5 years later and I still have an unsuccessful blog?

Headshot | therealjlow

Before you worry, this isn’t a pity piece, in fact its a piece on resilience and rebellion in a world who thinks we should always succeed, even if we are actually just doing it for the love of it instead!

I’m trying a lot of things at the moment, including getting the new site prettified and functioning. For all of you to keep an eye out for, Josh as he helped me put this together has also I realised, started writing the word cheese all over the place. To him, humorous but for me? I just know I’m going to miss a few and one day, one of you will spot one and think… huh? But at least we are now all in on the joke. My husband is a cheese addict and he likes to leave that mark all over the place.

So in the meantime I’ve been a little loathed to fill this particular blog with content before we make our move to the new shiny site! With that in mind I’ve started posting a few things on Medium to keep my game up, my eye in and give us some place to go when we need a little realjlow! So this week I’ve written about having an unsuccessful blog. Its been five years now and I know, I am certainly no Zoella!

However, it hasn’t stopped me and somehow I am still here so if you want to read more about my journey you can! Right here: I’ve blogged for five years and I’m still failing. Before you worry, this isn’t a pity piece, in fact its a piece on resilience and rebellion in a world who thinks we should always succeed, even if we are actually just doing it for the love of it instead!

I promise guys the blog will be normal again soon! Until then have a fantastic week and remember you can always leave comments or come chat to me, here or on social media!

Marriage | When did my name become somehow attached to my identity?

Marriage | When did my name become somehow attached to my identity?

Wedding 2016 c/o Lauren Dewar  Sung Blue Photography

Photo by Lauren Dewar (Sung Blue Photography)

As a kid I loathed the fact that when presented with more than one Jessica in the room that I would always get stuck with the full name. Cooler girls with my name became Jess’s or Jessie’s and although I’m only gonna let Josh, my parents and grandparents get away with Jessie (it’s almost too personal). I began to associate Jessica with my younger self. The me who had zero confidence, or who would just willingly flatten herself into corners for everyone else.

In fact, it wasn’t until I got into university that I got bulshy with insisting I’m Jess, giving my best mortally offended face to anyone even thinking about uttering Jessica in my general direction. It was then that I began differentiating my first name to different occasions (formal occasions always Jessica, even when mostly I trip over my own tongue trying to say it).

However, when we decided that we wanted to be traditional post marriage I didn’t think twice about my surname.

I don’t view changing your name to not being a feminist because changing my name is not attached to being a woman but to screaming at the world, this man and I? We are a team! We are one!

I also couldn’t imagine our future kids having to suffer with a clunky double barrel or being confused by one is a Hawkins, one a Low. We took vows to be one another’s person and I could scream that from the rooftops everyday and night.

I didn’t blink, I scoffed at the bear idea of it staying, goodbye Low! It’s been a pleasure but when the time came to change it, I stalled.

We made trips in the name Hawkins and Low, two mini moons and I can only equate my stalling with my identity being wrapped up into three little letters. What happens to Jessica Low, when it’s Jessica Hawkins?

I’ve never scrawled it like a teenager over my notebooks however much I wanna hide Josh away from the world just so I can selfishly keep him for myself. I even planned my new signature so it looks basically the same. My world didn’t change at the alter either, my heart had already decided on Josh long before, this was the paperwork, technicality, but changing my name was the last hurdle I never saw coming.

I can only assume that this change was heightened because having grown up in a crazy close family who are almost on top of each other all the time in both space and similarities to now, living hours away from them all had created a divide in my identity somewhere as well.

Maybe in three parts, a scared kid, the one who grew up at university and lived with Josh almost straight from school and this new Jessica.

If I’m honest, I was afraid. My connection to my family has always been my biggest source of pride. I never needed famous idols when they were all real and lived a simple walk away. If I changed my name and cut that cord it was like severing something. Am I less a Low without the title? Will people no longer associate me with my family as much, with my mum? We share a smile but would that be enough for the world to notice I belong somewhere? For as much as I adore Joshes family to absolute bits and would chose them in a heartbeat there was still a worrying, nagging thought, am I no longer a Low?

All these years women have been losing their identities and I wonder now whether actually it is harder to take a partners name. Most men are against it and now women who previously didn’t have a choice are against it to. We view it like being claimed as someone’s property, but I was more afraid of not belonging to my birthright more than I was afraid of being tied to someone else. I’d made my choice, or my heart had, he has me but my family does as well. Who could understand me better than the people who made me… well, me?

From not understanding why you would keep your name I was posed with a problem, could I now get rid of mine? The real answer is yes I can. For me it was the insecurity of belonging pulling on my name heartstrings. After all, I consider myself a Philpott, a Jones, having plenty of traits from my grandparents than even they may realise but I’ve never carried these names, Low might actually be a state of mind. After all, I will always be logically minded, quiet in unfamiliar surroundings, able to talk to strangers about anything at the drop of a hat like my grandma … Changing my name ultimately doesn’t change me.

It’s just a name, just paper, so this past weekend I changed my name. Here’s to the next chapter, the next page, Jessica Low? Please meet Jess Hawkins. She’s the same chick I promise but here’s the thing, she has a husband now, her own team and she’s not so scared anymore.

Fashion Thoughts | The worst first day back at work outfit ever.

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Monday evening, post Christmas I had planned my first day back work outfit. Comprising of  Denim ‘mum jeans’ a white t shirt, chenelle cardigan and no idea on the shoes, I figured mentally, this is the one, this is the look, perfection.

When I woke up however, I found myself pulling on tailored sweat pants, a shirt with cats on it and a striped sweater. Staring myself down In the mirror for approximately ten seconds I quickly shed my kooky mix of cats and trousers/pants that were far too casual And I once again stared into the abyss of my wardrobe and figured….

I’d do better, taking off all my clothes again And reverting to my pre planned outfit. The mum jeans without the cool, Leandra factor. I still felt like I looked ridiculous as I pulled on argyle socks and brown ankle boots but somehow I stuck with it. Perhaps this was as good as I was going to get on the first work day of the year.

It was not a good idea as it turns out. I’ve never looked so unlike myself as I did that day. Nineties jeans and an equally dated fabric? In one ensemble had I woken up in a parallel universe? None of which felt a stitch like me. Arriving into London it only got worse, cold and shivering I lost the one patch of myself and femininity – a half tucked white t shirt to prove the world I actually wasn’t bloated this day. Look at that flatish stomach! It’s almost like free lypo!

In my dreadful search for a quick, cheap fix I ended up with ribbed grey sweater with 30% off in Dorothy Perkins.

The jumper itself is not bad, in fact for slightly shorter, more petite girls I’d pair it up with leggings and knee high/over the knee boots. I’ve now already determined its future come spring is to be worn as a coat over a chiffon, pleated skirt, it’s two side slits revealing the pleats and what I hope will be the prettiest ever floral design you ever did see.

Layering myself into this new sweater, I caught myself in Victoria stations bathroom and had a small smile for myself, this sweater isn’t half bad for a £15 emergency buy, maybe this won’t be so bad…. Well, perhaps it wasn’t but having lived through the late nineties and two-thousands I felt a little backward, like an awkward flash back, the eighties jeans, the early two thousands crew neck, the chenelle which was iconic to my childhood? The argyle socks people I feel like I’d had a personality crash am I me? Or am I someone else?

I was back to work again, and whereas a few days ago where sitting on my bed I’d had an epiphany about the next campaign, what I learnt my first day back was different, my eyes won’t de puff unless I wake up past seven am, I can’t get dressed before six and learning to meditate on the trains is going to take a lot of work.

Another lesson learned? Always pack an extra jumper, the odd £15 adds up fast and never trust Jess to work out how to get dressed in the first day back.

Friday Fashion recap & New Years Resolutions?

2016 in review

I’ve always been terrible when it comes to making new years resolutions. There has been the odd year where I have made some but none where I have actually kept them and fulfilled my plan.

This year however, honestly I feel like I have some to make and some to keep, whether I will or not I guess I have to tell you them to keep some accountability.

Educate myself

As the wedding planning ebbed away this came to me almost fully formed, I want to go back to educating myself a little. In particular, I want to finally learn to code. In secondary school I learnt basic coding on terrible programs like Dreamweaver but now I know I really need to get to grasps with HTML and be able to apply that to my graphics for work and this blog.

I also want to touch up my graphics knowledge. Although I don’t use that knowledge on this blog that much (mainly because I don’t have a decent enough computer to cope with Photoshop or even elements.) I have about 12 years experience but I really want to hone it in and learn more about using the newer tools.

Saving

To assist myself with this I am also planning on saving up for a new basic laptop.

Currently I have an eight year old Toshiba laptop which is crazy clunky and needs an external hard drive attached to work faster than a snail and then I have my MacBook pro. This is only 4 years old and I am writing on it right now however, it is almost out of storage and really I can’t delete enough off of it to give myself enough space for Photoshop and everything else I need so my plan is to get a new one which can cope with Photoshop and all the other programs I need.

On the savings front I am also tempted to join bloggers like Jesse Coulter on having a spending freeze on things like clothes and home wears. Something, which really became apparent this Christmas is we really don’t need anymore home wear stuff. At first it was super exciting because we had this big house which looked empty but ultimately we have plenty now and really don’t want to cramp our house anymore.

We have just painted and laid new floors in our living room and after having emptied the room we have ended up putting less than half of the stuff that was in there back in. Since then it’s really opened up the space again and feels like a breath of fresh air with so much less stuff!

With this in mind I am really thinking it would be good to stop spending for a while put that money towards a new laptop and furthering my graphic design/HTML knowledge.

Continuing to get out more and spend more time being active

Planning everything during the last two years kept us stuck inside and our bodies and minds have felt worse for it. In response, at the end of last year I started walking into work in the morning, adding a further 20 minutes exercise into my day and I have really seen the mental and physical benefits.

I think it will also be nice for Josh and me. Two years ago we spent vast amounts of time on cycle rides and walks and just taking in life outside of the TV and the living room and it really defined us as people so being more active again with walking, cycling, yoga and exploring our new village will really bring us back to that place of comfort and health.

That is really it for this years resolutions they are all rather easy and achievable and this year I am determined to follow through! Picture wise, as above I barely shared any outfit posts this past year so hopefully we can also rectify that as well!

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Flashback Friday Glitter Boots.

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A Chambray and black skirt? Add a sparkle boot and you’ve got yourself an outfit with a twist! 

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This was from an anniversary trip to London but these boots were so comfortable I could have and had worn them for whole days with no problems! I really wish that they weren’t so battered now!

Did you notice something satirical whilst you were watching the latest four episodes of Gilmore Girls? Did you notice that Rory regularly had something sparkly on? Her jacket, in Spring, the strap on her bag in Fall…. In fact barely into the series I was telling Josh, I’m gonna start dressing Gilmore again, just a pre warning to you all.

Now, going back over past blog posts on here lately I have been speaking a lot about making my dress sense fun again and that is dressing Gilmore. It wasn’t however, until Saturday morning when I was going through therealjlow blog archives on my computer (I’m running woefully out of space on my five year old MacBook..) that I had this sudden spark of inspiration, I’m going to wear my sparkle boots from this blogs very first year out today.

We actually only went out to the supermarket (for a walk) and to the cinema but would that stop me? Nope… It was the perfect time to wear very, very old boots for a few hours! With that in mind I wanted to show you the photos from my favourite sparkle boot moments. Lets take a second to remember the sparkle boots, my old friend. I love you still <3.
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I actually wore this exact outfit on Christmas day 2013. Yes I was fully dressed as part bauble part christmas tree. Also this was our rented flats hallway, how much do you love the scuffed up walls? 

By the way, this week will also have a Gilmore Girl style twist. Blame last Friday but its been on my mind a lot at the moment. How can I do anything when there is brand new Gilmore Girls to watch over and over?

Fashion | Shopping and why you should take photos of yourself in the changing room.

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Green Roll Neck: Gap (On Sale!) , Cord Skirt: Next PLC (Similar – same store), Brogues: Clarks (In Black)

Oh, how I enjoy the shopping and planning process! It has to be my favourite part of any year. I think, just like planning one of our rooms to renovate planning for a season ahead brings so much more joy than I could ever expect!

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(Look at the sleeves of this sweater! I call it my Snape sweater… – ultimate love right there) Its from Zara but I can’t see it online . . .

This Autumn/Winter I feel so much more on track to having a great, hard working wardrobe which is both on trend and flattering. I know, I used the word flattering! The horror! That being said I am feeling so good about this season that I figured why not show a few in changing room photos. Why do I take photos in the changing room? Well here goes . . .

They make you really look at yourself. Almost as though through the eyes of someone else.

I know that I have some really bad habits when it comes to shopping. I have been known to simply pick something up off of the shelf and buy it. Buy something that I don’t actually like because in my head I want it to work or because I simply want to make myself feel better. The best thing about photographing yourself however? You can’t hide from the truth. I mean you could . . . but its a lot harder at least.

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When did I start photographing?

When I didn’t have my superhero mum telling me how terrible or good I really looked and secondly when I started the blog.

The reality is what we wear can look drastically different between our eyes and the camera lens, not to mention at mine and Joshes the mirror I use is slightly warped which gives me an unrealistic view of myself . .  . very helpful I realise.

To combat this I started photographing myself in changing rooms to look at myself from a different view point. To see my flaws and all! Since photographing myself I have on the whole seen an improvement in purchases, in fact I think that its why I am a better shopper if I go to the physical stores rather than ordering online. When I order online I’m more likely to keep something even if it doesn’t fit right just because I can’t be bothered to take it back. Therefore photographing a look in a dressing room? It can sometimes be so much easier then buying something half or blind and regretting it ever since…

Vogue v.s Neiman Marcus v.s Bloggers

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Fashion, Bullying and Cat Fights

Wow, what a week. Talk about The Debate! The fashion world has had its own this week between fashion institution Vogue (.com – which remember is rather separated from Vogues various publications) and bloggers. Then, not to be left without jumping on a well-timed bandwagon American department store, Neiman Marcus placed their own falling sales figures on bloggers heads, claiming that they were killing their profits.

 

Let’s kick this off with Vogue however, in the companies recap of Milan fashion week a bunch of its online editors began attacking the bloggers in attendance. Creative Digital Director Sally Singer let the claws come out first offering the bloggers a less than friendly, ‘note’ on fashion week. “(Note to bloggers who change head-to-toe, paid-to-wear outfits every hour: please stop. Find another business. You’re heralding the death of style.)” She was then backed up by fellow Vogue.com cat, Chief Critic, Sarah Mower who spoke of “the professional blogger bit, with the added aggression of the street photographer swarm who attend them, is horrible, but most of all, pathetic for these girls, when you watch how many times the desperate troll up and down outside shows, in traffic risking accidents even, in the hope of being snapped. The non-photographed interested me far more.”

Nicole Phelps was softer, heralding from Vogue Runway calling it the street style mess. “It’s not just sad for the women who preen for the cameras in borrowed clothes, it’s distressing, as well, to watch so many brands participate.”

In my opinion however, it was Alessandra Codinha whose bark was worst, a Vogue.com Fashion News Editor who should have known better went for bloggers intellect. “It’s pretty embarrassing-even more so when you consider what else is going on in the world. (Have you even registered to vote yet? Don’t forget the debate on Monday!” I sort of want to play devil’s advocate and ask, well do you? Considering that you too have spent an inordinate amount of time on those same streets, most likely being ‘papped’ or perhaps by your comments looked over? It was a low blow and highly unnecessary from all three girls. (To call them women at this point seems to only give them a station they’ve not quite reached.) The real issue when you bring in intellect is honestly everyone in this industry has to have a degree of love for being frivolous, clothes might be necessary in the modern world, high fashion? Not so much.

Bryanboy said it best in his tweet, “It’s school yard bullying, plain and simple. How satisfying it must be to go for the easy target rather than going for other Editors.” It ties the whole issue right up in a bow. Other bloggers who have chimed in with some absolutely on the nose observations include, Ella Gregory who reminded us all that, so many participating in the street style mess are “Editors not Bloggers” Susie Lau (Style Bubble) meanwhile, realised we’ve done a 360 back to 2006 where the same arguments surfaced as Vogue and other archaic publications came to the startling realisation that no one is safe when it comes to digitalisation and that actually, your name is not enough, you must adapt.

Caroline Vreeland and others pulled up Vogues own crimes, including their money sources (funnily enough paid advertising for both shoots and in publication advertising not to mention attending certain shoes for an undisclosed fee, after all you’ve gotta bring in that dough! My favourite of course had to be from Shea Marie who pointed out, vogues most commented Instagram was actually of herself (a popular blogger) alongside Caroline in guess what? A street style photo.

Now let’s talk Neiman Marcus. On twitter, Stella Bugbee points out the main problem of luxury anything is not its style and quality points but the mere fact that in a post-Brexit-recession world no one really has the money for luxury and once you pair that with the dangerously unstable business model for fast fashion you will eventually suffer a dip in profits without any help from bloggers.

Quite frankly, it was an unnecessarily low blow and another obvious result of e-commerce. The problems both Neiman’s and Vogue have in common is an inability (or perhaps more an unwillingness) to adapt. Not to harp back too much but a while back when I spoke of bloggers still being relevant I mentioned bloggers and online fashion publications such as Man Repeller, Bryanboy and Style Bubble all of which have websites which continue to far out perform vogue.com for quality of content and engagement. They are more interesting, more intriguing and insightful and ultimately hold consumers interest far more. As this is the case it stands to reason that the only way for both companies to survive is to change their strategies and quickly.

Of course for Neiman’s they have more issues than Vogue*. Why? Because their product is in trouble. Firstly if your customers don’t exist you’re always going to find it hard to sell products no matter the beauty of it. Furthermore, physical, bricks and mortar stores are always going to struggle in the face of global online paradises like Net-a-Porter. They aren’t just looking to shoppers on the streets of New York and LA but everyone from graduates clasping their first pay checks to farmers wives in the middle of nowhere to new mums and housewives, there’s no real limit to their reach. They reach those with money when a physical store can’t and with limited overheads they can also provide their product at reduced, competitive prices and right there is Neiman’s real problem.

Secondly fast fashion. I won’t sugar coat the fact that fast fashion makes everyone’s lives harder. From busting consumers bank balances and wardrobes to the stores trying to continually stock something new and finally the environment suffering from our buy, wear and trash mentality. It’s an ultimately unsustainable business model. Eventually it’s going to tip over and maybe Neiman’s have already found their own tipping point.

I’m not actually the biggest fast fashion fan myself and I actually completely understand where Neiman’s are coming from. I too have lusted over something my favourite blogger has worn (not going to lie, usually Kendi from Kendi everyday) but of course she has the product before it comes even close to me and by the time it does I’m already lusting over the next thing and that is unsustainable. We can’t keep up with this buying pattern and actually why should we want to?

For Vogue and Neiman’s however, the big issue is competition. We’ve all been there, scared of losing our jobs, our roles in the world and for both they are under threat.

With Vogue it’s a case of losing their elitist edge. It’s no longer the only way to the top of the fashion journalism tree. In fact you’re probably weighed down far more by the pressure of bosses and regulations, not to mention being paid less. Meanwhile, bloggers aka self-employed, entrepreneurs wholly control not only their own time and budget but their content. Even I with my tiny not even a blip of a blog have come under scorn for being a blogger, seen as a lesser voice “oh, it’s different for you as a blogger, you don’t have to answer to anyone.” As if I couldn’t possibly understand how to write for anyone bar myself. After all, the majority of my content is for my readers not myself. If that was in fact the case you’d find a really strange mix of business, fashion and paranormal fanfiction. Then of course, include a pitying look and it will continue to be the hardest thing for bloggers to explain their right to a place in the world.

Vogue has held an invisible mantel, unthreatened for so long and I can see why they are so concerned, hurt and possibly scared. Suddenly the fashion world is flooded by looks and voices previously unheard from that threaten their existence, they undermine their one sided opinions and views and quite frankly I feel both companies don’t want that change, because change is hard and sometimes you can’t last within its vortex.

Perhaps what we all need to be discussing in terms of Fashion Week is not the problem with the new but the dying of the old. This switch appears to be happening everywhere at the moment but in the face of a tidal wave we will all be powerless to stop it.

Vogue.com do you think we could do a little less bullying and instead do a little more reporting? After all, the only way to get ahead is to stay ahead and dare I say you’ve feeling a little . . . irrelevant of late?

 

*This was not meant to be a joke and yet . . . I couldn’t remove it, it was too good.

26 and The September Reset |Lessons Learnt

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I’m a tad unwilling to let go off the September fresh start. After all Autumn and my birthday mean that this is my favourite season. In response to that for my birthday I wanted to share some off the cuff lessons of being 25 and the horror which has been 2016 so far. (Also new year now? My wedding is safe in the new!)


– Sometimes you have to strike out on your own.

– Not everyone will understand your art or your vision.

– Josh is quickly learning all about pest removal. As proven by the manic five o clock wasp spraying.

He’s also great at removing stubborn house spiders. Thank heavens because I’m still petrified.

– Commuting is harder

– “Be careful what you want because you might just get it” What if you only got what you really wanted? Would that finally explain continually not getting what you don’t?”

– As Beyoncé says, only you can make yourself happy. Spend time loving and understanding yourself.

– Say what you mean, ask for what you need.

– Get to the point

– Unselfishly put yourself first

– You’re worth more than this.

– It doesn’t have to be so hard.

– You’ve been braver, learnt to be wiser, now be bold, be brave again.


I don’t think that 2016 has been necessarily easy in any respect. If anything, I feel as though I have been battered and bruised and in more ways than celebrity deaths and brexit. The most interesting part of it all has been the further from easy I’ve been the more I came back to a place of great learning, of unexpected wisdom and a backbone of truth.

It’s not been all highs and success but in finding a place of centred love and respect. It’s been a year of tough growth, of hard lessons all of which have reopened the doors to my own pschy and inner voice. I’ve beaten myself up a couple of times but I’ve also taught myself to consider, to listen beyond the bullshit and others opinions and when I least expected it saw myself as an adult for once. As a decision maker, as someone who is able to be calm and deal with it, get over it, not focus on the me me me. I’m in the right place for getting married as my authentic self, my child self, teenhood, young and adult self all converge into one.

I’m choosing to step backward, to be brave for once. Im tired of holding myself back when there is better, there are achievements which need and will be met.

Speaking recently with my good friend and motivational speaker Adam Tuffnell I mentioned how, “it seems impossible not to have some blinding brilliance come out of a slog of a year like this!” And I wholeheartedly believe that for all of us. I know we are split all over the world and not going through the same things but the community I’ve seen here for me ages 25 has been beyond encouraging and inspiring. I feel like i have met some truly incredible men and women this year who have shifted my mindset, proved me worthy, and supported me in so many, unexpected ways.

I have a lot to be grateful for as I turn 26 and a lot to look forward to. On the top of my list of course is to finally follow my grandmas saying to the full, the time for living is now.

And isn’t it just?

Friday Feelings: “You do you” The politics of Fashion

Fashion politics therealjlow

I was sad a few weeks ago now to see articles (often written by women) making suggestions as to how Theresa May needs to change how she dresses following her becoming prime minister. They make the obvious links to Kate, to Samantha but why do we even need to? The woman wore leopard print flats to become prime minister! That (sadly) took guts and my heavens do I admire that.

You do you. All the way.

Susanna & Trinny in the late nineties and early two thousands promoted this movement that we need to dress a certain way for happiness and I loved them. Dressing for your shape, hair colour, skin tone . . . They mark an era but now I can’t help but feel this way of thinking is insanely outdated.

Whilst planning out a birthday post I was thinking about my own life lessons and what I would want to teach my own kids in the future and how they might still be affected by this petty behaviour. We all hear the stories, shame placed on our clothes, our make up, our size, it leaves me seeing red.

Not to indirectly quote mean girls, but “I wish I could bake a cake filled with rainbows and smiles and everyone would eat and be happy.”

Most interestingly it’s easy to feel such a quick injustice for others . . . But it’s often harder for us to break those chains over ourself. It’s natural to want to fit in, to find acceptance.

Instead to be the nail sticking out is a hard battle, but one I’d far rather endure than suffer the unhappiness of ‘make believe’ in and out of my clothes.

The primary idea I want to leave with you today is to not to be afraid of your clothes, of wearing something that you feel. Whether that’s a smock dress or the pain of a break up. Wear it for a while, try out just being open to honesty, to trust that the right people will love you regardless.

After all  maybe one day, our kids will get to dress without shame, without it making you more or less than the label on your clothes. to see women stop passing judgements on other women, especially over the media! There should never be any one rule for everyone, it’s so much more fun and interesting when we are diverse.

Normcore is almost over girls. Let’s stop making standards for how we dress and embrace your inner you, dares you.

Fashion | I love this dress, but in pictures it hates my body . . .

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Almost everything in this post is from Gap, bar the shoes which were New Look last spring and the bag which is Primark – 2012? A long time ago . . . 

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Last summer I shared a photo shoot with the most disastrous outfit ever. Or so I thought!

We took these photos at Chartwell in Kent earlier in the year and although we had the best time running around the park, and going on the swings the outfit photos turned out to be the disaster of the year.

The lesson here for anyone is if you are an apple shape you can’t just wear anything, you need something to pull you in at the waist and then hopefully flare out. The reason for this is to balance out the shoulders and bust and pull you in to create (we all hope a waist.)

The curse with this Gap dress is it fits small anyway but it has such a large pull in the middle (its elasticated at the back) that it creates this band over your waist, it should work, but if like me you hold your weight in this area, its not so hot.

I know I am an advocate for wearing what you want, what makes you feel good but to be honest these photos did not make me feel good, so lesson of today not everything you wear should be photographed.

 

 

 

Blogging | Don’t lament the end of blogging, but good content

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It wasn’t over. It’s still not over.

I recently read an article from an established blogger who suggested that blogging was dying. Firstly, over dramatic much? Secondly it made me start thinking as to why I don’t personally believe that the act of blogging has to die.

One point that she made was that Instagram and Snapchat are more accessible and that audiences don’t have the attention spans for blogs. I had to disagree, I don’t believe that we have less of an attention span but instead with more wealth of information out there we are now more choosey over what we give our attention to.

Let’s be honest, if I loved something, if I was invested you can have my whole life, if not, too bad. The same is said for blogs; blogging isn’t over its just got an awful lot of lazy, bad content.

Classic content v.s shopping blogs

I see it a lot with vloggers. These relatively popular vloggers often have content, which is predictable, over used and pretty damn boring.

On the other side however, you have vloggers like Estee Lalonde who are continually bringing new ideas and content to the table and who because of this is continually interesting and engaging! If you only share a haul, monthly favourites and the boyfriend tag, then snooze! Your content is outdated and I’m not going to lend my attention to that.

The same is applicable to bloggers. Its now easy to start a blog with ‘basic’ content, add affiliate links and make a shopping blog! You can easily make decent money from the get go, there are even tricks to that success however, does it make a good blog? No, it makes a good online shop.

The same for mommy bloggers, if you shill enough baby products then you’re good to go, but it won’t make your story interesting, I won’t fall in love with your kids, I’ll go to GOMI though and say how over your shoes I am.

Leandra Medine is an interesting case for instance. Her once daily style blog is now an incredible online magazine, which for lack of a better word creates, one of a kind, diverse content that most often you want to read. It’s what Vogue online should be but isn’t and is a great example of successful blog content.

She once said in an interview how she struggled with Instagram at first because in her eyes it seemed foolish to share her content (her, at the time daily outfit photos) on that platform when she actually wanted her readers on her blog*. Therefore, she ended up making completely different content for her Instagram which was fun and a precursor to the real stuff on the blog – the perfect way to keep your blog and Instagram alive at the same time.

What’s happening now is bloggers you once used to love reading (because of their content) are now more focused on the shilling product aspect, even my favourite bloggers who I fawned over at the start are now so busy wearing the latest piece of sponsored gear that I too have lost interest.

The worst part is we should feel cheated. Perspective drew us in and individual voices, affordability, true personal style and now they’ve effectively sold out. Instead we just don’t bother to read, we stick to Instagram instead for their outfits and hold out for Snapchat to remember whom we fell in love with all those years ago. The only problem being that the blog aspect dies.

Blogs won’t die for those who wish to use them but maybe the audiences will, just like consumers wants change so will blogs themselves. The audiences we once would have commanded will alter and new blogs will surface. On the up and up I think this new wave will be better, more insightful and more original. If competition has one upside it’s that it weeds out the rubbish and maybe with blogs its time for that change.

What do you think about traditional blog content and the future of blogging? Is it something ready for change or has it already changed? Also leave your links to your best piece of original content and the blogs you read! I’m sure we would all like to read some good blogs!!

 

*Did you catch readers v.s. viewers? A good distinction between a blogger and an instagrammer, they should be different things.

Fashion | Why aren’t you discussing summer style?

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I feel like I should be discussing summer clothes. I had previously believed that me and Josh would spend our summer on our bikes in the countryside. Reality is we have probably used our bikes about three times and those three times where all in late winter/early spring.

Its interesting to find your plans change. General life it seems, changes at the drop of the hat and whilst I thought this would be a carefree summer it instead seems to be plagued with chores and a whole lot of growing up and meetings! I’m hoping for next summer to be that biking and walks for coffee adventures but for this summer . . . I have sort of given up.

If you live in the UK you know, we have had so much rain, temperate weather, I have seen women on my walk to work, wear tights, jackets, scarves and jeans even in the middle of a supposed summer!

Back in January when it was cold I had dreams of outfits like above. A fancy, floral midi skirt, long maxi dresses and comfortable sandals and relaxed styling. Now I’m looking to a winter holiday in the sun, hoping that that instead might give me chance to wear something summery because for this summer I have been wearing my boots into the ground, skirts like they are going out of style, t shirts and jackets, everyday without fail.

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Thankfully, I picked up this jersey longline jacket from Anthropologie in the sale and its been a god send in this strange non-summer, summer. I originally imagined wearing it with jeans, trainers and my paris jumper with a grey jersey scarf but now I have paired it with almost everything I own. Keep an eye out next week for me wearing it with relaxed harem trousers and a Zara neck scarf tied around my wrist. Its relaxed and so comfortable, its 100% me.

Similarly I have also picked up a sleeveless jersey blazer as well which I’ve loved for the even hotter days (when I apparently still need layers . . .) its looked grey with the striped linen dress and made me feel dressed up even when I’m not.

Most hilariously, I bought two pairs of shorts for this year (prepared for summer!) only to have only worn the soft jersey pair from Sainsbury’s Tu in our back garden one afternoon.

Instead I keep catching myself mid-writing developing plans for Autumn, I’ve started collecting endless pins on AW2016 and devising looks and a work wear wardrobe to rock all year round. I’m trying on all the boots as they become available and stopping myself. You don’t want to know about Autumn yet, right? Are you sure? Let me know, because the unpublished posts are stacking up in response to a severe lack of summertime posts!