April has come and gone in the blink of an eye hasn't it? Before long it will be summer and hopefully I'll be spending more weekends outdoors.
This month has seen a few collaborations, a speaking gig at a blog conference and a couple of things that I usually refer to as ‘epic fails' but aren't really – it's just me giving myself a hard time! So I'll start with my ‘epic fails' and as usual end on a high note.
‘Epic Fail' number 1
Over Easter I went to DisneyWorld in Florida with the kids and my parents. The holiday was a VERY generous Christmas present from my parents and we had the most brilliant time. This isn't the ‘Epic Fail' of course, but I wanted to have at least one blog post published about the trip and at least one video done. The most I've managed to achieve on this is a video review on the Plaza Premium Business Lounge at Heathrow's Terminal 2.
Actually, that's a lie. Girlwrighter and I also knocked up a video about our mini shopping haul in Florida. It was mini because it's so expensive for Brits right now.
Anyway, I could probably knock out at least 10 blog posts about the trip, but like many bloggers raising a family and working full time are commitments that come first, leaving fewer hours than I'd like spent on the blog.
‘Epic Fail' number 2
I was really disappointed with a well known brand who contacted me to see if they could work with me. Without naming names, they wanted me to come up with some ideas to update an area of my home and write about thrifty tips on saving money.
The blog post was of course right up my street and I had planned to update a corner of my garden to make it a real ‘English Country Garden' complete with a weathered looking desk, beautiful English flowers, some lovely ornaments…you get the drift.
So while on holiday VIP and I planned what we'd buy (doing some pretty thorough research online) and I had pretty much finished writing up the post on the plane on the way home. The only thing that need doing was ordering the products online and photographing them.
To cut a long story short (you can read more about my views on this in Vuelio's Blogger In The Spotlight interview with me), they ended up emailing me saying they can't work on the project due to budget constraints. I thought it was rather mean after a publishing date for the post had been agreed – and then three weeks later they changed their mind.
I do love working with brands and PRs, but there does need to be more transparency – I'd be interested to hear what other bloggers think about this too – feel free to leave your comments on this below!
I was beyond excited when Debenhams got in touch with me to see if I'd like to work with them. Work with Debenhams and be rewarded for the privilege? Hell yeah! So despite me being away for two weeks over Easter I was determined to pull out all the stops to make this happen.
The result was a blog post about taking your spring home from ‘drab to fab' with some Spring Cleaning Tips and Decoration. You should have seen the delivery I received though – in fact, you can because I took a picture before I opened the boxes of items I'd chosen myself for the project….
Guest posts & opportunities
One of my fave brands, Rex London (previously DotComGiftShop) got in touch to let me know that they'd written an article reviewing their favourite interior design bloggers, and that I had been featured! If you'd like a read it's right here!
Also, you may remember from my January Blogging Month Report I reported on my HIBS chart progress where I was placed in 255th position and in February I'd climbed to 247th position. I worked out that if I were ever to take the top spot that it would take me two-and-a-half years to get there.
I checked it the other day and it appears that I've jumped to 191st on HIBS, which means that in two months I've jumped 48 spaces. I have absolutely no idea how they determine rankings, but I'll just keep doing what I'm doing.
Other writing gigs have included 50 Things Only Dads With Daughters Know on the Meet Other Mums website and I was also interviewed on Alex's That Butterfly Effect blog for her #WonderMamaTribe series, chatting about my son Luis, who was born with clubfoot. There are some wonderful comments on the post which have been supportive and lovely to read.
My vlogging channel
As usual I've been continuing with the Weekly Scoops on my YouTube channel, where every week I highlight 10 new things in travel and interiors. It's hard work putting this together every week, but despite my low subscriber numbers I've had some really positive feedback from people on it.
While I'm on the subject of positive feedback, I received a lovely note from another blogger who had found me through my Instagram channel. She wrote me a note asking where I'd been all her life and that she loved what I wrote about and how I wrote it – basically that she was my biggest fan. I was on such a high that week as you can imagine.
I'm a big advocate for letting other bloggers know that you've enjoyed their latest post or supporting them by sharing their content on social media. I think it's important (and nice) for other bloggers to support each other in this way. Stronger in numbers and all that.
As I mentioned, I was one of Traverse's conference speakers at Traverse 17 this weekend just gone. Along with my lovely friend (and also an editor), Tania O'Donnell, we spoke at length about How to Successfully Pitch To Editors (and get them coming back for more).
I've been inundated with messages following the event – all in praise and saying how useful and insightful the session was. I think I probably enjoyed it above everyone (I love helping others), so without going down a career change, I'd like to start putting myself forward for more opportunities like this – and possibly smaller focus groups.
I discovered LINKILIKE – an automatic content seeding tool, which provides focused, quick and authentic reach for content.
I attended a few other speaker sessions at Traverse 17 and I have learnt soooooooo much. Two sessions that particularly stood out for me was Monika Stott's Money Making Game Changers session where she spoke about tips for travel bloggers and working with brands and Judith Lewis' 12 Tips For A Better SEO Life.
I am literally buzzing with ideas now and if I didn't know anything about SEO before, I certainly know about it now – and boy, have I been doing a few things wrong!
My new logo
If you haven't yet noticed I've got a new header logo for my blog (which is also featured on my Facebook Page) and I had a simple logo made to go with it which looks like this…
Both of these I got designed through Fiverr – of course, they weren't just £5 – you can choose higher spec packages, but I'm thrilled with the result! Let me know what you think!
The Blogging Month At A Glance
What was great? My highlight this month by far was my speaking gig at The Traverse 17 conference in London.
What wasn’t? The disappointment I felt after being let down by a brand when I had put a lot of time and effort into something that was agreed on.
Goals for May: Explore more speaker opportunities as I got such a kick out of this and sort out (and implement) some strategies for SEO that I gleaned from Judith's conference session.