Why did you start blogging?
My eldest son was leaving for university and my youngest was moving on to high school so my life was changing. For the first time in a while, I took a long hard look at myself and decided I needed to relaunch myself. Part of getting my confidence back involved readdressing my wardrobe so that I would feel and look good. I searched for a blog about wearable style for women over 40 and I found it very hard to find one. My background is in magazines and for 9 years I was the editor of Selfridges magazine so it made sense to just start one myself.
Who do you look at for fashion inspiration?
My blog focuses on style rather than fashion so I look at style icons such as Inès de la Fressange, Helen Mirren, Kristin Scott-Thomas and Julianne Moore. They are women who have stood the test of time and subtly adapted their style to their years without ever losing their identity.
How do you make time for blogging?
It’s hard. I am a partner in a marketing agency and I also have 3 teenage sons. I work late. A lot! I find that I live and breathe my blog – I am always thinking about it and I because I’ve got to know some of my readers quite well, I often find myself talking to them in my head during the day and developing my next post that way. I feel very lucky to have such a passion though, blogging really fulfils me.
What camera do you use?
I rely on my husband and sons to take my photographs so there has been no point so far in investing in a very expensive camera. I use an Olympus Pen E-PL7. Although my shots are not technically brilliant, I think the interaction that I have withy family as they are taking the pictures makes up for it. Thanks to them I always have a genuine smile on my face.
Where is your favourite place you’ve travelled to?
I have made my most life-changing decisions in Turkey. I am always at my happiest when I am surrounded by sea, trees and mountains which is why I live on the Lake District coast. For me, Turkey, especially the Turquoise coast, is like a warm, sunny version of the Lakes.
Who is your blogging inspiration?
Actually it isn’t another blogger, it is, in fact, my readers who inspire me. Because we openly discuss all kinds of issues that affect women when they reach midlife, Midlifechic has become quite an intimate space and I have got to know them well. A lot of commenters have been following me for a long time so I know about their families and their ups and downs. When I feel short of inspiration all I have to do is think about them and what is going on in their lives. Before I know it an idea has popped up and I’m off again. A lot of bloggers who are friends are finding that their readers have stopped commenting or have migrated to Instagram. It seems such a shame and I feel really lucky to still have one of the original styles of blogs – a place where people come together for a good conversation about issues that matter – or just for a chat – but a place that is two-way rather than a lone voice.
What are your blogging tips and advice?
The most important thing is to put your readers first. This is how you will develop a strong blog that has traction and if you do that, the rest will come. Never write with brands or other bloggers in mind, that is how you will lose your voice. I now have over 700k page views a month and it is purely because of that maxim.
Your blog will only succeed if people can feel your passion. Don’t go into it with the objective of making money, you need to care about what you’re doing. Public enthusiasm is a rare commodity, your readers will sense it and grab it with both hands. Once you have established a following you will be able to look at ways to create value from it but as with anything, you need to put the time and energy into it first.