Monday, 22 September 2014

Are you a blog addict?

When I started blogging in 2005, I wanted some online writing experience and being able to write about topics I was interested in. I was working as a journalist but had to edit/write what others wanted me to edit/write...

So my first blog, called London Cheapskate was born. It is now called Cambridge Ecothrifter and it is still live. This blog is about creative recycling - indoors and outdoors and includes crafts, cooking, gardening....

Then came this blog, when my daughter was tiny and I was writing parenting/nutrition articles. This blog became my outlet to write about what I really cared about, rather than what I was commissioned to write. By then I was already transitioning from journalism to copywriting and digital marketing.

The following year (2010), I started Beautiful Creative Things, a visual blog about things I made and found.

In 2011 I started the 1930s House, which is about renovating a 1930s property and restoring its beautiful but terribly overgrown garden. The house was previously owned by a botanist, so the garden is really special.

In 2012 How to SEO sprang up from my fingers! Aside copywriting I was doing digital strategy and I wanted to have my say on optimisation/optimization and how to write for the web - think content marketing.

As I got more childcare, I started to work away from home and this meant my blogs got neglected. I felt really guilty but didn't want to pull the plug on any of them. Which is great as I have found some enthusiasm and space in my hectic life and would really like to look after them a bit more. They are part of me, representing different interests and I have missed them! I won't blog every week but will try not to have huge gaps. Ironically it has not made any difference to this blog as I have over 3000 readers a month. It was 1000 at one point and when I next checked I was shocked to see the number up to over 2000 as I had not updated it for months. I see today I had over 3000 views last month. Thank you for holding on, I promise to look after this blog now!

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Toyota travelogue - August 2014

First of all, let me tell you that I don't receive any money from Toyota, not any other travel-related business (I wish!). Our family car is 11 years old in October and the reason I mention the brand is because it has never broken down. The boot is a bit small but it has coped with a baby, a toddler and now a school-aged child.

Here are the stops we made this year (for past years' itineraries, please click here. To recap for new readers: nearly every year we drive from England to Italy through France. We started when Michela was one year old and we have learned a lot about travelling with a young child and have a stress-free experience. If you are interested in my tips/experiences, click here for a list of travel blog posts, scroll to the bottom of the post for the full list - plenty of tips on how to keep a young child entertained - we get very little "Are we there yet?" hassle due to a number of strategies. And no, we don't use chocolate as a bribe.

This year we departed from Cambridge and crossed the channel with Eurotunnel. If you book early and an unpopular slot, you get a good price. We have never tried the ferry with our car and we are not likely to do that as it takes too long. We love Eurotunnel [no sponsorship here, just genuine customer satisfaction].

First stop: St Quentin

The town hall with dismantled pop-up beach - we were too late!

Frog legs

Second stop: Bourbonne-les-Bains

Walking up to the castle

Beautiful pool, freezing-cold water. France had a freak summer this year!
 Motorway pause: Aire de Jugy

We stop every year - free playground up to the age of 12
 Third stop: Vienne
Couldn't resist - a local dog breaks the poop law

Town hall
 Lunchtime stop: view from Mont Cenis

Italy! We spent 8 days in my native village in Piedmont. More pictures in post about our previous journey. Click here.
My maternal grandad (RIP) built this house

Michela enjoys the annual funfair
First stop on way back: Macon

Lamartine Museum

The view at night - lovely riverbank

Second stop on way back: Epernay

The town hall

Champagne! I recommend taking a tour of Mercier's caves.
This vineyard is next to the their Champagne House, in
 the middle of town!

Third stop on way back: Calais

Lovely beach with ferries in the background

Saturday, 20 September 2014

Winter wellness and a penguin!

Topiary penguin at Wolfson College, Cambridge

As autumn advances, I am thinking of taking supplements, vitamins, etc to raise my immunity this winter. I am also considering those for my seven-year-old girl. So look out for a blog post about this topic. 

I am testing various things at the moment and need to see the benefits (or lack of) before I blog about them. The article will be a mixture of product reviews (samples) and products I purchased as a paying customer.

Watch this space!