Political Services Overview

Interior Design Blogs UK Top 10

Last Updated 24/03/2016

1. Mad about the house
If you are mad about interiors, then you better visit this blog. It’s got ideas that range from mild to wild and visuals that make you want to redecorate. Author and interiors journalist, Kate Watson-Smyth, uses a friendly, conversational tone that puts readers at the heart of every home.

2. Dear Designer’s Blog

Author Carole King started this blog in 2009 as a way to create her ‘own little library of loveliness.’ The library she created helped her to then start up a digital interiors magazine. The Dear Designer blog remains her first love and boasts an extensive blogroll.

3. The Design Sheppard

Author Stacey Sheppard calls the blog her ‘online home’ and you are invited in. This blog stands out from others on the list for the functional yet beautiful ideas it offers – like for real homes.

4. Design Hunter

Launched in 2009, author Helen Powell’s Design Hunter is now an award-winning design and lifestyle blog with a focus on understated luxury and enduring modern design.

5. Love Chic Living

Author Jen Stanbrook has been busy writing a series about loft conversions and at other times, picking up awards including the Cosmopolitan Magazine’s Best Interiors Blog award! Jen shows off her ‘insatiable love of home decor, interior design and home accessories’ through the blog that first started out in 2012.

6. Fresh Design Blog

The name says it all – it’s a fresh take on interiors. This blog offers ideas  and inspiration for the modern and contemporary home and does so keeping costs in mind. Palm reading wallpaper, back to school bargains, geometric coffee cup sets…you get the gist?

7. Abigail Ahern

Recognised amongst design aficionados and devotees, Abigail Ahern’s blog is still one of the most influential interior design blogs out there and is a regular in our Top 10!

8. Sophie Robinson

Sophie has worked interior design for over 20 years and has a wealth of knowledge about the industry. Over the years Sophie has made a name for herself and appeared on BBC2’s The Great Interior Design Challenge.

9. HomeShoppingSpy

Featuring an array of different writers this blog features the latest decorating looks to the best new home-improvement ideas, plus new products from high-street stores that will help you to create your ideal home.

10. WowHaus

This is a blog that picks out the best and most interesting properties on the market. The properties featured on the site are very stylish with stunning architecture.   



The fundamentals of working with bloggers are the same as with traditional journalists at traditional media outlets: respect their schedules; take time to read their material to learn their interests; and only contact them if/when they want to be contacted.

Vuelio’s blog ranking methodology takes into consideration social sharing, topic-related content and post frequency. Profiles of these interior design blogs and their authors can be found in the Vuelio Media Database.


Other Blog Rankings

Photo Courtesy of mattwalker69 on Flickr

Blogger Spotlight: Beautwins

An interview with Katrina, author of the parenting and lifestyle blog, Beautwins. Katrina spoke to us about what makes her blog different, the five best practices bloggers need to keep in mind for better outreach and working with top brands including Pampers, British Gas, Magic Bullet, UNICEF, Coca-Cola, Herbalife and many more.

Why should people read your blog? What makes it different? My aim is to involve my readers as much as I can. I discuss a variety of subjects including healthy debates for my ‘Think’ topics to light-hearted, humourous pieces about motherhood. I really enjoy it when people can relate to what I have written.

How do you measure the success of your website? Beside the statistics, for me I actually firstly measure the success by the interaction that takes place. It’s really important to me to connect with my readers.

What’s your favourite blog and why? That is a tricky one as I love so many – I have a whole list on my blog. There are some very inspiring writers out there and I love discovering new blogs.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to start a blog? Absolutely do it! Do it for you, do it for the passion and don’t think about anything else other than the writing first. Everything else falls in to place.

How do you work with marketers and PRs? This can vary depending on requirements; I have worked on sponsored posts, reviews, vlogs, competitions and campaigns.

Who do you work with in brand marketing? PRs? SEOs? Anyone else? I have worked with various brands and PR companies with many more projects in line for the near future. To name a few, I have had the opportunity to work with Pampers, British Gas, Magic Bullet, UNICEF, Coca-Cola, Herbalife and many more.

Can you list five best practices for blogger outreach? 

·          Social media platforms are great way to get to know other bloggers – the big ones I use are Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Google +

·          Read and comment on other blogs

·          Taking part in blog hosted link ups

·          Register and interact with as many blogging networks as you can

·          Attend blogging events and network. Put faces to blogging names.


What has been your blogging highlight? There have been quite a few; I’ve recently featured in large online publication which was amazing.  However my ultimate highlight has to be the response I received on a blog post about getting through tough times. It’s a wonderful feeling to receive positive comments and words of encouragement from others.

What will be big in your blogosphere in the coming months? I have a feature coming up in a well known parent magazine; I have some great blog posts ideas to write, fantastic reviews and of course attending some blogging events is on the agenda.

Editorial information on Katrina, Beautwins and thousands of other media/blogger contacts and outlets, can be found in the Cision Media Database.

Speedy Spotlight: Jaime Oliver from The Oliver’s Madhouse

An interview with Jaime Oliver, author of  The Oliver’s Madhouse, a blog that discusses a bit of everything, from parenting and family life to lifestyle and product reviews. Jaime spoke to us about working with “super brands,” best practices that all bloggers (new and established) should follow, and cake…lots of it. 

Why should people read your blog? What makes it different? My blog is an honest place to visit, I like to blog with integrity and passion and I can very often be found documenting life with a teen and toddler while undertaking a weight loss journey with a passion for cake and Pepsi Max … it doesn’t always end well but it can be rather interesting ….. And yes I do sometimes make a fool of myself! If you are going to look for something uber pretty and with amazing arts, crafts and cooking – my blog is not the one for you!

How do you measure the success of your website? Everyone measures success differently but for me I feel I am succeeding if I achieve certain things, honesty, interaction and interest for both myself and my readers. Stats and figures, although they are nice, no one measures using the same ones so why stress. It’s nice to be acknowledged on rankings and stats but they are not the be all and end all so just be you and blog!

What’s your favourite blog and why? I don’t have a favourite blog, I have lots of blogs I read as I like the different subjects they cover, however I am always discovering new and interesting blogs and so I think it would be unfair to select just one! I can tell you however that the ones I love to read are the ones that remain honest and open and blog from the heart.

Oliver's Madhouse

What advice would you give to someone who wants to start a blog? When I first started blogging I had no idea of the whole package that comes with blogging so I would advise anyone thinking of blogging a few things:

Time – Everything takes time, patience is a virtue and a following will come over time, don’t expect it overnight.  Also blogs are a labour of love and it you don’t have the time or the inclination to input into it, it may not be for you. Time on social media is really important for finding, interacting and building an audience.

Be Original – Having been around a little while now and having seen it done to others and even having it done to myself I would advise EVERYONE not just newbies that copying content, images and or concepts is not big and its not clever, its not flattering – its hurtful and destructive, have your own ideas, concepts and images … you are what makes your blog unique for your readers.. Cherish it!

Remain Honest – It would be super easy to take a quick buck every now and again and skim the honesty … don’t do it your readers will notice and it will backfire in the long run. Love what you do and don’t sell yourself or your blog short you work hard on it.

How do you work with marketers and PRs? I love the honest approach, don’t tell me fibs! I will be able to tell when you contact me if you have read my blog or not. I would rather a marketer or PR contact me and say I don’t read but I am looking for a, b or c .. I also love it when an initial email holds as much information about a collaboration or proposal as possible, just as their time is money, my time is my family so make it upfront and snappy. I am not patient enough to spend 3 days sending emails backwards and forwards to get the basics, there is too much Pepsi Max, cake and family time to enjoy!

Who do you work with in brand marketing? PRs? SEOs? Anyone else? I have worked with a fairly wide range of those folks so far. I am lucky to have a small group of really super brands and PR’s that I work with regularly and I am always looking for brands and PR’s that think outside the box. Over the coming years I would love to work with a charity.

What can marketers do better in working with you? Working with a marketer to support a brand or client really needs to be a two way street and I am not just talking about hard cash, although that is nice to pay the bills and obviously be able to buy cake. However for me it’s about original and unique campaigns but also a brand or company that will support me too.  New experiences, support and learning is also vital to grow so offering this is sometimes a more worthwhile commodity… well for me at least.

What was your blogging highlight of 2013? Last year was such an amazing learning curve for me but I think some of my most amazing times have to be the blogging events I attended; Blog Camp (tots100) and Britmums Live (Britmums) Working from home and being a blogger can be very insular to real life contact in its nature and having a whole community in cyber space is a very different to building relationships to real life so getting the opportunity to turn virtual relationships to into relationships with real people was immense -with some good solid workshops and cake thrown in, they were like heaven on earth!

What will be big in your blogosphere in the coming months? Who knows! That’s the point. I don’t want to plan too far in advance for my blog as there is always new and interesting stuff to learn about or take part in or to blog about. However, within The Oliver’s Madhouse itself there are big plans afoot on the family front, but hopefully more on that later in the year.

Editorial information on Jaime Oliver, The Oliver’s Madhouse and thousands of other media contacts and outlets, can be found in the CisionPoint Media Database.

Speedy Spotlight: Laura Seaton

An interview with Laura Seaton, author of one of UK’s top mummy blogs, Tired Mummy of Two. Laura spoke to us about the mix of content (including a Christmas tombola!) that makes her site so popular,  why finding the right name for a blog is key for new bloggers, the importance of building a two-way relationship with brand marketers…and eating live bugs in a park. 

laura seatonWhy should people read your blog? I read so many amazing blogs and see some of the things people write about, the humour they use, the effort they put in. Half the time I sit here late at night and just brain dump my life into the keyboard. There have been times when my blog has been my savior, it has been my counsellor, my best friend and sometimes a complete chore.

What makes your blog different? With so many blogs out there to read, it is really hard to find something that makes yours different. I find that the only thing that you can do is just be yourself. I have blogged about holidays, meals, being fat, watching my daughter go through chemotherapy and going out drinking. Life is varied and I hate being pigeon holed into having to write about just one thing. I am a mum, a wife, a sister, a daughter, an aunty and so much more. I am a best friend, a metal head, an amateur photographer and a lover of crappy films and I want to share it all so why not. I suppose the one thing that I do differently is my huge christmas giveaway. I have run my xmas tombola for three years now and I use my PR connections to gather together loads of prizes to give away. Last year I had over 200 prizes and thousands of entries.

What’s your favourite blog and why? I love so many blogs, in fact I spend so much time reading other peoples blogs that sometimes I forget to write on mine. One of my favourite blogs is The Boy and Me. I love seeing the adventures they get up to and the photos are amazing. I find that the blogs I read the most are from the bloggers who I have met and made a connection with. It could be that we have met at an event, shared a drink at a conference or become friends on social media. Blogging is all about the community and I love it.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to start a blog? After nearly three years of blogging there are so many things that I would have done differently but the one thing I have always been happy with is the name of my blog. When choosing your name make sure it fits, make sure you will be happy being introduced to people by that name and introducing yourself by that name too. The only other tip –  make sure that name is available on all social media channels and the url. After that just blog, write for yourself, write for the love of writing and just enjoy it.

How does a good PR work with you? I love building  relationships with PRs and I find it really helps to have these sorts of relationships in place. When a PR needs something reviewed or something to be shared socially then I am more likely to take part if we already have a two way relationship. I work in this way with a lot of PR’s most of whom I approached at some point in the past, usually when I am running a huge giveaway like my Xmas Tombola or when I am doing something for charity. Even if they cant help me they have responded to my email and that is a huge step towards an ongoing relationship. As a blogger I get so many emails and I always try to respond to every single one of them. Sometimes it’s just a thanks but no thanks, sometimes I offer a different way of working together and sometimes I say yes – but the professionalism of actually responding makes a huge difference and is something that I will always recommend bloggers to take the time to do.

What do PRs do that’s bad? This is one of those questions which I think depends on the blogger. A PR is always trying to do their best for their client, they have a job to do and a set amount of time to do it. If that means that they accidentally call me by someone elses name, use cc rather than bcc or even promise something and never fulfill that promise then that’s life. A PR approach will only ever be suitable for some people and if it is not suitable for me then I politely let them know and secure the relationship for a future when the approach is right.

What was your blogging highlight of 2013? 2013 saw my blog become my business, it saw me run my first ever blog conference, it saw me work with some amazing companies as an ambassador and as a consultant and it saw me shortlisted in the brilliance in blogging awards. The highlight of 2013 for me was none of these things yet a culmination of all of them. Blogging is a way of life but it also brings so much to our lives. We have had some unforgettable experiences that money can’t buy through my blog from holidays to days out, meeting celebrities to eating live bugs in a london park. Life is varied, exciting and full on and that is exactly the sort of life I want to be living and sharing with my kids and that is what 2013 was for us.

What will be big in your blogosphere in 2014? The best part of the  year for me is the blogging conferences. I try to go to as many as I can, to learn new things, meet more fabulous bloggers and interact with some brilliant brands. The biggest thing happening for me this year is hosting my own conference in May. It is the second conference that I have done but this year it is bigger, better and more organised. I can’t wait to hear the feedback afterwards and to know that I have made a difference, helped someone to learn something or enabled people to connect with a brand that they really want to work with. The buzz on the day is unforgettable and addictive and I can’t wait to feel that all over again.

Editorial information on Laura Seaton, Tired Mummy of Two and thousands of other media contacts and outlets, can be found in the Vuelio Media Database.

Speedy Spotlight: Sparkles and Stretchmarks

An interview with Hayley McLean, author of the mummy blog Sparkles and Stretchmarks. Hayley spoke to us about the mix of content that makes up her blog, best practices around working with PRs and comms and attending Brit Mums Live in June.

Why should people read your blog? I put a lot of time and effort into my blog, ensuring there is a good mix of organic content such as opinion pieces on issues that we face as parents as well as informative and detailed product reviews, and fun lifestyle and how-to posts.

I like to think of my blog as an online magazine where people can flick through and find an array of articles to suit their taste.

I make sure all content is well written and try to take extra care with my photography, to really show products in their best light.

What makes your blog different? I think what makes my blog different is the mix of topics covered – I of course like to do all of the usual cutesy posts about life with a baby showing lots of adorable pics and glimpses of family life,  but I do also like to keep it real and post about the struggles we all face as mothers. I also like to regularly post humorous light hearted pieces as often as possible – I enjoy writing in a sarcastic style and find these posts to be among my most popular!

What’s your favourite blog and why? There are so many to choose from. I enjoy blogs that make me both envy the writers life as it looks so glamourous but also enables me to relate to them as they show the realness too – one of the best blogs for this is This Little House

What advice would you give to someone who wants to start a blog? I’d advise them to make sure that they’re in it for the right reasons. A love of writing is a must in my opinion, and you need to dedicate a lot of time. You only get out of it what you’re willing to put into it. If you’re in it just to get some products to review – it shows and it won’t last long.

 How does a good PR work with you? I love to get emails from PR people who make it clear that they have taken the time to look at my blog and make themselves familiar with it – when an email addresses me by name and makes reference to my sons name or age, or a recent post I’ve published then I know they’ve actually bothered to look at who we are rather than just send out a generic copy and paste email.

I think a good PR also discusses expectations from both sides right from the start – when they would like the review/piece to go live by, what they would like to be included, etc – this way there can be no crossed wires and everybody knows where they stand.

What do PRs do that’s bad? The biggest no-no for me is quite simply addressing me by the wrong name! I’d say 50% of the emails I get are addressed to “Helen” or “Hannah” rather than Hayley! This puts me off from the start as if they can’t take five seconds to read my name, they can’t be that interested in working with me!

What was your blogging highlight of 2013? Well all of 2013 was a highlight for me – it was the year I became a mum and also the year I started blogging as my blog began in January 2013! Hitting half a million views towards the end of the year was a great feeling!

What will be big in your blogosphere in 2014? I think the biggest thing for me is attending Brit Mums Live, it’s the first blogger conference I’ll have been to and I’m very excited about it!

Editorial information on Hayley McLean, Sparkles and Stretchmarks and thousands of other media contacts and outlets, can be found in the CisionPoint Media Database.

Speedy Spotlight: Kay Burgess, Mummy B

An interview with Kay Burgess, author of the parenting blog, Mummy B. Kay spoke to us about deriving inspiration from her daughter, mistaken identities and winning an award. 

Kay BurgessWhy should people read your blog?
My blog is a place that I put my heart and soul into. I find blogging completely therapeutic and relaxing. Its a place where I can share my memories and share ideas and loves, I hope that people can enjoy and appreciate what I write.

What makes your blog different?
My blog is an extension of me and so there won’t be another like it! I don’t like to just write about the same topics, my line for my blog is ‘Mummy B – Little D and all things pretty’ I write a lot about Darcie (little D) as she was my inspiration for the blog but I also cover things like home decor, beauty and fashion. I like to about things that I love and things that inspire me at any given time.

What’s your favourite blog and why?
I have different blogs I enjoy for different reasons, ‘Oh So Amelia’, ‘Milk Bubble Tea’ and ‘The Londoner’ are my reads that I look for first in my Bloglovin’ feed. I like brilliant photography along with a nice writing style, which is partly why I’m drawn to these blogs.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to start a blog?
To write about things you love rather than things you think other people would love. If you do this readers will see your genuine passion for blogging. 

How does a good PR work with you?
I like it when I receive an email from a PR company who clearly has taken the time to read my blog and get to know me. Good PR is all about building good relationships and a PR company taking a genuine interest in you is a good start!

What do PRs do that’s bad?
I have not had many negative experiences, one time a PR company got me confused with another blogger and even when I corrected them they continued mistaking me for someone else. As you can imagine I soon lost interest in them.

What was your blogging highlight of 2013?
At the end of 2013 I feel I really did ‘grow’ as a blogger. I won a blogger award from NEXT and also went to my first event, made me feel like ‘someone’ when really, I just started it as a way to keep our memories.

What will be big in your blogosphere in 2014?
Hopefully working with more amazing companies to create great content, whilst still making sure it remains a place for memories too. Who knows what the future may bring, I’m certainly excited. 

Editorial information on Kay Burgess, Mummy B, and thousands of other media contacts and outlets, can be found in the CisionPoint Media Database.


Speedy Spotlight: Michelle Pannell, Mummy from the Heart

An interview with one of UK’s top mummy blogger, Michelle Pannell, author of Mummy from the Heart. Michelle spoke to us about being over the ‘big sales pitch,’ the blogs she likes to read and her journey as a blogger to Ethiopia and Belarus. 

michelle - colourWhy should people read your blog?
Can I be honest and say that I’m totally over the big sales pitch? I think people should only read my blog if they find it engaging and want to. The content is a real of mix of themes like parenting, faith, positivity, charity and weight dilemmas but the golden thread is that I’m always honest and authentic in my writing and my Christian faith weaves through it.

 What’s your favourite blog and why?
 I don’t think I can pin down any one blog. Some days I’m in the mood to be inspired and then I’ll head over to the blog ‘Downs side Up,’ at other times I might want to get outdoors more and then it is ‘Coombe Mill,’ and for variety and a good laugh it is ‘Actually Mummy’ every time.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to start a blog?
Go for it! Blogging is great fun but make sure you stay true to yourself. If you start to get involved in a blogging community it is very easy to lose your way and get wrapped up in much of the petty competitiveness. Then once you are trying to keep up with ‘the Joneses’ you lose your unique voice and with it, often your readership. People came to visit your blog for a reason, they liked what they read, so stick with it.

How does a good PR work with you?
I’m pleased to say that I’m still working with some PRs now after five years and this means we have a mutually successful relationship. For me that is all about clear communication, mutual benefit, realistic expectations, meeting obligations and being professional yet friendly.

What do PRs do that’s bad?
I’ve not had that many bad encounters with PRs. Yes some of them send me press releases which are completely irrelevant to my blog but I find a friendly email back normally removes me from the list and we can move on. We always have a choice to work on a campaign or not and different things suit different people, live and let live I say! 

Sadly in recent times it has been the SEO executives who tend to be employing the underhand and unethical practices in my experience (of course that is not all of them).

What was your blogging highlight of 2013?
Towards the end of 2012 I made two journeys as a blogger to Ethiopia and Belarus with a prominent NGO and charity. 2013 ended up being a year of consolidating those experiences, talking at conferences and Church meetings across the country to continue spreading the word. I also received a trophy for outstanding contribution to the parenting blogging community at the MADS in September 2013 which was very special.

What will be big in your blogosphere in 2014?
The parenting blogsphere is growing at an astounding rate at the moment and it is great to see so many parents (especially mums) being empowered to speak out and make a difference to other parents. I believe 2014 is the year that we go back to basics and focus on creating great content with the use of strong images and video being key. Brands will be more discerning and wish to work with the bloggers who choose their partnerships and affiliations wisely. Gone is the time when the top blogs will be just a series of sponsored posts.

Editorial information on Michelle Pannell, Mummy from the Heart, and thousands of other media contacts and outlets, can be found in the CisionPoint Media Database.

Speedy Spotlight: Sally Whittle’s Who’s the Mummy?

An interview with the UK’s top mummy blogger, Sally Whittle, author of Who’s the Mummy? Sally spoke to us about what sets her blog apart, working with PRs and her blogging highlight of 2013 (which included swimming in the Red Sea and floating in the Dead Sea).

SallyandFlea (2)
Why should people read your blog? 
Well, first and foremost, because it’s about my daughter Flea, and she rocks. But I think it’s good for people who want to share in a light-hearted story about single parenting, and balancing work, life and kids and retaining a sense of humour throughout. 

What makes your blog different? 
There are lots of parenting blogs out there that are manuals in disguise. They’re packed with perfect crafting tutorials and lovely photos of home-made buns and stories about amazing days out where everything went smoothly and it was just magical. Who’s the Mummy is not that blog. Mine is a blog about how we muddle through, frequently make fools of ourselves, fail to achieve anything much in the field of crafting, cooking or photography, and still manage to laugh about it at the end of the day. It’s also a blog where you find opinions – lots of bloggers are very tactful and veer away from expressing anything as risky as an opinion – but as a former journalist, I’m rarely troubled by such things, so I’m happy to share opinions on travel, technology, products, politics… you name it. 

What’s your favourite blog? 
In my day job, I run a community of  thousands of blogs (I founded Tots100, Foodies100, HIBS100 and the MAD Blog Awards) so hopefully you’ll understand why I cannot possibly hope to answer that question and live. But for me, blogs are ultimately about writing and stories. Somewhere between blogs that are too perfect and too glossy for my tastes, and blogs that are a bit humdrum, there are blogs that are written with a truthful voice, that capture what’s special about the everyday human story – and those are the blogs I love and return to year after year. 

What advice would you give to someone who wants to start a blog? 
Do what you love, and love what you do. It’s all very well writing a certain sort of blog because you want to get free products to review, or you want the large audience that comes with being provocative – but if you’re not passionate about baby toys, or clothes, or gender politics, that shine wears off pretty fast and blogging gets to be a chore, and sooner or later you’ll either become very unhappy, or you’ll give up. Maybe both. If you blog about something that you’d be talking to your friends about regardless of having a blog, it will never be a chore. I never mind blogging about funny stories, or stupid TV programmes, or ranting about gender stereotyping because if I wasn’t blogging it, I’d be phoning up my mum or sitting in a café with a friend ranting about it. Actually, now I do both and my mum infuriates me by saying, ‘I know. I already read it on your blog.’ 

How does a good PR work with you?
I’m not a big fan of beating PR people around the head and saying they’re doing it all wrong. Most of the PR people I work with are perfectly good. Of course, some clients and campaigns are better than others, and I do get bombarded with ‘Would you like to review this baby product?’ type emails but I don’t mind that too much. For me, my blog isn’t my job so I want to work with PRs on things that are fun. Sometimes PR campaigns can seem a lot of work for not much return. I prefer to work on things I really enjoy – travel is a big passion and I’m lucky we’ve been able to do a lot of that, but fun can be found in smaller settings, too – making smoothies with a hotel chef, exploring behind the scenes of a show, riding a new rollercoaster, learning a new skill. Great blog outreach is about creating memories that people want to share on their blogs. 

What was your blogging highlight of 2013? 
For me, it was travelling to Jordan and getting to cram so many amazing experiences into one week – camping in the desert, riding camels, swimming in the Red Sea, floating in the Dead Sea, walking down the rocky path into the ancient city of Petra. For my daughter, Flea, it was probably the trip we took to Orlando in March 2013 – being treated like a VIP and spending the week on rollercoasters was pretty much all her dreams come true. 

What will be big in your blogosphere in 2014? 
Honestly? I’m not sure. That’s the fab thing about blogging – you never know what’s around the corner, do you? 

Editorial information on Sally Whittle, Who’s the Mummy? and thousands of other media contacts and outlets, can be found in the CisionPoint Media Database.

Speedy Spotlight: The Mum Blog’s Liz Jarvis

An interview with Liz Jarvis, author of The Mum Blog. Liz spoke to us about blogging to her own beat, how to start a new blog and the rise of the vlog in 2014.

Why should people read your blog?
The Mum Blog is one of the UK’s most popular travel, parenting and lifestyle blogs, but one big difference is I never follow the crowd. I always do my own thing, or as I like to say, blog to my own beat. So it always offers great content, but it’s never predictable. It’s a quality blog!

What makes your blog different? 
I think because I have been a journalist for over 20 years, I bring all my editorial expertise to my blog. The Mum Blog has been established for three years and I was blogging for two years in various guises before launching it, so I know what works but I am also not afraid to take risks. For example, in among my cuddlier posts about beautiful destinations and gorgeous things, I will blog about the Blackfish controversy or FGM and people really respond to that as well. I have a very strong, authentic voice, whether I’m blogging about travel or shopping or anything else, and my readers and twitter followers trust me, which is hugely important when you’re a blogger.

What’s your favourite blog and why? 
I love English Mum because Becky mixes posts about food and travel and they’re always beautifully written with great photography. I also really love Katy Hill’s blog  – although she’s fairly high profile she’s not afraid to take risks or be controversial if it’s something she feels strongly about and I absolutely applaud that. And Tara Cain’s Sticky Fingers blog – Tara was one of the first British bloggers to introduce a weekly crowd-sourced blogging idea with her photography gallery and actually, as a direct result of that, my own blog photography has really improved.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to start a blog?
Be sure about the reasons why you want to write a blog, otherwise you just won’t commit to it. Blogging takes time – I blog in the mornings before work or after work, for example, and I work full-time; I don’t blog every day but you do have to be disciplined. You have to do it because you really love writing or taking photos and being part of a massive community. Don’t EVER start a blog thinking you’re going to make money from it, because first and foremost the content has to be there, and if it isn’t, the rewards (and there are lots of these) definitely won’t follow.

How does a good PR work with you?
Approach me with something tangible that will make a good blog post. I never, ever blog from press releases. The pitches that work best for me and The Mum Blog are those that will give me fodder for a great post – for example, being invited to an event that’s a good fit with the blog, to meet and interview someone who is a good fit with the blog, or to get involved with a campaign that resonates. It’s all about synergy.

What do PRs do that’s bad?
Send me press releases that aren’t remotely relevant, or listings information. The Mum Blog is not a listings site. It’s a BLOG.

What was your blogging highlight of 2013?
So many! Being chosen to be a Royal Mum for Royal Caribbean and taken on a cruise round the Caribbean with some of the best British parent bloggers around; becoming a finalist in the BritMums awards in the ‘travel’ category; being named one of the top 20 travel tweeters by I am so grateful for all the opportunities blogging has given me both personally and professionally.

What will be big in your blogosphere in 2014? 
I think (I hope) that we’re going to see more bloggers (from every sector) getting back to what’s really important about blogging in 2014, focusing on content a lot more. Personally I enjoy really crafting a post, as with the one about a visit to Kids Company. I also think vlogging is going to really explode this year – for me as a travel blogger that’s a hugely important area. And I am a big fan of vlog reviews, and roping in members of my family to help out. For example, this vlog review of a phone by my niece has had nearly 10,000 views, not bad going!

Editorial information on Liz Jarvis, The Mum Blog and thousands of other media contacts and outlets, can be found in the CisionPoint Media Database.

Speedy Spotlight: Helen Neale’s KiddyCharts

An interview with Helen Neale, author of parenting site KiddyCharts and round-up editor at BritMums. Helen spoke to us about the challenging bits of parenting, her printable charts and how new bloggers should read, read and read some more.

Helen Neale KiddyChartsWhy should people read your blog?
I write my blog for lots of reasons, but mainly to help people and to give them a bit of a giggle every now and then. If I manage both with a post, then great. Hopefully, anyone that reads or watches one of the posts on my blog will have found out something, or even got something, to help them with the challenging bit of parenting. And oh my, aren’t there a few of those!

What makes your blog different?
I offer a lot of free, personalised printable resources that you can’t get anywhere else. And I mean that; we are truly unique. Our personalised charts are printable from the site, and can help you with anything from getting the kids ready in the morning to potty training. The blog was set up to help other mums just like me, and I so hope that it is, and continues to do so in 2014.

What’s your favourite blog and why?
What an impossible question! That really does depend on what I am looking for and why… there are some wonderful writers out there, and amazing crafters. If I am after some great writing, then I love reading Dorky Mum whose recent posts about her move to Tasmania have been so beautifully penned. For craft inspiration, I love looking at Red Ted Art and Mum of One who have some amazing projects for little ones. I have even been inspired to try and start crafting some more on KiddyCharts after reading their posts. My hobby of Origami may need to get an airing in 2014!

What advice would you give to someone who wants to start a blog?
When I started, I had a clear vision of what I wanted my blog to be; and that is so important. It can be so easy to lose sight of why you started your blog, and what you wanted it to do for YOU. This can be particularly easy to do when you begin to get approached by organisations interested in your little piece of the internet.

Join networks like Love all Blogs and Britmums where you can get advice from other bloggers, and support too. We are a friendly bunch, and like to help where we can. Most importantly read, read and read some more about blogging, and other blogs as well. I did a hell of a lot of that before I started my blog. Mainly because I don’t like doing anything without researching it first properly; I am an ex-analyst after all! However, if you are armed with the right information, if people to start to approach you about working with you, you can see the value in your blog for yourself, for them and your readers much more clearly. This means you can decide more easily which brands you would like to work with, if indeed any at all.

How does a good PR work with you?
Personally. It really is that simple. I much prefer it when a PR has taken the time to get to know my blog, and its own place in this 6,000 strong parent blogging field. I don’t mean at initial approach, I appreciate that many PRs don’t have the time to do this. However, KiddyCharts can offer a fair few things that some other blogs can’t; from bespoke printables to hosting hangouts. It really helps if a PR has taken the time when I respond to them to take a look at the content on the blog, and so knows what KiddyCharts can do personally for their brand. That way we are all helping each other really well.

What do PRs do that’s bad?
The worst thing that a PR can do is not answer an approach. I really don’t mind if my pitch didn’t work, but I would love to hear from them; even if it is a simple: ‘Thanks, but no thanks’.

I have taken the time to write the pitch, and I get a fair number of emails a day; from press releases to specific offers. It would be lovely if PRs took the time to reply to me each and every time. I try to reply to all the PRs, even if it’s a no. I would love the same courtesy where possible. We are all busy people I know, but a quick reply can go a long way. You never know, we might not be able to help each other this time, but there is always a next time. 

What was your blogging highlight of 2013?
Starting the blog properly! All my printables went live in January 2013. I have been tweaking and twerking (not literally of course) here and there ever since.

What will be big in your blogosphere in 2014?
2014 is the year of the craft… because my daughter wants to do more. I am also focusing more on developing my printables. I have big plans for some great new ones that I hope will do a lot of good for parents with children who need that little bit extra help. I am also looking to do more custom work with brands on the printables side too. I have some wonderful ideas; just need an outlet for them all!

Editorial information on Helen Neale, KiddyCharts and thousands of other media contacts and outlets, can be found in the CisionPoint Media Database.

Speedy Spotlight: Mary Key’s Keynko

An interview with Mary Key, author of Keynko – A Crafty Family. Keynko is a family run blog based on crafting, cooking, and life with grown up children and an impending empty nest. The main author Mary can be found on Twitter @keynko. She spoke to us about how her blog is different from other parenting blogs, advice for PRs, and a future of fame and fortune.

Mary Key KeynkoWhy should people read your blog?
It’s an amazing cure for insomnia! And there are sometimes gems of useful information or things that will hopefully make you smile.

What makes your blog different?
Surely every blog is different because every author is different; we all have our opinions and voice them differently. I guess mine is more collaborative than lots of ‘parent’ blogs because my children are so much older (17 and 22). They contribute to it and always have a veto on posts or stories that involve them! They are some of my harshest critics and are first to give me the sympathetic head shake if I get it too wrong.

What’s your favourite blog and why?
There is no way of narrowing that down to one blog! There is just way too much to read out there! For an individual read I would say my top few are: Mammasaurus, because she is epic and a dear friend; The Ramblings of a Formerly Rock ‘n’ Roll Mum, because she is my brain twin and fellow old goth; and just about the first blog I read before I started – Domestic Goddesque. They are all a good read, have beautiful photography and are outgoing, friendly and encouraging people who have supported me since I started! As for collaborative blogs, it has to be Britmums and Love All Blogs both of which have widened my reading list beyond what I thought was possible and boosted my ego by asking me to be involved with them!  

What advice would you give to someone who wants to start a blog?
Read widely before you start. Remember that a lot of people will be hostile because they don’t want you to have what they see as their ‘share of the pie’, but there are supportive people out there who will give you good advice.

It’s just like writing novel – write about what you know! Be honest and write something you would be happy to read; don’t try and please anyone else!

How does a good PR work with you?
Be honest right from the start! Don’t flannel me with such things as: ‘I read you blog and just loved it’. The chances are you didn’t and we can all see through it – particularly when you then use the wrong name or link!

Have a sense of humour! Bloggers will remember people who they shared a joke with for all the right reasons, just like they’ll remember the rude PR for all the wrong ones! 

Don’t try and circumvent the rules and regs – or guidelines – our little corner of the web is vitally important to us and we won’t risk it for a quick buck! (Well most of us won’t). 

What do PRs do that’s bad?
The constant, ‘you don’t need disclosure’ is very wearing. We all know that’s not true and you’ll get a lot further, a lot quicker and with happier bloggers if you’d just give it up!

Getting my name wrong. Even after I’ve answered you email with my signature at the bottom – read what I’ve written and correct your error.

What was your blogging highlight of 2013?
Going to my first blogging conference. It was nerve-racking to walk into a room full of strangers, but they were all wonderful and it was great to put faces and voices to the people I’ve only ever met online.

What will be big in your blogosphere in 2014?
Who knows! This time last year I’d never been approached by a PR and look at me now! There’s no telling where it could go: book deal… movie contract… stardom… wealth… Ok, so maybe just a successful year of writing what I like, building more and better relationships with the wider world and understanding more about how it all works!

Editorial information on Keynko, Mary Key and thousands of other media contacts and outlets, can be found in the CisionPoint Media Database.

#JingleBlogs: Sally Whittle’s Who’s the Mummy?

Today’s advent blogger is Sally Whittle, author of Who’s the Mummy?. In 2013, Sally maintained her number one spot in the Top 10 UK Mummy Blogs. Sally is the founder of blogging networks TOTS 100, HIBS 100 and Foodies 100, as well as the MAD Blog Awards.  

Day 17As for all the advent bloggers, we asked Sally two very special seasonal questions:

What is the worst Christmas present you have ever received?
A lilac towelling dressing gown that was three sizes too small. I suspect it was bought on Christmas Eve in a spirit of ‘grab something near the door and get out’.

What’s your new year’s resolution?
My New Year’s Resolution is better work-life balance. In theory being always connected should mean you’re able to leave your desk more often, but the flip side is it means you take your work with you when you go. I want to spend more time with friends in 2014.

Congratulate Sally on Who’s the Mummy?’s inclusion in the 2013 Advent Calendar on Twitter @swhittle, and check out her advent calendar entry here.

#JingleBlogs: Bringing Up Charlie’s Tim Atkinson

Today’s advent blogger is Tim Atkinson, author of Bringing up Charlie. In 2013, Tim came first in Cision’s Top 10 UK Daddy Blogs. Tim has also appeared on the TV and radio discussing parenting, most recently involved in a parent blogger special on BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour.  

Tim Atkinson Day 13As for all the advent bloggers, we asked Tim two very special seasonal questions:

What is the worst Christmas present you have ever received?
The worst Christmas present ever? Socks, of course – and they were the wrong size!

What’s your new year’s resolution?
My New Year’s resolution for the coming year and every year is to give up New Year’s Resolutions!

Congratulate Tim on Bringing up Charlie’s inclusion in the 2013 Advent Calendar on Twitter @dotterel, and check out his advent calendar entry here.

Speedy Spotlight: The Mummy Blogger

The Mummy Blogger will be featured in this week’s Media Updates. Author Charlotte Everiss spoke to Cision about her blog’s ethos, advice for newbies and top tips for PRs.

Charlotte Everiss The Mummy BloggerWhy should people read your blog?
I’ve always written the blog for me and it’s an honest account of just how tough being a parent is in the world today. With constant media pressure and other mums wading into the debate of what makes the perfect parent, I was very much set with the logic that if I was going to bring up my child I was going to do it my way. As the blog grew so did my passion for writing and it became more than just my journey of parenting, it is an outlet for digital content focused around kids and lifestyle but always written by me so that it never lost the personal touch and quirky tone of voice that my readers have come to love.

What makes your blog different?
I write about things I would like to read about or get more information from if I was browsing the web at 3am whilst nursing a sick child or battling sleep deprivation. It’s honest, it’s forthright and it’s current. When I get it wrong or mess up I’ve said so and it’s been refreshing to see other parents agree with me and offer their points of view – because let’s face it, sometimes we need to know that our child isn’t the only one playing up.

What’s your favourite blog and why?
My favourite blog has to be The New York Mom – it’s pretty similar to how I see my blog; a mum like me across the other side of the pond juggling work and her family in one of the most amazing cities. The layout of her blog is fabulous to read and navigate and she mixes her quirky tales of life, with PR news, advertorials and stories really well. It’s personal too and if you spend just 10 minutes reading a few stories you feel like you know Maria and her family.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to start a blog?
Find your niche and make sure it’s a niche you can stick with. If you’re going to join the ranks of parent bloggers be aware that while your newborn baby is fascinating to read about, once they enter their early teens it’s not quite so wonderful or scintillating to detail their every move and you may find yourself stuck for content to engage your readers.

I also cannot stress enough how important it is to be self-hosted for your own blog. It’s not difficult and there’s plenty of good hosting packages available that won’t cost the earth. Being self-hosted means you own your blog content and you have more freedom in terms of advertising on your blog than if you used third party services such as Blogger or WordPress.

How does a good PR work with you?
They are friendly and they’ve actually read my blog. I love emails from PRs when they’ve clearly taken the time to read my blog and its content and find out about the quirky things my daughter loves, the brands I love to work with and they make a real effort to engage with me on a quality campaign. Sending me emails about nappies when my daughter is five is not the way to get into my good books.

What do PRs do that’s bad?
Common mistakes that are a sure fire way to wind up any blogger include getting their name wrong, mistaking the gender of their child, offering inappropriate content to review on their website and scheduling events at random times of the day when they know that parents will be on the school run. There is also nothing worse than having PRs that try to bend the rules on things such as disclosure of sponsored and paid posts. I’ve lost count of the number of PRs who have vagrantly asked me to put two fingers up to the ASA guidelines and not declare when I’ve received product or been paid for something – most bloggers are savvier on this than 12 months ago and it can be insulting to be told how to manage your blog to avoid getting penalised by Google.

92% of UK journalists are on Twitter, how important is it to bloggers?
Very! It’s the biggest, fastest growing FREE advertising portal for you to make yourself and your blog known to the world. Not only that but it’s an amazing place to meet other likeminded bloggers from your sector, reach out to PRs and brands you want to work with and can be a great support network for when you need help with your blog. A staggering 50% of parents will buy a product after reading a review from another blogger and so to use a free network such as Twitter to push your news to a wider audience is essential if you want your blog to grow and be respected.

Editorial information on The Mummy Blogger, Charlotte Everiss and thousands of other media contacts and outlets, can be found in the CisionPoint Media Database.

Speedy Spotlight: Family Friendly Working

Family Friendly Working will be featured in this week’s Media Updates. Author Antonia Chitty spoke to Cision about work and family life, PRs being lovely and doing an MA.

Family Friendly Working, Antonia ChittyWhy should people read your blog?
For a mix of news, tips and advice and profiles of parents in business.

What makes your blog different?
It’s different from many ‘parenting’ blogs as it has a strong focus of ways to combine work and family life.

What’s your favourite blog and why?
MyMumdom, where Jacq writes about life with four kids, and Carol’s Parent Panel which is full of reviews.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to start a blog?
Get a niche within your niche. Although it might seem easy to start a blog that could cover anything, it can make it hard to know what to write about. The more focused you are, the more unique your blog is, and the more it will become essential reading for your audience.

How does a good PR work with you?
To start, read the blog, then email me if you have something relevant to working parents and parents running businesses. We occasionally run more general health/parenting stories, usually at the weekends, and I’ve a particular interest in special needs and disability so may cover stories relevant to that too, but anything combining work/business/family/parenting is best.

What do PRs do that’s bad?
I’m pretty lucky that the PRs I work with are lovely and helpful – but I worked in PR myself for more than ten years so perhaps it’s not surprising!

Do you have any surprising hobbies or interests?
Not at the moment – instead of hobbies I’m doing a MA in Creative and Critical Writing, so you might find me reading about Freud and Derrida instead.

Editorial information on Antonia Chitty, Family Friendly Working and thousands of other media contacts and outlets, can be found in the CisionPoint Media Database.

Speedy Spotlight: Casa Costello

Casa Costello will be featured in today’s Media Updates. Author Helen Costello spoke to Cision about cakes, advice for newbie bloggers and being a member of the WI.

Casa Costello bloggerWhy should people read your blog?
It is a good mix of recipes, family fun and lifestyle posts but most of all luscious baking projects and to-die-for cakes! I love to write and hopefully my blog posts come across exactly as if I’m actually there talking.

What makes your blog different?
I try to go that bit further with my recipes – the pictures must always look brilliant but quite often there are tutorials to help readers be able to achieve the same cakes. 

What’s your favourite blog and why?
Too difficult a question! I love blogs with a wide variety of content, brilliant pictures, that don’t take themselves too seriously. But most of all, they must include cake! I want to be The Pioneer Woman when I grow up.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to start a blog?
Just have a go – don’t worry too much about who might be reading. I’m much more natural when I’m enjoying myself and blogging because I have the urge to write/bake.

How does a good PR work with you?
Keep communicating. Use my name rather than calling me ‘Blogger’.

What do PRs do that’s bad?
I’ve always found that by being myself and keeping talking, I get on just fine with my PR contacts. I do like it when I get feedback from PR people when I’ve done posts for them though.

Do you have any surprising hobbies or interests?
I do help run our local WI, does that count? I am neither old nor do I do naked calendars – not your stereotypical WI member!

Editorial information on Casa Costello, Helen Costello and thousands of other media outlets and contacts can be found in the CisionPoint Media Database.

Speedy Spotlight: Honest Mum

Honest Mum will be featured in this week’s Media Updates. Author Vicki Psarias, who also blogs at Mummy’s Got Style, spoke to Cision about what makes her blog different, her relationships with PRs and female directors being in a minority.

Vicki Psarias Honest Mum bloggerWhy should people read your blog?
Hopefully it will entertain as much as help other parents relate to the madness and joy that is parenting. Plus my kids are super cute (as is my husband who shows up every now again!), I love to quote the Kardashians (deep) and even supply you with Greek recipes every Tuesday from my award-winning restaurateur Dad, Papa G. You’re welcome!

What makes your blog different?
It started as a way of helping me find my voice again after a year off writing and directing when my first son was born; ‘the honest and funny musings of a filmmaker and mum’ – where I mostly wrote about what a shell shock having another human being actually was… and then juggling directing work on top of it all. Now it’s evolved into everything I’m passionate about from family life (I have two children now) to food and film.

It’s the writer’s voice which makes each blog unique and hopefully my informal, fun voice comes through in what I do. I like to rip-off my big fat Greek family in my screenwriting and on the blog, and take credit for what is really their hilarious antics. I’m more of a journalist and just document them for your enjoyment!

What’s your favourite blog and why?
That’s such a hard one as I love so many blogs, but I suppose the first blog I ever read which inspired me to start my own and which I still read today is the hilarious, frank US blog The Mama Bird Diaries. I love it!

What advice would you give to someone who wants to start a blog?
Go for it! Do some research first of course, work out what you want to say and have several posts ready for when you first start. Social media is important too and joining networks such as BritMums and Tots100 will help you connect with other bloggers and become part of a community of bloggers. Taking part in Linkys you like such as food or fashion ones is also a good way to get your blog out there and remember to comment on lots of blogs so others will in turn discover your blog.

How does a good PR work with you?
I have great relationships with PRs I work with and longstanding relationships with them too. The best ones truly understand the blogging world, the need for disclosure and respect that as a professional, my fees will reflect that. 

What do PRs do that’s bad?
The ridiculous spam-like emails promising ‘free content’ in return for follow links. No, no and no. You want PR for your clients, you pay. Simples. Plus do a little research before contacting bloggers please, asking parents to blog about pregnancy sick bands when their child is about to leave for university, is not going to make you favourable.  

Do you have any surprising hobbies or interests?
I am one of the 7% of female directors. I’m currently developing a TV comedy series which I’ve just co-written the pilot on but will be back on set again when the right project comes up.  

I also like to bake. By bake I mean I buy those packets where you add an egg and water and stick Peppa Pig’s head on top. I just hate all the measuring and love all the eating. Makes sense right?

Editorial information on Honest Mum, Vicki Psarias and thousands of other media outlets and contacts can be found in the CisionPoint Media Database.

Speedy Spotlight: Baby Budgeting

Baby Budgeting will be featured in this week’s Media Updates. Author Becky Goddard-Hill spoke to Cision about life without debt, good PRs and the royal baby.

Baby Budgeting LogoWhy should people read your blog?
My blog has lots of easy, fun and creative ideas for families wishing to live well on less.

The most important issue in your blogosphere is… good quality life without debt.

What’s your favourite blog and why?
My favourite blog is Thinly Spread because it has lots of natural parenting ideas and covers unmaterialistic living with lovely images. 

How often do you aim to post?
I post daily.  

How do you work with guest bloggers?
I’m happy to accept guest posts that are useful. 

How does a good PR work with you?
A good PR would know my kids ages and the fact I also own I can cover a variety of topics but love family experiences, reviews and competitions.

What do PRs do that’s bad?
I don’t like it when PRs call me by the wrong name. They also shouldn’t expect something for nothing.

What is your opinion of the royal baby? Has it affected your blog at all?
The royal baby is lovely but I have only written a few commissioned posts about it to avoid overdoing it! 

Editorial information on Baby Budgeting, Becky Goddard-Hill and thousands of other media outlets and contacts can be found in the CisionPoint Media Database.