Monday, 30 November 2015

A Chat With Sunday Girl Magazine...

If you read my post about the launch of Sunday Girl Magazine you’ll know how much I adore Sunday Girl. Yesterday I had the privilege of attending the first event of Sunday Girl club, F is for Fashion, where a panel of super successful, inspiring people from the fashion industry – including Abigail, the editor of Sunday girl, and local blogger queen Megan from Thumbelina Lillie- talked about their experience in fashion, how to break into industries such as fashion photography, journalism and trend forecasting and gave tips on how to wow people at internships and getting your CV noticed. Such a dream event right? Hearing amazing successful people talk, and being surrounded by super inspiring gals was absolutely amazing and I came away so motivated and inspired to better my blog, my magazine and on a whole work work work till I get my dream job! So big big thank you to Abigail at Sunday Girl Magazine for holding such an amazing event, and I'm super excited for the future of the Sunday Girl Gang!

I was lucky enough to bag an interview with Abigail all about issue one of Sunday girl, the thought process behind it and her views on fashion magazines...

Sunday Girl is such a unique magazine full of empowerment and positivity, I love it! Can you tell me a little about the process of developing the magazine and what you aimed to create when you started the process?

"Thank you! The magazine was originally my final major project in my 3rd year of university, however I came up with this 'positive young girls magazine' concept long before the start of the project. When I first had the idea of the magazine I aimed for a much younger audience, I wanted a 'big sister' type magazine as I felt that's what I needed whilst I was growing up and going through my early teenage years. I told one of my best friends at the time, Danny, he loved it but didn't see this 'tween' girl buying into a magazine like this, and he was right - Sunday Girl needs a reader who's that little bit more mature than 12/13 years old. As the idea progressed I realised that there was a huge gap in the market for a magazine aimed at young and intelligent women who weren't interested in big brother, how lose 10lbs in a week or how to bag that dream guy! I showed the idea to my tutors who seemed to be really on board with it, however they hated the name (!) but I knew I had to stick to my guns! From lots of hard work and also lots of critique from my tutors and my parents (who have been amazing), I finally had a blue print for Sunday Girl."

What’s the process like from when you first develop the idea of an issue to when it goes to print?

"The process was really long and entailed lots of early mornings, late nights, cross-country travelling, all of my savings over the past 21 years and not much of a social life! I knew exactly what I wanted to do so I was so excited to see it in print that all the hard work didn't feel so bad."

What was the inspiration behind the name “Sunday Girl"?

"I originally had lots of names penned down in notebooks and written in lots of different notepages on my phone. I read a lot of poetry and listen to endless playlists, I love Francois Hardy's music and looked a lot to her early stuff for inspiration. I finally narrowed it down to either 'Friday Girl' or 'Sunday Girl' and as I was born on a Sunday, we had a winner. Much to the dismay of my tutors who said "we can work on the name", Dennis is usually right all of the time but I just had to go with it!"

When did you get into writing? And when do you think you first thought “yeah I could do this as a career”?

"I have always loved reading and then writing fell alongside it as I got older. I began religiously reading Cosmo and Vogue when I first started secondary school, and I knew I wanted to be an editor. I told this to my careers adviser when I was choosing my GCSE's and he chuckled and said something along the lines of "good luck with that". My mum still reminds me of that now. I have to say though, my love of poetry and literature came from my head teacher/English teacher from school, Mrs Brooker. She made me understand that a beautiful piece of literature was one of the loveliest on earth."

What was your relationship with magazines as a young girl?

"I read a lot of stuff I shouldn't have been reading. I was obsessed with Cosmo and although this really set my tone as a writer, I feel that the topics that they covered were not suitable for a pre-teen. I still love Cosmo now and have had the incredible opportunity to work with them on a couple of occasions! I really needed a magazine to steer me in the right direction."

The first issue is jam pack with amazing girl-power inducing pieces like interviews with women like Gabrielle Aplin who show that hard work pays off, was this an intentional decision? And do you think it’s important for new, modern magazines to have a positive empowering message?

"Yes, this was one of the most important things for me. As an over self-conscious girl with huge dreams, all I needed was for someone to say "This is possible if you work hard". And it's true! You really can do anything you want if you don't give up. The media is slowly grasping this concept of positivity however counteracts it with exposure to this 'bitchy/sassy' trend that we've had for a while."

Do you think more creative, literary magazines are overtaking the typical gossip magazine? And why?

"In the independent magazine circle, most definitely. These magazines really appreciate this incredibly tough industry, as it's the people going through it who are creating them. In the mainstream mags/ newspapers, I think this whole celebrity culture and gossip circle is still unfortunately a huge deal. I mean there's only so much Kim K can do wrong, yet she's featured/ ridiculed somewhere every single day."

Sunday Girl is branded towards “ambitious, creative and intelligent girls”, do the people you work with embody this?

"For the first issue it was just me, I wouldn't say I was intelligent as such, but I'm hard-working and did my research, so I hope what I delivered appealed to the girls I was aiming it to! For issue 2, I couldn't have a better bunch of people alongside me for the ride. When I'm approached by young girls who want to write, show ambition and believe in Sunday Girl then that's the first step. Some of my contributors actually intimidate me with their fantastically wired brains!"

How do you keep yourself motivated to work? And do you have a favourite motivational quote?

I keep motivated as this is my dream job. If I don't make a go of this now, I will always wonder what might have happened if I'd really gone for it. I love the one that says something like, "If you can't stop thinking about it, don't stop working for it". The SG instagram is full of quotes like this! Sometimes when I'm having a rubbish day, I scroll past a quote on instagram and I instantly feel so much better.

The first issue of Sunday girl is now stocked around the country including in Selfridges. What’s it been like watching the magazine grow and develop?

"A bit of a whirlwind! I only just graduated from University in June and it's been a bit crazy since then. It's amazing to see people believe in it and I never would have dreamed this to happen at 21."

What would you say was the biggest hurdle you overcame during the development of Sunday Girl?

"Everyday there are little hurdles that seem impossible at the time, even little things like not having the funds to get the train to London for the shoots meaning 6 hours on the megabus. But ups and downs are what makes it all the more interesting! There was actually a point in the early stages where I nearly dropped out of university and packed in the magazine due to a really horrible incident. I'm so happy that happened now as I might have not had the fire in my belly to really go for it. So it actually all worked out for the best."

Seeing issue one on the shelves must be so rewarding! What would you say was the best moment of making Sunday Girl?

"Oh it really is. I went into Selfridges last week before one of the shoots and almost broke down when I saw it sat there. I hope everybody understands that feeling at some part in their life. There has been so many incredible moments. When I got an email from Gabrielle Aplin's manager really early on, that was so exciting as I'm absolutely her number one fan. The time when Paul from WHSmith's Middlesbrough agreed to sell it in the shop, I thought "how on earth can this get any better". Then a few months later I received an email from MMS telling me he really likes the magazine, that was just amazing. Then when he sent me the list of stockists whilst I was shopping in Morrisons with my mum… I almost screamed at the cashier. Every little victory has been so unbelievable."

Do you have any worries about the media industry? 

"The media is such a vast and influential bubble that not everything is nice. It got a little scary a few years back when everyone was saying that print media is dead. Some people stand by that now, but I don't feel that's the case. A really prestigious businessman told me that there is simply no money in magazines, perhaps he's right, but I'm not doing it for the money anyway."

What's the best piece of advice you’ve been given?

"My mum is the best at advice and she just always tell me to stick with it and keep pushing on. Oh and 'go girl' (said in her best American accent)."

What’s the best piece of advice you could give to someone looking to get into journalism?

"I think to just keep reading as much as you can. Also don't be disheartened by what a teacher/ tutor says, they are not the be all and end all!"

I can't recommend  Sunday Girl enough, honestly pick up your copy and make sure to follow them on all their social medias! And once again, a big thank you to Abigail for being such an inspiring mega babe.

Find Sunday Girl-

Saturday, 21 November 2015

Fashion & Film #5 ~ Empire Records...

Empire Records is one of my go-to happy films, and a perfect movie to reference if you want effortless 90s vibes year round as each look is so versatile season to season. Think simple, lazy shaped, muted colours and off-setting silhouettes.

I think AJ and Corey are the easiest (and best) characters to channel, and they offer a more masculine and a more feminine vibe that you can mix and match to suit you.

Corey's signature look is definitely the cropped jumper/plaid skirt combo, off-setting the school girl vibes with some doc boots and super minimal make-up. I think if I was re-creating this outfit I might trade the pleated skirt for an A-line one, just to avoid the uniform-esque look

But I think Corey, played by the glorious Liv Tyler, is the perfect character to reference when doing makeup. It such a natural look that just darkens the eyes slightly and tints the lips. Perfect for school morning when you're in a rush. 

For me, on college days, AJ's lazy vibe is much more your style. Oversized plaid shirts are a must in my wardrobe, pair it with some mom jeans and an oversized cardigan and boom done, easy and comfy!

On a whole, Empire Records really is the perfect inspo for easy college outfits and makes you feel so much better about rushing out of the house in a baggy shirt. 'Damn the man', add a little 90s to your look!

Sunday, 8 November 2015

6 Books To Add To Your Library...

I've just applied to go to university to study English so I clearly love a good book. On this rainy Sunday I thought I'd share some of my top reads with you, as is there anything better than a good book and a coffee on a Sunday afternoon?

Lets jump right in with probably my fave fave fave book- Just Kids by Patti Smith. If you follow me on instagram, you'll know how much I adore this book and Patti Smith on a whole. I think this is the only book I've ever read that has genuinely shaped who I am and managed to alter me in such a significant way. It tells the story of Patti's life with her best friend and soul-mate Robert Mapplethorpe who sadly dies, as well as capturing New York in the 60s/70s as Patti meets icons like Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix. Simply, it's a bloody beautiful book that breaks my heart every single time I read it but I always go back. Beautifully written, magical book that I can't recommend enough.

Another one of my favourite books is The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Not only is this a book I love dearly but it also helped me get an A in my English lit exam (thanks Fitzgerald!) I think this is the only book that I have loved more after studying it, looking deeper into the context of the book really opened it up to me and made the whole thing a lot more interesting. So if you get the chance, read up a little on Fitzgerald and his wife as they're interesting characters. I'm sure many of you will have see the film of The Great Gatsby, but even so the book is well-worth a read. (Also it's quite a short book so that's always a bonus)

A bit different to the others, Rapture is a poetry book! I was lucky enough to see Carol Ann Duffy perform her poetry, and up until that point poetry was never really my thing but the experience was magical and I fell in love with poetry, especially her poems from this collection. The collection is a bit different to others as you're encouraged to read it cover to cover as it tells the story of a relationship from start to heartbreak through a series of poems. It's a seriously beautiful, emotional collection which if you're feeling the love (or feeling the heartbreak) you should definitely definitely pick up!

The Book Of Longing is really hard to describe as it's part poetry, part essay type monologues and part artwork, but it's still a super good book to read. Leonard Cohen is an incredible musician so that really reflects in his work as his poetry isn't like stuck-up poetry, it feels really raw. So maybe is poetry isn't your thing, this is a book for you. Reading this book had a big influence on me as a writer as it shows that you can write something really beautiful without spending time thinking about how you're going to structure it, sometimes just raw emotion and thought is the best.

There was a massive buzz surrounding this book a while back and I totally understand the hype. I remember when I read How To Build A Girl I really didn't want it to end. I think every woman should read this as it's such a brutally honest piece about being a teenage girl and being desperate to reinvent yourself and be 'cool'. Honestly this book made me cry with both laughter and sadness. It's genius and if you haven't read it already, you really should!

This probably doesn't class as a very literary text but it's definitely a valuable part of my library. I love Alexa Chung and this book really encapsulates her vibe and her style and provides the perfect inspo. If I'm feeling a little blah in the mornings I'll take a moment to flip through this book and I almost always find some inspiration for the day. Also, containing some of Chung's photos and drawing, it's a super pretty book. In my future dream home, this book will definitely be sat on my coffee table.

What are some of your fave books?