When Life Hands You Lemons

by Elizabeth Sellers on 18 September 2014 · 1 comment

manchester

In the past two weeks I have launched three new e-courses, travelled to Manchester and back twice, travelled to Lincolnshire and back, launched my (secret-but-probably-not-so-secret) new blog, and tried to maintain some level sanity. It’s been a crazy, crazy ride.

So here I am at 11.30am on a Thursday morning, tapping away on my laptop whilst still sat in my pyjamas.

Yeah, I’m rock’n’roll like that.

But I have been up since 7.30 working on my inbox, dealing with invoices, scheduling social media updates and all that general boring business shiz.

I’m rocking my pj’s still because I think I’ve deserved it.

Anyways… you don’t care too much about do you? You want to know where the hell I’ve been and why I’ve neglected one of my main loves, Rosalilium.

Here is a visual demonstration of what’s been happening.

 

Blogging Bootcamp 250Social Media Training Testimonial

piepacking with a catAwesome Wavekao soi gai

Today I have a whole day at home (read: in my office) before I’m off again. Tomorrow I’m down to Hampton Court Palace to speak on the Pinterest UK panel at the Homemade Fair.

Phew indeed!

Looking at my photos I’ve realised I don’t take half as many as I used to. And I’m hardly sharing on my Instagram these days. Must rectify this immediately.

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Healthy Living and Losing Weight with MyFitnessPal

by Elizabeth Sellers on 9 September 2014 · 2 comments

Healthy Living with MyFitnessPalNow that it’s been nearly three months on my new change-of-lifestyle diet I wanted to share one of the key tools that has helped me to improve me lose weight, feel energetic and generally improve my health.

When the boyf and I started this new diet we had to make huge changes to our food decision-making. We were so used to just eating what we fancied and even though we didn’t eat particularly badly we were gaining weight and not feel healthy. So in order to motivate us we started using MyFitnessPal.

If you haven’t come across this before MyFitnessPal its a membership website and app that allows you to track your food intake every day along with any exercise you do. Originally I think it was purely for fitness purposes but we use it to track our food.

There are a number of reasons I have found it so useful to use MyFitnessPal.

MyFitnessPal

1. Tracking calories

OK, honestly the nutritional counts are sometimes incorrect, but it’s been really helpful to see a snapshot every day of where my calorie intake comes from. It’s helped me understand the food I’m eating and thus adjust my food choices accordingly.

For instance, if I’ve had a bigger breakfast or lunch I will see from MyFitnessPal that I might just have 500 calories for dinner. So I’ll make sure that I choose something lighter such as a vegetable heavy dish or broth.

And before anyone tells me I’m crazy for counting calories … I do just use this as a guide, I’ve not been super rigid. I’m using this as a tool to think about my food differently.

2. Food Mindfulness

Sometimes you might have something a little more substantial during the day, or have a particularly food-filled day (especially when out and about visiting people). By using the app I’m able to be more mindful of my food intake over a week as well day to day. So, maybe I might have a ‘cheat’ day, that’s fine. I can see exactly what I’ve eaten.

Before doing this I would have a snack here, a snack there. At the time they were just a little something. But by writing it all down I was able to see that these actually add up, and it’s surprising how much you can eat if you don’t pay attention.

Food Diary in MyFitnessPal

3. Share your food diary

There is a great function where you can add others and view each others food diary. This has been really useful for the boyf and I to just copy over a meal we’ve both eaten. Saves on inputting time.

4. Routine

It’s easy to forget to update your MyFitnessPal but we’ve turned into a bit of a routine. I’ll try and update it during the day as I go, but we remind each other at bedtime to check we’re all filled in for the day.

5. The app

I love that I can use the app on my phone and iPad alongside the desktop version. On the app there’s a fancy barcode function so you can just scan the packaging of the food you’re eating, set the portion size and voila! the food is added to your diary.

_____

There are loads of other funky functions to the app and website. But those are the main reasons I like using it.

We’ve found it really helps keep us on track with our new healthy lifestyle and have since become more mindful of what we choose to eat.

So yeah, without sounding like a walking advertisement (it’s not, by the way) I’d really recommend this. It’s helped me loads and I know a few of you were interested in my new healthy lifestyle process.

Have you used MyFitnessPal before? How did you find it?

***

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How Blogging Changed My Life

by Elizabeth Sellers on 8 September 2014 · 10 comments

blogging

It’s no secret that blogging has completely changed my life. I’ll talk about it to anyone I meet, and I know I will talk their ear off if they don’t stop me.

Before blogging my life was higgedly piggedly. What am I saying?! It’s still higgedly piggedly. However, now I feel a confidence and contentment with blogging in my life. It has become more than hobby, it’s my job and it’s a way of life.

Sounds nuts, eh?

But it’s true.

My blogging journey started back in 2008 (we’re not counting the email travel log I wrote to family during my 2003 backpacking trip are we?) when I embarked on my solo travels around Southeast Asia. I wanted to maintain a connection with home and share my story as I went along. I only shared the blog with my friends and family, who were super supportive reading it every day. And I did just that, blogged every day for four months.

It’s funny reading that first travel blog now. My writing was weak, my grammar was terrible, and I couldn’t always express myself the way I wanted. I guess I hadn’t yet found my voice.

It is interesting how my writing developed over those four months. As the habit wore on I became comfortable in my writing. I was happy to share. You can clearly see my blogging style changed.

Once back in the UK I decided to embark on a Masters degree (I’m a trained Anthropologist, you know). As part of that degree I had to conduct my own fieldwork research, so I hotfooted it back to Southeast Asia in 2010 to study the Hmong women in Northern Laos.

Again, I decided to blog about my time in Southeast Asia. Blog number two was born and I stuck to my daily habit of blogging every day.

I loved it.

I was full-on addicted to blogging by this point.

Just before I went to Asia I set up a little blogspot blog called Rosalilium (I guess that this was probably blog number 2 then, and 2nd travel blog was 3?). I was in the prep stage of my fieldwork and after the intensity of 6 months studying for my Masters I had grown accustomed to writing. A lot. It gotten to the point where it felt weird if I didn’t write something every day. So Rosalilium was just a small space to write something. Anything.

Once back from my fieldwork I threw myself straight back into blogging on Rosalilium.

I became ill.

Some unfortunate circumstances and bad luck meant I was wiped out from working or studying for a good year or so once I got back from Laos. It was devastating. So I took to my blog as a respite and it became a therapeutic activity.

I soon discovered loads of incredible bloggers. There was this whole community of bloggers who were creative, intelligent, interesting and fun. As I was stuck at home a lot I absorbed myself into this community. I would spend hours every day reading blogs, commenting, interacting and writing my own blog. I really was obsessed.

This period of blogging was beyond therapeutic for me. It literally changed to the course of my life.

Elizabeth with Laptop

During this time I had discovered Domestic Sluttery, a smart, funny and brilliant women’s lifestyle blog. It was one of my favourites and I devoured it every day. I added all the writers to my twitter and along with the rest of this blogging community I spent my days tweeting and chatting to them all.

A year later I got a job at Domestic Sluttery.

I was being paid to blog.

Dream come true.

From there I sought out opportunities, my blog grew, I kept learning and refining my craft. I made more connections and friends. I was so passionate about blogging, the community and industry.

By the end of 2012 I had written for other print and digital publications including Mollie Makes, 91 Magazine, More!, Laura Ashley, and GoodtoKnow.

In 2013 I founded Blognix as a response to many over-priced and low-value blogging events. I wanted to make a space for bloggers to come together, learn from one another and grow their blogs. But I wanted to do this in an informal and welcoming atmosphere. As a bit of an introvert, I wanted to create the kind of event I’d want to go to. And in June that year a group of amazing bloggers descended on Birmingham for a brilliant day of inspiration and creativity.

At the beginning of this year I decided to pull together everything I’ve learned about blogging and created my first e-course The Big Blogging Bootcamp. It was a surprising success. And what’s more, I discovered that I LOVED teaching. Being able to share my knowledge and insights with others to help them further their blogs is an absolute joy.

Along with running another, bigger and better, Blognix conference this year I’ve also run the e-course twice more. I have done several public speaking gigs, taught workshops on blogging, and now I have launched an evergreen version of the Blogging Bootcamp as three separate e-courses so I can more effectively help bloggers at different stages of their blogging journey.

This, along with several other freelancing activities in social media management, strategy and design, and it’s been quite the ride!

So, as I launch these brand new e-courses (do join if you’re keen) I just want to take the chance to reflect back on how far I’ve come, what I have learned and just how grateful I am to be part of such a supportive and brilliant community.

It’s thanks to you, lovely reader.

Thank you.

x


If you want to know more about my Blogging Bootcamp e-courses check out the lovely new website I designed.

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The one where I went to see Kate Bush Live

by Elizabeth Sellers on 5 September 2014 · 5 comments

Drinks at sunset by the Thames

Quite possibly one of the best gigs I’ve ever been to. And I’ve been to a LOT of gigs.

It was March. It was still pretty chilly. And my Dad warned me that if I failed to get him Kate Bush tickets he’d disown me.

There’s a small chance he didn’t mean it. But there were no chances to take here. I HAD to buy these tickets.

So the alarm was set. The boyf pushed out of bed, and all the internet worthy devices in the house were switched on set up and arranged in a semi-circular fashion around me on my double bed as I prepared for 9.30am.

I made sure my Ticketmaster details were up to date and my debit card number was well and truly installed there.

By 9.20am I started to hit the refresh button. Continously. Furiously. Desperately.

At 9.30am on the dot I hit refresh like a madman.

I was in!

Go, go, go!

I picked a mid-week date, at least two weeks into the tour, selected the cheapest seats, hit buy, hit confirm.

kate bush ticket confirmation

By 9.32am I received this confirmation in my inbox.

I did it! I got tickets to see Kate Bush do her first live show in 35 years.

We were off to see a living legend. And hopefully I might have sealed my fate as favourite child (one can only hope).

spoiling the view

On Wednesday the Daddio and I hotfooted our way down to London to meet my Auntie and her friend in Hammersmith. We were giddy with excitement.

My Daddio has been a fan of Kate Bush from day 1, being a teenager when she first performed live and sadly not having the funds to see her.

I, in turn, was brought up listening to Kate Bush. Always captivated by her strange and beguiling voice, intriguing lyrics and songs that moved me.

As a infamous recluse, Kate Bush seemed unlikely to ever perform live again. We were besides ourselves with anticipation. After 5 months of waiting between buying the tickets and Wednesday night, it was almost unreal.

To steady the nerves and avoid the queue we headed down to Riverside Studios (sadly closing down today to make way for trendy flats) just a short walk behind Hammersmith Apollo. There we met my Auntie Ali and her friend Patrick for a few large glasses of red wine and a quick bite to eat. There was a stunning view from the terrace outside, and we enjoyed a gentle sunset as we drank and ate and chatted.

with Dad and Ali

Around half 7 we hotfooted it up to the Apollo moved quickly through the queue, pulled some exited faces (see below), marched through the doors and legged it up the stairs just in time to find a great spot in the circle to watch the show (we had general admission standing tickets – something I didn’t realise when booking – but it meant we could stand on the stairs on the side of the circle and got a perfect uninterrupted view).

so excited to see Kate Bush

Kate Bush respectfully requested that the audience didn’t hold up phones and taken pictures throughout the show as she wanted to everyone to enjoy the moment. And I was surprised yet pleased to see that everyone respected this.

The show was incredible. Kate Bush was phenomenal. And her voice sounds better than ever.

It’s a pretty special show so I won’t go into details so as not to spoil it for anyone yet to see it. But I am pleased to say that Kate Bush is still slightly bonkers, totally creative, enthralling and fascinating.

I have never seen my Dad smile as wide and as hard as he did. He even did a little jump on the spot a few times. He was so freaking happy!

Kate Bush was awesome. In the truest sense of the word.

Kate Bush Hammersmith 2014

I took one small sneaky photo during the show (and one not revealing any of the surprises), covering up the screen so as not to disturb anyone, so I had a keepsake. I didn’t have time to buy a programme as the show ran late with a technical issue and we had to run for our train.

The final song had me in tears. I full-on blubbed at the end as I was completely overwhelmed by just how privileged I was to be there in the presence of such an extraordinary talent.

Also, I’m incredibly sensitive. But that’s by the by.

I went to see Kate Bush live and she blew my socks off. One of the best memories of my life.

***

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Blogging Bootcamp e-courses: the details

by Elizabeth Sellers on 2 September 2014 · 2 comments

Blogging Bootcamp

Blogging folk! You might want to read this.

Following my announcement about the new Blogging Bootcamp e-courses I’ve received a few questions and queries concerning the details of these e-courses. So I figured I’d pop as much of the details down here now so you can have a think and decide which is the e-course for you.

Do feel free to keep asking questions if you’re still unsure!

Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard for the iPad Mini

What is Blogging Bootcamp?

Blogging Bootcamp is the home to THREE blogging e-courses. Each e-course is aimed at a different stage in a blogger’s journey. I’ve roughly divided the journey in three – beginner’s, established and going pro. Although it’s still likely that skills and expertise will differ within each group, but that’s the beauty of the e-course and taking part in the private facebook forum discussions. Everyone can help each other out.

Yes, but what exactly will be in each e-course?

Beginner’s Breakthrough Blogging is for bloggers who have yet to start the blog or just got it up and running. We will cover the basics and work through building up a solid blog from scratch. Topics will include – choosing a blogging platform, domains and hosting, basic blog design tips, using plugins, finding a niche, choosing content, differences between categories and tags, simple SEO, using images, automation, finding blog friends, and more.

Boost Your Blog is for established bloggers who have all the basics set up. They are looking to refine, streamline and ultimately improve what they are doing. Topics include – understanding and nailing your niche, refining your brand, building a strong voice, writing a kick-ass about page, generating content, maintaining momentum, using effective SEO, building social media presence, optimising for social media, analytics, finances and more.

Broaden and Branch Out is for bloggers wanting to go pro. They have a decent readership and a steady stream of traffic but they are looking to take the next step. Topics include – building your brand, sharpening communication, creating different types of content, seeking collaborations, building relationships with PRs and brands, networking, mailing lists, finances, monetising streams, alternative income streams, and more.

Blogging Ecourses

When do the e-courses start and finish? Is there a lot of time commitment?

The e-courses will open for sign-ups on Monday 8th September. That’s next week! But these are evergreen e-courses. This means you can sign up at any time.

You will receive a new task, challenge or lesson 5 times a week over a 5 week period. Essentially you will get a ‘weekend off’ in between so you can catch up and work on the larger tasks.

The e-courses are self-paced. This means you can work on them whenever you choose.

How will the e-courses be delivered?

The e-courses will be delivered directly your inbox, so you have all the tasks ready for when you are able to work on it. This is also great for referring back to in future.

I’ve taken the Big Blogging Bootcamp e-course in the past, is there any point doing it again?

If you’re asking this question than I say yes! The e-courses have been refined and improved on since you last took it. Some of the tasks remain the same, but as I’ve found in my blogging career you must never stop learning.

How does the Facebook forum work?

I have set up three private facebook groups for each e-course which all bootcampers will be invited to join. There we can discuss the tasks we’re working on, seek feedback, share ideas, and make new blogging friends. The forum is mandatory if you would rather work in your own space. But in my experience active participation in FB groups like this bring inspiration and potential opportunities. Like most things, you will only gain value from this if you put in the effort. So get involved!

Will the Blogging Bootcamp e-courses make me a blogging superstar?

It could do! It is totally down to you and how much work you put into your blog. Every superstar blogger I know is hard-working, committed and passionate about their blog. These e-courses will point you in the right direction, they could be the jumping off point you need. The rest is down to you!

you seek

The nitty gritty

How much will the e-courses cost? – they are £35 per e-course. (That works out at about £1 a day.)

When can I start? from the 8th September onwards.

How long is the e-course? the tasks are sent over a 5 week period

What do I need to take part? just an internet connection, email address and a blog (or be ready to set one up), plus facebook to join the private group (but this is optional).

What is included in the e-course? five weeks of lessons and tasks sent directly to your inbox, a range of tools, resources and free downloads to help you, and access to a private facebook group to discuss your progress and make new blogging friends.

Can I ask another question? sure thing, pop me an email at hello (at) bloggingboot.camp

If you’re ready to learn about blogging, boost your blog or try going pro you can join the interested list here.

 

 ***

Psst…. if you want to help me spread the word about these exciting e-courses do please share this post with your networks! 

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Embrace the Season: 20 Things to Do This Autumn

by Elizabeth Sellers on 1 September 2014 · 9 comments

20 Things To Do This Autumn

Red, orange and yellow… marshmallows, crispy leaves, and fresh air… hot chocolate, baking and knitwear. These are all symbolic of Autumn for me. My favourite season of the year.

Now, I’ll be totally honest. This year I’m struggling a bit with the coming of the season. Usually, I’d be excited, almost giddy, that Autumn is now upon us. September is my favourite month and as today is the 1st I should be feeling joyous.

But instead I’m feeling a little forlorn.

As much as I love Autumn, I cannot stand being cold. I’m a contradiction like that. This year I just didn’t feel like I had enough warmth. I’m sure the Summer was the same as every year, but I just didn’t get to enjoy it as much as I’d hoped. And now it has passed already and I’m filled with dread that Winter is heading our way and I have months of being cold ahead of me.

So I could get all mopey and miserable, or…. I could write a positive list to get me in the zone. I need my brain to embrace the Autumn season ahead.

Here are 20 Things to Do this Autumn:

1. Bake a sweet pie 

I’m thinking going all-American with a Pumpkin Pie?

2. Bake a savoury pie

I’d like to try something new but will probably bake this Chicken, Bacon and Spinach Pie again

3. Buy a new scarf

I am a little obsessed with collecting scarfs so I know that treating myself to a new one will totally get me in the mood for Autumn. This red cable knit scarf is top of my wishlist.

Blackberry Vodka

4. Foraging

Autumn is my favourite time for foraging. I’m definitely going to forage blackberries to make this Blackberry Vodka again. And I’m keen to try Rosehip Syrup this year.

5. Indoor Picnic

It’s been so long since we had an indoor picnic. So I’m thinking candles, blankets and loads of picky food.

6. Make a Shooters Sandwich

This has been on my recipe to do list for yonks. Obviously as non-beef eaters I will be making an adapted version for the boyf and I.

7. Walk in the Woods

Autumn is the best time to enjoy the local woods and forests. The colours are incredible and I just love the feel of crispy leaves under my feet as I walk.

8. Chai time

Nothing like getting into the Autumn spirit than cooking up a huge pan of Chai. I also need to make up some more Chai Syrup for quickie chai time.

Happy Diwali and candles

9. Plan a Diwali Feast

We celebrate Diwali in Autumn so I want to plan a huge vegetarian Indian feast. This will definitely include Kidney Bean Curry and Masala Dosa.

10. Make Sloe Gin

Foraging is rad. It’s even more rad when you get to enjoy the efforts months later with delicious things like Sloe Gin.

11. New Notebook

Nothing like fulfilling that back to school feeling with some fresh new stationery. I am a big fan of notebooks and have my eye on this little map-inspired beauty.

12. Learning

No matter how old I get I still feel like I should be learning something new in September. So I plan on taking a new course. Probably an e-course as they are my favourite thing at the moment.

13. Sunset Photography

When the leaves turn and it hits the golden hour (just before the sun goes into sunset mode) photographs are just guaranteed to turn out awesome.

14. Campfire 

We have a fire dish at home that my blacksmith brother made years ago. I want to spend an evening outside with a fire, wrapped up in loads of layers and possibly toasting marshmallows.

15. Make a Autumn Leaf Garland

Like the one I made here.

munchkin pumpkins

16. Make Pumpkin/Squash EVERYTHING

I freaking love pumpkin and butternut squash in my food. Last year’s Pumpkin Risotto went down a treat. And Butternut Squash Soup makes every day a better day.

17. Host an Autumn party

The Americans have Thanksgiving, and Halloween is all about the fancy dress. Bonfire Night is edging onto political. But wouldn’t it be nice to have a party just to celebrate the awesomeness of Autumn? I’d like to host an Awesome Autumn party where we wear thick jumpers, drink spiced cider, eat hot chilli con carne (tastes great with pork you know), toast marshmallows and stand around a roaring campfire.

18. Bake Apple Crumble for the boyf

Because it’s his favourite.

19. Wear a poncho

Because poncho’s are Autumn-wear in my mind. I love this one from River Island as a fun option (I guess it’s more cape than poncho) and this one from Jigsaw for being ultra chic.

20. Have a board game day

We love board games. My favourite is Trivial Pursuit, the boyf loves Cluedo.

Phew! That’s quite a list. And you know what? It worked! I’m totally excited for Autumn now. 

So the question is, what would be on YOUR list?

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Make Your Own Temporary Tattoos

Disclosure: this is a collaborative post. Words, thoughts and images are my own. Thanks for supporting Rosalilium! The Boyf has been going on about getting tattoos since I’ve known him but being a perfectionist and general dilly-dallyer he is yet to have them done. He’s got plans and designs and even a great pinterest board […]

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Blogging Bootcamp e-courses: are you interested?

We are back! Big, bolder, and better. The Big Blogging Bootcamp e-course served as well, but now we have THREE e-courses to choose from. Whoop whoop! After three intakes this year of The Big Blogging Bootcamp I have learned LOADS about teaching blogging shiz through the e-course format. Each time I seek to improve on the […]

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Lil bro came to visit

I don’t get to see my blacksmith of a brother very often these days, which is a massive shame. He is off being a country bumpkin, artisan blacksmithing guy over in Herefordshire at the moment. But he did pop over to visit a couple of weeks ago, so I decided to vlog the day. It’s […]

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Joss & Main: Awesome Homewares (£50 giveaway)

Time to get swooning over a new home and interior’s website, and it’s a good’un! Joss & Main launched recently in the UK, they’re huge over in the US, and they have some mighty fine offerings. If you are not yet familiar with them, it’s one of those members websites that has short sales on […]

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