Blogging

I got 99 posts… and now my blog is one!

OK, so it might have been nice to have managed to co-ordinate my 100th and one year blog birthday posts into one. But perhaps a bit too perfect. And anyway, it would have denied me the opportunity to use my cracking Jay-Z inspired headline! So… let’s ‘hit it’!
Blog birthday candle

Actually it’s a bit of a belated birthday now. As ever at the moment, I’m running a little bit late with this one. Again! Such is life with two little people.

Last Friday, 17th October, marked a year since I finally got this blog up and running. It’s kind of crept up on me a bit to be honest…

This time last year I had just found out I was pregnant with Little Mister. He’s now 16 weeks old!

Little Miss, when I first started writing online about our life, was just over 18 months old. She was starting to put words together but was nothing like the little chatterbox she is now. Her hair back then, bless her, was still pretty short and babyish. Today she’s very proud of her cute, curly little ponytail – as are we!

So much has happened in the last 12 months and I’m so glad that I’ve been able to share and record little snippets of it all here on this blog.

Double trouble

Double trouble! Family life one year on.

I look forward to one day being able to show my children this blog too. I love the fact that they’ll one day be able to read about the little details of our family life that might otherwise have got lost or forgotten over time.

And I’ve loved – and have really valued – being able to join a wonderful, supportive, online community of parent bloggers at a time when I’ve been finding my feet as a new mum. I’ve found the mummy and daddy blogging world to be a great source for advice, inspiration, laughter and, from time to time, commiseration when I’m having a bad day.

Life is busier than ever now that we’re a family of four and lately I’ve been struggling to find as much time as I’d like to devote to further developing this blog. There are still so many things sitting on my blogging to-do list. I’m still at the beginning and there’s so much more I hope to do.

But for now I’m going to try and focus on what I have managed to achieve so far…

So, we have the 99 blog posts.

And Mummy’s to do list now has close to 800 followers on Twitter

I have 109 followers on Pinterest

And 36 followers on Bloglovin’

Thank you so much to all those following and interacting with me!

And as I do love a chart (I have happy memories of religiously recording the Top 40 every Sunday night when I was a kid!), here are my top ten posts from the last year…
1. Twin your toilet…
2. Fun with fishes toddler craft
3. Help change children’s lives on World Book Day
4. Toddler art: painting a hand print rainbow
5. Ten tips I learnt from reading I Don’t Have Time to Write
6. Really easy toilet roll crafts for toddlers!
7. Introducing our new arrival… not-so-little Mister!
8. The joys of toddler singing…
9. Easter gifts from nursery…
10. As you turn two…

Charity posts and crafts have gone down well but my favourites have been the more personal posts like numbers seven to ten. And lucky number seven has to be the best one of all. I feel so blessed to have my lovely little family.

Thank you to everyone who has shared the last year with us. Hope to see you again very soon.

Mummy’s to do list x

Pic credit: Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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Not my six-month blogiversary…

I meant to write this post back in April. But, evidently, I didn’t. Then I really meant to crack on and write it last month. I even started a draft, honest! But I never finished it. Then I absolutely meant to do it last week but… you guessed it, such has been my ‘to-do’ list lately. For reasons that hopefully will become crystal clear very, very imminently (pleeeease!), I’ve had rather a lot on my plate recently so have had to take a step back from the blog for a bit. But last Wednesday Mummy’s to do list turned eight-months old and I didn’t want to let it slip by yet again without mention.

Getting this blog started is one of the best things I’ve done over the last year. For once, I’m Eight months a bloggeractually quite proud of myself and I’m really looking forward to giving it a bit more attention again very soon. It’s been a great way to connect with lots of like-minded people out there – thanks so much for reading! I love the fact that I’m able to record little details of our family life that might otherwise get lost or forgotten over time. And I’ve loved learning lots of new skills along the way.

Back in April I finally got around to buying my own domain name, so for the last two months I’ve officially been Mummystodolist.com. At some point soon I hope to polish up my design too and maybe at some point (gulp!) I can even take the plunge and go self-hosted but I’m not feeling quite that brave just yet.

So what have been my most popular posts so far?

Top ten posts (excluding about or main home pages):

1. Twin your toilet

2. Fun with fishes toddler craft

3. Help change children’s lives on World Book Day

4. Toddler art: painting a hand print rainbow

5. Ten tips I learnt from reading I Don’t Have Time to Write

6. Really easy toilet roll crafts for toddlers

7. Easter gifts from nursery

8. As you turn two

9. The joys of toddler singing

10. Celebrating World Book Day

Personal favourites

Crafts, books and milestones all feature strongly on the list. Some of my other personal favourites have been those funny little toddler tales like The one where the toddler gets naked!, ‘Toddler says no! and A tale of two potty triumphs – sadly, we’re still stuck at only four potty triumphs and lately Little Miss has developed a dirty little preference for holding on and weeing in the bath! Needless to say we are trying to discourage this. Toddlers have such double standards – she can be such a fussy little girl when she wants to be!

I’ve tried not to get too hung up on stats but it is always nice to see the monthly figures heading in the right direction as I’ve got more experienced at this blogging malarkey. Back in March I put myself into the Tots 100 and have been pleased to creep up the charts since then. I’m nowhere near the celebrated 100 yet – but, hey, almost breaking into the top 800 isn’t too bad is it?! Maybe one day!

Linky love

One of the great revelations of the last few months has been the number of great linkys out there. I had no idea what they even were before the start of the year – the word was one of those mysterious blogging terms I had to decipher. But since then I’ve really enjoyed taking part and have found they’re a great way for new bloggers to share posts with new readers and in turn find some fab new blogs to read as well.

I’ve especially enjoyed Word of the Week over on The Reading Residence, the 300 Picture Book Challenge with Child Led Chaos and Magic Moments over on The Oliver’s Madhouse. Mini Creations on Kid GL Loves and Let Kids Be Kids have been great for sharing craft ideas. And Share with Me on Let’s Talk Mommy, the Mad Mid-week Blog Hop on Super Busy Mum, Post Comment Love on Verily Victoria Vocalises and Honest Mum’s Brilliant Blog Posts linkys are all, er, quite brilliant and well worth a look if you don’t already know them.

Well, I’d better crack on with the rest of that to-do list now. Who knows, I may even get another blog post done today!

Thanks, as always, for reading!

Pic credit: Keerati/freedigitalphotos.net

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My top five posts at 50

So this week saw me reach my first big bloggy milestone, 50 posts (read more about it here). So I thought I’d have a look at my stats – something I should probably do more often (I’m a words more than numbers girl!) – and see what’s been happening and which posts have been most popular.

Here is …

Top five blog posts

1. Twin your toilet – easily my most-read post so far and one I hope has inspired others to help a special charity. Here in the UK we take our loos for granted but 40% of the world’s population, 2.5 billion people, don’t have this luxury and those who suffer most as  a result are usually women and children. We’re currently raising money to twin our lav with a new facility in the developing world.

2. Help change children’s lives on World Book Day – another charity post and a cause that really appeals to me as Little Miss and I love reading books. Book Aid sends sends more than 500,000 new books a year to sub-Saharan Africa, over half of them for children.

3. Toddler art: painting a hand print rainbow – It’s lovely and very fitting to see my 50th post actually make it into my top five! This one sees Little Miss, with a bit of help from Mummy, create a beautiful picture – dare I say work of art – which I just had to frame. And I also threw in some tips for ‘toddler art essentials’ for good measure.

4. Ten tips I learnt from reading I Don’t Have Time to Write – As a busy mum it can be tricky finding time to tend to the blog while keeping all those other balls in the air. This post shared some advice I learnt from reading this fab book.

5. Really easy toilet roll crafts for toddlers – My first crafty post and one that was great fun to write. I’m thrilled so many other people enjoyed it too. All hail the humble loo roll tube!

Pic credit: creativedoxfoto/freedigitalphotos.net

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The big 50 – reaching a bloggy milestone

The big 50It was only after I hit publish the other night that I realised I’d hit one of my first major blogging milestones – the big 5 0! Or to be precise, 50 posts written. Wow, that kind of of crept up on me. But no midlife crisis here, just cause for celebration. And next month I’ll be reaching an even bigger milestone… April 18 is not only our five-year wedding anniversary, it will also be my six month ‘blogiversary’ too! Half a decade of marriage and half a year of blogging!

When I took the plunge and started this blog back in October I had no idea where it might take me, or even if I’d have the time, energy or inclination to keep it going. It was a bit of a slow start while I found my feet and then I ground to a complete halt for most of December. But at the start of the new year I finally started to find my blogging mojo and since then I’ve been loving it and have thoroughly enjoyed becoming part of a wonderful, supportive, online community. So thank you everyone!

It’s been a real journey of discovery. Every week I’m finding and learning new things, which I love. And without getting too cheesy, it’s wonderful to have my own personal space to create whatever I want to and write about whatever I choose. I also write for my day job but here there are no corporate editorial meetings to negotiate, no lengthy approval processes to endure and no compromises to have to make – it’s all down to me (mwah ha ha!). Much to my own surprise , even after a long day at the office I still have the energy to come here and post. Blogging has been a breath of fresh air for me and some days it’s almost addictive!

I also love the fact that in years to come I’ll have a record of our family life to look back on. I don’t keep a traditional diary but now I have somewhere that Little Miss’s progress and milestones are being written about, which is great.

So, how to celebrate my half-year blog birthday?

I’d love to do something special to mark my six months as a bonafide blogger, so I’m on the hunt for ideas. I’ve yet to run a giveaway here and it would be nice to offer you loyal readers the chance to win a fab prize of some sort. But I’m not quite sure how to make that happen, so any advice is always very gratefully received. I imagine I just need to bite the bullet and ask companies for their support but I’m a typical Brit girl and it just feels a little bit cheeky! Watch this space, I’ll try and be brave… *crosses fingers*

BiB Awards

And now a shameless plug… if you enjoy reading my blog as much as I do writing it then I would be thrilled to be nominated for the BritMums’ Brilliance in Blogging Awards, the BiBs. There are 16 categories and the two that probably best fit this blog are Fresh Voice, which celebrates the newbies in the blogging world, and Family. If you want to nominate me in any others that’s fine by me but Food and Travel might be pushing it a bit – I’m utterly useless at cooking and the only ‘holiday’ we currently have planned (other than in my head!) is an overnight stay in Southampton! Either way, it’s very quick and easy to vote. Just click the badge below and if you do vote for me then thank you so,so much *blushes*!

NOMINATE YOUR FAVORITE BLOGSThanks again for reading and here’s to the next 50 posts, well 49 now!

Main image credit: Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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Ten tips I learnt from reading I Don’t Have Time to Write

I Don't Have Time to Write by Nadine Hill front coverThe title of this book instantly grabbed me when I spotted it on Amazon a few months ago. I Don’t Have Time to Write – or at least enough time – is a phrase that’s constantly popping into my head, if not being uttered out loud at least a few times a week. Luckily my clever husband checked my Amazon Wishlist and the book turned up among my presents on Christmas Day. It’s a very quick and worthwhile read but if you’re even more strapped for time then I am then just take a look below at the top ten things I took away from it.

I Don’t Have Time to Write is written by mum-of-two Nadine Hill, who’s also a business owner, writer, blogger and speaker – you can see why she’s so busy! As I said, it’s a whizz to read and as a result can feel a bit rushed in places. But that’s partly the point. The book is written using the author’s time-efficient ways of working. It shows that a busy working mum can put the advice given into practice. It’s clearly not meant to be War and Peace. What it does do is offer useful tips and ideas and, if you want added depth, you can go away and build on these.

The book is aimed at all writers but includes separate chapters for bloggers and infopreneurs.

So here are the top time-taming tips I will be focusing on:

Ten tips learnt from I Don't Have Time to Write

1. Always have an end goal in sight.

It’s pretty hard to move forward without knowing where you want to get! Knowing why you are writing – whatever that might be – gives you focus and purpose.

2. Just get started! Get something written down. Create the skeleton and you can flesh it out later.

On a bad day, I can be a big procrastinator but as Nadine says: “It doesn’t matter where you decide to start first, start somewhere and it becomes easier to see where the next logical place is.” It’s true and I do this all the time now – getting the basics of a post written down first then coming back later to finesse.

3. Be careful with multitasking.

Save the juggling act for the low level tasks you can do without thinking, like basic household chores. Don’t fry your brain trying to concentrate on too many different things at once, you won’t do the big stuff as well as you could and it takes so much longer to get anything finished. This may mean you need to prioritise how much you take on.

4. Keep day-to-day life as organised as possible.

Sometimes easier said than done, I know, but by streamlining the everyday stuff you can create extra ‘pockets of time that are spare’. It’s common sense I suppose. Super-organised Nadine suggests simple things like batching tasks together to avoid duplicating effort, using  a diary and to-do list (aha!) to keep track of it all and spending ten minutes at night planning and getting stuff ready for the following day.

5. Consider batch writing posts.

Initially this felt a bit contrived but actually it makes sense to take advantage when your creative juices are in full flow and get several posts written at once. It takes the pressure off and these can then be scheduled, meaning if events conspire to prevent you from writing further posts – and a busy mum they often do – you’ve still got something to publish.

6. Capture ideas as they happen.

Keep a notebook (I have one by my bed for midnight flashes of inspiration), save them on your phone, email yourself if you’re at work, try using Microsoft One Note or a similar programme or app on your tablet or laptop. I do all of these. I can vouch for it saving a lot of time (and mental torment) later on when you can’t quite think what that earlier brainwave was! Store up all your ideas then you’ll never be stuck for a post.

7. Keep a rolling list for blogger outreach and prioritise.

“Blogging is a marathon!” says Nadine and unlike a book there is no natural end to a blog. “It evolves, transforms, grows and develops”. As any blogger will know, they also need a lot of nurturing, promotion and outreach. This all takes time – so big blogger pats on the back all round! I always regret that I’m not able to do as much of this as I’d like. At the same time, when I’m online I often find myself distracted by the first thing I see and head off in all kinds of directions (Twitter can be a killer for this!), meaning I run out of time to look at and engage with those blogs that are actually most important to me. So I’m going to give Nadine’s suggestion of a rolling weekly list a go and make sure I spend more time regularly connecting with my favourite sites.

8. Don’t waste time overthinking post comments.

I used to do this a lot before realising it’s always better to go with my gut instinct, that initial response, rather than trying to be too witty or clever. After all it’s meant to be a natural online conversation, not a rehearsed speech. As Nadine suggests, if you have that much to say you’d be better off creating a new post and linking back to the original. Not wasting time also creates more time to visit other blogs, make more comments and generally spread the blog love!

9. If something is hard to write it may well be hard to read too.

So take a break from it. If it’s still not working for you then it’s probably not the right approach or subject matter in the first place so move on. Simple.

10. Have realistic expectations of yourself.

An obvious one but always worth remembering. I often compare myself to others and lament the fact that I’m not the kind of blogger who can turn out several posts a day, or even just one every day. At the moment, with my other commitments, I simply don’t have the time. I’m not superwoman, so I need to learn to relax and recognise the good stuff I can get done. The end!

You can visit Nadine’s blog Juggle Mum and buy I Don’t Have Time to Write (paperback or Kindle) here on Amazon.

And if you’ve got any other tips that help you to manage your blogging time I’d love to know what they are.

Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

Categories: Blogging, Reviews, Things I've learnt..., Working mum | Tags: , , , , , | 24 Comments

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