Featured Blogger | Great Fun 4 Kids

| July 31, 2015 | 0 Comments

I first met this week’s blogger about 3 years ago at a blogging event and thought it was rather cool to meet another mum designing kids parties, but unlike me she clearly LOVES throwing the parties as well!!


Blogger: Simone Graham
Genre: Kids/Family/Lifestyle

Great Fun 4 Kids

Tell us a little about your blog.
My blog is my window on the world. My by-line has been for years: “Finding fun on the Rollercoaster of life…” Sometimes it’s about the fun, and sometimes it’s about the Rollercoaster. I share a lot of party ideas, tips for entertaining, ideas for family fun, plus free printables and how-to’s on the blog (I have a recipe page, plus a whole party section and an Etsy shop to match), but along with the ideas and fun, I also share the behind-the-scenes reality of parenting and (at times) battling depression and anxiety. I write about my journey and don’t hold back.

Lots of people stumble over my blog while they are searching for party inspiration, but they stay for the encouragement and honesty.

What is the story behind how you came to be a blogger?
I was into kids’ parties long before I started blogging, and a friend of mine suggested I start a blog, way back in 2008. At the time I had no idea what a blog even was (some type of website???!)

It sounded interesting though, so I sat down one day with the idea of putting my party tips out into cyberspace, registered with Blogger and picked a name out of the air – Greatfun4kids (since I thought it was going to be all about the fun, and the kids).

A few days into it, after writing up some party posts and family movie reviews, I felt compelled to tell the story of my journey through depression. I figured there were other women struggling out there who might read the fun tips and think, “Well that’s OK for her…” if I just shared the shiny-happy side of life.

But if I was honest about my ups and downs, and made my blog a true reflection of my life, sharing what I’m learning along the way, then other mums might find encouragement and hope along with the fun ideas. (“If she can do it with her imperfections and struggles, then maybe I can too…”)

That was nearly eight years ago and I still haven’t run out of stories – or party ideas.

Great Fun 4 Kids

Where do you go or what do you do to get inspiration for your blog?
Life is the inspiration, in all its mess and glory. I don’t have a blogging plan, I just go with what is happening in my life at the time. Over the last year I’ve been doing a lot of DIY around my house, so I’ve been sharing a few home makeover, DIY and de-cluttering posts – who doesn’t like a good before-and-after story, right? Recently I went through a bit of a dark patch, and wrote about that on my blog, as well as sharing how I get through those times. That post resonated with loads of people and was my most-shared post ever (on Facebook). I have no fixed plan or schedule – just wherever I go and whatever happens, it’s all potential blog material!

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learnt and how has it shaped you?
A few years ago I got to the point with blogging where I lost the joy. It seemed that the more I got into doing sponsored posts and started tracking stats and follower numbers, the less I was enjoying it. It was a chore and I felt like I was on a treadmill, churning out posts and trying to get ahead.

I could never get to the point where enough was enough. Post reach, page views, comments, engagement – these things were becoming an obsession. After I had a bit of a health crisis and ended up in hospital, I was unable to physically sit at the computer for very long, and blogging took a back seat for a while. When I recovered, I decided to deliberately pull back from blogging for a while. I stopped looking at stats; I said no to almost all review opportunities and just posted once a week on whatever took my fancy. I stopped obsessing about growing my blog, and gave up my quest to have a post go viral. And guess what? I rediscovered my love of blogging again.

Great Fun 4 Kids

What one piece of advice would you give to new bloggers?
Know who you are and why you’re blogging – and stay true to that. As soon as I try to copy someone else I perceive as successful, or try to blog to a formula to increase stats, I lose my unique voice and my credibility.

Name some of the bloggers that you look up to and why?
My absolute hands-down favourite blogger is Aussie blogger Maxabella Loves. She is a wonderful writer, honest and funny. She often seems to steal the thoughts from my head! Plus she’s as much of a party-nut as I am. Maxabella first introduced me to the ideas of being a FIFO Blogger – fly-in, fly-out. She is my blogging role-model. There have been plenty of others over the years, but lots of them are not blogging anymore (or hardly at all). Which is so so sad. I do love Deb from Works in Progress – she is a fabulous person, and writes honestly and thought-provokingly. Plus she is super clever as a quilt maker, and very kind and generous to boot (I have one of her quilts that she made me when I was in hospital)

Great Fun 4 Kids

About You:

What do you think about when you are alone in your car?
Okay, so sometimes I listen to TalkBack radio, just so I can quietly laugh at all the crazies who phone in. But sometimes (most of the time) I am just grateful for the peace. It’s rare when you have three kids to be alone in the car!

What song is your personal anthem?
I have really struggled with this question! It’s a toss-up between “Dancing Queen” (ABBA) which is my go-to karaoke song, and “Amazing Grace” – because, well, it’s just true for me.

If we came to your house for dinner, what would you prepare for us?
For dinner in winter, I would probably pick a theme, say Italian, or Spanish. I’d light candles and make garlic bread, antipasto, gluten free pasta with my homemade meatballs and sauce, mix up a jug of my famous Sangria and for dessert, something from the Petite Kitchen cookbook. Or maybe Tiramisu, if you don’t mind the dairy and gluten.

But if it was summer, we’d be outside under the grapevine; sizzling gourmet sausages and marinated chicken skewers over the fire, eating them in baguettes and toasting marshmallows under the stars. (There would be fairy lights, lanterns and bunting, no doubt, too).

Great Fun 4 Kids

In the movie of your life, who would play you?
I actually wrote a whole post about this once – and I picked Janeanne Garofolo to play me. She’s a bit shorter than I am, so if height was an issue, and Nigella was wanting to branch out from cooking into Hollywood, maybe she could do the job. (I’ve been told by a few people I look a bit like her – but it could be just that we both love Whittakers chocolate).

Where is your happy place, and why?
My happy place is curled up in the sun with a good book and a cup of coffee. It could be anywhere, as long as it’s warm (if there’s no sun, a cosy fire will do nicely). There’s nothing I like more than being immersed in a great book. It’s how I escape humdrum reality and dive into other worlds. If I don’t have a book on the go, I feel a bit lost.

How would you describe your personal style?
Ha. Ha. Ha. I’m not sure I have a style! I like to be comfortable first, second and third. I’m not one to suffer for the sake of fashion, so you won’t find me tottering on high heels or sucking in my gut to squeeze into something slinky. I’m afraid I’m very boring. My comfy jeans and boots get worn almost every day in Winter. Recently I invested in a puffer jacket from MacPac and my twelve-year-old son announced that I was now fit to be seen in public with him – as long I’m wearing the jacket!

Great Fun 4 Kids

What is the last thing that made you say ‘wow’?
I’m pretty sure it was a sunset. I always say “wow” at sunsets. But it could also have been any number of other things: the flood footage from Wanganui, my daughter tidying her bedroom, my youngest son scoring seven tries at his rugby match, my eldest son putting on the washing without being asked… all pretty earth shattering events.

What is your wish for the future?
It’s got to be that my three kids grow up happy and healthy and stay good kind people with generous hearts. Really, that’s how I’ll measure my success. Parenting is tough, (especially if your kids are as quirky and crazy as mine) but if they can get through the teenage years and come out the other side still speaking to us, I’ll be happy. My eldest son turns 13 at the end of the year, so the teenage years are almost upon us.

Where has the time gone, I wonder? I still feel like I’m just starting out. As the very true saying goes: “The days are long but the years are short.”

The awesome thing is that I have been recording those lightning-fast years on my blog for posterity – just one more thing to love about blogging.

Follow Simone here:

Website: www.greatfun4kidsblog.com

Instagram: @greatfun4kids
Twitter: @greatfun4kids
Pinterest: @simoney

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