Why I've stopped posting fashion content...

About 6 months ago I made the decision to stop going out to shoot any fashion content for my blog and Instagram. Now don't think that the title of this blog post now means that I hate nice clothes, or am unfollowing anyone who is posting fashion related content...because that's just not the case. I am however choosing to not post anything purely fashion-related on my own channels anymore, and it's all a bit complicated.

I realised recently that I have had my blog for 10 years - which is quite an incredible thing to compute. I'm only 27 so for a large percentage of my life Clashing Time has existed online and I'm super proud of it. Although I haven't been consistent in my posting, I've always taken great comfort in knowing that my blog was there whenever I wanted it. Ready to be picked back up again as soon as I felt inspired. When I started out I was sharing (embarrassing) posts about fashion and beauty from the comfort of my mum's house, which then developed to meeting other lovely bloggers and joining forces to be each other's photographers. I used to wait in anticipation for the weekends shooting with my blogger friends, getting all dressed up and heading to the streets of Cambridge or London for an afternoon. I'd buy clothes especially because I knew they'd look good 'for the gram' and would spend hours searching online for looks that I thought could create good engagement.

Those days, in all honesty, were my blogging heydey. There weren't that many bloggers around so it felt like a very different space and I was excited to try and compete. Whereas these days my feelings on my personal style and fashion content online have changed quite a bit...

I have always loved putting outfits together and finding looks to suit my shape, so that aspect of fashion is never going to go away. Yet these days my fashion sense is less about catching the latest trend, and more about finding affordable pieces that will work in lots of different ways. For example, my work dress code is a combination of smart casual, meaning that I can't exactly rock up mimicking the look of a Topshop mannequin, but there is some flexibility over what is deemed acceptable. I tend to try and find items that will work well in many situations: sat at my desk and in meetings, after-work activities, and also on the weekend. In reality it's a bit of a hard challenge, however, it basically means that I make myself buy fewer new things if I can't make them work for multiple situations.

With the way that fashion imagery through blogging/Instagramming has evolved, it became apparent to me that my new mentality to shopping doesn't really work alongside it. Creators, quite rightly so, are paid to promote the latest looks, to demonstrate how you could look if you had the money to imitate their photos...even if it's not actually a look that they like or an item that they would choose to buy themselves. You only have to look at the Depop pages of some of my favourite style inspirations to realise that they have worn an item of clothing that you thought was a 'must-have' only once, and then they are selling it to a new owner. Now, this is not at all a dig at 'influencers' or any creators online, because I totally get that they have to make a living. However, I feel like I don't buy into the idea that you're only noteworthy if you have the latest 'it' item and share a snap of you in it on your feed. My sense of style should not be dictated to by an ever-increasing number of influences, and instead, I should allow my image to be a little more natural than that. So although I'm not exactly the style icon on the century, I've decided that I don't want to take part in potentially making anyone else feel bad if they look different to what Instagram is deeming 'the norm'. Let yourself find your own inspiration, in a way that makes you feel good about yourself and confident that you're expressing your true self.

There are some really awesome people that I follow online who I feel have shared a great message around fashion, so please do take some time to follow these women:

- Hannah from EnBrogue, a sustainable fashion content creator who is on a year-long mission to not buy anything new from the highstreet
EstherRuthWyse, who although does share fashion content, she mixes it in with real-life chat and makes you feel like she's just a normal girl who happens to look nice in her cute looks
WishWishWish, who shares the most beautiful photography of her life and travels, with some vintage style quirky outfits included - but it's a mix of new and old items, and not always the latest trends
Vix Meldrew, a creator coach who has openly discussed her mixed feelings about promoting clothing items to her audience and how it doesn't allow for inclusion for all shapes and sizes

I'm very sure I could go on and on, but you get my point. If there are other people doing fashion content well, and I've got a bit of an icky feeling about it, then I'd rather leave it to the pros and focus on sharing photos of things that I care more about!

It feels pretty damn good to be back.
Clashing Time.

NB - This post has focused primarily on being influenced, however, I do want to flag that there are a number of other reasons why I've moved away from sharing fashion photos, but this is definitely the big one for me that was pressing on my mind. A few other examples include having a bit of a life shift with a house move and job change, my money being prioritised elsewhere, and also a growing education about the environmental impact of the high street. But maybe I'll delve into those at a later date...

How to survive your first big festival

It’s hard to believe that I’ve been home from the sweaty, dusty fields of Glastonbury for a few weeks now. The time since I’ve been home has had me in a crazy haze of exhaustion and confusion as I’ve been adjusting to the realities of life again back at work.

Glastonbury 2019 was my first big festival for years. My previous experiences of camping in the great outdoors and watching music from awesome bands happened through pretty innocent trips to V Festival or more localised events with parents and friends. It’s safe to say that exploring the crowds of Glastonbury bears no real comparison to anything I’ve experienced before. 

So let’s take it back a bit. Why did I go to Glastonbury? Well, my boyfriend and his friends have been a few times before and insisted that it was something that I should try at least once. ‘We guarantee you’ll want to go back again’, ‘you might love hot showers and your own bed, but it’s an awesome experience that you should try at least once’, ‘what’s the worst that could happen?'…and many other phrases came out of their mouths in the run-up to buying our tickets, so I knew that there was no real way of me getting out of it. After some persuasion from them all, I thought I’d just chuck myself in at the deep end and head to the fields of Worthy Farm. But how did I survive?

Pack sensibly 

If you’ve never been to the festival before then you won’t know what the queuing system is going to be like once you get out of your transport to when you eventually touch down at your campsite. If your festival is anything like Glastonbury then there will be loads of different campsites across a huge space of land, and you will be lugging your crap the whole way there. No one is there to help you as what you put on your back is for you to sort out! You might think that it is worthwhile bringing 3 extra pairs of shorts, or some extra crazy outfits as ‘you never know if you might need them’ - but I’m telling you, you’ll thank yourself for being more sensible with your packing when you’re stood in a queue for 2 and a bit hours with an insanely large travelling backpack weighing you down. PLUS, don’t forget that anything you bring with you, you have to take back home again, so you’ll be doing that trek twice over!

Bring all the medicine

As much as I am saying to not overpack because you’ll have to carry it, my second piece of advice is to bring all types of medicine that you think you might need. There is normally a pharmacy on site at every festival, so you can go and buy the basics like paracetamol or plasters etc., but anything that might be a little more out of the ordinary then you should bring it along. For example, some people suffer from way worse hangovers than others and have secret tricks that they know will help them to get through the day. Alternatively, you might find that you suddenly get sore eyes or hayfever-like symptoms from all of the dust being flown around. Or, I found that a LOT of people told me that because their routine was out of whack, they were having a few tummy/toilet issues, and were having to ask around for a tablet to help sort that issue out...So get yourself prepared with anything you think might make your trip a little more comfortable.

Listen to the pros when it comes to the toilets

Toilet talk will become a big topic of conversation whilst you’re at a festival. You might think you’re prepared for the delightful long drops or compost loos, but I’m telling you that you’re probably not. Try to go in with very low expectations and then you’ll be pleasantly surprised with anything you encounter whilst you’re away at a festival. The old-timers will have the knowledge on where the best ones are (especially if you can sneak into any VIP ones), what the queue times are like, when you should leave an act to nip off to the toilet…and many more key bits of information which will help you get through. It really is an eye-opener to people’s views on the standard to leave a cubicle in after they’ve used it (FYI normally not good), but if your bag is filled with toilet rolls, hand sanitiser and maybe even some wet wipes - then you’ll be good to go.

Bring your own breakfast snacks

It will be incredibly tempting to go and buy a greasy bacon bap after a boozy night out, however, your bank balance will thank you for bringing your own snacks. Sometimes rolling out of your sleeping bag and knowing that there is a selection of breakfast bars an arms reach away will fill you with joy as your stomach growls and moans with hunger. We brought a load of McVities breakfast biscuits for the morning and even took some around with us for snacks during the day to keep us tied over. Absolute life saver!

Try to keep to a budget

Once you’ve paid for your ticket, your travel and your essential camping kit, festivals can either be as expensive or as cheap as you’d like. Yes, there are food stalls wherever you look, enticing you to pay £9 for a small box of noodles, or doughnut stands charging what seems like a bargain for 2 sweet snacks at 2am…but you’ll run out of money very quickly if you don’t have your wits about you. My boyfriend and I went with £500 to share across the 5 and a half days at Glastonbury (as we wanted to bring more than we’d need for emergencies) and we were delighted when we came back with just shy of £100. Each of us spending £200 works out at £40 spending money a day on lunch and dinner (normally up to £10 for each), £5 on anything quirky from the numerous clothing or accessories stands, and £15 on any extra drinks you want to get. It is a lot of money, and more than I’d spend back home, but once you’re away from your tent, you won’t want to be going back over and over again to get things, so spending whilst you’re out will enhance your experience.

Bring a refillable water bottle (or two)

If it is hot, you will be drinking a lot of water throughout the day. With many festivals nowadays trying to reduce their plastic usage, it means they will more likely give you a can of water instead of a bottle, and I found that a lot of the food stalls were running out of cold cans pretty early on in the day. A refillable bottle can be chucked in your bag and filled up at any of the water stops throughout the grounds (where you will probably spend a lot of your time). We ended up bringing three refillable bottles between us and filled up any that were low on water whenever we could so we had backups if you were in the middle of a crowd.

Get yourself a good sized day bag

For a girl, the fashion at a festival is to have a cute multicoloured or glittery bum bag to wear round your waist. However as much as they look good, they are completely impractical (especially if you’re a nervous festival-goer). I get dehydrated very quickly, can go from hot to cold in the blink of an eye, want to bring extra toilet rolls in case of emergencies, get sunburnt quite quickly if I’m not updating my lotion regularly, and basically need to be prepared for anything that hits me whilst I’m away from the tent. So having a good sized bag to keep all my stuff in during the day was crucial for surviving. It might sound a bit excessive to some, but when your tent is a 30-40 minute walk from the stage you are at, and you’re beginning to get a bit chilly, you’ll be so grateful to yourself for packing that jumper.

Know when it is time to leave

Now I’ve done Glastonbury once, I know that 5 and a half days was maybe one day too many. Not because I wasn’t enjoying it, but more because I felt sticky, sweaty and smelly and wanted to go home to wash away my sins. When you’re organising your travel for the trip, you’ll be able to designate the day and time you want to head back (if you’re getting a coach), and I would 100% recommend you think long and hard about this decision. In the end, I’m glad we stayed out till the end, however, we managed to organise that we’d get a lift back with a friend at 6am in the morning, which meant we were back in London by lunchtime. If you can buddy up with people rather than using the coaches then I’d thoroughly recommend you do that - as it took about 3 hours off of our total time to get home. Next time we go I’ve offered to drive, and I know they’ll be jumping in with us to return the favour! 

I don’t mean to make festival life sound like total doom and gloom, but if you’re feeling nervous about attending a festival because of any of the above (like I was), then just know that it’s all completely manageable if you get yourself prepped. I am SO glad that I pushed myself out of my comfort zone and went to a festival that I never thought I’d attend. Now I’ve got through the awkward first time, I know I'll be able to enjoy it even more than I did this time by listening to my own advice on how to survive it all!

Ten things to do in your first month at a new job

Back in January, I wrote a very real post about the fact that near the end of 2018 I was made redundant. It was a pretty big shock to the system but also a great opportunity to move on to something new and exciting. However, the idea of moving to a new role is pretty terrifying when you're feeling a little rejected. So one Sunday afternoon when I was sat at the dinner table with my family I asked the question 'what things do you think you should do in your first month at a new job to help you settle in a bit more?' and I was amazed at how many different responses came up that I'd never thought of. So if you're starting a new role then take 5 minutes to read through my top 10 things you should give a try:

1.  Ask for a desk plan or make your own one (where possible)
Within your first month, you will meet so many people in your office and you are never going to remember all of their names, even if you have a great memory. You can't expect everyone to wear name badges all day every day, so you have a responsibility to be proactive and know who the names of the people you need to talk to.

2. Learn how to make a good cup of tea and coffee.
I know we are in 2019 and people are very capable of making their own hot drinks; however, getting someone a cup when you begin is a great way to connect with people. Sometimes people will feel bad and will come with you to the kitchen to make their own drink (which is a great chance to get chatting), or if you've made someone a drink then they will think of you when they are making their next one. Either way, it's a nice thing to do and it definitely helps your office credit to be known as the maker of a great brew.

3. Write a note of how you're spending your time
Probationary periods can range between a month to around 6 months (depending on your title) and you are bound to cover a lot during that time. Yet any good manager will want to check in with you within the first few months to see how you're getting on. So I think it's really useful if you have a brief document listing some of the tasks that have been asked of you, and also anything that you have proactively come up with. Then when they ask you what you've been doing you've got a list

4. Introduce yourself to senior colleagues 
Speaking to people who are older and more senior than you can be incredibly daunting and not a very enjoyable experience if they aren't very receptive to your introduction. However, there are so many studies that state the number of CEO's and executive leaders who think it is really impressive and shows great confidence if someone new makes an effort to introduce themselves. If the people in power remember who you are then it is only going to stand you in good stead when you could be useful to them in the future.

5. Volunteer for any committees available 
Some companies are really good and have a number of internal groups in place to help organise some of the non-work related activities. It could be anything from a social committee who plan the monthly drinks, or a volunteering and charity committee who sort out your team bonding days off-site. Joining these committees look great to anyone above you as you're putting yourself out there to benefit other people in the company, whilst also giving you an easy opportunity to meet new people and make a name for yourself.

6. Try not to be late
Sometimes it is unavoidable and you'd hope that people would be understanding if your train was cancelled or your pipes burst at home. However, if it's possible then set that alarm a little bit earlier, grab a cup of tea on the way in, and make it a bit more leisurely. I found that it actually helped to cure any morning anxieties about the day ahead, and I felt proud of myself for walking in and sitting down at my desk with 5 minutes to spare (especially as I'm a typically late person).

7. Try and define success with your manager
Often a manager will have an idea of when they'd like to assess your work and how you're getting on, however, they aren't always vocal about that unless you ask. Within the first month, I think it can be very positive to ask your line manager when they think they would want to define the success criteria expected of you in the role. Probationary periods tend to last anything between one to three months, so you might as well be working towards something rather than just hoping that what you're doing is good enough to be seen as useful.

8. Prioritise your sleep
This might seem like a super obvious thing to say, but when I was younger I used to take my sleep for granted! I'd be out all the time, surviving on 6 hours sleep and rocking up at work the next day fresh as a daisy. But in your first month at work, you are physically and mentally exhausted from the long days and overload of information, so you need to understand that you will never be as productive as you'd like to be if you're lacking in the sleep department. A good 8 + hours a night during that first month will 100% help to put you in the best position for taking in information and meeting new people.

9. Find networks in your industry
It shows great initiative to seek out opportunities outside of your workplace to network with other people in your industry. It not only makes you look like you're demonstrating initiative, but it's also really good for you to understand about life outside of your company. Networking groups tend to create events or workshops that are useful from a career point of view, but also fun and more lighthearted than anything your organisation might put on. Well worth checking out LinkedIn or MeetUp for anything that could be good to attend.

10. Be gentle with yourself

It's really easy to go full steam ahead when you start somewhere new. You're incredibly keen to impress everyone, be liked, and do well at the jobs asked of you as well - which is quite frankly, exhausting. Everyone needs a reality check here, as more times than not, it is impossible to achieve all of that throughout your first month. You will do things wrong, you will ask stupid questions, and you will have people who don't treat you how you deserve. The main thing you can control in any of those situations is your own reaction to it, so be gentle with yourself. After all, tomorrow is a new day, and if you like the organisation you're in, then you'll have the opportunity to shine for years to come.

The affordable midi skirt i'm wearing this season

I never used to be a midi skirt person because I genuinely thought they were the kind of thing my grandma would have worn. Despite seeing them everywhere in magazines and on Instagram, it took me quite a long time to see them as something that I could potentially look good in. I thought that only models over 5ft9 would be the type of people to suit this type of skirt so I am genuinely shocked that a few months later I'm being photographed showing how I've been wearing it. But then one day I was browsing through H&M on my lunch break and I stumbled across this printed calf-length pleated skirt and I thought I'd push myself out of my comfort zone and buy it to see if I could feel comfortable in it. Very much to my surprise, I put it on and instantly felt pretty damn good in it. I started swishing around my bedroom feeling a bit like a princess and am now constantly on the lookout for more midi-skirts to add to my collection. The thing I love about this particular skirt is that even though it is a subtle animal print, it is quite understated and doesn't look like I'm making a huge effort with my look. In this outfit, I've paired it with some Primark boots and my fave slouchy  H&M jumper and I feel confident yet in it works for a casual weekend look. 

I'm trying really hard to be a bit more responsible with my shopping recently as I want to buy fewer trend items and instead get more clothes that work well for work and for evenings and weekends. This skirt is one that fits perfectly into that category as during the day I've been matching it with a white blouse or shirt, at the weekend I've been dressing it down with t-shirts and jumpers, and then I've been dressing it up with a black tight body or a crop top for the evenings. It is so versatile! What do you think?

That white Instagram post

Today I shared a white square on my Instagram and the response has been pretty impressive, so thought i'd share my thoughts behind it here too! I know it might seem a little odd to only post a white square on my Instagram, but in some ways it represents closing the door on 2018 and looking forward to 2019. Putting a gap between my old content and looking forward to the new. I haven't posted since the 4th November and I can't believe that we're now almost in March. It's crazy how much time has gone by since I even thought about posting anything on here. I guess that says quite a lot about my attitude shift when it comes to Instagram for promoting my blog - especially as I've turned the notifications off on here too. 

On my personal account I have unfollowed all celebs, influencers and basically anyone I don't know (minus the pet accounts which are just too damn cute to delete) and it's been so refreshing. I'm posting more regularly and not caring as much about how I or my feed looks, it's just way more natural. On this account everything is more curated and planned out, and it's bloody exhausting. I'm sure i'm not the only one to think this! 

After a break away from it all for a few months, I've come back and have been surprised at how much more I like scrolling through the more heavily produced content from other people I follow. I don't necessarily relate to what they are posting, but it's not causing me any harm to view it. I guess the lesson I've learnt is that if I want to share images on here, then it needs to be more aligned with what is true to my life, and not just posting things because I think that is what is expected of someone who is interested in fashion/has a blog! I have so much going on and could definitely get this account back up and running, but I need to remember that social media should be fun and not stressful.

If you want to give my account a follow to see what next steps i'll take then head on over to @ClashingTime_