Resolution: Join The Thursday Weekly Photo Challenge!

This week’s challenge, then, is resolution. Take a photo or find one that represents a resolution you are making… or one you’re not making! What does this resolution mean to you? How will it change your life?

The best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago. The second best time is now.

Chinese proverb

My resolution is to get out and run more. I started during lockdown and I want to take it forward into the coming year and keep trying to improve.

Here’s how to take part:

  1. Take a photo or search your files for one that represents the week’s theme.
  2. Write a post, including your photo, any words of explanation or inspiration you wish to share, and a link to this challenge page.
  3. Comment on this post with a link to your page so others can see your contribution.
  4. That’s it! Super easy.

This challenge will stay open for one week, then next Thursday, I will post the next challenge!

Come join the weekly Thursday photo challenge: Structure

Welcome to the second ever weekly Thusday photo challenge! I’ve changed the day to Thursday so as not to clash with another challenge, so Thursdays are now our permanent home. This is a weekly photography challenge for everyone who likes to take photos! You take the photos, then share your posts here following the instructions below.

This week’s theme is structure.

Japanese architecture is traditionally based on wooden structures that need renovating on a regular basis.

Tadao Ando

Structures are everywhere. Buildings. The way plants grow. The markings on insects. Power structures. The structure of a daily routine… this week’s challenge is to take a photo that represents or depicts a structure.

Here’s how to take part:

  1. Take a photo or search your files for one that represents the week’s theme.
  2. Write a post, including your photo, any words of explanation or inspiration you wish to share, and a link to this challenge page.
  3. Comment on this post with a link to your page so others can see your contribution and check out your blog.
  4. That’s it! Super easy.

This challenge will stay open for one week, then next Thursday, I will post the next challenge!

Lockdown running

At some point during the first lockdown, I think it was June, I took up running.

I’ve always been the worst at long-distance running. I have no stamina for it at all, and I get very breathless. This has been the case my whole life.

In February of this year, I was diagnosed with asthma. I’ve been diagnosed before, as a child, but I stopped taking inhalers and generally convinced myself I didn’t need them when I turned 18 and was no longer eligible for free prescriptions in England. It’s easier to tell yourself you’re not asthmatic than to face the truth that you are and you can’t afford your inhaler.

One of the good things about living in Northern Ireland is that ALL prescriptions are free, for everyone. So when I got rediagnosed with asthma, I got inhalers.

They were life changing.

For the first time in my life, I can run.

At first, it was hard going. I couldn’t even do 60 seconds of running without stopping, tired. I had my breathing right, but my ankles, my knees and my back had no idea how to do cross-country.

Not to be deterred, I signed up for my first of several run challenges. Some were better than others. Race At Your Pace and Run Challenges were both fairly decent, but for my first challenge, I signed up with another company and they didn’t send any sort of explanation about how to get a medal, so I missed their 3-day “evidence submission” window. I emailed them after to ask how it worked, and received a snotty reply that implied I ought to have known how to submit the evidence.

Their system used this idiotic and unnecessary online portal that they didn’t send you an emailed link to access.

I hate portals. My former psychiatrist now uses one and it’s hopeless. Good thing I don’t need to see a shrink anymore.

Actually, I can (partly) thank running for that, too.

After 1 month of running every second day, I didn’t need my antidepressants that I’d been taking for post-natal depression. Once that layer was peeled away, we were able to discover that my underlying mental illness wasn’t bipolar, as I’ve been misdiagnosed with for 5 years, or borderline, as was suggested in August, but PMDD – Pre Menstrual Dysphoria Disorder – and ADHD – Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.

PMDD isn’t really improved by running, but I find my ADHD is. When I run, I get the energy out that builds up and can turn in on itself during the afternoon. When I run, I take time to focus on my breathing, so it’s inadvertently a mindfulness exercise. And when I run, I am doing self-care. I am also increasing my confidence.

In February, I read in a leaflet about someone who had “beat Post Natal Depression” by running. I was extremely scornful of this idea. I don’t think mental illnesses are invaders that we should approach with a “fight” mentality, they’re part of us that we need to accept in a self compassionate way while ameliorating symptoms.

My opinion on self-acceptance hasn’t changed, but I do think there’s mileage (no pun intended) in running to help with mental health symptoms, and I can understand why other people feel that way.

It’s also given me confidence in my own body. After pregnancy, I felt weak and tired all the time, whereas now I feel strong and (dare I say it?) powerful in a way I never have felt in my entire life.

The hardest thing about running was the first month. About two weeks in, I hurt my knees due to not warming up enough and not taking enough rest days. I had to rest completely, but I still had several kilometres to go before completing my challenge. I made it, at a limp, but because I hadn’t rested fully or recovered entirely, I carried those knee problems into my second month.

Three months into running, in August, I was working with a very unethical self-styled psychotherapist who I later found out had faked her credentials.

She questioned why I was going running and denigrated it as inappropriate and boring. She told me I should do ice skating instead (she was utterly oblivious of Covid and she also contributed to me getting another borderline misdiagnosis so I’m a bit annoyed but because she has faked all her credentials, there’s no one to report her to).

I thought she was full of crap and yet somehow, it got into the back of my mind and I stopped running. For two months.

I also got too invested in my stats, and when I couldn’t beat my distances and speeds, I felt like a failure. My new (ethical, qualified, and registered) therapist encouraged me to try again, without timing myself or logging my runs.

It was great advice.

I started again in October and I’ve been going ever since.

I no longer have any idea how far I’m running in any given run, but I have been doing the same route since March (lockdown… there’s literally only one lane to run down here) and I know I can get further down the lane without stopping. And my knees are no longer struggling to keep up, nor are my ankles.

I’ve realized running is all about incremental progress, not trying to do everything at once, or perfectly first time. Sometimes you don’t meet a particular challenge, for whatever reason.

Who cares? Challenges are constructs, they’re not real, and they’re not a true measure of your running ability.

So to anyone else looking to start running, I suggest you try it! With an inhaler in your pocket, if you need it.

I hope the featured image inspires you that almost anyone can start running; it’s all about the mindset.

Amazon Prime Day, Rainbows + Bestseller Lists,

So the book I can’t tell you about on here has now made it (quite a long way) into the Amazon Top 100 Bestseller List for a third week!! SQUEE I WROTE A GODDAMN BESTSELLER, BITCHES!! (…and my in-laws and assorted relatives still think I’m an unemployed layabout loser working occasional days as a substitute teacher. And I can’t tell them otherwise. They probably wouldn’t believe me if I did. It’s like being a superhero only my secret power is NSFW).

Oh and in case you’re wondering, the money doesn’t get good until you hit the top 5, so no, I’m still poor. This person had a #1 bestseller and still didn’t make anything. And I’m sure some sanctimonious middle class person will try to say “but that’s not why you should write” because you *should* write to be poor (which is fine if you’ve never had to choose between eating or paying rent I suppose), to be unappreciated (which is fine if you believe you’re Van Gogh or something), to be ignored (see prev. re: Van Gogh), because that’s the stereotype we imagine for writers and what we tell ourselves to feel better about the fact that some people are spending 16 hours a day, 6 or 7 days a week doing something they actually want to do (yes, I actually do, come hypomania or depression, I work very hard and some days I only write 50 words but it’s 50 more than I had the day before, other days what I write makes no sense, but that’s okay because it clears my brain out, it’s like scraping the gloop out of the sink so you can wash dishes in it, instead of letting that gloop touch your crockery). Like we imagine that all the pretty people are dumb and all ugly people have hidden depths, instead of seeing that some pretty people are clever and some ugly people are very shallow. I will never stop appreciating being able to write. So I will look forward to writing being my full time income one day but obviously, the money I’ll get in several months’ time (bookstores pay s-l-o-w-l-y) is a LOT better than nothing and while it isn’t going to pay all my bills that month, it at least goes a long way towards it and therefore validates my Goddamn life choices. And I didn’t even have to take my clothes off this time.* ūüėõ

*I am neither confirming nor denying having done this in the past although I do feel it’s high time my cat** wrote a guest post because it would make interesting reading.

**I don’t have a cat. That’s sort of the point.

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And apparently every year Amazon has some special deals that are only available to Prime subscribers. This year, that’s happening on July 12th. From today up to July 12th, Amazon has loads of special pre-prime day deals to get you in the mood (or something).

My personal opinion? Signing up for a free 30 day trial of Amazon Prime, including free shipping and loads of TV shows, makes a lot of sense if you want to do some bargainous shopping. This is a very good month to try Amazon Prime for free, just remember (if you don’t intend to keep it) to cancel before the month is up, and sit back and reap the rewards.

I had Amazon Prime for about a year but I cancelled it in favor of Netflix because they didn’t have such a good range of TV shows. I think I’d consider it again now that the Clarkson Hammond and May show (formerly Top Gear) is on there. Also did you hear about the BBC’s so-called “Top Gear” that they’ve been trying to flog as a replacement to the (not-quite-original but definitely best) Clarkson version? Chris Evans, the show’s main host, and seasoned TV presenting veteran, has just quit. They’re flogging a dead horse, and I’ve been saying since Clarkson got sacked, that nobody in their right mind would sign up to take the place of Clarkson Hammond and May, the audience for that show is too pre-prejudiced against change. They’d have been better off doing a total re-format, since Clarkson invented most of the stuff they did on there anyway. Those of you who know me in person know how much I appreciate Jeremy Clarkson’s contributions to journalism (oh God, the way he can get you from the opening sentence, I wish I could do that), he literally invented new ways to write/talk about cars, and no-one can really replace that. But you can watch Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond messing around in cars IN OCTOBER on Amazon Prime with the 30 day trial in the UK; the BBC was really shitty about copyrights on all the stuff Clarkson came up with while he worked for them, so Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May have renamed their new car show “Grand Tour.” I wish I was eligible for another free trial of Amazon Prime now ūüė¶

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Also, this rainbow wig is legit gorgeous I wish I could afford it, its so beautiful, and I wanted to show you all, but WordPress doesn’t allow image links from Amazon. Last time I accidentally pasted the wrong link onto a WordPress post, WordPress actually shut this blog down within seconds, not giving me a chance to fix the problem, and I had to email them 5 or 6 times over 2 days to get them to understand that it was an honest mistake. I totally don’t get the weird and wonderful policies that various blogging sites have regarding their smallprint. I think now I have my own domain I’m allowed to do more advertising, but I look at some of the sites that have come up in reader over the past few months, wall-to-wall advertising, and I simply want to vomit in disgust. The whole marketing model is messed up if they make money from that shit. It’s like those trees falling in the woods and concussing bears who are trying to take a dump.

The Beauty Blogger Tag

So I’ve been nominated by Brandie at The Striped Coyote to do the Beauty Blogger Tag!
Thanks to Brandie for nominating me for this tag! ¬†I’m going to try to answer the questions as best as possible!

face of the day again
Face of the day brought to you by blinding daylight in my bathroom!

The Rules for this Tag:

Tag the blogger that nominated you
Answer the questions you were given
Nominate 10 bloggers whose blog is about beauty/lifestyle/fashion
Name 10 questions for your nominees to answer
Inform the bloggers you chose that you nominated them.

Have you ever done yoga and did you like it?
My primary school used to do yoga so I did it with the rest of the kids (it was a very small school with a total of 32 pupils in the entire school) whose parents couldn’t pick them up straight after school. It was okay. I think people like most things at that age. I incorporate some yoga moves into my warmup/cooldowns for my workouts nowadays, but I don’t even think about where they came from any more! I’ve never taken a proper grown up yoga class though!

What products do you splurge on?
Nothing really. I’m flat broke at the moment so I can’t really afford anything fancy. When I do have money, I tend to buy high end primers and concealers because they’re the most important thing to get right. Oh, and good hair products of course!

What products do you save on?
Eyeshadow! I bought a pallette called the Jazooli pallette for ¬£14.99 about 2 years ago, and it’s got literally every colour of the rainbow, so I use it in pretty much all of my Youtube tutorials, especially the most outrageous ones! ¬†I’d like some fabulous high end eyeshadows but this will do for now. ¬†Apart from my Laura Mercier neutrals, that’s all the eyeshadow I own!!

What is your best tip for maintaining healthy skin?
Drink lots of water. I know it’s a cliche but it totally works.

What do you use to remove your makeup?
I use cotton wool and rosewater, but I get the stuff that’s in the cooking aisle at the supermarket, not the stuff that’s in the drugstore, because I want the one that’s just 100% water and roses!

How do you maintain your eyebrows (example, threading/waxing)?
I did a video on Youtube on this last week. I shape them myself then draw the brow in to fill it out.

What is your favorite mascara?
L’Oreal Million Lashes. I’ve got the MAC Extreme Dimension as well, and it was my favourite when I first got it, but over time I’ve found Million Lashes still looks perfect at the end of the night, whereas Extreme Dimension always needs topping up. Also after about 6 months Extreme Dimension started burning and flaking, but Million Lashes still doesn’t do that and I’ve had it for over a year.

Where do you buy most of your makeup?
All over the place! Basically I just buy it wherever I see it – I got to like four different department stores because they all have different counters, I go to three different drugstores and two independent beauty shops as well as Amazon and other online retailers. ¬†Sometimes I buy at the supermarket as well. ¬†It totally depends who’s got the item I want.

What is your favorite shade of lipstick?
Nudes. If it’s got “bare” or “nude” in the name, chances are good that I love it. I also really like brown shades because they suit my complexion WAY better than pinks (I’m neutral toned, bordering slightly on warm toned).

What is your favorite perfume?
That’s such a hard question to answer! I honestly don’t know which one I love the most. I love so many different ones for different reasons. I guess Glow by JLo will always have a special place in my heart, it’s so fresh. I also love Chanel No. 5 (because it’s the polar opposite to Glow), and Avon’s Perceive has been a longtime favourite. I like something understated for daytime and something that matches my outfit for evenings! I think wearing one perfume all the time is like wearing the same pair of shoes – it’s just not going to go with every outfit or situation!

Nominations:
Rianne Mitchell
Just Nadiene
Smile Sweetie HQ
Beautiful Butterflies Bethany
Chenhe Yang
Fashion Mimo

Questions:
Do you prefer matte or dewy foundation?
What’s your favourite high end product?
What’s your favourite drugstore bargain?
Do you spend more time doing your hair or your makeup?
Do you co-ordinate your shoes/purses?
If you could only use one brand of makeup for the next month, which would you choose?
What’s your skincare routine?
Would you ever/have you done the no-poo shampoo method? If you’ve already done it, what were your results?
What’s the most unexpected thing you’ve found about blogging?
Name your go-to lip balm?

I can’t wait to see your answers everyone!

We may experience some technical difficulties

Invoke Delight is moving to http://www.delightandinspire.com

When I started this blog I wanted it to be called inspire delight, but that domain was taken by an online lighting store. ¬†In May 2015, inspire delight was bought up by someone claiming to have been blogging since 2010. ¬†Clearly not, since she has filled out three or four pages (all dated between 19-21 May 2015) then got bored and not bothered again. ¬†But she had time to configure an online shop… go figure.

In the meantime, I bought up invokedelight.com back in November 2014 and had numerous problems with GoDaddy refusing to let me uninstall their really awful “website builder” and connect a WordPress.org plugin instead, including many, many emails back and forth, before I finally capitulated and registered for WordPress.com instead, leaving invokedelight.com as a redirect to this site.

In November 2015, invokedelight.com expired, and I got an email (actually several) telling me that if I didn’t pay renewal to GoDaddy, they were going to de-register it and after that, that it would cost hundreds of dollahs for me to restore my site. ¬†I was looking forward to this happening because then the site would be purged from the domain name, and I could buy it again through WordPress and finally achieve my goal of making this blog invokedelight.com.

It’s the end of January. ¬†GoDaddy claims InvokeDelight.com is owned by someone else. ¬†But the domain registrar lookup claims InvokeDelight.com is owned by GoDaddy.

Registry rules state that an expired site should be held by the registrar (GoDaddy) for 4 weeks plus five days before releasing it back to general sale. ¬†It’s well over that time now – invokedelight.com expired on 17th November 2015 – so I can only assume that GoDaddy are holding onto it because they want me to pay the hundreds of dollahs.

Me being independent and contrary, I decided to brainstorm site names for this site and check what was available.  All the invoke delight -derived names just looked really shit so I checked some inspire delight names (they were all taken in November 2014 but I wanted to see if any had expired).

Delight and Inspire had expired so I aspired to purchase it.

Over the next 72 hours there may be some technical problems as WordPress gets it working, then it should start to redirect. ¬†If you’re subscribed via WordPress (less than 2% of my viewers), it shouldn’t affect you being able to find my site. ¬†If you use Feedly or another RSS reader (I use Feedly) you may have to “add new” and put http://www.delightandinspire.com into your subscriptions so you don’t lose me!

Google and WordPress should handle the re-indexing of the site so all my hard-earned SEO results keep bringing people to the right place.

My Youtube Channel will remain Invoke Delight and so will my Twitter handle @invokedelight and email invokedelight@gmail.com because they don’t let you change such things without signing up for a whole new Gmail and Twitter account.

Once it’s all sorted it’s going to be LEGEN (wait for it… ) … … ¬†… … DARY!

A Day In The Life Of A Blogger

I saw this bizarre title on someone else’s blog, and I was a little bemused about how the day of a blogger would be any different to the day of a non-blogger. ¬†So I thought I’d be a bit imaginative.

6:00am:  I leap out of bed, like a LEAPING LION and stretch and yawn and hop into the shower to clean all my sleep away.

6:20am: Wrapped in a soft fluffy dressing gown, I skip down the stairs like SKIPPY THE FREAKIN¬†KANGAROO and investigate how to turn on the mysterious drinks making gadget that the drinks company sent me in exchange for a good review. ¬†This week, it’s coffee, but last week it was smoothies, and the week before it was a juicer. ¬†Imma dedicated follower of fashion.

6:30am: ¬†Once I’ve figured out how to make the drinks making gadget work, and set it going, I go out into the garden – well, my fifty acre smallholding – and fetch some eggs from the henhouse, then I bring them indoors and make up a BRAND NEW RECIPE that I just KNOW the whole world needs to hear, I make a mental note to write about it on my blog after I’ve finished breakfast.

6:40am: I start making my BRAND NEW RECIPE and am pleased to see that the drinks making gadget is pouring coffee into a cup for me.  How exciting.  I take a couple of photos of it with my camera.  I am Martha Stewart.

6:50am: ¬†My food is on a plate and I sit at my dining table with my breakfast, trying to think of a name for this recipe. ¬†Something that comes up high in the Search Engine results but is still super-unique and catchy. ¬†No, brain, Eggs Bunnydict is a terrible name for anything ever. ¬†Something more like “fluffy cloud eggs.” ¬†That’ll be good because it sounds light, like healthy, and fun, like it’s going to be delicious. ¬†Like me. Haha.

7:10am: ¬†Armed with my second cup of coffee I relocate to my study, which is really a corner of my bedroom or living room, and I turn on my laptop. ¬†My laptop is top of the range and never needs restarting because I got it free in exchange for a good review. ¬†I check all my social media accounts, I reply to everyone’s messages (or at least a representative sample), and I check out what is trending, so I can be relevant.

7:30am: ¬†I write up my eggs recipe and add the photos. ¬†They looked a bit crap so before I hit “publish” I head on over to Photoshop and do some photowizardry on them. ¬†In a few minutes,¬†they look like Rainbow Eggs that were laid by freaking UNICORNS who live in the crescent moon. ¬†Of course. ¬†Because they were made by ME.

8:30am: ¬†Now I need to go to the store and get some groceries before it’s delivery time. ¬†I get into my Porsche 911 and ZOOM to the store like a TURBO WILDCAT and maybe annoy a few people with my slightly reckless and inconsiderate driving (unless I’m vlogging, in which case I will drive to the letter of the law). ¬†I park in the special “reserved for bloggers” bay at the car park and I get a trolley. ¬†My personal grocery shopper is there to greet me, and she shows me around the store, picking out foods I will like, and when we get to the checkout, the store manager has a word with the cashier before I reach her. ¬†The cashier tells me this food is all free because I’m such a special and amazing and wonderful famous blogger and they are only too thrilled that I could visit their store today. ¬†Then they serenade me out with a choir of disadvantaged children who I throw some dollar bills at as I leave.

9:00am: DELIVERY TIME!!! WHAT FREE PRESENTS WILL I GET TODAY??? ¬†For the next three hours, I mess around on the internet and watching cats on Youtube while my doorbell rings constantly from the crowd of delivery guys bringing me presents. ¬†Companies just send me stuff for free because they love me so much. ¬†I write reviews for them, on my blog and on sites like Amazon and Makeup Alley so that customers think well of the brand. ¬†I turn down many things, such as reviewing horse meat jerky or laxatives, because I want to protect my image. ¬†That way, I can legitimately say on my about me page, “believe me, I turn down more things than I review, because I am committed to my readers.” ¬†I open the boxes in an excited frenzy. ¬†Every day is like Christmas when you are a blogger.

12:00pm: I get in my Porsche 911 and drive to an expensive restaurant. ¬†I hand the keys to the valet and go inside. ¬†I didn’t book, but I’m so famous, I don’t need to. ¬†The Maitre d’ sees me coming, and runs to bring out the secret extra table that all quality restaurants have stashed in case Julia Roberts, Taylor Swift, or ME turn up unannounced. ¬†He sets the table in seconds with mad skills, and I sit down and browse a menu. ¬†I get a text from this boy who is a fairly well known Vlogger; we chat occasionally. ¬†He’s just got out of bed. ¬†Boys are so uncomplicated. ¬†I order a cruelty-free salmon salad with magic fountain of youth lemon vinaigrette dressing and extra-healthy weird fruit from South America. ¬†Everything from South America is extra-healthy.

1:00pm: I collect my Porsche 911 and drive back to my house. ¬†Did I tell you about my house? ¬†It’s an amazing four bedroom condo with glass walls overlooking my garden and smallholding. ¬†I park the car in the double garage then ascend the spiral staircase to the kitchen. ¬†It’s time to feed the animals and water the plants. ¬†I press a button near the back door and this automatic watering system kicks in, watering every plant exactly the right amount of the right temperature of water. ¬†When it’s done, I pop out and scatter some grain for the chickens, then I go and pick some fruit from my orchard and bring it inside. ¬†I am going to write an article about all the different uses for fruit, I just need to think of a catchy title that will come up top in all the search results. ¬†I’m thinking “17 things to do with Autumn’s fruit harvest” or possibly 11. ¬†I can never decide which prime number is best for these articles. ¬†I’m glad people are starting to see numbered lists as clickbaity titles, it means the new trend for article naming will be something with less math.

2:30pm: ¬†I phone my accountant and find out how much money I made today, then I phone my agent and find out how many brand placements are begging me to mention them on my videos, then I phone that Vlogger boy and it’s super awkward because I don’t know what to say, so I get off the phone fairly quickly. ¬†He’s going to guest blog on my blog. ¬†Oh God I hope he isn’t illiterate.

3:00pm: ¬†I have an afternoon tea party with all my friends and we put make-up on each other in silly ways (like seriously silly, like, matt foundation and finishing powder together¬†kinda silly, we are so cray cray) and then we have dance around the lounge to MTV, in our underwear. ¬†We have a pillowfight as well. ¬†Throughout the whole thing, a photographer, who just so happened to be passing through the neighbourhood, is shooting pics in the corner so I will have plenty of pictures to write about this on my blog. ¬†It’s not staged in the slightest, honest.

6:00pm:  I get rid of my girlfriends and they drive off in their expensive sports cars.  I go outside and have a swim in my pool.  The pool was mailed to me for free from this company which makes pools.  It even has a waterslide.  I spend the next hour or so splashing around in the pool, working off the calories from lunch because I see my personal trainer tomorrow.

7:00pm: ¬†I change out of my bikini, shower off the chlorine, then get ready to go out for dinner to the most expensive restaurant in town. ¬†It does get a bit boring only eating at the one restaurant all the time, but my agent says I have to create a buzz and make people think I’m a superstar until I get the Chanel contract. ¬†I get a text that says I’ve been nominated for beauty blogger of the year award, which comes with a $50,000,000 prize. ¬†That might buy me, like, THREE new Tom Ford lipsticks. ¬†Squee.

9:00pm: ¬†I go home, text my mum and dad to tell them I’m fine and ask them if they’re fine, they say they’re fine. ¬†Everything is good. ¬†I snap a quick selfie of myself and upload to Instagram, caption: “getting my beauty sleep like a GODDAMN¬†PRINCESS.” ¬†What am I like??? ¬†I make myself laugh sometimes. ¬†I take off my make-up, being sure to use the latest cleanser that I got sent today. ¬†I go to bed alone and fall asleep dreaming of hair and make-up and cookie recipes, because this is the perfect life that everyone gets automatically as soon as they sign up for a WordPress blog or Youtube channel. ¬†Life is perfect, and I am certainly not out clubbing until 2am and getting very, very drunk in the company of some people I barely know, because that would damage my image as a¬†squeaky clean¬†upstanding member of the blogging community.

I take a quick selfie for instagram.
I take a quick selfie for Instagram with a humorous caption.

After Word:
Just in case anyone is even REMOTELY wondering, this was totally made up. ¬†I just thought it was an interesting flight of fancy to explore some of the stereotypes and assumptions surrounding bloggers and vloggers. ¬†And I don’t accept products, payment or other sponsorship in exchange for writing reviews. ¬†And there’s no such thing as “cruelty free salmon.” ¬†Or Fluffy Cloud Eggs laid by unicorns. ¬†Or “the secret table” at restaurants. ¬†OR IS THERE??? DUN DUN DUNNNN….

Sponsored Posts: The Best of The Worst

So as I mentioned in this post, I often get asked to write sponsored posts for companies wanting to improve brand presence. ¬†After a deep moral dilemma, I made it a policy to always turn them down due to my standpoint as a minimalist (although recently I’ve not had a lot of time to respond), but they keep coming. ¬†I do take a look at what they are proposing, particularly when it sounds dreadful, and mostly out of morbid curiosity. For your viewing entertainment (and to fight back against the consumeriarchy), I have included the best of the worst, the factual inaccuracies and old wives tales type information that is all over the internet already, and which people have offered to pay me to perpetuate (which all seem to lead back to consumerism):

1. Quinoa is a good source of protein.  This has to be the most blatant lie; it was followed up with an amount per cup that was a) several times the actual amount of protein in a cup of quinoa and b) still not a great amount of protein.

2. You need to lose weight to get married: ¬†Yep, those “how to lose weight before your wedding posts” you see all over the internet, that are firmly designed to make women hate themselves and feel insecure (so they can sell women more clothes, diet pills, cosmetics, and when all else fails, food) are sponsored. ¬†Do yourself a favour: ¬†Learn to love the size you are before your wedding. ¬†That’s who your future husband/wife fell in love with.

3. People get too much protein in their usual diet, so vegans shouldn’t worry about protein. ¬†This is not only untrue but it’s very dangerous advice. ¬†See my list of sources of nutrients for vegans post (with the amazing spreadsheet of sources for EVERY nutrient) to find out the truth. ¬†It’s especially interesting that this sponsored post wanted to “inform” vegans that they¬†can pay for recipes that don’t contain enough protein, because it makes money from the recipes in the first place, then they’ll get a protein deficiency, and be back supporting the dairy/meat industry in no time. ¬†That’s win-win for paid meat/dairy people. ¬†That’s the result of the “protein myth”-myth. ¬†You need protein to live, and you CAN get it from a vegan diet. ¬†It’s like “big pharma” became “big farmer.”

4. SEO is apparently all about keyword density. ¬†If that was true, a page of “buy computers online¬†buy computers online¬†buy computers online¬†buy computers online¬†buy computers online¬†buy computers online¬†buy computers online¬†buy computers online¬†buy computers online¬†buy computers online¬†buy computers online…” etc would be at the top of each search result. ¬†Instead of being excluded for being dumb and pointless.

5. If I only BUY a bunch of items from some hitherto unheard of fashion house, they will apparently pay me to write reviews (but only if those reviews are positive – that’s the rules of reviewing things for paid posts in blogging). ¬†Listen up, potential bloggers and those of you who are considering paid reviews, because this is a basic rule of making money: ¬†If you have to spend money to do something that someone asked you to do, the chances of it netting you any cash is minimal, unless you have it in writing that they are going to pay you back (at which point, you’re giving them a loan, so charge them interest). ¬†They like to make you think that they are going to give you a return on any “investment” you make e.g. by buying a product, but at the end of the day, as far as companies like this are concerned, YOU are the customer, and they are making money from bloggers, not any readers (the readers are just icing on the cake for these scams). ¬†This is the consumerist myth, and you do NOT have to spend money to make money unless you have¬†a shop.

6. Am I interested in a free sample of these AMAZING new diet pills which have heretofore been tested on mice, rats, rabbits, giraffes and monkeys, and have helped them all achieve the figure YOU deserve??? This one particularly makes me laugh because I have mentioned time and time again on my blog that I am clinically underweight. ¬†The only time someone my size would say yes to diet pills would be if they had anorexia. ¬†At which point they need a free sample of a cure for anorexia, not diet pills. ¬†The whole concept of diet pills really makes me fume, like we can’t just be the size we are (and yes, I fall into that trap too – sometimes wishing I could put weight on to be the “perfect” weight, because all this crap about weight isn’t just “fat shaming” it’s “non-normal shaming” for a made-up value of “normal” – hey, we’ve felt the results of “non-normal shaming” before in other aspects of life such as mental health). ¬†The lunatic fringe of the pharmaceutical industry had to rear its ugly head, and my big question to all these “supplement” pill companies is, if what you’re selling is so good, why don’t doctors ever recommend it to patients? ¬†They can never answer that.

That was six of the best examples of bad paid-posting proposals; obviously I have left company names out because of legal mumbo-jumbo, but I thought these would be entertaining examples. ¬†A lot of the crap I receive in my inbox is to do with either perpetuating myths (e.g. the “protein myth” myth) or perpetuating the¬†LIE¬†that my readers are inadequate unless they spend money on a specific thing (e.g. a weight loss course, diet pills, beauty products). ¬†I respect my readers so could never flog this crap to you all. ¬†If you are a very furious company reading this, and your company has approached me with one of these pitches, perhaps you should look at what you’re offering and try making/selling a better product. ¬†Content is king.

Content is king.
Content is king.