Happy 1st birthday to the HPL!

Thank you to my gorgeous friend Giavanna who baked – baked! – this cake herself and for the candle and accompanying red wine 🙂

Dear readers,

The HPL is very happy because we are 1 year old today. Yes, on 15 October 2009 I began this blog with a fairly crap post imaginately entitled “Hello London” and the rest is history.

So what has happened in this year and how has my life changed by following the HPL rules?

Well, its been a tough year. A very sad break-up (which, with his blessing, I will write about in due course), moving jobs and losing good friends to the land of marriage and babies and life outside London. I have written about the confusion I’ve felt as an unmarried 30-something in my post about The Free Decade and how rubbish it is to read articles about our dimishing fertility here.

But its also been a really positive year. I have started appreciating the beauty of London’s architecture and parks. I’ve started liking Londoners a lot more, and can hardly believe all the fun and interesting things to do and places to go right on my doorstep. I’m definitely making the most of life here now, getting more into films and music especially. I know myself better. My relationships with my friends have improved and I appreciate them more I think, I call people more rather than texting and I’m closer to my mum than I have ever been *waves*. I think I’m a bit kinder. And things have happened recently which have made me excited about what lies ahead for me in the future.

I decided early on to write with a certain persona – to only write upbeat, enthusiastic and positive articles which would try to inspire and encourage. Those that know me know that I’m actually a grumpy cynic at times, but forcing myself not to criticise and to concentrate on the positive has defintiely rubbed off on the way I see life. The process of writing has also given me confidence – as a shy extrovert it has allowed me to express myself and stop caring so much what people think. And I think I’m finally growing up – I enjoy my job and am finally happy for my life to slow down a little.

And I seriously have gained 5 pounds since I started – all that eating out and burgers and trying new restos had to go somewhere. I don’t really mind though (am channelling Joan in Mad Men).

An unexpected pleasure in all this is that I’m really enjoying being part of London’s blogging community *waves*. From the start, I had encouraging words from Luiz from The London Foodie, Krista from Londonelicious, Matt from How To Get A Grip and Jason Cobb from the Onionbagblog. And since, I have developed virtual friendships with other bloggers and readers like Stephanie Sadler from the Little London ObservationistSteve Slack, Alex Moore from Rosa’s and Hayley Cull from Slow London. And I have made real-life friendships too – Caroline from Caroline No, Uyen from Fernandez & Leluu and Ute from Hungry in London. I have really enjoyed meeting these funny, feisty and eloquent women for food and gossip and its great to find people with so much in common.

And my stats (I know bloggers love stats)? Well, in my first month I had 732 hits (mostly my mother) and last month I got just under 10,000 hits which I think is pretty good in my first year. I have 82 email subscribers *waves* but then I ALWAYS seem to go back to 79 so not sure who I’m annoying and why. They are mostly women which reflects what I write, but I’m hoping to have some manly guest posts from men in the next year. I have 343 fans on the Facebook page and796 people follow me on twitter. At times, the fact that ANYONE reads this blog, let alone people I’ve never even MET, scares me a little. And sometimes I feel pressure to post stuff when I don’t feel particularly upbeat. But for me the key is to write the blog as if its still only my mother who reads it, be true to myself and not try to impress anyone. And develop a slightly thicker skin when I lose a follower or a fan.

So, if you’re still reading, thank you very much for doing so and I hope at times this blog has inspired you to try something new, or think about happiness a bit, or appreciate London a little more. I’ve noticed that my friends have become a little influenced by the blog – they’ve been trying new places and reporting back – so I hope the love has spread your way a little bit too.

Thanks for sticking with me this year and I promise the terrible twos will be just as fun.

Sasha @ The Happiness Project London

PS. As a little birthday gift to you, I thought I’d reveal the “after” photo of the awesome cartwheel I did on that lovely beach. As you can see, appearances are deceptive. It was actually quite crap. Enjoy!

26 responses to “Happy 1st birthday to the HPL!

  1. “Channelling Joan from Mad Men” I love it! Congrats on such a successful year. My blog just turned 1 too – can’t believe I didn’t start doing this earlier – so much fun.

    • Thank you lovely and thanks for all the great comments over the year. I agree with you how much fun it is although sometimes when I’ve a million and one things to do and stressing that I havent posted for ages, I think – why am I doing this again? But then the feeling when you write something you like or that inspires you when you write is brilliant. I will have a wee read of your blog later today too 🙂

      Sasha xx

  2. Happy Birthday!
    Your project is yet another example of how blogging is so much more than just kids sat in their bedrooms, talking to other kids. It sounds like it’s really changed your life. Of course, you’ve been on quite a journey yourself in the last year as well, so congrats on that too.
    What a great way to figure out what happiness means to you.
    We all love reading your blog, so keep up the good work! … Steve x

  3. Congratulations you little gorgeous glimmer of inspiration! I really do value reading your thoughts and insights and hope that I can translate it into my life and the people I come across.

    Maybe you could write a whole entry in hip hop lyrics. That would be AMAZING.

  4. Happy Birthday! I always enjoy reading your blog and it seems to have been quite a year for you, keep up the good and very inspirational work! xx

  5. Happy birthday. I have only just found your blog – it’s lovely and so are you. Here’s to the next year.

  6. Congratulations Sasha! I love your blog and your writing, your blog is really inspirational and it’s been a refreshing addition to the community. I hope to be able to finally meet you soon!

    Luiz @ The London Foodie

  7. *waves back* Happy birthday lovely! Congratulations and here’s to many more years of cake and happiness x

  8. Hi Sasha
    This is the first time I have ever read your blog and I really enjoyed it. Thank you! One of the things I enjoyed the most was your humility and honesty. I’ve been reading blogs lately about similar subjects relating to happiness being happy and frankly there are times when I’ve felt a little overwhelmed by all the gung- ho jolly hockey sticks ness. How nice to see a picture of a cake with a candle and read an honest account of your year doing the happiness project.
    Edge McP

    • Oh this is too much *sniff* – how very lovely of you. Yes I’m a heart on my sleeve kind of gal and I can’t write any other way. I’m really pleased you enjoy it 🙂 Just had a quick look at your blog and saw you looking extremely foxy in a bikini! Will have another look later on – will perhaps convince me to lose those burger pounds! Thanks again, Sasha xx

  9. Happy Birthday HPL! Love the cartwheel fail! It is actually impossible to go to a beach without attempting a cartwheel, failing, then having to sit down feeling all discombobulated, isn’t it?

    Love the blog, agree with so many things you’ve said, especially the ‘trying to keep the writing upbeat’ thing. That’s what I do and it works for me, too.

    I’ve been blogging a similar amount of time and it has had all the positive outcomes you mentioned, too. It’s just bloody great, isn’t it?

    Anyway, let’s do something again soon!


    (And channeling Joan, pfft. You are a wee waif of a lass. Although your red dress was quite Joan.)

    • Discombobulated *scratches head* *gives up*

      Thank you for the lovely message – and yes nice to meet someone who appreciates the whole wierd blogging world the same. It takes up loads of time and doesnt pay anything, but it gives you a really positive, fun outlook on life.

      Would love to do something soon – I’m off to Argentina but when I’m back lets DIARISE!!!
      Sasha xxx

      PS Thanks for calling me a wee waif, thats lovely, and yes I’m loving my red dress 🙂

  10. Have a brilliant time in Argentina, can’t tell you how jealous I am. Yep, when you get back. 🙂 xx

  11. Pingback: My interview for the Slow Guide to london – “Happy Birthday happiness” | The Happiness Project London

  12. Congratulations!! this is a lovely post (as always) and keep on the good and happy work! I’ve just returned from NY and am terribly jet lagged so I can’t think of anything more inspirational to say, but you are clearly one of my favourite blogs around. I am very flattered to be mentioned 🙂 and hope to see you soon! Ute x

    • Thank you! And yes it was written when we were supposed to be meeting up – annoying cold!!! I’m off to Argie on Thurs but lets meet when I’m back (week 8th Nov) – I really appreciate your lovely comments and think we will be very good wine/food buddies 🙂 Very jealous of your trip to NY! Sasha x

  13. happy, happy birthday indeed – and thanks for sharing your own 31 flavours with the world…i particularly love the truth-telling of the wonky (but still wonderful) cartwheel!

  14. Just came across this blog from the GoingGoingBike blog where they listed a load of blogs they love. Enjoyed reading through your posts and I’m now an RSS subscriber 🙂

    Always good to discover new London blogs. My one is about cycling in London and called London Cyclist.

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