Friday, 27 November 2009

TGI Friday

I know it's been a while since TGI Friday graced its presence but I'm afraid life got in the way. The last week has resulted in a bit of a blog fest with a lot of people writing posts about blogging culture and the relationship we have with PRs. It has all made for some provocative reading. So here we are with the blog posts that have rocked my world this week.

Over the world magazine circulations are declining and this blog looks at the reasons why and on the flip side why blogs are so popular.

Lipstick Rules
The International Make Up Artists Trade Show (IMATS) took place in Toronto last weekend and every beauty blogger in town made their way down to the event. Lipstick Rules reviews the event and discuses how beauty bloggers are perceived by PRs.

Liberty London Girl
Everyone's favourite blogger gives us the nitty gritty on the relationship between bloggers and PRs.

This post picks up where Liberty London Girl left off with a dummies guide aimed at PRs on how to deal with bloggers.

Girl With a Satchel
This essential read for glossy magazine addicts talks about the love fest that magazines are having with fashion bloggers.

Pic taken from Divalocity.

In the Editor's Chair - Annika Allen

Welcome to In the Editor's Chair where I feature editors from niche and underground magazines. At the tender age of 27, Annika Allen has certainly packed an awful lot into her career. She has written for Street Cred magazine, Positive People magazine, Pride magazine, The Voice and New Nation. She also had her own show on a community radio station back in her home town of Birmingham and has worked as a runner for the legendary daytime TV hosts, Richard and Judy. Annika is the CEO and Editor of Flavour magazine which is an entertainment and creative arts publication. Flavour was born in 2006 and since then it has established itself as a voice in urban entertainment. The publication which has has had the likes of Ashley Walters, Jamelia and Alexandra Burke on the cover recently picked up the prize for Magazine of the year at the BEFFTA Awards. They celebrate their third anniversary this month by producing a special double issue with JLS on the front and Cherri V on the back. There are also interviews with Mr Hudson, Reggie Yates, Pixie Lott, Tinchy Stryder and N-Dubz. There is also a great feature called 15 people you should follow on Twitter. I caught up with Annika to find out what life is like as glamorous editor for a hip magazine. 

How did you get into journalism?
I’ve been writing since I was a child. At 8 I joined CBBC’s Press Pack club and never looked back. I’ve been writing ever since for local magazines and newspapers in my home town Birmingham and then I moved to London to study journalism at London College of Communication and the rest as they say is history. 

Describe the concept of Flavour magazine.
Flavour Magazine is a youth lifestyle publication and website for the young, ambitious and cool. Flavour’s aim is to inspire and empower its readers. After all there’s enough negativity in the world so why add to it. We love to showcase creative talent as we feel photographers, fashion designers; artists etc need a platform for this. Plus we are categorised by our exclusive stunning photography. All our covers have been exclusively shot for Flavour Magazine and this is something that we are very proud of. 

Who is behind Flavour?
Flavour is run by my wonderful business partner Leonard Foster and I. Flavour is run and published independently by us and for you.    

Describe a day in the life of Annika Allen.
There is no such thing as a typical day in my life, which is what I love about it. One day I could be sitting at my desk all day answering emails, editing copy for the website or the print edition and talking with PRs on the phone. Then next I could be putting on a fabulous dress to strut down a red carpet at a premiere or interviewing Outkast or Mariah Carey. For the last few month’s I’ve been organising our annual model competition Miss Flavour 2009 which was held at Cafe de Paris.   

Which blogs do you check out regularly? - Matilda or Matty as I call her is my girl from back in the day. We used to go to a writing club called Smoke Free Birmingham where we used to produce a magazine. We were 13-15 years-old at the time. She’s very opinionated and an amazing writer. - another friend of mine whose fly and fabulous and on a journey to work in NY.
Bossip – Who can resist celebrity gossip. I know I can’t.
Global Grind – Everything you want on music, fashion, celebrities and world news all in one place. If I’m not looking at Flavour Magazine, The BBC or All Hip Hop I’m on this website.   

What magazines do you read? 
Well I love reading Flavour of course, I’m very proud of my work but of course I read other publications. I read Pride Magazine, Glamour, Vibe Magazine (which will be returning in December after closing) and my guilty pleasure is soap magazines like Soap Life, All About Soap etc.  

What tips do you have for anyone who wants to become a magazine editor?
Get writing, start your blog, get work experience at magazines, write articles for free if you’re just starting out so that you can build up your name and get your by-line in print and network like crazy to build up your contacts.  

The new issue of Flavour is out today, check out the website here.

You can follow Annika on Twiiter here.

Thursday, 26 November 2009

The Teen Vogue Hand Book

Those of you who read this blog regularly will know that I have a fondness for Teen Vogue. The magazine is like the little sister that I never had and who I look at with fondness and slight reminiscence. Well when I heard that Teen Vogue had published a handbook for people who wanted to get into the fashion industry I never really took much notice because as an avid reader and worker in the fashion education industry, I have more or less read every guide out there. I also dismissed the book as a mediocre book produced just to make fast cash out of the aspiring fashionistas out there. The handbook dropped last month to a great deal of media attention on blogs and magazines but after reading the reviews I decided that I needed to check it out to find out what the fuss was about. When my copy arrived from amazon it would an understatement to say that I was surprised by what I saw. In a nutshell The Teen Vogue Hand Book rocks!

The handbook is like a small coffee table and the inside pages have past covers of Teen Vogue laid out in a collage style. The content is packed with useful information on careers in fashion but it is also visually stunning with gorgeous imagery and great design. It is divided into six sections and looks at routes into fashion design, fashion journalism, styling, modelling, beauty and photography. All the sections contain interviews with leaders in their field such as Marc Jacobs, Stella McCartney, Amy Astley (Editor of Teen Vogue), Natalie Massenet (Founder of Net-a-Porter), Andrea Lieberman (stylist to Jennifer Lopez and Gwen Stefani), Havana Laffitte (stylist for Teen Vogue), Chanel Iman, Pat McGrath, Jemina Kidd, Bruce Weber and Mario Testino. Each person talks about when they first became interested in fashion, how they got into their field, the ins and out of their job and they also offer advice to up and coming fashionistas. As well as these interviews there are also short profiles on individuals who keep the wheel turning. From interns at Thakoon, market editors, fashion writers and art assistants, at Teen Vogue and photographer, Patrick Demarchelier's assistant, nothing is overlooked. There are numerous quotes and tips scattered within the book which I think really injects a lot of personality into it. I really love the 'tool kits' where we get to see all the items that the fashion pros use on a day to day basis.

With a voucher for a FREE one year subscription to Teen Vogue thrown in with the book very few would dispute that The Teen Vogue Handbook is worth every penny.

You can buy the book from amazon.

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

My Space - Adenike Adenitre from Adenike's World

Adenike Adenitire is a journalist, cultural critic and PR. The former entertainment editor of the now defunct weekly black British newspaper New Nation has also written for Pride, The Sun, The Mirror, The Guardian and among others. She has appeared as a pundit on BBC news, MTV and Radio 5 Live. She is CEO of Coast 2 Coast Media Ltd, where clients include award-winning actor Aml Ameen and award-winning singer Donae'o. She also works alongside Powerful Media, a Media and Publishing company best known for the Powerlist, an annual list of the 100 most powerful black men and women in the UK. This year she edited the company's Future Leaders, a student magazine launched at Downing Street by the prime Minster Gordon Brown. She has been running her blog Adenike's World since 2008 and she took time to discuss where she sits down to write it. 

Describe the concept of Adenike's World
My personality has always been quite indecisive, so there is no real theme to Adenike's World, as my mind flits from one thing to the next at the drop of a hat, so I wanted to leave room for this. Because of this my blog is a place where I can rant about whatever I fancy really. But because I am in the media, a lot of it does tend to lean towards this and also because I am a black women the topics lean towards things that reflect that too. No topic is off limits, it's whatever is on my mind at the time I choose to write a post. I don't blog nearly enough though, but I hate blogging for bloggings sake and sometimes it is hard to find something that inspires you. 

Where do you scribe?
I write everywhere, from my bed, my bedroom floor, my living room, even my stairs. But I guess I tend to do a lot of my blogging from my office desk. 

Why that space?
As a journalist and PR that's where I spend a lot of my working time anyway, so it puts me in the mind frame for being creative. I have everything to  hand and I am in a good space.

What's on your desk at the moment?
Lol! What isn't on my desk? No, it actually looks quite tidy in comparison to how it usually looks. I remember one day my Mum came to visit me at my old office and immediately she could tell which desk was mine, just by the sheer mess all over it - not good! lol! In terms of what's on my desk... well, there's my Mac computer, my Blackberry, some Evian water, a phone, loads of post-its and some magazines and newspapers. 

What form of inspiration do you have on the wall?
Cuttings or extracts? I don't really put anything on the wall, as in my teens there was a period of about five years when I didn't see my bedroom wall at all, as it was completely covered in posters. I had my Kylie period, my Bobby Brown period, my New Kids On The Block period (which is still ongoing minus the posters. lol!) and my Jodeci, TLC and Will Smith period. Of course now I'm a little bit too old for posters, so I like to keep things minimal. All my inspiration comes from things I store in my head. I carry so much random thoughts in my head that sometimes I have to force my self to switch off as it can be quite tiring! But a lot of my thoughts for blog posts still come from newspapers, magazines, TV, radio, the internet, life in general... 

Do you keep a tidy office or are you a messy worker?
Well I have already given you an idea about that in the fourth question . lol! Virgos are supposed to be neat and tidy, but I can testify that is not always the case. I am ashamed to say I tend to be more of a messy worker. And no matter where I am working, I always tend to leave my mark. I am trying to get better though as having a messy environment does tend to clutter you mind also.

You can follow Adenike's blog here
You can follow her on Twitter here..

Monday, 23 November 2009

Why I Love......Chick Lit

"I write Chick Lit not Chick Shit."
Carrie Bradshaw, Sex and the City: The Movie, 2007
This is one of many lines that were left out of Sex and the City: The Movie which is a real shame as I really like it. The line between Chick Lit and Chick Shit is a very fine one but to many Literatti snobs, they are one and the same. Rather ironic that the much talked about book on Carrie Bradshaw and her teen years (The Carrie Years) now has a release date of March 2010 as well as a gorgeous cover. The prose in the book is set in diary form and will cover the character's college years and her arrival in New York City.  My mate and fellow blogger Bim from Yoruba Girl Dancing has created a new blog series called Why I Love which is a series where people express their irrational love for an object or activity. So of course I had to take part in this fabulous series and discuss my love for Chick Lit. You can read my guest blog post here.

Friday, 20 November 2009

Make Me

After god knows how many years away from the music biz Janet Jackson is finally back with a new album. Number Ones is Janet's greatest hits album and contains classics such as What Have You Done For Me Lately, Miss You Much, Rhythm Nation, Nasty, Gone Till It's Gone and  All For You. Number Ones consists of two discs and has a whooping 33 tracks which makes me shout "Bargain!." Check out the behind the scenes of the video for Make Me which is the first single to be released from the album  In true Miss Jackson style, this song is catchy, melodic and rather funk. With the release of Why Did I Get Married Too next year it looks like 2010 will be a great year for Miss Jackson.

A LaChapelle

Bright, vivid and loud are just a few words that are used to describe David LaChappelle's work. He has been dubbed the feline of photography because he crosses the line between art and celebrity in his work. Like Mario Testino, LaChappelle embraces the celeb rock star element by blowing up that thing that makes that person tick and as a result he makes them larger than life. Raised in South Carolina, David LaChappellle came to NYC at the age of 15. He did not fit in in South Carolina so for him it was NYC or death. At 18 he met Andy Warhol who took a liking to his work and ironically his first job was to take the last photo of Warhol for Interview magazine. Over the next seven years LaChappelle fell into a slump of taking random and mediocre images of weddings and other local events but felt frustrated as he was not creating the work he wanted. He vowed that for his next project he would take pictures that he wanted and to hell with the rest.

LaChappelle was offered a job with a new magazine called Details where he began taking images of celebrities. It was from here that he began to develop his own sense of style and invented his own kind of kitch. Pictures that possess a tension between the dark aspect but also humour and pop art and obsession with beauty were pretty much his bag. He is also a fan of theatrical shoots and more recently he has been creating shoots that revolve around flamboyant sets. LaChappelle has also lent his hands to videos such as Christina Auguilera's Dirty, Kellis's Good Stuff, Elton John's Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me and many others. However his most famous work has been the Britney's Rolling Stone cover and spread, Tupac in the bath, David Beckham's christ like GQ cover, Anna Kournikova holidng her tennis racket like it is a guitar and Alicia Keyes for Italian Vogue. 

You can check out his wonderful work at his website.

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Blogger Meet Up Part II

Last Sunday was the day of another London Blogger Meet Up. The venue was the View Bar in Waterstones Piccadilly and I was joined by Blogger lovelies Vex in the City, Yoruba Girl Dancing, Disney Roller Girl, Mad News, Phreshmentality, CMYPassion, Waltzing Matilda, Bangs and a Bun and Jade Genesiss. While tucking into drinks and lunch we discussed everything from Rhianna, X Factor, The Daily Mail and of course blogging. We also compared business cards with Yoruba Girl Dancing showing off her cute cards from and Disney Roller Girl touting her cool arty ones. The lovely Ashanti OMkar popped in to say hello while she was on route to her cinema combo day. A good time had by all and we all swapped twitter and blog details.

For those of you who missed it there will be a Blogger Meet Up/Tweet Up before Xmas. I will be sending out the details on Twitter and I expect to see all the London Bloggeratti and Twitteratti there.

Monday, 16 November 2009

Winter Wonderland

Quite a few people have been going on about the double issue of Wonderland Magazine with Alexandra Burke and Dizzee Rascal on the front. Well I was so intruiged that I went out to buy a copy to see what all the fuss was about. The theme is all about celebrating British talent and it's uniqueness. I will always remember Wonderland from when the founder and editor, Huw Gwyther appeared on Dragon's Den in 2005 seeking funding. He delivered a fantastic pitch and was awarded £175,000 from Peter Jones. Now anyone who watches Dragon's Den knows that Peter Jones does not suffer fools gladly and is very quick to cuss off aspiring entrepreneurs who do not come correct. So for Huw to win over the successful business man was quite a coup. Over the years, the look of Wonderland has changed from a contemporary stylish feel to one that is more edgy and I think it works very well.

Check out the Wonderland blog here.

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

The Musings of Ondo Lady on Hiatus

Hi Peeps.

Due to a family bereavement this blog is going to be on hiatus for a short while. Thank you all for your comments and support and I will be back with some more wonderful blog posts.

Kind regards

Ondo Lady

Friday, 6 November 2009

TGI Friday

I must admit this week has gone really fast what with a drop in the temperature and Bonfire Night yesterday.  So to no further ado, please find the links to the blog posts that have really done it for me this week.

Remember back in the day when the mobile library would come over to your area with a mouth watering selection of books for you to borrow? Sian takes us back there.

It has certainly been a memorable year for Kanye West for good and bad reasons but like him or loathe him you can't knock his creativity. Hence his new coffee table book that is due out soon.

Coco's Tea Party
Glamour is not exactly my favourite magazine but this month the UK version has smashed it with the lush cover of Leighton Meester.

Style Sample Magazine
Check out a no nonsense guide on writing for magazines.

Fly Girls
Check out the amazing work of artist, Borja Bonaque.

Picture taken from Sianyland. 

Thursday, 5 November 2009

Her Best Food Forward - The Ondo Lady

The ever so lovely Adrienne from Mustard Seed Collective has featured me on her blog in part of her shoe week series. This is where she profiles various bloggers around the world and they talk about their favorite footwear. Other bloggers that have been featured are Get It Girl Style, Haute Girl and  God's Favorite Shoes. I was pretty chuffed to be asked to take place in this series.

You can check out the article here.

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

My Space - Winona Dimeo-Ediger from Daddy Likey

Winona Dimeo-Ediger has been running her popular blog, Daddy Likey for three years and since that time she has generated a lot of admirers. Fashion is the name of the game with Daddy Likey here along with the odd story on interiors and jewellery. The Portland native has cemented her status as a fashionista by writing a book which covers the fashion dilemmas that women experience such as never having anything to wear.  Closet Confidential: Style Secrets Learned the Hard Way covers the whole fashion experience such as shopping for jeans, the lowdown on underwear, picking out the perfect coat and how to dress for the job you want. I caught up with Winona to find out where she sat down to write her book and blog.

Describe the concept of Daddy Likey.
Daddy Likey is a smart, funny fashion blog for smart, funny, fashionable women. I created the blog because I love to write and I love fashion, and I felt like a lot of fashion writing was elitist and patronizing. I treat my readers like they're my friends, and to my delight I've made some wonderful friends in the process.

Where do you scribe?
Ooh, I love the word "scribe"! I scribe at a corner desk I've had since I was in 8th grade, which is now set up near a window of my apartment with a beautiful view of the Oregon rain and my neighbour's wall.

Why that place?
I've tried to write in bed before because it sounds so glamorous, but I always either fall asleep or watch 30 Rock on Hulu and then fall asleep. I like my desk because it's much less comfortable and therefore harder to nap. I also really like looking outside and daydreaming.

What is on your desk at the moment?
This is so embarrassing, but I'm going to be really honest: Four dirty plates, a piece of smoked salmon, a bedazzled watch, three headbands, twenty bobby pins, two pairs of children's swimming goggles, a few gift cards, various crumbs, five books, two magazines, and a back massager shaped like an octopus. Wow.

What form of inspiration do you have on the wall ie photos, magazine cuttings or extracts?
I have a huge inspiration wall above my desk and I probably spend more time staring at it than I do actually writing. It includes pictures of people and places that inspire me--Rachel Maddow, my great grandfather, Washington DC, the girls I mentor, my friends, etc., along with quotes, a New Yorker cover, and a poem my little brother wrote about cheese. I update it frequently with new photo booth strips and cheese poems.

Do you keep a tidy office or are you a messy worker?
I think my answer to question #4 might give you a hint. :)

You can buy Winona's book from amazon here.
You can follow her on twitter here.

Monday, 2 November 2009

Review: Stylist

You know a magazine is going well when they upped the price or it's gets an upgrade of paper. Hence that Stylist magazine has gone from a matt surface to an all new glossy one. Not bad considering it is only four issues in. Most freebie mags for women have been cheap and nasty or boring as mud; remember Ms London, Girl About Town and Nine to Five? The quality of Stylist is awesome, it has a really well planned out editorial, great images and fantastic stories. More importantly it has been greeted with open arms by a metropolitan women in the UK who love the fact that is is rammed full of information but is also classy, stylish and experimental.

As they say content is king and it is these elements that makes this glossy weekly a joy to read.

  • Scoop has all the latest news
  • Work Life is a day in the life of a successful professional.
  • Listings is a funky listings page
  • Dawn Porter Shares is the musings of a girl about town. Every good magazine needs a journo who muses about their life but not all of them catch the imagination of the readers. Dawn Porter does though and her stories from anything from choosing the right bra, almost ruining her mates wedding her dilemma on what to buy her boyfriend for his birthday are very endearing.
  • Beauty Notes shows the latest products on the beauty scene
  • Quiet Night In devotes itself to books, dvds and music
  • Sixty Second Therapist is where a celeb answers intimate questions about their career and life.

Issue four with Claudia Winkleman has a fabulous piece on the pros and cons of the iPhone and the Blackberry but from a girlie perspective. Definately my favourite article so far.
With ads from L'Oreal, Yves Saint Laurent, Omega, French Connection and American Express, Stylist certainly means business. Along with top notch cover stars such as Angelica Joile, Kate Moss and Michelle Obama I wonder what else the magazine is going to pull out of its bag. Overall the verdict is a great whooping pass. The art direction may not be as exciting as Style magazine, Stella and YOU but Stylist is one hell of a classy act and amazing quality for a freebie. Long may it continue.

Stylist is available every Wednesdays in London, Birmingham, Manchester and Glasgow. If you miss a copy then it will also be available from various branches of French Connection.

Sunday, 1 November 2009

The Bold and the Beautiful

Beauty bloggers are taking over the world and that is a fact. After being ignored by PR companies for years, these same blogger now find themselves on the receiving end of VIP treatment; invites to press launches, free products as well as the occasional free trip. Didi is one of those bloggers who the make up obsessed turn to for advice on products. She has been running The Virtues of Beauty for just over a year and has built up quite a following. I touched base with her to find out the lady is behind The Virtues of Beauty. 

What made you start blogging?
I decided to start my blog after becoming obsessed with watching product reviews, makeup and hair tutorials and things of that nature on YouTube. That led to reading reviews on blogs and although I found them to be useful and I enjoyed reading what people felt about certain products, I wanted to try them out for myself; to see if what the reviewer had said was true for me. Especially being a woman of colour. I don’t really want to go into race, or to say that my blog is catered to a specific demographic because that’s not my intention, but I do feel that there is a lack of representation for women of colour, especially coming from the UK. You have people who are fantastic such as Erin from Scandalous Beauty or Brittany from Clumps of Mascara who do great reviews, but they are based in America. Some of the products they review aren’t available to you here and I remember in the beginning I’d buy/import those products just because they had received good reviews, but I soon found that not to be beneficial, so I decided to see what was on the market here, including products that aren’t targeted to women of colour and give my thoughts. 

Describe the concept behind The Virtues of Beauty?
To be honest initially there was no concept behind The Virtues of Beauty, I just wanted to create a blog that gave honest reviews, and pass on tips and tricks that I’ve learnt. 

How do you think bloggers have made an impact on the media? 
We live in a fast paced world and blogs are an easy way for the readers to find information and resources they want or need quickly. For someone who lives on their computer, I don’t have the time for traditional media. Blogs make it easier for me to keep up with the world around me – what’s hot and what’s not. Plus I like the feel of blogs, they tend to have a community feel to them; you’re able to interact with the author, ask questions specific to the post and get answers. However, there’s no pre-requisite to starting a blog and in some cases it shows through the standard of writing. As a blogger who has no formal training as a writer or journalist, I write my blog from a consumers’ point of view - I'm not here to change the face of writing, as we know it. 

Beauty blogging seems to be the new thing in blogsphere so how do you keep your blog fresh? 
The blog is still in its early stages, and I’m still trying out different things, such as mini-series. But I would like to think that ultimately I keep my blog “fresh” with my style of writing, which is pretty much conversational. I like to think the reader is sitting next to me and I'm just chatting away to a friend. 

What do you do when you are not working on your blog? 
When I'm not blogging, I'm managing my own private training organisation which I run with my mum and when I’m not doing that I’m a freelance makeup artist and wardrobe stylist. 

Describe a typical day in the life of Didi. 
A typical day in the life of me is fairly boring. It would see me waking up at around 6.30am scrambling for my Blackberry (I’m a proud addict), checking my latest emails and/or messages; then it's a date with Billy Blanks and a great Tae-Bo workout, after which I get ready for work. Depending on my day and meetings, I'll either work from home or go into the office. My friends call me a workaholic and I've been known to work late hours, sometimes I don't leave the office until 11.30pm. 

Where do you source your stories from? 
Most of my posts are product reviews and so the source of my posts as such comes from whatever product I’m testing at the time. It can be products I’ve got an interest in or someone has asked me to review or I’ve been sent by a PR company. 

What are your favourite glossy magazines? 
I’ll pick up Look magazine without fail. I do like to flick through InStyle, Elle and Glamour and on the odd occasion Ebony and Essence. - Not sure if Colures is still in publication, but I have a couple issues and quite like the magazine. 

Name five blogs that you read religiously? 
I follow quite a few blogs but don’t really read them all religiously; rather I’ll read the latest posts that come up in my feed with interesting titles. Some blogs of note are Mad News, Harlem Loves, Toya Berry, Scandalous Beauty and of course The Musings of Ondo Lady. 

How do you see The Virtues of Beauty evolving over the next two years? 
Quite simply I don’t know. I started the blog with no real notion of where to take it or what I wanted it to be. Fleeting thoughts of it evolving into a reputable online lifestyle or beauty magazine have crossed my mind but that’s about it. 

You can follow Didi on twitter here.