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Friday, August 26, 2016

It's been a while since I've thrown some photography tips and tricks together for a blog post, and to be honest it's mostly because I feel there is so much out on the internet there wasn't a lot else to add, but after a few tweets and replies to my post last week, it seems any advice is good advice!

For a few more in-depth and technical tips, I must direct you to some previous posts - How To Achieve Blurry Backgrounds | How To Improve Food Photography | In-Depth Photography Tips for Blogs #1 | In-Depth Photography Tips for Blogs #2 | 7 Tips for Good Photography - these range on everything from manual settings to framing, saving images correctly and lighting lighting lighting so hopefully they help!

My photography style has changed a lot over the years (even glancing back two years on this blog I cringe) and where I'm at now features a lot of bright, clean images, with a bit of texture and personality; personality is always key, it helps identify your work from someone else - even if  everyone is going marble flaylays, how you do your marble flatlay will make it stand out against another - perhaps you feature a statement colour alongside it, only shoot in portrait, minimal products or lots of contrasting features, how you inject you into your work makes the difference.

Props are a fab way of taking your images to the next level - as I said, whether you keep a colour theme or use minimal products, props can add life and dynamics easily and effectively. Things like flowers and succulents always look good, but only do it if you find it relevant to the content or your style. If you know you kill plants and hate nature, don't try to fool people - but if you're a convert like me, stick to faux plants. I'm a big fan of the colour blue, so I try to mix up my images with varied blue textures - jazzy napkins, unique coasters, plates and even my Instax show off my personality, what I talk about/am interested, in whilst keeping it consistent with my content.

Simple backdrop ideas: wallpaper, coloured card (overlapping or side by side), cushion covers, chopping board, throw, white-washed wood, minimal patterned paper. Places to buy: craft stores, Paperchase, art galleries, homeware stores (IKEA, Athropologie, Habitat etc)

TIP If flatlays/product shots are your thing, then you probably know the ol'blu tac trick for keeping products in place - simply stop your fave lippy rolling around with a piece of tac and you're good to go. Sometimes though, you're out of blu tac and another great trick I've found is to use hair pins - yes the thing you lose most; they're easy to edit out, discreet, and you can line a few up to keep that hairspray from rolling off the table. I also use lids, water bottles, crystals or any substantial item to keep items lifted up or wedged in place, just find the right size, make sure it stays hidden, and you're good to go!

Lighting comes up time and time again, and as Autumn creeps up, many bloggers freak out about how they are going to make the most of the daylight once the shorter days come in. You have a few options:
• Batch take your photographs now - if you've scheduled until next February then you are a champ, but seriously every little helps.
• Natural light is always the best - I end up photographing in three rooms throughout the day due to where the sun is brightest/neutral ie no excessive yellow/blue tones in images. These can be corrected on a camera's White Balance setting, but the less you have to tweak your equipment the better. Note where the sun travels around your house, which rooms are brightest longest, and what tone of colour do they give off - a warm coloured room will make images warmer, a cool coloured room will be crisp and bright. A common misconception also is that you have to shoot on a cloudless, scorcher of a day; this is in fact the worst time to shoot as you struggle more with light settings, bleaching out and 'looking natural'. Diffuse light with white sheets or a diffuser, or stick to a bright yet cloudy day, as clouds are a natural diffuser for excess exposure!
• Invest in daylight bulbs - these have a clean, blue light similar to the sun at around 11-3pm in Summer plus they're also a great relief for SAD or general lack of light in the cold months.
• Use reflective surfaces - mirrors, reflectors, white board, mirrored trays, these all help bounce light back into photos and cancel out shadows, not only making editing easier but making your photos brighter and lighter all year long without a heavy cost on lights!

A brief re-cap with a few ideas to jog your memory, perfect if you're planning a weekend photo-sesh! I'm planning on some more specific topics i.e. street photography, colour compliments so let me know your thoughts, but this is just enough to get you started right? ;) Happy Snapping!

Lots of Love,
Lauren x

Some products in this post may have been sent for review or gifted, and will be marked with a * or c/o. All opinions are mine are not influenced by brands or companies. Please see my full disclaimer for more.

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Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Confession: I'm really not a big fan of creamy pasta or creamy carbs in general; never liked carbonara, risotto or anything that combines cream with more white stuff, it was just too rich for me and my little stomach and I prefer to safe rich things for chocolate pudding ya feel?

Flashback to a few month's ago when I went to a cooking event with Honestly Healthy and our main course was a dairy-free creamy pasta dish, and whilst my belly was like 'hell no' I thought I may as well try it (seeing as there was brownie for dessert) and you know what, it's my new favourite thing. I don't know whether it's because it's dairy free or has a little bit of spice to it, but on a lazy lunchtime I know I can quickly rustle a pot of this up and feel very satisfied.

The main ingredient in this which you may need to spend time sourcing is Kuzu, a Japanese gluten-free thickening agent derived from seaweed, that makes the sauce super creamy and perfectly coated on the pasta. It's well worth hunting down because it makes the pasta glorious and is available in most health food stores including Whole Foods, Planet Organic and Infinity Foods. Also to note, this only works with pasta, not courgetti or any spiralised veg because it won't 'grab' the same as carby pasta will (so a good excuse for pasta yes?) I'd recommend Seeds of Change Spinach Pasta, Fresh Chickpea Fusilli or any wholemeal alternative to keep this healthier.


1/2 Cup Dairy Free Milk - I use Hemp as it's creamier.
1/4 Cup Single Soya Cream - makes it A LOT creamier, but you do need the milk to slacken if necessary.
Pasta for 2 servings
Frozen Peppers
1 Tsp Cumin
2 Tbsp Kuzu
Cold water

1. Cook the pasta as the instructions state, and in a separate frying pan heat a little oil until hot and fry off the cumin on a medium heat.

2. After a few minutes, add in the peppers and peas with a little milk and cream to cook. If your pasta is cooked, strain and leave to the side.

3. In a small glass, mix the Kuzu with enough cold water to just cover the powder and whisk until the powder has disintegrated.

4. Once the veg is soft and the milk/cream has boiled, turn the heat off and adding the Kuzu, mixing the veg and liquid quickly so it thickens evenly. This should happen pretty quick so stir stir stir, and add in more liquid as desired/to coat the amount of pasta.

5. Add in the pasta and stir to coat (again, add more milk/cream as desired) and then serve!

Pretty easy, pretty quick, but seriously delicious; if you want a healthier alternative to Carbonara (feel free to omit the peppers and peas for traditional mushrooms and ham) then this is your ticket to a seriously full stomach hitting all the right spots ;)

Are you a creamy pasta fan? Have you tried Kuzu before?

Lots of Love,
Lauren x

Some products in this post may have been sent for review or gifted, and will be marked with a * or c/o. All opinions are mine are not influenced by brands or companies. Please see my full disclaimer for more.

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Monday, August 22, 2016

Dear Skin,

I refer to you as a separate entity, seeing as for the most part of our time together you've just kinda 'done your own thing' and that's cool but now, I want us to work as a team. I may even throw in our long-time pal Body in with this too, seeing as she's having some struggles also and I think you guys get along well, and maybe you can work something out.

What happened? What happened that caused you to flip out and play dirty with me these last few years (mostly the past year) - did I do something wrong? Was I not eating enough greens? Drinking enough water? Using the right skincare? Was I stressing you and Body out too much? Why oh why did things change from the odd hormonal spot and yellow-head to full-on freak out?

I know, I know, we've sat down and tried to have this talk several times before, but it feels as though my feelings are landing on deaf ears, or maybe I'm just not hearing you right. See I know things haven't been excellent on the inside and Body is going through some stuff that maybe I should get checked out more, but I'm trying you know? I've been vegan almost two years and cutting out dairy was supposed to help those spots you produced go away and keep you clean and pure but you still make a fuss (plus I'm so used to this diet I couldn't eat meat/dairy/fish even if I wanted to) and I drink so much water, and I've purchased every bit of acne clearing skincare I can find, yet something still doesn't seem good between us.

I'm tired of waking up with deep bumps under my skin, of you making my skin thick and hard in places so spots get trapped and sore, I'm tired of my skin being blotchy where I try to release pain because you got angry again, and I'm tired of you and Mind conspiring together to make me want to hurt you in spite of progress.

It's been getting better though - I've started taking probiotics and you seem to like that although Body seems to have had a hard time adjusting; the dryness is a new thing, I've never seen my skin so flakey and red, but for the first time it gives me chance to indulge in rich creams and serums which I'm totally okay with - are you okay with it though? I think so, I mean, I'm pretty happy that in the last week 3 of my deepest spots finally reared and vanished thanks to the skin flaking its thing (sorry, was that TMI?) so I think you're happy too, even if there is some severe red dry tightness going on. I hope Body catches up soon too, it would nice to see us all on the same level again.

Anyway, as much as you trouble me skin, you are my skin, my responsibility and my biggest organ. As much as you care for me, I have to care for you. I can't keep poking and prodding to make you 'look' better and you don't want me to to 'feel' better, and Body for her sake I hope she finally gets answers, but let's all work together for Mind's sake, our sake, and give ourself the fully functioning, healthy, clean body we deserve. I know deep down inside of you, you want it to, so let's cut the blemishes and induced cycles and work on being an easy, healthy and happier version of us now. Does that sound like something we can do, together?

Lots of Love,
Lauren x

Some products in this post may have been sent for review or gifted, and will be marked with a * or c/o. All opinions are mine are not influenced by brands or companies. Please see my full disclaimer for more.

Website | Flickr | Tumblr | Twitter | Bloglovin | Instagram | Pinterest


Friday, August 19, 2016

In a totally digital world, it becomes easy to constantly capture your daily grind and memories via Snapchat, Twitter and selfie mode, and doing what I do I feel a bit too attached to my phone sometimes; however for a while now I've noticed myself 'forgetting' to take a photo or vlog, either consciously or unconsciously because I'm too busy or cba (because sometimes, you really do cba to vlog on your day off - always the day when you make the nicest meal too) or simply put - I'm enjoying the moment.

There is a pressure I feel often to constantly be updating, shouting out on social and hashtagging the life out my photos, to document what I do daily when frequently all I want to do is focus on the now and keep it fresh in my mind to look back on for my own happiness.

For example, I did a job last week where I got to cross paths with a lot of online creators and people I've watched for years, standing less than 5ft away from most of them and even hugging one or two, but I was also aware that the place I was in was surrounding their privacy, their community, spending time together away from eyes and iPhones being waved at them for pictures.

It reiterated a thought I'd been having the last year or so, of what you would do if you met someone you had read or watched for a long time; I've come to the conclusion that out of respect and just wanting to take the moment for myself, I wouldn't ask for a photo straight off, because I'd rather been seen as a friend or fellow creative type who just wants to share admiration for their work and know full well in my mind, I got to have this experience for myself and forgo the 'pictures or it didn't happen' line we've been pulling the last 5 years.

It's the same with friends - I don't get to see my friends often, and when we do meet up we just want to chat, catch up, not feel obliged to take a million selfies or vlog it all because, hey, a tweet ain't worth poop emoji these days right? Not saying I don't want to, we just all forget long enough that our makeup has smooshed, the sun has gone down and 'man I got a train to catch let me WhatsApp you when I get home to let you know I'm safe k?' And it's okay, because we got to hang out, we have made our memories and it means less time until the next meeting where we will 100% try 90% to remember to get at least one snap.

Asking for a photo has gone from a drunken house party snap with your pals to almost a validation of doing something with someone somewhere, and don't get me wrong I am all for snapping away when I can, it just makes me nervous, scared even of asking for a snap even with my best friends incase it seems for show. I will always love having photos to look back on, whether on Facebook or in a scrapbook, but knowing you have that unique memory between yourself and people you know, love, admire or respect all for yourself, that's often worth more than 100 selfies.

What's your view on asking for photos with people? Would you rather have a chat with someone you admire or go straight for a snapchat filter?

Lots of Love,
Lauren x

Some products in this post may have been sent for review or gifted, and will be marked with a * or c/o. All opinions are mine are not influenced by brands or companies. Please see my full disclaimer for more.

Website | Flickr | Tumblr | Twitter | Bloglovin | Instagram | Pinterest

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