Today I've decided to write up a little explanation of how my recent 5 minutes of fame came about... there's lunch involved too of course, honest! Now that the dust has settled I thought it would be interesting to look back on it and see how it all happened. Apologies in advance, this is a rather more wordy post than I usually write!
It all started when I was shortlisted as a finalist in the MAD blog awards (I still haven't got over the complete surprise of that!). We were all sent a little press release to forward to our local media. I wasn't at all sure about it, as I'm not really one to put myself in the limelight (somewhat ironic, considering what happened next!), but I thought that it was good publicity for the MAD blog awards people too, so I somewhat reluctantly sent it off to my local paper, the Hampshire Chronicle, and promptly forgot all about it. A week or so later, I had a call to say that there would be a piece in the Hampshire Chronicle based on the press release. I found this a bit nerve-wracking, but also exciting, especially when a few of my friends spotted the article and messaged me to say well done. I went off to town to grab myself a copy of the Hampshire Chronicle and felt positively famous when I spotted the picture of one of my lunches there in the paper!
A few days later, I was approached by a journalist who suggested that my story might be interesting to 'the papers' and could I answer a few questions. I wasn't at all convinced that anyone would be interested to be completely honest, it's just packed lunches after all, but I agreed to answer some questions and send over some photos, and thought that that would probably be the end of it. I was utterly gobsmacked therefore when a few days later emails started flooding in from all sorts of people saying that they had read the article about me in the Daily Mail! The what?! What article?! What?! I grabbed my laptop as soon as I could and discovered articles in the Daily Mail, the Telegraph and the Mirror about me and my bento lunches - I can't tell you how surreal that felt! Over the next few weeks my 'story' travelled all over the world, even being discussed on TV on the Lorraine Kelly Show, Loose Women (they thoroughly disapproved of me!), The Today Show in America, and who knows where else. I was asked to do several radio interviews and friends kept contacting me saying that they'd spotted my lunches appearing all over the place online, from Australia to Canada and China to Germany. It was crazy!
I have learnt an awful lot from my experiences in the last month or so, it has been eye-opening to say the least. It was fascinating to see how the story got twisted and turned as it travelled from place to place, for a start I constantly read that Small Child was a terribly fussy eater, and that I was doing all this in a desperate attempt to make him eat (for the record, he isn't in the slightest bit fussy, he'll eat pretty much anything except for celery (and who can blame him for that?!), and I use my hobby of making bento lunches as much as an outlet for my own creativity as anything else - I think I enjoy making his lunches every bit as much as he enjoys eating them, if not more so!). I learnt that many people are as excited by idea of bento as I was when I first discovered it, and it has been wonderful to be able to inspire people to give it a try themselves. I also learnt that there are always people who can't help but be negative, but I have grown myself a nice thick skin to let that wash straight over me - life is too short to take any notice of miserable grumpy people!
So, how does this link to a lunch? Well, I was asked to send over a photo of myself making a lunch, so I reluctantly asked Mr Amazing to take a picture of me doing so. I try to be honest in all that I do, so I made an actual lunch in my actual (very small and boring) kitchen, which Small Child ate (and thoroughly enjoyed) shortly after, because it was in the middle of the Easter holidays. Here's one of the photos that he took of me 'in action'. If I'd realised that it would make the national newspapers, I'd have put on a nice top and brushed my hair!
Below is the lunch that I was making in that picture! In this lunch Small Child had some apple flavoured organix rice cakes (bought for Small Baby, but Small Child loves them too!), a Babybel cheese, which came ready decorated with a cute ladybird design, cucumber and carrot slices, cut into flowers and decorated with a bunny pick, green grapes, skewered on long plastic heart picks and decorated with ladybird and bee picks, and some natural yoghurt, topped with some heart shaped sprinkles. Because it was around Easter time , I added a few mini eggs as a special treat. I decorated the lunch with bright silicone dividers from this set and this set, and added a mini bento spoon for the yoghurt.
It was so nice to have the rare opportunity to actually see Small Child enjoying one of my bento lunches, as most of the time I just make them for him to take to school. The lunch lasted all of about 5 minutes! When, later on, the Daily Mail article came out, Small Child was very, very excited to find a picture of himself in the paper - he's very proud to now be 'famous'!
Thankfully things have settled down somewhat since those first articles came out and life has more or less gone back to normal. The whole experience has made me very grateful for the simple things in life - my lovely family and friends, and especially Mr Amazing, who was a great support and helped me pack endless parcels when the Eats Amazing Shop went into overdrive! Mainly, I'm pleased to bits that bento lunches have had a bit of publicity, they are such an easy and fun way to pack a healthy lunch, so I think it's wonderful that I got a chance to spread the message a little!
Items used to make this lunch:
PS If you'd like to see some of the articles that I mentioned above, hop on over to my new media page!