Blog of the Month – Kerry Life and Loves

Welcome to the next instalment of my blogger of the month series. It’s a way for you to get to meet the people behind some of the blogs that I enjoy.

Kerry is a regular commenter here and I’ve been a fan of her blog for a while, particularly her posts about make-up and skincare, and the ones in which she gets us thinking about real-life questions. I’m also happy that she recently started a skincare series as someone who works in the industry. Don’t forget to check out Kerry’s blog and show it some love!

1. What’s the link for your blog and how would you describe it in a couple of sentences?

Hi, my name is Kerry and I blog over at Kerry Life and Loves My blog was once described as a Lucky Dip blog, as you can find anything over there, and its probably a pretty good description! I class it as a lifestyle and beauty blog, but I have been known to discuss my love of gin, living in a car and dancing in a field!

2. Have you always enjoyed writing, or did you only start recently?

I have always had a love of writing, and its a long running joke in my family that every thing that happens in our lives will end up in “my book” I have a million notebooks full of short stories, poems and chapters of a book I have written. I love writing and the dream is to finish the book I have in mind.

3. What’s one of your favourite posts from your blog, and why?

Ohhh one of my favourite posts! That’s a hard one as I am ultra critical of all my posts. I tend to enjoy writing the posts that inspire discussion, as I absolutely love the engagement that can happen. My cuppa and a chat series probably holds some of my favourite posts. if I had to choose just one, it would be Your Just Not Everyone’s Cup of Tea. I think I love it because it was the first time I felt like I really connected with my readers and began to get the people who read my blog. It was incredibly satisfying

4. How do you make sure that you don’t run out of ideas? Where do you get most of your inspiration?

I have only been blogging for 18 months, so haven’t yet run out of ideas! I think because I cover all subjects, I always have plenty to write about. I feel inspired by anything and everything. Anything from a song lyric, a quote I have heard or something that’s come up in discussion with my friends/family. I am a massive over thinker, so tend to want to pull apart and understand everything! I also have a huge love of make up, so often have products to be shared with my readers if I have loved something. I do sometimes have times when I sit down to write, and can’t make it flow. I just go off and have a cuppa, walk away for a little while.

5. What would you say is the best thing about blogging?

I have gained so much from blogging, far more than I ever thought possible. It has honestly kept me sane throughout my husbands cancer diagnosis and treatment, as well as being an outlet and focus for me in the dark days of his illness. I have met many, many wonderful people that I consider friends, and I love everything about writing a blog. Sorry, I went a bit gushy and overboard there haha!

6. What’s one of your most popular posts? Why do you think people liked it so much?

One of my most popular posts to date was a product review, which really surprised me. It was for a Bobbi Brown eyeshadow stick, and even now, almost a year after it was posted, it gets views every week. I have no idea why! Perhaps the SEO was just right on that post!

7. If you were asked to put together a beauty and lifestyle box with 4 products inside, which favourite items would you put in?

Ohhh I would love to put together a box! Ok, I would 100% have a scented candle, I can’t personally get enough of them. I’d also have a Charlotte Tilbury Lipstick, an Environ Moisturiser and any one of the Urban decay Naked palettes.

8. What’s one thing you wouldn’t have done or learned if you hadn’t started a blog?

Starting a blog has taught me so much, as well as pushed me to come out of my comfort zone. I can be a little lacking in confidence, so making myself go to blogging events has been a huge challenge for me. It’s pushed me, I have had to dig deep at times, but I think it has taught me a lot about myself. I also know a little bit about SEO now, which is a miracle!

9. Have you ever bought anything because a blogger was talking about it?

Ohhh I have bought so much that a blogger has recommended, and in fact, I wrote a whole post on it last year. I am an easy sell. Being a make up junkie, I tend to fall in love with new products that are shown. Fleur de Force convinced me I needed a Chanel eye liner, Sam and Nic from Pixiwoo always convince me I need what ever they use as they are so gorgeous, and any book reviews always make me want to read the book! I’m a nightmare!

10. What type of posts do you most enjoy writing? What type of posts do you find hard to write?

I really enjoy posts that hopefully, give my readers food for thought. I am a talker, I love to talk late into the night with company, so if I can inspire discussion, encourage people to want to give their input, that makes me happy. I do find it harder to reveal too much of the inner workings of me, the more personal stuff, but I am getting better.

11. Have you read any good books lately?

I am a book worm and devour books! I love reading mystery/crime type books, and self development books the most. I have just finished a book called Then She was Gone and it was brilliant. I read it in 3 days. I also recently read the Jo Malone biography, which I really enjoyed. I like reading about people’s lives.

12. Online shopping or going to the shops – which do you prefer and why?

I love going to the shops, we have to support our high streets, but funnily enough, everything I went to buy today in Lakeside shopping centre was out of stock. I’ve had to come home and order it. I do ALWAYS use a blogger’s affiliate link if they have one on something they have suggested and I am buying, we gotta support our fellow bloggers!

13. What’s a trend that you think should stay in 2017 – something you hope will go away this year?

Ohhh I really would love to see the game playing on social media disappear. The follow/unfollow, the bots, the cliques. I just want it to all be fun and less serious.

14. If you were in a hurry and only had time to apply 3 make-up products, what would they be?

I could easily only apply 3 make up products, and if you have seen my “morning minger: moments on my Instagram stories, you would see a lot less than 3 products haha! my three would be mascara, lip balm and a bit of bronzer.

15. What do you need for the perfect night in?

My perfect night in would be a gin and tonic, fluffy blanket, maybe an Indian takeaway and my hubby and boys home. If its a night in with the girls, still gin and tonic, funny films like Bridesmaids or Identity Theft and lots of talking and laughing.

16. What’s one thing that you would like to do this year?

The last 12 months for us have been tough. This year I would just like my hubby to be well, and us to have adventure. catch up on the things that were put on pause for a while. I’m full of hope for this year!

Thanks Kerry for answering my questions and I hope that this year will be a wonderful one for you and your family.

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Hand-made tactile cards with Braille inside

I have a big plastic box that’s full of cards. Cards that people have made for me, that have special messages inside, or that I just can’t bring myself to throw out. The oldest ones are a birthday card that a teacher made me when I was five, and a card I made for my grandparents’ anniversary that has a smiling piggy on the front. I’m not sure about the connection between wedding anniversary and smiling piggy, but it made sense to me at the time.

I like receiving cards, but as many of them feel the same, I really appreciate it if someone goes to the trouble of finding one that is tactile or which has Braille writing inside. However, this isn’t always easy to do, and although I think there’s a bit more on offer now than when I was a child, most of the cards in the shops don’t have any special features that can be appreciated by someone with partial or no sight.

Understanding what’s written inside is another thing. It’s easier now that I live with S, but in the days before Facetime, I remember trying to get an image of a card with my phone so that I could text the message to my Mum and find out who had sent me money in my Christmas card!

That’s why I was interested to hear about Lynn Cox and her range of tactile Braille greetings cards.

I first met Lynn through an online forum for self-employed visually impaired people. I wanted to find out more about the cards and tell you about them too, so I arranged an interview with Lynn.

Lynn also sent me a sample of her work. Knowing that I love dogs, it’s one of the dog range, which can be made up for any occasion. The dog on the header image is on a Christmas card. Mine was on a Valentine’s card, and the design can also be used to go on other cards such as birthday, thank you etc.

The first thing I noticed was the perfume scent coming out of the envelope because these tactile cards are scented too!

The dog is running after his ball, and I can feel his furry outline – his legs as he’s running, his waggy tail, his furry snout, and his ball.

The message on the front and inside is in Braille and printed on the card. Lynn’s details are on the back, also in Braille, and personal messages for the recipient can be added on request.

I think it’s such a lovely idea and would encourage anyone with blind or partially sighted friends, children, colleagues or family members to check out Lynn and her cards. The cards start from £7, (there are additional charges for larger or custom-designed cards). That’s not much more than what you pay in the shops, and when you consider that you’re buying something that is hand-made and with additional touches that you can’t get in the shops, I think it’s very good value.

Here’s what I found out when I Skyped with Lynn a couple of weeks ago! It’s a good thing we skyped too – there was a lot of snow that day!

Why did you decide to start making tactile greetings cards?

I decided to make the cards because there were no quality products out there for people to buy if you wanted something tactile, scented, or with large print or Braille inside.

Also, as an artist, I was using my skills to exhibit artwork but none of it was affordable for people to have as a day-to-day product.

Can you describe one of your cards in terms of tactile features, writing inside, scent etc?

The dog one is a popular one. It’s a dog playing with the ball, running along with his mouth open.

I use Contrasting coloured paper for the card, and then draw with wool to create a line image of the dog and the ball. I like to look for very fluffy wool for the dog. He wears a little leather collar with a bell that jingles, and has a leather ball – so you have a variety of textures, the smell of the leather, and the sound of the bell. I also use little gem crystals to decorate the ball.

I like to use shapes that are easy for people to recognise by touch, such as the Christmas tree with a star on top. I also like to experiment with textures. I have a card with a guitar on the front, and I use metal for the strings.

Do you put Braille in all your cards?

All of the cards have messages in Braille and large print. There’s usually something on the front, such as “happy Easter”, something in the middle, and my contact details on the back.

How about the message inside the card?

I can add a personal message, either in Braille or in print if you send it to me with your order.

Do you send the cards directly to the recipient?

It’s up to you. I can either send it back to you, so that you can post it off yourself orgive it to the person, or I can send it directly to the recipient.

Do you send the cards internationally?

Yes, my cards go all over the world, although of course sending them internationally does mean that I need to know a bit further in advance as the post will take longer.

What other occasions do you make cards for?

My Mother’s Day cards are usually flowers or hearts. I spray them with some perfume as well. This won’t last for ever, but it’s nice for the recipient when they first open it. I put a man’s scent in if it’s for a man.

If you want one of the designs I already have, like the flowers or the dog, you can change the message on the front. If you want a whole new design, that would take longer and cost a bit more because it would be custom-made.

I think this is the first scented card I’ve come across. What do you do for Christmas cards?

I have an oil that smells like a Christmas tree. It’s pine with clove and a hint of ginger.

Do you make all of the cards yourself?

Yes, they are all hand-made. No two are ever exactly the same because I’m always on the look-out for new materials to use.

Why do you go for simple shapes?

I want people to be able to recognise them without having to ask what they are. You get some Christmas cards with a fire in the grate, a mantelpiece with cards on top and Christmas decorations hanging from it. But if there is too much detail, the individual shapes can get lost.

Do you have any special Easter cards?

I have one with 3 Easter eggs on it, all made of different materials. One of them has a fluffy chick coming out of it.

Then there’s an Easter bunny with a big fluffy tail and long ears.

How do you make sure that the shapes are right?

I use things like reindeer toys or cuddly toy owls. I still remember what a lot of things look like and tactile props like the toys help me to check things like reindeer antlers!

What cards do you want to make in the future?

I want to do a cat one! I love animals and a lot of my normal artwork is around animals such as horses and sheep. I also like doing musical instruments.

Where can people find out more about your cards?

You can go to my website. Or, if you want to ask me a question, you can send me an email.

Thank you Lynn for letting us know about your cards and I highly recommend that you go and check her out if you have anyone to buy cards for who is visually impaired. And yes, if my friends and family are reading this, I’d love to get one!

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Blog of the month – the Emma Edit

So, it’s time for the next instalment of my “Blogger of the month” series and today I’m talking to Emma from the Emma Edit. I got to know Emma’s posts through her Blogs in Bloom Facebook group, and she writes on a wide range of topics from food to homeware to travel posts. It was also Emma who gave me the idea for the chocolate subscription! Here are Emma’s answers to my questions:

1. What’s the link for your blog and how would you describe it in a couple of sentences?

You can find me here.
I started my blog over a year ago now, my, how time flies! I could never decide on a niche for my blog, so I decided to blog about a wide range of topics that are of interest to me. My favourite things to write about include: beauty, blogging tips, fashion, lifestyle, out and about and recipes- phew!

2. Have you always enjoyed writing, or did you only start recently?

I used to enjoy writing a lot when I was a teenager; I remember I used to love writing poetry and short stories. My blog is the only thing I write at the moment, though.

3. What’s one of your favourite posts from your blog, and why?

Can I pick more than one, please? My favourite posts are titled ‘My Home: One Year On’ and ‘Holiday In Ibiza’ because they are the most personal to me- they are really nice to look back on as they bring back memories.

4. How do you make sure that you don’t run out of ideas? Where do you get most of your inspiration?

I had an almost blogging break in February because we all run out of inspiration sometimes. If you feel like you need a break, have one- it will benefit you more in the long-run. But apart from that, a friend and other bloggers inspire me to keep going.

5. What would you say is the best thing about blogging?

As a person who’s never really had a hobby before, I’m proud to say my blog is my hobby!

6. What’s one of your most popular posts? Why do you think people liked it so much?

My most popular post is the one where I talk about my Facebook group, Blogs In Bloom; this post is most popular because I upload it once a month to reach new followers. I have a haul post which includes homeware, beauty and fashion items- this is my 2nd most viewed post.

7. If you were asked to put together a beauty and lifestyle box with 4 products inside, which favourite items would you put in?

It’s so difficult just to pick 4 items! 1) a cute leather purse, 2) Benefit Roller Lash Mascara 3) a fancy candle 4) Liz Earle Hot Cloth Cleanser.

8. What’s one thing you wouldn’t have done or learned if you hadn’t started a blog?

Honestly, I have already learnt so much along the way with this blogging journey! Even just learning how to use WordPress is an achievement on its own.

9. Have you ever bought anything because a blogger was talking about it?

Good question! I always read blog posts by others and lust over the pictures, and appreciate a good write up. I have a mental wishlist, but I don’t think I have bought anything recommended by a blogger- yet!

10. What type of posts do you most enjoy writing? What type of posts do you find hard to write?

I love working with brands, but I find those posts most difficult to write because I want everything to be just right. My favourite posts to write are lifestyle and spontaneous posts that you can’t wait to write.

11. Have you read any good books lately?

Reading is definitely a seasonal activity for me that I like to do in the summer- you can’t beat taking a book outside in the sun! I’m a sucker for a girly love story, so I loved reading Me Before You by JoJo Moyes last summer.

12. Online shopping or going to the shops – which do you prefer and why?

I like to browse online, but I like to make my purchases in store. It’s just nice to get out of the house, isn’t it?

13. What’s a trend that you think should stay in 2017 – something you hope will go away this year?

I honestly know nothing about trends, so I can’t answer this question- sorry!

14. If you were in a hurry and only had time to apply 3 make-up products, what would they be?

For me, it’s got to be: 1) eyebrow pencil, 2) mascara, 3) liquid lipstick

15. What do you need for the perfect night in?

I love a night in (every night!). A relaxing bath, a glass of wine, chocolate, music and candles make a night in perfect for me.

16. What’s one thing that you would like to do this year?

When the weather warms up, I am going to be on a mission to get out and about and visit lots of new places.

Thanks Emma for answering my questions and I enjoyed getting to know you a bit better through this post.

Don’t forget to check out Emma’s blog, and for those of you who are bloggers, I can definitely recommend her group. It’s one of the most friendly places on the internet when it comes to bloggers getting together, encouraging, and helping each other out.

More from Unseen Beauty

If you see this before 9th April 2018, why not also check out my Spring giveaway?

If you’d like to get my catch-up emails, usually twice a week, you can sign up using this form.

The emails contain news of my new posts, other things that I’ve enjoyed (podcasts, posts from other bloggers, interesting articles etc), and any UK shopping deals or discounts that I think my readers might like.

February blog of the month – the Cozy Den

Welcome to the second instalment of my blogger of the month series. It’s a way for you to get to meet the people behind some of the blogs that I enjoy.

You may remember Joanie and Sazzy from my Blogger swap box post. That was a lot of fun! For anyone who doesn’t know them, S & J blog over at The Cozy Den so go and check them out if you haven’t already!

1. What’s the link for your blog and how would you describe it in a couple of sentences?

This is our blog! We’d say that our blog is a creative outlet for everything we, two 22/21 year-old German girls/women (what even are we? Young adults?!), are interested or passionate about. So what you’ll find there is a wild mix of fashion, beauty, lifestyle, food, books, TV shows, personal stuff… the list goes ooooon and oooon!

2. Have you always enjoyed writing, or did you only start recently?

Both of us always enjoyed writing stories for school assignments but never wrote outside of an academic environment, so the blog is something new and fun for us to do and we enjoy it a lot (even though at times it can be stressful with uni or when we’re doing a blog post each day of the month)

3. What’s one of your favourite posts from your blog, and why?

Funnily enough, neither of the two we chose are online yet because they are quite personal and we haven’t put them online yet (will do though after exam season). So our favourite one that is online is our second ever post which is a review of the Jelly&Gelato range by Zoella. You can find it here.
. It is our favourite because it’s the one we met up for and took the pictures and everything together which was a lot of fun (we sadly haven’t had the time for that ever since).

4. How do you make sure that you don’t run out of ideas? Where do you get most of your inspiration?

We are two people, so that helps 😀 Other than that, we draw from our personal lives and experiences or get inspired by other bloggers. And there are always new fun recipes or products you can try and share your thoughts about!

5. What would you say is the best thing about blogging?

Doing this together? Very cheesy, but true. And friendships in general. We’ve made many new friends within the blogging community who also like to share their thoughts and feelings and be creative!

6. What’s one of your most popular posts? Why do you think people liked it so much?

The most viewed (and possibly liked) one is J.’s review of the British Rose Range by The Body Shop. Probably because The Body Shop’s products are amazing? 😀

7. If you were asked to put together a beauty and lifestyle box with 4 products inside, which favourite items would you put in?

(Each of us is putting in 2 items)
S.: I’d go for The Body Shop’s Tea Tree toner and the book ‘The Alchemist’ by Paulo Coelho.
J.: I would put in a Fitbit Charge 2 and a highlighter from Tanya Burr Cosmetics.
There you go, the ultimate Cozy Den Box by Joanie and Sazzy!

8. What’s one thing you wouldn’t have done or learned if you hadn’t started a blog?

It takes up much more time than we thought! We really do struggle keeping up with social media and the pictures. But it is part of the challenge and we enjoy taking it on!

9. Have you ever bought anything because a blogger was talking about it?

Guilty as charged.

10. What type of posts do you most enjoy writing? What type of posts do you find hard to write?

We enjoy everything? S. loves writing about books and TV series (S.: I get so into them and can’t contain my excitement!). Same goes for J. but in the end it’s also food and beauty and everything 😀
The harder ones are the ones that are more personal or the ones where you need to pay attention to political correctness as to not offend anyone (we want our blog to be a safe spot for everyone) and also the ones for Blogmas or Blogtober where we had to think of childhood memories (it’s so hard!).

11. Have you read any good books lately?

Yes, The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho (10/10 would recommend, very inspiring) and Atonement by Ian McEwan (10/10 would recommend, very gripping).

12. Online shopping or going to the shops – which do you prefer and why?

We both agree on this one: it depends on the circumstances. Shopping with friends? Let’s go to the shops! Shopping alone? Let me stay in my cave and put a lot of items in my bag only to delete them later on because the order is getting too expensive!

13. What’s a trend that you think should stay in 2017 – something you hope will go away this year?

Glitter lips and feather brows. Byeee! We’re not feeling either. We also heard that loon trousers (we hope this is the right word, we’re Germans after all and sometimes Google is all we have – we’re talking the opposite of skinny jeans) are coming back and honestly, we hope they don’t.

14. If you were in a hurry and only had time to apply 3 make-up products, what would they be?

Funnily enough, again we agree on the exact same things: concealer, mascara and bronzer!

15. What do you need for the perfect night in?

J.: The Mentalist, pizza and cosy clothes.
S.: Netflix, tea and cosy clothes.

16. What’s one thing that you would like to do this year?

J.: Moving in with my boyfriend!
S.: Travelling the UK!

Thanks Sazzy and Joanie for answering my questions and I hope that J’s move goes well and that S’ holiday is a lot of fun! Looking forward to your next posts and to everyone else, don’t forget to go and check out the Cozy Den!

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Blog of the month – Thenellybean

Welcome to the first instalment of my blogger of the month series. It’s a way for you to get to meet the people behind some of the blogs that I enjoy.

We’re starting with Janelle from TheNellyBean – so if you haven’t done so already, I’d recommend that you check her out – after you’ve read her answers of course!

1. What’s the link for your blog and how would you describe it in a couple of sentences?

I’m over at The Nelly Bean and my blog is all about beauty, life’s funny moments and my experiences as a music teacher. Me in a nutshell!

2. Have you always enjoyed writing, or did you only start recently?

I’ve always loved writing since I was much younger, and always felt like I could express myself better through pen and paper rather than verbally. I’ve learned how to function socially as a human being since then (hopefully) but I still feel the same way about writing.

3. What’s one of your favourite posts from your blog, and why?

Probably my post called Rambly Ramblings, which was written after I’d been away from blogging for a long time – life gets in the way sometimes. I felt as if I was just emptying my thoughts when writing it and it felt so natural – for me, that’s what blogging is all about.

4. How do you make sure that you don’t run out of ideas? Where do you get most of your inspiration?

I always keep a little list of drafts to hand, and always brainstorm ideas for blog posts when I have a bit of spare time or when I’m feeling particularly creative. Most of my inspiration comes from observations in real life or thoughts that cross my mind during the day (or night).

5. What would you say is the best thing about blogging?

Being able to have a platform dedicated to the expression of anything and everything you fancy. It’s like having a blank piece of paper – terrifying yet so exciting.

6. What’s one of your most popular posts? Why do you think people liked it so much?

My post called 10 Thoughts I Have Whilst Putting Makeup On – I felt like I couldn’t be the only one having these random thoughts whilst doing my face and it turns out lots of other people could relate.

7. If you were asked to put together a beauty and lifestyle box with 4 products inside, which favourite items would you put in?

I’d go with the NYX Blush in Taupe (absolute saviour for contouring), a big bar of Cadbury’s Dairy Milk, a red tinted Vaseline and a pair of fluffy socks. Those four never let me down.

8. What’s one thing you wouldn’t have done or learned if you hadn’t started a blog?

I would definitely never have realised the sheer power of social media, and I would definitely not have learned to navigate WordPress. I’m far from good at it and coding still baffles me, but I’ve come a long way.

9. Have you ever bought anything because a blogger was talking about it?

Yes – the NYX Lip Lingerie in Exotic. Now I’m another blogger who raves about it and I have zero regrets.

10. What’s your most recent post?

It’s called 5 Things I Have Learned In 2018 (So Far). Short and sweet one, I was feeling retrospective.

11. Have you read any good books lately?

I’ve been meaning to read The Picture Of Dorian Gray – maybe when uni work calms down a little.

12. Online shopping or going to the shops – which do you prefer and why?

I tend to go online to do my research but I almost always prefer to buy in store. Maybe I’m old fashioned, but there’s nothing quite like being able to try the product for yourself – especially when it comes to jeans and makeup!

13. What’s a trend that you think should stay in 2017 – something you hope will go away this year?

Everything about Logan Paul.

14. If you were in a hurry and only had time to apply 3 make-up products, what would they be?

Mascara, tinted vaseline, concealer.

15. What do you need for the perfect night in?

My laptop, fluffy socks and a massive mug of lemon and ginger tea.

16. What’s one thing that you would like to do this year?

I’d love to say yes to more things and take more chances. And be hella proud of myself for it!

Go for it – I hope 2018 will be a year full of new opportunities for you Janelle, and to everyone else, don’t forget to go and check out her blog!

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The emails contain news of my new posts, other things that I’ve enjoyed (podcasts, posts from other bloggers, interesting articles etc), and any UK shopping deals or discounts that I think my readers might like.

In celebration of grandparents and what we have learned from them

I share some things that I learned from my grandparents and then open the question up to other bloggers.

I wanted to write a blog post to celebrate grandparents.

My Nan and Granddad brought me up, and I learned so many things from them. Sadly they are no longer around, but they live on in my memories, and in the many life lessons I learned from them.

I decided to write a few of these things down, and then to ask some other bloggers what they learned from their grandparents. I noticed that when I was talking to other bloggers about scents and the memories they bring back, a number of people mentioned their grandparents. That’s another reasons why I wanted to explore grandparent memories a bit more.

  1. My grandparents taught me that dogs can be a child’s best friend.
  2. My granddad taught me how to use my new computer, even though he’d never used one before. He read up all the books he could find so that he could help me to learn.
  3. My Nan taught me how to bake cheese scones and other tasty treats.
  4. My grandparents taught me that you can discover all kinds of interesting places without leaving your own country. They didn’t enjoy travelling abroad, but we went to many different cities in the long summer holidays and marked the counties off on a map.
  5. My Granddad taught me all the names of the counties and many of the big cities in the British Isles.
  6. My Nan taught me to love books and that there are so many interesting characters waiting to be discovered in them. First we had story time – and she read to me for hours. Later I read the books myself and finished most of the children’s audio books in the library!
  7. My grandparents taught me to work hard for what I want. If at first you don’t succeed…. Keep trying until you do!
  8. My grandparents didn’t have a lot of money, so they taught me to value it and not to be wasteful. If you want something, work hard and save for it.
  9. My Nan taught me that home-made Yorkshire puddings are better than shop-bought ones!
  10. My Granddad taught me about his plants and flowers. He knew all the names, how to care for them, where to put them, and his advice helped me to win the tallest sunflower competition at school!
  11. My Nan taught me to talk – having a blind child, you can’t just point at things, so she talked and talked to me from a young age, explaining what things were, what they looked like, and what they were for. Maybe that’s where I got my original love of words.
  12. My grandparents taught me to find my own ways of doing things. Maybe they won’t be the same as everyone else, but as long as I do the thing, that’s all that matters!
  13. My Nan taught me that preparing for Christmas is almost as much fun as Christmas itself.
  14. My Granddad taught me to swim way before most of the children in my class could.

Now let’s hear from some other people!

“My nana taught me to never change yourself to make someone like you.”
Grace from That Feeling inside

“Mine taught me that to be fully independent it’s actually ok to ask for help when you need. You don’t need to suffer in silence and it’s ok to rely on others.”
Fiona from From Fiona

“My grandparents are no longer with me, but they taught me not to let life stop me from achieving my goals. Don’t stop believing in yourself, that you can achieve anything you set your mind to, just because someone told you it’s not possible. You will always be supported by people who love you; those who put you down don’t need to be in your life.”
Michelle from Oh Sew Vegan

“My Nanny taught me how to bake. We spent hours baking cakes, scones and biscuits, and most of what I know today is what I learned from her. I have lovely memories of it.”
Isabel from Boxes and Swatches

“I only ever had my gran on my mum’s side, and she passed away when I was 10. My mum’s dad passed away when she was a little girl and my gran raised my mum and her brother as a single parent.
My gran loved the opera. Adored it. I have memories of going to her one bed flat as a little girl and hearing her talk about how wonderful Pavarotti is. She was so knowledgeable. Thing is, we don’t know where she got this love from. We’re a working class family from Liverpool. It’s not like it’s something everyone was doing.
Now I’m in London I go to the Royal Opera House as much as I can for ballet and opera. I think of gran when I’m there and how much she’d love it as much as I now do.”
Kim from Kinsey’s Blog

“My grandparents always taught me to do my best and to be proud of my work – no matter what the circumstances. I particularly remember at secondary school in art classes, the whole class was excitable one day and way too noisy. The teacher made every child write an essay on “what is a decibel” for homework in lieu of detention for being noisy. I was encouraged to write the best essay ever at home. It’s always stood me in good stead in life to do your best, to go that extra mile, and be proud of your work…..and it’s something I try to pass on to my kids. In other words, even if you don’t succeed, as long as you’ve tried your best then that’s okay!”
Rachel from The Daisy Pages

“My grandparents taught me that life is what you make it. Both sets of grandparents came from underprivileged backgrounds, but the stories they told inspired me. I share them with others. They taught me that you don’t need money to enjoy life and be loved. Something I hope to share with my daughter.”
Justine from Lilgemandbabye

“Mine taught me to have a sense of humour and that it gets you through the tough parts in life too. To laugh and to love. My nana also taught me to love soaps, (not sure if that’s a blessing or a curse). Also that as long as you’re hard working, it doesn’t matter what you do don’t let others judge you. The sad thing I was taught by them at a young age was that people die.”
Lynne from Almost midlife and looking for a crisis

“Mine taught me the value of a loving family, the snugness of cosy chats by open fires, the welcoming smell of a busy kitchen and the simple beauty of a well kept garden . They all had strict traditional values which I’ve learnt to appreciate more as the years go by.”
Anne from Yoga Ladies

“By the time I was born, I only had one living grandparent, my dad’s mum. She’d raised 4 kids on her own in the 50s during a time when women were treated as secondary citizens in China; she worked, she made all of their clothes by hand, and taught her 3 daughters and my dad that women CAN do anything they put their mind to. They were the most fashion forward kids in school and each of my aunts grew to be capable and accomplished in their own right. My gran taught me to sew, to make pancakes, and she also taught me to take no shit.”
Lucie from Call me dumpling

“My Nan taught me the reality of life. My Nan told me from a very young age about her son she lost when he was just 2 years old, she cared for my great grandmother who suffered with dementia when I was 10 years old, and I watched her cry and go through the transition of losing her husband when I was just 16 years old. She’s my biggest inspiration and I have the utmost respect for her introducing so many realities of life into my life.”
Daisy from Daisarella

“My Granny Eve always told me how beautiful my skin was, even when I had terrible acne as a teenager and incredibly low self-esteem. I’ve finally learnt what works for my skin and it’s now clear, but I really needed that belief in me when I just couldn’t.”
Keely from Keely’s nails

“My Granny taught me that to get anywhere in life you have to work hard and never give up. She was widowed when my dad was only 7 and she was one of the strongest people I have ever met. She could be stubborn and had her own way of doing things but led a full life up to the age of 99.”
Lynn from More 4 mums

“My grandad taught me to value my family and those who love me. The most important thing about life is being loved and to give love.
Natalie from Up your vlog

Elle shares this post about what she learned from her Gran:
“My gran taught me the importance of saving money. She helped me sew to make do and mend, she encouraged me to grow herbs, to not waste food and to look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves:
4 of the best money-saving hacks from my Gran

This post is a bit different, but I added it because I thought it’s a lovely way that Moushmi is remembering her Grandfather in this imaginary essay.

“I was so young when my grandparents died but what I learned from my granddad was how to learn spellings of different words. In general he taught me by his actions that sharing is caring.”
Asma from Makeup Dreamer Blog

How about you? Feel free to add what your grandparents taught you in the comments. There have been so many recurring themes about working hard, believing in yourself and trying to be the best you can be. We have a lot to thank them for!

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Scents and the memories that they bring back

13 bloggers and I talk about special scents, and the memories that they bring back to us.

When we were out walking the other day, I smelled the unmistakable smell of horses! I love that smell! It took me straight back to my horse-mad years (the end of Primary school and beginning of high school) when all I wanted to talk about was horses, what I’d learned in my lesson, what I’d read about them, and my latest jumping or dressage lesson. My Granddad used to take me to the stables on a Saturday morning, and I spent the day there with a group of girls, grooming the horses, mucking out, and teaching the golden retriever tricks before my afternoon lesson!

I still have the riding hat that my grandparents bought me for my 11th birthday, and surprisingly it still fits!

Thinking about how easily a scent can bring back memories, I realised this is true of products as well. I first discovered the Seychelles handcream from the White Company the weekend we went for our wolf adventure, and now the coconutty goodness always reminds me of that special weekend.

There are scents, such as Organza and A Mirage, that I wore when I first moved to London around 15 years ago, but I don’t wear them now. They remind me of that time in my life, discovering the big city, getting my first job, and finding new friends. I’ve moved on, and so my taste in fragrances has moved on too. However if I smell one of them when I’m out shopping, it reminds me of that time.

There are also scents that remind me of my Nan, who is no longer with us. It’s not just fragrances – although Chanel no. 5 will always remind me of her. The smell of pine trees brings back memories of her too, because we always had a real Christmas tree and decorated it together.

When we went to her house after she had passed away, the first thing I smelled as I stepped inside her room was her face cream, and I expected her to walk in at any moment. I’d smelled that cream a hundred times as she got ready in the morning, and now when I smell it, it makes me think of her (which is why I bought some the other day!)

There are certainly smells that I don’t like, but I can’t think of any that have such distinct memories for me in the way that the positive ones do to remind me of childhood fun, a holiday, certain times in my life, or a special person. I think scents are powerful – the same one can mean many different things to different people, but the connection between the scent and the memory is often so strong, that you almost feel you’re back in a different place and time when you smell it.

Scents are perhaps more important to me as someone who is blind. I don’t subscribe to the idea that I have a superpower sense of smell, but using this sense comes in useful, because it can help me to work out exactly where I am (the scent of a particular bush on my way home, or the smells coming from particular shops), so I guess I take more notice of them. They can be practical as well as enjoyable. Still, I was certain it couldn’t be just me, so I asked in a couple of blogging groups for other people to share their scent and memory stories. Here’s what 12 bloggers told me:

Jazmin

The scent of the Passion Fruit lip balm from Lush really takes me back to when I first moved to Liverpool for University as it’s one of the first products I bought whilst living there. My home town doesn’t have a Lush so I was super excited to buy a bunch of stuff from their.
The passion fruit lip balm is still safely in a trinket box on my dresser and every time I use it I’m definitely transported back into my first University halls.
Visit Jazmin’s blog Jazminheavenblog.

Janelle

Being a classically trained violinist, White Musk by the Body Shop used to be my go-to perfume for concerts and events. I am strangely superstitious when it comes to these things, and something about spritzing this on always gave me that delicious rush of adrenaline that I loved and thrived on. I actually found a bottle lying around the house recently, and it brought a lot of lovely memories rushing back. There’s just something so unmistakably invigorating about this scent and I can’t quite place it – that’s exactly what I love about it. All I know is that I’ll be reaching for this a lot more when I have special occasions now!
Visit Janelle’s blog Beauty Expert Amateur.

Yvette

I always treat myself to a new perfume at duty free when I go away, on my way back from Vegas I bought La Nuit Tresor by Lancome. I then took it on holiday to Tenerife with my best friend. Every time I wore it, my friend would rave about how nice it smelled. Ever since our holiday, whenever I see her, if I’m wearing the perfume, she’ll comment on how much she loves it and how it reminds her of our holiday. If I wear a different perfume, she tells me off! The frustrating thing was it was another year before it was available in the UK!
Her fiancée has just messaged me asking what perfume it is as she talks about it so much he’s surprising her with it for her birthday!
Visit Yvette’s blog Getalife101.

Jessi

My parents have a house in Portugal and I spent half my childhood years there. Being a redhead, it meant I was constantly having inch thick sun cream slapped on me on the hour, every hour. Back then sun protection only came in the white, thick cream version that took 15 minutes to rub in, and whenever I smell that kind it transports me straight back to running around by the pool as a child. I’m so glad we now have spray on, more transparent type protection, and that’s what I take to festivals, but I sometimes buy the old stuff as I miss that hit of nostalgia.
Visit Jessi’s blog Where’s My Tent.

Rachel

Chanel N°5 reminds me of the days when I worked as an air cabin crew member. The fragrance takes me back to those carefree days without responsibilities, with lots of travel, spending time with friends and having fun. It also makes me pause to think how I can inject more travel and fun into my life now I have a family. Visit Rachel’s blog The Daisy Pages.

Tamara

Whenever I smell Anais Anais perfume it always takes me back to our holiday at Disneyland Paris when I was about 5? My mother always had set perfume for all occasions and this one was a small one that she took away – I love the memories that come back each time I smell it!

Hannah

Aromatics Elixir Perfume. “Every year I would go on holiday to Lanzarote with my mum, sister and Godmother, and every year my mum would wear the Aromatics perfume each night we went out to dinner. I’ve since moved away from home, but the smell of this perfume always reminds me of my mum, and takes me back to the waves hitting the rocky walls as we laughed and joked on our way to dinner. Whether I walk past someone wearing the perfume as I’m out shopping, going for lunch, or even just heading to the cinema, it always comforts me and relaxes me, especially when I’m feeling stressed or anxious.”
Visit Hanna’s blog HD Personal Fitness.

Ally

Brut after shave reminds me of my dad. I remember he used to put it on once he had his RAF uniform on and some days when I stood beside him, he’d then pretend to wipe it on my face. Whenever I smell it now, I can picture our bathroom, our house and my walk to school with him by my side
Visit Ally’s blog Slim Sights.

Vanessa

My favourite smells are chlorine and neoprene! This is only since I became a parent and it transpired that my first child (girl now age 11) was/is a total water baby. We started taking her baby swimming at 8 weeks old – and she loved the classes, becoming the ‘demo model’ for the teacher! She just never cried whatever the class did (these are the sort of classes where you just push them under water and let their natural instincts kick in). From there she – and her younger sister – have gone on right to the end of typical swim lessons to swim for a local town club – training a couple of times a week. Our summer holidays soon began to revolve around the beach and body boarding – so we now all have wetsuits too. My husband now also swims in open water. Accordingly my ‘babies’ often smell of chlorine and the laundry room is full of costumes and towels smelling of it too. And when it’s time for our summer trips to the coast, out pop the wetsuits – and neoprene is in the air once more!
Visit Vanessa’s blog A Happy Healthy Mummy.

Sarah

When I was a child, I’d always sit on my Grandma’s bed while she was doing her hair (she loved doing her hair). I always remember that she did it ‘properly’ every morning and filled the whole room with a hairspray mist. Now every time I spray hairspray, no particular brand, it reminds me of her. Strange how those sorts of memories stick with us!
Visit Sarah’s blog Dream of Home

Becky

The scent that brings back strong memories is Cacharel In A Flash. I don’t wear perfume all the time because I forget to put it on, but I tend to when on holiday because it’s in my wash bag with everything else. So this perfume reminds me a lot of being in New York City, because I was there for 6 weeks and used it every day. But that was almost 3 years ago now! The memory that comes along with the scent is fading, so I’m finding I’m more reluctant to use the perfume, despite really liking it, because I want to make the memory last…
Visit Becky’s blog Becky Becky Blogs. .

Bethan

I’m an enormous fan of scent (and have the perfume collection to prove it!) and love to buy a new fragrance as a way of remembering special occasions. For example I bought Jo Malone’s Pear and Freesia to wear when I was a bridesmaid for a good friend. Not only did the scent reflect her English country garden wedding, but every time I smell it I’m taken back to that day. Likewise I bought Clarins Eau des Jardins after I was a witness in a court case to remind myself how I could be brave and get through difficult times, and Miu Miu reminds me of a lovely trip to Barcelona last year. I could go on and on (Dolce and Gabbana Light Blue evokes massive memories of high school!), but it’s fair to say I reckon fragrances are a great way to make memories!
Visit Bethan’s blog A Pretty Place to Play.

Rachel

My smell would be lavender. Not necessarily a certain product, although Yardley’s lavender soap would be it. The smell reminds me of my gran and baking round her house. She used to always have the soap for washing our hands with before baking and she had dried lavender in her wardrobe so all the clothes smelt of it too. It’s such a comforting and happy smell for me now. It also makes me want to bake!
Visit Rachel’s blog Rachel Emily

How about you>

Thanks to everyone who took part in this – I really enjoyed reading your stories. How about you? Do you associate any scents with particular memories or people? Let us know in the comments!

Don’t forget the giveaway is still open

My September giveaway is still open, so if you’d like to be in with a chance to win some skincare goodies from brands such as the Body Shop and Sanctuary Spa, this is where you can enter.

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