Reading… Deceptions by Kelley Armstrong. At least I was until my car was broken into and it was taken inside my bag. I’ll need to buy a second copy.

Watching… Power. Season 2, hooked! I’m also watching Ozark. I’m about half way through the first season. I’m enjoying it but waiting for it to pick up pace a little.

Listening to… Casefile podcasts. I listened to their 3 part podcast on Jonestown because I find Cults fascinating. I always have. Now I’m listening to them on the way to and from work. If you are interested in true crime then I’d highly recommend them.

Celebrating… Chief turning 10 at the weekend! He’s really turning into a grumpy old man but he was very happy with the steak he got for his birthday treat!

Focussing on… work mostly!

Eating… lots of smoked salmon and poached eggs but unfortunately all of the things I shouldn’t eat too!

Happy… about my new haircut. It was badly in need of a cut.

Scrapping… my 2017 Project Life spreads. I’ve just started this year so I’ve got my cover page and January completed.

Purging… beauty products and old make-up that I will never use or is most likely passed its use by date.

Planning… to make some healthy soups this week and to plan my meals a bit better in the hopes I don’t fall off the wagon!

Enjoying… a couple of unexpected days off work due to Storm Ophelia. Thankfully we didn’t get hit badly but my thoughts go out to the parts of the country that were and the people who lost their lives.

Looking forward to… A trip to Paris that Dave got for my 30th birthday. We’re going next month!!

Copyright: 2017 #The100DayProject

 

Yay!!! Today is Day 100 of The 100 Day Project. It’s officially the first social media challenge that I’ve started and finished!!! It has been so fun with only a little bit of pressure on my busier days. I can’t believe I completed the challenge on time. I don’t think I’ll be able to switch off tomorrow and not do something towards my 100 Days of Paparali Blog. I hope that the creative habit that I have worked on over the past 100 days reminds me to blog more often and keep up with all the other aspects of the blog like social media, planning, etc.

So over the 100 days, I have written and released 40 blog posts (not including this 1), edited plenty of photos on my phone, edited photos on my MacBook, started a new notebook for the blog, made lists of post ideas, planned posts, took photos, chose books for The Big Book Challenge, Read books for The Big Book Challenge, explained & promoted my blog, read other blogs for inspiration, created a widget for a photography site I have, printed photos for Project Life, started a new Blog Series, shared posts to a Flipboard magazine and pinned lots of old posts, as well as new posts to Pinterest. 

I thought it might be a good idea to share some of the stats from my blog over the course of the challenge. I have no idea if they are good, bad or indifferent for a blog like mine, that is purely hobby based, but here goes. Over the last 100 days, paparali.com received:

  • 1631 views
  • 459 visitors
  • 24 likes
  • 19 comments

Not only that but it received views from 36 different countries. Those countries include: 

Ireland, UK, USA, Australia, South Africa, Switzerland, Sweden, Philippines, France, Netherlands, Canada, Vietnam, Pakistan, Czech Republic, Mexico, Israel, Hong Kong (China), Lebanon, Brazil, Bangladesh, India, Argentina, Denmark, Hungary, Germany, Trinidad & Tobago, Chile, Kuwait, Singapore, Greece, UAE, Poland, Spain, Morocco, Malaysia, Thailand. 

I was so unsure of the idea of a challenge like this at the beginning and how easy it would be to fail but I’m glad I stuck it out. I really enjoyed it and I’ll definitely be taking part, probably with something different, next year. 

Did you take part in The 100 Day Project? How did you get on? If not, would you consider something like this?

 

This past weekend was a bank holiday weekend in Ireland so I thought I’d share my weekend in photos here. I shared a post like this a few years ago and I don’t know why I don’t do it more. There’s endless photos in my camera roll that never end up anywhere so I’m going to take the opportunity to share them here. (not pictured: drinks with friends on Friday, nachos for the Champion’s League Final on Saturday and drinks and dinner with Dave’s family on Sunday!)

Lady & Chief

Going Shopping in New Sandals Rasmopoliton

Dublin CityLadyCooling Down on a Warm Day

Chief

Picnics in the rainCar Picnic
A belly rub for Chief

1) Lady & Chief enjoying a lazy Friday afternoon (not sure there’s any other kind for them!),  2) Going shopping in my new sandals,  3) A razmo before dinner,  4) Dublin – Henry Street with a view of the Spire, 5) Lady looking a little fed up of having her picture taken, 6) nothing cures a hangover like an ice-pop, 7) Chief wishing he could have my ice-pop, 8) I was using my new picnic basket this weekend rain, hail or shine!, 9) picnic in the car, it is!, 10) If Chief rolls over and presents himself for a belly rub, you don’t say no!!

So today is Day 50 of The 100 Day Project. Yes, you read that right. Day FIFTY! Half way point and I’m actually kind of amazed to say I haven’t missed a day. So far I have written and released 16 blog posts (including this 1), edited plenty of photos on my phone, edited photos on my MacBook, started a new notebook for the blog, made lists of post ideas, planned posts, took photos, chose books for The Big Book Challenge, Read books for The Big Book Challenge, explained & promoted my blog, read other blogs for inspiration, created a widget for a photography site I have, printed photos for Project Life, shared posts to a Flipboard magazine and pinned lots of old posts to Pinterest. 

I thought it might end up feeling like a bit of a burden but it hasn’t at all. I’m really enjoying the process. I think coming up with a plan that makes it easier to spend literally 10 minutes doing something on my phone on the days that are a little more hectic has made it really do-able for me.

My plan for the next 50 days is to carry on as I have. The challenge, as I’ve said in the previous post, is mainly for me to create a creative habit when it comes to paparali.com but the one thing I hope to do is encourage more people to subscribe to the blog instead of just stopping by and reading once in a while. I’m also going to plan ahead a bit more because I’ve definitely had days when I’ve gone a little blank trying to work out what my next post might be.

Are you taking part in The 100 Day Project?

 

100 Day Project 100 Day Project

So today marked 15 days of The 100 Day Project and I’m happy to say I’m still in the game. The idea of The 100 Day Project is to do something creative for 100 days and I decide to focus on my blog. In the past 15 days I have written and released 5 blog posts (including this 1), edited photos on my phone from 2 different trips, edited photos on my MacBook from 1 of trip, started a new notebook for the blog, made lists of post ideas, planned a long, detailed post (the Budapest 1) in that notebook, took a couple of photos, shared posts to a Flipboard magazine and pinned lots of old posts to Pinterest. 

I would consider that pretty successful so far. This blog is never going to be the type to have new posts released every single day so I didn’t want to attempt that because I knew I wouldn’t keep it up after the 100 days were over, if I managed to keep it up for the duration of the challenge. I want this to be the beginning of a creative habit which encourages me to work on the Paparali blog regularly and consistently.

So here’s to 85 more days. Are you taking part in The 100 Day Project, or are you considering starting?

 

The 100 Day Project

I’ve decided to take part in The 100 Day Project which started today, 4th April 2017. I know most people tend to do something physically creative but that didn’t appeal to me because I knew it wouldn’t be something I would stick to for 100 days. I wanted to use the project to encourage me to blog more often but I really wanted to be realistic and saying I would release a blog post a day wasn’t realistic for me. As time goes on, I might decide on a number of posts to share within the 100 days but the plan for now is to spend time every day working on my blog. That will include planning, writing, sharing on social media, taking photos for posts, editing photos, researching and all the other things that go into blogging. I hope to post as much as possible on Instagram, ideally everyday but I don’t want to flood my feed with photos for the sake of it either.

If you haven’t heard about the project before check out Elle Luna’s Instagram here. You should also check out Elise Cripe’s podcast on her experience and plans for The 100 Day Project here. If you don’t see this on time, you can join in and start your 100 days anytime.

Have any of you decided to take part in the challenge? What will you be doing for 100 days?

cork board 2 cork board 1

Whose idea was it to start Create 52 right before silly season? Obviously I was ridiculously busy in the lead up to Christmas like everyone else and I’m back in work now & have things on 4 weekends out of 5 this month so I’m waaaay behind. There goes New Year’s Resolution number 1 – be better at organising blog posts and Project Life in advance. Must try harder.

So I’m kind of back on track with Create 52 as of week 2 of January and I’ve started off with something simple. I’d love to say I bought a blank pin board & went from there but that would be a complete lie. I bought the board, from Forever 21, with the black map already printed on it. I bought it last September so I’m not sure if it’s still available but I’ve seen some other options online. I’d also love to see some creative people adding their own maps to pin boards. I just picked up some pins (I couldn’t find a size I wanted so I had to buy dress making pins and cut them). I added a white pin to where I live (Ireland) and red pins to all of the places I’ve been up until now. I’m toying with the idea of adding another colour to places I plan to go but I’m not sure yet.

Finally I chose a quote I like that was short and simple and added it to the board using Amy Tangerine Thickers.


  

Craft room

The box room of our house has been my office/walk-in wardrobe/craft room for years now but I really wasn’t using it the way I could have been. The room wasn’t the way I wanted it and wasn’t at all organised. If I’m completely honest, it was a waste of a room. Last October I tidied it up a bit and freshened up the paint (who am I kidding? Scratch that, my Mam kindly offered to freshen up the paint). The room was fine and you can see some pictures from that update here but it wasn’t exactly what I wanted.

Towards the end of this summer the room got a big overhaul  and now I love spending time in there. It was painted again (guess who by? She’s a diamond, that mother of mine). We went with white this time. Its in the front of the house and doesn’t have the best natural light so white was the best we option. I also added a high wattage bulb and got rid of the light shade. I added a narrow vanity unit I already had as a type of desk which I plan to replace with a white Ikea desk at some point. The other big edition to the room was an Alex unit from Ikea. I am not lying when I tell you I’m obsessed with them. You can check them out here. I use it to store my 12×12 paper, stamps, inks, pens and scissors. I’ve arranged the new (to this room) vanity unit so that when I’m facing it in my chair I have my bureau open behind me with more desk space and some of stickers and other materials for working on my Project Life album. I still use my Ikea Raskog cart to store my Project Life kits. I also replaced the coloured storage boxes in the wooden unit with black and white ones. There was no reason for this other than I think they’re prettier. I’m also happy that I’ve made the best use of space, I have my Canon Selphy, my tripod and all of my wrapping paper (in an Ikea platic bag storage container) hanging on a coat rack on the back of the door. 

I mostly use my craft room for blogging, Project Life, some other little projects and now I intend to use it for sewing projects too. Do you have any tips for maximising the use of your craft space?

Google Search

I’m not going to pretend I know everything there is to know about ‘branding yourself’ but I will tell you the most important thing I’ve learned so far. Deciding on and sticking to an easy name for your blog or brand is the most important thing you can do. I have no experience or qualifications in marketing and this website is probably the nearest I’ll ever come to having to ‘brand’ anything but when I put ‘Paparali’ into a Google search, the first thing that appears is this blog. My Twitter account, my Instagram account and my photo website (alimccann.com) also appear on the first page of the search results. When you Google my name, you get similar results although they’re spread out a bit more over the first few pages.

 

This blog is not exactly where I want it to be and I have a long way to go to get it to a steady readership but the name ‘Paparali’ is on everything I own from my Instagram account to Twitter to Pinterest and I think that’s a pretty good place to start.

 

Do you have any branding tips?

iPad

iPad

While I was in Dubai with all the time in the world this summer, I read blogs constantly. I would check in for any updates every other day while eating my breakfast. As the summer went on, I would add more and more to my bookmarks list as I discovered them. Since I got home, and especially since I went back to work, I’ve hardly had a chance to look at my own, let alone any other blogs. Yesterday I sat down with my breakfast for a good hour reading away. It was lovely to check out what I had missed (which was a lot) but I also realised it was really relaxing to just flick through them at my leisure without rushing off to do something else. My new plan is to do this for an hour every Sunday morning. After all, isn’t that what Sundays are for?

I say it’s a plan but I seem to be make a lot of plans in September (back to work, all go go go with work plans, you see?) My other Autumn plans include; not working in the evenings or on weekends and taking an hour every week to lie on my bed listening to music. We’ll see how they work out. I’m feeling optimistic. Anyway, just in case anyone is looking for some new blogs to read, i’ll list the ones I have bookmarked below. I have different reasons for liking each one. Some make me laugh, I enjoy the style of writing some bloggers use, some draw me in with amazing photographs and some I just find the topics interesting. Here goes: