Wednesday, August 27, 2014

HOW TO BE AN ORGANISED BLOGGER


HOW TO BE AN ORGANISED BLOGGER

There are two types of bloggers: the ones who do it as a hobby and the ones who want to make a career out of it. Nothing is wrong with either sort - after all we all blog for our own individual reasons - however one element which remains key regardless of your reasons is organisation. For me, blogging is a somewhat tactical yet extremely fun, game plan and keeping on top of that game is key. From checklists to calendars, personally I love organising and there's no way I'd be able to post the quantity I do without some sort of structure/plan. Sure it may be hard to follow sometimes, especially during hectic weeks, but I'd be lost without one. If you want to up your organisation game or just read about what I do, I've put together a list of tips on how to be an organised blogger. Enjoy!

MAKE LISTS

Before you even think about writing a post it's important to make a list of all your ideas. This allows you to prepare for the week ahead and also prioritise posts that you need to get up ASAP. I often keep lists in both a notebook and on my iPad and they're a great way of keeping tabs on ideas. As well as writing down the idea it's also a good idea to colour code it or rank it. For example some posts are seasonal, so there's no point doing a back to school post in October when everyone goes back in September. Equally why put up a festival fashion post in mid-February? It's not going to work!

PLAN, PLAN AND PLAN AGAIN

Planning is key and I cannot stress it enough. You should always be a week a head and know exactly what's being posted on what day. If you're a daily blogger like me, I'd even invest in buying a calendar. That way you can jot down what posts are going live on what days. Not only does this help improve the variety of content you're posting - after all there's only so many lipstick reviews a girl can read in a week! - but it also helps you keep on top of things such as product samples of sponsored posts. I've been fortunate enough to receive a lot of different products in the past few months but am aware I can't, nor would I want to, constantly post review after review of gifted products. Keeping a calendar allows me to shake things up. By knowing what's going up each day I can publish advice posts, like this, to posts where I've been gifted items or products. Case in point: yesterdays post! It's also great for your PR connections. Just from experience, PRs love it when you tell them exactly when the post is going live. I always try to make mine within a week of receiving the product and planning allows me to do that.

KEEP A POSTING SCHEDULE AND STICK TO IT

Linking in to my point about buying a calendar, it's important to keep a schedule and stick to it. I post daily. For me this works well and I can guarantee my readers at least one post a day. Not only does that allow for steady-traffic, but it also guarantees that there will be fresh content on my blog for followers to read every day. I know most people can't post every day, it takes a lot of work and can be time consuming, but try to establish how often you can post and stick to it. For example, maybe your readers can expect a music mixtape every Friday or a beauty post every Monday. Even if it's just once a week, it at least gives readers something to look forward to and read on a regular basis.

WRITE A BATCH OF POSTS IN ONE GO

Often I write my posts in one go. This means I'll sit down and dedicate a day a week to write up seven or eight different posts. Not only does this allow me to have the rest of the week free and work on other ideas, but it also allows me to stick to my schedule. Equally I don't even need to be around to publish the posts as I can just schedule them in advance. Take this post for instance, I wrote this on Monday along with tomorrows! So there we have it, my organisation tips. I hope you found them useful. Leave yours in the comments below.

WORDS: Emma Matthews
PHOTOS: Emma Matthews

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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

RMK MAKEUP







RMK MAKEUP

I'm a sucker for trying out new beauty brands. From a must have lipstick to brand new palette,  I own far too much makeup and am constantly on the hunt for trying out more. Recently I was contacted by cosmetic company RMK and asked to review a few bits and bobs from their new AW14 collection. Prior to this post, I hadn't heard of RMK but after a little digging and Internet snooping I was surprised to find out they're actually pretty big, especially in America and Japan. 

The brand have the slogan, 'Revealing the best and most beautiful you!' and that's exactly what they aim to do. Holding roots within the New York makeup circuit, they're constantly turning out vibrant seasonal collections that include bold eyeshadows, shiny cheek colours and dazzling lipsticks - all of which have fresh scents and edible ingredients. I'm not too sure about eating my favourite lipstick, but each to their own.

Alongside the assortment of theatrical colours, RMK also have a range of liquid foundation that was launched in 1997. Crafted from a special formula, the foundation takes pride in showcasing the brand's signature for dewy, natural skin. Now that I like the sound of!

The first piece I received from RMK was the Matte Shiny Eye Pencil in 05 Brown. The eye pencil is a multi-use product with two unique and useful features. At one end of the pencil, there' s a matte crayon. The crayon has a rich texture which is great to use on both your waterline and upper lid. Adding to the plus points it's also easy and smooth to apply. After all there's nothing worse than scraping or scratching your lids when you're trying to apply eyeliner - we've all been there. At the other end of the pencil there's a shimmery eyeshadow powder. The colour I received was a dusky rose pink with hints of gold and brown. Ideal for adding a mysterious allure to the eyes, the glittery shadow was extremely pigmented and would look great if you wanted to create a flirty look that was  ultra-feminine.

Sticking with shadow, the second item I was gifted was the RMK Eyebrow Powder in the shade 02 Mid Brown. The powder is similar to a pigmented eyeshadow and is a must for those looking to achieve a statement, Cara D brow. Unfortunately the colour was a little too light for my brows. Due to me suffering from vitiligo, where my eyebrows and eyelashes are white, I tend to opt for a darker brown meets black hue. Either way, I wasn't going to let the shadow go to waste and believe me when I say it works just as good on your lids as it does on your brows.

My favourite of the batch has to be the Matte Shiny Cheeks palette. The limited edition buy contains two different colours that can be combined and/or used separately. For those looking for a soft yet textured highlighter, the shimmery shade of cream is ideal and gives skin a luminous glow. Alternatively there's also a brighter hue of pink that can be used as a blush to create prominent, Jolie-like cheekbones. From a contoured look that's sure to wow at your local bar to a more subdued daytime sheen, the  ability to create different looks with the palette is endless. Not to mention the adorable design.

Finally, the last item I was given was the brand's Nail Colour EX in the shade CL-15 Blue. The polish is a great investment buy - especially if you're a girl who wears a colour and sticks to it. For £15.15, the liquid itself is highly pigmented. It only took 2 standard coats to get the light blue to appear as bright as it does on the bottle. Equally the application is effortless. The brush is a suitable size which makes it easy to spread polish without creating streaks and/or dewy gloops. Could there be a better way to take pastels into the winter season?

Overall I was extremely impressed with the brand and I hope they start getting the recognition they truly deserve in the UK market. To shop the range visit BonBonCosmetics.com.

WORDS: Emma Matthews
PHOTOS: Emma Matthews


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Monday, August 25, 2014

BACK TO SCHOOL WITH VIKING







BACK TO SCHOOL WITH VIKING


Whether it's for Uni or school, September's the time to stock up on stationary for the autumn term. Recently I was contacted by office supply company Viking and asked to review a few bits and bobs from their new 'Fashion Stationary' range. Gone are the days of bland notebooks and boring biros, Viking specialise in creating flattering and eye-catching pieces that are not only practical but also lovely to look at.

PROJECT BOOKS

When it comes to tackling notes and jotting things down - in both an organised and tactical way - a project book is your best friend. A project book is a larger version of a notepad and has specific dividers placed throughout it. These sections all include a plastic pocket, which are great for storing handouts, as well as sturdy dividers which you can write the name of the project/subject across. The project book I received from Viking was the Pukka Navy A5 Project Book. Priced at £5.99, it's an affordable buy and can easily be carried in a handbag or schoolbag. The paper itself is refillable, which makes it quick to order and re-arrange sections to your liking. Best of all it's also a gorgeous pink and blue colour. Stationary never looked so fashionable. Swoon.

FOLDERS

Folders are a great way to organise handouts and scraps of paper. I often find myself using them when I have to create research folders at Uni and am always on the hunt for affordable ones that are both flattering and sturdy. Let's face it, there's nothing worse than picking one up too quickly, only to have a hurricane of paper spew out of it. Luckily the Pukka Navy A4 Lever Arch File does none of that. Now in the sale at £1.99, not only does it match my new Pukka Project Book, but it's also going to come in handy when term starts.

BIROS AND GELPENS

Obviously, a 'back to school kit' needs to include the essentials: pens. I picked up two sets of pens from Viking. The first set was the BIC Crystal Pen For Her. Not only are the pens a girly must, with pink, purple and green cases, but they're light and easy to use. A basic biro, they can be carried everywhere and are ideal for jotting things down last minute. The second set of pens I received were the Uni-Ball Signo Gelstick Rollerball Pens. From green to blue to red, the pens are great for colour coding notes and/or underlining important texts. Personally, I love organising my notes this way as it makes it easier to read when I come back to them. But what about you? Let me know your 'back to school musts' in the comments below!

WORDS: Emma Matthews
PHOTOS: Emma Matthews
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Sunday, August 24, 2014

SIMPLISTIC BLACK AND WHITE









SIMPLISTIC BLACK AND WHITE

TOPSHOP U NECK TANK TOP: £10
NEW LOOK SKATER SKIRT: £9.99
EBAY PLATFORM BOOTS: £9.99
REGAL ROSE GUN METAL CHOKER: £26.99*
PRIMARK SILVER CHAIN: £3
REGAL ROSE MINI HAMSA RING: £26.99*

I'd be lying if I said Outfit Of The Day posts were my forte. Unfortunately my niggling fear of the camera and complete inability to take an picture via a timer has put me off doing them for a while now. But that's a habit I'm adamant to break, so behold my very first one!

In midst of taking the photographs the sun decided to make a cheeky appearance, hence the horrible shadows. It also resorted in me squinting like a maniac. My eyes aren't that small I promise! As well as the dodgy expression, you're also treated to my untamed hair, which the wind sure loved to ruffle up. This is England after all.  Mum's no David Bailey but we tried. Let me know what you think of the outfit in the comments below. Oh and don't forget to Hype!


WORDS: Emma Matthews
PHOTOS: Emma Matthews


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Sunday, August 24, 2014

SANTAVERDE ALOE VERA CREME/GEL






Founded over 25 years ago in 1988, beauty brand Santaverde was created by founder Sabine Beer. Sabine had the idea when a neighbour in Spain gave her a cool aloe vera leaf and told her to apply the gel to her skin. At the time the creative said she suffered from numerous skin problems including inflammation, extreme dryness and severe redness, the gel changed Sabine's skin and she quickly began to notice improvements in the general upkeep, colour and texture. A year later and the company was born.

From gels to creams, every Santaverde product is said to have a unique affect on the skin thanks to the concentrated formula of pure aloe vera juice. Recently I received two products from the company, both of which I was eager to try out. My skin hasn't been in the best condition at the moment and some patches are incredibly dry. I've also had a small breakout across my jawline. Yikes. With this in mind, I wanted to see whether the products would help nourish and improve my skin.

The first product I received was the Santaverde Aloe Vera Hydro Repair Gel. A mixture of pure aloe vera juice, elderflower extract, evening primrose oil and mango butter, the gel is suitable for blemished or oily skin. Priced at £28.00, you use the formula as a serum before moisturising. Overall I thought the gel was a great buy. The results were instantly noticeable and the product made my skin look and feel healthier. Talk about two for one! Although the dry patches didn't go completely, I did notice that it improved the texture slightly and guided my blemished skin on the path to recovery.

The second product I received was the Santaverde Medium Aloe Vera Creme also priced at £28.00. The cream is a classic moisturising cream and made from pure aloe vera juice and valuable plant oils including grape seeds and avocados. Great for all skin types, the cream comes in three different types: light, medium and rich. When I first tried the medium version, I noticed how soft it made my skin. The product really does promote regeneration and is ideal to use on a daily basis after toning. In general the cream wasn't heavy and it didn't feel greasy to apply. Instead it felt fresh and is a great addition to my everyday cleansing routine. Over all I loved both products and definitely plan on using them again. But what do you think? Leave a comment below.

WORDS: Emma Matthews
PHOTOS: Emma Matthews

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Saturday, August 23, 2014

ESCAPE SHOES: BIRKENSTOCKS





If there's one trend I've been loving this summer it's the Birkenstock shoe. Sure, they may be ugly but ugly has just been made wearable, with the likes of Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen donning the brand. Style icon swoon. For me, they're the statement go-to shoe and are the ideal way to give a dressy outfit a rock meets grungy edge. Having been lusting over numerous pairs for a while now, I've put together 4 of my favourite designs, which are all available to buy via Escape Shoes.

The first design I love is the Adria shoe. Priced at £51.80, it's a great sandal that can be worn around the house or when you go to the beach. Similar to the Adria, the Gizeh is another one of my favourites. If only you should wear one on each foot, cue the monochrome lust.

For everyday wear, I love the Arizona shoe. It's the ultimate slip on and an Olsen must have. If I owned a pair, I know, I know I'm sobbing too!, I'd wear them with nipped in tailored trousers and simple white vest. Equally, I'm also crushing over the Mayari. With an ankle strap and over toe cross over, they look comfy and are no doubt the ultimate shoe when it comes to long and tedious days shopping. But what do you think? Do any of these designs take your fancy? Leave a comment below.

WORDS: Emma Matthews
PHOTOS: Birkenstock Summer 2014 Campaign by Jeremy and Claire Weiss (DAY19)

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Saturday, August 23, 2014

ROSIE WONDERS TEMPORARY TATTOOS



From bold eye makeup to drastic hairstyles, festival fashion is all about loud staples that are sure to raise a few eyebrows. Envisage, coloured hair, glittery lids and statement accessories - animal hats, outlandish sunglasses and temporary tattoos to name a few, Sure they may sound tacky, but ever since  fashionistas jumped on the 90s bandwagon this summer fake ink has had a massive fashion-revival.

Recently I was sent a pack of Rosie Wonders Temporary Finger Tattoos. Priced at £6.50, the adorable buy was designed by Rosie herself and is ideal for a gift to friends or family. With plenty of symbols and logos to choice from, each tattoo features one of Rosie's quirky, trademark illustrations. My personal favourites include the love hearts and retro take on pin-up style roses. I also love the compass and boat, which I've currently got on each of my wrists.

In general, just like most temporary tattoos, the designs are easy to apply. All you need is a little dab of water. I would be careful on is the more intricate pieces, as they require a lot more water around the corners than your basic symbols. If that tattoo's not fully covered it will break off when you try to apply it. Adding to the plus points, all the coloured designs are high pigmented with the shades being bold and eye-catching They also have a fairly long longevity rate with the symbol black and white outline designs lasting 3/4 days and the coloured designs lasting 2/3. But what do you think? Do you like the sound of Rosie Wonders' temporary tattoos?

WORDS: Emma Matthews
PHOTOS: Emma Matthews

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Friday, August 22, 2014

LOSE WEIGHT WITH THE MALORY BAND





One of the main reasons we gain weight - whether it be on a day-to-day basis or over a selected period - is over eating. From scoffing too much cake on your Birthday to indulging in all those rich Christmas must-haves, chocolate, pudding and of course a hefty roast to name a few, many of us stack our plates high and don't seem to worry about the actual quantity we're eating. Realistically our stomachs are the size of a fist - surprising right? - so the mountains and mountains of food we're consuming on a daily basis is often too much and results in stretching and bloating. Yikes!

On hand to help over eating is the Malory Band. Priced at £24.95, the band is a nifty new way to monitor your weight by offering a long term, constant and effective 'gauge' of your size. To use it all you have to do is clip it around your waist and wear it as you go about your day. As you eat, the band will monitor the size of your stomach and tighten when it's full. As a result of this, the band tells you when you've had enough food thus stopping over eating.

Over all I love the idea of the band. It's ideal if you're trying to lose weight and a great thing to pack if you're overindulging on holiday or scoffing your face at Christmas. I'm a health conscious-nut, so for me wearing the band on a daily basis has helped me lose and maintain inches off my waist and hips. It's also a great way to see results - particularly if you're wanting to achieve a dramatic figure-change. After all, mirrors are the worst thing to stare at after a long work out!

The fit of the band is fairly relaxed with it being comfortable to wear. Alongside the band, the pack also contains a travel pouch and further information about healthy eating and exercise tips. But what do you think? Would you ever buy a Malory Band?

WORDS: Emma Matthews
PHOTOS: Emma Matthews

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Thursday, August 21, 2014

WHAT TO TAKE TO A FESTIVAL


WHAT TO TAKE TO A FESTIVAL


RALPH LAUREN SUNGLASSES: £119

Whether you're a Reading and Leeds newbie or a Bestival pioneer, the task of festival packing is often long and tedious. From booze to hygienic essentials, there's always one thing you're bound to forget - especially if you're not treated to the luxury of a hotel and/or guest camping. With Reading and Leeds kicking off today, I thought I'd put together a list of must-haves you need - yes, need! - to take. Sure, the list may seem long, but trust me when I say you'll thank me later!

HYGIENE AND HEALTH

When you're away at a festival the chances are you're going to be going a week without showering. Yikes! Because of this, it's important to maintain your hygiene as best you can, with essential and easy products that can be stored in your rucksack.

First of all, always take toothpaste and a toothbrush. It's a given wherever you go, but judging by the amount of alcohol and greasy food you'll  be eating over the weekend, it's important to keep your teeth feeling fresh and healthy. Think of all that sugar! Superdrug sell small 20ml Aquafresh Fresh And Minty Fluoride Toothpaste for a mere £1.20. Packaged in a small tube, it's great for carrying on the go and doesn't take up much room in bag.

Alongside a toothbrush and toothpaste, it's important to pack hygiene wipes and hand gels. Again, you're not going to have access to clean water, so if you plan on wearing cosmetics make sure you take makeup wipes such as Garnier Start Afresh Make Up Remover Wipes priced at £2.99. It's also a good idea to take basic Johnson and Johnson Baby Wipes. After all, how else are you going to clean all those mud stains off your legs?

Finally ladies, please remember to take spray and/or deodorant. No one wants to stand next to someone who stinks of BO while watching their favourite band. With Superdrug selling Impulse Spray for as little as £1.20 there's really no excuse!

UPKEEP AND APPEARANCE

As you'll be camping with no water, you won't be able to wash your hair so it's a great idea to take dry shampoo. You can pick up small, travel sized can of Batiste Dry Shampoo from Superdrug for £1.50. Not only does it go a long way but it also smells amazing. Equally, if dry shampoo isn't your thing, you can always take hats or headscarves to cover those greasy roots!

For makeup, I'd always recommend taking cheap products which you don't mind getting lost or possibly stolen. More and more drugstore brands are upping their game and offering multipurpose products. To keep packing light camp with a palette that can be used for your eyes, eyebrows and even a soft contour. At £7.99, the cheap Sleek I Divine Au Naturel Palette is just as good as the Urban Decay Naked 3 and offers a variety of colours for different occasions. Also, remember a mirror!

ACCESSORIES AND CLOTHING

I already spoke about what clothing to take in my recent Do's And Don't's: Festival Dressing post. But for a quick recap, always pack for temperamental weather! From sun to rain, you want to be prepared, so take Wellingtons, coats, jackets and sunglasses.  Sure, it may sound like a wild mix but if the weather takes a turn for the worst, at least you won't be the one shivering in the cold.

So there we have it! Those are my tips. But what do you think? Do you have any festival essentials you always find yourself taking? Share them below.


WORDS: Emma Matthews
PHOTOS: Emma Matthews


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