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Let’s be Happy, not Sappy.


Is it just me or is it getting all kinds of sappy round here?

Lately, I can’t seem to venture online without being broadsided by yet another heart-warming homily about how friends are like diamonds and sparkle in the sun, or love is like a washing machine and there’s always room for one more sock.

Honestly, you can’t turn around on Pinterest without bumping into some barely coherent poster urging you to be inspired and live your passion and capture your dreams.

I can’t capture my dreams. I’ve got British Gas coming to serve the boiler, three features to write, and then I’m going to watch Gossip Girl. 

And have you ever seen The Notebook Twitter account?  Gross. People keep retweeting it into my timeline, like some kind of saccharine-fuelled projectile vomit.  “They say the world was built for two, only worth living if someone is loving you.”

It’s just wrong.

We’re all old enough to know this claptrap bears no relation to real life. Love breaks down, friendship is largely a function of geographic and social expedience, and most people can’t get through a day without at least one evil thought passing through their mind.

And most of us don't actually like the sentimental chit-chat. Not really. Honestly, if people talked like this in real life we’d cross the street to avoid them. Most of us would adopt a fake identity and move to South America, if necessary. Especially if we’re British. Sentimentality makes most British people itch. We like gentle sarcasm and Monty Python.

But online it’s a different story. On the Internet, we’re spouting the kind of sentiment that would make a Care Bear blush. What’s it all about?

Part of me wonders if it’s the recession. During tough times sentimentality is a useful way of smoothing out some of life’s rough edges, and reminding us that there are moments of beauty if you look for them.

But another (more cynical) part of me wonders if it’s just showing off. Look at my wonderful friends, my just-so status updates and my perfectly Instagram-ed photos. And look at my big, beating, sentimental heart that’s just brimming over with goodness. I’m such an awesome person.  

What do you think?  

Personally, I’m Northern. And while I like to think I'm generally a pretty good person, sometimes (just sometimes) the sentiment in my heart looks a bit more like this: 





Sally is a full-time blogger and founder of the Tots100, Trips100, Foodies100 and HIBS100 communities, along with the MAD Blog Awards. She spends a bit too much time on the Internet. She's also a very happy Mum to Flea, the world's coolest ten year old.

About The Author


Sally is a full-time blogger and founder of the Tots100, Trips100, Foodies100 and HIBS100 communities, along with the MAD Blog Awards. She spends a bit too much time on the Internet. She's also a very happy Mum to Flea, the world's coolest ten year old.


  1. Michelle Twin Mum

    Ohh not sure what to make of this. I would proabably class myself as one of those sappy people who spurt optimism! #whoops
    I don’t pretend to be perfect and I am certainly not showing off, my blog is an honest enough place that people can see I muck up a fair amount but I really do think there is something to be said for having a glass half full attitude.
    Mich x

  2. Kat

    My whole blog is based on this. Don’t ruin it for me…

  3. Kate @ UpsideBackwards

    Balance in all things. I *do* have wonderful friends, some of them on the internet and I’ve never met them. On the other hand, my happy place is the demotivational poster section of 🙂

  4. Cass@frugalfamily

    What about my personal favourite Pinterest quote – I know the world is NOT going to end in 2012 because Marty McFly travelled to 2015!

  5. Sally Whittle

    Oh, Mich, your blog is NOT like this at all!
    It isn’t about optimism – most people who know me would say I’m a very optimistic person. I’m very pro optimism.
    What makes me very uncomfortable is overly fulsome, flowery, false sentimentality. I can’t imagine you ever saying, “May your heart sing sweet lullabies of contentment, Sally”
    PS: If you do ever say that, I’m running away.

  6. Sally Whittle

    Ha! I’m coming to stamp on your happy garden.

  7. Sally Whittle

    Oh, I LOVE
    I always like people more when they have a healthy capacity for cynicism.

  8. Carlita

    Oh well said! I don’t want to rain on the happy parade, because some people need that sentiment to feel better in their daily lives, and it can give a little warm glow, but mainly I feel the urge to cut out the twee – being Irish, my first instinct is usually to throw my eyes up to heaven and think ‘Yeah right’. And I don’t care if that makes me a curmudgeon – at least I’m not a walking Hallmark card!

  9. (Mostly) Yummy Mummy

    Never ever follow me on Pinterest.. My head is firmly in the clouds and I love all of this claptrap. The cheesier the better!

  10. Sally Whittle

    Hmm. *makes note of MYM’s Pinterest address*

  11. Tasha Goddard

    I’ve noticed this too, and I think it might well be a recession thing. Every other status update on Facebook is some twee words in a ‘funky’ font with a brightly coloured background. Or a version of the Don’t Panic poster. Yeeshk.
    I have bucketloads of optimism – well, apart from those moments when the girls are both screaming ‘I hate you, mum!’ (yes, the two-year-old has just learnt this phrase) in a sugar-induced frenzy and I am standing in a sea of sofa cushions, lego and books – but I tend not to share it in little snippets of Canderel.

  12. Iota

    Just don’t move to America. Would be my advice.

  13. Kate

    Gosh. Hopefully, my now frequent rants are a good antidote to this! 😉

  14. Rebecca

    Awww Sally… you do surprise me 😉 I’m guessing you wouldn’t like my ‘Wise Words Wednesday’ feature where I link to my favourite sappy, vomit-inspiring quote on pinterest each week?

  15. michelle twin mum

    You know I will try that next time I see you now. Thanks for the loud out loud giggle you just gave me!
    Mich x

  16. michelle twin mum

    See I’m liking this new feature Rebecca. Mich x

  17. Rebecca

    Hee… thanks Mich 🙂 I have to admit it’s also the designs and typography that draw me to them too!

  18. Midlife singlemum

    I totally agree with you. It may be sweet if it happened once in a blue moon but every happy sappy day on fb, twitter, blogs… And the worst is when they tell you pass it on to all the people you love (to prove that you really do?). I can live with a few friends thinking they are carebears fron fluffy cloud 9 but when they turn into control freaks who expect me to become a carebear with them, that’s just manipulative.
    May your day radiate with joyous moments and your heart be filled with the blood and oxygen of love and optimism…

  19. Tania Tirraoro

    I’m a cynical northern girl myself…Maybe they really have miserable lives and want to make themselves feel better. Or maybe I’m just a teeny bit jealous that they might JUST be a truly happy person…

  20. Sally Whittle

    Ah, nothing worse than a control freak care bear.

  21. Sally Whittle

    Nah. Not possible. People who genuinely are THAT happy are secretly serial killers.

  22. Sally Whittle

    Oh, I don’t know. I love the odd week in the States visiting those country and home stores – wall to wall inspiration. Funniest places EVER for a Northern cynic.

  23. Sally Whittle

    Yes, I’m very optimistic and cheerful. Just not, you know, offensively so.

  24. Emma Cossey

    I’ve always found that the people who put those kind of things on the internet, are the same people that are miserable as sin in real life. They’re also the same people that have statuses that run along the lines of “Only 1 in 10 people will repost this on Facebook about three-legged dogs. The rest of you are dead inside”

  25. Laura

    *holds Sally’s hand gently*
    *looks into Sally’s face with wide-eyed sincere tearfulness*
    Oh, sweet Sally, may your angels be holding you tight as you walk the stony path of cynicism, and may you one day know the joyful rapture of dreams flying on wings unfettered by earthly boundaries.
    *smiles beatifically, spreading the sunshine glow of happiness*
    *runs away fast*

  26. Tania Tirraoro

    I better keep a close eye on my dog walker then – she’s always suspiciously happy

  27. Judy

    Oh my GOD thank you for saying this… someone had to (and you say it way more diplomatically than I would have). There seems to be a serious trend of not just soppy nonsense but also boasting – Facebook makes me angry daily because all I see is so-called friends saying how wonderful their lives are, therefore making me feel rubbish (and a little bit sick).
    Well done you and yay for being realistic.

  28. Emma

    That first picture actually makes me sick, and I’m the one with the hormones that make me cry at Halifax adverts. Though they can make me go the other way and actually make me want to poke eyes out with sticks. I actually felt wrong writing a blog post praising my childs bed routine and how he’s stayed in his bed, this isnt the kinda stuff people want to read. They want to read about when it goes wrong! I feel wrong for boasting and wrong for moaning, what’s that in between state? I actually defriended my sister in law on facebook because her status about how she was shopping and because she could afford it actually made me quite angry. But then it’s her feed, she can write whatever she wants. I just choose not to hear that crap because in the real world some of us have a life where things just are not going as planned and dont have savings anymore. I wouldnt say it’s a matter of jealousy just that putting it so blatently in front of peoples faces just isnt very kind.
    I actually feel guilty for writing reviews of items that some people just cant afford, they may have this fab opportunity I have to review such products. I’ve not stopped feeling guilty about this carpet cleaner and the first thing that came to mind when I was offered a hoover was not of joy for me but of how it would make other people think. Or is this where I’m to man up and think this is what makes up for the crapness in my life?

  29. Woodland watcher

    Luckily I don’t think I have that many people cluttering up my networks with such sappy nonsense. But it makes me wonder whether the people that do write that sort of thing genuinely, 100% wish that sort of sentiment and happiness on those who will read it, or if (as I suspect) some part actually wants the readers to be jealous/feel a bit sick/cry.
    So it’s all a trick really – in posting such gushing sap, the majority of people really want to engender the opposite feelings in their ‘friends’…?

  30. Sally Whittle

    Ha! Boasting is *almost* as annoying as sincere sentimentality. Almost.

  31. If I Could Escape

    Sorry about the Notebook retweets, but like I told another blogger, I like to think it’s Ryan Gosling tweeting for them just for me. *sigh*

  32. Sally Whittle

    Oh, Em, I don’t think anyone begrudges anyone a bit of good fortune, do they? The world’s in a sorry state if so. Just don’t, you know, post anything about puppies and love and cuddles, and we’ll be fine x

  33. Sally Whittle

    Actual LOL.
    I can forgive that. *drifts off into happy daydream*

  34. Christine Mosler

    Friends who send this stuff to my inbox have no idea how close they are to death. I am optimistic and cheerful as a rule but sap makes me vom.

  35. Gappy

    Well thank fuck for that. Glad someone’s finally said it… (scuttles off to

  36. Jude

    So glad it’s not just me – I was beginning to think I was just an old misery – but then I’m Northern too, and tend to appreciate things a little more down to earth!

  37. PaulaMaher

    i’m not northern, but i am irish. we generally cut thru all the sappy clap-trap.. until we’re drunk (which is often). then it’s all “sunshine, lollipops and rainbows”…

  38. Dawn Isaac

    My inspirational sayings are limited to “You’re a long time dead”. But then again I’m from Lincolnshire where this is classed as “overly upbeat”.

  39. Expat Mum

    I’m with Iota (literally) – you should try living over here. People actually say it out loud. You can’t have a decent moan without some bloody Pollyanna saying “Oh, yes but..” and then pointing out that you could actually be in a wheelchair, have lost your home or come down with a terminal illness.
    I always feel that when someone sends me an inspirational saying, they’re actually trying to preach a bit, and spread their joy, as it were. If anything, it puts me in a worse mood than usual!


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