Updated: Aug 18
Hello, I’m Tammy, mother, blogger, creator and lover of children’s parties. It feels a little bizarre to be blogging about my story, when in many ways it has only just begun. But here goes…
When COVID came around, I was 40 years old, a first time mum of a 6 month old and already a month or so into being made redundant (for the second time in my career). By the time my daughter was one (the age I had planned on returning to work) the prospect of trying to find a new job, as a new mum who was going to need some flexibility and suitable child care seemed almost impossible in the disarray the world was in. So, I somehow found myself continuing in the role of ‘stay at home mum’, which I loved, but I definitely needed something of my own.
The pull to return to work really wasn’t there anymore. I had already had the best part of a 20 year career and I really didn’t feel the need to get back on the career ladder. I was also reluctant to go back to having a boss! I had always wanted to do something of my own, but was never brave enough to give up the day job to do it… I also wanted to be there for my daughter as much as I could, so shipping her off to nursery every day and just getting her back at the end of the day to feed her dinner, bath her and put her to bed really filled me with dread. However, I did want to do something that would get me thinking, allow me to be creative and enable me to interact with some grown-ups! Maybe now was the time to branch out on my own.
COVID had given me a lot of time to be creative and I got a bit carried away making and baking things for my daughters birthday, Halloween, Easter and Christmas. This got me thinking about sharing my ideas and creativity, which resulted in the ‘birth’ of icecreamandjelly.com, my blog for all things birthday party and celebration related for kids. Having not earned any income in a while, I needed to do this on a shoestring and as such I set out to build the blog myself.
After some well meaning advice from a friend, I set up my blog on a platform called Squarespace. It took absolutely months to get enough blog posts written in order to be able to set the site live, as I was writing them during my daughter’s nap times. I then had to get my head round Squarespace and work out how to build the blog and get it all on line. I don’t have a techie background; I’ve worked in marketing, strategy and retail for most of my career, so this was a big challenge. It was very frustrating at times, as I often found that the smallest little change I wanted to make could take me 2-3 hours of trial and error before I could get it working.
At the end of 2021, I was finally ready to put the blog live, which felt like a massive achievement! My plan had been to get the blog up and running and then to start adding some affiliate links, in the hope that I could start to earn some income from it. I joined a few Facebook groups to ask for some advice and soon discovered that Squarespace was going to make life very difficult for me. While it may be slightly more intuitive to use for a newbie, it is very restrictive and adding affiliate links was going to be next to impossible. I had to swallow hard and accept that if I wanted to have flexibility and also future proof my website, then I would need to rebuild it in Wordpress.
So, I have spent the last few months rebuilding the website from scratch and at last, at the end of May 2022 I was all set to launch my new look website. It has been an absolutely massive learning curve and I can’t emphasise enough how important it is to do good research in advance of building a website, to ensure that the website you build is going to allow you to do everything that you want it to do, both now and in the long term. There are some really great Facebook groups out there, online communities with lovely people that are happy to offer their expert advice and their time to help you out - I would certainly recommend joining a few relevant ones to see what you can learn from them before you start out in your next big adventure.
Editors Note: Check out this one!
My blog has now been live for a couple of months (as of July 2022) and I am so excited to see the website analytics, watching the visitor numbers growing day by day.
Alongside my blog, I have also created my own Facebook group for UK based small businesses that work in the world of children’s parties: The Party People Network. If this is you, then please do come and join us. The idea is to build a community where we can all come together to offer advice, support and share ideas. Within the first few weeks of setting the group up, we have almost 300 members and I have already seen some of them reaching out to start conversations about doing business together, which is fantastic!
It is still early days and I am not quite sure where this is going to take me, but I am really enjoying the journey so far and I’m excited to be building a little something of my own. Please do come and take a look at my blog https://icecreamandjelly.com and follow me on Instagram and Facebook and tell your friends!