“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


The art of not giving a fuck

I did think about putting a couple of ** in the title, but then thought “why? The whole point is NOT to give a crap right?

Throughout all of this, however, I’ve learned that unfortunately, you can’t always alter your mind perception (at least not fully, 100% of the time) and that you have to seek out another way to cope so that you can get up and leave the house every day.

And for me, the answer was given to me by the good folks who wrote Book of Mormon: turn it off.

Turn it off. Push the feelings of feeling like utter crap to one side, put my fingers in my ears singing “lalalalala I can’t hear you”, utter state of denial. This may not sound healthy, but it’s what I do.

Think of it as being a model or actress. In front of the camera, they become someone else, another character, and get the results they needed. So that’s sometimes what I feel I need to do. Beyonce has Sasha Fierce, Stefanie Germanotta has Lady Gaga, and I have Princess J-Bar*.

* I don’t actually refer to myself as Princess J-Bar; I once joked to the Mr that this would be my rap name so refer to that when I’m trying to be funny.

Swimsuit, Next / Rose gold sunglasses, ASOS / Black sunglasses Dorothy Perkins / Biker jacket, ASOS / Dress, Dorothy Perkins

So now you know. You may not agree with it, and that’s fine, but you may also think “I could totally try that” and it may just be the thing that gets you out of the house and back in the game.

Whatever you think, cheers for reading my ramblings!

J xx


5 Things that have helped keep me sane in testing times

The past few weeks have been a wee quiet again from me on the blog posting and social media front, but for different reasons than before. I have plenty that I want to write, snap and post, unfortunately the universe has made other plans for me that just aren’t quite as positive.*

I’ve had some family illness that has been very difficult to deal with, in turn my own health (a little bit physical, a little bit mental) has been a bit fragile which disintegrated further. This meant that I wasn’t able to be the best person I could be at work, at home or anywhere for that matter, so I made the difficult decision to withdraw from everything for a few days to see if I could regain some semblance of control. I’ve never been massively open about any kind of health struggles I’ve suffered over the years; as much as its OK to talk about things in modern society, I simply don’t want to a solid 95% of the time.

Anyway…I’ve been trying really hard to have some quiet time to help become a bit stronger for myself and those around me, so I thought I would share some of the things I’ve been doing in the hope that it may help one or two people that happen to read this.

Ru Paul’ s Drag Race

A lot of people can’t believe that I have never ever watched this show before now!

I know a lot of people that love it, but the main reason I first watched it was because it came up as a recommendation on my Netflix profile (and since I mainly watch crime/murder stuff, I have no idea why) on a Bank Holiday Sunday home alone and thought, why not?

I started at the very beginning and am now at the end of season 2, I’ve managed to avoid too many spoilers so blissfully watching as everyone else has, and will keep plodding on until I’m fully caught up.

Fresh flowers

A simple but good ‘un, I’m not quite at Elton John capacity but I’m buying them for as many places as I can, and house plants too! I’m becoming slightly disillusion with the blogger fave, peonies (sorry) as they’re dying far too quickly, but I’m loving coral-pink carnations and brightly coloured roses for my lounge and kitchen window sills.

Long walks on… well, to anywhere

This top tip has been in my back pocket for years now – I started doing this as uni; I would do a 2 mile walk (it doesn’t sound like a lot, but at the time I didn’t really do any other exercise) to the shops and back first thing to blow off the cobwebs and set me up for the day. These days I also try to incorporate some social time time with the gals (we have a regular Sunday walking club, and we stop for Costa half way round) and quality time with the Mr where we can just chat about our days or other random stuff like decorating ideas for the house.

If anybody local to me ever fancies a walk and chat (coffee doesn’t have to be involved but I would recommend) holler at me.

Dom & Ink Free To Be Me

To be honest it’s Dominic himself that’s the selling point – he’s the loveliest guy who fights so hard for all people to be accepted, and aims to show people the power of how awesome they are through the power of his words and amazing illustrations. If you head to his Instagram stories, he has some fabulous inspirational wallpapers as well as his regular ‘Digital Hugs with Dom’.

The HEY Bloggers community

All of these things have been super helpful, but I have saved the best for last. Helping to establish HEY has been one of the best things I ever did. It’s not only a great community to be part of if you live in Hull and East Yorkshire as a blogger or creative but it’s also a place I have found friends, encouragement, passion a inspiration. If any of you are reading this – I hope you realise how important you have been, are and will continue to be.

If you’ve stuck this post out until the end, thank you for reading.

J xx

*if you want to stop reading this post here, I completely understand. If you’re going through hard times yourself, or you’re working hard to avoid scenarios that may make you feel bad then please do put down your device and do something that makes you feel good xx


LIFESTLYE & BLOGGING/ Little tools, big help

Oh heyyyyy there…long time no see! Honestly, I’ve had a bit of a rough start to 2017 for health reasons (I won’t bore you with these here) which has made it tricky to formulate life at times, let alone blog posts, so thank you for taking the time to read after such a long absence! Anyway…

Whether you’re a blogger or simply someone on the go who appreciates things to make your life easier/prettier, I thought I would share a few of the gadgets I’ve been using for the pats few months that have been useful to me. The best part? They’re all super cheap and easy to get hold of!

iPad keyboard
It makes things just that bit quicker to write. It clips and connects super easily and turns your tablet into a laptop without the bulk.

Clip-on HD lens
I get so many comments about this every single time I use it (I was even stopped halfway down an aisle at a wedding!). It basically turns your phone into a DSLR camera with a wide angle/slightly fish eye quality. It’s a great alternative if you’re popping out without your camera. I simply clip this to an inside pocket of my handbag so it’s with me all the time.

Short charging cable
Soooo necessary to avoid getting tangled up in your regular cake when you’re on the move!

iPhone tripod
This one is really lightweight and bendy, so it can stand up straight on a table or be wrapped around something to film from a more specific angle. Great for when you’re taking your own pics or vlogging.

Emergency charger
I think everyone needs one of these bad boys! This one is pretty good and can usually charge my iPhone 6 fully 3 times (or 1 charge of my iPad if it’s fully juiced). It’s not massively heavy and is a similar size to my phone so fits nicely in my handbag

Selfie ring light
I learnt about these lil’ marvels from Chelsea as she uses one at work. For such a small light it’s VERY powerful, it’s become another handbag staple that I reach for when it’s pretty dark. Weirdly I don’t use it for selfies all that much!

What you can’t see in this pic…

Selfie remote
I don’t know why this isn’t in the pic, as it’s really useful with the tripod if you’re taking pics of yourself.

Digi4u selfie light case
This is what I generally use to light shots taken on my front phone camera. The light is a real true ‘white’ I tried another well-known brand and I found the light to be way more dull and yellow toned which isn’t very flattering.

Fuji film finepix s9900w bridge camera
This couldn’t be in the shot, because it was capturing it! My lovely hubby treated me to my first proper camera for Christmas for me keep improving my photo taking. It’s still a work in progress but I love it! It connects to my phone via an app so I can ping the pictures straight over and delete them from the memory which is so convenient.

And that’s my little toolkit complete. If there’s anything you feel would be a good addition then do let me know and send me any links on social media.

Thanks for reading, see you again soon.

J 😘xx


Say Whaaaaat…??/ Things my blogging self worries about

I’m one of life’s worriers, so for me it’s completely expected that I would worry about a part of my life that I’m really passionate about!

 
Sale items

Firstly, I’m not into high street sales because fighting with a lot of other women for one item (a la Becky Bloomwood in the Shopaholic series) does NOT sound like fun to me, online I’m a little warmer to. However these days I try not to buy things in the sale because I may not be able to link to them in any future blog posts I do. If I don’t feel like wearing it immediately, I may lose the chance to share it ‘properly’.

  
 

New clothes

Fairly similar to the above- I worry about not posting enough outfits featuring fairly new clothes, because it somehow makes me feel less relevant as someone who primarily likes to blog about fashion 

 

  

 

 NOT being able to shop??

This is a weird one! But it’s that age old problem we all have: when you have money to burn there’s nothing you want, yet when you’re feeling a bit poor that’s when all the sassy-ass garms hit! This seems to be happening more often than not lately, hence why my #ootd posts have been a lil’ thin on the ground

  
Not not having enough outfits to shoot because I just have the same 5 items in EVERY colour

This will not come as a surprise to anyone who has kept up with my fashion posts for a prolonged period! If I like a style of item, it somehow ends up in my wardrobe in at least 2 colours, in some cases up to 4! I do think the colour of a piece can help to dictate the way I style something for sure, but I do sometimes worry that anyone reading my posts may think “this, again?!?!”

  Shame  in my Insta-game

When I think about it, this is probably an anxiety that a lot of girls have in today’s society- making their page look fabulous, glamour ours and aspirational to anybody who happens across it….and that’s a whole other issue- I want a lot more people to happen across mine!! I’m open that I’m not the best out there at doing pics, but I enjoy trying to make them look interesting and reflect what’s happening in my life (with a teeny bit of sheen over the top). My main problem is that what usually seems to be happening is that I’m eating out!!

Stay Stylish,

J 😘xx


Say Whaaat…?? NO Shame in my Game

 
Over the weekend I had a slightly uncomfortable encounter. It started with deciding to try out my new extreme ripped jeans (not the ones in this pic, you’ll see them another time) to be brave and push my boundaries. However whilst I was wearing them…first, an older lady looked at me quizzically and started muttering unfavourable comments under her breath as she walked next to me. Shortly after, another girl who looked about my age but was a different dress size to me proceeded to give me the most obvious look of disgusted contempt I’ve ever seen as she walked past.

Both of these women’s reactions initially made me really cross – fair enough if they don’t like what I’m wearing, but did my outfit REALLY warrant such an overtly negative reaction? Nothing was hanging out that shouldn’t have been so it was a perfectly acceptable daytime look. So what if they wouldn’t have worn it; I wasn’t exactly crazy about their  outfits either but they didn’t see me openly judging them!

After I cooled down and had a bit more of a think about it; I decided I felt more pity than anger for these women. When I wear clothes I have fun- I enjoy trying different styles and looking for inspiration around me. I don’t profess to always get if right but I do make sure I feel good in what I’m wearing whenever I step outside the house. I suspect these women felt the need to judge because they saw me as different and maybe a bit braver than they would ever hope to be themselves. They’re the ones who are missing out on the experience of trying something new and realising how good it can feel when that works out and you look great. More to the point, women should support each other, not tear away at each other’s sense of self for no discernible reason. That’s never okay.

And that is why I stand by this quote 100%  

 I’ll forever wear what I want and, as long as I’m happy with that, that’s all I care about. 

Jacket In the Style/ Jeggings Miss Pap/ Fedora New Look/ Shoe Boots Primark

Stay Stylish (and Supportive!)

J 😘xx

  


Say Whaaat…?? Addressing the Work/Life/Blog Balance 

  

 I’ve just started the next phase in my life – having finished uni I’ve just started my first full time graduate job. I’m really happy about getting back into the world of work and feeling like I’m making a contribution again, but at the same time it throws up a lot of potential issues in other areas of my life. Well, not issues per se, more like ‘points to ponder’.

Whilst I’ve been at uni I’ve managed to:

– lose weight and get a grip of my diet and exercise/activity (pretty much, as you’ll remember from another recent post that’s kind of slipped lately)

– start my blog and have time to plan and make its content come to life 

– have a weekday social life: coffee with old friends on a Monday, shopping and lunch in Leeds on a Friday (obviously not all the time, I was a semi broke-ass student after all!) 

– run a home: washing kept on top off, everything fairly tidy all week and meals cooked from scratch most nights.

– spend time with Mr Alice during school holidays and just chill out together 

The current ‘points to ponder’:

– being in an office environment will probably not give me the opportunity to be as active, no more morning power walks for me

– If I forget to plan my meals the night before, I may only have less healthy options to grab during the day.

– can I be bothered to properly cook when I get home at 6ish, or will that turn into a grab ‘n go sitch too??

– if I do online shopping, where will I have it delivered?? (My office is buried in the very heart of a massive building) 

– when will I shoot blog pictures, style outfits, or see my blogging buddies? 

These points may be very placed very firmly under the heading of First World Problems, nevertheless they’re important to me and I need to somehow figure out how to make everything work. 

 So over the next few weeks my aim is to become my usual organised self and come up with some solutions, which I may share if anyone feels it may be useful. Likewise,many one else who’s been in a similar sitch as welcome to share with me as well

Wish me luck!

J 😘xx