Goals of November.

November has arrived.

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2016 is just speeding by. October was a month of mixed emotions and events for me. I had some downs and tears but some great moments and memories too (finding out the gender of baby #2 especially made October special). On the blogging front I achieved some small milestones that made me especially proud, like:

They are relatively small achievements, but ones that have made me super proud and happy especially as I put lots of blogging effort in throughout October. Reflecting has made me aware of these achievements and given me a bit of motivation to continue on in the direction I am going. November isn’t usually a positive month of me. This time last year, we found out that our landlord was selling and we needed to be out of the house for January (which over the Christmas period wasn’t ideal as you can imagine and I cannot believe it’s been a year), it’s also the fifteenth year anniversary of my mothers death too. So you can see why I am a bit gloomy going into this eleventh month of the year. With it being the beginning of the month I thought it was perfect to set some new goals and go into November with a positive mind. Here we go:

  • Hit 2000 Twitter followers
  • Hit 200 followers on Instagram (this is my newest social media platform so want to be realistic) 
  • Reach 50 followers on Pinterest
  • Beat Octobers monthly views
  • Post at least three times a week
  • By the end of November, have a least first week of December’s posts scheduled (eek I can’t believe it’s December next month!)
  • Take part in a twitter chat at least once a week

Again, these are small goals but I would rather be realistic and have a shot at hitting them, then deflate myself if I fail to do so as they were so unreachable. So November, let’s be having you!

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Do you have any achievements you are proud of from October? Do you have a particular goal you want to reach by the end of November? 

Sunshine Blogger Award: My answers and nominations.

Isn’t it wonderful when someone thinks of you? Whether that’s thinking of you and giving you a phone call, popping in for a nice cup of tea or even surprising you a bunch of flowers randomly. We all like being thought about. Even more so in the blogging community. So I was absolutely delighted that my fellow blogger Mrs Mummy Harris (do give her a visit, she does so truly wonderful posts like this) tweeted me to inform me she had nominated me for a Sunshine Blogger Award. Many of you have probably stumbled across this, or even been nominated yourself well done if so, but it’s not an award that requires a trophy and speech but an award where five bloggers are nominated to answer ten questions (given to them by their nominated blogger) to answer in a new blog. So here we go, my ten questions and my five nominated bloggers!

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1) Who was your childhood celebrity crush? You know what, I don’t even recall. My only teenage crush that sticks out in my mind, and yes I’m still a sucker for him, is Cristiano Ronaldo (insert judgemental comments here). But in my defence, 1 – he isn’t a bad looking egg, and 2 – I fancied him when he was a spotty teen starting out. Gee.

2) What has been your favourite post that you’ve written to date? I like everything I write, except my early things as I didn’t have a clue about blogging or what to do or write. But recently I really enjoyed writing about the sitcom Friends and what I feel each character taught us. It was just a lighthearted, spur of the moment post.

3) What advice would you give to fellow bloggers? Don’t take things too seriously. Even if you want to blog as a career eventually. Don’t let yourself get caught up in the pressures, the numbers, the seriousness of it all. Just write for you, about what you want and build yourself that way. Take a break when needed. It does you and your blog, the world of good and stops you burning yourself out.

4) If you could survive on one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be? Food in general. No? Well being 17 weeks pregnant and it currently being lunchtime, I literally could survive on anything for life. But I do love a nice juicy cheese burger. Yum yum yum!

5) What song would you say is the soundtrack to your life? Oooh. This requires some thought. There are so many amazing songs. I really love Beyonces – I Was Here. That song just gives me goosebumps and chills, I think it is so meaningful and can mean anything to anyone. Really motivates me to do some good. I’m definitely more of a look to the future person than sit and mope about the past, so this is a good song for that.

6) Who would you get to play you in a movie? I used to get referenced to Elle Wood’s (Reece Witherspoon’s character in Legally Blonde), so I think I would get her to play me in a movie. She’s blonde, fun and I think she’d be a good fit.

7) What are your aims for your blog? Goodness, this is something I’ve never actually really sat down and given some thought. For now, I just want to blog for me. Build a small readership and become more established. In the far future, I would love to make my blog my work. I love the idea of having the opportunity to work from home, to be able to write for a living. Seems a long, winding journey but it’s definitely my goal. Lots of work to do though before that is anywhere in reach.

8) Strictly Come Dancing or X Factor? These questions are tough ones. Well as a former dancer, I love Strictly. The thing is, I think they really drag it out. I don’t like the cheesy little ‘promos’ before each couple dance and sometimes it’s a bit like oh just get on with it. That being said, X Factor is loosing my respect rapidly. Understand it’s an entertainment show but how can it question why it’s loosing viewers when they don’t put through real talent? That being said when I think about Saturday night TV, I think X Factor sat on the sofa with my Hub2Me. I think it’s 60%/40% Strictly though.

9) What came first, the chicken or the egg? I can’t even answer this. Is it weird this is something that me and Hub2Be discuss regularly!

10) If you could vote anyone in as Prime Minister, who would it be? Judge Rinder all day. I love him. After seeing him more on Strictly I think he is absolutely brilliant. So yeah, he has my vote!

Now for my five nominated bloggers:

Kimberley over at Oh Just My Little Blog

Kat at Confessions Of A Working Mum Site

Bridget on Bridie By The Sea

A Setra over at Mummy Setra

Claire at That Mumma Rocks

10 questions to answer:

  1. If you could be any age for a week, what age would you be and why?
  2. Do you have any nicknames? If so, how did you get them?
  3. Do you have any phobias?
  4. What’s one thing you regret?
  5. If you could make one wish, what would it be?
  6. Would you rather go back and change the past or know your future?
  7. What is your favourite festive holiday?
  8. What is your dream job?
  9. If you could give yourself one piece of advice at 16 years old, what would it be?
  10. Why did you start blogging?

Don’t forget to tweet me when your post is live so I can check it out!

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5 quotes to embrace happiness.

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Sunday is often a day we reflect, make plans for the following week and mull over the week we have just had. I’ve seen some small improvements and successes in my blog (well I like to think) and this makes me proud, positive and happy. So on that note why not keep it nice and light – rounding off the week with some quotes that make us feel all happy and mushy inside. Here’s five of my best:

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Each quote can relate and mean something different to every person, so I’m not going to say what they mean to me as this s purely a reflection post. Instead I’ll leave you with this, remember that there is only one of you in this world and you are brilliant. Learn to love yourself, overly love those important to you, remember making mistakes is human, learn from you every day. You’re your own best teacher. Embrace you. Be happy!

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What makes you happy? Do you have a favourite happiness quote? Anything this week that has lifted your spirits?

6 things we can learn from Friends Characters.

Friends is a considerable love of mine and hub-to-be. They never get tiring to watch. It’s a series that make viewers smile, laugh, cry and ultimately feel how the characters do. I’m sure many of you have a favourite Friends character or episode or saying. Recently, Comedy Central ran a public twitter poll wanting to find out the nations favourite Friend and the winner was….Ross Geller. The geeky dinosaur loving, divorce having, ‘we were on a break’ saying palaeontologist. It got me thinking about how all the characters can connect with us in some way – even if you have an undeniable favourite.

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Phoebe – the free spirited, life loving blonde who makes us feel happy with her quirk spirit. One of the things that truly stays with me about Phoebe is how she is able to get me absorbed in thought over if there truly is a selfless deed (In The One Where Phoebe Hates PBS). Even though she is the ‘uncomplicated’ character, she really does provoke us to deliberate the deeper meanings of things. No matter what life throws at her (the suicide of her mother, death of her grandma, abandonment of her father, estrangement from her twin sister are just a few of the minor events she has experienced to say the least) she is most definitely the merry, uplifting Friend. She allows us to see that yes, life can be cruel and unexpected but it doesn’t have to define you. And we can all learn a lot from her. On your down days, just think what would Phoebe do?

Ross – the nerdy, palaeontologist father of two. Ross is pretty logical. The episode The One With The Lottery sees the group convinced they are going to win the lottery (thanks to Phoebes positive outlook anything) but Ross is the only friend who brings logic into it. Even when he later gets involved, he chooses to spend his money in the most sensible way out of them all. Ross reminds us that it’s okay to be smart, to like things that are different to others (he’s forever being teased for his passion of dinosaurs and science) but also reminds us that you can be overwhelmed and slightly dumbfounded by love no matter how logical  about life you are – (I’m sure we are all aware of his undiminished love for Rachel).

Monica – the organised, clean freak with a passion for cooking. Monica is super competitive and has such a drive about her. Whether that’s from going to overweight to super sensual or achieving her dream job as a chef. She shown to be the most overpowering and controlling one out of the group, almost having this constant need to be liked (as shown In The One With All The Candy) but all this is easily forgotten about in her quest to find love and start a family. Monica is mothering, caring and attentive. She shows us that no matter how organised and efficient you like things to be – sometimes life happens, you can’t control it and you need to deal with things in a way you hadn’t planned for. She also inspires us to be a little more organised and competitive – having a get up and go attitude as strong as hers can’t be a bad thing.

Joey – the food loving, flirty friend, who seems to be the least organised but most loving of the bunch. Joey teaches us to enjoy and embrace life, even when you have no idea where it’s going. Many a time we see Joey in need of help from his best pal Chandler, going round in circles in his career choice and never committing to a relationship (for too long anyway). Its how many of us see our life at times. Finances suffering and our career moving leisurely BUT we never see Joey in a tiff or low about it. Instead he teaches us to pass every bridge as you come to it, have a heart as big as your tummy and live to eat (rather than eat to live).

Rachel – the once immature, spoiled girl turned independent fashionista mummy. Rachel most definitely teaches us about independence. In the very first episode we see her abandon all she was ‘supposed’ to be. She jumps into a world that is unknown to her, and we see her struggle with the adjustment at times (like in The One With George Stephanopoulos, which see’s her end the episode realising she has ‘magic beans’). Rachel goes from spoilt daughter to coffee waitress to exceeding in the world of fashion. She teaches us you have to work where to get where you want to be and that life can be tough, she teaches us that even when life is going well and the unexpected happens (like her pregnancy to on/off love Ross) that change can be good.

Chandler – the whimsical, sarcastic child of erotic writer and gay trans superstar. Chandler is without a doubt the one who has the biggest guard out of the group. He frequently reminds us that comedy is his defence mechanism. He teaches us that we are human and we make mistakes. We see him kiss his best friend’s girlfriend after discovering he has feelings for her, his best friend’s sister after getting too drunk, we see him freak out and go AWOL before his wedding, we see him make a bold career move and quit his job to rekindle and find his passion and we see him have a constant battle with smoking. Throughout the series Chandler reminds us that it’s okay to be human and that it’s okay to make mistakes.

There you have it. A quick round up and insight into how I think each Friends character can teach us something – I could go on and on and on. Oh and by the way my favourite Friend is Chandler!

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8 things I wish I’d known when starting blogging.

Blogging. It’s a roller coaster of a journey that none of us expect to go on and definitely don’t except to learn so much on. I for one had no idea how vast the world of blogging is. I came into fairly under educated and with no goals. But after blogging for almost a year now (with the odd break) – here’s what I wish I’d known when starting out:

  • Promote promote promote – blogging is (well can be) a time consuming thing. As a newbie, I thought it would be as simple as putting a post up and people would flock from all over to have a ganders. How innocent I was. I never knew the importance of promoting and that’s something I wish I knew from the get go. Whether that’s through social media or linkies, how is anyone meant to know you are here if you don’t let yourself be seen.
  • Get involved in linkies – I hadn’t the foggiest what a linkup was. It truly hurt my brain trying to understand/find/join one. It took me a good couple of months before I got involved in any. It’s really important to find out what’s out there, not only for promotion but also for blog inspiration. Different links bring different audience. Utilise this!
  • Set up social media platforms – when I first started blogging, I didn’t have anything linked to my blogging profile as like I said I had no clue of what the blogging world entailed. Looking back I would have loved to set up twitter/Instagram/Pinterest straight away, promoting on them from the start. I’ve only just created Instagram and Pinterest so this is most definitely something I would fully recommend looking into and joining as a newbie, they  are fantastic platforms. Again it links to promotion.
  • Interaction – it took me a while to get submerged into interacting, be it commenting on fellow bloggers posts, or just basic conversation through social media. It can be daunting to a newbie. This is something I’ve found is hugely helpful. Blogging is a community that mostly supports and uplifts each other. As you’ve probably read or discovered yourself, it’s one big circle of people all looking to achieve the same thing (mostly), so don’t be scared to tweet responses to people, to start conversation and leave your opinions on other blogs. It gets you known and let’s people see who you are, behind your posts.
  • Create picture content – whether this is your own photography, the use of quote pictures or even a collage/header you created. I didn’t know how this simple feature could improve your look AND  content of  posts. It just adds a bit of extra love and really promotes the effort you put in. Looking back on my earlier posts, I discretely cringe at what pictures I used (all evidence of these will be edited eventually once old posts are updated). So it’s useful to include picture content straight away and even the use a photo editor to just update content – it can be something as simple as using picmonkey or as complicated as photoshop. The choice is yours.
  • Spend time browsing others – blogging is very much a lover of karma. You can’t expect results overnight. You get what you give. You can’t expect people to visit your page if you don’t spend time visiting others. If you visit pages and leave lovely feedback and comments, you are likely to see bloggers return the favour and start to visit your page. You develop a repetition for yourself too, which is lovely to have in the blogging world, and create lovely bonds with other bloggers. It’s a long winded process, one I’m far from mastering. But knowing this earlier would have been helpful.
  • Scheduling – this is a HUGE point I wish I’d have known long ago. It just helps you become more organised. When you’re having a motivated day filled with lots of inspiration and time, get typing those posts and schedule them for later dates. The same goes for scheduling social media updates. I use Hootsuite.com to promote my new and old posts on social media. The good thing is you are in charge of what you put out there and when, so if you know your going to be busy on certain days and not have much time to be present, it’s a good tool to keep you active. It’s also a great feature to help give you a break, and as a result reduce the stress and pressure you put on yourself drawn with the need to update constantly.
  • Be kind patient – things don’t happen overnight, blogging takes effort and time. Especially in building up a nice following and readership. So make sure you commit to things if you want results. Don’t beat yourself up over things. Slow and steady does it. Enjoy the world and live in the moment. Don’t take things to seriously and don’t try to be the perfect. You don’t need to put additional pressure on yourself rushing to learn too much at once or take on too much in a short space of time. Things will come together in time and you’ll look back in a year and see those small improvements to be the most important.

I don’t claim to be a blogging success and my goodness, I have a very long way to go. I have so much more to learn, so much more to achieve and I am most definitely not an expert. But these simple points, I feel, can really help someone get things going that little bit quicker, and help them learn to love blogging that little bit more.

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My Thankful List.

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Sitting back and actually pondering over life, it’s easy to see that I have a lot to be thankful for. Since it is Sunday, what better way to round off the week than to put these marvellously positive reasons out into my own personal corner of the internet. I have many reasons to be thankful in life but for the sake of the blog, lets round it to five. So here we go, lets count these blessings:

  1. I have a very resourceful, beautiful, kind and most importantly healthy 19 month old daughter. This is easily the thing I am most thankful for in life by far. Many people go through life longing for a child or having some many obstacles in their way whilst trying to achieve this and the fact I was able to bring my daughter into this world comfortably and stress free was/is amazing. I know as a parent, we all have those moments where our child tests our patience, but deep down I wouldn’t have it any other way. It is an exceptional, incredible journey and every part of it makes up parenthood (especially the bad and the ugly moments). She is here and with me, and loves me unconditionally. How can I not be thankful?
  2. Love is also something not everyone gets to experience, or they find love and unfortunately it gets away. For whatever reason. Love is something I am massively thankful for. And by love, I mean the relationship I have with my fiance. Eight years we have been together now. Eight years has brought many high and low moments, but now our relationship is strong, sturdy and (I feel) shatterproof. It’s so cliche to say but he is my best friend, rock and soulmate. The support I receive from him is something I will forever be thankful for.
  3. My health is something I am very thankful for. Losing my mother as a small child and then my Nanna as a teen (who was my guardian) means that I understand the true value of how important your health is and how quickly it can take a turn for the worse. We are all so quick to grumble about a cough or a cold we have, but we forget that there are many people in this world battling to stay another day. I thank heavens every morning that I am healthy and here to experience my daughters life.
  4. My education. Living in the UK means I have always had the access to education from being a young child. At the age of 3/4 years old, I was in pre-school, then primary school, then secondary school, then college and then university. Okay university might not have been the route for me, but the fact I had the opportunity to even apply to go there is an incredible thing. Many people in this world do not even have access to a proper childhood education, don’t know how to read or write or even count. It’s something you take massively for granted, especially living in the UK. I am extremely thankful that my education served me well and is the basis for many opportunities I receive in life.
  5. Since this blog has turned into a deep post, I will finish it on a lighter thankful note. I am thankful for my cat. He was abandoned as a kitten and took to a cat shelter. Luck would have it, two weeks later, we fell in love with him and he became a part of our family. He is a cat you wouldn’t ever think had such a rough start to life. He is a gentle soul, playful (but doesn’t hurt) and is my daughters best friend. I am thankful for the smiles he brings to her face on a daily basis.

So there we have it. My week rounded off and brought to an end with a smile on for face for all these precious, lovely things I have to be thankful of. In this fast paced, quick moving world, we don’t reflect on life enough.

Lots of Love

What are you thankful for in life?