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10 Things I Couldn't Live Without

I’ve never been a materialistic type of person, although I do love a good splurge in H&M sometimes to give myself some much needed loving. Normally it’s when payday is approaching…

So what are 10 things that I couldn’t live without? Well apart from my family and friends and the basics of having enough money to provide a roof over my head and food in my belly, here’s the materialistic stuff that I’d struggle with not having.

Mascara

Eyelashes
Mascara for me is the only beauty product that I could wear on it’s own if I decided that I wanted just one makeup product on my face. Mascara is the only product that I can wear on it's own and it gives the appearance that I've actually made an effort with my face...

The Gym

Abs
Since moving to London, going to the gym has been a somewhat regular occurrence. Yes I do have times where I end up going cold turkey on exercise for a week or two, but it always pulls me back in. For some people, exercise is something that they wouldn’t prefer doing in a gym but I love the environment. The feeling that everyone is here to work out for whatever reason whether it’s for health, vanity or self-love, at least we’re not on the sofa every night pigging out on junk food and Netflix (that’s only every other day in my case).

Mobile Phone

Mobile phone

Yes I admit that our generation and others are so reliant on technology now that I’ve forgotten how we navigated through life beforehand. I mean, how did we get from A to B without Google Maps leading the way? When my data runs out on me in London, I’m like a lost tourist, wondering the streets with no clue of where anything is.

Books 

Books
Literature has been the one consistency in my life that’s been materialistic. Right from Primary School, I always had a fascination for books and I would read as much as I could when I could. I remember being at school and being excited when I moved up another reading level. I remember the excitement of buying the next Harry Potter novel and consuming it within a few days. Even now, I try and use my commuting time as part of my daily ritual, although I now find this harder as my commute is much shorter. Books are so important for keeping the brain active, for learning and for keeping creativity alive.

Contact Lenses

Glasses
Something about getting laser eye surgery scares the be-jesus out of me. I don't know, may it's the thought of a laser being used on your eye and trusting that person to not screw up the procedure. Therefore, contact lenses are the perfect compromise. When I first tried contact lenses, I actually got turned down for them because I struggled to get the lense out of my left eye. I remember feeling so upset and deflated because I was always conscious of wearing glasses. I thought they made me look really unattractive. However, nowadays I normally wear my glasses on days off and I actually think I’ll buy myself some new frames to wear them when I’m at work. I think the conscious feelings were because of high school and the pressure of being a teenager.

Macbook

Girl on laptop
Me and Mr Macbook are joined at the hip. Ever since I started blogging, I always manage to spend a few hours (or more) with him per day. I think Sam is starting to get jealous but it’s a purely platonic relationship I promise. Without my macbook I wouldn't know what to do with myself, I'm pretty much glued to it when I'm not working.

Coffee

Coffee
I used to hate coffee. I mean, I loved the smell of coffee but the taste always used to make me recoil in horror until that one fateful morning whilst working at my godfather’s pub during the summer before starting university. It was early and I was covering a breakfast shift. The smell of coffee was so appealing that I thought ‘oh heck why don’t I just try the coffee with a bit of cream’. That thought has led me to today, requiring two cups of coffee per day to function. 

Theatre

Theatre popcorn
As an aspiring thespian, theatre is as natural to me as breathing is. I find it so weird when someone says they don’t go to the theatre. WHAT? If anything, I do feel sorry for the incredible productions they are missing out on. Being in London means that we have so much on our doorstep from new works put on in pub theatres to established shows in the West End. Theatre is so important to keeping the creative arts alive in a society that seems so keen in taking it away. Drama aswell is something that should be compulsory in schools. It brings the most shy kids out of their shells, it opens up that creative side of our brains and prepares us for a highly competitive world. It’s shameful and downright stupid to think the arts in schools contribute to nothing in the real world. The TV shows you watch and the films you see in cinemas wouldn’t be there if the opportunity or funds weren't made available to create them.

Booby Dresses

Low cut dress
Described by my partner as the ‘booby dress’, I have a few outfits that show off the goods. It’s not slutty, it’s not attention-seeking and it’s certainly not shameful - it’s empowering. I love parts of my body and I dislike parts of my body but overall I’d say I’m pretty comfortable with the way I look. To be comfortable in your own body is something a lot of people struggle with so when you find that comfort, be proud and show it off because you want to, not for anyone else. It’s your body and you make the rules.

Candles

Candle
I love candles. There’s nothing more relaxing than being in a space where you have a few scented candles burning away. It’s so calming and creates the feeling of indulging in oneself. My favourites are from a company called Roots and I recommend you try them as they’re 100% natural and they smell so good.

What things could you not live without? Let me know in the comments below.







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Scratch Away World Map

I told myself that 2017 was the year that myself and Sam would take more time away to do travelling. Up until now we’ve never really taken many trips together on our own and I’m so desperate to  travel and discover the world around us. It seems alien to me that people don’t have the urge to go abroad and experience different ways of living, different cultures and to see some of the world’s most iconic man-made landmarks.
Scratch map and tube
So to give ourselves a little nudge, I decided to buy a Scratch Away World Map. You can get these from various places, I got mine from Amazon here. This one is a smaller version and actually a travel sized one. When it arrived in it’s tube case, I felt like a kid about to go on a treasure hunt. I’ve mentioned before all the places I’d love to go to and I’m on a mission to see as much of the world as I can whilst it’s still accessible to me.
Close up of map
The Scratch Away World Map costs £7.99 which I think is pretty reasonable and I love the concept of scratching off a piece of the world when you’ve visited it. Part of my reason to travel is to also provide a little something extra to my blog posts. I do cover a lot of Beauty, Fashion and Fitness related posts which I love but I would like to document some of my trips and to make my blog more of an online diary for myself and also as a source of information for you guys to get clued up on so you can go and see these places too.


The aim for me and Sam is to do a lot of long weekend trips. I’m hoping that we can do one every few months as that will give us time to save. I’m not wanting to spend a lot on travel either so I think we’ll probably set aside a weekend where we have nothing planned and just find a last minute deal online. I’m signed up to so many discount holiday websites that I’ve already seen some £99 per person deals which include return flights and hotel accommodation. We could probably get a weekend holiday for under £300 if we timed it right and £150 for a weekend getaway each is a small price to pay to see a new part of the world.
Full view of world map
I hope this spurs that adventurous side in you, the world is for seeing so live in the moment and see it all. We can never guarantee that we’ll have tomorrow.

Do you do a lot of travelling? Let me know in the comments below.






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Blogger Help - Growing Your Business

I realised the other day that I'd signed up to so many PR companies/brand collaboration sites that I thought I could share the knowledge of which have actually proved quite beneficial. I think this is so useful to have as there's so many out there, it's great to get an idea if you're a blogger, of which ones get you work!

Bloggers Required - Join here

Bloggers Required Logo

This has been my holy grail to source brand collaborations since I started blogging. With a mere hundred or so views on my blog, I never expected to get the amount of brand work when I applied to the first few campaigns on their site. The site is free to use, you can connect with a growing collection of influencers which has massively increased since I joined. They never used to have an option of even having a profile which they have now implemented. You not only get access to branded work but there's regular competitions/giveaways posted up along with helpful tips and blog posts for growing your blog.


The Blogger Programme - Join here

TBP Logo
This is one that's pretty hit and miss with me at the moment. It's more useful once you've become more established as a blogger and is more reliant on having a bigger social following. However, it's definitely worth signing up to as you can certainly find a few gems in there if you do have a smaller following.


Tomoson - Join here

Tomoson Logo

Tomoson is a mixed bag, a bit like shopping in a charity shop. You can find some true gems amongst all the poop. It's the same with Tomoson in that you'll find some really pointless stuff but there's also some great products available to review. The products are separated into paid sponsorship, discounted products and freebies. 

The Big Shot - Drop them an email here

The Big Shot Logo

The Big Shot has been a great PR company to collaborate on books with. As a bookworm, a free book to review is my idea of collaboration heaven so make sure you get in touch with these guys. With PR companies it's always best to e-mail along your Media Kit. A media kit will include all your latest social statistics, a bio to introduce yourself and perhaps some brands you've worked with in the past.

Buzzoole - Join here

Buzzoole Logo
Buzzoole is one for those who love Amazon (god yes) as that's how they pay their influencers. This company is actually set up in Italy but it's a global brand collaborating website. Since I joined I think I've accumulated around £200 in Amazon vouchers.


Type the Hype

Type The Hype Logo
Type the Hype is a fairly new platform that I’ve joined. However, I've already had a couple of collaborations from them. They work with a variety of brands but only post maybe 1 or 2 opportunities a week. I’ve not had any paid collaborations from them yet but I think as they might be fairly new, this is something that might not be available until they start working with bigger clients.


Affiliate Marketing

Probably one for another blog post (and when I’ve got a better understanding of it) but affiliate marketing is another great way of boosting your income through ad banners and links. Some of the ones I’m currently using are Affiliate Window and Webgains. There’s plenty of videos and helpful guides to understanding Affiliate Marketing on both these websites and online.


There’s so many opportunities out there just waiting to be grabbed and I think the number one rule is to go out and find them, rather than wait for them to come to you. Make sure you get in touch with as many PR companies as possible as more and more businesses nowadays are looking for PR work that reaches out to bloggers as a main source of advertising.

Have you found any websites/platforms more useful than others? Let me know in the comments below.







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7 Productivity Tips for Organizing Your Work Life

Peter Minkoff is one of my regular guest bloggers and you can always expect the best advice from his blogs. Check out his last one here. He's a beauty and fashion writer for Shlur magazine living in London and occasionally in Brisbane. After graduating from Australian Institute of Creative Design, he worked as a stylist for few fashion events in UK and AUS. Beside beauty and fashion, he loves reading, making DIY cosmetics and traveling around tropical destinations. He plans to create a business for beauty and style advising. This week, Peter's helping out our work life productivity with these 7 helpful tips!
Working on laptop
I used to believe that my chaotic bedroom directly correlated to me being productive in a messy environment, or that I absolutely had those two hours to throw away frolicking on social media, watching viral chinchilla videos and my friend’s Hawaii photos in the middle of winter.

First of all, I hope he gets sunburn. Secondly, the impression was wrong.

Contrary to my very popular belief, I wasn’t doing myself any favors by procrastinating for what seemed to me a few minutes in the morning before I got down to serious business. It was actually more like an hour.

While having a chaotic working environment certainly harmed my focus and made me less productive than I needed to be, I realized that there were other obvious problems pulling me back every day.

The time had come for some serious changes.

Let me share some of my favorite productivity tips you can implement into your working life today and reap the benefits of maximum productivity!

Plan Your Day Ahead

Whether it’s taking a few minutes before bed, or a few in the morning, one of the most important aspects of being productive is planning. But, why plan the day and not the week?

Well, it’s unpredictable, to a greater degree. Sure, you absolutely should plan out your week, but it’s the daily micro planning that will set you up for productivity and success.

Be sure to plan out your tasks and daily schedule, devoting the exact amount of time to each task, and you’ll be more focused and relaxed.

Prioritize Your Tasks

Rearranging paper clips sounds like fun when the monthly budget report isn’t finished and the newsletter hasn’t been sent out? Yes, it does.

Alas, the first doesn’t take priority and what you need to focus on is addressing the most important tasks.

When you prioritize, and tackle the most challenging tasks first, you set yourself up for a day of productivity and fun.

Think You Can Multitask? Think Again

People at table working
Sure, if you work from home you might get away with glancing at the stove to check if lunch is ready and if the cat fell into the stew, again, but even that counts as a distraction you are best without.

On the other hand, when you work in an office, keeping your cool and concentrating on the tasks at hand can be even more challenging.

Whatever the case may be, you shouldn’t take on more than one task at a time, as it will mess with your focus and deliver suboptimal results.

While we’re on the subject, it is important to note that concentration and focus are two very subjective things, and that I, for one, had neither.

I tried dimming the lights. It made me sleepy. I tried listening to music and all I can say is that I had very little work done by jumping around the house screaming into a pen. But when I couldn’t take it anymore, I turned to the internet and found a cognitive supplement called Smart Pill by Lucid.

It was supposed to be a pill that helps you concentrate and be more productive. I read the testimonials, and it seemed like everyone from students to their grandparents were using it. I gave it a try, and the rest is history. It’s my recommendation to everyone out there!

Declutter Your Workspace, Seriously

Enough is enough; you know you should do it, so just get it over with already. Your sanity and your boss will thank you in the long run.

Start by giving everything you don’t need to someone who does, and leaving only the essentials on your desk.

Then, you can proceed to creating folders and desk pockets for extra space.

Habits are Exciting

Forming habits can be very difficult, usually it takes 21 days to form a steady habit, but when you do, you’ll be grateful for it.

I could never get myself to get up before 9 in the morning, and then one time I decided that I’m going to wake up at 7 every day.

Needless to say, I don’t use an alarm clock anymore and when 7AM rolls around, I’ve already completed my big task of the day.

Take Smart Breaks

Girl on iphone
It’s not all work, work, work as Rihanna would say, there’s a lot in taking a break and chilling out.
Schedule your breaks so that you have time just for yourself, and if you can, get outside. You’ll find that you’ve come back to the office with mental clarity, ready to take on the rest of the day.

Play to Your Strengths

While every human is created equal, none of us are the same. What works for you, doesn’t necessarily work for your colleague and that’s why you should take some time to learn your natural rhythm and then plan your day, and your life.

If you can’t stand working out in the morning, do it after work, and if you love getting a sweat in before tackling on important tasks, then schedule your day accordingly.

The important thing regarding productivity is love. Doing the things you love isn’t work, but pleasure. By loving what you do, you’ll have no problems incorporating these changes into your lifestyle and becoming a happier little Earthling.


Peter is also an Editor In Chief on High Style Life. So go check that out too!






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Zoeva Cocoa Blend Palette

So one of my asked for Christmas presents was a voucher to use on Beauty Bay, an online shop that sells some of the cult favourites in the beauty industry.

After some much deliberation I decided to opt for the Zoeva Cocoa Blend Palette for £18.00. I mean just look at the packaging! Who could say no to that?!
Palette and brush
The Zoeva brand is a new one for me but I've read that their eyeshadows are amongst some of the best in terms of pigment and blend-ability. As per usual, I chose this palette mainly for it's browns but I'm actually pleasantly surprised that all of these colours suit my skin tone.

There's a mixture of matte colours and shimmers and each individual shade is highly pigmented and feels great on the lid.
Shades in palette
From top left to bottom right - Bitter Start | Sweeter End | Warm Notes | Subtle Blend | Beans Are White | Pure Genache | Substitute For Love | Freshly Toasted | Infusion | Delicate Acidity
The mattes work well on the brush but I think for me the shimmers do well using the fingers as I tend to get a more concentrated application. Now onto the beautiful shades themselves...
Swatches
Bitter Start - A very subtle cream shade with great coverage as a base.

Sweeter End - A perfect shade for a subtle makeup look, definitely for a day when I want to wear less makeup.

Warm Notes - Gorgeously deep pink with a subtle shimmer.

Subtle Blend - Everything I want in a dark brown/gold shimmer. This will probably be my most used!

Beans Are White - A typical black shade that will work well with Infusion.
Swatches
Pure Genache - An almost rose gold, copper shimmer  that would team up well with Subtle Blend.

Substitute For Love - A subtle matte shade that's slightly on the orange side, not sure whether it's my colour.

Freshly Toasted - One that I definitely found a little too heavy upon application so less is more with this one.

Infusion - This will add a little sparkle to a smokey eye. This was my favourite upon swatching it, the little gold flecks just give it something extra!

Delicate Acidity - Another favourite of mine and one that will hopefully sway me away from wearing brown shades every day. A medium purple shimmer.

Beauty Bay

I am certainly enjoying trying out new brands and it's great to find a mixture of more and less expensive brands that cater for what I want and need for my skin.

Have you tried the Zoeva brand? Let me know in the comments below!






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Kiehl's Ultra Facial Cream

This is the first time that I've tried the Kiehl's brand and when I realised recently that there was one around the corner from me at work, I definitely thought to myself that my pay days are going to suffer!

I managed to try out Kiehl's Ultra Facial Cream after winning a whole load of makeup/skincare products on Feel Unique at Christmas. I know right, what an epic competition to win!
Tub of cream
Inside the tub
The Ultra Facial Cream has definitely been one of the favourites with beauty bloggers and I wanted a thick enough cream to use as a night treatment on my skin. With the weather constantly battling against us, I felt it was important for me to get something that was going to repair and protect my skin over night. 
Girl applying cream
Girl rubbing in cream
There's three things that puts me off a cream and that is, if it's too thick and doesn't absorb into my skin quickly. I hate creams that leave my skin feeling greasy or tacky and I am all about the smell of a product. If it smells bland or too clinical, it puts me off. Well this one definitely didn't go near any of my dislikes - thankfully!
Girl looking into mirror
The cream is thick but light when transferred onto the skin, allowing it to absorb very quickly. It's a very luxurious but simple cream that feels so refreshing on my face. It's also not at all greasy and it actually smells pretty good.



I've noticed a more plump look to the skin and I feel like this definitely could be my go-to moisturiser for the rest of the winter.

You can buy the cream for £43.50 which is actually for the bigger volume of 125ml.

Have you tried Kiehl's before? Let me know in the comments below.

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Printrbook for Instagram

My mum has albums full of photos dating back to when she was my age and it's great to remember what it was like when we didn't have the internet and everyone printed photos. Nowadays, everyone uploads their photos online and we end up having no physical copies of our memories. I mean what would happen if the internet suddenly went bye bye or Facebook vanished? I can personally say that the majority of my life in photos would be gone.

When Printrbook got in touch, I thought to myself, perhaps this is a solution to the problem. Printrbook is a online service that prints your photos from both Instagram and Facebook. It has the option of having 25 or 50 photos and it's as simple as clicking through and picking the ones you want. 
Book and thank you card
I decided to pick photos that spanned from the very beginning that I started Instagram up till the present day. There were so many photos that I wanted to include which meant I had to whittle over 1,500 photos to just 50. And it was a tough!

But thankfully I managed to pick out the best and when the book arrived in the post, I sat Sam down and we went through it together. It was great to look through so many incredible memories and to reminisce.
close up of photo book
A collection of memories
The pictures are actually really good quality and the book is small which caters for the size of photos that are normally taken on Instagram. You can have the option of dating the photos which I did because it reminds me just how long ago I took them!

This is such a great idea and an affordable one too. These would make great presents for those who are active on social media and also for those who you struggle to buy for on birthdays and special occasions. You can get 25 photos for £12.99 or 50 photos for £15.99!
photos in photobook
looking through the photobook
I'm certainly going to get a couple more in the future as it's a way of keeping photos in a physical form and they won't take up much storage space.

What do you think of these photo books? Let me know in the comments below.






*Disclaimer - I was sent this product to review in return for my own honest opinion.

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Beauty Hack - Pencil Curls

The other weekend, I was home alone. And at 3am on a Sunday morning, I thought it would be a good idea to test out a new curling method I'd seen online. Now I wouldn't normally be awake at 3am but as I was on my own, I had trouble sleeping. I know right, I'm such a love sick puppy it's embarrassing.

But 3am is inspiration o'clock and if you haven't seen this latest beauty hack in action then just follow the steps below for instant curls that will have Jennifer Beals from Flashdance green with envy.
Big curls
For this hack you'll need three things; a pencil, some straighteners and hairspray. 

1.  Separate your hair and section off a small part. I've found starting from the bottom is the easiest way.
Sectioning off hair
2. Take the pencil and wrap a small piece of hair around a pencil. For tighter curls use less hair and wrap it around leaving less space between the hair. For slightly bigger curls do the opposite.
Pencil curls
3. Clamp your hair down with the straighteners and press it against the hair up and down the pencil. Release and watch the curls appear! After you've curled the first section, leave the hair to naturally hold the curls and then lightly spray some hairspray over them. Once you've done this, I'd recommend tying all these curls in a small bun. This avoids over spraying when you work your way up the sections.
Straightening hair
4. Once you've curled the rest of the sections, untie the rest of the curls and repeat the sectioning off of parts. Starting from the bottom, use a brush to comb through the tight curls and your hair volume will suddenly triple in size.
Brushing curls
5.  Style your hair accordingly using whatever hair accessories you feel suit.
Side view of curls
I love this technique but I definitely need to work on getting it done quicker. It did take me a looooooooooong time but I think it was because it was the first time and I was in no way going anywhere so I thought I'd take my sweet time.

What do you think of this beauty hack? Will you try it? Let me know in the comments below.






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