Meet The Blogger – Harriet From Toby And Roo

This week on the blog, I have the pleasure of introducing Harriet to you. For those of you who don’t know, Harriet blogs at Toby And Roo  and has recently made it into the coveted number one Mummy blogger spot. She commands over 50,000 followers on Instagram and is feeding her three children through the hard work and determination she ploughs into her blog. No mean feat I can tell you!

It’s a big statement but I think Toby and Roo is probably my all time favourite blog and that is due to Harriet’s ability to write with both candour and a healthy dose of the over-share but also intelligence and wit. When she writes, she has something to say and I like that. It is probably those things that, when you read her blog, make you feel like you sat down to share a bottle of wine with a really good (and funny) friend. It’s also most likely the reason she is going from strength to strength.

So with three (in her words) slightly feral kids, two of the most ridiculously cute dogs you’ll ever see and a wine merchant hubby – I sat down with Harriet to find out how exactly she manages it all.

Toby And Roo

How did you come about setting up Toby and Roo?

I absolutely loved a blog called Babyccino Kids and I wanted to share all the fun things I did with the kids, all of the fashion finds and that kind of thing. I started out blogging about “oohh look at these cute trousers I’ve found” and “I love this craft for my kids” and then as it grew I would throw in blogs about my child’s behaviour or something and then eventually I phased out (without meaning to) the “oh look at this” posts and I started posting about me, my life and my views. That’s when things took off really, when it became something more than “oh check this out”.

What were your expectations of being a blogger?

I think I thought that it would allow me to share the fun things I did with the kids and never really thought it was something that would be a career. Eventually I started to pick up and realised that I could make this something that I could do around my children, or even with my children, and make a really good living at the same time.

How does the reality of being a blogger differ from your expectations? Or is it as you imagined it would be?

It is wildly different to what I thought – I remember when I first started I was super excited because I pitched to a company to get some clothes for the kids for holiday. I had no concept of what my social stats were worth, domain authority values or anything. I got the swim shorts and I was so happy. I’ve also found that blogging for a living is very different to what I thought it would be when I left work 2 years ago. I thought that I would be working part time, totally flexible around my kids and have lots of free days to play/craft/bake… yeah. That hasn’t transpired!

Describe a typical working day in your life.

I get up around 6.30/45, check my Instagram, twitter, facebook page, WhatsApp and emails (usually in that order!), then I get coffee because I don’t function without it at all, get the kids ready for school, do the school run and come home to get set up on work. I’ll perhaps do an Instagram shoot, write a bit, schedule social media content, edit old posts, agree new deals, invoice clients… any of these things amongst others! I spend a lot of time faffing around on Instagram and procrastinating so I have to try and remember to get on with the important stuff! I then go to pick the kids up, do the dinner/bath/homework/bed routines and once everyone is snoozing I get back on it. I try to Instagram around 8pm and that can take me a good hour to really engage with my followers, then (depending on what I’ve got going on that month – this month I’m happy and being a bit lazy… she says typing at 11.14pm) I’ll either switch off or I’ll work until 11/12am.

What is the best and worst part of being your own boss?

Best part is being so flexible – I can go and get the kids from school at the drop of a hat if needs be, or I can say “I’m not working on this day because it’s sport’s day”. That is invaluable to me. Worst part? That panic at the beginning of the month when I haven’t set anything up for the rest of the month and I’m wondering if perhaps this month I won’t be able to put Sofia the First on the telly and grub in the belly. Touch wood, we haven’t had that month… but there is always the knowledge that the pressure is on me.

How do you deal with negativity from trolls or even from people who don’t think you have a real job?

Ahh trolls, meh. I genuinely don’t let it bother me – I’ve written about topics like abortion and feminism, so I expect trolling from time to time. I generally take it as an opportunity to hone my sarcasm skills J K Rowling style or I ignore it. As for the people who don’t think it’s a real job – we get that from time to time. I know my husband’s friend’s have asked him if I plan to go back to work now Edith is at preschool and he is very quick to say I’ve been “back at work” since she was 2 weeks old, but we’re hoping it won’t be long before he doesn’t have to work any more and can be a stay at home parent. It generally shuts people up.

Who do you look to for inspiration in your career?

I spoke about this recently – I was asked to appear on a TV show and they wanted me to be really divisive and I said I wasn’t prepared to do so. I want to build women up and unite mothers (and fathers) in parenthood. I feel like the absolutely love Anna from Mother Pukka is super inspiring, The Unmumsy Mum, Constance Hall, Giovanna Fletcher – they’ve all built successful careers on positivity and helping other women. I’d like to think that Toby & Roo is the same – a no judgement, united zone.

Where would you like to take Toby and Roo in the future?

Gosh, I don’t know – it’s surprised me with where it’s grown to already. I’d really like to try and expand into vlogging, I think there is something in that but as a perfectionist I don’t like to do things by halves!

Pick three pieces of advice that you would give to new bloggers starting out who want to build their blog into their business.

Prepare to work hard. Believe in yourself and stay positive. Never say no to something just because you don’t see the immediate gain, but never say yes to something that compromises your values and beliefs – people smell fake a million miles away.

 

A massive thank you to Harriet for taking part in this series.

For more from her you can find her at Toby and Roo  on Instagram , Twitter and Facebook.

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52 Comments

  1. February 13, 2017 / 1:21 pm

    I love this interview series. Toby and Roo you are amazing! Love your blog and aspire to be like you one day! The goddess of the blogging world! Xx
    Rachel Bustin recently posted…New Mum Stories: Pickle and PoppetMy Profile

  2. February 13, 2017 / 3:46 pm

    I’m bookmarking this post because there is just so much good advice here. I love that Harriet has done it without selling out and has remained authentic. Great interview x

  3. February 13, 2017 / 6:17 pm

    Brilliant post. I love your husband’s answer when people ask him whether you’re going back to work. People simply don’t have a clue how much work goes into blogging. I was really naive too when I started and thought I would spend an hour here and there blogging. Ha!
    Mel recently posted…‘Free From’ Desserts for Valentine’s Day & #FreeFromFridaysMy Profile

  4. Julia
    February 13, 2017 / 8:15 pm

    Toby & Roo is an enjoyable blog, & I always enjoy your inspirational interviews!

  5. February 14, 2017 / 4:58 pm

    Fantastic post. So many good snippets of advice here! Thanks for sharing xx

  6. February 18, 2017 / 7:35 am

    Brilliant post. It’s great that you have turned something you love into a career that can work for you and your family. Blogging takes up a lot more time than people think and that’s just doing it as a hobby! #fortheloveofblog

  7. February 18, 2017 / 8:08 am

    I always love Harriet’s honesty and candour, and this interview is no exception #fortheloveofBLOG

  8. February 18, 2017 / 8:18 am

    Fab interview. Love it what Harriet says about her blog being an United zone. It was one of the first blogs I came across when I entered the world of blogging. #fortheloveofBLOG
    Sunita recently posted…Newborn essentials: Etta Loves muslin cloths My Profile

  9. February 18, 2017 / 8:21 am

    Brilliant post! I love Toby and Roo! I think it’s great that Harriet has made it to the point where she can now support her family with her income from her blog. But it shows that it isn’t easy to be a professional blogger! #fortheloveofBLOG
    Louise – Mummy Miller recently posted…Parent and Child parking: Why are you parking there?My Profile

  10. February 18, 2017 / 8:43 am

    Love Harriet’s blog and she’s such an inspiration. And so willing to share tweets and posts – I don’t say it enough, but thank you! #fortheloveofBLOG
    Jaki recently posted…The 30 Day Music ChallengeMy Profile

  11. February 18, 2017 / 9:23 am

    Toby and Roo is such an amazing blog it’s no surprise you featured her. I love the aspiration to have JK Rowling style sarcasm – I’m a huge Potter fan but love her twitter for a whole other reason!
    Laura recently posted…Food: The Alternative Date Night at The PantryMy Profile

  12. February 18, 2017 / 9:38 am

    I love reading Harriets posts and her Instagram is hilarious. I’m a a particular fan of her stories. I wish I could make it to BlogOn but that isn’t going to happen. I think the hard work she has put into it all is inspirational and just shows you get out of stuff what you put in.
    #fortheloveofBLOG
    Kirsty – Winnettes recently posted…I Am Me – Hear Me RoarMy Profile

  13. February 18, 2017 / 9:51 am

    What a lovely, chatty interview. I’m really enjoying this series #fortheloveofBLOG

  14. February 18, 2017 / 11:07 am

    Totally agree on the united front. Love the laid back attitude and how she admits to being on Instagram (like me) most of the day haha. #fortheloveofblog

  15. February 18, 2017 / 2:35 pm

    Great read. I only came across Harriet’s website recently but I’m really enjoying that and her Instagram. I can really appreciate how much time she invests in her blogging. I only blog as a hobby and it fills so much of my spare time. I can easily see how it would become a full time job. So many people are naive though and we still live in a culture where people work to a clock-in and clock-out time rather than value added. All the best Harriet for growing your blog further! xx #fortheloveofBLOG
    Angela Watling recently posted…1 – 2 years with a toddler: 11 things I couldn’t have lived withoutMy Profile

  16. February 18, 2017 / 2:46 pm

    Although I’ve known about Harriet for some time, I’ve not read many posts until recently. She is now becoming one of my favourites since reading her post about telling her husband to stop touching! and that bath video thats gone viral… Just love the honesty.
    I also love how she has mentioned Constance Hall. She is one of the reasons I started blogging as she just doesnt care. She is all about the love for eachother and is so open with her marriage problems but lets people know that its ok to feel how you feel!
    Definately looking forward to continuing reading more of Harriets work =] #fortheloveofBLOG
    Mrs Mummy Harris recently posted…A Picture Says a Thousand Words – A Norfolk MummyMy Profile

  17. February 18, 2017 / 3:01 pm

    Great interview. I love how positive Harriet is. Women supporting each other is such a great thing.
    #fortheloveofBlog
    Ali Duke recently posted…#VlogStars 9 Favourite ThingsMy Profile

  18. February 18, 2017 / 3:37 pm

    I love the positivity and being supportive to one another. This is so important, especially in the high stress world of moms. #fortheloveofBLOG

  19. February 18, 2017 / 6:28 pm

    Great post and am amazing blogger! I am super nosy so I love reading about other people, especially why and how they blog. Toby and Roo is a blog I really admire so this was so interesting! #fortheloveofBLOG
    five little doves recently posted…My children are just as annoying as yours!My Profile

  20. February 18, 2017 / 7:09 pm

    Very inspiring! I think there are so many people who don’t realise what goes into blogging but Harriet just proves what real hard work it can be! #fortheloveofblog

  21. February 18, 2017 / 7:46 pm

    Wow – 50,000 followers! I don’t get Instagram at all – I just started using it and am still trying to come to grips with it. It’s great you’ve managed to build up such a successful blog with hard work and positivity – keep it up! #fortheloveofBLOG
    Squirmy Popple recently posted…Bad at social media? You’re not alone.My Profile

  22. February 18, 2017 / 7:56 pm

    It’s great to know that it can be done and that we can make a good flexible career whilst being at home for the children. Posts like this are my inspiration to keep going! #fortheloveofblog

  23. February 18, 2017 / 8:23 pm

    This is a great post. I love Harriets blog its such a great read. I’m a big fan of her Instagram stories ! #fortheloveofblog

  24. February 18, 2017 / 9:55 pm

    I adore Harriet’s outlook on life and motherhood – her blog is bookmarked on my phone and laptop! She’s fab #fortheloveofBLOG
    Chloe recently posted…Why I Don’t Limit Screen Time.My Profile

  25. February 18, 2017 / 10:04 pm

    I love this! Harriet is one of my fav bloggers and so nice! She’s given me so much advice that has already paid off! #fortheloveofBLOG

  26. February 19, 2017 / 9:09 am

    I love this! Also one of my favourite bloggers and I’m slightly obsessive about checking her insta too! #fortheloveofblog x

  27. February 19, 2017 / 6:05 pm

    Such an inspiring blogger who has worked hard and deserves all the success she is getting. #fortheloveofblog

  28. February 20, 2017 / 6:23 am

    I’m finding that blogging is really about hard work and dedication. People who aren’t in the ‘game’ really don’t understand it. Great Post. #fortheloveofblog

  29. February 20, 2017 / 3:18 pm

    Ahh what a lovely interview. I’m ashamed to say that although I’ve heard of Toby and Roo I’ve not really read her blog I’ve obviously I’ve been living under a rock so am off to have a gander now. #forthelovofblog
    Maria recently posted…Cartamundi Fundels review and giveawayMy Profile

  30. February 21, 2017 / 1:50 pm

    Super great post and I love her Instagram. Great advice too! Thanks so much!

  31. February 22, 2017 / 7:18 am

    Great interview, I love Harriet’s blog and it’s always interesting find out more from ‘behind the scenes’. I also love her husband’s response to the going back to work questions!
    #fortheloveofBLOG
    Alana – Burnished Chaos recently posted…My Sunday Photo – 19th February 2017My Profile

  32. February 23, 2017 / 4:53 pm

    Such a good post. Really love her! Can’t believe I’ve only just found her blog a few weeks ago. Mental! She’s very inspiring and writes with such wit and intelligence like you say xx #FortheloveofBLOG

  33. February 23, 2017 / 11:23 pm

    I love this! Great questions and fabulous and insightful answers from Harriet. Great advice too about never saying no to something if don’t see immediate gain or saying yes to something you don’t believe in. #fortheloveofblog

  34. February 25, 2017 / 9:49 am

    Great interview. Harriet is such an inspiration. #fortheloveofBLOG

    Nadia x

  35. February 25, 2017 / 10:31 pm

    Two of my favourite bloggers in one room! Very insightful and honest chat, thank you ladies x

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