Category Archives: blogs

A Belated Blog Birthday & Dr Martens Giveaway

Ship-Shape turns fiveFive years. That’s how long this little blog has been running for. It seems baffling to me that I’ve kept writing, photographing and editing the posts you’ve been reading for half a decade, and how Ship-Shape and Bristol Fashion has been there through career changes, house moves and serving as documentation of my ever evolving style choices.

I’ve met some wonderful people through blogging, had some exciting experiences and been lucky enough to enjoy the occasional perk that comes my way. Blogging has changed so much since I started, hidden away in my bedroom and not even interacting with the blogging community for the first year of Ship-Shape’s existence. Now it seems like every other person I meet has a blog about one topic or another. That in itself isn’t necessarily a bad thing (I’ve encouraged many of my friends to start their own), but sometimes it can be hard to feel heard in the throng of Twitter chats, Bloglovin feeds and other internet noises.

It’s also hard to fit in blogging around a full time job, and I want to high five everyone else like me who finds themselves writing posts on their commute to work or working till the wee hours of the morning editing photos. It takes hard work and commitment to blog, and I know that that’s poured into the blogs I love reading by the bucketload.

Dr Martens birthday giveawayShip-Shape actually turned five back in August, but I was in Africa so this is a bit of a belated celebration. Nevertheless, a birthday wouldn’t be the same without some gifts, and fortunately Dr Martens have stepped up to the plate to offer you lovely lot a chance to win a pair of shoes (or boots) from their Rugged and Casual collections, worth £150!

Regular readers might know that I collaborated with DM on their #STANDFORSOMETHING campaign this summer, and when it comes to blogging, I definitely stand for passion and determination – without these qualities it would be impossible to have kept Ship-Shape going for all these years.

Now the tables are turning and I want to know what you stand for. Let me know in the comments and don’t forget to visit the Dr Martens website and tell me which pair of shoes from the Rugged and Casual collections is your favourite! Simply fill out the Rafflecopter form to be in with a chance of winning, you know the drill!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

P.S. For all you Bristol-based readers, your nearest Dr Martens store is 16 Broadmead, Bristol BS1 3HH.

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Bonjour Blogger Blog Club

Bonjour Blogger Blog Club“The first rule of Blog Club is, tell EVERYONE about Blog Club!” I remember when Bonjour Blogger mistress Hayley, first mentioned the prospect of a Blog Club. It’s something I’d had in the back of my mind since reading about the launch of The Apartment at LFW a few seasons ago.

Wouldn’t it be amazing if, once a month, you could hangout with like-minded souls who understand the frustration of learning HTML, who could help you photograph an outfit without the need for direction, and who would understand the need for punctuating an entire series of the Great British Bake Off with tweets and hashtags.

Bonjour Blogger Blog Club cupcakesBonjour Blogger has been helping bloggers weave their way through deciphering advertising rates, highlighting the best blogger apps and honing content ideas since its launch last year, and I’m excited to say earlier this month they took it to the next level with the launch of Blog Club, in conjunction with VAN.

Held in VAN’s HQ on Kings Street, Blog Club’s launch was celebrated with a plethora of homemade cupcakes, chocolate macaroons, fruit and sweets, laid out on a long workbench, surrounded by laptops, notepads and DSLRs. We (Laura, JosephineLily, Victoria and Jo and VAN’s Sammy, Sophie and Chrissy) sat around the bench eagerly chatting about our own blogs while discussing what we’d all like to get from regular Blog Club events. Hint – it’s really, really exciting!

Getting to chat to bloggers IRL and share a bit of blog love, as well as our own blogging tips and tricks, was the perfect way to spend an afternoon – here’s to the next one!

If you want to find out about future Blog Club dates keep an eye on Bonjour Blogger’s Twitter feed.

Chrissy and Josephine at Blog ClubBlog club chocolate macaroonsBloglovin |Twitter | Facebook

Bristol Blog Meet at Lush and Benefit

Checking out Mac make-upA couple of weeks ago, after returning from our blissful New Year’s Eve break to Wales to the reality of work and post-Christmas tidying, I found myself on the steps of Cabot Circus, waiting for the Bristol Blog Meet to begin.

I didn’t realise Beky and Danielle had organised the Saturday afternoon meet until I got chatting to Lily on Twitter the night before. When I heard that trips to Lush and Benefit were on the cards, I could hardly say no!

After finding Lily and Louisa we set off with the rest of the group to Lush in Broadmead. Now’s the part where I confess that I’ve never set foot in a Lush store before. Yep, never. Of course I’d heard of the brand, and had always been meaning to try it for myself – I was even given a gift set Lush a couple of years ago but after leaving it in a cupboard and forgetting about it, it had expired so I had to throw it away.

Lush Ickle Baby BotI think I saw a few gobsmacked expressions from the rest of the girls when I said I’d never tried any Lush products before but luckily, after several demonstrations and talks by the lovely staff, I was treated to a hand massage and got my very own goodies to try at home.

After Lush, Lily, Lousia and I wondered back to Cabot Circus to have a late lunch at Wagamamas and a wander around the shops before meeting up with everyone and heading over to the Mac counter at Debenhams. After everyone had had their fix of Candy Yum Yum and Russian Red, we headed for Boots for the grand finale – an evening with Benefit. The lovely Ashton had prepared a Benefit party upstairs in the staff room, sitting us around a long table covered in glitter and Benefit products while she demonstrated some of the beauty brand’s key products on Beky. Unfortunately I couldn’t stay till the very end but I can’t wait to try some of the products used in Ashton’s demonstration.

Big thank you to Beky, Danielle, Ashton and the Lush team for our goody bags and for hosting a fun afternoon!

Lush bath bomb demonstrationLush soapsBeky has a Benefit makeoverBenefit mascara wandsMy Lush goodiesBloglovin |Twitter | Facebook

Ship-Shape 2.0: A Lick of Paint + Giveaway

Ship-Shape and Bristol Fashion blogHello! Welcome to Ship-Shape 2.0. I feel like shouting ‘ta-daa!’ like some sort of proud magician.

When I first started Ship-Shape and Bristol Fashion in 2009 I was content using Blogger, then in early 2011 I made the leap to because I wanted more control over the look and feel of the blog. The notion of going self-hosted, buying my own domain name and actually having to learn HTML was always at the back of my mind but, as silly as it sounds, I didn’t feel ready to make that step.

But here we are! After a couple of months of dithering, I managed to secure my domain name before Christmas, and for the last three weeks I’ve been spending every free evening working on Ship-Shape 2.0.

The design is a child theme created by the talented Mamasaurus that I’ve adapted, with a little help (and a lot of patience and answering dumb questions) from Mr Ship-Shape and my good friend Al. I owe them both gratitude and whisky.

I’m not sure if I’m 100% happy with it just yet, but I’m excited to have finally given Ship-Shape a lick of paint. What so you think? Like it?

To celebrate the blog’s facelift and to say thank you for reading, here is a little giveaway from me to you. The price up for grabs is a World Famous Neutrals Sexiest Nudes Ever eyeshadow kit from Benefit, which includes four beautiful longwear powder eyeshadows and two creaseless cream shadows.

Benefit World Famous Neutrals giveawayIf you’ve been a Ship-Shape reader for four years or for a minutes, I’d like to say a big, soppy thank you. Now quick! Someone needs to win this beaut of a palette…
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Ship-Shape on the iPad

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When Blogging meets Room 101

I was recently challenged by Mancunian Vintage to share the gripes that would enter my personal Room 101, and despite the fact I have as many gripes as everyone else – mushrooms, slow walkers with wheelie suitcases and Gordon Ramsey, to name but a few – I found it hard to think what would make sense to write about on this blog.

I don’t think 400 words on why I hate mushrooms would make a particularly riveting read (though if you are a mushroom-hater, please know that you’re not alone) so I thought I’d channel this challenge into blogging bits and pieces that get my goat instead. So without further ado, here is my blogging version of Room 101…

Colourful fonts are hard to readColourful / hard to read fonts

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m all for accents of colour and I love a good font – check out my Pinterest boards if you don’t believe me – but there is a time and a place for a royal blue serif typeface and it isn’t in the body of your blog posts.

Blocks of brightly coloured and/or elaborate text aren’t easy on the eye, and when your day job involves using a computer for eight hours a day, trying to decipher a blog post that looks like it was written by Jackson Pollock on a Haribo high isn’t the way to my heart. affiliate links

Not cool, WordPress, not cool. I recently collaborated with a brand for a product review and kept being told that there were affiliate links attached to the products, and could I please remove them.

This was somewhat confusing since I’m not signed up to any affiliates schemes and so I didn’t have a clue what the (very patient) PR contact was on about. Turns out WP are allowed to shove in affiliate links wherever they see fit, and this is also an issue with the Jetpack plugin for users. Thanks to Hayley for helping me suss out the problem!

PR Request hashtag#PRrequest

The humble hashtag has a lot to answer for (I think it’s probably best to skip right past #yolo) from excessive Instagram hashtags to my personal peeve, the PR requests tag.

For the record, when used properly this can be a really effective way of connecting journalists, bloggers, industry experts and PRs, but I’ve also noticed an increasing number of serious requests from bloggers that are at best cheeky and at worst, downright rude. Perhaps it’s my British sensibilities, but I would never dream of asking for a new kitchen/car/hairdryer ‘in exchange for review’ on Twitter and yes, all of those are legit requests I’ve seen recently. On the plus side, #PRrequest is fast becoming my go-to on Twitter for a giggle, so there is a sliver lining.

Phew! Well now I’ve got that off my chest it’s over to you. What blogging gripes would you put into Room 101?

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