Best Bits for 2014

This time last year I shared my most popular posts of the year, and I really enjoyed looking through what you, my readers, had appreciated the most. I decided to do the same again this year, so with the exclusion of giveaways and review posts, here are your top five of 2014.

Christmas 2014

I've just been looking back on the post I wrote at the same time last year, sharing our days before and over Christmas. It's lovely to look at all the photos and the times we had, so why not do the same this year? The last few days have flown by and I can't believe it's all over already and we are rapidly approaching 2015! Here's a quick snapshot of the best moments of the last two weeks.

What Makes Our Perfect Holiday

When I was growing up I was fortunate to go on holiday almost every year. We mostly visited Spain where my parents fell in love with a small fishing village there and eventually bought their own villa. But we also visited far-off destinations such as America, Australia and Singapore. We even travelled to Pakistan for a wedding when I was fifteen.

Mr H and I love to travel, and have also holidayed most years. However since the children were born this has more often been in the UK, usually to his parents' caravan in Wales. We've been abroad a couple of times with the children and it has been a joy to spend quality time together and watch our two enjoy the sunshine and make the most of the experiences you can only have abroad.

So what makes a perfect family holiday for us? I have put together a video which will tell you in the best way we know how - by showing you!

*This is our application to become a Mark Warner Ambassador.

Little Tikes Cookin' Creations Kitchen Review

We have several Little Tikes products in our household - from the matching pairs puzzle game Miss H is currently obsessed with, to the Riga Swing we reviewed earlier in the year. We have always loved their products and they have lasted us for two boisterous and often heavy-handed toddlers. Little Tikes are known for their bright, fun toys, particular their Cozy Coupe, and sets that encourage role play and building imaginations.

The Lowry Giveaway

When my sister and I were young my mum and dad took us to the pantomime every Boxing Day. It was a bit of a tradition and I loved going to the theatre, sitting in those lovely big seats and laughing at whoever played the Dame that year. Since I've been with Mr H, it's not really something we've done and as yet the children aren't quite old enough to get the jokes or sit still long enough, so it will probably be another year or two before we give it a try.

Your Youtube #6

It's week six of Your Youtube and the countdown the Christmas has definitely begun. I really enjoyed watching all the videos last week and can't wait to see what you've all been up to for the start of December.


As some of you may know I have been heavily focused on my videos recently, and I am absolutely loving filming and joining in with the Youtube community. As a part of this I have decided to set myself the challenge of taking part in Vlogmas!

Vlogmas is where you film every day in the run up to Christmas, sort of like an advent of videos. So each day I will be uploading the day before's video meaning today (the 2nd) I have uploaded the footage from the first of December.

So here it is, the beginning of Vlogmas and my vlogging challenge! I hope you stay with me throughout December and enjoy some festive cheer form the Hollybobbs family!

Do subscribe to make sure you don't miss a video and I would love to hear from you if you are partaking in Vlogmas!

My Youtube Top Tips

I have been vlogging now for over a year. When I first started I didn't really know what I was doing and those videos are pretty cringey.

Cut to a year later and I am definitely still learning. I have attended every Youtube session I could at various conferences, as well as following the Youtube Academy master classes, and trying to keep up with as many channels and videos as I can.

I thought today I would share a few tips I have picked up along the way, and maybe help those who are starting out with their channels to jump a few hurdles.

1. Turn your phone on its side. It's something that took a while for me to get into the habit of doing, but now when I watch videos with those black lines down the side, I want to scream at the screen!

An early video

2. Lighting. You don't need fancy s'mancy lighting right at the start. If your house is particularly dark or you don't have time to film in good daylight hours then you can get a basic light from B&Q (as recommended at BlogCamp), but do bear in mind when you are filming that you should sit with the light on your face not behind your head, otherwise we won't be able to see you.

3. Be self critical. As much as you are interested in you and your children, remember that you are trying to get new subscribers. Will a stranger really be that interested in what you are talking about, enough to push that subscribe button? Trying and edit your conversation so you're not rambling on too much and focus on what you are really wanting to share.

4. Be personable. Make mistakes, laugh at yourself, show those genuine little moments of yourself. Let people fall in love with you and want to watch you more.

5. Use annotations. Once you've uploaded your video, set it to private. Go into Video Manager and select annotations. Use this section to add clickable links to your channel, other videos, to ask people to subscribe or refer them to another channel or site. I generally use the Spotlight annotation to do this. Annotations give your audience even more reason to stay on your channel and hopefully become a regular viewer.

6. Add a description. In the box under your title, there is a huge space to give your viewers more information. If nothing else you should put links to your blog, twitter, Facebook etc in this space, but it is great to also add some more information about your video and also any links to things you discuss in it, as well as acknowledgment of music used for copywriter purposes.

7. Network. Just like your blog when you first started, nobody is going to find your channel without you doing some legwork to start with. Comment on other videos, subscribe to channels that are relevant to you and share the love! Obviously there are the bigger Youtube stars who are a great for learning how to do it right, but find others like yourself and create a community where everyone can support one another. I run a video linky every week where you can share your videos and do just that - be part of a community.

8. Playlists. It took me a while to bother doing this, and now I'm so glad I did. Channels are so much easier to navigate with playlists and it means your viewers can focus on topics relevant to them and watch more within that playlist.

9. Create an introduction video. Curently mine is my Draw My Life video, but I do have an idea in mind for a proper introduction. Think of this like your About Me page on your blog. It's something we all put off doing, but it is the first thing people see when they come to your channel. Make it concise, make people want to watch more and be memorable.

10. Collaborations. Whilst I wouldn't suggest doing one if you only have a handful of subscribers, once you get more into the swing of it then definitely try collaborating with someone who is similar to you. It's a great way to open yourself up to a new section of viewers and again strengthen the community. If you can't get out to meet and do a face to face collar, why not try a Skype or FaceTime chat? Have a search on Youtube, there are some great ideas out there.

These are just a few tips I've picked up along the way - do you have any of your own to add?

Me & Mine: November

Ok, it's a few months since I joined in with Me and Mine - I just never seem to get around to taking a family photo of us all, which is really the point of this linky! Well we managed to get one this month, so I am back again!


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