Guest Posts

Guest Post by Lauren


So after just over a week (including a gloriously sunny bank holiday ie Summer) the two kiddies and I had just about crawled out of the blanket of illness that had wrapped up our house and cut us off from the world. Being ill at the same time as your children is hard work, as a single parent it’s harder still. When one of the children has autism, and always gets hit hardest by bugs, and is non-verbal so can’t tell you what hurts, or how they feel, it’s just awful. As soon as any germ makes it’s way into her little body it reacts viciously more often than not producing painful cold sores, this time being no exception.

As the week was drawing to a close and health slowing being restored I decided to check my diary….. Oh my God! I was due at a Blog Summit run by the bloggers community Tots100 that weekend. My blogging mojo was in tatters, in fact I had only logged on once in that week to torture myself with my dwindling stats before swiftly logging off again. I must have been still feeling some mild side effects of over the counter medicines as I dressed and jumped on the train without a nerve in my tummy. That changed when I arrived and saw LOTS of women, not only lots of women but lots of women who all seemed to know each other! Panic, internal voice told me to stop being so silly and go up and talk to people but it was no good, I was pinned to the ground with the same shyness which has plagued me since a small girl.

Anyway, long story short(ish), I wasn’t alone for long. A lovely woman named Penny recognised me from the train station and came and grabbed me and introduced me to her group. Phew. One problem down, the next was to decide which sessions to attend.

The day was packed with informative talks (and cake) and I was pleased with the sessions I picked.

The Grill for new bloggers meant I got insights and tips from the blogging elite and got to put faces to the names I have followed by blog or by twitter. A breakdown of how they work out that pesky Tots100 was really very useful…maybe I’ll make it into the Tots1000 now with my new knowledge!

How to get published was probably my most inspiring session Tamsin Kelly, editor of gave us her top tips on getting paid for writing jobs (and she knows her stuff!) Becky a parenting author told us about her backward journey through ebooks, publishers and then into the blog world. Finally Rachael Lucas talked us though how she self published her novel in Amsterdam (as you do) and is now fighting off offers from publishers. Insert impressed face. Since returning from Blog Summit I’ve downloaded her book Sealed With A Kiss and am enjoying it enormously. As someone with half a manuscript taking up space on my PC it definitely inspired me to dig it out and dust it off. Who knows!

How to use Pinterest like a pro was delivered by Cathy James from This was an aspect of social media I was totally lost on! After this session and lots and lots of notes I couldn’t wait to get home and upcycle my old posts and use this corner of the blogging world I’d ignored out of pure ignorance. My Pinterest name is womanwithbaby if you want to join my very *cough* select *cough* group of followers.

The highlight and perfect ending to the day was Andy Cope’s talk on his study into Being Brilliant. It was inspirational and insightful, the terms 2%ers (completely happy people) and Mood Hoovers (most of the rest of us cynical, negative people) now make complete sense. I do wonder how many of us now now have Andy as our first waking thought? Don’t worry it’s nothing sinister, he just told us to be thankful each morning when we wake up without toothache…if you’re like my mum who does have toothache…thank your kidneys.

The day was fab, I never imagined I could learn so much and to be honest it’s the first time I’ve met any other bloggers in the flesh. I really hope I get to go to another one soon and brush up on the great foundation I’ve received.

Of course we all took it very seriously!941278_563606983684674_1855589150_nCopyright:Tom Arber Photography

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