Saturday, 31 July 2010

Welcome to Be Beautiful

Welcome to Be Beautiful which is a one month special that focuses on all things beautiful. I am talking about beauty products, brands and events and I will be featuring some great beauty bloggers to get things from their perspectives. We will kick off with Blogger of the Month featuring Erin Bailey from Scandalous Beauty and then there will be the usual My Space specials with four bloggers who are whipping blogsphere into a frenzy. I will also be featuring a special series called 'How I Get Pretty' which will be about a beauty blogger discussing all the products that she uses everyday that makes her feel wonderful. On top of that there will be a post about the marketing and branding of beauty brands as well as a review of Accidental Diva by Tia Williams which is a tale about a beauty editor living the high life in New York. So August will be a pretty packed month here on The Musings of Ondo Lady, also there is a special event that I am involved in called You're Beautiful, Woman! which celebrate Black beauty in all forms. It takes place on Saturday 7th August in London and will be packed full of seminars, workshops as well as a vibrant marketplace. Topics such as fashion, hair, fitness and health will be covered and it will be hosted by TV presenter, Rhoda Wilson who has a slot on SKY.  Tickets are £5 online and £7.50 on the door.

For more information about You're Beautiful, Woman! just check out the website.

Friday, 30 July 2010

Fashion Camp comes to Nigeria

You would have to be under a rock not to be aware of the drama surrounding the newly appointed fashion director of Essence magazine. The outcry is that Essence which is aimed at Black women has decided to hire a white lady to head up the fashion department. A huge number of African Americans feel that it is hard enough for people of colour to break into the mainstream fashion/magazine industry so publications like Essence offered an alternative route. I can see both sides of the argument but my opinion is that if she is the best person for the job then she should be left to get on with it.  Of course this is an idealistic stance and we all know that the world we live in is far from ideal, so in order to combat this some people have created their own initiatives in order for us to get to an even platform.

Take Arieta Mujay who has founded Fashion Camp which is an event based in Nigeria that sets out to nurture budding fashionistas. It takes place in Lagos over a week and will be full of seminars on styling, photography, the art of design, fashion PR, blogging, visuals and graphics. The aim is to equip teenagers with information on the ins and outs of the fashion industry. Arieta who is a well respected stylist has enrolled the help of successful fashionistas such as Biki John who is a stylist and fashion writer, Deola Sagoe who is one of Nigeria's celebrated fashion designers and Bella Naija which is one of Nigeria's most popular blogs.

Fashion Camp takes place from 2nd to 8th August.

The Best Concert of my Life - as seen in The Cocoa Diaries

Last week the lovely, Keysha from The Cocoa Diaries featured me in her blog. She is running a series called 'The Best Concert of my Life' where different writers and bloggers talk about the concert that had the most impact on them. Over the last few weeks she has featured author, Lola Jaye, Janice Spence from Mad News and more recently Adenike Adenitire from I Miss the Old School. Lola's favorite concert was Ledisi, Janice's was Mary J Blige and Adenike's was New Kids on the Block. Click here to find out who I chose.

Sunday, 25 July 2010

Confessions of a Reluctant Recessionista by Amy Silver: Review

Chick Lit comes in all forms and covers all scenarios; weddings, career change, holidays as well as the recession. Confessions of a Reluctant Recessionista is the story of Cassie Cavanagh who works as a PA in the City for an investment bank. While her job may not be the most fulfilling in the world, she enjoys the perks that comes with it. With a handsome boyfriend who showers her with fancy gifts such as Jimmy Choo shoes, a flatshare in a trendy part of South London and all the luxurIes she can think - life is pretty good for Cassie.  However her life begins to unravel when she is made redundant and on top of that her wonderful boyfriend dumps her for another woman. With life on the dole, Cassie soon finds out that funemployment is far from fun and she has to learn how to live on a budget. This means goodbye to all her little perks such as coffee from Starbucks, trips to her posh gym, manicure, pedicures and massages and membership to Shoreditch House and back to basics. Unfortunately, frugal is not a word that Cassie is familiar with but she soon learns to embrace it and learns a lot about herself in the process.

When I first came across this book I obviously thought of The Secret Dreamworld of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella. The book is as funny as its counterpart and also has a really engaging protanganist but while Becky Bloomwood in Shopaholic led a bit of a fairytale, Cassie's story is a bit more true to life. For a start she does not just land a glam TV job with hardly any effort. We see Cassie apply for job after job and undertake the most mundane tasks in order to meet her rent as well as taking on a temp job where she is treated like shit. Tenacity is the word that can be used to describe Cassie and I would compare her Karyn Bosnak, a lady who exercised grit and determination in order to get out of debt. Cassie's best mates, Ali and Jude offer her a dose of reality as they help to get her back on track with her life. Confessions of a Reluctant Recessionista is a warm tale and a great read as well as a fantastic debut by Amy Silver and I am really looking forward to her second book, All I Want for Christmas. There are rumours that Amy Silver is writing a follow up to Confessions of a Reluctant Recessionista and it would certainly be interesting to see what the anti Becky Bloomwood gets up to next. 

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

My Space - Tobi Sotubo and Kike Soyode from Style by Queens

Welcome to My Space which is an ongoing series where I feature bloggers and their workspaces. I know that the posting of this series has been sporadic of late and I do apologise. However, I have made it up to with an extra special post. StylebyQueens is a blog that is run by two Law students who are fashion obsessed. Tobi Sotubo and her fashion partner in crime, Kike Soyode started StylebyQueens in order to share their passion for fashion. I caught up with them to find out where they blog.

Describe the concept of StylebyQueens.
Tobi: StylebyQueens is really a place where we can share all of our electric fashion fantasies, celebrate our love for dressing up and showcase other women who have amazing style. We are still new to the blogging world but we are loving every moment of it.
Kike: We're two girls who love to dress up and discover new fashion. We've always had a love for the latest fashion trends. StylebyQueens is our way of sharing our fashion fantasies and discovering new ones.

Where do you scribe?
Tobi: At my desk, in my cosy room in southern suburbia.
Kike: Usually at my desk, but mostly on my bed.

Why that place?
Tobi: Simply because Law School keeps us stuck to our desks.
Kike: It's the most comfortable place in my flat (my bed) and I'm the most relaxed there.

Olubimpe's blogging space

Kike's blogging space
What is on your desk at the moment?
Tobi: My Phones, laptop, My Goddess Guides, a bottle of wine, July's edition of Vogue, media law statute book, my lovely vanilla scented candle and two wine glasses of potpourri.
Kike:  A bunch of notes on Intellectual Property Rights. 

What form of inspiration do you have on the wall?
Tobi: I usually put op Mac Cosmetics recent publicity mail shot, It's always so vibrant, colourful and creative, on the downside it makes me want to buy loads of make up I don't need. My exam timetable keeps me in check and makes sure I am reaching my study and blogging targets. The Notice board is of huge inspiration to me because I made it myself! It was fabric left over from a wedding so I decided to put it to good use. Reminds me how much I enjoy the creative side of life.
Kike: I have a huge painting of a rose in a sepia tone. It calms me down and helps me think with a clear mind.

Do you keep a tidy office or are you a messy worker?
Tobi: When things get hetic things get messy. So more often than my workspace is messy.
Kike: I'm in between. Starting off, I'm extremely tidy but once the work gets intense, it gets a bit messy.

You can read StylebyQueens here.

You can follow them on Twitter.

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

The Wonders of the HP TouchSmart 300

Last week I was invited to the HP TouchSmart 300 event for bloggers. It was hosted by HP and Edelman and took place at the super swish Paramount in Centre Point in Tottenham Court Road. I was last in Centre Point almost a decade ago when I went there with a mate for a few drinks at the bar. Oh my has the building changed quite a bit since then and it is now very slick indeed. The views from the 31st floor where Paramount is based were simply breathtaking and you could be forgiven for thinking you were in Manhattan. We were served champagne on arrival as well as some tasty snacks. After some mingling with other bloggers such as Miggy from Miggy Loves the Internet, Sophie Eggleton, Anne Marie from What She Wears and Sarah Murphy we were treated to a presentation of the elegant HP TouchSmart 300.
Similar to the iPad the HP TouchSmart is based on touch and aims to make computers personal again with its intuitive features. It possess built for touch applications and is powered with VISION technology from AMD - a company whose sole purpose is to make computers looks pretty. On the HP TouchSmart you can do the usual such as accessing information, entertainment and social network but in a way that is very natural. You can use a variety of touch gestures such as pinching, pressing and dragging to get to where you want. Overall it is a pretty cool product. As well as presentations by reps from HP and AMD we were also treated to a talk by fashion designer, Emilio Sosa who was a runner up in Project Runway. Sosa talked about the creative aspects of the PC and how he uses it to work on his collections - I found this to be really insightful because when I think about PCs I only see Word, PowerPoint and spreadsheets and this presentation showed how creative the HP really is.
After sipping champagne cocktails at the circle bar on the 32nd floor we were taken for a lovely dinner at Rhodes W1 Brasserie at the ultra posh Cumberland Hotel. For those of you who follow my blog will know that I am an Apple lady and apart from a brief daliance with a Dell laptop which ended in tears, I have never really looked at a PC. However, the HP could be easily tempt me away like it did to the execs from Sex and the City who dumped the Apple Mac and defected to HP land for the second movie. In fact it was the HP TouchSmart 600 that Samantha is seen working on in her luxe PR office. With their vibrant campaigns HP are most certainly putting sexy into IT.

Friday, 16 July 2010

Retro Review: Love Jones

When Larenz Tate stood up at the BET Awards and started reciting those words to Nia Long, he had everyone oohing and aahing - including myself. Love Jones dropped in 1997 when the poetry scene was buzzing and when the spoken word was the new green, red, gold and Black. Over here in London there were numerous poetry events popping up all over the city. The movie is a simple tale of boy meets girl. Boy gets girl. Boy loses girl and then gets her back. However it is the way the story is told that makes it so damm good. Also it was released when a lot of gangster films were released such as Menance II Society and Dead Presidents  where ironically Larenz first got his claim to fame, so Love Jones was extremely refreshing to the eyes. Nina Mosley played by Nia Long is a photographer nursing a broken heart so she flees New York and heads to Chicago to start a new life. She bumps into Darius Lovehall played by Larenz Tate, an aspiring writer at a Poetry Jam and sparks fly. They start to date and fall for each other but both party are unnerved by the intensity of the relationship. Nina because she is still not quite over her ex and Darius because he not sure if he is ready to settle down.

Love Jones was a pioneer because prior to that you never saw a Black couple in a romantic relationship on the big screen (you can read a previous blog post that I wrote about Black relationships here). The film paved the way for other African American romances like Brown Sugar. Love and Basketball and Disappearing Acts From the research that I have done it is apparent that Love Jones is regarded as a classic in Black films and has been described as a shinning example of how a love story should be; realistic with real characters in real situations. More importantly it was at the time and to a certain extent still is a film that shows Black people as they really are: intelligent, cultural, creative and just as keen to find the one as anyone else. It is hard to believe that it was made 13 years ago because it just seems so current. Nia and Larenz have so much chemistry and I couldn't believe it when I heard that she is five years older than him. It took me a while to appreciate the contribution that Love Jones has made to Black cinema - it helped to popularise poetry and gave everyone an insight into the cultural scene of Chicago.

Saturday, 10 July 2010

The Life of a Travel Blogger

Welcome to final part of the 'Life of a Blogger' series where I look at the different cultures in the blogging communities. All week I have been looking at areas such as fashion, beauty, books, pop culture and interiors. Yesterday I looked at interiors blogging and today will be devoted to the exciting world of travel blogging. Ola Fagbohun is the editor and founder of Diverse Traveller which is aimed at women who travel and write about their experiences. Alongside thats she also has a blog called Ola's World which documents her own personal experiences. She tells us all what it is like to be a travel blogger.

Why did you start blogging?

I used to write a letter from the edditor in the Diverse Traveller newsletter, sharing with readers what I had been doing over the previous month. I mentioned highs and lows and things I was planning to do. Interesting I received emails from Diverse Travellers telling me that was their favourite part of the newsletter as they liked getting to know me.  I started to think about keeping a blog but worried about the time committment, so I started in 2006 sharing my life in the North of England but struggled with how much to share plus I wasn't convinced I was that interesting. After a few erractic months I stopped. Then in 2008 I resurrected the Diverse Traveller blog writing about all things travel. It was still a struggle in terms of time and hoping that my content was interesting.  In 2009 i changed platform to Typepad and changed the name of the blog from Diverse Traveller to Ola's World and now I tend to write about my travels, my interest in culture e.g theatre, events, my views on travel news and trends, as well as infequently guest posts on the same subjects. My current  blog is more for myself, acting as a journal enabling me to express my creatvity in various ways. My view is others read my blog that is great but I would keep going even if no one read it.

Why did you choose to write about travel?
As mentioned above I write about travel because of my website Diverse Traveller. Also because as a black woman I want to inspire other black women in particular to share their travel experiences. I am passionate about all things travel, i.e travelling uk & abroad, a day away to longer, reading about travel, travel research, trends, etc. I try and learn as much about the subject as I can. I am also passionate about encouraging women to share their travel experiences through travel writing, that's why I set up Diverse Traveller.

Are you a member of any bloggers groups?
I'm a member of the Travel Exchange but not an active member I comment on posts once in a while. I am hoping to get more engaged by devoting specific time each week
Do you attend any blogger meet ups?
I wanted to attend the last London bloggers meet up but the meetup clshed with somthing else. I would be interested in dong so to find out what makes a successful blog

How do you find the travel blogging community? 

I don't think there is a travel blogging community. There are so many people blogging about travel who are not connected to a 'group'. I could be wrong but only one i know of specifically for travel bloggers is travel blogger exchange. Unlike many other topics travel has always been 'blogging' but back then they were called 'travel journals' and this is what most current travel blogs are. Some use just to share experiences with friends and family while others are looking for a way to make travel pay. Most travel social networking websites e.g bootnall, matador etc encourage their users to keep their journals / blogs on their websites. I don't think this is any different from any other popular topic. One thing I have found interesting is that most of the frequent and 'popular' travel bloggers are based in the USA. When i have interacted with other travel bloggers they have been friendly and helpful. Travel blogging is not seen as glamourous, whereas travel writing is. Basically because the travel writing industry doesn't see blogging as the same as travel writing - issue quality of writing. But travel is not alone in this as I have heard similar comments from journalists who rant about the lack of writing quality of blogging posts.

Are there any community blogging activities that you are involved in?

As I mentioned there is no one travel blogging community. I do exchange links with both travel bloggers and websites on a random basis, when i joined the travel blogger exchange I posted my links and got a few back. I tend to use various social media marketing tools to find and exchange links. Twitter is particulary good.

You can read Ola's blog here and read Diverse Traveller here.

You can follow her for Twitter.

Click here to read the rest of the posts from 'The Life of a Blogger' series. I hope you have enjoyed the series, I have certainly had a great time interviewing so many interesting and wonderful bloggers. 

Friday, 9 July 2010

The Life of an Interiors Blogger

Welcome to part five of the 'Life of a Blogger' series where I look at the different cultures in the blogging communities. All week I have been looking at areas such as fashion, beauty, books and pop culture. Yesterday I looked at pop culture blogging and today will be devoted to the glam world of interiors blogging. Adrienne S. from Mustard Seed Collective tells us all what it is like to be an interiors blogger.

Why did you start blogging?
I just stumbled across a blog one day, not really knowing what it was and after about an hour of going through the pages of the site I was amazed that it was an everyday person who wrote it. I’m everyday people. There’s nothing fancy about me and I though I could do it to.  So I did.

Why did you choose to write about interiors?
I’ve always loved interiors, but never really knew what to call it.  I would rearrange the living room when I was a kid and I was all about DIY projects but never knew it could be a profession.  So since I’m not a professional interior designer, I compensate by posting my favorite pics.

Are you a member of any bloggers groups?
I’m not a member of any formal groups but I would love it if bloggers, no matter their levels of expertise, could get together and come up with a brilliant project that could benefit everyone.  Actually, I have just started collaborating with Chic Modern Vintage and Chic Chocolate for a series of posts that have been a lot of fun to create.
Do you attend any blogger meet ups?
Unfortunately in New Mexico there are not a lot of d├ęcor bloggers, but I am relocating to California at the end of the month where I am hoping to meet up with a few of my faves who call the Bay Area home.

How do you find the interiors blogging community? 
Friendly?  Yes.  Really, it should be no other way. I’ve communicated with people like you, Beauty is Diverse, Haute Design, Get Togetha and so many many more who make it a point to share and care.  Unfortunately with the good comes the bad. Cliquey?  Most definitely. Competitive?  I’ve only heard that it is. I’ve never experienced it first-hand.

Are there any community blogging activities that you are involved in? 
Oh, I love to swap links.  Why not?  It’s a great way to make connections and to show yourself friendly.  Not everyone is into it, and for good reason, but I like it, especially if I’m linking to a blog that’s really on the verge.  I kind of feel like I’m letting the world in on a little secret even if I’m not the first person to discover it.

You can read Adrienne's blog here.

You can follow her on Twitter

Click here to read the other posts in 'The Life of a Blogger' series.

Tomorrow you will fid out what it is like to be a Travel blogger.

Thursday, 8 July 2010

The Life of a Pop Culture Blogger

Welcome to part four of the 'Life of a Blogger' series where I look at the different culture in the blogging communities. I will be looking at areas such as books, pop culture, travel, film and interiors. Yesterday I looked at book blogging and today will be devoted to the diverse world of pop culture blogging. Nik Thakkar from mediacation  tells us all about the weird and wonderful world of pop culture community.

Why did you start blogging?
Most bloggers that I have spoken with have an answer for this question, but I honestly don’t remember. It was linked to a wave of inspiration in early 2009, where I must have felt the urge to document my views on pop culture for the world to see – it has just snowballed from there.

Why did you choose to write about pop culture?
I work in fashion and entertainment PR and pop collaborations is what I live and breathe, and where my passion lies. I love the space where fashion meets film or music meets art and design etc. Examples of stories that you might expect to read on mediacation range from details of the latest editorial shoot from an iconic photographer such as Ellen Von Unwerth or Steven Klein, to news of a collaboration between Lady Gaga and Terence Koh or Karl Lagerfeld-inspired Diet Coke bottles.

Are you a member of any bloggers groups?
mediacation is part of Vice Magazine’s Blogger Network, and I frequently attend independent fashion blogger events, but nothing more extensive than that.

Do you attend any blogger meet ups?
Yes, however these tend to be organised by a group of London-based fashion bloggers that I have a close relationship with. Alternatively, it might be something that I set up on behalf of one of my clients.

How do you find the pop culture blogging community? 
I would definitely say that there is an element of competitiveness in the blogging community in general, however the term “pop culture blog” can often be mis-interpreted. A lot of exclusively gossip blogs position themselves (incorrectly) as pop culture outlets, and these sites are in constant competition with each other. mediacation does celebrate celebrity culture, but is far from being a gossip blog – the content is more artistically inclined.

Are there any community blogging activities that you are involved in?
Just last week, I announced a weekly collaboration with long-established US celebrity and pop culture blog, mediacation will feature a weekly column called FASHIONBYTES every Friday, so make sure to add to your favourites now too.

You can read Nik’s blog here.

Follow Nik on Twitter.

Become a fan of mediacation on Facebook.

Click here to read the rest of the posts from ‘The Life of a Blogger’ series. 

Tomorrow find out what it is like to be an Interiors blogger.  

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

The Life of a Book Blogger

Welcome to part three of the 'Life of a Blogger' series where I look at the different culture in the blogging communities. I will be looking at areas such as books, pop culture, travel and interiors. Yesterday I looked at beauty blogging and today will be devoted to the wonderful world of book blogging. Kirsty Greenwood from Novelicious tells us all about the literary world of book blogging community.

Why did you start blogging?
I started personal blogging about four years ago as a way to write regularly. To be honest I was a bit rubbish at it. I was sporadic and wrote mainly about what I'd had for breakfast that day and whether I should paint my toenails crimson red or cherry red. Oddly enough, I still got comments on my little ramblings and ended up making some really good friends through it.

Why did you choose to write about books?
I started Novelicious for two reasons. First, because I'm passionate about Romantic Comedy. I know there are a lot of us fans out there. I wanted to provide a web space where chick lit fans could discover information about new releases and read reviews and interviews by their favourite authors. Second, I want to be a published author. I thought creating a book blog that covered the genre of books that I wanted to write would be an excellent way to meet people in the industry. And it worked as I'm now signed with a literary agent who found me through my book blog.

Are you a member of any bloggers groups?
I'm a member of a Ning Network called 20 Something Bloggers. I'm also part of a small network of bloggers called The Lovely Blogs. We pretty much just link to each other on all of our sites. Novelicious has its own team of bloggers working on the site. I suppose that forms a nice little bloggers group.

Do you attend any blogger meet ups?
I've been invited to a few, but haven't been able to attend. They're always in London and I live up North.

How do you find the book blogging community?
The book blogging community is massive. There are blogs for every genre of books you could imagine - it's great and everyone is very enthusiastic and friendly. There aren't as many blogs covering Chick Lit and Romantic Comedy books, so some of the blogs in this genre do tend to get a little competitive. I try to ignore that side of it and concentrate on making Novelicious as awesome as possible.

Are there any community blogging activities that you are involved in?
No, I don't believe I am. Something I'll be looking into.

You can read Kirsty’s blog here.

You can follow her on Twitter.

Find out what it is like to be a Fashion blogger and a Beauty blogger.

Tomorrow I will be looking into what it is like to be a Pop Culture blogger.

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

The Life of a Beauty Blogger

Welcome to part two of the 'Life of a Blogger' series where I look at the different culture in the blogging communities. I will be looking at areas such as books, pop culture, travel and interiors. Yesterday I looked at fashion blogging and today will be devoted to the wonderful world of beauty blogging. Sarah Smith from I Heart Cosmetics shares with us the ins and outs of the beauty community.

Why did you start blogging? 
I started blogging partly through boredom as I don't have another hobby apart from going to the gym and partly as I read a lot of other blogs and thought that I would like to give it a go as well. 

Why did you choose to write about beauty? 
 I have been into makeup and beauty since I was a child.  The present I got for passing my 11+ exam was the first hardback copy of the Beauty Bible book so it's been a lifelong obsession.  My mum has always been interested in makeup and nail varnish and making the best of herself and I guess it just rubbed off on me.  Now she steals my makeup and products and expects me to bring around a bag of goodies for her at least once a month!  The only topics I know much about are beauty, health and fitness and healthy eating and since beauty is much more interesting to me it seemed natural to blog about that.
Are you a member of any bloggers groups? 
I am an Aussie tribe member for the Miracle Moist products but I think that's it in the way of bloggers groups.

Do you attend any blogger meet ups? 
Yes I attend all the ones that are of interest to me and are about things that I would buy or places that I would visit.  I probably attend about 50% of the events that I get invited to.  Sometimes I get invited to one that I would like to attend but I can't get the time off work.  I love meeting up with other beauty bloggers and having a gossip and a chat about products and just general stuff really.  I don't have many girl-friends in real life so it is nice to meet up with girls who like the same things that I do.

How do you find the beauty blogging community? Is it a large one? Friendly? Cliquey? Competitive? 
I found the beauty blogging community through Lollipop26's blog as I googled reviews on Lilash.  Through her blog I found other blogs and started reading all of them and watching peoples youtube videos too.  After deciding to start my own blog I have found that the beauty blogger pool gets bigger and bigger.  I find recently that a lot of social media companies have caught on and you often get bombarded with emails about bizarre things, the most recent one about Kylie's legs was particularly amusing. I find that the beauty blogging world can be quite cliquey and competitive but I am not a very cliquey and competitive person so I just let it go over my head.  If people don't like something that I do or say or the way I present my blog that's fair enough, nobody is forcing them to read it!

Are there any community blogging activities that you are involved in? 
I am involved with Beauty Blog Link Love which is run by Rae over at The Notice and she does a fantastic job of sending out a reminder email every time which is much needed otherwise I might forget!  I am also a guest blogger at zuneta have blogged for the Superdrug blog and Shopaholic blog on the Become website.  

You can read Sarah's blog here.

You can follow her on Twitter.

Find out what it is like to be a Fashion blogger.

Tomorrow you can find out what it is like to be a Book blogger.

Monday, 5 July 2010

The Life of a Fashion Blogger

The blogging community has grown tremendously over the last few years and is so huge that it has been segmented into different areas. Genres such as fashion, beauty, travel, interiors, books and pop culture have been developed into sub-communities of their own. The sizes of the sub -communities vary tremendously; there are thousands of fashion bloggers out there while the pop culture blogger community is pretty tiny. A few communities even have their own blogging informal organisations such as Independent Fashion Bloggers for fashion and Brown Beauty Blogger, Inc. But what is it like being a travel blogger and how does it compare to being someone who blogs about fashion and what about if you are ones of those people (like me) who blogs about a mixture of topics? We call ourselves pop culture bloggers as we cover a variety of topics with the sole aim of picking up on trends, events or anything that is simply popular. I set out to find out more about the different cultures of blogging by talking to prominent people from the different scenes. I will be posting the interviews up through out the week. Today I am starting with Ella from Coco's Tea Party who has been blogging since 2006.

Why did you start blogging?
I mainly started on a whim, as it was something to do when I was bored. Ever since I could read I have devoured magazines and writing about fashion was something to do in between the monthly magazines coming out. I was also about to apply for Fashion Journalism degrees and I thought it would give me an edge in interviews if I looked like a pro-active kind of person.

Why did you choose to write about fashion?
Fashion is the only thing I really know about, and it’s the only thing I’m completely and utterly obsessed with. If I was passionate about another subject football I’d probably write about that, but fashion is all I really know. Plus there is always something happening in fashion, so you’re rarely short of inspiration.

Are you a member of any bloggers groups?
No. Not because I don’t want to be I’m just rather unaware of blogging groups online.

Do you attend any blogger meet ups?
I’ve met up with a lot of bloggers I regularly comment and read etc, and I’ve been friends with Stevie from Discotheque Confusion for years as we both set up our blogs around the same time. But I haven’t met any bloggers though excusive ‘blogger meet up’ sessions.

How do you find the fashion blogging community? 
Everyone I’ve met from the blogging community has been lovely and always really friendly and supportive. Because blogging is pretty much something you learn about as you go other bloggers are great for sharing tips with. Funnily enough, myself and all the other bloggers I know are pretty clueless when it comes to computers and technical stuff, so it’s great to be able to swap advice.

Are there any community blogging activities that you are involved in?
Not really. Again it’s something I probably should be involved in, but never seem to find the time too. 

You can read Ella's blog here.

You can follow her on Twitter.  

Tomorrow find out what it is like to be a beauty blogger.  

Sunday, 4 July 2010

I Heart Paris by Lindsey Kelk

So once again we are reunited with our good friend Angela Clark. With best mate Jenny happily settled in LA, our protagonist is dividing her time between her apartment in Manhattan and her boyfriend Alex's place in trendy Williamsburg, Brooklyn. When Alex's rock group gets a gig to play at a festival in Paris which happens to coincide with his big 30, Angela is all psyched to drop everything for a week to attend and play the ever so adoring rock star girlfriend. However, her bosses at Spencer Media, the publishing group that owns the The Look which is the magazine she writes for have other ideas. They want her to pen an article which is sort of the hipster's guide to Paris for Belle magazine which is basically a snooty publication on par with Vogue. The problem is that Belle magazine have other ideas; as far as they are concerned Angela is not Belle material and make that quite clear to her. However, luck is on Angela's side - the MD of the company likes her so she keeps her gig and with it an expenses paid trip to Paris with Alex. She has it all planned out; the day will be spent checking out all the cool spots in Gay Paris and in the evenings she will be hand in hand with Alex strolling down the Champs de Elysee, along the River Seine and sipping wine at one of the many chic cafes. Alas as we have all come to realise, Angela's life does not run smoothly like that.

For a start Alex's stunning Parisian ex girlfriend turns up. Her group is also playing at the festival and it is clear that she is set on getting Alex back. Meanwhile Alex has gone all moody on Angela and after months hassling her to move in with him he drops a bombshell that he has no desire to get married and have kids. Needless to say Angela is mortified and this mini drama combined with losing all her possessions at the airport when her suitcase is blown up as well as a colleague trying to sabotage her career almost sends Angela over the edge. So the thought of jumping on the Eurostar to London to spend time with her childhood friend, Louisa and her family sounds so tempting.

The I Heart books are always a great read and the latest one about Paris is no exception. It shows how all relationships have their weak spots when insecurity sweeps in. We also get more of an idea of Angela's life in London when Louisa turns up in Paris. Those of you who have been following Angela's adventures since the first book will remember that it was Louisa's wedding that Angela ruined after she discovered that her fiance had been doing the dirty with his tennis partner. Well Louisa is now happily married and expecting her first baby but still on hand to offer Angela a strong shoulder when things go belly up. I found I Heart Paris a bit darker than the other books; less emphasis on shopping and more about the complexity of relationships. You do get a great sense of Parisian culture but instead of doing the obvious and focusing on the high life of designer stores and boutiques, we are taken to the hip and cool side of Paris with funky cafes and eclectic shops. Once again Lindsey Kelk pulls it out of the bag. Which brings me to wonder what is next on the cards for I Heart Series. I know that Lindsey has been commissioned to write two more books but I wonder where they will be set? My guess is Sydney and London. 

I Heart Paris is released on Thursday 8th August and it is available to buy on amazon.

Saturday, 3 July 2010

Dirty Little Secret

I stumbled across this on Facebook. Back in the day companies would put out a brand on the market and promote it with the chosen marketing mix: you know a bit of editorial PR, adverts and shop positioning. However over the last few years a few companies have taken things a bit further by extending the brand into mini TV series. US Marie Claire has done it with their show Running in Heels and US Elle took part in Stylista but some brands have also produced online TV shows that raises the profile of their brands. For instance More magazine commisioned Candace Bushnell to write The Broadroom which covered high powered women in the workplace in conjunction with the release of Maybelline's new lipstick. Now we have Dirty Little Secret which is an animated 10 part web series about six sassy and glam ladies based in New York. The show which debuted in May covers the perils of aspiring hair stylist, Riley Kendrick who finds herself thrust into the crazy world of fashion when she befriends top designer, Lauren Belle. Pretty soon she is on the list for all the high profile events and meeting chic people on the New York party scene. However such an enviable lifestyle comes with it's own problems. Riley needs to charm Lauren's highly successful party planner, Danielle Sinclaire and prove to her that she is worth the time of day and at the same time outwit Adison Parker, a powerful but cruel fashion blogger who will stop at nothing to get her next scoop. Thank heavens she has her best friend, Malina Vila Nova to confide in and get her out of scraps. Oh and there is the small matter that she and Lauren happen to be in love with the same guy. The show also features real life celeb hair stylist, Jeanie Syfu who the main characters tend to spill their hearts out to.

Dirty Little Secret is a joint project between and hair styling brand, TRESemme and the campaign includes social media engagement with Facebook and Twitter. The aim is to engage and entertain women on their terms using themes such as scandals, style and great hair. Well Dirty Little Secret does indeed entertain and I found myself drawn in straight away. The women are obviously inspired by Sex & the City which to me is getting very old but as each episode is fairly short they just about get away with it. Also the vibrancy of the characters makes the show very sparky - the fact that the characters are animated was a bit of a shock but after a while I kind of got into the groove and I am really looking forward to seeing the rest of the episodes. 

You can watch Dirty Little Secret on

Check out the blog by Adison Parker who is the fashion blogger from the show.

Thursday, 1 July 2010

Lady Lala

Lorraine Russell has been there, done that and bought the t-shirt. Having worked as a stylist in the music industry with some serious A list stars, she has built up a tremendous amount of experience not to mention some great contacts. She has put these great contacts to use in her blog, The Lala Report which covers news and events in popular culture focusing specifically on music and fashion. She started the blog last August as an outlet for her love of the entertainment industry and since then it has gone from strength to strength.

What made you start blogging?
Outside of blogging, I also work as a freelance fashion stylist, primarily in the music industry.  The blog was set up due because of a few reasons;  My friends use to refer to me as "The News of The World", because if they wanted to know the latest in popular culture, they would ask me. They also encouraged me to set up a blog, as they were tired of getting random emails about the all the celebrity gossip that was happening across the globe (even though they have admitted to to loving my many random emails lol). I also wanted to use the knowledge that I had developed over my working years in the music and fashion industry in another way other than styling,

Describe the concept behind The Lala Report.
The concept of The Lala Report is just reporting to readers what's happening in the latest in music and fashion, on both sides of the Atlantic. I feature new music video, fashion trends, music and fashion news, sometimes things "in between".

Over the last year bloggers have really made their mark in the fashion and music industry, how do you think they will continue to push the boundaries over the next few years?
With the demise of many publications, the internet has become the quickest, easiest and most cost effective way of getting whatever information you need to get.  Blogs allow not only you the "blogger" to have a format where you can express your opinion, but the general public can also to have access to sharing their opinion on whatever topic mostly interest them, whereas before this was not possible with "hard copy" magazine publications. This makes your blog develop a character and can pre-determine what subject matters you write about, by what your subscribers show interest to.  Hard copy magazine prior to the invention of the internet would dictate what they would write about, there wasn't that much involvement with the reader. I think bloggers will have as much influence as major publication editors (i.e. Anna Wintour, US Vogue editor).  Some have already carved out successful career of the back of there blogs (i.e. Perez Hilton).

You come up with a lot of topical issues on your blog, how do you get your inspiration?
I get my inspirations from the "main" stories of the day, or just stories that interest me. As I have been running my blog from August 2009, I feel that I know my readers well, and I know what they would be interested in hearing about. I also see what being talked about on networking sites like "Twitter" and Facebook.

What do you do when you are not working on your blog?
I always work on my blog, its a daily thing for me.  I am currently working on some up and coming projects which I will talk about on my blog in the next few months.  Both are very exciting and challenging. I also have a weekly slot on Bang 103.6 FM where I do a weekly entertainment roundup on the drive time show with Mr Silk. I have been working with Bang since October, and its a format that has worked very well for both of us.  My first show invited interest from an online US site called Udub News. They had asked me to become the face of their section called "Girl, Did You Know".  My blog page is now linked to that site, which has increased my subscribers, and introduced my alter ego "Miss Lala" to a new US audience.

Describe a typical day in the life of Lorraine Russell.
Blog, project 1, project 2, gym, blog. Not necessarily in that order. lol.

What are your favourite glossy magazines?
Grazia, Heat and Now.

Name five blogs that you read religiously
Mad News, Concreteloop, Punchbowl Blog, The Urban Gentleman and Bossip.

How do you see The Lala Report evolving over the next two years?
Jeeze, I tend not to think about that, as I do this primarily for the love.  Its been good to me so far, bringing me lots of opportunities.  Hopefully it will continue to bring me more great projects and opportunities to work on.

You can read Lorraine's blog here.

You can follow her on Twitter here.