Sunday, 21 September 2014

Why I Nearly Gave Up Blogging!

Since I started blogging 3 years ago, the whole blogging world has changed completely, and you know what it was changing before I even joined. From a small corner of the Internet where mostly anonymous writers would talk about their life in detail to now what is an industry, where people consider it their job and make money from under their duvets typing on a laptop about everything and anything. 

When I first started blogging I knew nothing about pr companies, blogging events, page views, bots, trolls, spammers and seo. I just wanted some place I could write down my thoughts on my makeup and beauty obsession because I knew my family and friends were literally bored to death of my constant ramblings. 

It was my place to relish in all things beauty, share my thoughts, justify my spending and just to get away from everyday life. I kept it quiet for a good while, sharing it only on twitter and Instagram where people I did not know followed me. As my blog grew, so did my confidence and I finally shared it on my  other social media platforms where I had not only blogger friends but people I knew for years. To my suprise it was perceived well and I wondered why I ever worried about it.

Before I started my blog, I only ever read one blog, I never knew about the international or even the ever growing Irish community. When I became involved in it my blog reading list grew and I tried to read as many blogs as possible especially all the Irish ones I knew of, always trying to keep up with the flood of bloggers starting up. 

I have been lucky enough to be invited to a good few pr events and I was always so astonished that I was even invited. It's no secret that my blog never had a massive following, so to be invited to events where I rubbed shoulders with bloggers who had thousands of followers was incredible to me.

So where did it all change, well that fear of not been accepted came back but not from those close around me but actually from the some of the blogging community( I say some because 95% of them are amazing and genuinely the most welcoming people I know) and pr companies. 

Blogs all of a sudden had become the in thing and blogs that were constantly growing seemed to lack in content yet all I could see everyday was their Instagram/twitter been flooded with pr samples. These blogs gave glowing reviews of literally everything received yet lacked in necessary components that I looked for in blog posts. It was if everything that they received was a holy grail item. I struggled some days to find posts that actually didn't set to please and actually gave in depth and honest reviews. Something that I always try to provide on my blog. From this I actually doubted my own blog, did the readers want me to up my content but lack honesty, because by what the statistics show of readers following blogs this was it.

I was shunned by a few pr companies and brands, some because I am not known enough by them, one or two brands because I have worked for their companies and they know that from my experience I do not have the highest opinion of them and their practices. There are also a few including an Irish brand because I did not write about as soon as everyone else did.(No one told me there was a time limit). This whole thing of sending in your page views and bounce rate and returning visits really got to me, I really am a firm believer in quality rather then quantity.

With this grew my lack of confidence, so when I got trolled on my last YouTube video over my choice of lip color and how I spoke I literally felt like giving the fuck up and forgetting it all. And I honestly did, I have not posted a YouTube video since even though I adore it. I gave up outfit of the days after readers commented that they were happy to see a girl of larger proportions sharing ootd, they were actually paying me compliments, but in my head I saw it as been called fat.

Finally I met a handful of bloggers who have in blatant terms become stuck up their own arseholes over the past few years, they who were once part of our ever loving, supportive community have now decided that we are two small now to fit into their ever growing heads as their views and readers/subscribers grow. I recently met a blogger that was honestly shocked that I had been around for so long because they had never heard of me or my blog/YouTube, and made a comment that maybe I should just forget it all as I did not grow as much them in the time span we had been around.

I also felt confined in my blog, I started to want to include different aspects of my life from personal issues I have dealt with, to other things I enjoyed from gaming to cooking. This overwhelming feeling of nobody wants to read this and the fact I had become consumed with numbers and statistics and I completely forgot why I started in the first place.

So I gave up I stopped writing all together, I put my camera and tripod away in a box and stopped with something that made me happy for a few years. I let companies down with reviews and refused event invitations and I let my readers down and I stepped back from my social media and my amazing blogger community of friends . I stopped involving myself in #bblogger and #irishbblogger conversations. I most of all let myself down because I let things that are so trivial get to me and my passion. I let the fear of not been good enough and not looking perfect get in the way of something I enjoyed so much. I let words and actions hurt me.

By taking that step back and giving myself a few months, things became a lot clearer. This fear of not being good enough disappeared from the support of friends and family and of course my ever supportive partner. I stopped caring what people thought and remembered why I actually fell in love with blogging in the first place.

I also read a blog post from GEMSMAQUILLAGE  . She made me see that I was not the only one who had these feelings about blogging and actually gave me the push to to actually consider getting back into it.

So I sat down and wrote out a plan that if I was going to do it then I wanted to change a few things, improve stuff and vary what I wrote about. I also wrote down the pro and cons and there was one pro that made it seem all worth it.

The blogger community
These lovely females who have come into my life and have been so supportive of everyone, no matter where you come from, how you look or how many views you have. Your accepted no matter what. I might not see them that often but I know their only a tweet away. When I went to Anita's blogger meet up the other week, I finally realised that I still wanted to be apart of it and I thank her for still including me in the invite as I had been so quiet for so long.



There are so many other bloggers that have been supportive but you think I can locate pictures of us, NOPE! so here are some honorable mentions:
 @totalmakeupadd
@girlfriday_bb
 @GlamourNazi
@AllMadeUp21

I am probably forgetting a few so do not scald me but I adore you all equally and thank you for having me in your community.

So welcome to my blog it's been here a while and will be here a good while longer. Expect honest reviews and ramblings about not only beauty but my life. If it's not for you then that's ok because there's an x in the top corner and I am sure you know how to use it. I am here for me and for those who want to read my blog.





Friday, 18 April 2014

#FOODDAY - What I ate in Cork

As I stated in yesterday's post thank you to everyone on twitter for their recommendations on where to eat while in Cork. 


Early evening we went on a little stroll around Cork checking out a few of the places suggested as well as looking for a place to eat. Me being me half way through the stroll I ended up needing the little ladies room. My eye caught sober lane across the bridge and I made a dash for it. We decided to stay for a drink, the place was pretty full so we took the only table available at the side of the bar. Needless to say it was the nearest table beside the kitchen and the beautiful smell hit my senses and we decided to stay for dinner.

I decided on the baby back ribs in the spicy sticky sauce and himself went for the meat burger which is two 4oz beef patties with Irish Cheddar. We bought choose two sides also as they were only €3, I choose the parsnip chips and himself choose the onion rings.





Yes them sides were only €3 each!
Needless to say we were stuffed afterwards and could not fault any part of the food. Their menu has a good selection of and sides with something for everyone. They also have great deal if your heading with a few friends €20 for one pizza of choice with 4 bottles of beers/bottle of wine/ pitcher of beer Its very budget friendly with our meal and two pints of beer under €40. I would highly suggest sober lane to anyone weather your going for a quiet drink or to watch the match or to just to use the ladies room. Whatever the reason once you see (or smell) the food you will get some.


This was one of the main reasons I wanted to visit Cork. I love everything to do with food and this place is a foodie paradise. Even if you do not even buy anything having a look around is just fascinating with lots to ogle at.

I sent this picture to my mother as she is an avid cake lover and wanted to make her droll.
 

Passing by the fish section I spotted a little sign saying espressos €1, getting to my afternoon slump I stopped to recharge the batteries. I instantly fell in love with this little sandwich stall but I will get back to that later.


This was our second visit to Soho that day we had planned on heading to another place but after heading to three different restaurants to be told at half eight in the evening the kitchen was closed. We headed back to Soho in hope of a table.

We had been there that afternoon for lunch, I had completely forgot to take pictures in defence we were starving especially himself after carrying all my shopping bags. We got a portion of the chicken wings in their suicidal sauce and also went for the daily special of beef enchiladas with chips. Both were delicious and could not fault them at all.

When we arrived back at Soho, they were very accommodating even though they were very busy and we did not have a booking. We had a little wait for a table but I did not mind I got to sit at the bar and enjoy a glass of wine.

For starters we both wanted to try something a little different, himself went for the Monk fish on lemongrass skewer on a bed of shredded courgette and sesame. I myself went for the vegetarian sushi, I have never had sushi as I only like certain fish. Both were very tasty and we both got to try some Wasabi which we have decided never to try again.
 


For mains, he went for the 10oz rib eye steak in medium  which was served with pan fried mushrooms and onions,peppercorn sauce and french fries. He devoured the plate and said it was a very enjoyable meal.

I myself went for the Madras Curry, served with chicken( you could have had beef), wild rice and a poppadom. Unfortunately mine was not as enjoyable, as an avid spicy food lover, Indian been one of the main things I would cook and eat on a weekly basis, I was highly disappointed in this curry. Madras is supposed to be the second hottest curry, this one was far from spicy. It was very bland and mild and would be stretching to even call this a curry. It was edible and cooked well but for something that is nearly €20 I expected a bit more. I will state their plates were presented very well.


I will like to add in that the service we got in SOHO was excellent we were waited on by one of their head male staff who I never caught his name. We were there on the 26th of March.



As I said I was going to revisit this little stall I fell in love with. On our last day before we headed back on the bus I headed back here purely because I wanted to try their delicious looking food. I walked around the market three times just so I could sit at their benches.

 
They do everything from salads to noodles, from rolls to sandwiches they even had a special that day of Channa Masala which was a chickpea and vegetable curry served with a mango chutney and fresh coriander and basmati rice which smelled absolutely delicious.

We both went for the same roll which I can not remember exactly what was on it had salami, spinach sun dried tomato amongst other things. They even heat them up for you on their sandwich grill which they then served neatly in this paper wrapping. We both have since agreed these were the best sandwiches we have ever tasted!
I could not recommend this stall enough, the staff are super friendly, you get service with a smile and will probably eat the best sandwiches ever!

The stall behind The Sandwich Stall, and original stall of The Real Olive Co which own The Sandwich Stall and provide ingredients for the amazing sandwiches. This was our first purchase at the market which was devoured in a few days. A beautiful sun dried tomato pesto. For €3 this portion did about 5 portions and was super tasty. I have since learned this company have 7 stalls and 1 shop in Dublin City which you can check out locations here http://www.therealoliveco.com/markets/county/co.-dublin




As well as some spices for my cupboards I also picked up this Tomato Focaccia bread from the bakery stall in the Market. For €2 it was a bargain and delicious and would loved to have picked up some more of their loafs. (In the picture half of the loaf had already been eaten so imagine the size of it)



 I hope you enjoyed reading about all things food wise I had in Cork. Let me know if you have had anything really tasty lately.

Thursday, 17 April 2014

My Recent Stay at The Montenotte Hotel in Cork City


Recently me and the other half went on a midweek trip away to Cork. I had been working alot over the month of March including the whole week of my Birthday that a few days away was needed. 

So we bought a voucher from Pigsback for 2 nights away in The Montenotte Hotel. As neither of us drive we took the Aircoach which turned out to be the fast and budget friendly with it only 20 euro return each for non stop express bus to Cork.
The journey was very pleasant, the bus was not overcrowded and each chair reclined and had two plug sockets per 2 seats.

The hotel itself is located on top of a hill which was a trek with the suitcases but not too bad without, the hotel does boast a five minute walk to centre which unfortunately is untrue, even walking downhill to the centre its more like 15 and 25 minutes back up the hill. I was grateful for the views the hotel did have and that it was situated away from the bustling busy streets of Cork.



The room itself unfortunately did not live up to expectations,  The Montenotte Hotel boasts a four star rating, and its website does showcase some beautiful rooms but I have stayed in nicer rooms in a three stars. Our room was a very decent size but they gave us two double beds when we only needed one. I would have greatly had a smaller room as the extra bed made it sightly difficult to move around. There was only one plug socket visible, on the second day, the other half had to move out the beds to try and find a second socket so we could both charge our phones at the same time. The bathroom was less to be desired the shower head was pretty old and so was the bath. while sitting in the bath you could see all the pipes under the sink which looked a bit grubby. The wardrobe in the room also had a good few chips taken off it and needed a new coat of varnish. The room also had 3 huge windows but only one of them opened.

Staff wise they were very friendly from the beginning and were there to help in anyway from bringing up an iron or calling us a taxi. We had a bottle of wine included in our voucher which we decided to have brought to our room. We had a choice of any wine which was great so I choose the Pinot Grigio my favourite and to my surprise my other half liked it as well. ( He never drinks wine.) It was presented beautifully to the room.

The breakfast staff were pleasant, but both days we did have to ask for tea/coffee though while any other couple were asked straight away when they sat down, which I found strange. One member of breakfast staff was very lovely though indeed, she was chatty and very helpful with anything we needed at breakfast. their breakfast selection was great from fruit to cereal, yoghurt's to fry and a great selection of bread. The view from breakfast was also great you could choose to sit on the left hand side which was over looking all of Cork. We were blessed with sunshine while we were there so the views were very clear.

The hotel does have a leisure centre but neither of us swim and we spent alot of time down in the city that we had no use for it but I heard from other people it was lovely and hosts a gym, steam room, Shauna and Jacuzzi and a 20 metre pool.

The Bar was a decent size and very well laid out and decorated. It had televisions to broadcast games and sport fixtures. Drink prices were reasonable for a hotel with a pint costing around €5.20~5.40.

Cork itself is a beautiful city with many shops, restaurant and pubs. On the way down I tweeted asking for recommendations of places to go and was inundated with replies. I would have loved to venture out to Douglas as I was suggested a few places out there for food and such but we decided to stay in the city and not venture too far away from comfort. I mostly went for shopping and not sight seeing but if your a foodie like me I would highly suggest visiting The English Food Market while there.

As tomorrow is #FOODAY I will be covering more on the The English Food Market and also our meals in Cork. So keep an eye out tomorrow.

Monday, 3 March 2014

Pancake Tuesday- #FOODDAY Bananas Pancake Recipe






Recipe:
2 ripe bananas
2 eggs
1/4 teaspoon baking powder

Instructions:
Mash the bananas but make sure they are a bit lumpy to keep the pancakes fluffy. 

 In a separate bowl whisk the eggs and baking powder together.

 Add to the bananas and mix it all together.

Fry in a small amount of oil.

Serving suggestions:
  Agave nectar or apple sauce 


Ingredients Calories Carbs Fat Protein Sodium Sugar
Bananas - Raw, 2 large (8" to 8-7/8" long) 242 62 1 3 3 33 Ico_delete
Eggs - Whole, raw, 2 medium 129 1 9 11 123 1 Ico_delete
Dr Oetker - Baking Powder, 1/4 tsp 0 1 0 0 110 0 Ico_delete
           
                  Total: 371 64 10 14  236 34
                 
Per Serving: 186 32 5 7 118 17


Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Turn Your Man Into A Sapien Man- A Mini Review from Daddy


A while back I introduced you Surya Brasil in my mini series of Things that did not work for me, I had tried the henna powder but with my bleached hair they did not go hand in hand. Henna powder is not the only thing Surya Brasil has to offer and today I am introducing you to their Sapien Men Range.

Sapien Men Range is Surya Brasil first Men's cosmetic line and has Ecocert Organic Certification. 
It has:
  • No synthetic fragrance
  • No sulfates or phthalates
  • No petroleum by products
  • No silicone
  • No gluten


It specially formulated products for a man’s tougher skin. With citrus, spice and woody notes scents, all derived from pure essentials oil and ethically harvested plants and fruits from the Amazon.

A while back I kindly received the Sapien Men Shave Cream in a goody bag, with the other half not keen on shaving and always hosting a five o'clock shadow or a manly beard I passed it on to my father to give it a test.

Here is what Daddy had to say;
"I have used Sapien Shave Cream for my last 3 shaves. Each time I have had a very close shave using less strokes then I would normally use with my old shaving cream . My skin feels smoother and refresh after each shave. It really does give a closer shave as the I fine I have to shave less often because of the closer shave it gives. I also love the fragrance it leaves."

RRP:  €19.55/£17.00


I recently also received the Sapien Men Facial Scrub which will be up on the blog in a few weeks so keep an eye out.


Sapien Men is available from  www.yourtonic.com

Thanks to RDC Commucications for the photos and samples.
www.rdcommunications.ie
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