A Lifestyle, Grooming And Technology Blog

Thursday 28 December 2017


Before starting my blog I kept on going back and forth debating with myself. I wasn’t sure if I could actually do it, what benefits it would have, and if anyone would read it. Now, after a  couple of years or so of blogging I am so glad I created one. It has helped me grow as a person and is the perfect way to spend my extra time. It can be hard work, but overall the benefits outweigh the hardships.

I put together my top tips of things you should be focusing on if you’re considering starting a blog, or if you’re a newbie blogger trying to improve. These are things I wish I’d done, and some things I’m still working on! If you’re considering diving into the blogging world or just getting started, this might be helpful to you. There’s endless reasons why you may want to start a blog, but I wanted to highlight a few good ones incase you haven’t plucked up the courage to hit publish… yet.

1. You want to find a way to connect with others

Absolutely my favourite thing about blogging and social media in general is connecting with other like-minded people. There is nothing better. It’s not always applicable to meet online friends in real-life if you don’t live close to one another, but having an online space to come together and share your journey is great. You’ll be able to build relationships with your readers, as well as other bloggers. It’s great to connect with others, share stories, talk, and support each other.

2. You want to find a career

Now blogging might not become your full time job (although it could), but it can help you figure out your passions in life. You may discover you like writing and want to work for a magazine or be a journalist. Or you may discover you like photography and pursue that. Or you may want to work in fashion or for a lifestyle brand. The possibilities are endless, but starting something as a hobby is a great way to discover what you’re passionate about. And having a blog doesn’t hurt. 

I learned really quickly that there is no such thing as work-life balance. It is virtually impossible to find the perfect balance. But, you can find what works for you. Think about what your ultimate goals are. Do you want to quit your day job? Work from home to have more time with your kids (or dog, lol)? Do you want millions of followers and to run your own business? Or do you just want a creative outlet? Figure out what your goal is and let that guide you to finding the right “balance”.

3. You're looking for a new (FREE) hobby

It’s important in life to find something you enjoy doing when you’re not working or in school. Blogging can be a great hobby, and you can do it all for free! Blogger is a platform by Google that allows you to create a blog in minutes, and all you need is an email address. If you want you can buy a design, but they offer free ones that you can customize.

4. You have something to say

I wouldn’t advise to start a blog just because they seem to be ‘popular’ and you want to hop on the bandwagon. I mean, you do you, but if you have something to say, that’s a great reason to join the Blogosphere in my opinion. If you are passionate about a certain topic, whether that be technology, gaming, or mental health, a blog is the perfect opportunity for you to share that with other people, and a space where your passion will thrive to even greater lengths.

Just remember to plan your content! When you plan your content in advance, you give yourself a little wiggle room for those days you just don’t feel like creating. If you don’t have something to fall back on, you end up with huge gaps in your posting schedule (like The Guy on Trend unfortunately has sometimes), which looks kinda lazy. Consistency is crucial not only to maintain and grow your readers, but it also looks great to potential sponsors!


Sunday 10 December 2017

A Man's Guide to Wearing Jewellery

A lot of men are totally clueless when it comes to jewellery and avoid it entirely while others tend to overdo it completely and wear far too much of it. You should be aiming for somewhere in the middle of these two extremes. We understand that this can be a particularly difficult area of fashion for the average man which is why we have created this man’s guide to wearing jewellery which covers four of the main points regarding this topic. So, without further ado, let’s dive right in...

Keep it simple

If you are a jewellery novice, your best starting point is to keep things simple. Your most obvious starting point is to choose a watch. A classic leather-strapped silver one is a nice option that looks great on everyone. As you will be wearing your watch on a daily basis, you want to make sure that you are totally happy with it before purchase. The next natural place to branch out to is tie accessories and cufflinks. Once you are comfortable with these standard pieces, you can start to be a little more adventurous.

Match metals

Most male jewellery is metallic - gold and silver tones are the most common and obvious. A good rule of thumb is for your outfits to only feature one metal tone at a time. So, if you are going to look at men's tungsten rings, don’t go for other items of an entirely different shade. As a general guide, gold is a warmer colour that suits earthier tones like browns, as well as deep hues like royal blue. Silver can be paired with black or dark grey for a timeless look. The exception of colour-matching is your wedding ring as this doesn’t matter so much if it doesn’t match perfectly with the rest of your clothing or jewellery.

Understand the symbolism 

All jewellery as symbolism, so it is worth reading up a bit about this before your go for any items. For example, ornamental rings symbolise wealth and power, so you may want to be careful about wearing these unless you are sure that this is the sort of image you are looking to convey. Generally, you should look to avoid ostentatious styles, keeping your jewellery choices small and sleek. It is also a nice idea to wear jewellery that has a story rather than things which have been mass-produced. Save your best items for the big occasions in life rather than wearing them on a daily basis.

Jewellery & Dress codes

When you are in a professional setting, you are better off not making any decisions which are too bold. Go back to the standard pieces which we discussed at the start - tie pin, cufflinks, watch. You are better off expressing yourself outside of working hours. If you realise that you have made a terrible mistake regarding jewellery, you can stay safe in the knowledge that it is easy to take off and slip discreetly into your pocket.

Tuesday 21 November 2017


With Black Friday just around the corner, loads of retailers have already kicked off their cyber events early. It can be tricky to know where to find the best deals so I thought I'd pull together a list of the hottest offers available right now, most of which end on Sunday. I've even included the discount codes too.. easy peasy! OK here we go..


Live Now
  • ASOS - 20% off everything (Code: WIN20)
  • Urban Outfitters - 40% off selected items (Code: PREVIEW40)
  • Clarks - 20% off full price items (Code BLACK20)
  • All Saints - 30% off everything 
  • Whistles - 25% off everything 
  • Adidas - 30% off everything (Code: BLACKFRIDAY)
  • Office Shoes - 20% off everything (Code: SHINE)
  • Timberland - 30% off selected items (Code PROMO30)
  • GAP - 40% off full price items (Code BFGAP)
  • Clarks Outlet - 20% off everything (Code: BLACK20)
  • H&M - Up to 40% off shoes & accessories
  • Hobbs - 30% off everything (Code: TREATTIME30)
  • Topman - Up to 50% off selected items
  • Reiss - Up to 30% off Outlet
  • River Island - Up to 40% off selected items
  • Sweaty Betty - 20% off everything (Code: BLACK20)
  • Jack Wills - Up to 50% off with at least 25% off everything 
  • Jack Wills Outlet - 30% off Everything (Code BF30)
  • Kurt Geiger - 20% off Everything 
  • Dorothy Perkins - Up to 50% off selected items
  • Burton - Up to 50% off selected items
  • Topshop - Up to 50% off selected items
  • Joules - Up to 50% off selected items
  • Superdry - 20% off knitwear
  • Ted Baker - 30% off selected items 
  • Selfridges - 20% off selected items (Code SELFCCE)
  • French Connection - Up to 50% off selected items

Grooming & Skincare

Live Now

  • Kiehl's - 20% off everything (Code: VIP20)


Thursday 16 November 2017

Should You Kick Apple’s Refurbs To The Curb?

Apple has morphed into one of the biggest corporations on the planet. To show this in plain English, the company has sold more than 250 million units this year alone. It makes an estimated £4,540 per second and has an overall value of £850bn. There is no doubt Apple is one of the kings of modern day tech companies.  However, for its all successes, Apple does bring out duds.

From iPhones to iPads and Macs, glitches render them useless and they have to go back. The question is: does a refurbishment deserve a second chance?   Here are the factors which say, overwhelmingly, that they do:

The Price

A normal Apple product will almost certainly cost a couple of hundred dollars. The new iPhone X is set to retail at just under £1,000. Now, an average person can’t and won’t spend that amount on a single item. Still, it doesn’t mean that nearly 40% of the market isn’t attracted to Apple products, and that is a conservative estimate.

So, how does one find a way to cut the price without taking a risk? The answer is you go online and buy a former dud with a new lease of life. There are accounts of people saving £500 from following this tip.

The Trust

A 10 to 20% price drop may not cut the mustard. It’s not hard to see why when 10% reduces the cost of new iPhone to £900. Yippy! However, one thing that does swing it for customers is the trust and reputation of the brand.

Plenty of refurbished products are sold on apple.com itself. When it comes from the people behind the product, it is impossible not to be trusting. Also, numerous vendors have an agreement directly with Apple or their partners. If you buy a refurbished Mac from such a store, they have to adhere to the same standards.

The Warranty

Some manufacturers don't provide the same benefits for refurbished products. Unfortunate as it is, the reduction in price means buyers tend not to care until there is an issue. At Apple, there is usually a one year warranty on all products which covers it for 12 months. And, there are longer warranties depending on the type of agreement.

With regards to a second-hand product, this is a silver lining because you won’t be liable for repair costs. Sure, the product may break down after a year, but you can’t account for wear and tear.

The Originality

Samsung is another major player in the game. On the whole, it makes £6,500 per second, nearly £2,000 more than Apple. It even creates microchips which are used in Apple products. However, at the moment, it doesn’t have the same uniqueness. Android has its benefits yet people love Steve Jobs for his ingenuity and designs.

When they have an Apple product, even a refurb, they have something different. The facts that it’s covered by a warranty and cheaper than the retail price are bonuses.

 In conclusion, refurbished products from Apple are well worth the risk.


Monday 16 October 2017


I've been following Jim Chapman for quite some time now over on his YouTube channel and had been following the hype surrounding the release of his book. So can you imagine my surprise when I was sent a signed copy...that's right signed! I usually get a bit miffed that YouTubers can just publish a book without necessarily having the talent, but Jim Chapman genuinely has the talent! The book contains 147 facts or "things" as Jim refers to them as.

If you're someone who's not that into facts I'm sure you'll still love this book. Don't assume it's a boring read. It's actually written in a very chatty, down to earth way and includes lots of Jim's personal stories which were often really funny! This book is a unique blend of fun, factual and autobiography! I wondered how the fun sciencey facts and personal twists would work, but it certainly does! I found myself getting excited about what I was reading and wanting to learn more, which would be perfect for younger audiences.

My favourite thing about Jim's book is the way that he manages to make huge, scary things feel just as matter of fact and easy to talk about as the smaller things which he discusses. My favourite Thing comes in pretty early at Thing 18, in the section titled 'You and 'you' are totally different things'. Jim discusses how the way that we perceive ourselves is often super clouded and how none of us really give ourselves enough credit for how brilliant we really are. He reminds us all that 'Billions of years of adjustments and tweaks have led to the evolution of the perfect vessel whose only purpose is to pass on genes and keep the fragile bit that is really you safe.'

Basically, what's on the inside is the important bit. Remember that.

You can pick up 147 Things from Amazon 


Sunday 8 October 2017

Autumn Homeware Wishlist

I'm a massive fan of homeware, candles inparticular. Autumn is a great time of year to revamp your living room or bedroom with some new accessories to get you through to the colder months. I think of homeware as a more excusable spend than clothing. Though I can't exactly put my finger on why. Perhaps because I'm unlikely to wear something every single day but I will see it in my home everyday...Homeware shopping = totally justified. Here's a few of items that I've added to my wishlist over the past few weeks..

House plants are quickly becoming an addiction for me and what better way to display them than this Cutout Hanging Gold Planter from UO. It's about 12.5cm in diameter so it's ideal to get younger plants off to a great start. As I said candles are quite an obsession for me and this Sage & Fig Jar from UO is the perfect Autumn scent. They're hand-poured in Virginia, USA and you certainly pay for the privilege but trust me when I say the smell is incredible.

Hanging Planter | Sage & Fin Candle | Printed Duvet Set | Pumpkin Jar Candle | Ceramic Table Lamp | Brass Wine Rack

Autumn weather calls for new bedding. This Printed Duvet Set from UO is actually covered with orange lips, but at first sight I thought it looked like autumn leaves so that's totally acceptable right? Maybe..

What says Autumn anything more than Pumpkins? I know i know candle overload on this post but you were warned! This Jar Candle from Anthropologie smells like autumn baking and the iridescent jar is pretty incredible too.

As the evenings get darker over the next few weeks adding a new lamp to your bedroom seems like a must right? This Ceramic Table Lamp from West Elm sure isn't cheap but really fits with the grey theme I've got going on right now. It's also got a solid wood base so it's a quality addition to the home - worth the price tag!

Last but not least this Brass Wine Rack is just awesome. Whether you've got a growing wine collection or just don't want to get your bottles on the kitchen side (like me!) then a wine rack is a great option for the kitchen or lounge. This Brass one from Anthropologie  is sturdy and holds up to 5 bottles. Plenty... right? Better order two.

So that's what's hit my Autumn wish list recently, which ones are your favourites? What are you most looking forward to about Autumn?


Monday 25 September 2017

Optimising Your Blog Images For SEO

Having beautiful images on your blog is only the beginning, learning how best to make them work for you to gain your blog traffic and followers is the next stage. Here are my 4 quick tips to optimising your blog images for SEO and followers.

1. Pinterest Hover Button

Pinterest can be a very handy tool to help you grow your blog following and also to publicise your posts. Make it as easy as possible for people to pin your images by installing a plug in that will give you a Pinterest ‘pin it’ button over your images. When a visitor views your post and scrolls over your image a ‘Pin it’ logo will appear and at the click of a button, your image has been shared to Pinterest. Don’t forget to pin your own images too. Try hovering over the image below to see this feature in action. I use the ‘Pin It Button for Pinterest’ plugin, there are a few options for personalisation, I chose the most discrete button option.

2. Alt Text

This is the most important tip for optimising your images for SEO.  When you add an image to WordPress you should be able to edit the title, caption, alt text and description. Alt Text tells the internet the context of your images, for instance, if the image doesn’t load the Alt Text may be displayed instead. But the biggest use for Alt Text is that it makes your images searchable by google.

When considering what to write in your Alt Text think about key words related to your post, don’t spam with random words but choose a few niche words that are relevant to your image.

3. Captions

Writing clever captions can give context to an otherwise out of place picture, it may not do much at all to help SEO but used well, captions form another layer of interaction with your reader, like a second private conversation.

4. Links

Quite often your blog posts will probably refer to something you’ve previously written, either directly or indirectly. Links are a way to gently direct your readers to other parts of your site, make it as easy as possible for them to do so by linking either in the text itself or by using a picture. When adding an image to WordPress, in the same side section as the caption and Alt Text you can scroll down to add a link.

There are three sections that I always make sure to fill out, firstly the link itself, then I ask the link to open in a new window, so as not to force the person to leave the current post, and finally, I ask the Gallery Link on Effect to stay not be removed once it has been clicked.

So there's my 4 top tips on optimising your blog images for SEO. Do you have any other ideas?

Sunday 13 August 2017


Turns out there's loads of bargains to be had on ASOS right now from all kinds of brands including Vans, Tommy Hilfiger and A&F to name just a few. It's so easy to spend hours scrolling through their latest arrivals but there's so much on there it's often completely overwhelming. I've pulled together my top picks under £20 to give you a few ideas on ways to fill up your shopping bag. 


Thursday 3 August 2017

Tips for bloggers that work full time

Well, if there is anything I have learned from blogging over the past several months, it is how to manage my time and schedule better. Time management is key when you are a blogger, especially if you are working full-time. Blogging is a side hustle for the majority of us bloggers. It is important to remember to find what works for you in managing your time.

I learned really quickly that there is no such thing as work-life balance. It is virtually impossible to find the perfect balance. But, you can find what works for you. Think about what your ultimate goals are.  Do you want to quit your day job? Work from home to have more time with your kids (or dog, lol)? Do you want millions of followers and to run your own business? Or do you just want a creative outlet? Figure out what your goal is and let that guide you to finding the right “balance”.

Plan & Schedule

This might seem like a no brainer but, it is so important to have a plan and schedule your blog posts and social media content ahead of time. This will help you be able to prioritize your weekly and monthly tasks and goals. At the beginning of every month set aside time to brainstorm your content and plan out your calendar. 

This will help you avoid falling behind or getting in a creative rut. Set aside time to work on your blog, whether it is before work, after work, over the weekend, etc. Find a time that works for you and stick with it.

Find Time That Works For You

We all work best at different times. For me personally, I have always been a morning person. I do my best work in the mornings between 8-10 with a strong coffee in hand. Everyone's different so it just depends when you feel at your most productive and motivated. Not a morning person? Maybe you’re a night owl. When you get home from work take a quick nap, get dinner and then buckle down and work on your blog.

Outsource Tasks

This was one of the best things I ever did for my blog! We all have things we absolutely love about blogging and wouldn’t want to give up. But, there are also a handful of tasks that I would greatly pay someone else to take care of. For me, it editing photos. Find something that takes up a lot of your time, that you don’t particularly enjoy and OUTSOURCE IT! 

Trust me when I say this is worth your investment, especially for those working full-time. Invest in yourself, your brand, and your blog and you will see a return because you will have more time work on what you love.


Tuesday 1 August 2017

How To Turn Blogging Into A Career

Blogging is a wonderful thing, and it enables creatives to express their views and share their passions with people from around the world. For many, though, it’s more than just a hobby; it’s a business venture too.

When done right, blogging can be very rewarding on a financial front as well as an emotional one. However, this is only made possible when the commercial elements are in place. Follow each of the five steps below, and you should be just fine.

#1. Perfect Your Content
If blogging is to become a viable career option, it needs to be both fun and commercially rewarding. Frankly, creating content that actively gets you excited is the only option. If you’re just posting content for the sake of it, readers will soon see through it.
Writing with passion and expertise ensures that blog posts connect with your audience, which is when they’ll keep coming back for me. Even if it’s a niche audience, that sense of loyalty is what will bring the long-term rewards.

#2. Create A Brand
Quality blog posts will keep the readers coming back, but your first job is to grab their attention. As such, you need to build a brand image that will make a huge impact and lead to increased traffic.   

A suitable blog name, supported by a premium domain is key. You can always use Fiverr freelance graphic designers to build a logo and web layout. Even if it uses a template, a blog that stands out as carrying a professional look stands a far greater chance of achieving its goals

#3. Be Available At All Times
The world of business never sleeps, and your blog cannot afford to either. A regular stream of content is one thing, but being able to connect with readers on a 24/7 basis is another altogether. If you want to gain that close community vibe, getting this element right is essential.
A smartphone is considered essential for all modern bloggers. If you’ve started this career or side business due to poor financial status, Zaggor SIM only deals are a lifesaver. You can always pick up a used Apple of Android device on the cheap. With minutes and data on the move, maintaining strong links will be easier than ever.

#4. Make Friends
Unlike many business types, blogging is one where competitors can become your greatest weapon. Most readers have time to visit a handful of their favourite blogs. Therefore, teaming up with others allows you to build an audience together rather than fight for individual shares.
Two heads are better than one and can help you create killer content. Moreover, link building through these resources can be mutually beneficial in a way that search engines love. It can bolster visibility and reach while establishing your place in the market. In terms of the business growth, this is pivotal.

#5. Monetise
Building a brilliant blog establishes the foundations of a great business. However, this counts for very little if you aren’t generating money. Google AdSense is the perfect starting point as profits will grow with traffic. Nonetheless, you should look for other money-making options.
You could sell advertising and sponsorships, especially if you decide to create podcasts or other media content. Meanwhile, selling merchandise is another fantastic option once the brand has been established. As the revenue rolls in, you’ll be able to keep building the business. Sustained success is assured.

Sunday 25 June 2017

Things to consider before starting a blog

When it comes to blogging, there is no right and wrong way of doing it. We are all individuals, and as such, our blogs should reflect that. However, there are certain things that all bloggers should do. So today I thought I would share some things that everybody should try and do. Just remember to take this post as a guide: while I’m saying you should try and do it, that doesn’t mean your blog won’t succeed without it.

Create a media kit

A media kit is an absolute must if you want to get taken seriously and considered for brand partnerships to really start monetising your blog. It’s actually taken me over a year to make mine, and I really wish I had made it sooner. Basically, a media kit is like a CV for your blog. It tells prospective clients what your blog is about, its achievements, and how well it is doing. You can then send this off to brands if they approach you about collaborations. It's a lot less wordy than an essay explaining the niche of your content and the demographic of your readers. Prospective clients can get all the info they need about your blog on a single page. 


You'll also want to self-host your blog with a trusted site. The reason you want self-hosting is you have more flexibility to do what you want with your blog. Self-hosting means you own your blog entirely. You can grow it however you want, add multiple domains, and pay for site maintenance/support. It’s all under your control.  For beginner, to mid level-bloggers, I recommend Bluehost because it has all the capabilities you could possibly need for a reasonable price. You won’t need unlimited bandwidth with 10,000 KBs of memory (I don’t even know if that’s the right terminology I’m just making this up right now). Plus Bluehost has outstanding customer support. You send them one email expressing your concerns and boom they email you back almost instantly. This is especially helpful if you don’t know what the heck you’re doing.

Create a content calendar

One of the most exciting things about starting a new blog is having all those ideas of different content that you're going to create. But what's the best way to plan out exactly when you're going to post when and where? A content calendar of course! The first step in creating a content calendar is to create a weekly schedule. What I mean is you designate each day of the week to a specific topic. For example, fashion bloggers could do something like this: Monday = Shopping haul, Tuesday = Outfit post, Wednesday = Outfit video, Thursday = Round up of your week, Friday = Follow Friday. This way, even if you're not actually posting content everyday at least you've got a big backlog of posts just sitting there ready to go - perfect!

At this point, you should be pretty well organized – you got your weekly schedule down, and you've got your content ideas ready to go, now it’s time to actually create.  Most bloggers blog as a side project or hobby so we're very limited on time. We have a lot to balance and without managing our time accordingly, our side hustle can suffer. It’s easy to get off track and miss one day which turns into one week which turns into one month and then you’re back at square one.  In order to avoid this, you need to make time for when you’re going to write the post, when it’s going to go live, and what time you’re going to promote it, otherwise it might not get done at all.

Make your blog easily searchable

It’s SO important to get those Google bots crawling your website regularly so that your site data is kept fully up to date. The easiest way to so this is by creating and uploading a simple Sitemap file. It lets Google know every time your content has been updated, and crucial every time you launch a new page or product if you run an E-Commerce store. This is super simple if you’re on Wordpress because this tool will do all the hard work for you. 

Yoast is a Free Wordpress plugin that enables you to preview how your site will appear in Google results, as well as take some of the most important keywords you’ve picked up from Google Trends and give you the best tips of how to optimise for them efficiently. It’ll also advise you on the best pages to internally link and the most common phrases and keywords used throughout your site to give you an excellent summary of your site’s performance vs. the most important search terms you’ve been researching. 


Thursday 22 June 2017

3 Magazines for bloggers

In a challenge to be more productive outside of the blogging scope, spending more time with my head more into reading something that scrolling social media seems to be the perfect antidote at the end of the day. Magazines sometimes feel 'out of date', a thing of the past and something not a lot of people spend their time reading these days. With the digital age people find it a hell of a lot easier to read topics their interested in online, because they are so quick and easy to access but also because magazines can be full of advertisements which leaves little actual writing structure to the publication.

Recently, I've have collected together a few of my favourite magazines to show you, some are old and some are new favourites that I would hand on heart recommend for my fellow bloggers to get stuck into. They are also great props for that blogger flatlay too!

Blogosphere Magazine

This is the one publication that most bloggers need to get their mitts on if they haven't done so already. Blogosphere is now in it's 4th year since it's beginning back in 2013 and serves as an essential for bloggers to get some inspiration, understanding in the blogging community but also to find new blogs to explore and love. The tag line says it all - For bloggers, by bloggers. It's filled with fascinating interviews with up and coming bloggers as well as seasoned pros.

Kinfolk Magazine

Kinfolk is a 144-page quarterly that focuses on food culture, hospitality, and community. Launched in 2011, Kinfolk uses short articles, photo essays, recipes, and practical tips to convey its philosophy of community. As founder Nathan Williams describes it, “It’s about being more intentional in how we approach food and community. It’s about gratitude and reverence for the community we have. Taking an overly casual approach shows an error, that we don’t appreciate them as much as we should.”

Much of Kinfolk’s international success (it’s been translated and published in Russian, Japanese, and Korean) is due to the ways it tries to live out its own ideals. Kinfolk has organized hundreds of community gatherings all over the world, centered on seasonal or culinary themes. They’ve also sponsored international food-based workshops, published a cookbook, and are at work on a short film series.

Umbrella Magazine

Umbrella is a magazine inspired by style, cities, design and culture. I’ve always been a fan of Umbrella; it’s one of those magazines that are well written, with interesting and varied content, but somehow I also felt it deserved a bit more than the well made online version. Nothing beats a nice printed magazine, does it? 

It's a magazine aimed at guys, which I really appreciate. The likes of GQ and Esquire have become so stale and full of useless ads over the past few years and Umbrella is leading the way to a new generation of content for the guy that cares about style.


Monday 12 June 2017

Between Jobs? Here's How Blogging Can Get You Out of a Slump

Whether you’re between jobs, have recently been fired, been made redundant or have had to quit work due to illness, losing your main source of income can be hard. Not just from a practical point of view since less money is going to mean a change in lifestyle, but from a personal one too. Our jobs and careers form a large part of our identity, and if you’ve worked somewhere for a long time having that taken away can leave you feeling completely lost.

The only thing you can do in these situations is try to look on the bright side, maybe this will lead to a better position or change in career? Perhaps it will give you time to re-train, study or set up your own business? Whatever you decide, while you have some free time between hunting for jobs or deciding on your next move, why not set up a blog? Here are just a few of the reasons to do so.

It Gives You Something Productive To Do

When you’re out of work, it’s easy to get into a slump. With a lot of free time and not much spare money it can equal disaster for your mental health on top of having to deal with everything else. Starting a blog can give you something productive to do. Unlike wasting time playing a game or watching tv, you’re actually creating something worthwhile.

You could teach yourself coding and play around with your template and design. You could snap photos to use in your posts, and spend time writing up content on a subject that you enjoy. Whether you want to document your life or share tips and advice with others on a topic, the world is your oyster. Best of all, it’s completely free to start and you can use equipment you already own.

It’s possible to get laptops with bad credit if you need an upgrade, and your credit score isn’t perfect. And having access to one is will be beneficial for your job search (far easier than using a smartphone) as well as blogging, so a good investment.

It Could Earn You Money/ Become a Career

As well as being a fun way to pass the time, eventually your blog could become a source of income or even a full time job. While it does take time to get to this stage, it’s definitely something worth aiming for and makes your hobby even more worthwhile. You can monetise blogs through Google Adsense, affiliate programs and through sponsors. 

Once you’ve been blogging for a while you will be contacted by sponsors who are looking to advertise on your site, usually in the format of a sponsored post or banner ad. To make your blog attractive to sponsors, you will need a neat and tidy design, regular content and clear photos. Register your own domain too, it only costs a few pound a year and makes all the difference when it comes to sponsorships. 

It Helps You To Connect With Others

Being out of work can be isolating. You’re used to seeing everyone at work, but now you’re not there that becomes a thing of the past. You don’t have a lot of money to be going out with your friends, so where does that leave you? Blogging can open up a whole new social network. You get to meet people with a shared passion and it can be an ideal way to meet and socialise with new people.


Monday 5 June 2017

5 Ways To Reach Blogging Greatness Quickly

We’ve all come across those stories about a blogger that makes £100,000 a month from their blog, or a blogger that started a blog and then sold it on for six gajillion rupees or whatever, and we’ve found ourselves wanting to be these people. Of course, we have. They have a blog, how easy is that. You start a blog, write on that blog and then become rich (and maybe even famous). Simple, huh? Well, no. Not really.

Yes, it is totally doable, but it takes dedication, determination, passion, persistence and, at the top of the list, a mentality that says you are serious about blogging. Chances are, your blogging is going to be terrible, to begin with, but that is part of the journey to greatness. The question is, how do you speed up this journey?

Well, here are my top tips for anyone that wants to be a successful blogger:

Don’t Stop Reading 

If you want to become a respected voice - an expert - then you need to do as much reading as you possibly can. You need to read up on the area in which you will be blogging and keep up with current trends and opinions. But you need to go further than this too. Running a blog is like running a business (that’s the long game, right?) and that means you need to know about marketing techniques, business strategies, and start buying self-development books as well as Twilight, or whatever you’re secretly into.

The more you can do to grow your confidence as a blogger the better. If you want to be an expert then you need to read what the experts are saying, learn what works for you and then learn how to apply these to your blog.

Know Your Niche 

This isn’t 2007 anymore. You can’t get away with having a general blog that covers all things at all times and that is because the competition has exploded. Everyone has blogs nowadays, some of which have been around since 2007, which means they have the upper hand, especially on Google.

That’s why you should narrow your niche and really focus your topic. If you’re interested in online gambling, then start out with a blog that acts as an online bingo review. If you want to become a travel blogger, then narrow this down to how to travel on £5 a day, or RV travel, or a specific location. The more focused you are the more of an expert you will become, the voice for those interested in that subject.

Shake It Up 

If you want your blog to have real value as a resource then you need to offer something that other’s don’t, and that is thinking differently. When you write, try and have a point of view that is different. Present what you are saying in a way that hasn’t been done before.

To do this, look at what your competitors are doing. If they are all about long informational texts, then use video and short snappy cliff notes. If they write in a serious way then make your posts funny and lighthearted. If they are using stand alone blog posts, then why not make a story out of yours, a journey that people will want to keep coming back to. Innovation is the key to quick success.

Investment Is The Only Way 

Thomas Jefferson said the man who stops advertising to save money is like the man who stops the clock to save time. You have got to spend money on your blog. Don’t view this as a negative thing, though. It is an investment and a wise one at that. It is worth spending money on a designer instead of pinching pennies and having a shabbier design instead.

A little bit of money can go a long way on this front. All of the money you spend will improve the experience your views get and that is what will keep them coming back. So spend a few hundred quid here and there, look at it as an investment that you will recoup, and maybe quicker than you realized too.

Come Up With A Product 

We mentioned it above, but you have to think of your blog as a business and all businesses sell something - a product or service - and so should you. It could be a Kindle book you have written, t-shirts, bits of art, a course in something, tours of a place or even other people’s products through affiliate marketing. Whatever it is, just make sure you have this something in your arsenal.

The reason for this is, well, it keeps you independent and that is attractive to a reader. It will keep you independent from sponsors and advertisers and brand deals and even competitors, and also act as a way for you to scale up yourself. Your website, your revenue.

Sunday 4 June 2017

Finding Local Professionals With Bidvine*

With a full-time job and living alone I don't always have time to complete those annoying chores or DIY, that's why I'm so glad Bidvine* got in touch and introduced me to their fantastic app. Let's say you need a plumber for blocked drains. Not glamorous. And not something I know how to repair myself. You just answer questions to explain the exact nature of the issue and how long it has been happening for. You can also specify when you’re available, which hopefully means no taking time off work or waiting around between 8am and 1pm for someone to turn up.

From doing your chores to pursuing your passions, Bidvine makes hiring trusted local service professionals ridiculously simple. Firstly, you fill in some information about what it is you need; answering some service specific questions so that the team at Bidvine can match you to the best suited pros. Once they have all the info they need, your job will be sent to trusted local professionals who can help you get the task done. They'll share your generalised location, answers to their questions and your phone number with the bidders. They will never share your email address or personal details.

They then sent our job request to trusted local professionals who could help with what we needed. They shared the answers that we provided to the service-specific questions and our general location.We love that they sent our request out to matching pros right away.

You should get your first bids within hours, you’ll get a maximum number of bids based on the service, and usually get 2 pros expressing interest. Pros do pay a small fee, but that’s only when they want to send you a custom bid using Bidvine.

It’s good to use a service like Bidvine because you can go through the steps of finding exactly what you need, and someone who is local. I also worry about not getting a good quality service, or paying over the odds. By finding someone through a platform like this I feel there’s that extra layer of security that its a decent service. And because you get quotes for the service you know you’re getting a competitive price.

You can check out Bidvine and try them out for yourself here.

*This is a sponsored post on behalf on Bidvine. All views and opinions are my own.

Wednesday 31 May 2017

Let's Play | May 2017

It hasn't been the busiest month for video game releases so I thought I'd go back and play through a couple of my favourites from the year so far. Two massive sequels to highly respective titles - let's see if they matched up to the hype..

Gears of War 4 

The Gears of War series is a massive deal for Microsoft. The launch exclusive for the XBOX 360 way back in 2006 has now reached its 4th iteration but continues to innovate the shooter genre more than we ever thought it could have done. The series was always a big reason to own the Microsoft console, and luckily it still is.

The real struggle any returning player is going to find is in relation to the new characters. The original Gears Of War crew stood out because of how ridiculous they were. Here, our new cast are a little too generic to compare. They develop before all is said and done but none are as memorable as Delta Squad.

Ultimately, not much has changed, but that’s exactly why it’s so good. It’s been over three years since Gears Of War: Judgment, so jumping back in is like reacquainting yourself with an old friend. There are new modes – such as Dodgeball where you kill members of the opposition to revive deceased members of your own squad – but the real joy comes in how unique it still feels.

You can pick up Gears of War 4 on Amazon here.

Halo Wars 2 

As I said It's been a month of playing sequels and this is no exception. Halo Wars 2 is yet another example of a shining beacon from selection the Microsoft exclusives available for Xbox One. The Halo series has always ben at the cornerstone of what Microsoft stands for when it comes to top quality multiplayer shooters, but this RTS (real time strategy) approach to the series will be a welcome change for many.

If there’s one thing Halo Wars 2 gets emphatically right it’s the Halo content. You can feel it in the music and the front-end menus, the lengthy cut-scenes and the near-constant referencing of background bloodshed. If you’re looking for the sense that you’re fighting climactic battles straight from the Halo playbook, only from the perspective of a commander controlling units from the sky, it has you covered.

There’s some smart thinking going on behind the basics, too. As you play you can build up a range of Leader abilities, enabling you to heal or repair units or call down missile strikes, mines, turrets and ODST troopers. Upgrading skills makes them even more powerful, and using them wisely can be a game-changer, turning the tide of battle when you need it most.

Halo Wars 2 suffers a little from its console limitations, but it’s a solid RTS with a strong campaign and a good overall feel for the Halo universe.

You can pick up Halo Wars 2 on Amazon here. 


Monday 29 May 2017

Growing Your Blog Organically | A Guide To Self-Promotion

So you've created your very own blog (congratulations!) and have started frequently posting new content that you're super passionate about. Good start. The eternal struggle I had when I first started blogging just less than a year ago now was how to grow my audience and maintain that growth as the weeks go by without having to rely on things like paying for advertising space on blogs that were a similar niche to mine but had a much larger following. Organic growth is always best.

There's tons of guides online that'll tell you they can show you how to make $1,000 in your first month of blogging or get to 1m Instagram followers in less than a week.. but seriously it's just not possible, well not legally anyway. I thought I'd pull together my top tips on growing your blog organically and how to get away from hiding behind your laptop and actually actively promote your blog - scary i know! 

I've written a couple of blogging advice posts already which you can check out below so give them a read and let me know if there's any other tips that would be helpful, although maybe yano finish reading this one first? 

#1 | Reach out & engage with the community

Bloggers don't bite! There's no better way to organically grow your blog than simply engaging with other bloggers and content creators and getting their thoughts, feedback and criticism on your content. There are Twitter chats every day of the week to get involved in and start sharing your latest posts. This will help gain not only visitors to your blog but hopefully lifelong readers and subscribers too. 

Blogger events can also be a fantastic face to face alternative to virtual chats, and usually end up being much more productive. Most of them centre around London but ask around and see if there are any taking place on your area, or if not why not create one yourself? They are the perfect way to meet local content creators and come up with new collaborations.

#2 | Think about post titles - SEO is key

I am absolutely no expert when it comes to SEO, but I do know that the choice of title really helps. Posts with titles such as '5 things/ways/......' are always good. They're more likely to come up on search engines. I mean, I definitely don't stick to this all the time, because you've gotta keep it personal too! It sounds obvious but always try and make your title clear to the reader what they might be about to click through to on your blog. 

For example, if I was writing a post about the technology I use everyday, I wouldn't want to just say "Never leave the house without your iPhone". This certainly sounds interesting, which might get you a few clicks, but doesn't actually explain the post of the post. Something like "The tech I use everyday" is much shorter and to the point, but also does a better job of explaining the subject of the content your readers are about to see. 

When creating, and uploading a blog post, keywords should always be in the forefront of your mind. Without your vital keywords in your content, search engines won’t be able to see what your post is about and then can’t show it in their search results. If you take anything away from this incredibly long blog post it has to be about the importance of keywords.

Before I start a blog post, I always do a little keyword analysis. It doesn’t have to take forever, and it doesn’t have to be long winded. I think about the post that I am going to write, and I start using search engines to look for certain words or phrases to see what results come up and if it is a keyword that I want to implement into my post. Then I will write my post. I won’t think about keywords for the time being, I will just write my post as I want it to read so that I know it has a good flow to it.

Then when it is in the proofing stage I will go through and implement keywords where I think it needs them. You do have to be careful though not to put too many keywords into your post. If your content doesn’t flow and it is choppy due to the overuse of keywords this can go against you in regard to SEO. Everything in moderation is key and make sure that it reads nice and smoothly when you are finished.

#3 | Create eye-catching content

I don't know about you, but the first thing that entices me into reading a blog post, is the photography. I think its good to keep the photography clean, and simple. Well, this is if you're photographing products of course. A busy background can often distract the eye from the product you're talking about, so keeping it simple(ish) is always a good idea!

I often visit sites such as Unsplash to get stock photography that's free to use. This way even if you're not a dab hand and taking photos you can still create super engaging content that will be more likely to get people clicking on, whether that be through Bloglovin, Instagram, Twitter or others. 

#4 | Don't be afraid of social media

My next point on this guide is based around the myth of too much self-promotion. When you first start out it can often be daunting to keep tweeting about your latest post and flooding instagram with all your fancy new flat lays, but the truth is you just have to keep at it if you want to get a serious following. Determination is the most important thing when it comes to starting out. For the first few weeks or even months you won't get any followers and barely and readers. But that's just it, you shouldn't be writing your blog for sole purpose of quitting your job and making big bucks blogging all day because let's face it it's just not going to happen that way. Blog for yourself first - always be selfish when it comes to the content you create.

I've gone off track slightly...but you get the point. There's so much social media has to offer when it comes to promoting your blog. Heres just a couple of pointers:

  • Comment on at least 5 blog posts per day with  a link back to your site.
  • Use hashtags that fit your blog's niche like #BBLOGGERS or #LBLOGGERS. 
  • Post regularly on Instagram and engage with the users that like or comment.
  • Link back to your blog in the bios of all your social media - make it ridiculously easy for people to find your blog.
So that's my short and sweet guide to growing your blog organically. There are various ways to to pay for more traffic and more followers, which I can cover in another post but really the best route to a successful blog is creating content that you enjoy and sharing it with others that feel the same.

#5 | Invest time on your header & logo

When somebody clicks onto your blog, the first thing that their eyes see most of the time is your header or logo. What you need to do with that header is make sure that it is good enough to entice people in and want to stay on your page. It needs to clearly show what your website or blog is about and be easy to understand. Anything that is too intense and crowded can often turn people away. 

When people click onto your site and then go straight back off this is classed as a bounce, when your website hits a certain percentage of bounces Google will start to think of your website as spam and will try to refrain from showing it on their search results. A normal percentage bounce rate is around 40%, any more than that and you are in the red zone of what is acceptable. When designing your header, you just need to have in the forefront of your mind, does this represent my blog? Does this represent who I am as a person and a blogger? And, is this easy to understand and does it get my message across?

#6 | Consistency is key

To hold your audience and keep them interested and wanting to come back you need to be consistent on your blog. If they like what they read but you don’t post for months at a time they aren’t going to spend their time keep coming back to see if you have finally uploaded, they will just go elsewhere to see what somebody else has to say and you have lost yourself a reader. Make sure that you think of a schedule in your mind and try to stick to it. It doesn’t have to be set in stone but just a rough guide to keep you on the right track. 

I write and upload a blog post every alternate day or at a push, every third day, this is manageable for me and I find it really easy to do. This way, I can upload on time every day without too much pressure and my readers know where they stand because majority of the time there will always be something new for them to take a look at. 

Also, when you upload on a regular basis it also helps to boost your site up the search engine rankings. Platforms will notice that you are consistent, and they will link that to being a source of reliability so they are more likely to show you on their search results. You don’t have to upload all of the time but just be consistent in your uploads and try and stick to a noticeable plan.

#7 | The speed of your blog

We all know how annoying it is when you click onto a website and it takes forever and a day to load up. It literally does my head in and if I click onto a website and it isn’t fast responsive I will click back off because realistically who has the time to watch a website load for what seems like forever? Always check that your website can handle what you are uploading. For example, if you are uploading a post which is very heavy in images make sure that they aren’t too large. Yes, we want the images to be high quality, but you can keep the quality and have a reduced file size. It just allows people's computers, phones and tablets to be able to handle the amount of data that you are trying to show on their screen. 

If your site does take a long time or it even gets to the point where the screen times out because it takes that long, it can be really negative for your all-important quality score. The little Google-bots that scan your site will notice how long it takes to completely load and this will impact your position on the search rankings because Google don’t want to show anything that will look negative on them. At the end of the day by Google having us high on the search rankings it is basically them promoting us for free, so they need to make sure that what they are pushing is good stuff.

Sunday 28 May 2017

Vinyl Arrivals #2

It's been a busy old month for new music releases so I thought I'd share with you the vinyls I've picked up lately. My last vinyls post was one of the most popular I've ever done so I hopped onto Amazon and ordered some more!

John Mayer - The Search For Everything

The latest release from John Mayer is easily his best work since the incredible blue-athon that was Continuum. The Search For Everything combines many of his best sounds and spans many genres into a single record including some acoustic tear jerkers as well as the more recent blues-filled sound you'd find on Paradise Valley. A true masterpiece from start to finish. Available here.

Paramore - After Laughter

I wasn't quite sure what to expect for this upcoming album but i'm so happy with what we got. A lot of bands change their style over the course of their career and Paramore is no exception. After Laughter is a mixture of old and new. Its a new place for paramore, but its what they excel at. The album has the standard tone, themes and pacing of a regular paramore, in an 80s style. The old paramore style may be dead, but the new one thrives in this mixture of songs that show the real feelings behind the past 4 years that paramore have been away for.  Available here.

Harry Styles - Harry Styles

If somebody would have told me a year or two ago that I would one day buy an album from somebody in one direction I would have never believed them. But here I am with the first solo effort from Harry Styles in my possession and wow, i'm blown away by the 70s pop-rock vibe.  It will be interesting to see how many one direction fans turn away from this new style that Harry is going down, but it will be equally interesting to see how many new fans are picked up along the way. 

It is an album that deserves to be heard, and this guy should be applauded for taking such a huge risk and proving what a truly talented singer-songwriter he is. Don't turn your nose up just because he was in a boy band, Give him the chance and the credit he deserves for crafting such a brilliant first solo album. Available here. 

So those are my new vinyl additions for the past month, what do you think are their any more new releases I need to consider? You can check out my first vinyl arrivals post here. 

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