Tag Archives: journalism

Five More Years

I have every intention of writing a St Patrick’s Day piece today, given it’s the celebration of all things green, white and orange, but having logged into my website, poised to type, something way more important was brought to my attention.

It turns out that I started blogging 5 years ago today. I’m mega chuffed about this coincidence for a number of reasons. 1 – because I will never forget this anniversary ever again, given the date, 2 – I have another excuse to go for a drink, and 3 – its been FIVE years….wow! I’m absolutely chuffed to be able to confidently say that I love writing now even more than I did back in 2012.

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Yep…..it’s goosed!

Having launched myself into the passenger seat of my car, one sunny spring day back in 2012, I slipped and ruptured two discs in my lower back, and thus a writing career was born! Actually it was more like the following 9 months of daily agony that encouraged me to write as there was little else I could do while I waited for neurosurgery to fix it!

Who’d have thought that my humble, little Geordie’s Girl blog, and the comfort it gave me to get though months of insomnia, waiting around in hospitals, and the early days of recovery, would blossom into a year at college to gain my NCTJ qualification, a junior writers job, many freelance roles, radio broadcast opportunities, my first ever hosting gig and of course my beloved editorial position with The Guide Liverpool. All that from a slipped disc, not bad going huh?

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If I’ve learned one thing from this rollercoaster journey its that luck, Irish or otherwise can only get you so far. Hard work, determination and integrity are the real stepping stones to the top.

Here’s to St Patrick, and five more years!

x

 

 

 

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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! 

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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.

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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.

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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!

 

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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.

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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?

 

 

 

 

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Friday Night Disco

It’s Friday night, its 9:30pm and I am busting some serious moves…..sat at my desk….listening to Itunes shuffle…..in my running kit….despite only going as far as the wheelie bins in my front garden today.

It’s been an absolutely manic few weeks and I’ve racked up a good few miles just dashing from meetings to interviews to catch up coffees and lessons. I love that step counter app thingy on my iphone, you know the heart icon one that tells me how many bars of Galaxy I can have after my tea….I mean how many steps I’ve done.

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Proof that I got off my ass in 2008.

Despite all the dashing (I sound like a bloody reindeer) I’ve also spent an inordinate amount of time sat on my arse consuming sugar-laden Costa coffees which has done my summer body prep no good whatsoever.

It would appear that journalists spend a lot of time sat in meetings, in pubs, coffee shops on trains, buses and cabs. Journalists do not tend to carry out meetings while generally moving, at all.  And the last time I checked, talking (even the sheer amount that I do) does not burn body altering amounts of calories, nor does it tone bingo wings or create Victoria Secret model-esque body types. This is bitterly disappointing news.

It’s now March (silent scream) and I’ve not really made any effort whatsoever towards my dream goal of being a perfect size 10 for Grand National weekend, panic has set in.

So, as per my usual knee-jerk reaction to pretty much everything, I’m lacing my Nikes up first thing tomorrow and heading to the park with my sister to rack up some miles. Also typical me, I have signed up for Hellrunner which is a half marathon distance with obstacles (muddy bog, freezing river, big-ass hills) dotted through Delamere Forest in Cheshire. It’s either train for these type of events or live on dust for the rest of eternity, and my god I love cake, so that’s just not an option.

Wish me luck!

Edit- forgot to mention that my friends have now renamed me Cake Reilly. Sounds like Kate….its just that Cake is more me….or just is me. Yep. 

 

 

 

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Pen For Hire

I’m finding it really difficult to concentrate today what with minute by minute social media updates from all my favourite journo’s at London Fashion Week.

But in order to join them, I must develop my own empire….sleeves rolled up…

“No-one can be successful for you.”

The world of work is a fickle one, and how to go about securing employment has mutated into an unrecognisable beast since I was last looking for work.

I fondly remember leisurely activities such as leafing through the paper, circling the job ads I thought I had a good chance of getting and posting (yep people, actually going to the post office and posting) a CV and longhand covering letter……and waiting weeks for a reply.

Do you remember how the job centre used to be? Those wall-mounted boards with all the hand written job ads placed on them? You’d write down the reference number and talk at length with an advisor about your chances of getting the job and how a role in nuclear physics at Sellafield might not be the most suitable position. (Genuinely applied, must have been feeling particularly optimistic that day).

Fast-forward to 2016 and applying for jobs, contracts, gigs, whatever you want to call it, is most likely done from the comfort of your sofa, bed, kitchen table with a response likely within hours rather than weeks.

Turning recruitment on its head entirely, apps and sites such as LinkedIn encourages employers to find you! Interviews conducted via Skype and Face-Time are common place and ensuring your online presence is as squeaky clean as your interview outfit is paramount.

Networking has taken centre stage when it comes to self-promotion in the jobs market. Liverpool is more like a village than a city, as a population of incessant talkers (I was told I can talk for NATO earlier this week…adding that to my cv) just a friendly conversation can lead to all manner of connections as everyone seems linked somehow?!

I love nothing more than getting to know people and hearing about their work, which should stand me in good stead being a journalist, right? Well the time has come for me to test that theory as I step out of the ‘trainee’ shadows and make good on all the conversations and training I’ve had over the last few months.

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My first contract has been confirmed this week and I’m absolutely delighted to have been welcomed into the fold at The Guide, Liverpool. Joining a team that is dedicated to brining you the best ‘What’s Happening’ guide to our amazing city is a brilliant first step.

You can read my recent professional work in the Show Reel section of the site here.

 

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Foul Ball

It’s been a whirlwind couple of weeks but its official, I’m a trainee journalist. I’ve spent my days immersed in short hand, public affairs, media law and news reporting. I’ve learned abbreviations such as IPSO and PCC and I can recite all 16 clauses of the Editors Code of Practise. Among the intense learning I also ran my first ever half marathon, The Great North Run and somehow managed to get three kids into childcare by 8am every day for a fortnight….and I’ve loved every minute of it.

I wish I could go back in time and visit 17 year old me and say ‘Stop being a gobby show off, embrace your love of English language and literature and focus on carving out a career for yourself….oh and lay off those Bacardi Breezers’  Would I have listened? I doubt it very much, I knew everything back then. 17 year old me

Fast forward 16 years and I’m slowly starting to feel like I’ve got my life together. I have a natural flair for chatting to people and engaging with businesses, so my next challenge is…..local sport! Tomorrow I’m spending the afternoon at Sefton RUFC to learn everything there is to know about rugby union (or proper rugby as my Dad calls it). I’m currently sat listening to the first match of the Rugby World Cup, England Vs Fiji in an attempt to naturally soak up some of the terminology and international players names! It’s not really working. I’m also making an appearance at not one, but two Liverpool golf clubs this weekend, again an attempt at on-the-job learning! I’m taking bets on how many injuries I’m going to sustain by Sunday dinner time?!i heart footy

The reason I’ve taken on sport it because it’s totally out of my comfort zone. I’m happy to sit and watch premiership games at the weekend, but (dare i say it,) I’m neither red nor blue. I really enjoy F1, Athletics and international Cricket. But Rugby, Golf and Snooker…….zzzzzzzzz. So I’ve gone way out of my comfort zone and I kind of figured that if I can accurately write up a 90/80 minute match while its unfolding right in front of me, I should have no problems with an equally fast-paced Fashion Week catwalk show…right?

I’ve resorted to watching some Youtube video’s on match commentary to help calm my nerves….that didn’t really work out either as most of them are hilarious. I must be more professional….. I wonder if I could get away with just shouting ‘a$$hole’ after each goal like this guy?https://youtu.be/wvnydzZXBEI

I’ll let you know how I get on!

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Full Circle Fashion

In just a matter of hours I’m going to my first ever red carpet, fashion event. As a little (and not so little) girl I often dreamed of what it would be like to don a beautiful gown, slip on some Louboutins and generally look a million dollars smiling and waving to the crowds. It doesn’t help my shredded nerves at all that Daniel Craig and Rachel Weisz are reportedly attending! Eeeek.

My first taste of high-end fashion was when The Clothes Show came to BBC One, Caryn Franklin (Oh her silver streak!!) and Jeff Banks became my style mentors each Sunday evening and having to wait a whole WEEK for the next episode was complete torture! I spent my early years in Barnard Castle (in the glorious North of course) where I regularly visited The Bowes Museum with my mum and older brother. Even as a youngster I was fascinated at the old-fashioned clothes and toys on display, I’m still awestruck 25 years later at founder of the museum, Josephine Bowes’ pink taffeta ball gown which stands proudly along side regular exhibits from some of the worlds most famous designers. My love of fashion was born in those four walls.

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Style is Eternal, hugging your brother outside the museum is most definitely not!

I moved away to the big city (Liverpool) and studied Fashion and Textiles design at St Helen’s College with the most awesome bunch of friends and tutors a frustrated artist can ever hope to meet. From recycled fashion shows (I strutted down a catwalk dressed in shredded bed-sheets and a corset at one point) to cheering on fellow class mate, Kirsty Doyle in her Project Catwalk triumph I had endless fun learning pattern cutting, history of art, screen-printing and photography (to name a few components of the course) and learned how to charity shop like a pro. Life skills! Since my colourful college days I’ve worked in retail, merchandising, media and PR. I’ve had three beautiful children and chased off two husbands…..I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve moved house, dyed my hair and cleared out my wardrobe….things and people have come and gone. But Barnard Castle still feels like home and fashion is still very much my first love.

As a trainee fashion journalist I’m back in Barnard Castle for a few days as somehow I’ve been invited to the VIP launch of Yves Saint Laurent, Style is Eternal, the first exhibition in the UK to present a comprehensive display of the French fashion designer’s work and life…..at The Bowes Museum. I was tempted to write a piece on how much of a privilege it is for a museum in the North to host such a high profile event…….and while it is a major event I think it belongs at The Bowes, where Style is Eternal.

I’ve laid out my gown and carefully chosen my accessories ….no Louboutin’s for me just yet but I’d like to think Josephine would approve.

The exhibition runs from July 11th to October 25th so you too can fall in love with fashion. Tickets available here.

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