What’s Your Favourite WordPress Plugin?

Yesterday I had an email from an advertiser asking if their ads could just appear on my homepage, and I knew my theme couldn’t do it so I’d have to hunt for a plugin.  Now there are 18,964 WordPress plugins at the moment – where to start?  I tried a couple of custom sidebar ones and they were crap and then on the Parent Blogger Facebook site Heather recommended ‘Widget Logic’. It was perfect and did exactly what I wanted it to in seconds – thanks Heather!

And that got me thinking, what are your favourite plugins?  What could your blog not function without?  What little gems do you use?  I don’t do a whole lot that is fancy on here, but the ones I’ve used and like are:

Akismet – Keeps away the crazy Spam.

Background Patterns – lots of subtle background patterns you can install in seconds.

Tabber Widget – Add tabs to your sidebar.

Ultimate Thesis Theme Options – Brillant for adding widget areas to Thesis Theme.

WP Google Fonts – Adds Google fonts to where ever you want them on your page.

WP-Protect – You can stop right clicking and protect your blog.

WPtouch – Mobilises your site for mobile devices.

Instagram for WordPress – Nice plugin for showing off your photos in the sidebar.

GetMeCooking Recipe Template – nice for adding recipes to your site.

Linkwithin – not a plugin but a bit of code you can get from their site which generates posts which maybe of interest to your readers.

What are your favourite plugins?  I can’t wait to hear about some new ones so I can play with them 🙂



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{Blog Tips} Creating Blog Headers on PicMonkey

Here is my new and shiny updated version of this post. Picnik is now sadly dead but PicMonkey has taken it’s place is my heart so here’s how to make headers on PicMonkey instead.  Sadly they haven’t gotten collages up and working yet, but when they do I’ll add how to make a collage header on here.

But in the meantime here’s how to make a simple blog header on PicMonkey.  Here are some of the looks you can achieve:

Basic with Text

Add a Filter

Add a Frame

The main thing you need to know when you’re creating your header is the size it needs to be. If you make it too big or too small it will just not look right.  So if you’re on Blogger to check your width, go into where you load the header in design and it will tell you how wide you need it to be . With regard to height I’d personally not go any higher than maybe 300-350px high or it takes up the top part of your screen and then you’re readers will have to scroll a lot to see your posts  If you are on WordPress, consult your custom header upload area and it’ll tell you how big you need to make it.

So here’s how:

You have the choice of either making it with one photo or many so here is the one photo option:

1. Go to PicMonkey and upload a photo that’s nice and big (you don’t need to create an account)

2. Once it’s uploaded – click on the Crop button and crop the image so it’s wide and a little narrow (using drag):

Then when you have the bit of the photo you want to use click on ‘ok’ and then it takes you back to the menu screen.  Click then on ‘Resize’

3. You’ll need to resize the image to the correct size.  So at the bottom left of the page there is a box called ‘Resize’ which has the sizes in, you’ll need to change the numbers in it. I’ve made this one to be 980px wide and clicked the ‘Keep Proportions’ so the height pretty much takes care of itself. Click on ‘ok’ when you think it looks right. Remember you can always go back and re crop the image if you don’t think it looks right.

4.  Adding text to the image – Click on the ‘P’ tab which will bring up text and then you can add the text in the colour & font you wish to the image. You can move it around and even add your tag line as well if you have one.

You can also add boarders, shapes, image filters all sorts via that left hand bar.

5. Finally click on the ‘Save’ tab bottom left, make sure the image is the right size, and make sure it’s the right quality 8 is normally ok.  And save it back to your machine – you can decide where, then you can upload it to your blog in the normal way.

You can make badges in the same way.   With images I normally crop it into a square 400px x 400px (big enough so you can see what you’re doing)  and then in the final save I make a few 125px x 125px, 160px x 160px, 180px x 180px and 200px x 200px.  Obviously if you know what size your side bar can take then you can make it that size.

Happy Header Making!

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Fast Week

Last week was just manic and seemed to go at twice the speed of a normal week. Miss L had her first school trip away for 2 nights and we missed her loads.  The early part of the week was taken up with packing and re-packing her bag at least 20 times before she went – you know so you don’t forget something important like soap in a box!.  However she had a great trip, they went to an Eco-Centre (great news she’s now turning light off around the house!) and she loved having a massive sleepover with her friends.  Like her mother she took at least a 100 photos of anything and everything – it’s been lovely seeing them and the trip from her point of view.

While she was away I was working like a mad woman because school breaks up this coming Friday for the Easter holidays.  I’m proud to say managed get out two beautiful sites for Mummy From The Heart and I have two more to get done this week.  But then it’s the Easter holidays and I get to play in the garden with Miss L and Betty for the next 3 weeks – hurray!

In preparation for the next few weeks, this weekend we planted up our pea plants, carrot, lettuce, spinach seeds, laid the onion sets and then sanded down the garden seats ready for painting – I’m thinking pale green this year.

After all that work I spent yesterday relaxing with my favourite decorating book and a bottle of coke – how decadent! 🙂

Here’s to the holidays!

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Getting Rid of Captcha

I’ve been reading a lot of posts recently about pet blogging hates and one of them being Captcha’s – you know that bit when you post a comment and gives you two words to type because it’s checking you are a human?. My friend Kelly over at Domestic Goddesque has written a great article about how they drive her mad and her campaign to ban them. I hate them mainly because I can never read the damn things and it’s even worse when you are on a mobile device.

Until recently you couldn’t turn Captcha’s off in New Blogger, you had to go back into the old format which most new blogger’s don’t even know about.  If you want to look at the old Blogger layout btw – there are a few extra bits and pieces there, click on the cog on the top right and then select ‘Old Blogger’ – you can always come back to the new.

But it looks like there has been an update to New Blogger, which means you can now rid your blog of Captcha or Word Verification as Blogger like to call it. Just follow the instructions below and turn it off and look forward to getting lots more comments.






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Starting the Veggie Patch

Sorry I was so quiet last week, I had a stinking cold and was feeling quite sorry for myself.  But this weekend I’ve been feeling much better, so we got a start on making the raised beds for our new veggie patch.

We actually dug it last year, but never got round to well…. putting any dirt in it!  So it was nicely overgrown when Paul started digging it out for me yesterday afternoon.  If I can grow veg there like I can thistles then we are going to be doing brilliantly!  I don’t even know what those tall alien looking weeds are??

Paul dug like a trooper an cleared the area in about an hour, while Miss L, Betty and I all helped from the sidelines – made tea, hot cross buns and heckled. While my lovely man was digging, Betty and I made the mistake of sitting on the ancient garden bench at the same time and went through the seat! Totally killed by our combined weigh – oops!!

But the results were worth the effort (and seat trashing!) and I can’t wait to plant them up, raspberries and strawberries are going in one this week, and I need to think about what’s going in the other one – maybe some peas, spinach and carrots?.

I’ll take some more photos when we have some greenery in there to show you, how they are getting on.


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Today Miss L is turning 9, this is the midway point between her being a baby and going off to Uni. Time has gone way too fast! But everyday she astounds me with her wisdom, wit and I get glimpses of the amazing woman she’s going to be – I couldn’t be a prouder Mum.


So to my not so baby girl Happy Birthday, we love you so much xxxx

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Challenge Accepted!

So lovely blogging pal Pippa over at A Mother’s Ramblings, has tagged me for a super quick Meme:


1) Which TV character do you think you are most like?

Monica from Friends, although I attempt not to be an anal retentive control freak – yeah I don’t manage it much! But I’m not as insanely tidy as her thankfully or no one could live with me 🙂


2) What time do you go to bed?

Normally about 10.30pm and then read till about 11.30pm


3) What was the last meal you made from scratch?

Steak and Mushroom Pie with Mash and Veggies.


4) What is your favourite type of music?

Everything? I love pretty much everything from Jay-Z, Wiley, Tiny Tempah to Ed Sheeran and Sarah McLachlan. My iPod is very eclectic, I confuse the hell out of Genius on iTunes.  I think I like anything I can sing along to LOUD!


5) In what position do you sleep?

On my left side curled up, and it has to be cold – see control freak!


6) What is your first memory?

Sitting in a very old fashioned pram with my Nan stopped in the street talking to someone. I was about 18 months I guess?


7) What is your least favourite smell?



If anyone wants to answer the same questions I’d love to read your answers. Let me know where they are.

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