giffgaff gameplan: Lifegoals Workshop Event

Happy Friday,

I hope you’re all well!

Firstly, before I get into this weeks post, I am THRILLED to announce that after almost three months of being locked out of my Twitter account, I have regained access! (*cue the audience cheers*) Hopefully, this means I’ll be more motivated to get back into the full swing of blogging without feeling completely out of the bloggers loop, like I have been these past months.

Yesterday, I was very kindly invited to another North East blogging event, this time ran by the lovely people of giffgaff: gameplan, at the Hilton Gateshead and I thought I’d give you a little run down of how it went!

You probably know giffgaff as the popular mobile network. However the company have started on another venture into the world of personal financing! The network have launched a saving money website, which allows you to compare energy prices, car insurance, loans and credit card providers. The site also offers a free credit report so you can be on your way to building your dreams and budgeting to keep on top of it all! You can find giffgaff:gameplan website here.

The event revolved around finances and money management, a topic which I think most of us tend to just assume we know enough about to breeze by in life. However, since finishing university and being shoved into the real world, I’ve found that I need to know a lot more than just the basics of how to understand financing. It’s all so adult.

Upon arrival to the event, we were welcomed warmly with a glass of wine and had time to mingle and enjoy the view of the Tyne Bridge before being ushered into our workshops.

WORKSHOP ONE: Everyday Savings

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Eileen Adamson of Yourmoneysorted.co.uk

The first workshop was based on ‘Everyday Savings’ and was ran by the charming Eileen Adamson of Your Money Sorted. Eileen talked about ways of saving on interest through paying just that little more than the minimum on credit cards paybacks and mortgages, meaning you are not only saving yourself a nice bit of money to spend how you like but can pay it off even earlier! I honestly would never even think to pay back more than the minimum, I sort of just go with the flow but I’ll 100% be taking Eileen’s advice on board.

We then enjoyed some interactive activities, including spending habits bingo, Jenga (which encouraged us to mingle and feel more comfortable discussing money), scheduling a meal plan for the month to aid in stopping the need to buy more than the essentials, which I am very guilty of! We then shared websites and apps that would help to both make money and save money, including Plum and Chip, two apps that work with your bank to save a small amount from your current account and build up savings.

By the end of the workshop, I really felt like I’d not only learned new ways to save and find great deals but also felt more confident about discussing money around my peers. I’ve always sort of shied away from the topic completely, when, like Eileen said, we don’t talk about money enough and it should be a more comfortable social discussion. Hey, with my new found confidence I might even try haggling!

buffetWe then stopped for a little buffet break and enjoyed some of the food that Hilton had to offer. This is always the part of any event where I feel like I’ve been so lucky with the opportunities my blog has given me, especially with not even having it a whole year yet! I had a lovely little chat with Yasmina, Kate and Becka about all things rom coms and snacks before making my way to the last workshop of the night.

WORKSHOP TWO: Bad Credit/Credit Score Advice

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Karyn Fleeting of Miss Thrifty

The second workshop was ran by the expert of credit, Karyn Fleeting of The Miss Thrifty Blog. If I’m being completely truthful, I went into this workshop only know the bare minimum about credit and most of my knowledge came from passing conversations with friends. Being only 22, I thought that credit would only affect me when I get a little bit older but Karyn has put me in a much better relationship with understanding that credit should be given more attention, no matter what age.

Karyn talked us through how to check our credit score, using Experian, Equifax and CallCredit, what each rating would mean for future referencing and the importance of a high credit score when applying for a loan or a mortgage. Karyn then went on to advise us on how to inflate our credit score through paying bills on time and avoiding payday loans, before demonstrating how to repair a credit score if it’s all looking a bit downhill, with a credit rebuild card and a smidge of patience.

As I said previously, I had such a small amount of understanding on what credit truly was and how it would affect the way I spend, loan and prepare for my future. Thankfully, after Karyn’s incredibly helpful workshop, I’ll now be more wary of my credit score and keep top tip on making sure it’s as high as possible. I even checked my score as soon as I got back to the house! Keen bean.

missthrifty

To round up the event, I had a great evening and loved being in the company of other bloggers once more. It’s so nice to feel part of your local blogging community and put real life faces to blog names!

Thanks to the workshop speakers, giffgaff:gameplan, Jennie and Alice for organising the event and inviting me and the staff at the Hilton Gateshead for making us all feel very welcome.

Cheers for reading,

Chanel

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Viking Digital Photography Masterclass with Elouisa Georgiou

Hello,

In a week full of firsts: England winning their first ever penalty shootout at a World Cup, the first ever successful double hand transplant in the UK and the first time Georgia had her heartbroken on national TV show, Love Island (we love you gal!). I attended my first ever blogging event!

With only starting my blog at the beginning of the year, I was absolutely overjoyed when I received an email inviting me to a bloggers event in Newcastle. Me? Little Nel? Getting an invite to mingle with other bloggers and learn useful tips? I’m there!

I’m not going to lie…I was bricking it. I spent the week running up to the event worrying about feeling the odd one out, panicking that no one would like me and the biggie, I knew no one on a personal/friendly level. However, when I arrived at the venue, I bumped into Ruby and Helena, who were more than lovely and allowed me to tag along with them.

The lovely team at Viking teamed up with professional photographer Elouisa Georgiou to create a Digital Photography Masterclass at The Botanist. A gorgeous venue, that was ideal for us bloggers who love a good picturesque environment! The masterclass was based around teaching us how to look more carefully at camera settings, lighting and the ways we can alter aspects of a set up to get the prime shot.

Firstly, as we all sat with complimentary prosecco in hand (massive brownie points to the genius behind the free booze), Elouisa talked us through some of the basics of manual photography, an area that was completely alien to me as I usually just stick my camera on auto and hope for the best. Talking about ISO, aperture and shutter speed, it allowed us to get a sense of how to change our settings depending on the light, the motion of the subject and shooting products in the foreground and background.

After the talk, we were encouraged to try some of the things we’d been taught for ourselves. Chatting to fellow bloggers Niamh, Rachael, and Cat, we soon found out that none of us really had any idea how to use our cameras or where to even begin.

The first task we had were flatlays. I think most bloggers dream of having dreamy flat lays of beautiful products and food but the reality is, it’s a faff if you don’t know what you’re doing and can’t get a nice result. Elouise really helped with understanding how to frame the photos and how to use my camera to increase the quality of the shot. I’ll definitely be giving flatlays for of a go with my newfound flatlaying confidence!

We also played about with bounce boards and prisms to manipulate light and eradicate shadows. I’d honestly never thought about adding different textures and light flares to my images to make them more interesting, but after having seeing some of the other bloggers photography with the use of prisms, I’ll be trying it out!

Once we’d had our fun, we all sat down for some delicious food and a cocktail on the house whilst our photos were being printed for Elouisa to judge. I loved hearing all the different conversations of how varied people’s lives are but we all found our way to blogging as a hobby and outlet.

Elouisa then chose her winner of the photography competition, it was time to say goodbye! We were all given a tips and tricks sheet running over everything that had been said so we could practise at home and we even got given a tripod as a pressie!

Thank you to Viking and Elouisa for the invite and being so welcoming.

I had the best night with lovely people in a gorgeous surrounding and learned so much about photography and camera settings that I hope and pray can help me improve my photos. Watch this space!

Thanks for reading,

Chanel

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Mannaza Korean BBQ, Newcastle

Hello, Hi, Welcome,

So this week on the blog I decided to try writing a little foodie post as I’m always looking for new and different eating experiences to test out. At the weekend, my friend and I decided we wanted to see if anywhere in the North-East offered a Korean BBQ dining experience as we had both  learned about Korean BBQ through tv shows and online videos.

If you don’t know what Korean BBQ is, it’s basically where you cook chosen meats on a grill which is placed on your table at the restaurant. It’s a little different than just sitting down for a regular meal and it’s a huge phenomenon in Korea for social meetings.

Upon our search, we found Mannaza, a Korean restaurant which provides the barbeque cooking style we so badly wanted to try. Located just next to Blackfriars, the restaurant is easy to find and as it’s close to The Gate, it’s only a short walk to bars and the cinema if you’re looking to add more to your night.

Inside, the restaurant is a nice size. Not too big, not too small and has a friendly, warming atmosphere. We booked our table because I was unsure just how popular a Saturday night could get at Mannaza and I’m glad we did as there was a handful of people waiting for a table and we walked straight in to our reserved table.

The menu is extensive! There’s pretty much something for everyone, from vegetarians to seafood-lovers (I even spied that they serve octopus). It’s pretty simple to decipher as they have a ‘Self-Grill’ column which lets you know what options you can choose for the Korean BBQ dining. If you fancy something from the menu but don’t feel like cooking it yourself, there is the choice to have it cooked by the chef so don’t fret if the idea of self-grill is a bit daunting!

We went for the set menu for 2, which included a starter of dumplings (which were already cooked for us and delicious), a tray of marinated raw chicken (Yangnyeomdak-Gui) and a tray of marinated raw beef slices (Bulgogi) to cook on the grill, a side of kimchi and a side of spinach alongside 2 portions of sticky rice. All together I think the food came to £28.00 which we thought was pretty reasonable for what you were given.

When it came to the time for us to grill our meats, we were a little hesitant on how long we had to cook the slices for and if there was a desired ‘look’ for the dish we were meant to be grilling without completely burning the living daylights out of it. The slices of meat are sliced thinly for quick cooking and I cook quite regularly so I shouldn’t have been so worried about poisoning the both of us but I really am not equipped with any BBQ knowledge.

We managed to get the hang of it after the first few tester bits of meat (we literally cooked on bit at a time just to see what would happen) and ended up throwing the remainder of the meat all on the grill. If not a tiny bit stressful, it provided a boat load of giggles and a lot of fun and the end food product was absolutely delicious and filling!

I noticed on the menu that they also serve Korean wines and Sake, but we just went for the typical Pinot Grigio and Merlot to calm our anxiety after the hilarious food encounter.

I would highly recommend this restaurant if you’re looking for something a little bit out of the ordinary to try out! The prices are reasonable, the staff were helpful and the experience was great. I’d like to take a bigger group of friends next time just to see how we all cope. We also didn’t give ourselves food poisoning, hurrah!

Have you tried Korean BBQ or had any other fun dining experiences?

I hope you enjoyed reading and I’ll see you soon,

Chanel

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