How to treat your pregnant friend

3588234437_caab2c0924_oYour friend is pregnant and you’re over the moon! You want to hug and jump around with her (but you don’t because all of a sudden you feel your friend is like this fragile sacred vessel carrying the body of a new angel) and get pissed (but you can’t anymore so you buy a celebratory bottle of Schloer to pretend).

It’s not all growing baby bumps and little booties though – pregnancy is HARD – and you’re not even the one going through it!

Here are my tips on how to get through your friend’s pregnancy without a hiccup.

Be there

Okay, Captain Obvious. You’ve been there for her before but now things are different and she needs you in a different way. Sometimes she can’t complain to her husband or mother about new stretch marks and other odd-goings-on the way she can with you. Sometimes she’ll want to talk for ages about how crap she feels, how much her bloody bloody husband is pissing her off, how she can’t sleep. It’s best just to listen. There’s not much in the way of advice to give, so just being an outlet for a rant can be very conducive for her mood. It’s not all bad either. Sometimes you can talk for hours about names and bedding little babygros and was that a foot? It’s all super exciting.

Offer to help

But not too much. She’s not an invalid. Offer to go shopping with her, or to antenatal classes to support her if she needs it. Don’t be surprised if you’re turned down, a lot of this stuff is husband/wife/mother/in law territory – but it’s good for her to know you’ll be there if she needed you.

She might be bitchy

And hot. And stubborn. And annoyed. And ratty. I’d keep quiet if I were you. She’s not pissed off with you, she’s pissed off that she can’t cool down and that she’s put on half a stone and she had no control over it. It’ll soon pass when the miracle of life feeling passes over her again. But do expect the mood swings.

Don’t tell her how big or small her bump is

This is a big one and one I’d not have considered. Apparently it’s a huge deal. This lady even went to the papers because she was so annoyed with people telling her she was ‘huge’ at 24 weeks. From what I can gather, telling a woman how big the bump is makes her immediately feel all fat and gross, whilst telling her how small it is only makes her anxious that something might be wrong with the baby. Don’t do it. If you have to tell her anything, tell her how bloody good she looks.

Don’t rush into seeing her when the baby is born

You might be best-friends-do-everything-together-love-you-millions, but when the baby is born, the priorities go like this: the baby, the mother, then the father/other mother, then the immediate family. You are wayyyy down that list of priorities, sorry. Some women do allow friends to visit in hospital, but it can be a bit overwheliming, and often they don’t keep new mothers in long enough now for several visitations. Some women only allow immediate family to visit, and then go home with their husband or boyfriend (or wife or girlfriend) to start their lives as a threesome before allowing other people in. It takes a lot of getting used to, you know! Ask your friend way in advance what she thinks she might want, but be aware that this may change when the baby is born (even if she said she wanted to see you straight away). And no matter what, under any circumstances, do NOT arrive unexpectedly, no matter how much you want to squeeze new chubby cheeks!

 

Do you have or have you had an expecting friend? How much of this do you identify with?

 

 

Tips for working with PR agencies

pinkandgoldofficeAs bloggers, it’s very often that we work with PR and media agencies. Now, being someone who is currently both blogging as much as possible and also working full-time in PR, it’s been so interesting to see both sides of the coin. I’m lucky to have worked with a wide range of PR agencies whilst blogging and think my experience in the industry helps in the way I respond to queries and when forming ongoing relationships.

So, speaking as someone who’s got experience on both sides of the fence, here are my tips for getting along just peachy with PR and media agencies and getting the best out of your blogging experience!

DO

Be friendly
We’re all supposed to be friends in the blogging community and that extends out to PR agencies. This should be rule number one. Be kind, courteous and professional. It’s unbelievable some of the rude emails I get as a PR consultant – no need!

Be contactable
There are a LOT of blogs and agencies aren’t going to waste time fannying around on your site looking for an email address. Either have a clearly marked ‘Contact Me’ page, or pop your links into your posts for easy access.

Network
Get out there, start talking. Introduce yourself to companies, brands and bloggers alike. You’ll begin to make a name for yourself as one of the ‘good ones’. Don’t be scared, the worst they can do is say no. Try and make it to events too, it’s great to put a face to the name. There’s so much competition – this is how you can stand out.

Ask for compensation…within reason
Although a simple hobby for many, for others this is how we make, or supplement our income. And blogging takes time. When you’re given compensation, the PR agency or brand is not only paying for coverage for the client or product, they’re also paying for your time. It’s often that the product you’re reviewing can be kept as ‘payment’, but sometimes there’s room for a little more. There’s a fine line here – you shouldn’t be expected to do something for nothing, but at the same time shouldn’t EXPECT something every time. More on this below in the ‘don’ts’.

Be honest
If you don’t like something very much, i.e. a product – say. There’s nothing worse than a feed singing the praises of absolutely everything – it comes across as pretty inauthentic. That’s not to say completely rip it to shreds in a massive tirade, but no harm in some constructive criticism. On the same lines as being honest – when are you going to post that blog? Tell them. It’s SO helpful, you don’t even know.

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DON’T

Be rude
Sorry but who do you think you are? There is no room for rudeness here and you WILL get put on the ‘naughty list’. Be a nice human being and extend your courtesy to PR agencies as you do your IRL friends.

Disappear into the ether
Asking PR agencies for products just so you can take them and run? Big no-no. You’ll be chased sporadically for your post but then will be written off – and not engaged again.

Write shitty posts
Even worse than going off the grid. This happens when bloggers receive products and then do a tiny, inauthentic write-up of it. No one will thank you – your readers the least. Try to think of them every time you write a post – and would you, yourself read this?

Take the piss
Be realistic. Don’t go demanding £££ for sponsored posts if you’ve not got statistics to back up why this is worthwhile to the company. That said…don’t…

…focus too much on statistics
Everyone started from somewhere and everyone’s blog has value in some way. It doesn’t matter if you get a million views per day, or just 50 – if you’re getting views and engagement, you have an audience that’s reading. That’s the value, right there.

Have you got any questions? Feel free to ask me about my work in PR, or tips on working WITH PR agencies as a blogger at ella.delancey@gmail.com, or drop me a tweet at @ellalucie_

Happy to help!

How to organise an unforgettable Hen Party

10419573_10156710018385464_5940736186803581432_nYour friend is getting married and you can’t wait to put on your pretty dress and get pissed at the wedding (after watching two people you love dearly exchange vows of course!). But before you get that far, there’s yet MORE fun to be had. There’s the Hen Do. And you’re going to organise it.

After you’ve got over the initial excitement and have stopped Googling how many phallus-shaped items you can buy with your cash, take a minute to sit back and think about it.

This is a BIG DEAL.

The bride will remember this for the REST OF HER LIFE.

A little more intimidated now, right? You should be. Unless your bride is the most low-maintenance girl in the world and is happy to sit at home drinking tea and watching films, you’ve got a lot on your plate. You’re also not just organising yourself and her, you’re organising the other hens.

Wow, I’m not really selling this, am I? Truth be told, organising a Hen Party is really satisfying and rewarding, as long as you’re organised and get things sorted in time.

We’ve just got back from The Algarve, Portugal for my friend’s hen do and had the BEST time – I’ve popped in some pictures below. It was absolute mayhem and we loved it. Would I organise another Hen? Absolutely. The smile on her face was enough.

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Here are my top tips for organising a Hen Do:

Find out what your bride is expecting as soon as possible
Before you begin, have a quick discussion with your bride. None of this “surprise me” bollocks. She might say she doesn’t mind, but if she ends up paintballing when she was secretly dreaming of a spa day, you’ll be in trouble. Even if it’s the vaguest of ideas, it will set you in the right direction.

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Who is coming?
There’s no point jumping into planning activities and trying to book things if some people are unsure if they are able to come. Give everyone enough time to figure out their situations, but by the end you’ll have a strong group of girls who are definitely coming – then you’re free to plan. It may take a little nagging to finalise, but you’ll get there in the end.

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Money talk
Once you’ve got your girls sorted, discuss money. A trip to Monte Carlo might be on the cards but it’s not great if only three out of ten of you can afford it! Bandy around ball-park figures (don’t forget the bride too!) to set expectations. There’s so many options for so many budgets now, you’re bound to find something excellent.

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Communication and organisation
Once you’re in the planning and finalisation stages, do your best to communicate with everyone. Remind people about money and document deadlines consistently. You may feel a little annoying (I know I did), but once everything is done you can breathe a sigh of relief and there doesn’t need to be ANY last minute panic. Start WhatsApp and Facebook groups and a Google document to record who’s paid what, when, what’s due next – a god send.

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Ask for help
You might be taking the bulk of the planning but you can’t do everything. Ask another of the hens to research some activities for you to help you out!

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Don’t forget the little things…but don’t go overboard
When I started planning, I was trying to think of how many things we could fit into the time we had. Turns out you can have too much of a good thing. It might seem like what you have planned ‘isn’t much’, but honestly, once drinks start flowing, the sun is shining and the girls start chatting, time flies when you’re having fun.

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Pace yourself…
You’ve been looking forward to this for weeks – the worst thing you can do now is get smashed before the night’s even started and have to go to bed to sleep it off. Start slow and get steadily drunk. Also, try not to mix drinks!

[From experience, this is easier said than done. Ouch.]

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Relax!
It’s done, you’re here, it’s sorted. Have fun. Don’t worry about anything now…the stressful part is over and you are here to be the BEST HEN YOU CAN BE.

Any questions, just ask. I’ll even share my mega Google document with you if you like. Fancy.

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Bargains 4 cheap – getting the most out of eBay

eBay is a staple for every experienced bargain-hunter – I’ve found many mega-deal on there. You know the saying: one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Screen Shot 2015-10-14 at 14.40.13

eBay has such a wide range of things for sale and such a huge audience. From train hobbyists to fashionistas, from your 14-year-old cousin to your mum. My mum has actually got about 16,000 jumpers she’s bid on and subsequently won.

“Why are you declaring bankruptcy, madam?”
“Jumpers.”

I’ve used eBay myself for years – for clothes, technology, (fake) MAC make-up (stay away) and more recently for *REAL* cosmetics from the US I can’t get in the UK. In the past, I used to just bid on a few items and hope for the best, which meant me missing out on items I’d have really liked.

I’m by no means a eBay guru, but here are a few tips I’ve picked up along the way.

Avoid a bidding war
Contact the seller straight away with a ‘Best Offer’ if you really want something. This way you can avoid an intense bidding war if they take your offer – the worst that can happen is that they say no.  Bidding wars are really stressful and have me coming over all flustered and unnecessarily outraged when I don’t win. Avoid.

Be realistic
Leading on from the above, it’s tempting to keep bidding higher and higher when you really want an item. However, this can be dangerous if you don’t set yourself a limit, leading to you perhaps paying a lot more than you intended. Be realistic – how much would you pay for the item in a shop?

Sum peeple cnt speel
eBay doesn’t spell check or refine listings and often, people aren’t very careful spell checking. When you’re looking for a specific item, change the spelling a bit to see if someone cannae spell and has accidentally listed it as something else. For example, when looking for Doc Martens, search for Doc Martins or Doc Martyns instead – you’ll be surprised what you find! I won some Top Shop shoes for £10 once because someone had missed the second ‘O’, listing them as ‘TopShp’. Serves ’em ‘write’. Haha – such a comedian.

Cheap doesn’t mean quality
If you find an item going cheap which seems too good to be true – it probably is. Make sure you trust the seller and check feedback scores to ensure what you’re buying is the real deal. No one wants to pay £100 for a 100% genuine iPad and be presented with a framed picture of one.

What bargains have you found on eBay? Do you enjoy using it, or not? Let me know.

Is the grass always greener?

UnknownWhen I was in my teens, I used to think being 23 was going to be fantastic. 23 was like, THE age I couldn’t wait to be.

I’d have a job, my own flat, a boyfriend, loads of friends, my family around me, and a decent disposable income.

Well, I’ve got all of those things. So why aren’t I quite happy yet?

I seem to lie awake at night torturing myself over what I should do next, wondering if I’m missing out on something big. I have a horrible sense of urgency, like I’m running out of time and should be doing something greater or somehow I’ll ‘fail’.

“Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” – John Lennon

I truly think that how you achieve happiness is by building a life around your current situation. Making new friends,  finding ways in which to enjoy ‘the moment’, rather than dwelling on all the things you could be doing or the places you could be visiting.

Remember that all we ever have is right now. Forget about the past. Don’t worry about the future. Take each day as it comes, and most of all, stop thinking that the grass is greener, because it never really is.

This is totally decent advice, and something to live by – but as with a lot of things, it’s easier said than done. All you can do is your best, and that’s the best you can do.

Let me know if any of you ever feel like this!

Happiness is not a goal; it’s the by-product of a life well lived.” ―Eleanor Roosevelt