2016 was huge for me. Although on the outside it looked like the most ordinary of years, no marriage, no house move, no announcement of baby or any other huge life event that defines a year. On the 7th January 2016 my new baby was born. A baby that had been almost 5 years in the making, this here, my blog baby.
I had been wrestling for all those years with my confidence and ability (or lack thereof), going about my days writing posts in my head, in the shower, at night in bed or even on paper and telling myself that one of these days I would pluck up the courage to actually learn how and start a blog of my own.
Then 2015 hit, now that was a big year. The year I welcomed my littlest lady Roma Rose into the world and the year I would try to make last forever as Eva was due to start school. Oh how I sobbed. It was such an emotional time, I really didn’t want that summer to ever end and I felt myself getting all reflective. Reflective on those years that people say go way too fast and are the best years of childhood, of motherhood, yet which are the ones that are actually – when you are in it – the hardest to appreciate. That is until you are sat staring the prospect of school square in the face and what you would really like is the opportunity to relive it all again. Not just the big days, the firsts, the holidays, the moments that are talked about or captured in a snippet of video or a quick snap. But all of those ordinary moments too.
I felt like those moments at home, the ones that happened every single day were the most precious, special, the ones I now treasured, wanted to remember and relive over and over again. The way that Eva used to curl up on me as a tiny 6lb newborn with extra skin on her neck and we used to laugh that she looked like a turtle. The start of our weaning journey at 6 months when she still had a tongue that pushed everything out like a giraffe. The way she pronounced different words including her name and would constantly chant, “Ear do it”, right down to the fact that she wanted to call the new baby twink and would ask a million questions about how it was coming out. All of those moments, and all of the ones in between. It was then, as the school days approached that I kicked myself. Because these are just the moments I recall, I know that there were so many more that I loved, that I swore I would never forget and that I know that I have.
I could hear myself teaching Eva all about being different, about following her dreams and celebrating who she was and I realised I needed to listen too. I am not the best photographer or writer, I don’t have an especially exciting life and I certainly didn’t have a clue what I was doing, but no-one would be judging except me and look what I was missing. I didn’t want to miss out on another day of documenting these moments with my two little ladies and it was absolutely not too late. So there and then the decision was made, in the dawn of her new adventure I would start my own. Little Ladies Big World was born.
It seems fitting then that the very first post I wrote and my most favourite to write at all are my ordinary moments posts, I am thankful to Katie at mummydaddyme for her linky, for a place and an incentive to remember these sweet moments that I still love to read back. I love each and every one of them but I have to say that Eva’s first trip to a Musical and their shared love for the bin men have to be my favourites. It truly is at the heart of my blog and I hope that it always will be.
Almost as soon as I stepped into this world of blogging I absolutely fell in love, I have never stuck to anything quite as much as this, I have never had the passion, the creative flare and worked so very hard at anything in my life. Because it is very hard work. Not a day has gone by this year without thinking of it, blogging has definitely became a way of life for me and I cannot imagine ever not doing it.
I have learnt so much, I have taught myself everything I have needed to know so far and even though it makes me wince a bit to write, I have learnt to be proud of myself too. Never in a million years did I think it would be as hard work as it is or that I would leave the year with a blogging to do list longer than when I started. But it isn’t a list that fills me with dread (unlike most of my others!) it fills me with excitement, and drive to continue to learn, and to grow, and to somehow freeze time so I have enough to write a post or two every now and again and still make the improvements to my site that I have been meaning to for 6 months!
One of the best things to come out of blogging also is the Family Portrait Project ‘Me and Mine’ by Lucy DearBeautiful , when I was thinking of joining in for the first time just a few weeks after starting the blog I was sad to find that we only had a handful of photos of us as a family ever. It still makes me so sad to think that we missed all of those times and I am more thankful than I could ever express that I now have a whole year of photos where we are all in the frame. It might seem like a chore almost every single month (it does) but I know I won’t remember that when I look back on them and it has encouraged me to get creative too. When we were in France I snapped probably my most favourite photo of us I have ever taken and the one that makes me so proud too. It really does mean so much to me to have them and I get a tear in my eye when I think back to that night, and in fact each and every one.
Of course this year hasn’t been without its challenges, I have doubted myself on an almost daily basis, compared myself to others and wondered whether I am good enough, whether I know enough, have the time to write enough and am even cut out for this blogging world. Whether my photos were awful, my words made sense and that being rubbish at social media would mean there would be no-one there to even read it. I am definitely not good at self promotion and that is something to work on in my second year of blogging – how long can I call myself a newbie?
We spent the summer in France which was meant to be the month I would have spare time, knuckle down, do site improvements, vlog and blog our time. Yet the wifi issues meant that unfortunately I could barely keep up my social media and I still have 100’s of photos and unedited vlogs to share, though I did manage to publish our first week here. Not to mention the fact that I smashed my camcorder in the second week so the shaky footage on the stand in may take some time to become watchable! Yet again though I have learnt to let it go, to tell myself it is ok and that this is my site, my diary and if it is only me and my little ladies that watch and read then that is ok, because in years to come we won’t care whether I published the very same day or a whole year later.
I did however make a huge decision whilst we were in France, or more accurately on our return, and that was to hand my notice in at my relatively new job to concentrate on this blog. I had finally found something I loved to do and wanted to give it my all whilst I was lucky enough to be able to. Just then I fell ill and I have unfortunately not been able to give my all to it since, yet, but I am hoping to very soon, I would love to say I am through that now however it is somewhat ongoing and so blogging is still slow but I wholeheartedly stand by the fact that is was the best decision I have ever made for me and for that I couldn’t be happier.
It may seem dramatic to say and lots of people just don’t get it, this blogging malarkey, but it has changed me in a way I never imagined. It has changed my life, my outlook, although I still compare and doubt myself daily, and sometimes feel like giving it all up in favour of a quiet life; I really can’t imagine life without it. I have grown in confidence, ‘met’ amazing people with amazing talents that inspire me and I have had some amazing support. In October I wrote an extremely personal post about my heartbreaking pregnancy loss due to hyperemesis and it still outperforms any of my other posts by a serious margin in views, thanks mostly to a charity sharing it on their site. But more than that there was an outpour of contact, messages everywhere with support, love, and from women who have gone through the same. Somehow, rather than the dread and judgement I was so worried about, just writing those words lifted a cloud that had been hovering over me for three years. A really dark cloud lifted and opened a brighter tomorrow. And more than anything else in the world my blog has allowed me that.
In December I also decided last minute to take part in Vlogmas over on my YouTube channel, vlogging is something I am still new to but having made videos of France and thanks to my lovely husband who bought me a longed for Canon G7X for Christmas (and then gave it me early in order to use it – he’s a keeper!), I really want to get into it more and due to the illness and break on my blog I really wanted to still create content and for our Christmas to be remembered, no matter what that looked like. Yet again I found something that I adore, I love the filming, editing and even though illness means I am still a little behind it is definitely something I want to branch out to and do more of in 2017 – though watching and listening to myself still makes me cringe!
I still adore photography and it has always been a passion of mine but this year I have really managed to focus on it that bit more and although I am completely self taught and could definitely do with making time to read the photography book that Eddy got me to go with my camera (for dummies…thanks Eddy!) I look at the progress I have made myself and I am proud. I love to take my camera out just because, I take far too many and should probably learn to edit them but I see how far I have come and some of the moments I have captured and I smile. I’m not so good at being proud of myself but I am trying and who knows where the next year will take me.
So 2016 has been pretty life changing for me and although I am not usually one for new years resolutions, last years one has done me quite well. In 2017 I would like to blog more, vlog more, grow my social media whilst staying true to myself and my family and most of all make, capture and record both exciting, amazing, and the downright ordinary wonderful moments, leaving the year loving blogging as much as I do today.
I have a long way to go but I am loving the journey. Happy Blog Birthday to me.
Here are some photos from this week that I took just because, photos that don’t mean anything in particular but photos that I probably owe to writing this blog, and some that Eva took because I am breeding a little blogger (and vlogger) in the making there!