Some drivel. And an announcement…

Reasons that I love AOW:

1. Best readers ever. Full stop. I could elaborate, but I’m not sure that I need to. Somehow, we have had the great luck to bring together a collection of wise, eloquent, kind, smart women, who I am honoured to know, even if only virtually in most cases.

2. AOPs – all those many moons ago when Aisling and I came up with the concept of the Any Other Photo we would not have dreamt that over three years later, we’d still be posting them. When you have a spare five minutes (ok, let’s be realistic, couple of hours), you should dig back through the archives. There is not one AOP there that you can’t learn something from, and  they all make you feel something.

3. Anna K’s (via Smitten Kitchen) Boozy Baked French Toast. I hadn’t realised it, but there was a hole in my life that needed filling, and it was Boozy Baked French Toast shaped. Seriously, life just made so much more sense from the day that I was introduced to this french toast.

3. Inclusion. So many blogs are about creating cliques; they aim to only include the people with the coolest weddings, or the prettiest houses, or the women who are the most natural of mothers. We on the other hand, have (I like to think) created a space where everyone is welcome. Where you can be a working mother, or a wife who stays at home, and feel equally accepted. You can care about mascara, or you can not wash your hair from one week to the next. You can love Dostoyevsky, or you can love Twilight (or even like both). You can be the woman who crafts her way through the day, or the woman who would rather glue her own eyelids together with a glue gun (and possibly has), than join Pinterest. That’s pretty awesome, that we can do that. And that in all of our thousands of posts (some of them potentially pretty divisive, or controversial), and tens of thousands of comments, I can literally only remember one incident of a nasty comment (just some guy trolling actually), and it was shut down so quickly, yet so calmly and wonderfully by some of you guys, that we didn’t even have to step in. In the world of internet comments, where people seem to feel free to spout vile abuse, and try to present their (often very scary) opinions as fact, whilst taking huge offence at anyone who dares to have a differing opinion, I truly believe that AOW is a special place, for that reason alone.

3. Books posts. Posts about books. Books. Posts with books in. Any blog that has those is a winner, in my eyes.

3. It has Anna K. Anna K, who is simultaneously the Most Important Person I Know, and the person who I tell about my new make-up finds, and is then as equally excited about them as I am. And, let me tell you, AOW would categorically not be here today, were it not for Anna. She is a cheerleader, an amazing people manager, and her OCD skills are as magnificent as they are legendary. When we’ve had low patches, or set-backs, Anna has been the one to keep us going and to make us carry on. She is absolutely phenomenal, a true friend, and Ellie is beyond lucky to have her as her mother (even if she will be forced to colour code her toys from the age of 4 months.)

4. Equally, it has Aisling. Aisling who I basically decided from the moment that we first emailed that I had to SOMEHOW persuade her to join me on AOW. She had (still has, obvs.) the perfect mixture of beautiful writing, style unequalled, and a really really ridiculous sense of humour (as well as a (shared with me) deep love of trashy american shows). Once I’d persuaded tricked Aisling into becoming part of AOW, we bumbled along, spending more time emailing each other inane, and often insane, emails, than we did posting anything useful, but somehow more and more of you followed along, enjoying (?!) our unique take on weddings and all things marriage. Aisling is the AOW queen of twitter, as well as being our very own ‘conception, pregnancy and new mother’ expert, and I know for a fact that she has helped so many of you through tough times, even setting up friendships through introductions via email. In short, she is amazeballs.

5. International Women’s Day, The AOW A-Z of Wedding Planning, and Jobs for The Girls. These series define AOW for me. They are why we started AOW, and why we have continued for so long. Nowhere else on the internet has such brilliant posts from so many wise wonderful women. Of that I am sure.

5. Friendships. This is the bit that blows me away most of all about what we’ve created with AOW. When I (Fliss!) started Any Other Wedding all of those years ago, I had no concept whatsoever that a) AOW would grow to be so big, but b) that friendships would grow out of it. I have met people who I will stay friends with for the rest of my life through this blog. That’s pretty amazing in itself. Even more amazing though, is that it introduced so many of you to one another, and I’m 99% sure that some of you have friends that you will stay friends with for life, made through AOW, too. It’s wonderful, and it makes me happy.

————————————————-

Anna: Aisling and I have decided we can’t replace you when you leave AOW, because then we will be like the Sugababes.

Aisling: Dying. DYING. SUGABABES.

Anna: With a different member every month.

Me: Does that make me Kerry Katona?

Aisling: That was Atomic Kitten, knobber.

——————————————————

It’s been a while since I posted here. I don’t really have an excuse, other than that life sort of got in the way. Which is really no excuse when your team co-bloggers have been pushing out babies, and working, and taking the next steps to further their career, all whilst continuing to blog what is, quite frankly, some of the best drivel we’ve ever had on AOW. So yes, I have no excuse.

As you might have gathered, I’m also not sure when I’m going to be posting again, or even if I will ever post again. That sounds ever so dramatic, doesn’t it? It’s really not though. I’ve just lost my mojo. Or perhaps just my AOW mojo. I have (temporarily, I hope), lost the passion that made me excited to sit down and write posts. It’ actually been gone for a while, if I’m honest, but I’ve sort of hung around, and not pulled my weight for long enough now, and so, here I am, just a girl standing in front of some other girls, asking them to forgive me for stepping down from the blog. (I’m nothing if not a drama queen.)

I am still, (I hope, as long as you’ll still have me) going to be part of the community here, but I just wont be writing, or intro-ing posts. My love for AOW will never wane. I still think it’s one of the best corners of the internet, with the best readers, and the best community, and some of the best writing about being a woman that I’ve ever read. I still remember my first ever post, and the nerve wracking moment as my finger hovered over the ‘publish’ button, and how amazing it was when SIX people commented on that first post. Since then we’ve had comments go well into the hundreds, and our readership into the tens of thousands. That’s crazy. Really crazy.

It’s all cliches and you can just stop reading here if you like, but you all have taught me so much; I know that I wouldn’t be the person I am now, were it not for AOW. I have (and Anna and Aisling will laugh at this), learnt to believe in myself just a tiny bit more…it’s given me confidence where I previously had none, and that’s pretty impressive. It’s given me friendships I never dreamt of, opened my eyes to the world, and given me a place where I can be the real me. It’s also taught me the type of mother I want to be;  Emmi, Stella and Ellie (someone somewhere was clearly keen for the AOW girls to only have girls) have the best role models any girls could wish for, in you lovely lot.

So, if you’ve made it this far through the cloying emotional goodbye without wanting to poke your eyes out, I just have one thing left to say. Thank you, dear readers, for being the best bloody women I know.

——————————————-

Clare: So, I’ve started a post on wordpress about me leaving AOW. As usual, all of the normal applies; it’s crap, I’m rubbish, everyone will hate me etc etc. Also, I’m not sure how to end it without sounding like one big emotional cliche, which really doesn’t suit me, AKA AOW Aloof.

Anna: Are you asking us to read what you’ve got so far, AOW Aloof?

Clare: I fear that yes, in a roundabout way, I might be.

Anna: Will have a look later once I’ve managed to convince Ellie that a lie in is a wonderful idea.

Clare: Excellent. Will look forward to hearing from you in approximately twelve years.

Anna: Or three minutes, once I’ve given up.

Aisling: I have read it. It made me cry. Which is admittedly standard AOW Sap behaviour, though I have only had two hours sleep. Either way, I think it’s lovely.

Clare: Not too cloying and emotional?

Aisling: Just the right amount.

Anna: Please God, let C have written something Cloying and Emotional. We can frame it.

Aisling: I think if you hadn’t have included the line where I called you a knobber, it may well have been too cloying.

Anna: I feel left out. Can you include a conversation where I call you a knobber?

Clare: I’ll just include this one.

Aisling: Knobber.

Aisling: Oh sorry, are we done with that bit?

Categories: Behind the Scenes at AOW, Life
28 interesting thoughts on this

28 Comments

  1. Fee
    Posted February 26, 2014 at 7:17 am | Permalink

    Oh, as Aisling said on Twitter this is SAD NEWS. I have missed you lately and wondered how you were. I hope you will still be around commenting and the like or I shall have to cone over to KL and stand over you at your computer. Don’t think I won’t..

    I remember when you replied to the first post I ever submitted to AOW – it was about being engaged and I was so excited when it was published. And the comments made my day – my first experience of the AOW community. But not my last – over the last two years, I have written on here about my wedding, our first baby and the baby who is now sleeping on my chest. The support and love I have received from this community has saved me during what has been the darkest time of my life. You’ve created somewhere that I am more honest and open than I often am with ‘my real life’ friends and you should be so proud. AOW has been life changing for so many.

    *I hope this isn’t too sentimental but I too am on two hours sleep. Can call you a knobber if that helps?*

  2. Posted February 26, 2014 at 7:28 am | Permalink

    Clare, you are one in a million and I will miss your presence on this blog HUGELY.
    How Fee wrote such a hilarious and profound comment on two hours’ sleep I have no idea. I’ve had five and can’t get the most basic of words out.
    The hugest of thank yous for everything. Please don’t lose touch.
    Love Frankie xxx
    Ps. If you’re AOW Aloof, and Aisling is AOW Sap…what is Anna? AOW Organised?

  3. Katielase
    Posted February 26, 2014 at 7:30 am | Permalink

    This was perfect. And you should know Clare, what you have created: I genuinely do not have the words for what this community has been and is to me, it was a space to be myself at a time when being myself wasn’t something I was enjoying. To be liked for myself by such an amazing group of people has been one of the best things to happen to me over the past few years (so now is not the time to tell me you’ve all been pity-tolerating me), and has genuinely made me a more confident, stronger and better person. I also remember your response to my first ever submission, it was so lovely and excited and welcoming that it made my whole day happy.

    I wish I could articulate better how wonderful it is, what you’ve built here, but I’m hormonal and tearful and a pile of mess. However you should know that it is a huge achievement for you to have done this, big, HUGE, and you should never stop being proud of what you made. You will be missed.

    KL xx

    PS: all the comments are going to be really sappy and end by calling you a knobber to compensate. Knobber. Love you.

  4. Posted February 26, 2014 at 8:07 am | Permalink

    Like so many of the others I will always be thankful that you started AOW. I remember the first post I read back in the ‘wedding’ days and thought ‘oh my god this is a blog by a real person not some vain knobber!’
    The AOWettes have got me through some serious shit!
    And one of my ‘things I want to do in 2014′ is to finally meet you Clare! I will scour KL top to bottom if need be, seeking out the places with the best light where you’ll be hiding away behind your camera.
    X

  5. Sharon
    Posted February 26, 2014 at 8:14 am | Permalink

    Loved Any other wedding and love AOW.
    This post made me cry.
    Thank you for creating this wonderful corner of the internet, where everyone can be themselves.
    Please don’t stay away too long.
    Love Sharon xxx
    My little Phoebe would like to join Emmi, Stella and Ellie’s gang, she thinks they’re awesome xxxx

  6. rachel JHD
    Posted February 26, 2014 at 8:15 am | Permalink

    Clare – well done on starting AOW, well done on getting Aisling & Anna on board & in a sad but positive way well done for stepping down when the time was right for you. All the very best & look forward to maybe reading a post from you in a few months, years time…. Fond love x

  7. Posted February 26, 2014 at 8:18 am | Permalink

    This is very sad news but you should be so proud of the community that you have created Clare. And that you are able to leave AOW in such capable hands.

    I definitely look forward to seeing you hanging out in the comments section (that doesn’t make it sound as amazing as the AOW comments section actually is, it sounds more like a weird part of a book store. Except it is much nicer and friendlier than that)… xx

    p.s. I am very happy to hear that other people, aside from my friends and I, still use the word knobber. Frankly I think it is under-used…

  8. Rach M
    Posted February 26, 2014 at 9:03 am | Permalink

    What you’ve created is wonderful, Clare. Such an achievement. AOW means so much to me, got me through my wedding and has made my confidence grow so much, as well as broadened my mind and arguments! This is such a wonderful community. I love that although a lot of us have never met, I feel like we all catch up every day, with Twitter and Instagram – I’m looking forward to more of your wonderful photos. I don’t think it’ll feel like you have gone away, but this must have been a brave announcement to make. Good luck with your other projects – your photography is wonderful. Love Rach x

  9. Liz
    Posted February 26, 2014 at 9:19 am | Permalink

    Nooo….just had to compose myself because I am another one of those stupid almost crying saps!!
    Not sure if it is just me but reading this feel like the end of a relationship, one of those ones where you know the spark is dimming but you want to cling onto it because there were just so many bloody good times before that happened.
    Clare you have made AOW such an amazing place. Somewhere to talk about really important issues, somewhere to talk about weird man crushes, somewhere to get a load of weight off your shoulders with the most unjudgemental, supportive women around. Somewhere that we have all, at one time or another, been able to share the big life-altering events of our lives.
    So much to be proud of. You should also be proud that you have grown it into such a strong community that you are able to step away now safe in the knowledge that it’s still going to be here doing just fine.
    Now, please make sure that you are around here commenting on a regular basis!
    Liz
    xx

  10. Zan
    Posted February 26, 2014 at 10:21 am | Permalink

    Waaaaaah (also crying). I really can’t thank you enough for creating AOW. It’s such a fantastic little part of the internet and has many times kept me sane and kept me going. As Linsey said, please don’t be a stranger. I also love your instagram pics and your photography is beautiful :)

    You truly did create the best place – I hope you’re incredibly proud of that. xxx

    • Posted February 26, 2014 at 10:32 am | Permalink

      Everything that Zan said times a million. I will continue to follow and love your beautiful Instagram feed. And thank you so much for this fabulous bit of peachy Interweb that has made such a difference to me and so many others xxx

      • Posted February 26, 2014 at 10:32 am | Permalink

        Ps. I’ve still never made boozy baked French toast. I really must rectify that ASAP.

  11. Posted February 26, 2014 at 10:44 am | Permalink

    Fliss! I’d forgotten about Fliss!! Wow, it’s really been a long time, hasn’t it?

    Blogging mojo is a slippery beast. Sometimes it just disappears, and you never know if it’s coming back. I suspect that for you, like me, starting a blog was in part a way to find a creative outlet in an otherwise not-very-creative life. It’s so clear from looking around here that you did create something beautiful and special, and you should be so proud of that. But now you have this amazing new outlet for your creativity in photography, maybe the outlet that you were searching for all along, and you’re creating new things that are beautiful and special, and maybe not needing this blog anymore is the best gift the blog ever gave you (apart from all of us, of course). Anyway, even if you’re not posting any more, AOW will always be yours, just like it will always be Anna’s and Aisling’s, and it will always be a little bit ours too.

    I’m not sure what I’m really trying to say here other than be proud, you crazy, talented, beautiful knobber.

  12. Posted February 26, 2014 at 11:45 am | Permalink

    I very rarely post but this has made me feel really sad :-( I couldn’t put it better than Kirsty has above, so I wish you well and hope that you do decide to return one day, even if it’s just to show us the new chapter of your life. Good luck Clare, you should be very proud of what you have achieved x

  13. Posted February 26, 2014 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

    Clare I can only echo those above me when I say you should be so incredibly proud of what you have created here. I’m thoroughly enjoying all your photography posts on FB and instagram (especially now there’s a huge dose of twinble magic in there too!). You’ll definitely be missed, I hope you pop back with some drivel from time to time should the urge take you.

    I’m thankful beyond words for this little corner of the internet. You lot give me sanity, self belief and courage when I have none. Hope when I can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. Big belly laughs when I’m drowning in negativity. Love you all xxx

  14. Harriet Lang
    Posted February 26, 2014 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

    This would be sensational news if I didn’t have to listen to your drivel everyday.

    Only jesting, of course – I feel really sad for you and for AOW. I do understand how busy you are being an expat wife. And a mother. Oh, and a bloody great photographer. And my rather excellent friend and inspiration….

    Did I say that? AOW was your baby and for that alone you will ALWAYS be connected. Thank you for introducing to me to this sensation.

    Your annoying friend around the corner x

  15. Posted February 26, 2014 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

    Sad news indeed as I also remember when you started and have loved reading your posts all these years.. AOW is such an amazing community and you should be so proud of yourself for starting it.

    However will also continue to you on Instagram. Your photos are gorgeous and I have no doubt AOW will continue to be fabulous and thought provoking.

    Lots of love
    Rachie xo

  16. Rebecca
    Posted February 26, 2014 at 8:03 pm | Permalink

    Twelve months ago I was in a wedding dress mess. Persuaded that the dress must transform me into a model version of myself and send a defining statement about who I am, I was asking five metres of fabric to cover every gap in confidence I’ve ever had. At the moment of crisis, a friend sent me your blog post on what you’d learned about wedding dresses. It was the reality check I needed. Thank you very very much. xx

    (This one, if anyone else needs the same advice: http://anyotherwoman.com/2011/02/five-things-ive-learnt-about-wedding/)

  17. Posted February 26, 2014 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

    Clare – you should be so proud of what you have created here. AOW has given me so much over the last few years, even apart from the fantastic, thought provoking, brilliant writing you have created a home for. I’ve been to my first ever meet ups with People Off The Internet (well, apart from my husband -ha!), had twitter conversations in the dead of night with lovely people about all sorts of things – generally baby sleep related -made Bex’s oaties to take to see Esme and Fran today, and found all sorts of other fantastic blogs through this community. It also gave me the space and confidence to write – about my wedding, my best friends, and work, so thank you so much.

    Well done and hopefully we will see you below the line as a commenter soon

    K x

  18. Posted February 26, 2014 at 8:38 pm | Permalink

    I don’t think I can add much to what everyone above has said, but a massive thank you for creating this little corner of the internet. I’ve loved reading all your posts, through them I’ve learnt so much and got to know so many lovely lovely people here. Thank you :-) x

  19. Posted February 26, 2014 at 11:49 pm | Permalink

    Clare/AOW Aloof,

    I don’t think any of else will ever be able to truly express how thankful we are that you hit publish on that first post. I’ve been reading since the ‘Wedding Days’ and even though life has sometimes got in the way, AOW has always been the place I’ve come back to. Its like home. That place where you know you’ll be accepted no matter what. So thank you. I’m now getting soppy for I shall just say: knobber.

    Love you xxx

  20. Posted February 27, 2014 at 8:59 am | Permalink

    Wow what did I miss!! FLISS?? What happened to her??

    Clare I’m so sad you’re going. I think Kirsty put it beautifully, you’ve created this and it’s given you wings to find your true calling. Well done on being so bloody brilliant! I don’t know how many, if any, could claim to have achieve what you have with AOW. Sit back on those laurels and rejoice for you are The Creator and today is your Sunday.

    Well done pet. And thankyou.

    Px

  21. Katie
    Posted February 27, 2014 at 11:16 am | Permalink

    I first followed a link to Any Other Wedding, from a wedding forum, and have never left. I tired of the wedding forum years ago, months before I’d even got married. AOW is the first blog I discovered, and still my favourite. Well done Clare.

    How you lovely ladies find the time to go out to work, look after your babies, and blog, I will never know. So organised. I’m always thinking of things I would like to write about, and send to you as submissions, but nothing is ever written. I have one brewing at returning to work, to an actual job (not freelance as pre Ava, yes I have monthly pay cheques for first time in over four years), when all I’d ever wanted to be was a mother and home maker. I might write the post one day.

    I loved meeting Aisling last year, along with all the wonderful AOW readers and contributors for afternoon tea. Aisling was much more glamourous than I imagined, and bizarrely not as tall. I thought I’d be looking up to her, as everybody does in all the photos. Random I know. I forgot we were similar heights. I would love to meet you and Anna one day too. I’m slightly intimidated by Anna though, as she is so driven and organised. Opposite of me. I read about her not wanting to coast, and I’ve always coasted through life. Makes me feel a tad inadequate. But challenged as well!! Well done for bringing Aisling and Anna onto the blog, I could not imagine that there exists two better people to run the blog.

    Okay long waffley comment from me – apologies. Good luck with your photography business! You rock.

    xx

    • Katie
      Posted February 27, 2014 at 11:22 am | Permalink

      And THANK YOU for creating AOW!!! xx

  22. Rachel
    Posted February 27, 2014 at 11:39 am | Permalink

    Thank you SO MUCH for giving me the opportunity to write about starting up my own little business. I’m wonderfully dyslexic- but being part of AOW has given me the confidence to write – something that I thought would NEVER happen. Thank you, so very, very much x

  23. Posted February 28, 2014 at 6:11 am | Permalink

    Oh, this is very sad! I’m proud to have been here with you from the very start Miss Fliss, and you have created a wonderful space for so many brave, strong, flawed and intelligent wom. So thank you – we will miss you terribly!

  24. Sarah
    Posted March 1, 2014 at 9:11 pm | Permalink

    Such sad news. I will miss you Clare & I hope you come back soon. Every time I’ve commented on a post, and on the few occasions where I’ve submitted one, you’ve always been there with an encouraging word. You should be so proud of making *the* most amazing community the Internet has ever seen. We all love you (you knobber) xxx

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Hello! We're Clare, Aisling and Anna and welcome to a corner of the world where smart, flawed, real women talk about the bigger picture; about their experiences, stories and opinions on all aspects of being a woman today, from marriage to feminism to pretty, too.

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image by Lucy Stendall Photography

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