Can You Guess My New Favourite Shop?

Tiger is a store you can’t not buy something from whenever you step foot inside. It’s a little like the Primark home section or the stationary table in Accessorize, it’s an unwritten rule.

So after the Danish design store popped up in my home town a few months ago, I fell in love, my Mum fell in love and some of my friends have fallen in love. From quirky and a little bit cheeky secret santa/birthday presents, to party props, games, eye-catching stationary, must-have cooking utensils and stylish exercise equipment, there really is something for everybody.

I’m sure even the heart condoms which they’re selling just in time for Valentines Day, will find a suitable home too…

…Anyway working in the centre of town does have some amazing benefits, including the opportunity for a quick lunchtime shop to break up the day! Last week I headed to Tiger and picked up some cute items which I’d had my eye on, and thought I’d share them with you.

notepadpencilsbrightFirst up, these pens, yep PENS, are so adorable, I just had to have them the second I saw them, because you know what, you absolutely cannot have enough stationary. Plus there is just something so very satisfying about writing with a nice pen, am I right? Or am I weird? Let me know in the comment box haha!

There were actually three in a pack, but I gave one to my little sister who was also amazed, at the pens in disguise situation (simple minds hey!?). What I also need to mention is just how affordable Tiger is too! These pens were £2 for the set, which is a price you’d probably definitely be paying at least double in other places on the high street.

PassportParis

Next are these gorgeous passport covers (£2 each), the scenic one for my boyfriend Alex, and the spotty one for me. These are definitely a nice-to-have item as I don’t normally travel enough to need to protect my passport haha, but when we popped into the shop over the Christmas period I saw them and they never left my wishlist. As I explained in my new years resolution post, Alex and I would both love to travel more, with Paris being first on the list of destinations. We’ve got a few other places in mind, which you will hear about in the future too, no doubt!

skippingrope2skippingropeFinally, I bought a skipping rope (£4). But not just any skipping rope, one which counts how many you do (because sometimes it’s nice to give your brain a rest and not have to count), but also one which is specially designed to be easily adjustable, robust and due to the plastic it’s made of, it’s difficult to get caught in a tangle. Although generally, skipping ropes are associated with little girls and playgrounds, skipping is actually one of my favourite parts of a circuits class. Perhaps because I can actually keep up the pace, or maybe because it takes my mind back to junior school. If you are looking to incorporate some exercise into your busy lifestyle, it’s worth making a trip to Tiger because in addition to their fancy skipping ropes they also have kettle bells, yoga mats, elastic belts, sports bottles and weights. You could probably buy yourself a home gym in one visit, so happy shopping! 🙂

You can find your local Tiger Store here, and make sure you check out their Twitter & Instagram too! I know come pay day, I’m going to have to make another little visit!

What to Read Next: 5 Things I’ve Learnt About Blogging Photography

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5 Things I’ve Learnt About Blogging Photography

Blogging PhotographyUpon starting a blog, it became apparently clear that photos were not just a case of ‘point and shoot’ and more like ‘two hours of taking 104 photos, from numerous different angles, with different lighting, before deciding that the first one will be the winner’.

It’s not something that just comes naturally to me and I know from taking part in Twitter chats and speaking to my friends, that it is something which we struggle with on a daily blogging basis. With themed Instagram accounts illustrating the perfect use of props and editing, I do feel there is more and more pressure to ensure that my photos try and match up to the same standard. Although I should not be comparing myself to other people, I do, probably more often than I should but it’s only because I admire the flawless work of those who seem to have perfected the art of blogging photography.

As a result of this, I have made a conscientious effort to try and pay a little more attention to the quality of my photos. From staging, to backgrounds, lighting, props and the edited finish, I have tried a little harder and I see a difference but my photos are still far from where I want them to be…Anyway here are some tips I’ve picked up along the way:

Natural Light is always, ALWAYS BEST. I think I should get this tattooed across my forehead. Despite purchasing a photo tent, which includes lights, a tripod and different coloured backgrounds, the glorious natural light of day always produces the best results. Plus, although we are struggling through winter and the clouds seem to pour every 10 minutes, I’ve found my best images have been produced by setting up my photography station outside in the garden (although I am always on standby to pack everything up and leg it back inside)! This gives my pictures a fantastic natural light, but I have to admit, working 40 hours a week does mean that the only opportunity I have to snap these shots, is on the weekend, so right now I am longing for spring to come and the clocks jump forward.

Backgrounds. This is something that can make or break a photo. I’ve been playing around with white backgrounds lately, and found that ironing a crisp white pillow case provides a fairly good backdrop for my objects. I would love to play around with wo0d and marble effects, too!  What’s more, some bloggers I know, have printed images of these materials on really good quality card, to achieve the same results as a wooden table or marble tiles would create – genius hey? 😉

Top Tip – For me, the best use of a white background, is a bathroom. During a blogger chat a few months ago, a lovely girly explained that she had taken some photos actually in the bath. While the light was amazing during the warm September months, I managed to nail the use of natural bathroom light (but clearly the Earth, its axis, the Sun, orbit, space and beyond has no consideration for us bloggers and insists on seasons haha and so the struggle is truly real during the winter months)! 

Props – If you’re writing about one product, it’s a great move to have captivating images to compliment your words. For example if you are writing about nail varnish, why not add some nail files, cotton pads or some nail art pens? To add a little sparkle (literally) to my photos, I’ve recently used sequins and little gems from my new favourite shop, Tiger. You can also use ribbons, fabrics, photos, fairy lights, magazines, books, knick knacks and postcards – I LOVE the ones in Paper Chase, in fact anything you like, to help you create your perfect scene.

Staging. Although props obviously play a huge part in staging your photographs, your audience don’t always have to know everything. By this I mean, it’s okay to use blue tac, hair grips or even pipe cleaners to prop your products in position. This is particularly handy for us beauty bloggers who can be found wrestling with a mascara or lipstick which won’t sit still. Also make-up can get everywhere, (I know this only too well using bareMinerals powder on a daily basis), so it doesn’t hurt to give your make-up products a little wipe down, so they look shiny and new ready for the camera.

Don’t Underestimate the iPhone. I am slightly bias on this one because I would never betray my beloved Apple, but I truly believe that the camera quality is outstanding. Sometimes I can achieve much better results when swapping my boyfriend’s DSLR for my iPhone 6, which just goes to show that you don’t need all the fancy equipment, or a swanky camera to snap some shots to be proud of. Don’t believe me? See for yourself and scroll through the Instagram hashtag ‘#iPhonephotography’ for some completely stunning images.

So there you have it, five very important things I’ve learnt about blogging photography, I hope they go a little way in helping/inspiring you, when you are next behind the lens. Do you have any tips? If so, I would absolutely LOVE to hear them! Please leave a comment to share your words of wisdom with other readers too!

What to Read Next: My Blogger Secret Santa

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My Blogger Secret Santa

I know what you’re thinking, ‘secret Santa was soooooo last year’, and you’d be right. But amongst the relaxing, festivities, chocolate eating and hours and hours of board game playing, I didn’t have much time for my blog.

However, I have been dying to show you just how amazing my blogger secret Santa is/was! Between a small group of us, the lovely Sarah organised the draw of who would buy for who and funnily enough Sarah was my Father Christmas in disguise 😉

Naturally, Sarah and I being the nosy, giggly people that we are, couldn’t resist ‘telling each other who we had been chosen to buy for’. Initially, Sarah played it pretty cool and manage to convince me that she was excitedly shopping for another one of our blogging friends, then when should wouldn’t tell me what she had bought, I began to have my suspicions and I was right! 

So on Christmas Day (okay Sarah you may or may not know this, but I did actually open the beautifully wrapped gifts Christmas Eve night and left it a little while to message you to keep the magic alive… hahaha love you!), I opened the most thoughtful presents!

Sarah had taken the trouble to personalise some yummy Thorntons chocolate, popped in a packet of Malteser reindeer, which as you can see, barely even lasted for a photo, and other sweet treats! Mmmm!

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Next I unwrapped this GORGEOUS mirror, which has pride of place on my dressing table. It’s pink, pretty and I love it to bits!

HeartAnyone who knows me, will know that I love a good quote. Whenever I am feeling down or in need of some inspiration, I will head to Instagram and trawl through the #qotd or #lifequotes hashtags. So when I unwrapped this plaque, I felt so touched by the thought which went into Sarah’s gifts.

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As you can see, Sarah seriously spoilt me as she also included these beauty products. A nude lipstick by MUA, which I adore, as it was only in 2015 that I actually branched out from my obsession with lip-gloss and purchased my first ever lipsticks. What’s more, if a secret Santa was ever stuck for a gift idea for me, nail varnish is the best bet ever! I have a huge collection and I am always browsing the nail varnishes in Boots and Superdrug, trying to hunt down a new addition. So, thank you Sarah for this mint green shade, it will be perfect for when spring comes round again (I am already counting down the days!)

The Baylis and Harding Midnight Fig and Pomegranate Body Wash came in a sparkly cracker and was a complete surprise. I’ve never actually used any beauty products containing pomegranate, but now I will be hunting some down, the fragrance is so sweet and now I would love a moisturiser with the same heavenly scent!

cardFinally, and be no means least, the card which revealed Sarah’s previously ‘secret’ identity 😉 Thank you so much, you beautiful lady for my amazing gifts, and the incredible amount of thought behind them, for always supporting me with my blog and whenever I need life advice.

Thank you to everyone who has read this post, make sure you go and follow Sarah on Twitter, because I can guarantee that in some way she will bring a little positivity to your life! 🙂

Did you take part in a secret Santa this year? Did you do a blogger or a work one? I would love to hear all about it in the comment box! Or you can tweet me.

What to Read Next: 10 Tips to Make Your Gym Life Easier

What’s Hot on twentysomethingxo: My New Year’s Resolutions

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My New Year’s Resolutions

HAPPY NEW YEAR YOU BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE!

I hope you had a fantastic time celebrating and are making exciting plans for the brand new year ahead.

So far I already have a few things to look forward to including, Paris with Alex, Mumford and Sons at Hyde Park, Years and Years, lots of BIG birthdays in my family and Alex’s family, as well as planning a long, relaxing beach holiday!

But of course, I’ve been making New Year’s resolutions online and offline too…

Preserving Memories 

I am snap happy when it comes to photographs, I always have my phone with me and most recently my Polaroid Camera which you can read all about here, but I rarely print photos to keep. Although I am not the most artistic person, I plan on making a scrap book full of photos, tickets and reminders from special events or happy times.

Getting Fit

This one is a cliché, but one which isn’t really a New Year’s resolution, but more of a continuation. In August, I could only run 1km without feeling sick and as though my world was going to collapse in around me. Now, I get that nauseous feeling after 5km, thanks to the gym and playing netball. Before the end of the year, I would LOVE to take part in Tough Mudder, which for those of you who don’t know, is an obstacle course in the mud which stretches for just under half a marathon, sounds like fun, right? 😉

Travel More 

As we cheers our champagne at the end of 2016 (without getting too ahead of ourselves), Alex and I have both agreed that we would like to be able to look back on memories of having travelled to two new countries. One trip hopefully consisting of time spent in the glorious sunshine, and the other Iceland! We’ve both always wanted to swim in the lagoons, experience ‘proper’ snow, witness the Northern Lights and the completely different lifestyle.

Stop Being So Lazy

I admit sometimes, I can be so lazy. This doesn’t mean I sit around all day in my pyjamas watching Netflix, (although I am of course, VERY good at this), because I’m actually a really active person, but I mean I need to stop putting things off. I can take ages to reply to people, cook a pizza instead of preparing a salad and never clean my make-up brushes, but instead buy more haha.

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Saying Hello Twice a Week

Towards the end of 2015, I fell off the blogging schedule wagon and ended up posting few and far between. I would love to kick that bad habit in the bum and post twice a week once more.

Learning More 

Looking back on what I’ve achieved in the past year online, I am completely amazed. Last January, I was working in finance, with my head in the blogging world clouds. Now, I am working in social media and I am part of an incredible blogging community. As part of my mission to get organised, I would love to push myself further and learn skills to benefit both my job and blog.

Meet More of You 

I would love to meet some of you lovely lot in person, especially those who live in the same town/county as me. It would also be amazing to meet Sarah, Lauren and Rachel too! These girls have been my blogging angels right from the beginning 🙂

Finally, Can I Squeeze in a Last One?

YouTube. When I’ve figured out which editing software I am going to use, I will attempt a video. It’s another dimension of self expression which would be exciting to explore. Initially, I plan to send it to one of my best friends, Erin, who I know is a huge fan of bloggers and vloggers and is someone who will give me honest feedback. So if it passes the Erin test, I will unleash it in the big wide blogging world muwahahaha!

So there you have it, my plans for this brand new, shiny year! Fingers crossed I can keep these up, I will of course try to be healthier etc, but I guess as new year swings around every 365 or in this case 366 days this is a target attempted by just about everybody, so I wish you all luck!

What are your New Year’s resolutions? Have you got any places you’d recommend we visit? Do you have a scrapbook? Let me know in the comment box or tweet me.

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