Things That Are Worth Paying For as a Blogger

While we may make a little bit of money from sponsored posts, advert space and affiliate links, for the majority of bloggers, a blog is a labour of love, and I know that I for one definitely don’t make as much money out of blogging as I put into it.

As a result of this, over the years I’ve learnt all the classic money-saving tips for blogging: hitting up Primark and Asda for blog props rather than Zara Home, robbing B&Q for wallpaper samples to use as backdrops for photos and finding as many high street dupes for our favourite beauty products as possible. The list goes on.

I’m a firm believer that you don’t need to pour money into your blog to make it successful, but with that said, there are a few things that I am more than happy to pay out for in order to keep my blog running as smoothly as possible.

A domain

Whether you’re self-hosted or not, buying your own domain as opposed to being a .blogspot or .wordpress address is 100% worth it. I pay about £18 a year for mine, and not only does it help my blog look more professional, it all counts towards that all important (though also thoroughly pointless in my eyes) DA score.

Buffer Awesome Plan

I’ve been with Buffer since I started scheduling tweets, but there are a whole bunch of other sites available. When I first started out I stuck to the free plan, meaning I could schedule 10 tweets in advance at a time. Now I schedule 5 tweets a day, so it doesn’t take a genius to work out that I could only ever schedule two days at a time, which was a nightmare when half the time I would forget, or if I was away I’d face days of no tweets at all, so before my trip to Florida back in February I decided to upgrade so that I could schedule the whole two weeks I was going to be away, and since then I’d never go back. Its $10 a month, which depending on exchange rate is £7-8, but it makes me so much happier knowing at the start of each week that I’m all set until Sunday night, when I’ll top them up again.

ASOS Premier

I’ve been paying for Asos Premier for 3 years now, and trust me its worth it. £9.95 for the year to get free next day delivery on all orders, meaning I never have to worry about knowing if my items are gonna show up on time. Its kinda like Amazon Prime for my wardrobe, and yes I did once just order a pair of gloves for £5 two days before going to France because I knew they’d get to me on time and I couldn’t be bothered to schlep into town to dig through Primark for a pair.. PS. If you ever return and item for an exchange, the replacement item is also sent next day.

Upgrading your iCloud storage

If you’re forever snapping away for those all too Instagram-worthy shots, paying to upgrade your iCloud storage so you never run out of space on your phone is a lifesaver! I think I pay 99p a month and not once I have I had the dreaded ‘your storage is almost full’ pop up. In fact, I have photos back to December 2015 on my phone and I’m at no risk of running out of room any time soon.

Do you have any services that you swear by?

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Dear New Bloggers

It’s pretty strange to think I’ve been at the blogging game for almost 4 years now, and that’s not including a few blogs I’ve had prior to this one!Very often I do still feel like a new-ish blogger, primarily because I was blogging for a good year or two before I joined Twitter and discovered the rest of the blogging community, but the fact is I have been at this for a little while, and so today I thought I’d share some advice for those who are just starting out.
You should not be analysing your stats straight away

I don’t actually remember ever looking at my blog views when I just started out – I’m not even sure I knew how. You have to remember that it is gonna take a little while before you see a real growth.

Be in it because you love it

The reason I never looked at my stats when I first started this blog is because it wasn’t the reason I was writing. If you don’t love writing, or whatever you write about, then blogging is never gonna make you truly happy.

Don’t expect brand work straight away

I see a lot of new bloggers complaining that they haven’t been approached my brands yet, or posting a million #prrequest tweets with no response, and even when you’re an established blogger, these opportunities may not always come up. I personally don’t work with many brands and I’m perfectly happy with that because I like writing about my own stuff, and when I am approached, I appreciate it so much more!

Set your standards

Don’t think that just because you’re new to the scene that you should sell yourself short. When I first started out I did so much work for free because I didn’t think I could ask for a budget, and I also accepted any opportunity without thinking about how well it actually suited my blog, which I would never do now.

Know the game

Do a bit of research about what you should and and shouldn’t be doing. I’m not saying you need to learn how to code or anything complicated, but find out about SEO, follow vs no-follow links and the general rules around sponsored content and disclaimers.

Get involved in the community

The blogging community is so lovely and so welcoming and supportive. Sure, the occasional drama happens, but for the most part you’ll meet the sweetest people, and I guarantee a good portion of your blog readers will be fellow bloggers.

Photography is important

They say a picture’s worth 1000 words, and there’s definitely an element of truth in that when it comes to blogging. Find your style, learn what works for you and have fun with your blog photography. Remember, a marble background doesn’t have to be your thing.

Bloglovin and Instagram can be nightmares

I would say these two platforms are by far the hardest to grow, and here are my top tips for each:

Your Bloglovin won’t grow unless you actually use Bloglovin yourself. Make the effort to follow others, read and like posts and frequently share your link, and you should see some movement.

Post on Instagram because you like it. I hardly ever use my Instagram to bring traffic to my blog, I just genuinely enjoy posting to Instagram, and I like it that way.

Appreciate your niche

Not every blog has to be a beauty blog or a fashion blog; your blog doesn’t even have to have one topic. I describe this blog as a lifestyle and travel blog, with a helping of fitness, fashion and Disney magic, and that doesn’t even cover everything that I write about. You do you.

If you’re ever in need for any more tips or advice for blogging, I would recommend you take some time to read through the blogs of Maria and Corinne, who have tonnes of great posts, but cheesy as it sounds, just have fun!

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Car Insurance Renewal Myths Busted

I think we can all agree that there is nothing exciting or interesting about car insurance, right? Its a legal requirement, and considered by most to be a hassle or a chore, and what’s worse is that a number of people feel like they have no idea what they’re doing when it comes to it, which can really cause problems further down the line.

So while this might not be the most exciting topic to be blogging about, I thought I’d share some advice and information from my experience of working in the car insurance industry. I’m not sharing any industry secrets or naming/shaming any particular companies, I’m just hoping to clear up some of the myths or beliefs, and hopefully help a few people out! Here goes..

I’ve had another claim free year, why has my insurance gone up?

Its a common belief that every year you go without making a claim earns you a drop in your renewal price, and while this may often be the case, there are a number of factors that could mean you see an increase. This year especially, there have been a number of changes in industry factors that have been totally out of the companies control, namely the increase in Insurance Premium Tax (IPT) and changes in legislation on personal injury compensation, both of which have hit car insurance hard.

On top of this, insurance rates are calculated based on a whole tonne of information and statistics, so while you might have another year of driving with no accidents, things like your car being another year older, or if there’s been an increase in the number of accidents or claims in your postal region, are all things that are factored in during the underwriting process.

What about my no claims discount?

No claims discount (NCD) can of course reduce the cost of your insurance substantially, and within your first few years of earning NCD, you should be seeing a general reduction in your insurance quotes, but the further up the years you get, the discount percentage increases by smaller increments, until you eventually hit your insurance companies maximum, which in most cases is 9+ years. At this point, while you may feel like your insurance should be dropping every year – which is may do! – you’re already benefiting from the highest discount you can get, so you may find a bit of a plateau.

My insurance company will give me a discount if I tell them I’m going to cancel

Sure, a lot of insurance companies will be able to offer you a discount if you express unhappiness at your renewal price, but I urge you to think about the amount of discount they give. If they can knock £100 off the price the moment you question the price, why is it they can do that without second thought? You may find you’re only offered £10-15 off, and while this may seem a little stingy, what it actually suggests is that you were sent out a pretty accurate price in the first place, rather than an over-inflated price designed to make you feel like a winner when they half the cost.

I shouldn’t have to shop around to get the best price

One of the biggest reasons that people see their insurance prices go up and up and up is because they allow their insurance company to renew the policy time and time again without comparing the market. Most insurance companies do have a preferred customer, be that based on age or any other factors, and while you may think that you’re being a lovely loyal customer staying year after year, it is possible that you can get a much better deal elsewhere. This has actually become such an epidemic that the insurance regulator has mandated that insurance companies must now put a statement on their renewal quotes encouraging their customers to shop around, so don’t be insulted if you notice this!

On the back of this, insurance companies can vary massively in how they assess your details, so one company can quote you £300 while another quotes you £600 for exactly the same cover!

Do I really need to review my insurance every year?

YES. I urge you to check through all of your documents every year, as well as being sure to update your insurance company to any changes throughout the year. Even small changes, such as a different job, becoming a homeowner, going from living at home to living with a partner or getting married; these are all factored into the calculation of your insurance premium, and its so easy to forget about informing your insurance of these changes, but they can make a difference!

What should I do if I’m uncertain about anything on my policy?

If you ever have any questions about your car insurance, the first thing you should do is speak to YOUR insurance company. While friends and family may be keen to give you advice, if they’re insured with a different company, there could be a big difference in what their insurance covers to what yours does, so bear this in mind when seeking a second opinion.

I’m sorry to bombard you with quite a lot of information, but I really hope that I’ve been able to help a few people out with this post! If you have found this helpful, please let me know as I’d love to know if you’d be interested in seeing more posts like this!

This post is primarily based on facts, but any of opinions stated in this post are my own personal views and do not reflect the views or opinions of any insurance companies.
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My Blogging Time Saving Hacks

I take a lot of pride in maintaining my blogging routine of at least 5 new blog posts a week, alongside working full-time and running a few small businesses.

Time is always of the essence for me, and over 6 months I’ve discovered a whole bunch of ways to ensure that I’m not wasting those precious minutes, and here are a few of my favourites:

Pre-writing scheduled tweets

Scheduling tweets is blog promo 101, but I used to find it such a chore sitting and choosing which posts to schedule, then writing them out and auto-pilot-typing those same set of hashtags and RT accounts over and over. No more! Every time I publish a new post, I write a promo tweet for it, and then I copy and paste this into one huge document of all of my posts, complete with tags and all. I have these categorised into different topics, so I just have to rotate between lifestyle, beauty, food, travel, Disney etc, and copy and paste a post from each category for each day.

The Buffer extension on iOS

I also used to think I could only schedule tweets from my laptop so that I could link posts, but I’ve since discovered that if you add the Buffer extension to Safari, I can schedule post tweets straight from my phone!

Instagram drafts

Although I’m finding them super glitchy at the moment, the drafts feature on Instagram is my favourite update since stories. I spend my work breaks editing all my photos and writing captions, then whenever I need to post I just have to pull it back up and hit publish!

Bulk writing series posts

When I have a new series planned, like my Glass Slipper Camp workout posts or pre-Disney trip outfit posts, I’ll try and sit and write them all in one go and get them scheduled and out of the way. I can only really do this when I know exactly what I’ll be writing/posting, but it works for some series!

Giving yourself a break

Ultimately, the best time saving hack is remembering that if life gets in the way and I don’t have enough time to get a couple of posts out, its okay. Rather than stressing out about stats or a dip in views, you just have to let it go and accept that life comes first, and that its alright to miss a day or even a week if you need to. Letting go is a blessing.

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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!

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Great Ways to Try New Beauty Products

Testing Beauty Products

Sometimes I wish brands would stop releasing so many great products. I mean, I own 40 lipsticks (a fact I’ve recently discovered) but that doesn’t make me any less likely to treat myself to a new one every now and then.

See, the problem with beauty products is that, sure, you can test them in store, but in the end you have to take the plunge and buy the product, and then pray that you like it as much as that little swatch on your hand. But what if you don’t? You’ve then gotta go through the hassle of Depop-ing that ‘swatched only’ product and deal with a bunch of people offering you £5 inc p+p for something you dropped £25 on.

So what should you be doing instead?

Minis

Minis are most commonly found in perfume form, but did you know that brands like Benefit also do scaled down sizes of their best selling products? Boots do selections at 3 for £25 or 4 for £15 here, and not only do they make it easy for you to try out great products for a fraction of the price, but they’re also perfect travel sized products!

Magazine samples

I can’t be the only one who chooses magazines based on the free gift, right? Sure, its less of a big deal with grown-up magazines, but I still get a little excited when I see a free nail varnish or beauty sample, and even if there isn’t a free gift as such, they’re often still full of hidden gems like perfume samples!

Feel Unique Pick’n’Mix

This is my favourite discovery this year. The Pick’n’Mix scheme is simple and brilliant: choose 5 products out of a huge selection of what’s available, and pay just £3.95 to cover postage. This £3.95 is then returned to you in the form of a voucher to spend against a future purchase, should you fall in love with what you tried. Not only does it give you a free way of trying products, but there’s such a wide range of products, you might try something you’d never think about before. You can only do this once a month, but already I’ve tried NARS, Trilogy, NudebyNature, Benefit, theBalm and much more!

Have you tried any great products recently?

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