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10 email newsletters that make me eager to check my inbox

September 14, 2018

Pens, paper and notebooks for writing a newsletter plus teapot, tea and muffins

Email. Is it the scourge of our modern world? When did ‘inbox zero’ become that longed for thing that’s as rare as a unicorn?  I spend a  few minutes of every day unsubscribing from lists, resentfully, that have added me without permission or deleting crap that won’t let me escape their self-promoting drivel.

So if I do put down the drawbridge for emails that I want to spend precious time reading, they have to change my life for better; be it some interesting info, resources I didn’t know about or even just putting a smile on my face.

Here are ten newsletters that I subscribe to, that make my heart leap rather than sink when I spot them. I’ll grab a cup of tea and take time out from my ‘to do’ list to immerse myself even for a few minutes. They tend to focus on photography, blogging and creativity and a bit of food (of course) but not exclusively. Hopefully there’s something in here that you’ll feel the same about:

  1. She flourished. The extremely talented and creative Rabya has only sent one newsletter so far but the tone and friendliness felt like a friend chatting and I’m eager to read more. The first one contained a really good tip and a wealth of inspiration.
  2. Me and Orla. I hoover up pretty much everything Sara Tasker writes from her insightful Instagram captions, informative stories, thought-provoking blog posts and I’ve taken two of her Instagram courses. She also sends a monthly email that contains a group of hashtags for Instagram that you can explore. It leads to a rabbit trail of different content often by people you might not have discovered. I store them in a note on my phone and add the ones that are relevant to my content into the Mosaic app. Refreshing your hashtags is important as it differentiates your account from bots or spam plus it allows you to seek out and also be discovered by new audiences. One of my proudest moments was when my hashtag #adoremycupoftea was featured in Sara’s email.
  3. Does my bum look 40 in this?* Until I discovered Kat Farmer I didn’t follow any fashion bloggers and still only limit it to one. She’s prolific, often sending daily emails, so I don’t always read every single one. She’s obsessed with clothes and has a wry and honest sense of humour. She’s made me reassess my wardrobe, which was going down the route of boring. She’s been a catalyst for thinking “yes, I could wear that” and I’ve bought several things that I absolutely love because of her. It’s a quick read, often more of a skim, but a nudge to ensure what I’m wearing puts a spring in my step.
  4. David Lebovitz. An American pastry chef living in Paris who is obsessed with food, has been blogging for over 10 years, the author of cookbooks and a recently published account about the trials and tribulations of renovating his flat in France. He has an easy, open writing voice in a style that makes you feel like he’s writing solely to you. He posts many times a month on his blog (he’s immensely hard-working, in fact I’m not sure that he sleeps) so there are links to the delicious things he’s been cooking but also an account of what he’s been up to. It’s a newsletter in the best sense – compelling to read with lots of tasty nuggets leading you to click on the links he shares. I met him at Food Blogger Connect in London many years ago and he’s exactly the same in real life as he is on the page.
  5. Smitten Kitchen. Deb Perlman is another blogger and cookery writer who has been around since the very early days of sharing recipes online. And for good reason; her writing has a light touch that draws you in from the very start and takes you on a journey in her kitchen. Her recipes always work, probably down to her meticulous testing. Her first cookbook has splattered pages from being used in my kitchen so often. Younger teen loves her recipes even though she’s vegan and Deb is not, and there are some favourite dishes without dairy that she cooks again and again (coincidentally, Deb’s most recent email is titled 9 surprisingly vegan dishes). Her weekly newsletter isn’t self promoting at all, it often starts with links to other things that have entertained her as well as a round-up of her tempting dishes from past and present (her archives are extensive). If you want a sample of her brilliance, read this piece ‘Never cook at home’ that she wrote for The New York Times.Pens, paper and notebooks for writing a newsletter plus teapot, tea and muffins
  6. Dianne Jacobs. The authority on food writing, I’ve met Dianne several times, taken her workshops and even been a guest speaker on a writing day she ran with Emirates Festival of Literature here in Dubai. I get the updates from her blog into my inbox, but her newsletter subscribers get an email bi-monthly that’s full of really useful links about food writing. Dianne’s never shy of being controversial so there’s usually something in there to challenge the status quo. You can read reviews about the ‘Will write for food’ newsletter and a sample of what you’ll receive on her website.
  7. Simple and season. Kayte Ferris is a business coach and mentor who is the antithesis of the ‘make a 6 figure business overnight by doing this’ approach that seems endemic right now. She calls it growing with soul  and her voice is so gentle and soothing, whether on her podcast, on her blog or in her monthly newsletter. She usually starts off with an experience that’s written so honestly that it’s very relatable. She then goes on to useful resources, marketing projects and creative prompts. It’s difficult to convey how wise yet modest Kayte is. If you have a creative business, thinking of starting one or just help with writing your blog, this one is for you.
  8. The Little Plantation. The emails from Kimberly pop into my inbox very regularly, with links to recent blog posts, food photography knowledge, details of her courses, support groups and – my favourite – announcing her seasonal Instagram challenge. If you sign up for the latter you receive advice and inspiration on photography and styling as part of the challenge. She’s at the centre of a creative community who are supportive and I’m really stretched to explore different layouts and subjects on my feed (and blog). Some of my best work has been down to this as a catalyst and I’ve made connections with many new Instagrammers who I admire and relate to.
  9. Her Internest. Barbora is a quirky, creative Norwegian who sends her newsletter twice a month. She’s very open and honest, her English isn’t perfect but that adds to the charm. She’s very candid about her behind the scenes process to create her own incredible Instagram images. Many people use editing tools to make unusual effects but she does it all using every day props e.g. drawing hundreds of little flowers all over her legs or climbing inside a cardboard box. Her emails are chatty and feature her own advice plus a collection of resources from other people. It’s one of those emails that fills your inbox with wonder and joy.
  10. Amy Lynn Andrews. I’ve followed Amy for years as a blogger as she gave really specific, up to date, technical blog advice. Then she made a major change and now the site is static around some core content which she updates to keep it current, rather than writing new blog posts. For nuggets of info she sends a weekly email called ‘The Uselettter’ which links, in the main, to other websites. It always lands in my inbox at exactly 3.00pm  every Saturday, is quick to read and always has something of value about blogging, podcasts, online sales, social etc. in a friendly approachable tone.
  11. The Knackered Mother’s Wine Club* A bonus one that lights up my inbox. “Mother, wino, sometimes in that order. Strictly no insipid wines allowed. Unless too tired to care.” Helen McGinn’s few sentences which lead onto her couple of latest wine recommendations on the blog, are always hilarious.

* These two are technically blog post alerts rather than a newsletter like all the others. I also have a handful of people I really want to read and don’t want to miss who pop up in my inbox (plus more in my Feedly RSS reader which I look at more randomly). But more of that another day…

Did you like this slightly different post from me? It would be great to know. So who do you allow into your inbox? Would love your recommendations.

Pens, paper and notebooks for writing a newsletter plus teapot, tea and muffins

Interesting newsletters – pin for later

  1. September 14, 2018 4:17 pm

    You are always so generous — must be a delight to eat at your table.

  2. diannejacob permalink
    September 15, 2018 3:36 am

    Thank you Sally! I has been a joy to know you all these years and to see how your blog has grown. Thanks so much for promoting my newsletter. I love that you mentioned the “controversial” aspects. I don’t do that every time of course, but on ocassion, it sure is fun.

    • September 15, 2018 10:13 am

      Like wise Dianne – thanks for your kind words. Need to be more controversial myself from time to time!

  3. Tricia permalink
    September 15, 2018 10:55 am

    LOVED this post Sally – & will now check out a few of them as I always trust your recommendations.

    • September 15, 2018 11:03 am

      So glad Tricia – I was a bit nervous putting it out there. Let me know if you find them useful (or entertaining).

    • September 15, 2018 11:04 am

      And thanks for reading. Really appreciated.

  4. September 15, 2018 1:06 pm

    Thanks for including me in your round-up, and glad you like my newsletter! : )

    • September 15, 2018 8:18 pm

      Thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to comment David. Truly means a lot – an example of why you’ve been successful and so relatable for so long. Much appreciated.

  5. September 18, 2018 1:06 pm

    Fabulous post, Sally. And very timely. I have been thinking of starting a newsletter that is more than just links to my posts (although there is nothing wrong with this method!). I will need to explore how others that you deem to be worthwhile reads do it. And then find my own way. Hoping to link out to interesting health and nutrition articles and reviews as well as recipes that complement the articles/studies 🙂

  6. September 18, 2018 1:42 pm

    Yes – eight and a half years of planning a newsletter myself! Yours is one I’d sign up for straight away.

  7. September 19, 2018 3:44 am

    Great post Sally and inspiration for us all to take more control over our inboxes – I’m with you on ruthlessly unsubscribing!!

    • November 5, 2018 4:18 pm

      Then I managed to subscribe to some new ones!

  8. permalink
    September 25, 2018 8:19 am

    What a gorgeous blog! I just had a skim through and thoroughly love your photography style. But I also enjoyed reading this post and will be checking out a few of those mentioned. Curious now about the mock pecan pie!

    • November 5, 2018 4:18 pm

      Thanks for your kind words. And the mock pecan pie – curious is an apt description!

  9. October 1, 2018 1:09 am

    Hi, Sally! Not only did I enjoy your thoughts shared via Dianne Jacob’s link in her recent newsletter — yay! — I loved your illustration. Life (and writing and photography) should reflect our diverse interests. Yours does… way to go, kiddo! Off to check out your recommendations now.

    • November 5, 2018 4:17 pm

      Thank you so much Kim – your generosity and warmth leap off the page

  10. October 1, 2018 11:55 pm

    Lots of new people to check out, thank you for your recommendations.

    • November 5, 2018 4:16 pm

      I hope you find some that resonate 🙂

  11. October 16, 2018 1:59 am

    Sally, I find that gmail has really corrupted my inbox over the years, when it decided to segment my email without my permission, re-routing my mail into boxes that I never see. My interaction with a lot of my favourite blogs has gone down drastically because I have just not seen them. And I have been meaning to create a newsletter myself but it’s yet another of the many things I haven’t gotten around to doing. Thanks for sharing these!

    • November 5, 2018 4:14 pm

      Oh that’s a weird one – I try to segment mine to my own systems. Good to hear from you – hope all well.


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