Happy 1st birthday, me!

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I googled “happy first birthday”, “1st birthday cupcake” and “it’s my 1st birthday” to find this image.  I don’t know what’s more depressing: the deeply gendered birthday celebrations on offer (if I see one more “birthday princess” reference, I will scream) or the plethora of “Keep calm, it’s ….!” variations which STILL pervade the internet.  Oh my god, society.  That trend is over.  O-V-E-R.  Put down the teatowel, step away from the postcards, and run very fast in the opposite direction from any product which even remotely suggests you keep calm and carry on doing anything, at all, in any capacity.  It was funny for what, five minutes?  Ten years ago?  AAARGH.

On more a positive note, my blog is one year old!  I am on the celebratory champers already, of course.  And I’ve eaten half an Easter egg for breakfast/elevenses, partly because birthdays require chocolate, and partly because . . . well, it was there.  (I am remarkably restrained when it comes to Eater eggs, in a binge-eating sort of way.  I sit there looking at it for three weeks and then I scoff it in one go.  I have a problem).  And partly to soak up the booze*.

In the interests of self-examination, I thought I’d take a look at what I wrote about over this past year.  So here is a brief summary (NB some posts sit in two categories):

Cycling: 10 posts

Travelling: 10 posts

Feminism: 9 posts

London: 7 posts

Plus two randoms. So, relatively well-balanced, not least since London was a tacked-on extra (because I cannot avoid my love for this city).  Happily, I’m now part of the writing team for LO:PA, an exciting new online magazine which twins London and Paris.  So future London posts will be kept to a minimum (and sent LO:PA’s way instead), leaving me to focus this blog on my three main, original areas of interest.

Although the first few months of Bells & Whistles were patchy at best (oops), my New Year’s resolution was to post once a week in 2015 and so far, I’ve managed to keep it.  I’ve not yet come across another blog which tackles the three seemingly unrelated subjects of cycling, feminism and travel, and yet I find it surprisingly easy to wax lyrical on all three.  I try to keep a balance of light-hearted posts and the heavier stuff, but even when dealing with weighty subjects, my aim is to make them relateable and not offputting.  Feminism is such a loaded word in this day and age, so it remains my goal to normalise it as much as I possibly can.  Equally cycling can be something of a closed shop, and my aim all along has been to open it up to the masses – particularly women – who think they might be keen but are put off by the testosterone-fuelled, Lycra-clad images that currently abound.  Cycling is still viewed as either a sport or a lifestyle (and a primarily male one at that) but I embrace it as an optional extra to my existing life, and I want to make others aware of my approach, which generally seems to work.  My blog may only be small but I hope it encourages other ladies who share my exercise-wary, luggage-toting, nice-shoe-wearing, alcohol-swilling, danger-avoiding attitude to take to the road on two wheels.

If you think I’m managing all of this, do let me know – equally, if you’re reading purely out of loyalty and reckon I miss the mark every time, I’d be grateful for that feedback just as much.  I’m always learning.  Aren’t we all?

* I’m not really drinking champagne at 1pm on a Tuesday, obviously.  I am hard at work at my day job, I’ll have you know.

(I’m on the gin instead)

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