I am a firm believer that Christmas isn’t over until January 6th (and not just because it’s my birthday!), so I’m still over here munching on the good Christmas biscuits and reminiscing about the past year. 2017 was a milestone year for me and for my family. We welcomed our little boy, upped sticks and moved home to Ireland to live in the sticks, and I started my blog. I recapped the year that was here, and today I’m taking a trip down my blog memory lane for 2017 as part of Sadhbh from Where Wishes Come From’s “17 from ’17” linky. (Sadhbh is a crafty wonder-mammy who published her first children’s book as-gaeilge this year – see it here. It’s a hit in our house!)
The Tully Tales isn’t a year old until May, but it’s been my second baby of 2017. What started as a way to keep a record of our parenting journey, our move home, and our travels, has evolved into a hobby that I really love. I’ve had the best time meeting new people through my blog, sharing stories and tips with other parents, and nurturing my passion for writing. I am blown away by the support I’ve received, and so grateful to everyone who has taken the time to read, share and comment on my blog. Here are my 17 from ’17;
1. Most Popular Blog Post
My most popular post, by a long shot, is my post on How to Make the Most of your Maternity Leave. I wrote it as I was getting ready to go back to work after 5 months on maternity leave. It was an emotional one for me, and as regular readers will know, I ultimately decided to stay at home with Jack 3 months after going back to work. Many of the tips in the post still resonate with me now that I’m at home with him all day – we have our little routine, and make sure to get out and about every day.
2. Favourite Post
My favourite post is a very personal one, The Story of Jack. The day our little man arrived was the end of a long journey for Colm and I, and the start of our greatest adventure. It makes me tear up every time I read it, and I love that I got to document the day he was born. I also love the blurry, emotional photos we took right after he was born – they’re perfectly imperfect and show all the pure joy we were feeling that day.
3. Favourite Photo
My favourite photo of 2017 is my favourite photo of all-time. Colm captured the moment Jack and I met – the moment I met the love of my life.
4. Best Adventure
We’ve been on a few trips this year, and I’ve posted about most of them on the blog. We took a fabulous trip to Dingle in November that I still haven’t posted about, so I’ll choose something I have written about. We spent a weekend on Inis Mor in June, celebrating the wedding of some lovely friends. My parents came with us, as did Jack, and we rented a holiday home. The Aran Islands are stunning, and we had a lovely time with family, friends and the locals. Read all about it here.
5. Favourite Non-Blog Article
I’ve written quite a few articles for Mummypages this year, and had an article published on MumsOnline in December. I love writing for my blog, but I also really enjoy writing for a wider audience, and gaining some experience with a more professional platform. This article on my experience with breastfeeding was a personal one, and felt cathartic to write. It also resonated with a lot of other mums, so it’s my favourite non-blog article of 2017.
6. Most Common Theme
I don’t consciously create a theme for my blog, I typically just write about whatever takes my fancy. Sometimes it’s mammy ranting, sometimes it’s tips or advice on what’s worked for me, or recapping a trip we took. I suppose the only real “theme” on my blog is Jack. Photos of my wee man are scattered throughout my posts, and he has his own section of the menu.
7. Favourite Comment
I’ll preface this by saying that I appreciate each and every comment that I receive on my blog, or over on my Facebook page. I LOVE interacting with readers, and am truly thankful for anyone who takes the time to comment/share/like a post. However, my dad is the most adorable person in the whole world, and loves to comment on my blog. The comment below cracks me up, and made my day when he posted it on my “Baby’s First Christmas” post.
8. Favourite Celebration
We have had so much to celebrate this year. Jack was born, we welcomed the most gorgeous new nephew, and had an engagement in the family. We’ve had weddings, friends having babies and we bought a house. It’s hard to choose just one celebration, but I’ll go with Jack’s christening. It was a lovely day surrounded by family and friends, with my in-laws even traveling from California for the occasion.
9. My Best Move
I could choose moving home, or deciding to stay-at-home with Jack, but in relation to my blog, I’d say the best move I made this year was actually starting my blog. It’s been a learning curve. I started out posting three times a week, which burned me out pretty quickly. I posted regularly about fashion and beauty alongside parenting, which are definitely interests of mine, but in a world of Pippa’s, I’ve decided to stick to what I know best. What I know best is that I’m figuring out this parenting thing, and loving documenting the journey. I’ve self-taught myself how to start a blog, website admin, what plugins to use and why. I’ve had lots of support from fellow bloggers, who are always at hand to help with a blogging question or technical issue.
10. Favorite “Freebie”
I’m a minnow in the world of blogging, so this was easy to choose from seeing as I’ve gotten very few freebies. I don’t blog for freebies, and any that I have received are actually a TON of work (blog posts, photo editing, promotion on social media), but I am grateful for any goodies that come my way. Causey Farm gave us free passes to their opening day this Christmas, which was amazing. I posted about it here – it was the most magical, Christmas-sy experience and I can’t wait to bring Jack back next year.
11. Best Blog Moment
Honestly, my best blog moments are anytime a blog post resonates with readers. I can’t pick one moment really, so I’ll choose something that was an exciting blog moment for me in 2017. I had Emma at Daydreams and Icecreams create a blog logo and header for me back in November. I just LOVE it – it encompasses Jack, Scout and Atticus perfectly and ties in our love of travel, and our journey from the US to Ireland. Re-branding my site and incorporating the logo made me feel like a proper “blogger” and I think it makes the blog look so professional.
12. Worst Blog Moment
I’m hoping that nobody even noticed my worst blog moment. During the summer, I had notions of re-designing my site and purchased a theme on Etsy. It was lovely, but not compatible with my site. I installed it and for several days the menu wasn’t working, and the blog was a bit clunky to navigate. After wrecking my head for days trying to fix it, I gave up and reverted back to my old format. There was a tiny bit of fear that I had wrecked the blog, but it went back to normal thankfully.
13. Favourite Title
“What I’ve Missed About Ireland! Food, Christmas & the Craic” is my favourite title of 2017. I originally wrote this post for Mummypages, and it was a lighter, more fun piece than what I normally write. It’s all true though and I’m delighted to be back on the land of chicken fillet rolls and Penneys!
14. Favourite Blog Series
My “Exploring Meath” series is my favourite series of the year because it has been so lovely to get out and about locally. We were away for so long, and when we last lived in Meath our weekends were spent in the Palace. I’ve been loving exploring local parks and walks with the boys, and seeing how truly gorgeous Meath is. In 2018, I plan to expand the series into attractions and things to do in Meath, like Slane Castle and so on. For “Exploring Meath” posts, see here and here.
15. What I Learned in 2017
I learned so much about myself in 2017. Becoming a mum is the biggest learning curve ever, and I’ve also learned to be more patient, and what really matters in life. I’ve learned that moving continents with an infant is a bananas idea, and that there is no place like home. I’ve also learned that it’s important to take time for yourself, and that I can do anything I put my mind to. Skills-wise, I learned how to do pretty much anything with one hand and a baby in the other, how to set up a website and maintain it, and how to survive on the bare minimum of sleep.
16. What My Blog Did for Me in 2017
My blog gave me confidence in 2017. It gave me an outlet for creativity, and a platform to indulge my fondness for writing. It introduced me to a new world, and to new friends around the world. It gave me a community in the fabulous Irish Parenting Bloggers network. It’s been my journal, my hobby and my biggest project. I’ve loved every minute of it.
17. The biggest surprise of 2017
The biggest surprise of 2017 is how much becoming a mammy has changed my life. “Before Jack” is a distant memory, although I know I slept more. “After Jack” is the new normal and I’m surprised by how different I am as a person. I’m both more patient (with Jack) and less patient (with nonsense). I choose how I spend my time carefully. Everything I do is with consideration for another person. My priorities have shifted and it’s night’s in with my boys versus night’s out on the tiles (99% of the time). I happily packed in my job, which was all consuming before Jack arrived, to stay at home with my little best buddy all day. I care less about other people’s opinions of me, and took a leap of faith by starting a blog and putting my work out there for criticism.
If 2018 is a patch on 2017, I will consider myself very lucky! I can’t wait to see where my blog takes me this year, and how it will grow. I am so thankful for all the support I’ve received from my readers, social media followers, fellow bloggers and my gorgeous family. Onwards and upwards in 2018!
Lots of love,