The Blogosphere Valentine’s Tea Party at the Tropical Library, London

Hey Sweeties,

On Saturday I attended the Blogosphere Valentines Tea Party hosted by Blogosphere magazine. A few weeks ago I randomly caught the tweet announcing the event and I jumped at the opportunity to purchase a ticket (for £15 which I thought was perfectly reasonable), and secure the date in my calendar.

It was also exciting following the #BlogosphereValentines tag on Twitter leading up to the event and connecting with fellow bloggers who were going; a great tip if you’re going to events alone like I do!

The Venue

The Blogosphere Valentine’s Tea Party was held at the Tropical Library in Lumiere London (SE1), a short walk from Southwark underground station. The building looked like any other on the street, but upon entering you walk up two flights of stairs before reaching the second floor where the party was being held.

I was warmly welcomed on arrival and I was glad of a coat rail as that would’ve seriously restricted my being had I had to have my coat and scarf over my arm all afternoon.

Blogosphere Valentines tea party

I was glad I arrived slightly before the 1pm kick off as it enabled me to see the room before it got filled with people, and it was a really pretty and inviting space.

Blogosphere Valentines tea party

Living Room goals!!

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Happy Birthday ClaireySweetie! What I’ve learnt in three years of Blogging | Blogmas Day 13

Hey Sweeties,

I can’t believe it, ClaireySweetie is three years old today! Sometimes I wonder why I stopped contributing to the blog I was writing previously, and just change the content I was posting, but sometimes it is just easier to start afresh. In creating ClaireySweetie, I firmly stepped into the realm of blogging and not just writing deeper discussion pieces, I also could indulge in my growing interest in beauty and lifestyle and bring you guys along for the journey. So, what have I learnt in three years of blogging? 

ClaireySweetie 3rd Blogaversary

Building your following can be slow

Trust me! I’ve been wanting to achieve 500 followers on ClaireySweetie for aaaages now (please follow me if you’re not already) and we’re slowly getting there but it takes time. When I do eventually hit my goal, I know I’ll have earnt every single one of those follows and I’ll be over the moon. I think it’s wrong for people to say that following isn’t important, and to frown at those who question how and why other blogs have a larger, more engaged following than they do, because it’s human nature. And if you want to make a success of your blog, a loyal following is totally needed and necessary to attract brands to want to work with you. I’m more interested in becoming a freelance writer over becoming a full-time blogger, but I still need to prove that people want to read what I create if that dream is going to be a reality in the future. But just keep doing what you’re doing, and the followers will come.

Quality over quantity

In the beginning, it took a while for me to build up enough content to post, particularly for beauty when I could only write about what I bought myself. You also feel pressured to build up a good back log of content quickly to share so there’s enough to keep people on your site. Once I got into a schedule, I religiously kept to it and I would sometimes post for the sake of posting and while the writing has always been consistent, the photography hasn’t. Now, while I still try to keep to posting 2-3 times a week, I only post when I’m 100% happy with the content, which means I might have to wait a while for a good day to get some photography done. Typical really that I’m now not short of things to write about, but I am short of time and daylight to get photos taken which ultimately stalls posting.

ClaireySweetie 3rd blogaversary

Investing in a good camera is worth it

Any Blogger will tell you this but it’s like anything you’re serious about, if you want to be good you invest in your tools and a good camera is worth every single penny. I purchased my Canon DSLR 1200D a couple of years ago following a year of saving £2 coins along with some birthday and Christmas money. It transformed ClaireySweetie instantly as it gave my content a much more professional finish. I now have the Olympus PEN E-PL7 (or 8) in my sights.

You will receive emails from companies who want you to write about something… for a social share?

That and infographics. In the early days, I was flattered people contacted me so I did the odd post where I wrote about a topic, took photos, and included a link to their website or specific page with a short description about them… in re of an earlier point, sometimes I welcomed the idea for content.  Then after doing this a couple of times, you quickly realise that these companies rarely ever share your post, let alone acknowledge it and you wonder why you bothered. But that’s okay to do in the early days when you’re trying to grow your audience, and who knows where a free bit of work will get you eh? Now, find out if there’s a budget early on and if not, politely decline unless it’s an idea that you are happy to write about and share for free. 

3rd blogaversary

Everything becomes bloggable

It really does, everything I do now or plan to do in the near future, I wonder if I can make a blog post of it. If I’m going somewhere, is the place of interest or is the outfit I plan to wear? I’m going on my honeymoon next year and while I’m excited for the travel and the break it will provide, I’m also already wondering how much of it I document, ha! But big things aside, we share everything now and it does sadden me when you’re watching a firework display and people are watching it from behind the lens of their phone, busily uploading it for others to see, rather than concentrate on experiencing it in real-time yourself. But this is life now.

What are the things you have learnt in your time blogging?

Remember to enter my giveaway!

Until next time x

It would mean everything if ClaireySweetie made the shortlist for best Lifestyle blog in the UK Blog Awards, please vote for me here.

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The Bloggers Hangout Event | London

Hey Sweeties,

Last Saturday I attended my first  Bloggers Hangout event in London. I have missed out previously on these events owing to them being hosted during the day, or I can’t get there quick enough in the evenings, so I was delighted to see that in celebration of turning three, The Bloggers Hangout were hosting a three day summery birthday hangout.

Bloggers Hangout

Bloggers Hangout

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Blog at the Beach Party | My Weekend in Leeds

Hey Sweeties,

It’s been a couple of weeks but it’s finally time I told you all about a recent weekend in Leeds. I did mean to get this post live a lot sooner but last week I not only got struck down with a nasty fluey cold, but I also tragically suffered the sudden loss of my beautiful rabbit, Lola. People who don’t or have never owned animals, will never truly understand the hole they can leave and while some will say she was only a rabbit, Lola was my world and my daily companion and I miss her terribly. So, to distract myself from this recent sadness, I thought I would cast my mind back to a happier weekend at the end of April where I got the opportunity to finally re-visit my old haunt, Leeds and attend my first official blogger event.

*Probably worth making yourself a brew as this could be lengthy*

Back in early March, I was contacted by the lovely Emma at Icelolly.com, a holiday price comparison site, inviting me to their Blog at the Beach event in Leeds. While some would see the location as a bit of an obstacle, I jumped at the chance and confirmed my attendance almost straight away.

The event was to be a Mexican Fiesta with three speakers and an opportunity to meet and network with other bloggers; it sounded great! Owing to the distance Leeds is compared to my home in the south east, I decided I would travel up on the Friday night so I was there in good time, and would stay a second night in case there was an opportunity to socialise after the event; it would also give me a chance to reacquaint myself with the city before having to rush home again.

Aside from the hotel which I’ll tell you about later, I had a couple of hours before the event to explore the city and aside from walking around for a bit, I made a deliberate trip to Mrs Ather’s, a café situated just behind House of Fraser.

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Zoella & the Blogosphere

Hey Sweeties,

Zoe Sugg aka. Zoella, has been in the spotlight recently for two different things 1. Her salary and 2. for causing total outrage with some of her followers by posting a picture of herself on Snapchat in a pair of Calvin Kleins (and a t-shirt obvs). Both of these things have outraged me slightly because while there is always an intrigue with how much Bloggers really earn, it’s actually none of our business, and while Zoe’s audience are mostly young teens, she herself is in her mid-twenties and the photo wasn’t in the least bit sexual or suggestive. While I defend her, equally I do appreciate that she has to remember to tailor her content in accordance to her audience, but on the other hand, young people have never looked or had access to so much stuff that takes them out of an early youth as much as they do now. What doesn’t develop as fast as them is their maturity and their understanding of relationships and adult life in general, which is why the internet is such a dangerous place for them and why the comments section following various posts on Instagram by Zoella and her fellow ‘Team Internet’ peeps, are rife with teens & haters getting themselves in a tiz over the silliest things.

Zoella & the Blogosphere

Everybody just calm the f*** down, okay… it’s not Playboy!

This brings me onto the blogging industry as a whole.

Recently, Sophie from Sophie Rose  wrote a post about how becoming a full-time blogger doesn’t appeal to her and I couldn’t agree more. That being said, my ultimate ambition is to become a (freelance) writer and while some will argue it’s the same thing, it totally isn’t, like at all.

If you work freelance at anything, not just blogging, you have to create your own style and become your own brand; there has to be a reason why other brands and people want to work with you and use your services, whatever they may be and of course your stats need to add up too. For those in the blogging world, I can’t help but feel you sometimes lose yourself along the way? Social feeds lack any kind of personality or humanist element –instead feeds are full of manicured shots with the same filter, or it’s “look how beaut this dress is, you can get 10% off with my code.” Look, we all have bills to pay and I can’t imagine how stressful it becomes when you’re self-employed, particularly as a blogger, and there is of course a fine line between your online profile and your behind the scenes real life, but I am craving less of the polished, more of the real right now. I am searching for bloggers with genuine opinions about life as well as all the beauty stuff in between. And call me out on this if you will, but I sort of feel that Zoella is doing this. While her content is polished, it’s real and she has her own opinions and I love how she has responded to Pants Gate (did you see what I did there?). While there are a couple of full-timers managing to keep hold of their own style, for the most part all I’m seeing now is everyone lusting (and buying) the same Givenchy Antigona bag and all wanting (and buying) puppies despite the fact a few of them travel far too much to warrant having a dog right now; it’s totally irresponsible and something they should not be promoting to their impressionable followers.

For the big time full-timers, there must be 100 things that constrain their content owing to various brand relationships and agreements that have been signed behind the scenes, but it’s like any job that puts you in the spotlight; the moment you say or do something out of place or contradictory to existing messages, and that’s your reputation down the shitter and your so called loyal following will be the first in line to call you out. I couldn’t deal with this, I am far too opinionated and I haven’t got the patience to try and keep up a certain set of appearances. I also couldn’t deal with the disloyalty and immaturity of followers who are still too young and inexperienced to understand the real world, and also feel it’s in their right to be so rude about someone’s appearance as well as to each other. I blogged a while back that some people just think they know better and I hate all those people. That being said, if I was a teen right now and while having to deal with my changing body I had to manage social media I just couldn’t. I got into fashion and beauty quite late when I was younger and for the most part didn’t really care that I wasn’t shopping the latest trends, in fact I loved that I was a bit different. Now, I’m not so sure how secure being different is unless you have the self-confidence to be yourself in a sea of beige.

Young women, despite there still being an enormous gap of inequality against our male counterparts, are arguably the most liberated we’ve ever been. Of course we still live in a conflicting, sometimes prudish, sometimes hypocritical society, but we do still have autonomy about how we conduct ourselves, including our online social profiles. While we have as many haters as we do supporters, I have always believed that we do actually have more of the world open to us than men. For example (and this is my opinion), retail is very much held up by women’s enjoyment for shopping and I think we have a lot more freedom in what we choose to pursue in our free time; even though some industries aren’t well represented by women, women are still working in more varied careers across the board and often make the better leaders when they reach the top; yes we undoubtedly have the burden of being the ones to have children (and all the conflict it brings in the workplace), but at least we can still totally relish in motherhood if we want to (finances aside). And finally, the likes of Zoella and fellow twenty-something women are totally owning their own segment of the internet right now! Of course we still have a huge way to go before women around the world are properly represented, supported and treated as equals, but I can’t help but feel that we’re on the way.

What do you guys think?

Until next time x

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