I can’t quite believe it, but somewhere along the line a whole year has gone by since I started blogging! I’m so proud of what my little site has become over this year, and everything I’ve achieved. I wrote a reflection on 6 months of blogging, and I’m so pleased that all those things I loved at six months are still so relevant now – the community, the emotional outlet, the creative element. Rather than repeating myself here, I thought it would be nice to look back at the highlights of this year and the things I’m most proud of achieving with my blog.
I find it hard to believe now, but it took me a long time to set up Instagram and start using it alongside my blog. I thought I just wasn’t capable of taking instagram-worthy shots. I remember when I started it and had about 20 followers, and I’d post a picture and be over the moon that it got 5 likes. It’s amazing what can be achieved in a year. I set myself a goal in January to reach 400 instagram followers by the end of December 2016. When I set that goal I had 140 followers, and now in October I have just over 2000. For anyone starting out, those first 500 followers are by far the hardest to gain, but once you’re there it’ll just snowball! Instagram is by far my favourite thing that has come out of starting my blog. It’s such a positive place, and it’s been amazing for me to look back over my feed at all of our memories and smile.
I was resistant to the idea of linkys at first! But once I dipped my toe in the water, I started to love discovering so many new blogs and I quickly became addicted to the linky world. When Laura at Dear Bear and Beany dropped me a message to ask if I’d consider hosting a linky with her I remember being a bit nervous about saying yes. It’s a huge time commitment, and there is always the worry of no-one linking up. I remember we brainstormed for ages and were beginning to think we’d never come up with a way to put a unique spin on things. But eventually we did, and I’m so proud of our little #SharingtheBlogLove community and so pleased that I pushed myself to take on that challenge. I love that our linky introduces us to so many new blogs, and allows us to give other bloggers that little boost that we all need at times. If you’ve not joined us before, we’d love you to link up on a Thursday!
Tots Top 500
It’s been a long time coming, but this month I finally broke into the Top 500 on the Tots 100 parenting blog ranking system. Tots is a mysterious system of over 8000 blogs and no-one quite understands how it works, but it feels amazing to have finally made it into the Top 500, even if it is just a number that means pretty much nothing in the grand scheme of things, it’s still lovely to have some recognition!
I decided on a whim to tweet Mumsnet with a post I’d written about Accepting your Post Baby Body, and I was astounded when they picked it up and published it! That was a huge boost for my blogging confidence, and actually one of my favourite posts I’ve written.
I’ve always loved photography, but I’ve never been very technically minded. I’ve managed to take a few reasonable photos, partly through an artistic eye, and partly through luck, but I’d never had the courage to take my camera off auto. Blogging gave me the push I needed to do that, and after attending a half day workshop, I’m now so much more confident in my photography skills, and I definitely feel that my photography is coming on leaps and bounds. I took our camera out conker hunting recently and I think I took some of my favourite ever photos of Max.
I resisted telling friends and family about my blog for a long time, and I refused to set up a facebook page for that reason too. But being a bit more open about it has been great – my friends and family have been so supportive, and it’s lovely when you get feedback from a friend that something you’ve written has been really helpful. I’m so glad I had the courage to put myself out there that little bit more.
Even after writing this, I still can’t believe it’s been a whole year since I wrote that first post. Blogging has been an amazing experience for me. It’s given me a voice, an outlet, a way to sort out my jumbled thoughts, a new found confidence, and connected me with so many wonderful people. But more than anything else, it’s given me a confidence in myself as a mother that I don’t think I had before. A willingness to trust in my own instincts, to have faith that my decisions are the right ones.
I’d like to say a massive thank you to all of you, whether this is the first post you’ve read, or if you’re a long time reader – thank you all so much for reading and for keeping on coming back! I’m so excited to see what the next year has in store for Hot Pink Wellingtons!