Well, after another beautifully sunny Saturday yesterday, I’m now cowering indoors once again contemplating putting the heating on while the rain patters against the window. Summer, you better get yourself sorted soon! A rainy Sunday does however make way for other pursuits such as catching up on blogging (a task that has been ever so slightly neglected this week – apologies), doing some wedding DIY’s (I’ve spent the morning playing around with invite designs and researching how to make paper flowers) and of course reading all of those saved posts from my favourite bloggers from the week gone by (my ultimate relaxation).
Talking of such, I’ve got one of my favourite lifestyle blogs to introduce you to today, as for the month of May I’ve had the lovely Lisa, who writes the blog Not Quite Enough, taking up top residence on my sidebar. Not Quite Enough is a delightful blog and one which, every time I drop into it, makes me feel incredibly lazy and gives me sudden urges to get out and see more of the wonderful city I call home. Why? Because Lisa’s one of those go-getter types who despite having a full time job and part time studies still finds time to discover every inch of London in her spare moments and blog about it along the way for our reading pleasure. She might well be superwoman, which makes this month’s Q&A an even more SUPER read. I asked Lisa to tell us a bit more about her blog (and those superwoman tendencies) so you could all get to know her a little better, and so without any more babbling from me, let’s hear from Lisa herself.
1. Hi Lisa! It’s been such a pleasure having you on my sidebar this month and getting to know your blog. So you began writing Not Quite Enough when you moved to London, tell us a bit more about your motivation behind starting a blog, and what your lovely one is all about?
I moved to London for work in 2011. Maybe a year later I met up with old work colleagues and they asked me how I was enjoying London, what the last show I’d seen was etc. and I realised that when I wasn’t at work I wasn’t doing much. I certainly wasn’t out there making the most of this amazing city I lived in. So I resolved to start doing more in London and with my life. I was surrounded at work by Type A colleagues doing amazing things and generally being super accomplished and what was I doing? Nothing! My blog title plays upon the general insecurity I have that what I am doing is not quite enough. My blog pushes me to do more and to see more and to learn more and to just be more. It’s been nearly two years since I started writing my blog and my life is so much fuller than it was. I’ve seen more, been to more places, done more things and even started up German lessons for the first time in years. I hope that I’m bringing people along with my journey, and I’m also learning from my readers along the way.
2. I really love that concept, the idea that your blog is there to push you into enjoying your free time in London and exploring more of this beautiful city. Do you think it’s important to have a creative outlet aside from work and day-to-day life?
I think it’s so important to have a creative outlet, especially if your job, like mine, isn’t particularly creative.
Ever since I was little I’ve been interested in crafts and that sort of thing and now I really enjoy taking photos. Blogging adds purpose to my photography and allows me to tell a story in a way that no other outlet does.
3. Talking of work – you write your blog alongside a full time job AND studying for a postgrad diploma, how on earth to you juggle it all? (Please pass on your tips – I need some!)
Oh gosh, I wish I could say that I manage it well and have loads of useful advice, but I really don’t! When things are busy at work then everything else tends to suffer and my blog posting really does drop off in frequency. Over my recent revision period my main focus was obviously my studies so I put up one or two photo posts just to keep things ticking over a bit. In general though, I’m a multi-tasker. I’ll edit photos while watching TV or type out bits of a post on my phone if I’m waiting for something, it’s the only way I get things done.
4. You describe your free time as being really precious to you. Tell us, what would your ideal weekend look like?
Good question! Any ideal weekend would definitely start with a long lie in before being brought a nice bacon sandwich and cup of tea in bed (one can dream). That would be followed by a day spent exploring a new area of London, browsing in shops, stopping for coffee and cake and maybe taking in an exhibition or museum before dinner out somewhere intimate and warm, and then home to collapse in front of the TV. A trip out would also be good, either to somewhere on the edges of London or slightly further afield. I love the coast and so a day out at the seaside would be perfect. There’s something about water that I find so calming and therapeutic. Luckily London isn’t too far from lots of seaside places and so it’s never too much trouble to get away to the sea.
5. For someone visiting London for the first time, your blog is such a great resource of things to see and do. If you had to recommend only one London experience from everything you’ve done, what would it be?
This is really tricky but I’d have to pick one of my favourite weekends of the year each year – Open House London weekend. Every year over the course of a weekend, buildings across the city which are normally closed to the public open their doors. It’s a fantastic weekend for getting inside some really iconic buildings. There are queues for the most popular buildings but it’s all very polite and civilised. I’ve taken part in it for the past few years now and blogged about some of the buildings I’ve visited, including the Lloyds Building, the Royal Courts of Justice, cabbie shelters and even a cemetery.
6. Your blog is focused around three of my favourite subjects; London life, food and travel. Was this a conscious decision when you started blogging or are these simply the areas that interest you the most?
I wanted to blog about my London life and so food was obviously a natural part of that but the beauty of a lifestyle blog and not having made my blog very London-specific means that no topic is off-limit if it interests me.
7. And do you have a favourite subject/blog feature that you love to write?
Probably my travel posts because it usually encompasses a bit of everything – food, drink, places, history, buildings and small fun details. Plus, I get to post some lovely photos that remind me of my trip, it’s always nice to relive a holiday when blogging about it.
8. You certainly have visited some incredible locations during your travels. Seeing as I’ve got traveling on the brain right now while planning my honeymoon I’d love to hear if you have any top recommendations from the countries you’ve visited?
I bet planning a honeymoon is so exciting. Funnily enough, some of my favourite places are those I’ve been to before I started blogging. In Europe two of my favourite places are in Spain – Valencia and Cordoba but further afield, China was incredible. A two week trip in 2011 took in Beijing, Xi’an (for the Terracotta Warriors), the pandas at Chengdu, the Yangtze, Shanghai and other smaller places along the way. It’s such a diverse country with a long history and so it was a truly amazing trip.
9. Sounds Amazing! China is definitely on my wishlist. But let’s not forget that travelling close to home can be lots of fun too. You’ve mentioned on your blog that you have a vague goal to visit every city in England, how is that going so far?
Well… there are 51 cities in England (according to Wikipedia) and I’ve visited 18 so far (although only blogged about two), so I have a lot to go. I love an English city break though so I’m going to be making more of an effort over the next few years to explore England, not just the cities but the towns too.
10. And as a Scot that begs only one question – will you extend it to Scotland’s cities too? I can wholeheartedly recommend them all hehe!
Yes definitely. If only it were a bit quicker, cheaper and easier to get there from London… I really want to see the Kelpies though so maybe when they add fancy new train cars to the Caledonian Sleeper service next year that’ll be my motivation to book a trip!
11. Let’s get back to talking food. You’ve reviewed plenty of London hotspots, do you have a failsafe restaurant/café that you can’t help but return to time and again?
I have a whole list of places that I need to go back to because they were brilliant. The problem is that I also have a much longer list of new places I want to try and often the lure of a new place wins out over an old favourite. However, saying that there are a few places my boyfriend and I return to when we really can’t be bothered to cook and fancy eating out; Jones and Sons at Trip Bar and Kitchen in Dalston, DF Mexico * just off Brick Lane and a little Thai place, Suchard, in Southwark which was the first place that we ate together in London when we were both down here for work in about 2010 and which isn’t glamorous or anything but it’s ours.
12. Back on the blog front, with so many lifestyle blogs emerging it can be hard to stand out. Do you have any tips for how to keep things unique? And do you ever feel pressure to maintain your high standard of blogging?
The advice about blogging successfully always seems centred on finding and exploiting a niche, the problem is that I don’t have a niche or a desire to turn my blog into something that makes me a living (I like my job too much) and so I don’t feel the pressure that some bloggers do to blog on a daily basis or anything like that. I have found my rhythm and the only pressure I feel is the pressure I put on myself to create content that I am happy with. For example, I won’t put up a post I’m not happy with and I do struggle when I feel like my photography could be better than it is. I suppose my only advice would be to post about what you want, not what you think will be popular, especially if it isn’t true to yourself.
13. What does the future hold for Not Quite Enough? Do you have any plans for this year or subjects you’d love to blog about?
Ooh, interesting question. I’m hoping that with my Postgraduate Diploma finished I might be able to get out and about a bit more and on a few more weekend trips. I’m also hoping to buy a house eventually (probably not in London though – house prices, eek!) and so maybe a few more design/interior posts might feature in the future.
14. Many people describe blogging as a very addictive hobby. Would you agree with that? And could you ever see yourself giving it up now?
I’m not sure about addictive (it’s way too much work to be addictive) but I certainly don’t know what I’d do to fill my spare time now. At the moment I can’t see myself giving up, although I don’t rule out the possibility that at some point my offline life will take over and demand my full attention but I hope my blog continues to grow with me as an outlet for the side of me that doesn’t get exercised otherwise.
15. Finally, do you have a favourite post from this month that my readers simply can’t miss out on?
Ooh, it’s a tough one as this month has been a bit of an odd one with two weeks of revision and little blogging, but probably my post ‘How to Get Your Dream Job’ where I drew upon all of the experience I’ve had job seeking and set out my advice on how to find a job you love.
Londoners might also want to take a look at my post on the newly opened Crossrail Place Roof Garden.
Wow! Thank you so much to Lisa for taking the time to answer my questions. Let me guess, you’re totally feeling motivated to get out and explore/ eat/ see/ do something right now aren’t you? I’m even contemplating changing out of my house hoodie and braving the rain, which is definitely saying something. I’ve never been to the Crossrail Place Roof Garden, which looks beautiful, and the idea of visiting some of London’s iconic closed building really appeals to me. I’m off to trawl through Lisa’s travel archives for sunny inspiration and will definitely be making a date at that Dalston bar and restaurant soon! I hope this has given you all some Sunday inspiration and at the least a few new posts to add to your reading list.
You can find Not Quite Enough on Bloglovin, Twitter and Instagram and if you’d like to be featured in a post like this don’t forget you can take out an ad on my sponsor page, it would be fab to have you!
* Side note – I also recently visited DF Mexico for the first time and loved it, great minds hey?