Sunday, 26 February 2017

How I Take Photos For Instagram

I've been really hesitant to put a post like this up because I'm far from a professional when it comes to blog photography. However, I've had several questions about how I take and edit my photos recently so I thought I would finally sit down and share some ideas:

I only take photographs when there is good lighting.
Like many other bloggers, I like to keep my feed as bright as possible which means only taking pictures when there's enough light to keep the photos looking natural and airy. To help with this I often use my reflector which diffuses light across the image and reduces the amount of shadow picked up by the camera. 

I edit, but as little as possible.
One of the best things about Instagram is the wide selection of edits you can apply to a photo before posting it. However, when I'm editing my photos, I tend to stick to the same filter (if any), and the same tweaks, so that they work with the rest of my feed. I like to keep everything looking as bright as possible, but also as natural as possible, so the brightness and contrast are taking up only a little. I like to sharpen the image and occasionally turn down the warmth so that any yellow tones are cancelled out. That's usually it!

I like to try out different ways to style the same photo. 
By this, I mean rearranging props and experimenting with them on different backgrounds and colours. Sometimes one particular shade of lipstick won't work in a photo so I switch it out for another. Or on the other hand, a photo might be missing a pop of colour, in which case I'll add some flowers or a pretty book cover. It's all about working with what you have and figuring out a way to arrange them that compliments your photo. If you'd like a more detailed post on flatlays and blog post images, with my top tips for styling them, let me know in the comments. Again, I'm not an expert, but I've definitely picked up a few useful habits along the way which I'd be happy to share!

I try to stick to a colour theme within the photo. 
This usually helps tie the image together so that nothing oddly sticks out. I choose the focus of the image to be the colour I opt for and then choose to build around that. For instance, when I was photographing a cup of coffee for my Ways To Unwind post, the main colour was gold on the coffee cup. This meant that I stuck to gold accented and neutral props so that the photo tied together and looked organized.

I use UNUM before uploading a photo.
I downloaded this app back in January and it has totally changed my Instagram game. It's an app that allows you to pop pictures onto your Instagram account page without uploading them so that you can see how they would look on your feed. It really helps keep your feed looking polished, especially when you want to figure out how to organize your photos in a way that looks neat and pretty. Also - it's free! 

How do you style your Instagram photos?


Thursday, 23 February 2017

The Zoeva Rose Golden Volume II Eye Brush Set

So... I caved. I finally bought this little set from Cult Beauty after months of lusting over the gorgeous rose gold glory. The justification I presented my bank account with was that I had a 15% off code so technically, it was a great deal. The Zoeva Rose Golden Brush Set was one of the first beauty purchases that I ever reviewed on my blog and I use those brushes almost everyday til this day. They are some of the most long lasting (and beautiful) brushes I have ever owned. A couple of months back, I came to the conclusion that I didn't have enough eye brushes for the looks I wanted to create, and I wanted an all round set that had the right brushes for all the little details. I knew that I loved the Zoeva brushes that I had already tried so I saved the Rose Golden Complete Eye Brush Set in my wishlist until I was ready for the splurge. 

The Zoeva packaging never fails to make me gasp every time I open it. This set came in a beautiful black box embossed with foiled gold lettering, and inside was a beautiful rose gold pouch containing all the brushes. Each brush was individually wrapped and protected with little brush covers, beautifully organised and presented in such a stunning way. This would definitely make a beautiful gift for a makeup lover or as a treat for yourself.   

It's the little details that make a set like this even more special; the pretty peach-pink coloured wood, the rose gold ferrules, the little engraved Zoeva logo and brush name on each individual handle... everything is so well crafted that it makes the experience of opening them and enjoying them so much better. The quality of the brushes is also incredible. They consist of soft, sturdy, dense bristles which really pack pigment and colour onto your lid with as little fallout as possible. What is more - there are twelve brushes - a brush in for every single need you might have:

142 Concealer Buffer; to apply and blend under eye concealer.

221 Luxe Soft Crease; a beautiful blending brush.

227 Luxe Soft Definer; a slightly smaller blending brush.

228 Luxe Crease; perfect for transitional blending in the crease.

230 Luxe Pencil; applies and blends soft kohl.

231 Luxe Petit Crease; accentuates shadows in the crease.

232 Luxe Classic Shader; perfect for packing eyeshadow on the lid.

235 Contour Shader; emphasizes eye contours around the lid.

238 Luxe Precise Shader; precise eyeshadow application.

310 Spot Liner; applies eyeshadow against lashline precisely for thicker looking lashes.

322 Brow Line; applies eyebrow products for perfect brows. 

325 Luxe Brow Light; perfect for brow bone highlight.

These brushes retail for £65 but with my discount, I managed to get them for £55.75 which worked out at about £4.64 per brush (and a beautiful pouch for free!). I thought that was incredibly good value as generally you'd end up paying a lot more for eye brushes individually and these are brushes of really lovely quality which will last for years to come. All in all, I'm excited to get lots of use out of them, and I'm sure they'll be in lots of blog posts in the future!

Have you tried the Zoeva eye brushes?


Tuesday, 21 February 2017

My Favourite Ways To Unwind

With it being the final semester of my degree, things are definitely getting intense, with the pressure of multiple deadlines and assessments looming like a dark shadow over my head. This means I really like to plan out my day to be as effective and productive as possible, so that I have time at the end of each day to do an activity that I really enjoy as a way to unwind. I've found several different rituals that really help me relax, so I thought I'd share them with you today:

1. Make a warm drink.
For me it's tea. I love my coffee but I try not to drink it after 3pm, otherwise I tend to stay awake longer which disrupts my sleep. I've never been the kind of girl who likes flavoured tea, but a large mug of peppermint or chamomile tea is such a soothing drink after a long day.

2. Think about blog ideas.
The reason I started a blog was simply because I was excited to create a space on the internet where I could share what I love (hence the name of my blog). To this day, blogging is still something which excites me just as much as it did when I started, if not more so. I never really find it a chore, and though it can be a little more stressful at times, I like to have a bunch of new ideas on hand for days when I'm stuck. 

3. Create a soothing playlist.
Everyone has a bunch of songs that they find relaxing and they never get tired of hearing. I love compiling my favourites into a playlist and having it play (either in my ears or out loud whilst I work). A couple of my favourites are Young & Beautiful by Lana Del Rey and more recently, the soundtrack from La La Land - of course. 

4. Turn down the lights.
When the sun is down I like to completely shut my curtains and create lighting which helps me cozy up for the evening. This means lots of candles and fairy lights - it creates a soft, pretty lighting as well as a beautiful fragranced space for me to relax in. 

5. Catch up on any reading.
Whether it's magazines, blogs or books, reading is the perfect low stress activity to help unwind after a long day. I love browsing through all the blog posts I've missed throughout the day and leaving comments. The evening is definitely the time of day where I'm most engaged with the blogging side of my life because this whole community is such a positive and lovely one - it definitely helps you feel relaxed after a busy day!

6. Have a beauty routine.
I've made it a rule for myself to take off every scrap of makeup and moisturize well before bed but because beauty is something I really enjoy, I like to make a routine out of it. Sometimes I'll add in a face mask, or a long soak in a bubble bath, or a fresh manicure - there are so many beauty pampering treats out there and I like to make the most of them. 

What are your favourite ways to relax after a long day?

Sunday, 19 February 2017

How To Keep Your Makeup Collection Organized

With an ever-growing makeup collection, it can sometimes become quite a challenge to keep on top of it all and make sure that everything stays organised. It's so easy to store makeup away and then forget about it, and only rediscover it again when it's well past expiration date! I used to only have a handful of makeup products which I kept in a little gold glittery makeup bag as a teenager, but for the past few years my collection has grown vastly. This meant I had to figure out a system which helped keep all my makeup tidy but still used - I didn't want anything to be forgotten or left behind. It's taken a while to get there but I think I've finally got it, and I've worked out a way to keep products on rotation and easy to find. I thought I'd share some of my top tips for organizing your makeup collection in this post:

Invest in good storage.
Whether it's acrylic containers or wooden drawers, a good quality and sturdy storage system really helps when organizing a larger collection of makeup. I like to use storage with some sort of dividing system so that I can separate products by category, and then further divisions so I can line them up by colour, brand or formula. 

Befriend a label maker.
These are so incredibly useful, especially if your collection is overwhelming at times. Having a consistent way of marking up the drawers or boxes which separate your products keeps things looking clean and tidy, whilst also speeding up the process of finding particular products or shades. For instance, labeling a drawer by the products inside it or the back of a Z Palette with the shade names of each pan depotted into it. It just makes locating what you're looking for a lot easier, trust me!

Have an 'everyday' makeup station.
I like to keep a couple of smaller acrylic drawers filled with products that I rotate regularly so that I'm getting good use out of everything I've bought. There's a bit of everything in this little station, a bit like a makeup bag on display. I usually store a couple of different blush options, a selection of single eyeshadows and a handful of lipsticks which I've been reaching for most at the time - these are the products that I switch up most during the week so that's what I like to keep on hand. 

Use jars for storing brushes.
Lots of the brush sets I buy come in pouches which I do still keep (they are useful for travelling), but I prefer having all of my brushes, no matter what brand they're from, all in the same place. This is where jars and pots are really useful, they store brushes upright and together whilst also looking really pretty. I love to upcycle candle jars which I've dedicated a whole post to here. If that's not up your street, there are lovely tumblers and pots you can find at all different price points - some of my favourites are from H&M Home and Anthropologie.

Throw out anything you don't reach for.
A simple rule of thumb that I use is: if I haven't reached for it in over six months, it needs to go. That keeps my makeup collection as tidy as possible with only the products that I actually enjoy using. It also keeps room open for lots of new beauty bits that I want to try (added bonus!).

What are your top tips for keeping your makeup organized?

Thursday, 16 February 2017

The Tarte Tartelette In Bloom Palette

When this beauty came for me in the mail, my face was a real life copy of the heart eye emoji. I'd seen so many pictures and blog posts of the Tartelette in Bloom Palette but having it in my hands was just something else. I can honestly say that this is the most beautiful palette I have owned, or ever seen for that matter! I had heard mixed reviews about the original Tartelette palette but I've only ever ever heard good things about the Bloom palette, so that's why I finally decided to make the investment. 

I featured it on my Instagram Stories a couple of weeks ago, but now that I've had the chance to play around with some of the shadows, I think I'm ready to write up a full review. First off, it smells like chocolate. Specifically Kinder Eggs. I've never owned the Too Faced Chocolate Bar Palette but I can imagine this smells quite similar. It's not so heavy that you can smell it whilst the shadows are on your eyes (which would get annoying), but it's a light fragrance that makes applying them that much more special. 

Onto the important stuff - the eyeshadows themselves. The palette comes with sixteen different shadows, all in neutral, wearable tones. There is a variety of shimmer and matte shades, with thirteen matte shades and three intense shimmer shades. This is the first palette that I can look at and say that I'd 100% wear every single shade inside. There are so many looks that can be achieved with the selection in the Bloom palette that I'm pretty sure you wouldn't need any other palette if you're a neutral eye look lover. It's the perfect palette for everyone, no matter what their age - for young to old, for beginners to pros. This is such a versatile little number. 

My favourite eyeshadow shades are Funny Girl (a beautiful champagne sparkle), Smarty Pants (the perfect transitional matte tan) and Rebel (the ultimate  chestnut brown crease shade). I've been wearing them the most, either on their own (the sparkle) or blended across the lid and crease (the mattes) for super wearable and easy daytime looks. If you wanted to transform your eye look into something more evening appropriate, adding a smudge of Activist (a rich, dark brown) or Smoke Show (even darker black brown) along the lash line would be perfect. 

The wear time of these is excellent. I managed to wear a whole eye look from 8am-6.30pm without creasing, with just a dab of primer beneath the shadows. The pigmentation is strong and most of the shadows are very smooth (the exception being Flower Child, I found that to be a bit chalkier). They blend really easily with any good blending brush - my favourite are the Zoeva Eye Brushes.

As I mentioned before, the packaging is stunning. I can see this being the perfect Mother's Day gift, Anniversary gift or birthday present for any makeup lover. If you're just starting out, this is a really beautiful investment to make and I am pretty certain that you won't be disappointed. It's definitely a purchase that I'm glad I made, even though it's certainly more up there in price. This palette retails for £42.50 on QVC (and as far as I'm aware, this is the only place that this palette is available for purchase in the UK - correct me if I'm wrong!). 

Have you tried the Tartelette in Bloom Palette?

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