Why I’m so chuffed to be nominated in two blogging awards (Plus I need your votes!!!)

I’m extra mega chuffed today.

Last week I found out I’d been nominated for the BiBs (BritMums Brilliance In Blogging Awards) for ‘Inspire’ AND ‘Outstanding’; which are rather wonderful things to be nominated for. (vote here)

Now I’ve found that I’m also nominated to defend my title as ‘Best Small Business Blogger’ in the MADs (Mum And Dad Blogging Awards from Tots100 and Parentdish)  AND also as  ‘Helpful Blogger’; which again are lovely things to be nominated for. (vote here) (if you want ideas for which other blogs to vote for see here).

I’ve asked people if this is ‘greedy’ to be lucky enough to be nominated in both.  But apparently it’s not, so I’m just going to enjoy the whole ride!

So what happens next?

UK Mummy Blogging AwardsNow I nag plead request politely that you also nominate me in both.

Because what happens is that they will draw up a shortlist from the nominations, which can be voted on for the final award.

(Yes, that does mean if I’m lucky enough to hit a short list I’ll be politely requesting your assistance again – but remember how much you love me, right?).

Why have two lots of awards you might ask?  Well in fact there are even more as well, but these are the ones that I have my heart set on.

What’s lovely about having two sets of awards is that when I nominated for the Bibs, I couldn’t nominated everyone that I love, because many of my favourites were up against each other.  Having the MADs means that I can now vote for them.  So this is perfect!

So if you are in the same boat and have friends in some of the sections that I’m nominated for – no worries – vote for them in one and me in the other!!!

Does it really make a difference if you win an award.  OMG yes, I have to say that for me it made the most amazing difference last year.

In between being shortlisted for the MADs and the awards ceremony, I needed to focus on something so I wrote and published my book ‘The Mummy Whisperers Six Steps To A Sparkling You and Enjoying Being A Mum‘, which is only 89p, you can read it without a Kindle, and it’s been in the Top100 for Mothering on Amazon ever since.  I think it was the nomination that gave me the confidence to get my butt in gear and get my book out there.

Its also enabled me to start monetising my blog; I’m not talking millions here, I’m talking about paying for the costs of my business and therefore taking a little bit of the strain off my shoulders so that I could keep writing.

I’m planning to release the paperback version of my book in the next couple of months, plus by the end of the year ‘The Busy Mums Guide To Losing Weight Without Diets And Bootcamps’.

Winning will help loads with my books, and therefore help me help many more mums.

So please nominate me for the Bibs in their Inspire and Outstanding categories, and for the MADs in their Small Business and Helpful categories.

And I will love you forever!!!


Six Top Tips To Being A Successful Blogger

I’m not here today!  I’m over at Featureworld in an article I was asked to write on Top tips on how I managed to be a successful mummy blogger: http://sellyourstoryuk.com/2011/10/26/success-blogging/

Now I admit to coughing on my cup of tea when Alison asked me to write this post!  I was a bit kind of ‘who me?’.  But then as a few people have asked me for similar things, since I won theMADs award, I started to wonder ‘does winning an award make you into a success?’.  Maybe not.  But the two years of hard graft, 3-5 blog posts per week, gradual learning of the techie stuff, 3000 views per month are in their own way a success; after all I did keep going, even if there are people with more success.  Earl Nightingale said that success is ‘having a goal and systematically working towards it’, which I definitely have.  So I’ve decided to go along with this ‘successful blogger’ idea and see if it rubs off onto my new book (out in less than a fortnight OMG!).

Let’s hope next year I can write an article on ‘How to stay being a successful blogger’  and how to write a successful book!

If you fancy writing a book of your own, make sure you stay posted and don’t miss the next couple of weeks of posts, as at some point I’m going to write a blog about the whole process.  I also admit to having been a bit quiet over the past couple of months, and not always managing to do as many posts per week: it’s a mixture of school holidays, husband with shingles for 5 weeks, half term, and trying to hit my book publishing deadline.  But ‘I’ll be back’ in full force over the next few weeks!

Let me know what you think of the tips I wrote for Featureworld.  I tried to make them unique and really useful.

Video Wed: How Music Reminds Us Of Lovely Places; Wild fitness, Mummy Blogger awards

I was listening to a piece of music yesterday and was instantly sitting on a roof at sunset in Kenya, surrounded by big hairy rugby/hockey players, meditating.  Obviously!  Music is amazing isn’t it, the way it can transport us back in time to places.  It was a really magical holiday.

We have no idea how we ended up on this holiday, but it was called ‘Wild Fitness’, and we were in the first group to ever go on it.  It was part exercise, part relaxation and part learning about taking care of ourselves.  The most important aspect being this sense of ‘wildness’ to the holiday, and the melding of fitness with our surroundings, rather than being in a gym.  I learnt so much, and suspect that a huge amount of what I talk about here started out with what I learnt on that holiday.  I keep nagging them to do a family version, but until then I’m not likely to be making it back.  However, imagine my surprise when I was at the MADs award, to find out that the lovely Bangs And A Bun who was our MC for the night, had just been on their new weekend trip to the Isle of Wight.  So here is a quick picture of one the the oldest and newest Wildfitness recruits (more pictures on the way of my dress I promise).

And a video for you to chill out to for a moment … (for my Kindle readers, check out Groove Armada on YouTube).

(This is an unsponsored blog post)

OMG Huge Thankyou’s for the MAD Blog Awards and a few less tears!

I have HUGE thank you’s for you guys, because you put fingers on the keys and voted for me for the MAD Blog awards ‘Small business category’, and even better I actually WON!!!!

I’ve got to write this post, because my acceptance speech consisted of slightly muffled ‘sob’ … ‘thank you’ .. ‘sob’ .. ‘OMG’ .. ‘lip wobble’ …. ‘this is so important to me’ …. yep, I did one of those ‘oscars speeches’, nothing like the planned face I’d videoed!  I’m very much hoping that the organiser Sally Whittle (better known as ‘overlord‘) does not publish the real video acceptance speach!

First some stats, because I’m a bit of a geek and love a stat.  Plus some people (like the guy who commented on my FB page) might think ‘hmmpf a few mummy bloggers, whats that all about?’.

  • Mummy (and Daddy) blogs are the new must have thing for PR companies to use to review/advertise their products.  We are a little behind the USA, but it’s becoming a real phenomenon.
  • People tend to read/write them to share experiences of being a parent, review products, and be a lot more interesting that the news (they are also not all about being a parent, there are tonnes of subjects covered).
  • Many are now getting regular writing jobs or writing books (like mine ‘Six steps to a sparkling you and enjoying being a Mum‘, due out on the Kindle at the end of Oct, plug, plug)
  • There were 700 blogs nominated for 14 different categories
  • There were 50,000 votes of nominations
  • 750 people watched the live blog at home and thousands watched it on twitter
  • There were 1500 tweets on the night reaching 360,000 people and generating 2m impressions

So, the thank you’s ….

Thank you so much for taking the time to vote: I still get tears in my eyes when I look at the award or tell people about it.  All the awards before hand seemed to be going to ‘big name’ blogs, so I had totally assumed that I had no chance, and was jokingly hiding at the back with the rest of the Small Business Nominees who had a really good ability to down glasses of wine.

Thank you to my family, clients, and friends for inspiring the ideas for the blogs: I love to write and you are a constant source of ideas (I have over 100 draft posts!).

Thank you to TK Maxx for my gorgeous princess dress (official photos to follow later in the week) plus photos of the other girls who I thought looked lovely.

Thank you to Katie from K and S Jewels who leant me the beautiful Stella and Dot jewellery that sparkled on my ears, neck, fluffy coat and wrist.  (official photos to follow).

Thank you to Sally and the team for organising a fab night out; which involved a lot of extremely excited Mummy Bloggers (and 3 daddy bloggers, as unusually there were very few nominations for Dads this year), great music, loads of applause, lots of music, and the amazing Bangs And A Bun who managed to keep us all in order and be the main presenter of the night.

Thank you to Parent dish and Talk Talk (sponsors of my award and providers of the location) for backing the event

Thank you to Little Dimples who had to come with me on the night, and stunningly slept all the way through the awards.  When she gave me this hug, it so felt like she knew what had been going on and that I had won (thank you to whoever took the photo too; Lindy I assume it was you?).

Thank you to the lovely Betty (irish granny I found in Tescoes) who looked after Little Dimples upstairs so I could have a little freedom (I’ve promised lots of Mums at the blog to tell you the story behind my discovery of Betty), who burst into floods of tears when she found out I had won, and who appears to be my lucky mascot when it comes to getting on a train with 1 minute to spare.

Thank you to the other Small Business guys for not booing or tripping me up as we had previously discussed when we assumed that Baby budgeting was bound to win (Little Stuff, All about the boys, Queen of Easy Green); only joking Becky, thank you for all your advice, I’m so going for the Kindle publishing now and not worrying about other options!

Thank you for all the lovely chats with the mummy bloggers that I’d always wanted to meet in person: Violet Posy (Liz Grayson who designed and moved my blog to self-hosted), RedTedArt (my fave crafting blog, who was thoroughly lovely in person), Carol (for all her tips), Liska from New mum online, Marylin from softhistle and a tonne more!

Sparkle Tips: Go Shopping With Friends

We might not all be able to afford a personal shopper, but we all have mates.  (Mind you I don’t think that all personal shoppers cost money, it’s just that they cost money in persuasion!).  So why not treat yourself to a shopping trip with a few friends, especially if you would like to pick out some bargains.

It might surprise you to know that I’m not very good at clothes shopping, considering I keep talking about sparkling and how important it is for us Mums to take care of themselves.  The big hairy northern one is much better at it and tended to just put me in a fitting room while he found clothes for me to try on.  Since having kids this has obviously been more difficult because he would be trying to catch bored children who think that hiding under a railing full of clothes is really good fun.  So I must admit I tended to opt for clothes shops with extremely helpful assistants who would do all the thinking for me, or none at all, or quick raids while Little Dimples is asleep.

However, I’ve changed my tune after being invited by TK Maxx to let them style me for the MAD Blog Awardsceremony (this friday, cross your fingers for me!).  I’m the kind of shopper whose eyes go cross eyed when faced with lots of rails packed full of clothes, so I have always avoided sales and shops like TK Maxx.  But no longer, because I have found the secret for those of us who don’t possess the gene that includes ‘finding a gorgeous bargain’!  ……

Go with mates!

In my case the mates weren’t mates at the beginning of the day, but there is nothing like a shopping trip and discussion of body issues to bond a group of women!  There was the lovely red headed geeky mummy, the little but very cute Busy Mama, the reliably honest Sally Whittle (organiser of the MADs and writer of ‘whose the mummy’ ), the lovely Kylie with her son Joshua (who slept all the way through lunch; so well behaved!) who is in the same category as the gorgeous Claire (inspirational), the not so on the brink Monica.  Plus we had additional guidance in the form of Polly from TK Maxx, and I took my gorgeous irish granny (the one I found in Tescoes) to help with Little Dimples.

Did you know how much easier it is to look for a dress for your friend?  Or how much easier it is to find a dress for yourself when you are giggling with someone else?  This is definitely the trick to shopping!  We all had our issues, for me it was the need to be able to still breast feed Little Dimples as I’m still feeding in the evenings, so I need a certain degree of ‘accessibility’.  But we helped each other to work around them with ideas for different styles of dress, or gorgeous shoes and accessories, which was made especially easy with the help of all the sparkly dresses and gorgeous shoes at TK Maxx.

There was one slight problem, which was the arrival of the desserts after our lunch, very kindly paid for by TK Maxx.  Seriously, these were not the kind of desserts that you could ignore; they were extremely yummy, which is maybe not ideal the week before an awards ceremony when I still have 1pound to lose.  (I’m just being stubborn about wanting to hit my goal of a 2 stone weight loss by this friday).

So what did I honestly think of the clothes at TK Maxx?  My dress is the prettiest dress I think that I have ever had.  I can’t show you yet, but it is definitely a ‘princess dress’.  So it definitely gets 5 stars from me.  Plus, with a little perseverance I got a lovely bag, scarf and little coat to go with it; all for an amazingly small amount of money.  So that’s another 5 stars.  I don’t think I have the ability to manage kids and shopping at TK Maxx, but from now on I will definitely put it on my ‘Mummy needs an hour to herself’ list of options, especially when I want something very special without a special price.

If you do have the ability to see a bargain easily in a rail of lots of clothes and don’t go to TK Maxx, then ‘why on earth don’t you go?’.  For the rest of you, do what we did.  Go with mates, buy a pretty dress, and then go and eat LOTS of cake.

Big thank you’s to the girls, Sally, Polly, TK Maxx, and you guys who voted for me to be a finalist, thereby getting me a gorgeous pretty princess dress.  Now all you need to do is focus on me winning on friday, and if you want to check out my likely expressions, then see the video I made last week … 4 days and counting!  Whatever happens, you’ll get to see a picture of my gorgeous dress next saturday, even if I’m sulking because I didn’t win (only joking, I’m sure I won’t sulk; well maybe just a little bit!).

p.s. If you haven’t seen the advert and don’t know what TK Maxx is all about, then here it is for you.  Basically, they have designer kit in with massive discounts.

p.p.s Massive discounts on dresses that were over £2000 can still make a dress £500!  I picked up one dress that the eagle eyed Sally pointed out was way over our agreed price limit with TK Maxx.  They did kindly offer to lend it to me, but really I did ever so well with the dress I got for 10 times less, so do remember to check the price tags, unless you are very rich, in which case; have fun!

I’ve been Nominated for a MAD award: Yay!

The MADs are the Mum and Dad blog awards are one of the biggest blogging awards for Mummy Bloggers like me.  I’ve always wanted to be nominated, and this year I have been, Yay!

Now I know that awards are not meant to matter, but I’m one of those people who does like a bit of a pat on the head.  I’ve put my heart and soul into this blog, and really want to help other Mums, so to get a quick nod that it’s been appreciated means a lot to me.  It must be the toddler in me, like having a star chart!

I also know that this is the point when the Mummy blogging community kicks off because lots of blogs wont have been nominated.  I remember what that was like last year.  People start to feel left out, and resentful, or just a bit down and disheartened.  If you happen to be one of those Mums, then have a look around you and look for these two factors (they helped me to not feel disappointed last year):

1) Why this year would it not suit you to be nominated?  There are downsides to everything, so maybe it wouldn’t be the right thing for you this year?

2) Who is appreciating you at the moment and ‘giving you an award’?  Why is it better that they are doing it, than that you get an nominated for an award?

If you haven’t nominated anyone yet, then you can do so here, I’ll let you know when you can start to vote for people.

Oooh and thank you, thank you, thank you to the person who nominated me, whoever you are, you made me really chuffed!

Update On Voting Process

So people have been asking how to vote for me, and I must admit in my sleep deprived state that I didn’t quite get it!  But now I understand, apparently you can keep nominating me; that way I have a bit more clout.  Plus you can nominate a blog post that you found really useful if you would like.  You just have to put my blog URL in to the nomination form: http://MummyWhispererBlog.com.  I’ve been nominated in the small business blog, but you are welcome to pick another one that works too.

Then there is a panel of judges who will pick the winner; cross your fingers for me!  Ooh and tell your friends!

I might have to think of something that I would do in return for winning: any ideas?