Tag Archives: blogging

April Already

The past few months have been a total whirlwind and sadly Playing Parent has had to take a back seat as I have just not had the time to devote to my blog.

There have been a few reasons but the biggest being I got a new job and my business as a Social Media Manager has really taken off. The strange thing is that I was able to change my career direction and find a job I love all because of the skills I have developed through my blog and yet my blog is the one thing that has suffered.

The other piece of exciting news was that we have a new addition to our little household. We have a Tibetan terrier called Grace who is 4 years old who came from a rescue charity. She is absolutely gorgeous and such a lovely nature that we can hardly remember how life was without her.

Rescue dog

We strongly believed that we wanted to adopt not shop for our next dog as there are so many lovely dogs in need of caring, loving homes. We have had our Shih Tzu Doodle since she was a puppy and now at 9 years old we didn’t think she would cope with having a puppy around either. Grace has really perked Doodle up too who now seems about 5 years younger!

Tibetan terrier

I am going to try and get on here far more regularly now and even though I have been quiet on here I have been busy testing things and visiting places to share.

Thanks for dropping by

Dominique x

Adjusting to a new routine and starting school

Regular visitors to my little corner of the web will have noticed I haven’t posted much at all for the last few weeks.

If I am totally honest I have found adjusting to life as a Mum with a child at school 5 days a week really strange. The settling in period for our school was extremely staggered, which whilst the soft start meant G really did settle in steadily, I was all over the place and constantly checking what time I had to be at the school gates for that particular day. This coupled with the real sense of emptiness I felt with my only child going off to school really left a huge hole in my routine and day to day life. Whilst I should have been relishing the extra time I could devote to my blog I actually retreated away from doing most things and counted down the time until pick up.

Last weekend I attended BlogOn Win which was held at the Winchester Science Centre (which we will definitely be visiting as a family in the near future, it looked lots of fun) and caught up with lots of my fellow bloggers and I felt my mojo return. However an attack of the flu put me really out of action so another week of no blogging has gone by. Whilst being laid up out of action I have been reading lots so plenty of book reviews coming up!

Big shout out to Laura from Tired Mummy of Two who is the brains behind the great Blog On Conferences, my car share buddy Em from Snowing Indoors and seeing all my lovely friends from Dorset (which I am honestly convinced is the blogging county of the UK!)


The Lunch Break on BBC Radio Gloucestershire

radio Gloucestershire BBC

When we ran our pub we were featured on our local BBC radio station BBC Radio Gloucestershire. Out of this I have become involved with their Lunch Break slot on the 12-3 show hosted by Claire Carter. I have been on a few panels now talking about the topics of the day. I think they thought as I was someone who can talk for England but can’t always be bothered to brush my hair I would be a good candidate for radio.

Although I have done this a few times I still get nervous and when I listen back I always hear myself saying ‘uumm’ too much! Today I was on with a great lady called Susann who was great fun and Claire really makes it feel like a great chat with your girlfriends rather than talking to people across Gloucestershire. The topics for today were E.L James and her comments that women would prefer a man who does the washing up rather than be like Christian Grey, (read more here) a survey commissioned by Tetley on colleagues making or not making each other tea (read more here) and how the team putting together the new look Top Gear series have put out a request for members of the public to apply for a slot hosting the show (read more here). I also talked a bit about blogging and what it is like being part of a blogging community with people who share your interests.

radio studio

inside a radio studio

What always amazes me is how much the presenter’s role entails. Not only are they presenting the show but they have a bank of computers and buttons to control, juggle all the items and talk so effortlessly to their guests. Their is so much work that goes into producing what you hear on your radio.

If I am honest before I became involved with BBC Radio Gloucestershire I rarely listened except for maybe weather reports and traffic. However the presenters and shows on local radio are excellent and if you haven’t listened to your local BBC station for a while I would really recommend switching it on and giving them a try. I am sure you will hear something funny or somebody fascinating connected with your local area.

(If you would like to hear me say ‘uumm’ too much then you can click here and fast forward to about an hour into the show.)

My blogging marathon

blogging is like a marathon

With today being the London Marathon, it got me thinking that blogging can be a bit like marathon running…….

Creating a blog is easy but maintaining your blog and sticking with it is the hard part! I am constantly on a learning journey that requires me to master a variety of skills I am discovering. You don’t just need to be a good writer or photographer, you need to be good at both these things. You need to master tech stuff like SEO and basic website stuff to do with code. You need to be great at self-promotion, have the guts to get out there and shout ‘Hey look at me’ if you want to get noticed. People tell you not to, but you can’t help but compare yourself to other bloggers out there. You ask yourself ‘how are they more successful than me?’ ‘What am I doing wrong?’

Recently I was toying with the idea of giving up my blog as I just felt it wasn’t going anywhere, I couldn’t work out what I really wanted from my blog. Was it just a space to record my thoughts and feelings or was I hoping to get more out of it and be able to make some sort of living from this hobby? I was lost in the blogosphere – but then I something amazing happened, I won a prize. Not a box of washing powder or a packet of biscuits but something really special. I entered a Tots 100 competition on how you would enjoy a ‘taste of London Life’ and your suggestions for things to do with your family in London. I looked through all the entries after the competition had closed and was really impressed with all the amazing posts, so held no aspirations for mine.

Last week as I was thinking of how fed up I was with all my efforts and so little return, a pingback from Tots 100 was posted on the bottom of my London Life post. I didn’t check until much later that evening and saw there was a new post on the site about 20 brilliant things to do in London with your family. One of my suggestions was listed early on, so I was absolutely thrilled but the greatest shock came at the end of the article where I saw I had won a 2 night break at The Royal Garden Hotel in Kensington!!!!!

I can honestly say that reading those few lines has changed the way I view my blog and my blogging journey. I no longer care if only 10 people visit my site in a day or if  no one leaves a comment as I must be doing something right and I am going to keep going. It has made me realise that my blog is about being me and not playing to a formula. That post was written genuinely about the type of things we like to do and what I love about visiting London. If you have a blog, don’t give up. It isn’t going to make you rich and famous overnight but I have been lucky enough to meet and interact with some lovely people through the blogging world, I am learning lots of new skills and to top it all off my family get to enjoy some great times that I love documenting. I am not a blogging sprinter but clearly on a blogging marathon. I am not upfront with the elite runners but it doesn’t mean I am enjoying it any less. I am there in my fancy dress costume, waving at the crowds and feeling chuffed if someone recognises me, enjoying all the amazing sights along the way.


Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

Google+ – Finding my way one day at a time



Having got my blogging mojo back I have realised that I needed to be a bit more proactive to get my inspiration going and also help me move forward in the world of blogging. I turned to the brilliant blog of Honest Mum who has some really good advice for developing your blog. One of the most important messages I took away from her tips was to get to grips with Google+ as this is a great way to grow your blog, read new blogs and find other people to connect with.

Setting up my Google+ account was simple enough and I created a new email with Gmail playingparent101@gmail.com. I use the WordPress platform for my self-hosted site so after a quick search on the WordPress help section I found this really useful article on how to verify your site and link with your Google+ account. It was really simple to follow and once I found this site I saved loads of time trying to locate the place to add the Google+ tag.

I have slowly started following people, joined a couple of communities and shared a few of my relevant blog posts on them. I will keep you updated on how I get on with my Google+ journey and if you are on there yourself please add me to your circles!

My BritMums Live 2014

As I said in my last post after three years of observing from the internet I finally attended a Brit Mums Live and it was BRILLIANT!

As a newbie I had signed up on Facebook to their BritMums Live ‘Butterflies group’ which is there to give support, encouragement and make introductions for those of us who had never been to a Brit Mums Live event before. This was an invaluable way for me to calm some nerves and tweet/message with other people, so when I arrived on Friday I didn’t feel like I didn’t know anybody.

As I was staying in London on my own I opted to book a hotel in a part of town that I know well even if it wasn’t the best location for getting to and from the Brit Mums venue. The Brewery at the Montcalm is a lovely place where doormen wear bowler hats and once through the great archway you feel like you are entering another world. After dropping my bags of at The Bloomsbury Hotel I caught a tube to the city thinking Google maps would safely guide me to The Brewery, oh how I was wrong. after twenty minutes of walking around in circles, I admitted defeat and caught a cab right up to the front door.

On arrival I found the Butterflies sofa and was given the lowdown on where everything was and how to find my way around. I had been tweeting the lovely Gina Caro before hand so I tweeted her to suggest meeting up and we spent most of Friday hanging out together. I thought the Keynote speech from Emma Freud was interesting and funny if not without some controversial moments but I have always loved her so these could be forgiven. Just to make my day she replied to a tweet from me which made my day!

By the time the awards part of the evening came around I have to admit I was exhausted so I am afraid to say I ducked out of these and snuck back to my lovely hotel where I promptly fell asleep by 9.30pm after a restorative cuppa and some Maltesers. Just before leaving I met up with a blogger Snowing Indoors who is local to me in Gloucestersand her sponsors The Toadstool UK (check out Snowing Indoors lovely blog).

Saturday was the longest day of the year and started in a blaze of glorious sunshine. After a morning of wandering around the sponsors, speaking to the lovely people at AGA and  having a really inspiring chat with Melinda from Her Melness Speaks, I went to some great talks and workshops with the most interesting being on collaboration and networking with legends from the blogosphere Maggy from Red Ted Art, Tanya from MummyBarrow and Annabel from Country Wives on how they work with other bloggers, all differently, yet all successfully in their unique way.

At lunchtime I grabbed my box of yummy food and saw the nearest table with some space and asked if there was a spare seat (by now I was becoming pretty confident in thrusting myself at strangers!) I nearly died when I realised I had plonked myself down next to Maggy from Red Ted Art and some other very successful bloggers. These lovely ladies could not have been nicer to me and my lunch with them gave me such inspiration and was undoubtedly my highlight of Brit Mums Live, so a very big thank you to Red Ted Art, Peacocks & Pom Poms, Incredibusy Mum and Lilies Are Like. Their welcoming and friendly manner meant so much to me and I can only say that one day I hope I can be as friendly as they all were to a little newbie like me.

I am already planning my trip to Brit Mums 2015 and if you have ever wanted to go, to steal a phrase from a well known sports brand ‘JUST DO IT!’




Finally I am going to BritMums Live


Ever since I discovered the world of blogging and my few feeble attempts at it in the past I have looked each year at Brit Mums Live and desperately wanted to go. However there was always something stopping me or I made an excuse. This year with less than a week to go I have thought sod it and bought a ticket, booked my accommodation and sorted out the childcare (husband and son!) A year ago the thought of going away on my own would have filled me with dread, since G was born I have never left him for a night with his Dad on their own,  this is a big milestone for me.

I have joined the Facebook group for newbies where everyone seems so friendly and supportive so I am feeling a little less nervous and lots of people seem to be anxious about getting around London which is at least one thing I know I can do ok. It is amazing how much positivity and support there is out there in the blogosphere. People we have never met in person yet feel we know through their candid writing and putting themselves out there are able to be supportive and encouraging in a way some people we know really well just don’t seem to be able to do. (This is no criticism of my fantastic friends and family.)

Lots of people liken going to BritMums Live for the first time as similar to starting school. Although I am nervous it is also really exciting to be starting a new journey. How often in life do we get the chance to do something completely new and fresh? It is like when we buy a new notebook for all our ideas, the clean page just getting ready to be filled up is always something I find very exciting. Although I have been here since February it is only now that I am really inspired to keep going with it and learn from people who have kept going and achieved success and fulfilment from their own blogs. I will keep you posted about how I get on and if you follow me on Twitter @domsimpson I am sure I will be tweeting through the couple of days.

Thanks for dropping by Dominique x