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!

Insta – catch up.

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What better a way to catch up than over Instagram?

I have a deep, love-hate relationship with Instagram. When I first caught the insta-bug I loved how real the photos were, I loved following my favourite bloggers even if it was just what they bought from target, or a good old fashioned fitting room outfit post, those are the posts I think we all love.

The downside however, is once one person has a picture-perfect Instagram its kind of hard to swim against the tide. My own is sketchy at best but its also greatly helpful for us catching up again after so long!

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Lined up once this site is all polished are plenty of travel posts (I may have finally mastered hot weather packing – from trips to Italy & Malta). Along with that, this summer we’ve been experimenting with our garden – from being black fingered to green there are plenty of vegetables that we have somehow grown!

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If anything, the last few months have been about living primarily. Without a constant stream of blog content to write I’ve been able to spend more time reflecting and taking the time to actually live in my outfits rather than just recording them!

Its made me think long and hard about content beyond a stereotype flat-lay and about the brands behind the lifestyles we want (brand spotlights) to how clothing has the potential to change how we feel, or create an identity for ourselves! I’ve also read more on closet building, thought more on my spending habits and even how I can be a better consumer in the face of fast fashion.

I think the key to living out of an instagram account is finding what truly matters and giving yourself space to build a true persona, rather than a public face and its this type of content you will get to see on the new, re vamped blog – less contrived and a lot more real!

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Until then there is still plenty to see on Instagram and catch up on the last few months before we dive head first into the new! Now if only I could have a well formulated Instagram, that would be great! Anyone have any tips?

therealjlow is back!

no more hiding trjl header

If I had kept count, this is possibly the hundredth, thousandth time of writing this post. I’d written it over and over, and over again until I finally had the one, all neatly tied up on my IPhone. The only problem? I traded it in this weekend – sans iCloud backup.

So now I have a fancy phone but minus this post.

Starting again, here it is, the final version. (I hope)

Why I’m here after so long is to give you an in-email heads up. therealjlow, its coming back.

Finally!

When I left in May a lot of things changed, but as the months moved I still wanted this space. The only issue was, did I want this space in the same way or did I want to make a change?

I decided that a change, ultimately was the best option.

The site as we know it, is about to change. I’ve somehow coerced Josh into helping me make the switch but fingers crossed in a few weeks time the site will be back ( a little revamped possibly) and with its very own domain!

On the other other side I have no idea how much of the existing site is going to come over and whether the email function will stay or not – so while I can I want to make this super simple.

Heres our new domain: www.therealjlow.com (don’t be alarmed – there is nothing there yet!)

If thats not enough for you this is my Insta (lots of travel pics at the moment!) @therealjlow & my twitter handle, @JessicaAbigailL.

So if its too quiet and you think I should have posted something by now, maybe I have and it just hasn’t made it to your inbox – If that is the case keep an eye on twitter – where as normal I will announce every new post swinging your way! (Perhaps multiple times)

In terms of whats going to be appearing on the new site moving forward, the content is going to be a little different and all at once, the same. In essence the site is growing up, moving away from too many simple outfit posts I want this space to encompass more. What that looks like eventually is uncertain, but be certain of something“therealjlow” is back and its going to be good!

Drop me a line if there is anything you want to see!

Speak soon,

Jess

Gymwear & wellness | How our workouts have progressed…

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Top: Next, Bomber Jacket: Next (old) Leggings: Gap, Trainers: New Balance: (Old)_DSC0483_DSC0487

Our exercise journey so far…

Starting a new regime can be quite the adjustment. For us, we went from sitting on the couch and eating terribly to working out every other day, eliminating most sugar and bad foods from our diets and being more conscientious in our day to day decisions.

In a short period of time we have seen a range of changes in our life, from wellness to the beginning of fitness its been an interesting adventure….

Sugar – time to break up?

The most interesting thing has been to see the way our energy levels have been ruined by an over dependance on sugar.

On the days that we go back to bad eating habits (the dreaded cheat days) the day following is never as good, we lack energy and can find ourselves often lethargic. Honestly, the biggest change has been energy levels.

Energy

I honestly thought that I would spend most of my time yawning (A big concern pre joining was… we will be so tired! We won’t have any time!) honestly, that has not been the case. Even better nights at the gym have given me much more energy in the day time, I don’t even yawn as much! Joined up with losing that lethargic feeling my body has felt more peaceful, more aligned if you are into that type of thing.

I believe it must all come down to being more active as ultimately I’ve started giving my body its needs rather than what my brains wants.

What about those cravings?

Pre gym I decided to slowly give up sugar and minimise how much I ate. Was I successful? Not at all, in fact I was quite the opposite. During the days when we had been off of exercising (We managed to get a cold and two sick bugs within the first three weeks) I found it easier to eat badly. Also if we popped off the bandwagon for a weak moment (A night of drinking for example left us eating chips and pasta and the next day left us craving sugar with less resilience) we found it harder to be strong with our healthy eating. However, when we stuck to less food in general, no alcohol and fruit as our sugar source it was much easier and effortless to maintain. In fact perhaps the old adage is true, you don’t miss what you don’t have.

Lessons learnt so far?

  • Always wipe down the gym equiptment
  • Routinely wash your hands after a work out and use the hand sanitisers in the gym throughout your workout
  • Don’t buy bad foods and you won’t eat them
  • Throw out any bad snack foods that are in the house
  • Make sure you have lots of healthy snacks on hand

Whats next?

Honestly whats next is to keep going… You can’t see much change in my body in the photos above but thats another story for another day but I certainly see much change in my mind and myself internally.

Exercising and being dedicated to a slow building programme has been really beneficial to our mental health. Its made us feel so much better about ourselves and even better, its manageable and addictive. That sports high is something I had completely forgotten that I was in love with. Honestly with the repeat injuries I thought I just couldn’t exercise but in reality its just that I needed to find another way to exercise, to reach those highs.

From here it is onwards and upwards! We are increasing our weights, our reps and are continuing to push forward to achieve our healthier living goals. We know its not a quick fix but honestly we feel so much better just showing up, it wouldn’t be possible to stop.

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…

Fashion | The Red Dress, belted at the waist

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Jacket: Zara, old, Red Dress: H&M SS2016, Boots: New Look (old) Belted Dress: Fat Face

Did you know that belting your clothes at the waist might be coming back into fashion? Tell me this a year back and I would probably have bolted a mile but today? Today I am all over belting, whether its my dress, a coat, a fitted skirt and top I don’t care! I’m just loving the chance to give myself a waist for starters!

This time though I intend to belt more responsibly. Before it was custom to wear massive belts which were the size of the current crop top trend and to do so over every outfit regardless, but not this time my friends, not this time . . .

No, this time I am keeping it to skinny belts over longline silhouettes, to dresses that could do with some shape and to jackets to give them something a little more interesting and to detract from the straight up and down style which seems to be everywhere!

Now I need your thoughts, are you up for belting? Or still thinking, hell no!

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.

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

don't lament therealjlow

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.

Blogging behind the scenes | Finding Value

do less with more focus

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Blogging behind the scenes | Finding Value

“Its all too tempting to focus on quantity over quality for the sake of numbers but when it comes to writing a blog, where does the brand start losing its value in the face of ‘keeping up with the Jonses?’”

 

Recently the same topic seems to be resurfacing again and again in different areas of my life and that is thoughts about value.

All too often and specifically with blogging I see bloggers pushing huge quantities of content for the sake of having something new. The only problem with these blogs is they either burn out pretty fast or you find they leave you a little like eating a rice cake. It fills you up for a minute but ultimately has no nutritional value.

It’s the curse of social media, we are constantly being told that we need to be doing something, sharing everything and that our whole world is a movie everyone wants to be a part of. Why this won’t help your blog or brand over all? It’s unsustainable and doesn’t offer lasting value.

Why is value so important? I have wondered the same thing, why do I care? Ultimately I care because its what drives me, my goal if anything with this blog is to give something to you guys that I haven’t found anywhere else.

My mission statement for therealjlow is to live the life I want with the budget I’ve got. You can take that literally or metaphorically. We all deserve to live fantastic lives and those lives should not be pinned down by what the world dictates or what your paycheck says you deserve and that’s my message. That you should feel allowed to live the life you want to without making any excuses, apologies or to feel bad about it.

Therefore providing value is quite literally invaluable. If I just shared my outfits, with no words just to buy links its ultimately hollow. You gain nothing, but if I say I think I can wear this top in a 100 ways you get a bit of value from that. Maybe you’re a busy women and you have a t-shirt but you wear it the same way everyday then this post means you don’t have to settle for that anymore. I’ve helped you. It makes you feel good and it makes me feel good. It gives us value.

Ultimately whether you are a hobby blogger, going it full time or maybe you’re even a business or a brand you need some form of value. It’s the only way your readers or customers will come to you over someone else and sometimes we just have to be a little more patient with our results in order to get the best ones possible.

The point of my waffling post today? Is to go out and find your message, then find a way to share it with value and give back to yourself and your brand. It’s honestly a disservice to do anything less, right?

Therealjlow | Life, Career and blogging. Are you being defined incorrectly?

“We know that the blogging rule book says, be niched, be specific and write for a targeted audience but we are torn between the rules and the inner voice reminding us, we are multifaceted individuals who don’t wish to be hemmed in by one idea or profession” 
If you have ever swotted up on the business of blogging or specifically upping readership you’ll read a lot of the same ideas and the same words; consistency, niche, direction, target audiences . . . It’s the same ideas over and over again and ultimately it’s become a machine.
Why do I have an issue with machine mentality? Doesn’t it make it easier to do when you have guidelines? It does, but I’ve also begun looking forward beyond what’s already been done. To the point that I’m questioning therealjlow and the content I share.
If blogging articles are to be believed I need consistency of content, of scheduling. I need to share content on lots of different platforms, perhaps invest in Adwords, go on my own self hosted site, encourage and engage with brands who I’ll alter content to for cash and ultimately I need to both offer unique insight whilst fitting perfectly within the machine. This is where you’ve lost me.
Ever since I left university I stopped being one dimensional. I was no longer just an events student, I was multidimensional. As I’ve aged it’s only gotten more diverse. I changed to be a marketing executive, a freelancer, a writer, a model, a creator … the list goes on and spans professional me and personal me and it gets to a point where no one role fits.
I’m juggling a lot of hats and as I look around at my friends I see the same reflected in our struggles. We are all dabbling in these many roles and ultimately if I know anything about therealjlow it’s that I want it to be reflective of that very statement at the top of this post.
We are more than a role or a box or a set of rules to success. Blogging may have gotten stale but our ideas haven’t. Our voices only add to the conversation and so why shouldn’t we embrace this in every aspect of our lives?
If I have to tie therealjlow down in 2016 it’s only to this, “therealjlow is reflective of real women across the globe. It is here to inspire our passions, develop our souls and to empower one another in our pursuit of the most creative, healthiest and happiest lives that we can imagine.”
I’ve grown to realise that the idea of specific content is irrelevant for now. The name alone allows me this opportunity and my internal refusal to play by the rules lets me take the risk that maybe I won’t pass the entrance to reward style any time soon but maybe I don’t want to be in the cool gang. Maybe like all of you reading this, I’m standing alone and I’m doing it my way and those blogging guidelines worked for some but they won’t hold me. 

Until next time . . .

therealjlow | Be Brave.

This is the scariest of all blog posts to write and publish ever.

I feel nervous and scared and like I might never make it back here but for some reason I also know that this is a necessary step in my growth, the blogs growth and in mine and Joshes health.

As you know this summer was taken over by house drama.

From having a landlord literally pull the rug from with under our feet, to the struggle, which is purchasing a property. We didn’t stop this summer, not for one second and now as the nights draw in I know in my heart that that was somewhat of a mistake.

On top of all this I really wanted to finally overhaul the blog. I wanted to pull it in the direction, which is important to me. Which is helping women like me see how they can live the life they want on the budget they’ve got without the limitation we so often feel is placed on us.

What I hadn’t thought about however, was how me as a person affects this blog content.

Last year the blog was highly driven by the ideas behind a capsule wardrobe and I loved them and I had the time to dedicate to their development but honestly with a new house, new responsibilities both at home and at my day job the blog (I feel) is suffering.

I had to ask myself a big question last Sunday morning and that was this, can I offer girls in my situation help when I’m not really giving it to myself (and my husband to be)? Can I create great content when I’m strapped for time and feeling overwhelmed? No, I can’t and you and I deserve the time and we deserve space from all those external influences that hurt us and to do that I need to take a break.

I have bounced back and forth on this, do I go the whole way until 2016 do I do a weekend and I think the reality is sporadic posting.

If you’ve ever read a book on how to blog successfully you’ll read consistency, consistency is key! The only problem with that is sometimes you have four days worth of content and sometimes you have none and what I want to avoid is that panic, last minute content that you’re not happy with. So I will keep the days I post on now (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday & Friday) and keep the same content on those days but whether I have content for that every week will be the kicker.

So for you guys what does that mean? It means that likely it will be like that until December. I do have plans for Halloween, a friends Christmas, some food posts and I know that I won’t realistically be able to stay away from outfit photos and fashion thoughts, I just don’t want to have to feel as if I have to get content out. I will keep to the same posting as well so personal style posts are on Monday, fashion thoughts and shopping on Tuesday, food on Wednesday and house/wedding/make up/the business of blogging and beauty on Friday!

Behind the scenes don’t think I will just be resting. I will still be busy planning content getting ahead of myself and working out realistically how I can turn this blog from a wordpress.com to simply, therealjlow.com. I’ve been looking into Bluehost and wordpress.org so I could really do with your guys help and thoughts on how to make this switch as cheaply and as pain free as possible!

I’m also going to be keeping a beady eye on the best and most unobtrusive way to introduce sponsors and advertisers simply to pay for that hosting cost so if you’re a girl whose taken that on and hasn’t turned their blog into full on advertising central I want to know!!!! One of the things that annoys me the most about certain blogs is when they turn into a full on advertising platform. They introduce ads in the middle of posts and I just hate it. On the otherside I also do not like this trend for Old Navy sponsored posts. Why do these girls (who more than often don’t ever wear stuff that cheap) completely overhaul their blog for this? I just don’t feel that several posts a week for one brand is a good representation of your blog in general but also we all know you don’t wear that? I don’t know it just bugs me and I think if it bugs me, its going to bug you guys and that just goes against the grain for me! So leave all your thoughts below on that!

But back to my decision, the next few months are going to be about only the stuff I really, really want to share with you all! It’s going to be seasonal and I hope exciting! I also think that this will give me the time to really refine the message that I want to give and just be better.

So here’s to the next phase of therealjlow! And don’t forget I am all over social media so pop by, say hi! Talk to me about how you like blogs working, about advertising hate, content preferences, you name it tell me I want to hear!!!!

therealjlow@hotmail.co.uk

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