Out of Office Notice

It seems kind of presumptuous of me to assume I have an audience, one who’s too lazy, too cool or too technically challenged to ‘follow’ me, but checks back regularly to see if I’ve written anything. But I’m gonna assume there’s at least one of you from the three daily views this blog gets (I’m kidding. It’s nowhere near as low as that. It’s at least five). And I’m gonna assume you didn’t just land here by Googling ‘Chupa Chups’ or ‘Cooking with Semen’ (my blog’s top keyword search terms – seriously) and may have noticed the lack of posts lately.

So to you, my sole dedicated, lazy, cool or technically challenged reader – yes, thanks for noticing, I have indeed been away. To Italia I went, but you would know that since you’re a dedicated reader and I mentioned it a few posts ago. Alas I was gone for a paltry seven days, but as some famous person no doubt once said, seven days in Italy is better than seven days in reality. Or something like that.

But that’s only half of my excuse. I’ve also started a new blog, and this one will give you a clue as to why I went to Italia, and why I’ll be going back quite a few times in the next 12 months.

So if you check back here again, and there’s still nothing new to help you procrastinate at work during that interminably long fifteen minutes after can’t-be-arsed-anymore o’clock and thank-fark-it’s-home-time o’clock, why don’t you click over here to my De Winter Retreat blog?

There’s not much now, but give me a couple of weeks and there’ll be Italian stories from my past, Italian stories from my present and I’m sure lots of long winded stuff about food. There’ll also be pictures, like this:


And this…


And if you’re super diligent and observant, you might even see an extremely rare picture of me – in all my daggy tourist glory – like this…


If none of that appeals, then just hold your bloody horses. I’ll get back here eventually.

The Secret to Being a Featured Blogger on Huffington Post

Before we begin, I must explain something. There’s being published on Huffington Post and there’s being featured on Huffington Post. Only one will give you the chance of a massive audience. The other will give you bragging rights, but no audience to speak of, unless of course you do constant self promotion and nag all your real friends and social media ‘friends’ to read it and ‘like’ it. I think that’s cheating, but I could just be bitter.

All advice below relates to my own experience, and that is HuffPo UK, not USA. I’m assuming the procedures are the same, but maybe not. I’m also assuming any admiration you had for my awesome writing feat may have just slipped down a few notches on the belt of awesomeness… but hey, UK, USA, saaaaaaaaaame. 

Being featured pretty much guarantees an audience; often of mean, opinionated snobs, ready to pick holes in your grammar, your spelling, your education, your seeming lack of journalistic skills and pretty much every statement in the entire article. But you asked for it, stop your crying Natalie Chatalie… I mean readers…

So here we go. The secret to being published on HuffPo is that there’s no secret. Anyone can do it. Well, anyone who can put a few hundred words together in some kind of coherent structure. And sometimes you don’t even need that skill, as the chorus of bitchy commentators will no doubt point out. Yep, I recently figured out that HuffPo has a “contact us” section and it’s there right in front of us all. I hope you noticed that I’ve been helpful and hyperlinked it for you. If you’re as (non) tech savvy as me, that means click on the blue words.

I don’t know why but it never occurred to me that anyone could be a HuffPo blogger. Judging by everyone’s bi-lines I thought you had to be some kind of world leader or successful type person. I mean look at this morning. There’s “Director of Giant Pandas and Strategic Innovations for the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland” and “Head of Communications at Women’s Resource Centre,” and “Associate director of education and social policy at CentreForum, the liberal think tank” for gods sake. But look closer and you’ll figure out there’s also this – “Award-winning heavily tattooed comedian, writer and professional idiot”. See… aaaaaaanyone can do it.

So go ahead, click the blue word above dear readers and HuffBlog your little hearts out.

But remember, you’ll want to be featured, not just published, which means they’ll put you on the front of one of their categorised pages, or if you’re really lucky, on the front page of the ‘Front Page’ of the entire thing. And I think I’ve figured out how that happens. Continue reading