The breath-taking Glenlo Abbey was the venue for the Into the West Blogger Network Afternoon Tea with Erika Fox that I was recently invited to. Glenlo Abbey for those who may not have been before is a stunning 5 star hotel nestled by the River Corrib and boasts it own golf course on it’s spacious grounds. It is always so hard to believe that it is so close to Galway city centre. When you enter the hotel and go into one of the drawing rooms it really does feel very Downton Abbey-esque. The ITWBN girls really went all out on this show-stopping event and I warn you now this is going to be a very photo heavy post!
When we first arrived we were greeted warmly with some punch in the Ffrench reception room and of course this was the perfect time for us bloggers to start taking pictures! One of the great things about the ITWBN events is that everyone is so open and friendly, I went on my own but I met some girls who I had met before which was great!
When we were finished taking MILLIONS of photos of all around us (believe me the day was an Instagram dream!) we then went through to the River Room Restaurant and it was simply stunning. The delicious afternoon tea menu consisted of Lemon & Poppyseed Cakes, Carrot Cake with Orange & Cream Cheese Frosting, Guinness Cake with Baileys Buttercream, Rosewater & Raspberry Macaroons (my fav!), Salted Caramel & Popcorn Macaroons, Gingerbread Men and Snow-cone cupcakes! It was so tasty and the diet certainly went straight out the window!
And then finally came the moment that we were all here for – Erika Fox from RetroFlame came out to answer questions and let us know all about her blogging journey!! Erika is one of Ireland’s great blogger successes who now resides in New York working for The Camuto Group as their social media manager. She has over 12,000 followers on Facebook, 6,000 followers on Twitter and 36,000 on Instagram! I would advise you to follow her on Snapchat (@RetroFlame1) as her life in New York is so fun to watch – though be warned you may get slight life envy!
Erika is one of those people that you instantly warm to – she is straight shooting in her conversations but always has an elegance around her. Erika went through her career to date and I will be covering that in an upcoming post about her talk at NUIG BizSoc. What I really learned from her is that “Luck is when hard work and opportunity meet”. This is such a great expression as it is so true, very few just get everything handed to them on a plate – most do have to put in the graft to get things done.
She has worked so hard to get where she is but also has managed to meet some amazing people along the way that have helped her. She is always kind to everyone and I think that this has always helped her also is the act that she prefers to be busy as she thinks that the busier you are the more productive that you are – hence why some nights she gets very little sleep.
Here are some tips from Erica on Blogging which I thought that you might find interesting and useful:
- When starting out with your blog – try and find your niche and be consistent. Erica knows that the most she can do is 4 posts in a week but she will try and do 2-3 Instagram photos a day. Have your consistency.
- Use quality images on your blog. Erica believes that this is so important, however she has also come to realise that photography is not her strong point. So she actually hires a photographer to take her shots – that way although it is an expense it means that she is guaranteed good images that will all be of the same atheistic on her site.
- Following on from the above point – make your blog as chic and slick as possible. Brands and PR companies will only look at your blog for 2-3 minutes so you need to make a good impression.
- If you are thinking about moving to NYC to blog – then there will never be a right time. You should just do it. She thinks that you do need to save but that you should take the risk and the worst thing that may happen is that you have to come home again!
- Where does she think that blogging is going? She thinks that blogging will become more a proper career path to go down and that there will be college courses on it. Erica has said that it is always good to keep learning and always have a back up option to blogging.
- Enjoy the process of blogging and being busy – but you need to remember to take a break. Take a moment to put your phone away and take time with your family. I completely agree with this – it’s so important to take care of your health and practice mindfulness.
- Your blog is your brand – this is the single most important point that Erica kept making. You are representing yourself in all of your social media posts and you need to think about what image and tone that you want to set for your readers.
And ladies – I did ask that ALL IMPORTANT question… what conditioner does Erika use to keep her locks in such amazing condition! Well the answer is two brands which she generally swaps between – (1) Bumble & Bumble (which you can now order online from Boots!) and (2) Joico (salon brand). From time to time she will also use the Aussie 3 minute miracle conditioner. She does admit that she does take the time to take care of her hair.
You can follow Erika through her blog or by following @retroflame on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and shop her wardrobe also on DePop.
Erika can be directly contacted by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
And then finally the goodie bags!! And wow they are hands down some of the most amazing goodie bags that I have seen at an event. Sinead and Saibh really out did themselves with these ones. Expect to see some product reviews coming up once I have these properly tested and tried out.
And I will leave you with some more snaps of some of the other bloggers at the event! There were actually so many other bloggers that I also got talking to – including Elaine from One Chick in the House who came up from Kerry and Grace from Grace Daniel Cakes who were just lovely.