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There’s a thrill that comes with self-publishing. Not only do you have your own arena to write about whatever the hell you want, you are also releasing your thoughts to…well, the planet. Or at least to anyone who cares enough to read them. I find it exciting to check my website’s stats at the end of a day that I have published something. It’s encouraging, more than anything else.

I’ve learnt the importance of support when it comes to blogging – your readers are the most important thing, really. Without them, you may as well just be sitting on your bed in a darkened room holding a mirror up and talking to your reflection (I don’t do that). So I understand how crucial it is to be supported and to be publicised by online acquaintances. With this in mind, I’m recommending 6 websites by 6 friends of mine who use the net as a way of publicising their own talents. Check them out (click on the titles and you’ll be directed to the site) and if what they’re writing about tickles your fancy, bookmark them for the future…

Esha is literally the most fashionable woman I know. She’s effortlessly stylish. In the words of Marc Francis from “Made in Chelsea” – “Le Freak, C’est Chic” (not that she’s a freak). And to top it off, her house has a Burberry room in it! About a year or so ago she started blogging about her love of fashion. Whilst she isn’t in the fashion business, it’s one of her passions and she knows what she’s talking about. I kind of imagine her as the Berkshirian version of Carrie Bradshaw – I dread to think how many pairs of shoes she owns. Now, I don’t particularly pay much attention to what bag Hermes are releasing this year, or who is reinventing what next winter to be showcased last summer (I don’t understand fashion seasons and only recently realised that A/W 12 means Autumn/Winter two-thousand-and-twelve). Anyway, if you like fashion, check out Esha’s blog for her commentary, her tips and a rundown of what she wears, which always hangs off her like a modish coat hanger.

Jenny Wren is the lovely, lovely wife of my friend Tom. Tom is the eldest son of my parents’ lifelong friends, Jon & Tina Manley – who are also my adoptive godparents given that out of my three “actual” godparents one of them is crazy and the other one doesn’t appear to care about me – haven’t had a birthday card in YEARS!!!! Whatever. The Manleys moved out to New York many years ago which was sad because we didn’t get to see them very much but wonderful because we suddenly had a reason to visit New York regularly; another magnificent outcome of the move was that Tom met Jenny; and so did I. Jenny is a vegan chef and a writer. She is currently immersed in writing a novel series – I think she must be on book 3 about now – which is of the fantasy genre. She is also a fantastic cook of vegan food. I tend to get over to the states for Thanksgiving as often as I can and every time I do, Jenny has introduced me to the culinary delights of veganism. Seriously, I could turn. Tof-urkey (tofu that tastes just like turkey) is one of my favourites. And Jenny is making a career from it. She also blogs about it. I get on with her because we are both writers and of that same ilk. The day I left New York the last time I was there (November 2011) my last little social was sushi with Jenny where we talked stories and book agents and writing and all of that stuff that excites creative minds. I commented that I enjoy her blog and she encouraged me to start my own. And now here we are. Jenny is droll, funny and lovely so do check out her stuff…

Steph is the lovely, lovely ex-girlfriend of my friend Josh. Josh is the YOUNGEST son of my parents’ lifelong…you know what, see the Jenny explanation above. Anyway, Steph and I both share a desperate obsession for all things LA and she almost killed me when she told me that this year she would be starting a course at FIDM – The Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising. What’s that, I hear you ask? Errrr only the place Lauren Conrad met Stephanie Pratt in The Hills. Puh-lease! Anyway, Steph is there, doing her fashion thang, and has recently started up an accompanying blog. She has very cleverly named it “Easier than it Seams” and in the style of Gossip Girl always signs off as SEAM. I am guessing that S stands for Steph, M stands for McKean and E and A stand for Emmanuel Antonia or something like that. Who cares? It’s a great blog and I like it because I get to keep tabs on her marvellous LA lifestyle! (And yes, that’s her with One Direction, minus the ugly one)

Danielle Matty is one of my best girls. We’re probably soulmates in fact. So it’s about time I talked about her on my site. And what better way than to talk about her talent. She doesn’t blog, she vlogs – her YouTube channel, Danielle84sings, is the place to go if you want to hear her flex her vocal skills. In a way, this is braver than a regular blog – you’re filming yourself and exhibiting your raw talent. At least the rest of us can hide behind words and images of Calista Flockhart and provide our fans with streams of consciousness from our over-active imaginations. Danielle SINGS for us. I won’t sell myself too short here, as I have published articles on this site and plan to soon enough allow the world to start reading my creative writing, but Danielle posts herself performing which is a lot scarier in some respects. Last time we got a nice little intro about her new microphone too! Check out her channel and forward on to any big-wigs you might know in the music industry. She really does have a beautiful voice!

I haven’t seen Laura since we were at Exeter University together, and she’s probably reading this right now thinking I’m her stalker. Fear not, Laura! I am not that person sitting in your back garden right now, on a lawn chair, wearing a slicker mac and holding a pitchfork; but I AM aware of your very good blog, All the Tall things, and it deserves a mention. Laura is 6 foot and loves it; and she has found a niche here in that it is evidently harder for some tall women to find the clothes they really want to wear. Enter Mrs Schofield who has begun to blog about it. And it’s really interesting actually, I have to say. She’s doing well too – her blog is listed as an Independent Fashion Blogger website and she can often be found interviewing prominent people from the world of “Tall Things”. The site is charmingly designed and my hat goes off to her.

I’ve only known CL for a few months; we worked together on The Great British Sewing Bee. Not only is she the loveliest woman, she is exceptionally talented at her craft – sewing, dressmaking, etc etc. She makes it funky, and has gathered a large following online, through her beautifully designed website and blog. CL has her finger in a lot of sewing-pies – she teaches, she writes, she is a consultant, she makes, she vlogs – all of it. So if you’re at all interested in the world of dressmaking, check out her site. She and I have discussed collaborating on media projects in the future too…

Share the love kids; share the love!

– – A

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