24/07/2017

25 THINGS FOR YOUR SUMMER TO-DO LIST


Summer can be the time of year when people are looking for new exciting things to do. If you're looking for the best ways to make the most out of the summer days, here's a few ideas for things to do.

Go Berry Picking

Go on a walk

Go mushroom foraying

Press 6 different types of flowers 

Grow a vegetable from scratch




Go to the beach for sunrise 

Visit a zoo

Visit a farm

Visit a Photo Booth


Read a book

Get a pen pal

Complete a puzzle



Create something with clay

Build a bird feeder

Build a bug hotel

Make glitter jars

Make a face mask



Make a new cocktail

Bake something

Home make pizza

Home make ice cream


Go for a late night swim

Go to seaside amusements

Go paddling in a stream

Go a full day without technology

What is your summer To-Do List this summer?

You can find the infographic for this post here
TWITTER // INSTAGRAM // PINTEREST

20/07/2017

THE BLOGGER CROWD: BLOGGER PACK // REVIEW*

When you have hundreds of post ideas, blog deadlines, events and no where to write everything down - a blog planner can be a saviour. The Blogger Crowd recently created a sample for their new, up and coming Blogger Pack and, after a week or so of using it, here's how I've found it:

The three main concepts within this sample were the the 'blog post planner', the daily planner and the monthly overviews.

BLOG POST PLANNER
The blog post planner is a really great idea and something that I reckon would be useful to a lot of bloggers. With this page, you'd require one per post as they are focussed on the one post - I like this because it means that you wouldn't get muddled as to where you put 'that post' or 'this post'; there's a box at the top making it pretty clear which post is being discussed. 
The general look of this page is adorable. I'm a huge fan of white backgrounds with simple, modern graphics and this definitely does that. The dots are cute, the colour pallet is cute and the font is cute. My only iff with the layout is that the section about 'websites to link back to' doesn't, for me, need to be so big. It's understandable that some bloggers use the marketing strategy of repeatedly linking their content throughout posts but, for me, I find that my links are continuously uniform across my posts and, aside from the odd link here and there, they're always the same links at the same place; so not something that I feel would even need to be mentioned when planning posts. 
I feel that, from this page, I'd like to see the 'notes' section a bit bigger or, alternatively, a section for structuring the post e.g. Intro > Body > Conclusion > Call to action. This would be an ideal feature for me and would be, I'm sure, to many other bloggers.
Overall, the post planner is aesthetically pleasing and showcases the best crucial info such as date/time, post title, and what needs to be done with photography in order to completely prepare for the post. 


MONTHLY OVERVIEW
I chose to print and complete the July monthly overview which I found generally faultless. Again, the aesthetic was pleasing and I particularly liked how each month had a different icon in the corner according to the season; e.g. March had a flower, July had a plane, and October had a pumpkin.
The only missing thing is a list for blog posts going up in that month. I guess that blog posts could be added into the 'Notes' section but I think it could go that little bit extra specific. 
Overall, with the monthly overviews, I really value the 'Goals' because I am the kind of person to set goals for the month then forget about them and thus not complete them. Due to the fact that I can write them down here, I'm less likely to forget about them and more likely to stay focussed. 


DAILY PLANNER
The daily planner has to be one of my favourite pages because it is jam-packed with so many useful features. I'm a sucker for a good, ol' To-Do List, so I got straight on with writing that down. The lines could be a little longer and perhaps the tick-boxes a little bit smaller, but I'm satisfied with that feature.
I love the positive vibes that this page radiated effortlessly at the bottom of the page with the 'looking forward to' section - I guess it is a little bit mindfulness-ish in the way that it controls you to focus on the positive aspects of the day. 
Along the side of this page, there is a pale pink box for each 'Morning', 'Afternoon' and 'Evening' which I found useful for sectioning up my day as well as helping to realise whereabouts in the day I was best fitting things in to avoid doing lots of things all once. 
This page is my favourite of them all in terms of layout - I love the question at the top, the wavy lines, the fact that there's a lot do to and the fresh colour palette.  


As a whole, the blogger pack is really useful to me and I can't wait for The Blogger Crowd to reveal the full pack. The official pack is set to include even more great tools for aiding your blogging process as well as some really exciting blogging related prints. I really recommend that you follow The Blogger Crowd on their Instagram and Twitter because, as soon as the website is launched, Blogger Packs like this one are going to be available for download from as little at £1.50. 

If you have any questions about The Blogger Crowd's Blogger pack, you can email 
thebloggercrowd@hotmail.com. 

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*This blogger pack was sent to me for reviewing purposes but all opinions are 100% my own.

16/07/2017

WHAT I'M LOOKING FORWARD TO



There's some exciting things coming up soon and I've found that there is actually a list of things at the moment. It goes from albums, trips, films and life changes.

LUST FOR LIFE - 21st JULY
Lana Del Rey's newest album, 'Lust For Life', is set for release on July 21st and, after a long time waiting, I am SO excited! The first single was released in February and, from then, the album was repeatedly advertised and teased. Due to the fact that the first song came out in February, I think it's fair to say that this has had me waiting a long time and I'm actually relieved to know that it's finally just around the corner.

A SUMMER HOLIDAY - JUNE 2018
Seeing everyone on inflatable unicorns, floating on pools in gorgeous sunny locations is giving me such holiday blues this year. Unfortunately, I am not going on holiday this year and my most recent holiday was to the cold haven, Iceland. It's a given that, especially given the one-day-long summer here in the UK, I am over due a look at the sun. Luckily, my family and I have decided to all go on holiday together next year to a sunny location. It's booked and now I'm waiting for this year's bikini sales.

GAP YEAR ADVENTURES
While I plan for my gap year to be full of work experience, I'd also love to have some exciting adventures. Edinburgh was our first trip and now we're looking for a countryside, cabin escape. Let me know if you can recommend any cute, cosy getaway locations in the UK.

TO GET WORKING
Anyone seeking work will know the excruciating frustration of trying to find a job. For me, as a young person and in the vicious cycle of 'no experience, no work', it's taking quite a lot of perseverance and determination to look for work. I can't wait to get earning and fill my days with valuable experience and tasks.

KINGSMAN: THE GOLDEN CIRCLE - SEPT 2017
I recently succumbed to the everlasting desire to watch Kingsman. Everyone that I know loves the film so, a few weeks ago, I sat down with my boyfriend's family to watch it. The initial film was fantastic - so juicy, action packed, witty and almost like a new age Bond - I'd recommend it to anyone. As the arrival of the sequel approaches, I am getting so excited to see the characters and humour all over again. I haven't seen a film in cinema for so long but I reckon this film will be the one to break that.

PITCH PERFECT 3 - DEC 2017
In case you didn't know, the Bella's are back AGAIN this year for a Christmas film. Although you might be a little tired of the cheesy American a-capella franchise (especially since the crazy boom in cup-tapping from The Cup Song), it's 100% my guilty please and I'm not ashamed to say that I have seen the previous films more than once each. Honestly, in an alternative universe, I would definitely be in an a-capella group - it's just so awesome!

WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO?

12/07/2017

EDINBURGH TRIP 2017


As I've explained to many people before, I visit Edinburgh at least once a year and I have done for a very long time. The reason why it seems to happen every year is because it's such a wonderful city that I seem to never get tired of. This year, visiting Edinburgh was very different. It was the first time I had visited without my family; only my boyfriend and I went. It was also the first time that I have visited as the legal drinking age, meaning there was a lot more that I could explore. Another thing that was different about this Edinburgh trip was that it was a little more challenging. Being on your own in a capital city can be daunting for anyone - specifically those, like myself, who suffer with anxiety. So, this time around, I was a little nervous but, overall, because of how far improvements have come with my anxiety, the trusting company that I was with, and the fact that Edinburgh is such a beautiful, historical city - I managed to succeed and have an excellent time. 

So, here's what we did:

Jamie and I were super lucky and got two first class return tickets so Edinburgh. They were booked as soon as they were released meaning they were pretty cheap - especially as Jamie has a rail card. We took advantage of the first class tickets; we chilled out in the first class lounge and ordered plenty of food and drink on board. From where we got on, the train to Edinburgh only takes just under 2 hours and travels closely along the East Coast (meaning there are some stunning views).

After checking into our hotel and dropping our bags off, we went for a cocktail iN a gorgeous bar: Badger & Co. Having never visited Badger & Co before, I was soooo impressed. The cocktails were delicious, the variety of drinks were great and the overall atmosphere was just so pleasant. 

On the evening of our first night, we went for a meal in Pizza Express. We were super duper tired from traveling and rushing through the streets in the rain, so we only planned an easy, relaxed evening so we could get our feet on the ground. As ever, Pizza Express was delish and, upon returning back to our room, we got our pjs on and got an early night ready for the next day (Are you yawning yet? Hang in there)

This is definitely where stuff got real exciting. After Hayley recommended that I visit The Huxley, we decided to go there for breakfast. DE-LISH-OUS!! If you're planning to go to Edinburgh, this place is a must-do. It's a lil bit on the fancy side with a bit of a sting on the price labels, but the food and the interior design is stunning. I got a Berry Blast smoothie which was HUGE and jam-packed with goodness, then the most amazing pancakes (take it from me cus I'm not usually a big fan of pancakes). On top off all that, our window seat was perfect for people watching and being grateful for being inside, out of the rain.

More drinks? Another restaurant? Yep, that's pretty much what we were always doing. If we weren't eating, we were drinking. The next visit (after a round of shopping on Princess Street to walk off the breakfast) was to the very swanky Le Monde - a cocktail bar situated on George Street. I got a tasty drink called The Lady In Red which, due to the addition of Disaronno, tasted like a Bakewell Tart dream.  
A little time after that, we headed to our first experience in YO!Sushi. Jamie had been begging to go to YO!Sushi for as long as I can remember so, while we had the chance, we finally went. It's easy to say that this places exceeded our expectations and we were so happy with everything. The food was lovely, the service was quick and unique, and we had a crazy cool view of the castle from our seats. I also came away from this having tried new foods - one of them being raw, unsmoked salmon, which really just weirded me out. And the other being Tofu; I still have no idea what it is, but it tastes really nice - especially when covered in Katsu sauce.

This next activity was something that I was looking forward to for sooo long! Maison de Moggy or Edinburgh Cat Cafe. This cat cafe is unlike anything I've been to before because all of the cats are pedigree. From Berman, British Shorthair, Ragdoll, Sphinx and Bengal, all of the cats are unique to their breeds and beautiful for it. It was actually my first time seeing real pedigree cats and I was particularly blown away by the size of them. The Berman, or Pierre, was an outstanding size - and he wasn't even the biggest there. Then there was the unusual Sphinx cat; this kitty enjoyed trying to steal people's cake and chasing toys. When you did get chance for a stroke between playtime, the skin was surprisingly warm and velvety. 

Oh and, of course, we went for more drinks after.

On our last night, I wore my pink jumpsuit from Warehouse that I adore. Before we devoured a huge Paella in Cafe Andaluz, we went for drinks (again, heh) in Tigerlily. If you're ever visiting Edinburgh and you're looking for just one suave bar to indulge in, it must be Tigerlily. This place is so fresh, modern and stylish as well as serving up awesome drinks. On our visit, I stepped out of my comfort zone and got a fab 'personalised cocktail'. The talented barman listened to my favourite flavours and my least favourite, and rustled up a beautiful concoction.

On our last day we had breakfast in our hotel (with an A* view), did more shopping, and - *sigh* you're probably tired of hearing this now - went for more drinks. But hear me out!! We went for drinks in The Dome because, to me, it's one of those places that you can't leave Edinburgh without visiting. It's a true landmark on the highstreet and is designed to perfection. 

After all of that, we headed home. Our first class train on the way back included, guess what, more drinks and we got home in the evening tired and happy. It was such an amazing trip and I feel fairly proud of myself for being able to let my hair down, enjoy myself and forget about responsibilities - even if it was only for 3 days. It may not be the tropical holidays that you're seeing at the moment but, I believe that it's the sentimental value that can make a holiday really special. 

Which location has sentimental value to you?

08/07/2017

HOW TO GET YOUR BLOG BACK IN SHAPE


We all go through blog breaks, life happens. Sometimes, whether it's life that takes over or simply you, as your own boss, hands yourself a holiday form, it's okay to take a break. But what happens when you get back? When I came back from my recent break, I remember looking at my blog and thinking 'it's just not how I want it'. So here's some ways for how to polish up your dusty blog:

BRING IT BACK WITH CAPTURING CONTENT
Don't come back and have your first post something boring that everyone has seen before. Discuss controversial topics that you experienced over your break or share opinions. Plus, if you've had a break, the chances are, you've done some pretty cool shiz (or maybe even some bad shiz), so write about it.

RECONNECT
There's no point in sitting, staring at your blog home page waiting for someone to comment on your post. Usually, when you take a break, views go down - especially if your break is a pretty long one. Reconnect and show others that you're back, get over to social medias i.e. Twitter, Insta, Pinterest, Facebook and share your links. Try setting 20 minutes aside everyday to go on your favourite blogs (or, what I like to do is, go on one the RT Twitter accounts and read the RT'd posts that catch my eye - I usually look at around 6-10 posts a day at the least) and comment. Oh also, while you're there, leave your link. I am more than happy for people to leave their links in my comments - but do avoid doing a full blown advertisement of yourself, many bloggers deny that as etiquette. 

HAVE A REARRANGE 
Sometimes, graphic and layout trends come and go. You're awesome header that you placed on your blog 3 years ago might look a bit shabby now and not quite satisfy readers the same way it did. On top of that, having a bit of an adjustment can help give your blog a fresher face and look generally cleaner. At the same time, don't go too drastic on the image changes because then you're stepping into re-brand territory (which isn't bad, it can just confuse some readers). 

FIND WHAT'S HOT
At the end of the day, you're probably writing for an audience and usually their opinions and styles change over time. Find out what audiences are wanting to read now, then reflect that in your posts. One of the best ways to do this is looking at posts on Twitter and Bloglovin - Bloglovin' has the 'love' feature which is handy for gathering this sort of information. Then there is the awesome Poll feature on Twitter which is fantastic for this; simply ask what people what to see with a few options - readers love nothing more than reading content that they are actually interested in. 

MAKE UP FOR LOST TIME
If you've missed time on your blog, then it's suggested to put up a few posts quite frequently in the first few weeks of coming back to blogging just to get you're self re-planted and keep people reading. I have been doing this since my break. I came back to blogging on June 22nd and, since then, I have posted 4 posts in 2 weeks. Yes, it's far from the daily blogging that some people do, but it's still a lot more effective than no posts at all.

VERY VARY
Maybe don't just spew out all of your beauty post ideas if you're a multi-topic blogger. If readers have forgotten who you are, then bring them back and show them that you have something to offer everyone. Whip out your top lifestyle post (i.e. a post of what you did in your break), then maybe a top recipe (i.e. what you've been cooking in your break). See? It's very doable.

DON'T FORCE IT
If you come back to your blog and still don't know what the hell to write, then you probably aren't ready yet. Blogging shouldn't be a chore so if you don't feel ready to come back yet then accept it and wait until you are. Sometimes, people can tell if a post is forced and it's not good.


What are you're tips for a blog 'bring back'?

05/07/2017

JULY GOALS 2017




Admittedly, I've never really been the kind of person to set goals. I see people doing it, left, right and centre and these people just seem to be so impeccably organised; I reckoned it was time to start setting my own goals this month. I'm going to aim to do it every-other month, just to get into the swing of things. This months goals are:
● BLOGGING 

- REACH 200 FOLLOWERS ON INSTA
I know, 200 followers might sound like a room full of people to you, but I've only recently set up an Instagram account specifically for my blog. I decided to do this to bring more engagement between me and my readers. Considering I only recently set up the account, it's growing fairly comfortably, and I'm really happy with the posts that are going up on there. As I'm writing this, my goal of reaching 200 is around 70% complete - not bad for the first week of July (if I do say so myself).
- REACH 500 FOLLOWERS ON BLOGLOVIN'
Bloglovin' seems to be really difficult lately and, admittedly, I haven't done much promo for it since being back to blogging. My Bloglovin' follower count has been sitting over 400 for a while now so, this month, I'm hoping to gain a few more.
- POST AT LEAST 6-8 POSTS
Yep. I am going to aim to post MORE than just once a week this month, which is far from the once in a blue moon that used to happen. I'm getting organised while I can so I'm really hoping that this one is achievable. Let me know what posts you wanna see!
- PUT MYSELF OUT THERE
If there's anything I am learning the most with my blog recently is that, you cannot gain engagement with readers by just sitting there taking pretty pictures and writing something nice. You have to put yourself out there. I am starting to get a lil bit business-y with my blog and I really hope it helps grow my readership.

 HEALTH 

- WORK OUT AT LEAST TWICE A WEEK
I might literally have to force myself, and twice a week might sound pointless to you, but it's better than nothing. I've decided to get fitter recently but, most importantly, be unapologetic about it. There's no rule book for exercising. No mandatory amount of times it should happen or how long for. I want to exercise on my terms to ensure that I still remain a happy bunny.
- DRINK MORE
I wish this was 'drink more' in the sense of awarding myself for every bottle of vodka that I empty. Nope. It's the everlasting goal that I have to drink more water. I'll keep you updated but I can't promise much.
- SKIP DESSERT
Part of feeling fitter in July might mean that, every now and again, I might have to resist the temptation of a cake. I definitely have sweet tooth but I think I'm going to start reaching for healthier options like fruit or yogurt.
- GO FOR A WALK ONCE A WEEK
There are some really lovely places to go walking in my region so, not only do I want to take advantage of the scenery, but I also want to get out once a week for some fresh air and a bit of exercise. I find that exercise like this is the best kind because you don't realise that you're getting fitter and the fresh air tends to make you sleep better at night.


LIFE ●

- GET A JOB
Ah. I feel like I'm pulling myself along on my hands and knees with this one. Getting a new job is so difficult. I'd really love a job ASAP. I would settle with at least a job interview completed at the end of the month, but if I can take it a step further then I'd probs treat myself to an extra chocolate or something.
- FINISH A BOOK
Steady on, Alice. Finishing a whole book, for me in my post exam sloth phase, will be a struggle. I need time to adjust and calm down from the exam adrenaline. I also don't want to force myself. I've forced myself to read books before and it just spoils the enjoyment.
- HAVE AT LEAST ONE DRIVING LESSON
I started driving lessons in March 2016, then stopped for exams this year. I'm honestly not a fan of driving - I hate the close proximity, the pressure and I'm just not interested in cars, but I know that it has to be done. In July, I want to at least plan to get back to driving and stop putting it off. And, as for a long term goal, I'd love to have passed my test by March next year!


What are you planning to achieve this month?