The Content Of A Creative.

Saturday, 29 July 2017

Ways I'm Using To Stop Spending Money.

Saving money is always a huge challenge for anyone, no matter how much or how little you want to save, or what it is you are saving for.  For quite a long time I have been scouring the internet on tips and ideas I can use to help me save money, and saving money on everything, from food to petrol, clothes and movies, even every day essentials.

Another interesting view I have come to discover is what could I do to actually 'stop' spending money.  So not necessarily 'saving' straight away, but ways in which I could potentially stop spending the money I get every month.  Like by stopping my 'impulse purchases', which I do feel I tend to do an awful lot.  They may sometimes be few and far between but they always make a huge difference.
By the time I have noticed there is never much I can do about it.

So a little while ago I decided to put a little idea into action.   Ways on how I could stop spending money and have more money to spare at the end of the month before any wages go in, that I can use to perhaps pay any bills early or put towards gifts I need to buy, get extra petrol I need, put towards savings or to just simply have as a float in my bank.

These are a few ideas that I use that I feel helps me to stop spending money.

1) Reading.

You could add that books in general are practically free if you get them from a library or if you borrow them from a friend which I have done on a fair few occasions.  The only exception is when you get your books from a charity shop.  I personally don't class that as 'buying for me'.  That is me giving a little to others to get a book.  The point is by reading a book, which actually takes me ages anyway, it can stop me going out and spending money on something else.

2) Painting.

If you have read my previous posts you know I like to paint.  Of course paints and brushes, paper etc do cost money but you don't have to spend a lot initially, and when I get into the flow of my painting I can do it for ages and ages, sometimes for days.   Just a little tip I have discovered to share, I usually buy the A3 size watercolour pads which I then split in half to A4 size and it makes the pad last longer.  That's what I do.  It definitely works.

3) Colouring.

The price of colouring books has definitely gone up over the last five years, but I believe if you are like me and really enjoy colouring you can allow for this change, particularly as the colouring books themselves have become so much better in quality, with more choice, more detailed pictures and in general are a lot thicker now too.   I can colour for hours.  Providing you don't go overboard by initially spending too much on too many colouring books at one time, I find it's well worth splashing out a bit more on a good quality one that will last you a several months.   The one thing I find about colouring is sometimes I get carried away, particularly if I am colouring at night time.   The other night I started doing a little bit at 11pm because I couldn't sleep.   When I next looked at the clock it read 1.15AM!   Yeah!  Best not to get too carried away.

4) Watching Movies and TV Shows.

This is true because if you watch a film at home, I will stress at home because the cinema now is so expensive, generally it's on for at least two hours.   I'm not saying I don't go to the cinema at all anymore because I do, but I am quite selective about what films I see nowadays.  I still have TV show marathons as well, like a lot of others out there, and that can take hours as well.   You're not spending money when you're watching them are you?!   It's particularly nice when you are watching movies with your family or friends especially funny ones because you can just laugh together.

5)  Playing The Sims.

I was actually in two minds about sharing this because generally I don't tend to play games anymore  And it's not something I've done for a long time either, however, in the past I have found that playing The Sims 2 takes my mind of things in general, and it has proven to have stopped me from spending money.   As I actually still have my Sims 2 games, and I would at this point just point out that I never got on with The Sims 3, I am tempted to give them a little go and see if my theory works.  Without getting so addicted that I totally forget the outside world of course, which has never happened anyway.  It would just be intriguing to try out, perhaps just for a number of days over the course of the next month and see if it makes a difference.  Who knows, I might not even enjoy it, but it's worth a go.

Thanks for reading

Sarah x

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Favourite Pins 101.3.

I am beginning to find just how many different ideas Pinterest is giving me recently, whether that be for my art, or ideas for gifts, or just generally keeping up with what's out there.  I have always found collecting in general fun.  The best thing about Pinterest is that you can collect for free.  Of course there is always that moment when you find a specific gift idea on there, and then go out and buy it! Regardless of cost?....  It can be easy to get carried away with finding ideas on here that you want to buy.   On the other hand, Pinterest always gives me ideas for my art too which is really good.

These are some of my favourite Pins I have recently discovered and added to my collection.

So it's official, I am a sucker for unicorns and this cuddly toy is just too cute!   They are very popular now, I am forever seeing them in toy shops everywhere I go.  I am not a big pink fan generally, but I am willing to skip past that for this.   It is so cute and I bet it's nice and soft and snuggly.  I want it!

The copper bathtub!  Complete with large copper shower head.    Not like the really rubbish plastic ones you can get nowadays.  It's the shape of this bathtub I particularly like, and also the depth of these tubs make them look very appealing too.  I find it has an 'antique' look about it too.  You can just imagine filling it with warm water with loads of bubbles flowing over the top of it.   Can't have a bath without bubbles.

This is a dress that has immediately caught my eye.  I think it is just so pretty, and so sweet.   Unusually, this is not a colour that I generally go for, myself.  There is just something about it that to be truthful, has sparked a memory inside me, like I have seen it or rather something similar somewhere before, perhaps when I was very little.  I'm not sure whether it wold be something I would wear now, but it is a lovely colour.  It looks like a bridesmaid's dress.

I am loving the look of this place.   It's because I love trees and forests and strange paths that lead to exquisite places!    This forest which is apparently the Isle Of Aran in Scotland, and is called 'The King's Path'.  It sounds and looks really exciting.   Never been to Scotland personally, but a friend of mine, and a family member also, tend to go there quite frequently.  Perhaps I should go one day too.   I wouldn't mind getting lost in a forest.  For a short length of time anyway.

Here we have a Magical Tree.  I have chosen to add this pin to my favourite Tree pin board because it's sooo pretty!!!  It's a special tree.   Beautiful colours, with added little critters hiding away in awe behind a large rock.   That's what it looks like anyway.   I didn't see them straight away either.  That is unusual for me considering I have always felt like I have an eye for detail.

I love this picture because it looks like a magical pool hidden within some mystical mountains that only lights up under the light of a night sky invaded by shooting stars.   That is how I see it.  I think this is as stunning picture.

This is a great poster I added to my Super Hero pin board.   I only saw this movie the other week too, and I thought it was bloody brilliant.    If you haven't seen it already I highly recommend it.  It's a bit weird, a bit crazy and random at times, but it was an awesome movie.   I really enjoyed it.   I loved The Joker and Harley Quinn the best because they were both so weird.  It was very good.

I absolutely love this picture.   So far it is quite possibly one of my favourite 'art' pins I have saved.  It's just so stunning.   I have also saved this one to two different boards, my Art board for obvious reasons, and my 'Atmospheric' board also, because I truly believe it is very atmospheric.  It is just such a beautiful, simplistic picture.  It's incredible.   I actually wouldn't mind owning it myself.  It's lovely.

There is nothing like some bright, psychedelic art to finish with.   I have chosen to share this specific favourite pin of mine as my star sign is in fact Leo the Lion.  I love this because I feel like it is very 'me', being a colour and abstract/fractal/geometric (had to get them all in) art fan.   If you take a look at these last two pins I have shared, you will notice the lion is obviously the light, colourful, psychedelic picture, and the ballerina is the dark, atmospheric one.   They say most people have a light side and a dark side to them in some sense, so perhaps this is an example of mine.

I hope you have enjoyed reading about my favourite pins, I do enjoy sharing them with everyone who reads my blog.   In some ways I actually find it quite therapeutic to talk about the pins I have saved.   As strange as that may sound.

Thanks for reading.

Sarah x


Monday, 24 July 2017

Ultimate Content Marketing 101.3

The last time I wrote a post about the topic of content marketing I indulged in the idea of presenting interesting facts in little bitesize snippets as it can be easier, particularly if you are a new blogger just starting out, to digest and take from these chunks what you feel you find useful.

Somehow, whilst I share my research, I am going to attempt to learn how to use content marketing more effectively whilst I blog whether that be casually, or how I am blogging right now.  What I have immediately found out is, well this is not easy.  But I guess it is not supposed to be easy to begin with.   And yet it still fascinates me.

These are a few bitesize snippets I have come across whilst browsing the internet today.

1) Renew Old Content.

This is probably one of the easiest ones to do, and at some point we have all probably already done it.  I did it last week in for my last post on content marketing.

Do you know what I did?  I added an extra image into the content.   That's it.  That's how I renewed my original content.   I know that doesn't sound like an awful lot.  But I wanted to see if it made a difference, and this post did get a few more views than it did before, so thank you for all who have read this piece.   Maybe a picture does speak a thousand words!   In all seriousness it is also very effective to perhaps add in or expand on an original piece of text as well as, or instead of.  Try both maybe. Still a great idea.

2) Make A Plan To Gain A Bigger Audience.

This I have been trying to do for such a long time.  Generally I tend to just use Twitter and just recently Pinterest to promote my posts, but today I made a bit of a leap and set up Buffer.  I have only been using it for quite literally half a day, but already I am starting to notice a difference, plus I only have the free version at the moment.   But I have been so impressed with it already I am noticing a difference.  You also have the option to pay to get more privileges with it, or just have the free version.  So if you don't have Buffer already, I highly recommend it because I think particularly long-term, it's going to make a huge difference to me.   That is my first step in planning for gaining a bigger audience.

3) Always Make A Reference To Your Favourite Bloggers.

Or anyone else you gain inspiration from that has helped you along your blogging journey.   I tend to use Twitter a lot for this because of the amount of bloggers that I have started following recently.  They are all unique in their own ways, and they all have something interesting to say, and I thoroughly enjoy reading and commenting on other peoples blogs.    It gives a sense of community and I have made some really great friends along the way.

4)  Talk About Trends.

I need to do this a bit more.  As I mentioned I do use Twitter an awful lot, like every day, but I don't always look to see what is trending all the time.  Trends change so often but I guess in a way that is even more reason to stay on top of them.  One of my favourite sites for trends is I check that quite frequently.  So perhaps that is something else that is not particularly hard to do, as long as you are interested and passionate about the thing you are talking about.  I think that is really important.

5) Write Like You Are Speaking To A Friend.

This is a great tip.  I love it because it is really just something so natural, and I feel it is something that I tend to do already.   I think it makes anything that you write a bit more personal and that is a good thing.   That in itself makes information easier to digest.  Or if you look at it a different way, if you sell something on your blog or website for example, sometimes that product on it's own may not sell itself, so if it is a product that you genuinely believe in, then you alone have the ability to sell it.  Writing like you are speaking to a friend means you are being open and honest with your reader, which means that reader will come back.  The same way a customer would go back to the shop they received good service in.

What do you think about these tips?!

Thanks for reading.

Sarah x


Sunday, 23 July 2017

From Watercolours To Acrylics.

So this is how I have spent my Sunday, testing out my new acrylic paints I got for myself.  That and despairing over how Microsoft Paint is being scrapped after 32 years!  I have just this minute read this, check it out if you haven't seen it.

I can't believe it.  I was 2 years old when that was created!  Anyway...moving on.  Although I do still very much love painting with watercolours, I am finding that acrylic paints seem to have suddenly caught my attention.    The only little thing, and it is only a minor detail, is that I am still painting on watercolour paper....but I thought, I am only practicing at the moment and I didn't want to start spending out on paper straight away in case I didn't get on with them.   I thought that seemed sensible.   These are a few I have done so far.

I quite like the way this one has turned out.  I had fun with this one.  I wanted the brighter colours to stand out so I put it on the black background.  I think it looks quite effective, and yet so simple.  I also started to introduce a bit of water mixed in with my paints with this one to see what effect it would give me.  I like this painting because it started to show me how strong acrylic colours can look on paper.

I will say... I know this is a bit dark.  I had an idea about this one, and to be fair I wasn't intending to go as dark as I did, looking at it now I could have brought some of the red colour through the middle perhaps, but I still like it.  It's an iron gate at sunset.  I have also been told it looks a bit 'celtic'.  So that's cool.   It is perhaps one of the darkest paintings I have ever done that is for sure.  I still enjoyed painting it.

Out of the three paintings this one is my favourite and I am really pleased how it has turned out.  Purple and blue are my favourite colours so I decided to have a go at doing this sky with just some dark grass at the bottom.  So it is a night time scene, so again, quite dark, but I really love it.  It definitely turned out better than I had hoped so that's pretty good.  I might even put it on my wall.

So I feel that I am having a few good art days recently and still loads of room for improvement too.  Let's see if I can keep them up.

Thanks for reading.

Sarah x



Sunday, 16 July 2017

July Life Update.

The Tree Of Life - Animal Kingdom.

July does seem to be going pretty fast for me this year.   Might soon be time to start counting down to my birthday which is in August.  Nearly anyway.   So I have been trying keep myself busy.  So far today I have painted a second coat on the side of our shed, and done a first coat on the shed doors as it was nice and dry and sunny out, but not too hot which was good.  I enjoyed it, I found it therapeutic!

Managed to do a bit of drawing this afternoon too, ready for me to paint, so I will be doing that at some point although I haven't decided when, but as I have been painting the garden shed that might be enough for me today!  We shall see.  I have also caught up with some housework, got that out the way with first, and I have caught up with some of Hollyoaks as I always record it, and I do find the storylines are normally very good.   I am really loving the character of Warren, played by actor Jamie Lomas, because he is sweet and devious at the same time.  Hollyoaks has a great plot surrounding Warren and Grace Black at the moment and I am loving it.

I am still doing little bits of colouring, check out my previous post of ones I have done already, and I have spent the last couple of days sorting out a few things that I have put off like washing, sorting, tidying, the usual things really.  It's always best not to put things off for too long.  I now have an Agenda journal so I have started writing my list of jobs I want to do in there.  It has definitely been helping me and it really has started to become a habit me writing in it practically every single day.

The other day whilst I was in town I also treated myself to a new top and a new smart jacket and I am so pleased with them.  I haven't treated myself to much recently so I was really pleased.  The jacket fits perfectly too.

This is the jacket.  I didn't have a navy jacket, but I do now.  This was £34.99 from H&M.  It's a beautiful fit, and it has a ruffled effect on the back of the arms from the elbow down.  It is so comfortable I love it.

This was the top and it's from Oasis.  I love the Oasis brand I always find they fit very well and  I find they are very 'fashion forward'.   They always keep up with the current fashion trends.   This top was actually on sale, and I wasn't planning on buying a top at the time, I did go out just for a jacket, but the top was only £20.  Bargain.   So I am really pleased with both my purchases.   It is always nice to treat yourself every once in a while too.  I am not usually one to go on a spending spree, but I like a treat, particularly as these two items fit as well as they do.   Plus I got some money off my mum and dad as it's my birthday soon, so I put that towards these two.   A great birthday gift!

To round off the end of today I watched The Amazing Spider-Man starring Andrew Garfield, and I thought it was very good.  You can't go wrong with a Marvel movie at the moment.

Thanks for reading.

Sarah x


Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Favourite Pins 101.2

Do you know, I am pretty selective when it comes to Pinterest.  I have just discovered this. And the way I know that I am very selective is my first Pin that I have just added and I would like to share with you, has literally taken me ages to choose despite the fact that said Pin is from one of my favourite movies of all time.   You would think with it being from one of my favourite movies that I would want to start randomly choosing pictures and pinning everything to do with the movie, but to be honest, there are so many I love, I would be here forever.

They always say an image is worth a thousand words, but for most people a single image can mean so much more than that.   An image that has the ability to take you right back to a time, in this instance, to when you first watched this movie or the last time you watched it.   The scene where Jareth (the Goblin King) and Sarah are dancing at the masquerade ball to 'As The World Falls Down' is one of my favourites because there is something so magical about it that I always find myself becoming lost in the moment with this very scene.  For me the movie Labyrinth as a whole, would actually be my own perfect 'alternate reality'.   That is how special this movie is for me.

Keeping with the movie theme, I discovered this piece of fan art of Robin Williams who I absolutely adored as an actor and comedian.  I love this artwork, it's been done very well.   My favourite movie of his was Mrs. Doubtfire, she was an incredible character that he created, followed by Jumanji, because that was such a fun film, followed by The Birdcage because it was so funny, and I loved him as the Genie in Aladdin too.   Such a great actor!  Love this picture.   Also, check out my link here of an interesting article I have recently read about Robin Williams' greatest movie performances.

Leonardo DiCaprio.  He is just beautiful.  And he is one of my favourite actors of all time.  There is nothing more to say, except I love him.

I love this not only because it looks really, really cute, but also because well just recently I have seemed to have developed a fascination to objects in a glass container, designed and marketed as jewellery.  If I wanted to buy someone a really special gift I would probably look for something like this because it is really unusual, and I do love unusual things.  Plus I love starfish.   They are fascinating creatures.

Now this looks really cool.   I have always loved dragons, and this picture is of the town hall in Munich, in Germany.  So this is supposedly a life size dragon, climbing up the wall of the town hall.  I would love to see this for real.  It looks awesome.   Better still, if I ever won the lottery and could afford a really old mansion, I would find an architect who would design a similar looking dragon to climb up my wall too.  It's brilliant.

I really love this too.  So this is 'Fractal Art' as opposed to abstract art.   Brilliant use of colour in the design and for me, I find this picture really striking to be honest.  It is the sort of pattern I would really love to find in a colouring book somewhere and colour it in myself.   I really do like this one.  It's kaleidoscopic and  mesmerising!

This is really pretty.  It's a bit unusual, but I love the red rose on it with the pretty little jewel in the centre.   I just really love the detail that is on it.   It would make a lovely gift for a loved one.  There is something very romantic about it.

One of my favourite perfumes.  I really love the sweet scent of this, it is so lovely and I find it's not too over-powering either.  I have a small collection of the rings that come round the top of the bottle too.  I just don't want to throw them out.  It is in my opinion one of the more expensive perfumes I usually have, but it is most definitely worth the money. Check out the link below for some great savings on Vera Wang Princess fragrance.

Well this looks like a rather interesting cocktail, I might have to give this one a try.  I do love blueberries, I think gin is ok, I am not a massive fan of gin, but it's ok.   What I am interested in is the other ingredients especially the Crème de Violette Liqueur.  That sounds awesome.   So I am totally willing to give it a go anyway.   And doesn't it look pretty in the glass?!

Well this has been saved to my sweet section of my Pinterest.   Hot chocolate fudge pudding cake, with ice cream of course.  I need it.  I need it in my life right now.   It looks heavenly.   Whenever I eat out at restaurants I always have a pudding, and I do generally opt for some sort of chocolate fudge brownie/cake thing with lashings of cream.  I do prefer cream to ice cream too, I have very sensitive teeth so even though I do like ice cream, I only have it occasionally.  This dessert still looks so scrumptious.   I could so eat a big bowl of it right now.

Hope you all like my favourite Pins and if you like, check out my new Masquerade board!

Thanks for reading.

Sarah x


Friday, 7 July 2017

My Creative Artwork And Colouring.

Over the last week I have managed to complete two new paintings and three pieces of colouring which I have been really thrilled with.  I think it has been the most amount of colouring I have done, in the space of time that I have done them in.    Most of all I feel like they have helped me to relax a bit too.   Relaxing is good.   Here are my coloured pictures done with felt tips.

An armadillo.   This colouring book is a 'Colour Therapy' one.  It has a really great selection of pictures in it. 

I love the rabbit, it is one of my favourite pictures that I have coloured.  They are so detailed too and they do take a while to complete, but the whole point is you don't rush them.  

The elephant.   I quite like the way I have coloured this one, I reckon it looks a bit more 'even' than the other two.    These types of colouring books are great because you can colour them in whatever colours you want and they can take literally ages to complete.   Especially if you are a bit of a perfectionist like me.

I have also done two paintings over the last few days, the first of which took me a little while to complete.   I basically did it in several stages over a couple of days to ensure all the colours I was using didn't 'bleed' into each other too much.   It is really annoying when that happens.    These are my two paintings.

I am quite chuffed with the way it turned out.  Still feel I need a bit of practise when blending in different colours.   I like the colours in this one.

This is the second painting.   It is a fairly simple painting I will agree, but one thing I am so pleased about is, with not having as many shades in my water colour paint selection at the moment I do a lot of mixing, and this is the first time I have managed to get a fairly decent lilac colour.  I will however at some point invest in a wider range of water colours.   I just don't want to waste the ones that I already have.   I did enjoy doing these, particularly the first painting, despite how long it took me.  I am really happy with them all.

Check out my other paintings from my previous post:

Thanks for reading.

Sarah x


Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Ultimate Content Marketing 101.2

What kind of content marketing actually works?   I believe that most content marketing has the capacity to work for every individual blogger out there because I think it's down to how you put your own personal content across that's really important.

One of the things I have discovered is 'content flow' is also an important factor.  I envision that particular point the same way I would if I was writing a fiction story.   You can't just tell your reader, so this happened, and then this happened and the outcome of it all was this... You have to expand and explain how and why etc.   Break it down and make your content consistent and easy to read.  I suppose one good example of this is to ensure the images you use are a fairly decent size.  Common sense really.   Tiny content is so annoying.

Another way of course is to incorporate visual components into your content to support it, which to be fair is what most people do.  However, one the things I have realised that I do personally just looking back at some of my previous blog posts, is sometimes I don't always think a lot about what image I place into my content, and really, I should think about it a lot more.  It's a bit of a bad habit really.    Nine times out of ten, I pick an image off the web because it 'looks nice'.   The question is, do I actually get any engagement on that specific image I have placed on my blog?  I am not quite sure I always do.

Recently I featured a post on my favourite pins:

I chose to do this post purely out of interest to see if it would build on getting more interaction and more followers on my Pinterest.   As for the outcome of this particular experiment, I didn't get many more followers as such, I got about three new followers, but what I did notice was quite a few of my pins had been saved by people, more so than ever before, and they were not necessary the pins I had featured in the post either.   So I found that rather intriguing, and I was genuinely really pleased too.  Thank you to all of you who have read this post and saved my pins, it is much appreciated.

The outcome of this is that the images I have used on that particular post seem to have not only been noticed, but saved as well.  So does that mean they will continue to do so in the future and in doing so increase engagement on my blog?  We shall have to see.

I have also discovered, having just recently reading a couple of articles in general on the web, that content which is displayed in small, easily manageable chunks, with a little image accompanying it seems like it would be much easier for the reader to digest.  It also adds that posts with visuals get 94% more page views too.  Which is always good. 

This is one of the articles I have found:

What I have taken away and learnt from this is that regardless of whether the content you are writing is considered serious or laid back, the marriage of content and the images you use to support your views and opinions is in my opinion, a genuine key to success.

For me personally, I feel I definitely need to practise a bit more when it comes to choosing images.   Hopefully as I begin to build on my content marketing knowledge I am confident my ability to choose relevant and attractive images to support that knowledge will improve, and thus improve all future blog posts on other topics I decide to write about.   The desired outcome? It will give Sarah's Dreamscapes on the whole, a higher quality feel to it , and become more interesting and appealing for my readers.

Thank you all for reading my blog.

Sarah x

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