Sunday

Graduate Fashion Week with George at Asda

This weekend, I had the pleasure of being invited to Graduate Fashion Week as a guest of George at Asda to take over their Instagram account. George at Asda were the principal sponsor of GFW this year so it was a huge honour and also a little scary. The pressure! Luckily, all the George girls were as lovely as you'd expect and fully welcomed me as an honorary member of their crew! 


Sponsor Becky Bedbug in June

This might be a tremendously optimistic thing to say but I truly believe it: Big things are happening with this blog! What with my opportunity to devote more time to it, my speeding up of readership and some incredibly exciting collaborations in the past couple of weeks, it really feels like I'm on the cusp of something special. There. I said it! 
Of course, this brings good news for my sponsors too! More traffic = more eyes on your ads and more click-throughs. And, because it's June, I'm doing my annual birthday discount. This month I'm turning 27, so all ad spots bought in the month of June will have 27% off with the code BIRTHDAY. 

For all the information, including what you get with sponsorships, my latest statistics and how to buy an ad spot, head over to my sponsorship page.

Friday

FF CXXVI


Midge's new hair is gorgeous! 
Lucy's colourful outfits are always so inspiring! 


I love how joyous Lily's pose is! 

Other Favourites
A really powerful post from Megs on quitting her job and travelling.
Brilliant post from Michelle on not going out.
Erica's post, as an Australian watching Eurovision, is hilarious! 

A really helpful post from Amber on how to make money blogging

Sponsor Shoutout // May

I'm chuffed with my sponsors this week! Not only is Kerri a returning sponsor, but so is Diane of Nomad Seeks Home and Milly from Mini Adventures is a real-life friend. Exciting times! 

NOMAD SEEKS HOME
As I mentioned last time, I love Diane because she is an unashamed Harry Potter obsessive. Woohoo! At the moment, she's just finishing off the Blog Every Day in May challenge, which is really interesting as there's a huge variety of posts to read, from her favourite photos and unusual food she's tasted around the globe, to this amazing post on 90s nostalgia. All the feels!

MINI ADVENTURES
Milly is awesome because, like me, she's an old-school emo kid (and she likes Harry Potter too!). Her blog, Mini Adventures, is a huge mix of travel, beauty and snapshots of her life, whether that's popping down to Lush Oxford Street or checking out the Erotic Museum in Barcelona. (Kinky!) 

Check out my sponsorship page for details on how to appear in a feature like this.

Thursday

OOTD // Brights at York City Wall

Well, I'm nothing if not consistent! I first cracked out this outfit waaaay back in June 2013, but it's one of my most-worn outfits so why not show it again?
Jacket: Primark
Top: Peacocks
Skirt: Topshop
Shoes: Crocs
We took these photos along the city walls in York, which we just had time to visit before our train home. It was a gorgeous day and it was beautiful looking across to the minster. 

Wednesday

OOTD // Striped Maxi Skirt

Eek! Looks like I'm a chronic outfit repeater. How can I help but take photos when there are so many beautiful backdrops in York? Can I just come and live here please?
Top: Primark
Skirt: Primark
Shoes: Crocs

You can see how orange my nails are in daylight here. I love the bright colour of this door! It's actually someone's front door so I had to take these photos hastily. However true the friendly northerner thing might be, taking photos on someone's doorstep may be pushing it a bit! 

Tuesday

OOTD // Black & Pink in York

I have a confession. I've already featured this outfit. This post wasn't intentional but when I stumbled upon this stunning watermill at York Castle Museum, how could I resist taking photos? Besides, it's one of my favourite outfits so why not feature it twice?

Cardigan: New Look
Bodysuit: Primark
Skirt: c/o George at Asda
Shoes: Crocs
We're currently in York for a couple of days and as a history- and historical architecture- fan, I'm super excited to explore the city more!

Do you have any recommendations for places we should visit while we're here?

Monday

OOTD // Seaside Dress

Dress: c/o George at Asda
Cardigan: New Look
Shoes: Next 

Isn't this just the summeriest dress ever? I love the kitsch print and I cannot wait to wear it at the beach, all sophisticated like! Since I'm quite busty, the cardigan is necessary to avoid blinding anyone but I love how the colours in the print mean it goes well with pretty much anything.



Also, it's really fun to spin around in! 


This is the first time in a long time that I've gone out in a dress without leggings or tights on. My thighs are very susceptible to chub rub and these Chaffree knickerbockers* are magical. They're super comfy and don't ride up at all, which is a problem I've had with similar products. The only problem I had was sticking my thumbnail through the legs so be careful if you've got long nails! 

Sunday

Blogging for the wrong reasons

I'm sorry, guys. I've been blogging on Becky Bedbug for over 3 years now and it's time to make a confession: I am blogging for the wrong reasons.

I know, I know. You're all disappointed and horrified because, after all, we all know that there is one reason and one reason only why anyone should blog:

THE PASSION

That's right, boys and girls. If you blog, you must only do it because you have a burning passion inside your gut and you need to get it out in front of the world. Anything that comes afterwards is a bonus but you must never, ever plan for it.


THE WRONG REASONS

What follows is a list of some, but not all, of the wrong reasons, taken from Twitter, Land of Blogging Laws:


  • To gain followers
  • To get page views
  • To become popular
  • To work with brands (especially if this involves "freebies")
  • To get paid
  • To make a career
  • To become famous

ACTUALLY, NO

I hope you're all sitting down because I am going to knock your socks off with this revelation: There are no wrong reasons.

In blogging, like in any industry, there are only reasons. No right or wrong about it. Perhaps you started because of The Passion and decided to leave it at that. Fine. Maybe that's why you started but eventually it grew into something else. Fine. Maybe, shock horror, you started a blog purely to carve a career and make money. You know what? Fine.

Here's the deal, guys. Blogging is a legitimate career. There are people out there who make money working full time on their blogs. To put this in the simplest terms: People write for their career. You know who else got paid to write? Shakespeare. Oscar Wilde. J K Rowling. The guy who first transcribed the Bible. Were they all doing it for the wrong reasons? Were they somehow less of a writer because they got paid for their work? Or is this because it's online writing. Is that why it's wrong to get paid? Cool. I'll just ring up Buzzfeed and tell them that, from now on, their staff cannot earn money from writing. Instead, they'll get paid in the joy of writing. 

For some reason, there are a lot of people who think it's ok to get paid to blog, and ok to work with brands, as long as you do not set out with this goal in mind. That's funny because, as we've already established, blogging is a legitimate career. Like nursing. Or teaching. Or retail. Why do we not tell the sales assistants in Primark that they're doing the wrong thing? Should they only go into retail if they have a burning passion for scanning barcodes? Should they start their careers without the intention to get paid? Of course not. 

"Well, Becky, that's because nursing, teaching and retail aren't creative careers. That's the difference! Creative industries shouldn't be entered into just for the money". Oh, ok. I'll just let Tracey Emin and Marc Jacobs know that they shouldn't have planned to make money from their talent.

WHY I'M BLOGGING FOR THE WRONG REASONS

Well, here's the dealio. As I've mentioned before, I want to make money from this blog. I want it to make up part of my career. My full time career? Probably not, but that's only because the financial instability would worry me. If I made as much as Zoella, then hell yeah I would! Admittedly, I didn't start out with this aim in mind because, naively, I didn't know there was money to be made in it. So... I was blogging for the right reasons but now I'm not? Or I'm ok because I didn't plan to make money to begin with? Who knows?

Let's go back to those reasons I mentioned at the beginning and dissect them, one by one, using myself as an example.

To gain followers
Well, obviously I want followers. If I didn't want anyone reading, I'd just stick to the private diaries I've been writing for 16 years. There's an ego inside me that wants feeding and it's bloody flattering when people actually take time out to read, follow and comment. So, yes, I do want followers and, let's be honest here, we all do. If you didn't, you wouldn't have a public blog, would you?

To get page views
The more page views I get, the more appealing my blog is to PRs and brands and, as I said above, I want to make money. So, again, yes. I do want to increase my page views. (If you want to help me out, click this link!)*

To become popular
Similarly to gaining followers, there are very few people who wouldn't want to become popular or get noticed. It feels good and, of course, if I wasn't going to get noticed, I'd have no chance to make this a career.

To work with brands and get freebies
First of all, they're not free. Products and samples are payment in lieu. I spend a couple of hours taking photos, editing photos, trying out the product (longer if it's something like skincare), writing content and promoting the post and, in exchange, I get a £15 lipstick or something. The equivalent of £7.50 an hour sounds like a pretty normal rate, if you ask me, so it's hardly free. Anyway, working with brands is a great way to get started communicating with PRs and building up relationships so, for someone who plans to carve a career blogging, it's a very positive step.

To get paid
Yes, I do want to get paid for my work. Shocking, I know.

To make a career
As I have already explained, at length, blogging is an acceptable career and there is absolutely no reason why you should not aim to make a living from it. 

To become famous
Say you what you want about that John Lennon, but I'm pretty sure he only wrote those songs to get famous. I mean, if he hadn't wanted to get famous, he would have retreated to the Yorkshire countryside and lived as a hermit as soon as his name got known, right? God dammit, John Lennon, you did it wrong! I'll admit- becoming famous isn't exactly high on my agenda. It seems like a lot of faff, to be honest, but do I sometimes imagine what it would be like to have people in the street ask me for a photo or be asked to appear on TV? Hell yeah! As long as people have been famous, there have been people who want to be famous and I, for one, see nothing wrong with that. (As long as they're not becoming famous by killing people, of course!) 

THE BOTTOM LINE

Everybody has different motivations to blog. That's life. You have your own aims and your own priorities and nobody else has the right to tell you they're wrong. Blogging didn't come with a set of rules to say exactly why we need to do it, so why some people are positioning themselves as the Blogger Police is beyond me. You do you, I'll do me and we'll all get along swimmingly. Deal?

*Yeah, that link didn't actually go anywhere important. I was just curious to see if people would click on it, to be honest.

Sponsor Shoutout // Crumbs in the Bed

Kerri, of Crumbs in the Bed, is someone who I've known on Twitter for a Long Time. Capitalised for emphasis. In fact, over a year ago, I wrote a post about how awesome her blog was. Back then, she was Blue Hair in Belgium but that all went a bit awry when she dyed her hair orange.
Anyway, Kerri has relaunched her blog as Crumbs in the Bed and I am here to tell you why you need to check it out. As I mentioned in my first post, she visits awesome places around Belgium and beyond, has super easy recipes and a really cute, quirky style. Besides those (frankly very good) reasons, here are three more.

SHE IS HILARIOUS
Oh God, I think I cried laughing reading her Free Shit Friday post. Seriously go and read it now. Not only are the reviews comprehensive and balanced, but her frank honesty cracked me up. I'd love to see more of these posts so, if you're a brand, go and send her some free shit, yeah? Kerri's nine important life questions of the moment are really funny too and I can totally relate! 

PRETTY PHOTOS!
Yes, I'm massively superficial but pretty photos are important to me, OK? Luckily, Kerri has skillz. My favourite are the photos of springtime in Leuven but I also love her photos from the Royal Greenhouses of Laeken

CUTE HAMSTER
Oh I am a sucker for a cute animal on blogs! Kerri has a gorgeous Syrian hamster named Sir Pork Chop and he is so adorable that I want to squish him! As always, Kerri has approached this post with her usual frankness, which is something I truly respect.

You can also catch up with Kerri on Twitter, which I recommend as she has a real quick wit and great sense of humour. I'm sure her knowledge of Belgium will come in handy for me one day!

Check out my sponsorship page for details on how to have a feature like this for your blog.

Book Survey Results

Last week I made the exciting announcement that I'm writing a book and included a link to my survey, asking what you'd like to see in the book and how much you'd expect to pay. I got way more responses than I expected (over 70) and every contribution was so useful to me! 
Since so many people took the time to help me out, it seems fair to let you know what the results were and explain how I'm going to be using them.


WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE?


These percentages don't add up to 100 because there was an option to add multiple suggestions.

I asked what content you would like to see in regards to organisation and had some fantastic responses. It was great to find out that the chapters I'd already decided on are popular options, and they gave me great suggestions for extra detail to add.


As well as the relevant responses, I also had some suggestions that don't quite work for an organisation book. For example, motivation and inspiration were very popular. Although I won't be including these in this book, they're still super useful for a potential future book, if all goes well with this one!


HOW MUCH WOULD YOU PAY?


For this question, I wanted to get an indication of how much you would pay for a 50-page ebook. The responses varied wildly, from 50p up to £25, but the vast majority were in the £5-£10 mark. I discarded the lowest and highest so as not to throw out the calculations and then found the average of the remaining results. Now I'm pretty sure how much it will cost but I'll announce that at a later date when I'm sure of all the details.



NOW WHAT?

Well, I have used these results to tweak my chapters to make sure all the information you want to read is being covered and to set my pricing. It's been super duper helpful so huge thanks to everyone who took the time out!

More updates will be coming soon but if you want to stay one step ahead, you can sign up for weekly email book updates here to find out all the details before I publish them. 

Saturday

Nails // Blood Orange


Last time I had my nails done, I was annoyed that I had to resort to coral pink rather than the bright orange I had in mind. This time, I made a beeline for the colour I'd spotted before- OPI's Can't Afjörd Not To^. I was envisioning bright, summery nails for the warmer days and, while in daylight that's exactly what I have, inside it's more of a blood orange/ red-coral shade. I waited 3 weeks for this. What a let down!

Never mind, my mum has had her nails painted the brightest shade of highlighter pink known to man and I am going to get that exact shade next time. You better be prepared for it. It is bright! 

Friday

FF CXXV


I cannot wear heels to save my life so this post on how to walk in high heels is very handy!
Toni has the cutest pastel outfit! This also reminds me to use my Diana again!
Shannen's Captain America-inspired outfit is adorable!
A lovely, positive post on why you're a better blogger than you think.
Katy's photos from Valldemosa are gorgeous!

It would be wrong to call the following posts "favourites" as they deal with some serious issues. However, they are all so poignant and important that everybody should read them.

Little Bones has written the most perfectly-explained post on anxiety. It's like she crawled into my brain and wrote down everything she observed.
Lily's post on discovering she had breast cancer is so powerful and moving.
As a fellow primary school teacher, Vix understands more than most how difficult things are for me. She's writing about the struggles of teaching and it's heartbreaking in its accuracy.
Kirsty (who is also a teacher, FYI- time for the government to start tackling mental health issues in teachers?) has written a very important post on the consequences of stopping medication.

Book Review // Get Rich Blogging

Get Rich Blogging^- Zoe Griffin
I bought Get Rich Blogging for the simple reason that it pops up on blogs so often and I'm looking to make some more money out of blogging (which is going to lead to some exciting things but you'll find out about that soon enough!) To say I was disappointed would be an understatement. If you want a book that recommends keyword stuffing, asking other bloggers to put you on their blog roll and spamming other Facebook pages with your links, this is the book for you.



Get Rich Blogging
is written by Zoe Griffin, a former showbiz columnist who has found success with her entertainment blog, Live Like a VIP. Her book aims to share the secrets to her success and teach readers how they can make a six-figure sum from their own blogs. The first part looks at the basics of how to build a blog and the second part interviews bloggers from different areas of blogging such as fashion, beauty and food.




Unfortunately, the majority of Get Rich Blogging has nothing to do with making money and is instead a guide on how to set up and maintain a blog. Of course this is important- you can't make money from blogging without knowing how a blog works, after all- but I did find the title quite misleading.


This wouldn't be such a problem if it was a helpful book which, sadly, it's not. It's quite clear that Griffin has a limited understanding of the technology behind blogging which is apparent in her frustratingly unnecessary information. For example, every time she mentions a website, she includes the full url in brackets, sometimes even with the http:// eg: "You can use Blogger (http://www.blogger.com)". This completely slows down the pace of reading and adds absolutely nothing since, you know, you can't click a link when it's written in a book. Another example of this is her explanation of HTML complete with (hyper text mark-up language). I don't know about you, but that definition means nothing to me. Until I read this book, I didn't know what HTML stood for and it didn't hold me back. Rather than actually explaining what it is and what it does, Griffin just breaks down the acronym and leaves it at that. Not helpful.

I also found huge problems with some of her advice. As I said above, she recommends keyword stuffing as good for SEO (search engine optimisation, as she happily points out) and contacting successful bloggers to ask if you can be placed on their blog roll. When it comes to promoting your blog, her first tip is to use merchandise such as pens with your blog logo on, followed by hosting a party and inviting magazine editors. That may be easy for an established showbiz reporter to achieve, but not so much for your standard blogger starting out. Furthermore, there are some horrendously inaccurate and outdated statements such as "advertisers won't take you seriously if you're using a free blogging service" and mentioning live chats on Myspace. This book was published in 2013 and it mentions Myspace.

Did I learn anything from this book? No. Not a thing. Pretty much the only thing it says in terms of making money is to keep up good content and people will discover you, although it does also have a massive list of PR companies for big brands. 



Have I made it clear enough that I didn't like this book? To be perfectly honest, I rolled my eyes through the whole thing and for that, I give it 2/10. 



This is a very old blog post, as you will be able to see, but Blog Inc, although with its own problems, was a much more informative read.

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