Saturday, 8 December 2018

A Life Update


It's been a few months since I last posted on the blog as I've been really busy with other things so have struggled to put the time into blogging. Now things have settled down a little I thought it would be a good time to write a little update about what's been going on in the last 6 months. 

Since the start of the year, myself and Laura have been looking at buying a house together. For a while, we cycled round a number of different options, from new builds to older houses that ranged in size and location. Fast forward to the middle of June and we had received the keys to our very own first home. We bought a 3-bed semi detached house in Liverpool and are really happy with our choice. After having a proper look round the house, we came up with a list of things we wanted to do to get it how we'd like it. It started out with a bit of decorating and ended up turning into a renovation project which has kept us busy. The jobs ranged from upgrading the kitchen, fitting laminate flooring in four rooms, repainting the entire house plus DIYing a number of items of furniture. The house is pretty much there now and we're happy with what we have achieved since June, having done jobs that we never thought we'd be able to and learning plenty of new skills.

As well as making the new house a home, it's been a busy time for planning things for the wedding. After Laura and I got engaged last December we've been going through ideas for what we'd like and potential locations and dates for the big day. Having been to a couple of big wedding shows recently, we've started to work through a number of venues to create a shortlist and are pleased to have finally booked our venue for 2020. I knew wedding planning would take time but definitely underestimated how long this would actually be. There's obviously plenty more things to sort but we now have the venue and photographers confirmed which is a big relief.

So that's what's been keeping me occupied over the past 6 months and is the reason it's been quiet on here. Going forward I'm intending to get back on top of blogging and I'm feeling motivated to start posting regularly and producing content again so there is more to come. 


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Sunday, 27 May 2018

Achieving The Grooming Style That's Right For You


Many of us have busy lives so our time is precious, which means we need to prioritise what's essential is our everyday routines. Male grooming has become an important part of the morning and having the correct items to do this with is key. When I was younger I didn't tend to care much about my appearance and couldn't really be bothered to do anything extra in the mornings when getting ready. Even trying to do something with my hair felt like too much effort so it just ended up with a quick pat dry after a shower and left to dry off. One of the main reasons for this is that I felt it would take far too long and I was much more bothered about having an extra bit of time in bed. In recent years I've realised that it doesn't take as long as I thought to achieve the look and style you want. I've started to have more interest in grooming and putting some care into my appearance. Now that I'm in a more formal job I feel that I want to look and feel smart. For me, it's not just about putting my shirt and tie on, it's about getting myself ready so that my overall appearance looks tip-top, particularly for those times when I have an important presentation or event.

Having a grooming routine might seem time-consuming, but if you have the right tools it can be a lot quicker than you think. Look at Rio Ferdinand in the video below, he has a big game of footy coming up, yet by using his Panasonic Grooming Trimmer, he still has the time to ensure he's looking his best before the match. For those of you who like to sport a well-groomed beard, or even if you haven't thought about growing a beard as you were put off by the upkeep, using one of Panasonic's products could make your life so much easier to get the look you want. Whatever hobbies or job you have, being able to look your best can really make you feel much more positively about yourself. Picking the correct device to use can make all the difference to ensure you achieve the style you want, with Panasonic having loads of grooming shavers to help you do just that. Check out the video below to see how Rio ensures he's looking sharp and will stand out with his own style.




*This is a sponsored post with Panasonic.
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Monday, 12 February 2018

TV Shows I've Lost Interest In


When it comes to watching TV I'm much more into my series than just sticking something random on. I've watched numerous shows, whether this was on a weekly basis as the episodes were released or binge-watching a series on Netflix. Some of the shows I've watched have lost my interest for some reason or another which is a shame as I really enjoyed them to start with. 

The Walking Dead

Like many people, I was watching this religiously and was hooked from one week to the next. I feel that when it got to season 7 when two of the main characters are killed it started to go downhill from there. The rest of the season just seemed to be a bit slow and there were chances when it could have been really good and they just missed these opportunities. It revolved around getting revenge on a rival group and their leader yet every time there was a chance to take him out there was always some reason that it didn't happen and it just dragged on for far too long.

Ozark

This is one of the shows that I may go back to but it wasn't gripping me enough each episode. The story involves a financial planner money laundering for a drug cartel which leaves his family in danger, but you don't always feel this level of threat which is what was keeping me interested due to wondering what would happen next. I do think that this has potential and may turn out to be really good I just need to get back into it and be intrigued enough by it to start watching again.

Bates Motel

Getting the story from Psycho this had plenty of potential to be a great show. You always know there is something slightly off about the son and as it develops it evolves into even more strange behaviour. I did enjoy watching it as it escalated and you started to switch between who you were rooting for, yet after a while, I just felt like it was annoying me as it lost its way and that's when I stopped watching it. 

Prison Break

I've included this one on the list due to its recent revival years after it originally ended. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely loved the first four seasons of this which were first aired between 2005 and 2009. Eight years later in 2017, they released the fifth season to try and carry it on, yet I had no interest in watching this. I felt that they ended the fourth season really well and any attempt to carry it on would ruin it and could turn into one of those shows that starts to decline and becomes known for being dragged on for too long.

Better Call Saul

This came from the hit show Breaking Bad, where Saul Goodman was the attorney for the big time drug dealer Walter White. Before Saul was this high-flyer, he was a small-time attorney for low-income clients and the show follows his progress and how he worked his way up. At first, I felt like this would be a great one to watch yet it just didn't seem to live up to my expectations. I felt it was just a bit too slow and didn't keep my interest, which may have partly been because I was so used to the excitement of Breaking Bad that this just couldn't compete.

Suits

Something that's a bit different to other shows I've watched is a legal drama about a college dropout who gets hired by a big-time corporate lawyer in an unconventional move. I was really into watching it for the first few seasons but then I became a little disinterested in the storyline. There are new seasons coming out and I have heard others still being into it so it may be one that I pick back up one day. 

American Horror Story

If you've ever seen this you'll know that it's a very weird and slightly disturbing show that explores the hauntings and goings-on in different places. Each series is concentrated on different characters and locations, from an insane asylum to a witch coven. Even though they were unsettling to watch, there was something that kept you going back for more. I think it just became a bit too odd and lost its way with the overall storyline so was no longer enjoyable.


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Saturday, 27 January 2018

Games I've Been Playing In The Last 6 Months


Wolfenstein: The Old Blood (PS4)

Based in 1946 when the Nazis are close to winning WW2, the character B. J. Blazkowicz is attempting to overturn their rule and heading deep into Bavaria. The first part involves Blazkowicz being up against a psychotic prison warden to retrieve the death camp coordinates, with the second part taking him to the city of Wulfburg where he finds an obsessed Nazi archaeologist attempting to release evil power. I found this game really interesting as the storyline gets you intrigued as to what happened in the past and see the balance between truth and fiction as to what they used to shape the storyline. Playing this game shows what could have happened in an alternate reality as part of the Nazi regime and you also get to use some pretty interesting weapons throughout the game. 

Assassins Creed: Black Flag (PS3)

I started playing this a while ago and have been dipping in and out of it for a few months. This whole game revolves around the lives of pirates with an infinite amount of pirate activities that you can get involved with. The game starts in 1715 when pirates threatened the powers in Europe and began to rule the land and sea. It moves into the times where you will captain your own ship and meet legendary pirates such as Blackbeard. The last part involves meeting some fearsome pirates as well as a ruthless pirate hunter. When I first began the game I was really enjoying it as it was something a little different to previous games in the series, partly due to its expansive world which made it the 'largest and most immersive game in the franchise'. There are so many different things to do and you can sail to numerous islands, although I did find myself getting a little bored sometimes as this became quite time-consuming and tedious. 

Sniper Elite 4 (PS4)

Although there have been previous games in this series, it's the first one I've played. It's set during World War Two and follows the elite sniper and covert agent Karl Fairburne. He's fighting with the Italian Resistance to try and free the country from Fascism and stop the threat that may prevent the Allied comeback. I'd never thought about sniper games previously as I always thought they would be a bit boring, however, this definitely wasn't the case with this game. There's a variety of missions and scenarios to play as you work through the storyline. I found myself striving to get the most perfect sniper kill to try and get the best score, although I found it fun to play around with the other weaponry to mix it up a little. 

Hitman: The Complete First Season (PS4)

This game sees you play the role of Agent 47 which takes you on assignments to take out a number of high profile and powerful people. You can choose who you want to take out, how you kill them and at which point. The missions will take place in different countries such as Japan and Paris. One of the things I love about this game is that it reacts to every move you make which means every time you play a mission, you can end up with a different outcome. It's so responsive and means you have to plan out your kills and be patient to achieve success. Having different weapons to use gives you the freedom to choose your method of assassination and it can get quite intense as you sneak around, disguise yourself and execute your targets.

Uncharted: The Lost Legacy (PS4)

I first started playing the Uncharted games over a year ago and have played the remastered versions of the first three and then did number four. More recently I've been into The Lost Legacy which is currently the newest one in the series. The story follows Chloe Frazer who has appeared in previous games in the series, who takes on the help of a mercenary Nadine Ross. They head to India to try and recover an ancient artefact to prevent it getting into the wrong hands. I love the adventure that comes with the Uncharted games as there is so much exploring to do and this game takes you through some spectacular scenery and challenging missions.


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Sunday, 21 January 2018

2018 Goals


Get a house

After weighing up the options when graduating from uni, we decided to stay at Laura's parent's house while we would save up for a deposit rather than spend money renting a flat. We are hoping that we can get a mortgage this year and move into our own home. Being able to call a place your own and to have our own space will be amazing. I've already planned out what I'd like to do with one of the spare rooms which I'm hoping to turn it into a gaming room. 

Blog consistently

I often include something relating to how often I'd like to blog as it's something that I always try to improve on. I've set myself targets in the past to try and blog a certain number of times in a week and did manage to keep this up for a bit but then things got in the way such as when I started my full-time job. Since then I've been trying to find a balance of how often I can blog and keep this up consistently. I was quite busy in the run-up to Christmas so didn't manage to get up as many posts as I'd like, so I thought I could use the new year as a starting point to go from and aim to keep it up from there.

Get a role in my company

Having started my graduate scheme in September 2016, I'll be due to finish it later this year so will be looking for a role to go into in one of the areas that I've worked in across the two years. I've really enjoyed the scheme so far and have already got some ideas of where I'd like to go. With working in different parts of my business area I feel as though I've learnt so much and developed my skills further, so will be keeping an eye out for opportunities over the coming months. 

Have an engagement party

Laura and I recently got engaged after being together for over 4 and a half years. It was really nice to speak to our close family and let them know the good news. As I'm not originally from Liverpool and the majority of my family live 2 hours away, it's not been possible for both our families to meet each other properly. We'd like to have a nice get-together so we can celebrate our engagement and for our families and friends to get to know each other a bit better. 

Start doing more product review posts

I've got quite a few products, particularly tech-related ones, which I use all the time but have not reviewed yet. I recently started to compile a list of these items that I can review which will also give myself more content to write about. At Christmas, I was lucky enough to get some new gadgets which I'll be reviewing over the next few months. I'd also like to start doing more reviews of restaurants I've not tried before as well as guides to places I visit. 

Vlog more of our travels

Having started vlogging on our joint channel a couple of years ago, we've captured a number of places, whether this was a day trip to a local city or a full week away in a different country. We don't do chatty type videos but make ones where we document what we have been up to and seen. At first, I was thinking I needed to make a video that is perfectly edited and was a certain length. I realised if we set this target, I'd never end up vlogging certain trips that could actually make good content. 

Review the games I'm playing

In the past couple of years, I've started to get more into my gaming and been trying out a bigger variety of games. A while ago I would tend to just stick to the same series of games that I'd always play and wouldn't deviate from this. Now I've started to try out different games I've found some that I absolutely love and then ended up playing the other games in that series. I've been toying with the idea of gaming posts for a while but I'm still trying to decide on the style of how I'd like to do the posts before I go ahead with them, but there should hopefully be some up on the blog soon.


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Monday, 15 January 2018

Capturing Special Moments


I've been into photography for quite a few years and have owned a range of cameras that have helped me to develop my skills. It takes time to learn how to get your shots right and often means experimenting with different settings to achieve the photos or footage you want. As I've upgraded my cameras, they have given me more freedom to alter the setting so that I could choose my setup to make sure I achieved the best shot possible. Sometimes though, even when I've been playing around with different modes, I've not been able to take the photo I wanted due to the lack of light as the camera couldn't cope. Cameras are a great way to capture those special moments you have and allow you to save it as a memory forever. These moments may happen anywhere and at any time so you want to have a camera that can capture them whatever the situation.

This time last month I proposed to my girlfriend when we were on a weekend away to Newcastle. We went down to the quayside one evening and that's where I popped the question. After enjoying the moment, we decided to get a few photos of ourselves, the location and the ring. Due to the low lighting, this took a little while to get the photos we wanted as it wasn't picking up the detail quite right and the photos were coming out in low quality. Although we were able to get photos we liked in the end, having a camera that could perform well even when it's darker would have been ideal. Panasonic have released their LUMIX GH5S high-performance low light compact camera that is capable of producing great imagery even when the lighting conditions are challenging. To see what it's capable of, check out this impressive video below that showcases its abilities.



*This is a sponsored post with Panasonic.
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Sunday, 7 January 2018

How We Got Engaged


I'm going to go right back to the start of when Laura and I first met in September 2012. This was the time when we both moved into halls of residence at Northumbria University and happened to be put in the rooms next to each other. We soon developed a good friendship and it felt like we'd known each other for ages. It just felt so normal, we could talk about anything and enjoyed spending time with each other, whether this was heading into Newcastle or sitting watching Netflix until the early hours. We signed for a shared house with some of the others in our flat so in the first semester so we already knew that we'd be living together again the next year before we'd even got together. Things started getting a little more flirty in the second semester as we both realised that there might be more to it than just being good friends.


It was April 2013 not long after we had both arrived back to uni after the Easter break. I knew that I wanted to ask Laura to be my girlfriend so decided to try and come up with an excuse to get out the flat and head out for a walk. Apparently, I'm not that subtle and Laura had realised what I was trying to do so decided to start asking me a number of questions about why we needed to go for a walk. I eventually got her out the flat and we headed down to the quayside as it seemed a nice location. We wandered along the river and stopped by some of the railings and after a bit of random nervous talk I asked her out. Fast forward to third year and we had our own flat together. This is a big step for a couple but something that we both felt ready for and it was good to know that we could both live together alone in our own little place. The next year involved going on trips away, graduating and celebrating our 21st birthdays.


After graduating we both moved back to Liverpool in September 2015 to live with Laura's family as we weren't in a position to get our own place right then. Laura started a Christmas job and I carried on working in retail while applying for other jobs. In 2016 I started my graduate job and Laura was pursuing her blog full time. In January 2017 we started saving for a house while still staying in the family home rather than renting. We'd talked about getting engaged and knew we were both ready so we started saving for it in April 2017 and by the August we had the ring. Having talked about everything together, the process of getting engaged didn't feel like it should be any different.


We booked to go away to Wales for our birthdays in October and I thought this might be a nice opportunity to do it. Unfortunately, we had to cut the trip short as Laura wasn't too well and I didn't want to try and propose as it didn't feel right. Apparently, I still wasn't as subtle as when I asked her out and she'd clocked on that I was thinking of proposing. A few days later she suggested we could book a trip to Newcastle around Christmas time. The second day of our trip we headed to the quayside and this felt like the perfect location. Here we were again wandering along the river and for old times sake, we stopped at the place when I asked her out back in 2013. I pulled the ring out of my pocket, opened the box and asked her to marry me. We are both so happy to be engaged and it was great to share the news with friends and family and are now enjoying looking at things for the wedding.




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