Wednesday, 16 January 2019

What Insurance do I need as a blogger?

So you've done it, you've taken the plunge to become a full time blogger, you've made sure that you're all set up for self-employed or freelance work with the tax man so you're all set right?

Well not quite. If you're now going to start running your blog as a business there's other things out there that you should probably look into to make sure you're protected such as various insurance. Most of these might not be needed until you're making a solid income but it's certainly something to consider because as soon as you run as a business, handle other peoples data etc. you're liable so you better make sure your ass is protected
Blogger Insurance

Cyber Liability Insurance
What Is Cyber Liability Insurance* you might ask, well if you run an email newsletter or collect any information and this is undefended it means that cyber criminals can access this data and you can be the one responsible for that breach. Cyber Security Insurance can protect you if data is illegally accessed or manipulated by cyber criminals. It can also help you recover any costs if the worst was to happen

Health Insurance / Life Insurance
Just because you're self employed doesn't mean you should forgo traditional insurance you'd usually get from an employer. Health insurance can really help secure you if you become ill or require hospital care, if this turns into a period of ill health where you can't work it can have disastrous effects to your self-employed income so a little protection can give you that peace of mind

House Insurance
If you're a blogger, the likelihood is you're working from home on a regular basis so make sure everything within there is protected. This includes house insurance and content insurance, you don't want to be in a position where if you were a victim of crime it would negatively affect your working environment too

Travel Insurance
This is mainly travel bloggers, but also everyone in general ever. With the collapse of airlines and hotels disappearing on a regular basis, every time you move out of the country you need to make sure that you have adequate travel insurance, this should also include any extreme sports in case of injury

PMP is a pretty new form of insurance that's occurred due to the rise in social media influencers, it basically protects your words and pictures for those times you may accidentally misquote a celebrity, or offend a company and they decide to take it further. Or those copyright free pictures which actually turned out to be copyrighted and now you're being chased by the photographer for a huge bill. This insurance is ideal for an influencer on any medium, it gives you a wide range of cover and is tailored specifically to the industry

Do you have insurance? 
Have you ever thought about it?

Giving your kitchen a new lease of life

Last year I moved out of my parents home and moved into my own home, but during that process I did a lot of traipsing around houses for sale and trying to find the one for me. I was absolutely amazed at just how many homes looked beautiful but when you walked into the kitchen it was like walking back into the 1960s. Soo many gorgeous houses that just hadn't been modernised in any way. I looked into how much renovating a kitchen would be and how much a full makeover would be through Kitchen Warehouse* before I found my dream home. Thankfully the home I found was a brand new build so both kitchen and bathroom had only just been fitted so I didn't have to go through with having a redecoration

Modernising your kitchen

But when I did move into my home I did change a few things around, and giving your kitchen a new lease of life can be a lot easier than you think, you don't necessarily have to tear out the whole thing to modernise it. Here are my top tips for bringing your kitchen right up to date

Take a close look at the units in your kitchen, and think of how you could update them, you could change the doors as most doors fit standard kitchen carcasses but definitely check, or if they're wood you could make a real statement by painting them a bold colour. Maybe turn your wooden doors into a nice grey colour. Compliment this with some new handles which can be picked up for dirt cheap on ebay and you've instantly completely changed the look of your kitchen for the cost of paint and a few door handles

One of the things I used to hate at my mums house was the lighting in the kitchen it was bright and flurescount and not really great for creating a mood. As the kitchen can often be the hub of the home I absolutely think a bright light is essential but also smaller uplighting on the cabinets or mood lighting if you have a dining table can really change the dynamic and make it less clinical. You can even pick up stick on spot lights at local DIY stores for under £10

This one's trickier because it's certainly not cheap, but you need to look at it as an investment. If your fridge is perfectly fine then make sure your other cheaper appliances are matched to it. Bringing colour into your home with your appliances is a really quick way of updating the look of your kitchen

Little Touches
Bringing personality into your home should be super easy! I personally have Harry Potter tea towels, a cat cookie jar, salt and pepper pot plus lots of cool travel magnets on my fridge. Bring family personality into the kitchen. A show room look is lovely but a homely lived in feel will make people feel much more comfortable

How do you update your kitchen?

Sunday, 13 January 2019

How to drink while dieting - The best low calorie options

It's January!
Or as the crazies are calling it Dryanuary... I am so not about that life. January is already depressing enough as we all try and get through to the millionth day of the month on 52p while eating cardboard because we over-indulged at Christmas, why would you then add a no alcohol rule to that? Voluntarily?

No no, I'm all about enjoying a little tipple every now and again, but I am dieting so I've been spending lots of time working out the best low calorie alcohol options so I can still have a drink while sticking to my diet

10 alcohol options for dieting

If Cider's your thing (my drink of choice if I'm avoiding spirits) then I can't recommend Cranes Ciders* enough, they come in 3 deliciously fruity flavours of blueberries and apples, raspberries and pomegranate and cranberries and limes. They utilise the natural sweetness of the fruit making them a really good diet alternative. With 30% less calories than brand leaders this bottle will only set you back 220 calories
Cranes Cider Blueberry and Apple

Wine can be a really great option when dieting as a small glass of either red or white can generally be just under 100 calories, with options such as champagne and prosecco being similar. You could even mix it with diet lemonade to make a spritzer, it will make your drink last longer without any additional calories

Due to the nations need to cut calories a lot of the major players in the lager market now have lighter versions to their full caloried brothers. Whether you have a Coors Light, Corona Light or even a Bud Light you're looking at between 80-100 calories. 

330ml guinness 125
Coors light 102
Corona light 99
bud light 89

Surprisingly Guinness is up there with the better choices in beer at only 125 calories for 330ml it's often mistaken as a bad choice due to it's rich nature and taste but due to the process in how it's made it's definitely a good choice

We all know the spirit rules of the clearer the spirit the lower the calories right? 
Gin and Vodka come out at around 104 calories a serving, team it with a low calorie mixer such as diet tonic or lemonade, cola etc. and with gin the addition of raspberries give it a nice kick while not adding too many calories

There are some bloody lovely people out there who've spent time planning out some fantastic low calorie cocktail options here's my top 5:

Strawberry Daiquiri

Cranberry Margarita

The Paloma

Moscow Mules

Sparkling Sunrise

What's your favourite low calorie drink?

Thursday, 10 January 2019

Body Positivity on Holiday

Back in August I wrote a blog post about being body positive in swimwear and while writing about it is lovely I had to put what I said into practice in November when I went on holiday to Orlando. Now while it wasn't a beach holiday it did involve numerous water parks which usually fill me with absolute dread, mainly because it's expected you walk around in swimwear all day, it's not practical to have kaftans on and off as you're going to each slide etc. so despite my concerns and worries (my gorgeous boyfriend was so supportive) I braved the Florida sun  and I genuinely couldn't believe the reaction
Plus Size Bikini

There I was in my polka dot 60s style bikini, high waisted to hide wobbly bits but also give me more shape (Good fitting bikinis* and swimsuits* are a god send) I took a deep breath and placed all my usual cover ups in the locker and do you know what happened? Nothing. No-one gasped, no-one stared. I was surrounded by people of all ages, shapes, sizes, ethnicities and genders and every single person was there to have fun.

I actually got a compliment from a complete stranger, while walking to one of the slides a lovely american lady told me she loved my bikini and called it very 60s, I was so overwhelmed at the positivity. I shouldn't be surprised that humans can be nice but it's such a rarity especially when it comes to women and how they look that I didn't know what to do. Another lady complimented my Alice in Wonderland tattoo on my shoulder, which normally would be covered up.

I left that day absolutely full of confidence and beaming at how I overcame my fear and truly embraced myself and other humans to be bloody nice. I had such a fun day at Typhoon Lagoon, the slides are awesome the biggest wave in America was hilarious and overpowered me numerous times as I'm only short

But the biggest thing I took away from my day at the waterpark? There will be some people who look, there are always going to be bad eggs but on the whole people can be amazing and it's really encouraged me to keep pushing myself forward and embracing my body

Tell me your body positivity stories


Tuesday, 8 January 2019

Can Blogging be a full time occupation?

It's 2019 and now rather than a Doctor, Fireman or Teacher our children and teenagers want to grow up to be Gamers, Bloggers, Youtubers and Influencers but how realistic are these careers as an actual job? Now I don't game or Youtube so I'll be looking at this from a blogging perspective of course
Blogging as a career
I personally don't blog full time, I hold a full time job down in IT recruitment and blogging is my safe space, it's a hobby that I've grown and nurtured to a level where I'm happy with my content, I'm happy with my social media and I'm lucky enough to be able to collaborate with some fantastic brands while doing it

But to get to that point that's taken a solid 3-4 years of hard work, graft and sheer love for writing and creating. I don't think there's a get rich quick scheme where you become an insta famous blogger and influencer overnight but there are definitely ways of increasing your chances of success

One aspect of all of the potential careers above is that they're freelance and self-employed which honestly sounds like a dream doesn't it? Work when you want, make your own hours etc etc. but there are so many pitfalls to being self-employed from motivation, to having to do your own taxes (check out my tax guide if you're stuck with this) to loneliness from consistently working alone

Of course there's ways round this such as Co-working office space in Liverpool* where lots of freelancers and start ups come together to create an office environment while enjoying the perks of self employed work. This is fab as there are offices to rent in Liverpool* that are 24 hour, flexible space and the ability to hot desk for as little as £125 a month. 

Even working part time I could afford that with the income I get from my blog so it would be a fantastic way to get serious about blogging and start making a more serious full time occupation while also surrounding yourself with other creative minds. It's something I'm considering in the future, right now I'm happy keeping blogging as a part time hobby but I think in the future when I need more flexibility a hot desk office would give me that balance between self employed and office that would keep me motivated

Do you blog full time?
How do you stay motivated?

Sunday, 6 January 2019

Men's Winter Outfit for under £60

Brrrr it's a new year but I don't about you guys it's bloody cold outside! I'm constantly freezing so I'm loving cosying up in an evening with my heating blaring and the candles on anyway January is well and truly here so a lot of people are focusing on there resolutions, one area of mine is to declutter, I have so many things I need to get rid of including tons of clothes, however Connor on the other hand is the complete opposite, he could probably do with a few key pieces to see him through the rest of winter so we've been taking a look at the Jacamo A/W range of hoodies and coats* and I thought I'd put together a nice outfit to see him through the winter so here's what I'd pick

Jacamo Men's Winter Outfit

Total cost - £56.75

So here's my choices, I know this won't exactly see you through the snow or terrible weather but it's a nice casual outfit that should see you through most of the milder days we're seeing plus it gives the versatility to layer.

I think the most important part of the transition between winter and spring is layers. As a girl it's much easier but men can definitely layer too, I love the chevron design of the hoody and the bomber jacket fitted over it will give a little extra warmth while still looking stylish

The jeans are really nice washed grey skinny ones, Connor lives in skinny jeans but usually prefers black ones but I think these look really cute, and would look great with the grey tones of the hoody

Finally the boots, I love them! They're a bit dressier than a trainer but not quite a smart shoe, they should be suitable for all weathers too

I don't know if Connor will like being my own little ken doll and dressing him up but these clothes are very similar to his usual style with just a few changes so I don't think he'd mind too much

What's you mans go to fashion item in winter?


Wednesday, 2 January 2019

Cherry Topped Shortbread Cookies Recipe

My first recipe of 2019!
And it was definitely a using up of ingredients kind of recipe, I had lots of cherries left after making rudolph noses so I had a think of how best to use them. Glace cherries always remind me of Cherry Bakewell and I really wanted to get that taste into something new and the Cherry Topped Shortbread Cookies were created

Cherry Topped Shortbread Cookies

You Will Need:
  • 260g Plain Flour
  • 230g Butter
  • 130g Icing sugar
  • 60g Cornstarch
  • 1tsp Almond Extract
  • Glace Cherries to top
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C
  2. Cream butter and sugar together
  3. Sift together the flour and cornstarch
  4. Slowly add your flour mixture to your butter mixture, add the almond extract
  5. The dough should be quite stiff once it's combined
  6. Add to a piping bag and pipe discs, leave enough space for them to expand 
  7. Bake for 15 minutes
  8. They will be slightly soft when you take out of the oven, top with half a glace cherry (or a full one if you're greedy like me and allow to cool

What's your favourite cherry recipe?

Tuesday, 1 January 2019

2019 New Years Resolutions

Happy new year to all my lovely readers
I hope you celebrated the night away and welcomed in 2019 with a bang, a new year always get's everyone reflecting on what to change and resolutions to be made (if you want to see how I did with my 2018 resolutions and goals check here)

I think I did pretty well in 2018, I definitely changed more from lost and pretending to adult to now lost with the responsibilities of an adult! Looking back over the year was really good for me and I saw just how well having resolutions helped me so I'm going to kick off my 2019 with 10 more resolutions. These will reflect different life areas again and fingers crossed 2019 can be even better than 2018!

2019 new years resolutions

#1 Personal Development - Say Yes!
This is one of my 101 in 1001 goals but I said I'd do it for a week but the longer I've thought about it the more it's a practice I want to adopt every day. It's about having more of a positive mindset and putting myself out there. So often I say no because I'm worried of XYZ but I think it's time I stop worrying about what could happen and get out there and live a bit

#2 Finances - Have £3k saved in house fund
Last year was a very expensive year, I bought a car, a house and went to Disneyworld so I think this year needs to be a much stronger focus on saving than spending. There's lot's of little renovations I want to do to the house, and I also want to have enough in my house fund for emergencies so I'm aiming for £3k saved by this time next year

#3 Family & Friends - Get to know my new family
In 2018 I met Connor, I'm planning on spending forever with him so it only makes sense to get to know his family more. I've got lots of his family still to meet and I want to spend more time with his immediate family too so I'm thinking maybe once a month getting together for a meal or walk somewhere

#4 Career - Explore a new business angle of my job
I'm going into January as a Senior Delivery Consultant at work, but our immediate team is changing a little from a permanent focus to chasing more new business. This isn't an area I've had much exposure too, and to be honest it's not one that my role is focused on BUT I want to learn about it and I'm aiming to have brought in one new business client myself 

#5 Fun - Explore!
This is pretty similar to my 2018 goal, I have the most fun when I'm out and about visiting new places and exploring my surroundings whether that's in Sheffield or further afield. I keep tracking everything on Tripadvisor. It's currently sat on 63 places visited in 2018 I'd really like to get this up to 100 in 2019

#6 Relationship - Enjoy Life
This is a tricky goal really, I love my life and my relationship is the highlight of that, I'm at the happiest I've ever been so I don't want to put timescales or expectations on it. We recently moved in together so for 2019 I want to enjoy my life with Connor, making memories and being in that new couple stage

#7 Wellbeing - Journaling and reflection
A new area for 2019! I've realised that with my mental health, a focus on wellbeing is really important to understand when I'm struggling, when I'm hormonal and when I might need extra help. I have depression and anxiety and it's something that now at 25 I'm happy to talk about and feel in a good place with it. I usually struggle a lot with seasonal effective disorder which definitely reared it's head in 2018 but not quite as much as normal. 2019 is going to see me using a mood diary daily and reflecting each evening on my day so I don't stress over the little things

#8 Health and Fitness - Lose weight
And here we are for the gazillionth time of asking - This year I will do it. I'm so bloody determined to actually do it (I said this last year shhhh!) I have a new fitbit and I've also signed up to Weightwatchers so I'm all set for the new year. Rather than putting a number on it I'm looking to drop 2 dress sizes, whatever that might look like

#9 Blogging - Twice a week
I managed to get back into blogging in 2018 and this year I want to work on improving the frequency to twice a week overall. I'm hoping that with that will see growing social media numbers and traffic. So fingers crossed you'll be seeing much more of me

#10 Physical Environment - Declutter 
I never realised how much stuff I crammed into one room at my mums, now I've moved out and Connors moved in with my we've got an accumulation of stuff that needs so much sorting out and selling off, donating, carbooting all of it! So I've started up my ebay account and hopefully I can earn a little bit of money for my savings by decluttering all my unwanted stuff

There we go! I think a lot of my resolutions this year are going to be works in progress all year as they're not as definitive as 'pass a test' etc. but I think that in order to grow this is a great way of pointing myself in the right direction

What are your 2019 resolutions?

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