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Tasmania | What to see & do when visiting sleepy little Hobart | Australia

14915668_10153918773132617_6088979687817940244_nTasmania is one of the most easily skipped parts of Australia for backpackers who are more often drawn to the commercialised party of the East Coast or the big city life of Melbourne and Sydney. Many know nothing about Tasmania, I certainly didn’t realise it was a separate island until I actually arrived in Australia. But I knew almost straight away that the West Coast of Australia and Tasmania would be real highlights for me when exploring Australia. Don’t get me wrong, there are some special sights to see along the East Coast but it is very much about partying and I think it is a shame so many never travel beyond it. When I returned on my second year visa, it was my absolutely priority to get myself to Tasmania as soon as possible, my tax back from the previous year was sitting in my account waiting to be spent and how better than on a month in Bali and a Tasmania road trip?14907078_10153918772997617_1715679100688056958_n

Flights and job-hunting

Flying into Hobart, I was excited for the crisp, clear air and the stormy skies after the last month in humid Bali and sunny Cairns. Flights to Tasmania are some of the cheapest I have found in Australia, I actually paid less than $100 for my flight from Cairns via Sydney, and landed in Hobart which I used as my base for the next few weeks. I originally arrived with hopes of finding work and staying over Christmas before returning to Melbourne, but friends I made in the hostel assured me it would be harder than expected to find work and I was best off just travelling then working in Melbourne. The farming season had been delayed in Tasmania due to the weather so those hunting for raspberry/strawberry picking work or cherries, were hanging around in the hope something would turn up. Hospitality work was hard to come by as there just weren’t enough jobs for those looking and it always helped to know someone who could get you in. I personally would really recommend just travelling Tasmania so you can get the most out of it as it actually costs very little to have an amazing experience compared to other parts of Australia.14955928_10153918765567617_1970551983302675658_n

Where to stay?

In my view there is only one hostel even worth mentioning in this section – The Pickled Frog. Within minutes of arriving it became one of my absolute favourite hostels ever, not just in Australia. It was full of the most friendly and relaxed travellers I have ever met and many of them were there long-term to work so they made the place feel like home. Some were just about to set off on road trips around the island, others had just come back, either way, they were a wealth of information about what to see and do. The hostel was a pretty old building with creaky floors and two huge dogs, it had charm and character and all centred around a huge living area with couches and tables to relax on and hang out with other travellers. The kitchen was huge and was a great place to meet new people and cook up a feast before sitting in the living room to play cards all night and drink beers from the bar in the reception.14993574_10153918765507617_1387576738760546505_nSituated at the top of Hobart city, you can’t miss the hostel which has been painted bright green and it is easy to get the airport shuttle to right outside the door. A bed in the hostel came to between $26-30 a night depending on the size dorm you went for – I always stayed in six bed dorms which were perfect as I wasn’t a fan of the bigger dorms downstairs. Even better, you get a lot of great freebies for your money as the hostel provides free trips to Mount Wellington, the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) and Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary where you can see Tasmanian devils. Trust me, staying in this hostel will make your Hobart experience!14938406_10153918768517617_7172613571368688482_n

Top 5 things to see and do:

  1. Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) – it goes without saying that you HAVE to experience this freakishly fascinating collection, you won’t come out the same! Highlights include the wall of vaginas and the machine that makes poo.
  2. Mount Wellington – get the hostel bus to the top and take in the views before walking back down. It only takes about two hours to walk down and get the bus back to the hostel but it’s a lovely stroll through forest trails.
  3. Salamanca markets – packed full of local produce including fruit, cheeses and smoked salmon, and soundtracked by talented buskers and musicians, it’s the perfect way to spend a Saturday morning.
  4. Discover the flavours of local producers by spending day visiting them by car/bus and sampling wines/cheeses/beers/ciders/chocolate. I actually had one of my best dates ever doing this with a guy I met down there.
  5. Walk around the city – it’s so small that you can easily walk the Tasman Highway bridge and make it to Battery Point to marvel at the quaint homes, antique stores and enjoy a beer all in one afternoon.

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Why I fell in love with Hobart

Hobart has a real charm that other parts of Australia lack, perhaps being English it was the quaint, older charm the city had that won me over. I loved the way everything had a real history and seemed from a time long before the modern skyscrapers of the cities. The solid wooden bars seemed like they had a story to tell, the musicians were quirky and brought unique talent to the table. The lifestyle was slower and more appreciative than the busy bustle of Melbourne or Sydney, less focused on partying and more on appreciating the great outdoors, and when it came to that, Tasmania had a lot to offer. Everyone knows from this blog that I am a total party animal, but there is another side to me, that country girl from the UK who loves getting outdoors and active. Tasmania was a perfect place to do this and so when I was in Hobart, I used my time to plan a road trip around the rest of the island – I’ll be blogging about how I planned my trip at a later date.14908393_10153918768602617_7371877092977412756_n14980664_10153918773242617_260356493879465716_n

Have you been to Hobart – what was your favourite part? Can you recommend any things to do/places to eat at?

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Travel | How social media can change your travelling experience

12642819_10153831469220535_5654254995325141544_nThe world of travelling has changed immensely in the last twenty years – not only has tourism completely changed the cultural experience we have in certain parts of the world, but we are simultaneously more connected and yet further separated from each other than ever before. Travelling twenty years ago, there was still the opportunity to get completely lost without ever straying far from the beaten track. Now it has become far more difficult – but not impossible – to get away from it all and really switch off from the world around us. When people are planning a trip away, whether for a weekend break, a two-week holiday or a year long expedition, their main reason for doing so is usually because they want to get away from it all and experience something new. “Getting away from it all” is such an interesting phrase – I used it myself when I was planning my travels. I needed to get away from everything I knew; from my job, my relationship, my life. I needed to gain space, to give myself time and to escape the world that was keeping me pinned. Now, over a year late, I’ve had everything I dreamed of and more – I’ve completely lost myself over and over again in beautiful landscapes, fascinating culture and incredible moments.

It’s interesting to look back now with fresh eyes, with perspective, and to think about how much I wanted to escape everything I left behind. And yet, my biggest project since travelling has been this blog – I’ve finally had the time, energy and inspiration to throw into turning this into something greater than I ever envisioned. And despite my claims that I wanted to cut myself off from all that I knew at home, I have put all of my energies into communicating every moment of this journey through writing, blogging and social media. It’s a passion of mine and I think it has had a huge impact on my travelling experience. Don’t get me wrong – I’ve given myself plenty of time away from the screen and the internet – I think that’s something that screams out of the pages of my blog. It’s all about fun – about life coming first and the amazing things that happen when you switch off the laptop and leave the phone at home. That’s what I love to document, the moments that happen when you truly switch off from your old life and open yourself up to these amazing new experiences. For me, capturing it all in my memories and camera is made all the more special when I sit down to write about it and get to relive it as my thoughts come pouring out of my fingertips.12790884_10153322205697617_5531639679795986980_nI’ve had those amazing moments when I’ve called a tiny hut on a beach in Cambodia home, when I’ve sat watching the sunset all by myself and realised that no-one in the world knows exactly where I am at the moment. It’s an incredibly empowering feeling to be entirely alone and know that it’s nothing to be afraid of, to know that you have only yourself to rely on but that’s okay. I’ve loved those moments of feeling completely lost in the world and I’ve also had moments when I’ve felt more connected with the people I love at home than ever before. I stay in constant contact with my family and speak to them almost every day thanks to social media and the huge range of communication options available. If I had been travelling twenty years ago it would be reduced to a phone call, or perhaps an email every now and again, but now, they can be with me every step of the way. Knowing that my mum is at the other end of a WhatsApp message, that my sister will always tweet me back or my dad’s emails can be relied on like clockwork completely changes the travelling experience and perhaps thats why I never get homesick. Because there’s nothing to miss when you’re just as close to the ones you love as you were before you stepped on the plane – because they’re never far away and you can have the everyday conversations with them whenever you want.

Social media doesn’t stop at family and friends on the other side of the globe – I’ve lost count of the amazing new friendships that I have developed over Facebook, Twitter and Instagram since travelling. Some have been random meets that have led to travelling advice, recommendations for accommodation, places to eat or trips. Others have been a comfort in a time of struggle – my own gang of cheerleaders that kept me going, inspired me to write and travel, made me see the amazing things Ive achieved through their eyes. And then there are those that started out on social media but grew into something more, the ones who I have been lucky enough to cross paths with along the way. I can’t tell you how amazing it is to have the opportunity to meet up with people I have only spoken to online, to explore a city halfway around the world and to build an actual, human friendship. I have made so many amazing new friends since travelling – many of them started out as fans of my blog and the next thing we know, we’re perusing the markets or exploring the sights in some far off land. It’s extra special because I often wonder whether our paths would have crossed were it not for our online presence. When you hear so many negative things about social media on a daily basis, it’s so lovely to see such huge positives come out of it. This is what social media was invented for – to bring people from all walks of life closer together.11138129_10153831391510535_3163373187428997590_nFor backpackers, social media has completely changed our concept of travelling and our attitude towards it. Backpacking culture seems more accessible than ever before because now it is all available at the touch of a button. Particularly when it comes to Facebook groups for those travelling Asia and Australia – I’ve found these amazing for when you are travelling solo. They are packed full of tips, advice, recommendations, friend requests, invitations to join trips, opportunities to buy or sell items ranging from camping gear to vehicles, the list goes on. I’m sure backpackers managed twenty years ago without the conveniences we have now, but I just love the way these channels open direct communication from backpackers cross the globe. The Australia groups I’m currently a part of have an open dialogue between travellers who are currently scattered across the country, those travelling Asia and heading this way, others in New Zealand, and many who can be found across the rest of the world – with eagerly anticipating their trip or happy just reminiscing about travels gone by. It’s a beautiful mix of people and really does help bring people together – I’ve seen many travelling groups formed for road trips or even to head overseas, I’ve seen many people organising meet-ups and nights out, and I’ve seen so many inspire others to step outside their comfort zone.12803150_10153322205417617_6528009646211249083_nIt’s so important to let yourself switch off from Facebook and Twitter (and Snapchat for all you addicts!) when you’re travelling. To not let your status updates stand in the way of your fun – trust me, no-one will notice if you switch off for a while! But at the same time, social media can have a fantastic impact on your travels. Manage it well and it can really help to nurture precious relationships while encouraging you to build new ones. After all, we’re all just here for a good time so why not have a good time together?

How has social media shaped your travelling experience? How do you use social media to make your backpacking life easier? Has social media had a negative impact on your travels?

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Why is “feminism” turning some women into characters from Mean Girls?

rulesoffeminismI was too busy to write this post last week, but it’s been playing on my mind ever since and I’ve now actually delayed another post to share this with you guys today. Those of you who don’t follow many blogs might not be aware of the scathing column written by Independent journalist, Chloe Hamilton, about the nation’s number one blogger and vlogger, Zoella. This attack came completely out of the blue, and interestingly at a time when Zoe Sugg is at the top of her game, winning awards, becoming a charity patron, launching a beauty range and more. Perhaps more to do with attracting attention than actually making a valid comment? Zoe has the amazing success most bloggers dream of and aspire to. She is a beautiful young girl, both inside and out, who vlogs to share her experiences and struggles with anxiety with others, creating a support network for teen girls across the world. Pretty amazing for a 24-year-old! With over six million subscribers on her YouTube channel, she must be doing something right and is nothing short of an inspiration to a lot of us.

I’m sure you can already tell I disagree with the column, but my concern is not so much the viewpoint of the writer, but the fact that she felt the need to be so nasty while making her point. Chloe is welcome to feel that Zoella reinforces certain stereotypes and perhaps doesn’t represent the “typical” view of feminism – but where is the need to describe her as “the latest creation spat out by the YouTube machine” or slate her “brand of sickly sweet girl power”? And what is the “typical” view of feminism anyway? There are so many stereotyped ideas of a “typical feminist” that I wonder how anyone could say what a feminist looks, speaks and acts like. This column is pure nastiness and really just embarrasses both the Independent and the “journalist” behind it, who quite frankly both appear to have published the piece to stir up reaction and page views. Well I’m sure it has worked, considering the reaction from countless bloggers and vloggers across Facebook and Twitter, and I hate to give the article the time of day because I know it just gives the writer what she wants. But I’m more concerned with the greater cost to “feminism”.feminismToo many already consider feminism a joke – a way to justify beating down men at every opportunity, to not conform to society expectations, to just kick up a fuss at every given opportunity – I’ve seen and heard these views given several times over the years. They don’t understand that in its purest form feminism means “the advocacy of women’s rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes”. The reason they don’t understand this? Well, because feminism has become a bit of a fashion statement, I’m not saying everyone is jumping on the bandwagon, but all too often I am seeing women using feminism as an excuse for their behaviour, when actually there is no excuse. I’m not talking about those who are campaigning, who stand up for those who are mistreated because of their gender – those who are underpaid, treated with no respect, or even abused simply because they are women. These are the good feminists, the true feminists who are paving the way for women. They are the inspiration to us all to follow their lead and do the same, to stand up and say something when we see real-life sexism and inequality.

I’m talking about those who are using “feminism” as an excuse to slate successful women and who use their own medium, whether blogging, writing, vlogging, “journalism”, social media or something else, in an attempt to bring them down or leech off their fame. I’ve seen a few examples of this recently, a couple over Twitter that were indirectly attacking a woman seemingly out of jealousy because she was successful and yet they felt the need to attack her looks and the way she dressed, and the way she wrote. How sad. No matter how indirectly you dress it up, we all know who you’re talking about, and honey, it doesn’t make them look bad – that’s all on you.pat-robertsons-quotes-4This latest attack by Chloe Hamilton is far worse because it targets not only Zoe’s success – which has caused her to become an inspiration for millions of teen girls. But it also launches an assault on how she has made her living – I just struggle to understand how a young woman who has found a hobby that she loves and turned it into a huge career through hard work can be seen as anything less than inspirational. Although many may not realise it, blogging is hard work – it takes up a huge portion of your life and is a massive commitment. You spend hours each week writing posts, videoing them, shooting pictures, brainstorming ideas. We do it because we love it, but as a professional journalist, an editor and a blogger, I can say I spend a lot of time perfecting my posts and I know others are the same. So the fact that Zoe has dedicated so much of her time to creating a brand, to promoting it, to working with her viewers and communicating with them is no mean feat. And the fact that for a long time she wouldn’t have been getting paid for any of it – just shows what a hard worker she is.

My next question is why does Chloe Hamilton hate Zoe so much for enjoying make-up, for trying out hairstyles and for liking getting dressed up? Since when has any of this stuff meant you are any less of a feminist? I love make-up, fashion, getting my hair done and styling it, not because it makes me pretty for men to look at, but because I enjoy the process of treating myself. But I also love equality, I love that my gender does not prevent me from getting an education, that it doesn’t have to hold me back from certain career paths and I hate that there are women out there who are preyed on because of their gender, who are raped and attacked and persecuted. Isn’t that the essence of feminism? Not what lipstick I’ve put on today. Or the fact that we choose to wear lipstick at all.

femChloe needs to try watching Zoella’s videos about her anxiety and feeling confident in your own skin, she represents and covers all these important issues alongside beauty and hair – that doesn’t mean she is going back on what she has said. Instead she gives us the boost we need and represents the girl-next-door, showing that everyone struggles with confidence and fears, but that it’s okay and that we don’t have to worry. She then gives girls the techniques and the tips so they can do make-up and hair well if they need it to boost their confidence or make them feel better individually, not for men.

Perhaps Chloe needs to spend a day in a high school to understand that the majority of teen girls want to learn about make-up and hair, they want to feel pretty and confident. I was a real bookworm at school and loved spending time with my friends, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t want to get dressed up as well. Zoella isn’t playing on insecurities of youths, she is talking about her passions and her loves and they are obviously shared by girls across the world or she wouldn’t have such an enormous following.sisterTaking a quick look at the bigger picture here, something that Chloe seems to have missed. When Zoe is encouraging teen girls to enjoy innocent hair and make-up tutorials, or videos about anxiety and coping with it – shouldn’t we be grateful that all these millions are tuning into her videos? All that time they spend watching them is another few minutes they are not watching and idolising “celebrities” like Rihanna, Nicki Minaj and the rest of the women who feel the need to take their clothes off or dance provocatively while aiming their music at teen audiences. Zoe Sugg is making a credible difference to young audiences already because she respects herself, she is a successful woman who has forged a career in an industry that is only just beginning and she is a real girl, who doesn’t have a team of make-up artists and retouching equipment that makes her seem perfect. She isn’t afraid of her imperfections, she just finds ways to live with them and be happy with them.

Sorry this has ended up being such a long post, but I think it is something that really needs to be said. Women need to stop attacking each other and instead look at the real problems. Green is a terrible colour on some people and jealousy is a nasty emotion. Isn’t it time we all started building each other up and being proud of our success stories? I’m happy and lucky to have a fantastic group of women as my friends, all strong feminists with big personalities who support and encourage each other to the bitter end. And the blogging community has been such a warm and welcoming place full of words of encouragement, congratulations at every small success and generally a huge amount of support at every stage of the game. We all believe in equality and women’s rights, otherwise we wouldn’t be voicing our opinions on the internet, creating these little spaces for our voices to be heard. THAT belief, THAT support and THAT passion is what we are proud of and what we love about blogging. That is what we should focus on and that is the future.

What did you think of the Independent column? What do you think about the Mean Girls who are calling themselves feminists?

Ab Lucy sign off

Happy Blogiversary to Absolutely Lucy

blogiversaryJust an extra quick little post to say today is my one year Blogiversary! I totally managed to mix my dates up, but thankfully WordPress reminded me that a year ago today I posted my first ever post on this blog. I can’t believe how much this blog has grown in that time, how many of you lovely people I have made friends with, who comment, send me messages and get involved in my posts. I have made so many friends in the blogging community and have been invited to join in posts by bloggers I really admire. In the last 12 months I have also seen Absolutely Lucy go self-hosted, have given a huge redesign and a new focus for the next year.

I’m so excited for what the future holds for this blog and I’ve loved every second along the way. Thanks so much to all of you for being a part of the journey and I look forward to more of the same! Your messages and comments mean the world to me and they keep me writing – so thanks!

Leave a comment if you have any suggestions or ideas for any changes, posts or if you just want to say hi.

Ab Lucy sign off

#bodyUNashamed – A Tribute to Body Confidence

body 5The beautiful, funny and fabulous Penny of Lillies and Love invited me to be a part of her #bodyUNashamed campaign – and when I read all about it, I just couldn’t think of a good reason not to get involved with such a worthy project. It made me feel quite depressed when I suddenly realised how few women I knew that hadn’t made negative comments about their bodies, or felt like they had to cover up at some point in our friendship. Pretty much all of them had talked about their flab, picked at the non-existent rolls hanging over their jeans, had a breakdown before a night out because their clothes didn’t look right or even cried because they hated their skin.

There’s so much negativity out there and so much of it is directed at our bodies and the way we look, so much of this doesn’t take into account the amazing things we can do. Why do we look at stretch marks like they are disgusting when they are the mark of carrying a child and bringing it into the world? Why do we feel sick at the sight of that soft roll on our tummies when it is a sign of enjoying life, of eating birthday cake at parties, drinking cocktails and spending nights snuggling on the sofa instead of at the gym? And why do we cover our skin with lotions, make-up and creams in an attempt to turn back time when every line on our face marks a smile we’ve shared and a memory we treasure?body 3Don’t worry – I’m just as guilty. I love make-up and getting dressed up. I love working out at the gym and have been a bit of an addict in the past, and now I find it hard if I slip and get a bit soft around the edges. I’ve never actually had a breakdown, but I’ve certainly felt depressed if I wake up and my skin looks gross or my love handles feel a bit bigger. We all have, some are worse than others, but we’ve all been there. But now Penny is telling the world that this has to stop and – as she is someone who has suffered major body issues, even having plastic surgery at 20 – I think she has a bloody good point. There are 65 bloggers involved in the project and she wants to get us all talking about body image in a positive way – sharing good vibes and changing the way we all think about our bodies. Her message is:

I’d encourage each and every one of you to be proud of who you are and to embrace the #bodyUNashamed mentality. Be healthy, be happy, but never apologise for the way your body looks. Embrace it and help yourself and others to feel good about themselves!

body 4So I’m going to start by talking about what I hate most about my body and how I cope with it. My skin – while I love having a permanent tan – is really sensitive to products and can flare up with eczema and dry, itchy, sore patches at a moment’s notice. It hurts and takes a while to heal, but when it does, often the top layer of skin is damaged and leaves me with white patches – usually on my arms. After working on a tan all summer, this is pretty horrible for me and I find it looks horrible. I’m sure there are a lot of people who wouldn’t even notice it, but I know it’s there and it upsets me. It’s so frustrating when this happens as often there doesn’t appear to be a cause, all I can do is be careful with products and washing powder, and just ignore it. But I certainly will never let it stand in the way of living my life and being happy, and I don’t cover up my arms for anyone.

becky 1My next task is to pick on another blogger, and I have been assigned Becky of Becky Louise Beauty – lucky me because she gives me plenty to write about! At just 18, you can see from her posts and her gorgeous smile what a zest she has for life and her passion for the products she reviews shines through her posts. I love the way she is a bit of a nail addict, as I’m definitely one for the nail varnishes myself. She is really talented at nail art and gives fantastic tutorials on really cute looking nail designs and I’m going to be trying them out myself. She has such a great outlook on life and this is clear from her Twitter feed, and you can tell she must be a great radio presenter and Youtuber.

body 2My final task is to list three things I love about myself – not an easy task for anyone to do, but as Penny says, it is not about boasting – it is about being truthful. Often the mirror and the media will tell us lies, so it is important to be honest with ourselves. I’ve also used photos throughout this post from times when I remember feeling really confident and happy within myself.

  1. My smile – it is the thing that I am always remembered for and it obviously leaves a lasting impression. I’ve always been very lucky with my teeth, they are straight and white and I have no fillings at 24. Plus I love the way that putting a big smile on your face, even when you are feeling down, genuinely makes you, and others feel better. A smile makes the world go round.
  2. My bum – it is pretty big and jubbly and in a town full of white girls with flat ironed rumps, my booty is something spectacular. Sorry girls, I’d always want Beyonce’s butt over skinny old Miley’s – a heck of a lot more comfortable for sitting on!
  3. My muscle – I’ve worked hard to reach the level of fitness I was at before all the festivals and it makes me feel proud, happy and strong to see that my body is still pretty toned despite all the cider. Although I have a lot of work to do to get back to peak fitness again, I really like knowing that my hard work has paid off and I can see the results.

Now it’s your turn – why not share the part of your body you dislike the most, and the parts you love? Seriously, it really changes your outlook when you realise that for one thing you hate, there are three things you love.

Ab Lucy sign off

The Blog Hop: Behind the Scenes with Absolutely Lucy

photo (8)First of all, an apology for disappearing a bit lately. I’ve been super busy with all the festivals and everything else, plus there’s been lots of big changes including one of my best friends moving away – so lots of distractions and I have to admit the blog has suffered slightly. I made a decision not to post at all because I knew I just didn’t have the time to dedicate to writing a full post and didn’t want to post just any old rubbish. With all this in mind, I’ve had a whole list of blog posts just waiting to be written and shared with you all and here is the first from that ever-growing list. This is a special post nominated by one of my favourite bloggers – The Travelista – Jess is a luxury travel blogger who is a fantastic writer, has an amazing life and is always jetting off somewhere special. To say that I would love to achieve half of what she has done as a blogger is an understatement and it was a real honour to be nominated by her to give a backstage view of life as a blogger.

This is just one of many reasons I love being part of the blogging community – having people to look up to and learn from. Being part of this community is something I have really missed over the last few weeks when all of these festivals have taken over my life. It’s great to be able to make connections with bloggers all over the country who all love writing about and documenting their lives as much as I do. Learning about what they get up to behind the scenes is great because there are so many who work in totally different ways and yet we all ave the same motivation sitting behind it all. Living in Norfolk, you do feel a bit cut off from other bloggers with many of the closest living in Norwich. There are a few of us scattered around my area, but you always feel like it would be great to be a blogger in a bigger city like London or Manchester where it seems groups are always meeting up and networking. With this is mind, chains like The Blog Hop are a brilliant way for bloggers to link up – even if they don’t blog on the same topics – and get to know each other. I’m sure you’ve had an idea of how crazy life has been for me lately, so now’s your chance to really learn about how I approach blogging and how I find the time to fit it in around four jobs.photo (9)

1) What am I working on/writing?

Well as you guys will have picked up – I’ve been out of blogging action a bit over the last two weeks and I feel like I’ve been away forever! I have so many posts that are little more than a spark in my brain at the moment, but I know as soon as my fingers hit the keyboard they will blossom into something bigger and better than I ever imagined. I can’t wait to share them with you! Topics coming up will include festivals – of course! Plus some travel posts, more work posts, dream interpretation, more upcoming events, and possibly even some fashion posts as I look for the perfect dress for an upcoming wedding – gasp! The biggest thing I will be starting work on behind the scenes is a whole makeover for Absolutely Lucy. I’ve been dying to do this for ages – I feel like my blog has entered a new stage and I really want to update the whole thing so it looks more professional. I have no idea of a time-frame but would love to have it done by the end of September – I plan to do it all myself so it may take time.

 2) How does my work/writing differ from others of its genre?

I spend probably around 70% of my time writing, whether as a journalist for the local newspaper, as an editor for This Festival Feeling, as a freelance writer and contributor for various sites such as CultNoise, or, of course, as a blogger. Naturally, each of these demands me to write in a very different tone and style, while journalism is rather more formal, festival writing is way more relaxed and chatty. I like to strike a balance on my blog and consider it a bit like talking to your mates. I like to write as I speak and I think that chatty, forward and friendly combination comes across much as I do in person – at least that’s how I hope I come across. Content-wise, I have yet to find a blog that covers the range of subjects I do, with so many opinion posts and so many posts on festivals, food, fitness, travel and the rest.. but also the fact that I pretty much completely skip all beauty and fashion posts. Much as I love clothes and make-up, I don’t really love them enough to write about them and I think that sets me apart – I focus on lifestyle and the action part of having a life rather than the more decorative parts of life.

3) Why do I write what I do?

I hate to say it but Jess stole the words right out of my mouth when she says being a writer is in her blood. I’ve spent my life reading everything I can get my hands on and writing everything – I used to spend hours perfecting my stories, essays, calligraphy and anything else I could create with a pen and paper. I just love it. I have such a passion for the English language and for both reading and creating literature of all kinds, so I take every opportunity to do so. I love everything I write and I am so lucky to write in so many different formats. Newspaper writing is a great exercise and really challenges me, while festival writing is more creative and really gives me a chance to express my love of festivals while working directly with the festival organisers and their PR companies. But writing on Absolutely Lucy gives me a chance to fill the void and write what is truly burning away inside me, it means I can cover the burning issues that are affecting my life and those I love, it means writing about amazing events and all my passions, and doing it in my own voice. And that is why I write what I do, because I am just one voice in six or seven billion, but my voice has something to say and this blog is my little corner of the internet to express what I am thinking.

4) How does my writing process work?

As someone who spends such a huge amount of her time writing, my whole process and my to-do list is engrained on my brain and that is probably why I usually find it so easy to manage my time efficiently. All the ideas, brainwaves and plans are kept in my head, sometimes my phone, and often I can rap out a blog post in 10-20 minutes because I already have it planned out in my head. Normally, I will spend a couple of evenings a week blogging, replying to emails and comments, but sometimes this time can be spread across different days. Traditionally Mondays or Sundays, with some time on a Wednesday as well. But I have since started a new job and work Wednesday nights, so there will be no more mid-week blogging. Now my blogging hours are scattered throughout the week, I update my social media channels several times a day, which is easy alongside my day job. I also sometimes spend my lunch breaks blogging if inspiration hits, and am always sure to take photos throughout the week as ideas strike me. Often I will sit and write several blog posts in one go, I will then time them on throughout the week so they are scattered across the days. I love having the time to give myself a whole evening to dedicate to catching up on blogging and am never short of ideas.

1512553_10152223375147617_3339407398728966966_nThere you go – a little peek into the world of Absolutely Lucy, how I write, get inspired and formulate the posts that appear as you see them. I hope it’s given you a taste of why I do what I do, even though it means staying up until all hours creating posts for you to read, and what makes this blog different from any other. The next part of Blog Hop is to nominate three more bloggers to take part by also answering these four questions and revealing what goes on behind the scenes of their own fantastic blogs. So I am going to nominate these lovely ladies…

1) Jess May from Just Jess May

She’s one of my favourite bloggers of the moment, and I’m so happy I recently discovered her as I am loving every single one of her posts. She writes about relationships and uses her own as inspiration – so refreshing to read about a girl in a long-term relationship with such a fantastic attitude to life. Her ability to put a smile on your face instantly with her posts is something to be admired.

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2) Chelsea Louise Hayden of Loving Life in Wellies

I swear Chelsea could be another version of myself in a parallel universe – she literally couldn’t live any further across the other side of the country to me and yet we have so much in common. We even reckon we’re repping life as mermaids on our equally beautiful beaches. I love reading her blog, because despite being so far away from each other, we have very similar interests and her latest food posts on her inspired part-raw/vegan diet has really inspired me to get back into my healthy eating post-festivals.

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3) Hayley-Eszti Szücs of Hayley Eszti

Hayley is such a lovely person and I’m so glad that I became a blogger if it means chatting to people like her. She has the most wonderful pictures on her blog, she looks like a fairy in them and that just further adds to the way I feel totally inspired after reading her posts. She is unfailingly positive, even when she feels at her lowest, and considering she suffers from multiple chronic illnesses including ME, you could understand her letting it get the better of her. But again and again, she has me reading about conditions that I have never experienced and know nothing about – she takes us on a journey and is doing a great job of raising awareness while making us all feel a bit more grateful for having full health.

profile2_zps8c1bb8eeThanks to all three of your beautiful bloggers for giving me some great reading material and for all your support in turn on my own blog. I’m  looking forward to reading all about what goes on behind the scenes!

What did you think of this post? Have a similar writing technique or a totally different attitude to blogging? Why not share  – I’d love to know how everyone else approaches it!

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The Big Blog Exchange – vote for me!

bbe_banner_pinkLast week, I took a chance. I’m always entering competitions in the hope of winning, but never seem to be very lucky. All I remember winning in my time was a Harry Potter mug and cereal bowl years ago, but I kept it and it is still gathering dust in the cupboard! These days, I enter competitions to win big, we’re talking beauty prizes, meals out, spa days, holidays, travel vouchers, cash prizes and more… Yes I daydream about them, don’t we all? But I’m also realistic and know how many people enter things like this. I never actually expect to win, so if it happened I would be crazy happy to be chosen! One of my friends was incredibly lucky and won the chance to meet Beyonce and hang out with her before one of her huge London gigs – she couldn’t believe it! I still can’t believe it, but it certainly renews your faith that people actually win these things. I also know of a few bloggers who have won amazing things including a travel blogger who won an incredible opportunity to travel across America and blog about it – perfect fodder for blogging and what a fantastic experience!

So anyway, I digress, I’m not usually one for going in for things where people have to know I’ve entered the competition, it just makes me a bit nervous when I have to ask for votes or anything like that. I know that I am lucky enough to have lots of amazing friends who would all vote for me, but it’s more that I don’t usually like to ask or to put anyone out. Despite being a blogger and constantly self-promoting on Facebook and Twitter, I definitely don’t think of myself as a fully established blogger and am still taking this very much one step at a time. So it feels a bit strange to then ask people to vote for you as a blogger to win something! But hey, I’m breaking the habit of a lifetime and doing exactly that. I did it. I entered a competition and I really want to win it. blog picI’ve entered the Big Blog Exchange 2014 which is basically a chance to swap lives with another blogger by visiting their home country, experiencing their world and blogging about it. By September 3, I have to try and secure enough votes to make it through to the next stage – or be interesting enough to be chosen as a wildcard by the judges – eek pressure! Over 340 bloggers have already signed up and I have no doubt that many if not all are better known than I am with bigger readerships – I’m sure that they have hundreds who will vote for them. But I am determined to give it my best shot – if you have been reading, you will know about my travel plans for next year and I believe this will be a fantastic warm-up for that, giving me a chance to have a break and experience something new, while trying my hand at a bit of travel blogging and getting to meet some new bloggers. If you want to know more about the project, click here.

For those who have read this and thought wow that sounds like a great opportunity and I’d love to vote for Lucy – click here to cast your vote and please do share my page on Facebook and Twitter.

I would really appreciate any votes and the opportunity to do this, so I hope you’ll take two minutes out of your day to help me out.

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