A Bloggers Retreat | The Serpentine Gallery | Kensington Gardens

The Serpentine Gallery has become a bit of a bloggers dream backdrop. I'm not the first and will certainly not be the last blogger to rock up to this gallery and post the same image as every one else on Instagram! On initial viewing the structure was incredible, although not as white as it comes across on everyones images....good editing people! The early birds to this exhibition would have been able to have stood on the squares unopposed, however since so many people have been climbing the structure (fucking bloggers, spoiling it for everyone!), they've had to hire security to make sure you do not. I mean just imagine if one of the square tubes came away from the rest of the structure and it tumbled down like a Jenga puzzle, awks!

You can visit The Serpentine Gallery 10am - 6pm Tuesday to Sunday and is free to enter and located here (by the pin):

Do what I didn't and make a day of if as there is plenty more to do in Kensington Gardens then just sunbathing. Try visiting the Albert Memorial and if you have children visit the Diana Memorial Playground.

I would like to thank these guys and my photographer Kylie for the inspiration...here are a couple of other Men's Style Bloggers who have done similar shoots at this exhibition (Click on the image to view their Instagram Profiles):

Oh yes, what I'm wearing and why....well I had a few meetings and it was bloody hot, so I decided smart casual was the way forward. In hot weather when you are jumping on and off the tube and you have to wear a shirt, go for the most roomy fit and the most breathable fabric (linen or a poplin cotton weave). Chinos are great in the summer too, a light airy fabric and can transition easily from smart to casual.

 

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Photography by Kylie Eyra

Blogging is NOT all it's cracked up to be

I get people saying to me all the time that my 'job' - meaning blogging and instagramming, looks so much fun and they wish they could do it. Well firstly, it's not exactly a job, I mean, I would say you need to be earning at least minimum wage (don't even get me started on living wage) before you can claim it as your 'employment'. It's taken a couple of hard grafting years of networking to build up a worthwhile, engaging audience on my blog and social networks before PR companies and brands want to do business with you and don't under estimate the time and effort that takes. 

I often get people asking me to produce them a 'quick' blog promoting their products for free, come on it will only take a few minutes they say - errr major LOL. Okay so thats just say that email communication for the sake of this experiment takes 15 minutes. Then I need to spend time planning the outfit that I want to wear, hmmmm I'm pretty quick at this, so again lets say 15 minutes, although if you are online shopping for other pieces then up it to 45 minutes. The photoshoot day comes and you have to plan the outfits, meet the photographer, find a decent place to shoot then finally actually shoot the outfit. So lets say you meet in London, a photoshoot usually takes 2 hours and add another 30 minutes for travel. Once you get the photos, there may be some editing time, lets say 30 minutes. So you are 4 hours committed before even writing the post. Uploading the images, and writing the blog post can take anything from 30 minutes to 4 hours, totally depending on how many glasses of wine I've had but on average I would say it takes me about an hour and a half. Actually I forgot to add the 'Shop The Look' section, this may look easy - but most bloggers gain commission through Wearisma or RewardStyle so for every shop the look item, you need to create an affiliate link...yep time consuming and defo time for another wine. To finish up you need to proof read, make amendments then social out the post. All-in you are looking at a ball-park figure of 5-6 hours per post.

Most of the time and in particular brands expect bloggers to write posts for them in return for product. The amount of times I've had brands say, pick an outfit up to the value of £150 then style it, write a blog post and social it out all in under a week. Well firstly being a clothing retailer myself with Hawkins & Shepherd, £150 retail equals £50 for the brands themselves. So when we are creating these types of blog posts its for fifty pounds worth of clothing yet giving back 5-6 hours of effort and a large social following which has taken years to grow. Not only that but there are also other costs that come with writing a blog post. Firstly buying clothing is expensive (if you have to buy anything else for the post). Travel costs. Photographer costs which can be £50 up to £200. So whenever you are doing blog posts in return for product you are funding it yourselves and making a loss, I mean thats just not good business. For me I think more needs to be done to establish digital influencing rate cards and have some organisation that helps influencers know what to charge, much like press advertisement has. With print press, brands know what they should pay for a 1/2 page, full page etc, for Pay-Per-Click advertising again there are guidelines but for digital influencers this area is grey for brands as well as influencers and I sympathise with both.

If anyone asks me they want to get into blogging, I'm fully supportive. However I do tell them to commit to it, we are not talking one post a month or a post every now and then....I mean serious commitment because that is what it takes to be a success. You wont be gifted many items until you have a good following, so it can also be very expensive shopping every week. You cant under-estimate how much time and money blogging takes. Unless you are lucky enough to a) have a photographer girlfriend (b) a blogger girlfriend or (c) a cool as fuck girlfriend who you can train to take your photos, you'll need to pay for a photographer. Don't underestimate the importance of having ascetically pleasing images and you may think that any one can take a good photo...nope they cant!

When you get to the point of getting paid or gifted items of clothing, grooming bits 'n' bobs, festival tickets and an unlimited number of party invites it can seem quite glamourous. I have to admit, things are much easier for me right now as I have grown a great working relationship with brands, PRs and other bloggers - although it is almost more important to work harder and produce better content because now brands are paying for it...it's that never ending cycle of trying to improve, trying to be the best. 

Yes this blogger shit can be seen as narcissistic and for sure it is, however it is also a way of venting our thoughts and feelings about everyday life - its about showing our own style and giving our readers an independent view on what to wear or what we like to wear.

Being a #fblogger (Fashion Blogger) #tblogger (Travel Blogger) #lblogger (Lifestyle Blogger) or whatever other hashtag crap we all seem to use - you have to be quite thick skinned and try to not give a damn about what other people are thinking about you. Take this photoshoot for example, Rebecca and I headed over to St Pauls in London bang on the lunchtime rush. Although we managed to find a couple of quiet 'ish' spots to shoot in, there were 100's of office workers walking past mocking me and trying to photobomb you at every opportunity. I mean fair enough I guess these city workers have probably been in the pub since 11:00 sinking pint after pint reminiscing about the good old days before BREXIT...and I'd do the same with a few pints in me. However this is work for us bloggers and it's like me rocking up to some city banking firm, jumping the security gates, bowling up to the nearest forex trader, putting a BUY trade on GBP against pretty much any other currency in the world, give the trader a wet willie & noogie and walk out as if nothing has just happened. 

So during this shoot I had 3 outfits to photograph, which means 2 changes...time is money so rather than heading to the nearest coffee shop to get changed most bloggers just strip off and change in the street - the nearest bush, telephone box or stinky piss alley are well known blogger changing rooms. On this shoot for my first change I headed into some bushes, the type of bushes that you don't want to spend much time in. Hopping on one leg trying to pull off your skinny jeans is hard, it is important to be wearing tight pants or boxer shorts...not loose cotton ones as you don't want passers by getting an eyeful of your bits. Lucky for me, I have a photographer that sees the funny side of all of this and films the whole thing and posts on snapchat...cheers Becca!

So people who throw oranges out of windows (yes this did happen to an ex girlfriend!) or shout abuse; remember us poor bloggers are just trying to make a bit of pocket money, please think twice as we put a lot of effort in doing what we do and we love what we do. For those of you wanting to get into blogging, do it and do it well but don't expect success overnight. For brands...I love you, send me more work *insert wink face emoji! 

 

SHOP THE LOOK

Photography by Rebecca Spencer

My Outfit of the Week

The weeks outfit of the week combines three menswear brands that I have never worn before, so I have combined them with a few of my wardrobe favourites. This outfit was taken at the early part of this week, during the cold windy few days we had in London, I mean it certainly didn't feel like June...more like November. This time I headed out with photographer Rebecca Spencer around the Temple area of London, along the Embankment and stumbled across a few awesome areas in which to shoot the outfits and a few odd and exposed changing facilities!

The three brands that I want to mention in this look are Sunday Somewhere, Boom Bap Wear and Jim Rickey. Starting from the top half, this grey lightweight v-neck hoodie from Boom Bap Wear is stylish and the fit is slim, muscle, yet comfortable. The inner lining of the top is fleece like so there is no need to wear a t-shirt underneath, in fact I think it works better worn alone. Jim Rickey is a brand that I found on Instagram, based in Stockholm, Sweden and specialising in footwear. Immediately I purchased two pairs, I was so impressed with their collection and I want another 2 more at least! This grey pair and another white leather with tan details and marble sole. Finally I have accessorised with a brand that is synonymous for being the sunglasses of choice for a-list celebrities - a brand called Sunday Somewhere. 

Its amazing what brands you can find by searching the second page on Google, Twitter and Instagram...so have a browse and if you can also find some amazing menswear brands - if you do, please let me know!

 

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Photography by Rebecca Spencer