Watercolour Heart - Fine Art, Illustration & Design {A creative Business Feature}

Although I have yet to meet Jess in real life, I feel like we are old friends. This is one of my absolute favourite things about blogging & social media, and although it may seem strange to older members of my family, I think it's just wonderful.  

Watercolour Heart Fine Art Illustration & Design in Cape Town South Africa
Watercolour Heart Fine Art Illustration Design in Cape Town

Jess, pictured above looking so lovely in her recently updated studio space, is the beauty and brains (as well as the illustrator & designer) behind Watercolour Heart. Jess specialises in wedding stationery design, custom illustration & design projects, small business branding & personalised gifting. The latter of these is really showcased with the images I'm sharing with you today.

To celebrate the launch of her own, newly updated branding, Jess sent out beautiful packages to business owners who have inspired her in her own business journey. What a wonderful surprise to be a recipient of a beautifully put together collection of stationery goodies.

If my package is anything to go by, I can only imagine that the personalised gifting service Jess offers will wow and delight each and every person lucky enough to receive a gift put together by Watercolour Heart.

Thank you Jess for the incredibly thoughtful note that accompanied my package, your words meant more to me than I can say.

You can find Watercolour Heart in the following places

#KZNbloggers Meetup - August 2017

#KZNbloggers Meetup in Durban Photos by Roxy Hutton of CGScreative & CityGirlSearching-02.png

Last month I attended the #KZNbloggers meetup which was held at I Want My Coffee in Umhalanga. The venue itself was delightful and we were greeted with a wonderful selection of eats and drinks.

I Want My Coffee is situated just opposite Chris Saunders Park, which is just round the corner from Gateway Shopping Centre. I was so happy I arrived early because this meant I was able to spend some time admiring the decor and awesome little quotes punctuating the wall space. It was the perfect venue for our meet-up, and I can highly recommend their hot chocolate!

I had booked tickets for both myself and my lovely fellow photographer & blogger friend Julie (of Julia Jane Photography & Design) who you can see looking cute with the glass of 'wine' & coffee below. I also was able to meet Claire (from the blog Design By Claire) in person after having known each other for many a year online.

The line of speakers included Verushka from SpiceGoddess (who spoke about her blogging journey and what she wished she knew when she started blogging and whom I've known 'digitally' for years and so it was soooo nice to finally connect in person);  Nelisiwe from Conversation Lab (who spoke about how influencers are identified for brand campaigns); we had a spokesperson from MUD (Make-Up Designatory) sharing more about the brand and finally Ryan from Rain Africa.

Rain Africa had a beautiful display of some giveaway items. I loved their use of natural elements (like the pine cones you can see in the pictures below):

I loved what Susan from Goddess  has said about these meet-ups: "A bloggers’ meet-up is not so much about the goodie bag (but that sure is nice too!) as it is about stepping out of your own space. A meet-up offers you the opportunity to meet other bloggers, meet PR people and experience brands". While goodie bags are a lovely extra, the entire experience of meeting new people and learning from one another is what makes an event like this so special.

On the note of the goodie bag, here are some close up shots of all of the amazing things we were all gifted with.  I can't wait to start using all of these amazing products! 

Rain Africa


Origin Stationery

Personalised stationery from Origin Stationery (I LOVE how Origin went out of their way to ensure I got a package of pretty pink items!)

A huge thank you to Susan from Goddess who was our host and who did such a fantastic job bringing us all together and organising the event. I so enjoyed my time at the meet-up, especially meeting new (and old!) bloggers and creatives. I will most definitely be attending the next one!

If you want to attend the next #KZNbloggers meet-up, make sure to keep an eye on their Facebook page by clicking here. If you're not in Durban, don't worry!

These blogging meet-ups also took place this year in:

I'm so looking forward to the next one here in Durban!

Natal Midlands - Art Therapy Class with Terry Angelos

Natal Midlands - Art Therapy Class with Terry Angelos

Just before wrapping up the end of 2016, I spent a most wonderful morning attending an art therapy class hosted by Durban based artist extraordinaire, Terry Angelos.

Terry uses nature as her inspiration, and creates the most beautiful works of art. She also owns the clothing store, Anthology, which is in the Windermere Shopping Centre in Durban.

Terry has just started doing art therapy classes here in Natal, hosting one in Durban earlier last year, and then finishing off with her second one for those of us who stay closer to the Natal Midlands. The class was all about watercolour painting and aimed at beginners (thank goodness!). Most of us hadn't spent much painting before, and Terry really showed us that anyone can paint and there really is no secret to it all. It's all about having fun and putting paint to paper.

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Welcome to the new CityGirlSearching - A blog by CGScreative

Welcome to the new CityGirlSearching - A blog by CGScreative

Hello friends!

You might have noticed a few changes around here lately, and I'm so excited to share more about them with you now.

If this is your first visit here, welcome! I'm Roxy and I'm the blogger and photographer behind CGScreative the business, and CityGirlSearching the blog.


Let me explain.

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The Holloway Shop - Floral Designs, Beautiful Bouquets and Foraging for flowers in Cape Town

The Holloway Shop - Floral Designs, Beautiful Bouquets and Foraging for flowers in Cape Town

I met Storm in Korea in 2013 while we were both teaching English in small towns not far from one another. We instantly became friends, not just because we are both South African (South Africans abroad tend to unintentionally seek each other out and end up forming these strange South African friendships circles, no matter how many other different nationalities we spend time with) and this was exactly what happened with us.

We worked on so many wonderful styled shoots together, with her as florist and stylist, and me as photographer (click here to see some of them) and I was very sad when she left Korea at the end of her contract. Now that we are all back in the same country again, the floral photograph can continue! Storm has started her own business (The Holloway Shop) creating and selling custom floral arrangements in Cape Town.

Of course, I couldn't wait to follow her around with my camera and capture all the beautiful things she does.

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#FromBlog2Biz My journey from Blogger to Business Owner: Let's start at the very beginning

#FromBlog2Biz My journey from Blogger to Business Owner: Let's start at the very beginning

Hi everyone!

In case you're new around these parts and have stumbled across this blog series, I thought I'd take a moment to introduce myself.

My name is Roxy and I am the blogger, photographer, planner, crafter, maker, designer and general busy-bee behind CityGirlSearching. I am South African, but have been living in South Korea with my husband and rescue pup (Shadow, who yes, has his own # and Instagram account and FB page because that's what you do these days) for the past 3/technically 4 years.

We are about to wrap up our final contract and will be heading home to South Africa at the end of June...yippeee!

In this series #FromBlog2Biz, I am going to be sharing with you my journey from blogger to business owner. In this post (Part 1) I want to share with you my blogging journey so far (it's been a good number of years) and to set the scene for you for where I am at right now and how I have been making money from my blog and how I plan to monetize moving forward from here.

I do hope you'll join me on this journey as I share with what I've done so far, what has worked and what hasn't. It's going to be an awesome adventure so let's get started right away.


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The #CGScreative Instagram Photo Challenge - An easy way to grow your Instagram Following!

The #CGScreative Instagram Photo Challenge - An easy way to grow your Instagram Following!

Has your Instagram feed also been taken over by posts asking you to turn on notifications? I know that a lot of people are rather upset by the latest changes announced by Instagram, but I'm here to tell you today that it's not going to be the end of the world for you.

It's also not a huge surprise that Instagram, which is now owned by Facebook, is implementing these changes. 

If you're not sure what the changes mean, here is a easy to digest summary of what has got everyone in a tizz.

Instagram is planning to show us the content it thinks we like, based on our previous actions (ie. our likes and comments). This means that it is now more important than ever to be liking and commenting on those accounts that you really love and want to follow, rather than engaging with accounts that you hope will follow you if you spam their feed enough.

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How to avoid the overwhelm in your creative business + a Helpful Checklist

How to avoid the overwhelm in your creative business + a Helpful Checklist

About 3 months ago I started dipping my toe into the world of online business and passive income, and goodness me, it's a whole other world out there.

The idea of online businesses isn't new, people have been producing online courses and selling information products ever since the internet first began in 1969. What has changed dramatically is the people behind the courses. No longer do you have to have a doctorate in computer programming or some other fancy sounding degree, regular people like you and me are making money selling their social media strategies in the form of webinars, workshops and coaching packages.

Sounds wonderful doesn't it? Being able to make money doing what you love. Isn't that so many people are striving to do? Striving to free themselves from their 9-5's to make more money and have more time to do the things they love?

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The #CGSCreative Community: FREE stock Photos & SO much more awaits

The #CGSCreative Community: FREE stock Photos & SO much more awaits

I've been throwing around the #CGScreative hashtag on Instagram & Facebook for a little while now, and I think it's time I told you what it's all about. 

If you're already a part of my special mailing list, you will already know all about it (and you would have already received your Love Inspired photo pack..yay!).

For those of you who have no idea what I'm talking about but like the idea of getting beautiful FREE stock photographs to use on your blog/Facebook Page/Instagram etc. then please do read on.

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Bridal Inspired Fairytale Styled Photo Shoot in Buan, South Korea

Bridal Inspired Fairytale Styled Photoshoot in South Korea by Roxy Hutton of CGScreative-05.png

A few weeks ago a group of really awesome creatives arrived at my house in Buan, South Korea to work on a bridal inspired photo shoot to showcase a beautiful set of wedding stationery made by Bohemian Mint.  

This is the second styled photo shoot I have done with Marketa (the talented lady behind Bohemian Mint). Our first shoot was a wild flower, bohemian bridal inspired shoot (click here to see the photographs) with a very light and feminine feel. That shoot was so much fun and has even been featured on a number of wedding websites. After it's success we have felt inspired to continue creating more. These styled shoots are also a lot of fun and working with likeminded creatives to create something beautiful is what I love doing.

Marketa and I 'met' over Instagram, and with the help of a group of local creatives here in South Korea, we were able to bring to life our next idea of utilising the changing seasons into another bridal inspired theme. We created a Pinterest board and Marketa used all of our ideas to create the beautiful wedding stationery set pictured below. Before the stationery arrived I worked on finding a model, stylist and makeup artist who would all share our same vision.

Once the stationery had arrived from the USA, the idea behind the shoot changed slightly and Sam (our stylist) and I started leaning towards something a little more fairytale like. What we ended up with was a loose Red Riding Hood fairytale theme with a twist. After lots of brainstorming with Farmboy, he gave us the idea of incorporating a few apocalyptic shots to make use of the stunning Autumn harvest setting surrounding my town here in Korea . After a late night of creating flower crowns and persimmon baskets (persimmons are in season right now here in Korea) Sam and I created a story board for a shoot. I'd love to hear from you in the comments below if you are able to follow the story we created through my photographs!

The shoot would not have been possible without the following incredibly talented ladies. Thank you to all of you for all your help, for all your talents and for being so easy to work with:

And now the end result of our Fairytale Bridal Inspired Styled Photoshoot.



Thank you again to each and every one of these ladies:

Life After the Dress {Episode 22} Stephanie Hedger

Life After The Dress Marriage Series

Hello and welcome to the next episode of my #LifeAfterTheDress series here on my blog. In this series I interview married women of all ages and from all walks of life and ask them real questions about their lives now, after all the glitter and sparkle of their wedding day is over.  You can read more about the other ladies I have interviewed so far by clicking here.

Today I have blogger and traveler extraordinaire, Stephanie Hedger. Stephanie makes up half of the drool worthy, Hedgers Abroad blog along with her husband, Ryan. Having connected with her over social media, I am so looking forward to meeting her in person later this month to collaborate on a new styled photo shoot I have in the pipeline.

So grab yourself a cuppa and get ready to be inspired.


Life After TheDress Stephanie Hedger

Q1: Please introduce yourself (age, of both yourself and your husband, where do you live, what do you do & how long have you been married for?)

Hi! My name is Stephanie and my husband’s is Ryan. We are both 28 years old and are we are from small towns in Oklahoma. Two and a half years ago we moved to South Korea to teach English and blog about our travels at Hedgers Abroad! In July we celebrated our 4 year (?!) wedding anniversary!

Q2: Which Disney character do you feel sums you up to a ‘T’?

Good, well rounded Disney female characters are hard to come by. Most of them are just girls who go through some sort of hardship which is eventually solved by falling in love.

I think the character that I could identify most with would be Merida from “Brave.” When I was young, I was very headstrong and quite the tomboy. I had a hard time seeing eye-to-eye with my parents and always wanted to do things my way. I guess I am still sort of like that now haha!

Q3: How did you and your hubby meet?

We met in college while hosting a conference for Oklahoma State University. It was awful timing as he was planning to pack up and move to Chicago for photography school in just a few short months. We just had the summer to be together and by the end of it we decided that we were simply just meant to be. He stayed just to be with me and reenrolled at our university. We have been inseparable ever since.

Q4: Was your wedding everything you hoped it would be? Would you go back and change anything? Do you have any advice for brides-to-be?

Planning our wedding was stressful. A lot of people had a lot of opinions about how we should be doing it. We actually considered eloping halfway through the planning, but stuck it out. In the end, our day turned out to be really special and our friends and family came from all over the country just to be there. We were glad that we stuck it out and had the celebration with everyone there. If we could go back and change anything, we would just have kept everything low key and simple; get married in the fall out in our family’s backyard.

There is so much pressure to have the PERFECT wedding that couples can easily lose sight of what is most important. So figure out what’s the most important for you to have on your special day and consider nixing the rest. Don’t get so caught up in the planning that you forget to enjoy yourself!

Q5: Has ‘life after the dress’ been as you imagined it would be?

Yes! We dated for three years before getting married, two of which we spent living together. We were basically already a married couple at that point without the actual paperwork. By the time we were married, we already knew everything about each other and the only thing that changed was my last name.

This trend is becoming more popular with couples and I think it really helps to test relationships. When there is a fight, you can’t just walk away and wait to see who will call to apologize first. You have to face problems head-on. You become a team and, in time, you are able to see the other person’s values and priorities.

We loved living together and even adopted a few animals in the process. We knew pretty much right away that we wanted to be together for the rest of our lives and after that, it was only a matter of time before Ryan popped the question!

Q6: What do you think makes marriage work?

My advice is to never stop dating each other. Just because you are married doesn’t mean you can just stop trying! Do new and exciting things together, be spontaneous, learn something new, go on road trips, or find a new hobby to do together. Don’t become complacent.

Q7: What have you learnt about yourself since being married?

I have learned that I have the tendency to pile WAY TO MUCH onto my plate. Eventually, I stress out and in the midst of my panic and frustration, there’s Ryan to pull me out of my spiral. He goes through life with such a carefree attitude and it is something I really admire. I get so caught up in life that sometimes I completely forget to take it easy, but I am working on it.

Q8: If you could describe your marriage in 3 words, what would they be?

Fun, daring, happy

Q9: Do you have any pearls of wisdom you would like to share with my readers about being married? Perhaps something some wise person once told you, or something you’ve learnt the hard way?

 Be silly. Make each other laugh. Life isn’t as serious as everyone makes it out to be.

CityGirlSearching Life After The Dress Hedgers Abroad

You can follow our journey!
Blog: Hedgers Abroad (www.hedgersabroad.wordpress.com)

Instagram: @hedgersabroad (https://instagram.com/hedgersabroad/)

Facebook: Hedgers Abroad (https://www.facebook.com/hedgersabroad)

I hope you have been enjoying this series as much as I have enjoyed putting it together.

If you would like to be featured here on the blog, you can drop me an email using the contact form above or leave me a comment below. I look forward to hearing from you!

Life After The Dress {Episode 21} Kristin Louw

LifeAfterTheDRess CityGirlSearching Interview

It's been a little while since my last #LifeAfterTheDress post and I have been wanting to share Kristin's story with you for ages, so I am very happy to finally have it ready here on the blog. 

In this series I interview married women of all ages and from all walks of life and ask them real questions about their lives now, after all the glitter and sparkle of their wedding day is over.  You can read more about the other ladies I have interviewed so far by clicking here.

So grab yourself a cup of tea and get ready to be inspired by Kristin's story.


LifeAfterTheDress CityGirlSearching

Q1: Please introduce yourself (age, of both yourself and your husband, where do you live, what do you do & how long have you been married for?)

My name is Kristin Louw (28), married to my husband Etienne Louw (29) for one year and seven months. We live in an apartment complex in Greenstone, Johanneburg (South Africa). My husband is a software developer and I work as Digital Marketing Services Manager for NAB Caxton. We had dated for 6.5 years when we got married. He proposed on New Year's Eve, an awesome surprise, and were engaged for just over a year before tying the knot!

Q2: Which Disney character do you feel sums you up to a ‘T’?

Probably Ariel due to her fondness for collecting things and upcyling things for a new purpose! Plus I love the seaside.

Q3: How did you and your hubby meet?

We met at university where we were each donating blood with a friend! I brought him juice & biscuits afterwards because I thought he was cute :)

Q4: Was your wedding everything you hoped it would be? Would you go back and change anything? Do you have any advice for brides-to-be?

It was the most perfect, blissful day surrounded by family & friends. The day before POURED (and I mean POURED) with rain so we were a little nervous, but after all you can't predict the weather when you set the date a year ago! But on the day itself we were blessed with blue skies and just a little drizzle that started as we did our first dance so it was kind of magical.

My advice to brides to be would be to a.) BREATHE and b.) Enjoy every second - from the time you get engaged to the moment you through that bouquet and jet off on honeymoon. It really does go by extremely fast, especially the big day itself. Take the time to catch your breath, take in your surroundings and soak up the moment. When else will you ever have all the people that you love in one room again? But at the end of it all, even if your wedding was not the "flawless day" you imagined, just remember it's one day in a long lifetime of days and every day of marriage can be better than the last.

Another piece of advice that I would perhaps give to my pre-married self would be to take a local honeymoon! Firstly, nowhere is more beautiful than our own country, but you can save yourself the jet lag, 25 hour travel time and extra money. While we went on honeymoon to Thailand and we both really did enjoy it, both my husband & I agreed afterwards that overseas travel is all about adventure & exploring, whereas honeymoon is a time to really just relax, sleep and enjoy your first weeks as husband & wife while recovering from the race to the wedding.

Q5: Has ‘life after the dress’ been as you imagined it would be?

It's been weird & wonderful - what I expected & not (in a good way). My husband & I did not live together before we were married so there was a lot to get used to. While we did bicker a little at first, we soon found our groove and it has been lovely overall. We love not having to balance our schedules and make arrangements to see each other - you just wake up and decide what you want to do together that day! It's like having a sleep over every day with your best friend.

Q6: What do you think makes marriage work?

We give each other space to our own person, but always remember that we are two parts of the same whole at the end of the day. I think faith, trust, love and appreciation are key ingredients that make marriage work. Plus a good healthy dose of patience! Ultimately however, I think a marriage with God as the foundation is the most important thing to making it work.

Q7: What have you learnt about yourself since being married?

I quite like baking, which my husband does not complain about! ;)

Q8: If you could describe your marriage in 3 words, what would they be?

Adventure, honesty, laughter

Q9: Do you have any pearls of wisdom you would like to share with my readers about being married? Perhaps something some wise person once told you, or something you’ve learnt the hard way?

I was once told that marriage is not 50/50. It's 100/100, and if you both give it your all every day, you will never run out as you will always balance & refuel each other.

Also, marriage is a triangle with you and your partner on the bottom corners & God at the top. The closer you grow to God, the closer you will ultimately grow to each other :)

LifeAfterTHeDress CityGirlSearching

I hope you have been enjoying this series as much as I have enjoyed putting it together.

If you would like to be featured here on the blog, you can drop me an email using the contact form above or leave me a comment below. I look forward to hearing from you!

A Winnie The Pooh Baby Shower

Winnie the pooh baby shower theme

One of my dear friends from university will soon be having a baby boy here in Korea. This is both a very exciting and scary time for her, being so far from friends and family back in South Africa. Even though it may seem incredibly daunting to some people, Vicky and her husband have done everything they need to stay up to date with how things work here when it comes to giving birth, and have an amazing support system, made up of new friends who have all come together to help in any way they can. Her friends threw her a very surprise baby shower a few weekends ago, and I was able to be part of the surprise, and to capture a few photographs of the special day. Everything was organised and put together so beautifully, and the Winnie the Pooh theme was just so cute. 

Vicky, you are so brave and so strong. I admire you more than words can say and I can't wait to meet your baby boy.

For any soon to be moms here in Korea, there are a whole number of really great Facebook support groups created by fellow expat moms. Let me know in the comments section below if you would like me to put you in touch with them.

Makeup Lesson Ideas - Teaching English in Korea

makeup lesson idea middle school girls south korea

Its the last week before my school breaks up for the summer holidays and all my students (and the teachers) are tired and ready for the break. I teach at an all girls middle school here in Korea, and the students are under a lot of pressure right throughout the year in anticipation of their final high school exams. Instead of simply watching movies with my students in the last few days leading up the end of the semester, I have been doing a very fun (minimal prep) lesson on makeup. I thought my girls would enjoy the lesson, but I didn't realise just how much they would get into it, as each of my classes this week have requested this lesson. I had initially only planned on doing it with my oldest students, but as each class has asked to do it, I simply modified the power point with slightly easier vocabulary for the younger students.

Here are the links to download both lessons (the higher level & the lower level) as well as a PPT with the documents to print out. I was passed on this lesson by a friend, and am not the original creator but have since modified it to suit my students). Feel free to download and edit these lessons for your students:

There are 4 parts to the entire lesson and you can use it to cover 2 lessons if needed. I have only had time to cover the first 2 parts of the lesson so far as my girls have really gotten into the colouring in part.

Breakdown of the Lesson:

1. Vocabulary for the parts of the face (students can label the parts of the face with Korean translations)

2. Makeup Vocabulary: go through the names of each makeup product and the verbs used for each product (adjust for lower level students)

3. Students design their own makeup for their 'face'

4. Listening activity: print out an image of your face (or any person) and instruct he students on how to apply the makeup. This is always lots of fun seeing whether they listen to your instructions or not.

*You can swop steps 3 & 4 around as step 3 takes the longest time

I hope you find this useful! Please do let me know if you use this lesson in your class and how it goes in the comments below.

How To Start A Blog

Blog Tips How To Start a Blog: a Beginners Guide by CGScreative

A while ago I was part of  Caitlyn DeBeer's Creative Business Series, a really great creative series in which a bunch of us bloggers got together and each wrote about something we specialised in. It's a little out of date and there seem to many broken links as most of us have updated our blogs since then but what I shared about blogging then still holds true! And so today I'm going to re-post my tips for those who want to start a blog but have no idea where to gegin. I hope you enjoy this post and find it helpful. I have a number of other posts on blogging that you might like too, click here to read more.

What is a Blog?

A blog is a 'mini-website' in that you ideally are able to run by yourself, without having to have designers make changes for you. A blog is a space for you to share what you love with the world, to journal, to keep memories and of course as a space for you to market and sell your product.

Here are some of the most popular blogging platforms, all of which cost nothing to set up:

Wordpress (to be clear I am referring to the free version of Wordpress, click here for more info), BloggerTumblr

My blog used to be on "Blogger" and that is why it had the 'blogspot' segment on the end. It is completely free and was my favourite platform due to it being so very user friendly and easy to navigate around. Also, it is implemented with Google so if you use Gmail/Google Plus etc everything works seamlessly.

Wordpress is another favorite in the blogging world, but I find it isn't as user-friendly as Blogger. But, if you have to time to fiddle and play around it can be a lot more powerful!

To go "dot com" and drop the 'blogspot/wordpress" you have to buy a domain name through a site like GoDaddy for Blogger, and through Wordpress.com for Wordpress (to learn more about the difference between Wordpress & Wordpress.org click here).

I launched my new website (this one) last year on a relatively new platform called SquareSpace (see image above). It doesn't have a free version (only a 14 day trial for users to test to see if they like it) but with the paid for package it includes a domain name, so you don't have to worry about going through an external site like GoDaddy. And the templates are just gorgeous! Have a look for yourself...click here. Their target markets are artists (photographers, designers, small business owners and bloggers) and their platform is built on providing users with a media rich experience. Think clean lines, and beautiful design. I am so happy with them! My blog looks a lot more professional with SquareSpace and I am able to change all the design myself without any coding!

At the end of the day, what platform you choose is all about personal preference. I know people are often very interested in Wix as their marketing is very good and you often see their adverts all over Facebook, but I found Wix was to hard to make changes an their free platform is very limiting. I would stick with bloggger or make the move straight away to Squarespace if you want to be taken seriously. 


Why Blog?

This is a really important question to ask yourself before you even think about starting as it will form the building blocks of your business/brand. This is different for everyone. Some people enjoy seeing their words and thoughts come alive on the page, others enjoy the feeling of affirmation that comes from gaining another follower or like on Facebook. I have loved meeting new friends through my blog, as well as the outlet it has given me to be creative, something I never dreamed was possible.

Whatever your reasons are for first wanting to start your blog, write them down (I've created a fun brainstorm printable for you to download and print out to help you along your way), so when you start to feel guilty for not having written a post in months don't beat yourself up about it. Instead, go back to your list and remind yourself of the real reasons you wanted to blog in the first place, I'm sure you will feel inspired to get started again. You will go through times of frustration with your blog, and sometimes all thats needed is a little time off to feel inspired again.

BUT if the main motivation behind why you want to start a blog is to make money or to get sent items to review, then I am terribly sorry to bust your bubble but this only happens to a tiny amount of bloggers. If your main goal is to make money, your readers will very quickly pick up on this and stop reading. Your readers want to be entertained, inspired and motivated, so give them that. If you are passionate about your content your readers will be too!

Your Blog Name & Branding

As important as the why is behind your blog, your branding is what differentiates you from everyone else and makes your blog special. If you take your blog seriously, so will everyone who reads it. One way to make that leap into the realm of 'seriousness' is by building a brand around your blog. To help you with this, you need to create a consistent message, and have everything you do, on and off the blog, send the same message. Think email signatures, blog headers, blog side bars, business cards, stamps, personalized stationery...the list is endless. And all of this needn't cost a fortune. The simplest way to build the foundation for your brand is with choosing a particular colour scheme, fonts and a basic design. You can get the help of a graphic designer if you really want to go that extra step, but the majority of the basic blogging platforms like Blogger, offer loads of customization options built into them. Think about your target audience (are they young and funky, in which case bright colours would work well. Or are they slightly older and more conventional in their thinking? Then a modern, clean and classic design and layout would probably work better).

By filling in the free mind map printable found below, you will be able to build your brand around the 'What do you love' section. If you love nature and the outdoors, your chosen colour scheme might revolve around earthy colours like khaki and emerald. Here is a great website to get your mind around colour combinations...Design Seeds. Here are a few more tips for the basic design of your blog to help you formulate your brand {click here}

After you've given some thought to your branding, now here comes the hard part. Picking a name for your blog. Your blogs' name sets the tone for your brand (and of course will have implications for showing up in google searches) so pick carefully. See who already has your name, or anything similar to it with a basic google search. Choose something that won't be outdated in a few years (and you should definitely be seeing your blog in terms of the future and "In a few years time" kind of way. 

Don't let this overwhelm you. We all have to start somewhere (click here to see my first few blog posts, eek...I'm glad I have them to look back on!) we learn by experience and our tastes change as we get older. Embrace that and let your blog grow with you into something you are proud of. 


How to Find or Create Content

I find I am at my least creative when I stare at other peoples awesome blogs all day. I find I am unable to think of anything new or original to write about. How I deal with this (and I have my incredibly creative husband to thank for most of my ideas) is to go for a walk, camera in hand, and snap away at anything and everything that takes my fancy. Sometimes I take a notebook and jot down notes about my day, about the people I see around me, about the things I want to do with my life. Pretty soon I have a messy jumble of potential content for my blog. Look around your world, your office, your family, your community for idea's. Do you work with some strange and fascinating people, what about interviewing them on your blog? What about doing a post about a day in your life (with photo's of everything that makes your day unique)? The world around us is so rich with colour and life, its an endless supply of idea's if we just take the time to look.

Your Blog Photographs

I used to think that my blog would become popular by just reposting great content I found on sites like We Heart It and Pinterest. I've now come to realise that there are too many mediocre blogs out there that just repost other peoples creative content. That's why I try to post original content on my blog. That doesn't mean I don't 'borrow' idea's from other bloggers, but it does mean that if I want to showcase an awesome DIY lampshade, I will try to make that lampshade myself, take my own photo's and write in my own words how to go about making one yourself. And I always make sure to link back to the original source of the idea, as a way of saying thank you for the idea.

But now I'm getting distracted...the title of this tip is to take your own photographs. You really don't have to have an amazing camera to take incredible photo's. You just need to play, and fiddle with your camera and the angles to get your photograph just right. This is how I started getting into photography. Etsy has a great article on taking better product photographs, click here to have a read. And I also wrote a post on styling photographs for your blog using just your phone. Click here to read more. 

Don't Over think things

Most bloggers would probably think I'm crazy for saying this, but for me it works. I am a very organised person, I love to plan EVERYTHING and my favourite past time is making lists (can you say *nerd*). But I find that if I spend too long planning a blog post, I lose interest in it and it stays in my draft box for weeks, even months without ever seeing the light of day. If an idea comes to mind, I straight away log onto my blog, start a new post, and I just roll with it. I try not to leave it till the next day to finish it, as I often get distracted by the next post. In some ways I find this helps me stay inspired as I am always putting new content up, and my readers know that they can come back every day or so for something new. This pressure helps me to stay motivated to continue putting posts out there!


Always Be Yourself

Your readers want to know about you, so be true to yourself. This doesn't mean gushing about each and every last detail of your day and how depressed you feel after finding out that your local Woolies Food was out of fresh basil. But rather, this means writing in your own voice and letting your personality shine through the page. Don't be scared to put yourself/your business/your idea's out there, your readers will respond to your 'genuineness'.

Gaining Followers

This is the question I get asked the most by my readers, and it's what I still ask myself! But, I'm afraid there is not secret. There is no hard and fast way to gain 100 new followers on twitter, or to get 1000 new page views in minutes. 

You just have to be patient. You have to provide content that your readers will enjoy, and you have to do so constantly. There is nothing worse than stumbling onto an awesome blog only to see they haven't updated since last year January. A good way to share the blog love is to leave comments on other blogs that you enjoy reading. It's a wonderful feeling getting just one comment on my blog (I am speaking from my own experience here) and if that is the case with you too, then why not take some time to leave thoughtful and meaningful comments on some of your favourite blogs. Don't feel that your one comment may mean nothing if there are 999 others on the blog, as a blogger I can tell you that each and every single comment leaves me with a warm and fuzzy feeling.

Take some time to connect with your favourite bloggers on Twitter and Instagram, reply to each and every tweet your receive, as well as to each comment you may get on Instagram. This helps to build meaningful and long lasting relationships with your readers and followers.

Find your niche, whatever that may be, and stick with it. I have had a real hard time in narrowing down my focus here on CityGirlSearching, I was trying to do too much and was scared to commit myself to one box. I'm not a beauty blogger, but I like writing beauty reviews, I am not a travel blogger, but I do go to some amazing places and I want to share the photographs with my readers, I'm not an expert in fashion but I do like sharing the odd outfit post. All of these different elements led me to define myself as a 'lifestyle blogger' but I still don't let that term fully define who I am here on the blog. This blog is a space for me to share pretty-ness...be it in fashion, beauty, in the home or in another country.


Inspiring Blogs

Here are some of my favourite bloggers (some are local South African ladies, and others are International). Use this list as a guide & to learn from what these ladies are doing right. Focus on their blog design, their photographs, their content, see how they engage with their followers, and then apply it to your own blog:

Nadia vd Mescht beautifully crafted blog by Durban (South Africa) creative Nadia

EmmaJaneNation one of the first blogs I ever started following by lovely local SA blogger Emma (her photography is gorgeous!

Vivianna Does Makeup one of my all time favourite beauty blogs written by Vivianna

A Beautiful Mess a funky and fresh lifestyle blog by Emma & Elsie

MilkTeef lovely beauty and lifestyle blog by the sweet Emma

WishWishWish fashion done right! A gorgeous blog by Carrie

SuperficialGirls another local SA lady; Carlinn, who focuses on fashion & beauty

PinkPeonies lovely Luzanne writes this beautiful beauty blog

PuglyPixel design tips and tutorials from the fabulous Katrina

Lost in Travels a travel blog to inspire your wonderlust (and lots of tips for traveling with your hubby, as well as keeping on a budget!) by Chelsea

I also recently shared a post on my favourite Creative Business inspiration bloggers, click here to see it. 

I could go on for days about starting up your first blog, but the biggest piece of advice I can leave you with today is don't ever give up. I {often} have days where I feel like no one reads this blog, and that I put so much time and effort into it and I get so little back. Other days I want to high five ever person I see because I got more than 3 likes on a photograph on Facebook. So keep at it!


Above is a freebie printable I've created to help you in your blogging journey.

Try to fill it in before you start your blog, to give you more focus and direction. Here is mine, filled out and taped onto the wall, to help remind me of where I am and where I want go. Below is more detail to help you fill in the blog brainstorm printable.

  • Why blog: jot down all the reasons you want to blog, from wanting to be a superstar celebrity to wanting to create a place to journal your thoughts and dreams. Nothing is too small or insignificant.
  • What do you Love: write down all the things you love (eg family, friends, God, nature, fashion, beauty, design, interiors, photography...) then cross off those that are too personal, or those you wouldn't want to publish all over the interweb. What you are left with is a list of elements that make up you! This will help you with later on with your branding.
  • Sharing your Love: list the ways in which you want to blog (through photographs, by writing, by drawing and illustrating, by creating cartoons and other graphic based content). This is how you will express yourself on your blog.
  • Creating Content: List some of the ways I have outlined above here, and any others you can think of (reading other blogs, going for walks, photographing random events and elements, journaling...etc)
  • Growing Readers: List some of the ways I have outlined above (networking, leaving comments on other blogs, tweeting, Facebook mentions, emailing potential clients/others in your industry) and add your own ideas too.
  • Your branding: create a board on Pinterest (you can make it secret if you don't want anyone to see it just yet) and start pining every thing that takes your fancy from colours to fonts, to design, to blog layouts. Have a look at this board for some inspiration. You need to choose a maximum of 3 or 4 colours, then 2 fonts that you want to use to help keep your brand cohesive.

I hope you have enjoyed my post on blogging, and I hope that some of it has been useful to you. If you have any questions, please drop me a comment below and I'll get back to you as soon as I can.

Happy blogging everyone


Life After The Dress (Episode 20) Yalanda Ludtke

In this series I interview married women of all ages and from all walks of life and ask them real questions about their lives now, after all the glitter and sparkle of their wedding day is over.  You can read more about the other ladies I have interviewed so far by clicking here.

Today I've got Yalanda, a teacher & blogger living in Seoul with her husband (the very talented artist behind This Painted Life). Yalanda blogs over at LaughAnyway, a travel and lifestyle blog which will have you wanting to pack your bags and move over here to Korea instantly. 

I found Yalanda's blog one day via Instagram while searching for images of Seoul. She has an amazing collection of trendy & travel inspired photographs taken all on her adventures all over South Korea.

So grab yourself a cup of tea and get ready to be inspired her story.





Hey there! I'm Yalanda. Wife to one, friend to many and lover of all things food! My husband is of the bearded, artsy variety and his name is Jason. He's silly and I'm equally so making us a perfect match! Jason and I are both 30...lies. I'm 31. But I might become one of those women who perpetually turns 29. I haven't decided yet.

We are currently living in Seoul, South Korea teaching English although, we are both originally from the midwest. We met randomly while out with friends, but it turned out that we worked for different schools within the same school district. He's an art teacher and I'm a speech pathologist. We had an amazing 5 years of perfectly synchronized work/vacation schedules that has continued here in Korea. We have never had any excuses not to travel! 


I have to buck the system here. I don't think I have a Disney kindred spirit. Although when I asked a Disney loving friend to help me with this one, her description of Merida sounded sort of like how I view life and one of my personal favorite Disney films is 'Alice In Wonderland'. So I'd be an adventurous character to isn't afraid to take the road less traveled.


After a midnight showing of a movie my friend and I decided we weren't ready to go home. We stopped to have a drink and as soon as we walked in Jason caught my eye. Because he was literally right in front of my face. He smiled a huge smile, said hi and meandered back to his friends. My friend and I spent the next hour or so chatting and if I'm honest, making jokes about Jason and his friends, because they were a big group and being pretty silly. Eventually, he got closer and closer and finally struck up a conversation. We talked for a long time and asked me on a coffee date. The rest is history! Don't let anyone tell you nothing good happens past midnight! 


This is a tough one. If I'm being honest, there are things I would change. I wish I could be one of those brides who remembered it being everything I dreamed of. But, there are always limitations. Couples have to settle for this or that when XY or Z isn't an option. Sometimes as much as you remind yourself, it's your wedding, there is still an amount of pleasing others you end up feeling obligated to do. And, being a bride is a little nerve wracking! More than anything, I wish I had enjoyed the process more. I was very anxious and stressed, even though I would have been and still am the first person to say, don't let it stress you out!  My advice is, go with your gut! 


No. I didn't think I would think about our relationship differently. But I absolutely do. It's hard to describe, but I couldn't have possibly understood how marriage would feel to me before I got married. 


Honest communication. Even when things are hard to say. 


I've learned that I'm even more stubborn than I ever could have thought, I'm a work in progress. I've learned how important it is to be a good person. This life isn't just mine, it's ours. I've also learned that being an only child has made it nearly impossible for me to share a bathroom nicely! 


Team Ludtke Laughs :)


If something was working before you got married, don't stop! 


You can find Yalanda at the following places:

I hope you have been enjoying this series as much as I have enjoyed putting it together.

If you would like to be featured here on the blog, you can drop me an email using the contact form above or leave me a comment below. I look forward to hearing from you!

My favourite Go to blogs for Creative Business Inspiration

When I'm in a bit of a blogging rut I often turn to Pinterest in the hopes of being inspired by all the beautiful imagery and creativity on display. One of my favourite boards to pin to is Blogging Resources (click here to see all the awesome posts I've lined up for future reading) and it's been while scouring content for this board that I've come across some pretty fabulous bloggers. These bloggers have helped me to feel inspired again with their business advice and the overall awesomeness they exude.

Today I want to share their blogs with you so that you too can feel motivated to take your blog to the next level while gleaning from their infinite bloggy wisdom. 

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First up is Lauren who blogs over at Elle & Company.  I check out the Elle & Company blog at least 3 times a week and I actually look forward to her newsletter instead of hitting the delete button as soon as it hits my inbox. 



Lauren is a fellow SquareSpace blogger who is completely open with her business and shares the how's and the why's behind her blogs success. She also offers great tips on blogging with SquareSpace and has really some really awesome posts on branding. I have learnt so much from Lauren with regards to my own branding for CityGirlSearching and since implementing her tips & advice I have noticed real growth in my readership.

Two of my favourite post she's done so are Why and How to Brand Photos & Why Branding Matters.  Speaking of branding, how gorgeous are her blog images? It's no wonder I was hooked as soon as I first saw her posts on Pinterest.


Next up is Regina who blogs over at ByRegina. Every time I head over to By Regina I am once again filled with an intense passion for my blog and I am reminded of all the reasons why I started blogging in the first place. ByRegina is for anyone who needs a little push in following their creative dreams and making those dreams a reality. Regina writes so well, and with each and every blog post she'll have you feeling as if she's talking directly to you and that the two of you are best buds. She is also hilarious and her blog makes for a fun read.

Below are two of my favourite posts which have both inspired me and really pushed my boundaries in terms of how I see myself and my blog as a business.

I have only recently stumbled upon Francesca's blog, Fall For DIY and have spent the last few days scouring through each and every beautiful post. Her posts are all accompanied by gorgeous photographs and graphics that tell a story.

Her DIY's seem so easy to do (unlike a lot of other Pinterest posts I find) and I can't wait to start making some of them. Her blog leaves me feeling inspired and ready to get creative with my camera.

I love the clean look and feel of FallForDIY, and I am especially drawn to her styling and use of lovely elements. I loved her post on making your Instagram feed more loveable, as it was filled with really useful ideas for growing my own account. I loved the idea she mentions of becoming a collector of objects or textures to shape your Instagram feed.

Another of my favourite posts from FallForDIY is about how to get stuff done when you're having an off day. We all have off days and the 5 practical steps she outlines in her post will have you feeling rejuvenated and ready to take on the world with your to do list in no time at all.

You may have seen me mentioning Melyssa from The Nectar Collective my Weekly Wishes posts. Those goal setting posts are a series Melyssa hosts weekly on her blog which helps women connect all over the world in an effort to write down our goals and then tick them off. Melyssa is super encouraging and is just such a lovely person. 

Melyssa blogs about the business side of blogging (with posts on freelancing, finance, & productivity) as well as great DIY & photography tips (like this guest post by Jessica Keller on creating colourful backgrounds for your blog posts!). The Nectar Collective was the first blog I ever found that catered to more of the business side of blogging, and it was this post How I grew My Blog that got me hooked. Also, her recent post on How & Why to Create a Media Kit is super useful for bloggers, and as she's so nice she has even included a free template so you can create your own. 

Erika is the sweet lady behind Olyvia and it was her blog tag line that first drew me in: 




Isn't that a lovely tagline?


So much online marketing advice seems to imply throwing your brand into peoples faces and I am always worried about flooding my family & friends Facebook timelines with blog content (how else are us smaller blogs supposed to get our content seen???). Well this is exactly what Erika blogs about. Olyvia is all about showing you how to get your brand noticed online without seeming desperate. 

Erika's blog posts titles are awesome and clever in their own right and will draw you in (I have been trying to work on my own titles since noticing hers) and she writes in such a way as to keep you not only entertained but coming back for more. I loved Erika's video series,  How Do I get Noticed on Facebook and have found her tips soooo helpful for my own Facebook ages. I particularly love that she co-titled that post 'A Sleaze-Free Video Series to Help You go From Ho-HUm to Wow'. Her post on How To Get Pinterest Followers & Repins has been one that I keep going back to and is filled with practical, no nonsense tips for helping you get your Pinterest account noticed.

I hope you found this post helpful and that these wonderful bloggers help you to take your own blog to the next level.

I would love for you to share this post using the share button at the very bottom of this post so that we can help other bloggers feel inspired!

Life After The Dress {Episode 19} Marketa Forstova-Horton


In this series I interview married women of all ages and from all walks of life and ask them real questions about their lives now, after all the glitter and sparkle of their wedding day is over.  You can read more about the other ladies I have interviewed so far by clicking here.

Today I've got Marketa, an incredible talented illustrator & creative who blogs over at Bohemian Mint. I found Marketa's blog one day on Pinterest and just loved her style and illustrations so much that I sent her a hello email. We have been friends ever since! Marketa is just such a lovely soul and I really hope to meet her in real life sometime soon. We are planning a very special collaboration in the next few months that I can't wait to share with you...watch this space! In the mean time, grab yourself a cup of tea and get ready to be inspired!



Q1: Please introduce yourself (age, of both yourself and your husband, where do you live, what do you do & how long have you been married for?) 

Hi! My name is Marketa Forstova-Horton, I just turned 30 and I work in the wedding industry - I am a wedding invitation designer and an editor for a wedding website. My husband’s name is Eugene Horton, he is 32 and works for a  plumbing company. We have been married for almost 8 years and we currently live on Long Island, New York.

Q2: Which Disney character do you feel sums you up to a ‘T’?

Hmmm. In order to answer this question, I would need to take a trip to Disney world! J I grew up in the Czech Republic, so I am not gonna lie- there are gaps in my Disney knowledge! Is there something like a fairy with a whimsical sense of humor who loves insane amounts of chocolate? If not, somebody suggests to Disney to create that character, please.

Q3: How did you and your hubby meet?

We met in college. We both took the same class, and Eugene was sitting a few rows behind me. One day after class, he caught up with me and asked me how I liked the class. Turns out I liked him much more than the class (I ended up dropping the class, but kept him).

Q4: Was your wedding everything you hoped it would be? Would you go back and change anything? Do you have any advice for brides-to-be?

My wedding was nothing like I ever imagined for two reasons:

1.     At 22, I really never thought about weddings.

2.     We eloped, so I didn’t really have time to think about my dream wedding. It happened on a Tuesday night- I wore a white and black dress that I picked up at Macy’s and a pair of black pumps. (Since then, the dress fell apart but I save myself a little scrap from it!)

Looking back, the one thing I regret is not having my family there. My husband and I are actually planning to do a vow-renewal ceremony, where we invite our families. Oh, and I am having an awesome naked wedding cake with a ton of berries on it for sure. Considering I work in the wedding industry, I am overflowing with ideas!

My advice- and I think that’s the only advice I can give, considering my elopement, would be not to stress anything out. The ceremony became about us, not about the flowers, the shoes, or whether the favors are placed in the right or the left corner.

Q5: Has ‘life after the dress’ been as you imagined it would be?

Again, everything became so sudden that I had no time to think about it. It just happened. In a way, it was great, because there was no time for second-guessing and worrying. But we have been married for almost 8 years, so I suppose this strategy works! J

Q6: What do you think makes marriage work?

Though different for everyone, for me, it’s the idea of us being a team. “Marriage is like communism”, I say. There is no such thing as “my money”, or “I earned this, so this is mine.” We each have our career and passions but we always make the big decisions together.

At the same time, however, I think it’s important to have something that’s solely your own- your job and your hobbies.

But if you lie or cheat, then even communism can’t save you.

Q7: What have you learnt about yourself since being married?

Before I met my husband, I thought that I wouldn’t get married until I was like 35- I wanted a life of adventures first. I ended up getting married at 22 and I learnt that all the adventures I had in mind were more fun when I shared them with someone. I suppose I have learnt that I really love marriage and the idea of having a teammate for life.

Q8: If you could describe your marriage in 3 words, what would they be?

Love, Teamwork, Adventure

Q9: Do you have any pearls of wisdom you would like to share with my readers about being married? Perhaps something some wise person once told you, or something you’ve learnt the hard way?

Stuff I've learnt:

Don’t sweat the small stuff. And let stuff go. Dirty socks on the floor are not worth the fight- I learnt that after about 2 months of marriage.

Also, before I got married, I used to look at married couples and say: “I would never do…XY. Ever.” And then I caught myself doing XY. So the chances are that the stuff you say you would never do (like go to bed angry or throw out the dinner you cooked because you are just so damn mad), I bet your bottom dollar that you will- and it’s okay!  

Lastly, marriage is a marathon. If you are in it for the long run, there will be times when you are out of breath or when you trip over. (And there will be times when you will want to trip him over, believe me) Don’t sweat it. Love is beautiful, love is messy. And as long as you are running together and having fun, you are all right! 


You can find Marketa at the following places:

I hope you have been enjoying this series as much as I have enjoyed putting it together.

If you would like to be featured here on the blog, you can drop me an email using the contact form above or leave me a comment below. I look forward to hearing from you!

10 Tips for New Bloggers

10 Tips for New Bloggers by CGScreative: BlogTips

I've been blogging for a good couple of years now and lately I've been feeling a bit 'bleugh' when it comes to my blog. Over the past few weeks, instead of give up on my blogging entirely, I've been working on getting my spark back.  While doing so I wanted to share some blogging tips I've found to be very helpful for me and my blog. I hope you find them helpful too!

1. Don't feel trapped in a box. If you're struggling to come up with content for your blog, change what you write about. Start fresh with a new series, a different topic, post a recipe, do a beauty review. It's your blog you can do what you like with it.

2. You don't have to blog everyday. Don't get stressed about coming up with new content everyday and rather let your content happen naturally. 

3. Start a new hobby. This will activate different parts of your brain and may even inspire your blogging.

4. Make your life easier (and save yourself hours of time!) by looking into platforms like BufferApp and Hootsuite which let you schedule posts to Facebook & Twitter ahead of time. 

5. Make 'friends' with other bloggers you admire. Mention them in tweets (even just saying something like "I love your blog! Thank you for inspiring me!"), like their photos on Instagram and mention them on Facebook. A little love goes a long way.

6. Always reply to comments on your blog. If someone has taken the time to reach out toy you and leave a comment, the least you can do to say thank you is to reply. It's the nice thing to do.

7. Spend a little time going through past blog posts/Facebook posts and see what has been most popular with you readers. Let this guide you as to what you should post more of.

8. Simple is usually better. Keep things clean with regards to your choice of images and photographs for your blog, as well as with your blog design. Lots of white space is much more appealing on the eyes than clutter.

9. Invest in stock photographs if you don't have a fancy camera or the time to take your own photographs. Or sign up for gorgeous free stock photographs for your blog at DeathToTheStockPhoto.

10. Have fun. Blogging should be something you enjoy doing, not a task to tick off a list at the end of the day. If it's becoming more of a chore than something that makes you happy, take a break for a while. You owe it to yourself to blog for the heart and if your heart isn't in it, it might be time for a change (I've found No. 1 & 3 have helped me the most when it comes to needing a change!).

There you go. 10 tips to help new (and old!) bloggers to feel inspired. Is there anything else I've left off that you think I should add? I'd love to ear from you in the comments section below.

Life After The Dress {Episode 18} Amy Brown

In this series I interview married women of all ages and from all walks of life and ask them real questions about their lives now, after all the glitter and sparkle of their wedding day is over.  Today I've got Amy, a fellow South African blogger over at Tea With Mrs B sharing with us her her life after the dress.

Grab yourself a cup of tea and be ready to be inspired!


Q1: Please introduce yourself (age, of both yourself and your husband, where do you live, what do you do & how long have you been married for?)

Hello! I am 24 year old Amy Brown, married to 26 year old Duane Brown for a year on the 21st of March. We live in Cape Town, South Africa and I am a freelance copywriter and social media manager.

Q2: Which Disney character do you feel sums you up to a ‘T’?

Ooh this is hard! Ha ha I would say either Merida from Brave or Mulan. Mainly because they’re both fiercely independent but also because they both love adventure. I also have ridiculously curly hair like Merida, but it’s not red.

Q3: How did you and your hubby meet?

We met at the after party thing for an old friend’s 21st. He was friends with someone I knew and just like good ‘ol Murphy, he actually used to live next door to one of my oldest friends, although we had never met prior to the after party.

Q4: Was your wedding everything you hoped it would be? Would you go back and change anything? Do you have any advice for brides-to-be?

My wedding was 100% exactly how Duane & I both wanted it! We really wanted a day where both of us would completely enjoy ourselves and our guests would just have a blast and that’s what we got! The only thing I would change, and it isn’t even a major thing for me, would be to not invite one or two people out of obligation. Advice? It’s your day, you and your hubby to be are the ones that look back and remember it and it needs to be a memory you love going back to! No one should take that away from you so do what makes you happy!

Q5: Has ‘life after the dress’ been as you imagined it would be?

It has, actually. Because Duane and I didn’t live together before the wedding, a lot of people told me that it would hard adjusting to living with each other and that the first year is the hardest. And whilst I agree that marriage does take hard work, it’s definitely something I would do 1000 times over again! Duane makes life so much fun and I really feel like I’m doing life with my best friend. 

Q6: What do you think makes marriage work?

Communication and LOADS of patience! Patience gives the other person the grace to make mistakes and space to do better. It allows the person to try again. And communication is key! People can’t read minds so it’s unfair to expect someone to know what you’re wanting/feeling/expecting if you haven’t spoken up. 

Q7: What have you learnt about yourself since being married?

Oh gees, so much! I’ve realized that I’m more imperfect than I knew and that I suck at communication. I’m big into talking about feelings and stuff (I should’ve been a psychologist) and I honestly thought I had communication down, but when you get past the whole romantic notions of love and realize that, unlike 10 Things I Hate About You or Nottinghill, you realize that men don’t always automatically know what you want and expect. You need to communicate.  

Q8: If you could describe your marriage in 3 words, what would they be?

Fun, loving, forgiving.

Q9: Do you have any pearls of wisdom you would like to share with my readers about being married? Perhaps something some wise person once told you, or something you’ve learnt the hard way?

Marriage is definitely not easy, but it is incredibly worth it and rewarding! It should be loved, nurtured and protected at all costs. Patience is not just a virtue, it can often be a saving grace. Give your Significant Other the space to be human and never be afraid to be the one who loves the most!

You can find Amy at the following places:

I hope you have been enjoying this series as much as I have enjoyed putting it together.

If you would like to be featured here on the blog, you can drop me an email using the contact form above or leave me a comment below. I look forward to hearing from you!