Blogger starter kit – all you need to become one of the #instageneration
Pic credit: Lily Like
Here you'll find the perfect blogger starter kit, from the must-have Insta-perfect camera to the belt that all of the big bloggers are wearing and the blogger handbag – just the right size to fit her smartphone, that perfect nude lipstick and a small box of Ladurée macarons.
Before you think I'm taking the piss, let me clarify: I am, and I'm not. I am a blogger. I own half of these things, and the half that I don't own, well, that's probably because I just didn't have enough cash at the time. A lot of these items are a bit clichéd, but by that same token, a lot of them are lovely and fun and any blogger worth her salt would be glad to own them.
The Olympus Pen E-PL7 camera
Pic credit: Bang On Style
This is the blogger camera du jour – small enough to fit in aforementioned handbag, with gorgeous retro styling and (crucially) it looks great in an Instagram flatlay (taken with your phone, duh). Bang On Style has a great review listing all of the pros and cons (because it's not without its cons), but the main draw of this camera is how it looks. It's really that simple. (I own this, but in black, because I – insert eyeroll here – wanted to be different. My review is a long time coming, but it is coming, I promise!) Amazon.co.uk has a few options for the Olympus Pen E-PL7 online; expect to pay from €300 (I paid around €450 for mine, with the basic kit lens).
An inspirational monochrome wall print
Once again, no shade being thrown here – I have quite a few inspirational wall prints in my own home, and they're really cost-effective ways to liven up a boring wall, and really good for those living in rental properties where full on redecorating is off the cards. I like those by Irish company Dusty Boy Designs and, if you're looking for something quirkier, the selection at Jam Art Prints is great for ex-pats who want to be reminded of home. Of course, Etsy has thousands of options to choose from – if you select "Ireland" as your shop preference, you'll find some last minute Christmas presents that will get to you on time for the big day.
A set of box lights – for YouTube or Instagram
I bought this set of two Neewer softbox lights from Amazon a few months ago, and they have been indispensable. If someone's looking to start – or continue – a YouTube channel, do photoshoots indoors or just get some really deadly Instagram flatlays, they'll need some lighting (in Ireland anyway), and these box lights set me back around €80 including postage. I used them to light my room for this post, and they pack up nicely into a bag that's a little bigger than a yoga mat, so handy to store, too.
Pic credit: ThePersianbabe | YouTube
I wonder, when Saint Laurent christened their teeny tiny crossbody bag the "Blogger", could they possibly have anticipated just how many bloggers would fall for the ruse? It's a bit embarrassing when you think about just how easily we all fell for it, saving up our coppers to fork out €750 for a glorified wallet with a strap. (I did want this, for a short while, then I decided I wanted the Gucci Soho – €790, seen on Tanya Burr et al – then that, too, became ubiquitous and I was ashamed of myself because, if I'd had the money, I'd own them both by now.) In any case, if you know a young 'un who wants to be a blogger, and you have €750 to spare, buy her this – she'll love you forever.
This is exactly the type of fashion item that led to the rise and rise of the Man Repeller; there is very little that can explain the inexorable rise to fashion fame of Gucci's fur-lined backless loafer, but here we are – the most fashion fashion item of 2016. Of course, you could make someone's day by forking out €790 for the real deal, but let's face it: this is not a pair of shoes that will be much-loved in five years' time. Instead, go for the River Island version (€75) and use the rest to go for dinner in Shanahan's (totally worth it, by the way).
On sale on Net-a-Porter right now, Calvin Klein has concocted some serious marketing wizardry in the past few years with its branded bra-and-knicker sets. Kendall Jenner posted a pic in hers; Emily Ratajkowski did the same (braless, obvs); The Blonde Salad's Chiara Ferragni followed suit. Somewhere along the line, influencers forgot that the celebs in #MyCalvins were getting paid for their endorsement, and it seemed to be a badge of honour to post your own #MyCalvins shot. So, CK paid for 10 mentions and got 10,000. Still, the undies are cute and dead comfy (no, you won't be seeing a pic of me in #MyCalvins, so you'll just have to take my word for it).
You know those selfies you see, where the women look a bit like startled cats, with little circles shining out from the centre of their pupils? They're thanks to a ring light, either large or small, pointed straight at their irises. Well, now you don't even need to fork out for a big version (although you can, and they work just as well for YouTube or Instagram as a box light), because you can buy a portable ring light that attaches on to the top of one's phone (from TRNDBeauty.com, another deadly Irish shop). Perfect for on-the-go Insta-ready selfies. I don't own this one, but I'd kind of like to... #basic
This is more about the marble than the phone case itself – marble anything is a safe bet for 90% of (female fashion / beauty) bloggers on the planet right now – but a marble iPhone case is a fairly small financial outlay and would make a great stocking filler. There are loads online right now; this one is cute, and on sale.
A pair of Frends headphones
Pic credit: My Free Choice
I bought myself a pair of rose gold headphones in Currys PC World around a month ago – and honestly, I have never had more questions about an item in my entire life. They cost me €39.99. So I have deduced, from this experience, that a pair of interesting metallic headphones are always going to go down well. I love my Gojis, but if you're looking for something slightly fancier, Frends headphones are the absolute business. They fold up into a cute little carry-bag, you can change up the caps if you fancy a different metal (and they do occasional collaborations with different designers, if you want to collect a full set), they're angled so you can wear them with earrings and you can take calls with them, too. Winner.
A few years back, the Moschino belt was the belt to be seen with – now, Gucci's interlocking Gs have taken over as flavour of the month (or of the season). If you know someone who's into designer gear and likes to take the odd #ootd pic (that's "outfit of the day"), you can't go far wrong with one of these. If you really love them, get the ostrich version.
A pair of metallic Nikes
Nike does its Air Max Thea in a variety of metallics – silver, gold, rose gold, metallic grey... And you can even customise them online if that's your poison. They'll look great in an Instagram flatlay with those Frends headphones and a marble iPhone case, just FYI...
The Gucci Dionysus handbag
I would just like to preface this by saying that, yes, I know this is another Gucci item – but, if you'll recall correctly, I predicted this return to power for Gucci months ago. The Gucci Dionysus is another slightly confounding success story. It's essentially a large boxy tote with an uncomfortable chain handle, in Gucci's signature monogram, which got very uncool there for a while. And yet... there's something beautiful about it. This is the one item on this list (and of course, it would be the most expensive item) that I would genuinely love to own, and am genuinely considering saving up for. Because I'm a tacky bitch, I want the embellished version. Swoon. As it's a mere €2,980, I may own it sooner rather than later. Total bargain.
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