I was delighted Val agreed to answer some questions.
I’m not sure how long we know each other online now but it’s been a
good while. How long have you been blogging now and why did you start?
I’ve been blogging since 2009 and I think I got to know you around that time, I also joined Twitter then too. I started blogging because there was a lot going on in my life, my parents being ill etc. I found that when I got the thoughts out into cyberspace my mind quietened a bit.
I suppose it’s different strokes for different folks. I’ve always loved blogging and can’t see me giving it up. Although it has changed a lot over the years, there was no such thing as an influencer back in the day.
I think if people want to blog they should go for it.
As for any tips, I’d say:
Don’t expect anything from it. I’ve had a lot of people asking me how much money I’ve made from it which is hilarious.
If you are going to post photos try to take decent ones.
Don’t use photos that you’ve grabbed from the Internet (unless you’ve asked). It’s probably a good idea to stick to one topic, although I don’t. I just blog about whatever I feel like writing.
I liked your post about putting things into boxes, which is a nice
Are there techniques or things you turn to so you can reduce stress
that you encounter?
I went through a really bad time with depression, anxiety and panic attacks and strangely enough blogging about that really helped. A lot of my readers felt the same and they were able to offer advice and suggestions.
I used to go to the opening of an envelope and now I don’t really go to very many places, I found it all quite stressful. If I need to rest I do and I’m certainly a lot kinder to myself. Of course there’s the painting.
You’ve been doing paintings the past while and they’re lovely, have
you always had an artistic calling. What does painting mean to you?
The painting has really been a life saver. I was photographing various art workshops and always amazed at how people of all ages produced great work. I thought I’d like to try it so a couple of years ago I bought some paint brushes and paint and off I went. It’s so therapeutic and is really my form of mindfulness, when I have a paint brush in my hand I’m not thinking of anything else.
You write about your family and personal life and your fight to get Jono the healthcare he should have gotten years ago. What has been the result of your writing and fighting for this, have other people contacted you to share their stories?
I don’t tend to write so much about my family these days. With Jono I firmly believe that the blog helped him get the surgery he needed. He still needs treatment and it’s an ongoing battle but not one I tend to write about now. I’m conscious that he’s getting older and if I do write about the family I always check with them first. We have had a lot of people contacting us in a similar situation and it’s heartbreaking knowing that ten years on things haven’t got any better for people.
You also have covered grief on your site and on Twitter. I’ve seen other people interact with you about how they grieve too. Grief is unique thing to every person and probably still a taboo to talk about it. Has writing helped you with grief, did you have any supports? has feedback from others who read your site helped you too?
The blog again really helped me deal with grief. In a strange way it helps me get my thoughts together and that’s a form of therapy it itself. The feedback from blog readers and Twitter users really helped, it made me realise that I wasn’t alone. Just to know there were people who cared was a huge help. I remember walking around in a daze after mum died, it was like being in a bubble of grief but there were many people who understood how I felt and that was a huge support. The online community, on the whole, are very supportive.
What has been the best moment or moments for you in the past few years
as a result of writing and sharing online?
There have been many fantastic moments including being invited to Dublin Zoo for breakfast years ago – I loved this experience. I also did a lot of adventures around the North West Wild Atlantic Way which was just epic, I think being 45 as I was at the time and jumping off cliffs into the ocean was just amazing.
My dream job that I’m in now is also resulted indirectly from the blog. I’ve had a lot of people tell me that I’ve inspired them and that’s just so special. I’ll always be grateful to the blog for giving me such wonderful opportunities.
What do you see your life being like in 5 years time? Work, family,
the world around you.
That’s a hard one. I’d like to think my family will all be happy and settled. I’d like to see more kindness in the world, it can be a very nasty place at times and this saddens me. As for myself, I hope I’ll stay as happy as I am now and that I’ll still be blogging.
Val’s website is here. Her Twitter is here.