Temporary:Secretary UK Fashion Blog | Style Blogger

Sunday, November 23, 2014

LUSH Haul - Winter 2014

I went shopping in York last week and couldn't help but treat myself to a few things in LUSH. I had just used up the stuff I got in the Halloween box, so it was time to buy more bath bombs and bubble bars! Here's what I got:

This time, I bought three bubble bars and three bath bombs and my aim is to make these last up to Christmas. I wanted to try some of the ones I had read about on blogs and reviewed on YouTube. 

lush christmas penguin, christmas penguin bubble bar

I've always resisted this little guy, I've not been tempted until now! I decided to pick this penguin up because I really liked using the Wizard bubble bar, which I think is similar to the Christmas Penguin. It's adorable but I think it could be cuter, if I may say! All the ones at York were wonky and chipped away but I managed to get one that was still in tact, if a little lopsided. 

cinders bath bomb
Cinders Bath Bomb

I watched Fleur De Force's recent LUSH haul in which she described how much she loved Cinders and that convinced me to pick one of these up for myself. I've come to the realisation that I'm not overly keen on bath bombs but I do like the small ones and Cinders is a cute, little, diddy one! It's a sweet and spicy scent with popping candy in it to add to the "fireside" crackling effect. How very wintery!

brightside bubble bar, the comforter bubble bar, bubble bars from lush

Brightside Bubble Bar
Want to pretend you're bathing in a tub of orange juice? You got it! If you like your body products to be citrusy, then look no further than the Brightside Bubble Bar! Brightside contains tangerine, mandarin and bergamot and turns your bath water bright orange! ("Who loves orange soda?!") I've sliced this large bubble bar into five slices to use at five separate times. Crumbling up a small chunk of it under warm, running water gives a good amount of bubbles!

The Comforter Bubble Bar
I think this is my FAVOURITE Lush product ever! It absolutely love the smell of this! It has cassis absolute in it which gives it a blackcurrant scent and makes The Comforter smell like Ribena or Vimto (yum!) I can't stop smelling it, it is so good! I highly recommend this! Same with Brightside, I've cut this bubble bar in to five slices.

lush think pink bath bomb
Think Pink  Bath Bomb

Another one of the smaller bath bombs, Think Pink is a sweet one with a fragrance of vanilla and caramel. It also has lavender and neroli for it's calming properties so you feel relaxed whilst soaking in the bubble bath. As the bath bomb dissolves, there will be a scatter of paper heart confetti flowing around you in the bath water. Perfection!

granny takes a dip bath bomb, lush granny takes a dip
Granny Takes A Dip  Bath Bomb

This is another one that I've seen do the rounds in the blogging world. I didn't buy it for myself though, I bought this one for my little sister who is coming to stay with me next weekend! I thought I'd treat her to an early Christmas present and I think she will really like Granny Takes A Dip, it looks like a fun one! It will make her bath look like a rainbow! ♥︎♥︎♥︎♥︎♥︎

Have you tried any of these LUSH products? Would love to know what you think of them!

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Saturday, November 22, 2014

Christmas Gift Guide: Secret Santa Gifts Under £15

christmas gifts under £15, secret santa gift idea

Recently, I was took part in ASOS's Secret Santa project where we were given £15 gift voucher to buy a present from ASOS for the secret santa blogger they had chosen for us. We had to spent a minimum of £2 to activate the discount code making the total budget come to £17, but I think £15-£17 is generally a good price to pay for secret santa presents. In the end, I went over the budget by only £1 but I managed to buy 4 presents, but for those who struggle with gift buying, here are 8 ideal Christmas presents for under £15!

How cute is this! All beauty fans love a bit of Burts Bees! This gift set includes two lip balms and a hand salve packaged in an adorable, glass, honey pot all for £7.99. It's currently sold out at M&S, but try John Lewis, Look Fantastic and Holland&Barrett.

2. Topshop Beauty Set, £12
I really like the Topshop beauty sets and luckily, there's a few in there that's under budget. For £12, you can get a lipstick and cream blush which is snuggled in a pretty white and peachy pink packaging.

3. Gingerbread House Kit, £15
There's a few of these floating around including a gingerbread train, or gingerbread village but for me, it's a no brainer! I would go for the classic gingerbread house! This one's a bit of fun, something to do on Christmas morning! It doesn't involve any baking as it already comes with gingerbread, all you need to do is build it and decorate it!

4. Benefit Skincare Set, £14.50
Every beauty fanatic knows that Benefit does some really AWESOME gift sets at this time of year and this 6 piece skincare set comes just under the £15 budget! I've heard amazing things about Benefit's b.right Radiant Skincare range, and I think this is the perfect starter kit.

5. Drinking Fudge Gift Set, £14.99
If you know someone who has got a sweet tooth, get this set of drinking fudge to indulge over the festive season! At £14.99, the box contains a tall latte glass, miniature marshmallows and 6 sachets of drinking fudge in the following flavours: Dreaming Coconut, Mocha Choca Madness, Tangy Orange, Gorgeous Ginger, Moreish Mint and Classic Chocolate.

6. Selfie Stick, prices range from £1.52 to £12.99
Do you know someone who loves to take a selfie? I'm not a big one on taking selfies, I have posted about 3 or 4 online, but I do know that it has been huge trend this year. So much so that the 'Selfie Stick' was invented, one of the most talked about "gadget" in the past few months.

7. Gourmet Fudge Baubles, £14.99
A nice alternative to the usual Christmas chocolates, the Gourmet Fudge Baubles selection box contains "Twelve Flavours Of Christmas". These are Christmas cookie, chocolate, orange and cranberry, vanilla, mince pie and brandy butter, gingerbread, cherry brandy, Christmas pudding, Winter spice, Irish Cream, chocolate rose, and chocolate hazelnut.

8. Christmas Hipflask, £15
Urban Outfitters used to be one of my go-to places for unique gifts but for years now, I haven't spotted much in there that I'd like to buy as gifts. Maybe I've just grown out of it but it doesn't appeal to me as much as it used to. Having said that, there's a huge amount of novelty gifts in Urban Outfitters and the smaller items would make really great stocking fillers and secret santa presents! I'm particularly loving the Christmas hipflask!

Has anyone started their Christmas shopping yet?

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Friday, November 21, 2014

Blogging Tips: How To Make A Good First Impression

blogging advice, how to make a good first impression bloggers, fashion blog tips, beauty blog tips

I wrote some blogging tips a few weeks back on how to start a blog and if you're new to blogging, you might find this blogpost handy for when you're making your blog look nice! First impressions count so I will go through a few of the basics such as blog design, layout and what information to include on your blog. Ultimately, how you want your blog to look is completely and entirely up to you and my advice only serves as a guide, or a starting point, on how to impress people (and brands) and turn those visitors into readers.

Easy-On-The-Eyes Navigation
I don't know about you but I like it when a blog layout is familiar. Just like a well designed website, a well design blog makes me trust the site more. The "familiar" layout is usually a logo header centred at the top of the page, the content (blogposts) in the middle and then a static side bar. That's a pretty standard blog layout but there's a few templates to choose from so play around and pick the one that suits you. Some people don't like side bars but I think it's acts as a tool to give people a snapshot of who you are.

Another thing worth noting is that it's important to keep your blog user friendly so set your blog within a decent width, don't be tempted to go big just because you want to. Side scroll isn't a popular feature to use because some people get a bit put off by it, especially if it's an addition to scrolling vertically. Visually, it looks better but it also ensures that ALL of the content you've worked so hard on stays right in front of people's eyes. I've kept the width of my blog approximately 1000px wide. There are also technical web design things to consider like what to put above the fold and below the fold but this isn't important when you're starting out and finding your feet.

Design and Colours
I love white space but on the other hand, I am one for encouraging the use of colours and background to add a bit of personality to your blog. A unique blog design/layout makes people remember your blog too. Your background can be a single colour, it can have a nice pattern or illustration. Get creative and put your own stamp on your digital home. You can always change things around if you don't like it. One thing I will say is try to avoid bright, neon colours or at least stay away from using large blocks of neon colours... it might make your readers vision go a bit funny!

Font and Text
I used to be put off by blogs with small fonts (needless to say, I have very bad eye sight!) so the bigger the better. However, I now understand that when you write a lot of text for each blogpost, large font can be a bit too much! Keep it tidy and use the same font all the way through. Stay away from the fancy, curly fonts and opt for something standard and web friendly. Use paragraphs to make your content easy to read, you may want to break the text up by adding images in between to make it easier to read. In regards to alignment, this is of course down to personal taste. I use justified text alignment because I like both sides of the text to line up but some may argue that it's too formal, and that left alignment is more of a relaxed, laid back approach. Go with what whichever one you prefer , there isn't a right or wrong, but stick to the same one each time.

Good Quality Photos and Images
Large, clear and high quality photos always makes a good first impression with anything as it catches people's attention almost straight away. Try to tell a story with your photos or put them in to some logical order. Use a variation of photos to show different sides of the product or an outfit, and include full length and close up on details or anything you want to pinpoint.

For beauty content, I would suggest using 2-4 photos per blogpost and for fashion and personal style posts, limit it to 6-8 images per post but all they should all be different to keep the reader interested. If you can't decide on which photo to use, put them side by side and eliminate them out of the running until you've narrowed it down to your favourite in order to avoid using several photos that all look the same.

For neatness, keep all the images centred and within the width pixels of your blog layout. All of my photos measure 640px wide, and the length depends on what aspect ratio the image is. Usually, if it's a rectangle photos, I can automatically resize by clicking "X-large" on blogger but if that doesn't work, I can go in to the html section of the blogpost and adjust the size myself. I wrote some blogger photography tips a few months ago so have a read if you're thinking of stepping it up a notch on your blog photography.

Utilize The Sidebar
As mentioned above, a static side bar can be a useful tool to give everyone a snapshot of who you are and what they can expect to see on your blog. Near the top of the page, include your name, a small thumbnail photo of yourself, what your blog is about, your blog email address plus social media buttons. You may want to add an archive in the sidebar, a bloglovin' button, Google Friend Connect and other widgets that might appeal to your readers. Make it easy for people to follow your blog. You can put almost anything you want on there like a lists of your favourite bloggers or links to your most popular blogposts.

Add An About Me Page
I spent the longest time avoiding this because I thought "isn't the blog itself self-indulgent enough?!" but a lot of people like to read an About Me, especially new visitors and brands/PR agency who want to know more about you in the space of five minutes. Not everyone has the time to go through several pages of your blog to find information that may or may not be there so make it easy for them. In terms of user experience, an About Me page makes the reader to trust your blog from the word go. Obviously, don't include anything personal, instead use this section to sell yourself and talk yourself up but keep it as relevant as possible, just like you would in a CV! Don't be shy, we want to know about your achievements and the interesting things you've experience in your life. It's what makes you special and unique!

Include Contact Details
As bloggers, it's great to have the opportunity to work with brands. I've contacted bloggers for my work, and as a blogger myself I have been approached by brands, so I've been on both side of the spectrum. I've been doing blogger outreach at work on-off for about a year now and have come across a few things that can sometimes cause a bit of a problem. It's absolutely fine if you don't want to work with brands or do anything like that. However, if you do, make sure you have the following details shown somewhere clearly on your blog: Name, email address and social media icons which links to correct profile (or at least your Twitter handle). There are loads of people who don't include this information on your blog and I haven't been able to contact bloggers to work with them, either for gifting or blogger outreach. It's best to set up a new email account just for blogging and make the address match your blog name.

If anyone has other tips and advice for bloggers, pop them in the comment section! ♥︎

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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Beauty Gift Set: Bee Good

Bee good gift set
bee good intensive hand repair
bee good vanilla and honey lip balm

Bee Good Gift Set*

Bee Good is British beauty brand that I have been loving this year. They don't use parabens, SLS or test their products on animals. They also donate a portion of their profits to the conservation of British Bees so it's a brand with a heart.

For a limited time only, they have created a gift set just for the Christmas period and for the price of £20, the set contains a couple of their best sellers and some gorgeously decorated biscuits. It's all packaged in a recyclable box so it's a readily made gift for your favourite lady!

I've used both items before, and the Vanilla and Honey Lip Balm in particular, is super gorgeous. It smells lovely and sweet, and can be used over lipstick for a nice gloss. I featured it in a monthly favourites in the Summer.

The Intensive Hand Repair has been a beauty essentials for the past few months which I included in my Summer Beauty Essentials in May. It's a rich lotion that comes in a fancy pump dispense and it is formulated to combat the driest of skins. With soothing ingredients such as British wild flower honey, British echium oil, shea butter, cocoa butter, propolis and vitamin to for their soothing, anti-bacterial and replenishing properties. 

Finally, the biscuits! The delicious iced biscuits are a nice touch and offer something a little different from the usual Christmas chocolates. They're handmade in Hampshire and decorated in detail.

The Bee Good pamper set is available from their website for £20.

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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Things That Make Me Happy: Good Food!

fishcake starter
roast pork sunday dinner
sunday dinner in county durham
parfait dessert

It has been ages since I did a personal, catch-up style sort of blogposts so I thought I'd share some photos from my weekend! ...I also really need a day's break from all of the festive content I've got lined up in the next 2 to 3 weeks!

On Sunday, we went out for a really nice lunch to celebrate my cousin's 21st birthday and we had such a nice time. You know you're in for a good time when it involves sitting round the table with family, eating delicious food. t's not often that we go out for Sunday lunch and we don't get together as often as we'd like but when we do, it makes me feel warm and fuzzy on the inside! The photos above have been arranged in chronological order so the first photo is a starter of pancetta fish cake with hen's egg, onion jam and black pudding. The mains were the usual roast chicken, pork and beef with plenty of trimmings! Then for dessert, we had some birthday cake that my Auntie made, and a few portions of pudding off the menu. The one pictured above is pear and walnut tart with ginger and apple parfait and blueberry ice cream. 

Finally, no meal is complete without tea and coffee so the afternoon was finished off with hot drinks and homemade truffles and white chocolate pistachio fudge (SO GOOD!). It was the perfect Sunday, sharing family anecdotes and catching up with everyone!

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