Here’s this week’s instalment of Blogger Behind the Blog where I interview a blogger all about their reasons for blogging and what it means to them. This week I’m joined by Sarah from Arthurwears.
Here’s Sarah with more about her blogging life:
Where did your blog name come from?
I originally started my blog ‘Arthurwears’ as a way for my family (who all live far away) to keep up to date with Arthur and his many outfit changes (usually due to a poo explosion!) I thought it was a nice way to share photos and have a little record of his life as he grows. As my blog started to develop and I left my teaching role, it became a great way for me to share my ideas, activities, thoughts, advice and experiences as a new Mummy.
When did you start your blog and why?
After I’d taken the decision not to go back to work, I felt like I needed to have an outlet, something that would give me a bit of a challenge and make me feel like I was doing something other than just being ‘Arthur’s Mummy’. I also had so many ideas for activities – which usually, I would have just taken into school and tried out with my class, but without the ability to do that I felt like my ideas were being wasted and it made me feel a little bit useless if i’m honest. I also really struggled in the first few months of Arthur’s life – I had awful flashbacks from the birth, plus he suffered really badly with colic and reflux, fed almost constantly and hardly slept. My family all live far away and when Arthur was only 3 weeks old my Mother in law had a massive stroke. We didn’t think she would make it (thankfully she did). It was a really difficult time and I felt like blogging kept me focused and gave me something positive to aim for.
What did you do before you blogged?
I was a Reception class Primary School Teacher specialising in Early Years. I was also the school ICT co-ordinator – although since blogging and learning more about technology I’ve realised that I really didn’t know very much at all! (But I still knew more than all of the other teachers so I guess I was the best option!
What was your first post?
My first post was just a photo of Arthur with a mention of the clothes he was wearing and where we got them from. This photo actually ended up being my original blog picture and logo up until I redesigned it last month – it is a million miles away from the type of posts I write now, but it’s great to look back on as it symbolises my blogging journey!
What inspires you to blog?
Anything and everything! It really depends what the topic is I am blogging about. EYFS activities come from thinking about Arthur’s ‘next steps’ for learning and trying to find fun and innovative ways to help him to develop. More personal posts depend on how i’m feeling and how much time I have to get things off my chest in the form of a blog post.
What post has had the best response?
My post on dealing with colic and reflux is one of my most popular and most viewed – mainly because I think so many new mums struggle with this and I have listed all of the things we tried with some helpful info and advice.
Which post are you most proud of?
This poem I wrote for all of the Mummies who are going back to work or who’s children are starting nursery for the first time – I had a really great response to this post, again, I think because it resonates with so many. I wrote it for a friend hoping that it would make her feel a little better about the whole thing! It’s the first time I’d published a poem publicly and I felt quite nervous about what people would think about it.
Which post did you enjoy writing the most?
The diary of a 9 month old escape artist – written from the point of view of my son, Arthur – who literally did everything he could to escape every form of safety restraint. I loved writing this. It made me laugh whilst I wrote it and it still makes me laugh when I read it now. Call me crazy, but I read this as if Arthur really did write it which I think makes it even funnier. I possibly have a strange sense of humour!
Have any of your posts not had the response that you expected?
This post I wrote called ‘My husband steals my toothbrush’ – I had to delete the whole first half of it after it had been published because my husband’s family were so upset. Up until this point I hadn’t realised they even read my blog, but then my husband was told how upset they were. It was supposed to be a tongue in cheek, humorous post about every day life as a wife/mum and the annoying things that husbands can do such as leaving the washing on the floor next to the basket, or putting the pots on top of the dishwasher rather than in it. I’d likened the scenario to a Michael McIntyre sketch to confirm the jovial nature of the piece and ran it by my twin sister who thought it was really funny. I am genuinely still a bit confused as to how I got it so wrong.
Where do you see your blog in a year’s time?
Hopefully Arthur will be sleeping through and I will have more time to blog! I love to write, but at the moment I am stealing moments here and there whenever I still have enough energy left. I usually end up blogging ‘in my mind’ as I’m falling asleep!! I’d like to build up my followers so that my blog reaches a lot more people and I can have more interactions and feedback.
What is your favourite thing about blogging?
The fact that I still feel like I have a role to play and something to give back and work towards other than just looking after little people.
…and your least favourite?
Trying to fit it in when I’m having a busy day or I’ve not had much sleep can be stressful. Oh, and when I make the mistake of comparing myself to other bloggers who are doing much better and then feeling like I’m not getting anywhere… I think we all have days like this no matter what we do, bloggers or not.
Do you do anything differently now to when you started blogging?
Everything. Since I started I’ve learnt about DA, when to use follow and no-follow links, the importance of naming your photos and adding an alt tag, adding a meta tag to posts, thinking about key words, making sure I have follow buttons easily accessible, using social media to market my posts, joining linkies, interacting with other bloggers….the list is endless. I’ve finally joined some blogging groups on Facebook too and now I can really appreciate how sociable blogging can be and I love that.
Is blogging what you expected it to be?
It’s harder to get your posts out there than I thought it would be. I naively thought at the start that I would just hit publish and people would just magically read it! I thought writing the posts would be the hard part. It isn’t, that’s the best part! It’s all the work that comes after that I didn’t expect so much. It’s also better than I expected it to be when it comes to ‘meeting’ new people, other bloggers and having that in common. Today for example, I found out the lady who has just moved into the house opposite me is also a blogger and we already follow each other on twitter. I love it when things like that happen. There aren’t many situations where you can meet other mums in person and then realise you have already crossed paths in the blogging world!
What’s been your favourite blog collaboration to date?
Taking part in the skincare trial for the new bareMinerals SkinSorials range ahead of the launch and then being invited to London to film some promotional videos and have my makeup done by their makeup artist. I am a massive bareMinerals fan so this was an amazing opportunity for me. I already had a prior relationship with the brand as I have reviewed their products on their website for years and am one of their top 10 contributors so this came off the back of past reviews. I almost didn’t go as I had no childcare options and couldn’t travel within the times they’d asked because I live so far away from London. They were great about it and moved the times around and said I could bring Arthur with me. I wrote a post about our little adventure here.
Are there any brands you would love to work with, why?
I am open to most things, and I’m pretty sure if you gave me a list to choose from I’d say all of them! In terms of reviews, I’d love to try the sleepyhead grande pillow, mainly because Arthur has never slept through the night and I’ve always had this dreamy notion that this is the solution! I can’t bear to actually buy one (nor can I afford it right now) and run the risk of being disappointed though! I’d also love to work with Chicco and try out their co-sleeper crib when we have number two. You’ve probably guessed by now that sleep solutions are a bit of an obsession at the moment – probably because I don’t get much sleep!
Have you had any blogging fails so far?
No. Not that I’m aware of anyway! I have been blogging just less than a year so there is still plenty of time for that I suppose!
What is your biggest blogging hope, dream or ambition?
For other people to love reading my blog posts as much as I enjoy writing them! I’d love to be successful and for my family and friends to take it seriously and think of it as something to be proud of. Even better if I can earn some money whilst doing it!
What do you do when you’re not blogging?
I am a full time Mummy to Arthur. I also Nanny for another little boy the same age as Arthur and have done since he was 9 months old and I take Arthur with me. I call it good practise for when we have another! Life doesn’t leave a whole lot of room for much else at the moment! I have a wonderful husband though and any ‘spare’ time I get we love to just chill out and relax at home.
and lastly, tell us all a random fact about yourself
I once won a gold medal at the British Archery Championships when I was young.