Monday, 17 April 2017

Blogging and the Fear Of Missing Out

blogging and the fear of missing out

This post started out as a comment left on the lovely The Sunday Girls blog and I just haven’t been able to shake the thought all day! Blogging. Blogging is one interesting roller coaster ride. The highs are cloud skimming euphoric, let’s do that again, moments. The lows are slow, stomach churning drops that make you wonder why you ever got on in the first place. Every high and low could be separate posts in their own right, but this one, this one is a low one, this one is the F.O.M.O drop, the fear of missing out.

You see the PR packages being ripped open on Instagram Stories, the un-boxings on YouTube. The latest mascara is doing the rounds on your feed, but it never fell through your letter box. No matter how many times we might say we don’t care about the numbers, we do. Of course we do. I don’t know how you can blog and not care at least a little bit about those numbers. These days, those numbers deem what you miss out on. There’s always something. 

Then there’s events. Usually, the ones you didn’t get invited to. You look through the hashtag, you see the selfies, and let’s be honest here, there will be more than one occasion you might stop scrolling and think, how the hell did they get an invite??

Let’s stop a sec. This isn’t a pity post. It’s a reality check. It’s to let you know that you’re not the only one thinking these things. You’re not the only one who didn’t get the package, who didn’t get the invite, who feels like their missing out. It’s one of the inevitable blogging frustrations that we all go through. How do you not feel this way?

There’s a crazy pressure in the blogging world these days to be on the bandwagon, to be whacking out posts on the latest trends, newest releases, filling your social media feeds with a LOOK OVER HERE, I DIDN’T MISS THIS ONE. And are we gratified? Validated? 

Briefly. Yes.

But it’s a fleeting moment, and then there we are, missing out again. 

Thing is, until, if ever, you reach the Zoella level of the game, you will always be missing out. 

Sometimes I think the more you blog, the more this fear creeps in, overshadowing all of the hard work and effort you’ve put into your little corner of the web. It leaves you despondent and disheartened. You forget all of the amazing opportunities you might have already had. 

This is where you need to try and drawer the line. This is where you need to quash that fear. It’s not bloody easy. The fear is an unavoidable plummet. But you’ve got to remember that you chose to get on this roller-coaster, and every time it goes down it has to go back up. Just because you might have missed out on this bandwagon, doesn’t mean you won’t be on the next one to come along.

It’s a crappy feeling. It’s unavoidable. But it’s a blogging right of passage, so at least you know you’re not the only one fearing missing out, and there’s some solace in that. So fire up your group chat, surround yourself with your blogging best friends, have a bitch about who got what and you didn’t and get back behind that keyboard!

How do you deal with blogging F.O.M.O?

Until next time, 

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

*Kent & Sussex Tea and Coffee Company - What's your brew?

kent and sussex tea and coffee company review

There’s nothing I love more than a good excuse to put the kettle on and settle down with a brew. There’s something about getting all cosy with a cuppa that doesn’t just quench my thirst, but it feeds my soul too. I love nothing more than finding a new leaf to steep or a flavour combination that you can’t quite buy on the shelves in Tesco. Say hello to Kent & Sussex Tea and Coffee company - an independent loose leaf and coffee bean specialist. 

Whatever the weather, whatever the mood, be it the one I’m trying to get out of or in to, tea always has the answer. So when the wonderful people at Kent & Sussex Tea and Coffee got in touch with some exciting tea related prospects, I put my best tea pot forward. We had a quick chat about the types of tea that tickle my tastebuds - I’m always in the mood for a full bodied black tea, or a health kicking green tea

Kent & Sussex Tea and Coffee specialise in over 1000 personally selected teas and coffees, and there really is something for everyone. They have such an extensive and ever growing collection of tea that it’s hard to know where to start! You can shop my tea region, type, or targeted health benefits. You won’t be finding your run of the mill Earl Grey here that’s for sure - ok, you will find a traditional Earl Grey, but why go traditional when you could have a Versailles Earl Grey or even a tantalising liquorice Earl Grey

With green and black tea in mind, Kent & Sussex Tea and Coffee kindly sent me the following teas to brew up and report back on. I love nothing more than a good brew off, so, ready, set BREW!

kent and sussex tea and coffee company review

English Breakfast Tea FOP - This gives even the most simplest of breakfasts an indulgent, almost regal like feel. Traditional English Breakfast tea with a blend of assam and ceylon leaves, is mixed with the delicate floral notes of orange pekoe. The leaves themselves have a real warm, almost Jaffa Cake meets cinnamon scent to them, which brews into a heady, tackle the day, black tea. It’s designed with hydration, relaxation and refreshment in mind, so a good one for the morning after the night before too!

kent and sussex tea and coffee company review

Garden of England Afternoon Tea - I’m currently sipping this extraordinary blend as I type up this post - I can’t get enough of it! It’s so rich and full bodied, jam packed with anti-oxidents,  it’s perfect for detoxing, building up your immune system, weight loss and aids in digestion. An eclectic Asian mix, with the addition of blackcurrent that really comes through if you steep it for a longer time. The aftertaste is so warm and comforting. I have a feeling this would make for a wonderful iced tea come summer time!

kent and sussex tea and coffee company review

Mango and Bergamot Sencha Green Tea - This was the one I was most looking forward to trying! I’m a sucker for petal infused teas, they’re so beautiful and delicate. Throw in a heady floral aroma and you’ve won me over. The mango comes through nice and strong in both scent and taste which I love. If you're the kind of person who says green tea is too bitter, then this one would be perfect for you as it's a green tea that just doesn't taste like traditional green tea!

kent and sussex tea and coffee company review

China Sencha Green Tea - Sometimes, you just really need a good strong, traditional, green tea. This one hits the nail on the head. An everyday green tea for all day drinking, jam packed with antioxidants and flavour. I love having this one later in the day, as it's so low in caffeine it's a nice little pick me up without a mega caffeinine crash around bed time!

Each and every tea has been a pleasure to sample! It’s amazing how many different flavours and combinations are out there and I’m just barely scratching the surface! I’ve had a mooch around the Kent & Sussex Tea and Coffee and they have some seriously amazing sounding teas on offer. How does Madagascan Vanilla Chai take your fancy? Or a Tiramisu Rooibos blend? I’ve got my eye on their Pomegranate Iced White Tea for summer, it sounds amazing! 

With such an extensive collection of teas, you’re sure to find something that will keep your friends coming around for a brew every night of the week! Just make sure to make some me time to enjoy a few cups of tea too!

What was the last pot of tea you put on?

Until next time, 

Tea kindly provided by Kent & Sussex Tea and Coffee Company. All thoughts and opinions are 110% my own. For more information, see my disclaimer policy here.

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

CarnLIVal Spring 2017

carnival hope st hotel event

When Christmas CarnLIVal came to town last year, Katy and Sammy did an amazing job of putting together an event, the likes of which we little Liverpool blogged had never seen before. From start to finish the whole thing was Winter Wonderland magical, and before it was even over, we cried out in unison for another event. And another event we got! But could it live up to the expectations of the first CarnLIVal? Would it be bigger? Could it be better? Here we go, CarnLIVal Spring 2017!

carnival hope st hotel event

Our venue was the beautifully stylish Hope Street Hotel, which is practically designed with bloggers in mind. After being whisked up to the fifth floor, we were all in awe of the space. Floor to ceiling windows, more natural light than a blogger knows what to do with and a balcony. OH, that balcony! With views of the city the likes of which I’d never seen, we couldn’t stop taking pictures.

carnival hope st hotel event

The afternoon kicked off with goodies on the door, huge thanks to Jack and Cable who provided every blogger on the day with a fully charged power bank because let's be honest, there’s nothing worse than being at an event and your phone dying or your camera battery giving up! We grabbed mystical eggs off Katy, headed to the bar for a gin (duh!) and got to squealing over every face we recognized coming through the door. Just your average friendly blogger greeting!

carnival hope st hotel event

The afternoon went by in an absolute blur of organized chaos. From easter egg hunts to poetry competitions, the now infamous naughty or nice potluck bags, more gin, lot’s of sunshine and hours of balcony photo-shoots! 

We got a fabulous tour of the hotel too which, hands down, is pretty damn awesome. We started at the top, the penthouse, which has amazing views of the city and a bathroom that’s probably bigger than my living room! From there, we ventured down the corridors to check out two studios and a standard room. Every room is plush, with luxurious bedding, waterfall showers, Pinterest-worthy bathrooms and more! Be still my blogger's heart, but all the in-room toiletries are by REN too! Everything just screams stylish luxury but without the OTT price tag. A standard room starts from as little as £89 per night.

carnival hope st hotel event

One of the highlights of the day had to be our guest speaker, Deborah Morgan. Mum to the fabulous Antonia, she stopped by to give us all an inspirational talk on not only how to find your dream, but how to follow it too. She let the dreams she had as a little 11-year-old girl guide her throughout her adult life into a career that’s less of a job and more of a passion. She reads, writes, teaches, puts on plays, and hands down, inspires everyone she speaks to. It was fabulous to hear her tell her story and she left me with so much to think about when it comes to my own dreams and future!

carnival hope st hotel event

Then came the raffle. We all love a good raffle! It’s probably the closest to quite you will ever get a room of bloggers as they wait to see if their lucky number is called. I had my eye on two fabulous prizes, the Fentimans hamper and the Flavourly Gin Discovery Box - because you know, I can never have too much gin in my life. So many fabulous companies had donated some seriously awesome prizes for the raffle and I’m pretty sure nobody went home empty handed! The Fentimans hamper went to the fabulous Jess (you owe me a blogger picnic in that thing girl!) and when the Flavourly box came up? Not my number! The beautiful soul that is Lyd won the box full of gin and bestowed it on my gin beating heart. This girl! So much love was thrown at her from my direction, including my own, yet to win, raffle ticket. Thankfully it came up trumps for her and she went away with a beautiful prize!

And then came the goodie bags. Hands down, Katy and Sam, GIRLS! Seriously, you spoil us! The venue, the activities, the raffle, everything had already been more than we had been expecting, but then you came out with two bags jam packed with goodies for each and every blogger. TWO! The squeals as we started rifling through and seeing what was inside! I’ll do a more in-depth look into the goodie bags next post, but for now, here’s just a couple of highlights!

carnival hope st hotel event

I was having so much fun catching up with all my local lovelies, Dan, Sam, Codie, Kayleigh, and Hollie to name but a few! Katy and Sam did the most amazing job putting the day together and seriously, I can’t wait to see what you have instore for us next time…because there will be a next time, won’t there?

carnival hope st hotel event

What was the highlight of your last blogger event?

Until next time, 

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

*Printing your memories with Printiki

printing instagram pictures

When was the last time you printed off hard copy photographs? In the digital age, nearly 99% of my photos are stored on external hard drives, my phone, random laptop folders or, on my Instagram. What happened to the days when you would rush onto the high street, your film or disposable camera in hand, and you’d print off your holiday snaps. Would they be in focus? Did you get that great shot of your brother falling in the sea? How many had that ‘overexposed’ sticker stuck on? Thanks to Printiki you can relive that nostalgia, only this time you’ll know exactly what you’re getting, no over exposure, and all your most prized snaps in your hands!

Our last trip to Florida was a pretty special one. They’ve all been amazing but being able to take my Mr along with my family to my favorite happy place was magical. I was glued to my camera, snapping as many pictures of our Disney-ventures as I could. As soon as I got home I uploaded them onto my laptop and showed them off to anyone stopping by for a brew. But once the laptop is shut off, the pictures are gone. I love looking at pictures, being able to glance one as I enter a room, remembering the moment captured, it fills me with all the feels. 

Now, with that in mind. I never print my pictures. I make no sense to myself sometimes. 

I want to change that, I have empty frames dotted all around the house that are crying out for some cheesy smiles. Hello, Printiki! I’ve used online photo printing sites in the past for gifts but never to print my own snaps before! What I love about Printiki is that not only can you upload straight from your laptop or PC, but you can pull pictures from the likes of Instagram, Dropbox, Facebook, and Google Docs to name a few! 

I selected a bunch of pictures off my laptop and Instagram to print which arrived in around 3 days! I went for the Square M 4x4 prints, which are like Instagram shots come to life. Opting for a glossy finish for that real nostalgic feel, the prints are super crisp and clear! I am in love with them. I’ve been able to pop a few into frames, and having some actual pictures on display really makes me feel like we live here, finally, after close to three years!

It’s amazing how much more personality your home suddenly has just for a few pictures on display. I think I’m about to go print crazy around here! I've been looking at all the photo display inspirations on Printiki's Instagram too and it's giving me SO many ideas! Watch this space!

How often do you print your memories? How do you display or store them?

Until next time, 

Prints kindly provided by Printiki. All thoughts and opinions are 110% my own. For more information, see my disclaimer policy here.

Monday, 3 April 2017

#LivBloggersIgnite Event - April 2017

livbloggersignite event liverpool roja pinchos

I always get super exceed about blog events around Liverpool. Not only do I get to meet up with some of my favourite local favourite ladies, but when an event is literally on your doorstep, how can you say no? So when Ruth announced she was putting together a new kind of event in the heart of the city, I made sure to get my name on the list!

The afternoon was a wet one, but not to be deterred by the weather, I waded my way down to the venue, Roja Pinchos, which is a fabulous little Catalan-inspired tapas and cava joint on Berry Street that just teleported me back to my trip to Barcelona a few years back. Such a great atmosphere and who doesn’t love a cheeky cava on the door? They have a fabulous event space downstairs which as bloggers do, we totally took over, squealing as each face we knew appeared on the staircase. Because that’s just how bloggers react to other bloggers FYI.

livbloggersignite event liverpool roja pinchos

After hellos, how are you’s and a couple of cava’s, the event got underway. What was so great about Ruth’s event was that it was more of a workshop, then a usual let’s all get-together, maybe meet a brand, and more often than not, knock back a couple of G & T’s. Don’t get me wrong, we did all of those things too, but most of the afternoon was spent in talks with industry professionals sharing tips, tricks and a few secrets to take our blogging game to the next level.

livbloggersignite event liverpool roja pinchos

First up, Edward, with a few top tips for Wordpress (yes, I know I’m not on it yet!). He had some great suggestions for plugins that he uses on a day to day basis when building sites and blogs for clients. He gave some great advice on conserving server space, backing up our blogs, and keeping everything secure and safe. He also gave us some top tips for getting some Google loving which I can implement without having to switch to Wordpress - so cheers Ed!

livbloggersignite event liverpool roja pinchos

Next up, Jurga, founder of North West high-end fashion magazine #Inspo. She gave us great insight into starting up her own magazine, the trials she faced and how she overcome them. She reiterated the importance of keeping one step ahead of what’s in and keeping yourself current and relevant to your target audience.

livbloggersignite event liverpool roja pinchos

We took a break for lunch and headed upstairs to get some tapas! I went for a chicken, chorizo and curry mayo bruschetta which was delicious and I could have easily eaten about 5 of them without it even touching the sides! I had a fabulous time catching up with all my favourite ladies; Codie, Sam, Danielle, Jenny, Jess and Allie. We all had a great time catching up, swapping blogger tales and PR horror stories. Fun times!

After lunch, we headed back downstairs for our second to the last talk of the day. Jayne, co-founder of Liverpool's very own Future Boss Club gave us a fabulous talk on networking and how really, it isn’t anything more than how you’d have a chat with your taxi driver. You never know who you are going to meet and most people are generally happy to stop and have a chat with you. Sometimes you will get something out of it, a new contact or a new idea, sometimes you won’t, but there really is nothing to be scared of! Jaynes top tips for going to, enjoying and getting something from a networking event include;
  • Turn up early 
  • If you can, look at the guest list before an event and know who you want to get talking to
  • Plan some topics of conversation ahead of time, especially if you have a particular project you want to pitch in mind
  • Be yourself - people want to get to know you, the real you, not some facade!
Last but not least, Jenny gave us a couple of tips on getting those creative writing juices flowing, and the benefits of taking a couple of courses to not only learn new skills but meet new people too. Liverpool Girl Geeks is a fabulous local organisation that works with women and young girls in STEM subjects that put on some great courses I will be taking a look at!

livbloggersignite event liverpool roja pinchos

In all, the afternoon was a grey success, so well done Ruth! I had a fabulous time and would love to see more workshops like this popping up in the future! I think something, where we all bring our laptops along and maybe get a little group creativity going, could be a fabulous future edition!

Of course, there was a lovely goodie bag waiting at the end for us too, featuring treats from Solait by Superdrug, B, White Glo and Dr Oetker!

What kind of blog events do you prefer? Networking or workshops?

Until next time,