12.6.17

Special Feature: Father's Day Gift ideas on a Budget

This is a special father's day feature. I call it special because it is budget inspired. A great gift shouldn't necessarily rip a hole in your pocket or cost you an arm and a leg because it's the thought behind it all that counts. So worry less about breaking the bank or not being able to deliver,  I present to you some budget inspired gift ideas and it might just give you some inspiration and further ideas of what to get. Let's begin, shall we!

1. Family Photoshoot Voucher - Price £10
    From buyagift.com

I personally find the idea of photoshoots very appealing because pictures are memorable keepsakes. There will be numerous times when you will look at a picture and you realised you have just opened a floodgate of memories. I think this is quite a brilliant offer for that price and you definitely cannot go wrong with it. It's not just super affordable but there will be very rare, beautiful and memorable bonding moments dad will share with the family plus the keepsake you get to take home at the end of the photo session.
Black and White Polaroid Camera
Visit buyagift,com for more budget- inspired gift ideas.


2. Mr Natty Bring me Sunshine Beard Elixir - Price £ 9.50
    From John Lewis

Now I know you most likely were not expecting to see this, but you might have probably noticed there is a bit of the 'beard gang' movement going on at the moment; so this is bang on trend so to speak. Contrary to what I would have imagined, I have seen lots of men looking very suave with their well trimmed and maintained beards. So if your recipient has joined the beard gang train, this might be quite the gift, a bit unusual and unexpected I have to admit but bound to put a smile on his face and keep the beard shiny!
Buy Mr Natty Bring Me Sunshine Beard Elixir Online at johnlewis.com
You can also visit the John Lewis website for more men's grooming and skincare gift ideas for a budget price

3.Gentlemen's Hardware Collar Stiffeners - Price £10
   From John Lewis

I present to you these lovely brass collar stiffeners in a beautiful little box. I personally do not think this is a gift that will end up sitting at the bottom of a box lost somewhere in the house.  I see it as a gift that will enjoy constant use if your recipient is someone who enjoys wearing shirts quite often.  Now I  know some men's shirts will sometimes come with collar stiffeners whilst some don't but could definitely do with one. I think this is a super bargain and bound to be a firm favourite for your recipient. Business, pleasure, whatever the occasion, if a shirt is involved then this is bound to keep the shirt collar in check! Talk about letting the collar do the talking.

Buy Gentlemen's Hardware Collar Stiffeners Online at johnlewis.com
More father's day gift ideas for budget prices at John Lewis

4. Boss Bottled Unlimited EDT 100ml - Price £30
Currently on offer at Boots

If you ask me this is a brilliant one! This perfume/aftershave originally retails for £62 and even more on some other sites but currently on offer hence price above.  If I had to judge Boss Bottled Unlimited by the success of the original  Boss Bottled then I would expect nothing less than near perfect from this fragrance. Hugo Boss is generally a good brand and for that price, you definitely can't go wrong. Good idea if your recipient is big on scents.
Boss Bottled Unlimited-Image Source Google
Boss Bottled Unlimited

5. Three Course Meal with Sparkling Wine for Two - Price £30
Cafe Rouge Various UK Locations

I doubt if my list will be complete without food because more often than not you would find this the easiest option if you cannot readily come up with any gift ideas. Nothing beats good food in a restaurant with a welcoming ambience. It's perfect for getting that special person out of their regular routine to something different, relaxing and of course something the whole family can possibly be a part of too. Of course, this is just an idea so if your recipient is not a fan of French cuisine then there is a vast array of dining options out there to choose from; think Italian, Indian, Meditteranean, a taste of the Caribbean and so much more. There is something bound to tickle the taste buds and leave the tum feeling happy  and well fed too.
Image Source : Cafe Rouge

So there you have it! Whatever it is you eventually decide on, I hope more than anything else, your warm thoughts and kind gesture goes just as far as your gift goes.

Feel free to share your gift ideas with me too!

Happy Fathers' Day :)

Catch up soon x

30.5.17

Pause and Reflect : Blogging Reality Check+What I have learnt so Far

image source pexels
Image Source: Pexels

P.S This is not a blogversary post :)

I can't believe its been just a bit over three years since I started this blog. At the time, I was on maternity leave having recently had a baby and I recall my sister who blogs here had encouraged me to start a blog as I couldn't stop moaning about how much I lacked ideas on what to do besides caring for the baby.

Although I work in an IT related industry, I still had to run  to my sister for virtually everything in terms of getting the blog up and running. Once my blog was all set up it meant I had to find my footing in the blogging world or as in the bloggers lingo ''find my niche''.

In the early days, I wanted to be a mummy blogger who reviews stuff and by that I mean I wanted to basically talk about products, stuffs and services on my blog, form an opinion about them and draw a conclusion which I think might help readers make an informed decision if they ever felt the need to either make a similar or guided purchase etc. So sometimes , I would write about personal purchases and at other times as I learnt the ropes really quickly I would ply the ''Blogger request'' route.

Most times when I did the latter though, I did feel like a fish out of water as I am quite a shy and introverted person and did not feel like I stood the chance against other well grounded bloggers with an already established blog presence in terms of audience,content and influence. So I gave up that route and stuck to talking about personal purchases and the occasional review opportunities that came in via direct contact with companies and agencies. 

As time progressed I started losing interest in blogging, I gradually slowed down and before I realized it I had completely stopped blogging!  It took me well close to a year to return to blogging and I promised myself I would only go with the flow, no stress,no pressure and definitely no desire to limit myself to just a specific area of interest anymore.


Image source:Pexels
Image source:Pexels

In Hindsight, if I had to start it all afresh i.e newbie blogger , here's what I would have loved to tell myself :

-  Follow your heart and do what makes you happy: Its definitely the first thing I would have said to myself. As I mentioned earlier, I started blogging majorly to help me balance things out on the home front, i.e new baby, family, etc. Deep down within me I wanted some sort of creative outlet, somewhere I could put my thoughts to words,somewhere I could explore and just generally talk about things that interested me, just an extension of me really. However, before I realized it, I had veered off my original path and was doing something totally different and inadvertently carving a ''niche'' for myself without realizing it! 
I am not saying its not okay to have a niche because there is nothing wrong in having one  and it does have its own benefits but I did not feel it was for me.  I would describe myself as a mix of rebellious and unconventional so boxing myself into a corner by focusing on a specific area left me feeling bored and I lost interest in no time hence the long break. 
So, for the past couple of months since I returned to blogging, I have blogged solely about my interests. It doesn't feel so contrived anymore and I appreciate the freedom of being able to express myself . its been out with the ''niche'' and in with the ''interests'' and if I had to , I would describe myself as a blogger of many interests and my blog as a general content blog with something for everyone.

- Give it Time: Everything good requires time...and effort. In my early days of blogging, I wanted everything to happen quickly. I mean from engagement, traffic, social media following, monetization etc. Outside of blogging,I am not quite a ''waiting person'' but I soon realized that my impatience was something I had to actively work on. 
Right now I am in a place where I realise that all of the things that I wanted for my blog requires not just fulfilling the''effort and working at it'' side of things but it also requires copious levels of patience because with blogging there is no magic recipe for success, Time and patience is all you need so K.E.E.P C.A.L.M  and  B.L.O.G  O.N 
image source : google
Image Source: Google

- Don't Compare and Contrast because you are not in competition with anyone:  ...except yourself.  That's right!  This is something I have always told myself even prior to blogging. I am not a competitive person so I take everything in my own stride. I do not seek to outdo anyone other than myself  because I realise the only competition I need is within me.  When it comes to blogging , it is exactly what it is, blogging and nothing more! 
There have been times when I have visited other blogs for a bit of idea and inspiration but that's about it. I always say a little bit of healthy competition is okay if it works for you and from a blogging perspective that will be in terms of motivating and inspiring you to put up better posts than the last one you have written. But if you find that you begin to put so much pressure on yourself to be better than the next blogger then you need to pause and reflect before you lose your identity.   
Above anything else, blog for your self and for what you believe in; Stop comparing...start blogging!

Engage- Interact- Repeat: I honestly wish I knew this earlier ! Looking back now, the saying that no man is an island was so apt to my situation back then. What was I thinking, hoping that people would keep stumbling on my blog and helping themselves to my blog posts? Ha!   
Now I do appreciate the importance putting my blog out there and I never hesitate to utilize the various social media platform available for such opportunities. Sometimes I chide myself for not engaging more and I often put it down to my introverted nature but of course I do not see the need to put so much pressure on myself than necessary, so I take things easy and go with my flow.
Networking, engaging with readers, i.e responding and appreciating comments, engaging with other blogs and just keeping these actions locked on constant repeat does go a long way not just for blog growth but think self confidence and morale booster too.
Web Page, Parts, Social Media, Contact
Interact-Engage-Repeat
Image source: Google


Never give up! : You really should be proud of yourself and what you have achieved on your blog because not everyone has a flair for writing. Not everyone is interested in putting their thoughts to words or sharing their opinion in the manner in which you put yours out there so well done!   
I remember when I struggled with content continuity and the niche I found myself in, back then, I experienced more ''bloggers block'' ( yeah, bloggers struggle with what to write as well, its not exclusive to writers alone) even though I had so much time on my hands. I just simply lacked ideas, whereas these days I struggle more with finding the time to put up content for the many ideas I have - such irony of life! 
Don't forget I said it takes time, so if you find yourself fizzling out, its ok to take a break but keep it in mind never to give up.  Run out of ideas? Take a good look around you, the internet, friends, family, work etc. There is definitely something that is bound to catch your attention which you can capture ideas from. Revamp your blog, redesign your blog, re-brand your blog, something is surely bound to get you back on track but it all boils down to you not giving up! so never forget that.
Motivation, Strengthen, Encourage
...So don't give up!
Image Source: Google


...And on a final note
Doing things the same way as others will mean losing your individuality. Like everything else, blogging requires a bit of individual approach and  personal touch so if you choose to be a niche blogger or a multi interest blogger like me, ensure you do not lose your personality because that is the uniqueness that makes you stand out.

You might find that some of the things I have talked about resonates with your blogging journey or it doesn't at all, the bottomline is - Just do you!

You have probably realized by now that there might come a time when you will be pretty much faced with making decisions, taking next steps or  probably just starting afresh but definitely not quitting.

Take some time out, reflect and ask yourself the question '' what would I do differently?''

Catch up soon! x

3.5.17

Review: HP ENVY 4527 ALL-IN-ONE PRINTER

It's been a while since we had any reviews here and I have to admit the fault is all mine! I have just been too busy with other personal things and as such barely had the time to look up new campaigns etc. However, things are easing up a bit and I do look forward to sharing my ideas and honest opinions on a broad spectrum of EVERYTHING, so watch this space!

Straight to business shall we? Good! Its all about the HP Envy 4527 All-in-one printer. To start with, I would refer to myself as a tech savvy person but perhaps if you ask my husband and kids am probably thinking they would refer to me as the perfect gadget junkie, or how else do you explain all the cables,chargers etc in my living room which extends to the bedroom and every other room that has a socket in the house? *sigh!*
Plus my inability to part with old stuff means there is a constantly rising stack of gadgets. I am still struggling with the idea of having a car boot sale or just holding on to these items,who knows what might become treasure tomorrow? *Think collectors item!*

 Coming from me this might sound like a surprise but  I have got to say there are some gadgets I have had to constantly question my need for but others I knew from the get go would be an absolute value and one of such is the HP Envy 4527 All-in-one printer.




About the HP Envy 4527 All-in-one Printer
Just like the name implies, it a printer for all times and seasons and by that I mean this printer is not just limited to printing,copying or scanning documents but it easily prints pictures too. It is a wireless  and easy to use touch screen printer,capable of easily connecting to WiFi and affords you the opportunity to easily print high quality photos directly from your smart phones or tablets.



My experience with the HP Envy 4527 All-in-one Printer
TO start with I have to say this is one of the easiest gadgets I have had to set up,I did not have to refer to the manual for once.  Once plugged, it was simply ''touch and go'', via the on screen display feature it provided  set up instructions including a step by step guide on how to load the ink cartridges .
The printer is quite aesthetic and makes a nice and decent addition to my home.

Its such a versatile little gadget that didn't let me down when I put it to varied work and leisure tasks  i.e printed,scanned some documents and also printed some coloured pictures.

 I particularly love the fact that the printer is so compact and takes up very minimal space. If I had to compare it to my previous printer in terms of design, functionality and feature , I would give the HP ENVY 4527 All-in-one printer consistently top marks,it definitely ticks most boxes for me.

I also love the fact that it is surprising quiet, I mean with my previous printer, it almost seemed like there was the 'hesitation' of whether to print or not with the constant clicking sound! Its not so with the HP Envy 4527 printer, it prints at the flick of a button, it just prints...no hesitant clicking sounds!

Apart from the fact that that it is a wireless printer, when it came to printing pictures from my phone, I realised I didn't necessarily have to connect to my wifi or any networks to do so. Once linked to phone I simply followed the on screen instructions and in no time the printer was churning out my pictures...just like that high res photos printed right in the comfort of my home .

 I have to also say that the quality of my pictures were just as great as those of the ones I had printed from the photolab in the past. I also had some random documents printed off my email as well with no hassles at all either.

There are still some other features I am yet to try and this includes printing black and white pictures, which the printer is very well capable of doing, automatic two sided printing which I absolutely cannot wait to try and of course the remote printing. I really look forward to being able to send stuff straight to the printer from anywhere, whilst on the go via the printer remote mobile app.



My Verdict
HP ENVY 4527 currently retails at  £44.99 and I have to say for that price the printer is an absolute bargain. With its set up so easy and straightforward , it is surprisingly packed with such powerful and versatile features and capable of meeting your various printing needs.
If you are someone who does a lot of remote working or working from home, you would  probably find this ideal for your day to day routine and I find it functional enough to suit the needs of a very small office too.
The printer definitely works a treat and cannot fault it. I would give it 🌟🌟🌟🌟 stars.


***********************************************************************
Please note views and opinion expressed are solely mine.

HP ENVY 4527 All-in-one printer from theinsiderseu #hpprinters campaign




CUSTOM BLOG DESIGN BY PRETTYWILDTHINGS