Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Bloom by Estee Lalonde Book Review

Books by bloggers and vloggers can be a bit hit and miss sometimes. I loved Fleur De Force's The Glam Guide, but didn't really get on with Tanya Burr's or Zoella's books. Thankfully this book is one which I loved - and one which I finished within a week! 

My friend bought me Bloom by Estee Lalonde for Christmas last year and I've just got round to reading it (problems with having a massive to-read book pile!) The book is described as 'navigating life and style' and splits each chapter into different subjects like Work, Food, Fashion etc. If you've read my book reviews before, you know that I like interesting chapter structures! Each one flows well into the next and made it a really captivating read.

Previous to reading this book, I didn't know that much about Estee and how she came to live in the UK (she's from Canada.) But now from reading this I know and understand a lot more about her and can relate to a lot of things about her! There's no glossing over the bad parts in order to make her life look picture perfect, everything in the book is 100% real and totally Estee. 

My favourite chapters are of course the Beauty, Fashion and Travel. Estee shares a lot of anecdotes from her life and I love reading about how her fashion has evolved. The section about Travel was really interesting to read as she's travelled to some amazing places and done road trips that I'd love to do! The Life chapter was especially well written and stuck with me the most, Estee didn't have a lot of friends at school and struggled with her weight and anxiety.

Bloom isn't one of those books that sugar-coats the reality but instead an uplifting and inspiring read with genuine feeling. At the end Estee asks you a simple question what has made you bloom and what is important to you and leaves you with the feeling that anything is possible.

Have you read Bloom before? What are you currently reading?

Thanks for reading!
Rhiannon x

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

Sunday, 23 April 2017

Snapchat vs Instagram Stories

Social media is a funny old thing. It's constantly evolving faster than any of us expected and we all want more and more of it. Remember Bebo, MySpace and MSN Messenger? Around 10 years ago these were the bees knees and I couldn't wait to get home from school to speak to my friends, whom I had spent all day with...

Snapchat has been the exciting and new social networking app since it launched in September 2011 (only gaining momentum in late 2012), with its crazy cute filters and ability to send snaps that disappear within a few seconds. It was ingenious and addictive. Then Instagram added its own Stories in August 2016 and changed the whole game.

I never really 'got' Snapchat and used it only for my pure amusement with the filters. I found Snapchat hard to find and add people and besides sending snaps, there wasn't much to it. Some influencers have done really well with their followings and get thousands upon thousands of views per snap.

What Instagram has done is built upon the basis of Snapchat (sending snaps which last a few seconds and posting 24-hour-only stories) and improved upon it. Found it hard to find other people? Instagram has all of the people you follow right there. Want to link brands directly? You can @ brands in your stories. You can save your snaps, add cute stickers, locations and times, plus you're exposed to a large audience that already follows and are engaged with you on Instagram.

You can tell which one I'm a fan of can't you? In the 25 weeks after Instagram Stories launched it reached 150 million daily users, whereas Snapchat only reached 110 million daily users in June 2016 and hasn't announced any higher figures since. In fact the views and engagement rates for Snapchat have been decreasing, whilst many Snapchat users have said they will delete the app because of Instagram stories. Stats on this article.

Facebook have also launched their own version of Stories, not surprising since it owns Instagram too. It's a similar concept but not one I am yet to try yet. For me, Facebook has a totally different purpose than Instagram has and the idea just doesn't work. I look on Facebook to say Happy Birthday to my auntie and like my friend's latest baby girl photo, not share my outfit or how much Easter egg chocolate I have eaten. That's for my Instagram followers only because they're engaged in those types of posts and it just fits in. 

What are your thoughts on Snapchat vs Instagram Stories? Which is your favourite?

Thanks for reading!
Rhiannon x

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

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Buying The Basics

Over the Easter break I had a big spring clean and clear out of my wardrobe - so satisfying! It gave me a chance to look at my clothes, pick out the items which are just so old now, some that need a repair and others that need replacing. So here's a few of my basics that need replacing!

1. Zara High Rise Denim Shorts £17.99. If you treat them right, your denim shorts can last you forever. 

2. Vans Leather Classic Slip-Ons £55. I'm a die-hard Converse fan, but have a special spot for my slip ons.

3. H&M Grey Ribbed Jumper £19.99. For those cosy weekend evenings, I love the swing style.

4. Accessorize Black Jourdan Leather Saddle Bag £49. Enough room to fit your purse, phone and essentials, plus it's hands free!

5. Topshop MOTO Mid Blue Cheeky Ripped Mom Jeans £42. Nothing is comfier than a pair of Mom jeans and the ripped detail will never go out of fashion.

6. Zara Sequin Sleeve Parka £69.99. I've always said it, but Zara do the best jackets and this one is no exception.

7. New Look Blue Wide Cuff Stripe Shirt £14.99. Trust me, you will never go wrong with a blue pin stripe shirt in your wardrobe.

8. ASOS/Office Frontier Croc Print Patent Brogues. A classic shoe and something you can wear with anything and everything!

What are your fashion essentials?

Thanks for reading!
Rhiannon x

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

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

New Skincare and Beauty from The Ordinary, Barry M and more...

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For a while now I haven't actually bought any new skincare, mainly down to the fact that I have an over spilling spares box underneath my bed! I've collected products from events, awards evenings and clear-outs from work that I haven't (luckily) had to buy anything in ages. Until now...

New Skincare and Beauty from The Ordinary, Barry M, St.Tropez, Origins, The Ordinary, Skincare, New Skincare, Beauty, Beauty Haul

One product that my skin seems to drink in is serum. No matter what happens I'm suddenly half way through my bottle without even realising! 

Getting in on The Ordinary action, I picked up the Salicylic Acid and Hyaluronic Acid via the Victoria Health website. I've been struggling with stubborn spots across my chin and jaw line, as well as on my forehead too so I wanted to give the Salicylic Acid a try. It helps to gently exfoliate the skin and help to unblock pores for clearer skin. 

Another skin battle is my dry skin, it's a nightmare at the moment! I tend to get dry patches across my cheeks and forehead and it's such a pain when wearing makeup. To try and ease that I thought I'd give the Hyaluronic Acid a whirl. Your skin naturally has Hyaluronic Acid already, but this serum gives it an extra boost and helps to penetrate deeper into your skin's layers.

Note, you've got to be really careful when using direct acids and it isn't recommended to be used on broken or sensitive skin and you should be extra conscious of sun protection whilst using them!

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This is a bit of an odd one as I received it through my letter box without realising. Whether I'm on someone's PR list or I accidentally signed up to something (not the first time that's happened!) Anyway got send the St.Tropez Self Tan Express Face Sheet Mask, which is an express self-tan mask for pale people like me!

I'm excited to give this a go as I do have a pale English rose complexion and have always had good results with St.Tropez in the past. I love using face sheet masks too as they're so easy to use and remove in comparison to the clay masks. Hopefully there will be no Oompa-Lumpa situation...

New Skincare and Beauty from The Ordinary, Barry M, St.Tropez, Origins, The Ordinary, Skincare, New Skincare, Beauty, Beauty Haul

Another product which seems to disappear as soon as I start it is eye cream! Although I'm only 21 and eye cream isn't a necessity right now, you can never start too early. I do have dark circles and weird bumps across my eyes that I'd like to hopefully improve.

I saw the Origins A Perfect World Age-Defense Eye Cream with SPF 20 on a few Instagram posts and blog reviews and headed straight to the website to try it! I've got quite a few Origins products and they've always worked well for me, so I knew I was safe with them. It's claiming to hydrate, renew, brighten and provide SPF, UV and pollution protection, which I'm really looking forward to seeing the results.

When ordering online, I also got a choice of a free sample which was an added bonus. I chose the Origins Original Skin Renewal Serum with Willowherb, a lovely serum to brighten, remove dullness and help minimize pores. 

New Skincare and Beauty from The Ordinary, Barry M, St.Tropez, Origins, The Ordinary, Skincare, New Skincare, Beauty, Beauty Haul

And finally, because I am awful at applying a topcoat because all of mine are so old and lumpy now I needed to pick one up! The Barry M Plumpy Hi Shine Topcoat had great reviews on Boots and wasn't that expensive. I find that I can really tell the difference in the shine and longevity of my nail polish when I don't apply a topcoat, so hopefully this will help with those things!

What skincare and beauty products have you bought recently? Anything to recommend?

Thanks for reading!
Rhiannon x

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

Thursday, 13 April 2017

Things That Have Made Me Happy This Week

Right now I'm sitting in my living room, with the french windows open, the spring sunshine and warmth shining in and the smell of a lamb roast dinner floating through - and I couldn't feel more bliss. As usual I'm scheduling this ahead of the week, but I'm so bloomin' excited to have 4 whole days of for Easter tomorrow!

So I thought as a pre-Easter weekend post, I'd share with you some of the things that have made me happy recently and a few reads you need to (well you don't have to, but I really recommend you do) bookmark for the long weekend.

Things That Have Made Me Happy This Week.

- Springtime
Lets pretend that I'm not such a cliche person to have photographed spring blossom and filled my Instagram with sunshine pictures? Us Brits have the full right to be happier during Spring as we've been hibernating in coldness for so long and it's about time for some vitamin D!

- Charity giving
Last weekend, my mum, sister and I held our annual Easter coffee morning in aid of our local charity, St Catherine's Hospice. We held a raffle, two tombolas, baked loads of cakes and had a few craft stalls too! Overall we rasied around £750 which is amazing and it's reignited my love for baking again.

- Time off
Who doesn't love 4 day working weeks? I had last Friday off too for preparation for the coffee morning and it was just perfect. We were talking at work about how productive you are if you have just a 4 day working week, but sadly my boss didn't see the benefits of it...

- Getting more organised with work and blog
At work I probably spend 30% of my time focusing on Strategy and Planning and it's genuinely one of my favourite things to do. I'm a big believer in organisation and the saying 'tidy desk and tidy mind' - which also translates into my blog. I wrote a blog post last week about Staying Organised With Your Blog Whilst Working Full Time, which is full of great advice and tips!

To read this Easter weekend:
I read Ellis' post on being single from the latest Blogosphere magazine and it totally spoke to me, give her Forever Single post a read.

Hayley spoke about her gal pals and why women should bring each other up and not tear down, I loved her One Girl Is Worth More Than Twenty Boys.

For all beauty lovers, Jemma's post on her latest Makeup Revolution Haul is definitely going to make you want to buy everything...

Helen from The Love Cats Inc is my go-to inspiration for fashion, beauty and lifestyle advice, Her latest post On Bring In Love With Flares has made me want to dig out my old pair!

I'll admit that Liz's post on the latest Origins Perfect World range has totally convinced me to purchase the eye cream, plus I love Origins so much.

What has made you happy this week? What are your plans for the Easter weekend?

Thanks for reading!
Rhiannon x

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

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

My Current Go-To Nail Polishes

I'd describe myself as a nail polish magpie, I collect nail polishes from over the years and keep them until the last dregs are so lumpy that it's not even worth it. Separate from my Pandora's box of nail polishes, I have another box with my essential nail polishes which these lovely shades feature. It's my always-on-hand box of nail polish supplies, my favourite colours, nail files, top and base coats etc. So let's see what my current go-to nail polish shades are, shall we?

As the title gives away, this shade is a lovely every day nude and has featured a few times in my nail polish posts. I received it a few years ago in a Glossybox but never tried it out until a while a go. The formula is smooth and non-gloopy which spreads very nicely into thin layers with up to 5 days of no chips. 

2. Topshop Nails in Jewel In The Crown. (So old they don't even stock it anymore!)
For when I'm feeling a bit 'out there', I turn to this shade. I love a turquoise blue or green colour in the summer months as it goes great with a tan! Topshop nail polishes are a great and affordable way to try different shades without breaking the bank. The formula is a little thin, so it takes a few coats to really get an opaque colour. 

How have I not discovered the Rimmel London 60 Seconds nail polishes before? These are a dream for the time-constrained like myself and leave a gorgeous hi-shine. I got this for Christmas last year and have worn it quite a few times when my nails have been in desperate need of colour. 

4. Barry M Gelly Hi-Shine Nail Paint in Coconut. (Most similar shade now is Cotton)
And no nail polish round up would be complete without a Barry M nail polish. By far my favourite range from Barry M, the Hi-Shine formulas give you an incredible shine and last for well over a week with no chipping. Coconut is an off-white shade and looks so modern and fresh on short and rounded nails. 

Nails Inc are fast becoming one of my favourite nail brands, their selection of shades are endless and you can't fault the quality. I've had a few freebies with Glamour Magazine before and this is also one! It's a light mauve/grey shade, which doesn't sound that nice but I like the change from a usual nude or red. 

What's your favourite nail polish shade and brand?

Thanks for reading!
Rhiannon x

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

Sunday, 9 April 2017

Staying Organised With Your Blog Whilst Working Full Time

There's no big secret or magic ingredient to staying organised with your blog whilst working full time. Some people post once a week or less and some post daily (and to those I applaud them!) whilst spending their working week at their full time job.

I work full time in London, leaving this house at 6:45am and returning at 7pm, so there's enough time in the evenings to write a blog and schedule some tweets, but that's about it. I've been doing this for almost three years now and though I would share some wisdom (debatable) with you.

1. Keep a content calendar.
I print off monthly calendars for free online, then write in my posts for them. I could be a week or two ahead at a time, but sticking to this calendar really helps to stay focused! If there's a special event coming up, like Easter or a big birthday and you'd like to do a blog post around it, schedule it into your calendar so you're ahead of the game.

2. Write everything in a notebook.
Whether it's blog posts ideas, photos to take or a new prop you've seen and want to buy, write it down! I couldn't live without my Paperchase notebook as it keeps me organised and helps me remember good (and the bad!) blog posts to put into my content calendar.

3. Use your time wisely.
Try and be productive in your time off and block off a few hours for writing, taking photographs and scheduling. I always check the weather at the weekend to see which day will have the best light and take photos then. I also use my 45 minute train journey to work each day to comment and follow some blogs, it's a good time to get some reading in and find some new people!

4. Bulk photos and schedule them.
As I mentioned before, I bulk take my photos, write my posts and schedule them in using a week ahead and this really works for me! By the end of the weekend my posts are all ready to go and I can relax during the week rather than worrying about when my next post is going to be.

5. Remember to live in the moment with your blog.
Contradicting what I said in the previous point, but your blog doesn't always have to be on schedule. If there's a timely post you want to write and post that day, then do it. There's no set way pr magic ingredient to posting on your blog and it's completely up to you how you work it.

What's your best tip for staying organised with your blog whilst working full time?

Thanks for reading!
Rhiannon x

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