Bloggers Bash Blog Post Competition: Win a £100 Amazon Gift Card!

The Bloggers Bash writing competition was so popular last year that the committee is bringing it back (with a slight difference) for 2018.

As you may have noticed, there’s another exciting event happening in London the same day as our Bloggers Bash. Although it won’t be as much fun as our event, the news of a Royal Wedding has undoubtedly given us a lot to think about.

So, we’re launching the Bloggers Bash Blog Post Competition 2018 based on the theme of ‘Royalty.’ You’ve got a maximum of 300 words to share a flash fiction story, anecdote, poem, or another piece of work or writing on this theme. You might be inspired by Harry and his princess, or by the venue of this year’s Bloggers Bash (George IV). Or you might have another idea in mind. If you’re a photographer, then publish a post that includes photos of what ‘Royalty’ means to you.

The Cost: £5 per entry or £8 for two entries – all proceeds go to funding The Bloggers Bash, payment accepted through PayPal only, at the bottom of the post. Continue reading

Greenstory STONE Notebook: A Review

 

Those of you who follow the blog regularly will know of my obsession with Bullet Journals and stationery. You can imagine my excitement when I was asked to try out a brand new notebook by Greenstory... made of STONE.

Yes, you read it correctly… it’s made of stone.

Developed by Dutch brother & sister duo Kaim and Yagmur and supported by copywriter Fleur, Greenstory seeks to make a difference for sustainability. The paper for the Stone Notebook is made of 80% calcium carbonate, which is waste material from marble quarries. 20% polyethylene is added, and that’s it. It uses 6X less energy to produce and leaves a 3X smaller CO2 footprint. No coating, water, acid, bleach or optical brighteners. The material can be infinitely recycled to make more Stone notebooks!

It also makes the paper waterproof and much stronger – one of the first things that I attempted to do when I received the notebook was rip the corner of one of the back pages, and while it was possible to tear it – there was a noticeable difference in the overall strength than other notebooks I have used. Continue reading

My Face Hurts

After being indoors for what seems like forever, I took today off. I love what I do, but after 12 consecutive days I needed a bit of me time. As the weather was glorious this morning I decided to make an effort and do things that make me happy, so I had a hot bath, spent time doing my hair and make-up, got the bus into Birmingham and had a wander round my favourite stationery places, treating myself to more washi tape, some flat lay props and a new notebook for a project I’m starting.

I met up with one of my favourite people for lunch – Shelley Wilson from Motivate Me  – and we went to Bacchus Bar. Sitting in enormous chairs that made us look like we were perching on thrones (yes, you may now refer to us as Her Brummie Highnesses), and indulging in a lovely scampi and chips, we talked and talked and laughed and talked and laughed some more. And now my face hurts from all the smiling I did. Continue reading

Fun Fruit Platter for Parties

I love food platters, particularly ones that look beautiful, taste yummy, are quick and simple to assemble, are suitable for most dietary requirements and provide lots of fun at celebrations and dinner parties.

This is one of my favourites – a simple fruit platter that takes no time at all to create, is a brilliant hands on dessert to end a lovely meal and is suitable for vegans and vegetarians (depending on what you choose to use for the dip). I created this platter for The Bloke and I on New Years Eve as an alternative to a baked dessert, mainly because I didn’t want to prepare a complicated recipe, spend a fortune or finish the evening by feeling bloated. It is also perfect for getting your children involved and is great for children’s parties or summer barbecues.

And yet, while it’s almost insulting to write out such a simple recipe idea, it’s something that many don’t even think about until after an event is over… So here is is:

You will need:

A selection of your favourite fruits – I’m particularly fond of things like strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, bananas, but I’ve seen lots of other ideas including kiwi fruit, watermelon oranges etc. Pick what you enjoy and what falls within your budget.

A large plate or platter

Wooden skewers

For the dip: this can also be anything of your choice – Greek yoghurt, avocado mousse and vegan lemon curd would be perfect for a healthy dip idea, or you could use things like raspberry coulis, melted chocolate, peanut butter… I (of course) decided to treat myself by melting some Nutella. Because everything is better with Nutella.

Extras: this also depends on how healthy you want to make it. Mini brownie pieces, marshmallows, bite sized flapjacks are great for adding onto the kebabs, nuts, cacao nibs or hundreds and thousands can be used for sprinkling… Anything and everything goes. I decided to add some marshmallows for a change in texture. And because it was a great excuse to eat marshmallows.

Method:

Chop up the fruit and arrange on the plate / platter.

Lay out any extras you want to include around the fruit.

Place dips / toppings into small bowls.

Place a selection of the fruit on the wooden skewers or simply put the skewers on the side and encourage people to make their own fruit kebabs.

 

That’s it. It took me a total of 10 minutes to put it together and I could sit back and enjoy it without having to worry about timings or temperature.

Give it a try – the next time you host a party for people of any age, set out this fruit platter for all of your guests to enjoy!

Boost Your Blog and Social Media Using My Management Services!

Blog and social media management services

Of all of the blogging regrets that I have, my lack of knowledge when developing my blog and hesitation when setting up my social media accounts are the biggest. Why?

Because my social media is now responsible for HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of referrals of my total views.

The problem with social media is that, during the initial set-up in particular, it’s incredibly time consuming, even when using schedulers. Posting a blog post now doesn’t just involve pressing the publish button – I think about keywords, create a pinnable image for Pinterest and then pin it, tweet it using specific hashtags, stumble it, share it on Flipboard and then share it again into specific Facebook groups. I then use my BoardBooster Pinterest scheduler to incorporate my latest post. How, when and where I share it will depend on the specific day and time so that they get the maximum audience. Continue reading

Self-Pity, Gratitude… and Cake

There’s nothing more inspiring than a positive person who has a goal and works relentlessly hard to achieve it. More recently I have been turning to American muscle gods for inspiration – anyone who has the ability to get up at 4am and train to that level when I can’t even manage breakfast and a coherent sentence before 10.30am deserves my upmost respect.

Today’s admiration is for Terry Crews. Not only is he a talented actor and fitness expert, but he seems to be one of the most genuinely positive and uplifting people around. I discovered a video that he uploaded a year ago on his YouTube channel, and it was some of the most profound thoughts I’d heard in a while. Continue reading

FOMO Bloggers: Why You’re Harming Your Own Blog

FOMO Bloggers: how the fear of missing out can actually be hurting you and your blog!

Ethel has written a post. It’s a great post and it’s receiving lots of positive feedback. Janey wants lots of positive feedback too. Janey copies the post, changes a few words around, adds in a few extra ideas and publishes it as her ‘brand new, completely original post’ in all of the 232 Facebook groups that she’s a member of. Nobody will notice, right?

In the last week I’ve read two articles that I immediately connected with. The first, a completely fabulous post by Kate Toon – 19 Things NOT to Do in a Facebook Group – which hilariously highlighted just some of the silliness that I witness daily, and the second by Elena Peters – What’s Up With the Fast Blogging? – a short set of thoughts on the misconceptions of overnight blogging success and the desperation of bloggers to achieve it. They’re both completely different posts, but they essentially focus on the same thing:

FOMO.

Fear Of Missing Out, an all-consuming desire to keep up with everyone else, to have what they have, to do what they’re doing. Continue reading

The Online Power of a Squirrel…

The Bloke is an avid photographer. He particularly likes wildlife, architectural and landscape photography and his pictures are utterly fantastic – we can be in the same place at the same time, photographing the same thing and he always manages to create something beautiful and artistic with seemingly very little effort. I’m so proud of him, and extremely jealous of his skills.

However, there’s one particular thing that he has an affinity for…

Squirrels.

Living in Birmingham, UK, we have an abundance of them and very little else. I’m enormously envious whenever I go on Instagram and see images of incredible wildlife in people’s back yards – I saw a racoon in Central Park a few months ago when we were on our honeymoon and that was honestly the first time I’ve ever seen one in real life… Perhaps I shouldn’t have stood there and yelled “oh my god it’s a raccoon!” at the top of my voice while pointing at the poor thing like a maniac, but it was a bigger deal to me than most. Continue reading

A Massage, Merchandise and Motivation

There’s an awesome quote that appeared on Pinterest a little while ago by Colette Werden:

‘It’s ok if you fall down and lose your spark. Just make sure that when you get back up, you rise as the whole damn fire…’

This. This is what I needed to remember last week, and that’s exactly what I did. I’ve got into the habits of doing smaller jobs every day, but this week I was feeling particularly fired so up decided to throw myself at much larger tasks and goals. As a result, my mind feels clearer, my space is tidier, my blog stats are up, I’ve lost 5lbs and I have a whole list of positive things that will be happening in the future (no, I’m not pregnant before everyone starts freaking out). Continue reading

How to Spend 4 1/2 Days in New York City

The Bloke and I recently visited NYC on our honeymoon and had an absolutely incredible time. It’s a fast paced, exciting and vibrant city that has interesting things to see and do on every block, but it isn’t possible to do it all in just one visit, particularly on a limited budget.

It is, however, possible to experience an enormous amount of things in a short amount of time and without spending an enormous amount of money, and we’re proof of this as we’ve just done it ourselves.

It is worth noting at this point that we were staying at a fairly centralised hotel – Hotel @ Times Square on West 46th Street, near 6th Avenue, so it was possible to easily walk to a number of the locations we visited on the first few days, but the subway is efficient enough that it is easy and inexpensive to get from one side of Manhattan to another in a short space of time. Continue reading