When I was approached by Fotojet to review their online photo and graphic design editor. I was intrigued. With Fotojet, you can make anything from social media images to posters to magazine covers and flyers.     At first, I thought this is similar to Canva which is another online photo and graphic design editor. I use Canva a lot which is fab for those with limited graphic design skills and I am familiar with Adobe Photoshop (which I use less often!)  so wanted to see what else Fotojet could offer.

First impressions, well it looked very much like Canva when I first logged in and to use most tools and formats it is free but a stripped down version of Canva. This was because there wasn’t as many options than I am used to seeing when I log in to Canva.  Fotojet works in three sections these are the design, collage and photo editing sections. To use most tools and formats it is free but there is a paid version where you have a better choice of tools. With that I decided to create a few pictures to see how it worked.

Pink collage created with Fotojet

Essentially the method of creating images and designs it was very much uploading your images and dragging and dropping them. They had this lovely collage function which I had a go on and it certainly makes the blog look different.

I decided to edit a photo of myself and I was impressed at how improved the photos looked. The first photo below is the original photograph of me and the second one was when I had used the tint tool, my hair looks so much blonder and my skin looks so much better, not pale and pasty.

 

So would I recommend Fotojet? It is a nice little program, however I have used Canva a while and there are more editing options. So if you are a beginner or may find lots of tools over daunting or just want to create some social media images then it is fab.

Have you used Fotojet?

Image of Rebecca Merchant at the Manchester 10k with her partner James Perkins both holding up medals

I ran the Manchester 10k yesterday which was organised by Great Run the organisers famous for the Great North Run. It was my first organised 10k and although I wasn’t building it up to be anything special, it was quite poignant since the the attack at the Manchester Arena on the Monday. On social media everyone was encouraged to wear yellow ribbons and plenty of people wore yellow and bees and wasn’t going to let a terrorist attack stop us.

The 10k they put people in waves white, blue, green, orange and pink. Waves were allocated by the how long you think it would take you to run the race. I was put in the pink ‘wave’ which was the last wave to go as I put down a time of 1hour 20 minutes.

Rebecca Merchant at the start line of the Manchester 10k

I hadn’t done as much training as I could have done, I do have a baseline of fitness however with the circuit training that I do and the Parkrun’s. I did however run a 10k twice before the event, I had never run one before and I did not want to go into it blind. My two practice runs didn’t put me off but it made me aware of the distance I was facing. If I hadn’t had run those before hand I would have still ran the 10k but would have had a bit of a shock!

It is important to make sure you have fuelled beforehand and keep yourself hydrated. There were two water stops on my way round the 10k and I made the most of them and drank it rather than throwing the water over me. The water is going to be better inside you then out! Another thing I learnt is that there warm-ups are pants! I had better warm-ups at the Race for Life events and they are only 5k. I wish I had warmed up properly beforehand as I really felt stiff the next day.

Rebecca Merchant at the start of the Manchester 10k

I asked on Twitter beforehand if we could bring headphones and we could which I was really glad about because music really keeps me going. Although it is worth pulling the headphones out right at the end to soak up the atmosphere. At every opportunity I waved and put my thumb up at the police and first aiders – many police officers came from different areas Nottingham, Derby, Wales and South Yorkshire were drafted in to protect us so thank you to them. At the end I loving it and was waving at the crowd and was encouraging the crowd to cheer for me.

Key points to take away:

  • Fuel and hydrate up before the event.
  • Keep some paracetamol on you incase you get a headache.
  • Find somewhere to warm up properly.
  • Take some protein straight away  after the event.
  • Practice beforehand at least go to the Parkrun’s or short runs but at least run a 10k beforehand so you get an idea of the distance.
  • Wear shorts not leggings – you will just get hot. I also wear vests rather than shirts.
  • Make sure your trainers are in good condition.
  • Finally enjoy it, make the crowd cheer for you. thank the people waving you and making the day possible!

 

Black and white image of Sylvia Plath

Sylvia Plath’s life and work is dark and mysterious and today I am reviewing one of my favourite poems written by her called Mirror. I cannot republish it here however if you google it you will be able to find it easily.

The poem is about a mirror presumably hung in a woman’s bedroom ‘I meditate on the opposite wall. It is pink, with speckles. I have looked at it so long’ and what the mirror sees day by day. I love this poem because it is poem about what an everyday object does and the unattended consequences this has on its owner.

The mirror has human traits describing its self as pure and clear and that is has to justify itself. ‘I am silver and exact. I have no preconceptions.’ ‘Just as it is, unmisted by love or dislike’ The second stanza talks about the mirror’s owner and ageing, the woman looks at the mirror every single day and is upset about getting older. The candles and moon – all of which is not pure light doesn’t show everything, the mirror is not a person who can lie. The mirror thinks that it is doing the owner a favour – she is being honest but it just upsets her.

It is clear the owner is struggling with becoming older ‘A woman bends over me, searching my reaches for what she really is.’ ‘She rewards me with tears and an agitation of hands’ and the final sentence which confirms her fears:

In me she has drowned a young girl, and in me an old woman 

Rises toward her day after day, like a terrible fish.’

It is such a short but despondent poem, but has stuck with me for all of those years because it is a powerful description on the simple process of ageing.

What is your favourite Sylvia Plath poem? Leave a comment below!

Marnie and Desi in the red convertible

Again a little later than planned but I have come down with this virus which seems to be going around, however lets get straight in. This week see’s Hannah off to Poughkeepsie with Marnie and Desi, Hannah is only going to help Marnie’s cover up. Marnie and Desi pick’s Hannah up in this convertable car which looks like something that is out of Grease. It is so funny when the car pulls away and Marnie just sticks her hands in her air and shouts yey and you can see Hannah is just thinking ‘oh boy’.

This week we see more of Shoshanna through Elijah. Shoshanna and Elijah go to a mixer by two of Shoshanna’s ex best friends. These girls Ziva and Rachel run a successful denim company Jabba Jeans and are moving into the t-shirt industry. They co-founded Jabba Jeans on a holiday to Aruba which we learn Shoshanna was meant to go on but cancelled six hours before to go and do something with Jessa. Shoshanna tries to cosy up to the girls but it is clear that they want nothing to do with her. This hurts her and Jessa doesn’t help saying that those girls are like ‘Khloe Kardashian and Bethennie Frankel, if those women weren’t amazing and total revolutionaries.’

The massive bust between Shoshanna and Jessa in the street! It was unfair for Shoshanna to blame Jessa for her mistakes. Yes Jessa has made mistakes and can be a bad influence but ultimately it is Shoshanna that made those decisions. This scene empathesises Shoshanna growing up by cutting ties with Jessa but simultaneously throwing her toys out of her pram.

Meanwhile in Poughkeepsie Hannah goes into a antiques shop and starts talking to the owner. The woman talks about her life story – being a model in New York city and then falling onto the tracks and surviving. Hannah points to this pretty tea set in the window and the woman gives it to her for free. It all seems a bit werid and I didn’t really understand the point of the scene.

Later on is

Picture of Hannah and Pau-l Louis

I appreciate this is a late review, but I have been extremely busy coupled with illness and painting my bathroom! However, it is the last season of GIRLS! Me alongside many other viewers will be sad to miss our favourite 4. Here is my review of the first episode.

In short, this episode sees Hannah being published, her going off to write about her experience at a Surf retreat in Long Island, Marnie going through a divorce and is trying to make it work with Ray. Finall,yRay after being found that he cannot stay at Marnie’s finds that Jessa and Adam have taken over the flat so shack’s up with Shoshanna instead.

I am glad to see that Hannah seems to have landed on her feet job wise (she never really was cut out to being a school teacher!), what I was shocked about was she seems to have gained some sought of fashion style. I loved her yellow mustard jacket (which I really couldn’t pull off myself!) and those black sunglasses! A real laugh out loud moment was when Elijah casually asks Hannah if he could borrow her room for her weekend to hold a small orgy. Marnie’s face when Hannah is completely fine with it is such a picture. Even more funny is that Elijah is holding the orgy to get himself noticed in the acting world, Marnie asks ‘why don’t you just take an acting class’ and he responds with ‘I am just going to fuck my way to the top’.

I appreciate that GIRLS is a programme that wants to show females making bold choices and liberating themselves but there were so many unnecessarily naked scenes in this programme that it felt like Lena Dunham is making a point for making a point’s sake. No one needed to see her bathing her vagina in the sunlight. No-one needed to see Jessa and Adam eating yogurt naked in the sitting room.

Marnie in her bedroom talking to Ray in bed

I think everyone was sad that Marnie started kissing Dezi. Dezi is such a tool! Marnie interests me a lot as a character and I feel has learned a lot about herself in New York in the way that she is not as perfect as she thought she was. At the moment she wants Ray to move home as her ‘online therapist’ suggested (of course Marnie has an online therapist) but that has pushed Ray to live with Shoshanna It will be interesting how her relationship with Ray turns out this series.

When Hannah was at the Surf retreat she falls for the instructor Paul-Louis, after her faking injuring her arm to get out of surfing, and a crazy night out (an absolute must see because her dancing is hilarious) and trying to have sex in a bunk bed. She spends the day with him. Paul-Louis opens up her mind to the fact that some of the best plans are sometimes the ones that you haven’t made yourself.  Hannah, completely smitten, is willing to leave New York behind for him, however is in a open relationship and has different ideas. This upsets Hannah. The irony that Hannah who is (or tries to be) very liberal and open minded about everything but prefers her relationships to be monogamous.

Paul-Louis talking to Hannah in the bar

We didn’t see much of Shoshanna this week, throughout Girls she is the one that has had the most growing up to do. From her time at NYU (remember her failing the glacier module so she couldn’t graduate with everyone else!) she was the girl that seemed to be doing everything right but life was working against her. She is very naive. Now that Ray seems to be staying at hers it will be interesting to see how there friendship between them plays out.

What did you think of this episode? Let me know in the comments below.