Sunday, 17 August 2014

Sunday Musings | Working Full Time & Managing Your Blog

This topic is something I personally have been really struggling with recently. As I write this I am in the passenger seat of my boyfriend’s car typing away in Microsoft Word, en route up north to visit my family. Tonight I have a flight to Zante for my best friend’s wedding on Tuesday. Wednesday morning I will fly back for wedding three up in the Yorkshire Dales. At the end of the week I have a photoshoot in Richmond. My diary, is pretty hectic to say the least. Wedding one by the way, was last night, and I am very tired.

I was supposed to have had this Sunday Musings post written and scheduled last week, along with posts for every single day of the week over next week, whilst I am away.

Unfortunately, this just did not go to plan. To say I have been stressing over this would be an understatement.

I honestly thought I had organisation down, or at least I thought I was getting better at it. Earlier this month I set out a Blogging Schedule for all of August. For each day I had planned a post, for the majority of which I have already taken photographs for. I even had a list of ideas of content for September, and had started planning posts for the upcoming month.

This is my downfall. I love a list. However, what is the point in list making if you never work your way through it? I need to reign in my list making and actually get on with the work in mind.

I came across a blog post by Media Marmalade, yesterday in fact, regarding working full time and managing a blog. I found it really helpful; click here, to see what I am talking about. It got me thinking about the ways I manage my own full time job as well as my blog…

What I have learned along the way are these little tips:

Use your weekends wisely – Make time to socialise, and let your hair down after a hard week at work, but also keep aside a couple of hours to get all your blog photos done in bulk. It saves me so much time getting a batch of product shots done in an afternoon, rather than doing them sporadically throughout the week.

Make use of folders – On my laptop I have a To Edit Folder and an Edited Folder. Inside the Edited Folder I have individual folders titled accordingly to the product photography inside. I also have an Archive folder of past blog photos. I like to keep on top of this so I can see how much editing I have to do and how many posts I need to schedule.

Blogger Scheduling: I draft up all the titles of my post and scribble down a date for when I plan to set these posts live. Having a list of “Drafts” is a constant reminder of how much work I have to do and if the list ever runs dry I know when I need to start brain storming.

Photoshop – I edit all of my photos using Photoshop CS6 Extended. I have got a certain flow down now when it comes to editing, but as it is something I love, I sometimes get carried away with it. I have had to learn to limit myself on editing time. I also make sure I only have Photoshop open when editing, so that I do not browse the internet opening further distractions. On a side note here, if you would like to see a Photography tips post or a post on editing do let me know!

Emails – I try and respond to an email as soon as it falls into my Inbox, as soon as I have replied, I move this email into a Blogging folder. I have OCD so if I don’t move important emails into folders I end up accidentally trashing things. Keep on top of your emails, this is important, as it helps you to build stronger relationships with PR & readers.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help – This is something I should have done. I recently wrote a guest post for the lovely Liza from Glam Beautys, as she was away on holiday with her family. Thinking about it, I should have asked other bloggers if they would like the opportunity to write a post on my blog. This would have taken the pressure of creating content in time off me as others would have helped.

My boyfriend is a photographer & Photoshop wiz. He can see when I am struggling and will offer to help take photographs for me and then edit them straight away so I don’t have to worry about anything. He even helps come up with ideas for my blog too.

Friends can also be a great source for help, sometimes I struggle with coming up with titles for my posts and my friend Megan from Wonderful You is someone I can lean on when I have writer’s block. She is actually pretty fabulous with all other blog advice too actually.

What I need to improve:

Time Management: This is something I think you can always work on. I need to start getting up earlier and making the most of my mornings. On the days I have done this I have been able to maintain posting daily.

Balance: Getting up early, may all be well and good, but if I am burning the candle at both ends, and forgetting important things like breakfast, it is only going to end up in a big fat mess.

Priorities: As I love editing and photography so much, I end up unnecessarily taking photographs before I need to, when in my drafts are important posts that need to be put live. This will come in time I think.

Sleep: I either sleep too much or I am too tired, having zero energy, resulting in me being so unproductive. This causes a downward spiral of stress, feeling lethargic and not only does my blog suffer but it has a roll on effect to everything else going on.

I really do admire those that work full time and have this blogging thaang down to a tea, because it is not ruddy easy. Being organised does not come naturally to me, but this blog is my passion and the only way I can keep creating great content and continuing to work hard during my day job, is by giving myself a kick up the backside.

Let me know your thoughts on tips on this topic, I would love to hear from you.

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Nars Cosmetics Nail Polish | Torre Del Oro & Obscura

Nars Cosmetics Nail Polish | Torre Del Oro & Obscura 
Nars Cosmetics was the first high end make-up brand I discovered back when working for SpaceNK. Back when I didn't have a clue about make-up and had only been a Christmas Temp for a week or so. I remember the Nars trainer telling me I had done my bronzer all wrong, and showed me the 3 way sweeping technique, followed by matching me up to a foundation. Nars Sheer Glow has been a firm favourite for a long, long time. I quickly fell in love with Laguna, Orgasm and that body oil.

So when I got a little message on Instagram to say Nars were sending me a little gift to thank me for my support of the brand, I was chuffed to bits, de-bloody-lighted. To be noticed by one of my favourite ever brands, meant a lot to me.

I received two of their stunning nail colours to try, and already owning one or two shades from this brand I knew I would be pleased. Nars nail varnish is radical stuff.
 Nars Cosmetics Nail Polish | Torre Del Oro & Obscura
Nars Cosmetics Nail Polish | Torre Del Oro & Obscura
Nars Cosmetics Nail Polish | Torre Del Oro & Obscura
Nars Cosmetics Nail Polish | Torre Del Oro & Obscura
Nars Cosmetics Nail Polish | Torre Del Oro & Obscura

Torre Del Oro, a striking red, one that screams sex and glamour. As Nars describes it, a knock out colour. The high gloss finish is incredible and the formula itself applies with such ease, even a novice like me can do it. I have always loved Nars nail polish, from the colours available to the chunky little glass bottles they come in. 

Obscura, possibly my favourite ever shade of nail polish? This lavender grey shade just looks so chic and instantly makes me feel a little more grown up. Like I mean business. Make-up always makes me feel a little more empowering, but for a nail varnish to do this, that is quite a big achievement. 

I always apply a good three layers, resulting in a chip proof finish. The new formulations are just perfect and I cannot wait to add more colours to my collection. 

Have you tried Nars nail varnish yet?

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Rodial Super Acids Collection | My Thoughts

Rodial Super Acids Collection
Rodial Super Acids Collection

I LOVE ACID. Of the skincare variety obviously. 

Glycolic and Salicylic acid in particular, were they be human beans, they would be my best friends.  Anti-aging, super smoothing, free radical blasting, spot busting, these two are just too god darn awesome.

The Rodial Super Acids collection, got me all kinds of excited. First of all, green, yes LIME GREEN, is my favourite colour. The packaging therefore had me at hello. The name itself, Super Acids, well this just makes me smile. In my head I have all kinds of Marvel inspired, skincare super hero action going down. 

Each of the products in this range have been formulated with a powerful selection of resurfacing acids, enzymes and probiotic technology, to aid the exfoliation of dead skin cells whilst stimulating cell renewal. 

I have been testing out two of the products from this collection, the Super Acids X-Treme After Party Scrub* & the Super Acid X-Treme Hangover Mask*

Rodial Super Acids Collection

Recently, well, for the past 6 months, perhaps maybe longer I have been very much anti-scrub. I haven't used a scrub in that amount of time on my skin, only using hot flannels to cleanse, the odd mask and of course glycolic peels in my skincare routine. I have always been a bit nervous to use a scrub, be it too harsh on my skin, or cause me to breakout, or cause existing break outs to spread and get worse. 

I think because this had two forms of acid in, the salicylic acid particularly, this encouraged me to test out this Super Acids X-Treme After Party Scrub*. Salicylic, I describe as PacMan, it goes around munching up all the nasty bacteria that causes spots. With this as one of the key ingredients I felt more at ease.

Purifying clay beads and micro-scrub beads roll over the skin, gently, refining and buffing away the dead skin cells revealing smoother, more radiant skin. I used this of an evening going to bed, and did not see immediate results. In the morning however, WOW.. JUST WOW. My skin felt, so, so, SO soft and had a beautiful glow. I hadn't broken out and in fact spots have definitely been at bay since adding this into my routine. I loved using this, and it will be my once a week treat. A really great product and worth every penny of the retail price £45.

Rodial Super Acids Collection

I expected tingling sensations, urges to itch and scratch. Nope, none of that and I think part of me, being quite the acid addict, was slightly disappointed. I wanted to FEEL something going on. I counted the minutes during wearing this mask, and towards the end of the 10 minutes, I felt a little bit of somethin' somethin' occuring, phew. Surprisingly though, I felt quite mellow wearing this mask, it was soothing on my skin, not at all uncomfortablethis is most likely down to the probiotic technology boosting the hydration levels. It felt rather nice it did.

So, if I could not feel any major work going on, how could I be sure the scaffolding was being rebuilt inside my skin? This triple action resurfacing business must have been working somehow. Did I see a good result? Yes. Yes I did. If you use this X-Treme Hangover Mask of an evening like me, you will see the results on waking. My forehead looked airbrushed, not that I have deep set wrinkles, but you could really see a difference. My skin just looked a hella lot better. This literally is the perfect mask for sorting your face out after a heavy night. 

£45 is quite a price tag for a mask, but like the scrub, these products really are effective and with only needing to use them once a week they will last a good while, making them worth the money. 

If I had to use one word to describe how I feel about these products, I would have to say quite super... you knew that was coming didn't ya. Mrs Rodial, you've created something a little bit special here. Super Acids Collection, available now online & in SpaceNK.

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

MeMeMe Cosmetics | My Thoughts

MeMeMe Cosmetics
MeMeMe Cosmetics

Have you heard of MeMeMe cosmetics? I certainly hadn't that's for sure. Impressed by the packaging upon receiving a bundle of their make-up to test out, I was immediately excited. Don't judge me, you are guilty too of falling for pretty packaging. And yes, I love a nice font, nothing wrong with looking at the details.... 

MeMeMe Nail Collection Long Lasting Glosses
MeMeMe Nail Collection Long Lasting Glosses
MeMeMe Nail Collection Long Lasting Glosses

These MeMeMe Nail Collection Long Lasting Glosses caught my eye first of all, such gorgeous shades. In particular, the pale bluey grey Refined. I do love grey nail varnish. I am rather impatient when painting my nails and therefore incredibly fussy. The applicator was the right shape and size and applied the formula perfectly. No streaks or lumps. Sensuous, the soft peach shade, was a colour I did not expect to fall in love with, but one that I find myself continuously drawn to. The glossy finish stays that way, and does not dull to a matte, flat texture. I managed to go chip free for an entire 5 days which for me is a personal first. For £5.00 these an an absolute treat.

MeMeMe cosmetics Long Wear Satin Lip Cream
MeMeMe cosmetics Long Wear Satin Lip Cream

This Long Wear Satin Lip Cream, in the shade Persian Pink, is really lovely. I tend to wear more natural, pink toned hues that match or slightly enhance my natural lip colour so this one is great for me. The texture is really creamy and quite heavy for a lipstick, a little goes a long way. This has become my daily "work" lipstick.

MeMeMe Cosmetics Eye Inspire Catwalk Quad Collection
MeMeMe Cosmetics Eye Inspire Catwalk Quad Collection
MeMeMe Cosmetics Eye Inspire Catwalk Quad Collection

I am yet to wear these eyeshadows but I plan to put an evening party look together, a form of make-up tutorial, using these fabulous shades. Green is my favourite colour so I was never going to complain. On swatching the shadows of the Eye Inspire Catwalk Quad Collection in the colour Ocean Eyes, I was surprised at just how pigmented they were, considering the price point of £6.50. All four colours work exceedingly well together and I am looking forward to creating an eye look with this.

Correct & Perfect Concealer Kit
Correct & Perfect Concealer Kit

This is my favourite product from the bunch and it arrived just as I was in desperate need of an under eye concealer. So creamy but so light, MeMeMe Cosmetics have got this Correct & Perfect Concealer Kit spot on. The hydrating concealer hides dark circles and blemishes, and then you can gently set the concealer in place with the loose powder which comes with it. This reminds me of the Laura Mercier Undercover Pot, just as good but half the price. I have the shade Buff which at first I thought was slightly dark but in actual fact the peach undertone is just what I needed to combat my darkness. I would highly recommend this one.

Unfortunately when I first tested this out I was not entirely sold. It went completely patchy on top of the make-up I had already applied causing me to redo my base. However, on a bare skin, or on top of a dewy tinted moisturiser this two in one Coral Blossom Cheek & Lip Tint does really brighten up your face. The texture feels lovely and the shade is super pretty I just need to master the application.

Not being a huge fan of glossy cheeks, I stuck to using this Boho Balm in Coral Taupe as a lip balm and have found it to be quite the handbag staple. Containing Jojoba oil this balm has been great in keeping my lips nice and moisturised whilst adding a neutral pop of colour. 

Overall, I really do like this brand. I think the variety of products are great and their price point is fantastic. I am keen to try their Goddess Rocks next as well as the Arch Angel. Have you tried MeMeMe Cosmetics yet?

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

July Favourites | YouTube

Hello Lovelies. 

Ok. So. This is my comeback to YouTube! 

I have not uploaded a single video to my own personal channel in well over a year, but now I think is the time to revamp it and start uploading content to it! I am not promising weekly videos, but I am promising at least one a month for now! 

I have never written a Monthly Favourites, nevermind film a video for this, so there we go, I hope you enjoy it! Let me know your thoughts and feedback and a list of other videos you would like to see!! 


Don't forget to SUBSCRIBE and LIKE!

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Mad Hatter's Tea Party with One Love Organics

Mad Hatter's Tea Party with One Love Organics
Mad Hatter's Tea Party with One Love Organics
Mad Hatter's Tea Party with One Love Organics
Mad Hatter's Tea Party with One Love Organics
Mad Hatter's Tea Party with One Love Organics
Mad Hatter's Tea Party with One Love Organics
Mad Hatter's Tea Party with One Love Organics
Mad Hatter's Tea Party with One Love Organics

The. Best. Tea. Party. Like. Ever.

Love cake? Love odd tea concoctions? Get yourself down to the Sanderson Hotel and enjoy the Mad Hatter's Tea Party and all of it's delights. First of all, you are sat outside, but inside, with a totally awesome waterfall/water feature thaang happening and then you take a look at the cutlery and crockery, I mean, zebras? Spot on. (Well, more like Stripe on).

Drink me potions, marshmellow mushrooms, cheesecakes with mango eggyness inside, then there were scones and little sandwiches, and the cutest victoria sponges I have ever laid eyes on. I definitely ate far too much, but do I regret it? Absolutely not of course. 

One Love Organics invited myself and a party of other lovely blogging ladies to attend this adorable afternoon gathering to introduce themselves and to talk about the beautiful products they have to offer. 

With a rhubarb & custard tea in my hand, the obvious choice, (strawberries & cream, mint and chocolate, apple crumble were the others to pick from), we began listening to the fabulous PR, Sophie. 

We learnt how each product from this brand is hand made with love, and all ingredients are completely 100% natural. They take a simpler approach to skincare and only use ingredients that your skin actually needs.

The packaging is gorgeous, with names for each of the products, such as Morning Glory and a Brand New Day you instantly warm to the brand. I was pleased to see on the table konjac sponges, I had read up on these and was excited to try one. Konjac sponges are made from plant fibre and are a gentle way of cleansing and exfoliating your skin. You can get different ones to cater to different skin types dependant on the type of clay used in the making process. I won't go too much into this as I plan to write a full review on the One Love Organics products I got to sample. Trust me, it's going to be a good one. 

I thoroughly enjoyed this event, I had a fantastic afternoon and I am so excited to share more on this brand, as I think you guys are going to love this one just as much as me. Until next time!

Monday, 4 August 2014

#ProjectBareAll | The Skin Series

Forgive me, my naked face is not exactly what you want to see first thing of a Monday morning. Not one scrap of make-up on my face here. I haven't even ran a brush through my hair. Oops. This is what I wake up like, my puffy eyes can barely open, dry chapped lips, the odd blemish, PALE AS CASPER THE FRIENDLY GHOST. 

Then there is the fact I have no eyebrows, no lashes, pigmentation all over my lips... my scar. I could literally sit here and list the imperfections that I see on a daily basis. 

You may have seen posts with my naked face before, I did a similar post to this called Dare to Bare, where I did quite a dramatic before and after make-up look, talking through why I wear make-up and how it makes me feel. Never have I wrote a post simply where I am showing off my bare skin. Never have I wanted to. 

Until I stumbled upon the beautiful Thumbelina Lillie. Not entirely sure how I have not come across this lovely lady's blog before but I am so glad I did, otherwise I may not have built up the confidence to write this post today. Megan has set a project up called #ProjectBareAll which you can read all about by clicking here. A fabulous post encouraging women all over to feel beautiful in their own skin, to gather the confidence to go without make-up and feel happy doing so.

To be honest, I don't actually mind wearing no make-up, I obviously am not likely to parade my unmade face around my blog, I am a make-up artist after all, but I do go make-up free when I can. At weekends if I have no plans I will do the weekly food shop, without even putting my brows on, I will go for a walk completely and utterly pale faced. Trust me, this is not confidence, this is actually because I am lazy, putting make-up on can be such a chore sometimes. Also, it feels SO NICE to wear nothing on my skin. It feels how it should, real.

With my job, I feel like make-up is my uniform and wherever I go I may meet someone that may need their make-up doing at some point, what sort of make-up artist would I be without foundation on? At work, sat at my desk, I am telling people to buy make-up brushes through social media, could I do this if I hadn't even touched a make-up brush that very morning?

Underneath it all, this project is not asking you to throw away your make-up bag, or to stop wearing make-up completely. It is about ensuring you feel great about yourself without any make-up on. When you start seeing your war paint as a safety blanket, when you don't feel like you without it on, then you need to really need to take a step back. We don't actually need to wear mascara, our eyes work all the same and we definitely don't need four different eye shadows on a daily basis. Lipsticks and blusher can add some colour to your face, but that is no real representation of who you are. Be proud of your skin, what you look like, with a blank canvas. 

Taking inspiration from Zoe from Zoe London's take on #ProjectBareAll, I am going to see what it is like wearing no make-up - even for work - for one full week. Make-up Rehab. I will keep a diary of people's reactions & thoughts on this little project and give you all feedback. The idea seems pretty scary, if somewhat impossible right now, but I am going to do it, not just for my blog, but for myself. 

So take your make-up off, right now, right this second, embrace what you really look like, who you really are. Take a photo and write down your experience. I want to hear all about it.

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