Lockdown Life and Moving Forward

Earlier this week we acknowledged the year anniversary of the covid-19 lockdown. It has been quite an emotional week – while the last year was a lengthy period of reflection and practising gratitude, the realisation of the enormity of the situation affected me more than I expected.

I’ve already spoken about this in previous posts, but lockdown started slightly earlier for me than most. The Bloke and I regularly reviewed theatre shows for the press nights at the Alexandra Theatre in Birmingham, and we were in the bar area eagerly waiting to see Everybody’s Talking About Jamie and talking to our friend who works there. Suddenly the theatre manager appeared, called everyone together and announced that the show had been cancelled in response to the government announcement that had been made that day, and that was it. I remember seeing the worried and emotional expressions on the faces of the staff and public and felt awful for them. Continue reading

Covid Chaos

Covid Chaos

At the start of 2021 I decided that rather than setting my usual series of goals and resolutions I would focus on just one day at a time. After nine months of predominantly staying indoors it seemed a silly notion to look at anything beyond that, particularly in the fact that while a new year had begun, the current situation hadn’t changed.

It was a wise decision – January 2021 seemed like it had decided to throw everything it could in our direction.

The Bloke tested positive for Covid a few weeks ago. He works in a good school and while there are restriction measures in place and the number of students within the building are lower (although higher than you may think), his role as an IT Tech has meant that it was almost inevitable as he has contact with more staff and students than most. Continue reading

Quick and Easy Ways to Boost Your Social Media and Website Engagement

Quick and Easy Ways to Boost Your Social Media and Website Engagement

Whatever your personal or business goals may be, social media is now a vital component of building an online presence and driving an audience to your brand. A successful social media strategy has the ability to grow and strengthen relationships with your community, bring traffic to your website and increase your sales.

Unfortunately, the success of a brand / blog / influencer is often measured solely by the follower count they have. It’s all about the follower numbers – the higher the followers, the better something or someone is, right?

Wrong.

What many forget to consider is the level of engagement someone has in comparison to their number of followers. Followers can be bought or can be gained fairly quickly and easily by adopting a frequent follow / unfollow strategy and are therefore often a deceptive metric to base opinions on authority. Social media engagement levels are often far more transparent – the higher the level of engagement, the more invested the audience. Continue reading

A New Year, New Start: Things I Learned in 2020

Things I Learned in 2020

I’ve always found something quite liberating about the clock striking midnight on New Year’s Eve. Despite the fact that it is just one minute, the transition between New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day brings a sense of excitement and the notion that anything is possible.

A year ago The Bloke and I rang in the new year with the fireworks display from the London Eye on the TV, singing Auld Lang Syne with the cat and making promises that 2020 would be our year. I had plans. I had spent weeks carefully making lists of all of the things that we were going to do: the places we would go, the things we would see, the experiences that we would have. Continue reading

A Lockdown Birthday and Terry the Christmas Tree

With less than a week to go until Christmas, The Bloke and I have taken to adulting to get everything prepared in advance. I was determined (especially after a such a crazy year), Christmas would be a period in which we could actually relax, do something positive for others and then take some time for ourselves without worrying about last-minute things, and we’ve managed most of it (although the found myself on a mad dash to the postbox yesterday to send off a whole bunch of Christmas cards. 

The last quarter of the year is always the busiest. Between October and December there are five birthdays within our family including mine and The Bloke’s and we had our third wedding anniversary at the end of October. Normally we would take a trip somewhere to celebrate at least one of these (last year we went to London for the weekend with my sister and her boyfriend to see the Tutankhamun exhibition at the Saatchi and the year before we fed giraffes at West Midlands Safari Park and went to the Harry Potter Studios Tour) but most of the last few months have been spent trying to stay safe and well at home. Instead I have created almost mini staycations and celebrations indoors, finding interesting things to watch and trying to support local businesses by ordering from them rather than going through the giants that now monopolise the online shopping world (except Lego of course, because The Bloke loves it).  Continue reading

Instagram Rules: The Essential Guide to Building Brands, Business and Community

Instagram Rules: The Essential Guide to Building Brands, Business and Community 2

This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small amount of money if you make a purchase from any of the Amazon links included.

As with most areas of social media, I was seemingly behind the rest of the world in realising the power of Instagram as a marketing tool. I’ve actually had an Instagram account since 2015, back in the days when (at least, from my perspective) the platform was primarily a place to share some nice photos, add a snazzy filter and throw in a few hashtags. I’ve had moments over the years where I have made attempts to do something with my Instagram, but it was easy to become disheartened when I didn’t see immediate results. If I’m honest, after a while I paid it little attention. Continue reading

How to Deal with Comparisonitis

How to deal with comparisonitis 1

Comparisontis, the compulsion of comparing your accomplishments to those to others is the worst, but is not a new concept – keeping up with the Joneses is an idiom that is well-established within the English vocabulary. While it is a rather ridiculous (and immature) notion, it’s a surprisingly easy mindset to develop into once it has started and at its most extreme comparisonitis has the ability to rob us of our self-esteem, leave us feeling depressed and anxious and become judgemental towards not just ourselves, but those around us.

I’ve been blogging and working in social media management for a number of years and for the most part it has been an amazing experience. I love my job – I usually wake up in a morning excited to start work, and there’s almost nothing better than the feeling that accompanies a sudden wave of inspiration, a new-found connection or a well-received response to a piece of content.

While I’m fortunate to be doing something that I enjoy, the consequences of turning a favourite hobby into a source of income means that time spent, perspectives and goals shifted from a hobby to a business mindset. Of course, this is necessary to ensure continued success, but when the majority of my day is spent online I found that the cold doubt of comparisonitis was gradually starting to creep in, especially over the course of this year.

I have always had role models and mentors that I have looked up to and respected within the blogging world, but for the majority of my blogging life I have largely been unaffected by it, usually preferring to follow my own schedule and content in a way that suits my lifestyle. However, in recent months I became more aware of the negative feelings that accompany comparisonitis as I was working my way through my daily checklist and planning my content. Continue reading

A Christmas Evening with Moonpig

Moonpig Christmas Event

Last week I had the opportunity to join the team from Moonpig and a whole bunch of bloggers for an fun evening of Christmas cards, flowers and cocktails with the Moonpig Virtual Event.

I’ve spent a lot of time on Zoom this year, but not for a blogging event before. It had been a rather exciting week – I had received lots of different goodies from Moonpig in preparation and it was something I had been looking forward to. Let’s face it – after the year we’ve all had, an evening of Christmas cheer was very much needed! Continue reading

A Visit to Van Gogh Alive at the Birmingham Hippodrome

Van Gogh Alive at the Birmingham Hippodrome Starry Night

This is no ordinary art exhibition…

What has become abundantly clear amidst the chaos and confusion of the last seven months is just how essential the arts are, with many turning to art and culture within their own homes as a form of mental stimulation, creativity and self-care.

While I certainly count my blessings, some of the things I have missed the most during lockdown and COVID-19 restrictions have been the theatre and museums. Seeing a show or an exhibition – usually several times a month – provided an often much-needed opportunity to switch off from the stresses of the day, relax and immerse myself in an amazing performance or stunning piece of artwork by talented performers and creatives.

I’m a huge Van Gogh fan, being lucky enough to visit the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, see The Starry Night at the MOMA in New York and Sunflowers at the National Gallery in London and consequently I was ecstatic when I saw that the world-renowned Van Gogh Alive Experience was being premiered at the Birmingham Hippodrome. Continue reading

Autumn Thoughts

The atmosphere in the house has been difficult to adjust to. It has been a week since Poppy passed away and for the first time in seventeen years there hasn’t been a cat in the house to get under my feet, yell at me for breakfast or test out the acoustics of the bathroom by singing their favourite songs at 3.00am. I have found it difficult not to walk up and down the stairs in a certain way to accommodate a feline zooming past me, or to open a door slowly just in case their was a cat sitting behind it, and for the first few days the sight of an empty kitty bed made me break down in tears. My lovely neighbour works with an animal sanctuary and so she very kindly agreed to pass all of Poppy’s things on so that they can go to help another animal in need, which has made me feel a little better. Continue reading