About me · Blog awards

Ask me anything: Sunshine Blogger Award

Sunshine Blogger Award logo

 

So I was rather surprised to be nominated for the Sunshine Blogger Award not once but twice – by the lovely Multipotentialite and the brilliant Just Sophie.

About the Sunshine Blogger Award

The Sunshine Blogger Award is given by bloggers to fellow bloggers who inspire positivity and creativity in the blogging community.

Here are the rules:

  1. Thank the person who nominated you and link their blog to this post
  2. Answer the eleven questions asked by your nominator
  3. Nominate eleven bloggers
  4. Ask them eleven questions, different to the ones you’ve answered
  5. List the rules
  6. Display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo on your post and blog site

How lovely to be asked to do something like this – twice over! – just a month after starting blogging.

Multipotentialite’s questions and my answers:

1. Where do you see yourself in 5 years from now?

If I’m honest, pretty much where I am now. With the missus, in the same job (which I love). Two important things will have changed: our baby will be 4, and starting school, and maybe they’ll even have a little brother or sister. And hopefully we’ll have moved out of our city centre two-bed into a house with a garden.

2. What social stigma does society need to get over?

The stigma of poverty. Most people living on a low income are stuck because of how society works. How it pushes people into low income jobs that don’t pay enough to live on. How disabled people are excluded from education and employment. How we don’t help people recover from homelessness and mental illness. How the austerity of the last eight years has taken away all the structures that help people get themselves and their kids out of poverty – SureStart, libraries, tax credits, social rents, a well-funded NHS, well-funded schools, regeneration programmes, new social housebuilding.

The stigma of poverty is centered on an assumption of failure: that people who are poor are making no effort to get out of poverty. That their choices lead to poverty. That poverty is their fault. This is the stigma that society needs to get over. Instead we all need to think “there but for the grace of God go I“. Any of us could need welfare benefits, social housing, the NHS – and those things should be a springboard back into a decent standard of living.

3. What are your views on religion?

I think the UK has it more or less right on religion. I don’t like formal secularism policies – they lead to hijabi Muslim women being hounded, and Islamophobia and antisemitism going unrecorded and untackled. On the other hand, I couldn’t live in a religious state, as an out lesbian woman. I won’t change planes or visit Dubai for that reason. I like our British settlement – a formal state religion, but protection from discrimination for people of all faiths, and active promotion of diversity and multiculturalism. I enjoy breaking the fast during Eid with Muslim friends, and I know to say “Mazel Tov!” when Jewish friends announce their pregnancy.

4. What is your lucky number and why?

I win things with 7s and 13s in. No idea why.

5. Why did you start blogging?

I have run personal blogs four times in my life – 2004, 2011, 2013 and now 2018. In 2004, pre-social media, I wanted to join in the experiment of blogging about news and politics. There were very few of us blogging then, so with little effort I got a reasonable-sized readership and profile. That came into conflict with my developing career, though, so I closed it down in 2008. There’s no trace on the internet of this phase any longer.

In 2011, I wanted to join the wellness blogging movement. That lasted about six posts. In 2013, I moved to a new area, and started blogging about how it was changing. Again, that lasted about six posts. Both were anonymous.

In 2018, I felt the urge to write about being pregnant. I wanted to remember this time, to record it, so I could look back. I wanted to meet other mums and learn about this new phase in my life. So here I am. Thankfully I’m already past the six posts mark!

6. Name 3 things that bring you happiness in everyday life?

Food, books, cuddles (of the five love languages, my preference is always physical touch).

7. What genre of music do you enjoy?

I have two distinct music tastes formed by distinct phases of my life.

They say the music you listened to as a teenager is your music for life. I agree: for me the music of 1994-6 will never be bettered. My Desert Island Discs would include Pulp’s Different Class, Elastica, several Blur albums, Oasis. Classic Britpop and indie. Give me more guitars. Down with wispy John Lewis covers of classic rock songs.

In 1999 I came out. I lived in a one-gay-pub town at the time – so the music that shaped the next period of my life was Steps, Britney, S-Club 7. In short, what the gay boys who monopolised the jukebox listened to (and line danced to). I added to that the house and trance of the gay clubs in London we started to go to at the weekends.

My perfect track is probably a mash-up of Total Eclipse: Bonnie Tyler’s voice over layers and layers of Metallica style thrash guitar.

8. Do you think aliens exist?

The sheer mathematical improbability of there being no other sentient life in this or another universe suggests they do.

9. When do you blog? During the day or in the evenings?

No set time. I blog from my phone when I have a moment.

10. Can you play a musical instrument?

No.

11. Do you speak any other language than English? If yes, which language/s?

I learned four languages at school. But (what a criminal waste) now I speak none.

Multipotentialite also nominated By KianahAnna Alina, Exquisitely, Holly Robiin, Nada, Maya, Megan, Laur talks makeup and Alternatively speaking. Do head on over to their blogs to see their answers!

Just Sophie’s questions and my answers

1. What is your favourite month of the year and why?

September. Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness. There is a sense of new beginnings, of possibility, to September. I always want new clothes, a new bullet journal, a new handbag in September.

2. Who is the one person that could make you smile, even on the most down of days?

My lovely missus.

3. What is the best dream you have had that you can remember? 

I’m not sure I dream – I certainly can’t remember one!

4. What is your favourite food and why?

Korean raw beef bibimbap. It’s rice, vegetables and raw beef fillet served in a blisteringly hot stone bowl. You mix the ingredients together fast, with as much chilli sauce as you can take. The beef fillet cooks in the heat, and the rice sticks together in a golden crust where it touches the stone. I eat this all year round (there are a few good Korean places near my office) – but I have a tradition of eating it after late night Christmas shopping.

5. If you could live anywhere on the planet, where would you live? 

London. It’s the centre of my professional field and the place I want to bring my family up. It’s where I’m from – and where I sound like I’m from. It’s where my missus lives. It’s the world in one city. I love to travel but I’ll never move away for good.

6. If you could only take one thing onto a desert island with you, what would it be? 

My iPhone. Who knew these multi-functional handheld computers would become so indispensable to so much of our lives? My iPhone is where I read books, listen to the news, read newspapers, watch TV, listen to podcasts. It guides my exercise. It’s where I store my notes. It’s where I chat to friends. It’s where I hear about births, deaths and weddings. It’s where I argue politics. It’s where I blog.

I remember the first time someone told me they didn’t buy the newspapers for their morning commute – they read the newspapers on their phone on the bus. It must have been 2006-ish. I was astonished. If you’d asked me then what I would have wanted from a better mobile phone, I might have suggested a better camera, or better battery life on my Nokia. The genius of Steve Jobs is that he knew what I wanted – even when I didn’t. I couldn’t imagine life without my iPhone.

7. What are your favourite things to blog about?

My tags tell me it’s pregnancy, maternity clothes, podcasts and books.

8. Where was the last place that you travelled to?

A small Spanish resort just outside Marbella, for a decadent weekend in the sun.

9. What song makes you happy as soon as you listen to it?

Yes by McAlmont Butler. Click on the link now if you’ve never heard it – I defy you not to smile through happy tears at the beauty of it as David McAlmont hits the top note at 3.00.

10. What colour is your bedroom?

Grey on grey, like out whole flat.

11. How do you eat your jaffa cakes?

Ugh. Can I have something else please?

Just Sophie also nominated Lynette, Caledonian Kitty, Imogen, Amy Jane, Earth To Connie, Don’t Give A Jam, The Talking Blog, Nancy Mulligan, Laura and Dan’s Book Blog. Go to their blogs to see their answers!

My questions

So now I get to ask some questions of my own to others. Looking forward to seeing the answers!

  1. What sort of a feminist are you?
  2. What’s your top tip for a new blogger?
  3. Dogs or cats?
  4. How do you give back to others?
  5. What’s the thing that you love but lots of people hate?
  6. What are your top three books?
  7. What are you grateful for today?
  8. What song will be played at your funeral?
  9. Where would you like to go on a city break?
  10. If you could add one thing onto the school curriculum, what would it be?
  11. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

My nominations

And I’m nominating…

  1. BooBerrit
  2. Malou’s figments
  3. Kate’s Beauty Home
  4. Volcanology Liz
  5. Foundations and Fairytales
  6. Daedric Moms
  7. My life as a mummy
  8. Looking after your pennies
  9. Little hearts big love
  10. Soph Isobel
  11. Tattooed Mummy

Of course – there’s no obligation to do it if you don’t fancy it! And anyone else reading who would like to answer the questions, please do, and post a link in the comments. Looking forward to reading your answers!

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