This Month on the Blog!

on the blog

How have we even got to July so quickly?  It sort of feels like we are in a massive game of snakes and ladders and have managed to move up the ladder from March to July bypassing April, May, and June, it’s gone that quick!

This month on the blog I have my regular features, weekly these are

  • Monday – Saturday Shout Out Ad
  • Thursday – Top 10
  • Saturday – Shout Out
  • Sunday – Weekly Roundup

Monthly regulars…

  • Recipe of the Month
  • Monthly Goals
  • This Month on the Blog

Other monthly articles this month…

  • Mystery and Sunshine Blog Awards
  • Book Review
  • A Day In My Life
  • Room Tour
  • Developing Your Own Style
  • Bullet Journal Set Up
  • Flatlay Kit
  • 73 Questions
  • Mind Crafternoon

I am also introducing a new weekly feature – Words on Wednesday.  To find out more about this, please come by on Wednesday when all will be revealed!!!!

What have you got planned for your blogs this month?  Let me know in the comments!!!!

 

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The Bloggers Bash Review

The Bloggers Bash

I was going to write this post as a run through of the day but have decided to tell you all about my favourite parts of the day instead.

On Saturday morning my brother accompanied me to the Annual Bloggers Bash which took place in the Grange Wellington Hotel in Westminster in London.  We got the train from Lewisham to Victoria and walked the last part of the journey to the hotel which wasn’t too far away.  The weather was warm but overcast and there were dark rainclouds on the horison but the day remained dry and warm.

2 guest speakers had been invited to speak with us, Laura of Full To The Brum, a food blog based in Birmingham, and G X Todd, an author.  Both speakers were really interesting.  Laura spoke about how she has evolved from writing about food and drink on her blog to writing features for magazines and newspapers, her love of newsletters and about the struggles related to social media.  G X Todd, (also know as Gemma) took us through her journet to becoming an author, her inspirations and how things have changed for authors in the modern, internet and social media age.  I found both speakers to be really interesting and have given me food for thought.  From Laura, I left thinking about my personal brand and making my blog my own and from Gemma it was that we should all take what we do seriously.

There was a question and answer session with Esther Chiltern – a writer, tutor and blog tutor, Shelley Wilson a self help, motivation, holistic health and personal development blogger, and Laura (from above.). Questions posed to the panel were varied and the answers given were really interesting.  There was a question about blog awards, such as the Liebster and Sunshine blog awards that are given by bloggers to other bloggers, and the panel gave answers that they found the awards to be motivational, fun, encouraging, a way to network and find new content.  Another interesting question was with regards to newlsetters and what they were.  I was a bit unsure about what a newsletter was so the answers were really useful to me – they are a way to share interesting things, content that has not been blogged about, a bit like a parish newsletter.  Newsletters can be more personal and contain things that are important or personal to you, they can take the form of a letter and be written in a chatty, informal way.  Newsletters can also provide a way to provide extra content and add value to your blog.

A Flat Lay Workshop had been organised for us, hosted by Sacha Black and Suzie.  We were talked through the basic concept of the flat lay, Suzie and Sacha both created an example to show us before we were challenged to create our own.

Once we had the basics down, it was just a case of tweaking the layout and moving things around slightly, taking photos along the way to check how everything looked through the lens.  We spoke about lighting and filters to improve our layouts and really make them pop.

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This was my favourite image which I then lightened using Instagram (you can view the image here).  The workshop was really useful and even my brother enjoyed it!

I also got to meet some bloggers, some that I follow and others that are new to me!  I do struggle with meeting people and get super anxious due to my aspergers but the people that I met were really lovely!  I met Simon from Planet Simon, my blog friend since I started this blog and now a real life friend!  he was lovely, and it was so nice to be able to meet the face behind the blog.  I also met Adam Dixon of AdamDixonFiction, Marje of MJMallon, Marian Wood of JustMuddlingThroughLife, Willow Willers of Willowdot21, and Jemima Pett of JemimaPett.com.  All were really welcoming and friendly and lovely to speak with!

I had a really brilliant day and I can’t wait for the next one to roll around!!!!

Top 10 Good Blogger Habits

Top 10 Good Blogger Habits

As a blogger, there are so many habits that you should form in order to improve your blogging experience, your reader’s experience and to make blog life a whole lot more interesting.  Today’s Top 10 focuses on my all time Good Blogger Habits.

  • Be consistent.  Whether you post once a month, once a week, or every day, make sure that you post consistently.  Your readers are more likely to return if they know when to expect a blog post from you.
  • Spelling, punctuation and grammar check.  Bad spelling, grammar and punctuation can stop so many people from reading a post, and with so many different tools available to assist with checking that it is worth running checks before posting.  I am currently using Grammarly which has been really easy to install and use.
  • Images.  I love looking at images contained in blog posts and there are so many do’s and don’ts when it comes to adding an image that it can sometimes be hard to work out what image is best.  My basic rule is that the image should be clear, well lit and not contain too much clutter and that it should be relevant to the post.  Do not add images that are not relevant just because you think a post needs it.  I would much rather read a post with no images than one that is peppered with irrelevant pictures.
  • Connect.  Find other bloggers who write about things that you are interested in or that write in your niche, join in with conversations in the comments and take part in some things that other bloggers run.
  • Be true to yourself.  Write about what you are interested in.  Your hobbies, interests, ambitions, skills, what you live for.  People are much more interested in a post that is written with a passion behind it than a post that you have forced yourself to write that covers something that you have no interest in.
  • Share what you are comfortable with.  If you are not comfortable sharing certain topics with friends and family then don’t share them online.  Only ever write what you are comfortable with everyone and anyone knowing.
  • Schedule.  When you have an idea and the urge to write, sit and utilise that.  I often batch write 3 or 4 posts at a time and make use of the schedule button as I never know when I may not feel like writing.  There really is no shame in scheduling posts in advance.  (Here’s a secret… I wrote this on saturday08/06/19!)
  • Categories and Tags.  Make use of categories and tags.  My one rule is that each post should have one category and up to 10 tags, no more.  I have categories for each type of post that I have and then use the tags to add more info about the post.
  • Check your appearance.  Not so much your own appearance, but your blog’s appearance.  Check how it displays on tablets, mobile phones and computer screens.  So many people use an array of devices these days to read blogs so it is worth making sure that everything on your blog displays perfectly across all devices.
  • Have fun.  Fun is a huge factor in blogging.  It is what keeps me coming back time and again to write and create posts and content.  Remember that it is your blog and you can do with it what you want.  And when the fun starts to wain think of ways you can bring the fun back!  (Ask questions of your audience, read other blogs in your niche to see what they are writing about, use a search engine…there are lots of ideas out there if you start to look!)

Mystery Blogger Award

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What is the Mystery Blogger Award?

Mystery Blogger Award” is an award for amazing bloggers with ingenious posts. Their blog not only captivates; it inspires and motivates. They are one of the best out there, and they deserve every recognition they get. This award is also for bloggers who find fun and inspiration in blogging, and they do it with so much love and passion.
– Okoto Enigma

The Rules of the Mystery Blogger Award

  • Put the award logo/image on your blog
  • List the rules
  • Thank whoever nominated you and provide a link to their blog
  • Mention the creator of the award and provide a link as well
  • Tell your readers 3 things about yourself
  • Nominate your favourite bloggers (*I changed this from 10 – 20 people…)
  • Notify your nominees by commenting on their blog
  • Ask your nominees any 5 questions of your choice; with one weird or funny question (specify)
  • Share a link to your best post(s)

My Award

I was gifted this award by Mel who blogs over at Decor Craft Designs.  Mel’s blog is chock a block full of crafty ideas and inspiration for fun projects, if you haven’t visited her blog then head over and take a look!

I love these awards as they give me an opportunity to share snippets about myself with you guys and also to ask some questions of my own!  I am really touched that Mel has gifted me the Mystery Bloggers award and that she thinks my posts are ingenious, my blog captivates, inspires and motivates!  Thank you so much, Mel, for the Award!

Three Things About Myself

  • I’ve recently gotten into gardening and have loads of ideas and plans for my garden!  I’m excited to see how they all come together!
  • I used to love a night out on the town, coming home in the early hours and not going to bed until the morning but now that is my worst idea of fun!
  • I’m forever thinking of things to do and my list seems to be getting longer and longer!  I am blaming Pinterest for this as I get inspired by so many things on there.

Mels questions

  • Do you have a kid’s toy you still love to play?

I have a lot of my old toys from when I was a kid but I don’t play with them anymore, they serve more as being ornaments now than toys.  I do still have my watercolour paint set from when Iw as a kid and still play around with that though!

  • What is your best character?

My best character would have to be Eeyore, even though he is pretty sad much of the time he always is included in what his friends are doing.

  • Which city/country you can’t wait to re-visit?

London!  My brother and his wife along with their children live there and whenever I visit they take me out to visit lots of different places!  London is such a fab city and there is so much to do and so much history there!

  • What part of your home that you’ve been dying to renovate?

At present, my garden, though I am working on that!  The other place I’m dying to renovate is my spare room though I am still undecided on what colour to paint it or what to do with it.

  • What junk food do you love so much?

Crisps and ice cream, though not both together!

My Questions

  • What is your favourite colour and why?
  • What one thing do you wish you had known before you started your blog?
  • What is your favourite time of the day?
  • If you could do anything for a day, what would it be?
  • What is your most favourite uncool clothing item?

My Favourite Blog Posts

My nominees

Thank you again, Mel, for nominating me a Mystery Blogger Award! Hope you like my answers and my best posts!

For those who are nominated, I hope you read your nomination and accept it, congratulations!

This Month On The Blog!

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The months seem to be passing quicker and quicker as the year is progressing and it only feels like last week that I was preparing my “This Month On The Blog” post for May!  The weather has been improving so much this month, we started with flurries of snow and have ended with the most lovely sunshine and warm days, it’s so good to be greeting summer!

This month I will be attending the Bloggers Bash in London, spending some time with my brother, and, hopefully going on a museum visit to see an art exhibition by one of my favourite artist (hopefully!).

Blog-wise, this month I will be sharing the following posts

  • Recipe of the Month – A lovely, summery quiche
  • Monthly Goals
  • What Are Soap Nuts?
  • Diary, Planner and Journal Quarterly Review
  • A makeup review
  • A book review
  • Current Interior Trends for Summer
  • What happened at the Bloggers Bash
  • A Garden Update
  • A House Wish List
  • Celebrating a Year in My Home
  • House Plants

There will also be my “New” regular features of Saturday Shoutouts! and Weekly Round-Up along with my Top 10 Thursday posts!

I’d love to know what you have planned for your blogs this month!  Let me know in the comments!

Blog Maintenance – Routine Checks

Blog Maintenance. Routine Checks.

You may have read a few of my blog posts where I say I have been or am working on my blog but not all of that time is dedicated to writing blog posts or anything to do with the posts themselves.  A chunk of my time is dedicated to running routine checks on my blog and making sure everything works as it should.  Today I am sharing with you some routine checks that are worth carrying out in order to maintain your blog so it can continue running as it should.

Firstly, I tend to view my blog from the “other side”.   Much of blogging means that you don’t really ever see the entrance way that visitors to your site get to see.  We tend to only see the service entrance so to speak and lurk around in the back corridors doing our thing.

Once on the main page that your visitors land on, I check that the font for all of the text is readable and of the right size and colour.  I then check that the pictures I have uploaded to my blog are clear and are relevant to that post’s topic.  I check that the background and look of the blog are in keeping with my general theme.  I also make sure that posts load in a timely fashion, there is nothing worse than slow loading pages.  I note down any problems that there might be or things that I am not happy with that may need tweaking or changing.

Next, while I am on the landing page I check the sidebar, I always ask myself if the things displayed on the side are relevant, interesting, necessary and useful.  If I answer no to any of these questions I will remove the item.  I then check that the items function as they should, whether it is links to articles or other sites or that the information contained is correct.  I tend to amend these things as I work my way down the sidebar.

My next task is to check that all posts are categorised correctly and tagged with relevant words.  I read somewhere that posts should have up to 10 tags in order for them to appear in searches, any more and your post will be flagged as being spam.  I am not sure how true that is but I like to stick to between 5 and 10 as it makes things easier for me to tag and categorise and run checks further down the line.  Any posts that have been categorised incorrectly or have not been tagged I amend as I work my way through the posts.

I also check any links I have added.  There are several ways to do this (have a look on Google for link checkers).  I have used link checkers and have found them to be pretty handy if you have a load of posts to check, but now, personally, I prefer to check the links as I work my way through the posts manually.  I had a problem with my Instagram link recently, I changed my username on Instagram and didn’t realise that it would affect the links on my blog, so it is worth checking these things out!

One of the other things I do is to check the formatting of my posts.  I skim through my posts from the readers landing page and check that my posts all have similar formatting and that I am happy with the placement of images and how text appears.  Again, if I am not happy with anything I will change it as I go.

Blog maintenance should be done at least once a month if you blog regularly (around 3 or more times a week) and for less frequent bloggers once a quarter should be sufficient.  If it is done regularly then it will become a quicker process as some of the posts will only need to be checked for certain things (like broken links) after a while.

Do you run any sort of blog maintenance?  What things do you check on your blog?  Do you have any blog maintenance tips?  Let me know in the comments!

Sunshine Blog Award

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Introduction

I really like Rory’s idea of the Awards being seen as being gifts rather than nominations, and as Rory explains so well himself, here is his explanation of award gifting…

I use the term ‘gifting’.

These awards are not true nominations, they are one stop awards. Now this means, that if you are gifted, you are under no bound obligation to pay it forwards or gift it forwards yourselves and can simply accept them as the gifted compliments to your blog that they are.

You do not have to answer any of the questions unless you so choose to do so, you do not have to further gift out if you do not choose to do so either.

Whilst there are many variations of TSBA doing the rounds – there is always a mixture of the original rules. Whilst l will always answer the questions asked of me whatever the number, l will ONLY ever ask 5 questions maximum of those that l gift to, as l think that is a much fairer number.

Rory Matier

 

A BIG Thank You to Rory who blogs over at A Guy Called Bloke for this gift of the Sunshine Blogger Award!  I am really thrilled to receive it!  As is stated below, the award is for bloggers who are creative, positive and inspiring and I am truly honoured that someone would think that I am deserving of such an award!  If you have not been to Rory’s blog then I can assure you that it is worth checking out!  Rory is a very fun blogger and is kind, welcoming and warm-hearted, he has a fantastic blog about all sorts of different things, from gardening, eco-matters, blog games, stories and so many other interesting things, there is sure to be something that you will enjoy!  You can find his blog here; it’s definitely worth checking out!

What is the Sunshine Blogger Award?

The Sunshine Blogger Award is an award for bloggers who are creative, positive, and inspiring – people who spread “sunshine” to the blogging world!

Award Guidance

  • Thank whoever gifted you and include a link to their blog
  • Use the “Sunshine Blogger Award” logo on your post and display the Guidance.
  • Answer the questions from the person who gifted you the Award.
  • Choose 3 bloggers that you wish to gift the Award to.
  • Ask 5 questions of your choice.
  • Notify those you gift the Award to.
  • Answer the Questions

The Questions

  • If you could do something a bit naughty every day and not get caught, what would you do?

I think that I would become a modern day Robin Hood of sorts and steal food from supermarkets and donate the items to local foodbanks so that the poorer people of the community would have access to more products.

  • What are the unwritten rules to blogging?

This is a hard one given that there are so many different blog posts about blogging, the do’s and don’ts, guidelines and books that give so many different rules.  My personal unwritten rules are to always be true to yourself, have confidence in what you write, have fun with your blog and if you have any ideas then try them out and see what happens!

  • What kind of cult would you like to start?

I’m sure I am already a member of the blogging cult and, as a stationery obsessed woman, I seem to have fallen into some kind of cult with that!  The cult I would really like to start is one where everyone is nice to each other and gives each person the respect that they deserve, helps each other and doesn’t judge another because of their background, beliefs or actions, rather understands where those things came from.

  • Is a HotDog a sandwich, a roll or an overheated K9?

Definitely an overheated K9!!!

  • What is the most creative, inventive and imaginative insult you can come up with?

Blasphemous peanut headed twit warbler.

 

My Questions for my Giftees

  • If you had to choose one job to do for the rest of your life what would it be?
  • What is your favourite way to unwind after a long day?
  • If you could dance like no one was watching, what dance would you do and to what track?
  • What is your favourite word and why?
  • What is the hardest thing about blogging?

 Gifting

I choose to gift the Sunshine Blogger Award to …

Giggling Fattie

The Pretend Grown Up

PeckapaloozaPeckapalooza

What is a Blogger?

What Is A Blogger_

When I say to people that I blog, most of them assume that I just write and publish to the internet but there are a lot of other things bloggers like me do aside from writing.  Today I am sharing with you what a blogger is.

First and foremost a blogger is a writer, we write about lots of different things.  There are blogs that people write about gardening, mental health, reviews on products, books, fashion and beauty.  You name the topic and I’m sure there will be a blog post written about it somewhere on the internet.

We are content creators, we are constantly thinking about things that would be interesting to write about and things that fit into our blog niche.

We are photographers, taking photos of things that we can add to our posts, and alongside that we are image editors, tweaking our photos digitally to enhance the lighting, shadows and making the most of the subject we have chosen to capture.

We are graphics creators.  We use different software’s to create page banners, logos and other items that we can add into our posts and social media channels to make them more visually appealing.

We are editors, writing posts and then re-reading them and checking them for grammatical and spelling errors, often re-writing parts of sentences and even whole paragraphs to make them easier to read.

We are social media marketers.  We share our blogs on different platforms in the hope that other people will want to read the posts we have written.

We are website designers, choosing how our blogs look to the outside world and how they operate.  We run checks to make sure that links work and things appear as they should and where they should.

We are schedulers.  We often work out a schedule of posting that fits in with the rest of our lives, sometimes this is easy to do and other times it can be hard.  Some people choose to blog daily and others work to a one post a week schedule.  We can be driven by self-imposed deadlines and try our hardest to stick to the schedule we have.

We are “stats” people.  Many of us are interested in the stats we generate, from page views to likes, comments and follows.  We like to keep tabs on this information and try to make sense of it.

We are readers and researchers.  We are always reading about things to do with our subjects and are interested in any new developments.  We research our topics to make sure that our facts and writing are correct and that our thoughts and arguements are well rounded.

We are not takers and makers.  We often have books full of ideas and thoughts, things we can do and things we need to do, things to look into and ways to improve.

But above all, we are human.  We make mistakes and we have days where we don’t want to get out of bed or leave the house.  We have lives outside of our blogs, we shop, we meet friends for coffee, we cook and eat food.  And we are all unique in what we write, what we post and what we do.

This Month on the Blog!

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I can’t quite believe that April is over though I’m sure I say this every month!  This month seems to have passed by so quickly, aided in part by my taking part in the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge which saw me posting a new topic each day, starting with A on the 1st of April and finishing with Z today (Sundays were a day of rest!).  It has been a month of blogging and coffee!

This month on the blog things start to return to normal, though I am considering introducing a few new things to the blog just to see whether they work and are something I can sustain for the future so bear with me!

This month on the blog I will be sharing…

  • Recipe of the Month.  I am going to share with you an easy veggie rice salad that is perfect hot or cold and super easy to prepare!
  • Top 10’s which will appear each Thursday.
  • Monthly Goals for May
  • Blog Bullet Journal
  • What is a Blogger?
  • A Day in My Life – Weekend
  • Product Review
  • Blog Maintainance
  • Things I am Looking Forward to – Summer
  • Favorite Outfit – Summer
  • Product Empties

There may be other posts along the way including introduction posts for things I want to add to my blog on a regular basis, look out for these!!!!

What is happening on your blog this month?