Blogging Q&A

Hey, loves! A couple of weeks ago I reached out and asked on my Instagram stories if you had any blogging related questions you’d like me to answer. I was super scared nobody would ask questions (LOL) but I thankfully got quite a good response, although some people asked the same or similar questions which I’ve just mixed together. I love reading posts like this because as a blogger – and as an aspiring blogger before I created my own blog – I love to know other people’s behind-the-scenes! I talk a lot about my real life on here, and I’ve never been, nor will I ever be, one of those bloggers with an incredibly professional set up. I admire the beautiful photogenic blogs SO much, but it’s just not me. I take my photos on my iPhone X, I will never do a professional photo shoot for blog content (not that there’s anything wrong with that, it’s just not my thing) and I’m happy in my own little world over here. So, let’s A some of your Q’s…

Why did you start writing your blog?
It was a dream I thought would never come true. I’d read blogs for so many years, and felt so connected and inspired by the people running them. Many of the girls I followed moved from blogging to vlogging and I felt like I knew them even more; I genuinely talk about Anna and Emma as if they’re my high school besties, which Matt finds hilarious! I loved the connection I felt as a reader, and I always hoped one day I’d find the courage to create my own. Fast forward four years of loving everything about blogs, and I’d poured my heart out to Matt about how I’d always thought one day I’d do it myself, but I just never had and now it was too late. Like the amazing man he is, he encouraged me to start right there and then, and I did. I bought my blog domain at the end of May 2018, and just began writing. I had NO IDEA what to expect, how any of it worked, or how it would be received, but I did it anyway. The day my first post went live (10th June, 2018) I was a nervous wreck in case people were mean. Matt and I went out for Sunday dinner at our favourite local pub and I could barely eat because I was so nervous. Over the past year I’ve found my routine, and now I love every aspect of running and owning my blog, I’m so proud of it!

What is your favourite thing about writing? / How do you make time to write?
It is very freeing, and it just feels good to get lost in my own little world. I think we spend SO MUCH TIME worrying about others, pleasing others and doing what others want to do, and it’s important to actually take a step back and be a little selfish sometimes. My number one priorites are always going to be my relationship, our family and friends and work, but when I can just sit and blog, I love to totally switch off from the world. When I’m writing I always get super comfy under a blanket, and usually have a cup of tea or hot chocolate. By ‘a cup’ I mean at least three, because I write for so long! I usually listen to podcasts, watch old YouTube vlogs (Jade Billington‘s are my favourite!) or play Your Favourite Coffeehouse playlist on Spotify although sometimes I just write in silence. I think making writing time an enjoyable experience makes it something I look forward to, and not something I stress about having to get done, even though I’m working to deadlines. Editing usually looks very different; I tend to do that whenever/wherever I can squeeze it in, often whilst we’re in the car or when I’m in the bath I’ll be proof-reading or editing on my phone.

How do you grow your audience?
I’m struggling a little to answer this, as although my blog is growing, it’s very slowly and steadily, not super quick. I think having a schedule and posting consistently is a huge factor in people coming back to my blog over and over, but I’m not really sure how people find my little corner of the internet. I find self-promoting my blog a little weird and awkward, so I try to only do that when it comes to new posts going live. I interact with other bloggers whose blogs I adore, and building those relationships is a great way to interest other people in your posts. I don’t have the most professional set up or look, but I think that can give my blog a cosy ~homey~ vibe, which hopefully people enjoy.

Do you ever get stuck for ideas?
Not really, because I plan my posts so far in advance! I don’t write my post there and then; I have the original idea so I’ll write my title, make any notes – usually this is points I want to make in the post, products I want to talk about, photo ideas etc and then I ‘schedule’ that for a date in a few weeks time and save the draft. Then, when it comes to writing the post, most of the ground work is done and I’m able to just start writing. I find it hard to make things concise though sometimes LOL, but it’s okay because I waffle on in real life just as much. The only posts I do write not long before they go live is my Feelin’ It Friday’s as they’re quick and about the week we’re currently in. I usually prep those on the Thursday night, then edit/update on Friday morning before it goes live.

Where do you get inspiration for your blog?
I get my inspiration from just whatever is going on in my life. If we’re going on a road trip, I want to share our essentials, if I’m really obsessed with a brand, I want to tell you the things I’d recommend most, if Matt and I are having a fun weekend, I take photos throughout the days and round it up for you. I also listen to comments I get, side note: people are always asking me to share dinner recipes so that post will be coming in a few weeks! I’m of course inspired by other bloggers and by YouTube content creators, and I think I’ve carved a path for my blog that means I can write about pretty much anything I want to. I never intended on sharing so much of Matt and I’s life, but I love doing it in the way I do; it’s like an extension of Instagram, where it’s real and honest, yet never staged or ‘for the blog’.

Do you feel guilty being sent products for free?
I’m not really sure how to answer this question because I don’t understand what there is to feel guilty about. Is it absolutely insane? YES. Is it surreal? YES. Is it amazing? YES. I wouldn’t say I feel ‘guilty’ because I truly put so much time and effort into my blog, which I don’t think is something that people outside of my close circle or the blogging world will realise. I only accept products that fit with me and my blog, as I’ve had some emails which just don’t work for me so I’ve politely declined. I’d never recommend something I wouldn’t purchase myself, and I’ll always be very honest if a product doesn’t work for me. My disclaimer is linked here, if you’d like a little more clarification. I truly am so grateful for every product I’ve been sent and every PR agency or brand that wants to work with me, it’s mind-blowing that my little blog is even capable of this!

Where do you see your blog in one years time?
My blog will be two years old by then, and I’m hoping it would have continued to grow with me, but I’ll definitely be creating the same kind of content. I really do want to become more comfortable in front of the camera, and Matt is always trying to encourage me to take photos when we’re out and about, which is making me slightly warm up to the idea. I know I’m not photogenic as it is, but then when I’m specifically ‘posing’ for a photo, I truly just go to pot HAHA. I would love to figure out my photography style a little more too, as I’m learning more and more about how I like to take photos and I’m hoping as a result my blog looks more streamlined and pretty.

Have you ever been recognised in public from your blog?
Haha, no I have not! I have had a weird moment in The Body Shop (I mean, where else?) where I was restocking on a few products and a girl who went to my school – she was a few years below me and we knew of each other, but didn’t know each other, if that makes sense – asked what I’d recommend she buy. She said she read my blog and purchased the Vitamin E Serum-in-Oil because of my review and loved it, which was seriously like an out of body experience.

Does blogging take up lots of your time?
Yes and no. It does take a lot of time and effort, but I try to set aside specific time to write, edit, take photos etc, so that I don’t feel overwhelmed. As I always try to plan ahead I don’t feel like it ‘takes up lots of time’ necessarily, because that time is specifically for blogging. I work a real 9-5 job, and blogging is my hobby so it’s something I like to do. Sometimes I really feel like I should spend an hour or two writing and editing during an evening, but I’m always going to opt for snuggling in with Matt to watch Netflix instead! I talked a lot about this in this post, and covered the ins and outs of how I find the time to blog here, too!

Do you feel weird about people you know in real life reading your blog?
I used to find it SO weird, but now I don’t really think about it too much. I know some people who know of me may read to pick flaws or to laugh at me (I had an experience with that when I first started out blogging) but I’m 25 years old, and not in high school. Although, my co-workers love to read on their lunch breaks and tell me as they’re reading, that is kinda weird haha. I know that people I know read it, and I’m truly very grateful for the views I get. I hope that people who like to read my blog tell their friends who will then tell their friends, that would be amazing! One thing I will always find strange is that I sometimes will talk about something on my blog – especially now in my Feelin’ It Friday posts – and people will see me and say things like “did you and Matt love that movie you went to see last weekend?!” or “I seen you were at Wagamama’s again!” The weirdest thing is when someone tells me they’ve bought something because of what I said about it. I never imagined that but I’ve had so many messages from people telling me!

Thank you so much for reading, and if you asked a question thank you SO much, I hope I answered it well enough! I hope you feel like you know me a little more as a blogger, I really try to be so open and honest with everything I post. Fellow bloggers, how do you feel about this platform? Do you relate to anything I’ve said? I’d love to do more Q&A style posts, and I’m hoping to maybe rope Matt into taking part in a little post on the blog… we’ll see!

-G x

A Quote A Day Keeps The Blues Away

Happy Wednesday, loves! Today’s post is super short and sweet, but I think it’s filled to the brim with positive reminders, quotes and affirmations we all need to surround ourselves with a little more. I talked in my last post about how important it is to appreciate the little things each day that make you happy, and I don’t know about you but I love reading quotes. I feel positive, inspired and just a lot happier from so many; they really can change your perspective or mindset a lot. I love the pretty designs, writing, photographs and patterns that you see floating around online, and today I wanted to share a bunch of my favourite ones with you! Also, I’m pretty sure Matt is sick of hearing “babe, look at this one! Isn’t that so true?!” HAHA.

*All quotes were taken from Pinterest, credit to all illustrators and originators of the quote!

… I really love this quote, it’s one of my favourites and something I refer back to a lot. In the past I have picked myself apart over anything and everything that I thought was ‘wrong’ with me and it’s so hard to be happy when you do that. It becomes all consuming, and it’s really sad to get yourself down over silly things. I know now it’s just not worth it, and I guarantee half of the things I thought (or maybe still think) are ‘bad’ or ‘wrong’ about me, are things that nobody else notices or cares about anyway. I’m working really hard to try to overcome negative thoughts about myself, especially my appearance, and this quote just really resonates with that 🙂

I hope this made you smile, and maybe gave you a few new quotes to inspire you! Why not share them with your friends, partners, family or co-workers, and spread a little happiness 🙂 do you often look at quotes? Which one is your favourite? I’d love to know!

-G x

Blogging Whilst Having A Full Time Job: How I Make It Work

Hi, loves!

Blogging is without a doubt my favourite hobby assuming that napping with my boyfriend is not considered a hobby but it can sometimes be difficult to keep up with my schedule when I work a full time job in the real world, that comes with it’s own problems and stresses. As lots of you will already know, I have a 9am to 5pm job in Accounts and Purchasing in the real world. I work Monday to Friday, so thankfully I have all of my evenings and weekends free which gives me lots of spare time. I always make sure to prioritise time with Matt, and our friends and family first, as well as allowing myself as much ‘me time’ as I need to keep my mental health feeling good. My blogging then slots in behind that, and I always try so hard to create good quality content that I’m proud of.

I started writing my blog in June 2017, after being a dedicated reader of so many blogs for years. I always thought it was something I wouldn’t be good at doing; I lacked the confidence to create one, and I had no idea where to start with the technical side of things either. I’ve talked about my feelings on this subject a little in this post, but I am SO glad I finally took the leap and created my little corner of the internet, after lots of encouragement from Matt. He’s an absolute gem and I’m forever grateful for all of his support, I love him so much! I’ve learned such a huge array of things already about the blogging world, and I’m still learning every day. My blog is my pride and joy, it’s literally like a little baby I want to look after and feed with all of the good stuff, and it feels so good to do something that’s just for me, but also benefits other people. To be honest, even if nobody read my blog I’d still write, it brings me so much joy and a sense of calm that I didn’t know I needed.

I’ve spoken many times on my blog, in various posts, about the fact that Matt and I’s schedules vary so much – there’s a little more background in this post – due to his varying shifts at work. Matt’s hours fluctuate each week, as do his days off, so we always make sure to make the most of time together, and make that our first priority. As a result, my blogging time to brainstorm ideas, write, edit, take photographs etc varies day by day, week by week. At least twice per week Matt starts work early, which means he’s getting up at 6am. I like to get up for the day with him and make his breakfast then when he leaves for work I will work on my blog, and try to squeeze in a yoga practice, before getting ready for the day. He works until late a few times per week, so again my main focus on those evenings is to work on my blog for X amount of time before he gets home, if I don’t have other plans or errands to run. Weekends also vary a lot, although recently we’ve been super lucky and he’s had lots of days off with me! Where possible, I take at least four hours during his work day when I’m at home to work on my blog, and get things pre-planned for the coming week(s). These big chunks of time come in so handy because I can get so much done! I generally tend to just take any spare time I have to create content, and although I don’t have the same daily schedule it seems to work well, and I’m able to run my blog around my life, rather than run my life around my blog.

If we have a few busy weeks in a row it makes it so much harder to ‘fit’ blogging in around the rest of my life, and that’s when I feel stressed out with keeping my hobby going to the high standards I’ve set myself. It sometimes can get a little overwhelming and there have been times I’ve put up a post because it was scheduled for that specific day, even though I haven’t been 100% happy with it. That is something I really don’t want to do again as I feel that’s an unfair reflection of my blog, and it makes me feel a bit rubbish. I appreciate that I’m able to write and edit on my phone, so sometimes I take a little time out of my work day, during my lunch break, to do so. I generally prefer to write on my laptop (or Matt’s) at home though, so I only use my phone to write/edit when I’m feeling a little behind. From my very first post I set myself a blogging schedule – which has since slightly changed due to realising the ‘peak’ times people read posts – but I always stick to it, and post twice per week. I like having continuity in my posts as that’s something I appreciate from my favourite bloggers.

I always write my posts in advance, and I usually have at least five to six posts pre-written, that are then edited a few days before going live. I plan ahead by months sometimes, which sounds a little crazy but I generally have lots of ideas at one time, so I like to plan them in as and when I think of them. I’m so Type A, LOL. I used to include a paragraph at the start of each post about what I’d been up to that week or weekend; any restaurants Matt and I had been to, what we’re watching on TV etc, but that’s something I’ve since stopped doing as I felt it was getting repetitive and took away from the topic(s) in my posts unnecessarily. Sometimes I see that a similar post to what I’ve written has been posted by someone else a little earlier than mine is planned, and I always worry that it looks as though I’m stealing their ideas, although I promise my ideas are all my own! I’m influenced by lots other bloggers – both big and small – in many ways, but I would never copy somebody else’s work or thoughts.

The biggest ‘struggle’ I have when it comes to my blogging schedule is taking photos to go with my pre-written posts. During the Winter months when it was dark before I went to work, and dark when I came home, I would try to take as many photographs as possible during the three hour window it was light every two weeks, and then end up stressed if I had other plans or it wasn’t bright enough outside anyway. I try to take lots of photographs at one time now, so I can edit and upload them together, and this alleviates a little of the stress of always having to take new photos. As I mentioned above, I feel like a lot of the struggles I feel regarding my blog are because I have set myself such high standards, but realistically if a post went up a day later, or didn’t have ‘enough’ photos, nobody would notice (or care) anyways.

I am very happy with, and proud of, my blog (I love my re-design that I did in March – I even had to write code, guys!) but I can’t help sometimes feeling discouraged when I inevitably compare myself to other bloggers. Blogging is not something that brings home the bacon for me, and although I have no idea what will happen in the future, it’s something that right now I love to do regardless, and I enjoy every aspect even with the stress I sometimes feel. That being said, now and then I feel like my blog isn’t good enough, and I can be really hard on myself about that. Sometimes when I read other bloggers’ paid or sponsored posts, seeing how much they are given by brands (those new CMA and ASA rules made this abundantly clear) and how much engagement they get on other platforms, can sometimes really get to me. Don’t get me wrong, I know how hard blogging can be first hand, and I know that most bloggers work so hard and are extremely deserving of their success, it just sometimes worries me that I won’t ever get *there*, wherever there is. These worries are thankfully few and far between, and it’s normal to sometimes doubt yourself, right? It’s a little bit hard to admit that I can feel that way from time to time, and I know some people wouldn’t share that.

I think blogging often seems like sunshine and rainbows to the outside world, but it’s important to be realistic and remember that there are deadlines (albeit, set by myself), a sense of stability and continuity in my posts, and a constant need to be creative. I’m not the most creative person in the world – you should see my art projects as a child, wow! – but when it comes to writing, that’s my thing. I love sharing parts of my life, whether it’s what Matt and I have been up to, products I enjoy using or just my general thoughts and feelings on a subject, and again that’s something I really appreciate in other bloggers’ posts. I also feel the same about YouTube; it’s the boring, at-home-and-running-errands vlogs that interest me the most, not the wow-look-at-this-super-amazing-trip vlogs, although they can be a guilty pleasure from time to time. (Especially Disney World vlogs!) I’ve heard from several people, some of which I know personally and some I do not, that they love seeing a little sneak peek into my everyday life, and I recognise that I’m so blessed to have a platform to share that. I think I just need to stay in my own lane, remember that I’m being true to myself no matter what, and above all continue to put so much time, love and energy into my blog.

If you’re reading this post and hoping to start a blog, or maybe you already have a blog and struggle with finding time to create the content you so badly want to, don’t worry. Look at your schedule, carve time out where it’s possible and never give up. It’s going to be difficult now and then, but you’ll never get anywhere without lots of hard work and perseverance, and that’s true for all things in life. There may be various stressful situations occasionally, but you must put yourself and your mental health first! Make sure to take time out when you need it, and if it means skipping an upload day or pushing it back, I promise your readers will understand. That’s advice I need to take for myself, too.

Thank you so much for reading! I say it in every post but it truly means the world to me; I appreciate every view, comment and like more than you know. Do you feel any of the struggles or stress I’ve mentioned in this post, as you juggle writing your blog with working full time? Do you have any advice or tips that may help me or other bloggers? Please leave them in the comments below!

-G x