Monday 12 December 2011

The Year that Was at Not Even A Bag of Sugar

It seems odd to be doing a round up now, as the end of the year seems miles away to me! However, it isn't, and with our trip to Germany looming, I am bound to be busy.

In January I signed up with Bloggymoms Blog Dare and blogged every day in January. I noticed my readership increased and it helped me find my voice, somewhat, as a blogger. I found that I got more comments and readers when I blogged about controversial topics, and found that people were really interested in some of the nitty gritty issues around premature birth and pregnancy complications, which surprised me somewhat.

I then neglected my blog for a couple of months to travel to Australia to see my parents. I decided that it was ridiculous stressing myself out, and things quickly returned to normal once I got home.

The amazing thing that happened in June was attending Cybermummy. I felt like a little sponge sitting and soaking up information, tips and making contacts. My favourite moment was asking at the "blogger activism" workshop "how would I go about blogging for say Tommy's" and a voice saying "they're over here!" I've enjoyed working for Tommy's on a few things this year, their pregnancy plan for a happy and healthy pregnancy and the premature baby guide, and look forward to deepening my association in 2012, and raising £1000 for their important work by running 10k in London in May.

My first notable mention in the press came following Cybermummy, in the Guardian no less. It was a quote from a blog post

"I didn't identify as a mummy blogger initially. I thought a mummy blogger blogged about the school run, or about long lunches with their mummy friends, or activities they do with their children." In fact, she writes: "I was struck by how many mummy bloggers have a similar background to me, mummies with kids with autism, with verbal dyspraxia, other mums with premature babies. Blogging seems to be a legitimate way of dealing with social isolation, with dealing with difference. We are the modern-day storytellers, and blogs tell our stories."

I felt really proud when I saw that had been included, and it made me realise that you just never know who is reading your blog. I always thought it was my sister who was the writer, and it made me feel that my writing deserves an audience too.

In August I was asked to do a guest post from the amazing e-zine A String of Pearls.  I wrote a topical piece based on the riots in England, that shocked us all. I was amazed by the response my piece, The England They Don't Want You to See attracted. I have also written a post on my work for Bliss, and look forward to deepening my association with A String of Pearls next year.

September was one of the highlights of my year, I was asked to be involved in the media launch of Tommy's 5 point pregnancy plan, which was just amazing. I found it such an eye opener. I appeared on ITV's Daybreak. I was somewhat disappointed that I wasn't interviewed longer, and think it's a direct result of my mishandling that Christine and Adrian find themselves removed from this gig! (no not really)

I then took part in radio interviews for the BBC, the best being on the health panel on Radio 5 live with Sheelagh Fogarty. It was just amazing to be in the studio around a desk with well known people, and I felt really pleased with the performance.

The end of September saw the MAD blog awards. Not Even A Bag of Sugar had been nominated, and much to my surprise, was successful in being a finalist. I didn't win, that honour went to Clare from A Boy With Aspergers.  Claire is an amazing blogger, and mum, and if you are going to lose to someone, it may as well be someone fabulous! And I have won two prizes on her blog this year! So thanks Clare!

I've been featured in the Bury Times this year, and also on the Daily Mail website. I rounded off the year talking on BBC Radio Manchester for Bliss about the cuts to neonatal services. Now more than ever I am passionate about this, my best mummy friend recently had to go to Liverpool to have her premature twins delivered as there was no room at the inn at our local hospital. Once it shuts, with the other closures, I think this will become all too common.

The ultimate highlight was our trip to Parliament in November. Never in my life did I think I would enter Westminster, that iconic building, with my little boy in his buggy! A low light was him drawing on an expensive looking green leather chair, however a quickly produced baby wipe removed all evidence.

It's been an amazing year for my blog and I look forward to a bright year ahead, which I will blog about tomorrow.

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