May 2016 - Rachel Ellen

Monday, 30 May 2016

Blogging Goals and Achievements
I don't know if anybody has or hasn't noticed, but in May I have really upped my blogging game. 

I have been blogging since February 2014, over two years ago! In that time I've made 86 posts (this is my 87th). My view count has` been up and down and so has my posting frequency! I started the blog as an opportunity to write frequently. I knew hardly anything about blogging apart from the theory of it from my degree, I didn't realise many people still did it! But I got stuck in head first!

Some people grow extremely quickly in blogging, some people are experts before they write their first post. My growth has been slow, as has my learning. Only last year did I make a Twitter page specifically for my blog and put my old Twitter on private. 

So for May I decided I would really sort my blogging-self out, it's about time! I've always wanted to post twice a week, any more and I would run out of things to post, any less and I wouldn't be active enough. So here are a few of the goals I had and how I feel I achieved them, or need to improve still!

1. Frequent posting 

As I have already mentioned, I have chosen to post twice a week, this has been on Mondays and Thursdays. These days fit nicely into my schedule, they have time in between to be able to write the next post if needed and I can advertise my post appropriately that day.  All my May posts are linked below in case you missed any!

Podophobia - 05/05/16
Shoes For Podophobes - 09/05/16 (my most viewed post ever, so pleased!)
Quotes to live by - 12/05/16
NYX Haul - 16/05/16
How I Plan to Save Money - 19/05/16
Where's the World That Doesn't Care? - 23/05/16
Plaits 'R' Us! - 26/05/16
Blogging Goals and Achievements (this one) - 30/05/16

My individual post views have gone up since posting more frequently, I think it's easy to underestimate how much of a difference that makes!

2. Improve online presence 

Social media is essential for blogging, although I don't use it all, Snapchat blogging isn't for me right now! Twitter is the main one that I use @_RachelEllen is my handle. I use it to advertise my blog, to interact with other bloggers and whoever else may want to contact me.

On Twitter there are things called blogger chats, I think there's at least one for every day of the week for every kind of niche and interest. For those of you who don't know, blogger chats are hosted by a particular page and 4/5 questions are asked over an hour to engage bloggers and get us talking to each other! It's a great way to talk to people, to find new blogs and to get more traffic to your blog. Below is a screen shot of the Tweet Activity from one of my tweets in a blogger chat

Of course not enormous amounts of people but I was so excited by this!

Along with blogger chats, I've tried to interact with more bloggers on Twitter, something that can be difficult when I work so much but I'm trying to get better! My twitter followers have gone up quite a lot this month which is really encouraging!

3. Highest viewed month

Now, as we always say in blogging, numbers don't matter so I won't be posting any numbers of views (it's definitely not high don't worry!)

I decided not to aim for a particular number but to just aim to have the highest amount of views in a month that I've ever had, which I've more than managed! The below graph shows the amount of views each month since I started blogging, as you can see, May 2016 is by far the highest! This is accurate as of 26/05/16 evening.

Through the month my views varied, the last day I had zero days was 11th May so I feel like I've had quite a good run for views! I've used Google Analytics below as I've been told the views are much more accurate. (still no actual numbers though, nosy!)

I'm really pleased overall with this months views!

4. Improve photography

My forever goal! So many bloggers are really incredible at photography, but also have access to really great equipment! I do feel like my pictures have slightly improved, I have upgraded from Samsung S4 mini to an IPhone SE, the quality of pictures is so much better, now I just need to remember to block take at weekends when I get daylight! Here's a few that I have taken this month, my best photos are in my NYX Haul Post, so proud of some of those!

So overall I'm really pleased with how May has gone blogging wise, now onto June and let's see if I can further improve!

What do you aim for each month with your blog?

Have you learnt anything from this post?

Thanks for reading,

Rachel xx 

Thursday, 26 May 2016

Plaits 'R' Us!

Like many people, recently I've been trying out many different plaits. I think they make such nice hairstyles and keep your hair off your face!

For ages I couldn't do french plaits, I just couldn't get my head around it, I felt like I needed three more arms, several more fingers and a lot less hair! But because I was seeing them more and more I decided I wanted to learn. My poor mum became my model whilst I was practising, three brothers isn't very helpful! (neither is her hair, I thought I had a lot of hair but hers is SO thick *sorry mum*)

I actually figured it out after watching a Zoella video (this one, she does 4 hairstyles in the video) But she does dutch braids instead of French which I find so much easier! Dutch braids are essentially the same as French but instead of plaiting the strands over each other, you plait them under. See Zoella's video if that makes no sense!

I'm still not perfect at them, I find it really hard to pull hair tight as I am really head sore! But the best piece of advise from that video was to not look in the mirror when you do them as it is so much more complicated to try and watch yourself!

 Next I tried a single dutch braid, which I love, it goes so thick and keeps my hair out of my way, although it fell out a lot through the day due to the layers in my hair! Reminder, don't have layers cut in next time Rachel! I say this everytime and always forget! Yes I do have squishy shoulders on this picture from the angle that I took it!

 Most recently I've figured out how to do french plaits in my fringe area, I've found this so hard to figure out, I watched a video by Missy Sue which is here, and she explained it so easily and gave other variations depending on what you want! The only thing that ruins it is my large amounts of broken/baby hair!

 I just need to wait for my hair to be a bit longer and I can start with my fish tail plaits again which I think are really pretty!

What plaits do you like? Do you struggle to do them too?

Thanks for reading

Rachel xx

Monday, 23 May 2016

Where's the World That Doesn't Care?

So last night, I finally (finally, as in, waiting since I'd first heard of them in 2002 when I was 8) saw Busted live, yes complete Busted, with Charlie, no Mcfly, just my boys. See picture above, red circle is roughly where I was sat.

A little bit of a throwback, What I Go to School For came out first, and I loved it, Year 3000 came out second. I remember going into the kitchen on a Sunday and asking my mum if Busted had got number 1 (they hadn't) and she said "oh do you like them!? and within a week had brought me their Year 3000 single home, yes a CD with a single on, not an MP3. However lyrics including "triple breasted women"? nevermind! I was a happy little 8 year old anyway.

I followed the band for their two years, trying to see every Top Of the Pops appearance, trying to see every music video (much more difficult back then) and every interview. I have this vague memory of Charlie being on something like Jonathan Ross or Never Mind the Buzzcocks and being really annoyed when I was told I had to go to bed, nightmare!

From their second album, Meet You There was always one of my favourites, the title of this post is from that song! Recently Busted did a new recording of this (here) at Abbey Road which was just as good as the original, but I really feel their voices have matured (not James', his is exactly the same!) They had a separate stage further back in the arena, right in front of me, to sing this and another song. The little set up was gorgeous with a piano, drums, a rug and the lights as shown in the picture above, so lovely!

 An attempted panoramic shot, doesn't quite do the arena justice with all those phone lights, it was eerily bright!

I had both of their albums and then they released Thunderbirds Are Go and I loved it but of course couldn't listen to it other than hoping it came on the radio (what's streaming anyway - so retro). My friend Kerrie (who came with me last night to the gig) had the single and she said she'd lend it to me for a week. I swear I have never, EVER listened to a song so much within a week. I wanted to know every word, every note, every detail before I had to give it back! I couldn't wait to get home from school and put it on repeat, and yes my CD player had that function. 

Last night they played through their classics and three new songs which are sounding quite good. I'm excited to listed to the whole album they're making. But I really wish they'd get rid of the electronicky sound they keep trying (see Coming Home by Busted)

It was a really great night, so fun, kind of emotional (sad I know). I really felt like Charlie was happy playing there with the rest of Busted, it could all be fake but his smile really did seem genuine!

I know what a lot of you are thinking, if you've even made it this far, why's she being so soft about Busted? They're just a little pop band. But in a silly way they are kind of special, I adore them for nostalgic reasons, Year 3000 was the first single I'd ever had (I'd had albums before, Spice Girls, S Club 7), their poster was the first on my wall, I've probably listened to their music overall more than anything else I own. I feel they paved the way for my music taste through my teenage years and even now  

Like many fans, I spent a long time hating Charlie and his other musical endeavours, but recently I've listened to his solo stuff and actually its really good! I'd really advise you listen to it.

Busted were amazing last night, so glad I saw them!

Let me know what you thought of any of their gigs that you've been to. Did you go the first time around?

Thanks for reading,

Rachel xx   

Thursday, 19 May 2016

How I Plan to Save Money

September will bring the start of my Masters course, I'm scared and excited in equal measures. Unfortunately a big part of me being scared is to do with money. Although the government are doing a student loan starting in September (which I have mentioned several times in different posts, sorry if I'm boring you haha!), money is still going to be more than tight for me.

So here are a few ideas for how I plan to save as much money as possible before September.

1. Using up as much of my make up as possible, if we ignore the three NYX products I bought and wrote about (here), I've done quite well at not buying make up recently, no matter how tempted I have been! I'm on the pan for so many products, look at those pictures below if you don't believe me!

 That concealer was about 2 inches long when I started!

Monday, 16 May 2016

NYX Haul

 A Haul? Am I officially a blogger now that I've used that word?

So NYX, a lot of people have heard of the brand by now, if not, it's a relatively cheap make up brand which has just recently come to the UK, I've seen it in Selfridges in the Trafford Centre but I believe it is coming to Boots stores too. I'll let you know the prices of all these products as I review them. 

I am by no means a make up expert, but I hope I can give a decent review!

NYX Eye Shadow Base - White (I didn't even know there was other colours!) - £5.50

I have never used an eye shadow base before but I've had trouble with my eye shadow creasing lately (sweaty eyelids - TMI) So I thought I'd try it out, I am in no way willing to pay for the Urban Decay one no matter how good I'm told it is.

Because I've never tried something like this before I was very surprised by it. It actually applies white onto your eyelids (lighter as you spread it out but still visible) and it was very creamy. I applied it with an eye shadow brush but I think finger application would be good too. I wore it with Loreal eyeshadow (this one) over the top for about 5 hours and didn't have any creasing (which is great for me and that eye shadow!)  However when I wore it with a mix of a Revlon and a Rimmel eye shadows in the evening at a party I got creasing after only a few hours, maybe I was just a little too warm!

I think I might need a little more practice with it, I can see me using it a lot with the hope that it stops creasing!

NYX Eyebrow Cake Powder in Black/Grey - £5.50

Thursday, 12 May 2016

Quotes To Live By

Now I'm not one of these people who posts, inspirational, fitspirational posts that mean nothing all day long. But there a few small quotes that I find important.

Firstly, this is by Conficius a "Chinese teacher, editor, politician and philosopher of the Spring and Autumn Period of Chinese History" according to Wikipedia:

"The man who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones"
Of course, I'm not trying to move any mountains, but when you feel like you're not achieving much, in life, in education, in your career, in whatever you're doing, it's easy to forget that the little things matter. You might still be building up to your goal.

Next is a quote that's been hanging around on the internet for a long time, a quote by Yoko Ono:

Monday, 9 May 2016

Shoes for Podophobes
As mentioned in my Podophobia post, here is my list of summery shoes currently available that cover your toes. I feel like this should be a filter for all websites, it's not only freaks like me that need shoes with your toes covered, sometimes it's a work requirement!

First of all Asos, I find they have such a large selection of everything although I haven't actually ordered many things from there.

Firstly for the lace up trend, (Ghillies are they called? I'm definitely not a fashion blogger), these are great, and a really nice blue colour, the detailing on them is so pretty! Link here

Next are these lovely yellow flats, I don't think I've ever owned yellow shoes before, or had any desire too but I love these! Link here. They also have them in black if yellow is a little too daring.

Next New Look, I'm a big fan of New Look shoes, there's so much choice and they tend to have inexpensive comfy shoes. These tan sandals look great and still give your feet air to breathe. Although I think I tried these ones on and they weren't very comfy on my toes, try these before buying! Link here.

Thursday, 5 May 2016

Podophobia is the fear of feet, although I wouldn't quite say I have a fear, but it's definitely more than a disliking. I think it's more that I find them gross than I'm actually scared of them.

Ironically, when you search podophobia, and half the articles about it there are pictures of feet, what a bad image to have on there! So for my post I'm going to share animal feet pictures instead.