T’was the Night Before Christmas.

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?

 

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 

The Christmas Tag!

 

Hello! Sorry for the radio silence around here, I haven’t been very active on here since my attempt at Blogtober. I wish I could say that I’ve been super duper busy hence my disappearing act but truth be told I just really couldn’t be bothered. I’ve had a lot of ideas of things to write about, to post or to say but I couldn’t put them into words or fruition. Plus I felt like I had a bit of a confidence knock from Blogtober somehow, I felt like I was pushing out below par posts that I wasn’t overly proud of and was just doing it to say I’ve done something for that day.

But HIYA i’m back. I’m ready and raring to go and get my head back into the blogging zone. I must say a very special thank you to the very lovely and the very kind Gillian (who blogs here) as she has kindly nominated me to take part in The Christmas Tag she made. If you haven’t already checked out Gillian’s blog I would really like you to have a little peek, a read and especially a follow now. She’s someone that I came across in the Summer I think and I completely fell in love with her writing style, I love how chatty she comes across, like I’m getting advice and having a chit chat with an old friend. Plus I’ve always got the biggest envy for the clothes and makeup she’s loving or wherever she’s off to with her boyfriend. COUPLE GOALS.

On a side note though, I was super touched to see that I had been tagged to get involved with this post. It probably sounds a little bit silly but it does always mean so much to me when someone thinks of me in this whole blogging biz, especially as I’ve been so on and off with it all recently as well! Plus I really do love doing these types of posts, I love writing them and I love reading ones that other bloggers have done, it’s always such a fun insight into someone! So here goes The Christmas Tag!!

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What is your favourite Christmas candle?

I love the Yankee Candle one Cranberry Ice or something quite mulled and spicy smelling always reminds me of Christmas!

What is your favourite Christmas song?

Wonderful Christmas Time by Paul McCartney it was one of the few that never used to play on repeat when I worked in retail!

Do you stay in pyjamas all day or dress up on Christmas Day?

As a family we all usually get quite dressed up or failing that wear cheesy Christmas jumpers!

What are your plans for the holidays this year?

We’ve got my Nanny and Grandad coming up for Christmas Dinner and are going to spend the rest of the day chilling, playing games and getting very merry.

What is your favourite Christmas movie?

Elf or The Holiday. I love a feelgood movie and I’ve watched The Holiday countless times and still obsess over Kate Winslet and the old man every time!

Do you love or loathe tacky Christmas sweaters?

I LOVE them! The cheesier the better!

Who will you be kissing underneath the mistletoe this year?

HA! I am sadly forever alone so will probably have to make do with a smooch from my pooch this year!

What are you excited for in the build up to Christmas?

The baking! I love making homemade gifts and just general little treats to snack on over the festive period!

What is your favourite Christmas tradition?

Christmas is always a big family time in my household so I always have memories of Christmas time with all the family over with lots of delicious buffet food to feast on all day long.

What is the number one item on your Christmas wishlist this year?

I haven’t really asked for anything in particular this year but I know my sister has got me a notebook I had my eye on for ages so I’m excited about that!

What is your favourite Christmas food?

My mum makes the best chocolate fridge cake that we’ve always had at Christmas time for as long as I remember! It’s got fruits, biscuits and marshmallows in and it’s so lush.

Do you shop the Boxing Day sales?

No, but sometimes I wish I took more advantage of the Lush sale!

Do you prefer to give or receive presents?

I love to give gifts definitely!

What is your favourite sweet treat for the holidays?

Quality street or any generic selection boxes are always a winner. It’s always the orange creme’s that are left behind in my house. I’m not a big fan of Christmas Pudding or Christmas Cake but I do like a mince pie. Or gingerbread!

Do you have a favourite Christmas drink?

Costa’s gingerbread latte’s or a blackforest hot chocolate are lush and keep you warmed up when out shopping all day. Alcoholic drinks wise I love an amaretto sour.

Which Advent Calendar do you have this year? Do you remember to open it each day?

I don’t actually have one this year! There’s just so many to choose from nowadays?! Back when I was younger I had a Cadbury’s chocolate one and a religious one from my Nan and that was it but now you can get gin, prosecco, candles, cheese the list goes on and on. But back when I did have one I’d always be really good at remembering to open the door each morning before school.

What is your favourite holiday scent?

I love spicy scents whether that’s ginger, cinnamon and allspice but it just reminds me of Christmas baking and holiday scents.

Are you one of those people that wish for a White Christmas each year?

Kind of! I have a really shoddy memory so I’m not entirely sure if I’ve ever actually had a White Christmas but it always sounds so magical doesn’t it!?

What makes the holidays most special to you?

Family time and spending it with those you love.

What has been your highlight of 2018?

I’ve been lucky to do a lot of things with my loving family and friends, had a couple days away with my friend to Brighton, I’ve had the support of my family to chase my dreams and do what makes me happy and I’ve seen some really cool comedy gigs with my sister too! Plus it was great having the warm weather in June and July! That feels like a lifetime ago now though!?

Once again I want to say a big, massive thank you to the fab Gillian, show her some love cos she deserves all of the praise and support!

I tag:

Jess

Laura

Ross

Hannah

Hope you all had a lovely weekend everyone ❤

What’s in my handbag?

Hiya huns! How’s your weekend been? Mine has been quite outdoorsy for a change. It’s been really sunny and warm which I think is a little bit weird for the UK nearing the end of October; considering it’s usually a bit colder and wetter around about this time!

I thought for today’s post I would share an absolute blogger favourite AND blogger basic. It’s almost like a rite of passage to bloggerhood to post the notorious ‘what’s in my handbag’ post.I fancied throwing it back to my old blog days with engaging in more tag posts and more personal posts so you can get a chance to get to know a little bit more about me. Or if you want to mug me in the not so distant future, think of this as a preview or what you could have won.

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For my everyday handbag I actually have a backpack from H&M I purchased last year. I like a handbag or a shoulder bag but sometimes I find that it makes my arms and shoulder really ache whereas I can just shove all my stuff in a backpack and carry it with ease. So many shops have such funky types these days. Especially ones that really don’t look like you’re about to hike up Everest which is always a massive plus.

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Aside from the loose change, endless wrappers, hairbands and receipts stashed in my bag I nearly always carry these items. I always like to make sure I’ve got paper, in the form of this lovely red leather bound notebook I picked up in TK Maxx last year and a pen. It’s so useful if I need to write a list or if I need to remember something. I mean a pen and paper are always going to be handy?! I always carry a pair of sunglasses with me as you never know when you might need some shades!

I’ve got a River Island tapestry style purse that I purchased YEARS ago actually. I like it because the pattern is a bit different and it’s actually reaally big with a clasped section one side and a card holdeer on the flap as well as a big coin section.

I carry some perfume at the moment I’ve got Paco Rabanne Black XS. It’s quite a sweet, fruity and floral scent you can wear either day or night so it’s perfect for any occasion.

I think it’s always super handy to keep a little pot of Nivea’s all purpose body creme. I love the smell it always reminds me of my Mum. Plus it’s great to use as a hand cream, to feel a bit fresher or even in the colder months to dab onto skin to avoid it drying out.

I’ve pretty much always got a couple of lipsticks floating around the bottom of my bag usually in nude tones and a pair of earphones.

Lastly, and probably most weirdly. I carry dog kibble. I have a dog and I think I must have left them in their from when I take him out on his walkies. I always carry them with me now, luckily they don’t make my bag smell!

What are your essentials you always carry with you?

MUCH LOVE. X

The This & That Tag

Hello my gorgeous little raspberry glazed krispy kreme doughnuts I hope you’re all well and are having a great day! I love doing tags on my blog, almost quite as much as I enjoy reading them. They give you that extra little chance to get to know the person behind the blog, their thoughts, opinions and funny quirks too.

So after spotting this particular tag floating about on I decided to give it a go! It’s called the This and That tag and I hope you enjoy it!

Drugstore or high end?
Drugstore! Even if I had the money and I could afford to splash out I think I’d still stick to my favourite high street brands. I actually only use cruelty free makeup as well so it can be a bit harder to come by when you shop high end. I love brands like Too Faced, Revolution Make up, Sleek and NYX.

Curly or straight?
I have naturally very thick wavy hair but straighten it religiously so it doesn’t look as wild. However I do also really love the look of curly hair and wish I was blessed enough to have it!

Tea or coffee?
AHH this is so difficult! I love both. If I’m having tea it’d be either sweet tea with two sugars and lots of milk or herbal tea like lemon and ginger or mint. Although I love the taste of coffee and the smell of it too. If I’m in a coffee shop I’d usually opt for a vanilla latte. Today, I think tea just wins the fight though.

Summer or winter?
Winter. I do not do well in the heat.
Early mornings or late nights?
I much prefer late nights.

Baths or showers?
Baths. 100%. They are just so relaxing. You can add bath bombs, bath oils, bubbles, bath salts, the list could go on and on. I love popping a face mask on, grabbing a good book and having a long, hot soak.

North or south?
I am a southern girl at heart. I grew up and still live in deepest, darkest Dorset which is in the South West of England. But if we’re talking about Kardashians it’d be North every single time.

Sweet or savoury?
I have the worlds biggest sweet tooth. If its unhealthy I’ll most likely want to eat it.

Cats or dogs?
Dogs. Ever since I got my puppy at Christmas 2013 I can’t imagine my life without him. Such a bundle of joy and brings so much happiness.

Lipstick or lipgloss?
Lipsticks. I’ve always had long hair and just remember getting my hair stuck in gloopy lip gloss when I was a teenager. Urgh!

Night in or night out?
A night out but not home ridiculously late so kinda the best of both worlds???

Kindle or actual book?
I don’t own a kindle but I don’t think I ever will. I love the feel of a book in my hand and my ultimate dream if I’m rich enough one day would be to have a library in my house filled with all my favourite reads and a big comfy sofa.

Facebook or Twitter?
Twitter just because I don’t have a Facebook and some of the things you read on there are just hilarious.

Silver or gold?
Silver.

TV or YouTube?
At the moment 100% Youtube. There is so much great content on there. Plus I’m a little obsessed with conspirary theory videos and there’s about a billion on there.
Frozen yogurt or Ice Cream?
Either but right now I could really go for a fro yo.

Comedy or Horror movies?
Oh definitely a comedy.

Frozen or Tangled?
Even though Frozen was and still is hugely popular I really love Tangled!

Books or Magazines?
Books every single time.

City or countryside?
City.

Coke or lemonade?
Lemonade. I actually really don’t like coke. I can’t even handle the smell.

Indoors or outdoors?
A bit of both. I like going out but I like staying home just as much.

Skirts and dresses or trousers and jeans?
Skirts and dresses. I wear them all the time and I don’t find jeans very flattering on me.

Statement eyes or statement lips?
I much prefer making my eyes stand out.

Heels or flats?
Flat shoes. I’m quite tall anyway so would feel massively self conscious at the height of a v large tree.

Thank you so much for reading this post. I tag you all to take part in it too.

Much Love x

Blogtober day 19.

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

 

Versatile Blogger Award!

Can you believe it? I’m over halfway through my Blogtober attempt and I haven’t forgotten a day, my engagement has risen and I’m actually *ACTUALLY* getting a bit of passion and zest for my blog again, yay! I really hope I haven’t been spamming your feeds and inboxes recently mind you!

So I was completely made up this morning when I checked my twitter feed to see that lovely Abby (Fantastic name btw) had thought about little old me and tagged me in her Versatile Blogger Award. To be honest, I had thought I was following her blog for a lot longer than I actually was but I adore everything about her slice of the internet. Her personality shines through her style of writing, her photography and her content and I’ll admit her rice krispy treats recipe (seen here) has made me want to batch cook loads and eat them forever. Check out her blog here she is a delight.

The Versatile Blogger Award is a really fun and innovative way of celebrating bloggers that you follow that deserve all the support and recognition amongst the blogging world. I really enjoy doing these types of posts and its such a joy to get nominated and tagged to do them.

THE RULES:

  • Write your own Versatile Blogger Award blog post.
  • Thank the lovely blogger who nominated you.
  • Introduce yourself by writing 7 facts about yourself,
  • Finally, nominate 15 bloggers that you think deserve this award and let them know!

7 FACTS ABOUT ME:

  1. I am hideously indecisive. Like I can’t make decision to save my life depending whether it’s trivial like choosing a sandwich or a genuine life choice. I need a magic 8 ball.
  2. I’ve always wanted to visit America and Canada and road trip. Cliche I know!
  3. I passed my driving test first time with only one minor. I’m such a show off right?!
  4. My favourite dessert is a Creme Brulee.
  5. I’ve never smoked.
  6. I love homeware shopping.
  7. I love trying new foods and learning about different cultures.

The lovely bloggers I’d like to nominate are:

Laura

Ross

Michael

Laura

Gillian

Paolo

Michaela

Vixxy

Lyd

Ar

Gemma

Grace

Nikky

Hollie

Hannah

These are some of the most genuine, passionate and talented bloggers I know this side of the internet. So I would totally recommend following/stalking (online only please)

Thank you so much again to Abby. You made my day by thinking of me!

MUCH LOVE. X

22 Things you’ll know if you come from a small town.

I live in the middle of nowhere. Often when people say that they actually just mean they live at least 20 minutes from their nearest Nando’s and a bit of a walk to the bus stop or train station. But I live just outside of a small touristy town in Dorset, England. It’s often featured on those Instagram travel blogger pages, don’t get me wrong it is pretty and a perfect place  to shoot a candid or a landscape shot, but to me when I see it, all I’m seeing are all the cobbles I’ve tripped over and all the drunken memories I’ve got of us larking about as teenagers.

I’ve always lived in the countryside and have dreamt of living in an exciting big city for as long as I can remember. Don’t get me wrong it was a lovely a place for me to grow up as I never felt unsafe and could play out with my friends all the time. People who live in bigger towns or cities don’t realise the actual first world problems we face on a day to day basis, how utterly headbanging it can be living in the literal cowpat middle of nowhere and how life can be a little bit more like Hot Fuzz than Countryfile than first anticipated.

You can always tell who belongs in a big city and who’s just visiting. 

If you’re in London and you have to check the tube maps then you’re definitely not from those ends. Or if you apologize when someone bumps into you or you bump into them. OR if you actually wait at a pedestrian crossing…Jus saying. I honestly feel like I have mad Arthur Weasley vibes when I’m trying to navigate myself 3 stops on the same Tube line.

Learning to drive is a must.

I live in a village with a few buses a day and a train station in the next town along as soon as I could I learnt to drive so I could do all the fun things you do at 17 like driving all your mates around a Tesco car park at 10pm at night. Learning to drive little, narrow mud splattered country lanes I swear is more nerve wracking than a motorway.

 Manoeuvring around each and every pothole meticulously.

Investing in a 4×4 sometimes feels like the safest option rather than mourn your suspension everytime you drive to the shops.

Planning going out out around buses and train times.

My nearest nightclubs are either in the next town town and is a complete dive (it’s on an industrial estate and they still have under 18s nights, grim I know right) or in Salisbury which is a 30 minute train journey away.  So if we fancy a night of embarassing ourselves in a ‘Spoons we have to either get the last train home at 11, pay a ridiculous amount for a taxi home (honestly feel like I could actually charge someone for a piggyback ride for cheaper) or have to pay for a cheap hotel for the night just so you can get truly Naomi Campbell’d.

Local Newspapers.

Before we got fire, wifi and FaceBook (Y’know the 3 necessities in life) the local paper was like the Facebook of it’s time. It was practically read as gospel. If it wasn’t in the Blackmore Vale then did it really even happen??? No one is born and no one passes away without it being a part of the births, deaths and marriages page. Similarly I have way too much fun having a bit of a giggle at the cringy dating page. Turns out there is a lot of people in my local area looking for a discreet something on the side.

Local Newspaper headlines.

Full credit to some of the journalists who make a living trying to find the biggest, best and most exciting ‘scoop’. The most exciting thing that happened in my town was that someone would move for sale signs and put them in front of someone else’s house. Or when the local antique shop got their giant Punch and Judy statue stolen from their front window. It dominated headlines for weeks.

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Photo credit: @CosRyan

That moment of pure hometown glory when you see it appear on the News or on the weather map. 

Fete’s / Carnivals.

Carnivals in the countryside are a just a liiiiiiittle bit different to something like Notting Hill or Rio for instance. Think of it as a cross between Big Fat Gypsy Weddings, Jeremy Kyle, about 20 tractors pulling floats and about 60,000,000 flashing LED lights.

I mean, I may have made out that carnival’s sound horrendous but it’s pretty much always for charity and LOOK how much fun this guy is having?! You can’t say we don’t make our own fun! And also Health and Safety would have a FIELD DAY here.

Weird Traditions.

Are you even from a small town in the middle of nowhere if you don’t have some sort of weird tradition??? I really don’t mean like some sort of voodoo ritual like you all think us hillbilly folk do but like summer fetes, gardening shows, allotments and carnivals. For instance near Gloucester there is a competition to chase a wheel of cheese down a steep hill. But we do claim Glastonbury in the West country, so swings and roundabouts I guess!?

 

No one ever knows where you’re from. 

I went to a 3 day conference for work a few years ago and the table all took it in turns to introduce themselves and say their name and where they were from. There were the obvious ones like Cardiff, Birmingham, Stockholm (It was a weird mix of people I won’t lie, not quite as iconic as New York, London, Paris but maybe one day it will be who knows???) But then everyone turned to face the little country bumpkin that is  me and I said I was from Shaftesbury in Dorset to which none of them really knew where that was until one exclaimed loudly that she absolutely loved when she saw Cats in the West End and stayed in a lovely hotel just off of Shaftesbury Avenue…

No signal. 

Oh my days this is the bane of my life. I spend about 90% of my phone calls shouting ‘YEAH I CAN HEAR YOU, CAN YOU HEAR ME????’.  I think I might have had full signal on my iPhone at home once. Then I moved my phone by a quarter inch off of my bed and it was gone again.

Literally ever.

It was practically a grand event where I’m from when a shop goes Contactless. God knows what’ll happen when they discover Apple Pay. OR fibre optic broadband.

The old adage goes that in London or any other big city, you’re never more than 6ft away from a rat, well in a small town I reckon it’s the same law of averages about people you went to school with. 

Deliveroo is a myth.

The nearest Topshop, cinema, civilization is about 20 miles away. 

Praise the Lord for online shopping and free returns is all I can say.

More indie shops.

You know me, I love an independently run shop, coffee shop, cafe, restaurant or whatever and smaller towns have such interesting high streets whereas bigger towns or cities can sometimes look all the same, littered with the exact same high street stores.

EVERYTHING INVOLVES COMMUTING.

Traffic.

Congestion can often have a different meaning from a queue of cars, to being stuck behind a tractor or a farmer taking his cows from one field to the other. One slight benefit is that you’ve always got an excuse if you’re running late and happened to be stuck behind a tractor, again. I really hope none of my friends see this because I am ALWAYS running late and there’s always a tractor going slow. HONEST. Ahem.

Everyone knows everyone.

It’s more than likely your friends have dated someone you’re somehow distantly related to.

Pubs everywhere.

Some of them quaint and charming, some of them filled with old men that stare at you as if you’ve walked in with a vial of Anthrax with a pint of local cider.

Country pubs are better than clubs and bars. 

Biased but if you can find me a bar or a club in the middle of London that serves a ploughmans, has a log fire and a cuddly pub dog then HIT. ME. UP.

Everyone is friendly. 

I live in a village that if you pass someone you must always say ‘Hello!’ or ‘Good Morning’ or at least comment on the weather. You look like a bit of a weirdo in a city wishing strangers a good morning so maybe it’s just a small town thing.

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As much as I whinge and moan about the trivial things it really is quite beautiful and will always feel just like home. I can’t imagine growing up anywhere else. And sometimes when you want to take a few moments away from social media, the lack of signal has it’s benefits.

MUCH LOVE.X

 

Blogger Recognition Award #3

Hiya you! Yes you! This whole blogging thing is a bit mad sometimes isn’t it? Look at me typing away right now as if we’re actually having a conversation, cos to me we are having a conversation right now, like two middle aged women catching up on the high street. Plus you guys are my pals, my internet friends, some of the coolest people I know and why wouldn’t I want to stop and say y’alright love to you!? Anyway enough about me and that weird ramble…How are you? Have you had a good week? TELL MEEEEEE?!

I’ve only been nominated/tagged in another Blogger Recognition Award haven’t I?! This was from Michael who I actually began chatting to from a twitter chat, I think it was the CBeeChat actually which is on Monday evenings! It was really great fun to chat to likeminded people and make new Blog connections and friends. He has a really great blog (just here, give it a read, love it, inhale it, all the above) which I’d really urge you to check out plus he is active across his social media channels so feel free to send him some LOL gifs on my behalf please and thanks.

It sounds really cringe, probably massively so to everyone else, but it does genuinely warm my heart when I get nominated or mentioned for anything for my blog or even a #FF on twitter or Instagram. It makes me feel so proud that I am getting recognised by my lovely fellow bloggers among the blogosphere.

Anyway! So if you’re new around here or new to the blogging biz, the Blogger Recognition Award is basically an idea that started up (I should really have looked more into the history surrounding this before I started chit chattering on about it) in order to recognise, celebrate and share 15 of your favourite bloggers to let them know how brilliant they are. Share why you started blogging and two tips you’d give to newbie bloggers. I really wish I came across this type of post when I first started blogging.

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Why I started blogging:

So this is a short story all about how my life got flipped, turned upside down and I’d like to take a minute, just sit right there and I’ll tell you how I became the creator of a blog called What Abbie Says….LOL sorry about that it had to be done. So I started blogging back in 2012 actually on a completely different blog page under a different name and I was only 17 at the time and I really didn’t have a clue what I was doing. Not that I really do now to be honest! I used it as somewhere to share my thoughts on everything from nail varnish to my Topshop hauls to why I decided not to go to University. I took a bit of a backstep from it as life kind of got in the way and then I restarted here last year. From the beginning I never really thought of blogging as something more than a hobby or something to do to share my thoughts and feelings on pretty much anything that I wanted. I’m passionate about writing and creativity and have always wanted to be a writer of sorts. I’ve never really given it much consideration about if this could ever become a full time thing or give me a fixed income. Obviously if it did it would be amazing but I’m not holding out much hope at the moment!

If I had to share two pearls of wisdom with a new blogger:

  1. Have fun. Don’t worry about keeping up with the others in terms of what your blog should look like, what you should write about, how you should photograph things. It is your space, make it yours and as long as you’re happy with it, babe you do what you want! If you want to talk about model airplanes DO IT, if you want to write about why peanut butter is so much better than almond butter then DO IT (and you’d have my complete and full backing on cos peanut butter is honestly the glue that holds my life together)
  2. Self Promo. This is something I really need to get better at and usually post a link to a latest blog post once or twice onto my twitter page and that’s it. To get the best engagement for your blog, be your own showman and PR and leave a link on you Instagram bio if you want other bloggers, PRs and brands or readers to find you that way then it’ll be so much easier. Similarly sharing your blog links via Pinterest or Bloglovin’ does wonders in getting long lasting views!

I’m going to nominate a small handful of wonderful bloggers that I follow. These guys really deserve so much more credit and praise and I wish I could promote them or be a cheerleader for them day in day out but I might look like a bit of a weirdo and like a crazy fan. Which is half true. No shame. Well without much further ado. I’m going to tell you about some of the best internet people this side of Shane Dawson.

Vixxy

Laura

Shay

Kamilah or K (I don’t know which one she prefers but either way she is VERY cool and I stan her pure existence)

Kate

Lyd

Ar (After days of an extensive search turns out that’s just a nickname and there’s me with my Dorset twang pronouncing it like ARRRRRRRRRRRRR)

Hannah

I adore each and every single one of these gals. I am so truly thankful for blogging and social media for being weird and wonderful but for also introducing me to such fabulous people like these brilliant girls.

MUCH LOVE. X

 

Blogger Recognition Award #2

Happy Monday ya little pain au chocolats, I’m finally getting round to writing up the  Blogger Recognition Award Laura from Purlls of Wisdom tagged me in last week. I won’t lie I am finding this whole #Blogtober lark a bit of a struggle. My plan was to write interesting and fun content every day of October and so far I feel like it’s been a bit mediocre. But I tend to think that about the good majority of things I do. Without sounding like a mega negative Nancy I’ve always been a bit of a pessimist. Anyway! Onwards with this post. This is one of those tags that you see floating around the blogosphere that fellow bloggers nominate each other for. It’s a fun way of getting to know other bloggers around the world and also for celebrating other blogs that deserve the recognition and the love.

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The rules of the tag are as followed:

  • Prove a link back to the original post and the person who tagged you.
  • Write a small post about the origins of your blog story and how it all got started.
  • Give two pieces of advice to new bloggers.
  • Select and tag 15 other bloggers you want to give this award too.

WHERE IT ALL STARTED:

I spoke about my blogger story and how it all got started in this post just here a few months ago. I have always loved writing and creative writing, ever since I was a little girl so to be honest it’s not much of a shock that passion has stayed with me, and will hopefully stay with me throughout life. I decided when I was about 16 or 17 to start a blog documenting possibly every scrap detail of my life from what I wore to sixth form, to the colour of my nail polish that day to where I was eating. I stayed with that blog for about 2 or 3 years until life kind of took over and it became more of a chore to me than something relaxing, therapeutic and fun. Early last year I was toying with the idea of blogging again as a way of destressing and communicating with other likeminded, super cool people. Eventually I made a blog in about May or June last year and use it as somewhere to share my thoughts, foods and opinions.

ADVICE:

If I had to impart my wisdom with newbie bloggers I’d probably say two things.

  • Try not to worry about numbers, stats and keeping up with others. It’s fantastic when you hit a certain milestone or if something you’ve worked really hard on get’s the recognition it and you truly deserve but if that is the sole reason why you’re blogging to become internet famous, the next Zoella and a Coconut Lane discount code with your name on it then the blogging biz might be a bit of a struggle for you.
  • Get involved with blogger tags, groups and chats on Twitter and Instagram. I have becomes friends with some truly wonderful people from all around the world because of this. Some living far away some only down the m25. It’s such a lovely to speak with and one day meet such lovely people. I have a list as long as my arm of people I’d love to meet from these communities and I’m hoping one day soon I might actually be able to put a plan into action and actually see their real life faces.

I know the award says to tag 15 other people however I’m going to tag just a handful as I have another one of these from Michael coming up at the end of the week. I’m so touched and so grateful to be tagged in these it always makes me so happy and truly makes my day!

Laura

Zara

Jess

Jessie-Ann

Esther

Gillian

Veronica

I’ve chosen to tag these girls because I’m such a huge fan of their content and the way in which they write and also style their blogs. You can tell they put so much of their hard work, time and effort into it. As soon as one of their posts ping into my inbox I genuinely get so excited to sit down and have a read. If I could give each and every one of you an Oscar, a Grammy, a Pulitzer Prize or a piece of the crown like in Mean Girls I would do it in a shot.

Thanks for reading.

MUCH LOVE. x