Thursday, 16 November 2017

Blogging on a Budget




Hello again guys; I’m sure that many of you who have been reading my blog for a while will have realised that I mention being a budget a lot of the time. I’m not ashamed of being on a budget, a part of life is learning how to look after your money. However, I have to admit many bloggers and YouTubers make it seem like lots of money is needed to be successful and this post is about showing you that you can be a blogger and on a budget! It's not fun to be on a budget, but it is definitely something that it a part of growing older and reaching the age where saving needs to be more important than splurging. I don't make any money from my blog, so I'm very aware of the importance of keeping the costs low but the content great for my blog. All of these little tips are applicable to another blog, they're just little things that I've learnt through trial and error over the part eighteen months of blogging.

A creative mind

The one thing that any blogger definitely needs is a creative mind; you need to be able to think of content, take decent photos and write eloquently. However, all of those things also come from time, passion and practise. No blogger starts off as a complete professional, with thousands of views and it’s important to remind yourself that each blog and therefore blogger is unique, so avoid comparing yourself and your blog to others. Concentrate instead on wanting to improve your content for yourself and your readers, rather than giving up because someone else is more established so therefore more competent in various areas. This is something that I have to tell myself in a regular basis, as I always feel like my blog isn't professional or perfect enough, so I know how hard it is. However, I like to remind myself that no one else has a blog like mine and that is the beauty of blogging.

A decent camera

During one of my very poor times, I regrettably sold my canon DSLR on eBay and although I miss it, I can manage to live without it. One of my life’s vices is my iPhone; for all of my blog photography I use the camera of my iPhone 7 Plus and use free editing apps to change the brightness, contrast, depth of field and add some cute lens flares. I studied photography at university and I do want to reinvest in a DSLR, but that’s more because I miss the one I used to have more than because my phone camera isn’t up to scratch (the camera on my iPhone is more than adequate for taking photographs). It’s more about the layout of the image than anything else; it’s difficult to tell what camera anyone uses as all of the cameras are of excellent quality these days, even on phones or other portable devices. 





Blog photo props

For my blog, I like to use a variety of props around the centrepiece of the photo (which is usually a book). I use perfume bottles, books, makeup brushes and eyeshadow palettes; in fact, all of those things are fairly affordable. You can buy empty perfume bottles for as little as 99p (minus postage costs) on eBay and I’ve done that myself in the past - one of my favourite props is a £70 bottle that I paid 99p for and no one has ever noticed that it is empty because the bottle alone looks fabulous! All of my props are laid out on a fluffy cream rug that I paid £8 for and it’s perfect as it’s both pretty and neutral to use as a background as it goes with everything. It’s super easy to fake a photogenic lifestyle whilst spending as little as possible, although it is important to be resourceful. I've heard of other bloggers photographing flatlays on tiles or squares of wood, too, which if you buy a sample size is very affordable and looks really effective against the bright colours and aesthetic goodness of products and perfume bottles.

Unique ideas

Probably the most important part for the creation of a blog is to have the ability to think of excellent content. If every blogger was posting the same opinion, topics or images then nobody would want to read it, so it is very important to try and create a range of idea that are uniquely yours. For many weeks I had my 'Happy Things' series which was a great way to talk about the positive side of life and in turn, my issues with mental health. It wasn't something I'd seen another blogger do (although I'm sure that someone, somewhere in the world will have done something similar) and it was also very important to me, personally. It's important to post regularly but not constantly repeat the same ideas; variety is key. Don't limit yourself to a niche, for example fashion as that's how you lose the creative side to blogging.

Passion

This is something that is completely free; to start a blog is very easy, all you need to do is turn on a device make an account on blogger, wordpress or something similar and then write. However, in reality it is actually a lot of time and effort to keep up writing a blog and you really need to be passionate about what you do. It's so important to remember that blogging isn't about making money; it's about wanting to share your ideas and to an extent, yourself with the world.







Tuesday, 14 November 2017

New In: Make Up



Hello guys; it feels like it’s been ages since I did a beauty related post, although that’s also likely to be because I haven’t bought too many beauty items recently. However, I’m a bit of a nosy person myself and so I love seeing what other people have bought so I thought I’d share my purchases with you, too. There’s not many items, but that is realistic for someone like me, who lives on a budget month in, month out. As it’s getting colder, I decided to refresh my make up collection a little to reflect the season; basically, I wanted some red, plum and nude in there somewhere as the festive season is almost upon us and it’s always good to experiment!

Rimmel Wake Me Up Concealer - Ivory

This is actually fast becoming an everyday make up staple for me; good value for money priced as £7.99, as a little product does go a long way too. The packaging isn’t ugly, but definitely isn’t my favourite either, but the concealer is a good consistency and covers up any spots, blemishes or dark circles really well and it lasts a good 12+ hours, which is a bonus as I’m not a fan of reapplying throughout the working day. The only thing that bothers me about this product is that even ivory (which is the lightest shade) is slightly too dark for my skin tone, which is a shame as I would definitely repurchase this concealer if they made a porcelain version.

Maybelline The Rocket Volum’ Express Mascara - Waterproof

To anyone who read my blog regularly, you will know how much I love this mascara, although this is the first time that I’ve tried the waterproof version. One of the reasons why I love this mascara so much is that for £7.99, it’s not only cheap but it also does wat it sets out to; whenever I use this mascara on my eyelashes they looks super volumised and separated which is the kind of effect I want to achieve with any mascara. The waterproof version does dry faster than the regular version so it’s harder to add multiple coats without creating clumpiness, which is annoying but the waterproof version is much better for the colder weather as once it’s on, it doesn’t come off! The only difference in the packaging is that the text is a light blue to the dark blue bottle which looks lovely; Maybelline always have lovely packaging for mascaras.

Rimmel Stay Matte Liquid Lipstickk - Plum This Show, Moca, Fire Starter

In all honesty, I have become an absolute addict to liquid lipsticks over the past year; I love how once they’re applied they rarely come off. On the whole, I do tend to gravitate towards nude shades as I like to look fairly natural when I wear a full face of make up, which is why I chose to purchase Moca after seeing various YouTube videos raving about it. It’s definitely the shade that I’ll be using the most often as it’s so versatile; it can be worn for any occasion. Each lipstick is £5.99, so fairly affordable for the pockets too. Moca needs only one coat to fully cover the lips, but unfortunately Plum This Way needs two or three coat as it’s a little more patchy on application. However, the formula is the same, so I’m assuming that’s because of the colour being more intense; often dark berry toned lipsticks need a second coat or so to make the product fully cover the lips so I wasn’t surprised by that. Whereas Fire Starter is a bright red, but a blue toned red so it suits my pale, pink toned skin well. Unlike Plum This Way, Fire Starter doesn’t need multiple coast as it’s opaque from the first coat so overall you use less product, which is a bonus. All of three lipsticks have the same formula and it feels nice and light on the lips; it does dry out the lips a little, but nothing unexpected or unmanageable. Just wear some lip balm before application to minimise the dryness. These are really lovely quality, in terms of both the packaging and the formula; they’re great value for money and definitely going to be in my make up bag for the rest of this season.

Sleek iDivine Eyeshadow Palette - All Night Long

Sleek as a make up brand are one that I’ve had varying degrees of success with; the products are always excellent quality, but as I’m so pale, occasionally there isn’t a shade pale enough for me. However, they’re always amazingly affordable, for example this eyeshadow palette is priced at £8.99 and comes with twelve different shades, including neutral tones, mattes, shimmers and berry/bronze tones. It’s perfect for this season as it’s range of shades are definitely aimed at more bold, experimental looks and I can’t wait to play with these colours more over the next couple of months. They’re blendable and buildable, although I’m not a fan of the brush that comes in the palette, unfortunately, but that’s such a small detail it’s not a problem. Definitely going to be trying out some smoky eye looks with the bronze shades using some different sized brushes to create a smudged, messy but flawless look.




Saturday, 11 November 2017

Ways to care for your Mental Health




Hello again guys; today’s post is about a fairly important topic. Mental health is no laughing matter and actually many more people suffer from some form of mental illness than they even realise themselves. Anxiety is a massive issue for many people, myself included and so I think that it’s super important to talk about it and also share some advice, some tips that actually helped improve my life in a variety of ways. All of these little additions to my daily, weekly or monthly routines have really helped shaped my mental health over the past year or so and I really want to make a difference if I can. Raising awareness involves talking about things and I do try to be really honest with whoever reads my blog, so here we are;

Find a hobby

This is probably the one thing that really changed my life. I started this blog (with a different name) back when I was at university and unsurprisingly, like many of my projects back in the day, it got shelved. However, roughly a year afterward I decided to give the blog a major overhaul with a new design, name and focus and I haven’t looked back. I don’t stick to a religious upload schedule but instead I post what I want, when I want. I’ve always loved photography, being creative and reading and this blog represents all of those things. Another hobby is reading; I used to read a lot as a child but had never read as an adult, but I've found that it is a great way to pass some time positively. A hobby can be something as simple as reading on the journey to work, anything that will ultimately help you to relax and bring some enjoyment into some of your free time.

Exercise

This isn’t as scary as it sounds; I’m definitely not the most active of people, but I do try and go for a walk every so often to clear my mind and think freely. I enjoy seeing the cityscape and noticing changes across the landscape as I walk. Often, I'll take some photographs of the landscape as I walk to remind myself of why I enjoy seeing the world and how it can change in just a few months or years. Having a good walk does help you to reflect on life and think about the changes you can make to improve how you feel about your life, too. If I'm walking alone I like to put headphones in and listen to music to create a kind of rhythm between my body and my mind.

Talk to people

There is always someone out there who will listen to you; even as an adult I constantly have to remind myself that it is not about how many friends I have, it's how many of them are great friends to me. I don't tell people how I feel often enough, although I'm slowly learning to talk about how I feel much more often, even if talking involves saying that I’m not feeling my best via blog post or tweet; that is much better than simply ignoring how I feel. It’s so important to be aware of how you feel and telling someone, anyone that you’re having a problem is the only way that you can start to rebuild yourself and take control of the negative thoughts and feelings.

Let it all out

Life isn't easy and every person struggles at some point. The important thing is to remember that someone cares about you. If you don't want to talk to someone, write your feelings down in a diary or on a laptop then simply forget about it; the idea is to let it out without involving another person if you don't want to, so you can be as personal as you'd like and no one has to know if you don't want them to.

Just Breathe

It sounds like an easy thing, but sometimes stress and feeling down affect your physical health too; it is so important to take the time to simply breathe. When I'm not feeling my best I try to count to ten carefully breathing in and out to regulate my breathing and stop a panic attack arising. Sometimes without even realising you don’t breathe properly and it is seriously important to think about your physical health as equally important as your mental health as they work together; you have to look after yourself in every way, not just one way.







Friday, 10 November 2017

Book Review: The Keeper of Lost Things



On the whole, I'm fascinated by remarkable debut novels; particularly when they are both complicated and beautifully written. Ruth Hogan definitely achieves both of things with this book; the title and cover artwork are incredibly eye-catching, encouraging you to notice it whenever and wherever it sits on a shelf. Anthony Peardew has a fantastic and extensive collection of lost things. An author whose life was deeply affected by grief and loss, collecting lost items became a vice of sorts; he also began to write short stories based on the items that he collected. He carefully labelled all of his collection individually with dates, times and locations in the hope that one day he would be able to reunite the items with their owners. Unfortunately, old age does make it difficult and so he makes plans to leave his house and his collection to Laura, his housekeeper. Naturally, this results in a variety of gossip that puts poor Laura at the centre of attention in the village, but what comes with the deal is that she begins the process of returning the lost things to their rightful owners.

Anthony leaves her a letter explaining all of this, as well as suggesting that she befriends a neighbour but instead her neighbour asks Laura to be friends. Of all of the characters, I fell in love with Sunshine. Her namesake is the perfect representation of the happiness she brings out in those around her. Alongside Freddy, the gardener and Carrot, a rescue dog, the companions start creating a website depicting all of the lost things and their stories in the hope that people will begin to claim them and therefore bring some happiness to Andrew's memory. Padua, now Laura's home (thanks to Andrew) and forever her sanctuary after escaping an unhappy marriage, also houses the love and loss of Andrew and Therese, who the reader learns more about as the story progresses. Sunshine, seems to understand things that both Freddy and Laura don't, about Therese, the lost things and even the companions themselves. They discover the reason behind Anthony's collection and attempt to seek out the item to no avail, although they do begin having success with the lost things, even adding their own items (at Sunshine's suggestion) to the collection as time goes on.

There is also a parallel narrative side to the story; one that describes the loving friendship of two people, Eunice and Bomber. These two have a fantastic relationship, one that can only be seen as the best kind, although sadly without the romance that Eunice craved. Throughout the novel, the reader witnesses their relationship develop from the tender age of 21 until old age, alongside some tragedies that happen along the way. Their relationship is actually a complicated one as they work together at a Publishers and remain best friends in all areas of their lives, throwing off taunts from Bomber's immature sister, watching his father struggle with Dementia and his mother die, whilst never forgetting to enjoy themselves through watching films or going to Brighton together. Bomber's dogs, Douglas and Baby Jane also add to the story; both rescue dogs and eventually laid to rest with their owner, were great additions to the plot, often being described in such detail that they were super imaginable. Bomber and Eunice's shared love of dogs and the simple things in life really accentuated how beautiful their friendship really was.

Eventually the two time-lines overlap, through the present and that too, is a beautiful moment. All of the characters have their own little mannerisms and opinions, yet each one seems completely realistic, almost like someone that you could know in your own life. Overall, it was a story of broken people, each one of them had some kind of pain that they were going through, as well as love, which was what kept them alive. The two stories were really well interwoven, which is something that was unexpected right until the end; all of the main characters from each story were lovable, but not perfect as their faults were clearly laid out. The four legged friends were lovely additions, Baby Jane in particular seemed to take parts of the novel into her own with her protection of her loved ones. It was lovely to read a story which put a young girl with Down's Syndrome at the forefront of it in a good light; Sunshine was an extraordinary character who really worked well alongside her companions. Her character was written sensitively and I felt she was the best part of the novel. This novel was a pleasure to read, it captured so many emotions and themes whilst flowing beautifully; keeping my engagement with every turn of a page. I also loved the simplistic nature of the lost things, the idea that everything has a story, regardless of how mundane it looks from the outside. Highly recommend reading this book.




Thursday, 9 November 2017

November Moodboard

Hello again guys; I’m actually really looking forward to the end of this month as I’m going to Amsterdam with my boyfriend and some our friends, which is super exciting. As much as I’m not a fan of flying, it is only an hour and the city looks absolutely beautiful. There’s so much to see and do that I doubt I’ll be able to fit it all in, but we’ll see, haha. All of the images below are from Pinterest using the tags Amsterdam, November and Ear Piercing. Just a little disclaimer: I don’t own any of these images. It’s definitely getting a lot darker and colder, which can be a bit stressful in terms of mental health, but in the other hand, having a lie in snuggled up under a warm duvet feels like heaven in the colder months, so sometimes it’s about finding the little things that really matter. At the moment I’m really inspired to revamp my earrings and have a kind of set style; I’m in love with dainty gold jewellery so I’m on the hunt for some, fingers crossed I’ll be starting with my rook as it doesn’t match the other jewellery at all. I’m also debating what to get for my next piercing, Pinterest is amazing for finding inspiration for a variety of things. What kinds of things are inspiring you this month? Let me know in the comments! :)









Saturday, 4 November 2017

Book Review: All the Bright Places




Recently, I’ve been indulging Young Adult fiction more regularly; although this is fairly unintentional. I decided to read All the Bright Places after seeing various reviews comparing the novel to The Fault in Our Stars, a novel that is extremely famous within the YA community, and one that I enjoyed. However, I disagree that the two novels are similar as they explore death in very different ways. I was almost immediately intrigued by the idea that the novel is about ‘the story of a girl who learns to live from a boy who wants to die’. Within teenagers, depression is something that is common but not widely treated so its nice to see two characters with different live and perspectives suffering from it; I also liked that the two characters were different genders as that added to the idea that depression can affect anyone, male or female and from any walk of life as one character is privileged and the other fairly underprivileged. The running themes of identity, mental health and relationships are handled carefully by the author, not exaggerated and seem like believable issues for not only teenagers, as they are problems that can arise in many people so therefore the novel is fairly easy to relate to on a personal level.

Violet struggles to live because of a car accident that she survived; in many ways her suffering can be described as survivor’s guilt, whereas Theodore (Finch) has had a troubled upbringing which has really affected his ability to live. They become attached to each other after they somehow save each others life, therefore forming an unbreakable bond. Finch is fascinated by death, near constantly dreaming up ways of committing suicide and weighing up the pros and cons of various ways of doing so. In some ways this seems like a coping mechanism, a way of finding a reason to be alive. Both teenagers are seeing therapists but still struggle with living a day to day life for different reasons. The pair truly brought out the best within each other; Violet became more outgoing, Finch learnt to find happiness through living his version of a perfect day, encouraged by Violet.

This book is somewhat unique because even the ‘perfect day’ was essentially having good company and exploring, travelling and finding even the most obscure of places to represent what somewhere (and something) can mean to someone. It references the powerful feelings of first love as well as loss. Forever is simply a few months or years. Violet and Theo (Finch) definitely believe that love can fix everything, that it can cover all of cracks caused by emotional pain and suffering but as time goes on, they also realise that life isn’t quite as simple as that, but regardless they try so hard to fight for the other through their shared love. Life and death are the raw themes of the novel and coupled with teenage angst, the subjects are explored well. The constant attempts to find reasons to stay alive, focusing on each other, the time they spend with each other and the want to complete all of their life goals before it is too late are some of the most important elements to the plot.

Some novels are difficult to read because of complicated prose, others for their difficult subject matters. This novel is one that is hard to put down as you become so engaged with the two main characters and actually they have a beautiful love story. However, I did find this book exhausting. It was hard to see Violet and Finch really seem to find something in one another, only for it to swiftly end; love doesn’t always cover the cracks in life’s other areas, unfortunately. Their love is pretty intense, as love can often be but overall I felt like the author did an excellent job of recreating the feelings of teenage love, loss and angst. I actually become so engrossed in their backstories, their reasons for being so depressed and eventually in their love story that I genuinely believed that their love would be enough, although it wasn’t. This novel explored a range of themes well and I truly felt so engaged with the plot to the point that I was genuinely upset at various points, particularly with how the story ended. Many have suggested that this novel glamourises death, but i disagree; to me, it felt like the novel was portraying life as positive and death as negative. Overall, I felt as though the novel had an overriding message that it is of utmost importance to not gloss over mental health; that you should never be afraid to cry for help if you need it, which is why I found it to be so powerful. Generally, I do enjoy books that encourage you to think and also stick in your mind; this novel is one that achieves both of those things and therefore why I recommend reading it.





Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Snippets of Life: September // October

Hello again guys; this post is a summary of my last couple of months. Autumn and Spring are the months that I usually prefer as I don’t like to be too cold or too hot (yes, I’m one of those people!) I actually hadn’t realised how little I’d been posting over the past month but I don’t really have a schedule to stick to I guess that’s hardly surprising. September was a good month, I spent a lot of it living my life and not worrying about taking photos or documenting what I did. I definitely was trying to be more spontaneous during that month, whereas October has been more of a reflective month. I’ve spent the last few months (trying to) not worry about my weight and instead focus on enjoying food and drink and company, which actually was refreshing. Probably the best part of the last two months was visiting the Harry Potter Studio Tour; I absolutely loved it and I made some great memories that day. Plus, it was like reliving all of my childhood dreams in one day! I definitely plan on going again as there’s so much to see and do it’s impossible to take it all in with one visit. I’ve had a good couple of months but I feel like I want to document my life a bit more again; for two months of photos I feel like I don’t have many memories to look back on. One of the best things about blogging is that you document all of the little things and I feel like I’ve been forgetting to do that recently. So here’s to having a great November and I’ll be posting again soon! :)







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