Bettering Your Blog in 2015 & Some Amazing Blogging Advice

I'm not one for new years resolutions but as I said in this post, I want to better my blog in 2015. I don't think theres anything wrong with wanting to better yourself - as a perfectionist I'm always in competition with myself to try and improve and I think my blog has a lot of room for improvement. 
So how do I think a blog can be improved? Well, its easy to say write better, improve your photography or blog design but putting things into practise can prove more difficult.
I intend on bettering my blog with the help of all the amazing blog advice on the net. Theres so many different tips that it can be overwhelming but using clear and concise information where needed really can help you to improve.

My favourite pieces of advice

A few pieces of advice I'll be using in 2015 includes;

How to get serious about blogging - great advice if you want to take your blog to the next level.

How to promote your blog successfully on social media - advice for really getting your blog out there!

How to make a media kit for a small blog - great introduction for making a media kit for ANY blog.

How to use google keyword planner - really great for seo purposes

13 ways to drive traffic to old blog posts - great for boosting overall traffic.

How I started making a full time blogging income - for when you're considering taking the next step

How to attract more visitors by writing killer blog titles - something that tends to go under the radar.

Simple background hacks - a great post for photography and a great series on taking better blog pictures

What do you have planned for your blog in 2015?

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A Few Blogging Photo Background Ideas

Photographs are a huge part of blogging. Having nice, clear photos on your blog can help to draw the reader in and give your blog that extra 'edge'. I've always found it quite a struggle to convey my photographs in an interesting way. Theres only so much you can do with beauty products but I find adding a few different backgrounds can help. 
I've used all kinds of backgrounds for my photos. The ones I've really enjoyed incorporating into my blog are trays - I like the wooden ones (I have this one here), notebooks (I use the rifle paper co notebooks here) and also the rifle paper planner from here. I've also used magazines, jumpers (yes, really) and placemats (the gold one is from Dunelm mill).

A chopping board might seem like a bizarre choice but I find its great for taking photos on as you can place it right in front of a window and make the most of natural light. You can get a pack of two of these from Ikea for around £3. I'm going to paint one white and possibly put some backing paper on the other to change it up a bit.

I really like photo frames for taking photos on. I'm not sure why, I just think its something a bit different. I have a few of these Sainburys one.

Bedding, throws and cushions are all popular backgrounds to use. If you don't have a lot of time, these are the easiest things to use. I've also used wallpaper samples, my ikea helmer, bowls, tissue paper and flooring.

What are your favourite backgrounds to use?

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5 Lipsticks For Pale Skin

When you're as pale as me (think uber pale, whiter than a milk bottle, like a vampire etc etc) its difficult to find shades that don't completely wash you out or make you look too orange. Luckily, when it comes to lip products there are many shades that really compliment fair skinned ladies. 
My favourite lip products for pale skin are all products I've mentioned on here before but they're all good'uns and definitely deserve another mention.

Possibly my favourite lipstick ever is the Kate Moss for Rimmel Lipstick in 110. I think these are priced around a fiver but I see them on offer on ASOS a lot and they're definitely worth checking out. Even though this is a matte formula, it still has a little bit of a sheen to it so its really flattering. Despite being a coral red shade, its not too 'inyourface' bright either. You can see it swatched here.

For luxurious packaging then YSL Rouge Volupte Lipsticks take the crown hands down. The formula is great too - I have pink in confidence, which is swatched here. This is a soft pink with a glossy finish and slight mango scent. The lasting power isn't that great but I love this shade as it looks great with smokey makeup or even if you're not wearing much makeup. It feels really comfortable to wear though and is one of my most worn lippies.

I havent heard too much about Clinique Soft Matte Lipsticks apart from when they first launched, however I love the shade matte mandarin - swatched here. Despite this being a fairly bright orange toned red, it feels really comfortable to wear and is a really lovely lipstick. It's fairly long wearing and the silver packaging looks really sleek too.

One of my favourite nude lipsticks is MAC's Hug Me - swatched here. This is such a lovely nude shade for pale skintones. Some nude lipsticks can make pale skin tones look washed out but as this has a slight pink undertones to it, its very flattering. Finally, I love Maybelline's colors elixir in breathtaking apricot - a warm toned pink. The formula is glossy,comfortable to wear and feels hydrating. I purchased this shade from ebay so I think it may be a US shade. 

What are your favourite lip shades?

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My Blogging Goals For 2015...

Okay, so were not quite at the end of the year but I've been thinking a lot about goals recently. Personally, I rarely make new years resolutions as I don't really see the point. You really don't need a new year to make changes - you can start whenever you wish. However, I've recently been considering making a few blogging goals. It's not something I've ever done before but these are quite personal to me and not trying to get x amount of views or x amount of subscribers. 

1. Up my photography game
I've really not been happy with my photography as of late. There's been many times recently that I've deleted hundreds of pictures because the quality has been crap. I've just purchased a light box so we'll see if that helps and I'm going to read the book I bought years ago on how to use my camera. 

2. Comment on more blogs/use twitter
I'm really going to start commenting on more blog posts, including responding to comments on here too. I've found it difficult to juggle my time in the past few weeks so I need to get my ass in gear and really make time to do it. I'm going to try and use twitter more too - I'm rubbish at social media and to be truthful, I probably wouldn't have a twitter account if I didn't blog but I think its a good way to interact with new people.

3. Film a video
Even though I've told myself many times that I wont go down the vlogging route, I am considering making a video really just to prove to myself that I can do it and get over my fear of putting it online. It's easy to type out words and sit behind your computer but exposing yourself a bit more is quite scary so I feel I should just have a go for that reason. I have no aspirations to be Zoella but I think it sometimes nice to see the person behind the blog and get to know them a bit more!

4. Give more consideration to features
I'm incredibly lucky to receive a few beauty products for review but in 2015 I'd like to take it a little more back to basics. I didn't start this blog to gain freebies and I do turn things down if its something I would never consider buying myself in a million years but sometimes I feel restricted when I have pr samples to review. I'd like to put more thought into what I'm posting and hopefully be a little bit more creative. 

5. Get to grips with consistency
I used to be really good at this but it seems to have just fallen out of the window. I've completely lost track of schedules and the like so I'd really like to be more organised and keep up with regular posting as I do enjoy posting daily. 

6. Work on a new project
I'm sort of in the middle of this at the moment as I've been wanting to create something where I feel theres a gap in the market. I'll explain everything soon if anybody is interested - you might all think its crap ha. 

7. Tackle more new ideas/visuals
I really want to get to grips with photo editing. Right now I only use the basics but after spying some fantastic visuals on pinterest its really made me want to up my whole game. 

8. Go to a blogger meetup
I would love to go to a blogger meetup. I'm naturally very shy so meeting new people is a bit of a challenge. However, it would be awesome to meet others who share a similar passion for beauty.

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Giveaway!Win an Urban Decay Naked Basics 2 Palette

Today I have another awesome Christmas giveaway for everyone. Up for grabs is a Naked Basics 2 eyeshadow palette. I love Urban Decay shadows - they're amazing quality so I felt it would be great to offer one for a giveaway. As usual all you need to do is enter your details into the rafflecopter form below. This giveaway is open worldwide and will run for 2 weeks!

Good Luck

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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5 Xmas Gift Ideas You May Not Have Thought Of...

Now that it's December, the Christmas gift guides are out in full force. I love seeing suggestions for presents as it can make Xmas shopping that little bit easier. If you're still stuck for ideas on what to buy a loved one, colleague, neighbour or even perhaps someone who's not expecting a gift then I have 5 ideas. 
Homeware is a popular choice at Christmas. However, it can be quite difficult to cater for someones taste without spending a fortune. That's why I think trinkets and small decorations are perfect for a Christmas present or stocking filler. Gifts & Pieces is an online shop run by Abbey over at Beauty Full Homes. Gift & Pieces sells all kinds of lovely little homeware gifts, including this super cute 'everything starts with a dream' storage box* - its perfect for placing on your desk, a set of drawers or anywhere else around the house. I'm going to put in on my desk to store things like paper clips and other stationary bits and pieces. 

Gifts & Pieces also have some super cute mugs. I love the Miss Darcy Bird Mug in Lavender and Silver*. These mugs come gift boxed so they make a really lovely gift. These are the type of mugs that are just to pretty to use. I'm thinking of using mine on my desk to store stationary as its very decorative. The polka dot monogrammed mug is gorgeous too!!

On the beauty side of things, a professional nail kit is perfect for any beauty lover. This is the Rokit Gel Polish Professional Kit* for creating a gel manicure at home. I'll have a full review of this coming shortly but its ideal for anyone wanting to create a professional treatment in the comfort of their own home. 

It can be quite a difficult task when it comes to purchasing fragrances for presents as scents are really a personal thing. However, if you enjoy buying scents for loved ones then you're prayers may finally have been answered. The Library of Fragrance* offer a range of fragrances that each have a unique scent based on everyday smells around us. You can use these scents individually or layer them for your own personal blend. You can use each one as perfume and apply to your wrists or spritz it all over your body. I really like these are they're not too overpowering and each one smells really fresh!They're currently on offer at Boots too, so they're well worth a look at if you're considering gifting a fragrance this year.  

For any stationary lover, a pretty notebook would make a welcome present. I adore the Rifle Paper Co as their prints are so beautiful. I've had this notebook set for a while but I pretty much use it everyday so its been well worth buying. I believe you can find them in Waterstones, Papermash and this set is at Amazon here

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Giveaway!Win 3 Amazing Mascaras with Cohorted!

I'm really excited to be bringing you a series of fabulous giveaways in December. I have some great prizes up for grabs and to kick things off I've got a beauty giveaway with the guys at Cohorted.
Cohorted are kindly offering one lucky winner a trio of amazing mascaras. The prize consists of:

Benefit They're Real! Mascara

MAC False Lashes Mascara

Urban Decay Perversion Mascara

To enter all you need to do is enter your details into the rafflecopter form below. This giveaway is open to UK only. However, I do have further giveaways that will be open worldwide so keep your eyes peeled for those. This giveaway will be open for one week and the winner will be notified via twitter or email. 

Good Luck!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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