What I learned in my first year of blogging - My 16 top tips for starting a blog

If you had asked me what a blog was 18 months ago I wouldn't have really known ... I generally regarded them as a pointless online diary or a way for brands to drone on on their website about their products. But since starting Ethical Bunny last year, I couldn't be happier and have never had such a rewarding hobby. I get it now, I get why so many people (like 400 million?) have started a blog. Obviously, some people do it for money which I think is fair enough, but I feel like for most it is about the expression of self. Writing a blog post is a chance few get during the working day, to express your own views and feelings or your passion for a particular subject. It's an extension of self and provides an outlet and a virtual space to express and connect.

With that in mind, I thought I would share my tips on what I have learned from a year of blogging (yes I know I'm still a blogging baby) on how to get the most out of your blog and to get it how you want it. I hope you all enjoy my tips and get something from it, however, the best way to learn is always just to start. If you want to start a blog don't ever be scared of what people will say... Everyone makes spelling and grammar mistakes everyone forgets to post or has technical difficulties etc. (I currently still do); its all about the developing process and the learning curve.

1. Choose your platform! Obviously, I recommend blogger.. if like me you work 50+ hours a week a WordPress site will be very demanding and time-consuming to set up. If you have the time that's great but if you want something you can create on a lazy Sunday afternoon choose blogger.

2. Make sure your content is original! I've seen quite a few people say your blog has to focus on one thing but as you can see from mine I don't think that's true. I think it probably helps when fitting into a niche to be picked up by a brand... but why bother? I personally think a blog should be dynamic, flexible and the subject should reflect your interests. If that is one specific thing great, but if it doesn't? Who cares! I started my blog to share my favourite beauty products and document my journey going cruelty-free, however, this opened the door and my eyes to so many other contemporary environmental issues I wanted to learn about and explore!

3. One more technical tip I would recommend when you start your blogging journey is that you join Bloglovin. This way its easy to share posts and promote them to other bloggers and people that like reading blogs. It will also give you a chance to follow and be followed by other bloggers. 

4. OK, my spelling and grammar are slightly questionable ... but hey I'm dyslexic. One thing that has really helped me improve my writing and blogging is downloading Grammarly especially as the spellcheck function on Blogger is so poor.

5. Don't bother waiting to get expensive cameras etc. before you start your blog. I know most bloggers seem to have a Mac, expensive camera every gadget and tripod under the sun but you don't NEED these things. They will improve your image quality on your images but you can take pretty good images on phones now and unless you have that money to burn I wouldn't bother. 

6. If you decide to start your blog on Blogger, they have lots of templates for you to choose from to get started. After your first few posts, however, I would recommend getting a template for your blog from Etsy. There you can buy artwork and help develop the look and feel of your blog and prices start from about £4.00

7. Use labels tags and keywords properly in your blog and your blog post. These will help people searching for blog posts find your blog.

8. Be prepared for your blog to change shape over time. What you write about, the quality and the subject, as well as your blog design, will naturally develop and this is ok it's all part of the process nothing is 'perfect' or 'set' from the beginning!

9. Get a prop box for to help you create flat lays! If you want some inspiration and want to know what a flat lay is, just go over to my Pinterest. This is a great way of displaying products and making them look interesting. A prop box is literally that! just a load of bits and bobs you can add into a picture to create a flat lay.. (I'm not an expert but comment below if you want to know what kind of things I put in my prop box!)

10. Post regularly... Yeh I know I'm not great at this! Posting at least once a week and on the same day is great when you start and want to build up your content. Posting on the same day means people know when to check your blog for updates too!

11. Ir if you just use Blogger or if you use Google analytics or any other tool make sure you check who is coming to your site and when; this can give you so much insight into your audience and can help you time and tailor your posts!

12. Noone is good at writing blogs when they start but my rule of thumb is to try and hook people in the first line, and never go over 500 words! Shorter blog posts with lots of images tend to do better but some people love to read and will appreciate blogs with longer posts. I personally try and keep to about 300 words and the amount of images depends on the subject.

13. Don't compare your blog to other peoples blogs! Most bloggers have been blogging for years and comparing your month old or year old blog to something someone else has built up over years will only hurt your blogging confidence1 Also there is no right or wrong way to blog, so don't be hard on yourself it's meant to be fun!

14. Do link to brands websites, the article you have used etc! this makes it easy for brands to see you and your readers buy what you are writing about. Also if you are writing something about a news story or environmental problem its good to show you have done your research and backed up your opinions.

15. Do ask friends and family to read your blog, this will help grow your readership especially in the beginning.

16. Relax its meant to be fun and no one gets everything right the first time! 

I hope you have all enjoyed this I just thought I would write something a little different today to celebrate my blogs birthday.

Why I don't have a capsule wardrobe - Sustainable fashion edit

For as long as I can remember I have been obsessed with fashion and I spent long hours growing up pouring though Vogue looking in awe at the eclectic catwalk shows and latest designer creations. I love the creativity of designers the way they turn something functional into decedent pieces of art.

Although I decided to stop buying fast fashion and build a more conscious and thoughtful wardrobe I still love the catwalk shows and the beautiful pieces that designers create; in fact, I see the ethical fashion movement as a way of returning more towards this type of fashion. Both high fashion and ethical fashion support the creativity of designers, better-made pieces, unique styles and thoughtful purchasing decisions.

This is why, although I love the Scandinavian simplicity of the capsule wardrobe I know it would never be something I could/would do. From when I started this journey with ethical fashion, I have been making more dynamic fashion choices, choosing neutral pieces that will last a lifetime while mostly shopping secondhand. However, although this has helped me get dressed in the morning and create better outfits I still can't resist the temptation of a vintage silk shirt, intricately embroidered coat or the odd designer purchase.
I know I'm in the minority of people who believe that you can have a wider selection of outfits and still shop ethically, but if you are shopping secondhand I really don't see the harm. Style and fashion should still be about expression, even when you are choosing timeless and thoughtful pieces and I refuse to see them as mutually exclusive concepts.

I'm by no means insulting people who like/have a capsule wardrobe and I do think we live in a society where consumption is out of control, but I don't think it is for me.

This has, however, led me to an overstuffed wardrobe that I don't want to part with. I have had a recent intense clearout and depop session to try and get some closet coordination though and it was relatively successful. Something that really helped me part with things is looking at it and thinking do I really want this? Or would I rather have a fiver? Quite often surprisingly, I would rather have a fiver. 

Since going through my wardrobe I have felt a slight sense of relief, like a weight has been lifted and I definitely can see what I have now. I think this feeling will probably intensify when everything is sold! It is still by no means a capsule wardrobe and the odd mix of style is still ever present, but there is definitely more order which I think if like me you love clothes, is the best you can hope for!

How much washing up could you do without any washing up liquid? ECO and Cruelty-free cleaning products.

This week cleaning products have been in the news, so I felt it was the right time to write this post. There have been numerous stories saying 'impact of cleaning products as damaging on lungs as a 20 a day cigarette habit' or that 'cleaning products are linked to decreased lung function'.

All I can think is YAAAWNNN why does it always take the mainstream media forever to report on things like this? People have known about the damage that cleaning products cause on our lungs for over 20 years, I have no clue why all of a sudden this is news.

Anyway, I thought I would share my favourite non-toxic cruelty-free cleaning products with you all instead of just being sassy.
The first brand I want to talk about is Clean-ology because it's my favourite. Clean-ology can be bought from Lidl and costs just under £2.00, making it the cheapest of all the natural non-toxic cleaning products. It is also bleach-free Ammonia free and anti bacterial. I could find out much information on the company and as far as I know, you can only buy it in Lidl.
Clean-ology is scented with essential oils and the whole range is non-toxic; the cleaning power is about the same as any other anti bacterial I've used. The shower cleaner is really good and I was impressed with the results from that and the smell is quite good too!
YOU are a more expensive all-purpose cleaner that can usually be found in any good Tescos. I would definitely recommend a harsher stronger cleaning fluid like this for grease and grime! I like this also as even though it's about £3.50, you can use the bottle over and over while just buying £1.00 refills also saving on the plastic packaging!
Founded by Adam and Eric 18 years ago in the USA, Method is probably the coolest and most well known of all the brands. They try and use plant-based ingredients that are all cruelty-free and are the biggest green cleaning company in the world. They often release beautifully designed bottles and fun new collections like the rose gold collection. The products work but they are a little pricey and I think they could definitely benefit from a refillable scheme like YOU do to minimise plastic waste.
Ecover is the product that sticks out in my mind as being the most well established and trusted green cleaning company. Founded in Belgium in 1979 I remember this product from when I was growing up before being 'green' was cool. Originally founded to make phosphate-free cleaning products more readily available, they are a well-trusted cruelty-free vegan and natural cleaning brand. Since being bought out by Method in 2012, they have gone through a massive change in branding and it is quite clear to see more money is being invested in marketing. This washing up liquid above was on sale for £1.00 which for its size I think is reasonable. Ecover is still a really good green brand, but I would recommend looking out for it on sale. You definitely get what you pay for and green products are more expensive so get them when they are on sale!

This may seem like a big fuss about nothing, but using strong chemicals to clean your home does have a  huge impact on the environment and your own health. Some reports are now stating that our cleaning products contribute as many toxic chemicals to the atmosphere as the transport sector.

I'm ready for spring!

Spring is here! Or is it… I’m not too sure and I don’t think the weather is either. Spring and Easter time is one of my favourite times of year and I think for me the best time to live in Britain. Living this distance from the equator and being able to watch the seasons change thought out the year is nothing short of magical.

I’m sure even the busiest city slicker waits in earnest for the arrival of snowdrops, daffodils and bluebells. Britain goes from the drip drab grey cold blustery Britain to one which is filled with life and nature, rolling countryside and green lush fields filled with lambs.

This spring, I’m hoping to go on holiday, find the time to work hard on my course and spend more time in the countryside. Having grown up in the depths of Wales, but since moving to live in town (and working in an office all week); by Friday all I can think of is spending the weekend exploring North Wales or going to the beach.

On my blog this spring you can expect to see the same eclectic mix of posts, but I’m hoping to do a few more topical posts. In regards to fashion and beauty trends, I was pretty underwhelmed by much of what I have seen on catwalks recently; maybe it’s something that comes with age and having already seen most of these ‘trends’ before.

 I’m going to be wearing/thrifting/ purchasing denim, pastels with a focus on pinks this spring; as after seeing the catwalk and beauty trends, these were the most timeless and the ones I feel will be easiest to do with wardrobe staples. Beauty-wise, I have been loving the no-makeup makeup looks and the natural look at the 2018 Oscars... less is defiantly more! Natural pallets with a blush of pink is a perfect spring look and I love how low maintenance it is!
Nail wise I have been loving my reds, pinks and oranges especially the ones from Nail berry (which are currently on sale on Love Lula shh). From pastel pink, bubble-gum through to hot pinks, spring is the perfect time to add some pink to your wardrobe!

Let me know in the comments what you are looking forward to this spring, and how you will be spending your Easter Holidays!