Happy New Year 2017!
I shared a similar image to the one below on my social media to celebrate the beginning of the new year 2017. The message was simple;
“A brand new year with so many possibilities! … But sure you know that your new year can start any day. Those resolutions don’t have to start today, you can begin any day, at any time … With each new day comes a new dawn.”
The next sentence read “My resolution is to become an even better version of me.” I later added a wink and smiley face emoji, because on rereading it I realised that it could read way too feckin confident to those who disagree with the notion that I might have an idea of ‘who I am’ and have a little bit of confidence in myself (every now and then). For those of you who read The Life of Stuff on a regular basis, I know you know what I mean, because you’re a sound bunch and not begrudging of a woman with a few words to say and a medium to say it through. By the way, I mean to improve on the good things about myself and be a better person all round.
2016 for many was a pretty rough year. I don’t need to list examples why because if it was for you then you know why. What I can do is wish you all the best wishes and positive thoughts I have, and hope that 2017 is better.
2016 for me personally and The Life of Stuff wasn’t bad at all. It had its challenges and many wonderfully memorable experiences.
Let’s get Personal – My Challenges and Highlights of 2016
Challenges in 2016 for me included the time I resigned from my career job at the beginning of the year. This decision wasn’t made lightly however it offered me the opportunity to continue with the best role I’ve ever had, the position of full-time ‘Mammy’. Associated with this was the challenge of not having the bank balance I have been so used to since I started work when I left college those many moons ago (minus a couple of ‘in between jobs’ occasions). The challenge of not driving has peeped its head over the hedge at me many times – I never needed to know how to drive when I lived in Dublin or travelled. I could certainly do with knowing now that I’m living in Athy. Perhaps that challenge will be put to rest in 2017. Finally, and I’m sure there are many more but this is what stands out for me as I write this, is the challenge of living where I live and becoming part of a community. Getting re-acquainted with Athy and all it has to offer was a big thing for me and my family in 2016. For me knowing where you live and really living where you live is so important. What’s the point travelling the world when you don’t know your own hometown! Becoming part of the community, or a community is high on the agenda for 2017. Maybe I’ll find my tribe?
2016 was also filled with many memorable experiences that I hope to recall on when I’m old and wish to return to a happy place. Smith, our now 21 month old, has been the sunshine in my day, day after day. He’s funny and smart, energetic and loving. He’s beautiful, and there wasn’t a day in 2016 that I didn’t look at him in admiration and feel so proud and so lucky. And on that note, Patrick and I were three years married in July. Being married to your best friend and the love of your life is a feeling I know many only dream for. The news of baby number two in August, the following month was beyond doubt a brilliant highlight. The thought that Patrick and I would be parents to not just one little person, but two was and is so exciting (I’m sure it’ll bring its challenges in 2017). In November we found out our little baby will be a boy! and so in April 2017, all going well, Smith will have a little brother to play with, and adore too. Highlights also included a gorgeous and well deserved family holiday to Berlin and weekend breaks in Ireland and Northern Ireland.
Let’s get blogging – The Life of Stuff Challenges and Highlights in 2016
Challenges for The Life of Stuff are really swept away by the highlights, I have to admit. Yes it was a challenge to find the time, sometimes the motivation (ideas and thoughts are never a problem) and the energy to blog my little heart out each week especially with being pregnant and running around after an energetic toddler all day. Yes I did take time out and blogged a little less often, but I’m glad I did and have no reservations to do so again in 2017 as I’d rather do that and offer you posts and articles that are worth your time, than force myself to write and publish shite just for the sake of publishing (so eloquently put, don’t you agree). Press events were also a challenge in 2016. I’ve always been quite picky when it comes to attending events, however now that I’m a mother to a toddler who doesn’t drive (that’s me, not the toddler) nor live in Dublin (see personal challenges above) I became even more picky, then when the clear blue read ‘2-3 weeks’ in August, I was practically out of the picture – you’d be amazed how many events are drink based (and yes I know you don’t have to drink alcohol but many events are all about it). It’s also amazing with how quickly your name moves down the invite ladder when you don’t attend events. C’est la vie … make room for the next ‘influencer’ … wink wink.
Highlights for The Life of Stuff came in the shape of interviews I did and connections I made through my Q&A Series with Irish and Irish Based Artists and Designers. It came in the shape of the guest bloggers who featured on the blog and the Irish businesses and International companies who sent samples for me to try or experiences for me and my family to enjoy. It came in the shape of winning an award at the Blog Awards. It came in the shape of the hundreds and hundreds of euro’s worth of prizes that were sponsored for The Life of Stuff’s Fourth Birthday Giveaways. It came in the shape of the amazing press trips to Cantabria and Madrid in Spain and Northern Paris in France. Finally it came in the shape of the support I received through read posts, social media follows, comments and messages – all from The Life of Stuff readers. I’m very thankful.
Here’s some other stuff you might find interesting:
According to my analytics The Life of Stuff was up on last years page views and visitors which means that it has been steadily growing year on year since its birth in 2012! Here’s what else you might like to know …
- The Life of Stuff had 108,000+ page views in 2016, 81,000 visits and 71,000 unique visitors.
- Ireland accounted for 52% of these visits, the UK 12% and the United States 10%.
- 73% of visitors were female, meaning 27% were male.
- 34% of visitors were aged between 24-35 years old, 24% were 35-44 years old and 14% were 18-24 years old.
- 48% of visitors read The Life of Stuff on their mobile! 41% via their desktop and the rest used their tablet.
Here’s something else … did you know that just one The Life of Stuff blog post, along with one Facebook, one Twitter share and one Instagram share, has the potential of reaching over 42,000 people! Crazy!
… but facts, figures and rants aside, I have lots of ideas for The Life of Stuff for 2017. From posts on my family holiday in Berlin in October to my Madrid trip taken in November, from tips on taking a ‘ Round the World Trip’, to posts on local tours (The Life of Stuff Instagram is the one to watch for lots of real time and throw back photo’s). From food and drink reviews to recipes and growing your own. From interviews with Artists and Designers to reawakening my support for local musical talents. As a ‘Mammy’ I’ll be adding to my parenting category too – I’ve an idea for a series that has been on my mind since Smith was born. It’s all there, in my head so here’s to the new year 2017, and me getting it all onto your screen!
May the road rise to meet you, and from me, Edwina to you, dear reader …