On May 18th 2013, I published my very first blog post. In secret. I didn’t tell anyone about it for months, after which I told a few close friends and my immediate family. I had absolutely no idea about blogging and started from scratch with no research and no direction. And I knew nothing about social media or about the blogosphere either. Can you believe I didn’t even know what a hashtag was? All I knew was that I wanted to write; to share a few outfits and anecdotes here and there.
In the early days of my blog, I used to stand by the stone wall of an outbuilding of my old house and one of my children, (then aged 12 and 10), would take two or three quick snaps with my phone. I’d upload them, say where my outfit was from and discuss the odd trend here and there. That was it!
However, I learned “on the job” and slowly, my blog, along with my confidence, began to grow. I discovered other blogs and bloggers, a great source of inspiration and support. I found both my voice and my style and I’ve never wavered from either. They’ve evolved of course, not least because every aspect of my life has changed throughout these five years. So consequently and concurrently, what I wear and what I write has changed too. But I can say that absolutely everything on my blog is a true and honest reflection of me. And because it’s always from the heart, I never run out of things to write. I’m the same in the the real world too; never short of something to say.
So today, as my blog turns five, I’m looking back at how it has changed over the last twelve months or so.
Behind The Scenes Changes To My Blog
I’m going to start very quickly with a few technical, behind the scenes changes. While I was on holiday last July, I made the, (long overdue), decision to migrate from Blogger to WordPress. This was an excellent decision because WordPress is a self-hosted platform with infinitely more options than Blogger. It’s a much more user-friendly interface and is very intuitive. I used the migration services of the excellent Pipdig, a company I recommend wholeheartedly. Although this change is all but invisible to the reader, it’s made writing my blog easier and even more enjoyable.
Aesthetic Changes To My Blog
At the start of 2018, I chose a new template/theme for my blog. Again, I used Pipdig. I chose a cleaner, more pared down look and layout and I’m delighted with it.
The main part of my blog is about my style, so photographs are incredibly important. (I refer back to the opening paragraph, remember the iPhone photos against the wall, wonder why I didn’t realise this at the time and roll my eyes at myself). About two years ago, I invested in a new camera, (Olympus Pen EPL-7). This revolutionised the quality of my photos. I showed my children how to use it and for a long time, they continued to be my photographers. However, as growing teenagers, time and embarrassment have gradually got the better of them, so it’s quite rare that they’re involved now. Ian however, is super keen! We’ve been together just over 18 months and I believe I have the best Instagram Husband a girl could wish for. He has infinite patience and a great eye for composition.
We’ve had some wonderful days out in beautiful locations and it’s made me much more choosy about where we take photographs. No more standing against the garden fence.
Show and Tells
With that being said though, a few of my recent posts have featured some new additions to my holiday wardrobe. I used a tripod and remote to photograph myself. In the absence of a beach, sunshine and a permanent photographer, the plain white wall in my new office-come-studio allows you to see what these look like on a real person. A show and tell I suppose. I think this is more useful than showing them on the hanger, in a flatlay, or by using model or stock website images. A lot of my fellow bloggers do much the same in shop fitting rooms for the same reasons and I myself find that very useful. Of course, I can’t wait to wear everything for real and have Ian or Poppy photograph them when we’re on holiday in August.
How The Content Of My Blog Has Changed
Get The Look
This year, I added a new page to my blog called “Get The Look.” This has a photograph and link to anything on my blog or Instagram that’s available. I wear my clothes and accessories over and over again and keep them for several years. Because of this, some items in my outfit posts are no longer available. I know this can be frustrating. If you’ve seen something you like on my blog, this page saves time trawling the archives and searching online. For the same reasons, at the foot of my style posts, I now include a carousel of everything current, including accessories, jewellery and makeup.
I moved my boutique from an external website onto my blog so I can have everything under one roof as it were. I still sell the gorgeous Danon jewellery along with affordable wrap bracelets and pendants. There’s a few of my pre-loved clothes and accessories for sale too. These are things I have bought for myself over the years that I no longer wear or need. I don’t sell anything that has been gifted to me or that’s been part of a collaboration. It just wouldn’t feel right. Not only that, I only accept gifts and products that I love and choose myself, so they are very much wanted and used.
My friend Catherine, (Not Dressed As Lamb), wrote a brilliant and informative post about writing the ultimate media kit. A media kit is something a blogger or content creator uses to present themselves to a brand. It’s a bit like a CV. She mentioned the importance of having a tagline, 5-10 words that sum up the blog, the blogger or both. My previous tagline did nothing to set me apart from the sea of forty-something style bloggers. In fact, it was so dull and uninspiring that I can’t even remember the exact wording! What does set me apart from the rest? What can I offer that nobody else can? Do I have a USP? Well, I’d been rather blind to the fact that being an optometrist sets me apart. I can write with authority and knowledge about anything related to eyes and optometry. And so, “What Lizzy Loves: Life And Style Through The Eyes Of An Optometrist” became my new tagline.
I have added a separate Optometry category to my blog and have some exciting current and upcoming collaborations and events which fall into that category.
Longer, Deeper, Broader: More Personal and More Personality.
In general, I’ve broadened the content of my blog. Lately, I’ve written about my health and wellness and it’s become a little more personal. Some posts are short and “easily snackable”, whereas others are longer, deeper and take time to digest. I’m including more about life in general and I hope this adds more substance- these posts have certainly been very well-received. I’m very emotional with, I hope, a good sense of humour. I have a fun side that perhaps hasn’t always been at the fore, so I’m trying to show the lighter side of life too, something I do a little more on Instagram Stories.
So thank you so much for reading, commenting and following me for five whole years. I will always make it as good as I possibly can and will strive to continuously improve it, to let it evolve. I don’t know what the next five years have in store for me either personally or professionally, but I have big dreams. And if they come true, I’ll share them.
Thank you again,
Hi Liz … Congratulations on your blog’s 5th Birthday! 🎉🥂 I think I probably started reading in your first year. Golly how the time races by! Yours was one of the first blogs I read regularly…. your honestly, cheerful disposition and kindness was what encouraged me to keep reading … and it’s been lovely to have contact on IG recently, as well as sharing the occasional email over the years 😊
Have a great weekend … it’s looking ☀️☀️☀️
Oh Rosemary, thank you so much. It’s lovely to know you’ve been reading for so long. I know we’ve been in touch for a while, but I couldn’t recall when that first was. thank you for the lovely compliments and kind words. It really does mean the world. Have a lovely weekend too and enjoy the sunshine xxx
Oops excuse typo, I meant honesty! … honestly😂
Hee hee! No worries! xxxx
Congratulations Lizzy, this is impressive and you are doing absolutely great! It’s a pleasure to read and follow your blog!
Thank you so much. It’s lovely of you to say so. i still love writing it as much as I did at the start! Have a lovely weekend xxx
Thank you Lizzy. How you describe your early years resonates with where I am now. Oh dear!
Oh Anna, your blog is sooo much more exciting and way more beautiful than mine ever was in the early days! I truly just had a grainy phone picture up or two taken against a stone wall by one of the children before school! No close ups or detailed shots, nothing “on location” and little in the way of variation. Your blog is so vibrant and every post looks different. It’s a beautiful blog and one to be proud of! xxx
Happy 5th birthday Lizzy ! I love your blog and I have learned so much from it, on a personal level but also to help me in my own blog. If my blog can be as good as yours one day then I will be very happy. Here’s to your next 5 years xx Much love Susanna xx
Oh Susanna, that’s so kind of you to say so and so lovely to hear too. Your blog is lovely. I really hope we can meet soon. We’re really very close by. Have a lovely weekend xxx
Congrats on the milestone Lizzy. Enjoyed reading about how your blog has developed and changed.
Oh thank you so much Gail xxxx Have a lovely weekend xxx
Your blog is such a pleasure to read and to follow along with your life, Liz. I can’t wait to see what the next five years brings! I love your outfit posts as much as I enjoy reading your travel posts. It is such an honour to be on this whole blog ‘journey’ with you. xx
Oh Lisa, thank you so much. I hope you know how highly I regard your own blog. Your writing and style are both impeccable. Thank you for being such a wonderful friend and for your day to day love, advice, support and laughs. Much love darling xxx
Such an interesting post, thanks for sharing these facts. Congratulations on your 5 year anniversary – well don. Jacqui Mummabstylish
Aw, thank you so much Jacqui. Have a wonderful weekend xxx
Happpy 5th blog birthday Liz. I’ve been following you from the beginning. It was the simplicity of those early photos that first attracted me. I rememer them very well. All the best for the next five years xx
Oh Christine, thank you so much. I suppose the early photographs were very honest and raw and because of that, very real! Thank you for following and for all of your support and lovely comments xxxxxx
Without sounding condescending, I have seen you & your brand grow exponentially in the two years since we first met. I have to say that the new tagline is nothing short of a revelation. Among other things, you are first & foremost an inspiration to me Liz. I admire your work ethic, your morals, your fearless voice & most of all your parenting!
Love you woman xx
Oh Michelle, thank you so so much. That means the world, especially about my parenting! That’s the main thing. You and the other girls are THE best thing to come put of blogging and I can’t believe the day to day support you all give. That is wonderful and something I want to shout about. I want to keep on growing my brand while remaining authentic and honest and true to myself, my morals and my style. Thank you for your friendship, strength and the inspiration you yourself give to me and others. Love you too xxxxx
Fabulous blog, Lizzy! I did my homework before I started mine and it’s still finding its feet. And so all the useful tips are things I’ve learnt from the various fashion blogs I read, yours and Catherine’s included. There’s so much to still learn though.
I absolutely agree with self-hosting on WordPress and have done that from the start. In fact, a few other artists on FB groups I’m in have been asking for blogging advice. I always recommend self-hosting, but so far no one has taken the leap. (Hmmmm, given me a blogpost or two idea..!)
You’ve made me think about taglines. Yours is a great idea as it’ll make you the go-to blogger for eyewear and health (and we’re all going to need it after 40!).
Hi Emerald. Thank you so much for these lovely compliments. It’s funny. In some ways, I really wish I’d known what I was doing when I started, but in other ways, It’s nice that it has evolved naturally and organically. The fact is, I love writing it and as long as that stays the same, I shall continue for as long as I can!
Have a lovely weekend. I do hope you’re well lovely xxxxx
You lady are an inspiration and I love that you are integrating your optometry into your blog and media kit. Your pics are beautiful-helps when Instagram partners are on board. I remember grainy, tiny, blurry pics in the beginning (which I’ve since replaced when I refreshed my blog and even deleted posts I didn’t want anymore). I turned 7 in blog years recently and it really does feel like yesterday I started on this glorious journey. Hope we get to meet IRL one day soon. Happy Blogiversary xx
Oh Vicki, thank you so much. Well, I have to say that you’re an inspiration to so many other bloggers, especially those of us that combine it with a family. I really hope we get to meet too. One day…xxxxx
Dear Liz. Congrats! I absolutely love your blog and your name of course! Keep going and growing! Love, Lieske