I’ve been blogging since I was fifteen, which means I count my most long-running and meaningful relationship in my life to be with the internet.
There’s proof still online: the Wayback machine has really basic iterations of my websites dating from 2001 (TWO THOUSAND AND ONE??!), but annoyingly in those days we were all a fan of the splash page trend which means you can see little more than my insistence the reader enables popups and is browsing on Netscape.
The blogging world was totally different back then. I hand-coded my sites, painstakingly photoshopping images of Courtney Love or Rivers Cuomo to use in my layouts with a bootleg version of Paint Shop Pro. Then along came Greymatter, the early version of WordPress, which made comments and interaction a whole lot easier. And before we knew it the arrival of Blogspot and WordPress meant it was an all the more accessible hobby, and the blogging world exploded into the delight it is today.
You can breathe a sigh of relief that I no longer use the online space as an excruciating account of my early interactions with boys (none of them successful): I started writing about babies and family the minute I got the positive pregnancy test, I didn’t know what else to do and blogging about it felt most natural.
Ahh who am I kidding, you know I’ll always write about my interactions with boys ;)
Fast-forward six years and I’m still here, writing about our family life. Blogging has changed and we’re now inundated with people shouting about problogging, collaborations, visitor numbers, making yourself a brand. Yes, my blog forms the basis of my income, with the rest of it coming from marketing and writing work, but the crux of what I do is being able to share my story: it’s my one true love. For me, writing my thoughts down in this space and creating a record of our lives is such a passion, and I always want this to be the seed of the magnificent tree that is my blog and my online life.
I’ve accomplished many amazing things in the process of writing a blog: I’ve been interviewed by the hero that is Jane Garvey on Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour, I’ve been shot by an incredible photographer for a swimsuit campaign with Speedo, I’ve discussed World Book Day over Afternoon Tea with a Spice Girl (thanks, Sainsbury’s!). But one of the most important things I like to lay claim to is the circle of brilliant women I’m able to surround myself with.
We don’t work in an office together, or even see each other all that often. But we’re in constant contact, lending help, support and advice about anything and everything, from CSS to design to boys to children. I’m closer to the ladies I’ve met through blogging than I am to some real-life friends.
And then there’s Mark Warner. MARK WARNER!! Not a person, but a holiday… two holidays, in fact. I found out on Friday that, following my application to be a #MarkWarnerMum this year, I was one of the lucky chosen ones. They emailed me to deliver the good news at 11am and nicely asked if I could keep it to myself until the announcement at 4pm later on that afternoon. It was the longest day of my life as I sat on my hands to stop myself doing the thing that came naturally to me – share!
This is truly one of the most exciting things that has happened to me since I started blogging. Mark Warner have long been a brand I’ve admired in my work as a Marketer, and I think they’re truly visionary in the way they work with bloggers. We’re such a unique bunch in the way we communicate with each other and our readers, and are forging new paths when it comes to working with our favourite companies, so I’m completely over the moon to be a part of such an exciting campaign. I promise I won’t bang on about brand collabs and ambassadorships but instead will simply bring you the 411 on what we get up to with them in the most fun interesting way possible.
One of the most wonderful things about Friday’s news was the way my friends reacted. I had nothing but virtual back slaps and hugs from them all, affirmations that this was a well-deserved win for More Than Toast, huge congratulations and celebrations. I can’t describe the warmth I felt from those friendships I really treasure – it made the exciting news all the more wonderful.
So here’s to us all – our blogs, our friendships, our happy news, the readers, the writers, the movers, the shakers. Here’s to one of the most exciting and heartwarming communities I know.