Friday, 22 July 2016

How I Use OneNote For Blogging


Over the time I've been blogging I've experimented with different ways to keep my blogging notes and try to keep track of what posts need doing. I know some people prefer to actually write things down in notepads, but I've always been more techy and liked having the ability to access it on my phone. After trying out few different apps including the basic notes one of the iPhone, I started using Microsoft OneNote and haven't looked back. I use this to help draft out some post ideas as well as for sorting out my schedule. 


Features
You can access OneNote on multiple devices, as I use it on my iPhone, iPad and laptop, and when they connect to the internet they will sync. This means any changes made on one device will be seen on all the other devices so you can pick up where you left off. You can have as many different notebooks to keep your topics separated, at the moment I have one for blogging and another for other general notes (see picture above). Within each notebook you can have numerous tabs to help organise the different areas. Within each tab you can create separate pages. This gives you plenty of space to organise your notes and means you can always keep track and should never have to bundle all of your notes in together. You can insert multiple items into your notes including pictures, audio, file attachments and more as you can see from the tab in the picture below. You can also draw on the pages which allows you to include more creative ideas in your notes. 


How I Organise My Notes
I have four tabs within my blogging notepad to keep things separate. For my 'Posts' tab, I create a page for each post so that I can easily see what post ideas I have. This means I won't forget my ideas if I can put it down whenever it springs to mind. On each page I will type out ideas that I'm going to include in the post, or sometimes plan out the whole draft of my post. My next tab in the 'Photos To Do' one, and is used to keep a to do list of the photos I need to take for posts. This is similar to the posts tab in that I create a separate page for each set of photos I need to take. I will often write down ideas of how I want to take the photos or how many I want of a certain product. 

My 'Schedule' tab is where I plan out my posts for each month. I used a separate page for each month so it's super quick to find my posts. I created a simple tab as you can see above so I have the dates down one side and which posts will go up on which day. I have also added a check box to the days that have posts in then as you can see so I can tick off knowing when posts have been published, or have been written and scheduled to go up. The last tab I have is the 'Extras' which is the section for anything that helps me with blogging. I have different pages including info such as what to include in every blog post and to do lists for other blog related things. 

I have found Microsoft OneNote so easy to get to grips with and it makes organising all of your notes so easy. You an have multiple ways to file notes to keep everything in order and with it all syncing, you can use it on as many or few devices as you like. I love being to access all my blog notes wherever I am, even if I am out somewhere. You can even access it on any computer by logging onto your account on a web browser which could come in very handy, so those important ideas will never be far away.


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Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Raising Money For Ehlers-Danlos Support UK - Big Fun Run Liverpool


On the 13th of August, me and Laura will be taking part in the 5K Big Fun Run in Liverpool to raise money for Ehlers-Danlos Support UK. This event is held in Sefton Park and can be taken part by anyone from keen runners to people who have never done one before. As they describe on their website, you can run, jog, skip or whatever you like! 

Last year Laura was diagnosed with the hyper-mobility type of Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS). EDS can cause her really bad joint pains which can happen with no real warning and completely affect her whole day. I see what this condition can do to Laura on a daily basis and it can be really hard for her and will sometimes prevent her doing something she wanted to. 

There is not much awareness of this condition I think that it would really benefit from more money and attention being raised about the condition. We are both going to do this fun run to help to raise money and would love if you could help us achieve our target. We have created a Just Giving Page and would really appreciate anything you can give. There is also a text code above if you wanted to donate this way. Thanks in advance if you are able to donate anything!


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Friday, 8 July 2016

Haywards Pickles Review


A few weeks ago I was kindly sent this range of Haywards products to try out. They produce a selection of different pickled options that can be used to help add some colour and spice to your food. I haven't always bought many pickled items before so it was nice to receive this to try out something new. They also included some little Haywards items, including a small serving dish and what I like to call the 'pickle picker', which I can see will actually come in very useful. 



Medium & Tangy Red Cabbage
This is something that could be used to be part of a coleslaw to give it a bit more colour, or even just as a side option to a meal. Another option to use this for which is something I'd be keen to try out is the Red Cabbage Pulled Pork. You can blend it up to make a paste, which combined with cider to make a really tasty marinade and help give a new flavour to your main meal. 

Sweet & Mild Whole Gherkins
These gherkins can be great to include as part of a salad to add something different to what you may normally include. Another one of the recipes that Haywards recommend is the Grilled Tuna Salad with Gherkin Dressing. I think this would be something nice to try as it gives it a nice kick to what I would normally do when having tuna. 



Sweet & Mild Sliced Beetroot
This beetroot is perfect for including with your lunch options. As you can see above it makes a nice addition to a sandwich and is ready straight from the jar to stick straight on, and being preserved in the sweet and mild vinegar makes sure it will taste fresh every time you enjoy some. I think it would also work if you included it within a salad to add some colour and flavour. 

Sweet & Mild Piccalilli
This is a sweet mix of Cauliflower, Onion and Gherkin and is good to pull out when making yourself any sandwich. I think it will be something simple to help change up a normally lunch option that may have become a little bland. Thinking more of the main meal options with this, it can be added to your curry sauce to give an alternative to the normal curry dish. I do enjoy my curries, and I'm always looking for ways to try something new so this sounds like a good option.


Medium & Tangy Silverskin Onions
These onions can instantly add that bit of tang to any plate you include them on. There are really flavoursome and will really liven up your dish. They go well as part of a cheese board or indeed a salad, but I think they would also be great for any lunch accompaniment. I think they can also be enjoyed as a tasty snack, as you can just pick a few from the jar, and this is where a dish such as the Haywards one would come in useful to just pick out some and enjoy them on their own. 

Medium & Tangy Mixed Pickle
I think this is a great option if you fancy a little bit of each of your favourites and again would be a nice little side option to a lunch sandwich or salad. It consists of Cauliflower, Gherkins, Onions and Red Pepper. It could also work well as part of a selection with the other Haywards options to create a nice healthy lunch snack.


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Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Less Is Definitely More*


I have always been a fan of cars and couldn't wait to learn to drive years before I was turning 17. I had always loved going out in the car and would bombard my dad with questions about how the pedals worked and what different parts did. I had a real interest in how they worked and how the fuel you put into the car would make the wheels turn. As soon as I was 17 I had my provisional driving licence and started my lessons, I seemed to pick it up really quickly which was very much down to being keen from a young age plus the fact I already knew what everything in the car did. 

Fast forward to today when I have my own car, paying for the running of it becomes more of reality. Fuel prices are once again on the rise so it's becoming more expensive to cover the same distance, something I should think nobody is too pleased about. Channel 4 have created a short video about how Less Is Definitely More when it comes to fuel. It includes faces you might recognise, with Jamie Laing, Rachel Riley and Alex Brooker teaming up as the Reverse Engineers with the use of a mystery box to try and create a fuel efficient car in a battle to see which car can go further using the least fuel.

As I'm into my tech, I find it interesting to find out about how it's being used to help create new and innovative ways of how we can improve current practices. There are more and more engine types being rolled out nowadays, with some cars even having two different engines to help save fuel. It's very exciting to see how things are developing and the fact the in the future we could be running our cars with much less fuel than we use now, which would be a very welcome change to my wallet. To see how this reality is already being developed, have a look at the video below. Channel 4 have also got a few other videos in their web-series about Reverse Engineering and how we can make the future. 



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*This is a sponsored post.
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Sunday, 3 July 2016

Do You Need A Vlogging Camera To Be A Vlogger?


I'd have to start off by saying I don't consider myself to be a proper vlogger but I thought seen as me and Laura have tried to make a few YouTube videos of when we went on holidays, I would give my views and experience from what I have used to capture what we have filmed so far. Sometimes it might be tempting to go and buy a really expensive camera before you want to start thinking about making videos, but I wanted to let you know what I used and why you don't have to break the bank to get good quality footage.

What I Use

For the Paris video we only used an iPhone 5S to take the videos and it still came out pretty well. For the two Los Angeles vlogs I mainly use my GoPro Hero which only costs £94, which is fairly cheap compared to some of the vlogging cameras on the market. It can still output Full HD video and is fairly smooth saying its not got some of the more fancy image stabilisation that the more expensive cameras come with.

The GoPro has a very wide angle fish eye lens and is great for capturing everything you point it at so you don't have to worry if things will be in the shot, even if you switch the camera round to film yourself. It's a very impressive quality for the size of the camera and would be more than good enough if you are just starting out. The only drawback with the wide angle is that you have no option to zoom while filming, but this can be done afterwards when editing.

The audio quality of the GoPro does vary depending on the back door you have fitted, as the skeleton back door lets much more sound into the microphone, so it's best to use this when not doing anything where the camera might get wet and dirty. Even if you have the waterproof back door on, it still will capture some audio, but the plus side is that it will let you film things that you wouldn't normally be able to shoot. Unfortunately for this GoPro you are not able to connect an external mic, but don't let this put you off as the in-built one should be good enough if you are just thinking about starting.

For a few of the clips in the LA vlogs we used our iPhone 6S's and this still came out really well saying it was just a phone camera. It's also great as you nearly always have your phone with you, so you can quickly get it out and start recording so you don't miss anything. I do always use the rear camera as this is much better quality than the front facing one. Audio wise, the iPhone is quite impressive so should capture whatever it is you are doing. I've included the Paris video and both Los Angeles Vlogs below so you can see the quality you can get from a reasonably cheap camera and whether this would be good enough for the kind of videos you might want to make.

 
Filmed all with iPhone 5S
 
 
Filmed mainly with GoPro Hero and some iPhone 6S 
 
Filmed mainly with GoPro Hero and some iPhone 6S 

Those were a few of the vlogs we have filmed before, and although we haven't done many, it's sometime useful to see what other people use to help you make a decision on what to buy. From my experience, the GoPro for under £100 works very well and gives you high quality video and would be more than capable of being a vlogging camera, especially if you are just starting out, so don't think you need to go out and spend loads at the beginning.

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Friday, 1 July 2016

The Ultimate Tech Wishlist*


I've always been into my technology and over the years I've enjoyed saving up to buy things or getting something for a birthday or Christmas present. I know a lot of these are quite expensive, but that's the point of a wishlist right? These are some of the items I'd love to own at some point and would be nice to save up towards and look forward to getting.

DSLR

Having always been into photography, I loved the idea of owning one of these for years. Since getting my hands on my Fuji, this has given me more control over the settings, which are similar to that on a DSLR. Even though I'm happy with my current camera, investing in a higher quality camera to improve the quality of my photos I can produce would be worth it, plus the fact it would help improve my blog photography too. I do quite like the Canon ranges so something like the 70D could be a good choice.

4K TV

With so much content available in HD I want to be able to make use of this when viewing it on the TV. I'm always one to switch to the HD channel if it's available, even if I'm only watching a random TV show or the news. I especially love watching films in HD as it really brings out the cinema experience and makes it more realistic viewing. I remember when TV's were considered good if they were HD ready, so to fast forward to today when 4K TV's are the new thing on the market seems quite crazy. Since buying my GoPro Hero 4, it would be great to record and see what this resolution looks like played back on a big 4K TV. Something like this Ultra HD TV from Panasonic would be perfect as it combines an amazing picture while having a very narrow and sleek design. It comes with the added bonus of being a Smart TV to make catching up on your favourite shows easy. 

PS4

I've had a PS3 for over 6 years now and have just kept buying games for it since, but have been noticing more and more games that are being stopped for the PS3 and only being brought out on the new generation console. There are certain games in the Assassins Creed series where the new ones can no longer be bought for the PS3. Some other new games such as Uncharted 4 and The Last Of Us look amazing and the graphics of a lot of the PS4 games look really impressive, so it would be great to play them with all the new detailing. 

iMac

I have looked at these whenever I've been into the Apple store and really liked them. Since I started blogging, I've seen quite a few bloggers that use an iMac and I can definitely see why. The software available for editing photos and video would make it so much easier, plus the fact it would be so much faster. The other huge benefit is having the high resolution big screen to make multi-tasking a breeze while seeing everything in crisp detail. All of this is contained within one monitor that gives you everything that you need in an elegant design. This means you can have a very powerful computer all in one unit that fits nicely on a desk with the only other bits needed being a mouse and keyboard. 

Fitbit

Fitness watches have been growing in popularity recently with numerous brands releasing them. Laura bought a Fitbit Blaze when we went to Los Angeles and I love its design and features that it has. I want to get back into running so using one of these would be a good way to track my performance while being able to keep an eye on my heart rate. Some of them also come with GPS features, with it either being built in or linking to your phones one. This would be really useful for mapping my running routes to help track my progress.


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*This post was in collaboration with Panasonic. 
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