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.

SHARE:

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.

post signature
SHARE:

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. 


post signature
SHARE:

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?


SHARE:

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.

post signature

SHARE:
© Andrew Mark Smith | A Lifestyle, Photography & Technology Blog. All rights reserved.
Blogger Designs by pipdig