Thursday, July 21, 2016

My first trip to Sephora!

I spent last week in sunny Spain, where we spent one day exploring Barcelona. While wandering around, I noticed somebody with a Sephora bag. I hadn’t realised there was a Sephora in Barcelona and considering we don’t have one in the UK – I just had to find the store. 

After perusing the aisles for quite some time (my boyfriend will back me up on that one!) and swatching extensively, I decided on a couple of things from Kat Von D’s range. It was a true exercise in self-restraint to not spend all of my Euro’s in one go, but, given it was only day two of the holiday I thought it best to play the responsible adult and not peak to early with my spending!

I’ve seen loads of my favourite bloggers with the Kat Von D Everlasting Liquid Lipsticks, so I immediately gravitated towards those. After trying pretty much all of them, I settled with ‘Lolita. 

Given that the majority of my lipsticks are in quite muted tones, this one is a step outside my usual comfort zone. That said, it doesn’t hurt to try something new and I really loved the way the colour came out. 

‘Lolita’ got its first outing at a recent party I went to and I was really impressed. It definitely stood up to its name, lasting really well even despite the amount of burgers I ate from the BBQ. It's  got a long applicator, which I always find easier to handle, and there's a mechanism in the bottle which pops the applicator back out of you haven't screwed it up properly. Sure to be a life saver when hastily applying lippy on the go. I predict this shade getting an extra lot of use when we hit Autumn.

I also picked up one of the Studded Kiss Lipsticks. This range has some fantastic names, like 'Vampira', 'Thin Lizzy' and 'Wolvesmouth' (which I very nearly went away with!) but I decided to get 'Lovecraft'.

Its in complete contrast to 'Lolita', 'Lovecraft' is matte and a pinky mauve shade. I keep getting drawn to these type of colours but while I have got some similar, 'Lovecraft' stands out for being a matte - but giving a frosty appearance when worn.

Everyone knows how much of a nightmare it is when your latest matte lippy leaves your lips feeling drier than sandpaper, but you certainly won't experience that with this. It's a really lightweight formula and I'm really impressed with how it seems to have matte and satin qualities all at once. It's a super versatile colour and I love that it's a little bit girlier than 'Lolita'.

So, would I buy them again? Definitely. I found that some of the Everlasting Liquid Lipsticks were just a bit too dark for me, so I'm a little bit limited there. However, there are certainly more Studded Kiss lipsticks finding their way on to my wishlist!

Both products retailed for around €20 at the time of purchasing (though it would be futile to covert that to pounds given the ever fluctuating exchange rates) and can be bought from Sephora, online or in store. 


Friday, July 08, 2016

Blogging Myths... BUSTED

I’ve been blogging for around a year and a hald now and in that time, I have become quite well-acquainted with the different perceptions and stereotypes that seem to befall anyone who has their own domain name. Which brings me on to the purpose of this post which, in short, is to delve into and dispel those pesky blogging misconceptions…


You should be posting new material daily/every other day/weekly at the VERY least

Just about everybody has some expectation as to how frequently they should be able to expect a new post to appear on your blog, but, there is no specific posting routine that will guarantee you blogging superstardom. 

Personally, I’m a firm believer in quality over quantity. To explain that, let’s take this post for example. It’s my 100th and that might come as a bit of a shock to some of you when you tally that up with the amount of time I’ve been tapping out blog posts for. 

When it comes to my blog though, I have always worked on the premise that it’s better to share posts which you are genuinely proud of semi-frequently, than churn them out on a daily basis because you feel there is an expectation to do that – and then only be half happy with them. 

Of course, there are some people that can post exceptional posts daily (and I salute you guys) but unfortunately I barely have enough hours in the day to make my brows look like they’re remotely related, let alone to start spitting out new posts like I spit out the lyrics to rap songs after a few glasses of vino on a Saturday night.

And that my friends, brings me on to my next myth to quash

Blogging is easy

To the outsider, blogging may seem like its all shopping, selfies, fashion shoots, showbiz events and champers - but I can’t stress enough how much that just is not the case. 

While it is true that when your blog is successful you will reap certain rewards, that isn’t something that just happens overnight. I wasn’t na├»ve about blogging when I started, and toyed with the idea of having my blog for a  really long time before I took the big leap and even then, I wasn’t prepared for the amount of work that goes in behind the scenes. For example, with writing, photography, SEO, social media to name just a few.   

Blogging isn’t my day job and so it can be a bit of a juggling act to ensure I keep my content consistent when I’m working full time, come home exhausted and sometimes, would really just rather curl up in a ball on the sofa and binge watch reality TV. But, while I don’t have the luxury of being able to rattle out a blog post whenever I like, or whip out my camera in the middle of the afternoon because the sun is shining, the lighting is right and I’ll get some great new snaps for my latest post, what I do have is a drive to make my blog thrive. And so I make the time for it. 

N.B. It is also worth noting that I have a boyfriend who is really supportive of my blog and won’t get huffy with me when I’ve spent all Sunday afternoon turning our bedroom into my own personal studio and snapping away. He’s a keeper. 


It’s all about the freebies

I couldn’t have written this post without including this one. If you’re reading this considering starting your own blog because on the hunt for a bit of free stuff, then just stop right there. 

Blogging is not just about the number of parcels that might fly through your letterbox. For me, it’s having a little space of my own on the internet, where I can write enjoy writing freely and sharing my honest opinions. It’s about getting inspired by something, often in an awkward place or time, and having to scribble all your ideas section into the Notes section of your iPhone because you just have to tell your readers about it. It’s about pursuing my interest in photography and working hard to develop my skill set to get better pictures for my readers to enjoy. It’s about being part of the bigger blogging community, interacting with other bloggers, supporting their material and ultimately all helping each other to grow. 

When you are lucky enough to be contacted by a brand that want to work with you, then that is an added bonus to something that is already incredibly enjoyable.


You’ve got to be getting ALL the blog hits

In an ideal world, we would get thousands of posts every week because of course you want for your blog to be out there and seen.

In the last year and a half, I've learnt how important it is to use my social media accounts to direct readers to my blog and while I don't command six figure viewing figures every month, I do feel that I've got a really good readership.

So what if I don't get 50 comments on every new post? I do get a high level of engagement from my readers who have been behind me from the beginning and are always the first to congratulate when my latest post has resonated with them. 

You need to have an Olympus Pen E-PL7

Its true that a good camera can really help your blog. I felt that my blog content improved ten fold when I bought my DSLR - and then did a class to learn exactly how to use my snazzy new piece of equipment. 

However, it is not true that an Olympus Pen will make you a superstar blogger. These camera's are all the rage right now and, while I wouldn't deny that I am sure they're a nifty piece of kit, there are OTHER brands out there. 

Shop around a little bit because after all, not everything has to be Instagram-worthy.

But my final piece of advice...

Be yourself

Your blog won't last five minutes if you try to kid yourself you're something you aren't. 

Don't feel like you have to shoot outfit posts in the latest Topshop trends when you look like a sack of spuds, just because it's 'fashion'. Or wax lyrical about the latest tan that everyone else is loving, but you actually makes you look like a sad little tangerine. 

It's so obvious when bloggers are writing about things that they are truly passionate about - and those are the posts which are truly a pleasure to read.