I’ve been wanting to blog for a few weeks, but every time I sit down at my laptop, my mind goes blank. So then I think, I’ll do it tomorrow and the same thing happens. Then before I’ve realised it 5 weeks have passed. So then I worry about whether or not its been too long to blog again, and it ends up being this cycle of having every intention to blog and not blogging.
I did actually sit and write a huge blog post a while back on a personal, sensitive topic, but I’m not too sure if I was ready to publish it, so that’s on a back burner for now.
So, what to blog about? To be honest I’ve been pretty boring recently. We’re still in the process of sorting the house out between work. I haven’t bought any new make up recently for a any haul/ review posts. I’m still sorting out my office space, so no craft posts at the minute, and as for book review Sundays go, I’ve been re-reading old books. I have read a few new ones over the weekend, so I’m going to start reviewing again on Sunday.
So yeah, blogging has been shit. I was planning to start again over the weekend, but I had some rubbish news on Friday so I decided to leave it. But now its Monday, so new week and new start 🙂
Do you guys have any tips for battling bloggers block? Where do you find your inspiration?
Today I’m posting a few tips and ideas for those of you who are thinking about starting up a blog. This is inspired by a chat I had with my friend Kelly who was thinking of starting up her own blog and asked for some advice. I’m by no means an expert in blogging, I just like to post little rambles, reviews etc and people are free to read them and give me feedback if they want to. I’ve actually done a post similar to this which was called “Top Ten Tips For New Bloggers” if you want to check that out too 🙂
So here are a few starting points, tips, and ideas for those of you who want to start a blog of your own.
Choose a platform : There’s loads of blogging platforms out there, but the two most popular seem to be WordPress and BlogSpot/Blogger. I’ve used both of these and my personal preference is WordPress. I think the layout looks sleeker, you get a lot more choice in layouts/ themes and I find it easier to use. My first ever blog was actually on blogger and I absolutely cringe looking at it now (It’s still online!) It’s worth checking out both though to see what you prefer, and if you don’t like either of them, you can view a list of the “12 Best Free Blogging Platforms” here
Choose a name : Perhaps the most difficult part of starting a blog. I’ve gone through so many names and so many blogs, the first one I ever made was called “The Life & Times Of A Fashion Student” then it turned into “Polka Dot Teapot” then I started loads of random new blogs, before eventually turning back to Polka Dot Teapot. I know I probably sound daft, but that’s the name that always felt right to me, even though it probably doesn’t make much sense to anyone else. Before choosing a name for your blog, write a few notes, what you want your blog to be about, topics you are interested in, your hobbies etc. You may find some inspiration there. Or you could use a blog name generator if you’re really struggling, something perfect might pop up! The one I like the most is Spinxo
Choosing a blog theme/ topic : What is your blog going to be about? What genre does it fit under? What are your hobbies and interests? These questions are a good starting point, but as you write and your blog evolves and grows you may start to venture into other topics. Don’t put pressure on yourself to stick to one genre! My blog was originally meant to be about beauty and fashion, now I post my business makes, craft projects, recipes, and general chit chatty life stuff.
What is the purpose of your blog? Is it a place to share ideas, make new friends, connect with people with similar interests to you? Or is it something you eventually want to make money out of. If it is something you’d like to make money out of then you’ll need to think carefully about the name, content, marketing, and basically create a “brand”. Also you’ll need to start thinking about how you’re going to promote your blog, which social media platforms you want to use etc. If this is the way you want to go with your blog, remember these things take time and hard work! It won’t happen overnight
Inspiration & planning: One of the things I get asked a lot is “how do you think of things to write?” The honest answer is stuff just pops into my head! When I’m having writers block, I look at other blogs, Pinterest, YouTube and Google for inspiration. I actually have a whole board dedicated to blogging over on my Pinterest (click the Pinterest button to have a look!). I also find planning posts, and jotting ideas down helps a lot. Get yourself a little notebook and write down anything and everything that comes into your head, or check out my post on my Top 3 Blog Planners for printable planners.
Take a little bit of time on your photographs: Good photo’s make a blog so much nicer to look at. You don’t have to go all out and fancy, just use a nice simple background and decent lighting. I didn’t really bother with this for a long time and looking back it makes me cringe so hard!
Be Yourself: Don’t try to hard to be what you think a proper blogger should be (I hope that makes sense) Be honest with your thoughts and opinions, turn your “fails” into funny content. One of my friends Siobhan has a YouTube channel and I love watching her because she’s just so honest and funny. Being “real” will appeal to your readers much more then trying to be a copy of Zoella, or another well known beauty/ blogger guru.
You never know who’s watching: Have a think about what you’re comfortable putting out there, as you never know who is reading your blog. I’ve published a few posts on relationships and my previous relationship (which in all honesty weren’t very flattering), thought nothing of it until his current girlfriend popped up on my blog and left comments. I’m not really arsed about them seeing that, as it was a true experience and I was willing to share that online, but it did surprise me that the girl was taking the time to check out my blog, as it was someone I never expected to see it and I wasn’t putting it all over social media. So before you post, just think would I want my parents, colleagues, etc to see this? Especially if you want to build your blog into a brand, because even if you’re not putting your blog all over social media, people might still find it.
And Finally…. Take the plunge! Starting a blog can be intimidating and confusing and stressful, but its so much fun! I’ve met some amazing people and one of my best friends (hey Abbie!) through blogging, its a great hobby to have and I find it very therapeutic. Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t get it right the first time, and don’t pressure yourself into unrealistic goals (for example: posting everyday). It’ll all develop the more you get into it, so just enjoy it.
I hope you guys enjoyed this post, and I hope it was helpful to anybody thinking about starting a blog. If you have recently started a blog, leave me a comment and I’ll check it out.
But I’m not really quitting blogging anyway (since I know you all couldn’t live without my blog post’s 😉 even if the are so rare!) I’ve just had a little bit of a situation. By situation I basically mean I have no wifi in my new house yet, because the post office seem to be the biggest pile of poo ever. But my lovely neighbours have let me use theres until mine gets sorted.
Funny story actually, I went for two weeks without actually meeting my neighbours, then one night while I was on my todd playing xbox, I heard some noises outside. So being as nosey as I am I went outside to investigate (in my dressing gown, pj’s and slippers) and interrupted a group of teenagers breaking into their shed. I know its a bit mental to just run outside and shout at burglars, but in all honesty they weren’t the brightest bunch of criminals I’d ever met. They ran off, I knocked on my neighbours door, police turned up etc. To cut a long story short it turns out I have two very lovely neighbours and wifi access! (After writing this little rant turns out wifi will be live on the 21st of this month!, only took since the beginning of January!)
In terms of the house it’s turning into a lovely little home. We have few more bits to buy and things to do, but its so nice to have a space that’s totally our own 🙂 . I think the thing I’m most excited about is having a work room, (no more working in my bedroom and getting paint all over my bed!). I have a few posts planned with DIY’s, room décor etc so keep an eye out for those.
Anyway thanks to those of you who keep popping back regularly, I keep seeing a few familiar IP addresses, it’s nice to know you’re enjoying my posts. (What little of them I’ve been doing!) Let me know how you all are in the comments 🙂
Today I thought I’d do a round up of my favourite books of 2016. As you guys know I read A LOT. Reading is life. I’ve read a lot of books last year, some great, some that I really couldn’t get into. I’ve also discovered some amazing new authors. These are in no particular order, I don’t think I could pick a favourite book if my life depended on it! I have reviewed all of these, so just click on the title to read a more in depth review.
The Girl On The Train By Paula Hawkins: Unless you’ve been living under a rock you’ll have seen the hype surrounding this book, and it really does live up to it. I really enjoyed reading this, it was so addictive!
The Accident By C.L Taylor: I’ve enjoyed a lot of Cally Taylors books this year, but this one stood out to me the most. I love the writing style, and the use of flashbacks and how they tell the story. If you enjoy psychological thriller’s Cally Taylor is definitely an author to look into.
What She Never Told Me By Kate Mcquaile:This is one of those books where you think you’re getting a resolution, then another plot twist hits you. It kept me up late, and I couldn’t put the book down. A great one if you like mysteries!
Downfall by Stephen Edgar: I struggled to pick a favourite book because I really enjoyed all of the books in Stephen’s written. What I love about his books is how the stories all cross over each other and you get to really know the character. If you’re looking for a good series to get into I’d recommend checking these out on the kindle store. Also check out the link for an interview with Stephen
How I Lost You by Jenny Blackhurst: One for fans of thrillers and mystery. This book was brilliant, it follows the story of how a mother was imprisoned for killing her son, but then finds out he might not be dead after all. It was gripping!
No Kiss Goodbye by Jenelle Harris: Another mystery/ thriller book (anybody sensing a theme here) Although this story got a little confusing at times, the writing was brilliant and I loved all the twists and turns. It makes you question everything, and it’s one of those books you have to go back and read again just see if you can find any clues.
So these are my favourite books of the year. I wanted to keep it to a top 5 but it was impossible. I’ve read so many books this year and I really enjoyed the majority of them, so picking 6 was really difficult. What are your favourite books of 2016? What will you be reading in 2017? Let me know in the comments. Also let me know if you have any recommendations.
This year has gone so quickly! It literally seems like 2 minutes ago I was writing this same post for 2016.
It’s been a mixed year in terms of my personal life to be honest. There’s been lots of highs and lows. I’ve switched jobs twice and now I’m in a job I love, moved to Leeds, then got a new house in Doncaster (more on that here), passed my driving test and bought a car. I’ve struggled with anxiety, stress and exhaustion (mainly due to the job I had, driving in Leeds for 15 hours a day is not fun!) and then the progression of my granddad’s illness (He suffers from Alzheimer’s : I explain more about that in this post). The one thing that’s got me through these shitty times is Dan. I don’t want to be that person who feels the need to plaster their love for their partner all over the internet, but I really want to acknowledge just how supportive he’s been through all of this. I’m so thankful for this, and I’m very lucky to have him in my life. 2016 has been a good year for making new friends too, I’m going to do a blog post on that soon (meeting friends in the strangest circumstances).
It’s been a mixed year in terms of my blog too. I’ve had burst of posting and then had periods where I don’t post much. (You can check out reasons why I’m a shit blogger here) I’ve become a lot more open on my blog this year, and started talking about more personal topics and things in my life that I struggle with. This was such an intimidating thing to do, especially knowing how cruel people can be on the internet and being aware of who is following my blog, but I’m so glad I did it. I had such a lot of support from people and a lot of people tell me that the posts have helped them which far outweighs any negativity. I’ve also really enjoyed my Book Review Sunday series, and I’m going to carry this on, I’ve even started a little book diary so I can keep track of all the books I’m reading.
So these were my goals this time last year:
Blogging – Plan more, better pictures and more videos. Do a “make it with me series” and a “recipe of the week series”. Keep on top of a blogging schedule: This one kind of worked out, I did plan more and take better pictures. I stopped filming when I moved as I didn’t have the time with my new job and had nowhere suitable to film. The make it with me series and the recipe series did fall through due to not having a lot of time.
Pass my driving test: This one I achieved! Learning to drive, and actually driving was one of the most stressful things I’ve ever done, but it’s being able to drive and having a car has been brilliant and given me a lot more opportunities.
Loose a little bit of weight and exercise more (standard!): Again kind of half and half with this one. I’m like a turkey, I fatten up for Christmas!
Try some more beauty brands: I have most certainly achieved this one!
Keep on top of my skincare routine and don’t get lazy : Other then a few occasions I have pretty much stuck to this one
Complete my teaching assistant course: I haven’t completed my course, with everything going on it kind of took a back seat. But I do have a job in education so I have achieved this in a way
Move house: I moved house (into a house share which was not the original goal, but I’m counting it!) and now I’m moving into my own house with Dan in the next few weeks.
Make my new house into a home.
Eat healthier, exercise more. (This is a standard year to year one!)
Do more creative projects
Start up my little business again. (More on that in another post!)
Be more consistent with posting. (GoDaddy have just charged me £75 to renew my domain name and website so that’s a good motivation!)
Start making videos again.
Keep up book review Sunday posts
Post more craft/ DIY projects
Post more food related posts
Obviously this list of goals is on-going and will probably be added to as the year progresses and life changes. I hope all you guys enjoyed this post, and thank you so much for sticking with me this year. I had a look at my stats today and I couldn’t believe just how many of you have visited over the last year! Let me know how 2016 was for you in the comments and any goals and dreams you have for 2017. Happy New Year!!!
Today’s book is an author I’ve reviewed before and recently got back into Kathryn Croft (See reviews for The girl with no past and The stranger within) . I always enjoy Kathryn Croft’s books and this one was no different.
“Every decision has a consequence… Trying to pick up the pieces after the break-up of her marriage, Olivia Taylor begins to rebuild her life with her nine-year-old daughter, Ellie. But she soon finds out there is far worse to come. Meeting her new neighbour, Michael Crossman, sets in motion a chain of events with horrifying consequences, and Olivia must fight to hold her life together. Because sometimes dreams can turn to nightmares.”(blurb taken from Amazon)
Firstly I really liked the way this book was set out. The first paragraph of every chapter is the present day, then the rest of the chapter is the past. This confused me a little at first, but when I actually realised what was going on it was pretty easy to follow. You see everything in first person from Olivia’s point of view. I also found it really interesting how she never refers to her neighbour by his name it’s always “you” which gives the sense she is speaking directly to him or writing him a letter or some sort. The book follows Olivia and Michael’s relationship over the course of a few years, and her relationship with her daughter Ellie, ex husband carl and Michael’s sister Chloe. A key theme throughout the book is emotional abuse within relationships and how it effects all these people.
I really enjoyed this book, I read it in a day pretty much, it was so gripping. Kathryn does an amazing job of creating tension and suspense. There’s a brilliant twist at the end of the book which I didn’t see coming at all.
I’d highly recommend checking out this book if you like thrillers, it’s a little dark, but it fits in brilliantly.
& nearly time for the obligatory “new year, new me” social media post’s. But I actually have a pretty big change happening in the new year. I’m moving house again!
If you’ve been following my blog, you’ll know that I moved to Leeds this summer after I got a new job and had moved into a house share, but after a lot of thinking, I’ve decided to move back home for a bit. I’m quite excited about this thought because I actually have my own house, it’s currently being redecorated but I’m moving in around new year time. I actually can’t wait to have a house to furnish and make into a home. Expect lots of DIY post’s in the new year.
There’s a few reasons I’m moving out of Leeds for now, the main reason being my Grandad. I wrote a post a while back explaining this (here) but to cut it short my granddad has Alzheimer’s and the disease seems to have progressed very quickly these past few months. I visit him whenever I got back to my parents, and 2 out of the last 3 times I’ve been, he hasn’t known who I was. I don’t actually have the words to explain how heart breaking this is was. So I want to be in a position where I can visit him frequently and see as much of him as possible until the inevitable happens. Also with me living in the same village if anything does happen I can be there quickly and not have to drive an hour through traffic.
That’s actually another reason I want to move out of Leeds, driving in Leeds is the worst! I passed my driving test in February, so me being the absolute genius that I am decided to move to busy and confusing city and get a job that basically required me to drive around the city for 15 hours a day (No I wasn’t a taxi driver and thankfully I’m out of that job now). I literally feared for my life on a daily basis, even driving back to Doncaster scares me. I’m quite a nervous driver anyway, I don’t trust other drivers at all and people get so impatient and angry on the roads in Leeds so it’ll be a bonus not to have to deal with that everyday.
Leeds is a pretty cool city, but I miss not being able to go for a walk down the river and more importantly I miss not having a pub down the road. And I think I’m far too old for a house share, don’t get me wrong my housemates are all lovely, but I want to be able to have a whole house to myself and not have all my stuff in one room, or wait in line to use the washing machine.
So I’m pretty excited for the new year! Let me know if you have any exciting things coming up in 2017!
As you guys know, I’m really passionate about small businesses, especially handmade crafts, as I was one myself. I really wanted to do a Christmas gift ideas on my blog since I didn’t do one last year, and I thought it would be a great idea to feature handmade items and small businesses. There’s something so special about buying from a small business and having something made especially for you or somebody else. So I asked the Facebook group I’m a member of to share their pages with me, and the comments section has been filled up with some beautiful makes. I really wish I could feature everyone but I’d probably still be here until next Christmas writing if I did! (All links to pages will be in the titles)
Funky Punk Jewellery is a quirky jewellery brand which features lots of unique pieces, all handmade and all affordable. My personal favourite is this moon and Gemstone necklace (only £5!). These would make great stocking fillers!
How magical are these lanterns? There’s a wide range of designs on here, from fairy lanterns, to harry potter themes, to quotes, so you could find something to suit everybody. This one is my personal favourite (£13) and would look so lovely on a fireplace!
This pages make’s quite a lot of items including baubles, wooden decorations and frames. I really like this one as it’s a lovely way to remember a loved one, and would make a really lovely present for somebody who may have lost somebody they care about.
Again a mix of products on this page including frames, glasses and stationary. Obviously my favourite product was going to be this button coaster set! (£10 for the set). This would make a great gift for somebody who loves quirky, shabby chic style items. The last order date for Christmas delivery is Sunday the 11th.
Dog’s are amazing. They’re loyal, cuddly, slobbery and can cheer you up even if you’ve had the worst day. So they should get Christmas presents too right? The Beagles Bakery has lots of goodies for pets, if you want to spoil your pooch this Christmas!
I’ve seen Shannon’s artwork pop up in my news feed from time to time, and every single time it just blows me away how talented this lady is. Her artwork is stunning and would make a perfect joint gift for a couple, or for an animal lover. She has originals and print available to buy on her page.
I know I’ve included something similar but I couldn’t not mention these. They are stunning! I particularly like the uncle frame, as it’s really unusual and uncles are so hard to buy for! The last day for postal orders is Friday so you need to be quick!
There’s lots of lovely gifts on this page, but I’m loving the pamper sets! In this set you get a sugar scrub, a bath salt, a lip butter and a lip scrub. There’s mint chocolate, honey, almond and vanilla and chocolate orange. These are all handmade and cost £24. Perfect for a beauty lover.
There’s some beautiful handcrafted items on this page, wood burnt items on this page. Personally I love the wooden spoons and egg cups. Worth checking out if you want something unique and personalised.
These are just a few of my favourites, I wish I could have featured everyone as there is some fantastic talent on the group (craft, craft and more craft on Facebook if you want to join) Please support handmade this Christmas 🙂 Also if you know of any hidden handmade gems, or you run a small business, please feel free to leave the link in the comments!
I know this is the first one that I’ve posted in ages, (See my last post about why I’m a shit blogger here) but I have been keeping a book diary, and I do have quite a few books to review, so I’m going to start working my way down the list and hopefully book review Sunday’s will carry on regularly until the new year.
So anyway, the book I’m reviewing today is “The Accident” by C.L Taylor. I’ve reviewed one of Cally Taylors book’s before and really enjoyed it (review here) and I really enjoyed it, so I was quite looking forward to reading this one.
“KEEPING THIS SECRET WAS KILLING HER…A gripping psychological thriller about the deadly secrets your children can keep …Sue Jackson has the perfect family but when her teenage daughter Charlotte deliberately steps in front of a bus and ends up in a coma she is forced to face a very dark reality. Retracing her daughter’s steps she finds a horrifying entry in Charlotte’s diary and is forced to head deep into Charlotte’s private world. In her hunt for evidence, Sue begins to mistrust everyone close to her daughter and she’s forced to look further, into the depths of her own past. Sue will do anything to protect her daughter. But what if she is the reason that Charlotte is in danger?” (blurb taken from Amazon)
This book really didn’t disappoint! It was one of those books that kept me up until stupid o’clock in the morning trying to figure it out. I really like the use of flashbacks in the book as well, it adds depth to the character of Sue and its really clever how these events build up to Charlottes suicide attempts. What I also liked about this book is how the reason Charlotte stepped in front of the bus (I won’t reveal it and spoil it for you) is quite a modern issue that affects a lot of young people, especially young girls, and it’s quite chilling.
Cally Taylor is fast becoming one of my favourite authors, and I’ve already downloaded “The Lie” to read when I’ve finished the book I’m currently reading. As always let me know if you’ve read this book and what you thought, and leave me any suggestions of books you think I might like.
Hands up fellow bloggers who feel that they’re a bit shit sometimes, and put themselves under massive pressure to produce content all the time? That’s me right now.
I’ve neglected my blog for a few weeks, and I’ve not even put up my book review Sunday’s which I’m normally pretty good at. So while instead of just putting up a random post, with “sorry I haven’t blogged in a while!” up, I thought I’d not make any excuses and just tell you why I’m a shit blogger sometimes.
Writers block : This is the worst, as any blogger, writer, YouTuber knows! Sometimes I’m super stuck on idea’s. Then I put myself under pressure, make loads of lists full of topics that I’m not that keen on, then not feel like blogging because I don’t like the idea’s. It’s a vicious circle.
I’m scared of commitment : I just can’t commit to a schedule. (Other than book reviews on a Sunday) I plan things out like : Monday is for beauty, Wednesday is for rants, Friday is for food, Sunday is for books. Then I think but I’ve just got this new product and I really want to post about it now but it’s Wednesday, and the whole thing goes out the window and my post’s just end up mismatched.
Sometimes I’m busy : I have plans and life gets in the way, so sometimes I forget to blog
And sometimes I can’t be arsed : I’m an adult, I have a full time job which can sometimes be quite mentally draining, so when I get home I can’t always be bothered to blog. It’s actually quite a lot of effort to blog, especially if you’re blogging beauty products, making sure all the photo’s are right and you have swatches etc and don’t even get me started on making YouTube videos.
I put myself under too much pressure sometimes and forget that blogging is actually just a hobby for me. It’s not my job, so in the grand scheme of things, it really doesn’t matter if I take a break once in a while. Fellow bloggers, if you feel like this too sometimes, let me know! Also let me know any other reasons why you might be a shit blogger sometimes, just so I know I’m not on my own!