21   92
14   96
13   108
24   136
19   154
22   142
21   129
19   115

Stationery Box Swap: A Collab With Mademoiselle Women

The last time I did a Stationery Box Swap was waaay back in September with the lovely Lauren from Bournemouth Girl. Today, I’m super excited to share with you the goodies from my second stationery box swap from the equally lovely Lydia from Mademoiselle Women. When Lydia suggested this swap I was like yaaaas please, what could be better than a mystery package of surprises from a fabulous blogging friend!

Lydia is freelance NCTJ qualified journalist (appearing in The Independent, Readers Digest & many more!) as well as a blogger who writes about autism, travel, books, stationery and shares plenty of interesting interviews and reviews. Why not check out Mademoiselle Women and see all the awesome posts!

You can keep up with Lydia on Twitter and Instagram (click if you love cute cats and dogs *heart eyes*).

For our stationery swap, we agreed on a budget of £10 – this was surprisingly more difficult than expected, although it meant spending an enjoyable afternoon wandering around stationery shops, so happy times! To see the mystery box I sent to Lydia click here, but first here are the wonderful treats I received – everything is so thoughtfully selected and absolutely perfect for me! Thank you Lydia, I love it! <3

The cool thing about this package was everything was wrapped up beautifully and numbered in the order I had to open them (like a stationery treasure hunt, exciting!). Lydia wrote me such a sweet card as well as a list of instructions for my very own art journal. Yayy! In the message, Lydia wrote “the idea of this art journal is to be a space of positivity… here are some tasks to get you started…”.

The package included this awesomely pink In Pursuit Of Magic notebook (this is 100% me!), cute colourful pencils with motivational words (so cool!), a selection of gorgeous cards, and a couple of pretty postcards to add to my collection. My Ok Play Space Cat Stickers looked perfect on my new magical art journal!

Lydia suggested eight different tasks to get me started in my brand new shiny art journal. New notebooks can be so daunting, so I love that Lydia went to the effort to come up with so many fun and creative ideas such as illustrating a list of my favourite things, quotes, thoughts, letters and more! One of the tasks involved cats which gave me the inspiration to get arty with Pusheen, the most adorable cartoon cat, ever.

Colorfulness, cats, rainbows, ice cream, more cats… welcome to my happy place. 

I love love love these inspirational pencils – they are so perfect for sketching ideas into my art journal and reminding me to be confident, powerful and fearless with my creativity. Everything Lydia included is so thoughtfully and carefully chosen, it’s arty, pink, motivational and positive – so much awesomeness.

A huge thank you to Lydia for this fabulous selection of treats and for sparking creativity with my very own art journal. I know I am going to have so much fun with it and I can’t wait to get arty again, using the inspirational prompts and suggestions. I hope you enjoyed our stationery box swap – don’t forget to check out Mademoiselle Women to see what I included in Lydia’s box!

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Pinterest Tips: The Design Trust Business Club

For my very first post of 2019, I worked with the fantastic team at The Design Trust to host a giveaway for a Dream Plan Do Planner. Today, we are collaborating again (yayy!), this time to offer you lovely readers a special joining offer for The Design Trust Business Club – an online learning hub tailor-made for motivated creative business owners.

What is The Design Trust Business Club?

It’s an online training network that will give you the practical and strategic skills, knowledge and inspiration to grow your business. It covers ALL aspects of running a business from marketing to finances, selling to social media, wellbeing to time management. You’ll get access to over 100 online masterclasses, webinars, podcasts and interviews. Sessions to date include the fantastic Mollie Makes, Sara Tasker of Me and Orla, Emily Coxhead (The Happy Newspaper), MADE.com, Period Living, Pinterest, Charlotte Abrahams, Yeshen Venema, Folksy and many, many more. A plethora of people in the know, sharing what they know!

“The thing I like most about the business club is that it always seems to have an answer to something I’m trying to work out. There is always a webinar or event that seems relevant to where I am at that point in time.”“I love being part of the business club, it’s such a wealthy knowledge bank. The sessions about mindfulness have had a really positive impact on me and I love tapping into the sessions when I think: how does this element of my business work?”The Business Club works around monthly topics and May is focusing on Pinterest and LinkedIn – two platforms that are essential tools for networking and selling. In June, learning in The Business Club is focused around using Mailchimp and email marketing – your most important marketing tool! Each month you can join two live (evening) sessions where you can ask questions directly. All sessions are recorded and then made available within the club for members to re visit or listen to at their leisure.

Discount for Hello Bexa Readers:

If you’d like easy access to expert help growing your business, join over 100 other members of the Business Club now.  The Design Trust is happy to extend a £10 discount on the first month of membership of the Business Club to friends of Hello Bexa.  Use code “BEXAFRIEND” here to pay just £15 (usual cost £25).

Offer ends 31 May 2019.

A Q&A with digital marketers Georgie & Dörte from Curly Carrot

Georgie & Dörte were guests on a webinar for The Business Club, focusing on how to use Pinterest to drive traffic and get sales. They shared some of their strategy secrets on how to make Pinterest work for creative businesses. Here is a little sneak peek of the type of information available when you join The Business Club… over to you ladies!

Why Pinterest?

If your business has a visual story to tell Pinterest will work for you. Travel, interiors, gardening, wellness, beauty, parenting, arts and crafts, fashion and food are among the most searched for topics on Pinterest. People want to find you and buy from you!

How does Pinterest work?

Pinterest is a visual search engine. It works in the same way as Google. You type what you’re looking for in the search bar and rather than a variety of information to choose from such as text, website links and maps you are given a selection of images that when you click on reach a website page. People use it to plan, discover, be inspired and buy! 90% of Pinners use Pinterest to find ideas on what to buy. Pinterest wants to help them find your products and services and drive traffic to your website or online shop.

Do I need a Pinterest business account?

It’s quick and easy to set up and it’s free so there is no reason not to have one! Learn more about setting up a business account and the advantages hereIf you already have a personal Pinterest account and only want one Pinterest account, then you can convert your personal account to a business account. Also quick and easy! Add your business details and claim your website.

What are Rich Pins?

The official Pinterest definition is ‘Rich Pins provide more context about an idea because they show extra information directly on a Pin. There are four types of rich Pin: app, product, recipe and article.’ Rich pins tell viewers far more about the product and service and encourage them to click through to the landing page. How to add rich pins (you need to be logged into your business account to access this page)

How does Pinterest find you / your product? What are the key terms to use?

Pinners want to save pins that inspire, engage and tell a story! The pin title and description are both important and should be keyword rich but feel natural. Include details like the brand, product and key features or benefits. Add phrases like ‘click to buy’ or ‘learn more’. Include a call to action so that when they reach the landing page (website page) the story is completed.

How do I make my pins get seen by more users?

A beautiful image will capture attention. Use good quality photos of your products that are in focus. Include shots that bring your products or service to life. Show them in context so people can see how they will fit into and enhance their lives. Portrait size vertical images with a 2:3 aspect ratio ie. 600 x 900 pixels are best for visibility on people’s feeds.

Is it good practice to use a scheduling tool like Tailwind?

Focus on consistency over volume. There is no such thing as pinning too much to Pinterest, but Pinterest does prefer consistency to volume of pins. For example, it’s not good practice to pin 20 pins on a Monday then no pins until the following weekend. Post 5 pins per day rather than loads of pins one day, and none the next. The best way to do this is by using a scheduling app. Tailwind is easy to use and an authorised Pinterest partner. You can sign up to Tailwind here.

Should I only be re-pinning content from Pinterest or also content from other websites?

When you’re planning content for your Pinterest boards include great content from others that complement your business ethos. There is no magic ratio of your pins to others. If you are just starting out and don’t have much content, then you will be pinning more content that isn’t your own. When you’re launching a new product or promoting in the run up to Christmas to be included in gift guides then you will be pinning more of your own content.

Should I just be re-pinning things on Pinterest or should I be finding things of interest on the internet to put on Pinterest?

It’s a good idea to mix it up and save pins from other websites, blogs and platforms like Instagram, as well as saving (re-pinning) content from Pinterest. It is also important to create ‘fresh’ pins for your own content linking to specific pages and products on your website.

If would like to learn more about how Pinterest can help your creative business then do check out Dörte & George’s Pinterest resources – https://www.curlycarrot.com/free-digital-marketing-resources/

A big thank you to Georgie & Dörte from Curly Carrot for sharing their expert Pinterest knowledge. I hope you found this post useful, and don’t forget if you want access to more practical and strategic skills, knowledge and inspiration to grow your business, check out The Design Trust Business ClubUse code “BEXAFRIEND” here to pay just £15 (usual cost £25).

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5 Ways To Stay Motivated As A Blogger

In the photo: The Mug Of Motivation by Katie Abey / To Do List Doodle Pad by The Native State / Notebook by Pastel Elixir / Rainbow Unicorn Notebook by Half Pint Home / Doughnut Ever Give Up Postcard by Just The Beginning-x

Unless you are a blogger, it is hard to explain to someone just how demanding being a blogger actually is. We do a lot of things, right? We have to divide our time between content creating, promoting, researching, learning, supporting, keeping up with our social medias and so on. On top of all that, we need to be constantly thinking ahead and planning the next post, trying to keep our ideas fresh, interesting and original.

There is never a dull moment as a blogger and when we are full of inspiration it is the best thing ever! However, what happens when ideas run dry, enthusiasm fades and we have no idea what to write about next. It can happen to any of us at any time, so if you are feeling like you have lost your blogging spark, here are 5 ways to help you stay motivated and full of new and exciting ideas…

1. Browse Pinterest

The quickest way to get inspired is to get ideas from other bloggers. If you look at Pinterest Group Boards you can see thousands of awesome blog posts, all in one place. Last year, I created a group board called Share Your Blog Posts, which currently has over 30K pins and hundreds of active pinners. Group Boards for bloggers are a fantastic way to get inspired as well as share you latest posts with others – everyone is welcome (feel free to drop me an e-mail if you would like to be join and I’ll invite you).

2. Put Yourself Out There

Teaming up with brands and working on collaborative posts is such an awesome way to create new and exciting content. Jenny from Jenny In Neverland has written a fantastic post on How And Where To Find Blogging Opportunities which covers everything you could possibly need to know. Also, Chloe from Chloe Chats has written such a helpful and detailed post on Tips & Advice On How To Write Up A Pitch To Brands.

It can be disheartening when you don’t get a response, but be persistent, keep applying and putting yourself out there and you never know what exciting e-mail might arrived in your inbox next…

3. Write It Down

I’m such a planner nerd and a pretty notebook can do wonders for keeping me inspired. Recently, I shared my Stationery Essentials For Bloggers to show how I plan, organise and keep up with my blogging life. I find that using a daily to-do list helps me stay on track and motivated. I also keep a couple of notebook nearby to jot down thoughts and ideas whenever inspiration strikes. Nice stationery can be so encouraging.

4. Interact, Support & Engage

Being a blogger can get lonely at times but thankfully there is a fantastic community of supportive people and we can all encourage each other. Sometimes all it takes is a genuine and friendly comment that could give someone a huge motivational boost. Just knowing their post has been read, enjoyed and appreciated could make the world of difference, and it only takes five minutes of your time.

Every Sunday at 9am I host the Sunday Blog Swap on Twitter, an all day thread where you can share your latest blog posts, comment, like and make new friends! Come along and support your fellow bloggers! =)

Other favourites include: Teacup Club (Monday & Thursday at 5pm), Sophie from Glow Steady (Tuesday at 8pm) and Bloggers Tribe (Wednesday, Friday and Sunday at 8pm).

5. Have Fun!

Last but not least, to stay motivated you need to enjoy what you do. If you are feeling bored with your blog, spice things up and make some changes. Set yourself a challenge, a project or try something completely new. Why not team up with a blogging friend and do a collab? I’ve had lots of fun with these kinda posts and it’s a great way to bring fresh ideas together. 

A few collab ideas: A Pinterest Challenge, A Comfort Zone Challenge, A Subscription Box Review, Inspirational Books, A Product Review, A Stationery Box Swap, A Craft Project and A Seasonal Box Swap.

There are no rules to blogging, you don’t need to be a book blogger to review a book, or a masterchef to bake a cake, or an artist to do something creative. The possibilities are endless and you never know, you might just surprise yourself! Stepping out of our comfort zone is what keeps life interesting.

I hope you enjoyed these tips and suggestions! How do you stay motivated as a blogger? Let me know in the comments – I’d love to hear from you!

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Stationery Essentials For Bloggers

If you follow me on Twitter, you know I am often tweeting about my love of all things stationery. Whether that is a pretty new notebook or my collection of washi tapes, stationery holds a special place in my heart. After getting a gorgeous new Heidi Swapp planner for Christmas (thank you Vicky!) and recently a couple of cute new notebooks (thank you me!), I thought it would be a good time to blog about the stationery I am currently using to keep my blogging life up-to-date and organised… well, attempting to anyway!

In this post: Heidi Swapp Gold Stripe Memory Planner / Little Moments Heidi Swapp StickersCat, Dinosaur, Unicorn Notebook by Anna Alekseeva / Bright Ideas Notebook by Rachel Ellen Designs / To Do List Doodle Pad by The Native State / Born To Blog Mug by Ruth In Revolt 

This month I treated myself to two new pretty notebooks. Does anyone else find new stationery motivating? It makes me want to write, learn, brainstorm, doodle, take over the world, anything!

Notebook #1 is the awesome Cat, Dinosaur, Unicorn Notebook by Anna Alekseeva which I am using for blogging research. One of my 2019 ambitions is to learn Pinterest for blogging and not just look at cute cats and holidays to the Maldives. I am hoping the Cats, Dinosaurs and Unicorns will help me in my quest, I have even enrolled on a Pinterest Course, so wish me luck please!

Notebook #2 is the adorable Bright Ideas Notebook by Rachel Ellen Designs which I discovered in John Lewis and thought it was too cute to leave in the shop. This book is for all my future blog post ideas.

This month, I haven’t planned very far ahead on my blogging calendar but I find keeping a list of posts very helpful. I use the To Do List Doodle Pad by The Native State which is really cute, and as I blog twice a week I can fit a whole month on each page. When I have a blog post idea or collaboration, I jot it down in pencil so I know what’s coming up. I also make a note of it in my planner so I know when to write the post.

The lovely Ruth from Ruth In Revolt sent me this fantastic Born To Blog mug at Christmas which I adore and it has proved very handy for storing all my colouring pencils. It sits on my desk for whenever I get the urge to get all creative and you’ll see that everything in my planner is colour coded (planner nerd here).

And here is the star of the show, the stationery item I cannot live without, my planner. Every year, my sister buys me a new planner and this year it is the beautiful Heidi Swapp Gold Stripe Memory Planner complete with Little Moments Heidi Swapp Stickers and gold, pink and black washi tape (all the heart eyes!).

Every Sunday I decorate my pages with a few stickers and washi tape and I am ready for the week ahead.

My favourite sticker, pretty much describes my mood everyday, ha ha.

Here is a snapshot of my planner in all it’s colour coded glory. This was the first week of the year, so it was pretty quiet, normally I do a bit more than lunch, blog and swim (actually, or do I?) Netflix not included.

Enjoy the little things – like going to Hobbycraft <3

These are my current stationery essentials for blogging, although I am sure I’ll pick up some more throughout the year (I can never resist a pretty notebook or a few cute washi tapes!). I hope you enjoyed seeing how I keep my blogging life organised and colourful. What are your stationery must haves for blogging? Let me know in the comments – I’d love to hear from you!

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