Monthly Archives: January 2012

Top 5 blogging (yourself out of a hole) tips – Listography


I spent 2011 being a bit of a hermit when it came to linkys, partly because I had difficult stuff I needed to blog through, partly because I wanted to find myself a bit (yeah I know, it sounds like something kids on a gap year say).  But I feel more than ready to throw myself back into some linky fun in 2012, and where better to start than one of my oldest and dearest blogging friends Kate Takes 5, with her listography.

I need to take on Kate’s tip 3, on design, I have a love hate relationship with my header.  I made it myself right at the start, in picnik, using Violet Posy’s fab tutorial. I blooming love it, it’s hard to say goodbye, believe me I have tried, but I think perhaps the time is coming for something a little more professional.

Anyway, last week Netmums ran a New Year Revolutions series on their blog.  I wrote a post about blogging yourself out of a hole.  Neatly enough it involved a list of tips on blogging, five of which I reproduce here (thanks Kate, you gave me this one on a plate x).  If you want more, please check out the post, and comments, on Netmums.

1. A new year can feel a lot like an empty page in a new exercise book. So much pressure to start blogging how you mean to go on. How do you start? If a novelist waited for the perfect first line, they would never get past the first sentence. Give yourself permission to drive in the dark a little and just write, because that’s when your subconscious starts doing the creative work for you. You might be surprised where it takes you.

2. Make 2012 the year you plan ahead a little too. Make time to brainstorm some ideas for posts, line some posts up so you’ve something to fall back on when you not feeling so inspired.

3. Keep a notebook so you don’t lose great ideas and always have inspiration to hand. Contrary to popular belief, everyone is creative, but successful creative people record their ideas.

4. Blogging is both therapeutic and exposing. So surround yourself by likeminded people. Take some time to list the blogs you like to visit, people who uplift and inspire you, people who share your interests, people experiencing similar things. Nurture those connections. Make time to visit and comment, set aside a catch up time each week. A support network is invaluable when life, or blogging about it, feels tough.

5. Set your emotional boundaries. There are areas of my life that I keep completely sacred online. My gut instincts about how much to share have normally been a good guide, if I am ever unsure, I give myself time to reflect before sharing online.

I’m not allowed 6…but *ahem* linkys are of course also great ways to rekindle or ignite your blogging mojo. On Thursdays I host Little Legacy, it’s small but very supportive, it’s about recording those little bits of magic passed down by inspiring people.

I’m a genie in a bottle

 Mummy look!

 Got genie in it.
 Genie gone!
 Mummy look!  Where genie gone?
 No genie
 Genie gone walk in woods!
 Maybe if I shut it again
 Kiss it and make a wish
Rub it.  
Maybe genie come out?
We just spent a magical weekend visiting my brother and his girlfriend, at her mum’s house in the middle of the woods.  Mr G fell in love with this ornament by the pond in the garden, he was convinced it had a genie in it.
It’s a truly amazing part of the world, a beautiful house and a lovely way of life.  The cottage was an Aladdin’s cave of beautiful objects, with a Rayburn, a wood burning stove, the comfiest sofa in the world and a wood for a back garden.  I will be mainly living on Rightmove this week.
Whilst reading The Guardian, in front of the wood burning stove, while the kids watched TV, I sympathised greatly with Tim Dowling, whose column was all about his family wreaking havoc as house guests.  My husband and I were frequently heard growling ‘Step away from the Rayburn, put that ornament down, don’t leap off the sofa’. 
So big thank you to my brother and his lovely girlfriend and family for having us, and *ahem*, you two have all this to come.
Oh and we saw the sea, a rare sight for Nottingham kids.
Mr G in role as King Canute shouting “How dare you!” Ocean, turn back now! I have ordered you to retreat before me, and now you must obey! Go back!” ….Okay, so it was more like, ‘Go way!’

Back to normal now though, how was your weekend?

Action Aid Bloggers Tea Party

Have you heard about the Action Aid Bloggers Tea Party?  I’m going, so is helloitsgemma, hope to see you there! Here’s all the information you need from Action Aid:

We are having a special new year’s Bloggers Tea Party and you are invited!

Join us on the 19 January for a fun-filled afternoon of networking, storytelling, blogging tips and cake.

Hear about our work helping the poorest children around the world, stories from supporters and how bloggers can get involved in our mission to end poverty.

We’ll have some very special guests joining us including comedian and ActionAid ambassador Mark Watson.

This event is for bloggers of all levels and experience – so whether you’re just starting out in the blogging world or an expert blogger, it would be great to see you.

When: 19 January 2012

Where: ActionAid, 33-39 Bowling Green Lane, London EC1R 0BJ

Time: Please arrive at 1-2pm for the guest speakers.

We will have a creche on site so please do bring your little ones!
To register click here 
Any questions about the event? Tweet us @ActionAidUK, write on ourFacebook wall or email us

And don’t forget to check out the hashtag on twitter #actionaidteaparty

Best present, with bells on

The Alexander Residence prize for the most magical present packaging this year, goes to….drum roll…Warner Brothers.

It was a few days before Christmas. My husband had just finished work for the holidays, we’d been to collect him from the station, we were starting to feel festive. On the way home we stopped at the sorting office to pick up a parcel. All the internet present shopping I had ordered had already arrived, so I had the feeling it might be something unusual. You know when the postie ticks both the ‘too large’ and the ‘needs a signature’ box that you’re onto something exciting.

I emerged from the sorting office with a big brown box, and that’s when I started to hear the faint jingle of sleigh bells. A magical sound that immediately woke my inner child. My actual children couldn’t wait to see what was hiding in the box either. We peeped.  Inside was a hessian sack tied with red ribbon and a gold bell, with a label addressed to ‘The Alexanders’. We took one look, our eyes popped, our jaws dropped.

 ‘Is it from Father Christmas?’ my 5 year old whispered reverently.

I felt it was only right to tell the truth, although those few minutes of dalliance with the sack being from Father Christmas were rather lovely. I explained where it came from, and we started looking through the films and goodies inside.

It didn’t take long for my 3yo to claim the model campervan from Scooby Doo, so my husband quickly removed the entire Scooby Doo back catalogue on DVD it was housing. It’s a very special collector’s edition which would make a fantastic gift for the Scooby Doo lovers out there (And quite frankly what self respecting child of the sixties, seventies, eighties, nineties, noughties or twenty tens isn’t?)

Warner Brothers have classic Christmas titles for children: Dr Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas and Polar Express, which we’ve added to our box of Christmas DVDs.

There was Yogi Bear (with, I might add, Mr Justin Timblerlake voicing Boo Boo) and the rather fab looking Scooby Doo Curse of the Lake Monster the live action movie. And although I don’t let my 3yo anywhere near it yet, Ben 10 came in very handy when the older cousins were staying over. We’ve also fallen in love with Happy Feet again, and now can’t wait for Happy Feet Two to come out on DVD.

My children are finally both old enough to both appreciate the magic of film, and these titles reminded me what an exciting part of family life that is.  I’m really looking forward to reviewing some Warner Brother’s titles in 2012…watch this space.

Picture credit © Photographer Michelle Milliman  Agency:

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