Doors

I started writing a post in November about the doors we bought for our house. Because when we first moved in, the whole place had been stripped of its interior doors.

There’s been a lot of drama around the doors. You’d be surprised at how important they actually are, on so many levels.

Aside from the way that a lack of doors can make an entire house feel completely bare, even when it’s full of your family and furniture and you’ve finished unpacking all your boxes, it takes away so much from ordinary, every day things you wouldn’t otherwise think about.

Without a bedroom door, for example there’s no escaping yelling kids and needy cats, no quiet time spent catching up with each other, sharing intimate moments or arguing differences of opinion out of earshot of the offspring. (There’s no stalking off and slamming anything when you’re not winning the argument, either.)

No bathroom door means never feeling comfortable enough to poop in your own toilet.

And no doors on the kids’ rooms means that even when you want to, you can’t turn a blind eye to the mess they insist on making of all their toys and clothes and books and school stuff… You can’t just close off their bedrooms when visitors stop by and see the state they’re in. And so you worry about more than whether your guest prefers Earl Grey or normal tea. No, your anxiety levels shoot right up because now you’re also painfully aware of how they’re judging you for your poor parenting skills…

Doors are important, people!

So, I had this whole post half drafted about how the seller we purchased our house from had promised us doors as part of the sale agreement but it all went horribly south. I went to great pains not to refer to the seller as anything else. More specifically, I made a conscious effort not to refer to the seller in terms that I would not use in the presence of a prospective employer or client. Which is more than said seller deserves, but okay…

Anyway, I was interrupted while writing the post and then just never found enough time to get back to it and do it justice, so you never got to read about the doors we got after the doors we got from the seller were a complete disaster.

Instead, you got the watered-down, PG version, because for all of my big talk about reclaiming my writing voice and bringing old-school back, I’m still afraid of the bogey man and the swear word police. And all of that just to let you know that we now have doors. Because, as was established earlier, they’re really, really important.

 

Not a Blogger

It’ll be twelve years in March this year, since I first started writing online. Back then, I was afraid to call myself a blogger, because I was still so new at it. Because I didn’t know all the technical stuff.  Because we were far away from everything we knew, in a new and foreign place and I was just me, writing my personal rants and journal-style stuff, and no-one actually read it.

And yet, what I was doing was keeping a web log of my life. A blog. I wrote almost every day, and had loads to say about all sorts of things. And it turns out someone, somewhere,  did start reading it. And after a little while, that someone became maybe three someones. Eventually, my three readers became five or six. And as I found my voice and kept on writing, a few more people started stopping by to read my posts. By the time we moved back to South Africa, I’d made contact with a few other South African bloggers and we started meeting up every so often, to share offline what we didn’t necessarily share online.

Brands started taking note of blogs as a potential marketing tool and, by some fluke, I somehow landed on a couple of media lists and started receiving invitations to cool events.

And then everything changed. Blogging as a thing and blogging in South Africa in particular grew up and got serious.

Suddenly, it wasn’t enough anymore just to have an opinion on something and to write about it. Now we were comparing ourselves to other bloggers, installing site counters (remember those?!) and keeping track of how many comments we received on each post. Within what seemed like moments, there was a massive evolution and various metric and analytics tools started showing up everywhere.

Intimidated by how much I didn’t know, I let myself get left behind and started blogging less and less frequently. Concerns around my family’s privacy started becoming an issue and I started blogging even less. Until, eventually, managing to throw together a single post per month became an achievement.

And still, life, family commitments, laziness, fear of failure – all these things – caused me to hold myself back from learning about and using all these new tools of the blogging trade.

Meanwhile, braver souls who had embraced these things started really going places with their blogs, while I stopped writing at all, sometimes for months at a time. Because I was either too busy, too blocked or just too damn tired. Of what, I can’t honestly say…

I started doing a blog makeover toward the end of last year and got as far as a header & logo after having booked and paid for an hour session with a consultant. And when I look at it now, I’m not even sure I like what I’ve done all that much.

Maybe it’s because proper blogging and all that that entails costs money these days. I definitely don’t feel I can justify spending money on my blog, when there’s so much I still haven’t taken the time to learn how to do for free…

Maybe I was just never that into it in the first place. I find that a little hard to swallow, but the statistics speak for themselves, don’t they?

Whatever the reasons, justifications, explanations or excuses, I think it’s safe to say I can’t really call myself a blogger anymore. Certainly not in the most current sense of the word.

I’m almost relieved to have reached this point, actually. No more feeling guilty for the things I haven’t learned how to do; no more pressure on myself to meet unrealistic goals; no more interrupted posts sitting in my drafts folder forever because the moment is gone. No more fooling myself that I have the time or inclination to ingratiate myself with brands or with anyone else, or writing out of a sense of obligation rather than desire.

Rather, I’m getting back to just being me, writing my personal thoughts, experiences and other life stuff, without guilt and without fear. I’m bringing back the old-school blog and there’s space on this bus for two or three someones…

 

A Long Overdue Catch-up

Can I ask a serious question?

HOW do all of the other bloggers manage to find the time, not only to write blog posts but to figure out all the “pro” stuff like creating awesome looking photographs and graphics and do the necessary blog maintenance?

I can barely throw together a post per month these days and my “grand blog makeover” has stopped short at a new header and logo. Beyond that, I simply don’t know what next, or when I’m ever going to find the time to explore all the different themes, or read up and figure out how to take beautiful photos, or to play around with design tools like Canva and the like. Seriously, when everyone else also has a job, kids, life stuff, how do they also manage to do the blog stuff? Do they pay other people to help them do it? Do they know something about something that I have just completely missed? Do they work harder than I do to fit everything in?

Sigh.

And on that note, let’s take a look at all the stuff I wanted to blog about over the last two months:

First, there was the Jacaranda FM/Discovery Spring Walk. I mentioned the pre-event activation in my last post, I think. The event itself took place at the Pretoria Botanical Gardens on 10 September and D and I were treated to VIP entry, parking and hospitality… And at the end of it all, I was gifted my very own Fitbit Charge HR!! I could not be more thrilled – this is something I’ve wanted for absolute aaaaages but have always felt I could not justify buying for myself when there’s always something we need for the house or one of the kids…

Then, I meant to do a follow up on the Argan Oil giveaway I did in August. I think I may actually take this one up in a separate post, as there were some lessons learned here.

Another awesome event I got to go to with my little boys was the Secret Life of Pets event at the Mall of Africa – we were treated to Krispy Kreme donuts, face painting, balloon animals, some fun photo snaps and we got to see the movie, which my boys really enjoyed.

In between all of this, I received my first proper Blogger drop, even though I pulled out of attending the event at the last minute due to work obligations. I am definitely going to pick up on this one in the near future – PediaSure has changed my life!

And then I also finally got around to trying out Uber for the first time and I really wanted to document my experience and thoughts on the service… Perhaps I’ll find a few moments to squeeze in a post about this at some point in the not too distant future, too.

Clearly, I have no shortage of blogging material, so that’s not the issue. The issue is that I don’t want to write these half-arsed mentions of things instead of proper posts. But I simply don’t have hours – even half hours! – to spend blogging.

Common sense tells me that I should stop worrying too much about my blog’s look and just focus on the writing. But in my heart, after so many years, I feel like my little corner on the line should at least *look* as though I’ve been keeping up to speed…

Still, I guess that just sitting down to post this is something. I’ve also created a Facebook page for my blog, but I am still figuring that out, too. I’ll get there eventually, I suppose. In the meantime, tips and suggestions are welcome.

 

Sprung

How is it already the end of September? I thought I was getting into this blogging groove thing but it’s already been more than a month since my last post!

That said, I’ve done a lot more thinking about posting than I usually do, and even drafted some notes on my phone, with the intention of doing some scheduled posts. I know that many of the bigger bloggers out there use scheduled posts to make their lives easier. I haven’t tried it yet but I’m wondering whether it’s worth the bother in my case, because, scheduled or otherwise, there’s still the issue of having to find the time to actually write the posts. (Those of you who have this down, some tips would be welcome!)

As you will have guessed by the title of this post, I’m doing my Spring thing today – half-arsed and late to the party, as always. I must be honest, though, and tell you that I’ve had some really cool things happen since my last post, not least of which was being invited by Jacaranda FM and Discovery to participate in a blogger activation in anticipation of the Jacaranda FM & Discovery Spring Walk 2016, which took place on 25 August at the gorgeous Planet Fitness Platinum health club in Sandton.

Upon arrival, bloggers were treated to refreshing drinks and delicious smoothies, during which we exchanged Twitter handles, greeted familiar faces and tweeted the obligatory selfie or two. Next we had a bit of a warm-up stretching session with a semi-sadistic fitness coach, interspersed with frequent water breaks and fuelled by some delicious wraps, juices and other edible treats. Because you can’t exercise properly without being appropriately plied with food, right?

Suitably stretched and refreshed, we made our way to the club’s fabulous indoor running track, where we split into teams and it was fastest feet first for some amazing prizes. This part of the day’s fun brought me to the shocking realisation that, having not run all winter, I am extremely unfit! Luckily, through sheer luck and the kindness of better athletes, I walked away with the best prize of the day: A complimentary 6-month Premium membership to Planet Fitness, which I intend to put to very good use, regaining some semblance of fitness and (hopefully) toning up for the coming summer! You can catch a glimpse of me coming in 6th or 7th place, here:

(I’m the one in the light blue crop top! 😛 )

Because happiness is healthy-ness, right?

 

Beauty Blogger Argan Oil Draw

It’s been a couple of weeks since I posted on the South African Bloggers’ Facebook page that I was looking for beauty bloggers to review and give away samples of organic Moroccan Argan Oil.

Well, tonight, I finally got around to roping in my boys to help me select five of the 32 ladies who responded to my Facebook post.

I’m not even going to pretend I have a clue as to what I’m doing with a camera or filming anything, so let’s just get the disclaimers out of the way:

The video below is purely for the purpose of showing that the draw process was as fair as I was able to make it. (It was also kind of fun getting my kids involved – I have never asked them to participate in anything to do with my blog before!)  🙂

I am sending each of the five ladies whose names were drawn 2 bottles – one each for their own use and review, and one each to give away on their blogs. (If you are one of the recipients, please share your blog giveaway link with me!)

I will contact each of the five selected bloggers on Facebook to get their details so that I can arrange for delivery of the samples.

Thanks so much once again to everyone who responded – I hope that this first “giveaway” on my blog marks the beginning of something fun that I will be able to continue doing (and will hopefully get better at!) in time.

And so, you can view the video here:

 

 

 

 

Funny Story

No, not really.

I’m pretty embarrassed to admit this but I’m afraid that, despite having started blogging more than 10 years ago, I am pretty much an imbecile when it comes to the technical bits.

That’s why, although I have finally gotten around to drawing the names of the five Beauty Bloggers to whom I’ll be sending those Moroccan Argan Oil samples to review & give away, I have not uploaded the draw video as promised. I’m in the process of figuring out how to put the video online so that I can either link to it or embed it in the blog post (in my drafts folder) that it will accompany…

In the meantime, I’ll notify each of the five ladies in question on Facebook, in the comments on my original post about this.

If you’re one of the 32 ladies who commented on that post, thank you for your patience!