Browsing Tag



Panini Cheapskates – a case study in blogging and social media

July 1, 2014
Panini Cheapskates

“With apologies to Frank in particular, and to art in general.”

Some of you may have already heard about Panini Cheapskates, a very funny blog started by a couple of friends, Alex and Sian (or a friendly couple, or couple friend, you get what I mean). When I say you may, I’m not exaggerating – they’ve been featured in the online edition of the Guardian more than once, the BBC, as well as in several online publications around the world, from Iran to Mexico.

I’ve been watching this all unfold on Alex’s Facebook page and it’s been quite an interesting thing to see, especially if you’re in the social media and blogging business. So, what’s Panini Cheapskates all about? Alex collected World Cup Panini stickers when he was a kid in 1994, but didn’t manage to finish the album. It costs money, you see? So move forward to 2014, it’s still expensive, so why not draw them? What a great idea, with hilarious results. You can read it in more detail here.

Panini Cheapskates

What makes this interesting, besides being funny as hell? This blog was started on the 12th of June… and has amassed to the present day over 61,000 hits! In around a fortnight…now that’s an accomplishment! I was curious to know how they’ve done it, so I asked Alex:

“On the first day, the Guardian were running a live blog building up to the first game of the World Cup. So I emailed them, telling them what we were doing, they liked it and put a link to it in their live blog. Within a couple of hours we had 1000-2000 hits. I started the Twitter feed at the same time so I could constantly update with pictures more often than the blog (which I updated one to three times a day at the beginning, just once a day now). I kept Googling our twitter handle and the blog URL to find instances of people sharing it around the web, and if possible tried to give thanks wherever appropriate. Whenever we get a new follower, I try and tweet them with a “Hello” and a picture too. They tend to RT that, which in turn brings in more followers I guess. I’d never used Twitter till this month, it’s been a crash course!”.

A crash course that clearly worked! What lessons can other bloggers take from this? Panini Cheapskates is a great example how a great idea, combined with a good sense of opportunity can really take off and become viral.

I don’t know if there are any plans to carry on doing it in 4 years, but for now and while the current World Cup lasts, follow them on the blog or on Twitter.


Blogging and self-confidence

June 10, 2014


True beauty is something that attacks, overpowers, robs, and finally destroys.

-Yukio Mishima

I don’t think I will be the only blogger to say that blogging has helped with their self confidence. You see, I never saw myself as pretty or beautiful or really attractive, if I’m honest. In fact, it was only in recent years that I became a little more at ease with the way I look. I barely own any photos from when I was a teenager, as I destroyed them – I didn’t like the ugly duckling staring back at me and didn’t recognize myself in them at all.

Since I started blogging on Livejournal back in 2002 or so, and because I had a digital camera, I started experimenting a lot more with photography, particularly self portraits. I started having my photo taken a lot more often as well, as a few years later I started posting the good old outfit photos, which also helped attain some easiness in front of the camera. These days it’s a lot simpler, with the rise of the selfie and the availability of smartphones, that can take better snaps than a lot of proper cameras…




Looking at oneself in a photograph, and having the opportunity to try different angles over and over again, can be considered obsessive or self absorbed. I would say yes, but also argue that if it helps people get over their hangups and feel more beautiful and confident, it can’t be such a bad thing altogether.

Thanks to digital cameras and blogging, I was able to become more self aware as well as able to manipulate and control my own image. It did (and still does) help me in terms of questioning my looks. Who do I want to be (or look like) on a particular day, can be later revisited and analysed, for further development.

I have a somewhat theatrical approach to the way I dress and as such, see it as a creative process. I’ve been doing the same thing for a while now and after some soul searching (been doing a lot of that recently), I have decided I want to take it beyond the daily outfit experience. I want to experiment not only with the clothes I wear to go to work but also invent other more extreme looks, play with makeup and just push the envelope further – question what beauty is, my self image and generally play with my appearance. In a way, be my own canvas.



How about you? Has blogging helped with your self confidence? How do you treat your self-image?


Blog hops and link parties – blogging tips

May 22, 2014


Blogging is not just about showing your pretty frocks, it is also about sharing and communicating with others and creating a community with other fellow bloggers – you will not only meet new people and make new friends but also gain more visibility for your blog.

Knowing this, it is important to participate and contribute, and a great way of doing this is by organizing or joining link-ups for other bloggers. As there are more and more of these available, I started losing track of all of them. I am sure I am not alone in this so here is a little list I compiled of a few bloghops and link-ups anyone can join. Some will have a theme and be quite flexible, others a bit more specific. Regardless, I am sure you will find a few you can join in and have fun! So get sharing!

Shoe Shine Tuesday Ephemera – every other Saturday of every month – share the shoes that make you shine.

Hat Attack –  The Style Crone – 1st of each month – share your headgear , hats scarves, or anything else you adorn your pretty head with.

Secondhand First The Citizen Rosebud – Every Friday – Show your second hand finds and outfits. Share on Social media using the tag #SecondHandFirst

Shiny T Tuesday – Flight Platform Living – first Tuesday of Every Month – Share what makes you shine.

Pick-Me-Up Spy Girl – Every Wednesday you’ll have a different prompt to share something. Share new and old posts alike, just as long as they fit the week’s theme.

Share-In-Style Mis Papelicos – Every other week, on Saturdays. For sharing your personal style with likeminded bloggers. Each Share-In-Style has a theme but you can come as you are too!  #BloggersShareInStyle

Visible MondayNot Dead Yet Style – Every other Monday – Share the outfits that make you feel good and visible, regardless of your age.

Weekend Blog HopClaire Justine oxox – Every Friday – Share your favourite posts from the week and meet new bloggers

Creative Mondays – Claire Justine oxox – Every Monday – Share your creativity, be it in crafts, an outfit… whatever you fancy. Tweet your post to @clairejustino using the tag #CreativeMondays for a fave and a retweet!

Wordless Wednesdays – Claire Justine oxox – Every Wednesday – Post photos and nothing else.

Silent SundaysCosmic Girlie – Every Sunday. Share one photo you have taken during the week running up to the post. No text, no tags, no explanation are allowed, the photo should stand on its own.

All About You Mama and More – Anything and everything about you, your opinions, what makes you tick… Share on social media using the tag #AllAboutYou.

Our London – Mama and More – Every other Thursday. Exclusive for London peeps, share the things you like about your part of the city.

Social Follow LoveVeViVos – Weekly –  Share your social media profiles and find new people to follow on different social media platforms. Use the tag #SoFoLo on Twitter.

Post Comment Love –  VeViVos  – Weekly –  A link party to discover and be discovered – a newbie will be featured and you can share any recent of your posts. Use #PoCoLo if you share it on Twitter.

Do you have any others you usually join? Let me know in the comment section and I’ll add it to the list!


Something’s bugging me…

January 3, 2014

It’s become increasingly clear that with the proliferation of new platforms, no person or company can become the master of them all. Nor should they. The harder decision is figuring out which ones you should prioritize — or jettison.

I read this article at the Harvard Business Review blog and it made me wonder about all this social media/ blog etc. Sometimes I feel like I am spreading myself too thin – I barely have the energy to come up with posts some days, and having to keep up not only with the blog but also maintain the relationships developed over the time (which I love, by the way) and also be on top of Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook and have a life offline, can sometimes be a little bit daunting. I really want to know other people’s views on this. How do you do it? which ones are your favourites?

Photos by me, taken in Florida.


Blogcademy Review -Why you should go to the Blogcademy

September 27, 2013

I promise this will be the last post I’ll be making about Blogcademy, in case you’re all tired of all the raving. The fact is that a few weeks have passed and I have now had time to digest information properly. Blogging is a work in progress and it takes time to fine tune everything to an optimal stage. I decided to write a list of what I learned as a review of the fabulous weekend spent at Blogcademy, also as a reminder of what I need to focus on. (I also wanted to have an excuse to share the fab photos Dave McNeil took of the event. It’s not every day that one gets nice, professionally taken photos). So here it goes.

  • I discovered I’m not as bad as I thought I was – having good feedback from the pros was very reassuring.
  • Knowing this allows me to not worry about what I’m doing well and invest the energy on the things I need to improve.
  • Blogging is important but interaction on social media is also very important.
  • Social media is about other people, not us.

  • I discovered the importance of having a network of bloggers who are you the same page I can share and discuss ideas with.
  • Blog designs should be uncluttered, to let the content shine.
  • The best content helps people solve problems and I should start producing more of this content.
  • I need to work on my photography a bit more. I’ve already started experimenting with a few things that I hope will work.

  • I also learned that there are best and worst times to post content on social media. Who knew?
  • I need to spend more time on Twitter
  • I need to organize my posting on the blog and the social media, to make it more time efficient so I can have more time to devote to reading other blogs and creating great content you’ll want to read.

  • Consistency is key.
  • Speaking of consistency, I need to be more consistent with my regular features.
  • I also organized ideas in my head, as to what direction I want to take the blog.
  • I decided I want to use it as a tool to experiment and learn more about social media and online marketing.

  • Being yourself is the best thing you can ever be when you are writing. No two persons are the same and being unique is what will make you stand out from the rest.
  • Websites should be easy to navigate and that it is very clear what each section is about before you click on them.
  • Images draw readers in.
  • Good images make content more shareable on other platforms.

  •  Edit Edit Edit.
  • Don’t post too many repetitive photos.
  • Always set your standards high and blogging should be no exception.
  • Putting together a business plan helps keep the focus.

These are the main ideas from the top of my head. There’s a lot of other things you get taught in the seminar – tips on design, monetizing, etc. If you want to make an investment in yourself I definitely recommend investing in a weekend at the Blogcademy.

Plus you get to hang out with fabulous people like the ones in the photo above! What is there not to like?