Saturday, 24 December 2016

2016 Blog Goals Revisited



Keep Posting Regularly

I've tried to keep on top of blogging, but since I started my job back in September it's not been as easy as I first thought to stick to three posts per week. I've made a plan for January for a posting schedule and to get posts written in advance instead of waiting for the day to post it. Blogging is something I really enjoy and I'm looking forward to what 2017 will bring in regards of opportunities.

Increase My Following

Regarding Twitter, I have had a huge surge in following as I've been getting more involved with chats and talking to other bloggers. I feel like since my content has been more relatable it's encouraged people to follow me too. I've seen growth over on Pinterest too, but I have struggled with Instagram. It's a hard platform to gain a steady following on but if I take photos in advance and plan days to post on, it will probably help a lot.

Do More Review Posts

Reviewing products is something I quite enjoy. I've not managed to do this as much as I wanted, even though I've got products I could do reviews on. I'm going to set myself an aim to get a mix of more of these posts into my schedule. Whenever I want to get something I always look around for reviews and find that blog reviews go into a lot more detail than your standard website ones, so I would love to be able to provide my opinions to help other people. 

Improve My Photography

This is the goal I feel I've had the biggest improvement with. Last year I was still taking the odd photo on my iPhone, and now I take them on either of my Go Pros, my Fuji S100FS or my new Panasonic G6. I've changed the settings to suit what I'm looking for and taken photos at different times of day and experimented with angles. I'm starting to find more and more than slightly altering how I take a photo will get much better results. When I want to do some landscape shots I find the GoPro provides that unique wide angle view which can turn a normal photo into a really impressive one. 

Do More Blog Series

I feel I've expanded on this topic, as I've created posts such as Tips For Choosing A Student House for current university students, and for graduates I wrote the post How To Search And Apply For A Graduate Job as part of my Uni Series. I think I've still got more work to do for creating a range of blog series but this is something I'll work on next year.

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Wednesday, 14 December 2016

London Weekend Getaway



I thought I'd do a quick photo diary post with my favourite few photos from my weekend trip away to London. I've not had as much time to get away to places since starting my new job, so it was nice to save a bit of money up for a little trip. Me and Laura took a long weekend to explore around the capital at Christmas. We also filmed while we were down there so will have a vlog going up soon of what we got up to. I took all of these photos on my GoPro Hero 4 and was happy with how they came out so thought I would share them. The photo above was taken on Oxford Street looking across to Selfridges and really captured the Christmas spirit. 


This was taken from an upstairs cafe looking out onto the street and I thought it represented London pretty well. 


This shot was taken in Kingly Court in Soho and was made up of little stores and a lot of restaurants. I think if you're not from London it's a little bit of a hidden gem. I'll be doing a separate review post about it so keep an eye out for that on the blog.  


Here is one from when we stopped at Ladurée in Covent Garden and got the perfect spot in the corner of the balcony looking down across the popular area.


One final one that was also in Covent Garden and shows how busy it can get at this time of year. We explored around Winter Wonderland one of the evenings which was really good be annoyingly the photos didn't come out well with it being dark, but we did get some good clips for the vlog.

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Saturday, 3 December 2016

Tips For Travelling Home For Christmas


A lot of people will travel home from uni for a break over the Christmas holidays which makes it a very busy time. I did it while I was away and have found a few things that will make the journey a little bit easier and more bearable.

Booking Tickets
One of the best things to do with these is to book them well in advance. Often you will get your term dates early on which will make it easier to decide when you will be going back and give you chance to get cheaper tickets. You never know if you get lucky they might have some first class seats really cheap if you look early which would make that often long train journey a bit more comfortable. Getting a railcard can also save you a lot of money if you take a few trains over the year so it's well worth doing this. It's also good to look at the different train times as they will vary across the day and can be another way to save a fair amount. 

Table Seat
It can be so much better if you get a table seat on a train as you often get more legroom plus having someone to lean on. If you still have exam prep or other work to do it can be much easier to do this will a table as you might as well get some work done while sitting on the train for what is sometimes a few hours. 

Packing
This might depend on how organised you like to be but leaving it until the very last minute will often just cause you more stress. You will probably be surprised how long it will take to try and get everything sorted, especially if you have to carry additional presents for people. Another thing to think about it what bags you actually pack. There's no point filling a big case that you will struggle to life onto a train or bus so be sure to plan this out with what items you have to take home. 

Timing
Arrive 15-20 minutes early for your train/bus so that you have chance to find which platform or stop it will be going from. If you do get a train they sometimes come in early so it can be so much easier to get on and have your luggage put away before it fills up. The last thing you want to be doing is awkwardly bumping into people while you try to get to your seat or the luggage rack. 

Food & Drink
There should be a Costa or Starbucks not too far away so you might as well grab something for the journey before you set off. They also tend to have seasonal themed drinks in most of their stores so it will give you something to help you get into the Christmas spirit. You'll be thanking yourself for getting something nice to eat when the only thing you can get from the train trolley would be a bag of crisps or some rather plain biscuits. 

Download In Advance
If doing work on your journey home then be sure to get something to stop you being bored all the way back. You can often download your favourite shows to watch offline which will be a godsend when you keep losing signal on the journey. Alternatively you may prefer to download some of your favourite tracks so you can stick you headphones on and zone out. 

National Rail App
If you will be getting the train then this app can come in so handy. You can track your train to see if there are any delays and keep an eye on the expected time it will come into the different stations which is ideal if you are arranging to be picked up or booking a taxi. This can be great as the driver/conductor won't always inform you if there is a delay. You can also check which platforms the trains are due in at which makes it much easier when making changes to save you wandering around trying to find where you are supposed to go. 

Cheaper Alternatives
I know money can be really tight when you are in uni and trains always cheap by any means. Depending where you are, there will be cheaper options to get home such as National Express coaches or the Megabus. I got the Megabus from Newcastle to Sheffield and it cost my lesser than £10. It might not be as comfortable or quick as a train but if you need a cheap way to get back then it's always an option. 


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Friday, 2 December 2016

Things I Forgot About Until Christmas


I can't believe how quickly this year has gone and that we are in December all ready. What even happened to the year? I have a lot of birthdays in my family in the last few months of the year so I don't really think about Christmas until all of these are out the way. Now we are into December it's time to properly start sorting things for the Christmas period. I've actually got some of my presents bought and wrapped this year which is really impressive an organised for me. The Christmas adverts have been out for a few weeks now and there are so many deals flying round it's easy to get tired of seeing it all and forgetting about what to sort out before the big day. These are a few of the things that seem to slip my mind until we get close to the festive period.

Amount of Cards

It's not like a birthday where you are just buying a card for one person. This season you have to get ones for all the family members, extended family (that normally get a generic card from a multi-pack) partners & their families and the list goes on and on. One of the best things to do is to get them sorted early as the queues in the card shop can get unbearable nearer the time.

Wrapping Presents

I have been guilty of leaving this to the very last minute (you are talking late night on xmas eve) and it's kinda stressful. I always thought that it would be a quick and easy job to wrap a few presents. This turned out not to be the case and let's just say it was a lesson learned. This year I've tried to wrap presents as I've bought them so I don't have to do the whole lot in one go.

How Much It Will Cost

It's the one time of year that you have to buy presents for everyone at the same time and it can start totaling up pretty quickly. At this point you probably also start to remember extra people that you need to buy for which will start adding to your spends this month. Something to try and do in buy in the run up to Christmas so that is doesn't all come out a once.

Having Everything You Need

It's probably happened to most of us, you sit down to go and wrap your presents and you suddenly realise you are missing sellotape and you've only got enough paper to wrap a box of chocolates. That important phrase 'preparation is key' springs to mind when you put your head in your hands. Another one that seems to happen every year is that the Christmas lights never seem to work properly (testing before you put them up seems to save you time).

Christmas Songs

They are a great way to get into the festive mood and you will start to hear them all of the TV and radio. There are so many songs out there with a lot of the classics being covered by more recent artists. Whenever I want to stick some songs on I'll go onto Spotify and just stick on a 'Best Christmas Album' and soon find that I can't stand half of the songs on there. What I tend to do now is to go through and add all my favourites to my own playlist so I don't have to keep skipping through all the ones I don't like.

There's a few of the things I tend to forgot about until Christmas. I do love this time of year and have tried to get myself a little more organised to keep on top of all the festive activities. Do you have anything that you only remember when we enter December?


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Thursday, 1 December 2016

A Gift Guide For The Girl In Your Life




My girlfriend Laura offered to do a female gift guide based upon a girl's point of view, so this is her guide to what you should buy your girlfriend, sister, mother or aunt this Christmas.

Bags

I don't know about you but I love a good bag. You can't just stick with one sized bag and hope for the best, so I've picked out two beautiful ones that would be handy all year round. The first is one by Dune (£35.00) which is a Micro Glitter Cross Body Bag in rose gold. It's perfect for special occasions or even a casual weekend style. If you're looking to buy a bigger bag, the Ted Baker Leather Cross Body Bag with Geometric Bow (£189.00) has more of a classic design to it, and you can remove the straps too. It's leather and has interior pockets so would be perfect for every season.

Makeup

Whether it's stocking fillers or the main gift, most girls love a bit of makeup. The Urban Decay Naked Ultimate Basics Palette (£38.50) has 12 shades in it to create a perfect everyday or evening look. It's got plenty of warm shades to choose from and comes with a large mirror inside. It's a great gift to add to your girlfriend's naked palette collection. The New Look Glitter Pouch Cosmetics Brush Set (£14.99) is such a pretty stocking filler as it is a set of 5 makeup brushes. Inside the packaging there is also a rose gold glitter pouch which is ideal of hair grips and bobbles. The Models Own Hypergel Glitter Nail Varnish in Crystal Pink (£5.00) has a gloss-like finish that's enriched with lotus flower oil. It's highly pigmented with super fine bits of glitter in and would be great for any occasion.

Clothing and Accessories

So if your girl is really feminine and tends to love all things magical, she will love the Club L Night Mermaid Blanket (£32.00). It's made of soft-touch warm knit fabric, machine washable and is a trending item this Christmas. I'm actually really wanting one of these *hint hint* as it looks really cosy. The ASOS Heaven Sent Heeled Sandals (£45.00) would go perfect with the Dune bag mentioned earlier. They have an ankle strap fastening with a block heel and they're even wipe clean. The heel is 4" so smaller than other heels so most girls would love them.

Etc

The Sass and Belle Copper Heart Jewellery Holder (£16.00) is fabulous for girls with a lot more jewellery than they need. If she has bracelets, necklaces and body chains then this is a great solution to clutter. It hangs on the wall so is a lovely wall feature at the same time. Finally, the Happy Plugs Pink Gold Earphones (£24.99) is a gift made for music lovers. They have the in-ear design with microphone and mini remote to change or alter music. They work with all phones and tablets and come in a handy storage case to stop the earphones tangling.

I hope you enjoyed my pink themed gift guide and found something perfect for your loved one this Christmas.

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Monday, 21 November 2016

Tech Wishlist

Fitbit Blaze

I've liked the idea of these for a while now and would love to finally own one of them. They are such a useful gadget that can be worn anytime as it doesn't scream fitness monitor but still provides you with all the stats you need to monitor things such as your steps and heart rate, without the need for a separate band around your chest. I noticed that they recently released a gun metal version of the blaze which looks really slick and smart so could be worn for work too. I seem to keep saying this but I'd like to try to get back into running and the Fitbit would be great as it provides real time run stats when connected to your phone's GPS which would be really handy.

GoPole Reach

Myself and Laura are starting to make more videos for our YouTube channel and I've been looking for ways to improve the content we put up on there. I've been toying with the idea of an extension pole for the GoPro for a while now and have finally decided it would be a great accessory to have. It can extend from 14 to 40 inches which would give a completely different angle to shoot from and would mean we could film ourselves a little more without having a camera right up in our faces. You could also capture more of the surroundings using this. Using the pole for filming what we are seeing which provide a more stable mount so that the shots look smoother.

4K TV

This is something a little more on the luxury side but they are starting to come down in price now as they are becoming more popular. I've recently bought a PS4 Pro which can output 4K resolution depending on the game, so it would be interesting to see the detail of this. At the minute there don't seem to be too many games that can play in this high res, but in the future this should become more common. TV shows and films are also starting to be produced in 4K so watching these on a big screen would be impressive. My GoPro can also capture footage capable of playing back on this kind of TV so it would look amazing to see my travels in crisp detail.

GoPro Smart Remote

Another accessory for the GoPro would be the wireless remote so that I could have more freedom and practicality when taking photos and video. It has an impressive wireless range and can clipped onto things such as the GoPole reach to make taking shots easier. You can also use it to trigger the camera to record at certain points, whether this is when you are coming into shot or when it's set up somewhere out the way. It's so small and compact that it can be slipped in your pocket or kit bag to be taken anywhere with you. 

GoPro The Frame

Okay I promise this is the last accessory for the GoPro on my list, but it will improve the quality our our videos. The frame would provide easy access to all of the ports so you wouldn't have to keep taking it out the housing to plug it in. A huge benefit of this mount is the improved audio quality as it does not get hindered by the case at all. It also gives a lower profile option for mounting the camera to make it slightly less bulky.


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Monday, 14 November 2016

5 Of The Best Places To Eat In Liverpool

Red's True BBQ - Hanover Street

Serves: American style such as Donut Burger, Pitmaster Meat Tray and steaks 
I recently went here for my birthday and was really impressed with what was on offer. The meat trays are something different to your standard meal as you can have a variety of different meats in one dish. The Pitmaster Tray contains: St Louis ribs, Black Angus brisket, Red's pulled pork and smoked cheese & jalapeno sausage. If burgers are more you thing then they have an interesting range of options including a huge Pit Burger to the Donut Burger. And yes that is a burger with glazed donuts as your bun. You can also choose from other items such as sandwiches to steak with these ranging anything from £5 to roughly £20, so pretty similar to other restaurants out there.

Crust - Bold Street

Serves: Pizza, Pasta, Beer
I'm not going to lie, pizza is my weakness so whenever I go out for a meal this is always on my list. You might be wondering what makes this place different to any other pizza restaurant. Here you choose the crust (hence the name) first to decide what you want it baking on. You get to choose between: original, five grain, organic and black dough which you then choose your pizza or make your own from the toppings available. If this doesn't take your fancy then they have a number of pasta options and a few things on the grill menu. If you're needing something to wash it down with then a substantial list of cocktails or Italian beers and local ales might just do the job. Prices here range from £5 up to the £15 mark. If you want to find out a little more I did a full review.

Viva Brazil - Castle Street

Serves: Brazilian BBQ meats with a fresh salad bar
Another restaurant that is something different to loads of others out there. Depending which option you go for, you either have the seven or fifteen meats and they range from £9.95 to £24.95 depending which day you go on and whether you have the lunch or dinner menu. After choosing whatever you want from the salad bar, the waiters come round to your table with a different meat on each skewer and then they calf you some off onto your plate. If you do go for the seven different meats options (which I did and it was still very filling) then you get a sheet and mark off the seven you want.

Jamie's Italian - Paradise Street

Serves: Pizza, Pasta, Burgers and more
I think this has to one of my favourite chain restaurants as you get amazing fresh food for a very reasonable price. If you ever want to go to Jamie's it's definitely worth signing up to be part of the Gold Club. You get free tasters on every visit plus other offers such as money off your bill and free drinks. The best part - it's free to join with no catches. The food consists of pasta, salads, pizza, steaks and some great sides and desserts. Prices for meals start at around £5.50 for the lunch options up to £22.95 for your 35-day sirloin steak. You can really taste the different flavours in the food and know it's fresh (you can even see the pasta being made in front of you if you're sat upstairs). You can see more of Jamie's from when I reviewed their Evening Menu.

TGI Friday's - Liverpool ONE, Paradise Street

Serves: American Burgers, Hot Dogs, Steaks and Chicken
Another chain one here but the food they offer is great. You get so much for your money and it's flavoured so well. My current favourite is the Chicken Fingers or Jack Daniel's Sesame Chicken Strips, although they have amazing ribs and an impressive lineup of burgers that I can also vouch for. They also have a good range of cocktails which would be a nice addition. Prices here range from around £7 to £24 depending on your choice, but there is a good choice of options in between this.

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Friday, 11 November 2016

Tips For Choosing A Student House | Uni Series

Start Looking Early

The last thing you want to do is end up with whatever house is left that nobody else wanted because it's either miles away or it's in a poor condition. One thing to think about is who you will want to live with - you may be signing for a house that you won't be moving into for around 10 months so just have a think whether you will still be happy to live with who you might sign with.

How Many Is Too Many

You need to work out how many people you actually want to live with. There will be a complete range of sizes when it comes to student houses, from a two bed to anything 10 plus. This is probably going to be too many for a lot of people so you are best to stick to a lower number. Generally the more people you live with, the messier it will get and the longer you will have to wait for things such as the bathroom and kitchen. If there are a lot of you that do want to live together, look into properties that are being let next door or just down the street from each other. You could then split into multiple houses so you have more space but are still really close to each other. 

Don't Jump At The First One

I know it could be tempting to want to sign for a house as soon as you see one that looks okay. Unless you really like the first one you look at it's probably worth having a look round a few as you could end up with a nicer house for the same rent, especially if you use different estate agents and landlords. 

Deposit Protection Scheme

This is something important to make sure your landlord has as it will mean your deposit it safe even if your letting agent or landlord gets into financial difficulty. It is required by law to be held in ones of these schemes so you have every right to check and ask for confirmation of this when you pay your deposit. Your university will often have an approved list of landlords and letting agents which should ensure all of this stuff is in place. 

Location

Research the areas around your uni to see what's popular with current students. Ideally you want somewhere that won't take you ages to get into uni and could be a walkable distance so you don't have to spend money on travel. If you do live further away so that your rent is cheaper, be sure to check that there are good transport links so you don't get stuck with a longer journey to uni.

Check Contracts Carefully

There are a few things you need to look for when reading through your contracts. Don't just assume things about what will be in the contract. It won't take you long to read over it, and it's legally binding once you've signed it. It's much better to clear things up before signing so you are completely happy with what you are agreeing to. Items to look out for are: whether bills are included, the dates for when the lease starts and ends, any rules about living there and whether it comes with white goods such as a fridge and washing machine (most will do be it's worth double checking so you don't end up out of pocket.


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Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Win A Cinematic Lightbox


So it's recently been my 2 Year Blogging Anniversary and I wanted to do a giveaway to celebrate. I was trying to think of a prize that everyone would love and after many different thoughts I've decided to go for this Cinematic Lightbox. We have recently got one of these as a present and they are a different way of displaying something. This is something that could be used by loads of different people, either for decoration or a more practical option for bloggers to display their post titles.


Terms and Conditions
UK entries only. Ends 4th December 2016. Must follow and retweet the tweet to enter. Winner will be notified on Twitter. No cash alternative. Winner will receive one Locomocean A4 Cinematic Lightbox which will be posted out within a week of the giveaway closing.

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Sunday, 6 November 2016

How To Search & Apply For A Graduate Job | Uni Series


I applied for quite a few graduate jobs in my final year of uni and wish I'd have had some kind of useful guide to use so I could get some advice about where to look and what to do when applying. It can often be quite daunting when you are finishing uni and somehow you have to get into the world of work. Competing with so many others to get a graduate job can be difficult and I know it was disheartening feeling like you are getting nowhere when applying for jobs. These are some of the key bits of advice that I would give anyone looking for a graduate job. 

Make Use Of Job Sites

There are numerous sites out there where you can search for jobs and there is no way I could list them all. There are a few main ones that I searched on including: Indeed, Graduate Jobs, LinkedIn, Milkround, Guardian Jobs and my Uni Job site. You can tailor what type of job you want to look for and view ones from many different employers all in the same place. You will probably come across jobs you never knew existed never mind thought of applying for so it can open up doors into other options. Don't just stick to one site as some employers list jobs on one site and not others so you need to use a few to different ones to be sure to find all opportunities. 

Be Careful When Using Search Parameters

On a lot of these sites, you can narrow your search down by which area of the country or which field you want to see jobs for. Sometimes these filters aren't always 100% accurate so experiment with with other key search words or a wider geographical area to make sure you see all that could be suitable. Be wary that some companies tag numerous locations to their job advertisement but it may only be for one area, for example London, so double check this in the detail. Before spending ages searching for jobs, set yourself realistic areas that you want to go into as there is no point applying for jobs just because you might be qualified for it that you will never be happy in. 

Research The Company

I can't stress how important this is when you are applying for a job. So many people will just have blanket CV and cover letter than barely gets changed for each application. When recruiters are looking through these, any that haven't spent the time to find out about that company, your application will go straight in the bin. Even if you get through the first stage, you may often get caught out at later stages such as your interview, so spend that bit of time to give yourself the best chance. 

Draw On All Your Experience

It's sometimes hard trying to justify why you should be picked for a job and when it comes to experience, graduates often have a limited amount purely because of their age. Any experience you have can be good experience, you just need to make sure you show why this is. Like myself, a lot of you may well have had a part time job prior to and during uni and it may seem so irrelevant to the position you are applying for. There will be key things in all previous experience that can be transferred into the new role, so find out what they are looking for and justify where you have gained or used these skills in the past.

When Looking, Think Outside The Box

You might not realise that some places do graduate jobs or schemes and it can be easy to overlook these. For example, you might really want to work in retail but wonder how you can get into it. Places that you might shop in every week such as Tesco and Boots offer Graduate Schemes and give you the opportunity to get experience all round the business which may be something you hadn't initially considered. At the start of uni I never thought that the type of company I work for would offer a Graduate Scheme so I was pleasantly surprised when I came across it. 

Keep Your LinkedIn Profile & CV Up To Date

Some sites will let you apply or fill in some of your application using LinkedIn so it's always worth keeping this up to date with your details and experience so you aren't wasting time doing this instead of concentrating on the more detailed sections of the application. I mentioned about not using a generic CV earlier, so the advice I would give here is to keep this general one constantly updated then you can spend time adjusting the important parts to match your application. 

Don't Get Put Down

Lastly, one thing I would say is to stay positive and keep going as it will be worth it in the end. I can be very easy to get disheartened if you don't here anything back or get rejected for numerous jobs. When I was applying, I'd set myself on the company I really wanted to work for and I had applied for the Grad Scheme the year before but not got on, applied for a couple of other positions within the company and then ended up getting a position when I applied for the Grad Scheme second time round. I'm not saying that you will have to do this for every job you apply for, but any time you aren't successful, make sure you take something from every situation to improve your next application and give yourself that better chance.


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Sunday, 30 October 2016

24 Things To Do Before I'm 24

1. Develop Within My Career Path

If you've read any of my recent posts you might have seen that I've started a new job a few weeks ago. I am really happy in this and I'm looking forward to developing myself within this area to progress with my career. 

2. Make More Vlogs

We have recently published our UK Travel Vlog and it's made me and Laura want to keep making these vlogs of what we get up to. We have some ideas about little weekends away or trips we'd love to do and it would be great if we could make some vlogs about these to expand our YouTube channel. 

3. Go On More Weekend Trips

As we are going to saving up for a house we won't really be able to afford a longer holiday but I don't want this to stop us doing some travelling and experiences new places. I've been to a quite a few places in the UK before and would love to find some great new places to explore, as they can be an affordable option to still travel. 

4. Buy A House With Laura

This is something we are both looking forward to so we can have our own space and being able to say we finally have our own home. We both have ideas about what kind of house we'd like and have already planned how we'd like to decorate the rooms. It would be such a good little project too as doing DIY and making our own mark on it it is something we are both looking forward too.  

5. Do More Blog Series

I've done a few of these in the past and currently have my Uni Series going on at the minute. I love doing these as it means you can do a number of posts about a topic when you have a range of ideas that would be too much to put into one post. It gives a chance to get all of these ideas out so you don't have to pick and choose. When there is a post series it's something that people can follow and would be great if I can retain some readers. 

6. Start Doing More Product Reviews

I don't feel like I've done enough of these on my blog and want to give my thoughts on things and own and that I will buy. I've got a few ideas around doing some more technology based reviews on some cheaper products that people might be thinking of buying so it can help them decide. 

7. Start Running

I've kept saying this to myself for a while now but it's never to late to start right? I would like to improve my fitness level and just have something to do some regular exercise that doesn't take too much time out of my day. I need to get my motivation back to get out there and try and keep a consistent schedule. 

8. Create My Own Gaming/Tech Room

This will come with buying a house, but it would be great to have a room where I can have all my gaming stuff as well as my photography kit. I've got a few ideas about having shelves displaying my cameras and games so it can all be stored nicely rather than shoved in drawers like it is at the moment. 

9. Try Out More DIY Projects 

Being in practical activities from a young age, it's no surprise that I like doing things like this. I enjoy building furniture and doing work on a house so can't wait for this when we get a place. I'd like to try out some little projects that I could put onto my blog so I'm currently looking for some inspiration about what would work. 

10. Improve My Instagram

I'm finding that this is quite difficult to grow my following on. I've started to post every day (or as close to this as possible) by making sure I've always got photos that I'm happy to post so I don't run out and leave a gap. Taking my GoPro out with me gives me the chance to take some great photos in the unique wide angle view which I'm starting to post more of over on my Instagram.

11. Go On Another Camping Trip

Something else I've enjoyed from a young age which is probably why I've got my own tent and camping kit. We went away to Shell Island in Wales earlier in the year and had a great time with surprisingly hot and sunny weather. Sometimes it's good to go camping to have a quiet little break and give yourself time for a mini refresh.  

12. Buy An iMac

I'm pretty sure I've been wishing about this one for a while but there's nothing wrong with dreaming right? It would definitely be a good investment as it would make blogging and vlogging much easier and give me more opportunities of what kind of things I'm able to do with it. As much as it would be worth the money, there are more important things to save up for at the minute but I can keep hoping for one. 

13. Be More Active On Social Media

I keep telling myself I need to do this and every time I don't end up doing it. Engaging with people on social media expands your network and will help boost interaction with my blog so it will only be a good thing to do this. I know I can't use the excuse I don't have time, so I just need to get into the habit of doing it so that it becomes a normal part of my routine. 

14. Go & See Another Band Live

I've seen some of my favourite bands in the past few years but would love to see some more. We saw Kaiser Chiefs in V Fest this year and loved them so much we bought tickets to see them on tour next year. They had such as great atmosphere so it would be good to see them at their own event. There are definitely some others that I'm hoping will tour soon so I'll be keeping my eye out for these too. 

15. Upgrade To A New Console

Seen as I've owned a PS3 I was 16, I think it might be time to upgrade to a PS4 so that I can experience some of the new games and better graphics. There are a number of games such as the Assassins Creed series that are now only being released on the new console so I'd like to finally get to play these. I know the PS4 Pro is coming out soon as I may be tempted to save up birthday money towards buying this. 

16. Travel To A Different Country For The Weekend

This was an idea that Laura threw out there last week and I thought it would be such a good thing to do. If planned correctly you can get a fairly cheap getaway by going on the Eurostar to either Paris or Brussels and would give a completely different weekend experience for a fairly small outlay. 

17. Celebrate Mine & Laura's 4 Year Anniversary

We've always wanted to do something on our Anniversaries in the past few years but something always seemed to get in the way. Being in April it's always been around the Easter holidays when we have been travelling to visit family in the break from uni and earlier this year was around the time we went to Los Angeles. This year I want to make sure I set the time aside to actually do something nice together. 

18. Aim To Do Blogmas

I've noticed that quite a few bloggers complete Blogmas and I've always thought there would be no way I could ever do this many posts in a short space of time. A month or so ago I set myself the challenge that I would do it this year, and I already have a number of ideas noted down for what posts I can do. 

19. Work With More Companies & Brands

This doesn't just happen overnight and I know it requires hard work on my part to show companies that I'm worth working with. I've done a few sponsored posts in the past as well as product reviews and would like to try and expand these by getting my blog seen by more people. 


20. Start Reading & Commenting On More Blogs

Another task that I never get round to doing is actually spending time reading and commenting on blogs I enjoy. I seem to find myself spending too much time aimlessly scrolling through Facebook rather than reading an engaging with things that would actually be interesting. I'm going to try and set time aside to do this to again get this into my routine. 

21. Moving To The Next Chapter

Something I have mentioned before on here about wanting to move forward in mine and Laura's relationship. We are both happy where we are and know what we want but recognise this can't just happen so it's something we'll work towards. 

22. Expand My Photography Kit

This is something I've been doing since first getting into photography as I've upgraded my equipment as I've gone along. As much as some people might wonder why you need more than one camera or lens, it's often very difficult to buy one camera that can do everything you want, especially when your needs will change over time. 

23. Finally Get Around To Buying Box Lights

It's something I've aimed to do for a while as it would make product photography so much easier when the natural lighting conditions aren't good enough. Especially around this time of year when the lighting is getting worse it becomes more of a reason to get them. We were recently given the tripod and box for these lights, so with only needing to get the bulbs I don't really have an excuse. 

24. Expand My Wardrobe

I've always had the tendency to buy the same type of clothes and shoes and just replace them with the same products when they wear out. Now I've got a full time job I'd like to get some things that I really like and will last me rather than just another cheap t-shirt.  



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Thursday, 27 October 2016

Skull Halloween Look


It's not long until Halloween and a lot of people will be trying to decide what to dress up as. Last year I did a Zombie Halloween Look which also gives you another idea if you are looking for a number of ideas. Every year Laura tries out a new makeup look for this spooky time of the month so this year we decided to go for this Skull look. 

First Stage

After giving my face a thorough clean to make sure the makeup powder would set properly, the white face paint (you could use white foundation) was applied all over my face in an even layer. One this has dried, white face powder was added to take away the shine and create the smoother effect that is needed to build the other layers on.

Second Stage

This involves mapping out your areas of the face, My cheek bones and eyes were contoured and blacked out to help hollow out the face and work towards the look. For these black areas, I used a black and grey eyeshadows from a Freedom makeup palette that only costs £6 from Superdrug and should do multiple applications so it's well worth the money.

Third Stage

This involves fully blacking out the nose to make it 'disappear'. A small amount was added to the chin to help with blending into the neck, and black was also added around the edge of the forehead to merge the hairline into the face.  

Fourth & Final Stage

Creating the mouth requires a little more detail and uses eyeshadow to give the silvery look underneath and then black eyeshadow to be applied with a narrow brush (or eyeliner if you are steady) to mimic the look of teeth and extend them outwards. The next thing to do is to make the neck appear like it has bones showing through. This is by adding white face paint to create bones and then filling in the gaps with black eyeshadow. 


When you have finished all these stages there are a few options you could add if you wanted to go a bit further than my look shown in this post. To make the makeup stay on for longer, using some type of setting spray would hold it in place and stay on all night. You may also consider spraying your hair white/black and wearing a skeleton onesie or jumpsuit if you want to go for the full outfit. 

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Monday, 24 October 2016

UK Travel Vlog


Me and Laura have been travelling around the UK over the past few months and have captured some our favourite bits to put into this vlog. We've been to visit numerous places such as Birmingham including Cadbury World, Southport, our Big Fun Run, Thorpe Park, V Festival, Alton Towers, Liverpool and Crosby Beach. Watch below to see what we got up to in all these different places.


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Friday, 21 October 2016

How To Save Money In University | Uni Series


Set Yourself A Budget

It seems so obvious but a lot of people won't end up doing this properly. Working out what all of your outgoings are will be the first thing to do so you can calculate what you'll have left to spend. It can be really useful to break this down so you know what your weekly spend is which can help make sure you won't run out of money. Depending on your situation, sometimes it's easier if you can pay your rent for the next few months as soon as your student loan comes in. This means all the money you have left will be split up for your other spends while not having to worry about covering your rent.

Use Money Saver Websites

There are quite a few sites out there that will help you save a few quid here and there. The 10ways.com site posts loads of discounts codes and lets you know when there are crazy offers on certain things. I followed their page on Facebook so I found out good deals as they were posted. Student Beans will give you discount for a number of shops and items that you may have to buy anyway. Vouchercloud offers loads of discount codes for pretty much anything you can think of so it's always worth checking before buying something online. Money Saving Expert gives you advice on anything from mobile phone contracts to bank loans with a few discount codes thrown in. UNiDAYS gives you so many discounts for some of your favourite shops and also comes with a handy app to use as you student ID for the discounts in shops.

Get an NUS Extra Card

They are only £12 for a year and you can save money if you buy a 2 or a 3 year one. You will almost certainly make your money back plus a lot more, so it's a no-brainier really. You can get such hefty discounts on some big brands such as 15% off Apple MacBooks which would come in very useful as a uni laptop. The card will also get you discounted entry prices for places such as Merlin theme parks, cinemas, crazy golf and many more.

Shop at Student Events

These are held in a lot of different places across the country and often have lock in student nights where shopping centres will stay open later specifically for students. There are a range of discounts available which vary between shops, and you will often get shops that don't normally offer student discount giving you 10% off so if you were going to shop in there anyway, it makes sense to do it on a student night.

Don't Buy Your Books Unless You Really Have To

I learnt this after my first year when I spent nearly £100 on three books (which is actually quite good value for uni books) that the library had bulk copies of that you could take out and borrow. Now if everyone tried to borrow the books from the library you would run out, but its worth checking before spending. I ended up barely using the books after first year and I wish I'd tried to sell them once I no longer needed them.

Make Use of Free or Student Subscriptions

Netflix will give you a free month if it's the first time you sign up, so if you weren't sure whether you'd want it then it's a risk free trial. If you end up carrying on you've just saved yourself paying for a month so it's a win-win. You can get Amazon Prime free for 6 months and then if you want to carry it on you get it for half price. If you love your music then sites such as Spotify give you half price premium so you only pay £4.99 per month with an NUS Card. They also do random offers such as 3 months premium for 99p if you haven't had premium before so keep an eye out for that too.

Discount Codes For Your Favorite Takeaways

There s pretty much always a discount code for places like Domino's so you should never be paying full price for your pizza. I'm not saying spending money on takeaways is a way to save money but lets be frank, nearly every student is going to order a takeaway at some point so why not get it cheaper? Domino's came to my freshers fair and were giving out free pizza plus a 50% discount code that was valid all year, who's going to say no to that?

If you liked this post and want to read some of my others in my Uni Series click here.

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Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Weekend In Photos


It's been a while since I've done one of these photo diary posts so I thought it would be a good chance to post a few of my favourite photos from the weekend. I was around the Albert Docks for one of the days and went up to Crosby the other day and snapped away while I was going around. These photos were taken with either my GoPro Hero 4 or Laura's Olympus Pen E-PL7. It wasn't particularly a day out for photos and only had the cameras with us just in case but the weather was perfect so in the spur of the moment I took a few photos and they came out really well.   


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Sunday, 25 September 2016

End Of Year Blog Targets


Keep Posting Regularly

I've tried to keep a fairly consistent schedule to post around three times a week as this was achievable for me. Since starting my new job full time three weeks ago I have found it harder to be able to post this often as I had a lot less free time than I used to. Now I'm starting to get used to my new working week I want to get back on tracking with posting and want to keep this up. I'd love to be able to look in a few months and be happy with how I maintained my blog.

Increase My Following

I'd love to keep growing my following across all things blog related. I've been slowly increasing my page-views to maintain a steady level each day that I'm relatively happy with. Obviously my blog relies on my social media being able to promote my content so if I can keep growing my following across Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram. I know I don't currently engage enough, especially on Twitter so this is something I'm going to push myself to start doing more.

Do More Review Posts

I do quite enjoy writing review posts as it lets me think about something in more detail so I can give my views on it. I'm really into my technology and want to start reviewing more products in this area. Looking at other posts out there, I think trying out some cheap gadgets for review would definitely work and be quite fun. I'd also like do more review posts of restaurants and days out as you can get more out of it sometimes than a single product.

Improve My Photography

I think this is always something to aim for as having better photos is never going to be a bad thing. I've been into photography for quite a while now and particularly like landscape photography and nature shots. As I said in my other goal about doing more reviews, I think this is an area where I want to improve as I'm not quite as strong taking product photos so I'd aim to work on this before the end of the year.

Try Out Some Posts I've Not Done Before

Sometimes it can be quite easy to stick to the type of posts you are confident on and don't want to try writing some ideas that aren't normally your kind of thing. I think branching out into food based posts would be something to try. This could be anything from recipes up to giving my thoughts on the latest restaurant menu. It would expand my photography skills as taking quality photos of food is a different style so it would be interesting to learn and develop with this.

Do More Blog Series

I've done these kind of posts before but they have been related to TV series as a weekly catch up of the latest episode. I'm starting to do some uni related posts that are part of a series and want to try and do this with some of the other topics in my blog as it's a great way to keep content going. I think as a reader, I also like post series to keep checking back into. They are also a great way to get all the content out you want if it's too much to include in one post.

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Thursday, 22 September 2016

How To Manage Your Time During University | Uni Series


I went on Timehop the other day and realised it was four years since I moved into student halls at Northumbria University and it made me think about another student/university post. When I was in my first year although I had a bit of a schedule, all the nights out had an effect on my work and I wish I had been more organised. Here's how I managed my time in my second and third years during university.

Buy a planner

When you're in school you're often given a planner or diary to keep note of coursework and exams, but when you start university you have to buy one yourself. Buy yourself an A5 academic year diary and record every piece of coursework, assignment details and deadlines and it will be easy to keep on track with your course. If you think of something to include in your dissertation, write it in the planner. If you schedule a meeting with a tutor, write it in the planner. You won't regret it.

Have a schedule

Aside from your timetabled lectures, seminars and workshops, you should be doing a few hours at least of work per day. In your free periods between classes, get yourself to a computer and do some work to pass the time. If you do this every day that you're in uni you won't fall behind, even if you're typing up lecture notes it will all help when it comes to exams season. I didn't go home in between classes and spent 'frees' in the library.

Prioritise your work

You may have research to do, seminar prep, lecture notes to type up and categorise, coursework and dissertation prep along with revision. Getting small tasks out of the way is a good starting point as you can focus your time on important assignments and preparation. I typed up lecture notes as soon as I was free in order to dedicate evenings and sometimes weekends during busier months to tasks that were lengthy and important.

Have some time off

Instead of procrastinating and putting off tasks, if you have a schedule in place then you can have time off without feeling guilty or falling behind. If you go on a few nights out a week, make sure your tasks are done before you go out, as you're definitely not going to want to do them when you're hungover. If you go away for the weekend to see friends or family, make sure your work is done or you can do it on the train so that you can spend quality time with people you love. Giving yourself time to relax and de-stress is vital when it comes to your mental and physical health too.

Doing advanced work

If you know you have a seminar in a weeks time and you haven't got anything to do in between classes and you can access the next prep sheet, do the prep. Sometimes I managed to do research and preparation for classes two weeks in advance and it meant it didn't build up on me. Especially when it comes to your third year, if you already know what topic you're writing your project on, get some research done ahead of time. That means when it comes down to the nitty gritty, you already know what to write about and that's less stress on your plate.




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Monday, 12 September 2016

University Packing List | Uni Series

I can remember trying to get all my packing sorted and worrying whether I had got what I needed. I spent quite a while desperately searching for lists of important items, so I thought I'd create this easy guide so you to find out the important things you'll need to pack. There will be some items on the list that you may not need as they are provided in your accommodation (e.g. an ironing board).

Kitchen

Pans
Plates/Bowls
Oven trays
Cutlery
Cooking utensils
Mugs
Cups/glasses
Pyrex jugs - perfect for microwaving your food
Food containers/tuppawear
Chopping boards
Toastie machine - you will be loved by everyone if you have one of these
Washing sponges
Fairy liquid - you may well end up with a year's supply if everyone in your flat brings some
Tea towels
Slow cooker - I know you might be wondering about this one but it can be so useful to prepare your meals in earlier in the day so its ready as soon as you come in. It won't break the bank either, I picked one up for £10 from Wilko's
Kitchen cleaner - you don't want to let it become too horrible to cook in
Anti-bacterial wipes can be used for wiping down surfaces and are so useful when cleaning spilled drinks whilst playing cards

Bedroom

Clothes
Shoes
Coats
Bedding - get a double even if you only have a single bed 
Mattress protector - you will spill drinks on your bed at some point
Any fancy dress outfits (you'll need a few)
Dressing gown/Slippers
Coat hangers
Posters - makes your room a little more homely
Door wedge - one of the best ways to be friendly to leave your door open to invite others in
Clothes Rail - if you don't have much storage you can hang your most used clothes here, or alternatively use the rail to try clothes that are hung up.

Bathroom

Shower gel/Shampoo
Handwash
Toothbrush/Toothpaste
Razor/Shaving foam
Towels
Hair products
Hairdryer
Straighteners/Curlers/Brushes
Bleach - don't let your toilet become nasty
Bathroom cleaner - this is where you'll wash so you want it to be fresh

Stationery

Notepad - don't by too cheap as the paper won't last well, you can get decent ones on offer around the start of term
Pens - you don't want to be 'that person' who is constantly asking to borrow one
Highlighters - perfect for revision
Uni diary - this is handy to note down all your work and deadlines
Folders - they will come in very useful for organising your work
Plastic wallets - can also help with filing
Holepunch - very useful when filing things away
Stapler - a life saver when handing in assignments so it isn't just a pile of papers

Electronics

TV
Laptop
Games console and controllers
Speakers
Headphones
Camera
Phone
USB stick for your work
Extension lead
Spare phone - something like a classic Nokia is ideal for nights out
HDMI cables - very useful to connect your laptop to the TV (Netflix on the big screen)

Other

Ironing board
Iron
Laundry basket
Washing liquid
Softener
Clothes maiden
Medication
Contraceptives
Passport - you may well need this for job interviews etc.
Railcard - definitely worth investing in one if you travel by train a lot
NUS card or Unidays app to save on the Autumn fresher events


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