23/08/2017

THE TRUTH ABOUT: FLATLAYS




As a Blogger, you often find your self acquainting with the odd 'flatlay'. You'll know that it's a photography technique in which you lay your subject(s) down, alongside lots of other props, and take an image - usually from above, or at a high-ish angle. Those that do them well make us droll. We could endlessly scroll down their Instagram pages crying into a tub of ice cream at how immaculate their composition is. But, nevertheless, we all persevere and give them a go. And, of course, no flatlay is perefect, and a lot of hard work (and sometimes money) can go into making the best looking ones.
So as far as our friendship with flatlays go: us bloggers adore taking them and are forever aspiring to take the best ones. But, that's mostly what non-bloggers think. We know the truth about that deadly, back-breaking, aspiration-crushing, demotivating, evil photography method.

Here is the truth about flatlays...

Fancy a game of Twister?
I lay on the floor with my left leg stretched out, my right leg behind my head, one arm folded in, and one arm under my leg. I get tangled up on a mess of brown hair, limbs and a camera just to get the right angle. 

Natural light.
On a glorious sunny day, the shadows can be intense so you have to make sure that your 'natural light' isn't cursed with that. Then, on a rainy day, everything is just too gloomy. Now, don't even get me started on the 3 minutes of natural daylight that we get in the winter.

Imagine having a mark-free background.
I use a white wallpaper roll and I find myself rolling out about 3 metres before I find a section that hasn't been scarred by previous flatlay attempts.

Carrying your entire bedroom into your best photography 'spot'.
I have actually started collecting things into an overnight bag now and shipping them downstairs.

Taking amazing pictures then realising that one thing is annoyingly out of place
Check out this blog post from back in 2015. This is one of my favourite, most aesthetically pleasing photos that I've ever taken, but there's one thing out of place that REALLY bugs me. Can you tell what it is?

Getting irritated by auto focus and switching to manual.
Focusing - in fact, any camera setting - is the bane of my life.

Getting the perfect focus then slipping and bodging it all up.
Is this just me? Am I just stupidly clumsy?

Feeling proud of yourself for using gorgeous fresh flowers then realising that they've leaked water all over your backdrop.
Going back to having a 'mark-free backdrop', this doesn't do me any favours.

Trying to take photos of something reflective then realising you can see your goofy face and camera in the 'final' edit.
I can guarantee that, when I'm taking flatlays, nearly 100% of the time I will have no-makeup on, my hair shoved up into a messy bun, and probably will be wearing pyjamas, so seeing my face in a reflective object is something that no one wants to see.

Where is that orange tone coming from and how do I get rid of it?
Again: I hate camera settings. 

The glamorous camera shadow.
I find this one particularly annoying when you're taking pictures on your mobile phone. That E.T.-like arm, stretched out holding a big rectangle - or at least that's what the shadow ends up looking like.

Trying to make those fake flowers look real.
Yep, real flowers most definitely have no leaves, straight stems, glitter on their petals and a label saying 'fake flowers' on them.

Wondering how the hell people do this?!
It's difficult and the people who do it well and blow our minds are forever admired by me. But, I can imagine that those people also have their moments of self-doubt. Don't ever feel deterred by these irritating flat-lay nags, you're not the only one and we must defeat them.

What are your truths about flatlays?

15/08/2017

6 FREE IPHONE WALLPAPERS FOR BLOGGERS

I've recently been putting my graphic designing skills to good use and decided to giveaway these iPhone Wallpaper images for free. They are definitely perfect for bloggers; or anyone in need of a lock screen make-over. These prints should be usable across any iPhone size but were tested on an iPhone 6. If you have any requests for a personalised wallpaper for yourself, feel free to contact me on Twitter or Instagram. All I have to say now... get saving and ENJOY!






I'd love to know if you took any and which you loved the most!
Comment your fave.

10/08/2017

THE 5 PECULIAR REASONS TO BLOG


Blogging is great and many people recommend it. Lots of people say it's great for talking about your interests, engaging with people and making friends, starting a business and documenting your life. They aren't wrong. Blogging does come with many benefits, but what are the more peculiar reasons for you to blog that no-one really talks about?

IT'S ALL ABOUT YOU
Yep, that's right - whip out your inner Sharpay Evans and let everyne know how fabulous you are. Don't get me wrong, no one wants to here you brag on and on about yourself like an angelic goddess, but if that person is reading your blog, they are most likely there to know what you're getting up to or find out your opinions. Embrace it and indulge in the fact that people are interested in you. Don't be afraid to think about Number One sometimes.

IT LOOKS GOOD ON YOUR CV
My CV had a section about my blog, explaining the skills that I have achieved from the experience. Think about it; you gain communication, computer, creative, independent, analytical/statistical, and for the lucky ones, business skills. Employers might really like the idea that you have a modern, creative hobby. The same goes for Personal Statements for Unis. My college encouraged info about blogs to be stated on our PS because, as well as showing skills, it proves that you do more than sit on the bed all day playing on your Nintendo (heh, sometimes). 

A PROBLEM SHARED IS A PROBLEM HALVED
Feeling down? Write about it. It doesn't have to be published if you don't want it to. Blogging is a great way to pour your heart out and, as I said, share your opinions. Understandably, sharing your opinions usually has to remain PC but, if you have a problem that you reckon others might be able to help you with, grab your keyboard and get writing because, chances are, someone will do the same for you in the comments section. 

YOU LEARN
Believe it or not, you can learn sh*t from blogging. As well as learning how to build a sentence that looks intelligible to readers, you can even get the chance to learn buisness-y stuff. Plus, even if your blog isn't a piggy-bank, you might EVEN end up learning a thing or two about yourself.

IT ISN'T EASY
I'm aware, no advert or persuasive text is ever going to tell you that their product is crap but, with blogging, it's the challenge that sometimes brings a thrill. I definitely feel a sense of pride when I post a blog post because writing a post takes brain work, planning, creativity, the long hard stare at the page when your mind blanks, and the re-read after re-read before you press that little orange 'publish' button. Yes, you're faced with a challenge but it's worth it. 


What are the reasons that you blog?

05/08/2017

MY DAILY STRUGGLE WITH GRIEF


Most people who are struggling with grief have experienced the loss of someone very close to them. I guess, in a way, I'm lucky because the grief that I experience regards the loss of someone that I've never met. But that doesn't make it any easier.

It's a Monday night and a TV show has just premiered on ITV: Diana, Our Mother. Prince Harry and Prince William say the most touching things about their mother, videos play of her legacy, and images of her and the boys. One of the things that really touched me was when Prince Harry said: 'not knowing that it was the last time I'd speak to my mum, how differently that conversation would have panned out'. Despite Diana's death being before my lifetime and not really knowing much about her, she is a wonderful woman, but it's not her that I'm grieving for.

Because, throughout the TV show my eyes continued to glance over to my mum. Every few seconds. Is she okay? 


My mum's mother died when my mum was only 17 and for my whole lifetime I've known my mum as in grief. She's strong, determined and independent but, every year, when October (the month her mother passed away) rolls around, things can sometimes feel a bit low. As a result of this, my mum and I have an extremely close relationship and we're both sensitive, meaning we often share each others emotions and can be very empathetic towards one another. This is exactly the reason why I don't go a day without thinking of my grandmother.

I may have never met her and not know much about her, but I guess that just makes it harder. As you could probably imagine, my mum doesn't speak much about her and, while part of me understands that that is just a coping method, I do wish I could learn all about her.

Grief is a sad topic. A taboo. A conversation to be avoided. No body really wants to talk about it and certainly not experience it. But I think that there is one really important message that has came out of my grief: You must respect those closest to you. 
Anyone who knows me knows that I am a strong believer in showing respect for your mother. While other people may have valid reasons to think otherwise, it is a big part of my life. I've seen people my own age talk bad of their mothers, either behind their backs or to their face and each time it hurts me so much. 'We're so lucky to have our mothers. You don't understand how lucky' I think. 

I'm 100% certain that, if my mum could turn back time and keep her mother with us, she would in a heartbeat because her life has been so affected by that loss. And, as Prince Harry said, you don't realise how little time you get until it's over. 
So whether you have a close friend, uncle, mother or father, don't waste time being angry, distant or reserved from one another - it does sound brutal, but we never know what is going to happen and when. So we have to make that difference now.

Make memories. Please. Because I was never able to make memories with my grandmother, and that is something that hurts me every day.


01/08/2017

JULY GOALS 2017 REVIEW


At the start of the month, I set myself a list of goals to achieve and, now that August has rolled around (I know, where the hell has 2017 gone), it's finally time for me to look over them and see how I did. You can find my July goals post here!

The goals for July were: 

FOR BLOGGING
Reach 200 followers on Insta.
Reach 500 followers on Bloglovin'.
Post at least 6-8 posts.
Put myself out there.

FOR HEALTH
Work out at least twice a week.
Drink more.
Skip dessert.
Go for a walk once a week.

FOR LIFE
Get a job.
Finish a book.
Have at least one driving lesson.

So, now you know what I was aiming for, let's see what happened.

BLOGGING GOALS:

I feel like the blogging goal that I achieved most comfortably this month was getting 7 blog posts up. To you, it might sound easy as pie but I have only recently came back from a blogging break, so having the confidence and motivation to put myself back on the market really required some determination but I feel like I handled it well and achieved it fluently this month.

In terms of reaching number goals, my Instagram just about got to floating around 200 which I was pretty proud of. I feel like next month I could put a little bit more effort in on Instagram to ensure that I secure my goal. 

As with Bloglovin', I didn't reach 500 and, as of 01/08, I am still 22 followers away from it. Even though I didn't reach my target, this month I received over 50 followers on Bloglovin' (which I am now understanding isn't the easiest way for people to follow) so I am pretty pleased with that and I can now use that to set smaller, more achievable goals. 
Besides this, I am still very very excited to reach 500 because I have an AMAZING giveaway coming when I get there - so make sure you are following my Bloglovin'.

'Put[ting] myself out there' was something that I did this month with my blog - I started finding more bloggers to follow, I started an amazing internship that is going to help me grow and learn so much, and I am in contact with some people for fabulous opportunities. I'm glad I did this, and I hope it pays off.

HEALTH GOALS:

In general, my health goals didn't go extremely well, but I do feel like there's a bit more perspective and brain space for it after this month. Because the month was so hectic (and has flown by in what feels like a second), my days were full, and there wasn't always time - or motivation - for work outs or walks. 
I have to say; I have done about 4 workouts and, although I am still a beginner and in that 'Ow! that hurts too much!' phase, I am somewhat proud of myself for even doing it. 

In regards to walking, my boyfriend and I did a few little trips out but, this month, I feel like my most exercise and outdoor freshness has come from the gardening that I've been doing. My boyfriend, his Mum, and I have been re-landscaping their front and back garden. So far, the back garden is half way there and then we're going to get torn into the front garden but, at the moment, I feel really energised and motivated by the progress and the concept of doing good, hard work out doors.

Did I drink more? Ha! This is me you're talking to. I would say that this is the goal that I learned the most from. You can't set goals that you know won't happen and I've realised that now.

LIFE GOALS:

I GOT A JOB!! This month I got my first ever wage slip and it was so weird. I am currently still job seeking for more permanent employment but, in the meantime, I am employed as a Beauty and Fragrance Promoter and have done shifts in my local Boots for the new Armani Fragrance. It's a shock to the system to stand up all day, but I have made lovely friends and achieved great things.

As the month has been so busy, I didn't get a single second to pick up a book, nor decide which to read. My book about English has been put on hold until next year, before I go to Uni, so that I can start refreshing my mind. But in the meantime, I think I need to get my feet on the ground with work before I start indulging in other commitments. Sadly, the same goes for my driving. I'm going to wait until I am in a bit more of a routine before I start adding more pressures into my life.

OVERVIEW OF GOALS:

In summation, my goals this previous month could have been a bit more strategically put in place but I am glad that I was able to learn from my mistakes. Now I know, when I set myself goals, to be realistic and use numbers/amounts. While my goals weren't all ticked off this month, I am proud of everything that I have reached considering the chaotic time that it's been.

How did your goals go this month?

24/07/2017

25 THINGS FOR YOUR SUMMER TO-DO LIST


Summer can be the time of year when people are looking for new exciting things to do. If you're looking for the best ways to make the most out of the summer days, here's a few ideas for things to do.

Go Berry Picking

Go on a walk

Go mushroom foraying

Press 6 different types of flowers 

Grow a vegetable from scratch




Go to the beach for sunrise 

Visit a zoo

Visit a farm

Visit a Photo Booth


Read a book

Get a pen pal

Complete a puzzle



Create something with clay

Build a bird feeder

Build a bug hotel

Make glitter jars

Make a face mask



Make a new cocktail

Bake something

Home make pizza

Home make ice cream


Go for a late night swim

Go to seaside amusements

Go paddling in a stream

Go a full day without technology

What is your summer To-Do List this summer?

You can find the infographic for this post here
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