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

Thursday, 8 February 2018

Building My Skincare Routine

As you may have read in my January Skincare Haul, I am big skincare fan and have built up my routine over the past few years. I believe that every good base should start with good skincare and having the right tools and knowledge about your skin will help you build a perfect skincare routine.

It starts with learning about your skin, what it needs, what it's lacking and what doesn't agree with it. For example my skin hates anything that's too over drying or leaves it stripped of all natural oils. If you're noticing particular breakouts and blemishes, this handy face map could help you understand what's going on with your skin.There's going to be a lot of trial and error when it comes to finding out what your skin loves and hates, believe me that not all shining blogger and influencer reviews are going to be right for you.

I've now learnt that there's a few brands that I can all my holy grail or fail safe brands that I'll always find something that would agree with my skin and get the best results. A few of my favourites are included in the above photo, Origins, La Roche Posay, Liz Earl and Lush! Skincare doesn't have to cost the earth either, Superdrug and Boots do some great own brand lines, especially the soothing Vitamin E range from Superdrug if you're prone to irritated skin! Then it's all about sticking to that routine of holy grail products and road testing your new skincare routine - it can take anywhere between a few days to four weeks to start noticing a difference. So stick at it and you'll start to see improvements in your skin!

What have you done to improve your skincare routine?

Thanks for reading!
Rhiannon x

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