Tuesday, 17 May 2016

What I use Pinterest for

Pinterest has been the subject of a few Twitter chats of late and it made me realise just how many things people use it for. Pinterest is basically one big digital mood board with infinite images of almost anything. The best part is that they are all ready to be collected. I’ve been using it for years but maybe not the same way as others. Lots of bloggers use it solely as a tool for building their audience and personally I think it’s much bigger than that. In case you’re curious, I decided to share all of the ways I use Pinterest below. If you like what you see, you can follow me here. And of course, all of the images in this post are from Pinterest and do not belong to me.
Inspiration

Some images just make me feel inspired. I have a few boards on Pinterest that are created purely to make my mind start ticking. I have a colour board dedicated to Pink (On Wednesdays We Wear Pink). I also have a Glitter board and a Shoot Inspo board. As a blogger I want to feel comfortable in front of the camera and studying poses and backdrop ideas helps me. I've always been a very visual person and I would say that all of my Pinterest board reflect this. I've always preferred to learn through images and I naturally find art and photography a great source of inspiration.
Designing my new home

In case you haven’t heard me blabbing about it already. I’m buying a house! We already have a lot of furniture from our first two apartments but it’s a mishmash of gifts and Gumtree bargains. This time I really want to curate the house into our home. I’ve been picking colour schemes and I really like the idea of a grey living room with blush pink and rose gold details. For the bedroom we’ve been talking about a feature wall with forest images as I grew up in the woods and always feel at home surrounded by trees. I love being able to find visual ways to express my ideas to my boyfriend. It will probably look nothing like any of my pins but I do love the opportunity to plan my dream home.


Planning for the future

Okay hands up if you have a secret wedding board. Yes that's me too. Just in case you know, I might have to throw something together on short notice. I'm counting on my boyfriend's disinterest in my blog to not read this part and freak out so let's gloss over it... The point is that I'm a planner and Pinterest can be used as a visual planning tool. I'm also using it to plan Christmas this year which will be the first time I'm hosting my family. I think there are a lot of Mum's in America with DIY's that have contributed to my Holiday plans, so shout out to them!


Hair and style tips and inspiration

It’s taken me years to grow my hair and I’m obsessed with braids. I like to wear lots of different styles and Pinterest allows me to find lots very quickly. In the mornings before work I can scroll through my ‘Happy Hairstyles’ board and pick a style for the day. There is no end to the hair tutorials on this platform and I must say I have successfully mastered dutch and french braids. Waterfall Braids, I'm coming for you next!

My style has developed over the years and I do like to switch it up, try new combinations, and mix new elements into my wardrobe. My core style is stripes, cute dresses, monochrome or pastel colours. I’m also a big advocate for OTK books, Peter Pan collars and Check or Gingham prints. I follow a few fashion brands on Pinterest which can highlight to me new trends and even show me products I might want to buy…

Baking Recipes

I actually think Pinterest might have been created for bakers. There are endless recipes and endless inspiration. You want to make a sparkle unicorn cake? They have it. You want to make a Monster Donut flavoured milkshake? They have it. Just search it and they have it. Its baking inspo gone wild. I love using it to find party and occasion cake ideas especially. I usually eat fairly healthy so when i bake I like to back something really worth the cheat day. 

Healthy Living Ideas

The complete opposite of my Baking board are my boards for healthy tips. I have one board called ‘Health’ which is a mix of recipes and workouts I want to save. I’m trying to eat less meat and more plant based meals. I can be a picky eater so I save some healthy meals on this board to go back to at dinnertime. The other one is a Yoga mood board to help me make routines out of different poses. This also pushes me to gain flexibility and strength. Some of the images are incredible and a true testament to how yoga can improve your body. 
Wanderlust

I am an outdoorsy girl at heart and always will be. This is my most used board and feeds my passion for travel and adventure. I almost use this board as an ongoing checklist for all of the places I want to go and the adventures I want to go on. In addition to this, photography in this field is breath taking and I often use these images as my screensavers! The world is an incredible place and this is my mood board for wanting to be a part of it and see it all.

To keep images that reflect interests and happy thoughts

Coffee and cats are two of my favourite things. Why wouldn't I want to look at these? Cats are internet royalty anyway so there’s no shortage of them here. I like to make boards that reflect things I want to see every day and I like to save images that make me happy, thoughtful and hopeful for the future. That’s sounds a little deep for Pinterest talk but that’s essentially what mood boards are created for. I also keep boards that reflect my interests, I have one for blogging tips and one for aerialist arts. Both of them are for inspiration and to learn tips and tricks. 
So, that's what I use Pinterest for. How about you? What kind of boards do you make and why? Leave your links below I'm always looking for new people to follow on there!
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Saturday, 14 May 2016

Living a healthier life


I have been an unhealthy, caffeine addict for most of my life. I’ve always been fairly active but my weight skyrocketed during uni and I really abused my body with alcohol, food, and caffeine. I also  made things worse by depriving it from sleep and real food. When I moved back to my home town everything changed. I wanted to be the very best version of myself, so after the last year I have made small changes in my life to make me a healthier person. I have lost over a stone and a half since starting, but this is in no way a weight loss post, it has just happened as a by-product of treating myself better.

H2O

This is a really obvious one but drinking more water was the easiest thing I’ve done to improve my health. I try and keep water with me at work and at home and then keep a little bottle in my handbag. I think before I started I was drinking a litre or less a day which is so bad! Doing this has improved my skin and it just makes me feel good. It was only once I started running again that I realised how much my body was screaming out for more water. Also water will help ease almost any illness, it is literally that good for you. I'm very pro water in case you can't tell...

Going on the Run

I’ve always been a runner but pretty much stopped during my last year of Uni. Building my stamina back up has been a real challenge but running makes me feel so happy and free. It’s essentially what our bodies are built to do so it’s just a matter of getting used to it and pushing boundaries.  I’ve started going along to ParkRun every week which is a community based 5k run on a Saturday that occurs all over the world. You run the 5k and scan your barcode, then later in the day they will send you an email with your stats, your time, and compare you to your gender / age range / everyone. It is a really great, encouraging environment which is so motivating when you’re trying to beat your PB.

Becoming a bit of a Yogi

Getting bendy and breathing is one of the best things I have ever done. It makes me feel calmer, gives me a workout and improves my flexibility all simultaneously. There are so many yoga enthusiasts out there but I really can’t say enough how much I endorse it for all body types and fitness levels because you just go at your own pace. Flexibility is a big goal for me personally, one of my 101 in 1001 targets is to get into the splits. I've got a lot more bending to go but I've already come leaps and bounds.


Putting fun into fitness

I workout a lot but I think it’s important to add in exercise that is a little bit more fun and enjoyable. Not that I don’t love running or going to the gym, but switching things up makes a big difference and keeps me motivated. If you’ve seen my Instagram account (@NatalieGrr) you have probably seen a couple of videos of me spinning around on an Aerial Hoop. This is my fun fitness and makes me so ridiculously happy. It has done amazing things for my upper body strength and my confidence. When I pull off amazing ninja moves and drops whilst dangling from a steel hoop I feel so proud. I’m also a big advocate for climbing as a fun exercise, bouldering is my favourite as you don’t have to have any knowledge of ropes to go along and have a go at. Basically I like fun fitness where I get to climb on things and be upside down!


Learning to stress a little less

I am a big old stress head who will panic about everything that has never mattered to anyone ever. This is a particularly hard habit to break but I am finding ways to stress less and not get worked up all the time. I still really struggle with this but I keep a gratitude list, I have a favourite cosy jumper to escape to. I take mini breaks when it gets too much and I plan fun stress free weekends to look forward to. I'm not sure I will ever be a calm, zen type personality but worrying all the time is bad for my health and I'm determined to be better.   


Creating a skincare routine

I haven’t quite found my stride with this one yet but I’m working on it and seeing a difference. Stress, caffeine, lack of sleep and a lot of make-up has made my skin very sad and angry. I’ve been working on a new skincare routine to revive my face a little bit. I've been testing out new products from the Body Shop and lots of Lush face masks. I will report back once I've nailed it down. 

Cooking from scratch

I’m not the biggest fan of cooking and I’m even less of a fan of washing up. However, most of the crap that I put into my body was from processed foods. Cooking more from scratch will dramatically reduce your intake of sugar and various other chemical concoctions that are put into foods to make them last longer. I like to read lots of healthy eating blogs and try and use their recipes to make my meals from start to finish using all or nearly all natural ingredients. I’ve also incorporated a whole host of veggies I wasn’t eating before. I think this is what has helped me the most with both weight loss and building up my energy.


That’s what I’ve been doing to live a healthier life and it’s made me so much happier. I just want to keep pursuing the best and healthiest version of myself, apart from the days I want to be the version that stays in bed and eats too many Malteasers, it’s mostly the healthy version… 
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Monday, 9 May 2016

50 Simple acts of kindess


‘Throw kindness around like confetti’ – Unknown

I really believe that people are kind in their core, but we often get so lost in our own lives that we forget to credit those around us. My career has shown me that you never know what someone else may be going through and perception will show you nothing of someone’s true struggles. I've also learnt through my own experiences that it can take something very small to make someone's whole day. I think we could all be a little kinder both to those we love and to strangers. Here are 50 simple ways to start sharing the love today.
  1. Buy coffee for the person behind you in the queue
  2. Donate something to your local food bank
  3. Compliment a stranger
  4. Donate your old clothes
  5. Listen
  6. Tweet someone you admire and let them know
  7. Send your friend some snail mail
  8. Leave meaningful blog comments
  9. Ask someone how their day is
  10. Donate to a Kickstarter campaign
  11. Hug someone who needs it
  12. Start emails with well wishes
  13. Volunteer your time
  14. Make someone a cup of tea
  15. Carry someone’s bag
  16. Dish out smiles and high fives
  17. Invest time into people you care about
  18. Give cards for every achievement
  19. Write a note of encouragement
  20. Cook for someone
  21. Lend out your books
  22. Pick up a colleagues workload if appropriate
  23. Make something for someone
  24. Send old photos to your grandparents
  25. Pick up litter in your local area
  26. Use your skillset to offer help – I’m an event manager so I plan parties for friends and families where possible
  27. Take part in a charity project e.g. The Big Knit
  28. Donate Blood
  29. Become an Organ Donor
  30. Plant a tree
  31. Looking for a pet? Adopt rather than breed to re-home an orphaned or abandoned animal
  32. If you have long hair you can donate it after your next haircut
  33. Leave change in a vending machine or parking machine
  34. Say Thank You
  35. Share information. If you know of a job vacancy and someone looking, connect the dots
  36. Give a big tip
  37. Offer advice when you think someone really needs it
  38. Bake something for someone
  39. Raise awareness of a charity
  40. Make a motivational mixtape for your girl gang
  41. Order Pizza for your neighbour
  42. Hand out positive post it notes
  43. Clean someone’s car
  44. Share your umbrella
  45. Leave notes in library books for the next reader – this is particularly kind if it’s a university library, I found one of these at 4am whilst I was studying and it meant so much to me
  46. Lend out your pens
  47. Teach someone your skill for free
  48. Be a study buddy – another kind thing to do as a student
  49. Spread positivity around
  50. Spontaneously help those around you, opportunities for kindness pop up everywhere!

Are there any you would add to this list? What do you do to make someone’s day?
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Wednesday, 4 May 2016

My first MAC Lipstick


When it comes to make up I was a late bloomer, I didn’t really gain interest until I was around 19. These days you will fight eleven year old's for the latest Naked Palette and they are online getting those Kylie Jenner Lip Kits instead of you. For all you twenty somethings, I think you will agree our make up education was a little more of the trial and error or error and error style. Once i jumped on the beauty bandwagon I quickly discovered that lipsticks were my fast favourite. I love the way that a colour can change your whole face and I pretty much want them all. I think my make up collection is heavily dominated with lip products and eyeshadow palettes with a few base staples thrown in for good measure. For some reason I've never gotten round to purchasing something at MAC. I'm a little horrified with myself to be honest as MAC has always been hyped about for lipsticks and being in the blogosphere I actually know quite a few cult shades but had never gone to purchase. Believe it or not my boyfriend was the one who asked my why I didn't own any. That changed this weekend!


The counter was, as expected, very busy. Never the less I still swatched around twenty shades before making my selection. Apparently I take cosmetic choices oh so seriously. I had intended to pick a dark purple colour, but the only shade I really liked was one of the limited edition colours and I wanted to go for one of the original MAC shades. Thanks to my girl Taylor Swift red is my staple lip colour choice. It makes me feel all powerful woman and who run the world? Girls! I did swatch Ruby Woo which most of you will know as a cult favourite but I prefer darker toned reds. I narrowed it down to two and bravely let my boyfriend choose. I’m fairly sure he would have picked out anything to speed up the selection process but as a graphic designer I like to think he chooses good shades anyway.

The shade I bought is called Russian Red. It’s a popular shade but it’s so perfect for me, I don’t care if I’m a cliché. I tend to lean to more matte colours as I have quite a dewy complexion and don’t want my entire face to have shine and shimmer. It comes out slightly darker than it looks in the packaging but its so pretty I wish I could wear red everyday. 


In terms of packaging, it’s very simple as are all the MAC lipsticks. Unlike MAC a lot of other higher end brands have gorgeous product packaging. For example the gold YSL lipsticks are heart achingly beautiful before ever seeing the colour inside and are a bit of a collectors item. I am curious as to why the branding is so plain but my guess is that its designed to not detract from the lip colour inside.

More importantly it applies beautifully! I’m really glad I didn’t bother getting a lip liner as my Barry M red one works perfectly and was only £2.99. I actually think this is my perfect red, my soulmate of a lipstick. The only slight problem I have now is that I want to go and buy more. I might go buy that purple one. They have some new collections coming out. This could get expensive…


What MAC products would you recommend? Or do you have another favourite lipstick brand? 
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Sunday, 1 May 2016

A Beautiful Mess: Happy Mail Review



If you are an avid reader of blogs or a blogger, you will have heard of A Beautiful Mess. Emma and Elsie are a sister duo who turned their blogging hobby into a million dollar business. They are living the dream of bloggers everywhere and making money from the things that they love. The business has grown a lot since I first discovered the blog (back when Elsie wrote it solo) now you can buy e-courses, subscription boxes, photo Apps and they are now also launching their own clothing line.

I can’t comment on their other products but I decided to try out one of their boxes. They actually have two: Messy box and Happy Mail. Messy box is a scrapbooking box filled with stickers, prints, note cards and generally things for crafty people. I went instead for Happy Mail, a box for people who love snail mail. I personally really love getting post that isn’t bills and I like to share the love with my friends. I think sending cards is a really lovely way to acknowledge people you care about, especially when we live in such a digital age. I get more WhatsApp’s than Birthday or Christmas cards and I just think taking a little more time to handwrite a note in a card is much nicer.


A Happy Mail yearly subscription is around $18 a month including shipping which is around £13. Compared to other subscription box services, this is actually really cheap. The cost goes up depending on how long you want the service for and as usual the more months you buy the cheaper it is. I thought that I would be disappointed with the amount in the box for the cost but if you add up how much each of these products would have cost at Paperchase or somewhere like that, I think it’s very reasonable. I actually only paid the shipping costs for this box, if you sign up to their mailing list they do a lot of deals and I ended up only paying a few pounds for this box.


I like that included in the box was a big print, some stickers and some tape alongside all of the cards and postcards as it was something a little extra to be excited about. The lilac sparkle tape is such good quality and I’ve been using it in my travel scrapbook a lot this month. I also really enjoy that the box comes colour themed, it definitely makes taking blog photos a lot easier! The pinks and purples are the colours I am using to decorate my office so it’s perfect for me. However, if you weren’t a fan of these two colours, most of the box would be a bit of a disappointment so maybe wait for the sneak peeks to come out before ordering a box if you’re not sure. They post videos on their website going through what is in each of their subscription boxes. 


The cards themselves are really great quality, most of them made of a thick cardstock. I’m planning on framing a couple of these as prints in my office space as I just love them. I’m sure my friends can expect to see a few of these coming through their post boxes soon too. My favourite thing in this box is the Ice Cream card that sweetly says inside: ‘Things I’m craving: You, You, You, Ice Cream, You’.

Overall I am very impressed with Happy Mail as I really wasn’t expecting much. It’s always good to be able to support bloggers in business and Elise and Emma are a real inspiration as to how far blogging can take people. The only problem now is that I really want to try Messy Box as well. I get a bit carried away with subscription boxes, and post, and stationary, why am I always broke?

Have you ever tried a stationary subscription box? 
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