Archive of ‘blogging’ category

The Winds of Change

Things have changed slightly here at Is That You Darling, though at first glance, it might not seem it! Although things look more or less the same, I’ve gone from a free wordpress blog to being self hosted!

It’s something that I’ve been wanting to do for a while, but have had neither the funds nor the expertise to make it happen. Luckily, I’ve found the money that I needed, and I found someone who was willing to help me with the expertise! My friend Lewis does all of this kind of stuff for a living with his eyes closed and his hands tied behind his back, so he very kindly took all the hard stuff off my hands and basically did everything. So now I owe him a big drink and my eternal gratitude!

Sadly, my own domain doesn’t come with a sudden knowledge of all the things I need to know, and so this is going to be a steep, steep learning curve! Learning about plugins, HTML, CSS, and anything else that might come up is going to be interesting, so if you spot anything on the blog that doesn’t look quite right, please don’t hold it against me!

I’m still trying to work out all the kinks; for example, I don’t think all my old wordpress followers will be automatically redirected to the new blog, but I’m working on finding out! I want to have a real play around with the design of the blog, but that’s something that I’m going to need some help with. And most importantly, I really want the new blog to kickstart a new blogging ethos for me: I want to write more regularly and about the things I really care about. Now that I’m investing actual money into my blogging, I want it to be something that I’m really, really proud of!

Now seems like an opportune moment to remind you of all the ways that you can follow me and my blog. I’m try to be as active as I can on all of these platforms, but I have to admit that there is definite room for improvement on Google+ and Facebook!

Is That You Darling BloglovinIs That You Darling TwitterIs That You Darling Facebook
Is That You Darling InstagramIs That You Darling Google Plus

I’d love for you to join me, if you haven’t already. The number of followers I have isn’t necessarily the most important thing, but it’s nice to connect with people on all these networks where I spend so much of my time!

The next few days will see me working on the design, sorting out a new ‘About Me’ page, and of course, putting together some fabulous blog posts to read! In the meantime, if you can please update any bookmarks you have to, that would be fabulous, and you’ll be sure never to miss a word I say!

On being a book blogger

It has been a while now since I first decided to actually start calling myself a book blogger. I have always written about books here at Is That You Darling, but making a conscious decision to call myself a book blogger was an important step for me, as before that I felt as though I was losing my way as a blogger a little bit.

So since I added the words ‘Book blogger’ to my sidebar, I have been trying to incorporate as much bookish bits as possible. I’m lucky enough to be sent various books by publishers for review, so along with anything I buy myself and borrow from the library, I have been writing as many reviews as possible. Of the 33 books I have read so far this year, I’ve reviewed eighteen of them, and there are three more to come in the next few days. I’ve reviewed everything I’ve read since the start of May, and I’d like to say that there will be posts for every book I read for the rest of the year, but I know better than to make such promises!

Elsewhere, I’ve posted about my long library lists, and I’ve taken part a couple of times in The Broke and the Bookish Top Ten Tuesday posts.

I feel as though I am still finding my feet as a book blogger, and indeed reviewer. I write book reviews for Essex Life, and my word count is so minimal that I have to be very clever about how I write them. With my blog, I don’t have a word limit, and I find that I have a tendency to waffle on. It can be hard to synopsise the book and offer an critical opinion without using a lot of words, and I definitely think I am still learning the art of the well-worded review.

I’m also trying to decide if I want to continue giving star ratings on Goodreads. I’ve been wondering this for a while; I’m reluctant to stop, because I know people use it as a quick way of deciding whether or not I might recommend a particular book. But I really don’t like the idea of reducing a book down into a perfunctory number out of five. Goodreads also doesn’t allow you the option of giving a half star, so while I often think that a book might not warrant three stars, but isn’t as bad as two stars might suggest, Goodreads won’t let me show you that!

So after much consideration, I’ve decided that the best way to solve this is to only apply ratings to books that I feel are four or five star books. Anything lower than a four won’t get a rating. I’ll see how I feel in a few months, but I think this is probably the system that will work best for me.

So in the future, you can expect to see a lot more book reviews, and more general bookish posts. I’m also hoping to film some more videos. I toyed with the idea of dipping my toe into general lifestyle vlogs, but for now I think I will just stick with the booktuber side of things, and see how I get on. I’m also hoping to visit some beautiful libraries during the rest of the year, and write about them. There will be some aesthetic changes to the blog in the next couple of weeks (fingers crossed), but the content will remain as bookish as ever, and even more so, hopefully!

Knowing stuff


That’s a selfie I took with the statue of George Washington at the National Gallery. I look terrible, but I was more concerned with making sure he was completely in shot. ~

I’m pretty clever. I am not the most intelligent person in the world, but neither am I stupid. I like being clever, I like that people think I am clever. Nobody is ever going to describe me as the pretty one, or the funny one, or the bubbly one, but sometimes I am described as the clever one (depending on the situation, of course). I like this. I have never had any self-confidence when it comes to the way I look, ever since I realised that people judge you on the way you look, I have assumed that people are judging me negatively. But I’ve never, ever thought that I wasn’t good enough when it comes to my brain.

Even writing all that makes me feel a little uncomfortable, because I find it hard to talk about myself in such a positive way. I assume that people will think that I’m boasting. But I don’t think it is boasting, really, because it’s the truth. I don’t think I am more intelligent than the next person, and I certainly don’t think that being clever makes me better than anyone else. But it is something that I value about myself, and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that.

So I think it’s time to call a moratorium on the tendency some people have say things like “I’m a loser” or “I know it’s sad” because they are interested in or particularly knowledgeable about a certain subject. I’ve read blog posts, seen tweets and been around people who have displayed knowledge about something, and then said “Wow, I’m a loser for knowing that.” Firstly, no you’re not. Nobody is ever a loser, or sad, or uncool for knowing anything. How can knowledge be uncool?

Secondly, and the main reason for my disdain of people who choose to express themselves in such a way, is that I don’t actually believe they think they are sad. I think it’s faux modesty, wrapped up in those words to make people think, “Wow, she/he is really, really clever!” Which they are. If you know all of the US Presidents in chronological order, you’re pretty clever. Or at least you’re committed enough to make an effort to learn them all. But don’t pretend you don’t think it’s cool.

(I would add that I think there’s a different between intelligence and knowing facts. I don’t think that being able to reel off a list of world capitals is a measure of intelligence, as such, though I think the ability to do so certainly comes from having a certain level of intellect.)

So please, please resist the urge to pretend that you think that knowing stuff makes you a loser. You know it doesn’t, you know it makes you just a little bit awesome. There’s no need to show off, of course, but if you know something that someone else doesn’t know, modestly own it, and admit that you love knowing stuff. Knowing stuff is the best. I love knowing stuff.

2013 on Is That You Darling

I’m pleased that 2013 is making way for 2014. As someone who much prefers even numbers to odd, fourteen is obviously going to appeal to me more than thirteen. It just sounds nicer, don’t you think?

Anyway, now that we’ve got a little bit of my crazy out of the way, I thought I’d round up how I think things are faring here at Is That You Darling. Even now, after I’ve been blogging in one way or another for around ten years, I still often think I’m finding my feet. The big, wide world of blogging feels as though it is always changing, and I sometimes wonder if I really want to change with it, or if I want to just ignore everyone else and do my own thing.

I think I’ve reached the point where I have decided to straddle the two worlds. I want to be part of the blogging community and take advantage of all the benefits and perks that being a blogger can involve. But I also want to make my blog an extension of me, and that means not taking every opportunity just because it presents itself. I want to use my blog as a means to write; as I’ve mentioned before, this is the sole reason I starting blogging, and I want to remain true to that.

With that in mind, I’ve been avoiding studying my stats in the way that I have in the past. I still keep an eye on them, but I don’t worry about them. I had my best ever month in November, thanks in no small part to Blog Every Day in November, but it doesn’t matter to me that I won’t improve upon it in December.

But today, I thought I’d share with you my top five posts from 2013.

Bionsen Deodorant Review was my most read 2013 post of the year. It doesn’t surprise me that a review got the top spot; this is the kind of thing that people search for online, after all.

31 Before 31 ~ Complete a Cross Stitch was also popular, and that’s because a lot of people search for Lord of the Rings cross stitch patterns! The one I used was by PixelPower Designs, and can be found here, if you’re interested.

Happy Birthday Crafty Creatives was the third most popular 2013 post. I still haven’t got around to making anything out of the kit, because I’m totally rubbish, but I have big crafty plans for 2014!

Essex Bloggers Unite was another much-read post. Since that first meet in February, I’ve seen the Essex Bloggers gang twice more, and I know there are more planned for the coming year. (This has also reminded me that I still haven’t written about our December meet!)

Dial G for GlassesDial G for Glasses was one of my favourite posts to write, so I’m pleased it was one of the most popular this year. I spend a lot of time lusting over glasses I see on people!

Hair Week ~ Area H2O Shampoo and Conditioner Review was the fifth most popular 2013 post this year. Another review makes it into the top five! I had a lot of fun with Hair Week earlier this year, so I’m planning another one soon.

All that remains to be said is thank you to everyone who reads my blog, and especially to those of you who take the time to comment and keep up with my posts. I have found some really lovely people thanks to my blog, and I think that’s one of the most gratifying things about being a blogger!

My writing, elsewhere

I’ve popped up on various other blogs recently, doing some guest posting and some other collaborations. I have shared some of the links already, but I thought I’d put them all into one handy blog post so if you fancy reading my writing elsewhere, you can take a look!

I wondered if I am too old to blog at Nicki’s blog, This Something Life.

I wrote about nicknames for Penny at Lillies and Love when she went away earlier this summer.

I gave my top five tips for blogging on the blog.

I made a list of the ten things to love about Essex for Haydn at Squibb Vicious.

I took part in Sarah at essbeevee’s monthly Books are Awesome series and wrote about six books I love.

And as Haydn was looking for more guest bloggers as she gallivanted around the UK, I was more than happy to help with five celebrity crushes that other people probably don’t get.

Also, every now and again, I get involved over at Blogger’s Bookshelf. In October, they were asking for our favourite literary villains, so I threw my two pennies worth and talked Austen for a couple of sentence (I love talking Austen).

It’s always nice to take my writing off for a visit to another blog every now and again, just as I enjoy having other people guest post here!

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