I often get sent emails with the same questions, so I put together a little FAQ page. Hope it helps, but feel free to email me if you want any further info!
Can you give me advice on starting a blog/you tube channel?
Starting this blog is one of the best things I ever did so I would definitely recommend starting a blog to anyone. The best advice I can give is to think carefully about your name (I hated mine for a long time!) and then buy a domain. Two great free blogging platforms are WordPress (which is what I am on) and Blogger. Then it’s just about hard work, consistency and staying authentic- I think staying true to what you want to write about is the best advice I can give. Also get on social networks and chat to people- it may seem daunting but it’s the best way of meeting like minded bloggers. I often get asked for individual advice which I am happy to do as I love to support other people trying to build their online presence, but it may take me a little time to get back to you.
How do you make money from being online?
I am incredibly lucky that through lots of hard work I am now in a position that I work on this blog and other social media full time as part of my income. I make money in a variety of different ways, but mainly through brand collaborations and creating content. I also make money on other channels, including instagram and you tube. I will only ever work with brands who I feel are a natural fit and therefore I turn down about 95% of the campaigns I am offered due to them not feeling quite right for me. I also work on a freelance basis in video production, animation, illustration, video editing and photography too.
What does your husband do for work?
People often ask me this and sometimes I think because he works from home, people assume Jon works on my blog/you tube/social with me. He absolutely does not, I don’t think he could think of anything worse! He has his own business as a front end developer and web and graphic designer, which he has done for a few years now (before that he worked for a local design agency). Because our skills are quite similar, we often work on freelance projects together (see below!). But he is a long suffering helper and takes a lot of photos, helps me on my web design and generally appears on here from time to time, he doesn’t get paid for that though, he does it out of the kindness of his heart (and with only a bit of moaning).
Do you work on freelance projects?
Yes! I love a good project to get stuck into. As mentioned above I work freelance alongside my husband who is a front end developer, web & graphic designer. I specialise in video production, video editing, photography and other design projects, but between us we have similar skills for many aspects of creative content and advertising. Be sure to get in touch if you want to discuss a project for your brand.
Can you tell me about your conservatory extension?
I get so many messages about our conservatory extension. It is one of the best things we have done since we began renovating our house. You can find blog posts about it here and here, and a video here.
How do you feel about putting your children on your social media?
When I first started my blog over 8 years ago now it was completely different to how it is today. No one made any money from being online in that sense, there was a handful of UK family bloggers, and of course my channels weren’t anywhere near as popular as they are now. I had absolutely no idea that it would develop into what it has done, and that I would be able to leave my job and do this full time.
When I first started it I was in the throes of being a new mum. I used this blog as a way of expressing my creativity whilst being on maternity leave and I was as proud as punch of showing my love of photography combined with my immense love of being a mum. My children used to appear on here far more. I feel that I share them and small snippets of their in a way that is tasteful and I would never show anything they may be embarrassed about in the future. It doesn’t mean my kids are angels, far from it, it just means that I am not picking up a camera when I am disciplining them and I always have their best interests in mind. We all have off days though and there are so many different emotions in just one day of parenting. I also don’t ever really have my kids fully conversing on camera, ie they don’t tend to chat on camera, I am more just recording our memories from an observational point of view if that makes sense.
That said as my children are getting older and with the prospect of secondary school looming, I am naturally showing my kids less. Just to respect their privacy. We are the first generation of people involved in this kind of social media and we have no idea what it will be like when our children are adults, therefore I am just trying to find my own boundaries in what I feel comfortable sharing as they grow. As they get older I also find motherhood is not as all consuming, and therefore I am talking about myself and my interests more.
How did you learn how to take photos and make videos?
I am completely self taught and have spent so much time over the years learning and practicing taking photos and making videos. They are my biggest passions by far. The biggest thing I can say is to practice practice practice! I am also going to be bringing out some online courses in the future so watch this space. I am a huge camera geek and always have been, I love a good piece of camera equipment over a nice pair of shoes anyday!
How do you edit your photos and videos?
For photos for my blog I tend to mainly use Photoshop, although I can use Lightroom. For mobile photos for instagram I tend to use VSCO cam which is a phone app. For videos I started off using iMovie, but I have been using Final Cut Pro for a fair while now,
How do you deal with negativity online?
To be honest I find it hard sometimes. I wish I had a thicker skin but I don’t. When I started this I never expected it to get as big as it has. I almost thought I was in a little bubble and a happy and safe little community. I have never set out to do this to become famous (no judgement as there are lots of people who do want to be ‘well known’), I just want to express my creativity, make some money for my family and chat to others, so it does throw me when I get negativity thrown my way. I am not naive, I know there will people out there who don’t like me purely because something about me annoys them, or there will be people who disagree with my opinions. That’s life. But I still find it hard that people feel that strongly that they will go out of their way to hurt someone else by gossiping about them or sending them unkind messages. I am talking about nasty comments, not just a difference of opinion. That’s a different thing entirely and we are all allowed a difference in opinion, if I put my life online then I understand people might have an opinion about me that isn’t always favourable. I think people sometimes forget that we are all human beings- there isn’t a team of management behind me reading my comments, or filtering them. It’s me and I read each and every one, and respond to as many as I can. It’s still the part of being online that I find the most baffling and it does affect me- and I don’t even get that many compared to some.
Is your house always that tidy?
Yes pretty much! I mean of course it isn’t, my kids are the messiest creatures. But I do like to keep my house tidy, I am like my mum, I am not a fan of clutter and I like to keep things tidy. Of course we all shift things around for instagram though- normally you will find a pile of crap just out of shot!
Are you always that positive?
I am a pretty positive person in all honesty. I am happy with my life and I try to make the best out of everything. But of course I am not always positive. I swear, I shout, I cry, I have family dramas, life issues, just like everyone else. I try to be as honest as I can on social media, but it really is only a very small snippet of someone’s day. We all have good days and not so good ones. But overall I am positive and grateful and I don’t think that is anything to be embarrassed about.