Tigerlilly Quinn

Saturday, 18 November 2017

Do you still read blogs?

how has blogging changed the way we communicate
It feels like forever ago since I had a chance to sit down and just catch up with guys. Tom is off for the evening and so I'm sat here with a cup of tea, a purring cat to the right of me and the baby monitor to the left of me hoping my *almost* two year old will sleep long enough to let me finish this post.

I've been blogging now for about eight years (what?!) and I've seen this whole world change SO much since I started. I started a blog because I wanted to show people my illustrations, because I was a bit lonely and wanted to strike up online friendships and because I wanted an online scrapbook of things I liked (before Pinterest!). I was 24 and I never thought it would anything more than a way to have a conversation with people.

Fast forward a year or so and becoming a mum meant my blog changed because my life changed. No longer was a trying to carve a career for myself from illustration, I was fully immersed in my new life as a parent and just very happy documenting life. I look back on those posts and cringe (A LOT) because quite frankly they were pretty dull haha, talking about the ins and outs of newborn baby life, sleep, feeding and no sleep. Luckily though these kind of firsts are universal, other new mums found my blog, we chatted on twitter and I joined Instagram. I felt like I had so much help and support from people I would most likely never meet but were so part of my life and me theres I suppose!

(who would have known a hand in frame with a latte would be a thing 8 year ago?)

When Wilf was about six months old I was offered my first sponsored post (from Ecover funny enough as I worked with them again only last month) I was thrilled! I think I even called my parents I was so chuffed. A brand I used and loved had heard of me and wanted to work with me. I was paid £40 and Tom and I were able to pay for a meal out and that to me was as far as I though this would go to be honest.

I blogged first and foremost to connect with people and every single comment would make my day. I remember someone tweeting me when I had posted twice in one day saying 'oh my gosh I just called my sister to say there was a double post and we both ran to read it'. I was sat next to Tom on the sofa in my PJ"s thinking 'really?! did that really happen, are people that interested in me??' I'm not going to lie it gave me a massive boost to know someone loved my content as much as I loved writing it and I guess in the end that's what it comes down to. If I didn't want that conversation or gratification then I would have just always had comments off.

I wasn't going to return to my job after maternity leave anyway but when more and more work came up (still for fairly small amounts) it made sense to see where this all might go. About six months later I was earning enough as I would have done at a part time job and my goal really was to reach the same amount as my old job. I started blogging daily and saw the same names popping up in the comments. Mums I think, like to talk, to chat about their own experience and to take part in the conversation. It felt like filling in friends of your latest news over coffee.

Somewhere along the line Instagram began to take off, I had used it pretty much from the beginning but often just popping a load of pictures up in a row with no captions or (gasp) no filter! Nothing like the big business it is today and again I think something that no one really saw coming as a earning potential.

Fast forward another few years and my hopes of making a full time wage not only came true but surpassed my expectations, so much so that a couple of months ago Tom was able to leave his job and we are both able to be at home with the kids. Something I never would have thought of in my wildest dreams!

About a year and a bit ago I made the decision to start vlogging over on my YouTube channel. I actually looked back on some of these first videos and cringed so much, yikes I was so nervous and awkward! It's amazing how much can change in just over a year so I'm excited to see where that might lead, even though I'm very much starting from the beginning over there I'm happy to learn and hopefully grow and I'm so enjoying documenting our lives in a different way.

So what with Instagram & You Tube now taking over a little bit I often worry that I'm neglecting my blog. It will always be my first love and my favourite platform but rather than being the only space to pop down my thoughts we now have so many, and so many we are tying to keep up with.

I know that blogging have changed in these past eight years, I mean it's changed my life for a start! It's turned into something no one could have expected and I don't think it's about to shut down because people are micro-blogging on Instagram (as much as I LOVE IG) or filming their day to days. I actually think that there are almost three different audiences on each and those of you reading this might not be interested in seeing my day-to-day on either of those which is totally understandable! I mean there is only so much of me wittering on anyone can take right ;)

Our lives have also changed, with Wilf starting school last year it felt only natural he would appear on here less. Mabli is almost two and whilst being a mum is of course the most important thing in my world its not my only passion. It's only natural I think that content changes as a person does. I'm now 31 and not 24 for a start I guess!

Do you think blogging has changed? Do you still read blogs as much? Do you watch YouTube or only really have time for a quick scroll through Instagram? I'd love to know.

Thanks as always for reading and commenting, it truly means the world, in fact I still get that buzz when I read a new comment. I owe you all so much for sticking around and supporting me over the years so I'd love to know what kind of content you'd enjoy seeing too.

Ok I'm going to make another cup of tea if my sleeping baby lets me! Speak soon xx

You can find me on Instagram / YouTube / Twitter or even Facebook  

Etsy Made Local

I'm a massive fan of Etsy and they are one of the first places I look when I'm shopping for gifts. I even have a whole Pinterest board dedicated to Etsy loves for my wish list. I think it's SO important to shop independent and handmade where ever possible and to support creatives and designers. Especially around this time of year when thinking of Christmas.

I'm working with Etsy in this post to highlight and celebrate their 'Esty Made Local' campaign which champions not only the independent but the local artisans. Obviously with Etsy you can shop all over the world and some of my favourite sellers can be found in the most interesting and exotic of locations but there is such a wealth of talent on our own doorstep that I loved the idea of supporting the home grown a little closer to my actual home.

The first shop that caught my eye was La Martiz Handmade which is a textiles shop from Cardiff. The seller makes the most beautiful homewares from cushions to pouffes and even wearable textiles like cowls. Her whole shop gave me such a cosy vibe and I loved her aesthetics. I picked up two of her star cushions for the children's stockings, one in yellow and one in black.

I also picked up a couple of patches from the brilliant Oh No Rachio again for the kids stockings and also this beautiful print from her shop too. I think the sentiment is just perfect and a message I really want the children to grow up with. I'm going to frame it and hang it in their bedroom, it's just perfect. Rachel lives in Southampton and makes the most brilliant and imaginative designs. I quite fancy picking up some her patches to put on my own clothes too.

Next up I went for some stationary from Constance and Clay who are based in Leicester. I always love buying new stationary for the new year. I love the idea of getting organised even if it only lasts for the month of January ;) I picked up the Herbal Remedies calendar for the year ahead as well as the weekly planner which I think is such a good idea for families with lots going on. I also got the 'Ducks in a Row' list maker which I'm hoping help with my organisational skills. I love that it has a section on the bottom to write something you're feeling good about that day too!

Last up is the cute mug from Katy Pillinger which I think is the perfect stocking filler. Who doesn't need another pretty mug hey? I love that they are made from bone china too, I do think that makes your tea taste better (or is that just me?). Katy is based in Truro and makes all sorts of items from stationary to enamel pins to homeware, her Etsy shop is just gorgeous and perfect for picking up a little gift or two for Christmas.

I hope you liked the items I picked from Etsy as part of showcasing the local talent on the site. Local Etsy events will be taking place all over the country between the 1-3rd of December and you can find out which one is closest to you by clicking here. I'll be popping along to the Bristol event on the 2nd so do say hi if you'll be coming too.

In Partnership with Esty 

Thursday, 16 November 2017

36 hours in London, black ice cream cocktails, Oliver Bonas manicure and a day at You Tube!

Earlier in the week myself and my lovely pal Lucy headed up to London for 36 hours in the city, child-free, press days, a little get together then a full days training at YouTube. I have to say for an introvert like me spending so much time meeting people, making small talk and immersing myself in the hustle and bustle of the city isn't always something I feel able to do but I knew that going along with a good friend would make it easier. 

Originally we had only planned to make it up for the day but when we were both  invited to the YouTube space with Britmums we knew it was too a good a opportunity to miss. Lucy is one of the people the got me into making videos over on my channel and is one of the most down to earth and genuine people I know. I wasn't really sure I fit into the whole YouTube scene but I'm slowly realising that its OK to be different and you'll find your niche eventually even if it isn't always the easiest path. 

We were lucky enough to stay at one the beautiful Cheval Residences in Knightbridge which I highly recommend. I know when you talk about how expensive or non expensive something is it's always fairly relative but I actually thought the Cheval properties were really good value for location and comfort. Our apartment worked out at about £500 a night but for two rooms (and three beds as one room was a twin) that actually comes out as less than regular hotel room in London which I often end up spending at least £250 on. I think having a entire luxury apartment like this, just round the corner from Harrods no less is brilliant idea for friends wanting a weekend away together but for us it would work really well as a family city break. 

Cheval have the impeccable service you would expect from a luxury apartment, a concierge service and a very welcome greeting upon arrival. They also leave bits and bobs you would need like toast, milk etc but also eggs, croissants and smoked salmon as well as a very welcome coffee machine of course! 

The floral sofa of dreams

I love how they mixed Scandinavian design with industrial design and a pop of floral for good measure!

As two sleep deprived mums of young children the thought of a full nights sleep is thoroughly exciting but even more so when you know just how soft and comfortable the bed is. I took the master bedroom with ensuite (thanks Lucy!) and Lucy had the twin room with the prettiest floral window seat. The floral decor was something I LOVED about this place, especially the sofa. 

As usual it's so hard to take photos at this time of year, I'm not sure mine do the place justice!

In the evening we set off to pop our heads in at the F&F press day and also Paperchase before heading to Oliver Bonas for cocktails and manicures which was such a treat. They served black ice cream cocktails with creamy rum and a few chocolates thrown in for good measure. It was like the most amazing pudding I'd ever eaten! 

The next morning we said goodbye to our lovely apartment which felt like such a shame as it would have been lovely not to have had to check out so early but we need to be at You Tube for 9.30am. 

It's definitely made me want to come back and book again with the family next time, I think London is such a magical city around Christmas time. I was walking past the giant Christmas tree by Harrods and thinking how wide the kids eyes would be had they seen it. A friend of mine has a tradition to make the trip every December and get their photos with Father Christmas in Harrods and I think that's such a special thing to do, it's made me want to start a similar tradition and visit each year. I think if we did we would definitely consider another stay in one of the Knightsbridge Chevals. Especially as the kids could be in bed in the evening and we'd get to enjoy the spacious living area with a glass of fizz in the holidays. 

Thanks to Cheval for inviting us over for the night at their Knightsbridge property. 

If you want to see any video's from our 36 hours in the city then head over to my YouTube channel as I'm vlogging daily in November!

Dippy Eggs are in!

Like all good bloggers I LOVE a poached egg and avocado combo. I love eggs in pretty much all forms tbh, a good scramble on toast with a sprinkle of salt, a boiled egg at a picnic and of course the childhood favourite, a dippy egg. Something that is so hard to master but creates such a feeling of achievement when you crack open that top and see you've done it to perfect dipping quality. Buttered toast and a cup of tea to go with it, heaven!

I'm working with British Lion Eggs in this post to share the news from the Food Standards Agency that runny eggs are now safe for mum-to-be and babies. There's a lot of lovely things about being pregnant and a lot of things that are hard about it too (hello four month long morning sickness!) but I always found being careful around the things I ate being one the tricky ones to deal with. In fact in Mabli's pregnancy I craved eggs so much, I was eating boiled egg sandwiches daily at one point!

So it's great news I'm sure for any of you pregnant mamas to know you can go wild with your runny poached eggs and smashed avocado!

It's also great to hear that runny eggs are now also safe for babies too (as long as they are carrying the Lion mark of course) they can be introduced into their diet as soon as they start experimenting with food. I know that my two love a dippy egg as much as me and it's a great lunch time meal too that you know they will definitely eat. I don't think the charm of turning your buttered toast into soldiers every really leaves you.

It's important to note that eggs need to have the Lion stamp on them to show they have been approved by the Food Standards Agency. It's interesting to note that the advice to not eat dippy eggs had been in place all the way back from 1988, now some thirty or so years later pregnancy women and the elderly are now safe to eat them! Studies have found that the risk of salmonella has been reduced massively over the past two decades which is brilliant news.

Are you an egg fan? Whats your favourite way to eat them? You can find more info to the FSA advice here.

This post was written in association with British Lion Eggs

The British Egg Industry Council’s Lion Code of Practice was introduced in 1998 and has been acknowledged by Government as being responsible for the subsequent dramatic fall in human cases of salmonella
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