Blogging 101: A couple of tips...

April 30, 2011

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One of the emails I get from readers most often is something along the lines of "how do I get more readers to my blog?", "how did you get your blog known?", or "how do I keep readers interested enough to come back to my blog?" As the slogan reads, "a couple of tips which may or may not help you on your way to writing a successful blog" because honestly i'm far from a blogging expert. That said, I will throw in my two-cents about what *I* think makes a good blog because I do like to read other blogs and theres always that something that keeps me coming back to certain blogs. I really can't stress it enough that i'm not a know-it-all, and my blog is still a baby in comparison to many, but I hope this will at least help one person who is new to the blogging world!

DO blog for you. Its very easy to tell when someone is writing about a subject they have no interest in. I know that everyone wants a "successful" blog and wants to keep their readers interested, but your heart has to be in it.


DON'T feel pressured to keep up a certain standard or improve your content when you gain X amount of readers, its important to remember they followed your blog for a reason - they liked it how it is! If you decide to change things, do it for YOU.


DO update when you want to. Similar tip to the others but I don't update as much as other bloggers. I honestly don't have something to say every single day and don't dress up every day either. I don't want to fill my blog with posts that mean nothing to me.


DON'T feel pressured to write about one certain topic. I began with just fashion-related posts and recently began my "Friday Favorites" series and I have received a positive response about it. Its your blog so don't limit yourself! There are endless topics to post about.


DO interact with your readers. You don't have to become BFF's but it doesn't hurt to drop by their blogs now and then. I have quite a few followers on twitter who read my blog, I always tweet back!


DON'T feel that you have to pay for advertising on other blogs/websites to gain followers. I never signed up for paid advertising and I haven't promoted my blog anywhere. I just comments on blogs that I enjoy.


DO comment on blogs you enjoy. Some people say its a bad idea to leave your link at the bottom of a comment but I have done so since I started blogging (I'm lazy and do it for the benefit of other lazy people because bloggers commenting system is terrible!)


DON'T take advantage of 007 by leaving comments like "nice blog. follow me? ill follow you back. please follow me. follow 4 follow. www.myblognameandurlhere.com oh and im having a giveaway. please enter. tell all of your readers to enter www.giveawayurl.com oh and make sure you follow me!!!!" I'm pretty sure such comments tick off 99.9% of bloggers.


DO have a nice, easy-to-navigate theme. I edited mine from one of Bloggers basic codes and *I think* its easy for people to find their way around my blog! Its annoying to find a really good blog that is designed badly and takes half an hour to find what you're looking for!


DON'T get discouraged if you lose a follower after a certain post. There will always be people who unfollow for many reasons but for every follower you lose, in time you will gain a new follower and a couple extra!


DO share what you feel comfortable with. I don't write about my personal life - my friends, what I do every day, my job, my family - nothing! My friends are mostly men who don't have an interest in fashion/blogs, plus I just don't think the internet needs to know what I ate for lunch and danced to in the club on Saturday night. Its YOUR call how much you share, nobody will resent you for wanting to keep your private life private.


DON'T start a blog because you want free things. Yes, many bloggers get approached by companies to review products, some even get paid to write the review. But honestly, this should not be one of the things that pops into your head when you think of the positive side of blogging. I have been blogging almost one year and have not made any money from my blog. I have reviewed products from two companies and turned down over a dozen, simply because the products don't appeal to me or my readers. Its fine to review products and earn money from your blog, but it shouldn't be the main reason behind creating a blog!


And of course the obvious tips should be: ♥ Don't clutter your blog layout with a million advertisements and random pictures ♥ High quality images are always a plus - cropped, in focus, bright and not distracting ♥ If you use images from another source, always include a credit link back to their webpage/blog ♥ Don't give up if you haven't got lots of readers straight away, if you believe in your blog then stick with it and network as much as possible ♥ Haters come with blogging, you're putting yourself "out there" so, as sad as this may sound, you have to expect mean comments. Don't let them get you down! For every hater there will be hundreds of lovely people. ♥ Never compare your blog to other blogs. Similar to what I said in a recent post about being comfortable with your body - there will always be someone with more followers, better pictures, a lavish lifestyle, etc. You are you.. and that is special enough. :) ♥ ENJOY your blog! Blogging is incredible and I really can't imagine my life without it. I have talked to so many interesting girls (and even a couple of men!) from all over the world, whom I never would have known had it not been for my little blog!


xoxo

OOTD: Smells like teen spirit

April 28, 2011

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Dress: Topshop *** Belt: Dunnes *** Cardigan: Primark *** Shoes: Primark *** Ring: Miss Selfridge

The dress I wore today is one from my recent Topshop "haul" video. It makes me feel almost like a schoolgirl again (hence the title, I was a bit Nirvana-obsessed back in my school days!) Unfortunately the top part is quite see through so I had to wear a basic white tank top underneath. The lines underneath really bother me but its better than my boobs being on show! I really wanted to wear it with a red cardigan and sadly this is my only one. It's very old (at least five years, eek!) and the fit is very awkward. Now that color blocking and bright colors are "in", i'll have to keep a look out for a nice red cardigan!

I am still awaiting my appointment for the dermatologist. I know it has only been a couple of weeks since my doctor spoke to me about it but I am so impatient! I really want to get it all sorted out as soon as possible. I trimmed my hair yesterday but I just feel like its pointless because no matter how much I cut off the ends, it still looks unhealthy! I also lost quite a bit a couple of mornings ago after I got out of the shower, i'm hoping its just a side effect of the birth control i'm on (the box lists hair loss as a side effect, kind of defeats the purpose of why my doctor put me on it, huh!) and won't happen again.

So tomorrow is April 29 2011, quite a big day in history with this whole "Royal Wedding" shebang. I, like half of the world, am quite excited...but for a different reason. Tomorrow is the wedding, meaning the media will stop taunting us with ~royal wedding breaking news~ and ~what will Kate wear~,etc. soon enough. Finally! I honestly don't care about it. I might feel differently if I was from the UK...well, probably not if i'm honest! What is the point of a Queen/Royal Family in 2011 anyways?! I feel like a Debbie Downer but i'm really not their biggest fan, especially after learning that the (UK's) Queen has decided to visit Ireland and we will be paying a whopping €25 million for it. At a time when our economy is struggling and many families are living in poverty, that €25 million could be much better spent. Its not like she can't afford to pay her own way, i'm sure that kind of money is like pennies to her...

What are your thoughts on the Royal Wedding? Yay or nay?

Hope you all are enjoying your week so far!

PS. Massive thank-you's to everyone who bought things from my blog sale! I shipped all of the packages yesterday.

xoxo

Shop my closet.. its a blog sale!

April 25, 2011

Hey everyone, I finally got all of the images uploaded for my blog sale. My external hard drive decided to die before the weekend (typical!) and then Easter happened so I was a little bit sidetracked. Please note there is quite a lot of images under the cut, so if any of you lovelies are still using dial up - beware! xoxo





click here to view all of the items and if you are interested in something just leave a comment on this entry! ♥

OOTD: tonight we'll come alive

April 21, 2011

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Dress: Primark *** Cardigan: New Look *** Shoes: Love Label *** Bracelet: Primark *** Necklace: River Island *** Belt: Miss Selfridge

Hey everyone! I have been a huge slacker blog-wise lately, whoops. I tend to blog late at night (I almost always update at 11pm or later) and have been going to bed most nights at 9pm so I just slipped out of my routine I suppose, i'm back anyhow! Going to bed earlier has been helping me be a little more productive because I have started working out again! I was pretty bad at keeping up with my routine during the winter and although I am not bothered about losing weight, I really want to work on getting my calves toned up again. I run for an hour every morning when I wake at 6.30/7am and its such a great way to begin the day.

Todays outfit is just a little dress I picked up at Primark a couple of months ago when the store looked ruffle-overdosed (always a good thing in my opinion!) Its one of those dresses with a fitted elastic waist which makes it really awkward for me to wear, such dresses always sit awkwardly around my waist. I think my waist is much higher than the mannequins/models Primark base their dresses on! Paired it with some heels from Love Label (purchased via Littlewoods) I won't lie, these shoes make me feel sexy, something that is incredibly hard for me as I do "cute" better... But my gosh, they sure are the most uncomfortable shoes ever. I still put a smile on my face and tried not to cry when I felt my toes eating each other..the things I do for pretty shoes!

I have decided to sell some of my dresses (and other things...!) I am a little short on money and completely forgot about a bill I have to clear before the end of this month. I had a blog sale in the past but a lot of people couldn't buy things because I was only accepting bank transfers however my friend has agreed to add my email address to her Paypal account so I can use it for this once! I am not 100% sure on which items i'll be selling yet but if anyone wants to buy anything in particular that I have worn on my blog, feel free to shoot me an email or tweet! Otherwise watch this space as i'll probably make a post with all of the items this weekend.

xoxo

Interviewed

April 16, 2011

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I mentioned recently that Robyn interviewed me for her website which is a university project and also her entry for The Young Journalist Award this summer (good luck lady!) The whole interview is quite long, it seems that once I start talking I can't stop! I really enjoyed it so I wanted to share my answers with all of you. On to the interview..


Robyn: As a plus size blogger, have you ever felt discriminated against?
Me: Not really, which is surprising to most people. When I first tell people about my blog they assume my reader base is made up of fellow plus sized ladies, but I get emails from girls who are a size 6 to 26 and beyond! There was one time that I felt a little discriminated against, but at the same time I was given a great opportunity so I shrugged it off. A brand I am a huge fan of asked me to review their plus sized line which began at size UK 20. I do consider myself a plus sized girl but I am size 16-18 and fit into their "normal" sizes so it bothered me a little at first. It wasn't a huge deal though and I do label my blog a "fatshion" blog so its probably my own fault!

Robyn: Your blog is inspiring, have you ever received any really complimentary feedback from other young girls?
Me: Absolutely! Its both incredibly flattering and slightly scary at the same time. Incredibly flattering as someone has taken time from their day to send me a nice message. That said, I get slightly scared when people ask me for advice. Afterall, i'm just a regular girl - no fashion degree and I lasted only a few weeks in my first and only job in a clothing store! I do try to help people as best I can, I always tell girls to trust their own judgment at the end of my response, though. Its pointless to give a girl tips on what to wear to flatter her figure if she doesn't feel confident in it.

Robyn: Have you ever received any particularly nasty comments or emails?
Me: Of course, I think just about every blogger has. When I first started blogging I had enabled the option for users to leave a comment anonymously, so users who weren't signed up to blogger could leave a comment too. Someone decided to leave me a rather rude comment saying I did a bad job at photoshopping my legs - or something along those lines. It hurt me at first as I hadn't altered my body in any of my photographs (I have an apple shaped body so I carry most of my weight in my midsection and so my proportions aren't very good) but I realized that I was getting far more positive comments than rude, so I didn't let that scare me away from blogging. The internet is just like real life, there will always be people who don't like you. I try not to dwell on it, if someone doesn't like me or my blog they don't have to read it, I won't be offended. I do appreciate all of my readers but I understand that its not everyone's cup-of-tea!

Robyn: Do you feel a pressure from your peers, or the fashion industry to look a certain way?
Me: Not really. I definitely used to though. During my pre-teen years I gained quite a bit of weight which didn't bother me until I started reading teen magazines at age 12 or so. All of the magazines had pretty models with perfectly straight blonde hair, huge eyelashes, slim figures and pretty clothes - and those girls were my age yet I looked nothing like them. In my late teens I was a size UK 12 (US 8) and was a follower of the emo/scene trends. Everyone liked to say they were an individual and unique back then, but really we were all just trying to out-do each other with wacky hair colors, piercings, and "different" clothes. Nowadays I don't really care about little things like that so much. If I looked how the industry wants girls to look, I would be 5'10, 90lbs, sunken jaws and eyes that look like they need sleep. I'm happy which is the most important thing, plus I quite like my chubby cheeks!

Robyn: Talking to Caryn Franklin of the ‘All Walks’ campaign she states that within the fashion industry “All these girls are from 5 foot 10 to 6 foot 1 and a minuscule size 8, they could easily be a size 12 without making any real changes to how the designers would work”. Is this something you would like to see happen, and do you think it would?
Me: Would I like to see it happen? Most definitely! Do I think its going to happen in the near future? Unfortunately not. I hate to be negative about this subject but having size 12 girls walk a catwalk for a mainstream fashion house isn't going to happen soon. Crystal Renn walked for Chanel last fall but that was after she had lost a lot of weight, Karl Lagerfeld didn't have her walk when she was plus sized. I do hope there will be a day when we will see catwalks filled with women who represent real bodies, of every shape and size.

Robyn: Looking at the issues of weight, race and height the high end fashion industry has become very set in its idea of beauty. However when it comes to the high street and blogging there already seems to be a change, how far would you agree with this?
Me: I agree for the most part. There is one thing that high end fashion and the blogosphere share in common though - pretty girls always gain the most exposure. I have stumbled upon a few blogs where the blogger rarely wrote a full paragraph, just filled their blog with pictures, yet had thousands of followers. I do think the blogging world is more open minded than the fashion industry though. After all, i'm a size 16-18, 5ft 4inches, and not the prettiest girl in the world yet I have quite a large number of readers.

Robyn: Young women seem to think they need to constantly worry about some part of their appearance, that they aren’t good enough, because of media portrayals of the ideal beauty. How far do you agree with this?
Me: I think the media can be more harmful than the fashion industry at the best of times. Pick up any magazine aimed at women and the titles on the front cover will read "how to lose weight", "tips for dressing slimmer", "how to contour your face with makeup to look better", among other similar stories. Many women probably wouldn't have thought about making their nose appear smaller with make-up or toning their belly because it isn't washboard-flat, had it not been for those magazines. Television is quite similar with its many commercials for diet pills, affordable hair dyes endorsed by celebrities who have hair stylists work on their hair for hours before they make the commercial, etc. I don't remember the last time I purchased a magazine simply because they bring you down. You are reminded at least 100 times throughout the 80-or-so pages that you aren't good enough unless you change who you are. They're wrong.

Robyn: Is there anything you would like to say to young girls who are insecure about their beautiful healthy bodies?
Me: You are so much more than the size tag on your favorite dress. When you don't feel pretty, remember that how you look outside is just a shell, inside there is a whole personality just waiting to shine. Its a cliche thing to say and can be hard to believe when you're feeling down - but a unique, interesting, personality is far more rare than a pretty face or slim figure. Have a belly? Don't hate it, it works hard every time you eat. Hate your large calves? At least you have legs, many people lose theirs in tragic accidents. Life is too short to be caught up on looks, don't focus on the things you don't have and be happy with the things you do have. I think everyone is beautiful, I will look at someone with a large nose and although they hate it, I think it just gives them more character. Or someone who has an apple shape (such as myself), while the pear shape may be the most desired, apple shapes usually have strong, shapely legs and arms so appreciate that. We'll always find someone prettier, thinner, taller, stronger, better, if we look..so don't. Even the celebrity you dream of looking like has flaws and hates certain things about her body. We all have flaws, don't get caught up on yours because life is too short to waste.


xoxo

Friday Favorites

April 15, 2011




(pic credits: 1 * 2 * 3 * 4 * 5 * 6 * 7 * 8 * 9)


♥ [one] ♥ Fresh flowers - I am on a flower "kick" lately. Aldi and Lidl have a really nice selection of affordable flowers in store right now. I like to place them in windows throughout the house to add a hint of color (and prettiness!) to each room.
♥ [two] ♥ Grilled cheese sandwiches - Or "toasted cheese" as most people around these parts call 'em! They have made up 2/3 of my meals for the past month. Not exactly the healthiest thing to eat often but they're tasty, filling and quick to make.
♥ [three] ♥ Daydreaming of being on the beach - It probably won't be "beach weather" here until August but a girl can dream! I can't wait to feel the sand in my toes, breeze in my hair and sun on my skin.
♥ [four] ♥ Freckles - I love them. I currently have the grand total of....one freckle on my face. My siblings get many more than me during the summer which i'm rather jealous of. Keeping my fingers crossed that I will get plenty when the sun decides to come around again.
♥ [five] ♥ Making summer plans - Making plans is half of the fun! At least it is to me. I love to plan things, which is probably a bad thing most of the time. Even if i'm planning something 6 months in advance, i'll be happy. I am currently trying to decide my list of "must do" things for this summer.
♥ [six] ♥ Days in the countryside - At the present time I am a town/city gal for sure. That said, its pretty hard to beat a nice day in the countryside. My grandma lives deep in the countryside, no other houses in sight. Its so nice to sit in her garden on the swing, surrounded by her flower garden and just breathe in the country air! I sound like a boring old lady but its nice to take time to just stop and enjoy the moment!
♥ [seven] ♥ Dreamcatchers - Anyone else love these? Necklaces, wall decorations, printed tshirts..if theres a dreamcatcher, I want it!
♥ [eight] ♥ Milkybars - The only chocolate worth eating in my opinion! I think the sweetshop man is beginning to think i'm special - I treat myself once a month and always get the same thing.. "one milky bar and a rainbow dust stick please!"
♥ [nine] ♥ Britney - I have been a Britney fan since I was eight or nine years old and I must say, I am really enjoying her new music! I dislike how the media are putting so much pressure on her for not being "old Britney". They seem to forget she has had two failed marriages, two little children and a breakdown that lasted for quite a while. I kind of wish she would "retire" and enjoy the rest of her life privately, I think she would be happier. I say that as a fan!


Also loving this song which I just have to share:


Have a great weekend!

xoxo

OOTD: All of my love, all of my kissin'

April 13, 2011

" All of my love - all of my kissin', you don't know what you've been a-missin' " - Buddy Holly

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Top: Topshop *** Cardigan: Topshop *** Skirt: Dunnes *** Shoes: Dunnes *** Ring: Topshop *** Bracelets: Forever 21 *** Hairband: Primark

Hello my lovelies! It has been a little while since my last outfit post, I apologize. I picked up this wonderful little cardigan in Topshop recently. I wasn't too sure about the off-white color at first but after trying it on and feeling how soft the knit material was, I knew I had to have it. I feel somewhat like I belong in the 1950s (my favorite era) when I wear it! Not sure why, it just reminds me of the style of cardigans back then. I was tempted to watch La Bamba and Grease all day while overusing "gee whiz".

A couple of days ago I made a video of my most recent Topshop "haul". Usually when I shop there I pick up 2-3 pieces at most (I love it but its incredibly expensive, especially in Ireland!) but I needed some nice new clothes for Spring/Summer and decided to treat myself. I still feel incredibly strange making videos of myself but I think this one is a little less awkward than my previous attempts! I'm not 100% happy with the video, I think my face looks "chalky" (does that even make sense?) and i'm one of those people who hate the sound of their own voice, cringe! Plus the background music came out louder than it should have but I didn't want to re-do the whole thing. Sorry!



PS. I recently did an interview with the lovely Robyn for her final major project at university. The piece I am included in is titled "All Walks Beyond The Catwalk" and covers topics such as the fashion industry, the blog world, and being a plus sized gal. You can read it here: click. The whole article is really worth a read!
If you ladies would like me to post the full interview here just let me know! Obviously Robyn couldn't use everything I said for her article (I gave long responses to each question!) but I think its something you everyone would enjoy, regardless of your size or views on the industry.

xoxo