8 blogs to read every week | 100th post spectacular

My blogging journey began in late 2015. It was a cold November night in my ground floor flat when I created my first blog. The post that came with it was about the original Pokémon games heading to the 3DS’ virtual console. At the time, I’d been trying to emulate the likes of Gamespot and IGN. I’d wanted to go into journalism. Even better if that could be video games journalism.

Sadly, habits are hard to keep. With such a busy First Year of University in Birmingham, I never made an effort to turn this into a Regular Thing. Plus, I’d been far too ambitious. The site was split into sections for movies, television and video games – far too much to cover for a lone 19-year-old. My aim at the time was that I could turn it into some kind of Proper Publication, with various people working for me to create something incredible.

It wasn’t long before I had that same idea for Our Velvet Revolution, a History blog. My flatmate and I, both Historians, wanted to write about historical events or current socio-political issues that interested us but weren’t suited to academic essays. That went quite well – one article received 2,000 views! We were also pretty ambitious in our aims: could other Historians start writing alongside us? A Velvet Revolution is all about peaceful change. The thought process was that the pen was mightier than the sword, and that our words, not actions, would change the world. Were we onto the Next Big Thing?


Once more, the blogging bandwagon stopped. I dabbled in WordPress as a site host during my gap year, but still lacked consistency.

It’s funny that I’d never made this into a consistent habit until embarking on the busiest quest of my life: full-time teaching. Somehow, though, despite the odd week off, I seem to make it work.

Now that I’m 100 posts into moulding and shaping HardlyHamilton, I’d like to reserve this space for shining a light on others. Below are the 8 blogs I’d recommend you read every week. Some are focused on productivity and personal development, others on education, and some simply produce exceptional content.

Jenny in Neverland

I first found Jenny’s post about spring cleaning your blog and your life for mental clarity, and loved the mood-boosting bits of wisdom that she imparted.

Credit: Jenny In Neverland

She’s all about self-growth, personal development and helping other bloggers grow their confidence in the industry, but used to dabble in book blogging, too.

Mental Health at Home

Ashley Peterson uses her platform to speak openly about mental health, having worked in a pharmacy, among other professions, and suffering from her own mental health issues.

Credit: Ashley Peterson

In a world where it can be really impactful to speak about your mental health (but one that can also be quite difficult to talk about), I think that what she does is exceptionally brave (and useful!). I stumbled across her content after seeing her post on toxic productivity.

Considering my niche, it was quite eye-opening thinking about how we should talk about being productive: not to get more done, but to be more efficient about how we do it.

Satabdi Mukherjee

Like me, Satabdi has used her name to build a personal brand, and you can tell why – she’s a content writer, first and foremost, but also blogs about productivity and time management. As you well know, I am ALL for a productivity hack.

Credit: Satabdi Mukherjee

One post of hers that I really enjoyed was about the productivity strategy called ‘eat that frog’. In short, if you have two frogs to eat, then you should eat the bigger frog first, since it will take most of your mental prowess to get through – and we should apply this way of thinking to our daily tasks. But you could really do with reading her much more detailed explanation.

K E Garland

In the same way that I refer to my writing persona as JJ Hamilton, Kathy has also adopted a writer’s name. This is because she is, first and foremost, a writer. Her blog is the place to be if you want to dip into a sliver of her work before researching the published pieces she’s created.

Credit: KE Garland

As well as writing, she has also taught for 25 years. I found this one post about her reflections on 25 years of teaching really interesting because it is all about how our decisions in life should never really be thought of as mistakes; rather, they are the intentional choices that we make based on limitations and beliefs that we possess at the time. Insightful!

Dysfunctional Literacy

The author of this blog is primarily a writer, but he’s also taught in his time, too. I came across his ‘old things are tough to explain’ post, which highlighted the need to give two weeks’ notice if leaving an employer.

Credit: Jimmy Norman (who proved notoriously tough to find a real photo of! This is his book)

Sound dry? That’s because it is – but the tone in which it was written was positively brilliant. You can really tell that he’s a storyteller; the blog reads like an excerpts from a writer’s mind.


Jen and I were first connected while both writing for the now-defunct Campus Society. Since then, we’ve collaborated on a few posts, and she continues to primarily write about what she’s been reading and listening to, so I head there for book and music suggestions.

Credit: JenRoseWrites

Somehow she manages to hold down a job while blogging multiple times a week, so huge respect to her.

Boss Babe Chronicles

Mariam recently hosted one of my guest blog posts about creating a super Bullet Journaling system. Her posts are all about a really similar theme, focusing on lifestyle and personal development.

Credit: BossBabeChronicles

She’s got her socials fine-tuned to a tee, and is a real inspiration for promoting your blog – in case you need the motivation like I often do!

Ali Abdaal

First and foremost, Ali is a YouTuber. His videos were my inspiration for revamping HardlyHamilton, after I found his channel during Lockdown.

Credit: Ali Abdaal

He does, however, also blog pretty frequently, including summaries and highlights from books that he’s enjoyed. He also converts his videos into posts, making it particularly easy to return to a specific part of a video that I particularly enjoyed in case I need a reminder on a study or productivity hack.

Those are the 8 bloggers that I enjoy reading every week. Whose blogs would you like to highlight in the comments below?

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