Growing older, dreaming bigger

Wait, when did I actually become one of those 'adult' things everyone seems to talk about all the time? I remember turning twenty one. That was fine. I remember turning twenty two (yes, even in my old age I can remember that far back) and that was fine, probably because it was appropriate for me to sing Taylor Swift every day for an entire year. But now? Im twenty three and I have no bloody song to sing.*

*Correction: I Google'd 'songs that mention 23' and Blink 182's 'What's my again' came up. I take back everything I said.

Anyway, it was 4am on my twenty third birthday and I was sat in bed with a stomach ache after eating an entire red velvet cake. AKA the one pictured. I would complain about it (spoiler alert:  I'm not the biggest b-day fan in the world) but hey, it means I got to eat cake for a whole day, all by myself. Although Michael the cat did decide to lick a bit of the icing whilst I wasn't looking (full story can be found over on my snapchat 'cocochicblog'. Ahem. End plug). Anyway.

I feel like this month has been a big old whirl wind, and we're barely even half way through. I've juggled deadlines, sold out of The Blogger Journal three times in two weeks (wut wut), I've had some great news and some not so great news. I've eaten an entire cake in one day, and I've had stomach ache from eating said cake. You get the gist. A lot can happen in two weeks, let alone twelve months, and - since I'm obviously so old and wise now - I've made it my mission to make this year the best one yet. Here's what's coming over the next 365 days..

We're going to build a house!

Any of you that subscribe to my Youtube channel will know the struggle I go through each and every day with my crazy neighbours, so for the past few months Ollie and I have been keeping our eyes open for a new place that we can rent. Back in November we nearly decided to rent out a chalet, until we figured it was too far from, well, just about everything. Then a few weeks before Christmas we joked about building our own chalet - which is basically a modernised log cabin. Turns out, Ollie's family know someone that builds them, and we've already got a plot of land waiting for us. And just like that, we've been granted planning permission and it looks like we'll be in by December. I'll be broke, stressed as eff, but I'll officially be a home owner. And we all know what that means: a crap ton of home hauls!

I'll be graduating

Just the other day I received an email from my uni preparing us for our graduation. Gulp. I don't know whether to be excited or completely and utterly terrified for my future. Either way, I'll get to wear a really nice cape and a mortar board for a few hours and throw it in the air a few times. That's an #OOTD waiting to happen.

I'll be lecturing!

So as soon as I leave uni, I'll pretty much be coming straight back to lecture the first years in blogging and social media. I still don't know if my lecturers and professors know what they're letting themselves in for - or what I'm letting myself in for for that matter - but hey, it makes me sound super duper smart. Dr Steph at your service.

We're going to get a dog!

With our own house, comes the freedom to have a dog! Or two. Or five. And a variety of chickens and goats. And potentially a pig. I mean, I live in the countryside. A girls gotta make her own squad some how..

I'll be publishing another book

it's happening. Oh, is it happening.

I'm applying for Big Brother

Like, tomorrow. Lord knows if it'll be the making or the breaking of me (or if I'll even get though to the auditions), but I expect each and every one of you to vote for me if I get in. And uhh, if any Big Brother big-shots out there happen to be reading my blog then...I will give you five pounds to let me in. Okay ten.

And finally, whilst it's not exactly a goal or any sort of achievement, this time next week I'll be getting dermal fillers in my lips. Surprise! Now I know some of you are going to really hate the idea of me doing it and I know some of you are gonna be super interested in it, so I've decided to do both a Q&A as well as a 'come along with me' style video to keep you lovely lot in the know. Don't worry, I won't be doing crazy things, it's with a respected doctor and it's not I repeat not all because of a certain member of the Kardashian/Jenner clan. If there's anything in particular you want me to ask the doctor in the video, or if you want me to answer anything in my Q&A then please, go forth and leave your questions in the comments.

I also just wanna say a quick thank you to everyone that wished me a happy birthday yesterday, and everyone that supported me during my first year of blogging. If there's one goal I hope to achieve in the next year, it's to keep on doing this, and doing it with you!

The reveal of my very first book!

blog-planner-journal-cheap-blogger-book.jpg

I really don't know how to introduce this little guy without filling your screens with excalamation marks and capital letters that say something along the lines of 'WOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!' So let's just get all of that out the way.
 

WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!


Hot damn did that feel good.

So, ladies and gentlemen, after months and months of sleepless nights and cramped fingers, I am very proud (and terrified) to announce the launch of my first ever book 'The Blogger Journal'! 

It seems like forever ago when the idea to create a bloggers book popped into my head. I remember typing up a Tip Tuesdays, going off on a tangent (as I do), and suddenly writing down something about making a planner just for bloggers. It was just one of those random fleeting thoughts that - realistically - weren't ever going to happen. I mean, let's be real here. I'm not a big blogger. I don't have publishers knocking on my door every five minutes / ever. And on top of all that I'm also in my third and final year of uni with over 19,000 words to write by January. Uh yeah, I should probably get started on that..

So anyway, there I was, not even a year into blogging, casually mentioning potential dreams for the (very) distant future. I didn't think anyone would even take note of what I said because, you know, small fish big pond and all that. But the next day I woke up to a biiit of surprise. Right there at the bottom of my blog post were comments from you guys, tons of 'em, all telling me how much you liked the idea of a blog planner. And from that, you guys - as always - got me thinking. What if? 

So I did my research, and - long story short - there weren't many things like this already on the market. Especially ones at a fairly reasonable price. So, I let that thought settle into my head for a little while, and - to be honest - I completely forgot about it until one Tuesday, when I was doing my first ever Twitter chat. Someone asked me about the planner (AKA the one I mentioned in my first post, that was still completely non-existent) and then a bunch of other people started getting involved. I asked if it was something you would want, and amazingly enough, it was a resounding 'yes'. So, I got to it.

And here it is! My first ever book. It's been stressful, it's been expensive, and I'm pretty sure I haven't had a proper night's sleep since I started this whole thing but whatever, seeing it in the flesh makes it all worth it. I hope you guys think so too.
 

BUY THE BLOGGER JOURNAL (I'LL LOVE YOU FOREVER)

WHAT'S INSIDE:

- Weekly blog tips x 52
- Note pages x 52
- Monthly Statistics x 12
- Income Calculator x 12
- Monthly Goals x 12
- Contacts sheets x 5

- A list of blogging terminology
- Optimum social media times
- Useful websites and apps
- 100 blog post ideas
- SEO tips and tricks
- Google Analytics FAQ

- Twitter chat times
- Popular Instagram tags
- Pull-out prints x 12
- The Yearly Planner
- The Monthly Planner x 12
- The Weekly Planner x 52

 

SHIPPING COSTS:

UK: £2.95 First Class
Int: £6.75 Standard
USA: £9.99 Standard
Elsewhere: Please contact

SIZE & MATERIALS

- A5 (148mm x 210mm)
- 324 pages in total
- 300gsm matt cover
- 100gsm b&w pages

 


The Blogger Journal retails for £15.99 and it's available worldwide!


I'm currently waiting on the big bulk of orders to land on my doorstep (any day now!), but if you order now it'll be with you in time for the new year, so you can open up your journal and get planning straight away! Think of it as my 'Tip Tuesday' posts on crack. But like, the really good, non-lethal, non-illegal type of crack. And it's pretty damn instagram-able too. Of course.

The first twenty people to buy The Blogger Journal will be receiving an extra little gift from me in their parcel. And one of you will also be chosen at random to receive a full refund (including post and packing) as a little thank you for being really, really great.

Did I mention I wrote a book? I can't wait to hear your thoughts!!
 

BUY THE BLOGGER JOURNAL 2016
 

Something wonderful is about to happen

So guys, I'm afraid I have a confession to make. It's November, and I'm wearing a Christmas jumper. I'm burning festive smelling candles and I've made (and eaten) two gingerbread houses within the past week. Needless to say, I'm a big old fan of the festivities. 

But anyway, those of you that are subscribed to my Youtube channel may remember that last month I journeyed off to London with Virgin to review one of their experience days. Could you imagine my excitement when I found out that I was going to be experiencing a four course cream tea cake fest at Harrods? I've never eaten so many scones in my life. Wait, did I mention it was practically an all you can eat? The poor people at Harrods didn't know what hit 'em.

As for the menu (which I know you're all dreaming about as you read this) - it was okay. And by okay, I mean that it was the most delicious thing in the world. Looking back at the above photos even gives me some sort of pain in my heart. Then again, that might be the trifle talking.

So the afternoon tea started out with - of course - a good old pot of tea. But not just any tea, no sir, it was the special no.15 Georgian blend that took my fancy. And whilst I'm very much a milk and two sugars, PG tips kind of girl, I must admit that, actually, it tasted pretty damn perfect. And as we all know, the way to a Brit's heart is...through a cup of tea. Some girls like diamonds, I just want a sugary cup of caffeine.

Okay so enough about tea. The main selling point of the day was the food. The perfectly formed, bite size, delicious little squares of food. As with most cream teas (I say that like I'm such a cream tea connoisseur) it all started with the finger sandwiches- which I had multiple rounds of - followed by a serving of miniature cakes and pastries that I quite literally couldn't stop eating. In fact, the only thing that stopped me from eating those mini bites of perfection were..the bigger bites of perfection - AKA the scones. Plural. After about four of them I finally felt like I was ready to throw in the towel, until the waiter advised us that the best was yet to come. And oh, how it was. Ladies and gentlemen, if there's one thing you ask for this Christmas, make it a Harrods trifle. I wish I was joking. Some people want puppies - I just want a pot of custardy fruity goodness. Okay, and maybe a puppy.

Ahem. Anyway. Of course - as you'd expect - Harrods was decked out in the most exquisite Christmas gear (even in October), so perhaps that was what kicked me up the festive arse this year. London was dressed up to the nines, I was donning some of my best day wear (because, well, when in Harrods..) and the amount of food on offer could only be compared to the amount of food I scoff at Christmas. Only ever so slightly more civilised. Slightly. I've never had the best table manners..

So it's no wonder I'm already in Christmas-mode, since I've practically already convinced my stomach that it's perfectly normal and acceptable to eat five times your body weight in sugar for no apparent reason. Hey, start as you mean to go on, I say!

And now onto the title of this post - because you're probably wondering what this wonderful thing could possibly be - this year, to celebrate my first proper Christmas with you guys I've decided to do my own version of the Twelve Days of Christmas. Only instead of giving you a bunch of french hens and turtle doves I've decided to give twelve different fashion, beauty and lifestyle prizes every day from Tuesday. And hey, why not throw #vlogmas into the mix while I'm at it as well?

Now to kick off the festive season I'd love for you guys to tell me exactly what it is that gets you in the Christmas mood - whether it's the food, the late night shopping, anything! Just leave it down in the comments section down below, alongside one thing you're wishing for this Christmas. You never know, it might appear in the giveaways!

[This post is in collaboration with Virgin Experience Days, but all thoughts (and soon-to-be-fillings) are very, very much my own.]

How blogging changed my life

Guys, it's happened again. I've had yet another one of those pivotal moments that result in me getting all emotional and writing down my thoughts into a blog post at two in the morning. All whilst I'm supposed to be doing uni work. Oops. And hey, would you look at that, I'm actually posting an outfit photo for once! That hasn't happened in a while. (The photos, I mean - not the general clothes-wearing part. I'm not a nudist guys, I promise! But if you are, that's cool too). Aaaand there I am going completely off topic again. It's a skill I really need to work on, I know.

OKAY! So as you can probably guess by the title of this post, I've been feeling a little bit nostalgic about how blogging has change both me and my life. I know, I know, how can posting pictures of myself on the internet equate into something even remotely interesting, let alone 'life changing'? But hey, life is weird, and somehow we've made it work. God damn - when I think about it, life really is the complete polar opposite to what it was a year ago. And I mean that in a really, really good way.

For starters, it's made me a lot happier

I touched on this topic a little while ago when I boldly claimed that blogging cured my depression, but I couldn't not include it in this not-so-little life changing round up as well. See, despite what my incredibly happy face in the photos above might suggest (lol) there was once a time in my life where I was super, super down near enough every single day. I had very few friends, zero motivation and a seriously crappy outlook on life and the future. And now? Completely the opposite - and it all comes down to this little blog. I suppose that in itself is a life changer on its own, but if I left this post at that then it could potentially be considered pne of my shortest blog posts to date. And we don't want that. So here's the ins and its of how blogging changed my life, and how - hopefully - it can change yours too.

It's given me some amazing friends

I think one of the main stand-out things that most of us get from the blogging world (apart from a pretty intense wi-fi bill each month) are the people we meet and the friends we make. Of course I still have non-internet friends in my life that I love dearly, but it's kind of amazing to think that the majority of my relationships have stemmed from the world wide web and social networking. When I was younger. I always used to find it difficult making friends in school - especially friends that shared a mutual love for memes, emojis and HTML - but blogging has given me just that, and then some. And hey, another good thing about blogger friends is that they don't judge you when you stand on a chair in a restaurant to get the perfect food flatlay. That, ladies and gentlemen, is a sign of a good friend.

It's brought me closer to Ollie

This might sound a little odd (and he'd think I was the biggest loser if he ever read this) but since being a full-time-blogger I feel as though Ollie and I have become even more of a tight-knit couple. We spend more time together since we're not both working constantly, we collaborate with each other on the regular, and our lives just seem a lot less stressful in general because we're both able to do what we enjoy. Less stress = a better relationship. And a better relationship = he's more likely to agree to taking photos of me on his days off. Heh.

It's helped me to open up to people

So this is something that's only happened recently after implementing more personal posts onto my blog, but it's really affected the way that I live in general. Basically - like most girls - I've always been the sort of person to hide how I'm feeling (not a great idea for anyone, FYI) but since sharing my thoughts on this blog I've noticed that I've become more of an open person in real life too. Take, for example, the post I wrote a while ago called 'when you don't feel good enough'. I guess I wrote that because well, first of all I felt like it, but secondly because it almost didn't feel as though I was actually telling anyone - at least not in a face to face kind of way. Sounds silly doesn't it? I wasn't able to talk to my closest friends about my insecurities, but I was able to type it out on the internet where thousands of people could find it. #Logical. But hey, regardless of how I came about doing it, just talking to you guys about how I'm feeling has made it so much easier for me to open up to people in general about whatever is going on in my mind, and you've also helped me realise that, actually, it's perfectly okay and perfectly normal to feel a bit rubbish from time to time. Thank you!

It helps me deal with shitty situations

And because of everything written above, it's also meant that I've had more people to talk to when it comes to dealing with every day issues. Having a blog means that I can distract myself whenever I feel necessary, and I can also just log on to my comments and talk to you guys if I ever need a bit of advise. And hot damn, are you great at shovelling out the advice. Come to think of it, you guys are kind of like my own personal counsellors. Please don't start charging me..

It's given me a life I could never afford

Now this is something that isn't overly important as such, but it's definitely something that never would have happened unless I started Cocochic just under a year ago. My family have never been broke, but I've never been in the position to go out and buy expensive expensive, or loads of clothes, or travel around the world. And - like I said - whilst that's not important or neccesary in the slightest, I can't deny that it's pretty special being able to do these things. As a blogger, I'm lucky enough to get the chance to try out lots of different products, and it's all because you guys take an interest in what I have to say (for some unknown reason!). This - of course - also means that I'm able to give away some amazing prizes to you guys too. Spoiler alert: December is going to be full of freebies..

It's opened up so many doors for me

Any day now I'm going to be publishing my own book. Like, I'm actually going to be holding a copy of book that I created all by myself. No biggie (and by that I mean I couldn't be more freakin' excited!!!). But see, the reason I'm able to do this is all because of having this blog, and having you guys behind me every step of the way. I feel like blogging always has the stigma attached to it that makes it kind of hard for people to openly admit they have a blog, but the reality of blogging is that, actually, it's not always just a place to plonk down your feelings - it can also be just an amazing career move as well. Man, I bloody love the internet.

It's allowed me to live my life how I want to

And finally - and I guess most importantly - being a blogger has meant that I've been able to take full control of my life, and live the way that I want to live (you know, minus the million pound castle and diamond encrusted underwear). I started a blog ten months ago out of pure joy, and because it was something that I just really, really wanted to do despite all of the free things and pay cheques. I think it's probably everyones dream to earn money from a hobby - whether you're a singer, musician, artist, whatever, and I feel so blessed every day to be able to do that. Before blogging, I was in a really dead end job that made me miserable, and I thought that was how I was going to spend the rest of my life. Now, I pretty much get to just talk to a bunch of friends day in, day out, and get paid for it too. All I need now is someone to pay me to nap. Any takers..?

So anyway, if I haven't made it clear enough then I'd just like to say a big fat thank you to all you lovely for just generally being really really great and cool and sexy. Let's all get married!

What I'm wearing

Vero Moda red leather jacket from Ark (on sale!)
Miss Pap lace front bodysuit (use code COCOCHIC20 for 20% off!)
Ark high waisted black jeans

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