Weekly Roundup 15/09/19 – 21/09/19

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  • Reading

I feel like I have not made much progress this week with reading my book this week.  I have been reading a lot though, but it has been articles on the internet.  I have read a vast amount of articles covering so many different topics from art, design, skincare, fashion, computing, software, reviews, gardening and typography.

  • Watching

I started to watch I-Land with my friend this week, its a new series on Netflix and so far seems pretty good.  10 people wake up on an island with no idea of who they are, how they got there or any recollection of their past.  They are all dressed in similar outfits and have an item found near where they wake which, so far is unexplained.  I won’t spoil it by saying too much more, but as the series goes along we find out more about each person and their lives before which have led to them being on the island.

  • Listening to

More podcasts!  I’ve been listening to more of the same podcasts as last week (LogoGeek and The Deeply Graphic Designcast).  I have got a few new podcasts downloaded to listen to this week and am really looking forward to listening to Fearne Cotton’s Happy Place podcast as I have heard some brilliant things about it!

  • Eating

I haven’t really eaten anything interesting this week though I had been craving bananas and custard so treated myself to a bowl of custard with chopped bananas one evening!  It was soo good!  I’ve also been eating a lot of apples, they are so tasty and juicy right now!

  • Drinking

I don’t very often drink fizzy drinks but really fancied some Coke-Cola this week which I thoroughly enjoyed.  It made a nice change from water and squash and the tea and coffee that I usually drink!  I only bought a small bottle and it lasted me a whole day.

  • Doing

You may have noticed that my Saturday Shout Out didn’t happen yesterday, I had written it in the week and thought I had scheduled it but when I checked on Friday it was nowhere to be found.  I planned on re-writing it on Friday evening but had a few other things that zapped my energy.  I spent much of Friday afternoon and evening running between home and our local DIY store with the toilet cistern in pieces.  I have had problems with it leaking water into the overflow and the pipe constantly leaking which I thought would be an easy fix, all I needed to do was adjust the ballcock float surely?  Anyway, to cut a long story short, I needed to replace the whole cistern filler unit so I opted for a newer one that does away with the ballcock mechanism, instead, the float is built into the filler tube and moves up and down as the water is flushed/refills.  I had to remove the flush part of the cistern and turn it 180 degrees as there was not enough space for the new mechanism to fit beside it.  I needed to remove the whole cistern from the toilet, undo the washer that held the flush part in and turn it, then put the cistern back onto the toilet before re-connecting the water pipe and the overflow.  There were a few problems…I didn’t have the right sized spanner,  the huge nut that held the flush mechanism to the base of the cistern wouldn’t undo, then when I had got it all back together it was leaking.  Fixed the leaks then the cistern wouldn’t fill enough to flush.  Removed everything again to see what was going on.  Then realised (if I had read the instructions which came with the new ballcock mechanism ting) that all I needed to do was adjust the height of the fill unit in order to adjust the amount of water in the cistern, not take it apart.  Anyway, I managed, with the help of my friend who came to the rescue, to fix it and now I have a flushable, leak-free toilet!  We didn’t finish sorting it until nearly 12pm on Friday night and by then I was absolutely shattered and couldn’t think of anything other than climbing into bed.  Sometimes, as they say, “shit happens.”.

  • Feeling

I’ve been feeling ok this week, just tired still.  Friday was a bit stressful as every time I needed to do something I found I couldn’t as I didn’t have the right tools (who knew you would need so many different sized spanners?) and I spent a lot of time driving back and fore to the DIY store, partly annoyed with myself for not looking to see what was needed and partly just annoyed in general, the youtube videos I had watched made it all look so easy!  My shoulder is still playing up and I’m still taking painkillers for it, I think that is impacting on my sleep and making me tired.

How has your week been?  What have you been up to?  I’d love to hear in the comments!

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Blog Goals for the Year Ahead

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As my blog nears its first Birthday I want to share some goals that I’d like to achieve in the year ahead.  I have been amazed at what I have achieved so far and while I never really set out with any goals in mind I think that this coming year I should have some things set to aim for…

  • 1000 followers.  I hit 500 Followers a short while ago so this next figure should be attainable.
  • YouTube Chanel.  I have a few ideas of things that I would like to try and doing so via video may be a better option.
  • Weekly Saturday Shout Outs.  While I am already doing this, I would like to make the shout out a little more in-depth and about the writer behind the blog as well as focusing on the blog itself.
  • Take part in Blogtober, Blogmas and the April A-Z challenge.  These challenges help keep me on my toes and share posts that may not get shared otherwise and are a fantastic way of introducing new content.
  • Daily blog posts.  While I blog nearly every day I would like to have set themes for each day of the week as well as my normal posts too.
  • More tutorials.  I love reading tutorials and have a few that I want to share in the future!

I just need to sit down and work out the hows, and whens!  🙂

What blog goals do you have?  I’d love to hear about them so let me know in the comments!

Top 10 Bullet Journal Supplies

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I love bullet journaling, the creativity that comes with it and that you can have your week just as you want it, with space for all the little things you want or need to keep track of.  Today I thought I would compile a Top 10 list of my favourite Bullet Journal Supplies.

  • Bullet Journal.

I love dot grid paper for my journal, currently, I am using a £6 dotted notebook that I found in Flying Tiger, though I have used Scribbles That Matter and Leuchtturm1917 journals in the past.

  • Graphite Pencil.

An essential bullet journal supply is a graphite pencil, at the moment I’m loving mechanical pencils because you don’t need to sharpen them.  I like being able to plan my layout and lettering in pencil to see if things work or not before committing to my designs with a pen.

  • Eraser.

This is one I reach for so often!  I make so many mistakes, from wonky lines to misspelling words, plus, if a layout doesn’t quite work I can erase and start again without wasting pages!

  • Ruler.

I love the look of the hand-drawn line but totally suck at drawing them so I nearly always rely on a ruler for any straight lines that I need to draw!  I prefer a metal ruler over a plastic one as they can be a bit more precise.

  • Circle Maker.

I found this Angle and Circle Maker by Helix a while ago after getting really annoyed with my traditional compass, the screw would keep loosening and the arms would slip causing me to have a wonky circle.  This tool has changed all of that and all circles I now draw are uniform and perfect!

  • Fine tipped pens.

I love Staedtler Triplus Fineliner pens, not only do they come in a fab range of colours but the tip is fine enough for drawing lines and for writing with!

  • Graphic Pens.

I like adding detail to my designs, whether it be shadows on the lettering or doodles in the margins.  I originally used to use a fine liner pen but found that I wanted more variation in the line width.  I found these Graphik Line Makers by Derwent, which have different sized tips to be perfect for what I wanted.

  • Coloured Pencils.

Coloured pencils are fab for adding a pop of colour to a spread whether it be colouring in lettering, adding highlights or for adding fun elements.  I don’t have a favourite brand of coloured pencil, I own a ton, some are from when I was in school so are pretty old!

  • Highlighters.

I love pastel highlighters and my favourites are Stabilo (the mini ones are just soo cute!) and Zebra Mildliners.  I really like the Mildliners as one end is a chisel tip, brilliant for highlighting, while the other end is a fine line which is perfect for doodling and writing!

  • Washi Tape.

I own a ridiculous amount of washi but it is such a versatile thing!  I use it as a page marker by running a strip down the edge of a page, as a means for attaching things to the page, as an accent in designs, as section dividers, in layouts instead of drawing lines…the list is almost endless!

Do you bullet journal?  What are your most-used supplies?  I’d love to know so leave me a comment!

Words on Wednesday

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When did people become so obsessed with being internet famous?

Did it start when the likes of Kim Kardashian and Co shot to fame, or the rise in social media influencers, or even just YouTube being so accessible and easy to use?

I overheard a conversation where a mother was talking to another mother about her daughter’s lack of interest in college work or getting a job, working towards a career as the daughter “really wants to be an influencer on social media and is happy to sit at home posting videos day in day out.”

In some ways I get it, I really do, especially when you read of the money some people have made, and the careers some have carved out for themselves, though, when you look at the work that these people have put in to get where they are, its much more work than I do in my day to day job.

I have been thinking about the conversation I overheard, and if I was young now, being an influencer may seem like a totally legitimate, and easy way to make money while being famous as well, posting pretty pictures on Instagram and running a YouTube channel where I talk about my latest shopping purchases, but is it sustainable?

The internet is full of people trying to make a fast buck and be the next Kim or Khloe, so much so, nearly every other image on Instagram seems to be some kind of promotion to get me to part with cash, affiliate links run wild on blogs that are really not that well written in the first place, it’s such a saturated market that it will be hard to succeed.

I also feel that this kind of “career” is not very sustainable, the money coming in is not steady and you are working from day to day to hit some sort of target in order to bring in enough money to survive.  I know how much I need day to day and having to worry about how I am going to make it is not for me, I like the security that my day job gives me.

You may like to think that you are your own boss, but you are at the mercy of companies letting you promote their goods and to your audience, for them to buy the products using the links you provide.  If you say something that others don’t like these deals could be taken off the table and that’s your career over.

And what happens when the next person comes along who can do everything better? Do you get dropped and forgotten about like a bit of old litter?

I can’t help but think that this obsession with being “Internet Famous” is unhealthy, surely a lot of it is a popularity contest of sorts that could do more harm than good in the long run?

What do you think about being “internet famous”?  Let me know in the comments, I’d love to hear your views

My Biggest Blogging Obstacles and How I’m Overcoming Them

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Blogging is not all sunshine and roses, and neither is it easy.  There is a common misconception that bloggers just need to open a new post, write it and then publish it.  But blogging, as with any job or hobby can come with its own set of obstacles.  Today I am sharing my biggest blogging obstacles and the strategies I use to overcome them.

  • Time Management

Writing a blog post and getting it ready for publishing can take time.  I don’t want to spend all of my time sitting at a screen and thinking about what I am going to write, nor do I want to miss out on other life events because of my blog, and I especially do not want to rush a blog post in order to hit any schedule I have in place.  This is where time management is crucial.  I have gotten into a routine of scheduling time of an evening to write blog posts, work on post ideas and plan my schedule.  I set aside 2 hours of my evening in which to write, plan and read other blogs.  It has taken time to get to this stage where it just comes naturally to me, that on returning from my 9-5 job I put the kettle on and make a coffee then settle down to craft a post.  It’s all about being time savvy and finding a good balance.

If you are struggling with time management and feel that you don’t have the time to spend on your blog that you want it is worth keeping a log of how you spend your time for a week.  The time log can be as detailed as you want but all you really need to see is when you have any downtime that could be used blogging.  Once you have identified these blocks of time you can start scheduling in blog time.

  • Productivity

Productivity can be a hard one to measure as a blogger especially when there are so many blogging activities that need to be done including writing posts, editing, images, links, catching up with other blogs, commenting and a whole host of other things.  There are also distractions that can make being productive quite hard.

Productivity is one thing I am forever struggling with.  Have I been productive by writing 3 posts this week?  By keeping on top of my comments?  By staying up to date with my fellow bloggers?  Every day can be so different that comparing one day to another in terms of what I have accomplished doesn’t really work.

I manage my productivity by making lists of the things I want to achieve on my blog each week and then break it down into smaller, more manageable lists that I aim to complete each day.  I roughly know how long each task will take me and try to allocate the tasks so that the time allowance is the same for each day.  I find that when I know what needs to be done and I can cross things off that I can then measure how productive I have been.

  • Lack of Motivation

Some days I am super motivated and seem to get a ton of blog things accomplished but then another day I have all the intentions of working on my blog but all I seem to manage to do is sit and stare into space and not get anything done.  We are only human and need to have back up plans for when the lack of motivation hits us.

I like to deal with this kind of day by having a few posts written in advance (I write these on the days I am feeling super motivated) which I keep in my drafts folder.  On the days I have a lack of motivation I open up my drafts folder and edit a post before scheduling it.  Just this little act can boost my motivation and I can then work on some other blog things.

But, I have learned that on days when my motivation is lacking sometimes it is best to step away from the blog and work on something else I enjoy.  There is no point in being harsh with yourself when you have zero motivation, it is your brain’s way of saying that you need a bit of time out.

  • Bloggers Block

When I first started this blog I went through a bit of Bloggers Block, its a bit like writers block (but for bloggers) where you have all the will in the world to write, you want to write and have a need to write but there are no words appearing on the screen no matter how hard you stare at it and will them to appear.  Bloggers block is one of the biggest fears of mine and one that I hope not to experience again any time soon.

I have developed a system in order to avoid the dreaded blogger’s block and that is to have a journal where I write down any ideas for posts that I may have.  Any idea, no matter how big or small or crazy gets written down.  I go through the book when I am working on my posting schedule for the month and schedule the ideas in for the following month.

  • Idea Generating

Coming up with ideas for the blog can be a bit hit or miss at times, and even though I add any ideas I have to a blog journal I am always conscious that these ideas may run out in the future.  I like to sit down every few months and go through some exercises that can help with generating fresh content ideas.

The first exercise is to look at the categories I write posts in, for example, Fashion And Beauty.  I get a piece of blank paper and write the heading in the centre then try to think of as many topics related to that category as possible, so for Fashion and Beauty, there may be things like the outfit, season, new shoes, shower gel, cleanser etc, a bit like a spider diagram.  From this I can then come up with ideas for blog posts.

The second exercise I have is to perform a hashtag search to see what kind of things are trending which are relative to my niche.  Sometimes words or phrases will come up that I had never thought of or expected which can then generate ideas for blog posts.

  • Accountability

As a blogger I often feel that I am only accountable to myself, and being accountable to myself is something that I don’t do well with as I am one of those people who will put off today the things I can do tomorrow.

In order to bring accountability to my blog and get things done in a timely manner, I have a blog posting schedule which I have loosely planned out until the end of 2020.  I created a calendar in Excel which I have written in re-occurring posts such as my Saturday Shout Out, Top 10 Thursday and Weekly Roundup, all the posts that are assigned to specific days.  I have also written out onto certain days the category of the blog post I want to be written for that day, there is nothing very specific on it.  However, I then start assigning specific blog posts and titles the month prior, so this month (September) I have already planned out the majority of my posts to their specifics for October.  Working to a schedule means that I always know what is coming up, what I need to write and when I need it written for.

The other way I have bought accountability to my blog is by sharing a post each month letting all of my readers know what is coming up on the blog in that coming month.  This works really well for me as I know, with my reader’s expectations, I stay accountable to them as well as myself.

  • Lonliness

Blogging is a fairly solitary activity and it can be easy to feel a bit lonely at times.  With other activities, such as a job, you are surrounded by people all in the same boat and it is easy to chat, share problems and generally talk about the job, but blogging can be one of those things that friends and family may not fully understand.  I have found that the best way to overcome these feelings of loneliness is to find other bloggers that you enjoy reading, start commenting on their blogs and build up a network of like-minded people.

I have been incredibly lucky to meet some really supportive, like-minded bloggers since starting this blog, and I am pleased to be able to call them friends.  But, I have only been able to build up this group of friends through following, reading, commenting and replying to comments.  I have found that if you reach out to another blogger, or if they reach out to you then it is worthwhile investing time in conversations, you won’t often feel lonely at all.

What are your biggest blogging obstacles and how have you overcome them?  Let me know in the comments, your responses may be able to help another blogger who is struggling.

 

500 Blog Followers

I hit another milestone on the blog last week!  I had a notification come through on my phone alerting me that I had hit 500 followers.

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I honestly can not thank you all enough!  And, I know I say this each milestone I achieve, I am totally blown away by the fact that so many of you want to follow my blog!  You all are amazing!  You all help me to continue writing and posting here and I am truly greatful to have so many people that want to read all about me and the things I love doing!

I would like you all to share your blog links in the comments and share a little bit about why you started your blog, the best thing about blogging or something you have learned in your journey as a blogger!  I’m hoping, if there are enough comments, to compile them into a blog post to celebrate you all!

Saturday Shout Out

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Saturday Shout Out gives you all a chance to meet some new bloggers, find new blogs to read or get your blog noticed a bit more. It is my way of thanking the blogging community for being so supportive of me and my little blog and introducing new blogs that you may not have seen or read before.

What this means…

Every Saturday I will choose one blog, share a bit about it along with your blog link. I will also share your blog to my Instagram account and my Twitter account.

If you are interested in taking part then drop me an email to my.colourful.life@outlook.com with Saturday Shout Out as the subject line and I will send you a form to fill out!

David Nash – Exhibition

I have been a huge fan of David Nash for such a long time, so when I found out that there was to be an exhibition of his work in my city museum I couldn’t turn down the chance to go and see his work in real life.

My friend and I booked the day off from work, I drove us to a park and ride where we caught a bus into the city centre and we made our way to the museum.  The exhibition was free to enter and we had a lovely time looking at the sculptures that David Nash had created.

David Nash works with natural materials, mainly wood, and creates some really lovely pieces which are thoughtful, sympathetic to the materials he works with and are aesthetically pleasing.  Sometimes the wood is cut and left to dry out which creates work that is not controlled in any way other than by the elements, other times the wood is cut into shapes and made into shapes, other times the wood is burned to a blackened, charcoal which is wonderfully textured.

My favourite has to be the sphere, pyramid and cube that have been charcoaled, the drawings behind them are the 2d forms of the sculptures.  Time and again this piece has made an appearance in my school, college and university work.  There is something honest and familiar about the shapes, maybe because they are the shapes that have been taught to us at an early age, but seeing them in real life was amazing.

Once we had seen the exhibition we went to the museum cafe and had coffees and ice cream before walking around Cardiff and exploring the shopping arcades, even visiting my favourite shop Pen and Paper before heading home.

Have you been to any exhibitions recently?  Which artist’s work have you seen?  I’d love to hear where you have been in the comments!

Weekly Roundup 08/09/19 – 14/09/19

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  • Reading

This week I have been getting back into reading on my Kindle and have been continuing to read Into The Darkness by Sibel Hodge.  I’m now around halfway through and enjoying the book a lot.

  • Watching

I’ve been watching a LOT of YouTube videos about toilet cisterns and fixing them…I have a problem with the cistern filling too much and then leaking through the overflow pipe and onto my outside steps.  I am pretty freaked out by toilet cisterns and really, really don’t like them, well, the whole looking in them and all that, they are ok if the cistern lid is on so this has been a huge ordeal for me.  I have managed to remove the cistern lid and adjust the ballcock (even writing this is making me feel all weird…) but the water is still coming out of the toilet.  I think, after watching further videos, that I need to adjust the water pressure which should stop the water coming out of the little fill-up spout when the toilet isn’t being flushed though I can see no way of doing this.  It’s a bit annoying now.

  • Listening to

I have been listening to lots of different podcasts in work, I found one by Ian Paget who runs LogoGeek which is so interesting!  Another one I have been loving is The Deeply Graphic Designcast which I have found to have lots of really useful advice on.  I have found some blog podcasts too which I will be listening to this week coming!

  • Eating

Pizza.  Need I say more?  Pizza is one of those foodstuffs which I love and is a go-to food when I can’t be bothered to cook.  My friend came over in the week and treated me to a pizza in celebration of a milestone that I had hit.  Celebration pizza is even better than normal pizza in my opinion, and sharing it with someone makes it even better!

  • Drinking

This week I fancied a change from drinking squash, which I drink an absolute ton of, seriously, I go through around 2 bottles a week, it’s crazy!  I decided that I was getting a bit bored of squash and that I needed to up my Vitamin C intake before cold and flu season really hits us, so I have been enjoying the water with freshly squeezed lemon juice added to it.  Lemon water has made a nice change, it’s not sweet or to sour, is refreshing, healthy, hydrating and I have been able to get cold season ready!

  • Doing

I’ve been working on some logo designs this week both on my laptop and in a sketchbook.  I usually do all of my planning and playing around on the computer but decided that I would like to see a flow of ideas which I can always come back to and work on further whenever I choose.  It has made a difference to some of the outcomes of my designs and the whole process feels a lot more organic.  I’m pretty excited to see where the sketchbook will take me!

  • Feeling

I’ve been feeling really tired this week, so much so that I have either had a nap when I have gotten home from my day job or I have been going to bed around 9:00pm.  I’m wondering whether I need to have a few blood tests, I have an underactive thyroid which I control with medication, to see if the medication needs adjusting.  I’ve also been feeling a bit frustrated with myself, my shoulder is still bad and I am getting annoyed with the amount of stuff I can, or can’t do in the house.  I did manage to wash my hair though which felt soo good even though I could only use one hand!

How has your week been?  What have you been up to?  I’d love to hear in the comments!