Happy Birthday Rhyme & Ribbons!

A year ago I started blogging. I think my first post received 2 views and no comments. And while there are bloggers out there who have been writing for years upon years, I still want to take time to celebrate what is an important milestone to me personally.  That means (with the exception of 2 days this summer whilst in the midst of a visa meltdown) I have blogged every weekday for an entire year.




my blog turns 1
Dress: Topshop boutique (similar here.) Lipstick: Chanel Rough Allure in Pirate.

This spectacular dress was one of my 2012 Christmas presents from Sam. I am also grateful that he has such good taste.


When I started Rhyme & Ribbons I could never have fathomed just how much work I was going to end up putting into it. Nor could I have predicted that there would have been so much growth without a single penny spent in sponsorship. I thought my readership would extend to Sam, my best friend and my mom- not loving, loyal readers on every continent bar Antarctica! 

my blog turns 1

My numero uno blog supporter. 
I’ve become dedicated to blogging in a way that far outstrips any other hobby I have ever had. (Maybe cynically- it’s because I’ve never had a hobby that’s made me money before, eh?) But also and most importantly, blogging helped me find a community of my own when I felt I was becoming a hanger-on in Sam’s world. When I first started blogging, I had just graduated from my MA program and my student visa was about to expire. I had to return to America, not work, and just hope for the best visa news possible. When I returned to the UK I was lonely- most friends I met at drama school where now in different parts of the country; I was, once again, jobless and very afraid of being relegated to the box of only being “Sam’s girlfriend”.  It’s hard to put into words pricelessly how blogging helped me out of that mindset but it gave me something of my own to work with and towards. 

my blog turns 1

I’d like to be a princess every day, not just on special occasions. 
Additionally blogging has helped me continue to learn and develop new skill sets. Thanks to Rhyme & Ribbons I have:

  • Learnt very basic HTML skills
  • Improved my photography
  • Acquired some knowledge of SEO and why it’s important
  • Tried a new recipe every week
  • Interacted with strangers every day in a positive manner
  • Pushed myself to continue to learn and do
my blog turns 1
Any excuse to drink champagne.

Now that I have a lot more going on in my life than when I first started blogging I have been able to find balance successfully (most days). In the following ways:

Staying on Top of Things– I respond to every comment and email sent my way, and I’ve found that doing that daily instead of putting it off till later actually saves time in the long run. Also, one of the reasons I blog is the interaction with other people, so why would I postpone my responses?
Getting Organized– I have a binder and a notebook that are solely devoted to blogging. Future posts ideas, what I need to do for which sponsor and by when, what I need to do for which advertiser/Etsy shop, etc. You’d be surprised how much time being organized saves.
Having an Editorial Calendar– I might not have every post for the month written in advance but I have penciled in what I want to write about each day. And then I brainstorm 2 or 3 extra posts a month just in case I change my mind! 
Writing in Advance– I try to have all my posts nearly ready over the weekend for the next week. So that way all I have to do in the morning is tweak them a little bit and then hit publish. I also use Buffer to queue up my tweets for the day.

my blog turns 1

I’ll be forever grateful for the opportunities and friendships that blogging has given me. May it continue for many, many more years. 

my blog turns 1
What first brought you to this space? Have you celebrated any blogging milestones?


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  • Happy, happy blogaversary! May you have many more.

    I LOVE your crown!!

    • Haha thank you! I love having any and all party hats around for the silliest opportunity. I still have the crowns from our Christmas crackers this year too… just in case… x

  • Happy 1 year! I very much relate to the idea that our blogs give us our own little space and outlet that often is lacking in expat life and while I cannot remember what brought me here the first time I have been a reader ever since!

    • I found you through one of the expat diary link ups long ago! I think most people are emotionally invested in their blogs, at least a little bit- but being an expat made R&R one of the most consistent things in my life this year, which is why it’s extra special to me. I get really precious about it! x

  • Happy one year! These photos are adorable! I first found your space when I moved to Iceland and was looking for other expat blogs to read to see how they dealt with being in a new country. I agree with you on so many of these points, at a point in my life where I felt like I had not much of my own and was just labeled the girlfriend it has been so rewarding in to many ways to make the connections I have from my blog.

    • I am glad so many other expats can agree. It’s nice to know that you aren’t alone in feeling that way! Thank you so much and have a lovely weekend! xx

  • Happy Blog Birthday lovely!! It is has been wonderful to read your story and connect with you! Here’s to more adventures in blogging!!

    • Thank you so much Belinda! I am so glad that yours was one of the first expat blogs I started reading. Have a wonderful weekend! x

  • Happy, happy birthday!

  • Happy Blog birthday! Mine is almost one too, and I agree with everything you say, I feel like we were in such similar situations, and blogging helped me be my own person again I think. I honestly can’t remember how I found you, but I’m so glad I did πŸ™‚

    • Thank you! Obviously I love Sam, but it’s just so refreshing to make connections and do things that aren’t related to him at all! (In the most non-selfish way possible). x

  • Happy blogiversary! I am so amazed at your dedication and growth! Really glad we got paired in SME and I came across your blog!

    • I feel the exact same way about you and your blog! I love seeing how Deecoded has changed along the way- even since the summer! x

  • Happy blogversary Amanda . Your crown looks AWESOME <3 πŸ˜‰

  • Congrats on your 1st birthday, and all the milestones you’ve hit along the way. Love reading your blog πŸ™‚
    Claire | somewhere… beyond the sea

    • Thank you so much for reading and commenting! It would have been a whole different experience otherwise! x

  • Amanda, congratulations!! I am so excited for you (and impressed that you’ve blogged everyday for a year–I bow down to you :). Love the things you’ve learned. I also am so glad that I’ve been able to connect with such lovely like minded souls. Can’t wait to see how your blog evolves this year!

    • It just became a hobby that I felt so passionate about that I loved writing every day! Thank you! I’m so glad that I found your because it has everything; from stunning photography to delicious food! x

  • Happy blog birthday!! I agree that blogging helps us improve skills and learn about new things. Also I love the sense of community that comes with blogging. I can`t remember how or when I found your blog but I`m glad I did. Plus I love your crown, wouldn’t we all love to be a princess every day!

  • Yay! FΓ©licitations! One year is a big deal. πŸ™‚

    • Thank you so much! I hope you and Beau have a lovely weekend!I really enjoyed getting to read a bit about Miami! x

  • Happy Blogday. πŸ™‚ Many congrats to you. I feel the same way about blogging…it’s really become a much loved hobby, probably my favourite of all. The opportunities that I have received from it are priceless. The best part of it all…sitting at my computer in Trinidad and making friends with people all over the world. You have a beautiful space here, it is a pleasure to visit. xo

  • Congrats on your one year of blogging! Wow how your blog has grown! I might be a little jealous of your success. I’m not jealous that you started blogging though. I’m so glad you did! Thanks to you blogging, I was able to “meet” you in a way, and I’m so glad you did! Andrew knows that England is a place I *have* visit when he gets an airline job (and his airline benefits) so that I can come visit you. πŸ™‚ I look forward to continuing to read your blog daily (excluding weekends, that is).

    • Alex you were definitely my first “blog friend” and I have NO idea how I found you now! Ugh! What a bad memory! But also I talk about you so regularly that Sam knows exactly who I mean when I say “Oh Alex saw _______ movie” etc, etc. It’s kind of surreal that I consider you a friend even though we’ve never met in real life. (Ha, I hope this isn’t a very elaborate friendship catfish!) Plus I am 100% confident that we will actually hang out in real life one day since Sam has family in Toronto and I am always bugging you to come to England. xxx

      • I laughed at the catfish comment because Andrew, literally asked me last night, “What if you’re being catfished?” I was like, “Pfft. There’s no way. Would someone put that much effort into a blog, Instagram pictures and emails just to catfish someone?” He said yes. Maybe I’m more trusting than he is.

        Also, get BBM so we can take our friendship to the next level πŸ˜‰ And by next level, I mean I can pester you by sending you BBM’s (text messages over data/wifi instead of paying ridiculous texting charges).

        • That would be the most ridiculous, crazy, involved catfish ever, right? Ha! I am not even sure I’d be angry if I found out that you were secretly an 80 year old man- I think I’d be so damn impressed at your skills that I’d be mystified!

          I’m about to show how stupid I am about BBM- is it still only for blackberries? Or can you get a BBM app for iphones now? Because I would love to be able to text you xx

          • Hahaha, well, the good news is, I’m definitely not an 80 year old man. I’m an 85 year old man! Kidding!

            It used to only be for Blackberries! Now the app is available for all Android and iPhone devices. πŸ™‚

  • Congrats on one whole year of blogging!! You really have taken this hobby seriously, and it’s paid off for you! I definitely consider blogging to be a very good part of my life–and I’m glad it’s brought such joy to you, too! πŸ™‚ And writing posts in advance is one of my favorite strategies!

    • Thank you so much for your lovely words Rachel! It took me awhile to get into the knack of writing ahead of time but once I did, everything fell into place balance wise! I hope you have a great weekend! x

  • Yaaah!! First of all CONGRATULATIONS! You are an incredibly successful blogger.. having only been blogging for ONE year and having kept up with it consistently.. and having as many followers as you do. My goodness you are an inspiration. Second- how CUTE are you two!? Dressing up and really, really celebrating. It IS an occasion to celebrate and I’m so happy to see that Sam is right there beside you snapping very nice pictures of you along the way. I love your blog.. I think it’s you that I love the most. You’re quite honestly one of the nicest bloggers, the most genuine and I feel like you actually care about my comments and really think before you reply back. I like that the most about you. I also come back because I love reading your new supper recipes, I love seeing through your eyes where you get to live.. and I also love smiling at the gremlin and the childish things you will do when costume is involved. You don’t care .. you just enjoy life .. and that’s nice to see!! Keep it up girlie.. You’re doing amazing.

    • Dear Haley, this comment made me chuckle, smile and feel emotional during different points whilst reading it. It seems so blah and cliche to say- thanks I appreciate it so much!- but I really, really do. I always look forward to reading your comments and our daily exchanges. You and Alex (Let Life Be like…) are the two lovely ladies that I am so grateful keep coming back day after day because I feel as though we are truly friends (how cheesy is that! And also both Canadian!). Anyways, before this gets any weirder: to summarise- thank you so much. Comments like this make all the dedication to blogging worthwhile and such blogging relationships are exactly the reason that makes the blogging community so rewarding to me. xxx

      • I consider you a friend as well. I hope that one day our paths cross… and you just never know. Rob and I were just discussing the places in the world that we HAVE TO visit and London made it to the list..! One day good friend, one day!

        And please know that you are more than welcome to visit us on the island too! We would love to have you. πŸ™‚

        • You’re obviously going to visit one day! I insist! I’d love to go to that side of Canada- it’s gorgeous! x

  • HAPPY (blog) BIRTHDAY!!!

    • Thank you so much Nicole! It means a lot to have your warm wishes as Treasure Tromp is one of my daily reads! x

  • Selini

    Happy birthday! Happy & many many posts! πŸ™‚

    • Thank you so much! I loved my Cara Box, by the way- it was amazing! I’m going to send you an email as soon as I get a chance!!!! x

  • Happy blog birthday! I was just telling C this morning how I also feel that blogging has been the most time consuming hobby I’ve ever had, but that I love how it pushes me creatively and has taught me to be more mindful (mindful of my time, also).

    • Thank you Rachel! I am very glad we are of alike minds on the issue for blogging. It’s very creatively rewarding for what it is! x

  • happy blogiversary! isn’t it amazing how much we can all get into this weird but awesome blogging world? I need to be better about having an editorial calendar and staying organized more this year!

    • Thank you so much Jackie! I’m so glad that I found your blog because I usually leave it feeling so inspired! A calendar has really helped me, but I am one of those people who has to make lists, etc! x

  • Lauren Doxey

    congratulations on a year!

  • Happy Blogiversary! I celebrated mine at the beginning of January. I think I found you through a link-up, not sure which one. To many more posts!

    • Thanks so much Kerry! I think you’re right in that we found each other through linkups but who knows now. I hope you continue blogging to as many more years as makes you happy. xx

  • amitygardens

    Yay! Happy Blogiversary! I am so glad that you started this blog because I know you!

  • Heather Young

    I’ve “stumbled” onto plenty of blogs, but I keep coming back to yours for your joyful and positive personality. Thanks for letting us be a part of your life.

  • happy blog birthday! I’ve blogged on one form or another for over a decade, but I’ve only been “serious” about it for 6 months or so. love your dress and the crown… and every weekday for a year, HOLY COW.

    • Thank you so much Jamie! It took me 6 months to even remotely understand what I was doing blogging wise and I still feel that I learn so much every day! xx

  • Yay! Happy blog birthday! xo

  • Happy bloggie birthday! I hope I’m doing as well in a year as you are–definitely an inspiration! I need to follow your lead, and start preparing my posts ahead of time instead of writing them while I simultaneously try to entertain my 8-month-old. Something to work on, right?! πŸ™‚

    • Haha, well I have the luxury of not having children around on weekends when I do most of my writing! That’s what impresses me so much about mothers who blog- the amazing multitasking! x

  • Congratulations! What an accomplishment of making your site what it is today in a year! So wonderful! I love reading your posts and I’ll toast to many more years of Rhyme and Ribbons to come πŸ™‚

  • Wow, 5 posts a week for an entire year?? That’s impressive! Congrats and happy (blog) birthday! πŸ™‚

  • Amy @ the tide that left

    Whoop! I can’t believe you’ve written every week day for a year. Strong work πŸ˜‰
    Did you and Sam have a blog birthday party with cake and champers?! That’s amazing!

    • Thank you so much! And yep πŸ˜‰ The best thing I’ve gotten out of blogging though, is finding amazing people like you, Amy, to talk to! x

      • Amy @ the tide that left

        Too blimmin’ smooth, Amanda! Did I tell you I’m back in April for 6 months. I’m going to make sure we meet in London. x

        • Ummm….what??!!! When did this happen?! I can’t wait for it! Let me just pencil you into my diary for those entire 6 months… x

          • Amy @ the tide that left

            I have a big project in the UK (under wraps, but I’l DM you on Twitter) that means I have to come back to Blighty. No excuse not to meet up now! x

  • Wow, 5 posts a week for a year. You’re amazing lady!!

  • I’m a little late in commenting, but Happy Blog Birthday! Love your celebration photos! And it’s seriously impressive how much you’ve written and how much your blog has grown in a year. Congrats! πŸ™‚

    • Thanks so much Allison! I feel so lucky that I get to read your blog, and follow your completely unique, interesting journey! x

  • Kathrynne Johnson

    Happy Blog Birthday Amanda! I’m still struggling to blog once a week, but I really enjoy it when I do. I can’t remember what first brought me to your blog, but I’m glad I did!

  • mark a.

    a very happy birthday to your blog! may it have many more!