How to balance blogging when you have a full time job

managing blogging when you have a full time job
managing blogging when you have a full time job
managing blogging when you have a full time job
managing blogging when you have a full time job

Chances are, I’m probably not the first blogger you’ve stumbled across with a ‘traditional’ 9 to 5 job, and I doubt that I’ll be the last. As much as blogging has become a powerhouse industry of its own, there are plenty of people out there – like me! – who juggle the responsibilities of managing an online space, with the day-to-day pressures of their full-time job.

As far back as I can remember, I’ve always had a passion project; whether it was designing and creating content for a website from scratch, or developing and drawing a manga-style comic, there was always something creative that I’d have on the go. From the age of about 18, I’ve had a few different fashion blogs on the go, and one thing I’ve always loved about having my own little corner on the internet has been connecting with like-minded peers, and growing a community online with people I can relate to – whether it be a shared love of kitten videos, splurging on designer shoes, travelling the world or even making those blogger connections (some of whom I’ve become very good friends with over the years!).

Best is often better than ‘perfect’

Perhaps it’s a hangover of growing up as an only child – and only grandchild – but I’ve always pushed myself towards a world in which perfect is the only option. Maybe it’s a side effect of being an overachiever, but one things I’ve found is that aiming for perfect all the time is darn exhausting.

Like success, ‘perfection’ is entirely subjective, and Rather than burden myself with the anxiety of ‘falling short’ of perfection, I’ve come to realise that there’s a happy medium to be found in doing your best. By this I mean, creating the best work you can, within the time frame you have, and being proud of the outcome. Taking things into perspective and doing your best is one of the stepping stones to creating momentum, and as the old adage goes; practice makes perfect, regardless of whether that is nailing the art of a flatlay, or developing a consistent photo editing style.

Have a schedule that’s realistic

While it might not always seem like it, blogging can be incredibly time-consuming, and posting consistently can be tough to keep up when you’re also managing the stresses of a full time day job. As someone who clocks in 40 hours a week in the ‘corporate’ world, and a good 30+ hours during my free time for my space online, forward planning and developing a realistic posting schedule have been tremendously helpful in managing my time, and knowing what to write about, and when.

Perhaps somewhat ironically, I find I’m most productive in the morning and from the late afternoon into the evenings (bring on those long lunches…!), so I tend to block out time before I leave the house for my day job to send emails, edit photos or videos, and write copy. During the week if there’s good morning light, I might take the opportunity to shoot a few flatly snaps before I head off to work, and I get Luke to help me with outfit photos on the weekend, by tying it into walking the dog or heading out to run errands.

Additionally, using tools to schedule posts on Twitter (Hootsuite is a good option), or Tailwind for Pinterest can be a huge help and take the pressure off pushing these out in real time, and you can schedule blog posts, Facebook posts and YouTube videos to go live at a time of your choosing in the back end, so take advantage of this if it’s going to help you manage your schedule.

What are your goals?

If you’re planning to start a blog – or even if you already have one – as with any traditional job, it’s a good idea to identify what your goals are.

It’s probably worth noting here that I absolutely love my day job; it fills me with an immense sense of pride, and I wake up on Monday morning ready for the work week ahead (although often wishing I could have spent another hour or two in bed…). But, I’m someone who always loves to be busy, and having a blog and a YouTube channel allows me to do that, but on my own terms. I can reel in back if I think I’ve taken on too much, create more if I’m feeling inspired, but above all, it’s a space that I get to call my own, and there’s a sense of accomplishment that comes with that.

Is your online space somewhere that creates value for others? Is it a platform for you to develop your photography skills? Is it purely an outlet for your creative musings? Or are you hoping for it to be something more…?

There’s so much more value in tackling something with a sense of purpose, and knowing where you are now, and where you want to be – whether it’s six months, a year, or five years from now – will help you to put steps in place to achieve those goals, no matter how big or small.

managing blogging when you have a full time job
managing blogging when you have a full time job
managing blogging when you have a full time job

Wearing gingham ruffle top (this is a SUPER cute alternative and I LOVE this one), Topshop tie waist trousers (these are also lovely), Everlane day heels, HiEleven bag, Mademoiselle X Mejuri earrings

Free time will be at a premium

In addition to working a 40 hour work week at my day job (plus a 1 hour commute each way daily), I find myself spending on average, 30 or more hours a week at home, writing, editing, researching and filming for my blog, Instagram and YouTube Channel. Clearly, there isn’t a lot of that ‘work-life’ balance happening.

I think it’s important to note that this isn’t for everyone, and as a person who genuinely gets satisfaction from creating content, it’s a lifestyle choice that I’ve made that allows me to (in some ways…) have the best of both worlds.

Expanding from my earlier point about being realistic with your schedule, I wake up early to give me free time in the evenings, and I’ll always find a way to make a catch up with friends or family happen, even if it means being a little more creative with how I manage my ‘workload’ across my digital platforms, such as working on the train during my morning commute.

I often tend to joke that I’m extremely time poor, but when it comes to your free time, all that matters is how you choose to spend it… just keep in mind if you’re blogging a lot, there might now he much of it!

Asking for help is okay

I’ll be the first to admit that when it comes to any singular piece of content, whether that’s a blog post, a photo, or a video, I find it hard to delegate. I want to put my own personal stamp on everything, even if the stress and effort outweighs the actual benefit.

It’s worth keeping in mind that delegating out some of the smaller or more time-consuming tasks can actually free up your schedule, so you can focus your energies on bigger and better ideas (and possibly allow you to sneak in a full eight hours sleep too!). Basically if you don’t ask, you don’t get.

Don’t compare yourself to others

Something I apply to both my online space, and my day job, is to avoid the ‘comparison trap’. You may have similar goals to one of your peers, but your pathway there is going to look completely different, and that journey is all part of the ride, and part of what shapes who you are.

In a world where ‘success’ is (wrongly) judged by the number of followers you have, or likes you receive, it can be easy to look at creators with similar content who’ve had tremendous growth or had the opportunity to work on a collaboration you missed out on, and think, ‘why them and not me?’. This sort of mindset is far from healthy, and in the end, you’re only going to end up self-sabotaging yourself. Just remember that your journey is going to be uniquely yours, and every individual has their own story, and own set of stepping stones that will see them achieve their goals – no two journeys will look the same.

In a nutshell, when it comes to blogging, you make your own rules; no two days will look the same, you can make your own schedule, and you can create content on your own terms. One of the things I feel pretty fortunate for, is the fact that I have a day job that I absolutely l-o-v-e, and I have a hobby that gives me so much fulfilment in my spare time, in addition to having opened up opportunities that I never would have imagined. If there’s one thing to keep in mind, it’s to always live in the present, and remember, the happier you are, the better your work will be! x

Why I’ve invested in a transitional jacket for Spring

transitional jacket spring wardrobe mademoiselle
transitional jacket spring wardrobe mademoiselle
transitional jacket spring wardrobe mademoiselle
transitional jacket spring wardrobe mademoiselle
transitional jacket spring wardrobe mademoiselle

Assembly Label sweater (similar option here), J Crew denim skirt (also love this one), Workshop jacket in camo (more affordable here), Everlane oxfords, HiEleven bag

The transition from winter to summer is always one of my favourites, as I love the opportunity to bare some leg, while still being able to comfortably throw on a few layering pieces. It’s the perfect time to not only trial out a few new silhouettes or layering techniques, and have a bit of fun with your style staples.

Leaning more towards what I’d consider to be classic ‘Parisian’ silhouettes, one of the key additions to my signature ‘style recipe’ has been a transitional jacket for spring an autumn – generally something that can see me through both seasons, as well as acting as a layering piece under a coat during winter (if I need it!).

As eager as I am to break out my slip dresses, and off the shoulder tops paired with denim shorts, I don’t quite attack my style with the same climate insensitivity I had as a teen, when a little cami and denim skirt would pass as an ‘outfit’, even in the winter months. Instead, I’ve been enhancing my outfit with a layering piece, whether it’s the army jacket I’m wearing above, a trench coat (this one from Everlane is my favourite), or a biker style leather jacket. Given my wardrobe colour palette leans fairly neutral as it is, it’s been a great way for me to add in some complementary earthy tones, and dip my toes outside of my comfort zone (both style and colour-wise).

While I want to talk about my style recipes in greater detail, perhaps the simplest combination that I’ve been reaching for, as we’ve transitioned into spring is: jumper + skirt + transitional jacket + mid-heels. It’s an equation that works, no matter what each individual item looks like – in part down to years of refining my wardrobe – and I love the simplicity that defining a set of style values for a season provides.

transitional jacket spring wardrobe mademoiselle
transitional jacket spring wardrobe mademoiselle
transitional jacket spring wardrobe mademoiselle
transitional jacket spring wardrobe mademoiselle
transitional jacket spring wardrobe mademoiselle

So in the last couple months, to prepare for spring and round out my closet, I’ve been investing in a few transitional jackets that are classic enough to continue wearing for years to come. First up is this army-inspired (unisex) field jacket, which has been a wardrobe favourite since I managed to nab it on sale a couple of months ago. It’s quite a loose silhouette, but I love the fact that you can breathe new life into it by rolling up the sleeves, or using the ties to cinch in the waist for a more refined fit.

Second up, is this denim jacket from Topshop. The perfect shade of mid-wash blue, it filled a gap I’d had in my closet for an oversized and easy throw on option for the weekend. Again, it’s been one of those items that I can’t stop wearing on repeat (always the sign of a good purchase!), and it’s big enough to carry me through autumn and the start of winter for 2018.

Finally, I’ve been on the lookout for a replacement leather jacket after parting with my black Acne Studios mape leather jacket last year. But trying to find a leather jacket that ticked all the boxes without breaking the bank has proven to be pretty impossible, especially when you’ve set your gold standard at Balenciaga… After deciding to set my sights on a faux leather option instead as a bit of a compromise to my wallet, I stumbled on this lovely option from MVN.

Are you in favour of the transitional jacket?

Adding Print to a Classic Wardrobe

minimal wardrobe houndstooth skirt mademoiselle
minimal wardrobe houndstooth skirt mademoiselle
minimal wardrobe houndstooth skirt mademoiselle
minimal wardrobe houndstooth skirt mademoiselle
minimal wardrobe houndstooth skirt mademoiselle

Grana silk cami (10% off with JAMIEXGRANA), Stella Morgan houndstooth skirt (I love this gingham option), Everlane trench coat, Everlane day heels, Chanel boy bag, Dior zodiac twilly

One thing you’ve probably noticed, particularly if you’ve been a long time reader of my blog, is that it’s not often that I add a bit of print into the mix. Having made a concerted effort to simplify and strip back my wardrobe – not only to make getting ready in the morning 10x easier, but to also strengthen and define my personal style – there hasn’t been much room for prints in the classic wardrobe that I’ve spent years building.

So, how do you add print to an otherwise classic wardrobe, without detracting from your personal style? Firstly, the focus has to be on finding the right print for you, which is versatile, and works within your style guidelines. Over the years, you’ll have noticed a handful of prints which have been in heavy rotation; polka dots, stripes, and more recently, a bit of gingham and houndstooth. With a wardrobe that is is grounded in basic staples in a fairly neutral colour palette, my focus has been on complementing that with prints, in a way that is fun (and that will hopefully also become staples that I’ll want to reach for in the seasons to come!).

For example, a couple of the things I like about the houndstooth skirt I’m wearing above is the architectural tie at the waist which acts as a focal point for the piece in addition to adding a bit of whimsy, the asymmetrical hemline, and the tightness of the print – the latter of which is one of the keys to making it such a subtle complement to my existing wardrobe.

I’ve had my fair share of hits and misses when it comes to building my wardrobe – overall – but below are the four rules that I apply when deciding if a print will work with the current contents of my closet…

IS THIS A TREND PIECE?
In an age of Instagram, there seems to be a constant stream of new trends to try and add to your closet. I try to be pretty selective about which trends to incorporate into my closet, and try to focus on styles which have a timeless appeal to them that I can see lasting more than a month or two. Same rule applies to prints – go for the ones which are less focused on a seasonal trend, as not only will they be less likely to date, but unlike a bold print, they won’t feel ‘tired’ after a few wears.

CAN YOU WEAR IT AT LEAST THREE WAYS?
As with any new purchase, one of the best ways to predict its longevity – and whether you’re going to actually reach for it – is if you can imagine wearing it in at least three different outfits. Or even better, five outfits. The more versatile it is, the more classic it’s likely to be, and again, the more staying power it will have. Prints might have a reputation for being bold, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t prints out there which will stand the test of time.

DOES THIS FIT YOUR LIFESTYLE & WHEN WILL YOU WEAR IT?
It’s so easy to get swept up in the magic of buying something new, that you can forget to stop and think, ‘does this actually fit my lifestyle?’. While an ikat printed playsuit might seem like a great complement to your wardrobe in theory, is this something that you’re likely to only wear on vacation or is it an item that you can see yourself reaching for more than once a week? Perhaps the biggest change to my own closet the last two years has been acknowledging that a large proportion of my previous wardrobe didn’t accurately reflect my lifestyle, since I stopped working in a corporate office. The same goes for prints – know when you’re likely to wear them, and add them to your wardrobe accordingly. For me, I like simple more subdued patterns for everyday, and love the idea of a bolder print for summer weekends and tropical holidays.

DO I WANT IT TO BE A FOCAL POINT OF MY OUTFIT, OR A SUBTLE COMPLEMENT?
Finally, the last thing I like to consider is whether the print works best as a focal point of my outfit or more of a complement. Printed dresses and jumpsuits might be easier to throw on as they’re a total outfit in themselves, but they’re less likely to get as much mileage as a printed top or skirt, or a fun accessory like a pouch or a pair of shoes (such as these leopard-print sandals). I tend to opt for printed separates so that I can tone them down with a block colour – it’s a much softer introduction to print, and it can make them a lot easier to wear.

Do you have any prints that have become classic staples in your wardrobe?

Spring Wardrobe Essential: The Denim Jacket

spring wardrobe essential denim jacket mademoiselle minimal outfit
spring wardrobe essential denim jacket mademoiselle minimal outfit
spring wardrobe essential denim jacket mademoiselle minimal outfit
spring wardrobe essential denim jacket mademoiselle minimal outfit
spring wardrobe essential denim jacket mademoiselle minimal outfit
spring wardrobe essential denim jacket mademoiselle minimal outfit

Everlane oversized poplin dress (I love this ladylike option too!), Topshp denim jacket, Charlotte Olympia kitty flats (affordable option here), Celine trotteur bag (similar more affordable style), Linjer watch

It’s not quite Spring yet, but that hasn’t stopped me from thinking about the key pieces I’ll be putting into regular rotation as soon as the weather warms up. Given we’ve been seeing the temperatures creep up into the 20s, I figured now was as good a time as any to start thinking about those spring wardrobe essentials.

I’ve been sticking to my no shopping diet (for the most part – I do have a rather spendy purchase to share with you all but more on that in an upcoming post… So instead of looking to inject some new spring-worthy items to refresh my closet, my plans are to remix what I already own, a thought which brings me a welcome comfort in knowing that I’ll get to pull out some of my favourite warmer wear workhorses.

My first spring wardrobe essential? A trusty denim jacket. The one I’m wearing above is a boyfriend style from Topshop which is the perfect mid-wash blue, with just the right amount of slouchiness, and I have a lighter wash cropped option from Atmos&Here which pairs well with fitted dresses and just about anything high waisted. Personally I love having those two options to choose from, depending on the kind of look I’m going for, though if blue washed denim isn’t your preference, I think a black denim jacket (like this one or also this one) makes for a great alternative.

One of my favourite ways to wear a denim jacket is simply with a white shirt dress – the one I’m wearing is from Everlane. It’s incredibly boxy, and has 3/4 length sleeves which look cute rolled up too. For the shoes, I opted for my trusty kitty flats from Charlotte Olympia (these are an excellent affordable dupe!!). I often fall back on these for relaxed weekend outfits as I know I can rely on them to not only look cute, but be super comfortable too. My bag is the trotteur bag from Celine; this is a relatively new addition to my wardrobe (I did an unboxing for it here), and it’s been perfect for weekends – I often tend to reach for this over all other options. Finally, my watch is the ‘classic’ from Linjer (I did a review on it here), which I adore for it’s inherent simplicity and lack of obvious branding, plus it’s a much daintier option than the other watches I own.

Is a denim jacket one of your spring wardrobe essentials, and how do you like to wear it? x

Breton Stripe Top & Military Jacket

mademoiselle outfit wearing breton stripe top army jacket
mademoiselle outfit wearing breton stripe top army jacket
mademoiselle outfit wearing breton stripe top army jacket
mademoiselle outfit wearing breton stripe top army jacket
mademoiselle outfit wearing breton stripe top army jacket
mademoiselle outfit wearing breton stripe top army jacket

T by Alexander Wang stripe top, Willow leather skirt (old but this is a great faux option or I also really like this one), Workshop military jacket (I also love this jacket and this is a great affordable option), Everlane day heels (affordable here), Celine trotteur bag

Meet one of the latest additions to my wardrobe, the military inspired jacket. I snagged this at the end of last month during a lucky browse on the Workshop website; I’d stopped by their store while in Auckland, and after trying the jacket on I’d spent the next three weeks thinking about whether I’d made the right decision not to snap it up ‘in the moment’, and after spying that it was on sale, it felt too good an opportunity to pass up. Truthfully, it’s still a *little* too cold to be wearing this daily, although I’m looking forward to reaching for this a lot more often once spring rolls around.

I decided to pair the military jacket with three of my wardrobe staples: the mariniere, the leather skirt, and the day heels from Everlane (coincidentally, exactly what I was wearing when I tried the jacket on!). It’s a simple colour palette, which is elevated by the addition of the army green jacket, plus I love the juxtaposition of the more feminine silhouette with a more masculine jacket.

As it warms up, I’m planning to throw this on over my white shirt dress (also from Everlane), and with more casual outfits like a singlet and shorts, dressed up with a pair of heeled sandals. Again, it’s that idea of pairing a traditionally more masculine silhouette with outfits that have a largely feminine undertone – to me that’s the key to incorporating a military jacket into your wardrobe.