Hotpod Yoga Comes to #Worthing – my latest post on Worthing Mums

A new hotpod yoga studio has opened in Worthing, and owner Katie invited Worthing Mums to come and try it out. She has a special offer for our readers if you’d like to try it too. With hot yoga, the heat enables muscles to stretch more, opening up into tighter areas safely, as well as……

via Review: Hotpod Yoga Comes to Worthing —

As well as writing my own blog, I sometimes write for Worthing Mums. My most recent post is a review of the new Hotpod yoga studio that has opened in Worthing. I’ve practised yoga for some time, but hot yoga is a a completely different experience. Open the link to find out more.

My guest post on Queer Little Family

After a shower. When Bread listed the subjects her blog covers, I decided to write about cats. Since my own blog Dog Days and Delights relates to parenting and creative writing, and the other blog that I write for is Worthing Mums (the clue’s in the name), my cat doesn’t get much of a look…

via Guest Post: Another Village…Another Cat — Queer Little Family

Here is my guest post on Queer Little Family. Like me, Bread blogs about parenting and she writes poetry and fiction. The subjects on her blog are pretty diverse and include cats, LGBT, and mental health issues. I don’t think my cat has forgiven me for posting a picture of her when she came out of the shower. So I thought I’d offer her some redress and write a blog post about her. I’d recommend checking out Queer Little Family, as Bread writes some interesting stuff.


#ThrowBackThursday: Counting Magpies

I’ve decided to post a throwback post once a week. This will be either a blog post or journal that I’ve written at some point in the past. Some will still be available in the depths of the internet, others will have never seen the light of day before. Today’s is from my 2011/12 pregnancy blog.

Being pregnant makes me superstitious.  Is that normal?  My “new best friend” Heidi Murkoff doesn’t seem to have anything to say on the subject.  I’ve heard of people not wanting to buy things for the baby too early in case they “tempt fate” and I’m probably with them on that, but with me it’s all about the magpies (and I don’t mean Newcastle United).

It started last year, when I was about six weeks pregnant and waiting for a scan which would tell me whether my pregnancy was viable.  I looked out of the kitchen window and saw a magpie on the fence.  I’ve never seen a magpie in my garden before or since and the phrase “one for sorrow” sprung to mind.  I can’t say I was surprised when I was told I’d had a miscarriage at my scan a few days later.

This pregnancy, I seem to have spent a lot of time saluting solitary magpies.  Apparently you only need to salute the first one of the day, but it’s still quite time consuming.  Quite often, I’ve saluted a magpie only to find he has a mate.  Surely a good sign…”two for joy” and all that!  On several occasions, I’ve seen three magpies (“three for a girl”) together and once or twice four (“four for a boy”).  The threes outnumber the fours, and if I’m being honest, I’d prefer a girl so I’m hoping the magpies are right!

Last week I had my combined screening for Downs Syndrome, and was told I’d receive a phone call if I was high risk.  I knew I was low risk because I saw two magpies and a black cat crossed my path when I was on my way to work.

Well, I’m off to count magpies, avoid ladders, dodge the number 13 and not wear green.   I’m just glad that I won’t be having my baby in the same maternity hospital as my sister-in-law, where a tame magpie perches on the window sill outside the maternity ward every day.

My First Ever Reblog – Bang2Write

Are you wondering why your work isn’t getting the reaction you think it deserves? Then you may be making some simple but harmful errors as a new writer. New writers often make mistakes, and while some enable you to learn and grow, others will make your writing bad, or make you seem unprofessional. Here are…

In my first ever reblog, I bring you a list of ten things to avoid as a new writer, via Top 10 Things to Avoid as A New Writer — Bang2Write.

As a not-so-new writer who has published and submitted very little, I think I’m only guilty of number 8 – not selling yourself. As I’ve said in a couple of blog posts, I’m not good at blowing my own trumpet.

For the first time in forever…

Sorry, I couldn’t resist quoting Disney’s Frozen. Anyone would think I was the mother of a little girl! This post is about things I’ve done in the last week or so, or am about to do for the first time:

  1. I had my highest blog views ever on Saturday, mainly down to this post about needing a children’s shoe shop in my home town. This is clearly something Worthing parents want, so I hope Claire from Harmony at Home can make it happen.
  2. I wrote my first ever guest blog. It’s all about my cat. After the picture I posted of her last week, I thought she deserved some redress. I’ll be sure to reblog after it goes live on 10th August.
  3. My first ever reblog is scheduled. Following a suggestion from SJ Higbee on my ranty post about lack of blog views, I’m going to reblog from time to time to increase the content on this site. The first post is about creative writing, but I’ll also include posts relating to parenting and other subjects covered on my blog.
  4. I was nominated for the Liebster Award for the first time. Before anyone gets excited and buys a new hat, this is a blogging challenge aimed at bloggers with less than a thousand followers. It works rather like a chain letter. I was nominated by Lisa, who has also just written a fab post about her epilepsy. My Liebster Award post will be coming soon.
  5. We survived five days without Munchkin – this is the longest we’ve ever been apart. She came home on Friday, having had a whale of a time with her cousin.
  6. I started my first ever submission to a literary agent, then I started procrastinating and I still haven’t finished it! Maybe tomorrow…
  7. I joined my first ever linky. In case you were wondering, this is where a blogger or group of bloggers invites people to share links to posts on a particular theme. The theme was #PostsFromTheHeart, and I shared my Gap In The Market post.
  8. We went to our local Italian restaurant for the first time, and are pleased to report that we’ll be going back.

Photo credit:

Update: They voted with their feet #kidsshoesinworthing

This is an update on the post, Voting With Your Feet, which was about the need for a children’s shoe shop in Worthing. Thank you to the 100 plus people who completed the survey.

With Jones running down their children’s stock, and Clarks kindly deciding to only make children’s sandals in F fitting this year, we’ve already felt the pinch – literally in Munchkin’s case – of Jones ceasing to sell children’s shoes.

I passed the survey results to Claire from Harmony at Home, and here is an update from her. In summary, she really appreciates everyone’s feedback and is still looking to stock shoes but it won’t happen this year.

I just wanted to get back to you on where I am with the possibility of stocking shoes. I would love to be able to do this and I really appreciate all the feedback and your help. The survey was so interesting and covers everything that I would want to focus on. Trained staff, good range of width fittings, variety and good accessibility for parents and children. I am going to pursue this further but it’s going to be a long process and one that I will need to review next year. As you know our business is still new to Worthing so we still have lots to do in terms of raising awareness of the shop with marketing and advertising etc.

After meeting with Start Rite it is clear there is a very big financial commitment. And that’s just with them, obviously I would want to stock other brands too. As well as the financial outlay space is also a big issue. I’ve spoken to suppliers and other retailers and all of them have told me that space is a big consideration. Everyone has recommended that you need almost the same space in storage as selling space. Something that is a possibility for us but again it would need a lot of planning etc. So I’m still very much working on it as a project but it’s certainly not going to be immediate. I just wanted to update you though because I didn’t want you to think I’d either forgotten or didn’t appreciate all the feedback and the time that people took when completing the survey. Any news at all I will obviously keep you updated!

Kind regards,

Claire x

In the meantime, those of us who can’t find anything suitable for our children in Worthing will need to travel to Hove, Haywards Heath or Lewes, where there are independent shoe shops stocking a variety of brands and width fittings.

While the mouse is away…

Munchkin has gone to stay with her aunty for a few days. We only said goodbye a few hours ago and I’ve already threatened to shower the cat and read her a bedtime story.

showered cat

The cat last time I showered her – she still hasn’t forgiven me…

I’m really pleased that the Animal Agents Summer Reading Challenge is being held in libraries nationally. It means that Munchkin can continue the challenge in Warwickshire with her cousin – they’re both on book three of six so I think they’ll complete it well before they go back to school in September.

Other activities that Munchkin’s aunt and uncle have lined up for her in Warwickshire include:

  1. Ryton Pools Country Park
  2. Hatton Country World
  3. Conkers indoor and ourdoor play in the National Forest
  4. Plantasia & Maze World

Meanwhile, her daddy and I will be having a rare evening out without having to worry about a babysitter. We’re planning on checking out the recently opened Establo Lounge and much less new La Cucina in Rustington.

Being Munchkin-less for a few days will hopefully give me the chance to catch up on some writing. Number one on the list is to find an agent and submit Sky Man. I decided not to go with the original agent as they stopped posting on social media last year and I was concerned they could be in difficulties. I’m now considering a more established agent who has made it clear that they take debut writers. I signed up for Absolute Write, and will be checking them out on there but am slightly more confident about this agency as they are active on Twitter and have signed a few big names.

I’ll also be doing some blogging this week. I noticed someone asking for guest bloggers to post whilst she’s on holiday. There’s some overlap with my blog so I think I’ll volunteer. After a suggestion by SJ Higbee in response to my ranty post about the low number of hits I’m getting, I’m going to start reblogging posts that I find interesting – mainly those connected to creative writing or parenting. If you are blogger and would be happy for me to reblog you, or if you’d like me to write a guest post on your blog, please let me know.

Bloggin’ Hell! – ⚠️ Warning: Ranty Post Alert

I started blogging again around two months ago. I enjoy doing it, but I’m frustrated by the small number of views my blog gets. I’ve done all sorts of things to promote my site and increase views but none of them have really had the desired effect.

I try to blog at least twice a week

I was advised that once a week wasn’t enough to attract views and followers. Twice a week seemed a fair compromise given that I have a day job and I want to devote time to writing fiction and poetry.

I tag and categorise like mad

I categorise all my posts, add tags, and add alt text to images.

I share my posts on Facebook

My blog page has over 60 followers, which isn’t great, but it could be worse. My post reach is hit and miss. I paid £4 to promote a post the other day. It helped but not as much as I’d hoped. Perhaps I need to bite the bullet and pay £14 to promote my site for a week. I belong to a couple of bloggers’ groups. I get a few views from sharing on those, but nothing much. I tried to join some other groups but my membership never got approved, even though I completed the forms properly.

I share my posts on Twitter

I guess a Twitter following of around 60 isn’t bad when I’ve only been tweeting for a month. Unfortunately, hardly any followers click through to my blog. I use appropriate hashtags for creative writing and blogging, I think this attracts a few followers but they don’t seem to read my blog. I follow various bloggers’ pages that claim they’ll retweet if you tag them. I had my first retweet yesterday. Up until now, it’s felt as if there are some unwritten rules that they only retweet special people, and I don’t know how to become “special”.

I write for an online magazine

I write blog posts for Worthing Mums, because this gives me the opportunity to promote my blog. It gets me a few click throughs, but I’d love more.

Do you have any tips to increase my following? Please bear in mind that I don’t really have time to blog more frequently or read lots of tutorials, and I don’t want to spend lots of money on it. Perhaps these things take time and I just need to be patient. I’d love to hear what you think in the comments below.

Photo credit: Cyclone288 via / CC BY-NC-ND. I know the image is a bit random, but the cat came up when I searched for “annoyed” on Foter, and I am a bit annoyed.

Parlez Vous Français?

We’re just back from France, but this post isn’t really a travel blog, it’s more about teaching languages to children.

We stayed at Camping St Gilles, near Bénodet in Brittany. We booked through Eurocamp and I’d definitely recommend it. I might write a review and/or travel blog post at some stage but I’m not much of a reviewer. I’m still traumatised after receiving hate mail from an elderly guest house owner, after leaving a mediocre review on Trip Advisor. Apparently, I ruined her summer! This was six years ago, and I think I deleted my account in the end – not before reporting her for abuse of Trip Advisor.

beach, britanny, france, child

Munchkin is fortunate enough to start learning French in Year 1 at school. So she’ll start at age five, as opposed to age ten or whenever it was I started. I have an ‘A’-Level in French but my vocabulary is terrible. My husband has a GCSE, and his is even worse!

We want to help her learn and are pleased that she’s showing an interest and asking how to say things in French. Here is our plan to help her learn.

  1. We’ve bought some French flash cards.
  2. She wants to start going to a Saturday French group.
  3. My husband is going to start French lessons. Unbelievably, the main adult education provider in Worthing doesn’t run French courses so he’s still looking for a suitable class.
  4. I’m going to read bilingual story books to her. Hopefully this will improve my French. The idea is that I’ll read the story in English, then repeat it in French.

I’ll let you know how we get on. What ideas do you have for helping children learn a foreign language? Please let me know in the comments below.

French flag photo credit: wisegie via / CC BY