5 Resources For Optimising Your Blog & Posts For SEO


Search engine optimisation basically relates to how your blog is placed in search engine results. I've already written a post on 5 quick and easy seo tips for bloggers which you can read as a basic starting point. I don't really consider seo too much when I'm writing on here as its my hobby and I generally like to write in a casual manner. However, for work purposes I do deal with search engine optimisation techniques and I thought it might be useful to share some of the resources that have helped me gain a little more understanding of the subject. There's a lot to consider when it comes to seo, however if you're looking to better your blogs standings in search engines (and gain more traffic to your blog) then these are all great resources with very helpful information (p.s. if you have wordpress, I really recommend using the Yoast plugin - its so easy to use).



A great example of an optimised blog post. 


but very relevant now too. How to adapt yourself for the ever evolving world wide web.


A quick guide for both wordpress and blogger on naming your images.



A really easy and concise guide to seo.



An easy way to understand seo with some useful tips.

5 Things To Help Improve Your Blog Design


Having a sleek and visually good looking blog design can make you feel more confident about blogging and improve the reader experience. I've recently changed my blog design and I feel so much better about my blog. There are a few ways you can improve your blog design and if you're looking to spruce up your site, here are a few of my suggestions.


1. Use a pattern for a background. I love subtle patterns for sleek and attractive backgrounds. To use any of these, simply download the pattern of your choice, upload it to photobucket and follow my tutorial here.



2. Use a new font. You can use fonts both on your blogger template and on your header. I love google fonts for post headers and sidebar headers. You do need to check they work on all browsers though as some fonts dont. You can view my post here which shows you how to add a google font to your blog.
I also love this post which showcases 14 free pretty fonts you can use on your blog. You can also check out some of my favourite fonts here too. To use fonts from dafont or fontquirrel, simply save the font to your computer, unzip the file and install the font to your computer by opening the font file. You'll then be able to use the font in picmonkey, pixlr or photoshop.



3. Use watercolours for your background, header or other design elements. You'll find 12 free watercolour textures from Persia Lou here.


4. Use clip art for your header. I love Angie Makes for free clip art - they're seriously awesome and free!This wreath set is nice for creating a header.


5. Use free blog graphics for your headings and social media icons. I love this set from Clementine CreativeCarmia's site is so pretty and she has other amazing free resources too.



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5 Must Have Makeup Buys Under £6


It's been ages since I mentioned some of my favourite high street/drugstore purchases. Theres a lot of choice when it comes to making a purchase. Obviously, if you haven't spent much money, its slightly less of a disappointment if a product isn't so good (nothing like spending £30 on a foundation, only to find its a dud). However, today I wanted to share some of my best budget buys.

When it comes to buying a budget makeup palette, I personally don't think theres a great choice out there. Though I admit I've yet to try the Loreal Paris La eyeshadow palette. Generally for palettes, I opt for sleek, makeup revolution or makeup academy. The Makeup Academy Elysium palette would be great if you're looking for a cheaper alternative to the Urban Decay naked 3 palette. I've swatched it in this post - its also got a duo liner pencil too for both subtle and dramatic looks.  I'd also highly reccomend the Makeup Academy Flawless Shadow Palette too if you're a neutral lover. Its a little more expensive at £8 but you get 32 shadows - you can find out more in my post here.

Another Makeup Revolution product I really love are the radiant light powders - they're just £5 each and come in three shades, so theres something for every skin tone. You can view swatches in my post here. You can add warmth or highlight your complexion with a beautiful smooth powder that gives good colour payoff. If the Hourglass Ambient Light Powders are out of your budget like they are mine then opt for one of these powders instead. 

For concealing, you might be surprised to find that I'm not going to mention the Collection Lasting Perfection Concealer (even thought I do thinks its pretty damn good). The Seventeen Stay Time concealer is one I've purchased many times as its perfect for using both under the eye and on imperfections. I find the collection concealer is far too heavy to wear under the eye whereas the Seventeen concealer brightens and covers dark circles without caking or fading. Its only £4.49 and usually on offer of some kind, so its definitely worth picking up. 

On the lip front, a new addition has been the Maybelline Color Drama Lipstick (even though they're not really a lipstick). I haven't used any other lip pencil/lipstick hybrid before so I cant compare but I guess these are Maybellines version of the Nars lip pencils. I don't particularly find the pencil is mega creamy but there's good colour payoff and it stays put. If you tend to get dry lips, I'd wear a lip balm underneath as the colour can feel quite drying without it. I like to add a clear gloss too over the top for extra hydration and staying powder. For £4.99 these are a good buy and they don't take up much room in your bag either.

Finally, I'm showing some love for Avon. Avon isn't my go to for beauty but the Super Shock Gel Liners are amazing. I've used both black and silver shades of these and both are highly pigmented, creamy and long lasting. They're probably my favourite gel liner pencils as they're just so easy to use and are really affordable. They're currently on offer for £3 and I'd highly recommend them to anyone!

Have you tried any of these products?
What are your favourite budget buys?


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5 Free Resources For Growing Your Blog



I'm sure most bloggers want their blog to grow and there are many ways to do that. Social media, connecting with other bloggers and writing great content are all proven methods for achieving blog growth. However, I've also discovered a few free resources that can help too. I hope you'll find these useful, as I do! (Click on the bold text to be taken to the post - all images belong to the respective bloggers).



A great way too boost your past posts



A great post for understanding your google analytics - I'm definitely using this!



Twitter


so useful for organising your blog tweets





very helpful for understanding photography - I'm printing these out asap!



promotion


Promoting your blog is the best way for getting your blog out there and this post offers some great ways to do that.


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Books To Help Raise Your Blogging Game

Since blogging has exploded, there has been a boom in blogging advice and information to help you improve your blog. With lots of information spread out over the web, I think books are a good source of reading concise hints and tips all in one place. I have a few blogging related books on my to purchase list. 

The Busy Girls Guide To Digital Photography is a book I'll be ordering soon. My photography is just pants and I really want to improve my skills this year. This book has some great reviews and it sounds useful for beginners (I still have no idea how to use my camera!).

Blog Inc is a book I've already read but I wanted to mention it as I think its a really good guide for those starting out in the blogging world. Some of the information is aimed at US bloggers but there's still some useful tips covering getting started, growing a blog and management tips. 
Blogging for Creatives  is essentially another guide for beginners whether you're a creative business or an individual. There's advice and case studies from other bloggers covering blog promotion and PR.

Blog Wonderful is a book by Dana from The Wonder Forest. I love Dana's blog and her blog designs. She also has a site called I Can Build A Blog too. I definitely recommend taking a look as its so helpful. Content Rules is a guide for creating blogs, ebooks and videos. I think this would be useful for those considering monetising their blog or taking it to the next level. It covers a range of topics to help grow your content and improve your game. 

Have you every purchased a blog book? Which are your favourites?


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5 New Beauty Products To Look Forward To...

Its that time of year when beauty gets kinda crazy and we get bombarded with new releases. I generally like spring/summer collections and this year, there's a few new products that are going to cause quite a wave on the beauty scene (hello contour kits!). I've managed to whittle down five new releases that I think are going to prove quite popular!


I feel like the only blogger that hasn't tried Zoeva but I haven't seen a negative review yet. Their new rose gold range looks divine (insert heart emoji) There are two sets to purchase and a brush pot. You'll find these online at the end of February.



MAC Julia Petit is a new collection for March. Featuring lipsticks, shadows, lustre drops and lipglass, this really looks like a very wearable range. I've spied the lipstick swatches on instagram and they're stunning. A lot of MAC's recent collections have been a let down but I think this is a really lovely spring collection.


Anastasia Beverly Hills are well known for their contour kit so its no surprise they've launched a cream version. This comes in light, medium and dark. It would appear each kit contains two highlighters, a blush and three contour creams. These launch tomorrow so you'll have to be quick to snap one up. I'm sure we'll get them in the UK in about 3 million years time.


Models Own products haven't interested me in a long time but this collection could prove a turning point. The models own sorbet collection is super cute and perfect for spring/summer. The shades don't seem to be completely unique but that minty green looks gorgeous and the frosted bottles are a winner. 


Another product I stumbled across on Instagram. The Too Faced Selfie powders launch in March and look interesting to say the least. I'm not sure if these are going to work on the majority of skin tones but the swatches may prove otherwise. 

Will you be purchasing any of these products?


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Five Of The Best Free Blog Templates


A great blog design can make a significant difference to your blog. Lets face it, we all want our blog to look good and if you dont want to spend a lot of money then here are a few options for you. There are a few free options on the web but these are five of my favourite templates. 

Responsival



A very chic and elegant template. The layout is a little different from normal, so if you download this make sure you read the instructions.
Demo |  Download


Simplicity


A beautiful modern template for blogger.
Demo | Downoad


Adelle



A free pretty theme for wordpress

Demo | Download


Color Pop



A colourful template for blogger. Super pretty, I'm surprised its free!

Demo | Download

The Blog Theme



A cute wordpress design, ideal for all blogs.

Demo | Download



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Primark Spring 2015 | The Best Of...





Its been quite a while since I shopped in Primark (Okay, just before Xmas which isn't that long ago). I used to pop in at least once a week for a quick browse but now I rely on the internet (and youtube) to show me which goodies I might find in there. I've put together a little wishlist of things firmly on my to buy list - I seem to have a thing about green judging by this wishlist. The leaf print dress is so cute and the little skater skirt looks great with black scallop trim tee. Primark homeware have some amazing gems - the geometric candle would look great on my desk. The palm tree cushion is also a steal at just £3. I''m after the matching bedding set but I have a feeling it will fly off the shelves!

Have you shopped at Primark recently?


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Makeup Revolution Radiant Light Illuminating Powders


Makeup Revolution are seriously on fire at the moment. I cant think of another brand that rolls out new releases as quickly as they do. A lot of their products are considered dupes of higher end versions. I'm all for a good dupe - who doesn't want to save £££'s. The Makeup Revolution Radiant Light Powders* are baked illuminating powders that help to brighten, highlight and add a healthy glow to the complexion. They're meant to be a dupe of the Hourglass Ambient Light powders (I haven't tried those so I honestly couldn't tell you if they are) but they are damn good despite being priced just £5 for 12g of powder. 




Radiant light powders come in three shades - breathe (a champagne toned shade), exhale (very pale white/pink) and glow (tan/bronze). You can purchase them separately or in a palette for £8
Individually, each powder is encased is a sturdy black plastic compact with a mirror. The powders themselves are smooth, soft and pigmented, however I recommend applying these with a fan or powder brush and lightly sweeping over the face, rather than using as a setting powder. As I'm very pale, my favourites of this trio of shades are breathe and exhale. They're perfect for pale or cool toned girls as they add a nice glow over the face or can be used as a highlighter over the cheeks, nose and brow bone.
Glow is a great shade for darker skinned girls - you could use it to add some warmth to your complexion or as a highlighter. 


exhale / breathe / glow

I've swatched these heavier than I would wear them but as you can see theres a slight shimmer in them. These are seriously lovely powders and if you're considering making a Makeup Revolution order then these need to be in your online shopping basket. You can find them here

Have you tried Makeup Revolution?

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A February Ebay Wishlist


1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5

I've mentioned several times that ebay is one of my faovurite places to shop online. I've found a few more beauty bargains to share with you that I've recently discovered. I'll be sharing a foundation with you shortly that's been a great buy but for now, here are a few things I'm lusting after.
I've seen a few brush tools on the market - Sigma has just released a new brush mat. Now as much as I like Sigma brushes, I dont want to spend £££'s on a brush mat made of plastic. I found this brush glove (1) for just 99p. You simply pop it over your fingers and you can use it to help scrub your makeup brushes clean. Definitely purchasing.
These Revlon lip stains (2) have been on my wishlist for a while. Sometimes its nice just to have a stain of colour on your lips than full on lip coverage. I think they'd be perfect for summer. I must have missed these Loreal nails (3) when they went on sale but these are only just over £3 and they're such a timesaver if you want nice nail art without the effort. 
I havent used many Loreal shadows in the past but this eyeshadow quad (4) looks super pretty and is such a bargain. The blue/silver shade is really beautiful so I'm definitely tempted to buy this. Finally, I found this jade roller for just £1.75. I've been after one of these for ages as they're  meant to help to promote youthful skin. This one is such a steal!!

Have you purchased anything from ebay lately?


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8 Pretty Free Fonts To Use On Your Blog


If you need to create a blog header or other related graphics for your blog or website then finding a pretty font to use can really help. I've only ever used free fonts on my blog and there are loads out there to choose from. They're super easy to download and use on a free editing program, such as Picmonkey. 
I've chosen 8 pretty fonts that really stand out. To use these simply follow the link to the site, download, unzip the file and install the font to your computer. You will then be able to use your font on Picmonkey, Pixlr or Photoshop. I hope you find these useful!










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The Bargain Buy | Maybelline Copper Fizz Eyeshadow


A while back I spotted this gem on the Maybelline stand. I'm not really sure whats happened to the packaging of Maybelline shadows - they used to have rectangular packaging and I've still spotted some of those in various stores but theres also these circular ones too, so who knows!
Maybelline Color Show Mono Shadow in copper fizz £4.99 is a pigmented metallic copper. The formula of this is really soft and smooth, though there is a slight bit of fall out during application. However, it does blend really easily so you can wear it as a wash of colour on its own, it the crease or wear it wet as a liner. 


The packaging isn't much to write about - its your standard plastic but I appreciate that its used to keep the price down. Formula wise, I really rate it. The shade is extremely beautiful and I think most skin tones could pull this off in some way. I usually avoid warm tones like this but it looks really good in the crease or outer corners of my eyes. 


For £4.99, its one to take a look at next time you're in store. They're currently on offer at buy one get one half price at Boots and there's a few other shades in the range. 

Have you tried Maybelline shadows before?


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Facial Oils For Oily Skin


One thing I've learnt about oily skin since starting blogging is not to be scared of using a facial oil. I read about the oil cleansing method a few years ago so I knew that using an oil could help to balance the skin. However, its only recently that I've really incorporated oils into my routine.

At this time of year my skin is still oily but very dehydrated. Any kind of nourishment is definitely needed so I've been upping my use of oils. A great pre-cleansing oil is the Una Brennan Superfacialist Neroli Firming Lift & Hydrate Facial Oil (cant find this online so not sure if its still available). I use this before cleansing and its a lovely, rich oil that helps to remove makeup and impurities. I usually do a double cleanse if I've been wearing a lot of makeup as it really helps to keep my skin feeling fresh and clean. This oil rinses off with a cloth really easy so you dont need to worry about any residue but obviously if you're following up with a cleansing balm, it'll give you a bit of extra cleansing power. 

A recent addition I've been using is the Organic Surge Replenishing Facial Oil*. I've been mixing this oil with the Organic Surge Overnight Moisturiser for extra hydration and it leaves my skin feeling incredibly soft and smooth. The replenishing facial oil contains argan, yarrow and safflower oils to increase hydration, elasticity and reduce inflammation. This is a good oil for sensitive skin too as it feels really gentle and soothing. Another oil I've been using to up the moisture levels in my skin is the Nourish Argan Skin Rescue* - a 90% organic oil to protect against the signs of ageing, reduce scarring and soothe. My skin was particularly stressed over Xmas from illness and this oil really worked to help restore my skin. It doesn't feel too heavy, though it needs a few minutes to absorb. My skin feel balanced, calm and soothed after use so its a really good product for oily skins that need a boost. 

Finally, I wanted to mention the Antonia Burrell Pure Therapy Facial Oil Serum*. Now this stuff isn't cheap by any means but a little goes a long way and it really is a great serum for oily or blemished skins types. Serums penetrate the skin deeper than a regular moisturiser so they're really beneficial to use. The pure therapy facial oil works on ageing, acne, hormonal or reactive skin types to calm, clear and balance for healthy, glowing skin. I've used this a lot and its one of my favourite serums as it really helps to clear up my skin if I have a few blemishes as well as keeping my skin smooth and soft. 

All these have worked well on my oily skin. I also like the Trilogy Rosehip Oil too though its a little thicker in texture than any of these. Do you have a favourite oil?


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Thoughts On Hair Removal #sp


Hair removal isn't something that's widely talked about in the beauty blogging world even though its completely natural. I guess its one of those topics that people don't like to talk about too much, however whether its legs, brows or face its something that most of us like to do to look our best.
As someone with dark hair and naturally pale skin, I find that the hair on my face can be quite noticeable. I tend to just pluck my brows as its easier to keep on top of them but with the rest of my face (such as above my top lip - I'm making myself sound very attractive now) I use a creme bleach every 2 weeks or so. 

I normally shave my legs and arms as the hair is really noticeable and makes me feel really self conscious. Shaving is the quickest and easiest method for me. I have used wax strips and an epilator but these are so painful and also cause a lot of ingrown hairs. I've always wanted laser hair removal as its a way to remove hair on most parts of the body without the need for constantly having to shave or pluck all the time. Being dark haired, I feel like I have to shave my legs almost every day otherwise its pretty noticeable. Buying things like razors and bleach does add up in the long run whereas even though laser hair removal is expensive, it works out as being cost effective and seems pretty quick to do. 

As I said, having dark hair can make you feel very self conscious. I don't like wearing dresses without tights and prefer wearing long sleeved tops unless I've got a tan. Being fuzz free would make my life so much easier so laser removal is definitely something I want to do in the near future. 

I'd love to know if anyone has had laser hair removal and if you found it pain free and effective? Let me know your thoughts!

*sponsored post but written by myself 
little disclaimer- I decided to accept this post as it honestly is something I've been considering for a while!



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