Tuesday, 25 April 2017

How to make your rented property a home: A tour of my new flat!

This post has been such a long time coming, and it's one I'm so excited to share with you all! In February I received the most amazing news that I had been offered a full-time job working with BBC Wales. It meant finally being able to stop my seriously crazy intern life, which involved travelling across the country and working endless hours for free, living out of a stinky hostel for three months and spending out my own money in order to hopefully land an entry role in this crazy industry. It also meant that I would be moving back to Cardiff, where I studied at university, and it was time to find a little place of my own. 
I decided to hunt for a one bedroom flat on the outskirt of the city centre, and it was a surprisingly painless task. I booked in viewings for four different flats on the Friday before starting my new job the following week, put in an application for a gorgeous flat on the Saturday morning, and within three days it was confirmed and the homeware shop could begin. Honestly, it was so nice to be viewing flats as a "professional" (lol, that title makes me laugh) and not as a student. You were taken seriously, shown flats that really had the potential to become a home, and best of all, they didn't stink of damp and the occasional whiff of weed. 

I moved in mid-March and it's only this weekend that my sofa was finally delivered and I could add the finishing touches of my new home. I'm in love with it. It's honestly more than I could ever have dreamed of, and the fact that I was living alone in a hostel at the start of the year, and I now live in the cutest little apartment with a balcony overlooking sunny Canton makes it even more surreal. I hope you like it as much as I do!


BEDROOM

For me, a bedroom needs to be a little sanctuary. It's where I spend my time getting ready in the morning, it's where I relax and unwind, and, of course, it needs to have enough storage to hold approximately 84 thousand pairs of shoes. The flat I'm renting is furnished and it came fitted with a range of white IKEA homeware, including a wardrobe and two chest of drawers, with four drawers each. I had a small shoe rack to place at the bottom of the wardrobe to hold my heels, boots and trainers, and also a jewellery and scarf holder to hang onto the side of my wardrobe. My mam also bought me a white whicker basket to place at the top of the wardrobe to keep a few extra bits and bobs. 
It's ample storage if I'm honest, and it means everything is tidily put away so that the room looks clean and cosy. I also decided to do a little home DIY and purchased some pretty wrapping paper from Paperchase to cut into strips and tape to the inside of my wardrobe in order to hide the clothes hanging up in there. I love how easy it was to do this. Everything looks so much neater and more organised, and it cost about £3. 
The white furniture worked perfectly for me - us bloggers love a clean-cut white room, am I right? - and I decided to keep the decor very minimal with a pretty floral bedspread, my gorgeous mirror from The Range and a few little trinkets to make the place complete. All of these items I collected while moving from house to house as a student, so nothing new was purchased apart from a deliciously smelling Yankee Candle. I love the whole look and feel it looks so homely without being crowded with bits and bobs. The perfect place to snuggle up!

BATHROOM

I guess there's not really that much you can do to a bathroom, but I purchased this gorgeous floral cupboard for £25 from a street-side sale when I was out with my grandparents for the day two summers ago, and it fitted just perfectly beneath the sink to store my skincare and toiletries. The towels were purchased when I first went away to university in 2012, and I picked up the matching bath mat, toothbrush holder and soap dispenser from Dunelm (I believe).
The laundry basket is one my mam found up the attic from before we had our bathroom renovated, and it's the perfect addition. I love the pretty colours in my bathroom, and complete with turquoise smelly candles, it's bright, clean and pretty, just the way I like it. 


KITCHEN

I always remember absolutely hating the kitchen in my student houses. They were always messy, overcrowded, littered with left-over straws and paper cups after hosting pre-drinks, and there was always something grimy growing in the sink *heaves*. Having a kitchen all to myself was going to be a dream and I kind of went to town when it came to decorating it. My nan donated her old, seriously beautiful, baby blue DeLonghi toaster to the cause and I decided to fit all other utensils and appliances around that. She even bought me this beautiful matching kettle so the theme became baby blue and pink florals, and I found everything I could to match. 
The little pots, which now house tea, sugar and coffee, were purchased by my auntie from a seller on Facebook and this beautiful storage box was purchased from Dunelm, along with other decorative items. I purchased floral crockery and glasses from The Range, as well as matching table cloth which covered the pokey IKEA table and is easily wipeable to keep everything nice and tidy. I even managed to find matching chair cushions, a mop and bucket, an ironing board and even a pastel coloured bin. Now if that doesn't scream domestic goddess I don't know what does?
I absolutely love my little kitchen. It's just so nice to have my own space to cook and prepare meals considering I was living off microwave meals made out of a shared hostel kitchen for the best part of three months in the lead up to Christmas. I can't believe how everything has finally fallen into place. 

LIVING ROOM

Saving the best until last, for sure. The living area encompasses the kitchen in one larger room and it really is the most amazing place to chill and unwind after coming home from a hectic week of shooting.
It was the room that took the longest to put together, after the sofa that was originally purchased failed to be delivered (twice!!), and my mam had to hunt one down while I was away on shoots. But it was undoubtedly worth the wait.
Finally, this gorgeous sofa was delivered from a West Wales based furnishing firm last week and with the help of an IKEA rug, snuggly cushions, a beautiful TV stand, pretty flowers and a whole heap of candles and fairy lights, the room - and indeed the flat - is finito. And I'm in love with it.
There's something so lovely about having your own space and finally feeling content with where you live and where your life is going. Now it's time to focus on my career, but to also enjoy myself. To embrace living in Cardiff, and to try not to become a hermit as I'm so obsessed with my little flat!
What do you think?
Lots of love. xoxo



Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Why I'm taking my blog back to the basics.

Buying followers. Paying bots to boost engagement. "Outing" those who have apparently taken part in it. It's safe to say the blogosphere currently is in a bit of a meltdown, and in all honesty I am so over it. I'm done with the constant need to impress brands, to build your following, to grow your reach. I'm done with the pressure to constantly be online, to post as often as possible, to always have something to tweet or a snap to edit on Instagram. I'm seriously done with petty Twitter drama; what happened to girl power? That's why I'm going back to the blogging basics, and it feels pretty darn good. 
I've guess I've been distancing myself from the blogging world lately. I have been seriously busy these past few weeks, settling into a new job and moving home, but even when I've had time to get my blog on I've always found something else to occupy myself. It's odd, because I used to spend hours and hours a week perfecting blog posts, taking photographs, chatting on Twitter and scrolling through Instagram. But I suppose I kind of fell out of love with blogging. The competitive, crazy industry it's become is just not the same as the exciting, fun hobby and community it once was. 

But that doesn't mean my blog can no longer be fun, exciting and a way to communicate with likeminded ladies who, over the past four years, have become great friends. I started my blog as I wanted to express my creativity; I wanted to write and share my thoughts via my own little online bubble. Through that I developed a real love and passion for photography, and for social media. I've met wonderful people, embraced fantastic opportunities, and I definitely wouldn't be who I am today if it weren't for my teeny corner of the web. I need to remember why I started blogging, and need to pour all those creative juices back into posting again, forgetting the constant need (and indeed struggle) that comes with wanting to "make it" in the blogosphere. 

So here's to more online ramblings, to sharing snapshots of days out, to reviewing new beauty splurges and offering an insight into my personal style. No pressure, no fuss; just me, my laptop and all you lovely readers who've always supported me along the way. 

Lots of love. xoxo

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Celebrating 4 wonderful years of blogging.

In the midst of all the new job, new flat and work travel excitement, I completely missed my little blog's fourth birthday. FOUR YEARS. I've published content on my corner of the web (almost) weekly, sometimes daily, for the past four years and, despite the changes in the blogosphere over the last twelve months, blogging has become an absolute passion, a huge part of my life, and has taught me so so much. 

I always harper on about why I started my blog, seeing it as an opportunity to express my creativity and occupy myself as I was seriously homesick and lonely during the first twelve months of university. It truly has become so much more than that; at times blogging has teetered on the borderline of obsession. I'm always thinking of new things to write about, always on the hunt for new locations to pose for outfit photos, am forever snapping pictures of everything for my Instagram feed, and constantly scrolling through Twitter for the next chat to get involved in. 
Currently, with the beginning of a new chapter in my life, it's an escapism and a way for me to continue to write and be creative across social platforms. It's a way for me to chat to likeminded people who have become wonderful friends, to keep up to date with the latest trends, to indulge in the current blogger obsessions (yep, guilty!). And although the posts may be a little less frequent, the tweets and Insta-snaps a little refined, the love for what I created four years ago is still there and will continue to grow. 

Blogging has taught me that I am passionate, hardworking, and has reaffirmed my love for being creative, through words, design and pictures. It's taught me that I have a love for photography, and being afforded the opportunity to work with fantastic brands and to attend exclusive events has provided me with confidence in my ability and in myself as a person, as I work with and meet new people from far-flung places. It's brought me a wealth of fantastic friends, who are so supportive and encourage me in my everyday endeavours. And it's brought me lots of happiness. Through blogging I have achieved so much, especially as I continued to blog alongside my studies and struggles as I tried to land my dream post-graduate job, and for that I am so proud. 

I wrote a post a little while ago about the sustainability of the blogging industry, questioning my place within the blogosphere. With so many bloggers' career prospects booming, and the same faces popping up across different campaigns, it can be a little disheartening when you pour your heart into something and don't achieve quite the same level of success. But I started this blog as a way to enjoy writing and I feel the friends I've made, the memories I've created and the fun I've had along the way are the most amazing added bonuses. 

Here's to four years of blogging, and may there be many more!
Lots of love. xoxo

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

20 springtime blog post ideas.

It's safe to say spring has officially sprung! The sun is shining beautifully over Cardiff, the skies are blue, I'm sat on my balcony (in my pjs and dressing gown I should add) feeling the sun's warm rays on my skin, and it feels amazing. Winter this year felt exceptionally long, and now that we're nearly into April it's about time that golden ball in the sky made an appearance.
Spring is without a doubt my favourite time of year. When the clocks jump forward by an hour and you're left with delightfully bright evenings, when the trees start to blossom and the city parks are a rainbow of colour, everyone just seems to be in a wonderfully good mood. So why not celebrate that with a spring-themed blog post, or twenty? Here are some ideas...

1. A casual springtime outfit
2. Switching up your skincare routine for spring
3. A springtime makeup look
4. Easter cupcake recipe
5. The things you love about springtime
6. A beauty or fashion spring wishlist
7. Five springtime beauty must-haves
8. Springtime bucket list - things you want to do in spring 2017 
(and document them when you go out and do them!)
9. A home decor spring wishlist
10. A springtime photography post
11. A lifestyle post of a springtime walk in the countryside
12. How to switch up your home for springtime
13. Spring nail art tutorial
14. A DIY spring craft tutorial
15. How to take winter items of clothing and make them work in the spring
16. Head out for a springtime picnic 
17. "Summer body" workout routine, and how to up your fitness for the coming season
18. Your top tips for tackling spring cleaning (read mine here)
19. A springtime night out outfit post
20. Your favourite springtime clothing accessories

And on that note, having smashed the Guinness World Record for "how many times you can mention the word 'spring' in a blog post", it's time to get my arse in gear for a much needed night out with my work mates. Let me know if you use any of these ideas, as I'd love to give your posts a read and share some love!

Lots of love. xoxo
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