21 (as of November 21st!)
How did you choose your blogs name?
I wanted a fun, catchy, one-word title that summed up a fabulous lifestyle on a budget and Charade just seemed perfect, I've never had second thoughts about it.
How long have you been blogging for:
Since August 2008, so a little over a year; it's gone so fast!
What made you start your blog:
I wanted a way to share my writing, build up a possible business that was all my own and meet interesting people – I think I've done pretty well with all three!
How did you come up with the concept of your blog? Or has it evolve over time?
I thought long and hard about the direction I wanted to take the blog before starting it, so luckily I've not had to make many changes along the way. The concept was empowerment over your lifestyle, even if you are a student and don't have a great deal of money. I wanted to take that path, and I felt I'd like to share it with other people.
Your blog covers a lot of topics that are relevant to students, are these articles based on your own experiences or does a lot of research go onto each one?
It varies, on the most part they stem from subjects I'm interested in, my own experience and the experiences of people I know, but often they are based completely on research. There are questions that I, as a student, need answering too, so that's how a lot of articles start.
What keeps you inspired to keep blogging?
I just love it, it's really that simple. I think you have to otherwise there's no point. I definitely have off days, but there'll always be something just around the corner that will pick me up, like an email from and inspired reader. Positive feedback probably spurs me on the most, but I also just get a kick out of the whole process of planning and writing articles.
What are the three blogs that inspire you the most?
I know it's pretty unoriginal, but I have to be honest and say Gala and Nubby, simply because they are absolute beacons of female empowerment and have really taken the reigns of their own careers and seen fabulous success. I've also been immensely inspired by Steve Pavlina. Though I don't agree with everything he says, his ideas on self-employment really motivate me.
What have you learnt from having your own blog?
So much; practical things like html code, how to interact professionally with advertisers and sponsors, the plus points of social media, the power of personal branding and networking, but also how important it is to feel like you're building something up for yourself, sharing your own ideas and gaining a response and a following, coping with making mistakes and learning from them, plus loads more. It's a constant learning curve.
What would you say is necessary for a successful blog?
Like I said above, you have to love what you're doing, but you also have to be willing to experiment (with articles as well as streams of income), be genuine in wanting to help and inspire others, and have lots of spare time to dedicate. Try not to compare yourself to other, bigger blogs too often, because this is a prime de-motivator, just make sure you're learning all the time.
Why do you think your blog is so popular?
That's tough, because I wouldn't say Charade is incredibly popular. I think the reason it has gained the following it does have is simply because I keep at it! That's vital, a hiatus can be devastating to the success of a blog and luckily I've managed not to take one as yet! I hope it's also because they find there is an honest voice behind all of the articles.
What do you friends, family and loved ones say about your blog?
I think they are proud of me, they're always eager to pass on ideas and give me constructive feedback. They've also been super supportive with my projects, like the annual I'm about to release. My sister has even started her own blog.
Do think that you will continue blogging when you leave varsity and enter the working world?
From your blog, we all know you are a creative writing student, what made you go into that field and what year are you?
I'm currently in my second year. I chose creative writing because it's something I've always done and all I really want to do. I was lucky to find such a good course because it's fairly new as a degree option in UK universities.
If you could have any career in the world (other than what you are studying), what would it be and why?
Hmm... A traditional 'career' isn't really my bag, I just want to make it up as I go along, but two things I'd really like to get into are property development (I'm addicted to the TV shows!) and Life Coaching, which I suppose I've already made a step toward with Charade. I think both of these jobs appeal because they are so independent, and I hate the thought of relying on someone else to pay me a wage, especially looking at the current economic climate where a job can be snatched away in the blink of an eye.
Who taught you about fashion and style?
Everybody! I have no one style icon, I think you can take style ideas from anywhere and everywhere: the street, movies, literature, hobbies... etc.
What are your basic wardrobe essentials?
A great pair of comfy, versatile boots; tonnes of cardies and jumpers in varying colours; a selection of accessories that can totally make an outfit, like a statement bag; a white t-shirt; a shirt dress and a couple of jersey dresses and skirts. Ooh, and a beautiful scarf.
What is your fashion "mantra"?
Have fun, make and impression, and be comfortable - they are pretty much the only three reasons to wear clothes at all!
What are your top shopping tips?
1.Don't shop unless you have a clear idea of what you want, whether that be a specific item, a colour palette, or just a 'look' you want to create. 2. Walk out of the shop and comeback at least once before buying, 9 times out of 10 you'll leave and forget all about the item – a sure sign it wasn't worth it. 3. Quality over quantity! Buy less, and buy the best you can afford.
What does your daily make up routine consist of?
I'm terribly lazy when it comes to make-up, but I have fairly bad skin so can't really get out of it! I wear a good covering of foundation, set with pressed powder, slightly sparkly pink 'Bourgois' blusher which I'm addicted to, and a few coats of mascara.
What is your evening/going out make up routine?
As above, plus liquid eyeliner, white pencil to highlight the inner corners of the eye and perhaps a smoky eye shadow.
Aside from writing and your blog what are your other interests and hobbies?
I don't have time for much more! But I love reading and film, and also travel – I'm always planning a trip somewhere! I also love eating out, it's my biggest weakness.
What is your favourite colour?
It's always changing, I love pastels of pink, mint green, dove gray and coral.
I love reading and am always curious as to what peoples favourite books are, what is your favourite book?
Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov is stunning, but I also love Lynne Reid Banks' The L Shaped Room.
What is your favourite food?
There are too many... But my longest standing favourite is probably Mexican food: fajitas, quesadillas, nachos...drool.
Of all the places you have travelled with is your favourite place and why?
I had the best experience in Japan, just because I've travelled a lot but this was where I had the biggest culture shock. There is a much more respectful attitude between people which I enjoyed (and is often not the case in the UK.) And, of course, the food and the shopping!