The entire reason that I started blogging was as a way to record our memories and to share them with other members of the family. Now when I look back I'm so grateful for those early posts. Mia was just 6 weeks old when I started the blog, and now she's almost ready to start school. It's wonderful to be able to look back on those difficult, yet rewarding, early years with two young children. I can reflect upon when the children were just getting to know each other, remember the fun that we've always had making and icing biscuits, and bring back little moments that would otherwise be forgotten, like this post about the things that Harry learned at nursery.
|Mia, on the weekend that I started this blog!|
Over time of course the blog has evolved, and I love sharing some of the crafts and activities that we get up to. I also know that there are many crafts that we simply wouldn't have done if it weren't for the blog. In particular I love being a Bostik Blogger, and receiving a fantastic box of crafting goodies each month, coming up with crafty ideas to share based around what is inside.
I find challenges a great way to keep myself motivated, as well as helping to retain a little bit of 'me' instead of just being 'Mummy'. Through the blog I've taken part in many. There is the Day Zero Project, and I had a lot of fun taking part in the Great Bloggers Bake Off, where for ten weeks I managed to bake something new each week. I also joined in with the #pinaddicts challenge for several months, where I made projects inspired by those I'd seen on Pinterest.
Talking of Pinterest, without a doubt it is because of the blog that I'm such an avid user. In fact it was a huge inspiration to me when I discovered so many wonderful bloggers out there that were already sharing their crafts and ideas. I was chosen as a featured pinner last year which was amazing for my follower count, and my use of Pinterest led to being asked to speak at BritMums Live 2015 and the chance to contribute to the BritMums Pinterest boards, both awesome opportunities.
Speaking at BritMums was something that took me way out of my comfort zone, as was when I was part of the team that climbed Snowdon for Comic Relief as part of Team Honk. At the time I'd not been to any blogging conferences and I didn't know any other bloggers in person, it was a huge thing for introverted me to commit to spending a couple of days away with people I'd never met! I was so glad that I did it though, it was brilliant and such an achievement for us all.
I love making lists and planning, and so writing the blog allows me to indulge my organised side. Whether it's brainstorming ideas for blog posts, making lists of things that need to be done, creating spreadsheets to keep track of posts that I've written (yes, really!) it all helps to keep my mind active. It's a bit like being at work, with the added challenge of having to fit it all in around the demands of small people, but I enjoy it all.
I won't deny that it's nice to receive review products. I won't call them freebies, because it takes a lot of time to photograph and write up a review post. But to be honest I enjoy writing the posts, so it doesn't feel at all like work. I pick and choose the things that we review on this blog and I don't go for the highest value items. Instead I'm happy to review low value bits and pieces if I feel that they are offering a fun challenge or experience for the children. For example, the children both love using the bug hunting kit that we received a couple of years ago, and recently we had a lot of fun making some space food, both little things that we wouldn't have done if it weren't for my blog.
I might never become a "pro-blogger", but I do manage to make a small amount of money from my blog which helps us to afford a few extras while I'm a stay at home Mum. I've also been lucky enough to receive press tickets to various events and attractions which have saved us some money and given us some fun experiences.
But finally, one of the huge and unexpected rewards for starting my blog has been the community that I've discovered. Not only the lovely people that I have met in person after attending several different blogging conferences, but also the online support. I've found that people are much more honest online about their struggles with babies and young children, and I've had lots of sympathy when I've moaned on Twitter about little ones that won't go to sleep, and won't stay asleep once they are in bed!
It might sound a bit soppy to say it, but starting this blog definitely did change my life for the better. If you are thinking of starting a blog I'd wholeheartedly recommend it!