Category Archives: blogs

When Blogging meets Room 101

I was recently challenged by Mancunian Vintage to share the gripes that would enter my personal Room 101, and despite the fact I have as many gripes as everyone else – mushrooms, slow walkers with wheelie suitcases and Gordon Ramsey, to name but a few – I found it hard to think what would make sense to write about on this blog.

I don’t think 400 words on why I hate mushrooms would make a particularly riveting read (though if you are a mushroom-hater, please know that you’re not alone) so I thought I’d channel this challenge into blogging bits and pieces that get my goat instead. So without further ado, here is my blogging version of Room 101…

Colourful fonts are hard to readColourful / hard to read fonts

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m all for accents of colour and I love a good font – check out my Pinterest boards if you don’t believe me – but there is a time and a place for a royal blue serif typeface and it isn’t in the body of your blog posts.

Blocks of brightly coloured and/or elaborate text aren’t easy on the eye, and when your day job involves using a computer for eight hours a day, trying to decipher a blog post that looks like it was written by Jackson Pollock on a Haribo high isn’t the way to my heart.

wp-logoWordPress.com affiliate links

Not cool, WordPress, not cool. I recently collaborated with a brand for a product review and kept being told that there were affiliate links attached to the products, and could I please remove them.

This was somewhat confusing since I’m not signed up to any affiliates schemes and so I didn’t have a clue what the (very patient) PR contact was on about. Turns out WP are allowed to shove in affiliate links wherever they see fit, and this is also an issue with the Jetpack plugin for WP.org users. Thanks to Hayley for helping me suss out the problem!

PR Request hashtag#PRrequest

The humble hashtag has a lot to answer for (I think it’s probably best to skip right past #yolo) from excessive Instagram hashtags to my personal peeve, the PR requests tag.

For the record, when used properly this can be a really effective way of connecting journalists, bloggers, industry experts and PRs, but I’ve also noticed an increasing number of serious requests from bloggers that are at best cheeky and at worst, downright rude. Perhaps it’s my British sensibilities, but I would never dream of asking for a new kitchen/car/hairdryer ‘in exchange for review’ on Twitter and yes, all of those are legit requests I’ve seen recently. On the plus side, #PRrequest is fast becoming my go-to on Twitter for a giggle, so there is a sliver lining.

Phew! Well now I’ve got that off my chest it’s over to you. What blogging gripes would you put into Room 101?

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Sharing the Blog Love

I don’t know about you, but sometimes life goes at such a speed that all those unread blog posts sat in my Bloglovin’ account just have to be skipped over. I hover over the ‘Mark as read’ button more than I would like, and sometimes I read a post that really resonates, but I just don’t have time to comment on it, so I figured it was time to dish out a little blog love.

Some of these blogs are old favourites and some are fairly new discoveries, but all are worth checking out if you’re in the market for some new blogs to read.

Essie Button screen grabEssie Button

I’m not one for watching beauty videos, but Estée’s kooky Canadian charm has me hooked. Her honesty and wit are refreshing, as are the random tangents she goes on, plus the filming – well lit, good sound and a simple background – looks über professional. Expect hauls, how-tos and even a little pet appreciation.

Cow Biscuits blog screen grabCowbiscuits

A Cardiff based style blog run by SJ (it’s the best name, right?) Cowbiscuits features OOTDs, beauty reviews and the occasional DIY, such as pressed flower sunglasses. One of the reasons I love this blog is for SJ’s honesty and personal style. If I had the guts to try pastel coloured hair, this gal would be up their on my moodboard!

A Pair and A Spare blog screen grabA Pair & A Spare

A blog choc-a-block with beautifully presented fashion DIYs and outfit ideas. Geneva’s blog is full of style and crafting inspiration – from festival fashion to homemade jewellery. Her beautiful photography makes each project look so simple that it’s almost enough to tempt me to dust off my sewing machine…

What are your must-read blogs to read at the moment? Share links to your favourites in the comments below!

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Bristol Blogging Resources

Bristol Blogs homepage     Bonjour, Blogger! homepage     South West Bloggers Network homepage While London may be the (perceived) epicentre of UK blogging, here in the South West I think we do it pretty darn well. We may not have as many designer press days, sample sales or blogger conferences, but who needs that when you have this?

The aim of this post is to highlight the many great blogging resources we have in the South West. Below are just some of the resources that are available to SW bloggers. If you’re based in Bristol, Bath, Swindon or Somerset each of these sites are taking a look at.

South West Bloggers Network homepage South West Bloggers Network

If you want to find out about the latest local fashion shows or blogger meet-ups then check out South West Bloggers Network. SWBN held a cracking Christmas party for bloggers last year and has its fashionably bedecked finger on the pulse when it comes to local events. Through SWBN related events I’ve met lots of lovely bloggers so it’s well worth liking their page on Facebook and following on Twitter if you’re looking to meet other bloggers and find out about local events.

Bonjour, Blogger! homepage Bonjour, Blogger!

This e-book and accompanying website may be accessible nationwide but it started out in humble Bristol, written by Twitter Queen™ Hayley. Hayley blogs at Ceriselle and in 2012 she decided she wanted to share all the blogging resources she’s used, along with the knowledge and personal insight she’s built up in over a decade of blogging. Have a read and I guarantee you’ll find useful links, opinionated humour and plenty of inspiration to better your blog.

Bristol Blogs homepage Bristol Blogs

The aim of Bristol Blogs is to pull in the best local blog content and put it all in one place – a bit like a city-based RSS feed. On the site you’ll find blog posts written in Bristol or about Bristol, covering every topic possible, from lifestyle and art to food and sports. Plans are underway for a blogging conference later this year, which will unite bloggers from around Bristol and the surrounding areas, providing a great opportunity to meet other likeminded folks and learn more about the craft we love.

These are just three local resources I know and use, but if you have any more you’d like to add, or any other UK blogging resources – local or national – such as events, websites, brands, Twitter hashtags or otherwise then please add them in the comments.

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Bath in Fashion Blogger Awards

Hello everyone, I hope you’re enjoying the start of the Easter weekend! In a few hours I’ll be ensconced in paint, sandpaper and overalls as Mr Ship-Shape and I are taking the opportunity to decorate our bedroom this weekend, but before I go off to get lost in B&Q, I thought I’d share some exciting news.

A few weeks ago I entered myself into the Bath in Fashion Blogger Awards and I’m chuffed to say Ship-Shape and Bristol Fashion has been shortlisted! Along with nine other bloggers from Bath, Bristol and the South West, I’ll be heading to the Bath in Fashion S/S13 Show on Thursday 18th April to found out who has been crowned the winner*.

BIF Vote for Me button

I’ve never entered anything like this before but I love representing the South West on Ship-Shape, and I’m chuffed to bits to have made it into the top ten. The winner will be determined by the ever democratic public vote, so I’d love it if you could vote for me, either by following the link or clicking on the Bath in Fashion button in the sidebar.

If voting/blogger awards aren’t your cup of tea, or there are too many cracking blogs on this list for you to cast your vote between, then I’d like to take the time to thank you for reading Ship-Shape and Bristol Fashion anyway – I love working on this blog, reading your comments and wittering away on Twitter and I’m pleased to have met so many lovely people through blogging.

Ok, gushing over. I hope you have a lovely Easter weekend!

SJ x

*actual crown not guaranteed

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Ship-Shape and Bristol Fashion’s Blogging Resolutions for 2013

2013 Blogging Resolutions | Ship-Shape and Bristol Fashion

I’m loath to witter on about making New Year’s Resolutions too much, as I find that, sometimes, the more you shout about your goals, the harder it is to stick to them. However I think it’s important to set yourself goals, challenges, resolutions – whatever you want to call them – throughout life, and the start of a new year is as good a time to start as any.

This will undoubtedly sound like a #firstworldproblem, but I think many of you will agree that blogging can be hard work. From getting the right shot to finding your voice, or having conviction in your post ideas and trying to work out that pesky piece of HTML, running a blog takes time, effort and commitment. This year I want Ship-Shape and Bristol Fashion to continue to develop and I’ve put together a short list of Blogging Resolutions for myself that you might want to follow, too.

  • Content is Queen. Refining content and keeping what works and what doesn’t will be a big part of 2013. Keepers include Rock The Week and Something for The Weekend posts, plus more outfit posts and beauty reviews, plus a few curve balls, too.
  • Comment and reply. Sometimes working hard on your blog can be so engrossing that you forget to check out what everyone else is doing, so this year I’m planning on reading lots of new blogs, starting with some of the #SWBXmas crew, plus actually commenting instead of mentally thinking how great someone’s outfit looks, and being more diligent about replying to the comments I receive.
  • Redesign. Nothing major, but I’d like to freshen up the look of Ship-Shape, which also means getting better acquainted with HTML and not being afraid of change.
  • Time management. Some bloggers work from their phones, some spend one night working on their content for the whole week, while I seem to spend every other evening glued to my computer – sound familiar? For 2013 I’d like to get better at scheduling content in advance and freeing up more time to spend with Mr Ship-Shape and our friends.
  • More meet-ups. #SWBXmas was a great opportunity to meet other regional bloggers and I look forward to more of the same this year, even if it is mostly on a much smaller scale. Plus, meeting up with fellow bloggers would give friends and family a brake from me waffling on about text alignment or which software is the best for editing outfit photos…

For some more blogging resolutions and ideas, check out IFB’s resolution round-up.

What blogging resolutions are you making this year?

Happy New Year!

SJ x

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South West Bloggers Christmas Party

The Birdcage | Ship-Shape and Bristol Fashion

What do you get when you bring together some of the South West’s best bloggers, a picture perfect venue, and a good cause? The South West Bloggers Network Christmas meet-up (#SWBXmas), of course!

The Birdcage on Claire Street was the venue of choice for an afternoon of festive, fashionable fun, connecting bloggers, serving us lots of tea and cake, and raising money for Macmillan Cancer Support.

It’s always lovely to get out from behind the computer and meet fellow bloggers, but it is weird when you follow someone on Twitter or Bloglovin, recognise them in real life, but can’t just walk up to them and ask them about their cat’s health, or if they did end up buying that Zara jumper the other day… sounds a bit stalkerish, right?

Christmas presents | Ship-Shape and Bristol FashionDelicious chocolate cake | Ship-Shape and Bristol FashionBastise and Moroccan Oil goodies | Ship-Shape and Bristol Fashion

Luckily, after everyone had a chance to arrive and grab a cuppa and a slice of cake, we were all shaken out of our comfort zones and, clutching the coloured felt we’d been given on the way in, tasked with finding everyone with a matching colour and pair up for the SWBXmas Quiz, hosted by Hayley, Gina and Lyzi.

After a tense five rounds featuring Gossip Girl, Prada and  a bag inspired by Lady Gaga’s bum (yes, really), we found out that FrithaLaura and I came in 2nd place, each winning a pampering treat at Neal’s Yard Remedies! Who knew that retaining information about the dress Alicia Silverstone wore in Clueless coud come in so handy?

As well as the quiz, the lovely Birdcage team treated us to teacups of champagne a goodie bag filled with treats and a visit from Santa (see photo above) too. Ticket sales have all gone straight to charity and hopefully this is the start of local meets in the future.

Big thanks to GinaHayleyBee and Lyzi for throwing the shindig, and The Birdcage for hosting and providing us with so many scrumptious treats! If you want to donate money to Macmillian you can do so at the SWBXmas Just Giving page.

The Birdcage | Ship-Shape and Bristol FashionTasty tea | Ship-Shape and Bristol FashionChristmas presents! | Ship-Shape and Bristol FashionVintage hats | Ship-Shape and Bristol FashionSetting up | Ship-Shape and Bristol FashionA Birdcage goodie bag | Ship-Shape and Bristol Fashion

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Three Year Blogiversary!

Today Ship-Shape & Bristol Fashion celebrates it’s third year in existence, a blogiversary of sorts. Three years ago I was blogging about the impact of Bristol’s new Primark store and the endless closures of local shops. The landscape of Britain’s high streets remains largely the same, but Bristol is awash with fantastic new and blossoming designers and boutiques.

Since Ship-Shape & Bristol Fashion is now out of the Terrible Twos, I’m looking forward to adding new elements to the blog in due course, which I hope you all enjoy : ) Here’s to the next three years of blogging!

Image source.

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Rock The Week

Fashion related (and totally non-fashion related) things that have made my world go round over the last seven days…

Olympic Men's Basketball London 2012

  • Olympic fever. This week Mr Ship-Shape and I went to watch the quarter finals of the Men’s Basketball in London. Although we didn’t get to see Team GB in action, we had a fantastic day, and at home I’ve been consuming London 2012 coverage like water – I’ll actually be a bit sad when it finishes tonight!
  • #wkendbloglove. This month Hayley has written about her blogging pet peeves, and also her blogging loves, dedicating this weekend to tweeting about the blogs/bloggers she loves. One of the things I like about Hayley is that she doesn’t mince her words, and is frequently selfless by doing this kind of thing, not to mention setting up the UK blogger map. I recommend you check out her blog and of course all the lovely bloggers she’s been tweeting about this weekend – you won’t be disappointed!

Garden roses

  • Garden flowers. How beautiful are these powder pink roses? When we bought the house we inherited a gorgeous rose tree, and over the last couple of weeks its rose hips have been blooming into delicate, blush coloured flowers. There are so many roses that I thought I’d bring a few inside to brighten up our living room. I’d love to use the flowers and/or rose hips in other ways, so if any of you have any cooking or DIY beauty uses for these, I’d love to hear about them.
  • This week also saw the passing of a fashion icon, as the writer Anna Piaggi died at the age of 81. I fell in love with her unique look and way of working  (such as those iconic D.P.s) at a V&A exhibition in 2006. I republished a post about why I think she’s wonderful here.
  • Finally, in the spirit of #wkendbloglove, here are a few blogs I’ve recently discovered… A Rosie Outlook, Trinket Box and my Bristolian lovelies Annie by Amy and Beautiful Plumage.

What’s been rocking your world this week? Let me know by commenting below…

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Blogging for Oxfam Fashion

I finished work today to find a lovely surprise doing the rounds on Twitter – my first post for Oxfam Fashion has gone live!

I mentioned in a RTW post a few weeks ago that I’d been picked as Oxfam’s new fashion blogger, and the first topic I decided to tackle was how to offset buying new clothes by making sure I operate a one in, one out policy.

Sustainability within fashion blogging can often be a bit of a taboo topic, so I hope my post offers a small solution to buying brand new. Read the full article on their site and let me know your thoughts – do you have a way of controlling what goes in your wardrobe?

Have a great evening!

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Bristol Flea Market at Ashton Gate

Our stall at Bristol Flea Market

Here are a few more photos from the Bristol Flea Market at Ashton Gate. As I mentioned in last week’s RTW post, S and I were there as stallholders, not buyers, though a gorgeous picnic basket did manage to make it’s way home with me…

Bristol Flea Market isn’t the first time I’ve sold my wares, as it were, but it is the first time this year, and I hope it will become a more regular fixture. I’m thinking about adding an online shop to this blog and I’d love to know what you think – I’m always eager to see what bloggers like Steffy’s Pro’s and Con’s are selling, but I’ve never bought vintage online before. Do you buy the majority of your clothes online? And have you ever bought clothes from fellow bloggers? I’d love to know your thoughts, so let me know by commenting below…

Bristol Flea Market at Ashton Gate

Our stall at Bristol Flea Market

Bristol Flea Market
So many stalls, so little time!

Vintage jumpers
Some of our vintage knitwear, including Aran jumpers

Gorgeous labels from S’s label/blog Beautiful Plumage

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