Thursday, 8 March 2018

Making Time For Yourself

As with many of my rambly posts, I didn't put any planning in or have a structure to this blog post but I'm hoping it's going to make some sense at least!

I've been thinking a lot recently about making time for yourself and how important it is for you and your health. We rush into a new week and many of us have a structure of 9-5 jobs Monday-Friday with a beaming happy rainbow over the weekend, then it's the same cycle all over again. And in between that you're supposed to be socialising, keeping up that healthy lifestyle and exercise balance, managing a blog and social media channels and of course, making time for yourself. Sometimes it can all seem a bit too much to work with.

Because of all of these things swirling around my head, I've made the decision to start making time for myself and not feel guilty when I do that. I hate that I feel this way when I'm doing something for me - it's seems so crazy! Whether it's watching a Youtube video, fitting in a yoga routine, spending time with my friends and family or, one of my favourites, grabbing a blanket and a good book for half an hour, I'm going to fit in that time for myself.

I do have another blog post in the pipeline about our busy culture and I think this post has nicely started that conversation! There is a big problem with people burning out at work, school, university etc. because we haven't got that time to make for ourselves. I'm hoping with more awareness from charities, on social media and in the press that people are waking up to that fact that making time for yourself is more than just that, it's also so important for your health.

What do you think about making time for yourself? Do you feel guilty for doing so?

Thanks for reading!
Rhiannon x

Easy Tips To Treat Your Hair

I'll be the first to admit that I hardly do anything to my hair if I could help it. Want to add an extra day to my hair style? Dry shampoo it. Bad hair day? Shove a hat on and be done. I like trying easy tips to keep my hair looking happy and healthy without looking like I've tried to hard, because I've probably not.

- Leave in hair mask
This is the ultimate lazy girl hack but I love using leave in hair masks. The hassle of applying a hair mask, leaving my hair for 30 minutes then washing it out feels like way too much work for me!

- Add a hair oil
Another cheat way to glossy and shiny hair is a hair oil. I've used to many across my time and haven't had any bad ones, but the L'Oreal Professional Mythic Oil is my favourite and well worth the money. I just add a few drops to my palms and massage into my damp hair before blow drying and voila.

- Regular trips to the hairdresser
One thing I do make the time and money for is visiting my hairdresser for my regular haircut. For shorter lengths you're probably looking at every 4 weeks, whilst longer lengths like me can get away with every 6-8 weeks. I notice a massive difference to my hair health when I've had a haircut and it maintains its shape well until I need a haircut next.

- Avoiding too much heat
On days when I'm at work or relaxing at home, I won't do anything to my hair and give it a break from the heat appliances. Although I know hair is dead already (something that actually creeps me out!) I know using straighteners and curlers will make my hair in so much worse condition and frizzier!

- Letting it do its own thing
I've definitely learnt a lot about my hair over the years and I now know that there's no way to tame it or reason with it. In the end it'll do its own thing and letting my natural hair relax will be better for its overall health. (Plus I'm also really lazy with styling it...!)

What are your best hair tips?

Thanks for reading!
Rhiannon x

Find me on: Twitter/Instagram/Bloglovin'/Pinterest

Sunday, 4 March 2018

Things That Remind Me Of My Childhood

Thursday's are for throwbacks, family gatherings bring back memories and then there's always going to be those things which remind you of your childhood. To be honest I don't actually know what my earlier memory was (does anyone really?!) but there are definitely certain objects, foods and memories that remind me of my childhood. (To put into context, I was born in 1995 so most of my memories will be from the last 90's and 2000's!)

1. Polly Pockets and Barbies
I used to love playing with my toys and dolls and used to have a big box underneath my bed filled with things to play with. I've noticed rumors of Polly Pocket making a resurgence, which I think is brilliant because I used to spend hours playing with my pink shell-shaped version!

2. Birthday parties at the local leisure center
I was lucky enough to have a summer birthday so many of my parties were outside or featured some sort of fun sport! We used to go to my local leisure center and have a whole day of fun games, trampolining and finishing with birthday cake and a goody bag.

3. Roll on glitter and S Club 7 at school discos
Who remembers school discos as being the talk of the school at days before? There would be no doubt that S Club 7 'Reach For The Star's and 'My Heart Will Go On' by Celine Dion would be played at some point. Usually someone's parent would've bought the roll-on chunky glitter that you'd roll across your arms and cheeks - and would be a pain to remove!

4. CITV and CBBC programmes after school
Me and my friends still talk about the TV programmes we used to watch on these channels after school. Highlights would be Art Attack and Jungle Run on CITV then Arthur and Mona The Vampire on CBBC. I literally used to love these programmes and couldn't stop watching them!

5. Chicken Dippers and Smiles 
Obviously anything novelty shaped that I could dip into ketchup would get a big thumbs up from me... There's so many foods and drinks that remind me of my childhood but these two were always dished up at sleepovers or going round a friends house, which always meant a lot of fun times.

What things remind you of your childhood?

Thanks for reading!
Rhiannon x

Find me on: Twitter/Instagram/Bloglovin'/Pinterest

Thursday, 1 March 2018

How To Prepare For A City Break

Whilst I'm still reminising about New York (check out my Guide To New York City and My New York City Haul) I thought I'd share a few tips about how to prepare for a city break. By now my friends know how much I love to plan trips, working out the travelling and searching for vouchers for tickets online. It's my favourite way of getting excited for an upcoming trip!

- An itinerary is a must
If you're going to a city on a short amount of time, you're going to want to have an itinerary to get the most out of your time. I start by writing a list of attractions and places I want to visit then separate them into 'areas' like in New York you have the Upper West Side and Lower Manhattan etc. It's the best way to make sure you're not double backing on yourselves.

- Buy tickets ahead to save time and money
The majority of the time it's easier and cheaper to buy tickets to attractions ahead of going abroad. Most major cities will have combination passes which have a selection of places to visit and usually a lot cheaper to buy all together!

- Get yourself a guidebook and map
I've found guidebooks helpful when I'm short on time as it'll prioritize the top sites to visit. When I've been to museums the guidebook will tell me where to visit first and what to look out for which helps to save on time! The guidebooks will also tell you when things are open and close so you can work out when to plan things.

- Take good shoes with you
Unless you're planning to sit in city traffic or brave public transport, getting around a city will be easiest on your feet. So always wear comfortable shoes and take extra pairs of socks! So as not to wear out your feet, take lots of breaks and ensure you're giving yourself enough time to walk between places.

- Plenty of sleep and energy
Whilst we were in New York we were getting up early and back late, so sleep was so important to us to keep us going every day! A lot of food and water also helps, I always have a few snacks packed away in my bag...

I hope you enjoyed reading this and feel more prepared for your city break away!

Rhiannon x

Find me on: Twitter/Instagram/Bloglovin'/Pinterest

Tuesday, 27 February 2018

My New York City Haul

If you've read my Guide To New York City then you'll know just how much we jam-packed into our time there. But that doesn't mean there wasn't enough time to do some shopping... I actually got more than this but they were gifts for my family and they are probably already eaten their way through them anyway!

I knew whilst I was in new York that I wanted to buy new Converse, mine are totally wrecked no matter how many times I wash them. So picked up the Chuck Taylor All Star Classic, which was at least £15 cheaper there than in the UK and my favourite One Star Premium in Black Suede which weren't much cheaper than in the UK but I so wanted them!

Because we're total tourists, we all bought a USA inspired jumper from a tourist shop in Times Square called Grand Slam. It's a super cosy burgundy sweater which I'm still wearing now with the New York blues...

The variety of sweets in America is literally mind boggling! Besides picking up Twizzlers, Jolly Ranchers and other sweets and chocolates for my family, I chose my favourite sour sweets Sour Patch Kids. I also tried the Skittle Sours whilst out there and thy actually coat them in sugar to make them even more sour!

I bought a Bloomingdales makeup bag even if I do have a million bags like these already. Obviously they haven't got Bloomingdales on it so they're totally different. Each morning before I start work I write a to-do list on my weekly planner and I've been on the hunt for a new one for a while until I found this one at the New York Public Library. I love the New York design and can't wait to use it.

I was most excited to shop the beauty section! I focused on Walgreens and Sephora because otherwise I could be shopping way too much. From Walgreens I bough the Milani Baked Blush in Dolce Pink, a light pink coral shade with a gold glint and the Milani Face & Eye Strobe Palette Spotlight in Candle light, which is ultra pigmented and going to be a goreous mix. We also visited a place called Cosmetic Market which is a discounted beauty store, featuring brands from Estee Lauder down to Revlon and all discounted in price. I chose the Milani Powder Foundation as I was so impressed with the other things I had already bought!

I was completely overwhelmed by the Wet 'n' Wild selection and only came out with a cute eyeshadow palette. It's their Walking On Eggshells which is a combination of nude shades that'll be great for everyday. They're not that pigmented but came under $3 so I can't complain! Finally in Sephora I bought a tinted lip balm called Subtle Peony from their Rouge Balm collection. It has SPF 20 and great colour payoff that's totally comfortable. Finally from the #Lipstories Lipstick collection I fell in love with their Oui! shade in a cream finish, I love the colour and it's so creamy to wear.

Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed this haul!

Rhiannon x

Sunday, 25 February 2018

A Guide To New York City

After months of planning, it felt like a dream to finally be boarding our plane to New York City. I kid you not, it was bloomin' hard to get Jay-Z Empire State Of Mind out of my head throughout the whole trip!

We flew with Norwegian which was the first time I flew with them and I was definitely impressed. The food was delicious (hello chicken and quinoa!) the staff were helpful and seats were surprisingly comfortable. We had 5 and a half days in New York, which we used to the fullest to hit up all of the tourist spots and shopping malls! Pre-flight we planned where we wanted to go, places we wanted to eat and shops we wanted to go to - and trust me there was a lot of shopping...

Day 1: Upper East and West Side
By the time we reached our hotel (Homewood Suites by Hilton if ya interested!) it was lunchtime and I was dying to stretch my legs. We headed to Central Park, exploring it's hidden beauty and of course going to the zoo! It was a small zoo and I did feel that a lot of the animals didn't have that much room, but they all looked well cared for otherwise.

Gossip Girl fans will be able to spot the references from the last two photos. I won't lie and say I didn't have a few GG locations as part of our itinerary... Before we flew to New York we bought a City Pass which includes various attractions including The Metropolitan Museum Of Art. By this point we didn't have too long (plus the jet lag was kicking in!) so we whizzed through the Egyptian, Greek and Roman Art which were very impressive! We finished the day with a burger at Burger Joint at the Le Meridian and a walk through Times Square going back to our hotel.

Day 2: Midtown
The next day was our busiest day yet - and the weather definitely lucked out for us going up Empire State Building! Top tip, get to Empire State Building early because the queues are long, although we didn't spend too long waiting. The first level is about the history of the building then the next level is the observation deck which was so packed! This was all included in our City Pass too. After that we wandered to the New York Public Library and Grand Central Terminal, both are equally beautiful architecture and have plenty of things to do, see and eat.

By this point we couldn't resist the allure of shopping in New York. In Times Square we hit up Walgreens (for sweets and drugstore makeup) Sephora, Forever 21, the Disney Store and all of the tacky tourist shops to get our NYC memorabilia. To get a view of the city at night, our City Pass included a visit to the Top Of The Rock at Rockerfeller Center too. If you had a choice of which one to visit, I would recommend Rockerfeller because there's much more room on the observatory decks and so quiet too. 

Day 3: Lower Manhattan
Our first stop of the day was at the National September 11 Memorial and Museum (included in the City Pass). It was actually quite far away from our hotel so we grabbed an Uber down, that pretty much matched the same price to getting the subway anyway. Nothing could've prepared me for how much was at the memorial and museum, there was so much to take in and the museum did great justice to those who were lost and affected.

We headed along to Wall Street, which was surprisingly small and bustling with people. One of my goals was to get a photo at Brooklyn Bridge and we had the perfect day for it, clear blue skies and everything. Because we had spent so long at the museum and wandering round the city, we had run out of time to take the tour of the State of Liberty. Instead the Staten Island Ferry sails straight past it and is a great way to see Lady Liberty for free. 

Another thing we had pre-booked were tickets to the New York Knicks vs Washington Wizards basket ball game. This was one of the highlights of my New York experience! You're probably watching 60% basketball and 40% entertainment as they stopped a lot. You had dancers, signers and the classic 'Kiss Cam' to keep you happy throughout the breaks. The sporty atmosphere and crowds of Knicks fans definitely made the night!

Day 4: Chelsea and West Village
We finally made it to the Statue Of Liberty! If you're going to plan this in your day, make sure you do it in the morning and leave a good couple of hours to fit in visiting the statue and Ellis Island. Again this was included in our City Pass and Ellis Island was great to visit and find out about how immigrants came to New York and the process. From there we walked along Broadway for shopping and had a pit stop at Washington Square Park, before going to the Friends Apartment. It's crazy to see something you've watched for years in real life! A new addition to New York is the High Line, a long stretch of dis-used railway tracks that's been transformed into a walkway through the city. I can imagine it looks particularly gorgeous in the spring!

In the evening we pre-booked to see the theater show Aladdin, which was just as amazing on Broadway as it was in the West End. If you're going to New York, definitely book a theater show too. There's a cheap ticket booth in Times Square if you're brave enough to wait for them!

Day 5 & 6: Midtown
Because this post is getting very long now and the fact that we didn't do too much on the last few days, I'm putting these two days together! We first headed to the American Museum of Natural History, aka where the Night At The Museum was filmed. You could probably spend all day here if you could but we started with the dinosaurs and animal kingdom sections which were so interesting!

For the rest of the time we shopped until we couldn't fit any more in our suitcases. We headed for Bloominng Dales, Macys and Fifth Avenue of course! We did serious damage in Seophora, gawped at the Victoria Secret store and stuffed our suitcases with sweets from Walgreens. 

If you've made it this far then well done! I hope this guide helped with planning your trip to New York. Thanks for reading!

Rhiannon x 

Find me on: Twitter/Instagram/Bloglovin'/Pinterest

Sunday, 11 February 2018

How Bloggers And Brands Can Work Together

Now the dust has settled on that controversy with a blogger and a hotel, I thought I'd write a little about how bloggers and brands can work together - in a way that's beneficial to both parties.

Sometimes we forget that blogging and influencer marketing are fairly new to the market and only something that has recently been a viable source of income. There are some awesome bloggers and influencers who are really paving the way for the industry and not to mention great brand and blogger partnerships like with Benefit Cosmetics and L'Oreal.

- Don't be discouraged to not pitch to brands.
From a brand point of view, we're limited on time to go out and search for you. I love it when a blogger or influencer emails to introduce themselves, sometimes all it takes is an email to get the brand to sit up and listen to you. I'd definitely recommend adding your blog and social media links (you won't believe how many emails I get without this crucial part!) if you had a media kit attach that too, examples of previous sponsored work and pricing. The last part is up to you, I think it's important to be up front about being paid.

- Make it easy for brands to find you.
Personally I like to use a variety of ways to find bloggers and influencers, that could be from Twitter with hashtags like #bbloggers or #PRRequest if you have a particular blog post idea in mind that needs brand support. When bloggers shoutout other bloggers through Instagram Stories I like to take a screenshot and make a mental note to check that blogger out. But all of the above can only be done if I can find you on social media; make your links visible on your blog, use a similar username to your blog name or at least add your blog link to your social media profiles so I can search for you. Oh and brands do know how to use Social Blade and can spot fake followers a mile off...

- Sponsored work and Gifting.
Another hotly spoken about subject, bloggers getting paid for work and bloggers getting gifts for work. This is of course dependent on the brand and their budget, I think all brands would have some sort of budget for bloggers anyway! I work with a mixture of both and that works out best for the brands and company that I work for. I believe as long as there is an understanding between the brand and blogger on what's expected from each then it should be a positive collaboration.

- Big Budget vs Small Budget.
This has always been something talked about in the blogging industry and I believe that brands are now waking up (or at least working towards) that having a budget for bloggers and influencers is essential. Benefit Cosmetics recently demonstrated what a big budget with bloggers and influencers can achieve, sending a few select high following influencers to the Maldives and practically sending every blogger a cool PR package too. Smaller brands with smaller budgets have to be savvier with what they have but that doesn't mean they'll have any less of an impact. Always be considerate of negotiations with some brands too.

- Going into the future.
I'm hoping that with more recognition like the L'Oreal ambassadors across the Piccadilly Circus billboard, that bloggers and influencers will start to be taken seriously. These groups of hardworking people build a loyal following who trust their decisions and recommendations, making them invaluable to brand marketing. There's still a disconnect between how brands can track ROI from their blogger and influencer activities, so I'm hoping there will be easier ways to do this and trackable links to result in a purchase.

I hope you enjoyed this post and ramble, these thoughts have been working in my mind for a while and waiting for a post to be written!

Rhiannon x

Find me on: Twitter/Instagram/Bloglovin'/Pinterest
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