Here’s this week’s instalment of Blogger Behind the Blog where I interview a blogger all about their reasons for blogging and what it means to them. This week I’m joined by Sophia from Tattooed Tealady.
Here’s Sophia with more about her blogging life:
Where did your blog name come from?
Long before I started Tattooed Tealady, I had already have various blogs over on Livejournal and Tumblr. I’d used the same name for both and on Tumblr, had grown quite a following under the name. I suppose I just decided to twin my two favourite things together; tea and tattoos! It works quite well and I’ve never been tempted to change it, plus lots of people comment on how unique it is, so it’s one that sticks in people’s minds!
When did you start your blog and why?
I started my blog back in April 2012, at which time I was very active on Tumblr and wanted something more fulfilling to work on. Tumblr was fun, but it wasn’t somewhere I could write with any seriousness or passion; starting my blog gave me that option. It was actually a friend who encouraged me to open a ‘proper’ blog, I think she was a little fed up with me badgering her to talk about beauty products and so she suggested I start my own beauty blog!
What did you do before you blogged?
Well, I already had my other blogs (long retired by now!), but I was also in University when I started my blog. I’d just started my second year of a Psychology BSc degree, which is something I had to work really hard to get to – going back to College when I was 20 to do my A Levels, having previously studied and worked as a hair stylist.
What was your first post?
5 Years on it’s quite embarrassing, but my first post was an introduction type post, “Who is the Tattooed Tealady?”. It had a little bit of a run down as to who I was, what I was studying, why I decided to start the blog and the kind of beauty posts I expected to write at the time. It always makes me cringe to look back at my first posts!
What inspires you to blog?
I’m not sure if inspire is the right word for me, maybe determination? My blog started out as a hobby and it’s the longest period of time I have stuck to something like this. Over 5 years of writing Tattooed Tealady now, it’s become a part of my everyday routine. I would also say the feedback I get from readers, not just with comments on my blog but on social media, via emails, I receive so many heartfelt messages from readers who appreciate my honest and the way I don’t sugar coat my life. Whether it’s honest accounts of my journey with mental health or my reality of being a first time mama, people can relate and people have shown me that they want to see that honest look at life and not the Instagram perfect perception many put across. So that, for sure, does inspire me to blog.
What post has had the best response, which post are you most proud of and which post did you enjoy writing the most?
With nearly 1,500 posts on Tattooed Tealady, that’s quite a difficult question to answer, so I think we’ll go with topics if that’s OK with you! Topics wise, posts on my mental health and my pregnancy/parenting prove to be exceptionally popular. I suppose it’s having that connection with someone and knowing you’re not alone in feeling the way you do or going through the things you do, that make people gravitate to these more personal posts. No one post sticks out as one I am most proud of, but those where I have shared my personal experiences have certainly made me feel proud when people have reached out to say that I’ve helped them, that they can relate or that I have encouraged them to be more positive about their situations, or at least seek the help they need to live more positively. The topics I write about on Tattooed Tealady are super varied, from beauty reviews to restaurant features, documenting my pregnancy and sharing my experiences as a first-time- mama, book reviews and days out; I honestly enjoy writing each and every one.
Have any of your posts not had the response that you expected?
I think some posts, which are on more controversial topics or posts on parenting which show we personally follow a certain way of doing things, are always more likely to receive a mixed response. Often, it’s very difficult to tell the tone of someone’s writing and so people can take unnecessary offence. For the vast majority, I have had nothing but positive responses to the content I share and I haven’t been put off of sharing any type of content because of the reactions of what is only ever a couple of people.
Where do you see your blog in a year’s time?
Hopefully more organised! When I started my blog back in University, I had a lot of time to update more than once a day, to work on promotion constantly and to keep on top of general admin. Since graduating, working full time, then getting pregnant and having Willow come into our lives – I just don’t have the same amount of time as I used to and I think it’s important for bloggers to know that it’s OK not to be a ‘perfect’ blogger. I’d definitely like to be more organised, which I’m already working on, as well as revamp for my blog’s look and to improve my photography, as I believe
photography is one of the biggest factors when it comes to attracting long-standing readers.
What is your favourite thing about blogging?
A lot of people think that the best thing about blogging is getting products sent to you for review, and at one time, this was my favourite thing; being able to work with brands I had used and admired for many years, it’s incredible. Now we have Willow, I don’t feel the same way towards products. Of course, I love working with the brands I do and hope to continue to for a long time, but the experiences and memories we get to make as a family through opportunities I have had through my blog, memories that we can look back on when Willow is older, those are the things that stick out to me. It also goes without saying that the friendships I have made through blogging are an incredible bonus that I never expected, some of which have become ‘friends for life’ and that is one of the most amazing things to have come from what was just meant to be a place for me to share my favourite beauty products!
…. And your least favourite?
I guess the negative perception of bloggers which is put out by the media. There’s this idea that blogging is easy, that we only do it for the ‘freebies’, that we are just a bunch of bored mums at home with nothing better to do or millennials who are grabby and too lazy to work. In reality, blogging takes a tremendous amount of hard work and dedication, it’s not easy, a lot of work gets put into each and every feature whether directly on a blog or social media. It would be great to see the media supporting blogging; but as blogging threatens publications by taking away readers who traditionally would have bought magazines, I’m not sure the media will ever warm to us!
What’s the best blog post you have ever read?
Oh gosh, I must have read thousands over the years so I’m not sure I can pick just one, but I do tend to gravitate towards more personal lifestyle and empowerment blogs, so anything by Laura over at Superlatively Rude is a good shout!
What blog do you love to read and why?
I like to read a mix of blogs, so definitely Laura above. I also find myself drawn to Write Like No One’s Watching, written by Charlotte, because her writing is just absolutely beautiful and really stands out for me when it comes to blogs.
Do you do anything differently now to when you started blogging?
Absolutely – because I’m not the same person as I was when I started blogging. I’ve grown up, not just in years but maturity. When I started writing Tattooed Tealady I was a student making her way through University who didn’t have many responsibilities, now I’m a mama to a two year old who works two jobs and has a house to run (and pay for!). That means the way I approach anything in life – not just my life -, has hugely changed and developed the same way I have.
Is blogging what you expected it to be?
Some aspects of blogging are exactly as I expected, like the excitement you get when a reader enjoys your latest feature or the way that you can really make your blog your own, but some aspects have definitely surprised me. I never expected just how much work would go into it, the time it takes to read a feature might be just a few minutes, but sometimes it can take hours to create; photography, editing, drafts, proofreading, and of course research behind the products I’m featuring.
What’s been your favourite blog collaboration to date?
As I blog about so many different topics, I’d honestly find it so difficult to pick one specific collaboration. I’ve worked on some really fun campaigns and reviews, which have afforded me some truly incredible experiences and lots of memories made.
Are they any brands you would love to work with, why?
I am very careful with the brands I work with, as I feel to be an honest reflection of my views, they need to be a brand I trust and believe in. So in that respect, I love all the brands I work with, as well as the brilliant PR teams which represent them. Some of my favourite beauty brands to feature on Tattooed Tealady include Urban Decay, Bobbi Brown, REN and Lush. I find baby brands all to be so unique, but some of my favourite to work with so far are Snuzpod, smarTrike and Cosatto.
Have you had any blogging fails so far?
I’m not sure I’d say a ‘blogging fail’, but I often forget to charge my camera battery before heading out for a brand collaboration, such as restaurant reviews, and have to be super picky over which shots I take before my battery dies. One day, I’ll carry a spare…
What is your biggest blogging hope, dream or ambition?
I suppose, like any blogger, it’s to continue growing my blog and social media, continuing to captivate readers old and new.
What do you do when you’re not blogging?
I’m a ‘work at home mum’, not just with my blog, but also employed in a job I can do from home too. When I’m not working, it’s general mama life for me (and far more household chores than I’d like!).
and lastly, tells us all a random fact about yourself
My favourite creature in the entire world is the Great White Shark, I’d love to swim with one one day!