27 Nov 2016

Finding your niche as a blogger

In recent years the blogging world (or Blogosphere) has hit new heights and there are now more people than ever getting involved. I've been blogging since I was roughly about 18, I started off on Tumblr as most people do and only the last couple of years I started to actually 'write.' I started to take blogging a bit more seriously about a year ago, and even in that short space of time I've seen the growth with my own eyes. Since the supply of content has grown, so has the demand. With that being said I've began to wonder: Is it harder to make yourself stand out as a blogger now that the market is more saturated than ever?

Your niche is essentially what your blog is about and the content you can offer your audience. It's normal to have a specific focus or a broad variety of subjects and there's no way you can get it wrong because you're creating content that fits perfectly with you and your personality.

There are so many different sub categories for bloggers which is a great way of beginning to find your niche. For example we have fashion bloggers, travel bloggers, beauty bloggers, bloggers who focus on male grooming as well as lifestyle bloggers, parental bloggers and so many more! To be honest I would place myself somewhere in between the fashion/lifestyle categories with sprinklings of music. I tend to write about stuff that I'm passionate about whilst also trying to share tips and ways that people can help themselves. I set up this blog in the hope that people would take interest in my general life but I also want it to be somewhere that people can find fashion inspiration, places to visit and discover new music. I don't mean to sound like a hipster but I don't believe there are many bloggers who write about my interests i.e hip hop and streetwear so I thought I'd try and capitalise on this and start to focus my energy on things that I think I could write about forever: my passions and interests. I found that writing about things I'm confident in has allowed me to really enjoy blogging has also ensured I don't lose interest in it. I've written for online magazines and websites in the past but since I've started to focus more on my blog I've found that everything comes more naturally which is the most important thing.

After all of that, I'm not saying that it's a hindrance that there's so many other bloggers out there, it's actually a really welcoming community. Pretty much every blogger I've interacted with through Twitter and Instagram has been really friendly and helpful and I've enlisted some of those delightful guys and gals to share some of their wisdom and hopefully give you some sound advice on finding your niche and improving your blog!

Abigail Alice from abigailalicex.com says:

"I think finding a niche has been really hard for me because my interests are so mainstream ie fashion and beauty. But I found that by exaggerating those interests I was able to find a niche. So I'm really interested in TV show/movie fashion and love outfits female characters wear in films like Mean Girls or Scream Queens, Pretty Little Liars etc. and even though at first I thought "Oh I cant dress like that its too 'out there'" I realised that actually is my niche. So I try to recreate that to some extent on my blog by doing a Character of the Month etc and just wearing things that I usually wouldnt and those have turned out to be my most popular posts! Its finding that weird quirk that you love and completely running with it that makes you and your blog unique."

Daniel from vibetwentyfive.com also says:

"I'm very new to this but have already interacted and had conversations with some really talented people, it's definitely a welcoming community. I think it's a saturated market but your personal style and taste is very unique, if only a small portion of people read it and are interested then at least you're still having an impact. Even though we feel it's saturated, it's still a very new thing and I think it's a good thing brands are taking notice and us "normal" people are being recognised as the face of things over your celebs that are usually chosen, I hope this is because we're an honest bunch and give real insight in to products that we're looking at."

After weighing up so many different opinions and hearing other peoples views on the matter, I've come to believe that as long as you stay true to yourself and keep enjoying yourself then there's no way you can be doing this whole blogging thing incorrectly! After all, it's all fun and games isn't it?!

If you have anything to say, don't be afraid to hit me up over on Twitter!


22 Nov 2016

5 Changes For A Happier & Healthier 2017 With Cosmic Fog UK

In case you've not noticed, 2017 is fast approaching! And with a new year comes new motives and new goals. I thought I'd do my best at helping myself (and you) to ensure that we all have a prosperous and healthy year. I've come up with five ways to improve your physical and mental health and hopefully I stick to them myself!

Stop smoking with Cosmic Fog UK

Luckily I'm not a smoker but I know that smoking is a habit that a lot of people struggle to kick. Most people start to smoke as teenagers and the addiction carries through into adulthood, but with it being an addiction a lot of people find it hard to go cold turkey. I realise it's easy for me to sit here and to encourage people to give up but with the advancements of technology in recent years there are healthier alternatives to cigarettes. One of the most popular alternatives has been the Vape. Traditional vapes offer tobacco free versions of the cigarette and doesn't leave behind the horrible smell that cigarettes do. They're also more cost effective than a pack of cigarettes as the e-liquids are roughly the same price as a pack of cigs. Cosmic Fog UK offer a range of flavours and they all come in a variety of strengths and sizes. You can shop the flavours from Cosmic Fog UK now!

Drink less coffee, drink Matcha Green Tea instead

Now this is one that I need to stick to! If you follow me on Instagram it's likely that you've seen my feed is often rife with photos of a flat white. I do enjoy a coffee probably more than I should and I'm currently at about 4 cups a day at the moment which is quite excessive. Drinking this much coffee definitely has its drawbacks which include digestive discomfort, dehydration and quite often causes insomnia and restlessness as well as anxiety (something which I do not need to be encouraging). So as an alternative I've recently started to drink Matcha green tea which has so many health benefits. Matcha is a ground down form of green tea which originates from China and in recent years has understandably become very popular here in the UK. Benefits include: boosts memory & concentration, increases energy levels, detoxifies the body and it enhances the immune system. I've been getting my fix from Pure Chimp who kindly sent me a tester pack. Definitely check them out and you'll see the benefits instantly.

Watch less TV, read more books 

It's so easy to fall into the grips of television and with TV being more accessible than ever, we're able to watch our favourite TV shows literally anywhere. I've been known to have the occasional Netflix binge (especially Stranger Things) but there's so many other ways we can stimulate our brains, and reading is definitely one of them. Not only does it melt away stress but it also massages your imagination whilst simultaneously boosting your vocabulary. Researchers believe that we learn 5-15% of our vocabulary from reading and that could make one hell of a difference, especially to someone like myself who tries to write as often as possible. Some of my favourite books that I've read recently are The Catcher In The Rye, Morrissey's autobiography and Pharrell: Places and Spaces I've Been. 

Don't exercise enough? Use YouTube

One thing that I definitely need to work on is my fitness. When I was younger I would play football, basketball & tennis amongst other things but in recent years it's something I've stupidly neglected. I've tried the gym before and it's not something I particularly enjoy. I wouldn't put it down to being self conscious but there's something about being around other people that I don't enjoy when 'working out'. I also find it hard to do things like 5 a side or a game of tennis as I find my schedule has gotten a lot busier as a grown up, especially working in retail as I can still be in work at 8pm some evenings.
Something that I have tried however has been yoga tutorials on YouTube. I started doing the tutorials a few months back and almost instantly felt the benefits. I found that my mental health was a lot better as it encourages focus and relaxation (something I can definitely get along with). Aside from mental health it also increases your blood flow, perfects your posture and builds muscle strength. Here's the video I've been using!

Do more of what you enjoy

This is the most important thing. I often sit down and try to designate myself a few hours each week to do what I actually enjoy. Luckily I really do enjoy blogging so putting in the hours on my blog is fun and somewhat productive too.
What you have to remember is giving yourself a few hours to do what you enjoy isn't a luxury, it's a necessity. It's a common misconception that we as people should just live to work but in fact we should be working to live and enjoy the fruits of our labour. We weren't born to just pay bills and sleep so it's essential to give yourself the time to enjoy your free time. Go to a gig, learn a new language or just go for a walk. Although they may seem like such small tasks you'll realise the benefits. I can promise that you'll start to feel a lot happier almost instantly!

There we have it, that's my 5 tips for a healthier & happier 2017. I'd love to hear some more tips from you!

*This post was sponsored by Cosmic Fog*


20 Nov 2016

November 2016 Playlist

From a personal perspective, the last month has knocked up some of the best music releases of 2016. As you can tell the majority of the playlist is made up of hip hop tracks and that's not a coincidence. I know I say it pretty much every time I create a playlist but hip hop is in such a good place at the moment and I hope it continues. Childish Gambino is set to release a new album in December and has so far shared two tracks from the project (both of which are in this playlist!) Here's my rundown of my favourite songs of the last month.

Telephone Calls - A$AP Mob ft Tyler, The Creator & Playboi Carti

Any collaboration that sees Tyler and Rocky on the same song is going to be a winner in my eyes. They've worked together on WTF Right Now and also released a Studio Freestyle on Golf Media in the past but this is my favourite joint they've worked on. I was surprised to see Tyler feature on Cozy Boys Vol.1 but it definitely works! Other good tracks from the album are Runner, London Town & Put That On My Set that features Skepta.

Movin Backwards - A Tribe Called Quest ft Anderson. Paak

This is what I'd consider 'proper hip hop.' I'm not the biggest fan of real hip hop as it went over my head as a youngster and I grew up on artists like 50 Cent, The Game, Eminem and Kanye West. These artists were my gateway into discovering hip hop so my ear is more suited to west coast/g funk kind of tracks but I really do enjoy this track. Anderson. Paak is by far my standout artist of 2016 and I think everybody should go and listen to his Malibu album as it's incredible.

Redbone & Me And Your Mama - Childish Gambino

As I mentioned previously, Gambino has a new album coming out very soon and I couldn't be more excited! He's slipped off the music radar since his last album Kauai but he's well and truly back. These two tracks are the lead singles from the forthcoming album and it sets the tone for what's sure to be a great body of work.

 Durag Vs Headband - Action Bronson ft Big Body Bes

Bronson is definitely one of my favourite artists in recent years. His unconventional raps make him stand out from your regular rappers and he has a signature sound (even though a lot of people say he sounds identical to Ghostface Killa!) What's not to like about this track? Especially as he mentions Wayne's World!

Black Beatles - Rae Sremmurd ft Gucci Mane

I'm sure you've seen the Mannequin Challenge as it's literally everywhere on the internet at the moment, and this song is the soundtrack! As if the track wasn't big enough it actually got endorsed by Paul McCartney as he recorded his own version of the Mannequin Challenge. With post prison Gucci Mane on the track too, it really does bang.

All We Got - Chance The Rapper ft Kanye West & Chicago Children's Choir

I've kind of cheated by putting this song on here as it wasn't released this month but I'm gonna give myself a hall pass as I'm going to see Chance in London tonight! Ever since Acid Rap came out I've been a massive fan of Chance and I'm so glad he's become successful in his own right and all by himself as he's still unsigned!

Crave - Pharrell Williams

If you've been reading my blog for a while you'll already know that Pharrell is by utmost hero and I'm always over the moon when he releases new music. Crave has that signature Pharrell sound which we've all come to love over the years and comes from the soundtrack for the movie Hidden Figures. On a side note, I'm so excited to see how Pharrell gets on as co-owner of G-Star RAW. If I'm being honest I'm not the biggest fan of the brand but I hope he takes it in a different direction.

2100 - Run The Jewels ft BOOTS

This song wasn't meant to be released yet but since the real life horror of having Donald Trump as president has unfolded, Killer Mike and El-P decided to release it to help us get through the trauma. When you listen to the words you can understand why! "The evening views giving yous views, telling you to pick your master for president, then behind the curtain seen the devil working" couldn't be more relevant at the moment!

Where Are You Now? - Royal Blood

It's about bloody time we got some new music from Royal Blood! Since their debut album came out in 2014 we've not heard a peep from the two piece but this track is a nice taster of what's to come. After seeing them live at Reading Festival in 2015 I was surprised to see how far they've come in terms of stage presence and I hope that resonates in their next album.

40 Winks - Jonwayne

If you're hip hop fan and don't know Jonwayne, then get to know! In my eyes he's the most underrated rapper out there at the moment and he's released some of the best singles of 2016. On Friday I bought tickets to see him in Bristol next year and he's definitely someone I've been itching to see since I found out about him. He's produced tracks for Homeboy Sandman in the past and also worked with Anderson. Paak before Dr Dre enlisted him for the Compton album. If there's one thing you do today, listen to a few tracks of his. I promise you won't be disappointed!


18 Nov 2016

Outfit Of The Day 18/11/16

 Cap - Supreme 
Oxford Shirt - Ralph Lauren
Coach Jacket - N.W.A 
Trousers - Vivienne Westwood
Sneakers - Vans 

With it being my day off I thought I'd get out of the flat for a bit, and took a trip to the antiques market nearby. There's a fair few floors to it so I wandered and meandered up every flight of stairs and somehow managed to end up on the bloody rooftop that has a view over the whole of Cardiff City Centre! I thought I'd use this as an excuse for an impromptu Outfit Of The Day post as admittedly I was feelin' this outfit as I left home. 

My Oxford shirt is from Ralph Lauren and I bought it from a charity shop a couple of years back for £4 and I've got my moneys worth for sure! My jacket has also seen a few seasons and has held its own: it's from Agora Clothing and it cost me £30. 
The tartan trousers were a part of my uniform last season so I was lucky enough to get these for free. However I did manage to shrink them in the washing machine so they're meant to have more of a wider leg, but who's complaining? They're still delicious! 

A short and sweet post I know, but I've got a fair few posts scheduled over the next week so stay tuned!


13 Nov 2016

Fallen Leaves, Food & Florals: A Sunday in Cardiff

It's very rare that I get to have a full weekend off, with working in retail and all. But I had the pleasure of having a full two days to myself this past weekend so I thought I'd make it count and get stuff done/be productive (writing this blog post counts as being productive FYI).
On Saturday I had breakfast at my parents' house and then got an upgrade on my phone. I opted for the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge which was brave of me to finally stick two fingers up to Apple and make a change! I was also given a virtual reality headset and to be quite honest, I spent most of Saturday night messing around with that. Ultimately it made me feel really sick after an hour or so: the phrase 'it's all fun and games until someone gets hurt' rang true in this instance.

Anyway on Sunday I headed out with my camera for a little wander and to grab some tasty food! I ventured to the other side of Cardiff to find the cutest of cafes called Penylan Pantry. I grabbed myself a seat outside and sipped a flat white while I waited for my fry up, which was called It's Not A Fry Up, presumably because it wasn't your typical Full English! Instead it had chorizo and grilled tomatoes along with boiled eggs and mushrooms. Anyway it was absolutely stunning and for the first time in my life I actually enjoyed eating black pudding. It's best not to think what it's made from when you're actually eating it.

After I lined my gutty wut I strolled around and came across some lovely parks which were absolutely flooded with fallen leaves. I'm not usually one to enjoy the colder seasons but there's something really aesthetically pleasing about an autumnal landscape. I spent a good few hours just marauding around and generally just getting some air into my lungs which is handy this time of year as I think it's best to make the most of the outdoors before it starts chucking it down for six months straight.

On a side not I'm quite happy with how these photos came out, so please massage my ego and let me know if you want to see more!


6 Nov 2016

My ULTIMATE Christmas Wishlist

Whether you celebrate Christmas or not, there's no hiding from the fact that the build up to the festivities start earlier every year. In recent times I've been something of a Scrooge, mainly from working in retail and not being able to celebrate how I'd like. But this year is different as I'll have a nice stretch of time off in December and I'll be honest, I'm starting to feel a lot more excited than I thought I would! So what better way to begin my own build up to Christmas by showing you my ultimate wishlist for Christmas? There's a mix of technology, fashion and miscellaneous items that I've lusted over for a good while and maybe just maybe Santa may deliver the goods on Christmas Day!

Panasonic HDR 4K TV

Is it not everybody's dream to have their own home, with a HUGE TV mounted on the wall? After picking up FIFA 17 a few months ago I've been thinking about buying myself a new TV as I think it would definitely enhance my gaming experience, amongst other things. I can just imagine being sat in front of this Panasonic beauty on Christmas Day, with a glass of whisky in hand watching Elf (surely the best Christmas film?) The TV itself features cinema display which is designed to ensure the best viewing experience for movies and is how filmmakers intend their movies to be watched. Let's not forget about Boxing Day football too! It also has built in wifi which is perfect for those Stranger Things marathons!

Yeezy Season 3 Hooded Shearling Coat

This is the one stand out piece from Yeezy Season 3 for me. I went to the cinema to watch the Season 3 fashion show (along with the release of The Life Of Pablo) and this was the one item that really wet my appetite. The collection itself stays true to Kanye's love of colour blocking and is designed to make the whole collection interchangeable and wearable. I remember for Season 2, Kanye described his clothing as being like Lego meaning that everything can work together and I really like that as a concept. This coat in particular would be perfect for those cold, wintery evenings and I would love to one day own this!

Alexander Mcqueen Spider Pendant

Is there anything more indulgent than designer jewellery? I've always been a fan of Alexander Mcqueen's jewellery but I've never been brave enough to dip into my wallet and stump up the cash! I've bought a few Vivienne Westwood pieces in recent months but my staff discount there definitely helped the cause. Over the years I've had an eye on a skull pendant from Mcqueen but this is my new favourite necklace from the designer. I've bookmarked it just in case I come into a bit of money in a few months!

Raf Simons Appliqu├ęd Distressed Sweater

Raf Simons is quite possibly my favourite designer of all time and this piece is classic Raf. It screams rebellion with the distressed look and embroidered badges. I've been lucky enough to see this sweater in person at Dover Street Market and the quality is second to none, and with Winter on our doorstep the sweater would be perfect for me. I would style this with a pair of black jeans and some classic Stan Smiths.

My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy Vinyl

This is without a doubt one of Kanye's best albums and I love this set of vinyl. It comes with 3 discs and various album covers. The production on the album is flawless, as you'd expect from Yeezy and it's full of bangers. Monster, Runaway, Devil In A New Dress, Lost In The World and Power are all stand out tracks. I remember reading about how Kanye put together a 'Rap Camp' where artists like Kid Cudi, RZA and Q-Tip were all there and it's interesting to hear about how the album came together. I've got classic albums such as To Pimp A Butterfly and In Search Of on vinyl and I'd love to have this in my collection.

Impressa One Touch A5 Automatic Coffee Machine

The one thing that I think my flat is missing is a good quality coffee machine and this Jura one is so elegant. The clean design shapes a unique look and delivers outstanding quality coffee. The machine allows you to make two cups of coffee at a time and also allows the user to whip up the softest milk foam which creates the perfect latte or cappuccino. I'm a big fan of a latte so I'd definitely get use of this. Is there anything better than a really nice coffee first thing in the morning? I think not!

With the big day fast approaching I hope everyone is looking forward to the festive season and you all enjoy being over indulgent with food and booze!