Benja and iPad

Guest posts coming!

As I’m still on vacation and having a bit of difficulty finding the time to sit down to write a full blog post as much as I would like to (as expected), I’ve invited other bloggers to write for me. Thanks to a few who have responded!

I hope you enjoy their posts and follow their blogs too!

My drafts are increasing as well as my frustration that I could not get it uploaded live to share with my readers, if any of you is still left. Anyone? But there are things that are beyond my control, like our unstoppable toddler. Benjamin has become a different creature after we arrived here. I cannot blame him – everything is new in his eyes and everything he want to touch and explore, including dangerous ones!

Once, he knocked on someone’s gate and three dogs barked loudly.  But instead of running away from the dog, he ran TOWARDS them! The little guy is fearless. He has scratches on both his knees already. I’ve bought band-aids and betadine sprays and put it in the little emergency kit in the diaper bag. I reckon every mom of boys has this!

Honestly, I am exhausted running after him everywhere. When there’s a crowd in a brightly lit place, he will go around everywhere like a wild horse out from the stable. He doesn’t care where he’ll end up and don’t even look back if we are still behind him.

Benja and iPad

The iPad used to entertain him…not anymore! Now he’s like, “What iPad, there a whole wide world to explore out here!”

I’ve seen parents using a leash on their sons and I thought, “no way!!” but right now, I totally know their reason and it has crossed my mind a few times! (not that I’m going to make Benjamin look like a little puppy!)

So yeah, with Pristine in school and no babysitter, it’s only me and my running shoes chasing Benjamin. Sometimes his dad comes to our rescue but Benjamin just hyperventilates when his dad stops him. Moms of little boys, how do/did you survive?

Someone stole my blog post, what now?

One fine day, I got this email.

Pingbacks are notifications you get from WordPress (and other similar blogging platforms) when someone links to a post on your blog. I get an email for every pingback and I usually ignore it. But this time, this Pingback is different.

It reeked nasty.

When I clicked on the URL to see how the outside site has linked to one of my recently published article, Introducing – The Carnival of Weekend Wanderings, this appeared:

I instantly recognize the image. This is the same one I’ve used in my blog post.

Scrolling down, I knew what happened: my content was stolen. Or rather scraped, posted on this blog to claim as their own. But wait – see the words…the have been substituted to be a little different than the original post, never mind the ridiculous grammar!

Further proof that this post is really mine? THIS.

The content thief did not even bother to take out my email address and only replaced “at” with “during” which made it look stupid.

Now, what would you do if someone steals your blog content and post it as their own? Do you ignore it and just enjoy the back links or do something about it?

I CAN’T IGNORE IT. Here’s what I did, aiming to let them take down that stolen content:

1. I confronted the website owner by leaving a comment on the website, putting the link to the original post and politely asking to take down the stolen content.

When I hit the “Submit” button in the comments and realized that my comment would never appear as went for moderation, I know I have to find another way to contact them – but the website had no “About” section nor any information of the content thief.

2. I contacted the host of the content thief website by using the IP address in the Pingback. You can track host information via

I found out that the content thief used Dream Host and there’s an email address to handle abuse so I wrote to them informing that one of the websites they’re hosting violated copyright infringement law.

Then I waited. And tweeted a lot about it while waiting!

In less than 24 hours, Dream Host replied to me:

The domain of concern has been taken offline until our customer can remove the allegedly infringing content per your DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) notification.

I checked and yes, the website was removed from the face of the internet last week. They are back now though but have deleted two of my posts they scraped off from my blog. As for their other posts? There were a lot of stolen content before which appeared to have been deleted already as well. I am not sure that what’s left are not stolen content but whatever, as long as they’re removed mine.

Has someone stolen your content? What did you do?

Great read regarding this topic
What Do You Do When Someone Steals Your Content

The Definitive Guide to Blog Content Scraping & How to Stop It!

PR pitches in my inbox: rarely good, mostly bad and ugly

Lately, so many brands have included blogger partnerships for their social media and advertising campaigns. I feel it is so much more targeted than a lot of traditional media and the return can be a lot better and more measurable as well. I love that a lot of companies are going that direction, but there are so many more that just don’t get it yet.

I’ve been receiving quite a number of emails from agencies representing brands – most of them generic structured press releases with a common ending: “we are hoping you could post this on your blog for your readers to see”.

Uhm, no.

Before, I have religiously answered these kind of email pitches explaining my decision to say no and why not but these days? I’ve lost the energy to. I just delete these kind of emails now because replying would not be worth the time but the emails have just gotten far worse over the last few weeks. I had to address them collectively, here (since I know they are reading my blog).

It is time.

Brands, I get it – you hire a PR agency to send pitches via email to promote a product or an event but I hate to tell you this: the agencies (or people) you’re hiring?

They. Just. Don’t. Get. It.

Some of the few I’ve received so far:

1. PR pitches that ask to publish for free

As Sandier Pastures blog is about the life and your experiences as a working Mom in Dubai, and I must say I am a big fan as well! I would like to introduce to you *product name* as I hope you and your readers might be interested in this and would be very happy if you would consider writing about it in your blog?

I immediately replied to the email as I really like the product and very keen on reviewing it. They will have to, however, give me the product so I can review it (common sense, anyone?) and write about my experience. Nothing special, just a logical win-win thing to do. I get to try out a product I like, they get the exposure.

I didn’t get any reply after that making me conclude that they are not willing to give out a product in exchange for exposure, for advertising. The kind of advertising that can be viewed by thousands through my blog’s traffic from search engines, tweets, Facebook posts, Instagram photos, and more, expanding the reach that goes beyond the December edition of the traditional “ABC Magazine” with their add on page 21 in the upper left corner.

But these kind of PR don’t want to invest in anything. They want free publication, nothing else.

What’s worse? I receive another email of the same nature, from the same PR agency, from the same PR person asking to promote another product. {She totally ignored my previous email}

SUGGESTION: Be business like. It is easy to undermine the value of a website just because it is a “blog” but there is a reason why you approached it – it is beneficial for your campaign. It has a price attached to it (in the above case, a product for review) because every writeup with a mention of a brand, somewhere, someone gains something. If you’re going to gain something out of publishing your pitch on a platform, don’t expect it would be free.

Many bloggers have done their time. They have been blogging for years and have built their own brand, experience, exposure and reputation. They won’t and (should not) work for free.

Don’t get me wrong, I offer support in terms of coverage to issues and non-profit organizations that is close to my heart and would never expect to be paid for that. On the other hand, when a brand, represented by a PR agency or direct reaches out to me to ask me to publish and promote content for free, I find that outreach insulting.

2.  PR person who is clueless on how to build relationships

Relationships, online or otherwise start with the basic: knowing the other person’s name. Yet, there are so many PR people who don’t bother to flick through parts of the blog to see the blogger’s name. I have been addressed countless times with: “Dear Sandie”

SUGGESTION: Usually, there is an About section in the blog. Click it, know the blogger’s name. It’s not really that difficult.

3.  PR person using the spray and pray strategy

PR rep gathers up a list of random bloggers’ emails addresses and then send the same message to everyone, regardless of topical relevance.

SUGGESTION: Do your research and send PR pitches according to the blogger’s niche or area of interest. Spamming an announcement isn’t press relations, it’s spamming.

4. PR from all over with the same agenda; No coordination

We are a digital advertising agency and we came across your blog which we found extremely good. We would like to hire your services to post articles on your blog to promote {country name} Tourism. We will provide the articles and you will need to post them on your blog. We need 5 blog articles from you for 3 months {crap payment A}.

From another PR, freelance, I bet as he has a email:

I am A.T. reaching you from India in regards to some Blog activities. We would need 5 blogs from you each month for 3 months on our client Tourism {country name}. We would be sharing detail topic on which you can build the content around it. This would also go viral on your Facebook and twitter to help us achieve our KPI of Pageviews. {crap payment B} is ok?

And another…

Reason for my email:  we have a contract with Tourism {country name} to engage with bloggers around the world on travel to {country name}.  Great if you’ve been there but not essential.  We are looking for 300 word and 800 word posts (and photos wherever possible).  We need copy as soon as possible plus ongoing requirements over the next few weeks.

From yet another PR, with the same agenda as the other three above!

A leading tourism company is targeting tourists from the middle east region through and we wanted to know if you would be able to make blog posts for tourism {country name}? During a four month period would you be able to make 4 to 6 blog posts on {country name}, post opinions & 5 or 6 discussion forums web sites..If you can indicate a cost it would be good…Say if you could do it for {crap payment C} per month for four months ..Please reply fast so that we can include you in the panel.

Your tone is so demanding. I cannot coordinate for you. Period.

Other than the demanding tone and the general impression that they are all in a hurry, these 3 different PR pitches are offering 3 different crap payment — which means Tourism {country name} has let out a huge campaign without fixed protocols from pricing to execution strategy.

SUGGESTION: Choose a reputable PR agency/agencies. Build guidelines so the behavior of PR people will not damage your brand’s reputation. Offering crap payment in exchange for a ‘blogging service’, with a pressing deadline no less is an insult and it stirs up the idea that your brand is cheap.

5. PR person asking for help

Also I was wondering if you want to steer this in UAE market and get your friend bloggers too who are quite active and influencers  on same. Our requirement is of 10 blog post per month  with 10,00 page views so accordingly you can help us with influential bloggers.

SUGGESTION: Hire a PR agency who knows the market, who is in touch or willing to keep in touch with people for your campaign. You are paying this PR agency to do their jobs, make your money count.

These are just some of the PR pitches I received. Some are actually worse. What makes these bad PR pitches really bad is that these email pitches, press releases do not have an “unsubscribe” at the end. In that sense, they are worse than spam.

5th Blogiversary and launch of #blogtalk

Today, Sandier Pastures dot com turns 5. Though I started blogging earlier, I launched this dot com on September 1, 2007. This is my 1,870th post.

Five years blogging had been a wonderful experience and this blog has definitely evolved from being an online diary for friends and family back home to being some sort of guide for people wanting to know more about living and working in this region in my point of view. I look forward to another year of blogging, and more.

So how do I want celebrate 5 years of blogging (aside from eating cake)?

I want to make new connections, discover more blogs, meet more bloggers in this area and understand the ‘social’ part of social media better. I’ve had something up my sleeve for the longest time and thought in celebration of my 5 years in the blogging world, I’d finally do it!

…a blog-related chat via Twitter.

There’s already a group for Dubai Bloggers on Facebook where bloggers post their recent articles. While it’s a good way to know who blogs what in the UAE, I think it would be great if there is a platform where we can interact with each other more, exchange ideas, ask questions, share blogging tips, etc. Don’t you think it would be lovely if UAE based bloggers actually ‘talk’ to each other rather than just post their articles on a public forum like a news feed?

I love blogging (if not I wouldn’t stick to it for more than five years!) and happy to interact with others via Twitter. I want to make this a weekly affair, every Tuesday at 3-4pm, Dubai time with the hashtag #blogtalk and YOU are all invited to join – whether you’ve been blogging for five years or four or just started yesterday!

Why use a hashtag?
When you add a hashtag to your tweets, your updates can be seen not only by the people who follow you but also by anyone who happens to be following that particular hashtag.

I’ll start with a new blogging topic every week and let the conversation flow and blossom from there.

Ok that sounds interesting, I want to start following #blogtalk, what is the best way to do that?

For me, TweetChat is the best and easy choice.

Log on to with your Twitter ID and password and type in the hashtag. By using this Twitter tool,  there is no need to manually type in the hashtag keyword at the end of each tweet. Tweetchat will take care of that for you by automatically inserting the designated hashtag at the end of your tweets.

If you use a Twitter client like Tweetdeck, create a search column for the term ‘#blogtalk’. All tweets with the #blogtalk hashtag will show up in your column whether you’re follow the person tweeting or not.

Another way to follow a twitter chat is by TweetGrid. Read the resource: How to Participate in a Twitter Party to learn more.

Everyone is welcome to join #blogtalk – this is the place to meet new bloggers and a place we come to learn together. See you on our first twitter chat!

On Tuesday, 3-4pm Dubai time, we will ease up into the chat by just introducing each other and our blogs, number of years blogging, etc. See you there!

Bluehost deactivated my account (again)

Last week when work resumed after 4 days of holidays due to Eid Al Fitr, the celebrations after Ramadan, I was so ready to pick up what’s left of my semi-ignored blog and finally write something. Baby Ben had fever all throughout the time I was at home sending us worried to the hospital at 2am. He underwent a urine test which resulted negative in anything suspicious, he had no cough or colds so the doctor assumed the high fever could be due to teething or some viral thing that would go away on its own.

The doctor was right. After 2-3 days of on and off fever, he was well again and two teeth on the upper gums peeked out. Poor baby crying of pain and discomfort. Remember when you had one of your wisdom tooth? How you winced in pain? Well, it’s only one and babies sometimes (most of the time) get two teeth coming out at the same time!

Anyway,when I was ready to go online again, I discovered that my blog is unavailable. Blog gone, just like that. And I got this email from my web host:

Your web hosting account for has been deactivated, as of 08/20/2012. (reason: site causing performance problems)

This deactivation was due to a Terms of Service (TOS) violation associated with your account.

Bluehost did not elaborate was part of the TOS I violated. They just shut down my website just like that. Pissed? Word. That word couldn’t even vaguely describe what I feel – mostly because this is the second time it happened AND I am not geeky enough to solve problems like this without the risk of wiping out my blog from the face of the internetz.

They told me I have 15 days to clear the problem or else lose my data. Panic. Where was that backup? When was the last time I even thought of a backup? Silly. After blogging for awhile, I should have realized there’s more to blogging than just writing. There’s behind the scenes maintenance, a.k.a. blog housekeeping – which I suck at doing.

After searching through Google, I deleted plugins mentioned in the error log. This was the workaround to my first suspension with Bluehost last year. There were plugins causing their server to run slow.

But I also discovered that there’s another issue right now: spam comments.

My site had been bombarded with a total of 8,000 spam comments while I wasn’t looking (i.e., offline, taking care of sick baby).

Did I think spam comments is an issue even when they are in the spam folder and are not even visible to the user?

Honestly, NO. But…the thing with spam comments is that if they’re sitting in the spam folder, they could still be approved and allowed on the blog. Spam comments contain trash like porn, illegal drugs etc and it’s a violation of the Bluehost’s TOS, categorized as “inappropriate content”.

Long story short, lesson learned from this mess:

  1. Download backup of databases regularly
  2. Limit installing of plugins, keeping only minimum ones need to run the site effectively
  3. Delete inactive plugins
  4. Regularly EMPTY spam folder
  5. MOST IMPORTANT >>> have a reliable techy person you can count to save your asssite (I’m lucky Kristarella was available – she’s the one who customized the Thesis theme for me and she’s well versed of site backend stuff!)

I tried to do things on my own but found that when Bluehost restored its service, I lost all 30,000 comments on my blog posts! It’s great that it wasn’t the posts that died, comments are also an essential as this is where readers open up and share their thoughts. I hired Kristarella’s service to retrieve my backup databases, delete the spam and restore and repair the databases.

Word of advice to all you WordPress & Bluehost users: Empty your spam comment folders regularly!

So…while my site has “recovered”, I wished Bluehost would have sent me a warning email so I could have deleted the comments from the dashboard and not go through that panicky state!

Back to the daily grind, a headache

Ramadan and the Eid holidays are over, it’s back to the daily grind. That time when I look at my watch at 3pm and say (or sigh): “Haaaa, if it was still Ramadan, work would have been over at this time.” but oh well, post-Ramadan, work timings are back until 6pm.

We did nothing exciting in my 4 days off as a sick baby was involved. He is so much better now. Fever was because of teething and nothing else so aside from a few bite marks and heavy eye bags I have, we are all fine.

I’d really love to get back into gear and write more but I’m having server issues with this blog which needs a lot of techy stuff to do (which I am so useless of – thus seeking help from friends!). My web host, Bluehost has suspended my account due to poor/slow performance (CPU throttling for the techies), I attempted to ‘fix’ it, they resurrected my blog but then I just discovered that ALL comments (30,000+ of them) in my old blog posts are GONE.

I know that is better than the content gone but still, I want those comments back so excuse me I have to take a moment to solve this problem. I’ll be back hopefully very soon!

My stand (and rant) on product reviews

If you’ve been reading this blog for quite a while now, you’ll see that I have been doing product reviews in the past including a baby carrier (product provided by company), a smartphone (product provided by company), a cool kitchen gadget (product I won from a contest), a netbook (product I won from another contest), a restaurant, books and much more. I also hosted giveaways, giving away items and stuffs provided by companies but mostly from the US, not here.

Lately, I’ve been contacted by a few PR companies here in the UAE for product reviews and I’m honored to be ‘visible’ out there that they got in touch but whoa, product reviews here is a different ball game. There is no compensation for bloggers: they expect us to work pro bono. Worst, they ask bloggers to return the product sample after the review is up on the blog.

You know a rant is about to come up, do you?

Let me get this straight: PR companies are paid by brands -> they hire bloggers to help them with exposure -> they send out the product sample -> blogger accepts and reviews, posts them on his/her blog -> PR companies take back the product. Do you not see anything wrong with the picture here?

Now this blog is not a payola site (I got that exotic term from the Kristin Luna). I do not/will not receive compensation for product reviews (see my PRODUCT REVIEW POLICY) but I feel cheated when PR people demand that I return the product used for review. Why? Because I can’t see how this kind of review policy is beneficial for me or most importantly, for my readers.

Brands get publicity and exposure, not to mention Google juice from my review blog post. What do I get? PR companies will insist: “But you get to test out the awesome product before anybody else!” Hmmm, sorry but:

  • I am not that gadget crazy
  • I am not good with putting back things in boxes along with styro-foams (I almost always miss a teeny weeny part)
  • I don’t have time to call your driver to pick up said item, set up time, wait, wait, wait
  • I can’t afford to be nervous while the item is being transported back to you – what if the driver drops it and damages it?
  • I can’t afford to pay for something I didn’t even need in the first place or want and if I am desperate to have your product, I will buy it for myself
  • I am okay not to be the first to test out anything, unless it’s a space trip.

Reviews take time, a lot of time, and a blog’s real estate is valuable. Add in the value of a blogger’s influential reach and I absolutely think that review bloggers should be compensated, either by giving them the product sample to keep or offer one as giveaway for their readers.

That said, I hope bloggers in this region don’t accept product reviews if the condition is to return the item after reviewing it. It is not fair.

With brands/PR people and bloggers it should be a win-win game.  Simply put, if companies can afford to pay PR people, they certainly can afford to pay bloggers! A blog partnership should be treated as any other brand partnership within the marketing mix with an appropriate budget. But maybe, that’s just me and the PR world goes on – they will just find another blogger who’ll work for free.

Are you a blogger in the UAE? Have you reviewed an item and returned it? What is your product review policy?

I’ve been featured in a UK magazine

Last month, I was contacted by a magazine editor in the UK requesting me to answer a few questions related to blogging so they can feature it in their July issue of Seventy2Minutes magazine.

Well, here’s the electronic copy of the magazine, just keep flipping the page until you see my face (it’s on page 14).

Have a great weekend!

Sorry for no updates

I feel I need to explain my absence. I’ve been swamped with work lately that it looked like I’ve given up on blogging and tweeting. I miss my free therapy. I miss all of you.

My work colleague will be coming back from a month long annual vacation and I can finally breathe. Tomorrow, I will give him back his work load and concentrate on mine, hopefully, be able to write some posts I’ve been itching to write for a while now. I’ve scribbled a lot on my little notebook as well as in my phone’s notes and we all know no one can read that but me – that should be typed here.

How are you all doing?

This is just a quick note to tell all of you that I’m still alive – just really busy with offline life! Hoping to get back into my blogging orbit really soon!

How to continue blogging with a newborn

I’ve been asked, how do you do it? Blogging like you don’t have a newborn to take are of? Like you don’t sleep?

Yes, I have a 12 week old baby whom I love so much, the baby I’ve been waiting for, for years. I love sleeping too, especially after the baby arrived (new moms will know why!). The moment I brought Benjamin home from the hospital, some parts of my life was beyond my control, including blogging and as someone who keeps a blogging schedule and write everyday, I was scared.

Will I temporarily shut down my blog for a period of time until my schedule at home settle down? Or do I write sporadic posts? I love blogging too much that I can’t take it off from my routine. I wanted and decided that this blog stay afloat.

Of course I did struggle at first with c-section recovery (I slept lots) and attending to the demands of a newborn baby during the first few days/weeks. Finding the time seems impossible and I was wondering if the day will come that I’d be able to type a blog post, sitting down properly and using two hands.

Here are my tips for blogging/writing with a newborn in the house:

1. iPhone/iPad – These two has been a great blogging tool for me now that I have a baby. If you’ve been reading my blog before, you’ll probably raise your eyebrows and say, “but you hate the iPad!”. I did hate the iPad. “Did” – past tense. I love it now. Like anything in life, it was all about getting used to something! (Don’t tell me, I told you so!)

I understand that not all have these gadgets but for those who do, this is how I manage to continue blogging. Plus, typing in the iPad/iPhone is effortlessly quiet so when the baby is sleeping, he can’t wake up because there’s no keyboard sound even if I’m typing like a mad woman.

2. Wordress app – if you have either of the two gadgets mentioned in #1 and if your blog is hosted at WordPress (if not, then it should!), install the WordPress app. It’s free. Once you have this installed you are ready to blog.

3. Notebook & pen – The good old trusted friends of mine. Just because you don’t have an iPhone or iPad doesn’t mean you’re doomed. I used to write a lot using the conventional pen and paper. I still do now, sometimes.

I always believe that even though people say they don’t have time (like if you ask them why they don’t exercise) they actually do, if they make for it. Basically, IF you love doing something, you will make time for it. Period.

Here’s how I manage my blogging time:

1. Less naps – As much as my mom nags me to sleep when the baby sleeps, I don’t because I CAN’T. I am a morning person so I can’t sleep when the baby sleeps at daytime unless we had a really rough night. I guess I am lucky that he sleeps really well at night. My soon to be 3 month old baby naps at about 2 hours each time so this is when I can steal some writing time (and do household chores).

Of course I napped right after we came home from the hospital so I can recover but the moment I regained my strength, it was hard for me to sleep when it’s daytime.

2. Typing fast – speed is a time saver. If you can type fast, you’ll be thankful for this skill at this time.

One hand typing? Definitely a skill to master!

This sounds heavy but simply put, create a plan on how you would want blogging to change . Would you take a blogging off time? Or would want to continue?

Here are the strategies I use, because I chose to continue blogging as much as I can:

1. Write in installments – I don’t stress out on writing posts completely. When an idea pops up in my mind AND I have time, I type it and save it as a draft. Later on, when I find another time, I just modify (this takes less time than starting from scratch!) them.

2. Write something everyday – In the first few days, I’ve had sporadic posting but I never stopped writing. It doesn’t have to be long. It doesn’t even have to make sense. I don’t have as much time as I once did to write. As a result of this, I have learned to accept that I can’t always crank out a full blog post in a day. While at times I can, usually, my posts are written little by little on a course of several days.

3.  Stock pile posts – Doing #1 will gain you lots of posts you can pull out later when you have something more to say. You can then have a blog post to publish to continue your connection with your readers.

4. Multi-task – I told a fellow Dubai blogger Mrs. Dubai when she asked me via Twitter that I write blog posts when I am breastfeeding. But Twitter’s 140 character limit did not allow me to explain more – I only blog while breastfeeding WHEN the baby is feeding while asleep, maybe not asleep-asleep but whe he’s closing his eyes and can’t get off the boob.

I love breastfeeding as it creates a special bond with me and my baby. I love how he looks at me when I’m holding him. See? How can you take your eyes off that sweet smile? I can’t trade those moments with anything in the world, including blogging.

However, when he is feeding while we are lying down and he’s sleeping, that leaves me with nothing to do but stare at the blank ceiling so that’s when I pull out the mighty iPhone and type away things.

Again, it doesn’t have to be a complete blog post.

5. Don’t sweat about it – I love blogging but I don’t feel pressured to do it. This is my free therapy, my outlet, my breather but it isn’t my whole life. If I can find the time, I blog because I enjoy doing it, not because I am pressured to do it.

I cut myself some slack.

With a newborn, the balance of things will shift and you’ll just have to juggle things differently. There are days when I can’t write anything but I can be on Twitter everyday (3 Reasons Why I love Twitter), especially on the wee hours of the night when I can’t fall back to sleep after diaper duty/feeding to connect to other people. Twitter is microblogging – you only have 140 characters to express your thoughts. It’s quick and easy and gives me (almost) the same good feeling as when I’m blogging. (I am @sandierpastures on Twitter, just in case)

Lastly, life with a newborn is exciting. Every morning is an adventure waiting to unfold. Yes, them babies are a handful but they are not babies forever. Now is the time to enjoy them when you can still hold all of them in your bossom, their sweet smelling little heads under your chin.

I will enjoy this special time with my baby, blogging along as I go and only as much as I possibly can. No pressure!