Posted in ALL BLOGS

Guest Blogger Interview #8 with Helen’s Journey Blog

Read my first GUEST BLOGGER Post ‘Share Your Knowledge’ being Interviewed over on ‘The Invisible Vision Project’ blog…

The Invisible Vision Project

Hello Everyone,

Welcome to The Invisible Vision Project’s blog and to another new episode of the Guest Blogger Interviews series. Today’s guest on the blog is Helen, and her blog-Helen’s Journey. Helen blogs about life with chronic illness while focuses on Green living, wellness and positivity. Without further ado, let’s get right into today’s interview!

  1. Please briefly introduce yourself.

    Hi everyone, my name is Helen, I’m 35 and I live in Birmingham, Englands 2nd city, UK. My family heritage is English and Irish on both sides of my parents family trees.

    Life has brought along many lessons. At 21 I started suffering from post viral fatigue after catching the mumps in my last year of university, which led to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, At 23 I became very ill and very immobile from a chronic pain condition called ‘Fibromyalgia‘ which as a very basic explanation; not only affects your…

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Posted in ALL BLOGS, AWARDS

Sunshine Blogger Award Interview – number 2!

It was a pleasure to be nominated again for a ‘SUNSHINE BLOGGER AWARD’ and answering questions so you my readers can get to know me more as the person behind the keyboard. I have been nominated for my second ‘Sunshine Blogger Award’ by Mishi pcm“THANKS FOR THE NOMINATION!” (Click on her name above and it will take you to her blog post about her winning the award and her nominating me.)

Her questions for me to answer as a nominee are: (yes favourite is spelt differently in American-English than in English)

  1. What made you start blogging?
  2. What is your current favorite song?
  3. Who do you look up to the most?
  4. If you had the ability to time travel what year would it be, and why?
  5. What is your favorite animal?
  6. What is your favorite food?
  7. What is your hobby?
  8. What is your biggest dream?
  9. If you could spend one whole day with your favorite singer who would it be?
  10. What is your favorite topic to blog about?
  11. What are you most thankful for?
Click to continue reading
Posted in ALL BLOGS, Travel & Days Out

‘Chevin Cross’ 32 foot Easter Cross Instillation in Leeds, West Yorkshire – A fun day out for all ages & abilities!

With my Brother, Sister-In-Law & 1 year old Niece living in Leeds, Yorkshire has quickly become a school holiday and weekend visit destination for me and my family. Last Easter break and This year’s Easter break, just like last years Easter break, was no exception as my huge family group of 14 descended on the area once again.

The place I’m reviewing in this post is an area called ‘Ottley Chevin‘ within the Chevin Forest Park in Leeds, West Yorkshire.

The History of the 32 foot ‘Chevin Cross’ Easter Instillation:

I visited Otley Chevin last year in the cold and wet of Spring and then visited again this year in the glorious Spring sunshine. The thing that attracted us there at this particular time of the year was the ‘Chevin Cross’ which is a huge cross instillation erected each Easter by the group of local churches coming together to support this Church community initiative. When I say huge, I mean huge, as it is 32 feet high! So no wonder it is a must see Easter attraction for visitors near and far. It almost has a feel about it like the ‘North Star’ being followed by shepherds in the Christmas Story, but maybe that is just my creative imagination 😉

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Posted in ALL BLOGS, LIFE, Spiritual Life, Wellness & Positivity

Spring: How to enjoy a season of renewed hope, new possibilities and a fresh perspective

The promise of a future, that the blooming flowers of Spring, reminds us of!

So here we are, it is officially Springtime. Although Spring doesn’t start until March, I had been noticing little signs of Spring throughout the last part of February with more sunshine, fresh shoots springing up from the ground and buds appearing on plants and trees.

the promise of a future that blooming spring flowers reminds us of. blog post all about spring's message of hope by Helen's Journey www.helensjourney.com

Just look at the photo above, there is such a stark juxtaposition between Autumn/Winter and Spring/Summer. We have the hard, cold, solid soil – representing the harsh cold winter we have just got through. Then we see the flowers that were still able to grow and push through this soil with perseverance and determination to push upwards towards the light.

We are those daffodil bulbs that were buried in the cold, harsh winter months – maybe hibernating in the warm or suffering from the Winter blues. Yet, seeing those fresh daffodil shoots appear from empty looking soil, is a reminder that no matter how hard life has got, there is always a renewal of hope for better.

Read more life lessons from spring
Posted in ALL BLOGS, Travel & Days Out

Saint Patrick’s Day celebrations in Birmingham UK – the 3rd biggest St Paddy’s parade in the world!

All about Birmingham’s Historical Celebrations, that is the world’s 3rd largest Saint Patrick’s Day Parade:

Did you know that Birmingham UK has the 3rd biggest Saint Patrick’s Day Parade in the world? New York City has the biggest Saint Patrick’s Day parade & then the second largest is Ireland’s own parade in Dublin. Birmingham was actually the first city in Britain to hold a Saint Patrick’s Day Parade and it dates back to 1952.

Playing a large part in that is because here in Birmingham, we also have Britain’s only Irish Quarter; with 10 Irish pubs, Irish Centre, Irish Catholic Church St Anne’s and a meeting point for Irish community, business, food, music and culture.

Read more about this great day of green for all
Posted in ALL BLOGS, LIFE, POEMS

A dose of female empowerment on ‘International Women’s Day’ and to take with you into each new day ahead!

Each year on 8th March is International Women’s Day – the official website explain it “is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity.” So to celebrate I’m sharing with you a poem I wrote about the power of a woman and a post giving you a dose of female empowerment that can encourage you any day of the year!

“See the privilege that exists not only with gender or the country of residence, but with race and ethnicity even between the same gender in the same country!”

– Helen’s Journey point of thought
continue reading this dose of female empowerment
Posted in ALL BLOGS, LIFE

All About ‘World Book Day’ – Snow White and other Book Character Fancy Dress Costume Ideas

All about World Book Day!

Today marks ‘World Book Day’ here in the United Kingdom & Ireland, as we celebrate it each year on the first Thursday of March. It is a day to celebrate all things books – reading, authors, illustrators, book characters, etc. With the aim of encouraging more children to discover more books and the joy and pleasure that can come along with reading.

Primary schools in the UK have a fancy dress policy on World Book Day where all staff dress up in fancy dress as book characters and the children also come into school dressed up as book characters too. I personally feel this dressing up element, also invites children into some of the imaginary worlds that these stories create for these characters to live in.

Read more about world book day & let me know if you like my costumes

Posted in ALL BLOGS, LIFE, NATURAL LIVING

How to do pancake day, the healthy way! Gluten-free, Sugar-free, Vegan and Non GMO pancakes.

Hi guys, I really wanted to share with you my healthy Pancake Day – which having been gluten-free for the past 14+ years, hasn’t always been the easiest or yummiest thing to do!

I’ve experimented over the years with gluten-free pancake mixes and also pre-made gluten-free pancakes (which I think are tiny and more like scotch pancakes than the thin, larger pancake I associate with pancake day!)

But this year I have this pancake mix shown below, that I’ve tried, tested and given the green light to make my pancake day ‘flippin’ fantastic this year (like what I did there, playing on the action of flipping pancakes in the pan 😉😉)

continue Reading all about these healthy pancakes on the menu
Posted in ALL BLOGS, LIFE, Wellness & Positivity

A dose of love, advice & perspective for singles on Valentine’s Day!

February: a month for LOVE for singles too, not only Valentine’s Day romantic love for couples only!

February can be a tough month if you are single, simply because Valentine’s Day seems to make everything around us this month seem to be about love, romance and relationships. Yet this post is to reassure singles that February can be a month of love for us too!

I’ve never really been big on valentine’s Day myself, maybe I never got the chance to with such an unromantic ex or because of its origins. However, I’m definitely a lover of romance any day of the year that hasn’t changed no matter how much it is missing from my life. As this will be my second Valentine’s Day since getting out of a long-term toxic relationship, I’m determined to make it still a time of love, by making it a time of self-love regardless of not having a partner to love and spoil you on the big V day.

Read more to discover the 4 greek words for love & how valentines day can still be filled with love without romance

Posted in ALL BLOGS, LIFE, Wellness & Positivity

The dangers of Tunnel Vision and how to break down the walls to widen your perspective in life

The dangers of having ‘Tunnel Vision’ in life:

Sometimes in life when we feel overwhelmed by it all, we can have tunnel vision because the thing that is overwhelming us, is all we can think about & see ahead… 🚇However, if we looked outside the tunnel we could see the bigger picture!

How ‘Tunnel Vision’ restricts your perspective in life:

Just like in the photo I snapped used on this post; by not having tunnel vision, we also get to see the bigger picture surrounding the tunnel not just the limited views from inside the tunnel.

Continue reading “The dangers of Tunnel Vision and how to break down the walls to widen your perspective in life”

Posted in ALL BLOGS, Spiritual Life, Wellness & Positivity

Survival Tips for when life feels overwhelming!

Life at times can seem to be in a whirlwind with so many things happening all at once. When life is like this it is no wonder we can feel swept off our feet and spinning like we are in the tornado with Dorothy and Toto in ‘The Wizard of Oz’. However, my following survival guide for getting through these times of severe weather suggests: to take the journey step by step, get things done bit by bit and get through what is ahead day by day!

“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. “

Bible Verse: Matthew 6: verse 34 (NIV NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION)

Continue reading “Survival Tips for when life feels overwhelming!”

Posted in ALL BLOGS, AWARDS, Wellness & Positivity

WHY IS WELLBEING SO VITAL TO OUR HEALTH & HAPPINESS? How being a Wellbeing niche blogger is inspiring & my top Wellbeing posts of encouragement!

Why is our ‘Wellbeing’ so vital to our health and happiness?

WELLBEING definition:

The state of being comfortable, healthy, or happy.

synonyms: welfarehealth, good health, happinesscomfortsecuritysafetyprotectionprosperityprofitgoodsuccessfortune, good fortune, advantageinterest,  ponderousness, successfulness

Continue reading “WHY IS WELLBEING SO VITAL TO OUR HEALTH & HAPPINESS? How being a Wellbeing niche blogger is inspiring & my top Wellbeing posts of encouragement!”

Posted in ALL BLOGS, LIFE

Handy ways to get prepared, focused and be ready for all that’s ahead in the future: Focus Words, Goal Setting & Promises to yourself!

Set your New Year intentions with Focus Words, Goal Setting and Promises to yourself – as ways to be prepared, focused and ready for the new year ahead…

When a new year begins there is a feel of freshness in the air and an atmosphere of new beginnings. A lot of people still set themselves New Years Resolutions but how many people actually continue these things past January is questionable.

Instead of traditional resolutions, I like to do other things to get my mind focused on the future, to carry with me the lessons learnt from the past and to go forward being clear on my goals and my intentions for the year ahead.

continue more
Posted in ALL BLOGS, CHRISTMAS, POEMS

“CHRISTMAS CHEER” A Christmas Acrostic Poem encapsulating the Christmas Season.

A Christmas Poem encapsulating the beauty of the Christmas Season and all its traditions:

Happy Christmas to all my readers!

I decided to write a poem to try to encapsulate the beautiful atmosphere of Christmas time and all the things that work together to make it a special time of year. So, I chose the word ‘CHRISTMAS CHEER’ to use in an acrostic poem – enjoy…

Continue reading ““CHRISTMAS CHEER” A Christmas Acrostic Poem encapsulating the Christmas Season.”

Posted in ALL BLOGS, AWARDS, Blogger Life

Two Category Nominations in the ‘UK Blog Awards 2019’ Please VOTE FOR HELEN’S JOURNEY in both categories; ‘Wellness’ & ‘Green & Eco’!

Hi Readers,

October marked Helen’s Journey Blogs 1st year of blogging anniversary! YAY!

Then in November I got the great news that I have been nominated for two ‘UK BLOG AWARDS 2019’ in the categories of ‘WELLNESS‘ and ‘GREEN & ECO’. DOUBLE YAY! (voting details coming up below… Voting closes 21st Dec)

It is so easy to vote, you don’t even have to register or put in any of your details and it take less than a minute to vote for me in both categories! You just have to click

VOTE FOR HELEN’S JOURNEY BLOG IN THE ‘UK BLOG AWARDS 2019’

Just click on BOTH links below separately and vote for me on each link, following the instructions below – EASY PEASY! 😉

1. WELLNESS category vote:

Click HERE to open link in a new window, once opened scroll to find ‘HELEN’S JOURNEY’ 6th in the list and click on the heart icon next to my name to cast your vote. You should be taken to a ‘thank you for voting’ screen afterwards so you know it has worked.

2. ‘GREEN & ECO’ category vote,

Click HERE to open link in a new window, once opened scroll to find ‘HELEN’S JOURNEY’ 3rd in the list and click on the heart icon next to my name to cast your vote. You should be taken to a ‘thank you for voting’ screen afterwards so you know it has worked.

vote for helen's journey blog in the uk blog awards 2019 in category of wellbeing and also in the category of Green and Eco
This is how the box will look, click on the heart in the box with my name like above, to vote for me in both categories ‘Wellbeing’ and ‘Green & Eco’.

I’m up against some big blog names, so I’m just proud to have been nominated – but I’m hopeful that if my readers vote for me I may be in with a shot… you never know! I just have to read my blog post Facing Your Giants! How to be as confident & bold as David, in defeating your life’s Goliath. based on the bible story of ‘David & Goliath’ to remind me that the little guys like David still have a shot against the giants of the blogger world! lol 😉

A big THANK YOU! I appreciate every single vote and I hope it reflects you having enjoyed reading my blog over the last 13 months.

I appreciate all my readers and so I included a FREE Gratitude Gift to you all, in my latest post: The Power of THANKFULNESS! Top Tips for logging GRATITUDE, to bring more happiness & inner peace into your life, through the joy of gratefulness! (Including a FREE Printable: WEEKLY GRATITUDE DIARY!) (click on the blog title just mentioned, to open the download post in another window/tab)

Thanks again and happy voting – it is appreciated more than you know! Voting is open until 21st Dec 2018.

Helen x

**UPDATE** So happy to share that out of the 102 bloggers nominated in the Wellbeing category, I was shortlisted as 1 of the final 8 bloggers up for the award! The final winner will be announced in April 2019. I wrote a blog post all about my response to this good news here: WHY IS WELLBEING SO VITAL TO OUR HEALTH & HAPPINESS? How being a Wellbeing niche blogger is inspiring & my top Wellbeing posts of encouragement!

PS – Here are the posts I did, celebrating my 1 Year Bloggerversary:

  1. HOW I BUILT MY BLOG IN THE FIRST YEAR – REACHING OVER 10,000 VIEWS & OVER 11,000 FOLLOWERS. Helen’s Journey Blog 1 year Bloggerversary!

2. Blogger Recognition Awards- Sharing the story of starting my blog as I celebrate my 1 year Bloggerversary!

ENJOY READING MY POSTS AND POEMS?

Then don’t miss out when new stuff is posted –Please click here to join my Email Mailing List to receive an email notification when a new blog is posted!

Why not come & follow my blogging footsteps on my other Social Media Platforms(click on names below to take you to the different media profiles):

Bloglovin Instagram / Twitter / Pinterest /  YouTube

Facebook: Fibromyalgia Awareness & Chronic Illness Support Group

Email Mailing List 

vote for helen's journey blog in the uk blog awards 2019 in category of wellbeing and also in the category of Green and Eco. voting instructions
Please feel free to share my post and links to my voting pages with your followers, friends, family etc – every vote counts & im thankful for them! Tankooooooo 🙂

Posted in ALL BLOGS, Wellness & Positivity

The Power of THANKFULNESS! Top Tips for logging GRATITUDE, to bring more happiness & inner peace into your life, through the joy of gratefulness! (Including a FREE Printable: WEEKLY GRATITUDE DIARY!)

The Power of THANKFULNESS & Top Tips for logging GRATITUDE.

Including a WEEKLY GRATITUDE DIARY free printable, as my gratitude gift for my readers!

Here we are again, it’s that time of year full of events that make everyone stop in their tracks and actually think about what they are thankful for. Nearly everyone enjoys Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day & New Years Eve and not just for the food and festivities! Whether you know it or not, it’s also because of the high that thankfulness and acknowledging gratitude can bring during this time of year too.

Let’s discover more about this together and at the end of the blog I will give you tips and tricks on how you can incorporate the ‘power of thankfulness into your everyday life not just on specific days like Thanksgiving and Christmas Time. I will also give each reader A FREE PRINTABLE ‘WEEKLY GRATITUDE DIARY’ SHEETas my gratitude gift just for you!! 😉

Helens Journey Weekly Gratitude Diary free printable for logging gratitude for increasing happiness and inner peace through the joy of thankfulness
Find the link to download this free Weekly Gratitude Diary printable, with TIP TWO FOR LOGGING GRATITUDE later on in the post…

You know those sayings such as:

“It lifted my spirits!”

“I’m on cloud 9!”

“It just feels right!”

“I know it’s time to let go and move on” etc?

Well they come from that very sense of uplifting that certain positive emotions can bring – feelings such as being in love, hopefulness, faithfulness, gratitude, forgiveness, peacefulness etc. This is because certain emotions connect us back to our souls, our essence our natural states of being! But how?…

It is through really embracing these emotions and letting them take over us (take over us as in accepting them and being overwhelmed or consumed by them) that they then become a ‘state of being’ rather than just a feeling and then we are literally able to give our spirits ‘a lift’ (like the difference between loving someone with the emotion love and actually being IN love with someone, consumed by it and living in a state of constant love so you always feel on that high of being in love and the high of feeling loved back etc).

This is what happens on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, our birthdays, etc; we embrace the feeling of thankfulness/gratitude so much we go through the day in a heightened state of thankfulness and we are able to ride out the festivities on a high, up on cloud 9, full of smiles and joy in our hearts!

Thankfulness, love, gratitude, peace – these are all emotions everyone can experience. Take love as an example, when you soak in that emotion and embrace it fully and let go and just let yourself be swept away by love, you can then live in a state of being with that emotion. So when you are living with your soul ‘being’ being at one with love (at one as in fully embraced it & been overwhelmed and taken over by it) you are grinning, happy, bouncy, smile instead of get stressed, uplifted and your soul feels alive and happy through just being with love. It makes you view the world through rose-tinted glasses!

Or peace for example. When you are comfortable with who you truly are in your soul and feel at peace with yourself, then you can live in a state of ‘inner peace’ which lets you live in contentment and changes your reactions to situations. Inner peace fights against letting others actions affect your peace of mind – yes you can disagree with people’s actions or even find them hurtful, but it is inner peace that then speaks to your soul and tells it:

“Yes that hurt, yes they were wrong, yes I might cry – but I refuse to let them make me angry or bitter, I wont give them the satisfaction or control of taking away my inner peace. It wasn’t right and I don’t agree with it but take deep breaths and I’ll try to stay grounded and calm with the peace I already have inside me.”

Thankfulness is the same. Living in a state of gratitude makes you see the good in everything even though there is so much bad in the world to see along side it, the bad doesn’t overshadow the good. It makes you see a positive for every negative.

You know that saying “There is always a silver lining” well living in a state of thankfulness opens your eyes more to actually see them. It makes you appreciate the small things even though you acknowledge the disappointment of living without the bigger things. I wrote a blog post all about this entitled: Remember the small stuff! (click on this blog title to open the life reflection up in another tab.)

Top Tips on how can you keep that ‘high’ or ‘joy’ from embracing thankfulness at Thanksgiving & Christmas Time, for the rest of the year too…

TIP 1 – Use a Gratitude App

Well one thing that really helped me in the last few years was downloading a gratitude app on my mobile, I use ‘Attitudes of Gratitude Journal’ by Vista Media. Each day it pops up and asks me “What were you grateful for today?” and after you type in your answer it will then pop up a quote on thankfulness/gratitude to encourage you on your gratitude journey.

The app stores all your answers so on darker days you can sit and read through your answers to remind yourself of all there is to be thankful for and shine a light when it’s needed most. A great added feature on this app is a password protection option to keep your diary private if others use your phone.

TIP 2 – Writing a Gratitude Diary or Gratitude List

If it helps you to write things down then I’d suggest a ‘Gratitude Diary’. I’m so grateful for my readers, I’ve only gone and created a free GRATITUDE DIARY printable just for you, as my way of saying ‘Thank You’ for reading and following my blog.

Just click here to download the gratitude diary sheet, print it, then put it up on the wall or somewhere else noticeable to you like by the side of your bed or by the kettle. Then each time you see it or each time you use the kettle, you write down things to be thankful for that day.

Helens Journey Gratitude Diary
Click to download the GRATITUDE DIARY I created as my Thank You gift to my readers…

TIP 3 – Taking a 2 minute STILLNESS SHOT

Yes I made up this name, but hey just roll with it… You need 2 minutes out of your day, you choose when is best for you. For example: set your alarm 2 minutes earlier in the mornings and spend that 2 minutes being still, maybe you want to lay down, or prop yourself up on the pillows and sit up – what ever position suits. Close your eyes and just be still. Stop your mind from thinking about getting ready, or the meeting you have at work or all the things on your ‘to do’ list. Stop yourself going over things in your mind, like the fight you had with your partner the night before or yelling at the kids.

STOP your body and be STILL! STOP your mind and be STILL! Just relax and listen and concentrate on your breathing, or your heartbeat, the ticking of a clock or to the birds chirping outside the window. This calms your soul amongst the stresses of the day still to come and re-centres our spiritual being by simply ‘just being’.

End the 2 minutes or however long you spend doing this, by saying some things you are thankful for, I find this more powerful when I say them out loud but you can also say them in your head if you prefer or if you don’t want to disturb others etc. Over time, see what differences it can make to your day or attitude by continuing to start off your day with stillness for your soul and a spirit of thankfulness!

If for others like myself, spirituality through a faith does play a part in your life, then I’d suggest saying prayers of thankfulness, as this is another way of releasing your list of things you are thankful for. Also, saying them out loud and proclaiming them into the atmosphere is a great way of changing the rooms energy/feel/spiritual frequency. Or in your ‘Prayer Journal’ include writing down prayers of thankfulness for each days blessings etc alongside the things you are still praying for.

This a great way of changing your focus from solely being about what you need and are asking for. Instead you are acknowledging the things you need but being lifted in gratitude for remembering and focusing on all the things you do have to say thank you for. Gratitude is a beautiful spiritual frequency to live on.

TIP 4 – Gratitude / Thankfulness Quotes, Affirmations and Mindfulness.

Another thing that has helped me on this fulfilling journey through the power of gratitude, is reading words that encourage thankfulness and get you to focus on the good not the bad. This has especially helped me in changing my attitude and attention I gave to talking about pain and every time someone asked me how I was, the need to go into the ins and outs and list all the daily struggles of living with chronic illness.

Gratitude, thankfulness and inner peace really made me change my perspective, what I give my energy too and focusing on the good not the bad has brought me to such a happier place for my soul and spirit. The pain is still there but I totally engage with it in a different way by not letting it consume me, my words and thoughts. It wasn’t easy and it took time to break the habit of giving it so much of my energy, but I’m so thankful for the new perspective gratitude has given me!

The words we choose to read and speak had a direct effect on our thoughts, mental health, attitude, reactions, what we decide to speak about etc. I talk about the power of the way we speak to ourselves in a post I encourage you to read to become more aware of the language you use and how you speak about things. (Click HERE to open post in another tab to read it.)

I have a board on Pinterest called ‘Affirmations, Christian Meditation, Mindfulness & Mental Health’  (click below to find it on Pinterest)

Here I have a collection of things that I declare out loud at diffrent times of the day such as while the kettle is boiling, say to myself as I get ready for the day, read as I’m in a waiting room etc. Affirmations of gratefulness, being thankful, choosing to focus on the positives while declaring what i want to change for the better to help with the negative.

That is the POWER of THANKFULNESS that we can practice everyday not just on Thanksgiving Day! Thank you for reading, its one of the things im grateful for today 😉

ENJOY READING MY POSTS AND POEMS?

Then don’t miss out when new stuff is posted –Please click here to join my Email Mailing List to receive an email notification when a new blog is posted!

Why not come & follow my blogging footsteps on my other Social Media Platforms(click on names below to take you to the different media profiles):


Facebook Page / Bloglovin Google+ / Instagram / Twitter / Pinterest /  YouTube

Facebook: Fibromyalgia Awareness & Chronic Illness Support Group

Email Mailing List 

Posted in ALL BLOGS, Blogger Life

HOW I BUILT MY BLOG IN THE FIRST YEAR – REACHING OVER 10,000 VIEWS & OVER 11,000 FOLLOWERS. Helen’s Journey Blog 1 year Bloggerversary!

Happy 12 months Anniversary to Helen’s Journey Blog – Yes 1 whole year and a whole load of blog statistics!

Or should that be my ‘BLOGGERVERSARY’ (not sure if that’s a thing already? If not then now it is!! lol) This blog will explain how I grew my blog in these past 12 months in various ways to achieve blog statistics I’m super proud of – Over 10,000 views and over 11,000 followers!

It was the beginning of October 2017 when I officially started blogging, however I’ve waited on purpose till today (31st October) to write this celebratory post & share the statistics with you. That’s because today is the anniversary of my beloved Grandad Mac passing away. Last year on this day I decided to do something positive with the grief and I ended up writing the post Making Friends with Grief and writing a poem all about my Grandad.

So, I wanted to mark the sad anniversary this year with something positive once again, to help me through the day and remind me to focus on the good. Therefore, it seemed fitting to save this post and my 1 year of blogging celebrations for today. I know he would be proud of me and that is heart warming ❤

Helen’s Journey Blog 1st Year Blog Statistics:

(Oct 2017 – Oct 2018)

Visitors:

Number of views: 10,394

Number of visitors: 6,468

Number of posts: 45

Most views in 1 day: 125

Pinterest Monthly Unique Views: 440K

Followers:                 Combined Total Social Media Followers: 11,059

WordPress followers: 1,217

Twitter followers: 5,496

Instagram followers: 1,687

Bloglovin: 359

Pinterest followers: 1,552

Google+ followers: 97

Facebook ‘Chronic Illness Support Group’ worldwide members: 651

Blog Awards & Competition wins by Helen’s Journey Blog:

(Click on individual award names to open up each interview post asking me personal questions to get to know me more.)

As I celebrate my first year of Blogging – let me share with you how I built my blog!

1st thing I did was stop waiting for that ‘right time’ to start blogging. I was waiting on a friend who was going to help code my website to make it look the way I had envisioned. This friend is very successful in their field and with such a high work demand they unfortunately didn’t get chance to do this for me.

On the 29th Sept 2017 It was my 34th Birthday, my birthday wish was to get my blog going. so I decided no more waiting on others and just to jump in feet first alone into the world of the unknown – the blogging world!

I used a free theme on wordpress.com and just discovered as I went along how to use WordPress and added bits to the website as I went along – follow buttons, linking it to my social media channels, creating images, etc.

Some things had me stuck like how to make a menu using categories and not website pages – for this I turned to good old YouTube for ‘how to’ videos and learnt that way.

Little did I know that wordpress.com basic free package didn’t let you use plug-ins or upload your own theme without upgrading to premium business account for so much money a month – that added up to a lot for a year. So hell no did I do that!!

Things that helped me build up followers and drive traffic to my blog:

I’ve learnt a lot along the way but I know there is soooooooo much left for me to research, discover, learn, practice and achieve.

My development focuses for my second year of blogging ahead:

Learn about SEO / Learn about sponsored adverts / affiliate marketing / making an income / self hosting so I can use plug-ins and design my website just how i want it / build Bloglovin / build presence in Google+ communities / build mailing list / get faster at Mailchimp for email subscribers.

To find out about the items I’m using to keep myself on schedule with blogging, planning, keeping on track and jotting down ideas, click to read my blog all about it “Stay ORGANISED and FOCUSED my using these Top 3 items to keep you on track”

Readers and Followers – THANK YOU FOR SUPPORTING ME THIS PAST YEAR! I REALLY APPRECIATE EVERY READ, LIKE, COMMENT OR SHARE!

Helen's Journey Media Kit 1 year anniversary blog statistics
Helen’s Journey Media Kit – 1 year anniversary blog statistics (Oct 2017 – Oct 2018)

ENJOY READING MY POSTS AND POEMS?

Then don’t miss out when new stuff is posted –Please click here to join my Email Mailing List to receive an email notification when a new blog is posted!

Why not come & follow my blogging footsteps on my other Social Media Platforms(click on names below to take you to the different media profiles):

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Mary Poppins Fancy Dress Costume D.I.Y Tutorial Guide

‘Do It Yourself’ Mary Poppins Fancy Dress Costume Tutorial Guide:

When it came to choosing a costume for the latest fancy dress party I attended, I decided to choose an English favourite; Mary Poppins!

Even you are unfortunate enough not to know who Mary Poppins is, click here for all the info about the movie off IMDb.

Mary Poppins Fancy Dress Costume DIY by Helen's Journey Blog www.helensjourney.com
As you can see I don’t do superstition about opening umbrella’s indoors.

I already had the basics of the outfit which I’m sure most people would also with it being a white shirt and black skirt. So it turned out to be an easy option and something that’s easy to put together last-minute or when short of time to organise and search for a complicated outfit with lots of things to source out.

Items needed for Mary Poppins DIY Fancy Dress Costume:

  • White skirt
  • Black skirt
  • Black tights
  • Red bow tie
  • White gloves
  • Black hat with white flowers and red berries
  • Long umbrella
  • Mary Poppins magic bag

DIY Mary Poppins Fancy Dress Costume by Helen's Journey Blog www.helensjourney.com
Why not pin this image to have this costume ready and waiting for your next Fancy Dress Party

DIY Mary Poppins Hat:

  • Black hat
  • White flowers
  • Red berries

The choice is yours if you decide to use plastic flowers and berries, real ones or you could even draw them on as an option. I decided to go down the real route and took some scissors outside and cut myself some white flowers and some berries. The berries were green and purple, so my creative compromise was to use a red permanent marker and colour in the berries to make them look red.

DIY Mary Poppins Hat for fancy dress costume tutorial by Helen's Journey Blog www.helensjourney.com

I felt like the outfit came together really well. If I wanted to make it even more fitting to the real thing I could have used an all black umbrella instead of a white and black one and I could have searched for a bag with a pattern closer to the one used in the movie.

However, considering I came runner-up in the costume competition I’m still proud of the job I did, especially the creative effort I put into my hat & the imaginative idea to use a red bow hair slide clipped onto my shirt instead of buying a red bow tie.

Here is how it looked – Do you agree it all pulled together well? Let me know in the comments what you verdict is…

get into character with this DIY Mary Poppins Fancy Dress Costume tutorial blog by Helen's Journey www.helensjourney.com
I did a drama degree so character role play feels like part of my DNA make up 😉

ENJOY READING MY POSTS AND POEMS?

Then don’t miss out when new stuff is posted –Please click here to join my Email Mailing List to receive an email notification when a new blog is posted!

Why not come & follow my blogging footsteps on my other Social Media Platforms(click on names below to take you to the different media profiles):

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DIY Mary Poppins Hat for a Fancy Dress Costume by Helen's Journey Blog www.helensjourney.com
I enjoyed being ‘PRACTICALY PERFECT IN EVERY WAY’ for the night 😉

Posted in ALL BLOGS, AWARDS

Blogger Recognition Awards- Sharing the story of starting my blog!

I’m delighted to of had three nominations for ‘THE BLOGGER RECOGNITION AWARD’ where I now get to share with you the story of me starting my blog and my advice for other bloggers too.

I was nominated firstly by Nicole over at ‘Cool N Creative’ and then more recently by ‘The Invisible Vision Project’ and Karen Bradshaw over at ‘The Mommy Lady’ (Click on their individual names to open up their award post’s where they nominated me) – Thanks guys for the nomination and appreciated recognition!

The story of how my blog ‘HELEN’S JOURNEY’ was started and why:

If you’ve read one of the first few blog posts I wrote when I started my blog in October 2017 entitled My ‘Why’ for Blogging” you’d know that writing was always a hobby of mine from a very early age.

Even when I was around eight years old if I had to apologise to my Mom for being ‘”defiant” I usually wrote her a sorry note to start off the whole apology conversation. It was just the form of expression that suited me and I felt easier to communicate in.

When I went through emotional situations in life my outlet was writing poetry and this is still something I do.  For example after growing my hair for charity for three years, I finally had the 12 inches of hair cut off to donate and be made into a wig for a child with cancer hair loss. My way of processing all the highs of emotions was through poetry and prose in this blog post where I re-wrote the ‘Fresh Prince Of Bel Air” theme tune to talk about the experience. You can read that here: HELEN’S JOURNEY HAIR  RAP

Actually thinking of starting a blog all began when I started to share on my personal social media about changing things in my everyday life to be more natural, starting with me changing to organic food to try & give better quality to the food I was eating.

My friends showed lots of interest and many asked me to keep them posted on my steps going forward, for going down the more natural lifestyle route. From there, I thought what better way to keep everyone informed than writing a blog to share my journey… and so ‘Helen’s Journey’ was dreamt into being and here it is!

I posted my first blog in October 2017 So happy official 1 year anniversary to my blog! (Wahoooo). At that time, I had just got out of a long-term toxic relationship. I was starting over, breaking free, healing and working my way through the fog to rediscover who I was before heartbreaking life experiences and abuse distorted me. So it was fitting that once again writing became my way of expressing myself and talking about the lessons life had thrown at me and sharing my life’s journey with you all.

For more insight into me using writing as therapy, I encourage you to read the following two posts of mine:

  1. My ‘Why’ for Blogging – The powerful tool that is the written word & how it can be used for good!
  2. Using CREATIVE WRITING / POETRY / PROSE & SONG LYRICS, to express yourself & your inner emotions towards different experiences in life!

“One of my reasons for wanting to set up a blog is the freedom to choose and write about real issues that I face without a limit on expressing my own personal opinions, in order to report in an unbiased way.”

– Helen’s Journey Quote from the blog post My ‘Why’ for Blogging – The powerful tool that is the written word & how it can be used for good!

What two pieces of advice would you give to other bloggers?

1:

If you are thinking of starting a blog let me tell you – there is never a perfect time, there is always something else you want to change or tweak or learn etc. So my advice is – JUST DO IT!!!

So that’s exactly what I did, I just started it and thought I’ll learn and change things along the way… (I’m very happy I stopped putting it off and didn’t waste anymore time!) I read others blog posts with blogging advice as I went along and ‘learnt on the job’ rather than getting fully qualified with information first, before I put my hands into action.

Read more of my advice and experience of setting up my blog here: Thinking of starting a blog? JUST DO IT! WELCOME to HELEN’S JOURNEY – Here is how it all began…

2:

Try not to compare yourself to other bloggers and how the more successful bloggers to things. It is okay to do things in your own way and in your own time. It is your journey, so be inspired and learn from other bloggers sure! But I’d say choose your own priorities rather than trying to do it all.

this is what I wrote in my first blog post & I stick by it:

I should do a disclaimer from now: I’m far from perfect so things around here won’t be done in the ‘best way to have a successful blog’ way, but more like ‘my way of having a blog’ way! 😉

Other Bloggers I want to nominate:

Sophie at ‘Something so true’

Jen over at ‘The Frozen Mind’

Sheryl at ‘A Chronic Voice’

Char at ‘Chronically Hopeful’

Lloyd Stevens over at ‘My Food and Drink Lifestyle’

Enjoy writing your posts guys, remember to link them back to me so I can have a read. All the rules for the award are below, Helen x

Blogger Recognition Award Rules:

  1. Thank the blogger that nominated you & link to their award post where they nominate you.
  2. Write a blog post to show your award.
  3. Give a brief story of how your blog started.
  4. Give two pieces of advice to new bloggers.
  5. Nominate some bloggers you want to give this award to.
  6. Comment on each blog and let them know you’ve nominated them, and provide the link to the post you’ve created.

What to read more of my blog interviews where I answer personal questions about myself and my life for my readers to get to know me better? Here are some blogger interview posts below or go to the ‘AWARDS’ section in the blog menu:

> My 1st ‘MYSTERY BLOGGER AWARD’ Nomination & my answers for you to get to know me better

> Helen’s Journey blog wins ‘Sunshine Blogger Award’ #1 Read the interview to get to know me more

> “WHO IS THE PERSON BEHIND THE KEYBOARD?” Interviewing Helen’s Journey as she is nominated for the ‘Liebster Award 2018’

> My 1st Versatile Blogger Award & Interview sharing ‘7 FACTS ABOUT ME’ sharing 7 life experiences

Enjoy reading my posts and poems?

Then don’t miss out when new stuff is posted –Please click here to join my Email Mailing List to receive an email notification when a new blog is posted!

Why not come & follow my blogging footsteps on my other Social Media Platforms (click on names below to take you to the different media profiles):

Bloglovin / Facebook Page / Instagram / Twitter / Pinterest / YouTube

Facebook: Fibromyalgia Awareness & Chronic Illness Support Group

Helen's Journey Bog wins two blogger recognition awards and shares her story of starting her blog and gives advice to other bloggers

Posted in ALL BLOGS, LIFE

Touching Gift Ideas for your Loved Ones

Here are some handy ideas for getting touching Birthday gifts for your friends and loved ones…

There are so many gift ideas out there, sometimes you can feel confused and lost as to what to get your friends and loved ones for their birthday. Well here is a break down of some lovely gift ideas through me sharing with you a list of gifts I had for my Birthday this year, that helped to made it so full of love and effort…

A Notebook is always a good idea!

No matter what age or gender etc you are buying for, a notepad is always a good idea. With so many designs and functions you can get a personalised pads to suit whatever your loved one would use it for. Blog ideas, poems, song lyrics, rap words, drawing sketches, sports plays, dream teams, shopping lists, taking notes in church or school… the possibilities are endless!

The one my Sister got me for my birthday isn’t any old notebook – no, its ‘A Little Book Of Happy Thoughts’ notebook’ by the company ‘East of India’. However , don’t let the name fool you as it is actually noted on the back that it is designed in Great Britain.

She also added onto it a miniature heart reading ‘A SISTER IS A SPECIAL KIND OF FRIEND’ ahhhh she is too cute! I’ve hung it up on my key hooks by my front door, so it can make me smile when I see it hanging up my keys.

notepad gift ideas for loved ones birthday's by Helen's Journey Blog www.helensjourney.com

Video’s sent from the heart, can touch you just as much as the written word in messages and cards!

My best Friend pulled off a great surprise gift for me this year. She had contacted different people in my life and asked them to make a video message to me for my birthday and asked them what I meant to them. Then at different intervals throughout the day on my birthday she sent me the videos to bring love and smiles to fill out my day.

There were some heartfelt words, sincere friendship and things to make me laugh too. As a person who spends so much time supporting others, being a listening ear and an adviser, it was lovely to hear people’s appreciation for me being these things to them and not taking it for granted but wanting to show their appreciation, respect and love for me because of it.

I’d recommend this video message collage gift for all ages and genders – whatever age we are, we need to sometimes hear the words from others about their feelings towards us. It was a lovely birthday boost and I felt so much love oozing from my mobile as I received them!

Photo fun is a must on Birthdays to capture the celebrations!

What a surprise I had when I turned up at my friend’s house to celebrate my birthday with them. Laid out on the table were lots of accessories on sticks for taking photos to capture fun and laughter. There were sparkles, pouting lips, glasses, moustache, speech bubbles & a fabulous happy Birthday sash for me to wear for the rest of the night.

DIY photo-booth accessories for gift ideas for loved ones birthday's by Helen's Journey Blog www.helensjourney.com

On the wall was a rainbow glitter wall covering and fairy lights to act as a backdrop for the photos and in a way make a photo-booth area effect. Oh what fun we had switching accessories, doing different poses and laughing. it was a really cool thing for them to do and I really appreciated the effort.

DIY photo-booth backdrop for gift ideas for loved ones birthday's by Helen's Journey Blog www.helensjourney.com

This is a great DIY gift that will show your loved one the effort you put in for them to have a guaranteed fun birthday. You can do this on a budget too by using cereal boxes for cardboard to make the accessories and twigs or paper-straws for the sticks. Fairy lights  and colourful craft paper or wrapping paper you could get on a budget from Poundland or its US equivalent Dollartree.  Then all you need is smiles, laughter and some good old-fashioned fun!

A gift chosen from the heart because it will touch a heart, is a precious gift indeed!

My friend Candice knows how much I loved my Irish Grandad when he was alive & how I spent my life travelling back and forth mostly to Ireland with him but also America. Ireland holds a special place in my heart not only because it is part of my heritage but because it holds sooooooo many happy memories of quality time I spent with my Grandad at so many different ages throughout my life.

My friend really touched me with this gift of a glistening green shamrock pendant on a silver necklace. It was like it was a representation of all the love she saw between us in our photos and the loving words I always shared about him on my personal social media. I will wear it with a full heart bursting with happy memories! 💚

sentimental gift ideas for loved ones birthday's by Helen's Journey Blog www.helensjourney.com

Reusable and Eco-Friendly Gift Ideas:

My little brother not only supports me on my journey of switching to natural products & looking for Eco-friendly alternatives, but is on his own journey with using Eco-friendly, natural material, reusable nappies for his bay daughter & many other natural baby products (which makes me so happy to see).

So it’s no surprise he got me a ‘Reusable Food and Sandwich Wrap’ by the company ‘Keep Leaf’ that is also washable. It’s got a 100% cotton outward layer with a really cute pattern of tiny pink, purple and the odd green hearts too. There is a Velcro to keep your food held safely inside, keeping fresh and staying waterproof. Its BPA-free, Lead-free and Phthalate-free – with that many ‘free’s’ you know I’m sold! lol

reusable and eco-friendly gift ideas for your loved ones by Helen's Journey Blog www.helensjourney.com
Reusable, washable, chemical-free & Eco-friendly food wrap, is a much healthier way to wrap your food!

Another great eco-friendly gift to get a loved one is a reusable hot drinks cup, esp for those people who love to grab a coffee or tea on the go. I have written a blog post all about the different options for reusable hot drink cups, to make the choice easier for you and to get the right one that suits your loved ones needs and personality. CLICK HERE to open the guide up in a new window. ..

Auntie love is a special kind of love:

Off my two nephews I got a soy wax candle in a ‘Awesome Auntie’ Tin – my sister knows how much I treasure being an auntie, so I love anything from them with Auntie written on it.

Getting loved ones items with their title on it (whether its Mom, Dad, Husband, Wife, etc) makes them feel they have an important role and status in your life and can help them feel appreciated and that their role is valued.

Gift Ideas with titles on for your loved ones to make them feel special. gift ideas post on Helen's Journey Blog www.helensjourney.com

Every day needs a bit of BLING and a birthday is the perfect excuse to sparkle!

My sister-in-law chose these diamond effect, bling magnets perfectly – not only because she knows I love me some bling, but also because she knows how covered in magnets my fridge is! This is perfect for those people who love a bit of sparkle and what better day to encourage them to shine than on their birthday 😉

bling gift ideas for loved ones that enjoy a sparkle. A gift ideas post by Helen's Journey Blog www.helensjourney.com

Gifts to touch the hearts of loved ones:

Who doesn’t love an inspirational quote or encouraging words? You can’t go wrong when choosing gifts with words on that you think the person will identify with, enjoy and agree with. I think gifts like these are important especially if you know the person you are buying for needs an uplift ever so often or struggles with their mental health at times. It’s a gift to say ‘I care’ and that you want them to be encouraged every time they look at the gift.

The present I got in the picture below was one of these a touching gifts. The person got it in a cross shape to identify with my Christian faith and they also encapsulated a perspective I share on my Social Media channels and Blog all the time about counting my blessings, acceptance, hope etc. Gifts like this are a great way to show how much you know a person and give it that personalised feeling to it.

gift ideas to touch the hearts of your loved ones by Helen's Journey Blog www.helensjourney.com

So, there you have it, a list of handy gift ideas you could use to make your loved ones birthday special and full of laughter, smiles and love. These gift ideas will leave the birthday person feeling loved, appreciated, valued and most of all feeling they are worth the effort of finding them the perfect gift just for them!

Why not share in the comments what was the best birthday gift you’ve ever had, to help others in their quest for the perfect gift for their loved one…

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touching gift ideas for your loved ones, blog by Helen's Journey Blog www.helensjourney.com