Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Instagram of the Month: _Kimberlyr

It's that time again folks! I love sharing my Instagram Spotlight with you - it's genuinely one of my favourite posts to write each month.  This month my spotlight is being shined on the loveliness that is _kimberlyr.

In case you didn't know, I've been trapped inside for the six weeks or so, battling with a deluge of essays and Kimberly's photos are pure escapism for me. She hails from Canada (Vancouver, BC, to be more precise) and her photos really highlight the beauty of her surroundings. Seriously, I would love it live there too!

If you too would like to be transported, Kimberly's Instagram is for you. Follow her here and watch the magic unfold below!


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Saturday, 27 December 2014

My First Film Roll

It was with great, great excitement that I collected my first set of prints from my film camera this month. I've talked about my camera more in this post, in case you are interested!

Never having used an analog camera before meant that shooting became a bizarre experience - I knew what shots I'd taken but had no idea how well they'd come out. I was pleased to see that the majority were in focus and straight - I had been expecting far less for my first attempt!

These photos are from mine and the girls' trip to Winchester for the Christmas market and mine and Josie's day in Oxford, so they are filled with lovely memories too!

Thursday, 25 December 2014

The Perfect Christmas

The magic of Christmas has changed as I grow older, but never lost its sparkle. As a child I looked forward to the chocolate coins and ripping the paper off carefully wrapped toys; as a teen, it was all about that MAC gift set hype; as an adult, it's about seeing family (especially precious after my Year Abroad) and of course chowing down on chocolate coins (some things never change).

Today's post is all about the things I love most about Christmas... I hope you enjoy!
  1. Waking up to the buzz of "It's today! It's actually today!"
  2. Mum refusing to let us into the living room, insisting Santa didn't make it
  3. Being let in and unwrapping our stocking presents (they are always incredible)
  4. Enjoying a chocolate-based breakfast
  5. Getting ready for Church, the one time in the year we go
  6. Feeling festive with familiar faces
  7. Singing to Chris Rea in the car
  8. Heading to our fave restaurant for Christmas dinner
  10. Feeling so full I am convinced I need never eat again
  11. Heading home for present opening
  12. Dem presents do
  13. Putting on my new pyjamas
  14. Watching a Christmas film with the fam
  15. Surprising myself by managing to nibble a dinner of yes, you guessed it, chocolate coins
Have a lovely day guys, and thank you for making this year so enjoyable. Whatever you are up to today, I hope you are safe and happy!


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Sunday, 21 December 2014

VIDEO: Vlogmas Week 3

The third instalment of Vlogmas is here! This week was a super chill one, with time spent at home, surrounded by cats. Basically living the dream. I hope you enjoy!


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Saturday, 20 December 2014

Photography Inspiration

I am literally obsessed with finding amazing photographers that inspire me online... Taking photos has become one of my favourite pastimes; I shared my photography "kit" with you earlier this month and figured it was a good idea to share some ways to get inspired for your photos too!


Not a site I frequented before this year, I have now become obsessed... For the totally uninitiated, Flickr is a place for posting purely photos, where you can follow those that interest you like many other social media sites. I adore Flickr over other photography-only websites as it has recently introduced a feature that tells you what digital camera and lens were used, plus a load of other stats too... Perfect for anyone who's curious about that kind of thing!
Accounts You Will Love: Amethyst**, devantelle, Hello I'm Wild!, Gabriela Tulian


Not just for gifs of Benedict Cumberbatch (though saying that, feel free to look at this one), Tumblr is also chocka with great accounts that are perfect for getting you inspired. Another cool option is to search for a specific lens or camera in the search bar, to get an idea of what results you can get from any equipment you feel like buying.
Accounts You Will Love: Ollivanderlious, Westerus, Jamstains, Peone, Flugunfaehig

Project 365

Not a site per se, but still worth looking into, is the Project365s... As you may have guessed, this is a challenge where you endeavour to take a photo every day for a year. This is something I would urge you to try too - I'm all of a few weeks into mine but so far I am loving it, if only as a great chance to grow and to push myself!
Accounts You Will Love: M. Klasan, Ines Perkovic - plus try this guide to get you started!


I'm sure I don't need to tell you that there are a buttload of crazy talented bloggers that take stunning photos... Head to my Blog Roll for a few that I've mentioned to you already, or stay put for some that are completely new to me!
Bloggers You Will Love: This Girl Loooves, Bless The Weather, Sincerely, Kinsey, A Girl Named Leney

And there you have it! I hope you enjoyed this post crew -  feel free to leave any photography folk you think deserve some recognition in the comments and I will be sure to check them out!


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Sunday, 14 December 2014

VIDEO: Vlogmas Week Two

It's that time again, and week two of Vlogmas is now done and dusted! This week involved a lot of cooking and a whole load of giggles... I hope you enjoy!


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Saturday, 13 December 2014

A Festive Playlist

It would be rude not to, wouldn't it? The plan is to play this repeatedly throughout the next few weeks, and I'm hoping you guys do too. Whatever you are up to this December, I hope you are safe, happy and ideally with people you love!


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Tuesday, 9 December 2014

My Photography "Kit"

I've got very into photography this year... Still not gonna set the world on fire with my photo taking skills but I clearly don't care that much as I'm doing it anyway. I use three cameras and my phone to take pictures, and the love I have for each is real... I know this post isn't for everyone, but I thought it would be great for those of you looking for some reviews of what's out there!


I bought my Canon 600D last year with a really great offer - I managed to swindle a free prime lens as well as the body itself and the standard kit lens... I would seriously keep an eye out to see if you can get something similar! This camera is my babe, I love it - so far I've had no complaints and think it's a great first DSLR, if you have the cash.

My Canon EOS M is a mirrorless DSLR that I bought as a lightweight option for the times when I really don't feel like taking my 600D with me. This is great but I will say that the fact it has a touch screen focus, coupled a lack of flip screen, means that it is a little bit of a pain for vlogging yourself. I do still like it, but there may be better options out there in all honesty!

Last of the actual camera cameras is my newest purchase, the Canon AE-1. I bought this through Gum Tree and got an incredible deal, so take your time buying this and really shop around. I've not had a chance to fill my film yet (don't worry, you guys will be the first to know when it's developed) but I suggest looking here and here for an idea of what kind of photos you can hopefully get with this!


For my Canon 600D I have the 18-55mm kit lens, which is an okay piece of kit and great for learning the ropes with. I tend to travel with this one as it's super versatile and there's not too much of a noticeable crop factor!

I take most of my photos and film with the 40mm f2.8 pancake lens , which is the lens I got for free with the camera. This is good value and I think pretty well made, with none of the tackiness that people have mentioned about the 50mm f1.8 lens. I am super curious as to how the two compare, not least because the 40mm is only really good for close up shots - landscapes tend to get a bit soft and blurry (and not in a good way).


I take loads of photos with my phone (a Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini for reference) and while it has its limitations (have you seen photos taken on an iPhone?? the envy) it does the job. I swear by VSCOCam for editing and getting the most out of this.

My tripod is the Hama Star 61, which is cheap but functional and has lasted well given its price! I know I will be replacing this at some point, but for the moment I am very happy with it.

Some other bits that are not very exciting but I own and rate are listed here for you - figured I'd save you the boredom of going in-depth!

Lowepro Nova 160 AW All Weather Shoulder Bag for Digital SLR
Lens Pen
Walimex 75 Watt Ring Light
Canon Remote Control RC-06

I hope you guys enjoyed this post, and if you have any recommendations for what you use in your kit then please comment down below because I would LURVE to hear about them!


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Sunday, 7 December 2014

VIDEO: Vlogmas Week One

It is Vlogmas guys! This week involved a lil bit of essays, some of the most budget but heartfelt Christmas decorations on the planet and a trip to a Christmas market... Enjoy!


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Tuesday, 2 December 2014

My Favourite Android Apps

At times, life as an Android user does sort of feels like you're using a typewriter when everyone else is clicking away on their computers... The amount of awesome apps out there that are Apple only is genuinely frustrating to me. I care far too much guys.

Today's post is a round-up for my fellow Android users - let us unite!

Instagram - free
Not a surprising one as my old blog design (do you like the new one by the way??) featured a ginormous Instagram bar, which was retired as I felt he was too distracting. I'm obsessed. Chances are, you are too. I've done two Insta Spotlights of my fave users (here and here) if you're after a little insight into my favourite users and SHAMELESS PLUG ALERT my account is here should you wish to follow (currently obsessed with taking photos of strangers' houses. Just fair warning.)

Blue Light Filter - free (I think!)
I really like this guy for the evenings - apparently the blue light emitted by screens is majorly disruptive for your body's melanin levels, aka the chemical that helps you fall asleep.* This app makes your screen yellowy, weird at first, but I am forever forgetting that I've switched it on as you definitely get used to it. Well worth a look if you spend all day err day with screens like I do!

VSCO Cam - free
This is the best photo editing app for Android. Period. I've heard a lot of people love Afterlight, but until they bring that to Android, I can't really compare the two! I adore this app; I edit some of my blog pictures with it, and it's packed with some great, subtle and beautiful filters that will make your pics pop. What's more, the VSCO Grids are one of my go-to places for photography inspiration - free from all the "like for like" hype on Instagram too, which is super cool! (My grid is here, but this one and this one are far more representative of the talent on VSCO!)

Sleep for Android - free, but full app is more
I've just been playing with the free trial version of this and finding it hysterical and fascinating. For 14 days you get to try all the app options, including sleep tracking, lullabies, snoring/sleep talking recording... It's mesmerising stuff, let me tell you. Never before have I been so concerned about my lack of REM sleep... It is all kindsa fun.

Viber - free
I thought everyone had heard of Viber, but a chat with a couple of pals over the last six months has shown that a heck of a lot of people have yet to experience its majesty. This was life-saving for my year abroad. Whereas WhatsApp has to be paid for and is only for texting, Viber is free and you can send messages AND RING PEOPLE. Incredible. I love this app. Too much.

App of the Day - free
For 24 hours, this app will let you download an app for free, changing its selection every day. There are lots of duff ones out there - I don't like having games on my phone, for example - but occasionally a winner comes along and it's all worth it. I have it for the bants to be honest!

These are my Android picks - are there any apps you think I need? Let me know down below!


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*not a scientist so don't take this as gospel

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Why You Should Try New Things

I’m warning you now, this is a late night ramble to myself. Hopefully this will prove more fruitful than my other late night hits of inspiration; a quick browse on my phone reveals the last one was “What would happen to the English language if the Nazis had won?” Okay Anna.

Anywho, to the “point” of this one.

I’m a creature of habit. I like sticking to what I know – in fact I’ve got more habits than your average nun.

Usually, being a bit habit-prone ain’t no bad thing. It’s part of our characters – I like to think my loopy running style, love of making messes and tendency to play the same songs over and over are qualities that my loved ones enjoy about me. Not all habits are bad habits, after all.

My problem for the last few years has been that I nearly always assume I will suck at a new venture before I’ve even tried it – and trust me, it makes looking at job applications a far more depressing experience than is strictly healthy. I’m either a pessimist (to some, the highest form of optimism) or a pragmatist, depending on your particular stance.

I am however realising that this immediate fear of trying new things is incredibly stupid, and I’d like to give you an example.

I do pole fitness – now getting back into it after 15 months off – and it’s something I really enjoy. Prior to starting, the only exercises I was interested in doing were grammar ones for my course, and “interested in” is a bit of a strong way to describe my feelings on that subject.

But I went to my first pole class, after about a year or so of thinking, man, I would love to do that. My gorgeous bud Jess took me along and to start off with, I was sh*te. Like so bad. Imagine the worst thing you’ve ever done and multiply that by about three thousand.

But I stuck with it.

Turns out I’m not too shabby at pole fitness – I’m not the strongest girl in our squad, nor am I the skinniest (though now I say that, your weight really doesn’t make much difference as to how good you are) but what I discovered a few months in is that I have a surprisingly bendy back.

A very happy discovery it was too.

If you’re not au fait with pole, having a bendy back is actually incredibly useful – I feel like a bit of a fraud if I’m honest with you, as many moves tend to look far more impressive and even painful than they are as a result.

The crux of what I’m trying to get at with this is that if I had never taken that step, trying a sport when I was so convinced I sucked at anything sport related, I would not only have never experienced the joy of pole fitness, but my bendy back would have gone completely ignored; that thought makes me very sad indeed.

I have also got really into photography this year. I don’t think my skills in that department are anything to write home about (I’m learning, folks, I am learning) but that doesn’t stop me from enjoying the sh*t out of snapping away, stumbling my way around Manual mode with all the skills of a drunken bear writing an opera.

Please don’t get any bears drunk now I’ve written that. Or make them write operas.

The fact is I’m enjoying learning, and finding teaching myself things far more enjoyable than having the education system try to teach things against my will.

What I’d like you to get from this ramble is that it ain’t too late, babe. That hobby you’re thinking of trying but just have yet to get round to? Go Google it this evening and let me know if you get started. That route you walk home? Mix it up a bit. Eating soup every night? (GUILTY) For God’s sake branch out a bit.

You might find a bendy back. Even if you don’t, you will love it... or else find that next step to the thing you do love.