Beautiful Free stock photos for bloggers and business owners

Beautiful Free stock photos for bloggers and business owners

When I first started blogging back in 2010 (6 years ago...eeek!) I used to shamelessly copy and paste images from We Heart It, which was kind of the OG of the visual world before Pinterest came along. I had no idea about copy-write (in fact, I couldn't even really spell that word properly) never mind understand the legal ramifications of using someone else's work without giving them full credit.

It wasn't until 2012 when I came across an article from a blogger who had been sued for a HUGE amount of money after using someones photograph on her blog. The blogger had actually given the photographer credit in her blog post, but she hadn't asked him for permission to re-post his image and so she ended up going to court and was found guilty of intellectual property theft! Can you imagine being charged with a criminal offense for using an image on your blog? Madness!

I was terrified after reading that blog post and promptly set out to learn how to take my own photographs so as not to have to worry about image copy-right ever again! I ended up falling in love with photography, and have since gone onto to freelance and now go under the title 'professional photographer'. I understand that not everyone has the time, or the desire, to pursue photography full time, especially if their interests lie somewhere else, in writing for example or making or drawing or painting. This is where stock photographs come in and this is where I wave a little (pink) flag that says I've got you covered and have FREE STOCK PHOTOGRAPHS JUST FOR YOU!

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India through photographs - Highlights from our 2 week trip through Goa, Delhi, Agra, Jaipur, Jodhpur, Pushkar & Jaisalmar

India through photographs - Highlights from our 2 week trip through Goa, Delhi, Agra, Jaipur, Jodhpur, Pushkar & Jaisalmar

In January this year, Farmboy and I headed to India & Nepal with two friends for 18 days of backpacking adventures. We spent 15 days in India, and the last 3 days in Kathmandu, Nepal.

I will be writing travel guides for all of the places we visited, but it's going to take me a while as this was one of the most extensively planned trips we have ever done. Here is a breakdown of our 15 days:

Korea > Goa for 5 nights

Fly from Goa > Delhi 1 night

Delhi > Agra for an afternoon, then drive > Jaipur for 2 nights

Jaipur > Pushkar for 2 nights

Pushkar > Jodhpur for 2 nights

Jodhpur > Jaisalmar by overnight train for 3 nights (including a dessert safari stay)

Finally fly from Jaisalmar > Jodhpur > Delhi

It's going to take some time before the travel guides are up, so in the mean time, here are a few of the highlights of our trip. Make sure to scroll down to the end to watch the video too!

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7 Days of Beautiful Skin...#CGSFaceMaskChallenge

#CGSFaceMaskChallenge Korean Beauty Sheet Masks

Last week I started up a fun Instagram challenge to help us combat the icy cold Korean wind and the havoc it wrecks on our skin. It's not just the outside elements that lead to dry skin, but even more so, it's the air-conditioners in our classrooms and apartments that leaves our skin feeling tight flaky.

I started a facemask challenge to make use of all those facemask most of us have lying around at home. I created the hahstag (#cgsfacemaskchallenge...the CGS stands for CityGirlSearching, the name of this blog) and then asked everyone to snap a photo of themselves with their face masks, and tag their photos with the hashtag for the challenge. I really didn't expect so many of my friends and followers to take up the challenge, and was blown away by all the photographs everyone uploaded. It was so much fun to see everyones different poses and to hear their views of the different face masks.

South Korea is famous for their 10 Step Beauty Routine (blog post to come soon!) and one of the steps that Korean women advocate is the use of a face (or rather, sheet) mask. You can buy these masks in every beauty store here in Korea, and they are so affordable, with prices ranging from W500 (+- US$.50) and upwards. The skincare stores here often have specials where you can pick up a pack of 10 for a few KRW1000. I used a mixture of masks from Innisfree (around W800 a pop) and my new favourite brand for sheet masks, Mamonde (each mask was about W1500). 

Korean Skincare Sheet Masks CityGirlSearching

At the start of the challenge I was worried that I would end up breaking out from using a different mask every night, but that didn't happen at all! Instead, the few pimples I had from recently changing my skin care routine cleared up dramatically and my skin felt baby soft and full of moisture every morning! I was shocked! Before this challenge I had used a sheet mask maybe once a month or so, but after using them every night for the past week I think I am going to start using them regularly, at least 3 or 4 times a week. I was worried about the time it would take to apply the masks, but after the second day I was in a good routine and simply popped one on at night, carried in with whatever I was doing (watching series, doing he washing, eating dinner) and then took it off just before bed. 

My skin definitely looks brighter and I have no more annoying flaky bits of skin around my nose area. Another thing I have noticed is that my foundation and BB cream no longer 'sits' on top of my skin, but rather sinks in properly like it's supposed to. I was having to use a primer to prevent the foundation from streaking and and sitting in my pores, but now it goes on effortlessly and looks far more natural. I was even able to use a BB cream I had long ago cast aside because it was so thick and I was never able to get it to blend into my skin. These sheet masks are just the best thing!

Thank you to all the ladies below who took part in this challenge. I hope you all had as much fun as I did and that your skin loved the masks too. I think this needs to be an ongoing challenge, especially in winter!

My FitBit Flex - Why I both love and hate this excercise tracker

My FitBit Flex - Why I both love and hate this excercise tracker

For anyone who may not know what a FitBit is, you've come to the right place. A FitBit is an exercise tracker, designed to put the fun back into working out, making it easier to monitor your progress. It's also one of the most unobtrusive trackers on the market, as you don't wear a chest strap like a lot of other trackers. FitBit has a range of different trackers, but I will be talking about the FitBit Flex in this post. 

The FitBit flex is not designed to be a hardcore heart rate monitor/GPS tracker but rather is meant f to track their your basic movements. It monitors your steps, calories burnt as well as being a very cool sleep tracker when you put it into sleep mode. I always forget to do this, but on the few nights that I did remember, I was able to see my sleeping pattern and how many times I moved/was awake during the night. This is really great for those people who go to bed early but still wake up feeling exhausted. You may be unconsciously moving around during the night, therefore not hitting REM meaning your body is not getting the steady soundless rest it needs. Hmmm....Interesting.

I mainly use my FitBit as a step counter, to make sure I reach my step goals. I find that when I am in the routine of checking the app and being aware of my steps, I am more motivated to exercise and more inspired to get out the house and get my body moving. Because, let's face it, we're all a little lazy deep down inside, myself included!

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Who is CityGirlSearching?

Who is CityGirlSearching

I recently wrote this blog post and asked readers what it is they want to see more of here on the blog. One of the comments was from Nihaad (who blogs over here) and she said she'd like to know a little more about me and the journey I took to get where I am right now. I don't usually share very personal posts on my blog, as I often think that no one really wants to hear the day to day ramblings of yet another blogger, but her comment made me think. Since it was still churning over in my mind a week later I have decided to start doing a few more personal posts, thrown in amongst the beauty reviews and travel guides.

I'd love to hear from you as to whether this is something you want to read more of, and as always look forward to your comments below. 

The girl behind the brand

I am a 27 year old South African living and teaching English in South Korea with my husband and rescue pup, Shadow the Jindo. In 2009, just before graduating from Rhodes University with a BA in English Literature & Industrial Psychology, I met this farmboy.  He was everything I was not, and considering I had a long term boyfriend at the time, I was simply not interested. Fast forward a few months, while making T-shirts together for a non-profit charity group we were both a part of, and I felt myself falling head over heels for this barefoot free spirit. You can read the full story here.

After dating for 5 months we left South Africa in search of a little adventure in South Korea.

Packed and ready for our first trip to Korea.

Packed and ready for our first trip to Korea.

We were both unemployed, and wanted to see more of the world and so when TeachKorea did a presentation at our University we both dove straight in, competed our application forms and started the long process of moving to Korea. In February 2010 we boarded a plane and began our first year of teaching in Daejeon, one of the biggest cities in South Korea. We did lots of traveling (Cambodia, Jeju Island and The Phillipines) and spent a very interesting year learning a lot about ourselves and of course each other as we navigated the sometimes difficult waters of life in a foreign country. Towards the end of our one year contract, Farmboy was feeling under an immense amount of pressure to have concrete answers for friends and family with their constant bombardment of "What next?" "When are you going to get a real job?" and "What are you going to do when you get back to South Africa?". We knew everyone meant well with their questions but it didn't help our worries about the future.

The first 6 months back in South Africa were really hard. Farmboy had by then been out of University (having graduated with his BSC Honors in Biology & Environmental Science) for 3 years, meaning he was 3 years behind his classmates in the job sphere. We were living with my mom in Joburg (alternating between visits to his family farm in KZN). I was loving being back home, being brought tea in bed by my mom and being able to catch up with her after being gone for such a long time. But it wasn't real. We were living in a bubble, a very happy bubble for me and a very frustrating bubble for Farmboy. We had some money saved from Korea, but not much as we had really wanted to travel and experience as much as possible while in Korea and so there were financial pressures too. To give you an idea, in 2010 a first time English teacher in Korea with no experience (with a TEFL certificate) was paid R18 000 a month and was given a rent free apartment. We both had no loans to pay off and the cost of living was relatively inexpensive. But, holidays cost money, eating out costs money (when you miss home and the comfort of home cooked food and you realise you have no problem spending R200 a person for a curry that tastes a little bit like home). As we lived on the outskirts of a big city it took us an hour to get into the main areas where the shops and restaurants were and so we were also spending a lot of money on taxis. And then let's not forget the amazing fashion, stationery and makeup products Korea is so well known for. After a year, Farmboy had R40 000 saved and I had R75 000. I had more saved than him because he always paid whenever we went out for dinner (such a gentleman).  This may sound like a lot of money, and it was when it was all clumped together. But when rent costs R4 000, food costs R4 000 and petrol costs another R2 000 that money isn't going to go very far. We also needed to buy Farmboy a car. We chalked up our time in Korea to fun and adventure, and not as a saving year abroad.

Then there was the pressure we were feeling regarding marriage. We had both gone full circle with our feelings towards marriage (at first I had no desire to get married and he wanted us to take our relationship seriously and commit to one another, this changed when we got back and I wanted to start thinking about marriage and he was wanting to wait until we were both settled with steady jobs). During this time I had been for numerous interviews with companies wanting to take complete advantage of me and my skills in blogging and social media. After a few freelance social media positions and a short, horrible 6 week stint as a wedding & conference coordinator, I decided to do my Postgraduate Diploma in Teaching in Pietermaritzburg. Farmboy had at this time finally secured a great job in Pietermaritzburg and had moved there to work on the oil pipe line between Durban and Pietermaritzburg. He moved in with his grandparents in August 2011, and I followed in November that year, moving into a tiny one bedroom flat


Life went on, I was studying and Farmboys job allowed him a lot of flexibility. It was mostly field work and when he had done what he needed to do he could go home so it meant we were able to spend a lot of time together which was great.

CityGirl Farm Wedding South Africa

We got engaged in May 2012 and were married on his family dairy farm in September that year. You can see more photographs from our wedding here. After the wedding and an incredible honeymoon in Greece (click here) we returned to 'normal' life in Pietermaritzburg. We were happy about the life we had begun together, but I was feeling antsy.

So many of my friends at the time were wanting to start a family and I just wanted to hop on a plane and experience strange things again. Korea began to creep up into our conversations more and more. But by this time Farmboy had gotten a great job in Hillcrest at a really awesome Environmental agency and had been traveling all over Africa (he was doing Environmental Impact Assessments on mining sites) and as awesome as it was for him, we were apart for weeks at a time. I had also found a great temporary teaching post that I was hoping would become permanent. But a few weeks after starting my job, I was told the school could no longer offer me a permanent post and it hit me exactly where it was that I wanted to go next. Farmboy and I then made the difficult decision to pack up our lives again, and start the process to return to Korea.

As we already had a years experience in Korea it wasn't long before a couple post was offered to us. We thought we would have had more time but by April 2013 we had to make a definite decision and decided to accept the contracts for Korea. Our jobs started in June and so Farmboy gave his notice, we spent our last month visiting family and friends in KZN and Joburg and finally boarded a plane bound for Korea (again) on the 23rd June. 

Korea round 2!

Korea round 2!

We have loved our second time here in Korea because it has been so different from before. We are now in a tiny town out in the countryside, we are earning a bit more and our family got a little bigger last year when we rescued Shadow from the side of the road. 

Huttons in Korea

Our goal this second time around has been to spend 3 years trying to reach our saving goal. We have just started our third year and with that money we hope to either buy a house somewhere, or to put it away for our children's education. There are lots of options for us for when we return home next year, but right now instead of worrying about them, we are trying to enjoy our last year of complete freedom.

Living in Korea isn't always as easy and glamorous as it looks in my photographs. It's hard being on this side of the world when family members are sick and when grandparents pass away. It's hard being here when it seems like our classmates are making such huge successes of themselves out in the corporate or 'real world'. It's also hard being away from everything you have ever known as normal (food, ways of doing things, ways of solving problems) and it's hard being in a country where very few people can understand what you are saying. 

Farmboy CityGirl

It's hard being a young adult in this day and age, with jobs being so hard to come by and so many people trying to start their own businesses. Not all of us will be successful entrepreneurs and not all of us are able to (or want to) be like the people who live those idyllic lives on Instagram.  I often put so much pressure on myself to have a super successful blog, to have a million followers on all my social media platforms, to be that person who becomes a great success over night. But this is just not real. I am okay with being a teacher when we go back, being a farmers wife or just having a regular job (okay this is still something I am making peace with but I know that in my heart of hearts it doesn't matter what job I do, and someone has to do the 'normal' jobs...if no one worked in banks, hospitals, schools, kitchens and restaurants the world just wouldn't work). 

Social media only shows us the best of the best, the highlights of peoples lives and those highlights are mostly (if not all) staged and styled. We have to asses our own priorities and be honest with ourselves about what makes us happy. We have to learn to be completely accepting of ourselves and who we are . I want to be someone whose day doesn't depend on how many likes and followers I have. I want to stop letting social media dictate my mood. I do believe it is possible to lead a balanced life with Facebook & Instagram as a part of it. I don't believe we have to get rid of it all to be truly happy, but I do believe there has to be a balance. I still have a way to go with getting that balance right, and I'm sure I'm not the only one.

Cherry Blossoms in Korea

Right now I am in a bit of a funny head space with this blog (wanting to take it full time but not really having any particular focus for it). I know people read my blog and think that I have got everything figured out but really, I'm just like most of you; a young woman trying to carve a space out in this world.

Writing this blog makes me happy.

Taking pretty photographs makes me happy.

And having people I don't know comment and email me to tell to say they found something helpful or felt inspired by something makes me feel like all the effort and time I put into this space is absolutely worth it.

That's why I blog. 

Where are you right now in your life? Do you have blog, what are some of the reasons you blog and some of the reasons you keep on blogging? I'd love to hear from you in the comments below. Sometimes we just need to hear that someone is going through something similar to realise that what we are feeling is completely normal. 

Farmboy and I have traveled to so many incredible places because Korea has given us the opportunity to save as well as travel. We have met so many like minded people and are grateful for what we have here. We may go through feelings of frustration and anxiety about the future (just live every other person!) but we have each other (and Shadow) and we have our faith in God that everything will work out. His plan may be different from ours, but whatever it is, it will better than anything we can imagine for ourselves. 

Pink Flowers in Korea

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 for Wordpress (to learn more about the difference between Wordpress & 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 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 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