Well, it's that time of year when we all look back over the last 12 months, and then forward to the coming 12 months.
These are some of the things I wrote about in 2013:
Tidy House, Tidy Mind - something I've revisited more recently. I really do think your living space is a reflection of what's going on in your head... As I write this, my living room looks like a toddler bomb has gone off in it. My brain is much the same right now!
Am I Really Brilliant? - a post about being brilliant. Again, confidence is something I've written about more recently. I really need to work on my self esteem and confidence in 2014!
Why I Don't Ask For Help - I have been described by more than one person as "fiercely independent" but it usually has less to do with wanting to do it all myself, and more to do with not wanting to feel like I'm a burden or nuisance to those around me.
A Day In The Life - from before I returned to work. This day turned out to be the day I had a colossal row with my older sister; I've not spoken to her since. I followed this post up with one entitled My Working Day when I returned to work, and another Day In Our Life in August. I keep saying that once I'm settled into the whole self-employed thing, I'll write another... Must get around to that in the New Year...
As is to be expected, I've written several posts regarding my previous life with the ex, over the last year. This Example of Why I'm Happy to be a Single Mum is something I try to remind myself of whenever I'm feeling a bit rubbish about my situation. In February, I started writing my Birth Story, which was something of a catharsis. I think it's more a story of the abusive relationship than the actual birth though, and spans several posts. This one is my favourite though, written a full 365 days since we last saw S's father. It feels strange to look back at these posts now, and remember what seems like it must have been someone else's life. We've come so far...
I wrote some posts about stories that were in the news at the time, including this about the Philpotts and this one about the government's idea of banning packed lunches. I also wrote a post about the Royal birth, and why I was trying to avoid press coverage of it, and another about the newly published list of top 100 names, and my exacerbation at people not liking the fact Mohamed was on the list.
I've written several posts about benefits, and the problems with them. The first was Adventures in Benefits, around the time I applied for Income Support. This was shortly before I ended up needing a food parcel from the Trussell Trust because Income Support claims take so long to process.
I did write a few funny posts this year, including How to Tell if You Need More Sleep, Sling Talk and Ways to Make Mummy Really Happy.
My most-read posts in 2013 were the series of posts I wrote about my breakdown. I've received some great feedback on these and I'm quite proud of them if I'm honest!
I also appeared on BBC news this year to talk about the Trussell Trust, and was on BBC Five Live speaking about children growing up without fathers. I also spoke on LBC with Nick Ferrari a few times about various issues relating to single parents, which was nice. All of this, along with being in a couple of national papers, has come off the back of my doing this blog which is amazing, but blog-wise my high point came in June when the lovely Kylie offered to sponsor me to go to Brit Mums Live. When I asked how I could ever repay such a favour, she told me to just keep on doing what I was doing. Cue many, many tears.
I've started hosting a couple of linkys this year as well: the Weekly Gratitude Linky runs every Friday, where I encourage people to link up a post with a positive vibe, and I've just started doing Wordless Wednesday as well, where people can link up any photo post. At the moment I'm also guest-hosting the Weekend Blog-hop while Laura has a break from blogging. I'm also quite proud of the fact I set up #ArchiveDay on Facebook, where we all tweet links to our old posts and retweet each other on Saturdays. I get such a kick out of seeing people join in, I often forget to actually tweet my own Archive Day post!
As I've looked back over my posts this year though, a couple have stood out for me. The first is this one where I look at how fortunate I have actually been, despite my pregnancy and early motherhood being something of a disaster on paper. The second is this one, hilariously entitled Pollyanna Ain't Got Shit on Me. This was the post that got me started with the whole gratitude thing. I really do think that counting one's blessings can make a big difference, which is why I started the linky. Even re-reading these posts has boosted my mood to no end!
And so, on to 2014. My posts lately have been quite reflective; I've been through a lot of changes over the last couple of months, not least becoming self employed, and deciding that my ultimate goal is to earn my money through writing.
What does 2014 hold for me, my baby and my blog? Well, I've watched this talk by Diana Nyad several times lately, and my motto for 2014 is definitely going to be Find a way. If you don't know who Diana Nyad is: she's the 64-year-old woman who was the first person to ever swim from Cuba to Florida with no shark cage. It was her fifth attempt; she did it in something like 56 hours, swimming day and night. On her previous attempt, she was almost killed by a box jellyfish sting. The woman is a legend and very inspiring.
There's bound to be a lot of hard work this year, but I'm convinced it's going to pay off. 2014 will definitely be our year!