5 Under £5 – Beauty Faves

Well … been a while hasn’t it?

This has probably been the longest time I have gone without blogging – eeeek!  But safe to say I am back and have a lot of exciting things planned for my blog – including a huge rebrand ! I’ll probably do a full post all about it once it has (hopefully) been successful!

So, this post is going to be one of those recurring ones – you know like bucket lists, favourites etc … and this is five things under a fiver that I’ve recently bought/starting using and have absolutely fallen in LOVE with. They also are fab because each is under a fiver AND there is a certain dupe of a very popular blusher amongst them too. So .. let’s have a chat about my top 5 things under a fiver that I have been OBSESSED WITH.


MUA highlighters

I had one of these highlighters a while ago but for some reason I had left it at the bottom of my makeup collection and never touched it. I have since picked up another one, so now I have Pink Shimmer & Iridescent Gold and I frickin love them both. They are so insanely pigmented and leave the most beautiful highlight on your face. The fact that they are also only £2 makes me love them even more. I personally find they work just as well as other highlighters that I’ve spent more money on, which is always a win win. If you’ve not tried them, make sure to pick them up on your next trip to Superdrug.

 
I have the more pinky toned one which I tend to use during the day as it is softer on the skin, and the gold toned one if I am going out, as it looks gorgeous when you have a more dramatic eye/lip going on. Girl can never go wrong when her £2 highlight looks on FLEEK. Wow did I really just write that. I think I am slightly too old to say that. HA.

Barry M Mist & Fix Setting Spray

 
Now I actually bought this on a whim when I was rushing around last minute to get some bits for my trip to Amsterdam a few weeks back. I thought it would do me until I had time to buy my UD all nighter spray (holy grail FYI). However – I was SO pleasantly surprised with this and how well it worked, especially as I wasn’t expected much from it. I used it in Amsterdam and it kept my makeup in place all day, despite me getting caught in a downpour. I definitely noticed the difference when I’d forgotten to use this to set my face on a morning. It doesn’t feel sticky, leaves no sort of residue and has no scent to it. It is definitely worth trying if you are after an affordable setting spray – I’ve also been using it during the recent heatwave we’ve had and I have had NO MELTED MAKEUP GUYS.

Twilight Bath Bomb

Now this has always been a firm fave of mine but I’m including it in this post as it has been one of the bathbombs I have been using more and more. It is always my go to whenever I have a bath on an evening as it makes me feel SO relaxed. If you ever have a really stressful day that leaves you feeling anxious and worried, popping this in your bath helps you unwind and get yourself set for a really good nights sleep. It has an amazing, warming scent that just reminds me of hot chocolate and cosy nights and it makes your bath the prettiest purple colour. I always use it alongside my Twilight shower gel and Sleepy body lotion and I literally feel like a fuzzy little ball of lavender goodness after – it’s PERFECT. I always find I have such a good nights sleep after this routine, so if you’re struggling with sleepless nights give this a go.

 
Miss Sporty Coral Blush – Shiny Coral

The reason this baby has made it to the list is because it literally is an exact dupe for the popular Coralista blush from Benefit. Not even kidding guys … it is SO pigmented and gives your cheeks the most stunning flush that doesn’t fade during the day. I have the Benefit blush but always find myself reaching for this bad boy – now you know THAT’S saying something.

 
Primark Brush Cleaner

There are so many brush cleaning palettes out there that can cost anything from £10 – £25, which I personally find is a little bit steep for a bit of rubber with some groves on it (lol), so I was so chuffed when I picked up this baby from Primark for £1.50. It has a little bit where you can put your fingers in to hold when cleaning your brushes, and works so well! This also helps motivate me to clean my brushes more often as it really helps speed up the process and means I’m not left with wrinkly hands after! It’s really small too so it doesn’t take up any room in your makeup storage, and is so handy for travelling if you ever need to take it with you.

 
So m’loves, they are my top five things under a fiver that I have been obsessed with recently! They have really helped me save some pennies and made my life that little bit easier & better ! I’m planning on doing these more often so you can find some bargain bits that will help you out too! Let me know if you liked this post and if you’d like to see more!

If you follow me on twitter you will know that I have started fasting for the month of Ramadan – if you want some more info on this let me know and I’d be happy to give you guys an insight! For now though – I’m going to love & leave ya – and get on with my rebrand of my blog ! This will all be revealed very soon so keep your eyes out and I hope you are as excited as I am !

Lots of love,

Saira xxx

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Fuss Free Mother’s Day – Gift Ideas & Things To Do

Happy Sunday loves…

So.. Mother’s Day is right around the corner – and I thought it would be the perfect time to write up my first ever gift guide ! But of course – I wanted to do something a little bit different (as you do!). For me, Mother’s Day is more about being a fuss free day that you spend with your mum making memories & just making sure she feels as loved as she deserves. So.. I’m going to share with you my fool-proof Mother’s Day gift ideas that just cannot go wrong, as well as some activities that will definitely create some wonderful memories with the most special woman in your life!

Beauty Goodies

Every woman loves being pampered, especially your momma ladies. Of course, my favourite place when it comes to beauty goodies? Lush! And obviously they have the most amazing gift sets EVER all themed around Mother’s Day, including the ‘Mum’* set, which includes 6 products set around pampering herself from head to toe. You can never go wrong with Lush goodies – and guaranteed your mum will absolutely adore them too!


Caudalie Products

I have loved Caudalie products for so so long – they are such good quality and have a whole range of skincare items designed for every single skin type out there. They are a SUCH a good quality brand and I can definitely see every mum out there loving their products. It’s always nice to treat your mum to some new skincare bits (or stock up on some of her known faves!). I love that Caudalie ranges from really luxury items (such as their Premier Cru Du Cream) to a more affordable range (Vine Active Anti-Aging Range*). Highly recommend checking them out loves, as they have some stunning gift sets, as well as some Spa Gift Vouchers – which your momma definitely deserves!

 

Sweet Treats

Of course – you can never go wrong with some good old chocolates ey? But why not take it up a notch and order a handmade gift tin from the EVER so popular Biscuteers*? Ahh… I am so sure you have seen these stunning biscuits around, and they have the most amazing range of Mother’s Day themed gift tins. Whether your mum loves flowers, afternoon tea or sewing … there are themed biscuits for all these and more! I was lucky enough to be sent a flower themed biscuit tin and they are honestly the most beautiful biscuits I have ever seen. They are for my mum but I may have sneakily eaten one myself (shhh!), and I can confirm they taste bloody yummy. Definite, fool proof gift idea guys – I don’t know who wouldn’t be chuffed to receive these as a gift.

 

Perfume

Ahhhh perfumes are one of the easiest (but most loved gifts) you can get your mum. Whether you know her staple scent, or pick up something new for her, you can’t go wrong. A very popular scent is Lancôme’s La Vie Est Belle.. it is a sweet (but not sickly) scent that settles into a musky, powdery scent.. and this stuff lasts for AGES with it being an Eau Du Parfum (winning).

 

Personal gifts

Nothing will mean more to your mum than something personal. You don’t even have to spend a fortune to make your mum happy – collect up some of your favourite pictures together and put them in an album, and you can spend Mother’s Day just going through them and re-living all the memories you had together.

 

How to: Have The Perfect, Fuss Free Mother’s Day

So … a lot of people may have planned days out for Mother’s Day.. but you know me and how I’m a massive lover of chilled out days at home .. & Mother’s Day is no different. So.. I have some ideas of how you can have the perfect, chilled out, fuss free day with your mum.

Start off with a walk together

 There is nothing more perfect than having an early morning walk with your mum to just catch up & get some gentle exercise. With Spring upon us now.. it’s the perfect time to take a walk in the park and just enjoy seeing the flowers now blossoming, the lighter mornings & (slightly) warmer weather.

Have an unhealthy breakfast

 

Mother’s Day is all about treating your mum right! So whether she loves a sweet or savoury breakfast, make it a treat. I have a recipe for the best sweet pancakes ever if you fancy something sweet, or of course you can just make a fry up right? Cos everyone (including your mamma) loves a fry up every now & then!

Get the gifts out

After breakfast would be the best time to pass on your gifts to your mum – so whether you’ve treated her to one of the special gifts mentioned above, or just made her something yourself… she’ll definitely appreciate being spoilt!

DIY Afternoon Tea

So – rather than have to spend time/effort going out for afternoon tea.. why not just do it yourself? Make some sandwiches, pick up some mini desserts & stick the kettle on to have your own afternoon tea together.. in the comfort of your own home! Afternoon tea in your PJ’s? Yes please.

Pamper Time

If you’ve brought your mum some goodies to pamper herself.. it’s the perfect time to have her use them now. Run a bath for her & let her just chill out for a few hours. Do some face masks & mani/pedi’s together & I can guarantee she’ll feel hugely spoilt. It’s seems like such a small thing but it’s one of the best ways to unwind with her!

Get comfy together & stick on some movies

 

Whether you have a TV series you both love watching or a movie that you’ve not watched together for years… get yourself loads of blankets & sit in front of the TV together for a few hours. It’s the perfect way to end the day together.

Right guys – they were my tips for having the perfect, fuss free, chilled out Mother’s Day! I hope you got inspiration if you’ve been stuck for some ideas! Remember.. you don’t have to spend a fortune… Mother’s Day is a for making your mum feel special and creating memories with her. Of course .. every single day should be spent like that – but it’s always nice to make that extra effort! Make sure to let me know what your plans are .. I’d love to know !

Lots Of Love,

Saira xo

Twitter // Instagram // Blog Lovin //YouTube ♥♥

 

How To Up Your Blog Photo Game

Well hey.

How you all doing? Survived Storm Doris? Seriously though .. DORIS.  The amount of times I’ve seen this name on SM is insane ha. Anyhoo… blog post time, woop. And it’s a good one. Ya know why? Cos a crap load of you have requested it… CHECK ME OUT GETTING REQUESTS FOR POSTS. 

So… I’m finally writing a blog post all about my photography & upping my game. I did a blog post on photos when I first started blogging .. but recently I’ve really been trying hard with my photos, both on the blog & my Instagram (totes should follow me on there if you don’t already .. shameless plug.. I’m at @throughtheglitterglass). And you know what I love? So many people have noticed too. I thought I’d talk you through some of the things I’ve done to up my game, and also just some general tips too.. and I hope it helps some of you out!

Camera

Now.. I recently invested in the EVER so popular Olympus Pen because I knew I really wanted to focus on creating high quality images and this one is so highly raved about in the blogging world. And oh my goodness I can see why.. not only is it the most instagrammable camera EVER.. the photos it can produce are AMAZING. So many of you have complimented my pictures since getting this camera, and it definitely was the first step for me in upping my game. If you also want to do the same .. I highly recommend investing in a good camera.. as the difference is crazy. In fact .. I’m also going to be picking up the 30mm lens too because I want those beautiful, blurred background photos! Another thing I LOVE about this camera is the Wifi feature… it means I can easily send myself photos and post these directly onto my Instagram! If you’re not really feeling the whole spending £400 on a camera, fear not, because my babe Holly over at TheKittyLuxe uses her iPhone for her photos and my GOD her imagery is stunning. She did a whole post on it too.. so make sure you check it out.

   

(Taken on iPhone)

Play around with manual mode

Not gonna lie.. manual mode on my camera scared me at first. All it seemed to do was make my photos blurry and dark.. not a good look. BUT..  a little bit of research really helped and now I refuse to use the auto settings on my camera! A few tips I’ve picked up:

  • Lowering the ‘F’ feature when you want a close up for that gorgeous blurry background. This reduces your focal point, meaning your camera will focus on a small part of your image, and slightly blur out the rest. This is amazing if you want to do a close up of something (i.e. lipstick/bathbomb). I also find it helps when I’m filming YT videos.. as the camera will focus on me and blur out the background. Yay!
  • Increasing/decreasing aperture based on how much natural light you have – this helps so much if you are taking photos on a cloudy day. This allows more light into the lens (if it’s dark) or less if you have a lot of sun.
  • Increasing ISO – Again.. this helps if you do not have a lot of light coming through (this is more about the sensitivity of light). Be careful with this one though.. as a higher ISO means grainier photos.

These are basically the only settings I’ve got to grips with .. there is so much more but I’m learning! If you need more in depth info, Lydia Millen did a fab snap story on the Olympus settings (I think you can find this on YT), as well as an amazing post by Robyn.. who has fab tips on getting to grips with manual mode, and her photos are absolutely STUNNING.

Natural Light

I’ve definitely had my fair share of having to photograph with artificial light and natural light .. and to be honest, natural light wins by FAR. Of course, with it being Winter, we get like 5 hours of light and even then for most of the time it horrible & cloudy… so we don’t really have a choice but to pull out the soft boxes. Where possible though.. I always photograph by a window… and even on cloudy days I can faff around with my camera settings and make it work. The best times for me are between the hours of 9am-11am, and 3pm-4pm. And the best tips for soft boxes? Use 2 and extend them quite high to get as much light as possible (rather then up close & using just one).. I find this helps so much with getting rid of shadows and too much brightness. Instead, you get a nice glow. Perfect.

Have a good backdrop

Since I’ve developed a ‘white theme’ for my Instagram… I needed a good sized backdrop. My solution? A double sized duvet/white sheet. I use this as my base, and add blankets/scarves as needed. This means I have a huge drop to work with and can get really creative with my photography without worrying about anything getting in the way/having to crop anything out.

Get yourself some props

Props. Are. Everything. Literally the most important thing ever if you want to up your photography game. One thing I love to do is match up my props with the type of photo I’m taking/what season it is etc. A few of my favourite props are:

  • Blankets
  • Fake flowers (essential)
  • Small trays
  • Cute bowls/mugs/plates
  • Bows
  • Candles
  • Perfume bottles
  • Fairy lights
  • Plants/cacti
  • Cute notebooks

Literally ANYTHING can be used as a prop… and you don’t even need to buy anything extra if you don’t want to – you probably have plenty of stuff that you can use! The key is to experiment! I’m still learning on how to get my perfect flatlay.. but once I’ve worked it out.. I will definitely do a post on it!

(Taken on iPhone)

Get your editing right

Editing really doesn’t have to take you hours..I honestly think it takes me about 10-15 minutes to edit all my photos for a post/weeks worth of Instagram shots. And you know why? Because I do more or less the same thing for all my pictures:

  • Increase Brightness – but not too much where you can’t see certain things (i.e. images/writing). Just enough to highlight your picture and not make it so dull
  • Increase Contrast – just enough to make the darker things in your photo be slightly more prominent
  • Increase Highlight – this gives your pictures a little but of a “glow” – again increase slightly, not too much otherwise your image becomes too bright
  • Increase Sharpness – to make small details stand out nicely
  • Decrease Temperature – this is a personal thing for me because I like my pictures to have a slightly cool tone to them
  • Whiten Whites – this is where my fave app FaceTune comes in. It is especially helpful in making my backgrounds whiter and giving them that lovely crisp look. It has been my saviour since developing my white themed Instagram too!

That is literally the quickest way to tell you how I edit my pictures – let me know if you want anything in more detail though gals!

 
OK -I think I have covered everything? These are basically the things I have been doing to really up my photo game – and it has helped too because I receive so many compliments on my pictures recently (you guys are DA BEST). If you have ANY more questions about my pictures, make sure to let me know in the comments and I will help you out 🙂 For now – hope this post helped you!

I’m off sofa hunting with my parents & hubby – so hope you all enjoy your weekend!

LOTS OF LOVE,

Saira

xo

Twitter // Instagram // Blog Lovin //YouTube ♥♥

Why Bloggers Are The BEST

Bloggers ey? I bloody love ’em. We’re fab little creatures … those looking in from the outside just will not understand why we charge our phones 3 times a day, why the positioning of your plate/mug/cutlery on the table DOES matter and the importance of a white background. Bloggers just GET each other. I love being a blogger, and being a part of our little community..in fact I’ve got a few (OK maybe more than a few) reasons why you’re all fab. Don’t let your heads get to big though babes (kidding.. you deserve to know how fab you are).

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  Bloggers will ALWAYS have your back

I guess it’s what we call ‘Team Internet’… but if ANYBODY badmouths a blogger or their job.. they are literally HOUNDED. There is nothing worse than somebody saying blogging is not a ‘job’.. although I personally blog as a hobby, so many of my blogging girls blog either part or full time, and it can be pretty full on. Blogging/YouTube IS a job.. deal with it. I can always guarantee my blogging girls to have my back … we just get each other.

No matter what time it is.. there is always SOMEONE to talk to

Lying awake in bed at 3AM because you can’t sleep? Guess what… one of your blogging babes probably is too. If you need a rant at any time.. just tweet and I can guarantee someone will be there to listen to you. There have been so many times where I’ve been up really early in the morning because I can’t sleep and always find there is someone awake to chitchat with! If you need some quick advice/reassurance, bloggers are there.

Nobody will understand the difficulty of a flat lay better than fellow bloggers

I don’t get how some people just get them looking so effortless. The amount of work/re-jigging that goes behind ME getting the perfect flatlay is just crazy … and I know so many of you all get it. I can be there for half an hour setting up, getting the right props/angle.. But guess what .. I GOT DAT PERFECT FLATLAY GUYS. And I KNOW you all get it.. because nothing is better than getting that Instagram comment “flat lay goals”, right?

You are NEVER watching any TV series alone

Whether that’s anything on Netflix, Soaps, GBBO, The Apprentice, The X Factor (despite it being rubbish lately), Big Brother… and any others you can think of, even though you might be alone on your sofa, you’re never actually ‘alone’. Go on Twitter and you’ll have someone to share all those OMG moments with and bitch about the most annoying person. Also … I love that I can stay up to date with TV just be reading my timeline (LOL).. just BEWARE of spoilers.

They make you feel better about EVERYTHING

Having a few days feeling crap about your blog because you didn’t get the views you were expecting? Feel unmotivated with your blog? Major life changes? Hop onto Twitter and you’ll literally get message after message supporting you/making you smile.. cos bloggers just get you. They’ll make you see the the better side of things and will write you little motivational tweets that make you feel all warm and fuzzy!

I could go on and on about why you’re all the best but I’d be here for ages. I wanted to let you know that this post was for all YOU guys out there… you have honestly been so supportive since my little slump with my blog and have helped motivate me to get my ass into gear and start blogging again! I have so much love and support for everyone in the blogging community, and love this little place on the internet that we’ve all created! We should be proud!

Lots and lots of love to you all … and a massive thanks for all your support babes !!

Love, Saira xxxxxx

Twitter // Instagram // Blog Lovin //YouTube ♥♥

Feeling Under The Weather?

Hey guys *waves*

Already 2 weeks into the new year! Can you believe it!? And you’ll never guess what I did for the first week? Well.. if you follow my twitter you’ll know .. but I spent the whole week bunged up, coughing non-stop and with a constant headache. Yep.. the joys.

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So… first day back at work I was drugged up with Day Nurse hoping I could soldier through. Funnily enough, 2 other girls at work were just as poorly too so ended up going home before me! By about 11am.. I could barely concentrate so KNEW I had to go home! I spent 2 whole days off work … in which I did all the things to make me feel better… and thought hey, it would be fun to make a list of all the things you can do to make yourself feel better too! I know (from Twitter) that SO many people are still poorly too (hope you  feel better soon babes!).. so I hope this post can help you!

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Get into your comfiest clothes

This was literally the first thing I did as soon as I got home (despite me wanting to just crawl into bed!). I got into my comfiest pj’s, hubby’s oversized t-shirt & shoved my hair up. PERFECT. If you spend sick days in any other attire … you are doing it WRONG.

Stay Hydrated

Probably one of the most IMPORTANT (but probably boring) things you have to do .. it is so important to keep a bottle of water next to you and drink crap loads (more than you normally would). It definitely helped me as I was sweating all day (TMI I know) and it just meant I didn’t get dehydrated !

Use A Sheet Mask

I LOVED using these so much whilst I was poorly… because they are lovely and cool, they really help soothe your skin and head! They obviously help brighten up your skin too which probably is looking dead thanks to your illness! If you don’t have a sheet mask.. you can use a cold flannel (works just as well TBH).

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 Have simple, ‘comforting’ meals

This might sound a bit odd .. but when you are ill you probably don’t have much of an appetite. For me.. I could barely taste/smell anything which can be SO annoying and really put you off having any food. Having things like soup/bread are quick & easy… and they really do just warm you up and make you feel better! Chicken soup has magical healing powers, seriously. Also .. chocolate when you’re ill is never a bad idea (hehe).

Have a Bath

At first .. I thought what even is the point in having a bath.. I’d feel like I was wasting my bath bombs as I wouldn’t be able to smell them.. BUT when your muscles are aching so MUCH, there is nothing better than going for a soak. I used a bubble bar and the Snow Angel bath melt which made my bath so ‘soft’ (if that makes sense ha). A few drops of essential oils would be amazing too .. but I just love my Lush stuff too much, lol. Honestly .. I felt so much better after my bath, so make sure you jump in your tub if you’re poorly with achy muscles.

Get Plenty of Rest

You’re ill, the first thing you need is plenty of rest. I know you’re probably feeling crap because you have to miss work, but your body needs you to rest up, so sleep in, stay comfy with your blankets all day and don’t feel guilty. Trust me.. I tried to stay at work and battle it but I NEEDED rest. Chill out, catch up on some Netflix (when you’re not resting) and only focus on getting yourself better.

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There you go guys … a few tips to help you when you’re feeling under the weather ! My cold has JUST about cleared up, and if you have been ill too I hope you are on the mend!

Have a fab Sunday guys … and I will see you all in my next post!

Lots of love,

Saira

xo

Autumn Essentials: Beauty, Fashion & Makeup

Hiya loves

Hope you have all had an amazing weekend! I have spent it catching up on ironing (exciting I know), going to see the Blackpool Illuminations (a tradition me and my family have), and taking some Autumn inspired outfit pictures (which you guys will see soon!). What have you all been up to?

Now.. I am sure you all know I was ready for Autumn WAY before it was acceptable (I am talking end of August guys)… but I think now is an appropriate time to do an Autumn essentials post right? I got you covered for beauty, fashion and makeup… so if you want to know what my essentials are for this season… have a peek 🙂

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Make Up

To me.. Autumn makeup is all about dark lips, matte skin and TONS of highlight. Basically… makeup that resembles a vampire’s is what I am talking about. And of course you know me and my drugstore OBSESSION when it comes to make up – so of course I have a whole load of my fave bits that I always have on hand for my Autumn makeup.

  • Seventeen Stay Matte Foundation

I have raved and RAVED about this foundation for so so long… it really is one to try if you need a long lasting, matte foundation that has amazing coverage. You really need the smallest amount of this, as it goes SUCH a long way. And, at a little over a fiver… it is SO affordable and is a right hidden gem too. It’s worth a try girls, so pick it up on your next trip to Boots

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  • MUA Undress Your Skin Highlighter – Pink Shimmer

Can you believe that this time last year I did not use highlight (GASP)… it is now one thing that I never miss out when doing my makeup … it makes such a HUGE difference to how healthy your skin looks. And of course.. when it comes to Autumn time, the days are getting darker, your skin is not getting as much sun anymore and can tend to look a little dull. Your best friend? Yep.. highlighter. This little baby from MUA is one of my faves.. as is is SO affordable yet has the most amazing pigmentation. This one is more pink toned, but there is also one that is more on the gold side if that is what you prefer.. but I think I much prefer more cool toned highlights for the colder months (something about them just reminds me of frost on your skin.. and I LOVE that).

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  • Sleek Matte Me – Vino Tinto

I have done a whole post on these guys, so I will link that here… but I LOVE these so much. Dark lips and Autumn just go hand in hand (ahem… like candles and Autumn.. FULL POST on that here too guys). I adore Vino Tinto as it is the right mix of berry and dark purple… it requires a little bit of practice to get a smooth application, but with a little bit of time and a good lip liner, it gives the most gorgeous, vampy finish.

Clothes

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  • Faux Fur

I always pull out the faux fur when the days start to get colder. Autumn is all about feeling cozy… and I like to feel snug when I am out as well as when I am inside. Having a faux fur scarf, coat or gilet means you can do EXACTLY that.. you literally feel like you have a blanket around you and I am all about that. I am one of these people that would go out in my PJ’s every single day if I could (I am not lazy.. I just like being comfy, hehe).

  • Tartan

Regardless of whether you like to follow trends or not.. I can guarantee that tartan prints (just like fur) will always be popular for Autumn. Whether that is a tartan scarf, dress or shirt… you will DEFINITELY feel Autumnal when you rock it. I picked this beautiful, ruffled top from Zara (which I have currently become obsessed with)… I have been rocking it with a grey or black top underneath and love the layered look it gives. ANOTHER thing I can start doing is LAYERING… I will probably do a whole separate post on this because I could babble on about that for ages HA.

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  • Pinafores

Ahhhhh PINAFORES.. I am so so so glad these came back into style this year because guys they are honestly one of the EASIEST things to style, both for work and casual wear. These two beauties are the ever so popular, £10 pinafores from Primark that EVERYBODY has become obsessed with. They are a gorgeous velvet/suede.. which again is HUGE for this season, and look fab with jumpers, button up shirts or t-shirts underneath. Seriously, if you do not have a pinafore yet.. GET YOURSELF ONE.

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Beauty

  • Lush Snow Fairy  – Shower Gel and Body Conditioner

Now this might be a little controversial because we all know Snow Fairy screams Christmas time.. but I am a LITTLE bit in love with it so I have already whipped it out and become obsessed with it ALL over again. I am sure you are familiar with the beautiful pink, candy floss scented range from Lush.. but if not and you love your sweet scents, you have to pick it up! This year.. Lush have released a Snow Fairy body conditioner which I have fallen in love with. I find it really helps prolong that lovely candyfloss scent and makes your skin feel so so soft!

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Another essential item is of course Lush bath bombs.. but I think they deserve a post all of their own right? I will definitely do a fave bath bombs post soon.. because there are SO many  that I love… in fact I could easily talk about each and every one ha!

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Thank you so much for reading this guys… do you have any essential items you love for Autumn time? Let me know… and I may find some new things to try too! I will see you all in my next one 🙂

Lots of Love,

Saira

xx

Twitter // Instagram // Blog Lovin //YouTube ♥♥

Blog Photography 101♥

Hiya lovelies!♥

Hope you have all had a wonderful week.. and also enjoyed your Bank Holiday.. how does it seem so long ago already?!

I wanted to do a post that would hopefully help A LOT of you lovely guys out there… Recently I have been having SO many compliments on my blog photos (you are a lovely bunch.. I could just squeeze you all!)… so I thought what better thing to babble on about than photography!

Quick little disclaimer too.. I am by NO means a professional.. I just take photos for my little blog and for fun too.. and everything that I have learnt has been through experience and knowledge picked up here and there from other bloggers! I have been blogging for around 8 months.. and I can honestly say that I think my photos have improved massively! SO.. without further ado… lets get on with it… woo!

The Basics♥

Background

Decide on what background you want. This is completely personal and up to you – whether you want a bright, colourful background, a white, marble background (the standard blogger background – and my personal fave!).. the choice is completely yours! Now this is where DIY shops come in handy… remember when your parents were re-decorating the living room and they took home about 20 different wallpapers to see what went well together? WELL… you can do exactly the same (tehehe).. so pop into B&M or B&Q and take a few “samples”.. just don’t go too crazy (ha!). Another thing that can work amazingly is a plain canvas! I also want to incorporate different textures into my background.. i.e. faux fur or blankets.. I have seen quite a few people do this and it looks GORGEOUS and really adds something to their images!

Location

Girls.. FIND YOUR BLOGGING SPOT. Whether that is a corner in your bedroom, the hallway.. the bathroom.. find a location that works for you! Now.. I mean a location where there is plenty of natural light, lots of room for you to move around, and NO CLUTTER! I like to use the space in the spare living room, right next to the window! It is also worth keeping a box/basket where you can keep items you regularly use in photos (such as props.. MORE on these later!). I am honestly DREAMING of the day I have my own office/blogging/vlogging room… but for now.. my living room will do!

Camera

Should I be honest with you girlys? The camera I use is a Samsung 16MP HD digital camera that Saj (the hubby) got me whilst we were at Uni (5 years ago). Yep. I would LOVE to invest in an Olympus Pen (THE perfect blogging camera).. but when you have a mortgage to save up for… it is (unfortunately) not the first thing on my shopping list (boo!!). I WILL GET ONE SOON! Hint… it is my birthday in July.. just saying. ANYWAYS.. the whole point of that little babble was to reassure you that any camera you have is FINE. Whether you have a Canon (dreamy), or are using your iPhone… your photos will still be FAB!

Editing

Now… for me … I had to include editing in this Basics list guys. Trust me.. it makes a MASSIVE difference into how eye catching/professional your photos look. Don’t be scared.. you do not have to do any fancy editing whatsoever! Just stick the brightness/highlight/contrast up a little bit.. and if you have bright colours… a teeny increase on the saturation never hurts. I use Pic Monkey for editing my blog photos.. it is SO easy to use.. and it is free! It is also pretty foolproof too.. so you should definitely check it out!

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So lovelies.. that is my advice on the basics of blog photos! These should hopefully help if you are just trying to up your blog photo game.. and are some good starting points!

NOW.. if you have mastered the basics (which I am sure you will… there really isn’t much to it.. hehe)… you can move onto the ADVANCED points. OK… they are not really advanced.. it is just things that take that little bit more effort.. and I feel are essential if you really want to up your blog photo game.

Advanced♥

Flat Lays

Ohhh .. nothing better than a good old flat lay image. Yes they take that little bit more time, yes they cause you to have a sore back, yes you look like an absolute BOOB when you are taking them.. but THEY MAKE A DAMN GOOD PHOTO! I only really started taking flat lays a few months into blogging.. now every photo of mine has to be one hehe! I thought I would share some of the tips/tricks I have picked up along the way!

One word. Chair. Enough said.

Props are literally your best friend when it comes to flat lays. I like to think of my flat lays as telling a little bit of a story (weird I know, haha!).. but I find that this helps me so much! See one of my favourite flat lays below:

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This was from my Teen Make Up Post.. and I used props that I associated with being young (the old generation iPod, baby lips lip balm, a very retro looking mascara).. and I loved how this image turned out! 

Use one item as a “base” item. Then add other items that associate with that! For example.. use a glass of water (very basic I know)… then add some pretty drinking straws, some fake flowers.. maybe a funky little tray.. AND YOU ARE DONE! It really is all about getting creative and letting your personality shine in your photos!

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Confetti makes all the difference. Especially if you have a plain white background.. confetti just makes the image look extra special and eye catching. Trust me.. grab some confetti and go wild. Just keep the hoover close by.. you will make a mess, ha!

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Don’t go overboard. For me.. there is nothing worse than my flat lay looking too crowded. I like to be able to see the background too.. and I know when I have added way too much to my photos! Just experiment and see what looks right!

Lighting

For over 7 months of my blogging life.. I stuck to natural light/editing… and I was happy. HOWEVER.. once I started YouTube.. I realized lighting was that LITTLE bit more of an essential. I have included it in this Advanced section because I happily took all my photos without them… and you can too. However.. if you are able to invest in some.. I would say do it. They make taking blog photos so much easier… you do not have to worry about shadows, everything just looks more “crisp”, and you can take your photos at more or less any time and not worry about natural light as much! I use soft box lighting.. and I picked them up for £30 on eBay.. not bad at all ey?!

 Props

Anything makes a good prop. Beauty products, fake flowers, little bunnies, lipsticks… trust me.. have a Blog Prop Box with ANYTHING you find around the house and use it in your photos! It makes them so much more fun to look at! As mentioned before.. try not to add too many in one photo! A perfect example would be:

  • Your favorite beauty items
  • Some fake flowers
  • Small glass hearts
  • Some seasonal items (bunnies for Spring time!)

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DONE!

Lastly.. BE CREATIVE! Your blog and the photos you take are all about showing you and your personality. Get as creative as you want! If you want.. you can even make each of your images have a specific colour theme/beauty theme.. anything goes!

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General Tips♥

Take plenty of photos

 Trust me.. the last thing you want is to take maybe 5″good” photos, put all your set up away, upload your photos.. and realize you hate every single one. Oh yes.. it happened to yours truly. AND it was a nightmare! Take as many photos from one angle, then move to another, and ANOTHER. This just means you have plenty to pick from!| I usually have around 80 photos to pick from.. and only end up using 8-9 ha!

Avoid the flash

The flash is evil. It makes your photos look washed out and weird. I have NEVER had any luck when using the flash.. so I recommend avoiding it! Stick to your natural light/soft box lighting… it looks SO much nicer!

Try not to over-edit

You want your pictures to look bright, crisp and clear. You do not want a blue/orange toned photo, or an image that is WAY to bright to look at! As I mentioned previously, a little bit of an increase in the contrast/brightness/highlight is all you need.

Designate a blog photo taking day

This will make your blogging experience so much easier! Set up your little photography studio (ahem .. in that little corner of your bedroom).. and take 2-3 posts worth of blog photos on one go! This means that everything you need is in one place.. and you are not running back and forth searching for your items to photograph! It also helps when you are writing.. as your photos will always jog your memory of what you are talking about!

Some Quick Instagram Tips!!

I thought I would add in some SPEEDY tips for Instagram photos!

  • Take these at the same time you take your blog photos! It makes complete sense right.. you have everything set up.. why not? I like to take my weekly set of Instagram pics so they are all set to go up!
  • For convenience.. take them on your phone camera! This means they are easy to access and quicker to edit too! I use PS Express to edit my Instagram photos.. and I use the same editing style for these too!

So loves.. that is my advice for blog photography! I personally think photos are SO important.. and are one of the main things that drive people to your blog! EVERYONE loves seeing lovely, bright images… so I really hope you are able to pick up on some of these things to help you!

I hope this post was informative.. I would love to know any tips you have, as I am always willing to learn more! Remember to just have fun and be as creative as possible! Thank you SO much for reading darlings.. and I cannot wait to see you in my next one!

Lots of Love,

Saira

xo

Twitter // Instagram // Blog Lovin //YouTube ♥♥

Blogging Advice..From A Newbie♦

Hi my loves!♥

Hope you are all very well! I just want to start by saying  I have had the BUSIEST day at work EVER .. with it being the first day back after the festive period, SO MANY NEW people starting in the business, AND BEING ON MY OWN… at least the day flew by! I then left early to hand in some dry cleaning and then get my eyebrows done (ha!).

Now I am VERY excited for you to read this post my loves!! I may have only been blogging for over 4 months, but I thought I would blog about some tips/tricks that I wish I had been given when I started blogging! OF COURSE I understand that I am still a newbie (ish) myself, but I have picked up some advice from all you other FABULOUS bloggers out there that have been blogging WAY LONGER than me! 

I hope this post benefits at least ONE of you .. whether you have just started blogging, or if you just fancy some new tips that you might not have picked up along the way. Also .. if you have ANY more tips/advice, PLEASE let me know.. I am ALWAYS willing to learn more about blogging! I think these tips cater more to lifestyle/beauty/fashion blogging, as this is what I like to blog about, and will mostly benefit those who  blog about the same things.. but that is not to say all you other bloggers  can’t take the advice (In fact I would love that!!).

Editing Photos♥

Wow – I CANNOT believe I used to go without editing my pictures when I first started blogging. It makes SUCH  massive difference to how “professional” your pictures look. It is also a massive help when you have rubbish lighting during winter! Now… you do not have to be scared of editing AT ALL! You do not have to be a professional editor… You just need a good programme. All I do to edit is either put a filter on my image or increase the brightness/contrast .. and THAT IS ALL LOVELIES! See .. nothing too scary right? It is completely up to you how much/less you want to edit.. but I think it definitely helps! See below an image that is edited and one that isn’t. The programmes I use for editing are Canva or (more recently), PicMonkey.. both are free and SO EASY to use. Check them out loves!

   Not Edited                                              Edited

You Don’t Need A Flashy Camera♥

I know so many bloggers who use their iPhone camera’s for their blog photos and they look amazing! I also use a small Samsung camera to take all my blog photos. If you are just getting started, I think it is so important to work with what you have .. that way you can really decide if blogging and photography is something that you want to invest in. I always said to myself that if I ever got serious about blogging, I would invest in a new camera (which is what I will be doing soon!!). Just remember though lovelies, if an iPhone is all you have, then that will do a FAB JOB.. and it is completely YOUR OWN decision if you want to invest further into your blog.. but in my opinion is not a necessity when starting. Of course if you are able to then GO AHEAD YOU SASSY GIRL!! 😀

Check out some of the pictures taken below using my camera .. (It cost about £45-50… I think it has done a good job!)

Promoting Your Blog♥ 

Guess what lovelies .. it is OK to promote your blog (and actually quite important too!). Think about it .. you spend hours writing up an AMAZING blog post.. and then.. just leave it? No girl… YOU SHOUT AND BE PROUD OF IT! I know some bloggers love to keep their blogs quite secret, but personally I LOVE telling everyone (friends/family/work colleagues, haha) about my blog! If you want to get your little blog out there, get on Twitter/Instagram/Facebook and promote :D. Twitter is my FAVORITE platform to promote.. just because there are SO many other bloggers to interact with! Let your readers know what your blog has to offer. You can also use blogger “retweet” accounts on Twitter who will retweet for you so you reach a bigger audience. This is SO important when you are new, as you are probably trying to grow your audience and find like-minded people.. so this is ESSENTIAL! Some of my faves include BBLOG_RT, Loving_Blogs, FBLoggers & Female_BloggerRT :D. Also have a read of other similar blogs too to let them know there is a new girl on the block 😛 Also… reading other blogs (for me anyway) is not only important, but also SO MUCH FUN TOO! There is nothing better than putting aside a few hours, having a good read of some blogs and commenting to let them know how much you loved their post!! There really is nothing better than receiving a comment from someone who has really made the effort to read your post!♥

Social Media = VITAL♥

I honestly do not know where I would be without social media… OH MY it is SO IMPORTANT as a newbie blogger!! Use Twitter/Facebook/Pinterest/Instagram.. and whatever else is out there! I LOVE to use Twitter to promote my blog when I have new posts up, when I am advertising older ones, and just for general chit chat! It is SO important to interact with other bloggers… the community is SO welcoming! When I first started blogging, I was so surprised at how many bloggers there are.. I’ll be honest, it IS quite daunting to start.. but that feeling quickly disappeared when I realized how FRIENDLY everyone is.. YOU ARE ALL BABES AND I LOVE YOU ALL!! I take part in Twitter chats as much as I can, and they are SUCH an amazing way to interact with so many bloggers (and brands!) at once.

Blog Chat Timetable

Find out which ones you can take part in (there are SO many .. I didn’t make this but I give SO much credit to whoever did.. as it has been such a massive help! ALSO the #GIRLGANG chat is MISSING off this (it is a new chat).. it is every Monday between 6-7PM! My second favourite social media is Instagram.. I LOVE scrolling through Instagram.. it is so easy to connect with people too and also gain some inspiration! I also (personally) think Blog Lovin’ is pretty essential too (even though I know some of you who do not like it ha!).. As I am a WordPress user, I find it quite hard to follow those who aren’t.. so for me BL is a way where I can have all my FAVES in one place.. all set for me to spend a couple of hours reading! Whichever social media you prefer is completely your choice.. but for newbie bloggers.. I think Twitter is ESSENTIAL!

Instagram

Here’s my links loves!

Twitter // Instagram // Blog Lovin ♥

Schedule Tweets♥

Now when I first started blogging, I never thought I would schedule tweets.. EVER. I am not sure why though.. maybe because I didn’t realize how important it was, or maybe I thought I would have enough hours in the day to tweet non-stop. I also think it is because I didn’t think I would love it as much as I do .. BUT ANYWAYS … Scheduling tweets is essential for me now! Especially for us bloggers who have other commitments (full time jobs/school/university/kids)… I like knowing that my blog is being promoted as much as possible, even when I am not personally doing it AT THAT MOMENT. I can understand why some people may not like scheduled tweets… but I know myself and so many other bloggers rely on it, as we’re not (unfortunately) able to stay on our phones as much as we want to! I also want to thank Corinne from Skinnedcartree for her post on Increasing Twitter Traffic .. She helped me so much as I used Hootsuite before (which always missed my tweets for some reason.. grr!)… and introduced me to Buffer.. which is THE BEST THING EVER!! Check out her post for more tips too.. they are FAB! Also… I like to schedule my tweets first thing in the morning (around 8-9AM), Lunchtime (1-2PM), Late afternoon (4-5PM), evening (7-8PM) and before bed (10-11PM). For me, this has helped traffic to my blog, but of course every blog is different! So loves, make sure you cater your tweets to your own blog and audience!

Right…. These are probably the main things that I wished I had known when I started blogging.. so I thought this would help some newbies too! Now angels .. just a quick disclaimer.. of course every blog/blogger is different and I know some people may benefit more than others from these tips… but I just wanted to help some of you out there who may need it!! Like I said before, I am still quite new to the whole blogging world.. so any advice from you would be AMAZING!

Remember lovelies.. blogging is FUN and is such an amazing way to interact with so many lovely people and can open so many doors for you. It is important to remember that it is YOUR BLOG.. so show your personality, write about things YOU love, and just have FUN! Don’t focus on the numbers – focus on your lovely readers and making your blog the best it can possibly be!

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If you are a newbie… let me know if there is anything you need help with, and I will try my best to help! If you have been blogging for a while, let me know if you had any problems when you started, or if there is anything you wish you were told when you started blogging! Also.. any tips/advice would be AMAZING and so appreciated!

So my loves.. let me know if you liked this style of post … and if it helped any of you :D. 

Quick UPDATE  on my weekend… We had a quick last minute overnight stay in a cottage in Whitby.. which I will DEFINITELY blog about soon… Also.. it also my Marriage Registry on the 9th.. ooohhhhh exciting times!!! I literally CANNOT WAIT to blog with an update and just a good old ramble .. I feel like I have’t had one of these recently, and I miss it!!

By the way … I have a new blog header (the festive one has gone.. boo!).. what do you think of it? Let me know angels! (I made it myself too ha!).

Stay tuned for that my darlings!!

Lots of Love,

Saira xo

Twitter // Instagram // Blog Lovin ♥