My Proudest Blogging Achievements

blogging achievements

Oh blogging, you wonderful beast. You have been my favourite hobby I have ever had. You have provided me with both highs and lows, and you have helped me to develop a genuine career in digital marketing that I sincerely doubt I would have without you. On top of this, you have provided me with true achievements that I can be proud of.

That’s why when Liam made the suggestion that I write a blog post about my blogging achievements, I jumped at the opportunity. Not only did I jump (well, I didn’t *actually* physically jump…), I also got out the camera and decided to jabber about it for my Youtube channel. I’ll pop the video at the end of this post, but for those of you who prefer a cheeky read rather than a cheeky watch, here are my four proudest blogging achievements that popped into my head when planning the video.

Finding My Voice

In a vast sea of bloggers and a far vaster sea of content, finding my voice hasn’t always been easy. I initially set out to create content that I thought readers would like most – keeping the tone fairly matter of fact, slightly conversational but generally a bit….dry. Rewind the 3 or so years I’ve been writing here on this lil ol’ blog, and I’d say I’ve definitely come a long way in honing my voice and injecting some personality into my posts.

The bloggers I appreciate and admire the most (e.g. blogger queen Hannah Gale), have so much personality in their posts and they really seem to bare their soul in what they do. That’s what I aim to be one day. But for now, I am super proud of being able to make headway in deciding the tone of my blog so that I not only enjoy writing it, but people enjoy reading it too.

Shoutout to the awesome peeps who regularly comment here by the way – you keep the faith that I am doing a half-decent job!

Growing my Twitter following

OMG GUYS. Almost 3,000 of you beautiful people follow me on Twitter. Watch out, Zoella! I kid. but seriously, I am so chuffed with how my Twitter following has grown. Not so I can be like OOOH METRICS AREN’T I GREAT! But because there are lots of lovely folk to talk to that (on the whole) are at least slightly interested in what I have to say.

Yes, it’s not all about the numbers but I cannot help but be proud of growing something from nothing and there’s nothing wrong with that.

Being happy with the look

One of the greatest blogging achievements for any blogger has got to be being happy with how your blog looks. Superficial, maybe, but if your blog is a reflection of you and your “brand”, the aesthetic has got to play a part.

Props to Pipdig for the design of my blog, but also now I’m with WordPress, I can customise the appearance much more and make it mine.

Branching out into video

OK, so this one is early days and has been…sporadic at best. When I first started uploading videos to Youtube, I didn’t enjoy it at all. I wasn’t happy with the content, and I found it all a bit tedious. Whilst I don’t love it enough to live that VLOGGING E’RYDAY life, I am now at a point where I am happy with the quality of videos. I want to make a conscious effort to keep at it, so fingers crossed it works out.

It’s never easy putting yourself out there – particularly on a platform like Youtube where trolls spend their time, but the hard work of planning, filming and editing does pay off. I know I still have a lot of work to do to improve, but it’s a start!

If you fancy watching me blabber on about my blogging achievements a bit more, check out the video below. Oh, and subscribe to my channel if you want to see more videos, too…

A Sexy Nandos Chicken & Halloumi Salad Recipe

nandos chicken & halloumi salad

nandos chicken halloumi recipe

Nandos sauce chicken salad

It may not be fancy, but I love a bit of Nandos. Admittedly we did go so much that I got a bit sick of it, but when Liam made himself dinner with the Coat and Cook medium sauce at the weekend, I was inspired to use the leftovers for lunch the next day to make a banging salad for us both. It was a resounding success, so I thought I’d share a little recipe for when you’re in need of some peri peri goodness.

Like all good salads, this is embarrassingly easy to knock up (especially if the chicken has already been cooked and simply needs shredding). Much like my chicken and chorizo salad, I am slightly hesitant in declaring this as a “recipe”, because y’know it’s just throwing some stuff together…

Nandos Chicken & Halloumi Salad Ingredients

Pre cooked chicken in Nandos Coat and Cook sauce (as much as you want – we had one breast each. Oooer)
Babyleaf salad leaves – or whatever type of salad you prefer
Thinly cut halloumi
Croutons
Nandos lemon and herb pouring sauce

Method

Start by cutting the halloumi into thin(ish) slices. Spray a frying pan with some Frylight or use a little bit of oil. Heat up the pan on medium, and add the halloumi slices.

Whilst these are frying up nicely, get your pre cooked chicken and shred it using a knife and fork. I cut it into tiny chunks rather than properly shredding it, but whatever floats your boat. Once shredded or cut, flip the halloumi slices so they get slightly crispy on both sides.

Line the bottom of a bowl with salad leaves. At this point, I would add a small amount of sauce and then layer with some more salad. This is my top secret trick for making sure the salad gets enough sauce. Don’t tell anyone because it’ll change your life…

Next, add the shredded chicken and a few croutons. Then strategically place the halloumi so it looks Instagram-worthy. Finally, drizzle the lemon and herb sauce over the top.

BAM. Done. You’re welcome.

Life Lately: Onto the Next Chapter…

life lately new chapter

I have a feeling this is going to be one of those rambly “throwing my thoughts out there” posts. As I type, it’s a Sunday morning (Happy Sunday y’all!) and I’m armed with a cup of tea (as all Sunday mornings should be). I’m also armed with a dangerous brain that is trying to suppress that inevitable fear around change.

By the end of this coming week, I will have finished working at my current job. I’ll have packed all my clothes, makeup and a few other bits to move back in with Liam.

With my new job being a short commute from where Liam lives, we decided to take the plunge (again) and live together. A *slight* curveball being that we need to find somewhere else to live because the landlord wants to sell up. It’s going to be a big test for us, and whilst terrifying and stressful, we are both trying to focus on the excitement of a “fresh start”, so to speak.

We’ve seen a couple of properties now, and neither of them really stood out for us as the place to call ours for a year or so whilst we save for a deposit to buy (we also recently saw a mortgage advisor – TOO MUCH ADULTING). We still have a lot of time to find the right property, but we know that our options are going to be limited as time goes on, so the pressure is on a bit.

Thinking about it, with everything going on, I’m not surprised that my blogging schedule has been a bit patchy…

Do you ever feel like there’s too much change going on in your life, so you have to step away from certain things until you feel more settled? I think that’s what has been happening for me lately. I haven’t had time to plan content for the blog, or keep the momentum of my recent Youtube videos going, and other things have slipped too. My ‘to read’ pile next to my bed is now out of control with all the comics I buy and then neglect to keep on top of. I’ve also not had the time to read as many blogs as I would have liked, either.

But to be honest, as much as I’d like to be more in control of this stuff, I am willing to sacrifice it for the sake of my own wellbeing. To be sure that the higher priorities such as finding a nice place to live, and settling in well in my new job, are dealt with above trying to follow a blogging and vlogging schedule that could end up running me into the ground. I find blogging, at times, to be incredibly therapeutic, but at other times to be this necessary thing that if I don’t do it the world is going to end. Which is silly, because I know that regular readers are used to the irregular post schedule here anyway! I told you this post would get rambly…

Aside from all the CHANGE CHANGE CHANGE, there are some consistencies in what I’ve been up to lately. I’m still eating waaaay too much food at the weekend, and still feeding into my current obsession of S&G’s makeup collection. We’ve also been to the cinema a few times recently, having seen Suicide Squad (review here) and David Brent: Life on the Road.

We’re taking a little break from adulting next weekend by having some friends over for a BBQ (although, given it’s a Bank Holiday I can only assume it’s going to rain all weekend!). I then have a week off before starting the new job which will probably consist of trying to book as many property viewings in as possible and also finding a little time to blog, too!

But hey, that’s enough about me…what’s been happening in your life lately?

5 Ways Your First Car Is Also Your First True Love

First car

Ah, Nelson. My very first car. I’ve been driving you for just a few months now, and we had a rocky start. I stalled you more times than I dare to count whilst I got used to your nuances. I even bashed your wing mirror once, but we don’t talk about that because I was able to swing it right back into place – good as new.

OH. Remember that time we lightly tapped a car behind us when trying to reverse out of a parking space? Thank the reversing gods that we were going super slow, right?!

Memoriessss, light the corners of my mind…

Most people get their first car when they’re 17 or 18. I got mine at the tender age of 26, and was incredibly lucky and appreciative to get some financial help from my Dad to get a gorgeous little red 2006 Mini One. I knew early on that I would name him after Foggy Nelson (of Nelson & Murdock….from Daredevil). It came from the fact that I’ve already decided to name my future first dog Murdock. Trust me, it all makes sense, and Nelson suits my little red Mini just fine thank you very much.

Although I am not the biggest fan of driving (it’s growing on me a bit more now that I get less anxious about it), I do love Nelson very much and here’s five ruddy good reasons why your first car is pretty much also your first true love.

Your first car gets you from A to B, and back again

The freedom of owning your own car is amazing, and sure you totally could just decide to go on an epic road trip out of the blue but let’s face it – we love our first cars mostly for the ability to get to and from work and social engagements without having to rely on public transport. Words cannot begin to describe how thrilled I am to not have to rely on Southern Fail every weekend anymore. Nelson’s got my back.

It gives you an excuse to go out

Whether it’s to go to the local supermarket for a Krispy Kreme (or two), or just to drive for the sake of driving, your first car makes snack cravings and boredom a thing of the past. It also never judges you when you pick up a Strawberry Cheesecake doughnut as well as a Nutella one. It’s our little secret.

You have more responsibility (but in a good way, honest)

Owning a car and everything that comes with that – from keeping it in general good condition, to driving with care – is a big responsibility without the bigger, longer term commitments that come from other responsibilities like pets or babies. Sure, you want to keep your first car for a few years at least, but you don’t have to nurture it for 18 years and pay for it to go to University. Nelson knows our relationship isn’t going to last forever, but he still does his best to drive like a dream (especially at high speed!).

It makes excellent storage space

As I type this post, I know that there are 2 pairs of shoes, several carrier bags and a water bottle in my car. That’s just the stuff I remember is in there. I used to be amazed at how messy my friend’s cars would get until I owned one. It won’t be long until a stray food wrapper or two ends up in there, I reckon. Nelson doesn’t even mind how messy I let him get.

You can customise it to make your first car yours 

I mean, don’t go crazy. I’ve just bought a 3D Batman bat signal decal for Nelson and I am hyped to stick it on the back. You can also get air fresheners, dashboard accessories…the whole caboodle! Not to mention things like snazzy wheels and seats. Because your first car is generally going to be a pretty old one, there’s not so much pressure to keep it as it was when you first bought it to retain its value. Pimp yo’ ride.

Is/was your first car the first love of your life? 

Soap and Glory Makeup Haul

soap and glory makeup review

Full disclaimer guys, this post is not at all sponsored by Soap & Glory, I have just seriously been digging their makeup recently.

I’m not usually one for wearing much makeup, but since I came across their 2-in-1 Archery brow filling pencil and brush (full review of that *here*), I’ve been suckered in to the range.

More recent additions have included 2 lipsticks, another brow product (this time, a sculpting crayon and setting gel), as well as the blur and brighten concealer. I thought I’d share a few thoughts on each of these newer products in case you were curious as to what Soap and Glory makeup is like! Spoiler alert, I much prefer it to Benefit – and it’s a lot friendlier on the purse, too.

archery brow crayon soap and glory makeup

archery brow setting gel soap and glory makeup

archery-2-in-1-brow-sculpt-set

Please excuse the hideously bad photos, I can only blame bad lighting after a long day of work and a desperate attempt at snapping shots quickly in order to get round to editing and uploading them.

Anyway, I picked up this product as I seemed to be blasting through the pencil and brush, so thought I’d see if the sculpting crayon might last me longer. I have to admit that I don’t like this product as much as the pencil, as it’s quite thick and more difficult to use consistently across both brows. If you’re going for the Cara Delevingne look and have the patience to keep at it, then this might be for you. However, the setting gel (as with Benefit’s “Ready. Set, Brow!”) leaves a residue behind which is definitely not the one.

I’ll keep giving the crayon a go to see if I can get my groove with it, and to truly test if it’s better to use than the pencil for everyday use, but I’ll probably be leaving the setting gel well alone.

pretty muted matt lipstick soap and glory makeup

pretty muted lipstick

I hardly ever wear lipstick, at all. I always feel a bit like a clown wearing it and that my lips are way too dry so end up cracked and gross after using it. HOWEVER, that has changed somewhat since I started using the Sexy Mother Pucker Matte Lip in Pretty Muted.

I like the subtle colour of this shade, and how it does make my lips look a bit fuller. I’d say that my lips are quite small, and this lipstick does help to add a bit of volume. It’s also a nice creamy texture so helps my lips look and feel more moisturised. The only downside is that the effect does not last all that long so needs pretty regular top ups.

chocoberry matt lipstick soap and glory makeup

chocoberry matt lipstick

sexy mother pucker chocoberry

After trying and loving the pretty muted shade, I decided to get what I deemed a more ‘daring’ colour of lipstick. Yup, I consider this “daring”. Still, although a little less subtle than the muted shade, this lipstick isn’t over the top at all. I liked it so much, I had to share two photos. You lucky things.

Again, it has the same nice creamy texture and creates a more full looking lip, but it also doesn’t last all that long. Booooo.

soap and glory makeup blur and brighten kickass concealer

The second I first took the lid off this product, I made a mess. I didn’t realise it would be ‘wound up’ to full length and I ended up scraping the side with the lid instantly. So soz about how messy it looks. I had high hopes for this concealer though, as I adore their Kick Ass Concealer camouflage kit which fyi is probably the best concealer ever. This blur and brighten offering is still pretty damn good though, with a nice soft velvety texture and pretty decent coverage, too.

The packaging does annoy me a bit, as it would be good to be able to wind down the product. I’m notoriously clumsy and I imagine one day I’m going to end up breaking off the end by accident. If I can refrain from doing that though, this will continue to be perfect for covering pesky spots and taking the edge off of the glamorous bags I have been harbouring underneath my eyes for some time.

I have one or two other Soap and Glory makeup bits that I am still to try out properly, but I have high hopes that the brand is going to remain my favourite for a little while yet.

Have you ever tried Soap and Glory makeup? Do you have any favourite products?