An honest evaluation of my blogging journey so far…

cropped-image1.png

The New Year seems like a good time to evaluate and reflect on my blogging journey (more like expedition!) over the last 12 months.

Blogging has been a blast! Since publishing my first post back in February I have gained over 700 followers, published 200 posts and connected with so many of you from all corners of the world.

The Highs…

Starting out I had no idea which direction I would go. I had a sassy web address, a desire to write, a passion to be authentic and an insatiable appetite to help others see how fabulous they truly are too. It was exciting and scary and fun and overwhelming all at the same time and I was a total virgin at all of it!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I started #itsthelittlethings as a way to document the little things that made me smile throughout the week and now it’s become a bit of a catchphrase for when something goods happens around here!

I’ve written some articles that have made my soul sing and they seemed to have deeply resonated with you guys too – Be Your Own Kind of Beautiful was such a pleasure to write and a message I try to live by.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I’ve talked honestly about myself in the Things You Need to Know About Me series and shared my experiences about how the death of my younger brother completely changed my life and was the motivation to start writing.

In my monthly round up (Monthly Musings) I regularly share new blogs I have stumbled across that I feel are worthy of a look – this has been so successful and something that I enjoy doing so much. Connecting with others is a great bonus that I didn’t expect when I started blogging. I even became pen pals with one of you lovely readers.

The lows…

The last few weeks I have definitely felt a little ‘off my A game’ blogging wise. But hey, it happens to us all I’m sure. The pressure of juggling a full time job (and life) alongside a blog is hard. And whilst it is a great hobby, unfortunately it is the thing that suffers when time isn’t available.

Also as a result of not being around so much lately I have noticed a drop in my monthly stats – despite never being hung up on the numbers previously, it’s hard not to feel like a bit of a failure when they dip.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Sometimes you have an abundance of ideas. You find inspiration for posts on every corner it seems. Then some days you stare at that blank white screen and…nothing. Just nothing. Even when you do write something, some days you hit that delete button so many times and question the validity and worth of what you have written that you don’t publish it anyway! My post on Why Do I Write When It’s All Be Written Before came from such a moment of unworthiness and thoughts of ‘who am I to even think I can do this’.

Also it seems there’s an unwritten rule, expectation if you like to define your niche and put yourself into a category; lifestyle, food etc. Can I not just be someone who writes to inspire people to find their smile, find what makes their soul sing and help them become the best version of themselves with the occasional lifestyle type post thrown in every now and then?

Final thoughts…

One thing I have learnt about blogging is that there are no hard and fast rules. My blog, my rules. Blogging to me, is about writing and creating content you are passionate about.

It’s about finding your voice, your slant, your style and running with it.

img_1471

It’s about sharing your experiences and thoughts and asking others what they think.

It’s about connecting and sharing and reading and creating and not taking it all too seriously!

Can I get a hell yeah?

So keep creating and writing. Stay passionate and authentic. Be true to yourself, be amazing and continue to share the love.

image

Merry Christmas you gorgeous people – see you in the new year!

Nicky 💋

 

Things you need to know about me #9

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I’m a sensory gal.

I love the feel of soft things against my bare skin – it is an essential part of my day. And when the weather is cold – it’s the perfect excuse to envelop yourself in something that feels like you have yet to leave the comfort of your bed.

I love the opulence and vintage glamour that springs to mind when I wear or accessorise with faux fur. Think 1950’s Hollywood sirens sashaying in fur stoles and coats in films such as Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and Singing in the Rain.

img_2079

There’s something a little bit sexy or naughty about a dash of fur against an all black outfit and a red lip – and I like it!

And for a more casual look – simply throw on a soft or fluffy jumper with a pair of jeans or leather trousers. Stylish. Sassy. Satisfying.

img_2080

And fur pom-poms on your handbag are an easy and affordable way to add a little glamour to your everyday look.

If I’m feeling stressed a fluffy, furry cushion or throw is a tried and tested way for me to lower my anxiety levels and ease away the dramas of the day. I’m not sure if it’s reminiscent of being tucked in tight at night with a soft blanket; that feeling of being safe and looked after or if it’s just the thing that soothes my nerve endings, but I know that snuggling against or wrapping myself up in something soft is the perfect antidote to a stressful day.

img_2081

Last but not least – there’s always the real thing to give you those much needed cuddles to pick you up after a long day…

img_1815

Tell me – are you a lover or hater of all things soft and fur-like?

A letter for when you are struggling…

image

Dear You,

I know you’re having one of those days.

The one where you seem to be feeling your way through the fog, stumbling in the darknesss, going through the motions.

You feel like crawling back under the safety of the duvet, hibernating like a bear or wrapping yourself, cocoon-like away from the world.

Talking is an effort. Making a decision is complicated and positivity flew out of the window like a butterfly on a breeze a while back.

I know you can’t pull yourself out of the funk. You’re unsure how or why you got here – you just know here is where you are and you’re pretty sure you’ll be staying a while.

I’m here to tell you, it’s okay.

Okay to feel like this – it will pass.

Okay to need to retreat – that’s where the healing happens.

Okay to be quiet – that’s when you will hear what your body wants to say.

Okay to feel that no one understands – they probably don’t.

Just remember that your thoughts don’t have to dominate you. And it’s okay to ask for help, a hug, a night off. You have permission to take some time to figure out the next right step. Just be kind to yourself in the process.

You are you.

All of you. The good, the bad and the ugly. The beautiful, unique and struggling. The strong, the loving and the tired.

Struggles come and struggles go. They hang around longer than we wish and always seem to appear like an unwelcome guest when we have the least time or energy.

But they don’t have to define you, nor does it make you a bad person. But they are a part of life – like it or not.

I wish I was there to hold you, walk with you, listen to what you have to say.

But I’m not.

However, I know you got this.

You have been here before and survived.

You know what you need to soothe your soul, to make you feel a little better. Just a little better.

Do it. Go on, right now.

Do that thing that makes you smile. Makes you feel a warm glow inside. Makes you understand you can get through this.

Do something that will help you get through today. Just today, for now.

You can do it. I believe in you.

From one who knows,

Nicky xo

 

Who Doesn’t Love a Good Mystery?

What is the mystery blogger award?

“Mystery Blogger Award” is an award for amazing bloggers with ingenious posts. Their blog not only captivates; it inspires and motivates. They are one of the best out there, and they deserve every recognition they get. This award is also for bloggers who find fun and inspiration in blogging; and they do it with so much love and passion.

– Okoto Enigma

Thankyou to Sasha, from Sasha’s Writings and Katelyn from Doe Eyes for both nominating me for the same award! This was an awesome honour – especially when I read the quote above from the creator of this award Okoto Enigma.


Rules…

Add the award image to your blog

List the rules

Thank whoever nominated you AND the creator and provide links to their sites

Tell your readers 3 random facts about yourself

Answer the questions you’ve been asked

Nominate 10 – 20 people and notify them by commenting on their blogs

Ask your nominees 5 question, with 1 weird or funny question

Share a link to your favourite post


Three random facts…

⭐️ I have tiny size 3 feet

⭐️ Hubby and I have been together for 28 years!

⭐️ I love falling asleep to the sound of the rain


Things you need to know about me…

As I was nominated by 2 different people, there are 2 sets of questions…phew!

1. WHY DID YOU START BLOGGING?

I started blogging because I’ve always been a fan of words and I felt I had a story to share.

2.WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE THING TO DO ON YOUR DOWNTIME?

I love to read, journal, spend time planning surprises for people. But in reality, all my spare time is spent here on The Shimmer Within Her!

3. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE GENRE OF MUSIC?

Ooooh, I’ve written about this many times. I have an eclectic taste in music: jazz, heavy metal, 90s pop, 80s hair metal, classical – it depends where I am and what mood I am in!

4. WOULD YOU RATHER HAVE 3 LEGS OR 3 ARMS? (WEIRD/FUNNY)

Probably 3 arms as I would be able to give great hugs and get loads more done around the house!

5. WHAT IS SOMETHING ON YOUR BUCKET LIST?

I don’t have a bucket list as such – but I have recently written a post about why. You’ll have to wait and see…

1.How many times a day do you look at yourself in the mirror?

Not that many!

2. What is your greatest strength and weakness?

My greatest strength is that I always look for the best in people and my greatest weaknesses are my children – although you could turn both of those answers around!

3. If your were the opposite sex for one day, what would you look like and what would you do?(wierd question)

Tough question! I would look pretty normal I guess, and spend my day trying to understand what it was like being a guy. Not a very interesting answer!

4. Name three things in nature you find most beautiful!

Oh, only 3! The night sky, flowers and a deserted beach.

5. What’s your profession and why did you choose this ? Did you choose this on your own or you have to by fate?

I am a Therapeutic Play Worker in a primary school by day. I have always loved helping others and this way I get to help children’s day s become a little brighter. My role evolved into this with the training that I did. By night I am a blogger whose passions lie in helping others find their smiles too (although I currently make zero money from this!).


Things I need to know about you…

1. If you were an animal, what would you be? (Weird question)

2. What is the nicest thing anyone has ever commented on your blog?

3. If I were to meet you for the first time, what is the first thing I would notice about you?

4. Name 1 thing people do that really gets under your skin and how do you let it go?

5. Name your favourite way to show love towards those closest to you?


I nominate these awesome people…

Katie Kuo

Untamed Wildfire

Comically Quirky

Born Again Minimalist

You’re What You Think All Day Long

Untangled


These awards are both a bit of fun and a way to get to know each other a little better – but more importantly they are a way to promote each other and share the love.

So nominate blogs you love and think we will love too. Help us find those amazing posts you are reading and expand our tribe.

Let’s take the mystery out of blogging!

What Flowers Can Teach us About Authenticity

image

My love of flowers is well documented on my Instagram account.

There’s something so beautiful about a flower when I look at it through a camera lens that I can’t help but smile. I adore having fresh flowers in my home and always wonder at the journey that has taken place to transform a small seed into this array of colour, scent and beauty.

Starting to live a more authentic life can be daunting. It’s about assessing which elements of your life no longer serve you or fit in with who you are becoming. You can feel lonely, even misunderstood or struggle to fit in where you once belonged. You may even encounter resistance from people who don’t want you to change.

But it can also be freeing, colourful and beautiful as you transform into the most beautiful and natural version of yourself. Some may see it as an opportunity to stand out, be different and blossom.

Flowers don’t concern themselves with what every other plant in the garden is doing and they certainly don’t copy or mimic other plants around them. They grow and evolve and become what they were always destined to be. Whatever that may look like. They show up every day, quietly occupying their own space beautifully.

Here are 3 thoughts to keep you motivated and reassure you that any path that takes you closer towards authenticity and being the best version of yourself is one that’s worth walking down.

img_1890

Be who you are. Stand out, grow tall, bloom. Be there as the truest version of yourself, not pretending or trying to be like anyone else. Be extraordinary, whatever your role – be great at it. Put effort into all you do, even if no one is watching. Commend yourself on a job well done and remember to love yourself in all your uniqueness.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Wherever you are – be amazing. Claim your space. Your home, your work, your ideas. Don’t be concerned with what others are doing alongside of you. Focus on you and your little piece of the world. Make it work for you. Make it beautiful, fill it with things that inspire you, make you smile. Surround yourself with like minded people. Find your tribe, people who have great energy, who are great to be around.

 img_1891

Keep growing, always moving closer to your goals. Your journey is unique to you. Don’t be concerned with what anyone else is doing or how they’re doing it. Don’t compare yourself to someone else. Don’t run before you can walk but also don’t focus on the finish line. The learning is in the journey. The path may not be straight and there may be obstacles in the way, but it will be worth it. Change happens slowly and one step at a time. Keep going.

Where in your life can you be as authentic as a flower?

This is a previously published post that has had a little makeover and a lot of love added.