What's Next for JustMelKate | lifestyle

I'm quite* a deep thinker, which means whenever something in my life changes, I go into a long period of assessing all other areas of my life & how they now align with myself post said experience. This is where JustMelKate comes in. 

I first started a blog back in 2010. I was 19, in my first year of uni & I found this online community of awesome women supporting each other & sharing their love of things, at this time mostly of makeup/beauty. I loved the pretty aesthetic of photos, hearing from girls just like me share their favourite products & which one's could help me, but what made me want to do it, was the personal way they wrote. Something I has always loved was writing, but until I discovered blogs, it was reserved for my diary, so I decided I could combine this love, along with joining the community & also share what I was learning as I got more in touch with my beauty routine by starting a blog, birthing MelKateBeauty.

Fast forward a few years I was now 22. I had met some wonderful girls/friends, been to some fun events, been gifted some lovely things & purchased a 'real' camera. I had become proud of my photography & chosen my own blog design, but I was now out of uni & felt pretty secure in my own beauty routine or felt confident exploring this on my own, so I began feeling a little disconnected from my own blog, even though I still loved the community. A huge event in my life meant that for me, I didn't align with the material focus of a beauty blog anymore & I personally valued experience more than anything, so I chose to re-brand as JustMelKate, a place for me to share more of myself & the food & travel experiences now so important in my life & I have loved every minute of it.

This brings us to now, 2017. I am 25 & unsurprisingly have continued to grow & change & in this time the blogging industry has changed beyond anyone's wildest imagination. Bloggers now truly are influencers with more, power for want of a better word, over the upcoming generation than almost anyone else. Whilst this is incredible & a great reaction to the previous doubt placed by main stream media, it also means that the expectation to be perfect as a blogger became huge. Even with flawless photos, a great brand, consistent uploads many amazing bloggers go unnoticed & this somehow didn't feel right. Although I've never blogged full time, this pressure still got to me & I needed to take a complete break from the blogging world to find why I was really doing this, was it for me or for the 'likes' that somehow we have placed so much of our self worth on.

In this time I thought about where my blog was, as well as it's purpose for myself & otherwise with many conversations about deleting it all, but I couldn't do it. I realised that while my focus is still hugely based on experience & the JustMelKate moniker still fits perfectly with my blog, I have developed some other passions along the way, ones that I find very easy to write about & feel could have more value in sharing. Things such a feminism & equality, social justice, commentary on current affairs. This is something that comes naturally to me right now & while I still LOVE a good aesthetic, along with travel, I want to incorporate the other stuff that is me at 25 too. Whenever I get to travel, I will still be sharing it here, but I am going to go back to the early days of experiences over reviews & enjoy the sharing rather than stressing about the perfect picture before anyone jumps on the bed (I'll still be getting beaut photos because with or without the internet this is my love). I have missed writing & I love the blogging community, so this is just the latest chapter.

I will also be combining my social media. I have deleted my personal twitter where I used to keep most of my activism, so will be sharing everything @JustMelKate now along with the usual memes, pop culture references & general blabber. I will also have only one Instagram account too. Instagram was honestly where my overwhelm started. Personally, I choose to follow accounts with high quality photos, they tend to be light & always beautiful, as this is what I like, this is what I expect for myself too. When I'm travelling, this is easy, but I found myself getting anxious when back home & into daily 'adulting' that I couldn't find anything to match my theme, I was trying to create situations or doing things just for this pictures & that wasn't me. So, I will continue to take a step back with this & most probably use it mostly when traveling or if I happen upon something particularly beautiful in between, unconventional for a 2017 blogger I know.

If you made it to the end of this post, props to you & I hope to see you around again. Thank you for reading & I will see you soon for another stream of consciousness of something I care about.

Love,

Mel

xx

*read as 'a huge overthinker'

What Feminism Means to Me, #IWD2017 | lifestyle

Feminism. This is a pretty hot topic in pop culture at the moment, and I am so glad it is. I admit, until a few years ago I didn't know too much about the topic, I always knew I strongly believed in equality, but what the movement has done so far and what it is still fighting for and represents, is something I was ignorant too.

I don't know whether my peak in interest came as a natural progression as I edged towards my mid twenties, or whether is was the rise of discussion in the digital space and pop culture in general, either way I know I felt a passion for the cause more than I ever had before. I had a desire to encourage men & women to embrace the movement much younger than I did & mostly I didn't feel I was the only one that felt that way.

I would say the last 6 months are when I have honestly become invested in Feminism. You can look through my blog & see I have celebrated International Women's Day before honoring the beautiful & wonderful women I am blessed to have in my life, but I don't think I truly felt the weight of what a day like this represents until this period*.

Throughout this time, I have witnessed something that made me want to change these beliefs/values/ideals I have on women's position in society, into knowledge & eventually action. It's no secret that the US presidency has served as a serious catalyst for the activation of the feminist movement more widely across the world. Throughout my acquisition of knowledge & research on the topic, I have read, watched & listened to a fair bit of material on the Women's Liberation movement of the 60's & 70's. Seeing those women & hearing them relentlessly fight for a cause they have dedicated their lives to & seeing it put it jeopardy by the very systems they're fighting against to this day, gives me a huge sense of responsibility.

I feel we're in the early stages of a second Women's Lib movement, anger is a powerful emotion & the actions of certain groups have made a lot of us angry. Oh & this time we have the internet. We have global platforms, women from all over the world are mobilising & sharing & the powers that be can see it. Men are educating themselves & supporting more than ever before & this involvement of males in the lib movement is so valuable, this is appreciated as a demonstration that women's liberation is NOT the subjugation of men. I haven't felt as passionate about a cause before & that's probably because apart from my gender, I come from a place of privilege. I think if you feel the same as me, this is a great place to look outward & realise, privilege IS not having to worry about other causes, but that doesn't make it ok not to, so educate yourself on & support there matters too. 

So, back to International Women's Day. While the hashtag is trending & we have a captive audience looking for content related to the topic, I want to encourage you to look into the movement, like really look into it, read, see what you can do, see what Feminism really means. I am going to continue to do this too.

This is a list of materials/spaces, in which I am inspired by women & educated to do more:

- Documentaries | She's Beautiful When She's Angry - Miss Representation - What Happened, Miss Simone?

- Podcasts | The Guilty Feminist - Women Of The Hour (Lena Dunham) - Ladies Who Lunch

- Books | We Should All Be Feminists, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie - Bad Feminist, Roxanne Gay - Lean In, Sheryl Sandberg 

I want to leave with maybe the strongest message if you are 'scared' or 'not interested' in Feminism. Feminism is NOT about hating men, it is about caring that ALL humans are treated equally & given the same opportunities.

Love,

Mel

xx

*irony intended.

Icelolly Holiday #BlogAtTheBeach | lifestyle

I was lucky enough to be invited by the lovely guys over at Icelolly, to the most recent #BlogAtTheBeach event. I had no idea what to expect but am never one to miss out on an opportunity to meet bloggers who I often interact with online & of course get to know a brand I love better.

Hosted at Lambert's Yard in Leeds, a super cool venue, which in internet talk was most definitely 'my aesthetic', we were greeted by some friendly faces from Icelolly & headed straight in to enjoy some mulled wine & get ready for the day. Following a little mingle, in which I go to catch up with one of my favourite, Annie & to finally meet Bee we sat down to enjoy the first talk.

The first seminar was hosted by Elizabeth from Rosalilium, a UK based Blogger & Pinterest UK ambassador who talked us through the best ways to use Pinterest to it's full potential, especially as a tool in our blogging lives. I make no secret of the fact that I am a binge 'Pinterester', sometimes I can get lost on there for hours looking at dream travel destinations & building on my ideal home plans & I have even occasionally cross referenced with my blog, however hearing from Elizabeth, completely changed my thinking & got me excited to get started on revamping my Pinterest.

We then broke for lunch, thank you so much to Icelolly for the gorgeous spread, it was a great chance to chat about what we had just learnt & get other bloggers perspectives on this. We then moved on to a talk on SEO from XXX. I am a marketeer, but SEO is a minefield, it was great to hear that despite it sometimes feeling overwhelming to know how to get ourselves into the right place online, it can be done if you know how.

We had another break & an opportunity to take part in the competition put on by Icelolly, they definitely know how to bring the fun & get people talking. The final talk of the day was one I had no idea was happening & my have 'fan girled' a little about when I saw it on the programme. Sabina from GirlVsGlobe gave a talk on Instagram. I have followed Sabina for a long time now & it was so nice to finally meet, she was just as lovely & charismatic in person as her online persona shows.

We all know Instagram is a crazy platform, one that we're all obsessed with & didn't even know we needed in our lives until a few years ago. With all the algorithm changes & updates, it's been a tough space recently, but hearing of a strong organic growth, just from quality consistent posting was really reassuring. It was also great to hear about how even someone with a large following enjoys the community & engagement of Instagram.

Thank you so, so much to all the speakers & the lovely Emma & the rest of the Icelolly team for inviting me & hosting such an informative day. It's great to work with a brand who wants to inform bloggers as well as work with them & it is definitely the first event I have been to of this kind & can't wait for more.

Have you ever been to an Icelolly event?

Love,

Mel

xx

 

 

RUSH Hair & Beauty

Last Thursday I got to check out the brand new salon from RUSH Hair & Beauty before it opened it's shiny new doors on Saturday. Myself & a myriad of lovely bloggers headed to Nottingham to meet the stylists & check out all that the latest addition to the RUSH family has to offer.

The event was already in full swing when I arrived with many bloggers already chatting away to the friendly stylists who were full of advice for any type of hair concern or query you could have. My friends and lovely bloggers, Laura & Becca were having a colour consultation 

Coachella 2016, A Festival in Pictures | lifestyle

You were wild once, don’t let them tame you

Love,

Mel

xx