Around this time two years ago, I wrote my first post on this little space on the internet I call my blog. Since then, both In The Deetales and the person behind it have come a long way from what I ever thought this blog could bring me.

From simply posting about things I like, I began to notice the positive effects blogging was having on my life, and others' too. As I look back at the short journey my blog has so far seen, I see that it is beginning to change me in positive ways and bringing me to exciting places I had not expected, prior to writing that first post. Sure, it serves its purpose of giving me my own platform where I could share all things I please, but far more than that, the discipline of blogging forces me to learn new life skills. Freshly out of college, I reflect in this post some of the lessons my favourite hobby has provided me with which I hold highly transferable to other endeavours.

1. Branding is important, and it helps to be original. 

The blogosphere has changed in many ways - some for the better and some for the worse. The downside of being a novice in this field is that every topic/niche is becoming increasingly saturated, so quickly. The web is becoming more and more congested as people discover self-publishing: Just how many people have "Fashion, beauty, and lifestyle blogger" on their bios? It's also become a more competitive business on some levels, where some of the co-operative spirit of blogging has begun to fade as people focus on building their empires. This means that if you want to build a "successful" blog (or successful anything), you need to consider how your creation will differentiate itself from all the others out there. Recently, on the topic of branding, I've been receiving recognition from other bloggers and readers on how I've kept my "style" consistent. While 98% #fbloggers showcase a minimalistic/marble-obsessed theme, I know whatever category my "style" falls into works, when I have people tweeting me "girl, I see anything marble and I think of you." Other times, I get called out for not keeping consistent: "her feed and outfit choice is shying away from being strictly monochrome, there's so much colour now!!" Can't win 'em all, ay :)

2. Trolls gonn' keep trolling; learn to take healthy criticism. 

While there are plenty interesting and productive things to do on the internet, some people will still choose to get worked up over anything and everything they can talk sh*t on. This comes in the form of direct and indirect comments about you/your work, and if you let it, this can really bother and discourage you. There's not much you can do about it (free speech and all that,) but I've learned to take criticism - the constructive, and the nasty. Not all comments are uplifting, not all reviews are positive, not all words are of encouragement. Humbly learning from criticism is an important life skill that I am glad to have developed from participating online. Knowing when and how to completely disregard a negative comment is v valuable. Sometimes simply ignoring (regardless of how tempting it is to be petty and indirect tweet back...) is the best way to go.

3. People follow people, not just blogs.

People recognise the person behind the blog, and appreciate the personal touch. I would always prefer to be identified with as the person that I am, than me as a "blogger". Opportunities where I have the chance to connect with people in a more personal level, through social media or meet ups, are one of my absolute favourite things about blogging. Recently I've been putting Instastories to good use by talking about (or simply showing) the importance of being real to your followers, and being able to show confidence that's not caked-up or Facetuned to f*ck. Advocacy of self-love is proven to bring back, keep, and gain loyal readers for me, so I continue to spread the good word. But with every "Publish" or "Post" clicked, comes.... 

4. Risk-taking. 

I've learned that writing posts that scare me is okay, and can sometimes even turn out to be my most-read and engaged posts. Sure, not everyone's going to like it, and some will totally ignore it, but the ones who appreciate and relate to it will become your most loyal readers and your most powerful advocates. You'll also want to hug every single one of them individually. Time and time again I still feel "fear" when tweeting about sensitive issues like mental health even if the intention is positive, due to the negative reactions I've had to deal with previously. I've gotten into deep sh*t with people I have unconsciously "offended" through posts like this one. Regardless, I still have a lot of "triggering" posts I really want to write about, and I'll get to them eventually, when the time is right. I know now that "risks" aren't so - or at least dealt with easier - with good intentions kept at heart, and incredible support I get from some of you guys which is so far beyond what I could ever hope for. (Thank you.)

5. Relatability will never go out of style. 

Don't take your readers to be stupid - they can see through the veneer of "perfection" so many of us bloggers attempt to portray online. Sometimes what I'd post as a caption on Instagram is only a highlight reel, not the full story. While some readers are, indeed, only here for the make-up and clothes, the posts in which I'm willing to open up on a more personal and relatable level I don't see to do any harm to my blog. If anything, they....

6. Provide (more) value. 

This almost goes without saying but I'll say it none the less. I feel a key question every blogger should be asking themselves when creating and publishing content is: What is it I can bring to the table, and how can I deliver it? Rather than focusing more on what they can grab from the table themselves. I think that sometimes, as bloggers, we get caught up in the glitz and glam of things that it's easy to go a bit stale with actually fulfilling our blogger duties, and so reviewing the value you're providing is an important part of keeping things fresh. When I take a fashion photoset, I always try my best to incorporate that into blog posts that give valuable insight, kinda like this one. Without added value, you're not likely to get people interested in returning to your blog.

7. Networking events are not only good for complimentary Prosecco. 

We all know I'm mad about my alcoholic refreshments but the events I humbly get invited to through blogging has provided me with an opportunity to meet and develop genuine relationships from an online to offline setting. To date, I have numerous fellow bloggers around the country that I consider true friends - sometimes we have to disobey Mom and discover that it's okay to talk to strangers online.. As I look at the things that have been most successful for me in my blogging journey (like how I recently got a job because of it,) most of them have had the key ingredient of another person(s) I have met through this field, to either help me or partner with me. Utilise networking events to build real relationships - it can be daunting when you're only starting out and know nobody, but the blogging community is, in most cases, v friendly. Blogging has forced me to seek out not just other bloggers I can relate to and sip on G&T's with, but general creatives, photographers, PRs, business  execs that serve as my mentors or just sound people that want to work with me in some way - it's amazing how these connections pay off in many unexpected ways. (It's one of my biggest thrills in life.)

8. You'll lose nothing by asking.

If anything, you lose out if you don't. I started this journey without an ounce of blogging knowledge, whatever that entails. At times I might feel afraid to ask simple things for fear of sounding stupid, but 99% of the time you will get the answer you want, there will always be people willing to help. If all else fails, Google feckin' everything. 

9. Being entrepreneurial. 

Accidentally but surely, blogging has allowed me or nearly forced me to participate in a modern culture of consumerism. The art of selling is a life skill that deserves to be on this list, and is not exclusive to blogging. Every day, whether you're a blogger or not, we sell. We sell our ideas, our opinions, our worldview, and even ourselves to the people we meet. Every day, you're likely to see me posting/actively "promoting" some sort of product or service, or even myself! This is a force of habit blogging requires me to do which I'm holding responsible for my discovered and growing passion in digital marketing. Like I can't express it enough and it may be hard for some to understand but blogging has quite literally triggered me to find and pursue a career I actually love!

10. Being observant. 

Once you begin to write about life and the thoughts that shape it, you begin thinking more intentionally about who you are and who you are becoming, what you're about, and what factors are shaping your journey. As a result, I have learned to become far more observant to the world around me. I observe what my influencers and competitors are doing - their why's and the how's. I choose what matters to me, and I adapt them to my lifestyle.

11. Be as brilliant in real life as you are in print media. 

I've learned not to be afraid to embarrass and cringe at myself. Sometimes they make for funny scéal, other times they teach a lesson; it's all part of the road to here, the now
One of the temptations of starting a blog is trying to emulate other bloggers than establishing your own voice and style. Readers are an insightful bunch and will quickly figure you out if you're not being genuine and besides, the actual effort in sustaining a voice/personality that isn't your own.. why would you bother? OG readers take on a sense of ownership of a blog overtime; when you chop and change your writing to please others you'll end up disillusioning the people who make your blog what it is (your readers). I'm not suggesting being monotonous; but being consistently yourself will more likely bring you more success. Trust me when I say there's no greater compliment than "She's as brilliant in real life as she is in print media."

12. Value every person you meet on your way up.

Incase you come spiralling down, they'll be the ones to (hopefully) keep you on your feet.

13. Talent isn't everything; you've got to hustle. 

The saying "You make your own luck," has some truth to it. If you dream of getting to places you've never been before you need to be willing to do things you've never done before. There's no shame in admitting that many of my brand-partnered posts are results of me pitching ideas to companies myself. Of course it feels great when PR's reach out to you themselves first, but I don't think pitching on your own initiative is something to look down upon, it even enforces your hustle!

Being a "small" blogger can be exhausting and overwhelming at times, especially when you look at more experienced bloggers who you think have better content than you, get more engagement and collab deals and have a million more followers than you. Don't let that take away from your hustle. In a field that's increasingly becoming highly competitive, one woman's success does not mean less opportunity for you. Be your own best friend and keep your confidence and focus levels up. There is plenty of success to go around. Complete less, encourage more. Many aspects of blogging requires you to leave your comfort zone and knuckling down for crazy amount of hours worth of work but in the end, 

14. It's all worth it. 

Could I have learned these life skills elsewhere if I hadn't been blogging? Absolutely. But, blogging has forced me to explore, research, and develop these highly-transferable skills and more, some of which I can now apply to situations that await me after finishing with college. And for that, I am v grateful. Starting up my blog and growing with it is in its own little way, a life-changing adventure.

I've often tried to imagine what my life would be like if In The Deetales wasn't a thing.. I fail every time.

Thanks for being part of it. 


Bershka | BLOGGIN' jumper (sold out, can't find link anywhere, soz!)
Forever 21 | Denim Jacket (similar here and here)
Pull & Bear | Distressed denim jeans (sold out, similar here)
ASOS | Simone Heels (colour options available!)
Lacoste | Umbrella 
Marks & Spencers | leather bag
Giant Vintage frames

All photos kindly taken by my lil bean @ayeshabeans! Check her out and follow her work!

Lots and lots of love for dropping by and getting this far down a lengthy post,


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