Blogging Found Me In A Very Serendipitous Way…
My initial title for this post was going to be How I Got Into Blogging as it’s a question I get asked a heck of a lot. But really, I think blogging found me – I didn’t go looking for it. At least not consciously.
I was actually looking for somewhere and something to write but I didn’t think there was any book material in my head at that point. At school my favourite subject was English. I passed my O Level – which by the way, makes me really old – no GCSE’s here!
I was however notoriously bad at maths. I actually managed a U for Ungraded in my maths CSE – yep…couldn’t even get anywhere near O Level level! My Actuary husband with the most clever mathematical brain I know is probably shaking his head right about now.
Anyhoo, despite the horrendous maths history, I ended up working in finance for 90% of my career. Go figure. Or in my case, don’t.
When Holly was approaching four, I took voluntary redundancy from my last finance role at Aviva Health after a fifteen year stint. If I’m honest I was heartbroken at the thought of not working every day with the women who had come to be my best friends and seen me though all life’s major events so far.
I made a decision, shut my eyes & took a leap of faith…
But it was the time when lots of firms were outsourcing and the role that left for me was one that would involve some fairly regular business travel. With H so young and me being part time, that held no appeal and it wasn’t what I had returned to work for.
So I did what lots of people rapidly approaching forty do. I made a decision, shut my eyes and took a leap of faith into the unknown. There were tears, many moments of trepidation and the best last day in the office send off a girl could wish for.
One that didn’t just involve embarrassing old photos of me. These guys even managed to get their hands on some of my more
horrendous memorable outfits. And dressed up as various versions of me for the leaving presentation. I still don’t know to this day how they managed it.
Even then it would seem fashion was calling from the background. Albeit some questionable fashion…
Fast forward to January 2008 and I started working part time in an admin role for my brother in law at the estate agent branch he was then managing. The transition from a corporate giant to an office of five, one of whom was related by marriage was confusing to say the least!
Oddly enough that admin job popped into my head recently when the headlines about women being forced to wear heels etc surfaced again. I would hasten to add this wasn’t the case here but throughout the various branches, there was a definite sexist vibe I hadn’t encountered before and a definite predilection for employing blondes. I was brunette at the time.
I would hasten to add my brother in law was not included in that. He too left in due course. But not before he had to let me go that summer. Yep – redundant again just as the bottom fell out of property market. We joked that I had probably broken it.
But in a way, I have him to partially thank for my initial foray into the beginnings of blogging. But don’t tell him I said that!
As the work was beginning to dry up, having ticked off all the jobs for the day, I would sit in the office manning the phone and twiddling my thumbs.
Assuming the moniker of ThatGirl39 I began blogging anonymously…
Surfing the internets one lunchtime I happened across a blog – oddly I don’t even remember what it was about. On further investigation, I realised that you could set one of your own up on Blogger. For free. And so 39 & Counting was born.
And I was hooked.
Once I’d worked through the office tasks for the day, the following conversation would take place:
“Graham, I’ve done everything. There’s nothing else to do.”
“Write your blog then!”
“Are you sure that’s okay??”
“Yes! I read a bit of it last night. The way you talk about Small Child’s antics made me laugh – it’s funny!”
“Cool! Okay then…I will!”
And so on it went. I assumed the moniker of ThatGirl39 and began blogging anonymously, frantically updating 39 & Counting whenever I could. And ever so slowly, I began cottoning onto the fact that that a handful of people were reading it. And sometimes commenting!
And there was a whole host of amazing blogs out there to read and enjoy – written by real people like me.
One of my first comments came from my friend Anna (or Banana as was her blog commenting name!). This was soon followed by a few lovely comments from anonymous folk and then Wendy Brandes…in New York!! And Tara Met Blog and Robin Anderson when she was Diary of A Yummy Mummy, both Stateside too.
I was beside myself with joy!
With regular comment chats from the lovely Tara Cain (of Sticky Fingers fame) who then wrote From Dawn Till Rusk, I began to connect with lots of different bloggers from all over the world.
Some were style bloggers and some were parent bloggers and some just wrote diary entriy blogs in the most amazing and entertaining ways. And I think Ella from Coco’s Tea Party stopped by too, making me turn my attention to the ever growing fashion blogger tribe.
A year later I turned forty, closed down 39 & Counting with one final flourish of a post-birthday party high post and began Forty Not Out in May 2009 with this post. Eeek – the oldies are SO cringe-worthy!
August 2010 saw the launch of my style advice service, The Online Stylist that sat within Forty Not Out. After eventually realising FNO’s cricket score connotations were far too prevalent, I switched the blog name over to The Online Stylist in January 2011.
With the arrival of Biscuit into our family in March 2013, I made a (good) decision to close down the style advice service and began focusing more on my first love, writing the blog.
There’s no right or wrong way to start a blog…
And that’s my potted history of how blogging found me. Just as I think there’s no right or wrong way to blog, I also feel there’s no right or wrong way to get started. Just your way.
So if you’re thinking of starting a blog – don’t delay. Just start!
Style Notes: Sunglasses – Celiné | Lips – Charlotte Tilbury in Tell Laura | Coat – Fenn Wright Manson c/o | Scarf – COS : similar at ASOS | Jumper – H&M : Similar at Topshop | Cashmere Wrist Warmers – hush | Nails – Essie in Wicked | Bag – Jaeger | Coated Skinny Jeans – Next : Similar at ASOS | Shearling loafers – Steal: Jessica Buurman or Spree: Gucci
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Photography: Marlene Lee
Thanks to The Hambledon, Winchester for welcoming us in to shoot…and shop!