We’re excited to introduce you to our new ‘Girl in Focus’ Alicia Haque!
Alicia is a British lifestyle and travel content creator and founder of Go Live Explore, an online destination for stylish adventure. She is a British expat and moved to Vancouver 3 years ago where she has established her brand and business. She shares everything from travel guides to style tips, to fitness motivation and lifestyle content on her blog, youtube and social media channels, with an aim to inspire and educate her audience around the world.
Alicia graduated University in the UK in Law with French, however, after studying in Paris and travelling South East Asia, she discovered her passion for travel, writing and photography. This led to the birth of Go Live Explore in 2014 and subsequently opened up a completely different career direction. When she’s not writing for her own platforms, she contributes to publications such as the Huffington Post and BC Magazine.
Outside of work and travelling, Alicia enjoys skiing, hiking BC’s mountains with her boyfriend, cooking, shopping, hanging out with friends, photographing beautiful places and making the most of Vancouver!
CeeCee: Hi Alicia. Thanks so much for agreeing to be our Summer ‘Girl in Focus’. We’re so excited to work and explore summer style with you! I know that we have a lot to talk about so let’s jump right in! What’s your biggest strength?
Alicia: I’m a very positive person and I believe that if you want something, there’s nothing stopping you from going and getting it. I also think I’m quite approachable and friendly, and I love taking on new challenges.
CeeCee: I agree, you are incredibly approachable and friendly. I love how much you engage with your followers and how encouraging, open and positive you are with them. Speaking of new challenges. What’s the best thing that happened to you this past year?
Alicia: I took my blog full-time about 9 months ago which is something I really didn’t expect to happen so soon. It’s been wonderful to transition my hobby and my passion into my career, and I’m so excited for what’s coming next.
CeeCee: So what is coming next? Where do you see yourself in ten years?
Alicia: Running my own business for sure. Whether that’s still within the creator industry or something else, who knows! I’d also love to be married to my sweetheart, hopefully with kids and (many) dogs and a house close to the ocean.
CeeCee: Hopefully many, many dogs! What’s the best piece of personal advice you’ve ever received?
Alicia: “If you don’t believe in yourself, no one else will”. It’s absolutely true and I think we all have a tendency to lack self-belief, so this is a great reminder.
CeeCee: That is very, very good advice. Starting a blog and sharing your life takes a lot of self-belief. I don’t think people actually realize how much determination, dedication and self-belief it takes to create interesting content and make a blog successful. You have to believe that you have a voice that people want to listen to. What made you start your blog?
Alicia: I initially started my blog as I wanted a place to document my travels around Asia and provide backpacker tips and travel guides. Over the years it’s evolved a lot, and now focuses primarily on travel and lifestyle, with fashion, fitness, beauty and food weaved in there too.
CeeCee: What do you hope that people will take away from your blog?
Alicia: My objective for my blog is to inspire and educate. I want people to find my content inspiring and informative, but I also want them to be able to relate to me and my experiences and take something valuable away from my content, whether it’s style inspiration, motivation and positivity or travel tips and advice.
CeeCee: I find your blog very ‘real’ in addition to inspiring – your photos are gorgeous! Speaking of photos, what made you decide to share your life on Instagram in addition to writing a blog?
Alicia: It was less of a decision, more of something that just happened. Instagram goes hand in hand with my blog and it’s a brilliant way to connect with people. I started sharing more when I moved to Vancouver and it really helped me to link up with others in the community, and it’s grown from there.
CeeCee: Tell me about the Instagram “community”.
Alicia: The Instagram community is amazing. When I moved to Vancouver, I made 90% of my friends through Instagram and I feel very fortunate to now have such a lovely and loyal audience. I love supporting others and I think that even though many of us are in the same industry with a similar niche, we’re all so different and everyone has their own unique and amazing story to tell.
CeeCee: What is the biggest piece of advice you have for someone that wants to build their Instagram following?
Alicia: Be consistent, engage with your audience, create high-quality content and just do you.
CeeCee: Biggest piece of advice when curating a feed?
Alicia: Try to use a consistent filter or colour tones, and use a planning app (I use UNUM) so you can pre-plan the placement of your images and make sure they fit well together on your feed.
CeeCee: Your feed is gorgeous and you have a huge following so obviously your techniques work! Any tricks when taking photos?
Alicia: Take a few extra seconds to frame your shot and think about the focus of the image and what people will be drawn to. The Rule of Thirds is a good one to keep in mind, and pay attention to the small details. Consider the composure of your shot and the story you want the image to tell.
CeeCee: Ok, so considering that you’re in most of your photos…who actually takes your pictures for you?
Alicia: My boyfriend takes 75% of my photos! He’s my biggest supporter and has developed some amazing photography skills, and we work together really well as a team. Also, any images you see of me inside my house are usually self-shot with my tripod and self-timer!
CeeCee: Haha! I love that behind every content creator, there is a super supportive partner that’s willing to come to everything (even if it’s not really their ‘cup of tea’) and take their photo, hold their bag… Ok, so enough about work – let’s talk fashion! How would you describe your style?
Alicia: Simple and chic.
CeeCee: Who are your favourite Coquitlam Centre retailers?
Alicia: I love H&M, Aldo, Kiehl’s and Hudson’s Bay!
CeeCee: What are your top tricks for making any outfit look polished?
Alicia: A good pair of shoes will always transform your outfit, as will a nice bag. You can take the simplest of outfits and pair it with a nice pair of shoes and cute bag and it’ll instantly make the outfit look polished and put together.
CeeCee: YES! It’s all about the right shoes and bag! Speaking of bags, what three things are always in your bag?
Alicia: Lipstick, hair tie and hand cream.
CeeCee: Other favourites? Favourite book?
Alicia: The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini. I also love Life of Pi and You Are A Badass.
CeeCee: Oh I love The Kite Runner. Favourite movie?
Alicia: My faves are Bridget Jones, Love Actually, Notting Hill, PS. I Love You, The Holiday – basically soppy-lovey movies, but I just love them and can watch them over and over!
CeeCee: Haha! Aren’t those all also set across the pond? What’s your ideal night in?
Alicia: A night in with my boyfriend, with Netflix or a series, good food, and lots of tea and (English) biscuits!
CeeCee: Sounds like my kind of night! Ideal night out?
Alicia: Sunset patio cocktails by the ocean, a cute dinner + drinks, and if we’re still standing by the end of the evening then a walk along the beach!
CeeCee: That also sounds like my kind of night. Favourite dessert?
Alicia: Anything with chocolate, and always with a cup of tea!
CeeCee: Haha, so English! Favourite way to exercise?
Alicia: I love spinning, my go-to is Soul Cycle which I do a few times a week. I also love running, hiking and training at the gym. I like to mix it up.
CeeCee: Favourite way to decompress?
Alicia: When I need to wind down I get in my comfies, make a pot of tea, do my nails and watch my favourite TV show or read a book.
CeeCee: Guilty pleasure?
Alicia: Chocolate, of course!
CeeCee: I should have guessed. Do you have a secret talent?
Alicia: I’m actually very good at doing accents! I also play the Piano to a Grade 6 level and have played for over 15 years.
CeeCee: Really? Accents?? I find different accents and regional expressions so interesting. So, what made you decide to move to Vancouver?
Alicia: My boyfriend Matt and I travelled Asia for a while after I graduated, and we decided to finish off in Vancouver and explore Canada for a year. We ended up falling head over heels with Vancouver and we’ve now been here over 3 years! We actually knew very little about Vancouver before we moved but fortunately it worked out and we now consider it to be our home.
CeeCee: What do you miss most about the UK?
Alicia: My family and friends. We speak all the time and I get to see them fairly often, but it’s obviously not the same as living in the same country. I also really miss English clothing stores as well as grocery stores! The biscuit and chocolate selection in England is amazing, and not half as good in Canada, so I usually stock up when I go back home or get my Mum to ship boxes of biscuits to me!
CeeCee: Hahaha. I think you have much better cheese over there too. You wear the same necklace in a lot of your photos. Tell me about it, it must be very meaningful to you.
Alicia: Well spotted! My necklace is “Alicia” in Arabic, it was a birthday gift from my best friend last year. We’ve been besties for 10 years, but she now lives in Dubai and I live in Canada which means we rarely get to see each other, so it’s very special to me.
CeeCee: So as someone who has travelled quite extensively, what’s your favourite thing about travelling?
Alicia: The excitement that comes from exploring new places, finding beautiful destinations to photograph and creating memories. I also love inspiring others to get out and see more of the world too.
CeeCee: Any big trips planned?
Alicia: This year has actually shaped up really nicely and I have Japan, the Philippines, San Diego, Indonesia, the Bahamas and England on my agenda! I’m very excited to head back to Southeast Asia, I spent a lot of time there a few years ago and Indonesia especially is really beautiful.
CeeCee: What’s on the top of your travel “wishlist”?
Alicia: I’d love to visit Iceland, Norway, Galapagos and Australia at some point too.
CeeCee: That’s the thing about travelling. Every time you cross one place off your list, you add three more! Thanks so much for sitting down with me. I can’t wait to see what outfits you come up with!