Special Announcement!

I have been waiting for the opportunity to run another blog giveaway after the reception I got to my first giveaway in 2016. I ran that giveaway to celebrate two years of blogging. I want giveaways to be special and I have been planning my next one ever since.

A few months ago I noticed I was getting close to 1,000 followers on my blog and thought that would be a perfect chance for a giveaway. I am also extremely close to 300 followers on Instagram and since ‘3’ is my favourite number I wanted to combine celebrations.

THERE ISN’T A GIVEAWAY YET, but there will be as soon as I reach 1,000 blog followers and 300 Instagram followers! This giveaway will be better than my previous one (not that I want to take anything away from that) as I know how to run giveaways now and have been thinking carefully about how it will operate. The giveaway will be International and I can’t wait to reveal more!

What are you waiting for, get following!


NB: If I reach 1,000 and 300 followers in December I will be running the giveaway in the new year (January 2018). There are mailing cutoff dates around December and the busy Christmas period so the package needs to be mailed before a certain date. I wouldn’t want the items to get lost.

signature_59rnt66ifetkuap2w9

Follow me:

Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest

Advertisements

10 Things That Annoy Me

I’ve mentioned plenty of times that I like my blog to be a positive space but you can’t help but feel like a good moan sometimes. Once it’s out of your system you feel a whole lot better and it helps to share and talk about what’s on your mind. Read on if you want to learn what really ticks me off!

1. Internet Outages – It’s ironic that as I’m writing this post there is an internet outage in my region. Not having internet is not what annoys me but the fact that these days everything relies so much on digital technology and when you don’t have it everything is harder. Businesses aren’t able to go about their daily routines, people who work from home may not be able to work and job seekers can’t search for jobs and apply for them. Unless you have mobile data you often don’t know there is an outage because a connection is required to view your internet provider’s website. When the outage is fixed, I’m guessing customers aren’t compensated either.

2. Queue Jumpers – I can’t count the number of times I have been cut in front of in a queue and the majority of times it’s been by people older than me. I’ve been standing in the supermarket and had shoppers nudge their way past. Another time I was waiting in line to purchase some bakery goods and a lady off to the side (who arrived after me) was served first.

3. Texting While Driving – Mobile phones should be nowhere near the driver’s hands when they are in control of a vehicle. The amount of times I see people texting on their phones at traffic lights or talking on their phones while driving is shocking! Not only are they risking their own safety but the safety of other road users.

4. Treatment of Smokers vs. Drinkers – I don’t smoke and I never have but I hate how judgemental people are of those who smoke compared to those who drink. Smoking is definitely not seen as ‘cool’ but people shouldn’t be made to feel guilty because they choose to do it. The smell isn’t pleasant but lots of people smoke outside or out of sight of other people. Smoking is highly addictive but you don’t hear of people getting arrested for smoking cigarettes then hopping in a car and causing a crash. The effects of cigarettes are self inflicted where as alcohol has the potential to affect everyone the person drinking comes in contact with. Alcohol is allowed to be advertised (which I don’t agree with) and the price never seems to increase as regular as the price of cigarettes does. I’m not saying one is better and one is worse as I have opinions and experiences relating to both sides of the spectrum but people shouldn’t be shamed if they smoke or drink or don’t do either.

5. People Parking In Disability Spaces Without Permits – People who are capable of walking longer distances and are fit and healthy should be mindful of those that rely on parking in these spaces. I wish there was more patrolling in place to prevent this happening, people might start taking notice and looking for other parking spaces.

6. Spelling Errors – I’m not saying this because I was in a spelling bee and expect every single word to be spelt perfectly and not have a letter out of place. When words are spelt correctly, it looks more professional and it makes everything easier to read. It’s not hard to run spell check or Google how a word is spelt if you’re not sure.

7. The Price of Food At the Cinema – I have been to the cinema twice in 2017 so far and I’m appalled at how expensive snack foods are. I know they have to make a profit but surely some of that cost could be added to the ticket price and taken off food to make it more affordable. I don’t buy food at the cinema but I remember when I was a child you were allowed to take your own snacks, you didn’t have to buy food there.

8. Not Acknowledging Someone If They Say Hello – Working in customer service it’s seen as part and the parcel of the job to greet people. A smile, nod, wave or simple “hello” is enough. To snub the person who greets you is rude. Even if I’m having a bad day I will still be polite because I’ve been snubbed before and people are only trying to do their job.

9. Getting Called Chantelle – This is probably my biggest annoyance on the list! Chanelle doesn’t sound like Chantelle phonetically, SHAN vs. SHON. I never get SHANtelle either, it’s always that SHON sound. I find it less insulting when people spell my name wrong.

10. The Samsung and Apple Battle – There are people who sit firmly in each camp and most people have their preference but I find it petty when people argue which is better and say the other brand is stupid. I’m an Apple girl phone wise but have a Windows PC and have owned a MacBook in the past. I personally enjoy Apple and find it easy to use, the Android system looks a little confusing but that’s because I’m used to Apple and I’m sure people who use Android think Apple is confusing. Brand is not all there is to consider when buying a product.


I want to know, what annoys you?

signature_59rnt66ifetkuap2w9

Follow me:

Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest

Gratitude Journal: September

gratitude
/ noun
the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.


Health was at the centre of most days in September. I didn’t feel the best but I am on the mend slowly – I explained more in my September Favourites. (Please read if you haven’t already). There were also two big events in September, it was my boyfriend’s birthday and my aunt had a heart operation after getting put off and cancelled numerous times. I’m proud I was there for her and I know she is grateful.

Here’s what made me smile in September:

September 1: So nice to see my old work mates.

September 2: Bakery treats.

September 3: Waking up to weekend cuddles.

September 4: Good hair day.

September 5: There’s no place like home!

September 6: Relaxing afternoon in bed reading.

September 7: Brainstorming session for the blog.

September 8: First coffee in a little while. 

September 9: Navy blue fluffy jumper loving. (The one featured in my September Favourites).

September 10: Trip to the cinema to see IT.

September 11: My favourite BBQ Rodeo burgers from Burger King for lunch.

September 12: Chatty phone call with my brother.

September 13: First time wearing a bold lip at my new job.

September 14: Nachos for dinner.

September 15: The sun was out in full force.

September 16: Treated myself to Dominos after work.

September 17: I love my boyfriend SO MUCH! (Soppy highlight).

September 18: Painting my nails is one of my favourite things.

September 19: Afternoon mocha  ☕️

September 20: When you’re not well it’s important to take time out for yourself.

September 21: Blew up 25+ balloons. It’s not the blowing but the tying that’s hard work!

September 22: Berry lip day.

September 23: Boyfriend’s birthday celebrations.

September 24: Chilled Sunday complete with nap.

September 25: First day at work after completing training. 

September 26: Wore a new Juicy Couture perfume for the first time.

September 27: Blue lipstick day.

September 28: Spent the morning shopping.

September 29: Shania Twain album day!

September 30: People who compliment your perfume are the nicest!


What were you grateful for in September?

signature_59rnt66ifetkuap2w9

Follow me:

Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest

Boyfriend’s Birthday Surprise!

This past weekend it was my boyfriend’s 25th birthday! I was super excited to celebrate and spend the entire day with him. I had plans for his birthday for a long time (that he didn’t know about) and I finally got to put them in place. A few times I mentioned a secret project on the blog and his birthday surprise was it. As he was turning 25 the first idea that came to mind was to give him 25 presents. I combined sentimental handmade gifts, with humorous ones as well as some of his favourite sweet treats. The gifts are unique and not what you’d automatically think to buy. I had so much fun buying all of these gifts and putting everything together and I wanted to share how things turned out!

Each present was numbered from 1 – 25 and given a sticker. There was no particular order apart from a few presents; #1 was a birthday card and #25 was a list of ’25 Reasons You’re Amazing’.

I blew up 25 silver balloons and tied them into bunches of 5. They were present #2.

Most of the presents are in this collage. The consumable presents hadn’t been purchased yet. They included Skittles, chocolate and fizzy drink.

All wrapped and boxed up!

I wrote a list of reasons why I chose each present which was the final thing I gifted to my boyfriend after he opened the presents.

The presents all unwrapped and my boyfriend opening a gift from his parents.

My outfit and makeup of the day.

Outfit Details:

  • Jacket – Postie
  • Top – Glassons
  • Jeans – Dannii For Target

Makeup Products Used:

  • Simple Radiance Brightening Moisturiser
  • Rimmel Professional Eyebrow Pencil in 002 Hazel
  • Max Factor Lasting Performance Foundation in 101 Ivory Beige
  • Collection Lasting Perfection Concealer – 1 Fair
  • Maybelline ‘The Nudes’
  • Max Factor Excess Shimmer – Copper
  • Rimmel Scandaleyes Lycra Flex Mascara
  • Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector – Opal
  • MAC – Show Orchid

We went for an outing to Orakei Korako which is a geothermal area roughly an hour from where we live. There is a short boat ride which takes you to the guided path area where you can walk around the geysers and hot springs. The scenery was absolutely breathtaking and the weather couldn’t have been more beautiful. The temperature was warm without being too hot and it was also the first time I’d been on a boat. I only wish the boat ride had been longer.

After the trip we drove back and I had fish and chips for lunch – they were delicious! My boyfriend had Subway using the gift card I got him as one of his presents. After lunch I had a nap and we chilled for the rest of the evening.

It was such a lovely day and my boyfriend was very grateful for all the effort I had gone to to surprise him. I almost made him cry after reading the card and that was only present #1!


What did you buy your significant other for their last birthday?

signature_59rnt66ifetkuap2w9

Follow me:

Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest

Updated: My Blog Planner

One of the biggest aspects to blogging is planning and scheduling posts. I like planning and being organised so I find it fun to sit down and look at the month ahead and pencil posts in.

In March 2016, I gave you a look Inside My Blog Planner. I also explained how I use Microsoft Excel alongside my notebook. Since then the way I plan has changed slightly. I wanted to show you how and explain the reasons behind the change.

Towards the end of 2016 and the first few months of 2017 my posts weren’t as regular as they had been. There were a few different factors: I recently entered into a relationship, my mum was seriously ill and my work hours increased. It wasn’t until March/April 2017 that I got back into a routine and wanted to start committing to blogging again.

I now use an A5 notebook instead of an A4. I no longer use one page for each week of posts. I have a double page spread, on the left hand page I list the dates of each Tuesday and Thursday in the month (these are my posting days) and then I can fill in from there. Generally the first post in a month is my daily highlights from my gratitude journal and the last is my monthly favourites. I then look at the dates and think about seasonal or timely posts or any special occasions I have coming up. I write between 8-10 posts a month and a month can fill up surprisingly quickly. (When I posted three times a week it was closer to 13 posts per month!)

On the right hand page I jot down notes that relate to posts on the left hand side. For example, I’ll jot down songs for monthly playlists and keep track of favourites so I remember to mention them. It also means I can look back at previous favourites so I’m not talking about the same products over and over again.

I still use a colour coding system. Page headings are written in pink, post dates are written in red, post titles/ideas are written in blue and planning notes on the right hand page are written in purple.

Here you can see how I lay out the pages and my colour coding system.

Excel used to be a big part of the planning process but I no longer use it to plan. It’s much easier to have everything in one place and written on pages adjacent to each other. I also don’t have to worry about unsaved changes or forgetting to update my spreadsheet. I’m a pen and paper planner rather than a digital planner.

Weekly blog views are now recorded in my Filofax. There is a notes section in the monthly layout. Monthly views are also recorded in the same column.

I hope you enjoyed seeing how my planning has evolved! How do you plan for blog posts?

signature_59rnt66ifetkuap2w9

Follow me:

Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest

5 Important Relationship Lessons

It’s not a coincidence I’m sharing this post today. One year ago on September 7, 2016 my boyfriend and I met for the first time. To celebrate our one year anniversary I wanted to share what being in a relationship has taught me and advice my younger self would appreciate.

Let me briefly recap my relationship for those of you who aren’t aware. This is my first ever relationship, I hadn’t had experience with boys before. My focus was school and boys weren’t a priority. I knew I liked boys but I didn’t have male friends and wasn’t in situations to talk to and meet boys. Fast forward a few years to August 2016, I was in a good place, I was happy, recently landed a new job and felt brave enough to take the plunge and try this dating thing. Like lots of people my age, I joined Tinder. My experience was positive, I am a good judge of character and didn’t do anything I regret. After a couple of weeks my boyfriend and I met and we are as happy now as we were in the beginning. 

I am quite private when it comes to our relationship, people know it exists but I don’t talk too much about it.

 So, what has the relationship taught me?

1. Be Yourself

This one is a cliche but it’s true! I can truly say I am an individual and I do things my way and don’t follow everyone else. When I was on Tinder I didn’t feel like I had to act a certain way to get attention or say funny things to make conversation. I’m not afraid to be honest and say what I think. When you act naturally you feel comfortable and the other person picks up on that.

2. Don’t Overthink

Prior to my relationship I was worried I wouldn’t know what I was doing and worried about how I was supposed to act and how relationships work. I stopped that very quickly and actually feel like I’m a natural now. Don’t rush into anything, take your time – whether it’s working up to meeting someone, flirting or dating. Don’t commit to something if it doesn’t feel right and never give in to peer pressure. Know your mind and what you want and you won’t go wrong.

3. Respect One Another

I tend to think about things in a different way to other people. I don’t judge and when I ask questions it’s genuinely because I’m interested in what a person is saying. Listening to what people have to say, taking in that information and processing it is one of the greatest ways to show respect for someone. You feel valued and it makes you more open and willing to share if you know you’re going to be heard. Trust goes hand in hand with respect for me, if trust is not there you’re not going to feel respected and want to show respect. Respect feelings, respect choices but most of all respect what makes someone happy – who are we to judge people’s happiness?

4. True Happiness

Being in love feels wonderful and beautiful and makes you feel in ways you didn’t know you could. Happiness has been difficult for me in the past. Good things would happen but something would go wrong and leave me worrying about the bad rather than focusing on what’s good. Ever since I met my boyfriend I see things in a different way and focus more on simplicity and being happy in the present, happiness is a journey not a destination and all that. I’m grateful whenever we spend time together, we don’t have to do anything in particular, I just enjoy being with him. I’m grateful to have met someone who has become my best friend and I admire the sense of calm he possesses. 

5. Communication Is Key

From day one the communication between my boyfriend and I has always been strong. I don’t think a day has gone by where we haven’t communicated in some form. I’d like to think we have similar mindsets and we always make each other a priority. We always send good morning and good night messages, it literally is the ‘first thought in the morning and last thought at night’ thing. We’re cute if I do say so myself! Never have I been let down or felt I couldn’t rely on him. 


What have you learned from relationships – good or bad?

signature_59rnt66ifetkuap2w9

Follow me:

Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest

New Series: What I’ve Been Reading

To coincide with starting a job at the city library I wanted to start a new blog series. This new series will be a list of the books I’ve been reading and the books I’ve finished. I have always loved reading and have visited libraries since I was a kid.

There will be a seasonal round up every three months starting with September 2017 – November 2017 i.e. New Zealand springtime. The next will be December 2017 – February 2018 then March 2018 – May 2018  and June 2018 – August 2018. I am encouraging myself to read more now that I will have time to do so and I am committing to these posts for the next year. I’m aiming to read 50 books in that time which is roughly a book a week – let’s see if I meet the target!

Each post will feature a list of books read, the author’s name, any other important information and a short synopsis. I will also include whether I liked the book or not.

Books will only be included in the list if they are finished within the same seasonal three month period. For example, I start a book in August 2017 but don’t finish it until September 2017, therefore it is allowed to be included in the Spring list.

I will happily take book recommendations! I have got a handful of books to get me started and already have others on my ‘To Read’ list.

I hope you’re looking forward to this series as much as I am!

signature_59rnt66ifetkuap2w9

Follow me:

Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest

Gratitude Journal: August

gratitude
/ noun
the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.


Compared to July I have felt in control of my emotions and been happy on the whole. I am still getting my head around having free time in the afternoons (which I didn’t have with my old job) and how best to fill it but everything will settle down over the next few weeks. I am enjoying my new job which is the most important thing!

Here’s what made me smile in August:

August 1: Lots of cuddles, lucky me!

August 2: Getting better with the manual settings on my DSLR.

August 3: Afternoon Tea by Tanya Burr ❤

August 4: My boyfriend visited at work and stayed for an hour.

August 5: Big changes are a happening!

August 6: Nescafé’s Vanilla Lattes are delicious! I’m not a coffee drinker but I could get into them.

August 7: Fancy underwear day. No occasion, just felt like it.

August 8: Cheeky, happy mood.

August 9: Vanilla ice cream!

August 10: When the name of your lipstick reflects how you feel that day; Brave by MAC.

August 11: Wore a ring I bought yesterday for the first time and it is stunning!

August 12: I love mum’s homemade hot chips.

August 13: One more week of work!

August 14: Got some photographs done for my secret project.

August 15: Jeans and jumper day.

August 16: Had my hair braided by my boyfriend’s mum. I wish I could braid my own hair, French and Dutch braids are so pretty.

August 17: Last 10 hour Thursday at my current job!

August 18: Surprise gifts from work colleagues – so thoughtful!

August 19: Got given a chocolate cake.

August 20: Lots of hugs today, end of a chapter and the beginning of a new one.

August 21: Made an omelette for breakfast and it was tasty.

August 22: Jigsaw filled morning.

August 23: First day at my new job.

August 24: Such nice sunny weather.

August 25: My Dannii For Target top matched my lipstick.

August 26: Not often I get to see my boyfriend at the weekend.

August 27: Felt like pizza for lunch so that’s what I had!

August 28: Uploaded photos to Google Drive to clear space on my phone.

August 29: Picked up some chocolatey treats in the supermarket; Maltesers and a chocolate caramel muffin.

August 30: Heard I’m doing well at the Library and picking things up quickly.

August 31: Carbonara for lunch. 


What were you grateful for in August?

signature_59rnt66ifetkuap2w9

Follow me:

Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest

Life Lately #2

Hi everybody! Hope you’re well! In April I wrote a post called Life Lately #1 rounding up what’s been happening and what’s going on. There have been some changes recently and I wanted to keep you all in the loop.

Blogging

Since I started my two posts a week routine on Tuesdays and Thursdays I have been sticking with it and manage to get two posts up nearly every week. I purchased a Canon 700D DSLR in July and purchasing that was an investment that got me excited to blog again. I have been experimenting with the camera and taking photos which have featured in posts on the blog.

Here are a couple I’m particularly proud of:

Work

In July I applied for a job at the city library. I was selected for an interview and offered a position a few weeks later. Things had been building up at my current job for a while and I felt some personal issues were getting in the way of my work. I was doing long hours (two 10 hour days) plus both weekend days and honestly I felt stuck in a rut. The library job was an easy decision for me, I’ve always loved books and reading and I even read at work. My last day of work was August 20 and I started at the library a couple of days later on August 23 – the day this post goes up! It was sad to say goodbye to the friends I made but I will go back to say hello and don’t want to forget them. I am excited for my new job and I hope it brings relief and less pressure/stress.

Personal

My boyfriend and I are still going strong and in September we celebrate our one year anniversary! I can’t believe how quickly that time has gone but I feel so lucky to have met him and had his support and presence the past 12 months. It’s also his birthday at the end of September and I have got something super special planned. (I am still debating whether it will get a blog post or not…)

Health wise I haven’t been as strict with my eating as I would like, some days I reach for the chocolate when I know I shouldn’t. I’ve felt self conscious of my weight, particularly around my neck. I have been monitoring my medication and stopped my antihistamine nasal spray as it contains steroids and that could contribute to the weight gain and affect my appetite making me want to eat more. My exercise routine has been haphazard but I’m hoping the new job will fix that and I’ll be able to get into a better routine and get back into a positive mindset.

Music

Two of my absolute favourite musicians are releasing albums in September; Shane Filan and Shania Twain. Both are huge inspirations to me and I always look forward to hearing new music from them. This is Shania’s first music in 15 years and Shane’s third studio album since Westlife split up in 2012.

Martine McCutcheon also released her first album in 15 years. Martine is a British singer/actress who you may recognise as Natalie from Love Actually – her most famous role. Martine had a string of top 10 singles in the 90s/00s and returned to the music scene this year with her album Lost and Found, written alongside her husband. The album has uptempo, rocky tracks mixed in with heartfelt ballads. I’m particularly loving the debut single, Say I’m Not Alone.

2017 Goals Progress

Related post: Hello 2017!

I briefly mentioned my exercise routine which I am hoping to get back into properly in the coming weeks. I continue to work on taking each day as it comes and this is one thing that requires a lot of effort – I am a constant worrier and always like to have things planned but I’m trying to get better! I haven’t been stressing about blogging and I don’t use social media a lot. I’d say I spend 1 hour at the most each day on social media (not including blog post writing). I have made a small amount of progress with driving. I reversed the car out of the garage and drove it back in twice. I will have more spare time with my new job so I want to put more effort into driving.


What’s been happening in your life recently?

signature_59rnt66ifetkuap2w9

Follow me:

Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest

Gratitude Journal: July

gratitude
/ noun
the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.


I honestly don’t know how to sum up July. Part of me feels like it has passed quickly but then part of me also remembers these memories/highlights very clearly. I treated myself to new items this month, a DSLR was the big one but I also bought clothes and makeup. My emotions have been weird which is why I’m not sure what to say about July. I’m glad it’s over I guess?!

Here’s what made me smile in July:

July 1: When you get given chocolate cake at work.

July 2: Finished another jigsaw puzzle.

July 3: Kitty cuddles in bed.

July 4: When your boyfriend sees a ‘Tag a girl who looks beautiful without makeup’ meme on Facebook and says, “you” – he’s so sweet!

July 5: Unexpected trip to the MAC counter, came away with two items.

July 6: Thought provoking chats with the boyfriend.

July 7: After researching DSLRs for the past week and a bit I keep going back to the Canon 700D.

July 8: The Body Shop’s Cocoa Butter body butter smells delicious – almost like chocolate!

July 9: Wore Show Orchid for the second time and I’ve only had it four days.

July 10: Butter chicken leftovers for lunch.

July 11: Rose gold eyeshadow.

July 12: Wearing a bright pink fluffy robe on a cold evening.

July 13: Finally caved and bought the Canon 700D camera – can’t wait to use it!

July 14: Had a hot chocolate made for me at work.

July 15: Up to date with PointlessBlogVlog’s videos… again. Sometimes I fall behind but I catch up eventually.

July 16: Out of work on time and ready for my days off after working six days (52 hours) in a row!

July 17: Got to see my love for the first time in a week.

July 18: My camera arrived!

July 19: Wearing a pair of ponte pants I bought yesterday.

July 20: Chenille cardigan arrived, it’s so soft and warm!

July 21: I blimmin’ love Show Orchid!

July 22: Took my first photo for the blog with my camera. (The photo in my July Favourites 2017 post).

July 23: Changing into comfy clothes after work is such a relaxing feeling.

July 24: Pepperoni pizza for lunch.

July 25: Cuddles when you feel sad help you feel better.

July 26: Louie Spence on The Chase is one of the funniest things I’ve seen in a while.

July 27: Kept myself busy meaning the day passed quicker. Burger King for dinner was also a treat!

July 28: Wore my go to lip colour and eyeshadow today, such a winning combination.

July 29: Steps were on New Zealand TV!

July 30: Bought a very bling nail polish on my lunch break; Glow Your Own Way by Essie.

July 31: Ticking tasks off to do lists is rewarding.


What were you grateful for in July?

signature_59rnt66ifetkuap2w9

Follow me:

Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest