Celebrate

Helloitsgemma is five. Celebrating the good things in blogging.

Welcome along, I’m throwing a party. This blog is five and I’m celebrating the good stuff. The gains from blogging.

What people gain from blogging is fascinating. There is a joy in the responses. I can confidently say my guests started a blog for the sake of writing and sharing. Everything was unexpected.

This blog started as an outlet, a space for me. I wanted to connect with other parents. I didn’t expect to make friends that would enrich my life. Based on entirely on us both having a blog Kath invited me to her home. I’d just moved to Bristol and knew practically no one. She introduced me to other bloggers, including Ella. Kath and Ella are part of the fabric of my life here and I’m really grateful for that.

There is the whole thing of ‘free’ stuff and bloggers. Bloggers get stuff for ‘free’; products, trips. Nothing in blogging is free. It’s not just writing; There is the technical, back of the blog stuff. The photographing. The tweaking and editing. All before publish gets clicked. It eats hours of time. That’s only a small part.

Blogging has become about building an audience, a presence on various social media platforms, making yourself heard in a busy community. It’s that ‘value’ that creates the opportunities. Pressing your first post is like stepping into a rowing boat, you are tentative, it wobbles. You get the hang of it, find your rhythm. The current gets faster, before you realise you’re being swept along the river at alarming speed. From the bank people shout suggestions; “Row that way. Row faster. You’re facing the wrong way!” An inflatable motor boat bounces past, sounding a horn like the Dukes of Hazzard. You wonder what the hell happened.

Today, I’m finding the calm and celebrating the good stuff and Lucy’s reply made me weep a bit.

For me, this space has taught me so much, given me a wealth of internet based skills. I’ve spent a day at the House of Lords via this blog. I’ve stood in front of a room full of my peers who clapped and cheered because I’d won, as life experiences go, that’s pretty mind-blowing.

Sarah Mostly Yummy Mummy

One of the biggest things I’ve gained from my blog is finding my own voice. That and the amazing friendships of course!

Molly Mother’s Always Right

It’s a cliché but the friends I’ve made from blogging have made a huge impact on my life. These are inspirational women who I regularly see and speak to in “real life”, who have provided a shoulder to cry on, company to share fun experiences with and many, many laughs over the years. Blogging has also helped me to forge a new direction in my career at a time when my work confidence was pretty low just after I’d had a baby. Without my blog I wouldn’t be doing the work I now do, as a freelance journalist and writer. Oh, and as a family we’ve had some pretty incredible experiences and opportunities brought about from my blog too.

Ella Purple Ella

My blog gives me an outlet, a way of expressing my thoughts and feelings and sharing my achievements. This is better than any therapy I’ve ever done.

Rachel Midlife Single Mum

A community of friends (even if I’ve not met most of them in person) wider and more diverse than any I could have made from real life or even from chatting on Facebook and other forums. Blogging goes deeper and so do the friendships that come with it.

Ben Mutterings of a Fool

A record of my kids milestones, much more useful that the pile of empty baby books on the book shelf.

Jane Northern Mum

I have three friends that I met almost five years ago. Gemma, Emma and Molly. We are like the fantastic four, but without any real powers….

Without deciding one day to put my life on the Internet and read their lives I would have never got these incredible women in my life. This was before blogging was so branded, when each post was from the heart and words crafted to fit a page. Before I even met these three ladies I knew I had friends for life.

On a side note – am also a big fan of the travel opportunities that come my way….. (She says typing by the poolside, thanks to James villas) (Hehehehehehe).

Anya Older Single Mum

A loyal following and sense of belonging that has cultivated meaningful friendships, social interaction that’s otherwise tricky for a single parent and a right laugh when required. 

Annie Mammasaurus

Trusted and valued friendships first and foremost. People who I can laugh and cry with, give and take support with and generally make my life a better place.

Chris Thinly Spread

I’ve had some fantastic opportunities, been to some amazing places and met some incredible people but the things I hold dearest are the friends I have made and the blog itself which has given me a platform to write freely with only my own editorial voice at the reigns.

Lucy Capture by Lucy

When I asked Lucy. She sent me 400 words, which is very Lucy and I love her for that. Wonderful words.

A new found respect for my husband. As a blogger you work hard, really hard to get noticed, to stand out in a sea of talented people. Everyone has their own unique voice and it can feel like you are fighting against the tide to establish your blog and for people to hear you.

But as my blog has grown, and the invitations have turned to overnight stays and holidays and incredible photography opportunities that I never dreamt would be possible a few years ago, I have relied more and more on my husband. We have redefined the word teamwork. There are days when he helps me move boxes of products around the house, picks up the boys for the … I couldn’t even tell you, night running. Talks to me in the early hours of the morning when I’m away because I am missing home.

I overhear him sometimes introducing himself to a new friend or parent at school and then I hear him talk about me. To a stranger. And I hear; my wife writes a blog, she’s got this following on Instagram and writes for lots of brands – it’s amazing. And I think good grief is he really talking about me?

He’s the one watching the live stream when awards have been announced. He’s let me follow my dream. When you blog there’s not a lot of time to look back and reflect. It’s always about planning the next post, growing a following and nurturing and making new connections.

Every day I pinch myself that I get to do this as my job, that people want to know more about our everyday life, work around my children, with brands I have grown up with, brands I admire, inspire people to pick up their camera or resonate with another parent struggling with a work life balance and I think wow. I

I couldn’t have done this without his support. I know my blog has consumed our lives completely at times and that’s been hard to live with, when the house is covered in photo shoots, when weekends start blurring into the working week, but he knows why I do it. Because I adore the blogging community, I respect and am so grateful for my readers and followers and I want to build something to give my family the best opportunities I can. 

Actual fairy dust of loveliness.

Tomorrow the party continues, I’d love you to pop back.

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13 Comments

  1. Midlife Singlemum

    The comment from Ben, Mutterings of a Fool, – of course, how could I have overlooked that aspect? Having been reminded, I would now put the record of my daughter’s life so far up there along with the social life I’ve gained for myself. 

  2. Penny

    Lovely read everyone! Huge congratulations on 5 years. Thanks for reaching out all those years ago, I miss you now you are not up the road. Sorry for not getting my act together, thanks for asking me. I thought so much about what blogging means to me I got all tangled and I couldn’t get the words together, lovely to read what people here think. I will get out of my naval gazing patch soon enough – thanks for encouraging us all to reflect. Well done you for marking 5 years, you have so much to be proud of x

  3. Ben

    Lucy’s reply is fab, I can only imagine the chaos in her life at times but such a fab lady when I met her in real life. I also think it’s great how most people have called out the friendships as the most important thing. I’d love to know if you asked bloggers who’d started in the last year the same questions if they would answer in the same way?

  4. Knackered Mother

    Happy Blog Birthday! Such a lovely read. I love that I met you through blogging (and was there clapping and cheering that time!)…what a lovely way to celebrate 5 years. Friendships definitely the best thing. And the laughs. And the love and support. Props to you x

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