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!

Jennstrends.com
Dailypost.wordpress.com/blogging-university
Ubersuggest.org
Adwords.google.com/keywordplanner
Twenty20.com
Snapfluence
Untweeps.com
Top-hashtags.com
Ommwriter

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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Tuesday, 14 October 2014

discounted beauty products haul

I recently got to choose a bunch of beauty products from Directcosmetics.com - a website I hadn't heard of before but spotted some products I'd certainly like to put to the test, so below's my picks. I'm always on the hunt for new discounted beauty websites so I'm glad I've come across this.
 Clinique All About Shadow Quad* (£5.00) - This cute little four pan palette has excellent pigmentation and had to be mine after I became incredibly inspired by these eyeshadow looks: one, two, three.
Clinique Compact* (£6.00) - Although I knew the bronzer wouldn't be for me, the blush is definitely an everyday wearable shade and the eyeshadows would be suitable for taking a look from day to night. 
 Nicole by OPI Brightener Plus* (£1.99) - My nails lack in everything so I knew I had to pick up some nail products, the first of which being this one coat brightener that can be worn alone (which I really like as it's just incredibly natural and smooth, enhancing your own nails) or under polish. 
 OPI Nail Lacquer in Miss You-Niverse* (£1.99) - I've become a big OPI fan and knew I needed some new shades for A/W. All they had was this shade which isn't one I feel I can pull off but still has the same fantastic quality of the brand - a real one coat wonder.
Sally Hansen Color Quick Fast Dry Nail Color Pen in Hot Pink* (£1.99) - Curiosity lead me to opt for this, but it's not great. The brush makes things difficult in terms of application and quality. Unfortunately it doesn't give you a smooth finish, it's pretty messy as it's wide and moves the product as it applies. It does dry quickly, but I've got way better polishes.
Sally Hansen Continuous Treatment Time Released Growth Formula* (£2.99) - As you can see in the swatches above I'm desperately in need of a growth treatment and hopefully this is it. I'm yet to put this to the test but I'm very intrigued to see how much of an impact it has. 
 Sally Hansen Insta Grip Fast Dry Base Coat* (£2.99) - I'm always up for trying out new base and top coats because nail polish doesn't stick around on my nails as I have such a hands on job, this one has a great name which encouraged me to add it to my basket. 
 Sally Hansen Airbrush Sun Pre-Tan Exfoliator* (£1.49) - Not that I've tanned in months but I've not found an exfoliator that I'm a big fan of so thought I'd give this a go next time I do decide to prep for a bit of added colour!

Have you tried any of these products? What would you choose from Directcosmetics.com?
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Monday, 13 October 2014

improving your instagram

Like I usually say when writing these sorts of posts, I don't claim to be an expert nor do I have loads and loads of followers, but I do research my posts an awful lot to provide you lovely lot with the best and most up to date info! I love Instagram as it's a visual diary of my life and a reminder of beauty products that might end up slipping to the bottom of the pile (shameless plug, but you can follow me here). 

One of the first things I looked into (and was asked a lot in the comments of this blog post) was if there was a best time to post on Instagram. It seems that there's actually no best time to post on Instagram although surprisingly during/around working hours is good. There's not much point posting in the middle of the night as content only seems to stick around in the feed for around 4 hours. Posting 2-3 times per day seems to be popular, with Thursdays receiving the most uploaded content although Sunday actually is the most effective day to upload. If you've got over 1000 followers, Monday's a good day too.

Something that I didn't know until now was that hashtags and keywords are really useful in your profile as well as in your captions - these will help Instagram when coming up with recommendations of people to follow (and hopefully lead people to your account!). Pop in words that refer to what sorts of things you post, or any communities you're part of (like #bbloggers). Also include a link to your blog or another social media site you use - this is the only place you can currently have a clickable link so it's where you'll refer people back to if you want to share a blog post on your account. If I like someone's photos, I'll often check out their blog from here so it's definitely worthwhile. If you've not already created an account then it's a good idea to use a username that's consistent with your blog or another social media platform that you use - just to make it easier to find you! If you've got friends who like to tag you in photos from a night out, but you want your IG to be a bit more professional because brands will see it, then you have the option to hide your tagged photos from your profile (select Add Manually on the Photos Of You Options page). 

5 things to think about:
1. Decide if you'd like to have a fully themed, partly themed or no-theme account. 
2. Avoid over editing or filtering, but well lit clear images with good composition work best - just like they would on your blog. Use other apps (my favourite's InstaEditor) for more filters and to create collages etc. and pick the best rather than posting 3 of the same photo.
3. Give your followers something more than just images from your blog - personally I love behind the scenes images, home decor, hauls and travel photos.
4. Search for the most popular hashtags using sites like top-hashtags.com and tagsforlikes.com to include in your captions, with 5 hashtags seeming to be the optimum. Use good captions, tag relevant people/brands and use CTA (Call To Action) to ask people to do something "double tap if you like this" or ask for your followers' opinions. You could also get people to "tag a friend who'd like this" or something along those lines to introduce new people to your account.
5. Get really involved! Follow, share and comment lots. Just like with your blog, if someone notices you're a regular to their IG then they're likely to check yours out too. Pop a widget on your blog sidebar or a link/icon, and share it on your other social media too to get the word out there. Instagram does seem to be a place where "follow 4 follow" seems to be quite useful too! 

Which are your favourite Instagram accounts? Leave your own links below!
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Sunday, 12 October 2014

new blogs, posts and products #42

This has been the week of emotions running high and so I turned to reading my favourite blogs and downloading some new books to bring back some inspiration and motivation. I'm currently reading Sali Hughes' Pretty Honest and Zoe Griffin's Get Rich Blogging, both of which have already given me a kick up the bum and plenty of great advice. I've decided to join the gym this week too, taking small steps to making myself feel better! Here's the blogs, posts and products I liked this week...

This week I liked: Gimme Some Oven - My Shooting Setup // The Buffer Blog - 23 Tools and Resources to Create Images for Social Media // EmTalks - Back To School Style With ASOS; Jeans, Shirt and Leather // StylePeaches - The Blogger T-Shirt // The Blog Guide - Careers Based on Blogging Skills // FitSugar - 10 Tips To Lose Those Last 10 Pounds

This week I followed: The Runway Rose // Steve Booker // Coco Chic

This week I've been loving: Revlon Colorstay 24hr Foundation Normal/Dry Skin in Buff* (£8.25), Clarins Instant Light Natural Lip Perfector in Rose Shimmer* (£18) and Bourjois Volume Glamour Push Up Mascara  in Black* (£8.99)

This week I've been lusting after: This Works Dream Team Xmas 2014 (£10)

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