Oh, I do love a good end-of-year round up. There’s something quite satisfying about all those top 10 of 2014 lists, whether it’s films, songs or dodgy celebrity haircuts. It puts things in perspective, in some kind of order, and reminds you of things that happened several months ago.
With that in mind, I thought I’d do a little round-up of my own, featuring my most popular blog posts, and a few which I am especially proud of. I started blogging officially in August. I’d been secretly blogging on and off for several years before that though. Despite being a journalist by trade, and having written for a living since 2001, I was too scared to show people my blog. Without the security of a respected publication behind me, I wasn’t sure whether people would want to read what I had to say. I was quite happy writing on the side for myself…. but it’s even better to know that people have enjoyed what I’m writing.
The five posts below are the ones that got the most hits and reads this year. However, there are some posts that didn’t get anywhere near as many people reading them, but of which I am really proud. Not long after I started writing my blog, I suddenly found all these poems bursting into my head. I hadn’t written poetry for years but having complete creative control of what I was writing (rather than an editor to direct me, as has been the case throughout my career) suddenly opened something within me. My poem First Day At School, about my daughter starting full-time school, still makes me cry every time I read it, while I loved that Mummy’s Messy House and What Mummy Really Wants for Christmas (which was written in about 10 minutes while two of my children slept in the car) rang true for so many other parents.
My most controversial post was definitely Dear Strangers, Please Stop Telling My Three Kids They’re Hard Work. Lots of parents told me they agreed and were fed up of people saying similar things to them. Others, however, thought I was oversensitive and irrational. The debate raged on on my personal Facebook page for several days! If you didn’t read it first time round, I’ll leave you to make your own mind up!
I’m so grateful to everyone who has read my blog, liked a post, written a comment or shared a link to something I wrote. I have big plans for Cardiff Mummy Says for 2015 so I hope you’ll stick around for another year. If you’re new to the blog, do come say hello on my Facebook page or tweet me on @cardiffmummy Wishing you all the best for the coming year.
My five most-read posts of 2014
- The REAL 18 things you’ll only remember if you went to university in Swansea in the 1990s
This was the post that really kick-started Cardiff Mummy Says. I’d read an online article reminiscing about what life was like at my old university at the time when I was a student and thought ‘I can do a better job’. Encouraged by my old uni mates on my personal Facebook page, I wrote this post – and it went completely viral. I had messages from all across the world, got back in touch with people I had not seen for years, and was reminded of lots of other happy times at uni that I had forgotten about. My blog is supposed to be about parenting and Cardiff. This one was about neither, yet it’s had the biggest viewing figures of everything I have written this year.
- 50 classic tantrums you absolutely must have before the age of 5
Oh, I laughed out loud writing this one. It stemmed from various conversations I’d had with mummy friends where we all discovered our little ones tantrum about the same things. I began to wonder if children are pre-programmed at birth to get irrational about certain things… and this list started forming in my head. Originally the article was 25 things, but they kept popping into my head and the list just grew. It seems a lot of parents relate to this one – lots of mums and dads told me their little ones had ticked everything off the list well before the age of five.
- 10 books your baby should read before their first birthday
I think reading with your children is one of the most important things you can do and as far as I am concerned, the earlier you can start reading, the better. Bedtime stories have been a part of all three of my children’s routines pretty much since they were born. I wrote this post back in October and it was my first experience of how, if Mumsnet shares a post on its main Facebook site, it will quickly go viral. I loved all the messages and comments I got after this blog with parents telling me how many of the 10 books their little ones had read, or saying they had gone out to buy books based on my recommendations. A number of parents also told me their favourites…. so I bought a few new books too, all in the name of research, obviously!
- 21 things that will happen when you are the third baby
This was another one that made me laugh out loud while writing it. My third baby is now nine months old and I am continually struck by how different things are for him, compared to first time round with his big sister and even second time round with his big brother. This was another one that went a wee bit viral after Mumsnet shared it.
- 25 festive family events in Cardiff this Christmas
One of the reasons I created Cardiff Mummy Says is because there is a real lack of media here in South Wales for parents of young children. I was often finding out about family-friendly events after they had happened. Friends would tell me the same thing. I couldn’t find a decent parenting magazine that would tell me all of this – so I thought I would have a go at creating a little something myself. Articles like this one take a long time to research, but are totally worth it when you can see how appreciated they are by the number of people reading them and sharing them on social media.