Saturday, 30 September 2017

September Wishlist

Hi everyone! How are you all today? I am exhausted! I spent the last two days walking around A LOT in Manchester. My best friend & I went over there to celebrate our birthday's together, and stayed over for the night at the Premier Inn. On Friday night, we went to TGI Friday's for a meal since my best friend really wanted to try there Birthday Cake Shake dessert (she absolutely loved it! Her face when it arrived at our table was adorable!). I ordered myself a Popcorn Brownie Sundae and that was scrumptious. Today was spent shopping all day and spending way more money than I should have! Oh well, it's my birthday (tomorrow) so gotta treat myself :) Anyhow, on with today's post, which is my monthly wishlist. I hope you all enjoy reading! 

September Wishlist

1. Burgundy Leggings from Yours Clothing It's finally Autumn and all of my favourite clothing colours are in! The stores are filling up with my perfect clothes and I need to stock up on some to last me until next Autumn. I love burgundy, and I wear leggings pretty much all the time and they are always black ones so I thought it would be nice to try out some new colours.

2. Set of Macaroon Candles How lovely are these mini macaroon candles!? I love that they are all pastel shades and I think they would look lovely dotted around my bedroom. I don't think I could bring myself to ever burn them though!

3. Cut Out White Owl Tealight Holder I've been looking for a pretty little candle holder for a while to display in my bedroom once it's all decorated (which should be soon and I'm so excited!). I like the cut-out style candle holders because of the lovely patterns of light they make on the surface around them once there's a candle lit inside them.

4. Tinker Bell Starry Night Box Make-Up Case Yay! The Peter Pan range at Cath Kidston is finally out, and it's gorgeous. If you haven't check the products yet guys, you need to! I very much regret not buying this beautiful make-up case when I spotted it today in the Manchester Arndale Centre; I need to get it! The colour starry pattern is so fantastic and I love the dark blue shade of the case :)

5. Black Suedette Slouch Boots I have needed to invest in some new black boots for a while now and I still haven't! I definitely need to get some now that it's comfy boot season. I really like how simple the design of these boots is, and I think they'd go great with any outfit.

6. Stabilo Mini Candy Pack of Fineliner Pens My current set of Stabilo fineliner pens have almost all ran out now. They are fabulous pens and lasted for ages, but now it's time to add some new ones to my stationery collection. I love the pale colours available in this set. Mini pens are also so much more adorable and easy to store. I think 15 for just under £10 is great!

7. Lush Silky Underwear Dusting Powder I have wanted to buy the Snow Fairy dusting powder for ages now and since it won't be released again until Christmas time, I wanted to try out Lush's dusting powder and see if I like it before I buy a big bottle of the Snow Fairy one. I would love to find out what the Silky Underwear one smells like too :)

8. Maple Pancakes Yankee Candle This candle scent actually sounds amazing! The website lists the fragrance notes as 'buttery creamy sugar, coconut, vanilla, caramel, almond, rum and maple. I am hungry now after writing that sentence, and I bet it would fill a room with such a yummy smell. Caramel and maple are also perfect scents for Autumn, don't you think?

9. Stephen King's Carrie When I was a teenager, I really got into Stephen King's horror/thriller movies, such as Carrie, Pet Sematary, IT and The Shining, and I always meant to read the movies behind the awesome movies, but just never did. I am pretty obsessed with the newly released Stephen King's IT movie and this has inspired me to read some of the books, and since the IT book is massive haha, I thought I'd start off with Carrie. Have you ever heard any of Stephen King's novels? Which is your favourite?

Thankyou for reading!


What items have made it onto your wishlist this month?

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Tuesday, 26 September 2017

What I've Learnt In Two Years Of Blogging

Happy Tuesday! I hope you've all had a lovely weekend, whatever you did! I spent mine taking photographs for my blog and binge watching Hemlock Grove (all because I'm a little obsessed with Bill Skarsgard after watching the new IT movie at the cinema. Sorry Alexander!). I was supposed to have today's post up much sooner but so many things have gotten in the way; so here it finally is! It was my 2nd bloggiversary on the 10th of this month and if you didn't catch my post on the day, you can see it here. It's been a wonderful journey of new friendships and self-discovery, and I've certainly learnt a few things along the way about blogging and the blogger community. I wanted to share them with you guys. I hope you enjoy reading!

1. Blog about whatever you want! You don't need to stick to a particular theme; people will come back if your personality shrines through in your words! Sure, there are lots of niche blogs that are dedicated to specific interests or hobbies, like beauty blogs or film review blogs, but it's up to you what you share on your own little corner of the internet :)

2. Getting involved in twitter chats is really important for making new friends and networing your blog. There are so many chats all run by different groups and each chat usually as a different topic. There's twitter chats going on every day of the week, and I definitely recommend getting involved, whether you're a blogger or just enjoy reading blogs. (Are you following me over on twitter yet?)

3. A good photo editing website will become your new best friend!

4. Even if you are anxious about posting something personal on your blog (Believe me, I understand. I get anxious before posting anything and everything!), they are a great way for you to connect with your readers and can be really helpful for others who might feel the same/have had similar experiences to you. The same goes for sharing posts about more controversial  or taboo topics, you can use your platform to help get people talking or at least thinking about those topics and that's a great thing!

5. If you can't blog, don't. Don't force yourself. You do you! Take a break when you need to and don't feel pressured to get content created if you are feeling ill or tired or if your mood is low, whatever the reason is, put your well-being first and take all the time you need. People will be there when you come back; they'll understand. 

6. Comparing yourself and your blog to others will be your nemesis! It's important though to remember that we are all unique in our own way and your blog is a little piece of you, so it's okay to be different because there will always be kindred spirits who relate to you and love the same things you do, and therefore will enjoy readng your content. I know it's tough, but don't let numbers and stats make you feel bad. You are awesome and so is your blog!

7.  On your blogging journey, you will master the art of getting into awkward positions to do the photography for your posts, haha! Tip: don't make the same mistakes that I do, standing on the edge of chairs or beds, falling off and injuring yourself! 

8. The blogger community has its negatives sometimes, but it also includes some of the most supportive and amazing people you'll ever meet! I have met so many fabulous people through blogging and there is always someone there when you need to vent, someone to cheer you up, someone you can relate to. This is especially the case for me when it comes to the spoonie blogger community. I don't feel alone in my struggles anymore and my fellow spoonies offer such a big support network. Thankyou guys

9. Through blogging, I have personally learnt to have more faith in my writing abilities. I've always enjoyed writing. English was one of my favourite subjects at school and I have been a hobbyist writer of short stories since my teens, but my anxiety forever gets me feeling insecure about my work. I constantly manage to convince myself that what I've written sounds rubbish and that no one is going to enjoy it. However, sharing my posts has made me more confident in myself and this is a big thing for me! 

10. The most obvious thing that you learn is that blogging is very hard work! I had an idea that it would be difficult with all the various elements that go into each post, but you don't get just how much work is involved before you start your own blog. Each blog post requires hours of planning and preparation, proof-reading and spell-checking is a pain and taking photographs can be too! I wouldn't really change a thing though! I love blogging; the pros outweigh the 'cons' and I love looking back on my blog posts, reading through memories and sharing my interests with others :)

I definitely have a lot more to experience when it comes to blogging and I'm really looking forward to what the next few years will bring. I hope this post has been fun to read for my fellow bloggers who can relate to the things I've mentioned, and that it's been helpful for those of my readers who are considering starting their own blog. Here's to my 2nd year of blogging and many more years to come!

Thankyou for reading!

 What's one lesson that you've learnt from blogging?
Or what have you learnt about blogging from blog reading?


Sunday, 24 September 2017

Summer Bucket List Reflection

Hello guys! You may be wondering why I haven't blogged in days... firstly, I'm sorry! I've been struggling with my depression. I was fine, everything was picking up for the first time in a long time and then suddenly, I experienced a massive drop in my mood. It was probably down to a mix of the chest cough infection thingie I had, my seasonal affective disorder playing up because of how miserable the weather has been, and because my depression makes me self-destructive, both physically and mentally. I always feel really anxious and develop an overwhelming sense of dread when things are going good. It sounds silly, but I guess I convince msyelf that everything is too good to be true and I expect things to 'go to shit' as they say. I know that I do this as a coping mechanism to prepare myself for things going bad and I am really working on changing my mindset. Although, this is proving extremely difficult after a lifetime of habit. Apologies for starting today's post off in a gloomy way, but I wanted to be open with you all about how I've been over the past week. I hope that by talking about my self-destructive 'tendencies', I can help someone else feel that they are not alone. Depression is tough and it's important to talk about it! Sending big virtual hugs to anyone else who's having a hard time at the moment

So, on with today's post. Summer is now over and Autumn has officially arrived! I am thrilled! It's my favourite time of year; there's so much to look forward to- my birthday, Halloween, Bonfire Night, colourful leaves... I could go on forever! Since Summer has ended, I thought it would be good to reflect on how I've got on with my seasonal bucket list. I shared an update post at the beginning of the month (which you had check out here) and now I wanted to summarise my achievements and also discuss the goals I didn't manage to tick off my list. Enjoy reading! 

 (1) Go for more walks 

I definitely could have done more walking, however the weather has been so bad and I've also spent most of Summer full of a cold and having several chest infections. To achieve one of my other Summer goals, I had to visit parks and other little hidden natural gems in urban areas so I did go on a few walks at least! I went on a day out to my town's traditional gala, which ended up being a very tiring day filled with lots of walking through mud! I blogged all about my day at the gala if you'd like to read it. 

(2) Read 5 new books 

I didn't quite get to five books, but I finished two new books, re-read the first Song of Ice & Fire book and have just started on another new book. I did a book haul on Amazon a couple of weeks ago and bought The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood, The Girl With All The Gifts by M.R. Carey, The Hospital by Barbara O'Hare and the complete set of the Harry Potter novels by J.K. Rowling. I was inspired to read 'The Handmaid's Tale' after watching the new TV series adapted from it, and having finished this book, I can say that I really enjoyed it and I'm thinking of sharing a review of it soon! Let me know in the comments if you think I should :) I've not long starting reading the 'The Girl With All The Gifts' but it's a good read so far. The movie was great however I was left with a lot of questions afterwards so I'm hoping the book will give me the answers! I've completed reading 'The Hospital: How I Survived The Secret Child Experiments at Aston Hall', which is a true story about some shocking experiments that went on in a psychiatric hospital in the 1970's. It was a very interesting albeit heartbreaking read. I  really like true stories though! 

(3) Improve my German speaking/writing

Guten Abend! In my previous blog post, I wrote all about how I've been learning German and I am happy to say that I've been doing pretty well with completing this Summer goal. That being said, I could have done a lot more so I really need to up my game this Autumn and do better with my lessons! With my mood and dealing with crappy colds, I've struggled to keep up with my daily targets and I'm hoping to get back on track soon. I've been using the app Duolingo and the Pimsleur language programme each day, and the combination has been brilliant! Find out more here

(4) Find a geocache

If you're new to my blog, you won't have seen my posts all about geocaching so I'll explain what it is in case you don't know. Geocaching is a 'treasure' hunting hobby where people involved have hidden containers of various sizes and shapes and designs all over the World and it's your job to find them! Using the app, you can find out if there are any caches hidden in your area and following the directions/coordinates, which the app makes pretty easy, and also some clues or description from the person who hid it, you can hunt it out. Depending on the size of the cache, it might continue a log book for you to sign and some little bits and pieces, small bric-a-brac. You can take something from the cache but if you do, you should always put something back in to replace it :) It's a super fun hobby and I've been really enjoying taking part. At the beginning of Summer this year, I'd only ever found one cache so it was my aim to find another. Well, I'm delighted to announce that I found two, which is fantastic for me since there's not many in my hometown. One was a small tubberware tub that I found in a park and the other was a tiny bottle that had been used as a cache which was hidden under a rock in a wooded area near a war memorial in my town. I left some 'trinkets' in the caches and I think its awesome that someone might take them and use them :) 

(5) Go for a picnic

Unfortunately this goal was not completed, and I'm gutted because I really want to go on a proper little picnic! Even though I've had small picnics in my garden or whilst on a walk when I was kid, I've never been on a picnic in the traditional way with the basket of food and the blanket so every year I tell myself that this will be the year that I finally do, and then never do it. Oops! There's always next year, or I might even celebrate the coming of Autumn with a picnic. I'm feeling inspired by all of the Autumn food-related posts I'm seeing all over Pinterest right now! 

(6) Bake more 

Here's another goal that I didn't manage to check off on my Summer bucket list. I know, I suck! I really wanted to fill my afternoons with baking to cheer myself up, however until a few weeks ago I was still in a financial pickle and so I couldn't afford to get all of the ingredients for the recipes I wanted to try! If you saw my recent life update post, you'll know that things have massively improved because I won my ESA tribunal and got my benefits reinstated. Woohoo! Now I can afford to experiment with some new baking ideas so look out for my creations soon on my social media, and of course I'll blog about what I make too. 

(7) Visit a new place 

I did visit a few places over Summer and went on a couple of days out, although all of them were places that I've been to before. I did plan to visit York, but again my financial situation for the first half of this year really got in the way of doing anything like that because of all of the costs involved. If you follow me over on Instagram, you'll have seen that last week I spent the day with my best friend and we went to the cinema to watch the new IT movie as well as enjoying a delicious meal at Frankies & Benny's. This was the first time in months and months that my best friend & I had been able to do our little tradition of going to the cinema and then for a meal, so we were delighted and had a wonderful time as always! In August, on the day of my hometown's gala event, I also got to take a landrover trip up onto the moors overlooking my town and climb the Jubilee Tower to see the breathtaking views from the top. I hadn't been onto the moors and to the tower for around 10 years, so despite this not being a new experience, I almost felt like it because it had been so long since I was last there!

(8) Try 5 new fruits and/or vegetables

Yep, I totally didn't try any new fruit or vegetables, but oh well, haha! I've still got plenty of time to do this before the end of the year! I kind of tried a new fruit, in the form of jam but that counts right!? I think it does! The lovely Estelle over at Estellosaurus sent me some of her parents homemade Loganberry jam. It was so kind of her and even though I'm not a big fan of jam unless it's inside a cake like Victoria Sponge, it was definitely interesting to give it a try. I've always wondered about what I'd think of loganberries, which are a cross between two of my favourite fruit, raspberries and blackberries. The jam was lovely, sweet like raspberry jam but it had a tangy taste to it which was a delightful surprise. I'm very curious about how it will taste in a cake, so I'm definitely going to be baking one soon to find out. Thankyou Estelle! 

(9) Make a tie dye t-shirt 

I celebrated the last day of Summer/first day of Autumn by finally making some tie dye tees! This is something that I've always wanted to do but have just never gotten around to, until Friday! I've decided that I'm going to share a seperate posts about how I made my two tie dye t-shirts, which should be up on my blog before the month is through. It was a super fun experience and I can't wait to make more once I've invested in some new colours of fabric dye. I absolutely love tie-dye and I can't wait to rock these new tees like I'm a 1960's flower power child! There's a little sneak peek of one of my t-shirts on the collage below :) 

(10) Watch 20 new movies

I am very glad that I added this goal to my Summer bucket list since it's really helped me to get back into a hobby that I used to enjoy so much. With my mental health being pretty shitty this year so far, it's been tough for me to have the motivation and passion to do some of the things that I normally love to do. One of these things was watching movies. I love getting lost in a good storyline and I love critiquing movies (or complaing about them to my best friend, haha!). I managed to watch twenty new movies, more than twenty in fact, not including all the documentary films I've watched! Here's a list of movies that I did watch this Summer:

Silent Hill (2006) 
Voice From The Stone (2017)
Brimstone (2017)
The Girl With All The Gifts (2016) 
American History X (1998)
Duke of Burgundy (2014) 
The Vanishing (1993) 
Rupture (2016) 
Every Secret Thing (2014) 
Undertow (2004)
Girls Night Out (TV Thriller movie - 2017) 
Little Birds (2012) 
Nightcrawler (2014)  
Missing 411: The Movie (2016)
The Stanford Prison Experiment (2015)
Emelie (2015) 
A Cure For Wellness (2016) 
Electrick Children (2012) 
Annabelle: Creation (2017)
Stephen King's IT (2017)  

If you've watched any of these movies, I'd love to hear all about what you thought of them in the comments. I've been discussing a few of the movies I've been watching over Summer in my What I've Been Watching posts. I've shared a July Edition & an August Edition so far.

It's a shame that I didn't manage to complete all of the goals on my Summer Bucket List, but I think 5 and a half out of 10 is pretty good! I'm still proud of myself that I got that many ticked off my list considering everything all the negative things that have happened throughout my summer. Looking back on what I've managed to achieve makes me feel great and reminds me that despite all the bad times, there were lots of wonderful moments too! I need to remind myself too that it's okay to not complete all of your goals, because you can learn from the experience and this can help you succeed the next time you try! Here's to Summer 2017, Summer is my least favourite season and so I'm happy that I did some awesome things throughout. Thank god it's now Autumn though, haha! 

Thankyou for reading!


What personal goals did you achieve this Summer?
What was your favourite Summertime memory this year?  


Tuesday, 19 September 2017

How To Learn A New Language

Hi lovelies! As many of you will know if you are a regular reader of my blog, I'm currently learning German! In my summer goals, I said that it was my aim to get better at my German speaking and writing, and I've been working on this throughout the last few months. I thought that it would be good to share with you all how I'm learning a new language, and hopefully it will be helpful to others who are interested in learning one too!

I've always been fascinated by foreign languages! They sound so interesting and since I was a kid, I have wished that I could speak in a different tongue. I have loved listening to songs in different languages for as long as I can remember. The Eurovision Song Contest is a big passion of mine (I finally went to watch it live in 2016 in Stockholm! You can read all about it here). Music is one of my main inspirations for learning a new language, that and my interest in the traditions and cultures of other countries. I went to an Italian language club after school in Primary and in my early teens, I started becoming more and more obsessed with Japan so I would listen to J-Pop and watch anime with subtitles. I would always think to myself how awesome it would be to be able to watch these shows without the need for subtitles and after learning some basic Japanese, greetings and numbers, to use when writing letters to my Japanese penpal, I decided to learn more. I used websites, books and language course CD's back then and learnt a fair bit of Japanese this way, but I didn't continue when I needed more advanced lessons because I was young and couldn't afford to pay for access to online courses, etc. I gave up after that for years and put my desire to learn a language fluently to the back of my mind, until last year!

How To Learn A New Language

In the months leading up to the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest, my friend began learning Swedish since that's where the show was set to be held after Mans Zelmerlow won for them with the song 'Heroes' the previous year, and we were planning to visit the capital for the contest event. As well as this, the Melofestivalen is the show that Sweden hosts for every Eurovision to chose their preformer, it is amazing and I'm pretty sure watching this inspired my friend to learn the language even more! Seeing how well my friend was doing with learning Swedish with the help of a language app, I was encouraged to give it a go myself. You may be curious about why I decided to learn German. I just love the way it sounds! I was first intrigued to learn the language when I was 15 and I heard the German metal band Rammstein for the first time; I loved them and still do! I was also interested in the Germanic roots of the English Language, passed down by the Angelo Saxons. Plus, I have wanted to go to Germany for so long and it would be fantastic if I could communicate with people there in their own language :)

So, how have I been learning German?

(1) Duolingo 

Duolingo is the language app that my friend started learning Swedish on so downloading this onto my iPhone was my first step towards learning German. The app is great! It helps you learn German phrases both speaking and writing/spelling through a variety of 'games'. They aren't really games in the traditional sense but I can't think of what to call them, haha! There's one where you have to match the correct English word to the German word, and one where you have to fill in the gaps in a sentence. There's also speaking 'games' and this helps you learn the correct pronunciation of the words. There are different sections/levels to complete that contain a specific theme, such as 'food' or 'animals', etc. It's an easy and effective way to learn a language, and it's free! The app lets you set a reminder and a goal to for example, spend 10 minutes on the app each day. I definitely recommend Duolingo as a starting point!

(2) Pimsleur Language Program 
A few months ago now, one of my friends gave me access to his Pimsleur German Language Program and I am super thankful! The Pimsleur program focuses only on the speaking side of learning a language, and involves a 60 day course where you are supposed to do a lesson a day. Each lesson is around 30 minutes long and are intended to give you the ability to communicate the basics if you were to visit a country where the language you're learning is spoken. I really like these lessons, because of the way they break down the individual words to help you learn to pronounce them correctly and also because of the way they repeat the words. Another great thing about each of the lessons for me is the structure. Usually at the start, you listen to a conversation and then during the lesson you learn what was said in that conversation and how to speak it yourself. You are supposed to do a lesson each day for the method to have it's full effect, but I've been dealing some difficult things since starting the course and so I've missed days and had to re-do some. Once I get things back on track, I'm sure that I will get so much better at my German since I've learnt so much already just from this program alone! I'm not sure how much it is to buy but you can learn more on their website.

(3) A Language Notebook

I wasn't sure exactly how to title this section, but basically what I mean is that I think it's important to have a designated notebook when you're learning a new language. Even if you are using apps to learn, you should still record your newly learnt words and such on paper, and revise what you've learnt as you would when studying at school/college/university. Writing things down helps them to stick in your memory and it's true that practice makes perfect when it comes to learning a new language. The more you practice your writing, the better. I also like to write down the phonics of a word, breaking it down so you can jot down how to properly say it.

(4) Youtube Videos 

There are so many videos on Youtube to help you when you're learning a language and I often use them to help me learn how to say a word correctly. Something that can get a little confusing when you are learning a language is how to pronounce words which have a diaeresis. You may not have heard of this terminology before, but these are basically the dots that appear on top of some of the letters in foreign alphabets. In the German Language, these dots appear above the vowels and are known as umlauts. If a vowel has these dots above it, the way it is spoken changes and I had to use Youtube Videos to teach me the difference between a standard vowel and an umlaut vowel. It is very handy to hear people speak the words and to repeat them, and what's great about Youtube is that there's a mixture of language videos by native Germans but also others, so you can see how it is pronounced by several accents, etc. 

These are umlauts!
(Source: Google Images)

(5) Google Translate

I don't know what I'd do without Google Translate, and I use it all the time because it's much quicker than looking through my German dictionary. I mostly use it to search the correct spelling for a German word that I can speak but I don't know how to spell yet so that I can jot it down in my notebook. With German and of course many other languages this is important since a lot of words are written completely different to how they sound like they would be to someone who's first language isn't German! I also use Google Translate to check if I am spelling my German correctly when I am revising it. I will just type a sentence into the German to English translater and it will tell me if I'm writing down what I'm supposed to be. 

So here are the methods that I am using to help me learn German and so far they are working :) I have picked up quite a bit although I still have a long way to go! I love how with modern technology, there are so many sources like apps and websites to aid you on your language-learning journey! It's turning out a lot easier to achieve VS when I was trying to learn Japanese 10+ years ago. If you have any tips of your own for learning a new language, please let me know in the comments. I am always looking for new ways to help me out!

I wanted to end this post by sharing with you a tweet I posted about Duolingo. As many people who use the app will know, it sometimes likes to teach you some very random phrases, including 'I am a banana' apparently! It's definitely easier to remember something when it made you laugh so I can't fault them, hahaha!

Thankyou for reading!

Have you ever learnt a new language?

Also, I'm curuous about which languages you learnt at school? 
For me it was French, and I still remember so much of it!


Monday, 18 September 2017

New Template!

Hey everyone! Yayyy! I've finally been able to give my blog a well needed makeover, and what better time than surrounding Raiin Monkey's 2nd blogiversary! I've been wanting to create a new template with the professional blog & website design company, Pipdig, for a while and now that I'm in a better financial situation, I thought it was about time that I got to work on revamping my blog's look. I wanted to share with you all a quick post about my experiences using Pipdig and what my first impressions are of my newly purchased template :) I'd love to know what you all think too!

I am in love with the way my blog looks, so organised and with a lovely professional vibe. I literally can't stop looking at it, scrolling through it and admiring all the shiny new features! 

There were several reasons why I chose this template, and I think it was a great price! Pipdig offer a really easy set-up process, providing you with an instrution manual that talks you through how to install your new template onto blogger or wordpress, and how to make all of the changes you'd like to the fonts, sizes and colours of the various elements of the template to make it perfectly suit your blog. The instrutions include links to direct you to further information and tips, and I am definitely impressed with how much easier it was to sort everything out than I imagined it would be! 

The new features that I've been able to add on my blog have made me super happy! These include the Big This Week and Recent Posts 'widgets' (I'm not sure if that's what you'd call them, haha) which are one of the first features that you see when you browse my blog. As well as these, I have now been able to sort my posts into categories in a drop-down navigation bar and I love how easy this will make it to organise my posts, and for readers to find the posts they are more interested in! I really like the social media icons (I think they are really cute!) and the Related Posts that will appear at the end of my each of my blog posts. It saves me adding these manually, and they look much better now that they are showing photography rather than just a link. 

Pipdig have been very helpful, especially considering Hotmail/Outlook was down today (which has been incredibly annoying!) and they were able to re-direct my emails for me so I could still access my template. They answered my tweets quickly too! I am almost finished with everything I need to finalise my new template, however I still need to figure out how to add an Instagram feed along the footer of my blog. The generator that is supposed to help me create this through Pipdig doesn't seem to be working and keeps showing me an error page instead. I'm hoping I can get this sorted tomorrow! Despite this, I am happy with the overall service provided by Pipdig and I would totally recommend them if you're looking to re-style your blog :) 

So, what are your opinions on my little blog makeover? I'd love to hear what you like about it! 

Thankyou for reading!


Which websites do you all use for your blog templates? 
Have you ever used Pipdig? What did you think?


Thursday, 14 September 2017

September Kawaii & Geeky Wishlist

Happy Thursday Guys! I was originally supposed to get this post up yesterday, but after a busy day out I was far too exhausted. If you follow me on twitter and instagram, you might have noticed me posting all about what I got up to. If not, I'll fill you in :) Me and my best friend met up for the first time in what feels like ages! We headed to the local Vue cinema to watch the new adaptation of Stephen King's IT. It was so so good! After seeing a movie, we always go to Frankies & Benny's so keeping with tradition, we had a lovely meal there. My go to dessert is the cinnamon waffle topped with toffee sauce and ice-cream, and it was scrumptious as usual! I love our little dates and I can't wait for the next one :) Anyhow, I hope you enjoy this month's kawaii & geeky wishlist! 

1. Funko Pop Games Of Thrones Tormund Giantsbane If you didn't already know, I absolutely love Tormund Giantsbane, for both his character in the show and the books, and for the gorgeous actor Kristofer Hivju that plays him! What's not to love about a big bearded hunk of a man!? ;) My best friend likes to call the men I'm attracted to 'Lumberjack Types', hahaha! I love this Pop! It looks so much like the actual character, and I'm impressed with the amount of details on the figure. I need this Pop figure in my life!

2.  Cinnamonroll Travel Holdall Bag Look at this bag... It's so flippin' cute! I seriously have to obtain this bag before I next go on holiday!! I love the white and blue colouration, and the super sweet face of cinnamonroll covering the entire front of the bag. 

3. TokiDoki Stellina Enamel Pin You may remember seeing one of the TokiDoki pin badges on last month's wishlist but omgosh I just love them so much. I would really like to collect them all! They are so bright and look like they are great quality, and the slogan on this one is fabulous. It mimics the popular phrase 'I'd rather be a unicorn', which seems to be written on so many products lately, but with a cute TokiDoki twist.

4. Pusheen the Cat Catpusheeno A5 Notebook I am such a big fan of the UK store Artbox. They sell gorgeous kawaii items and I'm always dreaming of doing a big haul from them! I was browsing their website the other day and noticed this super cute pusheen notebook and knew I had to have it! I hope that I can afford to buy it before it goes out of stock! I've sort of accidently built up quite a collection of Pusheen notebooks so it doesn't seem right to stop now :p

5.  Gecko Vinyl Sticker Set Last month, I was scrolling through tumblr and came across the most adorable leopard gecko artwork that I had ever seen! I was basically hit in the face with cuteness overload, and I responded by letting out a little squeal of delight! I love leopard geckos! They are one of my favourite reptiles and are very close to my heart :) Therefore it was impossible for me not to fall in love with this artwork and as soon as I checked out the source, I fell in love with all of the animal illustrations by Afternoon Fika. They were immediately one of my favourite artists. Go check them out if you love chibi artwork like me! 

6. TokiDoki Moofia Flexi Journal How lovely is this TokiDoki journal!? Next to Cactus Friends, the Moofia characters are my favourite of the TokiDoki collection. All of the little milk-theme characters are the sweetest, especially the one in the middle of this notebook cover who's name is Mozzarella. I love the dairy related names too! This journal is just really nice and I would love to add it to my ever-growing notebook collection. 

7. Punky Pins Wednesday Addams Pin With Halloween fast approaching and the stores starting to fill up with decorations and spooky homeware, there are so many things that I'm now even more inspired to buy! I really like this Punky Pins badge and it's been on my wishlist for ages now. I feel like it's about time I got it! 

8. Funko Nightmare Before Christmas Pint Size Heroes These figures are so bloody adorable! When I look at the photo at their little faces, I can't cope! Who agrees? They are currently not available to buy yet, but you can place a pre-order online with Forbidden Planet. I definitely want to get my hands on some, but I also know that it will spark a new obsession with another Funko figure collection! 

Thankyou for reading!

What's your favourite item featured on my wishlist?
Have any adorable and/or nerdy items made it onto your own wishlist this month? 

Enjoyed this post? See some more of my wishlists here:

Sunday, 10 September 2017

Raiin Monkey Turns 2!

Hello lovelies! Today is my blog birthday, my blogiversary, Raiin Monkey is officially 2! This has come around so quickly, like wow! I am honestly a little surprised that I've gotten this far! I'm proud of me :) Blogging has been tough at times, especially when I'm having bad depression days, but it's also been amazing! It's been fantastic to get to know so many wonderful people, to make new friends with others who shared the same passions as me, who are always there to make me feel supported. It's been really carthartic too to be able to share whatever I want on my blog, even personal posts that make me extra anxious before I hit that publish button, and know that people will appreciate what I write and leave me the loveliest comments. You've all literally been my little rays of sunshine! I can't thank you enough guys for making my blogging journey so far such a wonderful experience

Raiin Monkey 2nd Blogiversary!

For today's post, I wanted to share with you all the meaning behind my blog name. I'm sure some of you have wondered about the reason why I called my blog such a random-sounding name. I wanted something quirky, something that reflected my personality which my loved ones will tell you is bubbly but I'd say it's rather weird, haha! I've always found myself pondering how people come up with the names for their blogs, and sometimes it's more obvious the more you read their posts and get to know them better, other times it's not. I've never mentioned why I chose Raiin Monkey, so I've decided it's about time :)

Throughout my life, I've had a lot of nicknames given to me by my friends, all relating to some aspect of my personality or something funny that I've done. My friends at college called me Google, because I'm a geek and my brain stores such random facts about all sorts of topics! At high school, where I met my best friends and really came out of my shell around them. I felt like people appreciated my quirkiness and I met people for the first time who had the same interests as me. This is where I got the vast majority of my nicknames, and one of them was the inspiration for my blog name! I had developed a slight obsession with cute monkey-themed merchandrise when I was around 12. I just loved it! Good old claires accessories had brought out so many monkey things, and does anyone remember all that clothing with the cheeky monkey logo on? The brand Bubblegum also created an awesome cheeky monkey character. Writing about this is super nostaglic! 

Raiin Monkey 2nd Blogiversary!

Within my little friendship group, I was always the one making everyone laugh with my hyperness and all of the spontaneous things I'd do or come out with, so I guess my personality also seemed to mirror a cheeky monkey and when me and my best friend gave each other cute nicknames, mine always included monkey and hers bunny :) 13 year old us was adorable! Before I explain more, I need to talk about why rain is involved. Rain is my favourite weather, I have always loved listening to the sound of heavy rain when I'm indoors, I love the smell of the air after it's rain, I love the look of flowers and leaves covered in raindrops and I've loved splashing in puddles for as long as I can remember. Since I was young, I have really enjoyed being caught in the rain, being drenched and dancing around in the downpour. It just feels so refreshing! It always made my friends and family laugh because they would run for shelter and I would just stand there in the rain! Yes, I know I'm weird. 

So, where exactly did the nickname Rain Monkey come from? ... On day at school when I was around 15 years old, maybe 14, it was lunch time and my friends & I were hanging around in a usual corner of the school yard. We were busy chatting away, probably gossiping, fangirling over hot alternative guys or nerding out about something. Suddenly it started chucking it down and everyone retreated into the doorway of our science block building. We were watching the heavy rain through the glass panels in the old wooden doors, and someone made a comment about how they were surprised that I wasn't standing out in the rain. They knew me well! So, I dropped my backpack inside and went outside! I stood out looking at the ghostly almost empty yard and then back at my friends laughing at me. Seeing their faces and being the dork that I was, I decided to dance around and act like an idiot hahaha! I was eventually getting too drenched and I knew I still had two more lessons to go to, so I went back indoors to join my buddies. I stood there, my blazer soaked, my shirt wet through and water dripping from my hair down my face. I was giggled and I felt great, and that's when Jessica (my best friend) made a comment about me being a Rain Monkey, and so a new nickname was born!

I picked this name for my blog after writing a spider diagram annotating everything I could think of about myself and when I finally jotted down my memories and favourite things from my youth, I looked at Rain Monkey and it  just seem perfect! I seached online for websites with the same name and unfortunately there was a Chinese website using it and I knew that this would affect me when I one day came to set up a domain for my blog. I noted down several different ways I could spell it and the two I's in rain fit best in my opinion :) I love my blog name and I'm so happy with my decision! I hope you all enjoyed reading about it's origin :)

Raiin Monkey 2nd Blogiversary!

This post has ended up a lot longer than I thought it would be. Sorry if I've nagged guys! So, here's to another year of blogging and hopefully many more years to come! I'm hoping that my third year of being a blogger is filled with interesting opportunities and positive experiences. I'm hoping that I work through my anxiety enough to finally get some youtube content created too. We'll see; I'm looking forward to finding out how the year plays out, both with regards to my blog and in my personal life too. In celebration of my second blogiversary, I'll be re-vamping the look of my blog so keep your eyes peeled for that over the next few days! I will also be hosting a giveaway soon too! Thankyou to everyone for reading my posts, for following and chatting to me on social media and for leaving all your awesome comments. It means so much to me :) 

 Thankyou for reading!


 I'd love to few about what you like about my blog? 
Do you have a favourite post of mine? 

You can check out my 1st bloggiversary post here if you like!

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