A Travel and Lifestyle Blog
Well, here we are, I have been writing my blog for two years. I promise you, that comes as a huge surprise to me if I am honest. I have the attention span of a gnat so tend to flit about and not really stick to much hobby wise. But, my blog has become so much more to me than a hobby. I thought I would share with you where I am at now, after two years of blogging, what Im planning and a few little things I have learnt over the past twelve months. Blogging has been a steep learning curve for me. I knew NOTHING about anything technical. I have literally taught myself everything via youtube and google! It has been incredibly frustrating at times, but I am so proud that I got there. There are still a few little things that I need to iron out, but on the whole its doing what I need it to do. I do feel like my blog is evolving, and I feel like it is about to go through some changes. Mainly because things that are important to me are evolving. My life is different now than it was two years ago when I began my blogging journey. Let me try to explain all.
So, my blog was actually started in June 2016, but I think I published about three posts in the entire 6 months left until the end of 2016. I was still working 60 hour weeks in my clinic then, and time was always a struggle. I had the desire and passion to write, but no time. I didn’t really get into any kind of regularity with publishing posts until January 2017, when I closed my business. So, I like to think that my blog is like The Queen. I have two birthdays. June and January. Two reasons for cake????
When I started my blog, I wanted to share my love of make up and skincare, in fact, all beauty products! Iv always been a product junkie and me and my friends would always excitedly share our latest finds over drinks. I wanted my blog to be like that. Sharing my product finds with you as I would my mates, although, despite it perhaps seeming so at times, I am not drinking or drunk when I type……… I still have this passion for products, and I still want to share all my finds with you. That will not change. I have always bought a lot of products, I will continue to fuel my obsession, so you will probably always find my product finds are shared with you.
I do however, feel that my entire head space is different from what it was 2 years ago. As many of you know, we were given a huge shock last July when my husband was very suddenly taken very unwell. I haven’t shared too many of the details, but the long and the short of it is he had a collapsed bowel and stomach, ad he nearly died in hospital, due to complications with his surgery. It was the scariest month in our lives. Just as he was let out of hospital and recovering from that awful time, we got hit with the news that he had grade 4 cancer. This is what had caused the collapsed bowel. Again, Im not dwelling on all that, but Im hoping that it will help you understand that, needless to say, it has massively changed my perception on what is important in life. It has changed how I want to live my life. Both of us feel we have been given a second chance to live our lives together for a reason and we are determined not to waste it! We want to collect memories and experiences, not “things”. So, you will be seeing a lot more travel posts on my blog. My husband does a job that means he gets a lot of time off. Every 6 weeks he gets a break in his working pattern of at least a week, sometimes two weeks, so we plan on trying to take off for a few days in these breaks. I plan on sharing travel tales, hotel reviews and anything interesting we find while on our jollies. I hope you like this idea! My job is very flexible, Nik gets his work breaks, our boys have left full time education. It feels like all the planets have aligned for us, and the world is literally our oyster! We are not however, lottery winners (in terms of money, we defo are in terms of life) so some of these breaks will be on a budget, so I hope you find that useful too! I cant wait to share my travels with you. Maybe I will call these posts Kerry Life and Travels haha!
I will be trying to streamline the blog a little. I will still have an eclectic mix of subjects, but Im going to try to group them better. For example, anything that I share about adventures in London will now be under “London Life”. So my afternoon tea series, restaurants we have enjoyed, days out that are a little different etc, will now be found under that heading. Im just trying to make it so there are not so many headings and its all easier to navigate!
My blog has become so much to me. One of the main things is how it has increased my confidence due to the fact that it pushes me to step out of my comfort zone and go to events etc, often on my own. This has been the greatest gift as just over 2 years ago something happened in my life that completely wrecked my confidence and self worth. Blogging really has helped me re-build that as I have met such supportive and wonderful people. I will always be so grateful to it for that. It has connected me with some fabulous other bloggers that I now consider my friends. It has been my place to vent sometimes, (even if I don’t then press publish on those posts). It has been a way to open discussion about topics I am passionate about. It has at times been my saviour in the darker times of Niks illness. It has taught this old dog many new tricks! I love it. I love writing it and I love the way Im supported. Im so very grateful xxx
Leading on from that point, I actually really enjoy going to events now! I look forward to them. If you have been around on this blog of mine for a while you would know what a huge step that is for me! Amongst my favourite ones were the Next one I went to in London, and the Visit Essex press day tour I was taken on. Both such amazing experiences. I would urge anyone, whatever it is, to not talk yourself out of going to something if you feel awkward going on your own. I did this so much and missed out. there are often people in the same boat and I have never failed to have a good time. Pull your big girl pants up and go. You’ve got this xx
I stay away from the negative. You will never see me get involved in any drama on social media or anything like that. If I dont like something, I just scroll past. I try to keep my blog, my social media and my mind positive and upbeat. Yes, life is shit at times, but I try to look on the brighter side. Not always easy, but if I am feeling a little overwhelmed, I tend to stay off social media and have fun with my friends/family. I dont like to invite negative into my life.
I have never been one to stress over numbers of followers, but like all of us that write, I would like my posts to be read! I would love to tell you that I have sussed out how to build a following on Instagram, but I havent! Sorry! All I know is that Iv noticed that if you dont spend a huge, inordinate amount of time on there, then its incredibly hard to grow. Well, I have better things to do than spend every day on social media, so I accept that my growth will be at a snails pace, but Im ok with that as I prefer to live life than spend it on an app! If you would like to see the results from an Instagram experiment I did, you can read them in this post My Instagram Experiment – What i learnt I cant really give you any tips on social media other than dont let it get to you. Take it in its basic form….its not real life, its apps on a phone. Post what YOU like, be genuine, have integrity. If doing that makes your growth slower, so be it. At least you wont feel demented with it haha!
I now understand a little about SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) and things. Yep. Me. The old fossil. I understand these things a little! I have yet to find the time to make my way back through all of my published posts to make them SEO friendly, but its on my to do list! If you have a plug in like Yoast, use it! Let it do the hard work for you to make your posts SEO friendly. It will help you be discovered on google. I love that I have quite a few non-bloggers that read my posts as well as fellow bloggers, and I know some of them found me via google. It is something I will be doing over the next month or so, so if anyone wants my very limited knowledge on the subject, feel free to message me.
I finally understand the importance of Google Analytics, and how it can really help you identify where your traffic comes from and the inner workings of your blog. I work through my analytics report at the end of every month and it has really helped me get a picture of it. If you dont have this installed on your blog, get it! Its a fabulous tool. Leah at Devoted to Pink wrote a great post on understanding your analytics, I have linked to it here for you.
I consider myself very lucky to have worked with a few brands in my short little blog journey. I never wanted my blog to be a sales platform, and I still dont and I truly only ever accept products to review on the blog if they interest me. I have turned down more than I have accepted as some just dont sit with my ethos or its not a product I would go and buy. I am incredibly protective of my integrity, and hope that comes across. I have never approached a brand, but do get excited when a brand that I love emails me. Its exciting! I am also very honest with the brand though and tell them that I will be very honest in my review, good or bad!
Blogging. My life saver at times, my source of information, my beautiful distraction.
I will be changing it up a little over here, but hopefully, to make it more interesting! The blog is called Kerry Life and Loves, so it will always reflect what I love. Even though I am in my 40’s I am still growing and evolving as life has a way of throwing in a few plot twists! Im ok with this. I like change. I like to see where life takes me. I hope you are happy to roll on the waves with me! You will probably never find a blogging schedule as such, Im not that organised but I hope that you think I post with some kind of regularity. I love my blog, I love the blogging community and I love the people that I have met along the way. I am aways so grateful to the support shown and you sharing your opinions on my posts etc. You are bloody lovely!