Lifestyle

    #4: Rebekah Johanson - How To Create Products That Will Sell, The Importance Of Giving Back and Developing a Branding Strategy For Your Business

    In this episode I'm joined by Rebekah Johnson, the brains and beauty behind online jewellery and accessories brand, Lines and Current. Rebekah talks about how she and husband Jon went from working on e-commerce sites, selling kitchen items and toys to launching their own beautifully minimal brand. We explore what personal style means and how minimalism fits into a world obsessed with fast fashion while also getting into the nitty gritty of entrepreneurship, building your own brand and creating a product that will sell. 

    To find out more about Lines and Current and to shop their range of products visit their website - www.linesandcurrent.com. You can also follow them on Facebook and Pinterest. To check out Rebekah's beautiful branding skills and the brand's brilliant aesthetic, click here to follow them on Instagram. 

    Resources Referenced in This Episode

    Ascot and Hart
    Website: www.ascotandhart.com
    Instagram: @ascotandhart

    Spark Joy by Marie Kondo
    Available here

    "Spark Joy is an in-depth, line illustrated, room-by-room guide to decluttering and organising your home, from bedrooms and kitchens to bathrooms and living rooms as well as a wide range of items in different categories, including clothes, photographs, paperwork, books, cutlery, cosmetics, shoes, bags, wallets and valuables. Charming line drawings explain how to properly organise drawers, wardrobes, cupboards and cabinets. The illustrations also show Ms Kondo’s unique folding method, clearly showing how to fold anything from shirts, trousers and jackets to skirts, socks and bras.

    The secret to Marie Kondo’s unique and simple KonMari tidying method is to focus on what you want to keep, not what you want to get rid of. Ask yourself if something ‘sparks joy’ and suddenly it becomes so much easier to understand if you really need it in your home and your life. When you surround yourself with things you love you will find that your whole life begins to change.

    Marie Kondo’s first book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying, presents her unique tidying philosophy and introduces readers to the basics of her KonMari method. It has already transformed the homes and lives of millions of people around the world. Spark Joy is Marie Kondo’s in-depth tidying masterclass, focusing on the detail of how to declutter and organise your home."

    Read more link text

    Resilience.

    These images got me thinking about strength. 

    Physical strength. 

    Inner strength. 

    Resilience. 

    Protection. 

    Physically, I'm definitely not the strongest of the bunch (yet) but despite that 5ft, petite build, I know I'm capable of so much more than I'm given credit for. Confrontation isn't my strong point but in terms of resilience? Now, that I've got a little more of a handle on. 

    Resilience isn't about being aggressive. It's about picking yourself back up again. It's perseverance when things feel worse than ever. It's a muscle we exercise every day, building it up for when we need it most, surrounding ourselves with the right people, making decisions to protect our happiness and adapting certain beliefs and values to mirror humility. 

    I'm tremendously proud and consistently impressed by the strength and resiliency that those around me possess and that you, reading this, possess. The things you've all individually gone through and the pain you've suffered and persevered with compares to that of no one else. I know many of you have experienced the unimaginable and I know that it's been harder and still is harder than anyone will ever know but you're one of the bravest, strongest, most incredible people I've ever had the privilege of knowing. Please never forget that. 

    Stay hopeful. 

    Don't lose faith in a society that gives us every reason to. 

    Keep fighting. 

    Remain strong. 

    Your struggles don't define you. 

    Look One

    Top - similar here
    Metallic Bralet - Topshop
    High Waisted Knicker Set - Boohoo 
    Shoes - ASOS

    Look Two

    Silver Parka - Ivy Park at Topshop
    High Waisted Training Shorts - Adidas at ASOS
    Sports Bra - Nike (similar here)
    Shoes - As Before

    Look Three

    Black Hooded Sweatshirt - Ivy Park at Topshop
    High Waited Knicker Set - As Before
    Shoes - As Before

    Photos by Sarah Ellis of Here’s To: Photography
    Check out her full (and fabulous) portfolio here.

    Hair by Matthew Thomas McIlveen
    Make up by Joy Ellis

    Follow me on Instagram / Twitter / Facebook for my latest blog posts, fashion finds and daily musings

    Niamh ♥

    Read more link text

    #3: Emma Gribben - How To Gain Your Audience's Trust, Create Personalised Content and Build The Necessary Skill Set To Launch Your Own Business

    Episode 3 of Werkin' On It and I'm joined by digital marketing consultant, trainer and mentor, Emma Gribben. We cover Emma's career path right from the start as Emma revisits memories of her own tenacity and drive while carrying out her first placement, the same drive and curiosity that led her to the digital industry within Dubai before her independent ambitions brought her back to her roots to build a digital marketing business of her own.

    With a range of impressive qualifications under her belt including being names one of NI's Top 40 Under 40 in Business and as of 2017, an appointment as a trainer for not one but two of Google's digital programmes (the Google Digital Academy and Google's Digital Garage Masterclass), Emma has plenty of social media and savvy business tips and tricks up her sleeve. 

    To find out more about Emma's work, projects she's worked on and digital marketing services Emma offers, check out her website - www.digitalbyemma.comAlternatively you can follow her on Twitter - @emma_gribben or on her business Facebook page - Digital By Emma.

    Read more link text

    The Best Resources You Need To Know To Keep Up To Speed With The Fashion World

    The fashion world moves quickly, veeeerrrrry quickly. Never has "blink and you might miss it" been such an accurate phrase. Seasons come and go, collections are shown, campaigns torn to shreds and the reshuffling of creative directors puts musical chairs to shame. Fashion weeks pass us by, season after season, a new location each week all in the space of one month.  It's a lot to take in. Keeping up with all of the news, trends, scandals and street style is next to impossible. Playing catch up with the fashion world is certainly overwhelming.

    Let's take Fashion Week as an example. It's an incredibly overwhelming and hectic time in the industry. It's chaotic but beautiful and the excitement trickling down from the media is undeniably infectious - as is the fast paced, highly stressful environment associated with fashion week. As consumers, we get wrapped up in the Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat culture that's made fashion week so accessible to the rest of the world and suddenly we're consuming ten times the amount of content that we normally would. But less of the pity party. All we have to do is a little double tapping, reposting and if we're feeling generous, skim reading the latest articles all before logging off for the day, checking in again from the comfort of our beds as we lose ourselves in another Instagram hole later that night. But what about those who have to actually create the content we consume so readily? Those that have lost out on sleep while writing up that last minute trend report. Those that skipped meals to attend fittings, shows, presentations and after parties in order to play keeping up appearances on behalf of their publication and to ensure that they don't miss a moment so as they can capture the best possible content for us - their followers and consumers. Not to mention those that work tirelessly behind the scened to bring the various different shows to life in the first place. For the most part, a lot of this is done alongside their full time jobs. Suddenly, our time feels all the more valuable. 

    See, there's a lot more to fashion week and, the fashion industry in general, than meets the eye and it's all the more reason to make an effort to keep up to speed with the best articles and latest news. However, with the mass amount of content to consume it can be difficult to know where to start so I've rounded up a few of my favourite fashion websites and resources that help me to stay in the know with the fashion world. 

    Vogue.co.uk

    Let's start with the most obvious. If you're looking for content you can flick through as quickly as the kettle boils, head straight for their galleries. When it comes to Fashion Week they have all of the shows listed in chronological order, listing which designer showed where, highlights from the presentation, an A-Z list of designers and a full gallery of every look shown. Within their Vogue Daily section you can scan the latest headlines so that next time your oh so fashionable friend asks "Did you hear about what happened at the McQueen show?" you'll at least have a vague (or Vogue) idea of what they're talking about. 

    Fashionista.com

    This is your go-to resource for concise and easy to understand show reports. It's easy for us fashion lovers to get caught up in the pretension surrounding the industry particularly when it comes to using fashion jargon that no one else understands (a lot of the time we don't even understand it ourselves). Fashionista articles keep things real and down to earth. They give the explanation you need surrounding particular trends without the necessary fluff while still keeping the storytelling element of fashion journalism very much alive. Plus, their career profiles of both long-time icons and up and coming figures in the media are great for career advice and providing guidance for those of us that wish to pursue a career within fashion. Listening to how they discuss fashion news and trends via their podcast (4pm at Fashionista) is also a great way to keep up with the fashion industry on the go while their weekly "ICYMI" email helps to highlight the need-to-know articles from the week. 

    The Cut

    The Cut is where to go for more "newsy" features. The recent argument about street style photographers lacking diversity in their shots was born out of an opinion piece by a writer from The Cut. As was the follow up piece where they spoke to different photographers and key industry members on the issue in order to share a range of perspectives on the issue. The Cut first started as a blog extension of New York Magazine but around August 2012 it was launched as a stand alone site that moved from simply covering style and gossip to covering a wide range of topics including style, culture, health and wellness, politics, work and money. With its connection to NY Magazine, you can trust the quality of the writing will be that of a high standard, something that takes reading only a few lines of their features to determine.

    The Telegraph Fashion Unzipped Podcast

    This is a podcast I've only just discovered. Within each episode the fashion team at The Telegraph take to the mic to discuss the biggest fashion stories of the week along with trends and products they're lusting after. The great thing about the podcast is how naturally the conversation flows among the podcast hosts. The behind the scenes look at what goes on among the fashion team feels like you're all taking a coffee break together while occasionally being joined by fabulous guests such as Victoria Beckham, Christopher Bailey and Ashley Graham to name a few. AND they're kept short and sweet with episode length reaching an average of about thirty minutes. What's not to love? 

    What are your favourite resources for keeping in the know about the fashion world? 

    Photos by Sarah Ellis of Here's To: Photography
    Check out her full (and fabulous) portfolio here.

    Follow me on Instagram / Twitter / Facebook for my latest blog posts, fashion finds and daily musings

    Niamh ♥

     

    Read more link text

    When did being busy become a measure of success?

    For one reason or another there’s one thing I can’t get off my mind. I’ve been thinking about it for a while now but not yet been able to translate my thoughts into a coherent blog post on the topic. Today I decided to let the keyboard do the talking and see where my thoughts took me when left to just type. 

    The work day has come to a close and I’ve been sat on my bed for the last hour watching fitness videos on YouTube, adding fitness YouTubers on snapchat and thinking about when I should next go to the gym. While I’ve ticked off all of the work related things that needed done, there are still at least three more tasks on my life admin and blog work list that need done before I can afford some real down time. Therefore, now is not the time to be binge watching YouTube. 

    The list contains editing something I put into motion last week. No, it’s not a YouTube video and no, I’m not going to tell you what it is just yet - although if you stick around until the weekend I just might spill the beans. It also contains writing a blog post, contacting and pitching to several people to bring a new project to life, re-arranging a meeting and prepping for a meeting tomorrow. Things that haven’t been completed today have already been shifted into tomorrow’s task list and before I know it, a previously empty weekend has turned into one filled with more to-do lists which as an introvert, isn’t the best news as I need my own space to recharge - something I try to leave weekends free to do. 

    See, usually I revel in free time at the weekend. I’m not someone who likes to go out and party the weekend away. Don’t get me wrong, I definitely enjoy a good night out and having a laugh with friends but don’t enjoy hangovers (lol who does) - both the kind induced by alcohol consumption and the hangover like experience I have when I’ve spent too much time with other people - I promise I’m not a COMPLETE weirdo, I just know my boundaries. These boundaries mean that yes, I definitely like to have socialising factored into my free time but I also like to have some me time slotted in there too otherwise I feel exhausted and the grumpiness that ensues just isn't worth it for anyone. Even if it’s just a few hours in the evening where I can read a book, binge watch some netflix, catch up on the latest magazine I’ve been hoarding or scroll through my Instagram until I’ve completely lost track of time and forgotten the reason I lifted my phone in the first place. 

    However......

    While I’m aware that these are the kind of boundaries I need in my life and the kind of lifestyle that brings me the most happiness, I can’t help but feel embarrassed when someone asks me my weekend plans, my Friday night plans and somedays even my plans for the rest of that day. I remember while interning lunch time felt so sacred. I’d been sat in an office all morning, surrounded by people and chatter and while I enjoyed the company of my employees, lunch time was my time. It was my time to escape and disappear into the pages of my book, scroll through social media and catch up with friends at home or just go for a walk and clear my head. I needed that time to recharge alone in order to remain productive for the rest of the day. Once a week the other interns and I would go for lunch together. It was a definite highlight of my week and I miss those lunches together all of the time but as far as I could tell, they got it that we all needed time away from being on our best behaviour (as interns are expected to be) and needed time alone most days. On the days we weren’t spending lunch together I used to dread any one else asking about my lunch plans. I also dreaded bumping into anyone on my lunch plans. The thought of telling someone I was spending my lunch alone by choice felt embarrassing and shameful. 

    When I moved back home and tried to settle back into a routine I also had to adapt to the already established routines of my friends and family. I was the one who had left and returned while they had new friends, new circles, new routines and new hobbies. Initially, in my usual state of panic upon an internship finishing up and not knowing my next move, I felt the need to have everyday planned out and filled to the brim with activities. So that’s what I did. I tried to make as many plans as possible with friends, probably tortured them beyond belief and when I was met with their intensely busy schedules in response I felt like the world’s biggest loser. Why was I the only one without a life? Why did everyone else have so much to do? How come they were so busy and had so many friends to hang out with and I didn’t? 

    This thought process continued for quite a while as I settled back into life at home, began working with freelance clients and then landed my current job. As working life got busier and weekends became a time of recuperation, I somehow forgot to worry about my lack of social life in comparison to others. I started spending Saturday nights with my sister watching Strictly and honestly, those Saturday nights spent together were and still are a massive highlight of my week and whether she likes it or not she's probably one of my most favourite people to spend time with. I spent time with my boyfriend, I spent more time with my best friends and those whose company built me up, made me laugh and helped me out when times seemed tough. They listened to my rants. They answered silly questions I was too embarrassed to ask anyone else. They let me dream. They called me out when I was being stupid or cruel. They made me see that having a fully booked social life doesn’t equate to being successful, kinder or happier. They taught me that I would much rather spend time with the people that make me happiest once a month thAn spend my weekends with others for the sake of seeming busy. 

    Less obvious characters taught me a lot too, even if they didn’t realise it. I’m very lucky to have the flexibility to work from home. I work where I want and to an extent when I want so long as I get the work done. It definitely has it’s difficulties and takes a lot of discipline but one way or another, I always get the work done and so far have never missed a deadline. Sometimes my work is really creative and fun, other times it’s more sales driven - an area that doesn’t come naturally to me and so takes much more concentration and dedication to hours. When we get a new client, there’s a lot of organising and launching to do. These launches mean putting in the hours when others may not have to. But it’s part of the job. There are pros and cons. I manage my time in a way that means I don’t have to work late every night when it isn’t necessary. The nature of my job allows me to do this and while I appreciate that not everyone is in this position, no job should equate to working late every single night. This ties in with the idea of being busy making you more successful. There’s a common misconception that working late every night is impressive. You know what’s not impressive? Letting your own health suffer as a result. Letting your business suffer. Not spending enough time with your family. Not spending any time with friends. Not giving yourself a break. Driving yourself nuts for the sake of meeting a deadline and letting the quality of your work suffer. Sorry, I'm not buying it. 

    Serious question. When did being insanely busy become so cool? 

    What’s cool about spending your life rushing around from appointment to appointment, the occasional social gathering that’s then spent totally rushed and had any enjoyment sucked out of it because surprise, surprise, you have another appointment to get to? Why do people get such a kick out of complaining about how busy they are? I mean, I only asked you for a coffee to catch up because I haven’t seen you for months, I didn’t ask for a run down of your entire week’s agenda. Yeah, ok it’s pretty cool that you have so many meetings to attend and organise because you’re just so in demand and yeah I’m happy for you that your career is taking off, your social life is through the roof because people can’t get enough of you and you’ve been so busy you cant remember the last time you logged on to Netflix (something I do on the reg) but I only asked if you were free for lunch this weekend. While I’m gutted you can’t make it, a date with my dog, sofa and Netflix is a fairly appealing back up plan. 

    Once I got over the envy/self-doubt/massively self-absorbed comparison game it got me thinking on a more logistic level, how the hell do these people fit everything in? That’s when I realised they don’t. Did they tell you that they’re working late because they spent most of day procrastinating before realising just how quickly their deadline was approaching? Did they tell you that they spent Monday morning regretting how much time they’d spent their days off rushing around? Did they tell you that of the list of 20 things they told you they had on they ended up bailing on about 50% of them? Probably not. People like to seem busy. They like to seem in demand. We’re insecure by nature and if appearing busy makes someone feel better, who am I to judge. After all I know the guilt all too well when someone asks me how I spent my weekend and my answer was “at home.” The thing is, for the most part none of us care. Yeah we might be momentarily impressed by your work ethic, extensive circle of friends and your commitment to volunteering during your every spare moment but for the most part, we’ll have forgotten about the conversation within 5 minutes of settling down into our comfortable, back up plan. Meanwhile, you’ll be stressed to the max keeping up appearances and attending every commitment you slotted in for yourself in one day. 

    Maybe it’s just me. Maybe you can think of nothing better than being flat out busy all of the time and because of my introverted, quieter ways I just don’t get it and therefore, can think of nothing worse. If that's the case for you, feel free to tell me where to go.

    You do you, boo and next time you feel guilty about having no plans other than with yourself, just remember how much joy those plans brought you.

    Photos by Lucy Curran
    Check out her fabulous photography on her Facebook and Instagram

    Follow me on Instagram / Twitter / Facebook for my latest blog posts, fashion finds and daily musings

    Niamh ♥

    Read more link text