Sunday, 21 December 2014

10 blog posts you should read from this week

For today's post I'm sharing my favourite reads from the past week with plenty of blogging tips and miscellaneous posts to keep you busy until next week! 
  1. Bonjour Blogger - Structuring Your Blog Posts Made Easy!
  2. Hello October - Drugstore Festive Party Makeup
  3. The Little Plum - OOTD | Dreams
  4. Gh0stparties - 5 Things: 2014's Best Beauty Discoveries
  5. The Private Life of a Girl - Creative Advice and Links You Should Read
  6. Really Ree - It Could Only Happen in a Cosmetics Department
  7. Jeffbullas' Blog - A Little Used Technique to Grow Twitter Followers Fast
  8. Jennypurr - 10 Ways to Make the Most Out of Your Blog Archives
  9. The Blog Market - Intro to CSS + Why You Should Use It
  10. Autumn Leaves - 5 Tips for Gaining More Bloglovin Traffic
Did you find any of the above useful? Have you read any useful posts this week? What have you posted about on your blog this week? 
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Friday, 19 December 2014

review: five guys, birmingham

Last month I headed to Birmingham with my boyfriend, his brother and his brother's girlfriend with the plan of spending hours in Selfridges (like we had a couple of months previously) and a debut trip to Five Guys for all of us. I'd walked past the restaurant so many times before but I'd never visited, but after reading Em's post (read: Five Guys Burgers and Fries Review) I knew I had to venture inside.
We managed to nab a table downstairs, but to secure it we had to take it in turns to go up and order our food as it was extremely busy!

 I love the whole American diner theme, but Five Guys certainly feels more modern than the likes of Ed's Diner where it's more retro, with jukeboxes at the tables and light up signs all around. 
 Five Guys has articles and quotes all around the restaurant (including in the bathrooms) about their food, which clearly shows how highly praised it is, making me even more excited to try what they have on offer.
 After ordering and paying for what I wanted and being handed a cup, I headed to the drinks machine which has every soft drink you could possibly think of. There's every flavour, every sugar-level offering and even Still options of your favourite drinks (Still Fanta Orange had to be mine!). I'd happily just go here to get a drink! Drinks are unlimited refills too so you could even pop back later to get another one. 
 Equipped with my drink, I stood and waited a matter of minutes at the counter for my food. I love being able to watch it being prepared as it makes you feel at ease about hygiene, and it all looks so yummy & interesting seeing what other people have chosen to have in theirs! My only criticism of the restaurant is that the drinks machine, counter where you wait for food and the pathway to the bathrooms are incredibly close together and with the sheer volume of people in the small space it can feel really cramped. 
Five Guys food comes in a brown paper bag, with the burger being wrapped in tin foil. I opted for the Little Hamburger, Little Fries and Little Soft Drink which came to £10 exactly. The Little Fries are designed for 1-2 people (but that cup isn't just it, I had absolutely loads left over in the brown bag too), you really won't want to order bigger than that size unless sharing with 3+ people! The fries are cooked in peanut oil and still have their skins on which I found seriously tasty. For my burger I just kept it plain other than ketchup as I'm pretty fussy, but know that next time I'll take advantage of the other options you can have (there's loads!). The burger was really filling, but also incredible. I've never been that big a fan of burgers until I tried this one and I will happily say that it's the best burger I've ever tried. It was really succulent and the bun was really fresh.
After all of us being totally full up, we headed back to the drinks machine to refill and take away. I was seriously impressed with the quality of the food, the atmosphere of the restaurant and the short waiting time to receive my order, I already can't wait to go back. 

 Have you been to Five Guys before? What do you like to have on a burger? What's your favourite ever soft drink?
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Thursday, 18 December 2014

giveaway: vita liberata gift set

As part of my christmas gift guide series I had to run some giveaways! First up is the Vita Liberata The Perfect Gift* set that includes two full size products in the form of Tinted Self Tan Lotion Rich Face in Light and Tinted Self Tan Lotion Rich in Medium and a tanning mitt. The set retails at £22.50 with a value of £44! Vita Liberata is my absolute favourite self-tan brand for a really healthy bronzed look with no orange colour, no patches and no streaking in sight which is why I definitely wanted to give one of my readers the chance to win it. This giveaway is open to UK Residents Only for two weeks, closing on 01/01/15. Just enter via Rafflecopter below!      
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Have you tried Vita Liberata before? What's your favourite tanning brand?
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Disclaimer: This set was sent to me for the purpose of feature in my christmas gift guide, as well as to be given away to one reader of Autumn Leaves. It is brand new and will be sent out by myself. I cannot be held responsible for the prize going missing or being damaged in the post as I keep all proof of postage. There is no cash alternative. All entries will be moderated and competition accounts will be disqualified. 

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

5 tips for gaining more bloglovin traffic


Without a doubt, Bloglovin is the most popular blog-reading tool out there at the moment. It's easy to use, you can find everyone you want on there and there's plenty of opportunities to share and save the posts you like as well as your own. Yes it has its' flaws which I've been assured are being heard and worked on, but it's still my favourite. A couple of weeks ago, a lovely lady from Bloglovin HQ got in touch with me and managed to clear up the one question on everyone's mind lately, "does Bloglovin take away bloggers' stats when using the frame or mobile app?" as well as giving me some top tips to gain more traffic on their site. I thought it was only fair to share her tips with you...

"To answer your question about Bloglovin taking away bloggers' stats is false. Every time someone clicks on your post through Bloglovin, the traffic counts for your blog, even if you have the Bloglovin bar/frame on top of the page. Hope that cleared up some misunderstandings!

As for tips I can share with you on gaining more traffic, these few tips are things we have seen worked...

1. Installing our widget/icon - to put it out there, it helps you gain more exposure through our site when users are trying to find new content creators.

2. Headlines - this is a big and important factor in having people find and like your posts. Your headlines should be attention grabbing and relevant to your post. Also, making it easy to search is a plus because your blog will pop up more through the search engine. For example, if you're looking for a recipe to bake some almond cookies, what would you type into Google?

3. Submitting for social media exposure - you can submit for a chance to be featured on our social media pages. A few requirements for these are: having our widget, having good headlines, good quality photos, original content/photos, and the posts should not be sponsored.

4. Submitting for weekly emails - we have a weekly email we send to 1.3 million people and we usually showcase a few blog posts to help these bloggers gain more traffic/readership, as well as helping users discover new content. You can submit posts you'd like to see featured in these weekly's to mattias.swenson@bloglovin.com with the title Submission for weekly emails. We do have the same requirements compared to submitting for social media, though we are more strict when it comes to the weekly's since it's more editorial. We have higher standards and the blogs have to be at least 8-9/10 for them to be featured.

A few good examples of posts we like to feature (higher chances for your submission to be posted) would be:
5 ways to style..., How to's, etc. 
I would take a look at previous weekly emails, or future ones if you haven't received any yet, for reference!

5. Brand partnership opportunities - this is just something we're putting out there for our bloggers that we are going to be having a lot of brand partnership opportunities. As we are growing, many brands are approaching us and vice versa to work together for future collabs! They're always asking us for bloggers to use so definitely stay tuned!"

Did you find any of these tips helpful? What are your tips for gaining more traffic? 
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Tuesday, 16 December 2014

review: hcluxspa, selfridges birmingham

Last month I was invited along to Selfridges, Birmingham which is one of my favourite stores ever to test out their nail bar, HCLuxSpa. I hopped on a train, equipped with my camera to make sure I could take plenty of photos of the store and the christmas decorations!
I opted for the 45 minutes Signature Manicure with Gel Polish* worth £35 but there were lots of reasonably priced treatments to choose from.
HCLuxSpa is located on the beauty hall floor which initially is strange sitting in the middle of people shopping having your nails done, but you soon relax and barely notice people walking around. 
When I arrived I was greeted by the really friendly staff and took a seat next to some journalists to have my nails done by the lovely Madlena.
There are so many colours and brands to choose from, but thankfully it was narrowed down slightly for me as I'd chosen gel. In the end I went for the shade Intriguing with an accent nail of Romance
The manicure included your usual file, shape & buff, cuticle trim, plus my nails were soaked in salts of the earth and I had a short hand/arm massage before my nails were painted. Each step was done with precision, with Madlena listening to exactly what I wanted, ensuring I was happy with the shape, and explaining what exactly it was she was doing. Fortunately she wasn't someone who liked to gossip, instead keeping concentration throughout which is definitely what I prefer when I go for treatments. I couldn't do my usual writing down of what was happening throughout or photographing each step, but the whole thing lasted around 50 minutes and I was left very happy with the finished result.
My nails were incredibly short beforehand so she didn't have much to work with but made them look much better. The finish lasted for 2 weeks 6 days before I had to soak them off which was easy to do.  They were much healthier after this finish too and I loved that I didn't have to worry about them chipping or having to paint them over and over. I'm now completely obsessed with gel nails and have treated myself to a kit to do it myself as unfortunately it's quite expensive for me to visit Selfridges for a treatment plus my train fare on a regular basis. I'm really grateful for the opportunity to go and try it out though and I really recommend booking in here (they do also do walk-in appointments though!) when you're next in Birmingham.

Have you ever tried a proper gel finish? Would you be interested in visiting HCLuxSpa? 
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Monday, 15 December 2014

5 minutes with fleurdeforce, joey essex and more celebs

So at the Clothes Show Live last weekend I was lucky enough to have a blogger pass which meant I got a lot of amazing opportunities. One of which was meeting blogger and youtuber Fleur De Force backstage. It's the first time I've met someone so successful in this industry and it was really refreshing to talk to her and realise how down to earth she is despite her huge following. Although I didn't get that long with her, I made sure to ask her a few questions that I was dying to know, get a photo with her and cheekily give her my blog business card because you never know, she might look here one day! It was also really nice of her to wave to us when she walked past us later in the day surrounded by fans and security! 
"YouTube and running a blog is hard work, you never really switch off and when I end my vlogs where I say "I'm going to sleep now" it really means I'm going to edit the video. It kind of ruins your social life and Mike's always telling me to get off my phone! I've started charging it outside of the bedroom now or I'll wake up and check Twitter or Instagram! But I love meeting people who watch my videos or read my blog" - Fleur
Before heading backstage we were told not to get any photos with any other celebs who might be there, other than Fleur but I really couldn't resist. After an awkward wave to Joey Essex across the room (thankfully he waved back!) I managed to get him to come over for a chat and a photo. We talked about why I was there, who Fleur was, the fact that he'd watched Zoella's videos and about his seriously soft jumper. He's so lovely, smelt incredible and was more than happy to just talk before heading back over to the sofas to put on his hat and chill. 
Fleur also managed to rope her husband Mike into coming along to the Clothes Show Live with her, and it was only fair that I took a photo with him too! He too was really happy to stop and chat briefly before being rushed off to see the show.

The host of the show on Saturday was presenter Rick Edwards who was also hanging out backstage. When he popped his head up from his laptop I managed to grab his attention and get him to come and take a photo. Seriously how handsome (and tall) is he?! He even replied to my tweet (here) straight after! 
Later in the day I headed to the Manhatten Lambrini Bar in the search for Oliver Proudlock from Made In Chelsea, unfortunately I didn't find him, but did bump into Spencer Matthews (also from MIC) who was so nice, even though he really just wanted to sit and have a drink! I've never really thought that much of him in the show, but this photo made me realise just how good looking he is and meeting him changed my opinion a lot. It's a shame that this photo was so zoomed in, but I didn't realise until after and didn't want to disturb him for too long. He told me to make sure I put the best one on my blog though and I definitely think this is the best one of him! 
The one that was most rushed was meeting Tom Pearce from The Only Way Is Essex. He was mobbed by teenage girls on the way out but I also had to grab a photo on my way back to the bloggers bar for the last time. From what I'd heard earlier in the day, his management had been really tight on photos and restricted people from taking them outside of any meet & greets but he was happy to stop briefly for just a few of us, but unfortunately didn't have any time to chat. 

Lauren Goodger (formerly from The Only Way Is Essex) was also there signing purchases from her brand Lauren's Way and taking photos with fans. I couldn't get a photo as I hadn't bought anything from the brand that day, but I do really like her products. 
My only disappointment of the day was when I found out that my interview with Jamie Laing from Made In Chelsea was cancelled due to a mix-up. Fortunately I still managed to spot him and snap some photos, have 1/3rd of my face in his "biggest selfie" photo and say hi. 
Jamie was presenting with Antonia O'Brien who I just had to mention as I took this photo as I adored her outfit and hair! 

Have you met any celebrities? Who would you like to meet? Did you go to the Clothes Show this year?
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Sunday, 14 December 2014

end of year survey 2014


Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey , the world's leading questionnaire tool.
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10 blog posts you should read from this week


Welcome to my new weekly series! 'New Blogs, Posts and Products' had lost its' appeal to me a bit in its' approach to the 50th edition; I realised I no longer wanted to follow an excessive amount of blogs, and really the only reason I was continuing to write that post was to share blog posts that I'd found and liked that week... hence my new series being entirely based on that! The posts may not necessarily have been written this week, however they are ones that I have come across in the past seven days, here's week one's...
  1. Tiny Paint Pot - Why I Love The 35mm f2 Lens
  2. Hello October - Let's Be Honest... Sponsored Content on Hello October
  3. Problogger - How to Promote Your Blog Without Letting The Rest of Your Blogging Slide
  4. Zoe London - Bloggers and Their Books
  5. The Little Plum - OOTD | No Room For Doubt
  6. Who What Wear - 10 Easy Steps to Looking More Photogenic
  7. Elle & Co - Top 10 Blogging Mistakes to Avoid
  8. Erika Gibson - Blog Resources: Media Kit
  9. Create As Folk - Quitting Your Job? Don't Be Dumb
  10. Autumn Leaves - 60 Blogs You Should Be Following
Did you find any of the above useful? Have you read any useful posts this week? What have you posted about on your blog this week? 
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Saturday, 13 December 2014

christmas gift guide: more suggestions

I'm going for this being the final instalment of this year's gift guide as it's now starting to get a bit close to christmas! I thought I'd share some last minute suggestions with you that are mostly beauty but there are a few miscellaneous items thrown in too! 
CaseApp Marble Skin for MacBook Pro 13in* (£22) - I really recommend CaseApp for any of your devices as there's so many designs to choose from, plus you can upload your own too. The skin is so easy to apply, plus for Apple it's perfectly cut out too. It may seem quite expensive, but it's more than just a thin sheet you stick on, it's hardwearing to prevent any scratches. You can currently get 20% off at CaseApp.co.uk with the code AUTUMNLEAVES20 and stay tuned for a giveaway I've got coming up soon! 
Treat someone or yourself to a beauty box subscription from Birchbox, choose from 3 months, 6 months or 12 months for a gift they can look forward to throughout the year. Example box: November 2014: Cosy At Home* (£12)
Wanting a beauty box that you can guarantee they'll be impressed by? Go for one from Feel Unique like the Hair Heroes Beauty Box* (£34.50) where there's four to choose from! The value of this box of products is over £50, plus it's beautifully presented.
Get personalised marshmallows by uploading your images at Boomf.com! (£15 for a set of 9) (Disclaimer: My set of 2 was gifted to me at the Clothes Show Live 2014)
A brand I really recommend this christmas is Korres as they have such a big range of gift sets for all that are so reasonably priced with huge value! My picks: Korres Beautiful Blooms Set* (£18) // Korres Pamper Me Up Set* (£18) // Korres Men's Kit* (£19) // Korres Best of Korres Set* (£19) // Korres Party Survival Kit* (£19)
Give someone the gift of summer in a box with  LDN:Skins Tone 3 Gift Set* (£29.95). This one comes with the self tan mousse and shimmer lotion with a mitt in there too.
Give someone the gift of an easy to do gel manicure at home set in the form of Sensationail Gel Starter Kit (£69.99) 
Give someone the gift of a perfect night's sleep with This Works Dream Team Xmas 2014 (£10) including the deep sleep pillow spray and deep sleep stress less at 5ml each. 
Give someone the gift of something a bit different, the THX Total Hair Experts Spiralcious Bubble Wand* (£25) is a real bargain! 
Spectrum Brush Sets* (£19.99 - £79.99) 
(Disclaimer: My set of 5 was gifted to me at the Clothes Show Live 2014)

Do you like the look of any of these? What's on your christmas wish list? How much shopping do you have left to do?
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Friday, 12 December 2014

christmas gift idea: DIY beauty hamper

There's nothing better than a gift that's personalised and had a little bit more thought put into it, so I think a great idea for beauty lovers is to make a beauty hamper. I picked up this Medium Bamboo Basket, along with the Hamper Accessory Pack from Wilko, totalling £4.50 which I'll definitely be using for my mum's present this year!
DIY Haircare Hamper: I recommend including - Redken Blonde Idol Shampoo* // Redken Blonde Idol Custom Tone* // Bumble and Bumble Pret-a-Powder* // Tangle Teezer Aqua Splash Hairbrush* // Philip Kingsley Elasticizer* // Floral Print Bulldog Hair Clip // Primark Hair Bows
        DIY Skin, Bath and Body Hamper: I recommend including - The Bathory Bath Soak* // Regener8 Skin Regenerator Capsules* // Skin Pep Collagen Growth Factor Eye Mask* // Origins Dr. Andrew Weil Mega-Mushroom Skin Relief Mask* // Lush Snow Angel Knot-Wrap* // Nude Perfect Cleansing Oil*
DIY Makeup & Nails Hamper: I recommend including - Beauty Narcotix The Ultimate Fix* // Bourjois Rouge Edition Lipstick 12 Hours* // Eylure Strip Eyelashes Exaggerate No. 141* // Kiss Gel Fantasy Nails* // Essie Professional Routine Mini Nail Kit* // Bourjois Volume Glamour Push Up Mascara* // NARS Nail Polish* // Essence Effect Lipgloss*

What would you like to receive in a beauty hamper? Would you like a specific one or with a range of beauty products? Do you do any DIYs as gifts?
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