Six Podcasts You Should Be Listening To Now!

There's definitely been a boom in podcasting in 2017. I have a podcast app on my phone and, apart from the main social media channels, it's one of the most used apps I've ever downloaded. I currently have 41 podcast feeds stored in there and refresh the downloads about twice a week. Some are radio show round-ups (or segments from the show), some are comedy, some are crime related and some are hobby/interest related. I tend to listen to my podcasts in the car on the way to work as most are around the length of the 25-minute journey.

Here are my favourite podcast picks - if you haven't already, you should give them a try.

Six Podcasts You Should Be Listening To Now! - My Dad Wrote A Porno, S-Town, The Karen and Ellen Letters, Do The Right Thing, Wine and Crime, Run Selfie Repeat

My Dad Wrote A Porno

Right... I know I'm late to the party but I've just started listening to My Dad Wrote A Porno. It's been downloaded to the app for absolutely ages and I decided to give it a go this week after reading rave reviews (and realising that it's now on the third series).  Anyway, Jamie's dad wrote an erotic novel, Jamie acquired a copy and decided to read a chapter a week to his friends, Alice and James, who interject with their thoughts, feedback and writing tips for the author, Rocky Flintstone (pen name, obvs).

I've literally been laughing out loud, almost weeping, in the car and have had to drive with the windows wound up so that none of the (adult) content seeps out whilst I'm sat at traffic lights.  


This podcast was launched earlier this year and, unusually - but ingeniously - all seven episodes were launched in one fell swoop. It's hosted by Brian Reed who received communication from a man named John Mclemore asking for him to investigate claims that the son from a wealthy local family was bragging that he got away with murder. The investigation goes much deeper, uncovers a treasure hunt and the whole story is absolutely gripping. 

This podcast was perfect for the car as there were no other distractions around me and I could really concentrate on the 'story'. Brian Reed is a very engaging story teller but please don't search for spoilers or photos until you have listened to the full series.

The Karen and Ellen Letters

I've mentioned this podcast before on the blog and this is usually my first choice of recommendation to anyone who wants a new podcast to listen to. It is a series of letters from the 1980s sent between two teenage girls and their landlord. The podcast is narrated by actors, and the story of the discovery of the letters and the journey to prove their authenticity is provided by their current owner, Josh Hallmark.

Listen to series one now in preparation for the new series coming in November.  Each episode comes with an 'aftershow' where friends of Josh and fans of the show discuss and dissect the content of the letters.

Do The Right Thing

A panel show with comedians Danielle Ward, Margaret Cabourn-Smith, Michael Legge and guests where the teams must work out the right thing to do in a given situation. 

It's always recorded in front of a live audience and there is a rumoured new series coming soon but a Summer Special was released a couple of months ago just to keep us going.

Run, Selfie, Repeat

I've been following Kelly Roberts since I discovered her vlogging channel on YouTube which documented her journey to try and qualify for the Boston Marathon.  Her podcast now covers female empowerment, running and the pursuit of finding your happiest and strongest self even when you're feeling your most vulnerable. 

Kelly has been the subject of many running forums recently after it was discovered that she participated in a race without paying for an entry. She has addressed this head-on via her blog and her podcast and moved forward, learning lessons along the way. She has now formed a professioinal, working partnership with many running communities and has appeared on the cover of Women's Running magazine. She is actually my running girl-crush but don't tell her I said that.

Wine and Crime

Three friends get together, drink wine and discuss true crime stories. Yes, it's that simple. 

Six new-to-me podcasts that I'm listening to next

Six Podcasts You Should Be Listening To Now! You Must Rememer This, Fashion Hags, Very Bad Words, Song Exploder, Ultimate Scrutiny, The History Chicks

You Must Remember This - exploring the secret and/or forgotten histories of Hollywood's first century.
Fashion Hags - talk about all things fashion and how much it can drive us nuts.
Very Bad Words - linguists, experts and historians explore 'forbidden words' and what gives them their power.
Song Exploder - musicians take apart their songs and tell the story of how they were made.
Ultimate Scrutiny - it's the end of culture so look at the world and evaluate what's been good and what's been abysmal.
The History Chicks - two women, half the population, several thousand years of history.

So I've shared my favourite six, plus six that I'm going to try as soon as I've blitzed My Dad Wrote A Porno - and I've got plenty of space in my podcast app for more so I'm looking for you to recommend some to me - even your own if you have one. Share in the comments or tweet me (@nickieohara) your recommendations.


Summer Bargains At The Works

In my role as "Stationery Blogger Of The Year", I often indulge in my habit of going round all the local stationery stores and stroking notebooks checking out the most recent stock.

I wandered into The Works to take see if I could take advantage of their summer sale and grab some bargains to pass on to the grandchildren for when they go back to school and also to see if there was anything I could put away ready for (dare I say it... ) Christmas.

Summer Bargains At The Works

The Works is always a great place to pick up a few books - and there's a huge collection of non-fiction books - my favourites are always a good biography and a new recipe book - although I'm definitely thinking about picking up the "How To Brew Your Own Beer" book and take myself back to the 1980s when there was always a demijohn or two in the airing cupboard from Dad's experiments!
"...a mind needs books as a sword needs a whetstone, if it is to keep its edge."
Game of Thrones is so popular at the moment and there is some great GoT merchandise to choose from including a 7-book set, a Lannister book and character figures. Plus, what home is complete without a three-eyed raven?

If you're into the fidget spinner game then The Works have a whole range of spinners, cubes and sticks with demonstration vidoes, information about how to choose the best performing fidget spinner (it's all in the bearings, apparently) and a short history of how fidget spinners were introduced to help children cope with conditions such as ADHD and Autism by using their fine motor skills.

And there's always space in my life for a new notepad. I love the covers with quotes on and the blocks of sticky notes. Both are always such good value for money! 

Have a browse around The Works website or in your local store then come back and tell me what you'd choose.


My Top 5 Beauty Products : Summer 2017 Edition

Earlier this year I wrote about my summer holiday essentials on this blog and I also shared my holiday packing tips on the Hotter Shoes blog.  Now that the summer is almost over *sob* I thought I'd share my favourite summer beauty products.

Orly Breathable

My Top 5 Beauty Products : Summer 2017 Edition - featuring Vaseline, Orly Breathable, Regenrate Enamel Science, Schwarzkopf got2b Powder'ful and Body Collection Highlight FoundationWhen visiting my nail technician, I switch between using acrylic nail powder and having a Gelish manicure as both last a good three to four weeks however, in between manicures, I've been loving trying out the different shades of Orly Breathable and I'm really impressed at how I can get away with just one quick coat for a couple of days.


My summer holiday saviour was Vaseline and their Intensive Care range. The Radiant Spray Moisturiser is really their hero product this year (the directional spray means there's hardly any waste) and I've been a fan of their Lip Therapy for years now.  

BC Body Collection Foundation

I've been on the hunt for a tinted face moisturiser but came across the Body Collection Highlights Foundation in our local Bodycare shop. It's a light foundation with a bit of shimmer which reflects and catches the light and it's good quality make-up that doesn't break the bank.

Schwarzkopf got2b Powder'ful

I'm in between hair styles at the moment - growing one out to have it restyled into another. My hair is really fine so my go-to thickening product has been Schwarzkopf got2b Powder'ful which lasts all day.

Regenerate Enamel Science

I am a woman of a 'certain age' and need to look after my smile. I have a teeth whitening session booked very soon but I've been trying out this Regenerate Enamel Science system to improve the outermost protective layer on my teeth. I'm already noticing a difference after short term use and I have a review coming soon.

These are my top five beauty products for the summer. Let me know what yours are - I'm always on the look out for recommendations.


World Calligraphy Day 2017

Today marks the first ever World Calligraphy Day and, as National Stationery Blogger of the Year, I wanted to share a couple of ways for you to get involved.

World Calligraphy Day 2017 - Photo by Joanna Kosinska on Unsplash
Photo by Joanna Kosinska on Unsplash

Over at the Pen Museum in the heart of Birmingham's Jewellery Quarter, the Manuscript Pen Company are hosting world renowned creative artists to celebrate calligraphy and hand lettering trends - many of which you've probably seen on quotes on Pinterest or in videos on Instagram.  It's a perfect opportunity to explore the Pen Museum too, learning about the history of the trade, starting with quills and working your way through to the modern day fountain pen.

If you can't get over to the event then the Manuscript Pen Company have provided a practice sheet which you can download by clicking on the image below!  You can find lots of calligraphy tutorials on YouTube both for beginners and for using different styles of pens and you can get started with any angled pen. There's lots of lovely starter kits in the Manuscript Pen Company shop and there's even a number of apps for your tablet to help you master the basics.  If you're looking to brighten up your bullet journal with headers and doodles then this could be the just the hobby for you. 

Keep an eye on social media too. There's going to be artists and calligraphers sharing their work and lots of competitions and activities to get involved with.  Hashtags to follow throughout the day are #WorldCalligraphyDay and #ManuscriptWCD

Facebook | Twitter


World Calligraphy Day 2017 - free download


7 Things To Do In Roda, Corfu

This year, our summer holiday took us to Corfu. We were staying in Roda on the north coast of the island and had a wonderful time. It's a beautiful Greek fishing village and has the most chilled and welcoming atmosphere I've ever experienced.  I'd love to share my recommended seven things to do if you visit Roda.

7 Things To Do In Roda, Corfu - sunset over Roda Harbour
Sunset over Roda harbour

Swimming With The Fishes

The coastline at Roda is completely flat so you can walk out quite a distance and still only be in shallow water.  The beach in the village is very sandy but becomes rocky as you move out of town towards some of the beach front hotels (twenty paces out to sea, it becomes sandy again). The water is generally very calm, beautifully warm and clear enough to see the occasional fish swimming by.  

Chill out at the Boathouse

7 Things To Do In Roda, Corfu - view from The Boathouse
As we walked down from our hotel, The Boathouse was one of the first bars we stopped at before continuing into Roda. It is perfectly placed between the rural coastal road that leads to Acharavi and the main village of Roda. As you sit overlooking the mountains of Albania and listen to the lapping of the sea, you just feel all your muscles start to relax (and that's not just the alcohol...).

Sampling The Local Food

Every single restaurant in Roda deserves your custom. The quality of food is unbelievable and the hospitality is second to none.  All food and drink is reasonably priced and you are given very generous portions. It's not unusual to eat late and eat slowly so sit back and enjoy the view whilst you sample local delicacies.  Our two most favourite restaurants were Roxannes (you can find this on the beach road in town) and Thalasea (on the main road in Roda).

Evening Entertainment

A few restaurants and bars offer entertainment from around 9pm onwards. Nikos Family Restaurant (on the small side street leading from the beach road to the main road) invites you to a traditional Greek night with plate smashing and dancing. You can also find similar at Alexandros Traditional Greek Taverna on the beach front.  A few bars offer more gentle entertainment such as free quiz nights but we found amazing "look-alike and sound-alike" singing acts at both the Drunken Sailor and Oscars (on the main road in Roda). There's definitely something for everyone if you fancy a change from your hotel or apartment.

Cocktails at the Harbour Bar

7 Things To Do In Roda, Corfu - cocktails at The Harbour Bar
Almost all bars in Roda serve great food and gorgeous drinks but the Harbour Bar has an extensive cocktail menu (cleverly detailed in alphabetical order) for you to work your way through. If you get past "B" at 3.90€ a glass (with fruit, umbrellas and sparklers) then you're a better person that me!

Getting Out And About

Car, quad bike and motorbike hire are reasonably priced and a great way to get out and see a bit more of the island.  We explored Acharavi, Sidari, Kassiopi and Palaiokastritsa this way and also drove to Corfu Town.  We did find that car parking in main beauty spots and in Corfu Town was quite difficult in high season so recommend using the regular bus sevice, daily coaches or organised day trips to visit these local attractions. 

7 Things To Do In Roda, Corfu - the bay at Kassiopi
The bay at Kassiopi

Relax and Unwind

The main season for Roda is May to October.  We visited in early July and it didn't feel over crowded. Almost every bar and restaurant was open and we were welcomed everywhere with open arms. We stayed at a hotel on the dusty coast road between Roda and Acharavi which was around 1km from the centre of Roda and we walked into the main town every day. The scenery and the sunsets are stunningly beautiful and this has become our Number One holiday destination - we will definitely be returning next year.

Have you been to Roda? What would you add to my list?

If you'd like to see more of my photographs from Roda you can view them in my album 

7 Things To Do In Roda, Corfu - Sams Boats, Roda
Sams Boats, Roda


Top 5 Accessories Every Car Geek Needs

Photo by Patrick Tomasso on Unsplash

We use our cars for everything, from commuting to work, dropping kids off at school and going on holiday. You spend an average of 17,600 minutes per year in your car. They are brilliant and practical machines, but they don’t have everything. Once you have found a car on a great car lease deal or bought a new one and checked when the MOT expires, you need to find yourself some additional accessories.

There are a variety of accessories available for you to use on your journeys. Some of these accessories are only used for certain times, but it is well worth owning them regardless, in case you ever need them.

We’ve partnered up with Hippo Leasing to let you know what their most commonly seen car accessories are.

Cup Holder Car Mount

Let’s be honest, how many of you actually use your cup holder to hold a cup? I bet it is actually filled with change for car parks and other items. So, what if you could put something more useful in your cup holder?

It is illegal to use your phone whilst driving. Simply being seen with your phone in your hand whilst driving is enough for you to be fined and have points put on your licence. But there are times when you use your phone as your sat-nav, so how do you do that if you can’t look at it? Get yourself a car mount for your phone that fits into your cup holder. This allows it to remain stable throughout your journey and you can see the navigation on the phone with ease.

Cooler & Warmer Box in your car

This item is definitely for those holiday trips in the car. There are a variety for sale, but most carry 9-litres of food and drink storage capacity. This means you can keep drinks and meat cool for your journey in the summer if you so wish. Yet when winter comes, it will keep your food at the correct temperature.

These boxes are powered by electricity, which means they will need to be power by your car battery. However, many have low-voltage automatic cut-off systems that will save your battery if it gets too low. All the time, delivering you the food and drink at the right temperature. 

Sat-Nav projected onto your windscreen

There was once a time when you needed a sat-nav either installed in your car or on a mounted screen to use them. No longer. Now, you can purchase a heads-up display that pairs with your phone screen and projects it onto your windscreen whilst driving.

This ensures the screen is always in your line of sight whilst driving. It can be used for maps, but because it is connected through your phone, it does have other functions. It will display notifications such as text messages and phone calls.

It also detects how fast you are going and displays that. This is very useful as it prevents you having to glance down at your speedo to check your speed. Instead, you continue to watch the road with your speed just out of the corner of your eye.

Boot organiser

There are times when we need to be organised. A big open boot space isn’t helpful because it encourages mess. But you can solve this thanks to a boot organiser. This item allows you to organise what ever is in your boot into neat compartments.

This is great if you do a lot of business out of your boot or if you have a family, especially children. For the workers out there, you may require certain tools and to keep those organised will make your job much easier. For those of you with children, a boot organiser means you can keep toys, wipes, random pieces of spare clothing and other items all categorised and organised efficiently.


Parents always want to keep an eye on their children, especially on long car journeys. This isn’t always possible when you are focused on the road ahead. There is a way to help you. If you have a Garmin navigation unit already set up in your car for use as a sat-nav, you can connect it to the babyCam.

The babyCam will record your baby by a wireless remote camera. It is illegal for drivers to have a continuous video screen playing whilst they are driving due to the possible distractions it can cause. However, the babyCam only shows a few seconds at a time to ensure you don’t get distracted.

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

The Top 5 Gifts For Car Lovers

The Top 5 Gifts For Car Lovers - Photo by Tommy Pequinot on Unsplash
Photo by Tommy Pequinot on Unsplash

There are those in our lives who love cars. They watch motorsport, they stare when a supercar rumbles passed. On Netflix and Dave, they rewatch old episodes of Top Gear and read all the websites. They absorb everything to do with cars. So what do you buy someone like that when it comes to giving a gift?

Whether it is for birthdays or you are planning your Christmas shopping well in advance, there are many a gift you can give the car lover in your life.

We have partnered with Zero Deposit Car Leasing to ensure you know what their most commonly seen gifts are for car lovers.


A dashcam should really be owned by every driver, not just the car lovers you know. They don’t have one, you should get them one, as dashcams are brilliant for a few different reasons. The main one is for you and your insurance. There have been stories in the news about groups trying insurance scams by either breaking hard and suddenly in front of you to ensure you crash into the back of them or just reversing back into you. If you don’t have a dashcam, you have no evidence of a scam. However, if you do, then you can prove otherwise.

The other reason to get a dashcam is more personal and cheerful. If you do on a holiday or just a road trip, regardless of length, you can record every minute of it with your dashcam. Memories are so important and sometimes memories fail. Having your holiday on permanent video format is a great keepsake and a dashcam can help with that.

Driving gloves

Before you just go buying any old car lover a pair of driving gloves, there are a few things to consider. First, driving gloves offer a sense of elegance and nostalgia to the drive. However, this means the car lover needs to be driving the right sort of car in order to wear them.

A small hatchback, regardless of how fast or nice it is, is not the place for driving gloves. However, if you are driving a convertible, driving gloves would fit perfectly. They would keep your hands warm even with the wind rushing around you.

If you are driving a classic car, they will look brilliant. They will add to the whole image of you driving a classic car. Something well worth considering.

Supercar Experience

Car lovers usually love supercars above all others. However, most of us and most of them can’t afford to own supercars. They are slightly out of our price ranges. However, that doesn’t mean we don’t get to drive them. If you are looking for a perfect gift for your car lover, consider getting them a Supercar Experience.

Depending on the packages available, you can allow them to drive 3-6 supercars in a day. This will give them a serious chance to experience the fastest cars in the world in prestige comfort, whilst being taught to drive by trained drivers. It will be an experience they will never forget.


Let's be honest, you will have seen the many items of apparel available to car lovers. There are racing leather jackets available in a variety of different colours, some with racing badges. There are thousands of t-shirts available with different graphic designs and logos.

Motor-related quotes are available on many different types of clothing, so you can get your car lover’s favourite quote emblazoned across a sweat-shirt or hoodie. Go browsing and we are sure you will find something suitable for them to wear.

Engine Block coffee table

Your car lover will have seen this on Top Gear back in the day. The engine block coffee table allows your car lover to have a constant reminder of how cool cars are in their own home. It shows a V8 engine holding up a glass plate that is used as the table.

It can sit in their living room or anywhere else they fancy placing it. It will be a talking point for the guests they invite around. It is just a cool, useful item for them to own.

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

Fancy A Game Of "Celebrity Photo Swap"?

I have NO IDEA how I get into these situations but *deep sigh* my friend, Rowena, is very much like the human version of the over-excited puppy part of my brain that thinks some ideas are good ideas but never gets chance to put them into action, thank goodness.  It's a dangerous friendship...

When I was 10 years old a whole school term was taken up on a project with the theme of 'sport'. I wrote off to Grandstand and World of Sport to request signed photographs of presenters to glue into the pages of my folder. To my amazement, Des Lynam, Jimmy Hill, Dickie Davies and Frank Bough wrote back! It was definitely those signed pictures that won me first prize for my project but this was when your Radio 1 Roadshow and supermarket openings were pretty much the only way to catch a glimpse of any famous person, never mind actually get them to sign your autograph book or a publicity photo of themselves.

Since pretty much all of our modern day celebrities are now using social media and appearing in a panto near you, it's fairly easy to grab a selfie with them at a film premiere, a nightclub or even whilst having a 'cheeky Nando's'. That selfie will the do the rounds on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter and then be forgotten about - not even a good story to tell the grandchildren.

Rowena is a bit of a legend in her own lifetime. She has a whole repertoire of stories about her time in the circus (yes, really) and is about to take on the task of becoming a hospital radio DJ. We were recently brainstorming some ideas of how to make our GroupRun Blackburn Celebration Event a bit more fun and during a chat about presenting our alumni with keepsake photos of the volunteers (that idea was sacked off fairly quickly) Rowena came up with the bright idea of 'Celebrity Photo Swap'.

Fancy A Game Of "Celebrity Photo Swap"? Photos available from Cheerz
I put Rowena in touch with a great photo company - Cheerz - and she ordered some of their 10cm x 10cm glossy square prints to use as her 'publicity photo'. We then drew up the very simple rules:

  1. Meet a celebrity
  2. Ask for a signed picture (of them)
  3. Offer a signed picture (of you) in return

Coincidentally, the pictures arrived the very same day that 80s heartthrob, Nathan Moore from boy band, Brother Beyond, was due to appear at a local hostelry so I sent a cheeky little tweet out...

Fancy A Game Of "Celebrity Photo Swap"? Nathan Moore from Brother Beyond has already played along.
I received no direct reply but *** DRUM ROLL *** later that evening, Rowena sidled up to Nathan, proffered her photograph and he agreed to play along.  There is video evidence of this happening however we are having tech issues... but the bar had been set! 

Since then, she has approached Tom Binns/Ivan Brackenbury (see Hospital People on the BBC iPlayer or catch him at the Edinburgh Fringe) who accepted a photo of Rowena but didn't have one to offer in return so he signed her show ticket.  At Lytham Proms, Olly Murs was the next target but he was hiding in his dressing room a bit preoccupied and this weekend she's off to watch a recording of The Jeremy Kyle Show so the challenge is on to see if she can get Jezza on board... and if not, maybe Steve, his bodyguard?

Do you fancy playing along?  You've already got the rules so get some digital printing done for your cheeky publicity shots, invest in a Sharpie and share your efforts using the hashtag #celebrityphotoswap on Twitter (it's just me and Rowena on there at the moment bothering random celebrities, so don't be disheartened).

~ big love to Cheerz for their instant photo printing ~
~ find them on Twitter | Facebook | Instagram ~

The Problem With Short Hair...

I have short hair. It has rarely been long and the one time in my adult life that I let it grow past my shoulders, it was scraped back in a hair tie, Croydon facelift style. Many people seem to think that my short hair would make it easier to manage but it actually isn't.

I have a Pinterest board dedicated to short hair cuts because I am forever on a quest to find the perfect cut. even though my hair will almost always look the same after a trim, cut or re-style. I can never decide what I want my hair to look like and even if I take a picture or two of a celebrity with a great short haircut along to the hairdressers it will never look like *that*. Also, before I settled with one hairdresser, all stylists would ask, "Are you sure you want it this short?" which was always a tad annoying but, I suppose, if it doesn't look right after it's been cut, you have to live with it for a very long time - no pinning it up out of the way.

The Problem With Short Hair... I have a Pinterest board dedicated to short hair cuts because I am forever on a quest to find the perfect cut. even though my hair will almost always look the same after a trim, cut or re-style.
Once you are happy with your new short hair you may presume that you can brush-and-go but, oh no! We use ALL the products you can think of... moouse to thicken, wax or putty to style, spray to keep it in place and a myriad of other lotions and potions to make it look natural and 'just so'.  You can guarantee that if you don't have time to wash your hair in the morning there will be a tuft that sticks up at the crown or on the side of your head and no manner of product will make it look right. There's just so. much. faffing... In fact, once I looked up hair transplant costs because I thought it might be easier to just start all over again! 

Part of my problem is that my hair is very fine. It looks great when I leave the hairdressers but I struggle to get it looking the same after I've washed it. After a week, the small amount of growth gives it a totally different look and my very grey roots show through quickly. In fact, there's so much messing around with it that I sometimes decide to let it grow out again. But then it takes so flipping long to grow that I end up going to get it cut again.  I haven't even touched on other annoying aspects such as 'hat hair' (more tufty, sticky-up bits) or 'runner's hair' (plastered to your head). In fact, I would just like a personal stylist to follow me around, making sure it's always glossy and perfect. Any takers?

#FirstWorldProblems... *sigh*

This article contains a sponsored link. For more details please view my disclosure policy.

REVIEW & GIVEAWAY : Wall Art from Posterlounge

Recently I've been moving all the pictures around in my house.  I now have a "family gallery" in the hallway which is like a living history display of our family and how it's expanded over the year. There's no rhyme or reason to it but it's a huge talking point.

But because I'd moved all the family photos from other places in the house the rest of the walls were looking a bit bare.  Wall art is such an affordable way to brighten up a space in your home so I was really excited to work with Posterlounge - an online art publishing house based in Leipzig, Germany - to fill up those blank walls.

For this review, I selected three different styles of wall art. First was a motivational poster (unframed) which I have gifted to my daughter.  The theme is 'carpe diem' and fits it perfectly with her bedroom decor as it was a black and white print (80cm x 70cm).  Next I selected a Tina Melz print on acrylic glass (80cm x 30cm). The title of this print is 'Summertime' and looks fabulous in my bedroom. Finally I chose a Maruto poster on canvas entitled 'eva #2' which is going in my office because it looks exactly how my head feels sometimes when I've got too much work on!

REVIEW & GIVEAWAY : Wall Art from PosterLounge : Poster eva #2 - © Maruto - Image No. 7720

As Posterlounge focus on creative design and lifestyle ideas, the website is really easy to navigate as it offers you searches by artist, inspiration or room. You can also choose frames if required and know that they will be the perfect fit.  They have an online magazine called Art & Living which is more than just a blog as it offers you decorating tips, an explanation about the different materials used and a chance to 'meet the artist'.


As part of this collaboration, Posterlounge have offered my readers the chance to win a £50 voucher for their website to select any print to brighten up their home. To enter, please visit the Posterlounge website for inspiration and then let me know in the comments where you'd place your print if you were lucky enough to win. 

All entries must be registered within the Rafflecopter widget below and you can gain additional entries via social media.  GOOD LUCK! 

TERMS AND CONDITIONS * This giveaway will begin at 00:01 on 7th August 2017 and will close at 23:59 on 20th August 2017 * This giveaway is open to any of my readers aged 18 or above who reside in the UK. * There is no cash alternative to the giveaway * There is one compulsory entry which asks the entrant to answer a question. You can gain additional entries using the options in the Rafflecopter widget * There is one (1) prize in total * The prize has been provided by Posterlounge * The prize winner will be asked to provide their email address so that contact can be made to arrange prize delivery * Entries will only be accepted as instructed and any entrant that does not complete the qualifying requirements will be disqualified * The winner will be chosen by using a random number generator built into the Rafflecopter widget and will be contacted direct on the email address provided within five (5) days of the draw *

My Positive Life Plan - Taking It Month By Month

My Positive Life Plan - Taking It Month By Month - picture (c) Nickie O'Hara - sunset in Roda, Corfu

Last year I saw Becky talking about her 'Positive Life Plan' and made all good intentions to use the prompts to get my life in order.  Suffice to say that this didn't happen and I forgot all about it.  That was until I collaborated with Becky on the 'fitness' section of her Positive Life Plan a couple of weeks ago. I provided her with five top tips for new runners as she's working her way through the 'Couch to 5k' plan, and we all know what a big fan I am of that.

The problem with me is that I find it hard to focus on long term goals. I'm crap at new year's resolutions, diets, blogging targets.... in fact, anything that requires me to make a plan and put effort in. I'm very much a 'in the moment' type of person, grabbing opportunities as they arise but it's very clear that I still need some sort of focus so I'm going to take each of Becky's prompts and revisit them monthly to see if I can get my life into some sort of semblance.

I'm not going to blog about this each month but I will probably keep a diary of sorts in a notebook so that I can look at what I've done each month, examine what goals I did or didn't achieve, ask myself why this was and make changes for the next month, and so on.  This feels so much more attainable to me.

So here are the Positive Life Plan prompts and what I am hoping to focus on in the immediate future.


I'm lucky that my overall health is absolutely fine however my diet is shit.  I eat well (far too well) and like wine.  Since we returned from holiday I've made moves to eat better and have less take-away food. We are very much a family who gathers at the table to eat together at tea time but we are making compromises and know that home-cooked foods and meal planning are the way forward. 


At the moment, this feels like one area in my life that I have sorted. I run at least three times a week, I enter occasional races to challenge myself and I walk the dog regularly too.  But I get into a funk from time to time with my running, I pick myself up again, I'm OK for a time but then it happens again.  The vicious cycle is all about self-doubt and wanting to better myself at what I do. I am currently taking steps to see if I can make this happen; small baby steps where I can't and don't need to compare myself to anyone else.


We are a single income household (with nominal board money from our two sons) so money has always been carefully budgeted and any luxuries have come through extra work through my blog and other non-regular income streams.  Recently, it's felt a bit easier because I've been paid for a bit of writing here and there and we have managed to save some money towards holidays that we didn't think we could have this year. It's now a matter of keeping that additional income trickling in so that we can enjoy life a bit more.

Beauty / Personal Style

My Positive Life Plan - Taking It Month By Month
I almost have to laugh when I think of myself from a beauty point of view or with a personal style. I don't have a style to speak of, I am very uncomfortable in my own skin after putting weight on over the past few years and this is definitely an area I need to work on. I'm not too sure where to start though as it all feels very overwhelming.


Having been with my partner for over 27 years (we celebrated our Silver Wedding Anniversary last month) you can find yourself falling into a 'routine' or a 'rut' but I see this more as familiarity.  We still make each other laugh but we argue too which is no bad thing as it clears the air, much like a thunderstorm after some humid weather. I think the key here is for things to stay the same as much as possible and to tackle any problems as a team rather than as individuals.


It's very hard to define 'friendships' when you reach my age.  My school friends are no longer as close as they once were but we still keep in touch with each other via Facebook after a school reunion was arranged a few years back. Work friendships are kept just there - at work. Again, we occasionally communicate via Facebook with some in-jokes or messages but it's a completely separate part of my life and I'm happy for it to be like that.  My running community has created a whole new friendship group but I rarely venture out for social events with them due to other commitments. I'm still very much in contact with friends from elsewhere in my life but we seem to live so far apart these days - it's great catching up with each other when we do get the chance though.

Work / Personal Brand

I work in the type of job that I can embed myself into 9-5 and then leave it on my desk. I'm very lucky in that respect as it's not always been like that.  Blogging has grown into my personal brand outside of work and I'm always thinking of ways that I can try and improve on that but, as we've already found out, I'm a bit flaky so one of my main goals is to spend more time blogging like I used to and to build my writing portfolio. I'd like to take on some more social media clients to generate that additional income that is much needed and I've still never written "that book" that I have in my head, although I did write an Interactive Quiz Book specifically for Kindles which became a 'best seller' for a short period of time.

Quality Time

I always come back off holiday with good intentions of putting the laptop away earlier, switching my phone off, reading more, going out on walks and doing everything else mentioned above to enrich my life and this year was no different.  Most of the time it doesn't happen as writing and blogging generally mean that you're attached to a computer and social media for extended periods of time and this has to fit in around the full time job.  What I am making more of an effort to do is spend more time at the weekends with the laptop shut, enjoying life, so that I have more to write about during the week.


As mentioned at the start, long term goals are difficult for me to set. It's OK to have that dream but if it feels unattainable then what's the point? In the short term, I want to keep up with this method of self-examination, 

My Positive Life Plan - Taking It Month By Month


I'm great at motivating others so maybe I need to spend a little bit more time motivating myself. Breaking all of this down is going to help as I seem to have lots of ideas but nowhere to take them and not enough time to make them work.  If using the Personal Life Plan helps things to slot into place then I'll feel better about being kinder to myself?

Do you have a Positive Life Plan in place at all? Are you working towards any life goals?

By the way, the sunset picture at the top was taken in Corfu when we were on holiday last month. Isn't it beautiful? And there was a new one every single day!
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