SUMMERSHOLIYAY IS BORN….
It was July 2018. We were half way through an incredible holiday at The Atlantis Dubai. The sun was sizzling. It was forty degrees. To my left, a gigantic pink tower was gleaming in the distance. Behind me the soft turquoise waves were lapping and crashing against the golden sand. I was sprawled out on an over sized cushioned sun lounger. If I shut my eyes, all I could hear was the hubby slurping his coconut juice in delight and the sounds of tweeting birds in the palm trees.
Utter perfection. Minus the slurping.
“Ohhh I just WISH I could tell everyone about how incredible this hotel is” I thought to myself. “I would do anything to be able to write about all of the ridiculous holidays I had have so the memories never fade away and I could inspire people”. Images kept popping into my mind from past adventures I had taken that last year alone; bustling and magical New York City, the stunning and idyllic Maldives in the middle of the glistening Indian Ocean, the incredible and hilarious days out in Florida, all the delicious paella I devoured in Spain and the incredible sights of Rome. There was just SO much to discuss.
“But who the hell would wanna listen to YOU???” My evil twin exclaimed, for the 10000th time.
And with that I instantly shut down any idea of starting my own blog, for the 10000th time.
But the thing is, writing a blog about my travels was something I was totally and utterly desperate to start for years and years and every time we went on a new adventure I felt the urge more and more. Talking about travel brought an instant happiness into my life and I could bang on about hotels I loved, restaurants to visit and places to see for hours on end. But with the help of said evil twin who was constantly being bitchy in my mind I would constantly doubt myself, constantly make excuses, tell myself people would judge me and always found a reason to just not do it.
(How utterly ridiculous, looking back now I have wasted sooooo many years. Blogging is literally the most fun thing I’ve ever done.)
But lets go back to the Atlantis. It was now 4pm and we were on our daily hunt for ice cream. Walking and chattering away through the sand I admitted to hubby that I was constantly thinking about starting a blog and knew I would always regret not doing it, but that I was just too damn nervous about giving it a go. Having finally admitted it out loud I stood waiting for him to laugh hysterically in my face and agree with me, but no laughter came. Instead he looked me dead in the eye and told me I HAD to do this.
Ummmm PLOT TWIST.
With my hubby backing and support I all of a sudden felt invinceable. What the hell was I waiting for? Blogging was my calling, WHY OH WHY HAVE I WASTED SO MUCH TIME?
I was soooo excited about starting my new adventure I wanted to shout out from the rooftops in happiness. I had SO much to share with you all and I was bursting at the seems.
And so on that sunny afternoon on the golden beach of Dubai, Summersholiyay was born and I have never ever looked back.
Ummm that’s a cute story hun, but why are you telling us this???
Well, I was invited to take a visit down memory lane to discuss how and why I started blogging with Angie, Binny and Emma. Three absolutely wonderful travel bloggers, who I respect so much and just adore their work. (You can read about why these three started their blogs on the widget at the bottom of this blog). So now you can all picture the cute lil backstory of when Summersholiyay became real, I thought it would also be fun to ‘interview myself’ below so you can get to know me more. (I know, I know, lockdown has officially broke me haha).
So without further ado… here is Sammy Summers of Summersholiyay, being interviewed by ummmm Sammy Summers of Summersholiyay?!?! (Just go with it huns, I don’t get out much).
Who is Summersholiyay??? Tell us about the girl behind the screen….
Hey everyone.. I’m Sammy, a 31 year old Essex girlie and mummy to the love of my life Teddy Bear who is nearly a year old. Before I had Teddy life was very hectic, I was a Producer in the crazy world of Entertainment Television and would sometimes work 20 hour days in locations and studios all around the country catering to all the Celebrities needs. You would never catch me without a tub of fake tan on, false eyelashes and my Mac Whirl. I LIVED for constant holidays, fancy dinners with friends and was always planning my next adventure. Life was a hundred miles an hour and no day was the same. Fast forward a year and it is a miracle if I get out of PJS. Being a mummy is the most incredible and rewarding thing that’s ever happened to me and I will never take for granted the precious and special time we have spent together this past year in lockdown, He is my best friend and my favourite person in this universe. I can’t lie- having a baby a few days before the first lockdown in March totally knocked me for six. All of my hopes and dreams got shattered and I was constantly feeling like my first year with Teddy had been robbed. But we are making the most of every day and our bond gets stronger and stronger. Its the little things in life that make me overwhelmingly happy now- that hot mug of tea, a new exciting Netflix series, a delicious takeaway to look forward too, Teddy kisses and cuddles in bed and the Amazon Delivery driver arriving. But however cosy this lockdown is, I am counting down the SECONDS till I can go on my next adventure.
Why the name??… It’s very random….
I am utterly obsessed with holidays and especially luxury travel. This may sound crazy but I would rather splash out and go on two incredible holidays a year in luxurious and divine five star hotels, than go on ten cheaper holidays a year in okay and basic accommodation. Yep I admit it, I’m a TOTAL holiday snob but I truly believe that an incredible hotel makes your holiday one million percent better. The idea for my blog was to take my followers on all my adventures and holidays around the world and showcase lots of stunning hotels*. So why Summersholiyay???? ’Summers’ is my surname, and I wanted to incorporate the world holiday… so I swapped the day for ‘yay’ and the rest is history.
*She says after not blogging about travel in a year. Ooops. Don’t blame me, blame the RONA!!!!.
However since 2020 Summerholiyay isn’t just a travel blog. I am sooo proud that I have been writing about all of the ups and downs about being a mummy too and have now taken my blog in a whole new direction. I really do hope that people like that my blog has a bit of everything and that my loyal followers from ‘before’ Teddy are still enjoying my content and are excited to follow our adventures in the future.
What bloggers inspired you to start your own blog?
Throughout my twenties, working in so many crazy locations around the country meant that I spent a LOT of time commuting. Instagram wasn’t so much of a ‘thing’ back then, and instead I was so inspired by a couple of wonderful bloggers who would keep me company on my travels. Ultimately it was these bloggers who sparked my interest in wanting to write about my own life. Rosie Londoner for her stunning visuals, In The Frow for all her wonderful trips around the world, Em Talks who was always very chatty and down to earth, and of course I adored reading about the wonderful Angie Silverspoon’s adventures. Angie has since become a very good blogger friend who I cannot wait to meet in real life one day. We have sooo much in common and I want our little boys to be friends!
What has been your highlight of blogging so far?
I started my blog in late 2018, and by 2019 I was being invited on the most incredible outings and was given fantastic opportunities which I will be forever grateful for. I couldn’t believe that little old me was being trusted by big and established companies to write about their experiences. It was a very overwhelming and exciting feeling. There are three absolute stand out days that were real pinch me moments and are my definite highlights. Being invited to review the magical Mary Poppins Afternoon Tea at the top of The Shard will forever be one of my favourite days out, which then led on to a press day at the stunning Aqua Shard for their brand new 2019 summer menu with some incredible bloggers. In late 2019 I reviewed the afternoon tea at the magical Winter Gardens in The Landmark Hotel in London and was treated like absolute royalty. It was the most incredible and delicious day. Although how can I forget the time I got to bake a cake in the Bake Off Tent and Go Boating with my girlies down Regents Canel in the sunshine. 2019 was a whirlwind of fun and I will never stop being thankful for every press trip I was invited on! Annoyingly, it felt like jussssst as I was getting to establish myself and was receiving some pretty cool invitations, 2020 happened. Ugh. I am counting down the SECONDS for the day I get to ‘experience’ something new again.
However, for me, blogging isn’t just about the ‘days out’ and ‘freebies’. And yes whilst they are a MASSIVE perk, what I love the most about blogging is the simplicity and openness of sitting down with a good cuppa, putting on the laptop and just pouring my heart out and WRITING. Being pregnant and going through the rollercoaster of labour and motherhood made me open up on here in ways I never could have dreamed of. I let all my inhibitions go and was just totally and utterly honest. And letting my most vulnerable blogs out into the big world wide such as my pregnancy diaries and my birth story has been my proudest moment yet. It is honestly the most rewarding and humbling thing in the world to receive inboxes from girls from all across the country telling me that my words have helped them, or that they can relate to me. And that, is exactly what blogging is all about for me. Strangers have become friends, I have chatted to some of the most wonderful and lovely people ever, reconnected with old school friends, where together we have laughed and cried through one of the darkest, weird and incredible years ever. It really is such a wonderful community and THAT is my real highlight.
What is your dream blogging collaboration in the future?
I mean if the sky is the limit… it would be the biggest biggest DREAM to be able to go on a ‘press trip’ as a family. Whether this was one night in the UK, a few nights abroad in Europe or a two week stay on a new island in the Maldives. *Faints* I would absolutely ADORE for my blog to be able to focus on luxury travel and showcasing how you can still travel in style with a family and children. I want to take my followers around the world with me and for Summersholiyay to actually be a travel blog again.
So with that in mind my dream dream dreaaaaam travel brands to work with would be… The One & Only, Four Seasons, W Hotels, Six Senses, The Dorchester Brand and Virgin Holidays. OH A GIRL CAN DREAM.
And the biggest dream collab…. Well now I have Teddy, I want him to be the focus of all of my blogs, and if I could ever experience ANYTHING DISNEY with him, I would faint and die of happiness a million trillion times over.!
Bit in all honestly, getting to experience any exciting day out this year would be a total dream come true. My little lockdown baby deserves some fun and this mumma needs to brush her hair!! Cross all of your fingers and toes for us please.
Do you have any advice for people wanting to become a blogger?
Ohhhh are you thinking of become a blogger? Thats soooo exciting. My advice to you would be to stop letting any fears get in the way and to enjoy every second of it. There is room for EVERY ONE in the blogging world and for you to make your mark. I wasted too much time worrying about what people would think, which was utterly ridiculous and I now keep kicking myself about the fact I have missed out on many years of fun because of my anxiety of the unknown.
So here are my three main pieces of advice to you when you just start out:
- Pick your blog name and stick to it across all social channels so it is easy for people to search for you.
- Please be yourself- everyone will love you- in the blogging and instagram world you can spot fake and un-genuine people in a heartbeat. And with that in mind I would suggest NOT to buy any followers or take part in any loops. Unfortunately it just looks desperate. Someone with three thousand genuine followers and connections will go sooooo much further than a ‘influencer’ with 20K followers and five comments. Don’t get caught up in the competitive and ridiculous number game!
- Always make sure to find the time to engage with lots of similar niche of blogs and Instagram account- comment on their pictures, praise their blogs and make a wonderful connection… and if people are kind enough to comment on your work then always find the time to reply to them!
- Try and write at least one blog a month, and upload at least two Instagram pictures a week to get yourself out there. People will soon start looking forward to your content.
- Don’t be afraid to approach a brand if you want to collaborate with them. Opportunities don’t just fall into your lap so take a leap of faith and put yourself out there. For every twenty emails you send out you might get nineteen rejections but you might get one YES. (I have worked with Tommee Tippee, London Zoo and Penguin Books this year all from sending an email)- It does work- yay!!!!.
What do you need to improve on?
Every January I make an announcement that I will be more present on Instagram stories and actually talk to the camera, but when push comes to shove I get soooo nervous and just don’t ever do it. I think its because I’m so used to being behind the camera and believe it or not I’m a bit camera shy. I constantly over analyse what I am saying or how I look which is totally ridiculous and I need to just pull myself together and chat more. I think showing your face and more vulnerable side on Instagram stories makes you come across as more personable and I always love watching everyone else videos so its something I must improve on! I would also love to get three to four blogs out a month, when at the moment I can only upload two maximum. Looking after a crawling toddler in lockdown is HARD WORK haha.
So we know you are a mummy now, but tell us more about your day job before maternity leave..
Oh my gosh where do I start…. well, I am a Producer in the Entertainment department of Telly land currently on maternity. I have worked in the industry for eleven years and started off as a runner making tea and catering to every Z-listers crazy need, and slowly but surely have worked my way up that ladder. In the last few years alone I have been the voice of Big Brother, have created over four series worth of games on The Crystal Maze, have interviewed the silliest of contestants on BGT and have got enough hilarious stories from this part of my life to write a million page book. (Maybe I will one day). What I adore the most about my job, is that I have got to be sooooo creative. A huge part of my job is developing hundreds of ideas for different game/challenge shows and then bringing them to life, getting to work across and with Directors, Lawyers, Scripting, Props, Costume Departments and Casting. I love it! Every day is different and I have always had to expect the unexpected. There were times I spent weeks and weeks prepping for a big task on Big Brother, transforming and decorating the inside of the House in the early hours of the morning with the Art Department while the housemates were asleep, only for the whole task to be cancelled by lunch time because the housemates had a huge bust up at breakfast over a sausage. It has been the most incredible, ridiculously fun and rewarding job in the world but it has also been hard graft. The hours are relentless, the locations can be a million miles away from home and I have had to sacrifice a lot to be doing what I do. Now I have Teddy I have to re-ass and re-evaluate everything and try and find a happy medium, because ultimately he will always come first. But I hope I can still try and do what I love doing and what I have worked really hard for. This year is going to be a bit of trial and error as I figure it all out- but I want to make him soooo proud!
Tell me five trips you are hoping to take this decade??
- Any island in the Maldives– being stranded on a golden desert island surrounded by a glittering sparkling sea with Teddy is my ultimate dream. There is no place like the Maldives, it is utter perfection.
- Greece– I have constant daydreams of walking around the cobbled streets of Mykonos and Santorini before a day of chilling in my rooftop pool up on the mountains. DREAMS.
- Italian Roadtrip- We would start in the idyllic peaceful Lake Como, before travelling to the bustling and buzzing Venice. Then it would be time to stay in a Farmhouse in Tuscany, relaxing by a pool surrounded by lemon trees, with a couple of visits to Pisa for Gelato. After this we would head down to Sorrento where we would stay at the top of the mountain. Day trips to the blue lagoon in Capri, shopping in Positiano and the Amalfi Coast would be had and our trip would conclude in the stunning and beautiful Puglia. Mmmmm yes please.
- Florida– Two weeks staying in The Disneyland Hotel which smells of cinnamon and gingerbread men. Every day spent at a ridiculously fun and magical theme park whilst the nights are filled with incredible shows, themed restaurants and firework parties. Need I say more?!?
- Lapland. Sleeping in an igloo. Sledging on a husky dog. Feeding the reindeer. Visiting Santa. Drinking Hot Chocolate by a snowy mountain…ummmm yes please. You get my jist. I’m not crying, you are.
Your dream press trip… GO…..
This is a hard one because my bucket-list has at least 405937347 destinations on it. But I think it would be a tie between staying at Richard Bransons stunnnnnning safari lodge in Africa. I mean take a google, you will wanna die! OR… holidaying at The Disney Hotel in Florida and having a jampacked two weeks of ridiculous adventures and theme parks. DREAMS.
What does 2021 have in store for you?
2020 was a blur, a whirlwind and a shock and honestly- my expectations for 2021 are not high. All I dream of is a safe and fun summer filled with delicious BBQs, paddling pools in the garden, visiting the farm, going to brunch with my girls, family hugs, date nights in ACTUAL restaurants, Teddy making proper friends, good health for everyone I care about and some normality. It would make the happiest girl in this world. 2021 will be the year I navigate working out how I can be the best mummy ever whilst trying to get my foot back in the door of the TV world. I am sick with nerves about it but am ready for the challenge. Teddy will always be my number one now so everything else will just have to fall into place around him… how I will do this? I have NO clue.. but you can be sure on one thing… your be right beside me for this rollercoaster ride.
And on that note I think we better call it a wrap. Thank you sooo much for taking the time to get to know my story.
But that is more than enough about me.
So its now your turn. I want to know about YOU. Tell me why you started YOUR BLOG. I want to know EVERYTHING!!!! Copy and paste my questions and interview yourself. I’m desperate to know.
I can’t wait to hear your stories- each and every one of them- they fascinate me!!!
Loads of love, Sammy xxxx
( P.S- Make sure you add your blog to the widget bellow so we can all get to know each other well!)