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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

T’was the Night Before Christmas.

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 

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

 

Spooky things to do this October!

Host a Halloween Party.

If the thought of being the hostess with the mostess doesn’t make chills run down your spine enough at the thought of all the clearing up the next day, then plan a spooktacular Halloween party with all your nearest and dearest. Scary costumes are a must, make a awesome witches punch bowl cocktail and play games like apple bobbing, hold a pumpkin carving competition with some mini pumpkins, beer pong but fill some cups with some nice things and maybe some not so nice things or just play some good old fashioned drinking games, like never have I ever or one of my favourites if you get everyone around a table and tear up lots of little bits of paper everyone writes down as many famous people’s names as you can and put them all into a hat or a bowl. Each player gets 60 seconds to try and get through as many pieces of paper as they can, describing the celebrity without saying their name. All made so much more fun with drinks and against the clock.

Go to a Pumpkin Patch.

I think these are becoming a lot more common over the years in the UK and they seem to be sprouting up all over the place, especially across my Instagram feed at the moment. They’re really child friendly if you want to take your little ones along for a fun afternoon picking your favourite pumpkin. Or even just go along take some snaps for the ‘gram and get into that Halloween’y spirit. Did you know pumpkin carving started from an ancient Celtic tradition to help ward off evil spirits  but back in the day they used turnips. Everyday is a learning day with Abfab.

Visit a psychic medium.

I’ve visited a psychic twice and had my tarot cards read once, I’d like to think I’m quite a spiritual person and strongly believe in things like this. I went for the first time last May and wasn’t really sure what to expect nor was my friends. But we went into it with an open mind and the lady we saw did get quite a lot of things eerily correct, however she did say that I was going to get pregnant within the next 18 months and that was May 2017…

Fancy dress club nights

Bunker 51 in London are hosting the first Purge:Lockdown event, hideout in the only safe house in London and party the night away with a selection of the best DJs and live performers.

Tickle your tastebuds with a dining experience.

I don’t know about you but this sounds like an absolute HOOT. This 4 course banquet at the Ivory Vaults complete with unlimited drinks and a medieval show, acrobats and live music. Find out more from their website here. Alcotraz Penitentiary bar in London acts as a BYOB style cocktail bar decorated JUST like Alcatraz itself along with the orange prisons jumpsuits too. Check out their website here to book tickets to visit.

Scary film marathon.

Staying in is the new going out and if you’re anything like me and the thought of cuddling up on the sofa by the fire and lots of snacks sounds way more appealing than covering yourself in SFX makeup to look like Harley Quinn after a night in a Yates then Netflix or Amazon Prime have a load of great selections of Horror or Thriller films at the moment. Or scour your local charity shops and see if you can any second hand dvds to watch.

Spend a night at a museum.

Fancy getting your inner Ben Stiller on and go to a museum after dark? The Museums at Night festival is sweeping through the UK from the 27th to the 29th of October check out if there is somewhere near you just here. Similarly if these type of spooky shenanigans are up your alley why not check out the Tower of London or if that doesn’t tickle your haunted pickle why not brave the London Dungeons.

Visit a Haunted House or Haunted Hotel.

Ok for the majority of people this probably sounds a liiiiittle bit terrifying. But if you’re like me and are super intrigued and interested by the paranormal have a look on Haunted Happening’s website (Here) to see if there is somewhere near you to channel your inner Yvette Fielding. Or if you’re really feeling brave you could even stay overnight in a haunted building. Gives me the chills just at the thought of this!

Escape rooms.

Most big towns or cities have one of these and they’re a super fun way to spend an evening with friends putting your heads together to work through complicated challenges. Or if you’re after something with a bit more of a bump in the night Immersive Events are running an event in Shepton Mallet Prison called The Hole (more info here) offering several activities through the evening as well as a bar! There’s loads of these style dotted around the country. I simply typed in Halloween events near me on google map and this was the first one that shot up.

Fright Night at Thorpe Park.

I went to this on Halloween last year with one of my best mates and we had such a blast. We got there about lunchtime ish so we got through a fair few of the rides by the time it got to the evening and the fun began! We ended up queuing for the Derren Brown Experience ride for about 3 hours and by the time we were about to step foot through the door the ride had a malfunctioning problem. But luckily we got issued a fast track ticket for any one ride so decided to use it on that if it reopened again which it did and it was so good, I’d definitely recommend checking it out! They really dress the place up for Fright Night and if that is your cup of tea, as well as rollercoasters obvs, you’d really enjoy this! There’s a handful of things there specially for Fright Night including several scare mazes and the whole place has this spooky feel to it. Maybe cos it’s after dark and it feels a bit weird to be there too! It was so much fun!

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Alton Towers also have their Scarefest which I’ve just seen which looks SO COOL. I love the fact they cater for both little kiddies if they want to get into the Halloween spirit as well as for thrill seeking adults too!

Ghost walk.

I haven’t ever done one of these but I’ve always been really interested in doing one. There’s the famous Jack the Ripper walk tour you can do in London on a pinpointed route and I believe you finish off at the pub The Ten Bells where the infamous serial killer murdered two of his victims. There are many others ghost walks similar to this style in towns and cities up and down the country From Bristol to Liverpool, Bath to York it’d be a really interesting insight into the place you live.

Club nights.

Most clubs will do some sort of Halloween dress up event or something so if you fancy getting totally Chaka Khan’d dressed up as a scary zombie Noel Edmonds (Or whatever you want to go as butttttt that’s a totally good suggestion fyi). Or if you wanted to get your Halloween in true Horror film spirit Bunker 51 in London are hosting the first Purge:Lockdown event, hideout in the only safe house in London and party the night away with a selection of the best DJs and live performers.

Now if none of these options frighten you enough, you could always sit at home, with a bottle of Echo Falls and facebook stalk your exes and people you went to school with. I don’t know about you, but I know which one sounds the most haunting to me now….

What are your plans this Halloween?

Ps, sorry if I haven’t included any fun things to do in your country, I wish I could have researched everywhere because I found it honestly so interesting and so much fun! But this is almost at 1500 words as it is and I doubt people will actually read this far! It’s crazy to think I would have rather eaten my own liver than have written a 2000 word essay and now look at me, doing this type of thing for FUN. Madness isn’t it?!

Much love x

My Self Care Routine & tips.

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

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

 

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Switch off.

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

Block if needs be. 

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

Pamper.

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

Skincare.

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

Have a relaxing bubble bath.

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

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

Comfort food.

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

Read.

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

Playing The Sims. 

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

Talk.

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

There’s always someone to share with.

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

Get out the house.

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

Bake.

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

Literally take 5. 

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

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

MUCH LOVE. x

Blogtober day five.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MUCH LOVE. x

Get in Loser, we’re going blogging!

Can you believe it? I’m a bit in shock. We’re three days into Blogtober and I’m still somehow going strong. To be honest I had low expectations for myself and didn’t even think I’d get past day one without forgetting to post on here!  I’m already starting to feel like I’m clogging your feeds with my ramblings. Or I sit here dreaming like what if you all get withdrawal symptoms for me and my daily blogging. What if I never stop this madness and carry on into Blogvember, Blogmas, BlogJanuarySucks, Bloguary? Ok I’m paraphrasing but you get where I’m coming from. I’m 100% getting into the swing of things now so much so I’ve even done a blimmin’ flatlay.  It’s pink themed as well to go along with this post. Am I getting all the blogger points? Can I collect £200 and pass Peggy Porschens Go?

Today to any other normal human is just another Wednesday; another happy humpday. To the much more fetch majority, today is Mean Girls day as this year October 3rd fell on a Wednesday, so I hope you all wore your pink huns.

Mean Girls was the teenage film of the noughties. I still throw as many relevant quotes into conversation as humanely possible.  It isn’t like your usual teen chick flick film it’s full of laugh-a-minute jokes that you can tell isn’t aimed at a usual 13 year old audience but will make adults giggle along too.

I went to a school in the countryside so the most amount of drama we had was when a parrot flew into one of the trees and we were all forced to stay inside the classrooms. As if we were going to go outside and get all pecked to death by a rabid parrot. This is the Costa Del Dorset not Barbados. Mean Girls was like any other teen film to me, usually based in an American high school, apart from things like Wild Child or Angus Thongs. It showed an exaggerated version of reality, with its wild depiction of the brutality and ridiculousness of going to school as a teenager, cliques, fitting in, peer pressure and the likes which teens go through in order to find and stay true to oneself within. It’s beauty is in it’s dark humor that high school inevitably draws out and the common trials and tribulations the younger generation face. The result is a hilarious, well-written/performed film that is unpredictable and my absolute fav Lindsay Lohan film.

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Can we just appreciate my flatlay plz??????

There are so many parts of this film that are so true to life, true to school life and just general things that should be applied to the real world every day. Firstly and most importantly to me is Ms. Norbury’s insistence the girls quit the smacktalking towards each other. I’ve usually been on the receiving end of nasty comments in school so wouldn’t dream of saying these types of things to other girls or other people for that matter. I’ve never really understood why some people see it as a good thing to be seen as a bitch or petty or the like.

Maybe we do need a cake filled with rainbows and smiles so we can all share it, eat it and be happy. I’m fed up of a world where people don’t support each other and would rather bring someone down than build them up. I don’t know maybe I just have too many feelings…

Real friends don’t treat you how Regina treated the other Plastics. A friend is someone who should be your cheerleader, supporting you and cheering you on (unless you’re about to do something super dumb like get a tattoo on your face the day before an important interview or call your ex at 2am) but if they don’t make you feel like Glen Coco maybe they’re not right for you.

I hated that Cady played dumb for the attention of Aaron Samuels. Urgh. I know in the media and films it was never seen as ‘cool’ to be a nerd or a mathlete but that type of thing drives me mad in the thinking the only way to get the guy is to dumb down your strengths. Literally.

Most importantly it teaches you to be yourself and love you for exactly who you are.  As someone who could drive myself mad constantly comparing myself and my actions against others, it’s so vital to remember that, you are you and that is your power.

Via: Tumblr

 

HAPPY MEAN GIRLS DAY BABES X

MUCH LOVES. X

Is Arm Candy legit?

chanel bag set uoSome people love shoes, some people love jewellery, I love handbags. I have done since I was a child and I genuinely had the biggest collection of bags for any normal teenager. I must have drove my parents bonkers with it! I’ve always had a bit of an obsession with designer handbags as well. I mean, who wouldn’t want to have that sought after item, the best of the best?! Shortly after I created this blog I entered in a competition to win a designer handbag of my choice. If I’m being completely honest, after I entered I completely forgot about it until a week or two went by and I got a call from an unknown number up in Manchester. At the time I was getting so many scam calls that as soon as I saw this flash up I remember tutting, rolling my eyes and thinking ‘Nope I CBA with this’ so actually declined the call. Little did I know it was actually Rob from Arm Candy ringing to say I was the closest guess (I was one out I believe) and I had won a Chanel handbag. Aka the bag of my absolute dreams.

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A few minutes had gone past and I then get a notification on my mobile with a voicemail, baring in mind at this point I was still thinking it was some dodgy company trying to convince me I was owed PPI. I remember thinking the cheek of this one, not only trying to scam me, but to leave a voicemail too!?! Clicking play and putting it on loudspeaker, my mouth genuinely fell open as I heard ‘Congratulations you’re this week’s winner Abbie! You won your Chanel handbag’. So much so I had to replay it about 87 times, making sure it wasn’t someone I knew pulling the most convincing prank with the most convincing northern accent I’d ever heard!

Needless to say, I rang back within about 0.0003 seconds and still couldn’t quite believe it. I still live at home with my family and when my parents and sister came through the door they were even convinced it was too good to be true. After much emailing back and forth I arranged to meet Rob and Gary in a hotel bar in my town. We had some building work at home and also just in case this wasn’t legit I had my mum and sister with me! After a quick chat it was time for me to open the big black Chanel carrier gift bag i’d been eyeing up the whole time and when I did, It was even more perfect than I  imagined!

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There’s a handful of reasons as to why I decided to write this post today, for one, I feel like I go on about my experience with them and can’t stop going on about it. I am typically not a lucky person yet still won. I think they’re ruddy fantastic. Secondly, I get quite a lot of page views on the original post I wrote about my experience with arm candy (here) and a lot of emails and questions about them. Whether it’s about their authenticity, if they’re legit or whether there is a sure fire way to win! If you hadn’t heard of Arm Candy until today (well babe where ya been?) it’s a competition site where in which you select the dream designer handbag of your choice, guess the numbers of sweets or candy in a jar and if you guess the correct number or the closest to it you win. Easy as that! You can see why some people deem it too good to be true?! It certainly sounds it. But I can totally promise you it’s 100% legit. So much so I’ve put together, along with the help of the lovely Rachael aka the marketing marvel over at Arm Candy, a little Q&A with all the most frequently asked questions I receive and what Arm Candy is really all about.

How did the idea of Arm Candy Handbags start?

Rachael: Well we knew that girls love handbags! And lots of people aspire to own a designer brand. Most people might be unable to purchase one with the big price tags, so we wanted to help make those dreams a reality and provide people the opportunity to win one – but with a bit of fun!

How did you decide to have a competition of counting sweets in a jar?

R: The name came first, so then the game came quite easily after that! We knew that we wanted our competition to be a game of skill, and with “candy” we instantly thought of sweets! So guessing the number of sweets in a jar seemed a fun and fair game, that’s easy to understand.

Do you get these made up in shop or do you do it yourselves?

R: We started out purchasing from local sweet shops, however we thought it would be more fun to make them ourselves! By doing them ourselves, it means we can create jars around certain themes, add lots more variety of sweets and make them look more exciting!

Who counts the sweets? 

R: Every Monday morning after the competition close two members of the Arm Candy team will conduct the official count and film it for its authenticity. One person counts and the other keeps a tally, so we can double check our count.  And don’t worry we wear gloves when counting the sweets for health and safety reasons, as one thing that not many people know, is that the lucky winner gets to keep that jar of sweets to enjoy!

Would you ever post a video of the sweets being counted after every weekly competition comes to a close?

R: Yes as we film all of the sweet counts, we post them to our Arm Candy You Tube channel each week so people can watch them if they wish! We recently even did a Facebook live count which went down really well! We think everyone loved real-time nature to see how close they were to winning! As it was such a success, we’ve decided to continue using Facebook live for the first Monday of every month.

What happens if no one who enters comes close to guessing the correct number?

R: The great thing about Arm Candy, is that there will always be one winner each week! It is rare that someone doesn’t guess the exact count, but if that does happen then we go to the closest guess. Also if there is more than person who guesses correctly, then they all go into a tie break process where they have one guess with a new jar of sweets. The tie breaker that guesses correctly from the tie break jar then is the winner! The best bit, is that everyone who is in the tie break, get a £50 Selfridges voucher so they can still treat themselves to something nice!

Several people think these competitions seem too good to be true! What do you think it is about Arm Candy that makes people question its authenticity?

R: I think it’s the fact that you can win your dream designer handbag for as little as £2! And as it’s a game of skill, everyone has an equal chance! We’ve even had people win on their first ever time of playing! We’ve also had people question our winners videos, whether they are real or staged with actors. All those videos are very much real people, winning their dream designer handbags. Everyone reacts differently when they are on camera and we have some that are over the moon ecstatic and some winners who are very shy and don’t react in that same way. We respect all our winners and never force them to act in a certain way, we try to keep everything as natural as possible.  

I get a lot of pageviews on my blog post about winning my chanel bag (seen here ) from last year still from people wondering if this is legit. What can we do to prove to people this is very much real? 

R: I believe the winners are the most important thing here! Without them, we wouldn’t have Arm Candy! People believe other people! We try to post as much content about our winners, as we do about the designer bags and the competition itself. That’s also why we personally hand deliver each bag to wherever the winner is within the UK. We like to do this, not only as we love to meet our players and the lucky winner! But also to make sure we get some natural content to prove that we are a real competition, and that we are genuinely giving away an authentic designer handbag, to a real person!  

Would you ever think about branching out and stocking watches or purses?

R: We definitely have thought about the future of Arm Candy and whether that involves branching out into complementary items. In the short term, we do plan to run special one-off campaigns that will include bonus prizes such as these.

Or even a men’s selection?

R: We have considered a man’s version, and we’d need to offer the right product as designer handbags might not appeal to the masses of men like they do for females! We have lots of exciting enhancements in the future of Arm Candy… watch this space!

How do you choose which bags to offer?

R: The Arm Candy team like to keep up-to-date with what’s going on in the world of fashion, not only from the designer brands themselves, but what styles key bloggers and influencers are wearing. We try to provide a range that is suitable for many ages, styles and taste! We always love to get feedback from our fans as well, if they would like to see a particular brand or style on the site, we’ll always try our best! We currently only offer styles from iconic designers, however we are very interested to look into offering bags from up and coming designers and more unique styles on our site, if the Arm Candy fans would be up for it!

Which is the most popular?

R: By far Chanel is the most popular brand – when its available to win. We are limited on the number of times we can offer Chanel on our site, otherwise we’d love to have it available for our fans to play to win every single week! Aside from that, the other most popular brands are Gucci, Louis Vuitton and Givenchy. There collections are always gorgeous, and we always try to have a few different styles available to win.

I think it would be really exciting if you could add a feature so when you enter, you could input a phone number or the details of a family member or friend. So when the winner guesses the correct amount and wins, you could liaise with that person and surprise the winner with the bag of their dreams at work or wherever! Is this something you’d ever consider? 

R: It’s a great idea, and one we have considered as we’d love to be able to surprise the winner! However, the majority of the time we have a tie break situation, so we have to call the winner to tell them that they are in the tie break and give them the opportunity to provide their tie break guess. In this scenario, unfortunately having a surprise wouldn’t work for us at the moment, but it is really something we would like to try and incorporate in the future.

If you feel excited about the opportunity to win your own designer handbag, then we’d love you to play along with Arm Candy and you could be our next winner! Play along by clicking this link here!

AND if this isn’t reason enough to take a chance at winning the designer bag of your dreams for less than a price of a takeaway coffee, if you enter this week and you guess correctly, your dream bag will be hand delivered to you by none other than Jack Fowler aka New Jack from this years Love Island?!

Thanks so much for reading ya little hun, I hope you enjoyed this Q&A as much as I enjoyed doing it? ALSO, I hope you’re enjoying the fact I’m on here much more often. I’m thinking of doing Blogtober but I also said that last year, so we’ll see!

MUCH LOVES. X

37 Things I hated about working in retail.

If I was Prime Minister or Queen or Emperor of the World or whatever I shall be called, one of the first things I’d do is banish those ridiculous false eyelashes people stick on their headlights on cars. In what world is that a good look? I’d also add in way, waaaaay more bank holidays and maybe have one bank holiday Friday cos that sounds like a treat and a half. But more importantly, I would make sure everyone would work in retail or the service industry or just maybe deal with the general public for a couple weeks at least. It would be like jury service except that I’d just stick you on a till in Boots for a fortnight. I’ve worked in retail since the age of 16 and good God does it make you lose complete faith in humanity. You can always tell who’s worked in an industry like that and who hasn’t in the way in which they treat those that do.

1.With customers you can get The Good, The bad and The rude. With less cowboys and more buttheads than you can shake a stick at. Some people you can just tell have never been the other side of the counter before so think nothing of speaking to you like you’re an actual sewer rat. You notice that people will complain about just about anything, making you want to take a step back and actually reevaulate all the actual problems in the world because Steve wants to return his Pick N Mix because it didn’t have a very good mix of things in it. ERM. I have no words for this Steve. You picked it N you mixed it so don’t blame me for you being a dummyhead. Also totally a true story. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve had customers speak down to me or snap at me or shout. For instance one man told me I had single handedly ruined his Christmas because we didn’t sell gluten free chocolate chip cookies. Good job I’m not bitter about it and moaning still 2 years on…👀.

2. We don’t often get that Friday Feeling you humble braggers post all over your Insta Story. Cos We have to work weekends. But we do often get the joy of a midweek day off which is just great. Unless you want to see your friends who are busy. Working their 9-5 jobs and are free at the weekend. When you’re back at work. K Den.

3. When people assume that you, the 10 hour weekend sales assistant frankly give a toss about the store pricings or the layout or the fact that Susan can’t find the jumpers which were right by the door last time she came in but now there are flip flops and kaftans there yet we only had a 36 hour heatwave in the UK?!?!

4. Promo Change. URGH. 2 words that will fill a retail worker with utter contempt. I used to hate doing promotion changeovers in my store. Baring in mind, I was a manager of a store that has almost as many different sales, promotions and in store events as it had staff coming and going. I would have rather covered my face in honey and stuck it in a bees nest.

5. Actually scrap that. There’s so many different jargon phrases and words that are often flung about; that outside of the retail world I don’t think actually means anything. Promo change, audits, blipbays, planograms, SKUs, ASMs, RSMs, ACT, IPB. It sounds like I’m singing the lyrics to ABC by the Jackson 5 really badly.

6. Working with people who use way too much corporate slang. I worked with a guy who basically developed his own I-only-speak-business-speak-cos-I’m-a-massive-bumhole language. Rather than telling the rest of his team something he would “cascade that information down to his field management team”. Or he’d call you boss or champ. He’d act like he was the wolf of wall street trying to pump you up by screaming down the phone buzzwords at quarter to 8 on a Tuesday morning. Basically he belongs in middle of the sea. On his own. For a very long time.

7. Working weekends or bank holidays. Like I get that this is kinda part and parcel of working within this sector but one Christmas time the only day I had off was Christmas Day and that was just because my shop was closed.

8. It felt like a slow torture method how many times over Christmas I heard Mariah Carey.

9. My store had an instore music system that would play the same songs, the same adverts at the same time everyday. I was in a real life Groundhog day but with more Sugababes.

10. Although one of my secret joys was seeing people, usually blokes, panic on Christmas Eve. I feel sorry for whoever had to open a jar of Cod Liver Oil as a christmas present from their terrible husband one year. I did try and suggest the hand and nail cream set instead, honest!

11. Wearing full uniform and customers still ask if you work here. Nah I’m just a huge fan of this place love! Just like football fans dress up as their fav players I’ve come into town dressed as my favourite shop assistant today. GO TEAM.

12. When you ask a customer if they’d like a bag and they point to their wife saying she’s over there.

13. Serving customers and they’re on the phone is a controversial one. I’ve been in a cafe where I put my phone on mute and to the side of the counter and the woman still refused to serve me until my conversation was officially over. SHOUTOUT TO PUMPKIN RAILWAY CAFE’S. I swear they’re all a load of poop. But I’m not overly bothered or I wouldn’t kick off if someone used their mobile really quick, I don’t really want to make small talk with you anyway but pls just pay with your card and go and don’t make me wait til you’ve finished chatting with your pal to acknowledge me, cos that’s just rude.

14. Customers who want to complain to the manager and PLOT TWIST it’s you. I went from sales advisor to manager in the store I’d been working in for two years previous in the space of about a month. So I could kinda understand how some shoppers got confused how the shop assistant overnight became a manager but y’know I was just as confused. Oh and at the age of 20 or 21 I was the youngest on my region just for my own humble brag there. I know I may have youth on my side Janice but I’m the captain of this ship. Sadly that ship was the titanic BUT I WAS STILL THE CAPTAIN.

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15. Y’know when it’s unbearably hot and stuffy in a shop, there’s no air conditioning and you customers sweat and moan about the rising heat so leave after about 23 seconds? Think Primark in the late 90s early noughties when it was always unbearably hot inside, clothes were strewn everywhere and it looked like you just walked onto the set of Earth Song. Yah someone has to work in that fiery heat. I was that person once upon a time. When I was a manager we had a spare temperature probe for the fridges and I left it on the shop floor just to see how hot it actually was in there. It would get up to the high 20s or 30. Which is lovely if you’re sipping pina coladas on a beach in the Bahamas in that temperature; not so much when you’re working. My area manager said it wasn’t that hot or I should buy a fan. So my training coordinator suggested I dip the end of the thermometer in some boiling hot water so it looks much hotter than it really is, so they’ll have no choice but to buy us top of the range air conditioning. Shortly after he did a surprise visit to come see me and needless to say, he was a bit shocked/surprised/concerned to see we’d been working in 68 degree heat and none of us had combusted.

16. One thing that used to really irritate me, maybe that’s just because I’m easily irritated was that a customer would come in every week and ask for the same thing but pronounce it wrong everytime. Quinoa being pronounced keen wah is a prime example.

17. I don’t know if anyone else suffered this but I used to get people mistaking me and my shop as the tourist information desk ALL. THE. TIME. Baring in mind I still have to double check my left and right with my hands I don’t think I’m the best person to ask for directions to Stonehenge by electric bike, Sir. When I worked in Bath a lady grabbed me by my elbow (I thought it was an odd way to get someone’s attention too but it actually worked) and simply asked me to tell her if she was going the wrong way. She gave no more information. She just said that…Depends, if you’re trying to get to the Roman Baths, no you’re not. Take a left by the man painted silver covered in pigeons if you’re trying to get to Mozambique…then yes ma’am you’re going the wrong way.

18. Customers who try and tell you how to do your job. Urgh get on tills if you really want to help me out Karen.

19. People who make that joke like you’ve never heard it before “hehehehe if it’s not scanning it must be free right???? Hehhehe”. Get in the bin.

20. PEOPLE WHO COME IN TO BROWSE JUST AS THE PLACE IS ABOUT TO CLOSE. I understand you may have been working all day too but we don’t often get paid if we have to stay later. I like you but I like earning money for being in work more.

21. People who complain once they’ve consumed nearly all of their food/drink/whatever. The fact you ate all your food apart from one spoonful even though it was too garlicky??? Your case is now invalid. Go home. Have a lovely life. Goodbye.

22. Whoever made the phrase the customer is always right was wrong.

23. People who complain about pretty much anything they can in general can be so taxing and sometimes they take it way too far. I was in the Lush store near Christmas time in Bath and a couple went IN on the girl serving them both. They were screaming, shouting and the poor girl cried. Looking back I actually kinda regret standing by and doing nothing as I have also been on the receiving end of sociopaths like that. But me and my friend did stick around to see if she was ok and luckily all of her team and her manager basically told the customers to do one. In much more eloquent terms obvs.

24. Having to face up shelves, so they look dead neat and tidy and then someone has the nerve and audacity to BUY something from said bay. You wouldn’t cut a slice out of Mary Berry’s cake before she finished icing it would you?! Also I used to call facing up pulling forward but apparently that sounded dead raunchy for the shopfloor.

25. Loyalty cards. Ok I could literally write a whole dissertation on the drama these things cause. Same with the products we try and sell you on the till or even the 30 billion receipts that seem to come flying out the till at the end with your shopping. I just wanna say as a retail worker and also a customer in shops I totally get how annoying it is to be practically interrogated when you just want to buy some pants. But we HAVE to ask you that or we get shouted it at. It becomes a part of a salespersons routine and script. Where I used to work they wanted at least 75% of all customers to be signed up onto their loyalty scheme and you’d be heavily pressured to ask every single person who walked through their door. If you didn’t or you didn’t get the amount of sign ups your boss would want you’d face a grilling. We are human and know that you get asked that in every shop so please just be polite and say no thanks. Same with getting an email or receipt asking about your service instore that day.Like we get it, it’s annoying we care about whether you have a loyalty card just as much as you do. Believe me, probably even less. A lot of shops and restaurants have taken away the monthly mystery shopper element so the general public can scrutinise your performance instead and mark you down if you didn’t ask them open questions or greet them within the first 15 seconds of them coming into a store. :))))))))))))). That often gives us a commission based bonus which makes up our full salary. Is it any different to tipping a waitress for good service in a cafe?

26. Same thing with coupons that have expired. Most of them have a barcode which literally will not work once scanned past the expiration date so pls don’t shout at me because it’s been a matter of hours since it ran out.

27. I don’t really understand why name badges are a necessity to be honest. Some may say it gives a more personal shopping experience but this isn’t Harrods and you’re not my Mum so you don’t need to beckon me over by my full name like I’m a naughty child.

28. Unruly kids that run around like the place is a playground. Sometimes breaking stuff and the parents just sort of give you that awkward laugh/don’t blame me look.

29. People who think you have any control in this company. I used to get customers asking me to send letters of complaint to head office like I was going to boardroom meetings every Friday. You wouldn’t pop into Currys with a problem with your laptop and ask them to dial through to Bill Gates to see if he knew a solution.

30. Partners that bicker at the till. Pls no. I served a couple that had a full on domestic at the till over whether they wanted a second one for half price. She walked out of the shop in the end. Would loved to have been a fly on the wall in their house later. If she ever returned home that is.

31. When customers cards get declined it actually gives me mad anxiety. I always used to make a joke and blame it on the card machine saying it’s playing up a bit but some people would straight up, look them in the eye and scream their card got declined. AGAIN.

32. Customers to demand you check in the stockroom for a product you don’t even sell. I spend more time in this place than I do at home nothing comes through these doors without me knowing sis. Guilty of walking in there, staring at the empty room, waiting a good amount of time and then coming back out and telling you there’s none in stock.

33. Customers who don’t take off their sunglasses inside. It wasn’t cool when Kanye did it, it’s not cool when you do it in a service station Starbucks.

34. Work colleagues are your fam. Like love ’em or hate ’em they’re there for you. Unless you need them to cover your shifts over a Bank Holiday Weekend.

35. You kinda realise how dumb some people are. Not just some people you work with but the general public. There was one guy I worked with who may possibly be the dumbest/most fascinating person I’ve ever met. He could have a feature length series on either the Discovery Channel or You’ve Been Framed. He never had a dull weekend and would always come in on Monday with a great albeit odd story to tell. Whether that was how he fell OFF a bus and bruised his entire face (it was awful but he looked just like Freddy Kreuger) Or how he was texting a girl he was seeing, tried to type ‘Hello’ but his phone autocorrected it to HELP all in caps lock and then his phone died. He got home and charged his phone to see about 17 missed calls, 20 messages and several v angry voicemails.

36. When a customer tries to give you change after you’ve put through the amount on the till. Like I’m sorry hun I’m not rainman how am I supposed to work out your change now you’ve given me MORE money?! I know you think you’re trying to help but maybe I’m just a bit thick.

37. Customers that don’t clean up after themselves and expect you to *just* do it because you’re paid to. Please ctrl alt delete yourself. Like I know I work here but you don’t need to make my job even more difficult or annoying.

All I ask is that if you read this and you aren’t already, please be more kind, forgiving and mindful of retail staff or service staff. OR just people in general y’know. It’s nice being nice 🙂

BE KIND ALWAYS. X