Adore and Endure

Ok lovelies it’s time for my favourite things post. I was going to write my favourite things about Christmas in London, but its November so screw that I’M NOT JOHN LEWIS. Instead I thought I would write about something unbelievable close to my heart; my favourite things, the weirdos I surround myself with.

A lot is expected of girls these days. We have to be mothers and career driven, effortlessly sexy and comfortingly conservative, we have to have chosen both the red and blue pill in life and smile calmly while swallowing it all. But you know what? Despite it all? The girls are alright.

These beautiful freakish snowflakes that I am honoured to call my friends are being brave every day. They are struggling with made for TV movie type issues, stuff that none of us were prepped to handle. We don’t quite know how to adult yet. We fall apart, in the most explosive and sometimes entertaining ways but always find a way to put ourselves together again. The girls are gracious and humble but can swear like sailor to prove a point or just because saying fuck is fun. They are defensive and challenging and the most thoughtful friends a Runawaykiwi could have.

The girls are emotional but not weak, appreciative but not dependent and by god the girls are funny.

These favourite things of mine are always there, always ready to offer tea/gin/hugs as needed. And if that’s not enough? These girls will create an elaborate murder plot just to make you smile, and the best part is never being quite sure if they would follow through with it or not.

These girls have taken brave steps in their careers, not always the ones you would expect but the ones that are right for them. The girls value happy as much as they do drive and determination.

Friends like these are everything, they are not always right but will stand by your side as you are as wrong as wrong can be. You for sure don’t agree with everything, that would be far too boring. But the differences pail into comparison with the endless support, kindness, strength, friendly bullying, creative spark, love and laughter that are on offer.

I know when I moved to London the thought of making friends seemed like an abstract concept, after all how the hell do you make friends as an adult anyway? Well turns out you start blogging and join twitter, you find girls whose own little bit of madness fits into yours and you send them cat pictures.

Four years ago I was staying in London for my then favourite things; the food, art, culture, grey days and coffee. But now, my god my favourite things are just so much more everything, and most of the time they don’t even charge me to hang out with them.

Love you weirdos, you mean more to me than gin.

And for anyone out there thinking this level of meaningful awesome friendship is unobtainable? That new close friends just aren’t for you? Put yourself out there, find your weirdos…it will change and it will mean everything to you.


I wasn’t going to write about this, I really wasn’t. But yesterday at a blogging event the PR used me as an example of a bad blogging relationship. They kept it anonymous and did not mention me by name but the blogging community in London is tiny so I heard about it from three different people. I am going to extend them the same courtesy and not name names, but again the blogging community is small so I think many of you will know who. As I said I was never going to write about this, but since they raised it in a public forum I feel like I need a right of reply, I need to tell my side of the story.

I have worked with PR companies pretty much since I started this little blog of mine. In London PRs run great events where you can meet other bloggers, give you a heads up on new cafes/exhibitions and can be an amazing way to be introduced to brands that really mesh with your blog. They are great to work with and in three years I’ve only had good experiences. After years of fun I’m not going to let this one little upsetting moment sour an otherwise pretty damn cool blogging journey.

So what happened? Last year I was invited to a drinks evening by a travel company, it was good fun and as well as hearing about their social strategy and meeting some other bloggers they also said they wanted to be pitched to. This company wanted to work with authentic, quirky and unique bloggers and were just waiting to hear our good ideas.

I got inspired. I don’t normally even think about pitching because I blog for the love of it not to turn it into a career. But I figured it was something different so why not. I spent a Sunday afternoon putting together a pretty insane ‘pick a path’ pitch on my blog and then sent it to the PR.

I got really good feedback from the pitch and I met with both the PR and the travel company for a coffee, where they said they wanted to work with me and send me on a trip. Very exciting times. I secured other partners for the trip (the travel company was only going to pay for certain aspects) and started the quite painful journey of trying to confirm all the details. I didn’t mind putting the time into this (seriously, over 80 emails back and forth just trying to book everything) because it was an awesome opportunity not only to see and experience a new country but also to work with a couple of really big brands.

So the day that the go button was going to be pushed and everything booked I got a call from the PR saying that the trip was off because I had written something controversial on my blog. Now given that I had recently written a blog post about chocolate butt plugs I thought that might be the controversial aspect. But no, the post they found offensive was this one, the 17 most overused phrases in blog land.

To be specific the aspect they had an issue with was point 6 where I poked fun at bloggers who received something for free then claimed to have an un-biased opinion by writing the phrase ‘all opinions are my own’. In the PR company’s words they could not work with someone who had publically admitted that their opinion was biased by getting something for free.

My point by writing that was that ‘all opinions are my own’ is an overused phrase and that bloggers need to be honest in their reviews (remembering that they are recommending this to people who will have to pay with their hard earned cash).

I personally think the more controversial part of that post is that I couldn’t figure out which whether/weather/wether to use…

Now as I said I was not going to write about this. After all this is a business relationship and to be honest the PR/travel company can make whatever decisions they like. It is entirely their prerogative to stop working with a blogger if they disagree with something they write. I just shrugged and moved on.

But when they raised it as an example in a blogging conference it really really upset me. Firstly because alluding to someone when it is likely they will be in attendance is bad form, and secondly because of a question someone asked. When the PR said they had dropped me because of something I had written a member of the audience asked “was it because they wrote something politically insensitive” and the PR said yes*. It is abhorrent to me that a professional trusted voice is standing in a room of my peers saying that I have written something offensive about anyone’s race, class or gender…the commonly accepted definition of politically insensitive.

What was extremely frustrating about being dropped was that this was a company looking for ‘authentic, quirky & unique’ bloggers. I have written a couple of posts about my opinions on the blogging world and one of the things I think my reader’s value about me is my honesty (and pictures of cats riding unicorns of course!). I’m happy to poke fun at the blogging world and laugh at it while still being part of it and I would have expected a PR company to research my tone of voice before working with me.

I am a hobby blogger. I blog for the love of it, for the community and the adventures along the way. I am never going to censor myself, and I really don’t think I write anything so controversial that it would require self-censorship anyway. I write this as my right of reply to a publicly made statement about me, and I also hope that it helps any other hobby bloggers out there – relationships with PRs can be fun, friendly and beneficial for all, but they can also be a murky water that needs a bit of respect on both sides.

Good luck kids,

Rebecca

xx

 

*I heard this through other people who were in the room at the time

The Wheel of Date

So, I did something rather out of character… I went to a dating event.

Let me explain my reasoning, I am happily (and selfishly) single and rocking it in London. BUT I have never been to a petting zoo 135m above London. And no, that is not a euphemism.

I simply could not pass up a ticket to The Wheel of Date – a night where dating website ‘Do Something’ took over the London Eye and stuffed each pod full of dating shenanigans. There was karaoke serenaded by ukuleles, ping ping championships, a Casablanca gin joint, comedy shows, silent discos and the aforementioned petting zoo. Each pod was completely different, and you would be in there for a 45 minute rotation of the Eye – a perfect way to break the ice. This was then followed by a party at the Old Vic tunnels.

Perfect plan.

Well, I’m sure it was for every pod except mine. While we waited we heard the squeals and “oh cool”‘s of daters getting into their pods, and then it was our turn. And we were list making.

Yes, list making.

LIST MAKING.

All sixteen of us were given a pen and a book and then told to write our ‘Top 5 favourite meals with cheese in them’. Um…

Then we stood awkwardly in a circle while we shared with the group *queue bad school flashbacks*.

We then moved on to such shudder inducing topics as ‘what song best describes you’ and ‘what is the worst date you have ever been on*”

I don’t want to put down I Love Lists (the company that ran my pod) because that activity would be perfect in a pub in winter, in small groups, as a conversation starter. It was just completely wrong for this event.

And considering that the minimum ticket price was £45** (and drinks were not included) my pod felt like a complete and utter rip off. We didn’t even get to enjoy the view – for a glorious five minutes we ignored the lists and chatted while looking out over London. But we’re quickly back to staring at each other in an awkward list induced circle.

You know an activity is bad when even the host is saying “well, this is awkward”.

The party afterwards was fine (the Old Vic tunnels are an AMAZING venue), but considering this took place on a Thursday night it was an early one.

If you are tempted by The Wheel of Date in the future, save your money and just go to a bar on a Friday night.

*this one came pretty damn close

** don’t worry, I got a discount

Valentines Day Bunny

General Bunny is back – and this time he’s hearty. The reason for his appearance over two weeks before V Day is to shout about the runawaykiwi sale!

Take a look at the entire range on Etsy here: http://www.etsy.com/shop/Runawaykiwi

As a special present to my bloggy followers, if you email me on runawaykiwi@gmail.com with the subject line ‘General Bunny loves you’ – I will give you a whopping 15% off. Not only that, but if you get your act together there is even time to ship it to NZ and around the world.

Happy heart day y’all.