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9.10.20

REALITIES OF BEING A BLOGGER.

My attitude toward blogging switches daily; often torn between being embarrassed about how I spent my free time, or being pretty damn proud of myself. 

Today, like most days I'm a little undecided but spending the day creating anyways, and whilst I'm trying to figure out what the hell I'm doing with my time online, I thought I'd share some of the reality of being a blogger. 

realities of being a blogger - sarahlaublogs
realities of being a blogger - sarahlaublogs

If you've been here a while, you might remember that I've actually been blogging since 2013 - using this website as a place to dump my creative thoughts or a place to simply chat shit and I've loved it so much, I've not stopped. 

Having had a couple breaks here and there, 2020 has been the first time in a while where I've managed to creative consistently; not only on my blog but through it's connecting social media channels too and I've loved it. It's been such a weight lifted off my shoulders to find this creative outlet again and give myself the time and energy to create on a daily basis. 

That being said, it's been a rocky journey getting to this point, lots of self-doubt, tears and tantrums alongside buzzing days, working with brands and making some of the best friends online, so I thought I'd dedicate today's post for anyone who once blogged or for those thinking of starting a blog, sharing some of the realities of being a blogger... 

realities of being a blogger - sarahlaublogs

GETTING TO EXPRESS YOUR CREATIVITY
I've always known my strongest quality is being a creative person, as a kid I loved drawing and painting and over the years I've tried my hands at every possible creative & artistic hobby - literally from dancing, painting, sewing, jewellery making, creative writing  and longest love - photography. 

Honestly? I've not been able to master everything I've tried but I've loved having the opportunity to try but when I first logged into my blogspot account in the new year of 2013, I knew this would suit my perfectly. 

...BUT HAVING TO BE A PRO AT EVERY OUTLET.
Whilst I think blogging and content creating has become my perfect creating outlet, my biggest downfall is having to be a pro on every social media account! It's not just about what you write on your blog anymore...it's about creating content on Instagram, being a member of the community on Twitter, gaining thousands of views on Pinterest and even creating video content via IGTV, Reels & TikToks. I mean, I love the opportunity to experiment as much as the next person but I feel like I'm spreading my creativity so thin with all these expectations. 

UGH, ALL YOU DO IS TAKE PHOTOS AND WRITE SHIT? 
Honestly? I've never had shit for my blogging and actually I'm often celebrated for the things I create online, yet when I mention that I do this as a side hustle - I cringe. I fear that a persons first reaction will be 'well it's not hard is it' or I'll instantly be judged for *wasting* my time on something so silly...

...ACTUALLY I'VE LEARNT SO MUCH TOO.
But actually, blogging is one of the best things I decided to do. Starting this website on a whim back in 2013 was one of my better decisions of my early 20's. Not only has it given me the opportunity to meet some of the sweets pals on the internet, it's allowed me to play with my creativity but it's also given me life some direction in terms of my career. 

Not only that but I've been able to learn so much more about photography, writing and general content creating, I'm learning more and more about SEO and other crucial skills for working within this area. So much so, that I'm now able to use my own knowledge around online creating and social media and help my family and friends who are also wanted to share small businesses or similar content online.

realities of being a blogger - sarahlaublogs

WORKING WITH BRANDS AND EARNING MONEY IS AMAZING. 
Whilst many of us admit that it's more about the passion we have for our creativity; we'd be lying if we didn't admit how much we appreciate the pay check from time to time. Unfortunately for me I've never seen a consistent pay from my blog but that's never really phased me, it's always been that little bit of extra cash & during times like a pandemic it's been greatly accepted. 

...BUT KNOW YOUR WORTH. 
Over the course of this year it's been brought to more peoples attention how brands are wanting to send you *gifts* more and more rather than paying for your time and whilst it's a tricky subject to cover, I'll be happy to share my thoughts on this in a more details post, if you'd be interested? 

Being gifted products is a pretty lovely experience, knowing a brand has seen your content and the work you put in and wanting to have you involved in their campaigns is great! And there's so many reasons and occasions when accepting gifts will work well for you; but remember you're actually spending you're time and money creating content for a brand in return for a product! 

Like I said, this is a massive topic and one that lots of creators are focusing on at the moment. Whilst I believe accepting gifts from brand you truly adore and want to work with is perfectly fine, remember that in some instances, if they're asking for too much from you - ask for payment! There's plenty of content creators, articles and even youtube videos which delve into this whole topic and discuss how much to charge, how to approach this subject with the brands & reminding you not to undervalue you're time and worth! 



...Woah! Blogging is a weird topic isn't it, there's so much to consider, loads to learn and so much I could chat about, and if you want me to go into more detail about anything, I'd love to hear your thoughts.  

Finding myself in the middle of the blogging community is something that shocks me...even to this day, the things that make sense to my followers and the people I follow, doesn't always make sense to my friends and family and if you've ever been caught in the middle of me and blog-ness, I'm so sorry. 

What's one of your realities of being a blogger? What are your thoughts on it all?

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5.10.20

LATEST SUSTAINABLE BUYS WITH STRIPT COSMETICS

It's been a while since we spoke about sustainable shopping, I know and I'm sorry! I've been wanting to update you on my progress lately but I've stressed myself out about making it the *perfect* post and have panicked. 

I'll be honest most of my sustainable updates come from charity shopping and generally trying to buy second hand more often as of late, I've had some great bargains and some that will unfortunately have to go back on sale because sizing is shite. 

latest sustainable buys with Stript Cosmetics - Sarahlaublogs
latest sustainable buys with Stript Cosmetics - Sarahlaublogs

That being said, I've actually cut my spends in half recently (thank goodness for being broke) so I don't have much to share with you anyways, except for this beauty haul today. 

I know, a beauty haul. Shock! I'm sorry, are we back to being Sarah circa 2015(??). Honestly? My beauty purchases became boring over the years, I'd cut down the products I was purchasing and anything I was buying, were fond favourites...so being a beauty blogger became almost redundant for me.

But today, today I'm coming at you with something I've been so excited to share since the moment it was announced! A close friend of mine, Becky, started her own zero wastes, plastic free cosmetics company a few years ago and she's been amazing me with it ever since. This year she joined forces with Natwest for a Back Her Business to expand her business from hair care & bath products to also include a range of makeup and beauty buys too. 

Latest Sustainable buys with Stript Cosmetics - sarahlaublogs
Latest Sustainable buys with Stript Cosmetics - sarahlaublogs

Back in February J & I clubbed together to help Becky & Stript Cosmetics and ordered two different crowdfunding rewards, I picked the stript cosmetics travel mug and J gave me the Shower Mystery Box; due to covid and other issues, its took us some time before the products were ready and boy, were they worth the wait. 

Being more conscious about our everyday uses and purchases, getting this set of products is probably the best way for us to test out a variety of products and discover what will work for us both.

I don't want to bore you with too much chat so let's just get straight into the products, okay... 

DEEP SLEEP BODY SCRUB. 
Oh, I bloody love a good body scrub, I think it's the physical feeling of getting rid of the dirty and my skin feeling instantly refreshed and smoothed - over the years I've always used these products from a bottle and more recently my upcircle body scrub too, which is a coffee scented scrub, perfect for early morning showers, whereas this oaty scrub will be perfect to combine with my twilight body wash & conditioner when taking my evening showers. . However, what makes me more excited about this bar is the fact I can pop it on the shelf in my shower and it's so much easier to use, yep. I love it! 

DARKSIDE SHOWER BOMB. 
Don't judge me right, but it wasn't until recently that I discovered shower bombs were a thing and I am ecstatic about it. Furious, that I didn't find out sooner but ecstatic nonetheless. You'll never believe the fuss this shower bomb actually caused the entire family while I've been trying to figure out why I find this scent so familiar - so as a household we've decided that the best way to describe the scent of this bomb is a combination of our favourite childhood sweeties - from lemon sorbet to liquorice, the undertones of the scent are so subtle & perfect for that end of the week pamper session.  

PETAL SHOWER BOMB.
Like I mentions above, who knew shower bombs were a thing? We're a family without a bath and over the years have always thought I was missing out when it came to the fun bath products - but now I've got these shower bombs to test out for some relaxation/pamper evenings. The petal shower bomb is basically what it says on the tin, before I start the family debate on scents like darkside, its best I just admit that this smells beautifully of all things floral and in some weird way reminds me of sunday evenings, fresh out the shower and climbing into new bed sheets, perfect! 

lastet sustainable buys with stript cosmetics

SUGARPLUM SOAP.
When I originally started shopping with Lush, the product I ended up purchasing the most was the soaps - they were my favourite and more affordable product and over the years I've just lost interest in spending money on beauty products for the sake of it. SO when I recieved *two* soaps from Stript, my love for the bright, sweet scents hand soap came rushing back to me, I think that's even better is that this is a sweet and citrus scent that takes me back to 21 years old me, visiting my first lush events with Becky (creator of Stript) and feeling super nostalgic and grateful for how blogging has created such a great friendships - weird detour there but, girl I love ya x

BLUEBERRY PIE SOAP. 
...Hmm, I don't think I can top that previous review. So we'll keep it short and sweet with this one, the blueberry is delicious without being too overpowering and one I think the whole family is going to enjoy, so before we fall out again over the scent of these products...I'm going to sneak it into the bathroom. 

The entirety of this post took a completely different turn and I'm not spending my evening reading through old Lush blog posts and reminiscing over friendships I've created in the years I've been blogging, aw what a lovely way to spend my time...but oops, lets finish this post, shall we? 

Taking it back to the original point of this post, I'll be the first to admit that shopping more sustainable can be quite challenging and I've definitely slipped up from time to time, but I'm so pleased I've been able to stack out my bathroom essentials from a sustainable, zero waste & vegan store...even better that I've been able to support a friend and her small business.

I was also sent a couple other products to try out and review, but I want to share those in another post - I'm currently training my hair with a shampoo bar, it's a bit of a battle but we're getting there...

Let's be honest, I'm probably not the most 'influential' blogger but if you do anything after reading my reviews, please check out Stript! I promise you'll find some absolute favs to kick start your more sustainable beauty buys. 

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25.9.20

Blogging Mindset Mastery: Review.

MINDSET MASTERY COURSE HAS BEEN 
GIFTED IN EXCHANGE FOR THIS REVIEW.

So 2020 is the year of the online courses and I am here for it. Actually, I don't think online courses has ever not been a trend but this year I've worked through *three* and honestly, each one has been perfect for me and my creative needs. 

In my latest blog post I discussed in a little more depth about being more focused on my blogging and how this year has been the perfect opportunity for my website and my *brand* to grow. 

blogging mindset mastery review - sarahlaublogs
blogging mindset mastery review - sarahlaublogs

And I'm sure by now you're all aware of why it's been so important to me too, but I'm going to share the story anyways... 

Quitting my job last year was a massive turning point for me, my mental health was compromised and my confidence was knocked, so I went into a part-time job just to get my feet back on the ground and whilst I was extremely lucky that I had this part-time job, I was more adamant than I had been before to make my dream career my reality and although it's taken me a year to secure that dream job (more about that coming soon), blogging was the next best thing until this opportunity arose. 

Actually, blogging was part of the reason I was even offered my new job. I used my platform as a place to engage, connect and learn more about the online career opportunities, while being able to have fun creating at the same time, so thanks for the help! 

But what does this have to do with Blogging Mindset Mastery? Ahh, well you see, this year has been filled with growing my confidence with my content but it's also given me the time to sit down and work through some online courses and give myself that knowledge and confidence to move forward with my career goals and my blogs growth.  

After being in the blogging world for so many years, I thought I knew all that I needed to know about blogging and making the most of my platforms but boy, was I wrong.

In some cases, it wasn't that I didn't know the information, I just hadn't put it into practice or I wasn't being consistent with it and that's why I wasn't getting the results I was after, until spending the time on these courses and having that push in the right direction I'm able to make that effort to improve my mindset for blogging, my blog and how it's shared online and I can't wait to see it all come together. 

blogging mindset mastery review - sarahlaublogs

So having all that information and more in one place has been extremely useful. I spent the majority of August & September chipping away at the course, taking notes and always being grateful that it's accessible at any time for me (& so is Jenny, who's an absolute dream to work with). 

You'll notice a decrease in my blogging over the next coming weeks (working two jobs, seven days a week is going to hit me like a tonne of bricks) but I'm so grateful that I've now got all this knowledge for when I'm able to create again a little more consistently. So, to make it all the more easier to give you an idea of how the blogging mindset mastery, has helped with my creative journey I've split the post & topics into some questions. 

HOW HAS BLOGGING MINDSET MASTERY HELPED ME? 

If we're being honest, I thought I had a good grasp on blogging and how it all worked, but since taking the mindset mastery course; I've come to the realisation that even when I thought I was doing things right - I still had a hell of a lot to learn. What I liked most about doing Jenny's course was that I always felt like even when I was reading a section about a part of blogging I was already confident about - I was still learning or developing my process that would actually give me some kind of result. 

It's also given me such a boost in confidence to know that I'm actually doing okay with my blog and I might actually have a clue what I'm doing online, so yay for that! 

WHY DO I NEED TO CHANGE MY MINDSET FOR THIS TO BE SUCCESSFUL? 

I've always been quite a negative nelly  so I'm not expecting a miracle here and I don't think Jenny will expect it from me either - but knowing that I'm *trying* is all anyone can ask for. Personally I don't think that having a certain mindset for blogging will make a massive difference to what will make me successful, but I do agree that having a certain mindset about how I write, share and when creating any future will have a massive impact and that's something I've learnt about myself and my abilities from doing this course. 

I'll admit I was a little worried when I started this course and thought I wasn't the right person for it; but thankfully this isn't a course just about my mindset, and to be honest it's not a course where I'm constantly told that it's a must to change how I view things for my blog to be successful, instead I'm shown how thinking more positively will help me moving forward and as a whole encourages successful blogging in so many different aspects and I'm so grateful that Jenny has created a course that will ultimately make me a happier person when creating but isn't saying it's my only option - because damn it, sometimes my best work comes from my miserable mindset.  

WHAT WAS I DOING WRONG VS WHAT I'LL DO BETTER NOW? 

Maybe my own self-doubt was holding my back before because there was so much I was already doing in terms of blogging, engagement, making money and getting exposure for my content but the problem was I wasn't doing it to the best of my ability. 

One of the lectures within the course was focused on pinterest and honestly, that platform is the bane of my life - whilst it's amazing for growth and engagement once you've cracked it - oh my god it's a nightmare when you're starting up. So if I've learnt anything from this course is; even though I won't love ever aspect of blogging, doing the hard work and boring will eventually pay off, so I guess I'm going to start chipping away at these tasks to see those results. 

blogging mindset mastery review - sarahlaublogs
blogging mindset mastery review - sarahlaublogs


IS HAVING A ROUTINE REALLY THAT IMPORTANT? 

Remember how I said I'm quite the negative nelly, well here she comes again... I've always believed that it's okay to go at my own pace for my blog, it started out as just a hobby after all and whilst I still stand by this fact if you're creating for fun. I do believe that if you're looking to make a career or to make money from blogging, having a set routine for your blog is important. Not only for your consistency, you're growth and overall engagement, but having that routine for yourself will work wonders with how you manage your time and energy when creating. 

At the moment I structure my days depending on what I need, so I'll focus one or two days in the week to get my photography sorted (outfits are a little different as I often do them as and when I'm wearing the outfit) and then spending the rest of my week writing posts and doing admin, around my social life and any working hours. 

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR MY BLOG MOVING FORWARD? 

I'm really sad about this part, because the *blogging mindset mastery* was the perfect opportunity for me  to gain some insight into how I could realistically turn my blogging into my job if I really wanted to pursue that career option, so if it's something you're working towards and you need a little push in the right direction, Jenny's course is definitely a good option for you. 

blogging mindset mastery review - sarahlaublogs

For me however, I'm taking everything I've learnt from my time with blogging mindset mastery and will be using it for my future with my blog, whatever that future may be. 

I'm a couple days away from starting my new job and I'm currently stressing out about what this means for my blog and it's connecting platforms (yep, I'm looking at you instagram) so please bare with me whilst I figure all that out.. 

Totally going off topic now, aren't I?...Basically, this course came to me at the perfect time. Jenny has created a course perfect for both new and established bloggers and I've spent the last couple of weeks working away at the topics, gaining insight and knowledge that I can use moving forwards (both personally & professionally too, yay) and I've even got PDF's & files to check back on for future reference. 

I know blogging courses aren't for everyone but if you're ever considering them - be sure to check out Jenny's Blogging Mindset Mastery! And let me know what part of blogging you want to learn more about? 

18.9.20

SOME THOUGHTS ON BLOGGING CONSISTENTLY FOR 365 DAYS.

Sometimes I like to take my wins where ever I find them and however small they may be, and today we're celebrating the fact I've managed to blog consistently for the last year, I know, who would've thought it was possible. 

For someone who's actually been blogging for quite sometime you wouldn't typically question it, right? 

But after being in a creative rut for 2 years previously, I think this is an achievement I want to shout about, because damn, it took so much energy to bring myself back to the creative world. 

some thoughts on blogging consistently for 365 days - sarahlaublogs
some thoughts on blogging consistently for 365 days - sarahlaublogs

Being a veteran within this community it's safe to say I've watched many people come and go online, and as much as I miss the pals I made all those years ago; I didn't want to do the same - my creative rut came from personal and creative problems, so it's nice to see that I've been able to conquer it all and move forward. 

During the time at my full time job in 2019 I lost focus for my personal projects, so when I quit that job and started my part-time job, it was perfect timing to create again. On September 1st, my first day of *unemployment* I opened my laptop and decided it was time to share with the world again, and you've been so welcoming and let me come back, bigger and better than ever. 

The 10 days between my two jobs last year meant that I had this opportunity to sit down and really consider what I wanted to do moving forward, and going into a part-time job meant I had more days to photography and generally had more time spent at my desk to plan, write and be more involved online. 

some thoughts on blogging consistently for 365 days - sarahlaublogs

How has it really been? Oh, blooming tough but actually I've hardly noticed I've been doing it. 

I've used this year to push myself harder than before, just because I've been more determined and I think it's really paid off. I found a routine that worked for me, I had more time to dedicate to my blog, photography and all other outlets, I created set days for which tasks I'd work on and thankfully with most of this year spent in lockdown I was able to continue this up until now...I'm hoping to share how I've managed to work my routine around my part-time job and how I've found the motivated to continue creating online all year long, so let me know if you think this would be beneficial? 

The toughest part of blogging consistently has been staying inspired and motivated on a regular basis, because no one is productive all day, everyday... honestly, we all need a day in bed watching Netflix from time to time. That being said I've always been one to over prepare and have a bulk of photography ready in advance - y'know incase a severe case of writers block takes over for weeks at a time, at least I've got my emergency back log at the ready. 

Weirdly one think I've constantly done since 2013 is taking my photographs in bulk, and it's been a massive plus for me in so many ways, not only has it helped when I've been busy at work, or when I need that *digital detox*, I can work on having up to two weeks of content ready to share on Instagram and I often have a weeks worth of blog post scheduled in advance too. 

some thoughts on blogging consistently for 365 days - sarahlaublogs
some thoughts on blogging consistently for 365 days - sarahlaublogs

This was never an accomplishment I set my mind to and there was never an end goal for me, but I think  the fact I've done it has me all the more excited to continue creating.

Taking the time offline a couple years ago has allowed me to rediscover why I love creating this content and means that I'm no longer churning out posts that I dislike but in the hopes that it'll give me some extra followers and views; but instead during this time I've been doing it because I truly enjoy it. 

And this year has been the first time I've actually seen results on my blog - so thank you for keeping me motivated! 

I'm going to try my hardest to continue creating and sharing online, however I've recently got myself a full-time job and I'm currently processing how well it'll work hand in hand with my part time job - so whilst it's been a really good run for me and being able to have this time to work on my own creative projects, engage more in the online world and give myself some of the much needed experience for my future career goals, it's been fun! 

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