I’m Getting Married, And It’s Frightening!

Getting MarriedI’m Getting Married, And It’s Frightening!

Wait, what? Yes I’m getting married. Don’t worry I’ve been pretty quiet about it, only occasionally referencing it. It’s pretty typical of me, and my fiancé is even more subtle. That said, Ben and I have been engaged for a few years now. However we had both agreed that we would wait to get married until the perfect moment. And after viewing an amazing venue a few months ago, it would appear that that moment is now. Well, Summer 2018 to be more precise. It’s incredibly exciting, but at the same time very frightening.

I’m Getting Married, And It’s Frightening!

Why is it frightening? Well because unless you didn’t already know, this is my first time getting married. I did stop and think of hiring a wedding planner, for all of five seconds. Then I remembered how much of a perfectionist I am, and how that would never work. So the task comes down to me (and Ben). However I’ve only been to one wedding in my adult life, and I wasn’t involved in any aspect of it. Unless you count eating, celebrating and partying. And if that was all there was to it, then I’d probably be a lot less nervous, and a lot more qualified. But let’s be honest, there is way more to getting married.

And luckily for me I was recently invited to the notonthehighstreet.com wedding press day. Everything was laid out so expertly, making things seem so simple…and appealing. Alongside some amazing friends who have offered to help me along the way, it showed me that wedding planning doesn’t have to be complicated and confusing. And I want to be involved in all of it along the way, even if it is a little frightening.

I’ll be documenting my wedding along the way, so keep an eye out!
You can find the products featured in this post on notonthehighstreet.com.

Getting Married Getting Married Getting Married Getting Married Getting Married Getting Married Getting Married

How To Make A Small Apartment Look Bigger | Interior

Small Apartment Look BiggerHow To Make A Small Apartment Look Bigger

I recently decided to do a big overhaul in our apartment. Over the years I’ve become pretty good at making the most of the space I have. And gradually with that has come the ability to make a space look bigger than it actually is. It’s something I have naturally picked up living in big cities with small apartments – oh hey Tokyo and London!

But one of my biggest challenges to date has been trying to add new pieces to our home. Well, without chucking out a bunch of stuff I’d really like to keep that is. The items in question? Trinkets we picked up on our travels, as well as gifts from friends. Small items that can so quickly make a small room look cluttered. So after taking on this challenge, I decided to share a few of my own personal tips on how to make a small apartment look bigger.

How To Make A Small Apartment Look Bigger

  1. Colour Scheme/Theme
    • White walls will help make a room look bigger
    • Sticking with a colour/theme will make the room look more put together (i.e not cluttered)
  2.  Storage
    • Make sure you have plenty
    • Built-in storage is heaven sent
    • Storage that doubles as decorative is even better
  3. Lighting
    • Natural lighting is primary – big windows, skylights etc
    • But if you don’t have it, try recessed lighting
  4. Buy a rug
    • Place it under your coffee table/chair to make the room look wider
    • The size of the rug should be based on how big your furniture is/size of your room
    • Light colours and basic patterns will work in most rooms
  5. Be Practical
    • Go minimal with chairs and tables
    • Choose furniture that has several purposes (e.g. hidden storage)

Items in this post:

Don’t forget to check out more of my interior posts.

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3 Reasons Why I’ve Stopped Reading Blogs

Stopped Reading Blogs3 Reasons Why I’ve Stopped Reading Blogs

Well, ok that title is slightly clickbaity. I do still read a few blogs. But whereas I used to have an RSS/Bloglovin full of them, I can now count the number of blogs I read on one hand. And lately I’ve been wondering why that is, and thinking about some of the little things that bug me about the ‘blogosphere’. So I decided to pop them down in a post, and give you ‘3 Reasons Why I’ve Stopped Reading Blogs’.

Bye bye originality

Time after time, I see the same features and campaigns popping up. The same layouts and designs. The same styles. It’s almost as if they’re blending into each other. Now that’s not to say people can’t follow trends, but it gets eerily creepy when a blog or social channel is a carbon copy of another. Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, but it makes for a boring blog.

Blogs are no longer genuine

I’m tired of seeing bloggers doing something purely because they think it will get them more hits, subscribers, likes etc. That’s to say there are some of the people out there who are no longer genuine in their efforts. I’m talking about the people who only hang out with ‘high-profile’ bloggers just to further their own career. Or those that only visit a place because it is Instagram-friendly. I’ve actually seen people say that they care more about how a restaurant dish looks than how it tastes, because if it doesn’t look good they can’t put it on social. It’s all just very sad.

Not disclosing paid for

This is one thing that will automatically put me off a blogger. Paid-for campaigns are not hard to spot, especially for someone like me who works in marketing. I’ve seen bloggers called out for it in the comments of their Instagram post, and then promptly delete said comment, before later adding #SP. No one is going to hate you for making money, it’s only when you’re shady about it that people are going to get mad.

Why I’ve Stopped Reading Blogs…

I’d like to stress that this post does not mean I think every blog is the same. Far from it, there are some amazing blogs out there that are doing their own thing, and working it. And I understand that some people make money from their blogs, and that’s awesome – power to you guys. But I believe that with a saturated market you often lose quality. I just hope that these blogs continue to do an outstanding job, and don’t get lost along the way.

5 Male Lifestyle Instagram Accounts You Should Be Following

Instagram has had it’s ups and downs over the last few months. So I figured now was as good a time as any to bring back my ‘Instagram 5′ series. I’ve featured travel, lifestyle, Japanese fashion etc. However this time round I’ve picked out 5 of my favourite male lifestyle Instagram accounts.

Male Lifestyle Instagram

Who? @mklyns
Where? Chester, UK
Why? I only started following Michael recently, but it was an auto follow as soon as I saw his first three images. You’ll find cafe recommendations, travel and architecture shots, alongside male fashion. I particularly like the way he plays with shadows in some of his photos.

Male Lifestyle Instagram

Who? @jordanbunker
Where? Leicester / London, UK
Why? With so many Instagrammers going for the ‘all white’ look, Jordan’s photos are a breath of fresh air. He prefers darker colours, and sometimes the absence of colour entirely. It makes for a very moody – in a good way – and artistic Instagram.

Male Lifestyle Instagram

Who? @tibods
Where? Antwerp, Belgium
Why? 
I started following Tibod’s after falling in love with his interior shots. Not only does he had an apartment to die for, but an Instagram that matches too! I love his colour palette, and how put together every photo appears.

Male Lifestyle Instagram

Who? @mat_buckets
Where? Lancashire, UK
Why? I’d be crazy not to include Mat in this list. He was the first male lifestyle Instagram account I started following, and I’ve never looked back! He’s a very relatable, not to mention personable, kinda guy. And his photos are always on point. I love the pop of colour his Instagram brings.

Male Lifestyle Instagram

Who? @shaunyness 
Where? UK
Why? Shaun is still pretty new to Instagram, but I saw potential as soon as I landed on his profile. He’s got all the staples down – the pose, the lifestyle, the eagerness… But what I really like is that he often features some of his favourite Instagram accounts and photos on his profile. It’s always great to see someone sharing the love.

Do you have a favourite Male Lifestyle Instagram account?
Let me know in the comments!

Source: Please see the individual Instagram accounts listed above.

The Blogger Card: Does It Exist, and Should We Use It?

blogger card

What is The Blogger Card? For the purpose of this post, I’m using the term to refer to bloggers who use their status as a means to get what they want. I’m not using it in a overtly negative or positive way. There are the extremes such as turning up at a restaurant and claiming “do you know who I am?” – something I’ve heard happen in several well known establishments in London. Then there are the slightly more subtle uses of it, such as contacting a PR about featuring a product you fancy trying out.

Let’s start this article by being truthful, and admitting that we have all used the ‘blogger card’ at some point. I’ll openly admit to using it when I’ve wanted to work with a company I love. And why shouldn’t we use it for our own gain? Why should it only be one sided? PRs and brands contact bloggers for advertising all the time, and a lot of the time they expect it for free.

Should We Use The Blogger Card?

If you ask most people they’ll say that holidays, dining out, and experiences are a form of luxury and relaxation for them. But as a blogger, we’re invited to do a lot of these things for free. Free meals, press events, gifts, sometimes even free holidays. Albeit in the hope that we will feature it on our blog or social media platforms. And it’s pretty awesome. I really appreciate everything that blogging has brought me, and I’ve worked hard for it. But I can say that it isn’t always the greatest. And I’m sometimes left wondering, do these opportunities take away our appreciation of things?

Let’s take the example of someone saving up for a new phone. Not only is it satisfying, but it builds character. But if that same person is handed one for free on a regular basis, eventually the significance fades. Now I’m not saying that bloggers don’t appreciate the things they’re given, in fact I think 90% of them do. However I do wonder if we get to a point where we care slightly less for the things that are presented to us. i.e. they lose significance.

Why am I rambling?

I happened to be in the same room as a ‘big blogger’ recently, who had won an award for their blog. They bitched away, complaining about the awards, how they probably wouldn’t turn up, and that they didn’t even care about the award. It’s an extreme example, but it really stuck with me. This was coming from a blogger I used to admire. But it just seemed that they were so – dare I say – privileged, that this award had lost all meaning to them.

I definitely think the Blogger Card exists, but I think the use and knock-on effects differ per person. However I do think that in general, the lifestyle can become overwhelming, and slightly toxic. After a while it all becomes about the numbers, how many events you attend, who you’re hanging out with, and whether or not you were sent the latest ‘it’ product. Which is not good for anyone’s mental health.

I’m on the fence about whether we should use our status or not. I think, like most things, we should use it in moderation. On one hand I see it as empowering, and useful in business. On the other, I wonder if it sucks away at our humanity a bit. Maybe that’s just the way the world works. But even if it is, it doesn’t mean we have to go along with it, right?

What do you think?
Does the Blogger Card exist, and if so should we use it?

I Want To Learn A New Skill, And I’m Scared

Learn A New SkillI Want To Learn A New Skill, And I’m Scared

You can’t teach an old dog new tricks is an idiom I’ve always disputed. It seems like the phrase is just meant to make us all feel bad and give up learning anything new once we hit adulthood. As a child you don’t tend to face the same fears or social anxieties that you do as an adult, and naturally this makes learning things a bit easier. But as an adult you also have a whole new set of skills, knowledge, and hopefully more common sense.

I could go into a rant about politics, society and ageism, but hey, let’s leave that for another day shall we? Because I want to make this post a bit more lighthearted, and to openly talk about being an adult who wants to learn something new…but is actually a little scared by it.

I Want To Learn A New Skill, And I’m Scared

You see recently I decided that I wanted to learn a new skill – painting. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a long time, but I convinced myself I’d be terrible at it. I told myself “you couldn’t do that as a child, so what makes you think you can do it as an adult?” And for a while I pushed it to the back of my head, whilst I battled with my inner self. Then one day whilst I was shopping, I passed by some art supplies.

All of a sudden I was excited. Excited for the possibilities of what I might create. What I might learn. And none of my worries seemed to matter anymore. I realised that if I didn’t take the chance, I’d never know. Sure, I might end up being a bit crap at it, but so what? I might actually end up being half good at it. But even more importantly I might end up enjoying it immensely. And whilst I may not be the next Frida Kahlo (Queen!), at least I’ve tried, and I’ve learnt something along the way.

Even if that something new is that I should not be left alone with art supplies and an overactive imagination.

It’s an Art

I guess what I’m trying to say is, don’t be held back by what people think you can and can’t do – or should do. Just because you’ve bought your first toaster and are now a fully fledged adult (totally legist measurement of adulthood by the way), doesn’t mean you can’t also learn how to ride a horse. Or whatever it is you want to do.

Ultimately this isn’t about learning to paint, or some other new skill. It’s about broadening my horizons, and continuing to learn, even as an adult. I don’t think we should stop learning. And I don’t think we should ever stop listening to what’s inside our hearts.

Read more of my lifestyle articles.

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A Recipe for The Perfect Pamper Session | Beauty

Pamper SessionA Recipe for The Perfect Pamper Session

Whether it’s by yourself or with friends, everyone needs a pamper session every now and again. But I’m not just talking about lighting some candles, putting on some music, and chilling out. Although those are all pretty great for relaxing and taking care of ‘moi’. However I’ve got some of my own tips, and I’ve decided to share some of my favourites with you here.

Get your Nails did

I can’t get enough of doing my nails. In fact I love it so much you’ll find it hard to catch me without a pristine manicure. So it’s only natural that it’s my number one go-to when pampering myself. But not everyone shares my love – point in fact: my best friend VA (chopstickpanorama).  So my tactic is to do her nails for her. And it’s actually pretty relaxing whether you’re the one painting nails, or having them painted.

Recommendation: Nails Inc Mindful Manicure* – each polish is infused with real gemstones, which is said to intensify one’s aura, channel energy, clarify thoughts, and heal. Whether you’re a believer or not, these shades are on point right now.

Snacks, and lots of ’em!

It just wouldn’t be right to not include snacks in this list. Although when I’m having a pamper session, I do like to go the extra mile. For me that means splurging a little on food I wouldn’t usually buy. Such as nice cheeses, cured meats, high quality chocolate, and some prosecco (of course). After all, you’re pampering your body on the outside, so why not inside as well?

Recommendation: Ocelot Chocolate – not only is this chocolate ridiculously stylish, it comes in some amazing flavours too. Where else would you find Bee Pollen & Mango, or Fig & Orange? Delicious!

Face masks are the one

I have been swearing by sheet masks for years, and I can’t sing their praises enough. They’re a fun, and effective way of treating your skin to a little extra care. Whether it’s extra hydration, brightening or anti-ageing – there’s a sheet mask for everything! I normally buy in bulk when I’m in Japan, or my sister and friends send me them from overseas. However a lot of UK brands have cottoned on to their fantastic abilities, and I’ve started dabbling in the options available here too.

Recommendation: Nails Inc Sheet Masks* – I chose these because I love that they have kept their sheet masks fun! A lot of the brands selling them in the UK have chosen to go with plain designs. But let’s be serious, we’d all much rather use skincare that is effective and cute. Also, who needs a Snapchat filter when you got these?

Feel The Good Vibes

Whether it’s watching your favourite movie/tv show, listening to music, or just having a chat. All of these can help keep the atmosphere chilled yet lively. Have a laugh, and if you’re with friends, chat until you’ve run out of things to say!

Recommendation: Netflix – there’s a variety of awesome shows on there, with some of my personal favourites being John Mulaney, What We Do in The Shadows, and Archer.

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