Oh Pinterest, What Have You Done?

Last year, I was finally convinced to start taking Pinterest seriously, not only as a fantastic resource but as an easy and successful way to promote my blog posts to a new audience. It was initially a massive learning curve and it seemed to take forever to set up – rich pins, vertical images, SEO friendly descriptions, group boards, BoardBooster… There were a number of times when I wanted to delete my account and throw my laptop against the wall, but through the support and patience of my bloggy friend, I finally had an account that I was proud of.

And low and behold, the views started coming in. It was small at first – around April of last year I was receiving a few hundred views a month, but by September they had skyrocketed to the point where I was getting close to 20,000 for the month. Not bad for a newbie. Continue reading

Attack in Westminster, London

For most people getting home, they’ll be hearing the news of the attack in London this afternoon. With four people dead (including the attacker and a policeman) and twenty injured, my thoughts are with the people involved, their families and friends and the city of London. It’s a beautiful, diverse and incredible city and as always I have nothing but the upmost respect and admiration for our police force, fire and ambulance services, and for everyone who rushed to help the victims without any thought for their own safety…

On Becoming a Hermit…

Yesterday was International Happiness Day, and the blogging world was flooded with articles, images and quotes of achieving happiness.

Even without a specifically dedicated day, it’s a prominent topic. There seems to be have been a conscious movement over the last few years that focus on the ideas on mindfulness, self-care, motivation and happiness, which may be partially reactionary to the turbulent times within society, or the fact that many are beginning to realise that there is more to life than a soul-destroying 9-5. Continue reading

Blog of the Day: Second Wind Leisure Perspectives

Meet Terri!

Terri is the creator of Second Wind Leisure Perspectives, a lifestyle blog that focuses predominantly on leisure, while including examples of her writing for various challenges and photography. She explains more in her About Page:

I am a leisure educator, self-published author, blogger, and retired recreation and parks practitioner living in Northern California. Second Wind Leisure Perspectives is my blog about living a leisure lifestyle. Continue reading

Exams, Sore Feet and a Radio Interview!

It’s been an unusual few weeks!

I’ve done a radio interview, which was very exciting, I’ve continued to do some supply teaching, but I took on the role of exam invigilator towards the end of last week too – it’s mock exam season to prepare students for the process of sitting their GCSE exams. When I was initially asked about my availability I jumped at the chance – standing there for a few hours in silence with no responsibility other than to fetch paper and equipment and ensure that the students remain silent (which they do – the exams officer at the school is incredible) seemed perfect. However, after two-and-a-half days I had learnt several things. Continue reading

How to Recycle Old Blog Content

Last week I decided to go through my old blog posts, which had quite a negative impact on my general confidence about my content and I had a little meltdown on the blog. After receiving lots of good advice from the blogging community I decided to ignore my initial knee-jerk intention to delete hundreds of posts that I considered to be inferior and instead spend a bit of time recycling some of my earliest articles.

There were a number of reasons for this:

1. My blog is nearly four years old, and I have a much bigger audience than when these posts were originally published. I wanted to reach my newer audience who would not have seen them.

2. My writing style has changed and my earlier offerings aren’t consistent with the quality (at least, in my opinion) that I produce now.

3. My lifestyle has changed for the better. The negative tone of some of the posts are no longer relevant to my general mindset. Continue reading

Blog of the Day: Unfold and Begin

Unfold and BeginMeet Jenny!

Jenny is the creator of Unfold and Begin, a lifestyle blog. Her About page is one of the funniest I have read…

My name is Jennifer Koshak.  I’m a post 50 baby boomer, willing to enjoy chocolate, practice some yoga, have some fun and explore new places and new things in my next 50 years.

Some random things about me:

  • I met my husband on eHarmony.  Yes, it really works.
  • I started my first blog 4 years ago, wrote a couple of posts and then freaked that people might actually read it. So I deleted the whole thing.  (I’m trying to move past that fear of sharing myself!)
  • My favorite color is yellow, but it looks awful on me, so I painted my living room a sunset yellow instead.
  • I’m allergic to cats, which means I only have two.
  • My husband is a chef and a chocolatier.  This can be dangerous, but so, so delicious!
  • I’m a Yoga Teacher who feels that laughter is a necessity of life. I’ve been known to quote Mel Brooks movies in class—-the concept of Be Here Now can totally be found in Spaceballs!

Continue reading

Terms and Conditions

Those of you who follow the blog regularly will know that I travel via train fairly frequently. I’ve learned to be fairly savvy with it – I know that one of the biggest train and travel companies in particular will hike up their prices by as much as £100 for travel on the same day as booking, so making sure that tickets in advance are essential unless you want to take out a second mortgage just to pay for travel costs.

So, when they sent me an email informing them of their summer sale, with tickets on offer for £4.00 between Birmingham and London, I eagerly planned a day trip for The Bloke and I, feeling really pleased with myself for obtaining tickets for both of us for the grand total price of £16.00. Bargain.

That is, until I discovered that I’d gone and booked tickets for the opposite journeys that I wanted – I’d done London to Birmingham instead of the other way around. Idiot. Totally my fault, and I was irrationally super-angry with myself for not concentrating and making a rookie mistake.

Now, it’s only £16.00, but for the principle of it I set about getting a refund. After 5 phone calls during which I was waiting for a total of about 45 minutes and eventually resorting to Twitter because nobody answered the phone, I was informed that my tickets were non-refundable because they had been purchased in the sale. Not that this is made clear anywhere on the booking page in advance, but they got me with the fact that they had included this in their Terms and Conditions, at the bottom of a long list and buried in their website.

So, we have had to book another set of tickets, ultimately paying the same price that we would have done without the sale. I wouldn’t mind, as it was my mistake, but I am a bit cross at the fact they have made extra money from me and won’t give it back, which is always covered by the crappy Terms and Conditions. Hopefully, they can use my money (and I’m sure the money from other idiots like myself) into improving the service and getting the trains to actually be big enough to accommodate the amount of people that use them…

What about you guys? Have you ever made a mistake and then been screwed over by the Terms and Conditions?

You can also find me on Twitter and Tumblr @suzie81blog, and don’t forget to check out my Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/suzie81speaks, my Pinterest page http://www.pinterest.com/suzie81speaks and my Instagram page http://www.instagram.com/suzie81speaks.

To Delete, or Not to Delete?

Social Media Management

Last year, I made the mistake of revisiting a lot of my old handwritten  journals. I have a whole stack of them – thick notebooks mainly purchased from Paperchase that have been filled with my random scribblings over the years – and in my infinite wisdom I thought it might be a nice idea to open some of them up again and read about who I was at that moment in time. It turned out to be a huge mistake – I became very quickly aware that I was an extremely bitter person and what I found were pages and pages of rambling, nonsensical anger. I decided that, while I wasn’t going to throw the notebooks away, I wouldn’t read them again. Continue reading

Blog of the Day: Motivate Me!

shelley

Meet Shelley!

The opening statement almost seems a little silly to me, as so many within my blogging community already know and love Shelley, but it isn’t as widely known that Shelley has a second blog – Motivate Me!

Motivate Me began as a set of resolutions, as Shelley explains in her extremely eloquent ‘About Page.’

It all started with a New Year Resolution…

One New Year’s Eve I set herself a challenge; sick of setting resolutions and breaking them before the mince pies ran out, I decided to set my children and myself a better example and so I wrote a list of twelve resolutions (one for each month of the year). Continue reading