My only New Year’s Resolutions for 2013 are ‘blog’ based, one of which is to introduce a ‘blogger of the month’ interview, which quite simply – involves me interviewing my favourite bloggers each month. Hopefully this will mean that you guys are introduced to some fantastic new blogs, whilst I get to grill my favourite writers and ask them the questions I’ve been pondering for ages. So, who better to start off the New Year with then the fantastic, award-winning and beautiful Em Sheldon, who blogs over at emtalks.co.uk.
The reason I initially started reading Em’s blog way back in August, was because she is so honest and genuine in her posts, which cover make-up reviews, events and fashion – and this is still very true of her blog now. Reading Em’s posts really do feel like you’re listening to a friend, which after a long stressful day, is a really welcoming prospect. After starting her blog in January 2011 (yes, you heard right, her blog is just a year old!), Em was chosen to represent Samsung at the Olympics in the summer, in addition to winning Cosmopolitan’s Newcomer Award for 2012. After meeting her briefly in October at the Cosmo Awards (I do regret not having a proper chat with her), we have been in touch since and are hoping to vlog (or blog) together at some point in the future, so watch this space! Until then, here’s the interview…
Scarlett London: Hi Em, thank you for agreeing to take part in the interview. I think your blog is absolutely fantastic and you really do appeal to so many girls because you are so genuine and honest in every post you write! Do you think it’s staying true to your opinion that has contributed to the success of your blog?
Em: I do think that I am extremely honest on my blog and I hope that it has contributed towards my success, as I believe honesty is key!
SL: You have recently started doing more frequent ‘vlogs’, do you prefer blogging or vlogging? Or do you think they work hand in hand?
E: Yes, I did my first real vlog the other day! I absolutely love the YouTube world and really want to focus on that when I get some spare time, as I think it will work really well alongside my blog. It’s great for visual learners and readers. I also think it’s just another platform to meet people on which is great! I used to get so scared doing YouTube videos, but I just want to do it so badly, that I’m trying hard to overcome my lack of confidence in front of a camera. I have to do so many takes!
SL: I absolutely love your recent Clothes Show Live vlog, it was so well put together, edited and presented! Do you edit it in a particular way?
E: Aw thank you! Yes, I recently got an Apple Macbook Pro and I bought Final Cut Pro, the editing software. Whilst it was over £200, it was more than worth it the price as it just gives that professional finish which is hard to achieve otherwise. I hope that all my new videos from now will be of a high quality. So watch this space! My brother helps me a lot with my video editing, as he is a computer whizz, so I’ve told him that I will work with him and he can be my ‘video man’ as he’s really interested in being involved with my blog.
SL: Being a blogger, I know how hard it can be to fit in blogging with your everyday life. As a student, as well as a blogger do you sometimes find this difficult – if so, how do you cope? Do you have any tips for dealing with blogger/student clashes?
E: I do find it so difficult and I’ve been thinking about quitting uni so that I can just blog full time, or cutting down my hours at work – as there just aren’t enough hours in the day to do everything. Hopefully, I will manage to free up some of my time this semester at university and then I can just use that time to blog, blog, blog! It is so difficult to manage your time and I do the wrong thing, and always put blogging first. However, if you do schedule some posts then usually that means you can get on with your uni work for a bit, until you find something else to blog about ha ha!
SL: I loved the post you did on ‘money saving tips for students’ with regards to shopping for clothes! Have you got one sole rule you go by when shopping, or do you treat yourself when you can?
E: Thank you, to tell you the truth, my shopping habits vary. Some days I am such a bad shopper, if I’m in a really good shopping mood (it’s weird but I have to be in a ‘shopping mood’) I literally just buy anything and everything, but if I’m in a bad mood, particularly when I’ve not done my hair or make up and I’m trying things on, I will quite often walk home empty handed. My rule though is to only try things on when you look and feel good, I find that if I’m shopping with no make up on and my hair tied up, nothing looks good on me, so I usually take it home to try on.
SL: Do you have a ‘blogging schedule’?
E: I rarely schedule blog posts as I feel that I put so much passion into one post, that to do another straight after, I run out of passion and I need to write it on a new day, to give it a new lease of life. Personally, I think that I should start to schedule posts as it would improve my time management, but each post takes so long to put together that it would honestly take me all day and night to do that. The highest number of posts that I’ve ever scheduled is three and it did help me out when I had very little time available.
SL: How do you come up with ideas for posts? Do you plan them meticulously, or do you just write when inspiration presents itself?
E: Sometimes I have a plan, and I think ‘yes I’m going to do a post about my skin care routine’ or ‘what I wear every day’, but the occasions where ideas just pop into my head is when I feel most passionate, so they usually turn out better. To be honest, it usually depends on what I’ve bought, as most of the time I find myself buying stuff just because it means I can blog about it but when inspiration presents itself, that’s when I think I blog the best.
SL: What has your family and friends reaction to your blog been like?
E: My family has been amazing, literally amazing, even though most of them don’t understand what a blog actually is. They are all really proud of me, especially my brother who’s done a few guest posts, as he’s quite witty and I think we work really well together. When it comes to ‘friends’, only a handful of them are nice to me regarding my blog, 80% of them turn their noses up at it and think it’s stupid and have never read my blog, however this kind of behaviour just spurs me on to prove them wrong. The other 20% make up for that because they support me more than I could have ever imagined, they get so excited about it all with me! I love them for their support, I don’t know what I’d do without it. However, I do love having friends who don’t really ‘get’ blogging because I can escape from the crazy world of blogs once in a while when I’m with them.
When I first began my blog, I did receive a lot of sniggers and nastiness from a few people!
SL: Blogging presents some fantastic opportunities, like tickets to showbiz events, exclusive launches etc. What has been your ultimate blogging highlight (aside from winning Cosmo Blog Award of course, as I’m sure nothing can beat that!)?
E: My highlight, besides from the Cosmo awards, was easily The Samsung Global blogger competition, where I was chosen out of 30,000 entrants (I still can’t believe it!). This meant I spent my summer in London at the Olympic Games, pretty much with an ‘all access pass’, reporting and blogging on it for Samsung. I was able to interview members of Team GB, it was just life changing, a complete once in a lifetime experience which I will hold with me for the rest of my life. Every time I think about it, it nearly reduces me to tears because I miss everyone that I met so much. I found the whole experience so surreal!
SL: Have you had any blogging ‘low lights’?
E: When I first began my blog, I did receive a lot of sniggers and nastiness from a few people. I also sometimes find other bloggers can take my opinion far too seriously and get a bit nasty over Twitter. However, apart from that, I try to focus on the people who do read my blog, those who keep me writing and keep me going! So no, to be honest, the high points, such as meeting incredible people, getting to go to amazing events and getting to write about the things I’m most passionate about, counteract and outweigh any low lights.
SL: For me, I’ve found blogging has opened a whole new world (as cliché as that sounds), as the blogging community are so close! Have you made lots of new friends through blogging – or have you learnt about any new skills you have that you didn’t previously know you had?
E: I completely agree, it’s incredible. I say this all the time, but it’s so true – it really has changed my life. I’ve made some incredible friends through blogging, people that I haven’t even met but I read their blogs so often that I feel like I know them. I’ve learnt that I can take photos and edit videos quite well, which is a new skill for me!
SL: I was so pleased you won the Cosmopolitan Newcomer of The Year at the 2012 blog Awards in October! What opportunities have you enjoyed since the win, and has it changed your outlook on blogging at all?
E: Thank you, I still can’t quite get over it! I haven’t really had many opportunities as such, it just got my blog out there a bit more I suppose, I think it really helped others to find out about my blog. With regards to my outlook, it has made me want to do more and develop Em Talks further. I want to be like those Cosmo Established bloggers now, I can’t wait for two years down the line and to see where I am.
SL: I know you do a lot of ‘fitness’ inspired vlogs and posts, which help to maintain your absolutely gorgeous (and enviable) figure. Are there any top tips you can give to readers who want to get in shape after the Christmas binge?
E: I was told by a personal trainer recently that toning up is the most important thing you can do. He said that there is no point going to the gym and then not tightening your body up afterwards by toning. I’ve started doing a lot of squats. I hate doing them in the gym though so after the gym, I make sure that I come home and watch some ‘Squats’ YouTube videos to help me get started and then do those in my bedroom after a work out.
SL: I love your blog because it’s so personal to you, you always give a really honest and relatable opinion on every product you review and you always seem to look absolutely immaculate and stunning for every event you go to. What do you think is ‘Em Talks’ unique selling point?
E: I think my writing on EmTalks sounds as if I am just having a girly chat with my friends. I like the fact that my blog isn’t too strict, I don’t have any rules as such. I just go with the flow, I like to keep it chatty and relaxed.
SL: I absolutely love your ‘shopping haul’ posts, as I’m so nosey and love seeing what others have bought! Despite it being after Christmas, do you have any items on your next shopping wish list?
E: On my next shopping list, I’d really like to find myself a nice purse as I’m desperate for a Mulberry and or I’ve fallen head over heels in love with a Michael Kors purse. I’d also like to start buying some new maxi dresses seeing as summer is sort of around the corner (well, almost)!
I wrote a blog post about the bullying and bitchiness that I have experienced in my life and I was so touched by the reaction that I received. It was absolutely insane!
SL: Does studying broadcast journalism at Leeds help with the vlogging side of things?
E: I’m only in my first year so we haven’t really done much in terms of video editing yet. However, I did Media Studies at A-level and worked with Mac’s and advanced editing tools, so I think that really helped me. I have always been passionate about video making though so I think my own passions have spurred me on.
SL: Have you written any one post that has sparked a huge reaction you didn’t expect?
E: I wrote a blog post about the bullying and bitchiness that I have experienced in my life and I was so touched by the reaction that I received. It was absolutely insane! I actually really loved writing the blog post itself and I am so happy that people took the time out to read it. I wanted people to realise that I am down to earth and normal, so that’s why I chose to write something so personal.
SL: Do you read blogs yourself regularly? If so, which are your top 5 favourites?
E: I do indeed! My favourite blogs are yours, of course. I was so excited when you asked to interview me, as I adore your blog. I also love Kayleigh’s CoutureGirl and anything by Zoella. To be honest I don’t have a top 5 as I read so many, but the above are easily my top three!
Oh, I’d do anything to be a full time blogger!
SL: For some, blogging is a form of escapism, where you can pour your thoughts into your writing. Do you find blogging is relaxing, or helps to deal with worries/stresses?
E: I find it’s really fun and relaxing! I just love blogging and when I have the time it’s the best thing in the world, I could sit for hours and do it. I rarely get bored!
SL: You only began your blog in January and it’s come so far since then! What was your turning point when you realised it was more than a hobby, and was spiralling into something a little more time consuming with a big readership?
E: I think winning the Cosmo award was that ‘realization’ moment because before then, I didn’t even realise that people read my blog really!
SL: What are your top 5 ‘go to’ beauty products, or products you can’t live without?
E: YSL touche éclat which I’ve only just recently got and it’s amazing. Mac Myth lipstick is my all time favourite, in addition to anything by Xen-Tan particularly their dark lotion, as it gives the most natural but amazing colour! Clarins Wonder Perfect Mascara for the most amazing eyes and Primark £1.00 ‘fluttery’ eyelashes, which beat any high end eye lashes that I’ve ever used. I also love Mac’s mineralise powder in medium to dark, I wear this every day over my foundation for a matte finish.
SL: Do you think you’ll ever be a ‘full time’ blogger, or is it always going to be a part time hobby for you?
E: Oh, I’d do anything to be a full time blogger and I really hope that after university, this is what I will be doing!
SL: What does 2013 hold for Em Talks?
E: I’d like it to triple in size and I’d love to go abroad and do some special blog posts about my travels. I will also be focusing on high quality YouTube videos.
SL: Where do you see yourself (or your blog) in five years time?
E: Hopefully my blog will be my full-time career!
SL: Do you have any tips for aspiring bloggers?
E: Be yourself and don’t put on an act. Be completely honest. Don’t blog for free products, blog because you have a genuine passion for your chosen topic. Play around with it and discover your niche. You can’t really go wrong with blogging!
To visit Em’s blog, emtalks.co.uk please click here.
Please note that all of the images in this interview do not belong to me and I do not take credit for them. They are used purely for reference purposes only. Each image belongs to Em Sheldon.