Christmas with Joe Browns

There is nothing better than a new set of pjams especially at this time of year, am I right?! There is something extra snuggly about a lovely new, soft set of sleepwear for the cosy nights in, snuggled up with hot chocolate and a good ol' Christmas movie. So when Joe Browns got in touch and asked if I wanted to be a part of their Xmas Instagram Campaign I jumped at the chance! They very kindly sent me a set of their amazingly festive winter pyjamas to review on my blog and Instagram and I honestly could not be more thrilled with this set.



The top piece is fairly simple with an adorable embroidered 'this is snow time to be awake' quote along the right bottom corner and a pretty little snowflake pattern on the left chest area. I'm also a fan of the miss matched coloured buttons which detail the collar and the most eye catching feature is without a doubt the insanely awesome Santa print on the arms which continues onto the bottoms.



The bottoms are the type that are cuffed at the ankle which I'm a huge fan of as they just add to the cosiness and it works a treat when paired with slippers. This design is to die for and better yet, the pjams are so comfy and super thick, amazing quality. You can grab yourself a set of these gorgeous pyjamas right here!

Joe Browns also stock some beautiful Christmas gifts and stocking fillers, I literally need everything! I can't wait to get cuddled up into these cosies tonight in front of Home Alone and a huge hot chocolate. This is what the festive season is all about after all! 

Thanks for reading!

Ellis x

*This Joe Browns Pyjama set was gifted to me to review on my blog and Instagram @ellis_woolley

Free Prints Review

This year I have made more of an effort to get photos printed and make cute photo albums and scrapbooks with them. Its something I had been meaning to do for years since I had a stack of old photos from my childhood and of my parents when they were young. I was also watching a recent video from VelvetGh0st and she had also got some photos printed and put them together really nicely in a scrapbook which sparked me off so I ordered myself some more photos. I currently have a few photo albums on the go which need spaces filling and also, its fun to document life and perhaps one day show your children.


I had heard of 'FreePrints' and seen it advertised but was very sceptical since after all, how they they claim to send out free photos? Turns out, once you've signed up you're entitled to 40 free standard 6x9 prints each month. You pay a small postage fee but apart from that, you pay nothing. So I placed my order and threw a few more than 40 in for good measure which I had to pay a little extra for and waited. The ease of simply uploading them to the app via your phones camera roll was brilliant and so quick. 

My prints turned up a good week before they were due to (they give a delivery date once dispatched) and I couldn't wait to check out the quality. Now, I've ordered from quite a few photo printing companies now and FreePrints are definitely my new favourite. The photos are clear so long as the resolution is high enough, the colours are vibrant, sharp and the paper itself is thick quality and extremely glossy.


Even Instagram photos which are square come printed with a black boarder down two of the sides which makes them easy to crop but they also look professional if you were to keep them with the boarder. I cut some of mine down but some also look great left as they are. In the past when I've ordered Instagram photos, some companies have just blown them up so they distort and look rubbish so I'm super pleased that FreePrints do Instagram photos this way. I'm thrilled to bits with my prints and will be sure to check back into my app next month for another batch of free photos!

Thanks for reading :)

Ellis x

Primark - Fosse Park Leicester

Yesterday I headed for a much overdue trip to the new Primark at Fosse Park in Leicester and thought I'd cover my entire experience with a blog post. I felt like a mystery shopper taking extra note of the store layout and customer service but it was great to have a mooch around another store which wasn't my usual go-to.

First impressions - much better layout and despite being really short, I still found it easy to navigate around. I found this exceedingly difficult in the Oxford Street Primark in London so the Fosse Park store did well here. I also appreciated the lounge areas, which were in various corners of the store to have a little sit down when the shopping got a bit too much. A great dumping ground for bored boyfriends! 

The section I was most excited for was the home ware, but was disappointed in how typically sparse this area was. I've yet to find a Primark where there is a decently sized home section so if you're local store has one, drop me a comment! I did however spot a couple of shelves downstairs completely dedicated to stationery which was impressive, especially since there were bits from the Gabriella range which I have never seen before. There was also a whole row of Christmas home ware which kind of made up for the lack of it upstairs but I didn't spot anything I fancied. Regardless, it was nice to see Primark getting all festive and the range of colour schemes was awesome.

Clothes wise, there is an awesome range of jeggings and jeans which is something else I feel other stores lack, however this one didn't seem to have many tshirts and tops which is what the Nottingham store goes overboard with. There were however plenty of coats, a huge beauty section where everything also look fully stocked (a lot of stores beauty sections look like they've been ransacked!) and there was an enormous area completed dedicated to sweet treats and stocking fillers.

At the till, the staff were polite and chatty which in my experience is hard to come by especially in Primark. The lady who served me was really friendly as were the rest of the team serving other customers and the process was quick. Overall the entire store was tidy, well stocked and clean which was very refreshing to see and I hope it stays this way!

If you want to see what I picked up, you can watch my latest haul video below :)



Thanks for reading and let me know if you've visited the Fosse Park Primark store :)

Ellis x

What Motivates Me?

Tonight over on my Twittersphere I stumbled across a big discussion going on around blogging as a job, blogging with a full time job, blogging alongside a YouTube channel etc. You get where this is going. It was all very positive, bloggers and YouTubers alike pulling together and proving that each is very much hard work, which is a common misconception by people who don't do it themselves.

It got me thinking about how I manage my time and workload, especially since I'm juggling a full time (6 days a week) job, blog, YouTube channel, Etsy shop and squeezing time in to see family and friends alongside all of this. 

Truth is, as much as I would LOVE for blogging to be a full time job for me, I remind myself its still early days and hard work will hopefully one day pay off. I also continue to see my blog and YouTube channel as hobbies, not extra work that I have to do. I love coming home after a really busy, stressful day at work and being able to submerge myself in my blog, Twitter friends and reading other peoples posts. This is my downtime and I try to never lose sight of that.


Every evening I make the effort to have a little sit down with my blog. James doesn't get home until 6pm and I get home at 4:30pm so it gives me a good hour and a half to myself to get my pooch fed and let out and then we cuddle up on the sofa together with a cup of coffee. When James gets home, sometimes after the gym at 7pm, its full steam ahead and we make dinner together then watch a film amongst a tonne of candles and fairy lights.

During the week is mainly when I see my best friend Sophie. Due to me working most weekends and weekends also being her only time off, she often pops over to see me after work in the evenings, so again we have a good catch up over dinner. Good friends don't need anything else, it doesn't matter if your house is a mess or your blog stats aren't doing great that day. Friends and family are something that I always make time for.


I also keep a diary so I can visualise my week easier and organise more efficiently. Despite having posts scheduled most of the time, I still lay them out in my diary to see when they'll be going live and how long I leave it in between each post. I'd rather spread 3 out over a week than bam them all out one after the other.

My Etsy shop is the only thing that manages to really get on my wick occasionally. Not in an angry way, more of a very frustrated-wish-there-was-more-time kind of way. Especially when I have orders to pack (which is one of my favourite things to do!) and I can't sit and take my time with it. Silly I know, but my Etsy shop came before anything else and always will. I absolutely love making quirky illustrations that make people smile and its my ultimate first love.


Don't get me wrong, I'm not as cool as a cucumber all the time about all of these hobbies of mine. Some nights I have found myself sobbing and cursing that bloke called Time for not giving us enough and full time jobs draining us of energy, both mentally and physically. But, good things come to those who work bloody hard which is my main quote for motivation. Blogging isn't easy alongside a full time job and it sure as hell isn't a quick task to get finished. Let alone think 'sod it, I'll start a YouTube channel' on top of my Etsy shop and busy life. Ha! Madness. 

But its my madness and I love it.

Thanks for reading!

Ellis x

Bullying

This post is ridiculously personal and I probably shouldn't even write it at all but when something bothers me so much, I want to learn from it and try to help others.
This past week I've been targeted by an individual who has made me feel so stressed, worried, anxious and on edge that I've also ended up feeling embarrassed to have let them affect me so badly. This has nothing to do with blogging or YouTubing, in fact these are places I come to escape and talk to friendly, caring people.

In the past, I've suffered from eczema which hardly ever flares up now unless I'm in an extremely stressful situation. Even my worst anxiety attacks haven't resulted in a flare up so it goes to show how awful this person has made me feel now my skin is red raw, burning and flaky. I've also not been sleeping. Having just filmed my first YouTube video in two weeks, its obvious to me how little sleep I've been getting. I've been knocking back the Valerian Root and living off energy drinks because food has been making me feel even more sick. I eat everyday but its been a struggle. I look like a drug addict even with makeup, my eyes are swollen, my skin is raw and the cold that was beginning to disappear came back with a vengeance. 

When you're told you have no common sense, are a disappointment and should know better by someone who hardly knows you OR the situation they're judging, it feels like shit. And its even worse when a person is oblivious to how they're speaking, the words they choose or the tone used with them. When a person is unapproachable, twisting, awkward and has a personal vendetta against you, it makes it even worse. I'm unaware of anything I may have done to this person in the past to give them such a hatred towards me, but let me tell you, I must have really mugged them off in a previous life.

Moving onto my goal for this post, I want to try and not let words and opinions hurt me like they have done this week. This person is not loosing sleep over me, their skin hasn't flared up all over their body and they're sure as hell not struggling to keep a meal down. I'm also going to have to face this person a few hundred times more and in the very near future so its time to whack on my defensive invisible bubble and make things ping away rather than absorb all this negativity.


I'm angry and frustrated that one person has made me feel this way and its a bugger that I can't express more of whats happened here but I'm so done with worrying. I'm also done with forgiveness with this one individual because lets just say, this has been an ongoing problem for at least two years. Forgiveness is a great thing to practice and its also the healthy option, but in this case, I'm so done with forever forgiving someone who despises the air I breathe and for no reason. Its no surprise to me that I feel slightly better after typing up this post because this was my intention to begin with and one day, I hope to open up more about bullies and ways of dealing with them, both from experience and not. Right now its not wise but I will NOT let this person control my emotions anymore.

Thanks for reading,

Ellis x

*Image from Pinterest via theyallhateus.com

Why I Started Blogging

Its coming up to my blogs one year anniversary this December and it got me thinking back to this time last year and how terrified I was to start a blog. It was something I had attempted before and just never felt that into it, mainly because I thought that what I was writing was complete tripe that no one would be interested in. I had no knowledge of templates or coding, finding a 'niche' and above all I was dreading the days where family and friends would accidentally discover my posts.

Truth is, after about five months of blogging I felt much more comfortable. Thanks to Twitter, I've also made some online friends who I chat to regularly, we support each others blogs and I have positive high hopes for my blogs future.


But why did I start blogging? Like many people, I was inspired and the idea of creating a personal space to share your loves and document life was just so exciting to me. Back in the day I had a Piczo account and spent hours building my platform. Oh the cringe. I also wasn't aware of the brand opportunities and this year I have had the pleasure of working with a handful of lovely people and its built on my blogger experience and given me some much needed confidence. You learn as you go with blogging, sometimes things work and sometimes they don't. I've had one 'run in' with a brand I wasn't impressed with who violated my terms and slapped my face on social media false advertising their product but hey, lesson learnt. I've also experienced a couple of brands who are just out for free advertising from bloggers they assume don't have a clue what they're up to. We can spot you a mile off, be warned! But overall, brand opportunities have been awesome and I look forward to more.

Overall, my journey this year has developed me so much as a blogger and I'm very excited for next years opportunities. I've also inspired a friend to give blogging a go and positive feedback like that makes it so much better. Don't get me wrong, there have been weeks where I've felt pressured to get so many posts out on time or that my ideas weren't strong enough to warrant an entire post, but thats the point of it being your blog. You make them however long or short, witty or serious as you like. 


On 2nd August, I had surgery to repair a tendon in my hand that had been severed after a nasty washing up accident. I was out of action for two and a half months and during that time, my blog was there to keep me entertained, keep me socialising and it was also the silver lining to my trauma. I was able to spend more time developing my space, creating better content and mooching through other peoples blogs and giving my support. 

One of my favourites things about blogging most of all is the ability to look back over life events and feel like you're reliving them. I often flick back to my post on Dublin which was our honeymoon trip away and it always makes me smile remembering our time there. Blogging has also given me the confidence to start my YouTube channel which again, is something I had wanted to do for years and never had the confidence to take the plunge. I have just hopped over the 100 subscriber milestone which would never have happened if I hadn't have started my blog first. Funny old world isn't it?

Thanks for reading!

Ellis x

October Favourites

So as I'm writing this, its October 31st and I've gone all month without even thinking about my monthly favourites. In previous months, I've been planning my favourites for the entire four weeks and this month…not a sausage. How have I not even thought about this?!

1. Homemade Soups
Pumpkin in particular, obviously Halloween is what October is all about and buying pumpkins for carving actually turned into buying pumpkins solely for soup. I've not carved a single pumpkin this year, they've just all been diced up ready to be turned into quality comfort food and I love it. You can't beat a lovely hot homemade soup with a couple of slices of thick buttered bread.



2. Sainsburys Pjams
Today I bought myself a much needed new dressing gown and although I now have four, two of them will be going in the bin because they're too tatty and gross. My new one is a gorgeous pink pattern and is super soft. I also have a onesie from Sainsburys and can confirm they do stay relatively soft and fluffy after washing unlike a lot of similar fabrics. Theres nothing better than snuggling up with a cup of tea in your pjams and dressing gowns are a must.

3. Directions Hair Dye - Lilac 
I've been getting back into my pastel hair this month and decided to go back to lilac hair which is probably my favourite colour. I used to always be baby pink but then I tried purple and found it went much nicer with my skin tone. I always seem to feel more confident when I have pastel hair, the maintenance of it drives me mad but I love it regardless. The products I use are Directions diluted with any white conditioner…you can see my video here on how I did it :) 

4. Winsor & Newton Acrylic Paints
I've really been getting into painting again this month (when I find the time!) and couldn't not mention my favourite acrylic paints by Winsor and Newton. The range of colours available are gorgeous, they mix beautifully and are also lovely and thick. Nothing worse than a streaky acrylic paint but these are perfect! I also love the new plastic tubes they come in, its much easier to get the paint out than from the metal ones.



5. Nutella on biscuits
If you've never tried this treat, get on it. Grab your favourite biscuits, slap a bit of Nutella on that shit and sprinkle some smarties over the top. Its so good but so filling so this always stops me from eating an entire packet of biscuits haha! Two or three of these is more than enough. Give it a go, you won't be disappointed!



6. Daddy-O Shampoo
You can read my entire review of Daddy-O right here but as a brief summary, I couldn't be more in love with this stuff. It has transformed my hair from dry and unmanageable to soft and healthy looking. It feels so much nicer and the Parma Violet smell lasts for days.




7. Copic Ciao Markers
I bought a box of Copic Ciao markers last year and this year I haven't really touched them. I did this illustration and decided to give them a whirl again but in all honesty, I regret that decision. I'm not that skilled at using Copics yet, I believe there is a certain knack to it that I haven't quite mastered but even still, they're fun to mess about and experiment with.



So they were my October favourites! Let me know what you've been loving recently in the comments, I love new recommendations :)

Thanks for reading!

Ellis x

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