Make-Up, Marco and Music

Last weekend we experienced more glorious weather and I was able to indulge of three of my favourite things: make-up shopping, lunch with The Bloke at a restaurant and Eurovision.

Awesome.

My friend is getting married at the end of July and she asked me if I would accompany her while she tried out some ideas during a makeover she had scheduled at Dior.

Ooh, go on then!

It was nice to watch the make-up artist try out some ideas, particularly as her finished look was not something that my friend would usually wear, and I ended up having a lovely chat with numerous people about make-up looks, our favourite vloggers and blogging. To be fair, it’s inevitable that a conversation in my world ends up with a discussion about blogging – it’s something that my friends have grown used to over the years.

I then met The Bloke for lunch at Marco Pierre White’s restaurant at the top of the Cube in the Mailbox. It was the first time we had visited and I had heard and read mixed reviews, so I was interested to see what was available on the lunchtime menu. Continue reading

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Blog of the Day and a Blog Party: Hélene Fermont

Meet Hélene! She’s hosting a blog party today. A blogger and author of three books, with a fourth due out later this year, Hélene is one of my new found discoveries. She explains more in her ‘About’ page.

My name is Hélene and I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. Born into an Anglo-Swedish family, I was brought up bilingual – I write in English – and my writing is inspired by Nordic or Scandinavian literature with strong characterisation and morally complex elements.

My novels are reflective of my professional and personal experiences but are completely fictitious. I blend the above elements with my own unique style of contemporary women’s fiction with a psychological twist. At all times I write from the heart and work hard to ensure my novels are genuine, emotive and relatable. Continue reading

Hello, Sunshine!

What a glorious weekend we’ve just had here in the UK! After one of the most depressing and seemingly longest winter in my own living memory, we were blessed with several days of sunshine that coincided perfectly with Bank Holiday – the hottest early May Bank Holiday on record.

The Bloke and I took full advantage of it. Saturday was spent in the city, walking around, doing a bit of shopping, enjoying lunch and general people watching. Sunday was an enormous car boot sale, where we managed to clear a massive amount of clutter and enjoyed meeting lots of new people. Yesterday, The Bloke suddenly developed a rare attack of hayfever, so my friend and I got some food and a blanket together and went for a picnic in the local park. It was lovely – I haven’t had a picnic in several years so it was nice to catch up, eat nice food and walk through the woods afterwards. My laundry was done, I got some much needed exercise, I spent some valuable time outdoors and got out of the rut I often find myself in when working from home. Continue reading

A Writers Retreat

What do you get when you combine three published author bloggers and me, a converted hospital, rolling countryside, pig farms, beautiful beach huts and a spare weekend?

A self-made writers retreat.

Yes, I’ve just spent the weekend in a gorgeous house with my blogger friends Sacha, Helen and Geoff with the purpose of using some rare free-time and utilising each other’s knowledge, experience and skills to not only attempt to catch up with our writing goals, but to take the opportunity to throw a few ideas around and get some immediate feedback on what we were working on. Geoff had very kindly offered to host us at his home, which was part of a converted former hospital. Continue reading

One. Million. Views.

Holy crap.

Just under five years ago (April 2013), I came home from work after a particularly bad day, created a WordPress account and hastily wrote a very short introductory post entitled ‘Stuff.’

I have a lot of stuff. When I first moved down to Birmingham to start my degree everything that I owned could be fit into the back of a Ford Escort. Now, almost twelve years later, I own everything I have except the shell of the house that I live in. This blog is an attempt to sort out the stuff that I have surrounded myself with for years… And I’m not just referring to the physical objects that are in the house…

And that’s exactly what this blog helped me to do… sort my stuff out. It has been the biggest influence in almost every aspect of life, allowing me to change my career path, discover new goals and talents, experience places and things that I could have only dreamed of in my previous existence, understand myself better, calm my demons, re-establish estranged relationships and has introduced me to some of the most inspiring, creative and incredible people from all over the world both online and in person that I would never have have the privilege to get to know otherwise. Instead of filling my house with half-finished journals, it has been my online diary and record of the unbelievable highs and struggles of my life: getting engaged and married to The Bloke, welcoming The Squidge (my niece) into the world, watching as the important people in my life get married and have children, quitting my teaching job, travel, food, reviews, hosting workshops, winning the Best Overall Blog at the Annual Bloggers Bash in London…

I only told one friend when I first started writing – I showed her one of my posts during a meal at a pizza restaurant after I’d gained about 10 followers while my heart was beating out of my chest, and after she gave me a positive reaction and boosted my confidence we had a conversation about what I could achieve with it.

“You could get a million views!” I remember her saying, and I laughed at the prospect.

And today, that’s exactly what happened – this little piece of the internet had it’s MILLIONTH VIEW…

Unbelievable.

Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to read, share, tweet, pin, advise, support… I couldn’t have done it without you!

Here’s to the next million!

The Bloggers Bash Awards: Nominations Are Now Open!

The Annual Bloggers Bash Award Nominations are Open!

NOMINATIONS ARE NOW OPEN FOR THE BLOGGERS BASH AWARDS (ABBAs)

The Bloggers Bash is just three months away, which means the ABBAs (Annual Bloggers Bash Awards) are back! Every year, we run a set of blogging awards nominated and voted for by you.

To buy a ticket for the Annual Bloggers Bash click here

This year, the awards are being sponsored by Greenstory – a fantastic eco-friendly company who are awarding each of the winners with a STONE notebook… Yes, a notebook actually made of stone. For more details, check out Suzie’s review of the notebook here or their website here. Continue reading

The Bloggers Bash Awards Are Back!

Annual Bloggers Bash

Now in its fourth year, the Annual Bloggers Bash returns bigger and better than ever. The venue is booked, and the committee is busy working behind the scenes to ensure the day is full of fun, learning opportunities, networking, and, of course, the blogtastic award ceremony.

This year, the awards are being sponsored by Greenstory – a fantastic eco-friendly company who are awarding each of the winners with a STONE notebook… Yes, a notebook actually made of stone. For more details, check out my review of the notebook here:

The nominations will open soon but we wanted to share the award categories with you to give everyone plenty of time to think about who they feel deserves a nomination.

Get your thinking caps on and keep an eye out for future posts. Nominations will open on March 6th, 2018. Continue reading

Lessons, Limoges and Lilliput Lane

George Orwell’s house in Notting Hill

This week has been a little hectic. The Bloke has had a week off, we’ve been organising a bajillion things at once and trying to spend some quality time together, and I’ve been desperately trying to keep on top of my daily checklists. It’s been a mixed bag of fun and stress all rolled into one busy package.

But, we’re never too old to learn new things, and this week I have learned a lot.

A raspberry in a glass of prosecco makes it taste less like what I imagine unwashed feet do. I must be the only female I know who doesn’t like it, but it’s almost palatable with a raspberry.

Upgrading on a travel West Midlands train is a pointless waste of money.

I make a mean French Toast, after trying it out for the first time last Sunday. My buzz was cut short, however, after my friend informed me that her 11 year old regularly makes it for herself. 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

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