First of all, can you tell us a little bit about your blog?
Ahh, my little slice of the internet. For the past 3 (coming up to 4) years, it’s been an extension of me in so many ways. Most of the time completely unfiltered and raw.
I share everything from weekly photo updates, to motherhood musings and attempted fashion posts. I even wrote about my break up, which received an overwhelming amount of support and proved to me why my blog is so important, for my sanity, and as a platform.
And I’m so proud to finally have a .co.uk after my name! I feel so professional now! Earlier this year I re-branded my blog: I finally said goodbye to Blogger and went self-hosted using wordpress.org. It was a huge step for me to ‘level up’ my blog, to start taking it more seriously. I might even write a post about it.
How did you get into blogging in the first place?
I started my blog when my son was about 6 months old. I was a young mother, with a lot of time on my hands. My partner at the time encouraged me to start one, and so I just went for it, not really knowing what I was getting into.
It was originally called Cydney Says and my posts mainly consisted of rants and ramblings. Then I discovered the blogging community and got inspired to introduce different categories and topics, like beauty posts. I then changed it to The Good Life, which stayed until my latest re-branding, where I decided that I was going to be the brand, so now it’s just cydneyhelsdown.co.uk.
This blog has been the most consistent thing in my life for the last 3 years. I’ve had 3 different jobs and a failed relationship, yet it’s still here. I usually get bored very easily, so this is quite an achievement for me.
I’m always in awe of your energy, you always seem to have a project on the go! How do you juggle work, blogging, parenting and general life stuff?
Aww, thank you! That’s because I still don’t know what I’m doing with my life! I’m always trying new things/projects because I need to find the one thing that energises my soul and excites me enough to do it every day.
As I mentioned, I get bored easily, so I like to have different things on the go to keep me from getting uninspired and lazy. Juggling it all can be hard – anyone that works from home will understand the struggle of getting motivated and staying organised, especially with children in tow! But working flexibly from home is what I really want, so I’m determined to make it happen and build a sustainable lifestyle.
I’m very lucky to have a good support network around me, friends who I can look up to and family that are always on hand to help.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
Inspiration strikes me at the most random times. I could be on the bus and suddenly 3 different blog posts ideas will hit me. Or I’ll be in the bath and start thinking of the perfect opening line for my next post.
I can’t just rely on these glorious moments though, so I seek inspiration from the people around me, fellow bloggers, conversations I have with friends, even magazines. It definitely helps to have a break from social media, and being in nature, travelling to different places or just experiencing something new is a great way to get inspired.
And as for outside of blogging, I think it’s important to surround yourself with people who’re about improving themselves and want to achieve great things. I want to be an inspiration to myself, that’s what keeps me going.
Any tips for staying organised?
I’m really not as organised as you might think, there are certain areas of my life I need to get better at (like replying to emails, texts and phone calls). Believe it or not, I’m more of a ‘leave everything to the last minute’ type of person. But what really helps me is writing lists. This frees up space in my mind to focus on other things.
Oh, and having a diary – I have one for blogging and one for general life stuff. I’m also a very neat and tidy person too, so things like paperwork tend to be in order and I categorise my emails. I’m always looking on Pinterest for tips on staying organised too!
I’m a huge fan of yours on Twitter and I know you’re partial to empowering mantras! Do you have a favourite one at the moment?
I love a good mantra! My favourite one at the moment is from @_YasElizabeth – you need to follow her on Twitter, she has set up a business called Pick Me Up Inc, which is all about self love and empowerment.
She was recently interviewed about life as a young single mum and said, about dating: ‘Don’t let your actions contradict your desires’. Just let that one sink in for a minute! It can be applied to anything in your life. Whatever it is you desire, your actions need to be in line with it. This helps me, especially when I find myself procrastinating.
What’s been your biggest challenge so far?
Going through a break-up was definitely my biggest challenge. For a lot of women in my situation it’s really hard to, firstly, admit that you’re not happy and then, secondly, to act upon that. I decided that being in an unhealthy relationship was not good for my psyche, and certainly not the right situation to be raising a child in. It was very overwhelming for me and sometimes still is.
For a long time, I didn’t know if I had made the right choice and I was really struggling living in Bournemouth on my own as a newly single parent, but I’m so much happier now that I’m no longer in that situation and have become a much stronger person for it. I’ve moved back in with family so I’m having to start from scratch, but now I’m in complete control of the lifestyle I want to create and I’m working towards building the foundations and environment that’s going to make me and my son thrive.
What one piece of advice would you give to other bloggers?
Ahh, this is quite difficult because blogging has changed so much over the years and it seems everyone wants to start a blog for one reason or another these days. But my one piece of advice would be to have a goal. What is it you want to achieve from blogging? This will change as you grow and evolve but setting regular goals is really important, not only to keep you going, but to harness the potential of having a creative platform.
You’ve just returned from a few weeks in Jamaica – how was it?
I was there for 3 weeks and it was so beautiful and blissful! I’m really lucky to have family over there, staying with them meant that I got to discover Jamaica off the beaten track and away from the tourists. The people are so laid back (it’s true), with such a rich culture. It was a real experience getting to discover my roots. I posted a photo diary of our first week and will be posting another one very soon!
If you had to list your five favourite blogs, what would they be?
I actually recently wrote a post about this! I shared my current favourite ten bloggers and Instagram accounts, but my all time top five are: The Londoner, Gracie Francesca, Tigerlilly Quinn, A Beautiful Mess, and Inked in Colour as I’ve been following them for the longest time and enjoy their content the most.
And finally, what do you have planned next?
Oooh, well, I haven’t told anybody yet but I’ll be opening an Etsy shop soon to sell some hand-crocheted blankets and soft furnishings I’ve been creating. I’ve always had an interest and passion for interior design and upcycling, so it makes sense to make something of it! I’ll also be having a go at marbling and watercolours, so expect to see more of that later this year.
As for the blog, I really enjoy doing fashion/style posts and have plans to travel more, which will really spice up my blog content.