How you can save money by making small changes

Today I’m going to show you how you can save money by making small changes, and without even feeling like you’re missing out on anything. If you can make these small changes, you will notice a difference in your bank balance which will help you save even more money for a rainy day. We all love a good bargain or being able to save a bit of money here and there, but let’s face it we probably all indulge way more than we should. Well I definitely do.

Set small savings up.

Let’s start with going through the traditional way to save money by literally putting some money aside. You could choose to do this each day or at the beginning of every week, obviously it all depends on when you get paid.

For example:

If you put £5 away a week, (which let’s be fair won’t get you very far in this day and age) by the end of the year you will have a whopping £260! As we all know the end of the year means Christmas and having that tucked away would certainly help, especially with the cost of Christmas rising as the years go on.

Another way of saving that I personally love, is whenever I buy something from the shops, I put the change away in a jar. So if I spent £9.63 I’d put the 37p into a jar. You’d be surprised on how quickly things like that mount up.

Also if you’re with Lloyds Bank (I’m not sure if other banks offer this service) you can set up a change saver account, which literally does the same thing. On many occasions I’ve logged into my internet banking and £40 has appeared in my change saver. This includes when you have direct debits going out, if it’s not at the exact pound Lloyds will pop the rest into you change saver account. They even send you a cashpoint card for it so that it’s easy to withdraw. A brilliant way to save money without even knowing about it!

save money, saving money, money saving

Changes you can make to your shopping to save money.

We all work hard so I’m not going to bang on about how you should stop buying treats or not get that bottle of vodka, but what you could do instead is buy the cheaper brand. So for example instead of buying a family packet of Doritos, go for the shop’s own. I promise you they taste just as good, and they’ll taste even better knowing that you’ve saved a quid or two.

Collect coupons. I used to shrug them off as I felt a bit insulted by the idea of them, but seriously they are one of the greatest things ever. You can find coupons in magazines, newspapers, online and often in leaflets that are posted through your door.

One other thing that you could do is sign up to your regular supermarket’s scheme. Most places offer some sort of “card” that you can save points on. For years I’ve shopped at Morrisons and always denied getting one of their cards because I didn’t feel like I went there enough to earn anything of value. Then I started using my parents card and I saw all of the coupons and discounts they get given and quickly signed up for one.

What you could do at home to save money.

Lights

Do you really need that hallway light on? Some people do it so that their children can see if they need the toilet or any other of the thousands of things children demand in the night. Instead why not invest in a battery powered lamp that could light the hallway up just enough for the kids to see. Or switch to energy saving bulbs, not just in the hallway but everywhere in the house. You may not feel like there’s a difference but there will be.

Same goes for all electrical appliances, try and make sure you turn them off when you’re not using them. I’m awful for leaving the cooker main switch on and also the showers switch too. Not only will you be able to save money, but you will be environmentally friendly too!

Water

You can also save money on your water bill by taking a shower for only as long as you need to and sacrificing your singing time(!).

Another thing you could do is keep the tap water off whilst brushing your teeth.

You could put the washing machine on a cycle that uses less energy and water. Most modern machines have some sort of energy mode on them, take a look at yours! Also, setting your washing machine up to do a cycle through the night will cost less, as the rates go down through the night.

Heating

Depending on how your home is heated you could save a small fortune by switching to halogen heaters. They are small free standing heaters that you can buy from pretty much any hardware shop for around £10. There are bigger options available but for my flat (which has super high ceilings) all I need is two of these and the place is nice and toasty. They run on pence an hour and plug straight into your mains. They also have a great little feature where if they are knocked over or taken off the base whilst they’re on, they will automatically shut off. So you’ll be fine leaving it on if you’re nipping for a quick wee between your TV shows.

Is there anything else I could be doing?

Of course, here’s a list of ideas you could take on to save money

  1. Don’t bin ripped clothes, use them! This could be as cloths for cleaning or upcycling them into cushion covers, get creative!
  2. Keep all of your machines in and out of the house maintained (Yes I’m on about the car)
  3. Make gifts and cards at home. These are often more sentimental anyway!
  4. Cancel any unused subscriptions you pay for like the gym
  5. Plan your meals for the week and stick to it when you go shopping
  6. Don’t make a large purchase without first really taking time to think about it
  7. Sell your unused belongings, there are so many easy ways of doing it now!
  8. Aim for something that you would really like to buy, it will give you more motivation!
  9. Bargain with your TV and internet providers for a better deal.
  10. Walk to school/work instead of driving or taking the bus wherever possible.
  11. Invite people over rather than going out
  12. Buy from charity shops
  13. Take a packed lunch to work, and do it for the kids too
  14. Quit smoking – great for your health and your purse
  15. Cut the kids hair instead of going to a salon
  16. Cancel magazine subscriptions – do you really look at them anyway?
  17. If possible, take on more hours at work
  18. Enter competitions to win things that will save you money, this could be meals or days out, clothing vouchers, discounts on utility bills. The list goes on.
  19. If you hear of any cash-in-hand work going that you can do, go for it!

There are literally hundreds of ways to make money and save money – so treat your purses to a rest and begin saving!

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The Benefits of being a Blogger

Today I took full advantage of being a blogger and able to work wherever I want and spent the day with my friend so that we could catch up. (In between her doing housework and getting her youngest from nursery I was able to work from the comfort of her sofa!).

We decided to fill her paddling pool up for the kids to go in after school and cool off, and to treat them all to a takeaway pizza and chips.

I’ve not felt so relaxed in ages, I really enjoyed watching Dinky play with her children. His confidence has come on so much. When my friend and I first met he would be too anxious to join in with their games and would nervously be tugging on me to either go home or for me to have to be by his side.

But today, he proved how much he has come along by happily joining in with their play and literally only coming to me for food and drinks. As you can see, they had a great time!


Nothing makes me happier than seeing a Dinky enjoying himself. For years we really struggled with his interaction and now he seems to have conquered that. I’m one happy Mumma indeed.

So, to sum up my day, I managed to:
1. Catch up with a great friend of mine.

2. Enjoy watching Dinky play and interact with other children.

3. Work from where and when I felt like it.

I’m totally getting used to this whole being your own boss thing!

How can you become a full-time blogger?

If you want to know how you can be your own boss, check out my post here on How to become a full-time blogger. I’ve also got a great giveaway ending 30/06 there too, so head over and enter!

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Just because depression isn’t visible, doesn’t mean it’s not there.

Depression is something that the majority of us will suffer with at some point in our lives. Whether we realize it or not. It comes in different ways for all of us. Some of us just think we’re feeling a little low. Some of us feel like life isn’t worth living anymore.

My experience.

When I first went in about my mental health, the Doctor wasn’t sure whether I was confusing depression with anxiety. Now I look back on it, maybe at the time I was, but I’ve definitely had an element of depression.

I battled for a very long time with my mental health, and I was stubborn enough to not accept the help and let the Doctor prescribe me medication. I was scared I’d be on it for life and become addicted.

A colleague of mine at the time managed to convince me to try it because I’d got to the point where I was nervous about even answering the phone. I was pushing everyone that cares about me away by not talking about my feelings because I felt like it’d just be a burden on them. They did everything I did, worked hard, looked after the children etc. So why couldn’t I do that?

My plan of action.

I finally took the plunge and went to the Doctor asking for medication. I was already on propranolol for my anxiety but that didn’t touch my mood. When I finally gave in I just sat there and sobbed, rambling onto the Doctor about everything that’s built up for me. I felt stupid. So many people in the world are going through so much worse than I am.

I did, however, feel better for just letting it out. The Doctor prescribed me a low dose of sertraline, as what I was feeling clearly wasn’t just my anxiety.

I went back after 2 weeks for a review of my mood. To be honest, in that short space of time I didn’t really see an improvement, apart from the fact that it had helped my anxiety issues slightly!

Within a month of that, I felt like a totally new person. I was no longer crying every day or breaking down over the smallest of things. My patience had improved when it comes to Dinky and his challenging behaviors. Most importantly, I was actually able to smile again.

How do I get a diagnosis for depression?

It’s not something that the Doctor will just diagnose straight away, especially if you’ve not had any past history of mental health. The Doctor will likely prescribe you some antidepressants and ask you come back after a few weeks to check your mood. The Doctor may even refer you to see a mental health worker if you really don’t want to take medication for your depression.

I’m not saying medication is the way forward to cure depression because it isn’t the case for some people. I’m just saying it helped me and still is. I hope to come off of my medication soon.

If you feel like you may be suffering from depression, please go and see your Doctor. It doesn’t mean you’re weak. In fact, it means the opposite. You’ve got the strength to go and tell someone that actually, you’re really not doing okay and need some help. There is nothing wrong with that. Just because depression isn’t visible, it doesn’t mean it isn’t there.

Useful links

Here are some links to find out more about depression, take a mood test, and how you can get the best help for you.

Moodzone

NHS Choices

How To Cope With Anxiety

Please remember that you’re never alone in this. I believe that you can get through this.

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Are you one of the FEW? Female Entrepreneur Week

I am super proud to be taking part in this year’s Female Entrepreneur Week (FEW).

I’m going to tell you a little bit about what FEW is, and how you can get involved!

My Story

Not so long ago I was working 34 hours in a Doctors surgery as a medical administrator. The money was fabulous, my colleagues were lovely but I had a problem. Childcare was really hard to find when it came to half-term and summer holidays. I asked my bosses if I could reduce my hours and unfortunately they couldn’t offer me that position. So I had a decision to make. Do I find another job that can work around the school terms, or do I make the leap and become self-employed?

I’ve been blogging now for around three years, and most recently I’ve been enjoying it more and more, building up my network, writing my posts and actually beginning to earn money from blogging. I thought long and hard about the decision I needed to make. Would I want to be stuck in another job that ultimately could get me into the same position that I was already in? Absolutely not.

Do I want a job where I can choose my own hours, write about what I love and still manage to be at home for Dinky? Of course!

There was my answer right there. I handed in my months notice and that month flew by. The 5th of June arrived and I was now self-employed. It was a scary thought but I got right to it by applying to tons of writing work, some being freelance writing through Upwork, and some were writing for my blog.

So what have I achieved so far?

What an absolutely fabulous surprise I’ve had! In just over a week I’ve managed to land myself a column on Soapbox, I’m now writing regularly for two clients on Upwork, and I’ve been given this amazing opportunity to spread the word for Female Entrepreneur Week!

Of course, I would love to take on more work, and I’m still applying every day, but I think in one week, to have made this much progress isn’t bad at all!

If you’re interested in starting your own blog, check out my post – How you can give up your 9-5 and become and full-time blogger – I also have a fabulous giveaway for bloggers there too!

A few special shout outs

I wouldn’t have been able to make this leap if a few people hadn’t either pushed me to do it or given me tons of inspiration on the way.

Zara from Mojo Blogs – this woman has been my absolute rock through all of this. We’ve been friends for almost 6 years (!) now, we’ve met up a few times and had a brilliant day every time. She has been dealing with my crazy panicked texts, giving me advice, tips on how to improve certain aspects of my blog and in general just being an absolutely fabulous friend. Love love xx

Rachel from Coffee, Cake, Kids – I was lucky enough to meet this lovely lady at Blog Camp 2015 and since then she’s helped me build my blog by passing on my name to potential clients, reading my blog and giving me support. Thank you xx

Katie from The Perfect Juggler – I’ve only recently met Katie, but we’re at the same level with our blogs. Her blog is lovely and she’s given me support since starting this journey. We seem to have tons in common and I wish her all of the best with everything, and hopefully, you can make this jump soon! xx

Aby from You Baby Me Mummy – I have this lady to thank for all of my knowledge when it comes to sharing my blog and driving traffic. Although I still have a long way to go, I know by following her tips I will get there! Her blog is fabulous, and to be fair, so is she. Thanks Aby xx

What is Female Entrepreneur Week?

Female Entrepreneur Week (FEW) is an online festival, celebrating female entrepreneurs everywhere. Not many women have the courage to take the leap and start their own business. FEW is giving us the opportunity to take part in some absolutely fabulous workshops to help us build our businesses, our brands, and our skills. This all begins on the 21st of June, so get yourself over there and sign up!

How can I sign up?

Easy peasy! Head over to Female Entrepreneur Week‘s website here to get yourself access to all of the free training and resources. It’s really that simple!

If you’ve got a business and you’re unsure how you can take it further, or you write a blog as a hobby and would like to turn it into a business then this is the place for you.

See you there?

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How to make your morning routine a doddle.

We all hate mornings, especially Monday mornings. It’s the first day after that very much needed two-day rest and many of us don’t just have ourselves to get ready, we have our little ones too. I have never been very good at getting out of bed in the morning, even since I’ve had Dinky, I have to have about 50 alarms just to make sure I wake up and get myself moving. If you’re like me, you’ll want to read this guide on how to make your Monday mornings and the rest of the week go that little bit smoother.

I’ve created a checklist that you can perform every night so that when the morning comes, you can get up and do as little as possible.

Pack lunchboxes the night before.

This is something my Mum taught me to do, she was always so worried about not getting up in time that our lunchboxes wouldn’t be ready. Depending on how many you have to make, it could save you up to 20 minutes in the morning to get that all important first cup of coffee into the system.

Lay out clothing ready.

Getting your clothing ready will not only save you fumbling around half asleep for a matching pair of socks, but it means that you can ask your children (if they’re old enough of course) to help you by getting themselves dressed. I know in the real world children aren’t that obedient all of the time but maybe you could use some bribery like I do. A promise of a small chocolate bar after breakfast always gets Dinky dressing himself. I’m a good mother, I swear.

Ultimately the aim in doing this is to save you even more time to get that coffee down!

Set the table ready for breakfast .

This may seem like something that wouldn’t take that long, but in reality setting the table may be a harder job with little ones running around, unable to find their shoes or fussing over what they would like to eat. Instead get the bowls and plates ready, and the cereals out so that all you’d have to do is supply the milk or pop the bread in the toaster.

Yep, you guessed it, making more time for coffee.

Shower the night before.

That goes for all of you that need to be up for that manic rush in the mornings. I’ve always bathed Dinky at night but often I’ll shrug it off for me and promise myself that I’ll shower the next morning.

That never happens.

Showering the night before means not only will you avoid missing out on yet another shower because little one got up too early, but it means that you will probably have a better night sleep, you’ll wake up feeling less groggy and you don’t have to fight against time to get your hair dry in time for the school run. I’ve done way too many school runs with wet or half dry hair and ended up looking like a right state for the rest of the day.

Trust me, shower at night. All of this time I’m saving you, you may even be able to drag a bit of lipstick over your lips and have that coffee.

Clean up once the kids are in bed.

Again a fairly simple thing that we should all ideally be doing. I definitely don’t. I’m normally that glad to not have to watch another Paw Patrol episode that I faint with excitement and never end up doing any tidying.

I’m sure you will agree that when you get up to a tidier home, you have a better start to the day. So force yourself to just clear those toys away and wash the plates up. If you do this daily, it shouldn’t take you long.

You could even make a little routine for the kids to join in with before they go to bed. Give them a 10 minute warning that it’s nearly time to go to bed and then ask them to put the toys away themselves. Then that’s even less for you to do!

Maybe you could have a coffee whilst they’re doing that?

Create a weekday schedule.

Going on from my last point a little, I think that creating a weekday schedule that the whole family can try to stick by will take a lot of work off of your back. With Dinky’s autism, I find his behaviour is much easier when he is on a schedule and he knows what to expect. Every morning he gets up, has breakfast, gets dressed, brushes teeth and then gets a treat before we set off for school. I find that he reacts well to not just a schedule in the morning but througout the day. I’ve created a daily schedule chart that I use to write the tasks for the day on, and then 7 spaces to pop a sticker in when he has done his task. I’ll include a template of this chart at the end of this post!

 

As you can tell, I basically function on coffee alone, and very much value my coffee in the morning.

Hopefully this post may have given you some ideas on how to make your morning routine that little bit less stressful for you. If you’re interested in getting your hands on my totally free schedule that you can use with the kids, enter your email in the form below and I’ll email it to you!

Does anyone else have anything that helps make mornings easier? I’d love to have more tips because as I’ve already said. I hate mornings!

Much love xx

 




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Miss Pork Pie’s Make Up – Collection Mulberry Burst Lipstick Review

I never used to be that interested in lipstick, but over the last few months, since I decided to buy MUA totally nude lipstick I haven’t stopped wearing it! I feel totally wrong going out without something on my lips, kind of like many of us feel if we leave the house without mascara!?

This time I decided to go for a bold colour, something that would stand out a bit more. I went for Mulberry Blast by Collection. As you can see, it’s going to make much more of a statement than my nude lippy!

Price wise I think it’s very reasonable, it cost me only £2.98 from Boots and it’s also currently in the 3 for 2 offer, the cheapest item being free. I didn’t go for that deal this time, but I certainly plan on going back to take advantage of it!

The lipstick claims to be long lasting, and I was quite dubious as I always somehow manage to wear through my lipstick all of the time. I was pleasantly surprised. It lasted about 2 hours before having to touch it up, and in that time I had eaten and drank too so I agree with the long lasting claims!

It’s a nicely textured lipstick, how you’d imagine it to be really, it glides on easily and feels nice when you rub your lips together. I did find that I had to apply it quite liberally though, as the colour didn’t hide my natural lip colour straight away.

Over all I am really happy that I bought this lipstick, and I have already gained so much use from it! For that kind of price you really can’t complain!

Has anyone else tried the Collection long lasting stay range? What did you think?

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10 Things That Make Me Happy

Thank you to Rachel over at Coffee, Cake, Kids for tagging me in this post thread to take part!

As we have all seen on the news lately there’s been awful terrorist attacks in Manchester and London and I think that we all need to appreciate how lucky we are to have been safe from these terrible events. My heart goes out to all of the families and friends of the victims of these attacks.

This is why when Rachel tagged me in this, I thought it was a great time to reflect on 10 things that make me happy. Even when life seems a bit shitty, and it feels like the whole world is on your shoulders, I think we should all take the time to think about things that we are grateful for. So here is my 10 things that make me happy!

1. Blogging

This one may seem incredibly obvious but over the last few months, blogging has become a big part of my life again. I have met some of the loveliest people through blogging and had so many great opportunities too. I’ve had the chance to review items that I would never even have thought about trying and some that I’ve loved for many years too. I’ve also managed to start monetizing my blog, and I am now writing full time. That’s something I didn’t think I’d be able to do for years.

2. Dinky’s Smile

As you may already know, Dinky has autism. Since about the age of two, we have noticed and have been trying to get an official diagnosis so that we can get him the best help possible to help him thrive in life. I know for a fact he finds every single day a struggle, he knows that he isn’t like some of the other children at his school. Every morning we really find it hard to get him to school happily, it’s very rare that he goes in without any sort of panic attack. So those times where I do get to see my boy’s amazing smile, I absolutely love it. It melts my heart to know that at that moment he’s not worrying about anything and that I made that smile happen.

3. Mr. Pie

This is going to be corny as hell but I honestly don’t know where I’d be without him. He has supported me through the worst anxiety of my life, through stresses of home and work and also he is still supporting me as I’m taking the leap and becoming a full-time writer. He makes me smile daily, he’s my best friend and my soul mate. He is an incredible step-father to Dinky and they both adore each other (even though I know they wind each other up sometimes too). I doubt Mr. Pie will read this but I love you!

4. Vodka

Come on, you had to know this one was coming? It’s not an essential part of my life, but when I’ve had a rough day there’s nothing I love more than kicking back with a nice cold vodka and lemonade (or two) (okay three).

5. Gaming

GEEK ALERT!! I have loved gaming pretty much my entire life, but for around 8 years (oh my, that’s a bit bad!) I have loved World of Warcraft. I have also met some of the best people I know on the game, including my best blogging buddy Zara from Mojo Blogs who was pregnant at the same time that I was, and they were born literally days apart! I’ve gone back and forth with the game, playing whenever I can. I’ll never be as into it as I used to be before I had Dinky, but I still enjoy logging on and letting it take me away for a few hours.

6. Movies

Mr. Pie is a massive film fanatic, and since we have been together he has shown me literally hundreds of films and still manages to name and describe films I’ve never even heard of. I love it when we watch a movie together, it’s our time to chill out together, get cozy and watch a good film. Plus, there’s nothing better than lying there with your loved one after a long day!

7. The plan that myself and Mr. Pie have for life

We’ve been together for almost four years now and we’re constantly getting comments about marriage and more children. As much as we’d love to jump straight in and have all of these, we’re trying to do things the right way for us. We want to buy ourselves a nice home, build up some money and then go ahead and get married and have children. I just love the fact that we can both shrug off the comments because we know what our aim is and we will get there.

8. Cooking

I’ll admit, some days I really can’t be bothered to make much of an effort in our meal plans, but I do actually really enjoy cooking. Whenever I see one of those recipe videos floating around Facebook I can’t help but watch it, and then modify it in my head. When it actually comes to cooking, I love being creative and even changing the recipes up as I go along, and one thing I love even more is seeing Mr. Pie’s face when he tries my food. Any compliment from him is a big one in my eyes considering he is a chef.

9. Our car

We haven’t had much luck with cars over the last three years, but I have loved each and every one of them. At the moment we have my Dad’s old Freelander and I absolutely adore it. It looks beefy, it drives incredibly and it’s also something that makes Dinky smile. Even though the car isn’t an absolute necessity for us, I certainly do miss having one when we don’t. Having that freedom there to just jump in the car and go somewhere is amazing, and of course, it makes life 10x easier with shopping and school runs!

10. My life

It took me ages to think about this final one because I wanted to make it a good one. I was sat there thinking about what I appreciate and I realized that I hadn’t even listed the most important one, the whole reason I started writing this post, I’m grateful and happy with my life. I may have 3458345 things to groan about certain things that are going on in my life, but in general, I have a great life, an amazing partner, an incredibly loving, intelligent and funny son, supportive family, food on the table and a roof over my head.

I nominate Katie Shacklock over at The Perfect Juggler to give us her top 10 things that make her happy!

 

 

 

 




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5 blog post ideas that will guarantee to drive traffic to your blog.

Sometimes coming up with the ‘perfect’ post can be hard, especially if you have no idea what to write about. I have often spent hours sat in front of my laptop really wanting to write some engaging content, but I’ve been lost for topics to write about.

I’ve compiled a list of the top blog post ideas that are guaranteed to drive traffic to your blog. The key is to add variety to your blog posts. Why? This will keep your readers coming back, and new readers wanting to see your content. It will also allow you to be more creative with your writing, allowing you to help your readers/customers to find what they came to your site for.

How To Posts.

How to posts are an incredible way to drive traffic to your blog. People often go to the web to search for how to do something.

Think about how people find out how to do most things nowadays.

People often go to the web to search for how to do something. Writing a post that will tell people exactly how to do something, will gain you those views. Also, making these posts show your readers that you have credibility and are trustworthy, making them even more likely to return to your blog.

Another fabulous idea with how to posts is to add a little freebie at the end of the post too. For example, if you have posted your workout schedule, create a template that people can have if they choose. You can also gain many subscribers this way by getting readers to get that template emailed to them by you. You can set this up using plugins and applications, like MailChimp.

 

Cheatsheets.

One thing that people absolutely love are easy ways around something, so when I say cheatsheets, I also mean to-do lists and checklists, anything to make their lives easier.

For example, someone may search for “what I need for my first trip out with my baby”. Giving them that information that they want will again show that you’re trustworthy and also make you look super organized.

This is a lot like a how to post, but instead, it helps readers make sure that nothing is forgotten about when they’re packing for that all important first trip out with the baby. With this, you can also create a template that people can download and receive as part of signing up to your email list.

Reviews

Everybody loves reviews. What’s the first thing you do if you’re thinking about buying something that you can’t really shrug off money wise if it turns out to be no good? You turn to the wonderful internet to find someone else that has spent that money, or taken the plunge and dyed their hair a wacky colour, to see if it’s worth your time, money and effort.

Also, don’t we all secretly love the fail reviews that are posted?

Back on topic. Reviews are literally what can make or break a business and people love finding out which is the best company to purchase their desired product from. Even if it means reviewing a new product you’re trying for your hair to eliminate dry scalp, or giving an opinion on how good those headphones from Lidl actually are, people will want to read it.

A great way to display a review is in vlog form too, this can also help expand your blog to not only writing but videos too!

Another good idea is to email some companies and offer them a free review of one of their products in return for you keeping the item. Many brands are more than willing to do that for the free advertising, although if payment of any form is involved, it is then considered a sponsored post and you should let your readers know this in a disclaimer. Let’s face it, you’re more likely to give a good review on a product that was sent to you for free, and a product that will possibly bring exposure from that company promoting the post too, right?

Giveaways/Competitions

I always love seeing the traffic roll in from hosting a giveaway. My first ever giveaway I made quite a few mistakes and I’m going to tell you so that you don’t make those mistakes too.

1. I had a very short giveaway of just a week. You ideally need it to be around a month, depending on the value of the prize otherwise the word may not get around enough and you may not reap any benefits from hosting it like I did.

2. Submit your giveaway to competition websites like Loquax and Bloggers Required to help your reach go even further. I didn’t do this with my first giveaway and I wouldn’t have had a clue if a bloggy friend hadn’t have told me.

3. Create a call to action to enter your giveaway. I always use Rafflecopter for my giveaways, but there are many other sites that you can use to host. I didn’t really ask for my readers to do much on my first giveaway, which meant I didn’t really see much return from it. By this I mean ask them to share the post and follow you on your social accounts in return for their entry to the giveaway.

4. Create your giveaway in the form of a post, write a little something about why you’re doing the giveaway or even link the giveaway to a relevant post.

So yeah, basically if you host a giveaway and stick to those three points, you’re going to have a great time seeing your traffic come in! Plus, everyone loves a giveaway right?!

I’m totally going to self-promote here, but if you’re interested to see what a giveaway looks like or how to go about it, you can check my latest one out here – How you can give up your 9-5 and become a full-time blogger and bloggers bundle giveaway!

 

List posts

Have you ever been so bored and googled what to do with your day? People often search for ideas on many different subjects and this is where list posts come in. You can do so many things with list posts like specify it to a particular area, or you can generalize it so that everyone will be able to take something away from your post.

Another way to use lists is to list a top ten. For example; top ten ways to lose belly fat. Not only are you giving you readers a solution to their “belly fat”, but you’re giving them 10 different ways to achieve this!

 

Of course, there are many other topics and ideas you could use, like interviews, controversial/debating posts, personal stories and much more!

So if you’re ever sat there stuck on what to write about, or you’d like to see an increase in your traffic, come back to this list and enjoy seeing your traffic boom, your subscribers grow and your blog thrive.

Are there any other blog post ideas that you find drive a lot of traffic? I’d love to know!

Much love xx

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To the poor woman I witnessed get hit by a car today..

Let me just start by saying I truly hope you’re okay. You’re being treated by an incredible team and I can’t wait to see your face again at the surgery.

Let me explain. I was sat outside work today having a cigarette and I was enjoying the sunshine and the fresh air when I happened to glance over at you on your familiar red moped. I saw you take off from the junction to cross the roundabout and I saw that car speed into you. I heard the crash and I heard your scream. I saw your moped skid across the floor. I instantly and dialled for help, I shouted at a colleague to get a Doctor and I rushed over to you.

People crowded around and the Doctor arrived and I let them do their assessments on you. I went and grabbed something to cover you with and to keep you warm. I called the Police to come and section off the road that you were lying in. Cars were building up and impatient drivers were angrily feeding through the space other passers-by had created to keep you safe. We moved your moped to a safe place and by then the Police had turned up and so had the ambulance. Someone called your Husband and gave him the awful news that you’d been in an accident. It felt like forever but it all happened so quickly at the same time. You were are incredible. You kept calm and answered the floods of questions and then I watched you be taken away in the ambulance. The Doctors were amazing, the pedestrians were too, not one person walked past without asking how you were and who you were so they could send their best.

I, of course know who you are, we work in the same building. I’m actually one of your patients for my anxiety. Little did I know that one day I’d have to see someone who has bought me great strength and got me past a really difficult time in my life, lying in the road after being hit by a car. A woman who I see daily documents from, and see how much you help people turn their lives around, help them overcome their fears and anxieties.

This is something I won’t ever forget, and tonight I’ve lit a candle to send all of my best wishes and thoughts your way.

Sending positive vibes your way,

A patient who thinks you’re an amazing person xx

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How you can give up your 9-5 and become a full-time blogger and bloggers bundle giveaway!

Giveaway details

“Not me!” I hear you say. That’s what I thought less than three months ago when myself and my best bloggy buddy were chatting. Now, as of next Friday, I am going to be working for myself, and I’m going to tell you how you can do it too!

I also have an exciting blogging bundle giveaway to give away to a lucky winner worth £50! It consists of a few essentials (and one or two not so essential but I know you’ll love them). The bundle consists of:

  • A midyear planner for your wall, so that you can have all of your tasks right there in front of your PC.
  • A midyear diary so that when you’re out and about, you can keep an eye on your schedule
  • A cork board for your wall to pin your inspiration or even more scheduling (you see a pattern here)
  • Sticky notes for your diary for the really important stuff that you need to remember
  • Glitter pens – I’m sorry but who doesn’t like glitter pens?!
  • Notepad station with drawer. My Mum has always had one of these and she never misses a thing because of it.
  • An emoji “stressed ball” for those moments where you need to take a few minutes to calm and collect your thoughts.
  • An incredible £15 iTunes gift card, because…well because I’m nice like that and think everyone deserves a treat. Also, you could download and create part of a motivational playlist!

So, back to the important stuff.

First, you need to decide whether you’re going to invest straight away – or even at all – into your blog. When I started blogging three years ago I jumped straight in and bought my domain name over at Go Daddy for around £6.00. This isn’t absolutely essential, but my thought was that when I would eventually want the domain name in the future, I wouldn’t want it to be taken and end up with an alternative I wasn’t very happy about.

If you don’t want to buy a domain that’s fine, most blogging platforms offer free accounts. Blogger and WordPress offer really good free accounts that you can jump straight into and create your website! They are super simple to use and are among the most popular for free hosting.

If you are going to buy a domain, head over to Go Daddy or Bluehost to choose and buy your domain. You can also choose to go self-hosted on here with easy instructions on how to do it, and also 24/7 help available if you do get stuck.

You will need to create your brand. 

This will consist of deciding what you’re going to write about (your niche) and creating a name that fits with it or is relevant to you in some way. Try and make your name unique and catchy, something that your soon-to-be readers will remember.

Once you have done all of this you can begin creating your blog! Here are a few tips to follow when creating a great blog post:

  • Make the title eye-catching. You want your readers to be drawn in. Read how you can do that here.
  • Think about who you’re writing for, and how your post will benefit them.
  • Write an introduction on what you’re going to be talking about.
  • Make sure you write grammatically correct, one massive thing for me that will make me close that browser window is if someone’s writing is all over the place. A good way to check this is to use Grammarly that you can install right into your browser to help you.
  • Create a call-to-action at the end of your article, this will keep your readers engaged and increase your returning visitors.
  • Relate to your targeted audience.
  • Don’t be shy. Include personal experiences, readers love that.
  • Link back to your sources for information, the sources that are other bloggers will totally appreciate this.

Once you have created your blog post you will then need to share it. I’m sure you all know the social media platforms but here are the main ones that bring in traffic to my blog.

  • Facebook – create a page for your brand that your fans and friends can like. You can also join Facebook groups dedicated to bloggers where you can share your work.
  • Twitter – it is super easy to reach the right people on Twitter with the use of hashtags and retweets. You can also “tag” people in your tweets to get their attention.
  • Pinterest – Pinterest is one of the biggest sources of traffic for many bloggers because it’s a search engine and once your pin is out there, anyone can find it. You can also join Pinterest group boards within your niche to increase your traffic even more. Make sure your pin images are high quality to catch people’s eye. Here’s how you can do that.
  • Stumble Upon – this little beauty was unknown to me until recently. Basically, you upload your blog posts and the more it gets “stumbled on” the more traffic you receive.
  • Tumblr – Tumblr is a blogging platform in itself, but I have linked my blog to it so that when I post, it goes onto my Tumblr account too.
  • Instagram – Instagram allows people to discover you by the images you upload and the hashtags you use. Be sure to use good quality images for the best results.

Then you need to think about scheduling your posts to your social media accounts. I find an amazing way to schedule my pins is through Tailwind, which comes with an option for a free account, and gives you a free tutorial. One program I use which is incredible for scheduling posts and growing my Twitter is Crowdfire – this will schedule and post for you to many social media accounts at times you choose, or it will even pick the best time for you. It also gives you little tips on how to expand your reach. Honestly, get them both.

Another super important thing to do is to read other people’s blogs and leave thoughtful comments on their work. They will return the love! Not only that, reading other blogs can spark your own inspiration and give opportunities for collaborations with other bloggers. Also, brands and companies are able to find you through you leaving your web address on other blogger’s posts.




 

Right so you’ve now got your own blog, and traffic coming in, so how do you make money?

The first way you can begin making money is by adding Google adverts onto your website. It’s pretty simple but you can find out more here. Make sure you read their use policy as if you get caught out misusing the system you could get into big trouble. Google Adsense will place adverts into your blog where appropriate, and people who click through those adverts will earn you money per click. Not loads per click, but the amount adds up.

Another way to make money is to sign up for Bloggers Required, where you will receive blogging assignments straight to your email address as they are uploaded to the database. Then all you have to do is apply for these assignments, once the brand/company has selected you (this will normally be by email) then away you go!

Sponsored blog posts are another way of making money. Companies will pay you to display something of theirs that you will link back to them. This could be anything from sidebar links, widgets, reviews to a guest post.

You can make money on your blog by placing affiliate links in your posts. This often comes through reviewing a product for a company and the more clicks it gets, the more money you earn.

Creating your own merchandise or product that you can sell on your blog.

That is literally all you need to do. It may seem like a lot to take in, but honestly, once you’ve done it all once, it will become second nature.

Here are a few key things to remember:

  • Make your posts easily shareable – add sharing buttons to your site.
  • Post regularly, you can’t expect people to keep coming to your site if there’s no new content to read.
  • Share other people’s posts on your social media accounts, people will get bored if all you do is spam your stuff.
  • Create catchy headlines.
  • Use high-quality images.
  • Research SEO (search engine optimization) this will help your blog to be found.

The giveaway

Now for the giveaway. I am giving away a lovely bloggy bundle that every blogger will find useful, new or established. The giveaway will end 29/06/2017 at 11.59pm UK time.
a Rafflecopter giveaway




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