Some of the blogs that I first started reading in 2009 I have already written about — the utterly wonderful Raising Ruby for example, which tells the story of a trainee service puppy in Colorado, but there are many more to which I haven’t had a chance to direct you. As this time of year is all always about lists, I have put together a top ten of utterly brilliant, completely unconnected & previously unmentioned by me blogs that I first came across in the past year.
(I’m drawn mostly to blogs that are written, and that tell or teach me about new places, things, people or thoughts — I find I still look to magazines for visual inspiration. Additionally, I have so much fashion & design in my daily job that I read style blogs with a work head, not a leisure one, so I am purposely excluding blogs in that arena, bar one, from my list.) Having looked again at this list, I seem to be drawn to stories about the lives of people who live in countries far different from my own.
The first two are from expats building a new life in Mumbai. I’d been reading both separately for a while before I realised that the writers were actually married to each other. They write from such different mental places that I only worked it from a few passing references.
(Trying Not to Lose It in India)
After moving from Australia, Desiderata documents her & her husband’s attempt to start from scratch in Mumbai with no jobs, no home, and a fairly scant address book. She makes the trials — and joys — of being an expat in a complex & engaging city fascinating. I just wished she blogged more frequently.
Gora! Gora! Gora! (The random rants of a Sydney native, now resident in Delhi. Having a pasty complexion and a very Anglo-Celtic-Saxon background didn’t stop India issuing me my own “Person of Indian Origin” card. On with the adventure).
Jason’s blog is less about his life and more about the experience of India.
Then, over to Africa:
(The diary of wife, mother and failed domestic goddess in Africa)
RM is a third generation Celt in Africa, who lives in Tanzania with her husband, children, and exotic menagerie. Based in what she describes as, “an Outpost of significant note, a place once famous as brief home to Dr Livingstone and Henry Morton Stanley, a place remembered for its wartime German architecture and prolific mango trees”, her daily life is endlessly fascinating to me, and she occasionally provides an insider’s opinion of the problems facing the vast continent.
And then across to Los Angeles:
Mrs L writes about her everyday life in a way that transcends the quotidien. She talks about love and religion, family and dogs. And never, ever fails to engage, challenge and amuse me.
And then off to Texas:
Margaret & Helen
(Best Friends for Sixty Years and Counting…)
Helen Philpot is 82 years old, lives in Texas and her grandson taught her to blog so she could correspond with her best friend Margaret Schmechtman whom she met in college almost 60 years ago, and who now lives in Maine. Margaret is a Democrat, supports universal healthcare and can’t abide Sarah Palin. What’s there not to like?
And back across the Atlantic to England:
(The thoughts of a Finn still trying get used to life in England)
HH says she writes about Finland, Sweden, fathers, daughters, spies, love, betrayal, trust, loneliness. I’ve been utterly gripped all year by her multi-part tale of how she met her dashing English naval officer husband and moved to England 25 odd years ago. Go ransack her archives for the story so far. Worth every moment.
Then a food blog:
The Spice Spoon
(Cooking without borders: cuisine from Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran and beyond.)
A truly exceptional new cookery blog, which combines excellent food writing, an evocative sense of place, delicious recipes and good photography. Head & shoulders above the competition. Quick! Someone give this woman a book deal & a TV show.
And then a couple of blogs from two journalists who have proved that blogging isn’t just for glorious amateurs:
Legendary fashion writer Colin McDowell (Sunday Times Style/Fashion Fringe) has recently started his own opinionated, vastly informed, cranky and always thought provoking blog which looks at the fashion industry in his own inimitable way
India Knight’s Posterous
(I write books, and things for The Sunday Times).
India may protest that her blog is ‘yet another work-avoidance strategy by me’, but it’s a damn good one. It’s basically stuffed full of wonderful things to buy, admire & drool over.
Finally: a blog with user generated content with which every single freelancer in the creative sphere will identify. And then shudder over.
Clients From Hell