The life and times of a home schooling mom of se7en + 1.

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Se7en Steps to a Pair of Fabulous Shoes from Recycling…

August 22nd, 2014 · 9 Comments

We live with a young gal that just cannot stop making shoes…

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I think Hood #6 is creating a shoe factory… just one pair at a time!!!

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The Gallery


It all began last summer…

Slowly at first…
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And now it is a wave… When I posted these on instagram last week I realised that it was time to catch up on the story, before we forgot this little bit of history.

Step by Step

Almost all craftiness in our house begins in the recycling bin… A packing box, a cereal box, a couple of pipe cleaners and some project glue did the trick.

  1. Getting the right size and shape: Measure around your feet on a piece of sturdy cardboard. Cut out two for each foot, slightly larger than the pencil outline. Mark a dot where you want your strippy strap to go…
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  3. Making a Strap: Cereal boxes are just he right sort of cardboard for these… Cut a strip for each shoe and fold them over, making sure that they will fit comfortably. When you have exactly the right fit then you can use your pencil to poke a hole through one layer of the card sole.
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  5. Just add pipe cleaners: Twist some pipe cleaners together and thread them through the hole to make sure everything is working.
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  7. Paints: Some where along the line it is a good idea to stop and add some paint.
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  9. And heaps of project glue: You will need a couple of pegs to hold everything together while the glue is drying.
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    At the last minute, these had to be butterfly shoes and so crushed paper butterflies were added into the mix.

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  11. Finishing up: Finally glue the second sole to the underside of your shoe to give it a nice neat finish.
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  13. Waiting: Finally you just have to wait until all the glue is dry…
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    That’s it… your shoes are ready to wear…

→ 9 CommentsTags: Paper Crafts · Recycle Crafts · Tuesday Art Task

Se7en Take a Visit to Parkour School…

August 20th, 2014 · 13 Comments

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Over the past couple of years we have whittled down our extra murals to well, zero. Probably all our friends do some sort of sport as an extra-mural, but we have been doing sport as a family. Beach running, leaping around on the mountain… I am all about my kids learning that exercise is a daily habit… a lifestyle choice and just another part of the day, like breakfast, lunch and supper. This past year we have taken on walking in a major way and hiking twice a month and just heading out into the great outdoors, whatever the weather. For years my guys have been absolutely mad about Parkour… and walking down a street is unheard of, they will find things to jump over, leap from, spring off. Well just recently a Wellness Centre with Parkour classes opened up round the corner from us… and they invited us over to play and to learn a few new tricks. Well I thought we would be an hour, and we spent the whole morning… and just one word for it: fun, Fun, FUN…

Warming Up

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Firstly, no shoes on the mat… and in case you have any illusions about my kids putting everything in a neat pile… there was a generalised strewing of stuff.
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And someone leapt straight up into the rafters, because they were there… there was much more of that later.

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Most folk were stretching…

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And generalised leaping around…

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And pool noodle fights…

Punch Bags

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Hand eye co-ordination and just chilling…

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The Hoops

The one thing no-body could leave alone… (I should be hanging some hoops from the ceiling I reckon).

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Balancing Balls

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Some folk loved and adored these…

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Meet the coach, amazing fun guy, that let our kids do heaps of things that they had never tried before, and more amazingly nobody was injured or hurt in the process. He was so enthusiastic about letting them try anything, even stuff they hadn’t even thought of… He has a whole new fan club, and everyone wants to be able to balance on a ball now!!!
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Learning some Tricks of the Trade

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And just like that all my kids can do a back flip… just like that!!!

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Gotta practice that jumping, because Parkour isn’t parkour without jumping…

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Crash Mat

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And then this is how they got to meet the Crash Mat, which is basically a jumping castle of the galactically huge variety. And they didn’t just explore under it, some folk had to check out the inner workings before they were happy to try it out. I kids you not!!!

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From sceptical to triumphant in minutes…

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Plenty of free play and leaping around… as one does!!!

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Into the Rafters

And this is what they were all waiting for… to leap from the tree… I kid you not.

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Actually it was all about the ceiling… They could not get up and leaping down and up again fast enough… the heady joy. And I’ll only say it once, but I was fairly relived about the crash mat below them.

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And that was it… heaps of new things tried, heaps of confidence gained. Followed by possibly the quietest afternoon ever. Some folk, may even have had to have an actual afternoon nap… I am all for this. And now our walks to the store and the library are speckled with not just leaping and jumping, but my entire gang trying to do cartwheels with no hands…

You are welcome to take a peak at their site, they have heaps of classes and offer all sorts of fun to all ages and stages. This is not a sponsored post, we were simply invited to play and and we absolutely loved every second of it and chose to blog about. The opinions are as usual entirely our own.

→ 13 CommentsTags: Cape Town · Electives · Outings · Saturday Spot · Se7en at School

Se7en’s Fabulous Fun Post… #234

August 18th, 2014 · No Comments

Well that was a crazy, busy weekend… things just kept happening… I think we might need this week to recover, seriously. There was indeed the best weather ever and I would love to say I got a whole lot of things done, like laundry – none of that… we took moment today to stop and just enjoy, rather than jamming our day of rest with chores.


We have a lot of things on this week, and some exciting things to share on our blog… we have a lovely GiveAway towards the end of the week and I just can’t wait to share it with you…


Lovely links from this week

  1. Loveliness through and through: Here are 20 Photography Tips and Tricks… on a Beautiful Mess.
  2. It is time to start following Tsh, from the Art of Simple Mom… as their Round the World Journey is about to begin. I loved this post about what they would take for a homeschool year abroad… I think I could dream this dream and make a list of the things we would take for a homeschool year abroad… the minimalist in me probably wouldn’t get beyond a notebook… and the reality would probably add a kindle, uno’s great and I would have to add some tiny travel water colors and bananagrams. I really wouldn’t bother with anything else, because – really, families learn so much from life and living, especially when traveling. All the stuff we need for school when we are sitting at home day after day, becomes somewhat irrelevant, when you are off on an adventure.
  3. The Fall Catalogue for Imagine Childhood is out – sweet love… And a GiveAway that closes “Giveaway ends 8/19/14 10am MST.” Head straight over there for inspiration.
  4. If you aren’t following Classic Play, then I really think you should be… just step over there and take a peak at the cool creative instagrammers they discovered.
  5. Don’t you love taking a peak at other folks home schools, here’s a whole collection on Apartment Therapy this week. And if you missed ours a while back… Se7en’s School Tour.
  6. Would someone please hit me over the head and remind me to order our sketchbook… imagine if we got our whole project going long before the handing date… And I think I might need these lovely pens to get me going as well… Sketchbook project pens to die for, just saying.
  7. Here’s An Unschooling Post in the great outdoors that I really enjoyed reading…

  8. And the se7en + 1th link:

  9. A Blast From the Past: And here are a couple of links to posts, this week, from previous years:

That’s us… Hope your weekend was a fabulous one and we are so looking forward to another week of blogging with you all…

→ No CommentsTags: Fabulous Friday Fun

The Week That Was Post – #201

August 17th, 2014 · 9 Comments

We haven’t posted a week that was post in a month… what can I say. When it rains, and it has – a lot – we have hunkered down in bed and read copious amounts of books and when the sun has shone we have done piles of laundry and headed for the beach…


Like I said… it had rained and rained and rained… And we will remember this as the winter we made the most use of our couch…




And then we had sunshine. And we did what all beach dwellers do…


We headed for the beach, because that is totally the best place to be in winter… empty beaches and sunshine…


Living proof that we are not designed for wintry weather…


We have a new sport… trainspotting, gotta say we do not have the most exciting trains on earth… but the dash to see a train rain or shine…


Has led to many wintry walks…


If you can call what these boys do walking…


Ummm feet no where near the ground ever…


More or less out of the water…


We have spotted one or two signs of spring… I don’t want to say that too loudly because I know it is early days…



Our daily walks are taking us further afield… that’s our very first home…



Kalk Bay….

And home again…

And when you pause…


At one stage it got so cold and miserable that we declared a science week to lift our spirits…


That quickly evolved into a science fortnight…

Heaps of experiments, conquered…

I’ve been on a mission to tidy… just one thing a day… bookshelves, my desk, the works…


Everytime the sun shines we dash outdoors…


There has been the usual creating of apartment blocks…


There has been the usual arting…



And drawing…


And the Artwork of the Week:

I have no idea how to finish this off… what do you do with all the loops? Any hints?


But mostly it has been books in bed…


Books in a sunny spot…

Books in bed…

And the Book of the Week:

Because Usborne Books and Things to Do just can’t be beat…

And this is what the Hoods have been up too

Hood #1: Is determined to create the entire world of Tolkien on the beach.


Hood #2: Is the family champion of mini-golf…


Hood #3: Baking… and then some more….


Hood #4: Is spending this winter writing a book in bed…


Hood #5: May this young man never get tired of bringing me interesting bugs to look at…


Hood #6: Making, making, making…


Hood #7: Reading, reading, reading…


Hood #8: Creating the whole wide world every single day…


With his own special style…


That’s us, hope you are having a fabulous weekend!!!

→ 9 CommentsTags: The Week that Was

What We Are Reading Right Now #28…

August 15th, 2014 · 4 Comments

Last week we started a post on the books we have been reading over the last couple of weeks… and the post exploded. Literally dozens and dozens of fabulous books are out. So we split the post… a bazillion books last week and a bazillion more this week…


The Mother Person:

The Ghost Horse by Joe Layden: I know nothing about race horses or the racing scene, but something compelled me to take a deeper look at this book and I am so glad that I did. It is the story of Tim Snyder and Lisa Calley, their lives are as far as the East is from the West, and both of them fairly harrowing. Tim Snyder grows up in a completely dysfunctional family surrounded by horses and alcohol, a legacy from his mostly absent, jockey father. Lisa grows up surrounded by horses, her love for them drives her to be with them… she suffers as well, a serious childhood injury plagues her for life, not to mention life threatening illness. By the age of thirty she is a divorced, cancer survivor. Now you have to read quite a way before the main players, and their really sorry lives, finally meet each other. When they do meet you want to sigh a sigh of relief, that something is finally going right for them… but don’t get too comfortable. This is a true story and a compelling read, you may think it is a book all about horses, but you have read along way before you meet the main player, the actual horse. It is the back story, the long introduction and the build up that makes you want to read to the end… these folk have been around so long that they start to feel like family. This story is sad, the ultimate underdog story. It isn’t an easy flowing read, by any means… but once you start it, it is well worth reading all the way through to the end.

The Hoods Are Reading…


Hood #1:

Black Friday by Robert Muchamore: We have blogged about the Cherub Series before… and I am sure we will blog about them again, this is book is the third in the second series. Cherub is a sub-division of the British Intelligence, powered by teenage agents. Kids with potential, highly intelligent and physical abilities above and beyond average. To the adult onlooker they appear to be ordinary kids, but with extensive training and expertise these young spies are no ordinary teens. In this book, young Ryan is out to halt one of the biggest impending terrorist attacks on the United States ever. It is Black Friday, happy go lucky shoppers are out in force. There are Russians, gangsters, smugglers, terrorists and eleven tons of high explosives out on the lose. Basically action, action and more action… If you have teen readers that enjoy real life spy, action, drama… then they will enjoy these.


Hood #2:

The Dark Lord by Jamie Thomson: Let’s just start by saying winner of the “Roald Dahl Funny Prize”… so funny, funny. This is the third in the Dark Lord Series. Yup, there are more of them. There is a wicked humour, and lots of grandiose exaggeration… and it is filled with outbursts of laughter of the “MWAH, MWAH…” kind. It is a funny, quick read with a kid-friendly gothically dark humour, and plenty of miserable worms. Basically the Dark Lord crashes onto the scene in a parking lot and is mistaken for a regular kid. They name him Dirk Lord and without his ring and magical powers he forced to attend school. Dirk is distressed and cannot believe that he can’t use any of his powers… his classmates find him somewhat absurd, if not completely eccentric. The story is filled with “ridiculous” and some kids will laugh out loud while reading this.


Hood #3:

The Voices of Silence by Bel Mooney: This book is set in the heart of the Romanian Revolution, around the time of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Flora her family and friends are suffering under the communist regime of President Ceausescu. They live in a world of continuos struggle and suspicion, the regime keeps them in the dark and any information that anybody has is based on rumours alone. Food scarce and friends not to be trusted, they have been surrounded by secrets… Flora has been content and quite oblivious to their suffering until her thirteenth birthday and it is almost has if the blinkers come off her eyes… As her eyes open up, so she realises how small and threatened her world is. A new friend in school turns her against her best childhood friend, her father tries to escape to the west and secret police are everywhere. Betrayal is rife and the revolution descends on them on crazy evening in the square. There are gunshots and students, tanks and security police. Spoiler alert: It should be a happy ending in that friends and family are reunited… but it is not. You realise that despite the revolution, life for Flora will continue in much the same way. The everyday struggle for existence pretty much carries on as it was. This is a compelling read, a realistic book about a real situation, the empathy that you feel alongside Flora, who is caught up in a very grown up world… your spirits will rise and fall with her emotions, and that demonstrates just what good book it is. You all walk away wondering what happened to Flora, how did she grow up and what happened to other 13 year old girls just like her, all over Romania at that time.


Hood #4:

The Fastest Boy in the World by Elizabeth Laird: This is the story of Solomon, an eleven year old boy growing up in Ethiopia. This book reads like real life and doesn’t feel like a story at all, you can feel the dust beneath his feet… as you read about a boy with a passion. Solomon loves to run, and he has big dreams. Of course their is a cracker of a story here, it is by Elizabeth Laird, and you will want to know what happens as the story unfolds. But more than that this is a book that can take the dust of Africa and sprinkle it on the hearts and minds of young people all over the world. This book will bring a piece of Africa and place it on the heart of children all over the world. Africa as it is, not just a big continent on a map… but a continent filled with real people, with real friends and heroes, living real lives, even if their lives are vastly different from the lives of most of the children who will read this book. This is a real coming of age book and all the emotions that come with that. (Spoiler Alert) There is a great sadness in this book, when Solomon’s grandfather dies, but it is written beautifully and filled with loving memories. I would pop this book onto any young readers reading list, especially if they are athletic.


Hood #5:

These books are just stunning… and take you straight into the ancient world. You are a fly on the wall on the life and times of a Roman slave girl Iliona; Tobias, a page boy and Jake the ship’s boy on a pirate ship. These books bring historical fiction straight into the hands of emerging readers. The stories are packed with the most incredible illustrations, you can’t beat Chris Riddel and David Parkins. and you really get to know the characters History that absolutely want to dive into and wander through the pages just as if you were there.


Hood #6:

The Naughtiest Girl in the School Series by Enid Blyton: I mentioned last week that there is something of an Enid Blyton Revival going on and these are classical classics. I loved these when I was a child… and I find myself reading my way through the series again, just a bit more please… just a little bit more. If you didn’t read them when you were young, they are the story of a young girl, Elizabeth Allen, who is totally spoilt and thoroughly self-centred. Her parents in desperation send her off to boarding school. For my non-school going kids this is nothing but intriguing to them… this is a girl that thinks up pranks, faster than you can read them. It turns out being bad is not nearly as much fun as she thought it would be and her good heart wins the day again and again. Predictable books that my girls totally love…


Hood #7:

The Dark by Lemony Snicket and illustrated by Jon Klassen: The perfect team to create this exceptional book… This book tackles the difficult topic of “fear of the dark”… in a serious, yet whimsical way. A Young lad, Laszlo, has a healthy respect for the dark and manages to live, in the same house and alongside the dark. The dark lives in all the expected places, in the closet, behind the shower curtain and of course in the basement. Even though the dark is represented by shadows in all the expected places, it turns out the dark has quite a personality too… So the main players in the story are: The Dark and Laszlo, and the problem is his night light bulb reaches the end of its life and the dark invites Laszlo down stairs… to the basement. I love the running conversation between Laszlo and the Dark, it is this conversation that essentially tells the story and Laszlo and Dark do become “respectful friends.” And I love that it treats a serious problem seriously. In word delightful.

Oh Dinky Doodles by Priddy Books: are just so divine… you know when you receive books to review and you have to dash out and buy a heap of them because EVERYBODY wants their own one, and to be honest I didn’t want to share. I know have a little cache they are my special go to gift… dinky… small enough to fit into a little person’s bag and packed with things to do. Bright, funky, full colour in true Priddy Book style… The paper is sturdy, will handle even the smallest persons attack on them. Filled with pictures to add on to, cut out pages filled with surprises, AND packed with the most adorable stickers stickers. I love these myself, goes without saying these guys totally loved them too.

And the se7en + 1th Books:


Hood #8:

Kipper’s A-Z: Celebrating 25 years of Kipper… 25 sweet years. Well Kipper is just love from start to finish… and Kipper’s adorable A-to-Z… filled with all his little friends. So much story is interwoven, through this simple alphabet book and adorable illustrations. Of course there are adorable frogs, and slugs and bugs and beetles. Arnold is at Kipper’s side all the way through and poor and hopeful Zebra has to wait until last!!! Delightful through and through.

The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson: Since we are celebrating anniversaries, can you believe the Gruffalo is fifteen. We have been reading this book almost daily for the duration. Yes we have had little people in the house for that long. Beginning when it first came out, this book has never ever lost it’s appeal. In fact the Gruffalo is on my list of books to know off by heart… I have a handful of books in my head for when we need a story after bed time, I can “read” them in the dark as little people drift off to sleep.

Hugless Douglas: Is such a sweetie, the most adorable bear on the block and as for his sweet little sheep!!! Anyway here is a great big activity book, filled with things to do and heaps of stickers for every page. This bear and his friends are such a delight, an activity book is just another fun way to engage with all the characters. When I looked for this book to review it, it was no where to be found… I eventually found it under “somebody’s” pillow… clearly a book so important that it had to be taken to bed!!!

We would really like to thank Pan MacMillan South Africa for providing us with the fantastic pile of books to review for this post. We would like to declare that we were not paid to do these reviews, just provided with books. All the opinions are as usual, entirely our own!!!

→ 4 CommentsTags: What We Are Reading

Sunday Snippet: Life Lessons Learnt on the Mountains.

August 13th, 2014 · 9 Comments

You might have noticed that we have been out adventuring more and heading for the great outdoors lately. While we are great advocates for just being in the great outdoors… we have started to stretch ourselves with hikes that are slightly more effort than an amble, nothing gruelling mind you. I can tell you that some of our kids dive in with gusto… they just can’t get enough of it and the bigger and more tricky the task is, so some of us enjoy it a whole lot more. But during each and every epic day out there is a time when our hearts sink. Not all at once, but all most all of us take a turn at “I’ve just had enough.” A time when we think we just can’t go any further… when the hill is too steep, when we need a snack right now, else we could literally die. It might sound dramatic but there is a little voice that sits on our shoulder and says “You just just can’t do anymore.”


All this in the great outdoors, but what about in every day life… that next pile of dishes, one more errand, the pile of ever expanding neglected school work and that feeling that “I just can’t do it all.” I know I am not alone when I say, there is a very negative voice on my shoulder, and worse I often engage it:

The voice says, “You just can’t do another thing.”
And we reply, “I know, I am so tired…”
And the voice replies, “Yes, you have been up since before dawn and you went to bed late… and you have so many other things to do…”
And I reply, “Tell me about it, I really need a break… just ten minutes of space and I’ll be fine…”
And then someone needs you for something, help with their math, a little person in the bathroom, the milk jug spilt on the kitchen floor…
And the voice says, “See you are never going to get a break…”


Some lessons just can’t be learnt at a desk… but in the great outdoors, I realise that we are learning to conquer those inner voices. At home we are far more able to spoil ourselves, get a little reward for doing all the dishes, as if doing the dishes is a challenge. Our lives get easier and easier, what with appliances and older kids to help out and when the going gets tough… we can always just put off those things we can’t face getting done and tell ourselves that we are too tired, too emotional, too something. At home it is so much easier to take that “well-earned break” even before we do the task we don’t feel like doing. While there is nothing wrong with taking a break, I know for myself that little break often becomes more time to talk myself deeper into the pit of “I can’t.” This conversation can to and fro and to and fro and the next thing you know you have been taken “out of play,” you really feel that you cannot do one more task, or climb one more hill. When really you can… it’s actually just a hill not Mt. Kilimanjaro.


We live in a culture of instant happiness and comfort seeking… no-one is telling us to “buck up” get on with it.” When you are struggling with something we are taught to back away from the problem, find a quick fix, an appliance can do that job for you… or pay someone else to do the dirty work… “remember you really need a break.” A couple of weeks back on a particularly tricky hike, one member of the team started the “I just can’t ritual…” and you know when everyone is working hard and one negative voice pipes up… before you know it… everyone can go plummeting down. Before you know it we all think we can’t go on and we need emergency evacuation to get home in time for dinner. This is not actually a matter of life and death guys, yes some of us may have a penchant for the dramatic (!)… it is just getting over the next hill before sundown, in about two hours time!!!


So we decided to stop and address those little voices in our head once and for all… Take a peak at 1 Kings 19:12 After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. In I Kings chapter 19 we find Elijah in a pretty grumpy mood, those little voices in his head had been having a field day… in fact he says, “I have had enough, Lord.” Those miserable voices in his head were replaced by a gentle whisper. The angel of the Lord encouraged Elijah… and he is strengthened enough to continue. In Matthew 7:10-11 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!


Turns out Our Father in Heaven will replace those negative voices with a gentle whisper of encouragement, even when we are in despair… turns out when you are out in the mountains and the going gets tough it is a question of faith rather than stamina that gets you through to the finish line, not to mention over that last hill.

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→ 9 CommentsTags: Sunday Snippet

Saturday Spot: When Bloggers Get Together… #CTMeetUp

August 12th, 2014 · 22 Comments

So the long awaited #CTMeetUp of local bloggers happened on Saturday… The best thing about bloggers getting together for a “Meet Up” is meeting all the friendly faces behind the blogs…


The hardest thing about blog meet ups is that nobody really knows who anybody is. Walking into a room full of people you don’t know is never easy, but as soon as you start saying hi you will discover that you know quite a few of them. Online we are all “twitter handles” and some of us who hardly ever (almost never) appear on our blogs it is a fair leap of faith, to step out from behind our screens. I can say that good friends online have always, always, always turned out to be fabulous friends in real life.

Se7en + 1 Things Learnt At The #CTMeetUp

  1. Bloggers take the Leap: It is a leap of faith for everyone to step out from behind their screens… The person we are as we write is not exactly the person that we are in real life.
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  3. Bloggers Love Words: When you put fifty bloggers in a room you will not believe the amount of chatting that goes on.
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  5. Bloggers Are Opinionated: If you add a discussion on “What brands want from bloggers vs. what bloggers want from brands…” it can get really noisy!!!
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  7. Bloggers Have Something in Common: Bloggers are a widely diverse group of folk, all them totally unique and throw in the mix of all the completely different blog topics there are and you would think that they have nothing to say to each other, nothing in common, in fact. But there is one unifier and that is blogging. While they all look and sound so different, while they all have a different voice and platform… they all have blogging in common and what a unifier that is.
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  9. Bloggers Are Inspiring: When people feel strongly enough about a topic to write about it day in and day out for a couple of years, when they can get so excited about that one topic… believe me that energy carries over into all aspects of their lives and they are a fascinating group of folk to connect with.
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  11. Bloggers Love Goodie Bags: When I was a kid “lucky packets” were the world… well goodie bags are another version of the same. Jam packed with things that you would never treat yourself too, new discoveries and just general loveliness. Their were heaps of fabulous sponsors represented in our goodie bags… exciting times!!!
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  13. Bloggers Love Spot Prizes: How cute is this ZANA bag, I have been following these fun folk on instagram for a while and I was thrilled to win this!!!
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    And the Se7en + 1th Snippet:

  15. Bloggers Love Meet-Ups: I spent weeks pondering: “should I or shouldn’t I,” and then once the decision was made… nervous as ever. Turns out it so good to meet the people behind their blogs. And it is so encouraging to find actual people that read your own blog. I have said it before and I will say it again: Bloggers are meant to “Meet Up.”

Special Thanks to Cindy Alfino for organising the #CTMeetUp and I Love My Laundry for hosting… and of course the heaps of sponsors!!!

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