Yearly Archives: 2014

10 Easy Ways To Improve Your Blog

Posted on December 31, 2014

10 ways to improve your blog_edited-1

Hi Guys!

So as we’re now at the end of 2014, and nearly two years of blogging for me, blimey! I thought I’d gather together a handy list of some of the things I’ve learned in my blogging lifetime that could be really helpful to others.

Whenever I’ve had a lightbulb moment over the last two years with my blog, I’ve often always thought I wish I’d known that information earlier. Also, I now freelance in blogger outreach, so I read lots of other blogs, and I’ve noticed on occasion where I couldn’t find contact details, or a bloglovin link to follow, or some other minor thing that could be easily added to really improve that particular blog.

Before I go any further though, I just want to add that I definitely don’t know it all, and I’m still learning new things all the time. Getting my head around Pinterest and perfecting my photography are two of my goals for 2015! Anyway here’s my list of tips, I hope you find them helpful.

1. Add a search bar. Seriously, do not under estimate the importance of a search bar! It’s such a handy tool so visitors can search your entire blog for a brand or product, or anything at all, rather than having to scroll through zillions of posts and just hope to come across what they’re looking for. A search bar in an easy to spot location at the top of your blog or in your side bar is the perfect place. If you google it there are plenty of posts and sites showing you how you can easily add one to your blog!

2. Make sure your contact details are visible. I can’t stress the importance of having your contact details made clear and visible – and I can’t tell you the amount of blogs that I’ve skimmed past because I couldn’t find their email address. Many bloggers have a contact page but also include their email in their side bar too, usually at the top under their profile image, which is a really great easy to see spot. If people want to contact you, whether it’s PR’s or anyone else, you need your contact details easily accessible.

3. Visible social media links. As above, it’s vital that firstly you are signed up to as many social media sites as you can, and all your social media site links are clear to see – and working – on your front page. Depending on your preference, there may be sites you use more than others, for example I don’t really use Pinterest (though I really should) and I don’t use Tumblr, but I’m signed up to both sites, and have my blog posts auto published to Tumblr, so those that prefer to use that platform can follow my blog that way if they wish.

4. And on that note – Autopost to your social media sites. I’d highly recommend setting this up. I have my WordPress set up to auto post to Twitter, Linkedin, Tumblr and G+, then I manually post to my Facebook page as I like to select my preferred image to go with the post. In WordPress this is super easy to edit and amend in your settings, if you use Blogger though I’ve found this post which should help you set it up.

5. Add your follow links to the bottom of every post. This is such a simple, yet effective way to increase your social media following. If somebody happens to be reading a post and they like it, they’ll be more inclined to follow your blog too if you have all your network links conveniently situated at the bottom of the post they’re reading. This is slightly more technical to do, so I actually had my blog designer set this up for me. Again google can help, but if you’re not technically minded then there are plenty of blog designers out there who can help!

6. Sign up to blogger networks. Sign up to as many networks as you can to increase your chances of ‘getting your blog out there’. Linking up with different networks can also lead to creating new contacts, collaborations, sponsored posts and who knows what else! I’ve written a post on Blogger Networks which includes all the networks I currently know of. Please do check this out and let me know if there’s any more I should add to the list.

7. Include links to previous posts. Where you can, and where relevant, always link to your previous posts. Apart from providing information, this drives traffic to your older posts, and is also fantastic for SEO purposes. I’ve just added the SEO Automatic Links widget to my site, so hopefully this will work and include relevant links! (I’ve literally just done this so I’ll update this post when I’ve had a chance to check it out properly)

8. Install a ‘You Might Also Like…’ widget. If you don’t know what this is, take a look at one of my posts, you’ll see at the end of the post there is a section called You Might Also Like… with images and links to four other blog posts. I use Engageya or there’s also Related Posts and Linkwithin. This is a fantastic way to self-promote you posts, and once it’s set up, you don’t need to do anything!

9. Photography is everything! Do not under estimate the power of a beautiful image to attract readers. Of course you don’t need to be an expert, but practicing with you camera or camera phone will really help improve your photography, as will playing around with lighting and compositions. One of my favourite blogs, A Beautiful Mess has a great post on photography tips here. And don’t forget to Make sure your images are LARGE. I can’t help but feel a little disappointed when a great blog has tiny images. Of course content is important, but imagery really is equally important! You should be able to change the size of your images easily in your settings.

10. And lastly, Add an archive. Adding an archive widget to your sidebar is another super handy navigation tool. I love the ones where you click to open the month, and it opens up a list of clickable blog post titles from that month. It’s an easy way to display and also promote all of your posts in chronological order. I use EZ Post Archives for WordPress, and I also found this post on how you can create an archive list in Blogger.

Well I hope this has been a helpful post! I’d love to hear your thoughts? xxx

My Top Beauty Products of 2014

Posted on December 30, 2014

beauty-favourites-2014

Hi Guys!

It’s time again for the yearly round of up all things beauty! So I’ve pulled together all the stand out items from 2014 and put them in one handy post for you. There were actually SO many great products this year, it was really hard to keep the list down to a sensible number, I managed to cut it down to a fairly reasonable 14 items though, and I’ve included a quick paragraph about each product and links to my individual reviews if you want to read into them further. Enjoy!

1. Charlotte Tilbury Eyeshadow Palette in The Dolce Vita. This was my first Charlotte Tilbury eye product and it’s just the most beautiful palette I’ve ever seen. The shades are stunning both in colour and texture, and they apply like a dream! I now have the Supermodel set too which I’ll be reviewing shortly so keep your eyes peeled for that!

2. Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette. This palette contains the softest, most finely milled pressed powders I think I’ve ever come across. I use this palette to highlight and give an all over glow which really makes the skin look lit from within. This was an expensive product but in my opinion it’s definitely worth every penny.

3. Too Faced Chocolate Bar Palette. I’d been itching to get my hand on this for a while, and when I finally did, I wasn’t disappointed. The Chocolate Bar palette contains enough shadows to create a multitude of looks, from day to night, and everything in between. Again it’s not cheap, but I’d highly recommend it.

4. Super Facialist Tea Flower Purifying Cleansing Wash. This unassuming budget cleanser has actually been my go-to cleansing product for quite a while. I’m now on my second one and I love how it gives my skin a lovely matte finish, without drying at all, and it also noticeably reduced pores!

5. Indeed Labs Hydraluron Moisture Jelly. Along with their Moisture Booster Serum, Hydraluron products have literally saved my skin this year. I apply this regularly to my face, which just drinks it up leaving my skin feeling fresh and hydrated all day.

6. YSL Fusion Ink Foundation. I feel that this foundation really was a breakthrough product in 2014, it has such an unusual ink-like consistency that really is a joy to apply and wear. I can’t wait to see what else YSL has up their sleeves for 2015!

7. YSL Black Opium EDP. Black Opium has to be one of my favourite fragrances from 2014. As soon as I read reviews on it I knew I had to try it, and I’m so glad I did. This is now one of my go-to fragrances that I wear on a regular basis.

8. Sleek True Colour Lipstick in Liqueur. Sleek are a fantastic budget brand, and this lipstick has not left my makeup bag since I received it (actually it’s my second one) It’s the perfect ‘my lips but better’ shade. It’s creamy and doesn’t dry at all, and it’s under a fiver too!

9. NARS Audacious Lipsticks. I’m in love with the Audacious formula. I now have four lipsticks from this collection and I love them all. The colour payoff is amazing, and they’re lovely to wear too. They’re pretty expensive at £24 each but more than worth it in my book.

10. Glo & Ray Shimmer Shimmer Lipsticks. Glo & Ray have really made a big impact on me since I discovered the brand earlier this year. If you’re a regular reader you’ll probably have noticed I always rave about their products! Their Shimmer Shimmer lipsticks really are fantastic value for money – they have amazing quality whilst being cheaper than MAC, so these are definitely a winner for me!

11. Anastasia Beverley Hills Contour Kit. I’ve had the Anastasia Contour Kit for a while but haven’t actually got around to reviewing it yet. It’s not cheap but it really is a fantastically handy palette – including six shades it has everything you need to contour your face to Kardashian perfection.

12. Bourjois 1 Seconde Mascara. I’m a big fan of Bourjois products and as soon as I tried their 1 Seconde mascara it became my go-to mascara of choice. I have super short lashes and this product really does thicken and lengthen better than any mascara I’ve tried yet.

13. Too Faced Melted Lipsticks. You knew the Melted Lipsticks had to be in here! They are SO amazing. I now own three full sized, and the mini set of four. I’ve just seen that Too faced have released some new shades too, so as soon as they’re available at Sephora I’m going to snap them up!

14. Bourjois Contour Clubbing Eyeliners. I’m the bigghest eyeliner fan ever, and whichever brand I try, I always find myself going back to Bourjois Contour Clubbing Eyeiners. They’re affordable, I can buy them in the small town where I live, and they come in a massive rage of colours – amazing!

I’d love to hear which products you loved in 2014?

I hope you enjoyed my post! xxx

What I Gave, And Received for Christmas

Posted on December 29, 2014

christmas-presents

Hi Guys!

So Christmas is most definitely over, but we’re not quite back to normal yet. It’s that weird in between time – between Christmas and New Year where if you’re anything like me, you basically carry on eating everything in sight, and shop the sales till your credit card decides to cut itself up because it can’t take the battering any more.

My original intention was to do a ‘What I Got for Christmas’ post, but I kind of feel a bit weird about it, it’s a bit like ‘look at all the amazing things I got…’ I dunno, a bit showy maybe? But that said, I do really like being nosey and seeing other people posts and checking out the amazing things they received, so I decided in the end to tell you about what I gave and received, kind of a Christmas day overview. I didn’t really receive anything that’s worth a lot anyway – I tend to ‘treat’ myself with the expensive things I want! (I’ve included these here too) So yeah, I hope you kind of see where I’m coming from??

Anyway I had such a lovely Christmas day, of course it was all about Fred, we set out a mince pie and milk for Santa and a carrot for the reindeers on Christmas Eve, and when Fred came down the stairs on Christmas morning his eyes were like saucers when he saw the empty plate and glass, bless him!

Ollie loved his book about buttons and fasteners (he does metal detecting!) and his Book of Everything. I also gave him a posh bottle of whiskey and a couple of other bits. Fred was ecstatic with all his new Peppa Pig toys (and I now really have no idea where I’m going to put them all!) And Ollies mum gave us the most amazing hamper full of food and drink and even included a sweet little a jar of money!

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I’ve been a very lucky girl and received some lovely gifts too this year, Ollie gave me the Urban Decay Naked on the Run Palette, Sali Hughes Pretty Honest and Bobbi Brown books. My father in law gave me a sample set of chocolate themed perfumes from Bloom perfumery too, and I’m officially in love with all of them! I definitely want to buy at least one full sized bottle, so I’ve decided to visit the store next year so I can sample their full range, I’m so excited! (I don’t have a photo of these I’m afraid as I seem to have left them at my Mum’s house)

christmas-makeup

My parents gave me some money towards a new pair of Ugg boots, as I managed to ruin my previous pair in bad weather. And I also may have treated myself to a couple of special bits before Christmas in the Black Friday sales… I picked up a beautiful Michael Kors black Jet Set Chain Tote and the Charlotte Tilbury Supermodel set from Selfridges – the CT set had 10% off and the bag had 20% off, so it would have been rude no to!

I also picked up a couple of the new Tom Ford Lips and Boys lipsticks too – This reminds me I must think about starting a spending ban!!

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So these gifts were like ‘Merry Christmas to me, from me’. I’ve been very good and haven’t even touched any of the make up yet, I’m going to photograph it all, hopefully today, and post reviews throughout the week.

I really did have a lovely Christmas, I hope you did too! I’d love to hear about your day?? xxx

Ten Beauty Brands I Want To Try in 2015

Posted on December 28, 2014

beauty brands i want to try 2015

Hi Guys!

Well we’re now approaching the end of 2014 and I’ve been looking through all the amazing products (and some not so amazing) that I’ve tried out this year, and I realised there are still quite a few big brands I haven’t had the opportunity to try out yet. Whether it’s simply due to price, availability or any other reason I just haven’t got round to buying them. So I fought I’d put together a wish list of all the brands I’d really like to get my mitts on in 2015…

emma hardie

1. Emma Hardie. I’ve heard so many good things about Emma Hardie Skincare, it’s pretty expensive though so I’ve never gone ahead and bought anything. It turns out luckily I didn’t, as I was recently informed of a Grazia magazine subscription offer where they were giving away an amazing Emma Hardie set when you signed up, so of course I signed up straight away! I’m afraid this offer has ended now but it’s always worth keeping an eye out, some sub offers really are fantastic deals! I’ll write up the full details when the parcel arrives!

sunday riley

2. Sunday Riley – a not so well known, high end brand, which has recently been thrust into the limelight after Zoella’s mention of their Good Genes Treatment in her October Favourites Vlog. And I have to say Good Genes does really sound pretty amazing (as does their selection of face oils pictured above) but at £85.00 a bottle, ouch! This goes beyond the category of luxury skincare and firmly into the ‘probablyonlyifIwinthelottery’ category for me. That said, I would really like to try some Sunday Riley products out next year, so we’ll see… *reminder to self – must play lottery*

nyx cosmetics

3. NYX Cosmetics. Ahh finally an affordable brand I hear you cry! Well NYX has actually been on my radar for a while, but they don’t seem to be stocked in any chemist or department store or ANYWHERE near me! Arrgh! I know the predicts are really inexpensive, but I’d preferably like to try in store before I buy. Their Butter Glosses are top of my hit list so I need to find out where they’re stocked asap!

kiko water eyeshadow

4. Kiko Cosmetics. Ok so I do actually already own a Kiki Water Eyeshadow, pictured above, but I haven’t got round to using it yet – bad blogger! Kiko offer a massive range of affordable cosmetics that look and sound pretty special. I’m hoping to take a trip to their store next time I’n in London – fingers crossed this will early next year, so please let me know if you have any other recommendations for me!

trilogy products

5. Trilogy Products – this is another brand that I’ve been aware of for a long time, but I haven’t actually had a chance to try any products out yet. Trilogy is what I’d describe as ‘fairly expensive’ with prices starting from around £12.50 for a lip balm, up to £30+ for anti ageing products. I really like the sound of their Rosehip collection and their Replenishing Night Cream sound like it’s perfect for my dry and dehydrated skin. Again if you have any recommendations please let me know 🙂

zoeva brushes

6. Zoeva Brushes. Zoeva officially make the most beautiful brushes I’ve ever seen. With sleek black handles and rose gold finishing, what’s not to love!? I actually gave a set away last year, so I got to have a good look at them, and they really were the most amazing brushes I’ve ever seen. My mission for 2015 is to own my own set! (Zoeva has also recently released a new rose gold complete eye brush set… it will be mine!)

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7. Zoeva Cosmetics. On the subject of Zoeva, with their main focal point being the superior brushes they offer, their cosmetics often get over looked. They don’t have the biggest range of cosmetics on offer but they do sell some really lovely looking eyeshadow palettes, the Mixed Metals one above looks right up my street!

lorac pro palette

8. Lorac Cosmetics. Lorac are another brand famous for their fantastic eyeshadow palettes, namely the Pro Palette, and more recently the Mega Pro – which contains a massive 32 eyeshadow shades. Lorac is rarer than rocking horse poo in the UK, as there are no stockists here. It’s also not stocked at Sephora, and their US site doesn’t ship internationally – handy! You can however, purchase from Amazon, but it isn’t cheap. And when I say it isn’t cheap, I mean it’s crazy expensive!! I would really love a Lorac palette though, but only if I can somehow get one at a decent price.

marc jacobs beauty

9. Marc Jacobs Beauty. Another brand that we can’t get in the UK! Gah!! Marc Jacobs’ fairly new beauty line just looks amazing, the products look sleek and luxe in their glossy back and high shine silver packaging, and I just really can’t wait to try a few things out. I don’t even know what I want to try because all the products look so good! Marc Jacobs beauty is available from Sephora though, so I might treat myself for my birthday in June 🙂

bite beauty

10. Bite Beauty is another US brand available from Sephora. They sell a massive range of lip themed products, including lipsticks, glosses, lip liner, lip scrub and lip masks – everything your lips could ever want or need! Again I have no idea which product I’d actually like to try, except lipsticks of course! I may throw a couple in with my next Sephora order and see!

kat-von-d-palette

11. Kat Von D. (Ok so there’s actually eleven brands!!) I saw this Monarch Eyeshadow Palette on the Sephora site last year and was instantly attracted to the beautiful warm tones – it was love at first sight. Kat Von D is also famous for her foundation and lipstick ranges too, all of which are also on my wish list. The Monarch Eyeshadow Palette is currently $46.00 / £30.00 so it is on the expensive side… but it’s so pretty I really have to have it!

NB – a few of these brands, plus many others, are available at Roses Beauty Store, which is a UK importer of US cosmetics, I’ve used them before to purchase my Anastasia Contour Palette when it was out of stock everywhere, so I know they’re alright! They are expensive though, but if you’re desperately after something you can’t get your hands on in the UK, it’s worth checking out their site, and you can also make special product requests too 🙂

I’d love to hear which brands or products you’re hoping to try out in 2015?

I hope you enjoyed my post xxx

Are you the £1400 Giveaway Winner?

Posted on December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas everyone!!

I hope you’re all having a fabulous day so far – I’ve pre written this post so I don’t have to spend time away from playing with Fred and his new toys whilst stuffing my face with everything in sight. After a whole month, my mahoosive Christmas Giveaway has now officially ended, and a winner is now about to be chosen by Rafflecopter. Ok here goes…

big-xmas-giveaway

… wait for it…

…and the winner of £1400 of prizes is –  SARAH CLARKE from Aberystwyth!

CONGRATULATIONS! Hopefully this has made your day! I’ll be dropping you an email shortly!

Thank you so much to everyone that entered my giveaway – keep following my blog for more exciting news, reviews, and giveaways in 2015! xxx

The Dressing Room | Sale Preview

Posted on December 24, 2014

the-dressing-room-sale-preview

Hi Guys!

The Dressing Room has officially become one of my favourite stores this year, they sell a fantastic selection of designer names covering fashion, accessories, jewellery and shoes – and you may remember they recently sent me this beautiful and exclusive Olivia Burton watch, which I’m completely in love with! Now they’re gearing up for their massive Christmas sale, and I’ve got a few of my favourite sale pieces to show you!

Welcome to The Dressing Room Sale Preview!

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First up I have these beautiful Feeling Good Suede Boots by ASH, originally £169 these will be reduced to £84 in the sale – this is an amazing 50% off!

The Feeling Good Suede ankle boots are made from a beautifully soft taupe suede and feature a round toe, elastic side panels and chunky block heel. These would be the perfect chic addition to a day outfit. I’d wear them with a cream chunky jumper and plenty of luxe accessories.

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Next is the gorgeous Henriette Bracelet by Lola Rose, this was originally £88 and will be reduced to  £44 in the sale- this is 50% off again!

The Henriette bracelet by Lola Rose is a narrow bangle designed in a gold tone brass, embellished with 5 square Blue Sandstone semi precious stones that have a beautiful glitter finish. I’m officially in love with this bracelet, Lola Rose, to me, conjured up images of chunky bracelets and faceted hearts, which aren’t really my thing, but with it’s gold tone finish and glittery sandstones, this bracelet is my style to a T!

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And look, I have the matching Lyra Necklace too! Of course also by Lola Rose, this was originally £75 and will be reduced to £37 in the sale – which is over £50% off this time, amazing!

The Lyra necklace is pretty and delicate, it has a fine gold tone brass chain, featuring a horizontal row of 5 square Blue Sandstones set  in a pendant. The necklace has a lobster clasp and an extension chain up to 5 cm, to make the necklace a little longer if you wish. The Henriette bracelet plus the Lyra necklace plus a LBD equals my Christmas party outfit sorted! These Lola Rose pieces really are simply stunning, understated and chic – can you tell I like them!?

The Dressing Room’s amazing sale starts online on Christmas Day and in store on 27th December – the first 20 customers through the door will also receive an extra 10% off too! Happy shopping! xxx

This is a sponsored post.

Glo & Ray Balloon Pop Eyeliner Set

Posted on December 23, 2014

glo-and-ray-balloon-pop-set

Hi Guys!

I’ve got another new addition to show you from one of my favourite new brands today – this is the Balloon Pop Skybreaker Lasting Silky Eyeliner Set from Glo & Ray.

I’ve previously tried out quite a few of Glo & Ray’s products, including their Lip Colour Set and Skybreaker Eyeliner in Golden Age which I loved, so I had really high hopes for this amazing looking set! The Balloon Pop collection includes six eyeliners in shades –

  • Orchid 306, a deep metallic purple.
  • Summer Sky 307, a bright matte sky blue.
  • Forest Green 308, a deep matte green.
  • Rosy Candy 309, an intense matte pink.
  • Midnight Black 300, a deep matte black.
  • Champagne Pink 302, a sheer glittery champagne.

The set includes four new shades (the first four on the list above), with three of them previously unavailable individually and one – Rosy Candy, which is exclusive to the set.

glo-and-ray-balloon-eyeliner-set

Firstly, before I get to the products, I really need to tell you about the packaging. The set outer sleeve is made of thick matte finish card and printed in graphic bold colours. This does not look like your standard makeup set by any means, and I love that it’s different! You slide the sleeve off to reveal the white heavy matte card box inside…

glo-and-ray-eyeliner-set

…then you pull off the lid of the box (which is pretty tight) to reveal the exclusive Rosy Candly liner, which is nestled snugly in a thick foam case with a matte ombre finished card on top. There’s a white silky tab sticking out at the bottom, which you grab to lift this section up to reveal the further five liners below.

glo-and-ray-gist-set

Oh and on the back of the Rosy Candy liner section, Glo & Ray have also included a pencil sharpener. I love this additional detail, which they didn’t have to include, and I really can’t emphasise enough how beautiful and luxurious this packaging is. You would expect to see these materials and this quality of finish from the highest of premium brands.

glo-and-ray-eyeliners

So hopefully you get the idea that the packaging is pretty special! Now lets get to the eyeliners!

The Skybreaker formula is amazingly soft and smooth, the pencils don’t pull or drag at all and you’ll see by the swatches below that you literally only need one swipe to create a fantastically pigmented line. The Skybreaker liners use ultra-adhesion formula technology to make the shades rich and intense, and they’re also waterproof and completely budge proof – I’ve been wearing the purple liner today and It’s stayed put all day.

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I think the selection of shades included are fantastic. I love the fact that you have a base black here as an addition to a wide range of bright colours so you can experiment and create different looks!

glo-and-ray-eyeliner-swatches

And lastly the swatches. You can see the purple and blue shades only have one line, this is because the tips broke off on these two pencils. The formula really is super soft, and I may have been a bit heavy handed… You literally need no force when using these liners, imagine them to be like a liquid liner, you just draw a line and you’re done!

The Glo & Ray Ballon Pop Lasting Silky Eyeliner Limited Set is £28.00 from the Glo & Ray site which I think is an excellent price. This makes the liners only £4.66 each, and that’s without counting the fabulous packaging. This set gets top marks from me, and if you’re thinking of experimenting with colours on your eyes I’d highly recommend it.

I hope you enjoyed my review! xxx

This post contains a sample provided for review