My favourite google search is 'men in speedo's' it's a rather disappointing post if you're looking for images, but a popular post and regulary shared. Thankfully my referral sites no longer contain dodgy URL's which means my hits are more organic than previously and Chickenruby on facebook is my biggest referral site. I have no idea what RSS feeds are, PA and DA scores are and how they are obtained, but as I write the blog for me, I really don't care too much about that sort of stuff.
I write on a variety of subjects, life as an expat, pets, gardening, parenting, empty nest syndrome, travel and disability. I don't have a niche, I really don't care for one. I occasionally have the opportunity to write a sponsored post or review products, but I don't go looking for it, too much hard work in my opinion.
So here are my favourite blog posts for 2017:
2017 was a significant year for me, it was the year my father died, I'm still Managing grief after losing a parent as things were over complicated by me being so far away from my home in Dubai, supporting my mother. It was a difficult time for us all and need not have been so emotionally draining had my father got his affair in order before he died, Getting your affairs in order was something Peter and I needed to update and address, especially as we live abroad. That's why sorting out Things to do before you die is such an important post for me to have written.
Travel used to be a luxury for most or involved work, as a child a holiday was a luxury item, as an expat in my 8th year away from the UK, travel has become a necessity, a way of life. I blogged about how my Travel experiences then and now have changed with time and lifestyle.
Quite a few of my blog post cover several headings and parenting often falls into life as an expat also. So you'll quite often find these posts in a couple of tabs on my blog, especially when it comes to writing about our experiences of parenting an adult child with a disability who lives in a care home in the UK. Coping with a disabled adult child and Managing emotions when your child is in care is not an easy task and our move abroad was not an easy decision to make especially when unlike the other children she is unable to come out and visit us. Quality time is spent with her when we visit the UK and Planning a trip with a disabled young adult around their toilet needs gets quite complicated. Also Parenting from abroad is made harder by lack of communication from those looking after our children, of which we've had a different type of experience with our youngest spending the last 4 years of his education in a UK boarding school and we've not been around to support him as much as we could've done.
I've also shared my Parenting highlights of the past 25 years, which are all funny now and involve losing children on a regular basis and how The next generation have taken over now they think that they need to look after me and they now sit me in the back of the car with a supply of sweets and remind me when to use the toilets, this is what happens When your kids spread their wings and gain independence. Some of the things I've come to realise after parenting for quarter of a century are that You don't need to entertain kids 24/7 especially with electronics, so many parents are blogging about how to 'reduce their child's screen time' It makes me sound old, but we managed and Parenting without social media is how I raised my kids, relying on only local support and help with my kids as did generations before us. All these parenting blog posts on helping your kids with various stages in their life in a modern society can cause a 'keeping up with the Jones's' scenario and actually cause parents to think they are failing and why I wrote about How practical is practical parenting advice. Of course it could be said that I'm doing the same thing now, relying on Social Media and writing about my experiences as a parent, but I try to write about what I would've done differently or just the adventures of being a mum to 5 kids was like and of course there are many Things I wish I'd never done as a parent such as baking cakes and making costumes for school as well as joining the dreaded PTA and I do offer one piece of Advice for a new mum and that's to just enjoy your children and not compare them to others as before you know it, they'll have left the nest and you'll be writing reflective pieces on your time as a parent and wondering Are you a good social media role model for your children? as they grow up.
With living abroad and having your children living in different countries, comes a lot of other difficulties as well as those mentioned above. What happens to your Marriage after the kids leave home when it's just you and your spouse living 1000's of miles away from all your family. It may all seem like Fun in the sun, but not if you live in Dubai I can assure you the grass isn't any greener and you'll know that if you've read any of the posts above. Quite often I get bored but I'm learning It's ok to be bored I've had quite a few experiences where I've felt like I'm back in the school playground since we left the UK. I'm a social person and I love spending time with my friends, but it's not always easy as an expat as so many people seem to have an agenda for what makes a good friendship and I can't help but ask Why are women so mean sometimes? In the 4 months I was back in the UK over the summer, I got to know all my mums and my neighbours, I found myself a local pub and coffee shop, something I've not been able to do in Dubai and it's something I can't see to fathom out, why it's so hard making friends abroad?
So that was 2017, not necessarily the posts with the most hits, but the ones that define the year.
Here's hoping 2018 is more positive and less stressful, but I've no doubt it will be just as eventful with child 4's medal parade, child 2 and 2a's wedding, Peter is best man at another wedding and his niece gets married also this year. So a lot more travel to the UK and more memories to be made.