Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Best of the blog - 2014 round-up!

Ah, the end of 2014 is just hours away! With only a little time left to look back on 2014 before we run straight into 2015, I figured now was a great time to look back on Saloca in Wonderland, the good, the bad, the best and the ugly of the blog!

Glasses up ya’ll!

The most viewed post of 2014 was my Lancome Visionnaire vs L’Oreal Youth Code Luminizer comparison review. We all love a good dupe, and I’m still looking for a more purse friendly way to get my hands on Visionnaire! 

Runners up prize goes to my Lancome Gel Eclat review. Seems you guys really do love a Lancome review or two as much as I’ve loved using their products! A trip to the counter in the New Year might be on the cards!

When it comes to product reviews, you don’t have to scroll back far to know they’re some of my favourites to write up. Over 2014 I discovered a truck load of new products and brands, some of my favourites being; OquiboWashi hot cloths, Espa, and Liz Earle. All have become permanent residents in my skin care collection! 

2014 has been the year of food around here, just looking back on a handful of my foodie reviews has my stomach grumbling! Two of my favourite meals this year have been; Il Forno and Moose Coffee! Those guys should be expecting me in the New Year that’s for sure!

And of course, a big round of apple-sauce goes to my first ever trip to the Liverpool Food and Drink festival! I cannot wait to head back in 2015, loose pants on and an appetite at the ready!

Let’s finish on the highlights, shall we? My stay at KP Lodges with the Mr and his family was an absolute riot, as was out first anniversary trip to Barcelona. Oh to be back on that roof-top bar at happy hour with a Mr Tom Collins! I’m also really hoping the Run or Dye guys come back in 2015, I’ll be on it like Sonic to run that 5k again! 

Though I’ve yet to do the trip report, my family trip to Florida in November was magical so you can expect more on that in the New Year! Oh, and let’s not forget, the biggest thing to happen to me this year…moving into my own place!! I’ve touched on it here and there, but putting the key in the door of mine and Mr’s first home was probably the best feeling EVER! 

And that, as they say, is that! 2014 has been a pretty great year, but the adventure is only just beginning! 

Happy New Year everybody!

Until next time, 

Monday, 29 December 2014

Resolutions Round-Up 2014

new years resolutions

The end is near for 2014, so it’s only natural that we start looking back on the past year, seeing where we’ve been, how far we’ve come and start making plans for the year ahead. With that (and a mini-series of round-up posts) in mind, I thought now would be a good time to look back on my 2014 resolutions and see how well…or not so well I’ve done.

Deep breath. 


2014 | The to-do list

• Blog a minimum of 3 times a week

YES! First resolution I made of the year and I’d say I’ve nailed this one! More often than not I have put up a minimum of 3 blog posts a week - this routine has been working for me so I’m keen to keep it up! 

• Do 3 monthly blog challenges this year

2 out of 3 ain’t too bad in my opinion! I attempted this in April and September and almost completed them. I missed the odd day for both challenges but I’m still counting this one as a win! 

• Write 6 guest blog posts

Fail. I wrote one over on the lovely Rachael’s blog and a second over on Jackie’s blog. 2 out of 6….total fail!

• Film a YouTube video with Gingerjaxx

We filmed two. This and this! We had a right ol’ giggle but I’m still not sure I could do the whole solo-YouTube thing just yet! I loved doing the collabs, but going solo on camera isn’t high up on my to-do list right now! I’m counting this resolution as a success though! 

• Still be blogging this time in the New Year 2015

Hell yeah! Still blogging and still planning to keep on blogging through 2015. Success!

• Buy and organise my jewellery into a double sided hanging display

I finally found a double sided hanging jewellery display in November when I was on holiday in America! My Mr did buy me the most beautiful jewellery box for Christmas though so I’ll be using the hanging display for my costume pieces and the box for more precious ones! Success!

• Throw out a least half of the stuff I have in storage 

        This took months - and moving into my own place made this so much easier to do! I don’t even know how many weeks of wheelie bin collections I took over with the amount of rubbish I had! I’m also pretty sure I stocked an entire charity shop with all the clothes I threw out too - it felt, and still feels, great!

• Complete the Blogilates beginner calender
• Complete at least 3 Blogilates calenders

Fail. On both accounts. I’ve been a huge fan of Cassey and her Blogilates workouts for as long as I can remember and though I’ve worked through her videos here and there, I didn’t manage to finish the beginners calendar, and the one regular calendar I attempted in February went unfinished too. Fail.

Wow! On the whole I’m actually quite impressed with my little self. I was dreading doing this post, I really didn’t want to look back on the resolutions I made at the start of the year - usually I have a lot more fails than successes that’s for sure! 

With that success in mind it’s time to go ahead and start working on a resolutions to-do list for 2015! I’ve got a few ideas that I’ll be sharing with you soon! How did you do with your 2014 resolutions? Let me know in the comments below!

Until next time,

Monday, 22 December 2014

2015 Diary Ideas!

2015 Journal ideas

2015 is just around the corner folks, and with a new year comes new starts, new ideas, and new diaries! Yes, I get excited about stationary - deal with it!

I’ve been keeping journals for quite a few years now - from exercise books to fancy hardback bound books, pretty traditional dear diary style journals. With 2015 just around the corner I was thinking about trying something different with my diary keeping. I write reams and reams in my journals, waffling on about the days events, good and bad. I go all around the houses and give myself cramp by the end of the entry - as much as I love doing this, I want to try doing it differently!

If your looking to mix up your diary keeping, or maybe even try it for the first time, here’s a few fun and inventive journals I’m eyeing up that could be the perfect 2015 diary for you and I!

1. Q & A 5 Year Diary £10

I love a good prompt! 5 years is a big commitment if you’re new to keeping a diary but imagine looking back on how you’ve answered the same questions differently over the last 5 years? Each day in this diary gives you a new prompt, a new question, e.g ‘what was tough today?’ and ‘what is your mission’. I love this idea, somedays you just don’t know what to write so a prompt is much needed! 

2. Wreck this journal £5

I know, I know, I mention this journal every chance I get yet I haven’t even completed my own yet - but I will be in 2015! This book forces you to break the rules when it comes to journalling and using notebooks. From breaking the spine to recording your dinner, burying a page in your neighbours garden and filling a double spread with circles - the creative possibilities are endless. Not a conventional diary for sure, but it’s different and we like different around here! Pop on over to Pinterest to see how some seriously amazingly creative people have wrecked their journals!

3. Sketch-a-day journal £12.46

Keeping a diary doesn’t just have to be about words - it can be visual too. I’m not much of an artist, heck even my stickmen are wonky but if you’re a more visual person, this is the journal for you! One page - one sketch - every single day. Drawing can be just as therapeutic as writing - even if you’re no Picasso! And who says you have to show anyone? Though I don’t draw much I love the idea of making collages on the pages or sticking in mementos like cinema tickets or a receipt from a special meal. 

4. Can’t sleep write now £7.69

Not necessarily a daily journal per say, but if you find yourself struggling to doze off, this is a great way to make that time before you finally drift off more productive. Not only will it make you really think, and put down in words the subconscious thoughts behind why you might be struggling to sleep, it will allow you to get down on paper all those amazingly brilliant ideas you have right before sleep takes you! I always have all these epically amazing ideas as I’m falling asleep - but I can never remember them come morning! I don’t think I’d keep this as a stand alone journal, but it would make a great partner to one of the above!

5. Listography journal £8.39

I’m forever writing lists! Shopping lists, to-do lists, lists of lists, goals, blog post ideas - if you can put it in a list you can guarantee I already have! The listography journal encourages you to put together your autobiography in list form. Though it’s not a daily journal, it’s a project that would be fun to work on over the course of 2015! 

6. Moleskine colour-a-month box set £19.57

It might look like a more traditional journal but I love these beautiful moleskine journals. The hardback case contains 12 64-page pocket sized moleskine notebooks, each with an embossed number, 1 - 12 on the cover. Maybe your a traditional journalist, or you want to incorporate ideas from the above journals - either way these notebooks give you free range to create your own diary, then have them stored securely and beautifully! 

7. Go digital

If your looking for a more digital diary in 2015, you might want to consider taking part in monthly challenges, such as the photo-a-day challenges you see on Instagram - you can either go with the given prompts or just record your day in just one photo - then at the end of 2015, have them printed through the likes of Prinstagram in a photo book, or use them for your 2016 desk calendar! It’s a wonderfully creative and visual way to look back on your year!

How will you be recording 2015? Let me know in the comments below!

Until next time,

((This post contains affiliate links))

Friday, 19 December 2014

Blogging through the holidays

how to blog at christmas time

Could Christmas be any closer? I can practically smell the Christmas dinner; the pigs in blankets, the sprouts, the stuffing, OK I need to stop, I’m making myself hungry. Let’s skip over the food for a second and get back on topic: blogging! More specifically, how to blog through Christmas. 

December is all systems go, from parties to get togethers, spending time with family and friends, and oh, the shopping, all the shopping. If you manage to get a minute to yourself this holiday season, chances are you’re more likely to bring out a festive Lush bath bomb than sit down in front of the keyboard. IF you want to keep your blog going over Christmas, here’s a few quick tips on how to make blogging and Christmas work for you

1. Schedule

Technically speaking, I’m talking to you from the past. ‘Oooohh, ahhh’. I wrote this post several days ago when I had a quiet half hour to myself one night whilst watching Orange is the New Black, I’m onto season 2 now, very addicting! Anyways, it’s like killing two birds with one stone, I can put a post together with my feet up on the couch and a show on the tv. This works for me, maybe it’ll work for you too. Scheduling posts is the best way to keep posts going out regularly without you having to be tied to your desktop to hit the publish button. Got a spare Sunday afternoon? I’ve managed to write close to 10 posts in one afternoon. Your can blog can continue to be updated as you wrap gifts, drink mulled wine and enjoy the holidays.

2. Plan

The best thing about this time of year is there’s so much to blog about. From gift guides to decorations and festive events. Do you have any Christmas traditions you can share? Tales of Christmas past? 12 days of Christmas jumpers? There’s so much going on at this time of year, if you can’t get the words down, do a photo blog post instead. A tour of your Christmas tree, or how about snaps of the local Christmas market? Make a note of any and all Christmas ideas you can and get them down, then give them a slot on your blog schedule. When things get crazy, knowing in advance what you need to blog makes it so much easier.

3. Take time out

If you want to keep your blog going over the holidays, take some time out from the festive activities and knuckle down for a while. Christmas can be crazy stressful so when you go shopping, take along your tablet or pen and paper and stop for a coffee. All the family around for an awkward present swapping extravaganza? Excuse yourself for an hour and go finish up a post or two. If you find blogging relaxing and as therapeutic as I do, then the brief escape behind the screen will do you some good. 

4. Utilise smaller pockets of time

If, like me, you’ll be working the day job over most of the holiday period, make use of those small pockets of time the work day gives you, if you don’t already! Use your coffee breaks, lunch breaks, those 15 minutes early you get into work to work on your festive themed posts. A few sentences jotted down here and there and you’ll have a post done by the end of the working day and your evening will be yours, free to join in any post-work festivities! 

5. Take time off

If you’ve just got too much on, or you want to really chill out, wind down and cover yourself in tinsel, simply take time off from the blog. You can pick up right where you left off in the New Year. Shut down the laptop, turn off social media and go off the grid for a few days. Enjoy this time with friends and family and don’t worry yourself about page views and followers. The break will not only allow you to enjoy the holidays 110%, but taking a step back is a great way to see what steps forward you need to take when you come back to blogging. I always find a break gives me lots of fresh new ideas and material to work on!

If, like most of us, blogging isn't your full time occupation, then balancing it with life at the best of times is difficult. Throw in the madness of Christmas and well, it’s no surprise that the blogging world can go a little quieter this time of year! Try out a few of the above tips, see if they can carry you and your blog through what’s left of the festive season, if not, then take some time off! Enjoy the holidays without adding in the stress of trying to keep up with your blog! 

Blogging is suppose to be fun, so keep it that way - and Merry Christmas!

Have you got any blogging tips for getting through the holidays? Let me know in the comments below!

Until next time,

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

UK Christmas Subscription Box gift ideas

uk subscription boxes christmas

Whether you’re looking to give the gift of something a little different this year, or looking for the gift that keeps on giving the whole year through, subscription boxes are a great Christmas gift idea. Be it a one off taster box, a few months or a whole year, there’s a subscription box service out there for everyone. 

I love subscription boxes, there’s just something so exciting about getting a little box of wonder delivered to your doorstep every month - and I’m addicted to watching unboxing videos on YouTube! If you’re looking to give yourself  a little gift this year then a subscription box is the way to go!

From beauty to booze, coffee to crafts, here’s just a few of my top picks of Christmas subscription boxes!

Not another bill £24per month

Not Another Bill isn’t your average subscription box, working with multiple designers, they aim to make your letter box unbelievably exciting. Every month they’ll send you a unique gift, some of their past ones including designer stationary sets, jewellery, winter gloves, art work and scarves and Scandinavian kitchen ware. You’re guaranteed something different and interesting every month!

Graze £3.99per box

I’ve been subscribing to Graze for years and I couldn’t imagine going without this little box of delicious-ness! Perfect for the foodie in your life who wants to snack guilt-free. Be it a weekly box you can use for work snacks, or a monthly box you can munch on as a treat, from brownies to high tea, nut mixes, dried fruits and beef jerky, there’s something to tickle every tastebud. And if there’s something you really don’t like (like olives - yuck!) you can ‘bin’ them and they’ll never put them through your letter box!

Hotel Chocolat Tasting Club £9.95per month

Just thinking about this makes my mouth water! A box of luxury chocolates dropped through your letter box every month? Gluttonous luxury at it’s best, choose from milk, dark, alcoholic liquors, rare cocoa blends or a mixture of the lot, there’s a box for every sweet tooth. The rare cocoa blends and alcoholic liquors are only available for delivery every 8 weeks, the milk, dark and mixture are available every 4 weeks. 

Degustabox £12.99per month

I’ve been seeing a lot of Degustabox reviews doing the rounds on the blog circuit over the last few months and I’m really liking what I’m seeing. A combination or new flavours, new brands and tasty treats mean you’ll get something new for your kitchen cupboard every month. What I’ve been loving about the box is it contains things I’ve wanted to try but never put in my shopping trolley. I’ve also seen a lot of people using the monthly box contents in recipes - encouraging you to utilise the boxes contents! This would be a great subscription gift for a student who has just moved out!

The Vegan Kind £10per month

For any Vegan friends and family in your life, The Vegan Kind is the perfect way to help them discover new, vegan friendly products. From food to beauty, there’s something new to discover every month. Now, I’m not a vegan myself but I love discovering healthy, environmentally friendly alternatives and many of the boxes you find in these boxes are just that. I’ve become more interested in organic and vegan beauty - so if anyone else you know has too, then this box will be a wonderful way for them to explore the world of vegan!

My Geek Box £14.99per month

For that gorgeous geek in your life, My Geek Box brings them a box of geek-robilia, from Sharknado mugs to zombie survival guides, Hobbit art cards, astronaut food and Back to the Future t-shirts! This box is just pure fun! I especially like that one month they even gave out a copy of World War Z

Bunches from £19.99per month

Who doesn’t love a fresh floral bouquet? Bunches, a family run company, offer a monthly subscription service offering just that! Beautifully picked and arranged flowers delivered straight to your door - imagine if you paired this subscription with the Hotel Chocolat subscription? Best gift ever doesn’t even cover it! This is guaranteed to put a smile on somebodies face every time a fresh new bouquet arrives - I know I wouldn’t stop smiling every time I looked at the fresh flowers!

Birchbox £10per month

No subscription box write up would be complete without throwing in one of the beauty box goliath's  and for me, Birchbox has always trumped Glossybox. It’s all down to personal taste, but Birchbox has always given me more products that actually get used instead if being relegated to the back of the beauty drawer. Perfect for that lady in your life who is always on the prowl for the next best product, they’ll discover new brands and rediscover old favourites, and they won’t stop thanking you for this awesome gift!

Do you subscribe to any of these boxes? Are there any you love that I’ve left off the list? Let me know in the comments below!

Until next time,

Monday, 15 December 2014

Beating the Winter Blues!

how to beat winter blues

I got up this morning and it was dark. I left for work, it was still pretty dark, and cold, so cold I could feel it in the middle of my bones. I left work, it was already pitch black and the street lights glared down at me, bouncing off the puddles - did I mention it was raining too? And still cold. Tomorrow I get to do it all over again.

Sound familiar?

Winter is awesome, isn’t it? I mean it can be pretty and everything, with the frost and the snow, the bare branches, the twinkling Christmas lights and festive window displays. With a hot chocolate in one hand and Christmas shopping in the other, it’s the most magical time of year.

Then again, it’s not. It’s dark, it’s cold, it’s wet, and I don’t think I’ll feel my toes again until at least February. There’s pressure coming from every angle, be it gift buying, those awkward but obligatory Christmas get togethers, fitting into that little black dress for the Christmas party, the list goes on and on!

But let’s not dwell, on that, that’s the opposite of what this post is suppose to be about! It’s so important to look after yourself during the winter, mind, body and soul, keeping everything upbeat and positive to power through until Spring returns. Here’s a few quick winter survival tips to see you through until the snow melts!

1. Get moving!

It’s been proven that if you get yourself moving, be it at the gym, or getting off the bus a stop early, getting your blood pumping and heart racing releases endorphins that naturally produce ‘happy chemicals’ in the body, leaving you feeling invigorated and rejuvenated. So start that new years fitness resolution early and get up on your feet and give me 20 star jumps - go, go GO!

2. Pamper yourself!

Once you’ve worked up a sweat, run yourself a bubble bath and get your pamper on. There’s something wonderful about a winter pamper, maybe it’s because you can kick the bath up a notch, or you’ve found a whole host of luxury pamper goodies under the Christmas tree, but a winter pamper just wraps you up in warmth and comfort. Light a candle, layer up a face mask, put on some music and unwind. 

3. Cosy up!

So, you’ve had a work out, you’ve had a long hot bath, next, comes the cosy up. Get your backside into the fluffiest pjs or onesie you can find and wrap a throw around your shoulders, brew yourself a strong tea, light more candles and cosy up on the couch. Treat yourself to something sweet or order in a take away. Catch up on YouTube vlogmas videos, finally watch Orange is the new Black on Netflix, or read some sickly sweet Christmas literature. And if there’s a loved ones arms you can wrap around you, that’ll do too!

4. Take up something new!

Most of us are less inclined to take more steps than necessary outside this time of year, and cabin fever doesn’t take too long to set in - so keep it at bay with a new hobby. Bake festive cookies for work, learn to knit, or practice your french braid and winged eyeliner. Make all this extra time you’re spending indoors productive. How about starting some of those January resolutions a few weeks early? Don’t just hibernate, do something with those long winter nights!

5. Brighten up your surroundings!

It’s been scientifically proven that certain colours, such as orange can actually boost your mood, so as much as we love our navys and greys, bring a little colour into your winter. Buy some brightly coloured flowers and put them in the room you spend the most time in, or go against the grain and paint your nails with out of season neon. You could even go all out for a multi-coloured themed Christmas tree. Cook colourful food, filled with brightly coloured veggies, like peppers, or whip up some cakes topped with colourful frosting and sprinkles. Inject a little more colour into your life this winter. 

6. Play catch-up!

Now’s the time to start working your way through all of those Sky+ recordings you’ve been storing up, or grabbing yourself a 30 days free Netflix trial and finally watching 24 and House (yup, there’s my winter sorted!). Come Spring you’ll be back in the great outdoors and you won’t want to sit in-front of the TV!

7. Indulge in the season!

Make the most of the season by doing things you can only do at this time of year. Christmas markets, Rotary club parades, eyeballing creative shop window displays and driving around the nearby streets looking at everyones Christmas lights. Go see your local shopping centre turn on their lights or grab yourself tickets to a pantomime - you’re never too old to shout out ‘it’s behind you!’. Grab friends, grab family, don a few extra layers, warm yourselves with mulled wine and crepes and embrace the season! Being indoors might seem more appealing, but there’s still adventures to be had outdoors!

How to you beat the blues during winter? Let me know in the comments below!

Until next time,

Friday, 12 December 2014

The Christmas Tag 2014

christmas 2014 christmas tag questions

A tag post!! A Christmas tag post! I feel like I haven’t done a tag post in forever and a day so I was super excited when my favourite ginger Jackie tagged me in her most recent video (psst, go check it out here!). 

The tree lights are on and there’s a hot chocolate with extra marshmallows on my lap so without further a do, lets get our Christmas on!

1. What's Your Favourite Holiday Movie?

Hands down, no questions asked it has to be National Lampoons Christmas Vacation! I’ve been watching this film every Christmas for years and I will be watching it for years to come! My Dad introduced me to it I don’t know how long ago and it wouldn’t be Christmas without the Griswalds! What’s that? Oh! You’ll read this post later…you’re eyes are frozen over!

2. What's Your Favourite Christmas Colour?

Red and gold! Those two colours just scream Christmas to me, so of course, with it being my first Christmas in my own place, my tree had to be red and gold this year! Those two colours just sum up everything about Christmas to me; festivities, presents, traditional, warmth, the glitz and the glam, it’s all in those two colours!

3. Do You Like To Stay in Your PJs Or Dress Up For Christmas?

Honestly, it depends on where I’m going! Pj’s are the go-to for as long as possible on Christmas day, but I do love picking out an especially Christmassy outfit and getting all dressed up and what not! I still keep it pretty comfortable, but it’s nice to have something new, let’s call it an extra Christmas present for myself!

4. If You Could Only Buy One Person a Present This Year Who Would It Be?

Can I say I’d buy one gift for the whole family? Or is that cheating the question? Screw it, it’s my blog and my tag! I would, if it was at all possible, book out a cabin or something and take all of my family along for a get away! Hurrah, everyone wins and get’s a gift!

5. Do You Open Your Present Christmas Eve Or Christmas Morning?

From the minute I could get myself out of bed, my parents would make my brother and I sit at the top of the stairs on Christmas morning while they went downstairs, put the lights on, put the kettle on and kept us in sheer on the edge of your seat suspense. Just when we where convinced we would positively explode with excitement, one of them would appear in the hallway, snap our picture and tell us to come on down! It was absolute carnage, paper and wrapping flying around the room, us having to pose for a photo with epic bed head, each new gift in our hand. Long story short, presents have to be opened on Christmas morning! I’m pretty sure when I go round to visit my parents on Christmas day they will make me go and sit at the top of the stairs for at least 5 minutes…and I’m 27!

6. Have You Ever Built a Ginger Bread House?

No! This feels like a Christmas crime! I’ve seen some amazing kits for huge, elaborate gingerbread houses. Now, I probably won’t manage to put any kind of masterpiece together but, I really want to pick up a basic kit and give it a go! It feels almost like a right of Christmas passage!

7. What Do You Like To Do On Your Christmas Break?

I don’t really have a Christmas break, as such. I work right up until Christmas, having Christmas day, boxing day and New Years day off. In the run up to Christmas I try and see as many of my friends as I can, going for Christmassy meals and gift exchanges. Come boxing day you’ll find me battling my way through the sales, and come New Years day I’ll be making plans for the year ahead, including lists of resolutions I undoubtedly won’t keep!

8. Any Christmas Wishes?

I only wish that we have a happy Christmas, filled with love, laughter, friends and family and make memories that take us into 2015 with nothing but a smile on our face. Cheesy enough for you?

9. Favourite Christmas Smell?

I love that cinnamon/nutmeg/spiced apple smell you get at Christmas time. Throw in some fresh pine and I’ll melt into a puddle of Christmas glitter. I also love the smell of mulled wine (though I’m not a huge fan of the taste) and christmas pudding!

10. Favourite Christmas Meal Or Treat?

For years, my Mum has been baking bun loaves from an old family recipe. It’s a cake filled with fruit and brandy; more of the latter than I care to divulge might I add. They’re amazing, and when you step into a house that smells like brandy and mixed spice, you know Christmas must be just around the corner. The loaves mature over a year, and come Christmas, we can’t get enough of them, I pretty much live off bun loaf in December!

Are you feeling even more Christmassy yet? I know I am! In the spirit of giving this Christmas season, I tag; Corinne, Bethany, Hayley, and all of you!!!  Time to get your Christmas on!

Until next time,

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Zoella, the ghostwriter and the needle in the YouTube bubble

zoella ghostwriter girl online

The problem with putting your life online for the world to see, is that you’re opening yourself up to scrutiny from every angle on every aspect, every up, down, personal achievement and milestone. You’re inviting people you have never, and possible will never meet to come and comment on your life. Sure, it might only be a blog post here and there, maybe even a few tweets or a short 20minute round up video of what you’ve gotten up to today - and as much as you might invite in love and positivity, the door is left wide open for the trolls to roll right on in. 

The thing is, as much as we might know this now, the big YouTube stars of today didn’t have that kind of advice laid out before them when they started out. Go back a few years, before we eagerly awaited daily vlogging updates to fulfil vlogmas requirements, they didn’t know what they where doing, and in no way could any have predicted where they would be just a few short years and a couple of hundred videos later.

The naivety of these vloggers and bloggers and what’s starting to look like piss poor management are finally starting to turn the cracks into something bigger, something that needs to be tread across lightly or the floor will simply fall out from under them - and will these media management teams be there to catch these kids when they fall? It seems to me they’ve latched on like money sucking leeches to these kids and exploited them on every level, squeezing out every last penny from the pockets of the teen fans parents. Sure, you could say maybe these vloggers and bloggers should know better, but where were they suppose to go to learn all this before their overnight success? It’s hardly like they could ask there parents about what social media was like back in the old days.

I’ve been reading a lot lately about Zoe Sugg and her ghostwritten novel and the criticism she is facing is, though expected, just downright disgusting. I’m in no way one of these teen team Zoella fangirls, but she is someone I have followed online for a long time now, and what started out as a young girl making videos in her bedroom in her spare time has turned into something nobody could have ever predicted.

A ghostwriter is someone who writes books, articles, reports and other word-using paraphernalia that has someone else's name on. That being said, a ghostwriter can and will use the ideas and input of the ‘named author’ in the work. Long story short, if you tell me a story because you can’t write it yourself, I will write it for you and stick your name on it - you become the credited author and I’m the ghostwriter - I wrote it but my name doesn’t get to go on the cover. That doesn’t necessarily mean the named author hasn’t wrote any of the book, but anything they have wrote, as a ghostwriter, I would be entitled to edit and/or re-write. 

The big problem everyone is having with this is because she has been marketed as someone who is wholesome, authentic and genuine, coming out and saying she didn’t write the book totally alone, has tarnished that image. Her authentic girl next door image has been replaced with that of someone whose name is worth more than anything she could produce on her own. Imagine that, your name actually being worth more than you. 

She’s a young woman who picked up a following that seemed to reproduce symbiotically overnight and thrust her out to the media wolves. Let’s think about this for a minute. If you’re a vlogger or blogger yourself, no matter how big or small your following, how would you have handled that? As much as we say we want our channels and online outlets to grow and become something, could we handle it on a Zoella level? I’ll get my rock ready now, just incase that day ever comes.

Have you ever tried to write a book? Take it from someone who has a Masters in creative writing, it’s not easy, not east at all. I’m not saying Zoe couldn’t write a book, and who knows how much of Girl Online is actually her own words, but, should the fact that she had to have a little help be frowned upon? Of course not, why do you think publishers have editors and editorial assistants? They’re not there to make the coffee! 

Who can really blame her for going offline for a couple of days to try and figure out how to get her head around this media mess? From where I’m sitting, it’s not being handled very well by her so called management team. She was always going to come under fire for that book, no matter how good or not so it might be (note, I haven’t read it yet). What it boils down to is this, she has been placed upon this pedestal and from now until however or if, her YouTube fame fizzles out and ends, she was consistently come under fire, and I worry she, and others who have or will, ultimately find themselves in her position, won’t get the help they need - because nobody knows how to help them

Should she be punished for having assistance with writing her book? No. Should she have mentioned all along that she was receiving help with the book? She did. Sure the announcement about the book came out coincidentally close to the launch date - but these management companies have these kids by the throat and it scares me to think how much content in their videos is at all genuine and not scripted by a media company behind the scenes these days. Yes, the ASA have got off their backsides and have said sponsorship needs to be made clear from now on, but scripting and sponsoring are two different things.

Personally, I feel sorry for Zoe, but we need to start learning lessons from all of this. The YouTube bubble is dangerously close to breaking point and if you ask me, it’s all going to end in tears. I don’t want that, I don’t want that for any vlogger or blogger. I love blogging, I love having my own space online, writing, creating content and meeting some amazingly wonderful people. Blogging has opened up so many amazing doors for me; and I’m still only paddling in the vast social media sea. For those who are far out beyond the horizon, I hope someone out there is throwing you a life vest.


Until next time,

((Image source and credit goes to Zoe Sugg))

Monday, 8 December 2014

Gift Guide for Him 2014

christmas gifts for him 2014

Does anyone else find shopping for the man in your life tricky? They’re not always the most forthcoming with lists or ideas. Most, in my experience, just give a shrug or, the worst answer possible; ‘anything’. Shopping for your boyfriend, partner, dad or that cute guy at the office you’ve been eyeing up all year can be pretty nerve wracking, no matter how well you might know him! I always want to wow them, blow their polar bear socks off and make it a gift to remember.

Here’s a run down of my top gift picks for men for Christmas 2014!

1. Copper Subbuteo bottle opener

My Dad was a huge Subbuteo collector when he was a kid. If he couldn’t go out on the pitch for real, he would bring the game indoors and spend hours putting his team together, positioning them, then flicking them about. He would create his own leagues and championships - he was an imaginative kid! This copper Subbuteo bottle opener would make a great gift, both nostalgic and functional, pair it with the latest shirt from his favourite club or tickets to a match.

2. Personalised song sound wave print £25

If your bloke loves his music, this will mean more to him than a set of Beats! Take his favourite song and have the music turned into visible sound waves that he can display in his man-cave. I love the idea of taking either his favourite song, or one that means something to the both of you and being able to display it like this. It makes a cracking and unusual piece of wall art, it’s certainly eye catching and a conversation starter - in fact, if someone asks; ‘what’s that?’ you can answer them by simply playing the song.

3. Modern Gents Shaving kit £25

Who said gift sets are just for girls? Guys groom too, so if your guy shaves, regularly or just on special occasions, make it the best shave yet with this dapper set from The Body Shop. Complete with shaving foam, post shave cream and a vintage style shaving brush, the tin makes not only great storage but a very manly looking gift too. Consider pairing it with a new razor or a gift card for a professional close shave at a local barbers. He’ll love the pampering experience and you won’t be able to keep your hands off that freshly shaven smooth skin.

4. Fitbit Flex £59.99

This was on my gift guide for him 2013, and I’m brining it back for 2014! Not only is it £20 cheaper this year, it’s still one of the best gadgets for any fella who is into fitness. It’s an easy way for him to track complete his fitness related new years resolutions. It tracks calories burned, steps taken, distance travelled - and it doesn’t stop there. If he wears the Fitbit to bed it will track his sleeping pattern too and comes with a build in alarm that quietly vibrates to wake him - perfect if you both have separate wake up times!

5. Round window hip flask £27

Does the man in your life like a nice tipple? I love this windowed hip flask with it’s shiny stainless steel casing, and the option to have a personalised message put on the back. It comes in a sleek black presentation box, so it’s good to go as soon as you’ve received your delivery! This makes a great, sentimental but functional gift. Pair it with a bottle of their favourite whiskey or bourbon and I can assure you they won’t stop smiling (though that could also be tipple-induced!).

6. Male Eau de Toilette £25

Most guys pick a fragrance and stick with it for years unlike most women I know! Maybe it’s time for a change, or maybe you love their classic fragrance as much as they do and it’s time for a top up, either way, you can’t go wrong with popping a bottle of scent under the Christmas tree for them this year! I love Jean Paul Gaultier, but that could be because it’s Mr’s fragrance and I couldn’t imagine him wearing another scent!

7. Samsung Wireless soundbar £199.99

Well, these seem to be something of a big deal this year! Whether it’s for films, TV or even gaming, I’ve heard a lot of guys talking about wanting to find one of these under the Christmas tree this year! Personally, I’m a Samsung fan girl, I’ve always found their products to be a high quality build and if they can survive me, they can survive anything! Wireless sounds like a good option to me, I can’t stand having wires all over the place, wireless just looks much tidier! If you do buy these for your guy, you might want to consider some noise cancelling headphones for yourself!

8. Edinburgh Gin £28

I’ve actually tried the berry infused version of the Edinburgh Gin and, oh me oh my, it’s delicious. A single measure over a glass of ice is absolutely delicious, a drink that’s certainly supposed to be savoured and enjoyed, not binged over a weekend. Christmas is the perfect time to give that Mr in your life a special bottle of something (possible pair it with the hip flask) that you can both share and enjoy well into the new year.

9. Chocoholic Cube Hamper £30

I love Christmas hampers, don’t you? If your guy is a foodie, or has a real sweet tooth, this pre-made chocoholic hamper is perfect, filled to the brim with indulgent delights - if you’re lucky he might even share them with you! Another great option would be to create your own hamper for him, hand picking all of his favourite things and putting them together to make a uniquely personalised hamper.

10. Skagen Watch £128

Christmas is the perfect time to gift your man a classical time piece. I adore this watch by Skagen, it’s sleek and stylish without being overly chunky or flash. I prefer something more under-stated like this on a man, it’s so classy and makes the perfect dress watch. It’s easy to read and the soft leather band will make it a comfortable wear. 

Have these suggestions given you any ideas for what you might buy the special man in your life? Let me know in the comments below what he might find under the Christmas tree this year!

Until next time,