Posts Tagged ‘being a blogger’

Introducing my #BML16 Sponsor!

Introducing my BML16 sponsor title image

So just weeks after having the privilege of reviewing their rather dashing Stuart Point rugby top

I’m absolutely delighted to announce Lucas Frank as my #BML16 sponsor.  In case, you’ve missed my previous post, Brit Mums Live is the UK’s biggest blog event of the year!

Now, it could just be the overall growing excitement at the thought of spending a weekend hearing inspiring blogging stories, learning essential blog success tips and meeting some of my blog heroines not to mention hanging out with my awesome blogging besties…

It may just be the thought of spending some me-myself-and-I quality time (despite being blessed with three easy well-behaved kids, if I say so myself, I’m still glad to be getting some kids-free time before the onslaught of Maltese heat/11 plus weeks of school holidays/swimming lessons three times a week)…

It might simply be the happiness of being back in my beloved home town, London, and spending time with really good friends the second half of my six day trip…

Or it may just be the giddying fact that I am about to attend my first ever blog event.

But as I sit here writing this on the aeroplane, waiting for my flight to depart (one hour delay and counting by the way) to take me to #BML16

and the Brilliance in Blogging Awards (in which I’m up for a Best Writer award along with four other finalists, which you can read about here), I’m having to stifle the urge to do a happy dance.  Because I genuinely consider myself ridiculously lucky to do what I love and love what I do.  Launching Absolutely Prabulous has enabled me to indulge my passion for writing, put a few pennies in the mummy piggy bank and work with some fab brands that fit with my family’s and my lifestyle.

And this leads me on to my #BML16 sponsor.  For Lucas Frank is exactly such a brand.

This company’s products and ethos really have resonated with me. Their boys’ clothing range is right up my street.  As I said in my review, I often struggle to find clothes that I like for Dreamy D. My daughters’ wardrobes are infinitely better stocked but finding things for D that a) fit his rather small slim frame b) look good and c) don’t break the bank cost-wise, hasn’t always been easy.  I was so happy (and more importantly my son was) with the top we received from the LF guys and I’ve already picked out other items in their range that I love. It’s no over zealous compliment when I say I fell over with excitement when they contacted me a while back to work with them.

I freely admit, I’ve had the biggest smile on my face since Linden and his team confirmed they’d sponsor my #BML16 attendance.  As the daughter of two people who worked relentlessly and tirelessly to grow a grocery store business (in the face of burgeoning supermarket chains) for over fifteen years, I am passionate about supporting newer retail businesses making their mark, if they offer a product line I can put my faith in.  It’s such a thrill and honour to be supported by – and lend my endorsement to – the Lucas Frank clothing line (which you can purchase from here by the way).

Finally, over to the LF chaps themselves, to see what they have to say:

Once upon a time, in a hospital maternity ward far, far away – well, right here in Yorkshire actually – a boy by the name of Lucas Frank was born. He didn’t know it yet but he was soon to become the inspiration of a brand new clothing company. As his parents carried their little bundle of joy home from the maternity ward, they decided right there and then, this little chap deserved the best – of everything.

Much like Lucas, your little man deserves the best too. Designed and created in England, using a 100% renewable manufacturing process with 100% organic cotton, you can be sure that what you are buying is the best. With a mark of quality along every seam, we believe that the small things – like our Lucas – really count.

With polos, tees, hoodies and rugby wear via Britain’s greatest sartorial talent, the Lucas Frank site offers something for every little man. We know what style-conscious parents are looking for – and we’re always ahead of the game when it comes to trends. Love, care and attention goes into each and every stitch of the clothes you’ll see here on the site. And we have the very same focus behind the scenes, too.

Looking for stand-out kids’ fashion? You’ve just found it.

So there you go!

Look out for my mentions across my social media, of Lucas Frank Boys’ Clothing

over the next few days while I’m doing my thang at Brit Mums Live.

And thanks again to Lucas Frank, you lovely lot, for sponsoring me!

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Blog Stars: The First Edition!

The number of blogs you come across as a blogger…  It’s stupendous.  

Fact is there are absolutely loads that I’m aware of but it just takes me an age to get round to reading them or they get lost among the numbers on Twitter.  Life gets in the way.  I’ll see blog names pop up on ‘xyz linky is live’ tweets and think Ooh I must go check them out.  And with the best will in the world, just don’t get round to it.  Kids get in the way.

Over recent months I’ve seen myself being described as a supportive blogger

(thank you Five Little Doves), someone who shares the blog love (so says Life Love Dirty Dishes) and as being a ‘massive part of the community’ by Right Royal Mother (athough I have a feeling she may have meant prosecco-swilling rather than blogging community .  No I’m not preening or bragging; I actually find it mind boggling that I have fooled so many people 🙂  Truth is, I don’t feel like I do anywhere near enough to support my fellow bloggers!  I do share posts on social media when I can, I do try to get round to reading blogs – a necessity if one is a regular passenger on the linky train – but I feel I don’t read anywhere near enough.  I honestly would love to do more but…  The kitchen, the laundry, the kids’ days off school, the everything, gets in the way.

Where am I going with this?

Basically, I’ve decided to start a new feature, Blog Stars to give back to this ridiculously amazing community I belong to in this great place called the blogosphere.

Blog Stars title in pink on faded image of a laptop

Blogging has given a huge piece of me back to myself (which you can read about in my guest post for Mum Muddling Through’s Meet the Members series) and I’ve long wanted to do something constructive to give back to blogging, so to speak.  However, I often find myself totally overwhelmed with trying to write regularly, load up my Facebook, tweet away on le Twitter, produce guest posts for others, pursue monetisation opportunities etc etc, oh and erm be a mum to my three kids from time to time, that the actual reading of other people’s blogs takes a backseat, despite how much I enjoy reading them.  I’m going to lay my cards on the table now and admit that I often don’t get round to reading linky posts in time.  I either read a few on time or end up binge reading the following week.  It’s not ideal.  In fact, it’s not good, period.

And there has been guilt.

Lots of guilt.

So in honour of the fab linkies I join (sorry about the rubbish layout, I’ll try to sort it out for next time):

and the awesome posts I discover through other sources, I thought I’d do a regular round up of my favourite posts from around the blogosphere.  I’ve not yet decided if this will be weekly or monthly, so watch this space.  Also, as I don’t necessarily come across posts the very month they’ve been published there’ll be a mixture of recent and not so recent posts and I won’t necessarily showcase 20 each time. Finally, all blogs are listed alphabetically.

Now, there is one thing I’d like YOU to do!  

If you’re one of my Blog Stars – or indeed a blogger who reads this and enjoys it – can I ask you to retweet this post with the hashtag #BlogStars?  Cheers Big Ears.

Right, here are my favourite 20 posts for the first ever Blog Stars:

Caring in the Chaos Ending a Friendship

This is a thought-provoking and to be honest quite melancholy post about the loss of friendship, or more particularly that moment when you realise that a particular friendship doesn’t serve you well anymore.  It’s one of those posts about something you might not think of that often but it really resonates now you find yourself reading about it.

Five Little Doves For Lewis on Your 12th Birthday

Five Little Doves was recently ‘nominated’ for a not a dry eye in the house award by Single Mum Speaks in her post about the upcoming blog awards.  If you’ve read any of Laura’s posts you’ll see why she got this nomination. Every post I’ve read of hers stirs great emotion in me. I could actually pick ten posts for this post right here!  But I’ll go with this beautiful tribute to her son on his 12th birthday.  Kleenex please.

Island Living Thank You Letter

Oh my goodness, how do I talk about Emma’s blog?  To be honest, as with Laura’s blog, I could literally choose any one of her posts for a Blog Stars round up, she’s that damned good.  Island Living was one of my blog discoveries in the first ever Life in the Prab Lane of recent months, and this gratitude post about what blogging has done/means for her shows you why I chose her.  “Uprooting the girls and taking them away from their family.  Leaving the house I loved and where I brought Youngest home as a newborn baby. Closing the door on the play room where Oldest and I sat at the table as I helped her learn to write.”  Sob!  More Kleenex purleeeeeese.

Just Saying Mum But mum is there wifi?

Every once in a while a blogger comes along and from the first post you read, that’s it:  #InstantBlogLove.  Then you comment on their post, they respond and you just hit it off immediately.  That’s what happened when I read Helen for the first time; her post about ageing cracked me up and had me nodding in agreement.  This one about her kids’ obsessive attempts to ‘stay connected’ via their smartphones whilst on holiday is an utter hoot and the whole handbag analogy is so so clever.  Did you ever read my Blog Geek post?  Yep…number 7… Just saying. (See what I did there?)

Life Love and Dirty Dishes DIY Before Kids and After Kids

If you read me regularly or follow me on Facebook, you’d need to be living all alone on top of a very high mountain in a different galaxy not to know how much I adore Claire’s blog.  She is just very very good at what she does: hilarious, always-on-the-nail posts about parenting and domesticity.  I read this a few weeks ago and I still chuckle thinking of the Fleur-de-Bastard-Lis line but heaven help me, the line about her normal clothing vs DIY gear and her husband’s reaction. On. The. Floor.

Mess and Merlot 40 Before 40

I love this girl.  Charlie has such an affable ‘air’ about her in her writing that oozes infectiousness (is that even a word?).  This is as the name suggests a list of forty things Charlie would love to do before she turns 40 and there really are some goodun’s on here.  And of course, there are a few giggles.

Mr and Mrs T Plus Three Humanity

So, it was the usual busy morning.  I was trying to do four things at the same time  – dishes, laundry, tweets and writing – and failing miserably at all of them as per usual.  I’m not very good at reading posts that come up in my Twitter feed there and then; I have a nasty habit of liking them thinking I’ll come back to them later.  Good luck with that Prabs.  Then Amy’s post whizzed by in my feed… As it threatened to disappear further down the screen, superseded by others, I hauled it back and read it then and there.  I’m so glad I did.  So sad I did.  Floored.  Amy describes an incident that happened, something that could SO easily happen to all of us, which made her question her sense of humanity and think about her behaviour.  I fought back tears reading it and it has stayed with me. The issue she raises is something I’ve often thought myself and frankly, there is no easy answer or outcome in situations like this.

Mum Muddling Through Lost Property

This is one of the most clever posts I’ve seen in a while.  I love it when a blogger takes a much-covered topic and does their own unique take on it.  In this case, it’s the enormous change parenthood brings to a person’s life and the aspects of our ‘former’ life that no longer exist once kids come along.  So far so done.  We’ve seen so many posts on it right?  But Sarah’s very funny spin on this familiar topic is too good.  Honestly, it’s so spot on.  And the ending is fab.

Mum Revised 25 Crafts Using Kale

There are no words to describe how much I snorted at this post. NO WORDS!  Along with Mum Muddling Through’s and Just Saying Mum’s posts, this has got to be one of the most clever I’ve read in a while. If you’ve never read Kristin’s blog, oh my…she is funny as hell.  (I’m proud to say she has featured in my #OopsFiles guest series with this corker.)  Not only is she funny but funny in an amazingly intelligent way.    “…I came up with some ideas to keep kale in our lives without having to ingest it” is just one of the snort-inducing lines in this post.   By the time I got to the end with the brilliant “When this reporter asked the Tempura family why they just didn’t stop serving kale” and its hilarious punchline – which you’ll have to click on the linked post to read cos I ain’t no spoiler meanie – I could barely breathe from laughing.

Not Just the Three of Us Keeping Calm and Going Camping

Oh how many ways did I love thee, oh fab post that converted me about camping?  It’s always a pleasure to discover a new blogger for the first time and go Ooh I like her/him! Any reluctant or first time campers out there need to read this as Nicky is a self-confessed neat freak who isn’t (or wasn’t) the camping type at all…  Yet camping she did go.  And love it she did!  Her writing style is absolutely my cup of tea and I was in the palm of her hand with lines like “The camp would be sorted…with our combined strength, we would make Bear Grylls look like Barbie” and “a face full of rain awaited the first person to unzip the tent as they glimpsed the dark sky of the new day”.  And if this doesn’t make you want to go camping by the end of the post, NOTHING WILL!

Queen of My Castle I Love My Babies, Now I’m Learning to Love My Body

What’s not to love about this?  I had pootled around a bit on this chikita’s blog a little bit before but this is the post that grabbed my attention and put her on my radar.  A wonderful post about what childbirth does to our bodies containing hits-the-nail-on-the-head lines such as “Bizarrely, even though we know that our lives will never be the same again once we have had a baby, we expect our bodies go back to the way they were.”  So true!  As I said when I picked it as one of my #passthesauce favourites, Queenie wrote about the changing body of a woman post-birth in such a gentle, intelligent and relatable way, I couldn’t help love her. There was something about this post, layers of tenderness and a woman’s inner thoughts captured in one very endearing post.  Queen of my Castle was also one of my blog discoveries mentioned here in the blog section.

Reflections from Me We’re So Lucky to Have Curves

An extremely insightful clever perspective on the female body image issue, analysing recent comments by Kate Winslet about the female body’s curves vs other shapes.  This post put such an interesting (and in my opinion accurate and astute) perspective forward that really got me thinking.  I honestly had never thought of it this way and Mackenzie really does make some excellent points for those of us raising kids, but especially girls.  Bravo that woman!

Rhyming with Wine Why Would Someone Knit a Boob Anyway

Seriously, where do I even start with this?  The whole thing is ace from start to finish.  If you haven’t discovered Dawn’s blog yet, boy have you been missing out or what?  Basically, her posts are all, yep, poems.  Clever, insightful, often hilarious, amazingly penned (well alright typed) creations.  This is possibly my favourite out of the ones I’ve read so far (and it was one of my #passthesauce linky picks I co-hosted with Agent Spitback) but I do need to binge read her back catalogue really.  It is oh so funny whilst managing to cover so much about breastfeeding, all within the space of a poem which by rights ‘should’ be more limiting than standard prose.  Yet she pulls it off like a flipping pro; just like she always does.

Sarah and Louise Stop Licking the Car

I’ve only just discovered this blog and I have to say this post about fussy eaters is blooming brilliant (and relatable).  So many good lines in it including “Why is it that snot gets tongue swiped from the top lip without hesitation but a delicious fish pie would be elbow swiped off the table?”  Why indeed!  And “the pressure of the 5 a day rule looms over our heads like a giant hand ready to slap us round the back of the head at the end of the day if the figures don’t add up”.  Let’s face it, the idea of smearing butternut squash across the car window as a strategy for getting our little blighters, I mean cherubs, to eat one of their vital veg requirements is not only hilarious but actually slightly genius!

Someone’s Mum Teaching, A Break up Letter

Danielle is such an amazing writer whose posts on teaching and the unbearable pressure it places on teacher and student alike, not to mention its impact on teachers who have families, are just heartbreaking and beautiful at the same time.  This was the saddest yet in some ways the most uplifting of posts; sad that she was pushed to the point of leaving but uplifting that she is at peace with her decision and the reason she made it.  I really wish her well.

Hot Pink Wellingtons Things I’ve Learned From Six Months of Blogging

Ah this is a great little post from Katie.  It’s so easy to breeze past posts like this once you’ve been blogging for some two and a half years as I have but the human curiosity factor made me click on this and I’m glad I did.  Such a lovely honest post about what blogging has done for her and number 5!  Yes sod having a niche!  When I think of how much I’ve wsated agonising over this, pah!

Mess, Stress and Fancy Dress Things My Children Never Need to Know

Helen is one of my absolute favourite bloggers.  There are very few people who can make me laugh as much as this fat blond Kardashian (don’t look at me like that, those are HER WORDS!!).  She is the fab writer who provided the brilliant first guest post of the #OopsFiles series which still makes me laugh just thinking about it.  The post featured here does what it says on the tin, as the saying goes, and is typical Helen.  Number 6 had me nodding.  I mean, it used to be you went to uni a) to get s***faced and b) get a degree (half joking). Now you go a) to get a degree and b) to die bankrupt. Pffft.

Pink Pear Bear No I Can’t Just!

Oh my good grief I was almost exhausted by the time I got to the end of this; exhausted in a good way because it’s a great post.  Louise (who has also featured as #OopsFiles 9 with a hilarious nudity and spiders post!) writes about the very very many things she/most of us do in our roles as mothers/partners/chief bottle washers/taxi drivers etc.  You get the picture.  It’s incredible how we don’t even realise it half the time (although as a self-confessed lazy bum who was the only mother who sent in shop bought cup cakes instead of baking them with her kid as part of a homework project recently, I can’t claim to doing everything in this post!).  I just loved the title and honestly had visions of Louise hitting her hubby with the nearest kitchen utensil if he dared ask if she could just…!

R is for Hoppit Toddler Art

I keep using the word clever in this round up.  But it’s impossible to talk about Silly Mummy’s blog without using that adjective.  Simply one of the funniest, cerebral mum bloggers around.  This post had me in absolute fits as Silly Mummy takes you through the various forms of art expressionism all carried by one rather clever toddler.

This Mum’s Life Being Scouted

Even though when it comes down to it, the main subject matter of weight gain in this post is no laughing matter at all, the fact is this made me guffaw.  This blogger is one of my hands down faves as she never fails to make me absolutely howl with laughter.  I do feel her pain in this hilarious tale but I’m sorry, the mental images I had following the porch description, Tena Lady comment, the “smallest voice ever” and “resting bitch face” lines…Heaven help me…my sides hurt.  I was torn between crying my eyes out with laughter  and being horrified at the behaviour of the ‘scouter’.

So that’s it, the first ever Blog Stars.  I’m soooo glad to have finally got round to doing this.  See you again!

PS I realise I’ve used the word love rather a lot in this post.  It was entirely justified.  I thank you.

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What Happened When This Mummy Blogger Took a Break!

So I’m baaaaaack from that mummy blogger break. (You know, the one where I still managed to sneakily read other bloggers’ posts when the kids weren’t looking and didn’t exactly do a great job of getting off the Twitter train.)

I thought I’d bring you up to speed on what I got up to the last ten days of the school holidays. How can I rant about that for the #effitfriday linky that I’m co-hosting this week, you wonder? Oh but I can, believe me… Impressive huh? Just say yes and make a blogger happy.

1) I watched my babies eat ice cream by the bucket load and drink milkshakes by the gallon.
I’m telling you, I can’t keep my kids in enough gelato. We have a looooong hot hot hot Summer here. You say ‘Junk Food. I say ‘Vital cooling mechanism.’ Let’s face it, there are two things that every kid has a right to: homemade chocolate cake and damned good ice cream. I’m rather good at the first one and I know just where to take them for the latter (sadly my own ice cream machine is useless).  Now please let me sing you a song from my home country so you can leave some coins to donate to my ice cream fund.

 

While my babies watched their mum drink a LOT of iced coffee.
You think I jest? I almost single-handedly caused a coffee shortage in Malta and they couldn’t pick the replacement beans fast enough back in Brazil. And no I’m not showing you all the iced coffees I had.

 

2) Almost seven years after buying our house, I finally bought some plants!
You’d think I’d given each of my kids an iPhone judging from the squeals of delight and excited gawping at the plants and flowers and pleas to buy a lemon tree. Seriously people, this was the only thing we did on that particular day.  Yep, I took my kids to a blooming garden centre (wow that pun just fell from my fingers all by its clever little self) and yet they were so excited and couldn’t wait to get back home and help me pot these babies.

school-holiday-rant-plants

What could I possibly have to rant about? Well obviously the fact that everything cost twice the amount it would in the UK which still pains me all these years after moving here but hey ho, nothing you can do about that. No, the peeving thing was how I had great service and advice from the staff (because believe me the only horticultural thing I know is that plants have leaves and flowers have petals and I can kill either very flipping quickly)…great service that is up to the minute it was closing time. Then Mrs oh so helpful Jekyll turned into Miss you must leave immediately Hyde and almost kicked us out the door.

3) I’ve had the longest saga in sun glasses shopping history. You say #FirstWorldProblems…
I say when you live somewhere with a yearly average of 300 days of sunshine, this merits a rant! Long story long: I tried to spend my birthday money on replacing my five year old faithfuls and went to seven different stores in London before making a Ralph Lauren panic purchase at the airport minutes before my flight closed (you should have seen those poor kids running with me, and by with me I mean behind me, to the gate) only to get back to Malta and discover they had a defect (the glasses, not the kids). Last week what should happen? I walked into a shop here and found THE pair. Figures. There they were looking at me seductively from the middle column calling my name. I looked in their direction and thought You belong to me and I belong to you. I tried them on and that was that. They were perfect..a different shape from the Jackie O style I’ve worn for years, a gorgeous tortoise shell colour making a change from my usual black and they fitted perfectly instead of sliding down my face like the damned Ralph ones ended up doing. Even better, they covered half my face. Yes I’m perfectly aware it looks like the glasses are wearing me instead of the other way round but frankly, when your face is falling apart at an alarming rate because you’re not exactly 21 anymore, that is good!

sunglasses

Yep even sunglasses this big can’t mask my neglected eyebrows and middle-aged train wreck hair.

So what’s the problem? Sunglass hut never emailed back to confirm if they would refund the money on the faulty glasses which Hubster is willing to return to them on his next business trip…so they have just sat in a box for the last two months and I don’t know if I’ve wasted my money on a useless pair. I have been wearing an equally large  – but nowhere near as good quality  – pair as the ones in this pic, the last few weeks. And the sunglasses that are a match made in heaven are in fact not protective enough for the strong sun here and fade half way down the lens which causes eye strain. Back. To. Square. One. Then I walked back to my car only to find this guy wearing them. Unreal.

lemon-guy

Told you it was worth ranting about!

 

4) And what on earth happened to the blockbuster summer?
Apart from the fact we’re a big movie loving family, I depend on cinemas in the summer for their air conditioning ha ha. There were just TWO kids’ films appropriate for my lot the entire holidays: Minions and Inside Out. Minions irritated me and I thought I’d love the second as its all about feelings etc (and I am ALL about feelings etc) but it bored me rigid. What can I say? I think I’m becoming a grumpy old woman. That left only two other kids’ films: Jurassic World and Pixels. Jurassic had a 13 ting so no go. So I waited weeks for Pixels only to find out it was a PG (I’ve never taken my kids to PG rated films as I think five year old K is still too young) but went the day it came out I was that frickin desperate to do something not involving sand. You’d think I’d given each of my kids an iPad (it’s my blog and I can recycle one of my own jokes if I want to) the way they nearly fell over with delight when I surprised them with this.

I have to say, uninterested as I am in the whole video/computer game culture (I could have cried when my kids were given a Wii because I’m such a back to basics mother) I honestly thought this film was one of the best family films I’ve seen in years.

Seriously, most adult comedies don’t even have scripts this good (okay it’s a bit redundant if you’ve not seen the film but I promise you’ll find these funny if you see it):

Well if it isn’t Zac Efron, Gandalf and Harry Potter all in one room.

Just when you think Adam sandler is typecast and so over, he surprises you (well ok he is typecast but whatever).

Now if you could leave the room so that those of us with long pants and government positions can get on with their job….

I love the actor Brian Cox (he scares the shit out of me but I love him).

My dad left my mum for his 19 year old pilates instructor called Sinnamon with an ‘s’ which pretty much tells you all you need to know about her. My mum says she’s going to develop a slut-seeking missile to take her out.

I think my kids missed the word slut. I’m praying my kids missed the word slut. They caught the other saltier words though. Despite being quite active in the potty mouth department myself, I did think it was an avoidable shame that there was a bit of bad language in it but ya know…. #YouWinSomeYouLoseSome

5) At last I got round to using the Zara birthday vouchers from my Sliema sexies and co, one week before they expired!
Yep, totally chuffed with the gorge blanket-like shawl, smart casual cream skirt, edgy smart jumper etc but… I found the most perfect summer shoes, the kind I’ve wanted for ages (wow for someone who n-e-v-e-r goes shopping I’m starting to sound like a shopping whore) only for them to not fit properly.  And I stupidly didn’t get the top I’m wearing in this pic all because I had one of those dumb “I don’t need this” moments. Even Cheeky K saying “I think you should try this top with those trousers mummy because it will look nice on you” didn’t sway me. Doofus. Me, not her.

zara-clothing

 

6) I took ten days off yet my house is no cleaner.
I just don’t know how I tidy but it gets no better.

school-holiday-rant

You know what? Funny as this meme is, it’s not the kids that mess the house up that much. It’s their mummy that’s the problem and she could never keep a tidy house before she had kids!

7) I did manage a mega clothing sort and clear out.
Where is all this clothing I’ve sorted? Yep, umpteen bags in my lounge tripping me up cos nobody at the 3 charity places I’ve called is picking up. #Pfffft.

 

8) And basically enjoyed this little rock we live on.

mummy-blogger-break-mini-collage

We caught crabs (for goodness sake, no not that kind), swam, took mama-baby selfies, swam…you get the picture… All in all, a nice little break with my kiddos.

No, they’re not real rants BUT today really is a 100% first class humdinger of an #effitfriday because…

…it’s the last day of the school holidays!

Soooo not ready for school to start… and I’m already dreading this in ten months’ time…

#PassTheGin.

Linking these posts to the following:

 

Life with Baby Kicks

 

Friday Frolics
Modern Dad Pages

Taking a Short Blogging Break To Be a Wife and Mum!

taking-a-break

 

So somehow, (I honestly have no idea how) we’ve only got two weeks left of the holidays  before the kids go back to school. It seems like just yesterday I was trying to get over the end of the school year with my spoof First Case of Exhausted Mother Reported and getting ready to go the UK for three weeks.

It’s been a rather spiffing Summer from the point of view of the blog. The school mum post did really well on my own site and it was super exciting seeing it do well on social media. I then got on to the Huffington Post with it which ended up being even more fab than I expected and then again with 10 Ways To Tell Kids About Sex. It’s been a fun busy time riding the Twitter train meeting some amazing bloggers and having hilarious conversations with some of my Twitter BFFs and building relationships. And of course, as many people know, two other posts, the one about my marriage and the one about Malta caused quite a ‘storm’ and gave me an eventful time on the blog! And it would have been rude not to write about it so I did in The Good, The Bad and the WTF of Blogging.

But during all this time, much as I love blogging, two key things have been rather neglected: my kids and my house.

The kids have been so amazing as per usual playing all day while I work, hardly ever asking for anything and being perfectly happy to spend entire days at home! They’ve not been enrolled in any summer activities and have been perfectly happy with that.

I’ve made ice lollies only once:

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I can count on one hand how many times I’ve taken them to the beach:

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I’ve managed to sit down and play a board game with them once and have barely made it through a single film without getting sidetracked by twitter or getting up to go do a job.

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I’m a stay at home mum and frankly I’m not sure where the holidays have gone or what I’ve done apart from drag my heels around the house moaning about the heat and taking 4 showers a day… #StayAtHomeBum

Meanwhile the house is disappearing under I don’t know how much dust and the storage/clear out projects are piling up and yada yada yada. I’ve just about kept up on laundry:

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Yet I seem to manage this just fine:

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Anyway, so I need a bit  of blogging break to be a wife and mum:

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Priorities shmiorities. Fear not. Shan’t be gone for long. And I’ll be back with a funny little piece for ya.

See you soon!

 

Modern Dad Pages

The Good, The Bad and The WTF of Blogging. THIS Is Why I Write!

 

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Why-I-write-heading-1We all want feedback on a post that we worked hard on. We love it when you share something we’ve written (you want to share it more than once?…please go ahead!) and we could cyber hug you when you comment on our social media pages etc. Running a blog is time-consuming and labour-intensive for oh so many reasons that I won’t bore you with (but you can bet any blogger reading this is nodding their head hard in agreement).

Basically, it is a very rare writer who only wants to be read by themselves and their Aunt Pam (or Parminder in my case, hey hey) before their painstakingly crafted words disappear into an abyss.

So when those words evoke a tidal wave of good will, kind wishes and raw emotion from people who totally get what you’re saying, it is truly gratifying and makes it all worth it. But when your words are misinterpreted and attract mean unpleasant remarks and aggressive behaviour (even if it’s only from the minority), it’s very disappointing. Nobody likes being misunderstood or attacked (even if only by the minority).

Well, if I ever realised the power of the written word, it was during what I will forever refer to as THAT week, when all that (and more) happened. I started off THAT week making many people cry after I wrote about my marriage. I managed to end it causing controversy with something I wrote about my adopted country, Malta.

Yep. Go me. And I could not have predicted any of it!

Basically, I came up with The Anniversary Card I Never Thought I’d Write because one of my blogging besties asked me to write a relationship piece, with no warning (when he had ample opportunity to give me more time and no he WON’T be getting a Christmas gift…men!). I was a total stress ball trying to write it because I hate working under pressure and didn’t like the way it was coming out (blah blah) because I didn’t feel it was flowing right (blah blah) and the angle wasn’t right (triple blah). I even messaged him at one point (okay…maybe more than once) moaning about how I was just coming off looking like an ungrateful complaining princess who had no idea how good she had it. Blah blaaaah.

I know. I get it. It’s not like I was aiming for the Pulitzer Prize or anything but I’m a wordy girl and dang it, how much do I hate it when the words just feel wrong? A lot. That’s how much.

On top of that, I cancelled my yoga class plans (#FirstWorldProblems), ignored mounting laundry and neglected my kids to write it, thinking it was being published on his site, only to nearly die of mortification when I realised this deeply personal ‘badly written’ piece was going on my site. (I told you…men…they don’t communicate properly and they give you daft deadlines!) On top of it all, I dropped a plank of wood on my foot trying to unearth our box of wedding albums to find an appropriate picture that I could then format, photoshop etc with just minutes to go before the deadline (and has that man asked me how my foot is? As if…)

Why-I-write-heading-2Nobody called me a moaning Minnie. Nobody lectured me on how good I had it. Nobody judged me. Nobody saw me as husband bashing (thank Heavens).

Quite the opposite…

– I received messages from strangers thanking me for helping them feel less alone in their marriage and saying they cried from start to finish.

– I noticed women on various facebook forums saying they saw their own marriage crystallized before them in words.

– People told me they read the post/emailed it to their partners and it prompted them having a talk about their own future.

– Comments poured in to my website wishing me well and literally everyone related. Go figure!

– My husband read it, said

Ouch…but it’s factual, well written, gutsy and honest…well done babe”

and shared it!! I swear, if the tables were turned, I’m not sure that would have been my response. I fell in love with him a bit more for that. (And yes, he only saw it after it was published.)

– My mum read it…and cried… I felt so bad.

– Bloggers shared it on their social media pages saying they had read it several times.

– Words such as ‘brave’, ‘powerful’ and ‘honest’ flew about with amazing regularity.

You get the picture.

Why-I-write-heading-3To be honest, I wasn’t trying be anything (apart from on time with my blog post). In short, there was an outpouring of emotion (sometimes from ‘surprise quarters’ such as a relative I’d not heard from in years messaging me to applaud me and so on). And as I said, I didn’t expect any of it. A good (heck a downright amazing) side of blogging.

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Why-I-write-heading-4a series run by Moderndadpages and Lifewithbabykicks. Now, I have lived in Malta for close to ten years. After talking about the good points of living in Malta on many occasions, I felt it was time to write a piece on the less positive aspects of the country called Dear Malta You’re Breaking My Heart.

I took pains to point out that there is no perfect country in the world and said we’ve never regretted our decision to leave the UK. The article was in no way an attempt to attack Malta or to tell its people what to do from some ‘self-appointed position of expat superiority’ or to claim that my birth country is any better. It was merely a lament on the increasing lack of common courtesy and positive societal values I’m witnessing here. It is because I love Malta that I care enough to write about her, which thankfully was in fact recognised by many local people.

I started writing at 2am, finished at 5am by the time I’d sourced images etc, got four hours’ sleep, got up to link it to the blog series and pop it on my Facebook page/personal wall too (cursing myself because of course I thought of several other points I should have mentioned). Then I went back to bed for a couple of hours.

When I woke up and looked at my Facebook page and site: Oh my word. (Or should that be Oh my words… I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.)

Why-I-write-heading-5From what I could see, people were mainly agreeing with me left, right and centre but heated debates were breaking out across social media forums and lengthy conversations were taking place on people’s personal walls.

Several friends messaged me to say “Lady, you’re brave”. That word again…I was a bit mystified and wondered what I had done to be called brave.

I can’t possibly repeat on here all the comments from people echoing my sentiment, some of them who have just arrived in Malta, some who have lived here for years, some who left as a result of similar experiences and many of them Maltese born permanent nationals themselves. You can read the comments under the post of course. Suffice to say, I was taken aback at how many chimed in with stories of their own not exactly positive experiences here.

Many Maltese people thanked me for ‘speaking out’ saying that they feel the same frustrations, hoped the negative treatment had not put me off staying and apologised on behalf of their compatriots. Someone made a point about how the people who declare their patriotism the loudest often do nothing to look after the country they are so proud of and harm its reputation instead. Someone else said: empty vessels make the most noise. Great phrase!

Why-I-write-heading-6Later that day a friend messaged to tell me she’d noticed the post had been shared to a ‘certain community page’. At the risk of incurring any further wrath, I’ll just leave it at that. She said “Get ready Honey”. Hmmmm…what does that mean? I thought. Go fix my hair? Put on a nice dress? Then she said “Shit’s gonna hit the fan”. Ah righto, forget the dress. Full body armour then.

Another blogger noticed a well known online magazine in Malta issued a counter article the same day to balance all those “nasty and bad things we [Maltese] do”. Quelle coincidence…

By now, it was 10pm Friday night and frankly after several late nights on the blog, I needed down time. I switched off the computer and some time later went to bed.

I woke up the next day to a surreal situation.

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Why-I-write-heading-7Now, hand on heart, I still genuinely believe that I was measured and on the ‘calmer’ side of emotional throughout the post. Even though I wrote it for a ‘rant’ series, in truth, I hardly ‘ranted’ and was in fact restrained leaving out quite a few negative points (something that many readers also noticed). Had it been an angry rant, I would not have used ‘breaking my heart’ in the title. I could/would have used something like ‘pissing me off’.

Alas, there were those who somehow missed the point and went on the attack, making such awful narrow-minded comments that they validated my very article with every word they wrote. (This was not lost on others who congratulated the bigots for making my point for me!)

The negative barrage included (amongst other things):

– being harangued on Twitter by someone calling me a bully because I hadn’t published his comments (when I’d simply not seen them yet). It was plain strange how many people didn’t realise I have a house/family to tend to and have to step away from my computer to do that.

– being criticised for authorising peoples’ comments which were seen as attacking Malta (so I should censor?) but then accused of not authorising comments which were attacking me (wait, so I shouldn’t censor?).
I actually authorised every single comment, in the interests of freedom of speech, even when those comments were hostile and mannerless towards me.

– being berated by someone for not publishing their comment and then berated even more once I did publish it and then getting a ‘bonus’ torrent of sarcasm and spite about my mental health, debating skills, strength of character, other blog posts etc! Priceless. The pity was that some of the points this person made about Malta were valid but it was useless even trying to reply to someone who was ill-mannered and clearly hellbent on just picking a fight over e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g including the name of my website!

– being lectured on “my country’s” colonisation of various countries (the irony of which was not lost on me as my country of birth colonised my country of origin so nope, I don’t run around waving a flag about what a great job Britain did there).

– being given a ‘lesson’ on various topics that were totally irrelevant to my post, including Sharia Law (it was like writing about the health risks of junk food only for someone to go off about Mercedes engine part prices).

– being told the experiences I had mentioned are rare occurrences (have these people had a camera following me around the last ten years?).

– being at the receiving end of the gold-standard finger pointing at other countries’ problems (as if that negates the need to do anything about the problems right here).

– and of course, receiving the classic “if you don’t like it leave”, as if this is the cure-all for a country’s problems rather than maturely appreciating there is room for improvement and that it is not shameful to admit this. The comical thing is that several Maltese people said they’ve also been told to go home leaving them wondering where they are meant to go as they thought they were already home!

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Why-I-write-heading-8To date the overwhelming majority of people who have read the post understood my overall intention. Many readers stressed that just because there ARE many good sides to living in Malta, that does not mean the island’s people should be opposed to an improvement of the bad sides and go on the attack when they’re are mentioned.

Most heartwarming of all, 90% of my new followers over the next week were Maltese people. What an encouraging sign! I’m not the UN. I’m just a one woman blog but that is still a sign, however small, that many nationals do recognise what needs to change and don’t behave like petulant children when a non-Maltese person highlights these aspects.

Why-I-write-heading-9Now, I never expected so many people to publicly identify with what I was saying and actually come to my defense in front of those who clearly did not.

I never expected friends and bloggers to check in to see how I was weathering the storm.

I definitely did not expect so many private messages and so much good will from rational well meaning people saying they felt embarrassed by my treatment at the hands of certain others.

I didn’t think strangers would find me on Twitter to tell me I had done the right thing.

We’re all driven by different things. Some of us are blessed to find something we enjoy doing or at least find something we’re not bad at, whatever that may be!  I love putting words together and seeing them turn into something.

I simply wrote two posts from the heart (instead of overthinking them to death which is my usual modus operandi). I never meant to make anyone cry with the first one and I definitely did not set out to offend anyone with the second. I don’t write to annoy people but it is bound to happen at some point and frankly if I spent my entire time worrying to bits about how people might react, I’d never publish a single post.

It’s quite simple really. If you relate to / laugh at / cry over / feel inspired or entertained by something I’ve written, I’m beyond delighted because it means I’m doing something right. THAT’S what lights the fire in my belly. And to be honest, even if I don’t want my words to offend or annoy people, as others bloggers have said, it still means the words aren’t disappearing into that abyss! Every writer wants that whether they’ve just got a blog they’re growing or they write for a major publication or they are a big time hot shot author.

Thank you for being part of the dialogue, for reading, sharing and commenting because that is what encourages me to keep going. I’m grateful beyond measure for all of it.

Yes even to the trolls!

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Well…that and the need to make money for my wine habit…

Now, as for this post:

THAT post 2

 

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Merci beaucoup.

 Am linking this post to the following:

Baby Brain Memoirs
And then the fun began...
The Little Life of Ickle Pickle
Modern Dad Pages
Best of Worst
Handbags and Snot Rags
Life with Baby Kicks
The Dad Network
Life with Baby Kicks