Decorations in tree

One Year Wiser: My Blogoversary

Decorations in tree

Happy Blogoversary to me!

Today is officially my first blogoversary, so please indulge me as I reflect and look forward.  Brevity is not my forte!

I started this blog just as we finally got tickets to go to the Paralympic Games and I realised that taking photos of this unique, once in a lifetime occasion just wasn’t going to be enough, I needed to record the full experience somehow.  As an avid teenage diary-writer, I see blogging as the 21st century equivalent. So I got going.  At that point, I didn’t actually know about blogging, I didn’t read blogs and didn’t know anything about SEO or parent bloggers and the community that goes with it. I just thought it was a place to write and perhaps have others read it if they somehow stumbled across it.

Arriving at the Olympic Park

I joined some parent blogger communities and began to understand more about promoting my blog, discovering linky’s and blog hops as I went along.  I signed up for PR requests to see if anyone would like to send me something to review (I love to critique! And so far, the answer has mostly been, not really!) and then found myself hopping on a train to London for an introduction to SEO for bloggers. I was so excited to actually be going to a blogger event, but was massively disappointed.  I learnt a lot about SEO that morning, but I also realised that I was not part of the community yet. No-one there knew who I was, but they all knew each other.  I tried to hide in the background, suddenly aware of how pathetic and small I was compared to some of these heavyweights of the parent blogging world. Instead of heading to a pub to get to know each other after the event, everyone just went their own way.  So I wandered back to the train station and made my way home, humbled by the experience.

From this point on, I made a concerted effort to promote my blog, to chat to other bloggers, to become more involved in the parent bloggers’ community and six month’s later, I can honestly say that I love it here. I haven’t attended any more events yet as I still don’t think I’m established enough, but hope that the day will come when it feels right.  And I truly do feel blessed to be here among some incredible parents and writers.

And now, at one year on, I am making some more changes to my blogging approach.  I am giving myself some challenges to help me grow both as a person and as a blogger.

Folk Week for children

Blogging for them

My first challenge is to return to my raison d’être, to write for my family and record our memories. But not just to write, but to learn to write with beauty, with passion. To write as I used to as a disaffected teenager who could move professionals with my words.  I now read so many other blogs and really feel I have a renewed appreciation of amazing writing and how it can make me feel.  I want to be one of those bloggers, not just churning out post after post that records our daily activities, but writing with real feeling.

yellow butterfly on yellow flower

More like this, please!

Along with this, another blogger tool that I have come to appreciate in these twelve months is the power of great photography.  I have upgraded my phone to one with a good camera to capture every moment as it happens.  And now I want to learn how to use our Nikon DSLR camera to also record those precious times, when we are somewhere special or when something incredible happens.  Or just to seize the everyday moments in their dynamic beauty.  The jargon confuses me, the many buttons that need fiddling with and the numbers and letters that appear on the digital screen at the back of the camera are like a new language to learn.  Yet here I am, having learnt some of the basics of HTML and SEO, so why not professional photography next?

chocolate flowerpot brownies

I can do creative occasionally

Blogging has taught me so much in the past year, things about myself that I didn’t know, things that I took for granted or had become complacent about and in the year ahead of me, I want to lose that complacency, and constantly strive to be better.  I want to try more crafts with the girls, more ambitious cooking, more creative activities.  I want to continue to promote my local area, through my blog and through my work on the Town Team and I want to learn more about the work that others are doing to make it a special place once again.  I want to capture wonderful times with the words that I write and the photographs that I take and I want to continue to share it with you. I hope that you will stay and enjoy my growth, and I also hope that if you have constructive feedback that you will not shy away from giving it to me.

Crafty Baby Bits Owl zipped pouch

Win this beautiful, handmade zip up bag. It easily holds 4 DVDs and is lined

Finally, to celebrate my blogoversary, I would like to host my very first giveaway. As I mentioned earlier, I’m still small fry when it comes to approaches from PRs for reviews and competitions, but I’m not going to let that stop me! One of my closest friends has also challenged her creative side in the past year and began sewing beautiful pouches and bunting as Crafty Baby Bits.  She has kindly given me this beautiful owl pouch to giveaway to one of my readers.  It is essentially a nappy pouch and can hold a couple of nappies and some wipes, but I see no reason why it couldn’t be used as a toiletry bag for overnight trips, to hold some crayons and a small colouring book for entertaining on the go or even to keep your phone and e-reader in to protect their screens in your bag. As you can see above, the bag easily holds 4 DVDs!

If you would like to win this unique, handmade item, please use the Rafflecopter entry below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thank you for reading, now, then and in the future. I hope you like what you find here.

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