I’m over the moon to Introduce Natalie, as our debut guest post on #coolmumclub: Meet the Members. If you haven’t already subscribed to Natalies blog, www.muminbrum.com, it’s one not to be missed featuring beautiful interiors, recipes and relatable posts about Parenting, relationships and life. You can follow Natalie on Twitter (@_NatalieEve), as well as facebook, pinterest and google+.
Enjoy… x MMT
When Sarah at Mum Muddling Through asked me to write a post for #coolmumclub about myself I was a little stumped. Despite what some people may assume about bloggers being narcissistic, in ‘real life’ I’m not really one for talking about myself. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good natter and I’m certainly not the shy and retiring type, but when everyone’s attention is on me I can feel a little uncomfortable. I much prefer asking the questions than answering them. But here goes!
I started Mum in Brum exactly a year ago when I left my job as a senior PR manager to go on maternity leave. I’d always loved the idea of starting a blog, but never got around to it when working full time. I also knew I would miss writing, which was something I did every day in my job, and so blogging quickly filled that void. I finished work a month before Taylor was due and used that time to get Mum in Brum off the ground. I’m so glad I started it straight away as I don’t think I would’ve set it up once Taylor was born – I admit that I totally underestimated how knackered I would be and how little time I would have – especially in those first few months!
I wasn’t quite prepared for those early months if I’m honest. Taylor seemed to be super feisty and strong headed from the moment she came out, and I spent most of the first three months trying to sooth a baby who never stopped wailing. She would never go to sleep when we put her down, she wouldn’t accept a dummy and she hated her milk. I didn’t feel like I could comfort her and I certainly didn’t feel like she had that whole ‘bonding with mum’ instinct that the midwives had banged on about – she just seemed to want to get away from me and hated being held! I also had a ‘mare trying to breastfeed which I gave up after the first week which made me feel (I’m ashamed to say now) like a bit of a failure.
Obviously as a first-time mum I had no idea if any of this was normal and I admit that I could be found on a couple of occasions at 2am sat in bed with the quilt over my head, fingers in my ears – 4 hours, 3 attempted bottles, 10 cuddles, 5 swaddles, 8 lullabies, countless dummy spit outs later – shouting (in my head) ‘I JUST WANT TO GO TO SLEEP!!!!” At 11 weeks she was diagnosed with a kidney infection and had to be hospitalised for a couple of nights. As well as antibiotics for the infection the doctors also prescribed her Infant Gaviscon for reflux which made the world of difference to her feeding. Whether it was the infection or it was a coincidence, when she came out of the hospital it was like having a different baby – so much more content.
But Taylor did provide the inspiration for most of those early posts and blogging provided an outlet for me to channel my exasperation and see the humour in it all. Reading about the experiences of other blogger parents was also a huge help and made me feel like I wasn’t such a shit mother after all – it happens to the best of us. My blog has evolved quite a bit over the year and I have changed its course to incorporate more lifestyle posts. I still love writing the parenting posts and that will always be at its core, but it seems that a happy baby (Taylor is a joy at 11 months now) makes for far less inspired writing! I love home interiors (we are renovating our house) and have begun to incorporate this more heavily into my blog, alongside days out, recipes and reviews.
I have lots of aspirations for Mum in Brum and have become a little obsessed with blogging! I love everything about it and I love having something ‘for me’ that keeps my brain engaged throughout the nappy changes, nursery rhymes and hanging out the washing.
I’ve recently started to take part in a lot more linkys and I’ve really seen the benefit, finding great like-minded bloggers in communities which feel ‘me’ (#coolmumclub) and seeing an increase in my traffic as a result. I’m also trying to get better at social media, focusing most heavily on Twitter rather than trying to nail them all at once, which is what I’ve tried (and failed) to do in the past.
As of this month I’m officially self-employed as a freelancer (PR and copywriting) and I would love for my blog to form a decent part of my income one day. At the moment I blog as a hobby, but I secured my first paid for post pretty early on and have collaborated with a handful of brands, and I am keen to start to get back something for all of the effort that goes in to it. Bloggers work so hard and I personally feel that bloggers on the whole are selling themselves short. There are far too many ‘blog/brand match’ platforms out there who are setting the bar too low – I don’t think that £20 is a fair price to pay a blogger who has worked so hard to build their page views, not to mention write the post in question, sort photography and promote the post on behalf of a brand. Especially when you look at overall advertising and PR budgets. Content on blogs is now forming an intrinsic part of PR and marketing campaigns and the blogging community needs to wake up to this and start realising their worth.
So my plan is to carry on building Mum in Brum – I know that I need to post more often but I’m still struggling to find the time since I’m limited to Taylor’s nap times (usually about one hour in the day) and the evenings (and I do like to spend some time with my hubby who I often feel like I’m deserting when tapping away on my laptop!)
I’m also determined to not start posting just for the sake of it and my key ‘blogging ethos’ is to be 100% happy with every post I publish.
I do find it difficult to not constantly compare myself to other great bloggers out there who are posting every day, but my main goal for now is to just make sure that my blog is growing month on month. And to enjoy it!
Some other things about me:
- I live in the West Midlands with my hubby (Mr M), Taylor and our four year old cocker spaniel who thinks he is our first born
- I’m a complete English girl at heart and love nothing better than roast dinners, pub beer gardens and the British countryside
- I went to uni in Birmingham and studied very little
- I’m originally from Mansfield and also lived in Cheltenham for five years from being 22
- My pet hates include: getting wet socks, people queuing next to me (not behind!), when Mr Mr fills up the sink with clean soapy water and then sticks the frying pan in first…
- I would love to live by the sea one day. In fact, we have just bought a boat (yes, a boat) but we haven’t learnt how to sail it yet. And it’s in Plymouth.
- I will always join you for a glass of red. Or any drink in fact.
- I add chili to pretty much every dish I cook. And coriander. And garlic.
- I turned 31 this year
- I’m a Libra
Apparently I’m pretty good at talking about myself after all…I hope you’ll pop over to say hello! x