25 November 2015

November Faves...

Hellooo, welcome to my little round up of stuff I am loving this month... Mix of stuff I have bought, watching, listening to, eating...

Image: Joules

First up, I have been REALLY loving spending some money at Joules.  You may remember this post well it was sort of a sponsored post.  I was asked to promote the competition and the first 50 or so bloggers to do so got a £100 voucher to spend, I guess I was one of the lucky ones cos I got a lovely voucher in the post.... it was SO hard to choose from all the pretty things. I picked the spotty tunic and the end stripe dress, LOVE them!

Seriously every time I go into M&S recently I have been picking up a wee net of these! They are teeny tiny ball of chocolate but wrapped in green foil mad to look like Brussels Sprouts, just about the cutest thing ever! They have been doing them last few years, and I've noticed some other shops copying too, but I still think this is a genius idea. Love you M&S! 

Image: Frank Turner

We went to see Frank Turner live this month and gosh, it was just SO good! I'm a relatively new fan, Mark introduced me to him and well I'm just in love! Was the best gig in ages and both Mark and I just sang and shouted our heads off the whole way through, he is SO awesome, check him out....

Image: M&S

OOh I've been party dress shopping this month.... wuhu! I don't really have posh evening parties where I work but Mark does and I get to go too, wuhu! So of course a new dress had to be purchased.  I'm not one for showing lots of skin so this beauty from good old M&S with long sleeves and a high neckline was perfect, it so pretty.  I was very lucky with this dress as my lovely Mummy bought this for me. Thanks Mum! 

Image: MUA

I'm having a bit of a moment with make up recently, I've always worn it but never really been super bothered about buying new bits (except nail varnish, I buy that stuff constantly!!!) however recently I have been a bit make up obsessed and just keep wanting more new things.... I blame you beauty bloggers and vloggers!!! I'm not quite ready to be splashing out the mega bucks on stupidly expensive stuff though.  I love MUA and more affordable brands, and I discovered this eye shadow palette when browsing in Superdrug... Gosh dam it, I think this is the prettiest most wearable collection of colours I've ever seen! I've been loving trying out a different one each day.

Image: ITV

This is probably a bit of a cringe one... But I have been loving I'm a Celeb! I have never really watched it before... but this year Vicky Pattinson from Geordie Shore went in and I LOVE her! Yes I watch trash TV like Geordie Shore and I'm not ashamed (well maybe a teeny bit! lol!) But Vicky is so funny and just speaks her mind.  I've read her book and got her workout DVD, I'm a huge Vicky fan so I'm super happy she is in the jungle.
Image: New Look

So obviously to go with my new party dress I needed some new party shoes! duh! I'm not a huge fan of heels, can never walk in them and they just hurt, badly! I'm always moaning by the end of the night and we have been known to walk home miles after parties... so I simply cannot walk in heels! So I was browsing New Look recently and these beauties caught my eye.  I love a bit of an interesting flat, these have cool cross over straps and studs, I think they will be perfect for party season! They were also in the sale at £12.50 so it was simply IMPOSSIBLE to resist them!

Image: Kat Von D

Screeeam! Kat Von D launched a new programme... Kat's Beauty Chat is a regular series new this month on her YouTube channel.  I adore Kat, loved her for years, ever since Miami Ink, then LA Ink... Was so sad when that ended... but super excited she will be appearing more regularly on screen again on her You Tube.  Check it out if you like Kat, make-up, tattoos, or the goth aesthetic... 

What have been your faves this month?

16 November 2015

My Christmas Wishlist...

So this started out as an idea to create a Christmas gift guide, but I just ended up collecting up pics and ideas for things I want instead, so yeah, this is simply a blatant list of super lovely things I would really rather like for Christmas please... The addrress is... haha! Let's just hope mummy and marky are reading this.... lols!

Fleur de Force's Christmas vids are up now so it's OFFICIALLY not too early for xmas related posts... (I now regard Fleur as my guru on life in general!)

Image: And Mary 
I love these super cute and quirky necklaces from new discovery And Mary jewelry. I simply cannot decide which is my fave though... the bee, no the robin in a top hat, the acorn... aaargh!

Image: M&S

So always PJs for Christmas right? And THE best place to go for PJs, has to be M&S! Want all of these, but yeah Bear Square mostly!

Images: Amazon Mollie Makes

I love new books at crimbo! I'm coveting these beauties this year, Mollie Makes Colouring looks amazing, with my fave Layla Amber illustrations on the front cover.  I have Zoe's first book so would love this sequel too, and I'm dying to get my hands on Fleur's beautiful book.

Images: Feel Unique Superdrug

Continuing on the blogger/vlogger theme here, I'm so curious to try out these fab make up lines from Fleur de Force and Tanya Burr, just want everything in the range! 

Image: Tatty Devine

I featured this recently in a faves post, but still not got round to buying one for myself, but they would make an EXCELLENT present! ALL of them please cos I simply cannot decide between them! haha. These are of course from the most excellent Tatty Devine.

Image: M&S

Along with PJs socks are a MUST for xmas, and of course good old M&S are the best. These sets are super lovely, I love a cute pair of socks, but mostly Percy Pig socks, yeah!

Image: Cath Kidston

My Cath Kidston list is always SO long, but I have narrowed it down to a few key faves for my crimbo list.  Loving the new robot print and this foldaway overnight bag would be a lovely alternative to my usual scruffy rucksack.  It also comes in a blue spot too, in case I'm feeling a bit more sensible? I already have a little foldaway shopper but these are SO useful, this robot one would make a great addition! I also LOVE this spotty laptop case, perfect for my cute new little blue laptop.

What's on your Christmas wish list? Got any good links to Christmas gift guides/lists? I love these kinds of posts.

8 November 2015

Blogging: am I doing it wrong?

A selfie of my feet in leaves, a blogger cliche, surely not! lol!

I love blogging, it is my hobby.  I started blogging on the 2nd February 2012 so in a few months time I will have been blogging 4 years, yikes! And in that time I have never missed a month, admittedly some months have very few posts, maybe even one, and some have more than 10!  But I have been a pretty consistent blogger all this time.

So why blogging, what do I love about it?

I love taking photos, I use my iPhone or a little Nikon Coolpix. I take photos everywhere I go, everyday. I love editing photos on Photoshop, formatting on my blog and I love how they look. Blogging really is just like a massive photo album for me.  Blogging also forces me to look at positives, especially in my monthly round up posts. Blogging is creative; I'm always thinking about posts, and how to turn that event, or walk, or craft project into a blog post.  

My blog is literally a diary, I mostly blog about all the adventures I go on, holidays, camping, days out and everything I make, it will be lovely when I'm old to look back on all my posts.

However recently I have begun to question if I am blogging wrong... here's why...

Real photos: Yep I actually ate that! It was delicious and yes I regret not getting the super extra massive size!

Blogging has exploded, I feel like this year blogs, bloggers/vloggers have been everywhere, they are mainstream now and considered celebrities.  There is nothing wrong with that, great I say, I adore Zoella, Tanya Burr and my absolute fave Fleur de Force! The fact that these guys have books, make-up lines etc is amazing to me, I'm super happy for them, I'm genuinely a huge fan! Their lives are just like that of a film star to me, unattainable; parties, launches, famous pals, articles in magazines, red carpet events etc. Is this the ultimate blogging/vlogging goal?

Naturally these super bloggers have a massive influence... girls and boys grow up wanting to be bloggers.. The actual topic of blogging comes up a lot with bloggers (hey, isn't that what this post is about too! lol!)... but worryingly recently with more of these negative themes.... pressure to be different, pressure to post, pressure to fit in, pressure to get famous, to get followers, to build your blog.  Anxiety over not posting enough, for not posting at all, apologising for not posting, anxiety over loosing motivation and inspiration. Seeking validation and wishing to achieve follow or like goals. Always comparing themselves to others, posting a lot of paid for content or rushed content....

Then imagine the pressure when you actually get to millions of followers! Don't get me started on the trolls and evil people who write nasty comments... Is this what 'bloggers' all have to go through? All over the news is Essena O'Neil so sick of blogging, vlogging and social media at the grand old age of 18, then on the flip side being called a fraud by her blogger pals... I just don't think I can take much more...

Real photo: No make up! But who cares when you are out doing your fave thing ever with your fave person ever!

Well, I just don't think I fit in to any of this, I just don't relate or understand.  I think most of the time I am floating around in some sort of little naive 'blogging bubble'...Which has got me thinking I MUST be 'blogging' wrong! 

I don't fit into the 'blogger cliches', (ok, ok so I do love succulents!) I don't check my stats, like ever, I don't have arbitrary goals of followers I need to reach, I don't blog if I have nothing to blog about, I don't apologise for not posting, I don't go to blogger events, I don't expect or want free stuff, I don't want to be famous (shudder!), I don't want to get thousands of followers, and I certainly don't have ambitions of quitting my day job to blog for a living...

I've never lost motivation because I literally blog about the stuff I have been up to, and because my blog is a hobby that I do when I want, how I want and when I have something I want to say. I have time for other things outside blogging so I have things to blog about! Simple really. I love social media, it's how I keep up with my friends, other bloggers and generally people who inspire me. My blog is my real life, my Instagram is my real life.  So I might not write when I'm ill or feeling blue, but who wants to read all that moany stuff anyway? I'm lucky enough to enjoy my life and not have too much stress or other issues so I think my blog reflects my life in a balanced way.

I'm super lucky to have met some lovely fellow bloggers, I was involved in setting up a community of Cumbrian bloggers, who live in or are from our beautiful county.  We have an FB page, everyone is nice and supportive. I comment on other's blogs, like and share... people do the same for me... THIS is blogging for me!

When I asked blogger pals how to improve or succeed at blogging the advice was: focus on building brand, write content for your readers, promote on social media A LOT... None of that is what I am about. My blog is my content, how I want it to be, its not fun for me anymore if I am blogging about topics for other people... I have no desire to be a 'brand' and I just don't have the time or energy to be constantly 'promoting' on social media...

Real Photo: Probably the stupidest face ever, I look awful but I love it, I was literally this happy to be in Canada!

Sponsored blogging or paid for content has never sat comfortably with me either.  I've decided I am a 'blogger' by simply starting to write on a free blog template in my bedroom! With no training, qualifications etc I am a 'blogger' and therefore for some reason I get invited to events, asked to write about things, get paid or sponsored to write about things.  This is baffling to me! I don't court this but I will admit to being asked a lot and turning things down a lot.  

In my 4 years I have been to 1 blogger 'event' where I was given free products, I went for the experience and because it was at Lush, I didn't expect or need free products, I bought a lot more than I was given anyway.  I have also been given goods in exchange for writing posts on 2 occasions in my nearly 4 years of blogging.  I felt guilty about each one... but it's all part of an experience for me... trying it all on... As much as stats don't rule my life I am aware my blog is teeny tiny in the grand scheme of things, so why any brands think asking me to write stuff for them, or wanting to give me free things is beyond me! It just doesn't sit comfortably with me.

So yeah, to sum up, I think I must be 'blogging' wrong? Because blogging these days is so bound up in pressure, negativity, stress, free stuff, competition, constantly chasing followers, likes, comments. I have none of that in my little 'blogger bubble', I actively avoid all that! I am not a blogger, I'm simply someone who puts up pretty pictures online and I'm happy to remain in my stress free naive little bubble taking pretty pictures of my nails and the pretty walks I go on with my boyfriend and reading and watching lovely posts from the ladies who do it WAY better than I ever will.  

So, my lessons learnt from blogging... decide if you want this as a hobby or as a career... If it is your hobby, hobbies are fun, blog because it is fun, because you enjoy it, you are passionate about your content. Take the pressure off yourself and quit the comparisons. If you want to make it a career, fab! Bloggers are literally changing everything, the way we look at media and advertising... they have huge influence, but you need to develop a thick skin and stay away from the negativity, how much stress and pressure do you want in your career?

To all those who choose to join me here, read my rambles and take the time to comment and follow thank you very much, you really really make me smile.

This is probably a controversial post, and I really hope I haven't offended anyone or made anyone angry.  Everyone has their own agenda with blogging, I am simply stating mine.  It seems everyone is blogging about blogging, so I wanted to take the time and address my own thoughts on the subject.

Am I alone? Why do you blog? Got something to say? Would love to hear your views in the comments...

3 November 2015

This Month... October

Stuff that made me smile...

« A birthday party for my Nephew James « Mark running a whole marathon! « My new hair do, I've gone a bit ombre for Autumn! « The Bake Off final « going to Music Makers with my Nephew Corey « a lovely afternoon off work walk through the park and paddling with Dad and Kara dog « A beautiful Autumn Lake District walk with Mark and conquering a fear « lots of driving « a weekend away glamping with my friends « a cuddly Corey when I was babysitting « a new crochet blanket for me « the big bonfire and fireworks display in the park « everything Halloween in the shops « all the pretty trees « taking Kara swimming to a dog swimming pool.

Wow I really thought I had a bit of a crap month, I've felt a bit ill, think I have been fighting off a cold (ugh, I'm never ill so this frustrates me endlessly!) Loads of change and sad times at work and really sad times for close friends have made me feel quite blue this month. But looking back through my list of stuff that made me smile makes me realise I have done tons this month and there really has been many reasons to smile too. I love compiling these lists, I keep a list in my planner for the month and jot things down when they make me smile, as it is so easy to forget when you get to the end of the month, how sad is that!

«Ickle Baby James is not a baby anymore! (ugh!) we had a super fun birthday to celebrate being one though. «Erm, Mark ran a WHOLE marathon, crazy boy, but very proud! «I was a little reluctant to get to the top of these steps with this at the top (was ok though she didn't eat me!) «A soggy happy Kara on our lovely dog walk, she knows if she poses on stuff she gets a treat.

How can all the pretty Autumn colours this month fail to put a smile on your face?

«I started some new superheroes «I loved this table reservation sign on our table for a work lunch out «There were SO many bright berries on this holly, made me come over a bit Christamsssy... «what is better than a delivery of new yarn?

Stuff I blogged....

Catch up on all my exciting blog post this month...

 Baby James turned one and we had a fabulous party to celebrate.

 A new Superhero crochet pattern, did I mention the pattern is here in full for FREE?

 A round up of the internet's cutest little Halloween crochet makes...

 Come with me for THE prettiest Autumn Lake District walk...

 Joules had a competition to design wellies, perfect excuse to jump in the leaves in mine!

 Oooh a new series and pretty new graphic, check out my October faves...

 We glamped!!! A lovely weekend in a barn with friends...

Well of course I painted my nails for Halloween!

Blogs and vlogs I loved...

I am becoming seriously obsessed with Fleur, she vlogged the whole of the month and I enjoyed watching her vids so much. You have to check her out if you have not done so already.

Loved this post, bloggers are literally exploding into mainstream life all over the place and that's fab (Did you see Tanya Burr on Glamour cover, wow!) but Amber is clever here to dispel some blogging myths.

I love round up posts (oh like this very one I'm writing now!) and I love to see how different bloggers tackle it.  Chloe has a new series of October days and it was lovely to read about her month.

Another lovely round up post, seriously how does Claire get her photos to look like that, they all look so perfect? 

Oooh I used to love Amanda's blog, but she stopped blogging some time ago so I was surprised when this popped up in my feed. Super exciting they are moving to the UK, have gone vegan and they are vlogging about it, awesome!

Goals for the month...

... Blogged... 8 whole times! Yeah, super happy with this.  Been happy with my posts this month, a nice mixture of nail art, crochet makes and inspiration and plenty of outdoor adventures.  Would love to know what you think of this month's posts?

... ran... oh dear.... only 6.54 miles, which was just 2 runs, major fail. Super sad about this, especially after last month when I was super motivated.  I shall blame feeling crap and ill plus the clocks changing... but really I've just been lazy.  Perhaps I would have felt less blue if I had kicked myself out the door a bit more. Humph!

...cycled... A little bit! We cycled at Dalbeattie on our Glamping weekend... we did Blue which was 14 km and half of Red the following day which again probably about 14km, so just over 17 miles. Well it's pretty obvious I'm not going to hit my goal of 500 miles before December 31st. Poor wee neglected bike.

How was your October? Have you been out and about enjoying the lovely Autumn colours and the beautiful mild weather? Would love to hear what you've been up to...