North West Bloggers – We Love Manchester

I am part of a Facebook group called “North West Bloggers”. There are over 500 bloggers from across the whole blogging spectrum in the group. We all have at least one thing in common; we are from the North West of England. Many of us live or work in Manchester, those who don’t live here know the city fairly well.

The shockwaves from the bombing on 2nd May 2017 were felt across the North West, and throughout the UK and beyond. Many of us in the group knew, or knew of people injured in the bombing. Some of us knew people who died that night. All of us were shaken by the tragedy that night.

In the days following the atrocity, several members of the group wrote blog posts expressing their shock and sense of loss. Others wrote about their pride for their city, some shared photos of their bee tattoos and experiences visiting the memorial in St Ann’s Square.

There was a feeling, a suggestion in the group that we should bring all of our blog posts together in one place. This is that place.

If you’ve written a blog post in remembrance of what happened, or perhaps a blog post celebrating the city of Manchester, please do join in the linky below.


Please add the linky button below to your blog post (just copy and paste the code onto the bottom of your blog post).

Please do try to leave a comment on some of the blog posts. Also please feel free to share, tweet, stumble, whatever every click, like, love or share helps your fellow blogger.

Please feel free to Tweet me your link and I will happily retweet it.

I reserve the right to remove any blog posts which are not in the spirit of this link up.

About North West bloggers

North West Bloggers are a network of bloggers in the North West of England. We have parenting bloggers, fashion and beauty bloggers, business bloggers, Dad bloggers, fitness bloggers, you name it we have them in our group bloggers.

Tweet North West Bloggers for more information.

You can donate to the Manchester Just Giving Page here.



Blogging: Taking part in the Q&A Panel at The Co-op #OnTheList Event

On Friday night I took part in the Blogger Q&A Panel at The Co-operative #OnTheList event in Manchester. I was, it’s fair to say, as nervous as hell. Unaccustomed as I am to public speaking and all that. If you know me then you know that I have raging social anxiety. I remain perplexed as to why I was asked to be part of the panel, but now it’s over it was a great (confidence building) experience and it had made me reflect on what I do and how I do it.

I don’t present myself as any kind of blogging expert, it’s an ever evolving world and I think even the best of us struggle to keep up at times. I’m lucky to be part of the North West blogger community, an incredibly supportive and hilarious bunch of friends who would do anything for anyone. Anyway, I digress. 

Photo credit: Karen Hannah

The panel were sent most of the questions the day before so we could look things up and prepare ourselves a bit. I know on the night my answers were not as in-depth as they would be here, plus we didn’t manage to get through all the questions during the panel, so for those who may be interested here are my answers in full. Feel free to ask me anything, or almost anything…

Which social media channel is your best referrer, and why do you think that is?
I get a significant number of referrals from Twitter, then Facebook. I have a fairly respectable following on Twitter and I tweet and auto-tweet regularly. I could and should do more to promote my blog posts across the board, but I don’t have the time to do everything.

Do you vlog? If so, why, if not, why?
I don’t think I’d ever call myself a vlogger, I don’t think I’m very natural in front of the camera and I lack the technical skills to make decent vlogs, but brands want video content so I have done the occasional one. < Insert plug for YouTube channel here >

How do you prefer a brand to approach you, in order to work with you?
Preferably with a bottle of prosecco… A nice personalised email is always a good start, a PR or brand who are open to having a useful dialogue about what they want and what I can offer. I don’t mind if I get a “Hey Bloggers!” email, I do mind it when they get my name and the name of my blog wrong, which is either careless or rude.

I like to know specifics, what they want, when, how much etc, I don’t have the time, energy or patience to go back and forth for days, I don’t want vagaries, I want specific detail which I can work with.

Do you actively engage in SEO tactics, if so, which do you find the most useful?
My blog is self-hosted and is a WordPress blog. I have the Yoast plug-in which was recommended to me by nearly every blogger in the world and a whole bunch of SEO professionals. It’s really easy to use and it takes the thinking out of SEO, so I just follow the Yoast instructions and suggestions until it gives my blog post a green light. I get a lot of traffic from search engines, so I think I must be getting something right.

Do you have your own domain and if so, why, if not, why?
Yes, I’ve been self-hosted for about two years now, it doesn’t cost that much and it’s not that hard to go self-hosted. I blogged on the free WordPress for about 6 months before I made the leap and never looked back.

Do you think it’s acceptable to sometimes blog about something “off topic” or should we stick to what our readers are expecting from us?
My blog is HodgePodgeDays, hodge-podge literally means a jumble, so theoretically nothing is “off topic” for my blog. I think it’s your blog, your little corner of the internet, you can write what you damn well please; go off topic, what’s the worst that can happen? You might even get some new readers.

Do you stick to a regular post frequency and rhythm, or just blog spontaneously?
I used to try and blog regularly and did blog most days. These days I have less time due to work commitments and life so I blog less. I find I get a day or two every few weeks and I blog my socks off then, I try and schedule them out a bit. I think my lack of consistency in terms of frequency and content topic lets me down and is something I need to work on.

What opportunity do you see on networks like WhatsApp and SnapChat, if any?
I’m not on either. I’m a bit of an old skool Twitter junkie who is having a passionate affair with Instagram, as well as a love/hate relationship with Facebook.

Affiliate partnerships, do you partake and if so, are they worth the hassle?
I think I’ve been an Amazon affiliate for about two years and I’ve not earned a penny, so I’m obviously doing something very wrong. I know some people can earn good money from affiliate partnerships but I’ve yet to motivate myself to properly monetise my blog.

How is best to get to know new brands, to prospect opportunities?
Get to know brands via social media, be nice and chatty as well as open. I’m not a pushy person so I don’t often make the approach, I’d rather PRs and brands approach me, because then I don’t feel so much like a blagger. I sometimes cruise the #BloggersWanted and #BloggersRequest hashtags on Twitter, but some of the best relationships I’ve got with PRs and brands are where someone has recommended me to them and they like what I do and my helpful, professional attitude.

What’s the best opportunity you’ve had, because of your blog?
Three things really stand out for me. Earlier this year we went to Bluestone Wales and had a fabulous holiday we probably wouldn’t have been able to afford otherwise. I also got to be a judge at the International Cheese Awards, and in September I went to River Cottage with Foodies100 and a group of other food bloggers. There are no words to describe how amazing that experience was.

What’s the next step for you and your blog?
I don’t think there are enough hours in the day for me to be able to do what I really want with my blog. I know I need to re-balance the content and post more personal and family blog posts, because that’s what people really want to read about. I’d like to earn more money from my blog, not least to justify the time I spend on it.

So that was me and my answers. Any questions?

PS. Thank you to everyone who was lovely to me, you’re all so very kind xx

She thinks it’s all over…. it is now… phew!
Photo credit: Karen Hannah

Is it worth paying to promote your posts on Facebook?

Back in March this year I conduced a little experiment with Facebook. Dear old Facebook had been imploring me for months to try paying to “boost my posts”. I have a little over 2000 people who like my Facebook page and routinely everything I post on these gets very little attention, this is largely due to the algorithms Facebook uses to limit the content people liking pages will see and also to encourage page owners to put their hand in their pocket.

I was running a lovely little competition to win a limited edition print of a cartoon, it was a great prize but for some reason my competition wasn’t as popular as I hoped it would be. I looked at the stats on Facebook, it had been shared to only 67 people out of around 2000 followers. That’s pretty depressing. So I decided to see if paying for Facebook advertising was really worth it.

I paid £3 to boost my post over three days, ok so that is pretty cheap, but I didn’t want to go in high and waste my money.

Facebook advertising

The Facebook advertising ran for 3 days and apparently over those three days paying for it meant that it showed up a fairly impressive 1,152 times in peoples timelines. Am I impressed though? No. Why not? I hear you ask, well firstly it showed up in my own timeline several times each day, which just felt a little spammy for my liking, and it was my post!

Also, I’m not convinced by the accuracy of their stats which seemed to suddenly rocket in the final hours of day three, so I suspected a bit of creative accounting had taken  place to make the Facebook advertising seem more effectual than it actually was, though I can’t prove it, it’s just a hunch.

What else didn’t float my boat? Well my advert had 1,219 “impressions” in total and it only had 7 clicks. Firstly the idea of impressions makes me mad, I don’t really want Facebook to show the same thing to the same person 10 times, I want more people to see it once, twice tops. And 7 clicks? Really? I suspect at least half of those were before I’d boosted the post in the first place.

My rationale for boosting my post and buying some Facebook advertising was to generate additional clicks on the link and more entries into the competition I was hosting. I wasn’t looking to increase my page likes, but that would’ve been nice too. Generating just 7 clicks and no engagement or interaction was beyond disappointing.

My conclusion: I paid £3 for 7 clicks to my blog which seems pretty darn expensive. I also felt like Facebook had maybe spammed some people on my behalf, which could potentially lead them to unfollow or unlike my page, which is the very opposite of what you want to happen. Would I boost a post again? It’s unlikely. Unless they iron out the spaminess, sort out the accuracy of their statistics and do something to improve click throughs etc, it’s probably just a big old waste of my money.

Have you used Facebook advertising? Have you had great success and have I just been unlucky?

Getting to know me… Blog On 2014

Well hello there…if you’re reading this, then like me you’re probably getting mentally psyched up and all excited for Blog On 2014. I can’t wait!

Lovely Laura has put together a list of questions so people can get to know a little bit about each other before we meet. So, here I am, have a read and feel free to ask me anything, and I mean anything.  I am an open book. There’s a little bit more about me on my about me page if you’re interested.

Name – Jane, but close friends call me Jay. I’m also known as DG because of my other, non-blogging Twitter account, DG has just stuck.

Blog url

Twitter –

Facebook –

Instagram –

Location – Didsbury in South Manchester

Bra size – (only kidding) More than a handful, less that a bucketful.

Kids – One small boy aged 3 and a half. Part tyrant, part angel.

Favourite food? Pretty much anything with noodles, my favourite meal is bean curd massaman curry with noodles. I also live on scrambled eggs. Bring me eggs and I’m yours forever.

Tea or coffee?  Coffee, hot, strong with not too much milk please.

Cat or Dog? A doggie please. I love a faithful mutt at my feet.

Left handed or right handed? I’m right handed but I use my left hand to carry my wedding ring and to feed myself popcorn while I’m typing this.

What came first the chicken or the egg?  Erm I dunno. Dinosaurs?

Dietary requirements? Moderately picky vegetarian. Can’t eat mushrooms and I have an aversion to bananas, yoghurt and anything strawberry, apart from actual fresh strawberries.

Special talents?  Balloon modelling – giraffes and sausage dogs a speciality.

Describe Yourself In Seven Words – Funny, weird, introspective…? I got stuck, so I did what I always do and I asked Twitter, this is what they came up with…

Getting to know me... Blog On 2014

What Is The Best And Worst Thing About Blogging?  – The best thing is finding and having a voice as well as making lots of lovely friends and getting to go on exciting adventures. The worst thing is writers block and when something technical goes wrong with my blog and I get all baffled.

What is the most embarrassing thing you’ve ever done? Oh no, I’m too sober to say, but involves a queue for the bathroom and a sneeze.

What would your superhero name and power be? Snooze-button Woman. I have the ability to sleep through alarm clocks, screaming children, hurricanes and I’m liable to nod off anytime, anyplace, anywhere. I enjoy a kip!

What will you be wearing at Blog On 2014? Not a clue. Though I’m hoping it’ll be reasonably clean and stain free. A fashionista I ain’t. I do have purple hair though if that helps?

What’s your favourite blog post you have written this year so far? Crikey, I’ve got a few, but I liked this one and so did lots of other people………. 15 ways you know you’re a parent

If you choke a smurf what colour does it turn? Purple.

Would you like some cake? What kind? Yes please, coffee and walnut if you’ve got it, or a giant and I mean giant Tunnocks Teacake please.

Well, that’s me, any questions raise your hand. Look forward to meeting you at Blog On 2014.

The Roost – Bloggers & Brands 2014 YouTube Video

photoIn December the lovely lot at The Roost put a shout out to bloggers to send them a short video on what their hopes, dreams and ambitions were for blogging and working with brands in 2014.

What with me being a try anything once kinda gal, I thought I’d inflict my ugly mug the YouTube watching population. Thankfully (for you) they didn’t include the whole of my performance, but do keep an eye out for me. I think it’s a really well produced video about Bloggers & Brands, I’m really proud to be a part of it. Let me know what you think!