2016 / Charley Lucy

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Monday, 26 December 2016

Free Stock Photo Resources for Bloggers

Find out what where I source my free, stock photos for my blog and learn why you should start collating your own bank of stock photos for your blog.

I collect things. From makeup to old cameras, books to homeware. I even have a folder in which I save Instagrammable worthy snaps from other brands and bloggers for future inspiration because I like the lighting or how you’ve styled your flatlay.

For a few months now, I’ve been curating a collection of beautiful stock imagery for those days where I either can’t take a photo or the stock imagery demonstrates the post content so beautifully that I don’t need to, like these posts here and here. This is not cheating. It’s time-saving. Just make sure you know your way around a Creative Commons licence/image credit first.

Below you’ll find a compilation of brilliantly shot and actually useful stock imagery that you're free to download, edit and use without credit. There’s not a cheesy smile or awkward pose in site. If you’re a beauty blogger, like me, I’d highly suggest checking out what these two fabulous stock photo sites have to offer in terms of beauty and desk space shots; it’s why I fell in love with them in the first place.

Pexels, Free Stock Images for Bloggers.jpg
Pexels, Free Stock Images for Bloggers.jpg
Pexels, Free Stock Images for Bloggers

Pexels

Look no further for winter-themed stock images, Pexels has a beautiful selection, also under the Creative Commons Zero license - read: do whatever you want with . They also have a great selection of blogging workspaces - see above - and a handful of generic makeup shots.


Unsplash, Free Stock Images for Bloggers

Unsplash


I first discovered Unsplash as part of the Over iOS app, I explain here how you can use Over to make some killer, free social media graphics. Unsplash's huge selection of images using the Creative Commons Zero licence is one of my favourites on the web. Along with their aesthetically pleasing website which allows you to search for particular collections, such as Eat + Drink - warning, do not view whilst hungry.

Though I wouldn't recommend using stock images for every post - your photos personality is important too! They're do have their uses, for example, did you know using a photo in your tweet makes it three times more likely for someone to engage with it? Pretty great, huh.

Have you used any photos from free stock photo sites on your blog? Let's help each other out and leave them in the comments below! To read more posts in my #BloggingHacks series, click here.

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Saturday, 24 December 2016

What's in my Makeup Bag?

What's in my Makeup Bag, Face of the Day, Beauty, Makeup, Cosmetics, Flatlay

Face:

La Roche Posay Hydream BB Cream // Light
Loreal Mattifying Infallible Foundation // Porcelain
Makeup Revolution Pro Illuminate
Milani Baked Blue // Luminoso
Dr Hauschka Power Duo // Summer Impressions (Discontinued)
Jerome Alexander Magic Minerals

Eyes:

NYX Collection Noir Liquid Black Liner
Maybelline Colour Tattoo // On and On Bronze
Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion // Sin
Urban Decay Naked Palette


Brows:

Illamasqua Poweder Eyeshadow // Jules

Needs Repurchasing/Missing:

Collection Lasting Perfecting Concealer // Fair
Mascara - any recommendations? My KIKO Milano Pump it up Mascara* is almost dried out!
MAC Diva (Matte?)

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Friday, 23 December 2016

Last Minute Beauty Stocking Fillers from Boots

Stuck on that last little beauty-themed stocking filler? Look no further! These two from Ted Baker and No7 are perfect for almost anyone and, best of all, are available in Boots right now.

Ted Baker London Double the Dazzle Duo, Nail Polish in light Pink and Tinted Lip Balm.jpg

This Ted Baker Double the Dazzle* duo (currently available in-store only) will be finding its way into the stocking of a friend this Christmas. Though, with its ribbon, you could also hang it on the tree! It's the perfect chic, last-minute present for beauty and non-beauty lovers alike and features a Tinted Lip Balm and light pink Nail Polish that would suit all skin tones. Plus the packaging is super-cute.

No7 Lip Library All About Pink Boots Gift Stocking Filler 1
No7 Lip Library All About Pink Boots Gift Stocking Filler 2

Sticking with a similar one-fits-all theme, No7 have released an All About Pink Lip Library (in stock online at the time of writing). But don't let the title fool you, inside you get:

No7 Limited Edition Gloss (Shine) in Deep Pink *A glittery red*
No7 Limited Edition Gloss (Shine) in Nude Pink *Glitter-free*
No7 Matte Lip Crayon in Raspberry Red *Which I am keeping for myself*
No7 High Shine Lip Crayon in Daydreamer and Delicate Pink *One nude, one naturally flushed pink*

So whether you keep them all together or split them across secret stockings, there's a really nice range of products, formulas and finishes to suit everyone's taste - perfect for teens and adults alike.

Happy last-minute shopping, I wish you the best of luck!

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Thursday, 22 December 2016

Free Chrome Extensions for Bloggers

Free Chrome Extensions for Bloggers Download


As a blogger, there are a few free Google Chrome Extensions that help me out with producing my content. From social media to design and SEO, you need these in your blogging toolkit!


For Social Media - Buffer

Buffer is hands down my favourite social media scheduling platform for bloggers. It’s relatively cheap, comes with an app and is so, so easy to schedule content across multiple social media platforms - absolutely free! The main reason I love their chrome extension is that it allows me to schedule my RTs over on Twitter to avoid Twitter-overload. However, it also great for easily scheduling in content when you find a web page or image you like.

For Design - Colorzilla

For the designers out there, Color Zilla is about to change your world. It adds an eyedropper tool to the upper right of your browser that lets you copy colours to love. Whether you’re creating a background or copying across a colour palette for inspo, if you use Canva/Pic Monkey or dabble in web design, like me, you need this in your life.


For Blog Stats/SEO - MozBar

MozBar is my go to website stat tracker. This extension allows you to view important information on your blog such as the Domain and Page Authority - RIP to my DA after my relatively recent re-brand. It’s a think a lot of brands ask for before you work with them and is useful to keep track of overtime. You can also see how your blog compares against others by visiting their site too!


For Screenshots - FireShot

FireShot is one of my more recent downloads. It has a single function, to screenshot entire web pages - and not just what’s displaying on your monitor. It comes in handy for social media to showcase a particular post or new blog layout as well as for featuring in media kits. However, if you’ve got a 4k/5k monitor - be warned, those image sizes can get quite hefty so remember to delete them after use!

To read more posts in my #BloggingHacks series, click here.


Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Simple HTML Coding for Bloggers

Simple HTML Coding for Blogger Learn Easy Quick

A couple of years ago, I knew absolutely nothing about coding and now I build websites as part of my job. It’s absolutely maddening! I think a lot of people are put off by the fact that it looks like a load of gibberish but, I promise you, with a bit of know-how and practice you can come to understand code really, really quickly.

In this post, I’m going to outline some of the Blogger basics - the platform, not the people! - but I could quite happily sit here and teach you how to code all day long. So please let me know if you found this helpful/if you’d like to learn something a little more complex.


Paragraphs, Starting & Finishing


*This bit is pretty important to read before you move onto the rest of the post*

Think of basic HTML coding like a sentence, it starts with a capital letter and ends with a full stop. Only in this case, it looks something like this:

<p>Isn’t this great!</p>

The “p” stands for paragraph. It’s what Blogger is creating for me right now as I press the return key. However, the beginning of a paragraph is coded for like this <p>. I then follow this with whatever I want to say in that particular paragraph. For example “Isn’t this great!” and, instead of pressing the return key to let the code know I’m finished, end with a slash, like this </p>.

As “p” simply stands for paragraph you can use the same structure with pretty much any HTML I’m going to teach you in this first post. All you then have to do is change what’s inside the < >. For example <b>I’m bold</b> makes anything inside the < > bold.

If you want to practice this on Blogger, click to compose a post and look for the “HTML” button on the top of the toolbar and HTML has to be entered in a different place to your rich text, or post content. If you’ve ever copied and pasted a Bloglovin’ widget code - this is the right place!



Bold, Italic and Underlining


Using the same structure as the paragraph above, you can create bold, underlined and italic text. I will more than likely be using all three in this post. Obviously, there’s a really simple way of doing it in Blogger by clicking the B, I or U icons along the toolbar. But, if you’d like to know a bit more about what’s going on:

<b>This text is bold.</b>
<i>This text is italic.</i>
<u>This text is underlined.<u>



Headings


Similarly, you can create different sized headings using the same method. With H1 being the biggest and H4 the smallest - really, you can keep on going, but no one is really likely to include so many subheadings in a blog post!

Depending on your blog’s template, you are likely to already have a H1 on your page - your blog name or post title - and, using more than one, tends to make the Google robots a little confused. So it’s probably best to sticking to H2, H3, H4 etc. Please note that the standard blogger “subheading” present - what I’ve used to highlight the subheadings in this post - is H3.

<h1>I’m a big heading.</h1>
<h2>I’m a smaller heading.</h2>
<h3>I’m the smallest heading.</h3>

*Please excuse the terrible highlighting!*

You style these headings - the font, size, weight etc. - using something called CSS. it’s inbuilt in each and every blogger template to make things look pretty. And is, more often than not, the cause of many of my work-related headaches. Let me know if you’d like to learn about it in a future blog post!



Alignment


To finish off the boring stuff, text alignment within your post is created using much the same method. Though, it is important to note that the spelling of centre is center when it comes to coding. Those darn Americans.

<center>I’m in the middle!</center>
<left>I’m on the left!</left>
<right>I’m on the right!</right>

High five if you’re following so far! It’s pretty easy, right? And you though you wouldn’t be able to do this!



Images, Resizing & Alt Tags


Let’s get onto something a little more fancy to finish the post. All images you upload to Blogger are stored on a server somewhere and each and every one has their own URL - just like a web page. Most likely ending in .jpg .jpeg .png etc. depending on the file format.

It’s these URLs we need in order to embed the image into the post. You can usually find these by right clicking on the original image - not a preview or thumbnail - and selecting “Copy image URL” which should look a little something like: http://www.charleylucy.com/amazing-cat-image.gif - unfortunately this is purely for demonstrative purposes. You will need to use the original link for this and not a shortened version.

Got it? Good. Now, if you’ve made it this far through the post, you’ll probably be thinking images are coded for like <image>URL</image>. Unfortunately not. Instead of closing like this: </image> images use "img" and self closing tag like this: <img />.

So where do you write the URL?! As we’re sourcing the image from the URL, you’d write it like:

<img src=“http://www.charleylucy.com/amazing-cat-image.gif” />

However, what you’d get from this is, most likely, a very large version of your original image - presuming that you’re embedding a camera photo that are thousands of pixels wide. To fix this, we add in width constraints. For example, I know my sidebar is 300px wide so I’d tell the image to be 300px wide:

<img src=“http://www.charleylucy.com/amazing-cat-image.gif” width=“300px” />

You can also do this with height:

<img src=“http://www.charleylucy.com/amazing-cat-image.gif” height=“800px” />

Or use the both of them together! Just be careful not to blow out the proportions of your original image. If your blogging platform doesn’t do this automatically - like the Small, Medium, Large and X Large function in blogger - you can manually calculate the new width and height using an online ratio calculator *shudder, maths*.

*Please note that this will likely vary on your mobile template which can be a little trickier to fix!*

The last thing you need to do with an image is to include an alt tag. Not only are these great for SEO but they provide aid to those viewing your blog that may have visual impairments by describing what is in the image. For example:

<img src=“URL” alt=“Cat Eating Cereal” width=“200px” height=“800px” />


I hope you enjoyed this really quick HTML crash course for Blogger. It was an incredibly fun to write and I hope it helps you either learn a little more or fix a few of those niggly little sidebar errors you might have - we’ve all got to learn somewhere!

Let me know if and what you would like to see in the next instalment of this series in the comments below. To read more posts in my #BloggingHacks series, click here.

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Monday, 19 December 2016

Instagram App Hacks for Bloggers

Instagram App Hacks


Back at University, I took a personality test - which one, I forget; £27,000 well spent - and I remember I received the trait 'expert' which boils down to not being confident unless you've got oodles of experience. Usually I don't give much credit to these tests - like horoscopes they can often be widely interpreted - but I do remember having a lightbulb moment and realising all of the things I'd done over the years. Like never, ever putting my hand up in lessons unless I was 98% sure I had the answer. Or putting things off - like my blog - because I knew that it wouldn't be perfect right away. It's incredibly infuriating.

So, please find below my top three photography app hacks to hopefully stop you putting off that insta snap you've been waiting to try.


How to get a White Background


White backgrounds are currently the 'in thing' all over instagram. Unless you have a good source of lighting (ring, soft boxes or natural), a DSLR and a little time to play around on Lightroom they may seem hopeless! But Facetune, an app you may already have downloaded to up your selfie game, has got you covered with it's whitening tool.

How I use it is by editing my image to my liking and ignore the yellow-tinged background. Then I export it and open it up in Facetune where I select the Whiten tool and draw my finger across the background until it's desaturated just enough to appear white. Easy peasy! It's hard to believe that these were once the same image...

How to get a White Background Instagram Face Tune


Cheat the Look of an Expensive Lens

To create a little bokeh/an out of focus background, I use the app After Focus, as it's a little more versatile in terms of what you can create. By selecting what's in focus what's mid-range and what's out of focus using it's handy drawing tool, you can create a real depth of field that rivals the look of the fancy new iPhone 7+ lens. Though, admittedly it's a little more work! But for £0.79 also a heck of a lot cheaper.

Defocus After Focus App


Create Quick Social Media Graphics

For those days when you just need some me time in your non-instagrammable PJs with your less-than-cute mug you've had for almost a decade. There are so many apps for this! But my favourites have to be Canva, ever bloggers dream, Over, its with free daily artwork and Word Swag for its #relatable word art that works great at enhancing tweets.

Over App iPhone Winter Graphics Social Media Instagram

Don't forget to leave your Instagram App Hacks in the comments below! I'd love to know what you use. To read more posts in my #BloggingHacks series, click here.

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Thursday, 8 December 2016

Adult Acne Skincare Routine

Adult Acne Spot Prone Teenage Skin Breakout Skincare Affordable Budget

Find out what affordable skincare I'd recommend for adult acne and spot prone teenage skin in my latest video.

Products Mentioned:

Organic Aloe Vera Gel
Acne Ultra Clear: Natural Acne Treatment*
Magnitone Lucid Facial Brush*
La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo [+]
Bee Good Intensive Hand Repair*

Monday, 5 December 2016

Desk Update: Blogging Set Up December 2016

Desk Blogger Setup Blogging H&M Primark Crystal Urban Oitfitters Tumblr Moon Mac

If you've been reading my blog for a few months, you may have seen my last desk update. Though I'd prefer a less eclectic hobby, I always get itchy feet with how my workspace looks and love the fact that I can change the space around me to fit with my mood.

Today was a day spent working from home. I do this fairly regularly and am incredibly thankful that I can make money doing something creative whilst sat in my pyjama bottoms. Though I genuinely love being in my office - we have a giant inflatable Unicorn named Travis and a Starbucks downstairs - it's sometimes necessary to shut myself away and focus. Usually, in order to do this, I have to declutter my workspace.

Unfortunately, I'm an inherently messy person. I'm not quite sure how it happens. When I organise, I channel my inner Monica. But when I don't, we're talking major disaster. So I scooped away the wrapper and washed out the mugs - an unfortunate plural - before gathering up my almost empties into their metal basket and zipping up the contents of my makeup bag.

Pictured above you'll find some of my homeware favourites from summer 2015 - the H&M copper tray and Wolf Canvas print from Primark, updated with some new lighting including a Pyramid Himalayan Salt Lamp to the far right, Christmas lights and an LED strip on the back of each monitor to soften the light for working these dark nights. Plus, they give me all kinds of disco feels.

Download the wallpapers I'm using here:
Design Sponge x Jen Altman
Phases of the Moon

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Sunday, 27 November 2016

Life Hacks: Apps you need to Download

Phone iPhone Apps Life Hack Time Saving Workflow ETA Plume Waze Bring

Hi, my name is Charley and I'm an app-a-holic. Currently, on my iPhone, I have exactly 86 'essential' apps. No wonder the blasted thing keeps telling me it's out of storage. From monitoring my health and fitness to photo editing and social media, there's little my iPhone can't handle. In today's post I'm rounding up my favourite four apps that help me beat the Monday morning commute, slay the weekly shop and act as my own personal PA. You may want to get the App Store ready now...


Workflow     (£2.29)

Workflow is powerful automation made simple. It's an app that does everything you could do on your phone, but better. You can choose from a selection of user-made workflows, or create your own that run at the tap of your finger. This means I can log water and caffeine to the Health app with ease - when I would have otherwise 'forgotten' - schedule reminders when I arrive at a specific location, share my calendar availability, make PDFs and airdrop screenshots - which makes work a breeze! On the weekends I can time my laundry or automatically remind myself of my weekend chores And, once all that is done, order a well-earned pizza with just a tap.


Bring     (FREE)

If you share your weekly shop with your flatmate/so, then you to bring the Bring shopping list into your lives. In our house, cooking works on a night-on, night-off basis so we each need to plan around five to seven meals a week, including lunch. It makes one hell of a shopping list. Both you and your so add your favourites onto your weekly shopping list from your phones. Then Bring automatically organises them into categories such as veg, meat, bakery etc. to cut down on the aisle one arguments. It can also send you notifications of when the list has been updated and allows you to send your so a warning of your impending supermarket sweep. I've never liked shopping so much.


ETA     (£2.29)

ETA is my new favourite app - especially when paired with my Apple Watch. It allows me to check just how long it will take to arrive at work, home or the shops at a glance by displaying and ETA and showing the state of the traffic using a handy red, amber, green system. Which, is really deflating when you take 30 seconds to finish your morning coffee and you notice you drive time has increased by a whole two minutesETA can also direct you at a click of a button using my favourite navigation app - mine's currently Waze - in the event of heavy traffic aka. your typical Monday morning.


Plume     (FREE)

Being a typical village-dweller, the idea of air pollution never really crossed my mind. That was, until I downloaded Plume. Plume allows you to scroll through the likely pollution levels of your city to see when it's best to be active outdoors. Spoiler: if you live in anything larger than a medium-sized town, I'd strongly recommend never leaving your house during the work day. You can also view averages from the week or the year for your city.

Let me know if you'd like to see what apps I use for photo editing, social media scheduling, blogging and to check my health in the comments.

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Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Style Steals: Red Lips, Denim Jackets & Red Hair

Readhead, Red Hair, Girl, Over Sized Denim Jacket
Readhead, Red Hair, Girl, Over Sized Denim Jacket

Wearing: Oversized Demin Jacket // Casablanca

I recently I picked up this little oversized-gem of a Denim Jacket at a Vintage Fair after seeing them all over instagram. It's just the right kind of oversized that makes me look stylish without gaining three sizes or having to roll up the sleeves. Much to my delight, it also matches everything except jeans. Band tee and leggings? No problem. Checked shirt and ripped jeans? Genius. No pun intended.
After importing these beauties in from the States shortly after their release - I wholeheartedly blame Kathleen Lights - the Maybelline's Colour Sensational Creamy Mattes Lipstick line quickly became one of my favourite product releases of the year.

Naturally, I was giddy when I saw a few new shades had appeared on my last trip to Boots including this Diva-esque burgundy shade, aptly named Burgundy Blush. Though, I must admit that it's a little hit and miss in comparison to my other shades in terms of pigmentation and transfer. Some mornings it holds, and others it ends up all over the rim of my coffee mug.

Hair: Live Colour XXL Intense Colour Hair Dye // Red Passion

I get a lot of questions about my hair on social media. More specifically the colour. I've been dying it varying shades of red for ten years now - surely not?! - and have been sticking to the same box dye for the last few months, Red Passion by Live Colour XXL. I know hair stylists hate and and I do notice that it makes my hair noticeable dryer and more brittle, even when regularly deep conditioned. But, I just love it. And the price tag that is infinitely cheaper than getting my roots re-done every month! #sorrynotsorry

What style steals have you been taking inspo from this month? Let me know in the comments!

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Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Two Months with the Apple Watch Series 1

Apple Watch Series 1 38mm in Silver Blogger Review Milanese Loop

Okay, okay, okay, my bank balance thinks I've done a very bad thing. But, after living with the Apple Watch Series 1 for two months, my life has never been quieter or more organised. In this post I break down my thoughts on the Apple Watch Series 1 38mm in Silver, and the little ways it changes my life.


Notifications

Day to day I work in digital marketing. My wonderfully weird job encompasses everything from social media to web design, video editing to copy writing with plenty of creative brainstorming and a dash of graphic design. It's equal measures of feeling like you don't have a real job and 11/10 stress levels. Then I come home and work on my blog, social media channels and occasionally film a video or two. My life is a non-stop whirlwind of tech, notifications, and social noise.

You're probably wondering how I ever switch off. Whilst the Apple Watch is great for keeping tabs on what's blowing up on social media. It also allows me to choose what notifications I receive to my wrist. In my line of work, I can never truly stop, social media never sleeps. So, whilst this feature may seem ridiculous, it's actually super useful. If my phone buzzes without alerting the watch, I know it's not important so continue focussing on whatever it is I'm doing - currently binge watching Ru Paul's Drag Race in my Harry Potter PJs.


Complications

Complications on the Apple Watch are like widgets on a home screen. Mine usually display a combination of my ETA to work, my upcoming appointments, activity, battery, reminders and heart rate - all at a flick of the wrist. From helping me plan when to leave the house to squeezing in last minutes meetings, complications are the thing I ever knew I needed.


Activity Tracking

Living with ME, I find it helpful to track my day to day activity - calories burned, exercise and heart rate. I use it like spoons. If I have a busy day, chances are I'll be able to do less the following few. Similarly, if my heart rate spikes through physical activity or emotional state, it's really useful to know as it usually results in a physical and emotional crash shortly after. Whilst it's not going to stop the outcome it does allow me to prepare by cozying up with a cuppa or having some down time.

I can also use the activity app to set weekly goals depending how I'm feeling that week. Right now I've set myself 260 calories to burn each day. Which may not sound a lot to you, but it's really helping me to remain consistently active and up it a little more each week.

Being able to track my heart is definitely an upgrade from my Jawbone UP. Although, it makes me sad that sleep tracking is infinitely more complex/battery consuming.


Reminders

The last thing I want to mention is reminders. If you're one of those people who map every minute of every day out, the constant wrist-tapping reminders will save you from quick exits and late entrances. I don't think I have ever seemed more organised in my life.

The reminders also help me with my brain fog days, so I always know what that thing is I would have forgotten. And apps like Streaks go one step further and encourage me to do simple daily chores (this is customisable) and take little breaks for myself.


Whilst thw watch is revolutionary, it's not going to change your life. Unless you're a Londoner who commutes via the tube each morning, then it might. Though it is a helpful little tech accessory for the forgetful, geeky and digitally inclined among you. If this is you, hit me up on Twitter!

Instead of bombarding my life with notifications the Apple Watch removes the noise and helps you focus on what's important to you - from health to mindfulness, social media to cooking timers. I must admit, I don't regret purchasing it one bit. Though I was hella nervous writing this blogpost as I know they seem a bit excessive - so please be nice in the comments below! If you have any questions, or are thinking about investing in this little piece of wearable tech yourself, I'd love to hear from you.


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Saturday, 19 November 2016

Glamoriser | Freestyler Portable Hair Straightener*

Glamoriser Freestyler Portable Battery Powered Cordlesss Straightner Hair Styler Black Diamond.jpg

The Glamoriser Freestyler Portable Hair Straighter* has become one of my favourite travel gadgets alongside items like my external battery, bluetooth earbuds and kindle. It's a handbag-must have that that could very well be your key to precocious minutes of beauty sleep in the morning.

The cordless, battery powered straighter is surprisingly light with three heat settings and a battery level indicator so you're never left without charge. At three quarters the size of a standard styler, it's by no means mini and tackles my long, thick, unruly red hair admirably when it comes to styling, waving or touching up, all with battery to spare.

Glamoriser Freestyler Portable Battery Powered Cordlesss Straightner Hair Styler Black Diamond.jpg

Although I have yet to succeed in fully curling or straightening my whole head and usually end up with a couple of inches and no battery power left. Which is not ideal when the unit takes 4 hours to fully charge. But, iI'm much more likely to use the Freestyler* for those last minute adjustments; when you're in the taxi heading to an event and a curl has fallen out or you've pressed the snooze button one too many times and want to tame some of that bed hair. For mid-long length tick hair it's unrealistic to expect an extreme transformation. But that hans't stopped me from cherishing the ability to style my hair whenever and wherever I want.

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Friday, 18 November 2016

Home Decor | Skull Cactus Planter

Gold Distressed Skull Cactus Planter, Candle Holder Pot TKMaxx Decor Interior

Meet my little friend.

After I saw a skull planter on Instagram I knew I needed to recerate the look for my at home. As it combines two fo my great loves: the cacti children I've kept alive for a decade and a half and my inclination towards anything witchy. So, I did what all good bloggers do next when they see something they fangirl over on the internet, googled it. But the price of postage on these things is not pretty.

As luck would have it I stumbled upon this distressed metallic candle holder from TK Maxx just a couple of weeks later. Read: dragged my boyfriend around the interior section one hellishly busy wekeend looking. Though I love the overall effect, I'm still in two minds whether to strip the distressed finish and opt for something more sleek like a minimalist matte white or glitter-filled black.

Let me know what you think in the comments below.

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Thursday, 17 November 2016

Autumn Eyeshadow Palette Edit

Charlote Tilbury Dolce Vita, Makeup Geek Pans - Glamorous, Cosmopolitan, Bitten, Burlesque, Urban Decau Naked Smokey, Zoeva Coco Blend Palette - Eyeshadow Beauty Makeup Eyeshadow Neutral Red Matte Shimmer

To me Autumn will alway be burgundy - lipstick, eyeshadow and that special shade of wine that works really well for bobble hats - thanks, Topshop. Back in the day, autumn also meant a heavy dose of MAC Cranberry/Coppering in the crease. They were very much the 'in' shades of 2014 - correct me if I'm wrong blogging oldies. Though I never really got why it was a trend limited to the fall. I personally love red eyeshadow, anything, all year round so was very happy to see my favourite russet hues being released in so many palettes this year. That said, all of these pre-date the likes of the Morphe 35O, Huda Beauty and Lime Crime offerings because, whilst I do love red you can only have so many shades of the same colour...


Charlotte Tilbury Dolce Vita Quad*


If I could choose to be a makeup palette I'd be the Dolce Vita. With warm tones to prime, enhance, pop and smoke out the eye just the right amount this palette is perfection for A/W and completely travel/touch up friendly. Though this does mean you get a lot less shadow for your money versus the likes of the Urban Decay Smokey Palette *dies a little inside*. I don't think I'll every get over how glowy the highlight shade is or how the red counters my green eyes just so. Plus that gold is the most fascinating shadow I have ever seen - it's just got so many dimensions!

Makeup Geek Custom Quad

Shades: Top: L - Glamorous (Shimmer), R - Cosmopolitan (Shimmer)
Bottom: L - Bitten (Matte), R - Burlesque (Shimmer)

When I found out that Makeup Geek was coming to the UK, a brand I'd always admired from afar, I legitimately did a happy dance before rushing to over to Beauty Bay to order whatever Kathleen Lights had recommended. The quality of these shadows is incredible and an absolute steal in comparison to a MAC pan. Though I do think times are changing with the recently released Freedom Pro Artist Palettes - which I still have yet to get my hands on. Bitten and Burlesque have a very similar deep and vampy hue that, if you're into less bold shades are incredibly easy to work into a smoky eye. Whilst Glamorous and Cosmopolitan are the dreamiest shimmer shades to pat into the very middle of the lid to brighten up the eyes. This custom palette is the changing of the leaves immortalised.

Urban Decay Naked Smokey Palette*


I haven't forgotten to include something for those of you who like cooler tones. The Urban Decay Smokey Palette, whilst not my favourite in selection is the sturdiest of the entire Naked line with a satisfying metallic clasp and a fairly useful double-ended brush that has got me out of a lot of last minute situations. Whilst I tend to gravitate to the beginning - High, Dirtysweet, Radar - and end - Whiskey, Combust, Thirteen - the smokier mid-section featuring the fierce violet Smoulder and gun-metals Armor and Slanted make me long to pull off a smokey eye without looking like I haven't slept in a week. Any tips?


Zoeva Coco Blend Palette Eyeshadow Beauty Makeup Eyeshadow Neutral Red Matte Shimmer


Zoeva Cocoa Blend Palette


The Zoeva Cocoa Blend Palette quickly became a staple in my makeup routine. It's the palette I often reach for to travel with as you can create some equally wearable, smokey and shimmery looks with a subtle pop of colour. I could sing this palettes praises all day long. But today I'm focussing on the matte, rust-toned shade: Freshly Toasted that is perfect for warming up the crease; and the aptly named purple-hued Warmed Tones that comes off almost metallic rose-gold with a light hand. *Sights dreamily*. You can read my full review here.


When I asked you  to on Twitter to vote for your favourite topic for today's post - I was giddy to see an overwhelming majority for Autumn Eyeshadow Palettes, against some of the more lifestyle choices because above all, beauty will always be the heart of my blog. Thanks for giving me the chance to get so into this post I lost all sense of time. If you're a fan of making this space a little more interactive - do let me know in the comments below!

What are your favourite autumn palettes? I know there's some killer new releases.

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Wednesday, 16 November 2016

The Little Book of Hygge

The Little Book of Hygge, The Danish Way to Live Well by Meik Wiking

The Little Book of Hygge // Meik Wiking


Haven't heard of hygge? I'm late to the party too. But there really is no better time than Autumn to join in this nation-wide, happiness-centric craze...

The concept of hygge is cosiness with warm lighting, good food, friends and plenty of candles. I know I'm oversimplifying things, but I hope it paints a pretty warm and fuzzy picture. That's all this book really is, a collection of warm and fuzzy ways to spend your time wisely whilst focussing on what's important to you. From indulging on that Danish to ditching that dress for your comfiest sweater the Danes really do seem to know just how to make your happy - and one hundred percent guilt free.

This book reminds me so much of how I spent my childhood before computers and mobile phones. Before the constant distractions and binge watching sessions. Hygge is about enjoying life in its simplest form and relishing the fact that you are safe, happy and comfortable in with those that are important to you. In other words, the complete opposite of how I spend my day-to-day life immersed in the digital world with constant notifications to my phone, wrist and desktop under the harsh fluorescent lights of my window-less office.

So, if you're anything like me, the idea of hygge can sound completely unattainable. Sometimes even taking ten minutes out of your day to light some candles and curl up under a blanket on the sofa can seem like the most stressful activity in the world as you find yourself mentally checking off your ever-extending to-do list. But, if there's anything I learnt during my blogging hiatus is that it's okay to be selfish with your you time. It's more than okay, it's actually proven to be good for you.

During my time away, The Little Book of Hygge made me transform a corner of my home office into a blanket-ladened beanbag corner, encouraged me to read guilt-free and indulge in a bag of frozen pastries for those mornings when nothing bar a steaming cup of coffee and a Danish will wake me up. But it's also so much more than that. The concept of Hygge encouraged me to evaluate my life, my daily routines - however temporarily - and work in little rays of sunshine that brighten my day and make me say "yes, it' totally okay that I'm doing this just because I want to". Purchasing and learning to play the ukulele was a not-so-terrible side effect of this decision.

So if you're busy, bored and/or mentally exhausted go buy the beautully-designed Little Book of Hygge, light a candle, grab a blanket - whatever makes you happy - and live out some small part of this doom and gloom winter in peace.

Sidenote: I found my perfect oversized denim jacket at a vintage fair last week - you know, the kind that is just the right level of oversized without making you look like the marshmallow man? Life made.


Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Timeless Beauty | Ten Effects Skin Treat & Makeup Fixer*

Ten Effects Skin Treat & Makeup Fixer, Makeup Setting Spray - Joan Collins Timeless Beauty

The Ten Effects Skin Treat & Makeup Fixer* from Joan Collins' Timeless Beauty range is hands down my favourite setting spray that I have ever used. So much so, that I haven't touched another in just shy of two months and still have two thirds of the magical pink liquid left.

My skin is a dry, acne-prone, makeup-hating nightmare at the moment. Most mornings I will spend my allotted 10 minutes making myself look presentable by dabbing on some concealer, bronzer and blush and a light dusting of my favourite highlighter before I fix my brows, add a dab of mascara, run a brush through my hair and run out the door. Only to realise that, once I step into the harsh light of day, my textured skin looks like it woke up on the wrong side of a harsh, moisturiser winter. Yikes.

Enter Ten Effects Skin Treat & Makeup Fixer*. Not only does it give my face a dewy glow and melts - there has to be a better word for this... - my makeup together flawlessly, it keep it flawless right up until the minute I take it off before bed. Give or take a little extra oil.

There's just a couple of little things I just can't get on board with. First, slight leakage, I *think* this is why the bottle comes with, not just one, but two caps but would advise taking care whilst travelling. Secondly, I can't stand the scent. Imagine the heavy, floral talc I have learnt to associate with the older generation. Whilst you may like floral, it's not my cup of tea, so I'm glad when it dissipates somewhat on my commute and eventually disappears altogether.

Even with these minor issues, I would wholeheartedly recommend this product to anyone who struggles with an awkward skin texture, even with it's mid-range £20 price tag.

What makeup setting spray is your favourite?

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Monday, 14 November 2016

Coffee Table Books | Humans of New York: Stories

Humans of New York: Stories - Brandon Staton, Coffee Table Book, Hardback

As my most recent bout of brain fog cleared, I found myself - once again - thoroughly obsessed with finding a snuggly blanket, pouring myself a hot coffee and curling myself up in my lime green beanbag. This simple pleasure has been the ultimate comfort during these colder months and so, incredibly, hygge when I throw in a couple of candles - much to my boyfriend's dismay. But, sometimes, it's just nice to get away; detox the digital and focus on yourself. Which, incidentally, is exactly how I've spent my last two months. How've you been?

HUMANS OF NEW YORK: STORIES

I devoured the pages of Humans of New York: Stories in less than a day (alongside The Life Changing Magic of not Giving an F*** and a plate-sized mac and cheese calzone - yes, you read that correctly). The book is so deliciously raw in catering to the perpetually nosey. It shatters any self-centric illusions you may have and encourages you to empathise with total strangers through snippets of interviews thoughtful photographs. From the happy to the heartbreaking, there's a little something everyone can relate to. Though, my favourite passage, is on p272 and reads:

"...Maritime laws only exist to guarantee safe passage. There are no loopholes or biases to favour more powerful vessels. Every ship is equal, and no one is more powerful than the sea."

Which, is brings equal measurs of comfort and dreadwith the current state of the planet. Don't you think?

Whether you're looking for the ultimate dip-in-dip out photobook for your five minutes peace or something engaging to entertain your guests as you run around finishing getting ready - just me? - you cannot go wrong with a copy of Humans of New York: Stories. If you enjoyed this post, why not follow me on Bloglovin' so you don't miss my other coffee table book recommendations coming up later on in the week!

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Friday, 16 September 2016

Makeup Revolution | Pro Illuminate & Strobe Highlight Reviews



I, like the rest of the females population, am currently hooked on highlighting. I really hope this isn't one of those trends we look back on in five years time cringing in all of our matte glory wondering WTF we were thinking.

But this isn't my first rodeo. Back in the days when we caked on the Dream Matte Mousse *moment of silence please* I was obsessed with my Collection 2000 - that's right, I said it - Highlighter Stick that I swiped onto my cheekbones and failed to blend out. Every. Single. Time. I envy the kids of today with their Youtube tutorials.

Ever since Makeup Revolution released their purse-friendly Vivid Baked Highlighter in Golden Lights, I knew that I had to purchase every single highlighter they released. It was that good. And I wasn't disappointed with their Pro Illuminate Highlighter. At a whooping 15g, the formula is a buttery dream and completely glitter-free. I love it more than The Balm's Mary Lou-Manizer on a day to day basis for its pale, pearlescent sheen complete lack of glitter - as opposed to an golden shimmer. #sorrynotsorry.

However, I was not so impressed with one of their newest releases, the Strobe Highlighter in Ever Glow Lights. In my mind this was the Makeup Revolution answer to the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder. In actually fact it was Makeup Revolution's answer to a disco ball. That's not to say that the beautiful candle-lit glow wasn't there - it was - but it was hidden underneath hundreds of glitter particles. Which, if you have made it this far, will know that I do not like in my highlighter. It's just down to personal preference and unfortunately, glitter is not my cup of tea. Although, if you're part unicorn or aren't afraid of a bit of sparkle, I have no doubt that the Strobe Highlighter will look absolutely flawless. I'm sure we'll met again on my Instagram feed.

I also must to mention just how soft this Nanshy Fan Brush* is that I picked up at the most recent Hull Blogger Meet. As if I needed another reason to love putting my highlight on on a morning!

If you're interested in other highlighting products from Makeup Revolution's sister brand Freedom you can read my review of their Pro Studio Strobe Cream* here.

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Thursday, 15 September 2016

What's in my MAC Eyeshadow Palette?

MAC Eyeshadow Palette What's in my Eyeshadow Palette, MAC, Makeup Geek, ELF, Eyes Lips Face, Warm-Toned, Cheap Eyeshadow, Red Eyeshadow

Spoiler: not a single MAC eyeshadow.

I prefer to keep my MAC shadows potted for travelling - Amber Lights, Coppering, Mythical - and opt to store my Makeup Geek and ELF shadows in my clunky palette instead. Weird, I know.

As you can see I'm a huge fan of warm toned shadows. I'm also a bit of a palette hoarder - let me know in the comment below if you'd like to peek into collection - which is why I've recently popped my ELF shadows from their dusty quads hidden at the back of my palette drawer, in the hope that I won't forget they exist. Again.

Whilst I'm busy confessing some serious #bbloggers sins, I might as well tell you that I'm also not that much of a MAC eyeshadow junkie. Yes, some of the colours are stunning and the quality is typically impeccable; however I do find that here are a lot of cheaper shadows on the market that are just as pigmented and buttery and don't break my bank balance quite as much - see Makeup Revolution, Makeup Geek (if you're UK based head to Beauty Bay).

My favourites from this palette include the shades from Makeup Geek, Peach Fizz and Golden Glow and Sunny - the latter two make flawless transition shades. But there are also a few I don't reach for which I'm hoping to switch out a few of the cool-tone shadows - Taupe, Moondust, Dusk - in favour of the newly released #ProArtists single pans from Freedom Makeup. Who else is hella excited about them?



Top Row (ELF): Pink Ice, Taupe, Peach Fizz, Golden Glow, Wheat

Middle Row (mostly ELF): Driftwood, Moondust, Aubergine, Dusk, Sunny (Bronzer Sample by Lord & Berry)

Bottom Row (Makeup Geek®): Glamorous, Cosmopolitan, Bitten & Burlesque

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Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Paige Cavill Designs Haul



Shopping at Paige Cavill Designs is like the adult version of going back to school. Not only can you shop stationery, but you can co-ordinate your tech which is hella cool.

The best part is she practically lives next door. I have some serious hometown pride for this girl. So, when I saw that she was looking for blog ambassadors over on her instagram I had to get in touch and Paige kindly whipped me up my very own parcel of vibrant goodies.

Whether you're going back to school, upping your blog game or just want to upgrade your office, how cute are these Soft Neon Marble Notebooks*?  You can match them to your phone case too, like this flawless Pastel Dream Phone Case* that reminds me of unicorns. Best case ever. I'm normally one to opt for durability over style when it comes to phone cases (read: I'm clumsy as). However I was really impressed with the quality of this case. It's both sturdy and stylish and has survived a few scratches and bumps without showing any signs of wear.

I'm also completely obsessed with this Raw Quartz Necklace* and have worn it for the best part of the past two-weeks. As a fan of anything crystal it fits with my existing style whilst adding an edgy and modern twist that matches literally everything. The only downside is, I often forget that I'm wearing it and end up smacking it into just about everything - desk, mirror, sink - but I am happy to report that after two weeks of straight up abuse it's still going strong.


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