Sunday, 30 December 2012

50 Goals For 2013


I never like to make resolutions or set goals because I dislike the disappointment that goes along with not succeeding. This year things are going to be different, and I have been thinking about goals that I can set myself, some small, some large. Some easy to quantify, so that will be harder to judge my success at.

25 personal goals, and 25 business / Social Media related goals :-) This is the year that things are going to be awesome for me, I can just tell.

22/02/2013

I've popped over to this post to embolden goals which I have already achieved!

7/1/2017

As I'm writing a new post on my aspirations for 2017, I revisited this page to italicise the goals that I have achieved over the last five years. To be fair, since I don't work at Radio Dacorum any more, the radio related ones are a bit irrelevant. I'm glad I achieved more of my personal goals though :)

Business Goals

1. Increase my blog readership to 1000 followers.
2. Hit 1000 page views per day
3. Complete Social Media Freelance work PDF and distribute
4. Gain 1000 connections on LinkedIn
5. Apply for Worthy FM radio presenting role
6. Apply for 3 'real' jobs or internships at radio stations
7. Increase listeners to my current radio show
8. Take part in a local event with Radio Dacorum
9. Get a guest on my show
10. Increase twitter followers
11. Take a part time course in technical search engine optimization
12. Attend a conference or talk on the future of SEO/Social Media
13. Publish at least one new SEO/Blogging article per month
14. Get featured on a high profile website
15. Become featured on HelloCotton
16. Gain 100 followers on Pinterest
17. Gain 100 followers on Instagram
18. Offer free social media help to a local charity
19. Produce an e-book
20. Take an e-course
21. Make contact with previous work acquaintances
22. Make a plan to monetise blog by the second half of the year
23. Do at least one Vlog
24. Gain full understanding of Google Analytics and dashboard creation
25. Submit articles for large Social Media site.

Personal Goals

1. Sort out my debts
2. Pay my phone bill and get it reconnected
3. Get my smear test (yuck)
4.Become better organised
5. Clean the cupboard under the sink out
6. Frame blueprint prints
7. Eat a proper breakfast (almost) every day
8. Grow my nails
9. Pass my driving test
10. Get on the transfer list for a house
11. Not forget to take Roo's PE kit in, ever.
12. Stop wasting food
13. Recycle.
14. Purge Facebook of people I dislike
15. Repaint my bedroom wall
16. Get rid of some negative influences in my life
17. Work out how to straighten my own hair
18. Replace the broken door on my bedroom
19. Take up a fitness activity
20. Go to a festival
21. Get a new tattoo
22. Go to the seaside with my little boy
23. Replace the curtain tracking that has tab top curtains hanging from it
24. Throw a dinner party
25. Try a food that I wouldn't have eaten in 2012.

I plan to revisit this list as the year progresses, and I'll embolden the ones that I have completed. What are your goals for 2013? Please feel free to leave your link in the comments, I'd love to read them!

Katy x

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Now on HelloCotton

Well Christmas has passed. I can't say I'm not relieved, the stress and planning and effect on my waistline seems to have been going on since August. We had a nice day filled with bizarre plastic toys, playing too much Xbox and drinking too much wine.



And I have come out of the other side still alive.

I've also got some stuff down the my blog these past few days, and now my old blog redirects to here. I need to put up some sort of warning sign at twinklyspangle.blogspot.com to let people know why they are being redirected otherwise they might be a little surprised (plus I think it's bad web etiquette!). One of my main goals for 2013 is to grow this blog into something bigger and better. I'll be sharing more about that over the next few days as we get ready for what is ultimately a better celebration than Christmas for me, New Years Eve!

I've also joined HelloCotton, a community of bloggers that has already doubled the size of my morning blog reading list. I hope you will join me on there? *click here* to have a peek at my page over there. I promise you'll be addicted :-)

Happy Boxing Day!

Thursday, 20 December 2012

How To Get Popular Online & Why You Are Not


Some people seem to have so many online fans that you wonder if they are able to walk down the street without someone trying to instagram their shoes, or if they go in shops and don't have to pay because every outfit they post online seems to be c/o a company you haven't even heard of.

They all have similar traits, and yet often it's their individuality that has attracted sponsorship or book deals.

When I looked hard at the people and blogs that I religiously follow and read, I noticed that they could be grouped into 3 different categories, and that these categories were the reasons that I loved reading their contributions to the internet. I'd like to share those categories with you today, and ask, where do you think you fit in?

1. Likeable.

Some people can't help it, they are just intensely likeable. It's a great trait to have offline, but quite difficult to fake in person. However, you can 'fake' likability online by simply removing the areas of your personality that you know people react negatively to. One embarrassing example for me is, in real life, I can be a little be...bossy. I don't really like admitting that, but I do have a tendency to think that if I know (or more often, think that I know) the way to do something, then it should be done that way. I just don't show that side of me when I'm writing online or radio presenting. I hope! I think this might be why I can write tutorials better than I can tell you about what I've been doing that day ;-)

The key to likability is not to try being someone that you are not. If you aren't naturally outgoing or comedic, it will show very clearly in your writing that you are struggling. Accenting your most positive characteristics and downplaying the ones that perhaps might not be as likeable means you have to know yourself well enough to be able to admit that you aren't perfect. It's a good life lesson. Noone likes people who come across holier-than-thou and I personally find reading blogs like that irritating. My favourite are the ones that strike a balance between realism and obtainable high-achievement.

2. Knowledgeable.

Some of my favourite blogs are written by people that I don't know a huge amount about, but whose knowledge of SEO or business practises are interesting and unique to me. If you know something about anything, then chances are, there are other people who would like to know about it as well! The people who have made the most money online (don't jump down my neck! I know that success isn't defined by monetary values. But I do think that if people are making money from their own writings and opinions they must be doing something right.) are people who have found a way to gain respect from (and put a price on) their knowledge.

Think about your favourite blogs and what topics they focus on. You probably won't read a huge amount of blogs whose opinions and knowledge directly mirror your own. I imagine that you, like myself, hope to learn something from at least some of the articles and blogs that you read online. Contributors to SEO forums and portals fall into this category. I often read a lot of duplicated information, but my favourite reads are those which either present information that I didn't already know about, or offer a new angle on an old topic.

How can you integrate this into your own writing? It's key to think about your demographic when you are blogging. I have interests outside of social media, looking after my son, painting my nails and taking photos for instagram, but I know that people reading my blog are expecting these kinds of posts from me. I like to think I'm relatively knowledgeable about some aspects of blogger SEO and Social Media so I like sharing that. Matching what you know about with what people want to read is really key. You might be knowledgeable about tracking down vintage clothes, where the best shops are, what prices are reasonable, how to fix them. This information is the kind of stuff others would be very interested in. You might be excellent at building birdhouses out of wood, and be able to share plans, tips, carpentry ideas or even your business knowledge running a small operation as a craftsperson.

3. Aspirational

These are the bloggers and website owners whose lives seem so perfect, so pretty, so enviable, that you pretty much want to find out where they live, turn up on their door and beg them to be your friend. I really hope that it isn't just me that feels this way or that will be a little bit of a humiliating confession. The biggest culprit of this is Pinterest. Sometimes, I come across blogs through Pinterest that detail home renovation projects or amazing craft ability, and just for a second I think 'Well that's it, I may as well just give up'

Not giving up is one aspect of blogging that has come hard for me to learn. My old blog is still getting over 1,000 hits a day. Every single day I think, why don't I just go back to that one? I don't want to be 'twinklyspangle' on the internet anymore. It doesn't fit in with the SEO/Social Media work that I do and also I've done and posted some silly things during the 12 years that I inhabited that name. I needed to shed my skin. But it's hard to carry on day after day when you feel you are not getting anywhere. Especially when faced with an avalanche of people who seem to have such amazing lives, living in such beautiful homes and whose jobs are self-employed and earning them enough to go on amazing holidays.

I was going to say that it's impossible to reach these levels, and therefore the purpose of these blogs in my readers is difficult to pinpoint. But I have suddenly realised that they are there to inspire me to push myself to levels that I didn't even know I could go to. That is something that can be implemented in writing, blogs and pictures that you post across the web. How can you inspire people? Have you an amazing story in your background that you could share parts of? Have you overcome adversity? I like to think that I can inspire people because I am a single mum who is trying to build a life for my son. Perhaps you could inspire people with how you have made a tiny rental home look like a luxury apartment on the cheap? Could you inspire someone to overcome discrimination or bigotism? Everyone has a story, and sharing parts of your story (although as always I remain a strong advocate of keeping a lot of your personal life to yourself online) could inspire someone else to make a change. Those are the sorts of blogs that *I* love reading.

I hope this post has inspired you to make your online presence something that other people can't get enough of. I'd love to know if you have any different categories of blogs that you read, and the reasons behind them :-)

Monday, 17 December 2012

Christmas Wreath DIY

After sharing my tree decorating yesterday, I wanted to show the other little decorations that I have around the house, and a DIY for a sweet Christmas wreath that I have on my door.


Scroll down for a DIY that I wrote last Christmas. It's a bit of a cheat's one, because the jingle bells came all ready for me in a nice hoop, but it's easy to make your own :-)


These adorable festive reindeer light up and make my window look super pretty :-)


I could definitely have made a garland like this but I picked it up from the supermarket and it looks so fun strung over all of my favourite photos. I like this so much that I think a cute pompom garland for spring might be needed to fill the gap this will leave when I take it down!
 
If you are anything like me, you'll *hate* spending fortunes on expensive decorations, which inevitably get put in the loft two weeks later and retrieved, broken and dusty next year.


I saw this bell wreath in Poundland (presumably, similar to the dollar store for American readers :)) and it came with a tacky silver cardboard adornment in the shape of a holly leaf. I snipped it off and added a fun bow in a Christmassy fabric and hung it on my door. Of course, the same kind of technique could be applied to any cheap 'n' tacky wreath that you can find - snip off all the excess decorations, add a big fabric bow, and hang!

Materials Needed:


Cheap tacky wreath with bells in fact, this wreath would be quite easy to make. It's done with a round piece of wire, and some small pieces of vinyl tubing separating bells attached with thin wire. A tinsel, yarn-wrapped or even cheap fake holly wreath would also work.
Fabric choose a Christmassy, contrasting fabric.
Thread
Needle
Iron (optional)

I followed Elsie's Fabric Bow Tutorial to make my bow. I'm not going to rip off her tute, so you can follow the instructions here. There are loads of fabric bow tutorials online on various crafty blogs.


I've found the bows look best if you bunch the middle bit a little and pull hard on the corners to spread it out. I ironed my bow to flatten it out so that it would hold it's shape.


Thread your needle again and poke it upwards through the middle part of the bow, on the back. Poke it out again. You can use this to tie your bow to a point in the wreath.

Tie a loop and thread it round the wreath near to the bow. Loop it through itself to create a hanging point.

Katie x

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Christmas Tree Decorating

Putting up the Christmas tree is one of those things that seems fun on the box, but when you open the box, you realise that you can't find anything you can remember from last year, your favourite bauble is broken and the base to the Christmas tree has disappeared.


Or, maybe that is just me.

I've known the base was missing for a little while. I actually bought the tree two years ago on Christmas Eve when a shop was selling all of their decorations off. And it was white! You have no idea how much I have wanted a white tree, like, all my life. Although at home we used to have a real tree, which I liked, but since I discovered white trees I have had a longing for one. I didn't put it up last year because it was in the back of the car under lots of stuff.



But this year, I knew it was right. Even with the missing base. I've solved that issue with a broken coat hanger, some ribbon and a blob of plasticine.

Me and my small sweet boy decorated it this afternoon...


Most of the decorations came with the display tree. We actually had to walk out of the shop with the entire tree, decorations and lights still on it in our arms.


But we have some decorations that have been around since before the sweet boy, and those are my very favourite.


He kind of just wanted to put all of the shiny baubles on one place on the tree. And I definitely did not quickly rearrange things when he went to bed. Oh no, wait. I did. Is that bad? Please tell me I'm not the first person to ever do that, I feel a little guilty?


I think these are my favourite. Glittery and big and everything that I like about Christmas :-)


Small boy really liked the Christmas tree and he was thrilled that we had a special white one.


I actually didn't get a photo of the whole shebang, which was a little silly. I did post one on Instagram if you are so inclined to follow me on there, @katyclouds.


So now I'm a little more festive. I hope your Christmas preparations are going well. I'm back to radio presenting tomorrow from 10 - 12. You can tune in by searching for Radio Dacorum on the Tune In app on smartphones, or at RadioDacorum.org.uk.

Katie x

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Volunteering.

So, I kind of decided it was time to get up off my ass and do something with all this spare time I have since I quit my job. Whilst freelance social media work is still my Big Plan, I physically cannot sit here day after day in front of the computer peddling myself to every director/manager/recruitment consultant in town. I needed to get out the house.

So, you are right now reading the blog of Radio Dacorum's newest presenter/volunteer (one of).

I super love working on the radio. I love talking, I love getting to pick out my favourite music, and I really love telling people that they can listen to me here. Yes, where ever you are in the world, you can listen to Radio Dacorum online at the website. Click here to go right there now.

There is a webcam of the studio, and you can interact with the show via twitter (@radiodacorum). I will be taking requests, and talking about mummy-related stuff :-) The show will be on 10-12 weekdays, and I'll let you know on twitter this week what days I will be covering. I'm back on the air waves tomorrow at 10!

I used to work at hospital radio, and it was a different set up, and a very long time ago. So this all feels kind of new and exciting and whilst it is a very small community radio station that hasn't been going very long at all, I'm really excited to get more involved. Here are some photos from my first day.





I really hope you'll tune in :-)

Katy x

Friday, 7 December 2012

Love

Hi there!

I just wanted to pop by and share some things that I love this week ♥

It's a beautiful crisp cold day today look at this lovely sky!


I haven't used a filter on this - just beautiful :-)

This lovely post by one of my favourite bloggers about creating memories and traditions for little ones at Christmas. I want Ramsey to have lovely Christmases to look back on, which basically means that I must immediately pull my finger out and start getting festive. And stop eating all the Christmas biscuits.

 
Cocktails made with Malibu are my favourite, and a cheeky Friday afternoon drink (or two) always goes down nicely. It's nice having time to myself now my little one is with his dad every other weekend. I miss him, but I know we are doing the best that we can for that sweet little guy.
 
 
I actually think I won't be able to carry on with my life if I don't get my hands on these unicorn shoes. I would literally wear them everywhere. Including in the bath. Because they are the most amazing shoes ever and I need them. And they are on sale on Modcloth too. You hear that Santa?!
 
 
Have a lovely weekend x


Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Living Room Photo Wall & Prints

Now that I'm on my own, I decided that I would start putting some effort into my home, It was OK, but there were looks of little areas that I never got round to making look nice. I've tried to display some of my favourite photos around the room, as the white walls were getting to me a little.

My next plan is to paint a few of the smaller sections of wall in a warm grey. And then get a grey, cosy corner sofa with bright pink and mustard cushions. It's a serious goal of mine.


Over my dining table, which I was gifted by a friend who had bought a new one, along with 4 beautiful beech chairs, I have a clip frame with a big black and white photo of my little cherub. I always like to have a candle lit, it makes for a more cosy home.

 
My photo wall. I've been picking up frames whenever I find them at Poundland. I actually put off doing this for ages because I thought I didn't have enough photos, even after getting some new ones printed. I think it's quite of sad that photos now spend their lives on corrupted hard drives rather than being printed out and displayed. I also lost a lot of photos in the Great Coffee Spillage so I definitely want it to be a goal of mine that I get more hard copies. I filled the gaps I still had with scrapbook paper ready for when I get a good photo. I also used fabric to matt the photos that didn't fit the frames dimensions. I think it looks cute, and I can't wait to add more memories.


Tiny-things-displayed-on-photo frames is one of my favourite hipster looks. I found this little 'R' for Ramsey at a jumble sale and it looks sweet propped up on the frame of a painting that my grandmother gave me. (tip: I secure anything balanced on frames with bluetack to the wall, just in case I brush past and knock them!)

 
My absolute favourite thing in the room, an A0 (2ft x 3ft) print of a photo from Staples, printed like a blueprint. It was a total bargain at £1.99. You can get these at any Staples or printing shop that does Architectural Planning Prints. I emailed the photos first and then went down and picked them up. The print quality is surprisingly good, although you can probably see there are some more strongly coloured lines across his forehead and under his chin. I kind of love the lo-fi look. I've hung this over my television so that my sweet boys smile catches my eye whenever I watch TV. It's surrounded by one of my favourite bargains, a strong of lights in the shape of bunnies. Bought from a woman whose designed them, but had then got a new job somewhere fancy and wanted to get rid of them quick so gave them to his mum to sell at a bootsale. They came in a crazy kawaii box and collect the dust like nothing else in my house.
 
Sorry for the rubbish pictures, I'm without SD card slot (who knew laptops existed without them?) so relying on my phone at the moment. Normal service will resume shortly. I would love to hear how you display photos in your home, or see similar prints if you have tried the blueprint idea yourself :-)

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Unblocking Bloggers Block

 
 
Writers block is a real thing. And it sucks. You might blog, and not think of yourself as a writer. Well, then you are pretty silly because blogging is a kind of independent journalism that gives you the freedom and platform to deliver to the world your most private thoughts. Or your latest nail tutorial. Whatever takes your fancy, there is someone out there who wants to read about it.
 
So, now that we have established that you are, in fact, A Writer, I would hazard a guess that at some point or other, you haven't known what the hell to write about in your blog.
 
I've been blogging since...*deep breathe* 2001. All of my mid to late teens and most of my twenties. Reading back over the entries (oh god I hope no one ever, ever reads this stuff. I am desperate to recover my old password because this should not be on the Internet) it's clear that I didn't quite understand the concept of not revealing everything to the entire world. Better judgement comes with age. Apparently.
 
I've written about relationships, work, feelings, craft tutorials, beauty regimes, my wardrobe, my problems, things I want to buy on the Internet and other blogs that I like. I've ranted for months about crappy exes. I've posted pictures of myself in bed, drinking, smoking, misbehaving, wearing clothes, not wearing very many clothes, my shoes, my house, my craft stuff, my child. I've never really struggled with what to write about or what to take pictures of apart from now.
 
I have struggled over the last few weeks. 
 
How To Get Over Writers Block
 
Write a list of potential blog post ideas. Fill a whole page with ideas. They might be silly "Tuesday Breakfast", "What I would buy if I had a £500 Modcloth voucher", "Why spiders are bad", "Great places to buy sellotape". Or they might be serious. "Why I can't write a sodding blog post" (current potential title for this post), "Why I let my ex boyfriend treat me like crap for 7 years".
 
So I complied this list that I would like to share with you today of things that I could blog about when I am stuck. Feel free to use one if you are ever as blocked up as me.
 
What I Wore (to an event, the dentist, where ever)
Things I Want To Buy For My Home/Office/Child/Car/Garden/Hair
Found On Pinterest This Week
November (or whatever month) Round Up (Only really works at the end of the month)
Someone who inspires you. Preferably on the Internet and not your nursery teacher.
Favourite/Family Recipe
Instagram Round Up
Favourite Other Bloggers
Music Of The Moment
Old Holiday Photos
Old Pictures Of You
Something funny that happened to you last week
A piece of creative writing you have on your computer that you've never showed anyone
A video of your beauty regime
A collection that you have
How to...do something that you can do and maybe other people cannot.
 
These are really generic ideas, This list took me about 5 minutes. Make your own list exactly like it and once you start writing things down, you'll find that more and more ideas pop into your head. At the very least, you will have made some progress.
 
Then all you have to do is close your eyes and stab your finger at the page. Open them and start writing a blog post about whatever it says. I hope this works for you. It's worked for me :-) I've got a long list of blog posts titles ready to go, with titles as diverse as 'The Cardigan I Have Worn Everyday For Two Months' to 'Classic French Manicure Without Nail Stickers'. So I hope you'll stay tuned for those, and forgive my recent sporadic posting.
 
Katie

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