Less Resolution More Revolution

I can’t quite remember from who or where I’ve stolen that title but it’s a belter isn’t it?

2017 is all about making waves for me, causing a personal revolution and generally saying yes to whatever comes my way so I’m ditching the unrealistic resolutions and looking at them as fun goals instead!

I’ve thought long and hard and come up with a compact list that is realistic yet challenging. It might look fairly basic to you but I’m the type who derives immense joy from ticking off lists.

(I’ll admit to writing some tasks on my list when I’ve already done them to give myself a bit of a boost, I know, I’m weird).

So anyway, 2016 was pretty damn awesome for me, so I’m going to have to go some to up the ante.

Here we go…..

kasbah_ruins_ait_benhaddou_morocco

Travel Inspiration – Kasbah Ruins, Morocco

1 – Spend at least 30 days out of the country and visit two places/cities/countries I’ve never been to before. Morocco is currently top of my list followed by the lost city of Petra, Jordan. Eeeeek, excited!

linda-rodin-goals

Hair and Style goals – Linda Rodin and pooch, Winky.

2 – Right this one is huge (for me). I’m going to stop dying my hair. Oh god I’ve said it. It’s no secret that I’m destined to be a silver fox, and despite a 5-month-long failed attempt earlier this year, I’m gonna give it another go.

Thank you to the lovely lady on reception at Radio City for encouraging me to embrace the grey! Much respect, and you look bloody fabulous x

 

je-logo

Goodbye Chicken Fried Rice, it was good while it lasted. I love you x

 

3 – I’m on a roll now! I’m also giving up take-away. Not all crappy food, (I really love pic n mix), just actual take away. No Just Eat, no Deliveroo and no deliciously gooey and chocolatey fabulousness from TreatyPie. I must prepare and cook actual food….for a whole year.

social-media

Repeat After Me: I Do Not Need To Check My Phone Every Five Minutes…..

4 – Technology goal. No switching my phone on until 9am (kids in safely in school and nursery etc) and off again at 8pm EVERY.SINGLE.NIGHT. Yep.

sushi-rainbow-roll

Oh Hi pretty food that wont give me diabetes!

5 – Try Sushi! Utterly ridiculous that I’ve made it to the ripe old age of 34 and I’ve been too scared to try sushi! January for sure this one!

delta-2

Problem Booking Taxi: No available cars in your area…..til 2018…..unlucky

6 – Last one. No taxi’s. I need to learn to manage my time so that I don’t have to last minute.com all the time and ring a Delta. Plus I’m hardly Rockefeller so think of all the savings! Could pay for one of my trips, girl with a plan.

So that’s it. 365 days of cute bite-size, cute food, foreign adventures, silver hair, healthy meal prep, Instagram posts (between the hours of 9 and 8 only) and generally improving life as I know it.

Doesn’t matter how you do it, resolutions, goals whatever, be happy and make 2017 count.

Happy New Year

x

 

 

 

 

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Boxing Day Musings

Hello again all, I hope you had a very merry Christmas?

It’s Boxing Day, 3:40pm and I’ve lost sight of my living room carpet again for the second day running, which is a sure fire sign that my children have been spoiled, and more to the point, I am fully relaxed!

 

merry-christmas

My 11 year old daughter lining up my wine glass for a classy Christmas photo!

 

Springing up off the sofa to throw the vacuum around or repeatedly ask my dudes to tidy their new toys away is just not on the agenda……well not until tomorrow.

I’ve not written very much on the blog in the latter stage of this year, mainly because work has been insanely busy and writing for pleasure had lost its appeal. I’ve succumbed to the more convenient few lines on my Facebook page instead, but it’s on my resolution list to write here a lot more.

As 2017 draws near (I filed my NYE nightlife copy this morning!) I’m reminded of the importance of taking a moment to just breathe and put things into perspective. Yesterday news spread around the world that another pop legend, George Michael (I’m a big fan), had passed away and coupled with quite a few glasses of festive bubbly, I found myself sobbing watching Love Actually on my own, feeling incredibly sad.

Professionally I’ve enjoyed some soaring highs this year. Joining The Guide Liverpool as a graduate, being promoted to Head of Editorial Content and working with some of the industry’s brightest stars had been phenomenal.

 

maggie-alphonsi

Huge career highlight for me, a masterclass in rugby with the legend that is World Cup Winning Rugby Player, Maggie Alphonsi MBE at Liverpool One.

 

Personally I struggled to come to terms with a couple of crashing lows that just as my friends and family assured me, would take time to heal. It also took a wonderful long weekend in Paris and a whole lot of laughs.

2016 has been a real up and down year for a lot of us. So many high profile deaths, personal challenges and bouts of illness, yet I’ve had my fair share of mind-blowing experiences and opportunities and so looking back, I can’t complain.

I’m starting the new year planning and designing my first ever clothing collection, ready to grace the catwalk of the Lord Mayor of Liverpool’s Charity Fashion Show in March. Paying homage to my military upbringing and a mark of respect to those who have served and those who continue to keep us safe.

Also, I’m absolutely delighted to report that I’m joining Hugh Baird College as an industry representative in an attempt to help media students gain valuable experience of the industry while building their portfolio’s and contacts list. Super chuffed about this!

 

mib-awards

The Guide Liverpool Team. Director and Presenter Jay Hynd, Videographer David Wright and me and the MIB Awards following our nomination for Best Creative Business

 

And as if that’s not enough, The Guide Liverpool continues to grow and 2017 is going to be absolutely belting. We’re constantly evolving and adapting to how the public wants to consume information, whether that means me taking part in the Santa Dash 5k with a Gopro strapped to my head (yep I did that) or recording live from gigs and events right across the north west, I’ll be part of the hardest working team around, bringing you all the action as it happens.

As you look back on 2016, I hope you can say you lived life to the full? If not, keep it in mind as 2017 rolls around and make it a year to remember for all the right reasons.

Happy New Year x

 

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

I’m a Story-teller, whats your superpower?

It turns out I don’t have super powers in the traditional sense, I mean I can’t fly, nor can I become invisible, although I can turn into the HULK when my kids really try my patience!

I do have some super skills though, in the form of being able to turn my hand to a number of jobs which over the years have kept me afloat and helped me to turn situations into stories that engage with readers.

When I was studying to be the next Stella McCartney, I cleaned toilets at Broadgreen Hospital at the weekends to afford bolts of Calico for my first ever clothing collection. I’ve been a call centre operative, a kitchen assisant, a merchandiser, a sportswear sales assistant, a facilities manager, an administrator, a auditor, a receptionist and an exectuive PA.

Throughout all of these roles, I’ve stored the memories and drawn on them when looking for inspiration for characters and searching for examples to give to clients. Plus interviews no longer phase me.

pigeon

I’ve also juggled full-time parenting during these roles as my little brood expanded from 1 to 4 in just 10 years. Being a mlti-tasker comes as standard.

Being a Journalist is all I ever wanted to do. I worked hard during my NCTJ course, juggling classes, work experience and my children. Just a year since I started out I’ve picked up a tremendous amount of experience, some incredile contacts and ultimately my dream role.

What I love about freelance work is that its so unpredictable, the absolute opposite to how my home life works. Everything is regimented at home. From packed lunch boxes to bedtime routines, it’s all done to the letter……because it’s the only way I can get us all out of the house by 7:45am.

The other aspect of freelance work I like so much, is the relationship building. Some clients I work with on long projects that involve developing and implementing strategy over a number of months. Some I work with for just a day. No two days, nor clients are ever the same.

I absolutely love hearing people’s stories. How they came to be in business, what they sacrifice for the sake of providing a service or developing a product and being their own boss. The long hours, taking work home, never being able to switch off. It’s an exclusive gang that only those who are self-employed, or closesly related to those who are, really understand.

Helping people is second nature to some, and being able to support businesses with their admin, marketing, social media and advertising makes me happy. Whether its turning my hand to tax preparation or writing advertorial articles……or even hand writing 100 company Christmas cards, to know I’m relieveing a little of the workload gives me great job satisfaction.

Can I help you? Drop me a line katereillyjames@gmail.com

 

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

#NoFilterNeeded

It will come as no surprise to hear..

That I love a good snapchat filter, or Instagram…..or flipagram….or Rple or Prisma and it seems like there’s a new app every week that can distort our faces into photoshopped perfection or a piece of art.

My Instagram is full of perfectly lit, posed pictures that look nothing like me whatsoever. The accompanying text along the lines of “Damn I wish my skin looked like this for real” typed while stuffing more pore blocking chocolate down my grid!  

Admittedly this fascination is doing little to aid my “be happy with how you look” crusade, but I’m fully aware that these smoothed out, contoured images aren’t attainable and are just a bit of fun.

A friend of mine Ste Johnson, is a professional illustrator and while he uses lots of new tech to create stunning artwork….give him a good old fashioned pencil and watch him work his magic!


I wanted to share an image with you, well it’s actually a piece of art and it’s not a narcissistic exercise, it’s an appreciation of skill. 

Ste managed to lift my self confidence with just a pencil, no filter needed, just some expertly drawn lines. Check out more of his work here.  

I’ve always loved drawing, colouring in and sewing since a really young age, but I’m not naturally gifted, just enthusiastic! 

Seeing what someone can do with just a pencil and pure skill will never fail to inspire me. Way more than a snapchat filter ever could! 

I’m so lucky to work with loads of naturally talented people and I’m always chuffed to discover a new artist creating something unique whether it be jewellery, baby items or framed art work. 

I met a lovely woman at Liverpool Loves on Saturday who knits and crochets. But I’m not taking baby booties and blankets! She knits octopus and mermaids and cactus and smiley veg! Check out her work at http://www.girlinpurlaction.co.uk 

Another exhibitor, GeekCycled makes tonnes of retro badges from old school comics, cue my eldest laughing at how different the chipmunks looked back in the early 90’s! 

She went home and made some Jacqueline Wilson badges of her own, inspired by the nostalgia. 


So here’s to all the true artists, the ones sketching in front of the telly, making mood boards from magazines, and cutting up old curtains to make tepees for the kids and buying half full paint tins and picture frames from car bootys to create masterpieces! 

Inspiring others young and old. You guys rock! 

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Adventure Time

What a week!

From a stint live on Radio City Talk to meeting entreprenuieral legend, John Drysdale at Liverpool Loves Business and finalising my plans for a bank holiday adventure thanks for a great PR event at Liverpool John Lennon Airport.
Since writing my last piece, ‘Focus’ I’ve adopted a policy of just saying yes to things, and this week it has really paid off.

I’m pleased  to report that I’m joining Radio City Talk on a more frequent basis as Liverpool Live Producer, Lizzi contacted me on Thursday to chat live on air about my digital detox. 

I’ll be chatting to Mick as a panel member and newspaper reviewer over the coming weeks and as we all know I love the sound of my own voice, there’s bound to be some hilarity going on. Catch me on Monday between 12 and 1pm. 


I’m also working with a brilliant Liverpool designer, Coco & Veve as owner Ria launches a brand spanking new concession with Rex retail, Bold Street. More on this after I’ve tried on her entire collection next week! 

Liverpool Loves Business inspired me to push on with my freelance dream this week as the line up of influential speakers at this years festival was better than ever!

It was standing room only at the Crowne Plaza conference rooms and I’m over the moon to have finally met Noguru MD, John Drysdale. 

Huge congrats Josh and the team at Orb CIC for another hugely successful event.

The Liverpool Loves 2016 festival continues today with a superb line up of culture, music, well-being and food, down on the Pier Head.

It’s completely free and geared towards the whole family. All you need to know in one handy 3 min video from The Guide Liverpool here

I’m heading on down for an afternoon of local bands, great food and to sample the prosecco bar! Perfect Saturday right?! 


My bank holiday adventure is set. Well at least the first flight is and I’m free-wheeling it from there!

As a single mum of three the vast majority of my days are planned down to the very last minute, so having the opportunity to just book and flight and ‘see what happens’ really is the ultimate adventure for me. 

On Thursday 25th August I’m Paris bound. The rest is up to fate!

If anyone has any suggestions on what connecting flights to catch or what attractions to see, things to do, drop me a line katereillyjames@gmail.com 

Have a fab weekend! 

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Focus

I’ve recently found myself unexpectedly free over August bank holiday weekend after my plans to hit the beach for a few days of paradise were scuppered! 

Feeling incredibly low, I called a meeting of friends who have travelled within the last month and sipped JD while we formulated a new plan. (All the best plans are made this way, right?)

Liverpool airport now flies directly to Marrakesh…..dreamy! St Petersberg, Bucharest and Naples just a hop skip and a passport away and there is no way I’m wasting this rare opportunity to do something a bit different!

My friend John has not long come back from a mammoth trip to Canada, and Jim is booking flights to Moscow and the Far East with work……and I was looking at interning on a national paper in London for five days before I realised just how accessible Europe is from our very own airport in Speke. 

I haven’t travelled on my own since I upped sticks and went back to Australia in 2000 at the age of 17. 12,000 miles from Manchester to Paris to Singapore and finally Sydney. Previously I’d gone as far as town on a Saturday! 

I took to all the style guide books I have at home and thought about having the opportunity to write from my own experience. That was enough to put the wheels in motion. 

Sat around the table at MacKenzies, Rodney Street earlier this week I voiced my concerns about my little jaunt turning into yet another Taken film (what number is it now…..3…4?) but with promises to come looking for me if I don’t check in regularly (sadly not Liam Neeson) I put those fears to bed as the excitement took over.

It goes without saying that ideally I’d love to get the girls together and have a mad weekend city break, laughing til our stomachs hurt and the rose runs out! 

But the reality of it being the middle of the summer holidays and kids and work and money comes into play! Not so easy to drop everything and catch a last minute flight when you’re a mum!

However, determined to not waste this opportunity, I’ve spent hours on Kayak (travel app) looking at flights and inspired by a work event airside at John Lennon Airport this Tuesday, I’ve woken up this morning and just booked a single flight. 

It’s done, and come hell or high water, it’s going to be an amazing adventure! 

I’ll get back to you at check in. 

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Cineworld Edge Lane: A Tribute

The Guide Liverpool sent me to Cineworld, Edge Lane yesterday as the cinema prepared to close its doors for the last time.

cineworld pic

I’ve made so many awesome memories at Cineworld over the 20 years I’ve been going there and I’m slightly gutted that I ended that rein having to watch Ghostbusters as my last film, but hey ho! Having a chat with the staff and wolfing down a huge bag of popcorn made it worthwhile.

You can read my full review on The Guide Liverpool here.

Thank you to Megan, Vicky, Ian and all the staff, past and present as you are the stars of this show.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

The BMD:Law Liverpool Fashion & Beauty Awards 2016

I’ve been banging on about the FAB awards for a few weeks now as not only was I attending in an official capacity (I’m a proper journo now) but also because I’d agreed to walk the catwalk just five days before the event and I was absolutely bricking it.

In the blink of an eye it felt like it was all over, when in actual fact the evening consisted of 9 hours of non-stop laughing, applauding, cheering, catwalking, eating, prosecco swigging fun.

In case you’ve been living under a rock, this is what the BMD:Law Liverpool Fashion & Beauty Awards are all about. The science bit….

The Liverpool Fashion & Beauty Awards is an extension of the hugely popular Liverpool Lifestyle Award which was set up 8 years ago to support small and independent businesses within the region.

Since then it has grown so big that a separate ceremony was required to cope with the demand of the fashion and beauty industry in which Liverpool is widely recognised as the UK leader.

The awards took place at The Function Suite and Fusion nightclub, Fleet street last night, as over 200 guests and nominees attended to claim one of the 19 awards on offer.

With categories such as: Best Beauty Blogger, Best Small Beauty Clinic, Best Fashion Designer, Best Independent Hair Salon and Best Training Provider, competition has been fierce.

corkys

As you might expect, those working in the fashion and beauty industry, don’t do things by half and the stunning array of jewelled gowns and high end outfits on display  wouldn’t have looked out of place at the Oscars.

Event organiser, Amanda Moss began proceedings in the first of three outfits (a fabulous princess style dress in deep purple, sweetheart neckline and an endless organza underskirt) as hosts, Amanda Harrington ( wearing a floor length white and silver gown) and Reggie Phillips announced the first of the evenings winners.

Backstage, local designer Love Laura began prepping models for their swimwear catwalk show, and Relish catering staff took to the floor with pretty plated starters.

The evening entertainment came courtesy of a live set from Jake Bowness and later Sophia Spencer, plus two spectacular (and really friendly) burlesque style performers and of course the spectacle that was me attempting to strut my stuff in a collection from St Helen’s based boutique, L’avitta. (If I could put a monkey hiding his eyes emoji here, I would)

Luckily the other four girls I was walking with were total pro’s! Bianca, Juliet, Kim and Bev were such a good laugh and shared their experience which helped to settle my nerves. Kudos to the unflappable catwalk manager Natalie, who as part of the Amanda Moss PR fashion family that runs Liverpool and Manchester Fashion Week, was on hand to ensure everything ran smoothly.

Green Room Selfie

Photographer extraordinaire, Ian Williams was a friendly face at the end of the high shine, LED catwalk (which I was convinced I was going to slip on) and when the time came to face the (lets say slightly tipsy ) crowd, I felt more relaxed looking down the camera lens.

As the opening bars of Beyonce’s anthem ‘All The Single Ladies’ rang out (how apt?), it was show time! I put my best foot forward, tried to not laugh, and strutted to the end of the catwalk. Thank you Sophie and Holly, of Move Residential for cheering like full on groupies as I shashayed past, you both really helped calm my nerves.

catwalk

Within three minutes, it was done! Five days of fretting, and I absolutely loved it!

After wolfing down a filling, three course meal of parma ham, chicken and mango cheesecake, the Corkys and table wines were devoured and the prosecco was free-flowing as more and more winners were announced to huge cheers from the audience.

I have to say huge congrats to Nicole Francis who won Best Beauty Treatment, and was also my best dressed lady of the evening. Fellow table 11 dweller, Nicole is a Director at Lip Couture Liverpool and wore a stunning floor length gown that featured hand-sewn jewels and a kick flare hem line. She looked stunning!

Nicole Francis

Once dinner was done and we’d belted out a few ballads alongside vocalist Sophia Spencer, I sneaked back into the photo booth for yet more selfies with fellow The Guide Liverpool writer, Dale Roberts as the dj set-up for the after party.

I met some ridiculously talented people, from doctors, athesticians and singers to fashion designers, models and make up artists. Oh and don’t forget the bevvy of local celebs such as the very lovely Claire Simmo from Radio City 2. (My opening line was ” Oooh I stalk you on social media Claire” insert another monkey emoji here!)

Huge congratulations to Amanda Moss and event sponsor Bernadette McDonald of BMD:Law. The evening was a fun-filled celebration of the best our local, independent businesses has to offer.

With an unbeatable, friendly atmosphere it felt like being at a family wedding than a room filled with strangers.

I’ve uploaded all my images from the BMD:Law Liverpool Fashion & Beauty Awards 2016.(Most of which are blurry selfies) to my gallery. The event hashtag is #itsthelawtobefab so check out all the pics from guests on instagram and twitter!

For the official photo’s of the event, head to http://www.liverpoolfashionandbeautyawards.co.uk to check out Ian Williams’ stunning photography.

I’ve also submitted my official article to various regional news outlets too, so keep everything crossed for publishing!

 

 

 

 

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Best Foot Forward

I have set myself another challenge this weekend and the nerves have officially kicked in, big style.

I’m struggling to eat and that nervous, butterfly stomach feeling just wont leave me alone. Alright, so I’m not skydiving or bungee jumping or doing anything physically dangerous, but my self confidence is taking a real beating.

It all started on Sunday morning, as I tend to get myself involved in all manner of random things when I’m up at 5am with no school run to distract me.

I’m reporting on the, sold out BMD Law Liverpool Fashion & Beauty Awards this Saturday and I’d emailed organiser, Amanda Moss to see how prep was going, at the same time runway manager, Natalie put a call out for a model size 12/14 as she’d had a late cancellation.

13619969_863257343780839_1393320614169715236_n

Being naturally helpful, I offered up the contacts who had walked for Natalie before, but at late notice they had prior engagements. So, yep, you guessed it. I uttered the immortal words: “I’ll have a crack at it” and so a catwalk challenge was born.

Firstly I thought this would make for great viewing for my social media accounts. Reporting live from backstage at catwalk show, showing viewers the real prep, the models and of course, the collections. Actually walking the catwalk would give me extra scope to write about the industry and its age-old size issues.

Secondly I’m more likely to do a Carrie and fall on my face, like fashion road-kill while a pro steps over me which could create a YouTube vid that goes viral, adding to my social media presence, but for all the wrong reasons.

CmxDtgaWYAAK11V

It’s now Friday morning, and the nerves have really kicked in. I’ve had my nails done and hair coloured, but I’ve not magically dropped two stone and toned up in the five days since I agreed to take part.

In real terms I can walk from one place to another with relative ease, but I am the most accident prone person in the world so there’s a good chance of a trip. I’m not a natural scouse princess either, tan doesn’t suit me and my brows are just my own, but I’m hoping Emma Lampkin’s MUA team can help me blend in for the occasion.

I am coming to terms with the fact that this is me, and after watching what feels like hours of ‘How to Walk Like A Runway Model’ tutorials, I’m going to walk from one side of a room to another, exactly as I am. Head up, shoulders back, one foot in front of the other.

One thing that has to be said for fashion shows in the North West, and kudos to the organisers far and wide, is that fashion is accessible here. It’s not about pretentious shows for frowers and celebrities. The events are about celebrating talent and creativity in all its forms.

I just hope Saturday’s guests bear that in mind as I sashay all Phoebe-From-Friends-Running-like.

Catch my live updates from 5pm on my Facebook & Twitter accounts http://www.facebook.com/katereillyjames and  @Katereillyjames

Wish me luck!

 

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Spare Parts

This weekend I sat in a caravan in North Wales writing about a Barrow in Furness engineering company. This my friends is the future of journalism.

I’ve officially finished 6 months of NCTJ exams and studies and submitted my e-portfolio for marking. In the same week I’ve weathered the EU referendum storm, submitted 12 months worth of personal documents to HMRC who seem to think there is someone else living in my house who claims tax credits and met with Carole, my business mentor, who is hopefully going to help me set up as a freelance journalist.

It’s safe to say I’ve been under a bit of pressure the last few months which may go some way to explain the weekly bouts of sickness I’ve been experiencing. I’m not pregnant, just thought I’d make that abundantly clear. But low and behold, mid Sunday roast yesterday, the mystery illness made an unwelcome return and I’ve been living in the bathroom ever since.

62611109

Despite the crippling stomach pain and inconvenience of living in the bathroom two days a week, the worst thing to come of this situation is my deteriorating relationship with food. I swing wildly from small amounts of granola and ‘safe’ food, to absolutely nothing, to a boneless box from KFC…..and a tango. I’m getting to the point where I’m too scared to eat. During my last week of exams I ate just over 2000 calories in three days because I couldn’t afford to get sick, no where near enough sustenance for a busy mum of three.

I made the HUGE mistake of googling my symptoms around 2am when I got bored of courting the bathroom tiles. Stomach cancer, ulcerative colitis and acute pancreatitis and a tearful call to NHS direct later………..and it looks like my gallbladder is broken. Which isn’t so bad because it turns out you don’t need one!

Awaiting a scan at the moment to see what my options are.

On the positive side I’ve lost almost a stone and my work productivity rate is through the roof. Silver linings eh?

 

 

 

 

Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,