Monday, 27 May 2019 / 66-68 The Parade, Watford WD17 1AH, UK

AN EXCLUSIVE FIRST LOOK AT WATFORD'S NEW SLUG & LETTUCE | AD

The store front of the new Slug & Lettuce location in Watford with pink and white outdoor seating and green fake plants
I was kindly invited by LUCRE pr to visit the all new Slug and Lettuce in Watford. This branch is the first Slug & Lettuce to be joined onto POPworld, a nightclub dedicated to '90s and '00s cheese. Pop music isn't really my thing but Slug & Lettuce happy hour certainly is!
A brown wood bar with a filled with gin glasses and bottle of Tanquery gin
The evening started with a cocktail masterclass and we were taught how to make a cosmopolitan and a mojito. Unfortunately, I was driving so I didn't get to take full advantage of these but luckily, my sister was there to drink for the both of us. 
A glance at the new floral cocktail menu inspire by interflora, a flower company
A cocktail glass filled with Cosmopolitan cocktail topped with orange skin
Before heading over to POPworld for a Partini, we tried a few items from the new menu and I was greatly impressed by the number of vegan and vegetarian options. For starters, we had a camembert sharer which is 'baked camembert with caramelised red onion chutney, houmous, crudités, Margherita arancini, beer-battered onion rings, olives, salsa, mayo and toasted bread strips'. As a main, we had vegan tostadas topped with vegan bacon flavoured crumb, Violife grated mature, onion, peppers and vegan mayo. I was so hungry by the time we got round to eating so didn't take any photos of it but you're going to have to trust my word and go and give the new menu a try! 
A pink neon sign reading "cocktails"
A pink tiled bathroom with monochrome herringbone flooring and gold, navy and silver accents

Have you ever been to Slug & Lettuce?

Fran
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Monday, 20 May 2019

A TIMELESS CLASSIC TO ADD TO YOUR JEWELLERY COLLECTION | AD

A close up shot of a watch with a black face, rose gold and brown genuine leather straps
- This post contains a gifted item -

When I was contacted by Adexe to review their new Miniature Sistine collection, I couldn't say no. Adexe is watch brand based in the heart of London, in Shoreditch. The brand is 'all about self-expression, individuality and wearing pieces that reflect your style and identity'. All of their watches are designed at their London studio and made in house which separates them from other watch brands.

The story
Sistine, one of the most famous chapels in the world, located in the Vatican city. This timeless piece was inspired by the planning of the city featuring the domed chapel at the backend and supporting the front yard.

The collection
The new collection was designed to be feminine, dainty and affordable with watches starting from £79. Each piece has a small watch face and a variety of colour choices from snow whitesilver caserose goldsilver and mesh to customise your new watch to suit your style. I love the simplicity of this collection and the elegance such a small accessory can bring to your look.

"Timeless and one to wear for every occasion" 

I picked out the Mini Sistine in Rose Gold and it came with a rose gold metal strap as well as a brown genuine leather strap. All Adexe watches come with two extra straps in black or brown genuine leather. Want something different? If you tell them your colour preference, they will try their best to provide you with what you wish and they also offer worldwide shipping! 

Use code: FRANCISCA15 for 15% off your first order!

Fran
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Monday, 13 May 2019 / 2-4 Hoxton Square, Hackney, London N1 6NU, UK

THINGS I WISH I KNEW WHEN I STARTED BLOGGING

A projected screen in a low light room showing the words, 'blogging 101'
Last Tuesday, I was kindly invited to a blogger workshop hosted by Spot Digital, a London based digital agency, specialising in influencer marketing. I had the opportunity to network with the team and other bloggers while being 'talked through the best blog layouts, SEO tips, media kits and general do's/dont's of working with brands'. 

I found this event to be extremely helpful and I wish something like this had been around when I started my blog many years ago. I thought it would be helpful to write a post on what I learnt at the event and hopefully help anyone thinking of starting a blog, beginners or those who've been doing it for years, there's always room to learn something new and improve our sites. 

A CHECKLIST FOR YOUR SITE
  • Is your site visually appealing?
  • If a brand wanted to contact you, is your contact page accessible? Is your email address professional?
  • Is your navigation bar split into categories?
  • Do you have a short blurb telling visitors and potentially brands wishing to collab, who you are? 

"Prioritise your blog over your socials. Socials e.g. Instagram should support your blog, not replace it" 

A CHECKLIST FOR YOUR SOCIALS
  • Is your real location visible on your site and socials?
  • Use hashtags correctly, mix them up with each post, don't copy and paste and keep a spreadsheet
  • Use different fields of hashtags ranging from high ranking ones e.g. 104k posts to low ranking ones e.g. 400 posts, to guarantee you're being seen 
  • Don't buy followers or bots, pretty self-explanatory but you can spot fake engagement, likes and followers from a mile away. Don't do it and don't be tempted to!
  • Post regularly and consistently. What days are you going to publish new blog posts? Are you posting on Instagram daily? I heard from a Youtuber that according to Instagram, you should post daily or twice a day to grow. This is something I need to work on
  • Engagement is the most important thing (even for micro-influencers, you can have a small following but have a high engagement rate)
  • Stay on brand and professional throughout your socials, everyone knows everyone in this industry
  • Quality over quantity. Don't post for the sake of posting!

A CHECKLIST FOR YOUR SEO
SEO is short for search engine optimization, it is the practice of increasing the amount of traffic to your website through search engine results.
  • Update old posts with current dates, information and images. Tag old related posts to your new posts e.g. if you're going to Italy and it was on your travel bucket list, link the post so that it can gain more traffic 
  • If you're using Wordpress, optimise metadata. The Yoast plugin makes it easy for you to control titles, meta descriptions, set your targeted keywords and track how often you're using them
  • Compress images before uploading and add alt text to your images 
A self-discovery, a lot of us have been using ALT text wrong. ALT text is supposed to be used to describe the image and make your post accessible to those who are visually impaired and rely on screen readers.
  • Aim for posts to be a minimum of 500-750 words 
  • Proofread your posts. Install Grammarly onto your desktop and read posts back to front to make sure it flows
Improving your SEO will improve your DA. DA is how well a website will rank on search engines. The higher your DA, the more likely your site is to appear on the first page of search engines.

A CHECKLIST FOR YOUR MEDIA KIT 
A media kit is CV for your blog and can be used when pitching to brands. Below is my old media kit and an example of what a media kit should roughly look like:
A media kit created using canva
  • Have you included blog details? Your name, URL, your niche
  • Are your social media links and stats up to date? Try to update them monthly
  • What services do you have to offer? Personal posts, reviews, collabs, social media packages, unique content. 
  • Don't give a price, just say what you offer. You can discuss how much you charge for your services via email as it may vary from brand to brand and as your stats increase
  • Have you included an overview of the brands you've worked for? Get some testimonials to strengthen your pitch
Sites that you can use to create a media kit that offer free templates: Canva, Powerpoint & Word 

DO'S AND DON'T FOR WORKING WITH BRANDS
  • Read pitch emails thoroughly and don't respond until you properly understand what is being asked of you
  • Respond to emails even if you're declining
  • Don't wait until last minute to cancel
  • Avoid burn bridges with brands via social media
  • Avoid gossiping about collaborations via social media. Everyone knows everyone in this industry 

"Closed mouths don't get fed. Email brands and pitch your ideas" - Marissa

The last piece of advice we were given by Spot Digital is to be yourself. Sounds cliche but don't copy what everyone else is doing and create artifical content just to fit into the blogosphere.

Fran
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Monday, 6 May 2019 / Birmingham, UK

A PEEK INSIDE THE WORLD'S BIGGEST PRIMARK

francisca rockey, lifestyle blogger, fitness blogger, beauty blogger, fashion blogger, small blogger, travel blogger
I'm sure you've all seen snippets of the World's biggest Primark surfing around the internet and you've been waiting for someone to give an honest review before you make the journey to Brum. I drove up to Birmingham last Friday to do just that and to see what the hype is about! 
francisca rockey, lifestyle blogger, fitness blogger, beauty blogger, fashion blogger, small blogger, travel blogger
Considering it was a Friday, it wasn't as busy as I expected. All floors were well organised, there were no clothes on the floor or piles of clothes dumped on top of rails. One thing to note, the amount of clothes and the variety can be overwhelming so I advise tackling each floor systematically to improve your shopping experience. 
francisca rockey, lifestyle blogger, fitness blogger, beauty blogger, fashion blogger, small blogger, travel blogger
francisca rockey, lifestyle blogger, fitness blogger, beauty blogger, fashion blogger, small blogger, travel blogger
The area that excited me most, the beauty bar. The beauty bar is in collaboration with Duck & Dry so you already, you know you're going to get a high quality service. I decided to test out one of their beauty treatments while I was there and spent £6 having my eyebrows threaded in under 5 minutes, I can't remember her name but the lady who did my eyebrows, was lovely and did such a good job, I usually do my eyebrows myself as I don't trust people but I would genuinely travel all the way to Birmingham just to have them done, by her, again! 
francisca rockey, lifestyle blogger, fitness blogger, beauty blogger, fashion blogger, small blogger, travel blogger
I don't know who was more excited to eat in the Disney cafe, me or the kids in front of me in the queue. The Disney cafe is aimed at young children and the menu is child portions only, that didn't stop us though, it just meant that we had to ordered a main (fish goujon wrap with salad), extra sides (sweet potato wedges) and a dessert (Mickey pancakes) to fill us up, this including a can of Diet Coke came to £8.00-£8.50, bargain! 
francisca rockey, lifestyle blogger, fitness blogger, beauty blogger, fashion blogger, small blogger, travel blogger
francisca rockey, lifestyle blogger, fitness blogger, beauty blogger, fashion blogger, small blogger, travel blogger
We spent a total of 5-6 hours in Primark, we look around every floor, each section, tried bits on in the changing room and had lunch in the Disney cafe. The Primark alone could be a whole day out, there's so much to see and do for both adults and children. Deffo worth a trip!

What are your thoughts on the World's biggest Primark?

Fran
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