Me and Ms Jones....

Yesterday I attended my first blog "conference".....
the first ever Mumsnet Blogfest.

The day began with an inspiring keynote speech from lawyer (& wife of the Deputy Prime Minister) Miriam Gonzalez Durantez & closed with the brilliant Caitlin Moran.

And in beween, I spent a fantastically inspiring day listening to many writers & journalists who I have admired for years....
Zoe Williams, Zoe Margolis, Sali Hughes, Erica Davies, Tim Dowling, Gaby Wood, Zoe Strimpel

and Liz Jones.

Liz was part of a panel entitled
"Private Lives on a Public Stage : how much should you reveal online?"
As we all know, Liz has shared pretty much every single detail over the years so I would imagine Mumsnet were clapping their hands with glee when she accepted their invitation.
She did indeed have much to share.

I should say that I have been reading Liz Jones for many many years, ever since she was editor of Marie Claire back in the day, I've probably read more words from her than any other journalist.
She was an excellent editor.

I was intrigued to see & hear her yesterday -
in fact, she cut a sad, lonely & pretty poignant figure.
When asked if she regretted anything she'd written, she instantly replied "Yes, all of it".
She says she has no relationships.
She's a self-confessed "gut-spiller", believing that if you are being paid to write, then it is your responsibility to be 100% honest - regardless of whether it offends or upsets.

I happened to be interviewed by Ms Jones shortly before the panel began.
This consisted of a very fast 3 minute impromptu chat.

In response to her questions, I told her that I began my blog over three years ago in order to create a space to connect with my pre-motherhood London girl life....
whilst being a mother obviously informs my blog since it is a huge part of who I am, my blog is about my interests & my life outside being a mother.

It might have begun as an escape or a distraction but has evolved into so much more.
So many opportunities....I work with brands that I admire, I've travelled, been to brilliant & exciting events, learned an enormous amount, met so many inspiring people, I've raised money for charity, I earn an income  ....all from my blog.
It's all been positive....not one negative. Not even a negative comment.

I'm a mother who blogs - but I don't write a parenting blog.
I'm simply a blogger. I write.

The majority of the attendees yesterday were bloggers - and contrary to Ms Jones' assertion, I saw only one "pram" & only three tiny sleeping babies.

There might have been cake but this was no fluffy coffee morning -
it was a meeting of minds, businesswomen, smart & high achieving.
Eloquent & funny, ambitious & knowledgeable women, some brilliant writers.
These are most definitely not women who "sit" at home.

Add to that a huge amount of mutual admiration, encouragement & support.
That thing that women can do for other women so well. 

The attendees were there as bloggers & writers, as women planning their futures, moving forward, seeing the bigger picture. 

As I have written many times and wrote here just the other day, blogging has added immeasurably to my life....I find it empowering & joyful.
And for what it's worth, I did not - and never will - describe my daily life as "humdrum".
It isn't.

Liz Jones wrote about yesterday's event here....
you can make your own judgement but I feel she has missed the point totally.

It doesn't make me mad, it makes me just really disappointed that this is what she took away from the day.

My fellow blogger Leslie wrote a great post here which is so worth reading....  

I'm sure if you asked Caitlin Moran & other speakers present yesterday the same thing, they'd respond very differently & much more positively.

Once more, I am left shaking my head & wondering why she does it?


  1. A great retort to Ms Jones's article. Good to set the record straight as she so clearly misunderstood the diversity of the blogging community. Hard to believe someone in her position can be so narrow minded.

  2. As a blogger and not a mummy I am still truly offended by Liz J, again! A nice post honey, may we all never stoop to her level of writing. Keep up the good work. Happy Sunday axx

  3. Simone, great post...just read Liz Jones article, ouch, somewhat scathing and narrow minded. Seems like Ms Jones had already made her mind up before the event, and misquoting you to boot, is that her idea of honest writing? Tut tut.

  4. Meh! She set you up as soon as she started talking to you and she is is the pantomime baddie in all of this; getting her on the panel was done for the publicity surely; she did a similar event recently with Editorial Intelligence. She had probably already written her article before the event as well and saw you as easy fodder to slot in as an 'example'. Ironically she also writes from home and is funded by advertising but labelling herself as an artist obviously puts her on a self made pedestal. Oh we'll, that's why blogging is a world away from journalism! And good for you for posting the rebuttal...I'd be fuming!

  5. Simone, having read Liz Jones' article, I think your response is admirably restrained, as well as balanced and intelligent. Besides the lack of professionalism in her inaccurate reporting of so many things, there is a level of negativity and downright nastiness in her report of the event that is quite depressing.
    Even more depressing is that she is given prominent space to publish these sorts of shoddy, prejudiced opinion pieces (though of course the fact that it's the DM that does so is not surprising). What I'd really like to be reading instead is the views of Miriam Gonzalez Durantez or Caitlin Moran - how about you and some of the other attendees trying to persuade one of them to write an alternative view?

  6. Top Bird Simone :)) You've written a much more restrained and considered reply to LJ's analysis of us both. I banged mine out at 8am and never expected the sort of replies, comment, and god love her, traffic that I've had this morning!

    I'm going to write a post later on the comments on twitter and my blog. And also on what blogging means to me - I love you how you wrote your post.

    Laters Baby x

  7. I wasn't there yesterday, but saw all the tweets and read the offending and offensive article. I've never even heard of Liz Jones. I'm sorry that she had to pick on you and your blog without thinking about what she was saying and knowing nothing about you. This is an excellent response - and I bet you get LOADS of readers for it!

  8. Love this response, thank you for writing it. As a fellow-speaker at BlogFest (and one not a mum, at that), I found the stereotypes in Liz's article breath-taking, and offensive to everyone who was there.

    I only wish she'd been there for the whole day, and seen the positive, supportive, life-affirming event I did. There were so many things to praise about yesterday, it's a shame that Liz Jones' response to the day will now dominate the aftermath.

    It just goes to prove a point that was repeatedly made yesterday, that some of the worst misogynists are, indeed, women.

  9. Simone, you are an inspiration...a fabulous response to the article by Liz Jones...I've never enjoyed reading her...well, I don't anymore, it's always all about her and not a good or kind word to say about let me see....ANYTHING!!!
    The event and the other speakers sound great I would have loved to have been there; I'm a great fan of Caitlin Moran...and your blog is simply one of the best!
    Have a lovely Sunday.

  10. I find it pretty amazing that she was allowed to the event in the first place. The woman is a deranged woman hater and wouldn't know happiness if it slapped her in the face, which I suspect it never has. She's done those she mentioned in her article a massive favour, i.e. gained them some new followers! Great response to a vile and bitter tirade of oneupmanship, something that continues to backfire on this woman time and time again. I'd read your articles over Ms Jones' any day.

    CJ x

  11. I wonder why someone with such a strong negative view would bother to attend a gathering of people she obviously can't stand. I was quite angry after reading her article but having read this I feel quite sorry for the poor, lonely, bitter woman she has become.
    Fantastic post, well done for keeping your dignity too xx

  12. Incidentally, several of the speakers did speak to the organisers afterwards, expressing surprise that Liz was invited at all ...

  13. Wow, I have to say that she seems like a bitter jealous woman. Tell me again why people have even read anything she writes if that article was an example? Your response is pure gold, my friend! xxoo

  14. I stumbled on your blog from the article Liz Jones had, on the Daily Mail website.

    I have to congratulate you on the response you have given. I'm a new addition to the blogging world, and reading what Ms Jones had portrayed to me as some horrific, unwelcoming world I admit I was a little terrified. But you and your response has reaffirmed my original thoughts, and I shall be exploring the world of blogging a little more instead of fleeing to a hole somewhere. :).

  15. Well said Simone... I am so glad you have responded to that article... Blogging is an engaging, enjoyable, rewarding and valuable pastime for many of us... It has enriched my life in more ways than I could ever imagine... How dare anyone say otherwise... xv

  16. Ouch - herewith a disappointed woman, now clearly writing columns because she has to live, with a tabloid-trained mentality where nastiness sells newspapers. I've never heard of Liz Jones and don't plan to again. As somebody else has remarked, you're both doing the same thing, viz working from home. Only you're doing it better - shame you don't make more out of it.
    I'd have enjoyed hearing Caitlin Moran speak, I do enjoy her columns. Used to love Tim Dowling's as well.

  17. Good to read this! Her ears must be on fire today. But really, she does court the vitriol, doesn't she?! For anyone else who hasn't seen my take on the day, as a fellow panellist with LJ yesterday, it's here

    Best, Eliza

  18. An informative post on the day Simone .. sad that Ms Jones writings seem to come from such an angry & lonely place.
    xxx Debra

  19. Hello there...I mulled this over (as you know!) and I am still not sure what to make of it. I think your response so eloquent and sure-footed; typical of you my sweet! I am sure these little controversies fire up and we all feel cross but in the cold light of day, I struggle to understand why anyone is down on blogging (mummy blogging or otherwise). And to anyone who can actually make a living from their blog - bloody well done them! Life is hard enough, to be able to get any income from something you can do at home must be a good thing. I don't know; I saddens me that women are so hard on other women as Liz Jones appears to be. But equally I don't like a retort that is full of as much vitriol as the article contained in the first place. That's why I like what you have written; it's measured. And after all don't they say: all press is good press?!! :-) Lou x

  20. Well said.

    I was pleased to see her on stage because I thought it was interesting hearing her confess that she regretting it all and that she has to see every moment in her life as a potential opportunity for a story because that's her job and her job is all she has. And that as it's her job to sell papers she needs to make each story as sellable as possible even to the point of engineering the scandals she writes about!

    Why do people read her? It's the same fascination that people have for car accidents--a sort of terror "can't look/want to look" and then a sigh of relief "thank God that's not me."

  21. Having written for Femail myself again just recently I can say that they love a strong angle, I'm not even sure if L J believes a word of her own copy, and it is just that at the end of the day: copy. I liked the fact that Caitlin Moran said there really is no need to write negatively about anything - love her! For a more positive take on the day and meeting Eliza Gray, read my post at

  22. Great response Simone. Traditional print media is dying and her reaction to you and Cambridge Mummy demonstrates she knows that huge Daily Mail Cheque will be disappearing sometime soon for her out of touch or distorted views. Get in the real world Liz I used to love your work.

  23. Your response Simone is, like your blog, classy and dignified. I am proud of you and to be one of your many followers. I derive such pleasure from my own little blog and consider it an honour to have the followers I have.

    What a sad woman she is. Hooray for you and your eloquence!


  24. Liz Jones wrote quite an amusing if misguided piece about the Mumsnet even. I suppose she just does not get the fact that many mum bloggers want to stay home with their kids and earning an income from their blogs enables them to do it.

  25. Simone, I just wanted you to know I wrote a post today based on this one. Your words and the article I read by Liz Jones. If you're interested, here's the link.

  26. Wow! What a fab retort Sim. I've just read her article and the comments (below the article) are just as scathing towards her. I'm NOT an LJ fan and am not surprised by the article she has written (and also not surprised she has no bloody friends!) She certainly missed the point completely (but that doesn't surprise me either ;-)
    Great article Sim. Your blog was one that I aspired too when I first started blogging and still do xx

  27. I think it's fabulous that the conference was so inspiring for you. Blogging is really a part of who we are, but that makes it something unique for each of us. Your photo choices always inspire me, make me smile, make me want to be better at EVERy thing :) So sorry Liz didn't get what you got. going there to read. Peace.

  28. Oh Simone! Just read Liz's take....she sounded ridiculous! Jealous. Spiteful. Positively a miserable human being. Thank goodness I have your ironing basket to dive into daily.

  29. I don't think Liz was being sincere when she said she's 100% honest. Her article was clearly a ploy to be provocative - and she new all of the bloggers in attendance would read and feel obligated to comment and respond to her - thus giving her the buzz and attention she was seeking.

    She managed to imply that blogging isn't actually writing, that maternity leave is actually Mums leaving the graft for others... come on! This was clearly written to inflame.

    When she called you out - misquoted you and tried to marginalize both your blog and motherhood in the same paragraph - I think she was just looking to see if she could start a fight online that would generate further buzz for herself.

    You've written a great post here and I love that you haven't given her the satisfaction of a public catfight - you're clearly better than that.

    I love your blog and enjoy reading it - please keep up the good work and don't mind that crazy woman, she's clearly only talking to herself.

  30. Oh my gosh! That article is....I'm at a loss for words, truly. Garbage. And written by someone who, as you said, clearly doesn't get it. I do love your response, and I love that you are tempered in it, not stooping to the same level of crassness as shown by Ms. Jones. Why must women - working in an office or working at home or not working at all - put each other down for making different choices? Ugh, so disappointing. Anyway, I'm sorry for being singled out in such an article, but I do hope it brings more attention to your blog, which is one I continue to enjoy reading.

  31. I reckon a week living at The Hedge with MOTH & me would sort that chick out. And just for good measure I'd tie her to a chair & make her listen to MOTH explain his theories of Interior Design & an encore session of exactly what a Blog is.
    Millie xx

  32. Wow.... I think that the article says more about her than about this subject, right? Maybe she has to trash others to cover her own sorry feelings.
    Thanks for sharing

  33. Hi, Despite reading LOTS of Mumsnet Blogfest digest blog posts, I missed this one. Clearly I am now here for a much nicer reason that LJ quoting you. I am here because I had the pleasure of meeting you last night. Wow the food was good and the company and the BEAUTIFUL home we were hosted in. Can't wait to see all of our blog posts about it (including the ones by the foodie bloggers).
    Anyway I feel I will be spending a lot of time here as your blog is stunning - it's like a premium glossy magazine.
    Anyway much love,
    (I was the one who arrived all flustered after having a crazy journey due to my Smart Phone not being smart - I am sure there's a blog post in my journey ;-) )

  34. When did women become so anti each other and freedom of choice? And when did it become a crime to want to spend time with your own children while they're small??

  35. Simone,

    I ave been reading and enjoying your blog almost since its beginning and I love it! I love your kindness, your honesty, the beautiful images you post and so much more. Sadly there are mean people in the world like Liz Jones. I think it is wonderful that you have the ability to stay at home and to earn some money. That is something that many moms would love to do!

    Your blog is loved by many, proof that you inspire, motivate and put a smile on our faces. Keep it up!

    Thank you for sharing your experience and your 10 tips for writing!



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