This morning I received unsolicited free products in the mail. My children were excited – since I stopped saying yes to PR stuff, the packages here have dropped off and they’ve been unimpressed with their lack of free stuff. Even when that free stuff was a handcream I was never going to blog about.

We opened up the box and discovered Kellogg’s new liquid breakfast drinks.

Now, I need to state, Kellogg’s have, in the past, been incredibly good to me. They’ve sent me cereal when Isaac wouldn’t eat anything except cereal. They’ve sponsored me to attend conferences and flown me around the countryside.

But this time they’ve missed the mark. In fact, they’ve missed it by so much that they’re no longer even playing in my ballpark.

Firstly, the two breakfast drinks I was sent were CocoPops and Nutrigrain. Both cereals I refuse to buy because they have too much sugar to not enough good stuff ratio.

Secondly, we’ve recently started Isaac on the FODMAP diet. Kellogg’s didn’t know this, so they get a pass. In fact, hardly anyone knew this yet, because I’ve not really spoken about it. So while I wasn’t going to give the sweetened milk drinks to my children for breakfast, I was kind of hoping they could have them as a treat. I’m not averse to treats. I have them all the time.

I read the ingredients though and was a bit flabbergasted. Firstly, low fat milk? LOW FAT MILK? Geez. I know we’re currently in a food culture swing of “fat is bad, OMG FAT”, but it’s not true. Children especially need fat for their brain development and therefore, in my opinion children should always eat full fat dairy.

The second ingredient on both products was sugar.

Head, desk.

You know that there is something wrong when we’re removing fat from food and replacing it with sugar.

Listen, I’m not anti-sugar. In fact, I happen to adore sugar. But having sugar as the second ingredient in a product designed to be a kids breakfast drink?

No. Just no.

The ingredients then go on to list a whole host of other things, including stabilisers, flavours, added minerals and vitamins (FYI, adding extra calcium and vitamin D doesn’t get you past the sugar debacle) “flavours” and acidity regulators. All this in something that is essentially chocolate milk. For breakfast.

I mentioned to Mum that it was terrible, but that I wasn’t going to say anything because let’s face it, Kellogg’s has spent a lot of money on me in the last 2 years. But then, she asked, doesn’t that effectively mean that they’ve bought my silence?

I don’t want to be that person who plays down the negatives of something because of brand loyalty, or fear of opportunities passing by later down the track.

So, Kellogg’s, hear me out.

I think these breakfast drinks are a ridiculous product. You’d be better off marketing them as pure chocolate milk, rather than something nutritious and suitable for breakfast every day. That’s my honest feedback and you’re welcome to it.

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Actually, it’s not disgusting or offensive

by Veronica on December 17, 2012

in Soapbox

Sitting outside of Kmart today in a quiet corner, I was nursing Evelyn. Isaac had followed his father into the newsagent and so I sat, alone, holding Evie’s hand to stop her tearing at her face with her flaily little hands and people watching.

A woman walked in, trailed by her bogan boyfriend and bogan friend. Pregnant and wearing leggings as pants, she saw me and her face looked like she’d sucked on something sour and unexpected.

I smiled at her and she pointedly looked at me and said loudly “I can’t believe she’s breastfeeding in public like that. It’s disgusting and offensive.”

I was shocked and more than a little angry.


Dear Bogan Woman outside of Kmart,

Breastfeeding my baby is not disgusting, nor is it offensive. I was, and am always, discreet and I can only imagine that you find the sight of a naked baby head utterly appalling, because actually, you couldn’t see a single centimetre of my skin, let alone my breast.

You know what was offensive? Your stupid behaviour. Your disgust at me minding my own business. Your insistence on making sure that everyone else around us knew you were offended.

Actually offensive; your leggings as pants. You couldn’t see my nipple, but I sure as hell could see your crotch.

Thanks for that.

Merry Christmas.


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It seems that as the Mummyblogging genre continues to explode in Australia, there are some concerns about Mummybloggers, our ethics and how we spend our time. Ignoring entirely why anyone else has the right to dictate what my spare time is spent on, I thought that I’d address some of the issues that “concerned Internet citizens” seem to have.

“Mummybloggers are unethical”

Unfortunately here, you can’t lump all blogging mums into the same boat. As a community we are diverse, with many different opinions on what ethics actually are. So with this, I cannot speak for anyone except myself and the small section of bloggers that I interact with daily.

Is there unethical behaviour carried out by bloggers? Probably, but first you’ve got to decide exactly what “ethical” and “unethical” mean to you – and then remember that not everyone else will agree with your definition. Labelling something that you don’t agree with as “unethical” is similar to labelling a blogger a “sell out” for promoting something you wouldn’t touch.

As bloggers, we don’t have an official code of ethics. However, as media (and yes, we are media – new media, but media nonetheless) we need to act with a level of responsibility. Parenting blogs are usually opinion based and therefore, we’re less likely to say, incite violence, or hate crimes – unlike some traditional media “big names” we could mention.

Any blogger behaving consistently in an unethical way, will lose readers and traffic pretty quickly. Therefore there’s natural selection at work. Our readers are not stupid and will not hang around if they think they’re being duped.

“Mummybloggers are paid to only write positive reviews”

I receive a lot of product in the mail. I don’t write about the products I don’t like. It’s as simple as that. I know most other parenting bloggers work on the same premise. If product X gave me a rash, I’ll let the PR company know that it’s not a fit for me and won’t be on the blog. I’m not wasting my time and energy writing about a product I don’t like.

The exception here might be writing about the so-called organic shampoo that my kids bathed the cat in, and promptly sent the cat bald. But while it’s an amusing anecdote, I don’t want to be dealing with angry company lawyers and threats of defamation.

So if I don’t love it, I won’t write about it.

Paid posts are clearly labelled at the beginning of the post. Usually these are in conjunction with a giveaway, and the company is only paying me for the time it takes to write the post, moderate the comments, organise the entries and draw the giveaway. Let me repeat, THAT is what I’m being paid for – NOT my opinion. If a product sucks, if it isn’t a fit with my blog, if I don’t like the company, I won’t write about it for any amount of money. Neither will the bloggers I know.

I get a lot of offers to host paid guest posts on things that my readers won’t care about. I turn them down.

“Shouldn’t they be spending time with their children instead?”

OH! Those dastardly mummybloggers, faffing about on the Internet reviewing their fripperies while their poor neglected children languish in the background, dying of starvation.

This seems to be the opinion of a lot of people. That apparently, once you’ve birthed a screaming squalling baby, then you shall never have spare time again. This is the most bullshit argument of the lot of them, frankly.

All adults have spare time – what we choose to do with it is up to us. You might watch crappy reality TV – I will blog. Children aren’t awake 24/7, nor are they as needy as some people seem to think they are. Both of my children love playing made up games together without my intervention, just as much as they love a family game of cards. Sometimes I just don’t have to be there with them. Sometimes, they really want me to go away. I’m good with this.

Also, no one complains if I take time out from my children to cook dinner, or to weed the garden, or to read a book. Apparently it’s only the Internet that is a problem.

This complaint is followed closely by…

“If those women have so much time to spend online, they ought to be out working in a REAL job.”

Since when is motherhood not a real job? What misogonystic bullshit are you trying to pull on me today?

Blogging is a spare time thing. I blog/tweet/facebook when my children are sleeping, or when I’m not otherwise engaged in hands on parenting/household running. Sometimes I can knock a blog post out in a 20 minute block of time – other times I write a paragraph every hour over the course of a day.

You tell me about a “real job” that allows me the kind of flexibility that blogging does and I’ll laugh in your face. Right before I call you a liar.

PARENTING is my real job. Raising my children, nurturing them, creating a safe and supportive environment for them – THAT is my real job.

Blogging is my hobby.

To sum up:

A lot of the concerns about mummyblogging come from people who don’t know very much about it. To them, I invite you to have a click around and see if you find anything you like. My blog may not be your cup of tea, but as a genre, we are a very different lot and there really is a something for everyone.

If you look long enough, you’ll find women to make you laugh and women to make you cry, as well as everything in between.


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We knew it was coming, didn’t we. The “Rise Of The Mummybloggers” titled to make Mummy Blogging seem both terrifying and disturbing. Oh no! It’s the RISE OF THE MUMMYBLOGGERS with their unethical disclosure methods and their shilling for free product. Let’s all count the ways in which they are exploiting their children and tsk tsk over how WE wouldn’t put OUR personal stories online.


It’s a bit sad when you can’t turn around for fear of being slapped in the face by the mummyblogger debate. Are we ethical? Are we not ethical? Does accepting free product immediately mean that our opinions have been bought and that we can never be trusted again? What about if that free product is a sample being given away by our local bakery?

Now, disclosure: I am a mummyblogger. I know. Do you need to sit down? Is this a shock to you? Will you ever look at me the same way?

Further disclosure: I get sent free stuff. It’s pretty cool. I also sometimes get paid to write sponsored posts. That is also pretty cool. Sponsored posts keep me in books, cheese and chocolate. Not to mention the fuzzy socks that I absolutely require. Sponsored posts do not buy my opinion, or my good will. They merely buy my time, which I use to write the damn post, promote the post, moderate the comments and keep an eye on things.


Apparently, the fact that I have given birth to children AND write about that fact means that my opinion is never to be trusted again. You see, my opinions are not valid. This is what Mummyblogging does to you girls – it doesn’t give you a voice, or a community – no! It merely strips away your right to have an opinion about products and things that you may or may not have been given.

With the RISE OF THE MUMMYBLOGGERS (you have to read that in a doom-laden voice by the way) and the rise of the commercial brands trying to jump on the mummyblogger bandwagon, we have also seen the rise of the increasingly bitter women who don’t want mothers to be writing things online.

I mean, that’s probably not how they see themselves, but it’s how they sound online. Bitchy, bitter and determined to start a flame war between the RISE OF THE MUMMYBLOGGERS and everyone else. Forgetting entirely that mummybloggers are the “everyone else” that they’re trying to appeal to as well.

They claim that they just want to discuss things, but then turn around and attack the ethics of bloggers. They don’t want to discuss, they want to shriek, point fingers and call us names, all the while pressing the handy block button on twitter as a way to stop the conversation.

Why yes, I’m bitter about being blocked when I was discussing ethics in a calm rational way and agreeing with them about the need for ethical integrity. I’m also doubting that the shriekers have any ethical integrity of their own when tweets are rapidly deleted.

But I digress.

The RISE OF THE MUMMYBLOGGERS is happening and to some people, it seems like all we need is a Schwarzenegger to roll in and take us all down, guns blazing.

Sadly, I don’t think Arnie cares that much.


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So, it’s been a rough week here and when things get rough I seek out escapism. Being pregnant, I didn’t want to start anything mentally challenging, so I downloaded 50 Shades of Grey.

While I’m happy to read just about anything ever written, let’s face it, sometimes books are merely a fantasy world to disappear into and that’s what I wanted.

Three days later and I’ve read all three books and I’m a little sick of the judging and the smugness I see in the conversations carried out about the series.

Let’s address the main complaints:


How offensive can you get in one statement? It’s erotica plain and simple. No one is getting all het up about the single women reading it, or the men – no, it’s the fact that it’s getting MOTHERS worked up that is offensive.

No one calls Playboy “Daddy Porn” so why does a new to the market book aimed at women suddenly get labelled “mummy porn”?

I call misogynistic bullshit on this one.

It’s badly written.

Yep, it is. I knew that within 5 minutes of starting the first book. I still kept reading. You know why? Because it’s escapism. Because I don’t need my books to come with a full complement of dictionary words. Because sometimes trash is exactly what I feel like reading.

It’s not so badly written that it annoyed me and unlike some books, I didn’t feel the urge to take a red pen to it at any point either.

“But if only people realised how badly written it is!”

This one is usually accompanied by much hand wringing and a “won’t someone please think of the poor poor consumers” type attitude.

It’s the assumption that anyone reading Fifty Shades has no idea that it’s badly written. Like all of us are suddenly too stupid to realise that it’s basically a stripped back, sexed up version of every other romance novel out there.

Look, you don’t expect sweeping epiphanies from Mills and Boon books – why expect it of Fifty Shades? It’s junk food for your brain. Stop expecting it to be a 10 course degustation menu. Sometimes I just feel like a cheeseburger you know?

The characters are SO much like Twilight’s main two characters.

I can’t really comment on this one, because I haven’t read Twilight – but correct me if I’m wrong, wasn’t Fifty Shades originally Twilight fan-fic that was published online, before being picked up by a publisher?

Not a good enough reason to judge everyone else reading it.

Have you read it? Have you found yourself being a JUDGEY MCJUDGERTON about the whole thing?

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