Blogable

Recently, I've been leading a very blogworthy life. I've been baking my own bread and eating it with the neighbour's homemade jam; I've been sewing cushion covers and laying my own bright yellow polkadot lino; I've been transitioning to more eco-friendly cleaning products and having an enormous cull of my wardrobe which included drawing felt tip pen pictures of every single item of clothing I own; I've been nurturing plants (with varying degrees of success) and weeding the garden; I've been taking photography seriously and talking interior decor with my sister.

I've been ticking off the cliches and basking in my photogenically minimalist watching-Parks-and-Recreation DIY lots-of-vegetables sort of life.

But if there's anything which spoils relaxed fun, it's having to document every single moment of it so I can teach somebody else how to have relaxed fun, too. My coffee dates don't need a storyboard.

And I'm pretty sure you all know how to sit in a cafe and drink camomile tea without instructions from me.

That said, of course I'm still taking lots of photos of my life. Because that's what I do. And I'm still putting one picture a day online at Two Days the Same so, while I neglect this blog, you can always find out what I'm up to over there.

Yellow shoes, yellow polkadot floor

That said, the neglect has to stop. I've poured years of effort into building up this blog and it saddens me a little that I've let that slide.

Why have I done that? Well, I've been busy; I've been dealing with assorted crises; I've been a bit disillusioned with the blandness hiccup the blog world's been going through... but it's not just that. It's also in part that I'm now working in Aberdeen's oil sodden, personalised license plated, absolutely minted private sector. This is a city where it's not unusual to earn six figures in your early twenties and to have more bathrooms than family members.

I do not earn six figures. I barely earn enough to pay taxes. Which is all my own doing: I chose a creative (as opposed to, say, an engineering) field; I chose to work part-time; I regularly choose to turn down interviews for better paid roles for a whole assortment of reasons. And, compared to a lot of the more hidden people in this city, I'm well off; I have a job and a mortgage and food on the table.

However I spend a lot of time dodging questions about why I'm not having any foreign holidays this summer (can't afford it) or buying the empty flat downstairs (can't afford it) or going to any of the £80-per-head charity galas (can't afford it). I feel baffled that those are serious queries. I feel self conscious that I can't afford new work clothes or a hair cut or somebody to lay the lino for me.

And that has seeped into blogging. If I blog about flogging old clothes on eBay or free ways to have fun or making my own... anything at all... are people going to read it and feel embarrassed for me?

But, actually, one of the things I originally loved about blogging was the acceptance that we were all a bit broke and most of us had money-making schemes on the side and we all furnished our homes from charity shops and kept Wednesdays aside for cheap cinema trips. There was an acceptance that things could be much worse and a shared belief that feeling fulfilled by our lives was more important than feeling financially flush.

One of the things I've disliked about blogging recently is the emphasis on working with brands, on encouraging each other to go out and buy loads of new clothes and subscribe to "beauty boxes" full of products we'll never get round to using. I don't feel blogs should be making me feel bad about my budget.

So perhaps it's time to stop worrying about this. Perhaps it's time to be one of the voices saying, "If you can pay your bills, you're doing okay. You do not need a new car every year. You do not new clothes every season. You do not need designer handbags. If you like where you're living and you have friends who will bring round a bottle and watch movies with you, you have enough."

And while I'm getting on my high horse, perhaps I should be adding, "If you can afford one more tin of beans than your meal planning requires, bung it in the foodbank bin in the supermarket." Because I shouldn't be embarrassed that I'm earning less than the local millionaires; I should be embarrassed that people are earning less than me.

24 comments

  1. Funnily enough the blog I read directly before coming here was a 'frugal' blog full of money saving tips which had several thousands of followers! I think it's a lot more useful & interesting to read saving tips, creative posts and recipes than to read a beauty or fashion blog, but maybe that's just me (I also tend to avoid blogs that have 99% sponsored posts!) I'm the same with magazines, I find the fashion pages truly boring as the clothes are never things I could afford or see myself in! Also, working in the creative sector I can't ever imagine I'll earn that much, but that's ok with me as long as I have a job I actually enjoy :-)


    PS. The idea of drawing all your pieces of clothing seems a good one, did it help you sort things out?

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  2. The only blogs I read where there has been any sort of placement are blogs about books, because there tends to be more opinion and less SQUEEEEE! An author can ask a well read book-blog to read their new release, but I think the fact that someone has to invest a dozen or more hours in the tale makes it more likely that if it's rubbish they will give up long before the end and it won't make it onto the blog at all.
    Can I join you on your high horse?

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  3. Couldn't have said it better myself.


    I just need to read more blogs again and less news. Or maybe just a nice mix of the two :)

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  4. Is my face Gizmo? :) I can't see from here!

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  5. Oh shit girl, I'm so broke it's ridiculous. I'm a woman in my 30s and have literally nine dollars in the bank until Thursday. It's nothing to be ashamed of. I'm happier than most "rich" people I know. I'd rather have my life than a ... say, oilfield worker's life. No thank you.

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  6. It did! It was helpful to see just how many blue and green things I own and which items don't go with anything else and where the gaps are. Recommended.

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  7. Everyone's welcome on my high horse!

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  8. Absolutely! As much as some extra money would be nice, I'm happy with my life. But there are so many people in this city who can afford "it's tacky to talk about money" attitudes and that makes them difficult to interact with; I feel like I need to make up excuses for not doing X, Y, Z when really the answer is, "I can't afford it."

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  9. I totally agree with your portrait of blogging currently. Those damn beauty/clothes boxes seem like such a waste of money to me. I'm so glad that there are still blogs (like yours and a few others) that talk about real life and real things. I liked your whole last paragraph, also. So important to keep perspective.

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  10. Yeah, I get the APPEAL of those boxes: Oooooooh! A box of surprise treats every month! But unless you can guarantee you will love and use 100% of the contents, it seems like a bit of a risk...

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  11. Oh, that clothes drawing thing is an awesome idea. I may do that (I'm going through a discontented-with-all-my-clothes phase just now).


    Pretty much agree with all you've said above. I'm often in two minds about whether to continue blogging - I hardly follow any blogs now and sometimes I really can't be bothered updating my own. I'm trying to focus on interacting as much as I can with the blogs that I like and posting interesting content for both myself and my approximately 20 wonderful followers (and believe me, I'm delighted I have that many).


    One type of blog I *do* love, is frugal blogs so if you did post stuff related to that, I definitely would read it and I wouldn't feel sorry for you because I'd need to feel sorry for myself, too. I guess I earn a reasonable wage - unlike you I'm full-time, and I also get extra to compensate the fact I work odd hours and don't get overtime (although I'm considering applying for other jobs at the moment, which is another story) - but I'm very frugal and every penny is counted, especially as my other half is currently only part-time. I wouldn't entertain any blog that focused on brands or that encouraged me to spend - I'd love to see a return to more 'real' blogs, And I don't believe for one minute that half the folk who buy all that branded shit can genuinely afford it.

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  12. I think that for a certain amount of blogs, the "look at how brilliant I am / how many brands love me" has seeped in. I have to admit, I've unfollowed a LOT of the people I used to like reading up on, since they sold out. I'm always more interested in the person behind the blog, not the free t-shirt. That said, I work hard for my money and choose to spend some of it on new clothes, shoes and pretty things. That is my choice, my lifestyle and I share that with my blog because my blog is an extension of me and my life. It goes no deeper than that, I certainly wouldn't ever judge anyone else for what they buy or don't buy, same way as I wouldn't expect to be judged (although reading the hate forum comments about me, I know I am) for the things I choose to do. I will continue to write my blog for as long as I enjoy it, as that is the only factor for me. Not the comments, stats or followers, although those are all nice things as it's lovely to be able to interact with other people over shared interests.


    I think what I'm trying to say is that you should keep doing it if you want to. And keep it about you. As that's what we like to read. So be it charity shopping, frugality or anything else. I'll be reading. x

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  13. What the hell would you do with the empty flat downstairs anyway? Store bodies in it? Knock through your current floor *only in certain places* to make going to the toilet at night much more exciting? Sure if you could afford two flats you'd just go the whole hog and buy an actual house rather than making some sort of Frankenflat?! You have permission to go to those people and say "Sarah - the other Sarah. You don't know her, it's fine - says you're probably a moron."

    And I wish I lived close enough to come round and watch a film. I suspect we have matching lifestyles/budgets.

    P.S. I'm going to start a blog. No, I am. You need to keep blogging so I can have a blogging buddy. So there.

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  14. No, I think there are a lot of credit cards keeping blogs going.

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  15. Have you READ hate forum comments about yourself? I'm not going near those things.

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  16. If we'd lived here a long time and had huge amounts of children piled up in one bedroom, I'd understand. There's the potential to knock the two flats into one (big) house. But we bought this place a year ago; if we had a spare £200k kicking about, we'd have bought somewhere bigger back then! (Or, actually, no, we probably wouldn't have because we have all the room we need...)

    I know. WHY DON'T YOU LIVE IN ABERDEEN, DAMMIT?! Come and buy the flat downstairs!!!

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  17. Hi Sarah. I live in Aberdeen too and spend a lot of time feeling lost in the crazy aquisitional culture. My husband is a teacher and I choose to work part time so we don't have the £ our neighbours do. We are pretty happy with our chickens and bicycles and camping hols but we don't exactly fit in and its been hard to find good friends here (the ones we have got are great). I love your photos and blog as evidence that there is more of us here. Man, I have a whole soapbox speach about this. I'll stop now, but I totally agree with you. Lucy

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  18. Hi Sarah! I live in Aberdeen and this post had me in my feelings because I identify so, so much with what you are talking about! I got really teary-eyed reading it actually, especially the last paragraph. Thank you for your honesty and transparency and this is why I really enjoy reading your blog.

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  19. Hi Lucy,

    Chickens and bicycles and camping hols sound perfect (our next door neighbours have chickens, too!). I've always found it tricky meeting non-corporate people in Aberdeen but it seems like there *are* loads of us out there!

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  20. Thanks Tali - what a lovely comment!

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  21. Hear hear! Glad you're doing well :)
    It does seem like a certain sector of blogging is mutating into glossy magazine type "content" (or lack of it) and losing the personal touch that makes me want to read. If I just want to see pictures of shiny things, well, there's Pinterest. Shiny things for the sake of shiny things is only fun up to a point - then what?
    I'm not sure where I'm going with this comment, but I'm not sure it matters either.

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  22. Probably not! But, yes, spot on about Pinterest.

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