#apovgiftswap – Part 2

First off, a belated Merry Christmas to you all! I have been enjoying the festive season to the max, spending time with friends and family, eating(!) as well as decorating my first real tree. It’s been nice to have a few days to catch up with myself and to reflect on the year too – something which I explored back in my Achievements and Resolutions post for 2016/17 which you can read here. Back to this one though and I recently wrote about the #APOV Gift Swap. We were each swapped with fabulous bloggers, we shared an idea for budget and a few things on our wish list before hitting the shops. I had a fantastic time choosing for my blogger, The Trendy Orange, and had a great time reading her fashion and lifestyle blog too. In turn she sent be a box of gorgeous goodies which I was so excited to open on Christmas morning!

So what was in my box of goodies? I opened it up to find the cutest little card from Ashley with a gorgeous glitter Merry Christmas. Underneath I spotted the Pusheen Cosmetic Bag straight away. I love anything Pusheen – the cutest cat – so I was so excited to see this. Pusheen has plenty of room for storing all my make up and is so furry. His little face is gorgeous and can brighten anyone’s day!

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Next up, I spotted bright pink flamingo paper clips. I love cute stationery especially when it involves animals or fun things. I’ve just created a new desk space to enable blog and writing for 2017 so these will definitely brighten up the space!

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The next gift I could smell as soon as I opened the box – a gorgeous Lush bath bomb in the shape of a parcel. I must admit I went in Lush just before Christmas just to smell all the beautiful bath bombs! I also jumped in on the online queue for the sales on Boxing Day and spent my day waiting from 75,000th in the queue! By the time I got onto the website there was nothing exciting left! Do let me know if you grabbed a bargain though!

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My final gift was the most gorgeous candle I’ve ever seen. It’s a little pine cone with snow decorating the base inside a pretty glass jar. The most perfect Christmas decoration which I am planning to save until next year as it is far too pretty to light!

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To complete the box Ashley included a number of yummy chocolates which I can’t wait to indulge in! You can never have too much chocolate at Christmas – Yum! Thank you Ashley so much for all of my fabulous gifts – even though we have never met the gifts you bought were so special and truly wonderful.

My advice to those who are thinking about a bloggers gift swap is totally do it! It’s such a lovely way to meet new blogging friends, learn about others’ interests and in turn it’s so fun to go out and choose unique gifts for someone.

Happy Christmas and wishing you all a wonderful New Year!

Becky at Pretty & Petit

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Achievements and Resolutions 2016/17

So here it is, a brand new fresh year to start again. New ideas, new focus but also a good time to reflect on all the fantastic achievements from the last year. I always take a day between Christmas and New Year to do this. I usually head out of the house (most likely to my local Starbucks) grab myself a mocha and write two lists. I start by writing all of my achievements for the year, using social media and my blog I start at January and work my way through the year, noting key highlights and achievements along the way.

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This is such a feel good exercise and truly makes you focus on all the positive aspects from the year, opposed to the negative which is often what we tend to do without really meaning to.

The next list I create is my resolutions list. It’s worth noting that both of these lists that I write are kept in my notebook that I carry everywhere with me. It helps me keep track that I am actually on course to achieving my goals for the year. I look back at my resolutions twice in the year. The first is at 6 months – usually when I am on holiday in the Summer. I look at what I have achieved so far and make notes on how I can keep on track to achieve the others going forward. I then look at it again in December when it comes to making a new list to find those resolutions I can carry over into the new year and to produce new ideas for future resolutions.

My Highlights and Achievements of 2016

Passing my driving test – It took a couple of attempts but I’m finally out on the road! Hooray!

Getting a new car – My dream first car, a Ford Fiesta, 5 door in red.

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Moving into a new job – I now am in a brand new college, meeting new people and getting involved in new challenges (which involves learning about a whole new range of careers!)

Visiting beautiful Lake Garda in Italy – On my wish list for a few years now and I finally was able to go and visit this beautiful lake.

Started Hula Hooping – Through attending HulaFit classes.

My Resolutions for 2017

These are a few of my top resolutions for 2017! Hopefully they give you some ideas for your New Year’s resolutions too!

To find a new hobby – I am such a creative person and I think this is something that has truly been lacking in my life. I’m setting out to find a new creative hobby and hopefully I’ll post some of my makes up on this blog!

To go on more day trips – I have made a list of days out in the UK and plan to visit at least one per month.

To walk more – I have set myself the challenge of completing one long walk a month and entering myself into a walking challenge. I am due to have another foot operation so we’ll see how we get on with this one! In some ways in may aid my recovery!

To read more – I have set myself a target of 2 books a month minimum.\

To have a Sunday night movie – I find this is the best way to help me relax for the week ahead. I’m planning to make a record of all the movies I watch throughout the year.

To be more creative – I feel so much better when I have spent a few hours being creative. I would like to draw at least once image per month and also create one collage a month. I’ll be posting these on my Instagram too to prove it!

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What are your new year resolutions? I’d love to hear what you have planned for 2017!

Becky at Pretty & Petit

New Year, New You – Focusing on myself one breath at a time in 2016

As part of my ‘New Year, New You’ series this month I’m asking bloggers to share their plans, tips and resolutions for 2016! 
So we’re approaching the end of January, and it’s gone so fast! With that, how are you getting on with your resolutions? I’m keeping on top of mine quite well, although healthy eating went out the window one morning when I decided to indulge in a packet of Mini Eggs for breakfast with the only valid reasoning of their limited supply on the supermarket shelves… 
Today Pouria is sharing his resolutions with us which I hope will provide some more inspiration on how to be more aware of our mind and social awareness in 2016! Let me know about your inspiration in the comments!
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Spending less time on social media and more on myself
I spend most of my day browsing Facebook status updates, posts, tweets and images. I follow friends, celebrities, influencers and every now and again random people on social media. I research them every day; I know them better than I know myself. That is not ok!
Fear of judgment and stigma prevented me from expressing myself and reaching out
I had a lot of ups and downs this year: personal, family and work. One pattern became obvious to me: I was scared of people judging me so I kept everything to myself. I never express things fully to my parents for obvious reasons! and I didn’t feel that close to my friends to share what was bothering me because they had judged me in the past. I opened up to my girl friend once and later on she used it against me! don’t see myself doing that again. 
In 2016, I would like to get closer to my friends and to also make new friends. I also like to share without the fear, even if they end up judging me. 

I now use Paralign to journal my thoughts, express myself, feel supported and support others.

I will meditate more

2015 I was pretty mindful but I could definitely be more. There were times where what happened on the outside, influenced my inner peace and clarity. I often dwelled on the past and things that were outside of my control made me anxious and sad. in 2016, I would like to learn more from this and let it happen less and less. in 2016, I will spend more time on my inner peace and harmony. I will try to listen more to my body and I will try to practice how to be more present. I will set aside 30 minute meditation time before going to bed and after waking up. Before going to bed to observe my day and assess what I learned. After waking up so I can start my day with a clear mind.
I tend to think just focusing on the breath can give us so much power; It is a simple phenomena yet it is so significant.
I will give back more
In 2015 I did a few volunteer work, donated money here and there and stood up for different causes. But I think I did that to mostly show off. I wasn’t authentic and I didn’t try hard to change some else’s life for the better.
In 2016, I would really like to dedicate good amount of my time to help others. Help high school students wanting to go to college. Helping lower income families make better decisions and helping unprivileged people live happier.
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Pouria has spent 8 years in health care, starting his career at UCSF and VA medical center helping advance predictions of Alzheimer’s, parkinson and epilepsy diseases through MRI and imaging technologies.  He built Paralign (http://paralign.me) based on his own journey and how he started to improve his life one thought at a time. He usually writes about powers of the mind and holistic approaches towards health.

New Year, New You – Make Money through Matched Betting

As part of my ‘New Year, New You’ series this month I’m asking bloggers to share their plans, tips and resolutions for 2016! 

For the purposes of this blog post I decided to try out one of the free trial beginner options. If I was being brutally honest, I didn’t get my hopes up and I expected my outgoings to be much more than my profit. I’m not keen on betting or gambling and have always avoided it as I can’t afford to get intro trouble with it! I ‘erm’d and ah’d’ over it for quite a while however felt that for the purposes of this blog post I wanted to give you my personal experience of Matched Betting and I could only do this by following through with the process. I tried the initial beginners option and to my utmost surprise it worked, meaning I got my money back and made just over £11 in profit too!

I personally, wouldn’t put everything into this being your full time job (although some have made it that so it is a possibility) If you’re looking to save for those new pair of shoes or a holiday, then it’s a great little money making opportunity. My main piece of advice is to make sure you read the instructions before doing anything and then follow them as you are completing the process. It may look tricky and a bit daunting at first but I assure you it does get easier and the more you read the instructions, the more it makes sense. This will also ensure you get the profit and you don’t make any losses! Also make sure you have the funds available to do it. You have to deposit money in to cover liability so always make sure you have those funds available and don’t get yourself into trouble because of it. I have shared one user experience sent to me from Chammy (Visit her blog by clicking here) who has had some amazing success below. Has Matched Betting been successful for you? Let me know your experiences in the comments!

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Chammy’s Experience:

When I first heard the term “Matched Betting” I did my best to avoid everything about it. I thought it wouldn’t interest me as I’d never placed a bet in my life and the closest I got to gambling was a few games of bingo when I was younger and a lottery ticket now and again. I didn’t have a clue about odds and what they actually meant or that you could bet on anything other than whether a football match would win/lose/draw. I was completely clueless and just the term “betting” was enough for me to assume that it wouldn’t be for me. Well, that was until I actually took the time to look into it and chat to others who were doing it – I then established that is wasn’t what I thought it would be and little did I know that it would make a huge difference to my life.

If you’ve never heard of matched betting or have and like me, made the assumption that you’d just be sat there hoping the horse you bet on placed so you actually won some money, then please take a few moments to actually read up about it. Matched betting isn’t gambling in the sense of placing a bet with the chance of losing the money you used. You place a bet with a bookmaker and then place another bet with what is called and exchange, this second bet is AGAINST the result of the first bet.

Eg.

Bet 1: Manchester Utd WIN

Bet 2 (aka the lay bet): Manchester Utd DON’T WIN

This means that the bets cancel each other out so you technically don’t win or lose. The profit is then made by the free sign up bet the bookies will offer you, so you repeat the process and end up with profit.

It is a LEGAL, RISK-FREE and TAX-FREE way of earning some serious cash and all you need is £60 to get you started, you won’t need more than that. If you can afford to have a larger starting pot then it would be to your advantage but you do not need to add any more of your own money once you start.

You take that £60 and head to a site called Profit Accumulator – this site is the place to be and offer a free trial so you can have a go before taking that leap. Profit Accumulator will hold your hand every step of the way with information, step-by-step guides, videos and a forum (Platinum) which covers everything you need to know. You will be given the first two offers to have a go at, again you are told and shown exactly what you need to do, and you will walk away with up to £45 in profit.

So you’ve had a go at the free trial, what now? You could take that £45 and run but I recommend you take £22.99 of that profit and invest it into your first monthly subscription to Profit Accumulator (or £150 annual if you fancy saving some money). The Platinum subscription opens up all the other beginner offers which will see you comfortably build your balance, after those offers comes the more advanced offers which will see bigger profits; all of this while still receiving information and training to help you along the way. But don’t the sign up offers dry up? While you will eventually run out of sign-up offers, Profit Accumulator will take all the hard work out of finding offers for you (known as reloads) which will ensure that you always have something to do – this is on top of personal emails and/or texts you will receive offering you bonuses and freebies.

Profit Accumulator ensures that you will get the most out of matched betting and the offers that are available, maximising your profit and minimising the amount of time you will have to spend placing the offers. If that doesn’t convince you then head over to The Money Shed where there is a dedicated forum thread to matched betting and you will see its members bringing in anything up to £2000 a month with an average of £500-£1000 being made, certainly nothing to ignore.

Even after 4 months doing this, I still don’t understand odds, I’ll never fully get my head around all the jargon and technical side of things but luckily I don’t have to – this way of earning is perfect for even the most novice of bet-makers, just like me, while giving plenty of challenging stuff for those who are more experienced; such as casino and slot offers (some come with a small risk but aren’t necessary to earn).

So far I’ve personally managed to book and pay for a holiday for this year (first one in over 5 years), Christmas was a breeze without having to dip into the household income and I already have plans to upgrade to a new car, redecorate the house and rip out the garden – all paid for by my matched betting funds. This way of earning has seriously changed my life for the better, I was looking at years of saving every extra penny to accomplish all of these plans – with the holiday being the last on the list. Now I’m looking at all the necessary plans being done this year so I can then concentrate on planning more of the fun stuff – next Christmas, another holiday, university fund for my son etc.

Don’t just take my word for it though, have a read through The Money Shed forum, give the free trial on Profit Accumulator a go or do some more research – just don’t ignore this fantastic opportunity, you might end up kicking yourself.

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New Year, New You – New Year, New Mindset!

As part of my ‘New Year, New You’ series this month I’m asking bloggers to share their plans, tips and resolutions for 2016! 

Today is the turn of Amy from Under the Surface who will be discussing New Year Resolutions, how to decide what they should be and how to have a happy and healthy 2016!

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I’m here to talk to everyone about New Year Resolutions. Resolutions are goals that people set themselves to complete in the course of a year and they are usually set on the 1st January. A lot of people set themselves relatively healthy and vague goals such as ‘this year I will be healthier’ or ‘this year I will get fit’. Those goals sound great and I want, with this post, to ensure that everyone is setting themselves achievable and healthy goals that will benefit your life in some way.

Firstly, when thinking about New Year Resolutions try to think of what is currently negatively impacting your life and set a goal to change that before adding in another aspect of your life. For example, if you are turning up late to work repeatedly or spending too much money then set yourself goals to fix those aspects of your life before incorporating healthy food and workouts as well  which are unlikely to help what is already negatively happening on a daily basis.

Please note that eating healthy, working out and all the other goals you may have set yourself are great and should be worked towards also. However, to feel the true benefits of a new year then focus on ridding yourself of the negative in your life and that alone will make you feel better. It may not be 100% where you want to be but it is a step in the right direction and after achieving these goals then you can incorporate eating less chocolate, going for more walks or anything else you may fancy.

The 1st of January has gone by so if you are setting yourself resolutions then it is likely you have done so by now. Take this time to look back on those resolutions and ensure they are achievable and that they truly will make you happy. If not, ask yourself what is truly making you unhappy and focus on changing that instead. You don’t have to set yourself a hundred goals or resolutions if you don’t want to. Just one achievable goal will have a tremendous impact.

Tweet me your goals at @Hadh0peAmyBlogs and let me know how your goals will change your life for the better!

Amy is an 18-year-old lifestyle blogger from Scotland, UK. She enjoys writing about various topics that she is passionate about including mental health. Other topics include book reviews, product reviews, personal posts and opinionated posts.

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You can read her blog over at: https://hadh0peamy.wordpress.com/ or give her a tweet @Hadh0peAmyBlogs

Happy New Year from Pretty & Petit

It’s 2016!

A brand new day, a brand new month and a brand new year. We made it through the fabulous fireworks, spending time with family and friends, parties and plenty of prosecco!

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So now is the hard part – making New Year resolutions. So the traditional way to do this is literally to think of the standard go to the gym more, eat more healthily and trying to save money up. I’ve kind of given up on these more traditional resolutions and opted for something slightly different. Every year I give myself a series of goals to achieve over the year, checking up on these at key points of the year. Mostly in periods when I have the time to stop and reflect and think about where I am in achieving my goals!

This year one of my resolutions is to give my fabulous readers new ideas, tips and things that literally make you think ‘Wow! I’ve never thought of that before!’

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So throughout January I’ll be bringing you something new! With the help of some fabulous bloggers we will be bringing you a whole series of ‘New Year, New You’ posts. Whether you’re looking to change up your skincare regime, get more followers on your Instagram profile or are unsure of where to go on your holidays this year, we will be bringing you a whole range of ideas and tips for making 2016 your most fabulous year yet! If you have any ideas that you’d like us to explore, or would like to write your own guest post get in touch with me on Twitter via @prettyandpetit

Becky at Pretty & Petit

Images are not my own and have been used from Pinterest.