Sunday 30 August 2015

Blogging Birthday | #1

Image result for a year of blogging
image source: via google images

I'm writing this on Friday 28th August, which is the very day I set up my little blog a year ago. I was quite nervous to put it up, but now I can say it was one of the best things I have ever done! I've become part of a new community both via here and the Instagram I run for this blog; I've chatted to lots of new people that share many of the same interests I do, and it's so much fun.
I remember in the early days, feeling the pride and excitement that I had a follower that wasn't my mum. Now, I have a humble 76 followers (72 of them are from Bloglovin' and 4 are from Blogger), but hey, that's more than one a week! I hope to continue building my blog and number of readers in the future - to double what I have now for the 28th August 2016 would be amazing.

In not too many months time, I'm planning to redesign my blog which I can't wait for, and eventually I'd love to buy my domain name so I can fully own my little pocket of space on the internet. I think I may attempt Blogmas too this year... oo er it'll be a challenge posting everyday throughout Advent so don't hold me to it, but I'm going to try!

When I look back 12, 11, 10, all the way to 6 months ago, I can really see how much my blog has changed. My style of writing is different, and I'd like to hope it's less rambly! My photos are better and I now stick to a Wednesday and Sunday schedule. I used to go weeks without posting, and then upload seven in one go...

If all goes to plan, I may soon be starting a YouTube channel and post videos of a similar content to what I blog about. It'll be another way for me to interact with fellow bloggers/vloggers, and it should be a lot of fun! I'll keep you all posted on that one.

I really feel like my blog has come a long way in a year, and I'm so happy with what I post and just my general blog. So, it's only right that I say a big thank you to anyone who has followed my blog, commented on or supported my blog. This is a passion I don't see myself giving up any time soon.


Wednesday 26 August 2015

BTS | Natural & Affordable 'No Makeup' Tutorial

Wearing makeup to school makes many feel more at ease and confident whilst with their peers, but I know there are quite a few schools out there that ban the wearing of makeup, or insist it to be as unnoticeable as possible. Because of that, I have come up with a look that is natural and not heavy at all, with minimal eyes and a light base. I'm sure it will either comply with or slightly bend any strict rules - or just make your mornings less hectic as there are much fewer steps!

I skipped primer for speedy reasons, but some mornings I will apply it if I have more time, or if I have PE that day... But anyway, I applied a concealer to my under eyes (I used the Eraser Eye by Maybelline). People won't be able to tell if you're wearing concealer, you'll just be much more bright eyed than normal. Teachers will thank you for it!
You can leave it there, or apply something like a BB cream or light foundation, but it's completely up to you and what you're comfortable in. I have redness on my cheeks, and so I always prefer to; for this look I have gone with the Garnier BB cream. I powdered with Stay Matte to keep everything in place throughout the day.
A recent purchase of mine has been the W7 'The Cheeky Trio' palette, including a blush, bronzer/contour powder (it depends on your skin tone as to what you use it for) and a highlight, and it plays a very important part in this tutorial. W7 is a great dupe for Urban Decay! They have lots of similar paettes for cheaper prices. I finished off my face with a dab of the blush, nothing too intense, just a touch to give me some colour. When going for minimal makeup looks, blush is your best friend for making you looking alive and healthy, and it's not obvious you're wearing it either. I would, however, steer clear from bronzing or contouring, as that can look a lot less natural.

Onto eyes! Using the W7 palette again, I used the bronzer/contour in my socket for warmth and depth, and a light dusting of the blush on my lids. The highlight I applied to my tear duct, and then I lined my waterline with a white eyeliner from MUA to brighten my eyes.
I finished them with a bit of mascara to my top lashes, and here's where I have sliiiightly cheated. I used Rollerlash by Benefit, and I have the mini which was £4 in Elle and so very affordable, although I'm well aware the full size isn't so. If you don't have the mini and don't want to fork out on the full size, I'd advise you go for Maybelline's Lash Sensational; I don't own it myself, although many say it's results are the same as that of Rollerlash. I left my lower lashes bare.

I filled in my brows a bit less than I normally would; not as defined or arched as it would simply be too strong with the rest of the makeup.

To complete my makeup, I used the Rimmel Kate lipstick in 03. It's a light pinky nude that compliments the eyes really well, aaaand... finished!

I hope you like this fuss-free look as much as I do


Sunday 23 August 2015

BTS | Stationery Supplies Haul

Back to school season is here! The time of the year that everyone hates, yet strangely enough a time that everyone seems to love blogging/vlogging/reading/watching about. I don't want to think about the fact that school is looming and just two weeks away, but I really do want to share with you all what I have bought in preparation...

I bought all this just over a fortnight ago when Tesco had a huuuuge sale on; I got some great deals including this pack of 28 sharpies for £7, and it think they're normally about three times that price! Sharpies come in really handy when making revision cards and highlighting things to remember - and often I will just use them at home - or occasionally during my art class. 

I'm in my final year of studying for my GCSEs (so year 11), and so I got a 200 piece study pack that comes with sticky index tabs, arrows and notes. I use these to mark important pages and make notes on, or to colour code how confident I am with a topic. I don't remember the prices of everything, but these cant have been much more than £1. 

Sticking with the revision theme, the only un-Tesco item is these revision cards which I bought from a local stationery store. They did sell similar versions in Tesco, and despite the fact that Tesco's were cheaper (but smaller), I wanted the others as I already had some and so I wanted them to match. Weird, I know, but I like to be organised when revising and that means using the same cards, rather than a mixed bunch.

Moving on to basics - I picked up a 30cm ruler, a 10 pack of biros, a Pritt stick and some Tipp-Ex, both reduced.

I bought a desktop stationery set to keep at home. It was £4, and includes a roll of tape in the dispenser, a hole punch, stapler, de-stapler, and 1000 staples. Bargain! I picked up a 2 pack of large magnetic clips for £1, also to keep at home. They're really chunky and actually cool as decorative pieces, but I'll use them to stick up reminders, important notes, or... maybe just Polaroids.

I have tons of regular HB pencils at home, so a large box of them wasn't necessary. My siblings and I just shared a pack of mechanical pencils, and the same goes for rubbers. I have plenty of sharpeners, a working calculator and math set etc., so I didn't need anything like that.

Last but not least, I bought a corkboard. Kind of unrelated, but a corkboard is something I've been after for ages, and they had loads of cheap ones in Tesco, so I got that too!

That's everything! Watch this space


Wednesday 19 August 2015

Grey Is Taking Over | Interiors

Grey is taking over. To have 'granny chic' grey hair is fast becoming a popular choice of colour, and just about everyone and their mother owns a basic grey marl tee - sometimes two for when the other one's, you know, in the wash. But it doesn't end there. Grey - and greige in particular - are now taking the world of interiors by storm. Colour schemes are now more neutral with light nudes, creams, greys and stone colours. When rounded up together you have GREIGE. 

I mentioned in my July Favourites that I had had new things in my bedroom, one of them being a desk. I am now completely happy with the set up I have on my desk and windowsill; it's all done, so I thought I'd show you snippets. (I would like to do a full room tour in the future, and maybe a desk tour, as I know those sorts of posts are quite highly requested).

You'll notice from the photos that I have a strong grey/white/metallic/glass theme to my desk top and windowsill - proper greige colours feature on my carpet and in my blind, but I don't have any photos of them today. On the left of my desk I have a white work lamp (funnily enough, when I first got this years ago, I used to think it was quite ugly, but now I think it's very attractive), and on that I have a little glass tealight holder containing rings. Next to that is a vintage white cup which I use to store my makeup brushes, and in the dish next to that I keep my everyday jewellery.
On the right of my desk, I keep a cactus candle which I will never burn, and a succulent in a grey pot, just to add some greenery, freshness and life. Next to that is a Yankee Candle votive in Garden Sweetpea, and an opaque box with gold frames in which I store a few hair grips, bobbles and a scrunchie for quick and easy access. The rest of my desk is completely clear to allow space for working; I just like having the simple decorations at either end.

On to my windowsill - the left hand side has a black digital photo frame, and next to that I have a jam jar with some fake white flowers. I have three windows in my room, and in front of the second right in the middle I have a blue dish, and on either side are two little white owl lights. The pop of blue amongst the neutral is so beautiful. Finally, on the right of my windowsill I have a silvery-grey candle holder and a candle inside, and a mirrored set of three drawers.

worklamp - B&Q I belive
glass tealight holder - I'm not sure but you can buy these anywhere
vintage cup - an antiques store in Wells, Norfolk
dish - Malta

grey plant pot - I'm not sure, I found it in our garage
candle - Yankee Candle
cactus candle - a shop in Freiburg, Germany
box - a charity shop in Holt, Norfolk

digital photo frame - kitvision
jar - just a strawberry jam jar, I think the make is Tiptree
fake flowers - a local discount store

white owl lights - M&S a few Christmases ago
blue dish - the same antiques place in Wells

square candle holder - I'm not sure, it's old
mirrored set of three drawers - it was a gift so I'm not sure on that either

curtains - Dunelm Herringbone Blackout Eyelet

I hope you liked this post; it's something a little different to what I normally do, but I love the way my desk and windowsill have turned out. Grey has to be one of my favourite colours - I'd love for this greige trend to continue for as long as possible!


Sunday 16 August 2015

10 Ways To Improve Your Blog Photography

my photos now - July 2015
my photos then - September 2014

I'm definitely no photography expert myself, but when it comes down to the photography on my blog, I'd say my current pictures are miles better than when I first started almost a year ago now. I've definitely learned a few things over the past six months, and so I'm going to share with you my top ten tips to improve the photos you post on your blog.

Number one has to be: use a decent camera/phone with a high quality camera. When I first started blogging, I was using my old HTC and the photos really were terrible! Since then I've got a DSLR camera which means the quality of my pictures has improved so much. 

Don't leave your photography till the last minute! I've done this a few times, and ended up taking my photos the evening before the post went up when the light was really not good. Morning light, on the other hand, works wonders. 

Photographing in the winter months can be so tricky as the majority of the time the light is dim, especially here in England. For this reason, many people invest in white soft box or studio lighting (and even just to improve quality and brightness all year round). I don't own any myself but I hope to someday.

Don't have busy backgrounds in your photos as it's really distracting for the reader, who will most likely struggle to focus on the feature of the photo. Go for simple backgrounds of neutral colours. I often use my white desk, and sometimes areas of my room where I can blur fairy lights or pretty plants and makeup brushes in the background.

This is really important: take a lot of photos but only keep a few. You don't have to be happy with the first photo you take if you think you can do better, and don't give up if your first try doesn't go well.

There is no shame in using apps to improve your photos, whether that's turning up the brightness or highlights, which I often do, and occasionally the saturation. I use the app Aviary for this; it's brilliant!

Think about different ways to 'show off' what you're photographing: what props will flatter it, create a nice colour scheme, reflect the mood, add more to the surroundings? Make the picture more interesting with plants, pretty bowls, maps, compasses, brushes, lights, jewellery, you get the gist. Just think of different ways that you can display your main feature

Remember the focus of the image doesn't have to be central - think about the rule of thirds.Having something slap bang in the middle can look quite junior school, but it totally depends on what you are photographing, and what you're saying about it.

Be sure to make your best image your first image in your blog post, because this is the one that readers will see and be enticed by.

And last but not least, just persevere. If it doesn't go right the first time, that's fine! We're all still learning.


Wednesday 12 August 2015

The Baguette You Have To Try

On total impulse, today I made myself and mum a tasty baguette for lunch after wanting to recreate one made by my local tea room. It's basically Italy in bread; green pesto, fresh mozzarella and prosciutto ham - heck, it's even the colours of their flag, and it's the yummiest lunch I've had in a while.

After baking the baguette (as it was half baked when bought), I sliced it in two, and then sliced cuts down each middle for the fillings. I sliced 1 ball of fresh mozzarella into 6 after draining the brine and placed three in each baguette half on top of a spread of green pesto. I added a piece and a half of the prosciutto ham in each baguette, and cooked them in the grill to crispen the bread, and begin to melt the mozzarella. I just took them out when I was happy with how they  looked.

It's as easy as that! As well as covering a lot of the food groups, especially if you add some greenery on the side like I did, it makes a super delicious alternative to your regular cheese sandwich.


Sunday 9 August 2015

7 Tops For £28?!?

Yes, you read right! I bought 7 tops for £28 in New Look's crazy sale, which I believe is still on (certainly in my local store), so head on over to one if you can! Here's what I picked up...

super soft, slouchy, and has a cute pocket - always a nice detail
'linen blend', camels and palms make it so summer appropriate
perfect for sport or lazy days, the roll sleeves are a good touch
simple but classy and good quality, I love stripes at the moment
gorgeous pattern, floaty and summery, definitely a favourite
more stripes! the halterneck style is really flattering, I love it
beautiful pink colour, and I particularly love the ribbed style

 I love a good bargain!


Wednesday 5 August 2015

5 Product Face

I see so many 5 product face posts in the blogger/vlogger world. I really enjoy reading/watching them, and thought it would be fun to try out for myself and share with you! 
I didn't have too much trouble narrowing it down to just 5 products (minus brushes); for me, concealer, mascara and brows are a must, but let's see what else I chose...

I began with the Maybelline Eraser Eye concealer, but applied that all over my face rather than just my under eyes like I usually would, to create a light, barely-there base. 
Also by Maybelline, I used the Master Sculpt contour duo, and here's where you can bend the rules and get creative. I used this not only to highlight and contour, but I blended the contour through the sockets of my eyes and along the lower lash line for a warm and neutral brown eye, and then I dabbed the highlight in the centre of my lid. 
After applying Estée Lauder's Sumptuous Extreme mascara to my top and bottom lashes, I added more of the contour powder to my waterline to act as a brown eyeliner.
I then filled in my brows as usual with Archery by Soap & Glory - I'm sure you're all sick and tired of hearing about it, but I had to include it!
As the eyes were so minimal, I went for a more out there lip colour - Coral from Claire's accessories - to brighten the look. It then needed some serious blotting as it's a real neon colour (much more than my camera has shown it to be) - not something I tend to wear on an every day basis but it was fun to play around with. 

There you have it!


Sunday 2 August 2015

New On The Shelves | Maybelline's Master Sculpt

Maybelline have recently launched their new contouring duo, which they have called Master Sculpt. It's a small, compact square of which about two thirds of the surface being the contour powder, and the other third a highlighter. By lifting up the pan holding the powders, a mirror is revealed, as well as a thin brush, ideal for brushing under the cheekbones and down the sides of the nose or across the temples; its size allows you to be far more accurate than you would with a large, fluffy bronzer brush. When I use the product, I use the thin brush with a light amount of product just under my cheek bones, and then do a large amount of blending to fake a shadow, not a line. I really, really do love the brush it comes with, definitely a great addition to the product. It resembles the same design as that of the Nars Ita and Benefit Hoola brushes, and although the Maybelline brush may not be as soft or good quality, it does work well. For the extra features of the brush, mirror (and the of course the two powders) as well as what feels like sturdy, robust packaging, I'd say this product is well worth the £6.99 it retails for. (In my local boots it was also by one get one half price on Maybelline products, so that really is a good deal).

You can buy Maybelline's Master Sculpt in two shades, light medium and medium dark, although I'm pretty sure the highlighter is the same in both. The highlighter is okay, it's beautiful in the pan, but I find it to be quite sheer when I applied to the high points of my face. I do like it, but still prefer MUA's highlighter. The difference between the two shades of contour is that light medium is a warmer toned orangey powder, whereas medium dark is quite cool and grey toned, which is more ideal for contouring, especially for those who are quite pale skinned like myself. FINALLY, there is a drugstore product meant for contouring and not bronzing that has been made to suit pale tones! I've not seen any around before, except possibly Chisel Cheeks by Barry M, that aren't orange.

I would highly recommend this product if you are on the hunt for a new contouring powder, or if it'll be the first you've owned, like me. I've found it really easy to use, and I really love it.

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