It’s been a few years now since I started trips with a tot and I’ve recently hit some exciting milestones! Nearly 14k on Facebook, 60k views on my website in a month and my community group is flourishing. I’ve never been one for numbers but that’s a big shock to me. And I wanted to say thank you!
I absolutely love what I do so much. Trips with a tot means EVERYTHING to me. I live and breathe it.
Trips with a tot is a big part of my life. And I’m starting to realise that a lot of people know about it. That’s cool, weird, exciting and scary all at once! I’m getting recognised in public a lot – which is so weird – but extremely lovely to see real faces of who read my blog, and meeting so many of my readers while I am out and about really makes me smile. All I see when I write these posts is a screen – it’s amazing to see real people telling me they read it! 🙂 Online, too; so many of you email and message me with praise, constructive criticism and support; I am very lucky. I wanted to try and tell you how much I appreciate it. And explain how much it means to me!
Trips with a tot is a HUGE part everything to me. It has become who I am and I can’t imagine living without it. It’s not just a blog to me. It’s what I do, who I am and my life.
It’s hard to admit it, but I’m really proud what I have created. Considering that I had no clue what I was doing when I started, I’ve self taught everything along the way, it could have turned out a lot worse! And I continue to do everything on my own. I’ve never paid a graphic designer or a social media expert or someone to write blog posts. I still do it all myself… and I’m very stubborn about it! But I also love the freedom. I’m my own boss! I love that I’m doing something for myself. I’ve always been fiercely independent. Growing up, I knew that somehow I wanted to do something good but I just didn’t know what. And growing up on a council estate and always been told that I wouldn’t do well, I proved people wrong. For some, a blog might not seem like a huge achievement, but it is to me. It is a big deal and I work really hard. Having been to college, graduating from university, working and providing for myself in London… I’ve never, ever took credit for doing well and always thought bad about myself no matter what. My blog is the one thing I really am truly proud of. That’s just how much it means to me.
But I’m also my own worst enemy! I’m always thinking that I can do better, and constantly get frustrated that things aren’t perfect. I’m always wishing I had more time. I’m taunted with the idea of what I could get done, if I just had more time. I’m always striving to make things better, publish more, build my audience more and create a stronger community. I never settle… I’m always doing something… haha.
I work on my blog all the time. There’s my website and my social media… I consider it all to be part of ‘my blog’. On a normal week, I spend anything upto 50 hours a week writing, publishing, drafting, researching, commenting, responding to emails and messages, planning, creating content, designing, networking. I’ve always made time for it no matter what purely out of love for what I do.
I never started trips with a tot to make it a job or to turn it into a brand, or anything like that. I just wanted to write about what I enjoyed doing with my family even if no one read it. Eric was only 1 and a half at this point, when I created this blog on WordPress. By that point, we had already started to LOVE going out on trips and exploring Sheffield. I wanted to write about it. I never thought that it would turn out to be like this!
My first blog posts are a little embarrassing but looking back I’m so glad I started it. I didn’t know what it would become of and I didn’t even think about it long term, at all, because I just thought it’d be fun to write something about what we were doing and nothing more. I shared the first blog posts to my personal Facebook page. I fell in love with it! Then few months later realised I could have my own Facebook page for my blog… and then it went from there!
I’ve always had a burning passion to explore, go on adventures, day trips, days out and just… go places. The fondest memories I have from being young are going on days out. I remember going to tropical butterfly house on the coach, seeing the Christmas stuff at Meadowhall, days out at Matlock Bath, walks with my mum. Those memories I will have forever. I just always loved seeing things and going to places. From being little, it was something I truly enjoyed… and it’s stayed with me now. It makes me so happy to be doing it with my own kids, looking back at what I did and enjoyed when I was little, now I’m doing it with my own little boys. That’s so nice.
I’m really inspired by society and culture. I studied media and cultural studies at university; it was absolutely fantastic. I’ve always been interested in popular culture, history and how people live. Museums fascinate me and I love going to different places to see what people do, how people live, look at architecture, learn about history, see wildlife and eat at local places. Before me and Ollie had kids, we were always going on European city breaks, cheap holidays, museum trips, tours and days out. I’ve always loved it, but even more so now I have my own kids to enjoy doing it with.
Some people think I’m mad because I never stop going places. I’m always planning the next day trip or overnight stay or holiday before we get back home from the last one. I’ve took Eric on holiday on my own when I was 36 weeks pregnant, I booked a city trip to Birmingham before I was even discharged from hospital after major hip surgery, I book things whilst we are in hotels somewhere else, I’m always doing lists and jotting things down and doing research, any bit of money I have I want to spend on a day out or a holiday, I get a kick out of going to new places… it really is the best thing ever. I don’t have an explanation as to why, and I don’t expect other people to so the same, but that’s just me and what I love. And that’s why I started trips with a tot… to share these interests. I truly love it, and I hope that you, my readers, can see that. I always, always have wanderlust!
When I saw that people were reading what I wrote, I got a real kick from it. I thought, wow, I could write what I know about to help other people… information, guides, lists, hints, tips, reviews… everything! All the research and information I had written down in loads of notebooks around the house for days out and places to go… I released I could write this up and other people might find it useful, too! I was so inspired.
And that’s when I realised I wanted trips with a tot to be not just a personal blog to write reviews and personal experiences, but a resource. When I was doing research trying to find things to do in and around Sheffield for Eric, I couldn’t find a dedicated website or blog. And so that’s what, I decided right then, I wanted to do. I had a vision of creating a website that was free for all, for anyone to access that was both entertaining and useful. I wanted it jam packed full of useful information, guides, reviews, local event guides, tips and tricks, listings, photos, video content… all of it. I knew that’s what I would find incredibly useful, and so I wanted to create that for everyone else.
People always use to say to me, “you go on so many day trips!” and “you know so much!” and “you’re always on the go!” so I knew that I wanted to write about it, not only to have the memories there forever but also to inspire other families.
We’ve never had a car and that’s always been a big part of trips with a tot. Although the majority of my audience drive, it’s always been important for me to share how to get around to places without a car. We do everything on public transport near and far… I want other families who don’t drive to get inspired by that. And for those of you who do drive; if you see what we can do without a car… then surely that should just inspire you even more! 🙂
Once I started to really build my content, learn about SEO, started to write guides, type up reviews of places we had been I realised the stats were increasing. People were really interested in what I had to say, and I wanted to know more about them, too…
So, that was when I started my community group, which is now a backbone of trips with a tot and something I really cherish. The trips with a tot community group was created as a private, safe space where local parents and families of all ages and types could post about what they love doing, what they’ve been doing, and anything they know of what’s going on locally. I couldn’t find something like that when I needed it; so I made it.
My community group is now growing every day with hundreds of membership requests daily and over 10k members. The group is a very active, fun community and it’s really exciting! I love the community group for getting ideas for things to do, reading what my members are up to, seeing the amazing reviews and recommendations, finding hidden gems, seeing all the family photos and reading about fantastic adventures everyones going on. The community group is an amazing resource for finding things to do and making friends locally, both in real life and on Facebook. I absolutely am so grateful to every single one of my members for being part of it. Thank you, everyone, for making it as fantastic as it is!
Around the same time of the start of my group, I really started to invest my time into building my website so it could be the best it could be, to my ability, for all my readers. I self taught how to use WordPress, html, bought my own domain, spent hours doing research to polish up my guides and big bucket lists, started publishing weekly what’s on at the weekend guides, planning trips and days out just to write posts about it, and creating a schedule for my social media. I wanted to do things properly and offer my readers top quality content… and I still want the same now, this is something I’m always striving for.
Throughout it all, I’ve just poured the hours in. I never started trips with a tot to make money, or for a job… and I honestly think that’s why it has got as popular as it is. Money was never the point, I wanted to create a community, a resource, and do what I loved.
People always ask me how I have the time for everything. Lol. The answer is I never sleep! Haha. No, but really. I just make the time. It isn’t a choice for me. It’s like how turning up to work isn’t a choice; you just have to do it. Except I do it because not only do I feel I have to, but because I love it.
Eric wasn’t in nursery until recently, so I’ve always been a ‘stay at home mum’. It’s always been hard to juggle my blog from home as well as looking after Eric all the time. Especially when my blog suddenly became ALL I wanted to do and was like an unpaid full time job! But… I just LOVED it and I loved the sense of creativity. I’ve a background in social media, I did media and culture at university and I’ve always been an internet addict, so I feel like it was my calling.
I’ve always just found time to do my blog no matter what. I’ve spent many a hours writing at night when Eric was asleep, sat next to him in bed. 100’s of hours on social media while he napped in my arms. Many a times I took the computer to bed with us and was up ALL night, breastfeeding him in-between. I’ve took my computer on holidays, to soft plays, had the computer on the kitchen side at the same time as writing dinner… It was never inconvenient… I’ve always LOVED my blog and doing everything there was to do with it.
Eric will probably always remember me being stuck on the MacBook for hours and hours, lol. And now I have a baby, too, it’s no different. I’m currently typing this and Felix is wriggling on my knee. I joke if I could afford it, I would hire a nanny so I could blog more. Haha. I stay up late after both kids are asleep laid in bed with them. I type while Felix is feeding, when Eric is at nursery, on holiday, I’m always on my phone. Yet it’s still not enough time… I always want to do more! Haha. I’ve even done my blog in hospital. I’ve not taken a ‘maternity leave’… there’s no rest for the wicked! Haha. I should probably spend more time with my family than I do on the computer but… shhh.
Let’s be honest, though… it’s not always fun to do my blog all the time. As Eric got older it definitely got trickier to spend as much time on my blog. When he didn’t nap as much so I couldn’t rely on that time… then when he needed more attention allll the time… and after he was 2 years old he was harder to deal with in general. It’s been really hard to find the time, but if you love something, you just find a way. I’ve been able to keep it going through having another baby, having septic arthritis and being in so much pain and going through hip surgery. Because I love it. It makes me happy to do this and so I do it, otherwise I’m miserable.
I do a lot for free, unpaid, and definitely sell myself short many a times… I get criticism, the odd horrible email, I’ve had people slating me off and saying bad things about my blog and telling me I’ll never succeed. But oh well. The positives outweight the negatives by far. And giving up is NEVER going to be an option.
There have been times where I’ve seen other bloggers or websites and thought “why should I bother”? I criticise myself a lot and there’s always a ” I could be better” thought. Sometimes, for the people who stereotype me as a blogger who writes crap and gets everything for free, could see what it’s like from my point of view. It really isn’t like that at all. I work so hard and can’t remember the last time I got a freebie. I don’t do it for freebies, though, so I don’t want to get into that, but you get the point. Bloggers get a lot of bad press. Everyone knows that, and sometimes it is hard for me to try and ignore it. It’s best to try, though, or you just get really discouraged to carry on.
However… I know, deep down that I am doing well… even though it’s hard to admit it. I do have to pitch myself at times, and I’ve never been one to tell myself “well done”. I still can’t believe the response I was getting from my readers, every day, I still am grateful as ever. It makes my day when I see people on facebook talking about my blog, telling others to read it, seeing shares, getting comments on blog posts, seeing people out and about who say they found it because of me, seeing people help each other in the community group. There is nothing better!
I am in shock every time I look at my stats… can’t really believe that amount of people are reading. My audience was growing, the views were skyrocketing and my followers on Facebook getting bigger and bigger. A lot of people know about trips with a tot and I’m very, very proud how far I’ve got. Sometimes I really do feel like I’ve created something successful, and that’s what keeps me going. The pressure is on! But I like it!
When I click “add new post” on my blog and sit writing a list, a weekend roundup ,a review, or about a recent holiday or trip we went on… I love every single minute of it. It makes me so happy to know that people are reading what I love to write. Thank you.
Thank you for being there and listening to the times I’ve opened up about how I’ve felt. Thank you for watching my children grow and reading about our family days out. Thank you for being part of our family. Thank you for caring, being kind and sending your support!
Trips with a tot has taught me so much about myself. I never knew I could be so dedicated to do anything in my life like this. Doing this has really taught me that money isn’t everything. And it’s shown me that it really is worth putting the hours in to do what you love.
I never, ever saw myself as a business person… and still don’t, but it’s now, I can feel that there is something there. I’m building the skills and honestly, I really have surprised myself. It took a huge jump for me to see that what I was doing WAS worthy of it being something more. It took a lot of confidence to start saying to people, no, actually, I have the skills… and trips with a tot is something I am very proud of so I wanted other people to know that it is not something I will risk bad publicity for or sell short. I know that in order for people to take me seriously, and know that my blog is professional, then I have to be professional about it. That’s been really hard and I’m always learning. If I can eventually make this into something big enough to support my family even just a little bit, then I will be SOOOO proud of myself. Definitely a learning curve!!
So… please keep reading and recommending it to everyone you know! 🙂 Trips with a tot will always be free. It’s accessible to everyone, on a computer or a phone. I’ll never charge, ask for subscription fee or have ‘exclusive content’ for a charge. I do this for my readers and as long as they’re reading, I’m creating.
I love sharing what we do with you all. I love being creative, I love sharing useful info to help other people. I love helping people fall in love with Sheffield and encouraging families to go on adventures.
My blog still has a long way to go, and I know that… it is by no means perfect. I make mistakes, I don’t do things 100% right every single time, sometimes my quality of post or writing or pictures is rubbish, sometimes I forget a detail.
Also, I’m not trying to be something I’m not. I’m always honest. I’m not a beauty or lifestyle blogger, I don’t accept gifts for doing reviews, I don’t publish amazing photos on Instagram and I know I am not like a normal ‘blogger’ but I hope you still like what I have created, as much as I do. I hope you enjoy seeing a normal family enjoying life, doing normal things.
Sometimes I get really angry at myself when things aren’t perfect, but… I just hope people appreciate how much time I spend doing this, and know how passionate I truly am. I’m not just sat on my phone writing up some rubbish once a day. I really do care about the content I create, and I promise it will only get better.
I want to thank you so much for being part of this. It means so much to me that I could cry!
My blog honestly keeps me going through all the bad times. As you may know, recently my life changed so much. After I had Felix it all just turned bad with my health and everything. I’ve been so scared, in pain and really hit rock bottom. But my blog… it’s all I’ve wanted to do and without it I probably wouldn’t have been inspired to get up and get out as soon as I have done. I know people are looking out for me and care about my recovery and that really, truly helps.
I’m just bursting with creativity, constantly. It isn’t just stats to me. This is a big deal to me and I hope you can see that.
People ask me what I want to achieve long term with trips with a tot and I don’t have a plan. When I do, you’ll be the first to know! All I know is that I want it to be better and I’ll always be working on it. I’d love to eventually open my own business in the hospitality sector, and incorporate trips with a tot into it… and/or perhaps something community run, a local resource centre or something like that. I’d also love to do more for charity, fundraising and network more… for that I definitely need to work on my confidence!
I have a lot of ideas and things I’d LOVE to do… I’m not sure if they’ll ever be doable. But… if I can do it with your support then, I will try! 😀
Thank you so much for reading, recommending and for being here. I absolutely love it when I get to meet my readers in public so if you ever see me out and about, please say hello. I’m just a normal 28 year old mum of 2, I don’t bite!
It really does help more than you’ll know to recommend my blog, following me on social media, interacting, posting on the community group, messaging me and emailing, telling people you know about it and keep reading it. Please don’t rely on my Facebook page to see my content… most of it is on my website. My website really is the goldmine of it all and the reason why I started. I know Facebook is so much easier to navigate and everyone uses it, but please don’t forget about this right here… and always remember I thank you SO MUCH for reading!
Please share what you get upto on my community group, send me messages, emails… just get in touch. I love hearing from the people who are reading. 🙂
Trips with a tot started in January 2019 as a free WordPress blog. Shortly after, I bought my own domain, tripswithatot.com and created my own Facebook page, Facebook.com/tripswithatot. To go with that came my community group, Instagram and Twitter. Both my website and Facebook page are read by thousands and thousands of local families and continues to be the ONLY dedicated days out Sheffield based blog.
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