Monday, 11 March 2019 / Farringdon, London

CELEBRATING MOTHER'S DAY WITH MOONPIG | AD

francisca rockey, lifestyle blogger, fitness blogger, beauty blogger, fashion blogger, small blogger
Last Sunday, my mum and I were invited to the Moonpig HQ for an event to celebrate Mother's Day. Hands up how many of you saw the words Mother's Day and panicked because you thought you had forgotten the day and haven't bought your Mother or Mother figure anything yet? You've got time, the actual day isn't until Sunday 31st March, panic over.

The event started with a talk about the history of Moonpig and who they are and what they do. Did you know that Moonpig is the number one online card and gift retailer? We've all bought a personalised card for someone from Moonpig at some point in our lives but did you also know that they do a range of gifts and flowers too?
francisca rockey, lifestyle blogger, fitness blogger, beauty blogger, fashion blogger, small blogger
francisca rockey, lifestyle blogger, fitness blogger, beauty blogger, fashion blogger, small blogger
We were split into groups of 15 and rotated around 3 different activities followed by afternoon tea. Our first activity was flower arranging. Moonpig offers a range of flowers and plants starting from as little as £19 and if you forget a birthday and need a last minute gift, they deliver flowers the next day. Not going to be in? They also do a range of letterbox flowers.
francisca rockey, lifestyle blogger, fitness blogger, beauty blogger, fashion blogger, small blogger
francisca rockey, lifestyle blogger, fitness blogger, beauty blogger, fashion blogger, small blogger
Before moving onto our second activity, we sat down for a spot of afternoon tea. Neither I nor my mum had been to an afternoon tea before so we were both very excited. Let's settle a debate, cream or jam first? I cut through the middle of the scone, put cream on one half, jam on the other and put both halves together. 
francisca rockey, lifestyle blogger, fitness blogger, beauty blogger, fashion blogger, small blogger
francisca rockey, lifestyle blogger, fitness blogger, beauty blogger, fashion blogger, small blogger
Our penultimate activity was cocktail making with Mr Flavour. Fun fact, I work at a bar and my favourite thing to do is to make cocktails. We made a cocktail called Electricity and here is the recipe for it if any of you want to try it at home:

Electricity
40ml of lemon vodka
25ml of violet and lavender gomme 
25ml of lime juice 
75ml of cranberry juice 

francisca rockey, lifestyle blogger, fitness blogger, beauty blogger, fashion blogger, small blogger
Our final activity for the day involved taking photos in a photo booth and creating our own Mother's Day card from Moonpig's Mother's Day card collection - My mum will probably kill me for sharing this but here is one of the photos we took in the photo booth:
francisca rockey, lifestyle blogger, fitness blogger, beauty blogger, fashion blogger, small blogger
francisca rockey, lifestyle blogger, fitness blogger, beauty blogger, fashion blogger, small blogger
francisca rockey, lifestyle blogger, fitness blogger, beauty blogger, fashion blogger, small blogger
As we were leaving, we were each given a goody bag and here is a peek at what was inside:
francisca rockey, lifestyle blogger, fitness blogger, beauty blogger, fashion blogger, small blogger
Photographer - Elouisa

If you would like to see more coverage from our day at the Moonpig HQ, head over to my Instagram and watch my 'EVENTS' story highlight. 

How are you celebrating Mother's Day this year?

 Fran
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Monday, 4 March 2019

MARCH TO DO LIST

francisca rockey, lifestyle blogger, fitness blogger, beauty blogger, fashion blogger, small blogger
January lasted 365 days, February was a blur and now its March, how are we already 3 months into 2019? I've got so many exciting things happening this month from blogging events, a city break to a sponsored skydive. 

01. Plan an itinerary for Dublin 
I'm off to Dublin next weekend and life has got in the way meaning I haven't had much time to plan for our trip. If any of you have been to Dublin or live in Dublin and have any suggestions for things to do and places to eat, please leave your suggestions in the comments or DM me via Twitter @franciscarockey 

02. Pack for Dublin
As you're reading this, I'm probably stressing about what outfits to pack and panic ordering everything on ASOS new in. I'm hoping to shoot some content while I'm out there so, I need some decent looks for the gram. 

03. Start looking for a flat
In 5 months time, my gap year will be coming to an end and I'll be heading to uni. As you're reading this, I may know which uni I'm going to but as I'm writing this, I'm still waiting for a response from what is my dream uni. I'm undecided as to whether I should live in student accommodation or find a flat or house share but I do need to start looking and at least get a deposit down. 

04. Book a shoot with a blog photographer 
This is something that I have wanted to do for a while. I'm not the most confident person in front of the camera but I would love some good quality shoots to use both on my blog and Instagram. I have a few ideas on the location and shots I would like and I'm already in talks with the photographer that I would like to shoot with, so keep your eyes peeled for that!

05. Book a summer holiday/staycation 
Summer is slowly creeping up on us and I don't want to do what I did last year and wait until last minute to book a trip. I'm not too sure where I'd like to go this summer but I've seen a few gorgeous photos of Cornwall floating around on Twitter and it looks like the perfect destination to just switch off and relax. 

What's on your March to do list?

Fran
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Monday, 25 February 2019

MY FAVOURITE BRUNCH SPOTS IN AND AROUND LONDON

francisca rockey, lifestyle blogger, fitness blogger, beauty blogger, fashion blogger, small blogger
I asked on Instagram if you guys would be interested in a post about my favourite brunch spots in and around London, you can guess what the majority wanted.

A new one to my list of favourite brunch places is Grind, specifically the Covent Garden location. It's hidden away on Maiden Lane and has indoor and outdoor seating, perfect for winter and summer brunch dates. If you’re a blogger, the seating area outside is a great place to shoot Spring and Summer content as well as the downstairs seating area which has marble tables and pink neon lights. As for the food, I think there’s a good range of options for vegetarians and I went for the eggs Florentine, I’d never tried it before, but the presentation and flavour were a solid 10/10 for me. They also serve granola, acai and porridge bowls as well as smashed avocado, cold pressed juices, smoothies and of course, a range of coffee and tea.
francisca rockey, lifestyle blogger, fitness blogger, beauty blogger, fashion blogger, small blogger
If you find yourself in South London and you’re looking for a new place to eat, Burnt Toast is where you need to go. Their pancakes are second to none and I’ve tried a lot of pancakes from various brunch places before so this is a bold statement.
francisca rockey, lifestyle blogger, fitness blogger, beauty blogger, fashion blogger, small blogger
This is another new addition to my favourite brunch places, Chia Naturally Healthy. It’s located in Hitchin which is about 55 minutes by train from Kings Cross or just over an hour by car. I believe, it’s the first plant-based café in the area and if you’re environmentally conscious like myself, you’ll be pleased to know that they don’t use any plastic products including their takeaway packaging. Everything is biodegradable, plant-based material. I tried their Organic Blueberry Cinnamon Pancakes and I'll admit, I was a bit iffy as to how they would taste as I've never had vegan pancakes before but they were incredible!

What are your favourite brunch spots in and around London?

Fran 
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Monday, 18 February 2019

D PLUS LINGERIE TO MAKE YOU LOOK AND FEEL SEXY | AD

francisca rockey, lifestyle blogger, fitness blogger, beauty blogger, fashion blogger, small blogger
- This post contains gifted items -
Hands up if you have D plus boobs and you’re tired of almost every lingerie set for your size being grannyish and not at all sexy, I certainly am!

Love Panache is a family run, award-winning British lingerie brand. Their Cleo range was made to have your titties looking their best. I was given the opportunity to pick a few pieces from the range and I was kindly sent two *Cleo Lyzy Triangle Bralette sets, one in burgundy and one in black. The lyzy set also comes in khaki and cobalt blue. Treat your titties to a cute set from the Cleo by Panache collection, designed to be pretty and playful fashion led lingerie, for D plus women who like their lingerie to be bold and on trend.

I remember growing up and everyone wanted big boobs, I was one of those people. I got to year 9 and my boobs were suddenly a DD. Now, at the age of 19, I’m a 30FF/G and I find it difficult to find lingerie that works for my small waist and big cup size. I want my boobs to look cute, I don’t want a uni-boob and I also don’t want to wear underwire. I have so many indents from underwire being too tight or digging into my boob, you know when you need to buy new bras but you’re holding onto that broken one because its one of your faves. According to the media, big boobs only seem to be sexy when they're out on show but we can be modest and wear cute bralettes too. Admittedly, bralettes are not the most supportive but gravity is getting to my titties anyway so, I might as well let nature take its course and let them swing low with a cute bralette popping through under my shirt. 

Valentine’s Day may be over but there are still 317 days left to look and feel sexy. 

Fran
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Monday, 11 February 2019

HOW I USE HASHTAGS TO BOOST MY INSTAGRAM ENGAGEMENT

francisca rockey, lifestyle blogger, fitness blogger, beauty blogger, fashion blogger, small blogger
It seems a lot of you found my last post really helpful so, I’ve decided to break down each section of how to start a blog and turn it into a series. This week, I’m focusing on Instagram and utilising hashtags to boost engagement.

Remember when hashtags were a no go and now that Instagram has fucked up the algorithm, they’re all the rage. I know there’s still confusion as to what hashtags to use when to use them and how many to use per posts. 

01. USE 30 HASHTAGS PER POST
You can use 30 hashtags per post without Instagram preventing them from posting. Use the full 30 and make the most of it

02. USE HASHTAGS WITH THE MOST POSTS
While you’re reading this, hop over to Instagram and search, #lblogger it has 713k posts. Along the bottom of that hashtag are related hashtags, which will have a similar amount of posts, use them!

03. DON’T FORGET ABOUT EMOJIS
This is one I discovered recently but you can hashtag emojis. Follow the step above when it comes to using emojis, hashtag the ones with the most posts or start a new hashtag for it and watch it grow.

04. USE HASHTAGS IN YOUR INSTA STORIES
This is another hack that I discovered recently, a few weeks ago I post a selfie to my Insta story before going out and tag #OUTOUT – it worked a treat and I saw an increase in followers and engagement through stories

05. HASHTAG WHAT IS VISIBLE IN THE PHOTO
If you take a photo and it contains a mug, hashtag the mug. It may seem stupid but there’s 5.4 million posts under the mug hashtag.

REMEMBER, hashtags don’t always work, its hit or miss.
francisca rockey, lifestyle blogger, fitness blogger, beauty blogger, fashion blogger, small blogger
Here are some of the exact hashtags I use,

EVERYDAY
#blogginggals #teenbloggers #bdib #girlboss #femalebloggers #lbloggers #bbloggers #thegirlgang #instagramblogger #photographyblogger #londonblogger #londoner #discoverunder2K #petiteblogger #shinyhappybloggers  #bloggerstribe #girlsunite #thecaptionclub #bloggingcommunity #bloggersofinstagram #smallblogger #girlswhoblog #petitebloggger #theuncoolclub #blogandbeyond #blogginggals #under10k #bloggerlove #ontheblog #bloggerlife #blogging 

WEDNESDAY
#wednesdaywisdom #wednesdaythoughts #wednesdayfeels #wednesdaymotivation #humpday #happyhumpday 

FRIDAY
#fridayintroductions #friyay #fridayfeeling #happyfriday #fridaymood #thankgoditsfriday #friday #fridaymotivation #itsthefreakinweekend #fridayvibes #fridayfun #frinally #fridayfeels #itstheweekend #fridaythoughts 

Whatever day of the week that you're posting tag it, e.g. #Thursday and use 1 or 2 related tags 

SKINCARE
#skincareroutine #dryskin #winterskin #skincareaddict #happyskin #skinroutine #skinobsessed #kindtoskin #skinspiration #lookafteryourskin #bathtowel #skincareproducts #treatyourskin #healthyskin #skincareblogger #skincare #skincarelove #newskin #skintips #skinregimen

Tag the brand of the products you're using e.g. #dermalogica 

FASHION
#fashionfury #thefashionforce #fashiaddict #dressmyfashion #postitfortheaesthetics #anotheroutfitpost #inspostyle #fbloggerstyle #ootdideas #wearetothe9s #mywhowhatwear #whowhatwearing #wearthisnext #fashiongals #stylesubmit #wiwtoday #streetstyleluxe #stylehunters #petiteblogger #petitefashion #wentoutlikethis #outfitideasforyou #discoverunder10k #momentsofchics #stylediary #effortlesschic #outfitboard #luxegal #ootdpost #winterfashion #pltstyle #femmeluxefinery

Tag individual items that you’re wearing e.g. #teddycoat

LONDON
#londonblogger #londoner #itssolondon #londonist #visitlondon #londontown #prettylittlelondon #toplondonphoto #londononly #mydarlinglondon #londonbylondoners #londonguru #londononly #exploringlondon 

If you’re visiting a specific area in London, e.g. #nottinghill tag it and use related tags too!

As I said before, hashtags don't always work so take my advice with a pinch of salt and adapt the tags I use to work with your content and niche. 


Do you use hashtags? If so, do you find them helpful?

Fran
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Monday, 4 February 2019

HOW TO START A BLOG IN 2019 | A SIMPLE GUIDE FOR BEGINNERS

francisca rockey, lifestyle blogger, fitness blogger, beauty blogger, fashion blogger, small blogger
We all know January is a trial run of a new year and February is when you really start setting your resolutions or attempt the ones you said you'd start in January, e.g. joining the gym. Is one of your goals for 2019 to start a blog? If so, are you clueless about how to start a blog? When I started my blog in 2014, the blogging community was very small and there weren't many people to turn to for advice and there wasn't any advice on Google as to how to start one either. Here's a link to my first ever blog post if you're after a good laugh, Eyeko Skinny Liquid Eyeliner. Being the angel that I am, I thought I'd share some of my tips and advice on how to start a blog. 

1. Pick your platform wisely
The most common platforms used by bloggers are WordPress and Blogger. I use Blogger because it's quick and easy to use and doesn't require much brainpower to navigate. There are some cons to using Blogger e.g. fewer font options, less room to be creative in terms of positioning of photos. Wordpress offers a paid self-hosted and free version. I don't know much about Wordpress but here's a link to a post by Forever September all about migrating to Wordpress.

2. Keep your design easy on the eye
Keep it clean, easy to navigate and declutter your sidebars. Less is more. I bought my design from Pipdig but there are plenty of free designs online if you don't fancy investing straight away. 

3. Consider getting your own domain from the get-go
When I first started my domain was blogspot.co.uk - With my old URL, I couldn't build a DA and so my opportunities were limited. DA is your domain authority aka how well your site will rank on search engine result pages. I bought my domain from GoDaddy for under £2 and the yearly renewal was just under £15. If you're looking to make income from your blog in the future, DA is important. 

4. Your book is getting judged by its cover, so make it pretty  
Your photos are the first thing people see, the more aesthetically pleasing they are, the more inclined people are to read the rest of the post. It's like going to the cinema to watch a movie, if you like a look of the trailer, you're going to watch the whole thing. The same applies to your posts, if someone likes the look of your photography, they're more likely to read the full post.

5. Utilise Twitter to get your posts seen
In my opinion, the best way to get your blog seen is by sharing your latest posts on Twitter using blogger hashtags such as #bloggerstribe #GRLPOWR #bloggerloveshare. Pretty much everyone in the blogging community uses Twitter and within a few days of having your blog up, someone is bound to come across your link while scrolling through said hashtags.

6. Schedule tweets promoting your posts
This goes hand in hand with tip number 5. If you want your posts to be seen, they need to be visible. A good way to ensure that your posts are constantly being seen is to schedule 2-3 tweets a day. I use Tweetdeck and Buffer to schedule my tweets. 

7. Switch your comment section to Disqus 
If you want people to comment on your latest posts, the comment section needs to be easy to use. I use Disqus for my comment section as it's web and mobile-friendly, easy to use and easy to set up. I would highly recommend switching your Google or Wordpress comment section to Disqus! 

8. Set up a blog Instagram
I'd been blogging for 4 years before I made an Instagram account. I don't remember Instagram being a big thing, I might be wrong I'm usually behind when it comes to trends but I wish I'd got my account up and running from the get-go. Keep your blog Instagram separate from your personal Instagram, it is healthy for your mind to have one account where numbers and aesthetics are not important. You can utilise your blog Instagram to bring more traffic to your blog through insta stories, using relevant hashtags under your posts and by putting a link to your blog in your bio.


What tips would you give to someone wanting to start a blog?

Fran
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Monday, 28 January 2019

TOUR DE SHEFFIELD

francisca rockey, lifestyle blogger, fitness blogger, beauty blogger, fashion blogger, small blogger
As you may know, one of my new year’s resolutions for 2019 was to work less and do more. The “do more” part of my resolution was left open to interpretation, but I have taken it as using the hours I have gained from cutting my working hours to travel, explore and have fun.  I had three days off at the beginning of last week and I took the opportunity to drive up to Sheffield to visit a uni friend.

Our first stop, Steamyard. I asked on Twitter and Instagram for recommendations on places to eat, drink and things to do in Sheffield and this was the most popular. It’s a cute café tucked away from the main shopping area in the city centre. If you read my post on London’s hidden gems, I said that Aubaine had the best hot chocolate I had ever tasted. That was until I went to Steamyard, sorry Aubaine but Steamyard did it better and at a much more affordable price of £2.80, love a bargain!
francisca rockey, lifestyle blogger, fitness blogger, beauty blogger, fashion blogger, small blogger
Just a few steps away from Steamyard was a street art tribute to David Bowe. You know how much I love street art so I had to get a shot for the gram.
francisca rockey, lifestyle blogger, fitness blogger, beauty blogger, fashion blogger, small blogger
Next stop, Winter Garden. If you’re looking for a peaceful walk away from the city centre then the winter gardens are the place to go! Unlike Sky Garden in London, it was a lot warmer and less crowded to walk around. There’s also the Millenium Gallery inside so perfect for a dual visit! I wasn’t allowed to take photos or film in there but I did sneak a few videos on my insta story, which you can have a look at on my Sheffield highlight.
francisca rockey, lifestyle blogger, fitness blogger, beauty blogger, fashion blogger, small blogger
Just outside Winter Garden was Peace Gardens. As the name would suggest, its peaceful inner city garden to walk around, sit on a bench and take in your surroundings. I imagine this area is very popular in the summer as there’s a huge water feature.
francisca rockey, lifestyle blogger, fitness blogger, beauty blogger, fashion blogger, small blogger
Have you ever been to Sheffield?

Fran
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Monday, 21 January 2019

HOW I EDIT MY PHOTOS USING LIGHTROOM

francisca rockey, lifestyle blogger, fitness blogger, beauty blogger, fashion blogger, small blogger
A lot of you asked for this post and I’m finally delivering, giving the people what they want. So, you’re wondering how I use Lightroom to edit my photos? I start by saying that I’m not a professional. I wouldn’t even class myself as a beginner, is there anything lower than that? Whatever it is, I’m that.

What do you use to take your photos?
To take my photos, I use EPL7 Olympus pen with a 14-42mm lens or an iPhone 8 plus on either photo or portrait mode.
How do you edit?
I’ll be honest, it’s a lot of trial and error.This is the before of the satchel photo:
francisca rockey, lifestyle blogger, fitness blogger, beauty blogger, fashion blogger, small blogger
And this was the process of getting the after:
LIGHT
francisca rockey, lifestyle blogger, fitness blogger, beauty blogger, fashion blogger, small blogger
Exposure -0.15
Contrast -22
Highlights -76
Shadows -35
White +29
Black -31

COLOUR
francisca rockey, lifestyle blogger, fitness blogger, beauty blogger, fashion blogger, small blogger
Temp -10
Tint -3
Vibrance +13
Saturation +20

EFFECTS
francisca rockey, lifestyle blogger, fitness blogger, beauty blogger, fashion blogger, small blogger
Clarity 100
Dehaze -1
Vignette -15
Midpoint 50
Feather 100
Grain 50
Size 28
Roughness 50

And for other photos, I up or lower all the above. Very rarely do I use the detail tool as I’m not a fan of photos that are too sharp, I prefer the grainy effect.

What apps do you use to edit your photos?

Fran
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Monday, 14 January 2019

THIS YEAR, SELF CARE IS MY PRIORITY

francisca rockey, lifestyle blogger, fitness blogger, beauty blogger, fashion blogger, small blogger
Happy New Year! At what point in January can I stop saying that?

My main goal for 2019 is to prioritise self care. Last year, I had moments in my personal life where I wasn’t caring for myself physically or mentally and it really took a toll on me during my A levels, at work and in other personal situations. Looking back, I could’ve handled my toughest moments a lot better had I practised self care.

Self care goes beyond “taking a candlelit bath and reading a book”, it’s realising that you’re not looking after your body properly and need to change your diet, e.g. by drinking more water or knowing when you need a break and taking advantage of your sick pay. With a little bit of attention to your own self care, you will feel more connected to yourself and the world around you.

Three ways that I am practising self care in 2019:
01. Working less  
As a Capricorn, I am known to be a workaholic and there were moments last year and in previous years where I was working more than I was having days off, which meant that I wasn’t seeing family and friends, I wasn’t getting time to wash my hair or to just have a lazy day in bed. To avoid that, I cut down my working hours for this year to just 4 days a week.

02. Do more
Now I am working fewer hours, I have 3 days a week to put my time and energy into things I enjoy. I can use those days to do a class at the gym, work on my blog, see friends or explore a new town or city. I want to create a fulfilling life.

03. Invest in my skin
At the end of last year, I became a skin influencer for Dermalogica. Prior to that, I was using drugstore skincare products here and there. They’re alright but not the best. Since using the Dermalogica precleanse and special cleansing gel, I now know the importance of investing in skincare. My skin has never felt as clean and clear as it does now I’m using their products. I feel more educated on skincare now to branch out and try other skincare brands and products.

How do you practise self care?

Fran
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Monday, 7 January 2019 / Covent Garden, London WC2E 8HD, UK

LONDON'S HIDDEN GEMS

francisca rockey, lifestyle blogger, fitness blogger, beauty blogger, fashion blogger, small blogger
This post is in collaboration with Hotels.com

Whether you’re staying in one of the hotels in Covent Garden, visiting family or planning to spend the day in the area with a friend, you can sometimes feel overwhelmed by the hustle and bustle of London and just want something you can refer to for places to eat, drink and things to do.
francisca rockey, lifestyle blogger, fitness blogger, beauty blogger, fashion blogger, small blogger
Our first stop was Homeslice. If you haven’t been to Homeslice, you need to go to Homeslice. It’s situated in Neals Yard and they serve huge slices of pizza for £4 or a whole pizza for £20. My friend and I ordered a whole pizza because we’d had little for breakfast and demolishing a 20-inch pizza was light work. Check out their Instagram, @homesliceldn and salivate over all the different toppings before heading in.

After a few hours of mooching around Astrid & Miya, Skinnydip and a few other shops, we decided that the extreme cold weather, the high was 2 degrees last Thursday, called for a hot chocolate. We stumbled upon Aubaine. It’s described as, “a passionate marriage of French culinary creativity and the discerning standards of the London dining scene”. The price of the hot chocolate was a little dear at £4.50 but it has to be the best hot chocolate I’ve ever tried. I can’t drink coffee as it gives me migraines, so I’ve tried and tested hot chocolate from various coffee shops. I think everyone should experience a hot chocolate from Aubaine at least once.
francisca rockey, lifestyle blogger, fitness blogger, beauty blogger, fashion blogger, small blogger
The last stop before heading home was no other than Lola’s cupcakes. Anyone who knows me in real life knows angel cake and Tottenham cake are the way to my heart. Any of Lola's cupcakes are now being added to that list. There’s a variety of flavours and sizes of cakes and cupcakes to try and if like myself, you have a sweet tooth, you can pick up a loyalty card.
francisca rockey, lifestyle blogger, fitness blogger, beauty blogger, fashion blogger, small blogger

*The spending money was gifted by Hotels.com, but all views are my own -

Fran
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