Well, I’ve just about recovered from all the April stress. As lovely as it was, being the start of spring and all that, I think I’d subconsciously been dreading this month since late 2016.

Off the blog…

Back in September last year, I wrote about applying for a school place for my eldest. At the time, I was wracked with thinly veiled anxiety because there just wasn’t a one size fits all answer to what we needed. Effectively, school needed (needs!) to fit around my work, and the schools in our then catchment area would mean all sorts of logistical hell. I wrote about it, worried some more, and just applied for a good school with a good after school club.

Then, we moved house. This suddenly made things way, way easier, as long as we got a place at a certain school that we’re not in catchment for. To everyone else, I pretended that I wasn’t even giving it a second of worry until 18th April, as there was just no point in second guessing the result of our application. But, me being me, I did worry. I’d find myself sat in traffic grinding my teeth and muttering to myself about it.

Long story short, she got her place. There then followed two days of hell when I was told that there was a YEAR LONG waiting list at the after school club (which, incidentally, is at the nursery where both my children are. Spend to date: about 15 grand. Urgh). ANYWAY that all came good too, as it turned out the manager was referring to a different setting and actually, the after school club at our school does have spaces. Thank Christ for that. Even better, those of you who read my poem to nursery staff may remember I talked about a key worker who cried when she said goodbye to one of her children. Guess who manages the after school club we’ll be going to? Yep. Happy mummy.

Oh, and then there was the half marathon I’d entered ages ago. The one that I hadn’t really trained for over the winter, and remained in complete denial of until the week leading up to the event. The week in which my entire house became riddled with flu. Yep, that half marathon. I didn’t talk about it on my social media in case I fucked it up, and, well, I just about managed to not fuck it up. I stood at the start line wondering what the hell I was doing, and I crossed the finish line with absolute pride. I’m my own worst critic and yeah, I wish I’d gone a bit faster and shaved 6 minutes off to get a PB, but you know what? That course is hard and I ran 13.1 miles at an average mile pace of 8 and a half minutes, damn it.

On the blog…

With all of that stress going on, I needed a bit of a break from writing and so I ran a few guest posts. This is a lovely thing to do if you’re a blogger, because 1. it takes some of the pressure off you as the site owner, 2. it exposes your audience to some other fab bloggers, and 3. the backlinks help your mutual DA. If you’re a non-blogger and think I’m speaking Martian, have a look at my favourite read of the month.

First up was my friend Laura from Savings 4 Savvy Mums, who wrote for me about frugal tips. Then came Pat from White Camellias with a post about wardrobe choices for working mums. Then I featured some brilliant make-up tips from my beautiful friend Jenny, who blogs at Accidental Hipster Mum.

I was also invited along to a press launch at a new restaurant in Southampton called L’Osteria. It was so nice! And I legit would say if it wasn’t. I was told that I could order anything from the menu, so I restrained myself and stuck to a starter, main, dessert, cocktail, fizzy wine thing, fizzy wine thing, cocktail. You know, for the purposes of fair representation.

My favourite read…

Forever ago, I wrote about what I’d learned in the early days of blogging. Mainly technical stuff. Half of it still baffles me and half of it I sort of get. My friend Kelly over at Bringing Up Georgia has written the most brilliant post about Yoast, which is a plugin (kind of like an app for websites) that a lot of us bloggers use to check the validity of content within search engines. It depresses me a bit, because Yoast operates a traffic light system and if I write one of MY posts in MY style, from MY soul, I’ll get a red light on Yoast every time. Google be hating on me, fo sho.

For example, Yoast likes you to use a focus keyword in your blog title, then again in the first paragraph of copy, then again at various points in the text. But not tooooo much. That’s just one of the traffic light changing factors. Generally, my blog titles are a bit creative and whimsical and a play on words, not really much to do with what I’m writing about. So, if I’m writing about the trouble with finding an after school place in Southampton, someone is unlikely to stumble across my blog by searching for that phrase in Google. It’s all a bit bonkers and Kelly explains it really well, if you’re interested in digital marketing. Which you should be.

My favourite photo…

For once, it’s of me. This was after the half marathon, once I’d showered and thrown some eyeliner near my peepers. And yes, I totally wore my finisher’s t-shirt at the pub while I stuffed my face full or steak and ale pie. No shame.

Anyway, so that was my April, in a nutshell! May brings Mouse’s birthday, my wedding anniversary, and our first ever festival. So I’ll basically be crying or drunk until 1st June. Hooray!

-SJW May 2017

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