Life Style

GOALS | Update 6 - Midyear Look Back

Monday, June 26, 2017


Like with everything in life goals get lost, things go off track. Life gets in the way and up to this point, I haven’t even thought about writing a blog post in this middle month of the year.

I decided to have a quick look at percentages to see which social media platform needs a bit of TLC from me if I’m any hope of meeting these goals I’ve set for myself.

GOALS | Update 6 -  Midyear Look Back


Surprisingly I’m doing ok. All my goals are over 50% done. I’ve reached my revised Pinterest target. This will be revised but I haven’t decided If I should go big and aim for 2000 of play it safe and go for 1500. Which would be double my original target of 750.

Sadly, my worst performing social platform is also my favourite. YouTube, I’m in love. I love making videos. I need to work ok my presentation, but I’m happy with the majority of the content I put up. I don’t really over edit videos. I try and cut out long pauses and where I drop things, but in the main, I just tidy up the start and end of videos. Do I need to do more editing? I also feel like I struggle with promotion. I don’t know what else to do or how to grow my audience. I have started using a chrome extension tool to help with a few bits but I need to stop being Lazy and work ok proper thumbnails as I have just been using the thumbnail generator and I know this is a hindrance. I also need to work on Tags and a few other bits.

The second worst performer is Bloglovin, I’m not entirely worried or bothered by this, there has been a lot of talk about BL over the past few months and people are getting rid of it. There has been talk of it “stealing content” from people. I haven’t had the time or the inclination to get involved or look into it further. I occasionally promote it on Twitter but I’m kinda just leaving it to do its own thing. One day I will decide if I’m coming off it or working on it but it isn’t a priority for me right now.

Third up we have Google+. This is the one I wanted to work on this year and I love the concept of it, I hate the new interface and I can no longer change back to classic which is a bit of a stickler but not the end of the world. I think I want to dedicate a month to this platform and look around it, interact with it and generally fall back in love with it. Saying that I’, 84% to target which to say I feel like I only really spent the first two or three months of the year “working” on social media growth isn’t at all bad.

Instagram I’m torn with. I’m frantically chasing getting to 2000 followers but at the same time, it’s bobbing along nicely. It was stagnant for a while, then it took a drop and I fought and fought to get it back up and now it’s 1900s where I think it will sit for a few months. I’d love to get it to 2000 then it can sit and spent the rest of the year doing what it needs to do. I’ve also started using the stories option. I mean literally over the past 3 days. I don’t really get it and I always over posted on IG. I’ve got 4600pictures on my account. I feel like I want to delete all then old stuff but no idea how to start and I can’t face doing it manually. I guess I’, using stories to dump all the stuff I’d one put on my main page. Is that the right way to do it?

Facebook page. I don’t use this at all. I occasionally add an IG picture to auto post and I might send a Hootsuite post to it but I find when I do post something I do get engagement but I don’t always want to engage back. I don’t love Facebook but maybe I need to. I’d love to get to target by the end of the year and maybe I need a social media lesson about my FB account.


Twitter – we don’t worry about Twitter. I’m fairly close to my end of year target and while I’ve stopped checking month on month growth I think it’s doing its own thing and I’m currently enjoying using it as a platform which is great as I used to hate it. (the mobile app) 

Stats if anyone is interested. If you fancy helping me reach some of things, there are links below and in the side bar (cheeky much?) 

YouTube
58.60%
Bloglovin
79.33%
Google+
84.00%
Instagram
85.51%
IG SW
86.50%
Facebook
89.73%
Twitter
90.40%
Pinterest
101.50%

Life Style

Stationery | Sheaffer Ion Pen Review

Friday, June 23, 2017

On the back of national stationery week and my love of stationery, I have recently agreed to review a Sheaffer Ion pen, this small and compact pen measures just 3.5 inches at its smallest.

Stationery | Sheaffer Ion Pen Review
The pen is a rollerball and the ink has a gel consistency. My pen has black in, I’m not sure if they all do and it retails for £12.99, It comes in a range of 6 colours and I received the purple one which I love (I think it’s billed as lilac but I’d say it’s more of a true purple) The other colours are; black, blue, red, green and white.
Stationery | Sheaffer Ion Pen Review
I’ve been keeping my pen in the inside pocket of my work bag and it’s handy if I need to make changes or add notes in my planner. The ink pictured isn’t this pen as I took the pictures as soon as I received it. (Update Pictures)
Stationery | Sheaffer Ion Pen Review
Initially I struggled to open the pen, for some reason I kept unscrewing the barrel. I’m not sure why I struggled as it is very simple. You remove the cap and then extend the barrel to its full length, releasing the nib so it can be used. The nib is a medium width and is what we say in my family “A nice writer”, meaning it has a good and smooth flow. It doesn’t leave blobs or streaks and dries quickly.
Stationery | Sheaffer Ion Pen Review
The pen has a chunky barrel which works well for me, I broke my hand a few years ago and since then I struggle to hold thin pens and need a bigger barrel. I also like that the pen extends to reveal the nib and this not only protects it but it makes it feel like a real pen (how many fake pens have you used recently? Me and well!)
Stationery | Sheaffer Ion Pen Review
I’m really pleased with this pen and think I will use it a lot, as I’ve said the small size makes it handy to keep with me at all times and works well for my new cute planner. I think that might need its own post.Stationery | Sheaffer Ion Pen Review

I was sent the pen as a review item and as always all opinions and words are my own.

Beauty

Beauty | MUR Redemption Palette Iconic 1

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

For our last Collab Girlies Video we did nude eye looks using the Makup Revolution Redeption Iconic 1 palette. 

I didn't have this and my friend and fellow Collab Girlie sent me this one, at first I thought she had two of them but no she bought me my very own. I always get a bit overwhelmed when people treat me like that and while it isn't expensive I always feel surprised people are willing to do nice things for me. 


The palette is said to be a dupe for Urban Decays Naked 1. I'm not very in to looking for dupes but I have compared it against my naked palette and it is very similar.

I wouldn't say there are any exact matches but for the difference in price it's well worth getting the MUR one.



The Urban Decay Palette comes in at just under £40 and the MUR one is £4. While I prefer the colours and shadows in the UD palette there is very little difference. 


I love that there is a good range of colours as well as a mix of mattes and shimmers. The colour pay off on these shadows was a lot stronger than I expected and they were easy to blend.

When I made the video, I wasn't all that sure about this palette but I think I was treating it as if it was the UD palette and not treating it as a stand alone item and I wish I'd had a practice run before filming, 

Over all for £4 this is a decent product and I think you would be hard pressed to get better value from such similar colours. 

Do you have this palette? Do you like it? 


Beauty

BEAUTY | Color Pop - I got a bit over excited in the sale!

Monday, May 29, 2017

Color Pop (it’s so hard not to write colour pop) is a brand I’ve lusted over for a while and I’ve watched repeatedly American YouTubers use the products and with each release, I’ve wanted to try it more and more.

I’m not often sucked in by you tuber brands, Ok so that’s not totally true but I’ve not often given in to the temptation for a while at least. 

A few weeks ago, there was a sale, plus free overseas delivery if you spent over a certain amount and the temptation tipped over. May is my Birthday month.

I did get the dreaded customs fees. But it’s not the customs fees that bother me, it’s the Royal Mail handling fees. It was £12 in Customs fee’s to cover UK VAT. That I’m ok with, it sucks but if I was buying it here I’d be paying it. The additional £8 for the handling fees is the twist of the knife. It’s done. I’m more or less happy with what I’ve bought and with what I saved in the sale and with postage It’s more that covered the charges I’ve paid.

It does sour the pill a bit but the price we pay and I’ve got products I’ve wanted to try for a long time.
What did I buy?


 Pressed Eye Shadow in the shade Bel Air – This is a great neutral brown shade, this will work well as an all-over shade and as a transition colour.  


 Eye Makeup Brush – (gift) A nice angled brush, I believe they recommended this to apply the super shock shadows but for me, it’s much more of an eyebrow brush. I will try and report back once I’ve used it. 

Super Shock Shadow in the shade CoPilot – A very shimmery pink. This is much sparklier than I’d expected but it is a beautiful shadow.


Lippie Stick Primer – I don’t know if this is an Emperor’s new clothes kinda product but it smells delicious and I’m going to use it



Party Trick a set of 6 Super Shock Shadows – This is a fantastic set of six sparkly and metallic shades. I’m excited to use this set.


LippieToGo-InATwist a set of 5 mini Lippie Sticks – I couldn’t decide on just one shade so this mini set was a perfect introduction to them. One of the shades has been damaged in shipping but I’m sure I can sort it out. All the shades are wearable, 2 of the 5 are not my kind of colours but I will give them a try and pass them on to a friend.


Set of 3 - Out and About Liquid Lipsticks – This was my biggest gamble. I’m not a huge wearer of liquid lipsticks and colours can look so different online to in person. I like how these swatched but I’ve tried wearing one of them and I’m not sure it was very me, however, I think in autumn/winter it would be much more wearable.


I have made a video with swatches which hopefully will be live about the same time as this post so you can see for yourself my first impressions. 

Life Style

FOOD AND DRINK | Jack Daniel's Barbecue Sauce

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

It feels like we should be in prime barbeque season, it’s almost June and the sun is trying it’s best to come out but it seems like the April showers are still finding their way through. When I was offered the chance to receive and try some of the Jack Daniel’s Barbeque sauces and I was interested.


I was sent two bottles the original and then Honey Glaze, I have a few ideas how I’d use these if we were to have a barbeque, I haven’t been able to put those plans into actions.

My ideas included glazing pork loins with the original one and using the honey glaze over chicken and veg kebabs. I know could have just done these in my oven but where is the fun in that. I still want to try both sauces with pork chops. (tomorrows tea?)


We decided to think creatively, as we had all the ingredients in to make a stir fry, why not try the honey sauce.

I’m no food blogger so I won’t insult you with a recipe and my style of cooking is chuck it all in a pan and hope for the best. Fingers crossed I haven’t come unstuck so far.


We used around a third of a bottle of the honey glaze poured over chicken and veg that had been stir fried in a wok until cooked.

Severed with homemade oven chips, these are so easy to make, just cut up a potato or two and cook in the oven with fry light (it works better than poured oil in my opinion)

For a final flourish, we served with a Lancashire pitta (oven bottom muffin) that had been reheated (burnt) in the oven.  


We haven’t tried the original sauce as yet but from having a quick taste, this would be good as a dipping sauce as well as used in cooking

Life Style

SHOPPING | Crafty Praxis - Huddersfield Haul

Monday, May 22, 2017

Last weekend I met a couple of friends in Huddersfield, we’d planned food and cocktails which I must say was a great success. 



Before we went to Crafty Praxis a craft shop Byram Arcade, 7/8 Westgate, Huddersfield HD1 1ND. I’ve been to Huddersfield a number of times but I haven’t been to that side of town and now I realise I’ve missed a little gem




The shop has a mix of different sells wares and the first person’s section I was drawn to was Life’s Big Canva. I’ve known Chloe a long time and I love all her creations, she is a paper folding ninja and amazing badge maker. I picked up three badges. “On Wednesday, we wear pink”, “You can’t sit with us” and “Looking for all the fucks I don’t give” I love the cute pictures that go with these and will be a great addition to my collection.


The next badge I picked up was the cute blue cupcake badge, this is very sweet and will look very cute on my coat. 


The final purchase is from Craftevan and I was determined not to buy this, I didn’t need another badge. They also had earrings but they didn’t have this print in the earrings. But I walked past and picked this up so many times I thought I’d better buy it as I was in danger of wearing the print off it I’d touched it that many times. I do love it and I feel that it is very me, but I can’t help thinking about a pair of earrings to match. 

This means I need to go back again soon. 



Life Style

FOOD & DRINK | DUERRS SEVILLE MARMALADE AND CONSERVE

Saturday, May 20, 2017


I was recently sent a couple of jars of Duerr’s Seville marmalade to try, I’ve always liked marmalade and used to always insist we got the shred less kind but over the years I’ve come to appreciate all varieties of marmalade (well most of them)



I was sent two of the Seville orange range;

The Golden Orange Conserve, this is more like a curd rather than a marmalade or jam and the Fine Cut Half Sugar Seville Orange Marmalade



I always have mine on toast. It must be piping hot, very pale and freshly popped from the toaster. My mum, on the other hand, she likes to have hers fairly dark and cold. We use the toast tent technique to cool it down. How do you have your toast?



The Golden Orange Conserve, this is more like a curd rather than a marmalade as I've said. It is very smooth and has a nice orange flavour which is very smooth and refreshing.



This would be good for people who say they don't like marmalade but like orange flavours and it isn't as tangy as marmalades. It's also shred free so for those shred haters, it is perfect.



Another thing about how I have my toast is I like to cut the top and bottom crusts off and then cut it in half down the middle! This is a new thing that I’ve been doing over the past few months. I’ve never been a toast in triangles kinda girl.




The second jar was the Fine Cut Half Sugar Seville Orange Marmalade, of the two I think this was my favourite. I liked the fine shred in the marmalade, it wasn’t as sweet as full sugar marmalade and I liked the tanginess of this marmalade.




I love the shape of these jars, they are astatically pleasing to my eyes and the products inside are tasty and I really enjoyed them.





I was sent these product as a sample to try, I have not be paid for this review and all words and opinions are my own. 

Life Style

Food and Drink | Tassimo Coffee Machine

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

We have had a Tassimo for years and years. When we first bought one we made the mistake of ordering far too many Decaf pods (none of us drinks decaf – there was an offer and we didn’t notice they were decaf)

The machine got put away and not used for a few years, I can’t quite remember why it was brought back out but I know we had builders in and I’m not thinking one of them drank decaf. The machine then stayed out and we invested in some pods we liked. We did go through a phase where we had to use 2 decaf pods for every with caffeine pod just to get through them.

We now love the machine and couldn’t live without it, ok that might be an exaggeration as it is a luxury item for sure.

Recently we have noticed a slight leak from under the machine and decided to look at other coffee machines. 

I have to confess we do have a second machine but it only has a very small water tank and our main one had a 2-litre tank.



In my research, I had thought about swapping to a Nespresso Machine (free George Clooney in every box )(Not really I made that up) but we had around 200 pods so it made sense to buy another Tassimo.


At the time I was lucky enough to find an offer on Tassimo’s website for a machine and 2 packs of pods for £53. While you couldn’t pick which pods you got sent most of them are ones we would drink. 

The offer isn’t showing anymore but it’s worth keeping an eye out as the machine on its own is worth £99 and the packs of pods are approx £4 depending on which ones you buy.



In the box is also an offer to get 2 X £10 vouchers to spend on the Tassimo site. You have to use them in two separate transactions but we have the machine and we’ll always need coffee.

When I went to spend my first voucher there was an offer to get a free pack of Twinnings Tea if you spent over £25 and then free delivery over £35. I hate paying for postage so I decided to spend more. This is my logic and I’m sticking to it.


I know it’s nice to have something new and different but I also like the old and familiar and that’s exactly what we’ve got. A near exact version of what we had before.




Also by getting this new machine, we have been trying new drinks that previously we wouldn’t have as we always but the same Costa Americano pods from Costco and I’m not sure if this works out cheaper or not but it’s handy to be able to buy in bulk. 


My favourite pods are both Teas, the Twinnings English Breakfast and the Twinnings Fruit Tea in a berry flavour. Out of the new coffee’s I likes the L’Or XL coffee pods.

Do you have a coffee machine? What kind do you have or what drink do you order when you go to a coffee shop? 

fashion

Fashion | Wingz Fashion Sleeves Review

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Recently I was offered the chance to review a pair of Wingz Fashion Sleeves. This is a product I have tried a few years ago and loved and was more than happy to try something else from their range.

Wingz are a hard product to describe, they are not a top or underwear. Simply put they are sleeves. 


You wear them under a top or a dress to add sleeves, I think the idea is to mainly wear them under dresses but I currently don't have any sleeveless dresses that I felt would work with the pair I was sent.

I decided to wear mine for work with quite a casual vest top and trousers. I also wore a waistcoat cardigan with a hem that mirrored the shape of the sleeves.


Wearing the Wingz this way I smartened up a work look and dressed down the wingz themselves.


The second time I wore them was to a funeral. I still wore trousers and a slightly smarter t-shirt. I didn't get a photo of this look. It felt a little much to take photos of an outfit I wore to a funeral.


I love the delicate material and the lace design, I felt comfortable wearing them and I didn't feel like they were going to slip off my shoulders or that it was obvious I'd added separate sleeves to a top and even had compliments on how nice my new top was. 

My office temperature varies dramatically from  hour to hour and I was warm and cool enough, as a rule, I have no issue walking around with bare arms but in an office environment I always feel like I should at least cover my shoulder and this product was a good way for my to do that without adding bulk. 

There are 4 size ranges offered covering UK Sizes 6 -28 which is a good broad range, I would love it if they covered a large size ranged and do feel that because of the jersey material and the elastic it may fit a couple of sizes either side of the range. I opted for the size 2 which covers sizes 18-22 and while I don't think the size below would have been big enough, the size above would have been too big. 

The below pictures shows a close up of the lace and a picture of how the Wingz look before you add the top layer. 

I'm sure I will be wearing these a lot in the future and I'm going to dust down my other pair, which is plain black and try them with other tops and dresses. 

wingz sleeves product review

This pair of wingz was sent to me as a review item and I have not been paid for this review, as always all words and opinions are my own.

Lifestyle

TRAVEL | WEEKEND IN MATLOCK

Monday, May 08, 2017

It seems like a lifetime ago now but a few weeks ago I spent a beautiful and much needed weekend away in Matlock with some friends.

I set off on a wet and dreary morning from my local station, but as soon as I got towards Huddersfield the sun came out and I didn't need my coat again for the rest of the weekend.

Sadly I didn't get to see Felix the Huddersfield station cat but there is always next time. There was a large master bedroom and a small back bedroom.


We stayed in a cottage just outside Matlock, it was such a great find by Rebs but it was perfect for the 5 of us.

3 bedrooms, mine was in a small extension downstairs. Small but more than enough We also had a huge bathroom and kitchen diner. The lounge was cosy and had a wood burner, which made for cosy evenings while we watched films, cooked delicious food and relaxed.



Our first afternoon saw us venture out to Bakewell, where we explored the shops and found a cute courtyard with some Harry Potter merchandise.



I loved these wooden storage creates but knew I'd have nowhere to keep them or have half a chance of getting them home in one piece.

We had lunch is a quirky cafe, when we arrived they said we'd have to sit upstairs as if it was the worst thing in the world. In reality, it was probably better and wasn't all that different from downstairs.



We also explore all (most of) the charity shops and I picked up a mystery wrapped book at The Bakewell Book Shop.

I loved spending time with these ladies and I can't say enough that it was exactly what I needed, a bit of R&R.

On Saturday we had a little trip out to Matlock Bath, which is so much like a seaside town without the sea.



We did all the classic touristy things, we had a trip to the Aquarium which is very small but worth a visit.



There is also a gallery of holograms which are not entirely my cup of tea but included in the price so it was worth a look.


We then whiled away our afternoon playing on the 2p machines in the arcades. I've never played them before which might seem a little strange but it's just not something we do. But I loved it. I was like a kid at Christmas.



No seaside adventure would be complete without fish and chip sat outside. We didn't quite go for eating the out of new paper but I can't explain how much it felt like we were at the seaside. We rounded off the afternoon by having an Ice cream cone and the had a look at the nearby Arkwrights mills which is a mix of antiques, charity shops and souvenirs.



Saturday night was a little surprise for Sarah as Rebs had organised a mini hen do for her. She's ordered party bags which contained the obligatory penis straws, shots and lots of sweets. We had penis pasta lasange and a large range of cocktails.

I'm sure she loved it and it was such a good thing to organise for her.


We also had glow sticks, balloons and feather boas. The cleaner was laughing at all feathers we left behind and I picked up as many as I could before we left!



Sunday we waved goodbye to two of the girls and had a nice ride out to Ashbourne and had lunch is a deli and looked round the shops, including a great gift shop called the Village Rainbow. Where I picked up some wooden postcards. They look like old Ladybird books.

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