“So how did you get into blogging?” is a question that pops up every time I meet someone new and they ask me what I do. I’m writing this blog post so I can share the link with them when we get to that point in the conversation.  Just kidding! I thought you guys might want to find out too. And since you’re already reading this, then most likely you do.

Early Years

I didn’t just wake up one day with the idea of having a blog. My fascination with fashion started way back when I was a little girl in pre-school. I wanted to be a fashion designer and my parents signed me up for this course. There I was a young Maria Grazia Chiuri in the making. I was into couture as most of my ‘designs’ were glamorous dresses fit for a red carpet event. Oh, I wish I could find these sketches now. My father is an artist so I definitely had potential. But as you can imagine my ambition didn’t last very long.

Studying Journalism at University

Fast forward to 2011 when I moved to the UK to study journalism at university. Apart from writing, I explored photography during my first year. I even learned how to process a film in the darkroom which maybe doesn’t sound so impressive right now but if you’re reading this in 2028.. What is even a darkroom? In my second year I focused a lot more on fashion magazines and obviously working at Vogue became the ultimate goal. I did an internship at a small independent magazine where I got involved in the entire creative process. From photography, to writing, to layout and design. Following that internship, I managed to create an entire magazine by myself in my final year. I would have certainly done things differently with that magazine now but if you really want to see it, I can show it to you upon request.

At the beginning of my second year, I was asked to create my very first blog on WordPress. I honestly hated it and had absolutely no idea what I was doing. Of course I left everything until the very last minute and I was far from impressed with the final result. Later that year, I went to my first fashion week and it seemed like the perfect time to start fresh. So I gave blogging another go. The whole purpose of that blog was unclear at the time. I looked at it as a creative outlet, where I could practice my writing skills, share insights from my journalism course and the fashion events I was attending at the time. There was no clear direction, so the blog itself didn’t last very long.

In my final year, I was writing my dissertation on fashion magazines in the digital age. At the time everyone was questioning the future of fashion publications and whether people are still interested in flicking through a magazine that consists of 80% advertising. I compared actual magazines to their websites and mobile versions. Thinking about how much has changed in the course of the 4 years since I graduated is just insane! That was the first time I came across case studies on blogs and realised the huge potential they had but there was still a sense of uncertainty in the air. The journalism industry was portraying bloggers as this uneducated and uninformed bunch of people who had no clue what they were doing.

Life after graduating

By the time I graduated I knew I wanted to have a blog but I felt like monetising it would be hard. I had no access to the amount of information that’s available out there now. As soon as I graduated, I moved to London and started looking for an internship at a magazine or a job as a writer but I got a job in retail instead. That was very exciting at first. I got to communicate with a lot of people and felt like I was doing something significant. As a creative person I was constantly exploring different aspects of that retail business and even got involved with social media. However, I still needed an outlet to express my individuality and I felt like starting a blog would be the best thing to do.

There was a clear vision in my head, but I was lacking the confidence, the time and the resources to make it happen. I couldn’t commit to writing a 600 word blog post, 2 or 3 times a week. That’s a struggle even now when I don’t work full-time. Who was going to take my pictures? I didn’t even have a camera. Instagram at the time was gaining a huge popularity with people sharing their outfits and style. It was the easiest way to get started without having to invest a huge amount of time. My audience started growing slowly and I kept saying to myself that once I reach a certain amount of followers, I’d start a blog. The truth is I was just making excuses but I always kept it in the back of my mind.

Making baby steps

It took me months if not a year to make that first step. I launched Note by Michelle on the 1st of January 2017. Wrote 3 entire blog posts the same month, another one in February and I had my first collaboration in March. In April, I got my Olympus PEN Epl-7 which is the camera I’m still using for some of my photos today. I shoot a lot on iPhone and sometimes with a DSLR. The following months were very quiet as I was trying to figure my life out. I took some time off to travel and had a fresh start in September. That’s when things really changed for me and I started collaborating with brands and earning some money. It’s not been an easy journey but I wouldn’t change a single thing about it.

I rarely write blog posts these days but I’d love to get back into writing. That’s why I got into blogging in the first place. If you enjoy reading my posts, please comment , share and show your support. I appreciate any feedback, good or bad. It’s the only way I know if you like what I do.

Michelle x

The dress I’m wearing in this post is NA-KD and you can get 20% off on their website with code Mihaela20.

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With nearly three quarters of this year under way and Halloween, Christmas and NYE fast approaching, I decided it’s time to sit down and make a plan for the remaining months of 2017. That way I can make the most out of the end of what has been a rollercoaster year. And yes, you read that correctly. Christmas is on its way but don’t panic just yet. Liberty have already opened their Christmas shop, so you can start planning and buying everyone’s presents early to avoid the craziness of last minute shopping. Trust me, it’s not worth the stress, I’ve been there.  Anyway, I thought I’ll create this post, so you know what to expect and also to remind myself what I’m planning on getting up to.

London Fashion Week

The first time I went to fashion week was in 2013 and I was still a student, so imagine the excitement. The season after, I got backstage passes and filmed all the action for my final year project at uni. Don’t ask me how I did it. I literally had to email every single person involved and to hear NO about a hundred times but I got there in the end. So naturally, I relate fashion week to a lot of stress as well as excitement. At this point I’m a bit tired of running around and I’m trying to enjoy the events around fashion week as much as I can. That means mostly from the comfort of my own home but the plan is to get to the venue for a couple of shows and presentations. I’m also curious to check the designer showrooms and vlog some of the action.

Establish a blog aesthetic

I started this blog at the beginning of the year and my plan was to get as much varied content on the topics of beauty, fashion, lifestyle and travels. It has been a period of adjustment. Now that I sort of got things cracking, I feel like it’s time for me to establish a brand and aesthetic for this baby blog of mine. Which isn’t necessarily an easy thing. I find myself looking at other blogs and trying to go down paths that have been long established. Then I realise, this is not me. Sometimes I want things to happen the easy way like “That’s going to be my logo, here’s what my business cards will look like, I want to shoot with this particular photographer because I saw another blogger working with them and the photos looked great.” But that’s not always how things turn out. So instead of trying too hard to fit in and make myself look like this blogger or that blogger, I look at those girls who are different and I ask myself what is it about this person that I like and how can I translate it into my own vision without stealing someone’s intellectual property.

Focus on quality

I’m planning to focus on the quality of work I produce rather than the quantity for two reasons. First, I want to keep my content as authentic and relatable as I possibly can. Second, I’ve never seen myself as one of those bloggers who post every day. Not because I have nothing to say. Trust me, there’s folders and folders of work on my laptop waiting to be edited and published but there’s a right moment for every single piece. Better quality content also means better photographer. I started working with Becky, who studied fashion photography and is also a wedding photographer and loves it. We shot a look on Sunday which I will publish sometime this week and you’ll be seeing more of her work on the blog in the near future. You can also check her Facebook in the meantime.

Travel

I feel like I didn’t do enough travelling this year even though I’ve been to a few places. I wanted to explore a more exotic destination so we’re currently looking at the options and hopefully I’ll have some sort of idea in the next couple of weeks. If that doesn’t happen by the end of this year, there’s plenty of nice places in Europe that I still haven’t visited. If you want to recommend a place that is still warm in October and is within a 3-4 hour flight from the UK, you’re more than welcome. There’s a post coming soon on how to save on travelling so you can either travel more or have more spending money when you’re on a trip. Stay tuned!

Making my room cosy for the new season

In preparation for the season ahead, I decided to give my room a little makeover. As you probably know already, pink is my favourite colour. A little pink can go a loooong way – it brightens up a space, it’s uplifting and it’s super calming, which is ideal for a bedroom. There is still some bits and pieces that I need to add, so this will be work in progress for the next month or so. Whilst I was shopping and redecorating my room, I stumbled upon items that I didn’t necessarily need until I saw them. Examples include this pink faux fur rug which is incredibly soft and this pineapple that I’m just obsessed with. If you too are looking to give your room an update, I’ve linked some options below so you can have a browse and fall in love. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

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