ShinySchool Part 1 – My Tech Kit

ShinyThoughts Shiny School logo blogger tech essentials

Welcome to ShinySchool! A 3 part series of Blogging tips focusing on what I do and what I use to blog whilst working full time and commuting!

Although I’ve been Blogging for almost 5 years, I’m by no means an expert and am always looking at new ways to streamline the process. Thing is, we don’t really share these day-to-day systems and processes with each other, so I thought I’d give you an insight into what I do and you never know, you might pick up a tip that helps you! If you have a question or tip to share, just comment or tweet me and I’ll try and include them in the next posts so we can all blog better!

In this first part, I’ll be showing you what pieces of technology that ShinyThoughts wouldn’t exist without!

acer iconia

Acer Iconia A1 Tablet

The newest and most exciting addition to my tech collection is my Acer Iconia A1 tablet. This big baby is the secret to Blogging efficiently because it plugs that awkward gap between my Macbook and my phone whether on the move or between desk and bed at home. You might have never really thought you needed one, then you realise how bloomin’ useful it is!

The tablet world is a bit of an alien mindfield to me so I made sure I had a quick look at Acer tablet reviews before taking the plunge. The fact that it uses Android just like my phone was a big plus point and the generous screen size is brilliant for seeing all those beautiful blog photos close up.

Using it on the train for the first time was an enormous joy – I could read other blogs and get completely absorbed, plus could use the WordPress app, Flickr and all those other fiddly programs without the accidental fat-finger-wrong-link-clicking malarky. I’ll be showing you more on which apps I use and how my new Acer Iconia tablet helps me blog in the next posts.


acer iconia tablet

acer iconia tablet

Macbook Pro

I’ve had my Macbook Pro for the last 3 years and as with most of the tech I invest in, I wouldn’t ever go back to what I had before. It runs Adobe Bridge, Photoshop, a million Chrome tabs and all my other apps with ease. Whilst I can pack it up and take it on holiday with me, I tend to keep it plugged in at my desk on a cooling pad with cute little Bebe the sausage dog as a wrist support.

I recently bought a VGA adapter so that I could plug into a second screen (it can be any brand) – miracle! Now I can have multiple programs in sight when working. More on all that in another ShinySchool post!


blogging tech essentials

macbook pro double screens

Canon 550d and 35mm lens

It’s the fashion Bloggers’ favourite camera, look around at a meet up and we’ve almost all got them! That’s why I stuck a load of squishy kitty stickers all over mine, else I’d be picking up the wrong one! The Canon 550d is lightweight, easy, relatively cheap for the quality and you can customise it with different lenses. Unless you can afford and know how to use a hefty Canon 5d, this half-frame dslr with a static 35mm prime lens meets every job you need as a Blogger.

More on photography later so please leave any questions you might have in the comments!


Canon 550d best beginners dslr camera with 35mm lens

HTC One Mobile Phone

Instagram, emails, maps on the move, I don’t need to convince you that a large screen phone is a Blogging essential! I’ve always stuck with HTCs and went for the One when I needed an upgrade. It’s all about the large screen and camera for me and whilst I did have a couple of issues with this model dying, my latest replacement hasn’t been letting me down.

I was delighted to hear when caseable started stocking HTC One cases – us android users get the bad deal when it comes to case choice, but now that you can design anything you like to be printed on your models case, the options are limitless! You can also customise your phone with cute fish eye lenses as featured in my last post if you missed it.


caseable design your own phone case

Bits and Bobs

Here are a couple of other pieces of tech I need to ensure I’m not let down when Blogging:

5600mAh External Charger – This little brick never fails to interest fellow Bloggers when I plug it into my phone or tablet! It might be a bit weighty but I carry it around with me every day and don’t notice it. With at least two full phone charges worth of power and all the port adapters you’ll need, there’s no dwindling battery anxiety at the end of the day when you have this at the bottom of your bag! the mAh number refers to the amount of power stored so look out for a high number for the lowest price.

Bamboo Stylus – If you’re a fan of Snapchat, use apps where you can draw or just have chilly fingers, you might want to get yourself a stylus pen. They’re not expensive and are a lot less cack-handed than trying to make your handwriting look pretty with a finger.

Transcend External Hard Drive – I asked for an external hard drive 4 years ago and have used it to back up blog photos and old uni work ever since. I probably plug it in once a month and add the latest posts to it so that I can clear more space on my Macbook. It’s got 500GB worth of space (perfect for those huge RAW files) and a rubber sleeve so that it’s protected if you drop it.

16GB SD Cards and Card Readers – I have 3 16GB SD cards that I use on rotation in my camera and 2 card readers that I can transport from device to device. When looking for a new SD card, look out for high speed ones (with the number 10 in the circle) especially if you’re shooting in RAW and don’t forget to format the card rather than deleting photos to keep it working faster.


portable phone charger tech

What Blogging tech can you not live without?


  • SJP December 20, 2013 at 5:14 PM

    I love posts like this! My 450D is my best piece of kit, along with my laptop. Looking forward to your photography post – I’m itching to get my hands on a new lens!

  • Dulcie Horn December 18, 2013 at 11:23 PM

    I love posts like these, they’re so useful, thank you!

    I’ve got a canon 500d and only got the kit lens at the moment and am looking for a new lens… the 35mm you’ve suggested is a lot out of my price range though :S Have you got any more suggestions? Also I’d love to know about your editing processes!

    La Dulcie Vita
    or follow via bloglovin’

  • Matthew Pike December 18, 2013 at 4:47 PM

    this is a really neat idea for a series Lucy. A tablet is sometime I’ve been after for a bit now. I’d like an iPad but bit pricey. You mentioned you read blogs on the train, so does yours have some kinda 3g then? Or you just picking up wi-fi?

    My two cameras and macbook (though it’s on its last legs, currently having under 1 gb of space left. Deleting doesn’t help, it’s just about to go.) are the ones for me.

    Buckets & Spades

  • Maria December 16, 2013 at 5:57 PM

    I love seeing how other people blog, I am so nosey!

    Maria xxx

  • winnie December 16, 2013 at 1:01 PM

    Brill post! You’ve reminded me that I really desperately need a new hard drive to back up my photos!

  • Claire December 15, 2013 at 10:31 PM

    I LOVE my macbook pro and its great for blogging apart from I can’t get photoshop that isn’t hundreds and hinders (£600 last time I looked) which version do you use? Loved this post it was so helpful! xx

  • Han December 15, 2013 at 9:50 PM

    this post just helped me find a christmas present for the other half!! We both need powerbanks! I stopped using my android phone because I was sick of the battery dying!
    I tend to go for the cheap option for charging my devices…..I carry around a plug!

    I would recommend buying a second external harddrive! Their lifespan is about five years, after that you should switch to a new one and keep the old one as a backup. SSD’s are the way forward now it seems and the prices are coming down! Theres nothing worse than losing years and years of data! Trust me!