Violet Glenton

Violet

Blogger, Cake-Lover, History Buff and Amazon Woman.

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How writing for She Might Be upped my Blogging Game

First things first, in the world of blogging I am a beginner. Not a week goes by that I don’t learn something new about this world. Whether you’re a beginner or an expert you may be interested to know how writing for an online magazine can change the game. This is written from my personal experiences with writing for She Might Be, so don’t hate the player!

She Might Be

I started my blog a couple of years ago, all with some rather awkwardly posed photographs in front of my back garden fence (visit here for a chuckle). I started with just fashion, seen as though that’s what attracted me to blogging. After a while I wanted to write more. I opened up a travel section for my blog and started writing about another passion of mine. However as you may know, this becomes very addictive and when I saw She Might Be were looking for more writers I applied instantly.

 

I’m a History of Art and Archaeology graduate, a degree which seems to get a little lost in my day job as a Business Development Manager for an Engineering Consultancy. I wanted to put this passion into a series, perhaps linking my love for the plus size world. Thus was born Plus Size Women throughout History. From this a few things happened:

 

  • I gained more readers/traffic to my website

 

I found a new audience. I was getting clicks through from readers who seemed to enjoy my writing. The best part was the engagement. They were genuinely interested in my posts.

 

  • I made a bunch of new friends

 

The team at She Might Be are like a little family. We share, discuss and ask questions in a group dedicated to the writers. This open discussion has allowed me to clarify things I didn’t know about blogging without feeling embarrassed. The team are super supportive!

 

  • Opportunities Arose!

 

After writing a couple of blogs for the series, I was approached by a Museum to write up on their exhibition. Every blogger loves a sponsored opportunity. It makes your work feel valued and you can’t fault a little bit of dosh for your hard-written piece.

 

  • I was given the freedom to explore new categories without being anxious of mistakes

 

She Might Be give the writers a lot of freedom. It’s great to be given the freedom to explore new fields without the pressure of keeping it up as a category on your own blog.

 

  • I was Aware

 

Without She Might Be I wouldn’t be quite so switched on with what is going on in the world. The diverse bunch of writers allow me to educate myself in a bunch of different fields. This meant my writing got better and more informed.

 

  • I felt wanted

 

I had to apply to become a writer. It wasn’t handed to me on a plate. I threw around a bunch of ideas before one was accepted as a series. I loved the refining of ideas and getting a piece that was perfect.

 

  • It’s improved my CV

 

Both my personal and blogging CV. I’ve added writing for She Might Be online magazine. Why not? It shows dedication, creativity and ability to work with others.

 

If you’re interested in becoming a writer for She Might Be, why not apply? Email Georgina@shemightbe.co.uk for more details!

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Itty Bitty Toys and Why You Need Some!

I’m currently typing this whilst a cheeky little boy is suckling his dummy and kicking his legs. Life with a baby is certainly adorable at the best of times. I wrote a post up on my personal blog about my first experiences with Jasper. He has officially been on this earth now for just over 5 weeks and the time has flown by. The past few days I’ve noticed little glimmers of smiles coming in (it’s not wind I swear!) Whilst these little glimpses make my heart sing, I’m desperate to encourage him to practice using these facial muscles more and more. Along with this, I want to encourage any smiling as a smiling baby to me is a happy one.

Itty Bitty Toys

Me and my husband have tried silly faces, cooing noises and of course little toys. Itty Bitty Toys from Hallmark have proved successful in stimulating his brain. Whilst Jasper is a very receptive baby his concentration can differ depending on his mood but not with these. He is completely and utterly hypnotised by these toys and I can see why.

These adorable little Itty Bitty Toys include Disney princesses/characters, your favourite Star Wars cast such as Chewie, the whole Avengers team and many more. I’ve found it difficult not to order the Scooby-doo series for my scooby mad husband. 

Itty Bitty Toys

Itty Bitty Toys

Itty Bitty Toys

As you can see from the pictures Jasper not only reacts to the Itty Bitty Toys but genuinely seems to enjoy them. They’re made of a soft plush material meaning he can knock them off any surface he likes without damaging them. Suitable for children from one month up I’d suggest keeping an eye on friends and family who may steal them for their own collection!

Have you got any suggestions for excellent toys for babies under 6 months? I’d love to hear in the comments below.

 

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Father Christmas / Santa Claus EXPOSED

‘He sees you when you’re sleeping, he knows when you’re awake’… but just how much do you know about the real Father Christmas?

Almost every person has some story about him that they’ve been brought up with. For me, Santa would visit Christmas Eve some time during the night and leave a pillow case of presents at the end of our bed. Without spoiling these memories, let’s shine a little light on the true story behind Santa Claus.

santa

Bishop Nicholas

The history of ole Saint Nick goes back to 3rd Century when Nicholas (later St. Nicholas) inherited a vast amount of money from his parents. Instead of buying some new swag for himself he used it all to assist others. Whether they be sick, in need or poor. He eventually became Bishop Nicholas and devoted his life to serving God. I won’t fully go into the life of Bishop Nicholas, but whilst Roman Emperor Diocletian (famous for punishing Christians) was in charge he suffered persecution but was later released. He died in 343AD so how on earth did we get from Bishop Nicholas to Papa Noel?

I remember being told about Nick’s cracking set of gold balls when I studied History of Art at University. I see your eyebrows raise. Well, it became common knowledge that Nicholas had given out golden coins when distributing his wealth. So if you ever see a painting of St. Nicholas, you may see golden balls, coins or oranges on display. A tad bit of symbolism that reflects his charitable nature.

King Winter

Due to this generosity, Nicholas became known as protector of children and sailors and quickly became the most popular saint in Europe. Whilst he hit popularity peak during the Renaissance period he was still not the Santa Claus we know today. In Britain, we didn’t actually have a ‘Father Christmas’ until A LOT later. After the Norman invasion, we did however meet ‘King Winter’. At this time, he hadn’t evolved to the popular guy we know today and was yet to don the red and furry suit we all know and love. Instead he wore a long green cloak with mistletoe and ivy. When Britain fell under the Saxon rule in the 5th and 6th centuries ‘King Winter’ would be welcomed into people’s homes to share stories and sit by the fire. Kindness was shown to this figure as it was believed you would then receive good tidings.

Odin

I bet Odin is a word you haven’t associated with Christmas before. Well, when the Vikings invaded Britain they of course brought their legends with them. Norse God Odin was thought to visit Earth in late December and this of course brought about another legend of ‘, a portly, elderly man with a white beard and a long, blue, hooded cloak [riding] through the world on his eight-legged horse Sleipnir, giving gifts to the good and punishments to the bad. ‘ (Time Travel Britain, 2017) Sound familiar enough? Odin and Santa had a lot in common. Both could tell whether you were naughty or nice, both time travellers, and both fat.

The Spirit of Christmas

With the Normans brought further confirmation of this character. A mixture of St. Nicholas, King Winter and Odin… all which represent the Spirit of Christmas. He became known as a character who proceeded over the Christmas festivities and brought cheer and joy to the darkest month of the year.

No room for Santa

Of course, in 1644 the Puritans banned Christmas and the jolly figure that represented this time of year. As a bit of a taboo subject, but sorely missed, many would still discuss Father Christmas. But it wasn’t really until the Victorian age that he would fully revived.

Americanisation of Father Christmas

You didn’t think America would miss out on popularising this figure? The poem ‘The Night Before Christmas’ was released in 1822 and gave us a combination of the figures discussed above. This followed on from Americanisation of this story which you can read more on here.

At this time it also became widely popular that Santa was depicted in Red. Beforehand you could find him in many other colours but most popularly green.

santaArtwork by Mog Plus

So there you have it, a quick depiction of the British history of Father Christmas. Whilst I’ve depicted some stories here there are others to be uncovered.

Tell me, do you know any stories about the history of Santa Claus?

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The Real Reasons Christmas is my Favourite Time of Year

Oh hello. I bet you’re expecting to read a corny post about how I love gift giving and spending time with family. Whilst that’s true, there are other reasons why the festive period is a particularly merry time for me. Here are a few real reasons why Christmas is my favourite time of Year.

favourite

Food

I like to eat. Need I say more? All sorts of delicious combinations of food come out this time of year and it’s a feast for the senses.

Sales

I’m all about saving some dolla, and with Christmas follows the sales. I’ll be hitting those shops up on Boxing Day and investing in some items for the next year to come.

Gifts

Yes, giving them is a lovely feeling but isn’t it lush to feel spoiled by your favourite people? We all like to have someone take a little time to put effort into a thoughtful idea for a gift for Christmas. Whether this be a homemade item or an expensive item of jewellery it really is lovely to feel a little over indulgent (without spending).

Party Season

A Christmas Party? A local event? I do NOT need another excuse to dress up thank you Sir. I love how busy my weeks are during this period and how much I see my friends out and about. Usually with a cocktail in hand.

A Week off work

Yep I said it, and I’m genuinely sorry for those that don’t get this. Having a week off work is the best. I may just set up camp on the sofa this year in my pyjamas and binge watch Disney films back to back whilst eating Christmas turkey sandwiches. Breaks will be accounted for to shower (who am I kidding? Bathe!)

No Diet Talk

I find that before Christmas the media calms down on the whole diet talk and stops trying to over sell pills or exercise machines that I’ll never use. Unfortunately what follows is the whole New Year, New Me facade about improving our bodies. Not to worry though, I’ll be comatose for the reason above’s points.

What do you like about this time of year?

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3 Things You Want for your Baby this Christmas

For any parent, Christmas comes with pressure to make your little ones big day special. I currently have a 3 week old baby and I’m already planning for 3 Christmases ahead. Now I know what you’re going to say, ‘they don’t really understand Christmas’. Whilst that’s true, I do get a massive boost out of picking up little baby items or gifts for my little man whenever the opportunity arises. Two of these gifts benefit me more than him, so you can understand that I’m aware he’s not fully conscious of these things right now.

Hand Painted Christmas Bauble- Mamas & Papas 

Now I was gifted one of these by my best friend and I immediately got teary at how beautiful an item it is. If I could purchase one each year for myself like this, you bet I would. The item feels extremely high quality and has taken pride of place on my Christmas tree. If you’ve any friends that are expecting and you’re wanting to get them a special festive gift, then I’d highly recommend this bauble.

Twilight Ladybug Star Projector, Cloud Be- Find me a Gift

Ever wanted to sleep under the stars? Well now you can in the comfort and warmth of your own bed. This Ladybug projector is an adorable item which I’m pleased to have shining on my ceiling as we speak. It’s portable, affordable and adorable. Every ‘able’ I like to see. As a lightweight product it’s actually very sturdy. The nightlight allows you to set the mood with different colour choices, and although my little boy doesn’t fully appreciate it yet even me and my husband coo over it. If you’re wanting to give your little one peace of mind at night and a chance to sleep under the stars, this is a perfect gift.

Dribble Bibs, Happy Jackson- Find me a Gift

For every parent bibs have become a go to product. If I sit down to feed Jasper without a bib I quickly realise his top is going to become milk dosed and I’ll have to remove and wash immediately. I know that this isn’t just the case with my baby. All babies dribble, gurgle and burp. Oh boy do they burp. When bibs are able to make the process easier and cleaner then why not pop the handkerchief around your little ones neck? I’d been given tonnes of bibs at my baby shower and whilst all useful the best ones had velcro to tie them.

These bibs from the Happy Jackson range are ideal for ease (plus they come in super cute prints)! I’m biased but Jasper really is a star!

 

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4 Ways To Make the Most Out Of The Festive Period

festive

Get Crafty

One of my favourite things to do during the festive period is to craft. Now you don’t have to be Einstein or William Morris to do this – crafting is deeply individual. Whether you prefer to knit, paint or glue things to other things there is a way to do this aptly for Christmas. If you saw my previous post, I made some super easy Christmas Bobble hat ornaments that helped me feel festive. Other ideas include Christmas Wreath making (hint- you can use bits from your garden!), making homemade Christmas cards and making a homemade advent calendar.

Get Baking 

I feel like I’ve watched too much Ratatouille lately but the phrase is true ‘anyone can cook’. So don your best apron, get Bublé blasting out of the speakers and get in the kitchen. My favourite thing to make is gingerbread ornaments for the tree with boiled sweets for the windows. There’s a great recipe here if you’re interested. Not patient enough to bake? Why not buy a plain Chocolate Swiss Roll, some chocolate icing and make your own Yule Tide log. You can buy edible glitters, snow and even figurines of Santa to put your personal touch on a festive favourite.

Get Talking 

For me, Christmas gives me the opportunity to spend time with my family. This is vital time to check in on each other, offer support and even lend a shoulder to the relative that’s wobbling home after a few too many baileys. Why not use the spare time you have to meet a friend or family member for a coffee?

Get Moving 

With the darker evenings, I’m certainly guilty of shutting the blinds and curling up on the sofa. Whilst amazing some evenings, I have been victim to feeling a little glum during the darker seasons. Just getting up and out to head to the shops, visit a friend or take the dog for a walk has done wonders for my mental health. Plus, if like me you’re a little curious about other people’s Christmas decorations you can go on what I call a ‘nosey walk’. Enjoy all of the decorations on display and get yourself some ideas for next year!

Do you have any suggestions of ways to get more out of the festive period? Comment below and share for others!

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Christmas Crafting: Wreath Making

For those like me, who begin to morph into busy little elves around Christmas time there is no better feeling than crafting your own wreath. Now I’m not totally able to go rummaging for branches and twigs at the moment to craft an entire wreath myself due to having a baby. However, I have done a quick and easy ‘how to’ and substituted with an artificial wreath. If you’re looking to spend an afternoon Christmas Crafting without too much fuss, and would like your house to smell like mulled wine- then this is for you. If nothing else, I hope you just take away some pretty pictures and get all Christmassy from this post.

First of all, you’ll need to make sure you have all of the equipment at hand. This includes:

Optional Extras:

  • Pine Cones
  • Ribbon
  • Artificial Berry bunches
  • Battery Operated Fairy Lights
  • Wreath Hanger

Wreath Making

I purchased the large majority of these on Amazon and Ebay, but if you’re nifty you can make the dried fruit yourself as well as gather many other items from your garden or local park. Simply slice your oranges, put them in the oven and keep it VERY LOW for a long period of time. This allows the fruit to dry out fully. I’ve only done slices myself, so I can’t attest to how well this works for the whole fruit items. I would suggest drying out the fruit with a tea towel after slicing just to get rid of as much excess juice as possible.

Wreath Making

After I had all of my items laid out I began bunching together my cinnamon sticks. If you’re going to use fairy lights please put them on before this step. To create the cinnamon bundles, I took around 3-5 sticks and tied twine around them in a ribbon to give me 3 full bunches.

Wreath Making

I then cut off a piece of Green Reel Wire and threaded it through 2 of the cinnamon sticks at the back and twisted to hold in place. This left me with two free wire pieces which I used to attach to the wreath itself. If you’re using glue you can swap out this step and get sticking! 

Wreath Making

Although a bit of a fiddly procedure, once you’ve mastered this you’ve pretty much finished the wreath. In order to attach the dried oranges/pumpkins I pushed the wire into the back of the fruit until sturdy. Then fixed to the wreath using the same procedure.

 

Wreath Making Wreath Making

Now you’re free to lay your items out wherever you please. I found it easier to place the cinnamon sticks, then oranges and pumpkins and feather out with the slices.

Wreath Making Wreath Making

For me, my decorating finished here, but I have seen some beautiful wreaths with large bows on and believe this is the perfect opportunity to add one. As I say, decorating is totally personal and it really is up to you how you do it.

The final thing for you to do is attach the ribbon to hang it from. You may be able to skip this step if you’re using a wreath hanger as you can just attach straight into the hook.

Wreath Making

The best thing of all is you can use any greenery/items you like to personalise your wreath how you see fit. So get crafting and Merry Christmas!

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Gift Guide for Expectant Parents

If you know any expectant parents about to gain a little bundle of joy in their lives, then this is the guide to alternative presents. As a mother to be, I have been given so many lovely gifts over the past few months, and whilst I appreciate each and every one of them, some have been more unusual than others.

I absolutely love useful gifts. At my baby shower I was completely spoilt with baby grows (size newborn- 3 months), blankets, and memory books. As times gone on I’ve been given other gifts such as teddys, nappies, and teething rings. You may be thinking, “who wants nappies for a present? I wanna buy the fun stuff!” Well I can vouch for many mamas/papas that we do indeed want to receive nappies. The more the better! Here are some other ideas for presents:

Expectant Parents

Clothing (for older babies):

Oh yes, every baby is going to spit on, poo through or dribble over items of clothing so it is fabulous to receive so many items. If you want to be super clever (and THAT friend that becomes the favourite quickly) then why not get some clothing for when the bubba is a little bit bigger? I got given a few items for 6-9 month year olds and 9-12. After I’d gone a little nuts on newborn items myself, I’ll be forever singing the praises of those who thought ahead for when the baby grows.

Teething Ring:

Fortunately for me, Nibbling sent me this adorable teething ring for my little one. Whilst I won’t be able to use it for a bit, it’s there and ready for when those uncomfortable moments happen. I love the general aesthetic of this ring and it feels super lovely in my hands. After reading their website obsessively you’ll find their teething rings are eco friendly and made from untreated wood and safe silicone. I have much to learn about teething, but having the right tools for the job is certainly gonna help me on my way. A teething toy is a great idea for a gift for a mother to be and one many may not think about!

Expectant Parents

Teddy/Baby Toy:

One of my friends picked out the most beautiful Jellycat Lion Toy for me on my baby shower and I almost burst into tears at the sweetness of it. Call it hormones, I was in love. If you want a gift that will tug at the heart strings then why not pick out an adorable cuddly creature for their little one to snuggle up with whilst they snooze.

Art Piece/Wall Decoration:

If you really have a feel for the taste of the parents to be then why not pick them out a nice wall art piece for their nursery? My walls were empty for so long that when I found this adorable little glow star from the Range my womb cried and I had to purchase it. Okay okay, it didn’t cry but I did feel very emotionally overcome.

Other ideas:

  • Giftcards (not so original, but extremely useful)
  • Nappies (again just darn useful)
  • Baby wipes. Baby wipes. Baby wipes and more baby wipes.
  • Baby bath sets
  • Baby books

I hope you enjoy shopping for this very exciting time in your or your friends lives. If you have any suggestions on other unusual/non typical items then please post a comment below! We love to hear more ideas.

 

Just a note to add that since writing this post, Violet has given birth to the beautiful Baby Jasper. We at SMB couldn’t be more thrilled for her, and wish her and her family all the best!

 

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