Friday, 14 August 2009

Can you Blog with integrity and Review?

"It's okay to sell your soul if you'll be making enough money to buy it back. -- John Dobbin"

I ask this question as i am in the process of doing my very first review on my blog of the wii EA Sports active Personal Trainer that clareybabble and New Mummy have just done a post about. When i started this blog it was purely to save my own sanity, an outlet in which i could vent the daily frustrations being a housewife and mum of four inevitably bring and to share the highs and lows of motherhood with non - judgemental like minded people in the same boat. That is still my blogs purpose, however along the way i have made some wonderful connections with other "mummy bloggers" which has lead to the opportunity to review a small number of products.

To be honest i initially hesitated, i don't have ads on my blog, and i didn't want to be seen as "selling my soul" and exploiting my children, but the only products i have considered are ones which are completely relevant to my life and which i would probably purchase anyway. I don't intend to make a living out of "reviews" ha the chance would be a fine thing, nor do i have any intentions of swamping my blog with them. I have so far received a package containing Carex products ( which i use anyway) but i haven't got round to reviewing as how the hell do i get excited about hand wash (sorry Carex) but it's true and doesn't mean I'm not grateful for my free travel sized hand gel. The Active trainer as fore mentioned is still lying on top of the fridge, i got a little excited about it's arrival on the first day and tried it out, i lasted 12 minutes into the 30 day challenge and gave up (my legs are still aching though, that's what you get when you do not exercise for five whole years). I do intend to take up the 30 day challenge again once I've invested in a support bra and re programed my remote which the kids have f$**ed up by playing Mario Carts with the little boy next door, but that's on the understanding i can keep the package a little longer - if i had known i would have to send it back i probably wouldn't have bothered!. Not to sound ungrateful or anything but who asks a mum of four destructive pre- schoolers to review something and expect it back in one piece?

Wednesday saw the arrival of my very first "free" toy to review and i am extremely proud to be part of the parent review team over at The Great Toy Guide. Sure I'm not being paid but i am receiving toys for free to keep and all me and my kids have to do is play with them and give an honest review, i mean what more do people want? This has given me a much needed confidence boost not to mention the fact i have made my first contribution to the house in over five years, i know it's only a toy but i feel very proud of my little self and I'm very grateful for the opportunity.

There is a lot of cynicism surrounding the whole "exploitation of bloggers" issue regarding fat cat companies taking advantage of the silly little housewife's who are deemed naive and stupid, and rightly so. Wife In The North's recent post here on the matter makes for some interesting reading and she makes a lot of valid points too, but i feel as long as you are going into the whole thing with your eyes wide open i don't see the harm.

Blogging really has given me a whole new lease of life, and i am happy to take on a few reviews here and there if they are relevant to me and my family, it's not like I'm on the front cover of OK magazine telling the whole of Britain about the last time i had anal sex for god sake ( which for the record was around 9 years ago with my now husband,I'll try anything once and my friend swears by it but it's not for me I'm a traditional girl at heart). I have even made some new friends along the way, one of which i will be meeting in "real life" in two weeks, it will be my first ever mummy blind date and I'm so excited!

So to all those who think i have sold my soul to the devil, it's a free world and you can have your opinion. "You don't get ewt for newt" as my late mother-in-law was fond of saying, and perhaps she had a point, but for now being a SAHM i am happy to take my kicks when i can and life's too short to worry about what others think, as someone much wiser than me once said:
"Try to please everyone and you'll end up pleasing no one."

And remember as my very skinny, groomed and most importantly childless friend says"Up the bum no babies!"..........Now that's where I've been going wrong all these years!


  1. I trust you. What you say resonates with me and I believe that you can balance reviews with being you :)

    Just one thing TMI re the anal!

  2. Pippa - Thanks hun, and i'm sorry about the anal reference, hope i haven't scared you for life :)

  3. It's a balancing act for sure. I don't mind to read occasional reviews and if the product doesn't interest me, well, I'll not read it. I also only review products I'm interested in personally, so it fits in with me and my blog. And the great toy review site - what a great idea, it's going to be a fab resource for any parent or non-parent looking for a good toy.

    And I'm fully with you one the EA Active so and so and why it has to be sent back. I feel for the person who'll be using the leg strap that I poured a few litres of sweat into. Yuck.

  4. If it makes you happy can it really be all bad? (says the woman who just did her first review and has just accepted to review a book)
    Also not why I started blogging, and not where I intend to take my blog, but I will occasionally accept to review the very odd product that fits into my life and that interests me.

  5. Without repeating you certainly are bold (in your confession)

    I say do what makes you happy, if you want the challenge plus hopefully you'll get fit then why not?
    I am surprised though that you have to return the product- does that mean it's recycled? Thats a bit mean then. Do you get paid for it?
    When you get around to doing it I look forward to reading your review.
    Good luck. ;0)

  6. Oh I'm all in a quandry about this at the moment!! I have done a few reviews, but always try to put a personal slant on the review so my readers can see why I have chosen to review that item. I admit I was lured by the free stuff initially and now I'm being a lot more conservative with what I accept.
    I'd also be intrigued to know who would want to use the Personal Trainer after me and my husband has asked me what exactly I'm getting for doing it...umm the chance I try out...I didn't convince him!
    Sorry I've completely rambled on in your comments but it's really worrying me! xx

  7. Cartside - I couldn't agree more i have no qualms with reviews on the blogs i read, if they intrest me i'll read on if not i can just go and read the next blog on my roll.

    Modernmom - Exactly, great minds think alike :)

    chic mama - My thnak you (blush) sorry to be so bold, i just got a little carried away. It's a good job my hubby doesn't read this :)

    Clareybabble -Me too. I thought your review was really good as you came up with a few cons which i haven't yet discovered, i 'm gonna have to pull my finger out. Don't sweat the small stuff if people don't wan't to read our reviews they have free will x

  8. I don't really understand the whole hoo-ha about reviews - we're all mums, therefore all dead clever & therefore all perfectly capable of making an educated choice about things we want to buy or not buy.
    Surely there's no difference in checking out a product because you've reada blog review, than if you see a review in a magazine?
    I'm pretty sure that nobody has kids just so they can start a blog & get some freebies, and if anyone begrudeges someone the occasional treatus-gratis, then they're a bit mean in my humble opinion.

    And your anal confession totally made me giggle. I'm so mature :D

  9. If you want to do it then don't worry about what others think. as long as you are upfront about it all then I think it is fine.

    I wouldn't stop reading a good blog because of the odd review. If it turned into nothing but reviews I would probably think twice.

    I think the Great Toy Guide is a fab idea.

    Oh and LOL at your TMI confession ;).

  10. That's hilarious! I had an ex who used to say 'one up the bum, no harm done'. What a charmer. I'm a traditional girl too!
    Re the reviews, I haven't done any yet (apart from for the Great Toy Guide), but I'm happy if people want to send me free stuff! I'm currently reading a book I was sent and will review it if I ever find the time to finish it. I got the Carex pack too. Again when I get a minute I'll write a review. If people don't like it they don't have to read it. As far as I'm concerned it's all writing practise. Bit mean about having to send the Wii stuff back!

  11. I don't get the big deal , reviewing is fun and free stuff is great. Maybe if it became the whole purpose of the blog it would be an issue but other wise its just fun

  12. Don't know if you'll ever get to see this because I'm so late in leaving a comment and you might not ever scroll back this far! But thought I'd chance it...

    Having just done my first review (am not counting Butlins) I can now add to this discussion (didn't feel I could before). I think the thing is, whatever product you're reviewing, if it's done with honesty and humour and is relevant then why not? I've just reviewed a pair of trainers and I totally slated them...I don't think the manufacturers will ever speak to me again, but they did say they wanted an honest that's what I gave. I wouldn't have been able to say they were great if they weren't - I wouldn't have felt comfortable with it. But if I didn't think there was something funny to say, I probably wouldn't choose to review a product... would probably end up boring myself in the process and then it becomes more of a chore. Blah, blah, blah!! Not TMI on the anal btw - I do so love a bit of raw honesty. Doesn't mean I'm going to tell you when I last did it though (that is, if I've ever done it ;-))! x


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