Woohoo, it's the start of the month and that means it's time for a Blog Gem interview! For those of you who are new to my blog, this long-running series finds out about the faces, worlds, inspirations and more behind all those incredible blogs out there. This month I'm sharing an awesome lifestyle blog I recently came across called, Life Outside London. As someone who decided to move away from London and set up camp elsewhere, I was instantly drawn to the name and ooh, what a brilliantly funny, adventurous, outdoorsy, foody, lifestyle blog it is....there's a bit of everything, which I love. Anyway, enough harping on from me, let's find out about the face behind, Life Outside London.
Hi there, can you tell me and my readers a little bit about yourself?
Hello, I’m Michelle. FYI this is THE hardest first question! It requires a level of self-reflection I don’t possess after Christmas so we’ll stick to the facts: I’m a thirtysomething (don’t ask), dog bothering, cheese loving, Financial Planner by day. And a blog writing, zen yoga wannabe by night. I live beside the seaside in South Devon with a husband, almost one teenager (she’s got one foot dangerously out of the door into adulthood *sniff*) and two ridiculous spaniels. I eat Nutella from the jar, pet every single dog I see (they’re ALL good boys) and don’t sleep anywhere near enough.
Where do you blog? What is that space like?
Anywhere I can. Most often it’s probably curled up on the sofa with a cup of tea close by (got to love those clichés!) Hang on! I forgot about The Shed. We turned the shed in the garden into a secret reading and writing hideaway for me, it was a labour of love over the summer months. I whitewashed the walls, strung fairy lights up around the place and filled the shed with blankets and my favourite books for inspiration – told you I love a cliché! It’s the absolute best spot to while away an afternoon writing. The wifi from the house doesn’t reach it either so no danger of getting lost in a Google thread about slug pellets or something equally innocuous.
If you had to take only one tool to a desert island, what would you choose and why?
This is one of life’s opportunities to be a true genius and I’ve already hugely over thought it…A little camping stove but do I get pots and pans thrown in? What about seasoning? Then I considered a mobile phone but it’s a naff desert island if you can still get phone signal. So, I’ve settled on my knitting needles and some wool. With all that free time and no-one to chat to I might actually get to finish a project (I’m a flighty knitter at best!).
How do you get inspired to blog?
Once I stopped putting ridiculous pressure on myself to write prolifically I started to find inspiration
everywhere. A conversation I’ve had, a beautiful view, something I’ve seen on the news, a book, a
memory, a song…the list goes on. When you open yourself up to it, just about anything can provide a
creative spark that could end in a beautiful bit of writing. Or, you know, a blog post about the ridiculous husband and wife chats we have at home when no-one’s watching!
What top tips would you give to anyone starting a blog?
Be you. That’s been so very overused but it’s the absolute honest truth. Do not try to replicate someone else’s tone or style it will never sound authentic. Work on finding your own voice and be true to that. That’s not to say you can’t find inspiration from what others are doing, that’s often the best way to get inspired, just do it in your own sweet way. And don’t forget to live your life. Early on, a new blog can be all consuming, don’t forget to get out and about and live something worth blogging about.
Is there a story behind the name, 'Life Outside London'?
Nothing more inspiring than the fact that I used to live in London and now I don’t! I thought I would miss the bright lights of London thing after four years living there but there is nothing that makes my heart sing more than digging my toes in the sand or climbing to the top of a Tor and taking in the view across Devon. I wanted my blog to be all about opening that up to anyone who might stumble across my little corner of the web. And to remind folks that London is an incredible place but it’s not the ONLY incredible place.
If you could go to a Blog Award dinner with any 5 people (dead or alive, real or fictional) who would you choose?
Matilda, yes she of Roald Dahl fame. She’s one of my favourite fictional characters, she’d be a great
conversationalist and I wouldn’t have to get up to pass her anything!
My great nana, she passed away a few years ago now but she was incredible and one of the funniest women I’ve ever known.
Michael Palin, imagine the stories he could tell.
Barack Obama, I reckon he could do with a good night out about now and he seems like a genuinely nice bloke.
And the husband, for moral support.
And finally...if you had to choose one song to represent 'Life Outside London', what would it be and why?
Oh you’ve ended on a tougher one than the opener! Again, I feel there’s an opportunity to be witty
and fabulous and I’m going to choose something no-one’s ever heard of: Reet Petite. It’s one of my
all time favourite songs, it’s perky and frothy and a bit cheeky and I like to think (by and large) my
blog is like that. It was that or Radiohead’s ‘Creep’, which just felt too damn dark to end on.
Thank you so much, Michelle. It's been absolutely wonderful hearing all about your blogging world and can I just say, The Shed sounds AMAZING!!! I'm adding it to my wish list. And oh my word, I love what you say about just letting yourself open up to all the endless possible blog topics to write about; it's so true, there really is a wealth of incredible things to write about.
I hope you've all enjoyed reading about Michelle's wonderful blogging world and are heading over to Life Outside London right now to read more! And for those of you that want to discover more inspiration bloggers, you can catch up on all my Blog Gem interviews here.