Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Hope Girl Cosmetics Review

Asian beauty products can do very little wrong in my eyes, and I've loved just about everything I've ever tried. I've received three Memeboxes full of Korean goodies that I've been testing out over the last couple of months but I also did a beauty swap last year with a fellow blogger in Malaysia, and so it's fair to say I've tried out quiiite lot of products by this stage! The latest brand I've been using to decorate my face certainly disappoint either, Hope Girl Cosmetics are a high quality beauty brand made in Korea and loved by women around the world. I was seriously excited to try this stuff out, not only is the packaging adorable (and very well made too- everything is metal rather than cheapy plastic) but all of the reviews I've seen for these products has been really positive. You can buy Hope Girl products (including an exciting looking 'back to school box!) from Memebox.

Hope Girl Milky Balm Lipstick and Hope Girl Wonder Magic Mascara
 I think I've found my new autumn/ winter staple red lipstick! This is so nice, incredibly creamy to apply and lasts nicely on the lips too. Blue toned reds are my absolute favourites and this shade 'Chicago Red' is exactly that. The formula is quite moisturising and so it doesn't highlight any imperfections on the lips, and the shade makes your teeth look a shade whiter too which is always nice! I found that after a couple of hours this had gone from the glossy red to a slightly more pinkish stain on the lips which I really liked. As soon as I saw the mascara wand I knew I was going to like it, these smaller brushes are great for lengthening the lashes and unlike big wands are a lot less clumpy. This is my new everyday mascara and I've been really enjoying using it, I'm quite fussy when it comes to finding mascara I like but I have no complaints at all with this one.

 Hope Girl Honey Bling Blusher and Hope Girl Nail Travel Bling Bling Set
 The blush has to be my favourite thing in the box, and seeing as I don't usually like pink blushes that in itself speaks wonders. It's the most gorgeous finely milled product that applies like silk it's just beautiful (texture wise it feels very similar to Mac blushes). The colour is a nice light neutral pink that's especially nice on pale skin, I don't usually like pink on my cheeks but I'll definitely wear this as the colour is very flattering. The travel nail set would be perfect for taking away on holiday, there are enough colours to be able to switch around your nail polish and because they're all coordinating you can do some really pretty looks with them. I've been painting my nails using the darker nude, then using the lighter polish topped with the glitter on my accent nail. They're quick drying and opaque in two coats, and that sparkly polish is mesmerising!

 Hope Girl Powdery Body Perfume
I had no idea what to expect when I opened this up, I've never seen anything like this before here in the UK (I could only liken it to maybe very posh talc?) It's a silky silica powder which contains sweat absorbing micro particles that help to keep you feeling fresh all night, the packaging states that it's berry scented but I can't detect much of a scent to it. The powder transfers through the big sponge on top meaning it's easy to dab on places like your neck and chest area, I think this is a good idea in theory but I'm yet to put it to the test properly- I'll have to pop it in my clutch bag next time I go on a night out and see how it performs!

Have you heard of Hope Girl Cosmetics?
This month's platinum advertiser is Laura from Lola and Behold

Monday, 25 August 2014

Autumn Homeware Wishlist

I write seasonal wishlists every year, but to be honest a lot of the same stuff tends to crop up each season. Every time autumn rolls back around I'm all about dark lip and nail colours, scarves, dark coloured statement jewellery and other predictable items (I know right...typical blogger). So rather than reiterate the same old stuff that I'm lusting over, and repeating what beauty and fashion items will inevitably end up in my shopping basket this year I thought I'd do something different. This will be the first autumn I've lived in my current house and I'm actually looking forward to it, moving from a one bedroom flat to a much bigger house gives a lot more room to manoeuvre when it comes to decorative bits and bobs! I know we have a couple of weeks of mediocre 'leftover summer weather' before autumn really starts next month, but for once I'm kind of excited about it. Here are a few of the autumnal homewares that I have my eye on at the moment.

Yankee Candles
I definitely want to pick up a few new Yankee candles in warm, autumn-y scents. Autumn Wreath contains notes of autumn spices, apple and cinnamon- and then Cinnamon Stick is my favourite candle of all time (seriously every time I have this candle I cant leave it alone, and am constantly sticking my nose in the jar). There's no quicker way to make your home feel and smell more cosy than having a few of these beauties on the go, they don't come cheap but will easily last for the entire autumn and into winter.

Cosy Blankets
One thing I'm really looking forward to this autumn is spending cosy nights on the sofa under a soft blanket. I'm not much of a tv watcher but there always seems to be more stuff on when the weather gets colder (I'm personally getting way over excited for the return of Walking Dead!) It's just so nice to cosy up in your slippers and dressing gown with the heating up in the evenings, especially when there's something good to watch.

Autumn Wreath
There are loads of cute autumn decor pieces in shops at the moment, I spotted some autumn themed wreaths in a local market last weekend and fell in love with them. I always associated wreaths with Christmas but you can find them for just about any occasion, I'm not sure if this is more of a U.S thing but I'm definitely on board!

 I know- grandma chic or what. It seems a shame that teapots have such a bad rep as being old fashioned though, I mean they're so cute and practical. When the colder weather comes along and you're drinking more hot drinks, it makes sense to make a whole pot up rather than boiling up the kettle every twenty minutes. I'll definitely be investing in a teapot this year, I think it will be really nice with herbal tea infused with loads of lemon slices.

Cake Stand
I have to admit, when it comes to baking I'm absolutely useless. While I'm not too bad at cooking (I've managed to keep myself alive since moving out of my mums house seven years ago, so at least thats something right?) I'm certainly no baker and every time I've tried it's ended up in disaster. But this year I'm going to give baking another go, I'd love to be able to whip up impressive looking cupcakes and things and so will have to get a bit of practise in. And of course I need a stand to display my creations (and if it all goes to pot I can use it for displaying Lush bath bombs on in my bathroom!)

Do you have your eye on any seasonal homewares?
My Platinum advertiser is Laura from Lola and Behold

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Advice for New Bloggers: My Top Tips!

What advice would you give to a brand new blogger? I know when I first started out I spent the first few months feeling really lost and confused, and I bet that was the case for most of us. I'm sure there have been a huge number of blogs that have been abandoned after just a few weeks (even though they had the potential to be great) simply because the blogger didn't know what they were doing. A question I've been asked a few times is what advice I'd give to a new blogger, and so I thought I'd sum it all up in one post- if you're new to the blogging world I hope it helps you out!
Read lots of other blogs
 This is something I never did in the beginning, just because I had absolutely no idea how to find other bloggers. But once you discover the blogging community (filled with masses of content all about things that you're interested in!) well put it this way... you'll become a lot less interested in reading magazines. Not only will you now always have something to read whenever you're at a loose end, but spending time reading and appreciating other people's content will inspire you and give you a feel for what blogging in your niche is like. For example, I quickly realised that the tone of writing on blogs tends to be a lot more chatty and conversational than the formal 'university essay' tone I'd been using (which makes for much nicer, lighter reading too!) In no way should you copy or become a clone of other blogs but being well read on your topic is never a bad thing- and you'll find your own voice and writing style along the way. Now that Bloglovin is widely used it's really easy to find new blogs to read. After signing up, go to 'find blogs' at the top of the page and search the category you're interested in.

Be active on Twitter and join in with Twitter chats
When I first started blogging I spent ages searching things like 'blog directories' as a way to find and meet other bloggers. It turns out that a lot of these are not only hugely out of date but only contain a very small amount of bloggers. Twitter is the place to go, most bloggers have a Twitter account and communicate through different blogging related hashtags. There are Twitter chats scheduled at different times where bloggers can join in and chat about a set weekly topic, Rebecca from Autumn Leaves has written a great guide to the blogger chats here. I definitely recommend having a look through if you're new to them. Using Twitter will help you get to know other bloggers in the community, if you check your account regularly you'll be able to quickly respond to any replies or messages.

Post regularly
Posting regularly doesn't mean posting every day (unless you want to!) The best thing to do is to set a realistic schedule, if you work full time or have other commitments outside of blogging you could post less often at a pace that suits you. I've never had a set routine or days when I post, some months I'll post every day and others it will be between one and three times a week. As a general rule I don't leave more than a week's gap between posts, and I've found this works well for me. There are always going to be days when you don't feel in the mood to write or sometimes life can get in the way, and so it's a good idea to have a couple of backup posts saved in your drafts ready to go. Write one or two up when you're on a roll, and keep them for whenever the brain cogs don't want to function. Ive written a post on how to overcome the dreaded bloggers block here.

Find a blog design you're happy with
This is something I wish I'd done sooner when I first started out. I've spent more time than I care to admit over the years feeling like my blog looked rubbish, and when you're already having a bit of a negative day it can make you wonder why you're even bothering. I spent a really long time teaching myself html and design skills from scratch to build a template I'm happy with, but if you don't have a lot of time/ patience to spare (because it can be SO frustrating) I highly recommend working with a blog designer. When you're happy with your blog I find it makes you much more motivated to actually want to work on it and spend time on it. You can get full blogger templates including installation for less than £20 (check out Aleelily's designs, she does custom templates and installation for just £12). Or check out Etsy for premade blogger templates. A blog design that's easy to navigate with clear social media icons and follow options is your best bet, if you want to gain a readership you'll need to make sure people can find the links to follow you easily!

Blog for the right reasons
Why do you want to start a blog? Hopefully because you enjoy writing and want to share a passion on a certain topic with likeminded people. If you've started a blog purely because you've heard you might get freebies, invites to big events and loads of cash from sponsored posts- trust me you are 100% setting yourself up to fail. Being sent products to review is a nice perk, but this only happens much later down the line. Are you really going to spend hundreds of hours writing, taking photos and growing your blog (for a year or more) just to get a few samples when your heart's not really in it? With the time and effort it takes getting your blog to a stage where PR's will want to work with you, doing it for the cost of free stuff alone just isn't worth it. You absolutely have to enjoy what you do.

Appreciate every reader, but dont get caught up with numbers
Sometimes blogging can feel like a numbers game, I think every blogger has been guilty of this at some point. I wont deny it's amazing seeing your follower numbers creep up, but keeping constant tabs on them can be exhausting. Every now and then your follower count might stay the same for ages (or even drop) and it can have you questioning yourself and wondering what you're doing wrong. Take a step back and shift your focus back your content and connecting with your existing readers. In the very early days of blogging try not to get caught up with followers numbers at all, and just concentrate on getting lots of high quality content published onto your blog.

Dont be discouraged 
Early on, you WILL feel like you're speaking to yourself. Your views on every post will be low and comments will be few and far between. It can be disheartening when you spend time on a post and feel as though noone is reading, but building up a readership takes time. Don't feel as though you're failing because you're not reaching many people, every single blogger starts at this point!

Dont give up!
Finally, the most important one. Dont give up! If you're fond of a good cliche just remember 'Rome wasn't built in a day'. It's likely to be mixture of all of the above points which causes so many new bloggers to burn out and abandon their blogs after a few weeks or months, but if it's something you enjoy stick with it. Put your spare time and energy into something productive that you can be proud of, and who knows where it could lead.

What's your best advice for new bloggers? 
This months platinum advertiser is Laura from Lola and Behold

Friday, 22 August 2014

Nivea Sun Protect and Bronze Face Cream (+ Giveaway!)

Well I think it's fair to say the hottest days of the summer are well and truly over, I've been waiting around for this 'second heat wave' we were supposed to have been getting but think mr weatherman might have been off the mark on that one. Over the last week I've changed my bedding back to my regular thick quilt, and after being barefoot for months have even started wearing socks around the house again where it's been really quite chilly! So while it might not seem like the best time for a sunscreen giveaway dont forget it's important to protect skin from the sun all year round- those crafty UV rays are just as damaging when you're building a snowman as they are when you're building a sandcastle. I've always had a bit of a 'mehhh' approach to facial sunscreens when the weather isn't hot, but this one by Nivea is so nice that it's actually changed my mind. It's so light and can be worn under makeup without making your foundation slip or slide all over the skin, and it absorbs so quickly it's been no effort whatsoever slotting it into my routine. I've been using Nivea sun protection products all summer and I'm honestly so impressed with them, as someone who hates heavy thick lotions and potions their lightweight and easily absorbed formulas have been an absolute god send.

Nivea's Sun Protect and Bronze contains plant extracts which support the skin's own menalin production, which means they also help your natural tan develop more quickly as well as protect from damage. It has a highly effective UVA/UVB filter system, and protects immediately after applying. Even if like me you're iffy about facial sunscreen I highly recommend giving these a go, they're so much nicer than all of the other similar products I've tried. They're inexpensive and you only need the tiniest amount (and if it keeps the signs of aging away for as long as possible that's always a good thing right!)

Nivea have very generously offered to giveaway TEN of these amazing little facial sunscreens, so enter below for a chance to win! There will be ten winners and the giveaway will run for two weeks. Good Luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
This months platinum advertiser is Laura from Lola and Behold

Friday, 15 August 2014

Fragrance Friday: Impulse Vanilla Kisses (90's Re-Launch)

I'm pretty sure Impulse sprays were one of the first beauty products I used to buy for myself- even at about age twelve before I became interested in makeup these beauties were definitely 'the product to have'. I can remember in my first few years of secondary school heading down to my local chemists at the weekends with a couple of pounds in my pocket to make the ever important choice of which one I wanted for the week (thinking back that shop assistant must have really hated me going in there and spraying all of their testers, but these were important decisions!) But far from just being school bag essentials, Impulse sprays have been given a modern makeover and now feature twelve designer fragrances meaning they're great for any age. Whether they're to chuck in your work or gym bag, or to just keep in your handbag for topups on the go they're fun and inexpensive and just perfect for everyday.

Vanilla Kisses is a 90's fragrance that's been brought back by popular demand; it's been re-launched to celebrate Superdrug's 50th birthday and I think it was a great choice of scent to bring back as it smells just gorgeous. The internationally renowned fragrance experts of Calvin Klein and Dior have redesigned this giving a modern twist on the original, it now contains real perfume oils which of course helps the scent last for a lot longer (and is also a real bonus in such an inexpensive product!) Superdrug have quite nicely summed up the scent on their website as 'a feminine floral heart of whiteflowers with an intriguing oriental base of vanilla melt in a musky and sensual scent.' It has fruit top notes of apple and peach too, and so while it's a body spray you still get a lot of depth a lot like you would in an actual perfume. Everything is really nicely balanced with the star of the show being the vanilla- this is definitely no bad thing in my book as I'm vanilla obsessed (you should smell my house, I have vanilla plug-in air fresheners and candles everywhere!)

If you haven't picked up Impulse sprays in years I highly recommend giving them another go, the newly reformulated scents have all been modernised and so there's no worry of smelling like a 90's teenager! If you're after something a bit lighter and more casual than perfume for day to day but which has a nice amount of depth to it, then these are for you. Even as a self confessed perfume junkie I think these are perfect little handbag staples, I'll can't wait to try out some of the other scents.

Have you tried the newly reformulated Impulse sprays?
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