The Blogger Card: Does It Exist, and Should We Use It?

blogger card

What is The Blogger Card? For the purpose of this post, I’m using the term to refer to bloggers who use their status as a means to get what they want. I’m not using it in a overtly negative or positive way. There are the extremes such as turning up at a restaurant and claiming “do you know who I am?” – something I’ve heard happen in several well known establishments in London. Then there are the slightly more subtle uses of it, such as contacting a PR about featuring a product you fancy trying out.

Let’s start this article by being truthful, and admitting that we have all used the ‘blogger card’ at some point. I’ll openly admit to using it when I’ve wanted to work with a company I love. And why shouldn’t we use it for our own gain? Why should it only be one sided? PRs and brands contact bloggers for advertising all the time, and a lot of the time they expect it for free.

Should We Use The Blogger Card?

If you ask most people they’ll say that holidays, dining out, and experiences are a form of luxury and relaxation for them. But as a blogger, we’re invited to do a lot of these things for free. Free meals, press events, gifts, sometimes even free holidays. Albeit in the hope that we will feature it on our blog or social media platforms. And it’s pretty awesome. I really appreciate everything that blogging has brought me, and I’ve worked hard for it. But I can say that it isn’t always the greatest. And I’m sometimes left wondering, do these opportunities take away our appreciation of things?

Let’s take the example of someone saving up for a new phone. Not only is it satisfying, but it builds character. But if that same person is handed one for free on a regular basis, eventually the significance fades. Now I’m not saying that bloggers don’t appreciate the things they’re given, in fact I think 90% of them do. However I do wonder if we get to a point where we care slightly less for the things that are presented to us. i.e. they lose significance.

Why am I rambling?

I happened to be in the same room as a ‘big blogger’ recently, who had won an award for their blog. They bitched away, complaining about the awards, how they probably wouldn’t turn up, and that they didn’t even care about the award. It’s an extreme example, but it really stuck with me. This was coming from a blogger I used to admire. But it just seemed that they were so – dare I say – privileged, that this award had lost all meaning to them.

I definitely think the Blogger Card exists, but I think the use and knock-on effects differ per person. However I do think that in general, the lifestyle can become overwhelming, and slightly toxic. After a while it all becomes about the numbers, how many events you attend, who you’re hanging out with, and whether or not you were sent the latest ‘it’ product. Which is not good for anyone’s mental health.

I’m on the fence about whether we should use our status or not. I think, like most things, we should use it in moderation. On one hand I see it as empowering, and useful in business. On the other, I wonder if it sucks away at our humanity a bit. Maybe that’s just the way the world works. But even if it is, it doesn’t mean we have to go along with it, right?

What do you think?
Does the Blogger Card exist, and if so should we use it?

The Big Christmas Jumper Debate

Mint Christmas Pudding Jumper* – New Look

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when I say “Christmas jumper”? Cheesy? Mulled wine and minced pies? Maybe something hand knitted by your nan? When I asked my colleague the same question he admitted that he wore his for only a few hours on Christmas Day (mainly to satisfy his parents), and as soon as the unwrapping of presents was over he’d take it off again. It seems as though a lot of people feel the same way about Christmas jumpers, and I think it’s a bit sad.

They come in all shapes and sizes but if we’re all being truthful, they’re usually pretty tacky. However fashion brands in recent years have taken on the challenge of changing our view of the traditional Christmas jumper. From Primark to Topshop, the High St is littered with them at this time of year. You’ll find festive ones, funny ones, and maybe even some risqué ones. It sounds cliche, but surely there has to be something for everyone?!

I myself wasn’t a fan of Christmas jumpers until last year, when Topshop released this little gem. But what made me come round to the idea? Honestly I think it’s because stores have finally cottoned on that they aren’t something reserved for dad’s and awkward family dinners. Instead they’ve realised that they can be fashionable (and sometimes even chic), without being ott or tacky. Whether it’s a subtle Nordic print, or dainty crystal Christmas puddings, the Christmas jumper is no longer an embarrassment. It’s a fashion statement, and it’s here to stay. So don’t be a Grinch, join in the fun!

You can view my current Christmas jumper looks here.

Discuss: Test Drive Your Clothes, Before You Buy

Japanese clothing brand GU (a Uniqlo sister brand) have released a new concept into their new Shibuya Parco store (Tokyo) this month. The concept behind the store has been labelled “GU Fitting” and claims to be the first of it’s kind in the world. 

So what is ‘GU Fitting’ and how does it work? Essentially it’s a service that allows you to test drive an item, or items, of clothing before you purchase it. It may sound a little crazy, and you’re probably wondering how it could work, or why it’s even a thing. Well GU want you to be able to really get to grips with their items, so they’re willing to loan you the items for the day. Say you walk into GU’s new store and your eyes fall on a cute dress, but you’re not sure how it will fit or feel. All you need to do is visit the GU Fitting Counter (they take 30 requests a day) with your item/s (3 max) and put in a request to ‘test drive’ them. You can meet up with friends at a cafe, do some window shopping, or maybe even sit around at home. All you have to do is return them by the end of the day. You can then decide whether you want to purchase them or not. 
But won’t people steal the items? This part has a lot to do with the culture, in my opinion. GU are trusting their customers with the items and are only asking for a name and telephone number, no ID or deposit etc. This is because they have trust in their customers. If you lose your wallet in Japan, chances are someone will return it or give it in to the police. It’s because of this that a lot of Japanese people have a very trusting mentality and it translates well into schemes like this. As for the items on sale – most are priced around 2,000円 (around £11.50) or less, so this is purely fast fashion, nothing high-end. 
GU have certainly come up with a unique way to sell their clothing, and with a large selection of on-trend quality items I can see this becoming a big hit with the brand. GU are already considering expanding the project if it is successful, and as a fan of the brand I would love to try the idea out. Will it catch on? I really don’t see it working outside of Japan, without a few changes. I could see it working in the UK if the customer left their card details/with a deposit scheme, however I’m not too sure the idea would catch on. It does seem like something that would only work in Japan, for now anyway. The store will be open until the end of June, so you still have some time to check it out if you’re in the neighbourhood. 

What do you think? 
Would it work in your country?
Would you ‘test drive’ an outfit/item of clothing? 
Source: 1, 2, 3

Discuss: Would you rent a nail polish?

Most nail polish addicts will have a favourite designer brand. However most of these brands are expensive, even if the quality is good. So what if someone told you, you could have designer nail polishes but without the price tag? Well that’s exactly what US brand Lacquerous are planning to offer.

The concept behind the brand is simple; You pay $18 a month and they send you 3 designer nail polishes (of your choice)The catch? You’re only renting them. Yep, at the end of the month you send the polishes back. You then pay another $18 and are sent another 3 polishes, and so on. They’re the “Netflix for Nail Polish”.

This all sounds great, especially if you don’t use a polish more than once a week, and switch often. However the small print is where it starts to sound a little less likeable – you can only use each polish up to 3 times. Now for me, that’s a big no no. If I was going to pay £12 a month (the equivalent to $18) for 3 polishes a month I would want to get my moneys worth, designer or not. Sure most people probably won’t even use them more than 3 times, but what if you happen to dislike the other colours you choose, or you really fall for one or two in particular?

At the moment the company is invite-only to American citizens, with no talk of taking the venture overseas. They say they have over 2,500 people on their waiting list, however when you think about the size of America…well that’s not much at all, is it? I guess only time will tell as to how popular the idea and company will be.

Would you rent a nail polish? What do you think of the idea behind Lacquerous?

Source; 1, 2

A new hair colour for A/W

From old to new: going darker for A/W

If you follow me on Twitter you will know that last Thursday I made a stop at Flint Hair Salon.
I knew I wanted to go darker again, but I didn’t want to do anything too much like my natural colour.
After my consultation I decided that a red-brown was definitely what I wanted to go for – and I’m glad!
I had the best hair colourist in Norwich (and maybe even the South East) – Robyn.
Why do I say that? Well she’s in the final for this years Wella Professionals TrendVision Award.
If that doesn’t tell you how good she is at her job, then hopefully my comments and the above photo will.
The whole process went really well and I was so happy with the final result – a perfect overall colour.
Not to mention how lovely and talkative Robyn was – amazing customer service!

I had my two tone brown & blonde hair for over a year, so this was a big change for me.
It’s still taking some getting used to, but I’m really happy with the colour (the red is as bold as I’d hoped).
What do you think? Will you be going darker this season?

Style: 1 Skirt 4 Ways

Click image to enlarge
As soon as I pick up a potential clothing purchase I automatically start contemplating outfits.
A few days ago I bought a new waterfall skirt (it sounds dreamier than dip-hem), and that’s what I did.
It’s no wonder I’m such a fan of things like Polyvore and putting together coordinates in photoshop.
Therefore today’s post is a little bit of fun for me and hopefully helpful to a few people also.
I put together 4 separate outfits, all using the same skirt as the central piece.
My style varies a lot between trends and fashion ‘labels’ and I think that’s reflected here.
I managed to add a few Baroque pieces, and the outfits range from casual to slightly more formal.
I also wanted to think a little bit about accessories, make-up and nails – as I know I dress those to match.
I think the outfits themselves though are pretty self-explanatory so I won’t ramble on too much.
The skirt featured is from Topshop, and the items included are from various other High Street stores.
Please comment if you’d like to know where any of the items are from.
‘1 ___ 4 Ways’ is something I’d like to continue with.
Would you guys like to see more of this kind of post?

Discuss: Can make-up represent a clothing brand?

Today I want to get discussion going about something that is popular in Japan.
I will be featuring one of my favourite Japanese brands, Murua, to help explain.

In Japan, clothing brands spend a lot of time representing themselves and their staff.
The presentation of the staff reflects on the store and brand, which makes a lot of sense.
This is done through not only their clothing and accessories, but make-up and hair too.

So with every new season some of the brands and stores send their shop staff (usually the store manager) off to a special meeting. Here, they are taught the key make-up and hair looks for that season, for the brand. The looks compliment that season’s collection, and make the brand and staff stand out. The manager then goes back and passes on this information to the shop staff, who are then expected to use these key looks in their everyday make-up & hair routine, whilst at work.

The shop staff are not forced to re-create the looks step-by-step and are allowed to add their own personal flair.
This means that they can retain their own personal style within the brand, much like those who work for clothing stores are expected to wear clothing from that store, or make-up counter staff are expected to wear make-up from that brand.

I personally would love to see something similar in stores like Topshop that have their own make-up line. I know a lot of clothing and department stores have rules on what kind of make-up to wear (subtle etc) in the UK, and are asked to be on-trend, but it’s not usually like this. I think it would inspire the customer more and help represent the brand too, whilst adding a little something extra. I do fear that it restricts people’s personal tastes a bit, but I think there’s always room to be inventive. However I think this works so well in Japan because of customer loyalty, so I’m not sure if it would catch on.
What do you think of this idea?
Do you think it would work in the UK, or Europe?

Source; 1