29 September 2017

Places To Visit: Sgwd Henrhyd, Wales

Sgwd Henrhyd Wales, travel blog, lifestyle blog, waterfalls in Wales

For a few months now I've been obsessed about going to see a waterfall - it's something I don't remember ever doing, but one thing I had on my UK travel list. Did you know that Wales is the home of some of the most beautiful waterfalls in the world? One is even taller than the Niagara Falls! I'll save that one for the next trip though, as this time we visited Sgwd Henrhyd in Brecon Beacons - the tallest waterfall in South Wales.

Restaurant Review: Koh Noi Thai Tapas, Winchester

Koh Noi Thai Tapas, Thai Tapas WInchester, Winchester restaurant, Hampshire bloggers

Out of most of the popular cuisines, the one I have to admit I'm less familiar with is Thai - although I absolutely love the flavours of Thai dishes, it's not something I cook at home very often (with the exception of green curry!) and I don't sample a lot of Thai food when out and about. So I was very excited to try out Koh Noi in Winchester on date night - the concept was Thai tapas, and I wasn't too sure what to expect. I know Spanish tapas which I love - especially shared with friends over a bottle of wine, or Sangria.

27 September 2017

Should You Wear Perfume To Your Job Interview?

Accessorize Lovelily Perfume, Accessorize perfume, should I wear perfume to a job interview, beauty blog

*This post contains press samples, all opinions my own

I'm the kind of person who associates memories with smells - the smell of burning fire and warm tea with autumn; cinnamon candles with winter; freshly cut grass (or just pollen resulting in swollen eyes and runny nose!) with spring; and the smell of the rain on warm concrete with summer. Sometimes I catch the scent of Lynx shower gel mixed with Red by Ralph Lauren and I think of the man I love. Even my clothes that smell of dog bring me comfort because it makes me think of home. Scent for me is a big thing, because it helps me remember the special moments or exciting events in my life.

25 September 2017

Day Out In Lymington

Things to do in Lymington Hampshire, Hampshire blog, things to do in Hampshire, Lymington seafood festival

It's taken me a little while to get round to posting about our day out in Lymington as the past few months have been crazy busy, but I just had to make time and write a whole load of blog posts because I miss blogging! And also, I now have a business website (you can check out Dalry Rose Digital here) so I have more freedom to post about fun stuff on my blog again - yay!

24 September 2017

Places To Visit: Palma De Mallorca

Palma de Mallorca, things to do in Palma, travel blog

As an anxious traveller, and a phobic airplane passenger, this summer marked my first trip abroad in 12 years. 12 whole years I have been too scared to even brave an airport, let alone imagine flying to a beautiful sunny destination. So this trip to Mallorca was very special for me, and I hope you enjoy reading about it - and get prepared, as the travels won't stop there!

23 September 2017

Discovering Llyn y Fan Fach

travel blog, UK travel blog, llyn y fan fach, lifestyle blog

*This post was written in collaboration with Jack Wills.

“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.” ― Eleanor Roosevelt

Last Friday, I packed my bags and set off for an adventure to discover some of the most beautiful sights in Southern Wales. I spoke a lot to my friend and fellow freelancer Heidi about going away for a long weekend and being out and about, seeing wonderful things, and not working. Being your own boss definitely has its perks, but it can also sometimes take over your life and you realise you end up working more hours than there are in the day! OK, that's impossible, but it sure feels like it some weeks. And it's not just freelancers and business owners who feel like that - when I worked in my office job which was supposed to be a 9-5, it was more like 9 till whenever the work was done, and I forgot what coming home at a reasonable time felt like.

Our generation works really hard on making our dreams come true - but as hard as we work, we also need to play to stay sane. Which is why it's very important to focus on a healthy work to life balance, and find time to get away from it all. So I packed my bag full of thick socks, walking boots, sweaters and hoodies (by the way Jack Wills have the best collection of gym hoodies womens which are perfect for active weekends away!), leggings and jeans, and snack bars because hanger is a real thing.

22 September 2017

Organic September With Antipodes

Organic September with Antipodes, Organic skincare, Antipodes review, beauty blog

 Organic skincare is dominating the beauty market - but why would we want to spend more money on products which simply have an organic certificate stamped on them?

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!

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.


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.

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!

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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