The Top 6 Things I Learnt at BritMums Live

Uncategorized, Writing & Blogging

For those who don’t know BritMums Live is a blogging conference and oh my day’s was it a blast, down largely to the joy of meeting some fantastic bloggers – yes Jennie, I’m talking about you!  I have never been to anything like this before but here are the top 6 things I learnt from going to BritMums Live;

  1. It’s not all about the numbers.

IMG_9714I know it is very easy to get caught up in how many followers you have, how many likes, shares, retweets and so on… I should know, I do it all the time, but is that really the measure of your success?

This is something we were encouraged to think about during a workshop and once I started thinking about what really mattered, all I could think about was the lovely women who had taken the time to message me and tell me how much they appreciated something I had written. Don’t get me wrong, high numbers are great, but it is those messages that I think are the real measure of my blogs success.

It was also interesting that a lot of the brands said it is not just numbers they look for but someone with dedicated and loyal followers.

  1. Be authentic in what you write about.

IMG_9733This is your blog and really it has to be your voice. I have always thought this is one of the unique and completely fabulous things about blogs. You don’t write in the style of someone else or following a party line and I think it is that interaction and personal touch that draws people to reading blogs.

No one else can be ‘you’. You are your blog’s USP so don’t ever lose that. Don’t work with people just because they asked or write posts, just because you think people want to read them. Then you run the risk of not feeling authentic anymore and losing your biggest asset – yes, that’s still you!

  1. Get camera savvy.

81e5a35d282fcd9dea66a038448e46b2I have got to learn how to use a camera properly. Beautiful photos look so much more fabulous and you can really tell the blogs where the blogger knows how to use a camera. Expect some stunning photos to be appearing in the blog soon. Well… soonish!

  1. Keep telling stories because you never know the effect they will have on someone else’s life.

This really links back to my point about blogging not being all about the numbers but about the people who may be touched and hopefully inspired by your story and writing.

At the conference we have the absolute pleasure of listening to Victoria Wright a disability and face equality campaigner who was talking about this exact point. The power that not feeling alone and knowing there is someone out there who can empathise wholeheartedly with you can be an incredibly powerful thing.

I think this has to be one of the best things about the internet. No matter where in the world or what your condition, you can probably find someone out there who is in the same position and just maybe they can help you through.

  1. Ella Woodward from Deliciously Ella is just as normal as the rest of us.

IMG_9726 copy 2It was such a joy hearing Ella speak and meeting her. Ella’s blog gets 6 million hits a month and Deliciously Ella is the fastest selling debut cookbook since records began – not bad for a twenty-something who just four years ago couldn’t even function properly due to a relatively rare illness called Postural Tachycardia Syndrome.

I worry that women who are all about healthy living may not be on my wavelength (I make no secret of my raging caffeine addiction) but this couldn’t be further from the truth with Ella who is actually incredibly ‘normal’ and lovely. Ella even has healthy treats that my kids will eat, amazing!

  1. Can a room full of bloggers break the Guinness World Record for making mummies from toilet roll in less than three minutes?

Why, yes. Yes, they can!

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Purchase The Fabulous Woman's Guide Through Cancer on Kindle or in Paperback here!

Purchase The Fabulous Woman’s Guide Through Cancer on Kindle or in Paperback here!

I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh – Book Review

To Love To Read, Uncategorized

Oh my gosh!  What a page turner.  I actually can’t believe how addictive this book is.  I was up hours past my bedtime  because I just… couldn’t… stop!

Sometimes I don’t like ‘twist’ books because you feel the whole book is just building for the twist and misses substance in the mean time.  This was NOTHING like that.  The parts in-between the incredible twists were just as wonderful, with heartfelt and moving story lines threading through the narrative.  Mackintosh’s insights into the human spirit and what makes people do the things they do are thought-provoking and insightful.

Part two of the novel is not for the fainthearted but the pace of the book builds in the most incredible way – hence me still being up reading just hours before my kids woke up!

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An amazing read, completely recommended.

Happy reading x

To the woman who tutted at me using the disabled toilets…

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So fantastic, thought it was worth a reblog! What a star for sharing x

So Bad Ass

Dear lady who loudly tutted at me using the disabled loos,

I know you saw me running in, with my able bodied legs and all. You saw me opening the door with my two working arms. You saw me without a wheelchair. Without any visible sign of disability.

You tutted loudly as I rattled the handle with my hands that work perfectly and my able voice call to my kids that I’d be out in just a minute.

My lack of wheelchair may have suggested to you that I was some lazy cow who didn’t care. Some inconsiderate bitch who was using something I wasn’t entitled too. (I actually carry a card to explain that I’m entitled to and have a disability key if you’d have cared to ask). You may have seen my face blushing as I caught your eye and assumed I was showing guilt at blagging the…

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#100ActiveDays – Day 4

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Day 4 – Stretching, Yoga and Davina

A combination of aching muscles and severe stack cramps caused by not having a proper colon meant some serious long and relaxing Yoga poses and stretched were in need today. As well as doing my own (a lot of child’s pose and warrior pose) I did Davina Fit in 15 Stretch section.

They helped SO much with my cramps, so double bonus for working out today!

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Follow me on Facebook and Twitter, stop by and say hi, would love to hear from you x

The Mature Students Guide to Starting University

Goals, Journey Back to Health, Uncategorized, What's Happening?

It seems strange that this time last year I was tentatively finding out if I would finally be able to fulfil the dream of going to University to read Literature and Writing.  Here I am going into my second year (as I’m part time this is the second part of my first year).  I love uni; learning, reading, writing, heaven!  That’s not to say there aren’t points when it’s overwhelming, tiring and difficult to balance with small children, but here are a few things I have learnt….

images-8Prepare

In my experience, the one evening I need to get my head down, will be the evening one of my children get’s ill, won’t go to bed or launches a nuclear missile – all resulting in me needing to tend to my little darlings.  So, my tip…

Do as much preparation as possible.  Try and spend your time between now and starting uni working your way through your reading list.  If possible find out which areas you will be studying in order so you can read accordingly.  Once term starts you have so much additional work, squeezing it all in can become difficult so the more reading you can do before, the better.

Read All The Information

Expect a lot of information, try and read it all and pick out the relevant parts.  Most of it is online nowadays so keep an eye on your email and for links.  As with everything there is a lot of red-tape, Uni’s have to keep tabs on all students so there is lots of singing in, swiping ID cards so get up to speed on what you need to do and get into the habit of doing it from the very beginning.

Create ‘Uni Time’

How you work is unique to you and your situation but I found it easier to have dedicated university days.  If I’m in university for lectures, then I go straight to the library and work for as long as possible staying in that ‘uni headspace’.  Otherwise you know what it’s like, you get home think you will quickly put a wash on, make a coffee butUnknown-1 whilst getting a mug out the dishwasher you quickly unload it and before you know it you are totally out of your uni headspace and need to get the kids / go to work.  Plus you aren’t constantly trying to pickup where you left off as you are already there.

Give Yourself a Chance

There are skills that come with being at university and studying.  It takes time to become good at anything, including being a student.  If like me you have been out of formal education FOREVER, it is going to take time to get into the swing of it.  Thankfully that is what the first year is all about, finding your feet, learning skills and building your confidence.

Keep Going

Sometimes the hardest thing to do but keep going, allow yourself some flexibility, suddenly you will be at the end of the year and not believe how quickly it has gone.  You will be pleased of the summer break but then find you are even more excited to get back to it and into your 2nd year in September!

Happy Studying x

It’s all about the knickers!!

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I love this blog. The Ostomy Champagne Lifestyle has a wonderful way of looking at life with an Ostomy & her latest is one of my favourite posts! Enjoy x

ostomychampagnelifestyle

I have said for a couple of weeks now that I would talk about my knickers and I really don’t wish to disappoint anyone as I am sure you are all very excited for this 😉

It’s amazing how much publicity there has been recently around girls and guys wearing Ostomy bags and hi-lighting Inflammatory Bowel Diseases (IBD), encouraging people not to be shy and to proudly talk about their bags and/or their IBD. I think this is great and it really is a taboo subject that we should all be more open about. I work for a bowel cancer charity and we are all about raising awareness and encouraging people to talk poo.

But there are times when you might not want to have your bag on show or you may need to cover it up, so what do you do then? Sometimes you just need to keep the…

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Spring Health & Beauty Tip 15 – Olive Oil

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The Wonders of Olive Oil

Spring Health & Beauty Tip 15 – Olive Oil

Olive Oil can be used in all kinds of fantastic ways to keep your hair, skin and nails looking fabulous!

Some people panic at the thought of putting oil on their skin, thinking that it is going to make it even more oily but it’s honestly not the case.  Firstly – Oil dissolves when it comes into contact with water.   Secondly – the molecules of oil are smaller than cream so the skin absorbs it really well.  Finally – you should only use a tiny amount.

Essential Oils

Olive Oil

So best way to use it –

  • Treatment for Dry Hands – rub some on before going to bed and ideally wear some cotton gloves on to allow it to absorb over night.
  • Treatment for Dry Feet – same as hands but with socks
  • Hair Treatment – Gently warm and massage into the scalp and hair all the way to the ends.  Wrap in cling film or a shower cap.
  • Soften Cuticle – with a little warm olive oil.
  • Body Moisturiser in the Bath – A couple of table spoons in the bath with a couple of drops of essential oils mixed in before popping it in the bath.

By the way did you know you can follow this blog? Just enter your email on the link on the right of this post (under all the stiff about me) then you will get these tips delivered straight to your inbox.

You can also follow me on twitter @njbrn or Facebook InnerHaven

Happy Oiling x

Spring Health & Beauty Tip 14 – Eat Yourself Beautiful

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It’s not just what you put on your skin, but what goes into your body

Spring Health & Beauty Tip – Ear Yourself Beautiful

If you really want your skin to look beautiful, what you put into it can help even more than what you put onto it, so its vital you keep loading yourself up on all the good stuff.

  • Vitamin A – Can be found in foods including tuna, red peppers, dark and leafy greens and carrots. Promotes cell turnover which will stop your skin becoming rough and dry.
  • Vitamin C – Can be found in foods including citrus fruit, Strawberries and all berry fruits, kiwis, peppers.  Vital because it assists with healing and reduces wrinkles by protecting collagen and elastin.
  • Vitamin E – In foods including tofu, spinach, avocados, sunflower and pumpkin seeds.  Great for sun damage and preventing age spots as well as boosting the skins elasticity.
  • Omega 3 – Found in deep sea fish, brussell sprouts, nuts, seeds, squash and cauliflower.  You want these because the fatty acids help to keep the skin nice and hydrated, which will keep the skin looking plump and healthy and it also assists in repairing the skin.

images-4 Happy Eating

By the way did you know you can follow this blog? Just enter your email on the link on the right of this post (under all the stiff about me) then you will get these tips delivered straight to your inbox.

You can also follow me on twitter @njbrn or Facebook InnerHaven