Whistling Down The Wind.

Hello how you diddling? It’s been a little while hasn’t it?! I’ve been stopping and starting with writing on here for too long now for the silliest of all reasons. Either I wasn’t really feeling it, I didn’t like what or I was writing or I kept starting it off by saying ‘Hey Hey’ and that sounded more like Krusty the clown from The Simpsons than it felt like I was being cool and quirky. So hello, how’s that for size?

I’ve neglected this blog and nearly all my social medias recently I think means a proper little chatty catch up post is definitely in order. So settle in grab a cuppa and a slice of something delicious and let’s have a little catchy uppy shall we?

So where on earth do I start…Theresa May resigned from being Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Game Of Thrones came to an end, Britain flopped (as per usual) in Eurovision all in the same month that I had a complete social media purge and deleted Whatsapp, Instagram and Twitter off of my phone and from my life. I’m not saying I hold that much of an impact and my ego is the size of the moon BUT it’s a bit of a coincidence isn’t it just?!

I deleted a few of my socials for a number of reasons really. Firstly, I have literally no storage space on my phone and I value other apps and a plethora of saved memes over me constantly scrolling on Insta like there’s no tomorrow. Secondly, without sounding like a knockoff Marie Kondo, but these apps didn’t spark any joy so why did I really have them? I felt like I was mindlessly clicking on it, almost out of habit, seeing that my life wasn’t nowhere near as good or well put together like others online. I know that with Instagram you only ever see the good aspects of peoples lives; no matter how gratifying it would be to know your favourite fashion blogger or influencer spends all morning cleaning her oven and then eats own brand cheesy beans on toast for tea.

Without all these apps I’ve found that I’ve actually spent a lot less time aimlessly on my phone. God knows how people procrastinated before the telly, internet and social media were invented?! Because of this, I’ve been quite productive in other aspects of my life (apart from on here apparently!) and now I  feel a lot less inclined to post something for the sake of posting, or to keep up with a theme or because I haven’t posted in a few days and I might lose a follower. In the grand scheme of things for me, Life is far too short to worry about tiny, little details like that in my opinion.

I’ve become quite lax, maybe a little bit too much so, with posting on here. Which to be honest makes me quite sad. Blogging used to be one of my favourite pastimes and something I could always rely on lifting me out of a funk and lately it’s felt like a blimmin’ chore more than anything. I’ve questioned whether this whole thing is even for me, whether i’m good enough, whether there’s space for me and this little old blog in this growing community anymore and whether anyone actually even really cares. Then once I got over myself I realised I do this for me. To have my own personal journal online for me to look back on and see how far I’ve come, what I’ve been doing and for you all to judge if you so wish.

But, I’ve been toiling away on loads of new content, which I realise makes me sound like such an arse. Like I’m an actual investigative journalist covering topics of civil war in third world countries not that you’re getting one rambled post about cookies once every three months. Can’t win ’em all. Jokes aside I’d love to be able to write about the former, covering such huge topics and bringing them to light, I honestly don’t think I’d have the brain power or the vocabulary to speak about such subjects in a way. I’ve had a bit of a shake up and rebrand around here so it may look a bit different and some new ideas will be coming out to play as well. Think of me like a hermit crab, the exterior may look a bit different but on the inside it’s still the same old, Ab (salty, crabby and always walking sideways apparently)

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I’ve been going through the motions a lot in my own head recently. I’m 24 and I just feel like I haven’t achieved anything of significance in my life so far. Like I didn’t expect I’d have amounted to much but I was hoping my roaring twenties would have been more fulfilling than it has been so far. For all those pop culture vultures out there, do you remember when Gemma Collins was in Big Brother and she exclaimed to Tiffany Pollard ‘This is gonna be a long slog, this life for me’ well I FEEL that.

So rather than sit back, mope around like I’m about to sing the sad song in the prelude in the musical of my life. I’m going to try my best to push myself out of my comfort zones and do things, make memories, create stories and genuinely live my best life. Not just look like I am online. I’ve got a notebook, a very cool leatherbound one and I’ve filled it with everything I hope to do or achieve in life. From big things to little things from finding a career I fall head over heels in love with to learning to drink whisky like a cool girl in a smoky parisian jazz bar. It’s probably not something I’m willing to share online right now mainly cos it might read like the ramblings of a mad woman who just really wants to learn how to ride a pony. But I’m hoping this’ll give me a sparkle and a newfound lease on life.

Hopefully it won’t be too long til the next time you hear from me. Have a fab weekend. Ab x

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Book Review: Jacqueline Pirtle’s 365 Days Of Happiness *

Book Review: Jacqueline Pirtle’s 365 Days Of Happiness *

One of my favourite pastimes is immersing myself in a book, to me there is nothing quite like being able to slink off, forget all your troubles and worries and absorb yourself for a little while into a different world. I’ve been this way since I was a child and I’m still one of those people that could pick up the same book and reread it time and time again. This year in an attempt to try and cut down my screen time I’ve set myself a challenge of reading 25 books in a year. To some this may seem simple to others it may seem mammoth but i’m hoping it could be an achievable goal.

I’m trying to branch out in what I read rather than the usual fiction or chick lit I’m trying to broaden my literary horizons and add some different genres to my bookshelf.

I was lucky enough to be gifted this particular book from one of the nicest people I’ve ever had the pleasure of speaking to. I know that probably sounds false or like a massive cliche but Kelsey from Book Publicity Services in the States is a literal ray of sunshine. Which was totally apt considering she sent me over Jacqueline Pirtle’s book 365 Days Of Happiness to read and review.

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They say you can’t judge a book by it’s cover but when there’s a gorgeous cupcake that looks too good to eat how can you not want to dive in head first? From the description and the blurb I was already super interested in what this book had to offer. Jusr from reading that I learnt that Jacqueline is a holistic practitioner, healing arts teacher, mentor, author, all round cool chick, need I add more to the list?! She has published this book as a step by step guide to happiness. She spent every day throughout 2017 dedicated to her own happiness. Noting down the things she did that improved her wellbeing or sparked joy. 

I’d never read a book like this before and I must admit to being a bit sceptical at first. I suffer with low mood and anxiety and am also a natural cynic so how much would this book realistically change the way I think? Is she going to tell me surefire ways to win the lottery, wake up looking like Charlize Theron with Tom Hardy running upstairs bringing me breakfast in bed? Well…sadly not. But, Jacqueline will teach you the very easy, subtle art of changing the way you think to a much more positive happy outlook on life.

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I’m the type of person who can often find herself in a more negative head space and that can be a funk that can be quite hard to break out of. This book teaches you simple ways to rethink normal, day to day life and before you know it, it’s slowly seeping into your normal way of thinking.

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A lot of the teachings in the book really resonated with me and definitely made me sit back and reorganize my thoughts or the way I think about things. This passage above has made me look at situations I’m presented with in a different way. Sometimes when you’re faced with difficulties it can be hard to raise your head above it and think of the bigger picture in life. That someone somewhere will have it better and someone somewhere will also have it a lot worse. What you think or what you see as a problem someone else could see as a blessing.

This isn’t the sort of book you would necessarily read all in one go but perhaps place on your bedside table or your kitchen counter so when you wake up first thing or have a few minutes with a cup of tea and your breakfast you can spend a moment or two dedicated to yourself, your thoughts, gratitude and mindfulness. As someone who can often feel quite pessimistic this book taught me that sometimes you have to adopt a mindset in seeing positivity in things you might not normally.

I really liked this book and I feel like Jacqueline’s personality and soul shines through so warmly. It’s like she’s an actual friend and is offering life advice and cheering me up a bit every morning! If you’re looking for a book along these lines I would wholly recommend this one. I’ve actually lent it to a friend and he really loved it and tries to put the teachings into practice each and every day.

*this book was gifted to me but all of my thoughts, feelings, opinions and pictures are completely genuine and completely my own.

T’was the Night Before Christmas.

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T’was the night before Christmas, and all through the country, dashed irritable shoppers tired and hungry. Every man and their Mother pushed and shoved with their trolley, so much for this being the season to be jolly. When I was a child, Christmas was much more exciting, with the anticipation of Santa bringing presents plus family and loved ones reuniting. The older I’ve gotten the more the festive period makes me wince,from the endless shopping and burgeoning feasts fit for a prince. It makes me sound so selfish, so obnoxious and a bit of a Grinch but I want to treat my loved ones to their own private island but am seriously feeling the pinch. Christmas should be about the presence not the presents around the tree yet here I am stressed about the silly little things that shouldn’t really mean the be all and end all to me. ~ x

 

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So Christmas for a lot of people is seen as such a happy joyous occasion spending time with loved ones, eating and drinking copious amounts of rich, decadent food til you drift off to a drunken snooze in front of the Eastenders Christmas specials. But I can’t lie, this year I have felt the complete opposite of festive and if it wasn’t for the constant reminder on the tv and in shops about Christmas I probably would have been none the wiser!

I just really can’t be dealing with how manic it is at this time of year, how you have to practically hold a black belt in Jiu Jitsu just to manage your way around a TK Maxx throughout the month of December. That you ideally need a car from Wacky Races (always a Penelope Pitstop person if you ask me) to battle for a space in Tesco and the patient of an absolute saint when those relatives ask you those same questions you get every year. Yes I am still single, yes I am *still* a vegetarian and yes my hair is different now but I’m growing out my bangs. Ok now I’m just paraphrasing but you get my drift.

I used to really enjoy the festivities and everything that came along with it but I have been feeling like a right grump in comparison to a lot of people this year. I wish I was feeling it a bit more, giving the fact it is actually Christmas Eve and at the time this goes live in exactly 24 hours the big day will be nearing it’s end. As I get older the thought of all the madness, the craziness when shopping, the fact that someone spend over £850 in my local supermarket, that the shop shelves are nearing on BARE you’d have thought a nuclear apocalypse was on it’s way. God I’m such a misery aren’t I?!

Now, I’m acutely aware that in reality there is far much more to the Christmas period than the buying of gifts or shoppin’ til you droppin’ and I’m probably just feeling it even more so as I’m feeling quite poor and that I wouldn’t be able to indulge others as much as I’d like to. There’s a pressure to show your love and adoration to someone through the gift giving when the bottom line is someone who barely knows you but can exude their wealth could buy you a rolex and someone who cares for you a great deal could write you a thoughtful card that will mean so much more.

So whatever you’re up to this yuletide, on December 25th 2018 I really do hope you have a wonderful one, whether you spend it eating and drinking copious amounts of delicious festive treats, surrounded with your family (even that aunt you don’t really like) or working because as lucky as I am, and the majority are, there are plenty who have to work, or if you don’t celebrate Christmas I hope you have a marvelous day, revelling in the peace and quiet and the one day of the year when the telly has actually quite good things on. But to sum up, you’re all absolutely mint and I hope you have the best day whatever you do. ❤

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What does PR Friendly even mean?

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The blogging community is a powerful force, one that seems to be growing in vast numbers on an almost daily basis. I’ve been been in and out of the blogging biz since 2012; way back when I was only just 17 years old and used my blog as somewhere to share my rambling thoughts, post grainy shots of what I had bought in Primark or what Barry M nail polish I was using that week. Not quite thought-provoking content with me ever eh?! I started a blog simply as a bit of fun and somewhere to fine tune my writing skills, never really thinking about it in the long term, as an actual viable source of income.

Over the years I’ve been incredibly fortunate and lucky enough to receive items gifted to me by brands for the purpose of me placing on my blog, talking about them and sharing my thoughts and opinions on them with you all. Blogging, in my opinion is fast becoming a lucrative market in which a brand can essentially get a writer, editor, publicist, marketing team, photographer and social media team all rolled into one with a blogger or content writer. Without running the risk of sounding incredibly biased, but now I’m aware of bloggers, vloggers and influencers I would trust their opinions on a gifted item much more than I’d trust that of someone who was on Love Island or Geordie Shore. For the amount of money a company would have had to have forked out to advertise in a magazine or get a celebrity to promote they could tap into the Blogosphere and get a handful of bloggers to support them instead for either just the mere price of the product or a fraction of the cost of using a celebrity to endorse it; it’s a no brainer really. 

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Attracting the attention of a brand or a PR is something I’ve always been fairly curious about if I’m honest. I know it sounds dead cliche, but it isn’t the sole purpose to a blog and if that’s the way you get into it to attract as many freebies as possible you’ll probably become bitterly disappointed. I’m sure you may even agree with me that it is is an incredibly touching thing when someone, anyone, reaches out to you and comments, or likes, or reposts what you’ve said. So when a brand says ‘Ello there! we like you a lot fancy working together?’ (I do not know why Dick Van Dyke is clearly writing them all) It is a such a genuinely nice feeling knowing that your hobby, your cheeky bit on the side, the blog you’d like to turn into a career (potentially, I don’t know maybe you do who knows??) is being noticed by actual proper non blogging folk people. 

Having said all of that I’m also fully aware some people are lucky to be able to use their blog as a source of income relying on gifting opportunities, ads and other such forms of revenue to make a living and I really can’t be any more supportive and really, genuinely happy for them! When I see people posting sponsored content or gifted reviews I’m just as thrilled to read that as I am a regular post from them. 

With being a blogger and practically living your life constantly online; your life is your brand and your brand is your life almost. Towing the line between accepting each and every gifted offer and remaining authentic to yourself can become a bit of a grey area for some. For instance, this one is a bit of an extreme example but I’m a vegetarian and for the last 6 months I have received several emails about posting about Wild Game pate’s on here and as much as I’m sure they are delicious it would be completely wrong of me to have accepted as it would be blatantly obvious I hadn’t tasted it and wouldn’t have been my honest opinions.

Similarly I mean that’s not to say if you have a niche you can only speak about one thing and one thing only. You may have started a beauty blog 6 years ago and have just moved house and want to share your renovating story with your readers. You get my drift. 

So what I’m trying to say, whilst simultaneously interrupting myself about one thousand times over, what is the secret to all of this. Perhaps you too might be one of those people that see the phrase #Prfriendly being used and it always making you wonder what that really means or even who realistically is going to be PR unfriendly? Maybe you’ve seen someone who has a smaller following than you, posts on their blog less than you but still somehow seems to be getting ALL of the PR samples under the sun and you want to be super happy for your internet friends but at the same time it kinda makes you wonder why them and not you? Do those that work in PR really sift through Bloglovin’ and Instagram searches in order to find the best people for their campaign? to what extent do brands look into the people that they ask to work with them? and do those ever popular ‘Comment your blog link, DA score and email address to be added to my PR list’ really work?

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I’ve spent the last month or so, trying to get down to the nitty gritty of it all and have the points of view from a real life PR Guru, a full time freelance writer and also from a brand who works within the blogging community too, to see what they’ve all got to say on it. I really hope this post may interest you, help you or at least pique your interest and possibly create conversation about the ins and outs of Blogger outreach. 

Jessica

Firstly to start off with we have the incredibly helpful and totally fab Jessica Pardoe also known as a PR aficionado and an all round absolute gem. She’s been a complete angel in helping me out with this. Jessica specialises in PR and blogger outreach so was the perfect person for me to quiz about everything and anything to be quite honest! I couldn’t have done this all without her help and support and if you aren’t sold on Jess enough by now please do have a browse over on her blog here at Thoughts Of Jessica. Or send a funny gif on Twitter here

what do PRs/brands look for when reaching out to bloggers?

The top thing is a blogger that fits what I’m looking for I.E. if I’m looking for someone to review a hotel, or talk about travel then I’ll only go for a travel blogger or for a blogger who’s written these kinds of posts before. It really irks me when I put out a request for bloggers and ask for something like, someone to write a recipe, and then you can tell the blogger hasn’t even properly read the request and their blog is nothing about food and they’ve never posted a recipe before. Do you get me? It just kind wastes both of our time. In terms of what I specifically look for, I like giving opportunities to bloggers who are genuine and don’t just blog for the paid posts. Cause I can’t imagine those blogs get many reads. If I head to a blog and it’s just sponsored post after sponsored post (and if the posts don’t all fit a theme) then I’ll probably blacklist it. If a blogger is genuine, and if the opportunity fits their brand then I’ll be looking to contact them. At work, we look at something called DA which is short for domain authority and it basically ranks how well established your site is. Bloggers can work on their DA in ways, but more often than not it builds itself naturally as you blog normally. I do look at social followers too, but this isn’t always relevant. It depends on the campaign and the type of sponsored opportunity.

Do they take into account the numbers/stats/media kits or do they base it off their blog content?

It’s normally blog content for me. Sometimes clients will have specific details as to how many followers they want the bloggers to have, so then it does come down to numbers, but most of the time I like to make sure the blogger is genuine, that their content suits the opportunity and above all – that they blog for their readers, and that their site isn’t just cluttered with sponsored posts that aren’t valuable. I’ll also check a sponsored post and see what the blogger’s attitude is towards them. I’ve seen bloggers before having a 100 word or less sponsored post, which is literally just a few words on a page that has no story behind it or anything. The best kind of sponsored posts are done by bloggers who make it their own, and who you can tell genuinely have an interest in the brand they’re promoting. Those are the kind of bloggers I aim to work with.

What is the best way for a blogger to reach out them and what to say?

Personally, I get a lot of pitching emails and a lot of them are so impersonal that they go straight to the trash bin. I had one the other day that read something like ‘Hi, Any posts this month?’ I had to follow up and ask what she meant, and she proceeded to say she meant sponsored posts. But I’d never worked with this blogger before. It all felt quite impersonal… Spending a few extra seconds to make your pitch relate to the PR can go a long way, we can tell when it’s a generic email. I’d say, if you have a genuine interest to work with a brand, it’s good to send an email saying why, and maybe even exampling similar work. It might take a little longer, but those extra touches go a long way and could make the difference between securing a collab and not. I also do tend to work with bloggers that I have a relationship with. If I’ve worked with them before, and they’ve got the post back to me on time and it’s been good quality, then I’ll normally contact them with new campaigns that are relevant to their blog and see if they’d like to take part before I outreach to the wider blogging community. So it pays to build those relationships.

Is there anything that would put them off like swearing in posts etc?

Not really. I think if someones f-ing and blinding on every post then I’m like, my client wouldn’t want to work with this blogger. But most of the time, this isn’t a major red flag for me. I still wouldn’t recommend it though. The biggest thing that puts me off is what I mentioned above… When you can tell a blogger is accepting every collab for the sake of things, and their blog begins to look like an advertising ground. I come across a lot of blogs where their site is 100% sponsored content, and I can’t find a genuine post they’ve written because they wanted to, or for the interest of their readers. I stay away from those bloggers because it all feels really fake. I like to work with those who have a genuine passion for blogging, and who’ll really engage with the brand.

It’s murky waters in the blogger biz at the moment but do they check for fake engagement/bots usage before reaching out?

Yessss 10000000%. I wish every PR did. At the moment there are still tools that are being developed that’ll make our lives easier in spotting fake engagement. But for now, I do always check a bloggers followers if I’m looking to work with them on a social campaign. I check their followers and their likes on Instagram normally. I can spot bots from a mile off, and I won’t work with a blogger if I do. It’s not fair on bloggers who genuinely work to get a great following. Plus, fake engagement would be of no benefit for my client, so it’s a massive no-go for me!

Arma Chameleon

From the point of view of a freelancer / blogger we’ve got the HILARIOUS lady behind @ActualAr. She’s a hoot and a half and if you don’t already stalk her Instagram stories or Twitter feed like I do (I have literally no shame…but find her tweetin’ here) check out her blog here as well. I love her honest, relaxed and down to earth approach. I don’t actually even know her name it’s like it’s kept as a Government secret I can only assume the Ar is short for Aristotle cos I actually adore everything she writes. She could rewrite my local chinese takeaway menu and it would somehow come across as the most hilarious, witty and compelling thing. 

Is there anything you’d suggest before contacting a brand or PR?

If you haven’t already done so, it’s worth putting a media kit together. You can create your own using a design app like Canva, but it’s a lot easier to use something called Webfluential (You can find the link for that here) which basically helps you put one together and collates a lot of your stats for you based on your social media profiles. It’s free too, which helps! Other things that you should try and get to grips with are your details from analytics. Brands often like to know your demographics, so who is actually reading your blog? How old are they? What are they interested in? Remember it’s important to cater to your readers when you’re looking to work with brands and PRs – it’s not going to sit well if you suddenly start reviewing washing machines if you’re a sports blogger, for example!

If someone wanted to start earning from their blog but didn’t have the foggiest clue on how much to charge how would you suggest they go about figuring that out? 

Work out what you will charge, and stick to it. It’s so easy to undervalue your work when you’re hoping to get a collaboration with a brand, but remember the time and effort that you’ll put into the post, so pitch your fee structure accordingly. Don’t let them take the piss, because if you do it once, you’ll do it again, and then you’ll never really gain traction with paid jobs.Make sure you have a terms and conditions/disclosure for work with brands and check the internet advertising guidelines carefully so you don’t end up with a nasty fine either!(Side note- I really had NO clue about this at all but here is the disclosure form from Actual Ar’s site which is so clear and concise)However tempting as it may be, don’t lift someone else’s work and use it for your own. Your blog is unique to you, and you need to make sure you set your terms and disclosures accordingly, or you will end up in murky waters. Be clear on what you will and won’t write about – it’s tempting to write any old shite for the sake of the money, but really it’s not a good strategy in the long term!

Indigo Herbs

Lastly, and no means not least I have quizzed the lovely Claire from Indigo Herbs, a Health and Wellbeing company from Somerset, England who often work with bloggers and post campaigns through Bloggers Required.

What do you look for when reaching out to work alongside a blogger?

From my perspective I’m looking for high value relevant links from the bloggers website to our product pages. For the purposes of referral and SEO. So I’m looking for a good Domain Authority; as defined by moz https://moz.com/home. (Moz measures the SEO power of website as defined by google ) so a good domain authority means the site is well indexed and visible. Social media mentions are also great as this is like personal recommendation. Anything like a giveaway of products on social media can help raise engagement of a social media post.If a blogger was to reach out to you and pitch an idea of a post what type of things would you like to see?When you are pitching you do want to share your statistics of your blog, Domain authority, monthly page visits and preferably a bit about the demographic of your audience so the brand can work out if its a good fit.

Thank you so, so much for making it to the final few words of this post. I just wanted to say a massive thank you to Jessica, Actual Ar and Claire for being so lovely and so helpful in terms of putting this all together. I’d really love to know what your thoughts are on this topic too! Have you ever reached out to a PR or a brand before? Has this post been at all helpful to you? Is there anything you agree with or possibly even disagree with?!

Once again, Thank you for reading!! A.x 

Blogtober day 19.

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Hiyaaaaa can you actually believe it is it day 19 of Blogtober and I haven’t forgotten/given up/been blocked by the whole entire Internet for constantly rabbiting on, on here. I’m not going to lie, there have been occasions where I’ve come close, overcome with the thought of what am I ACTUALLY doing this for, all it’s doing is clogging your reader page and probably annoying you. Plus I’d usually get way too deep into the thoughts of why I’m actually blogging and whether it’ll ever really pay off for me or whether I am just genuinely wasting my spare time by talking about cake and cheese on the internet. The latter is a thought I try and quash quite regularly just in case it’s the truer of the two options.

I was hoping to use this month or Blogtober debacle to showcase my writing, my skillz and impress you all with some thought provoking, good fun, good humoured content that would result in at least 5 Pulitzer prizes. It’s built in my very core to aim high even if I’ll spectacularly fail. I’ve got an embarrassing amount of drafts on here filled with half written entities that I honestly don’t know what I’m going to do with. Some of them are complete jargon I was writing at about 5 am when I wake up ridiculously early, some of them read like the ramblings of a drunk crackhead and some of them are just dog memes I don’t know where to save. Maya Angelou eat your heart out, I think not.

For me, I just love writing. Even Christmas cards, notes to the DPD driver as I’m just heading out or customer feedback surveys for restaurants and stores I’ve shopped in. I suppose one of the side effects of becoming/being a writer is the inevitable ‘struggle’ that you have to go through or face at one stage or another. Struggling writers and struggling artists are what the creative arts are almost built on. No one wants to know about Little Miss Sophia that had it all. People like to hear stories about someone that worked tirelessly, that came from nothing, that typed their fingers to the bone whilst working 3 deadend jobs and an internship, raising triplets and living on the streets all for the off chance it might make a difference and they might actually do that thing, where they work their dream job. No pressure huns.

I think I read something online recently that said that the majority of Millennial’s (‘scuse me whilst I go gag,  I actually hate that word so much. Usually because it is twinned with an equal ridiculous sentence like ‘..Millennial’s can’t afford to get on the property ladder because they’re buying too many avocado’s…’. Firstly who is making these correlations?! Secondly unless you haven’t noticed rising house prices and a dire minimum wage don’t exactly go hand in hand. Thirdly….Iceland sell a bag of 8 avo halves for £3.50.) are a lot more likely to be working in jobs they don’t want to be doing compared to the older generations. I went to a school where they practically drummed it into you to aim high, aim high, aim high and basically saying that you don’t want to aspire to work in McDonalds or as a bin collector. Shady school I know but that’s a subject for another day. But can *every* single person chase their dreams and get what they want? Surely someone has to aspire to be a happy go lucky bin collector. The ones who do it in my village look like some of the happiest people I’ve ever seen. They’re always smiling, laughing and joking with each other. They carry dog treats in case they see a dog and they get to hang about in the fresh air for a living.

Has this sense of seeking perfection always been prevalent or is it because it’s nearly 11pm on a Friday night and I’m overthinking and questioning all of my life choices up until now. Like if only I stuck with my recorder lessons back at primary school I could be the first person in the world selling sold out stadium tours with me and my recorder. If only I actually paid attention in History in my GCSEs rather than looking out the window and trying not to drift off under the spell of my teachers monotonous voice. I swear that man could make a chess game between a seal and a top hat wearing grizzly bear sound dull.

Or maybe it’s just me, overthinking everything as per usual. Feeling very much like I’m the only person in the world that isn’t living their best life or travelling Greek islands via super yacht every single summer. Wondering what if I never achieve these hopes, goals and dreams and will spend my final years cursing my younger self in my youth for not working harder and for wasting too much time toiling away in a job I despise. But maaaaaybe it’s also the weather. Like I’m just feeling a little bit lacklustre at the moment. Almost as if it’s the calm before the storm and I’m waiting for something huge to come along and shake me up and set me in a new, much more exciting direction. Or maybe I’m just sleep deprived. Who knows.

So for now, I’m going to bid you goodnight.

MUCH LOVE. X

 

My Self Care Routine & tips.

My Self Care Routine & tips.

I often find myself thinking whether anxiety, stress and other mental health problems are more common these days or whether it’s just something that is much more widely discussed and something people feel a bit more comfortable talking about or sharing their stories. I suffer with anxiety and low mood and have done for as long as I can remember. I would usually put it down to me being overly sensitive, overthinking things or being a bit antisocial when I wouldn’t want to see anyone else. It’s only taken me 23 years to come to the realisation that no one is perfect and no one is living the perfect life.

The older I get the more normal I’ve come to realise these feelings are, how I’m not the only person in the world that feels this way and I’ve come to accept this is me and how I can best cope with this. I’m going to share with you some of my best self care tips both for you or how to help someone else.

 

self care

Switch off.

I’m probably way too proud to admit to this but sometimes I love nothing more than when my phone runs out of battery and I don’t feel the need to run and go get my charger. I love being able to literally switch off for a bit and not feel compelled to check my phone every 3 seconds as per usual.

Block if needs be. 

Don’t feel bad or that you’re being shady or creating drama by deleting/blocking/leaving group chats that make you miserable. The mute button is a wonderful thing but if you’re like me and often find yourself being drawn back to it like a moth to a lamp (if u know u know) so have to block. Just to stop myself from creeping ever 28 seconds.

Pamper.

Whenever I’m feeling a bit down, my old habit used to be nipping into a Boots or Superdrug buying an actual tonne of bleach and a hair colour and dyeing my hair a funky, wild colour. To me there was something quite cathartic about being able to make a radical change and completely overhaul the way I look with a simple box of L’oreal. It’s frazzled my hair to bits now so when I’m feeling like I’m in need of a treat or a pamper, I love scrunching my hair up on my head, taking of all my makeup and using a nice face mask. The one pictured above is FOMO from Lush’s Jelly Face Mask range. It’s gentle and floral leaving my skin feel smooth like a baby’s butt.

Skincare.

I won’t lie, as soon as I have got my skincare routine together I feel like I can actually take on the world. If any of you have the time and energy to cleanse, smooth, buff, exfoliate, polish, tone, moisturise every morning and night and not feel like they’re living in a constant Groundhog Day then you’re a better person than me. But when I do make the effort to do this, I feel like Mariah Carey on her Birthday.

Have a relaxing bubble bath.

Is it me or has Lush all of a sudden gotten a liiiiiiittle bit more expensive with every visit? If I’m feeling a little bit poop I would normally make sure I’ve got a good pile of Lush goodies to choose from. Just realised how annoying that makes me sound I promise I don’t have a mini Lush shop in my bathroom.

Image result for alfie deyes i'm not a tory

But to me, there is nothing more relaxing than soaking into a hot bath, with plenty of bubble bath, a bath bomb and some bath oils or bath salts. I don’t mess about when it comes to my bathtimes.

Comfort food.

I am definitely the type of person that would overeat when I’m feeling a bit rubbish, which then makes me feel a bit more rubbish when I’m feeling bloated and chubby making me feel more down in the dumps. Such a vicious cycle that I really need to snap out of! Especially going into the colder months of the year, I find such joy in settling into the sofa for the night with a warming dish like a big bowl of hearty soup. Food for the soul.

Read.

I have always loved reading and immersing myself into a new book and living vicariously through their lives. Sounds mad but I literally soak it up so much I am right there with them, planning what I’d do next if I was the protagonist. My favourite feelgood books are usually anything written by Sophie Kinsella. I just find her style of writing so easy and pleasurable to read.

Playing The Sims. 

Oh my goodness it is actually embarassing how much time I could waste playing on The Sims. I could lose DAYS just building the house and pretending I’m some sort of interior designer and Motherlode my way through building the most obscure house in the neighborhood. But I will admit I do go a little bit crazy with all the power I have and tend to make my Sim the worst person in town, stealing all the husbands, having all their babies and generally being a bad bish. Btw life is definitely not imitating art here.

Talk.

It sounds dead simple and a little bit patronising, especially coming from the girl that would rather choke on her own vom than have to open up or talk about my feelings. Most of the time when I do talk to someone it’s just to vent or to get something off my chest and just need someone to just listen to what I’m saying or trying to say  rather than jumping down my throat with advice or what they’d do. That makes me sound so obnoxious and I’m sure they’re only trying to help.

There’s always someone to share with.

If you’re a bit like me and find it difficult opening up to people, write it down in a letter/text email to a family member or friend. Whether it’s a big thing, a little thing a seemingly silly thing a whatever you want it to be thing you can always ring/text or even email The Samaritans for someone to listen to you.

Get out the house.

When I’m in the midst of a really bad low mood it is a complete effort to even get out of my bed to shower let alone get out of the house. But I have a little doggie that loves being walked so getting out in the fresh air is good for me, and good for him too.

Bake.

I find baking really therapeutic and calming. Aside from the washing up obvs. Plus you get a yummy cake at the end. Win win.

Literally take 5. 

A cup of tea or any other drink of choice and just take 5 minutes out just for yourself. Focus on something small like just breathing in and out. Phone a friend for a chat, browse instagram for cute kittens and puppies whatever makes you relax and chill and all warm and fuzzy inside.

My advice (as a completely untrained person) for someone who wants to help someone through a more difficult time is just to simply be there for them. Not everyone copes in the exact same way. Having a solid group of loving family and friends surrounding you and helping you nourish and flourish can help a multitude of problems.

MUCH LOVE. x

Blogtober day five.

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I won’t lie to you, I very nearly forgot to post my blogtober day five post. Just when I thought everything was coming up Milhouse and I was in the swing of things I had this thought niggling away in the back of my mind that I’d forgotten something. So you’re getting some unscheduled, completely fresh content right here. Think of this like when a comedian or singer or performer goes off script at a gig, showing their actual, usually proper sweaty personality and it either makes the whole show or leaves you cringing like mad. I’m hoping it’ll be the former and you’ll think I’m even more ruddy cool than to begin with. But seeing as I just used the word ruddy I’m not off to a great start.

It’s currently half past eight on a Friday night you’re probably thinking, is our number 1 hun writing this in an uber on the way to the club????? Well you’re half right. I am well on my way to my second bar. Bar of Dairy Milk Caramel it is for that matter. Yup you’re right, when Kanye West was singing ‘Damn they don’t make ’em like this anymore’ he was in fact talking about me. Alas I am not a cool kid, I am at home slapping them keys on my laptop in front of the telly watching Gardener’s World. 23 going on 80.

I’m such an old aged pensioner at heart. I live for nights in, I’m always wearing knitwear and feel the cold plus I’m crap with technology. Or technology is just rubbish with me. I think the only reason Apple has made so much money is singlehandedly because of me and the amount of wires, cables, plugs and chargers I seem to be constantly buying. Let’s just cut the middle man out now and call it Abble. My phone is so broken it’s laughable now. It switched itself off today whilst full of battery life. When it turned back on again it was all in Arabic. HOW?! It has a mind of it’s own I swear and clearly mine thinks it should be sunning itself on the beaches of Dubai instead. So after about half an hour of Gemma screenshotting the English to Arabic words I needed to get my phone back to settings I could actually read and pronounce we fiiiiiinally did it. If you’re wondering who Gemma is. Gemma is my fabulous blogging friend who has this beaut of a blog just here. I’ve known her for years and I have all of this mad blogging world to thank for coming across her.

I also spent some of today googling where to go on a ghost hunt in my local area. Because I’m not already incredibly barmy enough I thought why not add claimed by a Demon king into the mix cos y’know it’s something to do and something to add to my CV/tinder bio. I’ve always been a bit fascinated by anything paranormal and as I was on the phone to my friend telling him all about the sleepover in an abandoned asylum I was just about to confirm he did remind me that we may either be scammed of our money or dragged around the room by our feet by Caspar the unfriendly ghost. Needless to say it wasn’t booked and will probably just spend our Halloween night drinking gin and stalking people on Facebook we used to go to school with. Something equally as scary I imagine.

When I put into digital words like this it does make my day sound a bit mental no wonder my brain was turned into fluffy marshmallows and I couldn’t remember Blogtober. I’m only five days in and the word Blogtober is already annoying me. It’s not a nice word and its an even more annoying noise. Try saying it…try it. I also feel like I’m really clogging up everyone’s feeds/inboxes and timelines with all my new posts and I feel quite bad about that. I hope I’m not annoying anyone! But I also hope you’ll all be dead British and polite about it all and not tell me the actual truth whether it is getting on your wick. But I’ve gained more engagement and followers in the last five days than I have in the last two months and for that I am eternally grateful. So thanks you absolute babes I adore you all. Especially you. Don’t tell the others ok?

My plan for this post was to write random facts about myself that aren’t like cliche random facts like that I prefer dogs to cats and baths to showers because in my opinion that’s just kinda normal to me. How can you not like a cuddly puppy or a nice warm bath to soak into all night long. But like fifteen little ditties that you might not know, or you might not want to know who knows? Ok here goes.

  • I am 23 years old and I still struggle with my left and right. Embarassing, childlike, random I know all of the above but I get so confused and still have to make an L shape with my finger and thumb with my hands to figure.
  • I am a certified loser and I am totally, ridiculously ok with that. It used to bother me but now it just bothers me that all of a sudden it is now COOL to be weird?! I spent my youth accepting it and now all of a sudden it seems everyone is listening to Morrissey and sinking into a conspiracy theory hole on the internet for 6 hours. K.
  • I’ve never liked my name. I feel like it isn’t really me but I wouldn’t change it because I don’t think people would call me by my new name.
  • When I was younger I used to want to be a banker as my dream job. Not like a high flying city banker on Wall Street. I just wanted to work in Barclays on my High Street. Maybe it was the dashing neckerchiefs I liked or the overriding thought that you got to take home the spare money at the end of the day. Maybe I had a premonition at a young age of what bankers actually do. Who knows.
  • I have been vegetarian since last November and it unnecessarily annoys me that veggie burgers very rarely have gherkins in them.
  • can believe it’s not butter.
  • I think nutella is overrated and overused. Don’t @ me.
  • I am obsessed with stargazing. Staring at the moon and the stars. I think it’s beautiful that wherever you are in the world you and 7 billion others still see the same moon.
  • I am scared of the dark. Whiiiiiiich brings me back to one of my original statements how I’ll be eaten alive by a demon ghost soon.
  • When I was little my nan would always let me and my sister watch Titanic whilst we were staying over. But she’d stop the film just before the boat hit the iceberg. Obvs I am aware of the real story now. 
  • If I had to live anywhere in the world it would either be in Paris or Italy.
  • I am very much a do then think type of person.
  • I very much enjoy deep discussions with people (Idk why the aesthetic is better in a car at 2am) I love deep chat.
  • I am an actually quite a cultured swine and would love to spend my days travelling, going to the theatre and art galleries. It’s not all cocktails and cakes with this bird.
  • I am secretly not so secretly obsessed with a little something I like to call Old Age British Phrases. They usually make little to no sense and you’re not entirely sure what they mean. My nan is a queen of them for instance she’ll say something like Don’t trouble, trouble, until trouble, troubles you. Which literally makes about 0 sense but to her it is gospel.

So congratulations. You’re now in my brain, how does it feel? Invigorating I bet. Thanks for reading all of this it genuinely warms my little weirdo heart having you all in my life.

MUCH LOVE. x