A Travel and Lifestyle Blog
Well, what a year! I think 2018 will be for me, the year that brought with it so much change, but so much peace, satisfaction and realisation. I feel I have changed, so I suppose its only natural my blog will change with me. I thought I would share with you my little blog reflection. The things I have learnt this year, the goals I have for next year, and the highs and lows that this blogging year has brought with it. My Blogging year round up
I have been blogging for two and a half years now, and I can honestly say that I LOVE it. I think this year, I really feel like I have found my way, found my voice and completly wiggled into my space. When my blog started, I did a lot of beauty posts, as that was familiar to me. In my day job I talk skincare and make up all day, so it felt like comfy shoes to step into. I still have a huge passion for skincare and make up, but, as I have expressed on my blog before, I began to feel incredibly uncomfortable in my role Id found myself in, adding to the crazy consummerism that is forced down our throats. I want to share amazing finds, like I would with my friends, but I didnt want my blog to become a sales platform, I didnt want to be constantly encouraging people to buy more things, and yet I kinda was! I wanted to find some balance.
So whats changed?
Towards the end of last year, as I have said before, I made the decision to only accept “gifted” items, if it was something that I truly, 100% thought brought value to my readers, and not just emptied their pockets. If you do beauty blogging, you would know that it can get silly with what you get offered. No one needs that many products! This sits better with me. I feel no obligation or pressure, and it feels better. I have accepted the grand total of three gifted items this year. Everything else that has been featured on my blog has been bought with my own money, because I had researched it, and decided that it was worthy of my cash (and blog mention)
Now, Im not knocking anyone for taking gifted items, this is just my personal feelings, (and Charlotte Tilbury, if your looking for an old face to put your make up on, call me), but for me, I feel much happier with the balance, and true to myself. It feels much more organic for me and my style of blogging. Im not saying I will never do a collaboration again, I 100% will, but I just don’t want to be wasteful if that makes sense? Iv got to feel passionate about something. Everyone just finds their way eh?
I also made the decision, after worrying about it for ages, that I would not feature so much beauty, and when I do it will only be cruelty free. There are a million beauty bloggers out there doing product reviews probably far better than I could, and in truth, I stopped enjoying writing those sort of posts. I get beyond frustrated with beauty bloggers telling me this week that this product “is amazing” but next week its another. Or worse still, they are trying two different products at the same time, claiming one has changed their skin this week, but next week it will be the other. Unfortunately, my day job means I know far too much about skin, so know what twaddle they spout. It grinds my gears. I dont want to be involved in that. I have also made a huge move over to only spending my money with brands that have an ethical, cruelty free, and sustainable stance, so have recently started to introduce that aspect of beauty to you. Not because I am going to condem you all to hell if you chose to buy from non cruelty free brands, but because some people don’t even realise that they are. Its a pure sharing of information, nothing more, nothing less.
Another change you will have seen on the blog is that I am far more travel focused now. I really feel passionatley about people living the fullest life they can, as lets face it, everything can change in just a split second! I hope to encourage and inspire people to make memories, at home or away, rather than buying more “stuff” Nik and I have always travelled, both as a couple, and with our boys, but last year temporarily clipped our wings with Nik’s illness. As soon as he recovered, we were off and I have loved sharing the travel side of our lives with you. I love even more that people tell me I inspired them to visit somewhere, or in one case, actually get on a plane for the first time in 20 years. That made my blooming year! I have lots of travel planned for 2019, so look forward to continuing to share those tales with you.
A summary of the bad times;
There has not really been a lot of bad. The main one was when I felt like I had a stalker. I spoke about it on the blog (Why imitation is not the sincerest form of flatter) after I found someone copying part of my blog post, and duplicating my “voice” on Instagram. It was weird, creepy and a little unsettling. For a short while, it made me not want to share my thoughts. I was totally creeped out and a bit shaken. Thankfully I got my head round it, saw it for what it was and now just feel sorry for them.
The only other thing I dont like about blogging is Instagram. Not so much the app itself, but what it creates. The keep up with the Jones’s mentality. The replication of what people see as an “instagram life”. The way normal, level headed people lose their mind over numbers, followers etc. I really dislike that. I stepped away from it. It felt so negative. I try not to invite negative into my life.
A summary of the good times;
I feel there has genuinely been so many! Truly. My blog at times, has kept me sane. Throughout the darkest times of Nik’s cancer it was my escape and my light relief. It has become so much to me. I do still occassionaly question what the hell I spend so much time and energy on it for, and I know my friends think Im bonkers, but then I just know I love it. Thats enough isnt it?
If I were picking just some of the highlights, the biggest one has been the people I have met and friendships I have made. I feel a genuine love and warmth towards some of these lovely bloggers that I now consider my friends. That, the connecting of souls, is a beautiful thing. Also, getting invited on a press trip to Portugal this year was a pinch me moment. I was overwhelmed. Id then say reading the heartfelt comments and messages I get when one of my posts has moved someone, or resonated with them. I have been in tears many times over these messages etc. It is amazing and lifts me up. Lastly, being able to share some of the fab events I have gone to, with the people I love. Its so nice to share the opportunity with them. Oh, and I also got to work with two big travel brands this year on paid work, and that felt amazing! Not the money, but the fact that the brands approached me, both brands that I have always used and loved, and wanted to pay me for my work. It felt so good
What have I learnt;
Ohhh so much! This year I really tried to up my game on understanding how the technical side of my blog works. I have learnt about SEO. I understand my google analytics figures. I know where my traffic comes from. I have learnt that its ok to stop writing about something if you no longer enjoy it. When I wanted to stop doing so many product reviews, I really worried. I knew I had an audience for my beauty posts, and felt bad. Yes, I did probably lose some of that audience, but my audience has increased by 400% this year, so it wasn’t the end of the world. I survived it.I also learnt to be less harsh on myself. Not to second guess myself. Nope, I don’t have a blogging schedule, yes I can be a little controversial, and yes you can guarantee that I have an opinion and don’t shy away from expressing it. But I am ok with all of this. I wont dull myself down. What you see is what you get, but, I guarantee you this; I will always act with kindness, you will occasionally hear me swear and I will talk about cake. A lot.
My goals for my blog;
This is a strange one for me, as in truth, I genuinely dont know what I want from my blog. I have always said that I dont want it to become my job, (I dont want the pressure, I just want to enjoy it) but I also know how good it felt to get paid for a few things this year. It was great that my blog paid for its own hosting etc this year. So maybe I do like the idea a little. Im a see what happens kind of gal! I do however, 100% know that I want to continue to encourage people to be present, spend time with those they love, seek moments and adventure, and bloody enjoy life.
I did really enjoy working with the two travel brands this year, and one of them has contacted me about working with them again next year, so that is exciting. I like the idea of working with travel brands, and may have something coming up soon, so perhaps that is an area I will explore and take on more from. I would also love to collaborate with a few ethical beauty brands or eco friendly brands, as I feel so strongly about spreading the word. I love our little planet, I want to help look after it.
I think another goal is to keep increasing my audience. I would be lying if I said that I didnt want what I wrote on this blog to be read. I do a lot of writing, and some of it is never for the blog, its just a cathartic and personal thing, so what I do publish on the blog I want to share. I love the discussions we have on there, I love how you can have a moment with someone through words, and I just love just exploring words! So yes, a goal would be to see my traffic continue to grow.
For my final goal, I would love to up my photography game. I am not a natural photographer, and would love to learn more. I love beautiful imagery, so would love to understand how I can create it. Im not saying I will ever be able to mind, I just want the knowledge to be able to try.
So, thats it from me. My blogging year in one brief summary post! I have loved blogging this year. Really loved it. I feel so comfortabe with what I write about and where I am. It feels like my blog is me in a nutshell. The topics I cover are all passions of mine, and that feels good.
I would love to hear from you what your blogging year has looked like. Any highs? Any lows? Do you have any goals for your blog? As ever, I love to hear what you think xx