It is crazy to me to think that January marked the 4th birthday of my little blog. Well, actually, my blog is like the Queen and has two birthdays….I will explain more about that later! I wanted to give you a little insight into how and why Kerry Life and Loves was born. It has been an ever changing process for me, and finally, I am so happy how my blog fits into my life. So buckle up people. Let me tell you why I started a blog, the highs and lows, and a few lessons I learnt along the way!
Why I started a blog
Would it surprise you to know that my first blog was started was waaaayyyy back in 2007! It was called A Thirty Something, and was all about me trying to navigate the transition from high flying career girl in the City, to being a Mum to two high energy, crazy boys! I had been an avid blog reader for many years. They were my go to for advice and real life insight. I found I was struggling with finding a footing with the huge lifestyle change of now being an at home Mum and part time worker. I needed an outlet and had always been someone that would write as a cathartic process. I am not saying I write well, but I do write passionately and it helps me work through brain fog! Starting a blog seemed a natural step. However, after a year or so, those two boys were taking up all of my time, I had gone back to work and my blog fell by the wayside. But, my love of writing never wavered. Hence blog version number two was born in 2011.
My attempt at writing blog number two was a little more successful. This one was called Learning to Walk in Heels. I had found my way with Motherhood. Those exhausting early years had slowly faded and with the boys at school, I was rekindling my love of fashion, venturing out without kids and putting on make up again! I wanted to share that journey, so blog version 2 was born. It was during my adventure with this blog, that I attended my first blogging events. They were in their infancy really, so it was usually just a bunch of excited ladies talking beauty products and who was on our blog roll, (remember them OG’s??)! I was really enjoying this blog, until disaster struck. I tried to update something on my blogspot website, pressed enter, and lost the entire content of the blog. Every. Single. Entry. I was devastated, but had zero technical knowledge. I admitted defeat and blog two was laid to rest. I was so gutted that I could not imagine starting a blog again.
The birth of Kerry Life and Loves
However…….It was while on a creative writing course in 2016, that my third blog was born. I was on the course to try to learn the process of writing a book. I had been trying to write a novel since I was 23 years old! Not saying anyone would read it, but I just want to write it! But, I did not really understand the technical process, so was attending as many courses as I could find to help me. The tutor on this particular course, suggested starting a blog to get into the regular habit of writing. I remembered how much I loved my blogging days, so decided to go for it! I went home that night, in June 2016, and set up Kerry Life and Loves on WordPress. I wanted my blog to be like an online journal. I wanted it to be like chatting with friends, covering travel adventures and anything I fancied. I did not want to choose a name that was specific to anything, so Kerry Life and Loves it was! My first blog post was about My List I had wrote as I was turning 40. I was off and running again…..
Only I wasn’t really. I still owned my incredibly demanding skincare salon. I was working ridiculous hours there, and it took all my time. Running a successful business, having two kids and a home to keep, left little time for much else. I think I wrote three blog posts in the June, then I never wrote another blog post until January 2017. That is why I say my blog has two birthdays. June 2016 and January 2017! I sold my business that January, so once again, my blog was my go to for helping me work through that stage of my life. It is like my transition craft. My sounding board and offload place!
So much more than a blog
Why I started a blog – and what it became!
My blog has become so much to me. Without being dramatic, (we all know I can be), it has helped me through some of the toughest times in my life. It was my safe place to escape to. A little time out when life got too scary, or I needed a cushion from the harshness of life. I think writing always has been my go to when I am struggling. It has always been the way I work through shiz. But, having this outlet to share my thoughts, share my favourite restaurant and hotel finds, and sharing my adventures, has been a godsend. Building a community and meeting amazing people through my blog has been beautiful. I have had a volatile relationship with it at times, (well, more so social media), but my commited love of writing my blog has never wavered.
Originally, I suppose I was a beauty and lifestyle blogger. I did share adventures and days out, but more casually. Then, in late 2017 I slowly started bringing in the little eco warrior, sustainable and ethical living side of my life. When that didn’t have people running for the hills thinking I was a hippy throw back, I ventured into sharing the more spiritual side of me, sharing my love of meditation and mindfulness. I began to pull away from traditional beauty blogging. I was adamant that my blog would not become a sales platform. I did not want to be encouraging people to buy stuff they did not need! Instead I wanted to encourage people to live fully, consciously, and embrace this beautiful thing called life!
Emerging from the shell shock after Nik’s illness, I became even more passionate about encouraging people to live fully. I had been shown up close and personal, how quickly the rug can be pulled from under you! Nowadays, if I have to label my blog, I call it a Sustainable lifestyle and Travel blog. But in truth, you could find pretty much anything over here! I love to share sustainable living tips and travel inspiration, that will never change. But I also love to delve into my mind with discussion topics and mental health posts. I like to share wellbeing tips and fabulous books I have read. Kerry Life and Loves really does sum up my blog content. It literally could contain any part of my life and loves!
Earning Income from my Blog
(and forgetting why I started a blog)
I have seriously, gotten on my own nerves when it comes to my attitude towards earning from my blog. I have swapped between being for and against it so many times, even my head spins! I knew I didn’t want my blog to become or feel like a job. That was never my intention. However, when Nik’s cancer returned the second time, I suddenly felt incredibly vulnerable financially. As some of you would know, Nik was critically unwell and spent a lot of time in hospital fighting the grade 4 cancer ravaging his body. I of course, wanted to be with him. If I was at the hospital with him, it meant I could not do my skincare therapist job.
It began to feel like earning from my blog could be my answer. I could write sitting at his bedside. In fact, many of my blog posts in 2018-2019 were wrote while in chemo wards or sitting beside Nik’s hospital bed. I had zero clue about how a blog could provide an income, so I began to research and learn. I began to sign up to online courses and teach myself about SEO. I began to get an understanding of the ways you could earn through a blog. I started to understand how to promote my blog and increase my traffic. It was a huge learning curve.
Top Tip – Learn a little about SEO from the start. I promise you, you will be thankful for it!
First Blog Collaborations
My very first blog collaboration was with a silver jewellery brand. It was not a paid post, but here was a brand willing to gift me some pretty jewellery in exchange for my writing. I felt like I had won the lottery! Then, my first paid post was with a linen company. They contacted me to see if I had any ideas in how we could work together. The brand owner apparently had read a few of my blog posts so reached out! I pitched an idea to them to write about Hotel Style Bedrooms, (keeping in with my travel theme), and I earnt my first cash from the blog. It felt amazing! But then, in September 2018, the absolute cherry on the cake. I was offered a press trip! Me! My tiny little blog had been offered a press trip and I was over the blinking moon. It was to The Algarve, I was allowed to take a plus one, and I literally felt like all my Christmases had come at once. It still makes me grin from ear to ear, even now. My Mum, who I took with me, (Nik was unable to fly due to his operations) still says it was one of her most favourite holidays.
My first press trip. It blew my mind I was invited!
I have really enjoyed working on collaborations with brands. Travel, hotel and Sustainable brands especially. It still blows my mind when brands trust me to produce something worthwhile for them. I also still have brands on my list I’d absolutely love to work with! However, I quickly learnt that making my blog my full time job involved a hell of a lot of hustling! It took a lot of commitment and time on social media. Anyone that has been with me here on my blog for a while, knows I am not a big fan of social media! Taking my blog more seriously made me conscious of numbers and stats. Something I had never been bothered with. It began to feel like work, not the beautiful hobby I had signed up for. It wasn’t why I started a blog. I wasn’t enjoying it.
I have nothing but admiration for those people willing to give hours of their daily life over to social media. The beautiful curated feeds. The daily showing up. It is a full time job and I take my hat off to those of you out there killing it. So much admiration for you. But it was not for me. It began to make me unhappy. It began to make me feel obligated and pressurised. I was also not willing to be “on brand” with everything I wrote and posted. I had never had a curated approach to my blog or socials. I did not want to now. I wanted the freedom to just write.
So, last year I decided to just go back to my “old skool” style of blogging. I was going to write whatever I wanted. Go back to it being my beautiful hobby. As random and eclectic as I like. I wanted to return to the chaos of just online journalling. I wanted to be useful and informative. I wanted to share my passion for sustainable living, travel, pretty restaurants, and vegan food. I wrote a little about this in my reflections post last year. The happiness and love of my blog instantly returned and I am feeling inspired again. I will still work with brands if the opportunity arises, but without any pressure or need to earn. I also still want to grow my blog as, let’s face it, writers write to be read! I love it when someone messages me to say they were inspired to be braver, or visited somewhere I suggested.
I am also so incredibly grateful for amazing things that have already come from my blog. I am also thankful for the place to escape to it gave me in the darkest days of Nik’s illness. I truly think it helped to keep me sane and able to stay positive. I would encourage anyone to blog. Just do it! If you have a desire to write, then set up a blog and go for it. It is so rewarding. There has been many pinch me moments that have come from my blog. Some of which are;
- Writing my blog gave me the confidence to accept the opportunity to write a monthly magazine column on sustainable living.
- It has enabled me to meet so many wonderful people. I would never have crossed paths with them otherwise.
- I was asked to be an ambassador for World Animal Protection
- I was chosen by Blogosphere Magazine travel editor as one of her Bloggers of the Year.
- I was taken on a tour of the wineries in Essex as part of a Visit Essex campaign.
- I have been able to share so many beautiful experiences and add to the memory banks with my loved ones
Starting your own Blog
It is genuinely one of the best things I decided to do. It has been four years now and I stil love it as much. Some tips I would give you are;
- Just start! Stop overthinking it and just go for it
- Always, always, always maintain your integrity and authenticity
- Decide what your passions are and what you feel you want to share with the world
- Have a niche, but don’t be so rigid it makes it a chore
- Learn SEO from the start. I wish I knew about SEO at the beginning I tell ya!
- Try to use your own photos as much as possible. It makes your posts more unique and “you” if you are not using all stock photos
- Be inspired by, but never a copy of other bloggers you admire
- Be you. There is only one of you and you are amazing!
- Be consistent, especially if you would like your blog to become more than a hobby
- Make friends. The blogging community is a wonderful place. Some of my favourite people I have met through blogging.
- Enjoy it! Just love it and relish in the process
- Did I mention be authentic…….
So that is my little blogging journey, and why I started a blog. Looking back on it really made me smile. It has been a journey for sure. I have learnt things and skills that I never thought I would. It has become far more to me than I ever imagined. It is my soft place to land. My safe place. My place to take a breath. I love it and I can not imagine a time I will not write it.
I would absolutely love to hear your journey. Why did you start a blog? Any details at all. Please feel free to share in the comments with me. I’d love to hear!
You could also add your story to the Travel Link Up hosted by Binny’s Food and Travel.