Blogging is a thoroughly modern phenomenon viewed with suspicion by some and admiration by others. There is little doubt, however, that it provides a creative outlet for the increasing numbers of people of all ages and interests who yearn to express their thoughts, desires and experiences.
“I started my blog after changing jobs,” says Sophie Cliff of her self-titled blog. “I had started a new role that was a lot more corporate and numbers focussed, and so I was keen to have a hobby that would allow me to express my creativity in my spare time.”
Sophie, 27, has been shortlisted for the UK Blog Awards, sponsored by The Huffington Post. Originally from the North West, she moved to Leeds nine years ago to study Economics at Leeds University and now works as an account manager in sales. She started writing in 2014.
“My blog is a lifestyle destination for your average 20-something girl who wants to get the most out of life,” she says. “It’s a place for me to document my own adventures, big and small, but also to encourage others to live their best lives too. I cover everything from travel destination guides to outfit posts to career tips.
“This creative space has proven itself to be a real place of sanctuary for me during some difficult times. Knowing that other people enjoy the content I create and find it useful or inspiring is the best feeling in the world.
“I usually wake up around 6.30am and will spend an hour writing for my blog or scheduling social media before getting ready for work. I work full time in Leeds city centre but will sometimes spend a day or two a week in our head office in London. Once work has finished, I will quite often head to a blog event or for dinner with friends, before heading back home to either write some more or take some photos for my blog. I’ll always check my social media feeds before bed – I’m a little bit addicted.
“Weekends are always different. I like to travel as much as I can, so I try to spend one weekend a month exploring somewhere new – European city breaks are my favourite. If I’m in Leeds then I like to spend some quality time with my boyfriend and our friends and family. I love trying out new restaurants or visiting new places in the hope that I’ll find a new gem to cover on the blog.
“Blogs are a great platform to talk about really important topics that don’t always get the coverage they deserve, such as mental health or grief. On a less deep level, blogs can be a very authentic way of finding great restaurants or products.
“One of the great things about blogging is that it’s hard to predict how the industry might evolve – it’s fast paced and things are changing all the time. I’d love to be able to merge my creative side with my business experience more, whether professionally or as something on the side of my day job. A personal goal is to write and publish a book. I have been squirelling away.”