Saturday, 31 May 2014

#BEDM- The end

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I can't believe its the end of the BEDM challenge.. I'm seriously considering carrying on a BEDJ challenge.. would anyone like to join me?

In all seriousness.... I've loved this challenge. When I did the challenge in November last year I really struggled, often resenting having to try and write another post (admittedly I was using either a very slow laptop or a not very user friendly mobile app) and I worried I'd feel the same this time round especially with trying to write four essays, revise for an exam  and apply for jobs at the same time. But actually its been welcome respite and sometimes procrastination.

I'm so proud of myself because I've only missed maybe maximum two days of posting and honestly, I've rarely followed the prompts.. I've either had something else on my heart or the prompt just didn't feel relevant for where I'm at. Which is fine, last time I felt a bit straitjacketed (my own fault) by the prompts this time was so much nicer!!

I've often written blog posts a day or two in advance because I've just wanted to keep writing. 
At the moment, for example I have at least enough posts to last until Wednesday and then maybe I'll take a break and start blogging again when I'm in America.. we'll see!!

I wrote this post about my blog dreams and how I wanted to see my blog develop and I've already achieved some of them. I've joined in two (maybe by the time this is published three) blog hops, started utilising twitter, facebook, IG and pinterest more to get my blog out there, and put my picture up so I'm no longer just a little orange icon. Oh and I have a shiny new about me section! 

More than that I've been inspired. I've created a page in my filofax dedicated to blog ideas: posts, social media ideas, design things.

What else would I like to do?

  • I'd like to design a banner and get a new blogger template that is unique to me- unfortunately I'm not exactly blessed with computer design genius so I may need to enlist some help.
  • I'd like to go self-hosted but I'm still unsure about what name I'd use (unfortunately lmgeorge is taken on twitter... by someone not using their account!!!)
  • I'm wondering about becoming more of a brand: separate twitter/facebook accounts etc. 
  • I'd like get better at photo editing/making stuff look pretty. I envy pretty blogs. Especially wishlist posts which always look so lovely. - I might need help with that too. Anyone?
  • I need to stop counting blog views and remember it's not really about that.. sometimes it becomes a bit addictive refreshing my blog dashboard! (I feel like Lucy at Moving in with a boy would sympathise)
and as for how often I'll blog? Maybe once a day is a bit too much but now I'm in the habit I'd like to be blogging at least twice a week. Obviously I have my blog chat Tuesday posts and hopefully I'll feel inspired by other posts as the week progresses. 

So please journey with me some more... I'd love you to join me!

How have you found BEDM? What's been your highlight?

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Friday, 30 May 2014

BEDM- Healthy Living

I can't quite believe BEDM is drawing to a close and this is my penultimate post! I've actually been writing my posts a day or so in advance because i'm more motivated to do that than I am to revise and just whilst it's fresh in my mind. 

This week I discovered a fellow BEDMer: Siobhan Emma and she wrote a brilliant post on healthy living and changes she'd like to make to her life to live a little healthier. So I thought I'd use her post as a template for my own ideas and changes:

Drink more water

This is something I say reguarly. If I'm in Bournemouth I find the taste of water really dull and if I'm in Chester I just hate the taste. So I bought a bobble which filters the water, it's a bit of a cost to start up with (about £12 + £5 ish for new filters every 300 uses (once a year??)) but it's definitely cheaper than buying bottles of water every day (around 60p a pop!). I'm still not loving it.. because I can't down it the way I would a bottle of diet coke!




I figured out on Tuesday that I mostly drink tea, diet coke and wine. Not the healthiest combo! and I know water is good for me.. it shows on the outside so it's probably doing a world of good to my insides.
So i'm refilling my bobble and I'm also drinking fruit infused water. I read Frankie's Weekend post on her fruit infused water this week and so far I've tried lime (thanks to Nick and Hannah for providing this with dinner) and lemon. I really want to try strawberry and mint.
Not only that but lots of weight loss advice says to guzzle water instead of snacking.


Click for source

Snack better

In general, our meals aren't that unhealthy. If we plan them properly. We've discovered a love for sweet potato (see my wedges recipe here) and so I'm not too concerned about how healthy our meals are. However, snacking is something else! 
I'm not a huge fan of loads of chocolate at once.. it just winds up making me feel sick. But I love savoury, salty food, especially crips! So i'm trying to find healthier alternatives. 
Currently I'm obsessed with Ryvita thins (and have even started to like Ryvita itself!) also trying to snack on fruit (dried or fresh), nuts, cereal, seeds etc. At some point I'd quite like to try doing my own cheaper version of Graze boxes. I did try these Naked banana bread bar but I really wasn't a fan!

Tastes a bit better than it looks


Stay Active

I'm currently spending a lot of time at home, sat on the bed trying to revise/write my essay. What I need to be doing is making sure I'm getting out the house, going for a walk/run/swim etc. 
Me and Andy have just started running together using the Run Double (coach to 5k) app. I'm a self confessed exercise hater so I needed something really good to get me running! and so far we've been on two runs this week one of which I instigated! At the moment it's mostly brisk walking with 8 x 60 second running intervals but we're doing about 2K at a time so I'm not really going to turn my nose up at that!! 
I think I just need to do something daily.. whether that's a good walk or run or finding an exercise class I enjoy just to get me active.

I'm also thinking about buying an exercise DVD probably Jillian Michael's 30 day shred and I have pinned a lot of exercise moves onto my body board on pinterest but currently Andy's mum is in all day and I don't know how she'd react if I started bouncing up and down upstairs!

What is the ultimate aim?
I've been gaining weight for a little while recently. I've always been skinny- about a size 6/8 and people used to comment on it all the time (with some skinny shaming!) and I didn't really notice until Christmas time that I had a bit of a tummy and was just a bit bigger everywhere. Since then I'm probably about a 8/10 which I know is nothing but I'm not happy with how I look or feel about my body and ultimately that's all that matters. So I'd like to get back to being a size 8 and fitting all the clothes I own. As well as toning up my abs, arms and legs. 
I don't really know how much I weigh because every scale tells me different! So its not really about weight loss it's about being happier and healthier. 


What to you do to keep healthy? Do you have a favourite fruit infused water recipe?

Until tomorrow...

Thursday, 29 May 2014

#BEDM- Our Trip to Cadbury's World




If you read this post you will know that I spent Monday at Cadbury's World. 
It's pretty conveniently located myself and Andy came down from Chester and my twin sister, Chloe and her boyfriend Duncan came up from Gaydon pretty much equi-distance. 

We had such a good day! Sorry I didn't take many photos I just wanted to enjoy the day.

So you go in at your allotted time (it was pretty busy, but I guess a bank holiday at the start of a school half term holiday probably would be). Oh and you get your first lot of free chocolate. Honestly, I want this ladies job, I bet everyone loves her. 

You journey through the Aztec Jungle (avoiding the annoying pirate) through Europe to Bull Street..

The first two rooms are video/experience/actor rooms where you get to know a bit about the history of Cadbury's and how it came to be on the site in Bournville. 
The lady who leads this bit on Bull Street was hilarious and trying to get us all to join in.... she called me and Chloe her darling dollies or something because we were the only people who did the pantomime style "ooohs" and "ahhs" I mean.. come on people! You're at a chocolate factory. Lighten up!

I want to own a chocolate & tea shop

Mmmm Tea!


The second room gives you an idea of how chocolate is made including some simulation. Now I'm not talking Disney Land 'Honey I shrunk the audience' style but it's pretty fun! 

You then get into the proper factory bit to see some of the packaging and production. There's more free chocolate. and it smells of melted chocolate which is awesome! There's also a bit where it suddenly gets really warm (they do warn you) which I didn't mind because I was dressed for summer!

Selfie


Then.. you queue. This bit is optional but why would you miss out on the 'Cadabra' ride?? When we joined the queue the sign said it was a 40 minute wait but I think that was a bit played up ... I reckon we maybe waited 30 minutes and it wasn't a noticeable wait (then again last year we queued for about an hour for Nemo ride at Disney) I can imagine with kids this can be a bit tedious... certainly the ones behind us were getting restless. 

I can't really explain Cadabra.. you sit in a car and go round and ride through what the website describes as a chocolate wonderland! you might recognise some familar faces. although they're heavy on these chocolate bean things who honestly scare me!

Then it's on to the tasting area!! They give you a pot of melted chocolate with two toppings (I recommend fudge and white chocolate .. although I'm told the marshmallows are amazing) to eat as you meander through advertising avenue. If you love all things vintage, you'll love this bit!

and the tour ends in Purple place where you can play interactive Cadburys inspired games. Surprisingly there wasn't too many queues or waiting for these.

You come back out basically where you started... to the BIGGEST CADBURY'S SHOP EVER!!!! Amazingly, in terms of attraction gift shops the prices weren't too horrific. For one you get a lot of the factory prices you'd see if you went to a factory shop near you plus a few extra special bits.

We went a bit OTT and bought: a chocolate tea pot (ahhh the jokes!), a caramel bunny toy, a bag of misshapes (what else would you buy??), a gift set made up of a mug, little bear and chocolate bars and 10 curly wurlys. It came to about £40 so we got given two free teddies! 

Well that's as useful as a... nevermind


Oh and bonus! you also get to go into the Bournville experience just outside the main building where you get to find out more about Bournville village (which sounds like an amazing place to live!) Again, the vintage style shop fronts were beautiful. 

All in all it was a pretty good day and because of a corporate discount we paid £11 for a ticket (online prices are currently £15.95) I'd really recommend a visit.. 

The only downside? No chocolate river or oompa loompahs. Oh welllll. 

Until tomorrow...

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

#BEDM - Blog your heart out

On Sunday I was tagged by Nick at Dinner by Dad to join in with blog your heart out.
So here we go. 
N.B. I seem to have some formatting issues in this post. I have no idea why. sorry!


What/Who encouraged you to start blogging?

I honestly have no idea! My first post here was written in my head one night because I was thinking of things I'd want a new boyfriend to know about me and I just had a lot of things on my mind. So I got it down on "paper" et voila.
Since then? All sorts: watching friends grow in their blogging journey, BEDN and BEDM and just when I've felt inspired!

How did you choose what topics to blog about?

Haha! Again.. no idea! I don't have a set topic(s) I blog about. I blog what's on my mind/heart. Sometimes I'm prompted by #BEDM other times it's purely up to me. People who know me say I write like I talk so I guess a lot of the time I'm blogging what I'd want to tell a friend. For example my "this weekend we went" posts...I'd like to start doing some fitness/health posts as I try and lose some weight/get fit. 


What is something most people don’t know about you?

 Grief! I'm quite open so there's not a lot. It took me four attempts to pass my driving test?? I don't know??

What three words describe your style?

 Honest. Chatty. Personable. 

What do you like to do when you aren’t blogging?

 I blog about a lot of what I do when I'm not blogging so you'll get the gist. I spend a lot of time with Andy. I try and do uni work and I love going out for dinner, drinking tea, reading books and watching boxsets. 
So, there you have it. I now tag the following bloggers to take part in blog your heart out:

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

#BEDM - Blog Chat Tuesday


Hi Beauties

Hope you've had a lovely bank holiday weekend. No more until August (says the unemployed student who's off on holiday in 2 weeks!!)




So for today's blog chat Tuesday I thought I'd do some blog lovin'.
Here's what I've been reading this week:

Dinner by Dad

Nick is new to the blogging world and doing amazingly! He's super friendly and blogging up a storm! We "met" on twitter the day I said I wanted to meet more NW bloggers and now I can't wait to organise a blogger meet and meet Nick (and if he wants to bring baby Issac I'd do be totally cool with that... cutie!) 

Frankie's Weekend

Another NW blogger (and a southern migrant like me!) Her blog is all food, drinks and fitness. You know how I coined the phrase "blogger girl crush" last week? I think I've got a new one. I want to hang out in Manchester with her and drink green smoothies.

Dear Friend London

As ever! Honestly! If London was closer to Chester or cheaper to get too I'd spend my whole time in East Ham crafting with Esther. 

The Uncheshire Wife

Ok another NW blogger. Lolly is hilarious!!! Some parent bloggers are a bit... dull, y'know? (is that too mean?) Lolly is brilliant! and far from dull. 

So there's some of what I've been reading this week.
What have you been reading?


Until tomorrow....

P.s. you can also follow me on bloglovin' 

Monday, 26 May 2014

#BEDM Bettylicious Swimwear

Hello lovelies
When you read this I will probably be eating chocolate samples in Cadbury's world eeeek. Hope you're having a wonderful bank holiday Monday. 
As part of a competition entry (I'm a sucker for a competition) I was tasked with writing a blog post about Bettylicious vintage swimwear.


So here are the swimwear options I'm currently coveting for my holiday (click on the image to visit the site!): 



I love leopard print anything (although you CAN wear too much leopard print, trust me people!) but I'd love a leopard print vintage style swimsuit. I'm not sure if this shape would suit me at all but I love the vintage look! The website says to wear it with cat eye shades and kitten heels.. I think I'll stick with my big sunnies and flip flops!



This is just amazing. If I can't have a swimsuit in this style I want an apron like it. I love this fabric. In fact it's difficult not to just post every style of vintage swimsuit on this post! Such beautiful shape. Also I'd love to do my hair like that.



I am definitely more of a bikini girl than a swimsuit girl and I love the style of this one it just sings vintage glamour! Although I'm not sure I'll ever look as glam as this model in a bikini! The website recommends a G&T in hand.. oh, well go on then!


This obviously isn't a swimsuit but I LOVE one shoulder dresses and I especially love this tiki pattern dress. I want it for my holiday,please!

If you want to enter the competition yourself click here otherwise wish me luck!

Until tomorrow...  

Sunday, 25 May 2014

#BEDM- Date night at the Botanist

Good Morning (just about) lovelies,
I've not really kept up with the prompts for #BEDM but the date night prompt fitted nicely with what I wanted to blog about today.

So on Sunday after a busy week and a weekend of doing different things we went to .... The Botanist in Chester for some dinner (tea, if you're Northern!) 

This wasn't on Sunday I just like the photo

The Botanist is a brand new restaurant on St Werburgh St - it's really not easy to miss. It used to be the Living Rooms and now its a really cool restaurant/bar/club place! The outside has these amazing iron gates (hand made so I'm reliably informed)




I'll let you in to a secret Andy's work did the structural engineering work for the building and refurb so I know a little about the vision! It's meant to have an English garden, vintage feel! So it's all distressed walls, scrubbed wood and then a gigantic motorbike just kind of hanging in the middle!!



They also do amazing drinks! I wasn't up for alcohol on Sunday so I ordered a 'Forest Fruit Fling' which is : Blackberry, raspberry and blueberry purées, apple juice, cranberry juice and lemon juice. It was SOOOO yummy and lot of crushed ice for me to eat (just me?) It also came in a gorgeous mug thing (I can't remember the exact name for it right now... answers on a postcard) which I wanted to steal! 





and the fooodddd. Oh my goodness! It was probably the best plate of food I've ever had. I had a chicken pie with mash and gravy. The pie was beautiful, the mash had mustard in it (I LOVE mustard) and the gravy... oh my gosh... I could have dreams of this gravy. So rich and yummy. Oh I want some more now!!!

Andy ordered a steak, cheese and onion sandwich and I'll have to take his word on it because I don't eat red meat but he said it was really tender. and I can vouch that the accompanying chips were lovely too, really nicely seasoned!

The only downsides? No room for dessert! I'm desperate to try the coconut and banana kebab. So we promised we'd come back soon just for that! (also some of the starters look amazing).

Also at about 9pm they turned the lights down and even our waitress said it was quite dark. In that we couldn't really read the bill or dessert menu!

The mains were about £10-12 each so not bad pricing either.
and the staff were so lovely. I can't wait to visit again. 

Until tomorrow...
 Where was the last place you ate? 

Friday, 23 May 2014

#BEDM- Book Review- Flavours of Love by Dorothy Koomson

One prompt for #BEDM was to do a post we wouldn't normally do so I thought I'd give blogging a book review a try! 

Thanks Amazon for the image


On a Monday at the start of May we went to Morrisons and as we were paying I spotted Dorothy Koomson's newest 'Flavours of Love' on sale for HALF PRICE. After dropping some not very subtle hints.. i.e. "Oh. I love her books, I've read all the others... oh look it's half price" I got it and took it home. Well, by Thursday morning.. I'd finished it!!

If I'm honest that's pretty standard! I LOVE reading and I read quite quickly plus it was a lot more interesting then my assignments!

Foremost, I do LOVE Dorothy Koomson, I was very lucky when Rose Petal Beach came out that I won all of her books. For those of you who haven't read anything by her I'd describe it as intellectual chick lit or chick lit with a twist.
Don't get me wrong I LOVE chick lit/little story/high drama etc. But Dorothy is the queen of the twists! 
Flavours of Love is no different. Set eighteen months after the death of Saffron's husband, Joel and jumping around from present to past it details the ups and downs, serious family issues, and the continued harassment of Saffron by Joel's un-convicted murder. 

Here is the blurb: 
'I'm looking for that perfect blend of flavours; the taste that used to be you. If I find it, I know you'll come back to me.'
It's been 18 months since my husband was murdered and I've decided to finish writing The Flavours of Love, the cookbook he started before he died. Everyone thinks I'm coping so well without him - they have no idea what I've been hiding or what I do away from prying eyes. But now that my 14-year-old daughter has confessed something so devastating it could destroy our family all over again, and my husband's killer has started to write to me claiming to be innocent, I know it's only a matter of time before the truth about me and what I've done is revealed to the world.
My name is Saffron Mackleroy and this is my story.


You really empathise with the characters and root for them, especially Saffron she isn't your stereotypical fictitious widow. 
Basically, there is nothing stereotypical about Koomson's characters and storylines. For example, Saffron's dealing with her daughters dramatic revelation (eeeek. trying not to put any spoilers in). There isn't a single one dimensional character within the book just when you think you've sussed someone out BAM something changes about them. Even more than that but just when you think you've figured out who the baddie is again.. something twists. It's just not predictable which for some might be frustrating.. but I love it! 

Even better the last pages of the book are some of the recipes mentioned in the book.. a combination of literature and food? I'm there! I'm super excited to try some of the recipes out at some point.

From my perspective I wound up with a few unanswered questions but perhaps that's an excuse to just read it again.

I'd really recommend this book or any of Koomson's work (especially if you saw the ITV adaptation of 'Ice Cream Girls' the book is WAYYYY better)

Until tomorrow..

Have you read any Dorothy Koomson books? What book have you read most recently? 


Thursday, 22 May 2014

This weekend we went to... The Tea Press Cafe

I'm beginning to think my blog niche might be a coffee shop tour of the North West. what do we think?
Anyway, this weekend was a lazy one (I worked Friday & Saturday night so a little bit of chilling and TLC was needed) so we went for a little mosey into Chester and grabbed some lunch at The Tea Press Cafe. For those who know Chester, it's actually a well kept secret because.. it's downstairs! It's located in the 13th Century crypt underneath Brown's of Chester (Debenhams) and it's beautiful! 
My nan always says... "Chester, steeped in History" and it's true! 
Apparently there are 20 Crypts in Chester and this is fully kitted out with beautiful stone work and little bits on the walls about the History of Chester (learning is fun!)

andddd... it's a TEA cafe not just coffee shop, friends! They do all sort of different loose leaf teas in cute little tea pots. I went for Darjeeling. Check out this gorgeous dresser where they store their teas... I want one in my house!!





But don't panic coffee lovers, Andy had an Americano and said it was one of the best coffees he's ever had! All tastes catered for hey? We also had a soft drink, I had vintage style strawberry lemonade it was yummy!

and for food? We went for the Afternoon Tea ... it was yummy! They bring out a cake stand with little finger sandwiches (ham, egg and smoked salmon), gigantic scones with jam & cream and teeny tiny little cakes! If I'm honest there was almost TOO much...we didn't finish it all. But it was super yummy! and accompanied by lovely tea too.




The staff were dead welcoming and friendly although we couldn't quite figure out where we paid to start with! 

In total we paid about £18 for afternoon tea, plus two soft drinks which given that we went for lunch wasn't too bad hey?

Definitely visiting again!

Until next time.

Do you have a favourite coffee shop in the North West?
What's your favourite tea?

#BEDM- Sweet Potato Wedges Recipe

Hi beauties

In a recent attempt to be a bit healthier and lose a bit of weight I've developed an obsession with sweet potato, although I did a quick bit of goggling for this blog post and I'm not sure how much better it is for you than it's Irish cousin. But by the by, I've been making sweet potato wedges a lot recently and thought I'd share the recipe.

It's crazy easy to make and I can't exactly take full credit it's a combination of various recipes I found through pinterest (find my food board here)

Ingredients

  • Sweet potato (1 works well for 2 people or 1 person with a very good appetite.. Sainsbury's sell them in a pack 2 for £1 or something!.. These ones are smaller and a more uniformed shape than ones you buy separately..I personally find them easier) 
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Oil
  • Other seasoning of your choice (optional. I've used jerk seasoning before but its up to you and its not essential)


1. Locate a sweet potato 




2. Cut off the ends and peel 




3. Cut into wedges (I normally do this halve, then halve, then halve then halve again... so 16th's I guess??). But do it how you like. The first time I made them I used  a really knobbly so I just wound up making potato misfits.. honestly, it tasted the same.





4. Put in a bowl with oil, salt, pepper and any other seasoning. I used jerk seasoning the first time I did this but honestly they taste really good just with salt and pepper. If you're being healthy they don't need a lot of seasoning but I will say I added more salt than normal last night and they tasted so good. 

I normally put them in the bowl, cover with oil and seasoning, shake the bowl a bit (or use my hands) then... add a bit more oil and seasoning and repeat.. to ensure everything is covered!

5. Shake out onto a baking tray, on a single level. 




6. Bake! I'd say they take between 15-20 minutes on about Gas 6/ 200 celsius. Basically you want to be able to stick a sharp knife in easily but also they taste to good with a little bit of crispiness on the outside.

7. Serve 
This bit is up to you.So far I've had them on their own as a sort of snack/lazy dinner for one, with fish, with roast chicken breast and salad and as pictured with a pasta/salad box I made up at Tesco. The world is your oyster (i'm not sure they'll go with oysters..)




Oh... and it's the chefs prerogative that you get to try at least one straight out the oven before everyone else.

PLEASE let me know if you try this recipe and what you think :-)

Until tomorrow...

p.s. Do you like sweet potato? What's your favourite recipe?

#BEDM My how to of Job Hunting

Hello Lovelies

Unfortunately, I didn't get the job from Monday's interview so today I'm back applying for jobs. It occurred to me as I was hunting for the last two hours that there's a blog post in there somewhere. So please find my how to of job hunting, based upon my experience.. I can't say it's anything ground breaking but it might help some people.

N.B. It was pointed out to me (about 20 unique views in) that I completely skipped point 5.. which is pretty indicative of my head space right now. so instead of adding a point in may this be a lesson in checking & reviewing. Huzzah!

1. Hunt, Hunt, Hunt

I probably use about five different job sites, four of which I've used in the last two hours. It's arduous and it feels like you're just trailing and trailing. But a friend of mine made the mistake of only looking on one site and not finding anything... I put her requirements into another site and hey presto! two jobs straight off that were suitable.

2. Update and diversify your CV

This is basic job hunting.. 1) HAVE A CV (seriously, I know people who don't) 2) Have more than one CV! I have about three CVs: administration/recruitment, youth work, child care for the various roles I'm applying for and as much as possible I change them up for each role so that there's something unique in there. The same goes for application forms, it's easy to just copy and paste but worth being a bit individual in each one. 

3. Spell check said CV

I worked in recruitment, trust me.. CVs which haven't been proof read are hilarious but also frustrating, especially for roles requiring good literacy skills! Also.. try and be normal on your CV and covering letter. I've seen examples of some covering letters sent in to where Andy works, good for being memorable, but definitely not worth it for getting the job!

4. Use social media

It's the new networking. Twitter, linked in (I NEEDDD to update mine)- set up alerts, do some searches, put some hashtags out there. But then try not to post your drunken antics straight afterwards, unless that's the kind of job you're going for. Even your blog (HELLO future employers!)

6. Be organised

Everyone who knows me knows I'm a filofax geek. I have pages in my filofax set up for job applications. A page which lists what I've applied for/am applying for and closing dates- this helps me figure out if they've just not got back to me too! 
Also another page with all my previous employee addresses, I got fed up with hunting them down every new application form! You could also save this digitally if you're that sort!


Yes.. my workspace is my bed!


7. Apply for everything

I mean, don't go mad. Be a bit selective, you are fabulous after all. But if anything comes up which is in the area you want to work in (geographically or positionally) and is the right money.. apply! It's worth a punt.

8. Set aside time

The job application process takes time. When I first started looking for jobs during my long summer break at the end of first year I had alll day to apply for jobs, send emails etc. Now I've got revision to do and 4000 words to write. So set aside some time, perhaps the morning or a few hours at night and stick to it.

9. Sign up with agencies

I am an advocate for a good recruitment agency. They are good at what they do, they know your skills and know about jobs that might not be advertised elsewhere. If you're in the Bournemouth/Poole area I recommend Team Jobs (but I'm biased.. they used to employ me!)

10. Drink Tea

This was purely one that I wanted to add to ensure my list had ten points. Drink tea, coffee, water, juice (save the wine for later). Just try and be chilled- I preach to myself as much as you. The right job is out there and you. are. FABULOUS!

Until tomorrow...

What are you job hunting tips? 

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

#BEDM - Blog chat, with a difference.

Don't be fooled, readers. This is not the same post as yesterdays or in fact anyway similar. Yesterday I was talking about blogs I like to read. If you'd rather read that post it's here

Today I'm talking about my own blog! I just read Daire's post on 50 things to make me read your blog. (that's the third time I've mentioned Daire this series, I do read other blogs too. I think I just have a bit of a blogger girl crush!) It got me thinking. Those who know my blog story know I'm a pretty begrudging blogger but I'm falling back in love with it and whilst I never intend it to be one of those huge, international, hundreds of readers a minute jobbies I do want to see it grow and use it as a tool more often! 

So here is a list of things I'd like to do with my blog, perhaps you can help me :

1. Design a button and share it - I'm not that creative at all, but I don't really like the little orange icon that appears when I comment on blogs, that needs to change. So a button will serve two purposes: changing that but also sharing my blog. I'd do button swaps (It'll be like a school playground!) with other blogs so we'd be sharing each other's content.

2. Put up an about me page - I clearly don't understand blogger because I wrote an about me page but I don't know where it is or how it's accessed. If I want readers to know about me, I really need to utilise this page.

3. Sort through old posts- Again, this is twofold a lot of my old posts need spell checking and honestly some of them probably need deleting altogether! 

4. Add tags to my posts - This comes under number three I guess, tagging old posts and future posts so they're easier to find etc. 

5. Utilise social media- This one should be so easy- I'm obsessed with twitter and instagram and yet my blog doesn't get too much of a mention on there. 

6. Host/attend a blog meet up- I want to meet other bloggers in the Chester/North West/North Wales area. There doesn't seem to be any! If you are one/know one PLEASE get in touch! 

7. Host a giveaway- This is a bit of a pipe dream for perhaps when my blog has grown a bit! I love entering giveaways and winning stuff, why not host one and give back to the giveaway community (if that's a thing). 

8. Be part of a link up- I've loved being part of #BEDM and #BEDN but I'd also like to be part of a more regular link up. 

9. Attend a twitter chat- Again, this is part of 5 and 8. There are so many twitter chats surrounding blogs I really need to commit to being part of one reguarly to get my posts out there and also meet other bloggers, I really love the blogging community! 

10. Use good quality photos- I'm sure I break some blog commandments when I put up posts with zero photos (ironically, this might be one!!) and when I do they're not exactly the best photos. I've read a few times that a blogger should hone their photo editing skills as well, so perhaps I need to develop that! 

I think that's it. I'm also looking at buying my own domain but that's going to take some thinking about and being in a bit of a better place financially.

Ok, so over to you : Is there anything I've missed?

Until tomorrow...

P.S. Whilst adding labels to this post I also discovered how to schedule posts! Every day is a school day!

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

#bedm - Blog chat Tuesday

Hello lovelies
Hope you're well, no news on the job front as yet! 

I decided to leave the blog chat prompt until today because for a little while (read 3 weeks) I did a weekly feature called : 'Blog chat Tuesday' where I interviewed some of my favourite bloggers about their blogs and themselves! It's something I'd really love to start up again. I think it makes a great read to hear about other people, creates a blogging community and introduces blogs to a new readership. If you'd be interested in being featured please let me know (in comments or via twitter) you can also check out previous blog chats here, here and here

But I also want to chat a bit about some of new blog finds

The first is very new I only discovered it today! 
Now apart from the Breakfast at Tiffanys reference ( which I'm a sucker for) Penny is a UK based lifestyle blogger blogging about saving money and still having fun! I love that! There's not enough British money saving blogs (I get it pinterest, I could use coupons but I don't live in the USA) I'm desperately trying to save money and be better with spending so I love reading how other people are doing it! And I'm definitely thinking about joining in the next tenner week when it comes around! Also, Penny doesn't just focus on money but lifestyle: healthy eating exercise, mindfulness etc. very cool!

Another money saver here. Not only is Jack ridiculously cool she makes the most cheap, tasty meals ever. She makes them, eats them, blogs them, and puts them in her cook book. She's actually pretty famous y'know! We made her two bean goulash recipe the other week and it was SO yummy! And to be super thrifty we used the leftovers in a lasagne yesterday! 

This is a #bedm favourite! I've loved watching the journey of Mr and Mrs C and family unfold throughout this month and the little tweets and comments we've exchanged, especially the lunchbox posts. Also Jersey looks so pretty. 

Firstly, Daire has the best name ever! But also writes beautifully with real honesty and passion. She's inspired one of my previous posts for #bedm and I've also got involved with this months online book club. And it's inspired me to look for a local book club in Chester. Anyone know of one? 

Until tomorrow...
 P.s. What are your most recent blog finds? 

Monday, 19 May 2014

#BEDM reflections from youth work summit

I'm sorry for those reading from #bedm if this doesn't seem all that relevant to you. But on Saturday I attended youth work summit an annual event for youth workers spread over the day with shorty, snappy 10 minute talks. This was my third year of attending and last year I made the mistake of not really reflecting on it, the thing with youth work is we're meant to be in the business of reflecting.

Saturday was perhaps my favourite event of the three, the talks seemed incredibly relevant, particularly Katherine who talked about her experiences of depression, perhaps this was intended for us to emphasise with young people but actually it had me in tears, a lady  who stood up on stage in her vulnerability and voiced what depression feels like - "despite the best interests of those around me I just feel... Down and out". Sometimes it's just so difficult to explain this concept to those around me, that everything could be perfect and I'd still just feel... Crap! Certainly, that was my mistake on Saturday going straight out afterwards, thinking a few drinks would help.. Actually, a night in, cuddled up under a duvet and watching mind numbing TV would have helped! 

Equally, I woke up early Sunday feeling... Inadequate. So many youth workers stood up on stage on Saturday and talked about their experience, their stories, their passion and it was amazing, I don't want to negate the event it was incredible. But I just felt so rubbish like I might never have that experience, those stories... Right now I can't find a job and that's consistently disheartening. 

Perhaps  there's something in that for next years summit, a what's next segment? Certainly we see that kind of thing at just about every youth camp over the summer, why not for youth workers?? 

BUT I was reminded by friends (and strangers alike) that I DO have a voice, I do have a purpose and a future. That my voice, my story, my purpose matters. God has called ME and ME alone for such a time as this. 

More than that, I was reminded by a very good friend who attended for the first time that part of the beaut of youth work summit is to fall back in love with youth work, remember why we wanted to do it in he first place. I've spent the last year in an amazing placement but also gradually falling out of love with my degree, the studying etc. But on Sunday I was reminded of the very moment I decided to become a youth worker:

Me: I think I want to be a drama teacher
Mum: hmmm ... Maybe ( this is not uncommon for my mum.. She might not tell me what to do but she'll make it clear when she's not sure)
Me: or a youth worker
Mum: yes, that's what you should do. Your life experience will make all the difference.

And it will. I WILL make a difference and my story will matter. So maybe one year it'll be me up there on that stage and if not, my story is still important and I'll make sure people know it ;-)

Thank you team youth work summit, I can't wait for next year. 


Until tomorrow... 

P.s. I had an interview today, so maybe it's not all frustrating!

Friday, 16 May 2014

#BEDM - Things I found on the internet

Hi Beauties
Don't be put off by the blog title. It's not one of THOSE blogs!

I constantly find stuff online via pinterest/twitter/Google etc. and get a mini obsession with them and then I forget about them pretty quickly. So I thought if I noted them down here, shared them with you, you could tell me about yours. Wonderful.

First up:

AirBnB

As I mentioned in this post I'm going to America in June and we're road tripping to Wilmington, NC. My friend Kate introduced me to AirBnB and we've booked a room in a really lovely looking house. I'm now obsessed with this website and the app. I keep looking up different places to visit and scoping out the houses/apartments etc. 
The app has a pinterest style function so I've spent far tooo much time this week "pinning" places I want to stay. Staycations in fancy country houses just outside of Chester, beautiful apartments near Royal Mile for when I FINALLY visit Edinburgh and then about 30 "interesting places"- hammocks in the Dominican Republic, Gypsy caravans in France, Windmills near Cambridge and the cutest story book looking house in Cornwall. Gahhh I love it.

Plusss it's probably cheaper/similar pricings to staying in a hotel.
I could honestly write a whole blog about my love of this website/app. Can't wait to use it out. 


Roadtrippers

Again, this is for my trip to America. You put in your route and it shows up cool places to visit, places to stay, places to eat etc. It's not the easiest thing to use but I'm getting pretty excited to see our route displayed and knowing we'll be going right through Charleston. Eeeeek. 

It's also got maps for the UK (and Europe I think) so I might even test it out the next time I drive home and see what exciting places I can stop off at en route. 

I'm sure there were other bits, but I figure this will become a relatively regular feature of my blog. So if I think of anything,i'll let you know ;-) 

Until tomorrow...
p.s. Have you discovered any cool websites/apps recently?
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