I was interested to read (on Twitter, via my friend Laura) that the legendary blogger, Petite Anglaise, was hanging up her keyboard once and for all. And although our thoughts turned first to the fact that it will leave a space in the #1 slot of the Top 100 British Mummy Bloggers chart (elbows out, girls!…hey, hang on, I’m down 9 places to #15 – the shame!), her reasons for ‘turning the page’ on blogging were very interesting.
It seems that personal blogging, the very thing that earned her the lucrative book deal and led to a career as a writer, had started to leave an unpleasant taste in her mouth. If you don’t know the story, she famously got fired by her boss, about whom she was distinctly unpleasant, when her anonymous blog came to light (she did subsequently win damages against him in court, though). The story made her quite famous, but once the anonymity had been removed, there was the constant worry that somebody would be upset or offended with what she might say, and with that new-found worry came the inevitable dearth of subject matter. Interesting, also, that it was THIS INTERVIEW with Liz Jones, a weirdly neurotic, no-holds-barred journo who has managed to alienate half her family and her entire village (including my friend and fellow Disney 7er Exmoor Jane) with her bare-all style of writing, that finally tipped her over the edge. But in short, she just stopped enjoying it.
I sympathise, I really do. When I started my blog, way back when we first moved to Ireland, I was obsessive about anonymity and never posted pictures of anyone I knew. Slowly, I’ve relaxed this rule. I still try not to post full-face photos of the children, or anyone whose permission I haven’t sought (Mad Uncle Alg is fair game, obviously), and don’t mention people’s full names. But now we’re settled here, it’s natural that more and more people get to know me, start to read the blog, and my cover has been, I suppose, somewhat blown. In fact, I’ve even been caught out giving my rather frank views by someone that turned out to be a reader. Yup, that was awkward. I’d hate to think I’d ever hurt anyone by what I’d written and I’ll always check first with, say, D-next-door before I mention C, or the kids.
With all this in mind, I’ve had a long hard think about this blog and did decide to go back and remove certain pictures and videos, including our wedding vid. You can still email me for a link, but I wondered if I was going too far towards making my family live a life online, so I took a step back.
Add this to the fact that I now write for other websites, such as the fabulous HaveALovelyTime.com and you’ll probably find my first name dotted about, if you really look hard. Funnily enough, when I, and my fellow Disney adventurers travelled to Walt Disney World and met up with our American alter-egos, the ‘Mommy Bloggers’, they were completely dumbfounded by our wish to remain anonymous. Most published their full names, pictures of themselves and their families and couldn’t understand why we wouldn’t wish to do the same:
‘What, you don’t WANT to be famous?’
‘Erm, no, actually, I don’t’.
Englishmum.com is a, I suppose, a bit of an eccentric mix. There’s family stuff, yes, but the foodie/garden stuff tends to take precendence. And if I’m honest, I suppose that as the children get older, it’s harder to write honestly without risking embarrassing them in front of their school mates (#1’s been known to comment whilst in his IT lesson). My readership has risen steadily (thank you!) and though I’m sure I’ve lost and gained different readers as my content has meandered, I am lucky to be blessed with friendly and loyal readers and commenters. I regard my blog as a little piece of me. It’s stuffed full of things that I love and I’m always happy that people pop in and enjoy reading my waffle.
And this, I suppose, brings me neatly on to the fact that after much soul-searching, we’ve decided to have Bert rehomed. This is a HUGE decision for us, but basically he’s been showing some signs of aggression for a while and obviously our children have to be our main priority. There’s a load of history behind this that I won’t bore you with, but my lovely mate Jen is still in touch with a lot of people in greyhound rescue, and is going to make sure he goes to a good home somewhere with people that know his history and will really love and care for him well. I’m sad, but I think it’s the right thing to do.
So for now, I’ll crack on (800 posts, 8553 comments and counting…), I’ll continue to be anonymous-ish, and there’ll be the same old stuff – maybe a bit more food and a bit less about the fellas, and obviously no more Bert, but don’t worry, if anyone humiliates themselves in any way, you’ll be the first to know.
Oh and here’s my rather pathetic review on Mmmmmmcake. ‘It was nice’? C minus for effort there.