Why Getting A Better Camera Won't Make You Happier With Your Blog

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A couple of months ago, I was at an event for People Tree and a fashion photographer said something to me that stuck, and changed the way I think about blogging. He said that getting a beautiful camera will always show you what an ugly photographer you are. It sounds harsh, but what he went on to explain was that good equipment will always highlight where your skills can be improved.

When I started blogging, I had nothing that would help make blogging easier. I lived in a boring little town, in a dark little house, and created my posts using moments of snatched cafe WiFi and a compact camera. Over the years my situation has changed and I've gathered the tools around me that should make blogging simple. Am I better satisfied with my work now then I was then? No, I am not. Back then I had to work ten times harder to publish a post, but my passion, obscurity, and complete lack of goals meant I was always happy with what I produced.

As resources increase, our excuses for "failure" become less and less obvious to us. Not having the best camera ceases to be a good excuse for unsatisfying photography when we have a new Olympus Pen sitting on the table. That app everyone uses to get perfect selfies? Well, downloading it takes that excuse away as well. As you acquire more and more tools to create, eventually you run out of excuses and are faced with a painful, existentialist question: Perhaps I am not capable? Perhaps I am simply, not talented or skilled enough to produce the work I have in my head? This is the question we are all running away from, but if we focus our energy on gathering the THINGS we think we need, instead of honing the skills that are really essential, that sense of being "not good enough" will only grow. 

It reminds me of Alain de Botton's thoughts on status anxiety; we develop depressive thought patterns and anxieties as a result of not fulfilling what we see to be our potential, or making the most of all the privileges we know we have (the expensive camera, the spare time, the extra cash, the beautiful photo opportunity). We experience guilt and self-doubt as a result, constantly dissatisfied with our efforts because we believe that someone with all our advantages should be doing so much better. The thing about status anxiety, is that it only increases as our circumstances improve.

I see a lot of bloggers going through this, and either obsessing over the perfect equipment, or feeling guilty for not producing what they wanted once they have it. I go through it with every post I write. But as with all things, awareness will take the edge off. We can't magic ourselves into feeling happy with our blogs, but we can learn to recognise what will really change them for the better. Most of the time, we already possess it.

Princesses of Instagram

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Fairytales are big on Instagram. Whether it's Disney, Grimms, the latest tsum tsums or Funkos, I like looking for people running otherworldly, fantastical, or imaginative accounts. Some of the coolest peeps I follow are small art/kink accounts that are fairytale-influenced. It's taken me ages to find a group of people to follow whose pictures always inspire me to be more creative on Instagram and not just use it to share my breakfast. Here are a few I think you'll like.

Sugarpea - I love everything Heather does so I'm probably biased, but I think she has the coolest Disney/cute stuff/fairytale/Funko themed account around. I love how she throws in pictures of her tsum tsum collection with some really goth stuff as well, it satisfies the 90's kid in me.

Briar Rose - This is obvious, but still. If you aren't aware of Megan's account and you like Disney, cosplay, princessy things, weddings, baking, or anything in that general ballpark, you will LOVE Briar Rose and all her adorable work.

Apollonia Saintclair - This incredible NSFW art account features ink drawings depicting imaginative, surreal and disturbing sexual fantasies. Some of my favourite drawings are about The Minotaur (the beast that roamed The Labyrinth in one of my favourite Classical myths). Go here if you want something seriously refreshing when you get saturated with rose gold homeware!

Lillipore - This account reminds me of a modern Little Red Riding Hood. It's sexy, bold, mildly kinky, and her aesthetic is tight as fuck. And she takes a fab mirror-selfie.

Natacha Birds - I kind of want Natacha's life. The stunning designer/blogger/artist lives in Paris with her two sons and some gorgeous pets. Her work is always immaculately magical, and she could make any place on earth look like a palace; full of intricate details and childlike wonder. I don't think anyone could NOT like her account.

First Snow

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You know that kind of skin you see in period dramas where a heroine in a corset (usually at a masked ball or hovering around a piano) has sparkling shoulders? Well it's hard to get that in real life. It's even a kind of silly thing to admit to wanting in real life. How do you go up to a sales assistant like, hey, I'm looking for something to give me that glittery-shoulders look off Downton Abbey, fam. The only place I would even consider saying something so strange is Lush. I have a feeling they would understand. That's not how I got their new winter release, First Snow, by the way, but that is how I would describe it. You dust it on after moisturising your skin (I like to use LUSH's Strawberry Feels massage bar beforehand, which mixes so well with the citrus scent of the powder and leaves you smelling like a strawberry cheesecake) and it'll absorb the excess oil, leaving you dry, smooth, and sparkling.

Fairytale Nightwear Wishlist

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Eye mask, Debenhams; Gown, Myla; Monster booties, New Look; Beauty and the Beast pyjamas, Topshop; Rose twinkle lights, New Look; Ariel Socks, Topshop.

Fairytale-themed nightwear is something that is super-duper easy to find these days. Whether we want to go to bed referencing our favourite Disney Princess, or feeling as if we actually ARE one, there's loads of pretty stuff available, both on the high street and from luxury brands. Topshop is always a good place to scout out cartoon pyjamas, as is Primark (obviously) but if you want something more decadent, like this gorgeous Cinderella dressing gown from Myla, but without the hefty price tag, check out Ann Summers, M&S, or H&M. They all have stunning nighties and gowns this winter. To complete the experience, don't forget to work some magic in your room with a garden of rose fairy lights (minus the thorns, obvs).

Black Friday OOTD with Boohoo

dress and boots, both boohoo* // kimono, topshop (from years ago)

Happy Black Friday, everyone! Is that a thing? I don't think that's a thing. Black Friday isn't something you celebrate...more like, endure, or ignore completely, depending on your preference. I remember last year, people texted me to ask if I was okay, and warn me not to go outside, like it was the zombie apocalypse. It seems fitting to dress up all in black (not that I wear very many other colours anyways...) to mark this occasion, It's like the death of our dignity or something. Not that I'm at all bashing a good bargain hunt. I'll probably go in search of new lingerie and bodycon dresses after finding this gem from Boohoo. It's the tightest thing I own and I've always found tight-fitting clothes strangely comforting. Now I want a whole wardrobe of Morticia dresses.

Witch Cake

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A witch cake is a bizarre concoction that was made during the Salem witch trials. They would take the piss of a young woman thought to be a witch, and bake a cake out of it. Her fate was decided by how the cake turned out, and by how it tasted.

Witch Cake will be an alternative lifestyle blog. I say "alternative" (even though the word is loaded with ambiguous and sometimes cringey connotations) because I want to give myself license to write about topics that aren't usually thrown in among make-up reviews, but rather sectioned off into their own dark corner of the internet. I'm going to write about the fashion I really wear and adore. I'm going to strive to be cruelty-free, and I'm sure I'm going to fuck up along the way. I'm going to write about kinks and sex and fantasy, because those things are a huge part of my lifestyle. I am going to require you all to tolerate my complexity and my incoherence, because I cannot fit into a niche. I will never be a "beauty blogger", or a "fashion blogger", or a "sex blogger". If I have any niche, it is fantasy. It is fairytale. That is what I look for in my daily life, and where I feel most inspired. I want to use Witch Cake to see how a fairytale heroine might live if she had my flesh and my life. I see parallels with fairytales everywhere, and references to archetypes in the most mundane of places (even in Primark, or on my Twitter feed) and I want to show them to you.

There's no need to say goodbye to The Persephone Complex. Most of my archive is still here, and although I have a new name, in a way I feel like all I'm doing is getting closer to what my blog was always meant to be. There are still loads of changes to make and tweaks to be done, nothing is perfect yet. I don't know how it will turn out, or how it will taste, or what it will decide for me. I like thinking about how random it all is, and in that sense, my new name is perfect. We are all just taking bites, and cheating fate.

Cute Halloween Wallpapers For Your iPhone

We take Halloween real serious 'round here. For a lot of people it might mean dressing up and going out for a night, but for me, Halloween is a lifestyle. It feels like the only time of year when other people get what I'm on about. I like to spread the spooky vibes as thickly as I can over all corners of my life, including my phone. Here's a few of the cutest and most original wallpapers I found this year to spookify your device (I love the sexy little vampire teeth *squeal*). All these wallpapers are available on Pinterest, and I've left the links for you below!

My First Jo Malone Fragrance

Jo Malone was always one of those aspirational brands that I had in the back of my mind as a bastion of luxury and proper grown-up womanhood. As well as my insanely juvenile, unicorn-riding, Haribo-for-dinner-eating self, I do have a part of my personality that is almost jaw-droppingly adult; I like lots of alone time and will talk about sex with anybody. I collect red lipstick and black court shoes, and am fantastic in a crisis. My perfume tends to be similarly split down the middle; I have scents for my "little" self, and scents for my "big" self. 

When the time finally came to choose my first ever Jo Malone fragrance (a kind present from my father) I decided to do something a bit different, and pick a scent for my "middle" self. Something more sophisticated than watermelon body spray, but less intimidating than the tobacco and lily scent my grown-ass woman self wears. Eventually, I picked this...

Peony and Blush Suede is quite a balanced fragrance. It has the feminine, floral notes on the top, with a lingering leather base - equal parts delicate and sensual. It's grown-up without being too intense, which is hard to come across in perfume land, in my opinion. I only need one spritz as the cologne is incredibly powerful and will last all day. I like to put some in my hair, and it lasts for days that way. I'm totally hooked on it and am already eyeing up Red Roses as my next splurge.