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Sunday, 18 December 2016

Why I Have Finished Blogmas Early!

Hi, Everyone!

If you read my Blog then you've probably noticed my Blogmas ended quite abruptly the other day. I was going to catch up and was manically writing out posts at 4 am, but after missing yet another natural light opportunity today, I sat there and thought that perhaps for this year I am best to bow out early. Believe me the fact I didn't finish will annoy me forever, Really!

I discovered what Blogmas was not long after I started my Blog in September. I made a list of all the content I wanted to include minus 4 days, as I ran out of ideas, but I thought I would figure those posts out as I went along! At the start of December I didn't have much on and was able to write a post out a day in advance and photograph in the daylight, all was good! The challenge came once we got to about halfway through December, I suddenly became a lot busier.

The biggest issue I had was taking photos each day. I have a wonderful camera, but what I don't have is good lighting. As I said, I started off Blogmas photographing everything in the daylight and it went ok, however as Christmas fast approached and I had less and less time in the day, I wasn't able to photograph until about 4 pm. I didn't want to use the dreaded flash and I also didn't want to not include any photos at all. So instead of getting stressed I've finished early.

I think what the experience has taught me is that I need to plan waaay in advance next year. And although I know I don't NEED to get a softbox and ring light to be able to blog, I actually want them. My house is kind of dark in the winter and I am just not able to get the photos I really want, so if I have the right lighting perhaps that will help! So any Christmas money I am lucky enough to get this year will be going towards that.
Although like I said not finishing Blogmas 2016 will annoy me, as I like to finish what I start, I have learned from it. And I have had a lot of fun putting the posts together. I also have lots of ideas left over for Blogmas 2017!

This will most likely be my last post of the year, as I am currently getting an office space ready to blog and illustrate in. This blog has undoubtedly been the highlight of my year. Thank you to everyone who has read my posts, commented and followed. Here's to a great 2017!
Love Roar Dinosaur!
Twitter: roardinosaur_
Instagram: roardinosaurblog
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Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Blogmas Day 13: Basic Party Cupcakes

Hi All,
I am no baker, but I still wanted to take some nice basic cupcakes with me on Christmas day for us all to eat with a cuppa in the evening.
I found the recipe on Floras website HERE and did a trial run, which I decided to share on the Blog. The recipe worked a treat and they tasted delicious!
150 g Flora Buttery
150 g Caster Sugar
3 Eggs
150 g Self Raising Flour
10 Cupcake Cases
115 g Icing Sugar
Pre-heat oven to 175c
Throw all ingredients except the icing sugar in a bowl and mix until there are no lumps. Simple. Then spoon mixture into the cupcake cases. Pop in the oven for 10-12 mins. (Mine took a little longer but that might just be my oven, I suggest keeping an eye on them until they're golden)
Take out of the oven and leave to cool. Now, the recipe on the Flora site suggests using icing sugar, but I opted for chocolate frosting that I bought from Poundland. I piped the icing on top of the cupcakes (which I have never done before and you can tell, but hey, this was a practice run right?!)
I then made them a bit special with silver balls and mini white chocolate stars. They looked very pretty.
These were so quick and simple to make. They'd make a great addition to a Christmas day dessert platter, Christmas/New Years Eve party buffet cakes, or you could take them into work/school for everyone to share!
If you make them, be sure to tag me in your photos so I can see them!
Love Roar Dinosaur!
Twitter: roardinosaur_
Instagram: roardinosaurblog
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Monday, 12 December 2016

Blogmas Day 12: Looking towards 2017

Hi Everyone,

After the post I wrote the other day looking back at my year, I wanted to write a post today talking about my goals for 2017. Each year we write huge lists of resolutions and I wonder how many of us actually keep them, I don't! This year I am going to make just 3 resolutions, instead of a list as long as my arm like usual! That way it's more realistic for me, I don't feel overwhelmed on Jan 1st, and I'm not putting too much pressure on myself.

1.) I want to do more.
I want to go out and explore. I'd like to try and go on more days out, this will be difficult for me and I probably won't be successful every time, but I cannot let another year pass me by. I also want to take more opportunities instead of overthinking, stressing and then ultimately turning them down.

2) I want to lose weight.
Although it's hard for me to lose weight due to the condition I have, I really want to try harder and perhaps introduce some gentle exercise into to the mix as well. It's going to be a hard slog but I want to bring you guys along on the journey with me. Perhaps if I share some of my weight loss journey on the blog, it will keep me motivated to exercise. Although I want to remain realistic, I am not aiming to lose a shed load of weight, I'll just see where the year takes me.

3) I want to post on this Blog more.
At the moment I aim to post about twice a week, but I would like to try and post three times instead. I don't want to promise, and it certainly won't be every week, but I'd like to try.
I'd love to hear some of your resolutions if you make them. Let me know below!  

Love Roar Dinosaur!
Twitter: roardinosaur_
Instagram: roardinosaurblog
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Sunday, 11 December 2016

Blogmas 11: The Festive Pout - 4 Christmas Red Lipsticks for under £5


Hi, Everyone!

As we near the big day, I expect a few of you reading this will have Christmas parties and events to attend. Red lips are a staple makeup look for a lot of us at this time of year and so I set myself the task of finding good quality, affordable lipsticks for this post so that we can rock that festive pout without spending too much! I've tried to pick a good selection of red shades, so there's something for all.

Kicking things off is the Makeup Revolution Lipstick in Lady. I reviewed this for my second ever post Here It's a bright red lipstick and feels very nice on the lips. It's only £1.00
Buy yours Here

I have another Makeup Revolution option here too in Reckless. This is more of a vampy berry toned lipstick for those who might not want a bright red lip. This is also just £1.00
Buy yours Here

The Sleek Matte Me lip crème is next. This is in the shade Rioja Red.
(I have the mini sized one I got in a set of four for £5.00) or you can get the full sized tube for £4.99
This is a bright fire engine red and it dries down to matte.
Buy yours Here
Mini sized gift set Here
The Natural Collection lipstick in Berry Sorbet is probably my new favourite everyday red coloured lipstick. It's a more berry toned red and very comfortable and moisturising to wear. And it is only £1.99
Buy yours Here
Unfortunately due to the lighting these swatches were taken with the flash so don't reflect the true colours of these lipsticks. I'm sorry guys. (I will probably retake them soon.)
Are you attending any parties for Christmas?

Love Roar Dinosaur!
Twitter: roardinosaur_
Instagram: roardinosaurblog
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Saturday, 10 December 2016

Blogmas Day 10: A look back at my 2016

Hi Everyone,

As we near the end of the year I thought it would be fun to look back at my 2016.

I started the year promising that I would get out more and put myself into situations that might be uncomfortable, but would ultimately help build my confidence. I started going out to local craft nights and managed quite a few this year. I also made a few friends. I'd like to say that going has gotten easier each time I go, but it hasn't. I'm still riddled with anxiety every time I go and I am still as awkward as the first night I went, but I am glad I go.

My depression is always there but got worse starting in April and never really eased until very recently, were talking the last couple of weeks. I get stressed extremely easily because of my depression and there have been a few things this year that have tipped me over the edge, including work, family members being poorly, changes in routine etc. There have been times when I wondered whether I would have to go back to the Drs for a medication review and although I enjoyed my recent trip to wales, I had a couple of extremely low moments which included very dark thoughts. Thankfully things are looking up again, I am hoping it doesn't rear it's head again in time for Christmas.

Work has been a rollercoaster this year, with both highs and lows. During the summertime, work combined with my depression was awful. I had to talk to my boss about lightening the workload. Next year I am looking to setting up an Etsy shop to sell my artwork. I would like to do more work for myself as there are fewer pressure and deadlines.

As we neared the Autumn, September to be exact, I started this Blog. Undoubtedly the highlight of my year. It was there for me on my darkest days and it was a happy distraction. I would log in and it felt like home. Again, like going out to my craft nights, it put me out of my comfort zone and made me talk to other people, for example, Twitter chats and people who commented on my Blog. Although I am not physically going out, I am still putting myself out there, although I am an anonymous blogger, I still sometimes struggle with how much I share.

I had a great holiday last month. Wales gave me a week to pause and reflect on everything that's happened this year. It also gave me a chance to make future plans, eg: the Etsy shop I mentioned earlier. My Husband and I have plans to go to Wales next year so that's something to look forward too!

Although nothing super exciting has happened it's been a whirlwind of a year, a real mixed bag of emotions! Does anyone else think this year has gone abnormally fast?

What was your favourite memory from this year?

Love Roar Dinosaur!
Twitter: roardinosaur_
Instagram: roardinosaurblog
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Friday, 9 December 2016

Blogmas Day 9: Christmas Blues - Facing Christmas with Depression

Hi Everyone,
As I am sure you're aware by now, I love Christmas. It's my absolute favourite time of year.
However I do suffer from bad depression, I always have done, which you can read about HERE. So even if I want to be happy at Christmas, it doesn't always happen!
December is such a busy time of year, there's so much to get done and lots of people to visit. So although I love Christmas, I find it quite stressful and this can effect my depression and anxiety.
I wanted to write about ways I cope with depression at Christmas. Although the following suggestions don't always take away those feelings, they can help a little, or distract me for a time. I thought I'd pop them in a blog post in case they help someone else. A lot of them are just common sense, but sometimes I think we need a reminder to take a step back and look after ourselves.
1. Don't force it.
When those drowning feelings of depression strike, it's hard to fight your way back up to the surface. The last thing you might want to do is put on a Santa hat and go to a Christmas party. If you're not feeling Christmas, then you really don't have to join in. It doesn't make you a Grinch or Scrooge and nobody should try and guilt trip you into joining in. If you don't want to go to a Christmas meal/party you don't have too. Nothing bad will happen, it's just one day after all!
2. Don't take on too much.
If you are hosting at Christmas or organising something for yourself and other people, don't try and take on too much. Please ask someone to help you out. It's not worth making yourself ill over by being bogged down with stress. 
3. Breaks.
On Christmas day or on the lead up to it, if you are around other people and you feel anxiety or depression rising, make your excuses and leave the situation if it will help. You could either take a little break on your own to focus your thoughts or go home. Whatever's best for you. Clearing your head by taking yourself in a different room or for a walk can help when it's all getting on top of you.
4. Looking after yourself.
If you're feeling low make sure you're looking after yourself. Don't neglect yourself and your well being in all the stress. Are you getting enough sleep? Eating enough? Eating right? Drinking enough water? Having down time? Etc. Have a bath with candles, watch a film, read some blogs, read a book, create art, write... I am not for one minute suggesting these things will take away your depression, but sometimes we neglect ourselves when we are feeling depressed.

5. Christmas Shopping.
If the hustle and bustle of Christmas shopping is going to make you ill try and eliminate some of the stress. Can somebody go for you or go with you? Can you get it online? Could you just give people money?
6. Pressure.
On the subject of money, Christmas lasts a single day. It is not worth over spending then adding to your depression by having a huge debt to pay off next year. It really is the thought that counts. I made a post of quite inexpensive beauty gift ideas HERE that might help. Failing that, do you have a talent? Make something, that way it will be special and personal.
7. Perfection.
It is not your responsibility to make everyone else's Christmas perfect. You don't need to impress Family members, in-laws, friends even strangers.
8. Be honest with yourself.
Make sure you keep in check with yourself. You can do this by writing your feelings down. You don't have to do it every day and you don't need to write an essay, but jotting down your thoughts really can help you realise how your truly feeling. I've had some huge realisations before just by writing down thoughts when I am depressed.
And finally, if you feel helpless and on the edge this Christmas please talk to someone. If you feel there is no one you can talk to, I've left the number for the Samaritans below:
  • 116 123 (UK)
  • 116 123 (ROI)

  • jo@samaritans.org
    To my fellow Mental Health warriors, I really hope this post helps a little.

    Love Roar Dinosaur!
    Twitter: roardinosaur_
    Instagram: roardinosaurblog
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    Thursday, 8 December 2016

    Blogmas Day 8: Christmas Shopping with Anxiety & Mini Makeup Haul

     Hi everyone,
    Yesterday I went Christmas shopping, I was both looking forward to it and dreading it at the same time. As I've previously mentioned on my Blog I suffer from depression and anxiety, you can read about it HERE. I don't really venture out of my house unless I have to or I'm feeling brave. If I could have gotten all my Christmas shopping online I would of! 
    When the alarm went off that morning I had that familiar feeling of sickness and dread in the pit of my stomach. Even though my Husband said we didn't have to go if I felt anxious I knew we did, if we put it off it would be even busier the later in the month we left it.
    I couldn't manage breakfast but I did manage a cup of tea made by my Hubby. I sat shaking and felt like I couldn't breathe as I attempted my makeup. I put a Youtube video on to try and distract myself. I felt like I was going to cry.
    The public transport is one of the worst parts of going out for me. I hate being in a small space with lots of people. I always feel like they're judging me and like they're about to hurl insults at me. Thankfully there weren't too many people on the bus for once.
    When we got to where we were going and got off the bus, I felt a lot better and nowhere near as anxious. This was a bit of a miracle for me and normally my anxiety goes on a lot longer. We decided to go and have a quick breakfast as I hadn't been able to have any. I had toast and my Husband had a full English.

    After we'd had our yummy breakfasts we hit the shops. All of them were decorated for Christmas and looked really pretty. We mostly managed to get everything we needed. I only had one meltdown, my Husband wanted to go to a large shopping centre and I couldn't face it, so I went and had a drink while he went to look at the shops. Thankfully I was ok by myself and read some other people's Blogmas posts on my phone.

    Everywhere was decorated and pretty for Christmas!
    I got home and was utterly exhausted, not just from walking around all day, but also from how I'd been feeling. I am counting my blessings, as I could have felt ALOT worse than I did. The sense of pride when I have done these things is always rewarding. I mentally chalk up a 1 by my name and a big fat 0 next to anxiety!
    I bought these goodies for myself yesterday. No doubt I will be giving some of these a review at some point. The Sleek makeup bag was from Superdrug (free when you spend £12 on Sleek products!)
    Do you suffer from anxiety? If so, how did you find Christmas shopping?
    Love Roar Dinosaur!
    Twitter: roardinosaur_
    Instagram: roardinosaurblog
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    Blogmas Day 7: My 10 Favourite Things to Watch at Christmas!

    Edited: First of all apologies this wasn't up yesterday. It was all ready to go and all I had to do was hit publish, but I forgot because I was Christmas shopping. Ooops!
    Hi All,
    I don't know about you, but each year at Christmas I look forward to sitting down, getting cosy and watching Christmas films. I thought I would tell you my 10 favourite Christmas films and why I love them!

    In no particular order:

    1. Gavin & Stacey Christmas Special
    I'll never forget when I discovered Gavin & Stacey. I was sitting watching TV with my parents and we were channel surfing when we stumbled upon it. It was the whole of series one repeated. I'd seen the adverts for it and thought it was something I wouldn't really like, but there was nothing else on, so we settled down to watch it.
    Within seconds we were laughing our heads off! From that moment on we were hooked. Every character is likeable and most of the humour is dry, like mine and my families. It's one of those shows that you can compare each character to someone you know in real life!
    The Christmas special is set after series two (I think) it's a great example of two different families coming together for Christmas, there are arguments, laughter and family traditions.

    2. The Nightmare before Christmas
    Unlike the rest of the world, I never watched this when I was little! I was an adult when I saw it for the first time. This is without a doubt Tim Burtons most famous film. It combines two of my favourite times of the year, Halloween and Christmas which is an absolute winner of a film for me! It's cute, dark, funny and it has a load of catchy songs too!

    3. Four Christmas's
    The classic Christmas scenario most couples face each Christmas, who are we spending it with and who do we need to visit. This hilarious film follows a couple on Christmas day who try and please everyone else (except themselves) and visit all their family members and end up finding out things they didn't know about each other. Parts of this have my Husband and I laughing our heads off every time we watch it!

    4. Fred Claus
    Imagine being Santa Claus' brother? Constantly being compared to someone who is loved around the world and can do no wrong. Well, this film explores what that might be like. This Christmas comedy is about Fred Claus, Santa's brother. A film my Husband introduced me too, I'm glad he did it's really funny.

    5. Elf
    I have got to admit I didn't like Elf the first time I watched it. It's one of my Husbands favourite Christmas films so when he would get it off the DVD shelf, I would just grin and bear it. However as the Christmas' together have gone by, I actually really like it now. We watched it the other day in fact.

    6. Mrs Santa Claus
    Although my Husband hates this film, I love it. My Mum would put this on for me at Christmas and I always loved it.

    7. Gremlins 1
    I have always found this film super cute, even the evil Gremlins are adorable. I am always left wishing I have my own!!

    8. The Royal Family 'The New Sofa'
    I LOVE the Royal Family and when I watch it I get quite nostalgic and emotional about my childhood. This year will be even more emotional, after the tragic passing of Caroline Aherne this year. In this Christmas special David and Denise host Christmas day at their house. We've previously only ever seen them at Denise's parent's house before this. Although they have big ideas for Christmas day, everything goes wrong and they end up eating crushed carrots and gravy for Christmas dinner!

    9. The Royal family Christmas Special (2000)
    Another Royal Family Christmas special. (Sorry they're just so damn good!) This episode centres around Baby Davids first birthday and the Royals meeting their son's fiancée's family for the first time. There's quite a big class difference between the families which is both uncomfortable and hilarious.

    10.  Rudolph the Movie
    I LOVE this film but I don't have a DVD copy yet. Just the memories of the VHS copy my parents got me when I was little. This is a cartoon film all about Rudolph story, and why he became as well known as he is. It's such a cute feel good film.

    What is your favourite Christmas film and why? Tell me below!
    Love Roar Dinosaur!
    Twitter: roardinosaur_
    Instagram: roardinosaurblog
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    Tuesday, 6 December 2016

    Blogmas Day 6: 10 Of My Favourite Christmas Songs

    Hi Everyone!
    This is one of the Blogmas posts I was looking forward to the most, because I get to listen to loads of my favourite Christmas songs, but then comes the hard part, of whittling it down to just 10!
    I love Christmas songs, they're timeless and each year they evoke such great memories. I've also linked the songs on Youtube for you to have a listen/watch to get you in the festive mood (if you aren't already!)

    In no particular order:
    1. The Pogues ft. Kirsty MacColl - Fairytale of new York
    2. Paul McCartney - Wonderful Christmas time
    3 Mariah Carey - All I Want For Christmas Is You
    4. Slade - Merry Christmas Everybody!
    5. Wham! - Last Christmas
    6. Band Aid - Do they know it's Christmas?
    7. Frank Sinatra - Let it snow! Let it Snow! Let it Snow!
    8.Wizzard - I wish it could be Christmas everyday
    9. Mariah Carey - Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town
    10. Eartha Kitt - Santa Baby!

    What is your favourite Christmas song?

    Love Roar Dinosaur!
    Twitter: roardinosaur_
    Instagram: roardinosaurblog
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    Monday, 5 December 2016

    Blogmas Day 5: Last Minute Christmas Checklist

    As much as I love Christmas, I have to admit, the lead-up and the day itself can be super stressful. There seems to be a never-ending list of things to remember. It's a lot easier when I try and stay as organised as possible. I really recommend writing a checklist that applies to your day. I've written down some ideas to go on a Christmas day checklist, feel free to add any to your own list. Some of these are so obvious, but it seems that the obvious ones are often the ones we overlook...
    Have you got everyone's presents?
    If you are buying gifts for others make sure you've got everything you need. So often we go Christmas shopping and get a little distracted... A new bag, hot chocolate and a set of new nails later and we forget what we came out for! If you're going out Christmas day, make sure all your gift bags and presents for others are somewhere your going to see so that you don't forget them!
    Have you got enough wrapping paper, tags, ribbon and sellotape?
    If you leave your wrapping until last minute, you really don't want to run out of these! You can't always get them a couple of days before Christmas as they've either ran out or your just stuck with whatever's left. It's better to overbuy and then if there is any left over you can use them next year!
    Christmas cards, have you written all yours out?
    Go through your address book, check the cards you've already received and make sure those names are on your list. Are your work colleges, neighbours and social groups also on your list? Make sure you have enough cards (I have run out so many times!) Have you got enough stamps? Make sure you double check the addresses! And finally, make sure these are sent out by the last post before Christmas to (try) and ensure they arrive before the big day.
    If you don't eat meat this next one doesn't apply to you. This one is important. Every year family's get ill because of undercooked turkey or Christmas day gets ruined because someone forgets to set aside enough time to defrost the turkey. Make sure you know in advance how long it needs to defrost and how long it will take to cook. There's no shame in googling this or asking someone! Do you have a tray big enough for it to sit in? Also, plan out all your cooking times so everything arrives on the table at the same time.
    Another Christmas dinner one: Have you got everything?
    If some of your dinner ingredients are frozen, double check you have everything. Also double check your fresh ingredients, will they be in date by Christmas day? So often we buy fresh food and within a couple of days, it's gone off. Is there enough food for everybody? Are there enough refreshments and nibbles? Do you have enough plates? -An obvious one, but I know quite a few people who managed to overlook this and not have enough plates/cutlery/glasses etc.
    If you're hosting Christmas day, do you have enough chairs?
    This sounds like a weird one, but If you have a big family and everyone is coming to you, chances are you won't have enough chairs! I've watched films before where guests have had to sit on tiny children's chairs because of this!
    Are you ready for Christmas day?
    Try doing your beauty prep before Christmas day. If you leave this until the day itself, it's likely you'll run out of time and painting your nails in the car on the way to your parents, with a Wall's Viennetta balanced on your lap isn't the ideal! Try washing your hair the day before Christmas, not only will it be easier to style after you've slept on it, but it will buy you more time on Christmas morning. Also lay out your outfit and makeup as again it saves time.
    Do you have suitable entertainment for everyone in case there's a lull in the day? Entertainment could include: Board games (of course), old photos - these can be nostalgic and provide a good laugh, old home videos (for the same reason), Drinking games, card games...
    Love Roar Dinosaur!
    Twitter: roardinosaur_
    Instagram: roardinosaurblog
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