Tuesday, 2 September 2014

opening up about blogging

I didn't suspect for a moment that my '30 Truths About Blogging' post would go down as well as it has. It's one of my most liked/viewed posts that I've ever written, and even now a few weeks later I'm receiving comments with people agreeing with the points I wrote. But one of the truths I feel that I want to go into more detail was #8 - It may take months or even years to find your true writing style & niche. 

Things have been very much beauty-based around here, especially lately but it seems that like me, because there's so many beauty blogs around that a lot of you are losing interest and you're craving that something different - something quirky, unique and honest. There will always be part of me that's passionate about beauty but now that I've been blogging for a few years, I'm realising it's not the only thing I want to write about. It's a scary concept though - changing things up on your blog. After all, I've gained 5300+ of you based on the stuff I've posted now, I don't want to lose a bunch of you because you don't like the new stuff. 

It's something I believe all bloggers will go through at some point in time, not knowing where to go or when to take the step into something new. But, from later this month I'm going to take the plunge and switch things up now and again, just so things are more enjoyable for me to write - and hopefully for you lovely lot to read too. I've made a new 3 question quick survey here so that I can get some idea of what you like to read the most, so I'd be really grateful if you take a couple of minutes to complete it. I never expected to ever reach the amount of readers that I have done already, and I can't put into words how much I value your opinions. But bloggers just have to remember, as much as it's about pleasing your readers, your posts won't seem genuine or relaxed if you're not getting the satisfaction that you should out of writing them. So if you're thinking of changing things, go on and do it, we'll take the risk together.    

Have you thought about where you want your blog to go?

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Monday, 1 September 2014

august non-beauty favourites

There's been a real mix of non-beauty favourites this month for me - some that make me realise I've grown up a lot recently and get excited about things that are actually pretty boring, and others that have the stationery addict in me lusting after so much more. Watch the video above or click here to watch it on YouTube to find out what and why I've been loving these things this month!
What have been your non-beauty favourites this month?
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Sunday, 31 August 2014

seven days #36

So this weekend's bittersweet for me. On one hand I'm so so so happy and excited now that my boyfriend's all moved in, but on the other I'm sad because I'm back at work tomorrow after a nice 4 weeks off! I've managed to squeeze in a bit of blog reading to share with you all, so here's my picks from the past seven days...

This week I liked: Lil Miss Chickas - Recipe: Chocolate Bourbon Biscuits // The Little Plum - OOTD: It's So Fluffy // That Pommie Girl - Summer Blues... // ETCLLYMLRS - Nude Lips But Better // Fitsugar - Tips For Working Out At Night // Daniela Scribbles - Do Beauty Bloggers Have To Be Beautiful? // Lily Pebbles - How To Get Out Of A Blogging Funk // Passing Fancy - The Secrets Of Blogging Tag // Fun For Louis - Amazon Experience // Pearls And Poodles - Wedding Series

This week I followed: Mummy Daddy Me // BeautyBlogmark // Microscope Life // Bespectacled

This week I've been loving: NARS Blush in Gilda (£22.50)

This week I'm lusting after: Urban Decay Subversion Lash Primer (£15)

This week I've been listening to: MKTO - Classic

Who have you followed this week?
What have you been loving/reading/listening to/lusting after?
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Saturday, 30 August 2014

things most bloggers won't admit to

Following on from my "don't feel guilty" post, it got me thinking about what other things I'm definitely guilty of - blogging related. But today we're talking the things that I'm holding my hands up to that most other bloggers wouldn't admit...

1. Contemplating writing a totally non-related to your content blog post entering a competition to win things. Yep, I actually considered doing this the other day when I received an email asking me if I wanted to win a new front door. A new front door would be quite handy - I'd give it to my parents as I definitely damaged theirs on a few occasions when living there. But I just about managed to turn it down. (Oh and to enter they wanted me to post about something fun to do with my front door, wtf!)

2. Selling the odd PR sample. So I know this is controversial, and I've done it more so by not remembering/knowing that it was a PR sample but I'll own up to it - I've sold a few knowing (but never to bloggers). I could probably count on one hand how many, but there I've said it.  

3. Going through other bloggers archives looking for ideas. I never take anyone's ideas without asking them or at least linking back to their post, but I have in the past spent time trawling through some of my favourites' archives (just because their posts are that good) when I'm stuck for suggestions. It's meant to be a compliment to the blogger! 

4. Accepting too many products, taking on too much and getting really behind. I'm still in this situation now. There's not enough time in the day or days in the month to get everything done that I want or need to. My 'to-do' list's are never going to be all checked off I know that, but sometimes opportunities are too good to turn down even if they do clash with other things in your schedule. I'm lucky that I do get plenty of holiday during the year as I work in a school so that's the perfect time for me to catch up, but a lot of bloggers won't have that so can often find themselves in this vicious circle. 

5. Still not having a clue what they're doing with their blog or even having that much knowledge about the topic(s) they write about. We'll all just happily toddle along with our posts in the hope that people won't ever reveal that we don't know all that much or what we want to be doing with our blog. Read about my experience of this here.    

6. Checking Gurugossiper to see if they've ever been talked about. A while back I noticed a lot of my traffic was coming from this site. We all know about the bad side of this site, but there's actually parts of it that are really supportive of bloggers - which is why I was fortunately being talked about by a couple of lovely people. Whether it's for the good or the bad, a lot of us will have been on there to see if we've ever been talked about!

Anything you'd add to this list? 
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Friday, 29 August 2014

what i've bought #51: primark, selfridges and topshop haul

Yep I've been out shopping again, this time to Primark, Selfridges and Topshop. I'm being quite good with my money lately, and even managed to not pick up any beauty bits on this shopping trip! Watch the video above or click here to watch it on YouTube to find out what I got.
What have you bought lately?
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Thursday, 28 August 2014

things i need to make more time for: blog edition

I think I often give the impression in my blogging advice posts that I'm super organised and my time management is spot on, but in reality it's all very different. While all of the advice I give to you certainly helps, there's still a lot of things I don't get much time to do. Today I thought I'd give you an insight into the things I want to do and the things I wish I could do: blog edition...

Reading blogs: Yes I put together a weekly 'posts and blogs I've loved' post for you all, but in truth I don't get to read half as many as I'd like to. Daily I'll spend a few minutes scrolling through my Bloglovin feed either marking posts as read or liking them to remind me to read them before I go to bed. If a post doesn't have an interesting title or photo then unfortunately it'll be marked as read and the likelihood is that I won't ever come back to it. This is such a shame because it means that I could be missing out on some great content from other bloggers. 

Commenting on blogs: It's very rare that I'll do this, purely because I only ever read posts on the Bloglovin app. I'd love to support my favourite blogs more by commenting but until the app gets an easy to use, in-built feature I just won't be clicking through to leave a comment. This is why I always include the posts I've liked in my 'Seven Days' posts so both the blogger and you guys know I enjoyed reading it, even if it does mean I don't leave any extra feedback.

Checking on links I've put in Pocket: I've talked about this app so much and about how much I love it to 'read later'. Reality? I don't check it enough. Every now and again I'll revisit it and find so  many interesting articles, and regret not reading them sooner.

Replying to comments: I love receiving comments on my blog - I'm so grateful for every one especially because I know you can't do it easily if you're on the app, but always feel guilty because of the lack of comments I post myself. The reason I don't reply to my comments is purely because I always get them through as emails to my phone rather than ever checking them on my laptop. I need to get into the habit of replying to them daily rather than planning on doing it at the end of each month. 

Checking out blogs left in comments: I'm always looking for new blogs and I know one of the best ways to find them is in blog comments, but again because of how I receive my comments I don't click through. This one will go hand in hand with replying - I'm going to try and make this a daily or at least weekly job to do.

Twitter chats: So the main way I got my blog out there was through using the twitter chats. Since I started there's been so many more chats introduced and there's a real community, so I can't recommend it enough. But I want to get more involved in them myself rather than just recommending it to people. It shouldn't be just about new bloggers, established bloggers can really help by being involved which is why I don't really understand how some 'bigger' bloggers couldn't join in now and again. Even if it's only 1 chat a week, I'm going to be there for the full hour. 

Guest blogging: This is something that recently I've made a point of getting involved in whether it's for brands or other bloggers. I don't expect to always be paid, I'm happy to do it for free to support my favourite bloggers. But I want to do it more, so I'm always open to people asking me to.

Researching: I constantly want to improve myself and my blog, I really thrive on making things better. You'll often find a lot of my post recommendations are blogging tips, and every now and again I'll read a book on the subject too. But I want to look else where and delve deeper into things. I've just got that thirst for knowledge, even though I know I'm never going to know everything about blogging.

Replying to emails: Finally and possibly one of the most important, but I'm really bad at reading emails and forgetting to reply to them. I actually have to make sure once I've read one that I mark is as unread to remind me to look at it again later.

What things do you need to make more time for?
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Wednesday, 27 August 2014

somewhere to shop: garden

The seventh post in my 'Somewhere to Shop' series is all about the site: Garden.co.uk. The Garden has a store in Park Royal, London but it's also a website that sells make up, skincare, hair products, nail products, fragrance and tanning/sun products. It's a pharmacy and perfumery which is why you'll find a lot of French brands available - j'adore! The homepage shows off their favourite brands, plus the ones that have currently got offers on. I don't know if it's just a glitch, but the drop-down categories don't have visible text so you have to look at the URL when you hover over them to find out what they direct you to. Once you click through you'll be presented with all of the brands in that category. Because Garden stocks only selected brands, it doesn't take you long to scroll through them all to find out what they have on offer. The search function works well, and suggestions of products are displayed before you even click the search button to get you there quicker. There's also a live chat option if you need help with anything.

Shipping wise for the UK it's £3.95 standard tracked delivery (2-4 days), £5.95 next day tracked, or £7.95 next day if you want it before 1pm. Orders over £50 get free next day delivery. For the rest of the world, your delivery costs will be based on weight but don't worry, the cost will be displayed before you enter your card details. 

Some of the brands available:
Caudalie, Clarins, Nuxe, Elemis, Bioderma, Dr Hauschka, La Roche-Posay, Vichy, Avene, Dermalogica, Antipodes, Art Deco, Clinique, Decleor, Dermablend, Dior, Elizabeth Arden, Eucerin, Estee Lauder, Lord & Berry, Murad, Steam Cream, This Works, Trilogy, Yes To, Anatomicals, Aromatherapy Associates, Burt's Bees, Cowshed, Dead Sea, L'Occitane, Korres, REN, Aussie, Bed Head, Denman, Fudge, Klorane, Moroccan Oil, Nicky Clarke, Phyto, Dr Lewinn's, Deborah Lippmann, Essie, Mavala, OPI, Seche Vite, He-Shi, Fake Bake, .

Some of my favourite products from Garden:
Mavala Nail Polish Remover
Bioderma Sensibio H20*
Elemis De-Stress Massage Oil*
He-Shi Sublime Dry Oil*
Denman D6 Shampoo/Massage Brush*

On my Garden wish list:
L'Occitane Huile De Douche
Nicky Clarke Intense Moisture Mask
Cheryl Cole Stormflower Eau De Parfum
Dior Nude BB Cream
Vichy Dermablend Corrective Compact Foundation

Have you shopped on Garden?
**None of my 'Somewhere to Shop' posts are sponsored however some products mentioned/photographed in this post have been sent to me by Garden.co.uk or other PR companies for the purpose of this post or review. All views are my own and genuine. 
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Tuesday, 26 August 2014

preparing for a guy to move in

So some of you may already know that my boyfriend of 5 years is moving in with me this Friday. We're staying put in the flat I've been living in and making homely since last September, but I thought there were a few additions that needed to be made! The first of which is this letter holder from Dunelm (£3.99). I believe it's new in as it was right next to this one. There's definitely a heart theme in my flat so this was well suited and perfect for us to keep our letters separately. I love letter racks though as you can use them for magazines or even makeup palettes too! My mum treated us to a few other bits from Dunelm, but none of them are available online which is annoying! 
I also bought 'his and hers' storage boxes from Poundland. I'm going to use them for socks and underwear, just because the drawers I used to keep them in are no longer here as we're looking to buy a second wardrobe instead. I also bought a few more of these boxes for storing under the sink in the kitchen for bits and pieces. 
So this wasn't a new purchase, but I've donated the whole of my Ikea Hemnes Chest Of 3 Drawers in White (£100) to the boyfriend. I know, I'm a good girlfriend. Until we find a second wardrobe, this is where all of his clothes are going to be homed as my wardrobe has now gone from overflowing to full despite having a major clear out at the end of last week #hoarder. I've completely cleared out these drawers, it's amazing how much stuff you can have even living on your own!
 Then finally I've told him not to read this blog post because of this photo. For moving in day I decided to treat him to some of his favourite foods plus some necessities like toiletries and socks. It's not that exciting, but I think it's an ideal gift. I've also added a THFC keyring to his set of keys and put them in a box with a big turquoise bow. As I'm going down to Oxford to say bye to his family and help him bring all of his things up, I'm going to present him with this to let him open the door to the flat with his own keys for the first time, couldn't really get any more soppy could I?

 If you live with a guy, what am I letting myself in for?
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Monday, 25 August 2014

review: bleach london bruised violet hair crayon

This time last year (and many months after) I had a bit of a love affair with Bleach London's Super Cool Colour in Rose (review here), fast forward 12 months and I'm back to the brand but this time with a review of one of their hair crayons. Picked up on my way to the till in Boots a few weeks back, this wasn't something I really needed but just something I wanted to have a little play with. This chunky crayon is super highly pigmented and creamy, meaning things can get a bit heavily applied so it's best to go in with a light hand and use your hands to blend it out along the hair. I'm not going to lie, it's not the easiest thing to use and it is rather messy, but it is a lot better than having loads of fall out from the previous chalks I've taken to my locks. I do like that it doesn't dry out the hair or leave it feeling weighed down, and that basically it's just like colouring in your own hair - something gave me quite a lot of unanticipated satisfaction. 

Once on, the colour survived a 4.5 mile walk in a downpour, and a thorough hair wash after that with just minimal fading (which actually helped to soften the look), but by the second wash it was completely gone. I like that it's only temporary, especially as the colour clashed (not in the good way) with the majority of my tops , and the fact that you can sharpen it to get further uses out of it. I did find that it wore down quite quickly on my first use, so I knew to go a little more gently after that. It washes off hands easily, and once on I didn't find that it transferred onto skin or clothes even when wet which is definitely a good thing. Usually I fix these sorts of things in place with a bit of hairspray, but I really didn't need it for this. There's 6 shades available in the crayon, all of which are most definitely on my list to get before the summer is out. 

What do you think of this colour?

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Sunday, 24 August 2014

seven days #35

It's another festival weekend and I'm not there, I'm in a bit of a huff about that! My boyfriend's currently at Reading and I'm rather jealous but it's the last weekend of me living on my own. He moves in on Friday, so excited!!! After 5 years together it's been a long time coming, but we're both very happy about it. Ok soppy stuff over! This week's also going to be my last week off before I head back to work. I've realised I've done nothing all summer... no holidays, no festivals, nothing. It does mean I've got a heck of a lot of blogging done, but you know when you've done loads but it doesn't seem like you've even made a dent in your to do list? That. My excuse of course is that I had to spend time reading/finding blogs to share with you for this post. Reality? Blogging constantly can be boring, no matter how much you love it. So here's my picks from the past seven days... 

This week I liked: Faye's Fix - Hanging Memories // A Cup Of Jo - Are You Addicted To Your Smartphone? // Vivianna Does Makeup - Super Quick Mini Cheesecake Recipe // Elembee - Why Shutting Down Comments Was One Of The Best Things I Did For My Blog // Mariannan - Rainy Day Well Spent! // Zoe London - A Life Online // Touchscreens & Beautyqueens - Healthy Homemade KFC // Little Winter - We Liked: Relaxing // A Model Recommends - How To: Brigitte Bardot Makeup Tutorial // TinyTwisst - Hair Tutorial: Easy, Bouncy Curls // Media Marmalade - How To Take Great Photos For Your Blog

This week I followed: The Style Archive // That Pommie Girl // Jeff Bullas // Ro's Tinted // Georgia Belle // Amber Marie // Classic Rouge // Chapter Friday // Mummy Pixie // Simply Dolly 

This week I've been loving: Jurlique Citrus Hand Cream* (£17)

This week I'm lusting after: MaxFactor Colour Corrector Stick in Green (£9.99)

This week I've been listening to: Paramore - Fences

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