Blog Toast Tuesday: 13 September 2016

It’s time for my weekly feature, #blogtoast Tuesday, where I toast other blogs I’ve discovered and enjoyed in the previous week. I’m actually running a little late today. I like to queue up my #blogtoast post on Monday night and publish on my Tuesday morning commute. But last night I got my nails done instead. You gotta’ live a little, right?

So here I am blogging on my lunch break. I’m going to have to make it fast!

The Adventures of Beta Mummy: Doodlings and ramblings on what a f*cking disaster parenthood can be

Her blog’s subtitle just makes me feel safe. Yes, parenting can be a f*cking disaster. I’m so glad I’m not the only one who thinks so!

I’m also glad I’m not the only one who thinks an asterisk is the perfect way to write the f-word online. It’s like a swear, but not a swear. Nobody’s sure if it really counts as swearing. It’s Schrodinger’s swear.

Anyway, I love the concept of Beta Mummy, who just doesn’t look as polished and sorted as Alpha Mummy. Alpha Mummy attends all the playgroups perfectly coiffed and dressed, with no sick on her shoulder, and engages in sparklingly witty conversation with other Alpha Mummies. Beta Mummy comes rolling in late, with no money for the playgroup “fee” and some cheerios stuck in her hair. Beta Mummy illustrates these sorts of scenes with hilarious drawings.

But Beta Mummy knows that not all is as it appears – I love her post, ‘Even Alpha Mummies Struggle’.

She is also one of the hosts of the fab Chucklemums linky, where you can link up your funny posts. I’ve only linked up one that I thought was worthy, but someday I might write something vaguely funny again!

Little Paper Swans: A food + mama blog

A very different sort of blog – Little Paper Swans has beautiful photography and great lifestyle posts.

My favourite feature on her blog is her Weekly Meal Plans for under £30. I’m always struggling to come up with new ideas of things to cook without buying loads of ingredients or making loads of effort! She packages it up for you nicely so you can pick and choose what you might like to cook. You can get further inspiration from her great selection of recipes.

She also has a great series featuring other people’s birth stories. I really enjoy hearing about other people’s experiences.

Please do join me in toasting the best blogs by tweeting your favourite this week with the hashtag: #blogtoast (and if you @themumreviews I will retweet you – it’s win/win!) – or let me know just what you think of me in the comments!

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Blog Toast Tuesday: 6 September 2016

It’s time for my weekly feature, #blogtoast Tuesday, where I toast other blogs I’ve discovered and enjoyed in the previous week. I toast them like you do with champagne, not like what you do to bread, just to be clear.

I have been featuring 3 blogs every week, but that’s getting to be too much for my brain. At least it is for me tonight. So I’m only featuring two this week.

We’ve had a really tiring weekend:

  • We ordered our new kitchen for our new extension that’s being built. That was a nerve-wracking expensive purchase, full of lots of decision-making.
  • We moved my 22-month-old from his cot to a big boy bed. Someday he might even sleep in it – he certainly didn’t last night.
  • And we dealt with a wicked nit invasion. I’d never had or seen lice before so I found that pretty stressful!

So I think you might see a theme for this week’s post – two blogs with recent posts about staying calm!

Mindful Mummy Mission

I discovered this blog tonight while participating in the #EatSleepBlogRT linky. She was a featured blogger on Petite Pudding’s newbie showcase. I thought her featured post on mindfulness for mums and dads offered a really realistic approach to parenting. It sets goals but keeps in mind all of the challenges life puts in the way.

I have to admit that I have never thought seriously about mindfulness – it all sounded a bit hippy-dippy to me – but her site is very convincing about it. Her About page discusses the scientific evidence that points to mindfulness being healthy for body and mind. She also explains how it is easier to put into practice during our busy daily lives than you might think. And her tone of writing is down to earth and not even slightly worthy or preachy. She has changed the way I think about mindfulness and I’m going to make more effort to incorporate it into my life.

I also really liked her post about mindfulness for bloggers – it’s so easy to let blogging and social media take over your life!

alifeinpracticeblog.com

I first found this blog in the #KCACOLS Facebook group. She posted ‘Negative Automatic Thoughts, Part 1: What on earth are NATs?‘ I had never heard of NATs before, and I’m surprised about that. It should be something people are talking about. Feelings of inadequacy that intrude on your life and cause anxiety must be something that affects a lot of people. I can certainly see some of these symptoms in myself. And giving a name to this, instead of just passing it off as no big deal, can be a step towards coping with it.

I also enjoyed her post about ‘Finding Your Calm Button‘. It’s about finding the one thing that can calm and centre you when you feel your day and your thoughts are spiralling out of control. When I was younger and used to live in the USA, I would go for a drive to calm down. Now I live in the UK, that sounds like a silly idea! Driving here seems like much harder work – or maybe I’ve just realised that getting behind the wheel when you’re upset probably isn’t the best course of action. On the weekend when I was freaking out about lice, I stopped and had a cup of tea – I’ve obviously been well assimilated into British culture. But I am going to think about another way to calm myself when caffeine isn’t at hand!

Please do join me in toasting the best blogs by tweeting your favourite this week with the hashtag: #blogtoast (and if you @themumreviews I will retweet you – it’s win/win!) – or let me know just what you think of me in the comments!

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t blog in the pub (An apology to my subscribers)

This is just a short note to you lovely people who subscribe to my blog. Last night, I went to the pub after work with a friend. In the course of a couple drinks, and putting the world to rights, my friend was kind enough to listen to me witter on about my blog. This led me to having a couple ideas for new posts.

So I wrote the ideas down as draft posts on my WordPress app, as is my custom. But then accidentally published them instead of saved them as drafts!

Nobody would have noticed, except that all of you are automatically emailed when I post. So I’m very sorry for sending you all random empty posts last night.

Word to the wise: don’t drink & blog. 🙂

Blog Toast Tuesday: 30 August 2016

My favourite blogs of the week

Ouch, my brain hurts.

So as to avoid divorce proceedings, I promised my husband I would leave off blog writing for the bank holiday weekend. This blog has been going for just over a month now and it has changed our lifestyle a bit, due my burgeoning obsession with it. I needed to take some time off and give my full attention to the family for a few days. But getting back to writing after a short break is hurting my brain. Is it really that easy to get rusty?

Good thing I can fall back on #blogtoast Tuesday, my weekly feature in which I review a few blogs I’ve enjoyed over the past week. I get to write about what other people are writing without thinking of anything original. So here are three of my favourite blogs this week.

Katie at The Squirmy Popple

It’s probably because in her day job she’s an expert at writing stuff for the web, but everything about her blog makes me want to keep reading it. The look of her site is attractive, but simple and clean. Her writing voice is funny, clear and honest. She knows just what she’s doing, and she does it in a way that isn’t intimidating (really fancy-looking blogs about amazing Pinterest-worthy lifestyles make me stare at my toy-strewn lounge in despair). I relate to her – and not just because my snooping on her About page revealed she’s another American expat in the UK, just like me. A few recent highlights on her blog:

Claudia at Dr Mummykins

She is a qualified doctor and blogs about children’s health issues that all parents are likely to encounter. Her posts are short and easy to understand – no medical jargon. She offers useful tips on how to deal with common health related problems, such as when your toddler refuses to take medicine. All of this is delivered with a fair dose of humour as well. I loved her post on how to spot whether your child has shoved something up his nose. Mine shoved a pea up there once and required general anaesthetic to get it out. She also debunks lots of health-related myths, such as that you always need to lower a fever.

Cécile at The Frenchie Mummy

I feel as though I hardly need to feature her because she is popping up everywhere, and everyone loves what she’s doing. Her writing is interspersed with French words and phrases, and I love that I can hear a French accent in my head as I’m reading. She writes authentically about a range of topics, from the funny (Help! I am dying!), to the heartrending (How I miserably failed at being a strong mum yesterday), to the ones that have you nodding along because you’ve experienced the same thing (Am I still a cool cat?). She will not be a petit poisson in the blogging world for long.

Please do join me in toasting the best blogs by tweeting your favourite this week with the hashtag: #blogtoast (and if you @themumreviews I will retweet you – it’s win/win!) – or let me know just what you think of me in the comments!

Blog Toast Tuesday: 23 August 2016

This is my second week of my feature, #blogtoast Tuesday, where I – in my modest way – toast other blogs I’ve discovered/enjoyed reading over the past week. For further description of the feature, take a look at the first post in the series. Herewith, my favourite blogs this week:

Claire at Life, Love and Dirty Dishes – Parenting from the front line

She has a gift for picking out these everyday parenting gripes which are not earth-shattering but nevertheless f*cking annoying. The post that got me interested in her blog was “Doing it in Public”. Not (thankfully…or is that regrettably?) about what you think. Rather about the rather unpleasant business of changing baby’s nappy in a public baby change, and the ridiculous ways that unthinking shop builders make it difficult for us. It made me giggle. I also read with interest and glee her post about dealing with nits. I luckily haven’t had to deal with this yet, but my son did insist on checking out the sodding Topsy and Tim book about it which I had to read 100 times. It’s nice to have a more realistic perspective!

Beth at themotherhub – working, mothering, thinking, living

She writes with such skill about feminism and real-life parenting. I was once a woman who shied away from calling myself a feminist, but since I’ve become a mum, I’ve begun to feel passionate about it. I have a blog post in draft about why I’m a feminist but I’m still trying to articulate it. Beth does an amazing job addressing a range of feminist issues in a way that should engage even people who say they aren’t feminists. My recent faves are Rape culture, parenting and lessons for my children and Body Image: Built for use, not decoration. She also has great, funny posts about the hard work of parenting in general, such as How to ‘enjoy’ a family ‘holiday’.

Sarah at Mum & Mor – Ramblings of a British mother living in Denmark 

I discovered this blog quite recently when I saw her comment on Twitter that her recent post about gaming didn’t have the greatest stats. I felt for her because (a) I love gaming (although it’s currently an abandoned love) and (b) Being a new blogger I understand stat obsession. But having a look at her blog, she has some really fabulous writing there. Her tone is forthright and honest; she doesn’t make any apologies for who she is. I related to her very emotional post, Dear Mum and Dad, What would you think of me?. And I also loved her post about how she’s cutting costs for her wedding. In this day and age, more people need to know that they have options for their wedding that don’t involve getting into debt! She covers a great range of topics and is well worth a look.

Please do join me in toasting the best blogs by tweeting your favourite this week with the hashtag: #blogtoast (and if you @themumreviews I will retweet you – it’s win/win!) – or let me know just what you think of me in the comments!

Blog Toast Tuesday: 16 August 2016

I was rather excited and flattered the other day when another blog featured me! I thought it was such a lovely idea that I am going to copy her (because imitation is the sincerest form of flattery). I’m going to make up my own hashtag for it (why not, right?), and anyone who wants to copy me is perfectly welcome to.

So from now on, every Tuesday I’ll be featuring 3 blogs that I’ve enjoyed over the past week. I’m calling it #blogtoast. Because I’m toasting your efforts, get it? And I like wine.

cars&cooking – From the kitchen to the racetrack and back again

This is the lovely blog that featured me and gave me the idea. The blog does what it says on the tin – shares a great variety of recipes and some very good writing about motor racing. It’s not the typical “mum blog”, but she is a mum, and I think it’s great that she just focuses on what she loves. The recipes she shares are all the sorts of things I (with my limited cooking skills) would like to try, and they sound child-friendly too. First on my list is the Chicken with lemon and caper butter. I had a good chuckle about getting rid of my aggression by pounding the chicken flat.

Siena Says – Lifestyle, Family, Writing and Chocolate

I discovered this one just today whilst participating in this week’s Big Pink Link. Siena says she tried to make her blog like a magazine she would like to read, and she’s certainly made it like a magazine would like to read. She’s got a beautiful layout and a nice spread of topics, with her main menu headings being lifestyle, parenting and opinion. Her conversational writing style makes you want to be her mate and she throws in humour and brutal honesty in equal measure. One of my favourite bits of her linked post, ‘7 Things Primary School Mums Should Know‘ was the point that ‘all school administration staff are trained at the “Had an accident/Life Insurance/PPI Claim School of Texting”‘. That’s already been happening to me with my son’s preschool!

notaneffingfairytale – Because life is no fairytale. Let’s laugh at it together

This was also on the Big Pink Link but I had seen it before. I knew it would be just my sort of thing as soon as I saw her Twitter avatar featuring a drunken Snow White. To me that said ‘escapism’ and ‘drinking’, which are two of my favourite things. Her writing is absolutely hysterical because she is not afraid to ‘go there’. Her linked post was ‘The (embarrassingly) long list of men I would leave my husband for‘ in which it’s not all about looks but she comes up with a rather interesting way to silence David Beckham. I also deeply enjoyed (and related to) ‘Toilets I Have Fallen Down Around The World and Other Travel Injuries‘. It’s not a blog you should read if you’re easily shocked or prim and proper, but if that’s the case you probably shouldn’t be reading my blog either.

What are some of your favourite blogs that you’ve discovered this week? Drop me a comment or stick it up on Twitter, mentioning @themumreviews and #blogtoast, and I’ll RT.

Mummascribbles

The best & worst of being a new blogger

Thoughts on staying motivated

It’s been just over a week since I started this blog, and it’s starting to get real.

I am a bit of a faddy sort of person, or maybe even a bit of a “quitter”. I get excited about things and pursue them avidly for a while, and then if they get hard or boring I quickly move on. When I started this blog, I promised myself I would stick with it for a change. I even paid for a domain name so that the financial outlay might guilt me into sticking with it.

But today I’m starting to realise how difficult this blogging malarkey can be. So to keep myself on target, I decided to write a little list of the best and worst things about blogging so far.

The best

Catharsis

After going through the process of writing a post, I just feel better. I’ve taken all this stuff bouncing around inside my head and put it somewhere else. Almost every night, my toddler wakes me at 4am for a drink and a cuddle, and then I find it difficult to get back to sleep because I start thinking about stuff. Now that I’m blogging, I’ve emptied my head before bed, and I sleep better.

Achievement 

There is a lot to be said for that feeling when you publish a post that you’re happy with. And even more to be said for that feeling when you find that someone actually reads it, or comments positively on it, or even shares it. That feeling could become a little bit addictive.

Connection and community

Before I started I had no idea what a big deal blogging was. I didn’t know it was a thing with groups and awards and a million articles for advice and strategy. There are so many other bloggers out there who are so interesting and supportive, and I’ve really enjoyed connecting with some of these people and starting to join the community.

The worst

Losing confidence

What if my writing is actually rubbish? What if nobody reads my blog? What if someone actually tells me that it’s rubbish? I’ve had a lot of self-doubt, and when things don’t go quite the way I expect, it gets worse. So I’m trying to remember that, although it would be lovely if people read my blog, that’s not why I’m doing it. I’m doing it for me – for enjoyment, for self-improvement, for the sake of doing something challenging. It’s not perfect but it’s mine.

Offending someone

I work in publishing so I’m used to assessing whether content is going to be controversial or offend a particular group of readers. But blogging is a bit more personal. What if I offend someone close to me with something I write? I would never write something intentionally hurtful, and I do try to be considerate, but sometimes people see things from a different perspective from me. This is a tough one. I hope that anyone who thinks I write something offensive will go ahead and call me out. Opening the lines of communication means that we have a chance to resolve misunderstandings. And if I mess up I will try to make amends.

Content!

I obviously can’t write a blog if I have nothing to write about. I’m still coasting on the wave of my blog being new, so I have lots of ideas for content. But I worry about running out of ideas and how I’m going to cope with that. I also worry about whether the content I do have is actually worth having. But I’m trying to remind myself that this blog is always going to be a work in progress. It’s not a finished product but an evolving thing that will grow and change and take me on a journey.

The verdict

I took my son to see “Finding Dory” this week and keep hearing her little song in my head: “Just keep swimming, just keep swimming!” It seems to me that blogging is about perseverance. So whenever I lose my confidence or get a little bit scared, I’m going to “just keep blogging”.

What are the best and worst bits of blogging for you? How do you motivate yourself to keep on blogging?