2014. I sit here on New Year's Day 2015, pondering about the year that has been. From right-wing victories to fanatic atrocities, from virus epidemics to aircraft vanishings to senseless killings. It has been a topsy-turvy year with the world pulling out surprises like it does year after year. The only thing that seems constant is the expressions of love, compassion and humanity that follow each heart-wrenching tragedy, re-inforcing belief in the goodness of mankind.
Closer to home, it has been quite a year on both the personal and blogging fronts. A bit topsy-turvy, but a lot more manageable than the world at large.
My fledgling blog did rather well in this last year, and has blossomed beyond my wildest expectations. Here are my highlights from the year that was.
1) My poem, Summer Dreams, won me a place in the Center Parcs Family Blogger Club. I was invited to spend a short break with my family at Center Parcs as an ambassador of the programme. Without meaning to sound cliched, I would like to say we really had the time of our lives at the Whinfell Forest site.
2) There were a few more wins, one with Warner Holidays, the other with Robinsons Fruit Shoot, and another with Unilever and #ClearAPlate. The fact that my writing, be it poems, stories or posts, is being read and appreciated is the best thing I could ask for as a writer and a blogger.
3) I wrote a haiku for the first time in my life. My blog has been a creative outlet for me since I started, and I felt adventurous enough to delve into this fascinating form of poetry.
4) After toying with the idea for a long time, I finally decided to start my very own blog linky. It is called School Run Colours, and is all about swapping the car for a walk and capturing colour when you do. It doesn't have to be the school run, you can swap the car when going to work, running an errand, going to the shops, going just about anywhere really.
5) I broke into the top 500 of the Tots ranking and shot up to 101 in the Teads. My page rank and domain rank rose through the year as well. I know, I shouldn't really be focusing too much on numbers, but it does feel nice to know your baby is (blog in this case, not J, though it's always nice to know he is too) doing well.
6) I ran my first ever blog competition in the year gone, and went on to run a few more successful ones through the year. This was something new and exciting for me to do as a blogger, something I had not planned on when I first started writing my blog. But the more I did it, the more I realised it was a fun way of sharing some lovely stuff with you, my dear reader. Be it tickets to events or goody bags, these competitions ensured I could give my lovely readers an opportunity to get something in return from following me and my blog.
As far as Rambling Through Parenthood is concerned, I hope to carry on where I left off in 2014, writing more poetry, dabbling in creative writing, carrying on with my School Run Colours linky. I hope to widen my horizons and venture out into the world of video-blogging.
There are also some exciting developments afoot, and I am eyeing a collaboration with a big name in the world of UK parent blogging in the coming year. One that promises to inject a dose of humour into your reading repertoire. Watch this space.
On a personal front, I hate to say it, but I am nowhere near achieving the radical life-style change I set out to achieve at the beginning of last year. I am still eating, drinking and making merry, though I have incorporated a bit more exercise into my life as I now walk on the school run. I do count my blessings as often as I can remember to, and hope to carry on doing so through 2015.
Gentle parenting. Hmmm, something I can really work on in this new year. Learning to keep my wits about me in the face of a raging, stormy three-year old. Now here is a challenge that will test me, but one that I am willing to meet head on.
2014 saw me return to my love of music when I took up the chance to sing in a local choir. And managed to hold my tune (I like to think I did) through a couple of performances over Christmas.
The year also saw M and me rekindle our 18 year old romance, which had gone a bit cold, as romances usually do, after the birth of our son. Simply put, there was trouble in paradise. It took a radical wake-up call to shake us both out of our state of complacency and reignite that langushing spark. All is now well with the world.
2015. What a year it promises to be. I am not making any New Year resolutions, no. They always seem to get broken by the time the new year is a couple of days old. Instead, I will be focusing on a few things that need to be done in the coming year. Like learning to read music, trying to achieve that elusive healthy lifestyle, writing more often, and smiling in the face of testing times.
Here's to a fun, fantastic and fulfilling 2015. May the New Year see a reign of love, peace and prosperity. x