We're still on Christmas and New Year break, until after Sophia's birthday on the 4th January, but here are my pre-scheduled thoughts on the year just passed. To be honest, I'm still reflecting on the past year in personal terms, but in the sphere of blogging I have some conclusions already. In 2015, Attachment Mummy went from strength to strength and we were lucky to have many, many new readers. Investing more money into promotion and development, and lots more time into writing and admin, saw my hard work pay off many times over.
In 2015, we became the most influential parenting and lifestyle blog in the UK according to various measures and algorithms, and were honoured to be asked to contribute to a number of high profile campaigns, work with some brilliant clients, speak at BritMums Live!, and be quoted many times in the national press. Let's hope 2016 continues that upward trajectory. After this welcome break, I will be back to put in all the effort and hours, certainly. I hope you'll be sticking with us as the new year unfolds.
So, what did you read in 2015? Of course, you loved the gift guides for occasions throughout the year, all the Christmas features and how tos, and the amazing competitions and giveaways we brought you throughout the year. But, beyond the commercial stuff, we brought you a fair bit of family life, views and ideas, and some often controversial opinions. The support on all fronts has been phenomenal and I send a truly heartfelt thank you for all the supportive tweets, DMs, Facebook comments, private messages, e-mails, and comments we have received this year. It has been a real pleasure seeing this little AM community grow throughout the year and, whether we agree politically or on parenting matters or not, your interest and support never fails to amaze me. Thank you for being part of our year.
We talked on and off about Lara's SPD, and tried vainly to describe and explain it. We told you how we were coping and I shared my own feelings about it in an emotional poem which was well received, being quoted and referenced all over the place, as well as being included in the keynote ending to BritMums Live. We even got to the point where Lara was OK enough for me to go out on my own a few times, although things have gone downhill again since then so I'm back at home full time again.
Everyone wanted to know how they could start making money whilst also being exactly where their young children needed them to be, so our post on how to make money as a stay at home parent was hugely popular. If you are a blogger, be sure to bookmark our guide to Christmas in July for next year, and I will also hopefully find the time to write the guides to blogging that have sat in my drafts folder for months now.
Apparently, holding strong opinions is not compatible with writing a family or lifestyle blog, at least that's what some would have us believe. So when I strongly threw my voice behind the Labour party's election campaign, I was shot down in flames, repeatedly. The same happened when I commentated on the refugee crisis, its history, build up, and the varied reactions to it, including a certain ill-conceived social media campaign. I see no reason why political opinion and activism cannot co-exist with being a parent, perhaps more specifically a mother, and why my thoughts on age spacing and the 'right' number of children to have, breastfeeding, infant sleep and politics cannot sit side by side. They sit side by side in my mind after all!
On a lighter note, you were amazed at just how much could be produced and grown on a 4 metre by 1 metre balcony, so our balcony gardening posts were hugely popular. Look out for more of those next year as the year turns and we start the whole process al over again. The weather has been so mild that the spring bulbs are already doing well, and we even have some early daffodils heading towards flowering! You also loved seeing the gardens and stalls at the stunning Hampton Court Flower Show, and I'm keeping my fingers well and truly crossed for an invite to the press preview next year too. If you are London-bound, our highly popular post on things to do in London with young children will certainly help.
We also talked about how important outdoor space is in children's play and showed you how to encourage and create outdoor play. A simpler childhood remains vitally important to our family and we talked several times about avoiding technology and embracing an old-fashioned childhood - something our feature on a 1970s childhood focussed on. Of course, a simpler life is not just for the children, with many readers loving our ideas on simplifying life, choosing happy and building a better work-life balance. After all, who in their right mind would live to work rather than work to live?! If you feel the need for change over the coming months, start with our spring clean your life feature.
And if it all goes horribly wrong, let's just try simply being nicer to one another.
Thank you for being with us during 2015, and remember to subscribe by e-mail (up there on the right) and follow us on social media so you never miss a thing (links below). If you have a moment, we'd love to hear what you've enjoyed on AM this year - and what you'd like to see more of. Let us know in the comments section below.
Happy New Year to you all, enjoy your celebrations. See you in 2016!