Wedding Prep, a Birthday and Wagamama

Last week was my sister’s 30th birthday, so we made plans to meet up as a family for lunch yesterday. As my sister lives 100 miles away, I got the train up north on Saturday and stayed at her house. It was also the perfect opportunity to spend some time with my brother-in-law and Squidge (my niece) who is now 5 months old.

As always, traveling up in the afternoon is always busy, and it didn’t help that my train was severely delayed, but by the time I arrived I was met with this gorgeous face, which made it all worthwhile. Her hair is beginning to grow so she is looking less like Grant Mitchell from Eastenders now, which is always a bonus!

 

Saturday night was fairly relaxed – the delayed train and the awful traffic meant that we didn’t get home until late – and my brother-in-law was out with his own siblings so after Squidge had been put in bed my sister and I over-indulged on the snacky treats and watched our favourite chick-flick – Only You – while catching up and generally talking nonsense. To save her the time and effort of setting up the airbed I stayed on the couch (which happens to be the world’s comfiest) and enjoyed the luxury of Sky TV, which The Bloke and I don’t have. Continue reading

How To Monetise Your Blog

How to use a blog to make money

A little while ago I gave a presentation at the Annual Bloggers Bash in London with the focus being on monetising a blog and using a blog to make money in other creative and writing fields. Since then, I’ve received numerous requests to post the content of my presentation for those who were unable to attend, so here it is (hopefully with a little less waffle)…

Having a blog has been a life-changing experience. It has allowed me a lifestyle that I could have only previously dreamed of and enabled me to take more control of when and where I work and who I work for. Four-and-a-half years ago I was working as a teacher, I had an outstanding reputation and good results and was in a financially stable and secure role… And I was miserable – stressed, tired, depressed and had started to develop panic attacks. Writing has always been therapeutic and the house was beginning to become overrun by beautiful notebooks containing my scribbles, so The Bloke (who is an IT Technician) suggested that I start a blog. After a particularly bad day I signed up to WordPress, hastily gave myself a name, wrote a post and pressed the publish button. That was it – there were no expectations or technical knowledge behind what I was doing (I don’t think I even used tags for the first few weeks) – but it became a hobby that I quickly found satisfying. That was in April 2013 and by March 2015 I handed in my resignation and left the teaching profession at the end of the academic year. Continue reading

How Planning and Organisational Skills are a Vital Tool in our Lives

Absolutely loved this post from Shelley – a really great read! Please don’t like or comment on my reblog – hop on over to Motivate Me and say hello!

Motivate Me

How to Plan and Stay OrganisedWhen working with my female clients, I always made sure to maintain direct eye contact. I found it interesting how varied eye contact could be from client to client, but by keeping my own gaze level and my posture upright, it often calmed my ladies enough to get them to open up about any physical or emotional issues they wanted to work on during our therapy sessions.

I’ve attended numerous workshops and training sessions over the years where I’ve had to correct myself when I realised I had crossed my arms and/or legs. Notably, it was often when the topic was a difficult one to cope with. Folding in on myself was something I started to do long before I left my abusive marriage. Over time, I’ve learned how to open up my body language and slow my speech, although this is still a work in progress. By being responsive…

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Feeling Hot, Hot, Hot!

The U.K. is currently experiencing a heatwave and I am loving every second of it. I seem to be in the minority – my Facebook and Twitter timelines are filled with complaints about it being too hot to handle – but I have embraced what will almost certainly be our only summer weather this year. Let’s face it, as a nation we spend so many months complaining about the cold, rain and dark, spending a fortune on foreign holidays just so we can experience this sort of weather, so I have little understanding of why everyone is so unhappy about it. I’ve taken full advantage of the temperature change – I’ve done loads of laundry and put it outside (having to time it in order to avoid the barbecues from the neighbours), opened loads of windows around the house, sat in a beer garden drinking a cider with my friend at the local pub, made some summery food and eaten ice-cream. Perfect. The only regret I have is that we are far away from a beach, otherwise you would have found me with my feet in the sand. Continue reading

The Bloggers Bash – 2017!

The Bash was over a week ago – can’t believe how quickly time has passed since then! Here’s Helen’s take on it – please don’t like or comment on my reblog, hop on over to Journey to Ambeth and say hello!

Journey To Ambeth

Ali Isaac, Sherri Matthews and your truly

This time last week my bag was packed, my outfit chosen, and I was looking forward to attending another Bloggers Bash. I’d decided to stay over this year, as in previous years it all seemed to end too quickly, conversations cut short as the day flashed by.

And I’m so glad I did. The day dawned sunny and bright, and I headed into London on the train, getting off the Tube one stop early so I could walk through the streets to the hotel. As I came into Vincent Square I was greeted by the bucolic vista of the Westminster Boy’s School cricket ground (at least, I think that was what it was called) – hard to believe I was in the heart of London.

When I got to the hotel the first person I saw was Ali Isaac, my roommate for the…

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Thoughts with Grenfell Tower and London

I happened to be on Twitter in the early hours of Wednesday morning and saw reports coming in of a massive fire in a tower block in London. At the time, it was on one side of the building, spreading quickly and it was possible to see people flashing their lights from their rooms to let the fire services know that they were still in there. By the morning, the fire was still raging and had consumed almost the entire building.

The feeling of utter helplessness watching those images was overwhelming. Stories surfaced of truly awful things that people had had to experience to try and save themselves, and there are already confirmed deaths and a large number of people still missing.

In any tragedy of this magnitude I always try and seek anything positive, and was hugely uplifted by the endless reports of the local Londoners and then the nation who immediately opened their homes and started donations of money, food and clothing to the survivors who have lost everything that they owned. I cannot possibly imagine what the survivors must be going through, and I’m so proud of the way that everyone has pulled together in their support. This is what we do best.

As always, my thoughts are also with the brave firefighters who risked their lives to tackle the blaze and try and save those inside. I know from conversations that I’ve had with my fireman friend over the years that what they experience every day are stay with them for the rest of their lives, and we as a society are forever indebted to them for what they do…

My love and thoughts are with everyone affected…

The Annual Bloggers Bash 2017: The Highlights!

Last weekend I attended the third Annual Bloggers Bash in London. The Bash means an awful lot to me – I have been to every single one and have previously been the lucky recipient of the Services to Blogging, Inspirational Blogger and Best Overall awards, and I credit this event with giving me the confidence to take blogging seriously as a viable career path. This year, I was asked to give a presentation and be on a panel, which was an enormous honour.

This year the event was truly international, with people attending from the UK, Ireland, the US and Canada and there had been over 6,500 votes cast for its coveted awards. It was held at the Grange Wellington Hotel in Westminster’s Vincent Square. The Bloke and I got an early train in the morning and we were very graciously checked into our hotel room almost immediately at the Euston Premier Inn which gave us the opportunity to finish getting ready (although, I managed to get the majority of my hair and make-up done on the train to the apparent amusement of a man sitting a few seats away). We arrived at the Bash venue early (after having an accidental detour due to my awful map reading skills) and went straight up to visit my long-term bloggy friend Elena Peters, who had stayed there the night before. Continue reading

Baywatch, a CV Meltdown and a Busy Week

I always wake up with the intention of writing a post, but it seems that of late it hasn’t happened. It has been a busy, exciting, tiring and frustrating time, and I’ve had to focus daily on self-care activities and mindfulness in order to keep myself together at times.

The view of Yeovil

Half-term week was one of the best I have had in a while. I attended my friend’s wedding, which was absolutely perfect, and I’m delighted for her that everything went so beautifully. It was also an extra-enjoyable time for The Bloke and I for the opportunity that it provided to have an extended break away from home for a few days. As the wedding was an almost three hour drive away, we decided that it would make more sense to stay overnight in a hotel in Yeovil (that I will refer to as ‘The Town Where the Internet Goes to Die – I had no signal whatsover for the majority of the time) to avoid potential traffic chaos on the motorway and we ended up having an impromptu date day and night. Continue reading

* Fickle Technology

I can relate to this! Please don’t comment on my reblog – hop on over to Teachezwell and say hello!

Teachezwell Blog

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To paraphrase a former IT specialist: “You can love Technology but you can’t trust him.”

I wanted to wring Technology’s neck yesterday.  He promised me the moon: Discovery Education, Reading A-Z, BrainPop, and Google docs, to name a few.  He left me holding dust.

My student uses eye gaze for communication, so at least we had Tobii Dynavox I-12 and Communicator 5.  Technology pretended not to care; after all, he had reduced me to pen, paper, and my phone’s wireless hotspot.  I tried not to think about the gigabytes we were whizzing through, dollar signs soaring around the classroom.

To make matters worse, Technology told me there was no hope for today, either.  “I’m on a 24 hour freeze, darlin’.  But I’ll be back.  You can count on me.”  Sure.  I’ve heard that line before.

I used to pack a first aid kit, a safety net if Technology pulled a fast one.  I kept all…

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A Wedding at Sherborne Abbey

 

I always love a good wedding, but when the bride is an old friend it makes it particularly special. For the last year our conversation and activities have been wedding oriented. We’ve looked through Pinterest and magazines, discussed endless ideas over cocktails and I went on her hen do last month.

She got engaged a few months before I did last year and at the time it felt like an age before the Big Day would arrive. However, after what seemed like five minutes since she first showed me her engagement ring, The Bloke and I found ourselves stood in our wedding finery in Sherborne Abbey (a 1300 year-old church which was built in 705AD). It was a blisteringly hot day and and we had navigated our way through the tiny streets of the town, arrived at the Abbey early and took the opportunity to take lots of photographs before everyone else got there. The groom and the groomsmen arrived shortly after us, all looking handsome in their blue suits. The groom took it all in his stride – he’s naturally quite a calm and collected person – it was only a few minutes before the bride arrived that he showed flashes of nerves.  Continue reading