Bearded Backchat with Jess from Babiafi.co.uk
Bearded Backchat is a chance for me to interview PR people and fellow bloggers. This week: Jess from Babi a fi (babiafi.co.uk)
One of the great things about speaking to other bloggers is that you stumble across blogs that, for whatever reason, you’ve not read before. This week’s interview is with Jess from Babiafi.co.uk. Babi a fi is one of those blogs.
I’ve known Jess through Facebook groups for a while but had never really looked at her blog. I’m glad I have done now, as there’s lots of stuff there and is quite eclectic too!
Who are you?
Jessica, but everyone calls me Jess.
What is your “day job”?
I’m an elected councillor for Torfaen County Borough Council. It’s a weird job in that you get to be involved with these huge budget decisions that will affect tens of thousands of people, but all anyone on the street wants to talk to you about is potholes and bin collection… I do enjoy it, though, and it’s been fascinating learning how everything works ‘behind the scenes’.
Given what you do for a day job, do you ever find yourself blogging about topics that get raised at work?
A lot of the more topical blog posts I write are a direct result of work.
For example I came straight out of a meeting of the NFLA (Nuclear Free Local Authorities) and wrote a post on Hinkley C, and during the election campaign I wrote about the archaic views on maternity leave in politics [http://www.babiafi.co.uk/2015/04/its-election-time-baby.html ] (MPs aren’t officially entitled to any, and councillors often have no automatic right).
Other posts have been purely on local issues, like abandoned shopping trolleys and the authority’s new ‘skinny’ bins. I try not to blog about party politics, just because blogging is my escape from work, but I am hoping to write more topical posts this year.
What is your blog called and where can we find it?
Babi a Fi - the Welsh for ‘Baby and Me’. You can find it at www.babiafi.co.uk.
If there was a web extension for Wales (such as babiafi.cwm or babiafi.wales), would you change from .co.uk?
You can actually get .wales and .cymru. I did think about it when I bought my domain name but they were more expensive - I’m nothing if not a cheapskate! - and I was worried that, combined with the Welsh blog name, people wouldn’t bother clicking through on the assumption it was all written in Welsh.
What’s Babi a fi about?
Originally, as the name suggests, it was going to be a parenting blog. But then I decided I really needed to blog about work, my hobbies (comping and doll / miniature collecting), my love of history, and all of the interests that make me the rather strange individual I am. Now I tend to lump it under the umbrella of ‘lifestyle’.
Why did you start blogging?
The first blog I ever had was on Livejournal, way back in 2004 or so. I wanted to connect with people interested in the same things as me and have a space to air all my teenage angst.
Why do you still blog?
Essentially the same reasons. I want to bore a wider audience than my long-suffering family with my ramblings, and I love being able to connect with people all over the world from the comfort of my front room.
How has blogging changed since you started?
I’m not sure that it has, at least not fundamentally. The debates over comment etiquette and social media faux pas seem to be the same to me, at any rate! I think it has become much more mainstream, though, and there is a lot more focus on having a readily identifiable niche now.
Would you count your blog as a job or something fun to do in your spare time?
I won’t lie, I would love to be able to count it as my job. I’ve always enjoyed writing, and to earn a living from it would be a dream come true. Perhaps it will happen one day, but I don’t think it will be anytime in the near future. For now blogging is a great hobby that lets me document our lives, share all the random stuff I’m interested in, and (perhaps most importantly) it doesn’t even cost me anything.
If you could recommend three other blogs to read, what three would you recommend and why?
What the Redhead Said. Reading Donna’s blog during my pregnancy is what initially inspired me to give parenting blogging a go - she makes it all look so effortless!
Honest Mum. Vicki Psarias is another of my blogging inspirations; she is an awesome example of what you can achieve as a blogger, and I love that her blog covers a variety of topics.
Man vs. Pink. I always enjoy reading about a dad’s point of view, and as my partner is also a self-confessed sci-fi geek and stay at home dad, I find this one particularly relevant.
Where do you get the inspiration to write a blog post?
Roughly every three weeks or so I find - or rediscover - a topic that absolutely has to be shared with anyone who will listen, or sit still and smile politely. This could be Barbie doll’s career history, the yowie phenomena (Australia’s answer to Bigfoot), or why baby sick is the most disgusting substance known to man.
What is the single best thing that has come about as a result of your blog?
Reading other people’s blogs. Really! When I started looking into ways to promote my own blog I discovered linkies, collections of posts on a topic or theme, and they introduced me to so many new blogs. I love reading about other people’s lives and, unlike buying a magazine, for the most part, these are people without a nanny, a gardener, and a personal trainer to help them cope with the stresses and strains of it all.
What would be your perfect blog post?
Probably reviewing a family day out. My daughter’s getting a little older now, and better able to appreciate the difference between doing something fun, and sitting on the dining room floor playing with an empty crisp packet. We don’t often get a chance to take her far, so something like that would be perfect.
What can you recommend to other bloggers to increase the traffic to their sites?
Aside from the aforementioned linkies, I would say that Content is King - but Publicity is Lifeblood. Use social media to your advantage, connect with other people, and don’t be afraid to put your name out there.
Which brands do you enjoy working with?
I’ve really enjoyed working on a couple of projects with Little Bird PR for The Book of Everyone and the Good Night Stop Snoring Ring. Their staff are so friendly, but very professional and good at making their expectations clear - which makes my life a lot easier.
Everyone has that one company that they have always wanted to work with but have never quite been able to. Who is yours?
As a doll collector, my ideal brand would be Integrity Toys. They make such beautiful dolls, fashions, and accessories, and I’m forever adding ‘just one more’ to my collection. A girl can dream, eh?
What is your own personal favourite post on your site?
It’s a post which I can guarantee would not appeal to 99.9% of people, but my choice is still Midnight Tragedy: The Murder of ‘Poor Kitty’ Roman. Last year’s obsession was Jack the Ripper so I wanted to write about some of the lesser known aspects.
Poor Kitty’s murder in 1909 was linked to the Ripper by the press, because she was killed in the house opposite the one in which Mary Jane Kelly, generally believed to be the Ripper’s last victim, died in 1888. Kitty is always a footnote, even in the story of her own murderer who was released in 1917 for the war effort, so I enjoyed putting her centre stage for once.
Whose blog would you love to be featured on or write a guest post for?
I’d love to write a post for Cracked.com. I have no idea what it would be on, but they have provided me with so many laughs and pieces of useless trivia over the years. I’d love to be able to say I had written something for them.
Lastly, if you were to interview another blogger, what question would you ask that I haven’t asked here?…
I’d probably look to the future and ask, where do you see yourself as a blogger in one, two, or even five years time?
… And what is your answer to that question?
Trust me to make life awkward for myself! Hmm. In the past, I’ve never managed to keep a blog going longer than about two years. I become fickle, lose interest, and move onto a new project.
What I love about my current blog is that there is scope to include my latest shiny new obsession, along with my everyday life. I hope that in five years time I’m still at, bigger and better than ever!
Thank you, Jess, for taking part!.
(Original header designed by www.lucykatedesign.co.uk, with thanks)