How To Gain Followers On Bloglovin'

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Last week I hit a personal milestone on Bloglovin'  - 80,000 followers!! This is a pretty mind blowing number for me, as not only is that a hell of a lot of people, but up until a few years ago I had under 10,000 followers (still a lot, but ya know what I mean!). 

So today I thought I'd share with you a few of the ways you can grow your own readership through Bloglovin', from what I feel has worked for me!


Add a widget to your blog and connect your social media accounts 
 Adding a Bloglovin' widget to the sidebar of your blog is a must! I'd recommend placing the widget fairly high up in the sidebar just under your profile image or with your social media icons - you can find all the downloadable widgets here. This will 100% prompt readers to follow you. Next you want to connect your Bloglovin' account to any social media accounts you are active on. This I think is an overlooked option on Bloglovin' but one that's so handy as it will publish all new posts to your social media accounts for you. To do this, visit your 'Blog analytics' on Bloglovin' and you will find to the bottom of the page 'Connect to Facebook' 'Connect to Twitter'.


Make your first image of each blog post stand out! 
 Bold, eye-catching images on Bloglovin' work . Good photos will catch people's eye and they will be much more likely to click through to the blog post and also follow you. Of course you want all your blog images to be of good quality but it's the first image to the post that will appear as the preview image on Bloglovin', so make sure it's the best it can be! As for how Bloglovin' layout images, landscape photos appear the smallest and then portrait. But if you want a blog post to really stand out opt for a longer portrait image - my standard images are 600px by 700px so I'd go for 600px by 900px (a good example of this is the 'New Look' image above).

PS. I've seen bloggers place a sponsored bar image (to state the blog post is sponsored) at the top of blog posts, this of course is then used on Bloglovin' as their preview image, so it appears as slim image that has the words 'Sponsored Content' to it. This is a big no-no and won't encourage anyone to click on the post from Bloglovin' (not because it's sponsored but because there's no main image!). So make sure to place any images like this after your main blog image.

Promote blog posts on social media with the Bloglovin' link 
Have you ever noticed the 'Share' button under each blog post preview on Bloglovin'? It's easy to miss. In fact I only starting using it last year and now I use it daily to share my own blog posts on Twitter and to 'pin' blog posts to my revelant Pinterest boards. You can even be nice and share other blogger's blog posts that you've enjoyed reading!

Look at what type of blog posts in your niche get the most 'likes' 
 This is such a simple tip but one that can really help grow your popularity on Bloglovin'. Simply click 'explore' and browse though hundreds of blog posts, seeking inspiration for the most liked posts. Working out what types of posts are popular in your blogging niche can really help. But also looking at how blog posts are titled and photographed can make your own photography and writing styles flourish! 

Hope these simple tips can help you on your way to Bloglovin' success! 

Fee xo.


Beauty Gadgets & Gimmicks Put to the Test #3

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Today I have quite the selection of unique and wonderful products for you! 

If you aren't familiar with these posts, it's basically where I put 5 unusual beauty products to the test and tell you if they are gimmicks or not - with some destined for the bin and some going straight into my beauty stash. Here are five more products I've been putting to the test this month! 

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The Body Shop Spa of the World Himalayan Charcoal Body Clay 
£16.00/200ml - The Body Shop here 
As soon as this product launched I knew I had to try it out - 1. Because I love clay based face masks 2. There's nothing else like it on the high street or even high end. I instantly loved all of the 'Spa of the World' packaging and though £16.00 is a little steep I feel the products and packaging are in line with the pricing and look quite luxury. The idea of this body clay is to bring a spa-like experience into the home, which I can kind of see as it's a novelty to smear yourself in clay but it would have been nice to see a warming element to it... I personally can't see myself standing naked in the bathroom for 10 minutes as this dries, come Winter! As well as this feeling like a spa treatment the charcoal body clay aims to draw out impurities in the skin (possibly good for anyone that suffers from blocked pores or blemishes) and to soften the skin. I personally enjoyed applying what I guess is essentially a body mask, though it was messy, and feeling it slightly tighten as it dried. As for results my skin initially felt super soft and I was sure my 'chicken skin' arms benefited from it as the bumps were less visible!
Is it a gimmick? Though it's not something I would use weekly it's definitely not a gimmick and has definitely had some thought but into it. If you are serious about your pampering time then this is a product to try out!

Miss Sporty Peel Off Base Coat 
£2.29 - Boots in-store 
With a passion for glitter nail polish and the festive season coming up I thought now was the time to hunt down a good peel-off base coat. Because lets face it, removing glitter nail polish is a pleasurable and sticking needles in your eyes (what a lovely thought!). Of course I could have made my own with PVA Glue but for the purpose of this post I thought I'd track down a budget high street offering. With my bargain Miss Sporty Base Coat in hand I applied it to my nails and when it finally dried I applied the most glittery nail polish I owned - it's by Deborah Lippmann and I normally chip it off as it's so stubborn to remove! Then the next day I tried to peel it off, "tried" being the operative word here. Okay, it did peel off but in 2mm pieces and left my nails look dry and almost like I'd peel off parts - eep! Maybe I didn't apply enough, or maybe I applied too much, but from looking at the reviews on the Boots website I'm not the only one that it's happened to.
Is it a gimmick? I think the question here should be - Are peel-off base coats a gimmick? And I really don't know, though I'm leaning towards yes after trying out the Miss Sporty one. I really do need to try out a few more and the DIY PVA-Glue version. But I know that if a base coat really did make nail polish peel right off it would be such a hit and so far there just hasn't been one!

Deep Kineticell Crackle Mousse  
£19.95 - Amazon here 
 There's nothing more gimmick-y than a product that suggests it can reduce the appearance of cellulite, right? Okay, that may be a little harsh but we all know deep down that cellulite can be hard to budge even with a clean diet and exercise, so what's a topical product going to do! But as I'm still in denial that I can love pizza and have the cellulite-free loins of Cara Delevingne, I thought this interesting mousse was worth giving a go - plus it's crackles! I will spare you the technology here but will say it's a combination of 12 active ingredients and with very interesting crackle feel and sounding mousse I did feel like there had been some thought and technology behind it! Aside for the crackle the mousse creates this also produces quite a cold feeling that's quite fresh and awakening to the skin. As for how my skin looked after applying the mousse I was actually happy with the results - my skin definitely looked firmer and less sluggish if that makes sense! Kind of like if I had dry brushed by skin, minus the redness.
Is it a gimmick? Even though I've really enjoyed using this product and it does initially give the skin a firmer appearance, this really isn't a product that will give long lasting results. Good for special occasions where you want to look and feel your best though! Side note - If the brand came out with a firming facial version of this I would be tempted to purchase it! 

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JML Mineral Magic Powder 
£9.99 - Amazon here 
 After seeing hundreds of positive reviews of this mineral powder on Amazon I was intrigued to try it out as I know how lightweight mineral makeup can feel on the skin. Plus with a pretty speckling of pastel pigments that apparently result in a flawless complexion I was sold. When this arrived it instantly looked too dark for me, though some reviews stated it adapted to their skin whilst other said it was too pale! After dusting my skin with the mineral powder with the provided brush I liked how it evened out my skin but needed more coverage so I went for a second layer... this is were I went wrong and also orange. The powder though it didn't look cakey looked dry on my skin, settling in fine lines around my eyes and looking just too dark and verging on orange for my pale skin. I also found it didn't cover any blemishes which I was surprised about from all the glowing reviews! Did I get a duff product? I really don't know. This really wasn't for me and I can't understand how some Amazon reviewers found the powder too light (they also stated they had pale skin).
Is it a gimmick? I've been happy with a few JML products now but this was sadly a total fail for me and I really can't understand why it has so many amazing reviews on Amazon!

Wet Brush Detangling Brush - Ombre
£11.99 - Boots here or Ombre at Look Fantastic here 
Over the past few years I've come to love detangling brushes, as with over processed ombre ends that tangle when wet, I require a brush to gently work through the hair instead of tugging and pulling it out. So a detangling brush is a winner for me! Compared to the cult Tangle Teezer this brush has the advantage of being an actual brush with a handle, making it much easier to hold and use - I didn't have a problem using the Tangle Teezer but The Wet Brush is comfier and easier to use. The Wet Brush also has the benefit of longer flexible bristles that bend with the hair and work on even the thickest of locks. So does this do the job? Yes! I think I may actually love it over my Tangle Teezer and that really is saying a lot. This is a life saver of a brush if you have tangly hair! 
Is it a gimmick? I think it's pretty obvious that I love this brush! Perfect for over-processed tangly hair, children, anyone that is hair sore and if you're a keen swimmer. 
 
Hope you've enjoyed this post!
You can read my last Beauty Gadgets & Gimmicks post here

Fee xo.

eBay Bargains #26 - Autumn Decor

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Acorn & Berries Door Wreath/Centre Display - £5.99 eBay here 
Each Autumn I contemplate buying a wreath for my front door but at crazy garden centre prices for something that will ultimately die I always pass them buy. But this wonderful one though petite in size will last years and is under £6! I especially love the acorns to the wreath and think it's pretty stylish looking. But if you didn't want to display it on a door you could use it as a centrepiece on a table, placing candles in the middle of it. I'm so tempted!

Aroma Diffuser with Wooden Flower Lid - £6.49 eBay here 
Isn't this lovely? Okay, it's maybe not Autumnal but I loved it and have literally never seen anything similar to it before. The diffuser is much like a reed diffuser but instead of wooden sticks the oil aroma is draw up through the wooden flower and into the air. This comes with a choice of scents - Bamboo, White Musk, Lemon Grass, Vanilla, Lavender and Sandalwood. I would probably go for 'vanilla' but of course once the oil has evaporated you can re-fill it with whatever scent you wish (Wax Lyrical do some great ones). This just looks stylish and expensive and I love it.

10 x Artificial Maple Leaf Garland - £2.71 - eBay here 
 This has to be my favourite way to add an autumnal cosy feel to my living room, instantly. Simply by placing a few maple leaf garlands around the fireplace or windowsill you will transform your decor into something much more warm and autumnal. These also look great wrapped around the handrail of a staircase or entwined with fairy lights on a shelf. For the price you get an amazing 10 lengths of the garland which is more than enough to decorate your home with! Psssst - These would also make a good prop for Autumn blog photography!

White Owl Ceramic Oil/Wax Melt Burner - £6.90 eBay here 
Come Autumn I love to burn both candles and my wax melt burner. In fact I have a lovely owl burner but it's definitely not as cute and lovely as this one - I love the cutout detail of this so the tea light behind will glow though! This is a great option if you like Yankee Candles but don't love the price tag of their candles, as you simply buy individual wax tarts for around £1-2 each either online or in most supermarkets or card shops and melt them down.

Orange Diamond Throw - £12.95 - eBay here 
 Throws for me are a must! There's just nothing better than getting under one as you watch TV or blog at night, especially as the nights get darker earlier. This one caught my eye as I love the burnt orange shade and the diamond pattern - more of an American decor style. Such a good price as well! (Also available in black). 

Yankee Candle Wax Tarts - £2.09 each - eBay here
 Remember the lovely wax tart burner I mentioned above, well here are some yummy Autumn/Halloween scents for you. These smell exactly like the candle versions when melted down and can even be broke up to give even more burning time (a whole one gives 8hrs burn time so halving them would give you 16hrs!). The scents I would pick from the listing would be - Salted Caramel, Candy Corn, Gingerbread Maple and Cranberry Twist.  
     

Hope this gave you a few Autumn decor ideas! 

Fee xo. 
 

Battle of the Beauty Box: Look Fantastic vs. Glossybox

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It's been pretty much years since my last monthly beauty box review, because I basically went off them. But when two brilliant beauty boxes came through my letterbox (that's a lie, they're too big to fit through... my postman handed them to me).I instantly knew I wanted to do a review of them. 

Okay, I will admit my initial "oooo" when opening them was at the beautifully designed boxes but aside from that both include some great products. Below are my individual reviews of both boxes and which I would suggest is worth spending on!

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Look Fantastic 1st Birthday Edition Beauty Box  (September 2015)
Price -  £15.00 Free Delivery here (Worth £50) 

Included in the box - Bliss Fabulous Foaming Face Wash (60ml), Tanwork Tain Maintainer (60ml), Sebastian Shampoo & Conditioner (50ml each), Phyto Phytokeratine Extreme (30ml), Caudalie S.O.S Thirst Quenching Serum (10ml), Caudalie Moisturising Sorbet (10ml), Codage Srubbing Cream (25ml) + Save 20% on all products featured with BBSAVE20

So this is Look Fantastic's 1st Birthday Box, hence the stunning sprinkles to the box! Here you won't find any full size products but good sized sample from some high end brands that definitely make the box worth it's money - plus unlike other monthly boxes you can buy it as a one-off without signing up for a subscription. 

Inside the box the first product that stood out to me was the Phytokeratine Extreme, which by the size of it I assumed was full size, so you get a decent amount here. I've tried Phyto hair products in the past and if I could afford it all my styling products would be by them as they just work amazingly well. This is a wonderful leave-in hair mask for ultra-damaged or brittle hair and so far my hair has been loving it. I'm seriously going to cherish this product. I was also really pleased to see two Caudalie Vinosource products as these will make the most perfect samples to take on holiday with me. Plus Caudalie is a fab skincare brand that I can't fault in any way. As for the Codage Scrubbing Cream I initially wasn't that interested in it, but after reading how to use it and trying it out I've found it a great micro exfoliator for the face. It really buffs away dead skin cells and leaves the skin so so smooth.

As for the other products especially the Tan Maintainer (though I'm sure it's good quality as it's made by Monu) I think it's a bit of a random product and not so suitable for the time of year. And I would use the mini Sebastian Shampoo & Conditioner but the shampoo does contain SLS, so it just leaves me with the conditioner. .

Thoughts on the box - Overall if you are looking to try out some high end products and you aren't interested in makeup then this is box for you. The Phyto Extreme Leave-in Mask is the star of the box for me and all the skincare items are really great.

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Glossybox The Style Edition (September 2015)
 Price - £10.00 plus p&p 13.25 here  (Worth £60+) 

Included in the box - Bellapierre Shimmer Powder in Whesek (Full size £12.99), Marsk Eyshadow Brush (Full Size - £16.70), Maria Nila Luminous Colour Hair Masque (Full Size £18.95), Inivisibobble 3 Hair Rings (Full Size £4.00), Nails Inc Nail Polish 2 shades  (Full Size £11.00)

The Glossybox Style Edition really couldn't be anymore different from the LF Birthday Box - it contains entirely full size products and no skincare. Which isn't to say it's better but for me full size products are always great to receive. 

Instantly this felt like a Autumn box with the shade appropriate Nail Inc polish and deep silver Bellapierre shimmer powder which I will certainly be giving a try. As for the brush that's included I do have many similar brushes and I would never pay £17 for it... but it's handy none the less to use damp with the shimmer powder. As for the Invisibobbles these I have used before and really do like as they don't kink the hair and are great if you have really thick hair, I'm not too keen on the pearlescent white shade but I can overlook that as they are so handy to have. Last but not least you receive a gigantic tub of Maria Nila Hair Masque, this isn't a brand I've tried before but after using it I was totally sold as it made my hair feel so so soft and smelling gorgeous - the scent to this is incredible! 

Thoughts on the box - This really is the perfect beauty box for me and I feel like Glossybox have got it spot on here with the selection of products and making it slightly seasonal. If you are wanting mid-priced brands and to try out a bit of everything then I'd certainly rush and get this box. Now off to paint my nails in that gorgeous khaki shade... 

My personal favourite
I'm sure this won't be a surprise... my favourite box here has to be The Style Edition box from Glossybox! I wasn't disappointed with a single product and will be using everything from the box - a total winner this month! 

Which beauty box would you pick - Look Fantastic vs. Glossybox?

Fee xo.

Affordable Hair Tools & Styling Products

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With an ever expanding array of hair tools and styling products today I thought I'd share with you a few of my most affordable ones that I highly rate! 

Gone are the days that cheaper hair tools mean tugging at your hair and causing more heat damage than is necessary and the same goes for budget styling products, look in the right places and they will be as good quality as high end hair brands. Here are my own picks that I really have been pleased with.

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THX Total Hair Experts Pastel Yellow Hair Straighteners 
On Offer £12.00 (normally £18.00) - Tesco Direct here
When it comes to hair straighteners I love my Cloud 9 irons but as a budget option and for travelling with I cannot rate these THX Hair Straighteners enough! Not only do they look great, they come in three pastel shades, but they actually glide though the hair with easy (no snagging here) and straighten with a high temperature to keep the hair sleek all day. I also love how lightweight the straighteners are making them ideal for travelling with, they will be coming on my hols in a few weeks time in fact! If you are on a budget really don't be put off by hair straighteners under £20 because trust me they work just as well!

 As you may have spotted, these are on offer at Tesco for £12.00 but if you want even more of a bargain you can find a limited edition summer blue pair here for only £9.00!

Alberto Balsam Smooth & Sleek Nourishing Oil 
£3.99 - Asda or Sainsbury in store  
For me a hair oil is a must, I can't remember the last time I went without one when drying/styling my hair in fact. But they really don't have to cost a lot to do the job of smoothing and de-frizzing. For me this Alberto Balsam Nourishing Oil is a great budget one as it contains Argan Oil which I find so nourishing and to smell amazing in all hair products. It's also a nice medium thickness oil, neither too thick or too runny, making it suitable for all hair types. Before drying my hair I will run a single pump of the oil through the lengths and then another pump more to the ends once I've finished straightening my hair to smooth split ends which really adds a sleek finish. If you don't already use a hair oil in your hair routine then this is a must try!

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Nicky Clarke Diamond Shine Pro Salon Styling Wand 
£29.99 - Amazon here/ £36.99 - Argos here
On to a really good curling wand now with the Nicky Clarke Diamond Shine Styling Wand. What I love about this wand is the size and width of the barrel and the high temperature it can reach ( max. 210 degrees). Gone are the days I want tapered curlers, now it's all about effortless chunky waves and this wand certainly gives that effect. Both the design and quality for the price are really impressive and the high heat it reaches helps curls last all day and removes frizz. I couldn't be more happy with this curling wand!

Tresemme Making Waves Creation Hairspray 
On offer £3.99 (normally £5.99) - Superdrug here 
For extra hold to curls I've recently been using this unique hairspray. Unlike other hairsprays it's less crispy and with less of a hold but still enough to keep curls locked in throughout the day. I simply spray this over each section of hair as I curl it and then once brushed though another light spray over the length of my hair. I ditched using hairspray years ago but this is a great alternative and something I will keep on using everytime I curl my hair. Plus it smells great!

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Tigi Bed Head Mini Small Talk 125ml 
£4.99 - ASOS here 
Another hair styling product I absolutely love is this bargain Tigi Bed Head mini. Perfect on normal hair to add a little thickness and volume whilst also taming before blow drying. But I will admit I love this really for the amazing scent, just so so yummy, like sweets! If you are wanting a great hair brand name then I'd certainly suggest looking at the Tigi minis. Also great for travelling with.

Hair Styling Clips 
£1.00 - Poundland in-store  
Lastly I had to include these inexpensive hair clips that have revolutionised how I style my hair. These are perfect for pinning up sections of hair whilst you straighten or curl it or even for keeping hair away from your face as you apply your makeup. These of course don't dent the hair in any way and are such an essential for me, especially when I'm using a curling wand. 

Hair products really don't need to be expensive! Let me know your own budget hair favourites in the comments. 

Fee xo. 

Lifestyle Loves #1

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As it's now Autumn and I seem to seek more hobbies and past times with colder weather I thought I'd start a new lifestyle-y series on Makeup Savvy!

Lifestyle Loves will be a monthly post in which I can share with you my favourites of that month, whether it be clothing, food, TV, books, homeware etc. Basically whatever I've been enjoying outside of beauty! I love reading similar posts to this from fellow bloggers so I hope you enjoy this series as such as I will. 

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 Balloon Dog Money Box
(£8.99 - The Range in-store) 
Can we just marvel a this copper beauty, please? I first spotted this over on Hannah from Away With The Fairies blog and though I don't visit The Range often (I really should as it's amazing for homeware) I knew I had to make a trip especially for it! If you enjoy contemporary art you will know that this is based off Jeff Kloons's amazing 12ft sculpture Balloon Dog -  something I've always wanted to see in person. However this is a pretty good substitute for seeing the real thing... though I kind of wish it was just an ornament over a money box. This has now taken pride of place on my living room windowsill and I really can't stop looking at it as it's just so bold and unique. It also comes in silver in case if that is more to your taste over copper/rose gold. Definitely my favourite purchase of September. 

New Look Ankle Boots 
(£19.99 - New Look at ASOS here
With premature feelings of Autumn I purchased these boots back in August and finally these past few weeks I've been able to start wearing them. These are to be my 'sensible-everyday-autumn-boots' as they have a small heel and are a comfy fit. These I know will look nice with thick black tight or skinny jeans and if the faux suede isn't looking too shabby by next Spring I know I can bring them about again to wear with dresses and bare legs. I particularly like the gold zip detail with the little tassels, though it is actually a faux zip and there's actually another zip to the inner side of the boots... a bit of a shame but I'm not too bother by it. If these aren't your style I'd still recommend looking on ASOS or the New Look website as they have so many lovely ankle boots in at the moment that are so affordable. Side note - These are 'Wide Fit' but if don't require that I'd suggest going down a size, which is what I did, and they fit perfectly.

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The Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll 
£9.09 - Hardcover, £5.99 Kindle - Amazon here 
Come any kind of change to the summer weather I instantly feel like picking up a book and snuggling under a blanket. Don't get me wrong, I love summer reading but getting cosy on the sofa with a good book or going to bed early to read is one of my most favourite things to do; I find it so relaxing and comforting. So I thought I'd start off my Autumn reading with a bit of a thriller. The book tells the story of Ani, a women who basically has it all - the amazing career and of course the rich, handsome fiance. But it's not all as it seems as Ani has a past and a documentary producer wants her to bare all about it which Ani feels is a good opportunity to clear her name for good and show how she's moved on. With the book split between the present day and Ani's school days it keeps up interest and though I guessed one of the twists there were many more that had me shocked and wanting to read more and more. This is an amazing debut thriller that I found to be an easy but intriguing read. My only criticism would be I felt the author used too much of her own magazine career into the characters which wasn't really needed for the story. Other than that this was a great read! 

Cosmopolitan Magazine 
Current October issue - £1 
Whilst food shopping last week I decided to pick up Cosmo magazine as it was on offer at £1 and I fancied flicking through something different. I wasn't expecting much as I remembered it to be quite a late-teen magazine focusing mainly on sex, dating and a dash of fashion. But since reading it a few years back it has totally changed as I found myself reading actual articles and enjoying all the fashion pages. Of course there's still the eye-roll worthy sex articles but even those have improved slightly... I use the world 'slightly' very loosely mind. An unlikely favourite but one I was glad I picked up and may even buy again next month.  

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Graze Light Box 
(£3.99 each from Graze here
Last but not least, I had to include a mention of the Graze Light Box. Up until 3 weeks ago I had surprisingly never taken up a Graze box subscription, but since a few shops and supermarkets have started selling individual potions (the Herby Bread Basket is my fav!) I've become a bit hooked on them. So instead of paying £1.79 per portion from the likes of Sainsbury's and Boots I thought I'd sign up for a weekly Graze Light Box. So far I've managed not to eat all 4 portions in one go and spread them out over the week as a mid-afternoon snack or after dinner. As I'm currently trying to lose weight this has been working well for me and is that treat I need from Monday to Thursday. It's also something to look forward to arriving each week. As I mentioned the Herby Bread Basket is a favourite of mine as well as the Cranberry & Hazelnut Toasts with Cocoa Dip, mmmm just so good! But as you can rate what types of snacks you want to receive on your online profile you will find yourself liking most of the box. 

If you fancy trying out a Graze box for yourself (you can cancel at anytime... even after your 1st free box!) you can use my own personal code - FJHJRJXKB to receive your 1st, 5th and 10th Graze box free here

Really hope you've enjoyed my first ever Lifestyle Loves! 

Fee xo.

The Truth About Full Time Beauty Blogging

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Come the start of 2016 I will have been beauty blogging for 6 whole years, half of which it's been my full-time job. This still amazes me that something that started as a hobby is now my career and will hopefully be for a long time to come! So today I thought I'd talk openly about full time beauty blogging for all of those that are interested or thinking of taking the plunge into it.

Admin will take up too much of your time and it will always feel like a chore (unless you like spreadsheets) 
When you become a full time blogger of any kind you will instantly find that you have to be on admin from the get go or it will build up until it pains you to think about it. This includes replying to endless amount of emails to no outcome/benefit, looking through emails and hitting delete for 20 minutes on end, writing up invoices and of course doing your own tax... unless you're wise and decide to employ an accountant to do it all for you (5 years on and I'm still not wise). Doing admin will become part of your life whether you like it or not and it won't feel in the least bit creative!

Brands suck at paying on time
Sadly this is so very true. When a sponsored post arises a deadline is agreed upon between you and the company you are dealing with but when it comes to payment it couldn't be further than that. Even mentioning if you can be given a rough payment time frame and you are likely to be ignored or fobbed off with "we will ask the account department" and then of course it 'slips their mind'. Of course waiting 30 days for a payment is the norm but annoyingly many companies like to overlook this.... though I'm maybe still bitter about waiting 5 months for a payment recently. Basically you will want to crack open the champagne when a company pays you in advance!

You will always under estimate your worth/ never know how much to really charge!
This is a tricky one that you feel more confident with in time, but in the first few years you will certainly feel like you are winging it. The problem with coming up with set fees for sponsored posts, social media promotions etc etc is that you have nothing to go on unless you have inside knowledge of the PR beauty world from a previous job or you have an open bunch of blogger friends with similar stats to yourself - unlikely to happen. Of course having blogger friends that you can discuss it with does help but you are basically in it alone and you have to come up with fees that are worth it for the brand and also worth your time. Even now, 5 years on, I still kick myself when I sense a PR has snapped my hand off after I state my fee, knowing that I could have pushed it that bit higher, but you live and you learn. My one piece of advice here would be dramatically increase the fee you have in mind to allow for brands to bring it down slightly.

You will feel lonely at some stage
With days on end of typing away at your desk (often the sofa for me) with little human interaction it's easy to feel lonely. This of course isn't confined to blogging, it's part of being self employed and working from home. I've personally had bouts of loneliness, generally in Winter when I feel like there's no point in going outside in to the miserable cold weather especially when there's work to be done. But even if it's popping out to see someone for  a few hours or to treat yourself to lunch then do it. Feeling lonely is rubbish in so many ways but it's definitely something that can be overcome!

As some point it will all feel materialistic and pointless
Another pretty miserable one here that I actually wasn't sure if I should include because I'm not really sure if other bloggers felt like this. You see most of the time writing about beauty products is fun and having more lipsticks than you will ever need is a strangely good thing. But then sometimes (thankfully rarely) life happens - a death in the family, illness, a stressful event etc, and it will all feel so pointless and trivial. These are the times that you will question why you are writing about such materialistic things and why you need so many nail polishes. I've certainly had moments like that and though I don't have any advise if you do end up feeling that way I promise once life gets back to normal the doubt and feeling of how materialistic the beauty world is will disappear. I'd love to know if anyone else has felt this way about beauty blogging! 

You will take blog photos in your pyjamas (and have to edit out your reflection from metallic packaging - oops) 
On a less serious note...please tell me this doesn't just happen to me?! Damn you, pretty reflective packaging! 

Hope you've enjoyed this rant/ramble about being a full-time beauty blogger! 

I feel I need to follow this up with a positive post about blogging very soon - because I do love it really!

Fee xo.

End of Summer Favourites 2015

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Alas, our mildly warm British days are nearing to a close for another year and even though I'm looking forward to Autumn/Winter I will miss all that comes with Summer. From occasionally sunning myself in the garden with a book to the ease of summer makeup. 

So in honour of all the summer days I've enjoyed these past months I thought I'd rave about my favourite products when it comes to beauty. Some of course I will carry through to Autumn but quite a few I see as purely summer products - Aqua blue nail polishes, I will miss you.

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Summer Makeup 

Makeup Revolution 'What You Waiting For?' Salvation Palette (£6.00 - Superdrug here) - This was my palette of the summer. Possibly because I bought it on holiday and it has summer vibes for me but also because it's a freaking amazing palette if you love neutral eye colours. All the shades are buttery smooth and the 6 matte are pretty great for the price. This will of course be used in A/W for some deeper smokey eye looks.

MUA Sweet Sheen Lip Tint in Peach Dream (£2.00 - Superdrug here) - With hot weather comes a lack of makeup for me and that includes no lipstick... I just can't be bothered. But a hint of colour is needed so I don't looked washed out! So this MUA lip tint in the prettiest coral shade has been saving the day. When I'm next in Superdrug I will be looking out for more berry tones in this range as they are so easy to wear.

Bourjois 1 Seconde Nail Polish in Blue No Blues (£5.99 - Superdrug here or Boots) - Summer 2015 was the year of blue nail polish for me, I couldn't get enough! From sky blues that brightened my skin to deep vivid cobalt shades, especially on my toes. My most worn shade had to be the sunniest aqua blue shade from Bourjois that is the most perfect one-coater that dries in a flash. As for my favourite deep blue shade that has to go to Essence Gel Nail Polish in Electriiic (£1.60 - Wilkos in store) - Another easy to apply one-coater that looks amazing on both the fingers and toes. Both often got compliments!

Summer Skin 

Eucerin Mattifying Sun Fluid SPF 50+ (£16.00 - Feel Unique here) - Over the past few years I've realised that a specific facial sunscreen is crucial if you want to keep your skin happy and with oily/combination skin that can flare up with spots from over moisturising products I want to keep my skin happy! So after a bit of research at the start of summer I picked up this facial sun fluid along with a few others to try out. This was certainly the best of the bunch and over summer it definitely paid for itself by keeping my skin free from sun damage and also spots! The beauty of this is that the light fluid sinks into the skin fully within 3o seconds and doesn't feel tacky or appear shiny on the skin. This will certainly be coming on holiday with me in a few weeks time! 

Garnier Oil Beauty Nourishing Lotion for Dry Skin (£4.99 - Superdrug here or Tesco)/Boots - When it comes to moisturising I've always been a bit of a floozy, give me a pot of anything and I'm good. That was until I tried a little sample sachet of this moisturiser in a magazine (tell me I'm not the only one that tries random samples stuck to magazine pages) and literally loved it. Half of the reason why I love it so is down to the argan oil/almond oil/rose scent but it's also because it's a highly moisturising lotion that sinks into the skin within seconds. I of course still use other moisturisers from time to time but this is my go-to for summer skin.

Ole Henriksen The Clean Truth Cleansing Cloths (£12.00 for 30 -Look Fantastic here) - I've mentioned these wipes more times than I care to remember but these are truly my favourite face wipes everrrrrr. Okay, so in the beauty world it's a bit of a sin to use makeup wipes but when they are this good I just don't care and I only really use them to take off my makeup quickly before dinner and then I will make sure to cleanse properly before bed - so it's allowed, okay. Plus I of course use them on the odd lazy day and when on holiday just to freshen up. So why do I love these face wipes so much? Because they are so fresh and zingy feeling on the skin and they are the wet kind of face wipes, which I like. The zingy fresh feeling comes from the amazing scent which I can only describe as smelling like orange jelly babies - just amazing! I don't like the price tag but these a just my jam so I have to splurge on them each summer. 

What were your favourites of the summer? 

Fee xo. 

PS. Are you ready for Autumnal post just yet?


eBay Bargains #25 - Dupe Edition

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Everyone loves a good dupe that will save them a ton of money! So here are my top 5 that really are great! 

Detangling Paddle Brush - £1.99 eBay here
DUPE FOR - Tangle Teezer Brush RRP £10.00 
For the past few years now detangling brushes have become very popular and I for one can't be without one now. With all the detangling brushes being make from plastic bristles the £1.99 brush isn't too dissimilar from the original Tangle Teezer. The brush breezes through knots and is great for chilren or if you have over processed hair that knots easily when wet.

Multipurpose Flat Foundation Brush - £1.38 eBay here
DUPE FOR- bareMinerals Perfecting Face Brush RRP £24.00 
I've tried so many makeup brushes from eBay now and this is by far one of my favourites. It's a pretty much an exact dupe of the bareMinerals Perfecting Face Brush just a tad smaller in size. With the fluid reservoir to the centre of the brush where you apply a small amount of foundation this offers a flawless finish for the skin. When wanting a perfect finish I opt for this or a blending sponge. You can find my full review of this brush here

W7 Hollyword Bronze & Glow Duo Palette - £3.45 eBay here
DUPE FOR- Charlotte Tillbury Filmstar Bronze & Glow RRP £49.00 
W7 is popular for all it's dupe products and though I often think they are maybe too copycat of a brand I can't help but be grateful as they offer so many great products. This specific product is actually a dupe for the trez expensive Charlotte Tillbury Bronzing Palette. If you aren't convinced then check out these comparison swatches I came across here - amazingly similar, right?! 

Maybelline Sensational Lipstick Violet Intrigue - £2.90 eBay here 
DUPE FOR- MAC Heroine Lipstick RRP £15.50
With the price of MAC lipsticks ever rising finding dupes for the shades you love is a beautiful thing. I've recently had my eye on the stunning Mac Heroine lipstick but after a quick search I came across Maybelline Violet Intrigue which is oh so similar. This is a perfect unique shade to wear this Autumn!

Imagic 12 Flash Colour Makeup Palette - £8.59 eBay here  
Make Up For Ever 12 Flash Colour Case RRP £75.00 
Lastly I came across this amazing palette that offers such a wide array of colours that can be used on the face, eyes and lips. With the Make Up For Ever palette being a makeup artists favourite but coming in at a huge £75.00, I know which I'd be opting for! 


Hope you've enjoyed yet another eBay Bargains post! 

You can browse all my past eBay posts here.

Fee xo.

Top Five French Beauty Brands

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For me French beauty brands have it spot on when it comes to products with both quality and packaging second to none. I mean have you ever seen an un-chic French beauty line? And yes, un-chic is a word. 

So many of the brands in my makeup collection are in fact French so I thought I'd create a run down of my top 5 favourite brands that impress me and I will always use. Most of these products are available in the UK so you can always have a little Parisian beauty chic in your life! 
 
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First up what I like to think of as the original French beauty brand. Bourjois has been around such a long time and in fact longer than Chanel and if you didn't know Bourjois and Chanel are owned by the same company! From the packaging to the type of products they keep coming out with I'm continuously impressed by the brand. 

My first ever favourite product from them was the Bourjois Bronzing Powder and still to this day (I'm thinking it's been 10+ years now!) I love to use it, it's just such a great soft everyday bronzer. But for new products I'd highly recommend the Rouge Edition Velvet Lipsticks as they are such amazing quality and the velvet matte finish they give is just perfect. I also adore the compact cream blushers and nail polishes; the recent La Lacque nail polishes are such a dupe for Nails Inc ones. 

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On to a more luxury French beauty brand now with Clarins. For me Clarins is a perfect example of how the French just get it so very right; I mean just look at that packaging! Clarins was a brand I only start to explore in my 20's as before then it did have a more mature image, but gone are the days where they mainly focused on anti-aging skincare (though they still do skincare very well) and now much more attention if given to their wonderful palettes and lip products. 

Personally I love Clarins for their gorgeous lip products with the Rouge Eclat Lipsticks being my favourite, along with their Instant Light products for the lips which are so comfortable and that perfect touch of colour for. But for a real treat you can't get much better than their Eye Quartet Mineral Paletters, now these do retail for £33 however everything is just perfect about them, with such wearable buttery soft shades and beyond luxury packaging... I mean they come in a velvet pouch?! Clarins truly says luxury to me. 

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Though L'Oreal doesn't scream French beauty brand to me as it's evolved into such a huge brand I still find the products to be pretty damn amazing. For me it really is more about how well the products work here than the aesthetics are L'oreal is a mish-mash of styles when it comes to packaging - I can't stand the Miss Manga mascara packaging, though I love it as a volumising mascara. 

I have so many favourite products with this brands that I don't know where to start! Foundations of course needs a mention as bar the odd one or two I have been so happy with them all - I can't get enough of both the True Match and Lumi Magique foundations. I also find the concealers to be really great with the Lumi Magique Concealer being one of the best highlighting concealers I've come across after YSL's Touche Eclat. As for eyes the Super Liner Perfect Slim Intense is my jam for an easy winged eye, the pen offers so much control and it's just so pigmented.

I also truly love L'Oreal's haircare range with the Extraordinary Oil replacing my much more expensive Moroccan Oil - it's just a multi-tasking dream! And I of course couldn't not mention my love of the L'Oreal Ever- Shampoo range which are SLS-free and really amazing for the hair - if you often have a dry scalp, colour your hair or react to other shampoos then I recommend giving the range a try!

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On to French skincare now with a brand I've been using for a few years that has totally changed my skin for the better and even changed by views on skincare - by that I mean I've come to realise that spending a little more on skincare products is worth it to get a targeted treatments for your own skin issues/concerns.

Whatever your skin type La Roche-Posay will have a solution for it and that's what I love about the brand, along with the gentle yet effective ingredients they use in all of their products. With my oily/combination skin I absolutely love Serozinc, a spray to help mattify the skin which I make sure to use pre-makeup every day. I also couldn't be without Effaclar K which is similar to the popular Effaclar Duo, though it targets uneven skin texture that comes with having an oily skin type, this have improved how my skin looks no end! Lastly I feel La Roche Posay's sun care range deserves a mention as again every skin type is catered for which is often overlooked yet so important if you want to keep your skin in good condition. For me the Anthelios XL Ultra Light Fluid SPF 50+ is perfect for both my fair and combination skin.

Sephora-paris 

Last but not least, though not really a beauty brand as such, I just had to include Sephora. This is beauty mecca at it's best. With both high and low end brands and of course the wonderful exclusive beauty gift sets they do it really is a beauty lovers paradise. If you are heading to Paris then it's certainly worth a visit! 

Talking of Paris I also wanted to share a great competition with you to win a trip for two to Paris. The prize includes a weekend away including flights, accommodation, and a Michelin starred meal - much deserved after a busy day of sightseeing and shopping around the wonderful city! To enter this amazing Parisian weekend away competition, simply enter here and you could be jetting off for a festive weekend or even an amazing first trip of 2016. However if you do win I may have to email you over my Sephora shopping list!

I'd love to hear what your own favourite French beauty brands are in the comments. 

Fee xo. 

*This is a sponsored post in partnership with Leisure Jobs


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