Coffee Talk Disability Life Sharing The Love

8 Years of Gin & Lemonade: It’s Not About The Gin

10th August 2018

On August 10th, 2010, I published my first post on Gin & Lemonade to medium fanfare.  I was a younger disabled person who wasn’t sure where home is, and I thought I’d make a home on the web.

I wrote about living in a city that was kind of inaccessible, but I still loved it, with a boy who’s a bit of a geek, but I still love him.

We got married and I had a baby-sized hiatus.

Promo video screenshot for disability lifestyle blog, Gin & Lemonade

Gin & Lemonade promo video screenshoot

In 465 510 543 posts, I’ve answered a lot of questions you never actually asked.  I figured I’d do a real FAQ and opened up an Ask Me Anything on my Facebook group.

What follows are my answers to the real questions some of you asked me.  And there’s a giveaway and a video in it, too.  Have a beverage and read on…

How much gin do you drink?

Not much.  I prefer coffee.  And beer and cider.  And coffee.

 I love the title of your blog…why that specific title?

Well.  I knew I wanted something snappier than ‘diary of a disabled, not quite expat’.

And legend has it that Gin & Lemonade was my Grandma’s favorite drink, and she was my favorite person, so.

And you know the whole ‘life gives you lemons, make lemonade and add gin’ thing?  Yeah, it isn’t that.

Life has not given me lemons because I have CP, and I’m not triumping over any type of adversity with the help of my plucky sense of humor. I’m not feeling the fear and doing it, anyway.

Gin & Lemonade happened because I got drunk.  I was in Italy, and after a day of missing my Italian Nana (also my favorite person) and being dragged backwards over cobblestones, I was um, rattled enough to do something.

It took a while, but I came home and started a blog about using a wheelchair but not spending my life trying to get out of it.  I love my wheels, and I prefer to work with them.  And I wish the world was a more accessible place.

What is the one thing you find the hardest about blogging? 

Finding time to do my words justice.  I’m not precious about the actual words, but I hate posting random shit, and I’d like to have more time and headspace to write more thought pieces.

What’s your at home coffee of choice?  

Italian coffee from our DeLonghi esspresso machine.  Sometimes with hazelnut syrup.

What’s the best thing about having wheels?  

When the accessible seats at any given event aren’t limited-view seats, too.

What’s your biggest achievement in 8 years of blogging, that was achieved because of being a blogger?  

In terms of blogging itself, I appreciated being featured on Freshly Pressed three times, back when that’s what it was called. That happened here, here, and here.

In terms of real life, I landed the best job I’ve ever been paid for when the office read my blog before I arrived for the interview.  Back then, I added the link to my CV.

And I have to say something about the friends I’ve made through blogging.  Some I’ve met in real life, some I’ve had cocktails with, and one helped me through Isla turning four.

Actually you’ve all helped me with that, whether we’ve met or we’ve yet to.

What is your favorite post ever and why?

I liked the wedding series and that time I lost my passport.  And I’m quite fond of Isla posts.  And that one time I drank wine willingly.

 If you could go back 8 years ago and give yourself one piece of advice about blogging what would it be and why?  

Gin & Lemonade banner logo

Gin & Lemonade banner logo

Write the shit, because sometimes it turns out OK.  And I should take my own writing advice.

Also, I would have invested in blogging education earlier. Here are some of my favorite tools I use to grow my blog.

What are your favourite apps for blogging and why?

Evernote. ProWriting Aid.  And mobile games at 3 in the morning.  No comment.

Where have you have seen the most traction in growing your blog – was it subject matter? Joining other groups? Using certain social media?

Curiously, my most popular post in recent times is 10 Things I’ve Learned In 7 Years of Blogging. My second most popular post last year was My Flat Ass: What Disability Means To Me.

Edited for 2020 My recent top posts are mostly disability-related writing.

Sensing a theme there?

So, what works is having something to say, and then saying it.

My best social media friend is Facebook (recent favorite FB groups are over here) and for a wordy blogger, I do pretty well on Pinterest.

My advice on using social media, which echoes my thoughts on actual social interaction in real life, is to go where your people are, but also remember not everyone is your people.  That’s OK, too.

And if you’re like me and spend zero time your with closest friends who don’t live in your house, learn to stay up really late.  And trade GIFS with your best friends online.

How long does it take you on average to complete a post? 

AGES!  The writing happens pretty quickly.  But it legit takes me hours to format a post.  Like 5 hours.  Which is why I have no dedicated blogging schedule, even though I’ve tried.

Do you think it’s necessary to blog daily? Weekly? 

Yes. Blog.

There are people who blog daily.  And then there’s me.

I’ve taken blogging breaks.  I’ve tried 30 day challenges.  I last three days.  I would dearly love to blog more and write ahead, and I shall try.  Like I’ve tried for 8 years.  For me, I’d like to actually publish 2-3 times a week.  But I can’t say what works for other people.  You do you.

What about retaining readership?

There are people who’ve read me since the beginning and even sent me emails during blogging breaks.  I love those people.  I love people who actually read what I’ve written, and feel compelled to share it.

You can keep people reading by making blogging a conversation, by being real and writing because you love it.  Write for yourself, but also for those who read you.

I haven’t lost many readers, and those who click off aren’t my people.  I see you, fitness bloggers.  Disabled doesn’t mean unfit.

How do you plan your blogging schedule? 

I don’t.

Favorite type of coffee (machine, cafetière, instant etc)?

Instant?  Have we met?

What’s been your biggest blogging challenge?

Time-blocking.  Mom/Mum-guilt.  My 11 wpm typing speed.

and last question, WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE GIN? 

Well.  I hope I’ve established that Gin & Lemonade really isn’t about gin.  But since you asked, Whitley Neill Rhubarb & Ginger, with lemonade.

That’s the end of the questions for now.  That was fun.  Seriously, ask me anything!

And I wanted to show you a video Kim at Rockin’ Rhino Productions made for me.

(Video storyboarded from a family road trip.  We like those.)

To celebrate 8 years of Gin & Lemonade, Kim has offered a free 60 second video to one groovy reader.

Let me tell you that Kim is excellent to work with and will help you look at your blog in a new, creative, and fun way.  More video samples can be found here.

To enter the giveaway, please share and comment on this post.  I hope you would anyway, but if you want to be in with a chance to win your own blog promo video add ‘Lets go to the videotape’ to your comment.  Winner will be randomly selected from the comments section on August 17th, 2018. 

Edit: The winner of the giveaway is Sonia from Losing The Plot. Thanks to all who entered. If you’d like your own video, Kim is kindly offering a 10% discount on video projects for Gin & Lemonade readers. Just mention Gin & Lemonade when you contact her.

Thank you for reading Gin & Lemonade, whether you started in 2010, or today.  Here’s to the next 8 years!

My reflections on 9 years of blogging can now be found here.

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57 Comments

  • Reply Ritu 10th August 2018 at 5:41 pm

    Oh Lorna, your answers are so you!
    I know we didn’t get to chat much at the awards, but it was great to meet you! And I LOVE that video, as I said before on your FB post!

    I have to say though… coffee… meh… tea all the way for me!

    Oh, and Let’s go to the videotape!

  • Reply Ritu 10th August 2018 at 5:43 pm

    And I shared to FB and Twitter!

    • Reply Lorna 10th August 2018 at 6:46 pm

      Cool beans, and thanks for opting in on the giveaway. 🙂

      • Reply Ritu 10th August 2018 at 8:13 pm

        You are most welcome!

  • Reply Michele Tschirhart 10th August 2018 at 6:22 pm

    Hi Lorna,
    I recently “found” you through the 10k followers challenge, or something like that, and I am happy to say that you are the only blogger that I continue to follow!
    Probably because we have similar writing styles and personalities; I, have been blogging for the past seven years; I did not “consciously” start a blog, but when I was diagnosed with a chronic leukemia (CML) I started one to share infor with friends and family!!
    Conrats on life and on your blog!

    • Reply Lorna 10th August 2018 at 6:51 pm

      Hi Michele, Thank you for your email. I was just replying, and I’m glad you’re here.

  • Reply SickChristine 10th August 2018 at 6:30 pm

    “Instant? Have we met?” might be my favorite Lorna answer. Love it. Love the video, so adorable. Flipped, Pinned, and Mixed ya, darling.

    • Reply Lorna 10th August 2018 at 6:49 pm

      Well, at least you didn’t say ‘lovely’, ha! Love you, too!

  • Reply johnrieber 10th August 2018 at 6:33 pm

    A terrific post – your point of view on life is important for others to read – a candid window that lets others see in – your response to the question about the title of the blog is a perfect example

    • Reply Lorna 10th August 2018 at 6:53 pm

      Thanks, John.

  • Reply Melissa | Mint Tea and Elephants 10th August 2018 at 6:51 pm

    CONGRATULATIONS, Lorna!!! Eight years is a marvellous milestone! There’s so much blogging wisdom in this post. And I looooovee the video. I would have commented and shared this post anyway (will tweet and pin your awesomeness) but let’s go to the videotape, shall we? (yeah, I never met a tag or competition that I didn’t like…ha!)

    • Reply Lorna 10th August 2018 at 6:55 pm

      Thank you, Melissa! Please keep blogging!

  • Reply daniebothawriter 10th August 2018 at 8:05 pm

    Lorna,
    Hats off!
    I’ve only read your posts the last couple of months. (That our paths have crosses.)
    If one thing—you show us how we can be vulnerable and (still) find joy. And be authentic. And also finding beauty in a broken world.
    Thank you!

  • Reply robbanybarton 10th August 2018 at 8:17 pm

    I love Q&As. It seems even more personal than the average blog and really goves you a full dose of personality! I have only recently found you, but I am glad I did. I love the no nonsense approach to wheelchair use and realness of your posts. Thank you for sharing!

    And, let’s go to the videotape!

  • Reply CJR The Brit 10th August 2018 at 8:49 pm

    Coffee is just the best isn’t it! 8 years blogging is fabulous, look forward to many more of your posts ❤

  • Reply rachaelstray 10th August 2018 at 9:06 pm

    Congratulations on 8 years of blogging wowzer! I love your blog and really liked this Q&A. It’s funny I started my blog because I was annoyed too. I’ve only been a fan for the last 10 months or so but I’m a big fan. I always share your posts but would love to be in for a chance for a fabulous video so let’s go to the videotape.

  • Reply Fancy 10th August 2018 at 9:17 pm

    Congratulations Lorna!! Love your blog and the life through it. Strength to strength missus xx here is to 16!!

  • Reply Losing the Plot 10th August 2018 at 10:41 pm

    Congratulation Lorna! Blogging for 8 years, is a hell of an achievement so we’ll done! Here’s to the next eight and all that they bring.

    ‘Instant? Have we met?’ Snigger!

    Oh, and let’s go to the videotape xxx

    • Reply Lorna 11th August 2018 at 12:13 pm

      Yes, we should have non-instant beverages together at some point!

      • Reply Losing the Plot 11th August 2018 at 12:18 pm

        Have you ever tried or heard of Jimmy Bean? They have flavoured beans or ground coffee, so you get the add on without the sugar. They are all great, but their Mississippi Bourbon just takes a cup of coffee to the next level. Every now and then we treat ourselves to a bag and order online.

        • Reply Lorna 11th August 2018 at 12:29 pm

          You may have started something here.

          • Losing the Plot 11th August 2018 at 12:41 pm

            Oh Lorna! Seriously the aroma is just magnificent and it’s like chocolate velvet on the tongue

            I think I’ve just talked myself into ordering a bag lol!

  • Reply Rock For Disability 11th August 2018 at 12:45 am

    Congratulations on reaching 8 years of blogging. Keep up the amazing work!

  • Reply Susanne Swanson 11th August 2018 at 2:19 am

    Love this. (And coffee too – I’m from Seattle after all .) Anyway, thanks for answering my questions and then some! It’s encouraging to know there aren’t any rules to this craft, we can make them up as we go along and see what works for us. 🙂

  • Reply Book Club Mom 11th August 2018 at 3:07 am

    Congratulations on 8 years of blogging! I’m so glad I found your blog because I really enjoy your posts. I just hit my 5 year mark. Here’s to more years of blogging – happy weekend to you!

    • Reply Lorna 11th August 2018 at 12:31 pm

      Thanks for the great book recommendations, too!

  • Reply Meriah Nichols 11th August 2018 at 8:24 am

    Congratulations!! 8 years is LONGGGG in Blogolandia 🙂
    And I love the video – “Let’s go to the videotape”!!!

    xo meriah

    • Reply Lorna 11th August 2018 at 12:15 pm

      Thanks, Meriah. Means a lot, coming from you! xox

  • Reply hotmessmemoir 11th August 2018 at 1:27 pm

    I didn’t know any of this about you so I’m glad I read it. Didn’t know you had a set of wheels or that I’m writing to fellow part Italian! Thank you for this contest. I’ll keep my fingers crossed! Lets go to the videotape

    • Reply Lorna 11th August 2018 at 1:33 pm

      I love you, and my wheels are in my bio at the end of every post and in the sidebar now. The Italian thing is everywhere, or should be, ha!

      • Reply hotmessmemoir 11th August 2018 at 6:49 pm

        Because Italians are amazing! 😉

  • Reply Jheelam 11th August 2018 at 1:30 pm

    I enjoyed your post immensely. I’ve been an on-and-off blogger for last few years. It’s only this year, that I’ve started taking it with li’l bit consistency. Your post inspires me to do the good work and not giving up. Pinning it on my “Women Who Inspire” board. 🙂

  • Reply Cynthia Mackintosh 11th August 2018 at 1:48 pm

    Love all your ideas! You remind me of my blog because I have a logo that is a girl in a raincoat and that raincoat in Britain is a “mackintosh” and that also happens to be our last name. A cartoon video would be awesome so “let’s to the videotape!” 🙂

  • Reply Mary 11th August 2018 at 2:11 pm

    This was so fun to read! And thank you for reminding me that it’s okay not to keep a blogging/posting schedule. I shouldn’t get frustrated or disappointed and compare myself with other bloggers who post often. Thank you and…. Let’s go to the videotape

    • Reply Lorna 11th August 2018 at 5:36 pm

      Hi Mary, Definitely don’t compare yourself to other bloggers, but you might want to keep a better posting schedule than I do! If you’re just starting out it’s important to be consistent so people get to know what you’re about. But don’t get stressed, blogging is supposed to be fun!

  • Reply Phil Cobb 11th August 2018 at 2:34 pm

    Wonderful self-interview! I’ll also keep on the lookout for some Whitley Neill if I can find it in Texas.

    • Reply Lorna 11th August 2018 at 4:44 pm

      Wasn’t really talking to myself. Questions came from people in my facebook group.

  • Reply Jeremy@ThirstyDaddy 11th August 2018 at 3:50 pm

    Eight years is a long time. Congrats for sticking with it. I always wonder when i am going to stop having anything interesting to say. cheers!

  • Reply gemmaorton 11th August 2018 at 4:05 pm

    Happy 8 years. Only known you for just over 1 of those but it’s been a fabulous one! Here’s to 8 more. And maybe a trip to Norfolk one day!
    Love your view on life, your humour and Isla’s.

    Let’s go to the videotape!

  • Reply Oneida Roman 11th August 2018 at 4:07 pm

    I’m a newbie at blogging and I found you through the 10k challenge. I continue to read your blogs because you’re transparent and funny. I appreciate that! Your video was great! Let’s go to the videotape!

    • Reply Lorna 11th August 2018 at 5:15 pm

      Hi Oneida! I’ve met some cool people through the challenge. Thanks for joining my FB group, too.

  • Reply Kate Johnston 11th August 2018 at 5:11 pm

    Fun post! Congrats on 8 years! I can totally relate to your answer here about the hardest part of blogging: Finding time to do my words justice. I’m not precious about the actual words, but I hate posting random shit, and I’d like to have more time and headspace to write more thought pieces.” This is a big problem for me, as well. I guess I don’t think in that way, so it’s really hard to come up with random posts. Blogging would be much easier and less stressful otherwise!

  • Reply wheelchairmommy 11th August 2018 at 7:51 pm

    LOVE your Q&A!! I love coffee and agree with working WITH my wheels! 🙂

    • Reply Lorna 12th August 2018 at 8:29 am

      OMG, Priscilla. I still remember being so happy that I found your blog.

  • Reply fattymccupcakes 11th August 2018 at 11:45 pm

    Eight years of being a blogging/writing legend! Congrats! I’m so happy to have been one of those blogging pals you met in real life!

    • Reply Lorna 12th August 2018 at 8:27 am

      THE BEST TIME.

  • Reply The Avid Reader 12th August 2018 at 11:32 am

    Congratulations on you blogging milestone! I’ve been reading your blog posts for a while now and enjoy your humour and writing style!

  • Reply angelanoelauthor 13th August 2018 at 1:04 pm

    I think your Isla posts are so much fun. But the other ones are too. . . tough to decide which side of Lorna I like best. I’ve learned some good stuff about stuff on your blog. And that makes me happy too. Congratulations on eight years!!

  • Reply Debbie Harris 15th August 2018 at 11:26 am

    Loved reading your post Lorna and loved meeting you too! While on our odyssey I discovered lots of flavoured bins and loved them all, particularly rhubarb and blood orange flavours. But I know it’s not about the gin! Congrats again.

  • Reply Rhonda 15th August 2018 at 10:41 pm

    What an enjoyable read! Glad I found you 🙂

    • Reply Lorna 16th August 2018 at 9:49 am

      Thanks, Rhonda! Glad I found you, too. And thanks for joining my group as well!

  • Reply ellenbest24 17th August 2018 at 1:13 pm

    I am probably a bit late with this for the give-away but I am so jealous of your video it is spectacular. But you know that already, we’ve traded gifs on occasion and rude words in fun, I look forward to reading your next adventure and blogging advice.

  • Reply ellenbest24 17th August 2018 at 1:17 pm

    I follow tweeted pinned and crossed fingers.

  • Reply Gloria 2nd October 2018 at 11:42 am

    Wow…I love the video Lorna. Great post!! x
    Congrats Sonia for winning the competition!

    • Reply Lorna 2nd October 2018 at 2:10 pm

      Thank you, Gloria! Happy to see your words again, too.

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