We asked blogger and Hotter shoe fan Ellen Arnison to tell us why she started blogging and her dreams of being an author, here she explains all...
Five years ago I started writing my blog "In a bun dance" about the same time I gave up commuting and became a freelancer. I thought that, in the absence of a water cooler, it would entertain and divert me during the day.

With the first tentative posts, I had no idea that my humble blog would have quite such a remarkable effect on almost every aspect of my life.

At first, after years of writing to journalistic formulas it was liberating to say what I liked. Then I realised that blogging about things completely crystalised my thoughts.

Before long, I was talking confidently - and feeling more confident - about being a mother, a cook, a feminist and journalist, as well as the things I loved or hated. Topics I imagined I would write on, such as cooking or our new garage conversion, quickly became boring as I realised what I really cared about.

I also began to review products that were genuinely relevant to my life. Being the proud owner of a pair of sturdy but very wide feet, Hotter shoes were among them.

And then, I noticed that people were reading what I'd written and seemed to be enjoying it. Over the years my words had appeared in lots of publications and, logically, been read by tens of thousands of people, however, nothing was quite so satisfying as the fraction of that number seeking out my blog. It's an amazing confidence boost when total strangers care what you say.
Gradually some of those strangers became more familiar and some turned into friends. Whatever your blogging specialism, there's a community - or tribe - that will welcome you with open arms. Mine were the wonderful women of Britmums. Now I've met many of them and my life is richer for knowing them.

These new friends have been invaluable in their support whenever anything went wrong. And for a while quite a few things went wrong for me. After my third son was born I had post natal depression which wasn't helped by the unexpected death of my brother. As I was coming to terms with these things, once again I turned to my blog.

I found that if I wrote something positive about each of my three children every day, then gradually I started to look for positive things and, in turn, began to feel more positive about everything. It really was a writing therapy for a while.

My blog has helped me at work too. It has acted as a showcase for my writing, leading to several new work avenues. I now write professionally for several websites as a direct result of my blog.

But perhaps, and the competition is tough, the most remarkable thing my blog has done for me is realise my long-held dream of becoming an author. This came about when I realised exactly how much my blog had done to improve my life and I began to think my experience could help others. I suggested the idea of 'Blogging For Happiness' to a publisher and the rest, as they say, is history!
In a bun dance