Jesus, it has been a LONG time since I last blogged. I don’t think I’ve taken 2 months off of blogging since 2019. I won’t say again that I’m going to get back on track. Honestly, I’ve been struggling with balancing this blog, life and Soulful Kitchen. Everything seems to take up a crazy amount of time and energy, but I sure hope that I can find the balance soon.
As I write this, I am just about logging off for my final day at work this year (as I post this, I am finishing off my first day out of work!), and, what a year it has been! I am in a completely different place workwise than I was in last year, and much of that has really just been down to team changes, whereby 1 simple change can have such a huge knock on effect. My yearly “year in review” post is on its way – so a full break down is coming! It has also been >1 year in my new firm, which is a time period that has truly flown.
A reflective post on everything that has happened this year and what I hope for the year ahead is pending. But in the meantime, I suddenly felt inspired today to write about how my “online persona” has shifted, quite drastically, since 2020/pre-COVID.
It started because I was thinking about shifting my Instagram to private, and not because I have anything to hide, but just because I wanted to start to filter/control who I’m sharing what with. Whilst this seems like a pretty simple decision, 2 years ago, it would not have even entered my mind. Pre-COVID I was still on a quest to reach 10k followers, and in my view my Instagram page and posting every day was absolutely pivotal to my life as a fashion blogger. It was where I would share all of the fashion photos I was taking each month, tag the brands, and pump out daily content.
So what has changed?
Leaving fashion blogging
I started fashion blogging many, many years ago. Actually, I started by using my webcam; and because I didn’t want anyone at school to find me online, I would chop my head off of all of my photos. I was really into fashion back then, and still very much am, but I’d definitely spend more hours back then looking at the outfits of my favourite celebrities and trying to replicate them (it would take me 5 hours to pack for holidays because I was cloning my outfits to the likes of Vanessa Hudgens, Cheryl Cole and Kim Kardashian).
When I started university, and eventually started to be open with sharing my blog, I bought my first ever DSLR camera. Myself and a friend, who was also a fashion blogger, would take some time each week to get some photos of each other nearby our university. They were very humble beginnings!
It wasn’t until I was working full time and had some extra cash that I hired a photographer – and this was a game changer! At my peak fashion-blogger-career, I was posting on Instagram daily, often cycling through clothes from brands (sometimes not the best quality), I had my affiliate links up, and I was even attending LFW shows.
Over the COVID period, this all stopped abruptly. And whilst I was ready to fall straight back into it afterwards, I took some time to sit back and assess. Do I really want to do this? The reality was… no. I hated going out and taking pictures outside random houses in Nottinghill. I hated changing on the streets or in dingy toilets. And quite frankly I didn’t think it even fit the “vision” on my blog or topics of my posts. The break from it all made it easier to realise I could live without it.
Blast to the past – my days as a fashion blogger
Simmering down on Instagram
Naturally, a reduction in my main source of content made for a reduction in my Instagram posting. I probably post on my Instagram feed 1x a month these days, whereas I used to post at a minimum every other day. Once upon a time, I was also posting long form content on Instagram where I’d have full captions talking about my day/my plans/my thoughts, and occasionally a little call-to-action to end it off, albeit, I stopped doing that a little while before COVID even hit as I often felt that I was waffling about nothing.
I used to do more ads on Instagram, and there was one company in specific that I worked with quite frequently, but I also decided to rotate out of that partnership and my last bit of work for the company was in Mar-21.
Now this isn’t too say I will never be super active on Instagram again. I use it frequently still of course and am a lot more active on my stories, but for now, this is where I sit with content. Maybe next year I’ll try and get something up more than just once a month! I don’t necessarily see myself bouncing back into the world of fashion blogging, plus, fashion blogging is a lot more than just taking photos outside of houses in Nottinghill now. But who knows, perhaps there is another direction my content could end up going. It all depends on what is inspiring me at the time!
Redirecting my focuses
I made the decision late last year to re-think my focuses. Honestly, I have always been a person with my hands in too many pies. In school, I had a blog, I wrote long novels/stories on MS Word, I did dance, drama and theatre productions, I ran for my school’s athletics team, and I opened up a web-design shop. I loved it all though – being busy to me was what I found super fun.
Since I’ve been working, I’ve had this blog, at a point had a fitness blog, have attempted to start a smart clothing company, have actually started an online food/recipe platform, have done language lessons, gym 4-5x a week, and have added it to my to-dos to write a book by 30. I still love it, but life feels a lot more overwhelming now! For example, I travel a lot for work, sometimes every other week, and this honestly can really can knock me off my “schedule”. Plus, producing content in 2022 is different than in 2014… that sh*t needs to be better quality now… which requires even more time!
It’s so tough trying to figure out where to place your focuses. Last year I decided it would be: work, blogging, Soulful Kitchen and my book. I have only successfully ploughed effort into 2 of those this year really, and it isn’t the book, and clearly isn’t blogging. I still want these 4 to be my prime focuses, but lord knows I need to get better at balancing things!
Repositioning my blog
My seat in the world of blogging has evolved over the years. When I first started, literally as a 10 year old, my blogs would take 10 minutes to write up, and would just be a light bitch about my school day, or my family, or something basically pretty harmless. I’d write whatever, whenever, hit send and then go and do my homework. Eventually, when I discovered make up, I transitioned into the world of beauty blogging, and would write about all of my favourite new make up releases. Then came fashion blogging, and that morphed into where we are now.
So – what is this blog really?
It’s sometimes a bit of a diary – when I share stories from the past, or details about my travels, or whatever you could classify this post as.
But mostly, I’d like to think many of my blogs are thought provoking. Discussing current topics impact my day to day, sharing an opinion, and challenging readers to think about and do the same. Often, I get messaged from readers saying I’ve written about something that not many others do, or that I’ve made them think about something that they haven’t considered before. My first love is writing, before anything else, and that’s what I get to do here.
So, where do I sit now?
I want to continue to put effort into writing – which is this blog and my non-existent book that I want to write by 30. Work clearly takes up a lot of my day-to-do, and many of my spare hours are spent working on Soulful Kitchen or at the gym (or trying to regain energy by napping). Definitely these are things that could all (excl office work), benefit from me putting more effort into my personal presence on social media given a major wind down in recent years, but the exact form that this would take place, if it was to at all, is where the question mark lies. Soulful Kitchen has it’s own social media persona away from me, and most of my advertising of this blog is done via Twitter rather than Instagram these days.
For now – we keep ploughing forward! I’ve had a pretty great year for many reasons and I’m looking forward to reflecting on it over the holiday season. My year end post is always my favourite to write. There are always going to be aspects of my life that could do with some better “fine tuning”, but, for now, I (generally) like the direction in which things are going.
Have a great Christmas… and I’ll be back for my end of year post!