I’ve Been Thinking…

It’s been 20 years since I started blogging, and the last 2 or 3 have been a whirlwind. I discovered the blogging community, put my heart and soul into it, and learned a lot about how to play the blogging game.

I found out that 15 year olds are evolving into marketers, pushing their brands, and understanding engagement better than me. I also saw the darker side – successful bloggers and vloggers prepared to lie to gain follows and likes at the cost of people who they would have previously called friends. Greed, jealousy and bitterness prevailing.

It taught me to support people who show courage and confidence, no matter what my taste. To support the endeavours of people who follow their dreams and display integrity. But most recently, I’ve learned that it’s okay to step back.

I’ve learned all of these things, but in the last few months the blogging community has become bitter and disillusioned. I rarely see support or originality any more. The people who I used to talk to have stepped back from twitter (I noticed that they probably moved away at the same time as I did) and I kind of miss them. Twitter chats are now all about the ‘business’ side of blogging and influencing, whereas they used to dabble in this but also involve chats about favourite travel destinations and music. I miss that too.

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In the last couple of years I dabbled in YouTube. Then a few weeks ago I was watching some videos and realised that I actually cringed at the start of one random one that came up in a playlist. It was less professional, badly shot and really just pretty bad. And I thought to myself, I wonder if people feel that way when they see my videos? And from that moment, I decided YouTube isn’t for me. That doesn’t mean I won’t make another video if it seems relevant, but I’m not going to make an effort to try to make videos. It was fun whilst I did it, but I’m not going to force something that doesn’t feel natural.

I also decided that since I don’t want to become an influencer, I really need to just stick to my roots. I don’t want this to be a profession. I don’t want to be pitching to brands, stalking my stats or worrying about likes and follows. I won’t completely ignore the numbers because it’s nice to see progression, it’s nice to get likes and it’s lovely to feel wanted by the people who read my blog BUT I’m not going to chase it. I haven’t updated my media kit in ages, I don’t know what my DA is and I haven’t poured over my twitter analytics in ages. I’m focussing on my content rather than my following. And surely that’s the correct way around, right?

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I read so many blogs that aren’t original, have basically no content, and just ‘fit’ the profile of what a blog should be – they have a decent following, but they don’t stand out. Naturally that makes me question my content, how I promote myself, whether I’m less than them. But I’m not, I’m just not in the same game as them.

Blogging is a creative outlet for me. I enjoy writing, sharing my story and receiving any contact back from my readers. So here is where I get back to it. I’ll post what I want, when I want, as I always have. But when I post I’m particularly proud of gets less engagement than one I consider less interesting, I’ll not fret. I wrote it, I posted it and I’m proud of it.

The end.

The Blogosphere Christmas Festival

Last weekend I hot-footed it to the big-smoke to my very first blogger event, the Blogosphere Christmas Festival.

For those of you unfamiliar with the blogging community, Blogosphere magazine is a quarterly independent publication, featuring bloggers and influencers of all sizes. It also covers advice and tips for bloggers, as well as interviewing inspirational influencers.

The event, held in Shoreditch, promised panels from your favourite bloggers as well as a brand presence and the opportunity to pick up some additional Christmas shopping!

As soon as I arrived I was welcomed by Alice, the editor of Blogosphere magazine, who made sure I had a drink in my hand and after a little chat I had look around.

The first talk was due to start within the next 10 minutes so I took the opportunity to grab a seat and settle in.

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The first panel ‘Sharing Your Personal Style with the World’ featured 4 fabulous bloggers, including Siobhan (@justauniform) who I’ve chatted to over the past year or so and I was excited to finally meet. Also speaking, Steph Yeboah, Jamie Windust and Paige Calvert, a very inspiring bunch to listen to. The confidence these people have is wonderful!

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After this panel, and a cheeky picture with Siobhan and Steph, I had a look around the stands and spoke with some of the brands.

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Deliciously Ella’s brand provided the food

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Then there was a table of lovely Kusmi teas – I tried a Christmas blend which was lovely and refreshing.

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So..? were there promoting their latest fragrance range, including some new Eau de Parfum – gorgeous and inexpensive gift sets too!

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OGX were also there giving out free samples of their shampoo and conditioners.

I’m not the most comfortable in social situations but I met a few lovely bloggers who were kind enough to chat to me, though no doubt I was super-awkward!

And then it was time for the next panel!

This time ‘Finding your Authentic Voice Online’ featuring Vix Meldrew, Brogan Tate, Jess Ayton and Tom Cox.

I was most interested in seeing Brogan speak as I follow her YouTube channel, but it was great to hear Vix and Tom speak about their experiences with staying authentic in what can be a cut-throat environment when you’re a full-time influencer.

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At this point in the day I needed to leave to get to my next appointment, so I grabbed Alice and thanked her for a lovely event.

It wasn’t nearly as scary as I’d thought it could have been. Everyone was so friendly, and I didn’t feel out of place.

Back home I was able to have a look through the goodie bag.

Here’s what So…?’s bag contained.

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I’m looking forward to giving these a go.

The Blogosphere bag contained this lovely lot:

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And, I am most excited about trying these Booja Booja truffles which were also in the goodie bag. For the longest time I’ve loved their chocolates, and didn’t even know they were dairy free until recently, when it became relevant to me!

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Thanks to Blogosphere Magazine for throwing a fabulous and inspiring shindig. I’ll definitely be at the next one!

This Week I Have Mostly….

….been learning from your blogs. I have learned:

  • That parents will happily send their ten-year old kids to school with a terrible packed lunch including lots of chocolate, haribo and a red bull. (via A Healthier Moo)
  • There’s no point ONLY training for your race by running. Muscle strength is important and will help prevent injury. Duh! (via The Runner Beans)
  • The Vietnamese are über hospitable when you come to stay and might get offended if you don’t eat seconds or thirds, even if they don’t eat that much themselves. Also, they can carry massive amounts on their little mopeds. (via Solo Wayfarer)
  • Been inspired by seeing Ari’s photo an hour for a day. I’d love to try this! (via WhatAriSaid)

….and lots more besides. You know I love reading your blogs. Recipe ideas, health plans, reviews, new products, current events, thoughts and dreams. You all inspire me!

Other than being inspired this week, and seeing Taylor Swift at the O2, I’ve been working out hard. Mostly running this week but I had a pretty hefty strength training session yesterday which has left me rather achy today. My long run was cut short today but the return of the dreaded stitch (anyone have any ideas what to do to prevent or continue running when one occurs?) Yesterday was a full day which culminated in having dinner with my Sister, her family and our parents. It was her birthday so we all met up for dinner at Frankie and Benny’s. It’s hard to eat healthily when you go out but I chose lamb shank which came with mash and gravy. It was still a little greasy but better than a burger and chips. I did treat myself to some tiramisu afterwards though. Then Gary and I headed to the new casino whilst everyone else went home because we weren’t ready to end our evening. I was doing pretty well for a while but ended up breaking even.

Today I’m just generally exhausted – running, cooking for the week ahead and also for the day we’re in, washing and finding the time to rest as well as catching as much of the winter Olympics as I can. I have one week and then a week off work to use up some of my holiday. I’m planning on doing some training, some stuff to the house (finally!) and maybe even reading a book! That would be nice 🙂

Before I leave you I want to share my favourite song of the moment. I heard it last year and still every time I hear it I just can’t get it out of my head. The video is great too, so please take a look. Have a great week guys!

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