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Wednesday, 31 December 2014

The Library of Fragrance | Jasmine


After The Library of Fragrance were nice enough to send us some samples to have a play with at the latest Hull Blogger Meet, I was delighted when I found them in my local Boots store - so delighted in fact, that I proceeded to sit there and smell each and every one from Rain to Gin and Tonic at least three times - seriously, Hannah can vouch for this! Until it came down to just Gingerbread and Jasmine and I surprised even myself for going with the more floral of the two.

The aim of the game for this brand is to mix and match the scents to create very your own customised perfume provoking memories of, well, rain, gin and tonic, gingerbread and jasmine... I can't wait to collect more as they are very true to smell (except maybe rain which is more of a masculine scent than that of a summer rainstorm).

I also adore the bottle and marketing - it's simple and fresh and has a no fuss description "Simple. Subtle. Singular Scents. Each Day. Everywhere."

Which one is your favourite?

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Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Blogging | Top Five Tips for Bloggers


If you're thinking about starting a blog in the new year, or just want to try something new with an existing one, here are my five top must-read-or-else tips (just kidding, sort of...):

1. Be social! Whether that's to friends, other bloggers, brand or even just posting about your day. One will get you noticed and the other will stop you from becoming a hermit whose only interest is to write just, one, more, post.

2. Buy this bad boy ring light that caused a storm when I bought it to October's Sheffield Beauty Bloggers Meet. It will improve your macro and product shots ten-fold. Honestly!

3. Schedule posts like there is no tomorrow. I get far to excited whilst writing up my posts and have a habit of jumping the gun, posting several "award-worthy" posts in one go and then have a two week hiatus as the tumble weeds roll across the home page. Moral of the story: don't do it!

4. Be interesting because, in short, no one's going to read your posts if you're not. Embrace the inner quirk (or in my case, nerd!).

5. Read this post on photography tips and this, my comprehensive guide to blogging!

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Monday, 29 December 2014

Blogging | My Blogging Photography Kit



What's in my Blogging Camera Bag?

This is going to be different for each and every blogger, but I wanted to share with you the photography cheats, tips and tricks I use to improve the way I take photos - no matter what I'm taking them on!

As in most instances, and I have to say this, it's probably not the camera - it's you!




Camera & Lens


For my photos I use a Canon 600D with either a kit lens for macro or a Canon 50mm f1.8 II Lens which give beautiful background blur. But nowadays most smartphones have enough megapixels to product a large resolution crisp image - you just have to know how to use them and in some instances you can 'cheat' your way to a better image!


For example, I've just said about the background blur of my 50mm lens - this can easily be achieved by a nifty little app that blurs the background of the image. Your main focus should always be focus and lighting and once you've got those right it'll hardly matter what you're shooting on!




Editing Software

Whether it's Lightroom which is fantastic at batch editing photos or MIX, a free android app which allows you to save various filter combinations and apply to as many photos as you wish - there's quite literally something for every budget when it comes to editing software whether you're on your smartphone or desktop. Here are my recommendations:

Software: Lightroom

Online: Pic Monkey, Canva (FREE)
Apps: Afterlight, MIX, VSCO Cam, Pixlr Express (FREE)

Have a play and see what works for you!




Photography Equipment

Most bloggers will say you need some kind of tripod and a white-based light source such as a softbox or a ring light. And whilst I have both, I think that they're a completely optional 1) because you really don't need to spend any money at all and 2) you should become your own photographer and take photos however you wish (take note) I am just merely suggesting... Point is, I just bought the tripod because I like photography, soft box lighting for my job and a ring light because it created the most beautiful lighting you have ever seen and I needed it.

However you can always DIY these yourself for absolutely nothing...


Quick tripods: A stack of books - we've all been there - or a shelf and self-timer.

Best lighting: Daylight, obviously or a white-based daylight bulb - otherwise be prepared to spend hours correcting those dreaded yellow-hues.



General Photography Tips


Utilise daylight when photographing products.


In terms of fashion, if you're shooting outside use the first/last hour of sunlight of the day known as the 'magic hour' for magical lighting.


Correcting the image whilst you are taking it is much easier than correcting it afterwards in the editing process - is the lighting yellow, is it in focus?


Shoot with the same set up two or three times and then pick the best image, it'll save you re-shooting.


Batch photograph when you can, you'll have more time to set up and can concentrate on getting the image just right.



Have you got any photography-related tips you'd like to add? Or any questions? 
To read more posts in my #BloggingHacks series, click here.




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Sunday, 28 December 2014

Beauty | Everyday, Budget Makeup Brushes


Here's my everyday budget blush round up featuring - SHOCK, HORROR - NO Real Techniques Brushes at all. These are what I use on my face everyday for a natural and effortlessly blended look that gets me from my my makeup chair out the door in about ten minutes - and the very best part is that the're all under £6 each for an entire face of makeup!


Okay, so technically this is a bit of a cheat as it's a sponge and technically not a brush. But I'm allowing it for the simple fact that I swapped my beloved Real Techniques Expert Face Brush for this little guy earlier on in the year, and I'm never going back. Firstly, it's a steal in comparison to the coveted Beauty Blender and gives you flawlessly blended high coverage and can get into all those niggly areas and corners of your face. I've been using it pretty much every makeup wearing day of the year and it still looks amazing (bar, well, my foundation, obviously...) and it also works fantastically with concealer too!

Recommended Products: Revlon Colour Stay Foundation, Collection Lasting Perfection Concealer


For £1.50 I never knew I could love a brush so. It's obviously too small for foundation so after succumbing to the hype around the new P.S Love... range by Primark it sat gathering dust in my brush pot until my recent swap to cream blush for which this is perfect. It blends fabulously but packs enough pigment onto the brush that you end up with that coveted wintry rosy glow. Swoon... A must have for all the cream blush lovers out there!

Recommended Products: Boujois Cream Blush, Revlon Cream Blush


I bought this on a whim at one of Elf's 20% off sales as I do love a good blending brush - more so than any other brush, ever. Though no the fluffiest I've ever seen it works well to pack colour onto the lid as well as blending it out; which makes it perfect for travelling or for no-fuss look 

Recommended Products: Recently I've been using Shade 3 (lid) and Shade 11 (crease) from Makeup Revolution's Redemption Iconic Dreams Palette


KathleenLights over on Youtube suggested this brush in one of her videos, so, obviously is Kathleen says it's a good brush I need it in my life. And my she is right, never again will I resort to using my fingers to blend out my concealer. It works well across all areas of the face with both creme and liquid concealers - but I find it specially useful in highlighting the under-eye area.

Recommended Products: Collection Lasting Perfection Concealer, Seventeen Phwoarr Paint


This was in the first brush set I ever bought from ASDA (£10 for the set) four or so years back so I was delighted when I say they had a re-release of a similar set on their shelves for Christmas this year. I loved this set, I still do. I think the brushes are amazing for the price you pay and I still use my Angled Eyeshadow Brush to this very day to apply my brows on a morning when I'm not using Seventeen's Brow's That Kit or I'm using it in tandem with Makeup Revolution's new Ultra Aqua Brow Tint (review coming soon!) because it gives the most beautifully sculpted look.

Recommended Products: Makeup Revolution's Ultra Aqua Brow Tint


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Saturday, 27 December 2014

H&M | Meow Wallet


In short, I love this Meow Wallet by H&M that I've had since October - it's quirky and fun and it fits all my goodies in like my...

657 shopping cards,
a silly amount of loose change,
a giant stack of receipts,
one phone,
my lip balm of choice,
and my 17 Phwaorr Paint Concealer (that I am in love with!),

...and I can even strap my keys onto the zip and carry it as a clutch.

Gone are the days of humongous shoulder killing bags that serve only to cripple you and look stylish and yet functional, that I will inevitably everything including the kitchen sink - this is the way forward!

Will you be downsizing bags with me?

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Friday, 26 December 2014

Makeup Revolution | Viper Mascara


Wait. There's a Makeup Revolution product* out there that I don't like? I didn't know they made such a thing! I wanted to love it's curved wand that reminds me of the mascaras of my teen-hood but I just... didn't...

That's right, I have had this constant love-hate relationship with mascara whereby I layer it on and love it - I mean I l-o-v-e it. Honestly, give me my Collection Lasting Perfection and a good waterproof mascara and I am good to go. But this? It's not waterproof and sadly doesn't last! And therefore my lashes hate it with a passion and I look like a panda a mere two hours after application.

But I wanted to give it a good try, I really, really did! I even stepped outside in the rain and, well we won't go there too much but I was no longer presentable afterwards (I found this out after I had returned from uni to hand in my essay - no wonder the poor receptionist thought I was stressed!).

 Now I know, I know, it's not you it's me. But what can a girl do? Does any one else have this problem? What are your thoughts on their Viper Mascara*?

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Thursday, 25 December 2014

Merry Christmas | And All That Jazz


Without getting to soppy it's the time of year to be thankful and I'm thankful for you guys for sticking around to share my obsession and read my thoughts as without you - I probably wouldn't be where I am today, have changed career path or even have my job. So thank you for being their for this, my second Christmas as a blogger.

May your Christmases be merry and bright!


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Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Life | Third Year & Other Plans


I have this faded grey shirt that I bought when I was seventeen, it reads "Life is what happens when you are busy making other plans". I think that's John Lennon, or someone with equally as much life wisdom and street cred that they can emblazon it on a t-shirt. Awkward introductions over, hey, how have you been? Long time no see - hey, how've you been?

Me? I've been great, g-r-e-a-t thanks. The 4am bedtimes and 8am starts, the sleepless nights and rages when there are no computers free at the library, the enthusiasm of planning my own research question only to be quelled days later when I realise I'm accountable for all the statistics that go along with it... I am just great.

I don't mind that next door decided to play their music under my room until some ungodly hour in revenge of our house party last night, when I was the mo. That's fine. And I'm not at all complaining about my deadline-per-week during December, it's cool, I can manage.

I lied. Third year is killing me.

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Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Makeup Revolution | Redemption Palette: Iconic Dreams



Are you sensing a theme yet this week?

Here's Makeup Revolutions newest Iconic Palette in Dreams* - it is still their newest right? I just can't keep up with all their glorious new releases! - as you can see the pigmentation is on par for the rest of their range and is absolutely astounding for the mere £4 price tag.

Unlike the rest of the Iconic range, famously duping Urban Decay's Naked Palettes this , I believe is an original. There's a great range of matte and shimmery shades that can take you from day to night, with rosy hues reminiscent of their Iconic 3 but by far my favourites are the green-based golds as they're so unique! The light matte shades make a great subtle brow highlight and the matte pinks are perfect for a put together everyday matte eye.

It's a beautiful palette to be sure, but if it wasn't for those green shades after owning the Iconic 1, 2 and 3 as well as a couple of Salvation Palettes and their Ultimate Collection - I'm asking myself if I really needed this palette and the honest answer is no, I probably don't - but I'm still besotted with those gold based greens!

Have you jumped on the Makeup Revolution bandwagon yet?

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Monday, 22 December 2014

Makeup Revolution | Ultra Blush Palette: All About Pink


If you read yesterday's post all about the Makeup Revolution Ultra Blush Palette in Golden Sugar*, you'll know that I criticised it's lack of bright matte blush. I think that's what this was made for. Meet it's sister the Ultra Blush Palette in All About Pink*.

Whilst it lacks the versatility of the Golden Sugar Palette* - featuring two highlighting shimmer shades and six matte pink blushes - it certainly makes up for it in sheer pigmentation and beauty. All I can say is that a year ago, I would have been terrified to apply such shades on the apples of my cheeks but with a light hand and a fluffy brush (cue  Real Techniques) you get the prettiest winter glow - the kind that says 'I've just been for a walk outside to grab a hot chocolate' or 'Want to help me build my snowman?'.

Have you tried any of the Makeup Revolution Ultra Blush Palette yet?

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Sunday, 21 December 2014

Makeup Revolution | Ultra Blush Palette: Golden Sugar


I swear I beginning each and every Makeup Revolution post the same way - but why change the habit of a lifetime?

This year Makeup Revolution have taken the beauty and blogger world by storm - who knew you could have that pigmentation and lasting power for the mere price of a few pounds? It would have revolutionised my secondary school beauty obsessed life and saved me countless misses with other budget beauty brands. This generation, you have no idea how good you've got it skipping the sticky lipgloss and sheer glitter fallout all over your face. I digress...

As one of their November releases, this Ultra Blush Palette in Golden Sugar* has become my travel palette. In fact, in a little over a month it has travelled 469 miles cross country with me and if you take a look at those shades you can see why. Highlight - check, blush - check, shimmery sheeny bronzer - check, matte contour - check. With the pigmentation and price tag you would expect from my new favourite brand - it's perfect.

For me at least, the only thing I could possibly understate is the lack of a matte, bright blush. But hey, it's winter, who cares. I've recently made the change over to cream blush anyhow and find that these swirling pinks provide all the setting powder I need with a hint of a glow.

Makeup Revolution, once again you have absolutely nailed it.

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Saturday, 20 December 2014

Ted Baker | Spritz and Sparkle Minis // EDT Collection


Still stuck what to get your loved one for Christmas with just days to go? Not to worry - Ted Baker has got you covered with their Ted Baker Spritz and Sparkle Minis* (£22) for women and Ted Baker EDT Collection* (£16) for men.

Spritz and Sparkle
These are the perfect stocking filler, tree decoration or gift to split between your friends at school. Imagine walking downstairs bleary eyed and in search of coffee to find that Santa left these for you ion the tree! They're also great gift if your other half is unsure of what they want - this could be a great way of pointing them towards a new scent or creating the possibility of trying out several new ones. As they're great just to throw in your handbag and be on your way and perfect for midday touch ups to keep you smelling sweet all year!

EDT Collection
I love these, in fact I have loved a very specific one of these for about five or so years now *cue awkward teenage cinema date with my then to-be boyfriend and I was hooked*. They're the perfect art deco style present for the teenage boy or man in your life to experiment with different scents and make an ideal stocking filler!

SCENT TIP: I was recently reading a glossy mag in which Blake Lively confessed to wearing men's cologne under her perfume for a slightly more masculine and androgynous scent so, naturally if Blake Lively says it's a good idea - it's probably a good idea. So I've been adding a splash of 'L' from the Ted Baker EDT Collection under my own fragrance of the day - and I absolutely love it! It's sweet and floral and yet you catch this really deep and rich scent under it all - I just can't get enough of it! Looks like my boyfriend will have to look elsewhere this Christmas...

What have you bought your loved ones this year?

Let me know if you try the scent tip!

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Friday, 19 December 2014

Sleek MakeUp | Precious Metals Highlighting Palette

Sleek Precious Metals Cream Highlighting Palette Kit Highlight Swatches
Sleek Precious Metals Cream Highlighting Palette Kit Highlight Swatches
Sleek Precious Metals Cream Highlighting Palette Kit Highlight Swatches

This Precious Metals Highlighting Palette by Sleek is just beautiful isn't it? I mean just look at that pigmentation. I rushed out and bought it a matter of days after it's release as I adore a good highlighter - I do. You guys know this. And it's fits so well with my recent cream-based product boom.... *swoon*

The packaging is well, sleek and metallic though I do wish they'd expanded their shades and got rid of that plastic brush - nothing against it in particular - (though I can't imagine blending would go at all well...) who even used brushes that come in makeup kits anyway? Even my Urban Decay palette brushes sit and rot in their cases. But I suppose it is a nice though (though I personally recommend applying with your fingers instead!).

Rant over, you get a good sized mirror and three cream based shades in a white, gold and bronze shade as well as a powder highlight that's perfect for sweeping down the bridge of your nose for a sun kissed and freckled glow or as a summery sheen. Though it would have been nice to see a pinky shade for a more romantique glow.

What do you think of their new release?

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Thursday, 18 December 2014

Life | Ox Pasture Hall Hotel Scarborough

During November I was invited to stay at the stunning Ox Pasture Hall Hotel in Scarborough, Yorkshire and it was beautiful...


As soon as we arrived - almost an hour early I might add - we were whisked off to tea in the lounge (my dream living room) with a wood burner my Dad would envy whilst the room was readied. It screamed cosy country chic and I just wished I'd bought a good book and a pair of slippers!


Ours was one of their Luxury Suites containing an en suite complete with shower and separate bath tub, a King Size bed, two large TVs, a sofa, a coffee table, desk, wardrobe... it felt amazingly homely and really grand at the same time with this water feature in the courtyard just outside. After letting us settle in we were called letting us choose our time for our afternoon tea and dinner that evening. Better sooner rather than later...


A matter of thirty minutes later we were back in the lounge for tea. Since my stay I have decided that Afternoon Tea is my favourite meal of the day, cute corner cut sandwiches, delicious warm scones with a jam and clotted cream of course, and a selection of cakes to die for - all served in style! It was absolutely delicious - but I don't think we managed to finish a meal the entire of our stay which was a shame because the food was all wonderfully prepared and presented and tasted absolutely amazing!

I still think may have had something to do with the unlimited amount of tea and coffee that kept appearing every time we stepped into the lounge...


After a marathon of Storage Hunters on the tele (don't judge...) in the evening we were wined - with Prosecco - and dined - a Pea Puree Palette Cleanser, Home made Tomato Soup, Strawberry Coolie, Vegetarian Lasagna and Raspberry and Vanilla Tea (after I was far too full for desert!). It was beautiful and sophisticated, we had a wonderful server and the whole evening felt entirely too grown up for me to deal with as I'm used to standing on the other side of the table!


Thankfully there was a ginormous shower head and boat-sized bath to amuse me once we called it a night due to our full bellies and the start of a new lifetime ambition - I want that bath tub! Followed by a couple of hot chocolates and a serious TV marathon before heading off to get lost in the king size bed. I slept so well!


Breakfast was as yummy as ever - Full English accompanied by more tea of course! - and I even managed to stomach my first taste of Black Pudding which was surprisingly scrummy. But once again the plates sadly remained uncleared - and I tried my very best, let me tell you!


It was then off for a walk in the ample grounds before heading home. The weather was awful - it poured the entire time - but I didn't care because the scenery was beautiful. We headed to the woods and got these gorgeous views on top of the hill - I'd love to go back in the summer! And knowing that you can get married here too... I couldn't imagine more of a fairy tale setting!


A HUGE thank you to the team for allowing me to stay for an incredible weekend - I hope to see you again soon!

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