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The Highs & Lows of Blogging in 2015

Hot Chocolate

 

As we begin to count down to the end of the year (I can’t believe we have only 2 days left in the year), I will like to reflect on my blogging journey so far. If I were asked to describe my blogging journey in 2015, in 1 word, it would be BUSY. It was an extremely busy year for Fashion and Style Police, the busiest ever in fact. There have been so many high moments, as well as not so high moments, but I am happy I got the chance to experience all of them. I will like to reflect on my 2015 blogging journey, so I can look back, read this post and remember all the major blog moments.

 

THE HIGHS

I have had so many ‘HIGHS’ this year, but here are some of them:

 

My First Blogging Event

 

The Front Row Society

 

I attended the Sleep Well Shop Well Event with Premier Inn and Propellernet in October and I LOVED it. It was my first blogging event and I love the fact that I set my standards pretty high as far as events are concerned. I get invites on a daily basis to various events but I turn them all down because majority of them are in London, or somewhere equally too far away for me to be bothered to make the long journey and sort out childcare, while the others may be close by but I don’t believe it is worth my time or effort, so I decline.

I like the fact that I am picky when it comes to events, time is money so any event I go to has to be worth my time, and the Sleep Well Shop Well was the first to meet my demands. I had part of my travel sorted, accommodation sorted, food sorted, shopping sorted and I had an amazing time. I even met the cool Anna from The Twenty Sumtin blog, I wrote a guest post on her blog and it is all about beauty tips so go check it out.

 

My First Twitter Party

 

Christmas Night In

 

This year – 2015 was all about ‘firsts’, and this time, I hosted my first Twitter party for Ocean Finance. I enjoyed hosting from the comfort of my home, sipping a yummy cup of hot chocolate, and wearing my pretty New Look onesie, you can play catch up with my Tweets, I am @Olojay.

 

I Stepped Outside My Comfort Zone

Scary Halloween Makeup

 

This year I stepped outside my comfort zone quite a few times, starting with the Halloween Makeup post for Vision Direct. It was a fun post and I enjoyed creating the look. I have also embraced the lifestyle blogging trend, and written quite a few posts outside of fashion and beauty, like this Cooking Challenge with Expedia and this Food Challenge with Travelodge.

I have enjoyed the variety of my blog posts this year, and I think my readers have to. I am hoping to continue bringing you fun and useful fashion, beauty and lifestyle posts so keep reading Fashion and Style Police.

 

Fashion and Style Police Turned 3

The blog turned 3 in October and this year has been the best ever so far. I never imagined I would still be blogging in 2015 and doing so well when I started in 2012. I have worked my behind off in the last 3 years and I am so happy today because my hard work seems to be paying off at last. I have worked with incredible brands this year, they have been so many, so I would just name a few with links for you to check out some posts:

  1. I became a Brand Ambassador of Luxemme.
  2. I have reviewed quite a HUGE number of pieces, accessories and products from various brands like Dolled Up Hair, OGX, Debenham Flowers and many more.
  3. I had quite a number of sponsored posts which were well received.

 

Freelancing

I started freelancing in the summer of 2015 and it has been a bumpy ride but so worth it. I have written for some amazing websites, a few have been published, while many are yet to be published. I will be updating my portfolio page with links once the articles are published so watch that space. I have also started blogging for The Huffington Post so be on the lookout for updates for that on the portfolio page as well.

 

THE LOWS

I try not to dwell on the ‘lows’ but I think it is right to give you the full picture so here they are:

 

DA Fluctuating

For those who do not know, DA stands for Domain Authority and it is a very important statistic for any professional blogger or any blogger that wishes to make any sort of income from a blog. I almost cried when I discovered my DA had dropped from a 32 to a 26 some weeks ago. It is now at 27, and I am looking forward to getting it back to above 32.

 

Bloggers Stealing Your Ideas

There is a very thin line between being inspired and outright copying, and many bloggers just go over the thin line. I have discovered similar blog posts on other blogs and I don’t know whether I should be annoyed or flattered some times, but what I would say is if you have to copy another blogger’s idea, then I think it may be time to find a new career, dream or hobby as the case may be, because you will never be as good as the original.

 

The ‘NO BUDGET’ Line

Most bloggers would be familiar with the ‘no budget’ line and it seriously annoys me that brands/PRs think they can get me to work for free with their talk about exposure and the works. In 2016, I won’t even bother replying such emails. Unfortunately, exposure does not pay the bills, and the blog does not run itself.

 

Brands Taking Forever to Pay

Chasing unpaid invoices was my other job this year and it was not fun. I hate it when I have to keep reminding you to pay me for a service I have already provided, and I did a lot of that this year, and from what I have heard, the chase never ends as long as you keep having clients.

Hot Choc Mug

 

The good part about all this is that the highs outweighs the lows massively, so I will continue doing what I do best. Here is me hoping 2016 is even better than 2015 for us all.

With 2 days left in the year, how have you found 2015 so far? Any highs or lows you would like to share? Drop me a comment, let’s chat.

Thanks for reading, see you in 2016.

 

 

 

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Food Challenge: Mashed Potatoes with Garlic and Lancashire Cheese

I was recently challenged by Travelodge to create a Northern dish. I have lived in North for over 5 years now, and I can say I know a thing or 2 about the dishes, so I decided to give it a go. With a budget of Β£50, I went into Sainsburys to get the items I needed, which were:

  1. 450g Potatoes
  2. Mixed Vegetables
  3. 250g Lancashire Cheese
  4. Salt
  5. Black Pepper
  6. 2 fat cloves of Garlic
  7. 25g Butter

North Treats

I wanted to make a simple dish I could share with my kids. I wanted a dish centred around Lancashire Cheese, and I didn’t want to complicate things as I am not a food blogger, but I do love a good challenge. My kids love anything with potatoes in it, so I decided to make mashed potatoes with garlic and Lancashire cheese.

Here are the steps:

  1. Start by placing the garlic in a small saucepan with the butter, leave it on the lowest heat possible to melt and infuse for 20 minutes.
  2. While that is melting, thinly peel the skins of the potatoes and cut them into even-sized chunks, or cut any large potatoes into quarters and small ones into halves if you prefer that.
  3. Place the potatoes in a steamer, sprinkle 1 level dessertspoonful of salt, put a lid on and let them cook for 20 minutes, or until it feels tender in the centre when tested with a skewer.
  4. While that is cooking, start to grate the cheese and stem some mixed vegetables.

Grating Cheese

5. Once the potatoes are cooked, with an electric hand whisk, switch to slow and begin to break up the potatoes, then add the melted butter and garlic, some black pepper and a handful of the grated cheese. Now switch the speed to high and continue adding the cheese, a handful at a time, while you whisk.

6. As you whisk the cheese in, the potatoes will turn translucent and glossy, which means it will be ready to be served soon, as you continue to lift and whisk, it will form stiff, glossy peaks. When all the cheese is in, it is ready to be served.

Mixing the Cheese

7. Add some mixed vegetables and enjoy with a bottle of wine (water or juice for the kids, lol). You can also add some gravy if you want, I tend not to as I find it a little too salty.

Lancashire Cheese and Veg

I found this dish quite tasty, I love the smell of garlic, and you can really taste the garlic in the food, the black pepper added a bit of spice to it as well. It was a delicious Northern treat, my kids loved it.

What do you think? What is your favourite Northern dish? Drop me a comment, let’s chat.

*This is a collaborative post.

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