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Blog Future | Looking To The Next Five Years

Where do you see your blog in one year and then in five years?  That was the question proposed by Nablopomo before Christmas back in 2015 and was one that I really struggled answering because I knew deep down what I hoped to achieve but putting it into words was tough. Now, I think I've got it narrowed down albeit three years later. I struggled for a long time with this question because there's this sense that bloggers must only be in it for the free items or as a step to trying to achieve Youtube or online famedom.

There are a huge amount of bloggers these days who decide to follow this trend, however, for me, it's never been about fame or free things. When I started blogging I wanted to blog to have some sense of normality and to have somewhere that I could freely write, build my confidence, make friends and so I didn't feel as isolated in my own little world of autoimmune conditions.

When chronic health issues take their toll it can be hard trying to achieve even the littlest of things, most of the time you're fighting with pain or the side effects of your conditions and medications - because of this I've never been one for uploading a ton of selfies or image after image of myself. Naturally, I'm someone who likes order, I like to stay productive and it had always been my dream to one day earn an income doing what I loved.

Did I ever believe that it would be by blogging? Absolutely not. I just didn't have the confidence to achieve that, over the years I really do believe that blogging has made a far greater difference to me than any prescription medications. 

Over the years my reasons for blogging remained the same deep down but, I did grow in confidence enough to allow myself to alter my own end goal, as I grew I started to believe that I was worthy of achieving what others had and I felt as though I could actually push myself. I no longer worried about being judged in the blogging world, when you become a professional blogger it's easy to fall for the continual quotes that are spouted by many bigger bloggers 'being paid for blogging is bad, getting free items to review is sacrilegious and even contemplating that you work out a way to network yourself in order to feed your family via your blogging work *gasp*' I came to realise that many of the bloggers who kept continually spouting these quotes did, in fact, do them themselves!

The fear was gone, the entrepreneur in me burned and I was ready to make blogging my be all. I went into this knowing that I only wanted to put out features that were fresh, relevant and honest and, if I was paid for that - great. If I wasn't, I'd keep doing it until it felt that I needed to stop. 

My sons got used to mummy blogging, they became proud of mummy writing online and I too became proud to be known as a blogger. Coming out to family and friends as a blogger was exhilarating as I started to feel that I could be me without any judgment - I knew I wanted others to feel this way also. I've e-met so many fantastic people, some disappeared over time, some stayed until I helped promote them or subscribed to their blogs or websites and others have been with me for the long haul.

I appreciate every single one of them in their own ways for what they've brought into my life. In person I'm very chatty, sociable but I can also be quite quiet until I get used to a new situation - it's these quirks that I feel stopped me previously from ever wanting to become 'online famous' but they're not so bad that I'd ever forgo the opportunity to collaborate or work alongside an amazing brand or person even if that meant putting myself out there.  

One Year


Niche 
In one years time from today, I would love to see my blog at the point of having its niche and being known for that niche. I have a feeling it's already starting to find it's niche as many of my emails have said they love my personal stories or they love my candle blog and while I definitely label it a lifestyle blog I do know it's less parenting and family and more personal lifestyle with a twist. That being said I'm still trying to find my unique qualities and with this blog being quite new I think it's going to take some time - I'm definitely trying to write more chatty posts than factual as a lot of bloggers seem to be only writing reviews or press release info in their own words which can become a bit monotonous. I don't want to become monotonous. 

Making Those I Love Proud
I also really want my sons and fiancĂ© to be super proud of this blogs achievements because making them and you guys proud means everything and more to me. If that means taking on lots of appropriate opportunities so I can bring you the best opportunities and features as well as making a nest egg for my sons then so be it. On the back of that dream, of course, that does mean I will need to start bringing in an income - I have a few plans in place and they won't actually impact on the blog per se but will coexist with the blog (more on that later). I want Sweet Elyse to become a fun 'must visit' blog or blogazine - the latter I've been contemplating recently. I've also been considering a few bigger changes but they're just in the idea stage, only time will tell whether I implement them or not. 

Blog Design & Equipment Upgrades
Smaller things are currently in the process such as finding a better camera for more professional images, a better backdrop for photos and I want to tweak the design of the blog to give it more of a professional but visual appeal.  Vlogs, downloads and more relevant blog series are being planned as we speak and I'm currently in the process of creating something useful *winks* without giving too much away I want the blog to become a relevant resource for all. 

Blogger - Brand Relationship
Taking the leap to start a new blog has been the most wonderful thing, it's hard going right back to the start especially when the blogger field is so over saturated but, I really feel now that my blog has become an extension of me. I have passion when I type, I have more people commenting and I've made so many wonderful friends in such a short space of time - I'm truly grateful to each and every one of you for joining me on this journey. 

While I'm right back to the start of my journey I still hope that by this time next year I'll have achieved more recognition especially with PR's and brands - not because I would like free items - but so I can bring you guys the best, honest reviews and competitions. I'd love to build on all relationships so we can continue to grow. 

Five Years


Growth 

I hope to continually add and grow new features to suit your growing needs as well as growing, changing and adapting to trends and seasons as they happen. Expect lots more surveys and fun competitions which will enable me to get to know you guys and your needs as a reader over the next few years. I'd love to see this community grow and to evolve into something super special. 

Collaborating & Designing
I would love to be collaborating, designing or creating a range of home decor items - bedding, cushions, candles, party decor and seasonal products, it's long been a dream of mine as I was a self-confessed 'creative' type prior to blogging and, I still get the urge to make but with no project to sink my teeth into I find myself spending time on blogging and researching. Honestly, I prefer blogging. However, I'd hate to grow old and be someone who wished they'd been more creative when they were younger and that's why I dream of creating something either myself or through a collaboration, I have lots of inspiration and would love, love, love to become a Martha Stewart type of site (homebody style). 

I would love to collaborate with some amazing readers, bloggers, brands and pr's and you never know, maybe my sons will join in as they aspire to become vloggers! You may see some Silver family type collabs coming your way too. 

Books 
I would also love to write a few books or at least be in the process of writing. There are a few genres I'd love to publish in and without going into too much detail one is about home decor and the other is about lifestyle (parenting, home, tips, tricks etc). I would also adore collaborating with my middle son who has already written a few books but they sit unpublished. He's so talented and loves to write short children's books which in all honesty are so beyond his years - I really feel that he will be published one day. If only Cooper got published I'd be a happy woman. 

I hoped to continually grow and develop the blog, creating honest content that you guys find interesting - I hope I get to meet you all one day as well as interacting with you more via social media, blog comments, meetups etc. 

Where would you like to see yourself in one year? and also in five years? I'd love to hear your stories. 

My Experience With Mental Illness | Real Life


Mental health, It's a cunt. You can't control it. It never stops trying to beat you, that's why it's such a difficult condition to beat. More people are talking about their struggles and somewhat normalising it because after all, it's completely normal. While more people are discussing the topic, it's still a hard one to talk about, putting yourself out it is never easy. So, to put myself out there, this is my story. 

I suffered from mental health problems in the past which initially went untreated and eventually lead to me becoming an alcoholic to cope. My doctors gave me anti-depressants to try to control my underlying issues but with limited resources in the NHS I had no coping mechanism and swapped on addiction for another - eventually becoming addicted to the prescription meds that were prescribed to help. At the time I took the meds, religiously even but nothing helped me feel and most days I felt like an empty shell. I realised that alcohol heightened the effects of the medication, so I continued mixing both of them in hope of ''feeling''. 

After years and years of reserving myself to this life, I shook myself and said "This isn't right", doctors do not give a damn, or they are too ignorant to understand your problems. They are so indoctrinated by what they have learnt in their textbooks and only care about their wage. I was told to "up my dosage" 2 years into my "treatment" I did that and then tripled it shortly after to achieve a semblance of "normal".

Realising that upping the dosage was never going to ''cure'' I decided I would cure myself. In the period of me first getting my diagnosis up until that point, I had literally gone to hell and back again. With no other place to go, I decided I would reclaim myself - and with that, my own life. I wanted to live, that was the thing, but the condition was trying it's damned hardest to put a stop to that. The tablets, in my opinion only worsened it. They reduced my fighting mechanism, so when the condition tried to lure me back to hell, I had no fight. This didn't sit well with me. Enough was enough. 

I went cold turkey. 

Cold turkey was six months of living hell. 

Cold turkey was the darkest period of my life, but, I remember it. I lived it. I felt it. And, that alone was more human and real for me than the years previous where I'd feel nothing. 

During the rehab period, I was constantly shivering and couldn't shake that concrete slab, a pit of your stomach, feeling of dread. On many occasions, I thought I was going to die. My father, who is a prison officer, had likened my withdrawals to someone coming off of methadone. That meant nothing to me because I had never done illegal drugs and had nothing to relate it to. It was living hell and I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy. 

You have to remember, this was 6 months of waking up every day wondering if the symptoms would kill me. I had considered the worst several times, but I always thought "Fuck you, I'm more than this. I will spite this, and become a blight on the conditions life if I had to". Being a 20 something alcoholic and depression veteran made me realise how precious life is. Make your mark on life, spite it, survive. That's all life is about. 

In 2012 I became a father and became a worker and am passionate about what I do, after suffering hell on earth. Mental health is not a death sentence - Kick its fucking arse and say "Not today". Seize the moment and aspire to become the best version of you that you can be. 

Having come through this, I understand that every day may feel like a struggle, sometimes things are easy and other times they are hard. Mental health is something that requires constant work, you need to regularly reassess yourself to make sure it's not slowly creeping its way back in and putting yourself first, although hard, is sometimes the best tactic to keeping depression at bay. Believe in yourself. Remember that you set your own limitations in your life, be positive and always have hope. 

The best of you is yet to come, remember that.


Connor