How to Simplify and Authentically Grow Your Blog Without Spending Money

I LOVE this post by Suzie Speaks. In this crazy bloggosphere it is easy to think “I should be doing ALL.THE.THINGS.” This post reminded me that being human and social is the best way forwards.

Suzie Speaks

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Blogging is now a viable career option and there are endless examples of bloggers who have monetised their site to the point where they can quit their 9-5 job and live the dream.

Consequently, the bloggosphere (blogisphere? blogosphere? There really should be some clarification on this) is filled with ‘Earning Reports’ (which I often ignore), along with a bajillion things that we should all be doing to optimise our traffic and increase engagement to our sites. I apparently need an email list, in which I should offer incentives. I should be part of an Instagram pod or tailwind tribe. I should be self-hosted and have a professionally designed site, I should have paid advertising across all of my social media. I should be building up my social media accounts by following and then unfollowing people.

Nonsense.

No wonder so many bloggers are feeling overwhelmed or disappointed with the fact that…

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A time for giving? Or is it time to be honest…

I wanted to share this post by my friend, Dorrie. This time of year can be incredibly hard for some, so please be aware. Thanks, folks 🙂

How are you really?

Christmas can be a difficult time for those with Mental Health problems, sometimes it’s an easily definable, tangible reason but most of the time it isn’t.  Some of you may find it difficult because you are alone or don’t have many people to support you. Some of you, like me, are lucky enough to be surrounded by a loving, caring family but still find it to be an emotionally challenging time of year.

If you are someone who finds Christmas hard to cope with, you’ll be familiar with some of the well known (albeit unwittingly) insensitive remarks that sometimes crop up around this time. Here are a few that you may have encountered;

  1. Stop being a scrooge
  2. Christmas is a time to be happy!
  3. Are you going to be this negative about Christmas when you have children?
  4. Why don’t you like Christmas?
  5. You should be grateful for what you have

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Still Alive

I haven’t blogged for quite some time. Last year saw massive upheavals for my family, a whole heap of stress, oh, and I finished my novel!

i’m hoping to find the time to pop back in here from time to time to chronicle my parenting journey, but most of my writing time now is consumed with my books and writing-related blogging, competitions and marketing.

So please pop over to my author site and follow me there and do please buy my book, Echoes of the Past: Seeds of Autumn.

http://hblyne.com/

http://echoesofthepast.uk.com/

Has Virginia Wade Been Written Out of History?

imageIn the days after Andy Murray’s amazing victory at Wimbledon, this image has gone viral. Why?

The reporting of Andy Murray’s triumphant victory in the men’s singles Wimbledon final on Sunday has provoked some angry online comments, including this image, which implies that the press have ignored Virginia Wade’s victory in the women’s competition in 1977.

This is a ridiculous and inflammatory argument on several levels.

First of all, the press have not completely omitted the vital information that Andy Murray won the Men’s singles final.

Daily Mail: “first British man to win Wimbledon in 77 years” 

The following as pictured on The Guardian’s website here:

The Independent: “Champion – Andy Murray, the first British man to win Wimbledon since 1936”.

The Daily Express: “Magical Murray – First British man to win Wimbledon in 77 Years”.

The Sun: “Finally, after 77 years, 15 PMs, 3 monarchs, Brit man wins Wimbo”.

The Times: “Murray ends 77-year wait for British win” as the headline, above it is a photograph with the caption: “Andy Murray savours victory and the Men’s Singles trophy…”

These front pages came under fire by someone blogging for The Guardian here and yet the one and only front page pictured that can honestly be said to be omitting the fact that Andy Murray is the first MAN to win for 77 years is the Telegraph, with its “After 77 years, the wait is over”, the text under the photograph and in the article is far too small to read, but I have to assume that it clarifies which tournament he won. The blogger quite rightly points out a selection of other winners at Wimbldon since Fred Perry, though I notice he or she did not mention any of the male or female doubles winners, such as Jamie Murray, that Britain can celebrate, or seniors or juniors. Why? Because the writer either doesn’t know or doesn’t care about doubles tennis. Just like most people in this country. It is a sad fact that the men’s singles game is of significantly higher public interest than any other form of the game. The hypocrisy of the writer of this unnecessary and inflammatory article is staggering.

Secondly, the women’s game is a completely separate sport for most of the year, only coming together at the major tournaments. British fans are famous for completely ignoring tennis for 50 weeks every year, only becoming enthusiastic followers during the two weeks of Wimbledon. Their knowledge of the players, therefore, is very sketchy. They will recognise Federer, Nadal and Djokovic because they have won Wimbledon. In the women’s game, they will probably recognise the Williams sisters and Maria Sharapova. Now they will have heard of Marion Bartoli, the press coverage of her win is a related matter but probably deserves its own blog post. Those who follow the game a little closer will also recognise Azarenka, Kvitova, Errani, Radwanska, Wosniacki and many other great and up and coming players.

Anyone who watches any tennis at all will know all about Virginia Wade. Not only was she the last British woman to win Wimbledon, she is also currently a well-known broadcaster who appears on tennis programmes all year round, along with other British stars of the past like Sue Barker, Annabel Croft, Sam Smith and Jo Durie. The current players’ achievements are measured in terms of “the first British woman to … since …….. [one of these players]”. None of them would consider themselves to have been airbrushed out of history, their achievements are remembered with pride and affection by the British public, to as great an extent as the way in which they remember Tim Henman.

Admittedly it has taken many years of hard work by Billie-Jean King and many others to get prize money in the women’s game on a par with the men. However, this isn’t just the case in tennis. How many people can name a female British cricketer or footballer, despite the huge advances made by women in these sports? Tennis is also the only major sport to even have a professional women’s tour. Football? All amateur. Rugby? All amateur. Cricket? Some female international players get paid, but not whole teams and not from all countries. The women’s games just don’t attract the same volume of spectators that men’s sports do, and therefore less sponsorship, less TV income and lower income for the players.

Maybe women don’t have as much time and energy to go and watch sports events, which could cause a lot of knock-on effects and many men probably have less interest in the women’s sports than the men’s, for whatever reason. In tennis, the lack of a ladies’ tournament contender for a title is sure to have limited enthusiasm for the women’s game for British fans for the last thirty years, though that is about to change…

laurarobsonHowever, don’t blame the media entirely, they are writing for the public and will cater to the interests of their audience. Now that Britain has Laura Robson and Heather Watson to follow, just watch what will inevitably happen to the headlines when one of them wins Wimbledon (the women’s tournament, of course,) no-one will expect the headline “Laura Robson the first Brit to win Wimbledon for 40 years” to imply that Andy Murray’s win doesn’t count just because he’s a man! The headlines will be just as big, but they might not happen to mention she won the women’s tournament. Why should they? Why should we constantly have to clarify whether we are discussing men or women when it comes to a big achievement? Why should it matter, if we are all equal? And when we are discussing a male only or female only sports title, a big photograph of the winner holding the trophy ought to be a big enough clue which title is being discussed.

I don’t wish to be misunderstood here. I am a feminist and am often among the first to point out how important the language we use is. However, this case just stank of looking for an argument, of seeking to stir debate where none need exist. The papers DIDN’T “airbrush Virginia Wade out of history” at all, most headlines included the word “man” or “men’s” and those that didn’t largely clarified in the by-line or photo caption. Are the British public considered so lazy that we have to now assume the majority will not even read the first line of a front page story and literally JUST the headline? Really? Typsetters for the national press beware! Your punchy headlines now have to be painstakingly PC, even when a photograph speaks for itself.

I’m also NOT saying that there isn’t sexism in sport, or tennis in particular, I’m not saying that it’s right that women’s tennis is often overlooked by large numbers of people. Not at all. All I am trying to say is that this piece of viral vitriol was totally inaccurate and has caused a whole load of negativity around what should have been a huge celebration of Andy Murray’s achievement. I would love to get a quote from Virginia Wade herself and see how she feels about her image and achievement being used to stir needless conflict. I can’t imagine she would be too pleased.

– Thanks to my co-author on this post, Linzy Lyne.

How To Get Away With Child Abuse

First of all you have to be a middle aged, middle or upper class white man in a position of power or authority. Next you make your story of calculated abuse of your own child public with the caveat that you expect to be vilified. Then stand back and wait for all the gormless plebs reading to congratulate you on your bravery for speaking the truth and confess that they have done the exact same thing.

Unhappy FamilyI am talking, of course, about “journalist” Martin Daubney and his sickening confession in the Daily Fail. He describes how he threatened to leave his wife unless she went along with his plan to abuse their three year old son. She agreed and they proceeded to fit a bolt to the child’s bedroom door and leave him to scream and throw himself around the room for three hours. The reason? Little Sonny wouldn’t stay in his room on his own and his parents were exhausted, desperate and ignorant.

They knew nothing of childhood development. I believe it is very likely that they had made a string of parenting errors and failed to seek reliable support and take appropriate action. With no support, bad information and no better ideas, they resorted to imprisoning their child and letting him potentially harm himself in the quest for some R&R for themselves.

In this earlier article, Daubney describes their son’s traumatic birth and his own consequent birth trauma. Had he done just a little basic reading, he would have known that a traumatic birth can have a lasting effect on babies. Sonny “nearly died” at birth, so I have to assume he had a stint in the NICU, where he was probably left crying by overworked nurses with little grasp of the importance of attachment in newborns. Daubney does say that when they got home Sonny slept in the family bed for the first few months and in a cot in their room for another six months after that. Thank goodness. Until I read this second article I had assumed the couple had gone all Gina Ford on this poor baby, but it appears not.

I would love to know how their baby slept in those early months, what signs of readiness he had shown before they moved him to his own room and why on earth they kept him in a cot until he was nearly three years old! When he started climbing out of his cot they restrained him in a sleeping bag, which he figured out how to get off and one night fell out of his cot when climbing out. It’s one case of restraint, followed by another, then another. Snowballing out of control. Daubney also mentions in passing that they leave Sonny locked in his room until 7am, even though he wakes earlier and that the child goes to nursery, where the day after his three hour long torture he fell asleep on his lunch. I am struggling to find a point in the day where this poor boy enjoys quality time with loving parents.

Babies who have gotten off to a shaky start in life, who have not necessarily formed a secure attachment to at least one parent, often exhibit insecurities as toddlers. This poor boy was desperate to get out of his room, to not be on his own. Interestingly, he didn’t run to their room, he would explore the house. They fitted a stair gate across his door, but at three years old he could figure out how to unlock it and one night ventured down two flights of stairs in his sleeping bag and opened the dishwasher. Clearly, this is exceptionally dangerous and I absolutely do not blame these parents for being desperate for a solution at this point. But I cannot on any level condone their chosen action.

According to the article, Daubney and his wife did not give any thought as to the reasons why their son might be having such terrible anxiety or try to address his deeply rooted insecurity. All they cared about was putting an end to the behaviour by any means necessary so they went for a quick fix. Daubney then describes his mother’s advice and her confession that she had locked him in his room as a small child. And here we come to the heart of it. No doubt she would be the first to follow up this revelation with that old chestnut “and it didn’t do you any harm”. Well no, I suppose not, if you consider very obvious intimacy and attachment issues both with his wife and his child as perfectly healthy.

The research is overwhelmingly clear that poor attachment in childhood leads to difficulty forming trusting and loving attachment with others as an adult. Daubney was himself a victim of abuse (being locked in his room) and has gone on to have the kind of relationship with his wife where he views her body as his to possess, ruined by witnessing her traumatic birth and he resented their baby for sharing their bed and needing his mother and at the point at which his little boy most needed to be held and reassured, he told his wife he would rather leave them both than hold his child and tell him he was safe.

No doubt little Sonny was a high needs child, probably because of his birth and the immediate aftermath, all the more reason to treat him with sensitivity and compassion. But what he got was abuse. Not only does he now know no one comes when he cries, but that he also cannot escape.

MilesYou can train children not to cry out when they need their parents, you can crush their spirit and teach them that no one comes to their aid when they are distressed and children learn very quickly. They may become very compliant and obedient for many years, maybe even decades, but still waters run deep and these very same children are the ones most prone to excessive and destructive behaviour later in life, perhaps in their teens, but maybe later.

The response to this article is perhaps, the most shocking thing of all. Most of the comments are supportive and the negative ones have received hundreds of “dislike”s. Many comments state that the readers have done this same thing and make reference to children needing boundaries and so on. Daubney and his wife will not face a social services investigation for their action, whereas a family from the wrong part of town in receipt of benefits almost certainly would. The double standard is as sickening as the abuse itself.

My heart goes out to Sonny, and to his mother. I hope that some how they are able to heal together.

A Bit About Me

This is my shiny new blog!

My name is Holly, I’m married with a little boy (“Munchkin”) and another one one the way (“Bean”). I’m a normal birth advocate, peer supporter and campaigner for change, after the traumatic arrival of Munchkin I knew I had to do something to try and prevent what happened to me and my family from happening to others.

Hubby and I practice “natural” parenting, whatever that means (i.e. to be explored later!) and plan to home educate our kids, so there should be plenty for me to share along the way on this adventure that is motherhood.

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