Posts Tagged ‘blogging’

Three Bloody Brilliant Bloggers to Fall in Love With

bloody brilliant bloggers

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

How Does #BloodyBrilliantBloggers Work?

Here are the rules that explain it all:

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

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

 

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

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

 

Muma on the Edge

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

Mumbelievable

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

Single Mum Speaks

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

 

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

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

P x

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My Sincere Apology to You for What is About to Happen

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Enough with the dreadful metaphors.

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

 

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

LAUGH AT POSTS LIKE THIS PUNTASTIC ‘NEWSPAPER STORY’

extreme eyebrows newspaper article title image girl with bushy eyebrows

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

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

NOD IN AGREEMENT AT ONE OF MY OPINION PIECES

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

OR RELATE TO MY PERSONAL EXPERIENCE 

 

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

Pretty please with golden syrup on top, would you?

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

HERE IS THE NOMINATION FORM

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

URL http://www.absolutelyprabulous.com

Twitter handle: @abprabulous

Email: prabs@absolutelyprabulous.com

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

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

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

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

Sincere apology (and thanks in advance).

 

 

 

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

BiBs17 awards title image Blog letters in gold

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

What if:

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

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

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

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

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

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

So…

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

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

 

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

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

stressed woman at laptop writer award post

 

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

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

I’m one of those people!!

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

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

 

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

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

a quote about the importance of words in BiBs17 awards post

 

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

what's your story image for BiBs writer award post

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

quote about writing in BiBs17 awards post 

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

 

 

 

THIS POST WAS PICKED FOR:

rhyming with wine dream team

 

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

BLOG STARS 4 IS HERE!

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

Blog Stars 4 featured image

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

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


A FEW iMPORTANT THINGS INCLUDING TWO NEW FEATURES!!

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

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

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

 

WITHOUT FURTHER ADO, HERE ARE MY 20 #BLOGSTARS 

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

Generate your button code

JUST FOR LAUGHS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nursery Whines: A Toddler Self Help Parody

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

Sarah and Louise: The Day I Shat all Over Myself

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

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

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

 

TISSUES AT THE READY PLEASE

All The Beautiful Things: I Was the Mum

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

Beauty Baby and Me: One for the Husband

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

Five Little Doves: We are All Mums

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

Ever.

Nor should you.

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

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

Mouse Moo and Me Too: The Bad Mum Files

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

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Madhouse Mum: Time on our Side

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

Sexual Control

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

Mother of Teenagers: The Value of Female Friendships

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

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

My Random Musings:Birth Rape

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

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

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

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

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

TeacupToria: Finding the Courage to Walk Away

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

Toby and Roo: Let’s Talk about Sex Baby

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

Winnettes: Parents vs The Internet

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

HELPFUL STUFF

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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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!

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Blogging vs Vlogging – #BloggersCafe S1 Ep 2

WELCOME TO BLOGGERS’ CAFE EPISODE 2, FEATURING OUR FIRST GUEST  IN THE AWESOME LINE UP OF BLOGGERS WE HAVE FOR YOU! THIS EDITION LOOKS AT BLOGGING VS VLOGGING.

 

bloggers cafe episode title image

Firstly, a massive thank you to our wonderful guest, a rather well know UK blogger and vlogger, hence the topic of blogging vs vlogging (yes you have to watch the video to see who it is!) for giving up their time on a Saturday to come in and chat to us. We were just a little bit excited to land this particular guest, in the eleventh hour.

Secondly, look out for
– the random pool player and our guest’s fab reaction! Yes, we did inform him afterwards he was in several frames of the video as he didn’t hear us calling out to him mid filming!
– my embarrassing over expressive face. Actually, no scrap that. IF YOU KNOW WHAT’S GOOD FOR YOU just shut your eyes the first 30 seconds  if you don’t want to endure this. I honestly won’t blame you because I had to do that each time I watched it for editing purposes. Good grief! There again, you’ll miss my much more professional co-host Helen of Just Saying Mum if you shut your eyes.

 

IF YOU WANT TO KNOW THE BACKGROUND TO THIS NEW CHAT SHOW SERIES THAT’S GOT PEOPLE EXCITED, HEAD OVER TO OUR INTRODUCTORY VLOG.

I am going to keep these ‘covering’ Bloggers’ Cafe posts brief as the whole point is for you to watch the vlogs. So, on that note, grab yourself a drink (the stronger the better because you’re going to need it to cope with my over expressive face), settle back and…

 

WATCH OUR FIRST BLOGGERS’ CAFE GUEST, WOOHOO!

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.

SHARE THIS POST! via the social media share buttons 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.

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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!

 

2016: Fantastic wins, sad times & great big mistakes

It’s the last week of 2016, we’re about to usher in a new year so it’s time for the Absolutely Prabulous annual review.

Every year has its ups and downs; this one has been no exception.  2015 was just damned awful on the personal front; a seemingly never ending storm.  When I first started working on this post a few days ago, the rest of that previous sentence went: “but I have to say I’m in a better frame of mind writing this year’s retrospective than I was last year.”  I’ll be honest, with the recent death of George Michael which prompted me to write this tribute (and the death of Carrie Fisher days later), I can’t say I’m pouring the bubbles as I now finish it.   Nevertheless, 2016 has been alright, with some great bits, some sad bits, some challenging bits and some continuing personal issues that remain unresolved. That’s life, though, right? How can anyone have 365 perfect days?

So grab yourself a coffee (or something more interesting), pull up a chair and join me while I look at the fantastic wins, sad times and bloody great big mistakes of 2016 (there’s even a video at the end if you want to skip straight to that).

 

2016 was the year when I opened up about my failings as a mother

I mean properly opened up (well as much as I could without making you totally hate me).  My usual tendency is to evade serious issues and fluff over my hardly expert parenting via the use of comedy .  Not this time.  Yet to my amazement, instead of the trolls lining up to rip chunks out of me, reader after reader identified with what I wrote.

 

And it was the year I almost shared a bed with a total stranger during my first ever blog event

Okay, not quite a total stranger; it was Helen of Just Saying Mum, whose blog I loved from the moment I came across it.  But we’d never actually met in real life. Come June, I’d left it so late to book accommodation for my two day attendance at #BML16 that I couldn’t find any single rooms, so I persuaded Helen to share a double room. So basically what I’m saying is I asked someone I’d met online to sleep with me. In the end, she went down with flu (so the she says ha ha).

 

2016 was the year my family was at the receiving end of immense joy and utter sadness.

A close family member had the most surprising and happy news…followed all too quickly by terrible unexpected tragedy which many of us are still trying to process. Life is cruel.  Exactly four weeks after the tragedy, I became an aunt again as another close family member had their second child.  One life leaves, another arrives…

Meanwhile, my parents celebrated 50, yes FIFTY years of marriage. Oh and my husband got even thinner.

 

And it was the year I squeezed my ‘Not 21 heck it’s not even 30 anymore’ bum into skinny white jeans in the worst wardrobe decision. Of. My. Life.

This is actually still beyond my own comprehension.  When getting dressed shortly before the Brilliance in Blogging awards back in June, I stood in front of the mirror in a lovely white top and white lace skirt, had a wave of self doubt about ‘overdoing it’ and promptly took them off.  What did I put on instead?  One of my favourite summery blouses (nothing wrong there) and heaven help me (and anyone who had the misfortune to see this) the TIGHTEST white jeans you’ve ever laid eyes on.  In my defence, I’d fast forwarded to the mental image of me sat at the table bravely clapping for the Unmumsy Mum or one of the other worthy finalists who I was convinced would win, looking ridiculous in my “Oscars” outfit and so I decided to tone things down a bit.  Forcing my middle-aged bum into those white trousers was the opposite of toning things down.  I realise that now. The thing is I’m used to seeing myself from the front (as in the title photo for this post), as opposed to from behind so I had nooooo idea how bad things had got ‘back there’.  The lesson here is: better to overdress and conceal your arse than try the understated look and end up looking worse.  The skinny jeans have been confined to the back of the wardrobe and I’ve put the sorry episode behind me, excuse the pun.  (But you can catch my epic fail on YouTube as it was videoed by New Mum Online.)

 

2016 was the year where I realised that just because Hubster was amazingly supportive of me writing this deeply personal post, it doesn’t mean…

…any of the issues have actually been fixed.

 

And the year when I talked as candidly as I could about about growing old

which was a big deal for me. Oh look, a woman moaning talking about ageing for once. Yes, I’m a cliche.  However, it’s not something I’d written about on here.  I’ve been quite coy about divulging my age partly because most of my blogging peers are WAY younger than me and I already feel like a dinosaur next to all these younguns on their first pregnancies without yelling my age all over Prabulous town.  I also for some daft reason, felt it would hold me back in some way from achieving my blog goals.  Anyway, bottom line, I wrote about it. Moving past my early 40’s wasn’t a problem.  Getting into my mid 40’s, I just accepted that. But the realisation that my last birthday officially placed me in my late 40’s was awful. The body greeting me in the mirror these days is definitely not the toned one of my 20’s and I needed to describe how I feel (ok it wasn’t a totally serious post) as a form of rationalising and therapy.

 

2016 was the year when people lost their s**t because a mother showed her child some love with ‘that kiss’.

As a result, I lost my patience…feel free to click on this pic to read why:

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

 

And it was the year they lost their damned minds voting a crap-talking, tantrum-throwing, narcissistic, racist, crass, misogynistic, tax-avoiding vagina-grabbing manchild into the Oval Office.

The Brits may have had Brex-shit but the Americans went bigger.

 

2016 was my annus most horribilis as I went ‘head to head’ with dreaded lice.

Yes, go ahead and chunder. I’m right there with you chundering myself. I cannot (it’s okay I will not in fact) describe the full horror of the lice plague that haunted my kids and me. Honestly, at one point, I thought I might have to set everyone’s hair on fire. A tad melodramatic? Er, actually nope.  You have no idea (because I meant what I said about not sharing the grizzly details) how long it went on for.  I wanted to submerge the entire flipping house in tea tree oil. And I came THIS close to treating the girls’ Barbies for it too. Hurl.

 

And the year we watched a LOT of films but also got off the sofa long enough to get a little bit fit:

When I wasn’t busy laughing along to Zootropolis, losing myself in the Spielberg triumph that is the BFG or feeling like a kid again watching Pete’s Dragon (what? you mean they also make films for grownups?) I got myself back running.  Man it’s good to be back! At one point, I wondered if I’d ever run again as I was off for over two years due to injury, following an incident that I’m still not brave enough to write about.  However, once the initial thrill of getting back to pounding the pavement subsided, the issue of actually fitting it in with blog, kids, house set in.  The challenge in 2017 will be setting and sticking to a consistent schedule that does not involve risky moves like putting the kids to bed and heading out in the dark for nighttime runs because it’s the only time I can fit them in.  I also managed to get the kids to Summer swim school, three times a week.  Go me. Seriously, I’m rubbish at doing anything three times a week.  I could hardly believe the progress they made.

Prabs' kids from the back at swimming class

 

2016 was the year when I got nominated for two blog awards, made the shortlist for both and somehow actually won one of them!

In case you don’t know – although this is less likely than the tooth fairy having Santa’s love child because I may possibly have mentioned it a ‘couple of times’ already – I won the Brilliance in Blogging Awards Best Writer category (you can watch my speech if you fancy). I do feel like a tool mentioning it again but it would be a bit odd doing an end of year retrospective and leaving it out as it was obviously a major highlight of my year and blogging career to date. (And let’s face it, probably the only time in my life I win something unless they start giving medals for the most prolific key loser so it needs a final nod before 2016 comes to an end.)

 

And the year I fought my fears and actually did things I never thought I’d do:

Launching my Laugh til you cry voyeuristic cringefest series that is the #OopsFiles series.
Yeah Baby. People had the mother of road trips, KEPT dropping their pants, suffered monumental toilet fails and somebody even got mistaken for a prostitute!  To think I was nervous nobody would be interested in featuring! I had no idea how shockingly hilarious the stories or how numerous the willing participants would be.  Thank you to everyone who’s helped make the #OopsFiles a corker and stay tuned for more hilarity in 2017.

Getting Out From Behind the Computer Screen and Getting in Front of the Camera!
This has been THE revelation of this year for me.  I still feel a bit odd saying it but I’m finally vlogging.  I’m very new to this gig and honestly don’t have a ‘strategy’ yet thanks to my trying not to overthink.  Funnily enough, being confronted with my voice and over-expressive collagen-starved face (linking back to the age thing), which were some of the things that put me off vlogging in the first place, has helped me accept who I am a bit more.  I’m ‘seeing’ myself properly for the first time and am learning to not to dislike the bits of me I’ve loathed for so long.  If it hadn’t been for my future sister-in-law who gave me the push (within just ten minutes of meeting me!), I wouldn’t be vlogging at all by the way.  There’s more! I’m teaming up with Just Saying Mum for a regular YouTube series #BloggersCafe which will be coming to a screen near you in 2017!

Cohosting a linky series
It sounds daft doesn’t it? But I’ve always been nervous about regularly hosting a linky for fear of some kind of perceived ‘failure’ or inability to commit. Luckily my #CandidCuddles partner Cuddle Fairy is an awesome co-host and had already built a lovely community when she hosted it solo for over a year so slotting in was super easy. Find the link ups to date here.

 

It was the year where terrorist acts, the plight of refugees and atrocities in war torn countries no longer seemed to shock us. 

Dare I say it, we’ve become complacent and sort of immune to the horror.

 

And of course, 2016 was the year where we learned you just don’t know when your number will be up…

Death after death of legend after legend shocked us and shocked us.  What a year.  The older you get, the more you realise life really is so very short.  My childhood faded further into the distance as the icons I grew up admiring left one by one. They were a personal inspiration to me for so many reasons:

Prince and Ali proving to this brown-skinned girl that skin colour doesn’t always have to hold you back.
Victoria Wood proving to this female that women ARE just as hilarious as men.
Ronnie Corbett proving to this petite thing that the shortest of people can reach the highest of heights.
Terry Wogan simply because I actually met him when I was seven years old and loved the man’s broadcasting style forever more

Prabs and Terry Wogan
David Bowie because…do I actually need a reason? (I did explain here though…)
And most recently, George Michael and Carrie Fisher as mentioned above.  I’ve actually had to amend that ‘most recently’ bit as the most recent death when I started writing this was that of the incredibly talented and often controversial writer AA Gill.  It’s been unreal.

 

Last but not least, 2016 is a year that I end wondering how I’m so blessed to have such loyal readers.

I’m more thankful than you can ever know. Without you, dear reader, there would be no point in me sitting here in the first place, at oh-my-gosh-is-that-the-time o’clock, writing about the year that has been.

So thank you so much for being here.  I wish you and yours health and happiness for 2017.  Here’s a little video from me to you. Mwah!

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3 Little Buttons

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

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

 

Absolutely Prabulous, my Fourth Child is Three Years Old!

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

9) Blogging Can Help You Find a Sense of Purpose

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

Oh…looky look..talking of vlogging…

 

 

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

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

Linked to:

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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Time to Hang Up the Blog!

flip flops, sunglasses, bikini

 

As you may or may not have noticed, I’ve been a tad quiet on ye olde blogette.

This is partly because I’ve been struggling with the blog mojo, melting in the Mediterranean heat and hugely aware that I have three small people off school and home with Maman Prabulous.  We’re already well into August and my kids have been on holiday since mid June (we break up early here due to the heat).  So far the summer hols have consisted of:

A six day trip to the UK for the biggest blog event of the year #BML16
Getting out the house three times a week for the kids’ summer swimming course in a lovely location…about to increase to five times, eek.
Differing levels of success in getting out the rest of the week because sometimes it feels easier staying indoors in the shade (and mainly because I’m butt lazy)
lot of guilt over barely blogging and feeling like I’m not spending enough time with the kids
A handful of beach trips (amazing considering we live right near one)
Totally ineffective ‘attempts’ at blogging
Zero productive attempts at cleaning my house

So with just weeks to go before the kids go back to school, I’m desperate

to see to household projects that have gone neglected for utterly ages due to the blog (translation: ignore household duties because the beach beckons) plus need to give my attention to three of the sweetest easiest kids one could hope for (translation: yell at my kids irrationally even more)…or if they’re not around, spend some time with my own.  Boom tish.

Seriously, although people who live in colder climates can’t quite understand how someone who lives on an island

with 300 days of sun a year could possibly need a holiday – especially when that someone is a stay work-at-home mum – fact is I’m desperate for a break and change of scene.  Sadly, the latter ain’t happening this year so at the very least, Absolutely Prabulous is on a break until the end of August or so (or at least that’s the plan). What’s that? You thought I meant so long, farewell etc when I said It’s Time to Hang up the Blog…?

Not on your nelly.

But I do desperately need some time off.

I might post up the odd thing here or there. I might not.

I might (oh pretty please sugar on top) ignore social media for the next few weeks.

There again, I’d love to fly and/or snog Adam Levine and there is probably more chance of either of those happening than me ignoring Facebook/Twitter/Instagram and co.

funny meme about Twitter, FB and Youtube merging

 

Anyway, thought I’d do the courtesy of letting you know…because let’s face it,

the U.S. presidential elections, the Olympics, the future of post-BrexS*it UK and general global turmoil are not on people’s minds anywhere near as much as my blog and I’m quite aware that my plans are far more relevant news.

Yes that’s called sarcasm.

See you in a few weeks.


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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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prabs-signature

 

 

 

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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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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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.

I’m Helping Agent Spitback to Pass the Sauce!

Pass The Sauce linky featured image

Tapping of fork on side of the glass, lowering of microphone stand (#BecauseShortarse and while we’re at it can someone go get me my kids’ step stool?), trumpet fanfare in distance, drumroll, etc aaaaaaaaand clears throat:

Ladies and genitalmens (sorry juvenile joke from my university years and a hard one to kick), I am simply spiffingly delighted and over the moon to tell you that this week and next, I’m co-hosting the fantabulous new linky Pass the Sauce run by the incomparable Agent Spitback.  Watch this space – well actually don’t just watch it, link up! – as I’m sure she’s onto a winner with this.

According to Agent Spitback, like all things good in life, we always need a bit of sauce..tomato, barbecue, chocolate, caramel, hot chilli…frankly I thought it meant something else but that’s just me.  Pass The Sauce will keep the spirit of #abitofeverything which El used to host with the Anxious Dragon. That linky has ended but as a little bit of sauce goes with a bit of everything, this linky (like its predecessor), will continue to welcome all sorts of posts, from crafts, reviews, rants, DIY, parenting, stories, poetry, humour, just about anything and everything.  It’s all about spreading the #bloggerlove.  As opposed to having a regular co-host, El will be running Pass the Sauce with a new guest co-host every two weeks.

Most of you know the score and general common sense rules:

Please link up ONE post, old or new.

They can be on any subject except giveaways.

Please use the linky badge below on the post you link up.

Please comment on the Host post, the Guest Co-Host and the post before yours and of course any others of your choice. Share the blogging love peeps!

(If you do not put the below badge on your post or comment, you will not be eligible in being featured…host’s rules, don’t shoot the messenger!)

The linky will run from 11am (GMT) Tuesday to 10am Thursday.

If you link up, you are agreeing to be notified of future link ups.

And of course tweet your linkup using the hashtag #PassTheSauce and both our Twitter handles @abprabulous and @agentspitback.  We’ll share any that are tweeted.

As Agent Spitback says so beautifully, it is not about the linky, it is all about the community. You can’t blog alone!

The Agent is most wise…

The all important linky badge!

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