JULY FAVOURITES

I've actually been loving so many new things this month and I've been excited and planning for this post for a good few weeks now. Sometimes writing favourites posts can feel a bit tedious, especially when you've not really tried anything new, but then you get those rare months when you actually feel like you can write a post without hesitating.

IS CELEBRATING NUMBERS A BAD THING?

Blogging is not about the numbers, as we are reminded by random tweeters every day, but does that mean we shouldn't share or celebrate our social media milestones? I get the impression sometimes that sharing your follower-related successes is frowned upon, and sometimes I feel almost guilty sharing my happiness because I don't want people to think I'm all about the numbers.

PALMERS SKINCARE REVIEW

Palmers has been a brand that's been floating around for ages, they are iconic for their cocoa butter and after reading a few reviews on some different blogs,  I couldn't help but go and buy some other bits. I want to smell like cocoa butter all over.

THE BENEFITS OF BLOGGING

Why do I feel like I've already done this post? I'm like 80% sure I haven't but I have a strong sense of deja vu as I'm writing and brainstorming for it. Weird...

I've been blogging for a little while now and I can honestly say, it's the best decision I've made in my entire life. It's the best possible hobby I could've picked, I'm obsessed with writing and producing content and I couldn't imagine my life without it. I didn't realise just how beneficial to my life that having a blog would be, it was literally just a little escape for me to share my favourite things and fall in love with writing again. But here we are, over a year later, and I have fallen in love not only with writing, but the whole blogging process.


THE COMMUNITY

It has its negativity, but I honestly love this community more than anything. I stay far away from the drama and I have the best blogging friends in the entire world. They're not even just my 'blogging' friends now, they're my best friends and I don't want to be without them ever. I pretty much know almost everything about them and I go to them whenever I need help or advice. We also tag each other in Facebook memes, so it's pretty serious. We're in too deep to ever turn back now.

DETERMINATION

I used to be SO lazy and just had no motivation to do anything at all, whether that was getting out of bed or just moving in general. Starting my blog and producing regular content is something I am insanely proud of, and seeing everyone around me succeed completely inspires me to work my little butt off to make my page the best it can be. I know that it's not good to always focus on the numbers, but smashing those milestones is the best feeling in the world so you continue to celebrate your numbers!

  SKILLSET

I've learnt so much through blogging, and I'm continuing to learn more all the time. I had no idea how to photograph anything before my blog, and now photography is one of my favourite hobbies. I've learnt a tiny bit of HTML that I don't use because it doesn't work with my theme, and I set up my own domain name, albeit not very well. I keep trying to teach myself some SEO but it never ends very well so I've decided to just wait until I can be properly taught it.

CAREER

The biggest benefit of my blog, for me personally, has definitely been in terms of my career. It was my blog that made my realise what I wanted to do, and my blog that caught the eye of recruiters. I could probably confidently say that I was offered my new job because of my blog - whether it was the blog itself, or the skills and confidence I had in that area which I learnt because of my blog, I don't know. But either way, my blog has been the biggest help in my figuring out what to do with my life.

How have you benfitted from blogging?


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HOW TO STYLE A TRENCH COAT

IN COLLABORATION WITH JACK WILLS

I'm a big believer that a jacket has the potential to make or break an outfit - some days your outfit looks so amazing but you have to put a jacket on which ruins it, other days your jacket is the outfit. Trench coats are definitely the focal piece of any outfit they're worn with, they have the potential to be so glamorous yet so casual, depending on how you style it. My trench coat is from New Look - it's simple and black and I love to dress it up.

I'm the kind of person that dresses an outfit up or down with shoes and accessories - the main outfit pieces stay the same. I think jeans look best with trench coats, you can't really see dresses or skirts due to the slightly longer style and you may look like you're about to flash someone.

These jeans are from Missguided, and I love them, but the rips make me look like a cut of gammon if I sit down. I usually opt for a very casual tshirt, my Feminist tshirt which is also from Missguided works perfectly. I style this with my low-top Converse and then I'm pretty much good to go! I love how effortless but stylish it looks, all thanks to the jacket.


You can also check out another guide on how to style a trench coat by Jack Wills, featuring some beautiful images and possibly some better ideas than I have. The Jack Wills' trench coat range is gorgeous, and I find myself dreaming of them since discovering them. But for now, I'll have to stick to my low-budget buy.

How do you style trench coats?


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NEW YEARS RESOLUTION UPDATE

Given that we are now more than halfway through the year, I thought it would be a good idea to write a little update on how my 2017 Resolutions are going. I like reading these types of mid-year posts, because it's nice to see people smashing their goals and making the most of 2017. I've not quite achieved everything yet, but I'm well on my way. You can find the original 2017 goals post HERE!

Feminist
1. CHANGE JOBS

I actually cannot believe I have done this one. This was my biggest goal for 2017 and I've done it! From the 1st of August, I am going to be a Digital Marketing Apprentice for a private school in Edinburgh and I am honestly over the moon - I can't wait to get started in the industry I want to work in long-term and get my degree at the end of my apprenticeship. I'm hoping that this change will be the best one, I've been so miserable in my current job and waiting for my last day is a tiring task, but I am so excited!

2. BE MORE ORGANISED WITH BLOGGING/IMPROVE MY PHOTOGRAPHY

I think I have definitely improved in both of these areas, which I'm so happy to say. I have several blogging notebooks and my brain just keeps spewing out ideas for future posts. My current schedule is a new post every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday and I'm so chuffed that I'm actually managing to maintain it. I even prepared a week and a half's worth of posts and scheduled them all for when I was on holiday. My Olympus Pen has completely upped my photography game and I'm so happy with the direction my blog is going in. Onwards and upwards from here!

3. BE MORE EMPATHETIC/LESS SENSITIVE

I'm not really sure what I can say about this one, because I might feel a change but those around me might not. I do think that something that will definitely have a significant impact on my moods is my new job. Maybe I'll be too busy to let the little things bother me, we'll just have to see! I try to make a conscious effort to be kinder and to not get upset all the time, but sometimes it's hard. All I can do is try though, which is what I'm going to continue to do.

4. SAVE MONEY

Okay, I've completely flopped at this. But it's okay because soon I'll be on full time wages and I'll be able to save lots of money (hopefully). Maybe this year I'll be able to afford petrol AND nice presents for everyone, I'm pretty sure last year I had to pick one or the other. Think I picked the petrol. 

So I think I'm pretty much half and half at the minute - two of my goals have been achieved already and I'm still working on the other two! They're all pretty big goals and achievements so I'm incredibly proud of myself so far and I can't wait to reflect back on 2017 as a whole and see all that I've achieved.

How are you doing with your Resolutions?

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BEHIND THE SCENES: PHOTOGRAPHY

I think one of the best feelings in the world is when people compliment my photography. It's always been a bit of a sore spot for me because I'm by no means a professional and it seems like everyone is better than me, but I'm trying. I'm trying really hard and I feel like I'm improving, and even though I'm not the best out there, I'm better than I was at the start of my blogging career.

Blog Photography 

I loved writing and planning for my Week in the Life post, so I thought I'd do a similar sort of behind-the-scenes type thing to show you how I take and edit my photos and get them perfect for my posts and Instagram!

Blog Photography
The camera that I use is the beloved Olympus Pen E-PL7, and I swap between the 14-42mm kit lens and the 45mm lens. The kit lens is really good for flatlays because with the 45mm, you'd have to be on the ceiling to get a good shot.The 45mm is good for outfit photos and portrait shots, and for creating that well loved blurry background.

Olympus Pen E-PL7
I actually don't use natural lighting most of the time; I take all my product photos in my room and I don't get much natural light at all - it's the coldest room in the house and also the worst for photography. So I bought a softbox, it's massive, takes up too much room in my bedroom, but I could not be without it. I seem to get a surge of motivation in the evenings, so having the softbox is perfect because I can literally take photos whenever I want. I bought mine from Amazon, the link to my specific one is now gone, but I'm sure they all do the trick!

 

I have a few backdrops that I use - the classic marble, a white wood background, and just plain white. I usually opt for marble, because I'm a blogger and we're like moths when we see it. I don't always use backdrops, sometimes I'll use the bottom pink box from a glossybox or my copper baskets and they do the trick.

 

My current photo theme is pink, so I try to make sure there's something pink in any photo I take or post on Instagram. My favourite at the moment is this pink cushion from Matalan, it looks amazing just peeking in the corner of photos with my white fluffy blanket. Could I be anymore of a blogger? Other pink things I use include the glossybox box or my pink notebook. If it's an outfit shot, I'll try to make sure I'm wearing pink!

In terms of props I use, if you actually look at my photos you'll see that there's not many, other than the already mentioned things. I struggle to make random props look good in photos and my fairy lights are slightly too warm toned for me to put in. I have a few wall art prints I could use, a ring holder, my rings, fake flowers - but I just don't. I tend to go for simplicity over anything else.


 

I take the majority of my photos on my bed - I clear an area and either lay out my backdrop or my blanket and arrange the products. Sometimes I'll take photos on my floor; I find it easier to balance the backdrop against the wardrobe and it gives me a better angle for flatlays.


before FaceTune

after FaceTune

I briefly ran through most of my photo editing apps in THIS post - but I'll go over it again here just because. I use Facetune to whiten backgrounds, and then ColorStory to brighten and add a little filter. I use the Curves feature, then use the Everyday filter. Sometimes I lessen the filter, depending on the photo.

before ColorStory

after ColorStory

And then that's it! A somewhat lengthy and tiring photography process. I'm still trying to improve my photography, and it's a long road but I'm getting there!

How do you take your blog photos?

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A NEW CHAPTER

I've been waiting until something very specific happened before I start to write and publish this post, because that is officially when the new chapter of my life starts and I can begin to write about it. I've had the ideas floating around in my head for months and I'm so excited to finally be able to write this! 

Something really exciting happened this month - I finally got another job! It's been a long time coming and a very tiring journey but the relief in knowing that I'm going to have a full time job that I actually enjoy is quite overwhelming at times. I've been waiting for this for years now. I'm finally going to be starting the new, happier chapter of my life and I'm looking to make a few other changes to accompany this. 

DRINK MORE WATER

I am SO ridiculously bad for this. I'm lucky if I drink half a litre of water a day; I just forget or I want something with flavour and I end up drinking no water whatsoever. I have little reminders everywhere and they just don't seem to work! So I think I'm going to invest in one of those fruit infuser water bottles so I can start drinking lemon water because I keep reading about all the benefits. It's good for your skin and your energy levels, it's upping my water intake whilst tasting good and I can't really ask for much else!

BE TIDIER AND MORE ORGANISED

I want to completely gut my room and make sure everything has a place, I want it to look tidy so that I feel better being in there. I usually tidy once every few weeks, and in between tidies, my room just gets ridiculously messy. I pile up clothes on the chair and put random crap on my actual desk and I want to keep things tidy. I also want to get into making lists and organising my time more effeciently; since I'll be working full time, balancing my blog and my job might prove to be quite difficult, but I'm determined to keep up my posting schedule and the hard work will definitely prove to be rewarding.

READ MORE BOOKS

So just after talking about how my free time is gonna go way down, I'm adding something else into the mix. I used to read all the time and it was one of my favourite hobbies, but since discovering social media and blogging, it's taken a bit of a backseat. I'd like to start off with just one book a month, to see if I can keep it up. Even just a chapter or two a night before I head off to sleep - it'll probably help me switch off more easily than being on Twitter will and there's lots of books on my To Read list that I'm desperate to get crossed off!

BE MORE FRUGAL

I am bad with money. I can openly admit that, I just can't seem to resist when I really want something. My mind goes, 'well, you have the money, so you may as well buy it' and then three days later I'm completely broke. In my defence, I'm only on part time wages and when my hours and my pay increase, I'll be able to treat myself a little, pay for necessities and also have money left over. I'd like to start saving up for a Macbook, so I've set myself a goal and I'm going to try and save at least £500 a month from my monthly pay.

I start my new job in August and I couldn't be more excited to get stuck in. No more uniform, no more rude customers - I can't wait to start styling my daily outfits and actually doing something I enjoy. I'm more determined than ever to work hard in every area of my life; I want to be able to manage my blog and a full time job because if I succeed in both areas, I will be on top of the world. Hopefully this big life change will be for the best.

What do you hope to achieve in the next few months?

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BEAT THE SUMMER FRIZZ

When the warmer weather comes around, so does the frizz. They come hand in hand, alongside hay fever and the inevitable sunburn because it can't be that warm in the UK? Before now, I used to just deal with having awful, frizzy hair because I didn't know what to do about it. Enter John Frieda, my hair saviour. 

I start by washing my hair - I try to wash it twice a week but quite often I have to wash it more because I'm still trying to re-train it. I use a few different shampoos, most are related to keeping the colour of my hair topped up, not the condition. Fudge purple shampoo and conditioner get used quite a lot, just to make my hair a bit less orange, and sometimes I'll use the Bleach London pink shampoo and conditioner if I fancy a bit of pink in there too. So I didn't actually have any products to help keep my hair in good condition and looking healthy.

I was sent the Forever Smooth shampoo and conditioner from John Frieda's Frizz Ease range to try out and review, alongside the extra strength serum. I use the shampoo and conditioner a few times a week and it aims to build immunity against frizz, which is what we all want right? I notice a different pretty much as soon as I get out the shower; my hair feels easier to manage and a lot less dry. I've never been more thankful to have a hair related collaboration fall into my inbox than I was when they emailed me. My hair has been having a massive tantrum recently and just doesn't want to look or feel nice.

John Frieda Frizz Ease
It looks dry, it feels dry, which is not what I expected from chopping a good few inches off. But I suppose that's what I get from bleaching my hair almost every 7 weeks. Miraculously, the serum I was sent has almost completely restored my hair to its original condition. I use this after every wash, whilst my hair is still wet, and I was able to feel a difference before my hair even dried. It felt instantly softer and smoother and it definitely looked that way when it dried. I've been doing French braids before bed every night and what used to be the worst hairstle for frizz, has now become the perfect hairstyle for messy waves. I found myself often crossing that all-too-thin line between nice-messy and dragged-through-a-forest-upside-down-messy and it just wasn't a good look. 

Batiste Frizz Tamer
In June's Glossybox, there was a full sized Batiste can and I thought, ooh excellent, more dry shampoo! But nope, no dry shampoo for me this time. It's an anti-frizz spray that you can use on dry hair, which just perfects my frizz free haircare routine. I style my hair first and then, if I need to, I'll spritz this on and smooth any bits down that need it. I'm trying to reduce the amount of heat I use on my hair and now I don't feel like I need to use straighteners to tame any horrible frizzy, sticky-outy bits.

The combination of these few products has completely changed the way I see my hair. It's no longer a burden, it's no longer ugly and I feel like I can be happy with it. I'm very up and down with my hair, especially in terms of length, but at least now I can create more hairstyles without the worry of summer heat frizz creeping up on me.

What do you use to combat frizz?

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THE £25 BARGAIN JACKET YOU NEED

I've been on the hunt for a pink suede biker jacket for AGES now - I've checked ASOS, Bershka, Pull & Bear, New Look...and I could not find one that I was willing to spend money on and that I actually felt looked nice. That was until last week, when I saw an Instagram post that changed this. I can't remember who posted it (sorry!), but I raced up to Primark as soon as I saw it and that is where I found my perfect jacket.

Pink Suede Jacket
 There were only 4 of this jacket left, and I am so thankful that they still had smaller sizes. I thought a 4 wouldn't fit me at all but it seems to be a bit oversized so it's perfect on me. It's cropped, has black stitching, BIG pockets, and is the most gorgeous blush pink colour. The best part? It's £25.

Pink Suede Jacket
 I literally put this on as soon as I got out the store because I was so excited to wear it and take photos in it. I think they also have a grey version of this jacket which I am DESPERATE for, but I think it was sold out in my local Primark. It's the perfect jacket for the summer weather because it's not too thick at all, it'll do for days that aren't freezing but also aren't 30 degrees.

Pink Suede Jacket
 I styled the jacket with my black Bershka culottes and a stripy top from H&M. I will admit the red choker doesn't match the jacket, I just really, really wanted to wear it. I find it easiest to wear culottes with my converse at the moment, but I'm still experimenting with what looks good and how to style them. My bag is from Sighh Designs, which is one of my favourite independent shops.

Pink Suede Jacket
 I can't wait to keep styling this, I'm so happy that I finally have my perfect jacket and was about half the price of some of the other ones I've been looking at. And you bet I'm gonna be going back to pick up the grey one at some point over the next few weeks, I'm loving this jacket too much to live with just one colour.

 What are you favourite Primark pieces?

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A WEEK IN THE LIFE - BLOGGING

I've reached a stage in my blogging career where I find myself doing something blog related every single day of the week. It's an obsession, it cheers me up, and there's nothing I enjoy more than producing content I can be proud to share. For the past week, I've been noting down everything blog related that I do to share with you in this post. It's going to be a little run through of my days and what blog related task I do on that day; I hope it motivates some people to schedule those extra tweets or write that extra post.

 MONDAY

The first day of the week, and my shortest shift at work, which is perfect as it means I have the remainder of the day to work on Tuesday's post. I felt really de-motivated on Monday for some reason, I was not long back off my holiday and I struggled to write anything new. I was working on a Budapest Outfit Diary post but I decided I wasn't enjoying writing it so I just scrapped the idea, and instead tried to work on improving some of the posts in my drafts. I also wrote out a few quick ideas in my notebook as opposed to finishing Tuesday's post, which is always a bad  idea.

TUESDAY

I eventually decided on publishing my Festival Season Essentials, which went up at 9am. I usually post in the evening but decided that this week I would try out different posting times to see what effect it has on my traffic. I also tried to finish writing and planning a post for Thursday. Tuesday is my longest shift at work so I tend to use the evening for relaxing and watching Netflix whilst checking my stats and comments.

WEDNESDAY

This Wednesday was a very down day for me and it took me until about 10pm at night to perk up enough to focus on my blog. I finished writing Thursday's post, as well as Sunday's, and started to plan for Blogmas and Blogtober this year. I actually finished all the post ideas for Blogmas which cheered me up a lot - I'm determined to succeed at Blogmas this year and if things go to plan, it'll be a Blogmas I can be proud of.

THURSDAY

On Thursday morning I photographed for the post that would be published today - June Favourites. I wasn't happy with the first set of photos I took, so after taking a second set I eventually published the post at 1pm. I planned a few more posts for Blogtober, which I seem to be struggling with, and wrote up this post from my notebook.

FRIDAY

I took it easy on Friday and all I did was go out and take some outfit photos. I don't get a lot of opportunities to take photos for fashion posts so when I have a spare day, I try to take at least one full posts worth. Usually I'll use those photos for Reflection posts or more personal ones, but this time I'm actually able to use it for a post about the clothes I'm wearing. 

SATURDAY

I wrote up my fashion post and scheduled it for Thursday - I'm way ahead of schedule and have lots of posts to get done but the next week of my blog content is pretty much sorted! Saturday's are usually pretty easy going days in terms of my blog, I never post on a Saturday because traffic is considerably lower so there's not a lot to be done seeing as Sunday's post is already written!

SUNDAY

It took me a while to work up the motivation to do anything today. But I eventually crawled out of bed to take some photos and get my post up - a reflection of June. I took a few flatlays and published the post just after 12, I think. I also finished a few posts in my draft posts for next week - I am on the ball with being organised this week. I just have to photograph for this weeks posts and I'm fully done. It's the best feeling!

What's your favourite aspect of blogging?

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JUNE REFLECTION

There's been a lot of mixed feelings this month - in general, I feel really sad for reasons that will become apparent as you read on. When I think about June, it is a predominantly positive month and I've achieved a lot and done some good things, but sometimes the bad things, though they are fewer, they're stronger than the positive. Most of you will know what I mean when I talk about feeling sad. If you don't, I'll try to fill you in as best as I can at the end of this post.

A big blog milestone for me this month was 50k pageviews! I'm honestly astounded at how quickly I am smashing these milestones and I could not be prouder of my little space on the internet. My new goal is to get to 100k by Christmas! I may be dreaming a bit too big right now but I’m currently considering doing Blogtober and I WILL be successfully completing Blogmas this year, after completely flopping at it last year. So maybe my ultimate goal isn’t too far away!

A really super important thing that we, as influencers, need to be talking about is NARS announcing they are going to be selling in the Chinese market, which no longer makes them a cruelty free brand. I will put my hands up right now and say that before now, I just bought makeup for the hell of it and didn’t research any brands or anything. But since this announcement, I will be exclusively buying my makeup from certified cruelty free brands and I encourage everyone else to do the same. We don’t NEED to test on animals and I’m excited to share my journey into a cruelty free life with you all – I hope I inspire some of you to join me.

 Also this month, Budapest happened! I remember booking it so sitting on that plane getting ready to fly there was surreal. The holiday itself was also amazing and Budapest is one of the most beautiful places I have ever visited. We were pretty much non-stop for the entire time we were there and I’m still trying to catch up on lost sleep. My feet have stopped hurting but I can’t say they’re in the best condition. Sorry for the TMI! I’ve uploaded my top 5 recommendations for Budapest and I’m also currently posting a round-up of my outfits over on my Instagram!

Now for the not so happy bit.

The blogging community took a big loss this month. We lost an amazing blogger and human being, Emma Cosgrove. I met her through a group chat on Twitter and despite everything, she was the most positive person I've ever known. She always put everyone else's needs and happiness above her own and despite being in pain for most of the time, she never ever complained. Although I never met her, this loss has hit me so hard and I didn't realise the extent that she impacted my life. She always cared for everyone, tried her hardest to be the best she could be, and I really miss her.

Thank you, Emma, for being my inspiration and my hero. Your strength deserves nothing less than complete and utter admiration and I hope you are at peace now. It feels like there's not enough I can say, no way I can get across how much you really meant to me.

Sleep tight, Em.


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