As if it’s December! I know this is a really silly thing to write – as I know everyone feels the same way as me regarding this subject – but how the bloody well in hell can it be December already? As in Christmas is THIS MONTH. It’s crazy.

I’m reigning it back on the Christmas celebrations this year (such a stark contrast to last year when I was off to here, there and everywhere, soaking up the seasonal atmosphere!) but there’s still tons to look forward to, including a very generous three weeks off work.

Do I plan to get dressed and leave the house during that time?

Not a bloody chance.

Here is what I am looking forward to, however…

Formidable Joy | Lifestyle | Hello December

THE EVENT
I may be getting old, but nights out clubbing just don’t appeal to me anymore (unless it’s a birthday and I get to wear a sash or something), so I’ve become a big fan of BBC Introducing Nights over the past year or so. Not only has each event introduced me to some amazing talent so far (Rocky Nti, Ten Tonnes and Folly Rae to name just a few), the laid-back acoustic evening is held in the uber cool Bear Club in Luton (likely one of the last good clubs in Luton). The Bear Club – which is a jazz club – has the coolest vibe too. The next BBC Introducing event will see Jack Cullen, Emma McGrath and Ed the Dog perform – all unsigned and somewhat local artists oozing with talent.
BBC Music Introducing in Beds, Herts & Bucks takes place on the 11th.

THE BOOK
I love a good chick lit, especially if it’s not your traditional boy-meets-girl storyline..which is why My Favourite Half-Night Stand by Christina Lauren has caught my attention. This modern story – dubbed as being ideal for fans of She’s The Man – tells the story of Millie Morris who is often seen as ‘one of the guys’. When a black tie gala comes up, Millie and her friends make a pact to jump on online dating to find dates for the event. Only after making the pact, she ends up sleeping with one of her guy friends, Reid. Complication ensues, especially when she creates a brand new name and persona online to get better luck – and ends up matching and talking to Reid online. The storyline definitely has me intrigued and I’m already eager to pick this up and see how it all pans out..!
My Favourite Half-Night Stand will be published on the 4th.

THE MOVIE
Aquaman. I don’t know the storyline or the basis behind it – and a couple of parts in the trailer looked a little corny – but it’s got Jason Mamoa. Fun fact: I thought he was a complete d*ck in Game of Thrones and didn’t start fancying him till much later on. Still, I’ll definitely be seeing Aquaman when it drops later this month.
Aquaman will be released on the 12th.

THE NETFLIX SERIES

If you haven’t already binged Nailed It! – where have you been? This hilarious baking show follows less than talented bakers as they try and take on the toughest – and most Pinterest worthy – edible masterpieces. The results are HILARIOUS so I’m super pleased to hear the return of the series with a Christmas special. Nailed It! Holiday! is going to be perfect for that daytime viewing over Christmas when you’ve eaten too many Pringles and the one-too-many Snowball’s has got you unable to move from the sofa…
Nailed It! Holiday! will be available from the 7th.

ANYTHING ELSE?

It’s officially time to start celebrating Christmas at last. I’ve got a jam-packed month full of content (that’s if I don’t have too many Snowballs!) but in the meantime, all I can say is it’s finally time to start going Christmas crazy! Enjoy.
What are you most looking forward to this month? Let me know!
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Having writer’s block is a horrible, horrible feeling, especially if you’re on a deadline or work to a blogging schedule. It’s very easy to sit and try and brainstorm or trawl through Bloglovin’ to find inspiration; suddenly the posts you see aren’t quite right for your niche (even though you follow them!) or your heart just isn’t in it.

I think it’s important to remember that having writer’s block is natural. It doesn’t mean your good enough: I often used to think maybe I wasn’t really a writer deep down or maybe I didn’t love blogging as much as I should because if I did, surely I’d be bursting with inspiration?

However, now that I know it’s natural I’m not that hard on myself. I use the below tips to help overcome writer’s block, and hopefully, these tips will help you too.

Formidable Joy | Blogging | 5 ways to beat writer's block | Lifestyle | Blogger Tips

TRY NEW SOURCES OF INSPIRATION
always look through Bloglovin’, then very quickly find myself bored again. In fact, I do need to improve my feed so leave your links below as I’m looking for new bloggers to follow! These days, I step away from that website and look elsewhere. Facebook groups are super helpful and twitter too. Sometimes, I look at what people I follow are currently loving or raving about. I think it’s important to remember to not copy other people’s content here though: instead, you should take inspiration from it. If someone is talking about an upcoming trip, why not write about five trips you’d love to book in future? Or, if someone has reviewed a movie, you could do a quick top ten of your favourite movies. If I take inspiration from someone, I also always say so and link back to them – even if it’s not related in the slightest. It’s not necessary, but it is a nice touch.

THINK ABOUT WHAT YOU’VE BEEN UP TO LATELY
Been to the cinema? Seen an awesome band live? Read a book? Write about it. Content is content: even if it’s not a new book or even if you’ve seen the band a thousand times before. Or challenge yourself! I find it really hard to write a review of something (especially music) without every review sounding the same, so make it into a challenge. Really sit and think about how the gig made you feel; did it create goosebumps along your arms or did you feel the bass thumping throughout your body? What about a book you’ve read recently? Even if it was bad, you can write a post in such a way that it’s constructive criticism.

GO OUTSIDE
Take an entire step back from technology and head outside for some fresh air. Clearing your mind will help, and seeing the beautiful red colours of the trees or hearing the leaves crunch beneath your feet may help inspiration come to you. And if not? Take a pretty photo and curate a blog post around that.

DO A QUIZ
Pay homage to the Myspace days and do a quiz. It’s a really straightforward way to let your readers know what you’ve been up to lately and it also makes you seem down to earth and approachable. My favourite thing about any blog is the personal posts and getting to know the writer behind the words, so these types of posts never grow old. Plus there are literally thousands of quizzes out there – and on a manner of different subjects too. So they’re not really time constricting either; you could do an entire week of quizzes if you like and dub it ‘Get to know me’ week!

BULK WRITE
Sit down and just write and write, even if it’s just sharing your rambling thoughts or something you don’t think people will want to read. And when writer’s block disappears? Write ten or so posts (not in one go obviously, ain’t no one got time for that) that can be posted anytime and keep them in your drafts. Reviews never get old, nor do life quizzes or most lifestyle posts! Keep a bunch in bulk so next time writer’s block strikes, you don’t need to panic – you can just press publish!

Do you have any tips on getting rid of writer’s block? Let me know!

 

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After a super busy month of October (doing so many Halloween things like CopyCat, The Howl Scream Park, Poppa Plock’s Wonky Workshop and The London Bridge Experience), I’m looking forward to a much more chill month of November. I plan to go into hibernation and spend the majority of my time binging TV shows and online Christmas shopping.

Here’s what I’m exciting for in November.

Formidable Joy | Lifestyle | Hello November

THE MOVIE
It’s gotta be Bohemian Rhapsody, no? I’ve grown up listening to Queen and I still remember seeing a Freddie Mercury tribute act in Blackpool when I was younger – and from that moment on, I was obsessed with his fascinating life story. I’ve heard a lot of good things about this film and I’ve no doubt that Rami Malek has played the part well; but will he be able to capture that special something Freddie had just by walking into a room? Who knows, however, I can’t wait to find out…
Bohemian Rhapsody is out now.

THE BOOK
The Wren Hunt by Mary Watson sounds a little like The Hunger Games – but with magic thrown in. It tells the story of Wren who is chased by enemies every Christmas – judges who are set on destroying Wren’s kind. To protect her family, Wren takes on a dangerous undercover assignment – an intern under a judge who may hold the key to ending the war. The reviews of this book have praised it as being unique and everything but corny, which is often found when reading books to do with magic.
The Wren Hunt will be released on the 6th.

THE NETFLIX SERIES
There isn’t much coming to Netflix this month, but I’m gonna go old school and admit that I’m excited for She-Ra and the Princesses of Power. I only saw one or two episodes when I was younger, and admittedly, know more about He-Man, but there’s no doubt this is gonna be great – and perfect for those late nights tipsy and scoffing on a takeaway after a night out.
She-Ra and the Princesses of Power will be available from the 13th November.

THE GIG
I’ve never been a big fan of Bring Me The Horizon as I’m not a lover of ‘heavier’ music, but I’ve been enjoying their music more and more in the last few years and I especially love Manta and Wonderful Life – their most recent releases. Unfortunately, I didn’t manage to bag any tickets to their upcoming tour as of yet, but I’m certainly asking about to see if anyone would like to go. Knowing the band is amazing – and having never seen them live before – makes me think about just how amazing they’ll be on this tour!
Bring Me The Horizon play at Alexandra Palace, London on the 29th.

ANYTHING ELSE?
I can’t believe I’m actually typing these words but I AM GOING TO AMERICA. Oh yes. My bestie is going travelling next year and I’ll be joining her on her Californian leg of the trip, which will include visits to LA, Las Vegas, the Grand Canyon, San Diego And Tijuna…plus four days renting a car for an epic road trip. I’m so, so, so excited that I cannot contain myself! It’s not till next year but you can bet I’ve already gone into full planning mode so if you have any tips or amazing blogs I can check out, let me know!

I think that’s it for this month! Apart from a lovely date to a fireworks display last night, I’m pretty much determined to keep the rest of month as relaxed (and as inside!) as possible. What are your November plans?

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Apart from when I’m going to gigs or going for an edgy look, my style is a little iffy at best. Some days I’ll look super professional and put together at work and other days I’ll roll into the office in a giant oversized yellow hoody and see through leggings…like yesterday.

So when I saw an offer on Facebook to try Lookiero, I was definitely intrigued. Can I afford a personal shopper and a whole new wardrobe? Hell no. But was I tempted to try it regardless? Hell yes!

Formidable Joy | Fashion | My first experience with Lookiero | Lifestyle | Personal Shopper

I took some time to look into it and quickly discovered that even if you’re on a budget (like me), the subscription box/personal shopper service is actually quite affordable; you don’t actually have to recieve the items every month and you can choose what kind of budget you want your items to fit into. Plus, if you end up keeping all items, not only does the £10 fee dissapear, but you also get 25% off your entire purchase.

I’m almost 30 now and being a bit more experimental or ‘grown up’ with my clothes is one way I can get my sh*t together so I was really excited to try this service. I filled in some information about myself, including my sizes, my style, what I currently wear…and what type of items I wanted to try. I mentioned that at the moment I shy away from jeans and live in leggings and lazy clothes, and often end up wearing a lot of black. I told my personal shopper that I wanted a wardrobe a bit more out there, but that can be put together easily too.

Did she nail it?

My first box arrived with five items; a gorgeous red dress (with a lovely cut) by CLOSET by LO, a simple black skirt (again, a really stylish cut) by FREQUENT which was picked to be worn with the yellow flounce shirt by DESIRES. I was also sent a simple black top by PIECES and a stunning coat for winter.

Out of all the items, I really loved all of them except for the black top by PIECES. It was nice – and versatile – but very similar to tops I already had in my wardrobe.

I absolutely loved the red dress but felt it showed my tummy a little (ha) and I very much wanted to keep it to wear once I lose a bit of weight…but as it cost £47.80, I decided against it. I think it was well worth it for the price because it was obviously very good quality and suited me well, but I’m trying to be smarter with my money so I didn’t want to spend that amount of money if it was just going to sit in my wardrobe for the meantime.

I absolutely adored the yellow flounce shirt and the skirt – they looked so good together – feminine but smart too. Unfortunately the skirt was a little big so I returned that but I kept the shirt. I honestly didn’t think the shirt was very me but as soon as I put it on I loved it.

Finally, the coat was again gorgeous but it was way too big and really drowned me. At £85.00, I couldn’t justify it. However, had it fit me okay…I would have definitely considered it as an early Christmas present to myself.

Formidable Joy | Fashion | My first experience with Lookiero | Lifestyle | Personal Shopper

Although I only kept one item from my first box, I was very, very impressed. There was actually only one thing I didn’t like in the box and even though some of it was stuff I wouldn’t usually wear, it really opened my eyes into trying new styles…which was the whole point of signing up to the system!

The garments arrived in the cutest package with information about each item and how to wear and style it which I found really useful. My only qualm is that so far on the website I cannot see the ‘past’ order anymore – as I’d hoped to re-order the skirt in a smaller size and wishlist the red dress to purchase later on. I’m sure there is a way around this though – hopefully!

Overall I thought it was so much more affordable then I previously thought. There was a good mixture of affordable and more expensive items – but I could very easily see that the more expensive items were worth the money as they were very good quality and almost like an investment.

It’s also great because you can try things on in the comfort of your own home and have five days before making a decision. Apart from posting the items back free to the post office, there’s no long lines or awkward returns policy in a shop or trying things on in harsh lighting and small changing rooms.

I’ll without a doubt be continuing to use this service. Even though I feel like the most unstylish person in the world sometimes – and probably like the last person to ever try a personal shopper! – I think signing up to Lookiero was one of the best decisions I’ve made lately. I’ve already changed my settings for the boxes to arrive every single month rather than every other, and to arrive on a much earlier date too.

Lookiero: consider me impressed.

Would you ever try Lookiero? If so, you can use my refferal code LKLOUISEM5GN to get 10% off!

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It’s weird to think that at just 28 years old, I’ve bagged my dream job of becoming a magazine editor. I’ve drifted in and out of various jobs for so many years now that I never believed I’d ever actually get a lucky break.

Though the magazine isn’t the most exciting in the world, the role itself is challenging and exciting: plus I have learned so much about an industry I never gave a second thought to beforehand. Becoming a magazine editor has taught me a lot too.

Formidable Joy | Lifestyle | 5 things I've learned since becoming a magazine editor | Career

YOU’RE NOT JUST A MAGAZINE EDITOR
I don’t just sit and sub a magazine. I actually write pretty much the entire magazine myself as we’re such a small team (which I kind of like as there’s the belief that once you become an editor you actually stop doing the creative writing side of things), but I also source content, source new clients, chase clients for content, sell AD space, sell editorial space, brainstorm new feature ideas, attend events, attend meetings all over the country..and, not related to my role specifically, I also plan a glam awards ceremony in London once a year. Oh, and I chase invoices. Invoices are the bane of my life.

YOU STILL DEAL WITH SH*TTY PEOPLE
I thought that by leaving retail, I’d never have to deal with a tough customer again. I was wrong. Although all of my clients are super lovely, I have had to deal with the odd customer who makes things..challenging, shall I say. Luckily, they never last long but there’s always going to be someone somewhere you don’t see eye to eye with. But when it’s something that can be fixed? We come to a solution.

YOU GET SO PEDANTIC ABOUT THE LITTLE THINGS
An extra space between words in the Editor’s note? A wrong photo used during a feature? I can’t have it. I’d like to say I’m not a bitch about it but each time an issue goes to press I still take the courtesy to thank everyone in my team for their hard work and apologize for being so pedantic about the little things. When it comes to something going to print with my name on it, I’m super aware of my responsibility to make sure it’s just right.

…BUT THERE’S STILL TONS OF OFFICE JOKES
The girls always take the mick out of me when I end up swearing at my computer, whereas we tease one girl for looking like Morph. Another recent colleague gets teased for her habit of always leaving a tissue in her bowl of soup when putting it aside for the washing up. It’s all in good jest of course, but with tight deadlines to meet and many late nights at the office, we need to take the pressure off somehow. We also have the tradition of going to the local pub on a Friday after work too..

IT KIND OF TAKES OVER YOUR ENTIRE LIFE
But when this is your career taking off and you’re a single lady with no responsibilities, it’s a good thing as it’s a great way to get ahead. When it comes to press day, I rarely get home before eight…in that entire week. Recently, my boss and I flew to Portugal for one day to meet a client (although they did ply us with lots of traditional Portuguese food and port) and we’re often driving all around the country to meet clients too.

Although some of these points might seem like bad points: they’re honestly not. Learning so much about a challenging role is so great, as is being able to go on business trips to places like Portugal! Being able to call myself a magazine editor is one of the proudest things I’ve ever done and right now, I wouldn’t change it for the world.

Plus I get to sit on my ass and drink tea all day…what’s not to love?!

Do you deal with any of the above things in your role? Let me know!

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