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 Ali from We Made This Life.
Here’s Ali with more about her blogging life:
Where did your blog name come from?
I started blogging under the name Cookies and Cwtches which was meant to reflect family and cooking with a nod to the fact that we live in Wales. As my blog became more popular though I noticed that people struggled with the pronunciation of ‘Cwtches” so I changed it to We Made This Life.
I chose the new name to reflect the fact that my husband and I started from nothing, with no help from anyone and have (and still are) working hard to make a great life for our family. We are big believers that hard work will pay off and we want to give our children a better life than we had when we were growing up. I have written about it in depth here.
When did you start your blog and why?
I started my original blog about four years ago now. I was reading a lot of blogs to get craft ideas, recipes, parenting tips etc and I loved the memories that people captured of their families on their blogs. I wanted to do the same. I have a love of writing and thought I could document all our little memories to show the children when they were older and knew that I would enjoy making other content like recipes and craft tutorials.
My blog has blossomed since then and I am so grateful that what started as a hobby is now what I consider to be my career.
What did you do before you blogged?
After I left university I worked as a paralegal for a law firm. However, they weren’t too keen on flexible working so I was forced out after I had my first child. I worked freelance in the academic legal writing world for a while but grew bored. I then started my own company selling handmade baby blankets and wrote the blog on the side. After my last child was born I had to give up the blanket company as I didn’t have enough time to dedicate to it, and now I blog full time!
What was your first post?
Do you know that I can’t actually remember and I’m not even sure how to check. It was probably awful though!!
What inspires you to blog?
I love writing about days out, and writing post where I have taken photos that I love. If I have great photos, I am always inspired to use them!
What post has had the best response, which post are you most proud of and which post did you enjoy writing the most?
My most popular post was a really short one I wrote in remembrance of the Sandy Hook Elementary Victims. I think it just resonated with my readers. The post that I am most proud of is the one I wrote about being a bad mother (or not). I’m really proud of this one because it is really honest and I wrote it from the heart in the heat of the moment so to speak. I know that it resonated with a lot of other parents out there and I had so many people contacting me to say that they felt the same.
I enjoy writing family days out posts the most, especially where I have included a video. One of my favourites was about a trip to London Sealife Centre, mainly because we had such a fabulous time there and I loved the photos so I really enjoyed remembering it all as I was writing it.
Have any of your posts not had the response that you expected?
I don’t think so. I’ve been disappointed when some posts haven’t done that well when I put lots of work into them though.
Where do you see your blog in a year’s time?
I’ve got big plans for my blog now that I have more time as the children are in school and nursery. I’d like to increase the amount that I earn and improve the site for my readers and create more content that interests them.
What is your favourite thing about blogging?
Without a doubt my favourite thing is that it has given me something for ‘me’.
As a mother to three children who gave up a lucrative career in law to raise them I initially struggled with trying to find myself in the new world of domestic doom and gloom I found myself in. I love having something that is mine, something to occupy my mind and give me a way to provide great experience and earn some money for my family.
…and your least favourite?
My least favourite is that it takes up so much time! I am really busy now, which is great in one way, but blogging is 24/7, you always have social media on and there is no rest from it!
What’s the best blog post you have ever read?
My favourite recent post The Ghost at The Classroom Door by Mum Amie. I’m new to this blog and read it after it popped up in one of my social media feeds.
Honest and raw blog posts like this are why I read blogs and why I started blogging. They make mum’s who have similar feelings feel like they are not struggling alone. In a week where anyone who has lost a child struggles with the back to school photos this post is so brilliantly written and explains a lot of the feelings that I quite often have. If you have lost a child or know someone who has it is a must read.
What blog do you love to read and why?
Oh so many! I find it hard to pick a favourite! I really love two American blogs called I Heart Organizing and Momma’s Gone City, and I love Oh So Amelia, Mummy Daddy Me and Let’s Talk Mommy, Goblin Child, Capture by Lucy and My Little Wildlings. Oh and of course Donna’s blog, but that’s a given!! I like all of these because they have beautiful photos and they all inspire me in some way.
Do you do anything differently now to when you started blogging?
I do so much differently! I write with SEO in mind which I didn’t before. I also share a lot more on social media and write with my audience in mind, rather than purely for myself.
Is blogging what you expected it to be?
Not at all. I think because I started it without any hope or idea of it becoming a career, and it has become so much more than that.
What’s been your favourite blog collaboration to date?
My favourite must have been when I worked with Bluestone. We really love it there and I loved taking photos and making videos of our stay. As a Welsh business it is also really nice to support local companies.
Are there any brands you would love to work with, why?
So many! I’d love to work with more high street fashion brands, for adults and children as that is an area of my blog I am looking at expanding in the future. I love Boden, Joules and the The White Company who I know all work with bloggers. And of course it would be a dream to come true to work with a big travel company like Mark Warner. I’d be in my element taking photos and making videos of all our memories!
Have you had any blogging fails so far?
No huge ones, but I’ve made all the usual mistakes like publishing too soon, making spelling errors and tagging the wrong people on twitter!
What is your biggest blogging hope, dream or ambition?
I’d love to become a little more well known in the blogger community so that I don’t feel like a loner when I go to blog conferences and events!
What do you do when you’re not blogging?
When I’m not blogging or parenting I sleep! Seriously, if I sit down for more than 15 minutes I fall asleep! I enjoy all the usual things like reading magazines and books and watching boxsets on Netflix!
and lastly, tell us all a random fact about yourself
A random fact about myself is that I have a bionic spine! I had my spine fused due to severe scoliosis when I was 13. Most people don’t notice unless they notice my scar. I used to be really self conscious about it and I have always been determined to not let it define or limit me which is why I don’t often talk about it.