Sunday, 18 February 2018

Five Effective Blogging Goals


I don't know if you've noticed (I really hope you have) that I've upped my blogging game recently. I'm posting consistently, getting creative with my photography and I am a lot more active on social media. Why? I've gone semi part-time to follow my hopes and dreams involving my creative work and at the moment I have focused myself on my blog and social media with the occasional illustration being drawn up when the mood strikes, ready for when I focus on my Etsy store. What I mean by semi part-time is that it's between the hours someone PT and someone FT would work with enough money coming in to get me by whilst I have the time to go after what I really want in life. It was a huge decision I took and I couldn't have done it without my boyfriend being there every step of the way. He da best.

I have had to be VERY self motivating and am trying hard to put myself out there by e-mailing PR agencies, connecting with other bloggers and just generally being active on social media every day. I took quite a hit financially by going part-time which can at times be pretty daunting with direct debits and a couple of debts to pay but I am having to live life frugally for the time being in the hope that all my hard work will pay off. Sometimes I have to break things down and give myself goals to hit by a certain time or to develop a certain skill, otherwise everything gets pretty overwhelming. SO I thought I'd break it down and put it in a blog post for you all to see what I am working to achieve and maybe even inspire some of you!

No.1. Play with photography

We have fairly recently bought a new Canon DSLR camera and have not one but THREE lenses for it and a tripod. I really want to learn how to use this properly and create some amazing photos for the Ambambe business venture I am on. As you will know, photography is a big part of blogging and an illustration business because we are very visual creatures that like pretty things to look at with clean cut backgrounds. I am relatively happy with the current content I create but I'd like to do more and build on my photography skills. I think this one is a matter of playing around with the camera settings, checking out some blog posts/youtube vids and a bit of trial and error!

No.2. Be consistent

I have fallen off the blogging train a couple of times in the past. There are ugly gaps in my archive where I just lacked motivation and let life get in the way of me posting regularly. I am going to be a lot more strict on myself and I might even employ a posting schedule so I have a mini deadline to meet 2-3 times per week. I already have a few monthly themed posts lined up for each and every month like my Nine Positives in January post, so this is a good starting point.

No.3. Set social media goals every month

I started doing this in January and I cannot believe the results! I hate to not reach a goal I've set so this is VERY motivational. For instance, I had 1,345 Instagram followers at the beginning of January, so I set myself a target to reach 1,450 by Feb - I hit 1,595! This months target is 1,750 and I'm currently on 1,738 - hopefully I will smash this one too. There is no better feeling than achieving a goal. The trick is to make sure it pushes you but make the goal achievable. I invest a lot of time in this at the start of the month so I can take my foot of the pedal by the end, ready to go at it again the following month and it's working wonders for me.

No.4. Schedule tweets

Ah, the lovely, laborious task - scheduling tweets. I find this just as boring as the next blogger to try and think of grabbing content for my twitter but it has to be done because it gets your posts out there and increases those all important page views. My Twitter following is my largest at over 2.5k so it's imperative I keep my followers up to date when there's a new post on the blog or drive traffic to an old one. Again, I need to ensure I do this consistently.

No 5. Create Pinterest images for all new content

Apparently group boards on Pinterest are the way to go for driving traffic to your blog! I've always loved Pinterest and have started to create a few pin 'graphics' with Canva for my upcoming blog posts but it's just another task to add to blog admin isn't it? I've recently set up a new blog post board for the blogging girls I am connected with on other social media platforms so if you'd like to join, drop me a line as it's open to anyone, in fact the more the merrier! Once I get a bit more experience on this I will be sure to write up a post as I didn't have a clue until someone mentioned it to me on Twitter.

So there you have it, my current five effective blogging goals to keep referring back to which I am sure will help many of you in my boat too. I hope you've found this post helpful. Do you have any blogging goals at the moment? I would love to hear more so leave me a comment or get in touch with me on social media! 

Love Amber x
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Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Instagram #'s


Hello, I hope you are well and are having a fabulous week so far. I have really been enjoying creating new pages in my bullet journal that are blog/goal related; it helps to keep me focused and motivates me more than ever. This particular bujo page and blog post revolves around Instagram hashtags (if you hadn't already worked that out by the title) and it's something I have just got to grips with. Hashtags are such a powerful tool to use to get your images out there and beyond the reach of your current following. Personally, I search hashtags all the time and even follow hashtags to find new content for my feed and to connect with other like-minded people online. I have seen a HUGE increase in engagement and followers on my blog since I started posting consistently with relevant hashtags and engaging with others.

I recently shared the above photo on my Instagram feed and it attracted quite a bit of attention for me to write this post and share what my go to hashtags are every time I post. My first tip is to save a list of hashtags not only in your bujo/journal/diary like me, but also save them on your phone where they are easily accessible to copy and paste when you need them. -hint- -hint- feel free to copy and use the hashtags I have included in this post!

Now before I get started, I just want to make it clear that popular hashtags change all the time and you've got to keep yourself current by looking at what other people are including in their hashtags and just generally by engaging on Instagram - they will crop up! Also, be sure to check the hashtags you are using because some can be banned which will lead to you being shadow banned and you don't want that. I.e things like 'XXX' which I am sure you are smart enough to not use anyway.


Did you know you can use up to 30 hashtags on each post?! I choose to put mine in a comment as soon as I post to Instagram which tends to work well as it doesn't clutter up your all important caption (which is a whole other element to perfecting the art of Instagram) so below, I have included a max of 30 hashtags for each separate category (this will make it easy for you to copy and paste), sometimes you'll even be able to mix them up a bit if your post contains a bit of everything!

B E A U T Y 

#bbloggers #beautyblogger #beautyguru #makeuphoarder #fotd #wakeupandmakeup #beautycare #beautyaddict #makeupgeek #makeupforever #flatlaystyle #flatlaysquad #instabeauty #makeuplife #makeupaddict #beautyproduct #skincare

F O O D 

#eeeeeats #foodstyling #foodie #atmytable #foodblogger #feedfeed #foodphotography #seasonalfood #foodporn #chefmode #foodgasm #nom #eatingfortheinsta #hungry #hangry 

tea/coffee - #coffeeholic #coffeeoftheday #coffeeart #coffeelife #cupsinframe #butfirstcoffee #teabreak #cffeemovement #teaonly #ateacuplove #teaandseasons #acupoflove 

L I F E S T Y L E 

#flashesofdelight #thehappynow #livethelittlethings #pursuepretty #theeverydayproject #makeyousmilestyle #thatsdarling #photosproject #photosinbetween #soloverly #theartofslowliving #slowliving #theauthenticfeeling #creativityfound #capturequiet #liveauthentic #aseasonalyear #momentsofmine #ofsimplethings #theuncoolclub #simplethingsmadebeautiful #todaysgoodthing #shinyhappybloggers #thegirlgang 

C R E A T I V I T Y

#girlbossparty #creativityfound #savvybusinessowner #risingtidesociety #communityovercompetition #bandogirlgang #dontquityourdaydream #flashesofdelight #creativepreneur #illustrator #illustrationoftheday #illustrationartists #illustrationnow #artistsoninstagram #instaart 

D A I L Y 

mon - #mondaymotivation #mondayblues #motivationmonday

tue - #traveltuesday #tiptuesday

wed - #womancrushwednesday #wcw #humpday #wonderfulwednesday

thus -  #throwbackthursday #tbt

fri - #followfriday #ff #fridayfun #fridaynight

sat - #saturdayshenanigans #caturday

sun - #sundayfunday #selfiesunday

These hashtags are my current go-to's but I am constantly updating them and finding new ones and I would definitely recommend you do the same! It's a good starting point for you and I hope this post has been helpful so that you can keep referring back to it when you need it. Do you have any hashtags you like to use that are a little different or don't appear on my list? I would love to know!

Love Amber x
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Monday, 12 February 2018

My Bathroom Must Haves


I could spend all day in the bath given the opportunity and I love how refreshed I feel after I have a shower. Unfortunately, I am one of those people that has to wash my hair every day otherwise it'll look like I have just took my head out of a deep fat fryer. I don't particularly mind it because my hair isn't thick so it doesn't take too long to dry and style, plus, washing my hair in the morning is part of what wakes me up and starts my day fresh, clean and dandy. SO, I thought I would share what products I've been loving in my bathroom recently and what I just couldn't leave out of my routine.

| Herbal Essences - Argan Oil of Morocco Shampoo & Conditioner |

I thought to myself recently that I need to change up my shampoo and conditioner, because y'know, you should never used the same product for too long. I had heard good things about this Herbal Essences range that are slightly pricier than the usual hair products I'd buy at £4.50 each, but it is totally worth it. I am not kidding - this stuff smells incredible. I have always been a Herbal Essences fan as I love their fragrances and how my hair smells delicious all day long but this one's a new find and I am totally loving it. Not only does my hair smell good enough to eat, it's so soft, silky and shiny all day long. 

| Imperial Leather - Orchid & Ylang Ylang Bath Cream |

My boyfriend came home with this one day as he likes to go shopping on his lunch time to pick up some bargains and usually comes back with some kind of new/favourite product for me (I know, cute right?) and he's being buying it ever since! I love this stuff and it's so cheap so I don't feel guilty when I over indulge by putting a tonne of it in my bath for -all the bubbles- The scent is luxurious and relaxing, a definite must when I have a bath.

| Jo Malone - Red Roses Bath Oil |


I love this product though I tend to use it sparingly because of the price tag but also because you don't really need much as just a couple of drops is enough to get your whole bathroom smelling like a beautiful rose garden. Stu bought me this for Christmas so whenever I use it, I think of him as it's also a very romantic smelling scent. Perfect for weekends away with your other half or a night in practising self love.


| Lush Bath Bomb |

This is pretty generic because I love to switch up my Lush bath bombs to try new ones or go back to old favourites. I love going to a Lush shop and stocking up on them; one that makes it in to my Lush basket every time is The Comforter - so many bubbles and it smells absolutely amazing! The only problem is, they're pretty expensive if you use them all the time so I tend to save them for when I can spend agessss in the bath and have a full on Instagram liking/commenting session.

Do you have any favourites? 

Love Amber x

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Thursday, 8 February 2018

Five Hygge Ideas for Spring


Hey! Who's looking forward to spring as much as I am?! I don't know about you but I'm done with the cold, dark weather and need some sunshine back in my life. If you're an avid reader of my blog, then you will know how much I bang on about 'hygge' because I blumin' love it and how it can mean so many different things to different people. Many people associate hygge with winter, however I've found ways to experience it all year round. If you're not too sure what hygge is, then you can read my post on what it means to me here. Spring is my absolute favourite season as I love that it represents new life and there will be so much colour back in the world after a  very cold and dismal winter. The tulips and daffodils have started to appear in the shops which means the new season is fast approaching so I thought I would do a bit of a round up of my favourite hygge spring activities that you can experience too.


Renewal  

I associate spring with renewal so I like to get my hygge on by de-cluttering the house, wardrobe, car, office - you name it! There's something delightfully soothing about spring-cleaning isn't there?

I also like to take my time to rejuvenate during spring so a relaxing spa day is on the cards. I was lucky enough to be gifted a Champneys voucher over Christmas so I will definitely be seeking some tranquillity at a spa during spring. 


Herb Garden

I cannot wait to pot up a new herb garden. My next door neighbour has his in his kitchen window and I always admire it as I walk by. I love having herbs on hand in the garden, ready to add to what I am cooking up for dinner in the kitchen. I find that herbs last longer outside and adds to the hyggelig atmosphere when I'm sat eating my breakfast in the spring sun. 


Brunch

Nothing beats a coffee and a catch up with a friend. This is one of my favourite things to do during spring because the mornings are brighter and it's such a lovely way to start the day. The Danes know how to brunch right as when I visited Copenhagen last year I found that the brunch food on offer was to die for - pastries, porridge and granola galore!
  


Bike Ride

I haven't owned a bike since I was a kid, but there is nothing stopping me or you hiring one and taking a bike ride in the countryside or around a nature reserve. I am really looking forward to spending more time outdoors this year so a bike ride could be a lot of fun. 

Seasonal Fruit and Vegetables

Enjoy the new season's fruit and veg and play around with new ingredients! Spring welcomes asparagus, spinach, radishes, leeks, lemons, rhubarb and much more. I love baking up a rhubarb crumble during spring, will be sure to share the recipe with you all soon. 


What are your favourite hygge things to do in spring? Do you have any tasty recipes to share or where do you like to explore? 

Love Amber x


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Tuesday, 6 February 2018

Nine Positives in January


Hello, hello! I hope you are all having a wonderful February so far and are looking forward to longer sunshine hours just like me. It took so long to get us to Feb as January really is a long slog isn't it? Now that Feb is here, I feel like it's flying by crazy fast! One thing I need to do more of is focus on the positives. I've started to write them down each month in my BuJo but I thought you might like to hear about them too. I absolutely love reading these sorts of posts because you can really tell how uplifted the person feels after writing down a load of positives. So here's my round-up:

1. We started puppy classes and I taught Pepper how to give me her paw. She's only five months old and we were shaking hand and paw within twenty minutes - I was well impressed!

2. I signed up to a new gym and doctors. I have recently moved to a new area away from home so this was a very positive start to the year. I want to look after myself a bit better this year and get back in to swimming as it's something I've always loved. 

3. Date Night at The Unicorns Head in Langar. Stu and I have agreed that we will have at least one date night a month. We are aiming for on or around the 19th of each month as this was the date of our first date and I think that's pretty cute. 

4. Games Night with Friends. I blumin' love a games night in and it's so much fun. We have bought Hot Seat recently which is so much fun, especially when you really know the people you're playing with. We have also got the kids game 'Dobble' which is so addictive and really brings out my competitive side. 

5. Completed Peaky Blinders. Stu and I are OBSESSED with this programme. We tried to get tickets to an event in Birmingham but it was so popular that it sold out straight away so we've decided we are going to try and create our own Peaky Blinders event in the future! I cannot believe it's not back on until 2019.

6. Smashed my social media goals. Last month I gave myself targets to hit for January and I surpassed most of them by A LOT. I was so shocked. I've really been working hard on engagement so I guess it's paying off. The one I need to work on is Pinterest - if you have any tips on how to grow a Pinterest following, I am all ears! 

7. Booked our holiday to Gran Canaria. I am so looking forward to getting some sun this year. I've never been to the Canary Islands but I've heard Gran Canaria is the most romantic out of the lot. It is literally going to be a cocktail, poolside and beach holiday and I can't wait. 

8. Reduced outgoings by a lot! I can't quite believe I have been driving for over a year and did not expect my insurance to drop so much. Stu and I are planning on being a bit more cautious with money as I've gone part-time to pursue my creative work and we would like to buy a bigger house at some point in the future. 

9. Greek Night for Mum and G-dad's birthdays. This was so much fun and threw me right back to holidays in Greece with my family. They had live Greek music on and our waiter became live entertainment with his fab dancing.

What was positive in your January? Have you got anything lined up for February? 😊
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