Thursday, 29 January 2015

Berry and Banana Smoothie



Lets just put it out there; I love smoothies. I am always trying new recipes and ingredients at the weekend, and at the moment, I am loving drinking one in the morning before I go out as they are super refreshing, and super easy to just keep in the fridge and grab one when you want. I created a berry smoothie the other day, which I enjoyed so much I wanted to share the recipe with all of you to try if you want to!

Ingredients
Frozen Berries (I just used Sainsbury's basic)
1 ripe banana
Sprinkle of  brown sugar (optional)
Water to thin
Apple Juice to thin and add flavour (optional)

Just blend your berries with the water and the apple juice - I used apple juice to add flavor as well as thinning the smoothie down, but you could just use water - and add the banana in chunks, This gives the smoothie a slight sweet banana taste, but if you don't want the banana in your smoothie, just replace it with some other sweet fruit, or brown sugar. I added a sprinkle of demerara sugar, but it doesn't really make a difference! If you use raspberries, they make the smoothie very seedy, but you could just drain the seeds out if you don't like them.

Let me know if you try this recipe, and hope you enjoy!

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

My Favourite Editing Apps


Ever since I was little, I have always liked editing pictures and creating something which I could look back on in the future and remember what my life was like. I did try keeping a diary/journal on and off for a few years, and although I enjoyed it, I couldn't keep up with writing regularly, so that was given up. I then decided to have a go at scrapbooking, as it was a way I could record all my pictures, and also have a excuse to buy new stationery :), but after seeing everything was really expensive, I decided to just stick with what I was doing, but use some proper editing apps instead of the default I0S editing platform. 

PicCollage. This is my favourite editing app ever. This is an app where I can create virtual scrapbook pages that I can save to my IPod or my computer! After their update, you can change the background colour, layout and there are so many cute stickers to use, and most of them are free which is a added bonus! I would really recommend this for anyone who is like me, and loves putting together little cute pages to look back on. Oh, and I forgot to say, it's free!

Instagram. I love this, as there are lots of filters that can really enhance your picture. Instagram is one of my favourite social media accounts, as I love sharing my pictures with my friends and family! If you don't want to share the picture, just edit your photo and take a screenshot of it, simples! This app is free too, which is a bonus.

PicCandy. I mentioned above in PicCollage that you can add little sticker doodles to your collages, but if you only want to add doodles to one image, this is the app for you! The stickers are really cute, and I love making my photos fun and creative. You can also add pretty watermarks to your photos if you wanted to, so you could use the cute image on your blog!

Afterlight. This is a app which I only heard about recently, and already it is on my favourites list! No longer need to worry about taking your pictures in natural light, because this app will brighten the photos to make it look like you took the photo right next to a window, even if you didn't. It will get rid of that orangey tinge too, if the picture relied on indoor lighting. 

What are your favourite editing apps?

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Ask Me Anything


I realize that most of the 'Q&A' style posts are mainly asked by the more popular bloggers, but I thought even though I am nowhere near 'big' it would be nice for you to know a bit more about me, and my blog. So, if you have any questions about me, makeup, photography, blog design, etc don't be afraid to ask me!

Comment below, tweet me, or drop me a email at thejoysofbeingpaige@gmail.com

Looking forward to seeing what you ask!

Saturday, 24 January 2015

Things That Have Made Me Happy This Week!


It's been freezing cold here in the UK, yet is there any snow on the ground? No! I'm beginning to feel like I just want spring to come, the frost is beautiful, but there is just so much cold morning walks up the road to catch the bus a girl can take! I haven't got anything planned for this weekend, except tidying up my room, oops! I think I will just take lots of pictures for future posts, and delete the ones I am never going to use from my computer. I need to buy a hard drive for all my photos, my computer is suffering at the moment! Anyway, this is what made my week a lovely one..

1. It may be a little late, but I finally brought my 2015 calender! Its really pretty, on each month it has a beautiful scenic picture, which is perfect for me, as I love things like that.

2. This week I have been snapping pictures of my pets, and this is one of my favourite ones. Honey is such a poser, it's unreal. If you look through my laptop photos, you will see what I mean. It's ridiculous!

3. Walking into your bathroom and finding some almost new body shop products. Let me just tell you, that bath was the best one I have had in a long time.

4. This stable door handle looked really pretty, and made me happy, even though I don't know why. It's funny what little things you come across can do to you, isn't it!

5.  Adding a new header to this blog makes all the difference, doesn't it? I was re-designing the whole thing, but I think I need to finish my coursework for my exam first!

6. Watching the sun reflect on the ripples of our pond, is so relaxing! I don't make a habit of watching the sun reflect on water, but this was exactly what I needed to relieve the stress of marks and work!

What has made your week?

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Getting Organised + Free Weekly Planner


Lets just put it out there, I am not very good at keeping organised. I leave things until the very last minute to do, and although I still do a good job, the stress of everything piling up is something I would like to change. So, when I got a lovely organizer for my Christmas present, I was really hoping that this could be the year which I change my life around and start being organised, prepared and efficient. As I know many people use electronics to plan their posts, these tips apply to them as well as the good old pen and paper folks!

Plan your week ahead. I usually do this on a Sunday evening and I plan which night to do which homework and just organize what I am doing, and at what time. Doing this has already made a difference in my life, I feel like I know exactly what I am doing, and for that I feel more relaxed about my life. It's surprising what planning does for you, isn't it!

Document major points of your day. I have been doing this quite often so I can look back and remember what I have done, and what I still need to do etc. It is also nice to look back a few weeks and remember what you have accomplished, and where it has gotten you now.

Separate your blog life and your personal life. I have been keeping two separate organizers to do this. This is partly because I was given two at Christmas, and partly because I wanted to do this anyway. I used to plan my posts in a notebook and just write need to take pictures, drafted, posted etc, but having a diary to plan on makes it so much easier. I can see when I need to take pictures, and I can always look back at post ideas if I haven't used them.

How do you plan your blog posts?


If one of your goals is to become more organised, or if you already are, I have designed a cute weekly planner for you all! You can use it for blogging, or just personal life. You can view it here, but please only personal use!


Saturday, 17 January 2015

Recent Reading


One of my goals for 2015, is to read more books. Last year I didn't read nearly as much as I used to, and I wanted to change that, as reading was one of my hobbies, you wouldn't see me without a book in my hand. I just wanted to give you a little update on what I am reading, and planning to read soon.

We Were Liars
I loved this book, and it is definitely one to read again. It is based around a slightly odd rich family who visits their private island every summer. When the main character gets into a accident, the story flips round to a unexpected plot twist.

We Are Completely Beside Ourselves
I only just started reading this book, but already I love it. It features a school girl called Rosemary, who is made clear that she can't tell anyone about her family. As I haven't finished the book yet, I can't tell you anything else, but I will give you a update soon!

Now You See Me
This isn't the book that is in the cinemas at the moment, no. This is a book about thirteen year old Danny Geller, who goes missing. Based on a true story, this is the tale of his best friend Hannah who tries to find him.

If I Stay
This is a book which I plan to read, and I also would like to see the film. The story follows a young cello player Mia, who is in an car accident one wintery day. In hospital she has an out of body experience, which allows her to look at her life in its current situation while also sorting through the memories of her past.

Have you read any of these?

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Tips for Starting a Blog


The most popular posts you like to read is my blog advice, so I decided to create some tips for some of the new bloggers out there that may be looking for some help. Of course, if you already have a blog you can apply these tips to your blog as well, as every little helps!

Know what you want to write about, and have a decent amount of posts planned.
I wish I had followed this tip when I first started, as I started without any experience, direction and I had no idea what to post. I would find a few blogs you find interesting and use their posts as inspiration for yours. Also, find out how people like each post, which are the most popular, so you can focus on the popular points to find out what people like reading.

Get a good design.
I would recommend learning a bit of HTML yourself, or if you know you are doing blogging for quite a while, you could just splash out on a design. I wouldn't get a free premade template as it isn't really 'you'. Sure, you can customize it etc, but loads of other people will be using it. If you are going to do a design yourself, stick to a white background, as the text is easier to read. If you are going to have a textured background, leave the post area white. Only limit yourself to a maximum of two, or three colours. Go over that, and your blog will look a bit overboard. Remember, the content comes first, design is just an enhancement.

Sign up to Bloglovin'
One of the best things I have done for this blog is join Bloglovin'. I have found so many new blogs to read, and quite a lot of new readership. It is also super easy for your readers to use too, as they can keep up with all of your posts without missing any.

Blogging isn't a 'race'.
So many bloggers now only compete for readership, and after a few days when they gain very little, they give up. Sure, there might be a few cases where bloggers have a 'overnight success', but for the rest of us, this just doesn't seem to be the case. Blogging is hard, and it often takes months, even years, to be a 'big blog'. However, you should never be blogging for the popularity, blog for your readers and yourself. Your content is almost always more engaging when you realize this, and this will appeal to your visitors more.

Focus on awesome content.
As I mentioned in a previous point, content is everything. Nobody is going to follow a blog with a great design but rubbish content. You should also aim to take pictures with every post, and although this isn't an essential, I would as the post looks more appealing to the eye, and if you place the picture before the text, on Bloglovin' the picture will display with your post. Vary your content too, as the same type of thing gets boring. Recipes, Makeup, Hair, Wishlists, Hauls etc.

Hope this helped! What are your tips for beginners?

Sunday, 11 January 2015

Deskside Beauty


Apologies for the late post tonight folks, I don't really have an excuse bar the fact I have been out and about! Anyway, I use my desk nearly everyday, so it isn't really surprising that I have picked up a few beauty essentials I need for working on my laptop. This isn't a massive collection - my makeup bag is for that! - but it is just a few items I feel like I need for my desk, to keep me feeling fresh even when I am working for a while.

La Source Hand Therapy
I use this when I am suffering from dry hands due to the cold weather (grrr) so a hand cream is a must for me. I chose this Crabtree and Evelyn one, and it is £15, but it is well worth the money. It's great as it hydrates my hands within a few minutes, and does everything it's supposed to. 


I use this after one of my teachers explained just how many germs there are on a keyboard. If you think about it, it makes sense. If you are using your keyboard quite a lot, then germs are undoubtedly going to end up on the keys, which you might leave to go eat etc, so I just keep this on my desk to reduce the amount of germs. Of course, you can use any hand gel, I just got this for Christmas in a beauty pack!


This a perfect wake-me-up for the desk, for me partly because it is cool and refreshing, partly because it scares the life out of me when I spray it on my face. It is so easy to use, just push down and it is quite cheap too, I brought my small bottle for £4.25 and it is still going strong!


For me, a lipbalm is essential as I tend to get dry lips quite a lot. I am currently using a twin pack Vanilla and Strawberry lipbalm set from Next I got for Christmas, but any lipbalm will do. I always try to keep my lips hydrated because lipstick looks soo much better on hydrated lips than dry lips!

What are your desk essentials?


Oh! I just wanted to say a big thank you for everyone as I just reached a 100 followers via Bloglovin'! I couldn't have done it without you, and I just wanted to say thank you, thank you, thank you!

Thursday, 8 January 2015

Nutella Hot Chocolate


I remember a time, not to long ago, that I hated nutella. With a passion. That was until I found that it actually was basically just chocolate spread. Anyway, I have seen lots of people try out this recipe, and I wanted to have a go to. I made this for my sister and her friend, and while her friend enjoyed it, my sister didn't - whether it was because I made it for her or that she doesn't like nutella and I told her it was in the hot chocolate, I don't know. For that reason, I wouldn't recommend this to non-nutella fans, but otherwise this will be great!

You Will Need
1 tbsp of nutella (have more or less to taste)
1 tbsp of chocolate powder
milk, to fill your cup
squirty cream
mini marshmallows

Melt your nutella in a saucepan with the chocolate powder until smooth. Add milk in small amounts to reduce lumps, and leave to heat up. When your happy with the temperature, pour it into your cup, and cover it with squirty cream and mini marshmallows!

Let me know if you try this, and maybe tweet me a picture?

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Distressed Wood Backdrop




More and more bloggers are using a textured background to take their food or makeup product photographs, and the one that is mainly used is the lovely white wood background. Even if you aren't into shooting food, this backdrop is an essential to a keen photographer, and can make any still image better. I went with the majority and chose a white colour, but any colour would do!

I will link a few tutorials down here, as I won't go into massive detail on what I did, so you can have a go at home if you want to!

First of all I chose my piece of wood. Other instructions say to build your wood board from planks of wood, but there was a old wooden door that wouldn't burn on the bonfire that was the right size, so I used that one instead. Sand down the board (mine had paint on it, so I needed too) until you can see the wood. Stain it in a colour of your choice, I would go for a lighter stain to achieve the look of the above picture, and a darker stain to go darker (like the burnt part of my wood in the bottom-left corner of my photo). Leave the wood for a couple of hours to dry, then paint the wood in whatever colour you need. Don't be afraid to put lots of paint on, it won't make a difference. Now, you could leave it like this if you want, but I decided I wanted to distress mine, so I waited until the paint was dry, and sanded it down until I was happy. You could then varnish it, but I chose not too. If you do however, make sure to use one that isn't shiny, otherwise it will glare in your photos! This took me a day to do, and to allow all the paint to dry, I don't think you could do it any quicker, so that is something to bear in mind.

What do you think? Will you be trying this out?

Sunday, 4 January 2015

25 Post Ideas For Your Blog


Lesson learnt - when you have post ideas running through your head faster than bullets, write them down. Yep, even if you are in bed reading through your latest Bloglovin' feeds.

A few days ago, I felt a bit uninspired. 'Bloggers block', some like to call it, and I couldn't think of anything to write for the life of me. So I decided to strip it down to the basics and write about something I would enjoy reading myself. Sounds simple, but its harder than you think. At least it is for me. I love a lot of different posts, but I have the worst memory ever, and I always need to write ideas down to keep them, and I figured that you might as well have a share, so I decided to write them all down here so you and me both can refer back to here when we need to! I have based them around lifestyle posts, but if you are a beauty or fashion blogger, there is a few in here for you too.

- Just finished decorating/designing your room? Share pictures of it, or a room tour. If you don't feel comfortable with sharing your whole room, just share your favourite corner of it, and why you like it. Oh! Linking where you got everything from is useful too :-)
- Have a recipe you just created or love making? I know for one I love a good new recipe, and it will give you the chance to take some good pictures of food!
- Do you love DIY? Share a few of your creations, and if you used a tutorial, link that in too!
- What blogging equipment do you use?
- Know a fellow blogger, or admire them? Email them asking for a Q&A! That way, you can feature your favourite blogger while giving your readers an insight into what blogs you enjoy reading.
- Brought a new makeup/beauty product? Share your opinions of it, or feature some new looks you have been rocking.
- Have a passion for fashion? Do a fashion series on what you would wear for a night out, cinema etc.
- Had a recent birthday or shopping splurge? Photograph what you brought, and why you brought it.
- Do some of your readers leave sweet comments on every post? Show your appreciation and feature them in a thank you post on how far you have come in blogging.
- Know some cool HTML/CSS? Share it, as people are always looking for ways to improve their blogs design!
- Where do you write your blog posts?
- Create a reader survey! Let your readers tell you what they think.
- Normally a beauty blogger? Venture out and share some fashion/lifestyle posts too. Readers love some variation, and you might gain some more readers along the way!
- Found some new blogs lately? Share them with your readers.
- Go for a walk, and collect bits and bobs you come across. Photograph them and tell your readers if you felt inspired from that walk or not.
- Share your music loves for that month.
- Taken some good photographs while out on a walk? Share them in a photography post.
- Make your own list of post ideas, you will find yourself with plenty by the end of it!
- Thinking of decorating, or moving into a new house? Share inspiration for rooms!
- Go ahead and write that sponsored post.
- Share some of your hopes and aspirations for the future.
- Found a really nice quote? Write about how it affected you and how it made you feel.
- Had a really good week? Share what made it so good.
- Have some good blogging tips? Write about them!

Are you going to use any of these? If you do, please leave a link, as I would love to read them! 

Thursday, 1 January 2015

Hopes for Twenty Fifteen


Happy New Year! 2015 - wow, last year went fast! I've never really been one to set new years resolutions, but this year I decided I wanted to try it out. I think the people who do set resolutions always seem so positive, so I thought I would help share the positivity and post some of my hopes for this year.

BLOGGING
- Write more personal posts. I don't know if you have noticed or not, but lately following lots of feedback on my reader survey, I have tried to write and publish some more personal posts, letting my voice come through to all you lovely readers. I hope to continue this and make this blog more unique and 'me'. 

- Reach 150 followers. A big aim, I know, but I hope to grow as a blog and become bigger in the blogging community. This will hopefully lead to better content and more opportunities which will be a great plus to this blog.

- Be more organised. If you look on my computer, you would disagree with this hope. I have everything arranged into neat little folders which all have proper names along with the files and photographs. However, behind the computer, it sometimes is a different story. Usually I am photographing, writing and hitting publish all on the same day. As I post every other day, I would like to get into the habit of planning ahead and taking pictures and writing posts in a bulk and scheduling. I don't know whether this will be accomplished or not as I tend to change blog posts last minute, edit everything then find I liked the other post better. Annoying, I know.

- Join in blogger chats etc, make new friends. I have always been wary of joining blogging chats, as usually the 'big' bloggers take part, and I am not really a 'big' blog. However, I have decided I am going to participate in some, maybe some of you do too? If you do, let me know which ones and I will join in with you! 

- Visit more readers blogs. I love readers leaving a little link to their blog when they comment, but unfortunately I have got into a habit where I don't click on it. I aim to visit readers blogs, and to those who commented, comment back on a post on their blog. After all, if they have taken the time to comment on your blog, doesn't it seem right to comment back on theirs? 

- Open a design shop. A few readers have emailed me asking for design tips and I have redesigned their blogs this year. I have found that I actually really love doing this, so I hope to open a design shop this year! Would anybody be interested in this?

PERSONAL
- Eat healthier. I know, I know, everyone says this but I plan to actually accomplish this. I went through a phrase of doing this, and I felt fantastic for it. However as Christmas was drawing in, my old habits cam back and I found myself eating alot more and not of the right foods either. Oops.

- Focus on my school work. As school work is starting to become important, I want to focus on schoolwork and homework so I do the best I can do. Of course I will carry on here, but I think I will use my bulk photograph/writing tip from above and use my spare time to complete homework or spend time revising over things I don't quite understand. This sounds so unrealistic, especially if you know me but I hope for this!

- Read More Books. When I was younger, you would never see me without a book in my hand. But then life took over, which kind of left my reading lonely. I have a whole wishlist for 2015, which hopefully I might pick up this January in the sales...