The Pressures Of Blogging (and other woes) by Lauren Johnstone

Blogging is a hard thing. Whoever tells you that it's easy, doesn't blog properly. 

I've had many discussions with blogger friends recently about how people on the outside, (who don't blog) seem to think that all we do is party and get free things. Granted, press days are incredibly fun, (gotta love getting drunk and eating good food all day, everyday) and I can't deny the giddiness I get when receiving press gifts on my door step.
But this didn't happen over night. 
I started my blog three years ago and whilst I didn't pay much attention to it in the first year (stupidly), the past two years have been a long process of planning, networking and not having much of a life really. 

I spend all of my free time planning my blog. The process is as follows: Brainstorm > Write > Take images/Create content to support the post > Schedule > Go live > Schedule social media follow up > Respond to comments and feedback. 
Now, if this is your full time job then it's a lot easier for you. But, if like me, you're a full time student, who also has a number of internships then there has to be sacrifices along the way. 
The biggest sacrifice being sleep. The next being friends and relationships. The blogging industry can be quite a lonely path if you don't surround yourself with the right people, and people who understand the time and effort it takes to blog.  

Now don't get me wrong, it's hard work, but starting a blog is the best thing you'll ever do. It allows you to meet so many likeminded people as well as having a place to fully immerse your creativity into.
Some of my closest friends have been met through blogging and it's so much fun being able to write and share things knowing there are people out there actually reading your content and taking notice. 
I never started blogging with the mentality that I'd be interacting with brands and attending fun events, it was simply an outlet to share current news and opinions with the world. It's just an added bonus that I enjoy it so much and get a lot of gratification

As much as I enjoy blogging, it takes investing a lot of time and money to get it exactly how you want it. I'm still not 100% happy with the way my blog looks, especially when looking at other sites, you can start to over think and doubt your worth within the blogosphere. 
The blogging industry has changed so much over the last year, that you have to jump through hoops to try and stand out; whether that be through your pictures, videos or even having a great writing style to keep people engaged, you need to stand out. 

I started this blog post because I'm lacking inspiration and I know (from twitter chats and general twitter stalking) that a lot of people can feel the same. When you start taking your blog seriously, there seems to be a pressure to blog regularly. There's also the added pressure of consistently producing good content. But when it gets to that point, I have to take a step back.

Having a blog essentially means creating a brand. And the majority of us have to be the face of that brand, which again can be seriously challenging if you're going through life with anxiety and other pressures. I have serious respect for people who do this full time.  

I'd love to blog full time, but I don't. So when I start to stress about not creating good content or feeling forced to post then I just focus my creativity on other things.
There's no rule which says you have to blog x amount of times a week. So if you don't feel like writing then focus on other things; engage with your readers on Twitter, get inspiration from other bloggers, go out and take beautiful pictures for Instagram. 

August is a busy month for me, so I'm going to focus on getting as much inspiration as I can both online and offline. I'm going to be reading some new blogs this week so Leave your links below!

I'm also starting a new series on my site called Tuesday Tips. Come back every Tuesday (starting next week) to find new tips on getting the best out of your blog. I promise I won't rant on as much as I did in this post. And congratulations if you made it to the end. You do you. 

I Turned 21 And Went Grey by Lauren Johnstone

I've done it again. Just as everyone was getting used to my platinum blonde hair. I've jumped on the bandwagon and joined the granny brigade
Silver hair has been trending for a while now, especially thanks to the likes of Bleach London's Instagram making us all want to jump in a pool of rainbow coloured dye. No, seriously. Go look.

A photo posted by BLEACH (@bleachlondon) on

Silver is a hair colour that I've wanted to go for a while, so when I decided to start bleaching my hair, it was only a matter of time till I took the plunge. 
I'm really lucky to have been introduced to the George Northwood team when I originally bleached my hair. Since then, I have been returning and pushing the boundaries with my colourist, Amy Fish and hairdresser, Fabz, to achieve my perfect shade of silver alongside a sharp cut.
For those of you who are new to the site, I naturally have very dark hair and we originally bleached it twice to lift it to blonde. 

Shoutout to the Boohoo x Blow LTD bar for my makeup that day!

Shoutout to the Boohoo x Blow LTD bar for my makeup that day!

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Before I chose to go silver, a lot of people told me to just do it at home and wing it. Thankfully, I didn't take their advice and I can't explain enough how wrong it is to think you can bleach your hair at home. 

In total, I've bleached my hair 4 times over 6 months. You'd think at this point that my hair would have cried a thousand tears and fallen out

You're wrong. Because I went to a professional, who knows what they're doing, is aware of how long a product needs to stay on for, and is able to recommend the best products to help keep my hair strong. 
Better still, my hair is probably stronger than it was previously. Simply because I actually take the time to look after my hair now.
Beforehand, I have to admit, I was guilty of not spending much money on hair products (picking up whatever was on offer), not using hair masques, and applying heated appliances far too often. 

Whilst having silver/bleached hair can be a lot of hassle to some, it actually forces you to look after your hair and pamper yourself a little. 
There's nothing better than spending a Sunday afternoon perfecting your beauty regime, especially with a hair masque that smells so good you'll want to eat your hair!
I'm now using a silver shampoo and conditioner daily to keep my locks the colour I want. Subscribe to my blog to see which ones are my favourite. 

So if you're thinking of taking the plunge and having a bit more fun with your hair (FYI, the possibilities are endless, you'll have hundreds of pins on your pinterest board by the end of it) then book in for a consultation with the fabulous George Northwood team, and let them bring a new lease of life to your hair!

*Disclaimer* Amy is colourist Queen in my eyes, but you'll have to figure that one out for yourselves...

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The Must-Have Face Powder by Lauren Johnstone

manasi makeup

If you're a fan of Naked Fashions, then you'll know that I'm obsessed with everything and anything Scandinavian. 
Which is why I love discovering new, Swedish talent within fashion and beauty!
I recently discovered the makeup brand Manasi Makeup. Whilst I was drawn in by their clean, minimalist aesthetic, it ended up being the product that actually stole the show for once.
 
I feel like beauty bloggers are notorious for going on about the way a product looks, or negatively commenting on the package design, etc. So for once it was nice to be blown away by the actual product itself.

I can guarantee that after one use of this powder, you will be converted, and binning all your others. 
The transparent formula means its perfect for every skin type, and the powder is so fine that you won't even feel like you're putting anything on. 
The powder has a very silicone feel that glides on to your skin; I have no idea what is in this powder to make it so amazing, but you can put it on bare skin and have a completely flawless finish, reducing the appearance of all lines and wrinkles and also taking away any shine on your face.
All in all, I am a huge fan of the Manasi brand. Next up, I think I'll be testing their bronzer cream which I hope lives up to the name!

A Quick Trip To Paris With Three UK by Lauren Johnstone

Eiffel Tower

I feel as if the majority of my blog posts at the moment are about, or featuring Paris in some way. It was only a month ago that I visited there on holiday, but when I got the email asking to go along for a day trip with Three UK and 4 other bloggers, I couldn't really resist.

Paris is one of my favourite cities in the world and it was such a whirlwind to see the top sites within a day, but with the Eurostar being so close to home it seems like a waste not to get their as much as I can. 
On a glorious Saturday morning, we departed St Pancras at 10:00am to Paris, with everything we needed: A Three sim card, a Samsung Galaxy S6, a selfie stick and some other goodies. 

I'm sure many of you have seen the Three #MakeItRight campaign (and if not, where are you? and why are you not being followed by the fluffy purple mascot?) where you can use your current phone data plan in 18 different countries. Meaning there's no roaming charges! So you can upload as many selfies, hot dog legs or #nofilter images as you like. 
It's an amazing service which we were able to try out for ourselves whilst in Paris, snapping selfies on the Seine. 

On arrival, we were all loaned a Samsung Galaxy S6. The Galaxy S6 boasts a 16mp camera that has some of the best features I've ever seen.
As an all-apple girl, it was weird to use an android phone for the first time. I've always had my doubts about their software being a little too slow for what I need but on the day I was able to Tweet, Instagram and Whatsapp the same as I would on my iPhone 6. 
The standout point for me with this phone was definitely the camera. 
Highlights include a beauty mode for selfies which softens skin, reduces wrinkles and enlarges eyes - Kind of makes you look like a china doll in some cases but most of the time you're flawless. 
There's also a focus mode which allows you to select your point of focus and blur out the rest of the background.

IMG_20150627_163006.jpg

When we arrived in Paris we had arranged a cycling tour of the top sites in the city. Since I live in London, where every road is basically a death trap, I was a bit wary of cycling in a city but it was honestly one of the greatest experiences, and a brilliant way to see the city in a day. 
We went with the Paris Bike Tour and our tour guide, Helen, was one of the sweetest and reassuring people I've ever met. 


Along the way we took many a selfie, including one with some topless boys working out in front of the Eiffel Tower...at a later glance it seems they're actually kind of young. 
Nonetheless, I'm sure you Instagram feeds have been filled with my Paris pictures, but if you've not been keeping up, they're all here for you to see. 

Myself and blogger May from RedVelvetLDN decided to take some outfit posts in front of the Eiffel Tower.
I'm wearing a two-piece from Pretty Little Thing. But! When it arrived, even though I'm 5'7, the trousers were still really long so I bought a petite version of them from Boohoo
I paired the co-ordinate with a pair of Stan Smiths and sunglasses by AJ Morgan

If you're visiting Paris for a few days then I definitely recommend this tour as it was such an easy way to get around. The roads in Paris are much bigger than London and have designated cycling paths which makes you much more comfortable. Plus you get to hear some great history about the city and monuments that you would never really take in unless on a guided tour. The history side of thing isn't overpowering like a lot of tours I've been on and is actually quite interesting to learn some of the things we were told.
We finished off our day with a dinner at Terminus Nord which is right opposite Gare Du Nord, making it the perfect place to grab dinner before heading back to London on the Eurostar. 

The trip was an incredible experience and I feel really lucky to have met the other 4 bloggers I travelled with, you can find their blogs here:

If you want to find out anymore about free roaming with Three then visit here. And find out more about the Samsung S6 here!

The A-Z Guide Of Blogging Terminology by Lauren Johnstone

A photo posted by Lauren (@nakedfashionss) on

Blogging seems like the simplest thing to do before you actually become a blogger. But nearly three years of blogging has made me realise all the digital technicalities you need to know to become successful. 
I’m lucky to have met a lot of other bloggers along the way and through community chats have learnt all there is to know about the jargon used in this industry.
Whilst the technical side of blogging doesn’t seem very fun, it can be really helpful if you’re looking to pursue a career in blogging or even the digital industry!

So I’ve put together an A-Z guide (not quite, but ‘A-T excluding a few letters’ sounds a bit shit) of all there is to know to help you along the way!

Affiliate marketing: Money, money, money. Thinking of becoming the next Essie Button? Well this is the place to start. If you want to start bringing in some money from your blog then affiliate marketing will take you one step closer. Most brands have them and it’s basically a special link that takes you to a specific product or website. Once someone clicks it, you can earn commission! Every penny counts, huh.

Bounce rate: Ever wondered how many people visit your blog and leave after viewing one page? No me neither. But it seems some people (companies) actually care about that! And that’s what bounce rate basically is. The percentage shows how many people ‘bounce’ off your site quickly. The lower the percentage, the better.

Conversion rate:  The percentage of visitors that actually do something on your site. E.g subscribe to your blog, buy a product, etc.

CSS: Cascading Style Sheets. Pretty much the design and look of your site. It allows you to change fonts, colours, etc.

Domain Authority: Or DA or Page Rank. This shows how high your site ranks on google and is calculated by the popularity, size and age of your domain. I’ve been told that 24+ is a good number to have but basically the higher the better. You can find your DA here!

Embedding: A small piece of code that displays a photo or video etc from another page. I’ve embedded the picture used at the top of the post from Instagram!

Hyperlink: Just a fancy word for the link that directs you to another page or website.

HTML: Hyper Text Markup Language. The basic code for all websites. This allows you to do everything from making text bold to having a floating cat as your cursor. 

Iconosquare: A helpful little app for Instagram that lets you see who’s unfollowed you, optimum time to schedule your posts and who your top followers are. A nice insight for all us nosey bloggers!

Klout: A score developed from your social following, influence and reach. A lot of businesses and brands may use this to measure your success on social media and whether it’s worth reaching out to you. The more you keep up with your social media (predominantly Twitter), the higher your Klout score. 

Meta Description: A little description targeting keywords and phrases that will help bring more people to your site. You should be asked to include it on every blog post and it will help boost your SEO!

Nofollow links: If you’re ever being paid for a blog post, whether that be cash or product, then you must use Nofollow links. I can’t stress this enough, as it’s a big downfall for new bloggers who don’t realise the important of disclaiming things. A Nofollow link is still a valid, clickable link. The only difference being is that search engines won’t see it as SEO.

Rate card: A helpful tool if you’re creating a media kit for working with press! I think I may do a whole new blog post on media kits, as the more successful you get, the more you may be asked for them. A rate card is basically a document (that you can keep to yourself) that outlines the different prices you charge for advertising/sponsored posts.

Responsive design: nakedfashions.com is a responsive design! Woop. Google are actually paying a lot of attention to responsive designs and are now including them within their analytics. It basically means that your site will change itself whether it’s being read on a desktop, phone or tablet.

RSS: Really Short Syndication - a way that people can subscribe to your blog so they never miss a post! (FYI: You can subscribe to mine in the comments section below).

SEO: Search Engine Optimisation. Probably the most used acronym within the blogging industry, and something you’re always told to know about. It basically consists of a variety of techniques that will increase the amount of traffic brought to your blog. By increasing traffic you will receive a higher ranking on search engines like Google. So if you want to be the top result when searching ‘fashion blog’ then increase your SEO!

Tags: Keywords that help people find your blog or even help find a specific blog post on your site. They also increase SEO (yay)

How to secure and prepare for an internship: by Lauren Johnstone

preparing for an internship

Since it's the Summer and a lot of people tend to think about getting some experience in their field, I decided to re-post my internship preparation, with a few added extras!

MY EXPERIENCE: Work experience/internships are (in my opinion), one of the best things you can ever get, especially for a career in the arts or media industry. For me, work experience is a vital component as there's just so many things that you can't learn within the classroom. Since I studied journalism for a short time, I've managed to already get a lot of internships or writing experience within the journalism industry. But when it comes to PR, this is new territory. I'm lucky with the fact that over Summer 2014 I arranged an internship from September to December. This was without a doubt one of the greatest things I chose to do. Not only did I meet a wonderful and inspiring bunch of people but I was able to get a real hands on approach in the PR industry. Interning at a company where their PR department is small and intimate, means the interns are vital to the team. This allowed me to really experience the ins and outs of preparing for events, keeping track of samples, producing lookbooks and press releases, as well as a number of other ad-hoc duties that come with PR.

This year, I have my whole Summer term off to find a work placement. I started applying early and have managed to secure a placement and two incredible companies. 

But how hard is it to secure a PR internship? And what problems can occur along the way?

I'd like to tell you its as simple as emailing a person and getting a response the next day...its not. Whether you can put it down to luck or a good CV, I've been incredibly fortunate in the fact that it has been a rather simple process for me to get both these internships, with just a few emails being passed back and fourth and a friendly interview. But there have been a number of times where I haven't had a response or haven't had the response I wanted from companies.

FIRST STEP:

So where to start? First, decide what sector it is you want to work in. PR is a big industry and has many different sectors you can pursue. Even if you haven't decided what it is you wish to do for your career, you should have some idea of the areas you're interested in. I've always known I wanted to work in Fashion PR, so it was just a case of thinking about companies/agencies I wanted to work for.

I divided my time between searching for in-house and agency as I'd like to get a taste for both before I leave university. Personally, I find the easisest thing to do is to create an excel sheet of all the places you wish to apply to and then write their email alongside. By doing this you can also keep a note of how many times you've contacted them, their response and even pros and cons against other companies.

SECOND STEP:

Research, research, research. I spent a lot of time looking at agencies, what they offer, what clients they have, etc. You can also use this opportunity to look at your existing contacts. Have you met any people along the way that can help you out? Any family members within a similar industry? As a fashion blogger, you come in close contact with a lot of Fashion PR agencies which is extremely helpful when trying to get a foot in the door as you already know who to contact. LinkedIn is also a really good starting point when looking for companies and who to contact (but remember they can see when you've checked their profile!)

Once you've found your niche and the companies you wish to work for, it's time to get your CV up to scratch and to write a stand-out cover letter. A cover letter should basically state who you are, what you do and highlight key points of your CV that you want to stand out to your employer. The hardest part is finding out WHO to email. Most sites have a generic email you can contact but the likelihood of you hearing back is slim. If you can't find a direct email address online then it's best to pick up the phone and introduce yourself personally. This way, the company are already aware that you're keen so when it come's to receiving your email, their interest should be peaked.

FOLLOW UP:

Once you've emailed, keep note. I'd personally leave it a week to hear something and if you haven't by that point, then a courtesy follow up call could help. Whilst none of us want to seem annoying or impatient, a follow up call can prove your passion and ability to not take no for an answer.

PREPARE:

If you are lucky enough to arrange an interview with the company, remember to be prepared. Most of the time its unnecessary but it doesn't take a lot to print a copy of your CV to have on hand and to also make a small list of a few questions. Typical questions I like to ask are:

- What will the role entail? - Is there a specific dress code? - Will social media be involved? (as I'd like to get some experience in that) - What are the hours? And finally, the dreaded question of pay. I've never actually asked upfront whether an internship is paid since 9/10 times it's not. But being a student in London and interning full time poses a bit of a problem when it's not paid. It seems like a bit of a cop out, but once the interviews over, it's best to send a polite email thanking them for their time and THEN bringing up the possibility of wage or expenses. This will allow you to ponder over it for a longer time before making your decision. At the end of the day, whilst they're giving you the experience you need, you are also giving them an extra pair of hands, so don't feel obliged to conform.