Aspirational vs. Relatable Blogging


Gucci handbags, swanky press trips and bouncy blowdries can often make the world of blogging seem incredibly inaccessible. There isn’t a right or wrong way to blog, just as there isn’t a right or wrong way to consume content, and fundamentally it comes down to personal preference and what you want to take away from your social media feed, or your morning browse. Lately I’ve picked up on a few comments – and even the headlines surrounding a certain advent calendar – that have got me thinking about whether bloggers have a duty to be accessible, and why it is people can get so upset when they’re not.

It seems almost counterproductive that someone might follow a blogger and support their success, then get frustrated when that growth eventually leads to bigger collaborations, widened opportunities and – lets face it – increased wealth. Whether it’s jealousy – I know I’ve certainly felt a pang of the green eyed monster when I’ve seen others celebrate jobs that I would bloody love to book myself – resentment, or just genuine disheartenment that the gal they once loved who promoted £8 Missguided skirts is now sipping her lattes in Burberry, I don’t know.

What I do know, is that it is okay to grow out of someone. It’s fine to hit the unfollow button if someone’s content just isn’t floating your boat any longer because your feed is your place to consume whatever you want to, in whatever manner you choose. Equally, it is more than okay for a blogger to grow up both personally and professionally and choose to share a more ‘aspirational’ lifestyle if that is what they enjoy living, and nobody should ever feel the need to apologise or feel guilty for their successes.

Aspirational vs. Relatable 

For me, bloggers (generally speaking) tend to fall into two categories: aspirational or relatable, though it doesn’t necessarily mean that someone can’t be both. Take two of my favourite bloggers; Lydia Millen is very much an aspirational blogger; she jets around the world, works alongside L’Oréal and owns an enviable collection of designer handbags. For some, that might make her quite inaccessible, whilst others will enjoy the window into a lifestyle that they cannot themselves afford to live. It only takes a short conversation on Twitter to realise that Lydia is ultra-lovely, ultra-down to earth and has worked ULTRA hard to get where she is today. Equally, Hannah Gale thrives on a reputation of being the gal pal you’d love to share a bottle of Sauv with on the sofa on a Friday night whilst watching I’m a Celeb. She is the epitome of relatable and I lap up her content because it makes me want to shout ‘Yes! EXACTLY!’ whilst quickly ordering the £20 jumper she’s wearing without having to take out a sizeable loan. That doesn’t mean, however, that she isn’t aspirational too; in my earliest days of blogging when I was struggling a bit with my self-identity and where I might fit in, it was following Hannah that helped me to realise that my identity is ME and I fit in by being just that, sod what the rest of the ‘sphere is up to.

I recently saw someone getting quite upset on Twitter because a blogger she subscribed to on YouTube had done a £5000 haul; that isn’t wrong, but neither is the girl who uploaded it. Would I likely press the play button? Probably not. Does that mean someone else won’t be favouriting it and going on a shopping spree? Definitely not. Hell, even a £300 ASOS haul makes me cringe a teeny bit but not because of the lucky gal showing it off, just because it’s not the kind of spending habit that I can relate to personally. I understand that when you’ve got £20 until payday and a blogger is telling you that a £160 jar of moisturiser is a worthy investment it can be easy to feel deflated at best, and pissed off at worst, but I also think it’s important to remember that if you’re not going to go running into Harvey Nichs to pick up a jar then you’re probably not the target audience.

Personally, I know that my style of blogging very much falls into the latter camp. I feel most comfortable when I am (over)sharing my life with my followers. I talk about my periods and doing the laundry in my captions and I upload snaps in my pjs and blog about the reality behind Instagram. It isn’t for everyone. Some people get bored of the life updates and just want to know where the skirt is from, and that’s totally cool too.

Is there room for everyone?

When people talk about the blogging industry as being oversaturated I whole heartedly disagree; there is so much room for everyone because if we all did the same things, talked about the same places and the same clothes then my goodness would it be dull. The breadth and depth of content out there in each and every category from fashion to food means that everyone is free to enjoy what they want, when they want it and from whom they choose to support; it really doesn’t matter if you’d rather read about the latest release from Chloé, or from Primark.


Dress: Closet London  (gifted)

Boots: Rocket Dog (gifted)

Coat: Ted Baker 


  1. November 16, 2017 / 8:02 pm

    What a beautifully written post. Everyone should take a step back and look at who they are following, if you see something you don’t like then the unfollow button is pretty simple to use.
    For my personal blog, I post what i think feels right. Some are there for pictures, some are there for the links or some just prefer a good read and go about their day.
    I know one thing, You can’t please everyone… and that is OKAY!

    • Beth Sandland
      November 16, 2017 / 8:36 pm

      Exactly! I think it’s so important people know it’s okay to unfollow and to change interests and direction, as both bloggers and readers xx

  2. November 16, 2017 / 8:03 pm

    Beth, this is written so so beautifully!! Your writing is so eloquent and you put across your points so well. Love how you used two (amazing) bloggers to explain your thoughts. I also completely agree – I watch people who buy things I can only dream of, but I relate so well to their personality, but also people who I can snap up what they own! Doesn’t mean I don’t find them each any less relatable!! Also YES to people not being relatable to you anymore that is okay too! We all grow and change, and it’s just life!! Such a good post xxx

    • Beth Sandland
      November 16, 2017 / 8:35 pm

      Thanks for such a lovely comment Frances! Exactly, it’s just so important to let people be who they want to be and YOU get to choose how you respond to that, if at all. Xxx

  3. Lindsey
    November 16, 2017 / 8:25 pm

    Loved reading this post! Keep up the great work, girl!

  4. Jasmin
    November 16, 2017 / 8:36 pm

    Great Blog, very true! Can very much relate to everything you wrote!

  5. Laura
    November 16, 2017 / 8:52 pm

    I think the issue is when “aspirational” bloggers aren’t always honest about gifts, vouchers from brands and “sponsored content” . Also there are a few people who do luxe halls then you never see the item again .

    Personally I think the issue with blogging is that some bloggers ahem take on too many paid campaigns – so each week they LOVE a new skincare brand or a new foundation . As viewers we see right through this and it completely damages the opinion of a bloggers brand and reputation as trustworthy.


    • Beth Sandland
      November 17, 2017 / 8:42 am

      You’re definitely right, but I think that’s a different issue altogether and comes down to authenticity – whether someone is ‘aspirational’ or ‘relatable’. Like in any industry there are always going to be people who don’t play by the rules or who’s intentions are less honourable, but I choose to just unfollow and ignore those. Xx

      • Yasmin
        January 11, 2018 / 11:16 am

        Well said Ms Sandland, love the bloggers you mentioned for totally different reasons, and of course love your content too. As I’ve always said to anyone that will listen…the switch off button has always been there, as long as the content does not overstep the boundaries of our cultural decency, which none of you do, so I’m well and truly staying switched in 😘👍🏼

  6. Bianca
    November 16, 2017 / 9:27 pm

    Should bloggers be relateable? Depends on who you are talking to which answer you get and everyone’s definition of what is relatable comes down to.

    I think your point is spend time on what is enjoyable and what you want and ignore the rest. I get that. At the same time I think people are entitled to feel how they feel. If someone wants to get upset about the new overpriced beauty advent calendar, that is their prerogative.

    I find a lot of bloggers narcissistic and shallow of what I consider a nutcase with 22 Chanel handbags so I don’t waste my time watching their stuff. I focus my energy on what I can do for my life to make my life better.

    I think people want to find ways to be happier so they look to these bloggers for inspiration or ideas.

    I would like to see more plus size women being bloggers and influencers. I think their is a prejudice against fat people so a fat women would have a hard time getting brands to work with her and getting a following.

    I like Lydia Millen but I think part of her and others like Josue who is Fashion Mumblr’s succrss is fur to being skinny. If they weighed 300 lbs or more they would not have the success they have. I would like to see more obese beauty bloggers and if there are any to see them have more success. I don’t think you should have to be skinny to be a success influencer but it seems to me like that is what is required. It isn’t explicitly stated but it is our society’s rules and the way people are.

    So you are right Beth in that focus your energy where you want. But I also think people are entitled to not like something and to say so, we are getting too politically correct and if someone expresses the “wrong” opinions they are a “hater”

    • Beth Sandland
      November 17, 2017 / 8:50 am

      Hey Bianca, thanks for your comment! I’m not entirely sure you took away from my piece what I intended – I’m not at all saying that it’s wrong to be upset about the advent calendar, for example. Hence I said that (example in post) it’s not wrong to get upset about a £5000 haul, but it’s not wrong to upload one either.

      The remit of my post was that essentially everyone (as bloggers) needs to blog about what they choose, in the way they choose to, whilst equally readers have the right to choose who they support and how they react to that content. If you find bloggers who own lots of designer bags ‘narcissistic’ then I assume you just won’t follow them, which is totally cool too.

      I totally agree that people were fair enough to get upset about the Zoella calendar, but to dig up 8 year old tweets and go on a twitter witch hunt? Doesn’t sit well with me.

      Your point about weight is perhaps a different issue altogether. You’re right, maybe there is a lack of diversity in the industry. I don’t think it’s fair to say Lydia and Josie are only successful because they’re slim because that undermines the immense hard work and dedication, and fundamentally talent too, that is all part of their journey. But perhaps there is under representation. There are some brilliant plus sized bloggers out there too – have you checked out Grace Victory?

      You’re not at all wrong to not like something and I don’t think my post implied in anyway that there actually is a wrong opinion, and I certainly didn’t (and never do) refer to anyone as a hater. My personally belief is each to their own, though I do think if you don’t like someone it’s quite easy to unfollow and move on, rather than some of the abusive comments or twitter gossip I’ve seen.

      Thanks so much for joining in the debate!

  7. November 16, 2017 / 10:37 pm

    I am also a blogger and I totally agree with you! Its about finding the real you and sharing your lifestyle to inspire and motivate others 🙂 this was so re-freshing, thanks

    Also visit my blog, – as it stands for confidence and self-love that I show through sharing my fashion styles and thoughts 🙂

    Fashion& Beauty Blog

  8. Cheyenne
    November 16, 2017 / 10:57 pm

    This is written beautifully, I agree too that there is room and growth for everyone, all us viewers have to do is find the right cup of tea for us!

    Lydia Millen is one of my favourite Youtubers but our worlds couldn’t be more different, I’m a 27 year old nursery teacher and still live at home with my parents in a council flat. I love my family but also would like to stand on my own two feet and have more independence, unfortunately that comes with an expense I can’t afford simply because I don’t earn enough. I mean just a £30 foundation is around 3/4 of my day’s wage but I absolutely love what I do and no amount of money could ever pay for how rewarding working with children is.

    Then there’s Lydia, looking to buy a new house, getting married and owning many designer items. I’m not saying all that isn’t stressful or she doesn’t deserve it because she actually works really hard.
    What I’m really trying to say is that even though I would love to be in the position where she is in life, I can still find common ground with her as no amount of money or material defines who you are, it’s about who you are as a person.

    Lydia is a kind, sensitive and decent person, her personality is so down to earth and she is not afraid to make fun of herself, she literally has me in stitches of laughter at times. So that’s exactly why I think she is fab because she is authentic, what you see is what you get and doesn’t claim to be anything else.

    • Beth Sandland
      November 17, 2017 / 8:54 am

      Love this, Cheyenne! You’re absolutely right and I’m so happy you really took away the tone of the piece. How we relate to different people and content is always going to be a personal thing and the beauty of the internet is that we’re free to enjoy whatever we choose. I follower bloggers whom I feel I practically know, others who I’m just in it for the pretty travel pictures, it just doesn’t really matter! If someone content isn’t my cup of tea, I don’t follow, or unfollow. That isn’t ever even personal, it’s just about focusing on what YOU want from your social media experience ☺️

  9. November 16, 2017 / 11:42 pm

    I totally agree with you. I just discovered your blog today (praise twitter) and I am in love. Your aesthetics and your photography are absolute GOALS! I’m so sick of the drama surrounding the Christmas Calendar. Your post really puts things into perspective for me and I couldn’t personally agree more with your point of view.
    Please keep going as your content is amazing (I have an exam tomorrow and I’ve spent the last 30 minutes reading your blog)!

    • Beth Sandland
      November 17, 2017 / 8:55 am

      Oh Ana that is SO kind! Thank you! Yes me too – not disputing the calendar was wrong but hell, there are bigger problems in the world. It’s fine to be upset but it is not fine to hound someone on Twitter and there are PLENTY bigger things to focus on! Massive good luck in your exam xx

  10. November 17, 2017 / 9:57 am

    LOved this post, Beth! I am always trying to be relatable as a blogger but as you say, still love being like Lydia who are more aspirational

    Ellie xx

  11. November 17, 2017 / 4:44 pm

    I loved this post and i couldn’t agree more. We are not all ‘one size fits all’ and even those who can and do buy luxury might also like to buy budget friendly, where as those who are on a budget might get inspiration or find something they might like to save for. There is space for all! Really well written and presented think piece. xx

  12. November 18, 2017 / 12:18 pm

    You couldn’t have put this better lovely, and it’s so true, the online sphere is a very personal place where we can all individually choose what to look at – no one is forcing anything on anyone as you don’t HAVE to follow or watch, so I couldn’t agree more! I love your open and honest writing style and your insta captions, and I think increasingly people WANT relatable content and honesty instead of the ‘highlight reel’ which is so unattainable for most. But as you say, now and again it’s nice to have window into another world and enjoy some aspirational content. Can’t wait for more of your writing and thoughts 😀 – Holly xxx

  13. November 19, 2017 / 10:31 am

    its so difficult isnt it, the minute someone starts making a name for themself in the blogging world – the reasons they made it there start slipping away. ive seen it a lot with bloggers i used to follow and love, theyre just not relatable at all anymore and start posting sponsored content non stop which doesnt interest me. i just unfollow though as soon as i stop loving content and mean no disrespect to anyone who does this because its kind of unavoidable! if you cant say anything nice, dont say anything at all!

    katie. xx

    • Beth Sandland
      November 19, 2017 / 12:30 pm

      I think you’re right Katie, if it’s not floating your boat there is nothing wrong with unfollowing. It’s not nasty or offensive, and it’s a damn sight better than slating someone because they’ve taken a new direction. It’s a tricky one because sponsored content is often how we pay our bills so I wouldn’t write off ALL ads, but if someone is being inauthentic in the things they’re promoting I totally agree, it’s not interesting xx

  14. November 19, 2017 / 9:34 pm

    I’m loving everything about your blog – the beautiful imagery and refreshingly open, honest, intelligent, well-written posts xoxoxo

  15. November 22, 2017 / 1:53 am

    I absolutely loved reading this! You made some great points and I love your writing style I was sad when it ended! I prefer the relatable but you’re so right about a window into the lifestyle you can’t have! I feel jealous too sometimes but they really did work hard to get there. Lovely post

  16. November 25, 2017 / 1:46 pm

    This is such a great post Beth. People change, as someone’s success grows, their lifestyle changes too, and it’s only natural. But a bit of common sense doesn’t go amiss. It’s OK to be aspirational, but when your target audience is kids or young adult, I think you do need to be relatable once in a while, and life isn’t always about expensive handbags and jet setting.

  17. November 25, 2017 / 10:59 pm

    All of this is so true!

    • Beth Sandland
      December 11, 2017 / 6:32 pm

      Thank you!

  18. Stephanie
    December 3, 2017 / 9:12 pm

    This post was excellently written. This is my first time on your website, and I’ll certainly be coming back for more. It’s a question I’ve been asking myself a lot lately – since when I go on massive vacations, my following increases with views of palm trees and sunsets over beaches, but decreases when I’m back home and in my everyday lifestyle. Yet, simultaneously I’m always having someone say “I just love how relatable you are!” So, I never know which I should lean towards haha! I guess it’s good to have a little bit of both within my blogosphere. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

    • Beth Sandland
      December 3, 2017 / 9:22 pm

      Thanks so much Stephanie! You’re absolutely right, I think you’ve got to just do you. What’s your Instagram? Would love to check it out, DM me! @bethsandland xx

    • Beth Sandland
      December 11, 2017 / 6:32 pm

      Thank you! That’s really kind of you Stephanie. It’s so important to just do what you do; people follow PEOPLE at the end of the day xx

  19. December 5, 2017 / 12:09 pm

    Hi Beth! Agreeing with all the other commenters – your writing style is beautiful and I find it so relatable. When I read your posts I feel like you are the voice in my own head (soz if that’s weird lol).

    Take care 🙂

    • Beth Sandland
      December 11, 2017 / 6:31 pm

      Thank you Emily, so lovely of you to comment. Not weird at all! I’m so pleased you engage so easily with my content xxx

  20. Abi Street
    December 6, 2017 / 9:16 am

    This is so well written Beth! I definitely agree that despite sometimes being slightly envious of the wealth people have, they still have every right to post whatever the hell they want and I’m allowed to unfollow whenever I like.

    I’ve never really been a follower of Lydia, but someone I have a similar feeling with is In The Frow. I absolutely love Victoria, she is my all time favourite blogger and has been for a long time. I definitely can’t relate to her press trips, luxurious brand collaborations or luxury hauls but watching her vlogs makes me realise just why she is my favourite blogger and I am able to relate some way or another.

    Abi | abistreetx

    • Beth Sandland
      December 11, 2017 / 6:29 pm

      Thank you Abi. Exactly! I think you’ve got it right; it’s about enjoying what you choose to and switching off from the rest. Each to their own, whether that’s Prada or Primark xx

  21. Ankita
    December 14, 2017 / 10:01 am

    Can you write a blog on what cameras to use do blogging?

  22. December 14, 2017 / 5:54 pm

    This is a beautifully written post. I couldn’t agree more with everything said. <3

  23. December 14, 2017 / 6:54 pm

    Absolutely love this. So well-said and thoughtful. Can’t get enough of your posts!

  24. Brianna Kirk
    January 3, 2018 / 5:23 pm

    You just summed up my recent thoughts and feelings. I would have to agree that I fall more into the “relatable” blogger category. I love to consume honest content that helps out ‘ya everyday girl.’ Beautifully written blog post <3

  25. January 7, 2018 / 1:40 am

    Lovely Lovely…You bring up great points. I really enjoyed.

  26. Nia
    February 5, 2018 / 5:57 pm

    I love a relatable blogger, much more my style!! Inspiration is lovely, in the same way that catwalk filters down to high street; I like looking at the luxe content, but then finding ways to recreate that on an NHS-worker budget. But for those rainy afternoon, big mug of tea moments…relatable all the way for me!!

  27. February 10, 2018 / 10:17 pm

    I love reading your blog because it is so relatable. I think you always post so honestly!
    It is so important to be ‘you’ in the blogging world.

  28. February 15, 2018 / 11:48 am

    This post is so beautifully written and I found myself nodding along like a mad woman! People do grow in and out of things! I find the overlush luxurious vacation bloggers to be ones I read less and spot their snaps more. My feed has evolved so much in the two years I’ve been blogging and I think a move to be more accepting of all and evolution rather than witch hunting is the way forward!

  29. February 20, 2018 / 11:43 am

    I love this post, I think it’s definitely fine to be either; like you say, it’s down to the reader/viewer to decide which type of content they prefer. I love a bit of both, the relatable posts about finding cat sick on the floor and someone’s pack with me because I’m going to Bora Bora for 3 weeks! xx

  30. March 17, 2018 / 9:52 am

    Great post Beth, and I wholeheartedly agree with what you say! It’s great all the variety out there, and something for everyone to love! If everyone was the same how boring it would be! If you don’t like it then don’t follow it! It does amaze me how cruel people can be over peoples posts. Thankfully majority of the time its all positive! And I think everyone has to remember what it’s all about Creativity, sharing and connection xxx

  31. March 19, 2018 / 6:06 am

    I just Now found your blog and I cant stop reading your post! Your such a relatable blogger and your theme just makes me want to keep reading! You are turning into one of my favorite bloggers and I hope to inspire others like you soon!!
    Much love

  32. Rosa
    March 22, 2018 / 8:49 pm

    Such a great post. When I first started blogging, I was so desperate to buy and show expensive designer goods but now I’ve started to settle into more of an over sharing, wearing high street clothes pattern, which I think I like better

  33. Your post says much more than the many words of some long winded blog posts. Well written and so true. It’s so important not to look at the hard work some bloggers have put into their brand (and we all know it’s hours of hard work). And be resentful because they are not there…yet. Whether your blogging about makeup, clothes, parenting, travel or any of the many other niche markets it’s so important to be respectful of the world we live in. Take care

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