Friday, 5 February 2016

Your Youtube #57

Welcome back to Your Youtube and to the return of it here - a huge thanks to my co-host Sian for hosting whilst I took a much-needed break in January! There have been so many videos joined up, I'm glad to see everyone still sharing their videos and watching each others. We now have a Your Youtube group set up on Facebook and we host weekly chats over there - it's a great space to talk about videos and learn from each other, so do join us here.

This week's featured video is from Jane at Practically Perfect Mums who has been bouncing away at a new trampoline park in Swindon - it looks like lots of fun!

Over to the linky - as always please link up no more than two and make sure you watch and comment on the host and at least one other video.

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Thursday, 4 February 2016

A Fifth Birthday

December is always an exciting month as we are definitely a family who loves Christmas and all its magic, however there is another reason we celebrate the final month of the year and that is our little lady's birthday. This time she turned five years old, which seems so huge to me as it doesn't feel like that time since she was that tiny baby in my arms.

Monday, 1 February 2016

Me & Mine January 2016

Dear Holly & Jack

Today it's February. The second month of this new year is here and yet I can't really remember much of the first. It felt like the longest month in the world and yet looking back I don't know if there's much to take away from it apart from cold, illness and low moods. Let's just say I am welcoming February and a month closer to our holiday in April with open arms.

But this post is a reflection on the last month and what happened over those 30 days, so here's a few words to sum it up.


My big girl, you returned to school after an exciting Christmas, only for you to then be off a week with chickenpox. Caught from your brother, you seemed to get a stronger dose than him but coped really well with them and surprised me.

You've always been a great sleeper but lately have been upset occasionally at bedtime saying you didn't want to sleep on your own. I decided to let you borrow my old teddy as he had always protected mummy when I was little and he would do the same for you. It seems to have done the trick and as long as he beside you, you will now happily drop off.

You seem to be getting so tall now, with long slim legs. You're more than half my height, which is no big surprise and I know before long I'll be looking up at you rather than down!


Baby boy, with you starting school this September you will be a baby no more. After having the chickenpox at Christmas you seem to have been back and forth with a temperature and cold ever since. You don't really let it affect your mood though, and apart from being a bit quieter than usual you have been just as crazy as ever.

This month you saw your first snow since you were six months old. You absolutely loved it, and insisted on smashing it all to pieces with your new 'Hulk Smash' gloves - just typical you. You seem to be slowly becoming more ready for school, although I still don't feel you're as ready as your big sister was - you much prefer running around and chasing balls to sitting and writing your name!

This month's photo pretty much sums up our month - a few tears, laughter and craziness! Definitely an up and down few weeks.

The Me and Mine Project

Monday, 11 January 2016

What To Do When You've Lost Your Passion?

Here I am, part-way into January already and this is my first post of the New Year. And it's a bit of a lost one, as I'm really not sure what to write. Ever since Holly was born, five year ago, and I turned to blogging to give me something to do other than tending to a newborn, it has been a hugely important part of my life. I've shared my stories, listened to others', I've made friends both in person and online, I've learnt so much about the blogging world and about myself and I can't remember a time when I didn't flick on the computer as soon as I'd made my morning brew and catch up with whatever I'd missed overnight.

That is until now. I've opened my computer a few time, but mainly to check cinema listings or look at holidays. I've not checked my blog stats, as I'm pretty sure they would be minuscule, ad every time I've considered writing I've just thought 'no.'

I feel a bit empty without it though, as though a part of me has died somehow. Writing it all down and being part of the community has always meant so much to me I'm not quite sure where to go from here. Do I give it all up, all the years of hard works, laughter and indeed tears, and walk away, or do I just keep waiting for some lightbulb to come on that will reignite that fire I had back at the beginning? I'm fearful that it won't come back at all, and I'm not sure what I'll do if it doesn't. This blog means the world to me and leave it to drift away would just feel wrong.

I'd love to know if you have felt this way and what decision you took? Did something come back on or did you feel ok about walking away? Where are you now with it all?

Where it all began

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Thursday, 31 December 2015

Me & Mine Round Up for 2015, And A Time Out

It's the end of the year and time to say goodbye to the last twelve months and plan for the next. It's been a relatively steady year for us, generally on the low side as we still battle through me having chronic fatigue and try and adjust our lives to the change it has brought with it.

With that change has brought other changes and for the next month or so that will see me taking some time off from the blog and my Youtube channel. I've found I've become quite stale with my post, and it feels more of a chore than anything. In fact it's taken me the last two weeks to sit down and actually write this post. In the meantime Sian will be taking over full responsibility for the linky, so please do continue to join us with that, and I have hopefully found someone to continue the chat and group I have begun. If you are a vlogger, whether that be just starting out or more experienced, do join in the Your Youtube events as there is such much support out there.

I thought I would round off this year with a look back at the few Me & Mine posts I joined in with as well as sharing my top posts for 2015, as I have done previously.

January 2015

March 2015

April 2015

May 2015

December 2015

I think we have all changed quite a bit in the year, the children have obviously grown and I think Mr H and I have moulded to our environment, with a bit less hair on his part and a few more lines on mine!

Top Posts 2015:

5. The Cosatto Story - I adored this bed from the moment I saw it and loved writing this review, I think it's one of my all time favourite review posts, particularly the video.

4. Britmums Live Video Round-Up - I pulled together a list of al the videos from Britmums Live in 2015 and it was great to look through everyone's different angles of the conference.

3. Mark Warner In Corsica - My visit to San Lucianu in Corsica with Mark Warner was such a fantastic trip, I'm glad my write up was popular too.

2. From The Sofa - When I was struggling with Holly being ill, I put together some ideas for activities for your poorly children.

1. The Elusive Bedtime - This was a post I put together with some tips on cracking bedtime, which seemed to resonate with a lot of you and was a huge success on the blog.

So there you have it - the end of 2015. I hope you all have an amazing New Year and 2016 brings happiness and health to you all.

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Monday, 21 December 2015

Your Youtube #52

Here we are, at number 52 and a whole year since this linky started! I just want to say a huge thank you to everyone who has supported me and my journey to grow our youtube family community, your support has meant the world and helped spawn the group and chat. There will be more to come in the next 52 weeks so make sure you stick around!

This time, to celebrate a whole year of Your Youtube I've decided to pick a video of the year. It wasn't an easy decision as there has been so many amazing videos linked up, but I've chosen this Draw My Life video from Jules at The Girl Behind The Camera as not only is a DML difficult to film (which I know from experience) I think her story is a pretty incredible one and I love hearing it in this way.

So, for our last linky of 2015 hare your videos below! Please link up no more than two and make sure you comment on the host and at least one other. This linky will run until January and Sian and I will be taking a break over the festive period. Have a fantastic Christmas to you all and a Happy New Year!

Monday, 14 December 2015

Pro Blogger Interview: A Mummy Too

Continuing my series, interviewing some of the most successful bloggers of the moment, this week I am talking to Emily Leary from hugely successful blog A Mummy Too.

Originally a parenting blog, Emily found her niche in the food blog arena and quickly made herself known. Her blog this year won Best Food Blog award and Emily has been featured in magazines and run workshops and presentations at many prestigious events. On top of all this, her blog is in the top ten bloggers on Teads, Tots100, Foodies100 and Cision.

Can you tell me a little about your background before blogging? How did you get into it? 
I started out in PR and marketing while still at uni and soon found my specialism in the digital/social sphere. By the time I started my blog, A Mummy Too in 2011, I’d been in digital for about 10 years. The blog was just intended as a hobby while on maternity leave, but I kept it going where I could once I went back to work and really fell in love with it – the creativity and the community especially. After a couple of years, I knew that blogging was where my heart was, so I decided to leave my career behind to write about food and lifestyle full–time.

Having worked in the PR industry for a number of years you must know better than many of us how it is to work from the other side of things. Are there any insights you can share on what PR's are looking for? 
I think something that comes up time and time again is understanding why they want to work with you. Whether in-house or agency, PRs and marketers are ultimately working to meet their company/client’s business objectives and more specifically, that year or quarter’s marketing objectives. They’re not (or at least shouldn’t be!) simply doing blogger outreach for the sheer fun of it, rather it will be part of a plan for the year, so the better you can understand how you fit into those plans, the better equipped you are to deliver your part in the campaign to the highest standard. If a brief feels loose and you’re feeling a little unsure as to what activity to propose/deliver, it’s completely fine to say, for example, “Can you give me a little outline of what the campaign is aiming to achieve and any key messages you’re looking to convey?"

You are a well known full time blogger, has your previous experience helped with this at all?
Through my previous career I’ve had a lot of writing practice, understand social and have lots of experience working with brands, which is obviously all useful, but I don’t think a PR background makes it much easier to be a successful blogger. Being on this side of the fence is very different, and I’ve had to learn as I go, just like everybody else :)

What would your advice be for someone who is looking to turn blogging from a hobby into their career?
Start treating your blog as a business long before you begin to rely on it as your sole source of income. Be organised, keep records, plan, standardise your working processes, rates and terms and organise them along with your credentials into a media kit to share with brands, learn from your analytics, strive to continually improve on your own best.

You must pitch a lot to different companies, what seems to work best for you and what not so much?
I rarely, if ever, cold pitch – it’s much easier to propose an approach when you know what campaigns that brand/agency is working on at that time. I prefer to focus on warm/responsive pitches i.e. when a brand gets in touch to tell me about a campaign, if it’s something I feel is a good fit, then I’ll come back with some ideas about how we could work together.

Emily is a full time blogger at A Mummy Too and can be found on Facebook and twitter.

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Crafty Kids Wishlist with The Works

Miss H has always loved anything creative. From the age of one she would sort all her toys by colour and size and as soon as she could hold a pencil she was in her element. Not a day goes by now that she doesn't ask to make something and I have amassed quite a craft selection for these moments, including the occasional toilet roll!

Friday, 4 December 2015

Your Youtube #50

Welcome back to Your Youtube, the video linky where we help each other and support each other in order to grow our community! unfortunately linky tools is currently not working so I have been unable to choose a video of the week, but as soon as it's back up and running I will get over to your videos! Because of this we're using Simply Linked this week for you to add your videos to.

As I mentioned previously I am the new Videos Round-Up Editor for Britmums, replacing the brilliant Nadine who has had a fantastic promotion. I will be considering all your videos for December's round ups so make sure to add them to the linky! As always, please link up no more than two videos. Ensure you watch and comment on the host video and the video before your own so that way we all get some likes and comments.

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Thursday, 3 December 2015

How I Beat The Christmas Shopping Queues

Christmas is my favourite time of year - I have always loved sharing the magic with my family and with Miss H's birthday being just a week before, it really is a special time for us. One side I don't love, though, is the Christmas shopping. Don't get me wrong, giving presents is one of my favourite things about the season, especially now I have children, but I have never been a shopper and trying to battle my way through hoards of people is my worst nightmare. So I thought I'd put together a few things that I do to beat the Christmas queues and make present-buying a much more enjoyable experience.

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

The Battle To Get Dressed

Miss H has become particularly fussy when it comes to getting dressed of late. I guess I should be grateful that this stage has only arrived when she is nearly five, but it's driving me up the wall. She refuses to wear anything but dresses and has a total meltdown if I try to get her into one of the many pairs of trousers she has gathering dust in her wardrobe. On top of that she only wants to wear her sparkly pumps, despite it being freezing and chucking it down outside.

Getting ready for school became a nightmare and I've resorted to buying her more pinafores in order to relieve the tension it was causing before I'd even had my morning brew. Now we're working on her not having a meltdown when I don't do her hair in whatever fancy style she's seen so-and-so at school has. When we were offered some new pieces to try from Rockin' Baby and Clarks, I was thrilled to get my little drama queen into something a bit different, and hopefully have something in her wardrobe she didn't fight with me over.

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Managing Chronic Illness With Diet

I have never been a great eater, food is just not my thing and I have been known to regularly skip meals or just eat a packet of crisps rather than be bothered to prepare something properly. When I was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue, one of the items on the list of things to consider was diet, and I was told it is an important part to managing tiredness. I have to admit, though, that it wasn't top of my list to get on top of - trying to manage pacing and fit in relaxation was a challenge enough. However this summer proved a difficult one and I decided it was time to step things up and take charge of what I can. This meant taking a look at my diet.

managing chronic illness with diet

Thursday, 26 November 2015

Christmas Gift Guide For Kids 2015

Are you looking for that perfect gift for your little one but getting lost in the realms of brightly coloured plastic, Lego that gets stuck in your toes and noisy computer games? Well I've put together a few ideas that may hit the inspiration chord or at least give your a few ideas on which way to go when you're buying presents for your tiny ones this festive season.

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Vlogging: What I've Learnt

For the last few weeks I have been running a Your Youtube vlogging chat on Sunday evenings on twitter, where each week I set a topic, ask a few questions and a few of us get together and have a natter. It's a fun, friendly hour, some weeks are quieter than others, but there's a nice group of us who choose to learn from each other and support one another. So today I wanted to put together a bit of a round-up from the last few chats and what I've picked up from them so far.

Monday, 23 November 2015

Pro Blogger Interview: Katy Pullinger

Welcome back to my fortnightly blogger series, where I interview today's top bloggers and ask those burning questions you would love to know the answer to. Hopefully these bloggers can help unlock some insights that will help us all grow our blogs and develop to a place we would all love to be. 

Today I am interviewing the lovely Katy Pullinger - one half of the vlogging team, Hey Mummy. Katy is a presenter on QVC and also creates videos for the UK YouTube community site Channel Mum, one of which was recently streamed live from Dream Toys featuring the top toys for Christmas this year.

You have a background in TV presenting, how did that first come about?

It was really a natural progression, I had always done drama, acting, singing and also worked as an intern in TV Production and it just made sense as all my interests could kind of come together. I went and did a short course in presenting, one where you walked away with a ready to go show reel and I was ready to send it out to people. I had heard that the shopping channel Bid TV were auditioning and so I sent my reel to them. I auditioned and got the job, 3 hours of live TV a day 5 days a week, exhausting but an amazing training ground for any aspiring presenter.


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