Whoosh! And that was the noise of the summer rushing past in a blur of ice cream, prosecco and braai food, all fragranced with the delectable aroma of Boots Soltan lotion. How did it get to be September so quickly? We're definitely a summer family - I just don't get the allure of the nights drawing in, wearing snuggly jumpers and curling up on the sofa with a mug of hot cocoa or whatever. Why would anyone sensible want to do that when you could be sitting outside in your back garden at 10pm drinking a glass of cold rose and enjoying the balmy night air?
I also can't believe that I haven't written a blog post since June. Every week I kept thinking, oh, I really need to share photos of the bedroom (it's now white! and beautiful!) but that would have involved finding my camera, finding my tripod, taking a bunch of pictures, setting up the PC which had been abandoned on the floor of the spare bedroom while we renovated the master bedroom, downloading the photos, editing them, adding my watermark - and that's before I'd even written a word and it all just felt too much like hard work so I just poured another glass of prosecco and wandered outside with it instead.
Blogging has changed, hasn't it? I've been blogging for years, at least five of them, back when YHL were posting about buying budget blooms from the local shop and it was charming and authentic. These days it's all Pinterest-friendly DIYs where you can't just post the DIY, heaven forfend, you have to have a pin-friendly image of the DIY with your logo and some descriptive text laid over it, and there are so many sponsored posts that aren't marked as sponsored posts but you know two sentences in that you're reading yet another sodding post about the Honest Company or Blue Apron but the blogger won't bother to tell you it's sponsored until you get to the end even though the rules say that's not allowed (kudos to Katie Bower, she seems a tad on the crazy side but she's totally transparent about her sponsored posts). It wasn't hard to see the YHL sabbatical coming because the blog's been unfortunately spiralling downwards for months, and the ironic thing of course is that if I were to click over and see a post about budget blooms I'd click straight off again on the grounds that this is your job and I want to see more than some sodding flowers in a vase, you know?
Personally I think it's the trend for making money from blogging that's sending the whole thing into a decline. Two of my favourite bloggers - Natalie from Hey Natalie Jean, who I read because her life is so utterly different to mine and her posts are an unabashed stream of fairly bonkers consciousness, and Andrea from For The Love Of, who lives in California and posts about clean eating (what?) and weird recipes with foods I've never heard of that I wouldn't even know where to buy in the UK and recently posted a DIY necklace that basically looked like a giant fake beard which was accidentally hilarious - have recently posted about how they took on too many sponsored posts, found they didn't want to do them anymore, are finishing off the ones they've been contracted to do, and will be returning to blogging because they love writing, not to get page views. You go, ladies.
We don't all have to make money from blogging, right? I mean, if you want to, then by all means crack on, and there are a very few blogs out there that do it really well, but personally I just can't be freaking bothered, you know? I've done a few sponsored posts here and there in the past but now I'm working full-time and there are just not enough hours in the day to be sodding around with sponsored posts when I don't even have time to write the posts that are the main reason why I started this blog in the first place, namely as a diary of our house renovations.
Also, about six months ago the stats functionality on my Squarespace app stopped working so I couldn't check my page views without going to my actual website. Back in March I was getting around 25,000 page views a month, which considering I have never used after the jumps to increase clicks, and have a punishing schedule of approximately one post a month, was probably a fairly healthy number of page views. Now? I have no clue. A lot less than that, I imagine. And you know what happened as a result? Nothing! No personal impact to me whatsoever! I'd actually kind of forgotten that people read this at all until a nice reader called Anna left a comment enquiring where I was and that kind of reminded me that I do have a blog, and like posting on it, so thank you Anna for bringing that to my attention.
Soooo, this is not a long-winded way of saying I'm through with blogging, far from it, but I do wish I had a way of magicking out of thin air the couple of extra hours I would need each week to write a post (that given the choice I would actually rather use to make curtains or sand floors or paint furniture or generally have a little lie down to recover from the overly large amounts of champagne I drank - how fancy am I, right? - at a work event last night).
If anyone feels similarly about blogging, and has any thoughts on what the future holds given that even the mighty YHL have been felled by the monotony of having become a brand, do share them. Or maybe I'm just a crazy lady ranting gently away to myself on a Friday night while eating the hula hoops we bought for the kids, who knows.
Anyway, one thing we did this summer was go to Germany to see our lovely German friends who live in a little town between Berlin and Leipzig, bask in 35 degree sunshine and eat weird German food. Baked camembert for lunch? Don't mind if I do. Served with sour berries, slices of tinned peach, dry triangles of toast and... wait for it... a giant dollop of whipped cream? Pretty freaking weird, but I ate it anyway because it turns out that if my favourite thing to dip into a baked camembert is strips of brie (true story), then my second favourite thing might be whipped cream and hey, who needs to fit into their work trousers upon returning home to the UK, right?
Pretty German houses:
My delight at realising that an Eis-Cafe was not the frappuccino I was expecting, but instead was a cold latte with a generous amount of ice cream wedged into the glass:
A standard German kids' meal with Haribo on the side:
And a small pink lady paddling in the local lake:
Our friends had just finished building their house (this is a normal thing in German, sensible nation that they are; to buy land and build a brand shiny new house on it, rather than invest in a draughty old money-pit and spend hours lovingly scraping lead paint off the stairs) and it was just so nice to spend time somewhere with lovely new bathrooms and a proper kitchen with an island and an induction hob and a table for the kids to sit at.
We've come home renewed with vigour to get cracking with our extension - ideally early next year, assuming we can get a suitable builder booked in. I've even been ordering catalogues for tiles and whatnot. Maybe I should just try doing short posts saying hey, what do you think of these tiles with this worktop? which is basically the kind of thinking that flows through my brain these days.
Hope you've had a lovely summer too. I'm off to finish the prosecco.