Alison Perry is the creator of the award winning Not Another Mummy Blog, which she started back in 2011. Alison spoke to Jo Middleton (Slummy Single Mummy) about body confidence, her hugely successful podcast and her plans for a brand new book…
JM: So, with a name like Not Another Mummy Blog, I guess my first question has to be what is it exactly that does make your blog different from all of the other parenting blogs out there?
AP: Not much! It was named that, as a nod to me setting up the blog in 2011, at a time when it felt like there were so many mummy blogs around – and it was Not ANOTHER Mummy Blog?! (tag line: Er, yes, another mummy blog). Ironically, so many more brilliant mummy blogs have been launched since then, but it really felt at peak saturation point to me, back then.
JM: What was the motivation for setting up your blog initially?
AP: I was on maternity leave, from my job at More magazine, and in truth, I was very bored. I struggled with the huge change from working in a busy, fun office and going out to the pub in Soho or to fun media parties – to being at home all day, every day with a small baby that wasn’t much fun (they get fun, as they get older but under one? Snooooze!) So I started a blog as a way to use my brain and give me a project to work on.
JM: How has your approach to blogging and your blog content changed as your daughter has got older?
AP: I wouldn’t say it’s changed as she’s got older – but it’s changed as I’ve learned more about blogging and as the media world has changed. It was very much a hobby blog to start with, and there was much more emphasis on the written word rather than anything visual. But as time has gone on, I’ve taught myself how to take photos, shoot video, basic design skills, etc. And I now blog professionally so I take much more time and care over everything rather than just bash it out!
JM: You talk a lot on Not Another Mummy Blog about body confidence, and how you are ‘flying the flag for playing-it-safe women with curves’, (which I love, as that is totally me!) – why is this so important to you?
AP: It’s important because – like in mainstream media – on blogs and social media, we see so many images of slim, beautiful people and the reality for most of us is quite different. As a size 16 lady, it’s not massively helpful for me to see a dress on a tall, size 8 model. So having bloggers who are shaped like me show me what they’re wearing is great. I hope that by me showing what I’m wearing helps other curvy women too.
“I think there are enough brands, and agencies, out there who understand that with bloggers, their opinions […] ultimately help create that authentic messaging to the brand’s consumer.”
JM: You say that you’re not afraid to have strong opinions about things – is it difficult to combine being controversial with wanting to make a living from blogging through brand partnerships?
AP: No, I don’t think so. I’m quite sure I will have missed out on brands approaching me about campaigns because of my views, but that’s OK – they’re better suited to ‘nicey nice’ bloggers. I think there are enough brands, and agencies, out there who understand that with bloggers, their opinions help shape who they are, encourage people to follow them, and ultimately help create that authentic messaging to the brand’s consumer. Clearly, it’s wise not to go OTT though – it’s important to remain professional along with being opinionated!
JM: I’m sure you must get all sorts of weird PR approaches. What’s the oddest thing you’ve ever been asked to do in the name of blogging and what’s the weirdest thing you’ve actually said yes to?
AP: I actually don’t get many weird PR approaches! One that still makes me shiver though, was a White Stuff campaign a year ago – they contacted me in December and asked me to work on their Holiday Shop campaign. Fast forward to a sunny but FREEZING day in February, with my husband taking photos of me wearing a summer dress in the middle of Greenwich. We had to angle the shots so that no trees were in shot, as they’d be a winter dead giveaway, and I was BLUE afterwards.
“Like so many bloggers, I’m always looking for new challenges and ways to expand what I do”
JM: You’ve recently branched out into podcasting and Not Another Mummy Podcast feels like it’s been pretty much a smash since day one. (Congratulations!) What inspired you to develop the podcast?
AP: Like so many bloggers, I’m always looking for new challenges and ways to expand what I do. I was inspired by podcaster Emma Gannon – I was listening to her episode with Liv Purvis back in the spring of this year, and just thought: I should do a version of this podcast but with mums. No one, at that time, was doing a podcast like it, and as a journalist, I know I can interview people, so the idea seemed so obvious.
JM: Have there been any big surprises on your podcast journey so far?
AP: Just how successful, and well received, the podcast has been! I get messages nearly every day from listeners, telling me they love it, or sharing how much a particular episode has helped them. It’s amazing. I did my first live recording, in front of an audience, recently in a tie-up with Oasis, to promote their lovely cafe in the Tottenham Court Road store.
JM: I know that asking you to choose your favourite podcast guest would be cruel, but if someone had time to listen to just one of your podcasts today, which one should they go for?
AP: That’s so tricky! I think it totally depends on what matters to you – each episode I focus on a totally different topic, from PND to feeling judged to starting a business, so each one will appeal to different people. I’d probably say listen to my Clemmie Hooper episode because that’s had the highest number of downloads so far.
JM: Do you have any other exciting plans on the horizon that you can tell us about?
AP: I’m working on a non-fiction book! I’ve been developing the idea for the past 12 months and looking at different literary agents at the moment. I’m very excited to get it out there!