I’m still eating Celebrations and there’s a well lit tree in the corner of my sitting room so it’s fair to say that I haven’t quite leapt into 2018 yet. Before I do wave goodbye to 2017 fully I’m looking back over my blog life for the last twelve months, thanks to the annual linky prompt from Sadhbh on Where Wishes Come From.
In 2017 I published 59 posts, my fewest for some time. (I’d 102 in 2016 and 119 in 2015). I also published my 500th post without any fanfare, making this here my 501st post on Bumbles of Rice. My blog got a freshening up earlier this year with a brand new professionally designed logo. I love the new look, and as always there’s lots more design-y stuff I’d love to do on the blog but I have to remember that this is a hobby and I can’t spend all my time (or all my money!) on it.
1. Most Popular Blog Post
The most popular blogpost on Bumbles of Rice this year was one that is three years’ old- Six Things to Do in Connemara with Kids. I think the way I named it has helped search engines to find it so it keeps getting hits!
The most popular new post in 2017 was 25 Things to make for Dinner Using Chicken Breasts.
These lead me to believe that the posts that I love to write may not always be the ones that people love to read.
2. Favourite Post
The posts I like to write are the ones that help me to put words on my feelings and that capture those feelings.
3. Favourite photo
The one that was most popular on instagram, was one of me staring at newborn Cathal a few hours after he was born, here it is, top right, along with the other nine that got the most likes.
Last year when I posted my top nine I asked whether it was the picture, the caption or both that made you click like. This year I think shows that my followers like just as much as pictures- here’s the lowdown- what’s your favourite? TOP L-R staring at second born only hours old, realising how perfect he was and how possible it is to love your second baby every bit as much as the first- Cathal’s delight at meeting his first baby cousin- our back to school photo confirming it’s bloody awful MIDDLE Ciaran on his communion day and a post where I almost burst with pride; one of my favourite photos of our wedding; reassuring Cathal about having a working mum and feeling all the guilt BOTTOM Trick photography in London- a lament at having to stay in L’s room until she nods off- an attempt at a meme. #topnine Think I’ll reshare some of my own favourites to make my own #topnine too #bumblesofchristmas #2017 #ipbig #irishbloggers
However, my own favourite photos are different. I love this one I took of Laoise and Ciarán walking on the beach
And this one of Ciarán in the distance hurling on Strandhill beach in Sligo with moody skies and Ben Bulben in the background.
And finally, this one of Cathal and Laoise playing on the beach in Strandhill that same day, I think it looks like a painting, in fact I’d love to get it painted.
4. Best adventure
Our family trip to London at Easter was definitely our best adventure, it worked out so well from beginning to end. Read all about it here.(There’s a big roundup post yet to come). We also really enjoyed our holidays in Cork and our weekend in Killarney and who could forget the fun that we had on the Alpaca farm.
5. Favourite recipe
The most used recipe in this house this year is definitely the penne all amatriciana that we eat at least twice a month, but the biggest hits of our cooking endeavours this year would be the ice-cream cake that I made for Ciarán’s communion in May at his request, or the birthday cakes ordered by the kids. ( I am way behind on blogging their birthday cakes, but one day I will catch up, all the recipes are sitting there in my drafts folder just waiting).
6. Most common theme
I’ve really upped the amount of travel content on the blog this year so it’s seen a lot more travel posts than previously. I’ve even set up a Facebook Group to support people with travel questions. Join here,
Looking at my photos there’s definitely a strong theme of the sea and the seaside, wherever I go I love to be by the sea- when I share them on instagram I always use the hashtag #bumblesbythesea so check that out.
7. Favourite comment
Just before the year ended my godfather left the most lovely comment on my blog facebook page- you can see it here
8. Favourite celebration
Ciarán’s communion in May was the celebration highlight of the year and such a focus for us. I was taken by surprise at how lovely the whole event was for us- read about that here.
9. My Best move
Getting my blog graphics updated breathed new life into my blog, I love the new graphic and what it represents.
10. Favourite freebie
The weekend we spent in Hotel Killarney definitely tops the list here. It was badly needed family time that we all really enjoyed.
11. Best blog moment
Getting through to the finals of the Blog Awards Ireland and the Boots Maternity & Infant Blog Awards. I didn’t win either but it was great to get through to the finals and to see that someone somewhere is enjoying what I write.
12. Worst blog moment
Thinking that I had lost all my blog content over and over again as I did some technical changes and moved over to self-hosting. I had my poor friend Laura (of Laura Kenny Digital) driven demented with all my panicked messages but she was so patient with me and got me over the line.
13. Favourite day trip
This is a draw between the day we went to the Reptile Zoo in Gowran (followed by the Durrow Scarecrow Festival) and the day we went to Lough Key Adventure Park in Roscommon (again, yet to be blogged) and hired bikes. We’re already planning day trips for next summer, and have so many from last summer to share.
14. Favourite comment
My godfather left me the loveliest comment on New Year’s Eve that wins this competition hands down. It made me well up, and it wasn’t just the prosecco. Read it here.
15. What I learned in 2017
Titles matter, especially when it comes to being found by search engines.
I also learned to remember my place in the blogging world. Not everyone will get the book deals or wants them, not everyone will get the big brand promotions, nor wants them. To have your blog work for you you need to decide what you want from it, be it money, free gifts, fame, paid writing assignments, free trips, or an outlet to write and focus on those goals and not be distracted by what others are doing or getting.
16. What my blog did for me in 2017
My blog kept me engaged with things I love. I changed my direction a bit, spending more time on travel posts and gave me lovely little surprises in the form of invitations in my inbox and press drops of things like orange juice and hair conditioner or chocolates, little surprises
17. The biggest surprise of 2017
Embracing Instagram stories and talking to a camera about my day. As one who never joined snapchat I really didn’t see myself enjoying stories as much as I do. Now I need to learn to enjoy them less!
Thanks everyone for reading in 2017, here’s hoping I find things to write about in 2018, Bumbles of Rice has almost been around for five-and-a-half years, I don’t think I’ve ever had a hobby for this long! If there’s anything you’d like to see on the blog let me know, I could resurrect Week in Dinners, or the Dinner Files series if there is any interest? I have a few posts planned, including the list of all the books that I read in 2017, if I can find the notes I made, lots and lots of daytrips, and one day my New York trip from 2016 might get published!
Thanks to you all!