Blogger Spotlight: Charlie Watson, The Runner Beans

Charlie Watson is the author of The Runner Beans, which was recently ranked number one in the Top 10 UK Fitness and Exercise Blogs. Charlie is a marathon runner, fitness fan and self-professed foodie. We spoke to her about keeping it real, her favourite kit and working with PRs. 

How would you describe your blog?
An honest, attainable approach to fitness and running. I share the trials and tribulations of marathon training, fear of the weights section at the gym and my uneasiness with shedding for a wedding.

My goal is to champion the journey to a healthy, more active life where honest fitness and food makes wellbeing more accessible to all – without losing sight of the real lives we lead.

Why did you start your blog?
I started my blog when I signed up for the London marathon in 2012 – originally it was to coerce friends and family into sponsoring me, then it helped keep me accountable to my fitness goals and has developed into a training journal as well as a source (I hope) for information and inspiration for runners, newbie gym goers and fitness enthusiasts alike.

Charlie Watson - The Runner Beans 2What makes your blog different from other fitness blogs?
I don’t have abs, I’m not a fast runner, I’m just an average enthusiast sharing the ups and downs of real life and training… with a side of chocolate and gin! For me, it’s all about balance. I like to train to complete challenges, like marathons, ultra swims, and an Ironman 70.3 in the future rather than strength or aesthetics.

What’s the next big fitness trend going to be?
I think Swim/Run races are going to get bigger, and I think Ultra races will increase in popularity (as they already are). I am tempted to sign up for one – I’ve heard the aid stations are way more fun than marathon aid stations!

What piece of equipment or tech is your go-to workout companion?
I love my Adidas Ultra Boost trainers and my Garmin watch to track my runs.

What’s your favourite workout class or routine?
Favourite workout class is Barre and BodyPump (aside from running, obviously!).

What was your favourite blog post to create and why?
I love sharing the marathon race recaps as I work really hard to train for them and create content during the races, but I also love the more open/honest posts such as my feelings on losing weight for the wedding.

How do you see your blog developing in the future?
I’d like to develop my YouTube channel further as well as creating more active travel content, and sharing my knowledge as I continue my Dietetics degree.

What makes your blog successful?
I think it’s my honesty, my realness and my persistence to train for my goals. I’ve been blogging for five years and am growing, developing and changing online as well as in real life. I’m average, and proof that others can achieve their goals if they work hard and believe in themselves.

How do you like to work with PRs?
I love partnering to make creative, interesting content that’s helpful and fun for my readers (and me!). I like to brainstorm ideas that match with brand campaigns on longer term partnerships to create value for both the company and my audience.

What one thing should PRs know about you?
I love to travel and I am studying to become a dietitian. I love working with brands that want to work together to create awesome content!

What are your favourite blogs to read?
I love a lot of American fitness blogs such as Pumps and Iron, Run to the Finish and the Real Life RD, plus I get inspiration from beauty/fashion blogs such as Inthefrow, Lydia Millen and Hello Fashion. I also really enjoy watching YouTube videos from lifestyle, fitness, fashion and beauty bloggers.

 

Charlie Watson features on the Vuelio Media Database along with thousands of other bloggers, influencers and journalists.

GBBO

Bake Off ratings hit Channel 4 high

The consolidated viewing figures for the first episode of Great British Bake Off make it one of Channel 4’s most watched programmes of all time.

Taking into account time-shifted viewing over a seven-day period, the episode drew an average of 9.5 million viewers, which was a 35.4% share of the audience. This makes it Channel 4’s seventh highest rated show ever, and the best since Big Fat Gypsy Weddings, which had 9.7 million viewers in February 2011.

The show also attracted 2.7 million 16-34 year-old viewers, making it the best performing programme among this demographic in 2017.

Channel 4’s highest rated show ever was A Woman of Substance, which drew 13.9 million viewers in 1985 – surprisingly comparable to the 13.4 million that watched Nadiya Hussain win Bake Off on BBC One in 2015.

The total figures for the first episode of Bake Off, including repeats on Channel 4, E4 and 4Seven, and views on Channel 4’s online service All 4, make the total well over 12 million.

Jay Hunt, Channel 4’s chief creative officer, said: ‘Bake Off has well and truly landed on Channel 4. I’m thrilled viewers have warmed to Paul, Prue, Noel and Sandi and are enjoying the exceptional standard of baking.’

The strong start has been bolstered by the second episode, which enjoyed overnight viewing figures of 6 million. Though this is down on week one, the 16-34 year old demographic grew and it’s still double the number Channel 4 needs in order to ‘break even’ on its £75 million purchase of the show.

Fashion Foie Gras

Blogger Spotlight: Emily Johnston, Fashion Foie Gras

Emily Johnston is the author behind Fashion Foie Gras (FFG), which was recently ranked third in the Top 10 UK Fashion Blogs. Covering her own personal style and fashion news, Emily also writes about her adventures abroad. Here we spoke to Emily about being yourself, her changing attitude towards Fashion Week and PRs as bridesmaids…

How would you describe your blog?
FFG has truly become a blog that has evolved from being just about fashion to covering every aspect of life, from travel to food, style to beauty.

Why did you start your blog?
I started FFG to be a part of the conversation that was starting to erupt online around fashion and lifestyle. I had no idea it could become a career. I was doing it for fun!

What are the latest fashion trends we should be aware of?
For autumn/winter I would say embrace the art of layering, playing with different fabrics and print clashing to really showcase your own unique style. Leave the trends behind. Wear what makes you happy and feels good!

How does London Fashion Week fit in with your blog?
It used to play a huge role, but these days I use the catwalk for inspiration for later features, when readers don’t have to feel frustrated by waiting to purchase. People want to see it now and have it in hand tomorrow, which has really changed my own views on covering LFW.

What’s going to be the ‘next big thing’ in fashion?
I don’t think there is a next big thing. Things aren’t ‘big’ like they used to be. Trends are a flash in a pan and they change daily. Tough for anyone to keep up, that’s why I say be true to yourself!

What makes your blog successful?
Luck. Haha. Kidding. I think the blog is successful because I have integrity and am pretty much a slave to it. I don’t cut corners, it’s hard work and there’s no cheating that. But I love every minute of it so it’s worth it. And my readers are just insanely loyal and fabulous and, at this point, we’ve more or less grown up together over the past decade.

How do you like to work with PRs?
First of all, I have to say that when I finally get married I can guarantee you that the women that make up my bridesmaids will be mostly PRs that I have met through this crazy blog life. They are amazing men and women. But, I do really appreciate when people are straight forward. If there’s a job, let’s talk about. If you want support for a new brand, let’s discuss.

What collaborations are you proud of?
There are so many and too many to spotlight just a few. My designer collaborations, however, have been the favourites. I’d love to do a dress collaboration in the future!

What one thing should PRs know about you?
I’m easy and I’m an adult (and I worked as a PR for ten years before starting the blog… so I get it).

What other blogs do you read?
Again, too many to list. London is full of so much talent!

Emily Johnston features on the Vuelio Media Database along with thousands of other bloggers, influencers and journalists.

photojournalism

Reuters launches photojournalism grants

Reuters has launched a new grant programme to encourage the next generation of photojournalists to share original visual stories from around the world.

Reuters is offering up to eight grants, worth $5,000 each, to photojournalists or students for work on photo assignments and projects that will enhance their visual storytelling abilities and tell ‘original human stories’.

Pictures taken by the grant recipients will be distributed globally on Reuters platforms.

While the photojournalists do not need to be professional, the candidates must be passionate about the medium and be able to pitch a concept that they can successfully complete in order to secure the grant.

The grant winners will be advised on their assignments and projects by Yannis Behrakis, Reuters photojournalist and senior editor of special projects. Yannis will provide advice and planning assistance throughout the process.

The application period opens 10 September. Entrants need to submit a CV and a 25-50 picture portfolio of both single images and multi-image stories. They must also detail their project or idea, which is recommended to be, ‘focused on a subject in a community or location within close proximity that can be completed in a few weeks or months’.

The deadline for entries is 10 December, and the grants must be used in 2018.

More information about the competition including entry details is available on the Reuters website.

UK Bloggers Survey 2017

How big is your influencer budget?

More bloggers are turning professional according to the latest UK Bloggers Survey from Vuelio.

The annual report, published by Vuelio, in conjunction with Canterbury Christ Church University, surveys hundreds of bloggers about their habits, intentions and perceptions of the blogosphere. You can download the survey for free, by clicking here.

While a majority (62%) of bloggers are still hobbyists, there’s been a 4% rise in the number for whom it is now their main source of income and a 6% rise in those who see it as their future main source of income. This points to a legitimisation of blogging as an industry, as more people now see it is a valid career path.

The professionals are also blogging in a different way to the hobbyists, unsurprisingly posting more frequently with 33% of professionals publishing five or more times a week, compared to just 7% of hobbyists managing the same frequency.

Though the blogging industry is legitimising itself, the number of largest blogs (with a monthly audience of over 10,000) is nearly unchanged from 2016, suggesting that the established influencers are here to stay and there’s not much room for many more.

Bloggers may be a force to be reckoned with, but they still feel they lack the credibility that journalists – their traditional media counterparts – have. It is improving, but slowly; this year saw a 5% rise in those disagreeing with the question, ‘PRs regard traditional journalists as more important than bloggers’.

Is trust and respect from PR professionals and brands the best way to gain that integrity? Collaborations are typically a blogger’s largest source of income and good relations with PR is the best way for the industry to grow further. Most bloggers (75%) do have these good relationships, though it varies wildly depending on if they are blogging about parenting (87% good relationships) or politics (just 17%).

Relationships work both ways and PR needs to be giving something back to the industry, as 71% of bloggers believe PR professionals expect support for their brand for little in return. As 58% of bloggers expect to be paid for all the coverage they give brands, there’s clearly still some ground to be made up between the two fields.

2017 awards for bloggers

Shortlist revealed for the Vuelio Blog Awards 2017

The shortlist for the Vuelio Blog Awards has been announced, with more finalists than ever before. Taking place on 24 November at the Bloomsbury Big Top, the Vuelio Blog Awards 2017 is a highlight of the blogging calendar.

With 84 of the very best blogs on this year’s shortlist, the judges will have their work cut out to determine the overall winners when they meet on 18 September.

This year’s judging panel includes journalists, PR professionals and an award-winning blogger: click here for more information.

The finalists all specialise in one of our 14 categories, and every shortlisted blog will also be eligible for the grand prize – Best UK Blog of 2017.

Without further ado, the shortlist of the best bloggers in the UK and Ireland for 2017 is as follows:

Best Newcomer

  • Best Before End Date
  • That Butterfly Effect
  • Man vs Globe
  • Modish Male
  • A Mundane Life
  • Pip and the City

Arts and Entertainment

  • Creative Bloq
  • FlickeringMYTH.com
  • Nialler9
  • Photography Blog
  • Pop Justice
  • That Grape Juice

Beauty

  • A Model Recommends
  • British Beauty Blogger
  • Caroline Hirons
  • Estee Lalonde
  • London Beauty Queen
  • Pixiwoo.com

DIY & Interior Design

  • Abigail Ahern Blog
  • Dear Designer’s Blog
  • Design Sheppard
  • Fresh Design Blog
  • Love Chic Living
  • Swoon Worthy

Fashion

  • Ape to Gentleman
  • Fashion Foie Gras
  • Fashion Me Now
  • In the frow
  • Menswear Style
  • Raindrops of Sapphire

Fitness & Healthy Living

  • Carly Rowena
  • Fitness on Toast
  • Lunges and Lycra
  • The Fat Girls’ Guide to Running
  • The Runner Beans
  • Zanna Van Dijk

Food & Drink

  • Amuse Your Bouche
  • Charlotte’s Lively Kitchen
  • Deliciously Ella
  • Hungry Healthy Happy
  • Lavender and Lovage
  • My Fussy Eater

Men’s Lifestyle

  • Ape to Gentleman
  • Average Joes
  • Buckets and Spades
  • The Everday Man
  • Menswear Style
  • The Dapper Chapper

Parenting

  • Boo Roo and Tigger Too
  • DadBlogUK.com
  • The Dadventurer
  • The Mad House
  • Slummy Single Mummy
  • Toby & Roo

Political

  • Bella Caledonia
  • ConservativeHome
  • Guido Fawkes’ Blog
  • LabourList
  • Political Scrapbook
  • Wings Over Scotland

PR, Media & Communications

  • MK
  • Natasha Courtenay-Smith
  • NevilleHobson.com
  • PRcareers
  • PRexamples
  • Stephen Waddington

Travel & Leisure

  • A Luxury Travel Blog
  • Bruised Passports
  • Global Grasshopper
  • Hand Lugguage Only
  • Two Monkeys Travel
  • Wish Wish Wish

Wedding

  • Boho Weddings
  • Brides Up North
  • Love My Dress
  • Rock My Wedding
  • Rock N Roll Bride
  • Whimsical Wonderland Weddings

Women’s Lifestyle

  • Coco’s Tea Party
  • Liberty London Girl
  • Lily Pebbles
  • The Londoner
  • Poppy Deyes
  • Poppy Loves

 

Every finalist is listed in the Vuelio Influencer Database.

Guardian charity

The Guardian Launches US Non-Profit

The Guardian has launched a US-based non-profit organisation in an attempt to support quality independent journalism.

Its website, theguardian.org states that its mission is to advance and inform public discourse and citizen participation around the most pressing issues of our time through the support of independent journalism and journalistic projects at the Guardian.

The new organisation will raise funds from individuals and foundations and direct them towards projects that advance public discourse and citizen participation around issues such as climate change, human rights, global development and inequality.

The Guardian Media Group states that the non-profit has already raised more than $1 million in grants, including:

  • Skoll Foundation funding for a solutions-oriented series on climate change in America
  • Support from Humanity United to allow the Guardian to continue its in-depth look at modern day slavery
  • A grant from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation to support compelling journalism on the subject of early childhood development.

The Guardian has a long history of partnering with ‘like-minded philanthropic organizations’ and already counts the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Ford Foundation and Rockefeller Foundation as longstanding philanthropic partners.

The project is headed up by Rachel White who is also the Guardian’s global EVP of philanthropic and strategic partnerships.

Commenting on the launch of the new organisation, White said: ‘The connection between powerful story-telling and social cause has never been more vital. Across the past six years, philanthropy has played an increasingly significant role in supporting Guardian journalism on issues that critically inform the public–climate change, inequality, women’s rights, and more. The creation of theguardian.org makes it possible for us to forge key strategic partnerships, and engage a wider range of individuals and philanthropic organizations in supporting our global ground-breaking storytelling and reporting.’

As news companies continue to look into new ways to fund investigative journalism, we can expect to see a number of publishers adopting philanthropic models and this is certainly a smart move by the Guardian, helping them fund expensive journalistic projects.

2017 awards for bloggers

Presenting the Judges for the Vuelio Blog Awards 2017

We are delighted to announce that this year’s judges, who will together decide the winners of every category at the Vuelio Blog Awards 2017, represent a genuine variety of skills, experience and perspectives.

Ahead of the announcement of shortlisted bloggers next week, the judges have been chosen and are preparing themselves for the biggest blogging decisions of the year

The judging panel includes the best blogger of 2016, journalists and PR experts, and they will be choosing one winner from six finalists in each of the 15 categories.

This year’s judging panel is:

Katie Constable Vuelio Blog Awards 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

Katie Constable
Katie currently handles the social media at PZ Cussons Beauty for iconic beauty brands St.Tropez and Fudge Professional. Having worked in the industry for five years across fashion, beauty and lifestyle, she is always on the pursuit for new exciting content to further engage and evolve brands. In launching St.Tropez’s first ever series of Facebook Lives called ‘Studio Glow’, Katie has been working closely with global influencers across a variety of categories.

 

Anna Doble Judge Vuelio Blog Awards 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anna Doble
Anna is Digital Editor at Radio 1 Newsbeat, leading the team’s web, video and social presence. Before that Anna was Head of Online at Channel 4 News and a newsreader at Independent Radio News. She is about to join the BBC World Service as Digital Editor, looking after English language services.

 

Holly Hodges Judge Vuelio Blog Awards 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

Holly Hodges
Holly Hodges is a senior media researcher at Vuelio. Specialising in bloggers and traditional media, Holly manages the influencer database and has been directly involved with the shortlisting process for this year’s Vuelio Blog Awards. Also responsible for Vuelio’s Top 10 rankings, Holly’s knowledge of the UK blogosphere is second to none.

 

Charlie Lindlar Judge Vuelio Blog Awards 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

Charlie Lindlar
Charlie is the Blogs Editor at HuffPost UK. He manages the site’s community of 18,000 bloggers, mostly working across current affairs and politics. You can follow him on Twitter @charlielindlar.

 

Frank Marr Judge Vuelio Blog Awards 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

Frank Marr
Regarded as one of the industry’s brightest stars (he was named in PR Week’s ‘top 30 under 30’), Frank has been behind numerous world-class campaigns and helped shape an agency built on a culture of hard work and innovation. He’s the PRCA Travel & Tourism Chairman and an occasional PR lecturer at Regent’s University.

 

Kate Watson Smyth-Judge Vuelio Blog Awards 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kate Watson-Smyth
Kate is an award-winning journalist and blogger, who in 2016 scooped the prestigious Best UK Blog prize for Mad about the house, at the Vuelio Blog Awards. Specialising in interiors and design, Kate has also published her first book ‘Shades of Grey: Decorating with the most elegant of neutrals’, with her second out in March. She also runs the ‘personal shopping for the home’ service, Mad about your house.

For more information about this year’s Vuelio Blog Awards, please contact Jake O’Neill.

SocialBookshelves.com

Blogger Spotlight: Dane Cobain, SocialBookshelves.com

Dane Cobain is the author behind SocialBookshelves.com a Top 10 UK Literature Blog. With a catalogue-style review site, Dane also constricts his review word counts to the number of pages the book has. Here we spoke to Dane about his favourite novel, the rise of audiobooks and his preferred way to work with PRs.  

How would you describe your blog?
SocialBookshelves.com is a book blog with a difference. I don’t specialise in particular genres, I just keep a running list of reviews for every book that I read – over 1,000 so far. My reviews also have a particular quirk – their word count is the same as the number of pages in the book, so a 350 page book has a 350 word review.

Why did you start your blog?
I’ve always liked writing reviews. I remember in secondary school we were asked to write reviews for every book that we read. For the other kids, it put them off reading because they didn’t want to write the reports. For me, it meant I was writing 3-5 reports per week. The teacher eventually told me I could stop doing them.

I started blogging because when I left university, I got a full-time job in social media marketing. I thought that starting a blog would give me a great excuse to get some hands-on experience with a blog of my own. Once I started, it was hard to stop!

What’s your favourite book, and why?
Northern Lights by Philip Pullman because it’s a masterpiece. He’s got a new book coming out that’s a companion novel and it’s great to see a new generation of readers picking up his books because of all of the publicity.

What makes a good book?
It’s a combination of a whole heap of things, from pacing and plot to aesthetics and the cover. For a book to get a 5* rating on my blog, it has to leave me feeling like a slightly different person after reading it and it has to be pleasurable (as opposed to a chore) from start to finish.

Digital books disrupted an age-old industry, what do you think will be the next big disruptor?
They have, although I personally don’t read them. That’s because I like to collect my books, so I only ever read paperbacks and then I keep them in my rapidly expanding library. I keep needing to move to slightly bigger houses to accommodate them all.

As for the next big disruptor, that’s hard to say. I think audio books will continue to pick up steam and it’ll be more commonplace for people to listen to them, and I think the standard of them will continue to pick up. Over the next ten years or so, there will also be a lot of indie writers breaking through to the mainstream thanks to word of mouth – the market will decide whether their work is good or not , not a literary agent or a junior editor at a publishing house. On top of that, I think we’ll see more and more books coming out from YouTubers, Instagrammers and other social media celebrities who see it as a way to monetise their audience.

How many books do you own (roughly)?
Well I’ve reviewed every book I own and I have 1,129 reviews, so somewhere around that. The true number is probably closer to 1,250 counting the books I haven’t read yet – 1,300 if you count the copies I have of the books I’ve released myself.

What makes your blog successful?
I think consistency and longevity have played a big part. I update it regularly and work with plenty of authors and PRs to add other content such as interviews, and I also run competitions and use social networking sites. I think a big part of it has been the fact that I’m an author myself and so it’s pretty linked to my daily life. It’s just part of who I am.

How do you like to work with PRs?
I like them to email me with a little bit of information about the books and then I get back to them if I’m interested. I don’t get time to respond to every enquiry unfortunately because there are so many of them.

What’s the one thing PRs should know about you?
I only accept physical copies.

What other blogs do you like to read?
I’m going to be honest here – I don’t actually get much chance to read blogs because I’m so busy with other stuff. I do, however, watch a bunch of different ‘BookTubers’ – i.e. YouTubers who talk about books. They mostly talk about YA and middle grade, but I find their passion for books inspiring. Some of my favourites are Jean from Bookish Thoughts, Katytastic and Brock from Let’s Read. It’s great to see how creative people are.

That said, I do follow friends’ blogs as they post – but they’re mostly authors rather than other book bloggers.

Dane Cobain features on the Vuelio Media Database along with thousands of other bloggers, influencers and journalists.

Gay pride

Manchester Evening News Wins Praise for Defending Pride

The comments sections of many newspaper websites are hardly the bastion of tolerance and fair argument. Seemingly left unmoderated, user-generated comment is, by and large, a free-for-all for trolls and haters of all shapes and sizes to rant about their views of the world behind the anonymity of an avatar.

While many online editors may be following Rule 1 of online debate – don’t feed the trolls – many others will tolerate ‘unacceptable’ comments because they fuel greater engagement and keep their websites sticky.

If you really want to know how unbalanced huge swaths of the population are, don’t bother reading the stories, just head straight for the comments section.

However, one newspaper has recently won praise for tackling intolerance in the comments section of its website and actively fighting back against trolls, haters and the intolerant.

The Manchester Evening News has jumped to the defence of the city’s Pride event and posted the following comment regarding negative posts regarding the LGBT festival:

‘Quite remarkable how many negative comments we have to remove or hide on stories like this.

‘To those asking when is ‘straight pride day’ or questioning why we still have Pride we’d ask this: did you know that homosexuality is punishable by death in 12 countries? Celebrating Pride in those places can literally get you killed.

‘Did you know there’s been a recent rise in homophobic hate crimes? Did you know that in Britain homophobic attacks rose by 147% in three months from June last year. Did you know nearly half of all trans children in this country have attempted suicide? Or that 80 per cent have self-harmed?

‘Did you know it’s only been 50 years since homosexuality was decriminalised in the UK? This is why we still have Pride marches. And Manchester’s is the best in the world.’

In writing this comment, the Manchester Evening News are doing so much more than defending a sizable section of the community they serve but they are also taking ownership of their own editorial platform.

It should be remembered: a publisher is responsible for the comments left on their website and if they provide a home to intolerance (whether they believe in it or not) – they must take responsibility for any repercussions generated by such content.

Well done to the Manchester Evening News for not only defending the LGBT community in Manchester and beyond but also for taking pride in its own online editorial platform and the content they carry.

Michael 84

Blogger Spotlight: Michael Adams, Michael 84

Michael Adams is the author behind Michael 84, which was recently ranked in the Top 10 UK Men’s Lifestyle Blogs. Michael is a Newcastle-based t-shirt and fashion designer who writes about the latest style trends, music, films, tech and travel. Here, Michael told us about his favourite collaborations, bloggers moving to Instagram and the modern man.

How would you describe your blog?
Michael 84 is a men’s fashion and lifestyle blog with a focus on menswear and style tips, and covers everything from the usual guy’s life; from tech, travel and products reviews to entertainment including film, TV and music.

Why did you start you blog?
I love technology and the web, and have always had an interest in building and creating things online. It started off with simple websites, then I created forums, e-commerce stores and then I moved into blogging seven or eight years ago, writing about my interests.

What are the latest trends in men’s lifestyle we should be aware of?
It’s hard to say the latest trends in men’s lifestyle, as that could cover a large number of things. Minimalist style, for things such as watches, is big now and has been growing for a couple of years, with more and more brands offering a simplistic style of watches.

How does the modern man compare to men of the past?
I think it depends on how far you go back for comparison; I think that guys are taking better care of themselves more than ever now. Working out or going to the gym has become part of daily life, rather than a temporary or part time activity.

What’s going to be the next big trend in men’s lifestyle?
I think there could be an increase in using smart technology, it’s getting more popular with more brands offering various products from Amazon, Apple and Google, as well as smart home products.

What one thing could you not live without?
I think it has to be my iPhone. As we know, phones these days aren’t just phones, they do so much, so it’s the one thing I’d want to have.

How do you like to work with PRs?
I prefer it when they have a campaign or a clear idea in mind, and let me have some freedom to go with it. It’s always important to be on the same page so we have an understanding of what’s expected and going to happen, as sometimes but rarely there can be some miscommunication.

What’s one of your favourite collaborations?
There has been a few, I was part of a TOPMAN campaign called ‘Great Britain, Great Suits’ which showcased my city (Newcastle) and one of their great suits, and working with LG for London Fashion Week was also a highlight.

What one thing should PRs know about you?
I am always open to work with great brands on different projects, so if they’re looking for exposure or have a campaign which they think may fit, they should get in touch.

What other blogs do you read?
I actually don’t really read too many blogs these days. A lot of other bloggers have been putting a lot more focus on Instagram, so they aren’t updating their blogs as frequently as they used to.

Michael Adams features on the Vuelio Media Database along with thousands of other bloggers, influencers and journalists.

Carly Rowena

Blogger Spotlight: Carly Rowena, CarlyRowena

Carly Rowena is the Top 10 Fitness and Exercise blogger behind her eponymous blog. Covering the simple steps you can take to transform your body and maintain a healthy lifestyle, Carly Rowena uses her expertise as a personal trainer to advise her readers about all things health and fitness. We spoke to Carly about her love of Crossfit, the importance of honesty and working with PRs.

How would you describe your blog?
My blog is a little hub of fitness and lifestyle motivation, it’s a place for all shapes, sizes and abilities. I hope to inspire people to move more, enjoy food and feel incredible each day!

Why did you start your blog?
I started my blog after realising that I wanted to go into detail about certain topics that I didn’t feel suited my YouTube channel. I find writing very therapeutic and loved the idea of being able to bring up different subjects, topics and chat to a different audience.

What makes your blog different from other fitness blogs?
It’s so hard to stand out nowadays as there are so many incredible blogs out there, however I feel my ‘girl next door’ vibe and honesty when it comes to anything from exercise, love life or body parts has always gone down well. There is no topic that I’m scared of talking about and it’s my aim to help as many people as possible.

What’s the next big fitness trend going to be?
I have to admit that I tend to ignore the trends, there is no ‘one way’ for all of us; we’re all individual and as time goes on I think everyone will start to realise that. I would say cutting dairy seems to be the big one this year and it’s one I certainly agree with for ethical reasons but other than that, I feel it’s just nice to see the world relaxing a little – the whole clean eating vibe went a little too far!

What piece of equipment or tech is your go-to workout companion?
I am all about being functional and although my main passion is CrossFit, I have to say my body is my best workout pal, you can literally create anything without the need for anything but yourself, some space and something to strap your lady humps down!

What was your favourite blog post to create and why?
I love creating a post that talks about something most people are scared to discuss. My most recent ‘Orgasm’ post was one of my favourites, I loved the reaction!

How do you see your blog developing in the future?
I’d like my photography to improve, it’s so hard to take epic blog images without the help of a photographer and I’m not a big fan of selfies. I love writing but finding the imagery is certainly the hard part for me!

What makes your blog successful?
Such a hard question, I’d like to think it’s the honesty!

How do you like to work with PRs?
I love working with PRs! In general I prefer to chat on the phone than over email, I hate wastage so I always prefer a brand emails me with any products they think I might like and then I get to say yes or no, and then let my followers know my thoughts!

What one thing should PRs know about you?
I’m very low maintenance and sweaty, I will never be a full face of contour type of girl, however, I will always squeal when a product arrives in the post. I hate packaging and will never lie to my followers, expect me to test out a product for at least a month before ever sharing, I’m very loyal to my followers and their pennies!

What are your favourite blogs to read?
Oh there are so many and all of different topics: I adore Steffy White, InTheFrow and Lottie Murphy.

What’s your favourite workout class or routine?
I adore Crossfit, I have never felt stronger, more functional or more proud of myself than I do right now, I feel unstoppable and it’s the best feeling!

Carly Rowena features on the Vuelio Media Database along with thousands of other bloggers, influencers and journalists.

Playing by the Book

Blogger Spotlight: Zoe Toft, Playing by the Book

Zoe Toft is the mother-of-two blogger behind Playing by the Book. Focusing on Zoe’s favourite family activity, Playing by the Book recently ranked in the Top 10 Literature Blogs. Here Zoe told us about good books, owning a lot(!) of books and working with PRs.

How would you describe your blog?
Honest review of books for children and young people accompanied by the play and exploring they inspire in my family.

Why did you start your blog?
If truth be told, it’s because I have a terrible memory and I wanted to have a way to document, and thereby remember, the good times.

What’s your favourite book, and why?
It’s very hard to pick just one book – it depends on my mood.

What makes a good book?
A good book is any one that hooks a reader. Different people need different hooks to engage them and so I don’t think there’s a single recipe for a good book. For some people, for example, it will be great pace, for others it will be stunningly beautiful writing. Fortunately, like delicious food, there are all sorts of recipes for brilliant books.

Digital books disrupted an age-old industry, what do you think will be the next big disruptor?
I don’t know that I’ve got anything very insightful to respond with. That said I do worry that fear of taking risks and instead becoming over reliant on brands will diminish the industry in the long run.

How many books do you own (roughly)?
About 4,000. Very many of them in piles all around the house!

What makes your blog successful?
My passion. I’ve always worn my heart on my sleeve, and I think that comes through on my blog. Marry my enthusiasm with our family’s sense of playfulness, and the wealth of book knowledge I’ve developed over the past eight years of blogging and I’m pretty happy with the ingredients I have for my blog. I could always do with more time to write more blog posts though!

How do you like to work with PRs?
In a spirit of generosity on both sides!

What’s the one thing PRs should know about you?
Even if I don’t end up reviewing a book sent for review on my blog, it forms part of my bank of knowledge and so that book often ends up being given as a personal recommendation that PRs may not get to see. We all know the power of personal recommendation and so the silent or invisible recommendations I make often have as much impact as the ones that can be more easily measured via blog posts.

What other blogs do you like to read?
All sorts! But three I’ve read today and visit regularly include: tygertale, Rhino Reads and A Fuse #8 Production.

Zoe Toft features on the Vuelio Media Database along with thousands of other bloggers, influencers and journalists.

Snog Marry Avoid presenter

Blog marry avoid?

We are delighted to announce the host of the Vuelio Blog Awards 2017 is the fantastic Ellie Taylor. A confident and hilarious performer, Ellie will be entertaining our audience of world class bloggers and communicators on 24 November at the Bloomsbury Big Top.

Get your tickets here

Perhaps best known for presenting BBC 3’s cult hit Snog Marry Avoid?, Ellie has recently appeared on Live at the Apollo and Mock the Week, as well as getting magical on Let’s Sing and Dance for Comic Relief.

Ellie’s extensive credits also include The Now Show, The John Bishop Show, As Yet Untitled, 8 out of 10 Cats and Drunk History as well as playing lead roles in the new Disney series The Lodge and Comedy Central’s Brotherhood.

Ellie will present fifteen awards to the top bloggers from the UK and Ireland across a range of different categories including Best UK Blog and Best Newcomer.

Taking place in the Bloomsbury Big Top, the awards ceremony will be part of an amazing night of food, drink and celebration as the most influential bloggers rub shoulders with top PR and communication professionals to celebrate all that’s good about the world of blogging.

Tickets are now on sale – please visit our dedicated ticket website to buy yours today. 

Charlotte's BAG

Charlotte’s BAG and the power of vlogging

Charlotte Eades was a prolific vlogger and charity campaigner who died in February 2016 from glioblastoma. Charlotte’s BAG is a UK registered charity that was set up in October 2016 in Charlotte’s memory.

We’ve spoken to Charlotte’s Mum Alex Eades (AE), brother Miles Eades (ME) and the chair and trustee of Charlotte’s BAG Cressy Brooks (CB) about the charity, the power of Charlotte’s vlogging and her legacy.

What is Charlotte’s BAG?
CB
: Our Charlotte, daughter of Alex and sister of Miles, died aged 19 years and 6 days in February 2016 after a devastating two and a half years coping with anaplastic astrocytoma which then developed into full blown glioblastoma. She was first diagnosed aged 16, on the afternoon of her school prom.

Alex, Miles and I set up the charity because we were all determined that Charlotte would not become just another cancer statistic, and because brain cancer (of which there are over 100 types) is significantly under-funded, receiving just one per cent of national cancer research funding. With the current rate of investment, it is estimated that it will be 100 years until any sort of cure is found – compare that with the leaps made in treatment of breast cancer following a major cash input. The last significant development in brain cancer treatment was the introduction of temozolomide in 1999, when Charlotte was already two years old.

Why Charlotte’s BAG? BAG stands for Battle Against Glioblastoma, and also celebrates Charlotte’s enduring love of hand bags, the higher end the better!

Can you tell us about glioblastoma and why more people should be aware of it?
CB:
Glioblastoma is one of over a hundred types of brain cancer. None of them, even the so-called benign ones, are good to have, but medics call glioblastoma ‘The Terminator’ and a diagnosis of a grade IV glioblastoma is currently an effective death sentence.

It is a particularly cruel disease, because it progressively removes every physical capability (speech, movement, continence etc) while the conscious mind knows and understands every single progression of the disease.

Around 5,000 people in the UK die every year from glioblastoma, making it the single biggest cancer killer of the under 40s.

Why did Charlotte Eades choose vlogging to share her story?
CB
: Charlotte found that her world was closing in just as she, like anyone aged 16, would have expected it to open up for her. She suddenly entered a world of hospitals, treatments, hair loss, sudden weight gain, along with the fact that she couldn’t go to college, she couldn’t learn to drive, she couldn’t travel to the USA as she would have liked to. She was also registered disabled, and had to start wearing hearing aids.

AE: Charlotte announced one day that she would start vlogging, and we really didn’t take much notice – we just said ‘OK darling how lovely’. And then she just went on and on, partly inspired by the fact that she couldn’t find anything about teenagers with cancer on the internet – loads about cancer, but not about teenagers who were in that position. So she just learnt how to do it all for herself, she talked about anything and everything that came into her head – sometimes about her illness, but especially in the earlier days, it would often be about make-up, shopping, her cat or her favourite music. She just talked out loud really, and it gave her a voice and a window onto a world which was becoming increasingly inaccessible to her as she became more ill.

Charlotte's BAG

Why was it important for Charlotte to share her story?
AE
: Prior to her diagnosis Charlotte had been bullied at school and suffered from extreme anxiety. Then, four months before her diagnosis, she started having really bad headaches and she read a newspaper article which convinced her she had a brain tumour. We went back and forth to the doctors, no one believed her until we eventually went to A&E and the process was set in motion.

Although no one would ever want to have cancer, it gave Charlotte a voice. She somehow gained the strength to start vlogging, she would speak to audiences of up to 300 people, she started our local Race for Life, and she appeared on national TV talking about her experience. She won awards from Clic-Sargent and Cancer Research UK for her work.

For Charlotte, it was about sharing her experience, to provide support for other teenagers with cancer, and, I suppose, to make a difference

How did Charlotte’s vlog grow in the digital community?
ME
: Charlotte’s vlog grew really quite organically, as a result of the diversity of her content, her honesty and frankness, and I also have to say because of her beauty, not just physically but in terms of her nature. Charlotte wanted not just to raise awareness of her particular cancer, she also wanted to show that you can, actually, have a life, enjoy yourself, find pleasure in things while undergoing treatment for cancer.

She was really keen to demonstrate that issues such as hair loss, or weight gain due to medication, should never prevent anyone from living a fulfilling and enjoyable life. She did that right up to quite close to the end, and she struck a chord with people.

IMG_2488Charlotte touched a lot of people’s lives, what was the reaction online to her passing?
CB:
When Charlotte died it was, of course, an extremely private event. But when the news got out, it became global, with coverage as far afield as Russia, Australia, the USA and of course the UK.

The family received so many kind messages, which was quite overwhelming at the time, but every single one was truly appreciated. Alex and Miles and the rest of the family needed some time for a few months, but it was clear to all of us that Charlotte had left a huge footprint and we needed to make something good come out of this experience.

Fairly recently we added a tributes section to our website, which includes some really beautiful and heartfelt comments about the difference that Charlotte made.

You’ve taken up the mantle of Charlotte’s vlogging, what’s it like following in the footsteps of Charlotte?
AE
: It is really really hard! Vlogging didn’t come naturally to me or Miles, and I am sure we come across as complete amateurs… but we strongly believe that we need to keep Charlotte’s voice going. Her followers continue to follow us, and they make very kind comments, which is lovely. We are trying to explore all the areas we can – we talk about grief, bereavement, how much we miss Charlotte, what are the right – or wrong – things to say to someone who has lost a child or a sibling, and we talk about what the charity is trying to do.

We are so lucky really, we continually find unseen and unedited footage that Charlotte made, and that allows us to keep going in her name.

How does vlogging fit in with the other areas of promotion and fundraising?
AE:
Vlogging is something we feel we have to do for Charlotte and her followers. We do it because it keeps her voice alive, and because we know people like it. Charlotte’s vlogs were unique – for example, a major pharmaceutical company is using them for staff training because they are such a significant record of the physical decline that glioblastoma causes, which is not available elsewhere.

CB: Charlotte’s vlogs and those created subsequently by Alex and Miles represent a very powerful marketing tool. In charity terms, we are still pretty tiny, just ten months old, and we are in a world where the big charities have every resource at their fingertips and the money to pay for them. We are taking a very different approach; we have no salaries, no advertising, no overheads and every single penny we raise goes into research at King’s College Hospital, London in a new unit called Charlotte’s Project within the Mowatt Laboratories.

We’re actually really proud of what we’ve achieved so far – almost doubled our first year’s target within ten months; raised enough money to fund a research assistant for three years; and we’ve created a PR vehicle which is strongly centred around Charlotte’s achievements during her very short life, and is – I guess because we are family – totally respectful of Charlotte’s memory.

We use social media as much as we possibly can – we are very present on Facebook and Twitter, and we’re trying to get better on Instagram. Our website was created for free by a wonderful friend. We have also established really strong links with key mainstream media who are really supportive of what we are doing – this is currently on a fairly local level, but we will be ramping up a gear for our first birthday at the end of October when we have some very significant news to announce.

What goals does the charity have?
AE:
It’s about Charlotte. We want to keep her memory alive and ensure her voice is still being heard. That’s very important for us.

CB: Glioblastoma can be beaten, given enough money. We are fortunate to be working so closely with one of the world’s leading paediatric oncologists, who specialises in the disease, and with a top neurosurgeon, and we know that we will win, hopefully sooner than everyone expects.

In practical terms, that means fundraising for research and ensuring that the results are shared with the medical community worldwide, and also by educating people in the symptoms, diagnosis, treatment and care of patients with glioblastoma.

 

For more information about Charlotte’s BAG, visit the website, the YouTube channel, Facebook page, Twitter and Instagram.

Peppa Pig Pipped at the Post

Peppa Pig Pipped at the Post

First News, the newspaper aimed at children between the ages of seven and 14, has become the UK’s bestselling children’s periodical with an average weekly combined print and digital circulation of 86,413 in the first six months of the year.

The four percent rise in circulation pushes the newspaper ahead of less news-focused titles including Peppa Pig Bag-o-Fun and the BBC’s CBeebies Magazine (which recorded an eight percent decline in sales).

Celebrating the milestone, First News founder and chief executive Sarah Jane Thomson told journalists: ‘Eleven years ago we identified a gap in the market and have been producing a quality title ever since.

‘Our plan was to bring news to children – and we have stuck to that plan, which has been our key to success. Teachers, parents and of course children themselves appreciate our non-sensational approach to national and international news.

‘However, we are aware of the potential challenges of a declining newspaper market and the opportunities available to us as a result of having built a strong brand following.

‘We will continue to develop our offering, bringing new products to our increasing and loyal customer base – whilst staying true to our roots and remaining focused on our core philosophy of enhancing the lives of children.’

As well as boasting a burgeoning young readership via individual newsagent sales and subscriptions, First News also claims that more than 50% of UK schools subscribe to the newspaper and, as a result, can also say it has a weekly readership of two million young people.

So should the newspaper industry as a whole be encouraged that young people are taking interest in a ‘traditional’ news product?

Yes and no. It’s great that First News has grabbed the attention and acclaim of its young readership but where do they go after age of 14?

No newspaper managers to target the teen and young adult market effectively, leaving ‘new’ media to scoop up the masses online.

Metro for sale

Is the Metro for sale?

According to media reports, Daily Mail and General Trust (DMGT), the publisher behind the Daily Mail is considering selling its Metro freesheet following a decline in advertising sales and profits at the newspaper.

The publisher has appointed bankers at the boutique advisory firm Cardean Bell to explore options for the title with some city sources suggesting the sale of the newspaper could raise around £35 million.

Aside from the decline in print advertising sales, the Metro’s profits have been hit hard by the fall in the value of sterling following Brexit, which has led to an increase in imported newsprint costs.

The proposed Metro sale is thought to be led by DMGT chief executive, Paul Zwillenberg (who once roomed with Daily Mail owner Lord Rothermere at University) who insists there are ‘no sacred cows’ at the company.

While talks regarding the sale of the title are still at a very early stage, it is believed that both Trinity Mirror and Johnston Press may be interested in purchasing the newspaper.

The Metro currently enjoys a daily readership of more than three million, but it faces increased competition from online media, particularly in the mobile arena. This threat to the business will increase as Transport for London (TfL) increases mobile access on the London Underground (the main distribution network for the Metro).

Wifi was introduced to parts of the London Tube network prior to the London Olympics in 2012 but little progress has been made on the network since.

However, TfL are now making renewed efforts to increase coverage and boost 4G connectivity on the Underground.

Speaking to journalists, a spokesperson for TfL said: ‘We are keen to offer full mobile phone coverage for our customers. The introduction of this would need to be commercially viable and would follow engagement with staff and customers.’

BBC London

BBC World Service expands into North Korea

The BBC World Service is expanding its number of languages in the biggest such move since the 1940s. The Service is aiming to reach the countries that are most in need of independent news, and is backed by government funding.

A key target of the ambitious expansion is North Korea and the citizens who have limited access to unbiased content.

In an interview with the Guardian, Francesca Unsworth, the director of BBC World Service, said: ‘We are reaching an incredibly febrile, dangerous atmosphere at the moment about that whole story, and isn’t it terrible for the people of North Korea that the only information that they getting about any of this is that woman who goes on North Korean television every night?

‘We talked for many years about whether it was worthwhile doing something for the most in-need country of the world. This is right at the head of the BBC’s mission to bring independent news to people most in need – and Korea is the country most in need, followed by Ethiopia and Eritrea.’

The half-hour programme will be broadcast every night, giving the audience a chance to hear it without being caught. Unsworth claims the North Korean embassy has told the BBC not to launch the service, though she claims they’re not planning to be ‘dissident radio’.

‘We are there to explain their perspective on this, we are not there to be the voice of opposition. But of course we are not on the side of governments, we are there on the side of people. That is our remit and it always has been.’

Citizens of North Korea are broadly expected to be able to access foreign broadcasts and half the team will work in Seoul while the other half will be based in London.

The Korean service will be launched in autumn, following the already-launched digital Pidgin service for West Africa, and the upcoming Amharic, Afaan Oromo and Tigrinya services for Ethiopia and Eritrea.

Tony Hall, director-general of the BBC, was positive about the Service’s general expansion: ‘The BBC World Service is one of the UK’s most important cultural exports. In a world of anxieties about ‘fake news’, where media freedom is being curtailed rather than expanded, the role of an independent, impartial news provider is more important than ever.’

This is all possible due to a boost in funding of £289m from the UK Government, which is continuing to find a place for the country in the post-Brexit world.

Blogger Spotlight: Jane Dean, Janey On The Move

Janey On The Move is the theatre review blog from Jane Dean. We caught up with Jane who told us about her target audience, working with PRs and being a gardening nerd.

How would you describe your blog?
Janey On The Move is an Entertainment Blog reviewing shows and touring productions from the West End right across the south coast.

Why did you start your blog?
To highlight and review shows to engage with and relate to theatre lovers across the UK.

How does your role as a PR work with your personal blogging?
I appreciate the importance of profiling a brand and gaining exposure to build awareness. In short, what’s the use of having a great product or service if nobody knows about it?!

Who is your target audience?
A mixed bag really. I tend to interact with the 40-60 year old age group but it’s an eclectic audience who appreciate live music, entertainment, lifestyle and celebrity that tend to follow.

If you can choose, what’s the best show you’ve reviewed?
Can I select two, as it’s between Wicked and Dreamgirls – both shows are smash hits.

What skills does working as a PR give you when blogging?
I appreciate the need to make my review stand out and produce engaging content, hopefully without patronising the reader.

How do you work with other PRs on your blog?
A number of PR Consultants, to include those who represent the theatres hosting the show, to working with an individual artist in the show, will contact me to carry out a review. We work well together as we understand the need for current high res images, copy and profiles/biogs.

What advice would you give to other bloggers?
My blog has been running since Dec. 2015 and I’m still learning….! I try to write it like I’m telling a good friend about a fabulous show or performance that I’ve just seen and don’t want them to miss. Just be yourself and tell it like it is.

What are your favourite other blogs to read?
I’m a gardening nerd, so I love any of Vuelio’s Top 10 Gardening Blogs UK, plus the Telegraph’s gardening posts. I’m working on my own Country cottage garden, as I live on the New Forest border so I’m fortunate enough to enjoy living five minutes from the sea but so close to the stunning picturesque countryside.

Jane Dean features on the Vuelio Media Database along with thousands of other bloggers, influencers and journalists.

cathy winston

Blogger Spotlight: Cathy Winston, Mummy Travels

Cathy Winston is the author behind Mummy Travels, a Top 10 Family Travel Blog. The blog covers everything family-travel-related from the exotic trips abroad to fun days out in the UK. Cathy spoke to us about her love of South-East Asia, what family-friendly really means and how she likes to collaborate with PRs.

How would you describe your blog?
A family travel blog that aims to inspire and inform parents who love to travel – and prove that having kids needn’t stop you doing that. Focused mainly on travel with a baby, toddler, preschooler and the first school years, there are tips and advice, reviews of products and accommodation, and tales of my travels with my daughter, from first flights to long-haul, a road trip, cruise and heading off the beaten track in South East Asia and Africa, along with days out in the UK, beach and city breaks.

Why did you start your blog?
I’ve always loved travel and have made it part of my career – but when I became pregnant, everyone told me I’d have to stop. The blog started to try to answer that question: can you keep travelling with a baby and kids? Happily, I think we’ve proved it’s a definite yes!

What makes your blog stand out against other family travel blogs?
The mix of destinations we cover is unusual; there’s content on Cambodia, Burma and Cape Verde, but also London museums, UK seaside breaks and most things in between. I do a lot of solo travel with my daughter. Although I’m not a single parent, it’s often just the two of us for all or part of the trip, including our recent two weeks in Cambodia, so I can bring that perspective to it, as well as giving us a lot of flexibility in what we can do. I have a career as a travel journalist as well, winning several awards, so there’s that professional approach and experience as well as the personal element.

What’s the best place you’ve been as a family?
We’ve visited some amazing countries so it’s really hard to pick one. Our adventures in South East Asia over the past two years have been hard to beat though, so a tie for first place between Burma and Cambodia, I think. But I never tire of a day out at the beach, whether that’s the UK coast or a tropical stretch of sand, and the luxurious Beaches Turks & Caicos Resort was fabulous.

What’s the worst place you’ve been as a family?
Touch wood, we haven’t had any disasters – perhaps the worst was a UK holiday camp. It wasn’t the place itself, which is really popular, but it’s much better for families with older kids. My toddler daughter was too young to enjoy the activities, and we ended up rushing dinner then sitting on the bed in the dark all evening while she slept. A good reminder that family-friendly means very different things depending on your individual situation.

What makes the ideal family holiday?
My daughter would say a beach or swimming pool and ice cream! I think it has to be something which keeps everyone happy. I can’t imagine spending two weeks just lying on a beach, but trying to pack too much in is a recipe for disaster with her, so somewhere which has plenty to explore but where we can enjoy some downtime as well.

Very few places don’t work at all with kids, unless it’s very active or adrenaline-fuelled when they’re little (or the Antarctic). The big difference is often the welcome for kids: plenty of places say they’re family-friendly but children are just tolerated and it’s very hard to relax, while places where kids are the centre of attention are so much more fun, even if you don’t have the facilities you might get at home.

Where haven’t you been that you’re desperate to get to?
SO many places! My bucket list gets longer with each trip, as I always want to go back and see the things we missed or spend more time there. Vietnam, the Philippines and Indonesia are high up though, as we’ve had some wonderful holidays in South East Asia and I haven’t visited any of them yet. But I’d also love to discover more of South America: Peru, Belize, Guatemala, the Galapagos and Costa Rica (for starters) – along with Cuba, Namibia, Oman, Montenegro. I could go on…

How do you like to work with PRs?
Collaboration is a bit of an overused word, but I think that’s the only way to work – any project has to suit both PR and blogger to be a success. For me, it’s really useful to know what the PR wants to get out of a trip, to be really upfront about what they’re hoping it will achieve but also to be flexible, whether that’s tailoring the itinerary to the demands of a small girl or working with me to include the quirky, the unusual, the offbeat things which I think will appeal to the blog’s readers.

Lastly, I pride myself on being very professional, always delivering as promised (and more) and never missing deadlines, so having the trust from a PR about that rather than being too prescriptive, and allowing me to be creative makes a huge difference. The fact that I have some great long-term relationships, working with the same people again and again is something I’m very proud of too.

What is the one thing PRs should know about you?
I get hundreds upon hundreds of emails every day and it’s easy to tell which ones have actually read the blog, or have personalised the email. Those are the ones I prioritise, unlike the ones which use my email address as salutation or put Dear Minnie (the pseudonym I use for my daughter on the blog). Oh, and I’m not a big fan of camping…

What are your favourite blogs to read (outside of your own!)?
Almost too many to mention! I love My Travel Monkey, Globalmouse Travels, Five Adventurers and Tinbox Traveller, who all have kids a similar age to my daughter, but also The Travel Hack and On The Luce, plus Suitcases and Sandcastles and One Tiny Leap for their beautiful photography.

Cathy Winston features on the Vuelio Media Database along with thousands of other bloggers, influencers and journalists.