7   103
18   138
17   118
15   107
33   147
4   79
9   75
3   92

In the photo: Notebooks by Pastel Elixir

Whenever I post a book review, you can guarantee the subject is either going to be self-development or blogging. Today’s review is all about social media, a topic which I find fascinating, as some days I love it and think it is awesome, and other days I feel completely disconnected, exhausted and overwhelmed. So instead of trying to figure it all out myself, I decided to check out Social Media For A New Age by Katie Brockhurst.

Katie is known to her clients as a ‘Social Media Angel’, and spends her time coaching and consulting for mind-body-spirit authors and experts across the world. Katie has a background in broadcast, music and entertainment and now uses her knowledge, experience, creativity and intuition to share her unique approach to social media. Her book is written for those who know the potential of social media but don’t want to lose themselves in scrolling, comparison and doing what the so-called experts tell them to do.

Check out Katie on Twitter / Instagram / Facebook

You know when you read a few pages and immediately think, yes this is the book for me! Well, I got that feeling with Social Media For A New Age. Katie straight away acknowledges those common anxieties that come with being online and vulnerable such as the fear of being judged, the fear that we are not good enough, fear of being too different, too spammy, too boring and so on. Then helps us figure out why we use social media, what our values are, and how we can show up fully with integrity and authenticity.

Katie explains that we all have two sides when it comes to social media: the soul and the ego. The social media ego wants all the likes, a big following, it wants to look important, successful and in control. The social media soul wants community, connection, engagement with like-minded people, it wants to support, share and make friends. Both sides play a part in our social media journey, and Katie helps us understand and recognize when the balance is shifting and what we can do to regain control.

Social Media For A New Age doesn’t tell you how to get the clicks, the follows and the likes, instead it encourages us to make genuine connections, build real relationships, share our passions, take breaks and be ourselves online. It gives us a fresh perspective – social media doesn’t have to be a source of self-doubt, jealously, separation and anxiety, but a place of friendship, collaborations, creativity and community. It reminds us that we are in control, it should be a safe place to create, innovate and share.

Thank you Katie for sending me this book, I found it to be a refreshing read. We often see so much online about how to grow your platform, beat that algorithm, use those hashtags, schedule those tweets and so on. Instead, this book offers a gentle, comfortable and natural approach on getting the most out of your social media to make it an enriching and enjoyable experience. I would therefore thoroughly recommend Social Media For A New Age to anyone with a Facebook, Instagram and Twitter account.

*This is a sponsored post which means I received a product/payment in exchange for an honest review. All views are my own.

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Autumn is all about those cosy homey evenings, having baths, lighting candles, drinking hot choc and giving yourself that extra bit of pamper time, right? So, when the lovely Soph from Soph Hearts got in touch and suggested we do an Autumn/Winter self-care box swap, I thought what a brilliant idea! I had recently done a fun stationery box swap with Lauren, so couldn’t wait to do it all again with another awesome blogger.

Soph shares a wonderful range of posts from beauty, fashion, lifestyle, as well as thoughtful and honest conversations about relevant topics happening in the blogging world. Soph’s recent post on Creative Licence and Responsibility is well worth a read. If you love Disney, food, travel and chatty posts, I encourage you to check out Soph Hearts and Soph’s Twitter. Also, we cannot ignore the fact that Soph’s photos are absolutely GORGEOUS so why not head over to Instagram and give her a follow there too!

For our box swap, we agreed on a budget of £20. I honestly had the best time shopping for treats for Soph, I took my sister with me and we made a proper girly day out of it. You can head over to Soph’s blog and see what I picked, but first, I’m so excited to share with you the fabulous goodies in my box…

I received such a thoughtful and cosy selection of treats including hot chocolate (yum!), Galaxy chocolate counters and shortbread biscuits (yum & yum!), pretty stationery, a Wax Lyrical Reed Diffuser (in the flavour Gingerbread House) and a cute Honey Pumpkin candle! Thank you so much Soph!

As soon as I saw the Gingerbread House Reed Diffuser, I couldn’t wait to use it. Right now, my home is smelling absolutely amazing, think: spices, cinnamon and ginger mixed with clove and biscuits. It’s like Christmas is here in October and I’m loving it! Also, how gorgeous is the bottle too? It makes me so excited for the festive season!

Autumn isn’t Autumn without a few cosy candles and this one smells so good. It’s not just honey and pumpkin, it is also a blend of cinnamon, butter, sweet vanilla nutmeg and spicy fresh ground cloves. Wow. It is the most perfect fragrance for this month and after taking the photos, I enjoyed it whilst relaxing in the bath and it filled the room with the most comforting, calming and cosy aroma.

In the box, Soph also treated me to some pretty stationery, yay! These cute little cactus themed sticky notes are going to be perfect for both blogging and studying so I don’t forget anything important. I love that you can use it as a sticky to-do list and I actually have one stuck next to me right now reminding me that I probably should be studying instead of blogging (ha ha!). Blogging is way more fun though.

The second piece of gorgeous stationery is a notes and to-do planner which I think is really cool and super handy. Every blogger knows that planners and lists are actual life-savers, I would honestly be lost if I didn’t write EVERYTHING down. Now I can keep all my lists neat and tidy and in one place, thanks to this cute little book. It even includes motivational quotes which makes it even more awesome!

I love that you have the option to make notes next to your to-do’s. I’ve never seen a book like this before and I think it is a really clever idea! I always feel that if everything is written down, I feel slightly more calm and organised even if I haven’t actually done anything remotely productive yet.

Soph very kindly included Galaxy chocolate counters. I haven’t opened them yet as I know as soon as I do, they will all disappear (why is chocolate so addictive!) so I’m saving these for a cosy film night.

I have already enjoyed a mug (or three) of hot choc complete with all the cream and marshmallows in my Katie Abey Mug Of Motivation along with some delicious buttery shortbread and wow, what a treat!

Thank you so much Soph! This is such a fantastic selection of goodies and I love all the choices. Everything is so thoughtful and perfect for those cosy pamper evenings. I know I am going to have the nicest smelling home this Autumn, whilst being super organised and enjoying all the tasty treats.

Don’t forget to pop over to Soph’s blog to see what self-care items I included in her box too! I’m off to make myself another mug of hot chocolate now…

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It’s amazing to think that one year ago today, I shared my very first post on Hello Bexa. In 365 days, I have published 136 posts and had the opportunity to do some pretty awesome things and chat to some pretty awesome people. I wanted to make this post a bit different than just listing everything I’ve done in this first year of blogging (you can see all my posts here). Instead I wanted to acknowledge the fact that yes blogging is cool, but it is incredibly hard at times too.

I want to take this opportunity to share with you a few things I have learned on how to survive in the blogging world. Here goes:

If you want support, be supportive.

This is something I learned pretty quickly. If you want blog comments, go leave blog comments. If you want Twitter followers, go follow people. If you want engagement, go interact. Make the first move and surprise yourself. I was once asked how I got 50 comments on my latest post, there is no secret, I just simply (it took hours) read and left 50 comments on other blogs. In my experience, the majority of bloggers are kind and will happily return the blog love.

You don’t need to follow a set of rules. 

The blogging world is packed with great advice, but you don’t need to follow a set of rules to be successful. Just because it’s available doesn’t mean you need to use it. Personally, I don’t schedule tweets, I don’t use Instagram stories, I don’t spend much time on Pinterest and Facebook and so on. If it works for you, great. If not, don’t stress. Focus on what you enjoy rather than trying to be everywhere and do everything.

Make your social media a positive place.

Social media is wonderful for discovering, interacting and supporting fellow bloggers. But it can also be a negative and overwhelming place at times too. Recognise when it’s not making you feel good, stop scrolling and go do something else. Social media should enhance your blogging experience, not hinder it. Find ways to control your social media, rather than letting it control you.

Know when you need a break.

Whether that is a day off from social media or a week or so away from blogging, we all need a rest sometimes. Don’t feel guilty if life gets in the way, it happens. Your blog will still be waiting for you when you return. It’s true that creativity suffers when we are feeling exhausted and stressed. It doesn’t matter if you skip a blog post or relax your schedule. The phrase is overused but seriously, be kind to yourself.

You are going to feel insecure at times.

Unfortunately, comparison and self-doubt come as part of the package of being a blogger. It is inevitable we are going to feel inadequate at times when there are tons of bloggers everywhere, all seemingly doing incredible things, getting fabulous opportunities and striking up amazing friendships. It is easy to feel less than and left out. If you feel like this, accept it is a normal reaction but don’t dwell there for too long. Shake it off and remember people like you, because you are you.

There is space for everyone. 

Every single blogger is unique. We each have our own special skills, talents, ways with words, quirks and personalities.  Your voice is just as important as anyone else’s. Don’t be afraid to be yourself and share your passions (even if they are not ‘on trend’). Dare to be different and stand out from the crowd.

Being a blogger is a roller coaster ride of highs and lows, but it is a journey I am excited to be on and I wouldn’t change a thing. Thank you so much to everyone who has connected with me, supported me, been kind and made this such an amazing experience so far. I am forever grateful to all the lovely people I have met along the way and I’m looking forward to see what the next year brings in this crazy blogging world.

What would be in your bloggers survival guide? Feel free to leave a comment, I’d love to hear from you!

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On Wednesday, the wonderful Ruth nominated me for The Kind Blogger Award. It honestly made my day, Ruth is always so sweet and supportive and said some really kind, thoughtful and encouraging things about me and my blog. Thank you Ruth! You are awesome <3

THE RULES

  1. Thank the Blogger who nominated you and link back to their blog.
  2. Answer the 5 questions set out by the aforementioned Blogger.
  3. Nominate 1 person who you feel is worthy of this award.
  4. Give 3 reasons for nominating this person.
  5. List these rules and display the Award Logo/ Badge on your own blog.

RUTH’S QUESTIONS

You’ve worked with some great businesses to share their products – do you have any favourites?

I would say my favourite one so far has been with Beauty h. It was a last minute opportunity which I applied for on Twitter, and the very next day my mum and I were treated to a Spa Day in the New Forest for National Best Friends Day. It was lovely to be able to spend some spontaneous mum/daughter time, enjoy a massage, drink tea, eat cake and play crazy golf. A recent favourite is Back To Uni Essentials with Ryman Stationery mainly because I am a stationery addict.

In terms of blogging, what are your goals in the next 12 months?

Ooh good question. To be honest, I have never set any blogging goals, I just like to be surprised by whatever comes next. Although, as my final Open Uni course starts in October, I would say my main goal for the next 12 months is to try and balance blogging and studying.

Name one place on your travel bucket list and share why you’d like to visit there.

I would love to visit Bali because it looks beautiful and it’s all about the yoga. Going to Bali for a yoga retreat would be the absolute dream.

As Autumn has now arrived, what is your favourite thing about this season?

Dr. Martens, fluffy jumpers, hot chocolate, bubble baths, being all cosy indoors when it’s cold outside.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received?

“Every accomplishment starts with the decision to try”. You never know what you are capable of unless you give it a go. Try something new and surprise yourself.

THE RECIPIENT

It’s so hard to just pick one blogger for this award as there are so many awesome bloggers out there. I have decided to pass the kindness onto the lovely Jade from jademarie.co.uk

I have always admired Jade’s gorgeous photography and enjoy catching up with her fantastic blog posts, plus she has the coolest hair. Not only that, but I’m sure everyone who knows Jade will agree that she is such a kind and supportive member of the blogging community. Jade has included me in her Follow Friday’s on Twitter ever since we became friends last year and she is always so warm, friendly and approachable. Jade also co-runs Creators Clan, a twitter community for creatives and is always retweeting my posts. I am forever grateful for her continued kindness and as she has just launched her shop, I also wanted to share with you some of her awesome printables which you can buy once and use forever.

Stay tuned as Jade has more fabulous blogging products in the pipeline too…

Daily Schedule – Printable: Perfectly plan out your day (including those all important breaks!) with this printable daily schedule. Running from 6am – 11pm, you can write down any meetings or appointments you have, as well as plan out any other activities you have for the day. Need to put a load of washing in? Want to make sure you take some self care time? Plan out revision or work hours? You can do all that and more!

Blog Post Planner – Printable: Never forget a post idea again! This blog post planner allows you to plan out your latest blog post ideas; including title ideas, the main point and a section to bullet point the points you want to make. It includes: SEO Title, Category, Posts Main Point, Breakdown Of Main Point, Share It On Social Media Tick Boxes.

Daily Planner – Printable: This daily planner printable allows you to plan out your day, help you stay organised and on top of your to do list. It includes: Positive Quote Section, Main Goals Section, Gratitude Section, 16 Bullet Point Sections, Highlight Section.

THE QUESTIONS FOR JADE:

  1. As a student, can you share your best advice on how to balance blogging/studying/everything else.
  2. What is your proudest blogging achievement so far?
  3. Describe what your perfect day would be like.
  4. What are your top 3 favourite books?
  5. Can you tell us about any exciting new projects you have coming up?

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