I feel I ought to pre-face this post with a disclaimer that I do not actually consider myself to be an “influencer” or to have any great “influence” on anyone. I can barely influence my 5 year old to get dressed for school, let alone impress upon a stranger what make-up they should buy or where they should go on holiday. In the bizarre World of Social Media Influencers/ Bloggers and the like, I would chart myself somewhere around a spotty Year 9 hanging around outside the Sixth Form Common Room waiting to tell Regina George that I love her outfit.
Cool and influential i is not.
Mardy, amateur and unkempt I certainly am.
I have, over the last few years gathered a small social media following mostly through Twitter and Instagram. First gained when I wrote my Mummy Blog (now long gone) and more recently through the collaborative blogzine I run and edit, 5WHYZ.
And whilst I have quite an engaged and growing IG community who will often like, comment and DM in response to the featured articles or my stories- I certainly do not have thousands of followers lining up, waiting to be influenced by boring, average me.
So despite not being a mega influencer or even a minor one I have apparently, managed to bag my family a “free” holiday this week. It was offered to us back in January, strictly term time only.
And I ain’t about to let anything stand in our way, including a little thing called unauthorised absence from my sons school…
Now I’m not sure who you follow on Social Media or what kind of free influencer holidays you’re used to seeing but I’ll tell you straight up, this is not an all expenses paid trip to Disney Land or Skiing in the Swiss Alps or even a Boutique Hotel in Devon that doesn’t refill its hand soaps (how would I cope?).
No. This my friends is a NO-expenses paid, 4 day break, in March – in wet and windy Wales.
And I for one couldn’t be happier!
It may not sound all that on the surface but believe me when I tell you that this is exactly the kind of holiday that ticks all my boxes. Self catering in the UK is my bag, it’s what I grew up with. It means no flights with my nightmare kids, no blistering heat that gives me headaches, and no un-affordable meals out and day trips.
When you don’t have much spare cash or spare time, it really is the simplicity of just getting away that makes a holiday a holiday.
And we will be winging our way there on a wish and prayer and credit card with just fifty quid left on it because my husband doesn’t get paid until the third day we are there.
You may already be a follower or reader and therefore know that I make no secret of our uncertain financial situation. We live pay check to pay check every month. We rent. We have debts. If its someones birthday or Christmas, we put off paying a bill that month so we can find the cash to get through it. You will never see me doing a shopping haul on YouTube or asking you to vote which dress I should buy from Zara, because I don’t have excess money for ‘things‘.
Only last weekend (in prep for the week before pay day) I was Instagramming about how I managed to do a 7 day shop for a family of 4 on less than fifty quid. Because I had to. In Real Life. Not because it was a “fun Instagram challenge”.
We don’t buy things we do not need because simply, we can’t. We do not go out for dinner or buy each other gifts and we most certainly do not, go on holiday.
So being offered a free one (in exchange for a written review and a few social media posts) feels like winning the fucking lottery to us. It’s a holiday that we would not have had at all. Not this year, not last year and not for the foreseeable future. It’s the kind of hashtag gifted that we as a family really need in our lives right now. A change of scenery, something to look forward to. Time together away from the drudgery and stress of everyday life. Our daughter is yet to have her first holiday, our 5 year old can’t remember his last one. I need a break. We needed a way to get away and be somewhere else together, and this is our chance.
And so yes, I am that slut that pulled her 5 year old out of school for a week to go on a free influencer holiday and I DGAF what anyone thinks or says about it.
I completed and sent in the Application for Leave of Absence Form and it was rejected. No surprise there, I don’t blame the school personally. After all Headteachers are now only allowed to “grant” leave in exceptional circumstances.
Exceptional circumstances meaning death and tragedy. Not your Mum got offered a free trip because she writes crap on the internet and now you’re off to the Welsh mountains to jump in muddy puddles and watch her drink wine all week. (For those without a funny bone – this is called a JOKE)
I was going to write on the form that he will do his homework and reading whilst we are away, but no fuck it. I mean if you’re going to do something that has been officially unauthorised, you might as well do it properly.
We only have one life people. It may be long or short or full of joy or despair, and we can’t control most of it.
But sure as fuck I won’t be on my deathbed wishing I’d spent this week doing the school run and reading Biff and Chip books and nor will my 5 year old.
And so he will miss a week of school and he wont pick up a single book or do a scrap of homework. But he will have a fabulous time.
And maybe I’ll get a fine and a slap on the wrist but by fuck its going to be worth it.
Sarah is the Founder and Editor of 5WHYZ.com. Mum of two, master of none – she lives in Kent with her husband, children and three cats. She struggles with general, social and health anxiety plus an irritating compulsion to compensate for other peoples bad behaviours.
For a few years she wrote via her own sites Admissions Of A Mother/ Mum OverRun but found the Mummy Blog genre limiting and in the end exhausting.
When she was 8 years old she was an audience member on Live&Kicking where she met Steps and Jamie Theakston. Which was fucking awesome.