It might be that you’ve wanted to start a blog for awhile but don’t know where to start. Perhaps getting into blogging is one of your 2018 New Year’s resolutions or you love reading blogs so would love to get involved yourself. Since I’ve been blogging I often get asked “how did you start your blog?” or queries about the practical sides of starting a blog. Hopefully this post will give you some inspiration and direction to get you started on your blogging journey!

1. Select a Blog Name and Concept:

The beauty of having a blog is it can be anything you want it to be. There are general lifestyle blogs, blogs about hobbies or super niche blogs. The advice I would give you is to  write about something you are passionate about, otherwise you wont have the drive to post on your blog regularly. As my blog is primarily a lifestyle blog covering a whole range of topics I opted for “Just Joelle” as my name.

Just Joelle blogging name

Having an open ended name means you can write about travel, beauty, food and your general thoughts. I understand that some people might want to stay anonymous when they blog. If this is the case stick to generic names such as “The Londoner” or “Salt and Chic“. Be mindful of what you post and which images you use on your blog. You’d be surprised how many people read blogs so don’t count on your blog staying anonymous forever.

2. Choose Your Weapon:

The majority of blogs use either Blogger or WordPress as their platform. Both are free to setup and simple to use. Blogger might be the better alternative for beginners however, I started with WordPress and didn’t experience any issues. As your blog starts to grow you might want to invest in your own domain. This makes your blog a .co.uk or .com site and makes your site more professional. I brought my domain through GoDaddy and then added it to my WordPress blog.

3. Brand Your Blog

The branding behind your blog is what sets it apart from other blogs. Have a think about what makes your blog different to other bloggers and emphasise these points. For a lot of bloggers their unique selling point is the themselves so don’t be afraid to share your individuality with your audience. Having consistent branding means your viewers know what to expect from you and can recognise your posts across social media. Personally I like to post true-to-life imagery with bright colours and aim not to get too hung up on having a “theme” as such. I selected my blog design from pigdig that has plenty of options to choose from.

sorrento ootd

4. Connect with Others:

A huge part of blogging is connecting with fellow bloggers and your readers through social media. Engaging with other users of social media will increase the traffic to your blog and inspire your future content. It’s also a great way to meet new people who you may bump into at future blogging events. Reply to people who take time to comment on your posts and let them know you appreciate them choosing to read your content. Your social media accounts are also a way for you to form relationships with brands and PR companies for future collaborations.

5. Just Start:

Accept that your blog wont be perfect to start with and it’s going to be a learning curve. By making a start you’ll be developing your skills and you’ll see a huge change in your work. Focus on producing content that you are proud of and love rather than focusing on the number of people who have subscribed to your blog or how many followers you have on social media. It is easy to compare yourself to established bloggers but they often have years of hard work and experience behind them. This might put you off even starting but remember that they too at one stage might have felt the same. Just have fun creating your own unique content and seeing where blogging takes you!

just start

I hope that this post has given you the foundations you need to start blogging and some inspiration to get started. I also wrote another post with some blogging advice for newbies if you are looking for further information. If you have any questions please leave them below and let me know how you get on!

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Prior to turning vegetarian and now vegan for veganuary I’ve always loved visiting Wagamamas. You always know what you are getting when heading to Wagamama’s and its an easy option when heading out with groups as there is something on the menu to please everyone. Undoubtedly, the Wagamama katsu curry is a staple whether you opt for the vegetarian version or traditional chicken. After reading vegan bloggers raving about the vegan katsu curry at Wagamama’s I decided to head to their tasting lab to give the vegan options a try myself.

Wagamama Noodle Lab:

Unfortunately the noodle lab is only currently available in London on Soho’s Dean Street. This unique Wagamamas lets you test new dishes that the Wagamama’s team have created. The menu changes every two-three months and includes new selections of starters, mains, desserts and drinks. The menu is available online so you can check what is on offer before venturing over and they always serve some of the traditional Wagamama’s dishes for those who aren’t feeling adventurous.

Firstly, I opted for the Nix and Kix cucumber and mint drink. The drinks contain a kick of chili or cayenne pepper for a caffeine free healthy boost. Having done my research they also sell their drinks in Waitrose and Ocado for anyone who wants to give them a try.

Vegan Katsu/Vegatsu:

The main reason we headed to the noodle lab was to try the new vegan options particularly the vegatsu after hearing so much hype. Thankfully it lived up to its praises. I honestly couldn’t taste any difference between the vegatsu sauce and the regular katsu curry sauce. Vegatsu includes seitan that is covered in japanese breadcrumbs, for those non-vegans seitan is a high protein meat substitute made from wheat. Served with sticky rice and a side salad I’d recommend it to vegans and non-vegans alike. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that Wagamama’s roll it out across all their stores.

vegatsu waggamama vegan waggamama

Starters and Sides:

We opted to try the vegan steamed buns, the hirata buns are filled with mushrooms and panko aubergine. These fluffy buns are delicious and the perfect amount to have has a side or starter. We ordered some of the wok-fried greens seasoned with garlic and soy-sauce. The greens are perfect for getting your veggie fix.

vegan buns

Desserts:

Following our mains we wanted to try one of the desserts. The vegan testing dessert was the mango and matcha millefeuille which tasted as incredible as it looked. The dessert is served with a passionfruit puree and includes layers of matcha cream, vanilla sponge and yuzu cream.

vegan dessert wagamama vegan wagamama

Whilst these items are on the testing menu Wagamama has plenty of vegan options that they serve in all of their restaurants which can be found here. Overall, I loved all of the items I tried on the tasting menu. I can’t recommend the vegan katsu enough. Let me know if you take a trip to the noodle bar or try any of their vegan options!

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At the end of August I shared my tips for travelling Rome as part of the “Travel Italy” series. This post is all about beautiful Sorrento, my favourite place I’ve visiting in Italy so far. Apart from being a bloggers paradise, Sorrento is a hub of culture, relaxation and stunning scenery.

Sorrento

We stayed in an AirBnB villa complete with a balcony to enjoy the sunshine and garden courtyard to enjoy traditional breakfast in. I managed to put some of my limited Italian to the test when ordering our breakfast and thankfully we didn’t end up with anything I hadn’t intended to order!

In Sorrento itself there are plenty of amazing places to eat and drink in the evenings. It is the ideal base for exploring the Amalfi coast. Be sure to try some of the limoncello and visit the local farms where it is produced!

sorrento ootd sorrento airbnb aperol sorrento sorrento lemon

Bagni della Regina Giovanna

Once we’d arrived we enjoyed an aperol spritz on the balcony (they come ready prepared in bottles in Italy!).  We headed down to Bagni della Regina Giovanna which translates to the Baths of Queen Joan. This is the ultimate mermaids lagoon with bright clear waters at the end of a stroll among lemon trees. As it is off the beaten track the lagoon is quiet and peaceful. There is plenty to explore around the lagoon with rocks to sunbath on and watch the sailing boats. There is a single cafe right at the end of your walk along the coast but otherwise there are no vendors so I’d make sure you pack plenty of water.

regina giovanna

 

Walk of the Gods and Positano

Not exactly for the faint-hearted but the Walk of the Gods is well worth it for the views on your walk. We got a coach over to Amalfi. Many of the roads had been closed off due to bush fires in the area so it was long journey from Sorrento. Be mindful that the coaches during peak summer periods can be very busy so arrive early to get a seat, also be sure to pack your travel sickness tablets as the roads are particularly bendy. Amalfi as an abundance of cafes to sit in and the church is stunning as well. From there you can catch the sita bus to Bomerano to start the Walk of the Gods. After hours of walking it takes you to the beautiful picturesque Positano. Positano has millions of photo opportunities, boutique shops and is the ideal place to watch the sunset.

Amalfi church

walk of the gods view

walk of the gods view positano just joelle

Pompeii

I’d recommend booking a tour to visit Pompeii. Whilst it is possible to go it alone unless you are an expert on ancient history a knowledgeable guide makes the experience. Pompeii itself is huge with and vast with limited shade so be sure to pack a sunhat. Some tours include a trip up to the active volcano Mount Vesuvius, however, because of the forest fires this was not on the agenda during our visit.

Mount Vesuvius pompeii statue pompeii garden

sorrento pompeii

Are there any places you’d recommend in Sorrento or is it on your to-visit list for 2018? I’d love to hear from you!

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New Year, New You?

With 2017 behind us it’s a time to reflect on achievements made over the past year and look forward to fresh starts and new beginnings. It’s so easy to belittle your achievements by comparing them to those around you. Remember that “highlights” of the year show just that and don’t accurately portray the ups and downs in life. Behind accomplishments are hard work, commitment and failures so bare this is mind when setting your goals for the New Year.

Blogging and Just Joelle:

In 2017 I entered the blogging world and it’s the anniversary of Just Joelle. From questioning the opinions of others to feeling anxious heading to an event by myself it’s been a learning process. I’ve developed my photography, networking, writing skills and coding since then. Some of my favourite moments have been seeing Blue in concert, attempting cake baking with Chetna from GBBO, attending the ladies day at the races and documenting my trip to Italy. Heading into 2018 I‘m excited to see what the year will bring for my blogging endeavors and what adventures it will bring.

edible flower chetna

Vegetarian and Veganuary:

In August I became vegetarian. I’ve given up meat in the past and been vegetarian successfully for years but slipped back into old ways. I’m starting the year vegan for veganuary, posts about this to follow soon! So far, so good. Being vegan has forced me to try out new recipes, plan my meals and try-out vegan hotspots around London.

vegan

 

Travel:

During the past year I finally got to travel around Italy, something I’ve always wanted to do but have never got around to. I’ve been attempting to learn Italian ever since with Duolingo and hopefully by next year I’ll have a better grasp on a foreign language. Over the summer I’ll be roaming around Sri Lanka for the first time. I’ve travelled around a lot of Asia and always loved the scenery, food and culture. I’ll be documenting my travels on the blog and on my Instagram so keep an eye out for this in the future. If you’ve ever visited please send me your suggestions!

rome

What are your favourite moments from 2017 and what are you hopes for the upcoming year?

 

 

 

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