I absolutely adore hand lettering and quotes, and was over the moon when Old English Company contacted myself to review their excellent range. See what I chose and my thoughts of the products…

Old English Simply Stacey

Old English Company got in touch with myself and asked if I would like to review their products, and this by far is one of my favourite reviews to have took part in.

You may have seen on my channel that we have been trying to make our house more like a home. We were lucky to have moved in to a blank canvas and can take our time to decorate, but in the meantime I have become obsessed by buying plants and succulents, plus wanting prints dotted around. I could never decide on what prints and constantly look on Instagram for inspiration.

I decided to order something I wouldn’t normally and go for mainly prints. There is some fabulous choices to choose from and I really struggled whittling this down to three. I decided on a quote for downstairs or in our bedroom which was ‘Amazing Things Will Happen’ I also chose a matching mug which you will certainly be seeing on my Instagram. The simplicity of the design drew me to the items I chose, the only trouble I had was whittling my choice down from the large range available.

I also decided to order a print each for both of the kids rooms. We are looking at decorating which was planned the end of March, but due to the lovely weather and us all getting every bug going we just haven’t had a chance. We have decided to do this when the weather gets nicer and we can leave windows open to eliminate fumes.

I chose for Rowan ‘Enjoy The Little Things’ mainly due to the kids growing so fast. Next year I am going to have to apply for primary school for Rowan and secondary school for Josie, it goes by so quick and you really do need to remember to live by this quote. You don’t need to be doing extravagant things all the time, especially if like us with finance being a problem, some of the most special memories are doing something little and basic and even staying in at home just spending quality time together.

Josie-Ann chose her own print, which she actually surprised me with the choice. I absolutely adore her choice and I was so glad I let her decide by herself. Josie has always had issues with confidence and since moving schools she is like a different child. Her confidence is booming and she is becoming a lovely young lady, well once you take the normal argument of hair brushing and time for bed out of the equation. I think we all could do with being a little bit more fierce in life.

I ordered frames as soon as I had placed my order. I am impatient and knew I would have to get these up straight away mainly due to the sheer excitement of these arriving. They came extremely well packaged and excellent quality logo self seal bags. The mug was well packaged and all arrived in great condition.

The items are high quality and I totally think these are worth the money. I will be certainly be ordering some more prints for the home. I also have my eye on some tops from their sister site Letter Clothing Company. I also like that all products are made in the UK. I had a bad experience with seller for an item I purchased at Christmas, but how efficient and helpful the people behind the Old English Company have been have restored my faith using different companies other than the big brands.

There is a choice of 3 sizes: 8×10″, A4 and A5. There are also some options of different styles of the same print, plus some you can add personalisation. I am going to look at getting Rowan the alphabet print which you can highlight a pacific letter and underneath it states ‘R is for Rowan’

I am currently on a self care journey and finding quotes more meaningful, so having statements in the rooms that stand out really makes such a difference. I decided on putting my quite in the kitchen where I have found a free little corner that is perfect. You can see it from the sofa and when in the kitchen and this really stands out when you walk past. I nearly went for in our bedroom as I have a little workspace there too, but have decided I will order a different quote for the bedroom, possibly sleep related. Then possibly a A5 print for my work area. I also have started putting quotes around my desk at work and again these would be perfect.

Josie wanted hers up before we decorate so we chose her favourite spot in her room, which is above her bed. She loves her favourite toys all around her bed and her happy dreams bunting we made. Rowans I done again on a small piece of wall, normally I wouldn’t have added much on small walls but since looking for inspiration this has encouraged me to make use of these small spaces, which makes it look stunning as they really do stand out.

One of the items that surprised me and that is huge in the blogging community was Old English Co also do cute enamel pins and patches. Most bloggers I know are pin collectors and will love the enamel pin display which is also for sale on the website.

On the website for Old English Company you can get so much more beautiful hand lettered items, not just prints. There is a large option of goods to order, such as planners, pillows, homewares, cards, stationery and many more. I really recommend you check them out, also go and have a look at their Instagram page.  These items also make excellent gifts which I have compiled a list of ideas for presents I need.

I loved the prints I received, and they really do look stunning in their chosen places. With the simplicity of the designs I chose, they look great in any design room.

Have you ordered prints before, or has this inspired you to purchase your own ones? I was amazed how much in a frame a print can change the look of an area.

*Items was sent from Old English Co. in exchange for my opinion. All words are honest and my own.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I was literally ecstatic at keeping up with blogging and vlogging from the start of this year, then I have disappeared for the most month. This is what has happened…

So well Simply Stacey anxiety

So you may have remembered the point of my rebrand the beginning of the year, I was ashamed of my blog beforehand and rarely blogged. Then really got into my blogging since rebranding to this blog, not only successfully blogging twice a week I also started a YouTube Channel and uploading twice a week. Then came March, which simply was a blur, I don’t know where March went.

It started I had upped my working days to having just one day off, this meant my blog routine would have to change as I didn’t want to spend each week on my day off doing blog/vlog prep as this is my time with just Rowan. Before I even had the chance to start planning a new routine I started struggling in the evenings with exhaustion and headaches starting. I talked myself that this was due to time of month, but this carried on. My anxiety started kicking in again with was making me panic and procrastinate. Work wise I am extremely busy at the moment, it will be worth it in the end from having the chance to implement a system designed by myself and will be rewarding to know I can do this when this is implemented, but currently it is also extremely hectic.

Then also having germs lingering most weekends with one of us, Rowan with chickenpox it felt like we were housebound. I got to the point of trying to juggle being a working mummy, the house and being a mummy and felt completely exhausted. I felt so deflated that I had missed a few of my routine planned days, which I was really hard on myself at the time.

Then in March I had to go away for 2 nights on a course and thats when it all came to a head. Beforehand I could feel my anxiety kicking in, worrying over the smallest things about going away. But at the time these seemed enormous to me. I was already out of my comfort zone as I dread the courses I need to attend. I panic when put on the spot, and each course I feel I am always picked on to answer most questions. I must have one of those faces or radiate my fear and self doubt. Actually the course was good and the people had been the nicest people on any course I have attended so far. But that night I started one of my headaches. The only way I can describe this is pain from thinking. As soon as I concentrate I can’t think, I can’t organise or plan and being the person I am and normally in control, this was making me worse. The headache that night turned into the most awful migrane, to the point I was being sick and had to phone reception for tablets as I forgot mine.

I managed to get through the next days course with keeping tablets topped up, but again the pain started. This is how I could not even contemplate turning the laptop on and blogging. I couldn’t even face looking at my phone at night from the pain of concentrating. With all of this going on I realised how much I had put on myself and was physically exhausted.

I decided to go to the doctors about the headaches as also was having minimal sleep and up most nights, in the meantime before my appointment my ears started playing up and both went blocked. I always have had trouble with my lugholes and when this happens I get them syringed and all is good with the world again. This time one wouldn’t clear, this has never happened. The nurse said to leave it a week and see and keep adding oil. I tried the opticians as my eye test was due and all was ok, my eyes have got slightly worse but nothing out of the ordinary.

By the time my doctors appointment came I was in awful pain with my head, sickness and kept going extremely dizzy.  After 3 appointments in a week, it turns out I had labyrinthitis which also started vertigo. So I was put on anti sickness tablets, which helped slightly and was told about exercises to relieve the symptoms. I was given tablets for the headaches as this was shown as separate from being on the anti sickness tablets. The anxiety made it all worse from being unable to be in control and think. The tablets I have at night as they knock me out and they have really helped. When I forgot one at night, i couldn’t sleep and the pain started. I am also awaiting a head scan to check everything is ok.

So that is where I have been, obviously I started taking new blog photos again and planned this post and Rowan is coming out in a cold and I have a sore throat starting, so you can see what I am putting up with. Always something going on. I am able to think now though which is helping and still having off days but hoping they can unblock this ear next week as tinnitus has started now, then I should be back to myself.

simply stacey

 One thing this past month has brought me is a mini self care journey. I have made the time to do hobbies I enjoy and take some much needed time out. I have also got back into watching vlogs and channels. One in particular which is tanks to my bestie Estelle who brought me ‘Vlog Like A Boss’ for my birthday, which is an awesome book and I highly recommend it if you are thinking of starting a channel.

Anyhow I started watching Amy (the author) on YouTube and I have literally binge watched most of her channel. I love the help tips of time management, self care and recommendations which has led me on to listen to the audiobook 5 Second Rule by Mel Robbins which has really helped with anxiety. I have really found Amy’s channel helpful and started me on a self care journey which has made a massive difference on my outlook. I have really eased up on myself of trying to be everywhere at once and be more organised and not so hard on myself.

I now have a goal list of inspirational people and speakers I wish to read and watch, as these videos for me have really motivated me. I feel already more in control again and glad the anxiety didn’t have a massive effect and I was able to slow it down in it’s tracks. I am good at knowing when it is kicking in and can normally sort this, very rarely it has left me how it had this time. I am now able to concentrate more now which again has made a difference as even thinking about what to do for dinner, what time I needed to be somewhere was hurting my head.

So hopefully I am back, I am going to try and freestyle days again but aim to do a minimum of a blog and a vlog a week, then if more then thats a bonus. If that doesn’t work then I will see when I come to that bridge. I want to say thankyou to everyone that has messaged me to see if I am ok, it has meant alot. I think mainly my batteries ran out and I got poorly, but I am currently recharging and am on my way back up.

Stacey

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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One of my goals for this year is to make more me time, this is one thing I very rarely do. I really need to make the time for self care…

Me time, take time for yourself

Taking time for myself is always something I want to do, but either after a busy day I am too tired or I don’t have time. I always put others first, epescially the kids needs and often neglect taking some much needed time for myself.

I have lots of hobbies such as photography, drawing, colouring, handlettering to name a few but I always put these on the back burner and often forget to take time out. Having me time doesn’t just have to be doing hobbies, there is many ways such as having a pamper, read a book, just sit and listen to an album. What ever way you find comfort in relaxing and having a moment to yourself, most of us don’t take the time to do this.

I recently took half an hour to do some colouring, which I haven’t done for a long time and it made me so relaxed. I love anything with art and I really need to make more time for this. I am debating trying to take time a couple of evenings a week, take the time away from blogging as my routine means the posts are always completed. For me having routines works much easier. So to make the time of having an evening free could be slotted in.

Colouring, Johanna bashford, me time

There are many ways to take some me time and to relax. As I mentioned before, you may have your hobbies. You may like art like me, or you may be a bookworm or budding Lego enthusiast. If you are like me and need to take some me time then try a challenge for a month of once a week taking some time out.

Some ways of having me time could be:

  • Bubble Bath
  • Painting
  • Reading
  • Gaming
  • Writing
  • Pampering
  • Baking
  • Drawing
  • Shopping
  • Photography
  • Reading
  • Binge Watching
  • Sleeping

You don’t have to just take time to complete hobbies if taking me time. You may not even have a hobby. There are other ways to have a relaxing moment, such as going for a coffee. I went through a stage of making sure I went to costa an evening a week. I would do blog work while there which I find relaxing, but I wanted to try and get out of the house and be me. Normally I am either at home with the kids or at work, so having a moment away with no little children or husband and having a peaceful vanilla latte made such an impact. I haven’t done this for a while and must start this again.

Also last year I braved the fear of going to the cinema on my own. Antony is not keen on films and we don’t ask people to babysit often so I decided to go on my own one night and after the initial anxiety panic kicked in I was ok. Taking this time to myself pushed me out of my comfort zone but at the same time I was glad I done this. I find being a mummy I tend to feel naked with no child with me and use them as a barrier in a way to make myself more comfortable, so even going for a costa on my own is a big thing for me.

There are numerous ways to make some me time and looking after your self care. The biggest challenge is taking the time, and not pushing this aside as everyone needs a few minutes to themselves. Even if this is 10 minutes in your lunch break or booking a day off to yourself, make sure you take the time for self care and put yourself first. Not doing this is going to make you feel pushed and you can burn yourself out. Taking the chance to ensure you have me time helps you be productive and gives you a breather.

What are your tips for ensuring you look after your self care? Have you any favourite me time activites?

Stacey

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Linking up with Dear Beautiful, welcome to this months Siblings Project

Siblings Project, dear beautiful, SimplyStacey

 

Considering how long January dragged on, February has zoomed by so quickly. We are already at the end of half term and back to school next week. This month we have not done anything exciting due to weather and having a poorly Rowan. I wanted to do this months Siblings Project out and about but this was not possible due to Rowan having chicken pox, so luckily I had some nice photos from a mini photo shoot a couple of weeks ago.

Josie-Ann

Josie has been on half term and since we were stuck in she has had the chance to play at home, which I think she has enjoyed. We are so busy and after school clubs means most of the time Josie doesn’t get to chill and play much so this has been a nice change. My proud moment this month was the hard work she put into creating a Harry Potter PowerPoint Presentation. I had to work from home one of the days during half term so whilst working she sat next to me watching Harry Potter and doing a presentation on my laptop.

 

Rowan

Rowan has not had a good month, he got struck down with chickenpox. Josie was never that bad with them, but poor Rowan was covered and poorly with them. He wasn’t sleeping, which we are not used too as we have always been lucky with both kids sleeping patterns. The spots started Sunday/Monday and it wasn’t until the Saturday that he was feeling like playing and organising his toys again. My proud moment with Rowan is definitely his speech, he is saying full sentences now.

We have signs of colds, but after the chickenpox we can certainly deal with those germs. Hopefully Spring weather will start kicking in soon. I am fed up of the cold, wet weather. At the end of the month we are planning on deciding how to decorate the kids rooms and making a start on updating the garden. We also want to try and have a nice family day out somewhere some point, as we haven’t had the chance since before Christmas.

Yes we have been stuck in the bulk of half term, but you don’t have to go out each time. The kids love time at home and they had great fun for hours getting the play dough out (mummy didn’t as soon as colours started getting mixed) and playing games. Sometimes these are indeed the best days, spending quality time together.

How was your half term?

 

 

The Siblings Project - Dear Beautiful

 

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Hands down my favourite Social Media App has to be Instagram, but why am I having a love/hate relationship with it?

Instagram algorithm love hate marmite

Most bloggers you speak to about Instagram, will all agree the main problem is the change of algorithm. This has caused many pictures in your grid to go missed on others feed, and I certainly have noticed the struggle to get views.

As a blogger/vlogger any way of reaching out to potential viewers is a must, and increasing your numbers to branch out to new followers is all part of reaching out and promoting your content. With most of my social channels, I have a steady following and find these slowly increase over time. Instagram however changes with the weather regarding followers.

Arguably there are ways of increasing your following, such as paid promotions. These have caused more views, but not a large amount follower wise. Other way is the popular trend of a perfect looking Instragram feed, I love the look of these, and admire the time it must take to achieve the pictures for the desired theme. For me personally, it would mean I would end up leaving out pictures that I originally want to add, just to achieve a themed feed. I have decided this is not the way at this current moment that I want to run my grid.

Instagram blog blogger

HATE

The part of Instagram that annoys me and really leaves myself deflated is, one second I will go on and I can have fifteen extra followers, go on again and twenty less. The drastic rollercoaster of followers is so noticeable every time I log on. Majority of the follows seems more for numbers, which undoubtably what we all would like. Out of all the available media’s I personally find Instagram is extremely fickle, the amount of followers that unfollow if I won’t follow them is unreal. The same time you want to support everyone, but same time I would miss my favourite Instagrammers posts on my feed.

I am trying not to check this as much as I was becoming obsessed checking. I try to limit this to once a week, when I write down my stats. I did have an app which shows you who has followed and unfollowed and this is where I could see the people who was after numbers solely. I had to delete the app, as again this became an obsession.

I personally prefer organic views, people who want to see my feed and I can interact with. Everyone wants to increase their followings, but you don’t want this forced, You want followers that want to follow you for your content, not just follow you for their own benefit.

 

LOVE

Not all changes over time on Instagram are negative. Hashtag Tracking is brilliant for following regular hashtags you may search. These will appear on your feed, for brands and shops this is ideal as you can follow your own hashtag and track.

Instagram Stories for me was one of the best updates, this has increased my confidence in front of the camera dramatically and along with inspiration from other vloggers this helped me start my YouTube channel last month. I have recently tried to be more creative with posts for my stories. Plus with the added Highlights, so you can save longer your favourite stories and group these. I have done covers for these to keep with my branding which you can see on my page.

I still need to experiment with the LIVE function. I haven’t really found the need for this, but I may try and add this in soon. Maybe for when brainstorming and looking for ideas. Or coming up with questions for a Q&A. Again another function is you can split screen and have other people join you so I am planning a live session and linking with my Blog Network co-founder Estelle.

Instagram blog SimplyStacey

I do hope one day I get to the 10,000 mainly so I can put a ‘swipe up’ link on a story. I am not holding my breath on anytime soon. Plus knowing my luck, you can guarantee when I eventually get to 9999 that Instagram will change it’s rules, or I will lose drastic amounts from the rollercoaster effect.

I have tried so many tips on improving your Instagram game, from number of hashtags, to style of pictures. For now I am just going to not stress about what I should post and post pictures I like. Some tips give them their dues do work, for example:

  • Add locations where available as you reach a wider audience
  • Search hashtags before and look for the ones more beneficial to your photo
  • Add hashtags in your story can boost views
  • Upload regularly, I notice my most views are in the evening
  • Spend time interacting, not only you will find great new feeds but you are helping others

Trying to be like everyone else just gets you lost in the feed. My mission is to keep my page as my style, mix of lifestyle, family and the odd instagram favourite of a pretty mug with the stragically placed biscuits and flowers distorted in the distance.

Looking on, I will still use the app. No matter how much the bots following and numbers annoy me, I won’t stop using the site as this is one of my favourites. Instagram is the first and last app I will use in a day. I love checking stories and catching up with everyone. Overall the algorithm is here, it is happening and there isn’t much we can do to change it. Yeah this sucks, but don’t let it stop you creating your Instagram how you want your profile to look.

I am contemplating on being more creative, I love watching clips on Instagram, along with looking at everyone’s photos. I want to start trying to do these once a week, a short video of an event, or something we have been up too. If you are thinking of starting a YouTube channel but are nervous or not sure of editing, Instagram clips such as this or doing more Instastories will certainly improve your confidence.

How do you find Instragram? Do you have a love and hate relationship with the site?

Stacey

 

I have seem some great posts also on the subject of Instagram, check them out below:

Once Upon A Blog

Eldeeable

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This is my first ever time joining up with Coffee Work Sleep Repeat on the weekly linky Little Loves. Read about needing more ‘Me Time’ and going on another cinema trip

LittleLoves, Little Loves, cinema

I have been wanting to join this linky for a while but have not got round to it, until now. I don’t know if i can join every week but I certainly want to try and join a couple of times a month. Also not just on my blog, but maybe to do the odd upload to my channel too.

The other linkies I join are more photo based, which I also enjoy. Little Loves is particularly great as I have found this has inspired mini goals for myself. I want to try and recreate more outfit posts and one of the subjects is ‘wore’ which has spurred me to take more photos.

Make sure you take a look at the webpage for Little Loves as you can do this linky in so many formats and meanings. With ‘read’ you don’t have to show the latest book you are reading, you can also share a favourite blog post as an example. You can be as creative as you wish.

So here is my first ever #LittleLoves …..

READ

I really want to try and read more and am currently failing miserably in my Good Reads 2018 Challenge. I downloaded on my iBooks after Christmas ‘Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine’ by Gail Honeymoon and did start this (a whole 4 pages) but just have not picked this up again, or any book. I have an awful habit of going on my phone before bed, one mini goal is to read this before the end of the month.

Eleanor Oilphant, Gail Honeyman, LittleLoves

WATCHED

Again I have not been binging on any shows. Last show was Stranger Things which I loved. I made the most of a night on my own the other week and instead of doing blog work I had some time out and watched The Hunger Games. I really need to take more time out and look at self care for myself sometimes. I am constantly on the go all the time. I also have been watching, which if you follow me then you will know I am obsessed with The Greatest Showman. I went to the cinema last week with Antony and Josie to see it again (number 6), I still love it as much as when I first watched the film. Even Antony has been twice now, which he doesn’t even like films.

HEARD

You can guess what soundtrack I have been listening too, yes ‘The Greatest Showman’ I absolutely love it. I did try making a new Spotify playlist for a change for the commute home and found some songs I forgot I like. One of my favourites at the moment is ‘Beautiful Trauma’ sung by the talented P!nk.

MADE

You can catch on my channel my IKEA Haul from our trip last week (which the Day In The Life is being uploaded Sunday) and I made a new side table. I made one and Antony made another. Normally I find IKEA really easy to build and can make a Kallax unit with out looking at instructions as we have them in most of the rooms at home, but these were certainly challenging. I love one of the tables especially, which is actually a stool. The table matches the lounge perfectly.

ikea, littleloves

WORE

I don’t have the most exciting wardrobe and am an offender of rotating the same outfits. I want to try and be more creative with fashion and style. For now I was happy I found in the back of my wardrobe a star jumper from H&M  which I forgot I had in in this cold weather it was most welcome to keep me warm and toasty.

simplystacey

LASTLY

I have managed to be super productive and plan most of February. I am super proud of myself for keeping up with my blogging and channel uploads even with Rowan bad with chickenpox. He has managed to miss this quite a few times from nursery, but the spots started Monday morning coming out and the poor little mite is covered and really struggling. Even though it is awful to see him like this, I am glad like with Josie he has this now and to get this out of the way.

I hope you have enjoyed my first #LittleLoves and let me know you you are planning on joining this linky, or do you join other ones? Have you been to the cinema recently?

Stacey

 

Little Loves Coffee Work Sleep Repeat

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A month on from the launch of my YouTube channel, can I now class myself as a vlogger?

vlogger, youtuber, mummyvlog. vlog

During my time blogging, I have always wanted to start a YouTube channel. I have never had the confidence before now to achieve this. As I have mentioned before, since my rebrand I have really upped my blogging game. I have even stuck to my blogging planned days uploads for over a month now. The difference this has made to my traffic and interaction has been awesome and has made the hard work worthwhile.

Blogging and my channel are both my hobbies that I do in my own time, while working and being a mummy. I am managing to slot this in to my hectic lifestyle. Mind you I have half term coming up and Rowan has broke out in chickenpox so this will be a test. Bloggers put so much time into planning, writing posts, photography, scheduling and social media. I thought this was an immense amount of work until I also started running a YouTube channel alongside.

When planning content for my channel, and hours of research. I call this research (really was watching my favourite vloggers) I started deciding how I wanted to create my own style and videos. I love the ‘Day In The Life’ vlogs and decided from the start I wouldn’t be good enough or have the confidence for this. I decided on my first vlog would be ‘Get To Know Me’ this seemed a good place to start. After my first take of constantly going ‘ummmm’, my second take I started getting used to just chatting away. I decided to upload and hope for the best. I was overcome from the amount of positive message that appeared in my inbox.

This gave me the push to do a haul, this would be my first one of its kind. This time I found it so much easier, and even enjoyed chatting away to my camera lens. Soon I decided to attempt a ‘Day In The Life’. This was such hard work, but totally amazing and I had a blast making this. After editing I was so damn proud of myself. My vlogs may not be the best, but I am really happy with the content so far, and love looking over them and noticing moments I have filmed that have been special.

I will never watch another vlogger now without thinking about the hard work that has gone in to making the 20 minute insight into their life video. From moving the tripod to film different angles, editing to create a seamless short story of your day, the short clips to fill in gaps in your vlog, choosing the correct music. There is so much detail in some of the vlogs I watch and I have tried to recreate this in my own style.

Of course you can do a simple vlog, even just sit there and chat away. The main point is wether you are posting a new blog post or uploading a new video to your channel…do what you love. Don’t worry about trying to please everyone, you can’t please everyone. I have seen so many bloggers this last month state they wish to start a channel but lack in confidence….my answer is go for it, the more you do the more confident you become and it really is so much fun. You get to be creative and plan how to stage your video. I still pick problems with my videos, I worry how I look, how I sound, the fact instead of saying ‘ummmm’ I keep saying ‘so’, but I am highly critical of myself. Infact after a month of vlogging I am getting less picky about my vlogs and actually feeling proud of them. After editing and adding music, the transformation from a bunch of small clips to a substantial good quality vlog is extremely rewarding.

I am no expert in anyway and have completed my first month since launching and doing regular uploads twice a week. I just want those who think they can’t start a YouTube Channel but wish too, to push your limits and have a go. I have learnt so much in a month of starting  my vlog. I am so glad I have pushed myself to start vlogging and really wish I done this earlier. After my first month I am now happy to call myself a vlogger.

You can check my channel here

Have you got a YouTube Channel for me to check out? Do you want to launch your own?

Stacey

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We are finally at the end of January, which means it is time for our first post for Dear Beautiful family photo project…Me and Mine Project

Me and Mine Project

We enjoyed taking part in The Sibling Project and have been looking forward to The Me and Mine Project as we had to try and get a family photo, rather then just the kids together.

As I mentioned in my previous Sibling Project post, these challenges are fantastic for you t o make the effort to get a photo. Wether you go out for the day or even take a selfie at home, getting a family photo to cherish is great. You don’t always have the time or think of taking a group photo. But these challenges make you do this.

We tried a picture at home, but Rowan was having none of this, so we went off for a wander round Lydiard Park. We took the scooters which I was also filming for a Day In The Life vlog post. Rowan is normally always in his buggy but he absolutely loved having the freedom on his 3 wheels.

Typically the weather turned whilst we was there and rain came. We only stayed for about an hour but had some chores at home to complete. We are going to do this again soon, and when the weather is nicer we will take a picnic and make a day of it. Normally we would take Bibi, but she has just started her first season and is not very happy about this, so she stayed at home in the warm for this adventure.

January has been a blur, the comedown from Christmas and getting back into routine has been tricky. Also with my birthday in the middle, we have been extremely busy. You can see what we have been up to in my latest upload Snapshots and Scenes above.

Josie-Ann

Josie has really changed in the last month and we have noticed her grow up dramatically. She has started taking a lot more responsibility and we have been getting great feedback from school about her behaviour. Last week she even received an award from her headteacher for doing work without being asked.

Rowan

Rowan has also changed, he has really come on leaps and bounds speaking. He absolutely loved making our first Day in The Life vlog. Rowan has learnt to put his photo in the post box when leaving nursery and is still as OCD about tidying as ever. He has suddenly gone into the toddler phrase, and I am missing a baby around now. We won’t be having anymore though which I have been trying to come to the fact of this and how fast time flies way too fast.

I am looking forward to February and taking part in Me and Mine Project. We also have half term fun in the middle of February. We haven’t many plans for February apart from planning for the end of the month to start on decorating the children’s bedrooms. We have been luckily since moving end of 2016, that we had a blank canvas and Josie room is pink, so both bedrooms have been fine for the kids, but we really want to get these sorted for them over the next couple of months.

 

The Me + Mine Project - Dear Beautiful
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In a mission to make our house feel like a home, I have been shopping and have an exciting Home Haul to show you..

home haul, dunelm, homesense

On my birthday a couple of weeks ago, myself and Mum went on a shopping spree to Dunelm and Homesense. I received money for my birthday and decided I wanted to buy some home accessories to make the house more cosy. As my birthday is only a couple of weeks after Christmas, I don’t really need or want much for myself and have been wanting to buy stuff for the house for a while but have never got round to it, or know what to get to be honest. Finding inspiration and different looks online has become a new hobby.

Quite often I like to browse Instagram and Pinterest for Home Inspiration and watch other videos doing a home Haul. I have recently got into more interior posts. Ranging from house renovations to adding a soft furnishings like a throw to the sofa. I love browsing other people’s pictures and getting ideas and thinking more out of the box.

We only brought our new corner sofa from DFS the beginning on January and love the comfort from all snuggling on the huge sofa. We only had our previous sofas a year, but we have struggled getting comfy and as they were two seaters, it was hard to get comfortable. The corner sofa now, is perfect for families. This is the small version but it is so huge and perfect for our needs. We wanted grey this time too, previously we had green. I had seen numerous pictures of grey, blush pink and copper together and adore these colours.

The sofa came with matching cushions, but I wanted to brighten the sofa up and make more feminine and add extra comfort. I opted for fluffy cushions and found the most amazing blush pink Mongolian wool large cushion in Homesense. Mum brought me this as an addition for my birthday present. I am obsessed with my cushion. It compliments the grey beautifully and is perfect for the large corner section and as duck feathers the cushion is extremely comfortable. I decided to order online at TK Maxx matching smaller cushions to spread along the sofa.

For the lounge I brought a collection of small items in a Home Haul, such as an artificial succulent which adds colour to the sideboard. Homesense is amazing for candles, they have such a large collection. I went for a Mountain Air candle in the sale when I went back again with Antony. The candle is a double wick, and grey colour wax with a copper lid. Perfect for the colours of the lounge. The fragrance is an aftershave type scent, not too overpowering but leaves the room delicately fragranced.

I recently uploaded my first Home Haul on my YouTube channel which you can see below the items I purchased in more detail. If you like my video then please subscribe, it would mean the world to me

 

I can’t believe how just a handful of decorative items added to a room can make the house feel so much more cosy. You know when you play The Sims and add extra decorations to their homes and it will lift their mood, I am feeling the same.

We were lucky when we move to our home in 2016, as our house was decorated in neutral colours and we have the perfect blank canvas. We are going to be decorating this year and I will document the changes. Long term we want to look at extending to make more room and possibly converting the garage.

For now though, having a Home Haul has been productive and certainly added a home feel to our house. Plus this has given me a new hobby going on the search for new items, prints, and frames.

Have you recently purchased anything for your home? Have you plans to decorate this year?

Stacey

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#SmearForSmear | 22nd-28th January is Cervical Cancer Prevention Week, and the theme this year is ‘Reduce Your Risk’. This is my story of my experience

Cervical Cancer Prevention

In all the years I have been blogging I have wrote a post about this subject 3 previous times but I have never posted them, until now. This is my story of my experience with abnormal cells and now I feel ready to share the experience.

There is one simple answer to ‘Reduce Your Risk’ which is make sure you keep up to date with your smear tests and knowing the symptoms. Cervical Cancer can be prevented and you can reduce your risk by calling your local surgery and booking in.

When I was pregnant with Josie, I became friends with a girl from Nottingham who was also pregnant but with her second child. We met on a forum page on facebook about our babies being due in August. There was three of us that started chatting and comparing our pregnancies. All three of us had girls within a few weeks of each other. I was actually due first but gave birth last out of us. We even met up around the girls 1st birthdays. Sadly three years later in 2012, she lost her life to cervical cancer, leaving behind two small children and husband.

This made me think about the smear test reminder that came through a few months previously, and in November 2012 booked in for my smear. It is one of those things that you mean to book, but taking the time to do this can be an inconvenience, but it can also save your life. I was told I would have the results back in a few weeks. I was surprised when they came back in less than a week, and in shock to see I had abnormal pre-cancerous cells which if left untreated can result in cervical cancer. Even now writing this, I remember the worry, the feeling of not knowing what was going to happen.

Just under two weeks later I went to the Colposcopy Unit at our local hospital. The colposcopy showed I had CIN 1 -Mild Changes. During the colposcopy I found this very invasive, as any one would but was put at ease by the team. You see your cervix on the screen as they insert the camera. I was shown where the abnormal cells was located and you could see a mild whiter change from the rest. A biopsy was took and then quaterized which was similar to period pain. The Nurse was very friendly and throughout my time I always saw the same nurse. She confirmed the cells wasn’t cancerous and explained about if left untreated they can form into cancerous cells. I was checked for the HPV Virus which was clear around this time.

Cervical Cancer

I was asked to go back again to keep an eye on these changes and maybe we would look at a LLETZ treatment, which involves burning the cells away. To cut a long story short I had this go on every 6 months until in June 2014 I went for my colposcopy and by this time I even knew the routine, cough when they take the biopsy etc. This time before the nurse even said I could see how different the cells looked. She said it looked like it has got worse, and to prepare for a Cone Biopsy. She had sent the biopsy and met with the consultants to discuss my results which was done each time to confirm the treatment plan. The results come back and as the Nurse thought the changes had gone to CIN 3 -Severe changes which is called High Grade Dyskaryosis, treatment was needed soon as the time for the cells changing to cancerous had halved. Within 2 weeks I was having my operation to have a cone biopsy. This is were a section of your cervix is removed to ensure the cells are no longer there.

After the operation the consultant explained they removed the cells successfully and I had lost a large part of my cervix. The Consultant stated we can have a baby but advised after the 6 month smear test to check if all clear. I did get the all clear and had a few compl;citations with delivery, mainly due to incompetence on the ward previously. It was noticed during labour that I couldn’t dilate due to scarring and on the second consultant trying, she was able to stretch the cervix and I went straight from 0.5cm to 8cm dilated. I had been having the urge to push and at 0.5cm dilated which was where Rowan wanted to come but couldn’t. I managed to give birth naturally and Rowan was absolutely fine.

The recovery was 2 weeks of me being bed bound, I also had issues with bad side effects to one of the tablets and getting numerous infections. Plus being bed bound and on your own was hard as I was feeling sorry for myself. Antony and mum was excellent helping with Josie and if I needed anything. The pain was bad for a week or so and similar to after having a baby. Again I was worrying of another 6 month wait, and then was when I realised how much the previous 2 years since I first received the letter had taken a toll on myself. That smear 6 months on was the longest wait for the results it seemed, I was ecstatic the results was clear.

Even now this still plays a part in my life. You still worry, I had my 3 year smear check in December since the all clear, which was the beginning of December. It wasn’t until after Christmas that I found I had the all clear this time. I was over the moon at the results as the same feelings previously had come flooding back. Panicking each time the post arrives, worrying over Christmas. In between the 3 year check, every year around December I used to think 2 years to go, next year to go. I am glad this is out the way and I don’t think I will be as bad worrying in the lead up to the next one, well not yearly. But it is the waiting game that is extremely difficult. Either way the best thing to do is get yourself checked. I am so thankful I did, and that even after the not so pleasant experience and long time waiting, the fact of knowing if these cells were left they could have resulted in cervical cancer is overwhelming. I am in the statistic of reducing the chance of having cervical cancer by 95% since having treatment. It is important that I keep up my routine checks, for anyone this is important. Even if you have not had any symptoms, which I hadn’t, you still need to get checked.

I cannot stress enough how important this is to have your smear and also look on Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust as they state the further symptoms to keep an eye out for. I hope one day they lower the smear test ages from minimum 25 years old as this is such an important preventive test. Please go ahead and book in for that smear, yes it is not the most pleasant procedure, but it can save your life. I know I was extremely lucky and there is a huge number who suffer from cervical cancer which is much worse than pre cancerous cells, but I wanted to share my story of how this can hopefully be prevented and hope it will encourage yourselves to book in if you haven’t already.

Stacey

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I have been blogging since 2015, yet still this has took me this long to find myself and to start achieving my goals regarding my blog. Read below for how I have got past The Blogging Blues

Blogging Blues Simply Stacey Blog

I am finally more confident to stand up and say…

I LOVE BLOGGING

I started blogging in 2015 and at first this was a blur of hashtags. There was so much to learn as a new blogger; setting up the blog, going self hosted, templates, blogging styles, hashtags, social media, branding, no follow links, alt tags to name a few. I was lucky as I can work my way round pretty easy anything technology based, plus with the help of good old Google and YouTube you can research help in an instant. I also have a Social Media Marketing Diploma and update the work website which helped when I first set up my blog.

As stated in previous posts I have changed names 3 times, mainly due to the learning curve from blogging. Finding my path I wish to take has been tricky… do I go Parenting, do I go Lifestyle. I have been both and now decided I am just going to do both. Why limit yourself to one genre. There is no rule book about what subject you should blog about. This is your space to say what you want to say or show.

Re branding before Christmas, which you can see more of here, has made a dramatic difference to my blog. Not just my blog name has changed, but also my layout, blog colours and more importantly my blogging routine. I have never had a routine and this has been the ultimate aid to helping my blog grow. Already 22 days into 2018, I am just under 50 views for beating my total views for the whole of 2017. For me, when I saw how much I have improved looking at my statistics, this gave me an almighty boost and made me see that I have got a passion for blogging.

I have always liked blogging, and at times it has seemed more of a chore. Since I made my blog my own by using my name, something has given me a drive to start really pushing myself to achieve set goals in where I want to take my blog. Now I have 100% got a passion for this and building up my YouTube channel. I got given a Blog Planner for Christmas, which I will be going in depth to show you in the next couple of weeks. This has helped tremendously, keeping this separate to my everyday planner means I can focus on my blog and channel solely.

I am sure most bloggers can relate to the blogging blues and most of us have thought about quitting at some point or having low morale.I nearly have closed my blog a couple of times and last year I got to the point that it was really getting me down being unable to fit this in, but last summer I gave myself a break. I say a break but I was only doing about 1 or 2 uploads a month at the time. This helped me take the time to decide I am going to try one last change and really take my blog seriously and that is when I decided to re brand. Blogging can produce such a love and hate relationship. From the moments you get writers block, to where you don’t seem to be growing any new followers. You notice other bloggers that have made themselves a large following and a success and feel you can’t live up to that level then start to doubt yourself.

The biggest advice I can give, is don’t compare yourself to others. Yes, you can research editing in videos, research writing styles. But be your own person, don’t feel you are not good enough and when you stop worrying and plan at your own pace. I am sure you will notice a difference, not only in views, but more importantly for how you feel.  I am still trying to implement this to my way of thinking but so far this has helped enormously. I do have the slight wobble thinking I am not good enough, but with support from the blog community and pushing myself, I am good enough. My personal battle is being a perfectionist, I over criticise myself and this is a personal hurdle to overcome. But I am getting there. For once I can actually feel proud of my blog and feel now is the time to push myself to regular uploads.

I am pleased my YouTube channel is slowly growing, and I am learning so much each video. My new lighting has made a complete difference to the quality of my videos. I will be shortly trying my first ‘Day In The Life’ vlog. But in the meantime, I am really enjoying building both this and my blog.

Also planning my routine further to include any home matters, such as cleaning, homework, cooking dinner etc. Plus then there is also mine and Estelle’s venture of The Blog Network, growing, which we have our first Twitter chat on Wednesday 31st January. Plus then you have the background work as a Blogger, scheduling social posts, photography, planning, joining twitter chats and threads etc. I am trying to improve my photography which I am happy with the results so far, to even take some self portraits of myself shows how much my confidence has grown. Part of this is from some great people from the blogging and vlogging community.

Another change I have implemented is, I have given myself set days for uploads. This has made me push myself and made me be organised. There is going to be times this will be impossible, like last week I was struck down with a nasty cold and then toothache and it threw all plans out. But if I can get ahead and plan, this shouldn’t be too much of an issue … I am hoping.

BLOG UPDATES : Every Monday and Thursday

YOUTUBE UPLOADS : Every Sunday and Wednesday

I know I am not the best writer out there, I never have been and never will be. I am not one for gargantuan words (yes I googled big words for ‘huge’). Yes I get excited over a new notepad of a fluffy cushion makes me do jazz hands, but I am also not ashamed of this and am not letting this stop me producing more posts and documenting on my channel. In a way I have started to think if people get to know the real you, your writing style, the way you produce uploads then they will warm to that person if they choose too. I am pleased to say this moment in time I have beaten the blogging blues and am thoroughly enjoying my journey. I hope this doesn’t wear off and change, but for now I am happy and content with how I have progressed, even if this has took me 3 years to find my blogging passion. I am in no way a blogging expert, but this is what I have found that has helped myself. I really hope this post helps boost yourself if you are suffering from the blogging blues.

Stacey

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