Sivia Njoki is the winner of the prestigious Kenyan blog of the year award. She also won the best fashion blog award. Silvia’s blog, Style By Silvia, is a fashion blog with a difference. Apart from displaying her pristine fashion sense which she has passed down to her daughter, she shares with her followers a little bit of her life story. Mothers and fashion lovers love Silvia! Pendotalk is particularly fascinated by her great relationship with her daughter.
Pendotalk: How does it feel to have won the most prestigious blog award for the year? What has changed so far?
Silvia: I can’t tell you how happy and proud I am. Of course it was a huge and unexpected surprise to win the Blog of the Year, especially after I had already won the fashion blogger award and felt like a real winner. Winning both awards was simply awesome, and I am so grateful to all my supporters who believed enough in me to vote for me in both categories.
Winning has obviously given me a stronger impetus to spend even more time blogging, but has not made me more complacent or changed my commitment to provide consistently high quality posts. Not surprisingly, I am receiving more requests for collaborations, which is also very exciting for me.
Pendotalk: What inspired you to start a fashion blog?
Silvia: I was inspired to start blogging by my baby daughter Nielsine in order to share some of the outfits I started to make for her shortly after she was born.
Pendotalk:Why the name Nielsine? Where did you get it from and what does it mean?
Nielsine is a rare Danish name, and the female version of the boy’s name Niels, which is the name of a man whom I love and is my best friend. It stems from the name of Saint Nicolas.
Pendotalk:How old were you when you gave birth to Nielsine? How old is Nielsine?
I was 25 when I gave birth, and now Nielsine is already 2.
Pendotalk:What made you decide to include Nielsine in your blog posts?
Initially the blog was all about baby style, so of course I had to post photos of her wearing my creations. And as I quickly discovered, that my readers loved to see her, I felt encouraged to also post photos of her wearing outfits I had bought. I even created a segment on my blog called Baby style.
Pendotalk:A young mother asked Pendotalk: “I would love to publish pictures of our daughter but I am reluctant to. I think she should have a say or should I just make the decision for her? Where do you draw the line on what is private and what to share on social media?” What advice would you give?
As long as the daughter is very young she of course has no possibility to voice her own opinion, so it is all up to the mother. I have never regretted that I took that decision for Nielsine, but when she grows old enough to voice her own opinion I shall of course respect it, even if it means not to expose her any more on social media.
Since my blog primarily is a fashion blog, I only show my daughter wearing outfits, which I then comment on and only in settings and situations which you would not consider private. Sometimes she is with our dogs, and sometimes I post pictures of the two of us together, typically wearing identical outfits. I am doing more and more of these Mini-me posts, which I know are highly appreciated by fashion lovers and young moms alike. You can be sure that there is a lot more going on in our lives away from the fashion scene, which I choose not to share.
Pendotalk:I am sure winning these awards has greatly increased your publicity; are you now more sceptical about including your daughter in your blog posts?
No, the increased publicity has not made me change my mind about sharing photos of my daughter or small glimpses into our life together on the bog. Rather the contrary! Even before the awards, she was highly visible on the blog, on various other social media pages and elsewhere on the Internet as well as in the press. She even has an instagram page with followers who have been approved by me.
Pendotalk: Are Nielsine’s dreadlocks her idea or yours? What will you do if she decides to cut them off?
I started her dreadlocks more than a year ago when she was not even 1 year old, so, to answer your question, the idea was definitely mine LOL. Inspired by the fact that I have had dreadlocks myself for years. But it is her hair and if, when she grows older, she would want to cut off the locks and try different hair styles, have decided that I will be comfortable with that decision.
Pendotalk: Describe the relationship between you and Nielsine. Are you the strict kind of mum or the kind that is more lenient and friendly?
I believe that giving your child as much freedom as you can without bringing her into risky situations. I see that as the best way to promote development and nurture a sense of responsibility. At her age, she does most things out of curiosity and not to be naughty, so far I have had no reason to be strict or harsh with her.
Pendotalk:What wouldn’t you allow Nielsine to do?
I can’t think of very much I would not let her do, but around the home setting, It’s the normal safety rules like I do not allow her to hurt the animals, play in the kitchen, or go to the pool alone with nobody around her.
Pendotalk:What kind of activities do you do with Nielsine for fun?
She loves her books and my magazines and we read them together several times a day. We both enjoy going to the beach to play in the sand and the water and swimming in the pool is always a hit. We also like to look for insects in the garden. Her favourite game right now is hide-and-seek, or ficha as she calls it.
Pendotalk: What kind of lessons have you taught Nielsine so far?
She watches me closely and copies almost anything I do, so I am trying to be the best example I can be. If I have to pinpoint the most important lessons she has learnt from me, it is to pray before we go to sleep and to say “Thank you”, “sorry” and “I love you”.
Pendotalk:What lessons have you learnt from Nielsine? What would you do differently if you had the chance?
She has taught me to be more patient and to be a good listener – and brought me to appreciate the many beautiful things we experience together as well as other beautiful things in my own life. I love to watch the world through her eyes.
Pendotalk:What’s your greatest fear as a mother?
My greatest fear is obviously that she would be severely harmed one way or the other and obviously about the people she meets and how they will influence the person she will be. I hope that what I teach her will overcome any peer pressure.
Pendotalk:What are the challenges of being a mother?
The challenges are too many to mention, and so are the rewards. The biggest challenge, however, is to bring up a gentle, loving and caring person, and I am proud of my achievements in this respect.
Pendotalk: What are the future plans for your blog?
I have now been blogging for a little over two years, and while in the beginning, it was a kind of a hobby I entered into to showcase some of the clothes I made for Nielsine, it now has evolved into a more serious occupation focused on style and fashion. Today my blogging activities have become an important part of my daily routine and more and more often I am giving my readers glimpses into my life. This is the line I intend to keep for the future with focus on providing quality of content, and being true to myself