Friday, 9 December 2016

Revive & Refresh During Winter

We can all admit that the winter weather can often dampen our moods, I know it definitely can dampen mine as all I want to do is curl up under a blanket and not face the cold temperatures on some days. I'm sure we all have those days, but it's important to take some time for yourself and take care of yourself during the winter months, and I thought i'd share some of my favourites ways to refresh and pick myself up during the cold winter months.
With Christmas fast approaching, I know my festive spirits are in full swing but the cold weather seems to have crept in almost over night and it certainly has taken some getting used to. What with getting up extra early to de ice the car and lighting all the candles possible to give a little extra warmth in the evenings and having the motivation to go to the gym is slowly disappearing. That being said over the last few weekends i've been taking some time for myself to brighten my mood and hopefully some of these will help you too!

Most weekends I will take Sunday afternoon out to give myself some much needed me time, and there a few ways in which I like to do this. Whether it's having a Youtube sub box catch up or having a well deserved quiet afternoon with a hot cup of tea then so be it. It's always important to give yourself some time to recuperate and relax, especially if your weeks are as hectic as mine. I'm currently catching up on The Missing as I completely missed the memo and everyone has been raving about good it is. So far i'm hooked but i'm still a bit behind - so don't spoil it for me please.

For me there is nothing better than a little pamper time as it definitely helps to brighten my mood and to generally make me feel a lot better. I love dipping into a piping hot bath with my favourite body products and at the moment i'm loving Lush Magic Wand Bubblebar (£5.95) and The Body Shop Vanilla Chai Showergel (£5) as they are totally festive and smell bloody amazing! I also enjoy giving my nails a new lick of paint and with the festive season in full swing there is nothing better than coating your nails is a layer of glitter goodness. Some of my favourite festive shades have to be from Ciate as I luckily was gifted the advent calendar last year. For a festive glittery red I always opt for Ciate Rom Com Rouge, which I think was exclusive to that calendar but it's a beautiful shade that completely gets me in the festive mood. Another shade I love is the Ciate Snow Globe (£9) which as the name would suggest makes your nails look like a snow globe, and I just love it!

We all know how important sleep is and ensuring that you're well rested during the winter months is key as we all know the cold weather can really take it's toll on us and our bodies. With working the long hours that I do I really do rely on a good nights sleep, otherwise I just end up feeling groggy and just generally lacking energy. On nights where I struggle to sleep I usually light some candles to help me relax and unwind, and a candle i've found that really helps is the Harvey Nichols Sleep Candle (£35). It has a really subtle yet soothing scent of pure lavender which isn't actually my favourite of scents but it truly works to help you relax and unwind after a long day.

Although we can't stay cooped up in doors all the time, it's important to also ensure we're not spending too long outside. I always end up with a dreaded cold during the winter months and so far i'm shocked I haven't caught one yet but time will tell. It's always important to keep yourself wrapped up and warm during the cold months, and my blanket collection has become a bit over the top but I love nothing more than popping on my cosiest slipper socks and bundling myself up under a blanket or two with a warm cuppa or hot chocolate in hand.

One way that instantly perks up my mood is doing something festive in order to heighten my festive spirit and to distract myself from how bitterly cold it is. Last weekend I decorated our Christmas tree whilst singing Christmas songs, and this weekend i've spent a good proportion wrapping all of my Christmas shopping ready for visiting my Dad next weekend. Another way you can get in the festive spirit without facing the cold weather is to do some Christmas baking. I've been pinning a few recipes on my Pinterest recently and my favourite has to be these cute Ginger Bread Cookies!

How do you pick yourself up during the winter months?

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Christmas Gift Guide: For Him

After my last three Christmas gift guides going down very well, I thought that it was only right to finish this year gift guide series with one specifically aimed at the men out there as I know how difficult it can be to buy for men, especially those who never know what they want for Christmas or are just difficult to buy for. Also, if you missed my previous gift guide posts then make sure you're all caught up on them here, as there plenty of gift ideas if you're struggling with Christmas shopping.
When it comes to shopping for men, unless you really know them then no doubt you will probably have a slight struggle and I know men hate receiving those god awful Lynx sets that we see every year, so I thought i'd cover a few different aspects within this gift guide that will hopefully help get the men in your life smiling this Christmas!

When putting together this gift guide I definitely kept in mind the men in my life, such as my Dad, Grandfathers and friends all of who have different tastes so when it comes to purchasing gifts for them I bare in mind what they enjoy individually. If like my Dad you have someone in your life who loves their wine or port, then the Maynards Port Wine Encyclopaedia (£19.99) would make the perfect gift. This gift set contains a selection of the finest Maynards ports and with six different ports to try, they'll definitely be enjoying a glass or two this Christmas season. This particular gift set I spotted in my local Aldi store, which may surprise you but Aldi are really stepping up their game with the products in which they stock and they have a wonderful selection of gifts this year.

Sticking with the beverages another gift that is great for the men who love their food, but particularly love a good chutney with their cheeseboard then you'll be sure to find a lovely selection from The English Provender Company. Their well known for their award winning chutney and pickle blends that they've been curating since the late 70's and is a brand I know my Dad personally loves! A favourite of his is their award winning Caramelised Red Onion Chutney* (£1.90), which he personally loves on a good cheese sandwich, simple but classic. Another one of his favourites is their Classic Chutney Pickle (£1.50), which he personally loves to serve to accompany his well loved home made game pie, which no doubt he'll be serving up again this Christmas.

Lastly on the food and beverage side of this gift guide is actually a personal favourite of my own, but I know a lot of men will also appreciate this gift this Christmas. If you have a man in your life who is into their fitness or is looking to eat a little more healthier come the new year then Joe Wicks Lean in 15 The Shape Plan Book (£8). I recently picked this up from my works book club as it was reduced to an amazing price and I couldn't not give it a go. I personally love this book for the recipes which are not only delicious but super quick and easy to make, but overall it teaches you all about what foods you should be eating whilst also providing daily workouts that you can do in the comfort of your own home. All in all this book would make a great gift for anyone this Christmas.

Moving onto the more beauty and fashion items that i've tried to keep somewhat minimal as I went a tad overboard in my last gift guides. Starting off with an item that I think all men take pride in, especially when they work in a business role where dressing smart is important to them is a watch. A personal favourite of a few of my friends boyfriend's happens to be Daniel Wellington who I also personally love and have featured many a time on this little blog. Although all of Daniel Wellington's watches are beautifully elegant, one watch that I think would make the perfect gift this Christmas is their Classic York Watch* (£159). With it's croc effect leather strap and large watch face it's makes the perfect addition to any outfit and exudes a touch of class. Lastly for this gift guide comes an easy one, a fragrance and i'm sure every man has their favourite fragrance. My stepdad personally loves Diesel Only The Brave (£29.99) which is a classic scent that is also quite distinctive, and is one that I recognise a lot men wearing. If you're looking for a new fragrance to treat a loved one to, then go and give this a test as i'm sure they'd love it!

So that is my final instalment of my gift guide series for this year! I hope that these gift guides have given you some gift ideas for your loved ones or maybe just yourself, and I hope you've enjoyed reading them.

What gifts do go for when shopping for him?

Monday, 5 December 2016

Getting The Most Out Of Blog Promotion On Twitter

As bloggers we want to gain the most exposure through our means of promotion, but also figuring out how to promote your blog and posts in the best way possible can often be difficult and hard to get your head around. One of my favourite social media channels to promote my blog through is of course Twitter, as it is the main source of promotion that I actually gain exposure from but again knowing the best ways to utilise Twitter isn't just hand to you. So I thought i'd share some tips on how I promote my blog through Twitter, and which means of promotion are the most effective in my experience.
Over the four years that i've been blogging promotion has changed in many ways, and back when I first started blogging I knew absolutely nothing about promoting my blog through the means of social media. Through the years I have picked up some great tips, but everyday i'm still learning more and the platforms in which many bloggers use or have used shift constantly. Back in the beginning Blogger and GFC were the main ways in which you followed and read blogs, and then it shifted to Bloglovin' and now I find that I gain the most exposure or following through my social media channels, with Twitter being the main driver for my blogs promotion. With Twitter being that main driver utilising it in the best way possible will benefit your blogs exposure, so here are a few simple ways to promote your blog through Twitter.

Back when I first started blogging and promoting my blog through Twitter one way in which I interacted and I guess gained exposure was through Twitter chats, and back then there was only a select few and everyone joined in, and I made some great pals through those chats. Nowdays there are so many chats, with at least two happening most evenings of the week but I like to cosy down on a Sunday evening after my dinner and join in then, as there are a fair few of a Sunday evening. The main ones for me are the LBloggers Chat, Blogosphere Chat ran by Blogopshere Magazine and then BBloggers Chat which all take place from 7pm-9pm. The majority of these chats are hosted by a different blogger each week, and generally have a different topic of which allows everyone to get involved and share their individual opinion or experiences. I love Twitter chats as it allows you to discover bloggers you haven't come across before but it is also a great way to promote your recent posts and blog in general.

Following on from Twitter chats, using those same hashtags that are used during those chats to just generally promote every tweet you put out regarding your blog instantly allows your tweets to reach more than just the people who follow you which also can include brands who potentially may want to work with you. Whenever i'm putting out a tweet promoting my blog or latest blog posts I always ensure I use #bbloggers (beauty bloggers), #lbloggers (lifestyle bloggers) and #fbloggers (fashion bloggers), mainly because they are the hashtags that tie in with my blogs theme and general persona. Again similarly to Twitter chats there are now so many different hashtags, and getting your head around what they all stand for can be difficult but the ones I have mentioned are the generally most used hashtags that help to get your tweets seen.

When promoting blog posts on Twitter, if that particular blog post has a brand or many brands featured it's always in your best interest to ensure you're tagging those brands Twitter pages, because nine times out of ten they will retweet and/or favourite your tweets to their following, thus meaning your post gets pushed out to a lot of people. What is great about Twitter now is that rather than using up your 140 character count tagging brands, you can tag them in any pictures you upload meaning you can get the most out of your tweets, so a big thank you to Twitter for sorting that out finally!

As well as tagging brands in your tweets in order to gain a bit of extra promotion, there are accounts on Twitter dedicated to retweeting bloggers tweets in order to reach more bloggers/readers and just simply tagging them in your posts means that they will retweet you. I usually don't tag retweet accounts as I end up going over my character count but when I have it does definitely help just push my tweets that little bit further, and it's great if you're just starting out blogging. The few retweet accounts that I use and follow are UK Blogger RT, Female Blogger RT and BBlog RT.

If like me you work full time and you don't have time to be sitting on social media all day then scheduling tweets will literally be your life saver as it allows you to still promote your posts on Twitter throughout the day. My favourite app to use is Buffer as you can completely customise it to your own needs with how tweets you want to put out a day, what time periods you want tweets to go out and it provides analytics to any tweets posted through the app. I always schedule my tweets during week days as it literally takes 10 minutes in the morning to schedule everything for the day ahead, and it means that I don't have to worry about promoting my blog through Twitter as it does it for you.

So those are a few ways that I promote my blog through Twitter, of which I find to be the most effective in order to gain as much exposure as possible. Make sure you're following me on Twitter as I love following everyone back, so come say hi!

How do you promote your blog through Twitter?

Friday, 2 December 2016

November Favourites

Now that December is fully in swing it only seemed right to give a little round up of a few products i've been loving, and although i've been trying a fair few new products this past month I found it quite hard to pull together this post, as i'm still getting to grips with some products. However a few products i've rediscovered and I wanted to share some love especially if you're struggling with things to add to your Christmas wishlist.
November all in all was a good month, but also a very busy month work wise with many late evenings and not so many stressless days, so i'm glad we're finally in the run up to Christmas. During December I have a few random days off work here and there, and i'm really hoping to create some festive content that I hope you will all enjoy, as I do really enjoy putting out new content but it's often hard juggling it all with work and just life in general, so stay tuned for some exciting posts!

Onto the post and i'm going to get straight in with my first and most worn items of the month. If you saw my recent post, you'll of seen that I finally made a cheeky little Colour Pop haul as i've heard some amazing things about their products, their lip products especially. All month long i've been alternating between two of their Ultra Matte Lip ($6) in the shades Midi and Times Square. The main reason I wanted to get my hands on these especially is because there has been a lot of hype around them being dupes for the Kylie Lip Kits, which I have tried and love but I wondered if these would be a more affordable option, of which I will be doing a whole post on soon so stay Midi being a very pale nude pink, which is supposably a dupe for Koko K but it's not in my opinion. Times Square on the other hand is a true brown nude with a lovely red undertone that I think really suits my complexion and skin tone. Formula wise they are very matte, but they aren't uncomfortable like some matte liquid lipsticks can be and they do last really well throughout the day, however I do find they come off very easily when eating but that's not something that majorly bothers me.

Moving onto the next product that i've been absolutely loving the past couple of weeks, and if you saw my recent haul then you'll have seen I picked up a load of bits from The Body Shop Christmas range! Upon first smelling the bits I ordered I knew that I had to crack open the Vanilla Chai Shower Gel (£5) straight away as it smelt incredible. The scent I thought would be your typical vanilla scent but with the added chai it has a somewhat Christmasy feel to it that I just love, and the scent lingers so long after! If you're a lover of festive scented body products or just vanilla products in general then you'll love this. 

Onto the rediscoveries of which I think i'll always love and often use but from time to time products often get replaced for the newest or latest thing. Firstly is the Collection Lasting Perfection Concealer (£4.19) which I have recently repurchased after literally scraping the last bits out of my previous one for months, and I thought it was about time I picked up a new one. For anyone who has tried this concealer you'll know how good it is, as it gives amazing coverage to any blemishes or uneven areas and it's also pretty good at highlighting. For a really affordable concealer it's definitely one to try if you haven't already! Lastly for my November favourites it the Marc Jacobs Decadence Perfume (£44.10) which I kindly received for Christmas last year and this didn't really get much love during the summer months, but now that winter is in full swing it's come back out and i've remembered how much I love it. Typically it's not the usual Marc Jacobs sweet girly scent, but the sophistication to it is still very me and the packaging is just as unique as all of his fragrances.

What products have you been loving this past month?

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