You can do hashtags

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  1. Caroline on

    Well done Helen, great start. As a photographer I love your colourful, eye popping images and as a friend, I feel proud of you making this dream a reality.

    Onwards and upwards and enjoy your journey x

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Hey Caroline, thank you for taking a minute to comment, that’s really good of you. You have been so supportive and it is much appreciated. Hxxxxx

      Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Thank you Jenny, it is very kind of you to take a minute to have a look and comment. There is so much that I would like to do with it, and not enough hours in the day. Onwards and upwards!! Helen x

      Reply
  2. Deborah on

    Hello!

    It is refreshing to read a blog which is ‘not about the kids’. As a mother of three, it is easy to allow yourself to be bombarded with articles which wholly revolve around parental position, however, I truly believe it does us all good to spend time upon ourselves.

    I am looking forward to reading future articles!

    Thank you x

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Hi Deborah, thank you for leaving such a nice comment. My children are clearly my priority, equally, it’s not necessary to sacrifice all of your interests and ambitions is it? Also, I really don’t want to talk about mummy-ing all the time, I think that’s especially true as they get a bit older. Thank you for your support H xxxx

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    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Hi Mide, thank you so much for taking the time to read my post and write a comment. It means so much, hopefully I can only get better!

      Reply
  3. Lottie Stevenson on

    Go you!! Great start and lovely looking site. Well done. Funnily enough, I am also an ex-BBC journo, now mother-of-three, gone AWOL! I’m a little behind you in my journey, but hoping to carve a similar path. Great to see what you have achieved so far and can’t wait to follow along…
    Lottie x

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Hi Lottie, lovely of you to take the time to leave a comment! It’s funny, now that I have started doing this, I realise how similar it is to the old job. Basically you’re just trying to work out what people will be interested in and deliver it in a clear and entertaining way. Keep in touch and let me know what you get up to. Hxxxx

      Reply
  4. Kathryn on

    Fabulous! Welcome to the world of blogging. I’m a mum of two, and I work full-time as a director at a marketing agency…so keeping up with my own blog is hard-going. I really admire SAHM’s…especially ones who admit that not everything needs to revolve around the children! I hope you enjoy blogging and I’m looking forward to reading more x

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Hi Kathryn, thanks so much for taking the time to leave a comment, I really do appreciate it. I’m finding it incredibly difficult to do as much as I would like to with the blog. Hence the fact that I am replying to my comments four days late!! What is your blog called I would love to have look? Hx

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  5. Dinkytoycar23 on

    I completely agree with what you say and also empathise with the woman who didn’t get invited to join. I am at the stage where I have brought up my 2 boys on my own and they have their own lives so I’m flirting with empty nest syndrome. I go to work, the gym and am currently starting a degree with the OU which I love. But currently my wheeliebin goes out more than I do. So it would be great to have/form groups for like minded women.
    By the way – good luck with the blog!

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Thank you my love, very kind of you to wish me good luck. I think sometimes people can just get over looked, unintentionally, are perhaps aren’t the kind of people who feel that they can ask to be included. Just worth remembering isn’t it? Go ahead and start your own Book Club, or something different if that’s not up your street xxx

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    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      ha ha, perhaps I am doing it wrong!! The coconut oil is quite thick straight out of the pot, so if you warm it slightly it’s easier to work with xxx

      Reply
  6. Samantha Nagtegaal on

    Hi Helen! A great first blog post with some exciting but also real life sort of content: friends, family, home, travel, beauty, work… coffee! A great mixture which anyone could connect with somewhere along the line. I love your Instagram and I think I’ll love your blog too 😀

    xxx Sam

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Hi Sam!! Thanks sooo much for the lovely comment, it is so exciting that anyone would read what I’ve written!!! I’ve just been checking out your frittata recipe, which is right up my street. I think the whole family would like it. Chat again soon! Hxxx

      Reply
  7. Alice In The Looking Glass on

    I love this!! I love your insta & blog too!
    I have so many fake tan tips that I’ve been thinking I’m might have to write my own post but the number 1 secret I wil share is latex gloves which you by a pack of 10 from Boots or Superdrug! Not the ones next to the fake tan, get the medical ones next to the plasters!

    It’s amazing the amount of women who still don’t do this….no orange hands for ever more!!

    Alice x

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Hi Alice, thanks so much for popping by and taking the time to comment it means the world to me! It seems we’re both starting out on our blog and Insta jouney at about the same time. You should definitely write your tips on gloves….orange hands is the worst. If you have any tips on how to tan ankles I would be all ears, it always ends up a total mess when I do it! Hx

      Reply
  8. Juliana on

    Love your IG posts and so glad you have started your own blog! A real beauty hero for me is Liz Earle – I love the hand cream and I am currently using the SuperSkin hand serum which is great for protecting winter hands!

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Hi Juliana, thanks so much for taking the time to comment, what a superstar! Thanks for the tip about hand cream, a really good one for this time of year, I will most certainly look in to it. Speak again soon I hope. Hx

      Reply
  9. Lorraine on

    Hi Helen and well done for starting your blog, could always see you doing this!

    I love our book club and know for a fact there are other mothers who would join it given half a chance, but as you say, why not start your own? Easy enough to do, think quite a lot of women of a certain age are in them now ?

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Hello my love! Thank you for taking a moment to read my ramblings. Our book club is a bit special for various reasons, not least your Tarot Nights xxx

      Reply
  10. Lisa on

    Loving the beauty tips Helen.
    I have been using coconut oil on my face at night which is suppose to help with lines and wrinkles. Love the smell!!

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Hey Lisa, I think I am the last person on planet earth to hear about coconut oil!!! I shall use it as night cream myself this evening. Thank you so much for popping by to have a read xxxx

      Reply
  11. Lisa deakin on

    Well done Helen, so excited for you.
    I’m loving your blog and looking forward to reading lots more!!
    Loving the beauty tips. Xx

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Hello Lisa!!! Thank you for having a look that’s so good of you :). It’s been hard work to get it this far, and will be even more hard work in the future. But worth giving it a go I think xxxxx

      Reply
  12. Nellie Pom Poms on

    Totally supportive of small and independent businesses. Reading, Bracknell and Camberley are so close but none of my shopping has come from any of them! I love nothing better than mooching around independent shops or websites and supporting those brilliant people with a vision to bring something different to the high street or internet. Next time I’m in Henley I will nip in!

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Well done you! It is such a shame that it is so difficult for the little guys to keep going on the high street. Rents are high, it’s really hard to compete etc…..we all have to do our bit if we still want to have anything other than the big chains. Thanks so much for taking the time to read and comment. Helen x

      Reply
  13. Kate west on

    This is looking fabulous! I can’t wait to get into your world for some escapism and no-children chat!! Well done to you!!! ?

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Hi Kate, thank you so much for having a look and leaving a comment. I hope that it will only improve from here on in. Please excuse some of the writing, I’ve found it surprisingly hard to get back in to it!!! Lots of love x

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  14. Seema Shah on

    Helen, this is such a fabulous blog! So much fun as interesting stuff to read and your pictures are just amazing! Well done you for thinking of something so creative to do for yourself and your readers/followers. I’m sure it will be a massive success! Seema x

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Hello Seems, you are a star for having a look, thank you. It’s all a work in progress and I really hope it can only get better! Everyone’s support has been lovely. Hxxx

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    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Ah thanks Miriam, really good of you to stop by. I hope that my posts and writing will improve a lot with time, I am finding it harder than I expected!! I hope that you have a lovely weekend too, and are visiting somewhere exciting to write about xxx

      Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Thanks mate, good of you to stop by! It’s all pretty early days, I think I’ll probably look back on these posts and cringe!!! Have a top weekend xxxx

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  15. Helen on

    We have said ‘no’ to people joining our book club because there are 10 of us in it and we just felt that any more would be too many for people to host, etc. It’s a mix of people from different schools and about 5 of them I had never met before a close friend asked me to join. I love the fact that’s it’s not just my normal day to day mates.
    I would never organise a ‘club’ with a majority of one group but excluding people (we did this at School and I look back and cringe) – which is why it’s always carnage at my house because I can’t say no to another Mum joining in as we traipse home for Wine Friday!!!

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      You are always brilliant at including people Helen. I also think that if book clubs get too big they can fizzle out (there’s less of a commitment to turn up), and where do you meet? I just hadn’t really considered that people might find themselves feeling excluded, it’s good to remember to be kind! Lots of love, Hx

      Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Hi Miriam, thank you for stopping by it is really good of you. Yes, I’m delighted to have discovered Real Techniques, although I think everyone else already knows about them!! At the price there is really no reason not to give them a try. Hx

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  16. Ellie on

    Wow! Such a fantastic, inspiring post that is very timely for me. I need help my untangling my spaghetti and hadn’t even considered this. X

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Hi Ellie, thank you so much for visiting my blog! If you need someone to help you with that spaghetti, my suggestion would be to talk to at least two coaches before you decide who to work with. It’s really important to find the right chemistry. They won’t mind at all, it’s common practice. As you can see, it helped me find a way through the fog. The very, very best of luck! Helen xxx

      Reply
  17. Sarah Leach on

    A great read Helen, this is definitely something you have a talent for! Keep going with your blog. I’m going to be an avid reader. It’s just the start of a wonderful journey to somewhere. How exciting it’s going to be, to uncover where it might take you! Enjoy the ride!

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Haha, I’m not sure if he is a subscriber?! Fingers crossed Jo, and I hope that you get a bit of what you want too. Thanks for taking the time to visit, Happy Christmas Hxxx

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  18. Caroline on

    Helen, that green blouse is absolutely gorgeous. Buy it in Jan and let’s find a super funky place to photograph you in it!

    Love your fantasy list.

    Of course we all know your Christmas’s all came at once with huge success of your shiney new blog / insta feed. It’s the gift that just keeps on giving. I’ve got a feeling 2018 is going to be HUGE for you. Totally deserved ?

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Thank you Caroline, you have been so supportive and kind throughout it means such a lot. All of the Rixo clothes have such beeeaauutiful prints. I would love one, although I’m not sure that I really go anywhere posh enough to wear it? And a new camera, I forgot to put that on the list, I would really love one that I can Bluetooth the images from. Constantly plugging mine in and scrolling through the memory card is driving me mad! Wishing all the Gratrix’s and extended clan the most happy of Christmas’s Hxxxx

      Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Hi Miriam, thank you for stopping by! There are so many little things that make us happy aren’t there? I hope that one of these things turns up under your tree. Happy Christmas. Hx

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  19. Julie Bateman on

    Ooo there are some lovely things on your list! Why do we always feel guilty about indulging in beautiful cosmetics and perfume?? Like you, Jo Malone products are always on my wish list, but they are something I rarely buy myself throughout the year! Merry Christmas x

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Hi Julie,
      I know we are all funny women aren’t we?! I think we are always very conservative when it comes to asking for gifts, so I thought it would be nice to come up with a no-holds-barred list. I hope that someone gets you a lovely luxurious product this year! Thanks so much for visiting the blog and leaving a comment, it is much appreciated. Happy Christmas. Hxx

      Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Hi Lou, thank you for reading and commenting it is lovely to see you here 😉 I think I should just save up and buy the blooming print rather than waiting for someone to give it to me. It’s great isn’t it? Happy Christmas Hxxxx

      Reply
  20. Jules on

    Great blog. ‘How much do you really want it?’ is a big one for, followed by accountability. But the preparation one is the key for me. Boring but ‘fail to plan and you plan to fail’.

    I achieve all kinds of things at work because I set clear objectives with measurable outcomes. And to ensure I hit them all I have pages of plans and reams of gang charts. And I am accountable not just to my boss but to my team. And whilst there are rewards for achieving goals – there are also consequences for failing to achieve them.*

    But I don’t apply any of this to my personal goals! They’re a vague inte-changeable list in my head. I need a personal ‘board’ who I have to share my goals with and report progress to on a quarterly basis!

    *probably also helps that I have huge budget, specialist suppliers and a team to help too! Maybe I should try and replicate that at home ?

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Hello! Love your tip, thanks J. ‘How much do you want’ it seems so obvious, but I don’t think we often bother to examine our motivations….then kick ourselves for not managing to do something we’re, frankly, not that fussed about in the first place*. My goals for this year are a bit too vague at the moment as well, although I did sit down last night to try and clarify a few things. Just trying to articulate what I want in a conversation seemed to help!
      *most forms of exercise at a faster pace that a walk

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    • Sarah on

      I love the idea of a personal board. It’s important to make sure it’s got people on it whom you trust and respect, people who are going to give you honest feedback. Good luck Jules. You obviously have all the skills and experience you need to apply all this knowledge to your personal goals. Just depends on how much you really want it ?

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      • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

        Hello Sarah, thanks for reading and commenting, and thank you again for your help with the post. Let’s get stuck in to those 2018 goals!! Helen x

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      • Jules on

        I think you suggested something similar to me with the ‘captain and crew’ exercise. This would just make it more real/ scary ?. Can we book in a couple of sessions a for this year?

        Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Hi Penny, thanks for stopping by. I really appreciate you taking the time to ready my post and leave such a kind comment. What I would really like to be able to do is use my DSLR camera a bit better, as I think I would get better results than with the iPhone. I look forward to seeing how your blog develops in 2018, you wonderful running inspiration! Helen x

      Reply
  21. Samantha Nagtegaal on

    I can totally relate to this Helen! A really interesting, and pertinent-to-me post. I started a cooking blog a few years ago, it went well so I took the plunge and invested in a website with my own domain name etc and did loads of work establishing it. Then, kind of unexpectedly, we moved house seven months ago, and all the work I’d done trying to get myself established so that when my youngest started reception in September went by the board as I became totally preoccupied with how my eldest was adapting to his new school (he started in June 2017), trying to sort out our new house, doing lots of decorating. I also went from a beautiful kitchen which we installed in our old house, to a dated, 80’s pine thing, which is not at all photogenic. My kitchen was intrinsic to my website and instagram phitos, and i didn’t know what to do. Now we finally have a study/creative room decorated, I am planning to get right back into it this year, though it will be hard until we can redo our kitchen.
    I totally empathise with the “I’m rubbish; I have nothing to offer” attitude too. I’m constantly struggling with it. You are a real inspiration though, along with a few others on Instagram, and I hope to immerse myself once again in what I love.
    xxx Sam

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Samantha thank you for this thoughtful comment, it is really nice to learn a bit more about you! I do so hope that you get back in to the swing of things in 2018. I met a lovely girl called Emily at the blogging course I went to, she’s @thewrightfoodie on Instagram. She does lovely colourful photos of food without including her kitchen at all (but I do hope your dreams of a new kitchen come true too)! Have a look for more inspiration. Those thoughts are just tricking you, and they will quieten down so much if you get stuck back in to blogging. Much love and thanks for your support, H x

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  22. Juliana on

    Great blog post Helen! All makes sense and all so true. I think the success is all in not overwhelming yourself with too many ambitions – definitely stick to 3! I have a terrible habit of wanting to do everything (very unrealistic) and not getting very much done at all, or feeling disappointed in my lack of achievement!! I think Instagram could be great for the accountability element alongside friends. Sometimes a prompt from someone you don’t know very well, or have never met, spurs you into action more than the comfort of a friend who’ll understand if you don’t make it!!!

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Hi Juliana, that is so true, sometimes are friends are just too kind and let us off the hook! One change or achievement at a time is so much better than none at all, so now I just need to choose my first 3 for the year. What are yours??? Thanks so much for popping by to read and comment, it makes my day. Helen xx

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  23. Helen G on

    Another great blog Helen! The ‘arrangements with friends’ thing is really key for me and my fitness. I started a running group that meet three times a week after drop off, and if I’m not there they ask why! Not in an accusatory way but simply ‘are things okay’ and if they are then they have a dig at me for being slack, and if things are not okay I get all sorts of offers of help. It’s truly been amazing in making me get off my lazy bottom and run, and I’ve made so many new friendships xx

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    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Thanks for stopping by and having a read HG. You are the perfect person to hold friends accountable for sticking at something. No BS whatsoever! Now we just have to get back in to the New Year exercise and healthy eating routine…….Hx

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  24. Lazy Daisy Jones on

    Helen loving your lists!
    We have just been to see the amazing paly (with music) called ‘Girl from the North Country’
    In my humble opinion it is incredible, and only running for an initial 12 weeks as it has just transferred from the old vic!
    bestest
    Ashley

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Hi Ashley, thanks so much for stopping by and leaving a little comment! I also thank you for the theatre recommendation, ‘just had a quick Google and it looks wonderful. Have you seen The Ferryman at the Gielgud? Totally knocked my socks off, and only running until May. Let’s make this a year for seeing great shows 🙂 Hxx

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    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Happy New Year to you too Miriam, I hope that you are well. I’m enjoying getting back to normal and stuck in to some work. I agree, it seems so obvious, but to question your motives is really useful, and stops you from wasting energy on things that aren’t truly important to you. Thanks so much for stopping by.
      Hx

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  25. Melissa Jolly on

    Love this post because 1: I love skiing, I would live in the mountains at the drop of a hat and 2: I have awful circulation and get ridiculously cold feet so I take my winter footwear very seriously ?. I love the classic moon boot, they are super warm and comfy and a design classic. However, I now have a pair of Sorels which o got for Christmas last year…they are apparently ok down to -20 degrees. They are the longer ones in black with a faux fur trim and I wear them for most of the winter over here as well as out skiing. The heals took a bit of breaking in as they were quite stiff, but I wear them in the mud and hose them off and can also get away with wearing them in town with a pair of jeans or a skirt. (I’m wearing them right now)! That said, if I had the spare cash I would probably look at buying all the boots you have highlighted as they are without doubt my favourite type of footwear. That’s a bit sad isn’t i?!! Anyway, hope this helps and hope you have a fab time skiing ⛷ xxx

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Hi Melissa, I love that you are so enthusiastic about this subject!!! The Sorel’s seem to be winning the vote absolutely hands down. I was erring in that direction anyway. We’re heading to Cornwall later in Feb and I reckon they’ll be brilliant for walking there too. I’m just going to try and find somewhere to try the Sorel’s on for sizing, then I will decide on my style and go for it! Thanks for stopping by to read the blog, really appreciate you taking the time. Helen xxx

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  26. Scarlett Roitman on

    I love those Sorel boots! Having said that, I always wear the most impractical ski gear, fur (fake) boots, ski outfits lined with again, fur trim. Basically, I look daft but who cares, I might as well feel glamorous as I fall time after time on the pistes – my skiing is not what it used to be. My advice if you’re a novice – avoid icy slopes at all costs. And enjoy the après Helen!

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      I am very much a novice Scarlett, wish me luck! Perhaps if I go all-out-glamour too, then no one will notice that I’m a hopeless skier? Thanks for joining the boot debate, sounds like we both have the apres covered, H xoxo

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    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Hi Nicole, thanks for dropping by with expert snow boot advice :). The Moon Boots are fun aren’t they, but I think that the decision has been made (due to overwhelming public support) to go with the Sorel’s. I’m just going to get more use out of them. LOVE LOVE LOVE the Chivers boot…..incredible indeed! Perhaps if I catch the skiing bug I would be able to justify the investment???

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    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Hello Jo! Thank you for stopping by it is so lovely to see you here*. The Sorel’s are getting SO much love. Decision pretty much made, I just need to choose a style. Much, much love and coffee soon please. Hxx
      *smiley emoji!

      Reply
  27. Penny on

    Hi, a friend of mine has 2 Sorels and swears by them. I guess you’ve got to love them to buy 2 pairs!
    Have a wonderful adventure when you go. I’ve never been ski-ing on snow (only on a dry ski slope when I was about 10) and I can’t say it’s ever appealed. I don’t know anyone who goes for the first time and dislikes it. I think I would be danger of a few lunch time bevvies!

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    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Hello Penny, I’m going to buy my Sorels today. They have won the vote hands down, I obviously should have bought some years ago going by all of these positive reviews! I’m really looking forward to heading off now, and am sure that I will excel at the hot chocolate and wine part of the trip. I hope that your own blog renovations are moving along nicely, really look forward to seeing it all up and running. Helen xx

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  28. Caroline on

    I prefer Insta now. I barely recognise Facebook and struggle with my own page!

    I rarely check it, but do forward the odd ‘useful’ article or piece of local info ?

    Summary, #rabbithole

    Reply
  29. @not_about_the_kids2017 on

    Hey Caroline, yes although I feel I ought to give it another go, seriously, where are the hours extra in the day? Don’t want to be a Facebook snob though. Perhaps I should have a little weekly log-in for the best bits?? Thanks for reading. Hx

    Reply
  30. Sue Calver on

    I totally understand why you mean about FB, it annoys me far more than Instagram ever does.
    I can be stricken from time to time with Insta envy (mostly over bags and shoes!), I generally I find it far more rewarding, creative and fun.

    Who wants to see 97 photos of an ex work colleagues summer holiday, endless ads, drunken nights out or political rants?
    I still go on fb probably once a day for 5 mins but I am considering weaning myself off more and try once a week or even less if I can!
    How did you manage to stick to your resolution for a whole year?
    Tips appreciated!

    Sue

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Hi Sue, well, once I had done the first month or so I think I had pretty much broken the habit, and I was feeling better for it. Liberated! However, there is no doubt stuff I have missed out on, and like you I wonder whether a compromise position is to log on once a week for the best bits? I’m always going to be more of an Instagram person, much less aggravating, although not everyone agrees. Thank you so much for reading and commenting, it makes my day! Helen x

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  31. Melissa Jolly on

    I am so with you on every point here. I was browsing Facebook regularly but not posting and found it was irritating me. I really like Instagram but am not grabbed by Twitter..I was trying to explain this to a friend who has no social media experiences and I think they thought I sounded a bit bonkers. I love the beautiful photographs on Instagram, but a lot of the ‘beautiful’ photos on Facebook just annoyed me. Interesting to hear others have similar views. X

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    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Hi Melissa, I love beautiful pictures too. There are some great artists and photographers to follow on Instagram, and you just don’t get that on Facebook. I love your gorgeous photos of the South Oxfordshire countryside! I think now that I’ve had a break, I could drop back in to Facebook now and then, for the best bits. But I’m firmly an Instagram person too. Thanks so much for stopping by for a read. Helen xxx

      Reply
  32. Helen on

    I so need to do this. Facebook became the last thing I saw at night and the first thing I saw in the morning – how sad is that? I have recently broken the morning habit just because I am trying to get out of bed as soon as I wake up, but I also need to leave it alone at night too. Two days ago I dug out my kindle and downloaded a new book – when I have those ‘gentle boredom, pull out my phone’ moments I am going to grab the kindle and read instead!!
    I will never ditch FB – my family and friends are spread far and wide and it allows us to be a regular part of each other’s lives – but I need to look at it far far less……

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    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Helen, you would be sorely missed from Facebook and can’t ever leave!! You are so right, I’m positive staring at your phone is not a good way to start the day. I’ve just switched that habit from FB to Instagram. I need to leave my phone physically in another room if I really need to concentrate. Let me know if you read any good books 😉 H xxxxx

      Reply
  33. Juliana on

    Oooh this is a very interesting one! I have a FB account and an IG account and since I started using IG about a year ago I have found that I have gradually and naturally used FB less and less. I found FB very useful when we first moved away from the UK – it was great to keep in touch with friends initially but the saying “familiarity breeds contempt” seems to ring true on FB more than any other social media platform. For me the problem has been the feeling of being force fed information about the lives of friends and family and even dare I say exaggerated by a rare few! But interestingly, there seems to be a higher tolerance for “staged” photos on IG amongst people we don’t even know or have never even met! Hence the “familiarity breeds” statement. Secondly, and this has been a major frustration for me, when I log into FB I have to fight through several ads before I actually find a friend and then when I do find my said friend they’ve only logged into FB to plug a link to another ad/political campaign! Maybe it’s just me but when I see friends irl I very rarely tell them as an opener “vote for this”! I think that the personal touch has somehow got lost on FB which conversely is what IG seems to do so well. Having said that, FB is definitely a lifesaver as you say for birthdays/anniversaries etc and because I have a closed group of friends I am also more comfortable to post pics of my kids amongst people that I know rather than everyone on Insta (my IG account is public by choice) so I still use it, but now it’s a once or twice a week check-in just in case someone that I know should actually post a pic of grandma’s birthday or a new addition to the family. So perhaps the answer to FB is exactly what you’ve done – “absence makes the heart grow fonder”!! 😉

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Hey Juliana, thanks for stopping by ;). I find the political content on Facebook particularly unwelcome. You are 100% right, I rarely discuss this with my friends in real life….so why would I want to see it when I glance at my phone during a coffee break? However, lots of people obviously enjoy those kind of connections, and I don’t mind people putting an interesting article my way. I have some close friends in Australia, and before the advent of Facebook I wouldn’t have had a clue what they were up to from one month to the next, so it is wonderful for that, which I’m sure you find too. Also, the birthdays! Maybe I just need a birthday reminder app!!! Until next time, Hxxxx

      Reply
  34. Miriam - londonkitchendiaries.com on

    Very interesting to read your take on Facebook, somehow it is my least favourite social media outlet. I never knew exactly why but now reading through your post it is a lot clearer to me. Maybe just a Facebook page is a good idea for you, there is no reason to spend time with something you don’t enjoy.

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Hey Miriam, I hope you are well. I’d be interested to know whether you use Facebook for blogging purposes? Either to promote your posts, or to network with other bloggers? It seems many people have a tricky relationship with FB, it is just about engaging with what works for you. Hxx

      Reply
  35. Debbie on

    Great article Helen. It got me thinking about how I use social media as well. Whilst I am not anti-Facebook, I see the annoying parts everyone mentions…. But I am on there for the good – not just the reasons you discussed, but for me there is a large section of family and friends that I don’t get the opportunity to see much, but feel more engaged with because you see them on Facebook. There are also the charity fundraisers friends are participating in, and events that people are interested in that you may not have known about otherwise. And Caversham Gossip Girls for recommendations and even traffic updates locally!

    I also sometimes find Instagram a bit too ‘instragrammy’ – there are lots of people posting perfect pictures, and not as much of the real stuff. That said, those perfect pictures are very lovely to look at as well!

    Then there is also Twitter. I took a while to join the twitter-generation, and thought I would use it as a news/work information type platform. But that has since changed. Twitter is now my go-to place if I need something to make me smile. There are some very funny people on there, and I sometimes can’t help but laugh out loud at some of the content (ideally not when I am in a busy office).

    I think they all have a place, you just need to work out how to use them that works best for you. And if there is no benefit, then drop it!

    (sorry for the long response!)

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Thank you for the long response Debs! I love the fact that you mentioned traffic reports….actually quite a few people have said how helpful FB can be for local info. A bit like it has replaced local radio or newspapers as a source of information? Instagram definitely can’t offer that. I think that you use social media in a really healthy way. I’m always super happy to see pictures of you and the boys. Sorry I missed out sponsoring your walk 🙁 Much love, Hx

      Reply
  36. Scarlett Roitman on

    Hi Helen,
    I’m a bit of a mongrel – French, American, Uruguayan with a now British passport. My family and childhood friends, all from international schools, are scattered across the world. So I rely on Facebook to keep me in-touch with what they’re up all up to.
    Funnily enough, I was thinking how terrible the Facebook interface has become in the last few week and tried to disable the crap coming into my feed. The adjustments didn’t work. And then, bang, this morning’s news had Facebook promising to do more to improve customer feeds. Because it’s all about ads now, and videos, videos, videos. I can’t stand it anymore. I have to sift through so much junk just to see any posts from friends and family.
    So, I will definitely be spending less time on Facebook until they get their s*** sorted.

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Hi Scarlett, your comment is very timely, FB are obviously listening to user feedback! Facebook is a remarkable thing really. If I needed to, I could find practically anyone from my past on there. And yes, I have friends in far flung places (Australia in particular) whom I would rarely be able to check in with without social media. We have lots to be thankful for. First world problems as they say 🙂 Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Hx

      Reply
  37. Penny on

    I have a love-hate relationship with FB. I don’t check it as much, I think Instagram has taken over. I don’t like how people live their lives out on facebook but I guess it’s up to them. I find some people create and pull others into their dramas. I’m clearly hypocritical as I haven’t left. I’m just too nosey!

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Hi Penny, it is lovely to see you here again 🙂 Some people really seem to like and sharing their lives on Facebook, I’ve just never really been able to relax and fully join in. My loss perhaps? There are enough social media platforms now I think we can all find the one that fits best for us. I’m definitely partial to a good bit of nosiness now and again too. Hope you are well, Hxx

      Reply
  38. Penny on

    Loving the Hero series, such a good idea. I like to get skincare recommendations from others too. I’ve never used super expensive face creams, about £40 is the most I’ve paid. I got a tester from L’occitane for their Divine cream. It’s about £70; sadly out of my price range. I wanted to dislike it, but I have to say, it’s the best cream I’ve ever tried. At the moment, I can look but I can’t touch 🙂
    Next on my list is Weleda. I know someone who works for them and their ingredients are all natural. I like the sound of that!
    x

    Reply
  39. @not_about_the_kids2017 on

    I’m so pleased you are enjoying Heroes Penny, I’m loving it too. I am covered in all sorts of interesting beauty products!!! I like the sound of the L’Occitane cream, I will go and check it out the next time I am passing. Also, do let me know if you find anything worth recommending by Weleda. A future Hero perhaps? I’d be very interested. Hx

    Reply
  40. Penny on

    So many excellent holiday ideas. I always look online but can see how a tour operator gives peace of mind, & works out the best deal. I was hoping to try a holiday abroad this year, just me and the boy, but not sure it’s viable. Some great ideas from Paul though.

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Hi Penny, I think most of the fun of booking trips is the window shopping ?☀️. I love to dream about all the places I could visit, the reality is most of us only get to one a year if we are lucky. I hope you find something special to do with the boy, even if it is close to home. Thanks so much for reading, and saying hello. Helen x

      Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Hello Jools!! I think that half the fun of holidays is all the planning and dreaming of where you might go. I bet you look at all of the options entirely differently from your corner of the planet. Where do you like to go on holiday? Thanks so much for stopping by for a read. Hxxx

      Reply
  41. Samantha Nagtegaal on

    Totally know where you’re coming from Helen, and I wish I could drop it too. Unfortunately a few things I’m involved with have secret grouos on facebook, for example, a charity I am a trustee of (it’s nothing fancy, but an awesome community charity who were involved in saving the local library. We are now trying to turn the building into a café/community space for courses/training etc, and I’m obviously involved from the café perspective!) We have a secret group which is essential to the organisation of meetings, and communication in between times. Checking the group inevitably means one accidentally spends ten lost minutes scrolling down ones feed looking at rubbish, then suddenly feeling great frustration at oneself!
    However… I will now sound like a massive hypocrite as I have a Facebook page for my website, Cooking for Sanity, and it’s quite a big part of my getting my message across. I find I get engagement mostly from.my own friends who follow it, but nonetheless, they are friends who are genuinely interested. I do get interaction from people who have just followed because they like the page too, which is always rewarding. A good way to pick up Facebook for you, in terms of having a business page, would be to use your Instagram content on your page status updates, so you aren’t having to devise whole new posts. Often, the people who view your Facebook page will be people who know you (to start with anyway) which will give a new dimension from the physically unknown Instagram followers. You can post links to blog posts using your saved Insta photos, and links to your blog, or say a bit more about anything else relevant to what you have to say.
    I hope that helps ?
    Love Sam xxx

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Hey Sam, thanks for your comment it’s given me food for thought 🙂 I really hope I haven’t given the impression of being totally anti-Facebook, that wasn’t my intention. I think I definitely need to get back on there for the blog. I think I just need to be less emotionally invested, and see it as a really useful tool, which of course it is. Really interesting what you say about bringing another dimension that’s slightly more grounded in reality, perhaps Instagram can be a strangely ‘unreal’ place at times….? Lots of love, Hxx

      Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Hello Sarah, how lovely of you to stop by for a read 🙂 I really do appreciate you taking the time. I hope that perhaps people will take one or two ideas away and apply them if they would like to. Good luck! Hxxx

      Reply
  42. Jools on

    To answer just one of your questions you don’t drive me bonkers with your insta posts. The truth is every time you post something I think “Wow, she’s nailed it again!” I am really enjoying the journey. The half face selfie is just brilliant. Red lippy? Perfect. I really do like your style.

    Reply
  43. Lazy Daisy Jones on

    One thing if I hide my hashtags in comments as I always used to do I get ‘shadowbanned ‘ it happens every time and I have no idea why !
    When I first started ig it was very easy to pick up followers not now so you have done brilliantly !
    I like the ‘chat’ on your account xxx

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      I’m sort of half expecting to get ‘shadowbanned’ at some point, although it hasn’t happened yet. Thanks for highlighting this issue, I will adjust the text above, as I wouldn’t want my advice to lead to that happening to someone else. Who knows what will happen on Instagram next Ashley….only one way to find out. Thanks for stopping by. Hxx

      Reply
  44. Nete on

    Really liked this down to earth and hands on input to IG. Very well done. I’m new to IG and my learning curve is for sure steep. Seems like you have nailed it from the beginning:)

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Hi Nete, so glad if you can find one or two useful things here. Who knows where this strange Instagram journey will take us? Thank you for stopping by for a read, it makes my day. Helenxxx

      Reply
  45. Liz on

    Fantastic post, thank you!
    As an absolute instagram beginner am so very grateful for any info like this I can read.
    Off to put it into practice.
    Have a great day,
    Lizx

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Hello Liz, welcome to Not About the Kids! I’m so happy that you might find some of this helpful. I felt that I wanted to share a bit of what I have learnt in the past few months. Really appreciate you taking the time to read and comment. Helen x

      Reply
  46. Julie Bateman on

    Brilliant advice and I will have a look at the apps you mention! I love your feed and I think your photographs are great! @over40frolics (Julie x)

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Hello Julie! Thank you so much for stopping by for a read, I just feel like doing a little dance when someone comments on the blog 🙂 If one or two bits of what I’ve picked up are helpful for people then brilliant. So glad you like the photos Hxxx

      Reply
  47. Penny on

    Great post Helen. I love VSCO and have been using it more over the past few months, since I made a conscious decision to think about what’s posting a bit more. I have A Color Story too but have yet to truly explore it.

    I think all the things you say are true. I didn’t really engage much until about 2 months ago. It’s made a difference, along with other little things I’m doing.

    Enjoy the rest of the weekend!

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Hi Penny, thanks so much for visiting! There are so many amazing Apps and different things to try, I really do wish I had a couple more hours in the day! I’m glad that you like VSCO too, it’s a good fit for me. Another thing, that I didn’t mention, with Instagram and blogging, is that I really think it’s important to be patient….let’s try and stick with it together. Hx

      Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      The DD, I think that because this jumper is a sort of light, bright navy it works ok. And the lippy and the red wall…..But thank you for the vote of confidence! xxx

      Reply
  48. Liz Banksy on

    Just very envious of your ski trip!!! Morzine is a fab place to begin, lovely pistes and a really cute town with great restaurants ? Have a ball in them there boots!!! ⛷??

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Hello Liz, thanks so much for visiting and having a wee look. I am very excited to go skiing for the first time and will be concentrating very hard on getting it right!!! Hxxxx

      Reply
  49. Mary-Ann on

    Hi Helen. Our mutual friend Helen Gardner pointed me towards your blog. 🙂 This is a fantastic read – really useful and interesting! I’ve already shared it with a few friends. I’m looking forward to reading more! Mary-Ann x

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Hello Mary-Ann, thank you so much for popping by to have a read. It makes me do a little happy dance every time someone leaves a comment on the blog!! I thought that it might be helpful to bring together some of the bits and bobs I’ve learnt about social media in the past few months…if it saves someone a bit of time then mission accomplished. Hxxx

      Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Hey Mackenzie, thanks for stopping by! I’m going to get it done properly….I can’t not know now what my real colours are. Love Hx

      Reply
  50. Julie Bateman on

    I don’t tend to post pictures of my full face (too many wrinkles) but have been happy to post the bottom half of my face with a bright lipstick. I guess it helps if you have someone who is willing to take a picture of you…which I don’t! My other half just thinks I am crazy doing this!!!! I think your pictures are fab, and I have taken your advice and started to play around with the VSCO app xxx

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Hi Julie 🙂 the lipstick trick is a genuinely good one, I can’t believe the difference it makes to my pictures. And I am still finding that showing just part of my face or body is easier. However, I do feel strongly that we should just go for it though….we’re never any younger than we are today! Thanks so much for reading and commenting, Helen xxx

      Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Hi Ashely, thank you so much for working with me on the post, I’m so pleased that all of you lovely ladies came up with such a great selection of tips! I have a feeling it won’t be too long until we run into one another. Helen xx

      Reply
  51. Katherine on

    I’m learning to love them and as I blog about beauty products mainly, I feel it’s necessary to show the things I’m talking about. I’m definitely trying to be less harsh and critical but it is hard putting your full on face out there. I loved this post-it was really informative and inspiring too. Thank you for sharing xxx

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Hi Katherine, my aim with the post is to perhaps encourage anyone who might be feeling a bit shy to get their selfie out there! A year or so ago I would absolutely not have dreamt of it. But now I think, why on earth not? It’s part of working life now in so many different ways, but especially in a blog as that is – often – quite personal. I will enjoy having a look at ‘Shopaholic! Thank you so much for stopping by for a read, Helen xxx

      Reply
  52. Kylie on

    Such great advice. I really dislike having my photo taken but this year have set myself a goal to post more on insta and my blog of me rather than hiding behind flatlays and product pics.

    The posing tips are going to come in super handy!

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Kylie, I love that as a goal for the year! I’ll be looking out for lots of shots of you on Instagram ;). Thank you so much for visiting the blog. I love all these ladies and their photo tips, if they can do it then we can too. Much love, Helen xx

      Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Hi Mackenzie, thanks for popping over for a read. I’ve gone and written it now, better try and make it happen.Hx

      Reply
  53. Tanya on

    I’d like to get back into writing with my blog as an outlet for that. I’ve always loved to write and my pregnancies were a real catalyst to do so but then life and my other career sidelined me…but my lack of writing is a forever niggle for me so I’m really going to try to do more this year. Whether anyone will read it or whether it will fall into the great abyss is another story! As you suggest, you have to work at engagement. Think it’s great you have some goals and are going for it! And I’d love to do a podcast too 🙂

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      The great abyss!!! It does feel a bit like that, especially in these early days. You know, it doesn’t really matter too much if no one reads it does it? At least you’ll have written what you want to, and who knows where that might lead! Thanks so much for taking the time to visit, have a read and leave a comment, it means the world to me. Let me know if you post something new 😉

      Reply
  54. Rebekah on

    Yes! You’re a step ahead of me here (you already have your blog and I only have a broken iPad) but much of this rings true. I am currently on maternity leave and I find myself reflecting on my job, how happy it makes (made) me, how I will feel returning with a child, and knowing there must be a better way to use my talents but I’m just not sure what that is yet. I’ll let you know if I find out!

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Hi Rebekah, I’ve always been grateful for my maternity leave as an opportunity to step back and get a bit of perspective on work. Of course, what to do next is the 5 billion dollar question!! It’s taken me years to get back on track, I hope you find your way sooner. Thanks so much for stopping by for a read, I really do appreciate it. Come back and let me know what happens 🙂 Helen xxx

      Reply
  55. Juliana on

    So honest and brave! I love it!! I can totally relate to it all. I keep putting off starting a blog for the same reasons you gave for not doing the radio news in your earlier career – I just don’t feel brave enough to stick my neck out and do it in case I fail!! But the only failure staring me in the face is not doing it at all!! I commend your honesty and the difficulty in navigating exactly what you want – and as you say the shape of everything may not be 100% clear until you’re actually doing it, but I think your exploits into social media have definitely set you on the right track. I love your blog and your IG pics and I share your interests – so there’s one reader/listener/consumer for whatever you choose to do already!!!!! I very much look forward to watching you grow and develop on this journey – wishing you a very successful 2018 indeed!

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Hi Juliana, what a lovely comment, it makes me feel a bit less of a wally for writing this that’s for sure! You are such a supportive IG friend, thank you. I want to say, ‘come on, start the blog!!!’ But I also know from my own experience that you need to do things when the time is right for you. Let’s keep talking about it. Hxxxx

      Reply
  56. Elena on

    I can totally relate to this. I was stuck in corporate banking for 12 years and I never ever liked it. It was paying the bills and it allowed me to buy clothes and go travelling but shortly after my second (and last) maternity leave I realised that it was time for me to try and do what I really wanted to do, fashion. I think that when you are really passionate about what you do, people perceive it and you are more likely to be successful. I’m only at the beginning, still a long way to go for me but I will get there as I am sure you will too. Xxx

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      The beginning is the only place to start Elena, right? I can’t wait to see what direction you take it in. Thanks so much for visiting the blog. I think we’re all at a similar time in life, the second act!! Helen xxx

      Reply
  57. Louise on

    What a great blog post and how this also resonates with me! I’m sure I’ve done myself many a disservice over the years by not putting myself forward for, or speaking up about, opportunities, thinking I wouldn’t be good enough. However, I’ve recently forced myself into trying for a new work opportunity and guess what….people around me have been nothing but supportive. I’m out of my keeping-my-head -down comfort zone but it’s got to be done ?

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Hi Lou, I also know that you are a bit out of your comfort zone leaving a comment on my blog, so – thank you – it is much appreciated 🙂 I wonder where are Second Act careers will take us? Lots of love xxxx

      Reply
  58. Melissa jolly on

    This is a great post, very well written and it really resonates with me. You are so right about admitting your ambitions and doing so out loud rather that in your head like most of us do. When I was working as a researcher for a TV company making wildlife documentaries, I had got there off the back of my zoology degree but I what I really wanted was to get into presenting. Not once did I ever mention this to the producers, even after standing in as a body double (in full wet suit) to do some underwater ‘presenting’ when the real presenter was a tad scared of the proposal. I had loved it and had thought that they would just say if they thought I’d be any good (which they never did). It’s taken me this long to realise that there’s only one person who is going to make it happen for you and that is you. You write brilliantly, have interesting things to say and encourage people to converse and comment. Good luck, I might just do the same as you when I have nailed it in my own head!

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Hi Melissa, I’m so glad that I’m not the only person who has taken a few years to understand this stuff! I wonder how many of us have been shouting ‘pick me’ in our heads for far too long? No more!! I hope that we can have a chat one day about your ambitions. Thank you for popping by for a read, it really means a lot. Helen xxx

      Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Hello Victoria, thank you for reading my post I’m glad and that you were able to relate to my ramblings. I’m touched that your biggest hope is for your daughter. I hope that she can quit her job one day too! The very very best of luck with it. Helen xx

      Reply
  59. Miriam - londonkitchendiaries.com on

    Very interesting blog post – I can definitely relate to it. It would be nice to make some money from blogging as it is such hard work but I am sure you’ll find collaborations that will work for you in the future. You create great content, always enjoy reading your posts 🙂

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Thanks Miriam, it is hard work….I can see now why people say ‘you need to love it’!! I wonder whether it won’t be the blog that ever generates any income, but rather other opportunities will arise because of it? Either way, I’ll plug away for the next year or so and see where it takes me. Thanks so much for taking the time to pop by, always appreciated. Love your work too, and wonder when I’m reading it whether I should have gone into travel and food blogging. Delicious!! Helen xxxx

      Reply
  60. Melissa Jolly on

    Loved reading about your forray into the world of skiing, it sounds like you had a good experience overall! I have the utmost respect for anyone learning to ski as an adult, it takes some guts. It really does make a great family holiday too…mu parents still ski so they get to ski with all their grandchildren now which is pretty cool. We’re currently on the M25 heading out to the Alps…a long drive ahead and we are packed to the gunnels, but we have Pringles and winegums and I’ve downloaded Fire and Fury audio book to keep us entertained! All good fun. X

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Waah so exciting Melissa, I hope you have a great time! Do you know I am actually quite jealous and could do it all again this weekend? Although the skiing was very challenging at times, we laughed and laughed and laughed. I do think that if I could give the children the opportunity to learn I’d be doing them a massive favour. Then they’d never have to go through what I did!!! Lots of love and best wishes for excellent skiing xxxxx

      Reply
  61. Juliana on

    You are so brave Helen and it sounds so exciting! I have never been on a skiing holiday, the nearest experience we have had as a family is a taster afternoon at the Snow Centre in Hemel Hempstead, Herts. It has real snow so it’s great for getting the feel of the real deal. We went for a family session and as we have no ski equipment of our own we had to hire all our gear from the ski centre, which was all fine apart from the fact that I remember having the most uncomfortable ski boots which actually rubbed the front of my shins by the end of our session!! That said, I would definitely go again for practice if we decided to go on a ski holiday! And for you – that’s one adventure down, 11 more to go!!

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Believe me, I was not very brave when I was standing on the slopes weeping!! I did have lots of good intentions to make it over to that place in Hemel beforehand for a bit of practice but never managed it. In spite of the fear factor, it was a really brilliant experience Juliana, if you ever get the opportunity to go then take it. Lots of love, H xxx

      Reply
  62. Victoria on

    I can so relate to everything you wrote. I tried skiing a number of times, took lessons, fell messed up a knee then gave it up as not for me. I don’t like cold in the first place and rolling around in the snow while small children laugh when they are zooming by is not my idea of fun.

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Oh no Victoria! Once you get the boots and skis on it is so easy to see how you could hurt your legs, if you twist the wrong way then….
      We were extremely lucky with the weather. I don’t think I would have been as game if it had been raining or snowing. The kids are so good, aren’t they? That’s when you need to learn. Thanks for stopping by, it’s lovey to hear from you again. Hxxx

      Reply
  63. Sarah on

    Hubby and I used to ski every year before kids – haven’t found the time, energy or money since to take the whole family!! Would love to. It’s one of our favourite things. I used to laugh until I cried and also just cried sometimes (!) at the escapades we’ve got ourselves into. But one things for sure the toffee vodka is AMAZING!! Glad you found it and managed to re-fill your new boots Helen!! Xxx

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Hi Sarah, I didn’t know this about you! Ed and Lucy would love it. That was my one big feeling, I would really enjoy watching the children fly down the slopes. The kids are all so good at it!!! And you are right, we laughed and laughed and laughed. Thanks so much for popping over for a read. Hxx

      Reply
  64. Jules on

    Interesting. Do they offer any ‘skin analysis’ service? I suspect my skin is not what it once was and would benefit from a regime overhaul – but where to start? It’s time the skincare industry was disrupted. Products are getting ridiculous in cost, contents and claim!

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      You can have a good chat with the staff in the store, they seem pretty knowledgeable. There are various combinations of each type of products (a range of retinoids, or the vit c, or masks) and they would advise you on what might suit. Formal skin analysis, no. For these prices, you can afford a bit of trial and error maybe? I liked the look of the Niod range, but then you are getting pricey again…..

      Reply
  65. Jo Miles on

    Thanks, this is really interesting, and I’m coming to the end of my night cream! Up in London in a couple of weeks, so may try to call into the store. Would be really interested to hear how you get on with what you bought ?

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Hello Jo, lovely to see you here :). I will report back at some point in the not too distant with a review. They don’t stock anything so traditional as a night cream, but I used the Rose Hip Oil at bedtime last night and it was very pleasant indeed. Helen x

      Reply
  66. Kate Scott on

    Great comprehensive breakdown H – might pop up for a shop to London soon and include a trip there. Definitely tempted by their products.

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Hi Kate, thanks for stopping by I do appreciate it :). I will let you know if I can particularly recommend any of the bits I am trying. It’s certainly interesting from a business and marketing perspective if nothing else! Hxxx

      Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      I can’t speak for the skincare yet Mackenzie, but I have been using the foundation for a week and think that’s pretty respectable. Especially when you consider it is £5.90. Good match for my skin tone, and excellent coverage, in fact, I am often applying too much. Thanks for stopping by. Hxx

      Reply
  67. Ruth Martin on

    Loved reading this! It’s a part of Cornwall I haven’t been to but have it’s lovely. Every year we go to Kingsand on the south coast of Cornwall which is a picture perfect quiet little village. This summer we are venturing to Porth Levan also on South coast but much further down…cant wait!

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Hello Ruth, thank you so much I’m glad you enjoyed the read. There are too many beautiful places to visit in Cornwall. There’s only one thing for it. We’ll have to move there! We are thinking of staycationing down there in the summer of 2019, it would be nice to be there when the weather (fingers crossed) is at its best for once. Maybe even leave the wellies at home!!! I hope that you have a wonderful holiday. Hx

      Reply
  68. Karen Grey on

    I totally share your love of Cornwall. We always have a week in Padstow each year which we call our ‘Doug Holiday’ (our beloved dog!) And venture further afield during our time here. We’ve been to Watergate Bay (tho’ not the hotel) and have spent many beautiful afternoons taking a late lunch at Jamie’s and watch the surfers – bliss. Also very lucky that our eldest currently plays rugby & is based in Penzance so we get to spend lots of weekends down there. I love your review so maybe we’ll splash out and have an overnighter at TWH this year as a little treat! To me, as soon as I pass that ‘welcome to Cornwall’ sign, I immediately sigh with relief and relax from the rigours of a busy city life!!

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Hi Karen, you sound like a woman after my own heart. We went to Padstow while we were down last week, and it was heaven like we had the place to ourselves! Treat yourself to WBH sometime, you won’t regret it. I fantasise about owning a little place down there so that we could go more often. Thank you so much for popping by the blog for a read, it makes my day. Helen x

      Reply
  69. Jo Miles on

    Hi Helen, really enjoy reading your blog posts. It’s great to read reviews from an ordinary everyday unbiased person (no offence meant here ?)!

    I’ll definitely try the M&S night cream and maybe some of The Ordinary stuff.

    Keep it up!

    Jo

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Hi Jo, I’m so pleased that you feel this way. It’s exactly what I intended the series to be. I began by asking a few friends for their recommendations, and everyone came up with such brilliant ideas that I kept going. Do you have a favourite that you could tell us about…?

      Reply
  70. Victoria on

    I have just lately been hearing about the Ordinary products but haven’t tried any of them. LUSH products always have too much scent for me I can hardly stand to go in the store.

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Hi Victoria, this is so often the reaction I get when I chat to people about Lush. The smell!!! Seems you either love it or hate it, but I wonder whether they are aware that it can even stop people from coming into the shop? The jury is out on The Ordinary. This particular product wasn’t for me, but I have also been trying their foundation and find it pretty good. Thanks so much for stopping by for a read. Hx

      Reply
  71. Lisa Barrett on

    Really enjoyed this interview Helen! I would love an ‘effortlessly’ cool house instead of the jumbled mess mine is and so this is giving me lots of interiors inspo. And I must say – so inspiring how Lisa grew her Instagram – totally awestruck 🙂 Keep going with your blog and fabulous Insta (so spot on!), it’s really interesting and you’re doing great! Have a good weekend, Lisa xx

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Hi Lisa, thank you for stopping by. I am in awe of Lisa and her beautiful home. There are lots of girls (and boys!) like her, and Instagram gives them the opportunity to show off their work to the world. Her new career is so inspiring, she totally making the most of the opportunities that have come her way. Great to learn more about her. Hxx

      Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Thanks Debs, £6.50 I likey!! I’m no mask expert, but I did promise myself to start using them this year. Y’know…not getting any younger. Thanks v much for the tip. Will take a good look at what else they have at M&S. Hxxx

      Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      I have total respect for anyone who takes it on, such a serious commitment. But I can see the appeal, to have a place all of your own that is totally how you want it to be. If I lived closer to Tinker Tailor I’d work in there all day! Thanks for reading M, have a good week x

      Reply
  72. Lynne French on

    I have been following this lady for a while and as the shop is only about an hour away I will visit soon. I recently did a modern calligraphy workshop in Thaxted and I believe Sandra is also doing a workshop here, really enjoyed it x

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Hi Lynne, thanks for visiting my blog :). Yes, I think that they have got calligraphy coming up at Tinker Tailor. Perhaps watch out for a class you fancy that’ll make it worth the trip? Nice to support businesses like this…otherwise they can’t survive. Helen x

      Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Thank you Kate, glad you enjoyed the pictures. I think there will be more places like this popping up. Hopefully in Caversham! Helen

      Reply
  73. Juliana on

    Loved reading this blog Helen. I’ve followed Antonia on IG for a while now and was so inspired when she set up her shop – she’s a great example of following your dreams. It really reflects her own style and I love that she uses it as a showcase to represent more independent brands too. If I was local it would definitely be on my list of places to shop.

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Yes, wouldn’t it be nice if we could meet up for a coffee there Juliana? It was great to see Antonia in situ and hear about her plans for the business. Hopefully it will go from strength to strength. Thanks for reading, I love to see your comments pop up. Hx

      Reply
  74. Juliana on

    Great interview! it’s amazing to discover how Lisa had what she called an ordinary job as a PA and yet behind that all this creativity was bubbling away!! That’s the wonderful world of IG too I think – it allows an outlet for people’s passions and who knows where that will take them. Thanks for sharing Helen!

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Isn’t it interesting? Although I knew that she wasn’t an interior designer as such, I assumed that she had a creative background. I wonder how many people are hiding their talents away? No wonder she is making the most of finally having an outlet. Super lady. Hx

      Reply
  75. Jo Ferreira on

    Keep going Helen! I’m really enjoying your blog pieces ☺️ I think you should definitely refer to yourself as a blogger and journalist on your website and Insta profile. Might lead to other freelance writing pieces? ?

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Hello Jo, thank you for popping by! Great thoughts on ‘blogger & journalist’, that could really work for me. I might switch it all over today and see how it feels and looks. I’m wondering about your blogging plans now….. Hx

      Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Hello Alison, it is on my list to start making some pitches. Just need to pluck up a bit more courage. Thank you for being so kind, I’m really enjoying the creative outlet (if that doesn’t sound too cheesy). Hx

      Reply
  76. Elena on

    Hey!!! I always enjoy reading your blogs, everything you say makes so much sense and lots of us can relate to it. Keep going with the hard work, you are doing an amazing job and you’ll see in three months time you’ll have at least double the amount of readers. You are an amazing journalist- blogger ???

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Hey Elena, I’m so glad that you find something worth reading here and that you can relate to some of my dilemmas! It has been so encouraging to have people like yourself read and leave me comments, so thank you very much. Helen xx

      Reply
  77. Andrea on

    Definitely keep going! I love your photos and own unique take on things. I feel exactly the same way in terms of the Squash, loving blogging and concerns about the time suck and whether anyone’s interested in what I’m putting out there. You’re doing incredibly well! Keep going!

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Ah thanks Andrea, I’m so glad it makes sense to you too! It’s a leap of faith everytime you publish something that you’ve written, especially when it is personal. So far people have been nothing but nice. No plans to stop yet. Helen xx

      Reply
  78. Andrea on

    Thanks for sharing. I’ve been considering coaching for a while. It feels like an indulgence but I’m getting my head around that it’s actually an investment.

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Andrea, I felt so long feeling that I couldn’t justify the expense. In many ways, that’s just another way of feeling a bit down on yourself! Coaches are happy for you to call them and have a chat to see whether you might get along, then you can find someone who is the right fit and price for you. Go for it! Helen x

      Reply
  79. Jo Miles on

    Hi Helen,
    Always enjoy reading your blogs and seeing your posts. I assumed you had been doing it for longer than 3 months, you seem very established!

    Definitely keep going ?

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Hi Jo, I’m not going anywhere yet, really enjoying myself. And the effort is made much easier when people read my posts and leave fab comments like this one. So thank you very much indeed. Lots of love, Hx

      Reply
  80. Anne-Sophie on

    I really relate to your thoughts. I worry a lot! But 3 months is short time. I think you should give it at least a year. As with other start up business. So good to know you’re still here. And I think journalist is a good title. Why not? ??

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Hello Anne-Sophie, so lovely to see your comment. Yes, I have told myself that you can’t expect too much within a year. There is still lots to learn, but it is very enjoyable to be writing again. Especially lovely when people read it, so thank you so much! Helen x

      Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      That made me smile Hannah, thank you. I’ll keep on rocking for a good while yet. Thanks so much for reading, H xx

      Reply
  81. Lynne French on

    Wow! I just point and click!!! 37 years of living with somebody who loves using a camera has taught me to just click and enjoy the walk or War and Peace whilst he takes another photo! I will try harder!! Thank you x

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Lynne, if you are happy pointing and clicking then that is what you should do lovely! I’m getting a bit more geeky about it and thought I would share some of my homework and experience. Thank you so so much for reading. Hx

      Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Hi Tikha, thank so much for reading 🙂 I’m so pleased if any of it is helpful. Glad you like my pictures too, very kind. Helen x

      Reply
  82. Lazy Daisy Jones on

    Helen I too am a fan as you know and I think you are doing amazingly well!
    You do write brilliantly so do please put journalist (?) and blogger on your insta bio.
    You have so much to offer us all!
    I look forward to seeing where you will be in six months and feel part of your endeavours… cheers girl xxxx

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Cheers Ashley, what a lovely comment thanks so much for taking the time to have a read :). I think I will add ‘journalist’, it feels a bit more true to what I hope to do in future. I sincerely appreciate your support over these past few months. Total admiration for how long you have been doing this!! It’s a labour of love for sure, Helen x

      Reply
  83. KellyAnn Schiavo on

    Yay! I finally committed to sitting down and reading your blog properly, which by the way, is bloody lovely and marvellous considering you’ve only been at it for 12 weeks!
    I totally get you about the numbers, its hard going sometimes but I try not to dwell too much. The likers/unlikers can take a hike as they’re not my audience anyway and the if it takes a bit longer to get likers/followers who actually engage, then I’d prefer that.
    And puuurlease don’t play down your journalism as something you did ‘moons ago’ – it’s a skill that many bloggers probably wish they had – I’d milk that if I were you, it’s part of what makes your writing brilliant!

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Hello KellyAnn, firstly thank you SO much for taking the time to read my posts, it means the world to me. I wholeheartedly agree that we should seek quality over quantity in terms of social media engagement. I think I’m going to try changing my title to Journalist & Blogger for a while and see how it fits. I’m at the early stages of this project so think I have the luxury of playing around with a few things. Thanks for your encouragement. Helen x

      Reply
  84. KellyAnn Schiavo on

    oooh the grid! Now isn’t’ that a life changer! Thank you!
    I’ve just started practicing with flat lays and this makes all the difference. I usually do it with my Nikon but I’ll def be grabbing my phone now..

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      I don’t know if it works for everyone, but the grid works for me. So much easier to see how to make the composition work better for a better shot overall. I do love a flat lay! Look forward to seeing some of yours xx

      Reply
  85. KellyAnn Schiavo on

    That was such a cool interview Helen! I love having a nose around people’s homes and the fact that Lisa turned that into a business is brilliant!! I love meeting/hearing about/reading about creative women!

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Me too, I think it’s really encouraging. Especially people who have started out on a completely new path for a second career. It was really kind of her to do this for me, busy lady. x

      Reply
  86. KellyAnn Schiavo on

    The more I read, I think you’re my new girl crush! haha
    I was just talking to my husband Max the other day (spurred on by all the London snow) that I really want to go skiing as I’ve only ever snowboarded and I was cack at it!
    While it looks hard work, there’s something magical about it – or perhaps that the ‘sitting with a GluWine’ watching everyone else, which to be fair, is what I’d probably do!
    Good for you though for ticking it off the list!

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Boarding looked so difficult to me, they all seemed to be spending half the time on their bums. In general, I found it easier than I expected, so long as I didn’t tackle slopes I wasn’t ready for. We must try and take the kids, they would love it. Thanks for reading darling x

      Reply
  87. KellyAnn Schiavo on

    This is fab. I made a decision to get insta-intentional last month so I signed up to the free version of Tailwind. It’s been quite good, you get insights, best times to post and can view your grid in 9 squares so that you have a visual of what it will look like once published. It will even publish straight to Insta for you without having to push the picture, but only on a business account. I got 80 new followers in Feb which is not to be sniffed at.
    I agree completely with the engagement, I really don’t like receiving an emoji as a comment, it’s just pointless. I’ve really concentrated this month and trying to ‘chat’ more and fingers crossed it paying off.
    I use Hastagger for #’s which is brilliant as it gives you a % score of how popular that # is so you know what you avoid. It also saves your searches which is hugely time saving.
    Above anything, commitment is key isn’t it… Rome wasn’t build in a day and all that…

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      I don’t think there’s an easy way to crack it unless you have a huge stroke of luck. It takes time and there’s no avoiding it. Thanks for the tips KellyAnn, I have heard of Tailwind, but mainly seen it used on Pinterest. Will definitely check out Hashtagger, as my use of them isn’t brilliant at the moment. My analytics tell me they only bring a handful of people to each post. Always more to learn x

      Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Yes let’s Mackenzie, thanks for reading and commenting. It feels a little less overwhelming when people turn up to have a look at what you have written 🙂 H xxxx

      Reply
  88. Louise Shore on

    Wow. This is such a great post. Feel really inspired and equipped to tackle the changes i have been wanting to make to my instagram feed to create more of an identity. Thank you so much. Love your feed / stories

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Hi Louise, I’m delighted that you found this useful. I have always enjoyed taking photographs, but Instagram and my blog have really focused my efforts. Thank you so much for reading and leaving this kind comment. Makes my day. Helen x

      Reply
  89. Juliana on

    Great post Helen. I have a Canon DSLR but I’ve never used it for my Instagram pics as I usually have my phone with me rather than carrying my camera around all the time. Some really great tips and advice here. I edit my pics on my phone at the moment, I have a Samsung rather than an i-Phone but I must try and get to grips with VSCO!!

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Thanks, Juliana, when it comes to my DSLR it is also a huge pain to get the photos off it, on to my computer, then over to my phone to post to Instagram. I would love one with Bluetooth…but good cameras are such a major investment. I’m positive the Samsung does everything the iPhone will, more for all I know! One day we will meet and compare notes. Thanks for visiting. Helen x

      Reply
  90. Mandy Wilson on

    What a lovely piece and what a fantastic character! I’d like to hear lots more from Margot. What does she like about the modern world? How does she feel women’s lives have changed since she was a young woman?

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Hi Mandy, I’m so pleased that you enjoyed it. I’m not sure I could even begin to do her justice here but thank you so much for reading, I enjoyed writing it. And have taken note of your questions for when I next see her 😉 Helen xx

      Reply
  91. Gemma on

    Hi
    I’ve absolutely loved reading about Margot.
    I’m always intrigued by the wonderful ways and views of ladies who’ve reached just fabulous ages.

    Simplicity seems to be key and taking time out for yourself and saying no !
    We all know we should do this … but rarely do.
    I’m totally with her on the milk front ✌?

    Thanks for sharing this ❤

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Hi Gemma, thanks so much for reading I’m glad that you enjoyed it. I loved taking some time to ask her a few big questions, another thing we rarely do. She’s a legend. I’m keeping my milk though 😉 Hxx

      Reply
  92. Samantha Nagtegaal on

    Awww I absolutely love this post Helen! What a fantastic and fascinating account of Margot’s life. I love the attitude of her generation, in fact, it reminds me of something I read literally yesterday, which I will try to send you, as it really rings true with what Margot said about moderation and not being frivolous. Such a lovely post ?
    Xxx Sam

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Hey Sam, thanks for the lovely comment and your support as always. Whenever I have a conversation with Granny it always leaves me with lots to think about. She has always had great judgement. Thank you for passing on the article, just going to read it now. Lots of love, Hxx

      Reply
  93. Juliana on

    Aww, this has been both inspirational and heartfelt to read! My nan lived until she was 100 years old and some of the advice that your Granny Margot has given here is very similar to that of my nan – such as not drinking alcohol to excess and walking everywhere – my nan never learned to drive so she walked everywhere or got the bus!! It would be great to see Margot Moments feature on your blog again in the future, I am sure we can all learn something from her many years of life experience!

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Hi Juliana, Granny mentioned buses too :). I love to walk but sometimes jump in the car just to save time (see; over-committing myself!). Aren’t we lucky to have had them around for so long? Good ancestors. Hx

      Reply
  94. Jools on

    I think you rock too. Out of all the blogs and insta out there I choose to read yours and follow you. I don’t know how you do it. But I like it. ?

    Reply
  95. Jools on

    Such a thoroughly heartwarming piece. I really enjoyed reading that. I think every woman could take something very positive from Margot’s advice and from her life. She sounds like a very strong woman. I think strength goes a long way. Being a woman means you are often pulled in many directions. It takes a great deal of strength to remain true to who you are and try to carry out all your other responsibilities as well.

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Thanks Jools, always lovely to see one of your comments here :). Granny is unwavering, which is a natural quality she possesses, but I think she could teach us all a thing or two. I’m so pleased that you enjoyed reading it, I enjoyed writing it very much. Lots of love, Hx

      Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Hi Victoria, thanks for stopping by always love to see one of your comments :). Late 90’s is a grand old age indeed, hard to imagine really isn’t it? All of the changes they lived through…Hx

      Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Hi Francesca, wonderful name (my daughter’s ;)) thanks so much for reading. It takes a little while to get your head around this, but I truly think it could be worth the effort! Helen x

      Reply
  96. Scarlett Roitman on

    I used Pinterest daily when I worked in property marketing but I’m finding it really hard to get stick into it with Londoness. Thanks for sharing all these wonderful tips. I wasn’t sure about using hashtags but will now, and yes, MUST pin more regularly! Your Pinterest looks fab! Scarlett

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Thanks for reading Scarlett 🙂 I have a feeling that Pinterest just might be worth the time investment. We shall see. I need to spread my net a little wider than Instagram. Good to learn, and I will search out the Londoness Pinterest account right now. Helen x

      Reply
  97. Miriam - londonkitchendiaries.com on

    Great tips on how to grow on Pinterest – really need to invest more time and make sure I always create nice pins for my blog posts. I sometimes forget it but I think it is really worth spending some time and effort on that platform! Thanks for reminding me 🙂

    Miriam x

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      I’m trying to invest a little bit of time in it every day, whether I am doing it right, or indeed if it will work, only time will tell. I will update you! Thanks so much for reading, Helen x

      Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      It’s a little gem Miriam if you ever find yourself nearby I would wholeheartedly recommend it. Thanks for stopping by, Hxx

      Reply
  98. Lazy Daisy Jones on

    You met Zanthe !!!
    I agree there are some dodgy ‘experts’ out there!
    I always check their ig account as little by as they have more than me then it might be worth it ?
    It’s always that one piece of info that you might not know eh?
    Ashley
    Xxxxx

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Do you know, her involvement was the main reason that I booked this one. I’m a bit of a fan!!! Yes, I’m learning along the way that not everyone is as knowledgeable as they might say they are. Definitely worth doing a bit of homework before booking on to anything. Can be so fun though. Hx

      Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Ha! Well, I have been consistent for about a week on Pinterest so far…so let’s see if I can prove myself worthy of your praise by sticking at it for long enough to find out if it works. I’ve got my fingers crossed that it is worth the effort because every sm platform you take on is another time commitment! Thanks for stopping by Ashley 😉 Hx

      Reply
  99. Loz on

    Lovely article … I note Margot was born in January…. if I were prone to believing in starsigns I might mention that Capricorns are the “mountain goats” of the zodiac – tenacious, hard working, ambitious, organised and often live very long lives…. if I were prone…

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Hello Loz, I blummin’ love you. We may mock, but your (the stars) assessment is spot on. Thanks for stopping by :0 H xxxx

      Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Thanks C, what do I do if everyone likes different ones? I do particularly like the West Elm number x

      Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Lovely, thanks Kelly, making a note of all the votes!! Someone has suggested that I might like to run this past my husband, but I like to think that your views are more important 😉
      Thanks so much for stopping by xxx

      Reply
  100. Melissa on

    Love the West Elm one, also the first Benuta one. Also like the Swoon one. I love the look and texture of the Amara ‘pea’ rug but feel you could go bolder with colour. Good luck choosing! X

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Thank you, Melissa, I like them all….obviously!!! West Elm is doing well with public opinion, I will be sure to update you when I make a decision. Hx

      Reply
  101. Debbie Davis on

    I think the Arabesque Yellow from Benuta would look great in your kitchen, but also like the West Elm one…. Not personally keen on the IKEA ones – not for the designs, but more on the quality side – love IKEA, but just maybe not the place for a quality rug that feels nice when barefoot!

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Thanks D, and useful thoughts on Ikea. I’m a big, big fan of the Sweedish beast but maybe not for soft furnishings?? Your votes are noted. Hx

      Reply
  102. Lazy Daisy Jones on

    We have jute everywhere, it has been treated so cleaning is easy . Not like it used to be!
    Yes I know the rug on instagram that you mean! Everyman and his dog has it.
    My fave is the west elm rug it’s beautiful.
    Xx

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Hi Ashley, it’s funny because it is so popular on Instagram, I thought everyone would go for the Berber-style one, but quite the opposite. It’s given me the confidence to go with something a bit more enduring style-wise. I love jute, such a great texture. Appreciate your thoughts. Hxx

      Reply
  103. Elena on

    I like these three:
    1 Benuta arabesque- would look perfect with the style/colour of your sofa
    2 Made- also great design but all mustard could possibly be too much after a while.
    3 Ikea- such a lovely colourful rug if you are ready for an injection of lots of different colours?
    It’s hard to judge just by seein the sofa.
    Good luck!
    Elena ?

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Thanks, Elena, you are a superstar. I’m sorry I didn’t post a bigger picture of the room, I couldn’t capture one that is particularly photogenic. Perhaps when we chose our new rug I can update this page with a new image? I love reading your thoughts so thank you for stopping by to have a look. Hxxx

      Reply
  104. Suzanne on

    I don’t know if that is ‘niche’ enough but that’s the exact one that I would put my blog in! I don’t think there are enough blogs out there in our age category and yours is just the sort of blog I want to read. ?

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Suzanne that’s so good to hear, thank you :). I feel better for getting all of these things out of my system, will just keep on keeping on for now. It’s a learning curve. Thanks so much for reading, love Hx

      Reply
  105. Lazy Daisy Jones on

    Hmm as a creative introvert! I feel your pain, perhaps you need to find a co -working space, for freelancers such as yourself?

    You are just starting, don’t be so hard on your self!!!

    I think you are a brilliant writer… keep going but remember it’s supposed to be fun.

    Wish you lived nearer x
    Ashley

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Thanks Ashley, there are so many upsides (creating, like you say) so perhaps next week I’ll write a post about how wonderful it is to have the freedom to work from home!!!! I have been looking at some co-working spaces nearby. I really like the look of them, but until I start generating and income feel a bit reluctant to commit. Watch this space I may take the plunge. Thanks for reading and for your encouragement, Hx

      Reply
  106. Samantha Nagtegaal on

    I love it Helen! However, you haven’t answered my questions, just asked all the same ones as I have! Hahaha ??? But seriously, it’s so reassuring to read this. I feel as if we are in a similar sort of place – having established ourselves doing what we want to do on social media yet not knowing how to take the next step. Or knowing what we want the next step to be but not quite confident enough in ourselves to take it (not that I’m saying you lack confidence, of course! I would say we’re both very gregarious people ?) but I really empathise with your constant questioning of yourself, your plans, whether what you are doing us the right thing, are you sharing too much or not enough? ARGH!!!!! For the record, you know I love your blog and Insta, and just reading one if your posts has encouraged me so many times ? Keep it up xxx Sam

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Hello Sam, and you have encouraged me right back. Even to do an Instagram Live which may have scarred me for life!!! I don’t always feel so conflicted, but I did have a bit of a week of it last week, so hoped it might be helpful to write down some of my thoughts. Thanks for reading, it so often makes you feel better about something when you realise others feel the same way. Lots of love, Hx

      Reply
  107. Lottie Stevenson on

    Ah Helen, I love your honesty. I hadn’t thought about the constant editorial meeting going on in my head, but you’ve nailed it, that is exactly what it is!!

    Well, I love chatting about work stuff, my website is aaaaaalmost ready to launch, so very happy to meet up after the holidays and natter about ex-BBC life, new work stuff and maintaining sanity while working from home!

    Hope everyone is recovering in your household – sounds like you’ve had more than your fair share of bugs. Happy Easter!
    Lottie x

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Hi Lottie, thanks so much for reading, I’m genuinely thrilled when anyone pops on to the blog. Very excited to hear that you are almost up and running yourself. I would love to meet up, I can pick your brains about stop motion video which I’m really keen to master. Happy, healthy, chocolate-munching Easter to you too. Hx

      Reply
  108. Juliana on

    I love a stripy breton top and they do go with EVERYTHING which is why they make such a good wardrobe staple, although I don’t think I have as many as you!! I actually went to H&M today and bought a couple of tops in the sale. No breton – but that was only because they didn’t have one in my size. C’est la vie. 😉 LOL!!

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Ce’est la vie indeed!!! H&M is such a bargain, especially in the sale, so a happy indulgence! Thanks so much for popping by for a read you lovely woman. Hxxx

      Reply
  109. Lisa deakin on

    Hi hun, not sure if you have made your decision yet but knowing your room and you I think the West Elm would go perfect. Second is Ikea and third the Arabesque. Will be looking at this blog again when we do our extension!!

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Hello lovely! Thanks for popping by for a read 😉 All of your selections are noted, we still haven’t made a decision, but now that I’ve decided that the old one needs to go I can’t wait to get rid of it. Look forward to learning more about your extension. Hx

      Reply
  110. Natascha mc Gregor on

    It’s hard and it’s a ongoing process. I try to keep my world small. So that the things that I do I can do with the attention they deserve. And take breaks inbetween. And I say no. Every time I say it I feel guilty but I think that’s a women thing? When I read your story, you seem to be on the right way!

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Hi Natascha, I think that we need to stop feeling guilty about asking for other people to help out with things. That’s my new theory and I’m trying to stick to it! Thank you so much for reading, Hxxx

      Reply
  111. Scarlett Roitman on

    You’re quite right, Helen. Just shutting up, saying no can be quite liberating. I’m getting better at it with age, but I’m still lil ol’ control freak me. So my kids say anyway. ?

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Ah Scarlett, the problem is we know how to get things done right don’t we? But I do think we can be guilty of creating jobs for ourselves and taking on a bit too much in order to please other people. Thanks so much for stopping by for a read, Hxx

      Reply
  112. Caroline on

    Ooooo loves this one H. I’m not sure that for organisers it’s even a conscious choice, you hear there’s a need and inherently feel the desire to fix it / make it happen!
    You’ve already put yourself forward before you think “hang on a sec, I wasn’t going to do this anymore”
    Need to practice sitting on hands! X

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Practice makes perfect Caroline, and a little bit of organising makes us both happy I think 😉 It’s just a case of making sure you are leaving time to do to the things that are important to you too. Also, sometimes people need to help!! Lots of love, Hx

      Reply
  113. Gups on

    Another great blog! It’s the same in our house. Jules takes on all the organising, buying, sending etc tasks, while I just mooch about in the background making unhelpful comments. Not really sure why or how this happens. I want to say it’s a gender thing but that will get me in trouble. I think I have just learnt to be lazy in that department. Must try harder.

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      The thing is that in a lot of ways we like to take control of all of this organising stuff because then things are within our control and happen exactly the way we want them to. In many ways a situation of our own making! Thanks for reading Gup, H

      Reply
  114. Kate Scott on

    Hit the nail on the head Helen. Well done – a subject which I identify with wholeheartedly and definitely food for thought! X

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Hi Kate 🙂 How does it happen, one day you look around and think…why am I doing all of this stuff?? For me, it’s been a good moment recently to adjust/re-balance my obligations! Thanks for stopping by, it was lovely to see your comment pop up. Hx

      Reply
  115. Samantha Nagtegaal on

    Great blog post as always Helen ? I am kind of a mixture of two extremes. I am very, very organised (and have been criticised for this in the past, very unfairly as it happens because I needed to be especially organised during the years of having one child in nursery, having short blocks of time in which to do things, then second child starting nursery whilst older child starts school etc. You know how it is – I couldn’t have negotiated that time of life without being organised). I am also very organised with my meals (surprise!) and I meal plan every week. I put everything I have arranged in my phone calendar and set multiple reminders. I am constantly clearing out and reorganizing in general. However… I do love to arrange events and I *totally* get the whole “If I do this then I can influence things in my desired way”! LOL ? But I am also a big “no” person, entirely due to my admitted selfishness. So what I actually need to do is say yes more, continue to.be organized, but chill out a bit. Not easy…

    XXX Sam
    Xxx

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Hi Sam, I love that you are a big ‘no’ person. In many ways, I think that just means being an honest person! And yes, I was beyond organised when the children were younger. They were born 19 months apart and it was all that I could do to keep my head above water. As always, thanks so much for reading 🙂 Hxx

      Reply
  116. Anna on

    This resonates with me and I, too, am practising the art of saying no or remaining silent. I have to fight my every instinct, but it WORKS and it’s liberating when it does. I identify with your realisation that you had become grumpy. I start every family weekend break feeling frazzled and resentful that I’ve done all of the packing and organising, and yet I’m still the only one ready to leave on time. Better still, i then get to endure endless questions about whether “we” have packed socks/the dog/the kitchen sink. On our next trip, I shall be asking other family members to pack for themselves…

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Oh Anna, the packing!!! Why have I let it become my job to do 95% of it? The way I see it we have a choice, carry on being a grumpy martyr or get everyone to pitch in. Thank you so much for taking the time to pop by, have a read, and leave a comment. I really do appreciate it, Hx

      Reply
  117. Jools on

    …..not about selfies but thought I’d mention that since you posted this last I have started to wear bright lipstick. For the first time. Ever. In my life! I wear Karen Murrell Racy Rata. You are teaching me to embrace colour Helen xx

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      I love this news Jools!!! I have started wearing it more often too, away from photographs and in real life 🙂 I think it seems to lift my skin and make me look a bit more lively. Always room to try something new isn’t there? Thanks for popping by, always great to see one of your comments pop up. Hxoxox

      Reply
  118. Helen G on

    My favourite of your blogs to date by far, because I too have slid very comfortably into my forties. I agree with absolutely everything you have said – I am genuinely enjoying my children and feel that I have stepped off that hamster wheel of parenting somewhat! I am also comfortable in my own (slightly over weight) self. I vow to never diet again, but to take more care of myself and hope for the best!!
    I am privileged to be one of the said friends from school, and value our friendships so so much – we are all very lucky.

    Bring on the rest of our forties together. Love xx

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Hi Hels, nice to see you 🙂 We’ve been on the same path in many ways since we were 11 years old. I’m glad that you enjoyed the read, and thanks for the champagne my friend xxxx

      Reply
  119. Jools on

    Wow. I agree with everything you have said too especially being a bit grumpy in your 30’s during the ankle biting years. Also about fashion trends. No pressure to follow them but also “sod it I am going to buy some leopard print loafers”. For years I never knew what to wear. During my 40s I realised what works and bought it in my colours so now I can mix, match and pack with ease. I am embracing bright lippy because of you and my friend was wearing Karen Murrell Scarlet Blaze last night because she borrowed mine on NY Eve, loved it and brought one. Being a sales and marketing person in my previous farmers wife life it’s good to know I can still influence people in some small way every now and then. I am turning 50 this year. I had no lines at all until 6 months after my 40th when my “sleeping on my tummy” face lines began with a vengeance. But to be honest I would rather look like me at nearly 50 than look like these young women who pump up their faces so much it distorts their personalities beyond recognition. I wonder what they will look like at 50. I know life is not all about how you look and what you wear and I have learnt that a genuine smile really is the best thing you can wear every day. Listen and be kind. Show that every day to your children too and when they become teens it with show in their own smiles. Embrace your forties because soon…..you’ll be 50.

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      A genuine smile is the best this you can wear every day. What a great sentiment Jools. Thank you so much for reading, and leaving such a thoughtful comment. I’m loving the thought that red lipstick wearing is sweeping across New Zealand in some small way that’s to us, ha! I look forward to seeing what you get up to for you 50th. Hx

      Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Ah, Caroline, you make the most out of every day. Walking, going out with your kids, seeing cool places. I think age teaches us to appreciate the beauty in all of it. Much love, and thanks for stopping by. Hx

      Reply
  120. Bee on

    I love this blog and I have to say it gets better! I am in my 50s and life is good! It is so important to celebrate these milestones and to reflect a little. I love celebrating those nearest and dearest too! As an aside Age brings wisdom and certain confidence which I love! Friendships are key to my life after family.

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Hello Bee 🙂 I’m so glad you agree and pleased to hear that it’s only onwards and upward from now on. I’m excited to see what happens in years to come and look forward to lots more celebrations. Any excuse! Thank you so so much for reading, I really do appreciate it. Helen x

      Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Hello Victoria, I’m so please if any of it is useful to you. I only launched my blog 4 months ago, so have lots to learn myself. Have fun and thanks for reading 🙂 Helen x

      Reply
  121. Scarlett Roitman on

    I love reading your stories, Helen. So yes, the big 40! It came and went rather quickly for me as I steadily approach the other big number with a 0 on the end (coming this year).
    Pizza and champagne – was there ever a better combination? And pink bubbles, no less. Eleanor Roosevelt was a wise lady. Hooray for today!

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      More reason to celebrate Scarlett! May there be lots of pink champagne involved. Thanks for stopping by, always a treat to see one of your comments. Hxxx

      Reply
  122. Lou on

    Hi Helen,
    Really like your blog, lots of relevant articles and interesting info – kind of Mumsnet without it being all about stuff to do with children! Am replying to this post about Facebook as it particularly resonated with me. I have never been on Facebook and never intend to! I can see how it is useful to keep people updated about events and photos, but I think it is incredibly impersonal – what’s wrong with sending a group email with a photo attached?
    Another question is how many different apps is it reasonable to keep up with whilst you’re actually getting on with life – texts, emails and WhatsApp is my limit. Etiquette guidance should also be given for each app, for example do NOT set up a WhatsApp group and add someone without asking them first…..currently a major bugbear!

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Hi Lou, thank you so much for stopping by for a read, how nice to see your comments pop up 🙂 I’m glad that you have found something worth reading. I’m really interested in your idea of an etiquette guide…I may try and write one myself. It’s a minefield!! Helen x

      Reply
  123. Lou on

    PS forgot to make suggestion for a future article – the perfect women’s white cotton t-shirt that doesn’t show your underwear and is £20 or less…

    Reply
  124. Sarah on

    Great blog Helen, as per usual! When I turned 40 it was like switching on a lightbulb to be honest. I don’t really know what I did in my 30s other than go through most days in a foggy haze filled with young children and associated bits & bobs (!), and some how apply loads of pressure to myself to plan & prepare for when I was 40! Now I’m heading towards my mid-forties (there’s always some kind of signpost glaring you in the face!), I’ve actually stopped giving a damn. I know who I am, I know what I like, I know who my friends are and I love them dearly, and I know that my family is the most important thing in my life. So I try not to worry anymore, doesn’t always happen, but I’ve just relaxed in to accepting who I am and enjoying life. I do feel genuinely happy…most of the time! Sxxx

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Hello Sarah, so good of you to stop by for a read. It’s funny isn’t it, I agree with you completely about a lightbulb moment. If not in the sense of total clarity, then definitely in terms of drive and get up and go. You’ve done great things, including running a half marathon!!! Inspirational. Hxxxx

      Reply
  125. Juliana on

    Really great post as always and some very useful tips too. I’m not a fan of watching or listening to myself on video so I struggle with Stories, which is ironic, because I often like to tune in to others from those that I follow!! I’m hoping that some of the tips you’ve highlighted here may provide me with a bit more confidence to give it a go and be more consistent in posting!! Thanks Helen x

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Hello Juliana, thank you for stopping by for a read 🙂 I definitely could not claim to have cracked it as far and video and Stories are concerned. I think my main issues are a. what to talk about? and b. thinking, why on earth would anyone want to listen to me nattering on? But I agree with you, I’m very happy to watch other people’s. We should all give it a go. Much love, Hx

      Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Hi Mackenzie, I hope it does inspire you, I think you’d be brilliant on camera 🙂 these ladies have really inspired me too. I’ve done 3 ‘Lives’ now and the get easier each time (although still pretty terrifying). I hope to see one of your videos soon. Hx

      Reply
  126. Lazy Daisy Jones on

    Hiya Helen so love your posts as you may have guessed. You are the queen of topics to be discussed!!
    I do agree with everything you’ve said but what you may not realise ( but you probs do?) is that my experience, when you work on campaigns, and I do this on both my large and small accounts. Then campaign or brand managers prefer you to have a business account for the stats that they get too.
    Plus it makes it so much easier when you use ie ‘Planoly’ ‘mosaico’ or ‘later’ to help publish to your social media accounts. They can only auto post for you now if you have a business acc.
    I have not seen a drop in engagement either ! I do prefer it, as a full time blogger it works for me. If it wasn’t for the blog I wouldn’t bother….
    Personal choice I think?
    Best
    Ash xx

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Hi Ashley, thanks so much for commenting I really value your input on this. I can see that for someone working with commercial partners the analytics are 100% necessary. I think personally I’m just not there yet, probably a long way off, so I want to keep it simple. It’s something I’m going to keep under review. Thanks for popping over, Hxxx

      Reply
  127. Liz on

    This was a fantastic read! Thank you for sharing. A lot of what you said are quite similar to what I have been experiencing the past several years – very similar thoughts as well. I’m so happy to have found you on IG recently and your blog. You’ve definitely inspired me to move forward with things and sort my spaghetti out 😉

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Hi Liz, I’m so pleased that you got something out of reading this. I have really benefited from coaching, so just love to spread the word. It is amazing how long you can go around in circles in your head struggling to find a way forward (years in my case), but you will find a way to make changes when you are ready. Thank you for reading and leaving a comment, I do appreciate every single one. Helen xx

      Reply
  128. Scarlett Roitman on

    Interesting Helen. I had heard that many people who move to Business end up switching back, so I never bothered. But you’re so right, there is so much mistrust with social networks. The fun seems to have been sucked out of posting these days. Such a shame.

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Hi Scarlett, I try to ignore discussions about algorithms and such like, it is out of our control after all. I try and focus on the more enjoyable side of social media, like connecting with lovely people like you! Thank you so much for reading, it’s interesting that you have never dabbled with a Business account. Helen x

      Reply
  129. Tracey James on

    Helen, this is a great post. I am only just getting comfortable posting photos of myself. I am definitely going to give stories a try! I am also trying to support my daughter to start vlogging. She has a really good following on Twitter and Instagram and is always being asked when she is going to start a youtube channel. I have invested in a good camera, lighting etc and now trying to encourage her to get out there, knowing that it’s the fear of being judged that is holding her back. I will show her this post and ask her to watch Tor’s tips on youtube and hopefully that will help.

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Hi Tracey, it’s so nice to see that you’ve stopped by 🙂 I really enjoyed writing this post. I think that video will become (has already become?) perhaps the most important part of content creation going forward. If we want to be involved then we need to lose our inhibitions! Yes, you must get her to have a look at Tors’ work, I’m not sure how many people out there offer the kind of support for video makers she does. It’s so interesting. Well done to your girl I’m hoping that she finds the confidence to take her work on to YouTube, and forget about anyone that may judge…just think about all the people who would enjoy it. Helen x

      Reply
  130. Lazy Daisy Jones on

    Hey you!
    I can’t help you with this one accept to say you will find your way.
    Don’t they say work smarter not harder?
    Planning ahead is the only way I can have time off!!
    I love it so not complaining !
    Xxxx

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      I love it too Ashley. I’m really trying to plan my time better, with varying degrees of success, depending on what day it is!! I have a couple of holidays coming up (a good problem to have) so I really need to think about how I am going to manage that with my content. Thanks as ever for your support. H

      Reply
  131. Amanda on

    Ah Helen!! I completely hear you and just sat here nodding along to ALL of this! Your enthusiasm does carry you away and then along for eons. Never in my life for any job have I felt so motivated to succeed as I do for the blog and I too struggle to get any balance still. But understanding whats realistic in terms of weekly posts is key. I have now said two posts and if I can manage a third one then I’m winning as opposed to committing to three and feeling like a constant failure. I’m also embracing the catch up week. If you put in a week off blog posting every once in a while, you can get ahead of schedule and the feeling that brings is THE BEST! The other thing I’ve had to make myself do is NOT compare my blogging progress to someone else who has no children and who has a team of people working with them. I have done this for years – how daft! You are doing brilliantly well – keep going and keep loving it! And thanks so much for the shout out! Amanda xx

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Thanks for your thoughts Amanda, it’s so so helpful for me to hear from more experienced bloggers. Yes, I have scaled back to a twice-a-week blog post target, and am trying to come up with a few ideas for shorter posts. The catch up week is a brilliant idea. At the moment I am lurching from one week to the next, but with holidays approaching I really need a more medium-term plan. I do really love it, it’s such a great outlet. I can write about whatever I like! Much love, Hx

      Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Great saying, there is a lot of truth in it. My social life has taken a hit, but that’s ok. I’m so keen to make a go of this that I’m happy to accept that something has to give. Hopefully, I can prove Nigella wrong further down the line. She always has lots of friends in her (working) kitchen! Much love, Helen x

      Reply
  132. Melissa Jolly on

    I’ve heard that saying before, ‘work, family, social…choose two of the three’. It’s good to hear you’re enjoying your work and throwing yourself into it, and it’s absolutely ok to let some things slip, not everything has to be perfect. I chose to work for myself so that I could keep the flexibility of looking after the kids. My work got manically busy a while ago, which coincided with moving house and taking on a major house renovation which I project managed. I got to the point where I prioritised everything above my health and happiness…I had an injury and couldn’t even find time to see a doctor. Luckily I realised I couldn’t cope before I cracked…I handed my notice in to all my clients with almost immediate effect and the weight that lifted off my shoulders was huge. I took 9 months off, sorted out my health, finished the house project, saw friends often and generally chilled right out. Last September I felt ready to get back to work and am really enjoying it again…but…I have learned my lesson and won’t get myself in that state again. I now take at least one day off a week and don’t do any work that day..I book in time to see friends and I make sure I’m around when the kids need me. It seems they need you just as much (if not more) when their teenagers as when they’re tiny. I’d like to grow my business at some stage by taking on someone else, but am not in a big hurry…yet! Sorry…have rambled, but I think it’s a topic I’ve given a lot of thought to over the last couple of years. Whilst you’ve got the passion and motivation to work hard, then do it…just watch out for when you begin to feel you don’t want to do it anymore. It’s more likely that you just need to take your foot off the pedal and then you’ll remember what you loved about what you were doing…at least that’s what it was like for me ?

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Hi Melissa, a great response, thank you. I’m so interested to hear your (very pertinent) perspective. It’s such a good point that even if you have to take your foot off the pedal for a while, it doesn’t mean that you lose your passion and enthusiasm. Not everything needs to be perfect, and life wasn’t perfect for me when I didn’t have my own creative outlet. Taking on this project has involved (is involving) quite a readjustment for me and the family. Expect more rambling blog posts about how we work it all out!! Thanks so much for your support, so pleased to hear that you’ve discovered a better work-life balance. H x

      Reply
  133. Helen G on

    Hey lovely. Really glad that my Environ made the cut here because it truly has changed my world. I am so passionate about the change it has made to me, and I really want to share it with others. BUT, I also want to say yes to your Avene recommendation. Not for my particular needs, but it sorted my nephews eczema out massively. I also use their sun cream products for my kids as it is just so sensitive. Please listen to the advice of Helen’s friends – we’re a tried and tested bunch! H xx

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Hi Hels, I’m really glad I got around to putting these suggestions up. I was surprised just how many of my/our friends react badly to mainstream beauty products. Interesting don’t you think? Thanks so much for having a read and sharing your recommendation in the first place 🙂 Hxxxx

      Reply
  134. Mackenzie Orrock on

    I struggle too – especially because I work full-time in the day. Sometimes I just want to collapse in a heap when I get home from work but then I feel guilty for neglecting my side gig and like I’ll never get it to where I want it to be if I do. I guess we’re all in the same boat though, right? It’s all about balance.

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      It can feel like a bit of a daily battle to pick yourself up and carry on, can’t it? Especially when we are not sure of the outcome…. Some time off and perspective is always much needed. Something like a pizza making workshop 😉 Thanks for popping by Mackenzie xxx

      Reply
  135. Scarlett Roitman on

    Hi Helen,
    I’ve suffered from urticaria for years (hives) – not related to my skincare but some products tend to make my skin heat up more than others. Roche Posay is wonderful, there’s nothing toxic in it, and I like Skin Food as well. I like the idea of Coconut oil but I always feel like I smell like a piña colada. Not a bad thing, but there’s a time and place for that!!
    I have to say, The Ordinary has passed the test on many levels (I know you’re a fan as well).My miracle go-to (at night) is Rosehip Oil. It soothes, moisturises and I wake up feeling a wee bit less wrinkly!
    Thanks for all the info, keep it coming please!

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Hi Scarlett, you know what, I have never tried a single Roche Posay product. I’m very much looking forward to giving them a go now! I think I’ll start with sun cream and so many of the ones I have used in the past are not at all kind to the skin. I have been trying several The Ordinary products, but haven’t fallen in love with any of them yet I must say…..always lovely to see that you have stopped by. Hx

      Reply
  136. Scarlett Roitman on

    All great summery ideas. Oh course I would say the Picasso is a must, but not sure you should take the kids to that one (he had a very saucy mind). The Monet and Architecture much better for families.
    I’ve always loved the idea of those beach huts. And if you discover that floaty, becoming summer dress we all dream of, please let me know! ?

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Hey Scarlett, I have a kid-free gallery trip in mind do not worry about that! It’s the kind of thing that I like to do completely on my own. Thanks for visiting, I look forward to seeing what you get up to in London this summer Hx

      Reply
  137. Juliana on

    Oh, I loved reading this and have had a chuckle along the way too. I’d love to rent a beach hut and Mudeford would get my vote – I’ve never been but I have a friend who has spoken about it so much I have FOMO from the mere mention of the name. The Sky Garden sounds fab, I hadn’t even heard of that one!! Yes, to summer dresses that you can wear a proper bra with indeed and I’m with you on the one-piece swimming cozzie too! As for beaches that you haven’t been too – we’ve been bitten by the Devon bug (South Milton, Bigbury-on-Sea and Bantham beach) and are hoping to go there this year for our summer holiday. But I have to agree with Matt on the glamping situ. My husband loves to watch the TV show ‘Naked and Afraid’ and to me that’s any kind of camping/glamping/shmamping!! I think I could just about spend a night out in the garden ‘camping’ for the sake of the kids as long as we could come back in around midnight!! But, if you need a friend for company to visit the Tate Modern, then I’m your girl!! I love Picassso and I can do a bit of cubism to Art GCSE Level – A grade – just sayin’!! ; )

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      It makes me very nostalgic to think about GCSE art projects Juliana. Lots of us were fascinated by cubism and surrealism I remember. I think Matt and I will have to agree to disagree on glamping. I think I’m going to go with a friend instead :), I’ll update you on all of the rest, thanks for reading! Hxx

      Reply
  138. Kate Scott on

    Love your list Helen – it made me chuckle. Avon Beach near Christchurch is about a 1.5 hr drive -but you need to start at the ‘Avon Run Road’ end – it beach huts, lovely little cafe, lunch at the Noisy Lobster and crabbing at the Mudeford end – a very doable day trip. With you on the cossie front – halter necks I reckon are flattering and easily ‘arranged’ for tanning ! Good luck with the Glamping…..and the Cycling ! The ideal is never quite the reality is it !!!! X

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Hello Kate 🙂 Avon Beach is a cracking recommendation, thank you, I’ve actually always fancied checking out Christchurch too. Thinking of doing a beach hut day trip with mother and the kids at some point in the holidays, so it could be just the place. Thanks for popping by, Hxx

      Reply
  139. Della on

    Ah that was great Helen!..So informative and you are certainly right about posting often as I discovered recently when I didn’t post or interact for five days as my lovely cat had to be put to sleep and I had no desire to interact with the outside world! So I lost some followers. Lucky for me the people I interact the most with have stayed and I’ve gained a few new ones aswell well since my return haha.

    Reply
  140. Della on

    This was a great read and it especially made me smile about the bbq because that’s exactly how I picture it too!?
    I’ve managed to tick off some of these but if I’m ever in London I would definitely love to see the Sky garden and visit the Lido.
    Isn’t it a shame that so many have shut down!
    When I was little I lived in Lytham St Anne’s and we had a great open air pool there. Great memories.
    Have a fab Summer Helen and hope you get him Glamping!
    Xx

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Yeeessss let’s face it, it’s more likely to be a bit damp and cold, with overdone sausages. Nevermind. We are so lucky the Lido was saved, it was nearly knocked down to make way for a budget hotel! Della, I hope you have a great summer too, Helen xxxx

      Reply
  141. @not_about_the_kids2017 on

    Hi Della, I’m so sorry to hear about your cat. That’s rotten. Sometimes life is going to get in the way and I think that we have to have a healthy attitude about that. It’s only Instagram!! However, when we are able to, posting as often as possible can be really effective. Especially for building relationships with our lovely followers. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment, I love to chat 🙂 Helen x

    Reply
    • Della on

      Thank you Helen and yes I’ve had some lovely messages. I agree, it’s great building relationships on Instagram and getting to know people we probably never would have.
      Della xx

      Reply
  142. Elena on

    Hi Helen! I love reading your blogs. There are always useful information and practical tips, thank you! I also came a long way (not quite as long as yours) since I started last October and for someone who didn’t know anything about Instagram I think I’m doing fairly well. It’s hard work and it takes a lot of my time and some days I don’t feel like posting, which I believe is fine as long as you don’t disappear for more than 2/3 consecutive days. Engaging is key but as you rightly say, collaborations with fellow Instagrammers (is that even a word or have I just made it up?) or even a picture taken with the right colleague (? colleague? ??‍♀️) can earn you lots of new followers. It happened to me too and that made my day, or even my week!! Great point about the geotag, I didn’t know that. I’m still practicing on stories, I’m just a beginner but I do enjoy it a bit more now!
    Anyway another great blog, very helpful, informative and jam packed with useful info and link. It’s always a pleasure to read it.
    Elena xxx

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Hi Elena, how lovely to see you’ve been reading :). You are so totally right, apply common sense, some days we just can’t post….or don’t feel like it and that is fine. No need to get stressed about Instagram. Use those geotags, the mean far more people will see your Stories. Thanks for your support, Hx

      Reply
  143. Juliana on

    Really informative and useful as always Helen. I need to adopt some of these suggestions more, I’m currently having a rethink about my own account and the nightclub analogy is a great one!! I’m fine with connecting with people and commenting on their account as I genuinely like to communicate with the accounts that I follow. I think my downfall is consistency and not wanting to over expose myself, but in such a competitive market I think I’ve got a long way to go before that happens!!! I’m starting to feel more comfortable with Stories and the point you make about the Sound being turned off is an excellent one. My husband is an advocate of Linked-In (he doesn’t like IG) and subtitles on videos is very much the norm on there apparently! Makes sense too as much of our communication is done while we’re on the go anyway!

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Hi Juliana, great to see you on the blog 🙂 thanks so much for reading. Yes, more often than not I have the sound switched off on my phone…so certainly appreciate a few helpful subtitles myself. I for one would love to see a bit more of you on Instagram. Hx

      Reply
  144. mide on

    Great stuff! Brilliant tips. I’m flagging and this has def rejuvenated me. You don’t mention #? ( Or do you and I skimmed past) . How do you decide which to use? Mide X

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Hello Mide, thanks for stopping by. I covered hashtags in my previous post 0-1000 followers, the link is in the top paragraph of this one. However, I often look at hashtags that other people are using. Especially Instagrammers who do work like mine, or that I simply admire. And copy them! I search for words that apply to my picture #colour for example…and Instagram comes up with some suggested tags. I try not to use any that have too many entries (over 500 000) or too few (maybe under 1000), and your picture can get lost. You can use up to 30. I tend to find 15-20 is a good number, if you are trying to keep them relevant. Oh, and don’t use the same ones all the time, you run the risk of Instagram mistaking you for a bot. Hope that’s a bit of help, H x

      Reply
  145. Scarlett Roitman on

    Good stuff Helen. I hear you about the face issue: my daughter keeps telling me I need to do much more of that, but I really really struggle with that. I love your feed, and I’m sure you’ll be north of 3000 in no time!

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Hi Scarlett, in spite of your best efforts I have spotted your face on the odd occasion. Why don’t you post some pictures featuring your face in Stories :). It’s also worth noting that Julie Falconer @aladyinlondon, who has a huge following, NEVER posts her picture. She says when she does likes plummet. It’s just not why people are following her…..so rules are made to be broken. Hx

      Reply
  146. Nete (Moberry) on

    I’m late to the party – but another great and informative post, Helen. Thank you. I definitely still haven’t gotten my head around IG and gaining followers, but this is for sure a help! Nete xx

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Hi Nete, how lovely to see that you have dropped by, thank you! Well, I for one love your posts and chatting with you most days. It depends what your goal is, not everyone is looking for huge growth….I look forward to seeing where you take it. Helen x

      Reply
  147. Caroline Gratrix on

    I think you’re right to set some boundaries and work hours. Then you won’t feel so bad.
    Ask for help and enjoy your co-working Friday, where have you picked? x

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      I’m going to go to Spaces in Reading near the station. It makes sense at the website guys are in there too, and it’s close to home, AND it is nice and has good coffee table books!!! Always grateful for your encouragement Caroline xxx

      Reply
  148. Lazy Daisy Jones on

    My darling girl,
    I truly feel your pain and your shoutiness!
    However my child (as in I only have one and he is now 16) is older and needs me less than yours still do.

    You are being pulled both ways. It is hard but you will find your new road.

    I have always worked full time and blogged (until last year) so tell me about it!

    Let the house get dusty it won’t kill anyone, but dont feel guilty either?
    let go of stuff too…

    Co working space sounds heavenly I too would jump at it, be sure to blog about that..
    take care i’m sending love
    Ash
    xx

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Thanks, Ashely, I definitely will blog my verdict on co-working. Looking forward to heading off there for the first time this week. I may or may not find it helpful, but has to be worth a try….it’s such a long time since I had an office to go to! Thank you for popping by for a read and some kind words, always so great to see you. Helen

      Reply
  149. Lou on

    Preaching to the choir sister! As a mum ‘not in paid employment’ I feel I struggle just as much as working mums. Am STILL v.v. cross and resentful about a comment from a loved one (some months ago now) about having ‘only one thing to do’ (fridge was empty of food they liked). Sometimes I barely restrain myself from sending a rather irate reply to enquiries about whether I’ve done something for a loved one with ‘Well unfortunately the housekeeper, the cleaner, the laundry maid, the grocer/butcher/baker/candlestick maker, the personal shopper, the secretary, the accountant, the gardener, the chauffeur, the nanny and not to mention general skivvy didn’t turn up for work today, so no I haven’t done it!

    Think I have yet to come to terms with my changing role in life, some days I feel happy and fulfilled, other days I am sooo grumpy about the lack of personal time. Good luck in your quest to find that balance!

    Reply
  150. Mostlyfoodandtravel on

    I do find if you have a niche it works well as a blogger and you definitely have a niche.
    I am trying to change between food and travel but can’t pick one – maybe I need to find a consistent theme that works on both things?
    One thing i have noticed is if you are a health/vegan/fitness blogger it is the perfect time to grow your blog because it’s almost in fashion.

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Healthy eating is HUGE isn’t it Neha? But totally wasted on me I must say (not that I’m unhealthy, just not foodie or faddy). I think food and travel can blend really well together, don’t you? Foods of the world! Thank you so much for reading, and I am sorry that it has taken me a super long time to get back to you 🙂 Hx

      Reply
  151. Caroline Gratrix on

    I found niching VIVA Photography terrifying. Three months on, I’m the busiest I’ve ever been.
    Great blog post, featured contributors and suggestions. Thanks H x

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Hey Caroline, it is daunting isn’t it…to really commit to one thing? So so pleased that it is working out for you, look forward to catching up and hearing all about it soon. Thanks for reading my friend, Hx

      Reply
  152. Scarlett Roitman on

    Your posts are always a breath of fresh air, Obi Wan Helen. And I’m so so thankful your feed isn’t all about the pink, and more about the red, the blue and the orange. You’ve definitely hit the nail with the niche.
    Interesting interviews, you’re in good company with these wise ladies.

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Hi Scarlett, I do love to hear from those wiser and more experienced than myself. I think that there many people out there doing pinks and doing them well. I couldn’t do it convincingly it’s just not me. You are indeed truly nailing your niche too Londoness. Thank you for taking the time to pop by 🙂 Hx

      Reply
  153. Suzanne on

    Your niche is my niche but I get mine a bit confused every now and again by throwing in a picture of something to do with my kids. Probably not the best thing but it is my only Instagram account and I sometimes wonder if I need a private one that is separate from blogging. Still working out how best to carve out my niche. I think you do yours exceptionally well.

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Hi Suzanne, I have a separate family Instagram account, although the Not About The Kids one keeps me so busy that I haven’t logged in to it for months. My poor friends and children! I think it’s best to go with your gut feeling, if it feels wrong, then it probably is. Thank you so much for taking the time to visit and read, always appreciated. Hx

      Reply
  154. Loz on

    Hi Helen, speaking as a Mum with both a part time job and a (tiny) business, a few things that help me are –
    1) set timetable of what happens when throughout the week (including a day at home where I can choose to either work, or not depending mood & deadlines), rather than randomness
    2) answer emails when you choose to, not when they flash up – you be the boss of your phone not vice versa!
    3) really enjoying what you do
    4) knowing when to switch work off mentally for kids time (I’m scarily good at this!)
    5) being prepared to work after the kids go to bed if necessary
    Just being a bit Worzel Gummage with the hats you wear… some people find this easier than others! X

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Hi Loz, work-life guru 🙂 you always seem to take your workload with amazingly good grace. I love all of your tips, especially about resisting the urge to respond immediately to all messages. It always generates further emails and then you never get on with anything. I do work in the evenings now, and sometimes before they get up too…which I find really productive. Thanks for visiting! Hx

      Reply
  155. Heather on

    I’m definitely an ‘ants in your pants’ type, hate the idea of not seeing a place I’m visiting, but have come around to the distinct benefits of doing exactly that, especially with two young kids. We have a week in the Lakes booked in August, so will see how I manage!

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Hey Heather, you have to be who you are, and if you want to sightsee, then sightsee. BUT you don’t have to, you are not a bad person if you don’t, you CAN just spend a few days in a different place doing nothing together. I mean frankly, do we do a great deal of sightseeing when we are at home? Thank you sooo much for reading. Hxxxx

      Reply
  156. Mackenzie on

    I used to be exactly the same as you were for the majority of this post. I’m learning to do half and half though. I’m still a massive culture/ history nerd and love to explore new places but I try to find a happy medium these days.

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Hey Mackenzie, Matt and I have reached compromise with our August holiday. We are going to do one thing that I want to. Just venture out to one place that isn’t too adventurous. You don’t have children in tow yet, so go climb Everest! xxxx

      Reply
  157. Scarlett Roitman on

    This made me giggle! But I just can’t do it. I can’t. Which is why there is only one place in the world where I literally sit in a hammock all day and contemplate the view or my navel – and that’s the Maldives. Sadly for my family, I am one of those nightmare travellers who has to do it all. And comes back exhausted. I think my family would like to go away with you next time. Scarlett x

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      ahhh I have never been to the Maldives Scarlett, but I don’t think that it would take me long to get into the swing of things! You are a doer. So am I. But it’s also ok to chill for a week or two each year. As a novelty 😉 Thanks so much for reading, Hxx

      Reply
  158. Samantha Nagtegaal on

    Aww Helen, this is brilliant! You are such a fantastic writer ? I heartily agree with you, and have myself been a “why are we just sitting doing nothing? We need to “do stuff” kind of person. Even at the weekends… ? But I’m chilling out a bit lately. What i find most frustrating is when my husband’s sitting there doing nothing; that’s another story ???

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Sam that’s so funny, Matt and I used to argue about this a lot especially when the children were young. I simply could not abide him sitting around watching sport on TV when I felt there was so much to be done. I’ve learnt to relax a bit on that front and not expect everyone to prioritise the jobs that I do. He’s just better at chilling out than me, and genuinely enjoys sitting on the sofa!! Thanks for reading, always delighted to see one of your comments. xxx

      Reply
  159. Karen Stout on

    I started using the La Roche Posay Anthelios Ultra Light Fluid 50+ on my face for everyday use and its brilliant. Very light on the skin with no stickiness or tacky feeling afterwards. My mum is converted now too and she’s a tricky one to please! I might try one of the sticks you’ve mentioned for the kids – they always complain about cream in their eyes and it might be a bit quicker on school mornings when we’re trying to run out the door!

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Hey Karen, thanks for visiting 🙂 and thank you so much for the recommendation. I’m just learning about La Roche at the grand old age of 41. They have some brilliant products. I discovered the sticks for exactly that reason. Moaning children! But now we all use them, it’s much easier to apply to your face, and the kids can manage it themselves too. Hx

      Reply
  160. Heather on

    Yeah, you featured my suggestion of The Body Shop’s Skin Defence. I hadn’t realised it’s gone up to £21 though, sure it was about £17-18 when I last bought it!

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Hey Heather, thank you so much for the recommendation. I have been using this every morning, I really like it. It’s so light to apply. Also very happy with the Jason product, it has a great smell. Always get brilliant ideas from my friends on Instagram. Hx

      Reply
  161. Andrea on

    Helen, thanks for sharing! I totally agree with it’s quality not quantity. For example i can remember one specific post i made over a year ago. Don’t ask me how many likes I got cause I cant remember. What I can remember tho is the funniest and most caring comments I got. It was like a groups app talk. We almost hit 450 comments, in one post. Nothing forced, it just happened.

    Reply
  162. @not_about_the_kids2017 on

    Hi Andrea, welcome! Sometimes you say something that hits a nerve and is so relatable that a post just flies. You can’t fake that, can you? Real people connecting and responding to your words. Thanks so much for taking the time to read and leave a comment, always appreciated. Hx

    Reply
  163. Mostlyfoodandtravel on

    This is a great read and so true. It is not about numbers though it is so easy to get wrapped up in the whole thing. Refocusing on why I started Instagram is something I have to try and do often. Most my supporters are bloggers which is nice but realistically not the best way to build following. Quality over quantity is always key.

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Hi Neha thanks for stopping by. With regards to most of your Instagram followers being from the blogging community, I think that can be totally valid, it just depends what you want out of your account. If it is mainly a way for you to be connected to the blogging community, then fantastic you are achieving your goal. But if you would like it to drive readers to your blog then perhaps considering reaching out to some new people? Hx

      Reply
  164. Anna on

    Love this post Helen. I am enjoying the journey being authentic. I have tried to “copy” others and not be me and it showed. `Now i believe I have found my voice again. Numbers feel important , i have a small following but have already had clients book me through instagram and been approached by major companied to collaborate, so its definitely not about the numbers but the engagement. But 10,000 followers before you can swipe up!!! crazy xx

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      I know, ending the Swipe Up inequality is the one big change I would love Instagram to make! However, that is my only complaint. Anna, I think if you feel you are representing yourself in an authentic way and that people are finding you and booking you because of you are on Instagram how could you ask for more? Keep doing what you are doing by the sounds of things. Thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment, Hx

      Reply
  165. Scarlett Roitman on

    Well done you for growing so quickly. 3000+ is brilliant and hard work. I also find the OhsoloveleyHelen story interesting. It does beg the question….
    It can be tiresome, tedious and sometimes feel a little ridiculous but Instagram is also a fantastic tool. I must say apart from anything, I have really met some fabulous (genuinely) people and engage with some interesting folk every day. Listening and learning….

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Thanks Scarlett, my little following does feel hard-won. I think if you are interested and engaged on Instagram, then you will find interesting people to chat with. That has certainly been my experience. I agree it is time-consuming (and sometimes I feel more than faintly ridiculous) but if you harness it in the right way there is great value there. Thank you for reading, always like to see one of your comments pop up. Hx

      Reply
  166. Lazy Daisy Jones on

    Hello again Helen my lovely!

    … as you know I love your wise words in fact you are fast becoming my new instagram guru!

    I felt the same as the other helen and tried a new account, but I can’t concentrate on one ‘NIche’ so now I feel back on track with my old account, sharing everything but not diluting my content.

    Happy days…

    Ashley x

    Ps I’m also loving IGTV and me not a Video person at all?

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Hi Ash, I’m glad that you feel you’ve taken the right decision with your style account. Giving just one account the love and attention we would like is time-consuming enough don’t you think?? I must admit I find the workings of Instagram pretty fascinating/mind bloggling. Thanks for reading my love xxx

      Reply
  167. Bejal on

    Hey Helen! I one hundred percent agree with everything you’ve written! I started on the gram about a year ago and have tracked I’ve lost 4K followers. That’s harsh but now I can see that the ones that I do have actually comment, engage and are the keepers I would like in my life. So glad you write this as it just reiterated that quality babies all else is paramount!

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Hi Bejal, I’m so pleased that this resonated with you, thanks for taking the time to stop by and leave a comment. How interesting to see the figures on followers that I have come and gone from your account, 4k, wow, I wonder how many of them are bots? I am beginning to wonder just how big a factor fake followers are, just how many people are involved with buying fake engagement? I find it all fascinating. Helen

      Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Hi Nancy, thanks for stopping by, and yes, who’s counting :). I’ve invested quite a bit of time in growing the following I have right now. I’m not sure that I will be able to commit so much time to it in coming months….so I am expecting to see it slow a little. We shall see. Hxxx

      Reply
  168. Becca Bell on

    Hi, I love what you do. The colours, style, ethos is all great! I’ve been toying with the idea for a while now to venture into social media management. My work/life balance is all wrong and I’ve struggled with it for a couple of years but am desperate to make work around my kids (2 & 5). You mentioned you did some courses and I just wondered if you had any pointers on what ones are worthwhile? I’ve been looking at digital mums but it is such a big commitment both in time and £££. I’d love to hear your thoughts, my brain is pickled from going round and round in circles!

    Reply
  169. @not_about_the_kids2017 on

    Hi Becca, thank you so much for visiting the blog, so happy to hear that you like what I am doing. So, I did also really seriously look at Digital Mums, but in the end decided that it wasn’t really right for me (and I’m happy with that decision, as social media management isn’t quite the right fit). However, I do know a few people on Instagram that have gone down this route, I’m going to message you their names and I’m sure they would be really happy to chat to you about it. I took a couple of short courses at The Guardian in London (probably not the right answer for you!) in Instagram and blogging and have followed up with some branding and photography work. Basically putting my own course together. There are SO many available to do online, but I would really recommend going to something in real life. Even if it’s just a morning or evening workshop, to see if this is something you could get really excited about. Good luck! Hx

    Reply
  170. Karen on

    Your least favourite images still look pretty fantastic to me! The ColorKuler was so illuminating. I suspected I was mixing warm and cool colours together and this little analyser confirmed it. Out of interest on a separate note, do you take most of your pictures on your phone or your DSLR? If it’s the phone do you use a remote for self-portraits? x

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Hey Karen, thanks for visiting the blog (it makes me so happy!). Thank you, I think I should clarify and say that they are only my least favourite because the didn’t seem to work within my feed, so I would look at them and think, urgh. Having said that I really don’t like the one with my arm in, it looks like I have passed out drunk in the middle of the day!!!
      99.9% of the time I use my iPhone 6s, which I am upgrading shortly to an 8plus. Whenever I post DSLR pictures they get poor engagement….who knows why as the quality is much nicer. Hx

      Reply
  171. Scarlett on

    Hi Helen,
    Getting started IS the hardest thing. Even when you’re in full-time work, it’s easy to lose your mojo, especially when the kids are all growing up, you’re getting older and the dynamics around you start to change. And blogging can be a very lonely affair when you start. But the hard work pays dividends. And look at you now! You’ve done tremendously well in such a short space of time. I look forward to seeing where you go, Helen (I’ll be right behind you!)
    Scarlett

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Ah thank you, Scarlett, it really has been great to get to know you and have your support. Social media has allowed me to connect with people who are doing a similar thing making it slightly less lonely. You make a good point about full-time work, in truth, anyone in any circumstances can lose sight of their worth from time to time. Hx

      Reply
  172. @not_about_the_kids2017 on

    Ah thank you very much, Fiona, I’m really happy if you (or anyone) take something away from it. Really appreciate you stopping by for a read. Helen

    Reply
  173. Tracey Johnston (StylingandSmiling) on

    Firstly congratulations for taking the leap of faith, so brave. So happy that your hard work is paying off. What a fabulous blog!! Very informative & interesting to read. Your story is very inspirational. Thanks for all the tips, I am bookmarking them, to read more in depth when I have free time to myself to digest it all. Thanks again.

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Hi Tracey, thank you, but I’m not sure that it felt brave….more necessary for my own sanity. I’m not getting everything right, far from it, but am learning every day. I am very grateful for all of the fabulous, supportive people that I have met along the way. Thank you so very much for reading. Hx

      Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      It’s working well so far Mackenzie, and you never know until you try something whether it is the right way forward. Nice for me to have an ‘office’ ;). Hx

      Reply
  174. Ruth martin on

    Loved reading this! When I’m asked what I do I’m always flummoxed with an answer and down play everything I do! I’m going to plan an answer now! Please ask me what I do next time we have time to chat!!! Xxxx I love what you write Helen, always do relevant to me xxx

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Ruth, it’s simple, you have a small business making your very own and very lovely candles! Perhaps a good subject for our masterminds meeting, if we can ever manage to get another one in the diary. Thank you so much for popping by the blog, have a great summer. Hxx

      Reply
  175. Tracey Johnston (StylingandSmiling) on

    This is definitely the way forward. A fab idea. It sounds like a work day that you would look forward to.

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      I do look forward to it, Tracey. Whether it is a long term answer remains to be seen, but while I’m trying to establish a new routine it’s great to create a boundary between home and work (even if it is only for one day a week so far!). Hxxx

      Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      I do find it difficult here to shut my mind to the piles of washing/mess/dirty dishes, so it is very helpful to create some time where I am far away from all of that. Onwards and upwards!

      Reply
  176. Lisa deakin on

    Helen, you know my view on your pics, I love them!! They are so clever, colourful and full of life!!
    You have come so far and I’m so proud of you!!
    Carry on the good work!!
    ?

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Ah, Lisa, that means the world to me, thanks doll. I really appreciate you taking the time to have a read. Love to all of the Deakins, Hx

      Reply
  177. Mostlyfoodandtravel on

    Great post Helen. I have found that posted 7 days doesn’t get me that much more different than posting 5 days but engaging the same amount. Oh and I don’t own an SLR though blogging is just my hobby. iPhone photography is the best. I went for an Apple course in store (they are free and I highly recommend them)and even the guy who is a photographer said he used his phone x

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      That’s interesting Neha, I’d love to go on one of their courses, I’m going to Google it today. The quality of the images I take on my iPhone is amazing really, and they are good enough to use on a website as well (and when I view the posts on quite a large PC screen, no quality is lost). Why fight it? Thanks for stopping by, Hx

      Reply
  178. Anna on

    Helen , I’m a professional photographer and use my iPhone slot for Instagram and edit using my phone . It’s so quick and easy !
    This is such a great post . I’m moving house tomorrow and the last 2 days have been hectic and I haven’t posted . I got so stressed today about that as well . I feel better after reading your post though XX

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      That’s good to hear. Instagram photography is a ‘thing’ in itself and the platform was conceived with camera phones in mind…so why continue to beat myself up about it? HUGE best wishes for the move Anna, let yourself off the hook with social media until you have the headspace. Lots of love, Hx

      Reply
  179. Penny on

    HI Helen, excellent timing – I’m feeling the squeeze too. I feel engagement etc has dropped as I can’t post daily. There’s not a lot that can be done really, it’s the summer holidays and routine has pretty much gone out the window. Like you, I’ve decided to cut myself a bit of slack and use stories more when possible.

    As for iPhone photography, it’s so much quicker. I think more people do it than let on, plus the camera on an iPhone is impressive!xx

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      I have accepted, welcomed even, a little drop in engagement. I think it just means that everyone is out there enjoying their summer’s in real life! Just as we should be. Autumn will come round soon enough and winter is long. Thanks so much for taking the time to read and comment. Hx

      Reply
  180. Juliana Sylvester on

    Great post Helen and wise words indeed. I really struggle with consistency in posting but I think your idea of reusing pics may help. Another tip from Instagrammers is using different angles or viewpoints of the same pic. I love the idea of a broad theme too, which would certainly make for a more coherent story throughout I suppose!

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      It’s super tough when you want to spend valuable time with the children, yet don’t want to give up on posting altogether. I’ve noticed that many many people are being less consistent on social media in the summer weeks. Definitely not the end of the world! Hx

      Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      If it’s easy to follow then my job is done. Thanks so much for having a read Jools, lovely to see your message pop up. Hx

      Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Hey Prash, thanks for stopping by for a read. Glad that you found it useful, I’ll expect to see some of your IGTV videos soon….:) Hx

      Reply
  181. Fiona on

    Another Gem! I’m totally impressed how you’re taking NAtK – love your style of writing, your honesty and understanding of the way ‘now’ works. Sharing all the way. Amazing.

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Fiona what a lovely comment, thank you! I’m just delighted if you are getting something out of my posts, thanks so much for reading. Hx

      Reply
  182. Melissa jolly on

    I haven’t read your blog posts for ages…I do apologise and I will go back through and read them because I love how you write… and it always rings a bell with me! I was 42 a few days ago, actually had a lovely birthday with my husband, our kids and friends and my niece and her boyfriend, love spending time with them all. I have fallen out of love with alcohol, I love a really good cocktail or a glass or two of wine, but after that I’m not too fussed. We’re getting to the stage of hoping our kids will keep coming on holiday with us…so far so good but my son did go home a few days early and he did have a party whilst he was home alone…words have been had! I’m trying to accept each and every flaw my body has but I still have the unrealistic view that it could be like it was a decade ago…note to self that life is too short to give a damn about this. Looking forward to catching up on your other posts now and your insta stories of Corfu looked stunning! X

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Hi Mel, it’s always lovely to see that you have popped by for a read, thank you. And Happy Birthday! Regards our good old bods, I’m grateful that we seem to be getting older at a time where women of our age are a bit more generally visible in the media and online. And being celebrated for things other than how they look 🙂 Hxxxx

      Reply
  183. Sarah harkins on

    This is the first of your blog’s i’ve Read since recently finding you on Instagram. Made me smile, nod & giggle & sigh. Loved it. Will be reading more & thank you

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Thank you Sarah, what a lovely message I’m so glad if any of the way I feel resonates with someone else. Isn’t it good how social media can help us find each other? Thank you so much for reading. Hxxx

      Reply
  184. Tracey on

    Wishing you a fabulous 42nd birthday. I love your blog, very honest & heartfelt. A lot of what you say rings true with me too xxx

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Hi Tracey, thanks for the well wishes and for stopping by 🙂 I’m off to do a little happy dance because you enjoy the blog! Xxx

      Reply
  185. Alison Galer on

    Made me smile, brilliant blog Helen.
    yes I’ve fallen out of love with alcohol too!!
    I’m 50 next year & I say bring it in.
    Pilates is my saviour to making me not feel my age & keep me climbing trees?

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Hi Alison, I say bring it all on too, what’s the alternative? Since passing the 40 milestone I’ve been so much less bothered, liberated in fact. I must get back into pilates, so good, and the only exercise I’ve ever really enjoyed. Thanks for popping by for a read. Hx

      Reply
  186. Lazy Daisy Jones on

    Helen loved your musings…so funny, so true.
    I get upset when people think i’m playing on my phone and actually i’m ‘working’ on instagram thank you very much!
    welcome home
    ashley xxx

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Hello Ashley, I’m glad I amuse you ;). Phew, Instagram is a full-time job if you allow it to be. Whatever your social media preference, people shouldn’t make anyone feel stupid for taking it seriously. It’s a cheap shot. x

      Reply
  187. Juliana Sylvester on

    Fab post Helen! I haven’t watched a lot of IGTV yet, but I’m sure it will supplement the people I follow in much the same way as stories does at the moment. Funnily enough I’ve been trying to do more vertical filming on my phone for my highlights such as the 15 seconds bits and it’s actually quite difficult as you don’t get the same width of perspective – it’s definitely a skill to practice! Thanks for all your research and tips.

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      I will be interested to see how long it takes before watching IGTV becomes part of our routine (if indeed it does). I think the vertical aspect is particularly challenging for people who already make film, as they are used to shooting horizontally. As beginners, we can learn vertical from scratch. Thanks so much for reading, Hxxx

      Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Hi Scarlett 🙂 I think it was just hitting on a tiny (seemingly insignificant) thing that we can all relate to. I have a favourite mug, and I pity the fool who tries to use it! Thanks for stopping by, Hx

      Reply
  188. gail on

    Ah i love this. i really struggle with photo’s. I tend to write what comes out of my mouth at that time so these tips are great thank you!

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Hi Gail, thank you so much for reading and leaving a comment. I have worked really, really hard on my photos over the past year. I recommend looking at Sara Tasker’s resources at meandorla.com. There are lots of articles online/Pinterest about improving your images. And practice, I have taken thousands of dreadful pictures!!! It’s not at all easy, even though some people make it look like it. Hx

      Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Hi Ann, thanks for stopping by and I notice that you subscribed which is really lovely, thank you. Value is such a key principle for me, people don’t have to look at your content do they? You need to try and make it worth their while. Hxxx

      Reply
  189. Juliana Sylvester on

    Great post Helen with some really good tips – for me in particular – especially the one about being interesting! Just brilliant!!

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      I’m glad you enjoyed it Juliana, thank you for reading. And you better believe that you are interesting! Helen xxx

      Reply
  190. Liz Godfrey on

    What a great blog post – I really enjoy your IG feed so much as well – you write from the heart and are very open about your journey. Great tips in this post which has given me lots to ponder. I find pictures easy & the writing bit a big challenge- keen to improve. I think you are doing great in the pictures department! 🙂

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      That’s Liz, that is a compliment coming from a photo whizz like yourself! The pictures are a challenge for me (my phone is full of images that don’t cut it), but are something that I would love to get right. I hope you find some of this post helps with the bit you find trickier. Thanks for reading, Hx

      Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Hello Megan, I’m so pleased that you enjoyed it, thanks for taking the time to read and leave a comment. It’s great to meet you too. Hx

      Reply
  191. Scarlett Roitman on

    Great ones Helen. I don’t think mine are a million miles away from yours. Although can’t get my head around Pinterest. I used it a lot when working in property but just not sure what to do with it for Diary.
    I will be watching you!

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Scarlett, I have set my Pinterest stall out now haven’t I? I keep trying with it, I do, but it’s not coming naturally….

      Reply
  192. Sarah on

    Brilliant list! I feel exactly the same about September and ditto, I can’t get on with electronic diary either. Think I’ll revert to paper too and put a diary on my Xmas list!! Xxx

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Hi Sarah, I think there’s something about putting pen to paper that helps things stick. A beautiful diary is a very pleasing gift indeed. Thanks for stopping by, Hxxx

      Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Hi Suzanne, there’s something about physically writing things down that makes a difference isn’t there, I don’t know what? I think I have identified a yoga class – watch this space. That’s visiting the blog, Hxxx

      Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Well, that’s a very nice thing to say, thank you so much. Even one or two new ideas can be enough to get you going can’t it? Thank you for reading, Hxxx

      Reply
  193. Kate on

    Gift away!!
    You work so very hard and this blog is beautifully crafted and researched in your precious time. It is work and I think that should come with benefits. I for one would not mind at all if a few adverts were to pop up. Surely it’s par for the course when a blog or website becomes a success. I’m sure not many of your readers work for free so who can expect you to do the same!

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Thank you Kate for such positive comment, perhaps it’s strange that I am so conflicted over this issue? Only a big deal to me! It’s worth thinking a policy through however, because no readership or a blog or Instagram account or magazine wants to be bombarded with adverts. Thanks for reading my friend. Hx

      Reply
  194. Juliana Sylvester on

    I am thrilled to hear all about your new business venture. Many, many congratulations!! What a great combination. Although I may not be able to attend in person, I will definiteky be spreading the word!

    Reply
  195. Rosemarie on

    Helen. What a refreshingly honest post on blog life. I started 3 months ago and while I am grateful for all I learned I am wondering if the personal costs are worth the time. I work full time, have a family and added blogging. I am not doing any to full capacity and all my down time has been eaten by blogging. There is a “feed the beast” and “constant change/learn new algorithm” component that seems a very hard way to reach the people I am meant to help. I am wondering if connecting with more people in real life, on podcasts or radio is more reasonable. Blogging promised flexibility but the nature of the beast it feels like a capricious taskmaster sucking from my family time. I love writing but I am thinking there is a better way to live.

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Hi Rosemarie, thank you for reading and leaving such an interesting comment. I am now around 9 months in to my blogging journey, and reflect on things a little differently. Firstly, I have scaled back how often I attempt to post. It’s usually once a week, twice at most. I also think that over the coming months that my site will evolve in to a website, with a blog that runs within it….if that makes any sense? If it doesn’t feel good, change it. Everything we do is just a little step along the journey towards (hopefully) achieving what we would like to. I hope very much that you can find the right answer and balance for you and your family, while allowing you to pursue your passion! Good luck, Helen

      Reply
  196. Juliana on

    Such great advice Helen! I love Michelle Blanchard’s imagery and have used a couple if her tips before. I love putting flatlays together, although it’s a lot harder than it looks, so I admire your amazing skills and I’ve never got on a chair in a coffee shop to take a pic – I’m in awe of your dedication to the task! I might have to give this a go if I can muster up the bravery!

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Hi Julia, thanks for reading, Michelle is just brilliant isn’t she? I’m happy you found some of the advice useful, it really isn’t as easy as it looks! Hxx

      Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      hahaha do you know what if it had been easily done I would have photoshopped it. As it was I thought….Instagram can cope with this plug lols. As always, thanks for reading love. xx

      Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Thanks, Anna, I’m sure there are probably at least 50 things I still don’t know about this crazy platform. Another list for another day. Thanks for reading x

      Reply
  197. Caroline Gratrix on

    I’m off to book a saga cruise….. ha ha not really. You just go from
    strength to strength. I like how your writing is so much bolder now and much less apologetic for existing. You can feel your confidence in your posts and see it in your creative content. If this has been the result of one year, I can’t even fathom where you’ll be in the next 5/10….. #trailblazer #happyanniversary ?

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Thanks for your kind words Caroline, you’ve always been so supportive and it’s greatly appreciated. Writing is all about the practice, isn’t everything? I feel like it’s getting easier with each post I write. Cheers to that cruise x

      Reply
  198. Alkisti @Travel Bananas on

    I’ve had a business account for 6 months now and I’ve seen significant drop in engagement. My followers kept growing slowly but steady. When I had less followers I got more likes, and now that I have more I get much less, almost half. Which doesn’t make sense. I’m thinking of switching back to personal to see what happens.

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Hi Alkisti, that’s interesting, I think it is common to see a drop in engagement on posts when your following grows (as in, likes a percentage of your following). Have you been doing anything else differently? Posting at different times of day, or less frequently? Or have you been spending less time engaging with other people’s content? The beauty of it is, you can swap between business and personal easily, and swap back again if you need to :). Thanks for reading, Helen

      Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Hi Tia, I’m so glad that you enjoyed it….you are always great value ;). It’s an idea that makes total sense to me, I hope I have managed to explain it in a way that makes sense to others. Thanks for stopping by! Hxx

      Reply
  199. Honor on

    I’m not brilliant and I’m still learning but I hope I have something of value to share by enticing folk down to my still undiscovered part of France (and my gites) . I want to share this with everyone. But I mix it up with hopefully funny and personal bits so I’m not all about the sales!

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Hi Honor, well this sounds very interesting. I would love to follow an account that gives me an insight into life in rustic France. There are so many possibilities….food, markets, countryside, interiors, hours of fun! And then there is the story of your business and what you are doing there 🙂 I think it’s going to be wonderful, and I hope you can create plenty of interest in your gites too. DM me on Instagram so that I can be sure to follow you. Helen x

      Reply
  200. Lizzie on

    This has really got me thinking Helen! One of the reasons I love your instagram is for all the great tips and tricks you share.

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Hello Lizzie, how lovely to see you here :). The tips and tricks just evolved as a process of sharing what I have been learning, but people so often say that they find them useful. It’s nice to be of service. Thank you for reading, I do really appreciate it. H

      Reply
  201. Alison Gibb on

    Love that we are both mums, but that is not why we connect, we connect because we want to explore the world, we would have clicked if we had met as singletons or young mums – can we try and end up in the same daycare centre one day – certainly the same ‘block of flats with warden’ Helen?

    Reply
    • @not_about_the_kids2017 on

      Alison you are one funny lady!!! I think we’re all almost ready to move in with our friends now aren’t we? In one big communal building? The men can visit….
      Thanks so much for stopping by, and for your support as always. Hx

      Reply
    • Helen on

      Every day is a school day Helen, I love the lessons we learned and I love the idea of getting better. Thanks so much for reading xoxo

      Reply
  202. Kate on

    It was the most incredible day full of energy and motivation. Helen, your workshop was slick, well thought out and brilliantly delivered. If you hadn’t prepared as much as you’d have liked it definitely didn’t show!
    Definitely recommend to anyone needing a bit of a boost with their business or just a kick start to get going. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

    Reply
    • Helen on

      Kate, you are a beautiful woman! Thank you for the vote of confidence and 5-star review. Wonderful to have you there, and fabulous to see you get a new venture off the ground, Hxxx

      Reply
    • Helen on

      Ha ha hello Matt thanks for stopping by! You would always be very welcome, in fact, I think we need to think about including you as an expert. This one did have a female emphasis I suppose, and that’s the crowd we drew, but our next event in January is aimed more at businesses and we hope to attract a more mixed crowd. I hope that puts your mind at ease!!! Helen

      Reply
  203. Lisa deakin on

    Think I might try this Helen. I’m running out of everything and feel like a change. Apparently Korean is very in? Know anything about these? Xx

    Reply
    • Helen on

      I’ve just Googled it, Lisa, I don’t know anything about Korean skincare but it looks like lots of people do! Will investigate. Meanwhile, give this cream a go, and you can educate me about the other stuff too…..xxx

      Reply
  204. Juliana Sylvester on

    Love this H! So simple and so honest and you can definitely give yourself the credit for writing about a rug you bought since that’s exactly what you did!! The fact that you can just tell it like it is is just a breath of fresh air. I love a good interior post too but I’m no desgner either. Sometimes I think that makes what you have to say even more powerful, don’t you think?

    Reply
  205. Helen on

    Well yes, that’s a great point J, what’s more honest than just saying that you like something because….you like it? Thank you for taking a moment to read and comment, I love to see you pop up here! Hx

    Reply
    • Helen on

      Start with ordering 2 meals to give it a go one week, I actually felt like Mother of the Year after preparing all of these dinners!! Thanks for stopping by Mrs xxx

      Reply
  206. Helen G on

    Loved our Gousto trial because it was half price, which made it great value for money – but after that it was a pretty pricey way to cook. And as someone who is pretty laid back when it comes to environmental issues I was STUNNED by the amount of packaging. Each little piece of ingredient was wrapped in plastic – so much so that we couldn’t get comfortable with it. It broadended our horizons for a couple of weeks – but with that much packaging each time it was a no go from us 😩

    Reply
    • Helen on

      Hi H, you know I had a feeling that you might have tried this. I thought carefully about how to address the packaging issue in this post. Here’s what I concluded; while there was a lot of packaging in the box (particularly with the individual sauce and seasoning packets I thought) Gousto had made an effort not to wrap some items (aubergines, all onions and carrots). I also compared it to my Waitrose shop, where fruit and veg are sometimes DOUBLE wrapped in plastic. However, I’m sure that Gousto is man enough to take your feedback on board….
      Thanks for reading my dear, Hxx

      Reply
  207. Lazy Daisy Jones on

    Helen
    A super informative post as usual.
    I’m honoured to be asked to contribute to your blog.
    Instagram is everchanging and there is always more to learn, no matter how long we have all been ‘playing’ along. Your account and your photography are a pure joy!

    Ashley x

    Reply
    • Helen on

      Thank you, Ashley, you are right there is always more to learn and I feel like I have only just scratched the surface. Working with you is pure joy! Hxx

      Reply
  208. Lina on

    Thank you, Helen, for interesting and informative post. For me personally, slow growing following is very demotivating, but this post gave me a different insight, thank you!

    Reply
    • Helen on

      Hi Lina, thank for taking a moment to read my post. Slow growth on Instagram is hard, especially when you are putting lots of work into your account. I always find that getting out there and liking and commenting on new accounts is helpful. Good luck! Helen x

      Reply
  209. Scarlett Roitman on

    I only recently switched to Business Instagram, which of course is very useful for Insights. It’s a minefield of information out there and I don’t think I will ever get to grips with most of it. Thanks for making it a little easier to understand! The Instagram fog has cleared a little, Guru Helen 😉!

    Reply
    • Helen on

      Hello Scarlett, you make me smile. I think on balance that we all just might as well give ourselves access to the analytics available on the Business account, I can’t see the downside unless you are simply using Instagram for fun and to share with friends. I feel like I am only scratching the surface of what you may be able to learn from them, but as with everything….it’s a matter of finding the time to study it! Thanks for stopping by, Hx

      Reply
  210. Lisa on

    Really good advice. Thanks Helen. I love the fact that there are bloggers like you around, who make ‘geeky’subjects more understandable. Thank you! Lisa xx

    Reply
    • Helen on

      I’m really happy if I made it understandable Lisa, everything I share here is because I am getting to grips with it myself. Thanks for reading, Hx

      Reply
  211. Bejal on

    This is a really interesting post Helen and so useful! I wasn’t aware of the 10 hashtags on stories either! Thanks for this super informative post. Off to work out my engagement

    Reply
    • Helen on

      Haha, it’s kind of fun to do! I’m really into finding effective hashtags for Stories, it gives me a silly amount of satisfaction. Thank you so much for reading, Hx

      Reply
  212. Mostlyfoodandtravel on

    Great informative post as always Helen. I just appreciate all that you give to your readers- so insightful. I try and remember to do some hashtags but it getting the correct ones like you said- lots of people use some that have nothing to do with the post and that works well. Insights- only use them when asked for them

    Reply
    • Helen on

      Hi Neha, how very extra specially lovely of you to visit the blog. It makes me so happy! I’m merely beginning to unravel the mysteries of hashtags and metrics…..thanks for coming along with me for the ride. Hx

      Reply
  213. Sarah Leach on

    Couldn’t have put it better myself. Lovely read. Yes I understand the privilege bit, but it’s all relative. There’s always someone out there that feels just like you and, no matter what your circumstances, it’s nice to feel you’re not alone. Keep writing like this Helen. It’s great, if not therapeutic in its own right!

    Reply
    • Helen on

      Thanks for reading Sarah, you are right, it’s extremely therapeutic to get these thoughts down on paper I quite often find myself gaining a little clarity as I go. Mine is just one of many voices, and I can only write about what I know, but hopefully with a bit of knowing-ness about my good fortune. Relatively speaking 😉 xxx

      Reply
      • Sally on

        Great article voicing the thoughts of lots of mums. That facilitator thing doesn’t go away in my experience; my children are 18, 25 and 27 and I only have the youngest at home but I’m still facilitator in chief. I also feel like the air traffic control person waving the ping pong bats around to secure space for everyone to move into. Maybe it’s just the type of person I am? Maybe I decide to divert from my own indecision by focusing on my family? Or maybe it’s just a habit after so many years? I’ve always balanced working full time and having my family and so has my husband. I never expect the calm still waters of achieving equilibrium because it’s not going to happen. I get out and run and do outdoor Bootcamps to keep myself feeling alive and fit and ready to take on the next ‘facilitation’. I’m sure lots of women and men feel the same?

        Reply
        • Helen on

          Hello Sally, thank you for reading an commenting so thoughtfully it’s interesting to read about your experience. I guess that deciding to become a parent means that you are forever the fascilitator…at least until we become decrepit and need facilitating ourselves! Perhaps 2019 will be the year of Boot Camp for me. Helen x

          Reply
  214. Kate west on

    You are spot on as you so often are.
    So much of this resonates and it’s hard trying to make the best job of being everything we want or need to be.
    Manageable goals for 2019 for me I think so I don’t stress when I’m not achieving by the end of January!

    Reply
    • Helen on

      I have very mixed feelings about goals. On the one hand, it’s great to have a focus, on the other if you don’t meet them it’s just another thing to berate ourselves for. Not healthy. Thank you for reading Kate, I’m off to think about some goals that it’s impossible to fail at….Hx

      Reply
  215. Juliana on

    Love this Helen, some great ideas. I’ve found Pinterest to be really useful too, there is so much inspiration on there although I can find it time consuming because I get sucked in at the same time. I’ve also found inspiration from other IG accounts or bloggers who have a similar style or same geographical location – it’s amazing the things you can miss or take for granted!

    Reply
    • Helen on

      Hey Juliana, I forgot to mention in this post that I also save inspiring Instagram posts for future reference. Ideas are all around. And yes, Pinterst rabit holes….best not to go there hahaha. Thanks for stopping by, Hx

      Reply
  216. Sarah Leach on

    Really useful blog Helen, even thought it’s taken me a while to get round to reading it! I’m starting to feel like I’m getting my head around this photo lark – 2019 is the year for Stride Coaching to start building a photo bank that encapsulates what I do. There I’ve said it …well written it….out loud…best get started!! Sx

    Reply
  217. Pia on

    Love this post Helen! I definitely have similar thoughts.. I’m really struggling to get my mojo back lately but I have some exciting projects coming up which will hopefully help. Xx

    Reply
    • Helen on

      Ah, thank you, Pia and thanks for reading. I can’t wait to see what you’ve got lined up. Our mojo’s go missing a bit in January I think. Hx

      Reply
  218. Mackenzie Orrock on

    Totally relate to all of this Helen. We are not slaves to Instagram after all. Struggling with my word of the year but have found a quote instead that I’m planning to incorporate into an Insta post very soon. xx

    Reply
    • Helen on

      Well I really look forward to reading your quote. It’s just about finding something that speaks to us, and give us a YES, THAT feeling isn’t it? Lovely to see you’ve stopped by. Hx

      Reply
  219. Jo charlesworth on

    Thanks Helen xxi love stories and am happy to blather away all day with photos and words but cannot take the step to actually chatting on video xx I’m in the north west of England , an hour from Manchester x do you know if any good Instagram courses?

    Reply
    • Helen on

      Hi Jo, maybe dip your toe in by shooting a few bits of video that you don’t appear in? Or where we just see your hands and feet. I’ve had a few people messaging me since I published this saying they are ‘freaked out’ by video. DON’T be, it only needs to be a few seconds long. People have very short attention spans!! Hx

      Reply
    • Helen on

      And Jo I’m sorry I don’t know of any Instagram training in the north-west I’m sorry, but I feel like there MUST be things going on in Manchester as it’s such a media hub now. There are lots of online courses, you could try the free one from Sara Tasker @me_and_orla? I did a Guardian Masterclass in London to get me started. I don’t know if they possibly run them elsewhere? Try Google or asking on your Instagram Stories.

      Reply
  220. Mostlyfoodandtravel on

    Thanks Helen for this. Very interesting- I have starting trying to work on InShot videos a bit more. It is fun but I have to remember to do it. I am all for authenticity- we have to keep it real or else we are gonna be living a bubble.

    Reply
    • Helen on

      It’s just a pretty soul destroying idea to spend time online trying to be someone you are not. Authentic in 2019 for sure! Thanks for reading Neha x

      Reply
    • Helen on

      Gosh, I could have written more but I thought everyone might fall asleep reading it! I think the way forward it to play around with tiny bits of video, just a few seconds long and work our way up from there. But yes, connect up with Lottie, she’s awesome x

      Reply
  221. Harriot Lane Fox on

    Thanks for this Helen. Very relieved to see that rough and ready authenticity rocks! That’s defo me, and what I found doable for a long-distance client with few obvious resources to base stories on – at least that I had access too. Being a bit on the hoof, made mostly in the app not in a graphics package, did seem to work with the brand personality very well.

    Reply
    • Helen on

      Hey Harriot, I think it can be difficult for us to get around just how much people DO NOT CARE about polished and professional content. We love things that are a bit messy and real. And it’s much better for our self-esteem too. Thanks for stopping by x

      Reply
  222. Molly Mead on

    Helen I just love you for what you do. By hook or by crook you keep me abreast of what’s happening in a world that is a little alien in one sense and constantly changing, which is fun but by Jove hard to keep up with.
    Thank you for sharing at least I can pretend I know where the tech world is heading ….now I just need to find the time to take that leap. Forever inspirational and telling it how it is. Thank you Xx

    Reply
    • Helen on

      Hello Molly, what a lovely comment to leave I’m so flattered, thank you. I’m so pleased if people find what I write a little useful, it makes it all worthwhile! Helen x

      Reply
  223. Juliana Sylvester on

    Love this blog post Helen. I’ve heard for a while that video in any shape or form is going to be big, but this is massive! I can totally understand how stories makes for a more authentic experience too. It seems as though our kids fascination with YT and video content is not just for kids after all!! I think the one thing holding me back from making more video content on my feed has been the perceived time it takes, but I know that you have touched on this on stories with 5 second vids and the “15 seconds of my day” suggestions which are brilliant. If you have any other ideas this year about how to work with video please let us know! And I LOVE your new blog style btw, could literally read for hours, but I have to do the school run!!

    Reply
    • Helen on

      Thank you for noticing changes to the website Juliana, this post has given me lots to think about because it’s been a big hit! My most read (initially at least) by far. It seems there is an appetite for news and analysis. And yes, video, mind-blowing! Great to hear from you, and I hope all is well with the family, Hx

      Reply
  224. Gloria on

    Hi Helen. I noticed the images on your Pinterest are not in your blog posts. Do you “hide” those images in code or do you make images and post them in Pinterest separate from your blog? I’m trying to optimize my Pinterest without sacrificing a clean site and having text across every image. Thanks.

    Reply
  225. lazy Daisy Jones on

    Hi Helen,
    Thank you for highlighting the security problems! If one person takes note and secures their account, then at least that is a positive. I am so glad that I still have my blog, as this situation has also highlighted not to put all your eggs in one basket!
    best wishes
    Ashley xx

    Reply
    • Helen on

      Hey Ashley, thank you for letting me feature your thoughts about what happened. And yes, the Instagram basket is not secure! A timely reminder that we don’t own or control the platform, it’s a great tool, but only alongside other things. To the next chapter, Helen x

      Reply
  226. Sally Hart on

    Finally got round to reading this – really useful. I LOVE the way you manage to let us know what to do without sounding preachy and condescending! Good luck for the event on Friday. I will make it to one, one day I am sure (or determined!) xx

    Reply
    • Helen on

      Hello Sally, thank you for stopping by for a quick read, I’m glad that you don’t find my posts preachy!!! Hahaha. Appreciate your well wishes too, I’m looking forward to it (and to meeting you one day), Hxx

      Reply
  227. Susan on

    Hi lovely,

    Two-Factor Authentication all set up! Thanks for the heads up. As you say, it takes so much work to grow your following and it would be terrible to lose all the photos too.

    Sus xx

    Reply
  228. Helen on

    Hi Helen, new to your account and blog and loving it! Thanks for this advice… off to change passwords and add the second layer of security… Helen x

    Reply
    • Helen on

      Hi Helen, I’m so pleased to hear it. Wouldn’t it be just awful to lose it all? Thanks for your kinds words, so glad you’re enjoying natk xxx

      Reply
  229. Juliana on

    This is a very timely reminder Helen. An account that I have followed pretty much since I joined the world of IG – @chloelovestoshop – was hacked over the weekend and the owner of the account is obviously devastated, but also feels violated. It’s such an invasion of privacy which is even more unsettling than the loss of follower numbers. Great tips for us all and two-factor authentication is the way to go I think!

    Reply
    • Helen on

      Yes, I heard about that too. It must be so distressing. I hope that Instagram is also taking steps to secure our accounts and make it harder to hack them. Otherwise, we will have to find somewhere else to post our pictures!

      Reply
  230. Helen on

    Hi Helen …. I am reading this nearly a year on, so you stuck at it then…good for you, I’ve been blogging now for nearly two years and I share your frustrations still! Instagram continues to bring me my readers. My SEO adheres to “good practice” yet still growth is very slow… or is it? There’s so much vague information out there and then there are others making zillions and growing their following massively overnight…all a little overwhelming, still!!x

    Reply
  231. Helen on

    Hi Helen, I’m going to try and focus on building my blog readership and mailing list this year, and yes likewise I find that my organic reader growth is slow even though I have good SEO practice and do well in Google searches. At the heart of it I think, is the difficulty of being discovered in a sea (ocean!) of other blogs, websites and video content. I still love this little blog, however, and am really grateful that you have taken the time to read it. Helen

    Reply
  232. Kate on