Thursday, 24 July 2014

I've got a new home


This is just a quick note to let you know that I've moved.  Yep, packed up and moved to a whole new and improved (I hope) site.

You can now find me at

Thanks so much for stopping by and I really hope to see you at my new page.

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Our little Miss L turns two

Today you are two.  The happiest of birthdays to you my beautiful girl.

It feels like just yesterday you turned 1.  I think this has been the fastest flying year in history, and my oh my have you grown.

You've learnt to walk, and run and jump and climb and spin around until you fall down on your bottom.  You can also dance, and you love that.  You've very good at it too and just LOVE to be the centre of your big brother and sister's attentions.  If any of us try to dance with you, your chubby little finger points and you very firmly tell us "No! Stop it! I do it!"  We're only allowed to watch you and that's just how it is.
A day at the zoo to celebrating with your best friend and the cutest cake ever (which I didn't make!)
You can also count to ten, sleep right through the night in your own bed (hallelujah) and sing twinkle twinkle little star.  We can tell you're a third child as your most favourite phrases are "I do it too and mine turn".  You also quite often say "I do it, I five!" which drives your sister crazy as it's taken her a looooong time to get to five and she's vey proud of that.

You love shoes....and hats....and skirts!  You love them even more if they are mummy's or your big sisters, and some days it's a very hard task trying to get you to wear anything of your own. We bought you some flashing Minnie Mouse 'clipity clop' shoes for your birthday and you have not taken them off since.
Wearing your sisters shoes
We've been spending a lot of time together lately, you and me, while your brother and sister are at school,and I treasure every minute.  You teach me every day how to slow down and just live in the moment.  You're fascinated by EVERYTHING and you love it so much when I show you every little thing I'm doing, so that you can do it to.  You are especially helpful at taking washing off the washing line while standing on your little step.  You're very chatty too and we have such lovely looooong conversations in the car.  The best bit of all are your cuddles.  My heart reaches full capacity when you bury your little head in my neck and me squeeze tight.
With your own baby 'Annabel'
Some days I wish I could just bottle you up...........your smile, your infectious giggles, your cheeky grin and sparkly eyes, just so that I can open it up and inhale you when you're all grown up. (Which will happen by the time you are 5 according to your sister).

We love you to the moon and back baby girl and I can't wait to see what you're going to do in the next year.........but not so fast this time please!

How do you store all your precious memories??  Would you like to bottle them if you could??

Monday, 26 May 2014

Simple SEO for Bloggers

Last Saturday morning I snuck off to The Blog Society: Blog Retreat.  It was just one of those mornings where Sydney was properly showing off and I couldn't have been in a better place to watch her.  The autumn sun was shining over the Opera House and I was surrounded by some of the most inspiring and creative people in the blogging industry.  It really was an escape from the every day and in a short and punchy three hours I came away feeling so excited and even more sure that blogging is what I love to do.

One person that grabbed my full attention from the minute she stepped on the stage was the gorgeous Kirsti Hughes from Saachi and Saachi.  She was invited to speak at the retreat to try and de-mystify SEO for bloggers (and business).  In 30 minutes she did just that!  I'm not a 'techie' person by any means and no matter how hard to try to get my head around SEO I just end up more and more confused.

Today I finally GOT IT!!

In my own words this is what I learnt from Kirsti.

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation.  What this actually means for bloggers is that we have to create content that enables Google to quickly, easily and clearly answer the questions that people ask her.  We have to think of Google as a very sophisticated, human like robot, that like us, likes to keep a tidy home.  The more we are able to help Google keep a tidy home, by making 'our things' easy for her to store, categorise and search, the more she will reward us with a higher ranking.

Kirsti said that we should think of Google in the same way we do our mother-in-laws:  They can be high maintenance at times, but if we just them and keep them happy, they'll make our lives SO much easier in the long run.

Google loves it if we make our blogs easy to read and navigate.  It's her job to send people who are asking questions to the right answers.  If she sends someone to your site and they can't immediately find what they are looking for (because you page is not easy to use), then she is not likely to send anyone there again.  So to increase your ranking with Google, you need to make sure you page is easy to navigate and read.  Remember that people who use Google are aways looking for something and quality, user friendly content always wins.  

12 ways to improve your SEO ranking
  1. Picture Google as a person rather than a machine and try to imagine what would keep her happy when implementing your SEO.
  2. Make sure your posts are always longer than 300 words.  Google only sends people to your site if you are able to 'solve a problem' or 'answer a question'.
  3. Make sure your headings match your content.  If you lure Google in with a great heading about 'How to make a Christmas pudding' for example, and then write about 'Autumn leaves', you are just going to make her mad and she won't trust your site again, which essentially means less traffic coming to your site.
  4. Re-name all your images so that they match the title and content on your blog post.  Google loves photos/images and if they are relevant to your content, it will increase the amount of traffic she sends your way.
  5. Re-check who your audience is every few months.  If you suddenly have a big influx of British readers but are still targeting all your posts to Australian readers, this could make Google not want to send as much traffic to you.  Essentially you are 'not providing a full solution to all your readers' and she will start to think that your page is no longer relevant.
  6. Use social media.  If Google sees that your profile is in more than one place on the internet and is doing well, she will start to believe that you must be someone who is trustworthy and will send more traffic your way, therefore increasing your ranking.
  7. Subscribe to Google Trends.  This is the quickest and easiest way to find out what questions people are asking Google at any given time, which can help you compose relevant content.
  8. Google does not like duplicate content but you can always gain more traffic by linking back to old posts that you have written previously.  Just make sure you like back to the original URL.  A post you did on Halloween three years ago will be just as relevant on Halloween now as it was back then, and quite possibly you will have a lot more readers now too. (*This point has been edited as per comments below*)
  9. Check that all your links actually lead somewhere.  Google really frowns about broken links or sending people to a 'dead-end' so to speak.
  10. Reconsider any advertising that is on your site.  If you are a Finance blog but have an advert for a breast pump, for example, this is not considered relevant and will hurt your google rankings.
  11. Do an Open Site Explorer search and check who is linking to you?  If there are any negative sites linking to your blog you should contact them and ask them to remove the link ASAP.  These negative/spamy links can really hurt your google ranking.
  12. Try to keep your bounce rate low.  If people are clicking on your site and staying there, Google thinks she's done a good job sending them there as they're finding what they were looking for.  A simple navigation system on your blog is a sure way to keep your click rate high and your bounce rate low.
Food for thought??  I thought so.

Here are 4 top sites recommended by Kirsti that will keep you on top of your SEO.
  1. Matt Cutts, who is the head of Google (think Mr Google himself) has his own blog. Reading this from time to time will aways keep you up to date and in-the-know.
  2. Search Engine Land is another highly recommended site, to give you the most up to date information and all things SEO.
  3. Google Trends as mentioned earlier.
  4. Check out for a fantastic guide to SEO for beginners.  You can also sign up to the 30 day free trial and get Moz to give your site a full evaluation to see how you are currently doing on the SEO front.  Remember to cancel before the 30 days is up otherwise you will be charged - unless of course you want to keep your monthly membership.
Finally the biggest message I took home with me was


I really hope I managed to help at least one blogger to the every changing mysteries of SEO.  I also hope that Google likes this post and that 'I'm providing a solution' for a least one question she may be asked.

How good is your knowledge of SEO?  Do you have any tips you might like to add?

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Thursday, 22 May 2014

How to catch a pet rabbit

After A LOT of thinking and re-thinking and more thinking! I finally decided to let the kids get a couple of bunny rabbits.

They're actually very cute (I did have my doubts) and the kids have named them Coco (black bunny) and Marshmallow (white bunny).   Although Miss L just calls them both Hop Hop Easter Bunny, because according to her, all bunnies are Easter bunnies.
These poor little bunnies have been cuddled and loved and squished and kissed to within an inch of their lives.  Thank heavens we picked a couple of good ones, as they have been so placid and gentle and we're hardly had any problems with scratching.  Even Miss H is happy to cuddle her bunny, which is a miracle because she is usually scared of just about anything that moves.
Everything was going swimmingly well until the toddler (little Miss L) discovered how to open the bunny hutch and set the Easter bunnies free!!!  The first time she did it, Marley, our neighbours cat thought he'd just won the cat lottery!!  Fortunately between Miss H's death piercing scream and me grabbing the hose pipe and spraying him, we managed to shoo him back over the fence again.  I think we must have given him the fright of his all his nine lives as I have not seem him back in our garden since.
Enjoying a bit of bunny freedom AND eating my hydrangea!
The second time she set them free I spent over an hour chasing them around the garden trying to catch them.  They're so damn quick that I had to literally dive bomb them several times......with not much luck.  I'm glad no one was watching either as I crawled around on my hands and knees trying to pounce an unwitting bunny!  I was pouring with sweat, out of breath, verging on a lot more than irritated, and starting to panic.  I only had a few minutes left before I had to pick the kids up from school and I could not leave them in the wilderness (of the back garden).  Luckily I managed to get them back in just in the nick of time!!

I told Mr D about how it was nearly impossible to catch the bunnies and he thought it was a great idea to let them out the hutch for some garden adventures, and decided to let them out again.  I warned him, but typically, he SO thought he knew what he was doing!  Guess what happened next?????  Marshmallow escaped under the back fence .............. and into no-mans land!
Oh how I laughed!!!  And panicked at the same time!! "Babe" I stressed "there is no was I am telling the kids you've lost their bunny.  You better get it back - NOW!!" "Don't worry", he assured me "I know exactly what I'm doing".  "You better!!" I said before going back inside.
I went back out about half an hour later and he was leaning over the back fence with a bucket dangling on a piece of rope.  With a carrot inside it!  "So this is your plan??" I asked.  "You're trying to coax it into a bucket with a carrot in it, while its chomping away on wild lettuce leaves (in the neighbours veggie patch).  Honestly that's like trying to get it to want a Malteaser in a garden full of M&M's!!!"

This whole debacle when on for hours!!  There was string involved, two cardboard boxes, a mini cricket bat (to hold the box up) and more carrots!!  Eventually he managed to catch them by luring them back into their hutch for food (which you would have thought was plan A not plan Z).

The very next day, little Miss L let them back out again!!!

We've given up now and just secured the any holes in the garden fence.  They are now happily living in our back garden, hopping around as if they own the place.  We still put food and water in their hutch which they do eat, but I think they actually sleep in the ferns.  It's quite weird seeing bunnies hopping around when I'm out hanging the washing up.  I think they've got quite used to us now too and are very happy for us to give them a cuddle.

Lets just hope Marley (that cat next door) has well and truly forgotten about them.

Do you have bunnies at home?  Do they live in a hutch or have they broken free like ours??

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Tuesday, 20 May 2014

The magic of mess! Messy craft and painting for Wordless Wednesday

If you're a regular Mrs D reader you'll know that I really hate mess!!  I don't cope well with it at all, so these two little cuties really tested my abilities to just 'go with the flow' on Sunday.  I was busy doing some housework (as I do on a Sunday) when Mr D set them up with some painting out in the garden before heading out with Master J for a bike ride.

They were only left for a few minutes......but it was enough!!!!!  Oh My Goodness, you should have seen the mess!!!!!!  I literally froze with panic at the kitchen door when I first saw them, but the smiles and that beautiful sound of little giggles forced me to just sit down on the doorstep and watch.

They had a ball!!
How you you cope with mess??

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Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Seashell by Jacki Bruniquel

The prompt for day 14 of 'blogging every day in May' with Claire Hewitt is

My favourite image of all time.  

Without a doubt it has to be this one of my two boys.  It was taken in South Africa by my amazing talented cousin Jacki Bruniquel.  I think she even won and award for this image.

If you have a spare hour or two five minutes and you love photography you should pop over to her blog JACKI BRUNIQUEL and have a look at her work.  It will blow your mind!!

You can also follow her on Facebook HERE.

Do you have a favourite image?

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The apple of my i (phone)

Today's prompt for Blogging (almost) every day May with Claire Hewitt is:

Describe your relationship with your phone - Honestly! 

I don't know why, but the first word that springs to mind is 'unhealthy'.

I've been swirling the question around in my head all afternoon and actually I don't think it's unhealthy at all!!  Maybe on the odd occasion it might lean towards the unhealthy but I am pretty happy with the relationship I have with my Apple.

Yes I do.......

  • Check my phone first thing every morning!  BUT Mr D can't function without a coffee as soon as his eyes are open and my kids have to sit like zombies in front of the TV before they're capable of getting ready for the day.  Thats just how we roll!
  • Have my phone with me all the time!  BUT imagine what might happen if I didn't??  I might miss a call from the kids school or not know if Mr D is staying out late at work, or be able to respond to one of you lovely readers on here????
  • Watch TV and sit on social media all at the same time.  What can I say, multi-tasking is a skill.
  • Spend a lot of time on social media.  BUT I enjoy it.  I really love this blog and chatting to all the lovely people that read it.  It's also the only way I can catch up with friends and family that live abroad, especially when it's not possible to just meet up for coffee (or wine).
  • Use it to get me from A to B - literally.  Without google maps I would be a nervous wreck in the car!
  • Use it as my second brain.  All of my notes, memos, diary dates, phone numbers, emails and pretty much all important information is on my phone.  I would be lost without it.
  • Use it to keep me up to date with what's happening in the world.  Who (with kids) has time to sit down at 6pm and watch the news on TV???  I wouldn't have a clue what was going on if it wasn't for SKY News (Facebook, Twitter and Mama Mia).

 I try my best not to......

  • Use my phone between 3pm and 7pm.  This time is just for the kids and all the craziness that goes with it.  Any social media between this time I try to schedule in advance.
  • Look at my phone every 10 minutes too often when I am catching up with friends.  Unless of course we're all addicts and then its ok.
  • Loose it or break it.  This can be pretty tricky when the kids drop it on the floor, lick it, or fight over it.   I can't always blame them though as I might have done things like leave it on the car bonnet and then drive over it, or wash it in the washing machine!!
  • Use it as the occasional babysitter.

There is so much said these days about how terrible we've all become with modern technology, but actually, used in moderation (like everything) I think it's ok.

How would you describe your relationship with your phone??