This week, we have Sam from Mouse, Moo and Me Too taking part in the Blogger Spotlight interview.
If you would like to take part, and your blog is under six months old, or has been re-launched in the last six months, please email me firstname.lastname@example.org
1 Firstly, tell us a little bit about yourself
My name is Sam, I’m clinging on to being 31 for another couple of months, and I live in Southampton. I originally hail from East Sussex but I met a rapscallion at university, fell in love, and made his city my own. I married him, and we have two daughters aged 3 years and 5 months respectively. I eat rather too much chocolate for my own good and I’m really into rose gold jewellery at the moment. I also seem to have a reputation for having a moderate obsession with gin, because any meme or gin-related recipe on Facebook seems to end up with me being tagged in it. #ginlife and other such metadata.
2 What is your blog’s name and what is it about?
My blog is called Mouse, Moo and Me Too. Mouse is our nickname for my eldest child, because she used to squeak when she was tiny. Moo is our baby, and Moo is easier to pronounce than her actual name, so it stuck! My blog is all manner of prattle, mainly centred around the two girls and my experiences with raising a young family. I’m a bit socially awkward so it makes for a lot of good material. I’ve written a few posts for upcoming weeks where the girls don’t really feature and it’s more about me, but I don’t know if I can carry the whole thing on my own!
3 Why did you decide to start a blog?
I studied writing at university but after I graduated I fell into the trap of needing a job, any job, to pay the rent on the flat that I had taken up with the rapscallion. I was told that the best way to get into journalistic writing would be to pimp myself out for a series of unpaid work placements, which just wasn’t viable for me at that stage, as the rapscallion still had a year to complete on his degree and only a part time job. We were children playing at being grown-ups, making a lot of sacrifices, and my ambitions got parked indefinitely as I joined the rat race and stopped writing. The speed at which I admitted self-defeat has since been a huge regret of mine. I’ve always had a head full of dreams and a “way with words” though, and I often used to sprinkle little conversations with Mouse into my Facebook statuses. Friends would always comment “you need to write this down properly, I would read you.” I guess something changed when Moo came along and I realised that by creating a blog, I get to write at my own pace about the things that make me laugh, and I’m producing a record of memories that I can give to my children. I want to show them all of my posts when they’re older and say, “This is your mummy, these are the experiences we shared, these were your early days, this is how we all changed and grew together. This is why I love you even though you can drive me to distraction sometimes.”
4 Do you have any goals for your blog?
I’d be fibbing if I said I wouldn’t love the success of The Unmumsy Mum or Hurrah for Gin, they’re my blogger heroes. To be able to make this my day job, my career, would be my ultimate dream realised. For now though I’m hugely grateful to every single new follower, every ‘stranger’ who comments on my posts and tells me that my writing style is enjoyable to read and they resonate with me. The feeling of acceptance and occasional praise is a really lovely one after such a long hiatus from my degree days. I had an amazing lecturer at university who pushed me and pushed me to write, and she was really cross with me when we exchanged emails a year after graduation and I told her that I wasn’t. I hope I can tell her one day that I got there in the end.
5 Tell us one random fact about you
Moo may or may not be named after a character in a vaguely popular franchise penned by a small-town writer called JK Rowling. The day after she was born, I was all bonkers with pride and lack of sleep, so I tweeted JK from my personal Twitter account with a photo and a witty remark about her name. JK re-tweeted me and the second she did, my notifications went off the scale and I had to turn my phone off for a while! It got picked up by some slightly dubious press and my friends kept sending me links to articles, telling me “you’ve made it to Azerbaijan now!!!” and so on. I felt properly famous for a few days and I still get the occasional retweet and like from that original post now, which sets the whole thing off again. Clue: it’s not Luna.
6 What is the best piece of blog related advice you have received so far?
Linkys! Join as many as you can. By Jove, they confused the hell out of me when I first started seeing them pop up on my news feed. I got a bit scared by the html coding, very confused with linking back, and quite daunted by the “rules” which usually ask you to read a couple of other blog posts and comment on them. But they’re a fantastic way of identifying other blogs that you might love to read, generating traffic to your page, attracting new followers, and creating more of a digital footprint so that your individual posts are searchable and appear on many different webpages. I try to join up one of my posts to a fresh linky every few days, and I’ve already got a couple of favourites. The hosts do a brilliant job at holding it all together, too.
7 What is your favourite thing about blogging?
It sounds a bit naff but it really is a friendly, welcoming community with plenty of room for everyone and boundless support. I’ve stumbled into a group called Tribal Chat, and we “meet” every Tuesday evening on Twitter for a hosted Q&A session. It’s a fun, cheerful way to socialise and make new friends when in reality I’m sat at home with my boobs hanging out, feeding a baby.
I also love getting the germ of an idea for a post, and from that conjuring up a few funny or thought provoking sentences, and rushing to get my phone out so I can tap it out quickly in my notes. That burst of creativity to a writer is like a shandy in a beer garden on a hot summer’s day – bliss. I feel qualified to call myself a writer now, which I definitely wasn’t able to do six months ago.
8 Is there anything you would do differently if you were starting over knowing what you know now?
I’m not sure – I think I’m still a bit wet behind the ears and I’m probably making all sorts of mistakes that will come back to haunt me! What really helped is that before I launched my site and brand presence, if you can call it that, I wrote several blog posts and polished them until they shone. I had no idea of the additional work required in the world of blogging, all the social media and analytics can feel quite overwhelming and fast-paced, so having a stockpile of material means that if I’ve been preoccupied with the admin aspect of the blog then I still have posts that I can publish and circulate into the blogosphere.
I think I would advise any new writers to consider what they’re hoping to achieve from their blog from the outset. If it’s simply a cathartic process and you don’t mind having a handful of followers, then that’s brilliant. If you want to monetise your blog, then your strategy and business model may be entirely different and it’s worth researching around the subject and the other bloggers in your field before you dive in.
9 Anything else you’d like to share with us?
I’ve mastered an absolute blinder of a recipe for chocolate brownies, by Holly Bell (GBBO finalist). In essence you make up the mix for standard brownies, pour half of it in a tin, then chop up a few bars of your favourite chocolate and lay the pieces evenly over the mixture. Pour the remaining half of the mix over the top to cover the chocolate pieces and bake. I’ve experimented with lots of variations (!) and a Toffee Crisp lends itself supremely well, but the original recipe uses Double Deckers, like a boss. Here’s a link: http://tinyurl.com/gnmba2f
10 Where can we find you? (blog link and links to any social media)
My blog website is mousemoometoo.com
You can also find me at:
Finally, I’m on Pinterest: