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