Lazy Sunday #40

I awoke this morning to the news that once more those who seek to change our way of life have attacked the innocent, they do not have the courage to attack those who can fight back nor do they attack those in power but instead those going about their lives in peace harming no one else, I shared a post this morning on Facebook from my wonderful friend Simon Fisher-Becker, a simple message to the terrorists, you will not win. I am not going to go into this more now because it is Sunday and we shall carry on as normal and share the love and they will not alter our lives no matter how they try.

  1. I love seeing blog posts about places I have been and this one is no exception. I went with Uni a few years ago (I was a mature student) however because I was one crutches between spinal surgeries I could not explore the grounds or the ruins but if you get the chance to visit this place you should, and also take the time to learn the background story to Bess, she was one hell of a lady https://janerisdon.wordpress.com/2017/06/02/__trashed/
  2. As you know from my book reviews I am a lazy reviewer, I give you my basic thoughts, feelings and a score, I don’t go into real depth, partly because after studying Literature at University I know how boring a book becomes once you start over analysing it, but I do love a good review where they take the time to explore in depth without turning it into an academic paper This Doctor Who reviewer does just that and then it is we in the comments who get carried away with the petty details lol check her out https://inkashlings.wordpress.com/2017/06/02/doctor-who-the-pyramid-at-the-end-of-the-world-review/
  3. You may have heard me talk a little about this thing happening in October, you know the one where I go stand near lots of fabulous authors and hope someone bothers to come and say hello to me lol, I was worrying about what I was going to put any books I might see into but it seems the amazing organisers have it covered but even if your not coming I think you should grab yourself one anyway https://hourglassevents.wordpress.com/author/hourglassevents/
  4. I found a new blog today, let’s just say I have read this one post and am green with envy at the event she got to attend but I am sure she will prove to be as delightful as her writing then I can forgive her for making me jealous https://sophieetallis.wordpress.com/2017/06/02/making-hay-with-neil-gaiman-stephen-fry-and-chris-riddell/
  5. I have mentioned before that I have been looking into the whole imprint thing for print publishing, this is another post which explains the situation really well https://justcanthelpwriting.wordpress.com/2017/05/11/what-i-learned-about-isbns/

I am going to pop off now and read some more about medieval torture methods, I mean how else should a girl spend a sunny Sunday afternoon, have a great week see you same time, same place next week.

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Lazy Sunday #39

Okay so Sunday is almost over as I write this but to be fair my daughter has been here most of the day and I cooked Sunday dinner so it did not turn out to be totally lazy. The world was a darker place for a little while this week and things like writing and blogging seemed foolish and frivolous, as I titled the vlog this week ‘No Words’ sums up my feelings still but I will talk about that later in the week in a separate post. So on with a few posts to little the mood a little I hope and spread some love and light in the only way we can, by carrying on with life as normal.

  1. I love this post, admittedly I do spend half my time thinking in terms of medieval technology but what we consider an antique was once cutting edge  https://quirkybooks.wordpress.com/2017/05/19/devon-county-show-technology-vs-crafts/
  2.  There are some blogs I follow because they provide a quick fix of joy and this is one of them, I love this photo they have shared and would love to dive into that glorious blue water https://wanderlusttina.wordpress.com/2017/05/27/split-view-waterfall-jamaica/
  3.  One of the other things I love about reading blogs is you get to see places that you would never get to in real life, let’s face it the world is a big place, so much to see and do and for most of us we lack the time, resources and freedom from commitments to get to a fraction of them, so seeing others journeys is almost as good https://exxtracts.wordpress.com/2017/05/28/jew-town-kochi/
  4.  I had a wonderful interaction on another bloggers post regarding colours that compliment my hair now it is purple, she has followed this up with a really cool post about the fashion of going a little crazy with your hair and how to manage your wardrobe to match https://valentinaexpressions.com/2017/05/28/balayage-and-ombre-hair-valentina-cirasola-designer/
  5. Some times we just need a little light relief, something that we click on and it just makes us smile https://thestoryreadingapeblog.com/2017/05/19/eleven-wishes-for-you/

The one thing these posts all have in common is they span the globe, they remind us of the fact we have more in common with 99.9% of people than we have differences with that 0.01% who seek to destroy the way of life we love, they will not win unless we let them poison our heart, take care of each other and remember a smile to a stranger can create ripples that might be what is needed to heal our world.

Lazy Sunday #35

I have had a really busy weekend, actually make that week lol so I have not read many blogs but I have quickly picked out a couple then I have a video for your viewing pleasure…

  1. First up being overweight I get totally how hard it is to take those first steps and also the stigma that surrounds fat people exercising, the same people who tell you to lose weight and exercise are the ones who taunt you when you try so I have so much respect for anyone who is willing to share their journey https://theconsultingwriter.wordpress.com/2017/03/13/inspiring/
  2. I have to confess I very rarely take the time to treat myself in terms of someone else performing treatments on me, I might throw on a face mask at home, or, file and paint my nails  but I feel guilty spending money on luxuries like that unless it is a special occasion but I had to goggle at this description https://lucywilliamspoetry.wordpress.com/2017/03/25/lucys-diary-25032017/

I am going to leave it at just the two blog posts because yesterday this happened…

It was day two of the day jobs Comic Relief fund-raising and I ended up joining in doing a little wiggling, the video is quite long, 27 mins but that is because it does show two days of activity so you can either watch through and see our fund-raising fun or skip forward and watch me embarrass myself lol

Book Review – Telling Tales By Alan Bennett

I have to say I challenge anyone who has heard his voice not to read this and hear him talking to you…

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As usual begin with the Goodreads blurb…

Ten childhood snapshots from the master of the monologue Alan Bennett recalls his childhood in a sequence of talks that are funny, touching and told in his unique style. Hampered, as he sees it, by a family that never manages to be quite like other families he recounts his early years in Leeds a place where one learned early on the quite useful lesson that life is generally something that happens elsewhere: there is hiking every Sunday, trips into town and teas in cafes. Its an ordinary childhood, Bennetts father a butcher, his mother a reader of womens magazines who dreams of coffee mornings and cocktail parties and life down south. He re-lives family crises, early pieties and the lost tradition of musical evenings round the piano, all these tales told with that wry observation and ironic understatement that has earned Alan Bennett a place in the forefront of contemporary writing.

Even though his childhood in Leeds took place decades before my own I can still relate to much of what he was saying, I grew up on the outskirts of Leeds in a mining village and to be honest it always felt like you went back a decade or two from the city centre. But the truth is that even for those who grew up in other areas there will be elements from their own childhood they recognise, after all we all have those certain characters in our childhood that make their mark one way or another. Though it is written about a specific area the language is not dialectically difficult, and as I said in the opening if you have heard Alan Bennett’s voice it is impossible to read this without your head creating the illusion of him narrating it to you.  It is also interesting reading the introduction the understand more about his reasons for choosing to use this medium to relate his personal stories. It is a slim book and can be read in one night and makes a refreshing change to some of the ‘celebrity’ memoirs that are three hundred volumes of drivel., it is a testament to Bennett’s genius that he can select out a few memories that give you such an in-depth understanding into his childhood without needing a whole book.

And for the score, well it has to be five out of five stars.

Gold star

Glossybox Review December 2017

Finally up to date as I wait for this months box to arrive and I have to say I love the box…

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Sadly as much as I liked the box I didn’t have it long as my daughter also loved it lol so lets see if the contents matched the packaging…

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I have to be honest I was not blown away despite the fact it was full of make up products but did I feel the same after I had used them?

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MDMFLOW Semi-Matte Lipstick in Vamp

The first thing I should say was I chose the colour for this which also influenced the next product as well. I am not sure if I like this packaging, the lipstick does seem quite small however I did like the colour when I opened it…

dsc02272I chose this colour out of the two options as the other was a more neutral shade of which I have plenty when I swatched it I did find it was lighter than I initially expected but was still a nice berry colour…

dsc02273I love the packaging for this and I really like the colour. The lipstick stayed on quite well though required definite topping up after eating and drinking, at £18 I am not sure if I would buy more especially given the only option would seem to be online so the fact photos do not necessarily show true colour would put me off.

Next up…

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Revlon Nail Enamel in Valentine

I have to be honest out of the whole box this was the biggest disappointment. The colour sent was chosen to be paired with the lipstick you chose, to be honest the match is not a good one colour wise in the first place and this nail varnish left me frustrated, seemed to either have to be applied thin and streaky to get it to dry and more than two coats it would not dry properly, in the end gave it up. At £6.49 it is not really expensive but I still would not buy it.

Next…

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Collection Cosmetics Define & Perfect Eyebrow Powder

I cannot make up my mind on this product, the colour is just about right for me, maybe a little dark…

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I don’t mind the little brush application process…

dsc02276I already mainly use a powder to do my eyebrows so that was not problem. It took my a while to put my finger on it but the issue is the ball bearings that for some reason are rattling around in the brush bit. The thing is I can’t even work out why it is there, if it was in the powder side I might have thought it was there to loosen it except that it would actually pack it down, there is no liquid in the brush part that need agitating it is just annoying and distracts me as I use it. At £4.19 it is a good price and I like the product, they just need to sort the rattling noise.

 

The next product is this one…

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Lipcote Lipcote

Sometimes a product can have been around for a long time before you ever try it, for me this was one of those products. To an extent I think I never needed it, most lip products these days are designed to have a long lasting formula, so I tried this out over a range of lipsticks, I have to say it did make some last longer, others I could not say I saw a difference, I confess I do not like the tacky feeling that you get when you have first applied it however that does fade very quickly and at £3.99 it is actually a reasonable price if it makes lipsticks last longer before you need to reapply after all many of the lipsticks cost far more.

And the final item…

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Essence Light up your face luminizer palette

When I first looked at this palette I was not impressed, the colours were not really suited to my skin tone however once I stopped and considered how I could use the palette I have become rather fond of it.

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Rather than using them all as luminizing powders I have been using the two outer darker shades to use for contour shades when I feel the need to contour during the day, they give a little glow along with the shading and I use the middle highlighter if I want a more subtle glow or over the top of a liquid highlighter. I will say that for nights out the shades are not strong enough but they are fine for during the day r for when you need to be understated and at £3 would also be great to take out to top up rather than carrying your more expensive products with you.

Resolutions 2017 – January

So the first month has flown by and I hold my hands up, it has not been the start to the year I would have wished for but O really want to concentrate on finding the positives so let’s see how I did…

01)  Lose weight, yup this old chestnut again, I lost a stone and a half in the second half of last year so just set up a fresh spread sheet and new targets, while I know I have a lot more weight to lose than my target weight I am simply being realistic about losing weight in a healthy way.

Well at the end of the months technically I am down but would have been better if I had not had the blip in the middle, the problem is nights out and stress have both contributed this month to that pound put back on but I want to just focus on the positive and the 2lbs lost. I really want to be losing a pound a week so I did half of what I wanted this month lets hope next is better.

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02) Publish the remaining two parts of the Queen of Ages trilogy

I have started on the second part but am well down on where I wanted to be by the end of this month, however I am determined the first draft will be done before the middle of March so time to get stuck in this month and make up for lost time.

03) Exercise more

I have not made it to the pool this month at all, just bad timing with other things I have had on but next month I fully intend to start getting back into the Monday morning swim at the very least. As you can see I did not hit my 10k step target very often, it is annoying that I cannot get it to show the full month rather than the 28 days but as I can’t change it just have to work with the stats we have. as they were all set at zero on first of last month the increase looks fab but the important thing will be to keep that figure going up, the one thing that is obvious is I need to do more than just housework on Sundays.

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04) Blog at least four times a week

If you are reading my blog you know I failed this terribly but I promise you it is going to get better, family issues and commitments as I discussed earlier in the month have had to take priority but am now getting better organised and balancing everything better.

05) Get out more

If you get my newsletter or follow me on social media you will know I did get out twice this month, once with friends and the second time with the monster (it counts for now okay) both times to the Chinese Buffet, which actually accounts for that pound put back on lol. No actual nights out planned for this month but do have a lunch planned with my lovely friend Debbie and hoping to arrange a coffee meeting with another friend. I am also working on a special outing the month after which I will tell you more about nearer the time.

06) Write every day

I did not manage to write daily but what I did do was write when I had chance and also sort out several old folders with different bits of short stories, as you can see this actually is providing the basis for two very different short story collections potentially, well actually you can’t see both just the one but not going to say which one will come first lol, at the minute one looks like it may be family/relationship based and the other horror, just out of curiosity please answer in the comments do you prefer themed short story collection or ones that are a complete mix of genres?

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07) Work on my self belief

This month I have taken on a new mantra ‘It is what it is!’ By this I am looking at accepting my failings without judgement upon myself, I will not rip myself to pieces because I did not achieve all my goals, I will not waste energy fighting the tide on things I cannot change and I will embrace situations and make the most of them. It does not mean I shall not strive to push myself but it does mean that I shall have faith that if I fail there is a reason and it is not always myself at fault.

08)  Time management

Well obviously I as have not been hitting my targets it would seem I have been failing miserably however it is not quite true, because I have been making more time for family and to spend quality time with my son. I do need to focus more and be more productive during the daytime hours I have spare for writing and that will be my focus for the next month.

09) Update my wardrobe

Well obviously two pounds is not enough to justify a new wardrobe but I have been thinking about what I want my look to be, I recently added some purple to the pink in my hair and I am tempted to move more towards purple than pink, I am rather liking the idea of a ‘steam-punk’, Victorian ‘Gothic’ I like the idea of the corseted structured look with maybe the long bustled /layered skirts however with a butt the size of mine that may not be the most flattering look to go for.

10)  Publish the newsletter each month

The February newsletter went out on time and I am pleased to say I had plotted out half of it during the month, with the exception of a book to my friend Heidi and the January prize sending out I am now caught up on the mailing situation so that is a huge bonus. I am hoping to have more exciting things to discuss in the newsletters as time goes by because it is hard to make it so they are more than a rehash of FB and Instagram posts and not just pushing the same book over and over again.

11) Work out what I want in my personal life

This month my personal life has not taken a step forwards, backwards or in any other direction. My son has been my priority and my one night out was not exactly the sort of night that was going to give the opportunity to meet someone. At the minute I have so much on making time to met new people is going to be hard, I don’t really want to go down the on line route and just talking to people on line because you can’t judge if the chemistry is there via text or even on the phone, it is a physical reaction, I did meet someone last summer but due to other issues it did not work out but the chemistry was off the chart and the memory of how alive that spark made me feel means I am not about to settle for anything less.

12) Keep my website up to date

I am technically behind by one post as I write this, mainly because I struggle to think of interesting things at the minute to put on up there, I also am due to add another today as I am finally finishing this in the Sunday despite the fact it has been on the go since Wednesday but it has been a rather chaotic week personally so I am going to forgive myself as after all ‘It is what it is!’

Lazy Sunday #30 (I know it’s Monday but it seems it did not publish despite me hitting the button!)

Good morning, I am trying to get back into the habit of posting this earlier in the day once again, however I keep getting distracted by Roger Federer bending over in front of me, and no don’t worry I am not delusional just watching the Australian open final as I write this so if you do not get it till after lunch it is his fault. I am a huge an of Federer, in an age where so many sports stars have become arrogant he remains a gent, there are no tabloid front pages of tantrums, affairs or drug scandals, I think he should be the sporting hero we show as a an example to children of what you should aspire to and though I am not a fan of Rafa Nadal I have to say this match has been a Tennis master-class.

So I haven’t spent much time this week at the computer again but I do need to seriously get stuck in to the various projects I am working on and that also means getting my routine back in place as far a blogging and everything else. I find once I start neglecting one aspect of my writing I neglect all, the slippery slope is very steep for me, so today I will be working on the newsletter for Wednesday, and don’t forget if you choose to sign up whether here, via FB or my website every month when you open the newsletter you are entered in a prize draw for that month, the prize changes each month and is announced in the newsletter. So let’s get on with a few blogs for this week…

  1. I can honestly say I have never considered writing nonfiction, I read lots, especially true crime but writing it always seemed so much like hard work to me, all that research and fact checking and then trying to make it different to all the other books on the same subject, So when I spotted this post on a blog I follow I thought hmmm this might be an interesting journey to follow, it might not be to everyones taste but I am in on seeing how he does in this class https://thevelveteenmaraca.wordpress.com/2017/01/27/serious-nonfiction/
  2. So, you have written a book, think the hard work is done, think again, it is only just beginning! Actually persuading people to read your book is tough, you give the ebook away in promotions it sits on kindles untouched but even if people read it getting them to leave that all important review is even harder. While I am not sure the classes are right for me I do think the articles on this blog are always well worth a read https://warriorwriters.wordpress.com/2017/01/26/how-to-sell-your-book-first-what-is-it/
  3. Next up is one that made me stop and think, about friendship, what it means and when it is not really friendship but something else which is hard to define, and how sometimes the only option we have for our own sanity is to walk away from a situation, I confess I have had some myself where I really should have followed her example in taking the practical steps a lot sooner than I did https://blessedwithastarontheforehead.com/2017/01/28/a-real-friend-knows-when-it-is-time-to-let-go-of-the-friendship/
  4. The next one is a photo blog, I love to travel but don’t get to do as much as I would like, damn that bank account lol but I do get to see places through the eyes of others here on WordPress and it is not only the sunny days that can give you a taste of a new location https://briangaynorphotography.com/2017/01/28/the-shroud-of-the-city/
  5. And lastly we go full circle, I talk about how for me to be more productive I must be busier and more organised for others the opposite is true but I love this description of being called back by the muse, I also fell in lose with one of my characters but not saying which one lol https://artistpath.wordpress.com/2017/01/27/enchanted/

As you may guess from the fact this is landing in your inboxes after one pm the tennis went to a fifth set, Roger distracted my by being awesome and he won so I am rather happy about that. off now to top up the coffee and update the website before cleaning the bathroom, what glamorous lives we authors lead!

Glossybox Review – October 2016

I am a little behind with these so I want to post a couple over the next few weeks so we catch up ready for next years boxes…

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It was the basic pink box and I confess I was not initially thrilled when I saw the contents but I will say one product was a very pleasant surprise.

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First up I am going to address the surprise bonus item, this was not the pleasant surprise I referred to though.the shampoo sample was a decent size allowing for a few uses, it left my hair feeling very soft and smooth but I did feel like me hair felt thinner, I handed it over to my daughter and again she agreed it made her hair feel very silky but she felt it made her hair look oily. We both did take wild guesses at what we thought it might be and my daughter guessed correctly in that it is a shampoo from Head & Shoulders, though I would not personally use this for my hair I would recommend it as an anti-dandruff shampoo still.

Next up…

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BEE GOOD Honey & Camelina Facial Exfoliator

I did like this and at £10.50 it is a similar price to the one I already use. The one thing I did find was it did not seem to last as well as my other product I use, I have to be fair and point out this may be because I did not use it regularly so it probably lasted longer than it should have but I did not love it enough to switch from my regular Naobay one.

Next up…

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NUXE Shimmering Dry Oil Huile Prodigieuse OR

This product confuses me, it suggests it can be used for the hair as well as the skin but comes in a nail varnish style bottle which is very awkward when it comes to getting it out. I looked at the price, I looked again then I shook my head, the price listed is £34. The gold flecks are supposed to give a shimmer…

dsc02131and maybe they would if you were already bronzed shimmering and stood in the sunlight but I found it had very little effect under normal lighting. Overall I felt this was a waste of money, I took it along to a night out and let a couple of friends try it and they shared my opinion both in terms of product and packaging.

Next up…

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Trifle Cosmetics Lip Parfait -Buttery Lip Cream

I have received this exact lipstick previously via the So Susan Love Lip bag but I was not disappointed to see it, this shade is a barely there neutral…

dsc02135but it serves to work in different ways. These lipsticks are very moisturising and hydrating, the colour pigmentation is good and they last well. This shade offers the option of wearing alone or being worn as a base to put other more drying lipsticks over. At £12.95 the price tag can seem a little excessive especially as the tube is actually cardboard but the designs are bright and fun and the lipsticks themselves are great especially in summer when you need all the moisture you can get.

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UNIVERSAL BEAUTY COSMETICS Secret Flush, soothing Cream Blusher & Lips Stain Duo

Okay I confess I saw this and was not im[ressed, I am not a fan of cream blushes and personally think they are not very flattering on older skin, this was no different but when I took the lid off I liked what I saw…

dsc02140I liked the fact they added an extra layer of protection so that when you removed the normal lid there is an extra clip over cover…

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The colour is somewhere between a dark coral and dusky pink, and though I would not wear it as blush it makes quite a nice lipstick though of course it needs to be applied via a brush, at £15 it is not something I am likely to ever buy but I will definitely use it up.

And finally the pleasant surprise…

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PS…PRO Miracle Pencil

When I saw this I was intrigued, I expected it to maybe do one job well if I was lucky, then I looked at the details on the card and stopped expecting it to do anything. Now, I am not a make up snob but at £2 from Primark I was not expecting a lot but I tried it, the pencil is so much more creamy than I expected, it blends out well and does work as lip and eye liner as well as concealing small areas, I have not really tried contouring my lips with it as such though it does highlight the bow slightly, I was very impressed at this especially given the price tag and would happily try other products from this range and may very well replace this once it runs out.

Thoughts On Thursday – The Learning Curve!

You write a book, you put it up on Amazon, your done, right? Wrong!

I have decided to run this, a new series of posts on a Thursday discussing the things I learn about the self publishing journey as I go along.

There are so many things now that you have no idea about when you start out as a self published author, things that you might think should be simple but oh no there are a thousand pitfalls awaiting you. So what I am going to do over the next few weeks is discuss some of the things I have learnt about so far on my publishing journey, some mistakes have been more costly than others.

Lets start with a pretty basic one, a business card. Everyone who has any type of business needs to have a card they an hand out, you can get them from a thousand printers on line and in your local area but getting it right is a whole different ball game, and one I got wrong the first time round.

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Now at first glance you might look at it and wonder what is wrong, it looks okay but then think bout what it tells you.

It tells you I have written one book, the book featured on the card, a ghost story book, it does not tell you that my novels I am realising are a completely different genre, or even that I have other books.

It gives you some information about the places you can find me on social media but misses out the website, now to be fair I did not have the website when I designed these but because I was naive I ordered a few hundred cards I then had a website and no one knew about it and I had a pile of cards so did not feel I could buy new ones until I used the ones I had up.

The next thing was the price and quality, I could have bought them cheaper but I heard from various sources that some of the ‘offers’ I had seen advertised turned out to be poor quality, I found somewhere I thought was fairly cheap and spent extra on the glossy finish and thicker card, and they were good in that respect, but there really are so many companies now that it is impossible to check them all out so a couple of things I learnt along the way…

  • Ask other people, both personally and online about the companies they have used, most people if you ask politely and respectfully will be happy to help with information like this.
  • Go onto the various sites and take a look, run through the process of designing or uploading your design, see how easy their system is to use, check out the pricing options and shipping remember just because you put the stuff into the computer does not mean you are obliged to buy them just stop before you hit the pay button.
  • Check out on their website if they offer samples, I sent to two different companies for sample packs, these give you an idea of not only the size of their cards but generally other products like flyers etc you may wish to consider at a later date and allows you to feel the different card qualities and finishes before you commit to ordering.
  • Make sure you save your design somewhere safe on your computer, just because you order from a place once does not mean you are tied to them, I would suggest ordering the smallest amount option for your first order, you can always order more at a later date if you are satisfied with the product and service.

So as you may have glanced on my vlog this is my new business card…

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Now the one thing you might notice I have included on this one is a phone number and this is another tip, at a small cost you can get a skype phone number, the great thing about this is you can literally set yourself business hours, I am at my desk Monday to Friday mornings most weeks, I tend to do blog posts, read emails, for the first couple of hours each day then afternoons and evenings are reserved for friends, family and writing. The great thing about the skype number is it goes to the computer and means I do not have to give out my personal mobile or my home phone, I chose to add it because as a chose dark colours for the background and a glossy finish, scribbling it on individual cards as need was not an option, plus if anyone abuses the number it is very easy to block using skype as I have to do several times a week with scam contacts. I would also say if you try to contact anyone via a skype number make sure from the message you send they know who you are and why they should add you to their contacts. Generally  business cards ware only given out to business contacts so unwanted calls should not be too much of an issue.

Okay so hope someone might have found something useful in this post and I shall do another next week if you enjoyed it.