BLOGGING | Formidable Joy in 2017

It seems odd to write about my previous year in blogging at a time when my blog is going through an upheaval and going through many changes. But, it’s always a good idea to look over your year in blogging and evaluate what went wrong and right. I did a similar post last year and it was such a motivation booster for me as I found it really inspiring to go over what I was particularly proud of and the like, so it seems like a no brainer to sum up Formidable Joy in 2017!

I know in the past year (well, last year now, but you get the point) I’ve slacked a little when it comes to blogging every other day sometimes and growing my social media channels, but, on the other hand, I feel that I’ve slowly started to improve my involvement in the community and engagement on my posts as a result.

Here’s some things in particular I’ve really been proud of this year.

Formidable Joy | UK Lifestyle Blog | Blogging | Formidable Joy in 2017
Since dabbling in veganism, I’ve featured food a lot more on my blog and have had a lot more opportunities to feature recipes. I never ever pictured food being featured on my blog and yet they are some of my favourite posts, so that’s interesting. My Red Thai Curry was a hit – pre-vegan, although I’ve re-created it a few times since without meat! I visited an amazing fully vegan restaurant in Blackpool, spoke about eating vegan in Romania, I finally got to visit Purezza and I also reviewed a vegan Katsu Curry with Yutaka. I’m hoping to feature food even more on my blog next year, sharing some of my own recipes.

One word: Mexico. I don’t think I’ll ever stop talking about that one time I finally got to properly travel, even if it was on an amazing TrekAmerica tour rather than entirely alone. Pro tip: if you’ve always wanted to travel but may be slightly scared, definitely consider booking onto a tour. You get the best of both worlds. Anywho. On my trip, I visited Chichen Itza and Merida, the ruins of Uxmal and Campeche, Palenque, Bacalar, Mahahual and Tulum/Playa Del Carmen. This led on to tons of other content too, and I also blogged a lot about my visit to Romania. Travelling was a huge benefit for me personally too, not just in terms of blogging. Getting out of my comfort zone was a great move.

This year I’ve felt that I’ve had the opportunity to work with some really great brands! It still amazes me when a company gets in touch to ask me to collaborate with them or review a product on my little blog that’s so small compared to some others! Still, it gives me faith in the fact that a lot of companies and brands choose to favour content over follower count/fame. Some brands I’ve loved working with this year include (in order of post appearance): Thai Taste, Ballie Ballerson, Hard Rock Cafe, Kit Out My Office, AB Music Academy, Tulleys – The Howl Scream Park, CabinZero, Yutaka and JD Williams – lucky me! It’s a funny thing, working with brands. Obviously they think your blog is good enough to approach you and work with you, but you still feel under pressure to make sure you do a good job. You put off taking photos until you have time to take them in natural daylight, you encourage as many comments as possible once the post is live and you do have that small doubt at the back of your mind that the company meant to approach another more successful blog!

I don’t actually think my monthly round ups of what’s on or what I’m looking forward to are that popular. They’re one of the posts that take a fair bit of research and yet I don’t want to let it go. I enjoy sharing something that’s more on the ball; especially when it comes to film, TV and music. I’m super proud I managed to keep this up this year just gone and will be continuing it well into 2018, but perhaps it’s something I’ll look at migrating into a newsletter.

Let’s face it, I’ll never be great at being an out there blogger. I always forget to take part in twitter chats and when I remember, I hold back out of fear of flooding people’s timelines with my rambling tweets. I’m not big on attending blogger meet ups (unless there’s free food and/or alcohol #sorrynotsorry) and I still only comment on blog posts that genuinely interest me instead of commenting for the sake of commenting. But I’ve found my own way to network. I take part in an Instagram pod, set up my own comment pod and have also set up a close-knit but very laid back Facebook group recently. This has been so helpful in terms of not only sharing posts and supporting other blogs, but getting advice on everything blogging. It’s my way of contributing to the community without overbearing myself and it works for me. PS – If you’d like to know more about the Facebook group/comment pod, do let me know.

I’ve loved including fun days out on my blog – sometimes it’s nice to just talk about having a good time and sharing those memories rather than attending something and reviewing it as a blogger. Waddesdon Manor was fun, as was a visit to Xcaret Park, ABQ London and BallieBallerson, of course! Okay, so BallieBallerson wasn’t a day out and was actually a press evening but it was so much fun that I couldn’t not include it. That said, there were a few things I chose not to blog about too, like my birthday surprise to Winter Wonderland. It was one of my best birthdays ever, but it was so special to me and close to my heart that I didn’t want to share it with the world or on this blog. I think it’s important to find that balance when it comes to blogging and I think I began to get a feel of that balance in 2017.

I’ve also tried to vary my content a little, which has resulted in more ‘Lifestyle’ posts than ever. But in 2017, I tried to focus on things like new fitness classes, shows to binge-watch and, um, the not-very-successful-but-still-my-favourite – nine step guide to becoming a twenty one pilots fan. Ahem. Hey, not every blog post needs to be successful or written with the reader in mind!

Considering it’s my favourite holiday, I let myself down with Halloween. Although I did a great round up post about what’s going on in London – and around the UK – for Halloween, I hadn’t planned or done half as much content as I did the year before. I put a lot of work into my blog last year and in some areas I exceeded – working with great brands and getting my comment engagement up – but I still really need to nail down on getting more followers and encouraging people to comment not just because of a comment pod or because I’ve commented on their blog.

But, overall, for my seventh year of blogging, I think 2017 was a good one. I kept in check with regular posting, I became a bit more involved in the community and I worked with some great brands. Here’s hoping 2018 is just as successful – if not more!