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Thursday, 25 May 2017

Caudalie Overnight Detox Oil: Goodbye to Blocked Pores


I've been sitting on this secret for quite some time... Find out how you can say goodbye to blocked pores overnight with Caudalie Overnight Detox Oil*.

March and April were one heck of a stressful ride for my skin. I had more flare ups than my usual hormonal breakouts and it was not helping my confidence one bit. Enter Caudalie Overnight Detox Oil*, a concoction of what I can only assume is all natural fairy dust with a side of disillusionment charm that renews and protects my skin whilst I sleep and unclogs up my problematic and acne-prone skin within a few days.

I use six drops on my face, two on each cheek and forehead, every other day before bed and gently massage it into the skin, avoiding the eye area. Though it can make things a little dry if I forget to follow it up with a strong night cream, moisturising facial oil or a good dose of Nip + Fab Deep Cleansing Fix to keep things balanced.

It's been over a month and I've noticed a dramatic improvement in my skin when I use the Caudalie Overnight Detox Oilin combination with a good exfoliator and face brush. My little white bumps are almost non-existant and I've dropped the full-coverage foundation in favour of concealer for daily wear. This is one facial oil I'll definitely be repurchasing when I hit the bottom but, by the looks of things, that won't be until next year!

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Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Tips for Improving your Bad Mental Health Days


Bad mental health days are natural as teenagers, as adults and as someone suffering from a mental of physical illness. They are absolutely nothing to be ashamed of, we all go through them. Learning how to recognise your triggers, improve a bad mental health day when it occurs and put in preventative measures is an invaluable set of tools to have.

The below tips are targeted at the occasional low days we all naturally experience and shouldn't be used instead of professional help. I've written this post from my experiences of bad mental health days, usually caused by my ME. Thankfully they are few and far between.


Turn it Off


As a social media manager, I cannot tell you how nice it is to switch off my phone and computer and just be, without being at the constant beck and call of your audience. I should probably note here that I don’t mean as a blogger, this is strictly business. As I’ve talked about before, I used to manage a number of platforms that catered to a young adult audience that seemingly had no grasp of time of day or what a bank holiday was! The notifications were constant. There’s no shame in wanting to reclaim an evening by flipping the do not disturb switch.


Put yourself First


What putting yourself first means:

Being concerned about your wellbeing. Take time to ask yourself are you okay? Are you happy right now with the way things are? If not, what can you change to make it so? Or, who can you talk to? Sometimes you can be just so stuck in a rut that you don’t realise how you're being impacted. As a person, I always try to cram too much into my time and end up beating myself up afterwards when I don’t get everything done. But, because it became a habit, it took me such a long time to stop and ask myself these questions.

Being generous with your time and fitting in activities you enjoy like bubble baths and books. Because you being kind to yourself is just as important as you making that coffee date. Learning how to be by yourself and enjoy it is just so valuable and refreshing.

Sometimes saying no. I think this is put beautifully in Sarah Knight’s The Life Changing Magic of not giving a F**k, which outlines the importance of using your time and your care wisely whilst still being a nice and loveable individual. Go read it!



Practice Mindfulness


As someone whose brain is constantly on the go, I have always found it difficult to switch off. But, for me, guided meditation apps like Headspace just didn’t work and colouring turned me into a perfectionist.

The only thing I found that helped was apps like Breathe on the Apple Watch - see also Mindfulness Daily (£1.99) for those of you without. They encourage you to take a minute or two out of your day and focus on your breathing. That’s it. There’s no talking or funky music, you just breathe and, it really helps.


Sleep!


When I’m not getting at least 8 hours a night, I soon know about it. That bad thing that happened ends up ruminating into this huge disaster. When, in reality, it didn’t matter one bit! Recently, I’ve gotten pretty good at setting a bedtime and sticking to it, because I can really see the difference a good night’s sleep makes.

Although, it’s not just the number of hours you get but the amount of deep sleep and restlessness too. To track this, I use the AutoSleep (£1.99) or Sleep Watch (£4.99) app but I’ve also seen a lot of blogger reviews of the ResMed S+ Sleep Monitoring Device that does a similar thing. Knowing the quality of sleep I'm getting is great because it allows me to pre-empt my step debt, take it easy and brew another cup of coffee as a coping mechanism.


Feelings > Words > Actions

Feelings are confusing and can snowball pretty quickly, so I believe it’s best to know what you’re dealing with before you, you know, actually deal with it. Writing helps me formulate my feels into words that I turn into actions. But for you, it might be a chat with a good friend, partner or parent.

You can also use a mood tracking app like Moodnotes (£3.99) which helps me spot the offending situation or thought pattern and eliminate it.


Don't forget to leave your tips for improving a bad mental health day below.

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Sunday, 21 May 2017

May 2017 Makeup and Beauty Haul

Excuse me for a second whilst I shoot myself in the foot... Recently, I've stopped buying new makeup - almost altogether. My May beauty haul was the total sum of two long months of makeup shopping, bar a cult favourite or two. I can't quite believe it! I'm not sure whether it's lack of time, enthusiasm for new releases or finally my inner adult kicking in. But, at the moment all I tend to reach for are the same old favourites day in, day out.

Keep reading to find out which products peaked my interest and made it into my shopping basket during the month of May.

Beauty and Makeup Haul, Barry M, Makeup Revolution, L'Oreal Makeup Forever

Barry M Illuminating Highlighter Palette

One thing that really blew me away about Barry M's Illuminating Highlighter Palette (£6.49) is the packaging. If you removed the brand name, I couldn't tell if the kitsch, rose gold embellished box was Benefit's latest release. Inside, you'll find three pretty standard highlight shades, a white, a pink and a peach. Admittedly they aren't the most pigmented but blend well together for a light and natural sheen. Though beware, glitter haters, there's more than a little sparkle in the mix too.


L'Oreal Miss Baby Roll Mega Volume Waterproof Mascara

Holy grail product alert. For months mascara has seemed to just glide right of my lashes, causing me to become a panda by noon. So, when I saw a couple of beauty bloggers talking about the new L'Oreal Miss Baby Roll Mega Volume Mascara (£7.99) on Twitter and just how hard it was to remove, I rushed out to purchase one in waterproof, just to make sure. Though things can get a little spidery if you apply with a heavy hand, my lashes look long and luscious right up to the point I use a cotton pad a bit of coconut oil to remove it at the end of the day.


Makeup For Ever Rouge Artist Intense in Matte Bright Red

It's red, it's matte and it's hella moisturising. I wish Makeup For Ever was more widely available over in the UK as, after purchasing their Rouge Artist Intense Lipstick in Matte Bright Red (£16.00, Debenhams) beauty from the TKMaxx beauty counter I'm hooked on this creamy and long lasting formula. Move over MAC!


Makeup Revolution Retro Luxe Lip Kit in Regal

As I've mentioned before, I do love Makeup Revolution's answer to Kylie Jenner's famous lip kits. After purchasing the shades Magnificent (dark green), Glory (brown) and Noble (nude) I decided to add one more to my collection. Regal (£6.00) is best described as a rusty, orange-red with a matte finish that just screams retro. The formula is not drying, long-lasting and only need reapplying once for a nine-to-five stint.


PS... Precious Metals Collection Complete Face Palette

I picked this PS... Precious Metals Complete Face Palette (£6.00, available at Primark) up on a whim. I could say I thought it might come in handy for a bit of light travel? But really, the warm, pinky tones sucked me right in. Complete with a large mirror, three eyeshadows, a highlight, contour and two light lip tints there's just enough of everything for a light touch or overnight stay. The pigment pack a punch, though you have to be mindful that there is an awful lot of fallout, especially with the buttery, foiled gold.

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Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Making a Big Mac at McDonald's!*

Join me for a juicy behind-the-scenes look at the newly revamped McDonald's restaurant in St Andrews Quay Hull. This post contains sponsored content by McDonald's.

Flashback to a cold and dreary day in 2015 when I popped into my local McDonald's  for breakfast - 2 stacks of pancakes with syrup and a coffee, obviously - and got giddy at the shiny, new digital order screens. I'm a nerd, get over it. So, when McDonald's got in touch inviting me down to one of their newly revamped restaurants and promised an insight into their revolutionised kitchen design, a look into their digital experience and the chance to make my very own Big Mac, I was in.

But first, coffee. A side note on blogging events: before I ventured to McDonald's, I worked a 9-5, got changed into my dungarees in the least public car park I could find and attempted to recreate that morning's makeup look without 3 of my brushes. #relateable, anyone? I was so ready for the coffee I was offered when I walked through the door!

Excuse me whilst my inner nerd gets excited at the digital screens once more... I can't wait to tell my fussy-eater friend about them! Hate pickle or fancy a reduced carb lunch by doing away with the burger bun? McDonald's make it easy to personalise your order to your liking at the tap of a screen. As an added bonus, you can also opt for table service, removing the majority of human interaction on those days you just cannot deal - a.k.a before 9am and a good, strong coffee - as your order zooms straight to the kitchen. Bonus.



The kitchen is exactly where myself and blogger Ana at Caffeine Berry (hi!) went next. We donned our uniform, complete with hat, hairnet and apron. Which several bloggers, friend sand colleagues have told me is a look I really suit. I'm taking that as a compliment until further notice...


After a tour of the intelligent grills that cook all kinds of meat to the perfect level of juicy and speedy production lines in the kitchen that assemble fresh burgers on cue, we got the chance to make our own Big Mac. Naturally, I spent the entire time we were being instructed taking photos and mentally composing tweets so managed to forget the entire process when it was my turn. The highlights are the fancy three-slot toaster that toasts each part of the bun differently and the sauce gun that squirts exactly the right amount of garnish onto each burger. So satisfying. This was my first ever Big Mac - I'm a McChicken sorta girl - and I ate it in two sections. How people manage one of these giants, a milkshake and chips I will never know!

This was followed by a taste test, of their new signature range featuring a tasty BBQ number. Though my feeble stomach only managed half I'll definitely be ordering one again!

Finally, we got to go behind the scenes of the drive through. Don't lie and say you've never thought about it. In reality, it's a burger chute that pushes the burger from one end of the production line to the front kiosks, a long corridor and two very well organised employees. Reality 1, Imagination 0.



Find out more about the events up and down the country at #YourNewMcDonalds or by visiting the McDonald's website.

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5 Quick Social Media Tips you can Start Today

5 Quick Easy Social Media Tips, Blogger, Social Media Help, Small Biz, Facebook, Twitter Tips, How to get more Engagement, Grow your Following.png

Struggling with your social media strategy as a blogger or small biz? Here are five quick and easy tips I've learnt from marketing to 18-25-year-olds.

Exciting news blog readers! I just got a new job as a Social Media Executive which means I'm currently 50 pages and 14 days deep into writing my digital marketing hand over covering everything from social media scheduling to web design, e-mail marketing, filming tips and video editing preferences. Passing on my technical know how is oddly satisfying so, I thought I'd put some of it on the blog for you to read too! Today's topic is quick social media tips.

In a recent social media marketing podcast I was listening to I found it takes just 50ms to make a first impression - that's just 0.05 of a second. This back up so much of the short and sweet content marketing I have done in my role as a Digital Comms Co-ordinator. With so much content out there, the internet generation - one moment whilst I cringe inwardly at myself - is becoming increasingly good at deciding what content they want to engage with and what they'll pass on. Time is short, people. So, how do you convince them to read on?


Make it Short and Sweet

Cut the rubbish, it's quite simple. Young people don't want to read fancy linking words or elaborate introductions they want the facts with an adjective or two thrown in. Groundbreaking research or stress-busting BBQ sound so much better. The first thing I do when I receive social media copy is to brutalise it, pull out the facts and repackage it in ideally 140 characters or less, Facebook-inclusive.

It's all in the Image

Remember those 50ms it takes to form a first impression? This shoots down to 13ms when you include an image, such us some promotional material (not too wordy!) GIF or picture. I rarely tweet without them when I'm promoting a post or event. It's just not worth it! I bet the reason some of you are here right now is because of my hella trendy image I created using Canva and not MS Word.

Cat typing, laptop keyboard GIF
Hands down, the best GIF in existence. Credit: @Aaron.

Scheduling is Everything


If you don't use Hootsuite, Tweet Deck or Buffer - how do live?! Social media scheduling services the equivalent of helpful social media elves that spread your updates far and wide whilst you're doing other things like working, sleeping or having some me time binge-watching 13 Reasons Why on the sofa. The above three are free to use, with some paid options, and are a great starting point for upping your social media game.

Repost, Repost, Repost

Your followers are people too. They, like you, are not always online and consequently, they miss a lot of your updates, even when you're posting at the right time. You can use Followerwonk (Moz) for free to find out when works bets for you. Believe it or not, the Facebook, Twitter and Instagram algorithms help you out here. Having a 'What you've missed' section means that those followers who engage with you are more inclined to see your updates when they return.

However, you can help this process along by, for example, re-buffering your old and well-performing posts on Buffer or automatically share old posts to your social media using a Wordpress plugin. In an ideal world, each tweet would be nicely re-worded and repackaged to reach a different audience who is on at a different time of day but, in reality, who has the time?!

Listen More, Talk Less!

I find social media is at its best when people are positively interacting with each other. For example, there's a handful of accounts close to the one I manage at work that are the punniest hidden gems. Plus, the free promo never hurts. Go get yourself some Twitter groupies be that bloggers, super-fans of your store or other small businesses and build some relationships!

That's it from me for today, I hope you found this post helpful and would love it if you could share your social media tips in the comments below. Let's help each other out!

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