Saturday, 29 April 2017

How I Blog: Blog Snaps

I find it so interesting seeing how different Bloggers do their blog post process from start to finish and I thought I would share how I take my blog photos as it has changed a lot since I did a post about it last year, click HERE. I normally bulk take photos which has been a great time saver as I don't have time to take photos every weekend. I also like to take my Insta pics with my blog posts photos as well. I have really gotten into Instagram since the start of the year and I have been posting twice a week. I took a break at the start of the month as school and life was getting all a bit too much.


My background is usually my desk Alex/Linnmon, which I got from Ikea. I have to clear a quarter of it off to have enough area to take photos without anything poking out at the side. I sometimes use my floor as a background too if I want a more rustic vibe.

I grab my laptop and look at the post I am taking photos for, gather up all the items I want to show like and props. I have a prop box that has a few things in it that I don't like keeping around my room like boxes and SD Cards but everything else is somewhere in my room.

After I've gathered everything, I lay everything out and start taking shots with my Canon Powershot SX420 IS, normally I have to take around 10 to make sure I get one just right. I repeat this until I have all photos taken. This takes me around an hour to do. I always end up rearranging things and messing around with angles etc. I know my blog photography isn't magnificent but it has definitely come a long from this time a year ago.


Now onto my least favourite part and that is editing. I don't know why but I hate doing it so much but I love the end product. I go through all the photos and look for the best ones and slowly whittle down the 100 photos I take to around 15. I use PicMonkey to edit them usual just brightness, contrast, crop and saturation. If I need to put graphics over the photo I will use Canva, even though PicMonkey has that function, Canva has a centring function which is so helpful when trying to get the text smack bang in the middle. I normally save them as a PNG and I don't remember why I don't put it as a JPG but I do recall when I did work experience in a graphic design place they went on about the difference of PNG and JPG files.

The next part is to upload them to Blogger and that's pretty easy. For my Insta pics, I do everything like with a blog photos except I crop it to the traditional Instagram square. I schedule them on Hootsuite which isn't my favourite Instagram scheduler ever but it works.

How do you edit your photos? I would love to know.

Thanks for being awesome,

Saturday, 22 April 2017

Electric Eighteen

If you haven't been watching my social media or following me on Snapchat, @totally_ro, you mightn't have noticed it was my birthday on Monday. I am now 18 which feels weird to say as I have grown up to believe this is a huge milestone but it just feels like any other day. I had a lovely day, I spent the majority of it just chilling at home but in the evening I went out to dinner with some of my friends. I know this isn't the usual 18th birthday celebrations where everyone goes out to get absolutely wasted but I didn't want that, I just want to have a few friends over and talk and eat together.

I find it weird to think that I am 18, I still feel a day over 12. I can do more than ever, I can buy a lottery ticket, get married, vote, give blood, use a sunbed, make a will and change your name. I know I will probably not do some of these things for a while but it's nice to know that I can do them whenever I want.

As I am writing this post, I am wondering should I do a 'What I have learned in 18 years' but to be honest I feel like it would be similar to everyone else's, I enjoy reading them but to write my own I will wait another year or two. Right now I am confused about a lot of things, what will I do in college? Where will I go for college? What do I want to do for the rest of my life? Should I bother dating? What should I change my name to? Where do I want to travel? Am I taking care of myself?

I have thought about it for a while and I am going to share 18 things I have done in my 18 years of existence.

1. I have been to 9 countries

I have been fortunate enough to be able to do so many places and some of them multiple times, I have been to America twice, France four times, England/Wales three times, Northern Ireland, Germany, The Netherlands, Spain and Tenerife, I hope to travel more in the future especially exploring the rest of Europe and all state of America. I enjoy being able to see another culture and completely immerse myself in it.

2. I got over my fear of flying

For 3 or 4 years, I refused to go on a flight anywhere, it got to the point where my Dad told me to 'cop on, you can't stay in Ireland forever'. I remember the first time going to London and crying the whole way over and back as I was so uncomfortable on the plane. I wasn't scared of flying it was the turbulence that set me off and being in such a confined space. I am still a little anxious going on flights but now I am not in floods of tears.

3. I performed in front of 500 people 

I feel like this is an accomplishment in itself as for a lot of people, including myself it can be very hard to get in front of a group of people and do a presentation or perform.

4. I found hobbies I'm good at and love

I had so many pastimes over the years that didn't last, ballet, swimming, camoige, hip hop, trad music and scouts but even though all those failed I found some that I truly enjoy acting, reading and playing my guitar, piano and ukulele. 

5. I have a Certificate in Speech & Drama

I just have to do one more exam to become a Speech & Drama teacher, I don't know when I will do it because it is a huge amount of work and there's two exams for the next degree. I am proud that I got this far as the Cert was challenging.

6. I accepted my Dyslexia

When I first found out I was dyslexic, I didn't want to accept it or tell anyone, I was embarrassed about it for a good 4 years until I turned 13 and realised it wasn't a big deal.

7. My imagination has stayed strong

Thankfully, I still have the imagination of an eight year old. I love that I can escape into a different world or think up of weird and wonderful essay ideas for English.

8. I can drive... kinda!

I say kinda as the majority of my friends refuse to get in the car if I am at the wheel. I love that I am able to drive, I am still only a learner but I have booked my test and hopefully things will go well.

9. I created this corner of the internet

Two years ago, I created this little space and I have loved it ever since. I love that I can write sometime from the comfort of my own desk and people all around the world can read it.

10. I learned to try make something good out of a bad situation

This might sound crazy but I like crazy. It is so easy to think of the negative side of things when something goes wrong, we all do it. I have learned to make a situation better by normally joking about it. A few months ago, I did awful in a maths test, 22% to be exact, I was annoyed at first but then I realised it wasn't all bad. I didn't get an NG and it was only one test. I joke about things to make them seem less serious and meaningful.

11. I became a little bookworm

I developed a love for reading has stayed with me. Of course, I am not one of those people who can get a book read in a day but I enjoy sitting down with a good book.

12. I wrote a song about the Junior Cert and it went slightly viral

Since I uploaded this video on YouTube I can't bring myself around to watching it again. I look awful in it, I am in a local primary school at a guitar lesson and my guitar teacher was recording it. Though I won't watch it, I am proud of it I never thought it would get over 100 views never mind 3,000! This is what started my YouTube channel.

13. I volunteered

I've always done an odd bit of volunteering here and there for clubs that I was involved with but for the past two years I did volunteering for things that I wasn't involved with already. For my Bronze Gaisce, I volunteered in a local charity shop, I didn't enjoy it for much but I am glad I did it. For Silver Gaisce, I helped out my Speech and Drama teacher for the year with two of her classes. I thought I wouldn't enjoy it at all but I actually miss it dearly and I hope to do a blog post about it in the future.

14. I stayed in a different country without my family for a week

This mightn't sound huge but when I was 15, it was pretty big for me. Up until then I had stayed away from home for a few days but not in a different country. I did a French exchange when I was in 2nd year and it taught me a lot. My French improved a little but I learned a lot of other things life related.

15. I have developed a love for France, the French language and their culture

I want to live in France at some stage in my life and try to perfect my French. I do French in school and I love it but I would love to be able to speak it fluently. I love the French culture and how different it is to the Irish culture.

16. I went to a Taylor Swift concert

It's been nearly two years since my going to my first concert and I am still in awe about it. It was one of the highlights of 2015 for me by far. Even though, I haven't been listening to her music as much I still love listening to it from time to time. I hope she has a new album on the horizons.

17. I developed a love for musicals, plays and anything on stage

Since a young age I remember going to musicals, plays and pantomimes and falling in love with all that goes on behind the scenes of a production. I started preforming on stage at the age of 5 in my first ballet show, The Tales of Beatrice Potter and ever since I have enjoyed every second on stage.

18. I learned how to be independent

Being a middle child (the forgotten one), I learned quickly how to be independent and do things myself. Now I think I may be too independent as I don't always ask for help when I need it.

As you know, I never do fashion posts or show what I am wearing but I really love this outfit and I wanted to share it with you. Also, shout out to my brother for taking the pics of me in my garden, I needed someone so he did it. I know the shots aren't overly amazing but this is my first one and my brother doesn't have the best photography skills.

Top- Penneys/Primark
Jeans- Penneys/Primark
Shoes- River Island (Last Year)
Bracelet- Thomas Sabo
Necklace- Primark/Penneys

What are you proud of doing?

Thanks for being awesome,

Saturday, 15 April 2017

Study Smart Not Hard

I don't think anyone likes studying spending hours and hours trying to get information to stick inside your brain, doing all-nighters to try to get it all done but there's no point in doing that at all. I think there is this thing installed in our brains that the more study we do the better we will do. This is not always the case because if you spend 3 hours studying but you were on your phone while doing it, you might do as well as someone who spent an hour studying with no distractions. See where I'm coming from? So here's a few things that I have learned over the past few years that help me to study smart, not hard!

Study Topics For 20 Minutes

You stop getting information after 20 minutes of a topic or you may start to drift like I do sometimes. Study a topic for 20 minutes and move on to any other subject. After 1 hour of studying I like to take a break for 20 minutes to relax, walk around, get a drink or something to eat. I find this works very well for me as I only have to focus on something for a certain time and leave it.

Have Some Sort Of A Schedule

I remember in first trying to make a timetable to study during the week but it would always fail within the first few days as I made it very unrealistic. I still make myself a schedule but it is more of a to do list, I write up everything I want to study and then as I do them I tick them off.

I love planning out what I am going to study for the week on Saturday or Sunday and it only takes 10 minutes. It prevents me procrastinating during the week or trying to figure out what I am going to study and makes sure I have studied something from each subject. I use this planner that I made myself and I find it so helpful. I write in something each day, I mightn't get them done on that day but I normally get it completed by the end of the week and if that doesn't happen, it goes into the next week.

Flashcards Are Your Friend

I find flashcards amazing to quickly summarise that hard chapter in Biology or for languages. I love using flashcards to have all the terms for a chapter or quotes. I normally keep them very plain using just blue and red pen and sometimes green.

For French, I use them to learn verbs. On one side I write the infinitive and translation and on the other side I write the present, past and future in the I, we and they form. This helps me a lot to learn verbs and be able to switch tenses easily.

Summarise Chapters

This is probably the tip I stick most to and that is chapter summaries. I get an A4 refill page and split it in half. I try to fit everything that is important in the chapter on this page from definitions to diagrams. At the end I have one page summaries that I can go back and study without having to go near the book. It saves a lot of time and effort as I know what exactly I need to learn.

Crash Course

Do you ever just not want to study and watch YouTube videos, this is the best of both worlds. It is a YouTube channel set up by the lovely vlogbrothers, Hank and John Green, it started back in 2015 and currently has nearly 700 videos. I love using for Biology and Chemistry especially when I don't know the topic very well. I find them so interesting and I don't realise that I am actually learning stuff.

I hope you find my study tips useful. What are your study tips?

Thanks for being awesome,