27 October 2009

Live and Let Live

Have I sold my soul to the devil because I've reviewed a couple of products on my blog?

No, of course not.

Earlier this year I didn't know what a blog was. I started Baby Baby to see what all the fuss was about. It was a case of everyone else (on Twitter) has one so I'll give it a go. I was looking for something I could do for me.

Through reading loads of wonderful blogs I quickly discovered the mostly supportive and friendly blogging community. I feel like I have made friends, I've even met some bloggers in real life. I can certainly count on their advice on parenting issues. If I'm having a bad day and tweet about it I know that the majority of virtual hugs will come from bloggers.

I also discovered that I love writing. This is my 90th post. Wow! I've written 90 blog posts, give or take the odd Wordless Wednesday. The more I write, the more I want to write. I keep a notebook just for blogging and scribble down ideas for posts. If something funny or traumatic happens I start planning the post I'll write about it.

I also write short stories that I don't put on my blog. I've joined a local creative writing group and start a creative writing course next week. I'm so excited about this. I have bought myself a new notebook especially.

When I started blogging I had no idea that people got freebies thrown at them. I was surprised to hear people talking about wanting to make money from their blogs. I wondered how they could possibly do this. I signed up for Google Adsense and have made nearly £5 from it! Woop-de-doop.

I responded to a few requests for reviewers that I saw on British Mummy Bloggers. I thought it was hilarious that companies were happy to send me books, toys, cleaning products and soap. I now get emails every day asking me to review websites, products and services. I am extremely selective. I only accept items that are of value to my family.

I don't have a job, therefore I have no income. I feel I can contribute a product to my family finances and that's great. I don't feel dirty writing a review. For me it's fun. I get to pretend to be a journalist for half an hour. If my lovely readers aren't interested in the product I'm reviewing I don't mind. I hope that they are interested in the 95% of posts that aren't sponsored.

Baby Baby isn't a commercial blog. I'm just having a lot of fun and I hope that comes across.

I respect those bloggers who accept freebies and I respect those that don't. I admire those bloggers that are excellent writers, those who are funny, those who are informative, those who are moving and those that use their blogs as confessionals.

What I don't like is being sneered at or looked down on because I'm not keeping my blog pure.

The internet is a huge place and there's room for everyone. Live and let live.



  1. I agree completely, and yes there is room for everyone. We should carry on enjoying what we are doing. Thanks for contributing to the day I seemed to have started today!

  2. You go girl. You have standards and are a wonderful writer who writes from the heart all the time. I love reading your stories...you sound like an amazing mother. Your blog is brilliant babe...keep on, keepin' on.

  3. What on earth is a pure blog anyway?! It's YOUR blog Sandy - you do with it what ever feels right for you. Screw everyone else!

    I make decisions about my blog based on what feels right for me. Personally I think reviews work better on some blogs than others - mine I think it would feel a bit odd unless it was something really relevant. But if you're blogging about daily life and housework etc then the odd review about things pertinent to that aren't going to massively compromise your integrity!

    Like you say - people have a choice whether to read them or not.

    MORE importantly I'm really glad you're enjoying your writing and the course sounds fab! You go girl!!! xx

  4. Nice one! I do reviews too, sod the sneery types! Have you had some neg comments then?

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  6. I completely agree with everything you said. I have started to write reviews on my blog too, not because I have been offered anything for free but because I love writing and expressing my opinion and if I have a product / service that is brilliant or horrible then I feel I can let people know about it. If I get reward from it then great, if not it doesn't matter.
    Keep up the good work.

  7. I've spent 2 days thinking about nothing else. My head may explode :)

    I've come to the conclusion that my blog is my space. If I choose to run ads or reviews (which I've accepted 2 in 2 days!) then that's my perogative.

    In the same way, if you don't want to read a post or a blog because you don't like/agree with it then that is fine too.

    It's not a competition, and when it comes to what you post anything goes. Your blog your decision.

    I wrote it on Sally's blog and I agree: Live and let live.


    Sorry deleted last comment as was horrified over terrible spelling :D

  8. Well said, room for everyone. And if I'm not interested in a product review, I don't have to read it, do I? Alternatively, I can add to the debate about a product with a comment (like in your last post) to help inform readers. I do feel that bloggers are giving an honest opinion and even when the blogger hasn't been given a freebie, I do find reviews useful, such as Rosie Scribble's recent review of "UP" which stopped me giving my daugher nightmares.

    PS The other 95% is interesting too!

  9. I agree - live and let live

    Surely the blogsphere is big enough to accommodate all of us

  10. Phew - where have I been when all this was going on - what am I not reading that I should be, please let me know. I too am a relativly new blogger and mainly do it to document our life. I have done reviews (2) and now I all of a sudden feel unclean. What is wrong with doing a review if it is relevant to your blog or your family. I am very confused.

  11. I love your blog and keep meaning to leave a comment on it because I find it so inspiring. What a wonderful story - that you have a found a love for writing and joined a local creative writing group. Who knows where that will take you? As for the reviews we are all adults and can choose what we want to read so you go for it. Every little bit helps.

  12. argh - wrote a comment and just lost it.

    But. The essence was - that surely the whole point and appeal of blogging is the democratisation of information? Because now we can review products, honestly and say if it's over-priced rubbish or actually rather wonderful. And that's the only issue here isn't it - honesty? Otherwise you should just say - I got some free shoes. And since I love free stuff - buy these shoes!
    I love the fact that the world belongs to anybody with an opinion now, it's exhilarating and frustrating in equal measure. But long may it last - power to the people!

  13. You know what I think of your blog. I LOVE IT!


  14. There is no rule book with blogging, the idea is to have your own space and to have fun with it. I like your blog and if you want to do reviews, sponsorship it's your choice. I'd personally far rather read a review from you or any of the other blogging mummies than just see an ad. Like you say live and let live x

  15. Totally agree, your blog is your space, your canvas to do with as you wish, and if people don't like it, then don't look.

    If you do reviews, as long as they are honest, then i totally don't see the problem....whether you were given the product free or not.

    Keep doing what you are doing Sandy, I love reading your blog, it was one of the ones that inspired me to start my own.

  16. Hey Sandy, you are so right. And I'll tell you one thing! Anybody wishing to throw a few freebies my way (stuff I like, mind you, nothing else!) will be perfectly welcome. I could to with an income. Living off the hubs is not that gratifying really. Being a western European, I tend to haunt blogs from that side and I'm too far away to be of use to any advertiser. Dang!

  17. @Gaelikaa - eastern europe is too far away for most advertisers too. Even though we haven't got a postal strike on at the moment and have a more reliable postal system!!

    @Sandy - this topic seems to come round every couple of months or so. I'm worried that by justifying their own decisions people sometimes unintentionally come across as denigrating those who make a different decision. I do reviews (when I can persuade people to send me the stuff in Bosnia). I have to admit to finding them boring to write and boring to read so wouldn't read a blog that does too many. That said, I like your balance, the odd review isn't going to switch anyone off. I don't think people do look down or sneer on those who do reviews, there are really not that many bloggers who have never done one. I just think that by trying to explain why they have chosen not to do reviews can, occasionally, come across as a bit purist.

    The last couple of days has been a bit of a twirl in the blogosphere, and I really do think that it is a storm in a teacup (that will happen again in a few months). Most people seriously are quite happy for everyone to do what they want. If they don't like it, they just won't read that particular blog. Live, as you say, and let live.

    PS - great post, and I am so pleased that you are enjoying the writing. It really shows in your writing, which is so readable and engaging. I love it!

  18. I don't really see what all the furore is all about. I don't tend to read the reviews because the products are very rarely relevant to me but I wouldn't stop following the persons blog, unless of course every post was a review.

    As has been said by many before me, your blog, your space. If the reader don't like it, the reader can bugger off!

  19. Rosie, absolutely, if you're not enjoying it, don't do it. What a day!

    Karin, thank you, I'm touched x

    Josie, the 'pure blog' reference was from a comment I read recently. You're right, you need to do what is right for YOU. x

    notSupermum, thank you x

    Sally, thank you x

    20SomethingMum, no I haven't had any negative commments, but I take things personally even when they're not directed at me. I can be a bit over-sensitive!

    Aingeal, thanks. I'd rather read an honest opinion of a product that a press release. Keep doing what you're doing.

    Insomniac Mummy, I'm the same as you, I brood on certain comments that I've read. I feel better for writing down my thoughts. You know, I think I stole 'live and let live' from you as I had read your comment before I started writing. I hope you don't mind, it just struck a chord with me.

  20. Working Mum, yes there is room for everyone. Funnily enough I got some Method products today! PS Thanks :-)

    Muddling Along Mummy, yes, I'd like to think so.

    The Mad House, a debate seems to flare up every now and again about what blogging is about. Some people think you should only write, others take a broader view. I believe that it's your blog and you can do with it what you like. There's nothing dirty about writing reviews so long as you are honest. Magazines include whole features that are great big adverts. I'd rather read a review on a blog. I take things far too personally, please don't do the same! x

    Kate, thanks for commenting. Yes, we are all adults, although not all of us behave that was all of the time! I'm not expecting the writing to lead anywhere, but I am enjoying the creative process.

    MumsRock, wow, I hadn't thought about that aspect. It is quite amusing to me to think that I have the freedom to give my opinion. Love it!

    Liz(LWK), MWAH :-)

    Liz@VP, I couldn't agree more x

    Lorraine, thank you. Wow, I don't think I've ever inspired anyone before!! x

    Gaelikaa, I haven't had that much free stuff, but every little helps. I don't feel I have to contribute financially as I work very hard in the home, but it's nice to be offered the odd toy for my boys.

    Fraught Mummy, I hope I didn't come across as denigrating when I was justifying myself. I was trying to say that anything goes and I had felt put down by some comments that I read. I know I over-reacted as none of the comments were aimed at me. I can be a wee bit defensive. You're right, it will all flare up again soon. Perhaps next time I'll stay out of it! PS Thanks :-)

    Very Bored Housewife, very true and I hope you don't :-)

  21. Not sure I understand, is this in response to actual sneering?

  22. AMEN!!

    If anyone ever asks what I think about the whole thing (which they probably won't, as I'm not terribly important, but anyway...), I shall point 'em to this post.

    I missed all the drama-rama this time round, but like Fraught Mummy said - it'll ptobably be back in a couple of months - seems to run round in circles (maybe when the mummy bloggers aren't getting all heated, it moves onto scifi geek bloggers - then techie bloggers - thn back round?? who knows), but honestly, I think it's all just silly.

    Blogging is fun, freebies are nice.

    And I've been reading your blog since pretty much the start, and it just gets better :)

  23. Hello darling, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for your kind words and prayers. I am one lucky girl to have you as a friend; you truly are the gem in my teacup. I am now off to stroll around your blog to see what I have missed.

    Love & Hugs

  24. Kat, I have perceived sneering.

    Leslieanne, thanks for all the compliments. Your opinion is important to me and all your other readers x

    Duchess, I'm glad to hear there is some improvement x


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