Monday, December 12, 2016

INSTAGRAM: MY FAVOURITE BLOGGERS TO FOLLOW & WHAT I HAVE LEARNT FROMTHEM

















We’ve all heard the famous phrase that ‘a picture speaks a thousand words’ and so it is easy to see why an app like Instagram has become everyone’s favourite photo sharing app. In June of this year, Instagram announced that they had more than 500 million users worldwide, 300 million of which use the app every single day. This is a truly remarkable feat, especially when you consider it is just six years old.

As a blogger, self-promotion is key to building your brand and an Instagram presence is essential. It has been reported that 75% of users will visit a website after seeing a post on Instagram, so it is the perfect way to guide more traffic to your blog.

That said, Instagram is far from easy; the dreaded algorithm has only served to make it more difficult. Believe me, I know.

If you found this post from the handy link I left in my own profile you will see from my stats that I am certainly not Instagram royalty. And, if you were hoping reading this would enlighten you about how to get hundreds and thousands of followers, I’m sorry. It isn’t.

While I am clearly no expert, I am certainly a trier and over the past few months I have really been challenging all of my energy into improving my Instagram. In this post, I wanted to share with you five of my favourite bloggers to follow and more importantly, how they inspire me and what tips I have picked up from poring over their feeds.

So, lets start…

Sarah Ashcroft (sarahhashcroft)

It was inevitable that Sarah would be included in this list, as she is someone whom I am just endlessly inspired by. She is not only a hugely successful blogger, but has collaborated with top brands such as Missguided to create fashion pieces her following just can’t get enough of. On a more personal level, she motivates me to actually make an effort with my makeup at 5.45am in the morning – as she literally never has a hair (or lash!) out of place.



Sarah’s Instagram has taught me, not only that it is time bin my baggy workout wear and select some cuter sets, but also the importance of posting frequently.

I used to post once or twice a week but now, I share a new picture at least every day – sometimes even twice a day. With it getting darker in the evenings it is pretty impossible for me take any good pictures, so at the weekends I really prioritise shooting for my blog and Instagram.

Since the introduction of the Instagram algorithm (did I mention, I hate it?), it can be even harder to keep followers so I feel that keeping my page fresh and up to date is a great place to start when it comes to keeping people interested.

Kayleigh Johnson (kayleighjcouture)

Kayleigh has fantastic taste in fashion and I really love everything that she wears. If I’m looking for fashion inspiration, her Instagram is always the first place I go and I’ve discovered so many fantastic different brands since I’ve been following her.



Once of the things that I love the most about Kayleigh’s feed is how there is a real theme to it. She always uses a filter on her pictures to remove yellowy tones and I love how consistent all of her pictures looks as a result. It has been reported that 60% of top brands use a filter to make their photos more recognisable and it certainly works.

I have worked really hard on ensuring there is some consistency with what I am posting. I love bright white photos and marble backgrounds, which you will see in my Instagram shots. To create these, I have learnt to work with the natural lighting that the British weather gives you and forced myself to get to grips with editing software I previously found too daunting.

Milly (millydaydreams) 

I came across Milly’s blog on Facebook when I was just starting to get into blogging about two years ago. Back then, she had a modest 3,000 odd followers whereas she now boasts nearly 11k!
Milly is a fantastic photographer and her images are always so crisp and bright. While I enjoy scrolling through her feed and perusing the latest fashion items she has picked up, I also love her scenic shots of Cornwall, which is my home county.



One of the things I like best about Milly’s photos is their composition. She is the queen of flatlays and her pictures always have a multi-dimensional feel in the sense that they are telling you a bit of a story. She always thinks outside the box with her shots.  

When I started out, I used to take a photo of one product against a bright background and think I was set. Now, I try to include other props in my photos to make them a bit more stimulating to the user, because you are giving them other things to engage with. I think images like this seem much more natural quality.

Liza Prideaux (lizaprideaux) and Milly Naomi Charlotte (millynaomi_)
I haven’t grouped these two ladies together because they are some kind of double act, but due to them both having taught me the same thing. Liza is forever posting flawless makeup photos that I am dying to imitate and Milly has a lipstick collection of dreams. There is always a new one on her Instagram I really want to get my hands on.



Both blog across multiple areas; from beauty to fashion, lifestyle to parenting – sliding seamlessly between each. I love that their pages are so varied and that there is a real personal feel because they are sharing, not just the latest products they’re loving, but their real lives too.

Your Instagram is extension of you, so show that. The photos on my Instagram used to purely reflect what material I shared on my blog, but I’ve strived to make it a bit more personal. Now I share shots of me doing my favourite things, wearing my favourite things and generally, what I am getting up to.
I am yet to share my favourite people, but baby steps. I do still like to maintain a little anonymity as a blogger - 90% of my friends and family still don’t even know I am one!

One of the great things about being a part of this wide community of talented bloggers, is that there are so many people you can look to for inspiration.

Who inspires you as a blogger? What Instagram tips could you share?




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Monday, December 05, 2016

MY FAVOURITE EYESHADOW PALETTE: URBAN DECAY NAKED 2

"Standing in the sunlight laughing, hiding behind a rainbow's wall, slipping and sliding, all along the water fall, with you, my brown eyed girl…"
- Van Morrison

Apart from the fleeting moment in my teenage years when I wished for them to be blue, I have always rather liked having big brown eyes. Certainly, there are more exotic colours, but Van Morrison never wrote a song and my mother never subsequently sung to me, about those.

When it comes to framing them, my dark eyes combined with my pale skin tone, have always led me to select the warmest browns and sparkling golden eyeshadows. Perhaps that is why, nearly two years after I first received it on Christmas morning, the Urban Decay Naked 2 Palette is still my favourite.
Comprising of both dark and light matte and shimmer shades, there is an array of neutral options for the daytime as well as deeper metallic to really vamp up a more dramatic evening look.

From left to right: Foxy, Half Baked, Bootycall, Chopper, Tease, Snakebite, Suspect, Pistol, Verve, YDK, Busted, Blackout

In the time that I have had this palette, my confidence when it comes to creating different makeup looks has really soared. I really enjoy experimenting by putting different shades together to give different effects. One of the best things about the popularity of the Urban Decay palettes is that there is also an abundance of tutorials to be found on YouTube, to give you more inspiration about what to do with these hues.

If I had to clear out all of my other makeup palettes and live with just one, this would be it. Aside from the sheer range of options colour-wise, the quality of these shadows are impeccable. I tend to wear these with UD eyeshadow primer underneath, but even without, these stay on so well. The morning that I woke up after one to many cocktails the evening before and realised I had shamefully forgotten to cleanse, tone and moisturise, only to find my eye makeup completely intact, was certainly testament to this!

Aside from the super staying power and the fact the shadows are also super pigmented, another winning aspect is that UD has paid close attention to the detail with the brush that is included. With Naked 2 retailing at almost £40, it feels that you are getting a little more value for your money when the brush is of a good quality. The bristles are soft but firm, so it’s easy to blend.



I would undoubtedly recommend the Naked 2 palette and, given that I am so well-acquainted with this one, I think that it is probably high time that I invest in another.


What are your favourite Urban Decay palettes? Which one should I be buying next? Let me know in the comments...
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Friday, December 02, 2016

The Perfect Christmas Range from JewelleryBox

December is officially upon us; ‘tis the season to be jolly and, in my opinion, to add a little bit of extra sparkle. I certainly felt like JewelleryBox were a brand who shared my sentiments when they sent me a beautifully wrapped little parcel.

Based in south London, JewelleryBox is an online retailer on a mission to show the world that you don’t have to fork out big money for good quality jewellery. Having only launched in June 2014, it is especially impressive that they now stock around 10,000 unique pieces of sterling silver and 9 ct gold jewellery and have customers in over 100 countries worldwide!



This Christmas, they have a host of wonderful items that will dazzle your friends at all your festive parties this December. From snowflake necklaces to stocking earrings, there is a little bit for everyone.

One of my favourite pieces are these Frosted Ball Hoop Stud Earrings. I have wanted a pair of earrings in this style for absolutely ages and these are just perfect and they remind me of the glittery baubles that adorn my Christmas tree.



This style of earring is very versatile. I would wear this day to day, but I also think it’s a really delicate and classy style which works really well with a chic up-do for an evening out.
One of the best things about this brand, aside from the fact that overindulging in a few items wouldn’t cost me the earth, is that they are Assay Assured which means that their products have been audited and scientifically tested.

So what are you waiting for? You can find your perfect Christmas style here. The range retails at between £3 and £60 and there really is something for everyone!

*Includes gifted products
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