Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background.
Hi, I’m Michelle Berkley, I’m 54 I’m from Manchester, England and I have been living in Paris for 17 years. My background is in languages, marketing and design. I have worked in Manchester, London, Israel and Manhattan. I have been working as a freelancer for the 17 years in Paris. I started my Insta blog 4 months ago under the name EMELBY – based on my initials Michelle L Berkley.
What inspired you to become a lifestyle blogger?
I decided to become a lifestyle blogger because for the 17 years I’ve lived in Paris I’ve worked as a freelance designer/webmaster, but it has always been a struggle to make a living, and clients have generally been very difficult. As a designer, I could see that Instagram could be quite an interesting platform for me, although I really knew very little about it. It has always been my dream to have my own brand of gourmet products, and at this late stage of my life I decided to just ‘go for it’. I wasn’t very sure where I was going when I started, but I’m very clear of where I’m going now! The confinement also gave me the push to stay concentrated, without distraction, and to do live feeds – and as my husband was home, he was a great support to me. Being alone all day is very difficult, and I may not have made it this far, this quickly without the confinement, which definitely gave me the push to work harder and harder and harder.
How and where do you work?
I work out of my tiny apartment in the 16th arrondissement of Paris. Before Covid, I would often work in a café, but obviously with lockdown I have been housebound. I realise with Instagram you have to be very disciplined, as it is very labour-intensive if you want to succeed, so I tend to get up around 6 am. I’ll try and have a strict routine to my day to keep up with everything, the hardest part for me is getting the followers on Instagram – all the design stuff, the ideas for content for my posts it’s not a problem for me. I have done over 700 posts in 4 months.
What do you enjoy the most about living in Paris?
I love everything about living in Paris. Ever since I was a very little girl in Manchester it was my dream to live here. I have always been passionate about the culture, the literature, the food, the sheer beauty of the city – but as I’ve said in many of my posts, it’s really not for everyone, you have to be prepared for very difficult times. I truly believe that you have to be VERY passionate about Paris to live here, otherwise you’ll just be someone who will be complaining about Paris day and night, and that means it’s just not for you, and you’ll be very unhappy here. I came here single at 37 and I was very lonely for 5 years, there have been many difficult times. I only met my husband at 42.
What do you want to achieve with your work and what are your wishes for the future?
The main thing I want to achieve (at almost 54) is a sense of self worth – unfortunately creative people very often pass ‘under the radar’ and find it very difficult to make a living. My end game is the brand I am creating (Emelby Gourmet) to sell online gourmet ‘Made in France’ products, which I hope to launch in the next few weeks. I am working directly with French farmers, and my first product is going to be a very unique jam … suspense suspense!! Other products I am planning to launch are flavoured honey and syrups, you’ll have to keep watching to find out all about that.
Where can we find your work?
You can find my work, almost 700 posts on