This post is one that I actually wasn’t going to write, I’ve started it a number of times and then decided to scrap it, but I have recently felt the need to air my opinions and share my personal experience of blogging and how this fits in with my everyday life.
Maybe I should start at the beginning (well almost) and say that my blogging experience started about 7-8 months ago. The reason I started the blog is simple really, the idea was planted in my mind by a friend, which at the time I thought was a throwaway comment ‘why don’t you start a blog Harriet, you’d be great at it’. I laughed it off, but at the time my Instagram profile had started to grow, thanks to my shopping addiction – people were actually interested in what I was wearing and how I put my outfits together. A few more comments along similar lines from a variety of people, got me thinking ‘why not? It could be fun!’. So I did a bit of research and set up my blog website. At the time of set up, there weren’t any country style blogs around (certainly none that I could find anyway), there were some brilliant equestrian style guides (I particularly love A Country Lady, for all things Equestrian) but nothing for general country style. Since the launch of A Girl About Country, there has been an abundance of new ‘country style’ blogs popping up all over the place, which is fantastic – it’s great to see how popular country fashion has become and its also lovely to know that I have inspired at least a few of these bloggers to give it a go. That said, it has prompted me to re-evaluate my blog and what I am trying to achieve.
True to form
My blog really is a true reflection of my life. With the exception of my career, which I don’t often talk about (who wants to talk about work when they’ve left the office, right?). The main focus of the blog is ‘country style’ because it’s something that I love and always have done. Since I was very little I have been known to have a bit (I’m sure my family would tell you that is a slight understatement!!) of a thing for clothes, shoes and bags but that said, I am also a proper farmer’s daughter so things that I buy have to be practical, fit for purpose and able to withstand a trip to the farm! As I said, the blog is a reflection of my day to day life, so I like to tell my readers about my hobbies and what I’ve been up to as well as what I am currently wearing. But to be honest, I really believe that country style is more than clothes, it is a way of life. How those clothes fit into my life, why I have chosen them and more importantly where I am wearing them. Don’t get me wrong, at 6am on a rainy winter morning, there is much more country than there is style! I hope that comes across.
So why the rant?
Well it’s not really a rant, but I have been receiving some negative comments about my blog and my life in general. From a very, very small minority I have to admit, but it has got me thinking that I should perhaps set the record straight. Life isn’t always as it seems! so here goes…
- What you see is what you get. I am not pretending to be something I’m not, unlike so many others. I am a Farmer’s daughter, I love to be outside – I mean proper outside, mucking out my horses (yes I do actually like doing this), sitting in barns with the animals, actually getting my wellies dirty. I also love my country pursuits such as horse riding and shooting. This is my life, this is who I am. It’s something that I used to try and hide because it wasn’t the ‘norm’ at school, but I have finally learned to embrace it and it’s not something I am prepared to be laughed at for now, at the ages of 25. Also, everything I feature I have a genuine interest or love for – not because I think it’s something people want to read, something that’s ‘in vogue’ at the moment, or something to try and fit in. These are my ideas, my loves, and more importantly my honest opinions.
- Hard work pays off. Yes, I might be a Farmer’s daughter, but I do have a thing for high quality ‘fashion’. I’m putting the word fashion in inverted commas because I really do not do fashion. Fashion has a shelf-life, it’s on trend and it’s sole purpose is to look good at that one moment in time. Style, on the other hand is different. It’s timeless, classy and has a purpose. The biggest thing that I want to set straight is that everything I buy is just that – it’s bought by me. I am fortunate enough to have a successful career in the Pharmaceutical world (I won’t bore you with the details, but what I will say is that I worked my butt off to get it), which means that I can buy nice things. It means that I can breach two worlds, the true farming world – a way of life rather than a job, where all of your money is thrown back into your farm/business and everything you have goes into making your animals lives better, and the world where you can have money to buy nice things.
- Everything is my own. Being from a Farming background has taught me a lot – if you want something enough, you can get it. If you work hard enough, you will acheive and you have to work hard to get what you want. Nothing is handed to you on a plate. So if you want to spend £X on a handbag (however ridiculous your dad thinks it is ‘you could buy a good calf for that’ is always in the back of my mind when I’m spending), you work hard, you save up and you appreciate what you have achieved. Even as a pot washer way back in the day earning pretty much pence per hour, I would have in my mind what I was saving for – a riding lesson, a new pair of jodphurs or a new jumper. It didn’t matter how long I had to save – the feeling when you have earned something is totally worth it. Admittedly these days it doesn’t take so long to save but the principle is still there.
- Life isn’t easy. To some, my life may seem idyllic and it is in some ways. I am the luckiest person in the world to have what I do, although I am begrudged to use the word luck, because I believe you make your own luck. But it isn’t always what it seems. Having 3 horses at home is difficult. Full stop. It’s not like keeping them at a livery yard with people to help and nice arenas to ride in, there is always work to do and sometimes there just isn’t enough hours in the day to ride as well as look after them. But add that on top of an hour commute every day to a very stressful, demanding job (which I absolutely love by the way, but it doesn’t change that fact that it is so challenging), life starts to get pretty busy. Throw in the fact that I have recently bought a house with my other half, trying to run a successful (ish) blog and fit in my other hobbies…oh and did I mention I have just been accepted on to my second Masters degree (because one apparently isn’t enough!) things start to get pretty hectic!!
So back to the point…
I make time to do my blog because I love it and more importantly, I get so much amazing feedback from you guys to say that you love it too. There have been times when I have felt as though giving up is the best option, with everything else I have going on there really isn’t any point making time to do something which makes me feel so rubbish, but the support I do get completely surpasses any negativity.
Basically what I am trying to say…
A huge thank you to all those that do support me, there are far too many to mention but there are a few which are really important: Fairfax & Favor (without which the blog may not have even started – thank you for planting the seed!), Mackenzie & George and Hiho Silver – the absolute best people to work with and I am so honoured to be lucky enough to be brand ambassadors for, Holland Cooper (Jade – you are fabulous and I can’t thank you enough for your support), Sporting Hares, Femmes Fatales (you girls have changed my life), The Shotgun & Chelsea Bun Club (particularly our wonderful Head girl and associating squad!), Albion (thank you so much for giving me a very expensive horsey and shooting wish list!), Caldene , Rachel Elizabeth Wood and Verity Truly British to name but a few.
And most importantly, thank you to all of my readers, Instagram and Twitter followers without which the blog would be nothing. So I’m here to stay! x