Whether you’re new to the blogging game, or you’ve been a part of this world for a while, chances are you will have heard of the legend that is Queen Beady.

When I decided to do this series on my blog, Bee was someone who I definitely wanted to feature because she has inspired me in so many ways during my years in the bloggersphere, and I know she is highly regarded in the online world.

Her blog is a mixture of travel, fashion and all of the life inspiration, and having met the lovely lady herself at an event last month, I can confirm that she is as fabulous in real life as she is on screen.

Get ready to be inspired by – Queen Beady

1. Hey Bee, thanks for being the second guest of #BeInspiredBy – Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your blog?

Hi Ellie, thanks for having me as your guest! I’m a 28-year-old Blogger from Yorkshire. I love the outdoors and find myself travelling as much as I can with my husband, and I also have a penchant for shopping too (my wardrobe can vouch for that.) One way or another I’m either reaching for my Barbour jacket to go walking, booking my next getaway or being (caught) found online shopping!

In 2017 the direction of my blog became very clear to me, my love for slow living, the countryside and UK & world travel became a focus for many blog posts! My blog now focusses mainly on “Slow and Stylish Adventuring” – I’m all about enjoying life to its fullest by exploring the world stylishly, be it abroad or close to home. I showcase cosy retreats, to luxury hotels to my escapades abroad.

Not only that, I throw in a few style, lifestyle and think pieces in there when I want to mix my content up a bit.

2. You’ve been in the blogging game for a few years now. How would you say your writing style has evolved?

Oh my goodness, I really do feel like an old-timer. My blog was born in 2011 and boy, has it changed?! Back when I started writing I wrote how I spoke, and I still do to some ends. However, I think now I enjoy the storytelling aspect of it. I think that’s how I found my voice really develop over the last year or so, and it was so natural when it evolved that way.

3. Your husband takes a lot of your blog photography – do you have any tips for other Instagram husbands out there?

Bless him, he has had many years of practice now. And he’s just about got it. When I started investing in lenses and got my 55mm – 250mm lens, he started showing more of interest in photography as well, he’s a very technical person so he enjoyed getting his teeth into that.

I occasionally show him photos and images from Instagram of how I’d like him to angle the camera and where I’d like to get the shot. A lot of the time though I often make him the model of my photos first and show him what I took so he can try to replicate it afterwards.

When he realised that I was starting to take my blog more seriously as a side hustle, he instantly became my cheerleader and wanted to make my content as good as it could be (to the best of his ability as a non-trained photographer!)

4. You spoke at the icelolly.com ‘Blog At The Beach’ event last month (which I attended and you were FAB!) Could you give the readers your three top tips for reaching out to brands? 

Thank you so much – that was such an amazing experience and the feedback has been absolutely tremendous!

I’m hugely passionate about using your 9-5 skills when pitching to brands – use those strengths to make your pitch stand out. I was in the travel industry for 8 years, so my knowledge of what people want to know when reading a travel blog post is key. It’s a fabulous point I like to make when pitching to travel brands that sways it in my favour.

Secondly, I’d say work out what your three unique selling points are. Those achievements are amazing, but they also need to translate to brands that they will give them results. For example, one of mine is that I won a Blog Award for my Photography, when I pitch to brands, I can say that my photography is well-regarded in the industry and one of the main reasons why people come to my blog. The result is that I’m going to create some amazing imagery for their brand, that will entice people to engage with it. 

And finally, lay out your proposal in a clear and concise way when you’d done your introduction. Bullet points listing what your blog can offer in exchange for whatever it is you wish to collaborate on is so much easier to read than more waffling. Keep your pitch simple, don’t bombard them with too much information but make sure they know why you are a good fit!

5. Let’s talk about social media – what would you say is your favourite channel and why?

Instagram. Without a shadow of a doubt. It’s a platform that generates so much positivity compared to Twitter where everyone’s bashing each other, drama llama. And it’s so much better than Facebook because you don’t get the cringey parents on it!

I’m a very visual person too, and I love nothing more than taking photos, editing them and uploading them. I’ve become quite inclined to the term “micro-blogger” as it gives me chance to add snippets of the experiences I am having in real time, rather than uploading all my images to my computer, editing the photos, writing a long, wordy post a week or so later. It’s convenient and so many people are switched on to things that are fast fodder nowadays.

6. How do you see your blog progressing in the future? Is your end game to take it full-time? 

Never say never. But at the moment, I am quite happy having it as a side hustle – especially now I have a direction with my content strategy.

I can deal with my own company so I think the transition to going to be a full-time blogger would be quite easy, but it would also be nice to have a blogger friend that lived on my doorstep where we could just go grab a coffee and write posts together and take photos all day long.

Luckily, for the time being, a lot of the trips I make for my blog content can be done over weekends, I can meet my photographer during my lunch breaks and my evenings can be spent typing away. 

7. Travel is such a huge part of your life. Is there a particular brand you would love to work with in the future?

Gosh, there are so many. I recently worked with a dream brand, the North Star Club and it has been one of my most successful posts to date. But, for the future I’m going to have to narrow it down to three!

I’d love to work with a brand like Kuoni, who specialise in luxury, tailor-made holidays all over the world.

A dream of mine has always been to travel to Canada, so the Rocky Mountaineer would be an aspiring brand to work with.

And finally, InnTravel would be another, purely because they offer so many great tours but they take a slightly slower-paced approach to travel, compared to other tour companies, and I am all about that slow living vibe!

8. And finally, what is your biggest achievement in the blogging world? 

Honestly, picking up my laptop and writing all those years ago and still continuing to do it 7 years later. I’m terrible at sticking things out, so, my blog is proof that if I’m dedicated to the cause I can most definitely do it.

Winning my blog award at the Bloggers Blog Awards was also a huge milestone for me. When I was nominated it kind of gave me this validation that I was finally good at something, you know. It felt good to finally believe in myself after so long.

And there you have it – I told you you’d come away feeling a wave of inspiration; Bee has that effect on people.

I hope you enjoyed today’s post, and I already can’t wait for the next one in this series!

Find Queen Beady on Instagram, Twitter and on her blog.

xx

I’ve been toying with the idea of doing an interview series on my blog for the past few months, but something has always come up. This year, I made it my mission to get one going as I love reading about people’s lives and how they got to where they are.

I originally was going to do it based on bloggers in the industry, but I decided to interview people who I think are inspirational, not only in the online world but in their everyday life.

My first guest is Alexander Ward, photographer and Associate Director based here in Manchester. If you’re from the city, you will have no doubt heard of him, but today I thought it would be interesting to learn more about the man behind the lens.

I hope you enjoy, and if there is anyone you would like to see in this series, please just let me know in the comments.

1. Hi Alex, thanks for joining us as the first guest on the ‘Be Inspired By’ series. Let’s start by getting to know you a bit better. Can you please tell us a bit about yourself?

I’m Alex, I’m a Photographer in Manchester who first picked up a professional camera in 2016 and have been striving to move my photography forward ever since. I’m originally from Essex and moved to Manchester a few years ago after falling in love with the city and the people in it; I’ve always loved how Manchester has this unique melding of history and pace, it has this special way of humblingly celebrating its history whilst having this ethic of focusing on the future. I’m dead passionate about doing what you love and representing people in the right way.

2. You’re definitely an up and coming photographer on the Manchester blogging scene – how did you get into it? 

Thanks! When I was 17 I started my own creative agency and ran it for just under 11 years, closing it in 2012 when the recession really kicked in. Since then it took me a while to find a creative outlet and, having always had an interest in film and photography, my other half suggested I pick up a cheap camera and give it a whirl. I instantly fell in love with it, I grew this immediate feeling of having a shot in your mind and experimenting until you got it. I started out by putting ads in groups like Reddit to shoot people and build my experience and it wasn’t long before I discovered how passionate I felt about photography and was building a decent portfolio.

3. What tips do you have for people who are just starting out with photography?

Firstly, above all else, do what you love. It’s a creative gig and every shot you take has a piece of you in it – if you’re not feeling it, if it’s not what you really want to be shooting, you’ll be able to tell. People often find a barrier to photography is the cost of the equipment but it needn’t be – get a basic camera and start shooting, just explore, find what you love and don’t be afraid to be creative and try new things. Most importantly, be collaborative and be kind – if you’re joining the game for Instagram likes or to feel better than someone, it’s time to find something else.

4. Have you seen your personal photography change over the years? If so, how?

In every way, but somehow, not at all. The reason I do so much portrait photography is because I’m utterly fascinated by people; indeed, I’ve always had this knack of being able to understand what someone’s about when I meet them – to me, photography is about a process of bringing that person to the surface and representing them – to show the world what I see. My work has changed in that it’s developed in style and approach, technical know-how and creativity, but ultimately that core need is unchanged. I want to showcase people, and my love of that continues.

5. How do you stay motivated as well as having a full-time job?

I’d be lying if I said I never felt pangs of worry over my work – I think that’s a natural process of anyone creating something and developing themselves – but really, I’m driven by people. I love discovering what someone’s about, what’s made them who they are, what makes them tick – this drives me on, showing the wider world who these incredible people I meet are all about. I would give a tip here for anyone starting out either in photography or anything creative – don’t compare yourself to others; take inspiration, but remember how utterly subjective art is and allow yourself to develop in our own way on your own path.

6. How would you like your photography to progress over the next 12 months?

I’d be genuinely thankful for another year like 2017 – I’ve met so many incredible people, worked on some amazing projects, had an amazing exhibition and been booked up for months. I’d love to spend the next year growing the people I work with and honing my approach – I’d definitely like to produce further creative pieces, those shoots where you plan and bring together a raft of things of this single creative vision. Also, I have some news coming soon about something I’m doing this year, watch this space 😉

7. Is there anyone you would love to photograph (famous or not)? 

Hmm, good question! I’d really love to shoot (and interview) someone who’s been on the frontline of helping people; from those people in our community who devote time to helping others to those abroad who are part of organisations tackling humanitarian issues. I think I’d like to try to unravel and convey the complexity and truth of what they deal with. I think that makes sense.

8. What is your end goal with your photography?

I’d like to do more of what I love and I see it growing in my life, but I also have a great day job working with awesome people. I see my ‘end goal’ as much grander than the next five years – I want to get to a point where my work has real value, where I help people tell their story – whatever that is.

Thank you so much to Alex for being the first interviewee.

I hope you enjoyed learning more about his work, and how he sees it progressing in the next few years. Alex is such a talented guy, and you can find his website here and Instagram here – go give him a follow. I’ve also included some of his favourite shots below over the past few months.

xx