Post Comment Love and Blogger Showcase 18 - 20 January

Hello there and welcome to this week’s #PoCoLo a friendly linky where you can link any post published in the last week.  If you were here last week, it was great to see you and if you’re new here this week, then you’re very welcome.  Both Morgan and I know you’ll find some great posts to read, and encourage you to pop over to some of the posts linked and take the time to leave a comment or two so that everyone benefits from some extra love.

I’ve impressed myself this week - and last week to be honest - with my walking mileage, most weekdays clocking up a good four or five miles.  It’s quite addictive seeing the number go up, and it’ll be interesting to see how the number rises as the year goes on.  Walking to and from work, well from work acts as a good decompression zone, and provides plenty of time to think, though usually that’s what’s for tea and if I have everything I need to make it.

January is the month that I need to force myself to do things, I’d be much happier hibernating but that’s not really an option.  So this evening we’re off out and about in Canary Wharf to see the Winter Lights installation.  We last went along in 2017 and it was great, so I have high expectations.  I’m looking forward to dinner out as well too, obviously.

This week I’m delving into my archives for my photo, this week hasn’t been that photo-worthy with its grey skies, but hopefully we’ll see the sun again soon.  This window with the sun streaming through it is one I took at Villandry,  when we did our cycling tour in the Loire.  It hardly seems real that it was in 2016, but then at times it feels much more recent.

A window in Villandry

Blogger Showcase: Katrina from Real Girls Wobble

1 Who are you?

My name is Katrina, a 34 year old (who is still mentally 21) born and raised in Cardiff, south Wales.  I started writing Real Girls Wobble as an outlet for me to document my life, thoughts and feelings.  Luckily along the way others have found me and enjoy following my life journey.  Where does the wobble come from?  Everyone has moments where they need to think through a decision, however big or small, and the reality of it.  I am also a curvy girl so it is a double entendre!

2 How did you discover blogs/blogging?

I have a Professional Diploma in Marketing and have worked in hospitality, events, advertising, PR and communications – which I have been doing for over 15 years.  I do a lot of writing for my day job, but enjoy blogging as a hobby. 

I love being social!  Any opportunity to get out and mix with people.  The majority of my blog focuses on the events I attend, where I eat and drink, my favourite items and my business acumen gained from my professional career in sales, marketing and hospitality.  The mission for Real Girls Wobble is to inspire my readers with products, places to go and encourage them by sharing ideas, experiences and real-life stories.

3 Why did you start blogging?

The Internet has allowed me to be brilliant, creative, outgoing, daring and occasionally unconventional.  Sometimes I am a little boring too, but isn't that real life? I still don't know what I want to be when I'm a 'grown up' but have always enjoyed reading and writing and thoroughly enjoy the opportunities that it brings.

4 What do you find most challenging?

I think the same as all businesses, brands and bloggers – building a following.  As I work full time and have a healthy social life it can be hard to dedicate the time to growing engaged followers. 

5 What is your favourite topic to write about?

I am really passionate about my hometown, Cardiff, and Wales as a whole.  I love to educate people on the fantastic places you can see and things you can do.  We have such an interesting history, I want to educate more people to visit, and get the locals to explore more.  Yes there are more sheep here than people and more castles per square mile than anywhere else in the world – but that’s only the start of its charm.  I have a series of historical blogs being released in 2019 on the rise of the city, forgotten stories and hidden gems. 

6 Are you blogging for fun or do you have goals?

I blog as my hobby, but I do have ambitions.  I have a marketing strategy like any small business or brand should have, and I have set SMART targets.  This allows me to stick to a plan and stay on track.

7 What is your favourite thing about blogging?

The freedom to express yourself.  It should not be a chore, if it is you are doing it for the wrong reasons.  Writing is like anything else, the more regularly you do it the easier it will become.  Blogging has also introduced me to some fantastic brands and I have met some incredible people. 

8 Have you ever attended a blogging conference and if so, what did you think?

I am not a shy person, I am well practised to walk into a room and introduce myself to strangers.  I have been attending business networking meetings for work for years, and often have to meet suppliers and clients to discuss their needs.  I always try to prepare to keep my nerves at bay.  I always research the company, event, people who are attending etc.

I have also attended Bloggers meet Brands events run by The Wonders Of.  Before hitting the ‘attend’ button I did have to think it through.  My stereotypical mental image of a blogger is an attractive young woman in her early twenties, who is very slim and has a great sense of fashion.  Her nails and make-up are always as if an artist has spent the morning working on them and big hair with soft curls as if she has just stepped out of the blow dry bar.  I worried that I would be seen as the elephant in the room - literally?  Being in my 30's would they automatically assume that I am a 'mummy' blogger and not want to socialise?

These ‘worries’ of course were not true, well, for the most part .  Of course there was that type of blogger in the room, but just as in life there were a whole host of real women with different backgrounds, different ages, shapes and styles and all writing about different platforms.  Everyone was so welcoming too, and happy to support each other.  It has also lead to collaborations and referrals. 

9 What are your three best posts?

 It is surprising, some of my favourite posts are not the most viewed.  I am very excited about some of the projects and collaborations that are to be posted in 2019 too.  So far my most read are;

  1.  Your blog – what to include in your business portfolio.  This is on my experience working for a brand, and the type of information that would make me click to learn more about a blogger and why the collaboration is important.

  2. Does high school education really matter.  This was me having a rant about the difference between book smarts and the reality of this in day to day employment.  I did not expect this to do as well as it did. 

  3. How to get Kardashian lips without the needles.  No pain, instant results and low cost.  This all came from the power of social media.  I was introduced to Ultra Sculpt who wanted a blogger to review the service.  I would also highly recommend the treatment, so it was a win-win collaboration. 

10 Describe yourself in three words

I hate these types of questions, it feels like a weird job interview!  

Faithful, excitable and irritable

11 Are you a tea and biscuits or coffee and cake person?

I’m Welsh – I’ll have a pint of squash please?!  If you made me pick it would be tea and cake. 

12 What’s your idea of a perfect night out?

I haven’t grown up - I want to go out with my friends, mix my drinks, drink too much, dance as if Beyoncé was watching, get some chips and curry sauce on Chippy Lane and fall over before getting in the taxi home.  Then when I wake up I want to dissect the night, laugh at all the silly things that happened and spend 30 minutes deleting all the blurry toilet selfies.  I think I enjoy them more because they do not happen as often now that we all have taken on additional ‘adult’ responsibilities. 

13 Your perfect night in?

PJs on, bra off, cwtched (Welsh word for cuddle) up on the sofa with my boyfriend Michael with a takeaway and a bottle or two of wine!

14 What would your other half say your best quality is?

I like to think he’d say I am easy to get along with.  I know every couple says they have the perfect relationship, but we really do.  We are happy for each other to spend time with friends, have nights out as long as we make time for each other.  I also think he’d say I’m a pretty good cook!  He would also add on that I am very clumsy and does not understand how I can fall over, drop things and break things so often!

Thanks Katrina, it’s great to learn more about you and your passion for Wales. Before you link up, why not pop over to Katrina’s social channels and say hello: Facebook - Twitter - Instagram.

Clematis at Chelsea

After yesterday’s greyness, and the colder weather forecast for today I thought i could do with a blast of colour. And where better to pop into, than Chelsea? With a nod to the weather we have at the moment I’ve popped into the Pavilion, which is just huge. I’m sure I read somewhere it’s the size of three football pitches, which gives you an idea of just how big it is.

I tried - and failed - to walk around it all, but it’s size and the magpie-like behaviour it encourages - ooh, look at that over there! - meant that my methodical plan to cover as much as I could went out of the window, or perhaps tent flap, quicker than you could say clematis. And it’s clematis that have the colour I’m after.

All of these photos are from the Raymond Evison display, and they’re wonderful. The display too is imaginative, with a beach theme and waves of colour and scent. But before you scroll down to see more, I also discovered some handy guides on the nursery’s site, for beginners and experts, and with advice for simple pruning through to archways and trees and walls.

I guess it makes sense for nursery’s to provide advice, after all they are the experts on their plants - the photos below are proof of that, but I’ve never thought to consult a specialist grower for growing or pruning advice before. But now I will, and I think it’s well worth remembering.

waves and waves of clematis in the pavilion at RHS Chelsea

I told you there was waves didn’t I?

But there was also a seashore on the other side of the boardwalk, complete with lobster pots, sand and some artfully arrange pebbles. And more clematis, of course.

The beach theme continued throughout the display

And true to life, there were even some pebbles at the bottom of the sea.

A closer look at one of the waves

On the stand there was every type of clematis you could imagine. The more usual (I think) open flowers, the one I have in my garden is similar to this but a dark maroon which makes its yellow centre (yeap, the technical approach again) stand out. Somehow the petals look even more velvety in the darker varieties.

A white clematis on the Raymond Evison stand
Being restrained by the rope on the boardwalk

Had you asked me what the flowers above were, I’m not sure my first thoughts would have been clematis. But I know they are, or otherwise they wouldn’t have been in this display, but aren’t they different. They were just as vibrant as they look here, and I remember it amused me at the time that they were being restrained by that rope. These must be the rowdy clematis…

many colours of clematis

The ones above hardly look real do they? But I can assure you they were - it’s the pink ones I think that have an almost hand drawn quality. And I’ve realised I’m a fan of this colour combination, what about you?

The Loo Series meets the Lavatory Project

I couldn’t quite believe my eyes when I stumbled across this exhibit of smallest room room sets at Grand Designs Live at the Excel last May. I mean it was made for me to share with you but somehow I didn’t get around to editing the photos, until now, and I’m excited about them all over again.

There was a whole block of individual room sets, each different and each put together by different designers. I have a varying number of photos for each design, which all this time later gives more of an insight into my favourites, but you’ll discover that as I share the posts.

This first one is all about the glamour and it’s by Grace and Grey, who have plenty of quirky home accessories and furniture on their site, which is well worth a look. And who can resist a flamingo wallpaper?

The lavatory project at Grand Designs Live

The thing that struck me most about this room set was the large free standing-looking mirror - if you look carefully it’s secured, but designed to be at this angle - but it’s quite something isn’t? Despite the theme of glamour, it has a bold design that mixes pastels and geometrics, and does it well.

Modern geometric floor at Grand Designs Live

But there was one final surprise, and that was on the wall opposite the mirror. This beautiful oversized chevron tiled splashback, whose colours complement the pinks of the wallpaper. Splashback is probably doing it a complete injustice, tiled wall art is probably more accurate.

chevron pastel tiles in the grace & grey lavatory project

Isn’t it unusual, but effective?

I’m also a fan of the simple clean lines of the sink unit, and I’m a firm believer of having somewhere to put essential junk in a bathroom so I’m hoping that the left-hand side provides that. Overall this lavatory works for me, and demonstrates how chevrons and patterns, darks and pastels can work together well. I think often in our own homes we err on the side of caution in our decor, and need these reminders that it’s ok to be a bit braver.

What do you think?