In amongst the booze, the food, the green and the general Irish-ness of this weekend in our adopted home, I’ve been nominated for a Blogger Recognition Award from Olivia of The Wilsons of Oz! How sweet is that? It’s one thing for someone to say they enjoy your blog, but quite another but for that someone to be a fellow expat blogger who is also figuring out life overseas with little kiddies in tow, it’s basically the greatest pat on the back I could hope for. And we all need a pat on the back now and again, right?!
In the world of blogging it’s especially lovely because this is still uncharted territory for the most part. As an industry blogging is still very young, and for those of us who are still very new to it anyone giving us a thumbs up feels like, as Olivia put it, winning an Oscar. We’re just a bunch of men and women who somehow create time whilst raising kids and holding down jobs to string a sentence or two together online. Every blog post published is the result of a stolen half an hour when the washing up got ignored, or after the kids have gone to bed. Every post that we publish is a hold your breath and see moment. What if no one even reads it? Or worse still, what if no one clicks with it and you lose what precious audience you had accumulated? I can’t speak for everyone in this blogging game, but I didn’t start off in order to receive public approval. I started because I was so bored, and so lost in my new life, I knew that if I didn’t start putting all my thoughts and emotions into memories to look back on, I’d likely implode. I’m absolutely rubbish at talking, I become a snivelling mess of incoherent burblings. I knew I needed to write everything down to make sense of my own head. So I thought, well sod it, if this is how I feel I bet there’s a load of other women (any maybe men, I don’t know) who feel or felt like this too. If I blog about it, if I put myself out there and talk about this in an open way, then maybe at some point there will be someone else somewhere who feels less alone and less shit. And even if that doesn’t happen, I have something to look back on to remind myself how far – literally and metaphorically – we have come on this expat journey.
As it happens, there have been other people who have connected in some way with what I’ve written. And whilst I’ve never set out for public opinion of my writing, I’ve had it anyway. Good and bad, welcome and unwelcome. With blogging you can’t please everyone. Add to that the court of social media, and you have to develop a thick skin very quickly (anyone thinking of taking up blogging- take note). So when you find people in the blogging world who you come to know very well, who you can call a friend even though you’ve maybe never met in the real world, it’s something very special. They’re the people who won’t call you out for daring to complain about the wildy inflated pricing of your favourite chocolate based snacks from home. They’re the people who will skype you late at night after reading a recent post to tell you although it’s absolute shit right now, they’ve gone through this particular hurdle already and it will get better. They’re the people who will celebrate the breakthroughs with you, even the tiny ones that would otherwise go unnoticed.
So who are some of these people, and more importantly who are my nominees for the Blogger Recognition Award? I’ve been a little bit naughty with this, as the guidance states 15 blogs (FIFTEEN!!!!), but I prefer quality over quantity, and since I can’t nominate The Wilsons of Oz, these four are my go-to’s:
My Theory on Blooming – Claire is my go-to oracle on expat-ing, having done it several times already, and her blog is a treasure trove. She also doesn’t suffer fools gladly and is pretty fucking funny with it (this requires the full use of the F word), so when I’m feeling kind of low a scroll through the pretty pages of My Theory always perks me up.
Holly Likes to Cook – probably my most favourite blog for the fact that Holly teams food with babies, and makes everything look so yummy (babies especially). Holly also happens to be a pretty kick-ass kind of woman, and has been a great listening ear when I’ve needed to vent, and has had many words of wisdom for me on life, blogging, making it all work, and of course, producing food that my kids don’t just chuck on the floor.
Mum To Three Little Monkeys – Another Claire, and one who I just really think I’d click with in real life, based on the fact that I adore checking what’s up in her life via insta and her blog. Her insta feed is goals, and the way she can so bravely and openly discuss things like getting a smear test on her blog (you HAVE to read it fully to understand why) inspires me to embrace the shit of life for the good of others. I fear us finally meeting would involve more coffee than Northern Ireland currently has available, but we’d make it work.
What Claire Did Next – (the final Claire) Claire and I used to work for the same company several years ago now. At that point neither of us knew each other that well (or at all apart from by name), and we had definitely never had a discussion about how we both had unfulfilled desires to jet off somewhere and live a life that didn’t involve office hours. But what do you know? Here we both are, having both ditched the normal, both insta-ing and blogging our way through life and having an absolute ball. The difference is Claire is way more fearless than me, and doesn’t have to make sure every activity is PG. I look to her as my potential future (once the kids are at uni), and she makes me EXCITED!
Boring bit for the nominees….
The guidelines for the ‘Blogger Recognition Award’ –
- Thank the blogger who nominated you and provide links to their blog.
- Write a post to show your award.
- Attach the award to your post.
- Write a brief story of how your blog started.
- Give a piece of advice to new bloggers.
- Select the 15 other blogs you want to give the award to.
- Comment on each blog and let them know you have nominated them.