Tuesday, 30 June 2015

This Tuesday's video features a lot of morning face, bathroom goals and a million flower petals - yep that's right, it's a vlog! I've been waiting for the right opportunity (and a better camera but hey ho gotta wait for one of those) to vlog my daily life and what better time to try vlogging in public than an evening in London to help Boots raise awareness of Insneezia - a kind of hay fever that hits people 8pm onwards, aka the devil's work, who wants to go to bed sneezing?!

I have to thank Boots and Em from EmTalks for the amazing opportunity to go down for the night and stay at The Arch Hotel in Marble Arch, and it was so nice to finally meet both Em and Hannah who's blogs I've followed for a while now - such lovely ladies IRL!

So take a quick break this lunchtime to catch up on my endless supply of striped tops, slow-mo petals and lots of London loving, don't forget to like the video if you want to see more vlogs and leave a comment telling me what you love about London or want to see next on the channel. Also don't forget to subscribe for new videos every Tuesday at 9am (and a free internet brownie, totes worth it)

Lots of Love,
Lauren x

Don't forget to enter my 1000 Followers Giveaway! You could win a luxury bouquet as thanks for following! 

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

Blog Widget by LinkWithin


Monday, 29 June 2015

If the title isn't enough, then here's how the rest of this post shall proceed:

I hit 1000 followers on my blog ohmygodahhhhhhhhh!

On Thursday evening, Britton Loves finally hit 1000 followers and I could not be more proud/shocked/happy/overwhelmed by it all. Since starting up my blog again in 2012 there hasn't been a day gone by where I haven't loved what I'm doing - yes, there may be some hours during the day where I'm crying over the hardships and loneliness of blogging, breaking down because my post isn't right, wondering why I'm not as successful or recognised as others, but for the rest of those hours I'm pretty glad I'm here in the industry rather than anywhere else.

What once started as a fashion blog became a beauty blog, and then a lifestyle one, and I think we've finally settled on this little corner being a place where I share healthy living and food tips, skincare favourites and lipstick obsession, candles, homeware and the very regular positivity post - so, lifestyle then yes?

I've worked hard since the start of the year to produce content on this blog that isn't seen anywhere else, to give my work that unique and organic spin, and whilst I've worn myself out many times over it I would like to think that that's what has kept all 1000 or so of you here. All I've ever wanted is to help others, to share insight and inspire, and to think that 1000 of you might agree is quite...emotional really.

In 2009 I started a YouTube channel called whyamialozenger (because I was really funny back then as you can tell), inspired by charlieissocoollike, tomska, ShayTards and Michelle Phan to make my own videos and yeah, I was pretty nervous of what everyone thought. That fear in turn led me to delete my channel and focus on what I also was told was important at the time - school. Those key years where I had a yearning to be online and doing arty things were taken away from the world of blogging and it wasn't until I left Sixth Form that I started to get back into it a bit. If I could really blame something for my dismissal of blowing it's probably, ultimately, myself; I was too focused on one thing, unable to give my all in several areas and with people around you telling you that grades and degrees are most important, well, what are you going to focus on?

As I reached the end of college in 2013, I started to write and share more on my blog (although no one read it, I have no idea who I thought was going to read an unprompted blog) and then when I made the decision to leave my Sunday job and deter from university I threw myself into blogging whilst planning for my future adventures - whatever they were.

Each month I learnt more: I learnt that F4F was the devil and that people will do anything for numbers, that fashion really wasn't my forte and I didn't have the patience or clones of myself to create what I wanted, that people you can talk to via comments in the early months can become some of your bestest friends (looking at you Kris), that self-promo and sharing your links on Twitter is absolutely key in making yourself heard, that things such as Twitter chats exist and you can make friends and find new blogs, heck you can even get people to check out your blog! I also learnt that it's hard work, it's more than just writing about a lipstick, it's about planning weekly content, learning to have your own voice and writing style, to have an opinion on things, to pull on all your photography diploma knowledge together and make beautiful images (still learning, never satisfied), to draw on life experience and share it, that your worst side will come out more often because you're a perfectionist who thinks too much and has to keep changing things, that you can work with your favourite brands by tweeting them and heck you can even win amazing trips to meet amazing people.

Blogging has become my life, my life has become my blog, and now that I have reached this first big milestone, I can only wonder what on Earth is going to happen next. I know that 1000 may not be a lot in comparison to others, but to me, I didn't know I'd grow this much - both in numbers and as a person. All I can say is thank you; thank you to each of you for clicking follow, thank you for commenting, thank you for coming over to my channel when I started videos again and being lovely, thank you for tweeting me, thank you for being inspired, thank you for sharing my love of positivity, thank you for helping me discover a love of food, thank you for the twitter chats where I've made friends I hope I never lose, thank you for the motivation to keep on creating. Thank you, for making blogging the industry it is today.

So as another thank you, I want to treat one of you lovely 1000 followers to something I believe is the best self-indulgent treat there is - a luxury bouquet of flowers, of your choice of course. If you saw my post last Friday I promised you there would be a giveaway so here it is: Appleyard Flowers are kindly offering you one bouquet of your choice from the summer range, and all you have to do is enter the rafflecopter below to win! Flowers are a wonderful treat and I hope this makes one of your smile, just as you clicking 'follow my blog' has made me smile since 2012.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
P.S please don't post this link onto freebie/money saving forums or sites, this is for my readers only!

Whether you've been here since 2012, 2013, 2014, or yesterday, thank you to each and every one of you for being here, and I hope that we continue to grow together and experience new things. I'd love to be able to travel with my blog, to attend more events, to work with more people, to build and grow upon my content, and to interact with you all so much more. I hope you can all stick around and here's a virtual hug for you all *hugs you* because you're all awesome, I hope you know that.

To the ones who never gave up, to the ones who never gave in, to the ones who pioneered our industry and the ones who are making the waves of change in what we create, I thank you all for making me work harder, and I thank you more for being here with me.

Here's to the next 1000.

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

Blog Widget by LinkWithin


Saturday, 27 June 2015

The last Saturday of June has scarily rolled round too soon, so you know what's up - it's time for a round-up of my monthly favourites! June has been the month where I've finally worked out how to clear up my skin from the inside out - there's going to be a video or two talking about this coming soon - and also prepping myself for the final arrival of Summer! Lots of food and BBQs, fresh candles and shorts - can I get a hell yes?

But I digress, we're here to round up the best of the best in June, so let's get reflecting...

As a big-time internet and computer worker/slave, years of staring at screens has made me a lot more conscious of how my eyes are being affected. Thankfully Scarlett of Soho got in contact about their newly launched 'try at home' glasses service, where you can pick 3 pairs to trial (for free may I add!) and if you're a regular glasses wearer you can buy a £12 per month subscription for a chosen pair or £18 a month where you can try out two pairs a year and get exclusive discounts! I opted for the Hartnell Glasses in Jet Black* as the shape is super flattering plus I rarely wear black so this is my way of adding a bit of mystery *ooh*. As a special thank you also and to help out any glasses wearing pals, Scarlett of Soho are offering you lovely lot a months free subscription with the code BL2015 - fab-u-lous!

Since wearing them, my eyes have adjusted so well and I can look at the screen without feeling blurry eyed, and I'm so pleased with the quality of the glasses and amazingly speedy service - definitely worth a try!

Of course you've probably seen a few of these pop up in several posts this month (whoops) but when you love something so much you just want to feature it everywhere right? Firstly the Royal Green Bee Pollen* has been such a lovely addition to my morning porridge and with all the yummy nutritional benefits it contains (all of which I listed here), I've been feeling fuller and even healthier than before.

I've mentioned a lot of lipsticks on the blog this month, both in my Beauty Brief and Lipsticks for Cool Tones post, and the thing that's kept them looking flawless on the lips has to be Lipcote*. I've wanted to try the much hyped lip-sealer for years now, and now I see what all the fuss is about; as a big bold lip lover, this keeps the colour as vivid as first application and lasting all day and night. Essential for any lipstick addict and only a few pounds too!

Can't have a favourite post without some mention of skincare can I? Firstly I've been trialling the MyChelle Remarkable Retinal Serum* for a few weeks now and although it's Age Defence, the MyChelle range is natural and gentle enough for most skin and age types. I'm planning on a skincare video as I mentioned before so I'll be giving my full thought on both this and the Hydrating Cactus Mask* very very soon - spoiler, I'm in love.

This month I also got to play around with another new favourite natural brand, and Urtekram have certainly impressed me. Their Zinc Cream* which granted is designed for sensitive baby bums, has been a lovely evening treatment - who doesn't want skin as smooth as a baby's bum?! The blend of Evening Primrose Oil, Zinc, Aloe Vera and Vitamin E makes it fabulous on redness and irritated skin, and I've seen a new calmness to my complexion each morning which I'm forever grateful for.

Another love from Urtekram is the Rose Roll-On Deo Crystal Deodorant* and whilst it may seem boring to rave about deodorant, it's probably the best one I've ever tried. No tacky feeling, my arms are fresh all day long, and there's no residue either - combine that with the natural organic ingredients and you have no excuse but to try it now.

Finally, being the candle lady I am, I had to feature my recent 'head over heels fragrance' which I picked up from Homesense recently (and featured in a post here) - Vanilla Mint is everything you'd want from a summer candle, it's fresh yet mellow, lifting the zest of the room around you plus the massive three-wicks mean this will last you a long time (if you burn generously of course). Homesense always have fab bargains on candles, and I really have to restrain myself each time I visit, it's a problem.

So that's another month that's flown by, seriously why does time move so quickly in the Spring/Summer months? Is it all the children wishing for holidays? Whatever it is, please slow time down because next thing you know I'll be pulling out my Christmas jumper late October and insisting we start planning decorations and mulled wine - I am that person, but enough of winter talk, let me enjoy the current shorts and sandals weather we're having, and hopefully the next lot of favourites will feel a distant dream away.....

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

Blog Widget by LinkWithin


Friday, 26 June 2015

Although I'm not much of an outdoorsy gardening person, I do love flowers. It always starts in March where I usually get a bunch of daffodils for my birthday and they just make my room look so fresh and bright, thus starting the summer obsession with having some sort of bloom in the bedroom.

Over the past month I've accumulated a lot of flowers, be it from press days or delivery services, and I have to say I've become quite attached to having roses or a hint of pink about the place, it really does help lift your spirits and can be a wonderful gift for either yourself or someone who deserves a little pick me up.

I don't treat myself often, so when both Debenhams and Blossoming Gifts asked if I'd like to try out their home delivery services, I could hardly turn down a special bouquet to add some new life and beauty to my every day routine.

Blossoming Gifts are a relatively new company in the UK specialising in week long flower deliveries of any bouquet you choose, and their current summer range has a beautiful variety of flowers. I settled on a mix of blue hydrangeas and white roses because, well, my aesthetic is white and blue and I knew they would look lovely in my bedroom.

You can obviously pick a preferred date for delivery to suit you, however the first time ordering through the company my flowers were delayed by a day (only finding out at 5pm the day of delivery they wouldn't be arriving until the following morning) which was a slight annoyance but not inconvenient, however I can imagine it would be if you had things to be getting on with. When the bouquet did finally arrive, the colours were simply beautiful, my perfect blend of colours and flowers species; but there was a but, the but being that the hydrangeas were very squashed and drooping, ao by the following morning they looked basically dead. I was quite disappointed and can only imagine the panic this would cause someone who had bought flowers for a special occasion, but after letting the company know of the situation, they very kindly provided a new bouquet, chocolates and wine as compensation.

The company reassured me that even though I had received the flowers for review, any unsatisfied customer would be treated the same as a buying one which is very comforting to hear. So I went for peonies, learning from my mistake and buying seasonally instead - plus they are every bloggers favourite flower at the moment so why not?! The bouquet arrived this week, and they are some of the most beautiful flowers I've ever seen; pristine condition, a beautiful pink waiting to flower fully, and scattered with delicate white flowers too. I can see now why people love these short lived flowers so much, they are just a stunning piece in any room and the smell if wonderful - luckily the hay fever hasn't been affected, touch wood.

Overall, the service of Blossoming Gifts was great, and for an online flowers brand I felt comforted knowing my needs and expectations for a long-lasting bouquet were met with lovely customer service, plus if you want both luxuty and cheap flowers then you can't go wrong with their special selections. The variety of flowers they have available is great, you are certainly spoilt for choice, but I would definitely recommend buying a flower that is in season if you want it to last a long time and be secure in delivery. Even with the initial disappointment, my honest opinion is that the service is very personal and involved, and the company will help you with any issues at all so you can 100% buy with confidence. Confident flowers, who'd have thought it?!

It was only at the Debenhams Press Day that I discovered their flower delivery service, and after taking home a lovely bunch of white gerberas I found I could ask for a full bouquet to have at home. The flowers team are wonderful, providing lots of information on flower delivery and what you would like written inside the note (if you're sending it to someone special, or maybe that's yourself!), and if you thought you'd seen bouquet variety then think again - amongst the regular roses, lilies, tulips and more, there was even chocolate bar bouquets (perfect for a sweet tooth) and special hampers for new mums which added in some extra body products for a well deserved relax - perfect present!

Scrolling through the never-ending pages of flowers, I decided I wanted something different to my usual, so settled on something a little bit luxurious and special - pink roses and lilies, blooming together in one big bouquet. When they did arrive, the roses looked so beautiful a 'just bloomed' and I was happy to see that the lily heads were still closed, meaning they would last a lot longer. Originally I kept the two together but as the lilies were taking their time to flower, I've since separated them into different vases so they can flower and grow in their own time (plus lilies are very pungent so it's a bit overpowering to have them in a small room!)

Again, the delivery service was brilliant, no issues or damages and the flowers look and feel strong and fresh, plus they last nearly two weeks if you keep topping up the fresh water and feed so it's amazing value for money. whether you're treating yourself or someone who needs a pick-me-up, Debenhams definitely has all your bouquet needs covered, and I would 100% buy from them again especially with their gorgeous summer range that's available online at the moment.

Overall, I've been very satisfied with both delivery services; both have a great choice of flowers (although I would say Debenhams has a wider variety, I mean, chocolate bouquets?!) and both indulge a perfect self-loving treat - if there's anything I've learnt from flowers, it's that they can instantly brighten your mood, surroundings, and show someone that you care (heck I ordered them for myself and I felt special!)

As a lovely treat, Blossoming Gifts is offering 33% off their flower ranges (excluding Flowers by Post ranges) if you use the code BGIFTS33 at checkout, and if you stick around long enough, you might see an exclusive Debenhams giveaway on the blog soon - I've heard it's happening when we reach 1000 followers on Bloglovin, but you'd have to follow me there to find out ;)

*update* I just hit 1000 followers on Bloglovin so expect the giveaway next week - thank you all so so much!

Flowers, so simple and beautiful, yet so easy to brighten your mood. I can't believe I put off having flowers in my room fro so long, it really does add a special quality to your environment and not a day goes by where you think 'I could do with less flowers' - always have more flowers, always. Whether you want to treat yourself to something luxurious or say 'hey, you're great, here's something beautiful', flowers are the perfect way to show you care, and if they're pink and pretty then you're pretty much anyone's number one person.

Do you enjoy buying flowers? Have you bought bouquets from Blossoming Gifts or Debenhams before? What is your favourite flower?

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

Blog Widget by LinkWithin


Wednesday, 24 June 2015

There's a new addition to my breakfast bowl that's making me pretty excited, you could even say I'm buzzing - okay, that pun was bad, but Bee Pollen has flown into my morning porridge and made it taste amazing during these summer months. It has a mellow honey taste to it but it's no sweet in the slightest - pollen in its raw deep form, with a slight taste of...caramel almost? It's so hard to describe and concentrate on it whilst you're chowing down.

As with any new addition to my meals, I like to do my research on the health benefits behind the superfood to keep informed and to also share the goodness with you lovely lot, making sure what we're eating or thinking about eating will do our bodies some real good. Get your antennas ready, we're off to pollenate some health information!

1. It's a natural energy enhancer

Due to the naturally occurring sources of Vitamin B, carbohydrates and protein, Bee Pollen is a fab way to keep your body going for longer by increasing your stamina and fighting fatigue - something we all need Monday morning and Friday afternoon right?

2. It can help soothe your organs and smooth your skin

Bee pollen is used in topical treatments that aim to treat inflammatory conditions or skin irritations like eczema. The amino acids and vitamins present help protect the skin and regenerate damaged cells, plus the anti-inflammatory properties can have an affect on your lungs to calm onsets of asthma.

3. Pollen can treat allergies - please save me from hay fever!

Tests conducted on respiratory diseases such as allergies, asthma and sinus problems found that Bee Pollen successfully cleared the problems of 94% of patients due to it reducing the presence of histamine in the body!

4. It aids your digestive system

Alongside all the lovely vitamins, nutrients and minerals, Bee Pollen contains enzymes that keep your digestive system working to full potential, whilst also ensuring you absorb all the nutrients you need from food eaten.

5. Bees boost your Immune System!

The main reason I was keen to try Bee Pollen was the great immune system support. The anti-biotic properties can help the body's defence systems protect against viruses, plus it also helps support the intestinal flora and is rich in antioxidants that support the cells from the damaging oxidation of free radicals in your system.

6. It can treat cravings and addictions

Want to curb your sugar habit? Maybe you have an impulse to grab a cheeky takeaway - Bee Pollen can help you maintain a balanced lifestyle by holistically healing and inhibiting cravings you may be experiencing.

7. Bee Pollen supports the Cardiovascular System

Due to it's large concentrate of Rutin (an antioxidant bioflavonoid), Bee Pollen can help strengthen capillaries, blood vessels, assist with circulatory problems and correct cholesterol levels! It also helps prevent blood clots that can lead to harmful heart problems.

8. Pollen for Prostate!

Let's give this one to the men - Bee Pollen can help you find relief with benign prostate hyperplasia, fighting that urge to frequently go to the toilet!

9. It can help fertility and balance your hormones

Whether you suffer with bad hormonal breakouts, PCOS, or are looking to start a family, Bee Pollen can help regulate your hormones and stimulate the ovaries back into regular function. It's also known as quite the aphrodisiac, so skip the oysters and sprinkle this on your other half's breakfast instead ;)

10. It can help with stress

Again, the great addition of Vitamin B helps combat high levels of stress and anxiety, allowing you to reset and relax once more. This combined with all of Bee Pollen's other features helps bring your body into perfect balance!

Royal Green Superfood Bee Pollen*
And we all thought that bees were just there to make honey or buzz at us in the garden come summer ey? Bee Pollen goes to show that nature can do wonders for your insides and make even the outside look good too, and to prove so even more, queen bees survive off the pollen harvested alone, thereby living forty times longer than the average worker bee and laying 2000 eggs daily, so who can deny that Bee Pollen has amazing immunity and energy boosting properties? Health benefits, you've got me buzzing...

Have you tried Bee Pollen before? Will you be trying it with your breakfasts or smoothies any time soon? What food would you like to see next in the health benefits series?

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

Blog Widget by LinkWithin


Tuesday, 23 June 2015

It's that time of year again where some of you are finishing school, uni or exams, and it's time for a well deserved relax and shouts of FREEEEEEEDOM - "You can take our lives but you'll never take our freedom" as Mel Gibson once said.

With that in mind, today's video is all about What Happens When You Leave School, be it how the process of applying for A-Levels or Uni degrees, or what happens on an Art Foundation course. Of course, there's some tips on what you should do during you spare time - if any of you know of some good tango classes, please let me know!

So kick back, enjoy me talk about art for 10 minutes and don't forget to give it a thumbs up, leave a lovely comment about your school days and obviously subscribe because summer freedom and all that right?

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

Blog Widget by LinkWithin


Monday, 22 June 2015

Something that pops up now and again in my comments is a reply saying that some of the food or beauty I've written about is not 'budget friendly'; I've even seen it more regularly in the comment boxes of more popular bloggers and Youtubers where viewers don't even mention something they like, just simply writing that the products are too expensive and shouldn't be mentioned. Now I'm all for a budget buy and spending within reason, but where does the line have to be drawn between one person's expense and another's investment?

Of course, money and spending is all relative, so I'm going to set the record straight on what and why I spend my money on the things I do. Firstly, I do not go clubbing nor do I go to the pub; I don't buy magazines or a Starbucks coffee every week; I don't go out for meals and I don't go on holiday. I don't eat crisps, chocolate, sandwiches, cereal, meat, dairy, sugary foods, juice, fizzy drinks, ice-cream, cake, bread or coffee.
My view is that I invest in the things that support my lifestyle, are needed and are things I use for a reason, and this is why I buy almonds, nut milk, houmous, fresh produce and avocados on a weekly basis, because it supports my lifestyle and is important to my health. This may not be for everyone, and that's okay, it's just what we choose to invest in.

Defining expense for me would be things that are over-priced for their full use, they don't last long or do the full job you were expecting, and there are some things in this world that are just flat-out expensive - £7 for a cocktail and £3 an hour for parking? I think we're pushing it a bit here - but if you have to regularly incorporate these into your daily spending then obviously you can't afford to throw about money on things that might seem out of reach right now.

There are also those expensive things that you save for as they'll have a purpose - for me it's lipstick and skincare, as these are two things I use daily without fail and expect them to do a good job. Now I don't necessarily buy everything high-end but I'd say about 60% of the things I own are slightly more...luxurious, yet this is only because of my experience with products and formulas. Some of us worship Rimmel lipsticks, some will only wear Chanel, and whatever you choose to put on your face, if it works then brilliant. In my current position I'm fortunate that a lot of things I've tried have come from birthday gift cards, advantage card points and PR brands, but if something works for me and it is a little pricey for my budget, I will most likely repurchase it because it's proven its worth, and that for me is what an investment is.

Investments in financial terms can be things that mature in equity over years (such as property or bonds) or, how I prefer to see it, things that are produced with quality and last a long time, used daily and match their price-per-use (i.e. the more you use it and still have good use out of it, the more worthy the investment). Think about it - would you rather buy something that is cheap now but will run out quicker meaning you have to buy more in the short-term, or invest in something higher quality that will last longer and still uphold its original formula or presentation?

This was similar to when I upgraded all my equipment for my birthday - my laptop had been on it's last legs since 2009, my camera being a strong sport since 2010, but I wanted to take better photos, film YouTube videos, and finally buy myself a Macbook to edit my work on easily and not worry about a whirring fan at 8AM each morning when I had too many Tumblr tabs open. Seeing that money go out my account almost caused a huge panic (re: actually, it did, but it was my birthday's okay? Breathe) - I'm not good at spending money but this was the best investment I've made since getting my first DSLR, and now I feel my skills and editing have grown so much - swings and roundabouts right?

So what am I trying to say? I guess the root cause of this is that people have different incomes, needs and desires for what they spend their money on, and being told in a weird roundabout way that the stuff you're buying is too expensive for someone else is a bit off-putting. I'm not here to force anything on you nor to tell you that one way is better than the other, however I hope the things I share inspire you in the realms of skincare and healthy lifestyle.

If you there is something out there that you want to buy because you've desired it for ages or it's something different to what you already have, go for it! We deserve a treat now and again, and if you're on a budget and want to get the most for your money, keep reading those blog reviews - the internet has pretty much dissected every dupe possible so find a good quality interim before you think about spending a large amount of money on a product.

Even though I said I usually buy more luxury skincare, there are some amazing budget products that some would swiftly choose over high-end - The Body Shop Chamomile Cleanser is great value for money and yet the packaging isn't the best thing since slice bread but it does the job pretty swell right? And I won't deny that quite a few of my random beauty and homeware buys come from the havens that are TK Maxx and Homesense, because picking up something usually quite expensive at a hefty discount is a godsend to those who spend money elsewhere but need to update other pieces.

Money is such a delicate topic in the blogging world, heck it's delicate in the 'real world' too; it's what people earn and spend depending on their needs, so why feel the need to point it out? If you find something mentioned in a post or video is out of your budget, pop it on a wishlist for a birthday if it's an item you really want or ask the blogger (or google, both probably as reliable) if they know any good affordable versions for your budget. Backwardly saying that someone needs to be more budget friendly or shouldn't feature things that aren't relatable to everyone is like saying people shouldn't wear orange because not everyone likes the colour - personal choice yo!

Whether you're a budget buyer, a swift spender, a luxury lady or a (?), your version and terms of expense and investment are sometimes going to be different to someone else, and it's something we must all expect across the various blogs we read. However the price causes you to react, think about why the person is writing about it and even though constructive criticism is great to have now and again, try to focus on the aspects of a product you do like and let the person know. If society as a whole learnt to appreciate quality investments over expensive spending, money and the things people decide to spend their money on would be a much easier and understandable concept for all ages and incomes.

What do you think about expense and investments? Do you agree with any of the things said here? Do you find the topic of money and what you spend it on difficult?

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
Blog Widget by LinkWithin


Saturday, 20 June 2015

Blogging nowadays is a great way to show you are social media savvy, competent in writing and have at least a basic understanding of creative and technological based industries - that's art and SEO to you and me. More people are asking whether they should list their blog on their CV when applying for jobs, and my view is that it's a huge boost for your profile - it shows you have a passion for a topic, you've worked with brands and know how to interact with consumers, and it even shows you have influence in the online world.

With that in mind, how can you make your blog become a portfolio for your skills whilst maintaining the personal touch that every comes back to read?

1. Link to themes supporting your chosen career

Whether you're an aspiring photographer, fashion journalist, or a chef, your blog is the perfect place to show off what you've got. Creating a regular series of posts, running chats or discussions that discuss health or new season trends, or talking about events or talks you've attended that show you've taken outside initiative in pursuing your career are all great things to show your prospective employer.

2. Spend time practising and refining your photography

Now I'm not saying you have to perfect the flatlay or spend serious dollar on props, but as blogs are a visual force to be reckoned with it's time you started making your work look slick. Whether it's spending more time brightening your photos, taking fewer but higher quality shots, or creating a theme that represents your personality and niche topic, make sure it all looks well thought out and executed (if you need some tips, I have a lovely bunch of posts right here)

3. Utilise language and grammar

Unless you're planning on writing for a magazine or broadsheet sometime soon, you only need to worry about the basics - punctuation, paragraphs, correct grammar and the tone of your piece. Are you writing to inform or explain? Is it a light hearted reflection on an event or a hard-hitting personal piece that may spark debate? Allowing your personality to shine through whilst sounding concise, informed and purposeful shows you are thinking outside of what your content displays, and it appeals to more people. Don't forget about spell check too, that's a sneaky one!

4. Link all your platforms

This is super important when networking and approaching brands, as they will want to see your activity on each platform you utilise. In the past I had a line of HTML code that prevented my social buttons from working, so whilst they appeared on my blog they were no use, and a brand had to email me to let me know which quite embarrassing. Check regularly that links work and are sent to the correct place, and cross link across all your platforms so everyone can find you easily - if you can, use the same name on each platform as this makes searching (aka stalking) much much easier.

5. Be professional

I like to throw in the odd bit of humour and slang sometimes in my posts, but ultimately I want my social media and blog to reflect a professional and mature outlook. For me, this means leaving those moans, groans and very personal business off Twitter and any public place for people to see them, and if debate or confrontation does start, either ignore it or reply with an informed yet gracious response - you will look so much more respectful and grown to others if you do. When dealing with brands too, always be polite and positive, thank them for an opportunity and offer up repeat services - if you had a bad time with a product, a polite email expressing your concerns and what you can do will be appreciated by the PR team. Also in line with this, if you are faced with a 'no disclosure policy' make sure you politely yet firmly reiterate that you have guidelines to follow set by the ASA and that you have to note somewhere in the post you have been paid/sent an item. It's only a sentence, and half of the time people don't notice or guess for themselves whether it's paid for, but it's better than both you and a company being penalised right?

6. Optimise!

Lastly, optimise your blog! This means saving your images for web no bigger than 1MB, creating an easily navigated home page, nav bar and mobile version of your blog, and having clearly categorised areas and links on your pages. Use SEO and meta-tags to bump your posts and blog up the Google ranks, work on decreasing your page loading time, and focus on how your blog appears to a new potential client - can they locate your about page within 5 seconds? Do you have links to all your different blog topics? Is everything located in one place or several drop-down menus? Have you installed a search button? Small details like this really make a difference when brands, clients, and readers all visit your page, so if you want your blog to kickstart a career, make sure people can find what they need quickly!

Combining your hobbies, passions and interests with a chosen career has never been easier thanks to blogging, but it can also prove a challenge in making yourself seen. By optimising your blog and turning it into the ultimate professional portfolio to not only showcase your skills but also your personality, you'll be able to show your quality to any prospective employer or brand easily - go on, make the world fall in love with your blog!

Has your blog helped your career? Would you say your blog is a great portfolio for your skills and interests? Have you found any new tips to inspire you today?

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 | Follow my blog with Bloglovin | Instagram | Pinterest
Blog Widget by LinkWithin


Friday, 19 June 2015

I've built up quite the collection of lipsticks over five years of dedicated beauty loving, the fact they have their own brimming drawer in my MUJI storage is enough to speak volumes, but sometimes you can't get enough of a good thing. What my extensive collection has taught me though is which shades suit my cool-yellow toned complexion, brightening the face and teeth whilst looking totally fabulous any season or occasion. 

Today, I've narrowed it down (just) to some of my favourites for a 'best of the best' that you should have in your own collection - if you can resist adding any of these to your wishlist, I commend you, you strong willed babe.

What's a lipstick collection without a good red - answer, it's not a collection - and I've definitely got a few faves; the ultimate blue-toned lipstick that never fails is of course MAC Russian Red, the blue-tone brightening the smile and whole face for a classic day look or striking evening sophistication, plus the formula stays put for hours so you won't need to worry about it fading. If you still want something matte, but a bit more budget friendly, I adore Revlon ColourBurst Matte Balm in Sultry - it has great longevity and is easy to reapply, plus can we discuss the wind up feature?! NARS take note...speaking of NARS, I do love their Bahama Matte Lip Pencil which is slightly more brown than Sultry but is super matte and great for an autumn edge to any red lip. Very drying, so make sure you use a balm at least 2 minutes before applying.

Berry shades are about as pink and warm toned as I'll get, but the right mix of dusty brown and pink makes it super flattering for cool tones. Lipstick Queen Sigh is the perfect mix of blue and purple undertones with a berry base, flecks of metallic that all sheers out beautifully for a lovely tinted pout - the transparency of the lipstick makes it the perfect wash of colour on a no-makeup day, and you can reapply without a mirror (thank lord). A very similar shade and effect is Oriflame The ONE Triple Core Lipstick in Dazzling Plum*, however I would say it's slightly more opaque. The colour is a winner, yet the formula and packaging needs some work which lets it down slightly. Another Oriflamme lipstick that takes us nicely into the more pink offerings is the The ONE Colour Unlimited Matte Lipstick in Forever Plum*, which is more cream-sheen in formula but smudged into the lips or popped on top of a darker liner gives a gorgeous moisture and depth to the lips.

I mentioned pink, so I present to you the pinkest pink - I've mentioned Barry M Lipstick in 145 enough times now, but long-lasting matte formula with the perfect blue-toned base to suit so many complexions, you can't go wrong right? Another bold smile brightener is the equally discussed MAC Morange, the cool and true orange base really catches your eye, makes you look tanned (result) and has a formula second to none. The perfect summer shade if you were looking for one by the way. Bold is the theme here, and there's nothing bolder than a purple which kicked off my obsession with blue toned lipsticks. A throwback to the one that started it all, Maybelline Colour Sensational Lipstick in Midnight Plum which has flecks of blue metallic in the formula to really make that smile catch your eye. It needs a bit of layering to get the right opacity, so arm yourself with a liner and some Lipcote and it's stay all night. The boldest purple award has to go to Revlon ColourBurst Matte Balm in Shameless, as it really is Crayola purple on the lips - it's loud, it's bright, and it's the perfect balance of magenta, purple and blue to make any simple outfit look 1000000x cooler. I really need to wear this more often, but come the summer evenings, it won't be leaving my lips.

Finally the nudes, and it took me a few years to finally find 'the one', the one being Chanel Rouge Coco in Mademoiselle; it really is the perfect 'your lips but better' formula which Chanel have nailed, and you can get a good few hours wear out of it but application is a breeze, and it will suit you all year long - worth the price especially if you wear a nude lip daily! Tight on budget? Sleek luckily has a great dupe (which I mentioned here) in the form of their True Colour Lipstick in Liqueur*, a more champagne gold shade but nonetheless a very similar formula. This one is more suited the summer when you have some colour going on, but over a brown or dusty rose liner, it's a beautiful wash of colour for any month.

Lipsticks and nail polish, the two things I hoard and hold most dearly to my heart, and if this post is anything to go by then the obsession isn't slowing down yet. If you're a cool toned babe, then get researching those blue-based formulas to compliment your skin-tone - whatever lands in your shopping basket afterwards is totally not my responsibility (just pick up a spare for me too please?)

Have you ever shopped for a lipstick based on your skin-tone? What is your favourite formula and shade? Will you be trying any cool toned lipsticks?

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 | Follow my blog with Bloglovin | Instagram | Pinterest
Blog Widget by LinkWithin


Wednesday, 17 June 2015

There's so much I love about summer food - it's fresh, clean, and it becomes habit that you throw things on the BBQ or into loads of bowls to pick at for hours on end whilst the sun beams down on you, and in reality it doesn't get much better than that. 

When I ate meat I found it hard to get on board with BBQ smokey taste to burgers, it always put me off and to this day BBQ smoked anything is enough to make my nose go 'OH HELL NO', however I took a chance on this Encona Korean BBQ Marinade* seeing as I'm all for trying something new and I like all things spicy. Thankfully, it paid off as this is in no way smokey, instead it's like the grown up and mature version of sweet chilli sauce that you could easily layer over anything in your cupboard, fridge, maybe some bread even.

So compiling my love of BBQ food selections and Korean BBQ Marinade, I've created the ultimate superfood side salad to go with whatever you're grilling this summer, and I promise you it'll be a hit.


1 Large Handful of Kale | 1 Handful of Spinach | 3 Medium Carrots | Quinoa/Rice/Bulgar Wheat/Cous Cous | 8 Small Tomatoes | 4cm Chunk of Cucumber | Encona Korean BBQ Marinade* | 1 Beetroot | 2 Spring Onions | 1 Sprig of Mint | Sumac Spice | Olive Oil | Lemon Juice

1. In an oiled pan, slowly soften the kale on a low heat and sprinkle in the Sumac. Chop your carrots into quarters and shave until you have noodles, adding into the kale to heat up slowly.

2. Dice up all your cold salad extras - mint, cucumber, spring onion, tomatoes, beetroot - and set aside whilst the kale and carrots cook.

3. Turn the pan to a medium heat and add in your chosen base (I've gone for quinoa, obviously). Be generous with the marinade, adding in as many tablespoons as you desire until it's the right heat and flavour for you, and let it all cook thoroughly.

4. When everything is cooked through, turn off the heat and add in the spinach to wilt whilst you prep the salad bowl and cold ingredients. Add all the ingredients to the bowl, toss through with some oil and lemon for zing, and serve up the goodness!

Visually colour, nutritionally packed with vitamins and good stuff, plus it's the perfect side to any good grill - hey, if you're feeling crazy, just eat the whole bowl yourself, I won't judge you. BBQ flavours, we may have got off to a bad start, but you've definitely made your mark on my summer snacking.

What are you cooking on the BBQ this summer? Will you be trying new flavours this year? Are you ready for long, lazy days eating in the sunshine?

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 | Follow my blog with Bloglovin | Instagram | Pinterest
Blog Widget by LinkWithin
Blog Design by The Blog Store