How My Blog Planning Has Changed Through The Years

It’s always October that I find myself thinking a lot about my blog and how much it’s changed. In just over two weeks this little space of mine will be 4 years old, and I will never stop being grateful for all that blogging has given me.I look back to the early years with a lot of fond memories. I wouldn’t like to call myself naive but I think that’s exactly what I was, but innocently so. Back then I wrote how I thought I should be writing, and when I look back I cringe over how the words don’t even sound like they’ve come from me, but back then, same as I do now, I wrote because I loved doing it.

Back in the day I had no idea how to schedule a blog post, and in fact there were a few days within my first years of blogging that I published about 6 posts in a day because I had no concept of the importance of staggering my content. In those days I didn’t even know how to check my blog stats, let alone worry over them, and I didn’t think I needed a Twitter account – cute right?

For the first year or so of my blog, I just wrote whenever I had the chance. There was no real pattern of much of a schedule, and pretty much everything was posted on the same day it was written without much of a thought. It was simple and I was happy doing that.

When 2015 came around, I wanted routine. I was still LottieDoesDisney back then and I still thought all I could write about was Disney, but came up with an ingenious blog plan and routine for the coming year. For each week I would honour a particular Disney movie, and represent said movie in various inspired posts through the week – I think Monday was an intro, Tuesday was fashion, Wednesday was DIY Thursday was food etc. I don’t even think that lasted two months.

The problem with this is I felt too restricted, and by this stage I was wanting to branch out and write about more topics, and this sort of schedule wasn’t allowing me the ability to do that. I quickly ditched that, although I never stopped writing about Disney, and change was creeping in, but it wasn’t long before I was introducing new schedules that were just as tight as the old ones.

2016 came and again I planned the year out carefully with a bunch of series that I was sure I’d see through, some weekly, some bi-weekly and others monthly. At the time I loved thinking that I was so damn organised, but if for any reason the posts couldn’t be written, I felt like I’d failed the system. Knowing I had to have a certain post written by a certain day of the week made everything feel forced, and I fell out of love with the writing, so I decided to let go.

I still plan, and I always aim to keep at least a week ahead of the game, but I’m far more relaxed with my blog schedule. I am, in fact, writing as many posts, if not more than I ever have done, but I don’t pressure myself and the words just flow much better that way. I try to have 3-4 posts for each week planned at the start of each month, and that allows me to fill the spaces with the spontaneous and off the cuff posts, which often tend to be the most popular.

I’ve always said it and I always will: I just enjoy writing and being a blogger, and what’s funnier still is I always say I’m grateful for what my blog has given me, but I guess really it’s what I’ve given myself.

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I Went Viral

Guys, I have actually no idea what’s happened in the last 48 hours.

Whether you follow me on Twitter or not, there’s a good chance that you may have seen a tweet of mine that unexpectedly took the Twittersphere by storm.

It was Friday morning, and while I was stuck at work, I was waiting for the good news that my ASOS parcel had been delivered. My DPD driver Paul was due to deliver between 9:31 and 10:31, and I’ve never had any issues with DPD so I felt like my parcel was in safe hands. The text came, and I glanced at it quickly presuming it would read that it had been delivered safely, and most likely signed for by my mum, but what I actually read made me to a double-take.

I enjoy a bit of delivery humour, and I’m full of stories from experience with various delivery companies, and this text didn’t bother me in the slightest. I had a little giggle, then quickly shoved my phone back in my pocket before I was caught out by a manager, but I did think other people might get a kick out of the text, so on my lunch break I decided to post a screenshot of the text on Twitter and share the lols.

Since then, everything has felt like a whirlwind.

Within a few minutes of tweeting the image, responses were rolling in. There were a handful of retweets, some replies and a good number of likes, to which I didn’t think much, but by the end of Friday I had 2K likes, and as I’m writing this now on Saturday evening, the post has almost 4,000 retweets and 23,000 likes.

I am absolutely flabbergasted. Little old me with my 2,500 followers would have never expected this sort of response from a single tweet, and since it reached what I can only describe as viral status, there hasn’t been more than a minute when I haven’t received more notifications of likes, replies and retweets. For this very reason I have no idea if anyone has actually been talking to me on Twitter because I am just swamped!

This is crazy right? I know it’ll probably fizzle out over the next few days and I’m certainly not letting this go to my head, but I am just astonished at how entertaining the internet has found this text! Did it make you giggle?

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Things I’ve Done Since 22

Happy birthday to me, happy birthday to me, happy birthday to meeeeee, happy birthday to me!

I’m not really one for celebrating my own birthday too much; I actually share my birthday with my youngest cousin who’ll be 9 today, and I’m more about making sure she has a great birthday than caring about mine. For me a birthday just means another year older, and another year to fill with adventures and achievements, and this last year has been pretty great. Shall we reflect?

  • I quit retail – after 4 years in the same job, last year I finally said goodbye to my B&Q orange apron and traded it in for an office job, hello change!
  • I’ve been on bunch of incredible holidays with my favourite people – Walt Disney World, Disneyland, a Disney Cruise and Disneyland Paris, plus some mini adventures in between
  • I went on my first solo venture to Disneyland Paris – while I did see some friends while I was out there, my DLP trip back in January was the first time I’ve fully done DLP by myself and I had such a lovely time.
  • I got to work with the Disney Store – I know it was months ago now and I keep going on about it, but it was an absolute dream blog collaboration for me and I had the best time doing it!
  • Another 3 half marathons – that’s another 39.3 miles, not to three 10Ks and any training runs in between
  • I’ve become more comfortable in my own skin – my body confidence has been up and down for as long as I can remember, but I’m finally accepting and learning to like how I look, and I have even been confident enough to post photos on social media of me in a bikini on holiday which is something I never would have done a year ago.
  • I launched yet another small business – after umming and ahhing for ages, I finally opened LottieBounds, where I sell my Disney inspired creations and I’ve been so happy with it!
  • Our first anniversary – not only did I reach my first one year anniversary ever, but I did it with the most perfect guy
  • Matthew moved in – sure, we haven’t got to the stage of moving out just yet, but we’re finally living together and we have our own little space to be together in after so much time apart

A few of these may seem small to some, but for me they are the defining moments of the last year, and I’m excited to see what I’ll do before I’m 24..

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Things I Would Do Differently on my Next Disney Cruise

Yep, I’ve hardly been back from my first Disney Cruise and I’m already thinking about the next. No, I’ve not got one booked, but I’ve got some plans and ideas, which led me to think about some of the things I learned on this trip, and what I would do differently next time.

Properly research ports and excursion options

I opted for the ‘take each day as it comes’ approach on this cruise, which lead to a nice chilled trip and lots of hanging out on the ship, but I think next time I would want to spend more time going ashore and visiting some of the amazing locations that Disney Cruise’s visit.

Spend more money

Due to having other trips coming up this year, I had to keep to a fairly tight budget in terms of onboard spending. Next time, I’d like to do a few more of the paid experiences on the boat such as dining at Palo, treatments at the spa and have a few cheeky cocktails by the pool!

Wake up earlier

Disney beds are always the comfiest beds, and on the cruise ships that’s no exception, so it was all too easy to sleep in every morning, and while cruising is all about relaxing and not having to always get up early, I sometimes feel like a lie in is a morning wasted, and I want to experience more of the morning activities!

Show more appreciation to the servers

I cannot commend all of the cast members on the ship highly enough, they absolutely raised the bar for me, but the servers were really incredible. You have the same server and assistant server every night, and this means they really get to know you, and you get to know them too. They are all so lovely and hard-working, and while at the end of the trip you get to show your appreciation with tips, next cruise I think it would be really nice to also pack small little gifts for the servers who make the whole experience so special.

Do more activities

Cheesy as it sounds, I kinda regret not going to a game of bingo, and I wish I’d been to some of the interesting talks that they had going on. Don’t get me wrong, I had a blast just hanging out on deck and meeting all the characters but I’m all about getting the full experience so next time I think I’ll be trying out more different ways to spend the time.

Have you ever been on a Disney Cruise?

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When I Grow Up..

Next week I’ll be turning 23. I’ll be another year older, and maybe wiser, but I’m still just as unsure about the rest of my life as I’ll ever be.

Remember when you were little, and you were so sure what you’d be when you grew up? Sure, you’d probably change your mind every couple of years, but at the time it seemed like anything was possible, and you’d probably be excelling in your field by the time you were 25. Childhood innocence meant you weren’t thinking about what degree you’d need to get, or how you’d pay off astronomical student loans, and your main concern when it came to housing was whether your house would have a bouncy castle room or a room made of chocolate. You were free to dream.

Over the years, I’ve wanted to do and be a number of things, and as another birthday approaches, I’ve been reminiscing a little..

‘I want to be a vet’

This was the first job I remember wanting. I was animal obsessed as a kid (some things never change) and to me being a vet meant playing with animals every day. Apparently I specifically wanted to be a vet for cute animals such as cats, dogs and hamsters, and refused to work with snakes or anything else that I deemed yucky or not cute.

I can’t remember at what stage I stopped wanting to be a vet, but I think it came along with the realisation that its not all playing with cute fluffy animals, and that I’d probably be traumatised the first time I was faced with having to put someone else’s pet down.

‘I want to be a fashion designer’

I think I was around about 9-10 when I started drawing clothes. I’d always loved being crafty and attempting to ‘customise’ stuff, and I got a sketchbook and started to create my first ‘portfolio’. This wasn’t a career I was overly vocal about, and I think the only person that I actually told this to was my sister, who I seem to recall told me it was stupid.

While the ambition faded fairly quickly, my love for designing and creating apparel never did, and today I’m selling my creations on Etsy, not to mention frequently wearing them myself.

‘I want to be in a girl band’

Toward the end of my primary school days, me and my two best friends at the time formed a band. I created the music on some PC software I had on my computer, and we’d sing along over and over and dream about performing in front of audiences.

The band probably lasted all of a few sleepovers, but I continued to write songs and perform until I was about 15-16, but I knew nothing would ever come of it. My confidence was knocked by some goings on in my personal life, and now I save my singing for solo car journeys and being home alone.

‘I want to be a photographer’

I’m fairly certain this one fizzled out as quickly as it came on, but I have always loved taking photos. I remember creating a website and some crappy little business cards, but at the time the only photos I ever took were probably on my dad’s little digital camera.

Photography is still a huge part of my life. Its a huge part of my blog and its something that I genuinely love doing, so while I won’t be making any big bucks out of it, me and my camera are always going to be firm friends.

‘I want to be a forensic scientist’

This was probably my most serious career aspiration. Inspired by my love of detective type TV shoes and my love of chemistry at school, I had really thought that this was going to be my career.

It stuck with me through my GCSEs, but during my first year of A-Levels I was starting to discover that university wasn’t the only path I could take after sixth form, and I was itching to be out of education and in the real world, and forensics just became another pipe dream that I was now over.

As for where I really am today, I’m just coming up to a year of being in my first proper salaried job, albeit still in customer service. I don’t love my job, but there’s a lot of change coming up in my life and I know that my time will come.

One day.

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8 People You Need to Befriend in your Office

Its now almost been a year since I traded in my soul-crushing retail job for my first taste of office life. Time flies, huh?

I’ve learned a lot about office life this year, but I think everyone knows that a key part in any job is finding how to survive the daily grind with as little stress and with the minimal effort required, and I’ve discovered that there are certain people in every office that are worth keeping on the good side of to help with this.

The smoker

You don’t have to smoke to appreciate the perks of being friends with a smoker. These are the people who normally have a good supply of chewing gum, mints and perfume, should you be in need, and are also equipped with a lighter for that inevitable moment when no-one’s thought about how they were going to light the candles on yet another office birthday cake.

The grazer

You know how there’s always that person that seems to be munching on something whatever time you look at them? Yep, that’s the grazer, and they’re gonna be your saviour on the days you’ve skipped breakfast. (I am definitely a grazer – I have a whole drawer in my desk dedicated to snacks and you can hit me up any time for some Belvita, rice cakes, nuts or hot chocolate powder!)

The scary senior

In my experience, in any workplace there’s one supervisor/manager who most people will tread very lightly around for fear of any upset. Now I’m not saying to be a total suck-up, but earning brownie points and being on the good side of this person can put you in a very good position should you ever need their help or a favour!

The tea addict

Know of someone who can’t go more than about half an hour with an empty mug? They’re back and forth from the kitchen doing tea/coffee runs all day, and generally they’re more than happy to fill up an extra cup if they’re going that way..

The part-timer

There’s nothing worse than trying to find someone to cover a shift that you can’t book off, especially because chances are everyone else in the office is probably already working the same day. Enter the part-timer – their reduced, and therefore more flexible hours means they tend to be happy with swapping as chances are it’ll benefit them too.

The know-it-all

For the times you’re stuck in a certain situation and aren’t entirely sure how to proceed, its handy to be fairly tight with that one person who seems to know every procedure and practice inside out and back to front to help you with the next step.

The great debater

Is there someone in your office who loves the opportunity to jump in on a debate, or just has to get there side across in an argument? Well it might be annoying as hell sometimes, but in other situations they can be particularly handy. There’s a guy on my team who’s like this, and if I ever have to call back an unhappy customer and don’t particularly fancy it, he’s normally more than happy to take it over.

The optimist

There is nothing worse on a bad day at work than being surrounded by people who are just constantly negative. Whether you’re in a bad mood yourself or not, its draining and it sucks for general morale. Find the sunny people and stick with them!

What gets you through the day?

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Things That Happen When You Start to Think About Moving Out

So I’ve hinted a lot recently about big changes coming up in my life, and undeniably the biggest of these changes is that very soon I will be flying the nest, and Matthew and I will be moving in together.

While this might not seem like a big deal to some, it will be the first time I’ve ever left home; I didn’t go to university, and places in my town are so expensive even to rent that I was much happier living at home and saving up for when this time came. With that in mind, now we are in the process of not only trying to find our own place, but also brace for all the adult stuff that comes along with it – mortgages, show home visits and what not – a few more things start to happen..

You sign up for an Ikea Family card, and any other loyalty schemes you can find

The B&Q Club, Tesco Clubcards, you name it – anything that could either get you some money off or earn a few reward points suddenly seems like the best idea in the world.

Pinterest boards appear

Rather than spending evenings scrolling for holiday destinations or beauty tips, suddenly its all about decor, furniture and kitchens, plus any home DIY pins you think you’ll actually be able to accomplish successfully.

You start to evaluate your DIY skills

Suddenly thoughts like ‘how do you even put up a shelf?’ and ‘can I be trusted with power tools?’ pop into your head at random times and you fear that everything might just have to be held together by duck tape..

Important discussions occur

If you’ve never permanently lived with your soon-to-be new housemate, you’ll end up having long conversations about whether you’ll be a ‘shoes off at the door’ kinda house, or if you keep ketchup in the fridge or in the cupboard.

You start to panic over hosting people

Having your own place means that inevitably people will visit from time to time, and in these times its always vital that tea and coffee is stocked and there’s milk in the fridge, and does this mean you should always have biscuits in too? Is it rude to not have biscuits?!

Cashback websites become everything

Now that you actually have to worry about your own bills, when weighing up which companies to go to for things like power, broadband and insurance, its all about who works out as the best deal when it comes to that all important cashback.

You realise how many things at home you take for granted

Sure, you’ve thought about what furniture you’re gonna need, and you’ve basically decided on your dream home’s decor in your head already, but did you think about the fact you’ll have to remember to buy an ironing board, a dustpan and brush, batteries and ziploc bags?

If you’ve recently moved out and have any tips, please drop me a comment!

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