Friday, 29 June 2012

On Making Tough Desicions...

This is a personal post, something which I may share from time to time in my blog. If you know me In Real Life, you might not wish to have this much of an insight into my psyche...just sayin'.

I am terrible at making desicions. When it comes to making a hard desicion, my go-to plan is "wait long enough that the desicion makes itself". Possibly, this reluctance to take control of my own destiny lies in a lack of confidence in my ability to make the RIGHT desicion.

I am, therefore, the Queen Of Bad Desicions.

Sometimes, life forces you into a situation where you have to make a difficult desicion, and there isn't ayone or anything that can decide it for you. That is my least favourite feeling. The pressure of having to 'decide' or 'choose' anything puts me in a horrific mood until the process is complete. I consistantly rehash he possibilities and potentials of each option, going over and over all the potential outcomes in my head until I feel sick with worry.

I don't recommend this course of action. Neither am I proud of this ridiculous way of running my life. Over the last few weeks something has been weighing heavily on my mind. Something that I need to make a desicion about, make a choice that will affect the rest of my life.

This has got me thinking about other times in my life that I have tried to made big choices.

There was the time I had to decide whether or not to go back to work after having a baby. Obviously, I choose that having money and being solvent was a nessecity, but it's a desicion that I think about every single day that I leave my sleeping boy and go out of the door, knowing I'll be missing another development he makes, another funny thing he says. Then, there was the desicion to leave my last job, as a customer service advisor for a transport firm. I couldn't sleep that night, because I knew I didn't want to go back, but the fear of letting down the people who had relied on me was weighing heavily on my mind. Perhaps the fear there stemmed from having to TELL someone my desicion, having to let down the company that had invested in me...I think that might be whats bothering me now. In fact, most of my bad desicions have been a result of putting other peoples needs and desires before my own. Often I don't want to deal with emotional fallout from things I have done (I don't like people showing excess emotion anyway, this is something I am working on as I don't want my son to have these issues) and therefore will make the choice that sees the least comeback in terms of guilt, stress, drama or regret.

I just want to do the right thing and have a happy and successful life. I don't want to hurt anyone while doing it, and I need my little boy to be happy.

If it was just me, I guess things would be a lot easier but it's hard to take a small person into consideration too with every desicion you make.

So now I am at a crossroads and an important desicion has to be made. One the one hand, I know with all of my heart what I want to do...but the actual final step is the longest and hardest to make. My desire to avoid potential emotional fallout is causing a severe block in me dealing with the situation. Often, it's easier to just sit back and accept the bad desicions that I have made that have already led me to this point...or I could make a huge change and possiby be happier than I have ever been.

The weekend is here, and that gives a little more time for reflection and contemplation....

How do you make difficult desicions?

Wednesday, 27 June 2012


I've seen so many sweet DIY's that feature lace or a lace motif recently, here are some of my favourites.

So sweet and easy to make, would be perfect for a wedding centrepiece. I just don't get that lucky finding decent doilies.

I bet these cast beautiful patternon the wall, and would probably be safer for a longer-burning candle.

Change is afoot on one of my very favourite blog-reads, Elsie + Emma from A Beautiful Mess posted this DIY just after a total website overhaul. 

There are more indepth tutorials out there, but this is my favourite version of the lacey denim shorts trend that is knocking about all over pintrest at the moment. Adorable, and looks like it should be quite simple to achieve a similiar effect.

Here is a very much better and more detailed tutorial for these shorts :-)

I'm buying a new camera tomorrow, so expect to see some more pictures that I have taken on my blog in the coming months.


Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Tuesday Loves

Hi :-)

I am going to start a new series of links and images from the web that I want share :-) I often don't have much time in the week to blog, as I work a 9 hour job and also have a little boy and a life and a dog and all those other things that people tend to have...I haven't shared any pictures of my dog but I will soon. I warn you, she's a zombie-eyed beast.

I've been totally obsessed with nail tutorials on Pintrest;

This one is by me :-)

I just bought a new metallic gold from Barry M, so I can't wait to try this

Every time I have tried this effect it goes everywhere.  need to perfect my technique and love these colours

I'm tempted to try and make my own polish like this, using leftover glitter and bits, pretty huh?

I love the colour combo here

Follow me on Pintrest if you like these, I'm always pinning fun nail tutorials. Later on this week I will post the next stage in my twitter course, I've gone a little off-schedule but I promise the full course will be up in no time :-) 

Wednesday, 20 June 2012


I've been super busy at work, the next section of my Twitter course will be posted tomorrow evening. In the meantime, why not catch up on the two sessions so far?

Monday, 18 June 2012

Purple Clouds Nail Tutorial

Excuse me while I stray from the *twitter for beginners* course that my recent posts have been about. You can find it *here* or by clicking the 'Social Media' option above.

I've had a day off work today for a rather unglamourous reason, so I have been watching Peter Pan and working on this Purple Clouds nail tutorial. I think it would look super with dark blue, light blue and white.

Barry M is my favourite polish, they are only 2.99 a bottle and they come in the best range of colours, they go on thick and they last for days. I really can't see why I would spend an extra ten pounds on something I don't love as much.

I really love the way my camera picks up all the tiny hairs on my fingers. I clearly have Hobbit ancestors. I've painted a clear base coat and two careful coats of purple.

I've used light pink to make three lines, starting halfway up the nail. These don't have to be perfect, and don't worry if one coat seems very transparent against your darker background. Doesn't matter at all.

Start a little way further up and follow your previous lines to add the white. It helps to not have too much on the brush, and just use the corner.

Once the white is dry, you can blob on three purple blobs to the top of your nail. Follow the same pattern as the pink and white. You could also do another colour here if you wanted to get crazy. I'm just not that crazy.

Add a shiny top coat. You might need two to disguise the fact that you have 5 coats on the top part of your nail and 2 on the bottom, but after two coats of clear polish your nail surface will be smooth.

I'd love to see photos if this tutorial has inspired you! You can email me here.

From The Web...

I can't stop spending all my free time on Pintrest. Seriously, it's becoming a concern the amount of late nights I have spent sitting up, scrolling down and pinning. I have now got to the point where I am able to successfully view hundreds of things on Pintrest whilst also performing another activity, such as talking on the phone, eating my dinner, watching a film, driving. Okay maybe not the last one. I don't even drive.

Here are some of my favourite DIY's that I have seen this week. You can follow my DIY board here :-)

This is a necklace by Rebekah, isn't it just the most awesome thing you have seen? I don't think I am actually going to have the patience, or in fact, time, to sit and string that many beads. I'm the sort who spills them all on my lap, decides to leave them there instead of picking them out of my thighs, then forgets and stands up. So I try to avoid beading projects with lots of teeny pieces, but seriously love the Aztec vibe of this necklace and her super easy tutorial.

When I was younger I loved making friendship bracelets, I would stick to the basics though, knots and plaits. I don't think I was ever able to make something like this, from La Manufacture but I'm really tempted to dig out my embroidery thread and give it a bash. Don't you think summer is the best time to wear bracelets?

I wanted to show you some other DIY's but the links on Pintrest are telling me they go to spam. This makes me really sad, as the lacey shorts that I love now won't be adorning my backside until I can track down the right link. Anyway, happy pinning, and don't forget about my twitter e-course, links to day 1, Followers and day 2, Content, are below.

Have a great day x

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Twitter Redux - Free E-Course - Class 2 - Content

Welcome back :-)

Please see my previous post, Class 1 in my free Twitter course, Followers.

Thank you to everyone who has given me feedback on the last post, which was about followers. I love hearing that something I am doing is a little bit useful, it really makes me happy. Please don't be afraid to leave your twitter username in the comments section. I'll follow you, and you might even gain a few other followers too.

Exciting stuff!

This post is focused on:

Content is important because it's what keep people from losing interest. It helps, with social networking, to think of yourself as a brand, whether or not you are actually selling anything. 

You need to keep the people who have already bought into your brand interested by creating content that makes them want to interact with you. The basic fact is, you want them to trust you enough to click on your links. Eventually, you might want them to like you enough to try products that you might endorse. (Okay, I know, it's a long shot, but it *does* happen to bloggers, and has probably happened your favourite ones. Companies are itching for the credit from bloggers and tweeters with clout)

There are lots of ways to do that. Posting links to things or pictures you like, pimping out other tweeters and bloggers:
It's nice to link other people. You never know, people might return the favour. Plus it will help your followers build up a picture of what to expect from you as a tweeter. I like clicking links that my followers recommend. I use it as a way to interact with people. I always let people know I've followed their link and make (positive!) comment about what I thought.

I've made an infographic. Infographics are a bit of  trend at the moment, and are all about conveying information about a specific subject through a textual image.

It may not have fancy-schmancy drop shadows or handdrawn illustrations of birds singing in trees about the future of social media, but I think it gets my message across.

Finally, you can share photos on twitter too. I use the ubersocial app on my Blackberry, and I take photos with the very mediocre camera on it and upload them directly to twitter using the 'share' option on my Blackberry. I don't use Instagram because I am still clinging desperately to my Blackberry even though the screen has totally come apart.

Here are some pics I have posted over the last year on my stream, that I wouldn't otherwise have at all if it weren't for Twitter. Including such gems as 'Me eating a giant bag of crisps' and 'Me getting my hideous tattoo'

Pictures help your followers to see what you look like, obviously, but they serve a higher order. Every time you show someone a piece of yourself, you are letting them a little further into your life. And it's a personal connection, if they know what you look like, what your house is like. You wouldn't have a blog with no pictures, that would be dull. People can 'imagine' you talking if they know what your face looks like. People can imagine you doing things. It gives you a whole other dimension. 

If you aren't happy sharing pictures of your face, but still want to offer your followers a personal insight into your life, here is a list of things that you could photograph and post:
  • The shoes you are wearing
  • A pretty drink you are about to have
  • The view from your window
  • A shot of your make-up spread out
  • Your dinner, post-eating
  • Your wrist with your watch/bracelets
  • The back of your head with an interesting hairstyle
  • A shot of your wardrobe
  • Picture of your with sunglasses - hies a multitude of sins!
  • Shots of tattoos/piercings  that you have
  • Your pet in a funny position
  • A picture of some writing in your handwriting
I can't wait to hear if something that I have said is useful to you. Please post a comment :-)

Next class: Working on your layout, picture and 'branding'

Follow me on twitter here

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Twitter Redux - Free E-Course - Class 1 - Followers

Hii! Thank you for joining me! My name is Katie and I love social media, it's my favourite thing. After my son. And cake.

The next week will be packed full of posts about twitter, how to use it successfully for personal and (small) business purposes, and how to make money, connections and friends.

This is a beginners course. I won't be dealing with complex SEO queries relating to backlinking or metadata, so if you have questions about that you can email me and I'll endeavor to answer them to the best of my ability.

This was a really nice biscuit. I was walking around the supermarket, what sort of image shall I use for my first post? And where is the granola? I don't normally buy myself giant biscuits with sugar sheep, but it was a lovely I hope you like my picture.

So, followers.

I have, as of right now, 1,157 followers. I'm not a particularly prolific internet personality, I don't tweet about anything especially exciting for the average follower, but for some reason those people have all decided to stay with me, reading my tweets for the last two years.

We can safely say that some of them are no longer active (say, 20%?), but the rest are reading my tweets on a daily basis. Following my links, listening to me complain etc. I follow just over 200 people. I try to keep it below 200 because I don't have the time or inclination to stay connected to more than that amount of peoples lives - sometimes I slip over but I also keep track of who I am following and delete them is they become inactive.

I started off by choosing three or four companies whose image, products, ethos and personality I liked. I chose Etsy, Folksy and a few others. I also follow five or six celebrities who I have a genuine interest in, primarily ones that don't endorse products or only post links to their ticket-sales websites.

Then I looked at their followers, and I clicked down the list and followed the most recent 100 people of each of them. It only took about 60 seconds, because twitter makes it SUPER RIDICULOUSLY easy to mass-follow people by offering a one-click-no-page-reload button.

I know. It was crazy, right? Boy, was my feed filled with some crap. I even debated giving up, such was the rubbish that I was seeing every time I logged in to twitter. 90% of them followed me back, giving me a swift 400 followers in the space of a few days. This original number rapidly dropped as the individuals realised that I didn't tweet much/wasn't a hot guy/wasn't interesting to them. But a few stuck with me.

Over the course of the next week I deleted anyone who even slightly irritated me. I was ruthless. I still am now, if I follow someone, and they don't interest me or post things that annoy me (only promotional links, constant negativity, explicit content, loads of ads or spammy virus links, an irritating profile picture - I told you, I'm ruthless)

Some points to consider:
  • The best way to GET followers is to engage with people. 
  • The only way you can ENGAGE with people is by FOLLOWING people.
  • Interact with people - this will increase your exposure to others.
Here are some other ways I gain followers that might or might not be effective to you:

Facebook is a great way to connect with people who you already engage with daily. They should at least be mildly interesting to you, and probably won't unfollow you as quickly as random followers will if you aren't immediately interesting.

I like to keep my posts like this rare and a little tongue-in-cheek.

You could also try LinkedIn if you use it for personal use, creating a fun image that relates to your twitter name (so I might do a fun cloud picture) and posting it on Pintrest or any other social media site you can think of. The key is to come up with an idea that makes you seem totally engaging and like you have more to offer.

Blog Links Try linking your twitter from your blog posts. A little note on the end of each post saying something like, tomorrow I'll be tweeting live from the dentist - follow me *here* with a link to your twitter profile is more engaging and interesting that a static button that the eyes of your readers may skim over.

Next, a very important note...

I could write a whole blog post on why I HATE seeing people begging for people to follow them. But I won't. Because that would be even more boring than seeing these tweets come up on a daily basis. Instead, I'll condense my reasons into three succinct points.

  • 100% of the people who will see your tweet initially are already following you
  • The first time you do it, 1% of your followers might take pity on you and retweet
  • The 27th time, people are deleting you. They'll realise you aren't interesting enough for other people to follow, and therefore won't want to follow you.

Make it your mission to find 20 new people to follow. Over the next two days, engage with every single one of them at least once. Either by tweeting them direct using the '@username' tag, or by retweeting (The little square arrow button) a tweet you dislike.

Feel free to put your twitter name below, and I will follow you, and put a tweet out to all my followers to follow you to :-)

Tomorrow: Content.

Oh yes...follow me on twitter ;-)

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Twitter Redux

Some of you may remember that I once wrote a guide for twitter users who were interested in increasing the exposure of their crafty business. You can read it here, if you want.

Since then, there have been quite a few changes, and I have learnt a lot about twitter and the best ways to utilise it.

I would like to share what I have learnt for people who want to get started using twitter. Over the next week, I'll be posting daily about topics such as gaining and keeping followers, creating interesting and dynamic content for your twitter feed, editing your profile page, using hashtags, tweeting on the go, making money through twitter, and quite a bit more.

I hope you'll come along for the ride :-) Please follow my blog through your blog reader, and I'm also interested in comments, suggestions and constructive criticism.

Sunday, 10 June 2012


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Tuesday, 5 June 2012

A very Royal weekend!

After a bit of a false start, where we went to try and see the flotilla on Saturday but found all the trains into London were totally ram-packed and established it was too dangerous for our small guy, we finally made it to London on Sunday for the Jubilee concert.

The whole of London was strewn in red, white and blue.I don't think we've ever had such a strong bunting industry. I totally stole that joke from Rob Brydon, one of the concert presenters :-)

We sat for 7 hours on the road in front of the palace. There were 70,000 people filling the Mall, all dressed in red, white and blue, waving flags and celebrating the Queen's 60 year reign. Below is a pic from The Daily Mail website, the Mall is the long stretch of road off to the left, the people in the seats at the front won a ballot to sit in those prime spots. Lucky chuckers.

I had my very own flag to wave...

The sky was blue for about...10% of the day. At one point it rained and we donned binliners to keep us dry, but the weather wasn't enough to move us from our prime (ish) position, three flags up from the jubilee torch.

This was our view, just as the big screen flickered into life and started broadcasting some of the interviews with the concert participants. I saw Rolf Harris, Ed Sheran, Jessie J and Kylie, Elton John and Gary Barlow. All tiny specks in the very, very far distance.

My little boy had the best time waving his flag and shouting. I hope he remembers he was there when this is talked about in the future, what a great day to be British!

I've never been to anything like this before, it was overwhelming how many people camped out for so long, and how flag-wavingly enthusiastic (and tipsy) everyone was. We danced the night away to classic British songs and ate ridiculously overpriced burgers.


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