19 May 2020 marked 6 years of me having a blog – making and posting (more or less) regular content to the internet for people to discover and view as they choose.
So I started thinking, what SHOULD that mean at this point? And I decided that answer is everything and nothing, depending on who you are.
On one hand – if my blog wouldve carried on as solely fashion, my photos may have gotten better and I had remained consistent and diligent with posting, I may have ascended into the world of full time influencing and had an insta feed like some of the fabulous women I follow on the platform. On the other hand, which is exactly what has happened, I didn’t achieve those things. I didn’t stay with fashion, I didn’t remain consistent and only some of my photos got better (when other people took them).
However, what I have achieved as a result if starting a blog has made me pretty happy. It helped me to develop skills that allowed me to find my current career in marketing, I have met some great friends through the blogging community and I have enjoyed the challenge of finding my voice on a variety of topics. My writing is now more about real life and opinion; yeah fashion occasionally creeps in there but I’m ok with it being a side chick. You’ll find more of the fashion stuff on my instagram these days (shameless plug, but true story).
Whereas some people would expect a blogger of six years to have shot to the stars, I I’m fact consider myself to be exposing the moon. Not knowing what I’m gonna find there is way more interesting.
Happy birthday Jenny Chat!
Thanks for reading, now and for the past few days/weeks/months/years, J xx
I’m pretty sure you’ll have seen this next photo – it’s been broadcast on social media, tv and newspapers alike over the past week so you’d be hard pushed to miss it.
This is world renowned, critically acclaimed singer Adele. At the time of writing, this was her most recent Instagram post celebrating her 32nd birthday. Adele used to look different to how she looks in this photo – she was heavier and a fan of the midi/maxi length dresses. Because she has posted this photo in a mini dress, looking much slimmer and VERY different to how the public is used to seeing her, the world has apparently lost their shit.
People have really been feeling some kinda as before now she’s skinny – discussing at length how she may have done it, how much she’s lost, what surgery she may have had done on her face and whether she’ll still be able to sing as well now she’s slimmer (spoiler alert: ‘experts’ have decided that she can, on the basis that Celine Dion is very slim and a very good singer). On the flip side of this, my social feeds have been flooded with people whom I consider very normal yet inspirational, feeling extremely disheartened with the way the media has reacted to this. It makes them feel that their bodies, that look similar to how Adele looked previously, are considered not as good and shouldn’t be accepted or celebrated.
So what do I think? To be honest, I’m not 100% sure, but all this talk has made me feel a bit weird too if I’m honest. As you may remember, I wrote a post earlier this year ‘It’s OK to want to change things about yourself without feeling like you’re hating on the world at large’ that kind of addresses both sides. I’ve been quite open about how I’ve felt unhappy in my body over the past 2-3 years, BUT I also explain why that is and what that represents to me. I think ultimately, to ‘have a glow up’ means that a person has taken charge of their own being and made positive strides to becoming the best version of themselves through their eyes. When someone is happy, this radiates or “glows” out of them in a way that makes those around them sit up and pay attention. That’s how I would define a glow up. Notice how I didn’t use any terms like “lost loads of weight”. Even though I don’t subscribe to weight loss as a pre requisite for a glow up, for some people it is a valuable part of the process. However for others it’s the opposite; because for them them having a very slim frame represents ill health and unhappiness. Both are valid points of view.
We might wonder why Adele had this sudden change in her life, how she’s done it and whether its made her happy, however I doubt we’ll ever have the answer. People usually show the best versions of themselves on Instagram so she could be made up with her progress…or she may have just been feeling cute that one day and decided to put up a pic (most of us do tend to dress it up a little on our birthday, current circumstances permitted). It’s quite telling that she’s disabled the comments since posting this pic (they were active on her last post at Christmas, and a fair few of those left were talking about her weight) I think she knows people will have opinions and questions and she probably feels kind of uncomfortable about that. She wants her legacy to be her amazing voice and brilliant music, not to become the poster child for losing a tonne of weight.
The moral of the story is – if Adele doesn’t want to spend time talking about it to everybody, whatever the reason may be, maybe we shouldn’t spend too much time talking about it either. She’s apparently happy doing her, so let’s all try and find our own happy doing ourselves. Let that be the take away from this.
How many times have you heard someone utter a statement like “so and so said that they noticed you’ve been doing this…” or “This person doesn’t like it when you do that”. I, for one, hear this a lot in my day to day life. To to untrained ear, you may think the person saying these things is being kind by giving you a heads up, trying to help you get on or not get in trouble etc.
I’m here to tell you that they are not.
What’s really happening is that the person saying these things is the one that feels them, but they lack the courage to come out and say so themselves. So what they do is hide behind someone else (likely somebody you don’t see or speak to directly that often). It’s usually because of the person used as a cover that’s its ridiculously easy to realise this happening too – think about it; if you barely see or speak to them, how are they going to observe activity that they are unhappy with?
This kind of behaviour is wildly problematic for a number of reasons. Firstly, it can create unnecessary ill feeling towards the person whose allegedly made negative comments which in turn can damage friendships and professional networks alike. Secondly, it severely damages a person’s confidence levels in what they’re doing AND those around them. After all, could someone be feeding negative information back for people to feel this way about you? Finally (and somewhat most importantly) it can make you lose respect for the person delivering the so called third party message, as well as question their own credibility as someone who isn’t willing to speak their truth and say to you “I feel this way about something YOU are doing”.
So, whose at fault here? It really depends on the scenario to determine an answer to that. In a social or friendship group it could be either party – perhaps feedback is being provided to somebody someone finds a little intimidating so feels safer doing it from a distance, or it could be that maybe that person has another agenda and isn’t really so much of a friend after all. In a work/professional setting, the fault likely lies with the person who is most senior in the exchange. On paper, they have the authority to feel and express these opinions as their own, however in practice they’re clearly haven’t quite equipped themselves with the correct tools to do the job properly.
Unless you believe your life or wellbeing are in danger as a result of offering a person feedback (in which case, you should probably seek help from emergency services or authorities) then there is absolutely no reason in the world why an adult shouldn’t be owning their opinions and actions. If you think it, if you feel it’s important to be said to the person you think it about, you need to have the courage of your convictions and be honest about where the opinion came from. Not only will this garner the respect that you were honest with the recipient, but they’re more likely to take action that’s appropriate and to you’re liking far quicker. Sure people dont like to be criticised, but that’s simply not a good enough excuse to use somebody else as a security blanket in order to get your point across.
Should you call about this behaviour? I think yes, but as respectfully as you can. The last thing you want to do is get into a fight or alienate people with whom you have to spend a lot of time with. I don’t know the 100% right answer here, but to be on the receiving end I think it would be fine to ask something like “And how do you feel about this?” Or “do you feel the same as this person?” And then perhaps something like “Thanks for letting me know. If you have this kind of feeling towards me in future please do let me know and there will be absolutely no problem at all if the opinion comes directly from you rather the other person. I really appreciate the honest feedback”. This way the person will know you’re open and approachable to feedback and inviting them to share their directly with you in the knowledge that there’s less likely to be backlash on them. Hopefully this will help the person struggling overcome some of their insecurities about approaching uncomfortable situations.
Do you recognise this behaviour as something you do yourself? If so, please try and stop doing it. As adults there are going to be times when we’re put in situations we dont want to be in, but some short term discomfort is preferable to adding fuel that only helps fuel the long term breakdown of a relationship. Whether personal or professional, as a decent human being you shouldn’t want to do that. More to the point, who has the time and energy to be dealing with negativity that can be avoided? Not me!
I hope this has given you food for thought, perhaps even a little bit of a confidence boost. Whichever side you’re on, own your own opinions and let be known it’s ok to own.
We’re not going out, so you’d think they wouldn’t be much to report on this month. That’s kind of true, buutttt…we live in an age where we can do lots from home thanks to modern technology, so I’ve been pretty much living my life but in a slightly smaller space.
April Jenny still repped a lot of PJs and loungewear, however she also got dressed in some nice frocks for being in the garden or for the couple of occasions she had to go out of the house (If anyone wants to know where any of the items are from, leave me a comment at the end)
American Pie movies: the Mr had an urge to watch them again so out they came. They’re in that nice ‘easy, funny, escapist’ category which is needed right now.
Gogglebox: how have I NEVER watched this before? It’s so funny! I’m nosey and like peeking in to other people’s lives, and it’s also kind of reassuring to know that other people have the same kind of chats about programmes as we do at home.
Tiger King: I wasn’t going to watch this but social media chat got the better of me. It was definitely a watch! And (don’t @ me) I dont think Carole Baskin killed her husband….
Inform Overload: this is a YouTube channel that I’ve just discovered. They do a lot of videos about influencers and celebs that help to provide body positivity/reality (sometimes with a little bit of shade thrown in, full disclosure) which I’ve found both interesting and comforting.
My lockdown 2020 playlist: I made myself a little playlist on Spotify – it has everything from songs I love to cheese to those poking fun at the situation
Katherine Ryan, Telling Everybody Everything: This is the brand new podcast by ‘TV’s Katherine Ryan’ about a variety of topics including first love and pregnancy loss. She does it by herself which is kind of unusual for a podcast, but it’s no different to her doing a stand up routine
Said goodbye to my lovely nan: my nan’s funeral was held early in the month (which my family scheduled around mine and the Mr’s self isolation so we could attend). It was a very different kind of service as you can imagine, we did it all ourselves as there was no celebrant. I also went the to go see her in the funeral home, something I wasn’t sure I’d be able to do but I found huge comfort in.
Messing about with makeup: I’ve either been bare faced with gross hair or in full glam. I was hoping my skills would improve but sadly they haven’t!
Exercise: either for a walk outdoors or a dance fit workout at home. I will say that I haven’t done something every single day, there have been a couple of occasions where I’ve barely moved for a few days in a row.
Dyed my hair Rihanna red: I tried light pink, then purple but neither worked, so I tried red and that worked a little bit too well! If I’d had my roots sorted it probably would’ve looked better, but I got over the look very quickly and am still trying to fade the colour out.
Drinking: I dont drink often but I’ve enjoyed a few tipples at times of the week where I wouldn’t normally…my most popular blog post at the moment is Make your own Pomada so other people are definitely doing this too! I’ve also been drinking a helluva lot of tea and coffee, but still not enough water.
So, that’s April done and on to May. We’re well into spring, let’s see if that brings us closer to beating this thing.
Toot toot beep beep! I don’t admit this often, but I’m glad I can drive now. I passed my test in 2016 aged 32, so I was almost twice the age most people are when they first hit the road. And for me, that was absolutely the best decision.
Learning to drive is not always a young person’s game. In fact, I think for some people it’s a far better experience to wait until you’re at a later stage in life, and I’m going to tell you why that is below.
You can approach it with a more pragmatic attitude. Later in life you’ve probably accomplished a few things – perhaps a degree, a family, progressed in a career you enjoy, maybe even a Nobel prize. The point is, you know you’re capable of achieving good things when you set your mind to it, and this is not different. I started learning to drive right after I graduated (also as someone a bit older) and thought to myself “if I could do that, I can do this”
You fully understand the implications of driving. You’ll be just that bit more mindful that you’re in charge of a machine that has the potential to both help and hinder yourself and others. That should help to ensure that you remain vigilent and consciously competent throughout your driving life. To this day I remember stock phrases and nuggets of wisdom that my instructor gave to me.
You already know that a large majority of poeople on the roads have the potential to be dangerous dick heads. You may have been just a passenger until now but I bet you’ve seen it! I’d say the most important part of driving is to ensure you’re aware of other people’s mistakes and bad habits above your own.
The end result will make you feel just that bit more smug. You’ve probably been a public transport user your whole life (unless you’re lucky and have a very flexible partner/family member or paid chauffeur) that means working to someone else’s schedule, setting off even earlier and, delays and contending with waiting outdoors in all seasons. When you have your own method of transport and rely on yourself after so long, it means that little bit more. You don’t have to share your space, you can stay warm and dry, you drive to the exact place you’re going instead of the closest stop…
It opens even more doors and makes you feel even more valuable. When I got a call to say my grandparents were ill, I could immediately jump in the car and help them. I could do the pick ups/drop offs at hospital and take them food shopping every week. I have been able to go off to work meetings and events around the UK by myself, proving I am capable of doing things to my own initiative. Hell, I’ve even been trusted to drive a transit van with delicate perishables in the back! Rather than worrying about how ill be able to do all of that driving, I’ve worried about how I wouldn’t have been able to help or become an asset in those circumstances.
If you’ve been on the fence about driving, this post may give you a little push to give it a go and see what you think. Of you’ve never thought about as someone older than a teenage, I would wholeheartedly encourage you to consider it. Like me, it could be the best thing you never wanted to happen!
I’m not the ultimate sassy singleton with a Manhattan apartment, a fabulous wardrobe and a great social life. BUT – I have found my Mr Big (without the on and off bits), I’m in my mid thirties and I’ve had a decent bit of life experience. Also, I’m a writer. Whereas Carrie Bradshaw had a somewhat aversion to technology (no e-mail, no online shopping, I can’t relate) and was a published columnist in a newspaper, I am a slightly more technology friendly (shop online, send lots of e-mails, bit behind with tools like SEO and PPC) who publishes blog posts in a little corner of the internet. Same shit, different day.
Something that differentiates us further as writers is that Carrie writes about one pretty specific topic – Sex. Well; sex, relationships and NYC. That’s her USP. She has a wealth of experience in dating and sexual encounters from a young age, and has a group of friends around her who have the same experience that she draws on as inspiration. As a result each column appears relatable and thought provoking. The gal found her niche.
When I first started my blog, my sole focus was fashion content (with the odd bit of food thrown in) because that was the interest that ignited my passion. I was going for a kind of style diary vibe. As my interests developed, my content and posting schedule kind of went a bit haywire. There was less cohesion and at times a lot less frequency. And, let’s be honest, the world and her Instagram husband were doing fashion blogs at the time so it wasn’t exactly a niche market I was trying to hustle in.
So now, I’ve found myself wondering “do all writers, or bloggers, need a niche?”
I’ve decided that they don’t. I believe that if you’re passionate about writing you can write about most things – in my day job I work within an industry that doesn’t interest me on a personal level but I enjoy the challenge of writing from a different perspective and to a different audience. However, I do think that as a blogger these days it helps massively to have a bit of a USP so that people choose to read your content over others. That doesn’t necessarily have to be WHAT you write about; it could be the way the style you write it in, or a common theme that ties each post together.
So, that poses another question “what could MY niche be?”
Over the last few weeks I’ve found that the best way for me to feel in control of my posting schedule is to commit to just one post per week. That way, have plenty of time to plan/generate content and it’s kind of like a weekly column, a la Carrie. I’ve also noticed that the inspiration behind what I want to write has shifted. Something as simple as a quote on the TV, an online article or a chat with friends has sparked a different kind of creativity, one that has taken me into more real life topics and sharing my perspective on them. And you know what? I’m here for it.
So I finally, I feel I have found a kind of niche that fits – a weekly chat about a topic on which I have experience, those around me have experience and that (hopefully) has an element of relate-ability and usefulness to those who choose to read it. Just like Carrie.
Does that make me East Yorkshire’s answer to Carrie Bradshaw? Nope. She her her niche, and I have mine. Both great, both valid, but never likely to meet over a cosmo.
Well, I think I can speak for the majority of us when I say that I didn’t quite expect the month to go down like this! It really just goes to show that bad things happen close to home that we care to realise sometimes. I hope you enjoy the ‘wearing’ section, outfits are mainly Next and Primark.
I’m That Bitch, Rupaul Drag Race Season 12 Queens: “I-I-I’m that bitch, that’s the way it is..” this is such an ear worm of a tune! It’s a great distraction from the outside world
Wasabi, Little Mix: How have I only just discovered this banger?!? I think it may be my favourite LM song
Gone Girl: First time I’ve re-watched since it came out at the cinema and I enjoyed just as much
Rupaul’s Drag Race: I’ve been catching up with season 6 re-runs and the new eps on season 12. There are too many Queens I’m living for at this stage, and I can’t get those challenge songs outta my head!
Man With a Plan: This series has just come to the UK and stars Matt le Blanc as a dad of 3 who has to take a more active parenting role when his wife decides to go back to work. It’s a typical cheesy American sitcom, just an easy breezy watch
As you can imagine,I had quite a different month from the one planned. Whilst it was still deemed safe to do so at the beginning of the month, I went back to Lesley Wilks for my annual nanoblading top up. I went a couple months early because I wanted them to be super fresh for my big holiday in April, which has now been cancelled. If you’re thinking of getting nanoblading have a read of the post I wrote on it last year
Other than that, I was simply working until the middle of the month when I started to feel knackered for no apparent reason. Then I started to feel hot all the time, which I put down to wearing jumpers and drinking hot liquids. The day after that I started to get a sore throat that worsened as the day went on, so went straight into self isolation ever since. My symptoms continued but didn’t develop and were manageable, but I have no idea if this is THE illness (no testing offered due to symptoms not being too severe) or another illness with hugely unfortunate timing.
Like everybody else in the world, this has meant that I missed out on some stuff in life, really big stuff at that. My dream holiday that I’ve waited a decade to take, celebrating our 10 ten year wedding anniversary and (most heartbreakingly) not being able to visit my nana in hospital just before she passed away. Or being able to be with my family to give and receive comfort during this difficult time. I feel guilty, upset, angry, numb and poorly. I’m not trying to play a game of who has it worst, but this has been my experience.
At difficult times, we HAVE to trust the people in charge to give us the best advice to keep us safe. We just have to. If we don’t have that hope, the world will continue to go to shit and I can’t face the prospect of that. We all know what we’re supposed to be doing, so let’s just do that and hope we can come out of this as quickly as possible. We’re so lucky to have technology that helps keep us in touch with people across the whole world, so we need to use this to it’s full and most positive potential.
Thanks for reading and wishing you all the very best for the weeks ahead,
On this day a whole decade ago, I signed a piece of paper in front of forty or so people saying I was willing to share my life with one other person. That’s a fairly formal way of saying “it’s my ten year wedding anniversary today, eek!”
I know what you’re thinking no “Jenny, you only look about 25. Where you a child bride?” and to that I’d blush sweetly and say thank you. The answer I’m afraid is no, I’m simply quite juvenile and camera filters have improved over the past few years…
The other thing that’s improved in that time is my ability to reflect, so today, in honor of this milestone, I’m sharing with you what being in a long term relationship has taught me.
You’re not a gold digger if your partner pays for more things than you. This might sounds ridiculous, or old fashioned, take it as you will, but when the Mr and I first started going out one of his ‘friends’ said he should watch himself around me because I was I gold digging bitch. I was furious, and at the time it was highly untrue (he lived in MY house and our incomes were pretty similar). Over the years our salaries, jobs and approach to paying for our lifestyle have changed a lot, and between us we have agreed what we are both happy with. I’m secure in the fact that he sometimes pays for more because he wants to, and he’s fully aware that I’d be aiming for someone older and richer if I was in fact after money. At least I think he’s aware of that.
I still find myself surprised by how much he loves me. Just when I think he’s told me or showed me in all the ways possible, he will say or do something that makes me sit back and go “wow, I didn’t know you cared that much”.
I still wear the trousers when I need to. My hubby is a LOT more opinionated and strong than people give him credit for in our relationship (people presume that because I’m more talkative he is therefore passive. Nope, not even close!) but that doesn’t mean there are times when he sees the benefit of sending me to bat when there’s a time I’m likely to make a stronger point or get a better result. I’m a very constructive complainer (yes, that’s a thing) and am less shy about being assertive in public, so I tend to handle the more difficult situations that need that kind of approach.
I gained the biggest cheerleader I’ve ever had. Don’t get me wrong, my mum is an amazing lady and has done a cracking job of inspiring and lifting me up, but she’s no longer at home for me every single day to pick me up off the floor if things are a bit rubbish or talk through my many random musings and ideas.
You can have a wonderfully close and healthy relationship without seeing each other on the toilet. Look; I’m not a prude, I know he poos and he knows I do, but I have zero desire to witness it unless of medical emergency.
Don’t get me wrong, there are also sometimes negative things to a long term relationship too – I’m not going to talk about those here because there really are very few of them, and if any were that bad I wouldn’t be writing this post at all!
I feel extremely lucky to have my Husband in my life. He’s a decent bloke who is very clever, insightful and kind. He’s also silly as hell, but that’s only a side I get to see (which is a real shame because he’s hilarious). Here’s to the next 10 years and beyond!
Having a great idea for a concept, sitting down to do it and thinking “how the frick do I start this?”
Having tonnes of scrappy bits of paper/phone notes with random words and phrases on so you don’t forget ideas, but then they languish at the bottom of your bag and you forget to look at them for weeks
Getting a sudden flash of inspiration whilst doing something else creative, and you must stop immediately to do the new thing.
Getting the best spark of creativity you’ve had all day as you’re trying to drift off to sleep, but not acting on it because you know your other half would kick off if you got up to work on it and kept them awake.
Doing all the little tasks around your house that’d land you an Olympic gold in procrastination.