I’m Trying To Do Better


As I type this, it’s a Wednesday night and I really want a post to go live tomorrow, because my blog has lacked consistency recently – but more importantly – I miss blogging properly.

I’m wracking my brains whilst sitting in bed in my new Batman PJs listening to old school Blink 182, wishing that my creative spark would make a return soon. I’ve skimmed my feed of blogs I like to keep up with, and I’ve frantically flicked through my Dana Fox lifestyle blogging ideas book. But no. Nothing. Zilch. Nadda. Maybe I should just commit to some sort of hiatus until the ideas come flowing back.

All I can think of as an inkling of an idea is to talk frankly with you on how I want to be better, do better. I’ve felt a bit like I’m drowning in this need to consume content – whether it’s other blogs, the growing pile of comics on my bedside cabinet, and the expansive list of TV shows I want to watch on Netflix. First world problems, right?

But with that first world problem comes another one – the pressure to keep creating content, to feel validated in my self-titled role of “creator”. I feel like I’m failing on both counts.

Don’t worry guys, I know how ridiculous this all sounds but there’s something therapeutic about spilling the beans, y’know?

I want to do better at being creative – at finding time to have ideas and to embrace them. To scribble more, and create more. To stop being driven by what others are doing, or being blindsided by the sheer volume of things I want to read, watch and hear. To take a step back and be proud of what I could do creatively, if I only focused on it.

I want my blog to be something to be happy with again. Something I’ll always find time for because it’s an outlet for creativity, for sharing thoughts and ideas and goings on.

So, bear with me. I’ll get there. Even if it does mean things might remain a little quieter on here in the short term.

A (Very) Nerdy Primark Clothes Haul


Before Saturday, I don’t remember the last time I went into Primark and actually bought something rather than storming out in frustration that it was busy, the queues were long and there was nothing to buy.

But visiting the Portsmouth store at the weekend with Liam resulted in picking up quite a few clothes with a pretty nerdy theme – as you can tell. I’m a sucker for anything Batman and Marvel, but I was also suckered in to a little bit of Jurassic Park and Adventure Time merch.

So what did I get?

Marvel Pyjama Shorts

LOOK AT THAT PRINT. LOOK AT IT.  I love it. I am all about the Marvel character prints on anything (still holding out for some soft joggers in that print so hook a nerd up if you find any please?). These shorts are a nice thin material with a thicker waistband like jogging bottoms and a cute red bow. With the hotter weather I much prefer wearing shorts to bed than long PJ bottoms so these can definitely stay.

These were only £4 which I thought was insanely cheap and they fit really nicely. I got mine in a size M (10-12) and they are nice and comfortable with room for post-pizza bloat. Which is very important in the pyjama buying process, obviously.

Batman Pyjama Top

So you’ll notice that most of the things I got are nightwear related. That isn’t because I am lacking in pyjamas, it’s just because Liam kept pointing them out and I couldn’t resist. The slogan on this top is perfect for me, as a lover of Batman and a connoisseur of naps.

I think this one may be my favourite purchase, as it’s nice and baggy and fits more like a nightshirt than a top. It’s quite thin material so again ideal for the warmer weather, and at only £6, I’d highly recommend.

Adventure Time Pants

Hands up if you always have a look at the pants in Primark. Yeah, me too. I usually go for ‘nicer’ pants, but every once in a while you want some cute boy short ones with a cartoon dog on, am I right?

I think Adventure Time is genius and Jake is one of the best characters on it, so these easily made the cut. Plus, they were only £2.50, so it’d be silly not to buy them.

Jurassic Park Top

So briefly moving away from clothes to sleep in, I also picked up this Jurassic Park tee for £8. I still have one they had at Primark a year or so ago which had a purpley camo pattern, but it’s gone all bobbly and faded, so I liked the look of this upgrade, with the traditional green camo colours.

It’s a bit on the baggy side, given my short stature, but it’ll go great with some jeans or long shorts.

Batman Pyjama Shorts

Last but not least, my second pj shorts purchase was these Batman ones which match the nightshirt. They both have the 60’s Bat logo on it which I love, and these shorts are so ridiculously comfy.

These are made of a slightly thicker material than the Marvel ones, with the same style of waistband, and were only £1 more than the other pair (so £5).

I’m genuinely super impressed about my finds, and how little each cost as official licensed items as well. Primark had loads more nerdy bits and pieces on their clothing, nightwear and lingerie ranges so I definitely suggest you head to your local store and snap them up before they’re gone.

What’s Happened To Blogging?


What's happened to blogging?

I hope this post doesn’t come out too rambly and without focus. I just wanted to get my thoughts down on how I think blogging, as I know it, seems to have lost its direction.

One of my favourite things about blogging, other than writing new posts and chatting to the community via Twitter, is reading other blogs. Absorbing other people’s content so that I may be more inspired with my own, or simply just for fun or intrigue.

But something seems to have changed. I’m scrolling through my feed daily and I’m seeing sponsored content after sponsored content. Giveaways, followed by more giveaways. I get it, I really do, making money from blogging is a lot of people’s dreams, and for a lucky few it is a reality. But there seems to have been a distinct change where blogs I used to enjoy, that I used to relate to, are now all about making a quick buck.

If that’s the way blogging as a whole is going, then I honestly despair. Some of the very best content out there is the honest and genuine posts that you know are not supported by a brand desperate for a link or two. Those are the posts we all love to read, right?

This isn’t a plea for bloggers to change the way they do things. Everyone’s blogs are their own to do as they please. It’s purely my thoughts, my opinions, on what I am experiencing not as a blogger myself, but as a reader. As a fan. As someone who turns to reading blogs as a way to unwind and feel comfortable and a part of something.

I don’t want to feel a part of a brigade of bloggers that are sharing the same reviews of the same products, or hosting the same giveaways to ‘buy’ new followers. That’s not the community I joined way back when. I know I’m not the only one disenfranchised with blogging at the moment for these very reasons, so i’m hoping the tide will turn soon and once again my feeds will be filled with greater variety. That’s the crux of the problem, I think. Not that bloggers are doing sponsored posts, but that some blogs have simply turned into a sponsored post machine.

I’ve found this shift has had an impact on my blog too. I read other blogs to be inspired and brainstorm ideas (we all do it, let’s be honest). But I am so lacking in inspiration at the moment that I can’t help but wonder if the reason why is the change in content being more led by brands than by creatives.

Do you think blogging has changed? Let me know your thoughts in the comments because I’d like to hope I’m not alone in this…

Finding The Right Keywords For Your Blog Posts

finding keywords for blog posts

So anyone who has been blogger for a little while will know the importance of SEO (search engine optimisation), and a key component to SEO is keywords (haha, key component, geddit?). If you use the right keywords in your posts that match the searchers intent (i.e. what they are Googling), you can stand to generate more traffic.

Sounds simple, yeah? No. It’s not.

Manipulating the amount of organic traffic (that means traffic from search engines) is not an easy job. There’s plenty of competition out there, and Google has also changed a lot from the days when simply stuffing your content with the keyword gave you a good chance of ranking highly for a search that matched. If you rank highly, you’re more likely to generate more traffic.

Nowadays, the keyword needs to be used naturally, ideally within your blog post title, the post URL and throughout the copy without being overused. Only use them contextually – i.e. not for the sake of it.

If you use self-hosted WordPress (a WordPress.org site), then before reading on I recommend you install the Yoast SEO plugin, as it cleverly indicates how many times your keyword has been used as you type. If you don’t have WordPress, once you’ve completed your post you can run it through a tool like this to see how often your term has been used.

There’s no magic formula for how often your keyword should be mentioned, but this post from Yoast says that keyword density should be around 0.5% – 2.5%. Much more than that is going to appear unnatural to Google.

Before we get started, I highly recommend you grab a cup of tea or coffee for this one because it’s gonna be a long one.

Finding the right keywords for your blog post

So now you know how important they are, it’s time to get cracking with your keyword research. There are tonnes of tools out there that claim to give you keyword data, but the best source to go to is Google’s own Keyword Planner Tool.

To use Keyword Planner, you need to have a Google Adwords account. This is what is used to create PPC (pay per click) campaigns which also rely on keywords. You’ll have to sign up for an account and follow the instructions to create a campaign, which you can immediately get rid of.

Unfortunately this process does include adding payment details, but you won’t need to spend a penny. Just follow the instructions below to get started!

(Don’t be put off by the multiple steps – you only have to do this once and it gives you access to the very best way of finding keywords!)

Signing up to access Google’s Keyword Planner Tool

Go to Google Adwords (this link opens in a new window, so you won’t lose this guide!) and click ‘Start now’.

Next, fill in your email address and website name. If you don’t have a Google account for your email address, it will prompt you to create one. If you do, it will ask you to login.

sign up google keyword planner tool


Now it gets a bit complicated – you will need to create an ad to proceed. Fill in the sections on this page with the most relevant information e.g. you want to target the UK, your product or service is a blog and your product or service is blogging writing. Fill in the ad section with whatever you want, and set the lowest budget it allows for your campaign.

Click ‘Save and continue’ once you have saved each section on this page.

The next page is for all your Billing details. You will need to fill this in with legitimate details but as I said before, you can cancel the ad you have created straight away once you access your account. Click Verify once you’ve filled it in then press OK on the screen that pops up.

The next screen that comes up is a Review of the process you have gone through. It will show your completed ad and Billing Summary. Then you will need to accept the T&C’s before clicking ‘Finish and create ad’. That will take you to a screen that says ‘Continue to dashboard’.

Once this screen has loaded up, your newly created ad will be at the top. Straight away, you can deactivate this ad. Click the slider to Inactive. A box may pop up asking for your reason for deactivating it, but you can click cancel and it will still be inactive. Make sure it is definitely not active before the next step!

FYI: You may get an email from Adwords saying your ad will be live in 24 hours. IGNORE IT. It’s not factoring in that you’ve set it to inactive so rest assured it will not be going live if you’ve followed the instructions above!

Using the Keyword Planner Tool

Now you have an Adwords account, go to the Keyword Planner Tool (again, this link opens in a new window). This will prompt  you to sign in to Adwords to access it. This should happen automatically rather than you needing to sign in again.

You’ll see a screen with a few options (and a handy reminder that none of your ads are running – if you can’t see this, head back to Adwords and triple-check your ad is inactive!). If we’re all good, then on Keyword Planner select ‘Search for new keywords using a phrase, website or category’.

keyword planner tool options

Here, I recommend using the first field (your product or service) rather than the other options. In this box, type in the basic topic of your post, for example ‘motivational tips’. Scroll down, and click ‘Get ideas’. The tool will basically use this as a seed keyword and give you ideas on other keywords that users are searching for .

The screen that loads will show you a lot of useful information – the chart along the top shows you the average number of searches monthly for the seed keyword you chose, but you’ll want to look below at the table of keywords presented to you.

There’s so much information you can get from this tool, but I want to focus on the element that is most helpful for choosing your keywords: Avg. monthly searches (how many times the keyword is searched for, on average, over a month).

Choosing your keyword

So now you have access to lots of relevant terms related to your blog post topic. Goldmine! Click on Avg. monthly searches to ensure that those with the most searches are appearing at the top.

Depending on the topic, your keyword and similar ones may have absolutely loads of monthly searches (indicating it could be very difficult to rank for) – these are usually quite generic keywords such as ‘motivational quotes’. This has provided a potential focus for your topic by including quotes in your post, rather than just tips but does still leave you potentially competing with a lot of other sites for attention.

You want to strike a balance by finding keywords which have a smaller number of monthly searches so as to avoid being buried beneath sites that already rank highly for the more generic terms. Search the list for more specific phrases such as ‘positive motivational quotes’ which still has a significant number of monthly searches (2,900) but is a more ‘long tail’ search in that it has a descriptor.

Using it in your post

So now you have your keyword, it’s time to think about how you’re going to craft your post. So, you know you want to include the keyword in the title so you could go for:

  • Positive Motivational Quotes For When You Have A Bad Day
  • Start Your Day With These Positive Motivational Quotes

Etc, etc. You get the idea. Within the post, you don’t necessarily need to continue to use the ‘positive’ each time, as Google will pick up the relevance from the title, but try using the keyword for the alt tag of your main image, and mention ‘motivational quotes’ a few times *naturally* within the post.

Phew, I told you it wouldn’t be simple.

But honestly, the more experience you have using the Keyword Planner, the easier you’ll find the process and the more you’ll get out of it. Being able to see what people are actually searching for can really help you to optimise your posts, but also create new post ideas as well!

Any questions or other keyword tips? Let me know in the comments below!

How You Know You’re A PokemonGo Addict

PokemonGo problems

So hey, you might have heard of a lil something called PokemonGO. If not, where have you been hiding and why didn’t you invite me?

Y’see, I told myself I wasn’t going to bother with trying to become a Pokemon Master. I told myself “Hey now, you’re 26 and your days of Pokemon training are behind you”. But then I saw the app in action. Then I downloaded it. Then I caught my first Pokemon. Now, I can’t stop. I wanna be the very best. Like no one ever was.

It’s early days. I’m only Level 4. I can’t even battle in gyms yet or do most of the cool stuff. But it feels as if I’ve got about 100 Rattata’s, 50 Pidgeys and a Zubat which was a bitch to catch. I’m ready to take on the world. I’m very aware of my addiction guys, so I thought I’d try and snap myself out of it by sharing what makes a PokemonGo addict. Maybe I’ll get embarrassed of myself and give up but probably not.

You can’t stop checking your phone

You never know, a Pikachu might suddenly appear in my immediate area and OMG PIKACHU. Even though I know I’m miles away from rustling leaves, the situation could change any second. What I forget that is if it does, it’s usually yet another Rattata here to ruin my day.

You get that app crash rage

So, given that the app is buggy AF, it crashes a lot. Those servers cannot keep up with the sheer volume of Pokemon trainers out there. But when the app crashes as I’ve just caught a new Pokemon, it breaks my soul in two that the app doesn’t register it was caught when you reopen it. WOE IS ME.

You’re all about the power ups

I don’t even really understand the rules of it yet, but all I know is that I want to power up all of my Pokemon and evolve them as soon as I can.

When someone places a Pokestop lure, it’s like Christmas

Near me, there aren’t a whole lot of Pokemon. But some absolute legend put a lure on my local Pokestop (the post office up the road) and I was able to catch a Zubat, Drowsee and a Pidgey or two. Let’s ignore the fact I already have those Pokemon and just be excited for the transfer opportunities.

You can tell exactly who else is playing PokemonGo

I mean, it’s not particularly hard given that it’s everyone else glued to their phones walking slowly and occasionally stopping, stroking their phone screens a few times then moving off again.

Everyone you know who doesn’t play it hates you

They’re just so sick of hearing about either how great the app is because POKEMON and how awful it is because ARGH WHY CAN’T I LOG IN.

You wanna flip a table when you can’t catch ’em all

Maybe I’m just crap at throwing Pokeballs, but does anyone else find it difficult to catch some Pokemon sometimes? Maybe my phone is bugging out but I practically smack a Spearow in the face and it doesn’t capture it.

Bye bye phone battery

Even with the settings change to reserve battery power, PokemonGo sucks battery like a Bellsprout using Leech Life. Anyone else keep their phone charged all the time they aren’t using the app? After all, I’d hate to hit 0% when a wild Charizard appears.

You’re a bit obsessed with anything to do with PokemonGO

Whether it’s a Buzzfeed article speaking all them truths (like this one) or your new favourite tshirt letting the world know of your new obsession, you’ll read anything and everything to do with the app because lol it’s your life now.