Blogtacular Meets…Nicola from Belle Noir Loves

This week we are chatting to Nicola from BelleNoirLoves about how her blog has grown from a wedding blog into something more.

Nicola Rae-Wickham 2

1. Tell us a bit about yourself and your blog:
My name is Nicola and I’ve been blogging since 2011. It started as a wedding blog but as my life has developed so has the blog and it is now a medley of weddings, lifestyle and parenting. From my little corner of the internet I can be found blogging my happily ever after & everything in between.

2. What made you decide to start blogging in the first place?
I mainly started blogging because when I was planning my wedding I noticed I real lack of cultural representation in the wedding blogs and magazines I was reading. Following my wedding, I decided to create the kind of blog I wish was around when I was wedding planning. Once I started blogging I fell in love with it and it became a real creative outlet for me, so much so that I found myself struggling to keep the content exclusively about weddings. That’s why I widened the scope of what I wrote about to be able to include things I was interested in and what I was going through in my life.

3. Talk us through how you chose your blog name? Has it always been the same?
The wedding blog started as BelleNoirBride but when I decided to develop it past just weddings it become BelleNoirLoves. The original name came after numerous brainstorming sessions with me and my trusty notepad. The second name was a no brainer for me as I wanted it to be space for me to talk about all of the things I loved; from fashion to fitness, marriage and motherhood, blogging, business and more.

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4. What has been your biggest blogging challenge?
The biggest blog challenge for me is finding the big ’T’ word. Time! I found blogging during maternity leave super hard and I actually took a maternity leave from blogging. Amongst the sea of mummy bloggers, I found that I could only manage to keep the baby fed and watered, and blogging was just not on the agenda.
Now that I am a working mum to a toddler I am busier than ever but thankfully I have my blogging mojo back, although having time for everything certainly remains my biggest challenge. I often have a million ideas floating through my mind but love having the blog as a place to express them.

5. Over your time blogging, what has been your biggest blogging success? 
My time blogging has been peppered with lots of small ‘yes’ moments. Mainly around connecting with various people. So when I was included in an Instagram message with Cherry Healey, or when one of my favourite bloggers mentions that they read my blog and I am in turn one of their faves, those are definite ‘yes’ moments for me.

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6. Tell us about your blogging routine. Do you us an editorial calendar? Do you plan in advance or blog it as it happens?
I have an editorial calendar but it is heavily caveated with the fact that life often gets in the way. I don’t beat myself up if things don’t go to plan, after all a sick toddler doesn’t care about blogging or editorial calendars and she’s the boss!

My life’s schedule only allows me to post once or twice a week. I mainly blog during the evenings and if I am in a creating kind of mood I often write multiple draft posts in one session. They are very much first drafts but its nice to just get the ideas out and then at a later date I will spend time editing and refining them. I like to have an idea of what I am going to post and when and have them in first draft form at least a few weeks in advance. I also leave room to blog when it happens, if there is something particularly topical or something that comes to mind I will capture it on my phone, usually on the Tube on the way to work.

7. We’d love to see and hear about where you blog.
I tend to do the majority of my blogging in my living room. That way when I am spending evenings head down in my Macbook I don’t feel like I am being a completely absent wife as at least my husband and I are in the same room. I also often draft posts, make notes and do research on my iPhone when out and about.

Where I blog

8. What are your blogging goals for 2015?
Now that I am enjoying blogging once again, my goals are the 3 c’s consistency, creativity and curiosity. These are my blog mantras for the year. So blogging regularly, being as creative as I want to be and being curious and brave enough to get out of my comfort zone and be inspired. For me this includes venturing into the world of vlogging. I’ve also really enjoyed attending events and getting involved in the blogging community face-to-face.

9. If you could give new bloggers one top tip, what would it be?
Use social media. It is the best way to connect with the blogging community and to find fab resources to help you develop your blog into what you want it to be. Just remember to be yourself and show your personality!

Nicola Rae-Wickham - High Res-05

10. What made you push the “Buy Now” button on your ticket for Blogtacular 2015?
I wanted to go last year but I had a baby practically surgically attached to my boobs so I had to give it a miss. This year I have my breasts back and so I am free to attend!
I love the fact that creativity is the common denominator which unites all of the bloggers and so unlike other conferences there’ll be a lovely eclectic mix of blogs. I’m looking forward to meeting lots of lovely new people.

11. How has blogging changed your life?
Blogging has changed my life by providing me with a way to create what I want on my terms without needing anyone else’s approval. Also it is a joy to be part of the community. As I have an assortment of content on my blog, I am involved in different communities from weddings to parenting, business and lifestyle and they are all so welcoming. I feel like no matter what I am going through there is a group to reach out to and someone who understands. I also love how it has translated offline as well, I have met some truly awesome people who have become real life friends though blogging.

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12. Which 3 blogs do you read every week without fail.
Eeek only 3, well –
Wholeheartedly Healthy – my go-to blog for healthy living
Mother Pukka – a blog for people who happen to be parents, I love it
Sarah Akiswombe blog – interiors heaven and full of tips and tricks

and one more – Sisterhood and all that (Steph doesn’t blog every week but when she does it is always a honest, funny and hugely relatable read). Ok I’m done ; )

Thanks Nicola, it has been great getting to know you.

You can find Nicola:

Name: Nicola Rae-Wickham
Blog: BelleNoirLoves
Instagram: @bellenoirloves
Twitter: @bellenoirloves
Facebook: bellenoirloves
Pinterest: bellenoirloves