1000 Blog Posts Later

This is it, blog post #1000.

In reality, this blog post is no different to any other post I’ve written, but it does mark an incredible milestone in my blogging life. Honestly, there are not many things in my life that I have stuck with for this long.

This year has probably been the hardest year for me in terms of blogging. In previous years I have always maintained at least 5-6 blog posts a week, which I know is a pretty impressive achievement considering I’ve always done this along side working full time, but this year there has just been so many other distractions and changes in my life which have got in the way.

D’you know what? That’s ok. The things that have distracted me from blogging this year have been mainly wonderful. So much time has gone into buying and moving into our house, but as the the biggest adventure of my life to date, of course it was going to take priority over blogging, and the great thing about it is that I now have a whole load of new content ideas because of it.

A huge portion of my spare time this year has also gone into my Etsy store. At the start of the year, I set myself a little target of what I wanted to make from my store each month, and when in January I surpassed it within the first week, I knew that something good was happening, and things just got better and better. Well, long story short, now we’ve moved, my Etsy store is now my full time job, along with my other small businesses. In my wildest dreams I did not think I’d be doing this back at the start of the year, but we’re only just a week into August and I’ve already covered my mortgage payment, which makes me so frickin’ proud. It also means that I’m not squeezing custom orders into my evenings and weekends, so hello more time for blogging again!

So 1000 posts later, I’m still here, and I’m still loving this little corner of the internet of mine. In October, Lottie Does will be 5 years old, and of course I’ll be celebrating big time then, but this post is a little mini celebration for me!

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How Relateable Do Bloggers Actually Have To Be?

I’ve been thinking a lot about bloggers and relate-ability lately. Let’s face it, the aim of the game for most bloggers is to create content that people are going to want to read, right? But do readers always want to see something that they can relate to?

I recently read a really interesting post by Hannah from The Giraffe’s Life about why Zoella is considered by many to be unrelateable, and I agreed with many of the points put forward; personally I’ve never really been that bothered by Zoella anyway. But regardless of whether or not her millions of fans actually relate to her life of million pound mansions, jetting off to 5 star hotels and being on the cover of every magazine under the sun, they still want to watch her videos and read her posts, which got me thinking about whether or not bloggers do actually need to be relateable?

I don’t know about anyone else, but I kinda like reading about things that I would never actually be able to do myself. Clickbait-y titles like ‘I spent £700 in Primark’ are intriguing, and I can’t help but want to see what on earth was purchased to rack up that receipt total.

From my own stats, I know that my most popular posts are my holiday diaries, especially when I’m in Disney parks, and while I’d love to live in a world where being in Disney parks is considered everyday, I know that it isn’t.

And yes, on the flipside I do love a high end makeup dupe, a budget city break and quick, easy recipe posts, but I’m also super nosey and would love to see what it was like at the latest Spectrum release party, because it’s something that I’d never get to experience myself.

I think also that there’s a huge difference between the relate-ability of a blogger and the relate-ability of their content. A relateable blogger could do the most unrelateable activities, and I’d still read what crazy stuff they’d be up to, but an unrelateable blogger could buy five things under £5 from Primark and I’d have that little meh feeling when I read it, so I guess in that respect relate-ability is kinda important.

These are just my own personal musings on the subject, I’d love to hear your thoughts so drop me a comment!

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Another Mid Year Review

And just like that, half of 2018 has been and gone.. What?

This has honestly been the craziest year of my life, the last few months especially, and I’ve definitely been swept up in all of the goings on which has probably caused the year to fly by so much, but I can quite confidently say that its been a great year so far.

How am I doing with my blog targets?

  • Bloglovin followers – 1500 – I must admit that I have been super rubbish with Bloglovin lately, so I definitely haven’t seen the same growth that I achieved last year, but I’m on 1179 right now, and I think if I kick myself back into gear for the next 6 months, this is still reachable!
  • Twitter followers – 3500 – I can’t remember what I was on at the start of the year, but I’m just over 3200 at the moment so I feel like this is going to be doable!
  • Instagram followers – 2500 – after a measly 2017 where I didn’t hit my target at all, I feel like I have really smashed Instagram this year, and now have over 3300 followers, having only hit 2000 sometime in January! I’m setting myself a new possible target of 4000 for before the year is out, but I’m not putting too much pressure on myself because we all know what it can be like!
  • Page views – 100,000 – well I’m just coming up to 85,000 now, so this is definitely in sight so long as I manage to keep up my content!

I’ve felt myself slip a lot with my blog this year, which I’ve hated but its been somewhat necessary with everything that’s gone on this year. I’ve been posting a lot less than I have done over previous years, but what is good is that I’ve learnt that this is totally ok.

There’s a lot more exciting things coming to the blog over the rest of the year, including lots more house related posts, my 1000th blog post will be coming in July, and in October my blog turns 5, so stay tuned!

Resolutions, goals and life

Looking back on my 2018 resolutions post, I feel quite happy in knowing that I’ve achieved a lot of these things. Despite occasional dips, I’ve been looking after myself a lot better and putting myself out there more, and I’ve surrounded myself with wonderful people who make me so happy. My love of photography has definitely come back, and my sewing has gone to new levels I couldn’t even have imagined back in January.

The only thing that’s really hit a major roadblock this year has been my marathon training, after breaking my ankle back in April, but I’m seeing definite improvements in physiotherapy, and I’ve even taken part in my first fun run since the accident recently, which makes me confident that I’ll be back out there very soon, and if you want to sponsor me for my marathon, you can do that here!

I’ve learned a lot in the last few months about so many things, but the rest of the year will be focusing on putting so many of these things into practice. My whole life is changing as of the end of the week when I officially become a Northerner, and I’m seeing this as an amazing opportunity to create and live my best life and become even happier.

I hope 2018 is treating everyone well, and the rest of it only gets better!

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Hashtags I Am Loving Right Now

In a world where algorithms are trying their hardest to take the joy out of Instagram, I’m trying my hardest to keep finding the fun.

Hashtags are not only a way of giving your posts a helping hand at being seen, but they’re also a great way of exploring posts from other people who you might not otherwise see, or discovering new accounts to follow, and recently I’ve been making an effort to not only diversify the tags that I’m using, but also to explore said hashtags and find new posts and people to add to my feed.

Here are a bunch of my favourites right now:

#shinyhappybloggers

The latest hashtag brought out by the wonderful Jemma from Dorkface, #shinyhappybloggers has been one of my favourites to use since it was announced. As someone who tends to post bright and colourful content on my Instagram, sometimes the traditional #lbloggers or #bbloggers hashtags can be a little too full of carefully curated flatlays on white backgrounds and I feel like I’m sticking out like a sore thumb, so this hashtag feels way more me.

#chattycaptioncommunity

I used to feel like I had to keep my captions short and sweet, but I actually love reading (and writing) long captions on some of my posts, and now I’ve got a whole hashtag of likeminded people!

#candyminimal

As a lot of my posts fit the bright/pastel template, this is one of the latest hashtags I’ve been adding to some of my posts, but I’ve also been loving scrolling through this to discover other bright and beautiful posts and accounts!

#discoverunder5k and #discoverunder10k

Descriptions kinda speak for themselves, but this is my favourite for scrolling through at the moment to find new pages and help boost the followings of smaller accounts, and as I technically fit into both brackets I’ve been using both of them quite regularly on my posts

#myyellowlife

At the start of this year I kept a pretty good yellow theme going on my page, and while this hashtag already existed but with relatively few posts, I sorta decided to champion it a little. I’ve not got the yellow theme so much now, but I love keeping yellow, my favourite colour, alive in as many posts as I can because it makes me so happy, and all of those posts get this tag.

#styledbymagic

As most of my outfit posts are at least 50% Disney related, this is the perfect hashtag for them, plus a great tag to scroll when I’m looking for outfit inspiration!

Do you have any favourite hashtags right now?

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The Danger of Influencers

This is a post that I’ve been thinking about writing for a long time now, but so many things have happened recently that I just can’t keep my mouth shut.

This week, Kim Kardashian has set the internet on fire with her Instagram post promoting ‘appetite suppressant’ lollipops. Now you don’t have to be a genius to read those three words and think wow what a joke, right?

Well, the problem is not everyone will think that. Celebrities and influencers all over the world have been promoting nonsense like skinny teas, waist trainers and now, it would seem, these ridiculous sweets for years now, and as much as I had to say this, they wouldn’t still be doing this if these companies weren’t doing pretty well for themselves out of it.

Unfortunately, these influencers have absolutely no regard for the danger caused by what they post. Their loyal fans, especially when the person has a particularly young fan base, will support anything they do, and often believe a lot of what they say, or at least want to give it a try themselves, and all that leaves is a whole bunch of people sat on the toilet regretting how much ‘skinny’ tea they bought once they realise that everything they consume is just making a speedy route through them.

But it’s also about more than just the products they promote. Last week a photo emerged on the internet of a ‘behind the scenes’ view of Charlotte Crosby’s Instagram post, in which she’s wearing a tight yellow leather skirt, and in the post she says this is from her new collection at InTheStyle, but the reality of said photo is that the skirt isn’t even zipped up at the back because it won’t.

So tell me how this is from her new collection if it doesn’t even fit her? Now I don’t have a problem with the fact that she can’t fit into whatever size she’s wearing – we’ve all been there – but what I do have an issue with is that you just know that website is gonna say something like ‘Charlotte wears a size X’ and women are gonna not only be believing that, but ordering based on that assumption, and as someone who has spent a lot of time lately crying over clothes that don’t fit, I hate to think about the number of people this could affect.

I get the whole making a living out of being an influencer thing, but I just wish that some people would have more sense to reject offers of promoting products that can be harmful to their followers. It’s not like Kim K has the body she has just purely thanks to lollipops and an overpriced neoprene corset..

Can We Stop Pretending That We Don’t Care About Exposure?

As a blogger, there’s nothing worse than opening a PR email and thinking it all sounds pretty fab, only to find the classic excuse of having no budget but offering exposure on social media. We read it, we sigh, we tweet something about exposure not paying the bills and we either kindly (or not so kindly) decline the offer, or just ignore the email altogether.

Now I fully agree with this stance on exposure being considered a form of payment, especially when I think about the amount of time that goes into writing, editing and taking photos for a blog post, but I’ve been thinking a little bit about exposure, and how despite bloggers as a whole complaining about it when brands offer it, we also crave the exposure that brands can give us.

I mean, if you’ve put together a killer outfit, nailed your hairstyle and spent half a day trying to get that perfect Instagram shot, are you trying to tell me that you’re not gonna be tagging every single thing you’re wearing down to your setting spray? Sure, we do this a little to avoid the inevitable ‘ooh where’s this from?’ (even though at least half of the comments will still be asking that exact question), but I know that I for one would be lying if I wasn’t hoping that said photo will be spotted by at least one of the tagged brands. I also have no shame in saying that there’s a little part of me praying that I might get a regram, not only for the great feeling of knowing that they loved my post so much, but also because hey I might gain a bunch of followers from it.

So why do we pretend that we don’t care about social media sharing? We all need exposure – I mean, it literally means to be put in the light – but it seems to have become a dirty word in the blogging dictionary. Yes it’s an unacceptable form of payment for hours of work, but it does still offer a lot to a bunch of people who make their side hustle (or even full time hustle) from putting ourselves online to be seen..

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Just Because

I can’t imagine that there’s anyone who hasn’t been told at least once in their life, and most likely by their mother, that ‘just because *this person* did that, doesn’t mean you have to. If they jumped of a cliff, would you follow?’ while you rolled your eyes because it really wasn’t a big deal.

These were always things that we wanted to do; places we wanted to go or styles we wanted to copy, not things that we felt obliged to do, but as you get older, everything suddenly becomes more about what you feel like you should be doing, rather than what you actually want to do. Sure, some of these things are things that we think we should be doing for good reasons, but then there’s also a good number of things that might not always be good for us, and these are the things that we should maybe give a miss, at least every now and then.

Just because other people stay late at work, it doesn’t mean you have to

When I started my new job, I thought that just because the guy who sat next to me came in an hour before me, and often stayed past when I left, it meant that I wasn’t doing my job well enough, and frankly that’s just not true. So long as I come into work, do the hours I’m contracted to do and complete all the work that needs to be done, that’s good enough. If others want to come in early, stay late or take on extra work, that’s on them, but I did enough of that in my previous jobs and now I like that I’m able to walk away when 5 o’clock hits and not have a care in the world.

Just because you’ve made plans, it doesn’t mean you can’t cancel them if you’re not feeling it

If you’re tired, having a bad mental health day or for whatever reason you don’t feel up to it, you shouldn’t feel bad about cancelling plans. People might not always understand it, but that doesn’t matter. Put yourself first.

But as well as the things you shouldn’t be doing just because you thin you should, there are also things that you can do even though you didn’t do what other people did..

Just because you didn’t go to university, it doesn’t mean you can’t get to the same place as someone who did

I’ve actually just started working with a girl I went to school with. She went to university, and got her job through a graduate scheme. I went straight into work after sixth form, and after gaining skills and working hard, I am just one level below her, and with another year of experience and study support through work, I could move up into the same position she works in with a university degree. Sometimes there’s more than one path.

Just because you haven’t got a huge following, it doesn’t mean you don’t a good following

You could have a million followers, but if one a few hundred actually bother to support you, then you might just be better off having a few hundred followers who cheer you on at every possible moment. I mean, the Instagram algorithm is screwing us all over anyway..

There are however many billion people in the world and every single one of us is unique, so just because one or two people make you stop and think you’re missing out on something or doing something wrong, do you think that’s right?

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