It hit me with a big bang yesterday that I have been blogging on Summers Holiyay for just over a YEAR, oh em geeeeee!!
My 30th birthday celebrations totally took over the last few weeks, and this little mile stone got totally overlooked (oops, so bitchy of me, sorry blog I love you!!!) so I thought theres only one proper way to celebrate…. A jam packed blog post to reminisce and look ahead to the future of my favourite little corner of the internet!!
We’ve all got to know each other so well this last year, and by now you know how long it took me to build up the courage to start my blog in the first place, despite it being a serious dream of mine for years and years. I mean its pretty terrifying putting yourself out there isn’t it?
Some of my daily 2018 worries before I took the plunge would include….
‘What if people didn’t like me?’
‘Would anyone actually read my content?’
‘Theres SO many talented people doing this already, what’s the point of me trying in such a saturated over populated market?’
‘ I don’t know what I’m doing. I don’t know how to set up a website. I can’t do this’.
‘Will people who already know me in real life think I was a cringe bag?’
Now, a year later, I know that these are all ridiculous thought processes.
Essentially, I have made this blog for me, and the happiness it gives me is on another level. I know now that there is room for absolutely everyone, and if people don’t particularly love my content, they don’t have to read it. Simple. Everything else that comes as part of the package with the blog is just one huge big bonus and the only regret I have is not starting this year and years ago!!!
But oh well, no time to dwell… its been a whole year of absolute FUN, and hopefully there is so much more to come!!!
So here goes, and below are my highlights of blogging from 2019 and my hopes and dreams for 2020 and the future of Summers Holiyay yippeeeeeee!!
MY HIGHLIGHTS OF BLOGGING.
I have honestly adored every single part of blogging. The writing, connecting with others, taking you on all of my adventures, attending amazing events, working with incredible companies (pinch me), and learning from others.
But lets not kid myself, it’s not always been the easiest ride.
I like to put 100 percent into everything I do, and whilst I spent all of last year trying to build up my blog, actually learning how the hell to do it (SEO say WHAT?) putting myself out there and finding my feet, this was all whilst I was also working a very hectic full time job as a TV Producer doing the craziest and silliest of hours, a lot of the time on location too. Not only that but I had to unexpectedly take a little three months break from blogging off in the summer due to the hell of the first trimester (but back to that later).
And guys seriously thank you so much for sticking around during that, I was seriously worried you was all going to forget about me!!!!
So even though I have learnt so much, and I am so proud of all of the content that I made last year, I want to double that this year!!! Last year was just the warm up!!!!!! I finally think I know what I’m doing, and oh boy I am SO READY!!!
SO, lets talk about the highlights of my life as a blogger so far…
- The Blogging Community
Well this absolutely goes with out saying and absolutely has to go first. I truly am shell shocked at how incredible and supportive the blogging community is. I have just adored building up relationships with such talented, creative and inspiring bloggers across the country. I love the way bloggers encourage each other and build each other up. I haven’t got time for bitchy, selfish people and always believe the saying ‘there is no I in team’. It’s the same with people I work with in TV… we all help each other find work and constantly support each other, even though essentially its a ‘dog eat dog’ world where every one is going after the same job. And I have found blogging identical. I have met so many kind and lovely bloggers who have shared contacts with me, helped me to get some incredible opportunities and just given me advice when needed. I will always do the same back for others when I can (and hopefully this will happen more as I gain more experience in blogging), and its just so lovely to know there are some really kind people out there.
Instagram has also been a fabulous way to meet other like minded people who all blog, and I really hope that this year I get to meet a lot more of the divine people I have spent a year building relationships with online. Its the best group of penpals i’ve ever had!!!
2) Working with Brands
I don’t even know where to begin with this one, but the last year has just thrown so many exciting opportunities my way, it’s hard to even take it all in. Pinch me, am I dreaming?
Look lets not kid ourselves, when people first create a blog it is EVERYONES dream to eventually work with brands that you have followed and adored for years on end, and I personally think its so important to have the drive and passion to push yourself to want to work with them in the future.
But I actually cringe at myself when I first started blogging. I think I had published about three blogs, had about 200 followers on Instagram and started contacting a whole load of companies to collaborate together. Spoiler alert: I got zero response.
I realise now that I was TOTALLY over excited, and was absolutely running before I could walk. But hey, everyone has to start somewhere and everyone has to learn from their mistakes.
Oh Sammy, you silly sausage!!!
Eventually, months after putting content out there, I started to have the confidence to approach brands again and apply for opportunities I saw on the internet. I remember when I got my first paid job from the incredible company ‘Bookatable’ I actually had a full on excited meltdown at my desk when I opened the email. Errrrrm was this sent to the right email address? Did they seriously want ME to review a top London restaurant? Oh my BLOODY GOD!!!
And you know what, that excitement still hasn’t gone anywhere a year later, in fact I think it has increased even more. Every single opportunity I have received, whether its an amazing product in the post to review, being invited to events, a fun gifted day out in exchange for a review, or a company actually trusting and paying ME to review a restaurant and blog about it for others (eek) I will never take for granted and I am seriously so grateful to be given such incredible opportunities.
My advice for any newbie bloggers is to just KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON. Sometimes it may feel like you are talking to yourself, that no-one is reading your work, or that you are going to get constantly rejected. And you know what, for every 50 emails you send out approaching brands you may only get ONE reply. But that one reply might lead to the most exciting opportunity of your life, so do not give up!!!! You’ve got this!!!!!
Working with Brands- my highlights!!!!
Ohhh theres been a whole load of fun! Mainly, I mean ALL, involving eating, oops!
My absolute highlights from last year were working with Bookatable, where I got to experience and review two magical afternoon teas at The Landmark Hotel, and the divine Mary Poppins Tea at The Shard. Two days I will never forget!
I also got the opportunity to attend my first ever ‘blogger event’ at Aqua Shard where I spent the whole day wanting to pinch myself whilst trying their fabulous new summer menu with a whole bunch of talented bloggers overlooking the whole of London.
I also had the absolute time of my life at The Bake Off Pop Up Experience, which I would recommend to everyone. Me and my sister spent two hours crying with laughter whilst pretending we were finalists on my favourite show ever, and failing miserably in the experience.
Another incredible day out was when the fabulous company Go Boat, kindly let me and my girlies go on a fab boating adventure around London. The sun was shining, we spent hours singing snd dancing and stuffing our faces with Percy pigs and mojitios, and truly lived our best lifes. A day out I would do every year if I could!!
I also got to work with the National Lottery UK, and make some really fun content for them on Instagram when I was in Dubai, which was a serious high. As well as write for popular travel website ‘Click Stay’ and attend Aperol Spritz 100th birthday party!!
Oh and how could I forget about that divine night where the hubby and I got to devour a whole load of chocolate cocktails at The Chocolate Cocktail Company– I seriously mean it, these were the best cocktails IVE EVER HAD!
I am so excited to see where this year takes me, and to carry on building relationships with some wonderful people- so thank you to everyone who I have worked with so far for putting your trust into me!!
Taking you with me on my travel adventures.
Working with brands is such a highlight, and such a huge added bonus that can come with the package of blogging, but that is not why I started Summers Holiyay.
All I ever wanted to do was take you lot with me on my adventures around the world. I literally LIVE for holidays, and recommending people the best place to stay and explore and I really hope that has come across through my blog.
I am so happy that throughout last year I got to take you with me to:
- Dubai (Click here for my review of The INCREDIBLE One & Only Hotel, my top restaurant recommendations in the city of dreams, or my review of the pink palace- The Atlantis Hotel).
- Barcelona (Click here for my review of The W hotel and all the best places to eat).
- Maldives (Click here for my review of my honeymoon island Kuramathi, and my top ten Maldives island wish list!)
And I also took you on some of the best UK Staycations I could ever dream of going on-
- Soho Farmhouse
- The Ned Hotel- a weekend away in London
- And a surprisingly fun girls weekend at Center Parcs (I went with zero expectations).
This year, my travel plans are all a bit up in the air because I am having a baby in March! Usually I would have ten hundred holidays booked by now! My life is totally about to change, which is just the most exciting thing in the world and I truly hope that from this summer when life calms down a bit I will start to think of all of the wonderful places we can travel as a family. It is my dream to be able to travel around the world with my future little one and go on as many fun adventures as possible (taking you lot with me of course)- so watch this space!!
Getting Personal On The Blog.
Now speaking of having a baby, I am truly so over whelmed at how kind and supportive the blogging community was when I announced my pregnancy.
I found the first trimester extremely difficult for many different reasons, and sadly had to come offline during the period as it all got a bit too overwhelming for me. I always eventually wanted to share my news with you all, and it took me a further two months after the first trimester to have the guts to tell my story, which you can read all about here.
What surprised me the most, was just how much I adored writing about my experience of being pregnant. For the first time on my blog I got deeply personal, and although it ridiculously terrified me putting myself out there, it also HELPED me so much and was a weird kind of therapy for me.
I was also shocked to the core at how many people read this blog. In fact it was one of my most read posts of last year, which I am so grateful for, and the support and feedback was just so lovely, so this was a true highlight of blogging for me.
I actually really really enjoy showing you more of my true personality rather than just only reviewing hotels and restaurants, so my aim for 2020 is to do a whole load more of these personal posts. Eek!
So that’s last year summed up, and wowwweee what a ride it was!
Last year ended on the BIGGEST high when I was selected to be in the fabulous Blogosphere Magazine, alongside five other extremely talented travel bloggers thanks to the amazing blogger Binny! I couldn’t believe my eyes seeing my little face in print and it was truly such an honour to be included in the magazine. I’ll keep it forever!!
MY BLOGGING GOALS AND DREAMS FOR 2020
Over Christmas I have been thinking of all the ways I want to improve my blogging and ensure I am giving you guys the best ever content.
I have also made a blogging goals wish list, which although some of it is definitely unrealistic, I LOVE to set myself goals that I want to achieve whether its in the next year or five years. I WILL GET THERE ONE DAY!!!!!
So here is my blogging goals and dreams list!!!!!..
- My aim is to try and upload one blog post a week.
- I want to double the stats on my blog from last year, and if I’m doubling the amount of blogs I am posting, then I have every faith this goal can be reached.
- I want to add a new category to my blog, based on pregnancy and being a mummy in the future, hopefully showcasing amazing luxury holidays you can go on as a family with a baby, as well as some fabulous days out in the UK. Also to write more personal blogs on my general life with a baby and advice and tips for people. I hope that this doesn’t scare people away who only care about the travel and hope that I can cater my blog to so many different genres. Please stick with me whilst I try to figure it all out!
Say what you want about Instagram, but I personally find it a brilliant way to connect with people and get my blog ‘out there’. So I want to up my gram game this year…
- This is a scary one for me, but I think I need to put myself out there on Instagram more, and by that I mean, Instastories EEK. This actually fills me with dread because I properly hate seeing my face and hearing my voice on camera, but know its important for blogging so I’m going to have to bite the bullet at some point.
- I would love to work on my photography and buy a professional camera. At the moment I’m using my beloved iPhone for everything and using my silly husband to take my pics. HE STILL DOESN’T UNDERSTAND HOW IMPORTANT ANGLES ARE. HIGHER, HIGHER, NO LOWER, LOWER…SEND HELP! (If your reading this, hi I love you).
- The goal that is making me cringe. I want to up my numbers on Instagram. VOM. I hate myself for even writing this, but unfortunately Instagram and its ‘followers’ is a big part of the package when it comes to blogging and whether companies will take you seriously or not. Which I think is totally ridic, because I believe engagement is just as important if not more important but this seems to be the way it is going at the moment. Whether it takes me one, two or even five years if I can eventually ever reach 10,000 followers so people can actually SWIPE UP TO READ MY BLOG, then I’ll be the happiest girl alive. (LOL, keep dreaming). It seriously sucks that Instagram doesn’t allow that for anything under than 10K, and I think its really insulting to all the talented and wonderful bloggers who deserve it with under that amount of followers.
WORKING WITH BRANDS
And finally, this is my biggest wish list, and I’m just putting this OUT THERE into the universe with lots of positive thoughts. You never know guys, and if you don’t push yourself then who is going to?
- So the goal of all goals is to go on a real life blogger press trip. If any hotels in the UK, or abroad (I would legit die with excitement) would ever have the trust to allow me to review their hotel I would honestly be the happiest girly in this entire world. One day, one day.
- Brands, brands brands. Okay here goes… a list of travel brands I would do anything to work with one day in the future. Again I know this is a ridiculous list, but I like to aim high and have something to work towards one day. Even if it takes me ten years I won’t give up!!!… So here they are…. Virgin Limited Holidays, Four Seasons, Disney, One & Only, Intercontinental, Disney, Tourist Boards across the world, Sandals, W, Disney, Rosewood and the Dorchester Collection. And Disney, have I already said that? Oh the list goes on and on and on and on…..(Did I mention I have expensive taste oops!!!)
So there we have it guys, I am SO excited for what is to come!!
If you have been with me from the beginning I cannot thank you enough for sticking around and for being so fabulous. And if your new around here- I can’t wait to get to know you!!! Tell me guys… what do you want to see more of from me this year??
Seriously though, thank you for all of the support this year it means more to me than you will ever ever know!!!