A new website design?

I’ve recently been considering re-designing my website, it has been over five years since it last had an update, and I am very attached to the pink lady on my site. I do regularly clean up my sidebar and ads, but changing the design itself is more of a challenge and a worry.

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I use a custom wordpress design that I have always loved – it’s fresh, frothy and pretty and generally suits my blog and me. I’ve never really got around to buying a bespoke design for my site, although I can definitely see the benefits of changing to a cleaner, more sophisticated design (my good friend Emily Jayne did this recently and it looks amazing). But the blog design, and web designs in general are important, and can make a difference in terms of traffic and audience. A good friend Adam, from Essex Web Designs, states very clearly why design and layout is important:-

“Your company website is your virtual shop front: the place where you can find new customers, communicate and engage with them, and in many instances, trade with them – anywhere in the world, at any time of day.”

So there are clearly good reasons for wanting a striking, clean and tidy web design, but I do worry that after 5 years my design is a recognisable feature of my blog, and that, by changing it and making it look different, regular visitors may think they are in the wrong place and click out of the site, or that they just might not like a new design?

One of my current fave websites, in terms of layout, is Vogue.com. Like the magazine itself, the design is both classic and modern, fashion forward, and with many imitators. Vogue makes great use of photography, and has that iconic logo that is instantly recognisable. It suits Vogue perfectly.

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I’m still thinking about what changes I want to make, but ultimately, your blog design should reflect you and your personality, whether that be stylish, elegant or slightly chaotic.

 

 

Back to work with Vistaprint

Holidays are now well and truly over, and so for many of us thoughts turn back to work. For some people this means a new suit or a smart new work bag. But equally as important when setting that first example is your business card, which through design and quality can say an awful lot about you and your business. Some of the brightest and best business cards around are those produced by Vistaprint.

 

Once upon a time business cards seemed to belong to the Yuppie businessman. Who can forget Patrick Bateman in American Pyscho, planning the death of a colleague who had the perfect, minimalist card. But these days, many people find that a stylish card is the best way to keep all your relevant details in one place.

As a blogger and writer I find I attend a lot of events where it is useful to have a business card, and I started with a very simple one which I purchased through Vistaprint in 2010. But as the blog grew, and I joined more social networks, the details on my card needed to be expanded on and updated. So I was very excited when Vistaprint offered to update my business cards with a new design.

Vistaprint really offer you the choice of having EXACTLY what you want for your card. You can upload your own design, images and photographs if you wish, but they also have a wealth of perfect designs to fit any business, from fashion and beauty, to technology, cars…basically anything you require. You can match your outlay to your budget by choosing whether your card is printed on both sides, printed in greyscale and whether your finish is glossy or matte.

The design I chose for the front of my card.

I opted for a very pink and girly design for my fashion-mommy card.  The shoe with the lipstick heel suited both the fashion and beauty aspects of my site, and I loved the hot pink – it would be hard to lose that card in your bag.  I opted for a double-sided design with all my relevant details on the back. This included my email and mobile number, as well as Twitter and Facebook page details. One of the brilliant things about Vistaprint is that it very cleverly lets you add and adapt details whilst showing you how this would look on the card, this allows you to keep the card from being uncluttered – you can see if you’ve added to much detail, or made a spelling mistake and amend it accordingly.

Love this for the back of the card – information to go on right hand side

The ordering process is very simple, and also allows you to add extra that may be useful for your business promotion, from promotional material, to stationary and invitations.

I was really pleased with my finished cards, which look professional, whilst retaining an element of fun. The quality of the cards is second to none and they are already being commented on.

Finished card.

There are always lots of special offers on Vistaprint, so it is well worth signing up to the Vistaprint insider newsletter.

Fashion-mommy hits the news!

Photographer

Image via Wikipedia

I decided to contact my local press about my blog, specifically to find out if they would be interested in printing any posts with a local theme. Imagine my surprise when they say they want to do a story about me! The slant being a successful local fashion blogger and fully time mommy. Then comes the catch, we’ll send our photographer to you at 9.00am on Friday morning.

9.OOAM! Don’t get me wrong, I’m up at 9.00am, Baba gets up earlier than that most mornings, much to fashionmommy’s disgust. But to be dressed, groomed and gleaming ready for a photographer to take my picture that will appear in the local press, for all my friends, family, neighbours and complete strangers to see, was really a tall order.

In addition, what to wear? For most fashionistas, every day is a catwalk of some sort, it’s just for mommy fashionistas that catwalk is often Sainsburys, or the playgroup, or the post office. In addition, as a general rule, I don’t put my real outfit on until I’m ready to leave the house as I first have to tread through the minefield that is Baba’s breakfast and brush teeth time, both of which leave me looking like I’ve suffered some sort of attack to my person.

So I first asked Hubby ‘WHAT DO YOU THINK I SHOULD WEAR FOR THIS PHOTO SHOOT?’ He pondered this for a while, and finally offered me some words of wisdom ‘Nothing tarty’, he said. ‘what do you mean TARTY, I don’t possess anything tarty, can you think of anything more constructive to offer?’ I asked in total exasperation. He couldn’t, he’s a man and they frankly can’t remember what you wore on your wedding day, let alone give you an in-depth analysis of your wardrobe. However, ask him about shoes…well that’s another story.

So I considered the options. Jeans – boring and everyday. Maxi dress – yawn. New Next jumper – too warm for the house. Black and white 50’s dress – trying far too hard. I finally settled on two choices, a Jasper J Conran teal dress that I usually wear with grey MIU MIU heals, or a Saviour at Very dress that I describe as my Ossie Clark peasant dress, and is calf length so is very this season. I decided on this dress, with camel and black Mary Janes if I needed to go outside at all. I was all set.

the savoir dress I finally decided to wear.

But on the morning of the shoot, things didn’t go so easily. My hair had been slightly wet when I went to bed, and was slightly bouncy, with no time for straighteners. My eye was sore and bloodshot, and I had the remnants of a slight cold. I managed to get ready for exactly 9, and then Baba made a sound and said the immortal word that strikes fear into all moms. ‘POO!’

‘Are you sure?’ I said, hoping against hope that it was just a bit of non smelly wind. ‘POO!’ he repeated, and a smell confirmed it. This was going to have to be the fastest nappy change in history. It wasn’t, of course, Baba had to be chased around the room, first with nappy, then sans nappy, but with a dirty bottom that I was trying to avoid contact with. It was then that I realised it was 9.20am. Where was he?

One voicemail message confirmed he was running late. A few minutes later he arrived. I explained about the nature of my blog and he suggested some pictures surrounded by fashion books and magazines. Great I thought, as I had already set up this scene the night before. Then he suggested posing outside with my laptop in the hair. Nooooo! I thought. How cheesy. Kate Addie would never pose with her laptop in the hair, neither would Suzy Bubble. How to persuade him otherwise.

‘MAN’, shouted Baba(21 months today). ‘Car’ ‘cheese‘ he shouted as the photographer snapped away. ‘could we use him in the shot?’ The photographer wondered. Yes, I thought, just as long as I don’t have to hold him aloft in my left hand, whilst balancing the laptop in the right. So Baba joined the  shot, and very cute the final pics were.

So check out a future edition of the Express and Star for the Midlands area to see the photo, and remember all the stress that went into it!