I Left the House…

I haven’t posted since March which probably makes it the longest period of time in which I haven’t looked at the blog since I started it over eight years ago, and I’ve missed it. 

Part of the reason why I’ve had such a long absence is that there has been very little to post about. With lockdown restrictions only starting to ease over the last few weeks I’ve continued to live a rather Groundhog Day existence that has primarily involved getting up, washed and dressed, logging in, logging out, eating dinner and going to bed. It’s hasn’t been a bad thing – my workload has grown by a phenomenal level which has kept me really busy and I wake up most mornings raring to go and excited to start the day – but it has left little time to focus on my own content. 

May was also a month of dealing with multiple health issues. It’s rare that I’m ill, but when something hits me it tends to stick around for a while. I had my first covid vaccination at the start of the month and the side effects kept me in bed for three days, followed by an ear infection. When getting the ear checked out at the doctors he was concerned about something else which resulted in multiple blood tests, an anxious wait and thankfully a surprisingly clear bill of health (aside from the ear). I then developed a nasty tooth infection in a tooth that I’ve had issues with for over a year, and I’ve never experienced pain like it. It was so bad that the tooth had to be pulled last week, and so the last few days have consisted of eating soft and puréed food, multiples salt washes and looking like I had been punched in the face. I also started experiencing pain in my back and so have had multiple chiropractor appointments, which leaves me feeling like I’ve been hit by a bus for a day or two afterwards. 

It never rains… huh?

I did get the opportunity to go into the city and have brunch before my tooth was pulled, which was very much needed. It was quite a surreal experience – going from staring at my bins from my living room window for several months and then suddenly finding myself in what seemed almost like normal life took a second to get used to. I’m conscious of trying not to be too paranoid about being out and about again – I had to resist the urge to yell “back away people!!” when they even dared to step within six feet of me, but I suppose that there are many who are feeling the same. I’m looking forward to the chance to see my family in person – I haven’t seen my mum since the beginning of March 2020 – and there are some fantastic things that will be happening in Birmingham over the next few weeks, so I’ll be able to start posting again!

What about you guys? How are you feeling about venturing out again?

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

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

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

Goodbye, Poppy

As if 2020 couldn’t get worse, The Boy passed away on Thursday. He was 14 years old and hadn’t been well for a while – being diagnosed with chronic kidney disease last year – and despite the endless tests and multiple changes in medications it became obvious that his quality of life was declining and he was becoming distressed, so we made the decision to say goodbye. I have known it was coming for a while and so I made sure that we had a lovely last day together, and he went to sleep peacefully on my lap which is the best thing I could have hoped for. He is the last of our three cats to pass away – we lost his sister in 2016 and our 19 year old cat in 2014, and it never gets any easier.

He’s been my little dude since he was 5 weeks old. He and his sister were brought to my house in a carrier bag and he’d had a horrendous start to his little life, being so small that he could fit into the palm of my hand. For the last 14 years he has been my personal shadow and has seen me through every step of my life – following me from room to room, only settling when he was on my lap, proudly bringing me socks that he had stolen from the hamper as gifts, joining in every Zoom call and entertaining The Bloke and I by screaming the songs of his ancestors at 3.00am… and 4.00am… and 5.00am… and… Continue reading