Today I’m introducing you to Angela, the author of the London lifestyle blog The Awkward Blog. If you’re after some DIY ideas, yummy recipes or general things to do, where to eat and tips on London living, then Angela is your girl.
I started The Awkward Blog in the summer of 2013, not that long ago but it feels like it has changed considerably since I published my first post! I cover a wide range of topics; food and recipes, restaurants and events, home decor and from time to time, fashion and music. I never set out to create a ‘London lifestyle’ blog; this city is my home and these things are what I get up to!
You moved to London in 2001, but you’re originally from Borneo. Can you tell us more about the island and your childhood there?
How I ended up in Borneo is because of my parents. My British Dad met my Malaysian Mum when he was stationed in Singapore in 1969. They married, had my sisters, and then my Dad left the RAF to work for British Airways; a few years later he got a job in Brunei working for their national airline and so they moved back to the Far East, where I was born!
Brunei is a tiny country on the island of Borneo. My childhood was really outdoorsy; we were either at the beach, in the jungle, or swimming. I could swim before I walked! Brunei is a very laid back country, which is probably why I am too. I went to an International School, so growing up I had a strange hybrid accent; part Australian, part English and part American! Our school assemblies had us singing Waltzing Matilda and there was no such thing as a school uniform (in my teens I often rocked up to school in flip flops and board shorts.)
I was always meant to go to boarding school, but for some reason, I managed to stay put until I finished my A’Levels. By then I knew I wanted to live in London and ended up at the University of Westminster (where I met Robin!)
You write all manner of lifestyle posts but what are your favourite posts to write and why?
My favourite posts to write have been the Life Lately posts; they’re my blogging equivalent of a hot cup of tea! My photos are usually just snaps from my iPhone, I don’t have to worry about ensuring correct links are in place, it really is just me offloading what I have been up to. They also tend to be the most engaging as they receive lots of comments. I’m really excited in developing my new 5 Questions series where I sit down with a creative and pick their brains in a quick interview.
You’re a freelance writer, a venture I have often considered. What tips do you have for becoming self employed and having the drive to work for yourself?
I had always wanted to be a writer; I just never had the confidence to try. When things didn’t work out with a start up business I was involved in, it was a real now or never moment, so I think my approach into it was a bit unorthodox! From the first day I made sure I stuck to a routine, much like you would in an office; I’m up, dressed and at my laptop by 9:30, then break for lunch as I used to and wrap up around 6pm to unwind and get dinner on the go. Working from home, the temptation is always there to lie in bed a bit longer! My motivation to keep on going, because it has been hard, is by remembering the lowest of the low days I used to have when I was in an office. I love the flexibility I have now; I can pop out as and when I need to and I think I’ve seen more of my family in the past couple of months than I have all year! That’s also one of my biggest motivations to keep going.
You eat at some rather lovely looking establishments in London and I know many of my readers will be looking for recommendations, so I’m going to do this in a quick fire style manner. Can you recommend somewhere for each of the following:
A pre-theatre dinner with friends: Brasserie Zedel, it’s beautiful and is like something from The Great Gatsby!
A Saturday morning brunch: I was at Lazy Social in Stoke Newington recently; really nice food and a down to earth place. Woody from Toy Story perches on a shelf, and people just sit back and relax on the sofas.
A romantic dinner for two: Robin took me to Hakkasan for my birthday last year, it was quite cosy and romantic just the two of us.
A quiet cup of coffee and slice of cake: Maison Bertaux in Soho has been an old favourite of mine for years, it’s a little eccentric but I love it. They’ll cut you a hunking great slice of cheesecake!
What are your top 5 favourite blogs and why?
1) Hey Natalie Jean is my favourite blog; her voice on that blog is honest and authentic, and I dig her sense of humour and style.
2) Cider With Rosie is also a favourite; her photos are so pretty and her writing is lovely. She’s lovely in person too!
3) Wish Wish Wish; Carrie’s photos are so bright and colourful, and I think she has one of the most unique blogs around. There’s a real sense of whimsy in her posts and style too. I do like that as girly as she is, there is still a rock chick (chic even!) in there and that’s something I can relate to.
4) Door Sixteen; Anna’s sense of style in home decor, DIY and home renovations is unreal. I get a lot of inspiration reading her blog! My decision to paint a black feature wall in our flat is probably because of Anna.
5) She Loves London always has me in fits of laughter. Jo is hilarious, and if you want an honest depiction of London life and being a Londoner; she’s your lady.