Long Time, No Blog

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Well then. It’s been a while, hasn’t it? I’ve managed to publish a grand total of one blog post since the end of the January and, to be honest, I have mixed feelings about this.

I’ve been a bit disillusioned with blogging recently. I’m not into the whole SEO, monetising, numbers thing and it seems like there is a lot of pressure to do exactly that. From this being the focus of blogger chats to the flood of how-to posts, it’s easy to feel like you’re doing blogging wrong. Don’t get me wrong, all this is great for people who want to take their blog in a more professional direction, but for me it feels like I don’t have a place in this world.

So I’m making my own blog world. I’m going to continue blindly down the hobbyist path. No analytics, no adverts, no stress. I’ve missed having something to do and I enjoy writing and taking photographs (albeit on my phone – but hey, seems to be appropriate) so I am going to get to it now.

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So what else have I been up to? The reason I took a break in the first place was because we finally completed our house purchase in early February so we spent two months packing, decorating, moving and unpacking. And shopping. And decorating. So much decorating! I’m going to share some room tours soon so look out for them if you like interior posts.

Anyway, I would love some inspiration. Whether you’re a fellow hobbyist or a pro, let me know what your favourite thing about blogging is in the comments.

Ali  xx

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Blogging in Bristol | #BlogConf & #BlogClub

BlogConf and BlogClub

Since moving to Gloucestershire a few months ago my blogging has been a bit sporadic. Commuting everyday to Bristol and getting to know a new area knocked all the motivation out of me but thankfully a couple of events have put me back on track.

Last week, I spent the day at BlogConf. It was a full day packed with speakers, discussions and networking and was based at Racks in Clifton, a lovely bar with a great menu. Our speakers were:

  • Joe Stutter from Webpal did a great talk about improving your presence with SEO, design and social media. I took copious notes and am really fired up to give this a go.
  • Lottie from Oyster and Pearl and Lara, the editor of Mollies Makes were there to chat about freelancing and working with magazines. It turns out that many magazines, like Mollie Makes, are dead keen to work with bloggers and their advice was to be bold and make contact with people you want to work with.
  • Photographer Danny T gave us lots of tips about making the most of lighting and composition to create images that tell a story, and that the narrative and ‘the moment’ were king. The best advice was: practice, practice, practice and I’m certainly going to be sticking to this!
  • Next up was Gemma from HelloIt’sGemma and Mel from Trunki who led an open discussion about working with brands and it was great to hear the opinions of the rest of the bloggers there. Mel works extensively with bloggers reviewing Trunki products and she strongly recommended approaching brands you want to work with with a specific angle or story idea.
  • Olivia from Just Olivia TV was there to share her vlogging experience and spoke about having the confidence to put yourself out there on YouTube.  I also loved her advice to start with what you have – any camera, free editing software, a window for lighting – you can then figure out what you need from there.
  • Will, the PR Manager for Instagram Europe popped in to talk all things Insta. He stressed the importance of community in the Instagram world and told us about the worldwide IntsaMeets that will happen on the 21st and 22nd March. Will was also very happy to take lots of question and to feedback to the development team what us bloggers would like to see which was fab.
  • Lastly, Sophie from That Pale Girl closed the day with her blogging story. Her blog has gone through several incarnations so she had some good advice on finding your own style and reflecting it in your blog. And most importantly, blogging because you love it.

So yeah, a pretty good day! I felt it was a really worthwhile event to attend for me because, as well as meeting some lovely people, it has reignited my interest in and passion for blogging. It was a really well organised and successful day. We were lucky to be given a goody bag at the end, here’s a sneaky peek at it if you’re interested, I know I always am!

BlogConf and BlogClub

Then, during the week I went to BlogClub, run by Bonjour Blogger. BlogClub is open to anyone and is aimed at getting bloggers together to get to know each other and learn. Blogging is quite and isolated hobby/job (whichever way you view it) so I was really happy to find this in Bristol.

This month’s get together was hosted by True Digital who gave us a very detailed and extremely useful demonstration of how to get the most out of Google Analytics. I’m very much a beginner in this field so this was very helpful. And everyone at the event was extremely friendly. It’s great to meet so many people who ‘get’ the whole blogging thing and to meet some new folk down here in Bristol.

I can’t wait to make some changes to this blog and to keep improving it. I’m also super happy to have found such a vibrant blog scene here and I can’t wait to get more involved with more events, more connections and more friends.

In Other News | November 2014

What’s been happening | what’s the plan | and all that other shizz

The Body Shop Christmas

This month I got to go along to The Body Shop after hours to check out their new in Christmas collection. We were given the chance to try out the new limited edition scents – Vanilla Brulee, Frosted Cranberry and, my favourite, Glazed Apple.

The Body Shop Christmas The Body Shop Christmas The Body Shop Christmas

This Christmas The Body Shop have teamed up with War Child to provide a lesson for a child in need for every gift set sold. So far they’ve funded 143 709 lessons which is incredible. If you are planning on buying someone a bath, body or skincare set for Christmas make sure you check out The Body Shop as every little helps and you’ll be spreading Christmas joy just a little further.

Beauty Box Swap

This month I also took part in a beauty box swap with Carol from Flitty Chick Fancies hosted by Kat from Tales of a Pale Face.  I love what I received, especially the products by Pixy which are made locally to Carol. I also love the make up bag, it’s so cute! My skin has been misbehaving recently so I’ll be trying out the Tea Tree & Witch Hazel face mask tonight, hopefully it can work miracles!

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My last piece of news for this month is that I’ve got myself a new job and I’ll be moving to Cheltenham in a few weeks! So I’ll no longer be an Edinburgh blogger sadly, but it’s an exciting development for me and I’m looking forward to reuniting the kitten and the bf, they’re missing each other. I’ll be keeping the blog up so look out for a change of scene soon.

On that note, I’d love it if you could leave me links in the comments to your favourite bloggers based in Cheltenham, Bristol and the South West. I’m looking for some new reads (as well as some new pals).

 

In Other News | October

Cute Kitten Sleeping

What’s been happening | what’s the plan | and all that other shizz

So I don’t really have much news to share other than that we got a kitten! Which to be fair, is pretty big news. Tilly has been with us a month now and she’s settling in nicely. We adopted her from the SSPCA when she was 9 weeks old so she’s still really young and needs a lot of attention. I had planned to do lots of Halloween related posts, but trying to do anything with a playful/cuddly/demanding kitty climbing up you is pretty much impossible. Still, it’s a good problem to have. I might do a full “Meet Tilly” post with how we adopted her and what having a kitten is like soon if you would be interested in seeing more kitty pictures?

And that is all I have to report… I really need to get out more. Well, only 6 days left of October then we can officially start making Christmas plans, right?! What’s been happening in your month?

In Other News | September

What’s been happening | what’s the plan | and all that other shizz

I never really know what to do with Sunday style posts so trying something different for a bit. “In Other News” will be mostly monthly and cover anything from events I’ve been to, what I’m looking forward to, links I’ve been loving, wishlist type stuff. All kinds of things really. A bit like a diary.

Edinburgh Bloggers event

First, an event from last month. Edinburgh Bloggers is a newly formed group on Facebook and blog which aims to create a network for bloggers in this fine city. Recently they held an event at The Rosehip. It was a really nice afternoon with cupcakes, a chance to meet other bloggers and a raffle that raised money for McMillan. If you are a blogger in Edinburgh (of any genre) do come and join the group here.

Made from Scotland

If you’re a fan of Scottish designers and producers then you ‘ll be interested in the pop-up shop from Made From Scotland, situated on Rose Street for the next two months. Selling a range of items, from homewares to fashion, it sells a huge variety with a mix of traditional materials and designs to modern reinventions and pop culture references. I particularly like the stationery from Gillian Kyle, the fun prints from The Grey Earl and of course, the tweed bunting by Couthie.

I went along to the launch evening and met up with some of the lovely bloggers I met at the tea party (see, you should totally join the group!). Afterwards, we headed along to the newly opened Cask & Still pub on Leith Walk. Typically, I was too preoccupied by whisky and pork pies to take photos but oh well. You’ll just have to take my word for it that it’s a place worth checking out. Whisky, craft beers and gin cocktails are the order of the day with a laid back but trendy atmosphere. Top.

Charity Shop

I’ve also been doing some volunteering at the Save the Children shop in Stockbridge. I’ve had a couple of shifts with the visual merchandising team and on the shop floor. I’ll be sharing more about this very soon, but let me know if you have any questions about volunteering, donating or anything else and I’ll do my best to answer them.

I’m excited about the rest of the month as I have a few things to look forward to such as Eat Drink Discover Scotland, Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival and Still Game Live. What else? Oh yeah, that small matter of the Referendum. I’m enjoying the debates – even if the BBC’s creeping bias is becoming cringe worthy. Yeah democracy! I’ll be holding my breath for the results next Friday that’s for sure.

What is September looking like for you? Hope it’s shaping up to be a good month.

Sunday Catch Up #17

Hiiii! I’m back after three weeks! Did anyone miss me/notice?! It’s been a busy few weeks for me but I’m happy to have some blogging time again. It might take another week or so to get back into a flow but we’ll get there again.

EIFF Tickets

The reason for my disappearance! Edinburgh International Film Festival happened. I only saw 11 films, but all good, especially Snowpiercer which was just incredible. Hopefully it’ll have a UK release. I  also absolutely loved The Green Inferno and the Q&A with Eli Roth (yes, really) and Lorenza Izzo was hilarious, it lasted an hour and went on past 1am yet all the audience stayed – good sign. Best Q&A I’ve ever seen. There were also some awesome parties but I can’t really remember enough about them to share haha!

EIFF Nails

EIFF branded nails. Yeah, OK, I’m a loser. But I kinda love these.

Filling station

So a couple of non-EIFF things happened too. I went along to The Filling Station’s VIP party for the relaunch of their newly refurbed High Street branch. I have a full post and review up on this tomorrow so do pop by to find out what I thought of the experience.

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I also happened to pop into St James Centre where I haven’t been for ages and discovered a couple new shops so had to have a wee spree. First up, Essie Button’s favourite, Tiger. A Swedish shop that is impossible to categorise, the selection is bizarre and varied but awesome. I picked up sticker and tape (can’t say no to a bit of stationery) mint headphones, kitty cat socks and a cooling eye mask. The only thing I needed here was the eye mask – EIFF has given me extreme eye bags – but I just couldn’t resist the rest!

There is also a new discount book shop. The ASOIAF books aren’t the next I’ll be reading (or even the next in the series) but they were half price and the right cover so I just bought them anyway. I also got The Bling Ring and What the Grown-Ups Were Doing, two for £5, for some lighter reading.

And that was pretty much my month. I have more EIFF snaps on my Instagram, including Simon Helberg playing some jazz piano and when the Imperial Army came to visit – check it out over herrrre.

Sunday Catch Up #16

Hope you have all had a great weekend. I spent the entirety of Sunday watching Orange is the New Black. Piper was annoying this series but omg some of the scenes with the guards were hilarious – “Stay away from tuna fish! And soft cheese!” “RUN NUNS!”

This week is known as the week of ‘no lunch but lots of cocktails’. 56 NorthOn Tuesday me and David went along to 56 North brandishing an Itison coupon for burgers and cocktails (or a beer). I had the Cherry Tree Ice Tea which was amazing and very appropriate to the setting (pretty hipsterish). However, the beer selection for the voucher was very limited and David was stuck with a Red Stripe, yuck! We both went for the Porkie Gourmet Burger with BBQ pulled pork and a side of fries. It was really good, not the best burger I’ve ever had, but the pork was juicy and tasty and really filled the hole left by a missed lunch.

Filling Station Cocktails Filling Station Red Berry Cheesecake Filling Station CocktailsOn Thursday I was lucky to be invited along to a cocktail masterclass being held by the Filling Station at their Omni Centre restaurant. The evening was hosted by Paul Harper from Heart Radio with the class being taught by Andy Pearson. Andy showed us how to make some of the Filling Stations popular drinks such as the dessert-like Red Berry Cheesecake. We also saw how to do a proper mojito (be careful not to pound your mint!) and a real whisky sours – which should take 6 minutes if done properly. Some of us got to go behind the bar and take part in the drinks making which was really fun.

Filling Station are refurbishing their High Street restaurant which will reopen at the end of the month. When I was younger this was my go-to place for desserts and cocktails so I can’t wait to see the new look. I’ll have a full post on the Filling Station (and their cocktail menu) very soon so stay tuned for that.

Work stuffsAnd the reason there’s been no time for lunch breaks! We are full steam ahead at work. My team has been fab, smiling through laminating 200 signs, sorting out 300 t-shirts and passes, and getting up at 7am to blow up balloons. Love them, they are keeping me sane.

So I might not be about here much for the next two weeks as films take over my life (wouldn’t have it any other way) but I’m sure I’ll have lots of stories afterwards. I might be back intermittently, but otherwise I’ll catch you all in July!

Have a good one 😉