Happy Blogiversary to me!

Whoop! Today is my 1 year blogiversary! A year ago today I decided to share my life and create my little space. What a year it’s been! I look back on my first ever post on the 11.01.16 here and it feels like a lifetime ago. I didn’t write much, just an introduction but I knew NOTHING about blogging, ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. My knowledge and skills have improved drastically over the last 12 months and what I love about blogging is that it’s a continuous learning journey! I don’t feel like I’ll ever be up there with the best but I don’t strive to be. I just enjoy writing about my life and my little bubble and I hope when I’m older I can look back on this with fond memories and think “ahhh, I forgot we did that”.

I have major blogging goals for 2017 and I intend to put my all in to this little online diary because towards the back end of last year it did tail off as I was so busy –  but not this year. When I get to 11th January 2018 I want to look back and think “bloody hell, 2017 was such a good year!” I won’t go into too much detail about what my blogging goals are just yet but I intend to work hard on them.

One of the best things about my blog, which I think I’ll forever be grateful for is the photo’s it MADE me take. If you know me at all you know I absolutely adore my camera! I love taking pictures, I love capturing the moment and I love making the memories and it’s very easy when your busy to forget to take those photos and those memories. Having this blog makes me remember to take them and most importantly to share them! Even my husband has jumped on the band wagon and prompts me to take them because he knows how special they are too. My photography skills are definitely not on par with the likes of David Bailey but I have noticed a huge improvement in the last 12 months and again, it’s definitely something I want to work on for the next 12 months!

Lastly, I want to thank the people that read my blog (this sounds a bit like an acceptance speech at the BAFTAs! -It’s not! ha!) because without those readers and the engagement I get with them I probably would have give this up ages ago. Readership is hugely special in blogging and the fact that people take the time out of their day to read my little musings and more importantly, relate to it, just makes it all the more worthwhile!

Here’s to a fantastic 2017!

XOXOXO

 

Diary of an imperfect mum

Pinch, Punch it’s the 1st Friday of the month!

Woohoo it’s the 1st Friday of 2017 and what better way to celebrate it than to kick off with a #Littleloves post.

It’s been a fairly quiet week after the busy hustle and bustle of Christmas and new year but it’s given us a chance to chill and recharge our batteries a bit. K doesn’t start back at nursery until next week so there has been no rushing about in the mornings or time keeping to be had.

This week I have

Read…

Marie Kondo “The life changing magic of tidying”

I bought this book a couple of months ago as I’d heard it was so good but I’d put it to one side and marked it on my “to read” list. Well this week I’ve started reading it in a hope that it will motivate and inspire me to become more organised and tidy in my home. In fairness, I’m not that far into it to judge whether it will work or not 😉 so I’ll let this be a “to be continued”…

Watched…

This week I have watched the 1st in the new series of Sherlock and I loved it! I won’t give the spoilers away if you’ve not got round to watching it yet but it’s definitely a must see in my opinion! I loved the last series and think Benedict Cumberbatch is a fantastic actor. He plays the modern day Sherlock so well.

Heard…

“Rudolph the red nosed reindeer”. Seriously. K has decided that after spending the run up to Christmas learning it that she’s not quite finished with singing it yet. I’ve tried to tell her that we are in January now and she’s not officially allowed to sing it again until next Christmas but like all stubborn 3 year olds, it fell on deaths ear.

Made…

This week I made a vow to eat more healthy and exercise more…I’ll keep you updated with that! (I’m sat with a tub of Nutella as I write this *ahem*)

Wore…

Gucci “Premiere” perfume. My friend bought it me for my 30th birthday at the end of December and I love it. I can’t work out whether I prefer it as my day time perfume or my “going out” perfume so until I make my mind up I’ll wear it for everything! Does anyone else have a separate perfume for daytime/night time?

AND LASTLY…

We took K to the pantomime last night in Sheffield to see Snow White and the Seven dwarfs, we all absolutely loved it. It was K’s first pantomime experience so it was particularly special. All the cast were great and the actual production was so well put together that we are already planning next years visit. I’m hoping it might catch on and be one of our Christmas traditions, especially when D becomes old enough to come along too!

That was it for me this week! What have been your little loves of the new year!?

XOXOXO

 

 

Little Loves Coffee Work Sleep Repeat

Happy New Year!!

 

goaals

 

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

2017 is upon us and it feels great doesn’t it!? I love the start of a new year. It’s a chance to have a fresh start, a new beginning and it makes me feel motivated. It’s also super exciting to see what the year ahead brings especially when there are no “big plans” happening. I’ve never been one to make big new years resolutions as you are destined to fail them a month after setting them so I prefer to set goals for the year ahead and look back at the end of that year and see if I achieved them. I wrote a blog post last January (here) about my 2016 goals and for the most part I hit them which I’m pretty pleased with. The only one that requires a bit (a lot) of work on my 2016 goal that I will be following through to 2017 is my blog I started off last year blogging regularly and documenting my life on my little space of this big wide web and everything was hunky dory then towards the back end of the year I got so incredibly busy and everything that I had to take on seemed far more important than sitting down and writing. I even had a few nudges from my husband reminding me that I’d not written in a while and that STILL didn’t make me any more motivated to do it. I am now going to make a goal for myself that I WILL make the time to sit and write, because ultimately I’m writing to remind myself when I’m old and senile what my lovely little life was like and what we did with our beautiful little children. I’ve decided to set a writing schedule where I publish on certain days to see if that helps. I will also start the year filling you all in about the big stuff that happened to us at the back end of the year (New York and turning 30 to mention a couple) so watch out for those.

My other goals for 2017 are:

To continue to capture and improve my photography skills. Something I think I’ll always be working on but it does take a while when you learn as you go like I have and I have noticed a huge difference in my photo quality from January 2016-December 2016. I’ve had some nifty little accessories for my camera for Christmas and my birthday so I’m excited to get using those.

To continue to work out and eat healthy. Self explanatory. I won’t tell you how much cheese/Nutella I’ve eaten this Christmas *ahem*

That’s it this year I think. Small and obtainable just how I like it.

What are your new year goals/resolutions? I’d love to hear from you!

XOXOXO

Tips for starting your own blog

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I am by no means an experienced blogger. I am definitely not the most popular blogger but I do have my content read and shared and it is something that I definitely love doing.

I get asked a lot by people on how I got into blogging and why I blog which I’ve covered in previous posts but I also get a lot of people telling me that they would love to blog but wouldn’t know where to start with it so I decided to put together this post in order to help new bloggers create the blog that they are after.

You may feel like you need to be a computer whizz or know a lot about websites in order to create a blog but let me tell you that you don’t. I have basic computer skills and I manage to pull it off so if I can do it, anyone can do it!

Choose a blog hosting site

This can be used as a base for your blog. The most popular ones are WordPress (what I use) or Blogger. They are incredibly easy to use and help you set your blog up by using step by step guides. There are hundreds of free templates that you can use to help layout your blog the way you want and they give you plenty of tools in order to help manage your blog (such as stat pages etc)

Sign up to social media

Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Bloglovin’ are all great tools to use in order to get people reading your blog. It’s a great way to network and socialise with other bloggers and you can also find other blogs you like via these platforms. Don’t forget to use hashtags (particularly on Twitter and Instagram) when promoting your blog!

Find your blogging niche – and stick to it

Good content on a blog is crucial as it encourages the readers to read your blog and keep coming back to read. Have a genre on what you want to blog about (parenting, lifestyle, beauty, cookery, DIY etc) and try to stick to it. Be passionate about what you write. Don’t write an article about “how to fix a toilet seat” if you have no interest in DIY (especially if your blog isn’t a DIY related blog) when you really want to write about “top 5 Autumn trends for 2016”.

Keep it simple

Have a clean and easy to read blog. No bright colours and fussy writing. Also make sure that your blog is easy to navigate. Get in touch with other bloggers for their opinion on your blog if you are not sure.

Use photographs

I love to see photographs in blogs. It breaks the content up and makes it more appealing. Try to use good quality photos that are relevant to the post.

Post regularly

Try and post regularly as it keeps readers interested and keeps them coming back to your site. That said, quality is better than quantity so don’t post something for the sake of it.

Ask

Most bloggers are friendly enough so if you want any advice or help then the best thing to do is ASK. If you don’t ask you won’t know. We all start from the bottom and work our way up. Everyone was a new blogger at some stage.

I hope this has been helpful for you if you are thinking of starting your own blog. If you enjoy reading my posts you can find me over on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Bloglovin’ (Links in the sidebar) – Come and say hello!

XOXOXO

Returning to work after maternity leave

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We all know that feeling. That blissful feeling at 8.5months pregnant when you wave your colleagues off and skip (waddle) off in to the horizon to start your new life as a mummy. You have an absolute lifetime off! In fact, a full year (or 9 months, however long your blessed to have off) feels like your never actually returning.

Except it sounds like a long time, but in actual fact, that year passes by quicker than you can blink and you find yourself on a Monday morning kissing your little ones goodbye and trudging up the path to work!

Whether you come off maternity leave back in to full time work or part time work the transition is really difficult. A lot has happened in the time you’ve been away and it’s important to make sure you are properly prepared in order to make life easier for yourself, your family and your work colleagues.

So here are my top tips to help you make that return to work easier after maternity leave.

  1. Attend “KIT” days. A lot of work places today offer “Keep in touch” days where you can attend work for a morning/afternoon or full day, fully paid in order to catch up with what’s happening at work, attend important meetings and generally remind yourself about how to do the job! You can have up to 10 KIT days in most work environments but check with your HR team to find out what your employer offers.
  2.  Sort your childcare out in plenty of time and make sure you are comfortable with it and that they are flexible. Arrange a meeting with your employer around 8 weeks before you are due back to work and see if they can offer you anything that makes your childcare situation easier such as set working days, shorter working hours, flexi time etc.
  3. If you are still breastfeeding when you return to work, make sure that your employer knows about it. They should ensure that you have regular short refreshment breaks and that you have a suitable private place to express breastmilk and store it if necessary. Again, speak to your HR team if you are unsure of your employee rights.
  4. Prepare. The first day will be chaos as you try to figure out your new routine. Make your lunch and layout your clothes the night before and make sure your bag is all packed and ready to go. It’s also helpful to have your children’s belongings/clothes all ready the night before too so your not rushing around in the morning and you don’t turn up at work shattered before you’ve even started!
  5. Get rid of the guilt. Easier said than done and I definitely need to practice what I preach but getting rid of the mummy guilt about going to work will make life a lot easier. Whether you have to go back to work for financial reasons or whether you want to go back to work because you want to do something for you make sure you don’t feel guilty about it. Your children will be fine, they wont have abandonment issues nor will they feel less loved. Absence makes the heart grow fonder and you will enjoy your time with them a lot more on your days off.

I hope this was helpful. Enjoy your return to work!

XOXOXO