Jen Walshaw is the author of the number one mummy blog in the UK – Mum in the Madhouse. Covering family fun and creative crafts. Mum in the Madhouse has become a must-read for anyone after some creative inspiration and content. We spoke to Jen about being creative, finding her audience and working with brands.
What makes your blog successful?
I think my blog is successful as my family is relatable and authentic. We are just your average family with our ups and downs. Over the years, it has gone from strength to strength, some readers have been with us from the beginning, others found us while looking for a specific solution. It has stood the test of time and remains a trusted voice in a saturated market.
Why did you start your blog?
My blog started out as a diary after a health scare. I had two boys under three with 14 months between them. It was my way of recording our day to day life while reclaiming time for me. I had always wanted to be one of those people that had a batch of journals to look back on but never found pen and paper that appealing long term. I loved being able to create my own digital photo album with words!
How are mummy blogs different from dad blogs?
I am not sure that they are all that different, but I do love that fact that people feel they provide a different perspective. I also love that they are much more prolific than they ever were. I would much prefer to just be pigeonholed as a parent blogger rather than a mummy blogger, however, like every aspect of my life, being a parent is just part of it.
What’s it like to be part of the mummy blogging community?
I have to say that I adore the whole blogging and online community. There will always be someone that has experienced what you have and able to offer insight and advice. Whether it be dealing with the death of a loved one or how to get the tween off the XBox! We relocated (or boomeranged) back to our native North East when I was pregnant with Mini, and the mummy blogging community has enabled me to have an online village to support me while I raise my children. Some of my closest friends have come from blogging.
How do you plan content with the kids?
We talk about things we would like to blog about as a family and then schedule it in. When it comes to cooking and crafting, that is very much just part of our everyday lives so as long as they are happy for me to document it then I will. I want to be respectful of their stories and privacy. As they get older, then they are starting to provide their own content with recipes and reviews.
How do you feel about your kids growing up and reading the blog?
I have no issues with the boys’ reading the blog or any of the posts. I have always been conscious of their privacy and always check with them before posting images of them online. I know a lot of their friends follow me on Instagram and read the blog. Some of them even send me pictures of crafts they have made or recipes they have used.
What’s your favourite collaboration with a brand or PR?
It is so hard to pin it down to just one collaboration. We are big fans of family experiences and have been lucky enough to work with some fantastic brands and have lots of fun at the same time. There have been different favourites depending on the stages of our family life. The man of the house loves car or holiday collaborations, the boys are particularly keen on theme parks, technology and festivals, while for me, like most mums, am happy when the rest of the family is. However, I do love going to concerts, visiting new places and experiencing new things. I am also partial to tea and fabric!
What should PRs know when contacting you?
I am a proud Northerner, so invites to events in the capital mean quite a chunk of travel! I want PRs to understand what I can offer them and their clients, and to develop long-term relationships. Things really need to be relevant to me and my readers. More and more it is about being a trusted voice. It is great to connect with people that understand what you do and see how you can work together for the benefit of their client. I like to provide unique relevant evergreen content that will meet their needs and appeal to my readers and new readers.
What do you call yourself (blogger/content creator/influencer)?
Jack of all trades! It depends on who I am talking to. So, blogger, freelance writer, content creator or that I run a website. I wear many hats, but I do not think that I fit the influencer mould or class myself as an influencer especially as I am all about communication, discussion and engagement with my readers; it is certainly a two-way relationship and I do not set out to influence them. Personally, I am thinking of myself more and more as a maker and creator.
What other blogs do you read?
I am an avid blog reader and love being part of such a wide-ranging and diverse community. I turn to blogs for pretty much everything, looking for a recipe then there is a great blog for that, planning a party, again I turn to a blog.
Jen Walshaw and Mum in the Madhouse are both listed on the Vuelio Influencer Database along with thousands of other leading bloggers, journalists and editors.