Another year is almost over and it’s time we’re all making plans for the upcoming year. I have to admit that I don’t really do resolutions…or planning goals for the year. Because I know I’m unlikely to stop biting my nails after 30 odd years. And goals change so much, it’s enough that we have to do them for work. So I usually have broad aims.
For the blog and social media, I’d like to have a better year than last year (I had some shocking months for views last year), and grow the engagement on social media. I didn’t manage to reduce the number of days I was posting like planned, but I was a bit more relaxed about getting posts up. If I missed a day it didn’t matter. My only worry is still that I have so many posts I want to do and not enough time to do it.
Over time, I’m sure N will want to be on the blog less, which is understandable, if a shame given I started Bubbablue and me as a journal of what we got up to, for us. So there might be more about my thoughts and goings on. Or there might not, depending on what I fancy writing about.
If you’re starting out blogging and think it’s all lots of events, freebies and exciting times, it’s not always like that. Here’s my round up of 2016.
Round up of 2016 – what happened?
The beginning of the year saw my highest ever views on my blog. For seemingly no reason – no viral posts, no particularly increased promotion strategy, just bog stand views but lots of them. Unfortunately it didn’t continue past a few months, in fact plummeted afterwards, then tipping back up in November and December. I ran fewer giveaways this year which obviously makes a difference, but I’ve been more picky in deciding who to work with because there’s only so many hours of the day and I’d rather have my own content rather than promoting too much of others.
N turned 5. We also had snow, I think the most recent snowfall we’ve had, although it was short lived (thankfully). I started to do a lot more photography in my posts – even though I started and didn’t finish yet more photography (and other) courses – so much for being a completer-finisher on personality tests, sharing how we set up an informal photography club. There was also a lot going on thinking about birthday parties with one of my favourite posts, a bit of a rant about RSVP etiquette, plus ideas for non-boring party bags.
I was thinking about booking our summer camping holiday. Not then (although I have had a very cold camping trip in winter), but ready for the summer. I was also sharing my tips on getting over bloggers block and how to come up with blogging ideas. Oxfordshire Bloggers kicked off with a networking and styling event, and I managed to enjoy an afternoon tea review with Kate from Darktea. I also discussed children’s BMI checks and shared my science bunting at N’s birthday party. And if you’re looking for more of my blogging tips, I shared some of my blog design tips and tools, perfect for a new year refresh.
March meant more camping planning….yes, we went to a caravanning and camping show at the NEC. Highly amusing (and yes there were lots of old people but also some really amazing motorhome). I don’t blog much about style, but I loved writing my 7 stages of children’s shoes. It’s amazing how quickly children seem to grow up. My biggest tip in March was about avoiding kids being fussy eaters. Add in trips to Green Dragon Eco farm and a dubious trip to Birmingham and March was a busy one.
April brought Easter holidays, and a last minute spontaneous break in Eastbourne. Lots of fresh sea air and exploring. We also did quite a bit of National Trust visiting – to Stowe and Waddesdon, plus outdoor play at Knockhatch . I also shared my slight obsession with the show Dance Moms and my thoughts on pushy parents.
May felt like a quieter month (they never are though), and I was getting used to my new car along with playing my best new car songs. N had his first wobbly tooth and was progressing with his swimming journey as I reminisced on getting kids to love the water. I also started up my second blog, What about Dance where I could focus purely on dance. It’s now just finding the time to continue writing and doing social media for it with everything else that’s going on that’s hard.
In June I ended up visiting places without N. I thought I’d have a few years before he said he didn’t want to come with me, but the farm is too big a draw. Waddesdon’s Feast was a great day he missed out on although we did also have a great (and rather hot) day out at Croome Park. Some people struggle for blog posts, and there’s always questions in blogging groups asking for inspiration. Other than N, my colleagues and friends can often ask questions or state facts that then spark me off thinking about blog posts like this about being an efficient shopper.
With the end of N’s first school year done, I worked with M&S on their #MySchoolYears campaign. It was a lovely campaign to work on (and boy, do they make it easy to work with them too). I also met up with Mary to review the Oxford Castle Café. It’s lovely being part of the local blogging community, and we’ve had quite a few opportunities this year because of it. July meant our second big camping trip with friends and we had a blast, again being really lucky with the weather.
In August we worked with Brantano on a school shoes campaign, as well as having a trip to London to go on City Cruises and going to Countryfile Live. Everywhere we visited I took plenty of photos, and I’ve loved Instagram again this year. I shared my Instagram rules for using it. We loved watching the Rio Olympics and in preparation for the new school year I suggested different methods of decluttering without stress. We finished up the month with a wonderful holiday to Jersey. If you’ve never been I recommend it.
Back to school for year 1 and it was a miraculous turnaround in N’s reading and writing after doing nothing over the summer. This hadn’t translated into being agreeable for the first tennis club session. Thankfully things did improve after that. Things were changing with school as well…for the first time ever, the OH was doing the school pick up after tennis once a week. Whoop. We also reviewed Odds Farm Park and worked with Reading Eggs about going back to school.
In October I turned 40 so spent a lot of time thinking about friendships and how friendships work. Of course October isn’t October without Halloween and picking pumpkins, and also shared some of the things I love about autumn. It seemed a lot of other people also love autumn because it’s still one of my top posts. Reward charts were also top of my mind – we have a system that works.
In November I shared ideas for a weekend away in London following my birthday trip there. Otherwise much of the month was preparing for the end of the year. Journaling ideas abounded as well as a crowdsourced post about alternative nativity plays (vegetables anyone?). I’m not sure about anyone else, but I always think I have a post that might be a little controversial, but it never ends up getting any extreme responses. My children and the news post was one such post.
I love the run up to Christmas, possibly more so than the actual day. We enjoyed lots of festive treats like The Snowman concert as well as singing away to our favourite Christmas songs. To lighten the Christmassy blog takeover, I shared the things you lose when you have kids.
Across the year, I’ve written 408 posts, run my small but satisfying #SchoolDays linky and continued blogging the way I want to do it. I’m always amazed by how much I’m able to write – I like to chat though, can you tell? My blog is certainly something I’m proud of, and something I love to do. So hopefully long may it continue.
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I hope 2017 is happy, healthy and successful for you.