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Monday 9 October 2017

The Owl Is Not The Father

Oh Hai, 

Last week was busy and this week is set to be even more so. Buckle up because I can feel a few 'challenging' days ahead!

Today marks 28 weeks pregnant and I feel like I'm nearing the home stretch. This pregnancy has felt so freaking long. I think it's safe to say, I'm not one of those people who relishes it. I relish the results, but the feeling uncomfortable, missing out on things and forgoing my blessed cheeses, that's a nil point from me. 

Today we are heading out to view some local nurseries for new baby to attend when she's old enough. I feel ok about this. It's funny because when Darcy was little, I was so against putting her in nursery as a baby and felt it was a reflection of my love for her if I did. IE. I didn't love her enough. I obviously now know this is cray. At 18 months I put her in for 2 sessions a week and by 4 she was in for 3 days a week and loved it. I loved it too!

Life is quite different now, I work full time, as does Liam and so childcare is definitely something we are going to need from an early point. I think a couple of sessions a week will really benefit us all and this time, I feel ok about it. No guilt, no fuss, just got to make sure it's a nursery we love.

Maybe it's true what they say about your second baby- maybe things do get easier!!



Sunday 8 October 2017

Festival Chic

Oh Hai, 

Good merry morning to you! There's something very soothing about a Sunday. A day of rest, to do nothing but enjoy your family and set yourself up for the week ahead. 

Well not today boys and girls! Today I'm heading off to Cheltenham Literary Festival to talk about my *whispers* Times number one best selling *stops whispering and is normal again* new book Wilde Like Me. 

I spoke about it this week at Henley Literary Festival (I get around) and found it so enjoyable to share a stage with smart, courageous woman who 'knew what they where about' as my Auntie Judith would say and an equally engaged, intelligent audience, so I have high hopes for today. 

It's funny because I wrote Wilde Like Me almost a year ago now but with the time it takes to publish and promote and all that jazz, you find yourself talking about it for much longer and I'm already (very slowly, writing the second). Next week I really do have to focus more on that, otherwise I think my Editor, Eli, might have a breakdown!

Right, lots to do before the car comes to pick us up (Liam's coming too yay!), so I'll see you tomorrow!

Have restful Sunday's!



Saturday 7 October 2017

A Whole Week

Oh Hai, 

Have you noticed something?

I've written on this blog every day for a week! When I started this blog for jollies in 2009, I knew nothing of making social media a career- I don't think anyone did really. 

As the years went by, other platforms sprung up and other projects presented themselves. In 2012 the opportunity to generate a revenue was there, as was a strong community of friends, things I loved doing and professional support (God bless my management company!). 

Over the last 8 years, I've learnt that I cannot spread myself too thinly. I can't make and edit multiple videos a week, write decent blog posts, write a book, manage twitter, facebook, instagram, talk at events and have a personal life. So, blogging slipped away a bit. 

This week I thought I'd do a little experiment to see if I still love it and yes, of course, I do. Blogging to me is like comfy old slippers. It doesn't get the most interaction, makes zero pennies and often this week I've just mused about nothingness but there's something lovely about that. It takes it out of, 'I need to do this today, it's my job', to, 'ahhh, I'll whip out a quick blog post'. I don't think it will ever be my 'main thing' again, but I love it none the less.

Turns out, yesterday's blog post ruffled a few feathers. I never thought it possible to cause offence (to the minority) by suggesting and explaining why cheating is wrong. To me that's very black and white. I've been told (nobody has contacted me directly but instead whispered on threads I'm not part of) that the issue has been that I singled someone out (although have not named or linked but did definitely refer to just one person) and that as my 'influence is greater than hers', that is unfair. 

So for that, hand on heart, I will say I am sorry. Perhaps I should have been even more clear that I think buying bots, followers, engagement etc is wrong for everybody and anybody to do. It is damaging to future brand relationships and insulting to readers/viewers. It is wrong for all. If the person who's insta stats I used is not cheating and perhaps just has those stats, my deepest of apologies, you crack on with ya good self and I'll hush my mouth! 

My apology is to anyone who has felt personally hurt by the way I voiced my opinions on my very black and white stand point on cheating. I still firmly believe that cheating is wrong but never want to cause personal hurt to another blogger (or yanno, person in general!). 

I'll leave it there and try not to cause too much trouble today!! Oopsie! 



Friday 6 October 2017

Cheaters Never Prosper

Oh Hai, 

I've woken up feeling irrationally angry this morning. 

I recently started following a woman on social media after I heard people speak about her at a conference I spoke at this weekend. I won't name her because that's mean spirited and I don't want to start a witch hunt. 

No idea what image to team with this post so went for my kittens looking mighty pissed off, probably thinking about bots. 

Having a quick look through her platform, it's clear that being 100% truthful all the time and she uses bots. 

What are bots? Well, there is a way (I'm not sure how but there 100% is) that you can buy followers for your social media. You pay a certain amount of money and your follower/subscriber count shoots up. If you're savvy and know the ins and outs of social media, it's easy to spot. 

I hate this. It's the ultimate cheat. It invalidates people who have worked for years to develop a social media brand, to form good strong relationships with people, to act with integrity. It says, 'why bother putting in the hard work when you can just buy the results?'. 

It is also an insult to an audience. Aren't they worth 'working' for? I say 'working' because I love what I do and although it's my income, it's also my passion. If all the money went tomorrow, I'd still do it happily (like in the beginning when I confidently said to my Dad, 'there's absolutely no money in social media but I bloody love it all the same'.)

Thirdly, as well as being dishonest and an insult to your followers, to buy bots and cheat in this way is incredibly damaging to our fledgling industry as we navigate ways to work with and collaborate with bigger brands. PR companies base who they would like to work with on stats like followers, likes, engagement etc (as well as your general vibe and other elements, but firstly, the stats). Let's say they go for the untruthful blogger who has forged her numbers and say, 'yep, please work with us on this campaign to promote healthy chocolate (a girl can dream eh?!)' and the so the cheating mum blogger says 'yes!'. Let's say the blogger has about 20k insta followers. 

The brand would expect her to post a picture and caption and that that piece of content would achieve a certain amount of interaction. For the purpose of this post I just looked on a fave mum Yter's insta (Emily Norris, seriously check her out) and she has about 27k insta followers. Each of her posts consistently gets around 1.5k-3.5k likes and a good amount of comment interaction. This is in keeping with other insta mum bloggers with similar followings. 

So, we'll go back to the healthy (someone invent this!) chocolate #ad and the blogger who's bought bots. She post the snap and the post gets around 150 likes. Uh Oh! It should be more likes for that ratio of followers. This is because her followers are not real. It's a digital trick. They are not true people like you and I who tapped the follow button because we love insta, love seeing other mum's lives, love being involved and therefore are happy to tap the heart on a picture or leave a friendly comment. 

So Mr Healthy Chocolate now thinks, 'Oh that sponsorship didn't reap many rewards for my healthy choc brand, mum bloggers are a waste of money, I won't work with them again!' and this effects us all. 

In this new industry it is vital that we all work, share and create with integrity. It's not always easy. I've had experiences where I've been offered a lot of money to say something I didn't believe and of course, I always have the option of buying the blinkin' bots. However, the old saying is true and cheaters never prosper. It's not worth it. Audiences (readers, viewers, insta scrollers) are SO savvy and will spot a liar very quickly, as will eventually the brands and PR's in the industry. 

It's saddened me to find a bad apple in the mum community, one that I am so enjoying learning more about and getting to know but, I have to say, the rest are a very, very good bunch. I'm talking, smart, kind, listen-to-you-say-mad-things, good bunch. I would 10 out of 10 recommend them! 

The moral of this story is two fold. 1. Pregnancy hormones make you irrationally angry at things very early in the morning and 2. Don't be a dick, don't cheat the system, stay classy. 

Phewf! Feels good to unload that! (Secretly glad barely anyone reads this old blog anymore because this was a brave move to be so un-vanilla!)

Happy Friday!



Thursday 5 October 2017

A Hundred Things To Do

Oh Hai, 

Being busy seems to be the theme of this week doesn't it? Something I can't see slowing down for a few days at least. 

Today I'm travelling down to Henley for their Literary Festival where I will be speaking about feminism, everyone's favourite topic, and then signing my book for those who'd like me to. 

I'm quite looking forward to a snooze in the car if I'm honest!

Not much else to say, no idea what I'm going to wear but sure I'll cobble something together!

Tell me of your day!



Wednesday 4 October 2017

Stress and Love

Oh Hai, 

Yesterday was a stressful day. Not huge tear inducing dollops of stress (I've had those days and don't relish them), but just a race against time to squeeze everything in and then a distinct disappointment when you don't manage it. 

I have a habit of taking things on and saying yes. Funny story, when I met Liam, on our first date I told him all the things I'd done up to that point in that year. He said, 'Wow, nobody can get that much done in one year'. I laughed and said, 'I've gotten that much done in 6 months!'. We always joke now that I have 'Big Years'. 

The best love letter I've ever had. 

A year doesn't go by where I can't list off a huge amount of events, trips, life experiences, changes or achievements. I'm really super crazy proud of that. I love filling my days and weeks with things and challenges and feeling accomplished when I tick them off. 

Currently I am writing my second fiction (this is where most of the stress comes from because I am so painfully behind), chairing the PTA at D's school (a far bigger role than was advertised!), committing to filming/editing/uploading 3 (sometimes 4) youtube videos a week, managing events (literary festivals, talks at conferences, photoshoots, meetings), prepping, planning and shooting for HelloWorld, keeping up with a busy social life (which I love) and of course, nesting and preparing for the new baby that will be here in 13 or so weeks. Life. Is. Busy. 

I love it. Also though, on day's like yesterday, I fret over it.  

Last night Liam said he'd handle dinner and domestics whilst I sat upstairs and wrote. I could hear him and Darcy talking and laughing and setting the table and I thought, 'fuck this, what's more important here? The sweet moments of my Daughter's childhood or writing another 500 words?'. 

I shut my laptop and went downstairs, sat at the table and had dinner with my family. It was lovely. The ultimate stress buster. 

Big loves to you today.



Tuesday 3 October 2017

Cosy House

Oh Hai, 

I'm writing this post from my car. I'm sat outside a restaurant waiting for my friend Esther who I'm rather obnoxiously having a 'breakfast meeting' with. AKA, a gossip, some brunch and some actual business (we're both on the PTA and she missed last week so I'm going to fill her in-woo). 

Yesterday I spent the whole day at home. Usually this would send me into a bit of a funk because I'm a 'need to get out and about' kind of a gal but more and more I'm starting to love by space and feel like it's my happy zone. 

My old house was so special to me. It was so snug and cosy and I felt like I knew and loved every inch of it. My new house is bigger and grander and sometimes I have felt, a bit too good for me. 

As the months have ticked on (about six now- time flies!), I have fallen more and more in love with it and slowly started to put my stamp on her. Bold colours in the lounge, shutters on windows, mirrors on walls, it all makes a difference. 

I'm not sure whether it's nesting (oh hi 27 weeks pregnant, you've crept up on me!) or just a general bedding in period but things are cosying up and I'm loving it! 

I keep having ideas pop into my head for what to do with spaces and how to make them special and that feels really encouraging. Long may it last!

Hope you're having lovely cosy days too, wherever you may be.



Monday 2 October 2017

Glam Day, Treat Day, Best Day

Oh Hai, 

Although the weather is grey and blustery, our house woke up warm and happy. Honestly if you've just eaten then I'm sorry if I make you feel sick but it was so cosy and we all just worked together getting the morning going, me waving Darcy and Liam off to work and school (he works 2 mins away so has started to drop her off for me) in my dressing gown on the porch, feeding the cats, making sure everyone had everything. It was like an advert for the happiest family. 

I'm feeling positive for the day. I've got a huge to-do list, I'm behind on writing (as per), behind on a video edit (not like me, eep), have official PTA things to tick off and of course all the usual gubbins the day presents. All this before the 3pm school run- wish me luck!

Just an average Sunday morning look. 

Yesterday was such fun. Linda Blacker (check out her fairytale inspired work please, you won't regret it) came up for a magical maternity shoot and because it wasn't a work thing, it was just a 'Hi please can I hire you to do something lovely for me' thing, it was so relaxed. Darcy was involved, we set up camp in my kitchen/lounge, we had smoke bombs in the garden (the neighbours will have been very confused) and it felt fun to just indulge in something for us, not for anything else. A very glamorous way to infuse a bit of self love into the weekend!

Everyone packed up and drove off by about 5pm and I put a veggie lasagne in the oven for me and D because Liam was out with his niece. By this point we'd put on our pj's, I'd shoved my ultra glam shoot hair up in a bun and was ready to flop. Until Liam rang. 

I hope Chris next door wasn't too freaked out.

5.10pm and he was all, 'Oh hai, we're going to your favourite tapas restaurant, get your shoes and coat, I'm swinging back to pick you up in 5 minutes'. Best moment ever!! Darcy and I raced about getting dressed (Darcy decided on her 'fancy Christmas coat' and I thought, 'fuck it, you crack on my love'), sorting out my top knot mess bun and taking the lasagne out the oven. 

We sat on the porch under the outdoor fairy lights (yes, I'm that woman) for a mo and down drove my knight in shining armour on his trusty stead (Liam in his Nissan), we climbed in and had dinner out with his niece, with the best food and lovely chat. 

Finishing up about 6.30pm I thought, 'well that was bloody lovely' but Liam had more to give. What a man. He drove over to the Starbucks drive thru for chocolate cream frapperdodars with a shot of peppermint, my all time favourite winter drink. It was the greatest. 

After dropping his niece back, we trundled home, tucked Darcy up in bed with a Brambly Hedge mice story, he watched the rugby with the kittens, I watched Victoria with Rocket and we all went to bed happy. 

I know to many this won't sound like the best. day. ever, but that kind of thing is my idea of heaven. It was so unexpected. 

Here's to many more glam days, treat days, family days and cosy days this October!

How did your Sunday go?



Sunday 1 October 2017

On The First Day Of October

Oh Hai!

I've woken up on a grey and gloomy Sunday with a delicious man by my side, two over energetic kittens hurtling across the carpet, a sweet 6 year old tucked up at my Auntie Judith's house (I was out late in London yesterday talking at BritMums17- great day out!) and a general feeling of, 'oh my god, how did it get to October!?'. 

Me. London. The pink ruffle coat of my dreams. Taking from my insta.

I'm sure just two shakes of a lambs tail ago it was August and I was feeling frustrated at trying to find clothes to fit my bump and bod in the summer heat. Unlike most, I welcome the cooler weather because it means leggings and jeans and layers and comfort. You wanna eat an entire tin of Heinz tomato soup with grated cheese melted in, go for it, it's Autumn! Side note- I'd eat that any time of year but now it's a whole lot more acceptable. 

Today's a shoot with Linda Blacker. The Linda Blacker, fairytale photographer extraordinaire, and I'm looking forward to it. 

I read through the comments on my last post, about the fog lifting, and felt such love for you all. Firstly for being so kind about the fog but secondly for being so encouraging about this blog, this little space of ponderings. 

So, I'm starting the month on good footing and thought I would take ten minutes to share it. Tell me how you're starting yours and I look forward to reading them tomorrow. 

Gotta dash, Darcy needs picking up and I need to tidy the house before the shoot people arrive- it's all go!


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