Why Do You Blog?

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about why people blog after seeing conversations on Twitter about it. There have been some questions about entitlement (which, let’s be honest, there always are) but I think it goes deeper than that. I’ve seen quite new bloggers constantly tweeting and asking about how to make money and get things for free. This really irritated me. Hear me out.

I’ve been writing on this blog for 5 years this summer, I had another one for 2 years before that. I do not make money from my blog. Do I wish I did? Of course, but that’s not the reason that I blog. I blog because I love writing content, connecting with people and just having space on the internet to share my own thoughts and opinions.

This doesn’t mean I haven’t worked with brands or companies. I regularly work with publishers and some small businesses in exchange for gifts. I also know there is a problem with big name brands refusing to pay bloggers for their time, which is ridiculous.

Now as you may know I have a small button on the side of my blog ‘buy me a coffee’, I agonised over putting this in. I didn’t want it to seem that I was demanding this of my readers and I think this is the first time I’ve mentioned it because of that reason.  I thought it would be ok because I’m happy to do it for other bloggers when I have the money to do so.

I’ll put it out there I would love to work with brands, publishers etc and make money from doing this, who wouldn’t? This isn’t a post against that, not at all. I just don’t believe bloggers should go in thinking yep I’m going to write a few bits and make loads of money. You need to love what you do, which most of the blogging community do.

I’m not writing this to rant or blame anyone, it’s just something that hasn’t been sitting well with me recently.

What do you think? Let me know in the comments below.

You’re a Blogger

I’ve seen a lot of questions on Twitter recently about when someone becomes a blogger. There are so many ideas out there about what being a blogger means and if you ‘count’ if your blog isn’t enough to provide an income. There have been a few times I’ve tried to write this blog post and agonised over whether I should but, well, here it is.

So I’ll  tell you a secret if you set up a blog and you write on it you are a blogger. There it is, it’s that simple. Are there different types of blogger? Of course but we are all still bloggers together. Whether you make money from blogging and that’s your job, well done because that’s hard work. If you’re doing it as well as working full time, like your girl right here, well done too because it’s also damn hard work.

I don’t care how many followers you have, how many times you’ve posted or what brands you work with if you’re blogging because you enjoy it. So many people get caught up with what brands want, what your DA is (domain authority) and being on par with the ‘big bloggers’. We didn’t start to compete or see who could have the most expensive flat lays. We started because we loved it and that, for me is what’s important. You don’t need an expensive camera or top connections, it helps but it’s not what you need. You need passion and love and that’s about it.

So if you’re smaller and perhaps feeling dismayed, we all do at times, don’t give up. There are some wonderful, wonderful supportive bloggers online that are feeling the same. This might not be as eloquently put as I would have liked it, but I needed to say it. I needed to remind people where this started. We’d all love to make money from blogging, have a million followers etc but that’s not the only measure of success.

Is there anything else you would add about being a blogger? Let me know in the comments below.

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January Favourites!

Well, we’ve finally got to the end of January! A long and pretty gloomy month as far as the outside goes! For the majority of us, it’s also meant that there hasn’t been a lot of spare cash, so it’s been a pretty tight month too, with little to spend so this is definitely going to be a shorter favourites post than usual.

 

Books

It’s been an amazing month for books, so much so I wrote a roundup for the month, but there are three that I have to mention. The first hasn’t been released yet, but you’re going to want to add it to your TBR. Only Child by Rhiannon Navin is a tough read that focuses on the aftermath of a school shooting from a child’s perspective. Next up is A Court of Thorns and Roses, something that I have finally given into and fallen in love with, I can’t wait to keep reading the series, I can’t recommend it highly enough. Finally, Love, Hate & Other Filters is a stunning debut and will be on top 10 lists this year, I have no doubt, read my review here.

 

Couple Paramore 2010, 2013, 2014, 2018

Music

My biggest music highlight was going to see Paramore for the 4th time! Every time I see them I feel like I reach another big point in my life. The best part was seeing it with Ali. I wrote about it here.

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Watching 

I started watching back in November I think? I am definitely hooked though. I’m not a hardcore Trekky but the series is absolutely incredible and I’m really excited to see where it goes next.

 

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Fashion

With money being tight this month there wasn’t much to go on fashion or beauty BUT there was one. I picked this up in New Look for under £5! I absolutely love the fact it compliments my figure after a bit of weight loss too!

Top 5 Blogs 

Life Update: I’m Being Published! 

I’ve Been Hiding My Face! 

How’s 2018 Going So Far

Harry Potter Haul: Updated

My Goals For 2018

 

What were some of your favourites, anything I should check out in February? Or maybe one of mine has inspired you! Let me know in the comments below!

January – A Great Month For Books!

We’re almost through the first month of the year already which, let’s be honest, is welcome for many of us (anyone else crawling towards payday?). That said it’s been an absolutely brilliant month for books, in total I’ve read 13 books at the time of writing in this month (!!).

I don’t quite know how I’ve managed so many this month but I’m happy with it, especially as 8 of them were 4 and 5 star reads. So, why not share them with you and hopefully you can get some great recommendations and it’s a varied lot for you all.

Love, Hate & Other Filters – Samira Ahmed 

A wonderful debut about growing up and balancing cultures in the US today. This was a wonderfully written novel and tackles Islamaphobia head on. You can read my review here.

Night – Elie Wiesel

Deemed a classic piece of Holocaust literature I wanted to read this. It’s an absolutely heartbreaking novel and reiterated the horrors of the camps.

Promise Me, Dad – Joe Biden 

I read this after watching an interview with Joe Biden and Stephen Colbert. Joe seemed like a genuinely nice guy who cared a lot about his country. I listened to the audiobook of this and hearing the emotion in his voice broke my heart. A truly unique look at dealing with the loss of a loved one.

Only Child – Rhiannon Niven 

This is going to be a bestseller and if it’s not there’s something wrong with the world. This is brilliantly written and emotional novel, from the perspective of a child who survived a school shooting, losing his older brother in the process. An incredibly emotional read. Look out for my blog tour post on the 22nd Feb!

Everything I Know About Love – Dolly Alderton 

A brilliantly funny but also open look into the life of Dolly Alderton. This was a great read and I feel like it talks to twenty-somethings about similar experiences. I was lucky enough to receive an advanced copy of this book and my review will be coming up on Thursday!

The Secret History of Us – Jessi Kirby 

I was sent this by the lovely people at Harper 360 and wow, wow, wow. Memory loss, complicated relationships and trying to rebuild after trauma. Loved it, review to come in Feb!

A Court of Thorns and Roses – Sarah J Maas

I’m kicking myself for not picking this up before. I’d seen the ACOTAR books being raved about all over the internet and I just decided to go for it. This was incredible, if I didn’t have it in my hands I was thinking about it, a week after I finished I was still thinking about it. When I saw the next in the series I had to buy it. So, so, so good.

50 Queers Who Changed The World – Dan Jones 

I always want to learn more, I found this in Foyles on a trip to London and it seemed interesting. This was a brilliant look at Dan Jones’s perspective of figures of importance in the LGBTQ community. The illustrations were brilliant too!

 

How was your reading month? Let me know in the comments below!

Book Review: Big Little Lies – Liane Moriarty

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“Mothers took their mothering so seriously now. Their frantic little faces…Ponytails swinging. Eyes fixed on the mobile phones held in the palms of their hands like compasses.”

When a parent’s night at the local school ends in death questions need to be asked, was it an accident? Was it murder? The masks of perfection that parents have been wearing all year are starting to slip, but it all started long before.

Now, this isn’t my normal read, I’ll put that out there to start. I was part of a book club and this was the book of choice. I’d tried another Liane Moriarty book in the past and struggled with the characters, so I was a little apprehensive when starting but hearing everyone rave about it, I gave it a go.

This is very much a book about the wars Mums have in the playground, the stuff that is in my nightmares. The novel focuses on three women, each very different. Madeleine is battling with bringing up her teenage daughter, her son and the fact that her daughter is in the same class with her ex-husband’s new daughter. Celeste has a life that seems perfect with her twin boys and charming husband, but demons are lurking beneath the surface. And finally, we have Jane, a young mother who has moved to town with her son Ziggy to start a new life. All three become friends and help each other get through the school year.

Now I know, I know so many people loved this novel but the unnecessary drama drove me absolutely mad. This Mum was bickering with this one and this child was accused of this. I think if it wasn’t for knowing someone was going to be murdered I would have stopped and put the book down a few chapters in. While I was intrigued by the trio, in particular, I found them all to be quite stereotypical. It might be because I haven’t experienced it myself but I just struggled to care about the whole ‘he said, she said’  situations within in novel.

That said, I will admit that the mystery of the death drew me in. Moriarty uses twists throughout to keep your attention, which is something I personally needed. While some, I worked out quite early on others, such as the big twist toward the end really threw me (so much so my best friend took a picture of me at that moment). So, in that respect there is a reason to read.

Overall, I think that there is reason to read the novel but I give fair warning that if you don’t want to read about unnecessary drama, this isn’t the novel for you. There are some serious themes touched on throughout, but for me personally, it took too long to get to those.

I gave this novel 3 stars. Admittedly, it did engage me eventually but I just felt it took a little too long and if I had just picked it up from the library I would have probably not gotten to the end! That said, I would quite like to watch the television series as I feel this would play out much better on screen rather than in a novel!

My Blogging Journey in 10 questions

I get asked a lot about blogging once people find out about my website, so I thought I’d share my journey in 10 questions for my lovely readers. So, here we go.

Why did you start blogging?

My very first blog was to review my bookcase, as a reason to keep all my books. For this blog, I wanted to document my uni experience and it’s become so much more!

How has blogging changed for you?

My confidence, people read what I write. It’s made me realise I can write and it’s good enough for people to read.

What’s the BEST part of blogging?

Being able to connect with people, exchanging stories!

What’s the worst part of blogging?

Comparing yourself to others. It’s so easy to look and go why aren’t I at their level? It’s often a case of right place, right time added to hard work.

How do you schedule?

I used to be SO good at scheduling. Now if I can I try and schedule a week in advance but it doesn’t always go to plan…

Do you keep track of stats?

I have a spreadsheet (because I’m a total spreadsheet geek) to keep an eye on how I’m doing, what’s working and what’s not.

What makes you keep blogging?

Every now and again, I’ll get a message for a comment from someone about how my blog has been positive for them or helped in some way. It makes me feel good. That and I enjoy it!

What are your blogging goals?

  • To raise awareness of Mental Health
  • To work with some brands to promote something I love
  • To reach 5K Twitter followers
  • To use my blogging experience to write my own book

What do you want your blog to achieve if anything?

To raise awareness of Mental Health first and foremost.

What’s your top tip for new bloggers?

Keep going! Talk to other bloggers and push on through any writer’s block!

 

If you’d like to use these questions too then make sure to let me know! Leave links in the comments below 🙂

My Holiday Essentials!

It’s gotten to that time of year again where many of us are packing our bags to jet off to somewhere and enjoy the sunshine (although make sure you keep your skin safe in the meantime). So, what about the essentials I pack in my suitcase? Let’s take a look.IMG_4582.JPG

Suncream and Aftersun

Looking after my skin is one of the most important things to me. Keeping it burn free and healthy in the heat can be a pain but it’s much better than the alternative.

Bikini’s with good support

I have curves, which means I need support when I’m frolicking around in a bikini. I started shopping around over a month ago to make sure I got a bikini with good support! Most recently, I picked up the beauty at the top of this post from Sainsbury’s Gok Wan range!

Books, all of the books

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When I’m on holiday I can read a book a day. I like to sit by a pool with a cold drink and read to my hearts content. That is what a good holiday is to me. This year I’ve stocked up my Kindle for space saving, although I’ll probably still end up picking something up at the airport.

Three good pairs of shoes

One pair that are good for walking and seeing the sights, one for the pool and one for the evening. Sorted.

Lipstick

I don’t really wear makeup on holiday because I just want to chill, but applying a little lipstick can transform my look from day to day beach casual to going for dinner, I’m usually a little cheeky and buy a few in duty-free at the airport before I fly.

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Sunglasses

They look cool, help you see, why not.

Camera

Whether this is just my iPhone or a nice camera I need to capture the moments so that I can see the memories! I’ve always been like this, especially back in the day when my family first had a digital camera!

Chilled outfits

I’m a firm lover of a pool side chilled shorts and vest top, flip flops you know the drill. I often stock up in Primark for vests before I go, cheap and cheerful!

Summer dresses

Something chilled out, not too much fuss to throw on. Holidays for me are all about being casual and chilled out.

Sun hat! 

I resisted it when I was younger but now I know I need a good sunhat to keep myself covered. I’m not ashamed of getting a big hat, like this beauty I picked up in Athens a few years ago.

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Nail Varnish and pads

Some fun summer colours to embrace the holiday spirit! Although Ali HATES the smell so I have to sit on the balcony while painting and repainting.

Notebooks and pens

For as long as I can remember I’ve taken pens and notebooks so that I can write down whatever I feel like. Now I’m actually trying to be a writer I always have to have some way to write. Who know the relaxation might just help the book along!

Travel documents and insurance wallet! 

So, damn important. I like having a place where important documents go because I get super anxious about all that kind of stuff.

What are your holiday essentials? Let me know in the comments below!