A Little Life Update: On Blogging Alongside a Career

A Girl, A Style _ Westminster Louboutins

It’s been a while since my last life update, so I thought I’d share the latest. As many of you will know, I have worked full time in politics the whole time I’ve had this blog (over 6 years – how time flies); first as a government policy advisor on domestic affairs, then as a parliamentary advisor to a Cabinet Minister for five years (until my boss retired from Parliament last year), and now at a policy consultancy.

I don’t deny that politics and lifestyle blogging are a strange combination. While most other bloggers either have complementary jobs (usually in fashion or beauty), or eventually give up their jobs altogether to become full-time bloggers, I have always been somewhat of an anomaly amongst my peers for having (and maintaining) two such disparate roles. For a long while I struggled with being both at once – fearing my colleagues in politics would dismiss me as frivolous whilst thinking my blogging industry peers didn’t see me as a ‘real blogger’ even though my readership numbers were just as good as theirs (I’d always have to skip daytime events and then rush to evening events straight from Parliament, to the bemusement of everyone else).

And then I came to realise that just like I always relate more to bloggers who, like me, hold down full time careers alongside their blogs*, I like to think that having a career separate to this blog makes me similarly relatable to my readers (I know that most of you are not yourselves full-time bloggers; I receive more emails from readers asking for career advice each week than I do about any other subject).

So I decided to ignore Sheryl Sandberg and Lean Sideways in my career (not quite as catchy, I’ll admit). After endlessly feeling guilty that I was too burned out after long days at work to find the creative energy to blog, but not wanting to just give up the career I’ve worked in for over a decade (and spent six years at university working towards), I made the decision to ignore a promotion this time in favour of taking Fridays off to work on my blog and creative projects from now on. My peers in Westminster would probably consider this career suicide (in politics you’re no one unless you’re the top of the game, which includes being available to your boss and journalists 24/7); but because I don’t know anyone else in the blogosphere with my strange career combination, I’ve decided to make my own rules.

And I couldn’t be more excited! I still won’t be able to blog daily like my full-time peers, but you can expect considerably more regular updates from me from now on.

So, as always, please let me know if there are any specific topics you’d like me to cover more from now on. Do you want to see more outfits and personal style? Beauty? Lifestyle and advice? Home and interiors? And I know so many of you want to know more about careers advice, so please let me know if you have any questions and I’ll cover all of them in a separate post.

Have any of you ‘leaned sideways’ at any point in your career? Do you work and blog at the same time? I’d love to read your advice, tips and questions in the comments below!

Love, Miss B xx

*(…inspiring women like Krystal from This Time Tomorrow, who works at Google, Blair from Atlantic Pacific who works at Tory Burch, Kristina who is an anesthesiologist (!), and my good friend Nicolette Mason, who is an editor at Marie Claire and spends countless hours championing equality in fashion.)

 

57 thoughts on “A Little Life Update: On Blogging Alongside a Career

  1. I am brand new to your blog (I just found it this morning), but I really liked your post. I’m a full time mom, but I love politics (though I am an American living in London, let’s not get into what a freak show this year in the US is turning into!), and have blogged on and off for close to ten years. I love politics, fashion, long complicated Russian novels, and very teen worthy soapy tv like Vampire Diaries. I think you can be dedicated to mixture of different things even if they seem to not fit so neatly together.

  2. I have been a reader for a while and I think it’s cool you follow your own rules, and good for you to turn down something like that. It must have been a tough decision! Also I can totally understand that it must be hard to juggle both a political career and a blog, but it’s admirable that you do!
    And to what I like to read here then lifestyle, beauty and I actually think it could be interesting to read about politics from your perspective (maybe im just weird!)

    Anyway, lovely post! x

    – LS
    http://www.sephira.dk

  3. I have a very similar struggle working in PR and blogging so I completely feel for you in this situation. I love the solution you came up with and can’t wait to hear how it works out for you!!

  4. I think that B stands for brilliant! I love to hear from women and men who carve out their own path, so your decision makes me pay double attention to your blog.

    I’m a mum who works four days a week and runs my own business on the fifth (and sixth and seventh) day, so I’d be keen to hear of any organising and balancing tips. But still keep going with the fashion, beauty, lifestyle and glimpses of London/Cambridge life which perk up my day and leave me inspired. I’d also welcome the odd post about your work.

    Good on you Miss B for breaking the mould and trying something that works for you. Thank you for your blog.

    Sally

    • I also work full time and blog on the side – probably with less traffic than you! In the run up to maternity leave I’ve been taking Friday’s off and my blog writing has increased marginally! Good luck.

      • Thank you so much Rachel; it’s so good to know I’m not alone. Good luck with your own blog and maternity leave!

        B xx

    • Sally, what a kind and thoughtful comment, thank you so much! Thank you so much for the encouragement and post suggestions; I’ll try to oblige with all of those.

      B xx

  5. This is brilliant! I’m a full-time lawyer who has just started lifestyle blogging on the side – another strange combination – and this is such an inspiration! Although I’m by no means in the same bracket as you (my followers are nowhere near your level), by writing a blog it allows me to have a creative outlet. I have to shoe-horn it in during my three hour round commute but it never feels like a chore, just something I look forward to. I really admire your decision to work four days a week in your politics role and use your Fridays to focus on creative projects. We all find out balance in different ways and this is fab! Good for you! Katie x TheEclecticity.org

    • I love your combination of law and blogging; I wish there were more women with serious day jobs and happy lifestyle blogs out there, so please keep yup the good work!

      And thank you so much for your comment and encouragement.

      B xx

    • I’ll have to check out your blog Katie – I was a full time lawyer and lifestyle blogger, and then a full time legal marketer and lifestyle blogger and I write a lot about women in the law.

      • I would love that Rachel (it’s TheEclecticity.org)l. If you’ve got any guidance, tips or ideas then please do let me know (you’ll see it’s not very law related!) as I am very new to blogging! x

        • Katie you’re doing such a great job so far (and I love that you’re a lawyer by day). Let me know if you have any specific questions and I’ll try to help too!

          B xx

  6. Love this post and so proud of you. Over time I’ve learned that all you can do is take the path that makes YOU the most happiest.. not what other people think you should be doing. It sounds like you’re doing just that! Xx

  7. I feel you! I am conducting research myself and I find the feeling of going home and blogging about something totally different, amazing. As if I have a secret life and a polarized character.
    I myself cannot imagine being single mind-career oriented, I mean I love biology but then many other things. One should not limit her- or himself.
    https://tbymallano.wordpress.com/

    • That’s exactly what it feels like to me too! Thank you so much for the moral support, and keep up your own super-womaning (I love your career combination!)

      B xx

  8. This is really interesting to read. When I blogged, I felt the same- working full time in Higher Education meant I go all manner of peculiar looks when meeting other bloggers who worked in fashion/ beauty/ PR/ digital marketing, and felt a little out of the loop in a funny way. Personally, I never wanted my blog to be any more than a sideline and- in the end- found I drifted away from it completely. But I really respect the fact that you are doing such disparate things at the same time- more power to you! Making your own rules is the best way to go.

  9. I’m both a marketing director for a large finance company, and a freelance literary publicist — combining my equal loves for marketing & the vast world of books. 🙂 Do what makes your heart happy! And if that is a 50/50, 40/60, 70/30 combo of blogging and politics, then you do you girl.

  10. I’m a little selfish in my feeling that, yay, we are going to get more of you! I absolutely love your IG pics. I’m an American teacher by day and enjoy reading and watching videos about beauty related subjects at night. I sometimes feel guilty but it’s an interest of mine. I don’t think there’s anything wrong in having varied interests and only think that goes a long way to ensuring we are well-rounded individuals. I’ve recently stopped following some bloggers who are so one dimensional….(translation BORING). You Ms. B aren’t boring!

  11. I have actually thought about e-mailing you to ask about the “timeline” of your university studies + career because I’m studying politic as a bachelor’s degree at the moment and hope to go on to do my masters in International Relations. I’m especially interested because I’m Australian but I want to work in the EU or UK if possible. I don’t know anyone else with the experience and career you do so I’d love to hear anything and everything! What it’s really like in politics, what a day in your work life is like, how you got your first job/started your career – all things I’m curious about.

    I’m looking forward to seeing more from you! 🙂

    • Hi Emily, thank you so much for your comment! Would you believe this is the question I get asked more than anything else, so I think I’ll do a post covering all of this in case it helps anyone who is interested in the same path.

      B xx

  12. I think these days women can have it all. We study, we travel, we have careers and children at a later stage and we make our own rules. I wish you best of luck with both of your careers. I’ve been reading your blog for years (and your Instagram is one of my favourites) so I’m glad you’re not giving it up.

    Adela xx

  13. Well, good for you for ‘leaning sideways’. I am in a similar place wherein I am an accountant but enjoy fashion, home decorating, travel and cooking. You inspire by showing you can do it all. I think life is too short to not do what you love. Your posts are so enjoyable – being from southern California, it’s nice to see you having tea in Cambridge or relaxing on the beaches in Australia. I end up buying a lot of your recommendations. Keep up the good work and yes please, more outfits, makeup, home decorating, books, and afternoon tea outings!!!

  14. Brilliant article! I firmly believe that a successful career is about getting to work how you want, not just getting the top job!

    Would love to see more home/interiors, and London/Cambridge/surrounds places to visit. More personal style, too, of course!

  15. This is great! So happy that you are making your life work for you on your terms, and no-one else’s! I would love to see more posts on the details of how you plan and organize yourself and your time; what tools, products and apps you use for scheduling your life and to make yourself more productive. I’m always so interested to see how other people manage their time and what tips and tricks they have for making their days, weeks and months go smoother.

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  18. This is such a great post! I blog and work full time and it’s a tough balance, but so rewarding! Admittedly, I’ve only been following you on Instagram….today changes that. 🙂 Can’t wait to read more from you in the future!

    • Thank you so much, Jess; so lovely to have you around! I completely agree; sometimes I feel overwhelmed by guilt that I have been so busy or burned out by work I haven’t been able to blog often, but mostly I find the balance so rewarding and I love having two such different interests.

      B xx

  19. This is fabulous news! Blogging alongside working full time is a huge commitment and whilst I don’t wish to be a full time blogger, I cannot count the number of times I have wished for an extra day in the week just to fit everything in. This sounds like such an exciting change for you, I hope it brings you a whole ton of fulfillment and joy (which is just as important as career development in my eyes!). Really looking forward to seeing your posts
    xxx
    Chambray & Curls // Ethical Fashion and Lifestyle Blog

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  21. I will admit that it definitely gets hard & overwhelming at times to be a blogger AND YouTuber AND have a full time job as well. Unfortunately, these days I need to be doing everything since I’m still paying off a LOT of student loans. The amount of stress I feel making that money for a piece of paper?! Insane, but I suppose it part of the “process” of becoming an adult? Lovely reading this post & getting to know you a bit xx adaatude.com

  22. I love the post about prioritizing your life. This post reminded me of another favorite blogger/vlogger of mine, Kristina from Pretty Shiny Sparkly, who is an Anesthesiologist MD in Texas who has a luxury lifestyle blog and vlog … she she does exactly what you’re doing combining an internet presence with her very unique profession. 🙂 I will enjoy your additional content, for sure.

  23. When I first started reading blogs, around 2010, I was a law student and most bloggers worked in addition to blogging so I genuinely found them to be more interesting. I’ve always been a fan of good style and I loved seeing how women of different ages and shapes incorporated their personality into their wardrobes, especially those that worked in non-creative fields. Magazines didn’t fill that void then the way blogging did.

    As blogging became a career, many of the bloggers and their style became less interesting for me because it became homogenized and more like an online version of People Stylewatch, rather than real women incorporating style on real budgets. It’s very stylized and glamorous, but so unrealistic for every day ideas. I genuinely enjoy your blog, in large part, because you work in a male dominated non-creative field so your style is a bit more real world, even though it is very feminine.

    While you don’t highlight what you wear to work, your after work, traveling and weekend looks gives so much inspiration. While a tutu and feather mini are adorable, it would never work for a night out look for me since my clients and co-workers also, primarily, live in the city that I live in. Unfair or not, going to dinner or to an office Christmas party in such a look could have an impact on my work because of the perception that it gives. Alllllll of that essentially boils down to I’m glad that you’ll be posting more often and I genuinely enjoy your blog because you’re haven’t assimilated to the expected blogger standard for popular blogs. If I just wanted to look at unattainable or unrealistic fashion, I’d just look at the sites that show us where celebrities are at every moment of the day and what they’re wearing while being there.

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  25. I really admire your decision to make your own rules. I made a similar choice myself a couple of years ago, and whilst the initial adjustment was a bit challenging, the projects that have since emerged from the change in direction have been fantastic. Looking forward to reading more of your content and following your adventures.

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