They say in life that we don’t get second chances. I’ve never really believed that.

When I met my boyfriend, I knew I had a chance. To get things right from the start. To make it good, from the off. To take everything I’d learnt from previous relationships, from all the heartache and the tears and the peanut butter KitKat Chunkies eaten en-duvet to the soundtrack of Emeli Sandé, and do things differently.

I, we, could build something, brick by brick, that was right at its foundations. Honesty, openness, compassion, responsibility, taking each day as it comes, I could be the person I’d always wanted to be a relationship. This was my second chance, even if it was all brand new. See, second chances can come in many forms. Sometimes even in first chances.


I got another chance to make things good from the start in the form of Alicia Grimshaw, our Deputy Editor. I found someone who was willing to work harder, longer and better than anyone I had ever come across before. The antidote to our fancy London ways, this Northerner left no stone unturned in her search for London’s best carrot cake. She was a keeper. I knew that from the second I met her.


So what’s this got to do with a website? Well, I suppose, this is our second chance. When I launched About Time 18 months ago, I was, by all accounts, still a child. Fresh from university, I knew nothing about running your own business – what I knew was a misappropriation of facts gleaned from Dragon’s Den and the Apprentice. Don’t step up and be Team Leader unless you can hack it, people.

I had no experience of building a readership, SEO, what a PAYE form is or how much people like avocado. I possessed two pieces of knowledge; one, that I had to do my own thing because otherwise I would spend my entire adult life getting fired (still, some days, I would fire me if I could), and secondly, that people really like photos of cake.

The latter is very important. People really do like photos of cake.


But I learnt. Boy, did I learn. It was a fucking Baptism of Fire. I learnt how to succeed, how to fail, I learnt the value of your readers, I learnt how to be a boss (sort of), I learnt that in digital journalism, if you’re standing still, you’ve stopped. Constantly moving forward, innovating, writing, researching, this “journalism” lark was non-stop. The website brought me up. Quickly. So quickly that one day I realised I’d forgotten how to be 24 and promptly went to the Book Club and was sick all over my own feet on the dance floor just to remember. So quickly that Casual Fridays turned into Casual Everydays. So quickly that we never had time to take stock, to sit back, and to change. Now’s our time.

So what’s different on the new site? Well, perhaps, it’s better to think of what we now know, instead:

Content is community

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Content brings people together – it unites people, it starts conversations, it allows us to share in something. Content is the ultimate tie between us all – and the internet is a big space. Big enough for all us content creators to be helping each other, to be growing together. For that reason, we’ve decided to build our own little community on the site. You’ll find this in our NETWORK, where we’re building our own Blogging Network with our favourite London lifestyle bloggers. Go check them out here.

Not all who wander are lost


Sometimes, you don’t really know what you’re looking for, but just fancy a browse. And hey, that’s OK. There’s a joy in wandering. So we’ve made it easier to flick between sections of the website – you can now flick between breakfast, lunch and dinner in the FOOD section here, for example. Because sometimes you don’t know what you’re looking for, until you find it.

Give the people want they want

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This has become our motto at About Time HQ. Being honest, I never intended the website to be as foodie as it’s become – but we could see what features people were enjoying, and you have to run with it. For this reason, we’ve introduced a DRINK section onto the website – which will be updated with all the latest drinks news, bar reviews, recipes and London bar features. Because sometimes you want to skip dinner and go straight to the Margaritas instead, and that’s totally fine with us.

Your time is precious


But we always knew that. Sometimes you want a little light reading for your journey, or you know it takes you exactly 7 minutes to eat your Itsu noodle soup. Either way, we’ve got a snazzy feature that shows how long each feature takes to read – for example, it will only take you 4 minutes to discover where the five best afternoon teas with a view in London are. You could lose double of that in Instagram looking at photos of people’s smoothies. Perfect if you’re in a rush and wanna stuff some lifestyle into your brain.

You’re never alone with a phone

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In the words of Mark from Peep Show. To reinforce this point, we’ve made our mobile site much easier to use. Now you can access content on the move better and slide between sections with the grace of a Louis Spence, through the newly designed mobile site. We’ve also got a new selection of hand-picked articles in the form of our Editor’s Picks – these will also be available to you on mobile, so you can get a selection of our favourite articles every day.

There’s no place like home


You can now scroll between sections of the website from the home page. This new feature allows you to see what’s new in every category of the website, without leaving the content of home. Just click right and you’ll see what’s new. Much like Tinder, I guess.

Let’s get physical

If I’ve learnt nothing else the last year, it’s that just because something is digital, doesn’t mean it can’t be physical, too. We absolutely love doing events, and we want to do more of them – but we found constantly using event listing sites clunky. For that reason, we’ve integrated all the About Time Events into the website – you can now discover and purchase about our upcoming events directly from the website – have a look at the EVENTS section here. You’ll have to hop over to Eventbrite for payment, but otherwise you’re all ours. Lucky us.


The most important thing I’ve discovered, the one that I really want to stress, is gratitude. Gratitude for the people that have dedicated their time to writing, the brands that have supported us, and the team that has gathered around the site to lift it higher, and, of course, the amazing team at Verb Brands to building our baby. If nothing else, I’ve learnt much more simple than the Dragon’s Den makes out  – find the right people and the rest is child’s play. I joke that Alicia Grimshaw was delivered to my office by a giant stalk, and some days, I truly believe it.

Here’s our second chance. I hope you find yours.