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Any posts which I don’t want to call ‘lifestyle’, I don’t want to call ‘beauty’, and I don’t want to call ‘fashion’. I like to call it the ‘awkward’ category…

5 Years of Tolly Dolly Posh | How My Blog Can Help You

By March 29, 2017 General

Whew boy, I can’t believe that I have officially been writing my blog for half a decade! Blogging is a weird and wonderful word and over the past few years I have definitely realised how many blogs and websites there are out there now but I couldn’t be more chuffed with how my very own is turning out. On previous “blog birthdays” or “blogiversaries”, I’ve answered questions about how I blog but this time I wanted to get some of my frequent readers and commenters involved and see how it’s been to read my work and join in with Tolly Dolly Posh along the way. Hell yeah, I’m not only championing my hard work (because yes, it’s been challenging), I’m championing you too!

tolly dolly posh ethical fashion blogger - fame & partner zenith dress


🎉 HAPPY 5th BLOG BIRTHDAY TOLLY DOLLY POSH 🎉


Without trying to big myself up, I wanted to ask some of you who frequently interact with my content why you read my blog and how it’s helped you over the past few years, months, weeks or days you’ve been reading it! It’s a slightly more personal version of one of my previous reader surveys. Hopefully, it will make things a little clearer for new readers and will also celebrate the community which has been created ever since I started writing because obviously, I probably would have stopped or at least pulled back a little if it wasn’t for your continuous support. I may be a small fish in a big sea but it’s definitely a good sea to be in…


JayneNabilaEleanorEdie


When did you start reading my blog?

About three years ago. I had read about you in a magazine, I’m not sure which one.

Edie

I am not exactly sure. I found you through another blogger probably saying how awesome you are. I think a little over a year ago.

Nabila

tolly dolly posh ethical fashion blogger - fame & partner zenith dress

How has my blog inspired you?


In a blogosphere (beauty & fashion specifically) full of shallow, predictable content heavily focused on trends and full of bloggers who are so desperate to please brands that they’ve maybe lost their way a bit, it’s refreshing to see you doing things your own way since the start.

I’ve always cared about ethical shopping and natural products, but it wasn’t until you switched to being more focused on ethical fashion that I really started doing my research and changing my habits. It’s also super inspiring to see someone so young have such a passion for something so important to making our world better, people like you give me hope that things will get better in the future.

Jayne

I would say it’s helped me learn more about ethical fashion and how it can really easily tailor to your style; in no way does ethical fashion have to be drab.

Eleanor

You have inspired me to wear what I want and only what I want. If I feel confident and badass in something, I’m going to wear it, even if my parents say I look like a clown! Posts like ‘How To Soothe A Sore Thumb‘ have massively increased my confidence, and changed my mindset. They taught me that life’s too short to conform, and that’s a priceless lesson!

Edie

tolly dolly posh ethical fashion blogger - fame & partner zenith dress

Has my blog helped you become a conscious consumer?


I have never been the best buyer of clothes since I love shopping but reading some of the newer posts by you has helped me to realise that not every piece of clothing is created equally. I have also learned that having maybe fewer clothes isn’t a bad thing and how to really have less.

Nabila

You’re the reason I’m so aware of ethical fashion! That’s now the main focus of my own blog, and I’m doing presentations in my school about it. I feel extremely passionate about the subject, and I would now class myself as a conscious consumer now. Yay!

Edie

The ethical book reviews on your blog have really helped me to further my knowledge and make educated choices about the clothes I buy. The ethical directory you have on your blog is a fantastic way to easily access ethical brands and have helped me find some brands that I’m absolutely in love with!

Eleanor

I’ve got a long book list from reading your blog and have already watched some eye-opening documentaries off the back of your recommendations and that’s the best first steps anyone could ask for. I’ve actively stopped shopping with brands that I know are problematic like H&M, Topshop and Primark and am now spending more time learning how to sew so I can make as much of my own stuff as possible going forward.

Jayne

tolly dolly posh ethical fashion blogger - fame & partner zenith dress

tolly dolly posh ethical fashion blogger - fame & partner zenith dress


WHAT I WORE: Zenith Dress (Fame & Partners)* 


What would you like to see more of? 


On the blog I would love to see more feminist posts as I loved the one on feminist shirts. I would also love to see more posts asking and answering questions to things that are being talked about or are popular questions.

Nabila

I would say posts that expand on the brands mentioned in your ethical directory so perhaps more information on a few of your favourite brands with your favourite pieces from the brand (like a wish list for the company).

Eleanor

Whatever captures your heart and inspires you. Always write for passion. Your blog is special because you can tell that you really care about the subject and have gone to a lot of effort to do the research and put it together in a way that is accessible to a wide range of people. I’d love to see more bloggers taking a page from your book and going back to the specific thing that they are passionate about, the trigger that got them writing in the first place.

Jayne

Receiving these responses really solidified how happy and proud I am of the work I’m doing right now. I think I’ve definitely found my feet even if it’s taken me five whole years to get here. Of course I’m always looking to improve and make things even more accessible and enjoyable for you, the readers, so please feel free to send over your own responses! Let me know in the comments what you’d like to see and perhaps I can make it happen!

For now though, once again, thank you so much for reading and giving me such incredible opportunities over these past few years. I suppose we should say ‘here’s to another five’ but perhaps this site will be a platform for something even greater by then. Take a look back at some of my favourite posts in the meantime and keep updated by following me on Twitter, FacebookInstagram and all those magical places.

THANK YOU! 👊

  Lots of Love… Tolly Dolly Posh xx

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My Favourite Blog Posts of 2016…

By December 29, 2016 General

As I have done for the past two years on my blog, I’m going to be sharing with you some of my favourite blog posts of the year to round things off for 2016. This is a chance for you to catch up on what you missed, as well as time for me to reflect on what I’m most proud of myself. You can even go a step further by taking a read about my round-ups for both 2015 and 2014, too!


How to Combat Feeling Judged and Self-Conscious

At the beginning of the year I was asked a question about overcoming the idea of being judged and being self-conscious, and what I had to say seemed to go down positively. I still stick to these ideas and hope that some of you are still using my advice to become a more confident and carefree person! There’s even a to-do list so you can try and change your perspective on things, a little bit at a time.

My Style Editorial: Desert Rebelle

I’ve always been interested in photography but 2016 was definitely a year for figuring out my style. I’m much more carefree with how I shoot things now. I don’t mind using a blurry picture or one which really captures a moment or a laugh, because that’s what makes a moment real. However, I also like more stylised shoots and this was one of the first where I played with both of those elements. Big hats off to Papa Posh (my dad) for kicking things up a notch this year!

Turning Sixteen

I’ve thrown this post into the list mainly for memory’s sake because it’s funny to think that you have no idea how a year is going to pan out, especially from a milestone’s point of view or from something memorable like a birthday. Turning sixteen means different things to different people, and I think reflecting on this post has made me realise it was about becoming stronger as a person, for me. My fifteen-year-old self would laugh at what my sixteen-year-old self has now been through!

When in Florence… 

Although travelling in Italy has had its ups and downs, some of the places I’ve visited have been spectacular and I loved writing up my recap on Florence (Firenze). I’m sure I’ll return one day but for now, I have this summary to look back on and for you to read and take travel inspiration from.

Accepting Change & Curating Your Personal Archive

As well as being a year of growth and building strength, 2016 has also been a year of defining who I am at this point in my life, so I shared with you why I think it’s so important to embrace that and how you’re going to change as you grow. It had a lovely response and some of the photographs are my favourites I’ve ever taken and put together. They were shot in an area badly affected by the earthquakes, so I’ll treasure them dearly.

Best Fashion Blog Posts of 2016

→ Why Using Your Blog Audience to Make Change Is So Important

Over the past year or so, I’ve been making a purposeful change to make my content more impactful and inspiring in certain areas, more specifically in terms of ethical fashion. It’s my aim to change the way things work in an industry I so badly want to break into, but it’s also my dream to continue writing a successful blog, and with that comes some responsibility to try and inspire others too. I wrote about why I think bloggers and online influencers should be using their voices to make a change. If you’re a blogger, I hope you read this and it makes you think about what kind of content you’re publishing.

David Bowie Is in Bologna

Another travel post, but this time focusing on one of the greatest heroes which we sadly lost at the very start of the year. I was able to experience the magic of the David Bowie Is exhibition in Bologna at the start of August and it is still inspiring me now. I’ll never forget what an incredible artist Bowie was and is, and I hope that more and more young people start discovering his true talent for what it really is. Since then I’ve also attended his Lazarus musical in London and that too was mind-blowingly beautiful.

Take Part Big Issues: #16in16

On the same vein as my post about turning sixteen, this year I took part in one of Take Part’s Big Issues. It focused on 16 young women turning sixteen in 2016, and was a truly empowering piece about the struggles and inspiring stories of myself and others of the same age. I still feel honoured that I was a part of such an exciting project!

✤ You Can’t Call Yourself a Feminist If You’re Supporting Fast Fashion

This is what I would call my most ‘intellectual’ piece of the year. Some topics are hard to approach without seeming too in your face, or without pointing out what someone is personally doing wrong, so this was quite a challenge to write but hopefully it has opened some more eyes about what is happening behind the labels of our clothes. I hope to touch on more of these sorts of issues in 2017, and hope you will appreciate them as much as you did this time around.

→ How to Grow up as a Teen Blogger

I was really surprised by the response to this post. It was genuinely lovely to see how a lot of you could relate, no matter what your age. I also loved connecting with readers who have been following me since practically day one. Thank you for supporting me throughout this wild journey, and throughout all of the changes. I appreciate your support no matter how long you’ve been following and for no matter what reason.

Best Fashion Blog Posts of 2016


What was your favourite blog post of the year? Share one of mine or from another blog!


To finish things off, here’s my letter to the past year…

Dear 2016,
You started off my year by making me cry because our world had lost a hero. You made me smile a few months in when I received a message that would turn into friendship which I’ve treasured in some of your harder moments. You made me excited and grateful for the people around me, and you made my family bigger in more ways than one. You gave memories and sunshine and jokes to last for many years more, and you gave me opportunities to inspire myself to push further.

You changed my life in a matter of seconds. You let me see my life flash before my eyes. You made me terrified of my surroundings and the ground I stood on. You made me learn the true meaning of the word emergency and escape; family, home and security. You pushed me and tore me down but you didn’t let me stop. You taught me to never stop. Some things seem too big to handle; some things feel typical and ‘just our luck’, but none of it was ever too much. You made me strong and you made the world strong, even if at times it’s all felt so incredibly weak.

You haven’t been the worst year in history, so perhaps I’ll give you a little more credit. Thank you for letting me see the end of this year and the start of the new one, when I know so many won’t.

  Lots of Love… Tolly Dolly Posh xx

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How to Grow up as a Teen Blogger

By December 11, 2016 General

Whilst I haven’t been blogging as much as usual, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about what I’m doing on here, what I plan to do and what I’ve done so far, and it’s made me start to think about how the labels I’ve used have started to change and have started to develop. One of my biggest blogging characteristics is my age – I’m still a teen blogger, but I’ve started to realise that’s not what defines my presence on the internet anymore.

how to grow as a teen blogger - tolly dolly posh

When I started blogging there were only a few teen, or tween, bloggers (aged from about 11-16) that were well known within the online world. It wasn’t a commonly known thing, so whenever I was asked about my blog and how young I was, there used to always be an element of surprise and intrigue, as well as questions about how I was coping at such a young age of 11. I was asked about what my parents thought and how they handled things; I was asked whether I knew how to cope with bullying and the other darker, scarier parts of the internet. It wasn’t really about what I wrote – it was about who I was as I wrote it.

You can still read my very first blog posts; they’re still live and I haven’t archived them even though there’s been a great temptation to do so. Looking at them now as a sixteen-year-old who’s been writing and creating for almost five years, they make me cringe and cave into that tempting thought of wiping the slate clean. I used to write about how you could recreate celebrity style when five years later I still genuinely don’t know who the Kardashian’s are and why they’re such a big deal.

People used to like what I wrote though because I had feedback and interaction and there was obviously an interest because I was getting asked to feature in magazines and travel to London for events and to film a pilot for a TV show, and all these sorts of exciting things… however, all of these features and all of this interest was mainly being given to me because of one thing – my age.

how to grow as a teen blogger - tolly dolly posh


WHAT I WORE: Blue Floral Blouse (Jumble Sale) // Sparkly Black Maxi Dress (Charity Shop) // Vagabond Dioon (Mastershoe My-Shu)* // Jewellery (Unknown & Claire’s) 


I was a ‘tween’ blogger and it was what became my niche, even if it wasn’t intended. My content wasn’t necessarily unique or ground-breaking, but it supposedly was because the ground-breaking thing was who it was being written by. I wouldn’t usually share statistical matters with just anyone but if you must know, my biggest click back and referral to my website is still the article about teen bloggers I was featured in by The Telegraph Magazine. I was 12 years old, I was wearing what was technically a culturally appropriated piece of headwear and I was shooting most of my blog posts on an iPhone 3G.

I’m not trying to say that it’s all been an illusion and I don’t deserve the successes I’ve been given because trust me, it’s not been easy. Blogging isn’t easy. Being an 11-year-old and constantly updating a website and maintaining it, isn’t easy, and I can see why I was unique and ‘inspiring’, and why I still am in my own right.

In fact, all of the stresses and long nights of writing blog posts have made me understand why bigger names and voices get frustrated over the fact that their hard work is often overseen because no matter how big the industry is becoming now, it’s still seen as a hobby and something that anyone can do (well, technically anyone can, but not many are ready for the commitment).

What I’m trying to say is – now that I’m older, I’m growing out of that label. In fact, in about two years’ time, it won’t even be factually correct, because I’ll be an adult (yes, this blog is going to have seen my full transition from an 11-year-old to a fully-fledged ‘adult’), and guess what? You don’t really hear anyone calling themselves an ‘adult blogger’ do you? Unless, you know… you’re into that kind of thing.

how to grow as a teen blogger - tolly dolly posh

And these days, I know I’m not the only one who soon won’t have a blog to base upon their original niche. Although there were only a few popular teen bloggers in 2012, there were still many opening up blogs and Tumblr accounts to give it a shot (I have proof in the form of dozens of emails asking for advice and guidance).

Teen bloggers aren’t a niche anymore because it’s so easy to start something at the click of a button. I’ve found out that a lot of my readers of the same age and younger are bloggers themselves, just by clicking on their Twitter profiles after receiving a reply or a like.

I don’t get asked whether I’m coping with cyberbullying or hate anymore; my parents are barely mentioned when I’m answering interview questions, and it’s all because five years on, people know of these issues and how they work. They’ve seen it hundreds of times over. Young people can make blogs and code their own social media platforms. It’s not new anymore, and that’s a hard honest fact to come to terms with.

So, if you’re reading this as a teen blogger (a blogger who is within the age range of around 11-16 years old), how do we redefine ourselves? How do we stand out and make sure that our young voices don’t get drowned out by the hundreds of others doing the same thing? How do we grow up as a teen blogger?

how to grow as a teen blogger - tolly dolly posh

Ask yourself, why are you blogging?

If you’re known for being a young blogger, or your readers are young and they look up to you for the fact that they can relate to what you’re saying, you need to make sure that you’ve defined the niche that yourself and your readers will be able to grow up with. For me, it’s been a journey. I now class myself as an ethical fashion blogger (and aspiring fashion designer) because that’s what is important to me. If you write about teen beauty, specify what your core focus is on. You don’t have to label yourself as a ‘confidence blogger’ or an ‘acne blogger’, but make your core focus a key message throughout everything you do (more on this in the next point).

Labels aren’t everything, though. You don’t have to feel like you’re fixed in one position, because of the fact you’re going to change. You’re what you are in this specific moment in time, not forever.

Write a mission statement…

If you want to make a point about what you’re doing and you want to stand up for what you believe in, shout it! Write a mission statement and make it clear and precise as to what your goal is. Your readers will know what they’re there for and what they’ll be gaining at the same time. Start defining what part of being a teen blogger is most important to you. Here’s mine from my about page


Mission Statement:

My mission is to inspire others to be more confident in themselves and what they wear, whether that be in terms of their physical appearance (becoming more comfortable in the real you) or in terms of the actual clothes that are in their wardrobes (becoming more aware of who made them and where they came from).

It is also my aim to become more comfortable and aware of these topics myself and bring you along on the journey. I believe that not everyone is perfect, whether that be in terms of embracing their personality or living a more ethical life, and I want people to know that, that is okay. I want my blog to be a place where you feel comfortable in sharing your journeys too!


how to grow as a teen blogger - tolly dolly posh

Let things change…

Don’t feel like you have to stick to a certain style or to a certain aesthetic just because that’s what you started with. I believe in creating a strong branding, but that doesn’t mean you can’t branch out and become the blogger and person you truly are. Allow your blog to grow up organically. Don’t force yourself into writing content just attract a certain audience. Let things change and develop. Think of yourself and your blog as a flower – you need to blossom and bloom.

…and accept it.

The hardest part is knowing that things have got harder and that being someone young online isn’t going to cause a stir. It might not have been why you started out, but it might have been what got you off the ground. It caused attention and it created your audience, but it might not necessarily do that anymore. It’s not just because of your age, it’s because of how much more choice there is. You have to accept the path things go, which is in fact, part of blossoming and blooming.

I’ve started to take this quote on board a lot, whether it’s to do with confidence or life in general – flowers are pretty but so are fairy lights and they look nothing alike. You can still have your own unique voice and still bloom into something individual and undefined by your age or another part of your personality or general being, and be successful and stand out. It really is about knowing what that is to you and watching people follow. In fact, I guess it’s about growing up in general – you have to work out who you are, first.


If you’re a teen blogger – how are you growing up online? Let’s chat in the comments!

Lots of Love… Tolly Dolly Posh xx

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Being 16 in ’16 | Take Part Big Issues

By September 7, 2016 General

A couple of months ago I shared a behind the scenes picture of a project I was asked to be a part of, and today, I am super excited to be able to share with you what exactly it is! Now launched, you can take a look at Take Part’s newest Big Issue – 16 in 16…

take part big issues 16 in 16 #16in16

take part big issues 16 in 16 #16in16

take part big issues 16 in 16 #16in16


Watch my #16in16 video here


Turning 16, to most girls, means becoming a young woman and exploring oneself. It’s an exciting time, but it’s also full of challenges, especially for those in far-flung corners of the Earth. For some teens, being 16 means starting to drive and experiencing love and dating, but for others, it can mean taking on inequality and conflicts in everyday life.

So, to learn a little more about what it’s like to be 16 years old in 2016, Take Part asked myself and 15 other girls what it’s like to be as a young woman, whether they might be, in the hopes of sharing why teen girls should have access to education, economic opportunity and basic human rights. It was all quite exciting to be a part of, but now I look at it all put together with the other girls’ stories, I’ve started to realise why it’s such an important message.

The feature is a small video series which highlights certain topics like relationships, family life, future careers and ambitions, and what struggles 16 year olds have to face. Some of the stories are genuinely, truly inspiring, so I feel very honoured to have played my part the best I could! I spoke a bit about why home education gives me more freedom than traditional schooling, but there’s a small bit more when you click through to my personal segment.


Ethical and sustainable fashion. I’ve become interested in the True Cost movie. I don’t believe in labels and fancy clothes and things like that. I would rather have my wardrobe like I do now; it’s secondhand, and it’s ethical brands.

What I'm most passionate about...

take part big issues 16 in 16 #16in16


Watch all #16in16 videos here


Some of the other girls include Monica from Nairobi in Kenya, who’s ambition is to become a journalist; Emma from Pennsylvania who’s an aspiring writer working hard for equality and the LGBTQ community; Haiana, a Syrian refugee now living in Germany, and Savannah, who’s an aspiring marine biologist who’s been coping with her mother’s drug addiction most of her life. All of the girls have such inspiring messages and are obviously destined for great things!

You can take a look at my feature, as well as the other videos and other girls, at the link above. Please do take a look and give it a share if you can! Take Part (part of Participant Media) will be rolling out the campaign for the months ahead, so I’m sure you’ll see the link floating around for a while too.

Thanks so much to the team for this opportunity, and for creating a project with such a strong message. Here’s to being 16 in 16!


Images taken from the 16 in 16 videos.


Lots of Love… Tolly Dolly Posh xx

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I Experienced an Earthquake

By August 28, 2016 General

(Definitely not a fashion related post, but an important one nonetheless.) I don’t mean to be dramatic as I write this. I don’t mean to worry anyone or make my experience seem worse than others, because I know it wasn’t, in fact, I’ve never felt luckier.

italian earthquake terremoto 2016 amatrice


My experience of the earthquake was minor compared to others.
Please donate to Croce Rossa Italiana to help those in need.


You may have seen on Twitter or Facebook or wherever else I post, but if not, then you won’t know that on Wednesday 24th August at 3.36am, a 6.2 magnitude earthquake hit the region of Italy where I am currently staying. Again, I am safe and even after not knowing where she was for four hours of the morning after, even our travelling cat Paloma was found without a scratch.

But, I have never and I hope that I will never again experience something so terrifying. I know that earthquakes happen all over the world fairly frequently, whether that be big or small, and I know that there are even more scarring experiences to go through, but even the sound of a car driving down our road is now enough to make me feel like crying again.

I’ve learnt about earthquakes before. I’ve researched them, my family even planned out the sort of thing we would do if one hit before we started travelling through Italy, so it’s not like we knew it could never happen… it’s just you never really think it will. And when it does, there’s no warning. There’s no gradual build up. In a matter of seconds it can feel like your whole world is about to shatter, and unfortunately for some, this time – it did.

For me the worst part is exactly that; how sudden it was. I go to bed fairly late. I fell asleep at about half past 1 in the morning, after watching an ASMR video because sometimes I find them relaxing to watch before I drift off. I put my laptop down, turned off my side light and closed my eyes. I hadn’t said goodnight to my parents or brother, and I hadn’t given my cat a cuddle; I’d just simply fallen asleep, as you do, normally, definitely not thinking about what would happen in 2 hours’ time.

italian earthquake terremoto 2016 amatrice

I feel rather stupid now, because when I go over the events (which let me tell you, isn’t pleasant to do – I’m crying as I type this) I remember sitting bolt upright in my bed when I first heard the rumbles and felt the shakes (more on this in a moment) and thinking – ‘What’s that?’. It only really clicked in my mind when I heard my mum call out, “Get under a table!”, a phrase we’d discussed when researching what to do if it ever happened.

My first conscious action was to scream.

I then attempted to get under my bed, because I’m fairly slim and I’ve done it before in order to get a box out from underneath it, but in the pitch black, with your heart racing and nothing making sense, climbing under a small space is near impossible. So I crawled as quickly as I could to the desk at one side of the room, crossed my arms over my knees and closed my eyes.

Last night (as in, the night before I wrote this – 27th August), we went to a restaurant by the sea (where nothing was effected by the earthquake) to try and calm ourselves. We were by a railway line and a train came past. My dad put his hand on my arm and said “It’s just a train.”, and I was a bit confused, but as soon as it passed, I froze, because I knew exactly why he’d said it. For a split second I thought I would be fine, but all of a sudden the tears came spilling out and I had to try my hardest not to close my eyes so I didn’t think back to the night.

italian earthquake terremoto 2016 amatrice

The train was nothing in comparison to what I felt and heard, but anything can set me off now. It’s so hard to explain.

In my opinion, it’s like the earth roared. It was so dark and so sudden that I couldn’t even allow myself to see what was actually happening as the building shook. I can’t explain it. You don’t know what an earthquake feels like until you feel one – and I hope none of you reading this ever will, or ever have, because trust me, you really don’t want to.

I believe the main quake lasted about 20 seconds. In that time, I got under my desk, my mum found a space under a table outside of the bedrooms, my brother stayed put upstairs where he sleeps, and my dad attempted to get to my room. Also in that time, I finally managed to open my eyes as the shaking and roaring faded. Things were scattered across the floor, ornaments were broken and the cupboard doors had opened to let things fly out.

I was crying through all of it, but the tears and hyperventilating didn’t come until there was light from somewhere (I still honestly have no idea where from – one of my parents’ torches? The main lights?) and I looked up at the wall above the bed.

There’s now a diagonal crack from the bottom corner to the top corner, with brick exposed and plaster completely gone. I looked to the floor and I could see dust and paint and as I finally got to my feet, I had to try my best to tip toe around broken glass. The scary thought I have is that I had no idea any of this was happening at the time. The only thing you worry about in terms of destruction, is how to avoid it – not what’s actually being destroyed.

italian earthquake terremoto 2016 amatrice

My brother came in my room at one point, and tried to join me under the table… once the shaking had stopped, my dad dashed downstairs as safely as he could to get bottles of water, and once he was back, we huddled in the hallway under tables and turned up sofas and decided what to do next.

This is why I’m grateful for my surroundings – we were able to safely get out of the house and sit on sunbeds in the open garden where nothing could fall on top of us in the event of an aftershock. None of us had injuries – our main concern of wellbeing was our cat, who like I said, we didn’t find until four hours later when the sun had come up. She was upstairs where the least damage had occurred, hiding behind some drawers and a sofa. I’ve never been so happy to see a cat in my life.

I’ve also never been so happy for WiFi. The connection where we are isn’t the greatest, in fact it drives me mad most of the time, especially when it comes to blogging, but somehow it was still going strong for us to use. My brother had his iPad and was Googling what we should do next – what we should check, where we should go, and whether anything was going to happen again.

The internet couldn’t give us exact answers, but it made us feel like we weren’t so alone as we sat under the stars (and what seemed to be a meteor shower – a detail of this story I keep forgetting to mention to people) and tried to compose ourselves, which is what I’m still doing four days later, and what I expect I’ll still be doing in four weeks’ time at this rate.

italian earthquake terremoto 2016 amatrice

What I’ve written really hasn’t explained the pure terror of that morning. My brain was trying to figure so much out all at one time. I didn’t have my life flash before my eyes, but I’m certain at one point I gulped and realised I still hadn’t met my newborn nephew who’s just turned a month old. I was shaking outside from the shock rather than the cold and I didn’t want my dad to let go of me.

The aftershocks started soon after. The biggest one we’ve experienced so far was about an hour after the main hit, rumbling for a good few seconds and knocking whatever we heard in the distance to the ground (we believe it may have been an abandoned farm building nearby). Aftershocks are still happening, and they’re what is keeping me from going inside to write this.

There are two very different sensations – an aftershock outside and an aftershock inside.
Outside, it’s mainly under your feet. You feel it and you hear it, and it unsettles you, but if you’re in an area where nothing can fall, you know you’re safe. Inside however, it’s all around you; the building shakes and almost sways, like it’s about to push up from the ground, and even if it lasts two seconds, you’re already looking for the nearest table.

Apparently it is extremely rare for a strong aftershock to hit again, but it’s not impossible. What should happen from now on, is tiny rumbles until they fade away completely. It might take a week, it might take two… we still might feel something in a month’s time. That’s the thing with earthquakes – you can’t ever know.

So we’re still sleeping outside. Our cat stays in a locked room during the day, before joining us in the tent during the night. We could go back in, because we’ve had a builder take a look at the damage in all of the rooms, and we’ve had the gas tank checked for leaks (“It’s the Season 4 of my life!”, I joked to a friend recently – you can make me feel better by understanding that reference) but it’s just the thought of experiencing it again, in the same place, barely a week after, that is terrifying (me, mainly).

italian earthquake terremoto 2016 amatrice


My experience of the earthquake was minor compared to others.
Please donate to Croce Rossa Italiana to help those in need.


I really wish I could turn back time. If I could ask for anything right now, it would be to go back to the day before when I was getting on with my work and life and being productive and feeling safe. I’d really like a nice sleep in my bed without having to look up at the ceiling which has cracks in it.

But that’s why I started this post by saying ‘I don’t want to be dramatic’.
I know it could be worse.

I could have no bed to go back into at all. The cracks on my phone could be because it got smashed under rubble, rather than the fact I dropped it a few months ago. The tent we’re sleeping in could be because we have no house to return to, rather than just because we’re afraid. We could have been an hour and a half away, in a town we had a coffee in last winter, watching everything we know and love fade away.

My heart breaks every time I think about the fact that other families who experienced the same thing at the same time as us, are no longer whole. I hate that I know a girl younger than me had to survive 24 hours under the rubble of her house, and that babies have lost their very short lives. And I hate how there was nothing anyone could do to prevent any of it.

italian earthquake terremoto 2016 amatrice

But I feel so grateful that we’re in a country where there are resources to help those in worse conditions, and that it took me all of two minutes to donate to the Italian Red Cross to help in a small way, and that a friend of mine is helping in the preparation for food to be delivered to effected villages… and that with every day it’s going to get easier and that I’m safe.

This trauma isn’t going to be easy to get over. Driving up and down the unpaved road nearby feels rather similar to how my bed shook and moved, and I’m going to be reminded by it every day with all the damage, until the redecorators finally leave at some point. But I’m okay. I obviously might not be blogging as much until I feel comfortable at my desk again, but I’m okay.

I experienced an earthquake and I guess it’s just another story to add to the list. A list that will hopefully make me stronger, and a list that I can hopefully pass on to help others.

  Lots of Love… Tolly Dolly Posh xx

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Why Using Your Blog Audience to Make Change Is So Important

By July 21, 2016 General

The word ‘influencer’ has started to creep into my vocabulary recently, because I’ve come to the conclusion (along with the media/press) that bloggers (including myself) are now much more than just bloggers. We’re influencers.

influencing your blog audience - teen blogger Tolly Dolly Posh


WHAT I WORE: Faux Leather Jacket (DIY & Peacocks) // Maxi Dress (ASOS) // Floppy Hat (ASOS) // Rings (Unknown


Bought something you’ve seen a blogger wearing? They influenced that decision. Had an opinion changed by a blogger you read every day? They’re influencing your thoughts. That sounds rather 1984/Big Brother levels of scary, but if we can be influenced by brands and magazines in that 1984 scary way, then there is nothing to stop us from being influenced by bloggers (again – including myself), just the same.

I’m not here to talk about beauty standards and societal conformities and that kind of influence though. I’m here to talk about positive influence and my irritation over the fact that Not. Enough. Bloggers. Are. Using. Their. Audiences. To. Make. Change.

I can’t say I’m perfect. I haven’t spoken about racism in the fashion industry, or politics (but I guess with that one I’d be expected to talk about Theresa May’s shoes, wouldn’t I?) on my blog before, and I’m not making petitions and getting you all to sign it, but I am doing my small part in sharing my views and opinions on certain things, specifically ethical and sustainable fashion, and how fast fashion is getting kind of old. So, I am doing something… but just the odd blogger, here and there, in my opinion, isn’t enough.

influencing your blog audience - teen blogger Tolly Dolly Posh

I’m not here trying to guilt anyone who is a blogger, but I hope that you will agree with me saying that there is a need and lack of bloggers using their audiences to make change happen. Perhaps my frustration comes from the fact that I’m not a huge blogger… yes, okay, I have a few magazine features under my belt (way to blow your own trumpet, Tolly) but I am nothing in comparison to the superstar YouTubers and followed-by-200k-on-Twitter bloggers, yet I am trying my best to put out a message that will only reach a few hundred. These bloggers, with a power and influence that they know they have, could be doing massive amounts to change the minds of literally thousands (if not, millions) of people. But they’re not. Why? Well, that’s the answer I want to figure out.

I’ve seen a few arguments to this question, including ‘It wouldn’t fit in with my aesthetic/blog topic’ and ‘I want my blog to be a place to escape’, or even, ‘There’s somebody else already doing it’. They’re all valid, and if that’s what you believe, then it’s your blog; sure, stick with that. But think about the possibilities of what you could be doing.

If you get comments on your posts, it’s because somebody has taken the time to read the majority of the words within it (and finds it worthy of adding to). That means that somebody is listening to you. Somebody is being influenced by you. Even if it’s just one… that’s somebody who could learn about something important and topical, that they might not have thought about before.

influencing your blog audience - teen blogger Tolly Dolly Posh

Let’s take me and ethical fashion, for example. I’ve had quite a lot of readers commenting on my blog and saying ‘I never really knew about this before, I’m definitely going to learn more’, which is exactly what I want whenever I talk about it. So what if a blogger with 100 times the amount of readers as I have, spoke about the same issues? That would be 100 times more the amount of people being influenced.

The argument of ‘It wouldn’t fit in with my aesthetic/blog topic’ is a bit of a weak one for me personally. It takes me back to one of the reasons I even wrote this post – Vivienne Westwood (and Ian Kelly)’s book about Vivienne’s life and career. You probably already know, but Vivienne works closely with climate change and combines fashion and her activism into one. When she spoke about this in the book, she said that everything is connected, it’s just finding a way to comfortably connect it that can become a struggle… but, it can be done.

Obviously, if there’s no cause or topic you feel worthy of talking about, then don’t force it just to influence people. Talk about something that you are passionate about and believe in strongly. If you’re a beauty blogger, you can still talk about such topics as ethical and sustainable fashion, because fashion links in with beauty and trends and how consumerism and capitalism do their part. If you’re a book blogger, talk about books which discuss these types of topics.

influencing your blog audience - teen blogger Tolly Dolly Posh

~ HOW TO SPREAD A MESSAGE ~

 Tweet about it
 Retweet other people’s tweets
 Use Facebook to post lengthier updates (there’s no 140 character limit!)
 Blend in subtle messages within other blog posts
✓ Write a mission statement for your about page

 Ask your readers questions about the topic
 If you’re not; admit that you’re not perfect (especially with things such as ethical shopping etc)
 Bring your readers along on your journey
 If it’s important to you – let it be important

Whatever kind of blogger you are – you have an audience that listens, trusts and is influenced by you, so you may as well use that to your advantage. Even if you don’t do it on your actual blog, speaking up about things on social media is important too, because it is even more easily shareable, which means the people you are influencing can then influence their friends and family and their own audiences.

I think it probably hits home to me so much because ethical and sustainable fashion now seems to me, unquestionable. I don’t really understand why more people aren’t talking about it. I’d love for people who do have bigger audiences than me, to start spreading the same awareness. Especially those who have millions of beady eyes watching. I’ve only seen a couple of people who have started to do this, like CutiePieMarzia, who worked on the Fashion Revolution ‘#Haulternative’ campaign, and more recently, Tanya Burr, who is working on the Global Goals campaign which focuses on gender equality worldwide.

The most important part about people such as Tanya spreading these messages, is the fact that she is reaching out to teens. Younger people are being fed knowledge and are starting to question things because someone they watch and admire is telling them that it’s important. She’s using her influence, and really – it’s just that simple.

If you’ve been contemplating writing a post about a topic that is close to your heart, then write it. Use the power you have at your fingertips. If just one person reads it and decides to learn even more, that’s one person you’ve influenced. That’s one more person who might just go off and change the world (even if that sounds rather over the top).


Let me know in the comments what you’d like to see influencers talking about, and how you think it can be done!

Lots of Love… Tolly Dolly Posh xx

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4 Years of Blogging | When Do I Blog?

By March 29, 2016 General

I only just remembered late last night that today marked my 4th blogging year. How crazy is that? In celebration, I thought I’d keep up the tradition of these what, when, how and why questions that I’ve been doing every year to mark the occasion. Last year it was howwith the year before that being whySo for the 4th year, in celebration of my of my 694th blog post (yikes!), I’m talking about when…

blogging advice - when do i blog - blogging tips - 4 years of tolly dolly posh teen blogger

~ #1: WHEN I FEEL LIKE IT ~

The most important time to blog is when I feel like it. Honestly, there are so many times when you’ll find yourself thinking “I should probably put up a post today” but not actually feel like doing it. Blogging takes a lot of effort, especially when you’ve set your own personal standards and goals, so it’s important not to forget to just enjoy the process.

It’s easier to forget this when you’re working with brands in my opinion because you have this added pressure to get out a post for their sample or sponsored campaign as soon as possible. Try to work with brands that value your time and acknowledge the fact that you can’t always get a blog post up within 10 days of receiving an item.

To be honest with you, my favourite blog posts are ones that come from the heart and are spontaneous. They may be written at eleven o’clock at night and be filled with random words that make no sense within the context but they usually read a lot more naturally; just like you’re talking to a friend.


TOP TIP: Write when you can but if inspiration hits, write as soon as possible, because your words will flow write (I honestly accidentally wrote this, but it turns out it fits as a nice pun) from the source – your mind and your fingertips. If you feel pressured, press down on the breaks and ask yourself “Who’s keeping track of when my last post was?” because most people are just here to read, not to keep track of the date on each post heading.


blogging advice - when do i blog - blogging tips - 4 years of tolly dolly posh teen blogger

~ #2: WHEN I NEED TO ~


Dioon (Vagabond)* // Wanderlust 1460 (Dr Martens)* // Violet Holographic Pascal & Virginia Leather 1B99 (Dr Martens @ Mastershoe-MyShu)*


Although I said that it’s best to work with brands who acknowledge your time, sometimes you actually have to work to a deadline due to certain terms in the campaign. As a fashion blogger, I mainly get asked if I can post a sample feature within a certain amount of weeks, but sometimes it’s a little tighter than that, so blog posts need to go up at certain times.

Technically, it’s all part of the business side of blogging. When you feature an item or site on your blog, you’re becoming a virtual billboard for brands and companies, big and small. Some brands will need features to go up within a certain month due to seasons and trends changing, or due to the fact that their product has limited stock. They are all big factors to take in to consideration, so if they haven’t given you a time to get things published by, make sure to ask!


TOP TIP: Even if you don’t think there would be a deadline, ask just in case. The worst thing is being chased up by a brand multiple times a week (or even day!) asking for the link to the post they’ve been waiting for. Get things written up, send them drafts and keep them up to date with frequent, friendly emails.


blogging advice - when do i blog - blogging tips - 4 years of tolly dolly posh teen blogger

~ #3: WHEN I CAN ~

Now, now, now… there’s a big difference between when you feel like it and when you can, because unfortunately, not all of us can be working on our blogs 24/7 (unless you’re actually a full-time blogger… in which case, good on you!) and not all of us can keep our blogs as our main priority.

If you feel pressure to post when you just physically can’t, then take a break and refresh yourself. When blogging becomes a chore when you simply want it to be just a hobby, it takes all the fun out of it and you start to forget why you blog. Hit the refresh button and reevaluate. Nobody’s going to point out the fact you haven’t blogged in a while, so take a breather. If you can’t, you can’t.


TOP TIP: When blogging becomes a task, switch off for a while and think about why you’re really doing it. If it turns out that you’re forcing it and you’d rather stop for now… then that’s okay! If you realise that you’re just in an inspirational rut, that’s also okay. Relax, people!


blogging advice - when do i blog - blogging tips - 4 years of tolly dolly posh teen blogger

~ #4: IN THE MORNING ~

I actually tend to write most of my blog posts at night time (just due to the fact that I do other things in the day so I don’t have time) but I actually really recommend writing blog posts earlier on in the day before you start getting influenced by new ideas. It’s especially great if you think of something to write about the day before but can’t get to your laptop straight away… you can just crack on when you’ve finished checking your emails etc.

It also leaves your evenings for just relaxing and doing whatever you want (which can of course include blogging). Also, for photography reasons, lighting is always better in the mornings throughout every season, so the earlier you get up, the more time you have to snap away! That’s if you don’t have soft-boxes of course… they are life savers in the winter!


TOP TIP: To maintain your focus, install a browser extension like Timewarp that keeps timers on tabs and certain websites to stop you from getting distracted for too long. This is great for any form of computer work really… so is f.lux, which is a piece of software that adjusts your laptop screen to the light outside. My eyes have never felt so good sitting at my computer for extended amounts of time!


Thank you so much for all the support these past four years! It’s been a load of fun and I’ve gained so many opportunities all thanks to you guys! *group hug*

Lots of Love… Tolly Dolly Posh xx

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Twenty-sixteen.

By January 3, 2016 General

First of all, Happy New Year! This is officially my first blog post of 2016… which also means the first blog post for my 4th year of blogging… crazy! I still can’t quite believe 2015 is over, I think it genuinely was the most fast paced year of all time, I mean seriously, where did it go?

Twenty-sixteen 2016 - Happy New Year Outfit - Wildfox - New Look - Nike - Normcore Outfits

~ MMXVI ~

2015 was an odd year for me… a lot happened but it’s as if I didn’t really have the right sort of grip on it all. Like it just sort of blurred past me and then I was like, oh wait, that happened, didn’t it? (That probably makes no sense at all, but this is just going to be one of those updatey type posts so bear with people, bear with!) And that’s why I want 2016 to be different… I want to be able to actually grasp onto opportunities and realise exactly what’s happening.

I want to really just go for it, because quite frankly, I need to. Even if I start with small things, I think it might actually work this year. I’ve already taken a pretty big step in telling myself that after April, I will most definitely be dying my hair a washed out navy blue… the April part is rather specific as I’m going to be maid of honour at my sister’s wedding and I’m not quite sure I’m brave enough to walk down the aisle (um… sort of) with my new-do. But it will happen people! I will dye my hair and it will in some way help me to step up to bigger things. I can feel it.

Twenty-sixteen 2016 - Happy New Year Outfit - Wildfox - New Look - Nike - Normcore Outfits


WHAT I WORE: Faux Fur Coat (Jumble Sale) // Maison Scotch Blouse (Jumble Sale) // Good Morning Sweatshirt (Wildfox Kids)* // Ripped Flares (New Look Teens)* // Nike TR Fit 5.0 Trainers (JD Sports)* // Personalisable Necklace (Primark) // Sunglasses (SCOUT)


In terms of real goals… I’m not sure. I used to do real step by step goals but now it’s just sort of a general aim to get things going. I have a few plans for my blog example, including a new interview feature that I’ve been working on for a really long time and just the overall idea of extending my content to more intellectual and in-depth topics.

I started to do this towards the end of last year, but things got hectic with #MooiEnLiefbyTDP (oh yeah, I launched a collection last year, didn’t I?) and I ended up putting too much pressure on myself… hence my drop in blog posts. After running a site like this for so long, I suppose you set yourself up for expectations when really, the only expectations are in your head. I’m doing this for me after all, right? The added bonus is all of the opportunities and amazing readers on top.

Twenty-sixteen 2016 - Happy New Year Outfit - Wildfox - New Look - Nike - Normcore Outfits


location

  LOCATION: Sirolo, IT  🇮🇹


I’m forever grateful for what blogging has given me and I don’t regret a single bit of it. I hope 2016 brings even more to TDP, in whatever direction it takes. I’m thinking I might refresh things again too, so it might not be just my hair getting a change. If I do change things up, it won’t be anything too drastic… it’s just with my age, I’m always changing and I feel like I’ve already grown out of my 2014 update (two years is a long time for a teen, just sayin’)… so who knows. We’ll see!

As for you, I hope you stick around and that you all have an even better year than the last. You’re all awesome and I absolutely love being able to chat and converse about things we all love and enjoy. Who knows, maybe we’ll meet in person this year? There are endless possibilities waiting for us… I guess it’s just about going out and grabbing them.

Good luck you crafty jack rabbits… 100 brownie points if you can point out that reference. 100 brownie points if you can’t either, because you’re all equally awesome.

  Lots of Love… Tolly Dolly Posh xx

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My Favourite Blog Posts of 2015…

By December 31, 2015 General

Hey you! I really hope your holiday has been going well and you’re excited to ring in the New Year this evening! Last year I rounded up some of my favourite blog posts, so today, I thought I’d do the same for 2015! You can check out last year’s round-up here, but for now… let’s take a look at the year of two-thousand-and-fifteen…

How To Style Khaki

I started the year off with one of my favourite outfit posts ever. They’re still some of my favourite pictures to date, and it was all down to the new addition to my family, Phillis (aka my 35mm lens). Read here. 

How Do I Blog?

After 3 years of blogging, I answered the big question of ‘How Do I Blog?’, covering all the main queries that you guys might have about this awesome little hobby. Read here. 

He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not

Another selection of some of my favourite outfit pictures ever… including some pretty snazzy tights and a bright yellow background. I honestly trailed around for hours trying to find a backdrop like that… Read here.

The Importance of 2nd Hand Shopping

I spoke about why I think 2nd hand shopping is so important in support of #FashionRevolution day. Read here.

Tolly Dolly Posh (Fake) 'Club Card'

In this post, I made up a sketch I did when I was 10 in attempt to make my 10 year old dreams come to life, with the help of my little friend Photoshop. Read here.

How To Soothe A Sore Thumb

…kind of? I wrote a quick little piece on sticking out like a sore thumb and how to deal with it. A lot of you liked this one. YAY! Read here.

Mooi en Lief by Tolly Dolly Posh

The launch of my socks with Mooi en Lief! I’m so proud of this little project, and it has been a pleasure working with Mooi en Lief over the past few months. Thank you for the support guys! Read here.

 

Please do let me know which blog posts have been your faves of 2015! I’d love to know in the comments 🙂 Happy New Year if we don’t speak again, I hope 2016 is filled with thousands of lovely memories once again! See you on the other side…

  Lots of Love… Tolly Dolly Posh xx

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Merry Christmas, Love Tolly… x

By December 24, 2015 General

Merry Christmas - New Look - Claire's Accessories - Polaroid Photoshoot Merry Christmas - New Look - Claire's Accessories - Polaroid Photoshoot

~ MERRY CHRISTMAS ~

This is just a quick little blog post to wish you all a Merry Christmas (if you celebrate it, of course)! I hope that you all have a lovely few days relaxing and chilling out with your family and friends and spoiling them rotten with love and kisses (and presents if you really wanted to go that far… 😉🎁). I thought I’d give a quick mini Polaroid photo shoot a go for today’s post… it’s quite tricky getting the lighting perfect in each one, but I hope you like the idea!

If you’re not with friends or family this Christmas, go out in to your communities and share the love and spirit because that’s what it’s all about… and if you don’t celebrate, I really hope you’re having a lovely holiday nonetheless and are getting excited for the New Year! I’m 16 next year… crazy times, people! Crazy times.

Oh and just so you know, I’m once again wearing my beautiful New Look jumper* (I styled it up over here last Christmas), with a few accessories from the awesome Claire’s*. I’ll definitely be taking a few more silly snaps tomorrow… who knows, maybe Father Christmas will pop some more gorgeous items under my tree? 😏🎅 Who knows… *sigh*

Merry Christmas! Let me know what you’re getting up to and how you’re ringing in 2016, in the comments below… 

(This blog post contains PR samples but all opinions are my own! Read my full disclaimer here.)

  Lots of Love… Tolly Dolly Posh xx

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