Having celebrated my blog birthday a few weeks ago (can you believe I’ve been blogging for five years already?!) I reviewed my blog journey and ask myself that age old question (that most of us ask ourselves really) Why did I start blogging? And how?
Well, I started my original blog by complete chance over on the Blogger platform, calling it House of Paul Interiors. Supporting a friend at the time at a ‘how to start your own blog’ workshop, I ended up creating my own blog just to play-along-with-the-game. Turns out, I’m pretty good at it. Prior to my blog I’d been attending interior trade shows as a visitor for years. Shows like Decorex, 100% Design and Clerkenwell Design Week always appealed to my interior design tastebuds. Let’s face it, I’m crazily obsessed with interiors and always have been. To me the way you style your house says a lot about you. And not in a pretentious way, but in a personal-choice sense of the word. My blog in the early days gave me the opportunity to verbally express my design views & discoveries through a platform that allowed me to reach out to others who had the same like-minded views. With my camera in-hand (then a Panasonic bridge-camera) I went to the same shows I’d always attended but instead uploaded that content onto my blog and people seemed to really enjoy it. Quite quickly, thinking back, I was being invited to press days & exclusive events which gave me the opportunity to take my readers along into the press days & parties via my blog. At the time I was writing 14-17 posts a month, so roughly 4 posts a week and although it was constant, it didn’t feel like a chore.
After three months of blogging I discovered bespoke blogger events, not realising they were ‘a thing’ at the time, which gave bloggers like me the opportunity to learn from each other as well as meet pro-bloggers & brands. 2011 (when I started my blog) was Meet The Blogger‘s first blogger event in Amsterdam and their keynote was Kelly Hoppen (then my interior icon). I totally missed the deadline and tickets had sold out fast so I vowed to go the following year. In the meantime I discovered a blogger called Arianna Trapani who now writes the Arianna Daily Blog. Discovering that we both studied at the KLC School of Design and had mutual Facebook friends (God love Facebook) Arianna featured me on her blog and I began to see her at press events & shows. It was then, when I attended Kelly Hoppen’s TV show press preview at the Ivy in London a few months later, that Arianna introduced me to Lifestyle Blogger Will Taylor of Bright Bazaar and just through moments like these, connections and networking, I introduced myself to the blogging community. Arianna – Co-Founder of Heart Home launched the magazine with both Carole and Daniel and it was at that launch party that I met Katie Treggiden of Confessions of a Design Geek – one of the most inspirational & ambitious design bloggers/moguls I know. Making these small connections bit-by-bit actually helped to shape my blogging experience & friendships. But what I really enjoyed most was how they formed. Meeting so many bloggers who had like-minded interests was a great springboard for ideas & collaborations. This then opened up opportunities such as guest posts, features and the chance to attend exclusive events. The following year 2012, as Meet The Blogger came back around, I made sure I bagged myself a ticket. I was then asked by the Founder Liselore Stuut to live blog the event. I jumped at the chance, not really knowing what live-blogging would entail. Cutting a long story short, it was a success and I was then asked to live-blog for the next event in Sweden and London. This was my first paid gig and it was a lot of fun, not only getting paid for my work but also my travel and hotel costs were covered. Getting paid to do something I enjoyed and did in my spare time was great. This then led to other paid work through the blog including collaborations and carefully selected sponsored post work. This prompted me to rebrand my blog and shorten the name to HOP Interiors.
After two years of blogging (which in blogger years is a hell of a long time) I decided to do something crazy and study a Masters course. It’s something I’d been procrastinating about for so so long by this point so decided to just go for it. So after trawling through open days and fine-tuning personal statements, I got into two universities – one was Westminster and the other Middlesex. Bottom line was – it came down to fees and I received a 50% scholarship to study at Middlesex, so Middlesex it was. And it was a good experience however, by this point I was juggling work, study and blogging with no time for a social life. The blog sadly lost the battle and it had to take a back seat – and that was okay. Sometimes it’s not possible to be all things to all people all of the time, even to yourself. My MA was something I couldn’t do over so I knew all my time and energy had to go into that part of my life. And it was worth it – I graduated in 2014 with a High-Merit grade and continued to work with brands after studying. Admittedly the voice of my blog began to change and realising that design was interdisciplinary I really wanted to incorporate these aspects into my blog. So after a whole lotta thought I changed my blog name (again) and re-branded to The HOP Design Studio.
So much has happened and I’d come so far since starting my humble blog in a workshop five years ago. It sounds so hard to believe but one day I woke up and thought – what if I could just start from scratch, what would I do differently? It’d been chopping & changing my blog so much that I really wanted to create something that was me again right from the beginning. This was when I decided to create this blog The Happy Flat in November 2015. Named after my Grandfather’s Caribbean home Happy Flat, this blog is focused on interiors, fashion, photography and lifestyle – the things that encompass our home life hence the name. This year I’ve set myself some blogging goals and aim to expand my blogging knowledge, still collaborating with brands but also working on creating a creative bloggers community (which is a little side project I’m hoping to launch later this year). I’m constantly surprised by where my blog and readers have taken me and I’m always humbled by the opportunities I’ve had to date. Here’s to more exciting adventures and interior discoveries.