A Pro/Con List for Taking a Blogging Break

When I started my new job back in November, I told myself that I’d rein it back a little and keep my blogging down to 5 posts a week, rather than the 6-7 posts a week I was publishing throughout 2016. Well.. It didn’t last very long. In fact, since then I’ve only had a 5-post week 4 times, and I quickly slipped back into my previous pattern.

I’m not gonna lie, recently I’ve been finding it a little exhausting. In fact, since getting back from my holiday at the start of March, I’ve not entirely felt properly back on my blogging game, and that combined with a slight dip in my stats over the last few weeks has led me to lose a bit of motivation, so I’m debating taking a break.

So I’ve been writing a pro/con list, and it looks a little something like this:

Pros:

  • More time for the rest of life – I can’t even hazard a guess at the number of hours that go into writing, editing, photographing and planning posts, as well as scheduling tweets, maintaining a cohesive Instagram theme. Think of all the time for other activities!
  • A chance to clear my head – taking a step away from the keyboard for a week or so would give me an opportunity to shake my constant blogger mentality, and find new inspiration and ideas. I mean, a watched kettle never boils, right?
  • Sorting priorities – my blog has been probably one of the biggest parts of my life for the last 3 years, and stepping away would give me an idea of if I still want it to be such a big part, or whether a step back would be better for me
  • No drama or competition – I don’t get involved in blogging drama, and I try extremely hard to not find myself competing with or comparing myself to other bloggers, but it would be nice to distance myself from the negative side of blogging
  • A chance to fall back in love – they say you don’t know what you’ve got til its gone, so maybe I should walk away to make myself want to come back

Cons:

  • Dropping engagement – its generally the case that the more you post, the better your stats seem to get. Regular posting has probably been the biggest influence in my blog growth over the last two years, and I’d hate to see that growth stutter.
  • One less creative outlet – blogging has always been a way of expressing myself and getting my creative juices flowing, and while I do have other hobbies that help get my creativity out, this blog has always been the place for me to word vomit everywhere and what would it be like if I didn’t force my word vomit onto others?!
  • Missing sense of pride – I have so much love for my blog, and it always amazes me how far I’ve come in my little corner of the internet, and if I take a break, I’ll miss the joy of seeing a new post get a great response, or hitting another milestone.
  • FOMO – if I’m not blogging, will I be extradited from the blogging community that I love so much? I’d hate to miss the social side of blogging, but also any blogging opportunities that might slip passed me.
  • Filling the gap – with my blog being such a big part of my life, will I find that taking a break leaves me with a sense of missing something? What if my life turns out to be even more boring than I thought if I’m not blogging?

Quite the debate, huh? It doesn’t take a mathematician to see that these lists are both equal, and the debate is still ongoing in my head so watch this space. Or, y’know, don’t..

If you’ve ever taken a blogging break, let me know your experience and drop me a comment!

Twitter / Bloglovin / Instagram

Blogging Things I’m Bad At

A little while back I wrote my blogging confessions, and this is sort of a follow up to that, y’know, a little tongue in cheek, take the micky out of myself sorta thing that you know I love to write..

SEO

Yup, a pretty big one right? The fact is, I know very little about it (yes, even after 3 years of blogging), and because I blog more for fun that the big statistics, some of the time that goes into working on my SEO goes into other stuff instead.

Twitter chats

I am forever wishing that I took part in more blogger chats on Twitter, but I either forget when they are, or don’t have the time, or I end up getting really shy and decide to give them a miss. I’m determined to change this though!

Scheduling tweets

I do try and keep my Buffer profile topped up at all times, but there have been a few occasions where I suddenly remember that I’ve not had any tweets going out all day. I also really hate doing it, and rarely schedule more than a few days in advance if I don’t need to.

Checking notifications

When I’m at work, often I just skim over my notifications on Twitter and Instagram, so on occasion I miss out on some replies or new followers. If I ever don’t reply or follow back, this is normally the reason, I’m not one of those bloggers who’s too big for their boots to even like your reply!

Replying to comments

I do read all the comments you lovely lot read on my posts, but I do often forget to reply at the time, please don’t hate me!

I guess no one’s perfect, right?!

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March Life and Blog Update

Happy Friday y’all! Last day of the working week, last day of the month, and a quarter of 2017 is up already! With that in mind, I thought I’d do something a little different to my regular monthly favourites, and do a little update on this first section of the year.

Happy moments in March:

Matthew has finally moved to Bournemouth this month, yay! After 8 months of long distance, we’ve both been looking forward to being in the same town for the first time in our relationship and a chance to be a proper couple. I’ve been taking more time to read, I’ve been baking more and I’ve also had a chance in the last couple of weeks to get back to my sewing machine and get some creativity flowing. Creating things gives me such a sense of happiness and pride, and I would love to be able to do it all day every day.

Products I’m loving recently:

  • Benefit Dandelion Dew liquid blush – a total whim purchase from Sephora, but this has become a daily staple for me as we start heading into Spring
  • Too Faced Sweet Peach highlighting palette – there is just so much about this palette that I love; I feel like it was made for me
  • Bite Matte Creme lip crayon in pastille – this was one of my Sephora freebies, but after saying ‘I don’t really need another lipstick’ I’ve totally changed my tune and I need more of these in my life!

What’s coming up:

I’m not very far away from my next trip and with that, my next 10K and half marathon, so the next 6 weeks will be spent planning and training. I’m also going to get my butt into gear at work and try and put in as many extra hours as I can without driving myself mad because I want to save as much money as I can in the next few months on top of my regular saving plan.

2017 target update:

(Figures as of last night!)

  • Bloglovin followers
    • 2017 goal: 500
    • Current: 545!! I actually hit 500 at the start of this month, which makes me so happy to have beat my target for the whole year already!
  • Twitter followers
    • 2017 goal: 2500
    • Current: 1972 – I’m finding growth is happening slowly, whether or not it’ll speed up by the end of the year is a different matter..
  • Instagram followers
    • 2017: 2000
    • Current: 1445 – I have gone up about 100 from the start of the year, but with it being such a fickle platform for numbers, I’m not getting my hopes up too much!
  • Page views
    • 2017 goal: 65,000
    • Current: 43640 – I’m so happy to have seen a big growth in my blog starts since the start of the year, and I know that if I can keep it up, I’ll be hitting this goal before the year is out!

And if you want to help me out with any of these numbers, you’ve got my links below!

Twitter / Bloglovin / Instagram

A Week in the Life of Lottie – Sunday

After another crazy night of falling asleep way early into a movie, I was surprised that Matthew was awake before I was. He was going in for sim training this morning, so I left quite early and went back to mine, where I got started on usual weekend work: writing blog posts, a stock order for The Happiest Fitness Co etc, while catching up on a few missed weeks of The Great Pottery Throwdown.


Lunchtime seemed to roll around pretty quickly, and resulted in my sister and me ordering Deliveroo and watching The Lorax, which managed to successfully distract me from the appointment I had at the Apple Store to get my phone fixed, so looks like I’ll be going another week with a cracked screen..


After lunch I hit a bit of a creative block, so I decided to remedy it by taking a break and having a bath. I used the Lush Autumn Leaf bath bomb, which was my favourite from the autumn/Halloween collection and I’ve been saving for a day like today, and I also took the opportunity to try out my Sephora eye mask, and had a good long soak while scrolling through Pinterest on my iPad. Question: am I the only person who won’t take a book into the bath for fear of getting it wet, but has no problem using my phone or iPad?


After a little bit of an afternoon slump, I got back to work, this time budget planning for my upcoming Disney trips (very important part of my life) and also writing up a new training plan for my next 8 weeks of running. More tweet scheduling done for the week, then back to writing for a bit! Dad decided to make pancakes for dinner, which felt like a win.

The rest of my evening will be spent tidying up my bedroom a bit, and getting started on a mass wardrobe clear-out that I want to get done this week, then I’m gonna curl up in bed with my book to wrap up the weekend.

Huge shoutout to everyone who’s followed along with me this week, its been quite fun doing something a little different from the usual! Normal blog scheduling will resume tomorrow, but if you ever want a nosey in on my life, there’s always my Instagram story!

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A Week in the Life of Lottie – Saturday

It’s the weekend, yay! I kicked mine off with a fairly rare lie in, then dropped Matthew off at a friends before going home to shower and get ready for the day. My sister arrived home this morning from two weeks in Thailand, so we went out to lunch at Toby Carvery with my nan, then round to my gran’s house for a catch up. Doing the rounds of the  grandparents on a Saturday is a fairly normal part of our family routine, affectionately known as the grumble run!

Post grumble-run, I took Matthew on an exciting trip to the car wash because my little car was long overdue a clean, and after clearing all the rubbish out of the inside earlier in the week, I figured I’d complete the job properly and now she’s all shiny and perfect!

Once we got back to Matthew’s, I knuckled to some serious Disney trip planning – we go to WDW at the end of October and our dining reservations will be coming up in about 6 weeks so with nothing thought out, we decided this afternoon would be a good time to start! I’ve got about 8-9 days of park/dining ideas sorted, so it was just a start but after a while I got a little stuck so I threw in the towel and instead got some blog work done while Matthew was doing some work of his own.

Our evening consisted of Haagen Dazs and movies in bed, starting with Rogue One. Normally I’d be forced to watch Saturday Night Takeaway, but we conveniently missed it tonight so ah well..

What have you been up to this Saturday?

A Week in the Life of Lottie – Friday

So after my crazy early night last night – I was asleep before 9pm – I woke up way earlier than I needed to.

I arrived at work bursting for a wee. Staying at Matthew’s basically means being in a house of 5 guys with only two bathrooms and one never has toilet paper, so you can imagine the struggle in the morning, so I opted to wait until I got into the office before I had the chance to relieve myself! 

Being on an early shift, the day went by pretty quickly. I went out at lunch to go to the post office to send out some Happiest Fitness Co orders, and picked up a pastry from Bennetts as a Friday lunchtime treat before returning to the comfort of my desk and my book (you’re sensing a theme with my lunch breaks, right?).

After I got home from work, I walked round to the local delivery office to collect a missed parcel from yesterday, and when I got home the cats were in. Now, I don’t actually own cats, but we have a semi-casual agreement with the neighbours cats that when their kids are annoying them they have a tendency to come hang out at ours.. Anyway they weren’t feeling very playful, so they quickly disappeared back out into the garden.

I got changed and headed round to Matthew’s, where we did a little bit of Disney trip discussion, then headed into Bournemouth to the new cinema complex to see Beauty and the Beast – and of course I had to wear my Chip skirt again. The new cinema has only been open about a month and everything is still very shiny and new, and has these crazy reclining seats in the screens, but we just opted for regular premier seats.

The movie itself was SO GOOD. Honestly, I’m not gonna post any spoilers and I will have a proper post up in the next week or so but if you’re umming and ahhing about seeing it, just do it because I fail to see anyone being disappointed.

After the movie we got a few more cinema treats – ice cream for Matthew and a frozen Fanta for me. Also note to self, and anyone else: the new car park underneath the new cinema is PRICEY. But we are getting a Five Guys so I think I’ll let the place off..

So I’m all done with work for the week and ready for a fairly chilled weekend, stay tuned for more!

A Week in the Life of Lottie – Thursday

I’m not gonna lie, today has been relatively normal in the grand scheme of things. Alarm went off at 7am, got up, got ready for work, the daily grind.

As per usual, I spent my lunch break with my nose stuck in a book; it’s the furthest I’ve ever got into The Fellowship of the Ring without my brain hurting, and I’m determined to fight on with it, and having an hour at lunch to dedicate every day is really helping and reminding me just how much I do love reading!

When I got home from work, I decided to clear some of the rubbish out of my car – it’s been building up for a while now and as Matthew and I might be driving up to Manchester this weekend, I figured a tidy car would make the journey a bit happier! I then made a failed attempt to go to the post office, courtesy of nightmare staff who close the counter when they can’t be bothered to do it, so came home, shut up the rabbit and the chickens and jumped in the shower.

The plan was to go to Matthew’s for dinner, but that kinda fell through due to a frozen fridge situation, so instead he came round and I whipped up a classic dinner of fish fingers, sweet potato mash and peas – it’s actually the first meal I’ve ever cooked for him, and I think it truly displayed my domestic goddess skills..

We’re gonna spend the rest of our evening watching Harry Potter movies in bed, and I’ll probably fall asleep by 10:30. Rockstar.

A Week in the Life of Lottie – Wednesday

I feel like this week is much more interesting than most weeks in my life, which makes the timing of these posts pretty perfect, ha!

After an early start, I got down the gym and kicked off leg day with a mile on the rowing machine, followed by 100 reps on the leg press and 3 sets of 20 reps on both the abductors and adductors. I had moved over to the mats to get started on some more work, but due to rather embarrassing circumstances (ladies know where this is going), instead I decided to give the rest of my workout a miss, opting to go home for a shower and breakfast before work.

Work felt like a very short day, being that I spent two hours of it in a presentation, and my entire lunch break was spent at my desk with my nose stuck in my book. My team is doing admin work all of this week, which makes a nice break from the regular day to day, and an even nicer surprise was walking out of the office to find Matthew waiting for me with some pretty yellow roses!

From work, we headed into town to get dinner at Skinny Kitchen, which I haven’t been to in AGES and I was pretty excited to try something different from the menu. I got the Seriously Stacked Burger, which was a cauliflower and quinoa patty with grilled halloumi and came with a pot of amazing sweet potato fries and it was SO GOOD. Skinny Kitchen never fails to impress me, its always just the best food that makes my body so happy!

After I dropped Matthew back to his, I got home and was straight into my pyjamas before hitting the sofa and cracking on with my usual evening activities: tweet scheduling, emails, packing up THFC orders, editing photos and getting started on a few more upcoming posts, all while watching Legally Blonde and munching on microwave popcorn. Wild life that I lead, I’ll probably end up having another early night, or at least getting into bed to read for a bit before I do.

Twitter / Bloglovin / Instagram

A Week in the Life of Lottie – Tuesday

Happy Tuesday everyone! Its been a particularly happy day for me because I’ve had a day off work, and I’ve got so much done, yay!

Now while most people would probably kick a day off with a lie in, I was up at 5am, courtesy of a 6am gym session with my trainer Steph. I usually walk to the gym, which is about 1.5 miles and takes about 25 minutes, and even in the dark I love the walk because Bournemouth is so pretty when its quiet out, and I can watch the sun rise over the beach from the gym. My workout was a lot of upper body isolation, with supersets of shoulders, biceps/triceps and chest and back, and wrapped up with two of my menaces – burpees, and 25kg overhead press – which while I hate it at the time, it reminds me of how far I’ve come from the days of 10kg.

I was home just before 7.30am, and kicked off the start of my productive morning by getting a batch of brownies in the oven – today is a baking day! I figured its been ages since I’ve done any proper baking, and any baking posts for that matter, so I spent my whole morning flitting back and forth from the kitchen and my laptop, getting each post written as the recipe cooked/set. After the brownies it was meringues, then marshmallows and orange curd, so keep an eye out for this in the coming weeks!

After a quick lunch break – turkey salad wrap – I set about getting all the photos for the posts taken, as well as some photos for other upcoming posts, then I took a little bit of time out from blog work to do a little DIY experiment for something that might be coming soon to my Etsy shop.

Back to writing for a little bit, with my classic background noise of Friends re-runs on Comedy Central, then I headed over to Matthew’s and because the poor boy is stranded in Bournemouth with no car, I was a top girlfriend again and took him to Staples and Currys PC World to pick up a few bits before we got in for the night, and gave up on the idea of cooking dinner, instead opting to order Pizza Hut delivery, oops!

Because he goes back into training tomorrow, he’ll be spending the evening revising, so I’m set up with my iPad and book – I’m starting The Fellowship of the Ring for what feels like the hundredth time, but I actually feel like I’m getting somewhere with it this time for a change! We’ve got an early morning tomorrow so I predict there’ll be a pizza induced coma and early night!

Twitter / Bloglovin / Instagram

A Week in the Life of Lottie – Monday

So a little while back I asked on Twitter if anyone would be interested in me daily blogging to share a little insight into what a typical week looks like for me, and the response was pretty good, so here we go! This week seemed like the perfect time because having worked yesterday, I’m actually only working 4 days this week, so lots of time for activities!

This morning kicked off with a 5:30 alarm, which was quickly reset to 6:30 as I was still exhausted and didn’t want to force myself down the gym. It might seem like laziness, but I’m a firm believer in listening to how my body feels and not pushing myself too far, and the extra hour in bed was glorious! It also meant I could spend a little bit more time doing my makeup this morning, yay! Today’s face featured my new Too Faced Sweet Peach highlight palette and ABH glow kit – two of my favourite Sephora purchases!

Breakfast was had at my desk: Belvita and a mug of Peanut Hottie from my favourite new Disney mug to brighten up my Monday morning. I won’t bore you with the ins and outs of my job, but I worked overtime today, doing an 8:15-18:00 shift, so I took myself myself to Costa for lunch as a treat, where I had a halloumi and pepper foccacia (YUM) and a fruity yogurt, and sat in the window enjoying the sunshine which has finally hit Bournemouth. My lunch break is normally used catching up with social media – Twitter, Instagram etc – and then a bit of blog reading, courtesy of the Bloglovin app on my phone. We also had a team meeting at work in the afternoon which we had outside on the roof, and all the fresh air has made me feel so much happier!

Matthew came and met me from work, and I took him down to John Lewis to buy a tv, then dropped him home so that I could dash home, shut up the chickens and the rabbit for the night, then headed down to my local shopping centre for my long overdue hair appointment. I love my long hair, but I haven’t had it cut in about a year, so I had to get a good few inches off to get it back in a good condition, but I’m pretty lucky to have fast growing hair so I’m sure it’ll be back properly in no time! I also nipped into Asda to stock up on a few baking supplies for tomorrow (stay tuned!).

The rest of my evening will be spent catching up on some tv, getting tweets scheduled and generally chilling. I’m up early to be at the gym for 6am tomorrow so it’ll be a fairly early one – a girl’s gotta sleep!

What’s your day been like?

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I Am NOT Blogging for the Wrong Reasons

Blog Birthday

I’ve seen a few tweets going round recently regarding bloggers being obsessed with numbers, and its true. Very rarely do I ever manage to scroll through my Twitter without seeing someone who’s just hit a follower milestone, or wishing to hit the next.

I have no issues with these posts, because when push comes to shove, readers and page views are all really important to blogging. What I do have an issue is other bloggers complaining that people who care about numbers are ‘blogging for the wrong reasons’. Nah.

I have always been fascinated by numbers. At work, I always love to know figures and targets and statistics; they appeal to my competitive self because there’s nothing I love more than being in competition with myself. Yes, I’m basically Monica from Friends.

You see, that’s how I see my blog stats – a way of beating and bettering myself. If my followers are going up, and my daily views are rocketing, that means I’ve done something right. Its nothing to do with beating others, its all me vs me. I get such a sense of pride seeing improvement in my little blog, and its the same with compliments – I don’t mind if I’m not getting them, but whenever I do its such a lovely part of what I’m doing.

Does this mean I’m blogging for the wrong reasons? Well I sure as hell don’t think so. Whether my stats are up or down, I still love blogging, and I still write because its what I love to do. But here’s the thing: NUMBERS CAN MATTER. I don’t make any form of steady income off my blog, but I know a number of full-time bloggers and freelance writers, and as far as they’re concerned, that’s what companies care about. Are they blogging for the wrong reasons? No, they’re trying to make a living.

Apologies if this has been a little bit ranty, but I can’t help but get a little bit offended when people get all ‘holier than thou’ telling other bloggers that they shouldn’t be thinking about the figures. Sure, I totally believe that numbers aren’t everything, and I always make an effort to not stress or obsess over them, but if I’m a few followers from a milestone, yes I’m gonna tweet about it, because d’you know what? Most other bloggers are lovely and I know they’re gonna hook me up.

So whether you look at numbers or not, just go out and smash it, because you’re awesome regardless.

Twitter / Bloglovin / Instagram

How To Take a Day Off Social Media

Taking a day off social media

As bloggers, our lives generally revolve around social media. Its not a bad thing – its how we drive traffic to our site, its the best way to communicate with other bloggers and its a great way to get exposure with brands. I’m sure I’m not the only person who’s been told things like ‘you spend too much time on your phone’ and ‘you’re being anti-social’, while all you’re doing is chatting to other people and promoting your latest post, right?

All the same, sometimes a break from the screen is a good thing, but how can you take a day away without letting your blog suffer? Try a few of these tips:

Schedule all your tweets

I normally only schedule 5 promotional tweets a day, and do the rest by myself, but if I know I’m gonna be busy and away from my laptop or phone, I’ll stick a few more in for good measure!

Take a camera, not your phone

Its easy to justify needing to take your phone out with you in case you need to snap some shots, go out with your camera instead – it might even get your creative juices flowing more!

Tell people what you’re doing

Whether you just text around to let your nearest and dearest know you’re gonna be off the radar for the day, or drop a tweet to announce you’ll be quiet – it means you can be disturbance free and also the accountability will make it easier to stick to your guns.

Go old school

Instead of putting all your thoughts into tweets, write them down instead! Carry a notebook and a pen, and every little thing that pops into your head can go down on paper for you to use another time.

Use it as material

If you’re worried about what a day away might do to your blog, why not your experience as a blog post? Write about what you did, how you did it and how it was for you, and share it with the world!

Don’t worry, its good for you!

There’s nothing wrong with spending all your time on social media. There’s also nothing wrong with taking time away. Whatever you wanna do, do it!

Twitter / Bloglovin / Instagram

 

My Stance on Pay for Bloggers

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The relationship between bloggers and companies is a tricky one. While there’s nothing better than working with a brand on an amazing collaboration, I can’t be alone in also being tired of endless ‘we’ve not got a budget, but we’ll share your post on our social media’ and ‘the post will get you an entry into a free prize draw’ emails, and that’s before you even go through the demand for follow links and non-disclosure, or even the funny ones where they’ve spelt your name wrong and have clearly never read your blog before ever. All fun and games.

I 100% believe in fair treatment for bloggers, but I know different people have different beliefs when it comes to how bloggers should be treated for our work, but here’s my take on how I approach PR work.

Sponsored posts and guest content

If I’m publishing a post that contains sections that I did not write myself, I expect some sort of payment, and I will ALWAYS disclose that it is sponsored and/or guest content. Its not fair for companies to expect me to compromise my integrity as a writer, and I don’t believe that a little disclosure note at the bottom of the post is going to make any difference to the message conveyed in the post.

I don’t have any problem with people publishing these posts – I mean, a girl’s gotta get paid! – but I’ll also never take one that isn’t relevant to my audience!

Free products for review

9 times out of 10, if I’m being sent a free product to review, I’m not gonna be asking for any other form of payment. I know I’m still fairly small in the grand scheme of blogging, so I’d never expect anything on top of the gifted products and I’d certainly never ask for it unless I believed that I was putting in considerably more work than I normally would.

Again, I won’t accept products that I don’t think fit my content – in the past I’ve been offered children’s books etc which I’ve politely declined. I also won’t accept products that I’ve done too many times – no more matcha green tea for me!

Affiliate links

I know this one is controversial with some people, but I really don’t see these as being an issue! Quite frankly, if a blogger posts a link to a product that they love, and 50 people buy it as a result, damn right they should be entitled to a bit of cash! For a blogger, they can be a huge source of income, and it makes me happy to see companies appreciating how much of an influence we can be, and I’ve used them myself with great results.

Free work for little/no payout

When I first started out as a blogger, I did take a few of these projects, but now they’re a no-no for me. My time is worth more than the chance of exposure via social media or a possibility of a prize draw. I do have some exceptions however..

If its a charity collaboration, I would never dream of asking for any payout. I’ve worked with awareness and fundraising projects before, and those are worth the time I put into them as I always love helping a good cause.

Small businesses are another exception. As a small business owner myself, I know that having budget available for advertising isn’t always an option, and I know that they are always so much more grateful for the exposure you’re giving them. I always try to promote smaller businesses as much as I can!

I think my biggest pet peeve on the subject is seeing PR companies and brands try to walk all over bloggers, thinking that its free and easy advertising and exposure, especially when I know how much time bloggers take preparing, writing, photographing and editing posts, and that’s before you think about the time spent promoting each post. There is nothing more off-putting than a company that doesn’t show respect for the people they want to do their work for them.

What are your thoughts on the subject?

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Why I Sometimes Feel Like A Sub-Standard Blogger

Spectrum Fresh Face set

We all have those days where nothing seems to be going right, and we question everything we normally believe in. As a blogger, this happens probably once or twice a month, maybe because my views are down, or I see other bloggers being offered opportunities that I’d love to be a part of, and it just leaves me with a little bit of a sinking feeling. Often, it disappears as quickly as it comes on, and I’m back in my little blogging bubble again, but here are a few of the reasons that ever so often I feel less than average.

My selfies get a fraction of likes

For starters, I can rarely take a good selfie, and even after I’ve Facetuned the hell out of it, I’m still not happy, but whenever I do post a quick snap of my face, the likes just don’t rack up like they do on my other photos. Cool guys..

I’m not constantly un-boxing blogger mail

I love writing, so the fact that I haven’t worked with that many brands doesn’t bother me too much, but sometimes when I see blogs where every other post is a collaboration or sponsored post, I feel a little bit like I’m not as ‘seen’ as others. I do, however, think that this makes me so much more grateful and excited when brands do want to work with me.

When it comes to makeup, I’m 100% winging it

I love putting on makeup and trying new things, but I wouldn’t for a second pretend that I’m anywhere near competent, and I cannot for the life of me get decent photos of my makeup to prove the days it does look good.

I’ve never been to a blogging event

Yes, I’m not exactly located in a big city where events happen all the time, so I totally understand it, but I don’t even know how well I would handle one without exploding with nerves!

Some retweet accounts ignore me

When you’ve only got 140 characters, you have to be pretty careful about which RT accounts to tag in a post, and I always feel a little awkward when I see an account retweet the same post by one person 5 times a day, and never retweet mine.

I’m not also on YouTube

I don’t vlog, and I don’t particularly want to vlog, but sometimes it feels like you’re only gonna get seen if you’re also cranking out a daily vlog on YT and raking in those subscribers.

Do you ever feel like this?

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50 Post Ideas for Disney Bloggers

Disney Blogger Ideas

In a #disneybloggerschat (Thursday 8pm) a few weeks back, I was a little upset by the number of people saying that where they struggle most when it comes to Disney blogging is actually not having enough ideas for posts. It bothered me, because all the Disney bloggers in the community are totally fab and I love reading everything they have to write, so my primary reaction was ‘what can I do to help?’..

Personally, I’m always intrigued when I see those ’50 blog post ideas’ or ‘101 Instagram photos’ posts, so I thought I’d give my own version a go, and if I can provide a little bit of inspo for my fabulous Disney blogger friends, then I’ll be a happy girl!

  • Collection posts:
    • Mickey ears
    • Disney mugs
    • Disney artwork
    • Funko pops, vinylmations, Traditions etc
    • Tsum tsums and soft toys
    • DVDs and O-rings
    • How you display your collections
    • Advice to others wanting to start collecting
  • Movies:
    • Your top 5 favourite movies
    • Movies you watch when you’re happy/sad/need inspiration etc
    • Favourite moments
    • Favourite character and why
    • Most underrated films
    • Most overrated films
    • Favourite soundtracks/songs
    • Movies you’ve never seen/want to see
    • Thoughts on upcoming releases
  • Disney parks:
    • Park bucket lists
    • Your favourite park and why
    • Favourite rides
    • Favourite character meets
    • Things you’ve never done
    • Favourite places to eat
    • Dining reviews
    • Eating in the parks with dietary requirements
    • Hints and tips for others
    • Favourite photos
    • What’s in your park bag?
    • Things you HAVE to pack for your trip
    • Disney park must-dos
    • Hotel/resort reviews
    • Trip diaries
    • Trip hauls
  • Disney lifestyle:
    • Best places to buy Disney merch
    • Disney small business spotlights
    • Your Disney wardrobe
    • Disney outfit posts
    • Disney inspired makeup looks
    • Disney hairstyle tutorials
    • Favourite Disney bloggers
    • Favourite Disney vloggers
    • Favourite Instagram accounts
    • 5 Disney blog posts you’ve loved recently
    • Why Disney means so much to you
  • Disney DIY and crafts – even if they turn out to be a disaster!
    • Recreate your favourite Disney food
    • Try making your own ears
    • Bake Disney inspired cupcakes
    • Buy some iron-on patches and customise a denim jacket/jeans
    • Make a collage of photos from trips
    • Cosplays and handmade Disneybounds

I really hope that this can get the ball rolling if you’re stuck in a little bit of a blogging rut, or if you just fancy something a little different!

Twitter / Bloglovin / Instagram

Why I’m Considering Changing my Instagram Handle

LottieDoesDisney instagram

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: while I love Instagram, I’m finding it almost impossible to grow on there. I gain 10 followers, lose 12, and the cycle continues with a never ending loop of spam bots and follow-unfollowers.

This year, I’m determined to hit a new milestone of 2000. It’s probably tiny for many but it’s still about 700 away, which would mean consistently gaining two followers a day with no drop outs. Sounds simple, right? Ha.

I’ve tried all sorts. I have a theme (sort of), I post good quality photos with as many hashtags as I can fit and while the likes come rolling in, the followers don’t follow suit, which has led me to believe that it’s one particular thing about my Instagram: my handle.

Back at the beginning of 2016, I implemented a huge blog overhaul. I bought a new domain, my snazzy layout and header, and I rebranded. By rebrand, I removed one thing from my blog’s title. You see, LottieDoesDisney was how I began, and if you’ve been following me long enough to remember the days of the blue cloudy blog posts, then I salute you! Instagram was the first form of blog related social media I got into, and being @lottiedoesdisney made me, well, me. Back in those days my blog was entirely Disney, and it’s only been in the last 2 years that I’ve branched into proper lifestyle blogging, and the rebrand made sense for the benefit of my blog, but I’ve clung to my Instagram as the only remaining form of my blog as it was when it was born.

What I fear now is what I feared back then: what if having Disney in my name is putting off new followers? I will always post a lot of Disney, both on my blog and Instagram, but that’s not all I want to be known for, and I’d hate to think that it’s the reason people aren’t hitting that follow button?

What do you think – does having a fandom/obsession in a username put you off following?

Twitter / Bloglovin / Instagram

Balancing Blogging

Balancing Blogging and Work

Its now been almost two months since I started my new job, and being my first permanently full-time job, one of my biggest fears was being able to maintain my blogging schedule alongside my new position. Throughout 2016 I was able to consistently post 5+ times a week, and with my blog being such a big part of my life, the last thing I wanted was to have to reduce the amount of time I could put into it, so I’m really happy that I’ve managed to not only keep up with my posts, but also continue to improve and grow my blog!

With that in mind, I thought I’d share some of the things I’ve been doing in order to fit blogging around my 40 hour working week and still keep up appearances!

Bloglovin’ and the Bloglovin’ app

Bloglovin’ has really been my biggest obsession in the last few months. I worked really hard at the end of last year to improve my following on the site, and in doing so I’ve also fallen in love with it a lot more. Its such a great way to read all my favourite blogs without having to flick from website to website, and because it saves me time in reading blogs, I have more time to comment on other people’s posts and increase my interaction with other bloggers which I’ve been really enjoying.

Using work breaks

I’ve found that using my tea breaks and lunch breaks for little jobs, like replying to emails and posting on Instagram.

Keeping a notepad with me

I carry a notebook with me pretty much everywhere, so whenever I get a spark of inspiration I can get it down before I forget! It also means that while things are quiet at work, I can get some blog work done.

Planning and scheduling

I like to make sure I’m at least one week ahead on posts at any time, so that should I run out of time to write, I’ve always got a little bit of time! The same goes for scheduling tweets, it keeps everything ticking along nicely while I’m at work.

Bulk photo taking

When I know exactly what posts are going out in the following week, it means I can spend my weekend taking all my blog photos in one go. My work hours mean that during these winter months I’ve seen no daylight other than through a window from the office, so my weekends are the only time I have to take them!

Pacing myself

Whereas last year I wanted to post as many days as I possibly could, this year I’m reigning myself back a little, aiming for just 5 posts a week, with an occasional 6th when I can, which means I don’t have to stress too much about writing 6+ posts a week!

I’m so ready for another great year of blogging, and have set myself some goals and targets that I’d love to meet or maybe even surpass, so here goes!

Twitter / Bloglovin / Instagram

Sony A5000 Review

Sony A5000 review

I’ve had my new little Sony A5000 for a little while now, and I thought it was about time I shared my thoughts on how its working for me! I’ve always been a Sony person, so when I decided that I wanted a smaller camera for the days I don’t want to lug around my big SLR, I didn’t really want to change brands, and after comparing all the options, this little one came out top so I was pretty happy!

Its 20.1 megapixels, and the standard lens is 16-50mm, which for me is ideal for everyday use – blog photos, holiday snaps etc, and the flippable LCD screen is nice and big so you can see exactly what you’re doing, although I do prefer to have a proper viewfinder, so this bugs me a little sometimes! What I do like, however, is the pop up flash, because I very rarely use a flash and I like the fact its hidden away so it doesn’t ruin the aethestic of the camera, and you almost forget you have one, plus it doesn’t do the annoying ‘auto-flash’ thing that my SLR sometimes does!

But how is it as a camera?

I definitely think it takes its best photos when you know how to use it properly, and by that I guess I mean I’m not blown away by the Auto+ setting. Yes its ok for taking a quick shot without having to worry too much, but it definitely doesn’t give you the best shot you could get if you used a manual setting. I do LOVE some of the special features it has though, like the ability to pick out a single colour, apply a filter, or adjust brightness and vividness while in Auto mode.

Sony A5000 features

It does come into its own when I use manual settings. When I’m taking blog photos, I like to be able to fiddle with manual exposure and aperture, and while my SLR can take FOREVER to process those shots, this little beastie snaps them in seconds with no issue. The settings are also really easy to adjust using the dial on the back, and just generally, its really user friendly.

Blog Birthday

Other features that I love are that the screen flips up into ‘selfie mode’, and that as well as manually zooming using the lens, you can also use the toggle on the shoot button, and there’s also an extra zoom control on the lens. It’s also got built in wifi, which is brilliant although I often forget about it! I’ve also bought a second lens recently, the 55-210mm telescopic lens, which is AMAZING and can’t wait to get more of a chance to play with!

I’m still getting used to having a small camera, but this little guy is growing on me massively, and while I’ll never completely disregard my SLR, the more I use this, the more I love it and its taken some amazing photos for me.

boomf cake

Mainly of food. Not gonna lie.

Twitter / Bloglovin / Instagram

Why Its Okay To Unfollow

Why Its Okay To Unfollow

As society changes with time, as does social media. Its only natural that the change is reflected.

We, on the other hand, don’t always respond to these changes as quickly as they happen. In the early days of social media, when Myspace was still a thing and all the cool kids had Bebo *shudders*, we were all friends. Its the same with Facebook now; the connection is a two way street.

New SM is all about following though. Unless you keep your security settings tight, people can follow you until their hearts content, and while you get that little pop up in your notifications, you don’t get to say yes or no. And while we love watching our numbers go up and up, the old ways of social media produce a little voice in our heads that say ‘hey, follow them back’. There’s no obligation, but often it seems like a polite way of acknowledging this new person who’s watching our life. As well as this, its not uncommon to see promises of following back as a way to not only entice new followers, but also promote the idea of it being a friendship.

But here’s the thing: you don’t have to follow anyone back, and its totally ok to unfollow people. You don’t gain anything from having your feed full of content that you don’t find interesting or relevant, and its not like its a personal attack on them or their account.

Its also a case of interaction – what’s the point of following someone if you know there won’t be any interaction? Followers vs actual engagements is a huge debate on social media, and I know that I’m instantly put off by an account if, for example, I replied to a tweet by someone, and didn’t get any form of acknowledgement from them. In some cases, it does actually make me wonder why I’m bothering.

The fact is, its your feed, and your account, and you can and should be doing what you want without worrying about it. Put yourself and what you want first, and if that means unfollowing a bunch of people that are clogging up your feed with negativity or irrelevant posts, then go for it! It’ll give you more time to chat with the people that you do like to see!

If you enjoyed today’s ramblings, you might also be interested in my post on what puts me off following on Twitter!

Twitter / Bloglovin / Instagram

Instagram Posts I Love Seeing

Instagram Posts I Love Seeing

For a blogger, Instagram is a fickle friend. Personally, I love it and its probably my favourite form of social media, but like many others, I have been struggling to increase my following over the last year thanks to spambots and classic follow-unfollowers.

That being said, it doesn’t detract at all from the amount of time I spend scrolling and scrolling through my feed, and while the new algorithm makes seeing all my favourite accounts a little bit trickier, there are always certain posts that always get the double-tap from me.

Travel inspiration

Nothing gets my wanderlust going more than beautiful photos of other people’s adventures. Please please please tell me where it is in the caption though – I don’t want to have to guess at where this beautiful place is! My favourite accounts for travel posts are @wandernessblog and @thatsutherskid

Bright colours

I know that a lot of bloggers have that ingrained need to post marble and muted toned photos, but I’m a bright and bold kinda gal and it always makes me super happy to see some colour on my feed. Feel the same? Check out @hellobeestudio, @nikkimcwilliams and @dorkfaceblog

Yum yums

I’m taking about food that makes me drool over my phone. Even better if its healthy and inspires me to recreate the delicious looking dish. I blame @marvelsteph and @tartanmouth for a lot of my tummy rumbles!

Top product photography

You could be showcasing any number of strange things, but if its a gorgeous set up and your photography is on point, I’m still gonna be all over that. To name a few amazing bloggers, look at @wonderlandblogs, @flourishnblog and @mariajblogs

Disney magic

My Insta feed is still all about the Disney. Magic moments, castle shots and Mickey shaped food are all winners if you ask me. A few faves are @livvybirdadventures, @heli.paints.the.roses.red and @pocalice

Perfect pets

If you’ve got an adorable creature, I’m always gonna want to see it. Cats, dogs, lizards, rodents, whatever, #petsofinstagram do it for me. If you’re also all about the cute, you need to follow @spaniellife and @_bellesmoments

What do you love seeing on your Instagram feed?

Twitter / Bloglovin / Instagram

Fitspo Blogs To Follow This New Year


Did you know the most common New Years resolution is to lose weight and get fit? It probably doesn’t come as much of a surprise, right?

Well if getting fit is a top priority for you this year, there’s a few blogs that you should get reading asap!

Hello, Steph

If you’re looking for fitspo, you need to get Steph on all your feeds – Twitter, Instagram, the full works! This girl lives for fitness, her meal preps are always on point and she’s always posting fierce photos of her transformation to the toned girl-boss that she is!

My Healthy Curves

Breanne is amazing. Despite having to combat scoliosis, she’s always super active and absolutely kicking butt in the gym!

Slimmed Cartree

Corinne’s fitness blog is always filled with great product reviews and advice posts, and she’s always totally honest which is so refreshing

Wedges & Weights

Full of recipes, workout ideas and advice, W&W is all about helping ladies transform not only their bodies, but also the way they feel within themselves AKA fierce and fabulous.

Follow now, thank me later!

And remember, being fit and healthy is great, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still be treating yourself. Part of the reason I love all these bloggers so much is because they still get the balance of pizza to salad!

Twitter / Bloglovin / Instagram

My New Years Resolutions and Goals

New Years Resolutions and Goals

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

In the classic style of January 1st, I’m setting myself some goals and resolutions for the coming year, and would I be a proper blogger if I didn’t post them online?

Resolutions

Every year, resolutions are made and broken, so as much as possible I try to keep my choices positive; rather than giving things up, I find things to do more of etc. I’ve thought a lot about this year’s, and here they are:

  • Take more selfies – to be honest, I want to take more photos of myself in general. Its not vanity, its about gaining confidence and being happier with my appearance
  • Save more money – I’ve always been a religious saver – I think its one of my biggest strengths. This year, now I’m in a new, better paying job, I want to make sure that more money is being put towards my future.
  • Travel more – whether its seeing more of the UK, or doing a few weekend city breaks, I just want to get out there and enjoy more of the world.
  • Stay moisturised – I’ve recently had the epiphany that just because my skin is fairly good, it doesn’t mean I can’t look after it
  • Read more books – I said last year that I wanted to take more time out to read, and I think in the whole year I maybe finished one book.. Take 2!
  • Shop more from small businesses – as a small business-er myself, I really want to help out more small businesses, artists and creatives and make more dreams happen!
  • Be my best self – I’m just really wanting to make 2017 the best year ever. I saw a quote on Twitter a while ago that said ‘Live in such a way that if someone spoke badly of you, no one would believe it’, and I just really want to be that person.

Blogging Goals

Last year I didn’t actually set any goals at the beginning of the year; I don’t think I knew how amazing the year could be. 2016 was an incredible year for my blog, and I’m hoping for an even better 2017!

  • Targets
    • 500 Bloglovin followers
    • 2500 Twitter followers
    • 2000 Instagram follower
    • 65,000 page views
  • To achieve
    • More Insta-vlogging
    • One outfit post a month
    • Improve my fitness posts
    • Talk about my blog more
    • Participate in more Twitter chats
    • Work more on my Pinterest

What are you hoping to achieve this year?

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An Amazing Year of Achievements

Amazing 2016

2016 has not been an easy year for anyone. Its been full of all kinds of worldwide drama and negativity, but now I’m sat here looking back over it, the fact is, its really not been a terrible year.

So many amazing things have happened to me this year, which have made any troubles fade into the background, and while some may not be as major as others, here are some of the incredible things that have happened in my life.

  • I ran my first half marathon – and then my second and third..
  • I went on my first ever non-family Disney trip – my Disneyland Paris trip in April was the first time I’d ever been without my parents and sister!
  • I met some beautiful people – one of my New Years Resolutions was to get out and meet more of my Disney friends, and while I’ve not met everyone, everyone I have had a chance to hang out with have been amazing!
  • I flew solo – my trip to New Zealand in September was the first time I’ve ever got on a plane by myself – kinda threw myself in at the deep end!
  • I drove an automatic car – this one’s a little random, but I’ve never driven an automatic before, and I survived!
  • I stopped blogging for the sake of it – midway through this year, I decided to stop writing posts that I wasn’t 100% happy with. This meant I stopped a few of my old series that were becoming a chore to write, and freeing up more time for new content!
  • I’ve finally visited every Disney park in the world! – ticked the last two off the list with visits to Hong Kong and Shanghai this summer!
  • I hit some incredible blogging milestones – not only did this little blog of mine turn 3 this year, but its been the best year yet by miles! I’ve published just over 300 posts this year and smashed my follower goals on social media, and its so nice to see all these achievements after I’ve put my heart and soul into this blog all year.
  • I started a new business – its always slow progress at first, but I’ve loved creating The Happiest Fitness Co this year, and I have high hopes for the coming year!
  • I left my dead end job – I finally said goodbye to retail after just over 4 years, and found a job that has a lot more opportunities for me in the future
  • I started working full time and maintaining my blog – when I started my new job, one of my biggest worries was that I wouldn’t be able to keep writing as much as I was before, so I’m so proud of the fact that I can work full-time and still post 5/6 times a week!
  • I learned who my true friends are – 2016 has been the year that I’ve come to realise that you don’t have to see people every day for them to be your best and truest friends, and that life’s too short to carry deadweight negative people around
  • I started being creative again – I turned my sewing machine back on for the first time in almost a year, and getting back into making things has made me really happy!
  • I fell in love – it goes without saying that meeting Matthew this year has been the greatest blessing and I feel like the luckiest girl in the world.

I don’t think I’m sad to see the end of this year, but mainly because I’m so excited for 2017 and all the excitement and adventure I know will come with it. In fact, I don’t think I’ve been this excited for a new year in a long time!

Fight the bad 2016 stigma and tell me some of the amazing things that have happened to you this year!

Twitter / Bloglovin / Instagram

The Bloggers Who Influenced My 2016

Blogger Influences

While 2016 has been rubbish for many people in so many ways, its actually been a pretty great year for my blog. Yesterday’s post was my 300th post of the year (yes, just this year!), I’ve hit a tonne of milestones and I just feel so proud of all the hard work I’ve put into it, and super happy with the results.

A lot of change has happened this year, from my layout to my writing style and the topics I’ve written about, and every one of these changes has made this blog reflect my true personality more and more. Finding my blogging voice has absolutely rocketed my confidence, but looking back I’ve come to realise that I have quite a few other bloggers to thank for inspiring me..

Dorkface

Without a doubt, Jemma is absolute blogger goals. She is the loveliest person, her work ethic is incredible, and her style is 100% goals. I’ve always loved bright colours, and in a world full of marble backdrops, Dorkface is a ray of sunshine and rainbows.

Vix Meldrew

I don’t think a blog has ever been more true and relateable, and I don’t think I’ve missed a single post this year because this girl cracks me up. Reading Vix has given me the confidence to write exactly how I want to, whether I’m feeling sassy and sarcastic, or completely open up about my feelings – not that I could ever do it as well as she does!

British Mermaid

Cara is the most beautiful person, both inside and out. I’ve been lucky enough to become friends with her this year, but as well as just being all-round amazing, she’s inspired me to wear and feel confident in whatever clothes I want, and frequently find myself thinking ‘would Cara like this?’ when I’m shopping.

Hello, Steph

I knew that 2016 was the year I’d be making much more of an effort with my fitness, but this girl has made me want to push myself harder and further. She’s my absolute fitspo queen and I’m always keeping an eye out for her amazing meal prep photos and workout selfies!

Belles Moments

This year would have absolutely not been the same without this girl. She’s my Disney soul mate and become one of my closest friends, and I can’t wait for all our 2017 adventures together. Plus she has a dreamy Instagram account that you should 100% be following.

What bloggers have had the biggest impact on you this year?

Twitter / Bloglovin / Instagram

A 7 Day Kindness Calendar

Kindness Calendar

I’m always looking for ways I can be a better person, and nothing makes me happier than when I can make other people smile.

With that in mind, I’ve put together a little schedule of the things I can do to spread some happiness online, and as much as possible I’ll be trying to stick to it, as well as doing extra things as and when!

As much as possible:

  • Try to cheer up anyone who’s upset
  • Wish people happy birthdays
  • Promote and support my friends
  • Be super nice to retail workers – especially at Christmas!
  • Put my change in charity pots

Every day:

  • Follow two new people on Twitter and Instagram
  • Retweet another blogger’s post
  • Compliment someone on their outfit
  • Like the first 10 photos on your Instagram feed, and comment on at least two
  • Retweet or share any post about a good cause or charity

Every other day:

  • Follow 3 new blogs on Bloglovin
  • Comment on two blog posts
  • Tell someone they’re pretty

Twice a week:

  • Share a small business
  • Randomly tweet someone something I love about them
  • Remind someone how awesome they are

Every week:

  • Treat someone at work to a coffee
  • Either do #FF or #SundayBlogShare tweets for at least 10 people

Join me and spread the positivity! What do you do?

Twitter / Bloglovin / Instagram

A Blogger’s Christmas Wishes

Blogger Wishes

Its that time of year; the time we put all our hopes into the wrapped goodies that appear in our stockings or under the tree. We’ve published our Christmas wishlists, written gift guides and dropped enough hints on Twitter about our favourite brands and products, so there’s no way we shouldn’t be getting some lovely presents, but what else might us bloggers be wishing for this Christmas? Cue tongue in cheek..

That all our Christmas presents are Instagrammable

Let’s face it, a pile of presents can give us Instagram photos for weeks on end, so if all our presents match our theme and are super pretty and rake in 100+ likes, that’d be fab.

And that we can write some killer review posts

Cos a stocking full of the latest beauty products can’t be forgotten about

To hit our end of year targets

If we manage to reach out Bloglovin follower goal by Christmas and with a week still left to the end of the year, then we stand a pretty good chance of surpassing it before the year is out

People aren’t too busy to keep reading our blogs

I always find my views tend to take a little dip at this time of year as people are busy with Christmas shopping or parties, so if we can maintain our daily view count, it will really be the most wonderful time of the year!

That we can come up with good New Years resolutions

And y’know, stick to them – cos once we publish that post we know our readers might keep an eye out throughout the year..

That all our blogger friend and followers have a lovely Christmas

While the rest of this post has been very much in jest, I think its safe to say that the most important thing that we all wish for at this time of year is that everyone else has as special a Christmas as we do.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Twitter / Bloglovin / Instagram

How I’ve Been Growing my Bloglovin’

How I'm Growing Bloglovin

I don’t know about you, but I find it kinda annoying when bloggers write about how to blog. I mean, unless there’s some really great advice in there (or anything Corinne writes as she’s a blogging queen), I’ll just skip straight past them, and if I see them pop up on my Twitter feed, chances are they won’t even get a click. I think what I’m trying to say, is that this post isn’t really about giving advice, its just my account.

Bloglovin was something I only got maybe a year or so ago, and I quickly lost interest as I found I just wasn’t gaining any followers, which is particularly disheartening when you scroll past pages and pages of bloggers with hundreds of thousands of followers. Naturally, I couldn’t be bothered to waste my energy on promoting it, but in recent months I’ve picked it back up, and have been amazed at the results of a little more effort!

So what have I done?

I follow back

I promise a follow back for anyone who follows me, and I stick to it. Everyone who follows me gets a follow back, and as well as this growing my following, it provides an incentive for other bloggers to grow theirs, and also gets some fresh posts in my feed

Finding new blogs

As well as a blanket policy of following everyone who follows me back, I’ve actually made a lot of effort to hunt for bloggers to follow. I check my ‘recommended blogs’ every week, and as much as possible follow blogs with fewer followers so I can read more smaller blogs and help others to grow!

Sharing my link

I’ve gone back to scheduling tweets about my Bloglovin account, especially when I’m closing in on a milestone, but in general it just gets the word out there! Also when I see other bloggers asking for links, I’m not afraid to send mine like I used to be!

Asking for links

As part of my hunt for new blogs to follow, I’ll often tweet out asking for people to send me their links. Sometimes I assume I’m following blogs on there, only to find I’m not, and this way, I can ensure I’ve got as many of my favourite bloggers in my feed as possible.

While my following may not be as amazing as other bloggers, I’m really proud of how far I’ve come in the last year – I mean, I don’t even think I had 50 at the beginning of the year! A little bit of hard work is really paying off, and I can’t wait to hit my next milestone!

If you’re on Bloglovin, drop me a link in the comments so I can follow you!

Twitter / Bloglovin / Instagram

Why I Love Instagram Stories


Remember when Instagram announced Stories, and the Twittersphere went crazy? ‘But they’re just ripping off Snapchat’ was the initial outcry, followed by people declaring sides in the debate.

I didn’t really care. Instagram is probably my favourite social media platform, and given that the introduction of Stories didn’t affect the main jist of the app as it was, I just kept ticking along until I finally got the update, and then continued to use it in exactly the same way, just with a few random little circles at the top of my feed.

A little time went by, and I decided to start watching a few stories, and yeah, it was pretty much identical to Snapchat, but rather than seeing my old school friends on raging night out, or a million identical selfies with an assortment of filters, I was watching some of my favourite bloggers, my favourite Disney accounts, and seeing some pretty cool things.

So I decided to start posting a few things, and I was amazed that people were actually watching them. And the more I posted, the more confident I became, and now its become much more a part of my routine.

But why have I chosen Instagram over Snapchat?

Much like with Facebook, I use my Snapchat to connect with my friends. Generally I’ll send things directly to certain people, rather than using My Story, and I probably only have about 50 people on there. I know that some of my friends wouldn’t be interested in the blogging side of my life that I save for Instagram, and to be totally honest, I’m not confident enough when it comes to sharing that side of my life with those friends.

Instagram gives me a feeling of anonymity. Yes I’m followed by a lot of my blogging friends and my Disney friends, as well as some family and my boyfriend, but those friends who don’t know this side of my life don’t know this account exists (not from hiding it, just from not knowing!), so I don’t feel self-conscious posting more of my life on my story. As well as personal stuff, I use my story to promote new blog posts, as well as my business, and it gives me a much larger audience for these things, which is great!

My Instagram username is LottieDoesDisney, so pop over and say hi!

Twitter / Bloglovin / Instagram

Reasons I Won’t Follow on Twitter

Reasons I Won't Follow on Twitter

For a person who only a few years ago couldn’t understand the purpose of Twitter, I’m pretty lost without it now. Its how I keep up with my friends, promote myself and my business, but most importantly its how I connect with other bloggers.

I’m always looking for new blogs to read and the way I find these is by broadening who I follow on Twitter. I try and follow at least 3 new accounts a day, or do at least one big follow spree a week, but I still screen my Twitter suggestions before I turn that button blue. So what makes me skip an account?

You don’t follow anyone back

You don’t have to follow me back if you don’t want, but if I see you’ve got 10K+ followers and you only follow about 200 people then that’s a bit of a turn off. Unless you’re a business, or a big influencer/celeb, I would expect you to have a better proportion of followers to following. Twitter is for interaction, not collecting numbers..

You’ve followed me at least three times

If you’re popping into my notifications as a new follower on a regular basis, I know what game you’re playing. If I didn’t follow you back the first time, there’s a reason, and your persistent game isn’t gonna help your case.

You’re under 18

I’ll admit this is me being a little bit superficial, but unless I know you quite well or am really drawn to your account for the content you post, I’m not gonna follow you. I don’t know if its because I went to an all girls secondary school or what, but it just makes me think twice.. Sorry!

I don’t know that you’re a blogger

This is about first impressions. I rarely click on profiles, and mainly just read your bio in the little pop up thingy, so if you don’t mention blogging or writing, how am I supposed to know? Loud and proud people, get that in your bio!

Your content doesn’t interest me

This is in no way meant in offence, but if you only post about topics that I’m not super into or aren’t relevant to me, then its nothing personal but I’m not gonna follow for the sake of following.

You’ve slipped through my radar

Maybe you’ve followed me on a busy day where I’ve skim-read my notifications, or I keep thinking I already follow you, but sometimes I’m not following you just because I’ve forgotten or haven’t noticed you! Chances are one day I’ll realise the error and we’ll become Twitter friends!

What are your Twitter turn-offs?

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How I’ve Been Upping My Photography Game

Photography

Last month, you might have read my blog improvement post, where I said that I was really hoping to better my blog photography. Since then, I’m hoping that you’ve been seeing better quality photos in my posts, and also on my Instagram as I’ve been making a real effort with this one particular area. After all, a pictures worth a thousand words, right?

Here are the steps I’ve taken:

Learning my camera

A shiny new camera does not an amazing photographer make. I never studied photography at school or anything, but a few years back my dad bought me a book on food photography which taught me a lot about manual settings on cameras, but since then I’ve fallen prey to the Auto+ setting and everything I learnt went out the window. As well as my DSLR, I recently bought the Sony A5000 compact, which gave me the boost to go back and learn how to get the best out of my camera through exposure, aperture and shutter settings, and I’m falling in love with photography all over again.
I’ve also found that since using my cameras to their full potential, I’ve been needing to edit photos less as I’m actually happy with what I’m taking!

Switching up my backdrop

I’ve always been a bold and bright kinda gal – my brief encounter with a marble background didn’t stick – so I’ve stuck to a plain white desktop as my go-to photo space. Sure, it makes for nice simple photos, but I was falling out of love with it a little, and starting to think my photos a little blah, so instead I’ve got a lovely new wooden worktop which has not only given me more space, but more versatility in my photos as I can switch from flatlays to upright shots with ease

Using gadgets

My biggest saviour in the last few weeks has been the remote shutter control that I bought from Amazon. Finally I can get in-focus outfit shots (YAY!) using the nifty little remote that connects to a little unit that plugs right into my camera via some sort of frequency, and at the push of a button I can focus and take photos from a distance. Game changer.

Always putting myself into photos

No, not literally, but showing my personality in every photo is what gives them a style that’s unique, whether it’s using a Disney plate to photography my makeup on, or having gerbera daisies in the background, it differentiates my photos from others and prevents them from looking staged and stiff. It also makes blog photography way more fun.

Giving myself time

Because I’m a planner and a scheduler, I always know what posts I’ve got coming up, so I can allot a chunk of time out of my week for taking all my photos, meaning I don’t have to rush the morning that a post is due to go live to get an image for it. I also tend to bulk-shoot photos when I have great lighting (especially for Instagram), or if I get a sudden burst of creativity, I’ll sometimes take a bunch of stock photos that I could apply to a range of posts as back-ups. Having the time to take good photos just makes the whole experience more enjoyable.

I’ve really been trying hard and I hope it’s shown through!

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Happy Birthday Blog!

Once upon a time, in a kingdom that looks a whole lot like Bournemouth, a little blogger was born..

Blog Birthday

That time was this day 3 years ago, when I published my first post on this very blog. This isn’t the first blog I’ve ever written, but its the first one that’s stuck, and gushy as it sounds, its become a huge part of my life. Let’s look at some of my favourite parts from the last 3 years!

  • Most viewed post ever – DIY Malefienct Horns
  • Total number of published posts – 547 (including this one!)
  • I’ve visited all 6 of the Disney parks in the world!
  • Organising Disney Secret Santa 2015
  • Becoming part of the #disneybloggerschat community
  • and so many more!

There’s also a bunch of people I want to thank for supporting my blog over the years, and because I couldn’t possibly name everyone, if you’re reading this, then thank you! I know I always say it, but I 100% mean it when I say that every single person who reads my blog, whether its your first time or your hundredth time, means the world to me.

Blog Birthday

Blog Birthday

Blog Birthday

I know I said yesterday that I was going to celebrate with cake, but I changed my mind and went with Krispy Kreme doughnuts, a huge amount of peach iced tea and a beautiful shiny balloon, and of course I’m celebrating with a giveaway!

This bundle contains a stuffed Chip toy, Mickey Mouse glove pen and chocolate bar from Disneyland Paris, some Redbubble stickers, Main Street Popcorn wax melts from Maple and Whisky, Fantasyland Print from ItsLizi and a Pascal Wikeez toy, and it can all be yours if you enter below! The winner will be announced on November 8th!

Enter here > > > a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck!

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What 3 Years of Blogging Has Given Me

Tomorrow, this little blog of mine turns 3 years old.

Three years ago, LottieDoesDisney (as it was back then) came about as I began to document the planning of a family holiday to Walt Disney World, and I don’t think I ever imagined that it would become what it is today. In fact, I’m not even sure I knew what it would become.

LottieDoesDisney

Remember this?

I became prouder of my blog than I thought possible, and its growth and development meant that at the end of last year I made the difficult (at the time!) decision to rebrand into what it is today.

But what has 3 years of blogging given me?

Confidence

At the start of my blogging career, I was unsure of myself, and what my blog needed to be. What I’ve discovered is that it just needs to be me. I read back some of my old old posts from time to time and cringe a little at how stiff and fake my writing sounds; I thought I had to be professional sounding, and it comes across as stiff. Now, I know that I can write what I want exactly how I want, and my true personality shines through; my boyfriend once told me I talk like how I write, when really its the other way round – I type just how I would speak out loud.

I’ve become more confident in myself as well as my writing. I’ve never had problems coming across as confident, but my self-confidence is always where I’ve struggled a little, and yes I still have my moments, but pride in my blog has given me pride in myself.

Lifelong friends

The first year or so of my blog was very lonely. I had no idea there was a community to it, but since I’ve found my place in a community that I love (Disney bloggers, I’m looking at you!) I’ve made truer friends than I’ve ever had before. I’ve connected better with some of the beauties on my Twitter feed more than I connected to people I went to school with, and I’ve had the most amazing fortune to now have met so many of these wonderful people – people I can’t imagine my life without now, people that have been with me through bad times as well as good, and people that I can’t wait to have more adventures with.

A creative outlet

Even if no one ever read my blog, I don’t think I’d give it up. I’ve always called it my little corner of the internet, and I love that other people join me in it, but more than anything else I blog for myself. I love writing, and getting my crazy thoughts and opinions out of my head, and it still amazes me sometimes that you lovely lot like to read them!

Tomorrow I’ll be celebrating with cake, and you should definitely check back to see how you too can celebrate with me! (And more importantly, what the cake looks like)

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Fears of a Blogger

The Skinny Kitchen Bournemouth

I love bloggers, and I’m not just saying that because I am one. I’m saying it because they (or at least the vast majority) are a bunch of the funniest, most relateable people I’ve had the pleasure of reading the thoughts of. We all share the same obsession with social media, we all get excited by brand opportunities, and we all suffer from the same OMG moments; cue a classic tongue in cheek post about things we bloggers are afraid of!

Who will take photos for my outfit posts?

Can I ask my boyfriend to take them? How many times is too many times to drag my friend round with the promise of free food? Should I give up and risk another dodgy self-timer shoot? WHAT TO DO

What will happen when I move in with someone?

What if they don’t like all the blogging props and housewares that I’ve bought over the years? Will I have to get rid of them? Please don’t make me change my aesthetic..

Please never let my favourite products disappear

I’m currently spending my time trawling through Depop and eBay hunting down my favourite MAC highlighter that’s now been discontinued and I can’t cope with the thought of changing my makeup routine if I can never find a suitable alternative

THERE IS NO DECENT LIGHTING

Why is the sun not out all year round? What if I only have time to take blog photos in the evening? Great, now I’ve gotta change my Instagram theme..

What if YouTube takes over?

I can’t talk at a camera and I can’t edit video to save my life. The keyboard is my friend, please don’t let the written word be lost..

I really hope people like me IRL

I love all the people I’ve met through social media but what if I meet them in person and I do that thing I do where I get super awkward and weird and then they hate me

What are you afraid of?

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Ways I’m Trying to Improve as a Blogger

img_2894

They say that the first step to improving yourself is my admitting weaknesses, right? If I’m honest I’m not entirely sure who says that, or if I even got that quote right, but I think it’s got a certain amount of truth to it and therefore I’m gonna run with it.

This month there’s gonna be a bit of a common theme in some of my posts as I gear up for the 3rd birthday of this little blog of mine. The theme: my blog itself! Oh, and me as a blogger, which is what I’m really looking at today.

I know I’m no blogger superstar, and you know that too I’m sure, so today I’m opening the floor to some constructive criticism, primarily from my own head, but I’m also welcoming a bit of feedback so if you read this and would like to drop me a comment or DM me on Twitter, then go ahead! The title of this post is pretty self explanatory, so I’ll crack on without further ado..

Blogger confidence

Blogging has made me more confident as a person, but I still need to grow in what I have termed in my head as ‘blogger confidence’. It’s that confidence to approach a brand I’ve been dying to collab with, or go to a blogger event without chickening out last minute, or shoot an outfit post, as well as being able to talk to more people in my life about my blog.

Photography

I’m not awful at photography, but I have been stuck in a little bit of a flat-lay rut recently and I’m keen to change that. I’ve also just got myself a new little camera so I don’t always have to rely on my chunky DSLR all the time, and I’m hoping that it’ll give me the kick to make more of an effort to improve my photos. I also NEVER bother to edit my photos, so I’ll probably give that a whirl too!

Making myself known

I used to love getting involved in blogger chats on Twitter, but for some reason recently I just haven’t been participating in any. The blogging community is so amazing and so important to me and I know I need to be making more of an effort to be part of it: reading and following more blogs, commenting and sharing posts that I love and chatting with more of the lovely bloggers out there!

The blog turns 3 on the 25th, so stay tuned for more!

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Ways I Fail as a Girl

I don’t know whether it was the massive tomboy stage I went through as a child, or the fact that I work on a team of all guys, but sometimes I feel like I really fail as a girl.

Ways I Fail as a Girl

This is weird, because I have a lot of girlish tendencies, but I guess no one’s perfect, and what’s the point of having imperfections if you can’t take the mick out of yourself for them, right?

I ladder 99% of tights on their first wear

I’ve actually given up buying nice tights, because I can guarantee the second I drop £10 on a pair they’ll get a ladder just looking at me.

I can’t do heels

I get major green monster syndrome when I see people kicking butt in heels all day without the need for blister plasters or 3 days of recovery afterwards!

I never buy perfume

It kinda just feels like an unnecessary expense, especially seeing as I work somewhere that I can only describe as dirty and smelly, so I’ll generally ask for it as birthday/Christmas presents if I’m in need.

My hair game is weak

A morning brush is pretty much all my hair will get in a day aside from washing. This is partially to do with the fact that I have very well behaved hair that doesn’t require much care and attention, but primarily due to laziness..

I use phrases like ‘sweating balls’ and ‘MATE’

I blame this entirely on my team at work. I’m definitely just considered to be ‘one of the guys’ and am treated as such, which I don’t mind in the slightest but it has done interesting things to my vocabulary.

I rarely enjoy going out to shop

Every now and then I’ll go out on a shopping trip, but I’m a serial online shopper. Next day delivery, no judgemental sales assistants and being able to do it in my onesie? Yes please.

I only watched The Notebook for the first time this year

Nicholas Sparks doesn’t do a whole lot for me. I’ve never read any of his books, and I’ve only seen a handful of the films based on them, and d’you know what? I didn’t really cry at any of them..

I never carry painkillers

Rookie mistake; I’m forever the person that has to ask around for paracetamol.

I’m not ladylike in the slightest

I’m clumsy, I spill things and I fart, soz..

Anyone else fail?

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Bloggers, Stop Apologising


One thing I see time and time again with so many bloggers is the word ‘sorry’, especially in regards to taking time away from writing, and its something that really bothers me.

Sometimes you need to step away from the keyboard for a little while, and this can be for many different reasons. Sometimes life gets in the way, sometimes inspiration just isn’t coming, but although it might seem like it, this doesn’t make you a bad blogger.

I get it, you love your readers, and you want to keep them happy and entertained, and that’s a really lovely thing, but by not posting, you aren’t failing them. Here’s the way I see it: unless people are paying to read your blog, you don’t owe them an apology. You should be blogging for you, as much as anyone else, and if you’re not happy then time away can be good for you.

I understand that for a lot of bloggers, your writing is a way of earning money, but that’s a different kettle of fish. Sure, if you can’t make deadlines for paid work then an apology might be necessary, but to the company you’re working with, not your followers. I bet 9 times out of 10 your readers will be supportive of you no matter what, and they wouldn’t expect an apology. I know that when I check my favourite blogs and find they’ve not been updated in a while, I don’t think ‘well, this isn’t very good’, I think ‘I really miss this person’s writing, but I hope they’re ok and I look forward to whenever they’ll post next’.

So next time you think about typing out the S-word, just stop and think about what you actually think you’re apologising for. Are you taking time out for yourself? Have you let life get on top of you a little? Writers block? Wifi down? I don’t know about you but I don’t see anything there that requires an apology.

Love yourself guys!

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My Beauty Confessions

I’m back again for another monthly rendition of confessions, yay!

I hope everyone else likes these posts as much as I do, its so therapeutic writing them and I really do love a good bit of banter with myself. If I make myself laugh that’s all that matters right?

My Beauty Confessions

Quite often I really fail as a girl, and beauty is an area where I would consider myself to be pretty weak, and I don’t mean that in a ‘I’m not pretty’ way, I just mean that I’m generally quite unskilled in terms of makeup and sometimes I don’t brush my hair. Ready? Let’s confess!

Foundation is the biggest faff

Finding one that matches my skin, then bothering to blend it out and make sure I didn’t miss the random bits by my temples that I always seem to forget about. Just ugh, my skin is ok enough..

Sometimes I clean my brushes with micellar water

Or a makeup wipe. I know its probably really bad and its only ever a quick fix, but it just makes my life easier to give them a quick rub and dry and be on my way again.

I only started bothering to do my brows a few months ago

And I still don’t do them often. Don’t get me wrong, I’m obsessive with tweezers so they’re always in pretty good shape, but going through the daily routine of filling them in and making sure they’re balanced (they never are, just FYI) can all be too much sometimes

I’m useless with concealer

I feel like this is the one thing that everyone should be good at if nothing else, but I just seem to highlight the dark circles under my eyes rather than covering them. Please someone teach me.

I don’t own a single lip liner

Considering I am a perpetual lipstick buyer, this one’s a shock to a lot of people. Lipstick and lip balm are absolute staples of mine, but I generally won’t buy anything else lip related.

I also don’t own a black eyeliner pencil

Liquid liner, yes, but pencil? Nope! I probably have every other colour under the sun; I tell people I went through a phase of only wearing coloured eyeliners, which is a lie because I never grew out of it and still do to this day..

Sometimes I use highlighter on my whole face

To be specific, my Makeup Revolution Radiant Lights highlighter. It makes me feel sparkly.

I don’t use primer

I rarely use any product on my face

Most of the time I put on makeup, its just for funsies

Sometimes I just sit and put on makeup, then take it all off again. Quite honestly, I need the practice.

If its late and I’m tired/drunk, I won’t take my makeup off before crashing into bed

And in the morning, I’ll often just patch it up to make myself presentable rather than taking it off. Classy, right?

Ok, I’m ready to be banished from girl world now..

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Blogger Respect


When having to put myself into a single blogging category, I go for the slight cop-out broad grouping of lifestyle blogger. Quite honestly, I feel like I ramble on about way too many different things to describe my blog more specifically, but I also don’t feel specialised enough on any of the topics I write about (apart from Disney obvs haha) to put myself into a group of people who really know what they’re talking about.

I have a huge respect for other bloggers, no matter what they write about, we’re all slogging away at the same thing in our own styles and at our own paces, and whether you’ve got 2 readers or 2,000, its still a huge deal to be putting yourself out there on the internet for the world to see, so I want to tell you all just how much I respect you.

Beauty bloggers – You guys are flawless, quite literally. I had mad respect for your skills because while I’m not awful with makeup, if you were to ask me to contour or tell you what kind of foundation to wear based on your skin type, you’d see a Lottie-shaped hole in the wall. Also I can’t imagine how much blogging must cost you!

Book bloggers – I’ve always loved reading, but dreaded the book reviews I’d have to write at school, so the fact that you lot can write these daily/weekly whatever absolutely marvels me – in a good way! You’re also always so passionate about reading and I think that’s such a wonderful thing.

Craft/DIY bloggers – Creative people are amazing; your ability to think of something in your head and be able to not only translate that into a physical thing, but also explain exactly how you did it so others can replicate it blows my mind! I love crafting, but I generally make one-off masterpieces that fail miserably when I attempt to replicate it, ha!

Fashion bloggers – How do you always look so good?! Like seriously, you’re all so stylish and you inspire so many people and I also love how while you’re all blogging fashion, there’s so much variety! I have so my respect for how much confidence you must have too!

Film/TV bloggers – I love seeing how passionate you lot are about your favourite films and shows. You also manage to see so much more than what everyone else does, truly analysing the underlying messages and hidden meanings in everything. I could never put together my thoughts as well as you do!

Fitness bloggers – I dabble in fitness writing, but you fit bunch are so inspiring! You’re healthy way of life and positive attitudes are so motivational – I wanna work out with you! Your blogs are always true extensions of your lives and the perseverance that you show day in, day out is something I really admire in you.

Food bloggers – Not only do you make food that makes me want to lick my screen, but you take amazing photos of your dishes, which takes real skill. Your ability to put together an incredible meal and make it look like its from a top rated restaurant, while using ingredients solely from Lidl is outstanding – hats off to the chef!

Parenting bloggers – SO MUCH RESPECT. I can barely hold my own life together while keeping up with blogging, but you do it while having little people to look after too?! You really open up your lives to your readers, and get pretty personal sometimes which must take so much courage and did I mention you’re all awesome parents!?

Pet bloggers – I love how much you guys love your pets. It makes me love your pets too, and restores my faith in humanity when I see animals so well cared for. You devote all your spare time to your little (or large!) bundles of fluff/scales/feathers and I think that’s adorable and you’re awesome.

Photography bloggers – A picture is worth a thousand words and your photos are amazing. I don’t think many people know just how much work can go into one photo, and how many decisions you have to make: what camera, which lense, how to frame the shot, is the lighting good enough? Quite frankly anyone that doesn’t use the Auto setting on their camera amazes me but you guys are adding so much beauty to the internet.

Student bloggers – Sure I have to fit blogging around a job, but I can’t imagine fitting it around university and coursework or dissertations or research etc – you’re incredible! You also always seem to have the best cost-cutting tips which I always find very helpful, and I always end up feeling incredibly proud when you get your results haha!

Travel bloggers – You get my wanderlust going crazy. I’m amazed at how you always find the most beautiful places, and inspire me to go places I’d never thought about before, and let’s be honest, its not exactly a cheap blog subject! Keep exploring guys, you rock!

and a bonus.. Vloggers – Not only am I massively jealous of how confident you must be to talk into a camera, but also the amount of patience you have for editing videos and understanding YouTube – something I’m totally useless at!

I know I’ve only covered a small handful of blogging niches, but all bloggers are amazing – don’t you forget it!

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How I Live Blog My Disney Trips

You may have realised for yourself, but I love sharing my Disney trips with you lovely lot, and for me the only way to do it is by live-blogging. It started all the way back in 2014 with my family trip to Walt Disney World, and I’ve been doing it with every trip ever since!

Live Blogging

Now while I’m all for making sure I share every moment of the magic, I never want to be too bogged down with writing to be experiencing it all for myself, and since a few people have asked me recently how I manage to keep up with it all, here’s how I do it:

Writing

If you ever see me tapping away at my phone while I’m in the parks, I’m probably not socialising. During the day, if I ever find a few spare moments – in a queue, waiting for a parade etc – I use the notes app on my phone to write each day’s diary on the go, then at the end of the day, when I have wifi again, I just do a simple copy and paste into the WordPress app and save it as a draft.

Photos

I love my camera. Its a good few years old now and I don’t know the model number or anything but its a Sony DSLR and I don’t go to the parks without it because although I can get decent photos on my iPhone, I just always prefer the shots I get from a proper camera. At the end of the day, I use an SD to Lightning adaptor to download a small selection of photos onto my iPad.

Editing and uploading

I must admit, I really don’t like using the WordPress app for editing and uploading my posts, so instead I use the actual website on Safari on my iPad. It’s as simple as opening the draft I saved earlier, formatting the text the way I like it, and then adding in the photos – which I don’t edit at all – and sorting out the tags and categories, and hitting that publish button!

Job done, post up; it rarely takes more than about 20 minutes at the end of the day – wifi speed dependant!

Have you read my recent Shanghai trip posts?

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30 Little Things That Make Me Happy

Sometimes life gets you down. It happens to everyone, and its ok; no one’s life is Instagram-perfect.

When we have these little moments, its important to focus on the little things in life that put smiles on our faces, even if we don’t realise it. If it ever feels like the world isn’t on your side, take a few minutes to sit and write down a few of these, and you’ll be amazed how many things there are to be grateful for.

Little Things

Here’s mine:

  • Scented candles
  • Cheese and crackers
  • Gerbera daisies
  • Tsum tsums
  • Lip balm
  • Pretty sunsets
  • Cute animal videos
  • Fairy lights
  • Red skittles
  • Hair bows
  • Blue eyeliner
  • Good morning texts
  • Drinking from mugs
  • New notebooks
  • Disney trip planning
  • Clean sheets
  • Collecting eggs from my chickens
  • Retweets
  • Getting post
  • Peach iced tea
  • Pop tarts
  • Custard
  • Next day delivery
  • Walking to the gym
  • Dancing in the kitchen
  • Hand-writing lists
  • Nail varnish
  • Oreos
  • Disney movies
  • Fabric shopping

What’s on your list?

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My Gym Confessions

Its that time of month again; the time where I spill some of my little life secrets in the hopes of entertaining my lovely readers! I love a good bit of tongue in cheek.

We all know that some of the biggest cliches that resonate worldwide are those found on the gym floor, and pretty much everyone and their mother claims to have a membership somewhere, even if they use it once in a blue moon, so hopefully I won’t be alone in some of these!

I skipped the induction session

You know that half an hour they expect you to book in so that they can walk you around and point out what things are while you ignore them and end up just as clueless as you were at the start. Yep, I figured it was pointless..

I’m still a little nervous in the free weights area

It doesn’t stop me going there – I mean, when a girl’s gotta lift, a girl’s gotta lift – but I do make my visits swift when there’s lots of other people there, and if I know I’ve got a bit of an audience, I’ll stick to things I know rather than making a fool of myself

If anyone shoots me a dirty look while I’m working out, they instantly go in my bad books

I don’t care that I don’t know them. There’s this one girl at my gym who gives me shade all the time, and one time she put all her stuff over the mat that I was working on – as in, I was actually sat on this mat and she still didn’t care and took up half of it, come on! – and I genuinely have started trying to avoid the times she’s normally there.

That being said, I give some people major shade

Hypocrite, I know, but if you’re trying to take a selfie on a machine, or are the middle aged creep attempting to seduce young girls while you’re sweating buckets on the rower, I’m gonna shoot the odd dirty look your way. Also if you’re not wiping down your equipment, gross.

I can’t work out with other people

With the exception of my PT Steph, I don’t think I could ever do a workout with a buddy. I’m happy to go to the gym with other people, but after we walk onto the floor its everyone for themselves!

I hate going on equipment right after someone else has used it

Not because I think its gross, but I’m always worried that they weren’t finished using it or that they might think I was waiting to pounce on it as soon as they’d finished.

Eye contact makes me super uncomfortable

I’m flattered that you want to stare at my while I’m getting sweaty, but if I look up and our eyes meet then its just a little weird.

Damn right I’m proud of what I can achieve

When you catch me looking pretty smug or increasing my weight, you bet I’m feeling pretty great about it. I’ve come a long way and I’ve worked hard for what I can achieve now.

Go on, drop me a confession in the comments!

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China Trip Itinerary!

Well guys, today I’m getting on a plane and starting another crazy adventure, and because I don’t know how much I’m going to be able to update you on the trip while I’m away, I just thought I’d share a rough little plan of where we’ll be and when!


So tonight we fly out, and this is where we go from here:

July 11th – Arrive in Hong Kong, then catch another flight into Beijing

July 12-15th – Exploring Beijing and surrounding areas, before getting a train to Shanghai

July 16-18th – SHANGHAI DISNEYLAND OMGGGGG!!! Then we fly to Chengdu

July 19-22nd – Exploring Chengdu – which will involve lots of pandas! – before flying back to Hong Kong

July 23-26th – We’ll be staying in Hong Kong Disneyland Hollywood Hotel for the duration of our time in Hong Kong, but probably only do two days in the park, and then get the train into the city on the other days. We leave Hong Kong on the 26th, and after a 12 hour flight, arrive back in the UK only six hours later!

And then I’ll be back!

I’m hoping to be able to post my Disney diaries live, but I don’t know how reliable the internet will be in some parts of China, so if I don’t manage it you’ll hear all about it when I get back! I’ve got content scheduled for while I’m away, so there’ll be plenty for you to read in the meantime!

Smell ya later England!

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Adult Things I’m Actually Good At

Three years ago I left sixth form with a handful of A-Levels, the memories of my GCSEs, and a brain full of crazy ideas for what my life was going to be like now I was a proper grown-up throwing myself into the adult world.

Kikki K Planner

Well we all know that nothing can prepare you for that, right?

Sure I could write essays on psychology studies and perform a perfect chemical titration, but if you’d asked me mortgages work I would have quickly hidden behind a pile of stuffed toys and declared I was never growing up EVER.

Ok, so I’m still not 100% certain on some things, but recently I have been feeling like a slightly more competent adult, having become pretty good at a few important things.

Budgeting and Saving

This is something I’d consider to be one of my greatest skills; very rarely do I find myself scraping payday to payday, and when I do its probably because I’m saving for something super important. Generally speaking, if I want something, I will do whatever it takes to make it work, whether it be working 40+ hours or putting myself on a total spending ban.

Paying off my credit cards

So having three credit cards really makes me feel like an adult; its a little scary. Admittedly, two of them are joint, so I only really have two different accounts, but in over a year I have never missed a payment or amounted any interest that could negatively affect my credit score.

Food shopping

I like to think I’m pretty good at doing the food shop; I generally think in meals rather than just food, and my love of writing lists really comes in handy! Plus, being prepared tends to prevent panic buying and overspending.

Making appointments

Dentist, opticians, car MOT, chiropractor.. I like to make sure I’ve got everything booked in with plenty of advance warning!

Having a phone voice

While most people, including myself, dread phone calls from unknown numbers, I’ve always been pretty good at the polite phone voice that adults put on. My particular favourite is when someone asks to speak to *insert name here* and the response is ‘speaking!’.

Buying homeware

Ok so I still live at home but that doesn’t mean I don’t love going to IKEA or spending hours on Pinterest thinking about my future living space..

Are you good at being a grown up?

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10 Things I Do When I Drink Too Much

Today’s post is brought to you by half a jug of Pimms. Will I regret it later? We’ll see..


I’m just gonna start of by saying that I really don’t drink much these days; I might have a bottle of Koppaberg at a bbq with friends, but I pretty much never drink at home and I usual drive when I go out so I’ve turned myself into quite the lightweight over the years. This Pimms, however, is really good, and I’ll admit I had a coke with a splash of raspberry vodka before I started on the pitcher so this is quite out of character.

You’ll notice that my ability to spell correctly and use proper punctuation is unwavering though, and I think that’s a sign of a former grammar school girl. Other things I do when I’ve had a few too many..

Pee a lot

Everyone knows the deal with this right? Once you’ve been once, you set off a chain reaction of peeing frequently throughout the night. I like to tell people about this little fact too.

Get louder

I don’t even have to be in a club with loud music, my volume just generally increases

Make up words

We all do this right? Half an hour ago I coined the term ‘cakey-cookie’

Carb load

When I was 18, cheesy chips from the kebab shop next to Walkabout was my jam, but bread and pasta do the job nicely too

Solve a crisis

I’m full of answers when I’ve had a drink or two. They span from fixing someone’s zip to creating a solution for world peace.

Take too many photos

Normally on Snapchat, so at least the evidence disappears after a short amount of time, but occasionally they appear on Facebook..

Tell people how much of a lightweight I am

I feel like reminding people of this fact makes it more acceptable for me to be in whatever state I’m in. Oh, and I’ll tell them I don’t do this often either.

Disappear for lengths of time

I once locked myself in the bathroom at a friends house because I had hiccups

Be clumsy without realising it

I’m the sort of person that knocks something over, then is surprised by it falling because I didn’t realise it had anything to do with me.

Take off my shoes

If I wear heels, which is basically something I save for the work Christmas party each year and that’s it, at some point they will come off and they won’t go back on. I’m older and wiser now, so generally there’s a pair of roll up flats in my handbag.

Do you do any of these?

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21st Century Random Acts of Kindness

Remember the good old days when letting a mother with a small child go in front of you in the queue for public toilets, or drunkenly telling another drunk girl how pretty she looks was considered the nicest thing you could do in a day?

Well, they’re still pretty nice things to do, and you absolutely shouldn’t stop doing stuff like that, but with our lives so often revolving around technology and its development, our everyday acts of kindness are a little different now, and here are a few that you can do!

Random Acts of Kindness

Send someone a bunch of motivational emojis

Next time you see a tweet about having a long day or being stuck in retail on a bank holiday Monday, throw a few colourful hearts and party popper emojis their way, maybe even a bulging bicep. Why not add a cat gif too?

Donate to a crowdfunding page

Whether its a charitable cause or a start-up business, why not give a couple of quid? You get to be the mysterious philanthropist, and someone else gets a step closer to something great

Offer to be the designated driver

Save yourself the taxi fare from hell and spend a night drinking diet coke while your friends are on their fifth round of shots. You’ll earn infinite friend points and better still: no hangover!

Switch your phone off around company

Whether you’re on a date or just hanging with friends, put your phone on silent, put it away and enjoy the company you’re with (and hope they do the same!)

Offer to sign for a parcel for a neighbour

We all know that feeling when you’re at work and DPD have text to say they’ll be delivering your parcel between 10:43 and 11:43, and there’s just no way to split yourself in half to get home for it, so next time Carl pitches up with next door’s ASOS parcel and has no luck at the door, be a good egg and offer to take it in for them and drop it in when they get back.

Go on an Instagram like spree

No, not the kind of spam you do to try and get someone to notice and follow you, just don’t be afraid to double tap as you scroll through your feed in the morning

Offer your carpark ticket to someone

There’s nothing better than walking up to the meter and being approached by someone paid for way more time than they needed – hello two hours free! Be that person.

Let someone use your student discount code

My Twitter feed always has at least one ‘anyone got a student discount I can borrow PLEASE’ tweet on it at any given time. Now I’m not saying go nuts and throw it around like confetti, but maybe if you see a friend in need and can help, make their day!

And to finish off, here’s just a handful of some of the kindest bloggers I know:

Drop me a comment to share some of the kindest people you know!

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Some Fun Facts About My Dad

Happy Father’s Day everyone!


Because I know quite a few of my regular readers and Twitter buddies are big fans of my adventures with my dad, I thought I’d share a few fun little tidbits about the man himself!

1. He took me to my first concert

2. One time, KitKat retweeted him

3. A YouTube video he posted of a train once has over 17,500 views

4. He has more pairs of hotel slippers than I can count

5. He’s never broken a bone

6. Chocolate chip cat shaped scones are his speciality

7. He’s met a lot of celebrities in weird places

8. He shares his birthday with Mickey Mouse

9. He grows his own chillies, and makes a mean sweet chilli sauce

10. In the last year, he’s run two half marathons, and a Tough Mudder obstacle race

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Tell me something interesting about your dad in the comments!

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Hello Friday Freedom

Hi! I hope you’re sitting comfortably, because I’m gonna ramble a little bit today.

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If you regularly read this little blog of mine, firstly I love you, but more importantly, you’ll know that Friday is the day that I post my Friday Favourite Five. You may have also noticed that recently those weekly posts have become a little lack lustre, and if I’m being 100% honest, its because I’ve been finding having to write them a bit of a chore. Its my only weekly series, and coming up with something different every week is a challenge, but while each week they’re different, in terms of layout they’re pretty much the same post every week and I’m feeling restricted.

I take a lot of pride in creating great content, and they feel a lot like a cop out used to fill blank space, and I don’t want to ruin the blog I’m so proud of with posts that feel a little cheap.

Now this doesn’t mean to say I don’t like my FFF posts; its actually probably my longest running series since it began around this time last year and I’m kinda proud of that, so you might still find one cropping up every now and then (I actually have one planned for next week!), but I want a little more freedom to write what I want, when I want to write it.

So what will you be seeing more of with this extra day a week?

Well, I definitely want to be writing more non-Disney travel posts. I’m hoping to spend as much of this summer as possible exploring more of the UK, so I’ll be sharing more of those adventures, as well as going into my own travel archives, so to speak, and writing about some of my previous trips and experiences.

I’m also loving writing some of my more stupid posts – the confessions posts and Buzzfeed style relatable posts where I try to be funny and if nothing else I laugh at my own jokes, and at the total other end of the spectrum, I want to throw a few more serious pieces into the mix. OOH and outfit posts! I’m fully aware of being a walking contradiction.

Thanks for listening to my little vent today, I really hope these changes are received well! 

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May Monthly Favourites

Another month has gone, and we’re already almost halfway through 2016. I can’t even..

So something I’ve really loved this month has been sharing love, whether it be retweeting a blog post I enjoyed, helping a friend reach a follower goal or just throwing compliments around like confetti, it gives me warm and fuzzies, and on that note, I thought I’d start sharing some of my favourite things each month!

May Monthly Favourites

Blog Loving

First up, I’ve really been enjoying reading more fitness blog posts, including 10 Things Only Fitness Fatties Will Understand from My Healthy Curves, and pretty much everything that Hello, Steph posts. You go girlies!

My lovely advertiser Sam from Made From Beauty has the prettiest Instagram – I’m talking major goals right there – and I’m shamelessly re-watching all of Milly’s vlogs because I’m gonna miss her loads when she leaves for WDW at the end of next month, waa! And speaking of Disney, Amy’s Club Villain review has actually got me considering changing my firm anti-villain beliefs..

I’m really just loving the whole community right now, from the #disneybloggerschat on Thursday nights to the amount of love being spread on #FF Fridays. Bloggers rock y’all.

Pinterest

I used to pin fairly religiously, but it kinda went on the back burner a little while ago, so I’m really happy to be getting back into it now. I’m especially loving some of my new boards, Pastel Dreams and Summer Vibes, and of course I’m crazy excited to be adding things to my sister’s Wedding Planning board; if you didn’t already know, she’s just got engaged!

Body Confidence

I’m still not exactly where I was planning on being in terms of fitness and bikini-readiness, especially after a bit of a break at the beginning of the year and a few naughty weeks, but I’m actually finding my confidence again; wearing crop tops to the gym, more Snapchat selfies (sorry not sorry) and just generally feeling happier in my own skin!

Grey T-shirts

I’m never really much of a t-shirt wearer, but I got two of the cutest logo tees from H&M and I’m obsessed with both of them!

Holiday Planning

For me, the only thing more exciting than a Disney holiday is planning one, and I’ve got at least three coming up, eek!

Bullet Journalling

In an attempt to organise my fitness training, I decided to join this bullet journal craze with a Leuchtturm 1917, and while I’m not entirely on top of it just yet (I’ve yet to add any washi tape!), I’m pretty excited to really get into it.

What have you been loving this May?

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20 Facts About My Disney Life Tag

So a little while back the gorgeous Amy from Cocktails in Teacups tagged me to do this awesome Disney tag, and I must admit I fangirlled just a little. Amy was one of the first bloggers I followed and I’m so lucky to be able to call her a friend now, but sometimes I still get a little swept up in how much I admire her!

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The tag is simple, 20 facts about Disney in your life, so here we go:

  1. Disney love is a family affair, and I’ve been on trips to the parks with almost everyone in my family.
  2. When I was a kid, whenever I met Pluto I used to pull on his tongue. Looking back on it, it seems a little cruel, but it was always meant in a playful way!
  3. The character I identify most with is Honey Lemon from Big Hero 6
  4. I don’t collect pins, but I do have a fairly extensive collection of Vinylmations and Tsum Tsums!
  5. I own all of the Disney animated classics on DVD
  6. I’d love to cosplay, but I worry that my glasses would hold me back
  7. I love all of the Disney parks, but Disneyland CA will always be extra special to me.
  8. Disney princes have never appealed to me really, with the exception of Flynn Rider (and maybe Kristoff)
  9. I have a huge collection of Mickey ears, and I’m forever wanting more!
  10. I have a tattoo of the castle on the back of my neck.
  11. Whenever I book a Disney trip, I’ll probably spend more time planning my outfits than I will on anything else
  12. I never used to think much of Merida as a princess, but since I met her in Disneyland Paris last month and had the best time with her, I’ve totally changed my mind!
  13. The first mac and cheese I ever ate was in a bread cone from the Cozy Cone in Disneyland back in January!
  14. If I could be in any Disney park show, it would be Mickey and the Magical Map
  15. We have Mickey Mouse cutlery in our house
  16. I never used to like Tinkerbell, but since watching her spin-off movies I’m kinda obsessed with all of Pixie Hollow!
  17. I’ve run 4 RunDisney races, with 2 more to go this year and a potential 6 next year!
  18. The only time I like Starbucks is in the Disney parks. I never go into them otherwise.
  19. I pretty much can’t watch any show or parade without tearing up.
  20. I’ve made some of the best friends through Disney, and I’m eternally grateful for that.

I tag Lizi, Jade and Kayleigh!

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My Blogging Confessions

A little while back I wrote my Disney Confessions, and I had so much fun doing it that I thought I’d confess to more stuff, this time as a blogger!

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1. I have never scheduled a tweet

Blogging 101 failed. Every single annoying promo tweet you see was actually typed out by me at the time and I hit the tweet button. I keep meaning to look into scheduling – I’ll have to for when I’m away in July! – but its not a priority for me right now!

2. I’m a little bit terrified of chats

Other than the Disney Blogger Chat on a Thursday night, I’m always just a little bit too shy to join in with other chats! I went through a period of doing some, but at the moment I’m struggling to find the time or confidence..

3. My marble background is grossly underused

For starters, its actually sticky back plastic on a piece of Contiboard, but actually I’m really not a huge fan of it! It works so beautifully for some blogs, but I’m more into bold and colourful tones!

4. I do 90% of my blogging under a blanket on my sofa

And probably wearing pyjamas. We all do that though, right?

5. Most of my photos are unedited

When I do edit them, its on a free bit of software that I’ve used for about 6 years because I’m too scared to try anything else

6. I don’t subscribe on YouTube

Quite honestly, I hardly ever use YouTube. When I see my favourite vloggers post new videos, I’ll watch them, but I’m not subscribed to any of them and I’m not even sure I have a proper YT account. I will, however, always share your pleas for subscribers!

7. I don’t have, or see the point of Facebook pages for my blog

I see Facebook and Twitter as very different things. I think Twitter is for promoting yourself, and Facebook is for keeping up with friends, and all I ever see is people complaining about how few likes they get on their Facebook page. Really, I would never read a blog I loved and think ‘oh wow, I must go and find their Facebook page’..

8. I bulk-shoot a tonne of photos for Instagram when the sun is out

Y’know, just in case it goes away and never comes back. Typically I’ll take maybe like 10-15 photos and save them for days when I don’t have anything better to post.

9. I don’t use spreadsheets

I see so many super-organised bloggers sharing their tips on blog-planning using spreadsheets and colour codes and I’m just sat here with a notebook and a pencil, ticking things off as I go..

10. I fangirl a little when amazing bloggers respond to me on Twitter

Even if they just like my tweet, its enough for me. Bloggers be amazing.

Got anything to confess?

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