The Best Business Lunch Ever

Last month I took on a new client. I started her fitness class a few weeks before and we became friends, and this led to me helping her to develop her artwork and courses. 

The other day she invited me round to her house after the morning aerobics session for a business lunch to discuss areas of focus in September. She has a beautiful painting studio at the bottom of her (equally beautiful) garden and I was treated to a look through her artwork and sketchbooks, which are gorgeous. I’ve always admired that sort of creativity and her abstract style is one of my favourites, so it was nice to sit and go through ideas in the morning sun. 

However, what started as a business discussion turned into several hours of just enjoying being in her company, snapchatting her cat who was busy stalking squirrels from the fence, eating a rather tasty lunch and admiring the sunflowers on her table. 

Definitely the best way to spend the day!

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Taking the Blogging High Road

‘When they go low, we go high…’

It’s become somewhat of a slogan for Michelle Obama, who first used the phrase during an incredible speech at the 2016 Democratic National Convention – taking the high road and doing the right thing, even when it isn’t easy. 

While Michelle may be able to rise above it, I (however much I admire her), still find it one of the most difficult things to do. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on… well, I won’t have forgotten what you did the first time so you won’t get the chance to even think of fooling me again. 

I’m admittedly highly strung, easily rattled and have become more outspoken – even more so as I age – and as a result I find it enormously frustrating to have to keep my mouth shut and walk away when I see something that I believe to be untrue or unfair. Now that I’m self-employed I have to regularly check myself in what and how I say things because essentially, I’m on my own. 

Unfortunately, especially when working online, a thick skin and the ability to take the high road is part of the job description. It’s a confusing world to be a part of – particularly in the fact that every aspect of content creation and interaction has the ability to be edited to show the best possible side to a potential audience. This seemingly deceptive nature of blogging and accompanying false sense of security and anonymity that a computer screen provides enables a person to say whatever they want, whenever they want, often without the same fear of consequence or reciprocation that they would be held accountable for in the real world. The longer you inhabit the online world, the more common it is to witness and potentially get sucked into the self-entitlement, angst and outrage that populates the blogosphere and social media platforms on a daily basis. In fact, there are entire blogs and YouTube channels dedicated to it – ‘Drama’ content that focuses on the quarrels and spats going on between influencers. Continue reading

Complacency and An Extended Blogging Break

At the beginning of August I felt fired up and motivated. My head was spinning with ideas about what I could do and achieve over the month and I had a whole bunch of plans as to how I was going to move forward. 

It lasted two days. 

It wasn’t intentional, but I ended up having an extended blogging break. I tried to convince myself that it was needed, but the truth of it was that I simply couldn’t muster up the enthusiasm to post anything on a regular basis. After six and a half years and thousands of articles the mental burnout was real. Continue reading

How to Do a Blogging Mid-Year Check-In

Simple Ideas for a Mid-Year Blogging Check-In

As July has seemingly appeared from nowhere it occurred to me yesterday that over half a year has slipped by.

I’ve never really focused on a mid-year check-in before. I actively track my stats, growth and client data every month in my Bullet Journal which allows me to see progress over a long period of time, but any goals and plans I usually set are long-term (often with a deadline of twelve months).

At the point where I decided to take blogging more seriously I had two goals that were my sole focus: to replace my teaching job with my own social media business, and to hit a million views, and I worked incredibly hard to achieve them. Once I had done both, it was almost like the fire went out – I made the crucial mistake of not setting something meaningful to work on. Admittedly, I took my foot off the gas, sat back and coasted along because, quite frankly, it was easy to stay in my comfort zone and within the deliriously happy little bubble that I had built for The Bloke and I. Continue reading

A Haircut, Psychic Powers and a Da Vinci Exhibition

The park was dark and moody in the morning…

I started a dark and moody Wednesday in the hair salon, and ended it in the woods in the glorious sunshine.

As you do.

I got my hair cut for the first time in several years. It’s something I had been meaning to do for quite some time, but the fact that 1. I’m incredibly lazy and 2. I dislike paying large amounts of money for something that inevitably spends most of the time being tied up in a ponytail, meant that it was long overdue. I loved having ridiculously long hair (it hung all the way down to my lower back) when I went out, but during the rest of the time it had become an annoyance.

There’s nothing more horrifying than the moment after you’ve had your hair washed and brushed back and you’re faced with yourself in the mirror while waiting for your stylist. If ever there’s a point where I can see the similarities between my round head and an ageing turtle, then this is it. And there’s nowhere else to go – spinning around and facing away from the mirror would only result in staring directly at somebody else who is experiencing the same thing, so the only option I’m left with is to try not to awkwardly stare at myself and find something interesting on the table in front… Continue reading

Greenday, Hot Dogs and a Bunny That Hates Me

As the weather has improved, The Bloke and I have been ‘out and about’ over the last week.

On Wednesday we went to see a performance of American Idiot at the Alexandra Theatre, a musical based around the songs of Green Day. I wasn’t sure what to expect – The Bloke is a huge fan of Green Day and our assumption was that it would be done in the same way that We Will Rock You and Mamma Mia are – incorporating the songs into the plot line. Marking the shows 10th anniversary, it was exactly that – set after 9/11 it follows the stories of three childhood friends and the individual journeys that they follow as they make their way in the world. Continue reading

Six Years of Blogging: Time For a Change?

I received a notification the other day to tell me that I had signed up to WordPress six years ago.

Crazy.

For the most part, it has been a life-changing, generally amazing experience. I hit the million views last year (which was insane), and it has seen me through getting engaged, getting married, quitting my job and starting my own Social Media Management business and provided me with a whole host of wonderful people, events and opportunities that I wouldn’t have thought possible when I was filling out my details and hastily deciding on a name for my own little space of the internet.

I tried to think of a suitable and hopefully useful topic to write about that focused on my blogiversary, but it proved to be a little more difficult than expected without repeating the same things that I have talked about many times. While I absolutely love the Social Media Management and freelance writing, I’m undoubtedly struggling with my own blog. Continue reading

Back to School!

Over the last few weeks I’ve been invited to go and speak at different local secondary schools about blogging, social media management and using social media for business and promotion as part of their ‘Future Friday’ career discussions. I’ve done this sort of thing at a bunch of schools and in workshops for adults and I absolutely love it – even though I’ve been out of a classroom properly for nearly four years it’s always a blast to have a chat with teenagers and young adults who want to learn about what I do, and I get a little kick out of seeing the facial expressions of the younger ones when I tell them that I get paid to go on Facebook.  Continue reading

Blog of the Day: Lorna from Gin & Lemonade

Ever wondered what to do when the power is out?

Meet Lorna! She’s the creator of Gin & Lemonade and a prolific blogger. 

I’ve written about Gin and Lemonade before – Lorna has become well-known within the blogging community and I’ve watched her blog (and content) grow and evolve enormously within the last few years, particularly as she moved over from dot com to a new self-hosted blog. 

Lorna lives in Skye, writes, reads and lives quite happily with her husband, their daughter and lots of books. She’s in her 30’s, is a wife, a mother, and is a wheelchair-user. She explains more in her rather epic ‘About’ page: Continue reading

2018: A Year in Review

My #Best9 of 2018 on Instagram

2018 has been a mixed year. There’s been a few personal and professional changes, some of which were not as positive as I would have liked and I’ve allowed myself to wallow in a funk on more than a few occasions, at one point even contemplating giving up blogging altogether. However, when I looked through my Bullet Journal and the photographs on my phone in preparation for this post, I was reminded that this year has actually been full of more incredible experiences than almost of any other. 

Here’s just some of the highlights…

The Bloke won a camera for a squirrel picture. That squirrel picture was more popular than our wedding photos.  Continue reading