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

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How is it June, Already?

This morning I was setting up my trackers for my client social media and freelance work for the month and it suddenly occurred to me that it was June. How on earth is it June already? It seems like five minutes ago that The Bloke and I were indulging in our New Years Eve snacky treats and singing Auld Lang Syne while we linked arms with the (rather disgruntled) cat.

The last five months have been really busy: I’ve gained several new freelance opportunities which I’m thoroughly enjoying, we’ve been on a number of day trips to interesting places, got up at 5.30am for each episode of Game of Thrones, watched Hugh Jackman on stage, musical theatre shows, plays and films, interviewed Marco Pierre White and generally had an awesome time. June also promises to be equally as great, with the fifth Annual Bloggers Bash (during which we are making a long weekend of it and being tourists for a few days). 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

An Evening at The Club and Spa, Birmingham

I love a good spa day, so when I received an invite to go to the newly refurbished Club and Spa at the Cube I jumped at the chance to see what updates have been made to one of my favourite places to relax in the city.

Located in The Mailbox, one of the most exclusive areas of Birmingham, The Club and Spa is part of The Cube complex, and the spa area has recently undergone a £500,000 transformation. In addition to the pool (complete with a waterfall, jets and kelo sauna areas) and a gym with personal trainers, the half-million pound refurbishment means that spa now has an even more extensive range of treatments and relaxation areas. 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

How to Leave Teaching

How to Leave Teaching

Today marks the fourth anniversary of handing in my resignation, leaving a secure and financially stable teaching job to head out on my own and start again. 

Like the thousands of teachers who leave the profession every year, I couldn’t cope with the workload and pressure and it was affecting my physical and mental health.

My reasons behind the decision to walk away are no different to the hundreds of teachers that have contacted me since I published that post – workload, expectations, behaviour, health concerns – and they have all shared their own personal horror stories about the things they have experienced within their careers that have made them realise that they need to leave. 

Of all the questions I am asked, by far the most frequent is simply this:

How do I leave teaching?
Continue reading

A Silent Disco on the Canal

‘Want to go to a silent disco on Friday?’

I love the random text messages I get from my friends. 

I’ve not been out and about for a while and unable to drink, so this was very much needed. My friend works for the Canal and Rivers Trust (incidentally, did you know that Birmingham has more miles of canal than Venice?), and her company was holding a silent disco in one of the lock areas last week. I’ve never been to one before, but the concept has always intrigued me – music is played through individual headphones rather than from large speakers, so while the participants still experience the feeling of being at a club or ‘disco,’ anyone without a set of headphones on can’t hear anything.  Continue reading

Have a Great Day, Neighbour!

Ever had one of those enormously frustrating days where absolutely nothing goes as it should? 

After waiting for nearly six weeks, I attended a very disappointing appointment yesterday. I had been almost looking forward to it in the hope that it would bring a resolution to an ongoing medical issue that I’ve been having, only to be called ‘darling,’ talked at for five minutes and then be told that what I needed should have been done by the person who referred me six weeks ago, which she hasn’t been able to do because of the condition that has warranted the referral in the first place. Continue reading

Things to See and Do When Visiting Blenheim Palace

Things to See and Do When Visiting Blenheim Palace 1

The Bloke and I decided to spontaneously go out on a day trip the other day – we’ve both been feeling a little low and have cabin fever from being in the house for an extended period of time, so we both took the day off and went to Blenheim Palace. As you do. It is something that has been on my UK bucket list for a while, the weather was fairly reasonable and surprisingly, it’s only a 90 minute drive away from Birmingham. 

Most famously known as being the birthplace of Winston Churchill, Blenheim Palace is the principal residence of the Duke of Marlborough and the only non-royal country house in England that holds the title of ‘palace.’ Built between 1705 and 1722, it was a gift to John Churchill – the 1st Duke of Marlborough – by Queen Anne in thanks for his victory at the Battle of Blenheim in 1704, and was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987.  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