Why I Started a Blog

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!

an open laptop sits on a desk with two notebooks, a candle and vase
goal planning

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…..

kerry is at her laptop updating a page on the blog
I love writing my blog

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!

lady sitting on a mountain side, thinking.
Understand who you are

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.

Moving Forwards

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.

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25 Comments

  1. February 2, 2021 / 12:24 pm

    Oh Kerry, I love your blogs, your writing style and just the way you keep things real. Most recently I do love your eco-warrior and vegan posts which are always very informative and great to learn from. Brilliant tips and I 100% agree about the SEO, but it’s all part of the learning curve I tell myself. Oh and wow you started blogging such a long time ago and love the name “learning to walk in heels’ By the way I still can’t walk in heels!!! Look forward to your posts in the future and excited for you.

    • February 2, 2021 / 1:31 pm

      Thank you so much Bejal, that is so kind. I sometimes think I am too honest on here, but I just can’t hep it haha! I love how we can all learn from each other. It is why I adore reading blogs so much. Ohhh SEO was like a whole new world right? I remember doing a course and thinking What. The. Hell….. Like you say, it is all a learning curve and a beautiful one! Learning to Walk in Heels was my baby. I still have such a soft spot for that blog. It was such an important part of my life back then. It made me feel less alone on the scary motherhood journey! I really hope we get to meet some day Be. Nik and I are defo planning a trip to Leicester at some point, so fingers crossed xxx (thank you for reading) x

  2. February 2, 2021 / 2:04 pm

    Awww love that your blog has 2 birthdays!! Enjoyed reading this and loving this month’s theme as I am really seeing where everyone’s passion derived from!

    • February 2, 2021 / 2:24 pm

      Hahaha! Trust me to have two! I think I always go with January as that is when I was really able to be committed to a blog post a month initially. I am loving the theme too. It is so interesting to hear how everyone started.

  3. February 2, 2021 / 2:26 pm

    It was interesting to read the journey.

    • February 2, 2021 / 2:34 pm

      Thank you so much. It has been great reading how everyone got started hasn’t it x

  4. February 2, 2021 / 3:49 pm

    I feel like many people who started blogs had a few false starts at the beginning. For some (like me) that was definitely building up the confidence to actually do it!). Your blog has taken you to the most amazing places and you passion for writing really comes out! I’m so glad you’ve found a ‘sweet spot’ in blogging where you’re comfortable!

    • February 3, 2021 / 12:32 pm

      Yes it seems to be a common theme doesn’t it. Thank you so much. That is actually a great way to describe it. I have hit the sweet spot.

  5. February 3, 2021 / 10:47 am

    Ah my lovely friend – The one thing above all that I’m grateful for when it comes to blogging is making real life friends like you – and there are so many lovely people out there (if we look hard enough!) Your blog has come a long way, but the most important thing is that it makes you happy rather than feels like a chore – you’ve got the balance spot on now, having reverted to your old style of journalling. It’s wonderful – don’t let it go! XXX

    • February 3, 2021 / 12:35 pm

      Thank you so much Lauretta. It really has been an evolvement, but I suppose that is what we do as people right? You have hit the nail on the head, the balance is right. I just enjoy it and if I work with brands it is a nice bonus rather than the goal. It feels good. Weirdly, once I took the pressure off myself, post ideas came flooding in. I write 23 ideas down in my bullet journal last week! I get in my own way sometimes haha! So happy to have met you too. We have come a long way! Big hugs xx

  6. February 3, 2021 / 1:35 pm

    We certainly have and so pleased the creativity is in full flow, that’s brilliant x

  7. February 3, 2021 / 8:14 pm

    Kerry, I always love reading your posts. The travel posts. The sustainability posts. And the posts where you get real. I love the variety and the fact that you clearly find so much joy in writing. Keep on writing my lovely!

    • February 5, 2021 / 8:41 am

      Ahhh this is so nice of you, thank you so much. Someone once described my blog as “a lucky dip” blog, hahaha! I suppose that is a good way of describing it. You just never know what you are going to get! I really appreciate you reading xx

  8. February 4, 2021 / 8:25 am

    I would have been so upset if I deleted my blog Kerry. That’s blogspot for you! So glad I moved away from it. A really interesting read this was. And like you feel, Instagram can go do one! I’m still low in numbers there but my work is rolling in. A myth that you need a big account xx

    • February 5, 2021 / 8:43 am

      It was awful Laurie. I cried! It was not fun. You are definitely the proof in the pudding about only those with thousands of followers get work. You do amazing! I have pulled away from it for sure. I feel no desire to put pressure on myself with Instagram, and am happier for it. I do love the people I chat to over there though.

  9. February 4, 2021 / 9:17 pm

    I’d love to read your book when you finish it!

    • February 5, 2021 / 8:45 am

      Awwww you are too kind If the blooming thing ever gets finished, I will send you a copy hahah! I have two chapters written, a million character profiles and a story in my brain. I WILL get there eventually……..fingers crossed!

      • February 5, 2021 / 9:38 am

        I’m sure you will do it, I’ll be happy to read it

  10. February 4, 2021 / 10:00 pm

    What a journey you have been on! I can relate to some of your journey since I have re-named and started over again a few times. I also find that having a blog is essential for me being a mom to a toddler. I have such hard time finding the time for it, but whenever I do, it makes me feel like me again. I am so glad I found your blog through the linkup!

    • February 5, 2021 / 8:47 am

      Hi Carolann, thank you so much for being here. Ohhh I know exactly what you mean that it makes you feel like you again. That is exactly what my blog did for me in those toddler days. They can be as hard as they are rewarding right? I am so pleased you find some you time with your blog. Keep going xx Thank you so much for reading. I look forward to catching up with your blog xxx

  11. February 4, 2021 / 10:13 pm

    This was such a nice read! I knew some of your blooging story but not all of it. I’m glad you’ve found what you want with the blog!
    My own start with blogging has been very stumbly and it’s only now that I’ve settled down and found what I want to do – and now I finally love writing and feel happy about my blog! After… 10-ish years.. 🙄

    • February 5, 2021 / 8:49 am

      Hahahaha! We get there in the end Susanne right? I am so appreciative of you reading. I always love your replies and the discussions we have. Thank you for being here. I am over the moon that you have foud your way with your blog. I know you ha a few stumbles. I never doubted you would get there xxxxxx

    • February 25, 2021 / 10:20 am

      Thank you Emma! Yes I think a lifestyle blog especially, will always track the up’s and down’s of life wont it. A life saver for me at times!

Please feel free to comment, I love reading them x

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