Friday, 27 February 2015

Sponsoring/Advertising

Hey everyone :)

sponsoring and advertising john agnew

So one of the main reasons I love blogging is the community - it is massive! I myself love finding new blogs to read and new bloggers to talk to - which is why I take part in the Twitter chats throughout the week and why I decided to introduce sponsoring to my blog (also known as advertising).

There are lots of posts about sponsoring and advertising on blogs - some support it (and like I said say that its a great way to introduce one blog's readers to other new blogs) and some think its a way of cheating and that your paying to get readers/followers.

Now I partly agree and partly disagree with this statement - I know there are iPhone apps out there where you specifically pay to get Twitter followers or Instagram followers - but these accounts are rarely active and there's no point to them. You can tell if someone on Instagram has 10,000 followers and gets 1 or 2 likes per picture < that is someone who has paid for those followers. There are apps that you pay to get retweets so that your tweets get more noticed - the list goes on ...

There are many posts I have found that do recommend that advertisement only works if your getting around 200,000 views per month to your blog - which I think is a load of crap (excuse my language). If you are a blogger and your only interest is in getting views - then by all means look for blogs that are getting those views and ask to see statistics but if your a blogger who wants to get to know other bloggers, find new readers, and work with other bloggers and have a good time then you want to look for blogs similar to your own and not worry about views per month. There is also no point advertising a gaming blog on a beauty blog - you want to find a blog that is similar so that the readers of that blog - might be interested to visit your blog.

I decided to create three packages for for advertisement on my blog:

> Small
> Medium
> Large

Each offer different benefits and perks - I won't go into detail on this post - if you want to check it out visit my sponsor page HERE.

There are many benefits to sponsoring/advertising on blogs:

- building a relationship with each other
- blog traffic that goes either way
- it's easy - choose a sponsor, decide on how, choose the length of time, payment - DONE
- it's fast and not complicated to setup
- you get to make new blogger friends
- regardless if your getting 200 views or 200,000 or 2,000,000 views a month - you can still advertise

So if your interested in these benefits or want to know more - email me, tweet me, leave a comment and I'll get back to you. I really do want to meet new bloggers, make new friends and build great long-lasting relationships with you guys.

If I haven't said it before - thanks for taking the time to read the post and visiting my blog :)




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Thursday, 26 February 2015

Stripes?! They're Everywhere?!

Hey everyone :)

So I've noticed an increase in the amount of stripes again in the fashion world ... maybe I'm behind - weren't they in last year with polka dots then they disappeared, well now they have re-appeared again - I've been looking through a number of stores and checking the 'men's new arrivals' section and they are all full of stripy clothing - particularly t-shirts, vests and shirts.

So after spending nearly 2 hours looking and picking out my favourites ...

1. H&M Striped T-Shirt - £9.99
2. New Look Purple Crew Neck Stripe T-Shirt - £9.99
3. River Island Ecru Candy Cane Stripped T-Shirt - £14.00
4. Forever21 Breton Stripe Henley (navy) - £10.00
5. Hollister - Manhattan Beach V Neck T-Shirt - £16.00

Let me know what you think - personally if I had to choose only one - I would go with number 3 - I like the colours and I like the faded pastel/chalk effect.


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Wednesday, 25 February 2015

February Spotify Playlist

Hey everyone :)

febraury spotify playlist

It's that time of the month where I share with you my most played songs and some playlists I have been listening too. I have been listening to some songs non-stop this month - that much that it's been driving my work colleagues mad because I am constantly playing certain songs for most of the day. I would apologise but I'm not actually sorry! Some of these songs are AMAZING!

Ellie Goulding - Love Me Like You Do


Last week or so I saw a lip dub of this song by Joey Graceffa and MirandaSings on YouTube - you can watch it HERE and I fell in love with the song. I've been listening to it non-stop and I haven't gotten sick of it yet. It gets played at work, in my car, at home, before I fall asleep - I'm addicted.

The song is actually from (or was made for) Fifty Shades of Grey which was released last week in cinemas.

My Chemical Romance - The Black Parade


Probably a 360 in music for me - everyone thinks because I'm gay - I like all the pop and happy music but sometimes I do like the odd bit of MCR and so I started playing this album at work and people thought there was something wrong with me. I really love 'Welcome to the Black Parade' it is one of my favourites.

Lucy Hale - Road Between (Deluxe Edition)


While most of my television programmes that I watch were on break I was going through Netflix and found a programme called 'Pretty Little Liars' I won't go into detail but I was that excited by it that I did a post which you can check out HERE. One of the characters Aria is actually a country singer (out of the show) and so I checked her out and her music is really catchy and pop-like - reminds me of Taylor Swift.

Jordin Sparks - Battlefield


Not a new album but I really loved Jordin Sparks' music and I love all the songs on her album - it's a pity she didn't release any other ones as singles as I'm sure they would have been really popular as they're really catchy. The album originally came out when I was at one of my favourite jobs and reminds me of working in the kitchen with all my friends.

So those are my favourite playlists/albums for this month - let me know in the comments if you have listened to them or are enjoying any other good albums?



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Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Garnier Pure 3 in 1 (Wash, Scrub & Mask)

Hey everyone :)

I'm always on the lookout for new products for my face. One product I take great care in choosing is -facial scrubs. Many people are under the impression that these are harsh and bad for your skin which isn't true. A great skin care routine should always include a facial scrub - I wouldn't recommend using scrubs every day as this can dry your skin out. I currently scrub Monday, Wednesday & Friday and have had no issues thus far (and yes my skin care routine is timetabled - I'm a sad person).

garnier face scrub

garnier face scrub

I came across the Garnier Pure 3 in 1 when I was in Boots one day and thought I would give it a go. I had been previously using the Neutrogena Visibly Clear Pink Grapefruit Daily Scrub so thought a change was in the cards. What appealed to me the most about the product was the 3 in 1 action which means you can use it as a face wash, a face scrub or a face mask. 

garnier face scrub

garnier face scrub

This product is designed to:

> reduce the appearance of imperfections
> help protect against blackheads
> matify skin
> purify skin
> reduce marks

I have used the product for nearly 2 months now (so I think a considerable amount of time has passed that I can give my views on it) and I am really happy with the results. The product can be used (as I said above) as a mask, scrub or wash. Preferably out of the 3 I like using it as a scrub as I feel it gets off all the dead skin and really cleans my skin thoroughly it also helps stimulate the growth of new skin cells which leads to younger and fresher looking skin.

If your like me and take really hot showers (I know it's bad) or being out in harsh weather then you may get the odd period of dry skin and so using a facial scrub (funnily enough) to remove that flaky, dry skin is a good start as it gets rid of that top layer of dry skin and when you moisturise it can penetrate and absorb into your skin much quicker.

The product is also great as a facial wash - when you come in from work (if your not planning to go back out) then all you want to do is get dressed into something comfortable and take off your make-up and wash all the dirt, grime and dust your face has gathered through the day - and what better way to do it than with a facial wash then you feel clean and won't 'accidentally' fall asleep and forget to do it.

As you are all aware I have sometimes dubious of trying new products because I have very sensitive skin so sometimes lots of products make me flare up and then I spent a couple of weeks trying to calm my skin back down - which for those of you with similar skin to mine will know is no easy task. This product was okay - I didn't get any flare ups, or redness - I did scrub harder than usual one night and noticed my skin was rather dry and red (however moisturising) fixed this after I had gotten out the shower and ready for bed.

Have you tried this product? Do you think 3 in 1 products are a good idea or a bad idea? Do you think they should be kept separate? Let me know in the comments or tweet me your thoughts :) 




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Friday, 20 February 2015

February Group Giveaway

Hey everyone :)

Today I have teamed up with Helene (from HeleneInBetween) & 8 other amazing bloggers to bring you a chance to win $125 to Kate Spade (or Paypal money if you so choose!).

Enter in the Rafflecopter below!


Caroline ~ Perpetually Caroline // Chelsea ~ The New Wifestyle // Mary ~ Uncustomary Art // Lindsay ~ Bourbon, Lipstick, & Stilettos // Alex ~ Always, Al 

Aileen ~ Aileen Barker // Alison ~ Puppies & Pretties // Kaelene ~ Unlocking Kiki  // John ~ Shout John // Helene ~ Helene in Between


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Thursday, 19 February 2015

VITHIT

Hey everyone :)

So I'm always on the lookout for alternatives to sugary drinks such as coke, lemonade and lots more. So whenever I go to Tesco (this is probably why I'm broke all the time) I look around the shelf for new products or things I've not seen or tried before. I happened to be picking up some bottled water for work when I saw bottles of VITHIT on the shelves in Tesco - now this isn't a new product. From what I've researched its been around for a while. The company is based in Ireland and then they branched out into the UK and are now available in 8 countries worldwide. I believe Tesco was the first supermarket to start stocking them in the UK. There are 5 flavours from what I found on their website but I could only find 4 of the flavours in Tesco.

vithit water

The story goes ... that Gary (the MD of the company) was watching people run on treadmills at the gym and after they had finished he would watch them down a sports drink - full of sugar and calories - which obviously defeats the purpose of running in the first place. So his first mission was to create a drink that was healthy but tasted good too and that would give you essential vitamins and minerals needed for day-to-day life.

So VITHIT was created which contains 100% RDA (recommended daily allowance) of 8 vitamins plus health giving teas and herbs. This stood out to me as I don't eat properly (I'll be honest) and so if a drink give you 100% RDA of 8 vitamins each day then this is a big plus. Obviously I know that I can't replace my diet with a drink everyday but for those days where your too busy or know that your not going to get a proper meal - this is a great idea. It also beats downing a crappy vitamin pill.


vithit water

vithit water


As I said above I managed to get four of the five flavours from Tesco - each retail at £1.45 - which isn't too bad for a bottle of flavoured water (especially when you think of the added extras/benefits to the water).

vithit water

VITHIT: Detox - Mandarin & Green Tea
So I like the idea of green tea detox - but sometimes the tea is disgusting - it's horrible tasting and I just drink it or enjoy the taste. This detox drink contains 300mg of green tea which is the same as drinking 3 cups of green tea (a much better alternative I think). It's also orange flavoured - who doesn't love orange!?

vithit water

VITHIT: Immunitea - Dragonfruit & Yuzu
I think this juice is great as an alternate to sugary drinks such as Lucazade or protein shakes which gives boosts of energy - not only are these full of sugar but they are also bad for you and make your teeth all gritty and horrible. Immunitea contains siberian ginseng which is known to increase mental performance and give the body an increase in energy. The drink also includes rooibus tea which is known for its antioxidant purposes.

vithit juice

VITHIT: Boost - Berry
This was one of my favourite flavours and comes in at only 16 calories per bottle so for people watching their weight - this is a good substitute for those fizzy drinks. Similar to the Immunitea - Boost contains siberian ginseng which gives a boost of energy so perhaps a good drink just before you go running on the treadmill or for a swim.

vithit

VITHIT: Lean & Green - Apple & Elderflower
When I first saw that elderflower was a flavour in the drink I instantly thought 'yuck!' but it really tastes nice and is blended with apple to give it a nice subtle flavour. This drink is great for people who want to speed up metabolism. The drink also includes the vitamin: L-carnitine which is used as an effective transporter of fat to the burning areas of the body. So a good drink if you are looking to loose weight perhaps?

As mentioned above I was unable to get my hands on the Revive edition of the VITHIT range which is probably one I would have enjoyed as it designed for sustained energy throughout the day and as a sort of pick-me-up that includes grapefruit, lemon, lime and white tea.

I hope you enjoyed the post and it gives you a deeper insight into the 'mechanics' of the drinks rather than just pretty coloured water in bottles for £1.45. Let me know if you have tried or might try it to see if you like them.

shoutjohn logo

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Wednesday, 18 February 2015

What's in my Hair?!

Hey everyone :)

whats in my hair
So I've been toying with a hair product post for ages now! Bloggers (well I don't know about them all) tend to have a 'posts-I-want-to-do' list and this has been at the top for some time now. I have put together 5 products I have used (or still use) and thought it would be fun to go through each one and tell you what I liked (and what I hated) - yes not all rosey-happiness!

Now I've come to realise there are three types of guys:

Guy 1: The guy who doesn't care what he looks like and normally wears a hat/beanie most of the day. He gets out of bed, puts some clothes on, pops the hat on and leaves the house.

Guy 2: The guy who cares only a little - this person will get up, slap some gel/wax into his palms run it through his hair and leave the house not even checking the mirror.

Guy 3: The guy who gets up an hour early for work - has a shower - does his hair in front of the mirror - has 3 or 4 different ways of styling his hair depending on moods and uses sea-salt spray :P

It may surprise you but I have been all 3 guys during my years of discovery (if that's what you would call it) ... I've managed to settle somewhere in the middle of guy 2 and guy 3. I'm not overly fussy but I will take some time to make sure I look presentable and cute (joke!).

On to the products:

Schwarzkopf got2b Glued Blasting Freeze Spray 300ml - £2.71 (normally £4.07)
I have used this spray for years now! One of my first hair products I ever bought. I don't know about everyone else but I wanted something that was going to hold my hair up all day and not got soft or fluffy halfway through the day and this spray is amazing! It did take me ages to find - I tried hundreds of sprays/gels/waxes and all were useless compared to this. You get a big can, a wide spray nozzle so it covers a wide area. This spray is great for short hair and lasts around 8-9 hours for me (the time I'm at work). I find it works better on wet hair so if your just out the shower - keep your hair damp or buy one of those water bottles (you know the ones hairdressers have) and spray on your hair and ruffle it to dampen it up.

L'Oreal Paris Studio Line Style Rework Remix Fibre-Putty 150ml - £2.46 (normally £3.69)
So I bought this when I couldn't find the above product (freeze spray - I feared they have discontinued it - turns out it was just out of stock). It's sticky, it's messy, it's one of those gels you have to wash off after you've styled because your hands are just gooey. I really didn't like this. I still have the tub sitting on the dresser but I'm probably going to throw it away at some point. I don't know why they call it a 'putty' as its more a gel (or well it reminds me of a gel). Application is okay - although I just felt like it left my hair oily-looking or grease-looking - like those stereotypical Italians with their grease-slicked hair.

Trevor Sorbie Styling Texturising Paste 100ml - £5.70
As I mentioned above the freeze spray works well with short hair (when I say short - I mean once I've been to the hair dressers and they've trimmed it down). So when my hair gets slightly longer and when I start thinking I should go to the hairdressers again - I switch to this (sometimes if I have more time I might use this than the freeze spray). I first discovered this is my hairdressers when they asked if I wanted my hair styled before I left - so I said yes and she used this - so I managed to catch a glimpse of the name and found it in Boots later that day. One thing I really like is that it smells amazing! This smell also transfers to your hair (obviously) and who doesn't want great smelling hair. I will be honest - someone in the office did ask what the smell was and so I let them smell my hair (odd I know!). Again I would use this on damp hair as its easier to style with it. The only thing I have noticed is that I'm heavy handed with the product which is bad - being a matt/white paste - too much can make your hair look dull and white-looking. Little bit of the pricey side at £5.70 but for what it does - I would say its well worth it.

L'Oreal Paris Studio Line Matt & Messy Shine-Free Sponge Putty 150ml - £2.36 (normally £3.69)
This is a rather odd product (in terms of looks that is) it looks like someone has taken some gel and put it into a food mixer and whipped it up like whipped cream. It's very airy and spongy (hence the name) - it is also a shine-free putty which means there is no added shine to your hair - which annoyed me slighty - I told you all I was impulsive so I throw things into my basket and don't read labels. Again the product held my hair up most of the day but I don't like the idea of non-shine as it makes me feel like my hair is dull-looking.

TRESemme Texture Style Velvet Creme 100ml - £5.75
So I bought this on a whim as I was looking in Boots for hair products and thought as it was 'new' I could try it out. This is great for texturing - I mean it's in the title - so you'd hope it would be. Especially with short-to-medium length hair like mine. You can style it anyway you want and it'll stay that way. Normally I will use this to 'define' my style and this is great for layering your hair style ... then use the freeze spray to keep it locked into place (like a backup). Both work well together and I've had no problems. This is also a creme which I quite like and as TRESemme people suggest you should start small with a pea-size amount and build up (kind of like makeup) and it really does work.

Here are some styles I've been trying out:

shoutjohn john agnew hairstyle 1

shoutjohn john agnew hairstyle

shoutjohn john agnew hairstyle

shoutjohn john agnew hairstyle

shoutjohn john agnew hairstyle


Have you ever tried any of these products before? What did you think of them? Is there anything you swear by??


shoutjohn logo

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Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Liebster Award (third?!)

Hey everyone :)

I got nominated for the Liebster Award again - so I am really happy. I love this award and these kinds of posts - it's a great way to get to know other bloggers and connect with other bloggers.

I was nominated by Alex - so thanks for that!

There are a few guidelines/rules for the Liebster Award - which are below:

- Thank the blogger who nominated you
- Answer the questions from your nominator
- Nominate up to 11 bloggers who have less than 200 followers
- Create 11 new questions for your chosen bloggers
- Notify them via social media

My questions from Alex:

1. What is your biggest fear?
Spiders - hate them.

2. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
My build - would love to be a bit thicker and muscly.

3. Where is your favourite place to visit?
Anywhere - I really love going to different new places.

4. One place you've never been, but would love to go?
Disneyland in Florida - I don't know why - I know its aimed more at kids but would love to go.

5. Cat or Dog?
I can't choose - I would love to get both - I probably will when I get my own house.

6. If you could meet anyone, dead or alive, who would it be?
Lea Michele (Rachel from Glee) or Mila Kunis (numerous films & she's pretty hot)

7. Describe a favourite memory?
Christmas - when I was younger - we'd finished opening all our presents and my brother and I went to go get a bin bag to put all the present wrapping in and there were two more presents on the floor by the backdoor - mum still says that Santa left them by mistake.

8. You win £1 million - what do you do with it?
Invest it.

9. You have any super power you wish - what is it?
Astral projection - ever since I saw it on television programmes - I thought it would be a great power to have.

10. Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I have no idea!

11. If you've had a bad day, who/what would cheer you up?
My boyfriend - Dave

My questions:

1. Sweet or Savory?
2. What was the last lie you told?
3. Best compliment you have received?
4. What is your greatest strength?
5. What was your first thought when you woke up this morning?
6. What question do you hate to answer?
7. What cheers you up?
8. What do you think Victoria's secret is?
9. Which of the four seasons do you love the most?
10. Are you wearing socks right now?
11. What colour of hair do you have?

My nominations:

EVERYONE - I didn't want to choose so I have nominated anyone that wants to take part :)



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Friday, 13 February 2015

Valentine's Past!

Hey everyone :)

I wasn't going to write any posts today - I thought I would take a break and film my YT video for tomorrow however I find myself waiting for my shortbread biscuits to cook so why not eh?

So it's Valentine's Day tomorrow - and I had to remind myself that - if it wasn't for the Facebook posts and the masses of memorabilia in the supermarkets then I probably would have forgotten - but wait you say ... don't you have a boyfriend John?! I do but this year he's in Canada until May so I won't be celebrating it. I talked about this in a recent post - you can check that out HERE. I completely shoved it out my mind - that much that I didn't have any Valentine's posts planned and I had spent most of last weekend researching and preparing them.

There's lots of talk around Valentine's Day! Some people love it - and treat it like a proper holiday (like Christmas) and shower their partner with gifts like there is no tomorrow and the world is ending - and others - just think its businesses taking advantage and stealing all our money about a holiday that isn't even really a holiday (similar to all these 'national hump day' or 'national nutella day' or national steak and blowjob day'). 

So I decided to link up with Helen from HeleneInBetween & Sarah from Venus Trapped in Mars and do a post on my past Valentine's Day experiences :)

The first year (again) Dave and myself were not physically in the same country - he went to Bulgaria in January for 3 months and we had only just started 'going out' so apart from a text and Skype call the first year was ... slightly boring.

The second year was rather more exciting. We had been together for around a year and 2-3 months and I'm known to be really impulsive and so I ended up maxing a credit card out (I won't go into detail - needless to say I spend about 6 months paying it off) and bought us both tickets to Rome in Italy. This was partly more for me as this was my first holiday abroad and my first time on a plane and obviously I wanted to take Dave. I know I have nothing to compare it to - being my first 'abroad' holiday but I had the best time of my life. I love plane takeoffs - they are AMAZING!

rome trip

rome trip

rome trip

rome trip


This isn't the best part (well you might think it is) Dave's present to me ... was a Kenwood Food Mixer - something I've been wanting for the last 5 or 6 years but due to their cost (they range from £200-£500) I couldn't justify spending money on it. I was actually more happy and excited about the food mixer than the holiday to Rome < yes I'm sad! 

Last year was rather odd - for the life of me I couldn't remember what we did - so I took to my Facebook and wound back time to February 2014 - apart from wishing everyone a 'Happy Valentine's Day' *blowing heart emoji* - that's all we did. Around this time last year the town we live near - 'Kings Langley' had their name and town signs changed to Kings Landing for the release of the Game of Thrones DVD. The sign stayed like this for a week or so I think and then it was auctioned off to someone. I think we did do cards, a couple of presents and a meal.

kings landing sign


This year will be our fourth Valentines but as I said he is in Canada so again we will probably text and Skype and that will be it - no Valentine's Day sex for us (yes sorry I have a dirty mind) #sorrynotsorry

If I'm truthfully honest -  now that we are settled as a couple (the honeymoon period has subsided) we are quite happy treating it as a normal day (I only speak for myself here) - I mean a card is cool and maybe a small present or going out for a meal is great! But that's about it for us! I think it's better to save or keep money for bigger holidays such as Christmas or our birthdays or holidays abroad (we're going to Spain with friends this year).

Anyway I hope you enjoyed a little delve into my (our) past and let me know if your past Valentine's Days are better or worse than the year before or if they get boring after you've settled down with your other-half!


Helene in Between




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Thursday, 12 February 2015

I Want One of Those.com Wishlist

Hey everyone :)
IWOOT shoutjohn wishlist

It's getting closer and closer to Valentine's Day so I've put together some gifts (aka my wishlist) from one of my favourite online retailers: IWOOT.com (I Want One of Those.com).

I'm quite a well-planned out guy so I always make sure I'm thinking of holiday gifts and presents well before the holiday is near so I am prepared. Obviously not everyone is like this ... you might be one of those guys who remembers the night before and rushes to the nearest supermarket to get a card and some flowers and/or chocolates - hoping that she doesn't notice that you've disappeared.

Anyway ... here are some cool and crazy gifts for both male and females and/or couples:

1. Sphere 2.0 App Controlled Robotic Ball - £99.99
I love things like this - little gadgets - when I was younger I got a toy electronic spider that crawled along the floor and glowed green! Toys have since gotten lots better - and this ball is great. It has a camera and can roll around the floor - so you can use it to spy on people. It works with Android and iOS apps so you can use your iPhone or HTC or something similar. It is a little expensive for a small gift but a great idea none the less.

2. Grow Your Own Chilli Plants Gift Set - £9.99
Over the past few years (when I first discovered IWOOT) I bought presents like these for lots of people. I like the idea that its a gift that gives back. It's not something you will use and then throw away you plant it and it grows and you eventually get some thing back. I got it for Dave one year but he forgot to water it when he went on holiday and it died ... so remember to keep them watered (or find a plant sitter).

3. One Night Hotel Break With Dinner Choice Voucher - £148.99
I love little breaks away from everything. I'll admit that I don't take enough of them. For £148.99 you can choose from a list of hotels and you also get a dinner choice voucher as well. Sometimes its good to get away from everything and chill with your girlfriend/boyfriend.

4. Nothing - For The Person Who Has Everything - £6.99
I love this gift - sometimes for 'certain' people I never know what to get as they have got everything - or they can afford to buy themselves the thing you want to get them. So this gift is a bit of a joke gift but I still think its a great idea!

5. Couples Makeover Photoshoot Session - £19.99
Sometimes a makeover and a little photoshoot - you know pouting at the camera and doing some weird posing can do wonders for you. It's great to let your hair down and just have some fun. Get some fresh clothes, little bit of make up, do some pictures with the photographer and then get it blown up and hung on your wall (if you want a massive picture of yourselves - that is).

You can check out all 5 products below on IWOOT.com:

1. Sphere 2.0 App Controlled Robotic Ball - £99.99

2. Grow Your Own Chilli Plants Gift Set - £9.99

3. One Night Hotel Break With Dinner Choice Voucher - £148.99

4. Nothing - For The Person Who Has Everything - £6.99

5. Couples Makeover Photoshoot Session - £19.99

Let me know if you have ever bought or done any of these before?



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Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Weakness & Emotion

Hey everyone :)

blue eyes, tear, shoutjohn


I don't normally write impulsive posts - but I'm feeling in a writing mood (and it's 20:53) - I really should go for a shower and get to bed since I start work at 4am tomorrow morning but I had a can of Red Bull while I was waiting for #lbloggers chat to start ... so wide awake!

Today was a good day - I got up, went to work, worked, then came home. Just a normal day ...

I decided to go through my wardrobe for a t-shirt when I came across one of Dave's hoodies. Now for those of you who don't follow my blog or who do but are not aware:

Dave is my boyfriend and we've been together 3 years this past Christmas and he is a snowboard/ski instructor - but he doesn't just do it for fun - he's one of those proper (I'd probably say hardcore) instructors.

When we first met (during the cold months of November years ago (it feels longer)) I was aware (after much Facebook stalking) that he was planning to go away for 3 months to Bulgaria to get his 'level 2 instructor qualification' which allowed him to teach on mountains - as his current 'level 1' only allowed him to teach on indoor ski/snowboard slopes. It was really hard to meet someone and basically fall head over heels in love and then have him disappear for 3 months - we decided to stay together (as neither of us wanted to see anyone else while we were apart) and 3 months later he came home and we continued our relationship.

Nearly 3 years later and he was given an opportunity to go to Canada for 6 months to basically use what he had learnt in Bulgaria and teach kids and adults snowboarding and/or skiing. The first time he left (for Bulgaria) - we'd only been dating a month or so - so it wasn't that hard to let him go but after being together for 3 years and seeing him nearly every other day and every weekend to have him disappearing to the other side of the world within a day ... is quite different, difficult and hard.

I'm not really one to show emotion - some say its a sign of weakness - yes if I'm watching a sad film - I might have a silent cry or get upset (when Gwen Stacey died in Spiderman 2 for instance) I teared up in the cinema (yeah I'm not afraid to admit it).

When Dave told me he had accepted the job - like any normal person he was upset knowing he would have to leave me for 6 months - I had been expecting it for a few months so I had built up some kind of wall and thinking about it now was quite difficult about it - I just wasn't very emotional at all. I expected it - so I was prepared - I didn't really get upset nor shed a tear. I knew we would talk and text and Skype so I didn't see it as an issue (that was my excuse anyway) - the only difference was that he would be thousands of miles away and we wouldn't physically see each other.

Back to the hoodie ...

So its now been 61 days since he left and today I found his hoodie in the cupboard that he left behind. I then spent 20 minutes sobbing and crying on my bed wearing it - the smell reminded me of him and even typing this now is making me feel weird and odd. I'm not trying to say it took me 61 days to miss him but I suppose the point to the post is that the littlest of things can remind you of someone - their smell, their hoodies, their voice, their touch ...

I am dreading the moment he reads this (because sometimes he looks through my blog) he's yet to comment on my new design though - anyway this isn't a cry for help, and I don't want this to sound like a selfish-why-did-you-leave-me post - because it's not and I don't want him to feel bad (that's the last thing I want).

If anything I wanted him to go and it's something he needed to do - I'm not him - but I know this is one of his dreams and he's getting to live it - not many people get the chance to do things like this and so I'm proud of him for going.

I'm going to leave you with a quote that I found:

“Sacrificing your happiness for the happiness of the one you love, is by far, the truest type of love.”


This pretty much sums up what I'm trying to say.

Night all :)





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5 Valentine Films

Hey everyone :)

5 valentine films shoutjohn

So Valentine's Day is around the corner - for some it's a reminder that you are single and no one loves you - yes I'm being blunt (sorry if your one of those people) or your someone that has a loving boyfriend/girlfriend who will fill your day with chocolate, flowers, large cuddly bears and sex!

I am neither ... I'm not alone, but I don't have a boyfriend at the moment. He currently is hundreds of miles away on the other side of the world in a resort teaching snowboarding and skiing to people.

So ... I like probably many others (again, I'm sorry) will be spending Valentine's Day alone - cuddled up in my bed watching upsetting films which make me cry, but not just silent tears - those howling how-could-this-happen tears that have you gripping the pillow and howling like some lost wolf pup.

To mark this 'special' day I have put together some films I watch on or around this date.

Valentine's Day
I remember hearing about this film but never got a chance to go see it in the cinema so as soon as it came out on DVD I bought it straight away. It's very similar to Love Actually in that the film revolves around different couples and how love brings them together. This film (as you can tell by the title) is based around Valentine's Day and what the couples do on this day. The film wasn't a tear-jerker for me up until the end then I was crying and leaking everywhere (I obviously won't ruin it if you plan to watch it) but you think one thing about someone and it's completely the opposite - but that's all I say.

Love Actually
As I said above - this film and Valentine's Day are very similar - lots of big names in both films - and this film revolves around Christmas and again different couples and how they spend the holidays and how love brings them together - through the good and through the bad times. I really enjoyed the film - I would have said it was a romantic-comedy and it gives you a few laughs which is good.

Beauty & the Beast
An golden-oldie as they would say! I've watched this film for years and still it doesn't disappoint. The story unlike any love story involves a rude prince who refuses a witch shelter on a stormy night so she curses him to be as hideous as he is on the inside as he is on the outside (or the other way round) she basically makes him into a large bear-wolf-dog-man beast. Then Belle spends time with him and well I don't want to ruin it ... I'm sure you'll work it out for yourself. I'm also excited to hear that Disney are making a newer film - similar to Cinderella. So exciting!

50 First Dates
This is one of my favourite Adam Sandler films. Basically he is a playboy and has a different woman every other night. Never marries or settles down and using bizarre and crazy stories to get rid of the woman when he's ready to move on. He goes to an island when his boat breaks down and meets a beautiful girl (but little does he know that each night when she sleeps she forgets the day due to an accident she had a few years back) so every day she repeats the same day over and over again. So he tries multiple ways to win her over in a day ... it's really funny and some of the things he comes up with are great. It's definitely a romantic comedy and I think both boyfriend and girlfriend would enjoy.

Titanic
I don't think I have ever met a person who hasn't watched or at least heard about the Titanic - obviously we know about the Titanic and its doomed voyage however this film portrays the love of a poor-low class man and a upper class lady. It's a great love story and you are rooting for them straight from the start. Each time I watch it and every time the water is rushing in and Jack is handcuffed to the pipe - I scream at the television for Rose to get the axe and cut the chain so they can escape. One of the greatest love stories of all time I would say.

You can check out more info on Wikipedia (you know for entire plot etc) if you want to.




Images: IMDB, Wikipedia
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Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Valentine Heart Shortbread

Hey everyone :)


Since I discovered Pinterest I can look through it for hours on end pinning everything and anything. Making different boards for the different topics I like. So when Valentine's Day started to get mentioned everywhere - I instantly created a board and started pinning recipes that I found and the odd quote and present ideas. 

I looked through so many recipes and wanted to make a few but I also wanted to build on some simple recipes I've done before on this blog first. You may recall months ago I did a very simple (4 ingredient) shortbread recipe. You can find it HERE

The finished product from my first recipe gives you shortbread in the form of circles with a sprinkle of caster sugar. So I thought for Valentines I would do heart shapes and add an icing topping. So after ordering some cookie cutters from Ebay (and waiting for them to come) I got to work in the kitchen experimenting with different sizes and icing and sprinkles.

The 'new' finished product is shown above in the picture. They were really fun to make and I love testing and trying out new ways of doing things. I will pop the recipe below - it is really not much different to my first recipe.

Recipe:

1. You will want to follow my previous recipe (which can be found HERE).
2. When you get to step 4 (tipping the dough onto the surface and dividing into two pieces) you will want to stop there. 
3. Instead of rolling the dough into sausage shapes - you will just get a rolling pin and roll the dough into your desired thickness (remember your the cook - if you want thicker biscuits don't roll so thin and if you want thinner biscuits keep the dough thin).
4. Using your cookie heart cutters - cut, cut, cut and lay on a non-stick baking tray. 
5. Again depending on how think/thin - the cooking time will vary but mine normally take between 10-16 minutes (you will also need to think how pale or brown you want them).
6. Once baked - transfer from the baking tray to a wire cooling rack (I use my grill shelf - if you don't have a designated cooling rack)
7. Let them cool - before icing they need to be cold otherwise the icing won't set and will run everywhere.
8. Once cooled - get some icing sugar and add a little water - you don't want it to be runny - you want it to be like a paste (think peanut butter or Nutella spreading consistency).
9. Get a glass of warm water and put a spoon in it to heat the spoon up.
10. Get a little of the icing and put it in the middle of the biscuit. Getting the warm spoon - use the back of it and spread the icing out over the biscuit. 
11. Once you have iced - sprinkle whatever you want to sprinkle - I bought some little candy hearts that were on sale in Tesco.
12. Let the icing set and then put into an air-tight container.
13. When bored or watching television - eat them!

Let me know if you tried the recipe or if you made anything similar. I'm always on the look out for new recipes so if you think there is anything I should try let me know!



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Saturday, 7 February 2015

YOUTUBE: Scottish Slang

Hey everyone :)

I put together a little video on 'Scottish Slang' - check it out if you have 10 minutes and let me know what you think!



You can check the video below:


If the embedded video above doesn't work - try clicking HERE to be taken straight to YouTube to watch the video.



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Friday, 6 February 2015

Body Shop Born Lippy Lip Balms

Hey everyone :)

So it's still cold outside - I got into the car this morning and it was -6℃ - this is one of the perks of getting up at 4.30am (can you feel the sarcasm right now?).

With it being so cold - my lips and face don't appreciate the harsh, freezing temperatures (okay I'm slightly exaggerating) but my lips are cracked and I'm terrible for chewing on them when they're like this.

For Christmas I bought myself one of the Body Shop Lip Balm Lollipops - it was supposed to be a Christmas present for someone but I liked it that much that I kept it for myself.

You basically get a colourful red/white lollipop which has 5 great-tasting and colourful lip balms.

body shop lip balm lollipop christmas

There are 5 flavours:

> Passionberry
> Strawberry
> Watermelon
> Satsuma Shimmer
> Raspberry

I got them discounted and in a Christmas-themed decorated lollipop but they are available at Body Shop throughout the year for £2 each which is great and they last for ages (unless your one of those crazy people that applies every 2 seconds).

Strawberry:

shoutjohn bodyshop lip balm

First of all the strawberry leaves a lovely pinkish glow on your lips and tastes great. It's silky smooth and gives your lips a sheen.

Satsuma Shimmer:

shoutjohn bodyshop lip balm

This smell reminds me more of a satsuma peel rather than the orange itself (not a bad thing) and is very shimmery - so probably not one (as a guy) that I would wear out. Being very orangey it doesn't leave any colour on your lips and is very neutral - its more the gold shimmer you see when your lips hit the light.

Passionberry:

shoutjohn bodyshop lip balm

Passionberry is by far one of my favourite of the 5 - it's a purple colour and I do love a good shade of purple - however don't let that put you off as it doesn't make your lips purple (quite the opposite in fact). I did find it a little sticky (for girls that may be an issue with longer hair) but not for me :) It tastes and smells amazing.

Raspberry:

shoutjohn bodyshop lip balm

I have seen lots of negative reviews about the Raspberry flavour of lip balm. However I found that is was very sweet, smelt like raspberries and gives your lips a pinkish-red glow.

Watermelon:

shoutjohn bodyshop lip balm

The watermelon lip balm is a very subtle lip balm (in colour) but does leave your lips with a nice shine. The flavour is also very water-melony and reminds me of the watermelon bubblegum you used to be able to buy.

You can find the lip balms on the Body Shop website HERE.

Hope you enjoyed the post - let me know if you have bought any or tried any of these before.




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