Perfect And Proud Week 8 Round Up

This is week eight of #Perfectandproud the Instagram community I run with the lovely bloggers over at Run, Jump, Scrap!, Odd Hogg and Five Little Doves.

Each week we pick our four favourites to showcase and this week as always, it was difficult choice. We are honoured to have so many lovely photos to choose from.

I fell in love with this beautiful shot by @JenniHorsley which shows true sibling love, Easter style.

Laura at Five Little Doves, chose this wonderfully colourful Easter Egg haul by @allabouther_becca, a beautiful celebration of new life.

Kim from Odd Hogg chose this utterly delightful picture by @Skyeanderson22 of a bunny who can’t fail to steal hearts.

And last but certainly not least Sarah at Run, Jump, Scrap!

chose to showcase this beautiful shot of an Easter right of passage by the @the_epileptic_blogger chocolate crispie cakes of course.

Why not pop along to Instagram and show these lovely feeds some love? And if you haven’t had a chance to link up yet, we’d love to do so. Maybe next week, it will be your photo we’re featuring.

Blogs From The Heart That I Truly Love

After my post yesterday about the importance of being yourself in your blog, I thought I would share with you some of the bloggers who have that down to a fine art. All of these are blogs I seek out and love to read. All are written by bloggers who aren’t’ afraid to say what they think and feel. They truly are bless go from the heart.

The Diary Of A Not So Ordinary Boy is the first blog I ever started reading.

Nancy, a fellow teacher by profession is never afraid to say what she thinks. I love how she tackles the status quo, defends the principles of inclusion with her sword of words, and just generally speaks a lot of heart felt sense. I genuinely get excited when one of her posts lands in my inbox, perhaps because she like me navigates SEND from the dual role of parent and teacher, but also because she like me still believes that the ideal is possible if enough of us work to make it happen.

Five Little Doves is a blog which never fails to move me.

I can honestly say I love every post on it. Laura has an exceptional way with words, and whilst I have never met her, her posts make me feel like I know her. Her blog is an undeniably heart felt account of life, love and loss. She talks of her struggles with mental health, the heartbreak of losing a child, and the joy (and challenges) of raising her family in a way which is open, honest and refreshing. When I spot her posts, I can’t resist reading them, I know they are going to be both beautifully written and inspiring.

Mum Making Lemonade is a blog I only discovered a couple of months ago, but it is one that has rapidly made it onto my favourites list.

The level of honesty in Ruth’s posts is awe inspiring. I can’t even image how difficult the early days must have been for this family, but one look at Elin’s smile makes it easy to see just how wonderful she is. If you are looking for a blog that will truly melt your heart, this one has to be it.

Daydreams Of A Mum is a blog about courage.

Kelly blogs about surviving domestic abuse, and her life after it. It is blog full of strength, hope and wisdom. I can’t even begin to imagine how much she has been through, but I do not that her posts cannot help but be a source of inspiration for whoever reads them. I know I look forward to each new instalment with eager anticipation, and I’m sure others do too.

It’s A Tink Thing is written by fellow autism mum Kelly.

Girls with Autism are few and far between, and I still remember the loneliness in the years immediately after Number One was diagnosed. I was desperate to find a blueprint, someone who had travelled our path before, and I know Kelly’s tremendous honesty within her posts will help many many families travelling a similar path. I love her blog for its frankness, its beautiful photos and because her love for Tink shines through every single post.

Why not check them out, you might just love them as much as I do…


What Is The Secret To Blogging?

This week, has been a funny week. It’s a week where I’ve met new bloggers both personally and online. A week where on several occasions I’ve got into conversations with other bloggers, about whether there is a formula for a successful blog, about what really makes a difference in the online world. About what the secret to blogging really is.

There are many many courses out there by far better and more successful bloggers than me, so I’m in no way going to try and tell you that I am an expert. I’m very much still learning.

What I am good at though, is loving what I do. Even if I’m sat in bed at midnight writing, I don’t feel resentful. I feel grateful.

I feel grateful that I have been given an opportunity to write, and that people give up their time to read what I have been writing. And the secret to that gratitude. That I know.

The secret is to write for yourself. To be true to yourself. To write from the heart. It doesn’t need to be slushy (though I know I often am), but it does need to be you. It needs to matter to you.

It’s like the quote from Dr Seuss

“Today you are you. That is truer than true. There is no one alive that is youer than you.”

I went through a phase a few months ago, where I was agonising over not really having a niche. I felt as though somehow I needed to refine my blog, to make it more bloggish, more formulaic, to write posts that google search engines would find.

Ultimately I began to think that just being me wasn’t enough.

It made me feel grumpy about blogging, as I thought I needed to censor what I wanted to say. Essentially having a niche – or a traditional one at least – meant that I couldn’t be me. And ultimately I don’t know how to be someone else. I’ve never been very good at pretence, or keeping a stiff upper lip. I am simply me. Multi faceted, living life in chaos; a mum, a woman, and a now very part time teacher.

And that is what I want to blog about.

In real life we are often restrained by our different roles, needing to put on different faces at different times.

And that is stressful.

That isn’t what I want my blog to be.

Luckily, whilst I was agonising about where I wanted my blog to go, I had conversations with some of my favourite bloggers, and they gave me the confidence to write what I wanted to write. The confidence to be me.

I also began to realise, that I am not drawn to blogs of a particular niche, I am drawn to bloggers who write in a particular way. I like to read blogs that are written from the heart. For me, my preference will always be blogs where the writers give something of themselves in their post. I like to read posts that matter to the people who write them.

I love beautiful photos, but I don’t mind whether a blogger chooses to show faces, or to hide them. However, I do care, if I don’t feel if I know a blogger by reading their posts.

Ultimately I like to read blogs by people who are similar to me, in mindset though not necessarily in life.

And I figure you probably do to.

It’s why there can’t possibly be just one way to blog. We are all different, we all write differently and look for different things in the blogs we read.

If we all stuck to a formula, a script, a particular way to write, the world would be a very boring place.

And there would be a world full of people without blogs they could relate to.

So the secret to blogging I share with you today, is quite simply to love your blog, to love what you write and to be true to yourself.

After all, you are you, and no one can do that better than you.

Perfect and Proud Week 4 Round Up

This is week four of #Perfectandproud the Instagram community I run with the lovely bloggers over at Run, Jump, Scrap!, Odd Hogg and Five Little Doves.

Each week we pick our four favourites to showcase and this week as always, it was difficult choice. We are honoured to have so many lovely photos to choose from.

Mine was from @littlefamilylondon I just couldn’t resist the look of joy on little Edward’s face!

Kimberley at Odd Hogg, chose this gorgeous shot of cake choosing by @i3eckie. After all, choosing the right cake is a serious business!

Sarah at Run, Jump, Scrap! chose this adorable shot by @thehollyhockdoor of two very proud big brothers with the newest addition to the family.

And last but definitely not least Laura at Five Little Doves chose this beautiful shot by @sophyoung86 after all how could anyone resist that smile?

Why not pop along to Instagram and show these lovely feeds some love? And if you haven’t had a chance to link up yet, we’d love to do so. Maybe next week, it will be your photo we’re featuring.

The Liebster Award

I was tagged by the lovely Ann at Rainbows Are Too in the Liebster Award, which isn’t really an award, rather a way of finding out about other bloggers and their blogs.

So here are the rules:

1) Say hi to the person sweet enough to want to know more about you – and display your award with pride
2) Answer the eleven questions the gives you.
3) Give eleven random facts about yourself or if you are lazy like me you can say “See my answers below or check out my ‘About’ section”
4) Nominate some other people that you think are deserving of this award
5) Let them know you have nominated them
6) Give them eleven questions to answer

So my questions from Ann were:

Where Did You Go On Your First Date?

For my first date ever I went to the cinema to see Toy Story. I was 14 and terrified! The Other Half and I didn’t really have a traditional first date though. Number One was five when we met and I didn’t want to disrupt her routine, so he came round to our house for dinner, and on date Number Two we went to the Zoo. He accepted us as a package right from day one.

Where Did You Go On Your Last Date?

Mmmm now that is a very good question! It’s been a while since we went anywhere child free. Probably out for dinner – though where exactly I can’t remember – just before Number Two was born. I guess that probably means we need to make an effort to go on one!

Do You Know Any Children With Special Educational Needs?

Yes, I know a lot. I’m an autism specialist teacher and before that I worked in a school for children with Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties. In my younger days I used to help at youth clubs for child with SEND, which was the highlight of my week. In fact I loved it so much, that that was where my mum threw my surprise eighteenth birthday party. We had party food, a magician and a disco, and I enjoyed it far more than I would have enjoyed a traditional 18th. What was even more lovely was that they invited back so many children who had left for the party. It’s one of my favourite memories.

Have You Ever Met Anyone With Autism?

Yes, my daughter has Asperger’s Syndrome, and obviously in the course of my work I have too. The thing with autism though is that every individual is different, I guess that’s what makes my job such an interesting one.

Wine, beer, coke or water?

Definitely coke. I don’t like the taste of alcohol so I rarely drink it, and as I don’t like coffee either, coke definitely gives me my caffeine fix.

Starbucks or Costa?

That’s an easy one, Starbucks for sure. Their hot chocolate is made with liquid not powder. As an added bonus they keep almond milk in stock and their hot chocolate is both dairy and soya free.

Favourite toast topping?

Oooo Nutella and sliced banana… even the thought makes me hungry!

Favourite chocolate bar?

Probably Fry’s Turkish Delight, though when it comes to chocolate I’m not picky. If it contains chocolate you can be pretty sure I’ll eat it.

Most disliked item of clothing?

Shoes. I have really stupid feet and shoes always seem to rub on them somewhere. If it was socially acceptable to walk round in slippers I would probably do it.

Flats or heels?

Flats without a doubt. I don’t have the co-ordination to wLk around in heels without ending up flat on my face.

Best place you’ve been on holiday with the kids?

The Disney Magic cruise ship, I don’t even need to think about it. An utterly magical and totally stress free experience. One day I will go back… I just might need to rob a bank first.

My 11 Questions

What made you want to start blogging?
What makes you want to carry on?
Instagram or Twitter?
Where is your favourite place to go out for dinner?
Do you believe in love at first site?
Glass half-full or glass half-empty?
Favourite TV programme?
If someone wanted to really annoy you what would be the best way to do it?
How about if they wanted to make you happy?
Cake or wine?
If you could give one tip to a fellow mum what would it be?

I’d love to nominate

Kelly at It’s a Tink Thing

Jo at Business For Mums