Behind The Scenes at CQ: A day in the life of Gemma
When I launched the new 'Behind The Scenes' feature, I asked for your thoughts on what you'd like to see on the site. One suggestion was a diary from one of the team, which seemed like a good idea to me! Yesterday was the lucky day for me, and here's what I got up to...
10am - Arrive late (London traffic. Argh!) to a half-empty office. My desk looks like a bomb has hit it, so I clear a space for myself and boot up the computer. I've received 87 new emails since yesterday...and that's not counting the junk. They'll take a while to get through, so I flag up things to reply to, forward press releases to the right editors, and
delete ignore everything else. Even the Facebook notifications.
10.30am - Get down to checking our sites, responding to comments, publishing any comments that have been stuck in transit and making sure people are updating. Edit a couple of typos on other people's posts. Someone entrusts me with the music for the day (fools) so I start creating a playlist (this is very important at Shiny. Pick the wrong song and you'll be teased for days). Have a quick Skype chat with our comms manager about our celebrity photo usage.
11am - Realise I had no breakfast this morning so steal a Kinder Bueno out of the cupboard (we seem to have an endless supply of them after doing a bit for their website). Open up my pageflakes and do the rounds checking the other fashion and beauty blogs, leaving some comments on my faves and noting down anything interesting that we might want to link to.
11.30am - Go through entries to the current 'Style This' competition and realise we only have 6 this week! Start drafting the post which I'll probably not publish until Friday. Ponder whether my outfit is a good enough rival to the readers' offerings and decide I can't change it now because that's cheating.
11.40am - Zara calls me over to give me - of all things - diet food packs. This office gets weirder by the minute.
11.45am - My phone rings for the first time. It's a PR chasing an rsvp to an event I'd forgotten about. I then realise I have another call coming through at the same time. This never happens! I check my voicemail when I'm off the phone - it's another PR is calling to arrange some appointments for Kiss and Makeup. Make a note to chase it up when I get back.
12pm - Head out with Zara for lunchtime press day fun. River Island is holding its A/W showcase at my old stomping ground - The London College of Fashion - near Oxford Circus. Bloggers can't afford taxis, so we jump on the bus. Realise at this point that a pencil skirt and heels was a bad choice for today.
12.30pm - Finally arrive at River Island press do after being sat in traffic for ages. There are lots of Giles-esque prom dresses, body-con inspired evening numbers and a rock chick story with leopard jeans and distressed t-shirts. But it's the accessories that really grab me. The shoes are fantastic and I want them all. Take loads of photos on my phone for the blog, and say hi to some familiar faces over a glass of OJ on the way out (it's too early for champers).
1pm - Walk up to South Molton Lane for the Laura Ashley press day. A lot of the display is homeware, which isn't really relevant to us even though it's gorgeous. Then I spot an amazing floral dress in graduated green silk and know I've found the clothes! Have a good look at this section and say hi to the PR I've been emailing, who invites us to their agency press day next week. Putting faces to names is half the reason for going to these things.
1.30pm - We avoided the nibbles at the press days, so I nip into M&S to grab lunch, then get the tube back to the office. Holborn is rammed as usual, but the office is eerily quiet with so many people away. Sit and go through the press info I got at the events while I wolf down my sandwich. There's a preview copy of the GFW Daily newspaper in the River Island bag. I'm quoted in a piece about the online coverage of the event. Good stuff!
2.30pm - The Boss (well, one of them) comes to chat to me about the sites and see how I'm getting on with sponsorships, competitions and so on. Start writing my first post of the day - all about a competition. I don't get to do as much writing as the others any more so even this is a nice change for me.
2.45pm - Get the munchies (again). Luckily, Isabelle is off to the shops so I send her in search of McCoys, apparently the most fattening crisps on the market. The post has finally arrived, so I open mine to find a couple of invitations to future events and a look book for a shoe brand. These are added to the piles that already litter my desk. I really must tidy up!
3pm - Realise I shouldn't be surfing the River Island website in hopes of finding the shoes I know won't be online until August. Deal with some emails from freelancers instead, and update the Catwalk Queen twitter.
3.15pm - Whilst nipping to the loo I catch sight of myself in the mirror and end up raiding the office for emergency beauty products. Try out some rather nice mineral makeup. Zara gives me the new Estee Lauder mascara to finish the look. It's brilliant, I look human!
3.30pm - Spend ages trying to organise dates for hair colour appointments (for work, I promise!) with willing 'victims' from the office. Susi is working from home so have to do it all by skype chat. I probably say more over skype in an average day than I say out loud.
4pm - Where has the time gone? Got loaded down organising stuff and planning videos. Stuart is back in the office after a day at an internet convention, so spend a few minutes teasing him because the embarrassing video of the girls putting men's makeup on him has been picked up by New York Magazine's website. Ha!
4.15pm - Yet more emails to respond to. I swear I spend all day responding to emails and still loads of people complain that I don't reply to them. Also check the sites again, read and publish yet more comments and check pageflakes again. A lot happens online in a few hours.
4.30pm - Return to this diary and realise I haven't looked at it since midday. Frantically update, trying to remember as and when I did things.
4.45pm - Attempt to add this week's visitor statistics for the fashion sites to a spreadsheet. Realise I am not very good at Excel and keep messing up the formulae. Decide to give in and ask for help in the morning. Other staff are having the same problem so don't feel so bad.
5pm - Supposed to be at an event already. Still loads to do! Grab Zara and head round the corner to Endell Street. I love it when people have events in Covent Garden! Realise the event is not an informal gathering like I thought, but a presentation - and we're late. Sneak in (avoiding champagne again, still feeling guilty about those crisps) and sit down to learn all about a premium make-up range from the USA. Watch a demo and pick up a few tips - I'm interviewing these people tomorrow morning so it's really good research.
6.50pm - The presentation is over, and I hang around for a couple of minutes to meet the people behind the brand and say hi to some more press day regulars I recognise. Have a quick chat with the PR to confirm details for tomorrow, and then make tracks. The day isn't over yet.
7.40pm - Head to Soho for the London Bloggers Meet-up. I've been to a few of these before and it's always nice to catch up with familiar faces and meet people who just blog for the love of it. It's also good to wave the flag for Shiny! I'm not a great schmoozer, but I chat to a fair few new people and catch up with friends like Shiny Red team.
9pm - Decide to call it a night since I'm filming in the morning. Say my goodbyes and head home on the tube in the pouring rain. My feet are absolutely killing me, it's definitely got to be flats tomorrow!
Gemma Cartwright is Shiny Media's Fashion Editor-in-Chief, creator of Catwalk Queen and all-round bossy boots.