Friday, 27 September 2013

Blogging 101 Part 1 - Starting A Blog

A note from Joelle... 

♫ ♪ 'Ya Hey' - Vampire Weekend ♫ ♪

Fashion
source
After quite a few tweets and emails asking me to do this, I am finally doing a Blogging 101 feature! Obviously, I am not an expert, but I have been a blogger for almost 5 years and hey, I just want to give back and encourage people to start bloggin'!
These little tips and trick will hopefully help you start a blog, create a nice layout and generate more traffic on your site!
In part 1, I want to discuss starting a blog. As a lot for you reading this might already be bloggers, you can skip this feature and wait 'til next week for more relevant tips on blog promotion

If you are looking to start a blog, the basics are as follows:

*'Why bother starting a blog? It's just for vain and self-obsessed people, right?' 
Nope, blogs are just a little space on the internet where you can write about whatever you want. It could be fashion, art, music, food, politics, films, beauty, lifestyle, relationships, whatever you want!
Even if you have one reader, adding your blog URL to your CV proves you are dedicated, passionate and creative, so don't knock it 'til you've tried it!
More brands and companies are finally realising that having an online presence can make or break a business and are therefore taking to twitter, pinterest, tumblr and blogs! Social media is also fun too, but hard work if you don't get the basics down! 
It's great to just have an open mind as you never know where writing and blogging about the things you are passionate about could take you! :)

1. Choosing a platform - This is the host site for your blog. The main ones are Blogger (Blogspot), Wordpress and Tumblr. I personally use Blogger and it's a lot easier than the other two (and you don't have to pay for templates, like you have to with some Wordpress ones).

2. The Blog name - If you want to blog for more than a hobby and for other people, it's best to choose a short and snappy name. If it's too long, people will either forget the name and/or misspell it in the search engine. 
I chose FebruaryGirl (one word) because I was born in February, it's my favourite month and I started the blog that month too - it just seemed to fit well as I didn't want to use my real name at the beginning.

3. Blog URL - This is actually more important than your blog name because people will type this in. If it's too long or complicated, readers won't find it and give up searching. It's also advised that it's similar to the name of your blog otherwise readers will get confused!
Platforms like Blogger and Wordpress will automatically have .blogspot.co.uk or .wordpress.com, so you need to make sure that the bit you create at the front of that is catchy and easy to search for!
If you don't want to use these platforms and head straight to a .com, .co.uk, .me or .net, then you can search for the best provider for you and check the prices. 
I got my personal domain from Godaddy.com and got a great deal for £10 for 3 years - total bargain, but rare to find! 

4. What to write about - This is the fun but also tricky part. You should write about the things YOU like and are interested in, but you need to find the balance between that and making it reader-friendly so that you can gain a little readership, who can comment and give you feedback.
I would recommend sticking to a few genres and finding a way to link them together. Be it cooking, DIY and lifestyle, you could make a recipe and then blog about dining and kitchen decor. This way, your small amount of readers know what to expect on your blog in the first few months and will hopefully stay loyal.
In the beginning, you will be basically writing to yourself and have very few readers/views. This should not worry you because that's how we all start! My next feature will be on how to promote your blog, so stay tuned for that later next week! 
As always, you have to proof-read and check for spelling and grammatical errors. It's also important to remember who you are writing for - don't use loads of swear words if your blog is meant to be family-friendly, etc.

All the best on you blogging journey! If you have any more questions for queries for me, you can comment below, tweet me @Joelle_o or find my email HERE.

Happy Bloggin'!
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Thursday, 26 September 2013

The 90s Tag!

A note from Joelle... 

♫ ♪ 'Brimful Of Asha' - Cornershop ♫ ♪ 

(that song from the 90s that you know but don't know...)


Favourite Disney film?
PETER PAN! We borrowed it from the library literally every week and watched it as if we had never seen it before. We were also very fond of The Lion King and Cinderella.

Favourite music artist?
I can give you a very long list: The Spice Girls, Venga Boys, Aqua, Backstreet Boys, A1, 5ive, Lolli, All Saints, B*Witched, S Club 7, Boyzone, Billie Piper, Westlife, Eternal, Destiny's Child, TLC, I could go on and on!! 

Favourite candy/sweets?
I loved flying saucers and normal lollipops  There was also these fizzy drinks called Panda Pops, which came in crazy colours. It was filled with so much sugar that they took it off the shelves at the end of the 90s :(.

Favourite game (board game, school game etc)
I LOVE Hungry Hippos and got soooo competitive at it. I also loved my Barbies with a passion and feel so bad for making my parents spends absolute fortunes on them!

Favourite McDonalds Happy Meal Toy?
I like Polly Pockets, Dennis the Menace toys and that's all I can really remember. I remember getting a Furby in my Happy Meal and wanting to cry (they scared me so much!).

Favourite book?
I was a massive nerd and spent lots of time reading the Atlas, but when I was a bit older I really got into Jacqueline Wilson books. My collection of her books are at about 30! My parents and teachers got really worried because I only wanted to read her books!

Favourite clothing store?
It has got to be Tammy Girl, right? My mum always took my sisters and I there and it was little girl Heaven. Also, I really liked Claire's accessories and would always go in with about £3 and see how much I could get. Loved the girliness of that store.

What would you watch when you got home from school?
As there was no CBBC channel yet, CITV was the place to be! They had Art Attack, Rosie and Jim, Bernard's Watch, The Worst Witch, Postman Pat, Recess, Sabrina The Teenaged Witch, Tom & Jerry, The Power Rangers, Come Outside.On BBC there was Brum, Pingu, Smart, The Queen's Nose, Blue Peter! There were also sitcom shows like The Fresh Prince Of Bel Air, Sister Sister, Clueless, Friends, Absolutely Fabulous, Birds Of A Feather and Kenan and Kel.


Ahhh, the memories!
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Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Best Dressed At The Emmys

A note from Joelle... 
It was the Emmy Awards last night and was a pretty emotion-filled night. There was a wonderful tribute from Jane Lynch (Sue Sylvester in Glee) to Cory Monteith who died two months ago from an overdose and also lots of surprise winners.
Fashion-wise, there were lots of hits and misses on the red carpet. 
Here are the celebs who made it onto my Best Dressed List! All images from here.
Kerry Washington at Emmy Awards - Kerry Washington images - Cosmopolitan.co.uk
Kerry Washington was voted this year's Best Dressed Woman and she certainly shows it with this stunning nude floral gown.
Kate Mara at Emmy Awards - Kate Mara images - Cosmopolitan.co.uk
Kate Mara rocking the all white trend. Super daring on a red carpet but she looks stunning, right?
Anna Faris pictured at the Emmy Awards 2013
Anna Faris was brave to go for a canary yellow gown as the colour tends to wash out fair-skinned people. But the shape and style is so beautiful, so it's two thumbs up from me!
Elizabeth Moss at Emmy Awards - Elizabeth Moss images - Cosmopolitan.co.uk
Elisabeth Moss in Monochrome
Alyson Hannigan pictured at the Emmy Awards 2013
Alyson Hannigan in Midnight purple. Quite unusual, but it seems to work well
Rose Byrne Emmy Awards - Rose Byrne images - Cosmopoltian.co.uk
Rose Byrne rocking two trends at once! (pale pink and cut-outs) 
Alison Williams ay the Emmy Awards - Alison Williams images - Cosmopolitan.co.uk
Alison Williams in cobalt blue. The style looks really simple and boring to some, but I think the beautiful colour of the dress makes it stand out for the right reasons.

Who is your favourite? Let me know! 
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Monday, 23 September 2013

Online Fashion Brands Worth Checking Out!

A note from Joelle... 

♫ ♪ Girls Just Want To Have Fun - Cyndi Lauper ♫ ♪

Hi guys! This is a different kind of post from me today. I want to share with you some online shops that I have been really liking over the Summer and hopefully you will like them too! 
I used to only shop on regular high street sites, without even realising there are hundreds of even more affordable new fashion stored on the web! I guess you can say I have been converted! 
Some of them you may have heard of, but feel free to check out the ones you haven't!

BATOKO
BATOKO - I love this site so much and found it on twitter just over a year ago. They have a really cool mix of urban and vintage-inspired clothes and accessories and are just a fun brand altogether! 

Daisy Street Logo
Daisy Street - They know the ins and outs of celebrity style and how to get the look on a more realistic budget. They also are clued up on all the trends (must be keeping an eye on the #fbloggers chats!)
In Love With Fashion

In Love With Fashion - Ahhhh, I just love all their clothes and their new dresses and jumpsuits are so lovely.
Lovestruck

Lovestruck Clothing They sell really pretty dresses with quirky prints - really feminine and flirty.

Mary Jane Fashion

Mary Jane Clothing - The place to come to find super-affordable dresses and party outfits.


Nordic Poetry - Really different from high street fashion shops. It's based on Scandinavian vintage fashion and clothes are vintage, unique and ethical!

OASAP - It's in US Dollars, but you can find really unique and cute clothes and there is FREE SHIPPING WORLDWIDE!

Logo

Oh My Love - I found this site late last year and bought a beautiful faux fur coat. They package up their clothes so beautifully in special wrapping paper and it just adds to the coolness of this brand.

PrettyLittleThing.com - Women's Fashion Clothing & Accessories
Pretty Little Thing - Being the sister site of Boohoo, the PLT site/shop is so fresh and new. This is because the vibe is more urban and youth-centered, which I think is great.

So what do you think? Have any of these sites caught your eye? Let me know!
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Sunday, 22 September 2013

Up In The Air

A note from Joelle... 

♫ ♪ 'Rocketeer'  - Far East Movement ♫ ♪



As you read this, I would have boarded a plane back to university, thus marking the end of Summer and the start of Year 2 at uni! I am really nervous about this year for some reason, but it's more about the course and doing well rather than anything else. I want those good grades! 
The last three and a half months of Summer have been so good and I guess it's quite natural for me to feel a bit anxious about the new term, but I'm sure everything will be cool and go smoothly.

I am also on the fence about whether to continue blogging at uni. I really don't have that much time this year to sit and write out loads of posts, but I will do my best so please bare with me!
I am happy that I can continue with 'The 'Deen Scene' though, as it's been a while.

See you on the other side! :)
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Friday, 20 September 2013

New Look & The Muse TV LFW Reuel Room

A note from Joelle...

♫ ♪ 'Euphoria' - Loreen ♫ ♪

It was so cool to be invited to the London Fashion Week Refuel Room with this season at LFW. I was invited last year, but chickened out because I was too shy, but this year I had to make a wee appearance. 
After my first two shows, I headed to the Waldorf Hotel, which was just down the street from Somerset House, Drury Lane and Fashion Scout. I firstly went to the Kilian Kerner presentation downstairs then went straight up to the New Look and Muse TV Suite.
I think I'll let the pictures do the talking for this post!
 A manicure bar for last minute nail art!


 After signing in and being given a quite brief on what was going on, I got stuck into the number one thing on my mind - FOOD! And there was a lot of it. I went for the fresh smoothies at the Crussh stand and got the berry crussh. Sooooooo refreshing to have when you have an annoying sore throat!



So many pretty shoes!
There was also a really fun photobooth to mess around in! 
There was also free wifi, which is a God-send for us bloggers/writers!
 Elemis products to sample AND hand massages! Sheer bliss!
 Shiny things!
The place was packed towards the end of the afternoon, which as amazing. I had a really nice time even though I could hardly speak because of my dodgy throat! 
It was a fab place to chill out, mingle and explore after hours of queuing in the rain (it rained HARD that day) and waiting around for shows. The New Look, Muse TV and Waldorf Hotel were really friendly and worked really for us all!

Thanks so much to New Look and Muse TV for inviting me down! Here's to next season! 
Don't forget too check out new A/W collections in New Look and the fab Muse TV site!
PS. I did a quick Q +A with Muse TV! it was too long for thi blog post, so will be up straight after :)
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Black And Blue Crumble Pie

A note from Joelle... 
I don't invent recipes often, as I don't think I'm that creative.  But this one just same to me!
My little sister found loads of  ripe blackberries in our garden, we picked lots of them and mixed them into a bowl with some blueberries I bought the same day.
We then decided to make a pie and use the berries as a filling, as we knew it would turn a cool purple colour.
This is quite a filling dessert, so I recommend it of that cold Autumn day, where you can eat this while watching a nice film and snuggling with your partner/cat.
What do you think?

Shortcrust Pastry
225g Butter
50g Caster Sugar
3 tablespoons cold water
300g Plain Flour
Method: Rub together the flour and butter with your fingertips until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add a pinch of salt and a sprinkle of caster sugar if you wish.

                Add water bit-by-bit until it forms a dough, then wrap in clingfilm and place in the fridge until it's ready to be rolled out.
Roll it out into a pie dish, prick it all over with a fork (or use baking beans) and bake until golden brown. 

Filling
50g each  of Blackberries and Blueberries
2 tablespoons Corn Flour
3 tablespoons Sugar
Pinch of Cinnamon
3 tablespoons water
Method: Add all the ingredients into a pan and stir until a hot and thick jam-like filling is created. It's incredibly hot, so only taste when cooled down for a few minutes! 
Pour the filling into the pastry base and set aside while you make the final crumble topping.

Crumble Topping
200g Cold unsalted butter
175g Brown Sugar
50g Plain Oats
300g Plain Flour
Method: Rub together butter a flour as if making a pastry. Then add brown sugar and oats, then stir! 
              Sprinkle over the berry filling and bake for 30-40 mins. Remove when the crumble topping is a nice golden brown and the berry filling
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Thursday, 19 September 2013

Style File #15: Nanna Bryndis Hilmarsdottir

A note from Joelle... 

♫ ♪ 'King and Lionheart' - Of Monsters and Men ♫ ♪

Nanna Bryndis Hilmarsdottir is the lead singer of the Icelandic band Of Monsters And Men and her style in on point! I watched her perform at Glastonbury and seriously coveted her matching crop top and trousers. I found out that she is a big fan of Icelandic brand KronKron, and owns many of their designs (including her Glastonbury outfit). Nanna is not afraid to mix prints, fabrics and also dress androgynously. 
Her style is quite tomboyish, but there are always smart elements of femininity like a fedora hat or vibrant patterns.
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Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Kilian Kerner Presentation at LFW

A note from Joelle... 

♫ ♪ Mozart: Clarinet Concerto in A: II. Adagio ♫ ♪

I was lucky enough to attend Berlin-based designer Kilian Kerner's debut presentation at London Fashion Week. The Palm Court Room of The Waldorf Hotel was transformed into a glamourous parlour of mannequins and live models in the most stunning gowns. Jazz pianist Greg Foat also played live.
This Spring/Summer collection is called the 'Red Carpet Collection' and it certainly fits into that area of fashion with the regalness and ultra-glitzy designs.
Midnight blues and  regal golds were the dominant colours in the collection
My favourite dress in the collection! It reminded me of traditional Ghanaian dresses. Even the mermaid shape is similar to African designs.
How beautiful is this cut-out back? So elegant.
This piece was the real show-stopper of the presentation! 
A huge congratulations to Kilian and his team!
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