Today I'm talking to the awesome Amanda from the blog Rhyme & Ribbons, she's got such an interesting story and I hope you enjoy this interview as much as I did.
CAN YOU TELL US A LITTLE MORE ABOUT YOURSELF?
My name is Amanda, and I’m an America living and working in London. I write the lifestyle blog Rhyme & Ribbons, and work freelancing doing bits of everything. I recently had my wedding in Hackness, North Yorkshire so I’ve spent the past few weeks in a newlywed haze. I met my now-husband when we were training at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts together. I’ve always loved history and had a penchant for Gothic and neo-Gothic literature so living in England has been a dream come true for me! I spend my free time baking sugary creations and I aspire to be on GBBO one day. (I got ever so close to my dream last year!)
AND YOUR LOVELY BLOG RHYME & RIBBONS?
Rhyme & Ribbons is my space where I focus on my favourite things in life; mainly food, fashion and adventures. I started writing Rhyme & Ribbons right after my partner Sam and I moved to Stratford-upon-Avon. He had just started a year in the acting company at the Royal Shakespeare Company and I felt a bit lost. I had just finished my MA program, was on a visa that limited the amount of time that I could work, was in a new city and didn’t know anyone. I fell into blogging because I was desperate for a new way to socialise and a way to express myself creatively. Looking back at some of those first posts is very cringe-inspiring (there’s some horrific photography!) but I’ve loved every step of the blogging journey so far! I’ve continued to blog because I always need a creative outlet in my life.
If I was to sum up my blog in 3 words, they’d be: Comforting, creative and bookish. (Basically if my blog lived in the 1800s it would be someone’s spinster aunt.)
What was it like studying a degree in politics and then completing an acting degree?
I’ve always felt like I had these two drastically different sides to myself; one highly academic, the other really creative. I’ve always known that I’d never thrive at a 9-5 desk job. When I went to university, I studied international politics and theatre both and ended up with degrees in each. So when I went to examine options for further education (looking at Master’s Programs) I had reached a crossroads and needed to pick which side of interest I wanted to develop more. I ended up pursuing theatre, but still stay as politically engaged as possible. Actually, what I found during my further theatre studies is that many performers have had “other lives” before theatre. One of my classmates was a social worker, another a pharmacist. The more varied life-experience you have the more rich the work you create will be.
Do you have any advice for anybody wanting to go into performing arts?
One of the very first things any drama training asks you when you step foot into drama school is “Do you have any other interests?” followed by “would you be happy making money following that other interest? If so, do that instead of acting”. Never go into a performing art because you want to make tons of money, or be famous - if you do, I guarantee you’ll end up feeling embittered. But one of the best things about being an actor is that even during dry periods - a period of time where you haven’t done in acting work for months or even years - and are only focusing on your day job; well, you’re still always an actor. Your training never goes away. You can lose momentum in your performing arts career, yes. But that state of mind never goes away.
You were born in New Mexico, what was that like compared to your life now?
I’m from Albuquerque originally (of “Breaking Bad” fame), and Albuquerque and London couldn’t be further apart in many, many ways! I’ve been in England for about 6 years now and sometimes I truly feel like I am straddling two cultures and belonging wholly to neither. When I first moved to England I struggled to know if people were just being polite or had a genuine interest in how I was. Social cues are somewhat different, and I was scared of being that over-emotional American stereotype. (I’m over-emotional by most standards, anyways). There isn’t nearly the same level of emphasis on the performing arts in New Mexico as there is in London, which is super important to me. On the flip side, I find New Mexico a more meditative, outdoorsy place to be. There’s always a new trail to be hiked! I’ve now developed a really peculiar accent and no one can guess where I am from straightaway. I’ll always miss New Mexican food no matter how long I live in England.
What are you some of your favourite things to do in London?
I feel happiest when I am outside, so nothing tickles my fancy more than packing a picnic and setting up camp in one of London’s many, many green spaces. My favourite London treat is to pop into Dum Dum Doughnuts for a Nutella cronut, and then have a wander through Covent Garden. There’s also few things I love more than having a stroll through Borough Market and Maltby Street Market.
How do you juggle everything? Do you have tips for staying organised?
I try my best! The job that I’ve being working as a contractor on for the past 2 years was in the area of international education and it could be very stressful at times. Other things that I was passionate about were sometimes shunted to one side. But I quickly realised the more I relied on scheduling and pushing myself the more I could have a bit of everything. I’m a huge proponent of scheduling as many blog posts in advance as possible. I try to set aside one day a week to do all my writing for that upcoming week so that I can get everything queued up and ready to go. If I have other creative projects that I’m working on that I can’t work on during the weekday due to other paying work, I just schedule things in the evening and on weekends. It sounds more exhausting than it actually is because I love it so much!
As well as staying organised at home how do you plan all your travels?
I’m very Type-A when it comes to travel, but Sam is very relaxed. He can happily turn up anywhere and just be happy to explore and roll with the punches. I’m an organiser. I like to research and read up on wherever we are going. It wouldn’t be a shock to see me on the train on the way to a destination doing some last minute research on the history of the area, trivia and sites not to miss. It’s FOMO syndrome, coupled with an insatiable appetite for facts. I’m also a keen list-maker. Packing is a carefully orchestrated activity that starts a few days before departure.
What is your favourite thing blogging and any words of wisdom for anyone whose just started their blog?
My favourite thing about blogging is the lovely commute that you find through meeting people online. One of the bridesmaids at my wedding this summer was someone that I had met through blogging! Advice: Don’t get bogged down by numbers! Just think, even the biggest blogger out there started out with no readers. Find your voice and your aesthetic and the followers will come.
Any blogs you’d suggest checking out?
You can keep up to date with Amanda over on;