Is it a diary? Is it an ad? No, it's a mummy blog

New mothers are turning to the internet in ever greater numbers to record the highs and lows of parenting. Susie Mesure reports

It initially gave lonely new mums the chance to reclaim some form of social life once they'd finally got DD* or DS* down for the night. But the phenomenon that is mummy blogging is gaining a life of its own, turning from a virtual take on the church hall coffee morning to something approaching a business for many of the UK's emerging community of parent bloggers.

Mummy bloggers report companies are queuing up to bombard them with the latest children's DVDs, books, shoes and even kid-friendly holidays in the hope of scoring a favourable online review that might help their product to stand out amid the clutter in a fiercely competitive children's market.

Some blogging parents (there are a handful of dads among the mums) get at least 10 pitches a day from retailers and brands keen to harness one of the internet's newest sub-groups. And earlier this month, Butlins took a group of bloggers to the launch of its Ocean Hotel Spa in Bognor Regis, hoping to swap a free mini-break for some free publicity online.

Although a handful of mummy blogs were around as far back as 2006 – three years is an eternity in webworld – the vast of majority of bloggers such as mommyhasaheadache or londoncitymum are much newer to the scene. One relative old-timer, Laura Driver, who has been writing arewenearlythereyetmummy? for the past 13 months, said: "I can't believe how quickly it is snowballing. There used to be just a few high profile mum bloggers but now there are so many starting up each week that you can't keep up with them all. It seems everybody is fighting for a place in the top 100. People are getting quite frantic about it."

Last week, British Mummy Bloggers, a forum for the burgeoning community, hit a milestone when its 500th blogger signed up. By last night, it had gained another 25 members. Susanna Scott, who set up BMB in late 2008, said the UK was making up for its slow start compared with the US, which has at least 6,000 mummy – or mommy – blogs. "Mums used to share information over a coffee at the church hall. With blogging, you can effectively have a coffee morning whenever you want – even at midnight if that is when you have a laptop and a few minutes to yourself," she said.

The boom means that "everyone is targeting mummy bloggers these days", according to Ms Scott, 44, who has three daughters and writes four different blogs, including A Modern Mother. She has reviewed products for Dyson, HP, Sainsbury's, Snapfish, Disney and Blu-ray. "The whole market has gone crazy. I get, not kidding, about six to 10 pitches a day," she said.

Dulwich Mum, the nom de blog for another veteran, Bea Parry-Jones, is another popular target for companies anxious for an online mention. "I've been on luxury holidays, I've been sent designer coats, DVDs, handbags and copious amounts of cosmetics," she said.

As Dulwich Mum, she doesn't review products as such, but will instead "name drop appropriately" – product placing for a digital readership. What Ms Parry-Jones, who has more than 1,000 readers for her satirical musings, doesn't do is regard blogging as a get-rich-quick scheme. "I have a job. I don't see blogging as a business," she added.

Others, like Tara Cain, who writes Sticky Fingers, insist they're "not a news service" for new product launches. Instead, her blog is "the perfect online diary for the big things you don't want to forget" about her children. She discovered mummy blogs while she was pregnant, enjoying them for the "nitty-gritty details and brutal honesty" they provided about parenthood.

Freebies aside, most bloggers regard writing online as a form of escape. Catherine Sanderson, who is the "petite anglaise" who has been blogging about her life as an expat' British mother in Paris for the past three years, said: "I found it a nice way to reach out at a time when my social life had been reduced and I was groping to find my identity again."

*DD stands for Darling Daughter, while DS is Darling Son

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Arts and Entertainment
Buttoned up: Ryan Reynolds with Helen Mirren in ‘Woman in Gold’
filmFor every box-office smash in his Hollywood career, there's always been a misconceived let-down. Now he says it's time for a reboot
News
people
News
Actress Julianne Moore wins the Best Actress in a Leading Role Award for 'Still Alice' during the 87th Annual Academy Awards in Hollywood, California
people
Sport
Ross Barkley
footballPaul Scholes says it's time for the Everton playmaker to step up and seize the England No 10 shirt
News
'We will fix it': mice in the 1970s children’s programme Bagpuss
science
Life and Style
2 Karl Lagerfeld and Choupette
fashion
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    Recruitment Genius: Field Engineer

    £15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company has 30 years of ex...

    Recruitment Genius: Customer Account Manager

    £27000 - £33000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing cloud based I...

    Recruitment Genius: Front End Web Developer - Magento

    £28000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Front End Web Developer is re...

    SThree: IT Recruitment Consultant

    £22500 - £30000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Sthree are looking for experie...

    Day In a Page

    War with Isis: Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria's capital

    War with Isis

    Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria
    Scientists develop mechanical spring-loaded leg brace to improve walking

    A spring in your step?

    Scientists develop mechanical leg brace to help take a load off
    Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock: How London shaped the director's art and obsessions

    Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock

    Ackroyd has devoted his literary career to chronicling the capital and its characters. He tells John Walsh why he chose the master of suspense as his latest subject
    Ryan Reynolds interview: The actor is branching out with Nazi art-theft drama Woman in Gold

    Ryan Reynolds branches out in Woman in Gold

    For every box-office smash in Ryan Reynolds' Hollywood career, there's always been a misconceived let-down. It's time for a rethink and a reboot, the actor tells James Mottram
    Why Robin Williams safeguarded himself against a morbid trend in advertising

    Stars safeguard against morbid advertising

    As film-makers and advertisers make increasing posthumous use of celebrities' images, some stars are finding new ways of ensuring that they rest in peace
    The UK horticulture industry is facing a skills crisis - but Great Dixter aims to change all that

    UK horticulture industry facing skills crisis

    Great Dixter manor house in East Sussex is encouraging people to work in the industry by offering three scholarships a year to students, as well as generous placements
    Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head

    Hack Circus: Technology, art and learning

    Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head. Rhodri Marsden meets mistress of ceremonies Leila Johnston
    Sevenoaks is split over much-delayed decision on controversial grammar school annexe

    Sevenoaks split over grammar school annexe

    If Weald of Kent Grammar School is given the go-ahead for an annexe in leafy Sevenoaks, it will be the first selective state school to open in 50 years
    10 best compact cameras

    A look through the lens: 10 best compact cameras

    If your smartphone won’t quite cut it, it’s time to invest in a new portable gadget
    Paul Scholes column: Ross Barkley played well against Italy but he must build on that. His time to step up and seize that England No 10 shirt is now

    Paul Scholes column

    Ross Barkley played well against Italy but he must build on that. His time to step up and seize that England No 10 shirt is now
    Why Michael Carrick is still proving an enigma for England

    Why Carrick is still proving an enigma for England

    Manchester United's talented midfielder has played international football for almost 14 years yet, frustratingly, has won only 32 caps, says Sam Wallace
    Tracey Neville: The netball coach who is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

    Tracey Neville is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

    The former player on how she is finding time to coach both Manchester Thunder in the Superleague and England in this year's World Cup
    General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

    The masterminds behind the election

    How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
    Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

    Machine Gun America

    The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
    The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

    The ethics of pet food

    Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?