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20.4.16

Career Insight: Magazine Journalism


Happy Wednesday folks! Sorry that this is the first post in a couple of weeks. I've been super busy as per. Talking of busy, I'd like to introduce you all to a lady who surely never sleeps! She holds down three jobs, writes for two blogs plus various publications, studies Journalism AND has founded her very own magazine. I'm exhausted just typing all that! Everyone say hello to Florence Grace!

I've been promising these 'career' posts for a while now and Florence is the first to kick start the series. The aim is simple. To give an insight into various jobs/occupations. So whether you're a teenager looking for ideas, or someone older simply plotting a career change, I hope that these posts help to inspire you!

This particular post is all about starting and producing your own magazine, something I didn't even realise was possible until I came across Florence.
If you've ever had a yearning for this, now is the time to sit up and pay attention... Over to my interview with the founder/editor in chief of LoveFrom...

Firstly Flo, could you please tell us a bit about your background...

I attended an all girls grammar school, completing GCSE's and then A Levels (with my two main subjects being English lit/lang and Communication and Culture).
I was accepted in to my first choice uni, London South Bank, to study photography but I just didn't feel right... I knew nothing about cameras or photography, I just enjoyed taking photos! So I decided to defer for a year, allowing me time to study photography at my local college.
When I went to enrol, they shifted me from photography to a brand new university level course called Creative Business. This involved studying a creative subject (for me, photography) and learning how to make a business from it.
Throughout the course I began blogging and doing my radio shows, along with numerous other media work experience days and the likes, and realised photography wasn't what I wanted to do at all... Media work was.
I used my course materials as a starting point for my brand Love from, Florence Grace, which branded me as a 'content creator' meaning I could specialise in freelance writing, social media work and also start my magazine!
Towards the end of the course, I knew this was what I wanted to do, so I very nervously withdrew my university application. I just didn't feel I needed a degree to do what I was already doing successfully! However, not long after I saw an online discounted NCTJ diploma, and thought 'hey, here's a great qualification that journalists value more than degrees, it's discounted and I can do it in my own time, so why not?' I enrolled on this course and still do this in my free time now. I specialise in Magazine Journalism.

What on earth possessed you to start your own magazine? Or rather what was it that inspired you?

I was trying to break into the media industry and started this with a blog. I found my love of writing from my childhood came flowing back and so I really wanted to get a writing job for a magazine!
I managed to get a few voluntary positions for small or up and coming magazines, which is great don't get me wrong! But I knew no magazine would take on someone like me - a then 18 year old with no journalism experience/qualifications - so I thought alright then, I'll start my own!
So that's exactly what I did ha ha! Now that I'm actually running the magazine, I realise that subconsciously I had wanted to fill a niche in the market too. All women's magazines focus mainly on women's bodies, clothes and looks. I decided to steer my magazine away from all of these topics, and whilst we have one article on how to do make up looks and one article about fashion, we talk about more exciting things, like gaming reviews, music, feminism, personal issues, travel... We are predominantly a lifestyle magazine and I don't see many of those kicking about.

Very true. We definitely could do with more lifestyle magazines! Describe how an issue of LF gets put together, from beginning to end.

First of all I pick a cover star. It has to be someone that readers will want to hear about, someone readers will be interested in. I then approach the cover star and ask if they're interested. If they are, I send them over interview questions and arrange a photoshoot or for them to send me a suitable photo to be used for the cover.
I then plot out articles written by both myself and my writers. As Love from... is released at the start of each new season, the issues are seasonal and this helps very much! I check what articles all the writers plan on doing and whether they're suitable, plan my own articles and then set the deadline. During the waiting time, I plan out the page order (although this changes on almost a daily basis, right up to the day of publishing!). I create eye catching titles in bright colours and fonts, source images that I can use legally and design different page layouts.
One by one as the articles drip into my emails I write them up into the magazine layout via copy and paste and then edit them as I go along. I might change the odd word here or there, correct some grammar, things like that. I also insert photos if the writer has provided none.
I go through the magazine, making sure every single page is perfect and then I send it off to print! (Whilst all of this goes on over the space of three months, I also promote continuously over social media, engaging with the audience all of the time so they don't forget about us between issues!)

Where did the name LoveFrom... come from?

It came to me whilst on a walk with my sister as I discussed what I would name a magazine I intended on making in the future. (the not so far off future as it turned out!)
I said, "Well, my blog is called Love from, Florence Grace, and that's me, so the magazine could be Love from... and then the name of whoever is on the cover, e.g. Love from... Rihanna". Low and behold that is the name that I chose. It links back to my blog and me, and so really ties in with my overall brand.





What would you say to a GGD reader who wants to start their own magazine? Where would they start? Can anyone do it?

I would say don't! Ha ha, I'm joking. I mean, it is super hard work... My days are often as long as 18 hours and you have to work all the time. It's not just design the magazine and you're done. You have to constantly create content, hire writers, treat friends who may write for you as employees, even fire people sometimes. You have to promote on social media, try to make an income, try to raise awareness.
It is a huge challenge but it is incredibly fun, you get some great opportunities and you never know where it's going to take you! I would definitely not start the same way as I did (with no clue what I was doing and taking on three random people to contribute a column!) but plan it all out first. What software you'll use, who will write for you, how often you'll release an issue, everything like that. Have a really detailed idea about what you're doing!

Any long term aspirations for both LF and yourself?

To see LF in shops like Smiths and Tesco so that people can pick it up and buy it whenever, not just via the internet and my PayPal!
I also want to increase readership and to be able to pay my writers!
For myself, to keep developing as a writer, a content creator and a magazine editor... Also to get a breakfast show at Radio 1! That is the dream my friends, that is the dream!
And a mighty fine dream it is Flo! Wishing you all the luck in the world.
If you would like to read Flo's magazine then check out lovefrommag.bigcartel.com where you can buy a copy from as little as £1. Alternatively you can order print issues for £2.50 each or subscribe for £10 per year. Flo is currently running a prize draw for those that pre-order the next issue and also for subscribers! If you want to be in with a chance to win a £50 gift bundle then don't delay, order asap!
 
You can keep up with Flo on a daily basis via her blog LoveFrom,FlorenceGrace or via Twitter @flomatthews_
 
The magazine LoveFrom... now has it's own website. Click here to be redirected.
 
If you are interested in getting involved whether it be contributing a piece or advertising then please drop Flo a line at lovefrommag@gmail.com or over on Twitter @lovefrommag
 
Facebook link: lovefrommag
 
Platform for starting your own magazine as used by Florence - blurb.co.uk

That's a wrap for one evening! Hope you enjoyed the read. Have any of you ever wanted to start your own magazine? Do let me know in the comments below! Catch you all soon...

As always, sending you lots of love

Justine xxx


*All photos supplied by Florence Matthews

3.4.16

Dare To Dream



Hello lovelies! How are you all? First and foremost I must apologise for my lack of blog posts this last two weeks. I've had a few other projects on the go including my novel which had sort of been pushed to one side for a while there, but I've really been feeling creative of late so I'm back on with it!

Today's post is actually more of a story. I was told it a couple of weeks ago and wanted to share it with all of you in the hope that you take something positive from it.

There was a car crash involving a young boy. And although the boy survived the accident, the emergency team had no choice but to amputate his left arm in order to save his life.

As you can imagine loosing a limb must be pretty horrific for anyone. But take a moment to imagine what it would be like as a child, your whole life ahead of you, and suddenly you can't do all the things you took for granted just yesterday.

Luckily these days there are many aids available to ensure a person can live a mostly fulfilled life. But what if your lifelong dream suddenly seemed an impossibility?

You see, the young boy had dreamed of mastering Judo. I'm sure most of you have heard of Judo but for the benefit of those that perhaps haven't, it's essentially a modern marital art.

The boy approached a Judo master, pleading with him to give him a chance. Reluctantly the Judo master agreed and so began lessons. The master taught him his first move and instructed him to practice. After weeks of doing this same one move the boy became frustrated and asked why he couldn't learn more moves with the rest of the class. But the Judo master told him no, keep on practicing that one move. Obediently the boy continued practicing.

Months passed by and the boy heard about a competition coming up in which one pupil from the class would be picked to enter. Disheartened in the knowledge that he'd never be picked, he carried on practicing his one move and gave no more thought to it. To his surprise the following week, the Judo master informed the boy that he had in fact entered him into the competition.

On the day of the tournament, the boy took on his first opponent. He waited for the right opportunity to use his one move and won the first round. The second opponent came face to face with the boy and again waiting for the perfect moment, he used his one move and took the opponent down thereby winning the second round. Now in the final, the boy grew nervous as he saw his opponent was much bigger and well built than him. The boy took a thrashing and the referee even wanted to call the fight off. But the boy's Judo master insisted he fight on. Waiting for the perfect moment, the boy finally got the chance to use his one move and by doing so he won the tournament and became the champion against all the odds.

Travelling home later that day, the boy still couldn't believe he'd won the tournament. He asked his Judo master how he'd been so sure that he could win. The Judo master explained that firstly, the boy had practiced his one move until it was perfection. Secondly, for anyone to get out of that move, they'd need to grab their opponents left arm... And as the boy had no left arm, the opponent couldn't defend himself...
 
So why have I shared this story with you? I want you to take what you want or indeed what you need from it. Since hearing it myself I've googled and found different versions online. I still don't know for sure if it's a true story or not, but regardless I think the sentiment behind it is heart warming and inspiring.
 
For me? I like to think that it means ANYTHING is possible. That dreams can come true if we only dare to try. I encourage all of you to go forth and dream big!
 
Have a fabulous week.
 
Love Justine xxx
 

*Please note I have re-told this story as best I can remember from how I originally heard it. Apologies for any errors.

8.3.16

An Evening With Adele



Hello everyone! Yes it is still only Tuesday and no I've not fallen down and bumped my head! Ha ha! I did however go to Manchester last night to see Adele, hence this very impromptu blog post!

Firstly can I just say how gorgeous this woman is?! Totally fan girling over that bob!

Initially we were going to get the train but then my friend Ruth kindly offered to drive (much to my relief!) The traffic was pretty kind to us but a slight hiccup in parking (slightly further away than we would probably have liked) meant we had barely got into our seats before the lights dimmed and that familiar and oh so gorgeous 'Hello' filled the arena.

Typically I'm used to concerts starting a good hour or so late. These huge artists usually like to keep us waiting. But not Adele. She came on literally bang on time. Respect to her. No diva behaviour to be seen and let's face it, who wants to sit around waiting anyway?

Clutching my wine (yes and on a school night :P) I sang along to hits old and new. There were plenty of crowd pleasers including one of my favourites 'Rumour Has It' and of course 'Someone Like You.'

Sure there were no costume changes but then if there had been that wouldn't have been very Adele would it? No fancy frills needed here to hold the crowd's attention. She can hold the stage all on her own with just that flawless voice, personality and microphone. The dress she did wear was a beautiful dark sparkling number that caught the light with every movement she made.

Throughout the evening she playfully engaged with the crowd, often swearing like a trooper. Her self deprecating humour making me warm to her instantly.

One particular thing that struck me was how comfortable she now seems to be in her own skin. She even admitted this herself. No doubt growing older has helped with that but her son is quite clearly the main reason. Ask anyone who was there to witness, but happiness seemed to radiate from her every pore as she chattered about family life.

Referring to the Bond premiere of Skyfall that unfortunately she had to miss, the crowd roared as she admitted that she had been too busy 'trying to get her new born son on her tit!'

Asked to describe Adele in one word after an evening in her company, the word 'normal' springs to mind and yet Adele is anything but normal. Extraordinary maybe. Beautiful yes. Talented? It goes without saying. But she is also so incredibly down to earth. There is no doubt in my mind that we would be firm friends if we someday met.

Would I go see her again? Absolutely! That's a no brainer!

Until next time... Have a lovely week! Try not to work too hard! :)

Lots of love Justine xxx


Photo courtesy of Ruth McHale.

5.3.16

Happy Mother's Day


Hello you lovely lot! How is life treating you? Well I hope!

Because I plan my blog posts weeks in advance, I tend to forget that certain occasions or special days may crop up and throw a spanner in the works. This week is a prime example. As I'm sure you all know, today is Mother's Day. So instead of posting what I had originally planned, I'm now blogging on a whim because I felt that I needed to mark the occasion.

It's difficult to remain positive when talking about missing a loved one so forgive me if this post isn't as bubbly as my usual. But I am missing my nanna hugely and today is one of many firsts that we have to get through. Mostly I just feel for my mum right now. It's the first Mother's Day she's ever known without her own Mum being around and that's a horrible notion.

My mum has undoubtedly been my rock for thirty odd years and if she was whisked away tomorrow I'm not sure I'd cope. Sure we've had our moments but hasn't every mother and daughter? Hand on heart she is and always will be my 'go-to' person. During the periods when my Mental Health was at it's worst she somehow pulled me through. Total respect to her because it must have required a hell of a lot of patience.

It goes without saying that these two women have played a huge role in my life. As such I thought it would be nice to share a few photos with you. (See header image.)

The top photo is of my mum and I. It was taken on my twenty first birthday (many moons ago) when I was genuinely happy, a whole lot less anxious - from what I remember anyway - and we'd just had a really good day. Everyone I loved pretty much was there including my nanna and grandad.

The central photo was taken on Christmas Day. I can't pinpoint the year exactly but I'm pretty sure I must be about three or four years old as my sister is lurking around ha ha! I chose it because even from day dot, my mum was very hands on and I think the picture is very telling of that.

The last photo is of my nanna and my sister. I could have uploaded so many but I've gone for an older picture (twenty nine years or so older) purely because this is how I will always remember her. Happy, young at heart, smiling and full of love for us.

I hope you all have a brilliant day. Mother's Day or not, it's ALWAYS nice to appreciate our loved ones be that friends, family or even both. Sure we all have our gripes and life is anything but perfect but it's still important to count our blessings too!

Have a fantastic week...

Lots of love Justine xx

28.2.16

Little Luxuries



I'm a typical girl in that I love pretty things! If I see an item when I'm out and about and it makes me smile or feel inspired then I usually snatch it up. Having such items around me helps fuel my creative streak. It can be anything from wall art, a notepad, a quote on a postcard, or even old magazines from years gone by. There's a great odds and ends shop in Windermere that sells issues from as far back as the eighties for 50p each. Great for making collages and mood boards!
 
I also love affordable glamour for the same reason, and because it usually makes me feel better about myself. Who doesn't feel a bit more confident when wearing a new nail polish or sparkly necklace? As such I had been after a piece of statement jewellery for a while albeit minus the hefty price tag. One of my first stops was eBay. Low and behold I found this little beauty (in photo) for under ten pounds! The pink fluffy jumper - another second hand treasure from eBay - was a spontaneous buy. Technically speaking I didn't buy the notebook - it was a gift from a friend - but you can bet your bottom dollar I'd have bought it first if I'd have seen it! My friends know me so well! :)
 
Have you treated yourselves to any little luxuries recently?
 
Here's hoping this week treats you all kindly.
 
Lots of Love Justine xxx
 

21.2.16

Confrontation Anybody?



I had a bit of an argument with someone this week. I hate confrontation. Hate it. And I hate arguing even though I am probably one of the most argumentative people I know. There's some irony thrown in there somewhere. But when something isn't right or when I'm trying to do something for the good of someone else, the spark within me just lets it all out.

The thing is, I've always been this way. I've always tried to listen to people not just with my ears but with my heart too. (Corny as that might sound.)
 
I guess what I'm trying to say is, if an opportunity presents itself, to fight for someone or something we believe in, then we have to learn to be ok with confrontation.
 
Life isn't a bed of roses. What's the alternative? A quiet life? Sit on the fence? Turn a blind eye? I don't think that would ever sit right with me somehow. Sometimes we have to stand our ground and fight for someone else's corner when they can't themselves.
 
Sure if you want to go through life with no stresses or confrontation then by all means choose ignorance. It is afterall like they say bliss, and I'm not here to judge. I'm certainly not suggesting you go interfering when you're not wanted or needed. But if someone has asked for your help, and you know you might be able to make a difference, would you sit on the fence or would you step in, even if that meant possibly overstepping a mark? Just food for thought!

Have a fantastic week everyone. I'm off to have a very lazy Sunday! :)

Love From Justine xxx

 

13.2.16

Blogging Tips

Blogging On A Budget


You can bet your bottom dollar that there'll be zillions of Valentine's posts doing the rounds this weekend. But this isn't one of them. I'm going against the grain and writing about something else... Blogging on a budget!