What is affiliate marketing all about?

Today I'm waffling on about Affiliate Marketing. To the non blogger this might be a mysterious phrase and it also might sound a bit cult like, the sort of weird pyramid scheme things that steal your knickers but never send you any (if you are young, this was a chain letter scam that couldn't possibly work - as no chain letters can - from the late 90s)...

But fear not! Affiliate marketing is a non scary very simple way that bloggers (and other people) can make a few pennies (or more if they are lucky) by promoting or sharing information about stuff worth buying.

You'll have seen it yourself I expect, where you are told, "get a friend to sign up and get a £5 discount for you and your friend" when you join a new website selling fashion, etc. Maybe you just didn't realise that's what it was.

Affiliate marketing is a partnership between a blogger and a brand, the brand gets some exposure (advertising) and the blogger gets some revenue, but the money the blogger gets is based on the sales the brand gets, rather than a set fee. This is great for smaller new brands with a tiny advertising budget who can save money by only paying out based on sales. And it can work well for bloggers if they can make enough sales. (this works best for the blogger with larger brands eg Amazon.)

As you will see on my sidebar, I have adverts for various things, Jord Watches, Mooncups, GiffGaff mobile Sims, Amazon stuff I like.


If you click through to the sites and buy anything via my link - I get paid a few pence. That's it - it costs you nothing extra, and for some links you might even get a discount!

I can't speak for all bloggers and advertisers, but I only link up with sites I have experience of and for products I actually like, so I feel my promotions are honest.

I'm not suggesting you rush off and spend extra money to support bloggers! That would be selfish in the extreme, (I can hear your sighs of relief) but if you are going to buy something anyway, from Amazon or a site that you know one of your favourite bloggers uses, try and buy via their affiliate link(s), it will cost you nothing extra but will help them to keep blogging!

Thanks in advance for any clicks ;-) and don't forget that if you really love me, you can buy me a drink....


Living with an invisible illness

Charcot-Marie-Tooth can be an invisible illness. It isn't always. Some people with Charcot-Marie-Tooth are in wheelchairs or wear leg braces/supports or use walking aids. Many of us have clawed toes and fingers. Some have curved spines.

But it can be invisible and in the early stages it often is. Charcot-Marie-Tooth, named for the three Drs that discovered and diagnosed it, is a type of (oddly common) neuropathy that affects both motor and sensory nerves. It is usually inherited. In fact, it's other name is Hereditary motor and sensory neuropathy.

I was diagnosed with CMT in my 30s after years of being bad at sport and even bad at walking! I was teased as a teen and have struggled in some jobs due to my poor motor skills (very weak hands and clawed fingers). It was a relief to be diagnosed.

Knowing why you can't do what everyone else can is actually very liberating. I can tease myself now, shout "oh you silly helpless cripple!" when I can't remove the bank card from the ATM (no pincer grip with my fingers), and I can use a walking stick on days I feel especially wobbly.

And that's what I wanted to tell you. You might see people park in a disabled bay, with a blue badge of course (I don't have one yet, I may reapply, but last time I tried I was deemed fit enough to walk far enough to get by without one), you might see them get out of the car and pop into a shop, they don't look very disabled do they?

You might see an attractive young lady or handsome young guy wait at the foot of a flight of stairs because both sides of the stairs have people coming down holding the handrail, why don't they walk up the centre? They look young and fit. (I cannot walk up or down a flight of stairs without holding either the wall or a handrail, my balance is simply too poor - I once fell down an escalator on the London underground due to the crowds and people pushing)

You might see someone leave the pub and stumble into the gutter, are they drunk? (TBF they might have CMT and be drunk - *me)

You might see someone in a wheelchair get up and walk, where there are a few steps, to help their mate who has to get the chair down the steps. Has there been a miracle?

Maybe a wheelchair user gets up to reach up to a high shelf in a supermarket, are they playing a prank?

Maybe a women is crying because she can't open a water bottle, what's wrong with her?

Charcot-Marie-Tooth (and many other illnesses) can be hidden,they are still there, lurking beneath the surface, we don't want to be ill, we don't want to be weak. We just want to be able to do the things that able bodied people do every day with out thinking about it.

So this September (and always) think about invisible disabilities, but particularly Charcot-Marie-Tooth as September is awareness month. Try and remember that when a person that appears visibly fit asks to take the lift rather than the stairs, they might not be 'lazy' (if I had a £ for every time work colleagues have joked that I'm lazy when I take the lift I'd have £28) they might need to use the lift. When they take an age to descend a staircase, clinging to the handrail there could be a reason beyond what you can see.

When a grown up asks you to open their Pepsi, think of the embarrassment they already feel, the bravery it has taken to ask a stranger, they don't need to be laughed at or called weak (all of this especially important to tell teens as they start school or college too - CMT gets worse as you age but embarrassment at asking for help from peers increases). Lend a hand when you can.

Be patient, be considerate, be kind.

Image Copyright: designer491 / 123RF Stock Photo and nd3000 / 123RF Stock Photo


Time for a rant

Time for a rant. It's been a while (probably) since I had a good old, stream of consciousness, yell into the void of the internet, type rant about something and I think it will be cathartic.

The world is currently spiralling toward WW3 with nuclear weapons; racism has become a seemingly acceptable part of life; nazi is a word flung freely at anyone and everyone; Brexit is causing strife and financial disaster; the UK is a nation divided, and the planet is being destroyed by humans mining and deforesting and dumping like we have a spare...but NONE OF THOSE THINGS are the subject of this rant.

No. I am for some odd reason unnecessarily enraged about a new shop that has sprung up, and leaped to my attention. A shop I first saw mentioned on twitter by numerous parent bloggers as though it were the holy grail of stationery shops for children. A place so hallowed that they could not avoid a visit, a worship and a purchase each time they passed.

What could this regal and delightful place be like I wondered? Could it be like Paperchase but for children? Or like Tiger but with more quirky pens? (Paperchase and Tiger are two shops I love and cannot pass by without a browse)

This mecca, this focal point for the children of (it seems) half the blogging world is...Smiggle.

When I saw a Smiggle had opened in a town near me, how could I resist its siren song (the power of blogger promotion right there! ) after all I had heard, it took but a second to cross the portal into ... hell.

A land of the damned.

What is Smiggle?

It appears to me to be a loud, colourful, gummy bear and bubblegum scented hell hole of plastic horror.

A shop filled with more plastic crap in one shop that in the entire Pacific ocean (and let's face it - that's where most of this will end up via landfill and dumping grounds after it has fulfilled its 'purpose') Plastic tat of such incredible banalness whilst AT THE SAME time looking glowing and sparkling with promise that it is bound to be lusted after by small children. A hideous marketing conspiracy to induce wanton desire in the young. (Quick reminder - if you earn the money - you pay the bills and it is perfectly OK to say 'no' to your kids even if, and I can't stress this enough, even if, they tell you EVERYONE HAS ONE)

And that would be bad enough, after all the pound shop is full of such stuff, pencil sets and bags, keyrings and rulers, cute desk tidies and pencil toppers, and I shop in there all the time, but the horror doesn't stop because dear lord the PRICES! a keyring (rainbow rubber, scented in the shape of a single letter) was £6

£6 now I don't know about your children but mine hangs a charm or keyring on her bag and forgets about its cuteness after a day. And after a few days the charms are tatty or broken or lost. £6

Don't even get me started on the water bottles or the lunch boxes or the pencil cases, no doubt I would need to sell not one but both kidneys to afford them. The parents claiming they kitted out a child for school at Smiggle much be either very rich or very in debt, possibly they were once the former and are now the latter.

Luckily I have more sense than money (to be clear I'm not extremely clever, I'm just not very rich) so I quickly exited the vomit and migraine inducing emporium of horror and have survived to shop another day.

If you need new school stationery I suggest Poundland, Wilko or The Works where things are so much cheaper, and if you could avoid as much unnecessary crap as possible I'm sure the oceans of the world will thank you. (I realise I currently have a giveaway on the blog for a plastic toy and the hypocrisy of this is not lost on me)

To be fair I haven't bought anything from Smiggle and it may be awesome quality and last a lifetime. Do let me know if I am way off and my initial revulsion is misplaced...

Disclaimer - this is only my opinion, many people love this place, really really love it. 

Photo Copyright: alessandro0770 / 123RF Stock Photo This image is not from a Smiggle store