Blogging Good Reads, featuring My Life Long Holiday.
Welcome to my new series, ‘Blogging Good Reads’, where I invite fellow bloggers to tell me about their favourite blog posts (their own and those written by others). In doing so, I hope it creates a wonderful ready-made reading list for you all, saving you the job of hunting for fabulous things to read yourselves.
It is my hope that Blogging Good Reads will introduce you to some brilliant writers and blog posts, too. With so many blogs out there, it’s hard to know where to start. Before I started blogging, I didn’t read many blogs and I certainly didn’t think of looking for blog posts if I fancied something to read. However, in the last 12 months I’ve been blown-away by the quality and diversity of the blogs I’ve read. There are some truly gifted writers out there and I’ve laughed, cried and cheered in equal measure.
Alex Muir: My Life Long Holiday.
For my very first Blogging Good Reads, I’m delighted to be featuring my good friend and fellow Nottingham blogger, Alex Muir, who blogs at ‘My Life Long Holiday.’ She may be my mate from ‘up North’ (we grew up in Teesside but first met in Nottingham), but she also happens to be one of my favourite bloggers. I absolutely adore her gloriously original take on travel writing. The warmth, wit and insight she brings to her ‘off the beaten track’ travelogues transport me to the very places she describes, until I can taste the Oozo and smell the Hawaiian Tropic. What’s more, Alex’s reviews of her beloved Nottingham are an absolute treat, gloriously quirky and ‘snort in an unladylike manner’ hilarious. Every post glitters with hidden gems and cool places to visit, so, if like me, you don’t get out much, reading about Alex’s Nottingham adventures is the next best thing!
I’m convinced Alex is destined for greatness and I’m being completely serious when I say she really is the blogging Bill Bryson. Nuff said.
Blogging Good Reads: My Life Long Holiday.
1. Tell us about your blog using Twitter’s 140 character limit.
A collection of lighthearted travel stories. Trying to be informative with #traveltips but often an inner Bill Bryson runs away with my pen.
2. If your blog were a cake, which 5 blog posts would best represent the key ingredients?
Wonderful, Wonderful Copenhagen!
‘South Queensferry – The Perfect Day Trip From Edinburgh
Mountain Fun In The Serra Da Estrela, Portugal
Palma, Mallorca – A Unique City Guide
Portugal – My Shy friend (5 experiences you must have).
3. What’s your most popular blog post and why do you think it’s successful?
‘Thassos – Sshhh! It’s a secret.’ Popular because no one else seems to have written about it! I like to think it’s because I talk about my hankering for a fat, hairy Greek bloke with a ‘gyros’ but ultimately the beautiful photo’s draw people in. It really is paradise.
4. What type of blog posts are most popular with your readers and why do you think that is?
Well, I only write about travel and my beloved city, Nottingham, so my readers really don’t have a choice! But I like to think that even if you’re not planning on taking a trip, or you’ve not come across my blog because you’re researching somewhere, my posts are still a quirky read. They’re an opportunity to sit down with a cuppa and be transported to a corner of my world: It’s a nice world, where I notice the small stuff and cultures and vistas set off butterflies and magical stuff in my flighty brain.
5. Have any of your posts ‘gone viral’ (or viral compared to your usual page views). Tell us about some of them and how and why you think it happened.
My Nottingham posts usually get picked up and shared abundantly, but one post in particular, did very well. I had anally drawn a detailed map for my sister, who was housesitting for us and wanted to know where to eat and drink in Nottingham. When I found it a few months later, my pithy one-liners even made me chuckle, so I decided to turn it into a blog post (Put On Your Gladrags Nottingham) and it seems the landlords of Nottingham find it funny too. It went as viral as a localised family man-flu when the new FIFA game comes out, but for me it did well! Recently too, it seems the whole expat community got behind my Palma post. They must’ve liked what I had to say about their amazing capital city as it went mad on Facebook community pages.
6. What post has been your most controversial in terms of the reaction it’s received and why?
Can you really write a controversial travel post? Although saying that, I once wrote about the different areas of Venice and the plus and minus’ of each one and this seemed to resonate with many: Venice just seems to be one of those places people either love or hate (I hated it the first time, but loved it after my 2nd trip) and I got quite a few rude comments afterwards, not rude towards me but towards Venice itself. Bizarre.
7. Which of your posts do you wish had received more attention and why?
‘Portugal- My Shy Friend’ I ended up renaming it ‘Portugal – 5 Experiences You Must Have’ to make it more SEO friendly and it helped a bit but I think it is my best-written piece. I feel passionate about Portugal – it’s highs and lows, as my parents live there and we get to visit every year. I feel like not enough people consider it as a holiday destination, and I’m not talking about the Algarve, I mean real Portugal. It’s a piece that I couldn’t wait to press publish for, as opposed to the rest of the time when I’m thinking ‘Ooo, I hope people will like it!’
8. List your three favourite blog posts and tell us why they’ve made your top three.
Thassos – Sshhh! It’s a secret – I was desperate to write this post because the actual holiday was amazing. We love Greece anyway but I was just oozing in verbal Oozo and couldn’t wait to get it all down!
Shawnee & Hillbilly Hotdogs – USA Roadtrip Highlights. – I find myself writing a lot of posts now full of practical informative stuff, but for a while I’d wanted to get this one down on paper because I just couldn’t get the experience out of my head. It’s probably not too informative but if I can inspire just one person to visit these two places then my work here is done!
Portugal- My Shy Friend – Like I said before; this one’s from the heart. Portugal is very special to me and I feel like we really ‘know’ it now, so I’m pleased with the picture I paint of this gorgeous country!
9. What’s your favourite blog post title (from those you’ve written) and why?
My blog post titles are boring now because I’m a slave to SEO, but last year when I was just starting out I didn’t care and my very first post was called ‘Four Heads, An Extra Toe And Superhuman Powers.’
10. What’s your funniest post?
Travel posts can’t really be a virtual stage for comedic writing but as I’ve already said, my posts are pretty light-hearted and quirky so I like to inject a bit of humour into all of them. My Nottingham’s 5 best Burgers article starts with “I won’t lie – I eat a lot of Burgers. On a walk in Derbyshire the other day, the cows gave me a wide berth and whispered in cow accent’ ‘Doris, that’s her!’” – If I can shoehorn a joke in anywhere I will!
11. Which blog post means the most to you and why?
‘Portugal – My Shy Friend’ again – I just want people to experience Portugal, it’s a wonderful country.
12. What post was the hardest for you to write and why?
Probably my first sponsored post – ‘Take an Alicante Food Tour’. The pressure is always more present when you’re writing for someone else and you’re desperate for their approval. I was happy with the way it turned out though and so were they!
Blogging Good Reads: Other bloggers.
13. List your 5 favourite blogs (not blog posts) and why you like them.
Maflingo.com – She’s crazily hilarious, thought provoking and her money saving tips always please me – I’m a tight-wad. 😉
Making Spaces – Karen blogs about interiors and she has the best taste. Her northern wit comes across her blog and as much as I love interiors, it’s even better with a side helping of sarcasm.
Mess & Merlot – I love Charlie’s take on life, I relate to her and find her musings on life heartwarming. I especially love all the body-image stuff she writes about. It’s an issue I struggle with deep down and I find her posts so inspiring.
Topsy Turvy Tribe – A family that have upped-sticks in the UK in order to find a bit more of a life-balance abroad. They are currently in one of my favourite spots in Europe, Andalucia, Spain. I love keeping up with their adventures.
Island Living 365 – I can blame this one on you, Jane! You encouraged me to stick with Emma. I was put off by all the feminist ‘burn your bra’ business at first,(I really find all feminist stuff boring and annoying), but I loved all of Emma’s other stuff as her personality really shines through. Her conversations with her mother really crack me up, they’re my favourite posts but I’m even enjoying the feminist posts now as I see it as an extension of her personality. I feel like we’d be good friends in real life and that she’d be hilarious to have around.
14. List up to 5 of your favourite blog posts by other bloggers.
Children’s Birthday Parties – 7 Reasons for a ‘retro’ party revival – Maflingo.
I’m having an affair – Conversations with mum – Island Living 365.
On Belonging – A story from Japan – This Battered Suitcase.
Pushing adulthood away – Just Saying Mum.
15. If someone is new to reading blogs, which 3 blogs (not blog posts) should they be reading right now, and why?
It depends on what you like to read about!
16. Which blog post by another blogger do you wish you had written and why?
I read a post recently about camping of all things, but it was about a place in America. The way it was written was so beautiful it transported me there instantly. It was creative writing at its finest: Half a billion years in the making: Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge.
17. Tell us about blog posts which have made you:
Which President’s coming to supper? Oh. Bummer. Right Royal Mother.
Thirteen – Absolutely Prabulous.
Visiting Himba, Damara, San and Herero Tribes in Namibia – Full Suitcase.
18. Finally, which Maflingo blog post is your favourite and why?
I’m choosing three!
Even couples with kids need a date night: 10 date night tips for busy parents – I agreed wholeheartedly with this one and I hate to see couples drift once kids arrive so I thought this post was perfect and SO well written.
The highly contagious virus affecting the Queen, Ed Sheeran & killing the art of conversation.– Hilarious, just hilarious. I think I read this post to at least 4 people!!
Lego memories and building a Christmas tradition. – Sooo touching and it made me happy that you guys have this tradition, (I may have shed a little tear too!).
Thanks to Alex for sharing her Blogging Good Reads. I promise I didn’t pay her to mention some of my posts in her answers! To be honest, I’d be mentioning her posts, too, as they’re among my favourites and we’ve been following each other’s blogs from the early days.
I’m a big fan of some of the other bloggers mentioned in Alex’s lists and can thoroughly recommend them, too. So, if you’re looking for some fabulous blog posts to read and enjoy, Alex’s Blogging Good Reads are a great place to start.
Aww lovely Alex- great post and thanks for the mention lovely lady ? . Fab idea for a guest post series Jane, looking forward to joining in soon xx
I can’t wait for you to do all the leg work on creating a reading list for me! I know you have a very long flight next week, so you’ll have loads of time to contemplate your answers 😉
Great idea for a series Jane, some really in-depth questions. Thank you for the mention Alex xx
Thanks so much, Andrea! I’m looking forward to reading ‘the ones that got away’ on Alex’s list later.
Awww, thanks for the mention, I am touched and honoured and I like to think that I may have converted Alex to my slightly feminist ways ;-). Love this series and what a fantastic start. I agree that Alex is a genius wordsmith and also the female Bill Bryson. I love her posts x
Aw, thanks Emma. I am eager to find out your favourites!
What a brilliant series and it’s great to find out a bit more about Alex through her highlighted posts. Portugal is a great one! I’ve popped over to a few links, and have to agree that this post is a bit of a treasure chest when it comes to finding new things to read. #DreamTeam x
Thanks, Annette. I love Alex’s posts and it is great to have a readymade reading list!