I have written the introduction to this post four times. Tbf the Wasabi sweet chilli chicken and noodles in my belly is probably desperately trying to send me into a cosy train nap rather than y’know, let me be a creative goddess.
The gist of what I’ve been trying to type, whilst also sounding hip and cool and funny, is that blogging doesn’t have to cost you anything.
I mean, it has to cost you something to type on and it has to cost you a phone with the camera equivalent of an iPhone 6, but until you actually start making money from the ol’ internet, there’s no need to invest in anything that costs the same as a decent second-hand car. No matter what the little blogger envy demon lurking deep in your soul might tell you.
I mean sure, a glossy well-designed blog and a camera and lens duo that’ll make your heart weep with THAT BLUR BACKGROUND are great for creating something that looks sleek and professional, but that’s not what’s going to keep your readers coming back. Unless you have or want to start a photography blog and then LOL haha soz.
All I used for my most popular posts of all time are images taken from either my Facebook or from Google Images (soz for stealing them…), and they were all typed up on either my iPad (sweet hell on Earth) or on Chris’s old laptop.
What I’m saying is, don’t freak out and convince yourself you can only become the next big HAVE YOU SEEN THIS BLOG gal if you have a Pinterest-worthy office and some giant Canon camera that weighs more than your Dad, it ain’t bloody true.
So this list has a few sparkly investments, but it also has a £7 pack of pens that have TRANSFORMED my life. Just sayin’.
1. OLYMPUS PEN PLUS 45MM LENS (shop here)
I never wrote a full review post of this camera, probably because I felt like I couldn’t add anything new to the debate. If you’re really into photography and cameras you’ll probably hate it, but if like me, you just want something that can triple up as a vlogging camera, sit-down filming camera, outfit shot camera and product shot camera, this is the chappy for you.
Pros: The 45mm lens makes all blog photography look like you paid a snazzy wedding photographer to do it, and means anyone, including a small child, could probs take your outfit snaps for you. The wifi function also means you can move the images straight across to your phone ready for Insta.
Cons: The video lighting is SHIT in low lighting.
This camera no doubt changed the way advertisers saw my blog because it suddenly became a bit glossier, but it also gave me so much more confidence in my standing as a blogger and a vlogger.
2. BULLET JOURNAL (shop here)
I’m a stationery whore AND PROUD. I have entire shelves lined with notebooks, but nothing has made me feel more like I’ve got my shit together than this little fella. (Full post here).
For the first time in my entire blogging history I feel in control and on top of things and that makes for a super happy and motivated and lalalala isn’t the world so pretty and pink and lovely Hannah.
It also allows me to manage my goals properly and see my month on month progress and also lets me see how many campaigns I have on at a given time so I know a) if I can take anymore on and b) if they clash with holidays etc and whether I’ll need to start working on them a little while in advance.
3. FULL LENGTH MIRROR
Especially handy if you don’t blog full-time and FFS why don’t I have a personal photographer just following me around 24 hours a day capturing photos of me looking cute buying flowers from a market.
I’ve mentioned before that mirror selfies of my outfits tend to get more likes and engagement on Instagram and they’re a great way of doing fashion on your blog/social channels without feeling awkward posing against some rails in West London.
I tend to snap away in the mirror when I haven’t really left the house in a few days – make sure yours is in a well-lit area with an uncluttered background.
My new one is from IKEA. BYE.
I snapped up this flimsy piece of equipment about 18 months ago, and despite the fact it only extends to about a metre high, it’s still transformed my blogging life.
I think it cost about a tenner from eBay, and I’m on the hunt for something a bit sturdier and a bit taller. And when I say I’m on the hunt, I mean I’d like one, but screw spending TWENTY WHOLE POUNDS on one when there’s ASOS spring dresses to be bought.
I find it most useful for YouTube more than anything, especially when I’m filming a time-lapse (woah, look at me, I’m basically an Oscar-nominated producer), but I used to use it (balanced on my chest of drawers) for outfit shots on self-timer mode.
5. STAEDTLER TRIPLUS PENS (shop here)
I basically had a small breakdown in Wilkinson’s when I bought these because WHO PAYS SEVEN POUNDS FOR PENS. I don’t question a pot of glitter for a tenner in Topshop but SEVEN POUNDS FOR PENS.
Can’t lie to you, these have been used so many times they’re close to running out. And yes, I’m still mourning the pen that I lost on the plane to Italy last month. Hope you have a nice life, little boo.
I use them a lot for adult colouring in (because that offline downtime is so damn important) but also for motivating me to keep that bullet journal in check and to brainstorm ideas.
The idea of them not being in my life is more painful than the idea of losing every red lipstick I own.
This is the most old man who reads the Daily Mail and keeps an extensive white wine collection thing of me to say but cor I love our cafetiere. I think it was like a fiver from Sainsbury’s but I’ve started making myself a pot of coffee in the mornings in this champ and taking it up to bed with a mug and little jug of milk and maybe it’s all in my head, but it just makes me feel so much more inspired and ready to take on the world. EVEN on a Monday morning.
7. WHITE BACKGROUNDS
I have two white backgrounds, one side of A1 card I picked up at The Range and then, well, my bed sheets. We have two sets, one from John Lewis and one from BHS. Bit glam.
But they basically work as super easy photo backgrounds for everything from beauty products to flat lays of what you’re packing for your summer holiday.
I rely on them as backgrounds for pretty much EVERY blog post, they take the stress out of OMG WHY DON’T MY PHOTOS LOOK LIKE EVERYONE ELSE’S and keep the focus on y’know, whatever you’re photographing.
8. MACBOOK AIR
I haven’t really been shouting about it, but last month I finally played the fuck it who needs money for food game and bought a MacBook Air.
Admittedly it has played a huge part in my ability to post as frequently as I have been recently because it means even on days when I’m not at home I can produce content. (Also on days when I can’t bring myself to pull my shit together and adult properly at my desk).
I love my iMac and it’s brilliant and super speedy at everything, but I really needed something portable if I wanted to keep up with my new reactive content ethos thingy ma-bob. The only issue I’ve found so far with the Air is that it can’t handle exporting videos from iMovie or uploading to YouTube (it takes about five times as long), which was something I did consider when weighing up the Pro and Air. But I liked how light the Air was, so yeah, swings and roundabouts.
I also have an external hard drive now so it’s mega easy to move video files between my two computers. So yeah, that.
Go on then, what products have helped you feel motivated and excited about blogging? What’s helped you make your content better? WHAT SHOULD I ADD TO MY LIST FOR THE NON-FORESEEABLE FUTURE WHEN I HAVE MONEY AGAIN?