I’m starting a ‘Blogger Chat’ interview series and have a few exciting ones lined up. The first is with The British Maple. The idea is to explore some of the interesting issues around blogging and what they write about. It’s also a way to find out more about some of the great bloggers who live in the Cotswolds.
Abi Griffin AKA The British Maple and I met for a glass of wine (or two) in a Cheltenham bar. She breezed in carrying her cool scooter and we sat and chatted about all kinds of issues from: school gate politics (unprintable conversation), confidence (how it’s inconsistent but Abi swears by Salsa lessons and red lipstick!), ambition (she described herself as ‘reluctantly ambitious’ and we had a deep conversation about it..or maybe it seemed like that after a couple of drinks?), other bloggers (mainly very positive), the future of blogging (we’re not going away!) along with the differences between being a mother in the present and past (all very interesting…)
Abi started blogging three years ago when she lived as an expat in Canada with her husband. She was a stay at home mum after having her two children while there. Abi started The British Maple blog as she felt that she didn’t really fit into a specific mum group, she said, ‘I wasn’t organic enough for the ‘crunchy’ mums and drank too much wine for the usual stay at home mums! It occurred to me that there must be other mums in my boat so I started writing about it and struck a chord with other mamas who felt the same.’
After she defined ‘crunchy’ (just think ‘organic’), Abi and I discussed how mothers can often feel judged. Especially nowadays as we all do things quite differently and have a larger community of mothers around us with different ideas. Blogging can be a way for mothers who feel isolated to reach out to others, potentially all over the world, who offer support and reassurance.
The British Maple hasn’t written a blog post for a while but may do soon as she has returned to work and aims to cover work/life balance issues. Abi started out by focusing on parenting and being an expat, but like other bloggers, her blog has followed her lifestyle. Her writing style is dry to hilarious, often thought-provoking and very honest. Some of my favourite posts by The British Maple include: ‘I’m Too Busy’ and ‘This Parenting Malarkey is Really Tough.’
On blogging and its future, Abi likes those who she believes are genuine. She said. ‘I like seeing how others balance their lives. I’m not so big on the, “I’m a shit mum but my kids are alive so hey ho” trend that seemed to dominate for a while. One of her favourite bloggers is a Canadian in Britain who writes the blog – ‘Are we British’
On the future of blogging we discussed the balance between ‘sponsored posts and ads’ vs ‘editorial/genuine posts, she said, ‘This is a tricky one for me because I never wanted to monetise my blog; it was always about the creative outlet and keeping my brain working rather than income. It really irks me when I see bloggers, whom I’ve loved, switch up their style to incorporate a sponsored product or service. I have no problem with paid articles as long as they are a good fit with the blogger’s lifestyle. The flip side of that is the fact it’s a business now and people need to make money. I’ve been a brand ambassador on Instagram but it was for something I was already very passionate about, I just focused my relevant posts more.’
On motherhood we talked about whether women have it easier or harder than previous generations of mothers. Abi said, ‘I could talk about this all day but the cop out answer is yes and no! For example, Mr. British Maple and I are quite old-fashioned in the way we raise our kids. I am the main caregiver, he wins the bread! But, I am acutely aware of the message this sends to our boys; a pressure I don’t think was as prevalent when I was young – it was almost expected.
‘Kids are exposed to so many more factors today than 30 years ago. Social media, better knowledge of health and nutrition, accessibility to anything at the click of a button…all these things affect the role of a mum now. Yes, my mum didn’t have free childcare at three or copious children’s menus to make her life easier. But she also didn’t have to worry about explaining terrorism to a five-year-old, or contend with the CBeebies Island app! Nowadays, the pressure to go back to work or stay at home is equal and sadly there are women ready to bash whichever option you choose. So, if you push me I’d say it’s harder now but in a very different way to earlier generations.’
As The British Maple scooted off into the night, I was left with a feeling of admiration, not just for Abi but for all mums (including myself!) who still face so many challenges. Perhaps we all need to be a bit more The British Maple: wear red lipstick and try Salsa lessons!
You can have a look at The British Maple blog here.
Or you can follow Abi on Instagram here.