Newbie blogger advice from a rookie

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I’ve had this blog for a while now, but only this year did I decide to make something of it rather than just a place of incoherent ramblings that not many cared for. I’ll be the first person to say I am not a perfect blogger. I’m really not. But having said that, I’m really proud of myself for getting a growth in my blog. From the occasional view every so often to around 100 views a day for someone with my experience and the efforts I put into my blog is amazing. I’ve got a hell of a long way to go before I can consider myself an expert or professional, but I’ve learnt a lot which I can pass onto newbies and have been doing for friends who have been considering joining the blogging world. I’m not saying this will be the best advice you’ve ever been given, but it’s what I feel has helped me and may be of use to you. So, without further ado…

1. Blog about what you love

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I’m not saying it has to be one topic only. I cover multiple topics on my blog, I feel like for me it would be wrong to just cover the one since I’m interested in a multitude of things and have a lot I could say about each of them. What I’m saying is, blog about things that interest you and not what you think will interest others despite not being interested. You need to be able to know what you’re talking about, give honest opinions, show passion in each post. If you don’t like what you blog about, you’re not going to enjoy it.

2. create social media profiles

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I feel like most of my traffic comes from my socials. Twitter and Facebook are my biggest and that’s all I really use. You don’t need thousands of different accounts, but I feel like it’s vital to have some. I use Twitter and Facebook the most for my personal life, so to use them for my blog is the easiest. Use what you are most comfortable with. I know a lot of people are using Pinterest which is still something I’m trying to learn about, so I can’t give my personal opinion on it, but I do know many bloggers who think it’s incredible.

3. Join blogging communities

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Honestly, probably the biggest thing that’s helped me is joining blogging communities. I mainly use Facebook group ones and they are of extreme use. From growing your platforms to learning tips and tricks, you even gain friends and regular readers. Everyone is there for the same reason- to get the best out of their blogging experience. So, find some groups – be it Facebook, Twitter, wherever. My personal favourites are Bloggers Helping Each Other, South Wales Bloggers, Beauties on Fire and Millennial Bloggers Collective. I also recently told you about how I had created my own community by making a group based for my age range. I love blogging communities and felt like there was room for one for people around my age, so 90s Baby Bloggers was born.

Another thing that’s worth doing is partaking in blogger chats on Twitter. This is something new I’m getting to learn about but so far I’ve had great experiences! I particularly enjoy ones hosted by @TheBloggersHub_, @WelshBloggersRT and though it’s vlog based, @VloggersChatUK is great fun, too. You make new friends and find inspiration, which is always a positive.

4. You don’t have to be a professional photographer

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For the longest time I was stressing because I don’t take my own photos. When I first began blogging, I had nowhere to take photos of products I wanted to write about and I’m no professional. Though my 2017 blogging goals is to use my new room/space to practise photography and taking my own photos, you don’t have to stress. There’s ways around it. The best way if you need photos that aren’t for products is to use websites with free images. Ones that allow you to use their photos. Ones I’m currently a fan of are Negative Space, Stokpic and Kaboompics. Websites will explain if they want credit or the license info, so make sure you read up on it. I also have a new phone which seems to be of a better quality. You don’t need a DLSR!

5. Remember why you’re blogging

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Don’t become a blogger if you’re in it for the free things or just to become the next Zoella. That’s not how it works. True, people such as Zoella and Tanya Burr did influence my decision, but because the fun they had and the fact I knew I could create similar content based on my own passions. Not long after I started blogging, I saw a friend get freebies and instantly thought I had to try and get some to be a valued blogger. That’s not true. Your content needs to be true to you, what you want to share and the like. The more original content you create, the better. I love to get inspired by other bloggers and their content, but try my best to put a spin on it to make it more unique and to fit me. Of course, not everyone will have 100% original and unique content, we’re all bound to have similarities, but instead of copying others, do what you think.

6. Blogging doesn’t have to cost

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You’re a beginner, you don’t have to necessarily be spending out a ton of money. I wouldn’t even consider spending right away. Get to know the basics. Use free blog designs, stick to a free URL. Use the tools and resources you have. When you begin to grow and take it as a more serious hobby, that’s when you can begin to consider spending. But even then, it shouldn’t have to be hundreds or thousands. Any equipment, try and get in sales, save money aside, ask for Christmas and birthdays. You can also try and find cheap designs, etc. on Etsy or via other bloggers. But straight away? Try not to spend anything. Just do it all for free and for fun. There’s no point in putting money into something before you get a real feel. And if you want blogging to be a small side hobby, you shouldn’t ever have to really pay. Just make do with what you have.

7. Remember who is boss – you!

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It’s very easy to see more successful bloggers and try and follow what they do or try and be much like them, trying to live up to their schedules or doing things their way, but they aren’t your boss; you are. Of course, you can look to others for inspiration, but remember to take the reigns for yourself and do things your way. Post as many times as you wish to, do blog posts in the style you are most comfortable, use tools you feel benefit you more.

I hope my advice has been helpful to beginner bloggers – it’s not too long ago I’ve been standing where you are and I’m still feeling pretty new to it all, but I’ve definitely learnt a lot.  What advice would you give to a newbie blogger? Comment below, maybe we can all learn something new!

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Why blogging is so important to me

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There’s a lot going on in my mind right now and I feel like it’s best if I write a blog post. I don’t really mind if it’s not read by many or anyone at all, but I just feel like writing things down is a stress reducer for me.

I’ve mentioned many times and maybe my regular readers will be fully aware of my passion for writing. I’ve always enjoyed it and even won the ‘Best Writer’ award way back in Year 6 in primary school. My teacher said in the speech he gave about how at 11 years old I could write better than most adults, which was just a shock to me, since I just write how I think.

I think my passion really developed, though, as a teenager. I had a laptop (one of many over the years) and would just write and write. It wasn’t until I joined my local youth website, Wicid, that I realised it genuinely was what I wanted to do for a career. My field of writing changed from fictional to factual. I’ve always been a fan of those teen magazines which talk about celebrities. Not in a bashing tabloid kind of way, but more of a ‘fangirl’ and praising kind of way. I used to read all the magazines. From ‘Girl Talk’ when I was about 6 to 10 before moving onto ‘Sugar’, ‘Shout’, ‘Mizz’ and ‘Bliss’ as I reached secondary school. I think that’s where I picked up my tone of writing – light hearted, cheeky and as if I’m talking to a friend.

Fast forward a few years and I managed to get a job with a pop culture website. I volunteered for two years before gaining a full time job, which was essentially my dream. But one thing stood in the way – my mental health.

After writing for two different websites, early last month I decided to call a time-out. I love writing so much, but with my mental health deteriorating and people needing me to hit deadlines and goals, it was turning my passion into a pit of pure fear. The thing I knew I was good at and enjoyed doing became more like a chore. Of course, I know not all writing will be fun fun fun in a job, but when my mental health is taking a toll on me, it can really make getting out of bed hard, let alone completing articles for a company.

Cutting writing out of my life completely was also a problem. With bi polar, you get manic and depressive episodes. During my manics, I love to write. I can write so much. In fact, here’s a secret – most of the ‘Celebrity Bargain Buy’ posts from November were written in one day. It was during a manic mode and I was going full steam ahead. Of course, I scheduled them over the month, but they were mostly all  written before the 10th November. I love creating new ideas and coming up with content, it’s just something that I’m passionate for. I’m currently going through a patch of depression (though I’m not as bad as I used to be, many believe that depression is never fully cured and I think I believe that, too) so it’s been hard to have a normal, happy, busy life like most people. But when I need an escape, when I feel somewhat okay but not to the point where I can resume living life in a more balanced mindset, blogging is really my escape. I can forget about the pessimistic thoughts that swamp my mind and just write. Write about anything I want. And there’s no deadlines, either. It’s all as and when I want to do things.

Do I want to  make blogging a career? I don’t know. I’ve become more involved in blogging communities and look to other bloggers in awe with their success, but I don’t know if that’s where my heart lies right now. But the truth is, I don’t even know if I want to continue my passion for pop journalism. My head is so full of dark, grey clouds that I’m not sure of anything. But what I do know is that I’m really enjoying the moments where I can blog and feel proud of the content I’ve produced. I know it’s not to everyone’s taste, but you can’t please everyone. I’m just having some fun and experimenting with my own writing skills as well as doing work which could be considered to be of use for my portfolio.

Anyway, I just thought I’d share my midnight thoughts with you. Sometimes writing like this is helpful alone.

Why is blogging important to you? Is it your full-time career or would you like it to be? I’d love to hear your blogging stories in the comments below.

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The Pusheen Gift Guide

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Most people on social media are aware of ‘Pusheen The Cat’ – a female cartoon Grey Tabby cat who pops up pretty much everywhere, most recently as Facebook Messenger stickers. Whether you’re an avid Pusheen fan or just love cats and cuteness, there are some gorgeous gifts out there this year which I think are perfect for Christmas.

 

Pusheen Drinking Bottle – £7.99

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For cuteness on the go, a Pusheen water bottle is a must! From keep fit activities to office and school hydration, I’m loving this cute design.

Available from EMP

Pusheen Cat Plush in Small – £9.55

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Who doesn’t love a cuddly toy? And Pusheen is here for cuddles and snuggles. She’s just too adorable!

Available from Alza 

 

Pusheen Official 2017 Diary (a5) -£7.21

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Keep 2017 an organised (and adorable) year with this sweet little diary, which is small enough to fit in your hand bag or school backpack for making dates on the go.

Available from Wordery

Pusheen Sweet Dreams Mini Hot Water Bottle – £6.99

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Keep warm on cold and frosty nights with this mini hot water bottle. Perfect stocking filler for your favourite cat enthusiast.

Available from Truffle Shuffle

Pusheen Mug – £10.00

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This mug is a must have in your kitchen cupboard. Just look at his little face! You could even take it to work for your office mug.

Available from Urban Outfitters

Pusheen emotions pj t-shirt – £5.00

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This PJ top is perfect for lounging in and has one of the best Pusheen comics printed on it. If you ever need to understand what your cat is feeling, this is the perfect guide. There’s also matching bottoms if you want to make it a PJ set.

Available from Primark*

‘I Am Pusheen The Cat’ book – £6.99

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Learn all about Pusheen in this book about her – a perfect stocking stuffer for Pusheen fans or people wanting to learn about the cute kitty.

Available from W H Smith

Pusheen Pencil Case – £8.00

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Pusheen can come to school or work with you as a pencil case or even store your make-up and brushes. Whatever you choose to store in this case, I’m sure Pusheen will guard it with all nine of her lives.

Available from Cutesy Kink 

Pusheen Travel Set – £13.00

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Travel with great satisfaction that you are indeed the cutest passenger on board with your fab Pusheen passport holder and luggage tag.

Available from John Lewis 

Pusheen A5 Notebook – £5.00

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Is this not the cutest and punniest notebook you ever did see? Pusheen is here to help you keep notes and remind you of her love for you. As well as pizza.

Available from Boots 

 

Do you love Pusheen? What’s your favourite item on here? Make sure you comment below!

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*Primark currently do not sell online, but in-store only

MORE GIFT GUIDES…

My favourite Winter Yankee Candles

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‘Tis the season to get cosy and for me, I think it’s a necessity to have a good candle. My favourite kind are scented and Yankee Candle are without a doubt my favourite brand when it comes to a good smelling one to light and have such a cosy feeling to them. I’ve narrowed down my top five Wintery Yankee Candles to share with you to inspire your seasonal scents.

Candy Cane Lane

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This sweet scent has a delicious aroma of peppermint mixed with hints of cookies and vanilla icing, making it a treat for all sweet-tooths alike. The crimson red shade of the wax also blends in with the typical Christmas colours giving the perfect cosy glow.

Shop the Candy Cane Lane scent

Berry Jam

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This one isn’t part of Yankee’s Christmas collection, but it’s definitely a gorgeous winter flavour. The stunning scent consists of berry notes including fresh berries and pomegranate. It reminds me of some Winter cooking going on during a cosy evening. It really brings the room to life and making your mouth water a slight.

Shop the Berry Jam scent

Snow In Love

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This is a gorgeous fresh scent full of minty and wood notes, reminding me of a crisp cold Winter’s walk through a forest. Though a Christmas candle, I think this is perfect for the months of January and February, too for that freshness to fill your home.

Shop the Snow in Love scent

Sparkling Cinnamon

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Another sweet scent, but not in the candy way is Sparkling Cinnamon. It’s a pungent aroma but isn’t overpowering. Cinnamon is definitely a winter classic scent, so I think it’s a perfect choice for this time of year. We always have a cinnamon scent starting at around the end of October because it really gets us in the mood.

Shop the Sparkling Cinnamon scent

Red Apple Wreath

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This is a delightful Christmas scent, with the aroma of spiced apples and a slight hint of pine, which I really think is the ideal December aroma for getting the final preparation for the big celebration.

Shop the Red Apple Wreath scent

What are your favourite seasonal scents? What about your ultimate Yankee Candle? Leave a comment below as I always love to try new flavours!

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Celebrity Bargain Buy: Tanya Burr

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Welcome back to ‘Celebrity Bargain Buy’, where I’ll be sharing with you some fashion pieces worn by celebrities which are available for an affordable price.

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Today’s piece is from Tanya Burr which she wore in a recent YouTube video.

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This gorgeous shirt dress is perfect for the Autumn/Winter season and would be gorgeous with some tights and chunky boots. I think it would also be fab as a layered look. Would you believe it’s only £28.00 from ASOS? What a steal!

What do you think of this shirt dress? How would you dress it? Leave your comments below and check back soon for more ‘Celebrity Bargain Buy’.

 

Check here for more ‘Celebrity Bargain Buy’

Introducing: 90s Babies Bloggers

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Hello, you lovely lot!

This is a bit of a different post, but I thought I’d let you know about a new project I’m working on.

Thanks to multiple blogger communities – in particular those on Facebook – I have seen an impressive growth on my blog as well as made lots of new connections and friends! Therefore, I’ve decided to create my own – 90s Babies Bloggers!

I see countless of parenting groups and 30+ groups, so I thought it would be nice to find other bloggers in my age range who can connect with one another, make friends and grow our platforms.

Whether you are a blogger, YouTuber or social media influencer and are born in the 1990s, please come join us! We’re brand new so still got a lot of work, but I’d love to make this a lovely community where we don’t just promote ourselves, but offer a helping hand and make great connections, if not friendships.

So, what are you waiting for…?

CLICK HERE TO COME AND JOIN US

And don’t forget to invite your friends, too!

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Plus Sized Picks: Christmas 2016 Edition

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I was so overwhelmed with the response of my first ever ‘Plus Sized Picks’, that I thought I’d do a Christmas special! Here are some fashion picks for my fellow plus sized beauties to rock this festive season…

New Look Curves Dark Grey Christmas Polar Bear T-shirt

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I just love this top SO much! It’s so cute and festive – something I’d love to wear under my leather jacket with the faux fur trim along with some boots and black jeans. It’s perfect to dress with all sorts of outfit choices as well as just a pair of joggers to lounge around on Christmas Day with.

Available for £9.99

 

Asos Curve ‘I Only Do Morning’s on the 25th of December’ Christmas Jumper

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This jumper is a description of me. I despise mornings, except for Christmas Day where  am eager to get out of bed as early as possible! Another great one for layering and if you have any Christmas Jumper events but want to stand out, this isn’t a bright coloured one but is still festive.

Available for £28.00

BOOHOO.com PLUS EMMA SNOWMAN CHRISTMAS BODYCON DRESS

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I think this is so festive and a great novelty dress for Christmas parties! I think I’d pair this with a pair of thick black tights and ankle boots with probably, knowing my sense of style, a biker jacket!

Available for £15.00

Forever 21 Plus Size Hooded Bomber

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Bombers are all the rage when it comes to coats and I think this is a great jacket for the colder weather, especially for layering. There’s also a choice of khaki but since I have too many in that colour, I’ve chosen this gorgeous black instead. Plus, a hood is a must! I would wear this Christmas Day walking our dogs up the mountain and around Cardiff for Christmas shopping.

Available for £37.00

Rosegal Christmas Graphic Varsity Striped Sweatshirt

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This is great for wearing when you need layers to keep warm, but I can also see me wearing this over my Christmas PJs to keep warm since its generous baggy size! Baggy sweatshirts are a must for this time of year, especially Christmas for that comfort and room for all the treats because I am telling you, I will be binging Christmas week.

Available for £20.00

What do you think of these picks? How would you style them for Christmas wear? Comment below your thoughts!

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