... blogging my guts out

Traveler's Notebook Update | August 2015

I know it's not that long since I last wrote a planner set-up update but I need to share! I'm still madly in love with the Traveler's Notebook style of planning; so much so that I've gone and ordered another cover, a whole host of notebooks and filmed another video about it all

travelers notebook set-up - information and video links

So, where to start... you might want to grab a brew and set aside fifteen or so minutes of your precious time to watch the video (below) because I explain everything in rather a lot of detail however I do also like give a blog mention to people and products that I love because they deserve the attention.

First of all, a nod to Tony at Pocket Notebooks.  In my Pocket Notebooks unboxing video I noted that the trend for shoebox-style delivery boxes is a barrier to actually receiving them because they don't fit through the letterbox, ergo, if you work during the day or have to pop out somewhere and delivery is attempted, you then have to schlep to the 'local' sorting office to collect your parcel, it's not usually available until the 'next day' and it's just inconvenient. Tony took my feedback onboard and, as you'll see in the video, he is now using cardboard envelopes that fit perfectly through the front door (it's possibly cheaper on the postage charges too)! Nice one, Pocket Notebooks!

Various notebooks from Pocket Notebooks  Travelers notebook cover from Wick and Hide

Secondly, I have been wanting to try out a slightly different sized cover for my Field Notes and Word. notebooks. The one I already have is 'pocket sized' but this definitely isn't the same size as a 'pocket sized notebook'.  Go figure. I spotted an offer-I-couldn't-refuse update in a Traveler's Notebook Facebook group so thought it was the ideal opportunity to go for it.  I selected a red leather, four elastics, Field Notes sized cover which looks and smells glorious! You can find Wick and Hide on Etsy.

Please do watch the video to see the notebooks and the cover all set up and looking amazing. I waffle on a bit about running in there too (sorry about that - it'll make sense, I promise) and I think I'm going to have to write/talk about that in more detail on a separate occasion. Let me know what you think.  

How Many Macarons Does It Take To Create A Twitter Trend?

♠ Posted by Nickie O'Hara in ,,,
A box of macarons - credit : EnglishMum
Image Credit ; EnglishMum
(these are NOT the guilty macarons)
1 row of macarons to sit forlornly in a badly framed Instagram picture.

2 blog posts with opposing points of view, shared to Twitter by fiercely loyal friends.

48 people to tweet similar experiences from both side of the fence and explain how a situation could have been handed differently.

1 Twitter hashtag that goes viral. For no apparent reason.

139 arguments over whether it's 'macaron' or 'macaroon'.

298 shared links to the correct spelling, pronunciation and definition of 'macaron' and 'macaroon'. 

1 'celebrity' food critic to weigh in with a thinly veiled opinion.

8426 opinion tweets that have only read one side of the story.

823 bandwagon tweets that include a link to a blog post that might or might not be connected to the subject matter.

97 bloggers displaying concern that their future brand relationships may now be in jeopardy,

1 blog post that sums up the situation perfectly and goes on to mention how everyone can learn by this.

92735 One Direction fans wondering what the actual fuck the #bloggerblackmail hashtag to do with 1D. It *must* be to do with One Direction or why is it in the Top Trends... 

macaron versus macaroon
2843 tweets thanking the previous pedants because they now know the difference between macarons and macaroons.

12 recommendations of other macaron/macaroon sellers.

572 people to declare that they can now never eat macarons or macaroons again because of the controversy caused. 

23 blog posts from major media outlets because reporting on Twitter trends is Most Important in today's media, even though people are actually dying elsewhere in the world.

1 fan of Julie Walters to share a link to the Acorn Antiques musical song "Macaroons" to lighten the mood.
"Have a custard fucking cream and shut the fuck up" ~ Mrs Overall

If You Go Down To The Woods Today...

Woodland Trust Nature Detectives
I have mentioned this on a number of occasions and here's another opportunity... we are so lucky that we have Witton Country Park literally on our doorstep and as a family we use it with great regularity - I run/exercise at least four times a week on the park, we take the dog for walks up there, my youngest son even had a hand in designing the adventure playground that's there. It's the perfect place for us to explore as "Nature Detectives" using our Woodland Trust membership.

On Sunday we had a wander around Witton Park Wood here are some photos and a video of what we got up to. There are lots of pathways to explore and hills to climb and it sometimes feels a bit like Enid Blyton's Enchanted Wood. Some of the trees have grown in unusual ways or have fallen over so there's plenty of opportunity to climb.

Witton Wood  secret pathway

tree climbing  tree climbin

gatepost in Witton Wood  attitude

exploring Witton Wood  unusual shaped tree

We found a really unusually shaped tree and we were going to draw in in our books, however, as we got closer I heard the girls shouting that they'd found some money.  As you can see from the pictures, coins have been pushed into the branches of the tree and the bark as grown around them.  There are coins of all denominations all over this tree and we have no idea why or how. 

money tree in witton wood  money tree in Witton Wood

The best find of the day was one that I would have missed if I'd have been on my own. The girls found a small plaque, hidden away at the bottom of a tree, almost out of sight under a bush. It says "NHS 60. This tree was planted to celebrate the 60th year of the NHS in Blackburn. Adding years to life and life to years. 29th January 2009".  This was a really fitting end to our wander around the woods

NHS tree in Blackburn, NHS60,

We made lists of everything that we saw and heard. Here's what the girls wrote in their books:

Nature Detectives activity books~ Trees
~ Rivver (river)
~ Horses
~ Bryyge (bridge)
~ Dogs
~ Horses Poo (there were some horse trials on...)
~ Roos (roots)
~ Witton Wood
~ Nettles
~ Steps
~ More Steps
~ Scriwules (squirrels - but we didn't see these)
~ Branch
~ Bird (we heard the birds)
~ Rabit
~ Fat rabit (there are some rabbits in the Myerscough College training centre at the edge of the woods)
~ Lily Pads

The Woodland Trust are a charity. Without donations they would not exist to protect our woodland for our future generations to enjoy and the wildlife that lives there. In the past 70 years, more than half of our ancient woodland has been destroyed even. This fact is staggering when you think that over 250 of our most threatened species' depend on native woodland for their survival. With our Woodland Trust membership and our roles as Nature Detectives we can take part in puzzles games and activities to learn about plants, trees, animals and exploring outdoors. Find out how you can become a member of the Woodland Trust right here

The Woodland Trust Nature Detectives membership pack  The Woodland Trust Nature Detectives membership pack

I am currently working with The Woodland Trust to help them promote their #NatureDetectives campaign. 
For more information please see my disclosure policy

How To Help Your Child Make Healthy Choices

♠ Posted by Nickie O'Hara
Healthy eating is hard enough as an adult, but being a parent trying to get your child to eat healthy is a whole different story. Most kids want the sweets and chocolates in their lunch boxes, not fruit and granola bars. Not to mention if you have managed to convince your child that eating healthy is a good thing, there’s still the price obstacle to tackle. It’s a mystery why healthy eating is so much more expensive then junk food, but there is a solution to every problem. There are coupons that may bring the high price of healthy snacks down to a normal “junk food” level, and sometimes if you manage to find a sale as well, you can lower the price even more. For example, there are many special offers waiting for you at Target. In the end, let’s face it – children are very expensive, but their health is not something to scrimp on.

Now that we’ve tackled saving money, lets tackle the hardest part, which is your child wanting to eat healthy snacks. Our children mimic what they see around them, and if they observe you eating junk food all day they will learn to think it's a great snack. Try limiting your consumption of junk food to a minimum or not at all with your kids.

Another way to convince your children is to make eye catching fun snacks. Something as simple as building a smiley face with fruit or yoghurt can help your kid to see that eating healthy is fun. Lots of colours and variety is essential, especially if they brown bag their lunches to school. Putting lots of colour and adventure in your child lunch bag can help them not be so nervous and give in to the lunch time trading phenomenon.

Getting creative is a huge part in helping our child to choose healthier options, especially if they have a hand in making their own snacks. For example, have them help you make trail mix at home with a variety of fruits and nuts. They can add as little or as much of each ingredient as they want, since they're all healthy.

If all else fails, you can always trick them into eating healthy and tell them the truth later. For example, instead of buying brownies at the store, try making your own brownies at home with healthier recipes. Substitute the sugar and chocolate for fibre and protein (such as nuts). Or instead of ice cream for dessert, try yoghurt – it's just as sweet, but has natural sugars and fruit, not artificial flavourings!

This is a featured post. For more details please see my disclosure policy

Newsflash... you don't have to wear all the make-up because people don't notice it!

Yesterday I ran out of things to watch on YouTube so headed on over to the 'Recommended' section and spotted a Zoella video which saw her challenge her boyfriend to apply her make-up.  I started watching (don't judge me just yet).

(Side note: Zoe Sugg, aka Zoella, is the 'It Girl' of YouTube. She's the bench mark for apparent success and the role model for many a tween and teen who are into YouTube. Her boyfriend of a couple of years is another popular UK YouTuber personality, Alfie Deyes, aka PointlessBlog)

On her channel, Zoe Sugg has countless Get Ready With Me (GRWM) style videos which are basic make-up, fashion and styling tutorials so you can all achieve the "Zoella look". Hell, she's even launched her own make-up and beauty product range but that's all part of the 'branding' she's now achieved. Anyway... there's a number of interesting points in this video that are worth noting.  Here's the video in question so you can watch whilst you read along.

Alfie has to search for a picture on Google of Zoe wearing make-up so that he can attempt to copy the look.
Zoe *shocked face* : I wear it every day
Alfie : But I don't look properly, do I?
Zoe attempts to coach Alfie slightly as to what products are needed whilst he looks bewilderingly at the photo on his phone.  She then hands him her huge make-up bag (which I actually want as it says "WAR PAINT" on the side) and he dives in. There's a fair bit of shade thrown here, there and everywhere by Zoe because Alfie doesn't know exactly what type of product he is using and the way in which it should be applied but he gets off to a good start with foundation and concealer. He then applies a bit of common sense because he uses products which appear to have been well-used. It's also very cute when he realises that applying make-up to one side of the face is easier than applying it to the other and his knowledge of cat-flick eye liner and contouring sucky-face is very endearing. 
Zoe: So we've had bronzer [..] So that's all you want to put on on my cheeks?
Alfie *stares intently at Zoe's face for a couple of seconds* Yeah, what else have you got?
Zoe : Blusher, contour and highlight
Alfie : They're all the same, they're all the same
At the end, Zoe has a closer look and appears to be surprised at what a good job Alfie did on her make-up however, there's a bit of an issue with the eyeshadow...
Zoe : You didn't really do much eyeshadow. You could have really gone to town. [..] I'm just a bit disappointed with the eyes.
Alfie : They're my favourite bit.
Zoe : I can't get over how small my eyes look. It literally looks like you've not put anything on my eyes. 
Alfie : I have. I've put loads on!
Zoe : You didn't.
Alfie : I did. I put so much on.

So what am I asking you to take away from this? 

Over the past couple of years I've written about body confidence, my own battle with an un-made-up face and the way in which the media decide what is or isn't acceptable to look at. Whilst Zoella keeps her public (YouTube) image very 'clean' and she talks openly about her mental health, she is rarely seen without make-up or dressed down. Now, this can be taken both ways; 1. it's important to be proud of your image especially when you are a public figure or 2. your perception of your face in this world is totally different to how others see you.  

Maybe Alfie is entering that 'comfortable' period in his relationship with Zoe where he knows that it's not all about looks but more about the person and who they are to you, hence his lack of understanding about Zoe's obsession with the amount of make-up she feels as though she needs to put on her face.  This also says a lot about how Zoe feels about herself (her lack of self-confidence is well documented on her YouTube channels and her blog) regardless of how she appears in front of the camera - speaking from experience, it's a totally different feeling speaking to a camera lens than it is to a room full of people, and I'm a confident person. 

But, as the title says (and this is the TL;DR bit for you), I think Alfie has hit the nail on the head here. Generally, people don't look at the make-up you're wearing, or the amount of contouring you have (and are even less bothered about the time invested in that process), or even the outfit you are wearing.  Can you remember what your partner or your work colleague wore yesterday? No, me neither! So girls... from someone as old as the hills (me) and someone who is the boyfriend to the most popular person in the UK (Alfie), you don't have to wear all the make-up because there's a possibility that other people don't notice it. Concentrate on being the best YOU you can be!

Be the best YOU you can be