Welcome to my Highs and Lows of 2017 tag for bloggers and anyone can use the questions as prompts for some thinking on the year 2017. It is good to look back and reflect on a whole year. It helps to put things in perspective. I will tag people to do a post using the same questions but anyone should feel free to join in so long as you link back to this post please. Just take the questions and answer them in a way that makes sense to you. Here is my 2017!

HIghs And Lows OF 2017

1. What was your happiest event?

Moving house to somewhere that suits us all so well. Finding a community that welcomes us with open arms.

2. What was the saddest thing to happen?

I lost my brother Michael in August. It seems so unfair that someone who was such a huge character and worked so hard all his life cannot enjoy a happy retirement.

3. What was the most unlikely thing to happen that actually went ahead and did?

Drunken and debauched night proving there is life in the old girl yet.

4. Who let you down?

I am learning in life that if people let you down you have the wrong people in your life or you are expecting more than they, for whatever reason, can give. As a result I will be making better choices in 2018.

5. Who supported you?

My husband and children.

My brothers. It is lovely that my last contact with Michael was a supportive email.

Online friends most of whom I wish I actually saw in real life at all or more often. Special women who when I hit rocky times are there until whatever hour in the morning to give me emotional back-up.

New friends and an amazing community that I am so lucky to live in.

College and school friends/

Home educators who keep me on track when I wobble about our choice to home educate my younger children.

6. Tell us what you learned

That I am braver than I think and can make a dream a reality.

That people like me and quite a lot actually – all I ever needed to do was to be myself. It just took me a while to work that out.

That real love never dies..

That I can be a huge success at work – again just a matter of self-belief.

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7. Tell us what made you laugh

Laughter is a huge part of our family dynamic. We do a lot of analyzing of current affairs and television shows complete with strong opinions, wit and voices.

We have had more laughter this year than in a long time.

8. Tell us the things that made you cry

Losing a college friend for a really stupid farcical reason based on nothing at all. Much missed R!

Grief for the loss of my brother.

9. Tell us three things your child or children did to make you feel proud.

My oldest son is easy to be proud of – handsome, intelligent, sensitive and caring. I am proud of his GCSE results gained in a year where he missed so much school due to ill health.

My daughter feeling more safe and experimenting with a little independence like walking away from us on her own and dealing with quite a challenging situation with aplomb. I love her focus, her creativity and her kick-ass attitude!

My youngest son takes everything in his stride. I admire his self-confidence, humour and passion for cookery. I also love that he has so much wisdom and makes people behave better including myself, my husband and his friends.

10. Tell us the things that made you proud of yourself.

Following up on a long-held dream and it working out well.

Having a higher bar in work situations.

Getting out and socializing more.

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11. Tell us the challenges you overcame

I think home education is always challenging but I feel we have got more structured with it now and that suits us better. Having said that the children still have lots of time to play and to pursue their own passions.

Marriage and parenting are challenging but I am still here.

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12. Tell us the things you would like to change about your life in 2018

To write fiction instead of just talking about it

To learn something new and perhaps do a course.

To continue and be even better at enjoying the present.

To continue to build on friendships old and new. To learn who is worth investing in and who is not.

To inject more fun into our home education efforts.

To remove one negative person and one negative organization from my life.

Over to you. Any blogger or reader can have a go at this one if they fancy reflecting back on the year. What were your highs and lows of 2017?

P.S. I have a little exciting announcement which has the potential to change your life for the better in 2018. Myself and the lovely Chloe from Indigo Wilderness are committed to positively improving our lives next year and encouraging other women to do the same. We are launching the Best Boot Forward campaign to help you take baby steps to what you want out of a brand New Year. That’s a little teaser – hoping you like the idea and all will be revealed about the details soon on our blogs.

How to take part in the tag and the rules.

Copy and paste the questions below and answer them on your blog linking back to this post please.

Rules

1 Thank the person who nominated you and link back to their blog and https://kateonthinice.com

2 Answer the questions

3 Tag to take part 5 or more bloggers asking them to take part and let them know on social media

4 Post the questions without your answers at the bottom of your post so that they are easy to copy and paste for the people you tag

1. What was your happiest event?
2. What was the saddest thing to happen?
3. What was the most unlikely thing to happen that actually went ahead and did?.
4. Who let you down?
5. Who supported you?
6. Tell us what you learned.
7. Tell us what made you laugh
8. Tell us the things that made you cry
9. Tell us three things your child or children did to make you feel proud. Please miss this question out if you are not a parent.
10. Tell us the things that made you proud of yourself.
11. Tell us the challenges you overcame
12. Tell us the things you would like to change about your life in 2018

Highs And Lows of 2017

To get this party started, I am tagging

http://www.missljbeauty.com/

http://www.stressedmum.co.uk/

http://indigowilderness.co.uk/

https://bucketsoftea.co.uk/

http://www.ojosworld.com/

https://inspirecreateeducate.co.uk/

https://jakijellz.com/

https://www.boorooandtiggertoo.com/

http://www.cocktailsinteacups.com/

http://www.adventuresofariotgrrrl.com/

http://theincidentalparent.com/

https://loualexa77.wordpress.com/

www.themammafairy.com

https://www.yeahlifestyle.com/

My Random Musings

Mummascribbles
3 Little Buttons

The benefits of blogging vary from blogger to blogger. Some travel, some make money and some write for therapy. I was delighted when Simone from Midlands Trade agreed to share her blogging journey with me.

Benefits Of Blogging

Why did you start to blog?

I started blogging a long time ago when I was finishing my journalism course and I became obsessed with the blogosphere. So, I ended up writing about pop culture until I decided to create Midlands Trade in 2014 and take it more seriously.

How did you feel when you started blogging?

I love writing. But I confess that I felt a bit lost at the beginning of my blogging days. There were so much to talk about but no social media to spread the word about it. So, it was like a personal diary, really.

How do you feel about blogging today?

I am still lost but now I know exactly what I want to talk about and I feel really relaxed when I sit down and start writing. It is more like a therapy than anything nowadays.

What is your proudest achievement related to blogging?

It is definitely the fact I can be in touch with people from all over the world. I have met so many interesting people through blogging. There is always something different to learn with all of them.

What is the most exciting event you have attended as a blogger?

It was definitely my press trip to Croatia in 2016. It was an unforgettable experience as a journalist and a traveller. It was great to spend days immersed in the country’s culture in the company of other great bloggers.

Do you monetize your blog and, if so, how?

Yes. I started it this year and I think it is a big challenge for me. I usually accept guest posts and links from people that have interesting content to share. My blog is about business and I want to show my audience only content that can be interesting to them. At the same time, I am still learning how to make it professionally.

What do you find most challenging about blogging?

In my case, it is writing and thinking in another language. As my first language is Portuguese, it is difficult sometimes to express myself naturally in English. So, I get stuck for days until finishing a post sometimes. It is annoying, I know. I am not very good at proofreading my writing to make things more complicated. But I am getting there!

What surprised you most about blogging?

How amazingly supportive the blogging community can be. It is so touching! I feel grateful to be involved in such a great project that you have started Kate. It is overwhelming!

How do you balance blogging and family life?

I don`t have kids, so it is not that difficult to find time for blogging. The fact I am working remotely now makes the things a bit easier sometimes. I just must find the balance between blogging, teaching and tidying up the house.

What would lead to you giving up blogging?

To be honest, I can’t really imagine myself out of the blogosphere.

What is your top tip for a new or inexperienced blogger?

Find what you are passionate about and don`t be afraid of expressing yourself about it. And of course, find amazing blogger communities online. You can`t even measure how much you will learn from them.

Is there anything else you would like to share?

I would like to say that blogging is a wonderful way of meeting interesting people. I have made great friends because of it. I also feel more confident professionally. So, if you have never blogged before, just do it. There will be always someone outside to read your words. Don`t be afraid.

I also would love to say thank you for giving me this opportunity of being involved in such a great blogging community. That is one of the highlights of my 2017, for sure! I am learning so much from this experience. Thanks!

Huge thanks to Simone for sharing what she gets out of blogging. What are the benefits of blogging for you? If you would like to share your story, please do get in touch.

The Pramshed

Ramos gin fizz cocktail

Serves one.

Gin Fizz Cocktail

Put 60ml gin, 15ml freshly squeezed lemon juice, 15ml freshly squeezed lime juice, 250ml sugar syrup, 3 drops of vanilla extract, 1 egg white and 25ml double cream in a cocktail shaker and shake hard. Add ice and shake again. Strain into a chilled glass and top with sparkling water. Garnish with a few cranberries, a sprig of rosemary and serve.

Gin Fizz Cocktail Recipe

Check out more festive drink recipes with the Waitrose Cellar.

 

Welcome to m birthday reasons to be cheerful. You find me sitting in front of the telly watching “This Morning” and snuggling up with the puppy. I have a cold so am sniffling too but I am cheerful.

 

Birthday

It was my birthday a couple of days ago and it was a really lovely day. It started with my 17 year old coming downstairs just after midnight to sing me “Happy Birthday”. You can’t really get better than that, can you? My daughter designed me a lovely card. I woke up in the morning and the first thing I saw was a bunch of beautiful pink roses from Himself. Gifts included warm slippers and the George Michael CD. We had a little trip out to buy cake of the chocolate variety. Rumours that it was a scrumptious Christmas log may be exaggerated or possibly not. My husband made me a lovely lamb dinner followed by a really special cheeseboard and a little wine. Perfect.

I had got myself all in a fret in the run up to the birthday as I often will around special dates. Huge thanks to some very special women who got me through this wobble. It is amazing how some people will be there for real and imaginary crisis.

I had a lunch at the weekend meeting new people despite my social anxiety. Again, my 17 year old was an amazing support. Two of the ladies have asked me to meet for coffee in the New Year so that is encouraging in terms of making some new friends.

This week I told 3 people that I have suffered depression and all of them had either suffered themselves or knew someone close who does. I felt so good for being honest because it enabled them to share their stories too.

Work opportunities are coming for the New Year one of which slipped into my spam folder again leading me to think there was a crisis where there was not one at al.

I have won a couple of competitions so that’s a bit of fun. I have also received a really interesting book through the post about self-development.

I have a new admin to help out with Bloggers on Thin Ice.

I am also bringing back a new and improved Groovy Mums with  the amazing Chloe and we have such exciting plans to help women move forward positively in 2018.

I am not stressing Christmas at all. I plan to honour our Michael and have put his pictures in plain sight this week in the lounge. It was too painful to do that before but grief takes its own path. I have decided we will play the music Michael had at his Humanist ceremony on Christmas Day. It will be wonderful to have him home for Christmas.

There will be other things I have forgotten because it really has been a positive week so I went wild and included that pic of me in my birthday suit!

I love to find out about individual lifestyle blogger journeys. In this blogger interview, I meet Eva from the Captain Bobcat blog.

Why did you start to blog?

I worked all my life and finding myself as a SAHM at the age of 37 scared me. I am really a person who’s probably not perfectly cut out for that. I started the blog to keep my brain active between preparing meals and soft play visits. I wanted a creative outlet, something new and challenging to learn. I also hoped to inspire others.hopefully inspire others. So a little over two years ago I started my blog.

How did you feel when you started blogging?

I just set up a site and started to blog about our travels as a little family and posted some vegetarian recipes initially. I didn’t even think about what direction it was going to take or setting goals or checking the number of likes or anything like that. I just enjoyed sharing things. I was also thinking if I can learn more about blogging, I might be able to find a related job later when returning to the professional world.

How do you feel about blogging today?

My blog over the last 6 months has become my job. As well as being my hobby,  it has become a part time job. It’s a well paid, flexible job I really like. When I started to blog, never in my wildest dreams had I thought that one day I would be able to generate income with my blog. Apart from that I found my own voice and niche. I am really passionate about: green and ethical lifestyle for our family.

What is your proudest achievement related to blogging?

I recently ran a Christmas giveaway series and I pitched some eco friendly, ethical small shops and independent businesses to offer a prize. So many of them believed in my idea, that I had to run 5 separate giveaway bundles with all the fabulous prizes. I’ve had so many lovely comments, emails, and compliments that I was totally (I still am!) overwhelmed with all the love and help I was offered and received.

 

Do you monetize your blog and, if so, how?

I do in a few different ways such assponsored articles, reviewing products or services and selling advertising space.

What do you find most challenging about blogging?

That it’s a 24/7 job. Since I already have one being a SAHM parent of two children it’s very hard to find the space and time for everything . Another aspect of this is that you start to look at everything and everyone with the eye of the blogger. Constantly snapping photos (camera eye syndrome), thinking about new ideas and posts, all the social media and trying to solve technical stuff.

What surprised you most about blogging?

How it really shapes modern advertising and marketing. I used to read a few blogs before starting mine and now I read hundreds. I had no idea how powerful micro influencing has became. The other (completely different) surprise is I realised that I can never actually run out of ideas! My worry when I started my blog was about not having enough ideas but my ideas just keep coming and coming and I’m having a hard time to keep up with them.

How do you balance blogging and family life?

Tough one. I have at least one of my children with me all the time so I can’t really dedicate time for writing and composing posts during the day. I normally try to do that after they’ve gone to bed, but recently my husband started to complain about that. From the new year I will try to arrange some childcare out so I can have some more time to work.

What would lead to you giving up blogging?

I might take a break, but would probably return to blogging anyway.

What is your top tip for a new or inexperienced blogger?

Find your passion and write about it.

Is there anything else you would like to share?

Please stop buying plastic bottled drinks!

I would like to thank Eva for sharing her experiences and I am sure other bloggers can learn from her. If you are a lifestyle blogger and would like to share you story, please do get in touch.

The Pramshed
JakiJellz