Sunday, 16 September 2012

The Blogger I aspire to be (and remain)

I recently went to my first blog camp which turned out to be a fantastic experience, giving me the opportunity to meet a group of wonderful and inspirational foodie and mommy bloggers and other individuals that I would not normal get the chance to be in the same room with.

The guest speakers passed over information and inspiration on how to make various social networks work for you as well as ways of dealing with those nasty trolls who seem to make it their life's work to belittle others and leave nasty comments on posts that you've spent time labouring over.

"Keep Calm and Carry On" would be the stance I think I'd have to adopt.  I've only had one possibly nasty comment from some anonymous creature.  I've deleted it, due to the sheer stupidity of it, but I should have kept it for a memory box.  I felt embarrassed for them and for the fact that my readers might have to have the unfortunate chance of reading it too.  There was a bit of racism thrown into it too which I didn't agree with.  I think that is what really made me a bit twitchy but to be honest, the comment itself was just so pointless.

My thinking is that having to censor your writing style is ludicrous.  If some idiot gets a kick out of writing stupid and potentially hurtful comments (they think they are witty but in reality, they are just nasty and evil little people), then so be it.

Anyway, enough about the trolls.  I still can't work out my Google+ page (don't think I ever will?!) but on the positive side, I've now opened my StumbleUpon account which has given me hours of entertainment and I can really see the value in it.  Why I didn't do it sooner, I don't know?  I love sites like this where you never know where you will be taken, like the journey of life really.  It's a lucky dip that slowly over time will show you predominately pages that interest you.  Extremely intuitive.

When I started my recap of the day I was inspired to create a post around why I actually started blogging, what I wanted to get out of it and what type of blogger I wanted to be.  I've broken my thoughts down into a few headings that has become the Mission Statement for my blog.

My Mission Statement

Followers
I honestly don't mind if I have a big following or not and I am not keen on running competitions simply increase my Twitter or blog following.  I'd rather have people follow me on Twitter or other places because of the incredibly witty and creative writing skills I possess.  Hopefully I have something interesting and useful to say somewhere along the way too.

If you do follow me and appreciate my incredibly witty sense of humour and unique (I hope?!) writing style, then I thank you!  I'd be lying if I said that I didn't want people to follow me and read what I had written on a regular basis.  Blogging is my verbal release and a way of expressing myself on a worldwide platform.  It's the one place where I can let all my thoughts go into one (somewhat censored of course) and be creative through my writing and photos.

Ratings and rankings
Ironically I checked my Tots100 scored during one of the breaks at blog camp and I've shot up in the rankings to 427.  I did a small fist pump and (almost) inner exclamation of delight.  It is based on a number of factors and while I don't live or die by this monthly ranking figure, it does make me happy to see it climbing.  I don't know how I got there but I am not questioning it.  Thanks Tots100!

I'm not trying to get into the actual 100 but if I did I would definitely feel ridiculously happy and maybe a little smug.  I'm still very reserved with the whole writing and blogging thing as a whole.   I've been trying to write for years and to have someone read my work and appreciate what I've taken the time to create still makes me feel a bit weird.  I'm the type of person that if I cook something, I hate to eat it because I'll be very critical of what I've done and am rarely happy with the finished product (I'm strange like that).  I do make a mean batch of cupcakes though!

Competitions
I will run competitions on my blog only if they completely tie in with my values and the ethos of what my blog is about.  I don't want to run them all the time but they do add a fun element to the blog.  Too many and it becomes boring, too few and you feel like you need to do more.  Bit of a Catch 22 I think but I'm sure there is a happy middle ground somewhere.

Reviews
I LOVE doing reviews.  No, I don't do it for the 'free stuff'.  I don't do it to get exposure to my blog (although it doesn't hurt of course).  I do reviews because if I truly believe in a product, I want to share it with other people.

I'm that weirdo in Boots that stands next to you and recommends products.  In South Africa it's called being friendly and helpful.   In the U.K. it makes people look at you twice and give your family worrying glances as if you are about to be sent off with the men in white coats.  I honestly don't care.  I 'm just trying to help and would hope that someone would do the same if I too looked a bit confused by the sheer volume and variety of products on the market.   So yes, I love writing as well as reading reviews.

I will read the press release but no, I will not regurgitate it and/or claim it as my own.  I have a reasonable IQ and think that I can muster creating something that is my own.  It took someone time and effort to write that document so I will do them the decency of reviewing the product and then doing just that...writing a review in my own words.

Guest Posts
Love them, love them, LOVE them!  The chance to write for various other blogs or companies is amazing. It is challenging and pushes my creativity and imagination to their limits which I adore.  I also like people to guest post on my blog.  It brings a completely unique voice and I've met and discovered some wonderful and incredibly talented people that way.

Respecting Other Bloggers
If I ever get to the stage where I go to blog camps just for the exposure, and not to learn or help new bloggers find their feet, I think that would be the stage where I realised that I had gone over to the 'dark side'.

If you find a blog camp boring then it's time for you to sod off and not ruin the experience for others, right?  If I ever (heaven forbid!) spoke during a lecture because I thought that I knew more on the topic than the expert, I think it would be time to make a swift exit and go and find why I got into blogging in the first place.  Maybe reinvent myself or read this mission statement again?

Never forget why I started blogging in the first place
Well, I'm not actually sure why I actually started??  I toyed around with my blog in 2010.  Don't look at the posts.  They are hideous and make me scrunch my entire face into an unsightly grimace at the thought of them (I just did it.  You just envisioned it).  I should go and change them but then hey, never forget where you started out!

Ax




Monday, 10 September 2012

All I Want for Christmas...

That crazy time of year has already begun.  The shops are slowly beginning to stock Christmas wrapping paper, cards, candles and all things red, green, gold, glittery and shimmery for the Festive season.  We've barely finished the Easter eggs (I can never eat them in one sitting) and now we are onto the next celebration!

My daughter was 8 months old when she had her 1st Christmas.  At the time it was very important to me that she had a special and memorable 1st Christmas but in all honesty, she wouldn't remember it even if I showed her photos and videos to jog her memory.  If she claimed that she could remember then I would very quickly get her signed up to Mensa.  Those retailers that sell the cute baby Christmas outfits are laughing all the way to the bank...

We are heading off to South Africa for Christmas this year and as she will be 2 1/2 I think she will appreciate Christmas far more and actually be excited to see what she what toys and other wonderful things she has been lucky enough to be given on Christmas morning. 

Of course I don't want Father Christmas to completely short change her due to his weight allowances of flying all the way to Africa instead of to the UK so I've created a fab list of light weight gift ideas at Babyhuddle, all of which I think she will love.

Now Father Christmas has a very easy job this year because all he has to do is go to the list that I created at Babyhuddle, click on an item, add it to his cart, pay (he has to pay because he hasn't made the toys directly in his factory this year) and that is his shopping complete for my daughter!  No writing to decipher or lists to try and keep tucked away safely as it's all stored safely online.  The toys and books will be sent straight to him to put into his Christmas sack to bring over to my daughter for Christmas morning in Cape Town.  Either that or he can send it straight to me and I'll pop it in my luggage and save him the trip!

Why not head over to Babyhuddle and create your own list for your little one for Christmas and send it to Grandparents and other family and friends too who can buy things that Father Christmas can't put into his sack?   I'd ask them to get in touch with mommy or daddy once they've ordered anything so that it can be taken off the list so that little one doesn't end up with 5 of the same thing!

Happy pre-Christmas shopping.

Ax


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