• All About Fern
  • Life as a YouTuber: It’s Lonely

    I posted this on Instagram the other day.

    I was tagged practically forever ago by @thingswhatilove to share #20thingsaboutme So. Here are 20 things. 1. I am lazy. Like really, really lazy. 2. I spend a ridiculous amount of time wishing for change instead of making changes. 3. I hate social media because it makes me feel needy and awkward; pointless posts that were clearly made just to try and "engage" people make me so angry. 4. I'm just a generally angry person tbh. 5. I hate losing. 6. I often feel like I'm losing. 7. I wish I could have more babies just because I love naming babies. 8. I would love to make a career out of YouTube, but I don't see it ever happening. 9. YouTube makes me feel lonely. 10. I have always been impulsive and I am equal parts grateful and resentful that my husband and kids prevent me from making impulsive decisions. 11. My grandparents passed away last year and I dream about them all the time. 12. My dreams are so vivid that I often wake up and don't know what's real and what's not. 13. The only times I've been able to sing without fear as an adult were the times I was high on drugs. 14. Yeah, I used to do a lot of drugs. 15. I love wearing glasses and feel naked without them. 16. I hate wearing glasses because they slip down my nose and my kids are constantly smearing them with their grubby kiddy fingers. 17. I'm too scared to find out how big my student loan is – it's interest free so I'm not even going to think about it until I start earning money. 18. I can't look at the horizon or the sky for too long or I start to freak out. Everything is so big and I am so small. 19. I swear way more than I should. 20. I fucking hate typing on my phone and I'm pretty surprised I stuck with this! Okay I'm done. I tag @myfavouriteshus @ivfmummavlogs @jesschillinabout @bigtinylife

    A post shared by Fern P (@the_fern_life) on

    Excuse the swears (if you’re a person who’s offended by swears), but it took me forever to type all that out on my stupid phone. Also I wasn’t in the best mood. Also, I wasn’t kidding when I shared that 19th thing. But anyway.

    Linda (who is a person I consider to be a friend despite the fact I’ve never actually met her) left a comment on that post on Instagram. The comment included a question that I found interesting. And because I am completely lacking in the blog ideas department of late, I figured I’d answer her in the wordiest way possible.

    Hello, new blog post.

    Okay, so here’s (some of) what she said:

    It’s so sad that youtube makes you feel lonely, is it because you talk to a screen? It’s quite trippy when I think about it; us viewers feel connected when we watch you, but you prob end up feeling disconnected?

    So here goes. These are the reasons why YouTube makes me feel lonely.

    1. Most of the time when I’m filming YouTube videos I am at home alone. Sometimes my kids are there, it’s true, but anyone with kids will tell you that being surrounded by children is not the same as being surrounded by other adults. For example, I have to try not to swear. And I can’t even laugh at the really funny things they do, because the funniest things they do are always the naughtiest things they do. So then I have to get all growly, and then everyone hates me, and then I feel lonely. Ahhh parenting.
      But yeah. What I was trying to get at is this: My YouTube videos are literally me, on my own, talking to an electronic device that fits in the palm of my hand.
    2. My videos aren’t live. They are pre-recorded; edited, uploaded, and scheduled to appear on my channel at 8:30pm. And that means that when my wonderful subscribers are watching and responding to my videos, they are commenting on past events.
      I’m the first to admit that my moods and emotions tend to be a bit up and down (the husband is probably snorting at that understatement). I feel things strongly, but I get over things quickly. Unless it’s a major event, something that upsets me is likely to be something I couldn’t give two craps about just a couple of days later. So although the supportive comments I receive are wonderful (really, they are, please don’t take this as me not appreciating the messages you guys leave me), they never actually come at the times I need them most.
    3. This is the biggest one:
      I don’t actually know who you are.
      You know me. You watch my videos and read my words and sometimes you even laugh at my jokes. You know what I look like, what I sound like, what I have for breakfast… But what do I know about you?
      Some of my viewers have teensy little profile pictures that assure me they are real people. Some of my viewers leave comments using their first and last names, which makes it easier to remember who says what. But most viewers have pseudonyms and generic avatars, and it’s just like, Okay, cool. Thanks, faceless stranger! No matter how kind the comments, no matter how sweet the sentiments, there’s always going to be a disconnect when the majority of my feedback comes in the form of semi-anonymous comments (and 100% of that feedback is nothing more than words on a screen).

    There are many things I love about YouTube, and there are many reasons I stick with it. But the fact remains that life as a YouTuber is lonely. Unless my husband suddenly decides he wants to stick his face in front of the camera with me (which is never going to happen, I can assure you), I’m almost certain that the feelings of isolation are set to be a permanent side effect of my vlogging life. It’s okay, because I’ve accepted it. But I do wish it was possible to interact more tangibly with you all.

    – Fern xxx

    If for some reason you’re not subscribed to my channel yet, you should go and do that now. If you want to, I mean…
    Here’s the link: Subscribe to The Fern Life 

  • All About Fern
  • Bad Day; Good Day

    It should have been a bad day. I woke up with a headache, and a tense neck. The kids were being loud and messy (I’m talking exceptionally loud and messy), and my brain went, Let’s go shopping! But I couldn’t go shopping. All the shops were closed for Good Friday. Boo.

    But not really.

    For whatever reason I just got on with things. I scrubbed the kids’ bathroom from top to bottom, vacuumed the carpets, and made an enormous stack of banana, chocolate chip pancakes. The husband assembled bunk beds in the biggest kid’s bedroom. The children ran around outside. And all the doing prompted more doing. So in the afternoon I sat down and put together this video:

    PLAY NZ is a group I started in the middle of winter last year. I wanted to connect with other Kiwi women who are active on YouTube. Struggling to find them, I figured I’d let them come to me – and that is what I did. Where would we be without Facebook groups?

    A friend suggested I call the group Play, which I liked but didn’t love, until I realised I could turn it into the perfect acronym. PLAY. Parenting, Lifestyle and Appearance YouTubers. Oh shit yes.

    As with most things in life, I’m kind of all over the place when it comes to PLAY. Some days (or weeks, or months) I’m like, PLAY is the best thing ever and I’m going to pour all my energy into it! That’s when I do things like set up entire websites, write YouTubey blog posts, and organise collaborations. Other times I feel like it’s all a big fat waste of time. Which is dumb, because my heart tells me it’s not. In fact, my heart reckons that PLAY could (and should) really be something.

    This Easter I’ve banded 12 women together. We’ve each bought a collection of gifts and sent them off to be opened, on camera, by one of our fellow PLAY members. I have to admit, while it’s not easy pulling off a collaboration like this, I’m really happy that I can facilitate this sort of thing. A coming together of like-minded women, a celebration of life through gift-giving. It’s cool. It’s really cool. I’m proud of myself for making these collaborations happen.

    One thing I struggle with is the feeling that I’m not doing enough. I’m constantly looking out for jobs and opportunities I can apply for or to, just so I can prove to everyone that I’m here, and I’m capable, and I’m worthy of recognition. And though I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing, the feeling that I’m wasting away at home definitely is. I’m not wasting away. I’m not doing nothing. Sure, I’m not getting paid. But I’m still working. I’m challenging myself and teaching myself and extending myself every day. I am capable of so many things.

    I’m looking forward to creating more trailers showcasing the work the women of PLAY and I have done. I’m excited to see where PLAY will take us in the future. And I’m proud to say that PLAY wouldn’t even exist if it wasn’t for me.

    Good Friday: It’s a good day to remind yourself of the good things you do.

    – Fern xxx

    The PLAY NZ Easter collaboration won’t go live until 8:30pm on Easter Monday.
    But I do have another Easter collab. up my sleeve for you:
    I got in touch with my American friend Sarah to see if she’d like to share her gifts and plans for Easter this year, and she said yes!
    This here’s my video – a link to Sarah’s will pop up at the end, so make sure you check that out too.

  • All About Fern
  • New Year, Old Me (and Why I’m the Worst Blogger in the World)

    Okay, so here’s the truth: I keep thinking Bad Thoughts about blogging. All blogging. There’s a grumpy old cow in the back of my mind, you see, and she’s forever saying things like, There are already a million bloggers. It’s all been said before. Nothing is original anymore. You have nothing worth writing about.

    It’s kind of weird that she very rarely says that sort of thing when I think about my YouTube channel. Maybe she just thinks YouTube is where it’s at. And I mean, yeah, that’s cool. I feel like I’m doing pretty well in the vlogging side of the internet. But the thing is I’ve always wanted to write. And I still want to write. So I actually feel like I need to bloody write, goddammit.

    So here we are.

    I’m mainly blogging because it’s a new year. I hate that I’m blogging because it’s a new year, because I hate the way everyone starts going on and on about their goals and detoxing and how they’re going to become better people. I mean, I actually quite like myself these days. And yeah, there are plenty of things I could do better, but I don’t want my only motivation to be a new date. Well, shit in one hand, want in the other, I guess, because it looks like the new date is exactly what has motivated me to finally dust off my keyboard. Once again, I’m a walking oxymoron (please don’t emphasise the moron).

    To appease the grumpy old anti-blogging cow, I’m not going to write out my goals here for you all to read. Nor will I list all the things I learned in 2016 (though you can check out the embedded YouTube video if you want to hear about some of the mistakes I made – eep). But I am willing to share that I’ve got a few ideas floating around in my head that I’d like to make a reality this year. And if I can make at least some of it happen, if I can extend myself just a little, then I think I’ll be feeling pretty pleased with myself by this time next year.

    What I’m not so sure about, however, is the direction in which I want to take this blog. Do I want it to be all the mum things all the time? Definitely not. Do I want to write open letters and vaguely humourous (i.e. not actually funny) lists all the time? Shit no. But I do want to make sure I’m writing things that you genuinely want to read. And there are a hell of a lot of incredibly popular blogs out there that seem to write only those things I don’t want to write… So what’s a blogger to do? Do I pretend to be someone, or something, I’m not in the hopes that people will start eating up every word I type? Or do I do my own thing and accept that I’ll probably just float around making little to no difference in anyone’s life?

    There’s this whole thing in the blogging world about having a brand, even being a brand. And if I had to give myself a brand it’d just be Fern. Me. A woman with a lot of kids and a little time and a desire to share things about her life in an entertaining sort of way. Which I’m beginning to suspect isn’t really a brand at all.

    Ah well. The grumpy cow is telling me to just forget about it, so I suppose I will. For now. In the meantime, feel free to give me a kick up the butt if you realise I haven’t written anything in a while. And hey, if you’re keen to share with me the sorts of things you’d be interested in reading about then leave me a comment down below. Drew Monson isn’t the only one who’s very lonely…

    Happy new year, you.
    – Fern xxx

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  • Health & Wellbeing
  • Righting my Wrongs – Taking my Kids Offline

    Imagine putting your kids on stage to entertain an audience of 100 people. Their performance is cute, funny and completely innocent, and you’re happy with the thought that other families will be watching and enjoying the show…

    Now imagine that halfway through your children’s act, a concerned parent approaches and tells you that while 80 of the people present are fellow mothers and their families, there are also 20 men in the audience. 20 men whose intentions are unclear, but it’s almost guaranteed that at least some of them are enjoying watching your kids for all the wrong reasons. Some of these men are recording your children, and are secretly storing the files away to share with their perverted buddies.

    Could you, would you, allow the show to go on?


    Watch this video and read this blog post if you don’t know what I’m talking about…

    This analogy may seem far-fetched, but the moment this thought occurred to me I knew what needed to be done. I privatised every single video I’d uploaded to my YouTube channel, and I announced that my days of family vlogging were over. From here on out, the only people you’ll see featured on A (mostly) Kiwi Family will be me, and maybe some other consenting adults here and there. End of story.

    I had a lot of arguments for continuing to upload my Weekly Wednesday videos. There are sick people everywhere. I can’t stop them looking at my kids as we walk to school, just like I couldn’t stop them watching my kids when I shared their videos on YouTube. At first it didn’t feel any different. My children weren’t being harmed directly. The chances of them being truly affected in any way were slim. But at the same time, I couldn’t bear the thought of some pervert adding my videos to their disturbingly sexual playlists. I couldn’t take the idea that people could be sharing the links to my YouTube channel on pornographic websites. I just couldn’t go on.

    In the scheme of things, my family was one of the lucky ones. When I checked my analytics I couldn’t find any evidence of exploitation. It didn’t look like our videos had been added to those types of inappropriate playlists, and the majority of our views were coming from women, most of whom lived right here in New Zealand. But, there have been two disturbing changes since I announced my children would no longer be featured on my channel…

    1. I’ve been losing subscribers. Not a huge amount, but the numbers have definitely dropped. So, out of my 210 subscribers, at least seven of them were only interested in my channel as long as they could see my kids. My husband reckons it could all be innocent, and while I’m not saying he’s wrong, there’s nothing to prove he’s right.
    2. The percentage of views coming from men has dropped significantly. When I first checked my analytics, the pie graph showed that around a quarter of the people watching my videos were men. That number is now sitting at 16 percent. I can’t help but conclude that those people unsubscribing from my channel were men, and their intentions were not good.

    I’m not trying to say that no one should be putting their kids on the internet. I understand why people want to share their children with the world, and I still respect any parent who chooses to continue doing so (especially those who are now taking extra care to ensure their kids’ safety). However, for me personally, I cannot go ahead with uploading videos and photos of my babies. I just can’t. I’ve been deleting and privatising images and social media accounts like crazy. I’ve been blocking anyone and everyone who appears even remotely suspicious. I’ve even removed the photo gallery from my website. I still feel awful, but I’ve learned from my mistakes. I’m doing what I can to right my wrongs. I’m trying to do better by my children.

    – Fern xxx

    What do you think about my decision? Am I taking things too seriously? And what, if anything, can be done to stop these sick individuals from sexualising our innocent children?

    Joining Aby (You Baby Me Mummy) and Amy (Mr and Mrs T plus three)
    for The List.