While we were in London Andrew's truly talented sister Debbie Castro took these pictures of us and I really love them. That weekend was quite pivotal for quite a few reasons and it marked a turning point in thing for us, for Nutmost, and also for Holly.ie. I also got out of a blogging rut, finally!
September always makes me feel like going back to school, beginning a new year and coming out of the haze of August. For Nutmost it was a pivotal time with a series of festivals and events and also The Blas Na hEireann awards. Something which began in our kitchen has rocketed forth into a product that Andrew now gets almost daily emails from people asking for it to be stocked local to them, or stores saying that it's sold out.
During my site redesign - by the amazing Lauren and Danielle in Good as Gold I took a bit of a blogging break as I wanted to use it as an opportunity to reassess my content style and make sure things were still relevant.
I really enjoyed the time off but am now back in a proper routine. I've some exciting beauty collaborations in the pipeline, some fashion to shoot and tons of food content and in short, I'm excited once again. These are a few tips I used to get me onto the next chapter.
1) Take time out
I know taking time out can make you feel anxious, especially if you're in a blogging routine or schedule but there is no point in putting out content just to tick a box. Your readers will sense a lack of enthusiasm unfortunately. My advice would be take a planned bit of time out and give yourself permission to explore. We can all feel the pressure to constantly post online and keep up, but you run the risk of burning out and also if you don't take time to stop and take it all in, you can miss changes that happen in the industry which to a degree, it's important to be aware of.
2) Browse and Enjoy
I know that it sounds strange but once blogging becomes your job or significant part of your life the idea of being online or reading magazines can actually be stressful. The stress comes basically from a sense of fomo (fear of missing out) but the reality is that there will always be parties that not everyone is invited to or you didn't make the cut, or collaborations that you weren't in the mix for and that's OK. I found once I accepted that there was a lot of great work that for whatever reason simply wasn't going to come my way, it made me appreciate what I have, but it also let me browse and read other blogs without that mildly competitive feeling taking the enjoyment away. In my time off I discovered some great Youtubers I had never seen before (check out Mimi and Alex IKonn - they're fab!)
3) Evolve Your Content
When I really got into building my blog I was fascinated by the fashion blogging scene in Dublin and abroad. I was blown away by the standard and so drawn into the reality of it. Magazines will always be so beautiful but personally the bloggers got me excited about fashion again. As thing evolved I found I wanted to tell more of a story. Of course we all know sometimes putting on a great dress or new jeans and feels incredible but day to day style has always been much more about lifestyle - how your living, what you're eating, how your feeling, almost more than what you wear.
At the moment I am currently in week 3 of my raw food mastery course and learning so much about cooking a type of food I have never been exposed to - home made kombucha, sprouted porridge, vegan cheese and raw soups have all been made and will most likely be on the blog soon as that's what I am currently passionate about.
4) Know Your Values
Since hosting my very first event in July I have become, and I know this sounds naive, extremely aware of the fact that I have people who trust my opinions and I am massively conscious of not letting anyone down for any reason whatsoever. It can sound silly but when you're just typing away on your laptop or chatting to your snapchat, as against directly to people, it can feel surreal. It's very easy to get caught in the trap of feeling that since you might not have the tens of thousands of followers some bloggers/snapchatters are known to have, that you don't matter. The reality is that whatever size your audience is, it matters. Even if your blog is just something you do for yourself I think it's important to check in and access your values. Working in TV as a stylist and broadcaster the issue of cost was something I put a lot of thought into. If something was expensive (say over €200) it had to be justifiably so and this needed to be clearly explained to the audience. In terms of cosmetics I favour cruelty free cosmetics and knowing my personal and blog values has helped me find direction.
5) Know That Confidence is Often Learnt
In my job I come into contact with Models who professionally make clothing look extra special in sometimes stressful and time pressured circumstances. I always notice the good ones have a really special glow about them and a confidence when the camera is rolling. I also learnt that like everyone models have personal hang ups but they also know how to stand, how to pose and how to style their hair and make up, which are all learned traits. I know not everyone can be a model but I think most people, like myself, see images of people looking supposedly perfect and assume they must have rolled out of bed looking like that, when the truth it that it's more likely down to diligence and putting into practice the lessons they have learned. I think blogging is similar. There are countless tutorials on how to edit images, or understand wordpress or squarespace better. Arnotts even hosted seminars on how to improve your Instagram with speakers from the most incredible accounts sharing their knowledge. No one expects you to know it all and the information to solve problems is usually a quick google search away.
I hope some of those tips are of value. For me it's a constant learning process but right now I am excited about blogging. There will be fashion, but I am also planning a wedding (happening in 8 months...!), helping Andrew with Nutmost, reporting for UTV Ireland, freelance writing for Magpie, and learning about plant based food, and bits of this will be written about I am sure and I hope you continue to enjoy it !
Lots of love,