“Being a blogger isn’t a real job” Wrong – it is, AND it makes you more employable

This phrase really boils my p**s. Partly because it’s uttered by people who have very little knowledge of what blogging means and what’s involved with doing it, but mainly because it’s a statement that isn’t true.

I don’t work for myself currently or as a full time blogger, but I know people who are, so yes it in fact it is a real job that is reconfised by the marketing industry as part of a fully integrated strategy for communications. However, I want to talk more about the skills and experience blogging can provide you with to help you improve your professional experience overall.

Being a blogger has allowed me to get a foot in the door at interviews and move into a career that’s more me (I went from being a Mortgage Advisor to working in Marketing). Obviously, my degree is also a huge player in that, but feedback from interviewers (and the job offers that followed) told me it gave me an edge over other candidates. I also have many other friends that have shared experience of this, so it’s definitely a thing!

So here, I’m flinging the door wide open and showing you how this fantastic hobby (or side hustle, as I like to call it) can really benefit you in the real world.

Copywriting. I’ve always LOVED writing (and love is not a word I use freely) so it’s no surprise that my hobby includes putting pen to paper (well, fingers to iPad). Developing your use of the written word, forming your own ‘style’ and being able to adapt that is a huge asset for any job you have, not just marketing or full time blogging. Sending e-mails, writing instructions, completing briefs, they all require good written communication.

Professional networking. Blogger events aren’t just a lovely fun day out where you can pick up useful tips to boot, they’re also a chance to meet and mingle with new people. This is basically LinkedIn live, and realistically, how many of your contacts do you have the chance to meet IRL? This is the perfect chance to gain confidence in speaking to new people as well as making meaningful connections that could help you on your future blogging path.

Organisation. If you have any hobby you’re passionate about, you plan your time outside of work around doing it. If want to keep your posts regular, your social media content flowing and engagement with the community (online and in person) you need to get yourself into an organised frame of mind!

Pitching. By this I mean liaising with companies to secure joint activity – whether this be paid ads, gifting opportunities, press trips or event attendance. I’m going to say this loud and clear so y’all can hear me in the back “JUST BECAUSE YOU ARE A BLOGGER YOU ARE NOT AUTOMATICALLY ENTITLED TO BE GIVEN FREE STUFF AND BE INVITED TO AMAZING PARTIES EYC ETC”. This is the biggest misconception

Working on your own or as part of a team. I’ve always said that blogging can be quite a solo pursuit at times, it’s basically you writing what you think and feel about stuff on the Internet. However it allows you opportunities to work with other Bloggers or companies on campaigns, articles or even trips, which involves a bit more of a team working and collaborative approach. In my blogging journey, I’ve taken this a step further and thrown myself to the forefront by helping to create and launch a blogging community, HEY Bloggers. There are four of us working on this and are accountable for different aspects of what this entails, which involves a huge amount of regular and clear communication and comraderie to ensure our team remains effective for the benefit of the community.

Prioritising workload. Just like at any other job, there are deadlines. They may be set by a company you’re working with to produce content by X date, or they may just be deadlines you’ve set for yourself e.g. certain dates of the week you want to upload new posts. The best way to meet deadlines? Look at all the jobs you have and prioritise them in order of importance. This is a life skill, not just a work skill. Not only that, but if you can also learn to adapt and re-prioritise your workload at short notice, you will become catnip to prospective employers.

If you’re a blogger, I hope this has reminded you of the great qualities you’ve developed as a result. If you’re not a blogger, I hope that having a bit more insight into our world gives a better understanding of why this profession/hobby/side hustle adds so much value to the world of work.

Thanks for reading,

J xx


It’s OK to want to change things about yourself without feeling like you’re hating on the world at large

As I was growing up I lived as part of a society that taught me only one body was desirable to the opposite sex – Petite, slim, big boobs and long hair. In my teens people like Jennifer Lopez and Beyonce came into the world of celebrity, and with their big booties and curvy hips they managed to gently prod a generation into seeing a different kind of attractive.

Fast forward to the present day, and the world has evolved again. Now we’re told that all body types are beautiful and should be embraced/celebrated, and that we should love our own body for what it is rather than what it could be.

But is it as simple as that?

No, it’s not. I’d like to go on record saying that I wholeheartedly support a society that acknowledges humans come in a wide variety of forms and to ensure that all are catered for as fairly as possible. I have a great admiration for people in the public eye and that I know in real life who project a confidence and sex appeal that I could only ever dream of. I fiercely stand by the opinion that fad diets/products DO NOT WORK (it still both bemuses and concerns me that a post I did about trying Boombod 2 years ago is still one of my most read every single month) however I do believe in eating plans that encourage moderation and good habits such as Slimming World.

So with all of these beliefs firmly planted in my mind, would it surprise you to learn that there are things I can’t accept and would like to change about myself? Because there are, and I do.

Thanks in part to J-Lo and Queen Bey, I feel confident in accepting that my body shape isn’t straight up and down, its somewhere closer to a pear (curvy hips and bigger thigh/bum area) but what I’ve never been able to fully accept is the size of my body, and this is the aspect I want to address.

There are many reasons why I dislike my body size. Primarily, it’s because it represents unhappiness. My body is the result of emotional eating caused by a period of difficult situations, and through lethargy caused by my fragile state of mind as a result. If I knew that inside I was healthy and happy, and that my weight gain was a sign of enjoying life, then I hav3le no doubt that I would feel differently about the reflection staring back at me. If each extra pound represented a romantic meal or nights on the town drinking cocktails with the girls, there’d be a valid and enjoyable reason. Don’t get me wrong; I have done those things, but far more rarely.

And this is why I think it’s OK for me to say that there are things I don’t like about my body shape or size whilst still being absolutely accepting of those that look different to me, similar to me or don’t want to look how I’d like to look. I’m not throwing shade at any of those people, I’m simply saying that’s not the right thing for me. I’m saying that I acknowledge I’m not completely happy or healthy and that I’d like to take action to change this. I’m saying that I’ve been through hell and my exterior reminds me of this every bloody day, which makes me feel worse. I’m saying that it will take more than a change in mindset to be able to accept what I look like. Finally, I’m saying that I am a different person to you – I’m built to think, feel and react differently, so my actions are going to be different to other people’s.

If people don’t like my opinions, that’s fine. As I said, everybody is different and has their own truth. However, they are valid and are mine. To say otherwise wouldn’t be very accepting of ME, would it?

Thanks for reading,

J xx


Let’s chat – January 2020

I’m very lucky that I know a lot of people who serve as an inspiration to me in all aspects of life, probably more so than they realise.

Recently, I’ve become inspired to basically picked up the baton that my pal Call me Amy put down at the back end of 2019 on a slightly different style of monthly roundup post, so that’s what I’m kicking off today.

I think she’s come up with a really good format that I’ve enjoyed reading from her, and personally I think it will be good me to reflect the good bits of each month and actually plan stuff in. Less time spending every waking moment away from work glued to the couch for me this year! So, here we go, enjoy…

– Cardi B, Invasion of Privacy

– Ministry of Sound Throwback Hip Hop

– Eminem, Best of

– 24: Typical me, I only get into a show after it’s finished! Currently on the penultimate series watching Jack Bauer have incredibly action packed days without having any sleep whilst being in his late 40s. True goals.

– Roast Battle (Comedy Central): Funny and savage in one handy half hour segment!

– Friends (Comedy Centre/Channel 5): Could I BE any more hipster throwback?

– Celebrated the Mr’s birthday: He got presents, we had nice dinner and cake, and for the next six months I can pretend he’s only a year younger than me

– Went to a roller disco: Talked into by friends, too scared to do it properly, only accident I managed to have was getting out the car on the way home. Not for me!

– Went on the radio: I popped into BBC Radio Humberside to appear with my HEY Blogger gals on No Filter which was hosted by our Violet! Click the no filter link to listen to our ep.

– Saw Ed Byrne live: This guy was the first comedian who ever made me laugh out loud, yet this is only the second time I’ve ever seen him live and the first time in Hull

– Partied with drag queens: I was kindly invited to the Pride in Hull Queer AF event (which was the same night as Ed, check me out doing double bubble!) where I got to meet the Drag Race UK finalist Baga Chipz!

Thanks for reading,

J xx


Some people just aren’t nice – coping with toxic influences

If you’ve seen the title, you know the story. And honestly, it’s one I’m sorry that’s made it’s way over to my page, but I think we have to talk about it.

By toxic, I don’t mean people like murderes/rapists/terrorists, there’s a special place in hell reserved for them and for which toxic is too polite a word. By toxic, I mean people that have made their way into your life somehow but are rude/nasty/inconsiderate/controlling for reasons which seem bafflingly unclear to a relatively normal or sane person.

Toxic people are bullies whose behaviour is damaging and unacceptable. Their behaviour is not your fault, it’s their fault. Nobody should have to endure people like this. Buuuuuutttt….you can’t cut ’em all out of your life, sorry.

Because they’re everywhere, toxic people are unavoidable. I have  always had what I believed to be a fairly reasonable set of standards for people and friendship, sadly over the years I’ve come understand that my standards are in fact pretty high (not a bad thing) and my expectations had to lower. Sure you can minimise contact to an extent with toxic influences, but if they’re someone you deal with on your commute, in the workplace or a place you visit often, that makes things a wee bit more challenging. Much better I think, is to empower yourself by having the tools to deal with them.

Forewarned is forearmed. You’re likely to know who are the toxic people around you, so be aware of this and you have the chance to steel yourself for your next delightful encounter with them.

Take your time. You know the way person acts pushes your buttons which can make for a knee-jerk irrational response from you. Not only will that upset you, but you may come off as a bit of a dick in the process. Give yourself a little bit of time to think about what was said/done, calm down. It’s perfectly acceptable to politely excuse yourself from a room to prevent this and get some space if you need to.

Think. Does this person’s words/actions need a response? A lot of the time, it probably doesn’t. There’s no point telling them they’ve upset you because they won’t care or (worse still) that’s exactly what they want you to feel. Being dignified or silent makes far more noise.

Remember (this is the most important one). The words of toxic people do not mean shit. No, really. You don’t have to take criticism from somebody that you wouldn’t take advice from. Their words may be their (albeit warped) trust, but they’re not yours. Don’t accept them.

Someone always has your back. You have people in your life that are brilliant to be around. People that you would go to for advice, people who actively build you up with their words, people who you greet with a feeling of happiness rather than dread. Spend more time with or communicating with them, and remind yourself that this is what the majority of the world looks like.

If you have toxic influences you deal with on the daily, I’m sorry that you have to put up with that. They are the ones who are flawed and need to get better, so try not to be too bitter about their presence.

Thanks for reading,

J xx


Talk FOMO to me

This isn’t something you only experience as a kid, or a teen, or even as a young adult. Nope. FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) can affect you at any age or stage in life.

I don’t think people fully appreciate how difficult this feeling is for somebody but, in extreme cases, FOMO has the capacity to be as harmful as any mental health condition. Not only can it breed feelings of anxiety or worthlessness, but it can also help them to grow if they’re already there.

I’ve often beaten myself up when experiencing FOMO and let the feeling really eat away at my insides – why didn’t they invite me? Do they hate me? What I do to make them hate me? And spend the rest of the day/night overanlysing every little thing I’ve done and said recently that may have warranted my exclusion from a social event. And in the digital age we live in, you find out pretty easily when people are somewhere you’re not.

So what do you do? Sit, wallow and hope you can work out how to be the delightful/funny/sassy person you need to get yourself an invite next time whilst tryna act all “I’m FINE” in public. People saw through that act in The One Where Ross Is Fine, and you’re not fine.

So, what should you do? Over the years I’ve learnt that if you have the tools to cope this will go a long way, but you have to use them committedly and consistently:

1. Reframe and retrain your brain. Tell yourself over and over “I don’t know the context of why I haven’t been invited. So and so could have wanted a private chat about something, they might’ve just bumped into each other, etc etc…” You just don’t know, and you might never know, so you can’t presume it’s a bad thing.

2. Do something. Call a family member, ring another friend and make plans with them. If you’re doing something, you’re not thinking about what you may be missing out on.

3. Embrace the JOMO (that’s Joy Of Missing Out). Quite different from the above but another tactic to consider. Ok, so you’re not out being a social butterfly, so why not embrace the time and indulge in a little self care. Pamper session with pizza and Netflix, a lazy wander round the shops, book a massage, maybe just retreat to bed for a nap and some trash tv. Whatever takes you to your happy place, do that and allow yourself to appreciate that you have the time to yourself.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m not perfect and I do still have low moments where I cant help but let the FOMO in, but it happens less often and don’t last for very long. I don’t think I could ever fully embrace a JOMO state of mind, but having some strategies to deal with it (like any difficult situation) are a huge help. If you’re a FOMO sufferer too, I encourage you to try ’em out.

Thanks for reading,

J xx


The two things fashion brands do that tear people down. Why are we STILL accepting it?

I’ve had this post saved in my drafts for a really long time, but put off finishing it and publishing it. When I say a really long time, I think maybe a year or so.

Why? I’m not 100% sure to be honest, but my current theory is that I’m worried of how I’ll be perceived for publishing it.

At the moment, I’m probably in the ‘average girl’ category (albeit on the larger side of this group) – I’m not plus size, nor am I slim, just kind of in that middle ground that doesn’t have a defined identity (at least not yet, but ladies like Lucy Wood are doing their part to carve one out for people like we). So, there’s two reasons that make me a little uncertain about speaking out. A, because I don’t want the plus size community to believe that I’m speaking out about concerns that I have no business to speak about. C (and completely paradoxically) I’m scared it makes me look like just another girl who was once a size 10 gained a lot of weight and is bitter about that so is blaming everybody but herself.

But in reality, whichever of these camps you fall in, the concerns I want to talk about affect us all. The difference really is how it affects us – it could be sent to the self esteem, it could be the disappointment at no longer being able to shop at your favourite online store all of a sudden, or it could simply be the frustration in not being able to understand what the hell you’re meant to look for when shopping for clothing.

So, after this epic intro and no doubt overthinking justification, here’s what I think those issues are and you can judge what yourself…

  1. Size Exclusion

I don’t mean this as a straight “clothing brands should offer a larger size range to be more inclusive” I’m talking about those weird, sly sizing moves some of the brands (mainly the smaller brands) inexplicably make.

Picture the scene – you spot a nice top when your browsing an online store and the sizes as S/M/L/XL, you’re not sure which get so you hit the size guide page for some guidance. Size XL, the largest size offered, is listed as an equivalent of a size 12. Or, you check the measurements and yes, that’s my usual size so that’s what you order. But when your order arrived, it most definitely ain’t the size and measurements it said it was.

These are pretty confusing message for shoppers, and certainly for me it’s made a variety of things go through my head – am I wrong, is this the size that I should’ve start worrying about? Are they wrong, are they just not understanding women very well? Or….are these brands being shady bitches and making their range only accessible to people with body measurements that they think would look better in their clothes? As many of the brands I’ve experienced this with have been founded by young single men, I can’t help but think it’s likely to be a combo of the latter two.

2. Vanity sizing

This ‘trend’ comes around more often than than a Brexit deal vote, and this is where the sheer frustration and self loathing can really set in. Michael McIntyre wrote a whole set about this issue which means that not only have blokes noticed this is a thing, but that it’s so known that’s laughable.

For past two or three years I’ve noticed a steady trend of size guides increasing measurements, therefore the size you may have been in one clothing brand for years may not be what you are now. I actually noticed this more when I was on the smaller size – I’d lost a lot of weight to become a size 10 which I was for many years, and could comfortably order clothing on a regular basis knowing it would fit. All of a sudden, I became aware that my measurements had mysteriously been bumped up on the size grid. I hadn’t changed at all at this point, yet my favourite retailers were now telling me I had gained one or sometimes even two dress sizes virtually overnight. That simultaneously pissed me off and made me despair. Why had I put my blood, sweat and tears of effort into making my own body feel better to be told that in fact no, you’re in exactly the same position as you were before that journey.

I’ve experienced vanity sizing at the opposite end of the scale too – when I was smaller there were times when items of clothing would be a little too big in my ‘usual’ size so I would have to size down (usually things like dresses or skirts where the emphasis was at the waist. I’ve inserted a photo below from 2012 to show you a time when River Island was telling me I was a size 8, when it’s clear that’s not true). Unlike the other, I never felt flattered or in any way better about myself when this did happen. My head was clear enough to know this was a problem with sizing.

I know that size labels on clothing don’t matter and it’s how you look and feel in something, I know that, but we all have moments of vulnerability and vanity that mean sometimes these things do get in and physche you out. You can be as strong as you like but the fact remains that, if vanity sizing didn’t exist, it would remove the problem.

So, just why are we still accepting this?

That’s an excellent question, why do we? Because it’s been happening for such a long time and “that’s just how it is”. I can’t think of any other legitimate reason.

But, can we do anything about it?

Absolutely! I mean, surely?

The more society question why things are, and encourage the idea of alternative practices, the more likely change is to happen. But it has to be consistent and it has to be the voice of many, and we have to accept that it may take time. The most important changes often do.

This is a concern that goes hand in hand with diversity amongst fashion brands (and brands in general for that matter), social media vs Reality perfection and simply a person’s right to not have any more reasons to feel ostracised or disheartened by the world we live in.

Thank you for attending this impromptu and ever so slightly ranty TED talk; it’s an issue that remains very central to my daily life and one that impacts on me more than I should let it.

Let me know in the comments or on my social media channels if you’ve noticed either of these problems too and how it’s affected you.

Thanks for reading,

J xx


The clothing items every gal needs in her wardrobe

I miss doing fashion content all the time. Don’t get me wrong; I adore the fact that my interests have grown and diversified over the past few years, but my passion for style is what pushed me to start my blog.

So, what better way to kick off the year than with a cheeky lil’ style post??

With the benefit of my many (many, many) years of buying clothes and styling outfits, I’ve come to develop a few staples that mix trends, classic styles and are easy to throw on and go. I’m not by any means someone who could create a capsule wardrobe, I generally live my life by a ‘I see it, I like it, it comes in 4 other colours too? I got it’ mantra!but it works well for me, so here are the items I can ALWAYS rely on.

Black ankle boots

They go with literally everything I wear – jeans, dresses, work, weekend, I wear them all the time!

My current go-to pair are a western style suede pair I got for Christmas 2018 from Marks & Spencer as part of the Holy Willoughby collection (which I later bought in Brown). They’re dead easy to pull on, easy to walk in with the low block heel and look cool because they’re different to a lot of other ankle boot styles.

Leather look trousers

The luxe look of the material instant,y elevates and adds texture to a simple look whilst looking effortlessly put together, so I always make sure I have a pair in my wardrobe. They’re a great piece to dress up and down no matter what your shape, size or personal style a d I legit cannot remember what I did before discovering them.

My top three places to pick up a decent quality and very affordable pair are Matalan, Next and Dorothy Perkins (these are my current pair).

Biker Jacket

Instantly adds an edge to any look – girly looks a bit edgy, simple outfits look a little bit more cool. The same as double denim, I have been known to do a double faux leather look on occasion by teaming a biker with leather look trousers….

I used to have an incredibly extra one with a nipped in waist a spiky stud detailing on the shoulders (I’ll insert a throwback pic of this below) but after wearing it to absolute death, I kept it simpler with this ASOS number that would suit pretty much anybody.

Trainers

Not the type you chuck on when you’re going running or to a gym sesh, I mean just a nice easy pair of kicks you can throw on for a day of running around on a weekend to be comfy and cute.

Much like by boots, I wear trainers with most things in my wardrobe as they I stantly dress down a look and make feel a bit more funky.

Over the years my favourite pairs to grab have varied – it started with Air Max Thea, then superstars, Stan Smiths, Converse, Vans and back then back round again. If pushed, I’d say three different kinds are good to have – a pair of sneakers (like converse/vans that aren’t trainer trainers), a pair of chunkier ones (like the superstars) and something more sport feeling (air max)

Red lippy

I know its not a wardrobe staple as such, but I’d argue that a red lop is almost as valuable to a look as a handbag or paid of shoes!

If I wanna feel glam, red lip. I want to feel put together, red lip. If I’m having a down day and need a shot of confidence, red lip!

I have two that I swear by – one is NYX Liquid Suede in Kitten Heels which is a true red that has incredible staying power and is great value at £7 (a little goes a long way so it lasts ages). The other is MAC Chilli which is a deeper red with a slight brown undertone that I find incredibly flattering on my skin tone. It doesn’t quite have the staying power as its a standard lipstick, but it’s a beautiful formula that looks and feels great.

Leopard print

No specific item, just the print. It’s essentially a part of a neutral colour palette these days that adds a bit of texture to any look. I have more than a few things in my wardrobe in leopard – wrap dress, skater dress (different types of leopard so totally fine) cardigans, jackets, shoes even.

If you’re feeling bold, match it up with a colour such as purple or red to make a statement. If you’re feeling less brave then keep it simple in black and white.

A skater dress in a cute print

Its a great shape that’s easy to wear, a print instantly does a lot of the heavy lifting when it comes to styling, and it can be dressed up or down by changing a shoe and a lip colour.

Wrap dress

The same as a skater dress, they’re my lazy gal tip to putting together a nice outfit. Not only that, but they’re incredibly flattering to everybody – they show off and create nice lines on the body whilst remaining respectable yet a bit sexy and fun. Diane Von Furstenburg built an empire on this style of frock for good reason!

At the moment, I have three beautiful wrap dresses from Joanie clothing in some different and bold prints that have seen me through all kinds of occasions – girly brunch, dinner date, Christmas party, shopping days and work.

If you’re in a little wardrobe funk or just looking for some more options to add into your current rotation to mix it up for the new year, I hope this has helped give you a bit of inspo!

thanks for reading,

J xx