Here are answers to all the questions I’m most commonly asked – if you want to know something that’s not explained here, do DM me @notlamb to get a quick answer!
Why did you start your blog?
Like most bloggers, I’d been following fashion blogs for a while. I was approaching my 39th birthday, and had a horrid (but completely unfounded) fear that I might suddenly lose any sense of style I had overnight without ever realising. I wanted to record my style and see if it could be improved at all by putting it out there and making myself sartorially accountable to everyone who would read the blog. At the time I couldn’t find any 40+ bloggers (now I know loads of course), so at the time I thought I’d be filling a little niche that was just waiting to be filled. Also, as a generally arty person who loves both photography and fashion (and, when I was younger – writing) it was the perfect creative outlet for me.
How did you come up with your blog name?
To come up with a name I literally brainstormed with a pen and a piece of paper and wrote down all the things I could think of to do with turning 40 and my style. “Mutton dressed as lamb” was at the top of the list as something I wanted to avoid – it simply got adapted to Not Dressed As Lamb, simply to give the suggestion that I’m not a 20-something. I knew it was the right name as it really stood out in the short list. I can’t imagine it being called anything else now.
(Please note – it’s called Not Dressed As Lamb, not “As a Lamb”. I see it misquoted a lot…! In this case lamb refers to the meat, not the animal – hence “As a Lamb” doesn’t make sense. The expression mutton dressed as lamb refers to an older woman dressed up to try to look a lot younger than she actually is.)
Where are you from?
I’m British – I live in the South West of England in a small town near Exeter, Devon. Where I’m “from” is a little complicated, so to break it down:
Born: South London
Bred: Reading in Berkshire
Studied: Farnham in Surrey
Lived: London (throughout my 20s)
Lived: Devon (throughout my 30s to present).
So as I said, a bit complicated… I describe myself as “a Londoner now living in the country”.
How did you become a full-time fashion blogger?
This is a question I get asked a lot – it was a mixture of hard work, good timing and a taken opportunity. I’d been working as a sales and marketing manager in the same firm for 11 years (and blogging for two) when I realised I wanted a change. I took voluntary redundancy not knowing what I wanted to do – maybe working as a social media manager or similar – and spent a summer working all day, every day on the blog simply because I had the time to do it. And I absolutely loved it.
I’d never had any intention of being self-employed and not having a 9-5, but a friend suggested I tried going full time with the blog and it seemed the best time to try it, even if it didn’t work out. I did a little work on the side outsourcing social media and marketing services for other companies for a short while till I found my feet, but eventually I was able to give that up and concentrate solely on the blog and have been full-time blogging since 2013.
Circumstances and timing were in my favour: I was lucky that I had the redundancy money as a back up as well as the support of my husband, both personally and from a financial point of view (at least one of us was bringing in a regular monthly income that we could rely on). I certainly don’t earn the sort of money that the media likes to tell us the top bloggers are earning, and I’m yet to match the managerial wage I was earning at my old job, but my job satisfaction is now pretty much 100%. And that makes it all worth it.
How do you earn money as a full-time blogger?
There are different ways to earn money, and like any sort of self-employment nothing is guaranteed or regular. The bulk of my income is through brand collaborations – for example working on a video project or photo shoot for a brand, or a feature post (or series of posts) promoting and writing about a product(s). On top of that a blogger can earn money through affiliate links, selling advertising space (banner ads and Google Adsense), writing guest posts for brands’ blogs or writing articles for online or written publications. If you like public speaking being a guest speaker at events is a great way to earn more. As mentioned above, outsourcing your skills as a copywriter or social media services is another way to supplement your income.
What camera do you use?
Since January 2015 I’ve used a Nikon 5200 DSLR (a Nikon D40X before that) but it’s the lens that makes all the difference to the photos: I use a 50mm f1.4 standard lens for all blog pictures.
Who takes your photos?
My husband takes all my photos, except on the odd occasion when I take them with a tripod and remote control, though I haven’t done that in a while because I personally find it so much more time-consuming. I do tend to direct him in our shoots and tell him exactly what kind of shots I want (unfortunately for him). He’s not a professional photographer, but his photography has got really good over the last couple of years simply through practice.
Do you use any software to edit your photos?
I use Photoshop Elements (about £50, like a basic Photoshop but everything a blogger needs) and Lightroom to edit all my photos, mostly for cropping and getting contrast, levels and colour casts right. I will get rid of annoying bits on the ground or small distracting things in the background, but I don’t do any airbrushing or anything like that (the crow’s feet you see are all my own)!
How come you know so much about photography?
I have a photography degree – so three years spent studying the subject doesn’t mean I’m a total expert, but I do have a pretty good knowledge of the basics. I also taught Photography GCSE and A-Level (secondary school and pre-university qualifications respectively) for two years. I initially had dreams of going on to be a fashion photographer, so that explains why great photography is such an important part of my blog, it being fashion-orientated.
Can I use photos from your site?
Bloggers are more than welcome to use them ( for non-commercial use) but I do ask that Not Dressed As Lamb is cited as the original source and link them back to this blog or preferably the post (thank you)! All images are my own unless otherwise stated.
Where do you buy your clothes?
I’m a high street girl all the way – my go-to shop I couldn’t live without is Asos. You may notice about 99% of outfits feature at least one item from there! I also shop a lot at Mango, French Connection, & Other Stories, Marks & Spencer, La Redoute and Accessorize. Buying vintage from eBay and Etsy are also favourite places for me to go when I’m looking for either dresses or something more unique.
What colour do you dye your hair?
I used to get my hair colour done at the hairdressers – I currently colour my hair myself about every four weeks using Olia by Garnier in Rose Gold (I’m a Garnier partner and have appeared in the TV ad for the Bright Copper and have just filmed another ad for the Rose Gold)! I am extremely grey, so the lighter hair takes the red colour very well and I always want it to be as bright as possible.