I think this may be the longest I’ve ever gone without updating my blog. I don’t think in the more than 10 1/2 years since I started Swoon Worthy, I’ve ever gone more than a couple of weeks, nevermind more than a few months without a single post! I feel like I owe it to those of you who may be coming back and reading my blog for a bit of an explanation!
As you may already know, I started my blog back in 2010, way back before ‘influencer’ had been coined by marketers, long before you could actually make a living doing what I do. I just started it because I wanted to catalogue the changes we were making to our home. I wanted to find like-minded people that enjoyed talking about colour schemes and DIY and the latest trends (because the people closest to me were getting tired of me talking about it!).
The funny thing is, I think my blog may have been the first in the UK to let people inside my house, to show my OWN home rather than just talk about design as a whole. Plenty of people in my life thought it was very weird and warned me it was dangerous to show people INSIDE my house. But I’d seen it done across the pond and whilst no one was doing it here at that time, I knew I could maintain some kind of privacy for myself but pull back the curtain just enough for others to be inspired.
I say it’s funny because you look at Instagram now and well, everyone is doing it. There are literally hundreds of thousands of accounts of people sharing the inside of their homes but, dear reader, I promise it wasn’t always like this. And so my blog stood out, perhaps for that reason alone a decade ago and as I wrote in my blog, more and more people discovered me and followed me here.
After a few years, brands started to catch on to these new blogs, real people using their authentic experience to help others just like them. And so the offers to work with these brands started rolling in. At first, it was a bit of a minefield but I quickly learned how to navigate this whole new world of making money with my blog without sacrificing my integrity and staying true to myself. Four years after starting Swoon Worthy, I was able to quit my secular employment (I was in marketing for years and my last position was running AO’s lifestyle blog). I took on freelance writing and consultancy on the side but mostly, I concentrated on growing Swoon Worthy.
Over the last decade, I have accomplished an incredible amount with my blog. And whilst I’m super proud of it, please know that I do not mean to sound like I’m bragging or anything – especially as this is over the course of more than a decade! – but I am just stating some facts so you can understand where my head is right now, in 2021. I have won 6 blog awards, I have lost count of how many I’ve been nominated for and how many ‘top blogger’ lists I have been on, I have seen my home in more than 20 magazines around the world, I have appeared in 5 interior design books, I have hosted talks to hundreds of people, I have been a guest many times over on national radio. I have worked with some incredible brands including John Lewis, MADE, Anthropologie, the White Company, Argos, George at Home, Caesarstone, John Lewis of Hungerford… the list goes on… plus a myriad of amazing smaller businesses. Over the course of a decade, Swoon Worthy became one of the most well-known and respected interior design blogs in the UK. (Whoa.)
Further to this, at some point last year, I finally hit my goal of reaching over 100,000 page views in a month on the blog and it just kept growing. Not long after that, that figure doubled. The traffic I receive now is larger than I could have ever dreamed. It’s a little surreal if I’m honest.
I am genuinely so so grateful for my blog (and for my readers and followers of course!). It changed our lives in the most incredible ways and it has given me so much. I have been able to support my family with it, pay our mortgage, keep our furbabies fed. It’s allowed me an incredible amount of freedom and I’ve met some of my best friends through it. It has not been without a lot of hard work and the journey hasn’t always been smooth, but I have been able to accomplish the goals I had set for myself.
In case you are scared at this point that I am going to say I’m abandoning my blog forever, please know that is not happening. I don’t think I could ever give it up entirely.
I do think, however, looking back over the last decade, that I’ve now gotten to a point with it that I have no real further goals to reach. I’ve accomplished every goal I had for the blog and then some. Crazy when I think of it, someone who simply loved interior design and wanted to talk about it. I’m still that person, that hasn’t changed. Okay, I have picked up a lot of skills over that time, I’m much better at pulling a room together, we’ve learned so much in terms of DIY over that time. But I’m still just someone who wanted to share. Ya see, I never wanted to be ‘Insta-famous’, I didn’t need to be “turning over 6 figures” and I never wanted to be someone who just preached endless consumerism… those were never my goals so I don’t care that I didn’t achieve those arbitrary markers of success. I just wanted to share my experiences, I wanted the freedom to be my own boss and I wanted to have fun decorating a lovely house and well, I somehow managed those goals instead.
And then, well, Covid hit and the whole world changed and something shifted for me.
I was happy, yes, I had worked really hard for so long and accomplished so much of what I’d set out to do. But I no longer felt challenged, I no longer felt excited. To be honest, I think I was pretty burnt out.
And so I decided to shift my energies into a different creative project just to see what might happen, something to throw myself into while the world was in chaos.
So last year, I poured my heart and soul into starting my home-poured luxury candle business and it was like the lights switched back on when I hadn’t even realised they’d been ‘off’. Suddenly, I had a totally new and different challenge, a whole new set of skills to learn. I was starting pretty much over again in so many ways. And my god, was that so nice. I haven’t had that sort of feeling in so long. Things had become too comfortable for me and now there was this huge hill to climb and I didn’t know how I was going to get over that hill but I was going to have the best time trying.
I still do love my blog. I still love interior design. But admittedly, I don’t love where things are going in the industry. I don’t want to make it big on Instagram (and nowadays, most brands have shifted focus from blogs to Instagram), an app which to make any real traction, you have to pretty much be on full time, an app that is constantly shifting the goalposts, where there are just so many creators now vying for attention. Maybe it’s my age, maybe it’s because I’m a bit older now but I have been negotiating changes in the industry already for such a long time. To me, Instagram feels like junk food, a quick fun hit of entertainment and inspiration but it’s not going to really teach you anything because it all moves so fast. And maybe that’s why blogs are still being read despite what the media might say, despite the fact few brands want coverage on blogs. Maybe that’s why my traffic is higher now than it ever has been because people still want to learn. They still want to slow down a little bit and digest something interesting or learn something new that isn’t just someone pointing to a few words appearing on a screen in 15 seconds.
I have more than 10 years of content on this blog and my blog posts are read every single day by thousands of people because it seems, they are still relevant. They are still teaching you things you may not have known before. And that makes me so proud and so happy. I still get emails all the time from people saying they’ve only just discovered my blog and how helpful they found it. That’s all I ever wanted.
And so whilst I will continue writing on this blog, I have another baby that I’m raising right now: Swoon Worthy Scents. I love that business, it’s still in its infancy but it’s growing stronger all the time, my goals for it are clear and I’m excited about where it will take me.
The blog won’t be neglected completely, I promise, and I’ll still be on Instagram too – I just need to get back into the swing of things. But what I am taking from all this time off is that I’m letting go of the pressure to pump out content for the sake of the blog or the demands of the industry. I want to share as I go in a comfortable and easy way for me – when I have something to say, when I have something to share, when I have something to teach.
We still have projects yet to complete on our home – the lockdowns have made this a little more difficult but hopefully, things are going to continue to improve in that regard. We have yet to do the utility room, we still have the hallway to do, we have a downstairs bathroom to put in, our bathroom still needs a complete overhaul, I still have smaller projects like adding panelling to the living room and I want to update our master bedroom too. We also have some big plans for the back garden that I am eager to share. I will continue to document the things we’re doing on the house here.
I guess what will change is the pressure to continually be pumping out new content all the time. We’ll take our time with these things rather than rush through them for the big reveal. Basically, I’ll still be here, it’ll just be at a more relaxed pace. It feels good to take the pressure off a bit (well, I’ve taken the pressure off for the last 6 months, to be honest!) and so while I promise I won’t necessarily go months without posting, they may be just a bit less frequent than my previous goal of one to two posts every week.
It feels good to finally be able to relax when it comes to my blog and creating the huge amount of content required when growing a blog. It feels exciting to be facing new challenges and being able to concentrate on those for a little while and I hope you understand that this is where my heart is leading me at this point in my life. I do hope, of course, you’ll stick by me, whether you’ve only just started following me or have been around these parts for many years (and if you don’t want to miss my posts, then just sign up for the newsletters below – given the circumstances, you definitely won’t be bombarded with emails!).
Anyway, it feels good to get that off my chest. Thanks for letting me share my thoughts today!