Steph Duke is a teacher turned blogger and writer who loves being a mama and following Jesus. She lives in NI in a 1930s semi with her family, tabby cat and two cocker spaniels. She is passionate about motherhood, travel and good coffee.
- I love all the different blog names out there in the blogosphere and the meanings behind them. Can you tell me how you decided on your blog name?
My Little Duke was the name of my little online baby boutique. I sold items for mamas and babies, so incorporating something personal in the name was key for me as I’d just had my first and only child – my daughter, Phoebe. Plus, our surname is Duke!
- Can you tell me a little bit about the focus/vision/ethos behind your blog?
The blog began as an add-on element to the online shop, but it soon became much more of a focal point for me – I really love to write! When I worked full-time as an English Teacher I struggled to find any spare time to blog or write. There was a real tension as I so desperately wanted to spend time writing, but juggling the demands of my career and new motherhood sucked all my time and energy.
Now that I work from home I’m enjoying the time, space and creative freedom to curate my blog. My Little Duke is no longer an online shop, but a space solely dedicated to my writing and creativity. This online platform is where I honestly share my motherhood journey, lifestyle and faith. At the moment it is an extension of my Instagram (@mylittleduke) – both the site and my Instagram are getting an exciting re-brand over the coming weeks. I can’t wait! The current theme and logo on the blog are more suited to the shop. The re-brand will reflect how the blog has evolved, showcasing the personal and lifestyle-led nature of My Little Duke.
- Who, or what inspired you to start out on your blogging adventure and how has the journey been so far?
Being off work with pregnancy-related illness in the latter stages of my pregnancy meant that I spent a lot of time online. Phoebe was my first child and I spent hours researching motherhood blogs and scrolling through Instagram accounts of other mums.
The journey has been a learned one. The world of blogging and social media is ever changing. In the same way that My Little Duke has evolved from a shop to a blog, the blog has come to reflect much more of our family life and my own personal interests. I’ve enjoyed the journey to date, especially the community aspect to blogging and instagramming. I’ve made some wonderful new friendships through social media – both on and off the screen.
- How challenging is it to find the time to write good content with work and family commitments? Do you have a set time or day that you set aside specifically for blogging?
Haha! I haven’t quite mastered this one yet! Having recently quit my job I’m really enjoying more creative freedom to write and create content – however, blogging takes a lot more time than I think some people realise. I’m still struggling to get through my to-do lists for the blog and Instagram each week. I’m hoping that when Phoebe starts Nursery in September that I’ll have much more structure and routine to write and create. I’m still finding my feet with everything these days and am so conscious of spending as much of this precious time with Phoebe before she’s off on her school adventures!
- Which of your blog posts has attracted the most readers?
A recent blog post on my thoughts about Instagram seemed to really resonate with a lot of my readers. In the post entitled, ‘My Instagram Truth’ I was honest about my experience of Instagram to date in the hope that it would bring both comfort and challenge to anyone in a similar position!
- If a reader only has time to click on one blog post of yours which one would you recommend?
I turned 30 last month and wrote a post called ‘Defining a Decade’ where I took some time to think back over the past 10 years and what defined so much of my life in my twenties. It’s a post that illuminates some of why my journey is travelling on a new road and might be helpful to anyone who is new to my blog!
- How is 2018 unfolding so far and do you have any exciting plans or adventures planned?
2018 sees me being much more intentional about my online presence. Anything that I post on the blog or social media mustn’t be wasted space or time. I’m now working and collaborating with brands to create content and have really enjoyed this process so far. I’m excited to do more of this in the future! The re-brand of My Little Duke is also something I’m really expectant about. My sister-in-law is a super talented graphic designer and she’s working on something really special!
In March I started a new venture called Mighty Mothering (@mightymothering) – a collaborative online journal. Here I’ve curated a space to share stories of Motherhood. I’m so passionate about writing and community – the vision for Mighty Mothering is to create a safe place where mums can come and share in stories of Motherhood and know that they aren’t alone on their own journey – www.mightymothering.com
What adventures have we planned? Well, my husband and I travelled to New York in February for our 30th birthdays so look out for that blog post coming soon – it was a really special trip. We haven’t any other major travel plans for this year as yet!
- What would you say to anyone thinking about starting their own blog?
If it is something that you are passionate about, do it! Just be prepared to invest significant time and energy in blogging. There is a really supportive network of bloggers, but it does take a lot of time to create and maintain a blog – especially the social media presence that often runs alongside it.
- What keeps you motivated in everyday life and in the blogging world?
My family and my faith keep me pushing and striving to be the best that I can be and to make every word and photo count.
- How has blogging impacted your life? Has your outlook on the world changed? Has the way you live changed?
Blogging has changed everything for me. It has given me a voice and a creative outlet. I’m also more conscious about how I live and try to set a good example for Phoebe and to our readers and followers. I look at the world through more creative eyes, always keen to spot beauty wherever I can find it and snap a photo of it!
- If you had to recommend one other blog that inspires or encourages you
what would it be?
This is a really hard one. There are so many wonderful blogs, especially here in Northern Ireland. However, Mel’s blog www.melwiggins.com is one that inspires, encourages and challenges me to think about the stuff that really matters. Her blog is a wealth of information and creative goodness – think ethical living, creative community and family. Mel has written a number of excellent e-courses that you just need to go and check out.
- Where can we find you on social media?
Thanks Steph! x