At certain times of the year – which usually includes the time around my birthday and Christmas – I find myself doing a bit of deep thinking. I think subconsciously I start thinking about getting older or about spending quality time with the family – and then I start to question myself, my dreams and my goals.
I start reflecting on my life; what I've achieved – and mostly what I haven't. July is my birthday month – and this birthday was possibly the first one where I really didn't want to think too much about how old I am. Some self doubt crept in (as you'll read later) and, as it turned out, all I really needed was a couple of friends to give me a kick up the backside.
July has been an interesting month. I have turned down quite a lot of opportunities to play ‘catch up' on things that i've wanted to get on top of. I haven't mastered them all yet of course, but what I have realised is that my blog needs more focus on affordable travel and interiors.
I also needed a game plan on when I should be posting as it was getting out of hand. So, from August (all being well), i'll be uploading posts twice a week – one on something travel-related and one on interior-related. Everything else will get posted as and when I can, and the weekly scoop will continue to be uploaded every week – usually on a Friday.
Guest Posts & Opportunities
This month I’ve continued my regular posts for Meet Other Mums (my latest post discusses whether kids should be paid for helping around the house) and BritMums (where I continue to highlight bloggers who have found a great bargain or went on a shopping haul).
Meanwhile, Laura from Laura’s Lovely Blog (who is a fellow round-up editor for BritMums) included my review on Insider London on her round-up post. Thanks Laura!
Last month I mentioned that I went on a press trip to Corsica with Mark Warner. As you can imagine, I had an amazing time and I put together a blog post on how the resort offered an affordable family getaway.
There’s still more to come from my time away – as I’ve still got ideas to share.
I was recently sent some Gorilla Glue, which is well known for its strong and reliable properties – and claims to be amongst the toughest glues in the UK.
VIP decided to put this to the test on Girlwrighter’s sunglasses (when an arm broke off). That was two weeks ago and so far it’s standing the test of time. Find out more about it here – and where you can get your own.
WHAT MORE UK
Finally, right at the end of July I hooked up What More UK to offer two sets of Wham Flexi items in my monthly competition for readers – to run throughout August.
You can find out more about their great product range here.
Who I met
This month I was lucky enough to hook up with not one, not two, but three fabulous bloggers! First I met Caroline from Girl About Townhouse and we ventured along to the George at Asda and DotComGiftShop press shows.
Then I met Kerry from Kerry Life & Loves for lunch, a good old chin wag and a quick shop. Finally I hooked up with Anna from Anna Nuttall in a lovely little London tea shop for tea, cake and a good dose of conversation about all things blog related!
I have to say how refreshing I find having conversations with other bloggers; we’re all going through similar experiences and it’s great to be able to learn from others, have people understand what you’re trying to achieve and share my own insights, tips and tricks.
Some of you asked if you could see all of the media kit after the sneak peek I offered in my May blogging month – and I’m happy to oblige.
You can check it out here: And if you’re interested in having graphic designer Nicky Valakmakis design your very own media kit (she does great rates) you can email her at: firstname.lastname@example.org – she’s offering 20% off to readers of Home and Horizon until the end of August – hurray!
Talking of my media pack, one of my epic fails has been something that I’ve never really got my head round on WordPress (yet!).
If any of you have the answer to this – please do share! So I had my media pack as a PDF file and I uploaded this to my blog site. I then copied the URL link of the media pack and made a short link (using Bit.ly) to make it a nice simple bit.ly/HAHmediapack – so far so good.
However, since uploading it, my stats have gone up, my social media followers have increased and so has my domain authority.
So I alter the original document, save it as a PDF and re-upload it to my blog – BUT I want to replace the old document and KEEP the same URL and shortcode. However, when I upload the new PDF, it saves it in a new location on my blog with a totally different URL!
Can anyone save me hours of time by telling me if there’s a way I can ‘overide’ the old document with my new media pack?
I’ve had a couple of other ‘epic fails’ this month.
One of them was my ebook. I went all out with good intentions of getting my ebook launched – and even found someone to take on the challenge of designing it for me. But sadly, after sitting on it for a while they decided that they didn’t have the skills to do it. So now I’m back to square 1. The good news is that I’ve got it all written up – it’s just a question of having someone design itwithout costing an arm and a leg. I might have to give Fiverr.com a go for this one!
The other epic fail was that I haven’t yet managed to bag a brand ambassador role, so I’m going to have to extend this target to next month and maybe September or October – or actually, as long as it takes.
In the charts
It looks like I’ve jumped a few more spaces on the HIBS badge (which charts progress for Home Interest Bloggers). Last month I was in 142nd position and this month I somehow managed to jump 21 spaces to 121st position. The 100th position is in sight!
I also checked my DA score (Domain Authority) and I’ve climbed from 25 to 28 too. I don’t like to get too bogged down with stats and scores, but I find it’s a good motivator to chart progress.
My vlogging channel
June and July are two months in the ‘interiors calendar’ that are synonymous with supermarkets and High Street shops unveiling their new collections for autumn, winter and Christmas.
This means that I’ve had the pleasure of going to quite a few shows over the last month or so – it has been tiring but so rewarding to see what will be lining the shelves in the coming months.
So far I’ve made a few videos (with more in the pipeline), but the ones that are now ready to watch include:
Other videos I’ve managed to scramble together this month have included
- Gift Haul Ideas from Exclusively Housewares 2017: Last month I was invited to Exclusively Housewares 2017 in London where I enjoyed a trend tour of the exhibition hall and a good old snoop around the Brand Showcase & Press Gifting Room.
- A Chic Introduction To Frenchic Paint at the London Showcase (where I even met the lovely Max McMurdo!)
I recently discovered something called Social Bluebook, where bloggers can work out how much to charge for posts and social media content with brands.
It’s a great idea as there doesn’t seem to be any standard guidelines out there, so at least this gives bloggers a place to start.
I had a moment of crisis last week. You know sometimes when you doubt yourself and the countless hours you devote to things, wondering if it’s worth all the effort and time? I plodded on regardless but I just felt really deflated.
I’m sure we all feel like this at times – and perhaps compare ourselves with people we aspire to, which makes things worse of course.
Anyway, I shared my feelings with two great friends (who both have their own businesses) and they immediately jumped to my defense, reassuring me that I was doing great and that persistence pays off.
It was so nice to get their feedback; normally I keep my feelings to myself but I’m glad I didn’t this time. They really did cheer me up. So thanks Kris and Wibke if you’re reading this – YOU GIRLS ROCK!
Out and about
Hand in hand with some of the videos I made were some blog posts.
Sainsburys had its Autumn/Winter and Christmas Show and was showcasing it’s wares along with brands Argos and Habitat.
So I didn’t just get ideas (and goodie bags) from one show – I got them from all three! You can read about some of the upcoming themes being showcased or if you fancy a tour of the shows and see what’s in the goodie bags, you can watch the video!
Lakeland also showcased its autumn/winter collections and unveiled its 2017 trend predictions which were really interesting to see.
One of my favourite events I attended was Frenchic’s showcase event. The company has now added to its gorgeous range with an al fresco range – and I can’t wait to try it out.
What I loved about the event was that we were each given a wooden heart and had a choice of how we could decorate it – by painting, decoupage, painting using crackle glaze…there were lots of different looks to go for.
I chose to leave mine au natural and opt for a spot of decoupage. It has a masculine feel but I’m delighted with the result – what do you think?
The Blogging Month At A Glance
What was great? Without a shadow of a doubt it was meeting three bloggers who I now consider my friends – Caroline, Kerry and Anna.
What wasn’t? Getting let down by someone who said they could help design my ebook. Not meeting my June target of becoming a brand ambassador. I did have one company in the pipeline for this; in fact, I’m hoping it’s STILL in the pipeline as I’m a huge fan of this company – and I know I would do them proud, but I’m still waiting to hear back from them. Watch this space I guess!
Goals for August: Find someone on Fiverr.com who can take on the challenge of designing my ebook. And find another person on Fivver.com who can create a nice introduction to my YouTube videos – this has sat on the back burner for a while now!
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