A Lifestyle, Grooming & Technology Blog

Tuesday, 26 February 2019


Back in September of last year, the ASA issued this document called 'An Influencer's Guide to Making Clear that Ads are Ads'. It's only become a thing on social media over the past month or so because a number of high profile celebrities were called out for lack of disclosure but it's a case of better late than never as there is much uncertainty out there around influencer content and how exactly it should be represented to readers.

Today, I'm going to do a bit of an deep-dive into what these changes mean for us bloggers and influencers, what we need to be aware of and how we can ensure we're following them, as well as going a little into the background of why these guidelines have been put in place. I hope this is useful and if you have any other questions or concerns - please do let me know in the comments.

So it's all about making it absolutely clear to readers if a brand is driving content, either through payment or gifting or both. It also covers the usage of affiliate links, where the brand knows if a sale has come to them via an influencer and will pay said influencer a commission (typically 3-5%) through a third party, if the customer keeps that item.

Up until this, almost all bloggers would have used the word AD to indicate that a piece of content was being paid for. If an item had been gifted however, the guidelines were not clear about using the word AD. Nor was it clear in the case of affiliate links. It was always just good practice and fair disclosure to indicate gifting and affiliate links and most bloggers did this using words at the foot of the post or in the body of the text.

The guidelines aim to create a clear and consistent approach so it is clear when influencers are working with brands and on what basis. This means that consumers will know what to look for and will be informed right off the bat if they're consuming content that is a brand promotion or sponsorship. As many of us like to incorporate brand content seamlessly into non-branded content so it feels authentic to us, this makes it even more important to be clear on when consumers are being advertised to.

So what should you do? Well step one is to update or create a disclosure page for your blog, which allows you the space to explain the guidelines and how you will be complying with them. I personally also link this at the bottom of my posts that contain gifted items or contain paid-for content - it just directs people to more information without having to put paragraphs of text under each post! Even my own disclosure page needs work - I want to make everything clear and cover off any concerns or questions readers may have, but I'm not sure if my desire to address everything makes it messy and difficult to digest... It's definitely something I plan on revisiting regularly to ensure it's as clear and concise as possible.

Saturday, 23 February 2019

Vinyl Arrivals #4

Welcome back to my Vinyl Arrivals series! It's been a while but I've picked up some new records lately so wanted to share my thoughts on them. Most of them are from Amazon, as are 99% of the purchases in my life, which means they're all brand new but I really want to get into the habit of buying them second hand from places like Ebay or Depop. Somehow they just sound better once they've been played loads,  you really get that awesome vinyl crackle.

I also got a new record player for my birthday not long ago, which has inspired me to start shopping again (oops). The sound is great as it came with bluetooth speakers which have a much warmer tone than the stereo set that were in my previous set up. Ok let's get into what I've picked up over the past few weeks..

Eric Clapton - Unplugged (1992)

I'm a massive fan of acoustic blues and it doesn't get much more authentic than this album from Eric Clapton. Recorded in front of a live audience, it's a super stripped back sample of some of his greatest  songs. It's also on 180g meaning the sound is even richer than on previous recordings. My favourites are Layla and Tears in Heaven.

John Mayer - The Search For Everything (2017)

What can I say about John Mayer? He's the reason I got into playing guitar and his songs always feel like they're so personal and speak to you on so many levels. This album is so different, and in many ways shows his maturity from early pop-rock into full on soulful melodic blues. It's impossible for me to pick a favourite track from this album, but if you're unsure on whether to give it a listen then just go for it. A must for any blues collector in my mind.


Tuesday, 19 February 2019

(AD) Dinner at The Red Lion - Stoke Green

(AD - GIFTED) - This is a sponsored post. The Red Lion were kind enough to gift the meal, however all opinions shared within this post are my own.

A few weeks ago I was invited to attend the press night for the re-opening of The Red Lion, located in Stoke Green just a stones throw from Slough. It re-opened on Saturday 9th Feb with a stunning revamped dining and bar area.

When we arrived we were greeted by the team and taken over to the bar area, where we were invited to create our own gin cocktails. Not a bad start to the evening! We got to choose from all kinds of toppings and ingredients and it was super interesting getting tips from the bar staff on creating the perfect drink.

Once we picked up our drinks, we had a quick mooch around the newly refurbished restaurant before heading into the main dining area to take our seats. There were so many cosy nooks and air chairs located all around in front of roaring fires. It was super stylish but also comfortable enough to bring the family for a Sunday roast. 

Where do I start with the food? The menu was incredibly vast, I was worried that the huge selection would lead to a reduction in quality. You know those places that do a few dishes but really well? It was hard to imagine how they could deliver so much and do it all well. But I was thrilled to be proven wrong when the food made it's way out! There was even an extensive Vegan menu, which we didn't sample but was once again filled with delicious sounding starters and mains.

For my main course I went with the roasted Lamb, served with aubergine, roasted sweet peppers, potato dauphinoise, and red wine Jus (£21.95). Check out the pic below. I had to hurry because I couldn't wait to get stuck into it..

I ordered the meat medium rare and it was prepared to absolute perfection; the meat was served on the bone and was perfectly tender and was complimented beautifully with a hint of mint, which gave the dish that traditional Sunday roast taste.

My girlfriend went with the Salmon fillet on Chorizo mash, tenderstem broccoli and Bouillabaisse sauce (£15.50). I was reliably informed that it was just as delicious as it looks! 

Despite being incredibly full already, we managed to find some room (as always) for a quick peek at the desserts menu. Again, I couldn't believe how vast the menu was. There were so many choices it was almost impossible to choose between them! I went for the Mango, Berry and Coconut Meringue Mess and it was super sweet but delicious. It was their take on the classic Eton mess with a twist and really worked. 

Honestly I really couldn't fault the service at The Red Lion. Not a single mistake was made. The staff were extremely attentive, but not overbearing. We had a fantastic waitress who was able to explain the menu to us and answer any questions we had. The food came out really quickly and we ended up being extremely jealous of what other guests had chosen as it all looked so tasty.

Are you in the Berkshire area and looking for a great date night spot or Sunday roast? Why not try the newly refurbished Red Lion. You won't regret it, I know i'll certainly be taking a trip back there very soon.

Looking for more local restaurants to visit? Check out my review of The Warren, Wokingham here

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