21 November 2014

Book Review - Oh Yeah, Audrey!


'It's 5:30am on Fifth Avenue and sixteen-year-old Gemma Beesley is standing in front of Tiffany & Co. wearing the perfect black dress with her pastry and coffee held tightly in a brown paper bag, just like Holly Golightly. As the co-founder of a successful Tumblr blog--Oh Yeah Audrey!--devoted to all things Audrey Hepburn, Gemma has traveled from Pennsylvania to New York in order to meet up with her fellow bloggers and friends, Bryan and Trina, for the first time. She has meticulously planned out a 24-hour adventure for the trio in homage to Breakfast at Tiffany's; however, her plans become quickly sidetracked when a glamorous boy sweeps in and offers her the type of New York experience she's always dreamed of. Gemma soon learns who her true friends are and that, sometimes, "no matter where you run, you just end up running into yourself."'*

I know it's like rule number one in life 'don't judge a book by its cover' but seriously how pretty is this cover? It was hard not to get my hopes up for this book to be amazing when it had such a fabulous cover image and I'm happy to report it didn't disappoint.

I really liked this book.  It was a really sweet story and it was a really enjoyable, quick read. 
There was something so interesting reading a book that talked about tumblr and blogs so much in it, it just felt really current but without trying to be too hip.  It felt like the use of social media in the book was appropriate and right for the story, it didn't feel forced or like it was added to the story to try and make it feel more 'young', like some of the other books that I have read, that have tried to do the same thing.

The story is based on a the main character Gemma's love for Audrey Hepburn but more specifically the character that Audrey played in Breakfast at Tiffany's, Holly Golightly.  The whole book is like one big fact file on Audrey and Holly.  I found that was my most enjoyable part of the story, I loved hearing little snippets about how the film was made, why the casting was chosen, just lot's of interesting little facts about the whole Audrey era.
What I would say is that to really enjoy the book I think you have to have seen Breakfast at Tiffany's. Even if you don't know anything about the life and times of Audrey herself I think you do at least have had to see the film or so much of this book just wouldn't make sense at all.

The reason why I wanted to read this book initially was because I had read one of Tucker Shaw's books from years ago called 'Confessions of a backup dancer' which I just loved and thought it was amazing, so I couldn't wait to read something else by the same author but i would say that this book is maybe aimed at a slightly more teenage/young adult audience than I realised but i still think it's such an enjoyable read for any age as it's a great story.

Overall I would really recommend this book to anyone who loves Audrey Hepburn and Breakfast at Tiffany's.  Its such a lovely story and is a great example of how your favourite film can really inspire you to do great things.  A super fun and quirky read!

Let me know if you've read this book and what you thought of it?
You can buy it HERE on Amazon for £9.41
And on Kindle for £6.79

20 November 2014

Songs That May or May Not Change Your Life

Sorry for the little blogging break, I've had flu's and colds and all the usual wintry goodness and just took a few days off to feel a bit better. 
I wanted to just do a fun post today and share with you some songs that I have been loving the past few weeks, some are new, some are old, some are random (yes, I love singing along to Spanish songs, with absolutely no idea what I'm actually saying) hopefully you'll find something that you like in between it all.  Let me know what you've been listening to and if you have any songs that you think I'll love....


11 November 2014

A Guide to Getting The Most Out of Pinterest

A few weeks ago the #lbloggers chat (a twitter chat for lifestyle bloggers to share opinions and talk about all things blogging, the chats are fab.  If your a blogger and haven't had a peek at them yet I would definitely recommend them, they are super helpful too) was all about Pinterest and if people thought it helped them with their blog traffic.  I sent out a tweet saying my pinterest account was one of my biggest sources of traffic for my blog alongside twitter and I had a massive influx of tweets from fellow bloggers asking me for some tips and help on how I grew my pinterest following and how to get the most out of pinterest.

So inspired by that I thought I would make a little 'How To Win at Pinterest' post.  I don't normally do advice or giving out tips, type posts as I always think things like social media and blogging are all a little bit about chance just as much as they are about following a set of rules, I don't really think there is a key to success with these kinda things but I am completely OBSESSED with pinterest and I do think there is a few things that you can do to make your pinterest account work as well as possible for you so I thought I would make this post to share what I have done and how I use pinterest....

Name your boards - Something that really helped my pinterest was to re-name all my boards.  I had really fancy (and I have to be honest, I thought they were pretty damn awesome, well in my mind they were haha!) names for all my boards but they didn't actually mention what the board was about, like my board that I pinned all the people whose outfits inspired me was called 'The Cool People' I changed the name to 'STYLE' and it nearly doubled how many re-pins and likes it got, and the reason was because people simply couldn't find it before.  Make your board names really clear and simple and make them easily search-able.  If you have a board all about say, dogs think about what you would search for if you were going on pinterest and you wanted to look at dogs, would you search for 'the things that say woof'? No, you would search for the word dogs, or cute dogs or something with the word dog in it.  Your titles can still be fun, I still have silly ones on some of my boards but they still directly say what the board is about.

Pin what you love - I think this one is really important.  When I first joined pinterest I found it pretty overwhelming looking at that blank virtual mood board in front of me.  I had 'liked' some pins but I had no where to put them as I just didn't know what type of boards I wanted to make.  The good thing about pinterest is you can move about, delete and rename boards as much as you like, so if you made a board a year ago that you wished you hadn't and you don't think it goes with your over all pinterest any more then just delete it or change it slightly and rename it.  I just took a minute and thought what was I going to use pinterest for. I joined pinterest and still use it so that it can inspire me, I see the blog traffic as a bonus of being on pinterest not a reason to still use it.  So after I realised that, I got to work on creating boards of things that inspired me, home d├ęcor, style, hair, art, music, films, tattoos, the list goes on.  I fell in love with pinterest after that, I just felt and still do feel so inspired when I see things people have created on there and that's why I keep pinning.  So my advice is if your pinning only popular, generic stuff to try and get more followers, it won't work as you'll get bored and give up.  To stick at pinterest, it's like blogging if you don't love it and find it fun you'll stop doing it.

Be descriptive - When you pin an image or repin an image, pinterest asks you to describe your pin.  This is what will be used to help people find your image as much as what your boards name is, so be descriptive.  If it's a pink car from the 50's, just write 'pink car from 1950'.  Just make it simple but super clear.  Also you can use hashtags, they are not as used on pinterest as twitter but some people still search using them in pinterest so there is no harm in putting them in the description box too.

Follow Boards - What made pinterest fun for me was being inspired by all the awesome stuff on it but I have to be honest when I first started and was following like 3 boards it was pretty boring for a while as nothing new really got added for me to look at as the people I were following didn't pin very often.  So my tip is go follow people.  It's my favourite thing when I find a new board to follow.  You have the option of following peoples individual boards or your can follow their whole account.  I do a mix of both it just depends.  There are a few people that I follow that I know the minute I see the pin is from their pinterest, that I'm going to be repining it as our boards are so similar in what we like and I just love that feeling of knowing someone with super similar taste to you will be pinning loads of stuff that will inspire you and hopefully they feel the same about your pins too.  Also when people pin your things, take a look at their boards.  Chances are if they are interested in what your pinning, their boards will be really similar, I've found some awesome pinners this way.

PIN- So, pretty obvious but it's the thing that changed my follower count the most.  I had never really bothered about how many followers I had on pinterest, like I said above I'm on their to be inspired not to try and scout followers for my blog but when I got my Kindle in the summer I downloaded the free Pinterest app. (It's beautiful and so simple and easy to use, I actually find it much easier to pin on that than on my laptop) Using the app is so simple and because my kindle is always on unlike my laptop I started to dip in and out of the app more often.  So when I was using pinterest on my laptop I would maybe pin for say 15 mins out of a day, now that I use the app, I pin super frequently throughout the day, for maybe only a few minutes at a time but a few minutes every few hours add up (I don't do this everyday, just trying to give you an average) So my follower count went from just under 100 to over 600 in literally under a couple of months just due to changing my board names and pining more often. 

Times to pin - I know not everyone can whip out their kindle or ipad every hour to pin a few pictures so I think if you only have a limited time to pin then you should use it wisely.  I find pinning around 10 or 10.30 at night a really popular time to pin because I follow a lot of American boards and that's when they pin the most because of the time difference.  I find there is so much beautiful stuff for me to pin at that time as they are filling up their boards which in turn means I get more follows and repins as there is more people using it as that point too.  Also around 6.30/7 is a good time as I find a lot of people repin things then too.

Check out what's popular - When I was struggling to find boards to follow at the start I checked under the popular section of the website and I found a lot of awesome people to follow there.  I have super common tastes when it comes to pinterest, hair boards, check.  Mary-Kate and Ashley board, check, so it makes sense why I like a lot of the popular pins as they are literally mostly pictures of hair and MK and A so if your tastes are a little more eclectic then you might not find anything that takes your fancy but you can always just use the search bar and search for what type of boards you would like to follow.

Know your audience - I honestly think if you let yourself fall a little in love with pinterest then you will naturally build up blog traffic (that's what I've done) but I know that's not for everyone so if you'd rather just use it as a marketing tool then no judgement here (seriously none, if you post enough pictures of MK and A I will obvz follow your board, regardless of your intentions of wanting me to just look at your blog, hehe!) What I would say if your doing this is, know your audience. Pinterest is made up of mostly females, around 68 percent of them,  Half of pinterest users have children and are aged between 25 - 34 (thanks google) so that gives you a pretty clear picture of your audience as well as looking at the most popular section of the website that I mentioned earlier.  Also taking a look at some of the most popular boards on some peoples accounts will probably tell you the same thing, hairstyle, make-up, DIY's, tutorials, life hacks, Mary-Kate and Ashley (OK, it's me, I'm pinning all there pictures, no one else) really fashionable people, really fashionable outfits, bloggers tattoos and quotes about that are kinda so sappy that you both hate and love them at the same time.  Oh and not forgetting pretty houses and pictures of far away lands that realistically no one has ever been too (seriously please raise your hand if you have been to that country with the pink ocean that everyone has on there 'wanderlust' board, i don't even know if that place is real or just photoshopped?)  So if you wanted views and followers i would suggest that you include at least a few of these boards on your pinterest.

Whew...big post. Sorry that it ended up a little wordy but i just wanted to try and fit in as much as possible.  There are a few things that i left out as it would literally have become the longest post in history but if you enjoy this one let me know and i can do a part 2 with the rest of the tips in it.  I also really want to do a post with my favourite boards in it so you can all check them out and follow some awesome people.

I really hopes this helps even just a little bit.  It's like what i said at the start though, this isn't a sure fire way to double your follower count or get more traffic on your blog its just a guide to what i did and those two things just naturally happened.

I know i should really stop gushing but really i genuinely love pinterest and if you are a bit in two minds about it, give it a go because i really think there is something on there for everyone.

Let me know what you think in the comments and if you have a question to can tweet me HERE too.
Let me know if you've got a pin board and I'll give it a follow and you can check mine out HERE.

27 October 2014

Instax Mini 8 Review

This is something else that I've been meaning to blog about for a while and never seem to get around to it.
I actually got this last Christmas, its the Instax Mini 8 and I have been in love with it ever since I got my hands on it.

Growing up I had a Polaroid camera and just thought it was the best thing ever but the one I had was one of the models that they stopped making film for so when I heard about the instax I knew I had to have it in my life.

So I thought I would do a little review of it for you....

Appearance - Its so pretty.  I choose pink because well... I just love pink but you can also buy this in yellow, blue, white and black.  It has such a lovely texture it just feels like a plastic toy camera really which makes it sturdy and super easy to hold too. 

Is it easy to work? - Yes, so easy.  That's why I wanted to get an instax as I just think there is something so refreshing about using a camera where you don't have to worry if you are in the right lighting or if the setting works best for the photo, you literally just point and shoot, just like the Polaroid and Lomo cameras too.  This 8 version does come with a dial to adjust the brightness to make your picture less dark but there is no hassle to it.  When you turn on the camera you wait a second and the little light around the lens automatically tells you what light setting you should use and you just turn the lens to whichever one it tells you and your good to go.  Oh and it has a flash too which helps.

How do the pictures look? - They look imperfect, which makes me so happy.  I love digital cameras, I mean who doesn't and I couldn't make this blog without them but I just love how the instax pictures turn out.  They are just exactly as you'd want them to look.  The quality of the actual pictures themselves are amazing but I love how sometimes they might be a little blotchy or squinty or fuzzy.  That's the reason why I bought the camera and I think that's what most people love about it too.

What about the film? - Well that's my only bugbear with Polaroids and instax is the film is so expensive.  The film I've been using is £10 for 10 pictures, which I know doesn't sound like that much but when your used to taking like 20 shots of the one thing on a digital camera you do have to think a little more about what you want to take pictures of so you can use them wisely.  The only good thing is normally there are some good deals on film coming up to Christmas so I would keep an eye out for that.

Verdict - Overall I think this is such an amazing buy, its so fun to use and the pictures are amazing and really do make people smile.  There is something so lovely about taking a picture and then the anticipation of waiting to see it develop in front of your eyes.  I think its a great thing to have for parties or events that your going too as well, as its such a lovely way to capture special moments in a really cool way.  I think this would make the perfect Christmas present for someone or just a little treat for yourself!

I can not remember what online shop I got mine from last year but I've had a google around and I see that Jessops are selling my exact camera the cheapest HERE for £59.

Are you a fan of instax? Is it on your Christmas list this year?

23 October 2014

SKIN Week Day #3

Say hello to the awesome Bryony Blake.  Make-up artist extraordinaire.  She has worked with too many celebrities to name, is This Morning's resident Make-Up expert and is part of the talented team that makes the X Factor and Strictly Come Dancing gang look so damn good.  I wanted to speak to someone who could share their beauty knowledge (and secrets) with us and would help us get a better idea of how make-up and skincare can work together to create flawless looking skin.  I am a massive fan of Bryony's work and if you want to see some more of her tips and tricks then give her twitter a follow HERE.  Let me know what you think of the interview and enjoy the third part of SKIN week....

1.  What are the best skincare tips that you have picked up in your career so far?
I think the most important thing in my job is to make sure the person you’re looking after on a regular basis really looks after their skin. And if they don't, try to give them a really simple routine. For example, taking their make-up off at night, cleansing and using a good moisturiser every day.
2.  What are your favourite moisturisers and cleansers that you’ve found really work for yourself and your clients?
I tend to change my moisturisers a lot but also adapt to whomever I'm working with.  I always have Bioderma in my kit which is a brilliant makeup remover and toner so I use that on everyone before I apply moisturisers, it's also for sensitive skin so it great on every type of skin.  My favourite Moisturisers at the moment are La Roche Posy, which are a great brand as they have such a huge range,  Also  Avene anti- redness cream and daily cream is amazing and very hydrating.  For men, I like to use Weleda which have a great Men's range. I try to stay clear of anything too oily if it's for TV, as shine can be hard to control on camera.  Personally, I always like to try products before I use them on my clients so I know how they work on the skin... But my Grandmother always swore by Nivea cream and her skin was the best I had ever seen! So I always carry that in my wash bag.
3.  Sometimes even using the best skincare in the world can’t stop annoying breakouts or other skin problems.  What are your top tips for covering up any unwanted spots and blemishes when they appear?
The most important thing to do if you are prone to blemishes is try not to over compensate by over cleansing and exfoliating your skin, as this can make it worse.  I think using a really good concealer is vital! Try to get one which matches your skin tone too, a palette is best as it has a variety of skin tones and allows you to mix the best match and get the best coverage.   There are lots of concealer palettes available in shops now that range in price. My personal favourites are Laura Mercier secret camouflage concealer or Sleek do a really good one.. Add a little powder over the top to set it.
4.  What is your verdict on primers, do you think they can really improve your skin and help your make-up look better at the same time?
If I'm really honest I don't really use a primer myself. I do occasionally use one when I work but it's not a necessity.  I know other makeup artists love them but for me I don't really see a huge difference.  I have, however, been using Rimmel's Stay Matte primer, which is actually very nice and very reasonably priced.  Maybe I should put a primer to the test on myself and see if there's a huge difference.
5.  What’s your advice for getting a flawless make-up look?  Do you have any tips on achieving that beautiful glowy/dewy look?
Using the right moisturiser for your skin type makes a huge difference.  Then, of course, a good foundation that is suitable for your skin tone and skin type.  You can buy lots of highlighters and luminators to add glow to your skin but it really is down to getting your skin looking its best before you apply your make up.  If you are going to use a highlighter or luminator make sure you use it on places you want highlighted rather than all over the face. You want your skin to look as natural as possible even if you don't have the best skin.
6.   Do you think there is any truth in the whole ‘letting your skin breathe and having a day off from make-up’ or do you think that if your make up is good enough quality then it shouldn’t matter or affect your skin?
I do think it’s important to sometimes let your skin breath.  At the end of the day it's down to confidence a lot of the time.  Most people feel their most confident  when they're on holiday and in the sunshine. That's when people tend to wear  less makeup.  When it comes to letting your skin breath I personally think if you can always manage to take your makeup off properly before you go to bed, that will really help to allow your skin to breath.
7.  What are your views on things like Botox, fillers and lip injections?  You must have seen your fair share of the good and the bad?
I have seen my fair share of Botox, fillers and lip injections. It seems to be more unusual these days if people haven't had something done. I think when it comes to all these things it's about personal choice and what makes you feel good about yourself.  Being in the public eye and seeing yourself in magazines and papers all the time isn't easy so I think people do become more self conscious of how they look.  I can totally understand why they would want to do this but it is very important to do proper research and get the right advice.  Sadly there are lots of people who didn't do this and have to live with the results.
8.  What inspired you to become a make-up artist and how did you get started?
My mum was an actress and TV presenter so being behind the scenes was always so exciting for me as a child.  I used to love (and still do) watching her put her make-up on.  When I was a little girl she gave me her old theatre makeup box which I just loved.  I always drew as a child and had a vivid imagination so combining my favourite things, people, art and makeup just seemed so natural to me.  I went to a very creative school which encouraged me to do what I loved.  I always knew I wanted to do make-up so I was very focused on that when choosing universities. I was thrilled when I got into London College of Fashion to study Theatrical and Media makeup for the performing arts. I spent five years after university assisting people and working on a makeup counter to get as much makeup experience as possible. My big break was when I got asked to assist Jackie Tyson on the 2nd series of X Factor. And I guess the rest is history.
9.   You’ve worked on so many amazing TV shows and with so many celebrities.  Do you have a stand out moment in your career so far that you have enjoyed the most?
The stand out moments of my career tend to be the moments I share with the celebrity I'm working with.  Flying on a private jet with Tulisa for her first time was such a special moment.  Making up Collabro the winners of BGT 2014 for a special appearance on the West End stage at the end of Les Miserable.  Sharing the delight and sense of achievement is very special.  On a personal note, getting to hold our shared Special Craft BAFTA for Strictly Come Dancing was a pretty brilliant day!
10.  And finally if you could pass on one beauty secret to all my readers what would it be?
Try to enhance your best features. Be experimental with new things, you wouldn't wear the same clothes every day so why wear the same makeup colours all the time. Look into different trends and styles and adapt them to suit you.   Make-up should be fun, so enjoy yourself!
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