2017 Blogging Goals

With 2017 just around the corner I have been evaluating the blog and planning where I want to take it. It took me a long time to really get into writing again; it used to be a huge passion of mine when I was younger. I found myself at a cross roads in my life about 9 years ago and I had a choice to make; Medicine or Journalism. I chose to train as a nurse and whilst I don’t regret that decision it hasn’t exactly panned out how I expected. Perhaps that is why I have finally embraced the blogging journey more this year. Although I started it in 2015 I had no confidence left in my writing style or my voice. I had spend so many years writing evidenced based essays, dulling my own opinions that weren’t supported by medical evidence I found it hard to write about a simple opinion. I have many opinions and I base most of them on experience and knowledge that I have gained in my lifetime. I am happy to admit that they are just my opinions and do not make me right, but may also not make me wrong. In nursing and medical teachings you cannot have an opinion or take action without ramifications if what you do or say doesn’t have recent scientific evidence to back it up. This is what keeps patients safe but it is also what squashed my writing passion. 2016 has been about getting that passion back and rediscovering my ‘voice’.

2017 is going to be about pushing my own writing boundaries and seeing where it takes me. 2017 is about being bold and being daring.

Only this morning I read a post by Aby at You Baby Me Mummy in which she said ‘If your goals don’t make you feel uncomfortable, they aren’t big enough.’ Read her full post here.

Well my blogging goals for 2017 are making me feel uncomfortable. I am already doubting if I will be able to achieve the sort of things I want. I believe success is subjective. I already feel like my blog is successful because I have achieved what I initially wanted. I hoped to find my confidence again, in both my writing and myself. I have done that. I wanted to explore my passion for baking in a blogging form. I have done that. I wanted to find a little piece of myself that made me feel more than just a mum. I have done that. My stats and numbers may not be huge, sometimes that bothers me but ultimately I know that doesn’t matter and that isn’t why I started blogging in the first place.

With that said part of my goals are increasing my social media followers. I finally feel ready to shout my blog from the rooftops. I am proud about most of my writing and I have begun to realise that some of my best work are the posts that make me the most nervous to push the ‘publish’ button.

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First up I want to increase my Instagram following. This is my favourite platform by far; I love the variety of photos you can find. Flat lays, interiors, children; crisp white tones to slightly blurred or colourful images. My biggest sense of community comes from Instagram and I have virtually met some amazing women on there who I feel I have genuinely come to know without ever having met face to face. We exchanges messages regularly and they are always there for support if I need it. You all know who you are!

I have been reading various blogs and have found some really useful advise on hashtags which help increase followers and the whole community feel. One of the best blog posts is by Katy from Hot Pink Wellingtons about hashtags for parent bloggers read it here. Talya from Motherhood: The Real Deal also has a very helpful post on hashtags.

I have also found THIS post by Colette at Going on an Adventure blog and THIS post by Gin the Mystery blog really helpful to increase followers.

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I recently took the plunge and started a Facebook page for the blog. I have been putting it off as I really don’t understand Facebook as well as I do Instagram and Twitter. I still don’t really understand how to increase your followers but I am more comfortable with that. Fran from Whinge Whinge Wine has written a post about it that explains it is really hard but just persevere… Well I will! I’m sure in time followers will come but for now I am enjoying the support offered by lots of blogging groups and another way of connecting with new bloggers.

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Now for the big goal…. The one making me the most nervous… Vlogging! I want to give it a go but am at a total loss of where to start. I have been toying with the idea for a long time but am really struggling with the confidence to take the plunge. Helen at Just Saying Mum is a huge part of my inspiration to just get on with it. She has written a beautiful post on her vlogging decision and I can relate to so much that she says. I found a few helpful posts from some of my favourite vloggers on hints and tips of getting started. Rebecca from Mrs Meldrum has written a great post on her vlogging equipment. Although some of what she uses seems pretty advanced for a beginner I can see the use of it all in the long run. Alex from Bump to Baby has written a really helpful beginners guide, which includes things like ‘Don’t hate your voice.’ This is a huge thing for me, which may seem like a silly thing for someone who wants to start vlogging. I have found Alex’s advice incredibly helpful and I can relate to a lot that she has said about getting started with vlogging.

I am not exactly sure when I will plunge into the vlogging world but I feel it needs to be sooner rather than later or I risk never doing it.

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The final thing I am going to do in 2017 is physically put myself out there a bit more, into the blogging community. I want to attend a couple of blogger events and seminars. First up is the Lucky Things Meet Up at the end of January. Sunita from Lucky Things Blog has arranged a bloggers meet up (her second one) which aims to inspire and connect like-minded people. I am really excited to be going but also a little nervous to be meeting so many new people all at once. This is hugely out of my comfort zone as I usually stick to groups of two or three people at once. I look forward to meeting everyone going but please be patient with me if I seem a little quite; I’m not being rude, just a little shy.

Does anyone else have any plans for 2017? The year is long and I would love some more suggestions of goals and ambitions.

 

My Top Instagram Food Pictures 2016

Having seen a lot of ‘Instagram Best Nine’ posts recently I couldn’t help but join in. I did it last year too so how could I resist seeing the difference.

As I wrote in my previous post My Instagram 2016 I loved the best nine but because it was based on number of likes theses weren’t reflective of my favourite. I thought I would do my own! This is actually harder than it sounds, trying to pick my favourite nine photos from a whole year! Naturally I had to separate them into two categories ‘Family’ and ‘Food’. I have done a lot of baking and cooking this year and I am very proud of some of my creations so I really wanted to pick my Best Nine Food Photos.

Top Food Photos

I was so proud of this cake! It was a chocolate sensation and I already have something even more chocolaty planned for next easter!

What a Saturday Night treat! These biscuits are some of our favourite and they are so quick and easy to make I can do it in under 20 minutes. (Shhh! Don’t tell Hubby he will want them all the time).

Ok, so I know this is the only non cake picture and maybe I should have included more food, or perhaps I shouldn’t have included any? But I am hungry just looking at this pizza! Good job its on the menu this week!

I can not watch Great British Bake Off without a sweet treat in hand! These macarons were filled with a lime curd surrounded by chocolate ganache… They were AMAZING! Even if i do say so myself.

After posting about the previous macarons I had various suggestions of flavours given to me, the one i found most intriguing was the Gin & Elderflower… So what else could I do? I had to try and make them! I made a Gin Jelly for the middle and an Elderflower Buttercream. Delicious!

Aren’t I a good wifey! Aren’t I! What an amazing cake filled with smarties 😉  This was actually really good fun to make and far easier than I expected.  Chocolate cake, chocolate ganache, vanilla Swiss meringue buttercream coated in sprinkles.

These were the start of my ‘festive’ baking.  I love how bright they are!

How could I go empty handed when visiting two of our favourite Uncles? Well I couldn’t! I had to gift them some chocolate macarons.  I taste tested…. They were up to standard!

Finally, some Christmas baking.  These were such good fun to make and design I had to include them.  They didn’t make it to the tree!

I am really looking forward to lots more Instagram posts in 2017.  I will definitely be doing another Food Roundup next year although it really is hard to keep it to nine!

 

My Instagram in 2016

You may have seen recently on Instagram lots of people posting their ‘2016 Best Nine.’ It is calculated by a website using your username taking the most ‘liked’ pictures into account. Last year was the first year I did the ‘Best Nine’. I instantly loved the idea I knew I would be doing it again next year.

So first up: Here are my 2015 Best Nine.

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I still love all of these photos.  But I knew I wanted to post more in 2016.  I wanted to average one a post a day, which as you can see I achieved.

Here are my 2016 Best Nine.

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I like all of these photos, of course I do but they are all from the last month roughly. Since this website takes into account your most ‘liked’ pictures I can at least see that my account has obviously continued to grow month on month. This is positive for me to see but I don’t think these are my 2016 Best Nine so I thought I would pick Nine of my own that are my ‘Best’ regardless of likes and comments. Then I realised that I couldn’t stick to just nine because some of my baking pictured are my favourite so I am splitting this into two categories: Family and Food. I will do the Family pictures in this post and the Food pictures will follow later in the week.

Family Best Nine

This is one of the least ‘flattering’ photos I have of Perky but her whole face exudes happiness.  I absolutely love it!

This was taken at RHS Wisley which is one of ur favourite places to go.  Pinky thought this little gazebo looked like a witches house so she had to go in and have a look.

How could I not include with one… Her expression makes me laugh every time! As does the caption.  She used to ask some crazy stuff!

I love this of Perky and Daddy.  They had just gone down a huge slide together, her big sister was too much of a wimp to have a go but Perky kept asking for more!

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Too cool for school 😎 #mysundayphoto

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The caption says it all… Look at that attitude.

This was taken on our summer holiday in Menorca.  This had to make my top 9 as it includes all of us, we all look happy (because we were) and we are all looking at the camera.  All parents can relate to how hard it is to get this shot!

This really does just sum them both up!

This had to be included.  Pinky really began to find a passion in photography this summer, I basically lost my camera.  Her favourite things to capture were flowers and as you can see here things like height difference were not going to get in her way.

This is a recent post but I love it.  Over the past (nearly) two years these two have become closer by the day.  Yes, they bicker and fight, what can feel like all of the time, but they are also each others comfort.  They turn to each other for reassurance.  They give each other their biggest smiles and no matter what has happened that day they always give each other a good night kiss and cuddle.  So when I managed to capture them walking hand in hand chatting away, how could I not share it?

I have really enjoyed writing this and going through my Instagram to choose my favourite photos.  It was unbelievably hard to pick just nine.  I am definitely going to do this again next year (but I may have to pick a few more than nine).