Blog, Brew & Biscuits

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Welcome to the final edition of Blog, Brew and Biscuits; over the past couple of months, I opened up my blog to a group of rather lovely bloggers who have been sharing their blogging wisdom with you! There is a thriving community full of bloggers who have already walked in the steps I am taking and also new bloggers, who are also full of questions and who like me are finding their feet. So, for the final time, please make yourself comfy, have a brew, some biscuits and get to know from Julz from The Red Head Diaries.

Tell me a bit about yourself and what do you when you are not writing your blog:
I am married to my soul mate; I have five children; four I parent and one I share just her memory. I am a dinner lady and a volunteer at our local school; as well as attempting to write a novel or two; I am a Committee Member for a Majorette troupe, and finally I set up and run a local infant loss group! Phew!

Tell me about your blog and how long have you been writing it?

I actually have two! The first one I have been writing for almost six years and the second almost four – I have no idea where the years have gone! The first is my relationship with grief for our daughter. The other is a place where I can share memories, and pieces of fiction I have lingering about, which aren’t quite long enough to place into books.

What inspired you to start writing your blog?

Well, I have always loved writing and luckily for me my husband is also a writer and is incredibly supportive. In more recent years, I began jotting down our daughter’s life through NICU, what was meant to be a diary ready for memories, turned into a diary centred on bereavement, when I became pregnant with her younger sister I decided to blog our pregnancy. In time I really fell in love with writing and wanted to include the rest of the family, and the things we do; but felt it was inappropriate to share parenting memories on a place I wanted to give comfort and hope to newly bereaved parents. Although there have been a couple of name changes – The Red Head Diaries was born!

What advice would you give to someone thing about starting a blog/just started writing a blog?

1. Would be to look into self-hosted ASAP. It is reasonably cheap, easy to set up and if you don’t like it. Cancel it.
2. Know your content; I lost my way a little bit, just after I finally turned to self-hosting; I found I was comparing myself, and trying to keep up and do the same as the thousands of other bloggers out there. I hated it. Be yourself.

Let’s talk Social Media, how do you balance this with your blog and everyday life?

I try to schedule as much as I can; but I spend my weekends working on content as we’re both home. We’re still trying to find our way; but we’ll be sure to get there.

Where do you see your blog going in the next few years?

I just want my work to be read; I don’t want it to go un-noticed. I love writing for both the blogs; raising awareness with one, and just plain writing for the other. That would be awesome!

What do you find is the hardest part about writing a blog?

Content Planning. Sometimes it can be hard to find the content; when you do you realise wither everyone else has thought of it; or you have forgotten you have already covered it in a different manner. Also I think getting your blogs seen and read is really hard; unless you have time to literally sit on your phone all day on Instagram, sharing, sharing, and sharing (which is amazing if you can – I can’t); then placing yourself on top of all the other great bloggers can be hard and at times really disheartening.

And the easiest?

Writing and planning. When you have found your Niche, and the content you want to put in you blog it can be easy just to sit and go with the flow. Do NOT procrastinate in the middle of that flow – because you will break it!

Lastly, for a bit of fun, if you could only watch one movie, listen to one song and read one book, again, what would they be?

The one movie would be – Gone In 60 Seconds
The one song would be – Radiohead – Creep
The one book would be Alice in Wonderland

I would like to thank Julz for joining me on my blog – please take the time to visit her Blog too – The Red Head Diaries.

You can also find Julz on:

Facebook Page: Mrs S Writes
Instagram: mrsswrites
Twitter: mrsswrites

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Blog, Brew & Biscuits

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Over the next few weeks, I am opening up my blog to some lovely bloggers to share their blogging experiences with you! There is a thriving community full of bloggers who have already walked in the steps I am about to take and also relatively new bloggers, who are full of questions and finding their feet. So, make yourself comfy, have a brew, some biscuits and get to know Mercedes from Mercedes Prunty Author, The Walking Mumbie!

Tell me a bit about yourself and what do you when you are not writing your blog:
When I am not writing my blog, I am either running around after my two young daughters, taking them for days out, cooking or playing Lego, or I’m sitting in some sort of peace when they are at school and nursery writing my books.
I’m a self-published author of 5 books to date, soon to be 8 by the end of this year. My genres are mainly Zombie Horror and Fantasy but I hope to (by the end of the week after writing this) to have published my first children’s book!!!

Tell me about your blog and how long have you been writing it?
I have been writing my blog for a couple of years now but at first it was mainly a hobby, a way to write when my mind couldn’t focus on books, but I still needed to write to stay sane. It’s mostly a blog about me, my books, writing tips, author interviews, book reviews, film reviews, days out – Just anything that I feel needs to be blogged about.

What inspired you to start writing your blog?
What inspired me to start my blog was a woman who came to do a talk at a writers group I belonged to. She told us all that to succeed in growing our audience for our books we needed an author platform, our author platforms needed to be Blog, Facebook and Twitter (The BFT). And she was so right, although my blog isn’t huge it does have some hardcore followers which is fab and those followers follow me and my books.

What advice would you give to someone thing about starting a blog/just started writing a blog?
My advice would be to find your niche early on. I waivered with mine and stepped into a few niches till I found my voice, so it took me a while to build the brand I wanted to become. Also – Plan, Plan, Plan – Keep a notebook with blog post ideas in and keep track of what you post, this way you will never run out of ideas.

Let’s talk Social Media, how do you balance this with your blog and everyday life?
How do I balance it all – Badly!!! It’s hard to keep on top of social media just because you can get lost in it and not do what it is you really need to be doing. I try to stay away during my work time (So I can write those books) and go on more in the evening when kids and hubby are asleep, as I want to keep my precious family time social media free to a certain degree.

Where do you see your blog going in the next few years?
Hopefully booming into the success that you see others have but I feel mine is so different to the ones that make a huge success because I’m not the normal mummy and make up, I’m mummy and books which is hard to grab readers for. But I have had people tell me my blog posts help them, so I know there are people out there who do like it.

What do you find is the hardest part about writing a blog?
Sourcing images. That is hard because I am on as tight budget so can only use the free sites which can be limited in their photos, but in saying that the images I have used from those sites are still high quality and eye catching.

And the easiest?
Just the whole writing it, I love writing, writing is me. I feel at my happiest once I have written something each day. So to me the writing part is easy.

Lastly, for a bit of fun, if you could only watch one movie, listen to one song and read one book, again, what would they be?
Chandelier by Sia – Love, love, love this song and it also helped me to write my book ‘Alone’.
City of the dead by S.D.Perry – It’s a book based on the hit Resident Evil 2 video game by Capcom but put into a book by the author. But it’s not just a quick scribble of what happens, the author gives the story detail the game misses and I have read it at least 20 times over so could happily read it again.
Resident Evil the film – This made me scared back in the day and can still scare me now even though I know it word for word and scene for scene. I think it’s the music in it by Marilyn Manson. Just gives me Goosebumps thinking of the music in the film.

The Lupie Mummy would like to thank Mercedes for joining me on my blog, please take the time to visit her Blog Mercedes Prunty Author – The Walking Mumbie.

Mercedes is also on Twitter & Facebook

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Returning to work

Yesterday, I returned to work after taking 16 months extended maternity leave to have Pumpkin and to relocate to Somerset.

Returning to work felt huge – my stomach was in knots, I wanted to cry at the thought of leaving Pumpkin at Nursery all day (the longest I have ever left him). This thought alone made my heart and chest physically ache. I know he will have a fabulous time with his new friends, playing with all the new toys and the mud kitchen in the nursery garden. Although in my mind, I still feel so guilty and writing this doesn’t make it feel any easier at the moment, as usually I find writing therapeutic.

I have started a new job, one that I have wanted to do for a long time; this is both exciting and yet it makes me feel vulnerable. Will I live up to their expectations, will I live up to how I portrayed myself at my interviews and will I remember everything? One my little worries is remembering everyone’s names, I admit it, this is something I am absolutely terrible at (sorry!) Luckily, I was given a company structure chart to who is who, so that helped, as long as nobody swap desks for the next month!

Yesterday, I started to regain part of my own identity again and not just being Pumpkins Mummy, although, I couldn’t be prouder and think of anything better than being his Mummy. Sometimes, over the past 16 months, I have felt myself get lost in the journey into motherhood, so wrapped up into caring for Pumpkin, that I forgot all about me. Me, the woman who loves baking, painting her nails, singing loudly and out of tune by her self in the car (to anything but the Wiggles!), who has an addiction to buying converse trainers, who is a bit of a coffee snob and loves peanut butter M&Ms.

OK, so I may not get all that back in my first week returning to work, but I will get to drink a hot coffee in peace, have adult conversation without bursting into song about “whose in the Wiggle House” (I will update you later to whether this happens involuntarily or not…), and go to the toilet without a toddler speed emptying all the cupboards in the bathroom! However, I may just order that kilo bag of peanut butter M&Ms to reward myself for surviving the first week!

 

So, why the name Pumpkin?

Since starting this blog, I have been asked a number of times why I refer to our son as “Pumpkin” and not his real name.  There are a couple of reasons for this, Pumpkin is an affectionate name I often call him and have done since he was born and it seems the most appropriate name to use on my blog to protect his privacy at this time in his life.

The name Pumpkin stems from my labour being brought on early by a Pumpkin Latte (Thank you, Starbucks!*).  I had managed to avoid coffee all the way through my pregnancy and I had just 6 days left until my planned C-Section, when I had the biggest craving ever for a Pumpkin Latte.  Luckily for me, Starbucks had launched their Autumn Menu that week (Thank you, Starbucks!), so I dragged my partner out for a 40 minute drive to our nearest Starbucks to drink Lattes in a September heatwave!  I was feeling all very smug, until a few hours later when I had my first show, this was not supposed to be happening and my Midwife reassured me the following morning that this does not necessarily mean that labour will follow immediately and it will be more than likely that I will still be delivering as planned next week.

With a big sigh of relief, off we went with plans of how we were going to spend our last weekend as a couple before we become a little family.   Our weekend commenced with…yes a Pumpkin Latte.  After we made the 40 minute drive to Starbucks and were walking in, I jokingly said “I bet I go into labour after this” and how we laughed at how ridiculous the notion was.  Roll on 10 hours later, and I wasn’t laughing so smugly then, as labour had well and truely started (Thank you, Starbucks!) and 19 and a half hours later, this is how Pumpkin got his name!

The main reason for not using Pumpkin’s real name is, as parents we both want him to have a say when he is old enough, to whether he wants to have his real name used on this blog after all he is a person in his own right and will he want his childhood exploits easily found by his friends?  This is a conversation to be had will him when he is older, hopefully before the grunts and bedroom door slamming starts.

Additionally, for the same reason, I will not be using any photographs of Pumpkin, as I will leave it up to him to whether he wants his photograph to be used upon my blog at a later date, or not.

For us as parents, we grew up in a world where we are lucky enough not to have all our childhoods, experimental teens, and twenties shared on Social Media (Hooray!!!).  It’s a different world for Pumpkin, so until he is old enough and ready to make his own mind up, as parent’s we are going to protect him for as long as possible.

*This post is not in anyway sponsored by Starbucks