It’s our birthday! Potty Adventures turns one today! What started out as a simple way to digitally document our family adventures has grown beyond all expectation. We simply wanted something for the kids to look back on in years to come; our little corner of the internet, if you will. I wasn’t even sure I ever wanted to publish the little write ups that I was compiling at a rate of knots. I’m so glad I did!
So what have we achieved in our first year of being a blog? Well, I suppose the big one that will stick out is winning the Trespass Outdoor Blog Award in January. It was so unexpected and seemed like official recognition that we were on the right lines. It was all the sweeter because I’d purposely done absolutely no promotion of the awards when the nominations went live. In my eyes, if you need to ask for a nomination you probably don’t deserve one.
The other reason that the award win really struck a chord with me was because the other blogs in my category (all genuinely brilliant, by the way!) were grown up blogs. None of them had a family angle. None of them were about getting kids outdoors and training them up to be the next generation of adventurers and outdoor explorers. Again, I felt vindicated that writing about kids in the great outdoors is genuinely now a topic that people want to engage with.
Winning the award led to lots of opportunities with companies who were now keen to have an award winner using their products. This was obviously great. That said, not all of them were entirely appropriate. I pride myself on Potty Adventures being an adventurous, outdoor family blog. Our niche will never change. Simple. So, when an insurance company (not even an outdoor kit insurance company) approached me to write a piece on…you’ve guessed it…insurance (yes, that adventurous topic that people just can’t get enough of); well, you can imagine my face. Staying true to ourselves as a family is really important to us. So, if you ever see me writing about cheese or whatever feel free to send me some sort of smack in the face GIF.
While the award was some outward recognition of our work, it’s been the actual build up and engagement with followers that has pleased me most. Without going into the boring world of stats, if any of you had told me a year ago that we’d have managed to build up this level of following I’d have had you carted off for testing. Your engagement with our adventures, tips and reviews has been awesome, so thank you. The other thing I love is the regular DMs we get about kit options, campsite choices and even the weather! It demonstrates a level of trust in our knowledge, built up not only from acquiring outdoor qualifications, but also from making years of mistakes and learning from them haha.
Surely, my favourite engagement, however, comes from starting up the Potty Adventures family hiking group. Our monthly walks, where we get together with other families, have put me back in touch with people I’d not seen for years and made me lots of new friends too. I really look forward to our days out and obligatory cafe stop afterwards. As much as I love the solitude of the mountains when I’m out solo, I love the noise of our collective group of kids messing about on our group hikes and walks. We’ve already had some memorable ones (can anyone forget the day of non-stop rain in Snowdonia?) and long may they continue.
Now, to many, this may look like a one-man show. It really isn’t. Our two kids are the stars. Everything we throw in front of them they gobble up and devour. Whether it was Jesse’s first Snowdon ascent or Amelie’s first camping trip being just a couple of months old, they love the outdoors and it shows in the many, many, photos and videos we take. The other star is Nat. She is the yin to my yang. If I’ve overlooked something in planning an adventure you can be sure she hasn’t. Sometimes I truly believe she thinks she’s got three kids not two. But, I think she secretly likes it that way!
Other people to thank for helping us out massively during this first year of blogging include my mum aka the Potty Adventures PA. She helps with the weekly running and checking of things and saves me a hell of a lot of time. And I also want to thank Nige Higgins aka www.diydaddyblog.com who was the first established blogger to reach out to me in my early weeks and months. His advice, as it continues to be, is top notch and shows what a top bloke he is.
Moving forward our second year will hopefully deliver more of the same and then some. Plans are already afoot for our first adult only hike, which will be a lovely way to complement the family hikes we already organise. In the middle of April myself and Ordinance Survey #GetOutside Champion Lauren from www.thehelpfulhiker.com will be joining forces to host a bi-weekly linky for other writers and bloggers to share their outdoor stories and ideas. This will give you, our readers, access to even more great outdoor tips and inspiration all in one place.
We’ll be keeping you up-to-date with our great yearly challenge to hike 1000 miles with our kids raising money for www.ameliamaefoundation.co.uk and embarking on a couple of long distance backpacking hikes over the summer months. I still haven’t got cracking on learning a new outdoor skill yet (I’m still thinking of something water-based that I can eventually share with the kids when I’m proficient enough) but I’m sure I’ll have something in the wings in the near future.
So, all that is left to say is thank you. Thanks for having the faith to follow us when our numbers were low and our content was new. Thanks for liking, commenting and sharing our posts and helping to promote us to your wider circle of friends. As ever, if there’s ever anything you want us to write about, draw attention to or promote on your behalf, just get in touch. Unless it’s cheese. I draw the line at cheese!