Nuffnang Blogopolis 2012 Sydney arvo sessions

Just wanted to share how encouraging it was to attend NNB2012…even though I couldn’t make the morning sessions. I did miss out on some really useful sessions, but I also gained a lot of useful info and pointers, as well as having a great time at drinkies afterwards!

So because I landed at the Sofitel late (after lunch), I had to sneak in and find myself a chair pretty quickly. As I looked around, I knew almost no-one (that’s what 18 months out of the blogging scene does for you). The closest table at the back of the room happened to be inhabited by Fashion Hayley & her hubby Henry, as well as two stylish looking girls, so I quickly decided that was the place for me.

Look how packed it was – and that’s only HALF the room!

The first panel of the afternoon was “Finding Your Own Voice & Staying Relevant”. Having gone largely offline recently, and questioning the future direction/niche of my own blog, I was super keen to be inspired by these successful bloggers. How refreshing was it then, when Eden Riley of Edenland candidly admitted she had lost her blogging voice recently. I was actually heartened by that, as we often think it is just us, and forget that it happens to everyone at some point.

I warmed to her the most, and just found her so down-to-earth. Perhaps her humour and self-deprecation reminded me of me, where some of the other speakers of the day were more polished and professional, or strident and almost militant. To the question “what if you outgrow your niche?”, she replied that considered, thoughtful blog posts will always attract readers.

Since I have in the past alternated between almost journalistic pieces about, say Japanese fashion lines, interspersed with travel posts, event/gig reports, DIY projects, outfit of the day etc, it’s true I’m a little between genres. I’m not purely a fashion blogger by any means, and realise that I don’t want to attend every new fashion show or PR event. Since I moved into this house a year ago (yes! July 1st!), just about every mag I’ve bought is an Interior Design one. Clearly my focus has shifted a little, but neither do I want to suddenly change and become an Interiors blog.

 The only way to go to keep the various elements and add more interiors posts is to admit that TFT is largely a personal blog. Perhaps that’s OK. Both Mrs Woog and Eden, I think, said “There are no rules!”. We have to work out for ourselves how to make our blogs work, and not just believe they have to fit recognisably into a given niche – however difficult that is to do.

Anyway, back to the session. Lady Melbourne asked the question “What can you bring that isn’t already there in the blogosphere?” and that’s a tough one. I’ve seen so many blogs where people are just re-posting their fave runway shots from Vogue.com or whatever (and I’ve done this myself in the early days). She continued, “What are YOU knowledgeable about, that you can speak about with authority?”.

This made me reflect on my place in the blogophere, and my most unique characteristic is that I’m a lot older than most – 48 – and yet still travelling quite frequently, still wearing creative, edgy outfits, still going out gigging and clubbing a lot, all the while holding down a full-time job, carrying mortgages, and enjoying a happy homelife with my husband and little dog. I underestimate how inspiring that can be for others who are fearful of aging. I underestimate how much knowledge I have of travelling and of destinations. I sell that knowledge short when I write bland, boring blog posts just to get one out there, or don’t write AT ALL, as has happened frequently of late.

A small break was had before the next session,  ”Utilising Different Platforms to Optimise Your Blog & Blog Traffic”. Let’s have a small break here from all the text!  I looked up while seated in the conference room to see the amazing mirrorored ceiling – here, take a look.

I scribbled SO many notes through this next panel. I am a new convert to Pinterest (Tumblr has always left me cold), and so I was entirely wowed about the many opportunities there are within Pinterest to promote your blog and draw new traffic. I was totally inspired. The speaker was Christina of Hair Romance, so hit her up if you’d like to know more (and other people will no doubt be doing posts with the main points of each session).

Next up was Caz of Y Travel blog opening our eyes to the world of Podcasting. While most of us in the room had listened to podcasts (Gala Darling is huge in this arena), none of us were doing them ourselves. So again, it was inspiring and callenging to look into this avenue. Having done DIY videos for my blog in the past, I know how time consuming they are – you have to get the lighting right, make sure you get different angles, get visuals and sound volumes right when editing – oh, and be gorgeous and well made-up before you start. Phooey! I can look like the Wreck of the Hesperus in my jammies and socks if I want to, and do an effective podcast. 

Since I also travel a fair bit and document this on the blog, I realised I too could share a  lot of info via this medium…and do it from anywhere. Caz showed a photo of herself lounging on a cruise liner looking out on her private balcony, with laptop and microphone doing the biz. Aspirational. Caz did say that having lots of plug ins and podcasts slows your page loading time right down…and having tried to read a single post on the Y Travel blog, I have to agree. It was really painful, perhaps because I’m only running IE on my laptop. Something to be aware of.

Third up was Janice aka Chaigyaru, who spoke about Youtube and how it has helped her explode in popularity. Youtube has been around a while now, and as I have already done videos but find it mostly too time-consuming for me, I didn’t come away thinking I’d do it a lot more. Mind you, what else to do with all that amazing footage taken in India or Asia? Perhaps I need to get quicker at editing ;) Janice looked gorgeous as always, and there’s no doubt this method has worked for her. I did appreciate her reminder to put your social links in your videos, on your Channel page etc, and to ask people to hit the ‘like’ button, for example. Sometimes just asking may get results. Janice is also testimony of what putting in the hard yards can do for you… she must have very little down time some weeks when she is posting multiple videos, but she is beginning to reap the rewards financially now from Youtube.

The final panel on the State of the Aussie Blogosphere, really didn’t engage me much. There was a lot of talk about bloggers being kind to each other and not mean and backstabby – I get the feeling a lot has gone on in the media recently that I’ve totally missed. There was also talk of not giving away promotional opportunities for free, to advertisers who want to be featured on your blog. I haven’t ever worked with brands, and so this again is a bit foreign to me, although an area I should become better versed in.

However, one point I did take away, that Dave Krupp made, was that we should approach the brands we really love. Don’t wait for ones you AREN’T interested in to approach you, hone in on the ones you like, and who your readers will gain something from, and see what can be done to benefit you all. Hmm…

At the end I finally got to meet the other ladies at my table. Looking divinely Dita-like was Michelle of Ravishing Retro, and looking hot in her leather pants was the lovely Kayla from the F tangent. We got a photo together in front of the Blogopolis stand (oh dear, there’s a building sprouting from my head like a crown or somesuch!) In order, here is Michelle, Hayley, Kayla and moi. For details on what Hayley is wearing, see this post Tokyo Mixed Bag.

From there we proceeded to Quay Bar at Customs House. At first I wasn’t going to go because ‘boohoo I don’t know anyone here’. But our table just mosied on down together and had a fantastic time getting to know each other.  I was so pleased that I went, and have come away really invigorated and with fresh new ideas. If you get a chance to go to a Bloggers Conference, do it!

PS: I loved that there were girlies there with brightly coloured hair – yay for colour! My only beef is that they were all pink. Come on ladies, there are MANY other colours out there! Try blue or purple or orange or whatever…don’t just do pink cos everyone else is!  Ahem, end of tiny tirade.

Meeting Japan Fashion Bloggers in Tokyo

In the past week or so I had the good fortune to meet up with some very lovely people, whom I admire very much for their respective blogs.

Friday saw me meeting up with Hana from Finding Tokyo, who I met previously in January, and Miss Mitsu from Universal Doll. Hana just has this lovely positive sunny energy about her, and Mitsu is an absolute cack with dry, sometimes sarcy wit, so it was a real pleasure to hang out with them. First we shopped, in Alta and Lumine Est, and then we ate.

I wanted to take some proper shots with them, but was a bit shy to ask…and so we ended up with some fun ones instead!

We found this all-you-can-eat-for-3-thousand-yen-yakiniku place in Shinjuku, and it was 4 or so floors up with a most interesting display at the front of it. It was a set of lifesize figures, an old man displaying something on his bike, while a woman with a baby and 3 kids looked on. I had to jump in and see what the old guy was showing them:

Meanwhile Hana and Mitsu got behind the children, and you see their cheeky smiles as well as the startling faces on the kids.

Yes, the girl seemed to have something eerily wrong with her barely open eyes (possibly narcolepsy? or was she having a ‘squint off’ with an imaginary friend?), while the boy had something streaming from his – whether tears or pus, I couldn’t be sure. Creepy! 

And the other child in the red hat, whilst having a pleasant and jolly expression on his face, had snot streaming from one nostril – GROSS!

It was like a Tokyo Village of the Damned, I tells ya.

Not great picture quality, alas, but hopefully the novelty factor redeems them somewhat!

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Anyway, onto the food. Turn away now, vegetarians, for you will not like what you see.

Yes, all manner of meat lay in wait to be grilled, sizzled and delectably charred – and I insisted we put the few vegetables offered, onto the BBQ as well. There MAY have been a few off-colour comments about sausages. Like I said, Mitsu is a comedian, and we all ended up using dirty double entendres, as you do when girls get together :)

To round it all off, what do you think we did? Got some purikura!

Much girly fun.

Then on Monday I met up with Samuel and Rebecca of Tokyo Telephone – and ate and got purikura!!  S & R are a lovely couple who are extremely stylish – as you’d expect. But I was most impressed with their thoughtfulness, as we discussed the suitability or otherwise of some types of posts while the Japan disaster was going on. They chose deliberately to keep their trip low-key, not shouting to the  mountaintops that they love Japan and are doing all they can to save it, or rushing to the Times with Japan fashion scoops.  (Be sure, they DO love Japan). 

After a little wandering in Harajuku, we hit a purikura place (does one EVER get sick of puri?), and here are the results:

It was with real regret that we went our separate ways after, but we’ll be meeting up in London in June for more shenanigans.

I love that through social media like twitter you can form relationships with people that then get fleshed out in the real world. Of course I’ll continue reading all their blogs, for I love them, but knowing the writers as people just enhances the experience manifold.

My outfit, for anyone interested: blue vinyl jacket from Love Boat in Osaka, Glad News dress with beaded skull on front, Chrome Rats from Sass & Bide (the leggings), big plastic cross from Cameron Racy, and boots from Yosuke USA at Marui One, Shinjuku.

Note: if you click on any picture you can see it larger.

TFT’s Fave Post for Nuffnang Blogger Challenge – Steampunk Adventures

Being terribly “me”, I’ve waited til almost the last minute possible to do my Nuffnang Blogger Challenge entry – but actually, I’ve got a whole hour left til 5pm, so it’s not THAT late!  Now, what’s so exciting about this challenge? The person who wins the challenge…wins an iPad for Christmas!! Woohoo!!

My favourite post for the year is one of my Steampunk posts. Any time I do a Steampunk fashion post there’s a HUGE amount of interest, as there is such a diverse community who enjoys this style. Cosplayers and gamers, goths and punks, mothers and children alike all seem to dig the bygone-era aesthetic of Steampunk.

I decided on the post where I showcased a fashion spread I did in Fiend magazine (a dark alternative magazine now based mainly in Melbourne). Some people may not know I was Fashion Editor of the mag for several years, and as well as writing/compiling the Fashion News, Get-the-Look and DIY segments each issue, I organised and styled the fashion shoots. I stepped aside after a few years to concentrate on my blog and travel to Japan more….but this post was one way I could show people what I used to do.

Adventures in Steam is what the shoot and post were called, and I wrote a little story, a bit like a cartoon adventure, to accompany the shots and bring the characters to life. And oh, what the heck, I may as well just post the pics below for those who missed it before. Enjoy as I present to you….Adventures in Steam!!!
 

Adventures in Steam

 
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Penelope Danvers                                  Horatio P. Danvers
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Captain X                                                               Lexy
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The story….
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 Following a kidnap threat, the industrialist Horatio P. Danvers engages the services of famed explorer Captain X to safely escort his wife to the far side of the realm, by any means. The couple await the Captain’s arrival, by the Steamfleet.

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Where the Dickens is he? I’ve appointments to attend to, and a factory to run…
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“Captain X, at your service!”
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The couple bid a fond goodbye, and the train departs.
“Farewell, my love..”
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Penelope gazes until her beloved is but a tiny dot on the horizon.
“Now to change into my travelling clothes, and keep watch.”
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Before long, they have company.
“Look, yonder! We’re under attack!”
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But the Captain has come prepared…
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“My steam powered launcher will make short work of these cursed blackguards!”
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“Haha!! We trounced them and made our escape!”
Penelope swoons, but smelling salts will bring her ‘round.
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Meanwhile, the Captain has some unfinished business to attend to…
The lovely aviatrix Lexy awaits his return.
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 “YOU certainly took your time!”

“Now, where were we, before I was interrupted? Ah yes, I was going to show you my new gadget…”

;)

THE END

I think this shows a lot of creativity on my part (and a cheeky sense of humour?), and only hope it’s enough to win the iPad!!

Like many bloggers, any day I have off from work (and sometimes after work) I’m glued to the pc at home, either reading others’ blogs, writing my own posts, researching for upcoming posts, checking twitter, updating facebook, etc etc. An iPad would be sooo awesome for blogging and social media stuff while I’m on breaks at work, or while shopping, travelling or otherwise on the run. (And believe me, I DO like to shop and travel!!)

Fingers crossed….

Nuffnang Sydney Fashion Bloggers Meetup and High Tea

It was a very bright, very warm spring day for the Nuffnang sponsored SydneyFashion Bloggers meetup at the Tea Parlour in Redfern. Organised by Emily of Little Black Book and myself, it was the first time for most of us to meet our Nuffnang representatives Vanessa and Sarah – and each other!

Despite a few of us being confused by Google’s incorrect street number for the place – it is 569 Elizabeth St, not 579 – we managed to convene at the front for introductions and chatties. The big sign on the front window saying “Tea Parlour” was a bit of a giveaway :)

Since there were six ladies there to start, I ventured in to see if they might be able to squeeze us in before the 4pm time they had earlier suggested might be necessary. Lo and behold – there was room! Amelia kindly allowed us to enter and settle into the elegant parlour, which really was like stepping back in time.

                       

Duck egg blue walls were adorned with dainty china plates, a huge majestic stag’s head, shabby chic mirrors and bookshelves filled with antique tomes. Lovely old wingback chairs were paired with velvet salon chairs or faux fur covered stools, tables layered with cloths of various colours and textures. A diaphanous chiffon curtain separated the areas within the room, and lent a fairytale air to the place (seen here behind Janice of Chaigyaru and Adeline of Through Beauty Eyes).

And the tableware!! Beautiful old cake-stands stood ready to be filled with all manner of scones and cakes. Silver teapots and cruet sets fairly gleamed. The menus when they came, were gently loved old books with the menu page inserted halfway through the volume – a lovely touch.

We were spolit for choice with over 20 teas to choose from, but ordered a tea with hibiscus and lavender – and scones all round! While we waited, we did as bloggers do, and snapped our surroundings, and each other. Below is Renee of Reneevue, and Vanessa from Nuffnang.

                     

I wore a black ruffled Review blouse, Day of the Dead necklace from Nude n Rude in Koenji, skirt and belt from Munky Bizness in Newtown, and beaded beret from David Jones. My circle lenses are my favourite G&G BT02 lenses in sky blue from Pinky Paradise.

                        

But that was as nothing to the snapping frenzy when the food came out!!

                              

We joked about how bloggers (and food bloggers in particular) let their food go cold as they first set up test shots and artistic shots, close-ups and long shots, while their partners whimper and complain. I have to admit, my first Nuffnang event last December had me stunned as the foodies whipped out their DSLRs en masse when the food started to arrive.

I got the odd surreptitious unposed snap, but really, once we started eating, the cameras went down and were seen no more. Below are Ebony from The Fun In Fashion, Vanessa and Janice as before, and the lovely white hand of one Sarah Stokely from Nuffnang. Soon after we started, two more visitors dropped in – none other than Fashion Hayley and her husband Henry! But I failed to get pics of them – next time, gadget!

I had a fabulous time, and conversation ranged from how some of us met our partners, to unusual weddings (in Hayley’s and my case), to our love of doggies, to how time-consuming blogging is, to favourite food, to Tokyo (me, Henry and Hayley again), to cool places in Sydney and Melbourne to hang out. There were stories told and jokes cracked, and business cards changed hands as the afternoon wore on.

Unfortunately, the Virgin Blue saga reared its ugly head, and at 5pm Sarah and Vanessa realised they had to hightail it outta there pronto to try to get checked in before their 7pm flight. (Even more unfortunately, they were rescheduled to fly the following day – DOH!) And so we said our goodbyes and left to get our various cabs or walk home.

Thank you so much Nuffnang for picking up the tab for our delightful afternoon!

The Tea Parlour

Location: 569 Elizabeth Street Surry Hills, just next to the Surry Hotel (corner Cleveland St)
Hours: Wednesday to Sunday, 12pm-8pm
Bookings: 0414 335 224  

The hunt for a Super Kawaii Mama

Well, I had a mission on Sunday afternoon: to search for and meet up with Candice De Ville, aka Super Kawaii Mama.

We were both going to be at the Rock ’n Roll & Alternative Markets at Tempe – how hard could it be, right? Surely we’d both have our blogger-seeking missiles and radar set to ping? Hmm…

I’d somehow managed to miss the Rock ‘n Roll Markets, run by Barfly Promotions, last month, and this time I was determined not to. After all, so many of my friends had been to the last one and said it was amazing, with vintage and burlesque fashion stalls, Doppelganger Vintage hairstyling, cupcake stands, Deadbeat magazine stands and more.

This Saturday night I’d been up way late at a club, so was a little late in my preparations. I knew the music started around 2.30pm, and I wanted to catch at least some of it, especially Backy Skank, one of my fave aussie Ska bands. We arrived a little before 5pm, and unfortunately some of the stalls had begun closing…but many hadn’t!!  And so my hunt began…not only for Candice, but for cool threads and accessories.

Before long I saw the stall “Bexterity” and was immediately taken with these cute eyeball hairclips!

To the side of the stand my eye alighted upon 2 things…a groovy polkadot dress, and a hair/make-up artist doing make-overs. Of course, I had to snap some photos!

 

I also took some pics of the make-over…

 

Now, those amongst you who are Einsteins might be seeing something I totally missed…

But as I hadn’t yet seen Candice anywhere I continued my travels around the market precinct, buying a Deadbeat magazine here and saying hello to friends there.

A bit later we went inside and joined some more friends drinking in the TAB section. I kept my eye out, looking for that distinctive white streak in otherwise black hair…to no avail…

And then sometime after 8pm, I’d say, I went out to watch Backy Skank, who were awesome…and someone tapped me on the shoulder. CANDICE!! Super Kawaii Mama in the flesh!! Well, it was like we’d known each other for ages and we chatted excitedly, as I brought her to where my friends were and introduced everyone. Candice said she’d been at the Bexterity stand all day. “Oh no”, I said, “I must have been there when you were on your break”.

But I was wrong. Go back up the page and look at my photos again. Who is that you see, right behind my own face, in the Bexterity pics?

DOH!! Hand-forehead-staple.

Yes, Candice had been there all along and I’d taken some lovely photos of her at work, without even knowing it. How, you ask? I guess I just didn’t expect her there.  Anyway, we got a few snaps together; apologies for the poor quality (although she certainly still looks great!)

  

And so the hunt was over. Not too long after, the night was over, and I and my friends staggered out to Harrys Cafe De Wheels for a pie or chilli dog. The evening was not without further event, however.  Just after my chilli dog, I was most ignominiously humiliated when BOOM! I went down on my knees. No, I wasn’t that drunk. There was a bleeding great crack in the pavement. I should sue…

But like a brave little soldier, I picked myself up, dusted myself off, grabbed my husband’s arm and carefully caught the next taxi.