An Honest Guide To Blogging: Deciding What To Call Your Blog


If you didn’t know already, I’ve recently started a series called An Honest Guide to Blogging.

I’ll be sharing my best tips, tricks and honest opinions on starting and maintaining a successful blog. Not saying that mine is particularly successful, but I think I’ve done an alright job.

Last week, I kicked off the series with my honest thoughts on what you need to consider before hitting the sign up button on WordPress, Blogger or any other blog platform. I also hit 5 years of blogging and wrote a post about 5 things I’ve learnt along the way.

Today, I’ll be chatting about how to decide on what to call your blog.

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An Honest Guide to Blogging: 3 Things to Consider Before Starting a Blog

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When I first started this blog in 2012, there wasn’t anyone out there to tell me exactly what I was getting myself in for. Truth is, there’s a lot to consider before starting a blog. And I’m not just talking about what you’re going to write about and what your cute blog name will be.

This post won’t be exactly how to start a blog, but I will be writing a completely honest guide to blogging over the next few months. So, if you’re a blogging newbie or beginner, hold tight and get ready for my fantastic tips (note: hint of sarcasm).

If you want to find out my tips on blog names and themes, pop back next week for another instalment of An Honest Guide to Blogging

1. Why are you really starting a blog?

Firstly, consider why you want to start a blog. It could be to express your creativity or it could be to boost your CV. Either way, that’s fine, as long as you know why you are doing it.

Blogs are a tricky thing; times will get tough and sometimes you will just feel like giving up, but if you can think back to the original reason why you started it will motivate you to carry on.

On that note, please make sure you have a genuine reason to want to start a blog. If you’re only doing it to receive free things, you may find that your passion will soon fizzle out.

2. How much time can you actually commit? 

After 5 years, I still struggle to fit it all in, and often I don’t post anything for a couple of weeks. I’ve also had whole months off, even a whole season once if I remember correctly.

Whilst this is fine, it has impacted my blog a lot. Be prepared for late nights of writing, taking photographs, scheduling social media and all the other little things that need doing.

It’s true, some posts take me half an hour to write, whereas some could take all day or week to prepare, write and promote. It’s great fun, but can be exhausting.

A lot of people I know set out a day or afternoon a week to bulk write posts. I personally just fit it in when I can because that’s how my creative, yet chaotic brain works. I’ll be posting more about blog time management later on in this series.

3. Can you handle rejection? 

Unfortunately, not many bloggers will have huge success within the first few months of blogging. It can happen, but I’m still waiting for that day to come and I’ve been doing it for half a decade!

I think this ties in with the first one, if you’re truly passionate about what you are writing and you enjoy it, then coping with the fact that you’re just not as popular as others will come easy.

Also, it’s important to note that blogging isn’t all about having 1000s of followers. I have a few loyal followers who I hold dear to my heart, and I love it when they say “Yeah I saw that on your blog.” – it means the world to me.

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Of course, there’s a lot more to consider before starting a blog, from blog name, to theme, to platform, to what social media to use. But, don’t worry I’ll be covering that in this series! If you can think of any blogging topics that you’d like me to be honest about, leave it in the comments below or Tweet me @retroandthrift.

Getting Motivated When You Work From Home


I’m not going to lie, I felt a bit smug this morning when I saw people tweeting about going back to work after Christmas. Although I did go back to work today, I didn’t have to leave my house and head into the office, or even get dressed!

If you’ve never worked from home before, you may be thinking “Wow, what a life,” but if like me, your office is also your bedroom, you may know of some of the struggles to motivate yourself to actually get things done.

Here, I’ve put together some tips for getting motivated when you work for yourself or from home.

Set out a special space in your home for work only

In an ideal world, we’d all have our own fancy office where you can shut away the world and focus on your work. But in reality, this isn’t always an option. I share a house with my friend, and unfortunately, she wasn’t up for sleeping on the sofa, whilst I used her room for my office. So, I turned the corner of my own bedroom into my workspace.

Make it something to look forward to 

Even if you love your job, it can be hard to get back into the swing of things after a long break, such as Christmas or a holiday. This is why you need to make it something to look forward to. Luckily, I received a lot of working-from-home related gifts for Christmas, including some nice stationary, comfy clothes, candles and even a coffee machine. I made sure this morning that I had a fresh pot of coffee on the go, as I filled in my new weekly planner (a gift to myself oops).

I also got ‘ready for work’ in one of my new jumpers that I bought in the New Year sales. By the time 9AM rolled around I was raring to get some work done.

Plan out your day, week or month

I sat this morning and planned out everything I needed to do today, which was a lot seeing that it was my first full-day back after Christmas. Every time I complete a task, I tick it off my list. This makes me even more motivated to complete the next one.

I also mapped out an outline of all the work I needed to get done this month, which really helped focus my brain.

Set working hours

For me personally, it’s hard to keep to set working hours. Social media is a constant thing, and people will often interact or message clients at all hours. Still, I try to set my main working hours between 9am and 6pm. This is when I’ll mainly check and respond to emails, arrange meetings and interviews and do the bulk of my work. I find it hard to switch off from work, so it’s important that I force my brain to ‘clock out’ at the end of the day.

Take a break 

It’s your first day back, so give yourself a break. I personally find it quite difficult to write after a few days away from my laptop, so I wasn’t too hard on myself when it took me a little longer than it would normally. Again, I had plenty of coffee to keep me going and made myself a nice lunch to feed my brain.

Leave the house 

If you really can’t stand being on your own at home every day, head somewhere else to work. Make use of your local library, or find a nook in your local coffee shop. You could even search for co-working spaces in your area – they seem to be popping up in quite a lot of cities now, but you may have to pay a membership fee. Alternatively, if you do have a spare room (or even shed) where you live, look to see if you could convert it into a home office.

Stay social 

Get in contact with your friends and organise something nice for the end of the week. Even if you just meet up for coffee, getting out the house and speaking to real life people can seriously help when you’re working from home. Sometimes I go days without properly speaking to anyone or leaving the house, so it’s important I have fun dates in my diary to look forward to. If no one wants to play, there are plenty of Twitter chats to take part in!

How do you motivate yourself when working at home? I’d love to hear your tips. 

4 Things I’ve Learnt in 4 Years of Blogging

Retro and Thrift is 4 today! Yes, four years ago today little 16 year old Courtney was sat at her laptop telling the world about her new makeup purchases – Lipcote and a Next eye shadow set. I still use and love Lipcote but I think (and damn well hope) we can all agree that my writing and photography skills have improved a lot since then?  Besides developing the obvious skills that coming with running a blog, I feel that it’s taught me a lot more – here are my top 5.

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