Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Twelve Reasons I'm The Last Person You Should Ask For Blogging Advice

I'm always flattered when I'm asked for my advice around starting a blog/reaching more people/my 'top social media tips' but the more messages I receive the more I realise just how unprofessional I am at this thing we call blogging.

Here are twelve reasons I'm underqualified to show anybody the blogging ropes:

1) I don't know what Bloglovin is.
Serious question, do I need this in my life?

2) Facebook is the lifeblood of my blog.
Though I have always felt like Twitter is the spiritual home of parent bloggers, my Facebook page is much busier. Sometimes I feel like I am on Facebook island, with the real parent bloggers hanging out in the other blue room with the birdy wallpaper.

3) I blog sporadically.
Sometimes twice in one week, sometimes just once a month. Occasionally I see other bloggers tweet, 'I'm behind on posting this week, sorry guys' and I think, 'fuck, I haven't posted for 5 weeks'. Is there an unsaid obligation of post regularity? Am I failing at that too?

4) I'm not on Pinterest.
I don't really have any interests outside of wine and Tom Hardy.

5) I have a blogspot website address.
I recently read something which said the most important thing about being taken seriously as a blogger is having your own www.nameofblog.com website address. I missed that memo early on and I'm not going to change it now.

6) My blog design is shite.

Equally important is the professional design of your blog page - the first impression created when people 'land' on your page. Usually there is a fancy header and customised social media buttons. Well bollocks and arse. My 'design' is a bloody shambles because I did it myself so it looks like a Year 9 IT project. I genuinely need to do something about that...*puts the kettle on instead.*
I know, I know. 'Tis a bit crap.
7) I don't do reviews.
In fact, I think I might be a bit PR unfriendly because I find it all a bit awkward so I just say no to everything. Thank you, but no thank you. And then later think shit, I should have taken the free stuff. Just to be clear I sometimes do mention stuff I've been given, I also mention stuff I've paid out for - but I don't review anything, it's just stuff I would have bought or used regardless.

8) I'm not making any money from my blog.

When somebody asked me, "how do you monetise your blog?" I was like, "Sorry what?" No idea what you're talking about, unless you mean from adverts which I decided against. I've also had messages asking me how many followers I had to attract before I could 'make a living' from my blog. Again, WTF? I make the same money from my 150k social media followers as I made from 50 followers i.e. the square root of fuck all.

9) I don't know what the Tots100 chart is.
I logged on once to find I'd 'dropped' down the rankings but have no idea what this means. I've now forgotten my password and I got distracted checking eBay the last time I thought about resetting it. I'll probably never check it again.

10) I've never hosted a 'linky' or come up with a weekly hashtag .
I'm looking at parent blogging legends like you BrummyMummyof2 with your #WickedWednesdays and you Al (The Dad Network) for your overall ease with all things Proper Parent Blogger. Hats off to you all, I'll just eat some crisps over here.

11) I've never scheduled a tweet.
Nor would I know how to do this. I tweet when I'm on hand to respond, is that not a good idea? I probably clog up the feeds of my followers with mass tweets in two hour stints when I'm chain-drinking wine tea on the sofa. I don't understand why I need to spread my tweets out? Again, this is a serious question. Answers on a postcard.

12) I've never been to a blogging event/do of any kind.
In fact the MAD blog awards do in September will be my first ever outing in my capacity as a 'blogger'. I've only ever met one other parent blogger. I am rubbish.

Basically, I don't really feel like a proper blogger. But in my own slightly unprofessional and rookie way I'm having a great time. Maybe there aren't any hard and fast rules, just guidelines that it probably makes sense to follow because they are mostly very sensible.

So to all the new bloggers who have messaged or emailed me to ask for tips I would say this: just do what you fancy.*

[*and maybe ask the slightly more proficient bloggers for genuine help, because jokes aside the blogging community is a bloody lovely one and if you rely on me for help you're drawing the short straw. Not a clue.] 

The Unmumsy Mum

Sunday, 26 July 2015

A night without the kids.

"And breathe..." we said as we headed off in the car WITHOUT our children. Massive respect to Granny and Grandad for hearing our pleas and taking charge of our crazy ones overnight ("they won't cause you any trouble at all, none at all, bye now...keep smiling and DRIVE.")

We were heading somewhere posh ("can I get away with leggings?") for our first night away in over two years and taking the opportunity to celebrate two things; the hubby's birthday (the big 3-2) and our fifth wedding anniversary, which is coming up in a couple of weeks. We haven't actually celebrated any anniversaries yet, probably because for the past four years I have either been pregnant, breastfeeding or just a bit fucking grumpy (and Valentine's Day lost any shred of romantic appeal in 2012 when Boy One claimed it as his birthday).

Destination: sleep
 So a night away was just what the doctor ordered; or it would have been if the doctor had observed me taking myself for a Time Out in the downstairs toilet this week because the baby had bitten the three year old and the three year old was savage because he didn't want that beaker he wanted THE ONE WITH THE BLUE LID! Somebody fire Mummy, she is clearly fucking ignorant about beaker etiquette.

The best bits about spending a night away
- Pretending we were teenagers listening to Snoop Dogg in the car because we could. Because all of a sudden there was no restriction on hearing about bitches in the living room gettin it on (and they ain't leavin til six in the mornin) - though there is no doubt we looked like major twats rollin' down the street in our ten year old Vauxhall Astra which struggles to accelerate unless in third gear and has a backseat strewn with breadsticks, sick-encrusted Duplo and an Aquadoodle. Incidentally, I found that without even thinking I had packed some baby wipes and a Fruit Shoot. Just in case.

- The peace. So bloody obvious but we definitely had 'a moment' of drinking in the silence and realising that for the best part of a day there would be no crying. We were at our hotel for twenty hours and nobody cried.

- Having a relaxing bath. We have no bath at home, not that I'm at all bitter that we bought a house with a bathroom too small to fit even the smallest bath in, not at all...anyway, the bath at our hotel was the Bees Knees. And nobody stopped me mid leg-shave to tell me they needed 'a mixture' (a mixture of a wee and a poo, just to be clear, yes this happens at home).

- Straightening my hair and putting actual make-up on in front of a mirror. 
- Eating dinner in peace. A posh one at that. We're very much a pesto pasta family. Occasionally we mix it up with some sausages/potato wedges/beans. And meals out, if we're being honest, are at that establishment lit up with the giant letter that comes before N (where you get a shitty minion toy to further bribe the child whose questionable behaviour has already been rewarded with chicken nuggets). But not this time. This time we enjoyed fine dining. We had not just a waiter but also a WINE WAITER. Bloody hell, it was a cut above my usual G&T in a tin.

- Eleven hours sleep (I'm SO sorry to people in the midst of night feed hell right now but I've paid my dues and your time will come too. There is hope. My baby is nearly 11 months and I am full of hope at the moment). We went to sleep at 9.30pm. 9.30pm! That is what parenthood (and a bottle of Prosecco) does to you.

But in the morning, after our fatboy breakfasts and an undisturbed pot of tea, we were ready to go home.

"Let's get back," we agreed, as we fired up some 50 Cent for the return journey (Now I'ma let the champagne bottle pop, I'ma take it to the top, for sho I'ma make it hot, baby (baby)...shall we stop at Tesco for nappies?)

And we were genuinely happy to get back.

Back to the familiar chaos of the living-room, littered with Happyland people and other unidentifiable plastic crap.

Back to the crying, the bath-less bathroom, the frozen pizza and G&Ts in tins.

Back to our boys, who, it has to be said, we were thinking about all of the time (except the eleven hours we were sleeping, obviously).

Maybe absence really does make the heart grow fonder, or at the very least slightly more tolerant. Tolerance we just might need for our next planned trip away...three nights in a caravan, with both the kids...

The Unmumsy Mum
We stayed at the glorious
Boringdon Hall on the outskirts of Plymouth

The long-suffering Mr Unmumsy, 32 tomorrow

Saturday, 25 July 2015

Baking in ten easy steps (by my three year old)

Step one
Start fondling the sweets you chose for decoration whilst your Mummy weighs out the boring stuff. She will let you have a sweet to keep you quiet because she's trying to concentrate. Take four.

"One for me, one for me..."

Step two
Have a turn at breaking an egg. Throw the egg along with half the shell into the bowl. Keep asking "can I try the mixture, can I try the mixture?" as she mixes it.

Step three
Accidentally stick your whole hand in the cake mix, lick all your fingers and stick it back in again. Reiterate that this was an accident.

Step four
Help spoon the mixture in the cake cases, mostly missing the cases altogether. Mostly aiming for your mouth.

Step five
Hover near the oven because it's hilarious to watch her shout "step away, it's hot!" every 20 seconds.

Step six
When the cakes are out of the oven, she will insist they need to cool before they can be iced. This is lies. Keep touching them whilst whinging "but Muuuummmmm they're not too hot!" until she starts mixing the icing.

Step seven
This is the best bit. She will be keen to decorate a couple of cakes herself so will give you a few of your own. Smother icing all over the worktop and your hands. Get stuck in. She will look quite disturbed by your haphazard decorating technique.

Step eight
Shovel further icing and sweets into your gob whilst she goes to get a cloth. This could be your last chance, though have a word with your baby brother beforehand as a cupboard-emptying performance can also serve as a distraction. If he drops a pan on his foot he gets a gummy bear later, that's the rules.

Good work bro, I knew you'd come good eventually

Step nine
Ask to watch TV, you'll be granted at least two episodes of Scooby Doo whilst she sorts out the 'bloody mess' in the kitchen. The funny thing is there isn't even any blood. Silly Mummy! If you are aiming for a third episode and/or the iPad maybe 'help' with sifting the flour in Step Two.

Step ten
Tell your Daddy all about his surprise birthday buns the moment he gets in the door. Tell him where they are hidden and that there are candles. Watch Mummy do that strange thing where she puts her hands over her eyes and sighs. HA HA HA HA Mummy you're such a card.

Bake It Better
19-25 October is Great Ormond Street Hospital Children's Charity's #BakeItBetter campaign. Find out how you can get involved (by holding a bake sale and other fun* activities) at www.bakeitbetter.org
*Or if like me you find baking a total nightmare you can just donate and eat somebody else's cakes with a cup of tea instead.

The Unmumsy Mum

Thursday, 16 July 2015

An alternative Peppa Pig script

Narrator: It's a lovely sunny day and Peppa and George are playing in the garden.

Peppa: I'm better at jumping up and down in muddy puddles than you are. You're rubbish.


Narrator: Mummy Pig is in the kitchen, wondering what happened to her life.

Mummy Pig: What's the matter, Peppa?
Peppa: George kicked me!
Mummy Pig: Jesus wept can you two not play nicely for five minutes?
George: NO
Peppa: NO
Mummy Pig: I'm calling Daddy Pig.


Daddy Pig: Hello, Daddy Pig speaking
Mummy Pig: Why haven't you replied to my texts Daddy Pig? I've had just about enough of this day which has been going on FOREVER. What time will you be home?
Daddy Pig: Ahhh, I forgot to tell you... I'm working late.
Mummy Pig: Are you shitting me, Daddy Pig?
Daddy Pig: [laughs] Ho ho ho. I'm afraid not Mummy Pig. Do you need me to pick anything up on the way home?
Mummy Pig: Wine.


Mummy Pig: Peppa, George - what do you want to do until Daddy Pig comes home?
Peppa: Let's sing the Bing Bong song!
George: Bong bing boo, bing bong bing, bing bong bingly bongly boo (x2)


The end.

Saturday, 4 July 2015

Lesson 59: Quit while you're ahead

Last Sunday I took Boy One to the cinema. A rare outing just the two of us and it was great.

The end.

Just kidding.

Actually the cinema was great. Personally I don't get the Minions thing (there were adults wearing Minions T-shirts watching the 10am screening on their own, some laughing hysterically at Kevin and Stuart saying "banana" and cheering at King Bob...but each to their own). My boy was happy and I was happy that he was happy. I also inhaled £7.46 worth of Pic 'n' Mix and enjoyed 90 minutes of not being whinged at. It was fun.

And then I made a mistake.
Rather than returning home on a high note (whilst we were both still laughing and smiling and holding hands like something out of the Boden catalogue) I decided it would be the PERFECT opportunity to go and get him some new shoes. He could pick some and it would be so much easier without the baby in tow. It would be FUN.

I am such a dick.
It wasn't fun. This is what went down:
  • I asked him if he needed the toilet as we left the cinema. No, he most definitely did not. Five minutes later he was shouting "I NEED A POO IT'S GOING TO COME OUT." I then had to pick him up and run with him to John Lewis. Nothing raises your blood pressure quite like carrying 2.5 stone of ready-to-detonate poo bomb. He was much less desperate by the time we go there. Funny that.
  • He lay on the floor in H&M, refusing to try on any shoes. When I finally managed to wrestle a pair on (and I mean WRESTLE - the other shoppers pretended not to notice as I pinned down his limbs whilst he made loud fart noises) he ran off with the elastic tying the shoes together still attached, tripping him up and snapping the elastic.
  • He cried because I wouldn't let him go down another escalator. We were already on the ground floor.
  • He ordered chicken nuggets but when they arrived dropped the bombshell that he doesn't like chicken anymore (but he "might like it again when's he's 4 because 4 year olds can have chicken").

By the time we returned home I was in a rage ("why he is always like this for me? Nobody else has to put up with this shit!") and the joyful 1.5 hour cinema date was a distant memory.

Moral(s) of the story?
Quit while you're ahead. 
Don't bother shoe shopping.
Don't buy chicken nuggets for a 3 year old because only 4 year olds eat chicken. FACT.

The Unmumsy Mum