April Blogging from A to Z Challenge

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The April Blogging from A to Z Challenge is now over and incase you missed the posts I had written for the challenge here is the full series.  If you click on the letter it will should take you directly to that post!

How did you all get on with the challenge?  Did you enjoy my posts?  Please let me know in the comments!!!

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A is for Apps
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B is for Beauty
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C is for Crafts
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D is for Decorating
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E is for Evening Skincare Routine
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F is for Fountain Pens
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G is for Gemstones
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H is for Hair
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I is for Interviews
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J is for Jewellery
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K is for KonMarie
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L is for Life
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M is for Morning Skincare Routine
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N is for Netflix
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O is for Outfit of the Day
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P is for Planning a Crafternoon
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Q is for Quiet
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R is for Roxy Takes Over
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S is for Social Media
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T is for Thankful
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U is for Urban Vinyl

 

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V is for Vacation

 

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W is for Work

 

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X is for Xper

 

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Y is for Yesterday

 

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Z is for Zodiac

 

Z is for Zodiac

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You can find information about the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge here or read the rest of my A to Z posts by following this link.

Today marks the last day of the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge and with that sees this post cover the last letter, Z, and the topic I have chosen is Zodiac.

I have always had an interest in the Zodiac, the traits of each Zodiac sign, whether they align with a person’s personality or not and the compatibility to other zodiac signs.

Images courtesy of Pinterest

I was born on Friday 16th October which means I was born under the Zodiac sign Libra, the star sign of balance and harmony.  According to research, the main traits of a Libra are (taken from this site)

Strengths:

  • Cooperative
  • Diplomatic
  • Gracious
  • Fair-minded
  • Social

Weaknesses:

  • Indecisive
  • Avoids confrontations
  • Will carry a grudge
  • Self-pity

Likes:

  • Harmony
  • Gentleness
  • Sharing with others
  • The outdoors

Dislikes:

  • Violence
  • Injustice
  • Loudmouths
  • Conformity

I have read about these traits and can honestly say that I agree with each and every one of them.  I am a great believer in being fair and giving people a chance, I hate making decisions and can procrastinate when it comes to big decisions that will impact, not just myself, but others too.  I hate confrontation and will do anything in my power to avoid any sort of conflict, the worst of this avoidance is that I can bottle things up, not talk about my feelings and that can have a negative effect on my health.

There are so many different things about the Zodiac that are interesting to me, and so much more that I could discuss about my sign, more in-depth things that could be considered but I want to keep this post short…

What is your Zodiac sign and what traits do you have that align with your Zodiac traits?

Y is for Yesterday

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You can find information about the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge here or read the rest of my A to Z posts by following this link.

This is the 25th post in the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge which means we are very near the end, just one more post after this one!

Today’s post is the letter Y and I’m going to share with you what I did yesterday!

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Yesterday I awoke at just gone 9am which is pretty early for me on a weekend.  The sun was shining and my room was really bright, it sounded pretty calm outside which was nice as the day before I had awoken to the sound of heavy rain and high winds.

I hadn’t planned on doing much, the weather for the weekend had been fairly inclement with forecasts of rain in between sunny spells so I didn’t really fancy venturing too far from home.

I decided that, after purchasing paint earlier in the week that the day would be perfect for me to start decorating my bedroom.

I got up and got dressed before having a cup of coffee and checking out the blogs I follow.

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I decided that I would try out my new laptop, a Geo Flex which is a laptop that can convert to a tablet instead of using my trusty Dell laptop.

After breakfast of toast and marmite I made a start on setting up for decorating.  I tidied up my clothes and put my washing away and then wiped down the skirting boards, hoovered the floor, moved the bed and dusted down the walls before making a start on the cutting in.

The colour I had chosen for my room was from B&Q and is called Shizuoka, I shizuoka you not!  It is a lovely deep purple, almost aubergine purple colour, the pictures on the website do not do the colour justice.

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By 2pm I had got the first coat of paint on the main wall.  While it was drying I thought that it would be a good time to have some lunch.  I had beans on toast, a coffee and caught up on some blog reading!

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After I had finished eating I went back upstairs and put the second coat on the wall then made a start on the second wall before washing my makeup brushes while the paint was drying.  I also put a wash load of clothes in the washing machine.

Once the both walls were painted I decided to paint the third wall before having a bath.

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By the time I’d had my bath it was nearly 8pm and I was hungry and feeling a bit tired.  I put my food into the oven to cook and did the washing up while waiting, I didn’t fancy anything much but made myself fish and chips.  I then sat with Roxy and watched some of Gossip Girl on Netflix before heading up to move my bed back into place, put the rest of the furniture tidy and get into bed for a well-deserved rest!

What did you get up to yesterday?

X is for Xper

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You can find information about the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge here or read the rest of my A to Z posts by following this link.

Todays Blogging from A to Z April Challenge is the letter X and that could prove to be quite a challenge for some people considering only 0.02% of the words in the English Language start with the letter X.

I spent a fair while thinking about what I could write about for the letter x and couldn’t really come up with anything aside from X Marks the Spot and was thinking of writing a piece about pirates or coming up with a blog game that meant my readers had to find a specific place in my blog in order to win something but that never came about, this was mainly due to me doing further research into words beginning with x.  I found some pretty neat sites that listed obscure words for x ( like this site and this one).  It was on the second site that I found the word XPER, and decided that it would be the word for todays challenge post.

Isnt Xper such a good word?  It’s a really nice word to say out loud!  Try it!!!!  But what does it mean?  Well, Xper means “to show how much of an expert you are at something”, and I tink that we all would like to think we are experts at something.  I am not sure if I would like to call myself an expert at anything as I believe that there is always so much more we can learn in any field we choose, and with the introduction of technology and the internet we can learn so much more in a small timeframe.  Technology also has the ability to create new ways of doing things or to change what we already know.  For example, I would say that I am very proficient at WordPress and have mastered much of the site and what it can do, but, with the move from the Classic Editor to Gutenberg, I will be having to learn new skills and ways of doing things.

I don’t think, even professors or doctors can really call themselves experts anymore, with new advances being made in medicine and in teaching, even the subjects that are taught are changing.  I guess we will never truly be “experts” again.

W is for Work

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You can find information about the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge here or read the rest of my A to Z posts by following this link.

We are nearing the end of the Blogging From A to Z April Challenge now, and it all seems to have passed really quickly!  Today’s letter is W and today’s topic is Work!

I have worked in many different roles since I was old enough to have a job.  I started out working part-time, mostly Saturdays with the odd weekday thrown in, as a photographic assistant in a shop that processed and printed photos for the public, taking in 35mm film and turning it into negatives and then checking the images before printing.  The place I worked at also had a studio upstairs that families would book for occasions and have their photos taken.  It was one of my favorite jobs.  You never knew what images you would find on the rolls of film that were bought in!

After that I worked in retail, stocking shelves, stock taking and serving customers in a budget store that sold pretty much anything that you could shove a price tag on.  I wasn’t really keen on that job, the shop was dirty and smelly and had so much stock piled haphazardly in the store-room that you took your life into your own hands even opening the door.  The hours were long and the lunch break was short and we would often be shouted at for things that we had or hadn’t done.  That was probably one of the worst jobs I ever had.

I have worked in many call centres, taking orders for catalogues, chasing payments, working for insurance brokers, gas, electric and phone suppliers and in customer service where we would phone customers we had supplied with goods to check that everything was ok and they were happy with the service they had received.  I worked on so many different campaigns and for different team managers and the whole experience was very mixed.

I have worked in several pubs, a few being family run affairs and another being a big chain.  I preferred working for the smaller, family run pubs, the atmosphere was always warm and welcoming and we cared about the people who came through the doors.  We would always have a chat with the people we were serving and really got to know them and it was a pleasure to call them friends.  The chain pubs were totally different, management only seemed to care about what went in the till, not so much on the experience for the customer.  Everything was rushed and it was always really stressful when on shift.

I worked in a bank, behind the scenes opening business bank accounts in the night.  that was a fun job as we had to cross reference business names in a directory and if the name had already been used then we had to run a program that came up with similar names (a bit like when you want to open a new email address to find the name had been taken), some of the names that came up were quite funny and the suggestions the program threw out were even funnier!  I wish I could remember them!

I worked in a supermarket as a sampler – the person who prepares new food and lets you have a sample in the hope that you will buy it!  We didn’t just work with new food stuffs, I worked demonstrating toys and beauty products too.  I really liked working to promote the beauty items, whether it was a new toothbrush, body spray or shower gel and always seemed to get really good sales results for that part of my job!

I had a job as a cleaner which I used to work first thing in the mornings ( 5:30 – 7am) in an office block.  There was something both eerie and calming about being in offices before anyone else was about.  I used to empty the office bins, hoover, clean the conference room, dust, wipe down desks and clean the kitchen as part of my job role and I really enjoyed it.

Right now, I work as an admin assistant as part of a payments team for a medical company.  The job itself doesn’t differ much day-to-day but the banter and the people who I work with (some are part-time) help to make the days go faster.  It’s not a job that I ever saw myself doing, and if you had asked a teenage me where I would be in 10 years, 15 years or longer, I doubt very much that I would have said that I would be working in an office processing payments, but I also think, back then I didn’t really know what I wanted to do!

What work have you done in your life?  I would love to hear about it in the comments!

 

V is for Vacation

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You can find information about the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge here or read the rest of my A to Z posts by following this link.

The season is fast-moving from Spring into Summer and conversations with friends, family and work colleagues is turning toward holidays and vacations so, with todays Blogging from A to Z April Challenge letter being V I decided to share some vacation destinations and memories of my own.

I have rarely left the UK, where I live to go on holiday, the times I did go abroad were a long time ago, the first trip I made was in the winter of 1998 when I visited Aachen in Germany with my Aunt who was a languages teacher.  Along with her class we travelled by coach and on the ferry from Dover to Germany for a 24 hour Christmas shopping trip.  I loved this fleeting trip, there was so much to see and do.  The markets that we visited had lots of hand-made, traditional gifts that we could purchase and I remember being given mulled wine or cider from many of the vendors which was really tasty.  I remember there being snow on the ground and of a visit to a church that had cushions on the floor for you to lie on so you could admire the artwork on the ceilings without getting dizzy.  I remember eating some lovely crepes and some kind of donut balls and giant pretzels that were bigger than your head!  And I remember the journey back, our ferry couldn’t dock for hours because of a storm and lots of my aunt’s students got sick.  I was lucky and managed to escape sea sickness.  To pass the time I took myself off on a walk around the ferry and visited a few of the on-board shops that they had.

The next trip abroad that I went on was one to Lourdes.  I went with my church group and worked as a volunteer helping with the sick people who were there, some of this work took place in a large hospital or hospice there and we had to get the visitors ready for going out, feed and clothe them and accompany them on the day out.  We went for a midnight candle lit vigil at The Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes which was as moving as it was beautiful.  I don’t really remember much else of this trip aside from a huge thunder-storm that we had on the last day we were there, we were loading up the coaches for our trip back and it was as if someone had ripped the sky apart, the noise was deafening.  The storm came complete with hail stones that were huge and after 5 minutes littered the ground and almost came up to our knees.

Other vacations I have been on have been in this country.  I owned a Volkswagen T25 pop top camper and went away in it yearly.  Mostly I toured the South and West of Wales, visiting beaches and little bays, ports and doing a lot of walking.  One of my favorite sites to stay on is Celtic Camping which is situated on the Pembrokeshire coastline in West Wales.  It is the perfect spot to stay at, the site is fairly quiet and has spectacular views.  You can pretty much park up wherever you fancy on site and there is an option to have a proper camp fire if you want, and for me, camping with a fire is just perfect to me.  This site is not too far a drive from St Davids which is home to the loveliest cathedral.  Porthgain is not too far away ether, I have both driven and walked from the campsite.  There is a pub worth checking out there called The Sloop that do some really tasty food and beer!

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I’ve not yet thought about vacations this year, I don’t have my camper anymore so think I will be having lots of little day trips instead but, hopefully, some o

f them will involve a day out at a beach and lots of icecream too!!

Many of the places I have stayed at have been close to beaches, for me a summer vacation is not the same without seeing, or setting foot on a beach!

What sort of vacations have you been on?

U is for Urban Vinyl

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You can find information about the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge here or read the rest of my A to Z posts by following this link.

Todays Blogging from A to Z April Challenge is the letter U and Urban Vinyl.

So, what is Urban Vinyl?  Well, it can be classed as art, designer toys, collectables and many other things.  I really like Urban Vinyl as many of the pieces are designed or decorated by artists, one of my favorite stores is Artoyz which do so many different figures, from The Simpsons through to Super Heroes.  There are ranges of figurines that are all the same shape and form that have been decorated by different people and I love how different each look (for example Dunny’s by KidRobot)

I have a few different pieces…

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These are all part of the Smorking Labbit range by KidRobot.  The slug is one of my favorite pieces, he’s called “Bob the Amazing Action Slug” and I have had him for so many years now I can barely remember when I bought him.

One of the nicest things about many of the Urban Vinyl figures that you can buy, is that many of them are limited edition but pocket friendly in price.  There are a different array of figures you can buy depending on what you want to spend.  the other thing I love is that you can add art pieces to your home that have personality and their own character style.

Other Urban Vinyl artists that I love are Lunartik and his Cup of Tea range, and Medicom, especially his BearBrick series.

Do you have any Urban Vinyl?

T is for Thankful

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You can find information about the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge here or read the rest of my A to Z posts by following this link.

Today’s post for the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge was going to be about television  but, as I don’t really watch tv, it seemed like a really silly topic for me to blog about, so, instead, today, this post is going to be abput being thankful.

I’ve been thinking a lot, recently, about how in this day and age, people are always wanting bigger and better, newer and more fancy things, more social media followers and, in general, just more, more, more.  No one seems to stop and be thankful for what they have any more and are always seeming to be on the look out for ways to improve on what they have.  You see it in cleverly engineered adverts, designed to make us think that we want the most up to date car or phone, or kitchen appliance, and adverts are not just created to suck in the adults, advertisers are targeting children from a young age.  i witnessed a mother with her child out shopping the other week and all that seemed to come from the child’s mouth was “I want, I want, I want” and when the mother tried to explain to her kid that he had similar at home the child said that it was an old version and wasn’t cool to play with anymore.

I have taken a stand against this and no longer buy magazines, I hardly watch tv, nor do I spend a lot of time on social media, rarely seeing an advert for anything.  On top of that I have started to write down things that I have been thankful for on a day-to-day basis.  Some of the things I am thankful for are small, almost, silly things and others are bigger.  Heres what I have for today.

I am thankful for my kettle and mug, without them I would be unable to kick-start my day in the best way I know how.

I am thankful for the sunny mornings and warm days which have enabled me to get out into the garden and work on setting up my flower bed/veg patch.

I am thankful for my dog, without her I wouldn’t smile half as much.

I am thankful for my car, it’s not new, but it is all mine and it gets me to and from work and other places safely.

I am thankful for my family and friends who are always there for me no matter what.

I am thankful for my home, it gives me shelter and a place to feel safe.

I am thankful for my phone and laptop which I use regularly to blog and watch Netflix on.

I have so much, day-to-day, to be thankful for, the list could be endless if I were to write down everything.  There is something really nice, and almost Mindful about writing down a list of things to be thankful for.  And, no matter how bad a day I could have had, I can turn those feelings around just by taking part in this simple exercise.

What are you thankful for?  Let me know in the comments!

S is for Social Media

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You can find information about the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge here or read the rest of my A to Z posts by following this link.

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Today’s post for the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge is about Social Media.

Back in the day, way back when social media sites were just starting to emerge, I had a MySpace account and really loved being able to connect with friends and family, make new friends and be able to write about my thoughts and feelings, share music and customise my site to the max.  Then Facebook seemed to arrive out of no where and my MySpace account was abandoned as all my friends seemed to prefer Facebook.  For years I loved my Facebook account and would post to it several times a day.  I loved to read what my friends were doing.  Facebook then introduced sharing of photos and it was nice to see my friends pictures as well as read what was going on in their lives.  Eventually Facebook introduced sharing of websites, news articles, memes and eventually, with so many selling groups becoming popular, they introduced Marketplace.  I stopped seeing what my friends were doing and my feed became a mishmash of music videos, re-posted memes and adverts and that’s when I decided to quit the platform.

I had, and still have my original Instagram account and have made one specifically for the blog (you can find that here), I also have a Twitter, a Pinterest account and I can be found on Bloglovin’.  I’m not particularly active on any of them.

I had plans to be active on all my social media platforms and in several of my Monthly Goals posts have set myself a goal of learning about the platforms that I have and start using them more effectively but in all honesty, I am put off by the whole numbers game and all the other silly games that are played there in order to get noticed.  There are people who follow you in the hope that you will follow back, regardless of whether the things they post are interesting to you, and then you get unfollowed the day later because you didn’t follow back.  There are people with hundreds and thousands of followers but when you look at the interaction on each post, there only seem to be a handful of likes or comments.  People seem to be obsessed with the number of followers that you have, the higher the amount the more interesting you become to brands and the more “influencer” you are.  But, from what I have looked at, and what I have seen, there seems to be a flaw there, the more followers you have should not mean anything.  Just because you have 4000 followers, does not mean that they will all see your posts and like the image and be swayed into buying the product, it just means that you have a higher potential reach.  I have looked at people who have smaller numbers of followers and they seem to get a higher percentage of likes and comments than those with more followers.

And, the whole numbers thing is just one element that I’m tired of.  The other thing I am getting bored with is the amount of images that are shared that are styled so much and look magazine perfect.  I’m not against this at all, I think a beautifully styled image is lovely, but I also want to see images that have just been shot in the moment and are not perfect.  We all have flaws, images have flaws and that makes us human.

I have been reading a lot about Instagram and have read several articles about how you should pick a theme for your feed, so that all the images tie in with each other, whether it is using the same background, or colour scheme, or the same filter, and while I agree with this to some extent, I am perfectly happy to post things that please me and fit in with me as a person, rather than me as a brand.

And, I think, really, that is what I struggle with, and maybe why I am not so active on social media, the whole idea that you have to be your own brand and develop your social media channels to fit that brand.  And that is also why I prefer my blog, and reading other people’s blogs, either here on WordPress or over on Blogger, most of the bloggers that I follow have an honesty about them, a sort of what you read is what you get, sort of style, and I hope that, along the way, when you read my blog posts, that you get a true understanding of who I am and what I am about.

What are your thoughts on social media?