Thursday, 19 March 2009

Blogging for Charity

Blogging is a strange thing. My husband encouraged me to start this blog to market Revolution Baby but as I write I still wonder who really cares what I think about Toys R Us or schools closing in snow. As far as I’m aware I only have two readers – Al Humphreys and my mother in law!

I was therefore excited to receive an email from Hotels Combined - someone else had read my blog! And they had a request - all I had to do was mention in my blog and they would give $20 to one of their selected charities: WWF, World Vision or the Make-A-Wish Foundation. There, I’ve done it, the money is earned for charity and I can close now. But no, being interested in details I decided to tell you more.

Hotels Combined is a leading price comparison system used by over 25 million people every year. They aggregate and compare accommodation prices from all major sources such as,, and many more. It is a free research tool helping users find the best priced accommodation option. If required, the reservation is made directly on the compared websites.

What I found more interested was their marketing technique, what a great way to promote your company by approaching bloggers to mention you for $20. Then I started thinking about the phenomenon of blogging. I wonder why I feel a compelling need to expose my thought processes to 1.5 billion Internet users. If you think about it, it’s extremely arrogant; you’re presupposing that you are important and or interesting enough for a stranger to spend their precious time reading about.

I was grateful to Bryan Appleyard in the Sunday Times for admitting it’s addictive. He lists many reasons for blogging; intimacy, exposure, the ease with which you can reach billions. For me the reason which resonated was “the relief involved in getting something instantly off my chest”.

This, I’ve realised, is why I blog; sharing my thoughts with anyone who might be passing is a form of free therapy. If no-one reads it, it doesn’t actually matter; the mere act of expressing myself serves the purpose.

My blog is often an outlet for frustration. I have thoughts I think are valid and want to express, so I dump them on the net and feel better that I’ve offloaded my rant. It’s actually a harmless way of anger management, you don’t abuse the kindness of friends by making them listen and you don’t make embarrassing mistakes. Take my entry about schools closing in snow. That started life as an email to my son’s headmistress. It’s probably best for all involved that it ended up on my blog.

Sometimes I’m testing book ideas. I’m writing a “mum’s diary”, Brigid Jones for those with children. Today’s working title is “There’s Always One Pooing: The Diary of a Mum-of-Three”. So, if you love or hate one of my entries, please write and tell me. Bryan Appleyard states that with the rise of the Internet “people were dazzled by their power to connect and communicate”. What I love is sharing ideas, the hope that someone out there might relate to what you write. That is what I hope mums will enjoy about The Diary.

According to BA it’s all about connectivity – you comment on someone’s blog and they come back to you. Hotels Combined are going to list my blog in their charity centre, I advertise them, they advertise me, who knows who might read what and visit my blog or price up a hotel, more strands woven on the extraordinary Internet web.

At least this particular post has a purpose: I’ve mentioned Hotels Combined and they’ve given $20 to charity. But in doing so, I’m just realising, I’ve managed to focus the whole entry about me! That, I’ve decided, is the reason blogging is so popular - it’s the ultimate self indulgence because, even when you’re blogging for charity, it’s all about ME!

Monday, 9 March 2009

Friends for Tea - 2

So far Friends for Tea hasn’t been much success. One child was crying before we even got home, freaked out by our chaotic school run with Baby J arching her back and screaming in protest at being shoved from car seat to buggy and back again. Once home, however, they did all have a wonderful time playing.

The second time a friend came back my son had had a serious fall in the playground and after tea didn’t feel like playing and sat drooping on the sofa. Whilst it certainly wasn’t T’s fault I felt sorry for the guest who entertained himself with lego on the floor, waiting for his mum to arrive. I called my husband in anxious whispers, asking him to come home asap as I was worried T had concussion and how would I get four children to casualty in a hurry.

T went to a friend’s house today. It’s amazing how much time you seem to have when you don’t do the school run. I did puzzles and read stories with our second son, B, who liked the attention but missed his brother, confused as to why we had tea without him.

T loves going to friend’s houses – on one visit he played on a Nintendo Wii and has been asking “do you know which shop to buy one from?” ever since. He also loves having friends for tea, and it’s interesting to see what he proudly points out as we pull into the drive.

You learn something of their perception of their home life when they explain what’s important to a friend or compare their life with something they experience elsewhere. When I was a child I can vividly remember wanting to live in the local cul-de-sac where it was much better to ride bikes. I loved going round to my friend’s house to have soda stream and play with her Girl’s World. She was fascinated by our Landrover and just wanted to sit in the cab, calling it “the big old truck”.

I’ve realised that little things that were important as a child stay with you for the rest of your life. Which is why it can be so daunting as a parent, wondering what your child’s formative experiences and lasting memories will be.