Here we are again, the start of another year. Bit of a dramatic one on a global scale, 2016, between Brexit, Trump and the size of Toblerones decreasing. The situation in Syria and across Europe is ever terrifying and anxiety creating. The attack in Istanbul has shown us that 2017 isn’t set to automatically be more peaceful. Life has been full of ups and downs, and it’s been great to watch the idiosyncrasies of E growing up into a proper little boy over the last year. As with other years, the lovely Sadhbh of Where Wishes Come From has hosted the 16 from 16 linky – here is my contribution. A look back on the year that was, while looking forward to the year to come.
1. Most Popular Post
My most popular post of 2016 was all about E, or more accurately, what he wants. All the requests of his almost two year old self made up a post which people seemed to love. Second up was my not-very-clickbaity-at-all post about Slimming World and How I Lost 6.5 pounds in a Week. Yeah, I need to revisit that myself after the festive season, with the sequel (How I gained it all back in three days, Christmas Edition).
2. Favourite Post
From an honest point of view, I think Medication Doesn’t Make Me A Bad Mother ranks up there fairly high. It feels good to share an honest picture of what my life is like, as unvarnished and imperfect as it may be. Inspired by Al Porter’s admission of taking medication for depression the night before, I shared my story and got some really great feedback from others from it. It’s nothing to be ashamed of and is a conversation we need to keep having, so hopefully it will have inspired others to do the same.
3. Favourite Photo
This one, the aftermath of a toddler “binge-drink” (in this case, almond milk, you know, the hard stuff). For one thing, he’s asleep. Definitely one I’m keeping for his college days!
4. Best Adventure
Blogging wise, it’s got to be the photo shoot for Irish Country Magazine by the incredible Lili Forberg, with the stunning Pamela Flood and Niamh O Reilly. Definitely walking on the other side of life for me and something I was absolutely thrilled to get the chance to do. Those ladies in hair and makeup are GENIUSES.
Personally, flying solo Stateside and enjoying a week long trip in Seattle, including conquering my fear of heights and escalators – yeah, that was pretty damn cool.
5. Finds Of the Year
I’ve become an audiobook convert, it’s joined the list of things I love to listen to while wandering and commuting. I understand I’m very late to the game. I’ve been enjoying Trevor Noah’s “Born a Crime”, Shonda Rhimes “The Year of Yes” and Lauren Graham’s “From Gilmore Girls to Gilmore Girls” over the last few months, among others.
On the podcast side of things I am likely to be the latest person to the game of Serial. You know, that podcast EVERYONE raved about two years ago? Yeah. My true crime loving self was hooked, and since finishing it, has moved onto Into The Dark, Accused and (my current favourite) Real Crime Profile.
I have Suzy to blame for my discovery of Lindt Dark Chocolate with Caramel, and the following weight gain. Yup. Not my self restraint issues at all. To balance it out, she did also introduce me to this Lamb Tagine recipe, which has become a favourite in this house.
6. Most Common Theme
Rants and rambles about life. Mental Health and Parenting, and rants about everything else. I’m a happy person sometimes, I swear. But if you’re looking for sunshine and roses, you’re probably looking at the wrong blog.
7. My Favourite Comment
This one wasn’t a comment left on the blog, as such, more feedback that I got in real life to the post about What Not To Say To People With Depression. I had readers approach me and message me thanking me, saying it helped them with a situation in their own family and friends life. It feels immensely gratifying to have people saying that something I have written has assisted them in their real life, so thank you for letting me know.
8. My Favourite Celebration
Attending the fab Maternity & Infant Awards in October as a finalist for Best Parenting Blog was a wonderful experience. I got to hang out with lovely bloggers like Kellie (and her gorgeous Kenzie!), Laura, Andrea and Jolene. We ate incredible food (seriously divine) and drank lots of lovely wine. I didn’t win (that went to Kellie, the blogging machine who honestly needs to write a book on how she does it all!) but it was a brilliant celebration and great to attend anyway!
9. My Milestones
I got featured in a national broadsheet, a national glossy magazine, a local newspaper and got airtime on a Cork radio station more than once.
I also got back to work after being out with my back injury for 17 months. Pretty massive milestone, given how long it took, and how many not-fun procedures it took to get there. While it’s still not a perfect fix and I’m still in pain daily, work are very accommodating, which is great.
10. My Favourite Freebie
Yikes. This one is a hard one. I have been VERY lucky in 2016, not only to work with incredible brands, but also to get to experience some very lovely things. While nothing is really for free (reviews and posts all require a couple of hours of work thrown into them to be written, photographed, edited, published and promoted), I have gotten to experience some rather lovely things. As well as the incredible hair and makeup for the Irish Country Magazine photoshoot, we also got given some amazing Clarins goodies which were VERY much appreciated. In addition, Netflix have provided endless entertainment this year, with the addition of some sweets and EARLY viewing of Gilmore Girls which I loved. I am very, very grateful to all the brands I got to work with last year, and hope to work with them again in this New Year.
11. Best Blog Moment
Featuring as Health Blogger of the Month in The Sunday Times. This is something I am very proud of. I honestly couldn’t have imagined it when I started to share my story of my mental health journey. Hopefully it will have started at least one conversation over the paper that weekend.
12. Worst Blog Moment
The rebranding process, probably – tech savvy is certainly not something I would call myself! It was worth it in the end, but the moving from one domain to another is a whole lot more complicated than I had thought it would be! Major kudos to the team in Blacknight for their copious amounts of help!
13. My Favourite Search Term Used To Find Me
Right, so lets make this one clear. Since rebranding to BadMammy, I’ve gotten a whole lot more lets say “adult” search terms that have found me. I’m fairly sure that when they’re searching google for whatever mummy-porn they’re after, the story of why I stopped breastfeeding is not a good fit. Sorry lads.
However, my absolute favourite search term of 2016, perhaps of all time, has been “is the paw patrol animation satanic”. As someone who has spent TOO many hours shouting at the scene about ridiculous things they just haven’t considered (many including Mayor Goodway), my answer is YES. Yes it is. But it keeps the child quiet and so it can stay. My ramblings on Paw Patrol can be found here.
14. My Best Move
Rebranding to BadMammy.com in early January of last year. I had outgrown Four Walls, Rainy Days and needed something snappier and to the point. My new branding and logo was designed by the fabulous Daydreams and Icecreams and the blog underwent the social media transition. I think it’s a lot more memorable in people’s minds. I’ve noticed an upsurge in dealings with press and companies since. While my Domain Authority took a hit initially, it rebounded quickly and it’s now higher than ever. If you’re thinking of making the leap, do it!
15. What I Learned in 2016
I learned a lot more about SEO and branding, the importance of networking and just how much hard work was needed to get somewhere on this little blog. Also, sometimes it’s just down to luck – the right person seeing the right thing at the right time.
I also learned a lot of little life lessons which I’ll build on (hopefully) in the coming year. Work in progress and all that.
I also learned to drive – second driving test, I’m coming for you (with a bit more confidence than the first one for sure).
16. What My Blog Did For Me in 2016
Where to begin? I was featured in a glossy magazine for the first time, in February’s Irish Country Magazine with the lovely Pamela Flood and Niamh O Reilly. In November, I was featured in a Sunday broadsheet as their Health Supplement’s Health Blogger of The Month. I was asked by my local shopping centre to host a Mother and Baby Morning as a “Cork Parenting Blogger”, which I did and really enjoyed. I got to work with some incredible brands, like Netflix, Busy B, Inspirefest, Obeo and more. And I made more friends, more contacts and became a little more sane with these new folks around me.
So, that was my 2016, how about yours? Let me know what your highs and lows were in the comments below, and what you’re most looking forward to in 2017!
If you want to contribute to the linky, Sadhbh is running it over on Where Wishes Come From here.
BadMammy is over on Facebook, come say hi!