Tell us your name and a bit about your family? When did you become a Mum and to whom?
My name is Heather and I have three children – 2 boys and a girl – my oldest will be 11 in May so I guess that means I have been a mum for 11 years! We live in Yorkshire and are very settled here, loving the mixture of countryside and city life. I must admit I am looking forward to my daughter starting school in September – she is almost 4 and very much ready for a change.
What’s your blog called?
My blog is called Mrs Mactivity – it actually also doubles as a primary resources subscription site, but I definitely view myself as a blogger as I’ve been involved with the blogging community since 2011 through my various blogs over the years. People come to my site to get learning and play ideas from the blog, but also to download the resources to either use at home with their own children, or in their classroom or setting if they’re educators. I have a fair amount of home educators who also use my resources which is brilliant. I love being helpful to people and making their lives easier in any way I can, whilst also supporting children’s learning and making really high quality resources for a super low price. I don’t want to be rich from it, but I get immense satisfaction from seeing children enjoying the resources.
Can you describe it in one sentence?
Mrs Mactivity is the home of exciting, hands on, activity based printable learning resources.
When did you become a blogger and what inspired you?
I became a blogger in 2011 after following various other well known blogs at the time, and since I love writing so much I decided to give it a whirl. I remember attending Cybher and feeling really inspired by the other mums there who were making a living out of blogging. At the time I was working as a primary school teacher and really struggling under the strain of bringing up two very young children and trying to do my job to the best of my ability. In the end, something had to give!
How do you manage working around your children?
The way my site works is that most of my members are online in the evening, so I do as much as I can during the hours of 9-3 whilst they are school and preschool, then when they’ve gone to bed, I go online again. You do have to be very careful, especially if you work from home, about drawing the line between what is a reasonable amount of time to spend online and what isn’t. I don’t think I’ve got there quite yet – or so my husband tells me.
Can you describe a typical day, what tasks do you have to get done, how do you manage your time?
I try and do something for myself after school drop off time, as it’s a bit stressful dropping off three children at three different locations. Sometimes I go for a swim, sometimes a coffee or meet a friend for a chat. Since I work from home, and have done for a long time, it can get very lonely and isolating, so it’s important to plan things into your day when you get chance to mix with other adults. After that I usually spend some time photographing and uploading new resources. The photography aspect is very important and something I am not naturally good at, but that I keep working at. I’ve learnt a lot from other bloggers especially people like Maggy at Red Ted Art who is a tremendous support to me. After that I spend time scheduling posts, looking for ideas for new resources and interacting with people in order to build awareness of my site.
What challenges have you faced in with your blog and how have you overcome them?
The main challenge has been around spreading the word about the website. It’s not as easy these days as any time you link back to your site on facebook, the post has barely any reach. I am always looking for alternative ways to build traffic and I think I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m better spending my time focusing on SEO and Pinterest as it’s less work than constantly coming up with new ideas for Facebook.
The other challenge, which I’ve already alluded to is how to switch off. Since my phone and laptop are always there, it’s difficult to put them down sometimes, especially in the evening and I do get really tired sometimes. But then I love what I do – it’s difficult to stop!
What’s the best thing about being a blogger?
For me it’s been about the amazing friendships and opportunities that have presented themselves. I have made friends for life within the blogging community and now have a lot more confidence in myself and what I can achieve.
What are your plans for the future?
To grow Mrs Mactivity and help teachers and parents all over the world!
What advice would you give for someone just starting out in blogging?
Find your niche – and stick to it. But make sure it’s a niche people are interested in! Spend time lurking around other people’s sites, checking out what works and then think about what you’re passionate about and naturally interested in. If you try and fake it, it will show!
Is there anything else you’d like to tell us?
I am always looking for other bloggers to review Mrs Mactivity, so if you’re interested please get in touch.