Sunday, 19 October 2014

You're My End & My Beginning


Thursday, 16 October 2014

GIVEAWAY: Real Techniques Core Collection

   For years, I'd been using various types of makeup brushes from a number of different manufacturers, i.e. Bobbi Brown, Topshop, NARS etc. All of which had been fine, until I returned to wearing fuller coverage foundation, and none of them seemed to do the trick.

   I've heard so much hype surrounding Real Technique's brushes, and decided that they would be my only hope, unless I wanted to go back to medium-to-low coverage foundation (not an option for my pale skin at this time of year!). 

   I bought the 'Core Collection', which is designed to create a flawless base - and OMG did it! The set includes a buffing brush, small detailer brush, a pointed foundation brush and a contour brush - all of which can be used to create an even tone and streak-free look. I actually cannot believe what I've been missing.

   Because I'm so damn pleased with this set, I thought it'd be a great item to use for a giveaway, so I purchased another set just for you lovely lot!

   Like all of my giveaways, the Rafflecopter app below will give you all the details. Entries range from following my blog, to subscribing to my YouTube channel and following me on social media. This is open internationally, so please feel free to enter if you're overseas! And the winner will be contacted within 48 hours of the competition closing.

   You've got until October 30th to win yourself this lifesaving set - good luck!

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Present Inspiration for Acquaintances

   Best friends are great to buy for - these days, there are a variety of products available that can easily be customised to complete the perfect gift. But what do you do when you're invited to a birthday party, but you're not exactly besties with the birthday girl? 

   Here are a handful of ideas that might help you get started!

The Country Breakfast Package

   Anyone who appreciates a lovely slice of banana bread spread with honey, plus a steaming mug of organic coffee, will adore this beautiful country breakfast package. You can find wooden berry baskets on Etsy for as little as £2.90 for half a dozen, pour some honey into some Kilner jars for less than £2 (try Amazon), and fill the rest of the hamper up with homemade banana bread (or any other delicious cake!) and a pack of coffee.

The Chocolate Brownie Mix

   I don't know anyone who doesn't love chocolate brownies, so why not save them the effort of collecting all the ingredients, and make them a ready made jar-full?! Personalise with a pretty tag from Etsy, or you could make your own.

DIY Pumpkin Soap

   Toiletries are often the go-to for 'acquaintance presents', but why not go one step further and make yours personal with this  easy recipe for pumpkin soap. You can even package it in your own soap wrap to add a really thoughtful touch.

Peppermint Sugar Scrub

   You could go all the way with your DIY and add a sugar scrub to your handmade soap! This recipe is so easy to do! Package with a Kilner or Mason jar, a pretty ribbon, and why not make your own stick on label too?

   Let me know if you have made or been given any gifts with a thoughtful or personal touch!

Monday, 13 October 2014

6 Things to Invest in for Your Blog

   A great blog begins with a great idea. And that great idea, when well executed, can become something more than great, it can become a phenomenon. But it's the journey that can take its toll on any blogger. Waiting for your subscribers to build up; thinking "what am I doing wrong?"; constantly comparing your blog to other blogs; wondering whether you should just give up - these are all situations that most bloggers will go through at some point in their blog's life.

   But we have to be analytical about our blogs. We have to ask ourselves, "what do our readers want?". Is it gripping content, beautiful imagery, up to date news on fashion and beauty products? You have to decide what direction your blog is taking, and what you need to do to get there.

   So sometimes a little investment can go a long way. 

   I'm NOT saying that all successful blogs have money flowing into them 24/7. It's 100% possible to have a popular blog without any excesses; but if things are going slow, why not see if any of these investments might help:

1. A great camera

   I've heard lots of bloggers argue that they can take great photos with their 5MP camera phone but, for me, I wouldn't look twice at a blog with bad imagery. It's verifiable fact that we live in a visual society - we're attracted to pretty, interesting, unique things, and this translates into your photographs.

   If you're going down the route of affordability, compact cameras are a good start. The Nikon Coolpix is 16MP and produces 720p video, great for snapping basic OOTDs and beauty products - and only £62.99!

   Want a more professional look? A DSLR is the way to go. Canon's 600d is 18MP and takes 1080p full HD videos, an amateur camera with great results. If you're serious about photography and video, nothing can beat Canon's 5D Mark III - 22MP of amazingness!

   Or, why not make film photography your unique selling point?

2. Stock photos

   If you're not into cameras, stock photos are a great way of cutting out the extra electronics. Another reason you might want to use stock photos is the tragic 'rainy day' syndrome that us British bloggers know all too well - who wants to take a photograph in front of a dull, grey sky?

   iStock and Shutterstock are professional, royalty-free services that constantly updates their databases with high quality imagery - you just need to decide whether the cost of their photographs outweigh the cost of a camera.

3. A graphics tablet

    This is great for adding a real personal touch to your blog. You could use this in tandem with your camera and add your own handwriting to shots, or create your own digital sketches to use as part of your blog's custom template.

   My tablet is from Wacom and works great with Photoshop (another wise investment).

4. A custom blog template

   If you're not fluent in HTML, hiring someone else to do the job is a great weight off your shoulders - and this way you're guaranteed professional grade work.

   I've heard of people spending over £3000 on blog design, but it doesn't have to be this expensive. Pipdig offer beautiful premade templates for Blogger and Wordpress from £19.

5. Accounting software

   Once you start to collaborate with various companies, you may want to start taking note of your blog's income and expenses - as it could become subject to tax. In The Frow has a great rundown on all the facts about blogging and taxes here.

   If you're at a point where your beginning to earn money from your blog, accounting software could save a lot of stress - Sage and Clearbooks are both great for keeping on top of your finances. However, if you're oldschool like me, you could just keep a hard copy in a log book.

6. Interesting surfaces

   This is primarily for the beauty bloggers, but can work for indoor OOTDs too!

   A cluttered background when photographing beauty products genuinely looks goddamn awful when compared to a clean, bright background which shows off the product. Some popular backgrounds are marble (try a self-adhesive marble covering instead), faux fur, grainy wood or plain white - or get smart with colours that compliment your blog theme!

   Similarly, outfit shots can be downgraded with a messy bedroom in the background. Find a plain or pretty wall next to a good source of natural light, and you'll be able to see the difference instantly.

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Weekday Wishlist 09/10/14

1. Gabor Boots - £135
3. H&M Jumper - £12.99
4. Zara Handbag - £39.99
5. Rogue And Wolf Ring - £19.10
6. New Look Dress - £17.99
7. Monki Tee - £8
8. Missguided Fedora - £12.99
9. Gabor Boots - £170
10. ASOS Choker - £8

   So I tried colour (seriously, I did!), but the monochromes just kept on finding their way to the front of the wardrobe. Especially now that the last flickers of Summer have finally disappeared, I feel rather silly walking around in brights whilst everyone else is cozied up in warm white knits, chunky grey scarves and black boots - call me a sheep if you want. Baaa.

   Also, when is the agreed date to break out the tights? My legs are freezing here.

* This is a sponsored post

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

I Think it's Going to Rain Today

SUNGLASSES - ZEROUV* / SKIRT - H&M (similar here) / TOP - H&M / BOOTS - NEW LOOK (similar here)

P.S. Please vote for me in Style Fruit's 'Hit The Books' Competition here!

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

A Lovely Collaboration

   A few weeks ago, the talented Dannii introduced me to her beautiful lingerie brand, 'Oh So Lovely'. The brand is based around delicate, handmade lingerie featuring lace and floral designs, reminiscent of Scandinavian brands & Other Stories and Monki, whose minimal lace and mesh bras are an instant sell out. Dannii began creating and producing her designs as a hobby whilst studying, and now hand-makes all her pieces in her home studio and sells them on her site.

   Dannii was looking for a new logo for Oh So Lovely, so we worked together to come up with the perfect design. Below is the logo, which is based on the delicate lines of a cluster of roses, tying in with the theme of the lingerie. I created this using a graphics tablet and graphic design software after penning out my ideas in my neverending sketchbook.