BLOG STARS 4 IS HERE!
#BlogStars is my happy place. I get such a kick out of running this series. Sorry if I sound cheesy but I love compiling each edition for the feel good factor it brings both myself and the featured bloggers. Despite how much I enjoy running the series though and the reception it’s had, it’s been on pause as I took a step back from linkies for a while and then had a blog break due to a major family wedding. So I do apologise to the regular readers among you for but I’m back with Blog Stars 4 and ready to bring you some corkers!
If you’re new to Blog Stars, it is where I round up a bunch of posts I have truly enjoyed reading, that have had a profound effect on me and which, in my opinion, deserve an extra shout out. FYI I don’t just feature posts from the month of the #BlogStars edition (especially as this is not always a monthly feature). This would mean excluding brilliant content purely on the grounds of date of publication, which is a pity if I’ve only discovered it months after it was published.
There’s a flavour to suit hopefully every taste. You’ve got thought-provoking ones, you’ve got useful content, you’ve got the ‘make sure you’ve got kleenex on standby’ tear-jerkers and…of course, it ain’t Blog Stars if there ain’t no laughs.
A FEW iMPORTANT THINGS INCLUDING TWO NEW FEATURES!!
1) If you want to share this post (or any of the individual posts from it) on social media (course you do) Please Use the Hashtag #BlogStars.
2) This edition of #BlogStars has been divided up into the previously mentioned themes.
3) For future editions of #BlogStars I’d like to include a few posts chosen by YOU my readers. So if there is a post that has stayed with you and that you’d like to see featured, let me know!
WITHOUT FURTHER ADO, HERE ARE MY 20 #BLOGSTARS
Featured Blog Stars, don’t forget to Grab Your Badge! Feel free to stick this on your featured post and/or your blog sidebar or both!
JUST FOR LAUGHS
A Life Just Ordinary: How to Make Friends and Influence No-One
This popped up in one of those Facebook groups and the title made me literally snort. And click. It’s quite possibly the funniest and best post e-v-e-r about this bizarre, fabulous, endlessly frustrating, really gratifying, lonely, friend-making insanity that is blogging and is utterly hilarious from start to finish. By the time I got down to the Twitter ‘tips’ and the line:
you could also achieve similar levels of success by shouting your blog posts out in full whilst walking down the street
I literally hurt from laughing. (Actually, he should take his own advice and walk down the street shouting this very post out as it’s so good.) Dale Carnegie, please give me a sign that you’re laughing from your grave at the clever appropriation of your famous book title! Although, as I’ve already said to James, I am quite frankly bitterly disappointed and may well do my Miss Piggy hissy hair flick at him over the fact that he did not actually have the answer to how to increase one’s site traffic by 127,000% in just 4 days. #MustTryHarder [Stomps off in a hissy fit.]
Island Living: Your Father is Dragging me Back to the Dark Ages
Emma and her mother! (There’s a book title right there.) Heaven help me, every time her mum is mentioned, I know I’m in a for a laugh (and if the price is right, I’ll even tell you what Emma said about her mum just before we all stayed in a London hotel for the BiBs). The Daily Mail…the way her mum refers to it/Emma’s Dad. The bra doodles and the ‘vandalised property. And the aubergine. The aubergine! If you’re not intrigued by now…how on earth not?
Life Love and Dirty Dishes: My Husband Cheated on Me While I Slept Upstairs and…
Picking a post by the uber-talented Claire of LLDD for an edition of #BlogStars is as difficult as trying to use a paper umbrella in the rain. It doesn’t work. Not in a bad way! She is such a gifted and funny writer that it’s an almost impossible task trying to settle on one. (Not that I think of particular bloggers I want to feature and then go and choose a post. It’s very much the other way around: #BlogStars is led by the content rather than the blogger.) I knew I’d read a great ‘cheating’ post but when I went to Claire’s site to get the url, found myself distracted by all the other great posts. This one is in a league of its own though. Notice how I’m skirting around describing what the post is about? No way I’m spoiling that one…go read. Soooo good and let me know if you guessed the big reveal before the end.
Nursery Whines: A Toddler Self Help Parody
I love clever bloggers, the ones that write something that makes you think “Damn, wish I’d thought of that”. This ‘alternative’ self-help guide for those of you with cantankerous belligerent toddlers (is there any other kind?) is just what you need! Frankly, I’m way past that stage as mine are much older but I’m kind of thinking I’ve come full circle and could do with this guide for my about to be teens too! The ‘accepting help’, ‘being open to other options’, ‘admitting when you’re wrong’, just the whole things. So funny from start to finish and I just love the dry tone in which it’s been written.
Sarah and Louise: The Day I Shat all Over Myself
I have to say this post needs to come with some sort of health and safety warning (or at least a sick bag). The girls need a medal for being brave enough to publish this one but mercy me, it is damned funny! To be honest, for me Sarah and Louise are much like This Mums Life in that I’d happily read their grocery shopping list because even that would be funny. Choice bits in this one? How about:
Do I just hang myself on the emergency cord above the toilet so I never have to face the humiliation and embarrassment?
or the cream leather seats of the father in law’s car (!) and the pièce de resistance…[cue famous Psycho ‘screech’ music]…the HOSPITAL GOWN [Guffaws.]
TISSUES AT THE READY PLEASE
All The Beautiful Things: I Was the Mum
You see a lot of the same issues covered the more you blog and there will always be the regulars that crop up but of course, everyone’s experience is unique to them. In this post by Helen, she talks about having one of those days in parenting; you know the one! The one where nothing goes right and your child just doesn’t comply and you just wish you could manipulate time to bring bedtime forward and end the day. This is one of the better posts I’ve read on this. I don’t want to call this sad or heartbreaking as Helen ends it on a positive beautiful note with the maturity to recognise parenting isn’t a walk in the park and you just have those days and it’s ok. I did feel for her when she walking out of the shopping centre feeling tearful 🙁
Beauty Baby and Me: One for the Husband
The one and only Fi. If/when I finally meet her, I shall squish her muchly with hugs; consider yourself forewarned Fi! We all have our demons – yep even the most outwardly confident amongst us – but most of us aren’t good at revealing them. Fi puts it out there, warts and all on her blog. She’s one fine writer (who was actually featured in the second blog stars with a hilarious swipe at parenting experts) but for me, this is the one…the one I’ll remember a year from now when I’ll have read a further trillion posts, many of which will have faded from the memory because my brain just can’t hold that much in it. Such a raw, brutally honest, relatable and yet somehow funny post…how the heck did she pull that off?! If blog posts were edible, I’d have at least two helpings of this.
Five Little Doves: We are All Mums
Well I think it’s safe to say that it’s nigh on impossible to read a post by Laura without requiring an entire box of tissues or a stiff whiskey (preferably both) at the ready. You won’t regret reading this stunning post because it’s a masterpiece. But you will regret not having those tissues or drink ready. This woman breaks me almost every time I read her. I try not to skim read blog posts; I’m generally not a skim reader by nature anyway but in the interests of time management, what with All. The. Blogging. I am ashamed to admit I do sometimes have to do it out of necessity. I don’t skim read Laura.
Nor should you.
Just Saying Mum: You Were Once a Babe in my Arms
Helen is one of my go to/won’t let me down bloggers. If I’m having a bad day, I know I can visit her blog and my spirits will be lifted by her words. She’s just so good at what she does, whether it’s making us laugh at ourselves growing older or blooming CRY at our kids getting older!I I’ll admit, I actually groaned at myself over including her in yet another edition of #BlogStars because I’m sure regular readers will think it’s cronyism with certain bloggers cropping up in more than one edition! But how do I leave out something I loved reading? How do I skip a post that totally deserves a place in a roundup of amazing posts?! It would be almost dishonest to do so, just because it’s by a good friend every cell of whom I love dearly. Do yourself a favour and read this. Just remember… #NotWithoutKleenex
Mouse Moo and Me Too: The Bad Mum Files
I don’t know how to describe this post. I read it a few months ago not long after it was published and just stared at the screen almost numb with disbelief and relief in equal measure. It is no discredit at all to Sam’s brilliant writing (so good it turns out I’ve in fact previously featured her in this series) to say that I still don’t know how to describe it, such was its raw visceral effect on me. Things could have turned out SO differently for her and her kids on the day this happened and thank goodness she lived to tuck her kids (and herself) into bed that night. Huge cyber hugs to Sam.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
Madhouse Mum: Time on our Side
Alison writes with a sensitivity and beauty that just gets me every single time. She’s also bloody funny at times too. This post about having one of those rare occasions where you actually just have the chance to get time with one kid (I guess you have to have more than one child to really appreciate this or have grown up with several siblings) is a beaut. “It feels as if I snatch at parenting them….” Sigh. Such a clever writer. In fact such a clever writer that I simply had to share another of hers:
I almost winced when I saw the title of this because I was fairly sure I knew where Alison was going with this. It’s a very well written and frankly scary prognosis of the sexually-obsessed culture our kids are now growing up in and the enormous burden of worry and uncertainty this places upon us as parents. As the mother of a boy and two girls, the eldest of whom is 12 at the time of writing (and who has come home telling me the most hair-raising things about what her friends know/talk about/watch), I totally related to this post. The info about the porn industry’s core target almost gave me heart failure.
Mother of Teenagers: The Value of Female Friendships
Although happily married I am not a woman who regards my husband as my best friend and am always somewhat surprised and intrigued by those women that do.
Hear hear! I nodded all the way through this eloquently written post by the rather fabulous Jo. It’s a rather beautiful appraisal of friendships that come and go throughout our lives and the role that her husband plays in her life and how it all fits together. I’ve watched Jo handle ‘that birthday’ with aplomb throughout her blog and social media posts and she’s rather an inspiration to me in so many ways. And boy does she know how to write.
My Random Musings:: Birth Rape
Where do I start regarding this standout post by Debs? The term ‘thought provoking’ feels fluffy and almost dismissive as a description. I had never heard of the term birth rape before reading this. At the risk of incurring wrath or falling foul of my readers – and not wishing to belittle anybody’s birth experience – I do agree with many of the points raised by Deb in this article and respect how thoroughly she has covered it trying to see the topic from all sides. It is an emotive issue, one that I can see polarising people. All I can say is go read and let me/Deb know what you think!
Pink Pear Bear: You Will Only Ever Have Half my Attention
Ah can there be a mother out there who wouldn’t relate to some or all of this? Louise has a way of writing as though she’s just chatting to you and I actually felt like this post was a chat over a cup of coffee (you know while one of her kids tugged at her to go while Louise thought of three things she needed to do!)
I feel like I’m juggling sand…like I’m on one of those airport moving runways and thoughts are whizzing past me as I try and grab them
A well-written post that perfectly encapsulates what it is like for most women raising families, working and just trying to keep their s**t together.
TeacupToria: Finding the Courage to Walk Away
This is not a new one at all (and I’m thrilled that since writing it, things seem to have improved for Tori) but it had such an effect on me when I read it that I filed it away in my mind for future revisiting. I found this post about the breakdown of a marriage (almost as soon as the couple were in fact wed) absolutely heart-wrenching. It comes across as though every word was carefully chosen yet never feels contrived or geared towards attracting sympathy. It’s just a very honest and even beautiful account of a mother’s hurt, fierce determination to protect her son above all else and calm ability to make the right decision. I believe good things finally come to those who deserve it. Tori and her gorgeous son deserve some good luck and judging from her recent posts, things are starting to fall into place.
Toby and Roo: Let’s Talk about Sex Baby
Remember the fab 90’s tune by Dimitiri: “The Last to Know”? No, of course you don’t; you’re too ruddy young. Ugh. Anyway, that’s me. Always the last to find out the big news, the last to adopt the latest trend etc, a lifelong Little Miss ‘oblivious to what’s going on at school/uni/workplace/school playground’. So you can ALL go ahead and have a jolly good laugh at how I only discovered Toby and Roo a couple of months ago (universal gasps). I pootled around her site and stumbled across this. No I’m not going to talk about sex with you baby…I’m going to let Harriet do that as she’s far braver and better than me on that front. PS Fave bit? The ‘Chinese take out drive’. She’s a bit good that Harriet.
Winnettes: Parents vs The Internet
I’m still not decided how I feel about some of the issues raised in this. I’m a bit of a dinosaur. I cannot for the life of me understand how so many parents give their kids devices (even if it’s ‘just’ letting their kids play on their phones whilst in the car/in a doctor’s waiting room/at a restuarant) or phones from an early age. I don’t understand how children under the legal age for Facebook account ownerhship are allowed to have a FB account when under that legal age etc. I’m a traditionalist who’s had to be dragged kicking and screaming into this ‘kids need devices’ era we now live in; shall I describe the ‘joy’ I felt when Hubster decided to let our then 11 year old have a phone, without discussing it with me first? However I can’t deny Kirsty makes a good point regarding getting wise about technology and she really has made me reconsider my reluctance to show my kids’ faces here on the blog and my AbPrab social media. It’s a thought-provoking post and any post that provokes thought is worth sharing.
Life with Baby Kicks & Toby and Roo: From 0 to 50k in 12 Months on Instagram
50K? It’s enough to make you spit your coffee out isn’t it? All the blogging, all the Twatter, all the Faceberk aggro, all the pinning (God give me strength I haven’t yet mustered up the energy for the great big Pinterest overhaul of my blog) and then…then…Instasham. Seriously, I love blogging but the whole follower number thing makes me break out into a cold sweat. Sound familiar? Fear not, Harriet is here again! This time, she’s on form with a series of these-will-do-nicely-thank-you tips to help you get your Instagram on…and who better to advise you…because since writing it…she’s now got 75k IG followers!! Plus it’s a guest post for my blog bestie Laura so she gets a nod too.
Motherhood the Real Deal: Make More Money from Your Blog, How I Doubled My Earnings
Well as I invariably end up saying if that isn’t a ‘does what it says on the tin’ title for a blog post, then I don’t know what is! Talya’s one of my mentors, is always there for me with no nonsense advice and is seriously switched on as i’ve said in my post about reaching for the sky. What can I say apart from go read it to find out how my blog wife Talya made £2000 from her blog recently.
You Baby Me Mummy: Why Your Blog’s Not Growing
Excellent one from Aby here. Obviously with all the blog tips she’s known for I could choose any number of posts but this straight talking super informative one caught my eye a while ago and has stuck in the brain ever since. It’s not a long list that ends up leaving you feeling overwhelmed and unsure of which bits of advice to implement; just a solid few points that make SO much sense….and how much did I love the ’80/20 rule’ which caused a proper blog epiphany with yours truly?!
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