Today I have the absolute fortune of sharing my One on One ‘interview’ with Rachael (aka Topknotch), one of my nearest and dearest Insta-friends. This article is especially close to my heart because Rachael was one of the first blogs I stumbled on after starting my own.
I remember being overwhelmed at how professional and well-done her blog was (and still is). Over the course of my blogging journey she has provided me with a template of what I want for my blog. She’s hardworking and consistent and so genuinely kind to followers and blogging friends, I’m grateful to have her in my blogging support group and to be collaborating with her in this article!
You published your first blog post in September last year, it’s crazy for me to think that I started my blog just two months later! What has your blogging journey been like up until this point?
I’m actually one of those incredibly indecisive people who can sit deliberating something for months. I actually started and scrapped two blogs before starting Topknotch and finally jumping all in. I’m so glad I decided to dive in because it has been such a rewarding journey.
The journey for me has been as much about myself as it has been about my readers and friends I’ve made along the way. It’s incredibly rewarding when someone messages you and says “I bought a product you recommended and it’s amazing!”. It motivates you to keep going and tell your stories! However, balancing work, studying and a blog can be tough so that has been a learning curve along the way too.
I was so incredibly impressed the first time I came across your site, that I even remember where I was sitting when it happened (#fangirling). It was right when I started blogging and it’s safe to say that I have been a fan ever since. Whose blog have you been a fan of since your ‘day one’?
I’m a huge bookworm –whether it is books, magazines or blogs. So one blog I’ve been reading for AGES has been Lipglossismylife by Leigh Van Der Berg. I loved how refreshingly honest her reviews are, and humorous too! I remember once I won a competition on her site and how absolutely thrilled I was when it arrived by courier.
When I started my blog, I resolved myself to be authentic and honest in my reviews like she is, because readers appreciate that. Another blogger I’ve always loved is Maz from Caffeine and Fairydust. Her honest and open approach was also an inspiration for me.
While I originally followed you for your beauty content, I have loved reading your other amazing content too! From lifestyle and makeup, to travel and wellness, you write about so many different things, which is your favourite?
Haha, as mentioned above I am an incredibly indecisive person. I want to try and be involved in everything and I hate having to choose. That’s why I involved more categories on the blog. I think the other catergories I enjoy writing about are travel and restaurant visits.
Deep down I’m still waiting for my “Princess Diaries” moment where I find out I’m a princess, but for now I can enjoy as many restaurants and trips in South Africa as I can. I think that South Africa has so many gorgeous places waiting to be explored, and luckily my husband is ALWAYS game to try new restaurants and places.
But you’re totally right – beauty has and always will be my original favourite. Since I was a little girl I’ve been completely makeup obsessed!
I know how time consuming running a blog is, and how difficult it is to juggle the rest of life while posting regular articles. When you’re not being TopKnotch, what does your day entail?
This year has been an interesting one for me! I relocated to Cape Town at the end of 2017, and left my corporate job in marketing that I had in Port Elizabeth. I also have started studying a second degree through Red and Yellow School of Advertising, and work freelance in social media. Being a student again has been an interesting experience and one I’m still adjusting to. I plan to go back into a corporate job again soon – most likely in digital marketing because that’s where my experience is.
When I’m not doing that (or my blog!) I’m also married. I’ve actually been married for five years – it’s crazy but I got married at 21. When we have free time we love to try new restaurants or take day trips around the Cape Town area. All in the name of the blog (is what I always say to justify these adventures!)
You are the definition of one of those girls who seem to have it all worked out. Beautiful makeup, flawless hair and amazing adventures, all documented in perfect pictures (and to make matters worse, she’s kind and supportive too). What is one aspect of yourself or your life that you don’t enjoy sharing on social media?
Social media can be such a deceptive thing! Honestly my life is very “normal” and can be really boring sometimes too. Freelancing means you spend late nights working to earn your paycheque. And studying – well that is just plain torture sometimes! But I am learning so much about digital marketing that I am able to practically apply, and that helps me to stay motivated.
An aspect of my life that I don’t share too much on social media is my marriage and family. While my husband sneaks into some pictures (Shame, he is also my blogging assistant, photographer and all in one!) I generally don’t share too much about what we’re up to or going through as a couple. My husband is also a pilot so our lifestyle is a bit different from the usual and has some unique challenges. We have a great relationship and friendship too, but I just don’t share too much of it on my social media.
After almost a year of blogging, what has been your favourite event, PR gift and article that you’ve written?
My favourite event that I went to was the Dermalogica Sound Sleep Cocoon launch, because it gave me the opportunity to meet so many of my online blogging friends in real life! I also thought the event was perfect in every way, and Dermalogica really put so much effort into their events.
My favourite PR gift was when Elizabeth Arden spoilt me with a box of goodies. Receiving it almost made me emotional because there are two brands that I’ve been using since I was a teenager- Elizabeth Arden and Estee Lauder (unfortunately, I have expensive taste!).
The Elizabeth Arden 8 Hour Cream is one of my all-time favourite products and I buy their Christmas sets almost every year. I think it was just a moment of loving a brand for so many years, and suddenly that brand wants to collaborate with you in some way – just feels so rewarding!
On to the beauty questions, if you could be the face of any brand, which would it be and why?
From a skincare and lifestyle perspective, I think it would be Lush. Simply because I love what they stand for and how much effort they are putting in to creating awareness about being environmentally friendly. Every product of theirs is pretty much amazing!
From a beauty and makeup perspective either Smashbox (I think they have built an amazing brand!) or Estee Lauder. I have had a joke / competition with my husband from the day I began my blog that when I finally work with Estee Lauder, I’ll have “made it” – they are the first makeup brand I ever used as a child because of my mother, and I’ll always love and be loyal to their products. *hint hint*
What would you choose if you could only spend money on one for the rest of your life, skincare or makeup?
Skincare. Because while I am a self-confessed makeup addict, I know that a good skincare routine can help you replace foundation (I’m not there yet!). However, due to the fact that I have very light eyelashes and brows I may look a little scary completely without makeup.
Which are your favourite local and international brands?
Honestly I don’t use enough local brands and it’s something I’ve tried to branch out into more. But, some that I do enjoy are Theravine, Environ and Lulu and Marula. Internationally, I love Dermalogica and Neutrogena. For makeup I love Estee Lauder, MAC and Maybelline. I told you I’m indecisive!!
If you could recommend one piece of makeup and one skincare item that you think everyone should get, which would they be?
Makeup – every girl needs a great mascara. My top picks are Elizabeth Arden Grand Entrance and Clarins Supra Volume. Skincare – You can never go wrong with a good SPF! I love the Eucerin Range, as well as Nivea for body and Elizabeth Arden City Smart SPF50 because it works well even over your foundation!
If you had to pick one, would you rather wear red lipstick or blue eyeshadow, every day for the rest of your life?
Red lipstick for sure. Blue eyeshadow does nothing for my rosy cheeks!! Also, with a red lipstick I feel confident – like I’m able to take on the world!
Lastly, while I think you deserve a follow for your honest reviews, amazingly varied content and beautiful Instagram feed, why do you think people should give your account a look, or subscribe to your blog?
Hmmm… I think it CAN be very overwhelming with the amount of accounts out there that one can follow. There are just so many people putting content out there – and that’s amazing because I personally feel like there is enough space for everyone to shine and I dislike the competitive nature some people adopt in the digital world.
So follow me if you like a glimpse of real life mixed in with glitz and glamor. Because seriously – there are MANY nights I eat popcorn for dinner, look like a truck drove over me or could not be bothered to put a decent outfit on. I try to always be real with people who follow my account, and honestly feel like it’s just a bunch of friends hanging out online.