lost my linky virginity to Rod (sorry it’s an old joke and I love ribbing him with it).   A whole world of bloggers and new experiences opened up for me.  (I’d barely spoken to a single blogger in the previous 18 months of blogging.)  Soon after, I wrote my first ever viral post.  Not long after, Rod asked me to write a from-the-heart post for him.  I moaned about the short notice but wrote something very personal.  It received an extraordinary response which I’ve also written about, is one of my own favourites and people still mention it.  I hand on heart believe that if it hadn’t been for Rod, I would still be bumbling around in the blogosphere.  Even though I launched in November 2013 to an amazing response, I don’t feel like I really started blogging properly until I ‘met’ Rod.  I don’t think he knows how grateful I am that he was my lucky charm.

And finally I need to say thank you to blogging itself.

In my post about my blogging journey that I wrote for Mum Muddling Through, I mention just some of the things that blogging has brought my way: rediscovering myself after years as a SAHM, meeting incredible talented writers, the belly laughs I’ve had on Twitter, getting on the HuffPost, private messages and blog comments I’ve received from followers about posts that have helped them, constantly meeting total strangers out and about in Malta who read me (earlier on at the beach I met a guy who follows the blog and I met someone at a barbecue last week who follows it and this kind of stuff happens regularly…crazy…beautiful crazy).

I simply couldn’t have predicted any of that when I hit publish on my first blog post.  And I’m so grateful for all of it.

Right, excuse me.  I’m off to call Gwynnie to lend me a dress.  Just ‘that’ one.

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Confessions of a Guilty Blogger

confessions-of-a-blogger-featured

 

A while ago, I had a terrible cold.  As I lay on the sofa drowning in self pity, hot lemon water and kleenex, I had no energy for blog duties and I realised something:  whilst I felt a bit guilty for neglecting my work load, I erm…felt partly relieved too.

 

RELIEVED I HAD A BONA FIDE EXCUSE NOT TO BLOG!

Then I felt guilty for feeling relieved I didn’t ‘have’ to blog!  In my defence, even the most dedicated employee-of-the-year type is grateful for a day off work. Cue blog post I thought.  Then I sat on the idea.  This time it wasn’t my tendency towards procrastination that made me stall.  It was more the worry I’d just get stoned by my blogging peers if I owned up to half the blogger confessions on this list!  But I’ve come to realise recently from other bloggers’ comments that:

 

I MAY NOT BE THE ONLY PERSON IN BLOGGERVILLE SUFFERING FROM BLOGGER’S GUILT…

Double. Exclamation. Mark. Yep, several people admitted to feeling the same sense of guilt I mentioned in the first edition of my new #BlogStars series; Life Love and Dirty Dishes even joked that we ought to start a group called Blogger Guilt Anonymous (man I’d be the first to join).  Honestly, I feel like a guilty blogger all the time: not writing enough, not social media-ing, not reading enough blogs, not being ‘blog-tech aware’ enough; it just goes on and on to the point where I make myself quite miserable.  And blogging isn’t meant to make you miserable.  Don’t worry, I love blogging!  This isn’t a pity post.  Not one bit.

I just feel that for various reasons, there’s no getting away from it; I need to reveal my guilty blogger confessions.

 

1. BAD TIME MANAGEMENT.  AARRRGGGGGH!

This has been a lifelong problem to be honest.  Now as a blogger, I have very limited time available to blog in the first place.  Yes, I’m a SAHM and I just said I have little time.  Punch me.  By the time I return to the house after the school run, it’s 9am.  But I can’t just sit down immediately as there is laundry and kitchen cleanup to do.  I then have to stop at 1pm to eat lunch, make dinner, clean up before fetching the kids from school.  In theory.  What really happens is that I’m only just getting in the flow by 1pm and carry on working til I have to fetch them and end up making dinner super late.  And let’s not even mention actually trying to get some exercise in.  Alright, let’s mention it.  I love starting the day with exercise; it’s the best feeling but I have to blog instead, so it either doesn’t happen or I’m going out in the evening for classes/a run which impacts on the kids’ bedtime and delays my dinner/kitchen clean-up and evening blogging sit-down time.

 

multitasking-woman

 

It’s too lame to blame my failings on the dishes, the time spent supervising homework, the laundry, the cleaning, the e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g.

There is a world of bloggers out there with the same commitments, time demands and most importantly the same amount of hours in the day as me.  They can’t bend time or magically create more hours in the day.  Yet they’re all managing to blog their socks off, build site traffic and show up for linkies.  Many of them have actual day jobs…pfft!…and many of them with said day jobs actually RUN a linky!  Oh and they’re in bed by 11pm.  Meanwhile, I’m up til shocking o’clock with a quarter of their output to show for it.  I have no idea what the solution is! #BarelyCoping

 

2. BAD PRIORITIES

The kids often come second, friends come third, exercise comes fourth and the housework…it doesn’t even figure!  Yes I get the laundry done (just) but there is so much to running a household, especially when unlike your friends, you don’t have a cleaning lady.

This is something I genuinely have angst over.  Having to constantly ride the blog train visiting every compartment including the every-social-media-channel-in-existence, the linky, the guest post, the series-hosting and the writing carriages, feeling like I can never get off…is affecting family life.  I may not be a mumsy mum who enjoys crafts and baking and getting down on the floor to play with her kids but I do spend time with them in my own way: walks, beach trips, board games.  Frankly, I hate how blogsessed I’ve become, head buried in phone manically tweeting away or glued to my computer, to the point where it’s become a herculean effort to mentally switch off or step away from my devices, when I’m meant to be spending time with my kids.  It’s like I just can’t relax because my mind is constantly on the to do list piling up.

 

3. ENORMOUS.  AMOUNTS.  OF.  TIME.  ON.  LE TWITTER

Whilst other bloggers have probably whipped out two blog posts, planned their entire monthly schedule and scheduled tweets and Instagram posts, there I am spending my time having ridiculous (but hilariously addictive) conversations with my ‘posse’ including Cuddles, Rodders, Trista, NHD and Alan like this:

Confessions of a guilty blogger screenshot of tweets

 

anchor man 2

We’re just juveniles really.

 

4. QUESTIONABLE LINKY BEHAVIOUR

Do I even dare talk about this or am I just about to commit bloggercide?  Let’s see, there’s the barely managing to comment before the next one Is live, the binge reading the following week to compensate etc.  Out of all the areas I feel worst over, this is the one that really gets to me.   A while ago, Life Love and Dirty Dishes said I share the blog love more than anyone she knows.  I actually stared at the screen in surprise because the thing is, her comments came at a time when I’d been doing a lot of soul searching.  The soul-searching worsened when I had one of ‘those’ weeks.  I just couldn’t balance writing, running the #OopsFiles, facebooking/instagramming/tweeting my bits off and duly commenting on the linkies I’d joined.  (Heck, it was impressive enough I’d joined the linkies in time!)  Anyway, I nearly shrank in mortification seeing a conversation on a blog forum about linkies.  Unsurprisingly, there was universal horror expressed at those who don’t give back enough re commenting.

Disclaimer: To read blogs on time and feel less guilty about ‘past indiscretions’  I recently started #BlogStars, a regular round up of posts I’ve read and loved.  The response has been wonderful and thankfully nobody stoned me, as you can see from the comments.

Thing is I’m no good at leaving one short line on a person’s post just to prove I’ve visited their site.  I tend to say quite a lot especially if I really love their post; I swear sometimes it’s like I’ve written another post at the end of theirs!  So the time it takes me to read/comment is crazy.  I also tend to leave it to the end of the day so that enough people have linked up but then I’m a) knackered b) overwhelmed at the sheer number of posts or c) inspired by something in one of the posts I do manage to read which makes me start jotting down ideas for a blog post.  When I should be reading.  Ugh.

 

5. NOT HAVING A BLOG SCHEDULE

I tried implementing one and did in fact download and print a blog scheduler.  I arranged in neatly in a binder.  I wrote on it.  A bit.  I’m not really getting on with it and need to find another one so right now, there’s a sketchy schedule in my head.  But oh to be as organised as this!  Obviously, I know much more than I did when I started out but I do feel like I’m still nowhere near clued up #AlwaysTheLastToKnow

 

blog-schedule-2

 

 

6. NOT BLOGGING ANYWHERE NEAR ENOUGH

I guess a by product of the iffy schedule.  Alright, I should cut myself a bit of slack on this one as I do write more than I ever did, having gone from one post every one and a half months (at my lowest point) to three a week, recently.  Except the three is usually two!  But I look at the output of some people like Aby and Laura and I wonder if they ever sleep.  Ever.

 

7. TAKING AN ETERNITY TO WRITE A BLOG POST.

I’m known for being very honest on my blog.  But the length of time it takes me to write a post?  Nah…not telling…taking that one with me to the grave.  In fact, I daren’t even add up the hours.  (I guess most of this post is leading towards one major theme: time management!)

I read an amazing line last week in this fab post by Live Love Blog on blogging tips.  The tip was from Slummy Mummy who advised bloggers to not fuss about getting a post perfect but just getting it done and OUT!  This has been my problem with the blog since the start.  When I have tried just writing something quickly and banging it out, I regret it because for days afterwards, I think of things I forgot.  In fact, erm, I’m writing this paragraph a day after pressing ‘publish’ on this post because I remembered only today.  I have managed to write something within two and a half hours – yes that is FAST for me!! – and in fairness, my anniversary card post is one of my biggest posts and snowballed within minutes of going out on Facebook.  But berLUDDY hell, the stress of working to a deadline nearly killed me!

8. FLITTING BETWEEN MULTIPLE TASKS WITHOUT WITHOUT ACTUALLY COMPLETING A SINGLE ONE

While writing this, I got distracted by that conversation above.  Then I saw other twitter notifications.  I rarely read posts when they come up in my feed; I’m trying to change that so I clicked on one and read the post and commented.  Then Instagram comments popped up on my phone so I ended up responding to those.  Add to all this my incurable Facebook itch so I responded to some AbPrab page comments before realising I need to schedule my page for the next day.  Are you getting the picture?!  Did I get this written?  Did I my bum.

woman-on-laptop-and-phone

 

 

9. WASTING PRECIOUS TIME AND ENERGY OBSESSING OVER THE DREADED ‘NICHE’!

Someone close to me said I need to figure out my blog’s aim and niche because all the super bloggers who make a fortune did exactly that.  I’d already been feeling concerned enough about this before the remark was made…but this made me agonise for months.  What if I’m a jack of all trades and master of none?  Shouldn’t I stick to blogging about one main topic?  Is it bad that I don’t just write about mummy stuff on my ‘mummy blog’ and if so am I just a big fraud?  Will brands be put off from working with me if they can’t easily put my blog into a set box?  On and on the quandary continued in my head.  Blogger extraordinaire Cuddle Fairy recently celebrated her first blogiversary and wrote about her blogging journey to date.  I am SO glad I read that post!  Cuddles single-handedly saved me from the dark shadow cast by that niche nonsense, saying she no longer worries about it and how she just blogs about what the heck she wants (well Cuddles doesn’t say ‘heck’ because she’s a lady).  When I think of the amount of time I have wasted agonising over this.

 

10. STILL NOT KNOWING STUFF I SHOULD KNOW ABOUT TWO YEARS INTO BLOGGING

Hmmm… where do I start?!  This is just a small selection of my blog-bumbling (you can read some more in my guest post about my blogging journey for Mum Muddling Through:

  • underestimating the importance of emailing your subscriber list
  • not realising the SEO significance of placing alt text and relevant tags on images
  • not using Twitter for sharing current and older posts
  • not installing a plugin to detect broken links that could be harming my site
  • not understanding the follow vs no follow conundrum
  • not using headings in my content for the longest time

blog-terms

WHAT’S THE CONCLUSION OR SOLUTION?

I love blogging.  I found myself again after the years of nappy changing, play groups and school events.  It gave me a renewed purpose, long after I’d sat an office desk with an actual job, and I can’t imagine not doing it.  As I said in the Blog Geek post, I don’t know where Prabs the person ends and Absolutely Prabulous the blogger begins and vice versa.  Yes, I feel overwhelmed by how much goes into blogging.  Yes I feel like I’d have more chance of balancing in the most impossible yoga pose whilst drinking a coffee and ironing a shirt than I do of balancing the blog with motherhood and life.

But I also know if I stopped blogging any time soon, well, I’d feel like I’d lost a limb.

So I guess there’s nothing else for it: Mama Prabulous simply has to get her s*** together!

 

ARE YOU A BLOGGER?  CAN YOU RELATE? OR AM I JUST TOTALLY UNHINGED?!  (ALRIGHT, DONT’ ANSWER THE LAST BIT.)

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Blog Stars: The First Edition!

The number of blogs you come across as a blogger…  It’s stupendous.  

Fact is there are absolutely loads that I’m aware of but it just takes me an age to get round to reading them or they get lost among the numbers on Twitter.  Life gets in the way.  I’ll see blog names pop up on ‘xyz linky is live’ tweets and think Ooh I must go check them out.  And with the best will in the world, just don’t get round to it.  Kids get in the way.

Over recent months I’ve seen myself being described as a supportive blogger

(thank you Five Little Doves), someone who shares the blog love (so says Life Love Dirty Dishes) and as being a ‘massive part of the community’ by Right Royal Mother (athough I have a feeling she may have meant prosecco-swilling rather than blogging community .  No I’m not preening or bragging; I actually find it mind boggling that I have fooled so many people 🙂  Truth is, I don’t feel like I do anywhere near enough to support my fellow bloggers!  I do share posts on social media when I can, I do try to get round to reading blogs – a necessity if one is a regular passenger on the linky train – but I feel I don’t read anywhere near enough.  I honestly would love to do more but…  The kitchen, the laundry, the kids’ days off school, the everything, gets in the way.

Where am I going with this?

Basically, I’ve decided to start a new feature, Blog Stars to give back to this ridiculously amazing community I belong to in this great place called the blogosphere.

Blog Stars title in pink on faded image of a laptop

Blogging has given a huge piece of me back to myself (which you can read about in my guest post for Mum Muddling Through’s Meet the Members series) and I’ve long wanted to do something constructive to give back to blogging, so to speak.  However, I often find myself totally overwhelmed with trying to write regularly, load up my Facebook, tweet away on le Twitter, produce guest posts for others, pursue monetisation opportunities etc etc, oh and erm be a mum to my three kids from time to time, that the actual reading of other people’s blogs takes a backseat, despite how much I enjoy reading them.  I’m going to lay my cards on the table now and admit that I often don’t get round to reading linky posts in time.  I either read a few on time or end up binge reading the following week.  It’s not ideal.  In fact, it’s not good, period.

And there has been guilt.

Lots of guilt.

So in honour of the fab linkies I join (sorry about the rubbish layout, I’ll try to sort it out for next time):

and the awesome posts I discover through other sources, I thought I’d do a regular round up of my favourite posts from around the blogosphere.  I’ve not yet decided if this will be weekly or monthly, so watch this space.  Also, as I don’t necessarily come across posts the very month they’ve been published there’ll be a mixture of recent and not so recent posts and I won’t necessarily showcase 20 each time. Finally, all blogs are listed alphabetically.

Now, there is one thing I’d like YOU to do!  

If you’re one of my Blog Stars – or indeed a blogger who reads this and enjoys it – can I ask you to retweet this post with the hashtag #BlogStars?  Cheers Big Ears.

Right, here are my favourite 20 posts for the first ever Blog Stars:

Caring in the Chaos Ending a Friendship

This is a thought-provoking and to be honest quite melancholy post about the loss of friendship, or more particularly that moment when you realise that a particular friendship doesn’t serve you well anymore.  It’s one of those posts about something you might not think of that often but it really resonates now you find yourself reading about it.

Five Little Doves For Lewis on Your 12th Birthday

Five Little Doves was recently ‘nominated’ for a not a dry eye in the house award by Single Mum Speaks in her post about the upcoming blog awards.  If you’ve read any of Laura’s posts you’ll see why she got this nomination. Every post I’ve read of hers stirs great emotion in me. I could actually pick ten posts for this post right here!  But I’ll go with this beautiful tribute to her son on his 12th birthday.  Kleenex please.

Island Living Thank You Letter

Oh my goodness, how do I talk about Emma’s blog?  To be honest, as with Laura’s blog, I could literally choose any one of her posts for a Blog Stars round up, she’s that damned good.  Island Living was one of my blog discoveries in the first ever Life in the Prab Lane of recent months, and this gratitude post about what blogging has done/means for her shows you why I chose her.  “Uprooting the girls and taking them away from their family.  Leaving the house I loved and where I brought Youngest home as a newborn baby. Closing the door on the play room where Oldest and I sat at the table as I helped her learn to write.”  Sob!  More Kleenex purleeeeeese.

Just Saying Mum But mum is there wifi?

Every once in a while a blogger comes along and from the first post you read, that’s it:  #InstantBlogLove.  Then you comment on their post, they respond and you just hit it off immediately.  That’s what happened when I read Helen for the first time; her post about ageing cracked me up and had me nodding in agreement.  This one about her kids’ obsessive attempts to ‘stay connected’ via their smartphones whilst on holiday is an utter hoot and the whole handbag analogy is so so clever.  Did you ever read my Blog Geek post?  Yep…number 7… Just saying. (See what I did there?)

Life Love and Dirty Dishes DIY Before Kids and After Kids

If you read me regularly or follow me on Facebook, you’d need to be living all alone on top of a very high mountain in a different galaxy not to know how much I adore Claire’s blog.  She is just very very good at what she does: hilarious, always-on-the-nail posts about parenting and domesticity.  I read this a few weeks ago and I still chuckle thinking of the Fleur-de-Bastard-Lis line but heaven help me, the line about her normal clothing vs DIY gear and her husband’s reaction. On. The. Floor.

Mess and Merlot 40 Before 40

I love this girl.  Charlie has such an affable ‘air’ about her in her writing that oozes infectiousness (is that even a word?).  This is as the name suggests a list of forty things Charlie would love to do before she turns 40 and there really are some goodun’s on here.  And of course, there are a few giggles.

Mr and Mrs T Plus Three Humanity

So, it was the usual busy morning.  I was trying to do four things at the same time  – dishes, laundry, tweets and writing – and failing miserably at all of them as per usual.  I’m not very good at reading posts that come up in my Twitter feed there and then; I have a nasty habit of liking them thinking I’ll come back to them later.  Good luck with that Prabs.  Then Amy’s post whizzed by in my feed… As it threatened to disappear further down the screen, superseded by others, I hauled it back and read it then and there.  I’m so glad I did.  So sad I did.  Floored.  Amy describes an incident that happened, something that could SO easily happen to all of us, which made her question her sense of humanity and think about her behaviour.  I fought back tears reading it and it has stayed with me. The issue she raises is something I’ve often thought myself and frankly, there is no easy answer or outcome in situations like this.

Mum Muddling Through Lost Property

This is one of the most clever posts I’ve seen in a while.  I love it when a blogger takes a much-covered topic and does their own unique take on it.  In this case, it’s the enormous change parenthood brings to a person’s life and the aspects of our ‘former’ life that no longer exist once kids come along.  So far so done.  We’ve seen so many posts on it right?  But Sarah’s very funny spin on this familiar topic is too good.  Honestly, it’s so spot on.  And the ending is fab.

Mum Revised 25 Crafts Using Kale

There are no words to describe how much I snorted at this post. NO WORDS!  Along with Mum Muddling Through’s and Just Saying Mum’s posts, this has got to be one of the most clever I’ve read in a while. If you’ve never read Kristin’s blog, oh my…she is funny as hell.  (I’m proud to say she has featured in my #OopsFiles guest series with this corker.)  Not only is she funny but funny in an amazingly intelligent way.    “…I came up with some ideas to keep kale in our lives without having to ingest it” is just one of the snort-inducing lines in this post.   By the time I got to the end with the brilliant “When this reporter asked the Tempura family why they just didn’t stop serving kale” and its hilarious punchline – which you’ll have to click on the linked post to read cos I ain’t no spoiler meanie – I could barely breathe from laughing.

Not Just the Three of Us Keeping Calm and Going Camping

Oh how many ways did I love thee, oh fab post that converted me about camping?  It’s always a pleasure to discover a new blogger for the first time and go Ooh I like her/him! Any reluctant or first time campers out there need to read this as Nicky is a self-confessed neat freak who isn’t (or wasn’t) the camping type at all…  Yet camping she did go.  And love it she did!  Her writing style is absolutely my cup of tea and I was in the palm of her hand with lines like “The camp would be sorted…with our combined strength, we would make Bear Grylls look like Barbie” and “a face full of rain awaited the first person to unzip the tent as they glimpsed the dark sky of the new day”.  And if this doesn’t make you want to go camping by the end of the post, NOTHING WILL!

Queen of My Castle I Love My Babies, Now I’m Learning to Love My Body

What’s not to love about this?  I had pootled around a bit on this chikita’s blog a little bit before but this is the post that grabbed my attention and put her on my radar.  A wonderful post about what childbirth does to our bodies containing hits-the-nail-on-the-head lines such as “Bizarrely, even though we know that our lives will never be the same again once we have had a baby, we expect our bodies go back to the way they were.”  So true!  As I said when I picked it as one of my #passthesauce favourites, Queenie wrote about the changing body of a woman post-birth in such a gentle, intelligent and relatable way, I couldn’t help love her. There was something about this post, layers of tenderness and a woman’s inner thoughts captured in one very endearing post.  Queen of my Castle was also one of my blog discoveries mentioned here in the blog section.

Reflections from Me We’re So Lucky to Have Curves

An extremely insightful clever perspective on the female body image issue, analysing recent comments by Kate Winslet about the female body’s curves vs other shapes.  This post put such an interesting (and in my opinion accurate and astute) perspective forward that really got me thinking.  I honestly had never thought of it this way and Mackenzie really does make some excellent points for those of us raising kids, but especially girls.  Bravo that woman!

Rhyming with Wine Why Would Someone Knit a Boob Anyway

Seriously, where do I even start with this?  The whole thing is ace from start to finish.  If you haven’t discovered Dawn’s blog yet, boy have you been missing out or what?  Basically, her posts are all, yep, poems.  Clever, insightful, often hilarious, amazingly penned (well alright typed) creations.  This is possibly my favourite out of the ones I’ve read so far (and it was one of my #passthesauce linky picks I co-hosted with Agent Spitback) but I do need to binge read her back catalogue really.  It is oh so funny whilst managing to cover so much about breastfeeding, all within the space of a poem which by rights ‘should’ be more limiting than standard prose.  Yet she pulls it off like a flipping pro; just like she always does.

Sarah and Louise Stop Licking the Car

I’ve only just discovered this blog and I have to say this post about fussy eaters is blooming brilliant (and relatable).  So many good lines in it including “Why is it that snot gets tongue swiped from the top lip without hesitation but a delicious fish pie would be elbow swiped off the table?”  Why indeed!  And “the pressure of the 5 a day rule looms over our heads like a giant hand ready to slap us round the back of the head at the end of the day if the figures don’t add up”.  Let’s face it, the idea of smearing butternut squash across the car window as a strategy for getting our little blighters, I mean cherubs, to eat one of their vital veg requirements is not only hilarious but actually slightly genius!

Someone’s Mum Teaching, A Break up Letter

Danielle is such an amazing writer whose posts on teaching and the unbearable pressure it places on teacher and student alike, not to mention its impact on teachers who have families, are just heartbreaking and beautiful at the same time.  This was the saddest yet in some ways the most uplifting of posts; sad that she was pushed to the point of leaving but uplifting that she is at peace with her decision and the reason she made it.  I really wish her well.

Hot Pink Wellingtons Things I’ve Learned From Six Months of Blogging

Ah this is a great little post from Katie.  It’s so easy to breeze past posts like this once you’ve been blogging for some two and a half years as I have but the human curiosity factor made me click on this and I’m glad I did.  Such a lovely honest post about what blogging has done for her and number 5!  Yes sod having a niche!  When I think of how much I’ve wsated agonising over this, pah!

Mess, Stress and Fancy Dress Things My Children Never Need to Know

Helen is one of my absolute favourite bloggers.  There are very few people who can make me laugh as much as this fat blond Kardashian (don’t look at me like that, those are HER WORDS!!).  She is the fab writer who provided the brilliant first guest post of the #OopsFiles series which still makes me laugh just thinking about it.  The post featured here does what it says on the tin, as the saying goes, and is typical Helen.  Number 6 had me nodding.  I mean, it used to be you went to uni a) to get s***faced and b) get a degree (half joking). Now you go a) to get a degree and b) to die bankrupt. Pffft.

Pink Pear Bear No I Can’t Just!

Oh my good grief I was almost exhausted by the time I got to the end of this; exhausted in a good way because it’s a great post.  Louise (who has also featured as #OopsFiles 9 with a hilarious nudity and spiders post!) writes about the very very many things she/most of us do in our roles as mothers/partners/chief bottle washers/taxi drivers etc.  You get the picture.  It’s incredible how we don’t even realise it half the time (although as a self-confessed lazy bum who was the only mother who sent in shop bought cup cakes instead of baking them with her kid as part of a homework project recently, I can’t claim to doing everything in this post!).  I just loved the title and honestly had visions of Louise hitting her hubby with the nearest kitchen utensil if he dared ask if she could just…!

R is for Hoppit Toddler Art

I keep using the word clever in this round up.  But it’s impossible to talk about Silly Mummy’s blog without using that adjective.  Simply one of the funniest, cerebral mum bloggers around.  This post had me in absolute fits as Silly Mummy takes you through the various forms of art expressionism all carried by one rather clever toddler.

This Mum’s Life Being Scouted

Even though when it comes down to it, the main subject matter of weight gain in this post is no laughing matter at all, the fact is this made me guffaw.  This blogger is one of my hands down faves as she never fails to make me absolutely howl with laughter.  I do feel her pain in this hilarious tale but I’m sorry, the mental images I had following the porch description, Tena Lady comment, the “smallest voice ever” and “resting bitch face” lines…Heaven help me…my sides hurt.  I was torn between crying my eyes out with laughter  and being horrified at the behaviour of the ‘scouter’.

So that’s it, the first ever Blog Stars.  I’m soooo glad to have finally got round to doing this.  See you again!

PS I realise I’ve used the word love rather a lot in this post.  It was entirely justified.  I thank you.

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4 Things I NEVER Expected to Say About the BiBs Awards ’16!

One week before receiving this news, I was lucky enough to also be shortlisted in the Best Writer category of the MAD Blog Awards.  You can click on that highlighted link or go to the end of this post to vote for me to win in those. Thank you. x

Prabs with wine glass, navy and white stripe top, white trousers


1) I can honestly say I never thought that a week after learning I’d made it as a MADs Finalist, I’d also make the Best Writer shortlist for the Brilliance in Blogging Awards!

If you want to go straight to voting for me to win Best Writer at the BiBs just:

CLICK HERE
1) pop in your name
2) scroll to Best Writer
3) select Absolutely Prabulous
4) hit Done.

Thank You!

Thank you so so much to those of you who nominated me.  To be shortlisted for the MADs (and er if you want to vote for me to win that please do!) was amazing enough and I’ve been on cloud nine since finding out.  But to be sitting here writing another “Please vote for Me” post after making the BiBs shortlist, is just bonkers, deliciously bonkers and beyond my wildest dreams.  To be honest, my internal response was You have GOT to be kidding me?!   My external response was ladylike and optimistic.  Not.

screenshot whatsapp and FB chats regarding blog awards

 

Fear not, if it’s in my stars to be shortlisted ever again in the future, I shall have my best Queen Elizabeth demure response ready.  Because quite honestly:

2) I never meant to make a reference to an appointment involving lady bits, upon finding out.

(Yep, am so hoping all the dad bloggers are looking the other way on that one…)

Jokes aside, I’m at huge risk of gushing all over this laptop trying to explain the many MANY reasons why I am just astonished.  I think of the stupendous blogs I follow that are not on these lists, I feel guilty that they are not shortlisted with (instead of?) me and quite frankly, wonder how on earth I’m in this incredible position.

3) I’m probably a walking talking cliché when I say that I could never have predicted seeing my name alongside blog goddesses Hurrah for Gin and the Unmumsy Mum.

I can just die happy even being in the same category as them.  Let’s face it, I probably don’t a stand a chance next to such giants.  Frankly, I wonder whether there is much point writing  another ‘begging’ post when the other nominees are of such a high pedigree:

4) And I certainly never anticipated the bizarre feeling that came over me – when I should have been euphoric…

Honestly, I may be really misunderstood here.  Especially as I don’t understand it myself!  Don’t get me wrong.  Of course I was happy!  Ecstatic but:
I just felt like it was all too good to be true.  Seriously, stuff like this doesn’t happen to me.  I’ve never been the person who lands on her feet.  So when I saw my name on a second awards shortlist, I just couldn’t process it.

I berated myself for putting out my MADs post on social media over the last week.  Surely, I should have just waited for the BiBs shortlist to come out and done one combined post in order to avoid ‘going back and bothering people’.  But in fairness, I hadn’t expected to get shortlisted again, hence the MADs post.

The biggest concern though was that everyone would just be sick of me – and while they may have been considering voting for me in for one set of awards, they would now feel I didn’t deserve any votes at all and that I’m just plain greedy! (And I teach my kids not to worry about what people think…jeez Louise).

I know I sound totally unhinged (and like I’m taking it all way too seriously) and I’m a bit embarrassed at myself.  (Fear not, I went out with some of my good friends and had a good laugh at myself over bubbles.)

Then there was this hilarious and terribly sweet tweet by a woman who makes my sides hurt laughing and a “one to watch” blogger This Mums Life who is herself a BiBs finalist, yay!

screenshot of twitter conversation about Blog Awards 2016

 

It really made me smile.

Anyway, I’m not going to crack any more jokes about sparkly dresses and podiums.

I’m not going to bore your pants off describing how I used to sit in my parents’ shop penning poem after poem in a little book.  I won’t mention that a decade later I went on to do a French and English degree at university which I don’t feel has been put to constructive enough use (er…but I kind of just did) and why it would therefore be amazing to win an award for writing.

And I definitely don’t expect to ‘bring home the double’.

I’ll simply say this: I teach my kids that they have to try in life.  So I have to do the same…I can’t exactly give up and go home just yet!

So if you’re not sick of me and er you’re secretly rooting for me to win the double (hee hee I couldn’t resist that!) PLEASE VOTE FOR ME!  Voting closes 18th May and the lucky five finalists (out of the current ten) who will attend the awards party will be announced 27th May.  

just CLICK HERE
1) pop in your name
2) scroll to Best Writer
3) select Absolutely Prabulous
4) hit Done.

Thank You!

And if you’d like to vote for me to win the MADs Best Writer award, please CLICK HERE! Voting on that closes Fri 27th May.

After all, bringing home the double would be rather nice wouldn’t it…? 🙂

 

Linked this post to:

I’m a MAD Blog Awards Best Writer Finalist!

One week after writing this, I was lucky enough to be shortlisted in the Best Writer category for the Brilliance in Blogging Awards as well.  There are simple instructions at the end of this post if you’d like to vote for me in those.  Thank you. x

Prabs with champagne

Oh my very goodness! By some miracle, I’m a MAD Blog Awards finalist!  

Disclaimer: I am in no way to be blamed for the over-indulgent use of exclamation marks that are about to feature in this post.

Yep, out of the 8000 blogs nominated, Absolutely Prabulous is one of six that have been shortlisted for the Best Writer category, the very category I had my heart set on. #DreamComeTrue.  Five terribly good finalists A Day in the Life Dad, My Milo and Me, Rainbeau Belle, Storm in a Tit Cup, Write Like No One’s Watching and little old me (seriously, I’m rather little and very old)!

I didn’t even know awards season was here til the amazing Life Love and Dirty Dishes and Motherhood The Real Deal nominated me. (As a sporadic blogger a year ago, I wasn’t really aware of the awards.)  I checked Twitter and sure enough, people were excitedly talking about the MADs and BiBs. Not only that, I was seeing myself being nominated and being mentioned in posts such as this thoroughly gorgeous clever one by Single Swan about her fantasy blogger dinner party.  What was happening?!

I quickly slapped a begging post together listing some of my best posts, joking about wearing a fancy dress and standing on a podium and stuck it on my site.

(I was only half joking about the podium moment.)  I knew it was a mathematical improbabality I’d get shortlisted because there are thousands of stonking blogs out there and frankly, I don’t have a huge social media following enabling my post to get seen enough.  But as I exercise my eyeballs daily, rolling them when my preteen says she can’t do something, I thought Heck, I’ve got to practise what I preach and at least try.

Then a few days ago, Life With Baby Kicks told me Tots100 were announcing the shortlist.

I didn’t even realise!  #AlwaysTheLastToKnow.  I started checking the site but nothing…hour after hour.  I gave up; I mean it’s not like I was going to one of the finalists… Just as I sat down to get on with essential linky reading, I started seeing tweets mentioning @abprabulous and ‘congratulations’. Again, what was happening?! It was Joy of Five who broke the news to confused old me:

screenshot of tweet announcing my finalist result

Lovely Emma! I’ll remember that forever! (And can’t repeat what I said next.)

I was dumbfounded, almost shaking in astonishment as tweet after tweet flooded my screen.  I was also alone: the kids were in bed and Hubster was out.  I called him in a state of shock; he thought someone had died.  He was obviously delighted about my news (and probably equally delighted nobody had died) and the excitement started setting in… A little bit of wee may have come out actually #ThreePregnancies. The blog reading was shelved as I spent ages responding to wonderful tweets from the utterly awesome blogging community.  Such blogger goodwill from them; such repeated “I can’t believe it” mutterings from me.  In fact, my brain had so turned to mush by the shock of it all, that I only realised I should write this post two days later when I saw others doing theirs! So here comes the second begging bit:

THANK YOU SO MUCH TO ALL WHO NOMINATED ME.  IT WOULD MAKE MY YEAR IF I WON THE BEST WRITER AWARD!

Please would you vote for me?  (Pretty please with sugar, and anything you want on top my lovely.)  Here is how. Simply 1) Click on this image.

Screen Shot 2016-04-24 at 10.32.31 PM

2) Scroll to Best Writer 3) Select Absolutely Prabulous 4) Click on submit. Voilà!

I mean all the night blogging til daft o’clock, the house that looks like it’s not been cleaned since the last Olympics, the number of times my family have had to go commando because there was no clean underwear…  Surely the sacrifice has to be worth something?! JOKE.  Of course, I know making it to finalist level is already ‘worth it’ enough.  It is mind blogglingly (see what I did there) surreal and amazing.

And yes, I have celebrated getting this far and am so grateful.

Prabs smiling with champagne

But I would like to wear a sparkly dress.

And stand on a podium. Yep, wasn’t joking.


AND IF YOU’D ALSO LIKE TO VOTE FOR ME TO WIN THE BRILLIANCE IN BLOGGING BEST WRITER AWARD PLEASE CLICK HERE and then

1) pop in your name
2) scroll to Best Writer
3) select Absolutely Prabulous
4) hit Done.

Apparently There Are No Awards For Sleeping So Will You Help Me Win One For Blogging?

 UK blog awards picture and Prabs


So I’ve only ever won two things my whole life and I messed those up anyway
:

The first was a packet of felt tips for running a race at school, aged 9.  I remember bursting to tell my mum when I got home:
“Mummy I came 4th in a race today!”
Mum: “That’s amazing! How many people were in the race?”
Me: “FOUR!”
So…the opposite of winning then…

It took 36 years to actually win something for real (funnily enough for running): 

Dang How Big is this Trophy?

Dang How Big is this Trophy?

this obscenely large trophy for coming first in my age category during an uphill ordeal race but…I didn’t hear my name being called out after the race even though I was sitting just metres from the medal ceremony.  I had to collect the trophy months later off some guy in a carpark, without my hubby and kids looking on in awe.  No podium moment.  No applause. Anticlimax.  You know where this is going right?

 

Oh yes indeedy…

Blog awards season is upon us and nominations are open for the MAD (Mum and Dad) and the Brilliance in Blogging awards.  

Now, I wouldn’t normally put myself forward for a blogging award because…British…and uncomfortable in the putting-myself-out-there department.  BUT:
a) I need to make up for that missed podium moment!
b) I’ve got this gorgeous dress and clutch and shoes I picked up in the January sales that I can’t exactly wear to rock up at the school gates.
c) 
I can’t win an award for sleeping.  Or any of the other totally useless skills I’ve perfected in life.  It’s a total downer because I’m willing to bet money that I’d be up on that podium every two minutes collecting trophies for the Most Likely to Sleep Through a Tornado or Most Dedicated User of Sarcasm or Best Reheater of Cold Stewed Tea etc.
d) Being serious now,
 I wasn’t even going to put myself forward but then to my amazement, some bloggers – bloggers who I admire and look up to – nominated me which was a beautiful surprise that made me think Wow…what if…  (By the way, my own nominees are below.)  So as it takes quite a few noms to get onto the shortlists:

I’d be utterly thrilled if you nominated me for a blogging award!

I’d love a nomination in the WRITER category (you can also choose the Blog of the year and School Days categories) for the the MADs:

mad blog awards


HERE ARE ALL THE CATEGORIES

HERE IS THE NOMINATION FORM

Closing date: 8th April.

I’d love a nomination in the WRITER (you can also choose the Readers’ Choice) for the BiBs:


BiB2016nomWRITERBiB2016nomREADERSCHOICE

HERE ARE ALL THE CATEGORIES

HERE IS THE NOMINATION FORM

Closing date: 13th April.

You’ll need the following info:
Blog: Absolutely Prabulous
url: http://www.absolutelyprabulous.com
Twitter handle: @abprabulous
Email: prabs@absolutelyprabulous.com
Favourite post (see above)
Reason: feel free to gush about me to your heart’s content (maybe I’m not so bashful after all….oops)

 

Why should I nominate you Prabs?

Well that’s a good question!  Now I could appeal to your feminine side and remind you of the dress etc but that may not work if you’re one of my male readers and that’s probably a bit superficial anyway.  I could go for the sympathy angle and tell you that even though 2015 was an amazing year of blog highlights (finding my tribe of blogging besties/getting onto the Huffington Post/going viral three times in six weeks which I don’t think I could manage again!), there were also some rather dark times where personal life setbacks affected my blogging.  I also struggled to balance blogging with motherhood and house.  So winning an award would be a major highlight for 2016.  I could try to write an entire tome explaining the ins and outs of why I’d love to win.

But I won’t do any of that.

So I’ll just let this shortlist of some of my posts do the talking:

and hopefully convince you to nominate me.  Click on the images for the link to each post; please feel free to pick one of these posts or another of your choice if asked to include the url to one of my posts in your nomination. 

13-confessions-by-a-housewife

Humourous Takes on Parenting Like This

Soul-baring Ones About Marriage

Advice for Kids

Upfront Ones on the Risks of Being a Blogger

retro pic of Prabs of Absolutely Prabulous

the parent fail story that went viral

this-is-why-indians-dont-do-dogs1

 

 

Finally, here are the fabulous bloggers I’ve nominated as they are a huge reason why I love blogging.  

I felt horribly conflicted not managing to nominate all my favourite bloggers and wish I could have nominated several people in each category so please don’t be offended at not seeing your name if you’re a blogger reading this. 

Five Little Doves – Nobody’s words tug at my heart strings quite like those of this gorgeous classy strong woman who has known more tragedy than most of us ever will.

Gym Bunny – great design, informative posts, versatile content yet somehow runs a business too!

Lady Writes – I heart this chikita: stylish, classy, informative, a working mum and a bloggin’ go getter although I can’t say I’m happy about how much younger than me she is.

Life Love and Dirty Dishes – Claire, Claire, how I love thee…one of the most prolific bloggers I know.  Damn are you funny. Total blog crush. Even more since finding out you’re shorter than me.

Life With Baby Kicks – A blogging bestie but that’s not why I’m nominating her.  A dedicated blogger whose love for her boys and all things parenting, shines through in her writing and makes her totally award-worthy. Too many fave posts but this a contender.

Island Living 365 – A recent find and a recent blogger who caught my eye from the first post I read about her former teaching days but she writes about so much more.

Cuddle Fairy – The lovely Cuddles, as I call her, gives great advice (her linky guide is probably one of the most shared posts of all time!) and makes me feel good whenever I read her. Not only that, this clever lady really gets social media.

Mess Stress and Fancy Dress – Where do I start? I don’t really know how to talk about hilarious Helen without gushing all over the laptop. She is a GEM and her brilliant words are always worth waiting for.  Just go read her will you?!

Mum Muddling Through – Totally amazing wordsmith who takes me on a journey no matter what she writes about.  Every. Single. Time. I love her sense of humour too.

Motherhood the Real Deal – I sat up in my seat and noticed this lady soon after she arrived in bloggerville and boy what an arrival with posts like this (I’ve been called a brave blogger but I’ve got nothing on Talya)!  A solid writer who just makes me wonder how she does it.

MrandMrsTPlusThreeAmy is just downright lovely.  She always has time for me. She’s inspiring, she knows her blog stuff and amongst other things she rustles up a damn good recipe like this. She’s a real treasure (and she’s going to kill me for that last bit…).

Pouting in Heels – Kate is gorgeous, driven and chock full of great advice.  She also luuurves beauty and fashion and we share a mutual love for my former town of Paris so she’s fab!

Random Musings – Oh goodness, an amazing blogging spirit, a real giver to the blog community and so much more.  She’s a honey and a total professional.

R is for Hoppit – Lucy may quite possibly be the cleverest blogger I’ve come across. Her posts about toddler life are unlike anything else I’ve read. Pure ingenuity and utterly hilarious.

 

There are so many awe-inspiring bloggers out there and I may not stand a chance amongst this lot of winning a bean!

However, until there’s an award for Most Likely to Sleep Through a Tornado or Most Dedicated User of Sarcasm Ever or Best Reheater of Cold Stewed Tea…I’d like to at least try to win an award for blogging.

So please would you consider nominating me?!

Writer or Blog of the Year (MADS)

Best Writer or Readers’ Choice (BiBs)

Thank you!

WHAT DID YOU THINK OF THIS POST? 

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The #OopsFiles 1: Guest Blogger Mess Stress and Fancy Dress

 

mess-stress-featuredIt’s here! The first edition of the #OopsFiles is HERE!!  I wasn’t expecting such an incredible response to the recent post explaining that I was launching it or expecting it so soon. But there’s no point waiting a few weeks for submissions when I have so many fab posts to bring you. So hang on while I just put on my red carpet gown and blow this trumpet to celebrate/inaugurate things.  I’m thrilled to be kicking the #OopsFiles off with one of my favourite bloggers, the brilliantly funny Helen of Mess Stress and Fancy Dress. I actually couldn’t breathe for laughing (I also conducted a paranoid overhaul of my underwear drawer and vowed never to take a train again). Intrigued? I should coco. 

If you’re a blogger and would like to feature on the #OopsFiles series, click here for details.

Right, take it away Helen!


mess-stress-train-club


WHAT HAPPENS IN TRAIN CLUB STAYS IN TRAIN CLUB

I feel I should preface this story with some background information. If you are new to me as a writer (greetings!), it might benefit you to know that I am a bit of a dickhead. I am inordinately clumsy – as in I-have-actually-fallen-off-the-back-of-a-running-machine kind of clumsy – and I have very little shame. When Prabs asked if I wanted to write her something for the #OopsFiles, I wondered which of the many moments in my life were most ridiculous. There were countless options. I struggled to choose.

Prior to getting involved in this parenting shizzle, I once had a proper successful career in city recruitment. This now regularly seems astonishing to me, as I find myself impersonating a lion from the confines of a 10ft trampoline, but it was once the case. I recruited people into investment banks. I looked like I knew what I was doing. I cantered around on tube trains in stilettos, holding an official looking folder. I drank champagne in wanky bars, I earned commission, quite a lot of commission as it goes. There was a point when I could have owned Mr Tumble.

I commuted from the Home Counties. (I love that phrase, it conjures up pictures of women with sturdy ankles and a slight moustache, wearing jodhpurs and a Laura Ashley cardigan). I got the train into London, then I would either get the bus to the city or the tube. It is here that this story begins.

When you commute, you usually have your own place on the train platform. You always stand there and you always get the same train, you try to sit in the same seat, surrounded by the same commuters. Let’s call it train club, if you will. And there are rules at train club. The first rule of Train Club is that you must not talk to the other members of train club. The second rule of train club is that you must not make eye contact with the other members of Train Club. The third rule of Train Club is that you must not sit in another member of Train Club’s regular seat.

So I stand on the platform wearing a rather trendy full 1950’s skirt. It was a sensible black number, not too flashy so as not to offend the conservative city types, but rather full and voluminous. I’m eagerly awaiting the 6.33am to London with the rest Train Club. The train pulls in creating something of a draft, and my skirt goes up round my head in front of the entire Train Club. Great. So now this group of people I see every day of my life (but never speak to), have all seen my pants. Amazing start to the day. I bustle onto the train, attempting to brush the situation off. As I said, dickish things happen to me regularly, so I can handle shame of this degree.

We arrive in London. I get off the train (with my buddies from Train Club who know what colour pants I’m wearing) and we all power walk with our heads down towards the tube platform. I have my lunch with me in a carrier bag, and I am a woman on a mission to get to work and earn some money.

I get off the escalator and I am down in the tube corridors. I am overtaking an elderly woman on a tight corner on my clicky clacky stillettoes, when I slip on an actual banana. Not even a banana skin. An actual banana, just lying there on the floor like nothing is wrong. I land on my arse. My skirt flies up above my head (you know, just in case there was anyone who hadn’t seen my pants yet) the sudden jolting of my arms causes the plastic bag containing my lunch to rip and the contents scatter across the floor of the tube. It was reminiscent of the scene from Neighbours in 1993 when Jim Robinson had a heart attack and fell to the floor, dramatically knocking some satsumas off the sideboard and the camera panned over to the rolling oranges. Imagine that but with some cherry tomatoes and a nice chicken salad.

Obviously the more voyeristic members of Train Club watched but ignored me. It would break the rules of Train Club to even acknowledge my existence, let alone extend me some sympathy. I gathered up my remaining pride along with my lunch. I quickly realised that the demise of my carrier bag meant that I now had no way of carrying the food, and left it on the floor at the side of the tube corridor. I hope a tramp feasted well that morning on the spoils of my humiliation.

Needless to say the next day I caught a different train.

About the Writer:

newlogo

The world has mistakenly entrusted the health and welfare of two slightly mental children to me. I have outsourced this where possible but continue to be woefully inept and slightly deranged on the days when I’m in charge. They however continue to be gorgeous, energetic, frustrating and insane in equal measure.

Follow Helen on FacebookTwitter and http://www.messstressandfancydress.co.uk/ 


Would you like to take part in the @OopsFiles Guest Blogger Series? Click here for details.

I’d love to know what you thought of this guest post in the comments section below (either Facebook or website comments box).

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Thanks Muchly!

 

Favourite Post on:

Life, Love and Dirty Dishes

Linked to:

A Bit Of Everything
Cuddle Fairy
Mummuddlingthrough
Life Love and Dirty Dishes

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