Webfluential blogger network

I’m signed up to a lot of blogger networks. Most of the time I register on the promise of exciting brand opportunities, and six months later I’m still waiting. In the meantime, there’s nothing really in it for me.

Webfluential is a bit different.

On the one hand, Webfluential is like a lot of other influencer networks – it connects bloggers and brands and offers you the chance to earn money through blog campaigns and social media promotions – but it has a few extras that make it a little bit special. For instance, you can choose to set your own prices for different types of work, so if you’ve got a very strong presence on one channel, you can charge a higher price for work through this.

It also helps you to create your very own online media pack, which could be really useful when pitching to other brands. All you have to do is connect up your social accounts, and it draws in follower information, including audience demographics. You then get a unique link to your profile, that you can share with anyone you like. View Post

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John Adams is a stay at home dad with two daughters; Helen aged six and Elizabeth who is three. John blogs about his experiences as a man who ‘holds the babies’ at http://dadbloguk.com. He has also published a book, A modern father (…and dad blogger), and regularly appears in the media commenting on parenting issues. He is married to Gill, who works full time.

In this blog post John admits to his slummy, parenting fails. Have a read and see how similar a dad’s mistakes are to a mum’s.

John Adams Dad Blog UK

Every now and again I get told what a wonderful dad I am. It may be true, it’s not for me to say, but overzealous praise can be an occupational hazard of being a stay at home dad. People simply aren’t used to seeing a man spending so much time with their kids. When they are presented with someone like me, they can be full of well-meant but essentially misplaced praise. I’d never, ever claim to be any better than any other mum or a dad.

Trust me, a dad in my position is just as capable of making mistakes or having bad habits as any mum. In no particular order, here are five examples of my less than perfect parenting behaviour. View Post

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Belle has had a lot of job plans over the years. For a while she wanted to be a taxi driver. Then she decided she was going to work at McDonald’s, and for a while she had dreams of owning an ice cream van. Now she has a new plan – she is either going to be a dancer or a marine biologist, mainly I think because she hopes to discover a mermaid.

Although I don’t remember being told I couldn’t do a particular job when I was little, I don’t remember being hugely encouraged by school career advisors to think outside the box either. I don’t think anyone ever said ‘how about thinking about engineering or plumbing?’

There are plenty of industries where women are still relatively uncommon, so I thought it might be interesting to hear from one woman breaking the mould.

Katy Jordan works on the shop floor at Reddish Joinery. She beads windows, hangs sashes and is currently learning to spray.

“My main job is to make sure that all the frames, windows and doors are beaded as soon as they come down from the bench workers,” explains Katy. “At this point I also cut the aluminium for the doors and windows to the correct size. I take all the opening sashes and fit them all with the appropriate locking mechanism and the correct size hinges. The next step is to ensure that the windows are locking correctly and the final step is a quality check to make sure the product is up to the highest standard it can be.” View Post

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How’s the winter treating your nose, throat, sinuses and lungs so far? I woke up on Christmas day with a horrible sore throat – one of those where you brace yourself before you swallow, (as the actress said to the bishop) – and it seemed to do a tour of everyone in the house over the holidays. It’s also the time of the year when asthma, rhinitis and other respiratory allergies go crazy.
The cold weather plays a part in it, but the bigger culprit lurks within our own homes – for me it’s probably the mould growing on my bathroom ceiling… The infographic below, created by uHoo, is a simple guide that shows you why you get these attacks, its most common triggers and ways to prevent them. View Post
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I know it’s a few days yet, but let’s be honest, this is me – it’s Friday afternoon at the end of a very long term and I’m about ready to chuck my laptop into a pond. I definitely won’t be doing any more work before the festivities begin.

Now, I’m sure you have far better things to do right now than read my blog, and quite frankly, I’ve got better things to do than write it, so I just wanted to say thank you for reading this year, and I hope you have a very lovely Christmas. I always love feedback, so if you have any comments, ideas or suggestions for 2016, or general festive thoughts, just leave a comment or drop me an email. I’d love to hear from you!

HAPPY CHRISTMAS!!

Christmas guinea pig in a hat

Image – Vasily Kovalev/shutterstock

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You know those awards that I wrote about last week? The parenting award that I really wanted to win but was trying not to get excited about? Well, I only went and bloody won it! Even better, they had a surprise category at the end, for the overall Best UK Blog, chosen from the winners of all 13 categories, and I won that too! 

Seriously, I very nearly cried walking up onto that stage a second time. Other categories had been won by proper bloggers like The Londoner and Guido Fawkes, so I never thought for a minute that I would win that one too.

Truth be told, I’d got into rather an anxious state waiting for the first award to be announced. The parenting category was near the end, and so I had plenty of time to wind myself up. I had Bee and my fiancé with me, and they were both being very positive about everything, but that just made it worse. Every time one of them said ‘you’re going to win it’, I just imagined how much more of a disappointment it would be for them if I didn’t. I really wanted to win, but I didn’t want to want to, if that makes sense – I didn’t want to feel silly if I got excited and then my name wasn’t called out.

“We’re on a table in the second row,” said fiancé, “that must be so that you’re nice and close to go and collect your award! I checked one of the other parent bloggers and they’re on table 36, so we know they’re not going to win.”

By the time it got to the parenting category then my heart was properly pounding in my chest. It was a good job that we’d been told already that no speeches were required as I’m not sure I would have been able to talk, and I’d have probably panicked and said something inappropriate. That morning, in the shower, I’d come up with a joke about shaving your legs and getting lucky, but when I told Bee and fiancé about it in the afternoon, to test the water, they had both looked horrified, so I’m glad that didn’t have the opportunity to slip out.

They announced the finalists and I started making all kinds of assumptions in my head – they had announced mine first, so that would surely mean I wasn’t first? The person presenting the awards – Jen from Britmums – was on my table, so that must mean it wasn’t me? 

And then it was me!!

Best UK Blogger

I tottered up onto the stage, worrying a bit about my dress. It was new, and when I had picked it off the rail in the shop a very old lady had cooed over how much she liked it. I wasn’t sure that was a great sign. There was a voice over saying nice things about me, and I had really wanted to be able to listen to this and feel a bit smug, but I didn’t hear any of it – my head was full of the noise of my heart beating and little me inside going ‘Yaaaayyy!’ in a tiny voice.

After coming off stage I was whisked away for an interview, where I tried to say clever things but probably just said thank you lots of times in a squeaky voice, I don’t really remember. Then it was back to the table just in time to hear them say that they had a surprise final category, for an overall winner. I honestly didn’t think for a minute that I would win that one, and I don’t think anyone else did either. When they called out my name my fiancé looked genuinely chocked and said ‘Oh my God!’

Another careful stagger onto the stage, another missed voice over, and another interview where I’m sure I sound even worse, because I’ve already used up all my good stuff in the first one.

And here they are – tada!

Best UK Blogger

I even took my pants off the radiator behind them, because now I am officially the best blogger in the whole wide world* I have to be fancy like that.

So a big thank you again to everyone who has ever read my blog and for all your support – I couldn’t be more chuffed!

*Not strictly true.

 

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Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without LEGO.

However old you are, LEGO is always awesome, so it’s no surprise that not one but two LEGO items have made it onto the list of top toys for 2015. To make it nice and easy for you, wishagift™ have put the top toys into a Christmas wishlist

wishagift™ has been set up to solve your gift-giving problems. It lets you set up wish lists for all occasions, add any item from any retailers’ website with the wishagift™ button and share your wish lists with friends and family. It’s brilliant for kids’ Christmas lists, and makes it super easy to make sure everyone gets what they really want for Christmas, rather than those awful collections of toiletries, or novelty box sets that you only ever see at Christmas, with a miniature Baileys and novelty glass, or Marmite tea towel.

wishagift™ have very kindly given me one of the top toys to giveaway – the LEGO City Deep Sea Exploration Vessel, worth £79.99. This would make an amazing present for just about anyone, or just keep it yourself, and say it’s a mindfulness tool, like adult colouring.

win lego competition View Post

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This week for #CharityTuesday I’m featuring HOPE International Development Agency UK. As you know, I went to Ethiopia a couple of years ago, and so development in Ethiopia is a cause very close to my heart. Please read about the work of HOPE International Development Agency UK and support them in any way you can.

 HOPE International Development Agency UK

These women in Dorze Bele, Ethiopia set off four times a day to collect water for drinking, cooking and cleaning. When full, their jerry cans weigh 40lbs.

So, what’s the problem?

Water is precious but unfortunately nearly 1 billion people in the world do not have access to clean water. Without clean water, people have to source water from unprotected sources – streams, lakes, ponds – which can lead to disease and sometimes death. As a result, every 90 seconds a child dies from water-related disease which could be prevented if clean, safe water were available. In addition, because in Africa women and girls bear the main responsibility for collecting water, on average they spend three hours a day sourcing water when they otherwise would be at school or working to financially benefit their families. Often these journeys are physically dangerous and in some areas, women and girls risk being attacked.

How does your organisation set out to solve it? What makes your approach unique?

HOPE International Development Agency works in rural, southwest Ethiopia to help communities access clean water. HOPE has been working in that region for nearly 30 years and is presently the only charity there helping the rural poor to break free from extreme poverty.

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My featured organisation this week is the Happily Ever After Dog Rescue. If you’re a dog person, this is definitely one to have a read of.

So, what’s the problem?
The rescue holds around 60 dogs, of which around 20 will never be adoptable – someone has just hurt them too much. The rest are adoptable and looking for their forever family.
A number of dogs in the rescue come from Romania, where 3 million stray dogs has resulted in the government using a kill strategy to manage the ‘problem’ – removing the dogs from the streets, putting them in awful public shelters, then killing them using the most inhumane methods.

Mika Romania PS

How does Happily Ever After solve it?
The rescue, founded by Cerian, works with two vets in Romania, Garo and Rudi, and a Norwegian fundraiser, Kristin, to save some of the dogs (the lucky ones) so that they can have their happily ever after firstly at the rescue, in a loving family environment, then with a family of their own. The dogs are physically fixed by Garo and when they are fit to travel, Krisitin fundraises to pay their travel and medical costs – neutering, vaccination and pet passport! Cerian then loves them back to life. 
The rescue works with the philosophy that a dog should have its ‘happily ever after’ no matter where it comes from.

What’s special or unique about how you work?
The rescue recognises that rescuing these dogs is not the long-term solution and works closely with Kristin and Garo to promote the neuter program in Braila, a town 100 miles away from Bucharest. It is hoped that the world will see how this is the only solution to the stray dog problem in Romania and the senseless killing of dogs will be stopped. We also support a campaign ‘A Dog’s Life’, which asks for the EU to implement a legal framework to protect domestic animals all over the EU – you can add your signature HERE.

 
Can you explain exactly how you make a difference to a dog’s life?
So dogs, they feel exactly what we feel – pain, humiliation, loss of dignity, hurt and being unloved. Imagine that was you … We give some of the most unloved and abused dogs the chance to have their happily ever after with loving families, who treat the dog as an integral part of their family.
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I get asked a lot of questions.

“What’s for tea?”

“Where are my school shoes?”

“Can I go on this school trip to China? It’s only £1,100.”

Sometimes I get asked about blogging too, often from small businesses that don’t know where to start. I thought I’d write up the answers to some of the most common questions, partly to be super helpful, but also to save me time replying to emails. (“I wrote about it here. Thank you. Bye bye.”)

Of course if you have any other questions, please do leave me a comment and I will reply. Just don’t ask me what’s for tea.

How often should I write posts?

Well, how long is a piece of string? More importantly, how much time do you have to organise your string? The Hubspot blog publishes over half a dozen posts every day, and they have more than 400,000 subscribers and over 2 million monthly visitors, so I think we can safely conclude that there’s probably not such a thing as too much content, so long as you’re not sending out an email notification with every single new post. View Post

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As I’m sure you all now know, I move house a lot. In fact, even since starting this blog I have probably moved house more times than the average person does in a lifetime. (I’m not actually sure if that’s true or what that figure is. Feel free to look it up and probably correct me.) Moving house as often as I have, I’ve becoming pretty good at the whole procedure.

*looks proud*.

I can even plumb in my own washing machine, which probably sounds more impressive than it actually is.

Don’t think I’m some kind of plumbing genius though. A lot of the time I do mess things up and make really silly mistakes, like accidentally scraping the sealant away from my plug hole thinking it was grime. (Yes, really.) My general haphazardness means I do have to get a real plumber out once in a while. Living in a lot of houses, I’ve discovered that sometimes plumbers can be hit and miss if you don’t do your research properly. Please learn from my mistakes and follow my top tips on how to find a great plumber.

find a plumber

Don’t give them more work than necessary View Post

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Last weekend Belle and I were in London and we went to see the musical version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. That wasn’t the only reason we were in London though and we actually ended up booking the tickets last minute on a great new app called TodayTix.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory the musical View Post

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