How to train ANYONE to be your Photographer

In the style of Carrie Bradshaw…

‘I couldn’t help but wonder, did having an active Instagram mean becoming a bickering old nag who sends her friends and/or boyfriend running for the hills?’

I couldn't help but wonder

Who on earth takes those perfectly angled shots you scroll past every day? This is one of Instagram’s most elusive secrets and although the answer 50% of the time is paid photographers, those who are just beginning can’t afford to splash that cash (or at least I can’t).

The other 50% of the time, we enlist the help of our close friends, family and partners and essentially use them for slave labour (as they so often like to exclaim). The issue here is that paid photographers are paid for a reason, whereas your friends & family are likely to be absolutely clueless, so it’s up to you to teach them how to take a good photo.

I have first-hand experience in the torture of having your well-meaning boyfriend/friend take some awful ‘under the chin’ shots and how this just leads to tantrums and passive aggressive criticism, so here are my top tips to get a fab shot without all the trauma:

  1. Keep em’ Happy! If everyone’s in a good mood, things are much more likely to flow smoothly so this is v important! Try and be on good terms and make sure everyone is well fed. It might be nice to offer them a drink before or after to show that you appreciate their time and being so patient with you.
  2. Come prepared: It makes things much easier when you know your location and outfits, it’ll only make them agitated if you’re um’ing and ah’ing over where you should be heading. It’s also helpful to save a few inspo pictures on Instagram so your photographer has some reference, but make sure they’re realistic or you might scare them away.
  3. Test shots: Set up the frame for them and ask them to stand in for a photo so they can see what you want; this helps them understand your vision because they’ll be a part of it! (Pro tip: Stick to shooting with a phone rather than a camera so all they have to do is tap a button!)
  4. Check on those photos: Make sure you ask them to take multiple photos incase they make the gargantuan mistake of taking 1 (god forbid this should happen) and keep checking them every 10 or so to make sure the position and angle are working. If it isn’t, be kind and suggest moving left/right/further away etc and if that fails, just reposition them yourself.
  5. It’s all in the edit: If things don’t turn out exactly as you pictured, don’t stress and take it out on them! Half the power of an Instagram photo is in the editing so as long as it’s not blurry, you can fix pretty much everything (colour, light, exposure…) in the edit.

These few little tricks have saved me from many a quibble and I hope they can provide you with some relief. Comment below or find me on Instagram @ironic_jess and let me know if they’ve worked for you!

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Processed with Rookie Cam


24Hrs in Paris: First Timers Edition

It’s obviously impossible to see all that Paris has to offer in 1 day, but if it’s your first time visiting Paris, as it was mine, then 24hrs is enough time to see a selection of it’s unique sights.

I’m going to give you a rundown of what we (my boyfriend and I) managed to do in 24hrs, including travel, prices and sightseeing. Let’s begin with getting from London to Paris.

Getting There

I took the Eurostar from London St Pancras and in all honesty, I assumed getting the train would be a fairly chilled option, compared to having to go through the stress of an airport for a 60 minute flight but I was shocked at how disorganised and chaotic I found the experience. The queues were badly signposted, the staff at security were stressed and very unhelpful and the overall experience was a bit of a whirlwind. Although I do have to mention that this wasn’t the case when coming from Paris back to London, where it was much calmer. However, don’t let this put you off, just be prepared to arrive at least 1.5-2 hours before your train at St Pancras.

The Eurostar itself was great, for a 2hrs15-30 minute journey (non-stop), the seats are super comfortable and ergonomic, there’s free on-board entertainment if you connect to the free wifi and plenty of storage space for small luggage.

TIP:  Make sure to pack lightly as you’ll have your bag with you most of the time! I’d reccommed a backpack or light holdall. I packed a small overnight bag so I could take it to all the attractions, as you’ll probably spend very little time in your hotel room.

We arrived at Paris ‘Gare du Nord’ station at 4pm local time (1hr ahead) and preceded to head for the lower level signposted as the ‘Metro’ (Similar to the Underground). There are lots of friendly and English speaking staff around the ticket machines that will help you purchase the right ticket. Since we were only staying for 1 day, I decided to buy single journey ticket rather than a pack of 10, but if you plan on staying longer this may work out cheaper for you. The ticket I bought is called the ‘T+ ticket’ and allows you to make a single journey with as many changes as you would like for 1.90 euro.

Then you need to navigate the tube map, which is available on a super helpful app I used called ‘Next Stop Paris’, similar to Citymapper. The map is a little overwhelming but by following the right coloured lines and planning your journey on the app, you can easily get where you need to be.

What to do

  • Tour Montparnesse – Panoramic view of Paris

We travelled straight from Gare du Nord to Montparnasse-Bienvenüe, to visit the Tour Montparnesse, a panoramic observation deck with a beautiful view of Paris. They have no restriction on bag size so this was perfect. I would reccommend prebooking tickets for this on their website, so you can walk straight in and avoid the queues.

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  • The Lourve

We then checked into our hotel to leave our bags and save ourselves any struggle as the Lourve have restrictions on bag size (see below).

‘Any items exceeding 55 cm x 35 cm x 20 cm are not permitted in the museum. All items left in lockers must be collected the same day. The Musée du Louvre is not responsible for lost or stolen property.

We got the Metro to ‘Palais Royal Musee du Lourve’, which comes out underneath the Lourve in a shopping centre style building. If you take the escalators to the exit, you’ll find yourself by the classic glass pyramid and palace that i’m sure you’re all familar with seeing.

TIP: If you’re under 26 and are a EU citizen, bring your passport and show the staff at the entrance of the galleries and you get in for free!

As a first timer, I’d suggest going to see the Mona Lisa. You’ll find her in the ‘Denon’ wing and it’s well sign-posted from the entrance.

  • Take a cruise on the River Seine

We were pretty exhausted after our day of travelling and crashed after visiting the Lourve. The next morning we got up early for the breakfast included with our room and then headed out to ‘Alma Marceau’. Here you can find the Bateaux Mouches cruise of the River Seine. This was also something I prebooked, you can buy tickets there but we found it quicker to print off our tickets at the self-service booths and then start queuing to get a good seat.

The cruise cost 14eur per adult and runs every half hour, it covers all the key sights from the Notre-Dame all the way back to the Eiffel Tower and has a running commentry in most languages, including English. It lasts approximately 1hr 10 minutes, so make sure to schedule this time into your itinerary, I’d reccommend doing this in the morning of the day you leave or the night you arrive.

  • Eiffel Tower

After seeing the Tower from Tour Montparnesse, and having a closer look from the boat, I didn’t feel the need to go up the Eiffel Tower. However, if this is something you want to do, I’d recommend waking up an hour or so earlier and going before the cruise. We got the 10:30 cruise and left our hotel at 9:30, so baring this in mind, you could easily leave between 7-8 and make time to see the Eiffel Tower.

Again, I have heard that booking online saves a lot of time when you’re on a schedule.

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  • Champs Elysees/Arc de Triomphe

A short walk from Bateaux Mouches, or one stop on the Metro, is The Avenue des ChampsÉlysées, an avenue in the 8th arrondissement filled with shops, similar to Oxford St. At the top of this road is the Arc de Triomphe. You can climb the Arc de Triomphe for a cheaper price than the Eiffel Tower, although there are approx. 280 stairs so keep that in mind!

When walking down the Champs Elysees, keep an eye out for Sephora (my favourite place) and the fanciest Abercrombie and Fitch I have ever seen, it literally has it’s own pathway and is fronted with an arch covered in renassaince cherubs.

After that, we got the Metro back to Gare du Nord, an hour and a half before our train at 4pm, meaning we spent exactly 24hrs in Paris!


If you had more time to spend, other attractions include:

  • Sainte-Chappelle: A historic and ornate chapel
  • Notre-Dame: Iconic Catherdral
  • Jardin du Luxembourg: Large park from 1612, Paris’ answer to Hyde Park!


Where to stay

Paris is made up of 20 Arrondissements (similar to Londons Boroughs) which you can see in the Map below.  Arrondissements 1-9 are where a lot of the attractions are based, and 10-20 are fairly residential. I stayed in the 11th Arrondissement, still in close enough distance to central Paris by the Metro but still a nice way to experience Parisian life.

I stayed in the Grand Hotel Francais right opposite a Metro station called ‘Rue de Boulets’. When looking for a place to stay in your 24hrs I’d 100% recommend looking for somewhere near to a Metro station, and somewhere that offers Breakfast because you won’t have time the next morning to go out searching around for somewhere to eat if you want to make the most of your day.

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I hope you’ve enjoyed this guide to 24hrs in Paris, let me know in the comments below if you have any extra tips for people visiting Paris for the first time!

Speak Soon,

IronicJess x

Chloe Rylee Medium Boot – High Street and High-End Dupes

So here I am again, obsessing over shoes I cannot afford and therefore scouring the high-street for affordable options.

My latest infatuation is with the Chloe Rylee Medium Boots, in all the various colours and materials that they come in, however at £920-995 a pop, I’ll probably never own a pair.

So after a few weeks of searching both online and in-stores, I have found two most similar dupes. One of which being high-street and one being somewhere between high-street and high-end.

  1. Office Ambassador Lace-up Boots

At only £95, you can afford to look beyond the lack of the recognisable cutouts from the original boots and focus on the many similarities such as the shape and heel size and the buckles and lace. They also come in both Black and Tan. Total win.

2. All Saints Lucie Boots

I’m not sure All Saints can pass as high-street but these dupes for £228 are still considerably cheaper. The Lucie boots flew off the shelves and just recently got restocked, proving just how popular they are. However, they only appear to come in Black and they are also lacking the iconic cutouts.

3. Papaiya Dune Boots

As suggested by a reader, these Dune boots are a spitting image of the Chloe ones but are only £130 – probably the most similar I’ve found!

If anyone has managed to find an even more accurate dupe, please let me know! I can never get enough of them.

Speak Soon,

IronicJess xo

Instagram Inspired Haul

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If you ever wanted an insight into my Instagram feed, it 99% consists of bloggers that inspire me and 1% dogs. I’ve been seeing everyone snapping their new spring wardrobes and following so many bloggers, inevitably, there are some pieces which appear repeatedly. This inspired me to take a little trip to Topshop.

  1. Long Sleeve Lace Top

This top is trending all over Instagram at the moment, I’m loving the way that @sophiemilner_fs and @amyfuchsia styled this square neck top and I know this is going to look good with everything in my wardrobe.

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      2.  Petite Basic Cropped T-Shirt

This was mostly because I needed a new staple black t-shirt, but also because I love the quality of the Topshop t-shirts and they’re only £6.

3. MOTO Hacked Off Crop Denim Jacket 

This was inspired by @naomigenes  who I’ve seen rocking the cropped denim jacket as part of a double denim look. This is going to be an absolute staple for Summer!

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4. Petite Half Zip Leopard Skirt

I’ve seen leopard print coming back around recently, but I feel like there are some pieces that come across tacky but this skirt is definitely more subdued.

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5. Bumbag from LoveLeeUk

This Bumbag is an extremely affordable dupe for the real thing, at only £20, I couldn’t say no to this viral trend.

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Speak Soon,

IronicJess xo

Mental Health at University: Do Universities need to invest more into Mental Health?

With 2 weeks left of my first year of University, my flatmate’s and I have been discussing how mentally challenging it has been for all of us. Mental Health at university is crucial to talk about, especially as it is such a turning point in your life. For most of us, it’ll be our first time moving away from our family home and chucked into an environment with complete strangers; as well as having to cope with the pressure of a difficult degree and join societies which I found weren’t as ‘beginner friendly’ as they made out to be.

Having considered that, the facilities at my university for helping with mental health are DIRE. We have a counselling service which asks you to rate your need for help from 1-10 and that they will allocate more serious cases with counselling sessions faster. From a friend’s experience, she applied for counselling and rated herself as fairly serious (a.k.a a priority) and was not offered an appointment for MONTHS. On their website, it says this: Due to the unprecedented demand on our service, we regret it is likely that your appointment will be up to twelve weeks after applying. However, we will be prioritising finalists and students most in need of an appointment. When the appointment finally came around, it was cancelled.

Now I understand that there are thousands of students at each Uni and a small number of counsellers in comparison, but this should not be the case! 12 weeks is not acceptable in any person’s case, regardless of if your situation is less or more severe. If you apply for counselling you most likely need it now and not in 3 months time. You would think that after all the awareness raised over recent years and the influx of people opening up about their mental health that a ‘demand on their service’ would not come as a surprise. Every University should be prioritising mental health support alongside their educational services because they often go hand in hand. In my experience, a proportion of my anxiety comes from stress caused by my assignments and exams so I would expect a little of my £9,250 to be put towards hiring more counsellers and improving those services.

I know, of course, that I cannot speak for any University aside from my own. Please let me know in the comments below or on my Instagram – @ironic_jess if your experience has been the same or different! I’d love to hear from you either way.

Speak Soon,

IronicJess xo


OOTD + New Look Haul

Inspired by @lissyroddyy and @sophiemilner_fs I started browsing the New Look website after seeing some fab OOTD’S featured on their Instagrams. They have some really great and affordable transitional pieces to help build your spring wardrobe.

My first purchase was this Saturday slogan print t-shirt, which is part of the 2 for £12 deal so it’s really good value for money and fits very true to size, I’m wearing a size 6.

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Secondly, I’m trying to incorporate more cardigans into my wardrobe to transition away from coats once the weather gets warmer. The reviews of the cardigans from New Look were very positive so I ordered this Pink Cropped Cardigan. It’s very thick and cosy but for those of you with sensitive skin its good to know that it has a kind of itchy feel to it, but it’s definitely bearable!

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Next is this amazingly insta-worthy graphic jumper which I am totally in love with. This red La Femme jumper has 5 star reviews and is probably my favourite thing from this haul. Plus it’s only £19.99!

Now for the items, I liked just a little bit less…and by that I mean I’m returning them lol. So firstly this Cameo Rose Pale Pink Ruched Front Blouse. It doesn’t show it very well on the website by the material is too similar to crepe paper for my liking and is less of a pale pink and more of a bright, and translucent, coral. Not for me thanks!

The final item is this pair of Light Brown Stud Ankle Boots. They looked slightly more pink in the pictures which were slightly deceiving but on top of that the ankle area is really wide so they didn’t sit very well on my ankles, however, if you were bigger than me then they would probably sit better around your legs!

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The rest of my outfit:

Coat: H&M

Jeans: Monki

Shoes: Vans

Handbag: Zara (Similar)

Hat: Missguided

Please comment and let me know anything from New Look that I should have picked up or that you have bought loved!

Speak Soon,

IronicJess xo

Skincare Haul + Being part of a Skincare research group

As you may have seen on my Instagram, I work with Botanics skincare regularly to share their affordable and natural products with all of you guys. I was recently invited to a research group hosted by Botanics with other influencers which was an amazing experience. I was chosen alongside 7 other girls (I felt very special lol) and it was a really friendly atmosphere with lots of honest discussion about the products.

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They were kind enough to send me away with a tote bag full of goodies which I want to share with you! (Although, some of them I bought myself)

I’m yet to try all of these products because I don’t want to freak out my skin but I’ll keep you updated if I find any absolute gems.

First of all the Botanics products! I was gifted the Botanics Hydration Burst Dual Action Cleanser from their hydrating range and the Botanics All Bright Radiance Balm which I have tried and LOVED. It’s a really naturally glowy primer that boosts your complexion, although it isn’t much of a tacky primer, it’s actually very smoothing.

Next is the Botanics All Bright Cleansing Face Wipes and the Botanics Organic Facial Oil 100& Organic which I have not tried yet but will keep you updated!

They also gifted me the N07 Beautiful Skin Foaming Cleanser for Normal/Oily skin and the N07 Youthful Replenishing Facial Oil. I might gift my mum the oil since I have quite a few in this haul (You’re welcome Mum 😉 )

I’m really excited to try the YourGoodSkin Balancing Skin Concentrate because it has really great reviews on the Boots website and is supposed to essentially fix all skin issues which may or may not be a little farfetched but I can’t wait to test it for myself. Comment below if you’d be interested in me trying this!

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As if I didn’t have enough skincare already, I decided to visit The Ordinary store in Covent Garden as I’ve heard so many bloggers and friends rave about their products. I bought the Azelaic Acid Suspension 10% which evens out skin texture and after only one night of use, it removed the rough dry layer around the perimeter of my skin so I’m really impressed so far.

Then I purchased the Lactic Acid 5% which is intended to exfoliate the skin (Maybe I bought too many acids? oops) and the Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% which is formulated to reduce blemishes and congestion and I have seen the most people rave about this product in particular so I’m excited to see if it reduces my redness and regular breakouts on my cheekbones.

I’m so thankful to Botanics for inviting me to their Research group, it was a really exciting and interesting experience to make a difference to a skincare brand based on their audience’s opinion.

Speak Soon,

IronicJess xo