By: Courtney Rehman

Helene Olivier

What inspired the name of your blog?
I was diagnosed with hyperemesis gravidarum early on during my pregnancy (week 3 to be exact). Let’s just say I was not a glowing pregnant lady, countless hospital visits and depression followed. It changed the way I looked at life, I realized that I can pretty much do anything if I’m not sick (vomiting all day long). So when Minki was finally born and I stopped vomiting, I took the leap of faith and pursued my true passion; writing and fashion. I realized life is beautiful (cliché but so true). Belle is French for beautiful so the name is actually PrettyBeautiful. It seemed fitting because the main goal of my blog is to inspire Moms, let them know that as a Mom you can still live a beautiful life. Embrace Motherhood with style!

How long have you been blogging for?
1 September 2018 will mark our 2nd birthday!

What difficulties did you come across when you first started blogging?
Oh my word, a lot! I still learn something new every day (cliché I know). Sometimes I get so frustrated because I love being creative, but the technical part gets to me. Problems with hosting, Word Press, images and the list goes on. It’s a daily struggle, but when that new post is running smoothly and looking all pretty – then everything is worth it and I start again.

What do you think new bloggers need to know about blogging that most people don’t?
It’s a real job, and it’s hard work! No really! A lot of people think blogging is a hobby that I (sometimes) get paid for and receive lots of free stuff. So not true! It takes a lot of hard work; countless hours of writing, editing, posting and marketing. The hardest part is the fact that I do everything myself. I’m a bit of a control freak so I want everything to be perfect. You are the writer, photographer, editor, graphic designer and the list goes on. Be prepared to work super hard, engage with your followers, be authentic and consistent to grow a following.

What would you say has been a highlight of your blogging career thus far?
Oh my word, there has been a lot! Starting out I never dreamed that this would get to be my job. A huge highlight was being named one of The Top 30 Lifestyle Blogs in SA by BlogSpot. Alongside bloggers who I look up to! Every time I get a cool collab or get to work with fabulous brands, I feel like a little kid on Christmas morning. Working with big brands like KEEDO and Superbalist is awesome. My first ever interview for Get It magazine was amazing (and Minki was only 10 months old). Baba en Kleuter magazine published one of my blogs and every time I walk past the June edition in the grocery store, knowing my blog is on the back page, I couldn’t help but smile. That was pretty cool! Another thing is comments from readers. One reader said that she wished she had read my blog about “not losing your husband after kids” before she got divorced. Knowing that what I write can actually help/change people lives, that’s what keeps me going. Inspiring people and the fact that any day I can get an email from anyone in the world.

Who are your favourite bloggers?
There’s a lot! Becoming You has great content. Equilibrio is a fabulous fashion blog. It’s a Moms Life is great. I love Barefoot Blonde! I have a lot of respect for all bloggers. We are all in the same boat but everyone is doing their own unique thing.

Which is the most read blog post on your blog and why do you think people like it?
‘How to NOT lose your husband after kids’ did very well. I think it’s because a lot of Mama’s struggle to deal with EVERYTHING we have to juggle on a daily basis. Men are just so oblivious. I wanted to hit my super sweet hubby over the head a few times after baby, you know? When he is snoring away and you jump out of bed faster than you can say crouching tiger, hidden dragon, when baby is just coughing. Men and women are different and we parent differently. If we can acknowledge (and accept) that, we will save ourselves A LOT of frustration and marriage problems. Preaching to the choir.

What else do you do besides blogging?
I’m a freelance journalist (studied B.A Journalism at the University of PTA). I write for various publications and also create content for boutiques (as I love fashion). I’m a qualified image consultant, take people shopping, showing them all the tips and tricks, from wardrobe clean-up to color analysis. In my “previous life” I was a teacher (for 9 years) but after Minki was born I felt I needed a change.

Where do you see your blog in the next two years?
I want to be considered one of the top Fashion – and Lifestyle bloggers in South Africa. Another award would be fabulous! I want to grow my following and keep engaging with my loyal readers. I want every woman to know that PrettyBelle is the place to go for real-life experiences, reliable advice, fab finds, fashion and travel. I would love to do some public speaking, motivating Mom’s with practical tips and advice. Maybe write a book about Motherhood or do a #stylelikeamother show on television. Who knows?

Do you look at your blog as a business, hobby or as a portfolio?
Definitely a business! Apart from (trying) to raise a little human, blogging is my life. I live, eat and sleep PrettyBelle. I’m constantly thinking about new angles and ways to engage my readers and grow my following. I love that Minki is such an integral part of PrettyBelle and that I get to do this with her. She might someday be embarrassed about all of this, but it feels like I’m creating a visual diary for her (that she can one day show to her daughter) and hopefully I’m inspiring some Moms along the way.

Social media links:
Website: http://www.prettybelle.co.za/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/stylemebelle/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/prettybelle.co.za/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/PRETTYBELLE_16

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