Posts about life as a working mum. The ups, downs and humour.



Sunday, 26 February 2017

Newbie blogger tips

Newbie blogging tips

Linkies

Newbies may be puzzled when they first see the word linky. What is it & why participate?

A linky is when a host blog invites other blogs to link up a post, the aim is getting additional blog traffic and comments.

This can be a great way to interact with other bloggers & find interesting posts.

It is easy to join in. Copy your blog post URL to the linky, tweet about it & comment on some fellow posts. Make sure you read the host rules but it is usually to comment on the host and at least 2 other blog posts. 

Only negative is large linkies can be time consuming due to the commenting and you may not get as many comments back as you make. 

I was worried about the rules and what a linky was when I first started out. Don't be afraid just dive in.

No follow/do follow

When you search Google for information, the sites with the most links pointing to them rank high in the results.

Occasionally Google checks your blog and looks at all the links you have added. A normal link on your site is known as a ‘follow’ link because Google will follow that link to see where it goes.

The reason no follow/do follow is important is because Google’s guidelines say that any blogger should use a no-follow link when adding a paid link to their blog eg - you were given a product to review/paid to write a specific post.

If you use blogger you simply untick a box. I got worried & found sites telling me to enter HTML codes & was baffled. If you love coding brilliant if not just untick. Phew! Easy. No need to panic.

Social media

Try to get the same name across all platforms.  I have Life in the Mum's Lane across all platforms.
Get on instagram. I was late to the party as I thought how will a photo format help share my words! However it has become my favourite.  I love it.
My instagram link - come join me

Google Analytics

This is a free piece of software from Google that monitors traffic to your blog. To use Analytics, sign up for an account, then copy the code provided into your blog.  Your account will then start tracking things like visitor numbers and what posts they read while they’re visiting.

I must admit although I've signed up to this I've not really spent any time looking at the stats or understand some of the information it can provide so I'm very far from being an expert.

DA - domain authority

Domain Authority is a score (on a 100-point scale) that shows how well a website will rank on search engines.  You need to have your own domain for this score to have any validity. For example if your URL is abc.blogspot.co.uk this will not give a valid score.  If your URL is abc.co.uk this would get a valid score.
1 is the lowest and 100 means you are the best in the world! Anything over 50 is professional with good back links.  A site I found was really useful and broke the score down.
1-10 Poor
11-20 Decent
21-30 Fair
31-40 Competitive
41-50 Good
51-60 Strong
61-70 Excellent
71-80 Outstanding
81-90 Superior
91-100 Rare

I have yet to get a score as only recently got my own domain and you usually need to wait a month or 2 for this to update.

I hope this helps.  These are the top 5 things I wish I'd known when I was starting out.  There is loads more information but I think understanding these 5 things will really help you get into the blogging world.  AND remember to enjoy you can easily get bogged down on stats and forget about the joy of writing.

Emma xxx



Diary of a Wimpy Kid - Easy Craft (DIY)

My daughter LOVES Diary of a Wimpy Kid and we have world book day very soon so I made a Diary of a Wimpy Kid inspired mask.

You will need
  • white foam sheet
  • pencil
  • black pen
  • sock/tights
  • scissors
  • double sided sticky tape
  • elastic
  • normal sell tape


I drew an outline of the face shape on the foam using a book for inspiration.

Cut this out and colour the hair strands and eyes black.

Cut the mouth out and then cover on the other side with a cut up sock or black tights.
(tights are best as this will be your child's viewing point - I bought some tights for this project which mysteriously have vanished so I used an old sock.  She can just about see!)

I used the double sided tape to stick the sock on which worked well.

Measure the elastic and use the double sided tape the stick on either side of the mouth.  Use a small piece of the normal tape to go over this for added strength and to stop the sticky bits catching on your child's hair.


Hey presto you are finished.



Thursday, 23 February 2017

World Book Day costume ideas


Room on the broom or The Worst Witch. If you have a witches costume from halloween this is a super easy option.  And if your child has the same multitude of stuffed toys mine have you could assemble the dog, cat, frog and bird in a bag/cauldron.



Diary of a wimpy kid.  Foam or cardboard mask, white t-shirt, black shorts or leggings, and your favourite book from the series.


A football kit is a bit of a cheat but ties in nicely with Frankie's Magic Football which my son loves.



Road Dahl's BFG is a great World Book Day costume and can be easy to make.  The ears are just a headband, pink paint and card. 





Click the link to see full details to make the costume.

How to make BFG ears, horn and waistcoat

Finally Harry Potter. Again if you have a cape from halloween hanging around that would do over a school shirt/trousers.  Some cheap black frame joke glasses and the all important lightening bolt scar.  This can be drawn with face paints or your own eyeliner/lipliner.  A lot of shops have full Harry Potter costumes fairly cheap if you'd prefer to purchase the whole look.

Happy world book day!

Emma xxx

Motherhood is............Part 2

Motherhood is.........

Not being able to leave the house alone

Running out of milk is a nightmare because a. You need tea! b. A trip to the shop which should be 10 minutes will take an hour.

Being the only one to put loo roll in the bathroom or know where its kept.

Dreading homework projects that begin with can you make.........

Thinking baking will be a fun activity but then remembering why you usually just buy ready made. The mess. The stress. The strange burning smell.

Wondering why you thought swimming lessons was a good idea when you have to rush around like a loon!

Being excited if you find a nice toilet on your travels. I honestly should write a best toilet facilities book.

Never sleeping properly ever again!


If you enjoyed this you might want to read Part 1 Motherhood is...............Part 1

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

It's not what it looks like - Short Story


It’s not what it looks like

Having come out of a long term relationship over a year ago all of my friends had decided it was time for me to move on. The very idea terrified me as it seemed whilst I’d been cocooned in a relationship the dating world had moved on considerably. Internet dating was the way forward now and I wondered what had happened to the days of meeting through friends or in a nightclub. Egged on by my friends I signed up to an internet dating site and after a few glasses of wine for dutch courage wrote what I hoped was a flattering introduction of myself and uploaded a picture.

Over the next few weeks I browsed people’s profiles and pictures and received a few emails but no one special caught my eye until I received a message from Stefan. He was 35, no kids, no previous marriage, good job, and nice looking. I tentatively set up a date after a few online conversations but was extremely nervous about the meeting what if we had nothing to say or he looked nothing like his picture. Or even worse took one look at me and ran off. One of my friends Sarah had previously tried internet dating and reassured me that it would be fine and even if it was terrible I could just put it down to experience and have a laugh about it with the girls later. I arranged to send her a text if I needed an escape plan or more disappointingly got stood up. We arranged to meet at a local pub and to my utter surprise the date went brilliantly. It turned out we liked the same music and TV shows and I instantly felt comfortable in his company.

Over the next few weeks we meet up regularly and things continued to go well but I had noticed that Stefan had started to check his mobile phone often when he thought I wasn’t looking. On the last date he had suddenly had to leave early with a rubbish excuse of forgetting he had to get up early for work the next day.

The following week I meet up with a few of my friends and told them about Stefan and his recent behaviour and everyone decided that he must either have a secret girlfriend or perhaps kids that he didn’t want me to know about. I decided to play things a bit cool when he next called but he started the conversation by apologising for leaving early on our last date and I decided to give him the benefit of the doubt. However the next day I was in town and saw him in a coffee shop with a brunette woman similar in age. He had his arm around her and they were deep in conversation, I quickly turned around so he wouldn’t notice me. Feeling upset and annoyed I ignored his phone calls and emails and slowly became more and more angry at letting myself get involved with someone again.

I kept myself busy at work and tried not to dwell on things but Stefan kept going round and round in my mind. I decided to call him and confront the situation. That evening after work I gave him a call ready to launch into my prepared speech but he sounded genuinely pleased to hear from me and said he’d been worried as I hadn’t been returning his calls. I was completely torn I got on so well with him, he made me laugh and I had hoped for a future but what was he hiding. I needed to know what was going on so decided to ask him outright if he had a girlfriend to which he burst out laughing which wasn’t quite the response I’d been expecting. I told him I’d seen him with a woman and wanted to know who he was always calling and texting when we were out. After a long pause he said he’d rather explain things face to face and we arranged to meet after work the next day. I hardly slept a wink and couldn’t concentrate at work. The time went painfully slowly. Eventually 5.30 p.m. came round and I left the office to meet Stefan at the coffee shop down the road. When I arrived he was already there and waved. As I walked in he could obviously see from my face that I wasn’t happy and blurted out. “It’s not what it looks like!” Well if that isn’t a clich├ęd get out clause I don’t know what is. I instantly felt annoyed and disappointed and was about to leave when he explained that the woman I had seen was his sister and they had met up to talk about his mother. He went on to explain his mother was really ill and they’d been visiting to do the cooking and cleaning. I felt awful for jumping to conclusions but annoyed he hadn’t just been honest. A long chat ensued and I’m pleased to say that now a year down the road we are engaged, his mum is back to full health, his sister is lovely and I can whole heartedly recommend internet dating.

Censorship

We increasingly share our lives on social media. Some make there living this way. We like follows, thumbs up, views, comments & shares. We blog, vlog, insta, update and check in.

So what happens if you see something you don't agree with or rattles your cage? Do you comment? Unfollow? Tut & move on.

I tend to write a comment in my head & move on. I don't post as I don't want to upset them. Their life their rules. BUT they posted on social media. They wanted people to see. It's a weird line.

This week I've seen two things I wanted to comment on but didn't.



A YouTuber having lip fillers for the 3rd time after 2 not so successful attempts & a family on a ski holiday using kids clubs & nannies seemingly for large sections of the stay.

Both rattle me.  I usually like both social media people.

I've remained silent for fear of offending. I've censored myself.

What do you think? Do you comment? Do you think we over share? Are people entitled to an opinion if you posted online?

Emma xxx

Saturday, 11 February 2017

Oat & Raisin Cookies

Oat & Raisin Cookies

I love oat & raisin cookies but usually buy them rather than bake.  However I saw these on the Co-Op cook it website & decided to have a try. Very easy & super yummy. Only problem is I could eat them all.

Ingredients

  • 100g raisins
  • 1 orange
  • 60g butter softened 
  • 160ml sunflower oil 
  • 50g honey 
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon 
  • 120g plain flour
  • 240g porridge oats


Squeeze the juice from your orange & soak the raisins & put aside.
Honey, sugar, oil and butter & mix together.
Add egg, cinnamon and baking powder & combine.
Next add flour & porridge oats & mix.
Finally add your raisins & combine thoroughly.


 This should make about 15 cookies.

I just used large blobs. The recipe suggests an ice cream scoop.

I used 2 baking trays & baked for approx 14 mins on 175c.

Once baked allow to cool slightly on the baking tray before moving to a cooling rack.



Enjoy

Emma xxx

Full details & recipe from Co-Op site can be found here
Oat & Raisin Recipe

The Trouble with Goats and Sheep by Joanna Cannon

The Trouble with Goats & Sheep
Joanna Cannon

Very quirky British read. Set in the 1970s and has lovely feelings of nostalgia. It's not something I'd usually pick up but I'd seen brilliant reviews & I wanted something different. Margaret Creasy is missing on The Avenue and 10 year old Grace & Tilly decide to investigate.

I liked learning more about various characters on The Avenue but found the 'secrets' maybe needed to be fleshed out a bit more for certain individuals. Mrs Mortons is very well written though & wasn't what I expected.

Some lovely little one liners. Loved the section about weeds & goats & sheep.


I must admit though I'm not 100% sure what happened especially regarding the fire. It all seemed to fizzle out with a rushed conclusion after a fairly slow plot. I'm still not quite sure where Margaret Creasy had been, why she disappeared or why she came back. Also Tilly becomes quite ill but then just pops back with no explanation.

Whilst one of the secrets explains the hatred for Walter Bishop I'm still confused as to why they disliked him pre 1967.

I think some clues/descriptions were so subtle I may have missed something.

I'd be curious what you thought.

The trouble with goats & sheep is a really good novel that I enjoyed & thought about after but the disappointing ending means its a 4 star.

Emma xxx

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