Let’s Chat – June 2020

In a month where lockdown restrictions were eased and things looked like they were moving forward…

I didnt really have the opportunity to get dressed in anything other than leggings and PJs until the latter part of the month, but when the weather was nice I cracked out some of my fave summer dresses old and new. I also picked up a pair of chunky trainers from Topshop to see if I would enjoy the trend (and get away with them at my age, haha) and I’ve reached for them a lot.

  • A Simple Favour
  • RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars 5
  • Catfish
  • Scary Movie 1/2/3
  • Smash Hits ’95
  • Ministry of Sound Throwback R ‘n B Anthems
  • Sounds of the 90s

Another month of delicious food to make your mouth water! Ive finally gotten back into cooking this month, the only photo worthy dishes so far have been my super cheesey pasta bake and veggie lasagne (both Slimming World recipes as they’re the only cook books I have). Although I’ve been trying to reduce my consumption of meat a bit as I seem to have eaten more than usual lately, I enjoyed a birthday BBQ with some more unusual meats (ostrich and venison) which was yummy. My mum also rustled up some corking side dishes of watermelon salad and potato salad which were perfect with the sunny weather. I also had TWO birthday cakes, one of them was my favourite rainbow cake made by a local bakery and was amazing, the other was ‘Cuthbert the Caterpillar’ from ALDI which was also yummy. I’ve been going nuts for the new Ben and Jerry’s Netflix and Chilled ice cream which is peanut butter with pretzel and brownie chunks (I’ll pause whilst you wipe up the drool). Finally, the Mr got us a Piano Bar Events ‘Perfect Measure’ box that contained pre mixed ingredients to make two cocktails at home (we just needed to add ice, shake and pour).

  • Went to the beach: Two or three times me and the Mr went for a morning stroll and sit on local beaches when the weather was nice. They’ve been the only times that I genuinely felt like I was getting fresh air and that I’d blown some cobwebs away.
  • Had a birthday: BUT I didn’t get another year older because, lockdown rules prevent it. My hubby and family gave me the best day and made me feel very spoilt and loved. I’m a lucky gal. I’ll add some photos below to give you a flavour if the day and some of my gifts
  • DIY: Sooooo technically I started this last month ut there were a few delays so I’ve added it here. I decided to decorate my larger spare room a beautifully girly yet chic dusky pink shade.shoukdve been a quick job but – it turned out there were 2 layers of wallpaper and 2 layers of paint to get rid of first, cracks to fill and 2 coats of primer paint before I could even touch it!
  • Dyed my hair a cute colour: I still couldn’t shake the need for a different colour, so I decided to try out the Bleach London Burnt Peach shade (paid for with Boots Advantage Card points, gotta love a freebie). It turn out a really lovely shade and mixed well with the blonde underneath so I was happy with it, although it didn’t last anywhere near as long as the red i used a couple of months back.
  • Had a socially diatanced girls night: me and 4 of my fave girl friends got together in a back garden and drank, ordered Greek food and sang/danced extremely loudly to a variety of throwback tunes. It was brilliant and much needed.
  • Took part in a ‘Task Master’ style day out: my brother-in-law booked this as a fun girls v boys family activity which was hosted by Escape Rooms Beverley to engage people whilst the business is closed. We were set a series of questions and tasks to complete around the town that we had to take photos of and collect points for the most imaginative/quickest to complete/most challenges in a single photo. It was fun and different so if you’re local I’d definitely recommend booking it (its currently free and you could win a free escape room once they’re back open)
  • Job hunting: earlier this month I got the news I am being made redundant as a direct result of the current health crisis, so I’m on the lookout for my next opportunity

And that’s the end of another month and on to July, WOW. I hope you’re all staying safe and keeping well, and thanks for reading once again,

J xx


Six years of having a blog

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


“To be honest…” – It’s time to own your own opinions people!

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.

Thanks for reading, J xx


Why it’s better to learn to drive when you’re a bit older

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!

Thanks for reading, J xx


I couldn’t help but wonder – could I become East Yorkshire’s answer to Carrie Bradshaw? Finding a niche that fits

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.

Thanks for reading,

J xx


Thoughts and actions that creative minds will totally relate to

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.

Thanks for reading, J xx


Should we dress to impress?

Dress to impress. That phrase we’ve all heard umpteen times, seen on invitations, heard Gok Wan utter on dozens of TV shows over the years.

But what does it really mean; what is the definition of dressing to impress? Should we dress to impress, and if so who is it exactly is it that we’re trying to impress?

Dress up for your man. Now, how da hellllll do you do this?? When you’ve been in a relationship for over a decade as I have, your other half is either brutally honest about outfits they hate you in or say you look nice to get you out the door without having a meltdown (this is not to say he doesn’t ever genuinely like what I wear, but I’m tuned in enough to know the difference). We can only guess what men would be impressed by us wearing, and (spoiler alert) it may not be something you’re necessarily comfortable in. I’m not saying all men are into boobs out/short skirts/tight clothing (not all together obvs) but I’m willing to bet most of our stereotypical minds think they are most of the time.

Dress for the approval or other woman. This tends to be the one people do the most. We don’t say we do it, but I know from experience that I feel way more chuffed when a female has come up to me and asked about what I’m wearing. A lot of clothing women appreciate tends to be referred to as ‘man repelling’ which kind of backs up what I said earlier about what we think men want to see women wearing. But then, every woman has her own opinion about what looks nice too – some are into showing off what they’ve got, some are fashun forward to the enth degree, others may be docs and tee dresses all day errrr day.

Dress for the job you want, not the job you have. If you want to be a zoo keeper – should you wear khaki and carry a massive net? (I fully appreciate this is a super outdated stereotype, given I used to work in an industry where I came into contact with animal keepers). OK, that’s a bit of an outlandish example, but you get my point. For other more ‘usual jobs’ this is more ambiguous I’d say – my day job is marketing, but during my career I’ve worked in environments where I have to be very smartly dressed and others were being casual is encouraged. So if someone who wanted to work in the same profession wanted to impress and didn’t know the company culture, what would they wear? The default would likely be a suit or similar, but that could disengage the interviewers if that’s not how they do things.

Dress for yourself. THIS IS THE ONE YOU SHOULD PAY ATTENTION TO. Think about it – nobody knows better than you what you like, what you feel good in, what suits your shape and lifestyle. Only you can truly tell yourself that you feel good in what you have on (I don’t care how many people pay you compliments about your appearance; if you don’t believe it yourself it’ll never stick) and when that happens confidence will radiate out of you. I’ve you’re feeling confident the world will notice and respond to that – people you’re attracted to, other girls, a prospective employer. Now that’s impressive.

Thanks for reading, J xx


“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