Saturday, 17 November 2012

The fashion and beauty blogger

Are you a fashion and beauty blogger? 
Quick signs to look for
1) You think Beautiful Butterfly Wings is a beautiful name for a blog
2) When writing your blog, you end a majority of your sentences in an exclamation mark
3) Meeting two friends for a quick drink in the pub becomes a four hour blog involving three dress changes, sixty five photos, and a blog post casually entitled 'going out for cocktails with the besties'
4) Your blog is written in an unnecessarily small font
5) You now can't stop putting your hand behind your ear/on your hip/in an unnatural place when having your picture taken

The typical fashion and beauty blogger in depth
Who'd of thought, spotty, shy and spiritless plain old Lisa would transform herself by writing a 500+ followed blog called Lisa Loves Lemon Drops? LLLD, as she likes people to call it, has nothing to do with the Liberal Democrats, but everything to do with throwaway fashion and cheap cosmetics. Complete with numerous photos of her sprawled on her bed writing to her laptop Carrie Bradshaw style, Lisa is about to publish her favourite blog post - Products I've Used And Empties. Nevermind that thousands of women get through a pack of Boots facial wipes or chuck a can of Sure in the bin every day, Lisa delights in telling the cyber world exactly which toiletries she has been using this November (cue artfully arranged patterns of manky old make up products). Did you know that Rimmel do cheap concealer or Aussie sell conditioner? Well, don't fret, Lisa has just announced this revelation in her latest blog - Beauty Products I Cannot Live Without. What she can live without however is excruciating neck pain, the result of hundreds of photos of moody poses looking downwards whilst modelling the latest find from H&M ('it was such a bargain, reduced from £26 to £24; I just had to have it!).       

Lisa also just has to end every week with her Week In Photos (though this won't include photos of her watching Emmerdale or looking worried thinking I've not actually done much this week). Instagram styled, every photo has the I'm Just So Popular But Also Quirky hue added to it, making that meal out at Harvester seem retro, or that night in watching X Factor cool. Despite this modest lifestyle, every blog post reliably begins 'it feels like ages since my last post, but I've just been sooo busy' (even if her last blog post was only two days ago). Indeed the one degree temperature drop since Lisa's last offerings has prompted a My Winter Hair Care Regime guide where we learn she switches from Pantene Smooth and Sleek to Pantene Winter Rescue at the first sign of frost (cue even the loyalest of her followers to question her independence; didn't Pantene do a bloggers event recently)? But even though Lisa will be unnervingly open about what shampoo she uses or where she buys her underwear, what she won't disclose is that she suffers from chronic eczema and used to cut herself.  

How to stop being a fashion and beauty blogger
Worried this is you? Here's how to stop being a fashion and beauty blogger 
1) Stop hoarding empty toiletries like they're antiques, just put them straight in the bin, not via your blog
2) The only people who care about what cosmetics you buy are the people who send you your Boots Advantage card vouchers, stop blogging about it!
3) Every day is not a fashion show. Just be pleased you can afford clothes and go out there and do something worthwhile (not just fashion blogging)!

Sunday, 11 November 2012

The cheapskate

Are you a cheapskate? 
Quick signs to look for
1) You get a thrill when an unfranked stamp comes through the letterbox, oh to think people don't spend two days soaking a torn off piece of envelope in a bowl of water to get 50p back
2) You look at your bank account balance online more than once a day, just to check
3) You vehemently insist Lidl is as good quality as any Waitrose
4) It feels like a crisis if you forget your advantage card when paying at Boots
5) You hover around the reduced to clear section of the supermarket, gleefully buying an out of date quiche for 47p price even though you hate quiche

The typical lazy cheapskate in depth
Mike has had a very exciting morning. Martin Lewis's (his hero) Money Saving Expert email has just arrived in his inbox, and his Clubcard vouchers came in the post (25 extra points when you spend £5 on nuts and seeds - don't mind if I do). It hasn't quite beaten the hiatus of last Tuesday though, when he received a cheque from the Inland Revenue for tax overpayment - 'to top it off I was going to the bank anyway, so I didn't even have to make a separate trip!' Never had four months of letters, photocopied wage slips and exasperated calls to the 0845 numbered (the scourge of the devil; who gets those calls included in their phone tariff?) tax office been quite so worth it to get back that £4.22 he was rightfully owed - 'I should really be charging them for the interest.' 

Spending his days constantly giving gas and electric meter readings (heaven forbid they should over estimate my use), switching his savings to the latest high interest rate account, and generally being miserly, Mikes comfort in life is his wallet. Bulging with fraying coupons, 32 loyalty cards and enough half completed free coffee stamps to clear Costa of its supplies, the only thing that's missing is cash. Mike often appears to be short of money, whether it comes to splitting the bill at that group meal where he insisted he put £20 in  (no I didn't see him either), or that taxi ride home when there was an uncomfortably long wait whilst Mike fumbled around for 63p to pay his £4 share - 'sorry it's all I've got on me, let me pay more next time.' This is of course about as likely as him buying expensive loo roll. Stoically unmoved by the John Lewis ad, Mike goes into hiding during Christmas to avoid any present giving obligations. Having about as much heart as George Osbourne, his first thought when his brother died was what'll happen to his nectar points? 

How to stop being a cheapskate
Worried this is you? Here's how to stop being a cheapskate
1) Replace the feelings of elation from paying in cheques/using coupons/claiming your nectar points with going out with friends/having relationships/treating yourself
2) Energy saving is great, but it's miserable, bad for your health and anti-social not to put the heat on just because you can't even see your breath yet

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

The lazy student

Are you a lazy student? 
Quick signs to look for
1) You know the ITV daytime TV schedule off by heart
2) You own more than five boxsets
3) You have a favourite Loose Women panelist
4) You don't know how many dirty bowls/crockery/glasses are scattered about your room
5) You're not quite sure how to take a book out from the library
6) Wikipedia is the first point of call when starting an essay
7) Topshop is your homepage
8) You feel you've achieved something when you get to level five in Bubble Spinner

The typical lazy student in depth
Laura is eternally grateful to the ITV1+1 channel. Just how does everyone else get up in time to watch Loose Women at midday? Sprawled on the sofa, unflattering dressing gown on, she watches more daytime TV than the loneliest of old ladies. Indeed it isn't until the Alan Titchmarsh show comes on at 3.oo that Laura has moved, and finally has her bowl of coco pops (since coming to uni, cereal now accounts for 90% of her diet. She hasn't used a knife since last year). Her one lecture a week is always missed, the intention is there, but  there's always something distracting on This Morning (ie what Holly is wearing), and she claims she learns more Sociology by watching Jeremy Kyle than going to seminars on the social-conflict theory. In one term there was a lecture at 10am; she switched modules. Laura will of course write a dissertation on feminism in Sex and the City, scraping a 2.1 by watching boxsets all day - 'it was really useful to compare it with Friends.'

Despite having 'soo much work on,' she can miraculously summon up the energy to go on nights out four times a week, and spends from 4pm onwards solely getting ready (well fake tans do need time to set). Whilst Laura can never find any building on campus, she knows exactly where every club is in town. Pumping herself full of own brand vodka, this is the one time she's not actually wearing a hoody and stained pyjama bottoms.  In the sea of half used make up, dirty cups and wrinkly bras that fill her room floor, she chooses just which too revealing Primark dress to wear...only for it to come off a few hours later, when she brings back the latest fancy from Sports night. Spending all of the next day stalking him on Facebook on her crumb ridden greasy, laptop, that essay will just have to wait another day. Time for a nap?

How to stop being a lazy student
Worried this is you? Here's how to stop being a lazy student 
1) Re-establish awaking in the first half of the day 
2) Go to the library and do some work (on your own, and without frequent coffee/looking at the Daily Mail website breaks)

Friday, 26 October 2012

The Ebayer

Are you an Ebayer? 
Quick signs to look for
1) You watch the last ten minutes of your auctions just for the fun of it
2) You get excited seeing the addresses of your buyers
3) You would rather lose a limb than have negative feedback
4) You always have a stock of jiffy bags in, 'just in case'
5) You can work out the postage costs of a 384g 12.5mm wide package in your head. In less than four seconds
6) You know what the acronyms BNWT, NBW and NWOB all mean

The typical Ebayer in depth
With more 'watchers' than friends, the only time Mary leaves her house is the visit to the Post Office. Her eyes struggle to adjust to the dim light inside; they have been glued to her luminous computer screen for the last week. Constantly refreshing her feedback score (she can still recall the delight last year when she achieved power seller status), over zealous phrases such as 'GREAT EBAYER A+++++' and 'Super fast delivery, amazin item, thanks :))))' have become the norm. Clutching her trusty old blue Ikea canvas bag, bulging with various oddly shaped jiffy bags and boxes, everybody dreads being behind her in the queue - Cheryl at the counter always struggles to do proof of posting on twenty three second class recorded packages without holding up Mrs Goggins collecting her pension for the most part of the morning. Nevermind when there's stuff to be sent abroad - Mary's foreign Ebay bidders have tested even the most experienced Royal Mail worker on address formats for Azerbaijan (town name comes after postcode), and the customs charges for Canada (fill out declaration form CN22).

But Mary is wise to it all now, she knows all the tricks of the Ebay trade, how to get the best light to photo those regrettable sparkly earrings (99p plus £2.00 P&P, two bids so far), and which Febreeze scent best hides the smell of that slightly dank too small fleece ('will keep you warm this Winter, from a smoke free house').  She even knows the best times to post - on pain of death will she avoid the Post Office on Mondays and Fridays (the former being full of other enemy Ebayers clogging up the queue posting their weekends trade, and the latter when the benefits brigade collect their dole money). But it's her vocabulary that's benefited the most - she knows all the synonyms for stylish and every alternate word for amazing - after all, no one survives living off Ebay without the perpetual use of hyperbole. Sadly, nobody would use those flattering adjectives to describe Mary, who's developed a prison pallor to rival that of HMP Wandsworths longest serving inmate. And despite everything that's available to buy on Ebay, she certainly hasn't been bidding on any hair conditioner. As her greasy locks hit the counter, and Mary hears the familiar question from monotone Cheryl - 'Are any of the items worth over £40?,' what she doesn't realise is that she's not actually made any money from Ebaying things.

How to stop being an Ebayer
Worried this is you? Here's how to stop being an Ebayer
1) Re-use what you might have sold first (you'll be amazed how listenable that old All Saints album actually is)
2) Donate anything else to charity (life is too short to make 8p selling a tatty book)  
3) Putting two embarrassing New Look dresses on Ebay does not constitute you having a productive week. Get a real job.