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Thursday, 26 May 2016

University: Two Years On



University wasn't easy for me, in fact it's exactly two years since I started Summer School, which I had to take because I failed a second year and third year module. Looking back at it now though, it's crazy to think how much my life has changed. So, I thought I'd give a sort of update on what I've been up to since I graduated  from the University of Westminster in November 2014.

Well, I should probably start just a little before that actually...

At the beginning of November me and my boyfriend made the decision to move back to my hometown - Telford. I was struggling to find a graduate position and my long hours and very little pay in my bar job was making it very difficult to afford the cost of living in London. It was all very fast however we packed up all our stuff ready to move in with my parents. 

It was definitely sad to move away from London, but at the time it was definitely the right decision.

A couple of weeks after moving back home I got a supervisor position at my local Zizzi, just in time for the Christmas period. It was busy, stressful and to be honest probably one of the worst jobs I have ever had. The management I worked with were so unprofessional that in the end I ended up quitting the day after boxing day, fully aware that I would be unemployed again

To be honest, I'd had enough and wanted to be able to focus 100% of my attention on getting a job in the field I graduated in - Marketing. So, after a month of applying to every marketing job I qualified for I finally got an interview. 

I really didn't know what to expect and to be honest with you the whole thing is a blur now, I was so nervous but from what I remember I felt I had done well. I was told that I'd be called with in the week for a second interview if I was successful in getting to the next stage. 

Later that day I received a phone call saying the company directors would like to meet me, which scared me so much more! The next week I met with one of the directors who was absolutely love (she still is) and everything just fit into place. 

I was offered the position of Marketing Assistant in one of my dream industries - events!

I'm still at the company now and even since I started last February my role has changed so much. To begin with I was writing case studies, creating document mocks ups, updating the websites, writing blog posts and other smaller tasks. 

Now I manage two people, I'm working towards creating a brand for the whole company and it's sub-brands and I've learnt more than I could possibly imagine about website building, SEO and the world of marketing. 

I absolutely love my job and I'm so proud of how far I have come after a difficult start at University. 

Onwards and upwards! 


Lots of love, 


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Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Blogger Regrets



Posting five days a week as well as working 9-5.30 Monday - Friday get definitely get tiring, but this is the first time in a few months that I have been lacking post inspiration. I've had a really really really long day at work and my head is running wild with the long to do lists I now have, as all I can do is picture the amount of lists I have covering my desk waiting for me tomorrow morning. 

At times like this I turn to the one place I know will be guaranteed to give me inspiration and ideas, Twitter! So, I asked Twitter to give me a blog post title, any title at all, and I'll write that blog post. The title I got came from the lovely, and newly renamed, @OnceUponASophie - so thank you so much. 

The title I was given (as you can probably already see) was 'Blogger Regrets'.

1. Starting off as solely a beauty blogger

If you didn't read my blog when I first started you probably won't know that I only used to blog about beauty, and beauty only. As much as I love makeup, skincare and all things beauty related, it's really not as huge of an aspect of my life to dedicate a whole blog too, and I wish I hadn't tried to do that when I first started out. 

I feel like my blog is more true to myself now, especially in this last year. And guess what? Only 4 or 5 of my 100+ posts this year have been about beauty. I guess I didn't know that lifestyle bloggers existed until I started putting myself out on Twitter and I can honestly say that I am so glad that I now feel comfortable being myself. 

2. Not starting sooner

Before starting University I used to always talk about wanting to start a blog, I even set one up before moving to London but I was too scared to post anything. Months went by and as I started planning my trip of a lifetime I toyed with the idea of starting again so I could share my adventure with the world. Nerves stopped me, but the thought never went away. 

I had a blog while I was in my third year of University that pretty much acted as a portfolio for  me when I was applying to graduate marketing positions in London, and as much as I loved blogging it really wasn't for me. I felt like it was forced so I ended up giving up after the year mark. 

Almost 18 months later (on New Years Day) I made the resolution that I was going to start a blog and stick to it. Here I am almost 18 months later and I can't believe how far my blog has come. I can't help but think that if I had started in 2011 when I first moved to University that I'd be so much further ahead than I am now. 

3. Lying in some of my first ever reviews

I was so excited when I started to receive my first PR samples that I think the excitement clouded my judgement with a few of the products and made me give not so honest reviews. In fact, I had a severe allergic reaction to a face mask where my face ended up blowing up complete and freezing, so I couldn't remove it at all. What did my review say? I loved it and would definitely be buying it again. 

Since then I've now gone through and deleted all the posts that I don't think were 100% truthful, as to be honest I am quite ashamed I started off that way. 

4. Not having confidence in my blog when I first started

When I started my blog I was far too scared to post it on Facebook, or even tell anyone that I did had one. At the start of the year I started getting more confident and posting it on Facebook and I am so happy that I did. I have (non blogging) friends asking me how it's going, telling me they love my blog and it's a huge confidence boost! 

5. Thinking everyone was 'the competition'

I have to admit when I first started blogging, other bloggers scared me. A lot. I thought everyone was a complete threat and as long as they were blogging too, I'd never make it. I think this meant I was quite reluctant to make friends until I realised that bloggers are awesome and I should try and make friends with EVERYONE. 

Now, I spend all day every day talking to bloggers who I know consider to be my closest friends. If I had this mindset from the start I can't even begin to imagine how many more blogger friends I would have. 

What blogging regrets do you have?

Lots of love, 


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Tuesday, 24 May 2016

8 Ways to Use Washi Tape in your Journal - Bujo #4



I've absolutely loved doing my bullet journal posts over the last few months (and judging by my views you have loved reading them!) so I am back with another, this time I'm showing you all the different ways I use washi tape in my journal. 

Washi tape is actually amazing isn't it? Before I started journaling I only really used it for making pretty wrapped gifts for birthdays and Christmas, but my bujo has definitely opened my eyes to all the different, creative ways it can be used. 

But first, where do I get my washi tape from?

If you're looking for high quality washi tape and fast delivery then Bureau Direct are definitely one of the best stockists. As part of their bullet journal themed month they kindly sent me one of the MT Gift Boxes, complete with a free nano cutter*! I went with the blue and gold set as I love that combination together. 



These are my first ever MT tapes but so far I am impressed. They're really thick and you can tell they're good quality, not to mention the designs are absolutely beautiful. 



Washi Tape Collection

I see these pages so much and absolutely love them! It's a great way of breaking up your pages but also so fun to create. Basically, all you need is every single washi tape you own and a blank page in your journal. It's the perfect way to display your washi tape collection and the best thing is that if you have more than enough to fill several pages, you can! It's your journal after all...



Borders

As I am not very artistic washi tape is one of the easiest ways for me to add some creativity into my journal. One of my favourite ways to do this is by creating borders, especially with the striped blue MT tape from my gift box as it always looks so beautiful. 



Covering Mistakes

Mistakes happen quite often in my journal, so small and some soul destroyingly huge. If there's the space to do it I love using washi tape to cover these mistakes as it not only means I can cover it, but I am adding a little bit of a creative flair to my pages too. No one has to know... This mistake was actually a ruler smudge while trying out a new pen. Ooops!



Underlining Titles

Similar to borders, this simple creative way of using washi tape can make any journal that little bit more colourful! I love how it easily breaks up the page, while making it look that little bit more interesting. I'm all for arrow underlining, but every now and again a page calls for something a little more. 

This page is a special three year anniversary page for me and my boyfriend where I'm going to write a little journal entry for each of our three days in London. 



Decoration

This page is very similar to my washi tape collection page, however as I wanted to go with the gold and blue theme I decided to only use the washi tapes from my MT Gift Box. As you can see they're a match made in heaven and I am now completely in love with this page, I think it's one of my favourites in my journal. I'm probably going to be doing a couple more of these throughout my bujo, perhaps at the start of each new month.



Colour Coding

If I'm dedicating a page to a particular task I like to keep it colour coded so I can easily look back and categorise what I've done. Although colouring in with pencil is theraputic I much prefer using my thinner, coloured washi tapes to indicate whether my task is work, blog, social or an appointment. 

This method is much quicker and in my case a lot neater to use washi tape, as I simply line it down the outside of the page so when flicking through it's easy to find. 



Sticky Tape

This is probably the most simple, but I love using my washi tape as actual tape! Usually I use them to stick over the corners of a nice quote card or a photograph, as I think it makes my journal have a bit of a scrapbook feel. 



Keepsake Pockets

Keepsake and memory pockets are one of my favourite things to do with washi tape as it means I can keep a whole load of memories from a particular time of my life in one place. This one is going to be for memories from my trip to London including train tickets, meal receipts, photographs ect. All you need to do is fold the corner of one of your pages in and stick it down on the long edge with washi tape, it's so simple yet so useful for storing memories! 

How do you use washi tape in your journal?

Bujo 1 // Bujo 2 // Bujo 3

Lots of love, 


If you enjoyed this, you can follow me on social media to keep up to date and never miss a post! 

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*This post contains a PR sample, but don't worry... all opinions are my own!






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Monday, 23 May 2016

New Discoveries #3



I've been trying lots of new foodies bits this month so I thought it was about time I did another round up of some of the things I've been loving! This month it's Pic's Peanut Butter*, Portlebay Popcorn*, Essential Cuisine* and Feel Free Gluten Free*. There's a huge variety this time around, which has definitely been good fun for me. 



Pic's Peanut Butter

I'm a huge peanut butter fan so when the lovely team at Pic's got in touch with me I literally snapped their peanut butter covered hand off. As you can already see from the photo's I couldn't wait to take photo's to try this, so the smooth one is almost half empty.

Pic's Peanut Butter is an Australian company that make delicious, healthy peanut butter, other nut butters and peanut oil. I've probably tried at least 80% of the peanut butters you can get in the UK by now, however Pic's is onby far one of the best. I had both the crunchy and smooth to try, which for me is amazing as I use them both for very different things! Smooth always goes in my smoothies and on my toast, where as crunchy is perfect spread on rice cakes or apple...

I think the crunchy was my favourite as it was packed full of crunchy peanuts, something I think a lot of artificial peanut butters lack. As it's a healthy butter I was expecting it to be quite oily, but I was pleased to see that it wasn't! There's nothing worse than getting oil everywhere when cooking. The smooth peanut butter was amazing too, I've had it in my smoothies the last few weeks and can't help myself going back for a cheeky spoonful every now and again!

I'd also like to say how much love I have for the packaging. There's really not a whole lot you can do with peanut butter packaging but I feel Pic's have absolutely nailed it. I'm a sucker for a well designed product and this is definitely up there with some of the best!



Portlebay Popcorn

I've seen Portlebay Popcorn mentioned so much over Twitter the last few months that I had to give them a try. If you haven't heard of them already they're located in Devon and make the most delicious handmade popcorn. I was sent one of each of their flavours to sample, including:

  • The Classic Sweet and Salted
  • Wasabi and Sweet Ginger
  • Crispy Bacon and Maple Syrup
  • Chilli and Lime
  • Lemon Sherbet 
  • Cinnamon Swirl
  • Very Berry 
  • Cappacino
First of all, the packaging 100% screams Devon! I went there as a child and the main thing I remember is it's beautiful beaches and the packaging reminds me of the stripy beach chairs you could hire for sitting in the sun. I loved this as it made me so much more excited for summer!

The flavours are a mix of savory and sweet, with some flavours you might not necessarily associate with popcorn. 


I think my absolute favourite was the Sweet and Salted as it was the right combination of both. I hate when salted popcorn is too salted, so this was absolutely perfect. I also loved the Crispy Bacon and Maple Syrup flavour, which is something I wasn't expecting to love at all. The maple syrup flavour is a little stronger than the bacon, which is probably why I loved it so much! I've still got a couple more to try, so I'll keep you updated on the ones I love. 




Essential Cuisine 

I had never heard of Essential Cuisine before, however when they got in touch to see if I'd like to try some of their products I was intrigued to find out more. They're a UK company selling a wide range of professional stocks, gravies and accessories. 

I choose to try the Chicken Stock, Beef Stock and Vegetable Stock, they also sent me one of their gravies to try too, which I thought was really sweet of them! 

The first thing I was super impressed with was the quality of the packaging. Usually I am used to lots of foil packets in a cardboard box that I have to crumble into powder myself... these stocks came in a plastic tub all ready to mix. I know it only saves seconds, but it does make life so much easier and cleaner!

The flavour were amazing too! As I am currently doing Slimming World I add stock to literally everything as those little extra bits of flavour really do make the difference when you're cutting things out. What I noticed with the Essential Cuisine stocks was that a little goes a long way as one pot makes a gallon of stock! You don't need a lot to get a full, rich flavour either, meaning they last much longer than regular stock cubes! 

I can't wait to get experimenting with these even more, so expect to see a few new recipes cropping up...



Feel Free Gluten Free

In an attempt to approve my health I have tried to cut out gluten as much as I can, so that means I have been discovering lots of brands I might not have ever thought about before! Feel Free Gluten Free is one of my favourites, as they create gluten free baking mixes among other gluten free foods! 

I got to try a range of their mixes including the Chocolate Cake Mix, Victoria Sponge Mix, Muffin Mix and the Double Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix. Originally, I was going to bake them all together as a huge baking post, however as there are only two of us in the house I decided it would be best to try them one by one so I could really get a taste for what they're like. 

My favourite out of the mixes was definitely the Muffin Mix. I added some peanut butter chips that my friend in America sent over, which made them taste ABSOLUTELY amazing. I actually can't think of anything better than a peanut butter muffin - why aren't there more of these about? 

The Victoria Sponge Mix was actually a little dry, but it was still really good. It took us a while to get through as it made a bigger cake than I was expecting - the same for the Chocolate Cake Mix! Usually cake mixes make smaller than average cakes, but these were pretty decent in size. 

So, that's what I've been trying over the last couple of weeks! Which would you like to try the most?

Lots of love, 


If you enjoyed this, you can follow me on social media to keep up to date and never miss a post! 

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*Post includes PR samples, but don't worry - all opinions are 100% honest! 






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Friday, 20 May 2016

The Perfect Notebook Combination


A couple of months ago I joined a Facebook group specifically for Bullet Journal fans, which has led me to discover so many new stationery loves - one of them being JB Welly.

I'd never heard of them before I joined but everyone seemed to be posting that it was a good place to buy notebooks and pens, so I thought I'd check them out. I soon discovered the store is run by the lovely John, who created it as a collection of essentials that are not only affordable, but well made too.

John kindly sent me their perfect Bullet Journal starter kit - a Pilot Metropolitan Fountain Pen, a Leuchttrum 1917 A5 Dotted Notebook and a Leuchttrum pen loop. I got to pick the colours, so I opted for the very bright yellow and green combo as it always looked stunning on JB Welly's Instagram photos. 



Although the delivery takes a little longer than normal as they're an American company, I can honestly say that it's worth it simply because of the attention to detail that is put into their packages. 

The box came beautifully packaged, with each individual item coming in the most stunning wrapping paper I've seen. Not only did it match the colours of the notebook and pen, but it was covered in glitter - what could be better? 



The package also came with a handwritten letter, something I don't think I've received in a very long time. I really love thought that went into my package and from reading comments on the bujo Facebook group I know that this amount of effort goes into every single parcel leaving the JB Welly doors. 



I've reviewed Leuchttrum notebooks before, and they're definitely one of my favourites. The quality is one of the best, it's got a built in contents and two ribbon bookmarks for tracking more than one important page. It's almost as though it was made for bullet journaling. When paired with the pen loop it's definitely a powerful organisational tool...





The Pilot Metropolitan Fountain Pen is one I've never tried before, but the first thing that drew me to it was the lovely design. I love the retro pop green and the embellishment below the cap, it's definitely one of the 'prettier' pens I own.  As for the quality it writes beautifully, is comfortable to use and doesn't leak. 

So, if you're new to bullet journaling, looking for a new notebook or fountain pen or simply want to treat yourself I could not recommend JB Welly more. 



What colour combination would you go with?

Lots of love, 


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