Monday, 29 November 2010

Top Tip For Freelancers: Write About What You Love (Why I'm No Longer A Fashion Journalist)


I have a confession to make. On the most part, I hate writing about fashion. I've spent almost 3 years as a fashion journalist, and I'm pretty sure I haven't enjoyed a single moment of it over the last year. I love shopping, I love clothes; but I just don't enjoy writing about them.
This week I've been writing a piece for magazine X, a magazine I've admired for being absolutely fantastic ever since I started, and where it has been one of my main goals to contribute to. When I got the email from the editor asking me to contribute I literally jumped up from my desk and jumped up and down with excitement that I was finally getting a chance to write for them. I got my assignments over the next few days, and then I set down to work.
And I didn't enjoy a single moment of writing.  Honestly. I resented having to write the piece and having to meet the deadline. I felt none of the spark I usually feel when I'm writing about a topic I love, and in my heart of hearts I know I wasn't able to give the pieces my allI just couldn't make myself focus and apply myself to the task at hand. I'm ashamed at myself that I've handed in an assignment that I haven't given my best to.
I don't always feel like this; to the contrary every single piece I've written for VenusZine magazine, including the reviews of the albums I've absolutely hated and made my ears hurt to listen to, I've loved almost ever minute of writing. I relish the challenge and enjoy each piece, spending hours on each one if I can. When I used to get makeup, perfumes and beauty products sent to me when I was Editor of Lipstick Royalty Magazine I used to have so much fun trying out all the different products and finding fun things to write about them.
Do you know what? I'm not a fashion writer. I don't think I ever was. I'm a culture writer. A music write. A beauty writer. Maybe even a politics writer, but I'm still figuring out if I'm actually any good at that at the moment!
This is why, from this day fourth, unless a magazine who's fashion pieces I truly love like Nylon comes knocking I will no longer be a fashion journalist. That is not to say that I'll no longer be writing about fashion. If someone sends me a link to a beautiful dress I'll still write about it's aesthetic, nut except for my ongoing jobs and projects, no more trend reports. No more runway previews. No more collection reviews. I can't actually take anymore. But don't worry. I don't think it's actually possible for me to to stop blogging about makeup and generally pretty things! I will also still love fashion magazines half to death, and I'm still planning some fashion publishing commentary posts for you all in the near future.
I'm a culture journalist. Literature is my life. I love my odd gigs for magazine's like VenusZine reviewing books and albums, and I hope to get involved in more projects like this in the future. Why waste your time doing something that you don't only not enjoy, but that you're growing to loathe?

Are any of you stuck in a rut doing something that you just don't enjoy?

Monday, 22 November 2010

What Is The Point Of Outfit Posts?


A question I always seem to be asking myself while browsing other peoples blogs, and when I'm flicking through websites like lookbook.nu, is 'What;s the point of outfit posts'? So many bloggers seem to be doing them, there are entire books and websites dedicated to street style and they seem to attract bloggers masses of loyal traffic.
But here's the thing. I don't actually enjoy looking at other bloggers outfit photos much. I read a few outfit bloggers blogs; Lily Melrose over at LLYMLRSbecause I do actually love her personal style, as she never wears trousers and likes the same kind of colours as me so she has some appeal, and Gala Darling because her style is quirky and fun and her photos are fun to look at, as well as the rest of the content on her site being absolutely fantastic.
But I think I've finally worked out the answer, aside from the pictures actually being pretty. It's all about the aspirational. We read glossy fashion magazine likeVogue where most of us cannot even dream of being able to afford the clothes because it's all about aspiring to own pretty, pretty things. Fashion bloggers may sometimes be decked out in designer gear, but unless you're like Jane Aldrige most bloggers are just like you and me, but creating beautiful magazine editorial worthy photo shoots wearing clothes that we can all afford. Outfit posts male the aspirational accessible.
Style bloggers and their outfit posts can also act as your own personal shopping guide. I never find shopping guide pages in magazine all that helpful because none of them cater to both my style and my budget. I mentioned how much I loved reading Lily Melrose's blog; she has a very similar personal style to me and we shop in similar stores with a similar budget. I've never brought anything out of the shopping pages of a magazine, but my favorite Primark dress I wear almost all the time now I hunted out specially after I'd seen it on Lily's blog and fallen in love with it.
Personal style posts, if not for other people can also serve as a style diary for yourself. Ever wondered what sort of clothes you used to wear when your were in school or still in college - if you had been taking regular outfit posts you'd be able to look back and find out! It's also fascinating to see how your (or anyone else's!) personal style has evolved over time.

Do you post outfit photos on your own blogs? Do you enjoy looking at other bloggers outfit posts?

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Product Review: Art Deco Illustration Nails


Do you remember the Art Deco Nail stamping system I raved about in my review of Britain's Next Top Model Live that left a pretty little white bow stamped on top of my nail polish? After the lovely people at Art Deco Nails read about how much I liked their demonstation they offered to send me one of their manicure sets to me to review as a little thank you...
Before I get onto the actual product review, I must say how impressed I was by the service they gave. I was absolutely gobsmacked to find the package with my set on my doorstep less than 48 hours after I emailed them my address. Now that is something I have never, ever seen before!
The set came with two of these plates, each with 7 designs carved onto them, and because I'm big on consistency I chose to put the same trail of stars on each nail.
Next you paint over your chosen design with the nail polish provided. I was disappointed to find that this was a special polish, and my navy blue Rimmel shade I wanted to try just did not work in the process; the white polish was very thick, very fumey and very quick drying but good for the purpose though you do have to act quickly when you move onto the rubber stamping part. But then  checked their website and they sell this polish in lots of different colours including black and gold at only £3.99 a bottle so I cheered up a bit!
Next you have to scrape the excess polish off of the area to reveal the design with the plastic scraper provided.
After that you need to press this rummer stamp on the plate to pick up the polish in the grooves of the design and then firmly press and roll it once over your polished nail, making sure you are printing over a clean surface.
Afterwards you can clean everything; the plates, the scraper and the stamp with your usual nail polish remover really easily.
Except for the fact you can't use your own polish colours (or at least the Rimmel ones), I really like this system but not all of my nails came out perfectly, it took a while to get used to the technique so I really think this system comes down to practice makes perfect. Will I be using it every time I paint my nails? No, but I'm more of a plain, deep coloured manicure girl myself - my current manicure is really pushing the boat out! Though I will be breaking it out for special occasions...

The 'Kitty' manicure set as seen above is £24.99 from the Art Deco Nails website.
The lovely people at Art Deco Nails also sent me this dinky little container of tiny rhinestones for my manicures which I can't wait to try out next time I have a special occasion! I'm going to a ball as Aphrodite in December and I was thinking maybe white nail polish with my gold leaf topcoat and silver rhinestones?
In case you were wondering, the fantastic (but slightly chipped!) shimmery bronze base coat I've been working over is two coats of 'Take The Stage' (right) and a top coat of 'Rising Star' (left) from the current O.P.I Burlesque collection. I've never used O.P.I before, but I have found that they, yet again have fallen victim to my 48 hour chip rule; my nails don't hold onto polish very well so a manicure usually doesn't stay longer than 48 hours without a top coat, without chips. The only exception I have found to this is Essie nail polishes. Though, I don't think this is going to be stopping me laying my hands on the incredible colours in theKaty Perry O.P.I Collection next year though!

Do you favor plain colour on your nails, or do you like having jazzy and intricate manicures?

Monday, 15 November 2010

What Do People Who Don't Blog Do Online?


Over lunch I was chatting with a friend about how our lives are increasingly becoming digitalized. Since I started a Times Online subscription I now read my daily newspaper online and thanks to different channels and networks offering live streaming and catch ups of their shows online I now watch all my television online instead. I still buy magazines, but not as many as I used to because why pay for the content I can get free online? My blog feed keeps me informed of most things, and if I had an iPad the need for glossy magazines would become obsolete if you so wished.
Now, thanks to my Blackberry I don't have to be in front of my computer to be permanently plugged in, with Twitter on the go, applications and my emails in the palm of my hand. I was walking down the street the other day and at the same time I was replying to an email from a PR company.
I spend a ridiculous amount of time online; writing, reading blogs and news pieces, looking at photos, networking and communicating with friends, readers or people I'm working on projects with. It's my job to be online so it's my excuse for it; my life is not by blog (thankfully!) but it is a very big part of it so I put as much effort in as I do any other aspect of my day to day life.
But what for the life of me I can't remember was what I was doing online before I started working on magazines and writing my blog. I watch a lot of TV online, and I know I did that before but otherwise, I know I still spent a lot of time online but I can't even remember what I was doing, and if it was constructive or not.
That raised the question in my mind, something we were both discussing, what do people wo don't blog or run some sort of online business do online? She told me she watches a lot of anime, and she likes to browse people's outfit photos on lookbook.nu. That got me thinking about something else... what percentage of blog readers are bloggers themselves, and how many people enjoy reading blogs without being a blogger themselves? Something else to think about is Twitter. People tell me they don't see the point in it, and I say I find it useful because I use it as a promotional tool for my blog - so what is the point in using Twitter if you don't follow news sites and people who's lives you're interested in, if all you're going to tweet about is what you ate for breakfast?
What do you spend your time online doing? If you're a blogger, what were you doing online before you started your blog?

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Ten Articles Every Blogger Should Read


Every blogger wants to know how to make their blog better. From starting to turn a profit to taking better outfit photos there is something all of us could improve on. What we really need to do it learn from the experts - so I've complied this list of tips from the pros to improve your blog and your blogging style!
1. How Important Is Naming Your Blog by Gala Darling - Just about the most important thing your blog has is it's name and URL, it's the first thing readers see of your blog, and it's what they draw their first impressions from. Gala's article also talks about having your name as your blog name and your URL, something you really should consider.
2. Give Great Blog: 7 Tips For Conducting Interviews by Style Sample Magazine - The easiest way to get good quality unique content for your blog that drives in traffic is a good interview - so you've got to learn how to write an interview that has them coming back for more!
3. The Money Myth of Fashion Blogging by Ashe Mischief - Anyone who wants to consider blogging as a career needs to take a real look of the realities of financing.
4. Round up of Independent Fashion Bloggers Evolving Influence 2010 Conference (Part 1Part 2) by Style Sample Magazine - I don't live in New York, so I couldn't make it to the conference itself, but I live streamed almost all of it and got some really great tips on how to improve my blog. This pair of posts are bullet points of every piece of advice every speaker gave !
5. Does Gifting Affect Blogger Credibility? by Jennie Jacob - When you start to pick up momentum as a blogger people will want to start sending you fee stuff. I received a lovely little package this morning and I cant wait to start writing about wat was inside it! But how do these little 'perks of the job' affect your credibility?
6. The Cultivation Of Online Personas by Nubby Twiglet - You can blog fashion, or beauty or runway, but what if you're just blogging you? This article really explains to you the ins and outs of being your own brand.
7. How To Take Your Own Outfit Photos by Independent Fashion Bloggers - Something I need to learn from actually!
8. Skills Bloggers Can Use To Get Hired by Jennie Jacob - Everyone wants to be able to pad out their resume with all their skills and stuff to help them land their dream job. This post helps you identify skills you have gained from blogging that can actually help you get that job!
9.  3-2-1 Contact: Developing Relationships With Retailers by Style Sample Magazine - There is only one little independent dress boutique where I live, and I get on really well with Sophie who owns it. I as lucky; I met her first time I wondered into her shop with armfuls of her dresses I had volunteered to return after a fashion show and I've kept in contact with her since. But how do you develop that all important relationship with no form of introduction?
10. The Triple Threat: Personality, Branding and Blogging by Nubby Twiglet - All you need to know about turning you and your blog into a successful brand using your blog and social media tools. Some food for thought.

Were any of these helpful? Which articles would you recommend as must reads for blogger?

Monday, 8 November 2010

What's In My Bag? (8/11/10)


As you can see I haven't changed my handbag yet, I think I'm going to try and eek it out for as long as possible then try and find a family member to buy me an Alexa for a birthday or something... For those new readers it's a black leather and patent Ted Baker one!
This camera I've been shooting recently with I borrowed from the photography department; a vintage machine that shoots 35mm film and is loaded up with Black & White 400 ISO at the moment - I'm not looking forward to having to give it back!
I have my trusty black moleskine 2010 diary; I can't actually live without it! If I don't get anything else for Christmas this year, I just want my 2011 moleskine diary! Also here you can see the most recent issue of NYLON magazine, which I'm in the habit of carrying around with me, a Vanilla perfume atomiser from Sephora in Paris (unless I go Christmas shopping in Rennes in December where there is a Sephora I will have to make sure I eek it out until I can go visit the Sephora in Paris I originally brought it from in July for another one!) Also here we have my writing addiction I do everything in, a bic four colour pen.
Here you can see my red spotty Cath Kidston purse, the best one I have ever had and love completely to death with pockets for my credit cars, cash, coins, rail card... Speaking of my rail card you can see it in its South Eastern Trains wallet which is great, but I need to replace because there is something that is up with it that it keeps on fading my ticket information when they're kept inside... not helpful! Also we have my pen drive, my iPod touch, my right hand aka. my Blackberry Curve, Clinique Superbalm Lipgloss (brilliant, I really recommend it!), M.A.C. Satin Lipstick in Brave (my everyday shade) and my Love & Toast hand cream.

What have you got in your handbag at the moment?

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Outfit Post: Red Velvet, But Not Cupcakes


I was able to go home this weekend after my hockey game, home to my parents house, and to dress up in my lovely new vinatge red velvet jacket (again!, I've been inseparable from it since I acquired it)!

Jacket - 80's Vintage
Dress - French Connection
Scarf - Market Stall
Boots - Kurt Geiger

It was so lovely to be back and everything looks so beautiful with all the leaves golden on the trees and all over the ground - the first thing I thought about as I headed into the drive was to head out and take photos of all the pretty leaves! Unfortunately it's pouring with rain today so I'm stuck inside blogging on my laptop instead!
What's your favorite recent aquisition in your closet you just can't stop wearing?