First of all, I want to thank each and every one of you for your readership and support for the past nine years. It feels like a long time since I’ve started this blog, and I can’t believe it that I’m heading into my tenth year of blogging. Truly, this is the first time I can sustain an interest for so long. Hah! 😉
Round-up of 2017
2017 was an important year for us as we’ve travelled quite a bit and spent lots of beautiful family times together. Here’s a quick round-up of 2017:
➡ Dec: We spent 3 days at the gorgeous 5-star Montigo Resorts in Nongsa and 10 days in Bangkok + Chiangmai (will blog about it soon).
➡ Nov: We visited the Sand & Sandals Desaru Resort and Spa, visited Batam for the first time (why are we so slow? LOL) and stayed at Radisson Golf and Convention Center. We also staycated at the new YOTEL Singapore to celebrate the end of SA2. We’re so glad to be invited to review the Business Suite at Grand Mercure Singapore Roxy.
➡ Sep: This was Edison’s birthday month and we celebrated his big day with a fantastic staycation at The Fullerton Hotel and Holiday Inn Singapore Atrium. We’re delighted to be invited to stay at the new Park Hotel Farrer Park
➡ Aug: We checked-out the Premier Suite at D’Resort Downtown East – the integrated water theme park that we’ve always loved.
➡ Jun: During the mid-year school holiday, we made a trip to Ipoh to visit my parents. We stayed 4 nights at the beautiful Haven Resort Hotel Ipoh. I highly recommend this 5-star resort if you’re visiting Ipoh. For all Bintan lovers out there, you’ll be excited to know that The Haven Bintan Hotel and Resort is coming up soon.
➡ Feb: I attended Park Bogum Fan Meeting in Singapore, this was a very memorable event for me as it’s my first time (also paid >$200 for a Cat A ticket!).
We’re very thankful to be invited for some of these hotel stays (sponsored stays are clearly marked as such in the disclosure clause). However, we paid for the vast majority of our trips, tours and hotel stays. There’s nothing here that my family and I don’t absolutely love. I choose not to blog about it if I don’t like it – mainly because I don’t like writing negative reviews.
What’s coming up in 2018?
Sometime mid of last year, I’ve decided to stop accepting paid advertorials. I’ve personally made it a goal to slow down in blogging. Even though blogging pays well, it actually tires me A LOT – both physically and mentally – especially when I have to juggle a full-time job and taking care of my family.
Most of the times, the projects have tight deadline. To those of you who don’t blog, it may look easy to earn money from blogging. But the truth is – it’s A LOT of hard works. I always aim to give my best for every project that I take. Therefore, a lot of time was put into trying the products, taking pictures of them, editing the photos, researching about them, and writing them in a style that connects with the readers / users.
At one point, I was so frustrated and totally burnt-out to a point where I hate my blog. Yes, it’s true! I even thought of deleting it completely. 😥 Then, V came and asked me “Do you need money from blogging?” and I replied “No”.
“Then, why do you sacrifice your sleep to blog? Just stop it!” I was enlighten that very night. 😊
Honestly, I feel VERY HAPPY now that I’m no longer rushing for deadlines and I’m blogging truly out of my passion. It’s like “back to the basics” when I first started this blog 9 years ago. In these years, I’ve experienced a lot of things. The first time when someone sent me a free product for review, I was so happy. Then, I got my first sponsored overseas trip and I was totally excited. I started making money through blogging and I also joined several blog competitions.
After all these, I’m now back to the basics. How irony, isn’t it? I want to slow down and write only things I like. I no longer look at my blog statistics. I no longer feel envious when I see other bloggers going on sponsored trips. Deep down, I know it’s not easy accepting freebies because there’s a lot more we need to give for the barter trade.
You may still be seeing advertisements and affiliate links on this blog, I’ll try to minimize it (I promise!). I don’t earn a lot from them – less than $100 a month, to be honest. This is just enough for my blog maintenance and coffee addiction lol. If you’re not aware, blog hosting doesn’t come cheap especially if you want a fast and reliable hosting company.
Above all, I’ll always be reminded to blog responsibly. If I’m sponsored, I’ll be upfront about it and let you evaluate it for yourselves. That way, I hope you won’t think less of me. Even though I don’t consider myself as an influencer, but still I’m mindful that there may be people out there who read my blog and spend their hard-earned money on it.
So, this 2018, I’ll slow down in life, travel a little more with my family, blog more passionately and responsibly. Let’s toast to a happy and healthy blog at Our Little Smarties! 😀