I started this blog in June. I didn't tell anyone about it for a while as I wanted some time to 'myself' to reflect on, and write about, the pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding and the giant lump I had on my face before starting on the 'fun' stuff.
The first person I did eventually tell was Sammi (not even Ruari), who was super supportive and encouraging and made me feel a million times better about going 'public' and just doing what I want to without caring about peoples' judgements. I had some reservations about putting myself out there as I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with social networks, despite being a fairly heavy user (I obviously err mostly toward love) and have been known to delete various accounts and start all over again in the past.
|Hannah 'Maggs' Michalak|
Anyway, Sammi also told me about a young lady called Hannah Maggs and about how she read her blog and watched her videos on YouTube throughout her own pregnancy and, even since having Casey, she still reads and watches her stuff from time to time. I'd not heard of Hannah as I've never spent any time on YouTube except to watch the odd band here 'n' there and I'd taken an eighteen month hiatus from the blogging world so had lost all touch with what was going on. To be honest, for a long time I was too scared to look at the 'competition', preferring to just do my own thing and not look sideways for fear of what I might see (and the feeling of inadequacy I'd inevitably feel)- but my way of thinking has changed in recent weeks (and even days) and I eventually plucked up the courage very recently to open my eyes to what was going on out there, particularly in the parenting blogger world. And it's a wonderful, albeit intimidatingly talented place.
|Hannah & Grayson|
So, basically, Hannah 'Maggs' Michalak is kind of a big deal. She is stunningly yet naturally beautiful, instantly-likeable and super-honest. She and her husband, Stef, publish a video blog or 'vlog' (you can tell my age by the use of my inverted commas there - not that I'm really that old but in the digital world normal years seem to be like dog years) every Sunday evening about their lives as new parents to baby Grayson who is eight months old. Longest sentence ever, sorry. Each multi-camera vlog is incredibly well produced and edited (increasingly so as weeks go by, and better than most TV shows, in my opinion) and clearly a lot of time and effort goes into every single one. I get the impression from Hannah's Twitter that it takes Stef all of Sunday to edit them in time for the evening's release, and I also read online somewhere that Stef used to take two days off from work a week to edit them, but I'm not sure if he still does that. Having only relatively recently discovered Hannah, I've not watched all of her vlogs but I do enjoy watching them if and when I have a mo. In fact they have recently become part of my Sunday night routine; pause X-Factor, watch Hannah's latest vlog then fastforward past X-Factor's commercials.
Their vlogs aim to show what it's really like to be new parents and, although I've not watched them yet, Hannah did a weekly pregnancy update all throughout her, well, pregnancy. If her latest vlogs are anything to go by then I'm sure they were really honest about everything that she experienced (in her latest blog she tells of her period pain and in her last one she went bra shopping). She's also vlogged about things like hypnobirthing, what's in her changing bag, baby's first bath, baby spa dates, baby boy shopping hauls and breastfeeding troubles.
Hannah is 25 years old and used to be a make-up artist but she is now a full time mum and vlogger, which I imagine comes with great responsibility in itself and is even signed to a management company (Gleam Futures) which looks after the hottest social talent out there (yeah, that's a thing now and proves my point about digital dog years). Since starting her vlog Hannah has founded her label Maggs of London where she sells a range of handmade make-up bags made from fabrics she has personally sourced, and they seem to be selling like the hottest of hot cakes judging by the bin bags full of bags she takes to the post office in her vlogs and the 'sold out' stamps on the website.
|Zoella & Grayson|
Hannah, who started out by writing a beauty blog, credits Stef for encouraging her to start making beauty video tutorials, and when she fell pregnant it seemed only natural to document the pregnancy by video too, if only for their own memoirs. But when YouTube's first lady, Zoella (hello, SIX MILLION subscribers!), linked to Hannah's vlog earlier this year it changed everything for them, and since then Hannah's vlogs have grown in popularity week on week and she currently has 137,772 subscribers to her channel!
Stef features in every 'episode' that I've watched and seems to have quite a few fans in his own right. He is clearly very talented (his editing has set the YouTube bar very high) and charismatic too, and is the founder of a social bookmarking site called Wantfeed. He and Hannah make a lovely couple and their joint pursuit of Hot Yoga has also been mentioned in all of the recent episodes that I've watched which I think is awesome that they do together. I also really love that they do 'blackout nights' where they do not watch TV or go online from 7pm til 7am and instead just watch box sets and spend quality time together doing things like scrap-booking and playing boardgames which I think is a great idea and is something that Ruari and I are thinking of doing.
|Stef & Grayson|
Grayson also features heavily in the vlogs, obviously, as the point of their videos is to be able to show them to him when he's older. He is an absolute cutie pie and is a baby fashion trendsetter, Baby Sensory frequenter (yeahhh!) and has been known to store massive pieces of broccoli in his mouth for a really, really, long time! He also has his meals in just his nappy to save the amount of stain removal Hannah has to do, which is totally something I am going to do with Joseph when he starts eating properly. I think he is mostly Baby-Led-Weaned but I'm not sure.
|Grayson & Sophie!|
I've gathered that Hannah's life hasn't been straight-forward judging from comments I've seen saying she has been through a lot for her years so deserves every success, but I'm yet to find out what those things are and I hope that they aren't as bad as I'm imagining.
Anywho, her vlogs are a pleasure to watch and I totally recommend you watch them too, especially if you're expecting or are a new parent. Or even if you're neither of those things. I wish I'd discovered her sooner or whilst I was pregnant, mostly because it'd mean I'd have less videos to try and catch up on now!
|I think Grayson is mostly baby-led weaned|
Back to the 'competition' I mentioned. I've never been competitive and I think with parenting blogging, it's about making or documenting memories you can look back on in years to come. I am happy for anyone who has managed to make money from blogging about parenting, particularly those who can now afford to work from home and not have to leave their babies. I also encourage anyone who is trying to do that, or those who are happy documenting their lives and celebrating the lives of their children. Personally I really enjoy writing, even though my grammar sucks. I kept diaries as a nipper and all throughout my teens and early twenties which turned into a blog and I regret not writing for the last 18 months. I am happy to be doing my own thing and do not expect anything to come from blogging, especially financially although of course that would be handy but I know that it only happens to a few. As a 'parenting blogger', I am rubbish at being consistent and writing things like monthly updates, even though I think they are a fantastic idea and will be amazing to look back on in the future. I wish I'd done them from the start, in fact, but due to having only started this blog when Joseph was almost three months old and not realising that was a 'thing' until recently, I was a bit too late! I do hope that my posts may be of some use to someone out there who perhaps experienced the things that I did throughout pregnancy, or just in life. Something else that makes me happy which has come from blogging, or rather from me sharing and hash-tagging endless pictures of Joseph online, is being part of a community of mums on Instagram who have made my maternity leave so much fun aside from the joy that Joseph brings me every day, although I am also sorry to my friends who are bombarded with my #babyspam every day, but I thank you for sticking with me!
Sorry for rambling (my old blog was called Ramble, Ramble, Ramble which you won't find, if for some crazy reason you might want to, because I've deleted it). The moral of the post: Go check out Hannah!
Hannah's blog posts and vlogs of note:
Why I make YouTube videos
Why it's ok not to breastfeed
And sooooo, so many more!
Hannah's Twitter: @hannahmaggs22
Hannah's Instagram: @magsy24
Maggs of London Makeup bags
P.S. I had considered contacting Hannah to take part in Mummy Time but I think all of my questions are most likely answered in her vlogs!
P.P.S. I hope Hannah doesn't mind that I've used her photos without permission! If you happen to see this Hannah and you do mind, I'll remove them if you'd prefer.
P.P.P.S. If anyone does check out Hannah because of this blog, I'd be intrigued to hear from you!
I'll shut up now. x
Ok, last thing....