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Thursday, 30 August 2012

On Sunday, I attended the Milton Keynes Sky Ride with my sister and had a really great time. As explained before, the whole event was set up to get people more motivated and to get them out using their bikes more. The events, which have been going on for about a year now, are a collaborative effort between Sky and British Cycling.

My outfit with the Sky Ride t-shirt - very stylish!
When me and my sister first got there, we weren't entirely sure where we were meant to be as we were pretty early, so we stopped off in Starbucks for a cheeky coffee/hot chocolate first ;) It was then when we spotted some people setting up outside and realized that it was one of the many different demonstrations going on throughout the day. We walked back to the car, got on our bikes and followed the general direction where people were heading to find the beginning of the route and lots of different things set up from a stall selling bike products to different companies explaining the biking events they offer themselves.

We started on the route which was really nice - it was generally very easy so that all types of people could do it whether you're a beginner or an expert. There were a few slow hills to go up but there was nothing particularly hard. I really loved that the route was completely sectioned off from all traffic as well, as I'm not a regular biker simply because I don't know any routes near me that are away from traffic and I'm not confident riding around traffic. Along the route there were different stops, including a lovely make shift outdoor cafe that had to be reached by biking down a beautiful off-set path surrounded by trees.

Once we completed the route we had another wander round then watched some of the BMXers and skateboarders performing tricks on a half pipe. I loved this and thought they were very impressive, so I took a few photos.

One of the BMXers doing tricks
I really enjoyed the whole day and it definitely made me more motivated to start bike riding again. What I loved was how many different companies they had at the event offering different ways to get involved. So many people think of bike riding as a solo sport but it really isn't the case. Some companies were offering group bike rides for only women, others offering more adventure like bike rides for those who really wanted to push themselves. It was a really nice idea and it was nice to see families getting involved as well with parents riding with children on seats attached to the bikes and much more. I'd definitely attend the event again and have already began looking on the Sky Ride website for more local events/groups.

I would definitely recommend anyone to have a look on the website and attend any future events if you're thinking about getting involved in getting out on your bike or already do anyway. It's a really nice way to avoid missing out because you might not have anyone to go with or might not know the best routes, or, like me, simply aren't confident enough to ride through traffic.

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Wednesday, 22 August 2012

This post is a bit different but I thought it was the perfect introductory post for a new feature I'm hoping to begin. I'll explain more on Friday but health and fitness is a subject I've wanted to approach for a while on this blog. With wanting to 'tone up' myself and wanting to become overall a bit more healthy, I thought it would be a nice idea to blog about how I try and change my lifestyle - the different methods I use, the results they give and finally my opinion about them. It's not always easy to stay healthy in everyday life in between work, socialising, blogging and more and we all know it's going to get a bit harder with winter coming up (I for one simply hibernate as soon as it gets cold!), so I think it's definitely something that will interest all you readers.

On Friday I'll also go on to explain how toning up and becoming more healthy is my main aim through out this feature and how to do it healthily without starving yourself or dieting.

This weekend is the Sky Ride in Milton Keynes, which is one of many events arranged to help people get on their bikes and have a bit of fun. The different events are collaborative between Sky and British Cycling and have been going for about four years since Sky & British Cycling first worked together to inspire the nation to become fans of cycling.

What they have done is arrange different Sky Ride events around the country to help people come together and partake. The events are taking place all over the country and offer free bike riding participation from weekly local rides to bigger events like the one this weekend. The rides are available to people of all ages and abilities, and you are welcome to cycle as much or as little of the route as you wish.

I am personally quite a fan of bike riding - it's something I always loved to do when I was little and it's something I've recently picked up again with my sister. My sister lives in the countryside and a few times we have gone on bike rides around the area, taking in the beautiful views and getting fit in the process. It's something I've really enjoyed and since getting some bikes at Christmas (which I need to get a new seat for the girls one because it really really hurts my bum), I enjoy going on the occasional bike ride alone.

Although I do like going out by myself (I love blasting my iPod whilst out), I know that cycling is something I'd partake in more if I actually had someone to do it with. Likewise, I don't actually know many nice routes around my area.

This is why I'm looking so forward to participating in the event this Sunday. I think it's a really nice idea as it's a great way to meet other cyclists and discover some new routes in the process. The website I used to sign up for the event was great too as it gave you the option to search for different local events and even search for and add biker buddies and groups. This is a really nice way to find some other people to ride with and you can also see who else will be attending your local event.

I'm really eager to get out on Sunday and make another start on my 'get fit/get healthy' routine. It's something I've wanted to blog about for a while and at some point last month I was even going on two short runs/jogs a week (*gasp* yes, me, the laziest person in the world!) but then I fell down some stairs drunk and hurt my ankle, so running hasn't really been on the cards for me lately. Kids, don't drink in high heels...nonetheless, it's just about feeling better now so going on this bike ride on Sunday will be a nice way to get back into the fitness thing without putting too much pressure on my ankle.

If you're interested in taking part then simply click here to find out more about the event this Sunday (or to search for more events) and register free for the event of your choice.

I'll be blogging again this week about the event and a further explanation of this new feature. Is this a feature you'd be interested in reading about on the blog? Does fitness interest you? Are you more interested in the exercise side of things or the eating healthier approach? Let me know what you think and do have a look at the website and let me know if you have any plans to take part!

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Monday, 20 August 2012

Monday 13th August - Sunday 19th August

(Posting this up a tad late I'm afraid as I've had a super packed weekend and had an early night as soon as I got in yesterday!)

1, 2, 3 & 4. Night out! A small collection of photos from our uniform themed night out - don't our outfits look good?!
5 & 6. At a mini music festival Our local council put on a 'Party in the Park' with food, drink and lots of bands - it was lots of fun!
7. The Maine My new favourite band...
8. ...and the lead singer new crush!

This week I've been -

Watching...Teen Wolf
Reading...The other side of the story by Marian Keyes
Listening to...The Maine and Sleeping With Sirens
Playing...A game on my phone where I can run my own restaurant (that same one that was on FB!)
Smelling of...Harajuki Lovers Fragrance - Lil' Angel
Perving on...John O'Callaghan friends and family

I'm afraid to say that this week I didn't spend much time sober. Er, I know it's bad. But let me explain, I have an excuse, honest! Thursday we had our big school uniform night out and it was a hilarious night! Our first stop was The Park, this really awesome bar I used to go to before I went to uni, and of course we walked in and were the only ones dressed up! I was gutted of course because it was filled with rocker boys and I looked like an idiot! We went onto Liquid/Envy afterwards where the actual event was being held and didn't feel so silly. Don't our outfits look awesome?! I was so proud of the glasses. I might even post a tutorial on how to achieve the look if anyone is planning to do school uniform themed fancy dress anytime soon! Anyway it was a great night, we made lots of new friends as usual and one of my friends who came out with us is actually the official photographer for the club. So naturally out of the 500 or so photos he took that night, at least 200 of them were of us! Madness. The photos were really funny too.

Instead of recovering on Friday we decided last minute to have a night out in Watford and ended up at a really ghetto club which was also hilarious. It's funny how it works as me and my friend both have complete opposite tastes in music so she was right at home in this particular club where I knew no songs whatsoever. I also had my first experience of 'real grinding' which I don't really want to repeat!

Then on Saturday me and my Dad popped into Dunstable to meet my Mum on her work break and watch a few bands at this Party in the Park thing. It's on every year and I've never been but it was such a good day! The bands were awesome and it was nice and sunny. We'd planned to go once my Mum was back at work but we spotted one of Dad's friends and stuck around for a bit more. Then my cousin walked past and we thought he was just down with his Mum but he invited us over where we found literally the whole of my Dad's family were camped out enjoying the day, so we joined them! Naturally this turned into another not so sober night so after a quick detour to pick up some cold beer and Amy, we returned and had a boogie.

Yesterday we just had a chilled out day taking Jasper for a long walk and having a picnic.

Finally, I've become obsessed with a new band this week. You know when you discover a new band and they just consume you and it's all you listen to? Yeah, that was me this week. Even better, I just found out they're doing a gig in London next month so I'm booking tickets first thing tomorrow. I'm so excited. And the lead singer is just the most gorgeous man I've ever laid eyes on....have a mooch at a few of their videos below!

They're so good!

P.S Feel free to follow me on Instagram @Louise_Joy_ for more photos of what I get up to throughout the week!

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Thursday, 16 August 2012

I recently decided I needed some new reading material, so put a huge order in at Amazon. Among my ordered books were zombie books, vampire books, and drama books but of course I need a couple of light hearted, easy to read chick-lit books. Johnny Be Good was one of them. Before reading this I'd never read anything by Paige Toon before, so I wasn't really sure what to expect but now I am a definite converted fan! I'm quite surprised it's taken me this long to read Johnny Be Good also, as clearly it's about a rock star romance and we all know how much I love my rock stars ;)

I guess when I heard what it was about I wasn't too sure at first as I thought it would end up being a bit unrealistic, but I'm glad I finally purchased the book and gave it a go. It tells the story of Meg Stiles who suddenly gets the job of being rock star Johnny Jefferson's PA. Her life is changed almost in a flash as she packs up and moves to LA and into his house, suddenly surrounded by a showbiz lifestyle where she is completely out of her depth.

The blurb reads -

I'm Meg Stiles. This is my leaving party. And that song we're making a mockery of? That's written by one of the biggest rock stars in the world. And I'm moving in with him tomorrow.

Seriously! I am not even joking.

Well, maybe I'm misleading you a little bit. You see, I haven't actually met him yet...

No, I'm not a stalker. I'm his new PA. His Personal Assistant. And I am off to La-La Land. Los Angeles. The City of Angels - whatever you want to call it - and I can't bloody believe it!

Celebrity PA to wild boy of rock Johnny Jefferson, Meg's glam new life in sun-drenched LA is a whirlwind of showbiz parties and backstage passes. Cool, calm Christian, in town to write his famous friend's biography, helps keeps Meg's feet firmly on the ground. But with Johnny's piercing green eyes and a body Brad Pitt would kill for, how long will it be before she's swept right off them again?

I really loved this story and it wasn't at all what I was expecting! It was light hearted but surprisingly drew upon some serious issues - such as drugs and alcohol - what you might expect from a story about a rock stars life - which made it much more realistic. Paige Toon did a perfect job of keeping the suspension in the story without boring me as a reader - it was a long book, which I loved, but not once did I feel like it dragged or got boring. I couldn't put the book down and it really drew me in - with each page I turned I almost felt like I myself was living in LA, falling for a hot rock star!

What I loved most about this book however was I really had no idea who Meg was going to end up with. I definitely know who I was rooting for, but I find with most books you can generally tell how its going to end - this wasn't the case with this book. It also ended on a very big cliffhanger and I almost cried when I realized that was the end - till I frantically searched on Google and found out there was a sequel luckily! I'll also do a review of that when I get the chance.

Paige Toon is a fantastic writer and this book was ideal for something very light hearted and easy to read - it was easy to put down and come back to and wasn't too heavy but I also felt it accurately addressed some darker issues without actually being too dark. This book was funny, romantic and heart warming so I would definitely recommend it!

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Sunday, 12 August 2012

Monday 6th August - Sunday 12th August

1. The Walking Dead finale I was so excited to see this (yes, I know I'm well behind), check me watching it with my cheese sandwich and a cuppa (in my Shia LaBeouf cup)
2. Poser Well I've turned into a total instagram addict and can't stop taking photos of myself ha!
3. Ouchy :( Um this massive lump on my ankle was the result of a particularly bad drunken injury this week
4. Shopping At home on the cheap spa treatment :)
5 & 6 . Pretty nails I did my nails this week, the little stick on flowers/gems I bought from the pound shop some time last year. Cheap or what?!

This week I've been -

Watching...the Olympics
Reading...The other side of the story by Marian Keyes
Listening to...The Maine and Sleeping With Sirens
Playing...A game on my phone where I can run my own restaurant (that same one that was on FB!)
Smelling of...Harajuki Lovers Fragrance - Lil' Angel
Perving on...Kellin Quinn (google him, he's really hot!)
Loving...making new friends on nights out :)

Apart from majorly perving on Kellin Quinn this week, I haven't been up to much apart from the usual! Work, shopping, a night out...where I wore stupidly high heels, stupidly drunk too much and ended up tripping down 2 steps and twisting my ankle. Yep. So typical of me. I'd planned to spend the weekend resting it but that didn't really happen! Today I was off to a christening then got back early enough to watch the Olympics Closing Ceremony.

I'm not massively into sport but I have enjoyed the Olympics, though I wish I'd paid more attention. I've really loved how the country has come together and the atmosphere has been amazing - I'm so glad I had an excuse to pop down to Hyde Park last weekend and experience some of it all in person. It's a bit overwhelming to think that something so big probably wont happen so close to home again in our lifetime. I loved the closing ceremony tonight though and kind of wished I'd had some friends round for an official viewing party or something! It was just such an upbeat and diverse range of performances - my particular favourites were The Spice Girls, Annie Lennox & Freddie Mercury - who is a complete legend. Although I was ever so slightly gutted that Busted did not reform for the closing ceremony like the rumours I'd heard - ha!

Back to work tomorrow but we've got a fab night out planned this week with a big group of us as it's uniform themed in our local club. To quote one friend, we are expecting 'sambuca, cocktails, pigtails, dressing people, arguing and of course....biting ;)' Well. It should be a fun night, as long as I don't walk up or down any stairs in my ridiculous high heels this week ;)

Hope you've all had a lovely week and enjoyed the Olympics Closing Ceremony as much as I did!

P.S Feel free to follow me on Instagram @Louise_Joy_ for more photos of what I get up to throughout the week!

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Wednesday, 8 August 2012

I actually bought and read this book months ago now but was wary of putting up a review because normally I adore this series and I didn't want to write anything negative against it! However, what writer would I be if I only wrote about the good stuff?!

Lindsey Kelk, if you're reading this sorry in advance...

(I still love your writing though!)

I Heart London picks up where I Heart Vegas left of - Angela and Alex are engaged and it's finally time for Angela to come home and pick up the pieces she left two years ago. The story centers around planning their wedding and Angela dealing with all the things that have changed since she left - as well as the things that haven't changed and she'd forgotten about when leaving.

The blurb reads -

Home is where the heart is. Right?

Angela Clark has fallen in love with New York - and it's starting to love her back. But when she's summoned home to England, she's at risk of losing her shiny new life to rain, warm beer and bad memories. Talk about stepping back in time.

There's Mark, the ex-boyfriend - who she ran to New York to get away from.

There's Louisa, her best friend, with her terrifying new baby.

And there's her mum, still talking to her as though she's fifteen.

Now there's a wedding in the offing - and everyone remembers how well Angela behaved at the last one...Can the arrival of boyfriend Alex and new best friend Jenny save her from a re-run of her old self?

I was really looking forward to I Heart London, not only because I love the I Heart series but also because it was the last book in the series so I was really eager (and sad!) to find out how the story would end.

I thought this book was good - as always, Lindsey Kelk proved that she's still a brilliant writer - but personally I felt this book didn't really have that extra something special that the other books did. The other books always left me feeling inspired and more so passionate about my own life and making something out of myself, but this one did not. This book WASN'T bad. I still thought it was good, just definitely not as good as the other I Heart books.

I felt disappointed with quite a few things in the story. I thought the ending was a bit standard - I expected it to end on more of an inspiring or romantic note and it didn't end as special as it could have done. Although I thought the ending was sweet, as I've read all of the books and come to love the characters of Angela and Alex, I definitely expected a bit more.

I also felt a lot of the story lines were left unfinished. Without wanting to spoil this book for anyone who hasn't yet read it - there is a prominent side storyline throughout the book and I definitely felt this was left at a loose end - in fact when I put the book down when I was finished reading the story, I'm not even quite sure what the final verdict/end was regarding that story line and definitely felt there should have been a more defining end to that. Other story lines I thought were left unfinished included that of Jenny's - although she ended up happy, I would have loved to find out more in regards to the issues surrounding her and Jeff as I thought that particular storyline ended quite abruptly without much explanation. Finally, I felt the return of some characters such as Cici and Taylor were a bit pointless and put in for the sake of the book. Although the brief return of Taylor made sense, the small return of Cici was definitely pointless and I think it was easy to see it was just put in for the sake of it. Although we've come to love the story lines such as Angela finding herself in trouble and having to fix things, I didn't think this particular situation was necessary.

However, over all I did really love the book, just perhaps not as the last book in the series. Understandably there was a lot of pressure being that this is the 5th and final book, but I think Lindsey tried just that little bit too hard. I think I would have enjoyed this book more if it wasn't the final one or if it was revealed that a following one would be written, simply because I felt there were too many loose ends and that the characters of Angela and Alex didn't get the impressive ending that they deserved.

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Monday, 6 August 2012

Absolutely everyone suffers a break up at least once in their life and unfortunately, it's always really tough. It doesn't matter how long you were together for or even why you broke up - it will always be hard and unfortunately, it never gets any easier. However, sometimes a few of us are always victim to making the break up harder on ourselves - I find it hard to let go of people and I'm very much a fighter when it comes to relationships - rarely ever giving up - so I know that I've made things hard on myself in the past for dragging things out. Although there's never one right way to 'get over' someone (and in all honesty I believe that you're never quite over someone till the next person comes along), there are some tips that can help.

  • First and foremost, cut of all contact. And I mean ALL ties - blocking and deleting numbers stops you giving in, as well as blocking on Facebook and other means of talking. You've got to be nasty to be nice here to give them a chance to move on. Absolutely no good can come out of still being in contact with an ex after you've split, even though you may think comforting each other would be helpful as essentially you're going through exactly the same thing. However, it actually drags out the relationship and having that person still in your life not only makes it harder to move on, but also may cause more pain as they start to move on and see other people themselves. I believe you actually have a better chance of getting back with somebody - if that's what you want - if you cut all ties immediately. Giving each other that space will give you both more perspective on the situation, as well as a chance to miss each other. Once you've begun to heal and there's still something there, you've got more chance of working things out as you've had a bit of a break.
  • Keep yourself busy. Nights are always the toughest, but if you keep yourself busy throughout the day - taking up a new hobby, reading, writing etc then you'll be too busy to even think of your ex.
  • Have some fun with someone else - IF you can handle it. Of course there's no better distraction then in the arms of a really fit bloke who you can have meaningless sex with, but only if you can handle the meaningless part. If you find it tough to let go of people anyway, it's probably not a good idea. But if you're missing the sexy times of a relationship and that's all then go for it!
  • ...but try and be discreet about it. You might think making your ex jealous will help - and sometimes little things like uploading a pretty picture on Facebook and receiving lots of comments does help - but how would you feel if you found out they'd immediately met someone else and was having meaningless sex? A bit of harmless jealously is all fun and games until it actually starts to hurt someone. You don't want to intentionally hurt your ex, nor do you want to gain a reputation for yourself.

  • Look on the bright side of things. Yes, it sucks big time. But it also means you get to put yourself first. You don't have to deal with all the negative parts of the relationship anymore and although you'll still be sad while you're getting over them, in the end you'll be happy and not upset or suffering from the issues you had in the relationship. You can waste money on yourself again, you don't have to put up with wet towels on the bed or stuff like that and eventually, you can finally start experiencing that beautiful feeling of butterflies on a first date again. 
  • Don't put yourself down about things. Loads of people lose a lot of confidence when they become single again as they feel like they are not good enough - not smart enough, not pretty enough etc. But really think about it - is your ex really the type of person to dump you over looks? Of course not! Try and see the upside of being single and embrace yourself in flirting with lots of sexy men.
  • When you're ready, think about why you actually did break up and learn from it. People break up because of all sorts of things - trust issues, communication issues etc. When you get to the point of when you might feel ready to meet someone new, make sure you understand what failed in your last relationship and try and work on a few of these issues so the problems don't repeat themselves.
  • Transform yourself. Once you're ready, a new haircut/hair colour or wardrobe is the best way to signify the new you.
  • Shit happens. Accept it. Sometimes it's best to just accept that it didn't work and know that if things were meant to work out, you'd still be together now. You can't mess with fate.

  • Make yourself happy. I know it seems obvious, but most of us forget this small reminder. Ever find yourself crying at night cause you miss him? You know what stops you crying? Laughing. If you're really feeling down, watch your favourite comedian on Youtube or a hilarious movie and soon you'll be giggling and your mind wont be on that person anymore - plus you'll be happy again, if even for a moment.
  • Start a blog, diary or otherwise. Sometimes when you're out keeping yourself busy, you don't actually take note of your own feelings. Starting a blog or a diary is a great idea to get those thoughts out of your head and feel a bit better, rather then bottling them up. Sometimes it might even help to write a letter to your ex, explaining why he hurt you and what you're going through. Don't send it, but it will definitely make you feel better. Likewise, a blog is perfect for when you get to that point when you're ready to put yourself out there - dating blogs can lead onto some great opportunities (just don't let your ex's friends get hold of the URL....)
  • Always, always ALWAYS delete their number before a night out. Drunk dialing your ex is NEVER a good idea. At the very least, you'll feel closure for maybe five minutes, only to feel extremely embarrassed the following morning. At the very worst you'll end up doing something silly and wake up with them the next morning, having to start 'getting over them' all over again from square one.

However, remember there are always times when you'll feel like you're not quite there. As mentioned before, I really do believe you never get over someone until you meet someone else special. You can be 99% over someone, but there will always be that tiny snippet at the back of your mind when you're feeling lonely or on a particularly bad day. I genuinely believe everyone has this 1% of feeling or something at least until they meet the next special person to occupy their heart and mind. And in a way, it's very true that you're always getting over someone until you find someone else.

Those are just a few general tips that personally have helped me or friends in the past, whether it be short term or long term. But overall, as tough as it is, the best solution is just time. You can never rush a break up and even if you feel attached to them much longer than you think you should, you should never feel guilty for it. It's hard to define when you're actually 'over' someone as you go through different stages and are constantly moving towards that point. The best part is, however, when you can say you still care for them, but in a different way. When you are able to care for them in that way where you just want to see them happy and can accept the relationship for what it was, appreciate it and be glad that it happened, then perhaps that's when you've finally accepted that you can move on and be happy.

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Sunday, 5 August 2012

Monday 30th July - Sunday 5th August


1. Me and two of my friends from uni I haven't seen these two since February so it was so nice to see them and catch up with them yesterday
2. Me and Jade I was dragged out yet again on Thursday and this is my friend Jade and me (in my new dress!)
3. Outfit Of The Day I couldn't resist wearing this old time favourite to my sisters house for dinner on Wednesday
4. Shopping Whoops, no wonder I'm skint!
5. Posing about I was trying to get a clear photo of my eye make up, which was looking pretty funky that day
6. House party! I've finally set up the plans for my annual house party. I stumbled across this photo when creating the event and just had to use it - this was from my first ever (and one of the best!) house parties!

This week I've been -

Watching...the Olympics
Reading...I think I love you by Allison Pearson
Listening to...The Maine
Playing...A game on my phone where I can run my own restaurant (that same one that was on FB!)
Smelling of...Harajuki Lovers Fragrance - Lil' Angel
Perving on...the lead singer of The Maine
Loving...seeing my uni girls again this week

As usual, I've spent way too much money this week. I was working Monday & Tuesday, and we went to my sisters house for dinner on Wednesday where we had hot dogs and discussed zombies! On Thursday I popped into St Albans for a spot of shopping in the hope to pick up a cheap dress for this weekend, as we'd originally planned to go out on Friday night. But Bango Mango has only gone and started stocking alternative stuff, so I ended up purchasing three tops AND two dresses (and three books but these were from a charity store). We had a really delicious lunch in a beautiful pub we found, and I swear on my life that Prince Harry was stood beside us at the bar! Instead of going out Friday, my friends decided to drag me out on Thursday night instead much to my dismay, but we had a pretty good night. Yesterday I went into London to see Jo and Becky as Jo lives in Blackpool and was down for the Olympics. It was really great seeing them both ; we had a great day gossiping, mooching around Harrod's (who have some of their Christmas stuff in already!) and getting into the British spirit by watching some of the Olympics in Hyde Park. I can't even begin to explain how amazing the atmosphere was there yesterday but I certainly left feeling extremely proud to be British. It's been a long and busy week and I'm at work at 8am tomorrow so I'm going to have a quick bath and get an early night. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I don't spend too much money next week!

P.S Feel free to follow me on Instagram @Louise_Joy_ for more photos of what I get up to throughout the week!

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Friday, 3 August 2012

It's actually been so long since I've had a guest post up so I couldn't say no when Lily Fox contacted me about posting her feature. I really love the idea behind this post as I whole heartedly agree with everything she has said - being a crafter myself, one of my favourite things to do is to create handmade and personal cards. I also love seeing people's faces or seeing how touched they are at receiving something so personal and thoughtful.

Here's what Lily has to say about it.

Why a Personalised Card is Better than a Traditional Card

More and more people are sending personalised cards rather than traditional cards. A personalised card can be made in a number of different ways, from being produced by hand, through to being ordered from a specialist card company. Personalised cards can also be designed and sent online. In this way, personalised cards do offer some opportunities for sending a more specific message than traditional cards, and can be more memorable. These kinds of cards also make it easier for children to get involved in designing and personalising cards for parents and friends, and can make for a good family activity. However, traditional cards do have their advantages, most notably in terms of the ease of buying and sending them, as well as the reliability of a tangible, well designed card for a special occasion.

1 - A More Specific Message
Personalised cards are more direct and can allow for a more specialist message. Rather than writing a personalised message within a normal card, a card giver can extend personalisation to the whole card. This might mean adding a person’s name to the front of the card, or adding photographs and references that they will know more intimately than that of a normal card.

2 - Easier Ways to Send and Receive
Personalised cards are often easier to send and receive than traditional cards. E-cards can be designed online and emailed or shared through social networks. In this way, the cost of posting cards is reduced, and the sender can find out when the card has been received through an online delivery receipt.

3 - More Memorable
Personalised Cards are more likely to be memorable if they are tied to a particular event or recent message around a birthday. The card could be made up of recent photographs, or a reference to a holiday or family event that might have taken place in the year since a last birthday. In the same way, a card made online could feature interactive parts such as a video or a slideshow of pictures.

4 - Better Way for Children to Give Cards
The hands on experience of making a personalised card, or the ability to experiment with different templates and styles as part of an online card, does represent an excellent way for children to give out better cards. The creative experience makes them feel more involved in a birthday, and also gives them a chance to produce their own messages, rather than just putting their name onto a generic card.

5 - Strengths of Traditional Cards
On the other hand, traditional cards are still the most basic and easiest solution to picking a high quality design. Senders might not have the time to put the work into a personalised card, and might instead rely on finding a suitable card that can be posted. In the same way, an online card has the problem of not being tangible enough in terms of being something that can be put on display. While e-cards can be printed out, they lack the tangible nature of traditional cards, or ones that have been made by hand.

About the Author
Lily Fox is a greeting card designer for Katie's Cards. She enjoys creative pursuits and building personal relationships. Currently she is involved in a project to launch new Christmas ecards.

Do you agree with the points raised here? What do you prefer to give or receive - personal cards or traditional ones?

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Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Is it really August already? I can't believe we're already at what's meant to be one of the hottest months of the year, with next month indicating the start of winter.

 The Book 
Nine months by Paula Bomer is set to be the book on everyone's lips this month - it's dark, it's dangerous and it's shocking. It tells the story of Sonia who discovers she is pregnant for the third time and so leaves her husband, takes her kids and embarks on a journey to 'find herself'. Along the way, she takes part in a number of big no-no's for pregnant women such as casual sex and smoking weed - all in the effort of finding an identity that is her own. This story will leave you unable to put the book down, with each new page becoming more shocking than the last.  // Out on 21st August

 The Film 
She's ginger, she's fiesty and she's the least ladylike character to grace our movie screens since Mulan - yet Brave is set to be one of the must see films this summer. Not only is this excellent animated story suitable for adults, children and families, its also a typical feel good film with a motivational message behind it. Dubbed to be both inspiring and hilarious, the story is about a princess named Merida who decides that she'd rather choose her own future than follow in the footsteps of her traditional Scottish elders. This fantasy come action story is definitely a must see this August, if even just to pay homeage to your childhood love of Disney animation films. // UK Release date 3rd August 

 The Trend 
Stars 'n' Stripes are a massive trend at the moment and you can't go anywhere without seeing someone sporting the look. Most popular are stars 'n' stripes shorts, perfect for a slight rock chick-esque or festival look on a hot summers day. Less is definitely more with this trend so the 'out there' shorts should be paired with a plain white top, plain pumps and minimal jewellery. If the shorts are a bit too much than a few accessories wouldn't go amiss, with a stars 'n' stripes head scarf looking especially popular since Rita Ora stepped out with one recently. // Most websites such as, & Prodigy Red are offering a wide variety of different stars 'n' stripes clothes and accessories.

 The Event 
Despite the American stars 'n' stripes trend being at large at the moment, we're really rooting for Britain in the 2012 Olympics. The Olympics is THE event this month/summer, with not just the actual games going on but so many different supporting events such as Olympic viewing parties, London's Royal Parks hosting music, games and giant TV's broadcasting the games and much more. Even if you've only watched the opening ceremony, the Olympics being held in our home country is pretty much a once in a lifetime thing so this August it's really time to be proud to be British! // The Olympics officially end on 12 August (Am I the only one who is surprised to learn that they are ending so soon? Such a build up for something that's only lasting less than 3 weeks!)

 Anything else? 
Advertising and sponsoring is massive in the blogging world right now with almost every top blog offering month long sidebar advertising for as little as £1. Although I personally won't be offering up any advertising space on Inspire Magazine JUST yet, I can definitely see the benefits in this fab idea and may just get an advert of my own posted up on some of my favourite blogs. If you're serious about blogging than it's definitely a good idea to start thinking about advertising for your own blog this summer, especially as everyone else is doing it. // Some of my favourite blogs such as Futures, Life of a Sweetaholic and Victoria's Vintage are all offering advertising space for very little this month, with the possibility of your blog reaching their large number of readers.

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As a massive movie buff myself, I just HAD to enter this competition. Blinkbox are giving away 50 free movie vouchers for the first 50 bloggers who blog about films they are dying to see - so if anyone else is interested - get on it!

There are so many films I'm dying to see at the moment (including old classics that I should have seen growing up but um haven't) but here is my list of some contemporary films that I want to see and think everyone should see.

The Fiver Year Engagement
Me and my sister have been planning to see this for the past three weeks - it's the perfect girly rom-com to see this summer and looks like it's nice and lighthearted. Plus, it stars Jason Segal who is a comedy genius and to be fair I'd go and see this movie for that reason alone...

Seeking a friend for the end of the world
This film just seems quite quirky and different - and romantic in a weird way. And I love me my quirky movies. I'm also curious to see Keira Knightly again, I can't remember the last film she was in!

Magic Mike
Do I really need to explain this one?

The Dark Knight Rises
This is a film that everyone has to see, even if they don't like Batman - it's just one of those must see films. Okay, so I know I've technically already seen it, but given that I fell asleep on my date for a good 45 minutes of the film (it's okay, he didn't mind, I think he thought it was sweet!), I'd like to see it again so I can say I actually know what happened in the movie. But be warned, it is THREE HOURS LONG. Pee beforehand. And stock up on Red Bull.

The Amazing Spider-Man
Another must see, even if you don't like Spider Man. I'm quite curious to see how they've rebooted it yet again and of course I have a massive girl crush on Emma Stone.

What films would you like to see this summer?

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