The Clumsy Gene

I often wonder if there is such a thing as a clumsy gene. In fact I’m 99% sure that there is one. I am ridiculously clumsy, and now, my daughter is too. I’m forever falling over things, I’m almost always covered in bruises and most of the time I can’t even remember which of my calamities caused any one particular bruise.

Aria is already following suit. Her knees are constantly covered in grazes, she very often has mysterious bruises and I feel like I am forever telling her to watch where she is going. If I leave a drawer open she will walk into it, if I don’t beat her to it of course! My most used phrases now are “Aria! Watch where you’re going!” and “Aria! Open your eyes!” usually in a panicked, loud voice.

Despite all of this I’ve never broken a bone in my body and have only been to Hospital once which was when I was eighteen months old and caught my thumb in a caravan door and needed stitches, I didn’t even go to Hospital when I gave birth!

Another surprising fact is that I have never had an accident at work, even when I was younger, earning a half decent wage and living with my parents with little to no expenses. Back when I made the most of being young free and single and went out and got drunk. A lot. Back when I would go to work hungover, sometimes quite possibly still drunk yet I never had an accident.

When you consider that young employees aged 16-29 are the most likely to suffer an accident at work it’s really quite surprising that I didn’t! What’s even more surprising is that only one in four of these young people who suffer genuine accidents at work go on to seek legal advice which is whyHayward Baker has launched a free to use interactive injury compensation calculator.

Survey results surrounding young people and accidents at work

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A Work From Home Mam – The Reality

I had so many plans for when I became a work from home mam. I would cook from scratch daily, bake regularly and make my own bread. Aria and I would spend a lot of time crafting, and also go out on play dates at least once a week. My house would be spotless and the washing baskets would never overflow again. Who was I trying to kid!?!

The reality has been somewhat different. In fact, the only one of those things that happens on a regular basis is the bread making, and, to be completely honest, The Hairy Biker bread maker from Ideal World* makes it so easy that there is no reason I couldn’t have made my own bread back when I was working and blogging, so there is definitely no excuse not to do it now.

Review of the Hairy Bikers bread machine from Ideal World

It’s a  winner though, and I am glad that this is one of the few things that I actually do. Aria loves the bread maker, she sits on the worktop watching it, giggling when it kneads the bread and mimicking the whirring noises as the machine does it’s thing. I’ve yet to get her to eat the actual bread but getting her to eat most things is a challenge, except stock cubes of course (see facebook for more on this particular subject!). Spencer and I on the other hand absolutely love the beautiful, thick doorstop bread fresh from the machine. Getting used to it has taken a while, the paddle got stuck in the bread on the first few attempts but a good coating of oil on it seems to have solved that problem now.

As with most things in life I love to cut corners which is what makes the Hairy Biker’s bread maker perfect for me. I’ve decided to ignore the booklet full of recipes that comes with the machine and just buy ready made bread mixes. I simply measure out the required amount of water and pour it into the machine followed by the bread mix, close the lid and press go. As simple as that. Around three hours later I have a delicious loaf of super fresh and tasty bread. Winning.

blog review of the hairy bikers bread maker from ideal world

As for the crafts, well I was a bit clever there, I know that I always put crafts off so I signed up to become a Bostik Blogger which means that I HAVE to do crafts with Aria at least once a month. It is usually a last minute panic a few days before (or on the day of!) the deadline but she loves it all the same. My crafts are made with a lot of help from Aria so they never look great but believe me when I say that Aria puts a lot of effort into them and yes, I get incredibly frustrated watching her do them, especially when she sticks eyes on bums and that type of thing. It takes a lot to stay strong and not take over.

toddler crafting - the realities of a work from home mam

I dreamed of having weekends and evenings off when I become a work from home mam, and I do tend to take weekends off which is lovely. As for the evenings they are usually spent on the ‘gram, although I do try and stick to a posting schedule of Sunday – Thursday so that I get some evenings off. I’m putting a lot more in now and as a result I am getting a lot more out. My Instagram feed is nicely curated and my following and engagement have increased, and I’ve managed this without neglecting my blog. None of this would have been possible if I were still working part time and running a blog.

I wish I could tell you that I was now more organised with my working schedule. But that would be a lie.

And my house is still a tip. I like to spend my days off with Aria having fun, not cleaning and I like to spend my working days, well, working.

While being a work from home mam isn’t exactly what I had expected it to be, I wouldn’t change it for the world.

*Disclosure – The bread maker was sent to me in exchange for promotion*

The Toddler’s Dream Garden

As mentioned in my bid to get fit, the sun has well and truly got it’s hat on and it’s making me all proactive. My to-do list has suddenly gone through the roof as a little bit of sunshine makes me want to take on the world. I’ve got plans to paint, de-clutter and organise, but most importantly I need to create the toddler’s dream garden, a safe haven for Aria to run around and play in.

We’ve been putting off work on our house for so long as the house as been on the market so we didn’t necessarily want to spend time and money on it. Now that the sale of our house has fallen through for the second time I think it’s time we gave in and gave this house some TLC. If we’re stuck here for a while we may as well enjoy it after all. It’s time to stop moaning and instead buy some tools and get working, I could even get Aria involved, how cool we should look in this fab children’s bib and brace!? I love that Engelbert Strauss stocks such a wide range of things from DIY tools to protective clothing meaning that we could just order everything from there and be done with it all.

So, what would my dream toddler garden contain? First off it needs to be pinterest friendly, because, well, why wouldn’t it? Within my, I mean Aria’s, perfect pinterest garden there would be a perfect pastel playhouse, a mud kitchen, a toadstool seating area and rubber flooring.

Ideally we wouldn’t want to spend too much money as hopefully we will sell our house at some point. My current thoughts are to buy a plain, cheap playhouse, similar to this, and decorate it ourselves, that way we can make it exactly how we want it and it will be one of a kind. With regard to the mud kitchen I have visions of us creating a beautiful master piece using the pallets that are sitting in our garden doing nothing, but in reality it would probably be a disaster so maybe I should buy one similar to Kelly‘s from My Mud Kitchen. I don’t mind splashing out on the toadstools as they can quite easily come with us when we move, and I am absolutely in love with this beautiful set from The Range.

Have I missed anything from my dream toddler garden do you think? What do you think your toddler would like to see included in their dream garden?

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The Uncultured Brit

I’m going to let you in on a little secret, I’m not very cultured, though it seems that not many of us Brits are. Did you know that more than one in ten Brits have fibbed in a bid to make themselves seem more cultured?  A new study shows that popular fibs include claiming to have visited a place they have never been to, enjoyed a book they’ve never read, or eaten food they secretly can’t stand! It’s all very bizarre isn’t it?

I’m not very cultured, but I’m not ashamed of that fact either. I do what I like, or at least what I can afford of what I like! Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been abroad a few times but I don’t think drinking vodka shots in places like Kavos and Magaluf really count towards culture. There I am back in 2004, being anything but cultured, in Kavos, Greece.

The uncultured Brit - drunk on an 18-30s holiday

However, I do quite enjoy avocado and quinoa and I LOVE dark chocolate so I’m not a complete loss, unlike some of our fellow Brits who even fib about enjoying those yummy foods!

Don’t get me wrong, I have, at times, uttered the words “I wish I liked that” but I’m not going to eat something that I don’t enjoy in a bid to make myself seem more cultured, neither am I going to fib about going somewhere that I haven’t for that very same reason. At the end of the day, I’m just a Valleys girl who loves to spend time with family and friends, loves taking photos, loves drinking pints and dreams of one day, going on a Caribbean Cruise so that I can do all of those things while visiting several different countries and only having the stress of packing once.

infographic regarding uncultured Brits

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Blogging Income & Stats March 2017

As I had hoped quite a few of my outstanding payments from January and February came in during March. Thankfully all but one paid without chasing, huge relief as I hate having to chase people.

My stats have taken another big drop and I’m not at all surprised. House viewings, finally selling our house and going on holiday has meant that I’ve taken a lot of time away from blogging and just haven’t had the time to create and promote new content.

During March my blog received 11,635 page views, 7,847 of which were from unique users. I finished the month with a domain authority of 29 and a Klout score of 70. My Tots100 score has dropped slightly but I am still sitting pretty at 72, while I remain in the top 100 I can happily cope with a drop of three, although I am quite concerned about the next update due to my huge drop in page views.

My followings on the 2nd April (I forgot to jot down the figures yesterday!) were as follows:

Facebook : 946
Twitter : 6,705
Instagram : 20,652
Pinterest : 1,000
Google+ : 404
Bloglovin’ : 1,153
YouTube : 163

My earnings during March were:

Sponsored blog post fees – £692
Commission/referral fees – £25

Total income – £717

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Hosting fees – £9.98
Paypal fees – £7.44 (I get charged when companies pay me via Paypal)
Animation & Header image – £100
Photoshop – £8.57
iCloud Storage – £0.79
Social media scheduling programme – £9.98

Total Expenses : £136.76

Total income less expenses : £580.24

On top of the income I received the following to promote/review.

Degustabox, Trespass walking boots, Huntleys shoes & outfit for Aria, Blade & Rose clothing for Aria and a holiday to Butlin’s.

I currently have outstanding sponsored post fees totalling £153 which is a little worrying as it is quite a low figure, but I am in talks for a few other projects and have got another £215 worth of work to invoice today so hopefully all will be well!

My five most popular posts published in March were:

Blogging Income & Stats February 2017
Motherhood, The Lonely Truth
The Disorganised Mother’s Guide To Money Saving
Bluestone On A Budget
Office Makeover Part 1

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A Parenting and Lifestyle blogging income and stats report - showing earnings, expenses and stats throughout the month of March 2017