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Monday, June 08, 2020

Can Your Blog Grow and Change with You?

Riverside in Ware, Hertfordshire


Jasmine and I started a blog together back before university. I was still living in Switzerland and she was in the UK. Technology wasn't quite as advanced in 2010/11 and we basically just liaised about blog stuff over Skype once a week or wrote on each other's wall on Facebook. I know right, but it was a long time ago.

The blogging world has changed enormously in the last decade, mostly for the better but it is certainly unrecognisable from what it was. Gone are the days you can get away with any old product photo for a post snapped on your Blackberry and instead the focus is on artfully arranged flatlays, professional-looking outfit shots and careful editing. I think this has fostered an environment of beautiful creativity but it has made blogging so much more competitive and intimidating. In the early days, blogging was a real hobby. I loved shopping and sharing my views on the things I bought, I loved to interact with other bloggers on twitter or through blog comments and it felt very straightforward and real.

There was a total shift after Instagram grew, it felt as if it was no longer about blog stats or Bloglovin followers and I couldn't keep up.  I didn't blog as often, not only was I less passionate about the things I was reviewing, I felt as if I didn't really have anything meaningful to say and I struggled to build or maintain engagement on more than one platform. Don't get me wrong, I still really enjoyed meeting other bloggers and chatting to brands at events, and back then PRs were not as pushy with demanding content if you were sent a product to try. I have always been too inconsistent with blogging, and I never used to feel like that mattered but with such a focus on 'growth' I felt like I wasn't successful and therefore it wasn't even worth trying (this may be an attitude I carry into different areas of my life tbh).

I have definitely grown up since my late teens/early twenties; I'm married and have a son, I've finished university (Masters thesis excluded), I embarked on a career and now I'm at the precipice of a new one. The problem is, I'm not sure my approach to blogging and social media 'presence' grew with me. I haven't engaged consistently, I barely reach out to new people and my content is all over the place. I'm not good at pitching content to brands and I am too introverted and complacent. I am such an enormous procrastinator that I write endless lists of posts I'd like to write and then never take it further than that. In fact, I am only writing this post now because I have 101 things I should be doing instead and I don't want to do any of them. It is best to write about something or a topic you feel strongly about but this has changed for me since I last wrote any content regularly. I'm not as interested in collecting make up palettes for the sake of it, I recognise that I can live my life without every shade of Mac lipstick and I'm even forcing myself to work my way through my skincare stash before buying anything new.

Writing reviews now feels inauthentic if it isn't part of a wider discussion about something else, and actually I don't think it's that interesting for anyone to read. I'd happily ramble about things I wish I'd packed in my hospital bag or my experiences with cloth nappies -and theres tonnes of recommendations I can make for products- but I am more wary of doing so now. I feel very conflicted about encouraging people to buy things, because I worry about how sustainable it is. I want readers of this blog to know that recommendations are genuine (and they always have been) but I also don't want to be responsible for buying behaviour that is not good for our planet.

I want to keep blogging, or rather, start blogging again. I want to share what I'm up to, how I'm coping as a first time mum and new business owner. I want to talk about places I've travelled to and food I've eaten and I want to share things that I love and recommend both here and on Instagram. I hope that I can do so mindfully. Lots of our old content will be at odds with my approach to shopping and consuming now, but for the most part I will leave it up if only to track the changes over the years. I've tweaked our blog header today because the yellow was jarring and I feel like a freshen up does wonders for the old blog mojo- the new colour is a nod to Essie Mint Candy Apple (OG bloggers will know what that's about).

TLDR: I want to be able to blog again, expect to see a little shift in content from me, I care about the environment now ;)
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