Over countless glasses of wine (pre-pregnancy obviously) and cups of coffee with PR’s, fellow bloggers and clients, conversation often touches upon the subject of blog post content. The ideas, the topics but more importantly, at what point do you stop sharing? Well I’ve always been a pretty open book. During my Uni days I’d tell anyone who would listen about my relationship woes or my course problems. I’d celebrate every success no matter how small with people. I’d say I’ve always been pretty approachable. So when it comes to moving to London, working for magazines and writing a blog, I’ve always been keen to offer my advice and experience. Probably a little too much sometimes.
Because I encourage people to email me for advice, commonly business, careers and living in London questions come up. Whilst I adore fashion and my area of interest has always been skincare and procedures (I looked after Grooming brand partnerships and advertising at GQ), I appreciate that when you’re a blogger for a blog like SassyInTheCity.com the scope of interest is broader than a niche blog. The ‘Ask Me Anything’ post has been a long time coming – mostly because I wanted to collate as many questions as possible but also because I didn’t want to focus just on one bunch of questions that came up surrounding a particularly popular blog post.
#1 How Do You Afford To Live In London On A Start-Up Blogger’s Wage?
This is a question not only two people emailed but also one I get asked frequently in meetings or by other bloggers because my blog is only a year and a half or so old.
The truth of the matter is that I bought our London home with my husband whilst still working at GQ so that salary and his was taking into consideration. After two years, our interest rate dropped meaning our mortgage repayments dropped. When I do my banking, I pop all my business revenue into one pot then give myself a modest sum each month to cover my mortgage, bills and living expenses. In theory this has served me well but can be a logistical nightmare when brands take over two months to pay you for activity. You also have to account for Tax and National Insurance. At worst, I have my husband to cover me for one or two things and then I pay him back (I don’t just let him pay for things).
Another thing I’m planning for is the new baby coming in September. This requires a heck of scheduling content and saving! So I’ve cut back enormously on eating out (that cost hundreds a week) and started selling my old clothes and furniture that serves no purpose.
On the side of blogging I also commercialise my other hobbies. For instance I have a few personal shopping clients and I do some free lance styling work. I know bloggers who have side businesses alongside blogging like interior decorating or soap businesses. Being your own boss gives you flexibility to invest your time in whatever you want to do.
#2 Do You Enjoy Your Work?
On the whole, yes. As I said in my post about being your own boss, the flexible working hours do have its perks. I managed to sort out our wedding and pass my driving test while travelling to Wales each week for lessons (cheaper) which I’d never have been able to do if I had a full time job. I’ve also taken a lot of time away from blogging recently to organise my life, recover from morning sickness and prepare for our new baby. But whilst that’s been great, it does come with its stress. I have an immense amount of guilt taking time off, I feel on the back foot in terms of producing content and I often dread the feeling of being inconsistent. Balance is key and I know this year has been an exception as I’ve had so much on my plate so now it’s just a case of getting back in to it and enjoying that feeling of writing, researching and reading.
#3 What Are Your Tips To Anyone Trying To Make It In Blogging
Whilst I’d never discourage anyone to start a blog, it is worth considering how many blogs there are out there right now. It’s said that on WordPress alone there are 75 million blogs – and that just accounts for 20% of the world’s total! With figures like that it’s imperative to have clear understanding from the outset as to how you see your blog in the future. A consistent theme, tone of voice and aesthetic is essential.
I’m always thinking with my magazine head. I understand the importance of quality, clean images and I know that I don’t like dictatorial tones (e.g. this is what everyone is wearing right now and if you aren’t then who even are you?). I don’t talk about religion, politics and I’m not bully. So many blogs I see are run by girls who gang up on other people and it makes me feel a bit sick. Surrounding myself with aspiring content is a no brainer so I follow lots of brands on social media as well as bloggers I like – even those with under 200 followers which people think is suspicious but I see it as inspiration.
Invest in your images and research. With 1.8 billion images posted everyday online, you don’t want yours getting lost or forgotten about. Also keep a plan. I don’t like to ‘wing it’ with my blog posts but instead plan in advance and make sure the themes are quite different to each other. I wouldn’t want a new reader coming to my site and seeing 9 beauty posts in succession as my blog covers fashion, advice, lifestyle, travel and food as well as beauty. Don’t pigeon hole your readers. Go into blogging with love and ambition, not the intention of making money from it. Don’t also speak as an expert when you’re not. Those ’18 reasons why sugar is bad for you’ sit better on health and nutrition websites not fashion blogs.
#4 What Was Your Pre-Wedding Beauty Routine?
I chose to Instagram story my way through some wedding prep but purposely haven’t blogged because I was saving it for post wedding (and because I had no time). Posts coming soon!
Like anyone who is obsessed with skincare and beauty trends, I tried anything and everything that I thought could be relevant. Although hugely restricted by many procedures due to being pregnant (no injections, dermabrasion or lasers or light therapy), I did do a course of Dermalogica facials and teamed it with some special at-home top ups.
For hair, I went back to my natural brown colour but didn’t want to undo all that balayage effect so went for a toner at the amazing Sassoon Salon in Covent Garden. Weeks later the colour has lifted and that gorgeous blonde is coming through again.
#5 How Did Your Partner Propose?
We’d booked a trip to Turkey and I’d spent 4 months getting into shape for the trip. I think that was the last time I’d been so focused on fitness and nutrition! On the way there I gave Daniel his birthday present, a trip to Rome for the following week or so.
It was during that trip to Rome that he proposed. It was our first evening there, my first time in Italy and after a delicious dinner. It was everything Dan embodies – romantic, a surprise and emotional. I blogged about it here.
#6 How To Do A Budget Weekend In London?
It’s quite tricky to narrow it down! I’d head to Kenwood House in Hampstead for a walk around the gardens then I’d pop in to the Spaniards Inn for a drink. A short walk away are the Hampstead High Street shops for some great window shopping then lunch at The Flask. If I’m in the West End, I’d go to Purl – an old speakeasy in the heart of Marylebone and have lunch in St Christopher’s Place. There’s so much to do in London and I always prefer to do it on foot as you absorb so much more of the culture.
#7 How Will You Blog With A Baby?
The million-dollar question! As much as I love to plan and get organised where work is concerned, a baby will throw that
spanner rattle into the works. My plan is to schedule as much content as possible and ensure that both this blog and my new LittleInTheCity.com is kept up to date. I know a few business women who have said you can work when your baby is sleeping but as a self-confessed sleep addict (I need 8 hours at least) I’m just hoping it’ll work out ok. I don’t want the time with my new babe to be wasted and I know how precious it is being with a newborn so here’s hoping I somehow make it work!
#8 What Are Your Favourite Websites?
I always make an effort to read Vogue.co.uk as well as subscribing to the magazine. I love the variation it offers and how I can immerse myself in a world of fashion and designers without being distracted. I also love catching up with CareerGirlDaily (great for business girls) and my favourite blogs – which include InTheFrow.com, FrockMeImFamous.com and LydiaEliseMillen.com. I don’t read an awful lot of blogs as I find many are the same but I love the stand out differences between Victoria, Hayley and Lydia.
#9 What Do You Do To Switch Off?
You’ll have seen from my Instagram stories that I’m a huge fan of The Real Housewives Of New York. I even signed up to Hayu.com just so I could catch the first look as soon as the new series is shown in America. Keeping Up With The Kardashian’s is another guilty pleasure because of the sisterhood bond between the girls. It reminds me of how close I am to my sister!
I’m also a huge bath fan and love a good facial to relax. Switching off is super tricky when you’re a blogger. I can’t check in on Twitter or flick through Instagram without starting to think about blogging and work.
#10 What’s Been Your Favourite Project So Far?
During my time blogging, I’ve ran sponsored posts with Philips, Hello! Fashion, Panasonic, Joules, Bicester Village, Aromatherapy Associates, SecretSales.com, Johnny Loves Rosie, Skinfix, Burts Bees, Remescar, TK Maxx and many more. I’ve relished the variation of the work so it’s difficult to pin point my favourite. I’ve also teamed up with Moët, Maison Margelia Replica and Nefera for various projects and done some Instagram takeovers and styling store windows.
The most wild probably has to be the collaboration I did last October with TK Maxx where I jumped out of plane 10,000 feet in the air! It was such an exhilarating feeling and working with the brand made me remember just how great they are for designer discounts. I’m a regular shopper there so it was great to tie in the brand seamlessly to the blog.
#11 Have You Ever Blogged Something You Regret?
Some of my old posts are a big cringe but I wouldn’t regret them per se because you have to go through that stage to learn and better yourself. I’m always careful about what I say so I’ve never been in a position where I’ve had to apologies or be remorseful about what I’ve said. I’m a true believer in ethical and professional behaviour when it comes to blogging so it means I never have guilt that a secret is going to come out or that I’m going to be found out for something I shouldn’t be doing.
I do have enormous regret for setting up a project and investing time, energy and money back last year on a new launch with someone. On paper it was such an amazing idea but the reality of actually working with a co-partner was somewhat different. I learned the hard way not to go into business with just anyone and that all projects are based on professionalism and trust. If someone doesn’t have that, the whole thing is destined to fail from the outset.
#12 What Would You Do If Blogging Didn’t Work Out?
I like to think that if I woke up one day and decided blogging was no longer for me, that I could go back to working for one of the Publishing houses like Condé Nast. I’m so fortunate to be able to say that I truly loved my previous job and I don’t have one bad word to say about the company, the people or the work.
And Finally…Who Inspires You The Most?
This is a great question and one I could be here all day answering. I have enormous admiration and respect for women who manage to work on side projects during their day job and make a success of it because I know first-hand the grueling hours you end up putting in to it when you’re at your worst (tired, ratty, hungry). I respect women who push boundaries and stretch out of their comfort zone. I think that now I’m older, there’s even a new found respect for working women who are able to care for babies and go to work too. My sister is two years younger than me with two young girls and always has a smile on her face. She inspires me to be the best I can be – so when my parcel is 30 mins late, I don’t feel so spoilt!
SHOP THE POST
Lace Up Midi Dress – Topshop
Sling Back White Pointy Shoe – New Look
Miami Clutch Bag – Ashiana London
Rosalind Chandelier Earring – Stella & Dot