2017 Goals Check in - 2 Weeks Later

·         Consistency – This hasn’t really happened yet. I’ve only been blogging once or twice a week and I’ve not found what works for me re-post days yet.
    • Plan of action: Get some posts scheduled and pick the days for posting
·         Engagement &Readership – This I’ve done. I’ve got better scheduling posts and I’m joining in comment hops etc to promote my blog. I’ve been getting comments and I’ve been replying to comments.
    • Plan of action: carry on

·          Replying to Comments – So far, I’m up to date. I’ve been trying to reply within 48 hours and I’m using my tram journeys to do some social media admin type work.
·          Build my audience – I’ve almost hit my January targets for followers which is amazing. I now need to make sure these people are watching and like what I put out
    • Plan of action: Look at YT analytics to see what people like and engage with.
·          Reduction in posting – I had decided to only post twice a week but I’ve had enough videos to put three up a week so far and will have for all of January.
    • Plan of action: Aim for 2 a week but 1 or 3 is fine

Social Media
·         ·         Growth – I have set targets for the end of 2017. I did this by looking at my average growth for the past two years, then in most cases round up to the next nearest 50 or 100. I then got all geeky and broke down work out the numbers I need to grow by on each platform by months to meet the targets and I’m splitting it down further to weekly targets. On everything apart from YouTube I’ve already (as of 15th January 2017,) exceeded my target for January. So as long as I don’t lose too many followers I can concentrate on some of the other areas such as joining in Twitter chats.
    • Plan of action: carry on as I have been doing.
·         ·         Google Plus – I have been using G+. I have been +1’ing posts. Sharing my posts in communities. Trying to leave comments on there. I have also been sharing scheduled messages to it.
    • Plan of action: Look up some G+ etiquette guide lines.  
·         ·         Interaction – I do feel like I’ve had a pretty good week for interacting. I haven’t taken part in twitter chats but I have been responding to comments and commenting back so I’m happy.
    • Plan of action – Join in some twitter chats

·         ·         See my friends more – I haven’t seen anyone yet, but I’ve got a weekend away booked in March & plans to go to a wedding with another friend and a tentative date booked in for January payday
    • Plan of action: Firm up a date for meeting up.
·         ·         Go back to the gym – Nope, nada nothing to see here.
    • Plan of action: Go to the bloody Gym!
·         ·         New Job – No even looked yet
    • Plan of action: Google Jobs Manchester.
·         ·         Read more – I’ve read a book so far it was from Net Gally
·         ·         Start a 2nd blog- I had already done this and I’ve done 2 posts so far.
    • Plan of action: Write some more posts

Things that have made me smile in January 2017

For a while, I’ve been thinking about reintroducing favourites posts, however I can never decide what I’ve liked in a month. I’m often a little bit miserable as well. Taking inspiration from a few other bloggers, who do favourites, weekly goal updates, things that have made them happy I’ve decided to start talking about things that have made me smile.

The first thing that has made me smile is a little indulgent. Bomb Cosmetics Bath Bombs. I’ve gathered all the ones I have and I have amassed quite a stash. This made me smile as now I know I have quite a few. (thank you, secret Santa, and January sales) I have been using them. Hot baths also make me smile but we’ll count that as one thing.

New Socks. Sometimes it’s the small things in life that bring great joy. I’ve been buying new socks as I’ve realised how bad some of my existing pairs are. Time for a clear out.

One thing I really don’t like is pictures of myself. I don’t like phone selfies. I rarely like pictures other people take but something my blogging friend Leah has mentioned is that Selfies are not selfish. As January 1st rolled round there was a huge number of people posting comparison pictures on Instagram and I trawled back through my IG account to find a January selfie and I couldn’t find one. I found a couple of bad mirror selfies from April. I looked through friend’s accounts as I’d been away in January and I could only find a group picture and I wanted to cry at the picture. Luckily FB Memories came to the rescue on January 2nd and threw up selfie number one 2016. Since then I have been trying to take selfies. I’m not good at them on my phone and I’m hoping my new phone (Still to be ordered) will have a decent front facing camera. I have been “cheating” and using my proper camera to take a selfie on a Sunday morning. I like the pictures so far and I’m aiming to post a few of these on my Instagram account. So far, I have been posting them on my second IG account. I am also trying to smile in them so technically they have made me smile in two ways.

Getting a Wedding invite. I’ve been invited to a colleagues wedding reception in May and getting the invite has put a huge smile on my face. The invite is beautiful and I wasn’t expecting the invite. I know she has a lot of friends and family to invite. I’ve booked a room at the venue and ask my friend Nat to save the date as we are always each other’s Plus 1 at weddings and christenings.

A slightly random smile raising moment was finding out that the next Chinese year is the Rooster. I was born in the year of the Rooster and I feel like it’s a sign 2017 will be great. I don’t usually believe in signs but I must have some faith in good luck omens and I always say good morning to magpies.

I’d love to know what has made you smile so far, this month 

New Superdrug - Mini Haul

I have recently discovered a new Superdrug on Oxford Road in Manchester. I wasn’t looking for it and I tried to resist going in but I couldn’t help myself.

I had picked up some raccoon finger-less gloves for £1.50. I think they are for kids but they are very sweet and I can’t find my usual gloved. I can leave these in my bad so I always know I have some.
I also picked up another set of the L’Oreal Extraordinary Clay shampoo & conditioner as it was on offer at £1.98. I’ve been using this for a while and it works well for my hair. I find I can get away with washing it less and it feels in good condition.

The other things I picked up are all new to me and I thought I’d share what I’ve bought.
L’Oreal Pure Clay Detox Mask – I’m a huge fan of this range of face masks from L’Oreal. I’ve used the two others from the range which are glow and purity. Both are really nice. The glow one has exfoliating partials and the purity mask has mattifying properties. The Detox mask is meant to clear out the skin. I’ve always liked charcoal masks and I’m looking forward to trying the detox mask.

Superdrug Golden Goddess dry shampoo – This is a dry shampoo for blonde hair. I’ve been gradually going lighter over the past few months and I thought for £1.99 (and buy one get one free) it was worth trying.

 Superdrug Killer Volume dry shampoo – I’ve been trying volumizing sprays for a while now and my favourite one from Toni & Guy has been changed from just a texture spray to a dry shampoo. It feels like a lot of money to spend on a dry shampoo so I have been looking for more budget friendly alternatives. This was also £1.99 (and buy one get one free).

2016 in Review

In 2016 I wrote 116 blog post – I’ve just had a quick scan through then and I honestly don’t remember writing half of them! Last year flew by and I seemed to have blacked out most of the year. 2016 was a bit of a mixed year. Politically well I guess the less said the better. Personally, not much has changed. I have technically got a new job but other than that everything else is the same. Blog wise I’m feeling a lot happier and more confident that I did this time last year.

There were a few times when I thought about closing this blog down. I also thought of changing the name but after talking it out with other bloggers I decided Seeing Spots is here to stay.
I’d say a few of my highlight but there are quite a lot which I think Is a good thing!

New yearweekend in Liverpool I started the New year in Liverpool with my mum. We booked ourselves into a hotel and went shopping, ate in Spoons had a not so cheeky Nandos and despite Illness had a lovely weekend away.

I had ablogging life wobble I’m not sure if this is a highlight but I’ve decided to include my wobble. I get like this every now and again. I have bad paranoia and last year it was bad. To the point, I let it rule a lot of things and in hindsight it was paranoia and I really don’t care what the people I thought were being snide to me were or not. I’m living my life. I think if I’m doing anything bad people will call me out on it. This year I’m going to do what I need to do. I am compartmentalising my life to an extent but feel like it’s going to work for me.

I did get to a few events including Body shop event  which was to celebrate the launch of the British Roses Collection. 

The Stylestation event which is in the Arndale and it’s a place to get your hair done before a night out. 

There was also a summer event at Housing units blogger event I love going to Housing units, it always feels like a treat and this even was a little different as the store was closed to the public. 
There were some paid for events as well. Including Press tent spring meet l which was a meal, brush lettering and lots of Licor 43 based drinks.
BlogOnMSI happened twice and I went to both Blog on summer  & Blogon winter 

There was also TCFF 2016 (CREDIT https://wearingmywardrobein2016.wordpress.com/ FOR PHOTO)Which I attended in place of my friend Kelly who was too ill to attend. Its amazing to spend time with so many amazing bloggers. This wasn't even all of us. 

2016 did have a few other highlights including afternoon tea. I went a couple of times but the one that stood out for me was the Clock tower Rochdale this is inside Rochdale town hall and wouldn’t look out of place in a 5 star hotel. They are only open during the week but if you’re in the area it’s well worth a visit. 

Unsurprisingly I had another birthday. I think I turned 35 but don’t quote me on that. I often have to ask someone or work it out on a calculator! What was a surprise was my lovely friend Rebs sent me   Sugarmoon birthday surprise brownies through the post. These were Salted caramel flavour and extremely delicious. I liked them so much I ordered some Chocolate orange ones for my mum the week later. Its always nice to get snail mail but it’s even nicer when it’s unexpected and tastes so delicious.

When It got to August and I released I hadn’t done one post in July at all I set myself the challenge to Blog everyday in September which I did manage and I’m really pleased about. Some of the posts were fluff and nonsense and everything was written well in advance apart from a few posts. This helped me to see what can be done when I get organised and it also made me realise it will be easier to concentrate on posting less but better quality content that I’ve worked hard on. I find when I read blogs they are often very short and don’t always have a lot of detail where as I like to tell you everything (and use brackets)(A LOT) I tell you more than you need to know and may be I need to do shorter snapper posts. I’m aiming to blog twice a week in 2017. Improve the quality of my photo’s and make sure things are edited and are pinbable as well as including tags on photos which is something I neglect a lot. I am also hoping to be organised so I can get ahead so I have time to do all the fiddly things we don’t see on the surface.

One of the other highlights of my year was getting a New cinema in my local town centre. We’ve been out one for a good 10 year and it’s so good to have one that is handy. I’ve been to see a few films and I’m thinking about buying one of the monthly pass cards so I can go and see more films. 

2016 also saw me going on 4 holidays or 2 holidays and 2 mini breaks. The first I covered at the beginning. I also went to Harrogate with friends to Celebrate my friend finishing her MA. We had a lovely cottage and spend the weekend chilled out with it must be 5pm somewhere in the world as a slogan of the weekend. In October I went to Lazarote. I love this Island and this time I was lucky enough to see some 3Dstreet art 

In the middle of December I visited Gran Canaria with my mum for a week. GC is another place I love but we hadn’t been for around 10 years, I’m so glad we went back and I have rekindled my loive of the island. I want to go back again soon. 

Being local to Manchester means I get to go to the Manchester  Xmas markets This year I went with a few friends and I did 2 posts about it. The first is about  the  food and the second a more general overview 

Over all I don’t think 2016 was bad at all. It had some trials and a few spots of ill health for friends and family members. A few too many A&E visits and a lot of high stress moments but looking back through these posts there were some bloody lovely parts as well.

How was your 2016? Let me know in the comments. Also if you've enjoyed this post why not Stumble this post. 

2017 Goals - Not Resolutions

Goals are not resolutions. Resolutions set us up to fail. We must do them by Easter or our lives as we know it will be over.

Goals are aims, hopes, aspirations.  Whether you smash, come close or miss a goal completely it doesn’t matter. That’s my take on goals.

I’ve been busy making spider diagrams on a postit note to work out what my goals are and hopefully there will be a picture of that here

I’ve split my goals into 4 areas Blog, YouTube, Social Media, and Life.

  • Consistency - I’d like to blog more consistently and have better quality content for people to read
  • EngagementComments in 2016 were at an all-time low. I doubt I got more than 10 comments all year and I’d like that to change. I think as a rule commenting on blogs has gone out of fashion but if you’ve read this, please leave me a comment. Even if it’s just hello and I read it. They are all appreciated.
  •  Readership ­­– This will be my 9th year of blogging and looking at my analytics it makes for pitiful reading. I know quality over quantity but I’d like more people to read what I write and comment and engage and talk to me.

  •  Replying to Comments – YT is one social media where I get a decent amount of comments. I’m talking 1-5 per video which to say I’ve had around 10 all year on my blog feels huge. However, I go weeks without replying to comments then do a mass reply to everyone. I want to put time in my calendar to go through each week and reply.
  •  Build my audience – I’m quite pleased that I have over 200 subscribers on my channel and this feels amazing but over the past few months there have been opportunities coming up with YT themselves but for people with over 1000 subscribers and while I don’t aspire to be YT famous I would like to be able to go to some of these events. I’ve also noticed from looking at the analytics most of my engagement is with non-subscribers and one person (I’m assuming it’s only one person) who is subscribed thumbs downs every video I upload. Please unsubscribe. Thumbs down don’t really mean jack and if anything, they can be a positive. They are an engagement at least.
  •  Reduction in posting – Since I’ve been making more regular videos I’ve been uploading around 3 videos a week. I’m dropping this to two videos with the occasional bonus video but I was uploading three as I bulk film so I felt like videos were getting old and outdated but I realise that they’re not really. If I aim for 2 I can spend longer editing them, making sure I fill in a decent description in the down bar. I might even add the odd link or two in them.

Social Media
  • ·         Growth – for the first time ever I’ve set myself some number targets in terms of followers across all my social media platforms. I’ve been recording my stats monthly for the past 2 years but I’ve never set a target or where I’d like to be. I’m not too worried about hitting them but it will be interesting to see how close get to them.
  • ·         Google Plus – This year I want to spend a bit of quality time using G+. As a platform, I was excited when it launched and I really like some of the things it has to offer but I’ve never really used it. My blog and YT videos auto post to it but I think 2017 might be the year to interact on it. There have been rumours that google might pull it and I think a lot of people haven’t really used it as what’s the point of using something If it will disappear but I feel like I want to try it and see if it helps with my blog engagement.
  • ·         Interaction – I had taken a bit of a step back in 2016 and avoided twitter for a lot of it only interacting if people tweeted me but from October time I started using it more. Initiating interaction, using GIFs, joining in twitter chats and I’ve loved it. On Instagram, I’ve been using hashtags with only positive outcomes. My likes and followers are up. I’m liking and commenting on other people’s posts are up as well. I’m not sure if any of these are helping my blog but they are making me happier which can only be a good thing.

  • ·         See my friends moreI’ve been a bit of a hermit and only really spent time with a few of my friends. One person I’ve met up with almost once a month but everyone else I’ve only seen once or twice.
  • ·         Go back to the gym – I joined towards the end of 2016 but when I got ill in September I stopped going and haven’t been since. I’m paying for it and I do enjoy it. Once they publish the 2017 non-school holiday time tables I’m going back and I’m going to try and get over my anxiety and join a class. 
  • ·         New Job – I honestly can’t see myself staying in my current role till the end on the year. I think it’s time for a change. I just need to work out what I want to do and pluck up the courage to apply for other jobs.
  • ·         Read more – I have read quite a bit this year but I feel like year on year I read less. 2017 the year of the book
  • ·         Start a 2nd blog- I’ve jumped the gun and done this already. It’s about my slimming world journey and fitness etc. Stuff that doesn’t fit on this blog and I have a 2nd Instagram account that I started last year but feel like I want to blog about it again so that will be my space. If you want to know more get in touch and I’ll point you in that direction. For everyone else. That will be the last mention of it here for 2017.

#Blogmas2016 | Gran Canaria 20 Years Later

This is going to be a bit of a ramble down memory lane so feel free to step away now but before you go, click on a few other pages to help the old bounce rate.

Its roughly 20 years since I first visited Gran Canaria whe I was 13 or 14 years old. We came for a week and it was an allocation on arrival break. We stayed in an complex called Babalu and a couple of nights ago we drive past it in a taxi and it looks exactly the same. I've been told they've changed the lift from a funicular to a regular up and down lift. (Pulls a funny face, Does that make any sense?)

That holiday was one of the best of my life, I made friends with a girl called Becki and we spend days doing handstands in the pool then lying on her balcony using carrot oil when we thought the parents wern't looking. By night we were given some money and we went dancing and drinking Caribbean Twist type alcho pop in a bar called Hippodome (now Yates) in the Europa Centre. Dancing to Spice Girls wanna be and other classic tunes.

We kept in touch and I went back to Babalu in the school holidays with Becki and her dad where we followed the same pattern, I read Train Spotting the book and we danced and drank our summer away. This might seem odd at 14 we were easily served in pubs and clubs but it felt real and grown up and our parent were cool with it and compared to our peers we were fairly tame. Sadly we fell out on that holiday and had no contact afterwards. We had some amazing times and spent most of those six weeks holidays together. I had a ten days in Sheffield with her and she visited where I live the we had the fortnight in Gran Canaria together.

I then  visited the Island around another ten times. All bar one time at the top of the hill in Puerto Rico and I had some fun times. We then stopped coming to the Island, One of the  reasons was cost. We went through a good 6 years of doing private rentals and the cost of flights to GC was huge compared to other places. We've bounced from Fueteventura to Lanarote for the past few years with a side trip to Tenerife with my friend Nat.

A few weeks ago we were looking for a weekend in Liverpool but for an extra few (hundred) pounds and a re-jig of my holiday allocation we managed to get a week in Gran Canaria. This time we decided to stay at the bottom of the hill and I'm glad we have as it's felt like a totally different resort. We've been very tame and been  home before out short cut gate closes at 23.45 and the first night we were in bed before 7pm (we were tired)

This holiday for me has been restorative, catching up on sleep. getting a tan and even if I do say so myself I've got a decent colour. Even my feet look brown. I've got an epic amount of inset bites. I don't remember getting bites here before but it's been a good nine if not ten years since our last visit. The rose tinted specs may be on.  

We are creatures of habit and may have only been in three bars and two restaurants but this week has bee just when I've needed. We've been to the beach three times and neither of us are beach lovers. Give me a pool any day of the week but it's been amazing and I know I use that word far too much.

Our hotel is behind the main commercial centre and there is a gate out to a path that runs along side it so it's only a five minute walk away. It's not noisy at night despite being so close and the hotel has free wifi that works in the room. It actually works better in the room than the public areas which is a novelty but a good one. It's meant I've kept up with Blogmas with out it impacting on the break as I've blogged if I've wanted to, I didn't even really need to write this as I should be home or almost home as this goes live but I've got the time and the wifi so why not!

My love of Gran Canaria has been rekindled and we've been talking about booking another break for next year.

#Blogmas2016 | Manchester Xmas Markets 2016

A little bit of festive cheers after yesterday after yesterdays holiday post. I visited this markets a couple of weeks ago with a few of my friends. We had a wander round a number of the markets Starting in Exchange Square, working out way over to St Annes Sq via the bottom of Market Street then over to Albert Square before ending the night via King Street in the bar between Selfridges and Harvey Nicholls. 

I need to try and find the name of the above soap stall, the sold soap sponges which is something I've heard of but never tried before and I know wish I'd bought. The sponge is infused with soap and thye can be use lots of times, They also sold bath bombs and soaps. 

One of the many highlights of the markets is the range of food. I loved the look of this stall with all it's treats and I bought a giant chocolate roll (think supersized mini roll) coated in chocolate and marshmallow. They also seem a wide range of treats A lot of it is sold by weight which is something to look out for but the do have a range of things with prices which is what i'd aim for.  

Another stall that caught my eye was this one full of lanterns. I adore these types of lights and my house would be filled with them if I could get away with it. 

I love the festive markets and it does get really busy but for me that adds to the atmosphere. While I hate being pushed along in Albert square there are lot of markets within Manchester city centre and it;s often worth going midweek but if you can only make a weekend check out some of the smaller side makets rather than the main squares. 

#Blogmas2016 | Playa Mogán - Gran Canria

I'm currently in Gran Canaria with my mum for a weeks pre-Christmas break and I'm loving being back on the Island after about ten years break.

I'd forgotten how much I love it here, we're staying in Peurto Rico and it's the resort i've been too about ten times if not more.

For this post I want to talk about a resort about 30 mins away by bus. Or  a 1.55 euro bus ride. It's quite a hair raising bus ride around the rugged coast line but it's well worth the trip.

Peurto or Playa (as we only visited the beach side) Mogán is a small former harbour resort which is a little beauty. Not only is it pretty it has a really wonderful beach and as someone who usually avoids the beach I spent a full and happy day on the beach and even swam in the sea 3 times, 

There are lots of shops including one of my favourite clothes shops Encurentro, a Funde Grube and Allkauf as well as the usual sea side shops selling buckets, spades and inflatable crocodiles.

We only had a quick wander round before settling ourselves on the beach. We paid for two sunbeds and a brollie and it cosr 9 euros which isn't bad as another beach costs 12.

The beach has blue flag status  and it's easy to see why. the water is crystal clear and I'm hoping that i've gone some decent in the sea footage from my Sports Cam. 

The water felt cool to get in but no colder than most pools but it was so relaxing bobbing about in the sea and it feels really safe. There are life guards and there is a barrier so you can only swim out so far and a cordoned off area for pedalos. I also noticed at the far end of the beach near where the water sport section was there were a few beach wheelchairs allow people to go in the sea. The board walk also had a designated wheelchair parking space at the end of it which isn't something i've seen before. 

I've only even been to Mogán once before around eleven years ago on a Market day and it was a little too much for me, I also thought of it as quiet with not much going on but we've been sat here planning a trip to stay there for a week or ten days at some point next year.

I feel like our days of not visiting Gran Canaria are over and expect to be back at least once next year.

#Blogmas2016 | Holiday Skin Care

For this holiday in Gran Canaria (where I am blogging from my balcony - I'm amazes by the speed of the wifi) I've brought a selection of mini products which I've collected from beauty boxes over the past few months)

I am a user of wipes and when I go away I always buy Barbaria wipes from the local supermarket as they are the best I've ever used and make my face feel really clean. I use them when I get back from a night out and in the mornings for a quick clean.

To supplement the wipes I use a selection of other products while I have a shower. For this trip I've brought the Nuxe honey face wash and facial exfoliators. I'v also brought the Nuxe body exfoliator which I will use every other day to get rid of the build up of sun creams and get rid of dead skin.

Before I use the wipes at night I will use the Clinique Take The Day off eye make up remover. This is oil based and gets rid of the most stubborn eye makeup easily

In the last Love Me Beauty Box I got a Bare Minerals serum. I've used this for the first time today and it made my skin feel great.

For moisturisers I've brought Clinique Day and Night creams. Both of these work well for my skin and while  I don't always feel like I need a night cream on holiday I felt this was small enough to justify brining.

#Blogmas2016 | North West Bloggers Secret Santa

For the last couple of years, I’ve been taking part in a secret Santa with a group of North West Blogging friends. We use Elfster to do the draw. This is a website where you sign up and then it emails you your person so someone doesn’t have to co-ordinate allocating people and chasing up addresses. For me it’s always worked out well and I’ve had some lovely gifts in the past.

This year my gifts arrived fairly early in December and I’m a big kid and can’t wait to open gifts. Even if they had said wait till Christmas I would have disobeyed. I managed to wait two days and that was only because I decided to film opening them and I needed daylight. You can watch my reaction video on my youtube channel if fancy it. 

I was really overwhelmed, not only by the sheer number of items in my package but the care and attention to me that my Santa has taken.

 I hope my Santa stuck to budget and I’m hoping I send an Okay gift to my person. I know they have been received but not sure if they have opened them or not. 

What did I get? 
·        2 x  Lipgloss – These are both really lovely shades. I haven’t tried these as yet but going to try them this coming week. 
·        2 x Nail Polish, a very festive red glitter and a super sparkly purple. 
·        A bronzer and highlighter duo
·        Watercolour Pencils
·        An Art Therapy colouring book
·        Flutter Lip Balm
·        A Novel
·        Cadbury’s Roses Chocolates

Thank you Santa, you have really taken time to think about what I like and I love everything I’ve been sent.