Saturday, 29 December 2012

#My2012

A note from Joelle...
Below is a monthly break-down of my year. I have summarised all the highs (and lows) of 2012. It is completely honest and uncensored. I would love to know what you think!
JAN: Trying haggis for the first time in Harrods|FEB: My 18th birthday| MAR:Making Oreo truffles|APR: Mt Etna erupting| MAY: Diamond Jubilee| JUN: Moving away from home| JUL: New friends at uni| AUG: Supporting Team GB in the Olympics| SEPT: Meeting Jo Elvin| OCT: View from beach| NOV: Magazine Launch| DEC: Christmas!

January
I promised myself that this year would be different from all the others. I would not let myself be walked over any more and would not take any crap from anyone. With that said, I wanted to make this the year where I help people get closer to their dreams/goals. Even if I wasn't that close of a friend with them or they didn't want me help, I wanted to to realise their true potential and give them a little push in the right direction.
That sounds like a really odd thing to do, but that's just me, I guess! 
At the beginning of this year I just wanted to get through the last few months of Sixth form college and leave. I spent more time working in the library than I did seeing my friends and that did affect my relationships with people. I found it really hard to revise and new that I had to ace these exams if I wanted a place at uni. Even though I got all 5 university offers, I was still really worried that I was not good enough.

February
I celebrated the first year of my blog on the 7th, which, being me, I completely forgot!
I also turned the milestone age of 18 at the end of the month, which felt amazing. It turns out that I share my birthday with Elizabeth Taylor and er... Peter Andre!
March
I got my January exam results and got ABC. I had to retake the C in June and also retake all of AS music modules. I then had to sit my Grade 8 flute exam, which I was not ready for (I was very ill!). 
April
I went to Sicily on a geography school trip. It was amazing and I got to spend time with people outside my normal friendship group. It was here that realised that I did make the right decision choosing geology as my university degree. OH, and Mount Etna erupted while we were on it... just a casual thing!
My mum texted me in the Sicilian airport to say that I passed my Grade 8 flute exam! I was so happy to finally achieve that after almost a decade of playing the flute!
I also went to my first ever blogger event. It was the Very DeeVee blogger event, where I met the coolest bloggers around plus the Very team and Miss Diana Vickers herself!  I did miss a lesson at college for it, but it was so worth it!
May
Not much happened in this month to be honest with you. It was the Diamond Jubilee and everyone seemed to be more patriotic and just happier. It seemed like old tensions between religions, races and lifestyles were forgotten for a while.

June
This was the most difficult moth of my life this year. Not only did the thought of failing my final A Level Summer exams loom over me, a day after my final exam I moved to Scotland. I hardly got to see my friends from college/school and had to leave straight away. On the plane flying over Northern Scotland, it looked bleak, really grey and wet. I was right about the rain, but people were so much more friendly up there than in the south of England. 
I met my five flatmates and started lectures. Despite the weather, I really loved the beginning of the university experience.
July
So much stuff happened this month, but I'll keep it sort and sweet: it did not start off great as I was hit in the face but a drunken wasteman and my head missed a concrete step by about an inch. It was an accident, but the little prick never apologised to me and my friend. I confronted him about 5 minutes before the term ended and said I forgave him. He looked embarrassed ans stunned, which I found very entertaining! Thank God my hair extensions cushioned the fall and my friends looked after me! After that, myself and a friend were completely alienated from our 'friends' because they didn't want us to report the guy. But as I don't take any crap from anyone, we did it anyway and fought back, mainly with kindness. The thing is: people like that think they are so cool and hard and they try to belittle and scare people who think are weaker than them. 
To cut a long story short, the foul-mouthed ringleader of this little group lost all her friends and became the subject of ridicule as everyone turned against her. At the beginning I couldn't give a shit because she was a nightmare to live with, but then I felt sorry for her and started to kill her with kindness - that completely destroyed her; always does with people like that!
August
This month, I worked tirelessly to complete all my work and hopefully get into my first choice university. I GOT IN! That meant that I could get rid of my Keele offer and finally study where I really wanted to go in Scotland. I was really happy, but ready to come home to London. It was sad to know that some awesome people I met over the last three months would not be joining me in September, but I knew that we would stay in touch.
September
It was good to know that I already knew people at university, so I wouldn't be a total loner during the first few weeks. Fresher's Week was amazing and I joined lot of societies (which I didn't know I had to pay for!). As for my flatmates, they are really cool girls. We are all from different countries, which I think is awesome. I am so lucky to be living with people that I like, lots of my other friends have had a few difficulties with their this term!
October
I'm not going to lie, this month was such a blur. It was my first full month in uni, and I LOVED it! People on my courses, accommodation and societies were all awesome. I went out write a bit but always seemed to manage to make it into my 9am lectures on time.
I'm sure I'm missing lots of stuff, but I honestly do not remember this month very well!
November
I was in way over my head with assessments, essays, reports, practicals and class tests - I honestly wanted to give up and go home. Two of my course module were boring the hell out of me, so I hardly went to those lectures in this month.
I came home for my little sister's birthday and spent time in London with two of my best friends. We went to see the Tim Walker Exhibition and it was amazing. I then stayed up to watch the Jenny Packham Bridal Show and I honestly fell in love with all of them.
The build up to the holidays was the only thing getting me through the hard work I think!
I also launched my first issue of TruffleDust Magazine - just a little mini-mag for bloggers about everything from fashion to lifestyle and blogger interviews. It was well received  but I will be making LOTS of changed for the next issue in January 2013.
December
I had a few more uni tests to do and became exempt from sitting two January Exams! YES! It is such a relief, that I now only have two exams to sit in the new year. My journey down to London from Northern Scotland was around 8 hours, but I LOVED the journey on the train.
I have spent the majority of this month back in London, surrounded by friends and family. It has been brilliant and really fun. 
The lead up to Christmas and Christmas Day was so good. And now I can't wait for new year's! 
I am so excited for what 2013 has to offer! So raise a glass to the New Year, I hope it's even more amazing than this year!
Now over to you! If you have a similar round up of your year or any things that have made your year, please use the #My2012 tag on twitter to show your stuff! I'm at @joelle_o if you want to send your link to me.
I want to RT them all! 
Happy New Year! :)
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Friday, 28 December 2012

Christmas Outfit

 A note from Joelle...
                                                     ♫ ♪   Fairytale Of New York - The Pogues
Happy holidays everyone! I hope your Christmas was great and you got to spend time with your loved ones. 
This is just a quick post to show you what I wore on the big day. I WILL be doing more personal style posts in the new year, once my camera decides to love me and stay charged for more than 5 minutes!
Aztec Blazer - Primark
Purple Pussybow Blouse - Rare 
Mini skirt- H&M 
I kept it really simple this year, nothing fancy. I was in the kitchen helping to cook, so I didn't want to ruin brand new clothes. The Aztec blazer was £12 and the Skirt was £3.99 and I got them in late November. 
The sleeveless blouse added a deep burst of colour to the outfit, as I didn't want to wear just black and white any more! The blazer is actually a mixture of Aztec and Fairisle print so it's kind of Christmasy, right?


So what did you wear on Christmas Day? Let me know below! :)
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Tuesday, 25 December 2012

And The Bells Are Ringing Out For Christmas Day

A note from Joelle...
Hi everyone! As you can probably guess, this is an automatic post today, as I am spending time with my family and having a jolly old time! I just wanted to let you know that I hope that you have an awesome day and get to be with the people that you love. 
I also hope that you enjoy your presents, good company, music and the Christmas food (of course!)
It's great to also remember the true meaning of Christmas, that we are actually celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ - not just getting presents!
I love knowing about Christmas in different countries and your traditions! Let me know what your Christmas is like!
Happy holidays, you beauties!
Joelle
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Monday, 24 December 2012

The Knitwear Before Christmas

A note from Joelle...
                   ♫ ♪ Warm This Winter - Gabriella Cilmi 
Like my little pun in the title? That took me a good 30 seconds to come up with - world record punning time!
Moving swiftly on... I LOVE winter knits: jumpers, leggings, cardigan, bobble hats, tights and even skirts!
They not only keep you warm but, you look cheery, festive and chic as well.
As a female I recommend you invest in all of the following in order to stay merry, chic and warm this winter!

The Cable knit cardigan - These are so cosy and well-fitted for all shapes. I thought they were really old-fashioned back in the day but this season, they are just perfect to wear around the house and for the casual festive trips, out and about!
First two are from Republic, third from ASOS: 1, 2, 3

The Knitted Leggings - Mine are from Boohoo two years ago, and I have just bought a similar one from FD Avenue. Check out my picks below.

1, 2, 3


The Woolly Hat - my bobble hat is from Sweden, but have a look at some cool ones below!

All from ASOS: 1, 2, 3
All the shops that I have featured above now have online sales! So when you are full up on turkey and mulled wine, check then out!
Merry Christmas!
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Sunday, 23 December 2012

The 'Deen Scene: Offset 57 Exhibition

A note from Joelle...
For the next few years while I am up in Aberdeen, I will be letting you all know about the cool events going on in the city. I've called this feature 'The 'Deen Scene' and will keep you posted on my whereabouts! When I fist got here in June, I honestly thought that it could never match up to the bright lights of London. I thought the events and city life would be awful - I am glad to say that I was wrong!
So, I will include music, art, culture and dining in the feature so I hope you enjoy this post and the future 'Deen Scene goodness! 

In late November, a friend and I rocked up to an art exhibition at the Academy Shopping Centre. This is a pop-up exhibition run by the Robert Gordon University students, and will be on show until the end of December.
The exhibition has taken over two shop spaces and is crammed with shaped cardboard, art doodles on the wall (that you can contribute to!) and visual motion picture art. As I went on the launch night, there was plenty of alcohol and a DJ (who played the most random music - ever). 
Right, on to the art: It was all right - not to sure about the cardboard bit-and-bobs to be honest. I loved the jewellery and even picked up the business cards of the designers  They were kitsch and retro, which I am really fascinated in. The handmade Christmas cards and T-shirts that are on sale incredible as well! It is easy to see how passionate and creative the students are.

I have to admit, the reception was cold and a bit chaotic - there was no real structure to the event, which was a tad bit odd. I felt a bit out of place, as I came as a blogger and not an art student. People were standing and having a chat in the entrance and refused to let my friend and I through or even acknowledged our presence! Then I realised that all the students were dressed the same: the arty student look with the oversized jumpers, red lippy, hair either back-combed or in top ballerina bun, etc. As chic as they all looked, I did not appreciated the odd stares at my choice of attire: just a simple blue jumper and leggings! 
I realised that the art scene is incredible cliquey and odd from this point on. It was like being at high school all over again, so we only stayed for about 45 minuets, then left to get food!

Overall, I did enjoy the artwork on display - the jewellery the most. I even took some business cards so I could remember the names. More work needs to go into presentation and social awareness however, as visitors that were not members of the art department were not made to feel welcome. With that said, this is a great exhibition and the artists are very talented. 
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Saturday, 22 December 2012

All Back, Everything: Is Back Detail The New Cleavage?

A note from Joelle...
                               ♫ ♪ Sexy Back - Justin Timberlake (cringey, but it gets my point across) 
I started to write this post back in November, but then realised that the trend was not as big as I thought back then. I kept it in the draft file just in case it became more and more prominent on the catwalk and red carpet in the beginning of the Winter season. And boy, was I right! Plunging/open back dresses are everywhere at the moment and I don't think it will slow down any-time soon.
I think that it is so much better for women to show a slightly bare back instead of your cleavage, for obvious reasons. But hey, that's my opinion. I just find it more chic and can give a boost to your jewellery and/or hairstyle. Open and plunging back dresses have been worn by the likes of Kristin Stewart (at Twilight premières Elizabeth Banks, Rihanna and more!
There is just something more mysterious yet really elegant about open back detail instead of exposing your cleavage these days. What do you think?

These dresses don't even have to cost a fortune! I have found some from both luxury and high street brands. Enjoy!
Click the numbers below!
1|2|3|4|5|6
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Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Style Inspiration: The Nutcracker Ballet

A note from Joelle...
                                                  ♫ ♪ Waltz Of The Flowers - PI Tchaikovsky
source
According to Google, today marks the 120th anniversary of Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker. It's the only ballet where you will see and army of mice, rats and toy soldiers marching/prancing around.
I saw The Nutcracker for the first time in the mid-90s when a Russian Ballet company toured in London. I was only about 2/3, but still twirled in the aisles with other children (whom were complete strangers!). 
 Back then I was in love with the ballet dancing, festive costumes and than giant Christmas tree that appears on stage in the first scene. Now for the past five or so years, it's been about the music. Tchaikovsky is one of my favourite Romantic composers as he used the most beautiful instruments (like harps, triangles and celestas) to express the festive feeling of the ballet. The 'Dance of the SugarPlum Fairy' (I'm sure you'll know the tune if you YouTube it!) and the Waltz of the Flowers' are my favourite extracts from the ballet as the music is simply incredible!
If you have never seen it, the full show is usually shown on Channel 4 or ITV in the lead up to Christmas! If ballets usually bore you, this one won't!
Enough about music, I have created Nutcracker-inspired outfits for the festive season. We all know that high ballerina buns and glitter is in for this season, so why not complete the look with a ballet-themed outfit?

Look One: SugarPlum Fairy 


Look Two: Prima Ballerina


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Saturday, 15 December 2012

Every Girl Needs A 'BBB' (Big Black Bag)

A note from Joelle...
Just a quick post for you!
I felt like I needed to treat myself to a new leather bag. Well it's not treat, my trusted cream tote I bought from Asos 3 years ago was on it's last legs, so I was in serious need of a strong bag for my uni books!
I just bought THIS bag and it got me thinking that every girl needs a bag like this. Big, black and really sturdy (to fit all our female goods in without fear of busting the zip or weakening the handles!). This baby is now my favourite bag and I use it for outings in town and also for university, so it's pretty versatile.
The pockets of large totes are so handy too, for the personal items that you don't want to accidentally slip out of you bag! My Marc b bag is great, but I thought it would've come with a body strap. I find it a bit more practical, rather that hooking it onto my arm all the time - It's tiring stuff!
I have LOVED Marc b for about two years now and came across it when I was looking for a new purse. I love that their products are designer quality, at affordable prices!
Myself with the Ruby Marc b bag!
Large Ruby bag from Marc b.
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Thursday, 13 December 2012

Style File #7: Birdy

A note from Joelle...
                 ♫ ♪ 'People, Help The People'  - Birdy (my favourite song from her album!)
*This post was meant to go up in JULY, but I felt that I needed to find out even more about her style in order to build up a decent profile. 
Here real name is Jasmine Van Den Bogaerde and she is a 16 year-old British singer/songwriter. I bought her album last year and it is stunning! I loved her style the minute I saw the album cover! Her voice is amazing too - really mature and full of soul! 
I was watching the Burberry catwalk show (online) during London Fashion Week in September, and then the piano intro of 'People, Help The People' began to play! I was so happy because she fits in with the brand's image so well! I then heard her voice and realised she must've been singing LIVE at the show, which was brilliant!
Her style is quintessentially British, with soft colours, with bursts of busy print now-and-then. This style is actually really hard to pull of, but Birdy does it effortlessly with her natural beauty and elegance.
I can see her wearing: lace, Peter-Pan collared blouses/dresses, leather brogues and satchel bags, pleated mini-skirts and cable knitwear! You know, all the quality classically British garment. So chic, especially for Winter!
Image sources: 1, 2, 3, 4. (but I made the collages)

Get The Look
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Monday, 10 December 2012

Standing Tall Against The Rain

A note from Joelle...
                                     ♫ ♪ Run This Town - Rihanna, Jay Z and Kanye West
I hardly ever do personal style posts, but that is all about to change y'all! With the help of my friends (aka camera tripods!) I can now take full-length pics. Doing it in the middle of a busy street is mortifying but I really loved it! 
I went to a Christmas Carol service on the outskirts of town and it was great. I was shattered by the end though but got to try my first ever gingerbread latte from Starbucks - it. was. vile. I will never believe the hype about stuff like that again! 
I got more than a few odd looks due to my choice of hat. Yes it's big and furry, but it kept my hair flat and my ears worm, so it's a win-win really! See the break-down of my outfit below...
Cossack Fur Hat - Primark
Lace Top - Republic
Aztec Jacket - Primark
Leather leggings - Primark
Chelsea Boots - Foot Factory
Multi-Spike Necklace - Kukee

What do you think? :)
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Sunday, 9 December 2012

Sneak Peek At My Week

A note from Joelle...
This is a MASSIVE SPAMW as I didn't do one last week! I am officially in the festive mood - YAY! Had lots of fun with my friends this week but also have tons of work to get through before I can relax and enjoy the festivities properly. Only two more tests (maths and geology) stand in my way of moving back to London for 5 weeks - bring it!
Outside an art exhibition| My first 'real' KFC| Reluctant photo in Nandos| Nadoa food!| Silver and black themed wrapping| Scottish £1 note!| Christmas knitted leggings| Friends at carol concert| My first gingerbread latte| I won a phone from 3!| Cousin's graduation| French toast with tea| SNOW!| Spicy noodles| Face| Two-tone nails
Have a good week y'all! :)
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Saturday, 8 December 2012

SuperbBloggers

A note from Joelle...

♫ ♪ Shine On - The Kooks ♫ ♪
As more people are creating fashion and beauty blogs, there is a certain invisible pressure that I am sure we have all faced at least once. As blogging is now in the limelight, the hobby is getting more and more cut-throat, with many egos and emotions getting in the way of blogging success. But why?
I, like most UK bloggers grabbed a copy of this month's Company Magazine to see what all the controversy was about. Part of me was happy that bloggers were getting positive exposure on such a large scale. However, the alleged light-hearted nature of the articles were not fully expressed, causing lots of confusion and misunderstanding. 
Many other bloggers were upset that the magazine just showcased the same 'big bloggers' and did not promote the up-and-coming ones.
I am in no way slating Susie Bubble or Bip Ling. In fact I admire them for sticking at blogging for all these years and turning theirs into a success story. There is no need to hate on them for following their passion - we all want to get somewhere, right?
This got me thinking about the pressures some new and 'smaller' bloggers face in order to keep up and get their site noticed. This could involve the camera you use to take photos, even down to buying more expensive clothes/make-up.
The truth is... There are no blogging rules! And that is usually why people create blogs in the first place - it's the freedom to own a little space on the web where you can write about anything.
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It's Only The Beginning Source
Starting out
If you have just started out and have only been blogging for a couple of months - you've already made it as a blogger!
Regardless of page views and followers stats, you have created a site that's all yours and have stuck to it for months. That is something to be very proud of.
Even the bloggers that seem massive these days had to start somewhere, so you are on the right track - keep going!
In my case, it took me just over a year to get 50 followers on my blog - but I just upped my game a bit more and started posting about things that really interested me, and what I thought my readers would like to know! Patience is key.
This is my alternative A-Z for bloggers - it's long, but I am sure some of it will help you.
AH-MAZING - That's what you are! You took the leap to start a blog, which is an incredible achievement!
BANK ACCOUNT - It is better to have food on the table and a roof over your head rather than to live off beans, but still read Vogue religiously. Do what you can afford, please.
COMMUNITY - There are lots of great blogging forums and online communities out there (eg FBL, #bbloggers #lbloggers and #fbloggers on twitter). All you need to do it find one/some that fit with you and your blog. To find some, simply look at the badges and widgets on others blogs. As you can see on my blog, I am part of quite a few amazing communities. Having like-minded people surrounding you (virtually) is a great feeling.
DRIVE - What drives you to blog? Is is a hobby to showcase your passions? Do you have a specific career in mind? Keep on doing the thing that motivates you, as it will help you reach your goals sooner.
EVERYDAY - Hell to the noooo! You don't have to do this at all. Your readers will not go crazy if you decide to post only once/ twice a week. Having your own pace will improve the quality and natural writing  rhythm (if that makes any sense!).
FRIENDS - I just recently set up a Facebook page for my blog and invited a few of my personal friends to 'like' the page. I only expected around 5-10 of my close circle to like it, but I had over 40 in under three days! This boosted my confidence and made me less embarrassed about talking about my blog to people I know. Support is out there, but you have to reach out first!
GOALS - I am setting myself 10 blogging goals to achieve by this time next year. I am so pumped for this because I hardly ever give up on things and want to succeed. Whether it's gaining more followers, learning HTML coding or meeting up with bloggers, setting realistic goals is a pretty nifty  idea.
HONESTY - Whether it's review-writing or revealing blog stats, it's best to tell the truth. Chances are, you will get caught out and lose out on a great opportunity if you are not honest.
INTERACT - We are so fortunate to be bloggers in an age where we can stay connected with thousands of people on different networks. It could be Twitter, Facebook, Bebo (lol), WordPress, Tumblr, MySpace, Pinterest, Instagram, Ask.fm, Bloglovin', Glipho, Keek, Google + and loads more!
JOB - Most of us have work outside of blogging, which we cannot afford neglect. I almost failed (kind of) my first year of A Levels because of my blogging/social media obsession and almost ruined my chance of getting into uni to do what I have always dreamt of. Especially in these harsh economic times, your education and work must come first!
KNOWLEDGE - It's a good idea to know what you are writing about and checking your facts. This doesn't mean you have to buy every fashion mag just to know what the latest trends are though!
LIFE - Yes! There is a life outside blogging and it's all yours for the taking. Make sure not to neglect the loved-ones!
MEET-UPS - I have only been to a handful of blogger PR and non-PR meetups and they are really beneficial. Of course if it is your first time or you are going alone, it will feel scary, but almost everyone is in the same boat and are looking to connect with like-minded people like yourself. If you have a  blogging goal this year, make it to try new things, like meet-ups. And hey, you might meet your new bestie!
NICHE - I don't think I have found this yet. But if you think you have a little idea that will make your blog stand out, go for it!
ORIGINALITY - It's difficult these days. I honestly struggle to come up with new things to excite my readers. But then things usually come to you over time! I now add music links to my posts and am starting a new lifestyle section. Don't be afraid to think outside the box!
PERSONALITY - Letting your personality shine through really helps you to interact with your readers. The great thing is, it doesn't matter how goofy (just look though my blog photos) or how nerdy you think you are. People are accepting!
QUESTIONS - Need help? Jump on Twitter or Facebook and ask other bloggers. The community is so welcoming and happy to help most of the time.
READ - Reading other blogs is a great way to find inspiration. If you don't have a lot of time on your hands, bookmarking blogs to read when you are less busy is a cool idea.
SUPPORT - Isn't it a great feeling when you see those orange words appear on your dashboard screen? Leaving comments on others blogs are not a necessity but are really appreciated  Engaging and showing that you like someone else's work is a fabulous and humbling thing to do. When someone leaves a wee comment on my blog, I can't help but smile and check out their site.
TECHNOLOGY - What is great about blogging is that not only are you a writer, you are a photographer, stylist, social-media-savvy, beauty mannequin  coding/HTML whizkid, reviewer and editor. Having the latest Apple product probably won't change how great you are!  Like I said earlier... be proud of your £70 camera, ten-year-old battery-powered cam or your iPhone camera. It's what you have, so use it!
UNDERSTAND - That there will always be someone richer, taller, smaller, skinnier, bigger, etc than you. But what you have to understand is that you put things on your blog that you want other people to see. So it might not be a true reflection of their everyday lives.
VARIETY - We all love a good OOTD post, or beauty review, or Instagram collage, don't we? But it's great to mix it up a bit with other posts also. Perhaps a favourite recipe? Or a nail art post?
WARDROBE - If you can afford it and like to follow trends, then go for it. If you are a penniless student like me, then it is better (and wiser) to not splash out on the latest things and buy what is really needed! Saving for those designer investment pieces is more beneficial anyway. Please do not feel that you have to splurge on expensive clothes just to keep up in the blogging world.
X FACTOR - No, not the TV show. This refers to finding your passion and going with the flow. If you discover that your food post has loads of views/comments then consider doing more. If fashion is your thing, consider doing more posts on that!
YOU - It's your blog and you have the right to write about what ever is on your mind (within reason, no dodgy stuff!) It is great to keep in mind your audience though, but at the end of the day, your blog needs your seal of approval.
ZONE - Sometimes you need to feel in a certain zone to sit down, plan, draft and then publish a post. It's okay to take blogging breaks and do other things for a while - your readers will not leave you!

I really hope this helped you with whatever blogging stage you are at. As always, I write from the heart and would love to know your thoughts on this topic. :)
Stay awesome!
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