I've thought about writing this post for a while and I've been nervous to write something this personal, but I think it's the right time and I write this as a huge thank you for everyone who allowed me to turn all of my passions into a business.
It has always amazed me that there are a few thousand people read this blog, but who am I?
For those who do not know, I'm Charlie! Most people are surprised to learn that I am 23 and originally from down the road - just over the Rutland border - in the village of Harringworth. As a child, I went to Leighfield Primary School in Uppingham and then onto Uppingham Community College in 2006.
I enjoyed school, although at the age of 14 I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder and school became a challenge due to suffering from depression and anxiety. But I proudly passed all my GCSE's with A-C grades with the support of my incredible teachers and the staff members at UCC.
I then went to QE College in Leicester, where I studied Graphic Communication, Photography and Business Studies. I loved every second of my two years at QE which flew by and my time there really helped me realise what I enjoyed in life and what I wanted to do following our exam results, which might surprise many but my goal was to own my own house in Rutland and I chose not to go to university.
Just a 20-something year old who loves where she lives.
After three years of working at my parents family business in Stamford, Anvils Interiors my boyfriend and I bought our first house in Uppingham at the age of 21, my proudest moment to date.
My partner, Tom and I have been friends since we met at UCC when we were 11 and we began dating in college when we were 17. We've now been together for 6 years and Tom now works in London, but we still live in Uppingham with our two pugs, Arla and Otis and we have no plans to ever leave Rutland.
Blogging came into my life in 2014, after being persuaded by my followers on Instagram to start and fashion and lifestyle blog I launched 'Styled by Charlie'. My first blog was a platform for me to share my style tips and bargain hunting secrets but the picture was a little bigger than that... At the time, when I was 19 I was going through a really difficult time with my mental health and my anxiety was at its worst. The blog was a place I could turn to anywhere I was and I could engage and communicate with supporters and like-minded people without feeling anxious.
'Styled by Charlie' soon evolved into a lifestyle blog where I featured fashion hauls, beauty reviews, baking recipes and my battle with mental health. A platform where I posted two blog post a week on various topics. I made many friends through blogging, was a blogging award finalist twiceand I worked with some amazing brands like Pauls Boutique, SAGE by Heston Blumenthal, George at ASDA, Boots, Rustoleum, OPI, Too Faced, AVON, The National Pet Show, Dog Fest, Clothes Show and many more.
During this time, I also was offered the amazing opportunity to blog online for Metro UK, this was actually the first time I blogged about Rutland with the post "10 things you'll only know if you grew up in Rutland"! It was also the first time I realise where my heart lies and how much I champion where I am from.
My love for my lifestyle blog started to fizzle away after purchasing my first home as traveling to London weekly for blogging events became unrealistic and I was struggling with new ideas for blog content, I feared my love for blogging was fading away...
In 2016 we sadly lost my Nana, Elizabeth Clayton from Barrowden was a huge advocate for the county and always supported me in everything I did and in March 2017 a year after her death, the idea came into my head...
"Why not start a blog about Rutland? - What have I got to lose?"
So, I made a blog (just like that!) and I called it The Rutland Blogger.
Within a week I had 300 followers and the views on the blog were going crazy, I had never seen these kinds of numbers in such a short space of time.
I instantly fell back in love with blogging and my ideas for content were overflowing my notebooks and I said to myself 'why didn't I do this sooner?'. At college, I would base as many projects as I could around Rutland and I even focused my graphics unit on Welland Viaduct - I've always loved where I lived. But would people understand blogging around here?
Clearly, they did!
Fast forward to 2018, with now over 6,000 combined followers on social media and with each blog post reaching close to 3,000 views, I managed to turn my hobby into a platform for local people to turn to for all-things Rutland! A family-friendly, easily accessible and informative website for anyone to visit, wherever they are focusing on supporting independent businesses and the uniqueness of England's smallest county we are so lucky to live in
I cannot thank every single people who have ever scrolled through the blog and for all those who continue to support it, each an every one of you has given me a way to do what I love about the place I love.
Thank you so much!
- Charlie Pallett