Thursday, 30 October 2014

why everyone needs a break sometimes

So as you may have noticed, I took an unexplained, unplanned week off from blogging altogether for the past week and I think I'm finally ready to come back. I think a change of scenery definitely helps too, I'm currently sat in the back corner of a Starbucks watching YouTube on the iPad, sipping a Signature hot chocolate while I type away. 

I did open up a bit in some previous posts about how I was feeling, but I finally hit a brick wall last week where I had 0 ideas for posts, 0 inspiration and 0 motivation to get anything up on the blog. I didn't feel like interacting on social media, I didn't feel like taking any photos, I didn't feel like reading blogs and I didn't even feel like replying to emails even if they were offering me opportunities. So I put down the laptop and took my mind away from it all. I'm always so engrossed in something to do with it that it actually felt amazing to have some time where I stopped feeling guilty for not putting up a post, where I stopped worrying about whether the content was good enough and where I didn't have to think about sharing it across my social media platforms. I didn't write to do lists which is the biggest thing for me, and I just felt like all of the pressure I'd put on myself had lifted. I realised I'd got to the point where it wasn't my hobby, it wasn't for fun and that I was purely uploading posts for the sake of it. It was taking over my personal life because I'd spend every chance I had working on something to do with it, and although people around me were supportive, it wasn't until it clicked with me that sometimes it meant that I may have physically been sat there, but my mind was elsewhere. That's not healthy.

So here I am, ready to slowly come back. Everyone needs a break sometimes. We're not superhuman, and whether you blog daily or even monthly, however reluctant you are to take time off, trust me it's so worth it to refresh your mind and to reflect on your experience so far. I've learnt a lot from just taking a week off and I'd imagine I'd learn so much more from taking further time off but I don't yet feel that I need it. But I never want to worry again if I do need to take that time, I'm not going to lose all of my followers overnight. I've found from past surveys that most people don't expect or even like you to post daily, unless it is your full time job. Your blog readers are human too, they'd understand not judge you. Now that I've had one blogging break, I've realised it's not as bad as I thought it would be! Thank you for all sticking by me though, I've had some super sweet comments full of great advice in my posts - you guys are the best. 

Have you ever taken a blog break? What are your tips for staying motivated? Where do you find your inspiration?
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Sunday, 26 October 2014

new blogs, posts and products #44

This week saw me take a blogging break for the first time since October last year. Yep, that's right. I've posted EVERYDAY (sometimes twice) for the past 12 months and well, it's totally taken its' toll on me. I've made it no secret that juggling my full time job and blogging has been tough and that I'm the only one to blame for the pressure I put on myself but I finally hit the point where I knew that if I didn't take some time off then I would end up hating it and that's far from what I want. I'm still not sure if I'm ready to blog everyday, I don't feel prepared for any content other than my christmas gift guide (which won't be up for a few weeks) so I'm trying to take small steps to getting back into it. Please bare with me, I'm sure you'd rather see less but quality content rather than more poorer posts. I even took myself away from reading posts so much this week, but here's the ones that stood out this week...

This week I liked: Fashion And Beauty Tribes - Why I Stopped My Blogging Schedule // Love From Lisa - Fluffy Knit & Striped Peplum // Gh0stparties - Brow Favourites // London Beauty Queen - Blogging Competitions: The One Thing That Brings Me To The Boil

This week I followed: XAmeliaX

This week I've been loving: Clarins Instant Light Eye Perfecting Base (£22) and MAC Mineralise Skinfinish in Lightscapade (£23)

This week I've been lusting after: Chanel Les Beiges Healthy Glow Multi-Colour in No1 (£39)

Who have you followed this week?
What have you been loving/reading/lusting after?
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Wednesday, 22 October 2014

things i'm guilty of - blog edition

1. I blog here, there and everywhere. I no longer have a desk, or even a dressing table so I set up camp with my laptop, iPad, phone and notebook(s) on the dining table, on my bed, on the sofa, in Starbucks or more often than not in the bathroom. Yep that's a bit strange, but I actually get a lot done when I'm working on the bathroom floor/actually in the bath. Wherever's comfiest and warmest is usually my place, but it changes every evening. 

2. I'll quite often get to 9pm and realise I don't have a blog post written up, drafted or even have an idea for a post for the next day. Fortunately once I come up with a title I can usually just sit and blast out a post within an hour. 

3. I never have bulk photos anymore. By that I mean that I've got into the bad habit of taking my photos every night rather than being organised and have them ready to go with the posts. I've started to use old photos and edit them with writing because I've become incredibly lazy, oops.

4. I save more posts on Bloglovin than I actually ever get round to reading. I just don't have all that much time because I often sit on my laptop a bit aimlessly rather than being productive, so I'll often save stuff but then un-save later if the title no longer appeals to me. 

5. I write lists to do but rarely get on with them. I'm almost at the point where I need to write a list to remind me to read the other lists. 

6. I give good advice (or so I'm told) but hardly ever take my own advice. I'm one of these people that is better at it, and realises that I should be taking my own advice but never does anything about it. This even annoys me!

7. I always forget to send "products have arrived" emails, or if I do I accidentally send them weeks later. PRs must hate me! 

I'm sure there's loads more things I'm guilty of, like dropping crumbs in my keyboard whilst typing out blog posts, not double checking my content before I post it, deleting old posts because I realised I didn't know what I was talking about and so much more.

What are you guilty of?
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Tuesday, 21 October 2014

my favourite youtubers

I watch a lot of YouTube and yes I watch all of those big namers, but I watch a lot of smaller channels too that definitely deserve more subscribers. I'm always looking for new people to watch, so leave any links in the comments below! These are some of my most favourite YouTubers...

Tinytwisst - Not only does Laura have a gorgeous blog (here), I've also fallen for her channel. With a mix of hair tutorials, blogs, hauls and more I just love when she uploads a new video. 

Megan Lillie - It's absolutely no secret that this girl is one of my favourites. Again with a stunning blog (here) to match, Megan's just so sweet and refreshing to watch. 

Amber Hunter - This American girl also has a killer blog (here), with a great channel alongside it. Amber's makeup tutorials are always so well done, but she does make me want to fly out just to pick up some products!

Underthemicroscope22 - Kayla's another blogger (here) and YouTuber who I love to watch because of how comfortable and easy her videos are to watch. Her vlogs are especially cute and you can totally tell she's found her feet with them. 

Sugarfixxbeauty - Katie rounds up the beauty blogger (here)/YouTubers for this post and is who I turn to for a serious beauty dose. Hauls, tutorials, tags and more - you'll find all things beauty here.

FunForLouis - And finally, Louis - for taking me around the world without having to move from my sofa. The footage in his daily vlogs when he's out and about just has me in awe and inspires me to pick up my camera and get out more.

Who are your favourites?

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Monday, 20 October 2014

i like- getting into reading

I've never been much of a reader. The only books I've ever really got into were Harry Potter, and even then I only read the first four preceded by watching the films. I've just never been able to sit down, switch off and become immersed in a book. Usually I start one, but then have to restart it at least three times before moving any further through it, but now things are changing and I'm starting to be able to put down my phone and get into reading. Ok so I've been reading on the iPad (Kindle app) meaning I do get notifications mid-sentence, but I'm learning to ignore those and concentrate solely on the words in front of me. I'm actually currently reading two books, which probably isn't the best thing to do but I'm obsessed with both and can't pick one over the other. Here's my current picks...
Sali Hughes - Pretty Honest (£9.15) - Yep pricey, but I had to go for it after what seems like everyone's recommendation of it. Full to the brim of the best beauty advice, I've been in awe of her knowledge from the get go. 
Zoe Griffin - Get Rich Blogging (£3.49) - Overlooking the title, this book has so many tips and tricks to build your blog in a really easy to read way. I love that it's written by a UK celebrity blogger who has proved her success yet comes across as totally down to earth.

So do what I'm trying to do, make some time every night where you switch off the technology and get reading a book, I bet you'll really enjoy it.

Which books would you recommend?
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Sunday, 19 October 2014

new blogs, posts and products #43

After an incredibly manic week of work, I really needed a good Starbucks and takeaway yesterday with a totally relaxed reading blogs/watching YouTube videos day today. I love sitting down with a pen and my notebook jotting down notes from others' posts about sites I should check out or clothes I'm lusting after. This week the fashion bloggers have been killing it and have me desperately wanting to hit the shops to extend my A/W wardrobe, here's which ones I liked the most plus a few beauty, blogging and baking posts thrown in too...

This week I liked: HelloOctober - The Sunday Post: Creps & Catch Ups // Jennypurr - What To Do When You Feel Overwhelmed By Work // Sweet Dreams - How To Find Out About Blogger Opportunities // The Blog Stylist - The Glossary // Vivianna Does Makeup - Tales Of Going To The Gym For The First Time // Thumbelina Lillie - Blogging | 10 Things People Don't Realise About Blogging // Dizzybrunette3 - Style: The Basics // CharissaRae - Go Grey Or Go Home // The Lovecats Inc - Baking: Deep Dish Chocolate Chip Cookie // The Little Plum - OOTD | Entrenched // Zoe London - Anything Is Possible If You Just Believe In Yourself

This week I followed: Ana Celine Labod // Hidden Beauty // The Life Edit // Philocalist // Ellabooxo // Sarina's Cloudland // Under The Blush

This week I've been loving: Vichy Idealia BB Cream in Light* (£22)

This week I've been lusting after: Marc Jacobs Honey Solid Perfume Necklace (£34)

Who have you followed this week?
What have you been loving/reading/lusting after?

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my makeup collection (before and after)

First off I apologise for not putting up a post yesterday, but guess what there's going to be two today! I've been trying to keep things quite relaxed on myself with the types of blog posts I've been putting up this week, and what better than to show you my big beauty clear out that I've had this weekend. There's still loads left over but I just can't part with it all! I was really harsh on myself and asked myself "when was the last time I used this?" "is there something similar & better in my collection?" and "would someone else like it more?" (so my mum received rather a large bag of goodies!) Here's the final collection...
My blush/highlighter/bronzer drawer was rammed - but it had been home to my eyeshadow palettes too, so I moved those  to a more relevant place as you'll see below and managed to cut down my collection quite significantly. There were a lot of cream blushes that had dried out, plenty of shades that didn't suit me and a whole load of dupes so they all went. It was a bit all over the place before, so I've just organised them by brand now.
 Also totally full was my foundation/concealer/powder drawer which had far too many half used products, ones that just didn't match my skin tone and lots that I just didn't use more than a few times to review them. I've still kept quite a lot, but managed to really narrow it down to my favourites. 
 The palettes have relocated to the eyes drawer where there's now plenty of room. With a ridiculous amount of mascaras that are way too old to be used and loads of eyeliners that I just would never use, I could really make room to pop the products round the outside into the divider and got rid of lots of excess packaging too. 
 The lips drawer had more eyeshadow palettes too, so they moved and a lot of lipsticks had to go. I've got a lot of outrageous shades that in reality I wouldn't wear out of the house so it was about time they got thrown out too. There's now plenty of room in the acrylic lipstick holders for more, but I think I've got enough to last me for years!
 My dressing table ended up being a place where I'd just dump beauty products and it was getting on my nerves. So I cut down my perfume and brushes collection to neaten it all up. The nail polish drawers were also rearranged with all polishes moving into my new suitcase. 
 The haircare chest was again overflowing, especially after my recent Hairtrade order so I picked out the best of the bunch (which mostly consisted of Tigi and Bumble and Bumble) and tidied all of my hair scrunchies and clips away into this makeup bag. 
 Moving into the bathroom, there was again so many half used products or ones that my skin didn't agree with so out they went leaving a whole compartment empty!
 The body care drawer could barely shut before and although it's still quite full, I kept the products that I knew for definite I'd use at some point and asked all family/friends to not buy any body care sets for me for christmas! 

I love being nosey at people's beauty collections, so leave links to yours in the comments below!
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Friday, 17 October 2014

useful sites for new and established bloggers #5

So this post is now going to be a fortnightly thing I think, let me know if you want to see more!

Did you find any of these useful?
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Thursday, 16 October 2014

the perfect winter blog photo taking tool

Bloggers hate Autumn/Winter time for only one reason - time for taking blog photos in natural light is severely limited. Every year I've had the same issue of coming home from work when it's dark meaning the only time I could take photos was at weekends, but this year things have all changed. I've previously talked about the Taotronics LED Desk Lamp* (£39.99) in a non-beauty favourites post (here), but it was only right to bring it back for its' own post now that I'm fully dependent on it. I wanted some lighting but could never decide which to go for as I didn't want anything bulky, so I jumped at the chance to be sent this. It looks quite big in the top photo but it's not at all. 

The different lighting settings make it the ideal product for taking photos at night or in the winter too - for the above photos I've put it on Reading mode and turned the brightness up to the fullest - very close to natural light, the only editing that has been done is to sharpen. The lamp hardly creates shadows and only gives the smallest amount of glare on glass and clear plastic, not altering the true colour of the products within - making it very complimentary to photographing makeup. 

I love that you can change angles, with my only wish being that you could tilt it (but my boyfriend is thankfully often on hand to hold it in place for me if I don't want the light coming from above!) It covers a fair amount of area too, but I'm definitely considering getting a second one (this one to be exact) for when there's more or larger products in the frame. I'm so happy with this lamp and it's going to be such a saviour, although I believe this one's not currently available there are some very similar ones available on Taotronics' Amazon page

Oh, and I also have a new photography background - this gorgeous, super soft blanket from Asda (£10) with a snowflake design! 
How do you take your blog photos in Autumn/Winter?
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Wednesday, 15 October 2014

what i've won #5 (biggest edition yet!)

I've won an awful lot over the past couple of months (totalling over £375) and can't believe it, here's everything I've got! (I may have contributed a little to the vouchers to pay for the extra!)
I won £100 Selfridges voucher from Gem's blog (Flutter And Sparkle) and managed to get so much. I knew I wanted to get some beauty bits, but not spend it entirely on that - I think I did really well and got lots for the money. Fortunately everything was in stock that I chose which is really rare, making me one very happy girl. The gift card came so beautifully packaged and arrived by special delivery the day before I'd already planned to go shopping! 
 On Twitter I won this Birchbox Manithon T-Shirt and Models Own HyperGel nail polish in Turquoise Gloss as part of the collab with breast cancer charity Coppafeel - together worth £16.99.
 I won this China Glaze nail polish in Choo-Choo Choose You from Charlotte's blog (Lipglossiping) - worth £4.95.
 On Twitter I also won this Olivia Burton Mini Dial Mink and Rose Gold Watch and Ciate Shell Manicure in Wish Upon A Starfish - together worth £80.00. 
 My most recent win fits in with my love of home decor and is the book Kitchenalia by Vinny Lee which I won from Sarah's blog (Temporary:Secretary) - worth £30.00.
 On Twitter I won a Moonpig Standard Personalised Canvas worth £25.00 - I chose one of the first ever photos that I took of my pug.
 Then finally I won a £20 Primark voucher from Hollie's YouTube channel (Simply D0lly). I needed new bags, plus I've been wanting a fedora for a long time so I've now got matching hats and bags (also have this) which makes me very happy. I also popped in a PS Love Stippling Brush into my basket.

Have you won anything lately?
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