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Monday, 2 March 2015

It's the end of yet another month, and I'm feeling seriously cheery that Spring is just around the corner. This month's beauty favourites is going to be a bit of a short and sweet post as I just haven't been buying any new make-up, for months I haven't now anyway. I'd really rather buy new things for the house than yet another foundation or lipstick, so this month I've been diggin' through my drawers and discovering some old favourites to use up.

The one and only beauty splurge this month was in Lush, where as well as a ton of bath bombs and ballistics, I bought their Tea Tree Toner Water and Prince Charming Shower Gel. I used to swear by the Tea Tree Toner but then used all mine up and sorta forgot to re-buy. I had been suffering with some slight blemishes recently so this has helped keep them at bay and leave my skin a little clearer. It's been a while since I had one of Lush' shower gels so I decided on the Prince Charming one as I had a little Valentines themed binge buy. The scent reminds me of turkish delight, but not too sicky sweet, and with a nice fruitiness of the pomegranate too.

Another skincare item I've been using recently is the Avene Cleanance Expert Emulsion*, which reminds me a lot of the La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo, although that one usually breaks me out. It's a light lotion which really mattifies and smooths the skin, sinking in nicely. I've been using this every morning underneath my make-up and I have noticed a big difference in not only calming down any blemishes I do have, but really reducing how many are coming up in the first place. I've only been using this a couple of weeks but I'm seriously impressed so far, and I've seen some incredible before and after shots online!

After sticking with the same red lipstick for one too many months, I've been trying to add a few peachy and coral tones into the mix. I've rediscovered one of my favourite lipsticks from last summer, Liz Earle's Signature Lip Colour* in Melon. It's got such a creamy formula and really glides on the lips. It's well pigmented too and has vitamin e, avocado oil and shea butter in to help hydrate, which my dry lips have really been crying for recently. I don't need to wear any more peachy coral shades on my cheeks, so I dug out No7's Honey Blusher, which I think is the perfect natural contour shade for my pale skin. If ever I'm in a rush I'll pop this on and it adds a bit of definition to my cheeks as well as some colour.

What have been your favourite products throughout February?

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Fresh flowers are possibly my favourite thing to have around the house (maybe joint with scented candles), and when buying for my recent Valentine's Table post, I discovered Bloom & Wild. They're a flower delivery service but with a difference; all the flowers arrived beautifully packaged in a box designed to fit through your letterbox, so no having to wait around for deliverymen. 

I ordered the 'Charlotte' bouquet which was a gorgeous mix of purple, whites and greens. As you can see they come really well packaged, no flowers were damaged through sending, and two weeks later they're still going strong. The flowers arrived within a couple of days, and the overall service was just fantastic, I was seriously impressed. So being so in love, I jumped at the chance to work with Bloom & Wild and giveaway one of their beautiful bouquets to one of you!

There's only two mandatory options; follow this blog and head over to Bloom & Wild's Twitter and give them a little follow. The rest is optional, but as always you do have a better chance to win if you use them all. This is closing on Thursday 12th so I can get the winners details to B&W before they're Mother's Day deliveries are all sent out; so whether you'd like to treat yourself or a loved one, these are a perfect way to brighten up a day!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Thursday, 26 February 2015

Social media is the number one way of driving traffic to your blog; I spend my days tweeting, instagramming pictures and pinning the latest scandinavian style interior picture to my Pinterest account. Recently though, I've been a bit slack on the whole blog promotion front, so I thought I'd talk through ways I'll be trying to up my social media game. We're in time where not only do clients want you to have a good social media following, as well as blog followers, but people even get paid to tweet ads for companies, so the amount of Twitter followers you have may be more influential than you think.

I've decided to start dedicating certain times of the day to posting on my social media accounts. Of course, we don't want to have all our tweets or instagrams heading up at the same time, so there's some great scheduling tools you can use. My favourite to use is Hootsuite which is free, but there's also Buffer which can be used for various social media. But on your Facebook page you can schedule posts too, and you could even set little alarms on your phone to remind you to get pinning or tweeting! I like to do it first thing in the morning after my posts have gone live at 8am, and then schedule more tweets throughout the day. 

Get involved with people! Follow others and engage with what they're saying, rather than just tweeting your own links - nobody likes a spammer! A great way to really get involved online are with the blogger chats, of which there are so many of these days. Sophie posted a great list of them here which I like to keep bookmarked so I don't miss the ones that interest me. Being friendly and adding your own thoughts and opinions to topics and conversations will get your Twitter noticed, and eventually your blog noticed too. 

Twitter isn't just a place to rant about public transport, or solely publish blog links. Make sure the people who are following you on Twitter or Facebook are also following you on Instagram and Pinterest, if they'd like to, of course. A simple "Join me on Instagram!" with a selection of your latest 'grams and the link would suffice, or post individual pictures with a link back. 

It has been claimed that tweets or facebook posts that include a picture are over twice as successful, in terms of reach and engagement figures, as posts with words alone. I know I find this to be true with the majority of the things I put out on social media, so making an effort to add a picture to your latest blog post link can make it stand out more. Also, rather than just selecting 'Share to Twitter' when I instagram pictures, which just shows the link to the image, I'll add it myself later with the actual picture showing and a link back.

Usually, the first thing someone looks at when going on any of your social media accounts is the picture, and bio. Make sure they're updated regularly, and make them interesting and personable. I wish I was funny enough to add a bit of wit into mine, but sadly that doesn't come naturally enough to me. Twitter has recently added in the header photo, which is a great way to promote blog images. Make sure you have your blog links and email available also, so pr's can find you if they'd like.

This is less of what you can do on social media, and more what you can do to make your blog posts more easily share-able online. I've recently added both to my blog, and it's actually quite intriguing seeing what people pin of my images to their Pinterest accounts. The button automatically creates a link so all the images track back to your blog. If people find your content interesting, the share it buttons are a great way to let them post it on their various social media accounts. If they do, make sure you follow the earlier points and thank them, or get involved in a conversation about the post with them.

How do you create a traffic flow from social media to your blog?

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Wednesday, 25 February 2015

A couple of weeks ago I sat in my bedroom and felt pretty unhappy with how it was looking. Everything looked a bit mismatched, I wasn't keeping it particularly tidy, and it just wasn't feeling how I should in a bedroom. So after a bit of Pinterest inspiration (of course) I decided on a colour theme, had a bit of a rearrange, and added in a few new pieces.

First up was adding the crate and wire picture display to the walls; I was a bit unsure of whether to do this at first, but I really like the look it creates, and considering all I had were open white walls beforehand, it adds a bit more interest too. They go in well with the white/gold/copper/pink colour theme I've got going on too, as well as adding a bit of height above the chest of drawers. On top of them I popped on a few books in those colours, a peace lily, my old 1950s Metamec lamp clock and my copper pineapple, which is a perfect way to keep things a bit tidier.

I also made the extremely difficult decision to put my Made Austin Table Lamp on the bedside table, and I'm waiting for another one to arrive for the opposite side. I like the flooring in the room but I think adding a simple faux sheepskin rug adds a bit of extra comfort in there too.

There's still a few more pieces I'd like to add in, but overall I'm feeling so much happier with how it's looking in there.

What do you think of the changes I've made?