11 September 2017

Why You Need To Pay Your Creatives

Why you need to pay your creatives, social media Hampshire, Hampshire blogger

There seems to be a growing trend in brands and businesses to ask free services from creatives, and I'm not loving it. As someone who works for both sides of the business, a blogger and a marketeer, I have many opinions on this matter, and just so happens that my blog is the space where I will express these opinions.

Firstly, when I say creatives I'm talking about a wide pool of creatives: bloggers, photographers, designers, writers, social media gurus, videographers. There is a wide pool of people with creative talents and passions - but simply because they are not selling a physical item, suddenly their asking price becomes ridiculous and they are expected to perform their services for pennies or worst of all - for free. Why?

Brands and businesses work because customers buy their products. This is how the CEO's, managers, staff and anyone else involved is able to get paid and come back to a warm house, cooked dinner, and paid for bills. So why are the same people who understand how businesses work expecting creatives to give away their sales to customers for free? Because as a business or a brand, you become a customer to a creative.

This article was inspired by several real life situations not only I, but also my fellow creative friends, have been faced with in the last few months. There are three points of view I'd like to talk about in this article, all which answer one question: why should you pay a creative?

Why you should pay your social media manager:

Brands and businesses employ professionals to work on budgets, manage clients, find new business, design adverts and websites, edit photos, etc - the list goes on and I'm sure I don't need to tell you why you employ staff. Employing a social media manager is just like any other specialist: because you don't know how to make the most of this digital marketing tool, you don't have a strategy, you don't have the time, and trust me managing social media for business is not the same as sharing a post of pugs dressed up as dinosaurs on Facebook.

Most of my clients come to me because of the above reasons: they don't know how to use social media to its full ability, or they simply don't have the time because they need to run their business. But they know you need social media marketing these days for a number of reasons, which you can read here.

A social media manager comes in to your strategy for several reasons: to create a strategic approach to social, create content which is both engaging and valuable when it comes to SEO, teach the team how to use social media, manage it (which trust me is a 24hr job), analyse the results, and ultimately help you hit your KPIs. You're paying this person because they have a degree in marketing, years of experience of the role; they are a qualified professional, not a hobbyist college student. And at the end of the day, you get what you pay for: you scrimp out on your specialist costs, and you'll get mediocre work; you spend the money on professional services, and you will see results and quality of work.

Plus, you need to think about the software you're going to use to make beautiful branded graphics for your content, scheduling tools, analysing tools - these all cost money, and social media managers have these tools to be able to give you the best they digitally can.

On this note, here's a shameless plug if you want to talk to me about social or digital media: Dalry Rose Digital Services.

Why you should pay a blogger for working with you:

A blogger gets hundreds of emails a month from brands asking to collaborate, talking about how much they like the look of the blog; the style of writing; the beautiful photography; oh and you have a loyal social media following who will read your blog too! This makes you an attractive outlet for advertisement. Because let's not beat around the bush - blogger collaborations are advertising, doesn't matter how you want to paint it. We're all big girls (and boys) here.
So the blogger falls in love with the brand, their ethos and their products and agrees to a collaboration because they feel their readers will love it too. And the negotiations for the project start. Let's break it down though:

What a brand gets from a blogger/vlogger collaboration:

- Beautiful imagery / video to use across their digital channels
- SEO key worded content
- Exposure to a loyal readership
- Social media promotion
- Endorsement
- Review to use on the brands website/social
- Advertising of product/service/event/whatever

How much work goes into a blog post:

- Photoshoot of the product, which may involve a professional photographer when it comes to clothing shots or any other shots when the blogger has to be in the photo
- Time to review the product or service
- Time to trawl through the photos/video footage
- Time to edit the photos/footage
- Time to write the post, then edit it, and ensure it's SEO friendly
- Create content for social media, schedule it all

What a blogger gets from a brand collaboration:

- A free product or service, worth anywhere from a fiver to thousands of pounds
- Do not even go there with me but as this is a selling point for brands you also apparently get 'exposure'

Now someone like me has bills to pay, and mouths to feed, and my blog is a big part of my overall business which is where my income comes from - please can you tell me how exposure is going to pay for me to live? As a brand, you choose to come to a blogger because you want to advertise your product or service, and your ultimate goal is to get more money from it. But it's not fair to use a creative for all the services mentioned above, and not offer them monetary compensation, whatever your budget.

Blogging is quickly becoming a recognisable business and a career, catching up with advertising and traditional press. To advertise for one month in my local Parish magazine will cost you anywhere from £200 - £500, and their readership is 2,000. My monthly readership on average is 5,000 individuals, most of whom are from the UK, visiting my blog multiple times for new posts - theoretically that means that I should be charging hundreds of pounds for a post, but 9/10 there is no budget allocated for a project.

What we failed to mention is also the costs that bloggers need to keep up with: cameras, lenses, editing software, scheduling tools, photographers and videographers - all of these things that make our work great cost us money.
So as a brand who wants beautiful content for their advertising, it's only fair you support the creative who makes this beautiful content.

Why you should hire a professional photographer or videographer:

In 2017 we have seen a rise in photo and video content across digital media - people simply don't want to read long articles (sorry pals, I know this one is a tad lengthy!) but get the message within seconds though the use of photo and video content. As a brand you need to keep on top of these trends to give your customers what they want - but here I would strongly advise quality over quantity.
Yes, maybe paying a couple of grand for a video or photoshoot seems steep, but when it comes to your visual content you simply cannot afford to be cheap. I have seen so many examples of videos gone bad - I'm talking businesses filming videos in their messy personal living room, with a wonky camera set up, and their kids screaming in the background. Stop it. Pay your creative and create 2-3 minutes of content which you can use across all of your digital media, chop and change, and it will be beautiful, and it will bring you more customers. Same goes for photoshoots and your photographer.

These professionals not only rely on their creative eye, but also on a lot of technical equipment which costs thousands of pounds. When you're not paying their fees, you're not allowing them to grow and do the best they can for you because they simply can't buy equipment. Simples, really. Same goes for professional editing software.

Whilst we're here and throwing recommendations, here's a brilliant videographer I work with on my own business and as a creative parter, Heidi Bawden.

Why I want to pay creatives as a digital marketeer working with brands and budgets:


Because I wouldn't walk into Primark expecting Prada standard for £1.

I'd love to hear your thoughts and opinions on this topic, whether you're a creative or a marketeer - comments below and let's get the conversation going!
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7 September 2017

Paint Workshop with Eliza Rose, Wickham

Eliza Rose paint workshop in Wickham, Hampshire blogger, UK lifestyle blog

I have been following the Eliza Rose shop (aka Simone) on Instagram for quite some time - she is the queen of up cycling and inspiring Nordic style home decor! Not only do I get home inspiration from Simone, but also my homeward wish list keeps growing every time I visit her page, or online shop.

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3 September 2017

Graze Festival, Twyford

Graze Festival in Twyford, Hampshire blogger, UK lifestyle blog, Hampshire food festivals

I was invited to come along and experience Graze Festival during the August Bank Holiday - Graze Festival is a family friendly food and drink festival held in Twyford, just outside of Winchester. I love food festivals, in fact it's probably what I look to the most during the summer months (and Christmas!). I have to admit I haven't heard of Graze Festival before I was invited to go, but the festival has been running for a few years now.
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2 September 2017

Restaurant Review: The Peat Spade Inn, Stockbridge

The Peat Spade Inn Hampshire, Hampshire blog, Hampshire food blog, food blog, Hampshire lifestyle blog

Country pubs are one of the worlds wonders: they're all about cosy atmosphere, friendly staff, beautiful surroundings, delicious locally sourced food, and of course a large Merlot please. I love discovering new countryside pubs and Hampshire never disappoints me - and neither did the Peat Spade Inn. 

The Peat Spade Inn is tucked away in Longstock, Stockbridge - and if it wasn't for the sign pointing to it, or the satnav navigating most cars, I don't think many people would know where to find this little foodie gem. The Peat Spade has a great reputation around the town where I live and it's been on my radar for ages, but I haven't visited until recently when we decided to give it a go for my belated birthday get together with Heidi. 

We settled in the cosy dining area with tartan decor and hunting/fishing lodge vibes and ordered a meal to pig out on.

The Peat Spade Inn Hampshire, Hampshire blog, Hampshire food blog, food blog, Hampshire lifestyle blog

For starters we had a couple of bar snacks because they looked great: crispy squid rings and deep fried whitebait. The crispy squid was delicious, and the rings were huge! Paired with a lemon mayonnaise or a little bit of salsa, they tasted great. Same with the whitebait - I love deep fried whitebait and the crumbs on these little fishes were delicious. These little bites are great if you don't want to fill up before your main meal but still want something to snack on before the main event. Or, simply enjoyed with a cold pint in the summer!

The Peat Spade Inn Hampshire, Hampshire blog, Hampshire food blog, food blog, Hampshire lifestyle blog
The Peat Spade Inn Hampshire, Hampshire blog, Hampshire food blog, food blog, Hampshire lifestyle blog
The Peat Spade Inn Hampshire, Hampshire blog, Hampshire food blog, food blog, Hampshire lifestyle blog

There was no question when it comes to mains: I just had to have the dry aged beef burger with wild mushrooms, truffle mayonnaise, fries and a salad; and Heidi opted for the butternut squash, Violetta artichoke and feta tart, with baby leaf salad.
I have this thing for burgers in country pubs - if I've never been before, I have to order a burger and judge the pub by how they make it. Weird, I know - but there is thought behind it. If a pub can cook a burger to be medium/rare, to me this means the quality of the beef is great, they use fresh products not frozen, and it sets the scene for the rest of the food. Cremated, dry burgers are not my thing and it's simply a disappointment when burgers like that come out. This burger was juicy, cooked medium to well done but not dry at all, with a delicious blue cheese sauce and a cute little gherkin to top it off! I really enjoyed this burger, and I want to come back for it again - I'll have to take Liam for a meal there so he can experience this beautiful taste sensation! Heidi really enjoyed her butternut squash tart which looked delicious and very filling too!

The Peat Spade Inn Hampshire, Hampshire blog, Hampshire food blog, food blog, Hampshire lifestyle blog
The Peat Spade Inn Hampshire, Hampshire blog, Hampshire food blog, food blog, Hampshire lifestyle blog

We had to go for dessert because it looked so delicious - Heidi opted for a tiramisu and I had the trio of sorbets: blood orange, mango, and salted caramel. Yum! We had a really nice meal with delicious food and a beautiful atmosphere - I can imagine The Peat Spade Inn is even more beautiful in and cosy in the winter time. I'd really recommend visiting this Hampshire foodie gem - book in advance to avoid disappointment!
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1 September 2017

Haircutie - The Natural Solution For Gorgeous Locks

Haircutie Review, hair growth tips, lifestyle blog, UK beauty blog

Hands up how many of you get frustrated that you hair doesn't seem to grow as fast as some of your friends? Or that split ends appear immediately after you've been to the hairdresser? Or that regardless of how much conditioner or hair oil you use, frizz is still a very real thing? I've got my hand up.
My hair has always been my pride - ever since I managed to tell my mother to stop giving me a bob with a fringe (from 3 until I was about 8 this was the haircut I constantly had), I embraced long hair. But as with anyone, there comes a point in your life when you have the most dire experience with a hairdresser and lose your gorgeous locks.

I was asked to be a 'model' for Toni & Guy for a girl I kind of vaguely knew, but I was very keen on getting my face out there as a model back then. I was 17, and had completely different dreams and ambitions from what I have now - it was all about big cities, fast living, fame, and fortune - whereas now it's all about countryside quiet, muddy walks with dogs, big glasses of wine in a cosy pub, and yeah still fortune in there somewhere! Anyway, I agreed to model under two conditions: any colour that was put in my hair will be removed and returned to normal; I was happy for a restyle, however I did not want to lose any length from my gorgeous, down to my belly button locks. They agreed and we proceeded to style for the annual Toni & Guy awards.

I came out of that salon with pink hair, and a bob just barely past my shoulders.

To say I was fuming was an understatement. I literally felt like I could kill that girl. I had to get hair extensions to feel comfortable in myself again, and spent the next few years trying to grow my hair which decided it just wasn't going to. Ever since then, I only use one hair dresser who I trust 100% and know she won't chop off anything I ask her not to.
Anyway, I wanted to share that story with you because I know how hair can make people feel, and if you're not happy with it, then a hairstyle can effect your self confidence.

Haircutie Review, hair growth tips, lifestyle blog, UK beauty blog

The lovely girls at Haircutie offered to send me a tub of their magical natural balm which promises to condition hair and support hair growth - and I'm all up for that! Haircutie is a 100% natural balm which contains:

  • organic coconut oil
  • organic shea butter
  • sweet almond oil
  • castor oil
  • organic chia seed oil
  • olive oil
  • avocado oil

All of these ingredients play a part in keeping hair and scalp healthy and nourished, resulting in healthier hair. You are advised to use the balm 2-3 times a week, by taking a generous handful and melting it in your palms, then rubbing all over the scalp and roots as well as the ends of your hair. Leave on for 30min, or if your hair is in need of major TLC then leave on for 2hrs. Wash off the balm with shampoo - it takes me two washes to ensure all of the product is washed off!

I saw results immediately - after the first wash my hair was shiny and smooth, bye frizz! Seriously though I was surprised at how soft my locks were. And it only improves from there - you will see results in length growth in about 2 months after using the product. I have started to use it once a week only because my hairs condition has really improved so for me it's up keeping it now.

Want to know the best part? Haircutie don't test on animals, and are vegan friendly! So this product really does tick all of the boxes: animal friendly, natural, organic, vegan friendly, and effective.

What do you think of Haircutie? Do you want to give this a go? Also, I'd love to hear your hairdresser horror stories so I don't feel like I'm the only one - comment below!
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28 August 2017

How To Find Clients As A Freelancer

how to find clients as a freelancer, how to start your own business, Hampshire lifestyle blog, Dalry Rose

One of the topics which comes up in the mind of anyone thinking of starting their own business is 'How do I find clients?' - and keep clients coming back for more. It's also a question I get asked all the time by you entrepreneurs wanting to start their own business. In less than a year I worked with 9 clients on 37 projects, and have been able to sustain my business as well as my financial needs. I'm literally a step away from hitting my annual target, and I have two months to reach this goal so it's all go at Dalry Rose Hampshire HQ right now!

So how do you find, win, and keep clients as a freelancer? Here are 6 tips which really helped me kickstart my business and I swear by these methods!

1. Start a blog. Dalry Rose blog was what helped me go freelance and gave me the ability to quit my 9-5 office job, and I'm so grateful for all the opportunities my blog has been able to give me. From starting a blog (previously FashionFake) as a hobby, it has grown into my website and portfolio - which is exactly why you need to start a blog. Your blog will showcase your work and position you as an expert in your field of work - the beauty of a blog is that it's your own space on the internet and you can show/say whatever you want on it. But remember - your blog is a professional portfolio when you run your own business - you need to think of it like a CV!

2. Attend local networking events. You'll meet the businesses around you, get a chance to talk to people about what you do and introduce them to your services, and put your name on the map. Don't be discouraged if nothing comes from the first networking event you go to - I spent nearly every evening for two months around Hampshire networking events to introduce myself and my business, and met some lovely clients through these events.

3. Tell everyone what you're doing. Your family, friends, twitter, Facebook, Instagram - you never know who may be looking for services which you are offering! Post your services on local Facebook pages. You need to shout about what you're doing, and get people talking - especially in the local community.

4. Go the extra mile. Go and meet people to talk to them face to face. Tailor your proposals to suit exactly what their business needs. Go through the proposal with them to ensure all questions are answered. When you're working for yourself, you can really focus and build relationships with businesses and help them understand why they should go with you, and not another freelancer/agency.

5. Be responsive. One paint point I have learned from working with businesses this year is that if you take 10 days to reply to their email, and a month to complete a task which could be done in a day, you're not likely to get their business. Yes, of course there are times at which we can't come to emails like personal reasons, but this is where you need to be clear with your clients and let them know you're not ignoring them.

6. Be really great at what you do. Be so incredible that your clients can't leave you, businesses want a meeting with you, and your results at the month really show why your clients employed you in the first place. Because when you produce incredible work, have a positive attitude, and are really approachable then brands will have no reason not to work with you!

These are a few quick tips to get you started if you're looking into going freelance - they sure helped me when I made the decision to start my own digital and social media management business! As always, feel free to ping me any questions whether it's in the comments below, on my email, or on social!
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27 August 2017

Introducing New CID Cosmetics

New CID Cosmetics review, lifestyle blog, UK beauty blog

I want to introduce you to New CID Cosmetics, a UK based brand which promises to deliver professional quality makeup with easy to use products. New CID Cosmetics was created out of a leading hair, makeup and photography salon when Kelly Colman, the Founder of New CID Cosmetics, listened to the demands of thousands of women talking about their wishes and needs for simple to apply makeup.
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26 August 2017

Places To Visit: Glastonbury, Somerset

Things to do in Glastonbury, Glastonbury town, UK lifestyle blog, Glastonbury Tor
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25 August 2017

Day In The Life Of A Freelance Digital Media Manager

freelance social media manager, lifestyle blog, career blog, Hampshire social media

I'm going to let you in on a secret - the usual day of a digital media manager isn't very glamorous, for most of us anyway. I know that a lot of you have been thinking about going freelance for a while, and have asked what it's really like to be a freelance digital and social media manager. So I've decided to let you in on a day spent as a digital media manager - but you can't even take this as gospel because some days are a lot busier, and some days are spent on the couch thinking why have I got no work today??! (PS, you'll quickly learn there's always something to do, even if it's not client work you can spend that time on your own marketing). And also, I know a lot of people say this about their work days but literally no day is ever the same - all of the projects are different, and your schedule will largely vary on your clients.

6am - My alarm goes off. I hit snooze several times because we all do that, and I eventually get up at 6:30am. I get myself ready for the day, whilst checking my phone to reply to any social media messages and catch up on what's been going on. I try and check the news too, but Twitter usually tells me everything I need to hear.

6:45am - It's time to walk the dog, feed the dog, make sure the house bunny is happy and has everything he needs for the day. I grab some breakfast (the first thing I can find to eat on the go), down a glass of water and get set for the day. Whilst I do this, I usually post my first Instagram for the day - this is for my own business and blog.

7:30am - I log into my clients Instagam accounts to check activity and post their first post of the day. We calculate ultimate posting times and these are very similar across the board because my clients are mostly UK and European businesses, and have a similar audience. So I post their posts which I edit and write out earlier then save to drafts, reply to comments, interact with accounts I think would be great to involve in our community. By the time I've finished working on Instagram, it's time for a cup of tea or coffee. 

9am - My working day officially starts. I try to stick to a working day of 9-5 the majority of the time because as a freelancer you realise that it's too easy to either work too much, or allow yourself too much downtime. Plus, this sets a structure for my clients who know that I will respond between those hours. I check my emails, and start writing a list of everything I have to do today, and prioritise my tasks. I work with clients on either an hourly or daily basis, sometimes clients book out several days a week in which case that day will be spent on them, and sometimes they book a monthly hourly allocation of my time - this is the kind of day I will have today. I mainly work from my home office, however sometimes I pop into the creative studio to keep Heidi company whilst she's editing videos, or sometimes I work when I'm away - coffee by the seaside kind of morning? Now that's a morning I know I will enjoy. 

10:30am - I've just about got through the bulk of my emails and have a plan for the day. I start with Account #1 who need new graphics designed for their social media, an updated weekly schedule with new content, and website SEO management. I love creating graphics for social media - you can have so much fun with what you want to portray across and it's actually fun following brand guidelines just to see how far you can push them! They also need an end of month update on how the accounts are growing, so I need to think about my report. At the end of their hourly allocation, I send my clients what I have worked on and wait for their reply.

It's usually around this time I also try to squeeze in some blogging and self promotion - this is very important but gets left behind a lot of the time because like I keep saying, paying clients come first! Those bills ain't gonna pay themselves, ya know?

1:30pm - Lunch break! Usually I'm home for lunch to let the dog out, and eat freshly made grub rather than a stale sandwich or soggy salad. I have definitely cut down on my food spending since becoming freelance, and have been eating healthier. I have total control over what I eat and am not usually dictated by short lunch breaks, or someone telling me I have to work through lunch. So I take an hours break to spend time with the dog, eat my food, and have a little bit of a chill (ok, maybe a nap. I nap a lot).

2:30pm - I start on Account #2 for that day, who have just had a photoshoot with me so I now need to edit the photos and send to them for use on their website. I LOVE editing photos, it's literally like my downtime at work - choosing what photos are the best, correcting anything that needs correcting, playing around with black and white photography... This is one of my favourite parts of my day. Although editing 50 photos from about 400 can sometimes be daunting and take me a little while, I can this whilst listening to some of my favourite podcasts (Lore, and Unexplained are always on my iPhone) or a new playlist on Spotify. I also try and keep an eye on any urgent emails which come in throughout the day - and respond to the ones who really can't wait and need an answer ASAP.
It can be really difficult to keep on top of emails some days - my inbox is full of client mail and blogger projects, a few weeks ago after a short break I came back to hundreds of emails which I'm still getting through. Sorry everyone! But client and paid work will always take priority, which is why this year my blog has been a little quieter - I'm still figuring out a rhythm to get everything done and not drive myself crazy.

4:30pm - Photos are edited and sent! Boom! I now need to plan a photoshoot for later in the week for lifestyle brand photography. This requires planning, mood boarding, making sure I have everything I need so there's no last minute panic. I work closely with my client to make sure we capture their brand. At the same time, I'm planning several new client meetings for next week, and a social media training session with a local business.

5:30pm - I've logged off from my emails - not coming back until 9am tomorrow morning! Or so I say. I take some time to unwind, call my mum for a quick catch up and plan dinner. Cooking in the evening is my downtime - it relaxes me, gives me time away from the screen and it's also so social because I love having people over for dinner! This time, Heidi is coming over for dinner before we head off for a networking evening in our local community. Networking events are a great way to meet new clients, get your name out there, and meet likeminded business owners. Before she comes over, I walk the dog, feed the animals and make sure they're happy for another couple of hours. 

6:15pm - We eat dinner, have a catch up, and get prepped for the networking event. Post some Instastories or a gram if I have something fun to say! Check my client accounts.

7pm - We arrive at the networking event held in a local business centre, and immediately get involved in conversations getting to know people and their businesses. It's really exciting who you can meet, for example I found out that one of my favourite jewellery brands is actually working from a HQ 5 minutes away from where I live! Even if you live in a small town, you shouldn't ever dismiss local networking events because you never know who you may come across. These events usually last between 1-2 hours, in that time I have made some new connections and have a meeting scheduled with one of the business owners I met that evening.

9pm - Hot bath, comfy pjs, cup of tea, and GOT catch up. Post a last photo of the day on Instagram and check client accounts. So much for logging off at 5pm! Being a freelance social media manager means you're really working 24hrs a day because you just can't stay away from knowing what the accounts are doing. I fall asleep whilst watching Family Guy.

3am - Oh, what's that? 3am - the dog's by the back door asking to go out, for no reason at all. He just stands in the garden and I want to scream because tiredness is real right now. It's this late at night or early in the morning when my brain starts to think about the day ahead: I'm heading to one of my clients offices to spend the day with them showing them the progress on a new website and branding I'm developing. What will they think? I hope they like it. I settle back in bed and drift off with thoughts buzzing around my head. Big plans. Aspirations. Goals. And brilliant ideas for my clients.

6am: Good morning.

So here we go - this is what one of my days was genuinely like! Some days are a lot more quiet, and some days I work until the early hours of the morning to hit deadlines or work on urgent projects. And some days I simply take off to have a break, enjoy the sunshine, see friends and family. So I really cannot and will not complain about my business because it suits my lifestyle!

And weekends have become sacred. I used to work weekends all the time, but now I try and reserve these two days for relaxing, seeing loved ones, and having pj days when needed. It's great!
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23 August 2017

Places To Visit: Cornwall In The Summer

Things to do in Cornwall, Cornwall guide, lifestyle blog
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21 August 2017

Restaurant Review: The White Horse, Otterbourne

The White Horse Otterbourne review, Otterbourne restaurant, restaurants in Winchester, food blog, lifestyle blog

I was invited to come in and review a Hampshire gastropub in the sleepy town of Otterbourne called The White Horse. Otterbourne is just outside of Winchester which is quite close to us, and we have been to many pubs around the area but The White Horse slipped off our radar - so I was quite excited to see what the restaurant had to offer.
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20 August 2017

Places To Visit: Studland, Dorset

Things to do in Studland Dorset, UK travel blog, lifestyle bloggers, Studland beach
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19 August 2017

Dorset Seafood Festival, Weymouth

Pommery Dorset Seafood Festival in Weymouth, oysters and champagne, street food, food bloggers, lifestyle bloggers
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18 August 2017

It's A Long Story by Arbonne

Arbonne It's a Long Story mascara review, UK beauty blogs

If I had to choose a product to take with me on a deserted island it would have to be mascara. I think eyelashes make a huge difference to the makeup look, so for me mascara is one of the most important products in your makeup bag. Along with foundation, these two are always worth splurging on if the effects are meeting and exceeding expectations.

I was introduce to Arbonne by Rachel Montague-Ebbs (check out her Instagram here!) and she kindly sent me this mascara along with a few skincare goodies to sample and get familiar with the brand. I was really excited to trial the mascara because it's such a favourite product of mine.

Arbonne It's a Long Story mascara review, UK beauty blogs

It's A Long Story mascara promises to create the look of longer and fuller lashes, whilst keeping lashes in great shape with the added vitamins and extracts like bamboo and pea which condition the lashes. I loved the look of the mascara - it comes in a tube which is handy to stand on your dressing table; and the bristles on the brushes really help separate your lashes to make sure all of them are coated.
I've been using the mascara for over a month now and I'm really happy with the results - my eyelashes have grown back stronger after I picked some of them to get rid of eyelash extensions, and the mascara delivers as promised! One coat will give you gorgeous longer looking lashes for everyday wear, or you can layer it for a more dramatic night time look.

£30 is quite a lot for me to spend on mascara, but the quality of the product lived up to the price - I haven't been disappointed once in the mascara. I think if the product does exactly as promised, it's worth the price - I always buy Dior Nude foundation because I love it, but my bank account doesn't...

What do you think? How much are you willing to spend on makeup and are there products which you would splurge on vs bargain products?
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16 August 2017

Places To Visit: Prussia Cove, Cornwall

Prussia Cove, things to do in Cornwall, travel blog
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4 August 2017

Bravura London - Animal Friendly Skincare

Review of Bravura London Skincare, UK beauty blog, Bravura London, Dalry Rose
Bravura London* Revitalising Ginseng Toner £12.40 // Azulene moisturiser £9.90 // Salicilyc Acid £9.59 // First Cleanse Oil £14.50

I was introduced to Bravura London at a blogger event and had a great chat with the girls manning the stand. Bravura was founder in London in 2003 by an experience facial therapist Amanda Elias, who now runs the business from Wales alongside her partner Ryan Heslop.
Bravura is known for being the very first company in the UK to be able to supply chemical peels to be used at home - their aim was to make chemical peels safe, affordable, and easy to use for anyone with skin problems.

Bravura London uses active ingredients which they believe are proven to work for different skincare types and needs, like Hyaluronic Acid for hydration, natural ingredients like volcanic mud, seaweed extract, aloe vera, and the common cucumber, and vitamins like vitamin C. The best part is that none of these products or ingredients are tested on animals, and most of the products are suitable for vegans - fist pump! Not that I'm vegan but I'm definitely up for brands being animal friendly because in our time there's just no excuse for animal testing. And actually whilst we're talking about being ethical, there is something else I found out about Bravura London - as they're based in Wales now, they do everything to help the community grow by employing local people and allowing working hours to be 7am to 3pm so that it fits around children and school hours. How nice is that? Maybe more companies should start adapting these hours.

And they're environmentally friendly. Boom!

Review of Bravura London Skincare, UK beauty blog, Bravura London, Dalry Rose
Review of Bravura London Skincare, UK beauty blog, Bravura London, Dalry Rose

One of my favourite products is the Azulene moisturiser: a light, unscented emollient cream which is suitable for sensitive, normal, combination and oily skin types. This is a great solution for problem skin as it hydrates, provides relief and soothes the skin for a longer period of time, without irritating the skin as it contains natural ingredients like azulene and aloe vera.

Azulene is a natural healing botanical extract which comes from the chamomile flower. It helps to soothe sensitive skin and prevent inflammation, blackheads, and blemishes. Along with Azulene and aloe vera, this moisturiser contains rosemary, sage, and hop extracts; and hazelnut, wheatgerm, and avocado oils all of which help with nourishment and healing of problem skin.

After cleansing skin, apply a small amount of the Azulene moisturiser on your face and neck - it also works great under makeup as it sinks in quickly and creates a smooth base.


Another shout out goes to the Salicilyc Acid from Barvura London - an effective treatment of acne and oily skin types which are prone to blackheads and open pores. This is a 2% daily use salicylic acid exfoliator (which looks like a serum but bear with me) which is used to unblock pores without drying out the skin.
Salicilyc acid is a lot stronger than most other acids used in acne treatment, which is why it still works on a much lower percentage than others. It's very effective at cleaning pores, reducing acne, and reducing wrinkles by removing old cells from your skin, reducing inflammation, and boosting collagen production.

This is a professional treatment which can be used at home so always do a patch test before use, and always follow the instructions provided to you. You can apply the peel with your fingertips or a makeup brush, but Bravura also sell chemical peel brushes which are pretty cheap and useful to use.
The treatment takes about 10 minutes, and you may notice some light flaking or dry patches when you first start using this exfoliator, some redness, and maybe some itchiness - but this is all normal as you are speeding up the process of removing the old cells and growing new cells. Remember to always rinse your face with cool or tepid water, never with hot water as this may cause discomfort and damage to the skin!

There are precautions you need to take when performing this treatment - like using a high SPF in sunlight and not using sun beds as salicylic acid increases your sensitivity to sunlight; and you may want to consult your doctor if you're on mediation, treatment, are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Review of Bravura London Skincare, UK beauty blog, Bravura London, Dalry Rose

I'm really impressed by the quality and the wide range of products Bravura provide, and I can't wait to explore more of their skincare products. They're an ethical company who use natural ingredients, don't test on animals, and support the local community; their prices are reasonable compared to the quality of product; and they have a wide range of professional grade creams and treatments to choose from.

What do you think of Bravura? Would you try the products?
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3 August 2017

A Visit To Arundel Castle, West Sussex

Arundel Castle, things to do in West Sussex, UK lifestyle blog, Dalry Rose
what i'm wearing: skirt Zara // top H&M // shoes JustFab // bag TKMaxx // belt* Johny Loves Rosie

Day trips to new places are what drives me to work harder - it's a reward to be able to take a midweek break Wednesday and go to explore some beautiful place whether it's round the corner of a few hours drive. A little while ago, Heidi and I visited Arundel Castle because we wanted to take some beautiful photos for Instagram and also tick another place off our list of relatively local attractions. 

Arundel Castle was built in West Sussex, and is a historical castle with beautiful gardens and a chapel. I was surprised at how much there is to do in the castle grounds especially on a sunny day, our 2 hour trip turned into a whole day!

Arundel Castle, things to do in West Sussex, UK lifestyle blog, Dalry Rose
Arundel Castle, things to do in West Sussex, UK lifestyle blog, Dalry Rose
Arundel Castle, things to do in West Sussex, UK lifestyle blog, Dalry Rose

We visited Arundel Castle during the tulip festival which was beautiful - I feel like there were hundreds of different types of tulip dotted around the grounds! But there are many events which take place - find them on the Arundel Castle website. And when the weather is sunny, it's really worth going for a picnic in the scenic grounds. Just bring a picnic blanket, snacks, and drinks - for inspiration read my blog post all about our picnic at Arundel Castle.

There are several gardens which are full of gorgeous flowers and tropical plants - I really enjoyed walking around them and smelling the fresh air, sitting down on benches, and taking in the scenery. You know a lot of people who visit my Instagram account are surprised by how much beauty there is around the area we live in - it's easy to dismiss the UK as a holiday destination because we're aiming for Thailand, Australia, Italy, etc for beautiful scenery and experiences, but trust me sometimes beauty is a short drive away from home.

Arundel Castle, things to do in West Sussex, UK lifestyle blog, Dalry Rose
Arundel Castle, things to do in West Sussex, UK lifestyle blog, Dalry Rose
Arundel Castle, things to do in West Sussex, UK lifestyle blog, Dalry Rose

One of my favourite parts of Arundel Castle have been the main gardens - a home to many flowers, plants, fountains, and streams. Full of gorgeous colours and incredible architecture this is an Instagrammers heaven! And also a pretty peaceful place if you go during the week rather than a weekend when I can imagine it gets pretty packed.

I love wandering around new places - there is so much to be discovered. Because of my travel anxiety, and a plane phobia which is a totally separate post I will write when I can bring myself to, I need to find beauty in places that are easily accessible. That's not to say I don't travel outside of England, and my anxiety will never stop me from going somewhere I want to go - all it means is that I need to find ways of travelling that don't give me PTSD and nightmares after! In fact, I'm even more motivated now to carry on travelling and going on adventures because someone close to me threw my travel anxiety in my face earlier this week, and it was unpleasant to say the least.

Arundel Castle, things to do in West Sussex, UK lifestyle blog, Dalry Rose
Arundel Castle, things to do in West Sussex, UK lifestyle blog, Dalry Rose
Arundel Castle, things to do in West Sussex, UK lifestyle blog, Dalry Rose

We're all different, we all have our little quirks, and trust me no one on this planet is perfect. Which is why I detest it when people try and use our 'quirks' against us. And when someone hits out at your quirks, my reaction is immediately to prove them wrong, and show them that I'll achieve everything I want to - just in my own time, in a way I feel comfortable with, and with people who are willing to take the time to come with me on my adventures.

And in between longer trips to Spain, Scotland, Wales, and France / Ireland (next on my list!) I really love going on smaller trips with my travel buddy, Heidi. We're both freelance, we both work our asses off for the brands we work with, and sometimes a midweek break calls for a trip somewhere new and exciting.

Arundel Castle, things to do in West Sussex, UK lifestyle blog, Dalry Rose
Arundel Castle, things to do in West Sussex, UK lifestyle blog, Dalry Rose
Arundel Castle, things to do in West Sussex, UK lifestyle blog, Dalry Rose
Arundel Castle, things to do in West Sussex, UK lifestyle blog, Dalry Rose

The other place that I urge you to visit is the Fitzalan Chapel - it's absolutely stunning. Wherever I go I just have to visit the cathedrals and chapels because the architecture is incredible and the art is beautiful. There's also something very peaceful about being in places of worship - I guess everyone is quiet and respectful of each other, everyone moves very slow and gentle, and this affects the aura of the building. Stunning, the whole experience.

There are many beautiful cathedrals dotted around England, but Fitzalan Chapel has really stood out for me as an architecturally beautiful place. And in front of it is a garden full of white tulips which looks incredible too!

Arundel Castle, things to do in West Sussex, UK lifestyle blog, Dalry Rose
Arundel Castle, things to do in West Sussex, UK lifestyle blog, Dalry Rose

Have I inspired your next trip to be Arundel Castle in West Sussex? Highly recommended! It's the perfect family day out - there were many kids running around the grounds whilst their parents enjoyed picnics, and there is so much to explore! We didn't explore much of Arundel as we had to go home for the evening, but it looks like the town has some nice pubs and shops to explore too. We'll definitely be back!
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5 July 2017

Hashtag Basics

what are hashtags, how do I hashtag, lifestyle blog, hampshire blog

"hashtag"
noun
plural noun: hashtags
a word or phrase preceded by a hash sign (#), used on social media websites and applications, especially Twitter, to identify messages on a specific topic.

Hashtags are the key to finding topics on platforms like Twitter and Instagram - they are also the key to putting your business ‘out there’ and making sure your reach is widened through the use of online tags. Most of us know what hashtags are and what they do, but what a few of us still haven’t sussed is how to use hashtags to benefit our accounts.

If a treat falls in the middle of the forest, but there was no one there to see or hear it - did it ever really fall? The same goes for your content. If you put out the most amazing content, but don’t tell anyone about it - how will the people interested know you have content, products, services out there? And whilst many platforms allow searches to come back with simple text, some platforms like Instagram work on hashtags, locations, and account names. So unless you hashtag your photos, your potential audience who can turn into customers or readers, just won’t see it. Simples really.

OK, so hashtags are important. We get it. But how do you use hashtags to their best ability?

Search For Topics: Use the hashtags to search for topics which you are interested in, and may be beneficial for your own accounts. I often see people on Instagram trying to be clever and coming up with really long hashtags, for example something like ‘creativityisamazingandilovemyjob’ - great, but that is 1 hashtag on the platform and no one is ever going to find you through that. Instead, why not try #creatives (690,372 tags); #mycreativebiz (642,367 tags); #lovemyjob (12,352,692 tags). And smaller community tags like #creativetime which has 32,400 tags. It’s beneficial to add some big tags, and smaller hashtags to join different social communities.

Promote Your Business: Once you’ve researched your hashtags, you can start applying them to your own posts. Hashtags on Instagram are very important, and one way I keep track of what I’m doing is to save 30 hashtags on a specific topic in my notes, then copy and paste them in the comment underneath. Actually let’s take a second here - I am still seeing so many accounts who ‘spam’ their own captions by adding 30 hashtags in them. Just copy your tags into the comment box below! It makes you feed nice and tidy, and hides the hashtags. It’s a pet peeve. Almost as bad as accounts who think it’s OK to type out a link in your Instagram caption. Guys, Instagram doesn't support links unless they’re in your bio, and you can’t even copy and paste those links so please stop. It’s frustrating because you want to go to the webpage/blog post, but you physically can’t! But that’s a whole other topic.

Advertise Events: Most events will have their own hashtag - this is a brilliant way to collect photos from all different accounts, find out who’s at the event, follow it, and make more social media connections. And it's not just corporate event but weddings, birthday parties, engagements - it can literally be any event!

Create Your Own Hashtag: Whether it's a new product launch, an event, or a movement you can create your own hashtags and watch the community grow. Make sure to talk about it and encourage others to jump on that hashtag, again it's all about clear communication and ensuring your audience have a call to action to follow!

And how many hashtags should you use on your platforms? Well, there’s a quick guide for that.

Instagram: 11-30 hashtags
Facebook: 1-2 hashtags
Twitter: 1-2 hashtags

Hashtag Fails: Before I let you go, let's take a second to think about all the hashtag fails which have happened in the history of social media. Although hashtags are brilliant, research and common sense is very important when it comes to talking about a topic on social media. Remember #susanalbumparty? Yep, that didn't go quite as planned but obviously got people talking. It was supposed to read as Susan (Boyle) Album Party, but instead... well you can see for yourself. Or #Cairo - a brand trying to jump on the bandwagon of a trending hashtag with their newly launches fashion line when it fact #Cairo was trending in the midst of the Egyptian Revolution. Viewers were horrified. So please, use a little common sense and do your research to avoid hashtags going horribly wrong!

Do you have a hilarious hashtag fail story? I'd love to laugh along with you - comment with your stories below!
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26 June 2017

Instagram Favourites - New Instagram Feature?

Instagram Fabourites - new Instagram feature, social media Hampshire, lifestyle bloggers, new Instagram feature 2017

Dear Instagram - what else can we expect from you this year? With so many changes to the platform, social media managers, bloggers, and businesses have been left scratching their heads as to how they can raise falling engagements without paying for posts; and audience has been left feeling deflated after so many influencers decided to take to photoshop and edit themselves into locations where they never were. Instagram is definitely keeping us on our toes - so what's the latest?

Instagram has added a feature that allows 'friends only' to see certain posts and Stories. This feature is called 'Favourites' and users can create a list of followers which they will share exclusive content with, and it will be labelled with a green badge to let them know it was shared with a 'select few'. Instagram has commented to say that this feature will allow more control over content, as at the moment it's kind of all or nothing with the platform.

But don't panic just yet - this feature is being tested amongst a small group of chosen Instagrammers, and the roll out of the feature is yet to be determined across the wider platform.
"People are trying to hack Instagram to create smaller audiences, and we're trying to recognise that" commented Robby Stein, the product lead over at Instagram.

Here, I have to butt in. Reeeeeally? I love Instagram for it's community feel, the ability to creatively promote my blog and my business, and more importantly to share my personality with my audience. And everyone's invited - at the end of the day, if people don't like what they see they will unfollow, and that's OK with me.

I mean, let's have a show of hands - have you ever felt the urge to share a drunken photo over your professional Instagram account? No. Have an aesthetically unpleasing photo which is funny/useful/personal that you want to share but don't really want to ruin your Instagram theme? Hello Instastories. Personally, I hope this feature doesn't make it past testing because to me this platform isn't about exclusivity and popularity, or even favouritism. If I have a funny photo I want to share with my friend, I'll send them a WatsApp. And hope it doesn't go public.

But let's brake the news down for businesses: what are the benefits of Instagram Favourites? Well, as a retailer you can really reap the rewards. You can create competitions, exclusive discount groups, all activity to help your customers fell 'special' goes a long way. Same with restaurants, pubs, and anyone who is selling a product.
Bloggers? Yep, you've got a winner too - create groups of people to share discounts with, get people to sign up to your email lists to enjoy exclusive Instagram content, have 'pods' where you share images.
There are many ideas I have on how I would use Instagram Favourites for my clients - but I won't be giving all of them away right now.

But what about the downsides of these Instagram favourites? The dreaded feeling of being excluded from a community, or your favourite brand/influencer not including you in their exclusive pod? You know this will go sour very soon.
How about showing more raw content on social media, and letting brands/influencers express their own personality? I have personally seen much more feedback on Instagram needing to be more 'real and raw' rather than requests on how to hide content. Isn't that the whole point? We're building our communities? And if you're really that uncomfortable for someone to see your content, there's always the block button.

Yes, some people may argue that there are personal benefits of 'Favourites' - I can already hear someone saying 'But you can hide posts from employers, etc' - my answer: you shouldn't be shady on your social media profiles anyway because you always get caught out. So don't think that this feature will let you get away with dodge activity.

I have mixed feelings about Instagram Favourites going live right now: I can see how my clients may benefit from the feature by building exclusive groups, but personally, and also for my blog, it's not something I think I would implement because like I said before: everyone is invited to the party and I have nothing to hide. Honestly, it would be like censoring cups of tea, episodes of Love Island, and crap photography of my dog!

What are your thoughts on this new (potential) Instagram feature? Are you excited about it, or do you think it's pointless? And if you want to follow my ramblings and a little bit of rawness on social, find me on Instagram and say hello!

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23 June 2017

Whip Your Hair Back In Shape With Marula Oil

Marula oil haircare, marula oil hair care review, Paul Mitchell Marula Oil, beauty bloggers, UK beauty blog, lifestyle bloggers

Last year I was introduced to Marula Oil haircare by Paul Mitchell - an ingredient which is set to overtake Argan oil as the essential oil used in haircare for soft, nourished, and strong locks. Marula oil is an ancient moisturising oil which has been used by women in South Africa and Mozambique for centuries. The oil comes from nuts of the Marula tree and traditionally has been used in cosmetics, preserving meat, and cooking, and is cold pressed so it keeps it's exceptional quality and nutrients.

I was really excited to try the new styling range from Paul Mitchell Rare Oil sent by my friends at Salon Success - I have previously tried the shampoo and conditioner, hair oils, and Marula oil mask from Paul Mitchell Marula Oil but recently Iv'e been loving style essentials and wondered how these would compare to the high streets products I've been using.

Marula oil haircare, marula oil hair care review, Paul Mitchell Marula Oil, beauty bloggers, UK beauty blog, lifestyle bloggers
Marula oil haircare, marula oil hair care review, Paul Mitchell Marula Oil, beauty bloggers, UK beauty blog, lifestyle bloggers
Marula oil haircare, marula oil hair care review, Paul Mitchell Marula Oil, beauty bloggers, UK beauty blog, lifestyle bloggers

I loved using the 3-in-1 Styling Cream - whilst hair is wet,  rub it over the ends of your hair and then whatever is left on the palms you can run through the lengths of you hair. It helps keep split ends sealed, fights frizz, and keeps hair nourished so it's a great all-rounder product. Then blow dry, or let hair air dry for a beach babe look!

If you love your blow drys, you'll love the Extending Primer - a lightweight product which helps keep your hair smooth and prolongs the blow dry style.

But my favourite has to be the Marula oil hairspray which locks out humidity and frizz whilst keeping your style in top shape. It smells gorgeous and is super light so your hair doesn't feel crispy - a pet hate of mine. Hair just should't be hard and crusty! I used it to hold relaxed waves in for a black tie event I attended recently and when I woke up the next morning my hair wasn't a tangled mess, but felt rather soft and nourished. I don't know how I could ever go back to using the typical high street hairsprays after discovering the Rare Marula hairspray! It gets a solid 10/10 from me.
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19 June 2017

Staying Sane Whilst Growing A Business

how to start your own business, tips on running your own business, Hampshire lifestyle blog

I'm 8 months in to managing my own business and I'll tell you once thing - it's the wildest roller coaster you will ever get on in your life. Being freelance has brought the highest of highs and occasionally the lowest of the lows - eventually balancing itself out. With such emotional hurricanes it can be difficult to keep your feet on the ground, and stay sane in the process.

There are different stresses that come from working or yourself - the fact is you're the boss, and your actions, decisions, and attitude is what keeps the business afloat. When you're working for someone, you effectively stress out about their decisions and rules, or at least I did. For example I hated how even though my hours were 9-5, I still had no control over when I could leave. I remember when I took half a day off as holiday because I had an important family get together to go to, my boss made me sit at my desk and work for an extra 3 hours. Not only did that mean that I technically only got 1 hour off instead of 4, I also stressed loads and missed the family event. Thanks boss!

Of course now I have full control over my hours - but don't think it's all stress free. Yes I can choose to have a day out in the middle of the week to enjoy a sunny day or a special occasion, but I have to then make up those hours which go into client projects usually in the evenings/night time or at the weekend. And it's pretty safe to say that by 1am when I'm editing photos or a video, it can get pretty stressful.

Or on the other hand, the slump you get into when work goes quiet. It's very rare that you have balanced weeks in freelancing - it's usually either a week of working from dusk until dawn, or dead silence. With a schedule this hectic and unpredictable, you need to make sure you're getting enough rest, and keeping motivated.

Then there's financial stresses - unlike working for someone, you don't have secure income and no 'pay day'. Trust me, even if you plan to invoice your clients so you have an actual pay day, it's more like one whole month later that you'll receive payments from 50% of the brands you're working with! So you need to plan ahead, constantly scout new opportunities, approach companies, go to networking events - all to make sure you have rent and bills money. For me perhaps this has been the biggest worry because I have a house to pay for, bills, pets, a car, and of course you want some disposable income to do some pleasurable things too. I'll also let you in on a secret - I've had clients before who think I do this as a part time job for fun, live with my parents, and someone even went as far as asking if I was in college. Baby face problems - because I'm a young looking girl, apparently it's OK to think I'm a little princess who runs around playing 'business woman' in her spare time. Be prepared for that if you're a twenty-something woman who doesn't have kids, the undermining comments are never ending.

And of course apart from worrying about your own business and what you're going to do next, there's the stress of something going wrong with your service or client accounts. You have to be prepared to fight your cornet, or accept that you've made a mistake - regardless, you'll have to answer for your actions on your own, there's no boss to do that for you.

So with all that in mind (and that's just a gentle dip into freelancing!), it's easy to get stressed and dig yourself an emotional hole to climb into. And trust me, I did just that a couple of weeks ago. I stressed myself out to a point where I've had to take a couple of days off as a 'sanity break' and remove myself from work, social media, and most people around me. I know I'm not the only freelancer who feels like this, so here are a few tips which have been tried and tested to keep you sane whilst growing your business:

1. Make a schedule for yourself. The same way as you would work an 8 hour day, then go home and rest (or blog!) - you need to have a limit as to how much you can work in one day. Slot your client projects and your own promotion into an 8 hour day - and remember to take a lunch break. That's not to say you have to work 9-5, if it suits you better work 12-8 or 6-2pm - the beauty is you choose your hours. But remember that cramming everything into one day and overworking yourself is a sure way to burnout city.

2. Take a break. Learn how to take a time out from work - especially if you're business is mainly digital. Have a day or a couple of days off to focus on yourself, do things you love, live in the moment, and DO NOT LOOK AT YOUR EMAILS! If something is dead urgent, people will call/text.

3. Invest in essential oils that help you de-stress - Bergamot oil is a winner in my mind, it's the perfect relaxer to burn around the home office, add to a warm bath, and even to the tips of your hair after washing!

4. Talk about your stresses with friends and family - don't keep your frustrations in because it's just going to come out in one big outburst. It especially helps if you have a freelance friend who knows how stressful it can get sometimes - and you can bounce ideas off each other and help each other through the rough times.

5. Remember that everything is a learning curve. No one who starts their own business is 100% sure of how to run a business. You may be the perfect hairdresser setting up on your own, but do you know how to market that business? No? You're going to make mistakes. You may be the most incredible cook who started their own catering company - but are you a mathematical whizz who can do accounts? No? You're going to slip up eventually. So don't kick yourself when you make a mistake - instead learn from it.

Perhaps the last point is the most important tip in keeping your sanity whilst starting your own business - especially for perfectionists. I took everything so personally and any mistake I made was like the end of the world. And kicking yourself like that is a short road to getting yourself stressed out about everything! Embrace the mistakes - we're only human!

Do you ever feel like running your own business is driving you a little insane? What do you do when you feel like that? Comment below!
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