I have always had leanings toward the macabre. I would say I probably think about death more often than the average person. Like when brushing my teeth – ‘My teeth will probably be the last remaining part of my physical body’. 

Strange Thoughts

I enjoy a peaceful walk around a graveyard, reading the headstones, imaging their lives and families and funerals. I’m intrigued by the way death is dealt with in different cultures. If I’m ever at the hospital you can guarantee I’m looking at every porter cart wondering if there is a body being transported under our noses. It’s a bit weird I suppose, but I think most people have these kind of thoughts from time to time they just never mention it.

women of dia de los muertos

The Day of the Dead

In Mexico they have a festival called Dia De Los Muertos  ‘The Day of the Dead’ you have probably seen the painted skulls associated with it as they have become very popular. The festival is recognised by UNESCO as a notable part of the cultural heritage of humanity and has its roots in Catholic tradition. It’s all about remembering family and friends who have passed and far from being spooky, the festival is a celebration of their lives. Families put out a table of the person’s favourite food and items and there is a big street carnival. People go to visit their family graves; it is an annual celebration on Nov 2nd across Mexico and anywhere that has a Latino heritage. The whole thing really appeals to me. To set time aside to think about and remember lost loved ones is good and healthy but more than that it seems like a nation-wide acceptance of death. It’s like saying every one of us has lost, let’s come together and celebrate the time we had with the people we love and thank them for going before us and laying our foundations.

candles

Celebrating Life

I can imagine families really come together to share stories, kids who never met grandparents get to hear about them and grow up with an understanding of long reaching familial roots. There is nothing like that in the U.K that I have seen. In fact I have spoken to two women my age (34) this last week who told me their mum died within the last year. What struck me was the way they said it, it was a quick sentence in amongst other information almost like ‘I only say this to say that’. What a humongous life changing statement, ‘my mum died last year’ and for some reason, in our culture it’s like we’re not allowed to talk about it in polite society. How much I wanted to hug both these women, how strange it would have been if I had and how sad it is that we are so inept at publicly dealing with the issue of death.

Hidden Death

I read a brilliant book not long ago all about death and how we tend to deal with it in modern society. The author had worked in funeral parlours, and aside from a few grim chapters around the practicalities of embalming it was a great read. She explores the idea of how and why we are so committed to keep death hidden and the lengths we go to, to do so. Birth and death happen around us every day yet both are really taboo subjects. I find that really interesting.

 

Thinking of starting a blog, or written your first post and wondering how to get people to read it? I’ve joined up with 6 other current successful bloggers to help you. Here are 7 insider tips for writing and maintaining your lovely shiny new blog. Happy blogging! 🙂 

Use your Voice. 

Write as yourself – write in your own voice as you would talk in real life and let your personality show through. People talk about finding your niche, the truth is, YOU are your niche – your voice, your opinions – no one else is you and no one else thinks exactly like you. Use that to your advantage by showing readers the real you.

Debbie from My Random Musings has loads of blogging tips and advice over on her blog and is also a fiction author.

Help your Reader. 

Create Useful or Helpful Content – Some really successful bloggers primarily use their blog as a journal, charting everyday life etc, and that works well for them. But personally, I would rather write, and read, posts that focus on either a specific topic, are opinion-led, thought-provoking or helpful to readers. For example, if you switch up the post “An update on my baby’s weaning.” to “Ten Steps For Easy Weaning” it becomes much more interesting and useful.  

Laura is a big mental health advocate and writes a lot about PND and anxiety among other things over on her blog The Butterfly Mother 

Don’t Get Caught Up

Remember why you started – It is so hard to not get obsessed with stats and followers to the point where it can completely take over. I went through a phase when I was constantly checking how many people were reading my blog or getting upset if I lost followers on social media. It took me a while to realise that this is not why I started blogging. I started because I wanted to document my girls life. I started because I wanted something for me. I started because I love to write. When it all gets too much (and it will at times)  you just need to remember.

Mum of 3 Natalie writes about her busy life as a mum at Meme and Harri

Get Organised and Plan

Get organised and consistent! Keep a notebook or some way to take notes, with you at all times as you never know when inspiration for a blog post might strike. Plan well in advance for things that will send you off track (such as school holidays) so you can stick to your posting schedule.

With the tagline ‘memories from the madhouse and more’ you know Natalie is great at planning to stay on top of things and produce great content regularly over at My Chaotically Eclectic Life

Keep your Reader in Mind

Know your audience and write with them in mind. When I am writing my blog I usually try to visualise the people I am writing for: you can see who your audience is from Google Analytics.  I often think of a few friends (who are the right age, gender, stage in life) who would be interested in what I am writing about and I try to write as if I was talking to them.  I find this helps my writing as I am directing what I am saying at real people, but to keep a little distance there I pretend that they have brought a friend or two along that I’ve not met before so I explain things fully.  If you want to branch out your audience a little start including a man in your imaginary audience (if most of your readers are women) or someone older or younger or with different interests.

You can find loads of new food inspiration over on Erica’s blog A Little Luxury For Me

Remain Accessible to all

You may have your target audience in mind, but many people, including those with disabilities, may stumble upon your website.

And this is a chance for you to be as inclusive as possible.

Alt text is the blank area for you to give your reader a visual representation of what is in your photo or image. Many bloggers unknowingly believe that it’s for keywords within your post. This is the most important tip I can give to anyone: describe your images, photos memes and pins so you’re blind and other disabled readers can be included and not confused.

Award nominated blog thinkingoutloud-sassystyle has been shortlisted for the Health Unlocked blogger award 2017, Sassy herself is blind and she writes to raise awareness of disability including mental health.

 

Thanks ladies for sharing your expertise and wisdom. My top tip is:

Don’t be Shy! 

Join lots of blogger groups on Facebook. This is where you will garner info about linkys and good places to share your content. Don’t just sit back and wait for people to read your posts, you might be waiting a long time! Promote wherever you can. Get over your shyness early on and appreciate your creativity. You write for people to read it so don’t be ashamed to promote it!

Go get ’em tiger! Blog, eat, sleep, repeat. Welcome to the community! What’s your top tip for newbie bloggers? Share below, you never know who you may be helping. If you found this post helpful, share it! Thanks very much. 🙂 

Today I have eaten half an entire cake to myself, put away all the washing and vacuumed twice. Today my daughter started juniors at a new school after 6 months of home-ed.

She was so excited, and counting down the days until school started. I was counting backward to see what we could fit into our last days of summer together. She couldn’t wait to wear her new uniform while I complained about the uniformity of uniform, and the polyester content. She was excited to meet her new teacher while I pondered if she might know about learning rather than just teaching. She was excited to meet new friends while I questioned if she would feel able to be herself in a peer group. Urgh I could go on and on but basically, she was excited, me…not so much.

So here is my cathartic list post of things we are saying goodbye to now home-ed is no more for Beg.

  1. Home-Ed meets and Facebook groups. The first groups I’ve ever joined where I felt I fully fit in (because literally everyone fits in).
  2. Feelings of freedom. Hello school rat race.view from big pit south wales
  3. Empty parks, empty national trust properties, empty castles and beaches. Goodbye elderly crowd we could bump around with in these places. Eating sandwiches on benches and going slow together.
  4. Sleeping when we want even though she generally kept to the same bedtimes as that suited her now we have to wake up when the government tells us to (allow me some slight mellow drama here please I’m having a cathartic moment).
  5. Bumping into other home ed families we don’t know and saying hi because you’re the only two families at the museum in the middle of the day.
  6. The possibility of holidays outside of term time.
  7. 6 hours of her day missing all the parts where she comes up with an amazing idea or a really interesting philosophical question. When her eyes light up and she says “Hey Mum, do all animals have tails?” And we spend the next week naming animals and discussing their tails.
  8. Home ed discounts. Thanks Cadw it was fun.Caerphilly Castle
  9. Wearing whatever she wants.
  10. Goodbye no pressure to learn (or rote repeat) things she has to know so they can measure her teacher’s performance. Goodbye no pressure overall.mum and daughter wearing a tutu

There are 10 things, I’m sure I will think of many more but I’m off for a good cry now! Bye bye home ed. It’s been real.

Are there any other things you would miss about home ed that aren’t on this list? Are you wondering why then we decided to go back to school? So am I! No I’m not, just kidding, there will be another post about it up soon. Comment below and let me know what you love most about home-ed.

 

Bloggers trade on their stats. As callous as that sounds, the truth is, wider audience = more paid gigs. Every Facebook post, or picture on Instagram, or blog post, is published with our reader in mind. Every blogger out there will tell you they want to be successful and most can tell you round about figures of their followers off the top of their heads. So why then am I happy to be losing followers? Because I remembered why I started blogging in the first place.

Business or Pleasure

None of us started our blog with business in mind. Most bloggers began keeping an online diary, an outlet for life with little ones that allows us to let off some steam. Some of us had a life changing experience that we wanted to share with others who may be going through the same thing, and some of us may have been reading parent blogs for a while, admiring them from a distance and thought ‘I want to do that too’. Every reason for starting a blog is valid and unique. Somewhere along the way we might get sidelined by our blog’s influence on google (Domain Authority) and stats but that original reason remains close to our heart.

My reason for my blog was to share my birth story. As I sat in hospital searching online for anyone who had been through a similar experience to me I realised I could contribute. By sharing my birth story I hope one day maybe another mum sitting alone on a post natal ward with her newborn in NICU having been through the most difficult and scary experience of her life might stumble across my story and derive some form of comfort or solidarity from it. Sharing my birth story publicly was a way of dealing with what I had been through too.

Actually my reason goes further back than that as I had been sitting on the idea of starting a blog for a good two years prior my son’s birth. Essentially I just like writing, and a blog seemed the perfect place to indulge myself. Now I am a bone fide blogger I love everything about it, the writing, the community and finding little gems of other blogs of amazing writing to read.

In the Beginning

When my baby was 3 months old I took the plunge and signed up to WordPress. I decided I had googled ‘How to Start a Blog’ enough times and I had to virtually slap myself across the face and just do it. All was going well until I was faced with the name your blog page. Two hours later and a bit of a back and forth of ideas with my husband I typed in ‘The Hippy Christian Mum’. I wasn’t fully happy with the name but I was determined to be up and running by the next day.

The Hippy Christian Mum Header

Although I wasn’t entirely happy with the name it gave a good impression of what I would be writing about, what people could expect from my blog. Or so I thought. As I worked to grow my blog’s audience I started to feel like I wasn’t doing myself any favours with the name. From eating at McDonald’s (I can’t hide it) to being big on equal rights I discovered the things I write and post about probably don’t suit a lot of the people who might come across my blog.

It was when a person on my Facebook page put an angry face on a cute little video of a nursery in Sweden that purposefully doesn’t encourage gender roles that I knew I wasn’t presenting my blog in the way I would like. The connotations of the words ‘hippy’ and ‘Christian’ are so open to interpretation that it wasn’t a fair representation of my blog.

Choosing a Blog Name…Again

I’d wanted to change the name of my blog for a while but I didn’t know what to change it to. In the end I decided to use some form of my real name to cover a broad range of ideas and topics and to stay true to me. Can’t get any more ‘me’ than my real name! I felt a bit of a fraud under The Hippy part of The Hippy Christian Mum but my name is just me. Also, in the long run I think it gives my blog the space to morph and change as I do and that is a great feeling.

I lost likes on my Facebook page on the day I re-branded and at first I felt a bit rejected but then I was genuinely pleased. It meant my reasons for re-branding were good. People who felt my blog is not for them quietly left and there is so much room for those who feel connected to my posts. I still feel like a bit of a hippy, I’m still fully Christian but I feel like I’ve shed those assumptions my old blog name carried.

Stay true to yourself – McDonald’s eating and all –and you’ll attract the right crowd; in real life and online too. 🙂

 

Exciting Times!

I have re-branded, The Hippy Christian Mum will thus forth be known as Kate Lili.com.
I have been questioning the name The Hippy Christian Mum for a good long while [time for change post] and been back and forth over the decision to change. Well finally at the end of July I got the shove I needed and voila here is KateLili.com!

But Why?

As my blog gains momentum and I’m on social media daily for my blog [1st year stats post] I came to the conclusion I am not adequately serving either of my current 2 main audiences. Basically if you’re searching for a blog about natural parenting and eco-friendly ideas my blog is only covering the tippy top of the ice-berg. Similarly if you are looking for a Christian blog to read about faith and spirituality you might leave mine feeling a bit non-plussed. And I won’t stand for non-plussed! I want you to read my blog and feel connected, identified, and like you’re not the only fish in the barrel swimming in that direction!

What’s New?

KateLili.com will still have posts about being a Christian Mum raising a family and thinking on the green side when it comes to fair trade and thoughtful shopping [Uncommon Goods] along with the usual opinion pieces I can’t help but flatter my ego with thinking that people want to read [Zombies]. I am still the only contributor, writing, posting and vlogging about being a mum, family life, blogging, reviews, relationships, baby-wearing, church, parenting, extended breastfeeding, feeling included, education and Anne Summers parties.

Why the name Kate Lili?

The idea behind the name change is to more accurately portray what my blog is about. That is why I went with my name so that I can keep the topics wide open. I also wanted something that doesn’t make me cringe every time I type it out! Still a mummy blog, still me.

katelili.com

Still Me

When I began blogging, I wanted to get my birth story [Breech Birth] out there for other women to read who may have had a similar experience so they could feel less alone. I still want my blog to be a place where people come and feel less alone. I want you to read the posts on KateLili.com and know you’re not the only one who thinks that way. Whether the post is about a difficult day as a mum [Silent Reflux] or being allowed to be bit of a hippie without feeling a fraud, or being a Christian who swears and supports Pride and doesn’t have a problem with it. Whatever it is, I want to welcome you into my thoughts and ideas and have you say “Yeah, I totally get that too!”

Keep up!

Leave your email below if you think that’s something you would like to be part of and you will receive a summary of posts once a month straight to your inbox for you to choose which ones to click on (and you can say you were there right from the beginning ;))

I feel so mushy when I think of all the support I’ve had starting this blog I want to say a quick thanks to the people who choose to lift me up and also the critics who push me on, other bloggers I read who are rocking it and close friends who support me virtually and in real life. Money can’t buy it. The little likes and re-tweets are a wave that say chin-up Kate, keep going. Thanks!