A Year in Blogging…

 

Picnik collage
I love blogging.

Actually, I’m always telling people they should blog. My ex-husband, my hairdresser, my lawyer – I even had an in-depth conversation about blogging with the woman at Caffe Nero last week about how she should write a blog because she makes the best coffee, and never scorches it, like they do at Starbucks. I think everyone should blog. Providing none of you nick my readers, of course.

Anyway, 2011 has been a fab year for me in lots of ways, and blogging has brought so many new experiences and opportunities that it’s pretty mind-blowing. Honestly, next time one of my  friends asks me what’s the point of blogging, I’m just going to show them this post.

My year kicked off in January 2011 with a new business venture, the Tots100 website, which connects blogs and brands. We’ve grown from around 700 blogs a year ago to now listing more than 2,500 active blogs and working with more than 200 brands and PR agencies.

In February, we headed down to London to take cooking lessons with Dairylea, and launched the Tots100 Parent Blogger Benchmark Study – the first survey to share what bloggers thought about working with brands.

Dairylea 055
March saw us heading out to Stockley Park to meet with bloggers and Nutella, picking up some more cooking tips.

In April we took our first trip of the year, to the Isle of Wight, where we stayed in a yurt set in a beautiful apple orchard.  When we came home, we were invited to help test a new rollercoaster at Drayton Manor, which I know was a highlight of Flea’s year!

Nutella 136
In May, we took a week’s holiday to Italy with Thomson Alfresco, staying on Lake Garda, and spending a fab day visiting Venice. When we came home, we had our first ever BlogCamp event in London, thanks to some fab support from our friends at TalkTalk. This was the first free event of its kind for bloggers, and was a huge success.

June saw our second BlogCamp in Manchester – our first event outside London. We then headed down to London for a night out at Glee Live, then a weekend reviewing a hotel in Cornwall. At the end of the month, I was lucky to be invited on a trip of a lifetime to Israel, to see the innovation taking place in that country.

Israel Saturday 040
Travelling to Israel with Rosie and Jane was a real life-changing trip for me. I loved meeting so many inspiring women, and I’ll never forget the sights of the Dead Sea, Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and the Israeli deserts. Also – true story – I got recognised at Jesus’ grave. I’ll give you a moment to let that sink in, shall I?

July was a month of relaxation and not very much work, and we took off for our summer hols in Devon – long days on the beach and evenings grilling dinner in the garden. Just bliss.

Devon 096
In August, we were invited to take cooking classes at the Royal Garden Hotel in London, before heading off to Heathrow Airport for a look at how the airport works behind the scenes. Flea got to sit at the controls of the world’s biggest commercial airline – seriously, how cool is THAT?

We rounded off our summer with a trip to France for a sunny beach holiday with Keycamp,  where Flea finally learned to swim!

In September I headed down to London to hear about the work being done by Save the Children at their blogging conference, then got busy organising the second annual MAD Blog Awards, which were even bigger and more brilliant than our 2010 awards, thanks to our fab sponsors at Parentdish.co.uk and some truly fantastic, inspiring and brilliant bloggers.

Mads
In October, the Tots100 organised a Bloggers’ Forum about meningitis in Birmingham, and I was really proud to be part of an event that reached more than 50,000 people with important, potentially life-saving messages about meningitis in children.

November saw us heading off to Maths Camp – actually a cunning code-name for Disneyland Paris, where Flea and I tested out the magical Christmas experience at Disney, including rollercoaster rides, parades, fireworks and a visit with the man in red himself.

Disney 191
December saw the launch of a second blogging index, the Foodies100. In less than two weeks, we’ve listed more than 700 UK food and drink blogs, and we’ll be publishing our first charts in the New Year. Next week, we’ll be heading off to Germany to visit the Christmas markets, then heading home for a family Christmas, and a few (hundred) mince pies.

It’s been a brilliant year, and I feel blessed in more ways than I can count. But it’s been hectic, and hard work, too. So, I’ll be popping in from time to time, but mostly I’ll be dedicating myself to the festive season, and spending time with family and friends in the next week or two. Hope you’re all doing the same!

Merry Christmas!

About 

Sally is a full-time blogger and founder of the Tots100, Trips100, Foodies100 and HIBS100 communities, along with the MAD Blog Awards. She spends a bit too much time on the Internet. She’s also a very happy Mum to Flea, the world’s coolest ten year old.

29 Comments

  1. 17th December 2011 / 10:06 pm

    Wonderful year indeed 🙂
    Happy Christmas!!

  2. Liz Weston aka @TheLizWeston
    17th December 2011 / 10:07 pm

    What a brilliant year – so much success and so many highlights. And all so deserved. We love working with you and benefitting from the Tots100 listing. Your insight, knowledge and having the inside track is priceless and we look forward to all sorts of great stuff from you in 2012. Enjoy the next couple of weeks before 2012 kicks off! Liz W aka @TheLizWeston

  3. 17th December 2011 / 10:20 pm

    Wishing you another wonderful year next year, if last year can possibly be topped. By the way – when will the Educators100 be launched as my once a week attempt for Recipeshed doesn’t really qualify me as a foodiewriter. I do eat a lot though if that counts.

  4. 17th December 2011 / 10:27 pm

    Phew! What a tiring read. Mind you, it’s late both at night and in the year. Here’s to an equally enthralling 2012 and thanks, Sally, for all you’ve done and continue to do.

  5. 17th December 2011 / 10:39 pm

    Wow what an amazing yer. Has tots 100 only been going for a year? I didn’t realise.

  6. 17th December 2011 / 11:40 pm

    Thanks Monica – I’m so pleased we shared such a fab experience this summer – much love, and I hope you have a wonderful Christmas with your family x

  7. 17th December 2011 / 11:40 pm

    Aw, thanks Liz – it’s been a pleasure, hope we get to work together in ’12!

  8. 17th December 2011 / 11:40 pm

    I hope next year tops this year!
    Educators100? Oooh…

  9. 17th December 2011 / 11:41 pm

    Well, one likes to be humble, but… *snigger*
    It’s been an interesting year, and I’m just really excited sometimes to see how you can make a whole new career in blogging, and I love working in something I find so interesting.

  10. 17th December 2011 / 11:42 pm

    It is late! I don’t know about you, but I’m all about the napping, at the moment.
    It’s been a real pleasure to have you involved in some of our projects this year Tim, and hope our paths will cross again next year. Merry Christmas!

  11. 17th December 2011 / 11:43 pm

    Thanks – the Tots100 launched in 2009, but only moved to its own, dedicated site in January 2011.

  12. 18th December 2011 / 11:21 am

    what an amazing year! Merry Christmas and heres to 2012 being just a amazing for you 🙂 x

  13. 18th December 2011 / 6:44 pm

    Merry Christmas st, sending hugs x

  14. 18th December 2011 / 8:16 pm

    Woah now that’s one busy action packed pretty darn amazing year! BlogCamp was such a benefit to so many bloggers this year, I heard nothing but great things from other people about it as well as experiencing it (and loving it) first hand.
    Hands up I’ll admit I didn’t really understand the whole Tots100 thing at first and have moaned about my score many a time but having met you and spoken to you I totally ‘get’ it now and see how much time and effort you plough into making sure that bloggers benefit from the Tots100 through all the many events you run.
    I’m not be a complete creep – I just find you a total inspiration!
    All the best for a great 2011 – onwards and upwards and I’m sure the Foodie100 will be a huge success… Crafty100 next maybe ? 😉
    Merry Christmas! x

  15. cherished by me
    18th December 2011 / 9:09 pm

    Wow, what a year. Thanks for all your support throughout the year…I still don’t know where you find the time to do it all.
    Have a fab Christmas x

  16. 18th December 2011 / 9:27 pm

    Thanks Sarah, hope 2012 is great for you, too!

  17. 18th December 2011 / 9:28 pm

    Thanks Emily, I know 2011 has been a pretty exciting year for you too – have a fab Christmas with your family.

  18. 18th December 2011 / 9:28 pm

    Thanks, tt, hope you and yours have a fab break, too x

  19. 18th December 2011 / 9:29 pm

    Creeping is hugely encouraged round these parts, really, you needn’t hide it…
    Just kidding – I have a lot of support and a lot of help in doing what I do and I couldn’t do any of it without ace bloggers who take part in these things, so thanks to you for coming to BlogCamp and the Tots100 party!
    Good luck with your own taking over the world activities, I think 2012 could be a great year for you!
    s

  20. 18th December 2011 / 9:30 pm

    Thanks Nova, hope 2012 is an easier year for you, with all the success you deserve.
    S

  21. 18th December 2011 / 9:33 pm

    So pleased to have met you and shared one or two ‘moments’. Have a wonderful Christmas and hope to see you again soon. xxx

  22. 18th December 2011 / 9:44 pm

    For anyone reading, those moments weren’t saucy, or anything.
    Hope you have a fab break, Chris, feel free to come up to my place to do baking, if you get bored…

  23. TheBoyandMe
    18th December 2011 / 10:52 pm

    Well done Sally, looks like a fantastic year and one that is so well deserved for someone who works as hard as you do.

  24. Abigayle Soderstrom
    19th December 2011 / 1:07 pm

    Not many people are aware that they can use their personal blogs for profit, which is one of the many perks of blogging. Of course, you should always blog for fun. But the reason why not a lot of people blog is because they aren’t too confident with their writing skills.

  25. 19th December 2011 / 1:15 pm

    That’s quite a year. Being recognised at Jesus’ grave has to be the highlight surely?! Well done on all your success but something tells me that 2012 will be even bigger and better. Have a good one.

  26. 19th December 2011 / 10:03 pm

    What a spectacularly wonderful year. Well done. Here’s to many more!

  27. 20th December 2011 / 12:00 am

    I am tired out just reading that lot! Was fab to be at some of those events and you certainly know how to organise a good one!
    Have a wonderful Christmas Sally & Flea.
    Mich x

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