12 Blogging Lessons Learned In 12 Months

Happy Birthday, Sass & Shamrocks! The blog is one year old today!  A whole year of consistent blogging, I can’t believe I did it! I wish I could say it’s been a consistently wonderful experience. It’s been rather stressful at times but it has been a profound and steep learning curve where I’ve learned lessons not only about blogging but about other people and myself.

12 Blogging Lessons in 12 Months

The blogging world is simultaneously simple and extremely complex. I jumped in head first and definitely felt like I was drowning very quickly. I don’t think it’s ever possible to learn it all when it comes to the internet, blogging and social media. The whole environment transforms so rapidly that every day there is something new to learn.

While I learned many complex lessons (the hard way), here are some of the more basic things I have come to realize which may help those those new to blogging or those considering set up a website for the first time.

12 Lessons In 12 Months

  1. Choose your host wisely. This is something I pondered for a while before purchasing my domain. I researched online  and read horror stories of transferring domain names to different hosting platforms which involved losing all content and subscribers. From the start I chose to go with Bluehost. Of course you don’t have to purchase a domain name at all. You can use any amount of free platforms to host your blog. However, if you plan to monetize your blog through ads or affiliates then many of the free options will not allow you to do that. Make sure you know what’s what.
  2. You are your brand. The way you communicate and let your personality shine through to your website will end up being your brand. Think about this especially if you are using your blog to promote your business. You may be extremely witty, opinionated or curse like a sailor but will this hurt your brand? That being said you must stay true to who you are and be honest in order to gain your readers trust and build a genuine following – maybe just save the F-bombs for your off-screen life.
  3. Screw niche blogging. While some bloggers have a blatant niche by default (travel, food, fashion, technology etc.) I don’t believe that every blog requires such strict boundaries. Most bloggers label their site ‘lifestyle’, inc. me for descriptive reasons. I don’t necessarily stick to this. Your blog will evolve just as much as you will as a person. I started mine to write about the trials and tribulations of adapting to a new life in the US, the challenges of being a military spouse and talking about my home in Ireland. Since then I have given into my creative side and posted many recipes, DIYs and started to pursue a potential photography career. Towards the end of the year my blog took a rapid swing toward pregnancy and parenting with the impending arrival of my first baby. Next year I hope to add photography to my categories and maybe even offer services in that field which will see the blog take more of a business oriented turn. In particular if you are blogging for fun, do not be bound by ‘rules’. It’s your blog. There are none!
  4. Keep it simple. I’m more drawn to clean, crisp layouts with easily readable font that aren’t flooded with ads and pop-ups. A fussy, cluttered site doesn’t encourage viewers to stay let alone read your content.
  5. Connect with like-minded people. For business, this is really important. You must have a target audience and know where to seek them out and connect. Don’t waste too much of your time promoting to the wrong people. For-fun blogging is different, while you may have the most in common with bloggers in your ‘niche’ (I am trying to use the term loosely) there’s no harm in connecting with others too.
  6. Don’t be a selfish group member. Blog groups are a great way to connect with other bloggers, seek advice and promote your blog. Many of these groups offer promotion threads where you can leave a link to be viewed/commented on/shared etc. In return, you must do the same for X amount of other links. These groups have been invaluable to me for getting my blog out there and for making new friends. However, there are a vast number of people who drop their links, do not reciprocate, do not follow any of the rules and even refer to the threads as ‘chore’ threads (HA!). Unfortunately you can’t do anything about others’ lack of integrity. You will come to recognize the bad apples’ pattern and not waste your time, instead giving your time and connection to worthy, honest group members.
  7. You can get what you want, if you’re willing to work for it. If your blog is for fun, you can have immense fun blogging. If your blog is to impact change, you can impact change. If your blog is monetized through ads and sponsored posts then you can work with brands. If your blog is for your business, you can promote your business. Obvious, right? Well it all ties in with my last point. If you are hard working, honest and build the right network all of these individual goals are achievable.  I personally know people who have reeled in a steady income from two months of blogging, people who have used their blogs to get into a position to fulfill a personal goal of theirs (eg, writing/publishing a book, selling a physical product they have created or simply sending out a message for nothing in return). I blog predominantly for fun although I have made money through ads, working with brands and posted affiliate links on occasion. In general I do not seek sponsorship but will collaborate if I like the brand. I have turned down many sponsored opportunities because I didn’t like the product/brand. I won’t post about things I do not like, use or have any interest in because they offer me cash.
  8. Get creative. I have always been creative but in recent years I spent so much time up to my eyes in technological academia that I didn’t allow myself a creative outlet. Since launching my blog I have embraced arts, crafts, cooking etc. more than I ever have. Other bloggers have been more inspirational to me than I realized. My creative side seeping out through little projects for my blog has in turn reignited my love for photography (that I knew nothing about). I am just about finished a year long professional course and am in the process of signing up for more advanced modules to see where the future takes me with that. I aim to be less lazy with my images and ditch the ‘iPhonography’ I’ve been habitually posting as my blog graphics and use my brand new Canon more and more. It’s amazing what avenues a blog is capable of taking you down, embrace them. You may very well find yourself doing something unexpected and realizing it’s your calling!
  9. Know your copyright rights. I have had many cases of suspiciously similar posts popping up days after posting mine but twice this year I had incidents of word-for-word plagiarism. It is so disheartening as well as infuriating that people just steal your work from under you. Sometimes it’s also comical the way they utterly deny it despite time stamps and well…logic. Have a copyright statement on your content. It helps to know the legal protocol and who to contact if you are being ripped off.
  10. Get to know social media trends. This was my biggest mountain to ascend. I have a love/hate relationship with social media and unfortunately you cannot get away from it when blogging. I have come to love Pinterest the most. Not only is it my biggest traffic driver and largest social following but it feeds my creative side and aids my photography/blog skills. Facebook is my enemy. Reach is poor no matter how strategically you play the game and I’ve known some bloggers to lose their pages without any explanation. I use it a couple of times a week but it isn’t my be all and end all. I love Instagram, obviously, because photography is a big hobby of mine but when it comes to the blog I am wary of it. The vast majority of IG followers only follow to gain a follower themselves. Shortly after, they may unfollow! I personally follow accounts of profiles I genuinely like or resonate with. Otherwise, I do not see a point. There are strategic times to post on various SM platforms, your insights will show you what your followers like and when they like to see it. Keep your content true to you but give it to them when they want it.
  11. Time doesn’t have to be your enemy. Don’t be afraid to take a break! I was totally overwhelmed with blogging at the beginning. What I did know is that I wanted to post consistently so I posted three times per week but I wasn’t happy. I had zero time and my content was crappy. I cut one post and started putting out two and have since whittled it down to just once per week. On occasion I will post twice. Read here to see how posting less actually benefited my blog and increased my traffic! If you are in the blogging biz and have to be connected at all times then you should consider paid scheduling services or even hiring a virtual assistant.
  12. Embrace change. Your blog changes on your terms but sometimes external factors change it for you. Example, my pregnancy gave a new avenue to travel down. If you are unwilling to budge or be diverse with content, your readers will get bored and disengage. Don’t be afraid of trying something new. If it doesn’t work, try something else!

12 Blogging Lessons Learned in one year

So here’s to another year, a new baby and seeing where this blogging journey continues to take me!

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Pregnancy & Privacy – To Bare All Or Keep Mum?

The pregnancy journey is thrilling, especially for first time mothers. You want to scream it from the roof tops while simultaneously wanting to not tell anyone out of  sheer worry. In our social media age a tendency to share every facet of lives exists for many. Whether it’s a status on Facebook, a photo on Instagram or a witty one liner on twitter it’s so easy to share your excitement without fully acknowledging exactly who can see it. I admit it myself that sometimes I snap a photograph with social media in mind and not solely to capture a memory.

Pregnancy & Privacy

Let’s be honest, many of use have ‘friends’ on social media we wouldn’t exactly consider to be close. Platforms like twitter and Instagram can invite literally anyone to view your content. This is why for the most part I haven’t documented too many milestones of my pregnancy on the blog. I find it rather eerie to think about who might be reading about such a personal experience of mine.

That said, I read blogs daily where people go into graphic detail about the inner workings of their womb. Some announce their pregnancy on the day they discover it. Others declare the gender of their baby to the public. I have even seen some publish teaser posts inviting readers to guess baby’s name! This is definitely a different pregnancy world to the one I knew growing up. Or at least the one I thought I knew. I personally am more private about my pregnancy. It is overwhelmingly exciting but I would rather contain that excitement within the bounds of my family and friends.

My crux with baring all throughout pregnancy however is not what I read online. I take no issue with what women choose to post and fully admit to thoroughly enjoying many of these posts! My problem lies with the people I meet in the street…

Whether it is due to being surrounded by such open accounts of pregnancy or just a  general sense of entitlement I have been taken aback by some of the questions I am asked on a regular basis. As soon as the bump ‘popped’ and my pregnancy became apparent, I noticed that some people took it as a green light to ask pretty personal questions. Or at least questions I feel are inappropriate and wouldn’t dream of asking others.

My Top Three Irritating Pregnancy Questions!

What are you having?

This one is the only one that makes me genuinely mad and want to respond with a passive aggressive, “a baby”. I do not believe that because some people happily announce their baby’s gender that it is free game in every other pregnancy. What makes people think they have a right to such a deeply intimate fact?

Another question comes with this one and it is, “Do you know but aren’t saying?” or “Do you reeeeeeally not know?”.

STOP IT. If you have been given a firm, “we haven’t found out” then please accept it and move on.

What names are you thinking of?

Note, this isn’t the question – “have you considered any names?”. This question seeks to know what those names are. BEFORE YOUR BABY ARRIVES. The baby is going to come out of me faster and more easily than that information. Keep walking.

When are you due?…because you’re tiny *stares at bump*

Admittedly, this is not an offensive question at all. However it is when paired with a disapproving glance at your belly and a comment about your size. Please stop skinny shaming me. I am 6ft tall and there’s plenty of torso for baby to hide in. FYI my baby is slightly above normal fetal growth rate! Relax.

See also my recent post on Dealing With Negative Nancy During Pregnancy

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Third Trimester Pregnancy Update

I haven’t documented much of my pregnancy on the blog because I wanted to keep it private but now a part of me wishes I had! Time has flown by and it has truly surprised me how fleeting these moments really are. It’s hard to believe I am in the final weeks of this pregnancy – single digits now!

Third Trimester Pregnancy Update

I swore at the beginning I would take a weekly bump photo and it saddens me that I didn’t. I was either too busy, feeling too gross or just forgot until I was already into another week. During the first 16 weeks, there was no bump to photograph anyway! Personally, I like to read about what different women experience at different stages. No two pregnancies are the same but it can be comforting to know what you could expect or even just know you aren’t alone in what you are experiencing. Now that I have officially entered the third trimester, I have decided to post a little update.

Third Trimester Bumpdate 30

How far along?

30 weeks

Baby’s Size

A cantaloupe according to my app! Baby weighs over 3.5 lbs

Total weight gain

18 lbs

Maternity clothes

Over-the-bump jeans (H&M Mama maternity skinny jeans are LIFE! They are super affordable too and often on sale.) since week 16 and some maternity tops since week 25 although most weren’t necessary they were just cute. I still have many wearable non-maternity tops. All my leggings are my pre-pregnancy ones.

Stretch marks

None, yet but the itchiest skin >.<

Sleep

There’s three scenarios here:
  1. If I can get to sleep at a decent hour, I am out until baby uses my bladder as a punching bag. Which is usually about 1000 times a night. In this case I usually get back to sleep.
  2. I get to sleep after midnight but then sleep through until the early morning.
  3. No sleep at all due to an overactive mind, baby thoughts, baby’s movement, wacky dreams and/or restless legs.

Longing for

  1. To nest. All day every day. I have an insatiable desire to organize ALL THE THINGS!
  2. A somewhat comfortable sleep position.
  3. To finally meet baby.

Movement

Lots and lots. It’s always a party in there. Mostly early in the morning, late afternoon and around 10pm. Now that baby is getting a bit cramped in there, the movements are less…violent!

Cravings

Nothing odd and nothing in particular! If I had to say anything I would say cinnamon rolls. But you don’t need to be pregnant to want those all the time.

Nausea

Some occasional morning weakness before breakfast. Since I was so sick in the first trimester I figure it will strike again somewhere in the third.

Gender

Waiting for baby to reveal all!

Symptoms

Indigestion after most foods but not so much heartburn, difficulty sleeping, back ache, fatigue, general lack of motivation to do anything and although my bump is small – the beginning of a very attractive waddle.

Belly button in or out?

A weird, neither in nor out at the moment and it freaks me out so much.

Wedding rings on or off?

Still on although at the end of most days they don’t want to come off.

Happy or moody most of the time

Both. Predominantly moody though. Mostly feeling a mix of excitement and overwhelm in these weeks where baby has become more ‘real’.

Looking forward to

Completing the nursery, finalizing name options, trying to relax knowing everything is ready (HA! When will that be?!) and giving you another update!
 Third Trimester Bumpdate 30

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Galentine’s Mason Jar Gift For Your Girlfriends

Valentine’s schmalentine’s, sometimes our real life long loves are our best friends. Did you know that February 13th is Galentine’s Day? Like Friendsgiving, Galentine’s Day has become a cute celebration of friendships and I am a fan. Show your best pal or even numerous gal pals some love this Valentine’s Day with a thoughtful yet inexpensive gift.

Galentine's Day Jar Gift

Whether they are a simple ‘thanks for being in my life’ gesture or a girls-night-in party favor, the ladies in your life will love them! Like I mentioned in my Candy Cane Hot Chocolate post, these mason jar gifts can be tailored specifically to each recipient. They can also be put together extremely inexpensively – or not but that’s up to you and your budget.

I put this one together using a mix of my own sample beauty products plus some new purchases. For example over Christmas when you purchase certain beauty sets they often come with free gifts that consist of sample sized products. I LOVE thisworks Deep Sleep Pillow Spray and through my own purchases/subscription boxes I have received smaller versions that I’m (just about) willing to part with! Add your BFF’s favorite shade of lipstick or nail polish and a cute nail file to create this hair, face and nails glam jar!

Galentine's Jar Gift

I am obsessed with jar gifts for their sheer versatility and meaning! It is so sweet to receive a gift from someone full of the things you love the most. It’s just so thoughtful!

Some jar fillers your gal pals will love are

  • Bath Bombs, homemade or fancy ones they wouldn’t buy for themselves.
  • Candy (a mix of their favorite kinds)
  • Mini Wine Bottles (because, y’know!)
  • DIY Facial Essentials
  • DIY Mani/Pedi Tools
  • Gift Cards
  • Emergency Handbag Kit (spare tights, chewing gum, lip balm, blister pads for those too-tight shoes she had to have)
  • Newborn First Weeks Survival Kit (coffee, eye mask, rejuvenating eye cream, her favorite body lotion, healthy snacks)
  • An occupation appropriate jar. For example for a nurse you could fill a large water bottle with compression stockings, instant coffee sachets, mints, hair clips, pens.

 

 

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Valentine’s Day Chocolate Cupcakes with Pink Champagne Frosting

Valentine’s Day is a month away and in stores it’s hard to avoid. In fact, I saw Valentine outfits for babies in DECEMBER! What in the world?! I don’t typically observe Valentine’s Day in any major way like decorating the house or giving lavish presents but I do like to acknowledge it in small ways. I typically love all holidays but I guess I’m a bit of a Valentine’s scrooge. One thing I can get on board with over Valentine’s Day are the treats! Give me all the yummy meals, decadent desserts and sweets! If you don’t buy into the fancy, over-priced candlelit dinners and extravagant gifts then why not acknowledge your Valentine with a homemade sweet treat. You can’t ever go wrong with chocolate cake so I whipped up these easy chocolate cupcakes and got into the festivities with a delicious pink champagne frosting. All of the luxury and sweetness without the added cheese 😉

Valentine's Day Pink Champagne Chocolate Cupcakes

Valentine's Day Pink Champagne Cupcakes

Valentine's Day Pink Champagne Cupcakes

Or maybe you could say “I Love You’ with the gift of peppiness 😉 Take a look at my Vanilla Cupcakes with Espresso Frosting for an alternative caffeine fix!

How sweet are these Valentine’s apt baking items?

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Dealing With Negative Nancy During Your Pregnancy

There’s always one. In every situation, pregnant or not there is always one negative person who has nothing positive to say on the matter. In pregnancy, the same applies. Whether it’s strangers patting your belly or unsolicited ‘advice’, there’s plenty of negativity to fill your nine months and beyond.

Dealing With A Negative Nancy During Pregnancy

I was home in Ireland briefly and sadly, I kind of regret going. Not because I received negativity but because I received support. I am aware that seems incredibly cynical and negative. I was finally able to share the pregnancy journey with those who seemed concerned, interested and happy for me. I cannot describe the feeling of going through such a special time and being the only one invested in it. So I won’t even try but it was very hard to leave a loving, familiar environment and return to one void of such happiness.

I have come to discover here that when I am in the company of others, all I hear regarding my pregnancy is what will or will potentially go wrong. I spoke in my last post about struggling with my mental health throughout this pregnancy. The last thing any expectant first-time mother wishes to hear is what they are doing wrong or what will go wrong. It baffles me that at such a special time in life, the only sentiments offered are negative. With all due respect – if you have nothing nice to say, then say nothing.

I understand that some people don’t worry. I am a sensitive, intuitive person and worry comes with the territory. Don’t get me wrong, I am confident in this pregnancy. If it weren’t for the external factors I would say I am loving it. But I have the normal apprehension that is to be expected when facing delivering your first baby. Fortunately, in my battalion I also have my intelligence, a strong maternal instinct and a drive to succeed. Maybe I internalize too much but I cannot bear someone treating me like I know absolutely nothing. Condescending comments that almost infer I haven’t held, cared for or ever even seen an infant in my life. Negativity about the way I eat, drink or choose to care for myself during the gestation. Telling me with a loud cackle how my house will never be the palace it is now, again. UGH.

Like snowflakes, fingerprints and pregnancies – we are all unique.

Why is it so hard to live and let live? In my rant I have digressed. I have taken too long to realize that the health and well-being of myself and my child trumps literally everything else in my life. Giving these people power over your emotions is the worst way to manage. You must continue on boldly and bravely in your pregnancy. You are the mother. That intuition is strong for a reason. You know what is best for you and for baby. Embrace the positivity you receive. Be thankful for those people and their kind words, generosity and support. Give them the space in your head and heart.

Dealing With Negative Nancy During Your Pregnancy

  • Bite your tongue
  • Smile and nod
  • Say thank you
  • Firmly but nicely state that you do not wish to discuss certain topics if they are too personal or invasive
  • Don’t focus on the fact that your boundaries are being disrespected and allow it to become bitterness. Some people just truly believe they know everything
  • Try to remember that to them the ‘advice’ is coming from a good place and not one of malice
  • Don’t internalize it as condescension, often empty vessels simply make the most noise
  • Don’t go over the conversation in your head later on
  • Let others’ negativity go. Their know-it-all attitude is not your weight to carry
  • Use your time educating yourself on what’s to come – it’s the best way to minimize fear
  • Speak to your doctor about any concerns and worries potentially caused by what others say to you. He or she will be happy to clarify and reassure
  • Give supportive people your mental energy
  • Keep a pregnancy/gratitude journal
  • Embrace the journey, don’t let negative comments/people steal the joy that is now

If you’re struggling to fend off negativity or just feel overwhelmed in your pregnancy check out my recent post The Importance of Self Care During Pregnancy for some simple ideas to take a positive time out!

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The Importance Of Self Care During Pregnancy

The topic of self care is trendy right now but there is much more to it than a bandwagon. Finally, an idea with more substance than ‘adulting’ or the apparently vital role Target plays in our lives. The new year brings high hopes, willingness to embrace change and goals, goals, goals! This year, after an extremely emotionally demanding 2016, my main goal is self improvement. This resolution was borne out of necessity. With my first baby arriving soon there is simply no choice to continue in the mental state I was in. Stress is not good for your growing baby so it is incredibly important to ensure you have a safe, stress-free and happy pregnancy. Taking time for yourself is easier said than done but if I could prevent even one person from feeling the strain I have felt then I would be content.

Self Care During Pregnancy

Whether your stress is a direct result of work, relationship issues, financial problems etc. it does not matter. The physical affects of stress on your developing baby can be detrimental to their mental health in years to come. Even at this point I feel a large amount of guilt for inflicting my sadness and worries onto my baby. Clawing your way out of a rut isn’t easy and casting aside fears is less so. With every kick and hiccup from inside I am reminded and determined to be the best version of myself. Both for the baby and for my own happiness. Sometimes you will come to realize that your expectations of support are nothing more than expectation and in that situation you must be everything you need by yourself.

“So what can I do to minimize stress?”

First of all, like any issue, recognize that you need help and be able to admit it. Even if only to yourself. Fortunately with self care, YOU can help you. All it takes is remembering be to intentional.

Self care practices range from the tiniest trivial activity to life altering decisions and you get to choose what is best for you. Nobody knows you better than yourself! Simply put, do more of the things you love, the things that make you feel warm and fuzzy inside. If that means taking a vacation or just putting on freshly laundered pjs then do it and do it solely for you.

As a highly sensitive and introverted person, time outs are a necessity for me. Unfortunately time away from the chaos doesn’t simply equate to positive, revitalizing me-time. I can often spend it in turmoil with a very messy, over analytical mindset. This serves me no purpose and adds to my woes. For self care to be legitimate and genuinely help you, you must be intentionally selfish and make it entirely about you.

Self Care Activities For A Happy Healthy Pregnancy

These activities are so easy but we often ignore them. Sometimes we just need a little nudge! What are some of your favorite self care practices?

 

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Candy Cane Hot Chocolate In A Jar Gift

Christmas week is here! Can you believe it? It’s a week of last minute scrambling, cleaning and preparation to go visit family for us. While Christmas is about so much more than presents – gift buying, wrapping and giving is in full swing this week. I love thoughtful little gifts! Who doesn’t? It’s quite special to receive a gift that’s been handmade just for you! That’s why I love putting together baskets and these DIY mason jar gifts. They are perfect as stocking fillers, for co-workers, secret Santa gift giving and even as last-minute gifts for the unexpected visitor (we’ve all been there!).

Candy Cane Hot Chocolate In A Jar Gift

At this time of the year you may already have some or all of the ingredients for hot chocolate jars in your home depending on how sweet your tooth is. For me, this is not an issue. ALL of the candy at this time of the year! This particular jar has an added dose of chocolate in the form of chocolate chips (I used Ghirardelli white chips for a richer flavor) and a candy cane for stirring! You could also get your peppermint flavor from a layer of crushed peppermints as a topping in the jar or by adding peppermint marshmallows instead of the regular kind.

You will need:

  • Ball Mason Jar or similar
  • Decorative ribbon or bakers twine

If you are super organized you could have some pre-printed labels for the lid (I was not super organized!).

Candy Cane Hot Chocolate Jar Gift

Candy Cane Hot Chocolate

  • Hot Chocolate Mix
  • Mini White Chocolate Chips
  • Mini Marshmallows
  • Candy Cane

LastMinute Jar Gift

Add hot water or milk with two tablespoons from your jar and enjoy!

Why not try some other hot chocolate flavors such as salted caramel, spiced white hot chocolate or even gingerbread!

Jar gifts can be absolutely anything you wish so be creative.

More Jar Gift Ideas

Manicure – Nail polish remover, nail scissors, file, buffer and a festive shade of polish.

21+ – Mini soda can, mini liquor bottle, decorative drink stirrer.

Coffee Lovers – Gourmet espresso sachet, espresso mug and mini dark chocolates.

The possibilities are endless and the results so personal and cute!

 

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The Holidays For Him | JORD Designer Wood Watches

Why are men so hard to shop for? They are relatively simple folk when it comes to hobbies and interests, right? I know what my husband, brothers, father etc. would like but executing that list has its hidden difficulties. They either already have it in some shape or form, it’s a ridiculously out-of-budget gadget or they have a super fussy specification list that life wouldn’t be worth living if you deviated from…

JORD Designer Wood Watch

Luckily shortly after I met him, I discovered my husband’s kryptonite – the watch! Beautiful timepieces may be an accessory you can only wear once in a while but it never hurts to have a nice collection. When it comes to men’s style I think a nice watch completes a great outfit. You wouldn’t wear running shoes with a fine suit so why would you wear a lackluster watch with one?

JORD Designer Wood Watch

My husband has quite a nice collection going with a diverse range of styles suited to many different looks. I chose this JORD Frankie Zebrawood & Champagne wood watch and it is my favorite of his thus far. It is as light as a feather, with a beautifully finished West African zebrawood strap and a simple yet extremely smart champagne face. The watch also came custom-sized to his wrist thanks to a handy sizing chart provided by JORD wood watches.

JORD Designer Wood Watch

Not only was the watch perfect but so was the packaging, I am so impressed with the presentation. I’m a wrapping freak. I love beautiful packages as much as the gift. The watch came in a divine wooden box complete with storage drawer inside to store the dust cloth and spare links. It’s a display piece in itself. I was like a kid at Christmas opening the box and I admit, rather jealous. He might have to fight me to ever get to wear it!

JORD Designer Wood Watch

JORD Designer Wood Watch

As well as the men’s range, JORD has a beautiful range of women’s wood watches that are well worth checking out and since it’s the Holidays I have a FREE $25 GIFT CODE just for you! The gift code expires on December 18th and you can redeem it until February 28th 2017!


Luxury Wooden Watch

This post was sponsored by JORD Wood Watches. All opinions are my own.

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No-Sew Novelty Cloud Pillow

This blog has given me a serious case of craft-itis! I get so much inspiration and motivation from reading hundreds of other blogs every month that I now have a massive craft bug and I am thoroughly enjoying it. This week I tried my hand at a simple cloud pillow for Baby’s nursery. I cannot sew. At all. Even a button, it WILL fall off again. I despise sewing. What I can do however, is handle a small, low-temperature hot glue gun!

DIY No Sew Cloud Pillow

People often ask me if I’ve chosen a theme for Baby’s nursery and honestly I had not, nor had I ever considered one. Unless you can call ‘gender neutral’ a theme. Although I love to decorate and sit back to admire my handiwork, I get bored and over analytical. For me, something overly specific was an absolute no-no.

Let me tell you, choosing gender neutral decor is easier said than done. It seems these days that a lot of grey and rustic/outdoorsy decor is considered gender neutral. I personally think that stuff, although beautiful, is far more boyish than girly. After I had decided on a white crib and re-purposed my old TV cabinet into a white changing unit (check it out here!), I found the cutest cloud door handles on Etsy. What’s both baby appropriate and gender neutral? The sky! So I settled on clouds, stars, the moon etc. as my central ‘theme that isn’t a theme’.

This easy peasy no-sew cutie will be complete in 30 minutes and costs less than $10-20 depending on where you buy your supplies and the quality you desire!

You will need:
  • White fabric (cotton, felt, fleece, velour …it’s up to you!)
  • Poly-fil Stuffing 12oz (o r see amount requirements for different projects on the package!)
  • Low-temp hot glue gun + extra glue sticks
  • Sharp scissors or ideally a fabric shears
  • A sharpie to draw your cloud shape

There is no distinct pattern for this project. I completely winged it and you can too!

Method:

On a clean, flat surface fold your fabric in half and freehand draw a simple cloud shape on your fabric. If drawing is not your forte then find a shape to copy or trace with a quick google search

no-sew-novelty-cloud-pillow1

Once you’re happy with the shape, cut it out (both sides)

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Since the sides you have cut may have sharpie marks showing then make sure you glue this side up! Make sure both pieces line up and apply a thin, clean line of glue around the edge. Carefully glue edge to edge in small stages 4/5ths of the way around

Don’t forget to stop, you have to leave a hole for filling!

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When the glue is dry and you’re happy there’s no missed spots ie, holes, then turn it inside out. The reason for a thin, evenly glued edge is to avoid puckering. It may still appear puckered in spots but you can iron those out!

Start stuffing the pillow carefully, ensuring it’s totally filled! It may take a lot depending on how large you made it. Work out the bumps as you go.

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The trickiest part is sealing the last gap since the fabric is now the right way around. Take your time and slowly glue it as neatly as possibly. Rushing will result in hot glue all over your hands and the outside of the pillow!

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