I'm a font freak. Anything hand lettering, logos or graphic design-related I'm all over. Over the past few months I've especially been loving script fonts and they look lovely when used on a blog, so I thought I'd share a few of my favourites! The best things about the fonts I've shown you are a) they look gorgeous and b) they're free! So often I come across gorgeous, handwritten fonts that I fall in love with... Until I realise that they cost a bomb to purchase. If you're on a tighter budget or refuse to buy fonts, I've compiled a list of ones that you can use for free! Enjoy :)
I usually hate the snow - only being able to go out in wellies, walking through slush and just the general freezing temperature never appealed to me. Of course, when I was younger I prayed for it to snow for one reason... No school. One of my greatest memories from my childhood was when my best friend & I sat in my house, refreshing our school websites to see if it it would be closed the following day. It was! We did a happy dance around my house and had the best sleepover with hot chocolates and cosy slippers. Those were the days.
If haven't been around these parts for a while you might notice a difference - my blog design! I decided to get rid of the grey/pastel pink scheme and just stick to great & it's safe to say that I'm loving it. There's not many things better to get you in the blogging-mood than to have a refresh, so today I'm coming at you with five super easy tips for a blog Spring clean. If you're feeling unmotivated, sick with your blog design or just want to de-clutter your blog, I have a feeling that this will be the post for you!
1 . D E C L U T T E R Y O U R S I D E B A R
By far one of the most satisfying to sort through and it makes such a huge difference once it's been de-cluttered and gotten rid of all the gadgets you don't use. I personally go by the rule of getting rid if I haven't used it personally in over 2 months, or doesn't make a difference to my blog/readers. I also really like to add a lot of spacing between gadgets to make it look as clean as possible & also use a similar colour scheme to tie in with the rest of my design.
2 . U P D A T E P H O T O S
I love being able to click on a site and be able to see the person behind the blog straight away; it feels much more personal. I like to refresh the image in the top of my side bar for two reasons - a) it's nice to have a change, and b) I get bored too quickly! I'd also recommend using a clear photo that's not too small to see properly.
3 . C H A N G E Y O U R F O N T S
Fonts make such a massive difference when it comes to the design and accessibility of a blog. Personally, I like to stick to easy-to-read fonts like Arial, Georgia or Times New Roman, then leave the fancy fonts to titles and headings. I'd also recommend keeping to two/three different fonts to make your design look uniform. I love the look of Arial and Mari&David, a free font that I used in my header.
4 . N E W H E A D E R
Following on from the previous point, a new header is one of the crucial parts of a blog and updating it now & again will do no harm. Again, make sure it fits with your colour scheme and is big enough (and clear enough) to read.
5 . R E V I S I T Y O U R P A G E S
Another great way to refresh your blog is to revisit the pages you use. I like to update my About and FAQ pages recently because I'm always changing, getting new ideas or recieving inspiration from somewhere that changes me. About pages are one of the first things I visit when I go to a new blog because I like to see who's behind it and get to know them a little better.
Being a beauty blogger comes with an endless wishlist of expensive makeup. It's debatable whether it's good thing when you can't walk out of Boots without a new purchase but it's definitely not good when your dream wishlist costs thousands of pounds. When it comes to buying makeup products, there's always some sort of price range I follow. That's what I'd like to share in today's post - how to spread out your money so that you can get the most from it!
S A V I N G
M A S C A R A :: Another product that I refuse to splash out on is mascara. I'm still yet to even buy a higher end brand of mascara because the standard of ones in the drugstore is too good to miss. A mascara I've fallen in love with recently is the Maybelline Lash Sensational, a relatively new product in at Boots and it's incredible. It makes my lashes look long, fluttery and the brush is incredible. Watch out for me using it in a new video this week!
L I Q U I D L I N E R :: Again, I will definitely not spend my money on a liquid liner. I love my Collection 24 Hour Felt Tip liner & it's the best one I've ever used. Considering I bought this last summer and it's still going strong, it's definitely earned it's holy grail status from my makeup collection! This has anything that I could ever want from a liquid liner and I will not ever buy a more expensive one!
S P L U R G I N G
F O U N D A T I O N :: One of the things that I don't mind splashing out on is foundation. To me, starting with a great base means a great overall makeup application. Although the standard of drugstore foundations are amazingly high, I'm yet to find anything that competes with NARS Sheer Glow. It's the fullest of coverages & gives a gorgeous glow, meaning I'm not afraid of spending slightly more on my base.
E Y E S H A D O W :: I'm a sucker for eye shadow and I still stand by high-end brands. My all-time favourite eye shadow formula is those from Urban Decay, especially those in the Naked palette. They're gorgeous shades, amazing pigmentation and super easy to work with. What else could you want from an eye shadow?
· Privacy? That's out of the window. They'll watch you in the bath, on the toilet, and sometimes you'll find them staring at you in the middle of the night.
· The first time you let her play out will be a day you'll dread.
· Finding yourself on the #catsofinstagram Instagram hashtag will be an almost daily occurence,
· You'll talk to them more than you do your siblings, it's just how it goes.
· You'll also have a Pinterest board dedicated solely to kittens & cats.
· They'll soon grow out of picking up carpets & running up curtains, but it's frustrating when it does happen.
· You won't be able to go out shopping without bringing them something home.
· Visiting the vets also becomes a regular occurrence, especially when they decide that fighting with other cats is more important than their health.
· You won't get a holiday as you're too attached that you can't leave them!
· And Christmas trees? You'll need a baby-gate around them.
Watch out Rouge Edition Velvets, there's a new lipstick that's quickly taking the position of my favourite lipstick. I very happily recieved the NARS Lip Pencil Coffret as a Christmas present this year and it's definitely lived up to my expectations. This set of 5 matte & satin lip pencils are great for people who are starting with NARS, lip pencils or even with makeup in general as they contain such a range to create a wide variety of looks. I've also started to film my reviews sometimes as I know some people like to watch instead of read so if you'd like to watch that, head over to my channel.
The nude shades in this set are gorgeous, with my favourite from the two being Descanso. This is a gorgeous nude that's even taken over MAC's Patisserie as my most-worn nude & I'm not surprised. The longevity and the comfort of these is however super surprising as I feel like I don't need to top-up my lips every few minutes. Torres Del Paine is another gorgeous shade which is slightly more salmon toned than Descanso but is beautiful nonetheless.
Now onto the bold ones, starting with Yu. I mentioned a few weeks back that I'd found an amazing dupe for this but if you're looking for this in particular, it won't let you down! I personally don't think I suit pink lips all that much but this has slightly made me more confident in the pink-lip department. Iberico is a very orange-toned red which reminds me a lot of MAC's Morange. I haven't worn this too much but swatching it on my lips for the video made me actually really love the way it made my skin look so healthy and non-washed out. Cruella is the absolute classic deep red lip that has almost took over my MAC Russian Red as my favourite red lip. It's deep, sultry and looks gorgeous on all skin tones!
I would definitely recommend picking this litte set up whilst you can - you can try five completely different shades at a fraction of the price... What more could you ask for?
• Being tucked up in bed by the grand old time of 8pm because you're just too wild & can't be tamed • Watching trashy TV. That's right, TOWIE, The Real Housewives & Jerseylicious - you just can't beat it! • Being able to look (and feel like) complete crap but it's totally acceptable. • Fluffy slipper socks. Need I say no more? • Feeling like you're being spied on 24/7 when your cat sits and watches you bathe. And go to the toilet. • Fairy lights & cozy blankets. • Being greeted by a purring kitten as soon as you open the door • Hot chocolate in the big soup mugs, not forgetting to add mountains of whipped cream & enough marshmellows to drown in •
What are your plans for this weekend?
I'm a firm believer in the fact that every girl deserves a bit of luxury now-and-then, whether that be in shoes, handbags or makeup. Being the beauty junkie that I am, I would say at least 80% of my money is spent on stacking my bedroom with the aisles of Boots but I don't mind! For me, there's only one brand that shouts classic luxury and that has to be Chanel, so when my mum offered me a lipstick in celebration of finishing my exams I jumped at the chance. I chose a lipstick being the lipstick lover that I am and it's fair to say I am not disappointed. The formula is great, the shade is beautiful and let's not forget that the sleek packaging looks stunning on my dressing table!
I picked up the shade Boy, which the lady on the counter told me was the most popular shade. I'm not surprised. It's sleek, stunning and suits pretty much every skin tone. I would say this was a more velvety and slightly less pigmented shade of MAC's Patisserie, which is one of my all-time favourite nude lipsticks. This lipstick is very sheer and is very comfortable to wear because it just feels like a lightweight gloss. The wear-time is nothing to write home about; I would say around 2 hours before the need to reapply but I don't mind because it looks so stunning on the lips. The one thing I have a problem with is the price. Who can afford to spend £25 on a lipstick?
If there's one thing I like to think I know in the realms of beauty and makeup, it's red lipstick. Over the past few years of experimenting with makeup I found that finding the confidence to wear red lipstick is just as difficult as attempting to contour my chubby hamster-like cheeks, and that's not easy. I think I've moved on a fair bit since the smudgy lipstick-on-teeth days and can safely say that I think I've found the best products for pulling off a red lip.
My first option has to be the Bourjois Rouge Edition Velvet in Hot Pepper. I won't drone on too much about this as I bet you're sick to death of me rambling about it but it's the longest lasting red lip I think you'll ever find, with a liquid formula and matte finish. The newest addition to my red lip collection is NARS' Satin Lip Pencil in Cruella. Jumbo lip pencils have been one of my favourite lip formulas lately and this one in particular doesn't disappoint. It's long lasting, bold and matte - three of my favourite things to find in a lip product.
Another jumbo lip pencil that I love has something a little unique that I wouldn't usually go for, but I love nonetheless. Revlon's Colorburst Balm in Provocateur is a similar shade as Hot Pepper but glossy instead of matte. Due to the finish it isn't as long lasting but it's guaranteed to make your lips look plump, juicy and super glossy. Kate Moss' 107 lipstick is a cult product in the blogger world and I can definitely see why. It's slightly on the berry side with it's purple undertones but I love it so much that I couldn't not include it in this round-up. The last lipstick holds a special place in my heart and is my favourite out of the bunch. MAC's Russian Red was the first bold lipstick I ever bought and I love it as much now as I did two years ago. It's slightly more drying than your usual matte lip but the classic red shade with teeth whitening effects are enough to make me chose this over the rest!
W H A T ' S Y O U R F A V O U R I T E R E D L I P S T I C K ?
I'm late to the party to the whole New Year's Resolution facade but better late than never, hey? After much deliberation, I've decided that my only resolution for 2015 is to try new brands - a pretty simple (& relatively easy!) one to keep. It's also surprisingly easy to find yourself stuck in a rut with your makeup and sticking to the brands you know and love. This year I'm making it my mission to try more brands and here's a few at the top of my list...
Estee Lauder: I think 2015 is the year to find my perfect foundation. I've loved Studio Fix, Photoready and Healthy Mix for so long but I feel like they're missing something. Estee Lauder's Double Wear looks like a gorgeous one for everyday wear - the perfect amount of coverage and a gorgeous finish. The only thing putting me off is the price - so expensive!
Illamasqua: Another foundation on my wishlist is Illamasqua's Skin Base. I remember way back in the day I saw that Illamasqua had a sale on so I ordered a concealer that I later realized was about 50 shades darker than my skintone. I'd love to see what else they have to offer that is in my shade! Skin Base has been on my wishlist for such a long time that I think it'll have to be a purchase in the near future... It can be justified, right?
Makeup Revolution: A slightly different brand on my wishlist for this year is Makeup Revloution. Their blush & contour palette in the shade Hot Spice has been on my list for what feels like the longest time and I can't put my finger on why I haven't picked it up yet. I looks like a stunning palette and I'm hoping it could make contouring my hamster cheeks that slight bit easier!
Smashbox: How could I feature a wishlist without including the Smashbox Full Exposure palette? A stunning matte & shimmer palette with 14 gorgeous shades, how could I say no? I've had my eye on this for what seems like the longest time but in the words of KathleenLights, das expensiiiive.
Zoeva: I think it's pretty astonishing to say that I made it through 2014 without owning any Zoeva brushes. Everyone seems to have gotten their mits on them lately and I can only look at the Rose Gold set so much before I buy them as an early birthday present to myself! I also love the look of the 'Close to Heaven' Graphic Eye pencil.
H A V E Y O U T R I E D A N Y O F T H E S E B R A N D S ? W H A T B R A N D S W O U L D Y O U L I K E T O T R Y T H I S Y E A R ?
Dupes. One thing that we're all on the look out for because let's face it, not everyone can afford £30 on the latest lipstick release. When I received the NARS Digital World lip pencil set for Christmas I noticed that one of the shades was strikingly similar to a lipstick that I already had in my collection. Bourjois' Rouge Edition Velvet in the shade Ole Flamingo! is incredibly similar to NARS' Yu - result! I've found an amazing dupe that I can't wait to show you today that's less than a fraction of the price!
NARS' offering of the hot pink lip colour is in pencil form, a definite favourite lipstick formula of mine - whereas Bourjois' take is in a liquid form. Both lipsticks have an amazingly similar colour, finish and wear time (as similar as they possibly could be), making them the perfect dupes. Out of the two I would say that Yu (NARS) is slightly more purple toned than Ole Flamingo (Bourjois) but once they're on the lips you can't tell them apart. Both lipsticks also dry matte and have a long-lasting stain on the lips.
What do you think about these two? With the £10 price difference I think they're pretty amazing dupes! P.S, ignore the messy lip swatch - my lips are a mess at the moment!
I'm sorry - it's only January 13th and I bet you're already sick of the sight of the word 'detox', but it's the only word I can think of as I'm writing this post! Don't get me wrong, I love makeup, nails and everything in the realms of beauty but I just think I'm in need of a detox. I've conjured up a few steps that I've taken over the past few days and a few you could use too, to kick start your mini-detox and give your face some TLC.
The first step is to get that makeup off! Take your favourite cleanser and use it to wipe away all of the products that are on your face until there's nothing left. Follow up with your skincare routine and a generous amount of moisturiser to hydrate your skin after all those late nights over the Christmas period! I like to use the Simple Kind To Skin moisturiser, but any will do. An important tip when it comes to applying moisturiser is to apply it to your neck to prevent pre-mature wrinkles.
Of course, a necessary step in any detox routine is to drink water. I won't sit and lecture you all about the benefits of water because I'm sure you all know that already, but it really does wonders to the body, especially your skin. One benefit that is definitely worth knowing is how healthy, plump and youthful it makes your face look. I don't know about you but that sounds good to me!
The final step is to take some time off. Spend your weekend relaxing in pyjamas, watching Netflix without a scrap of makeup on. Give yourself (and your skin) a break and let it breathe. I'm sure that by the time Monday morning rolls around you'll feel great!
January is always the month for a skin refresh. We all need detoxes from the amount of red lipstick and glitter eye shadow that we've used over the festive period and sometimes, we need a quick base that makes us look & feel re-freshed. The New Year doesn't mean 'new me', but it does mean a new makeup base in the form of three quick products that are guaranteed to hide the late-night parties and horrific eye bags. It works, trust me!
The first product in this genius trio is the Bourjois Healthy Mix Serum, a firm favourite of mine for the past few years. This is an amazing, light-weight foundation that is incredible for making dull & de-hydrated skin look & feel brightened and hydrated. As the name suggests this foundation feels more like a serum, meaning it's super easy to blend - so much so that you can throw it on with your fingers within a few minutes! It also has a gorgeous vanilla scent that makes putting on your makeup on a Monday morning a little bit more enjoyable.
When it comes to making skin look healthy and hydrated, I always opt for cream blushes. As I mentioned in my cream blushes vs. powder blush post a few weeks back, cream blushes are the best for giving a healthy glow. My product of choice is the Revlon cream blush in Pinched, another firm favourite of 2014. This makes my face look naturally flushed without going too OTT and has just the right amount of pigmentation to make my cheeks look healthy.
A key makeup product when it comes to quick, natural and healthy skin is highlight. If you're a watcher of my YouTube videos, you'll know I'm 'all about the glow'. Seriously, it's a game changer. Recently I've been trialing The Balm's Mary-Lou Manizer after recieving it as a Christmas present and it's fair to say that I'm not disappointed so far. It applies the perfect amount of sheen to the face without looking like a giant disco ball, perfect for adding a bit of JLo skin on an everyday basis. Ok, maybe not as good as JLo's skin but it's good enough for me!
Social media is one of the most important things when it comes to blogging - unless you don't care about getting yourself & your blog 'out there'. Over the past few weeks I've been really trying and testing some of the social media tips that I've read about and although some haven't worked, some have contributed to the spike in my stats and following. By no means am I saying that blogging is all about followers, but it can be reassuring that you're putting all of the time and effort into your blog for people to read!
1 . C R E A T E Y O U R A C C O U N T S
It's likely that the people who read your blog have social media accounts all over the internet. From Twitter and Facebook to Pinterest and Tumblr, your followers are everywhere! By creating accounts and being active on there, people are always in the know when it comes to checking up on your blog. I would say the key accounts to have are Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, Bloglovin' and most importantly, Twitter. About 80% of my traffic comes from Twitter!
2 . U S E R N A M E S
If your blog name is I Love Makeup, I'd suggest keeping your social media handles along the same lines. For example, my blog name is Elise Dopson, my Twitter is EliseDopson and my Instagram is Elise_Dopson. By keeping them as similar as possible it will be easier for new readers to find you elsewhere, thus meaning they can keep up to date with you and your blog.
3 . S H A R E Y O U R P O S T S
Spent over an hour writing, photographing and editing a post? Don't let it go to waste - share it! If you don't share it, how will people see it? If you don't have the time to publish a tweet every time you publish a post, schedule them.
4 . S C H E D U L E
You have to remember that there's a chance that your readers are from all over the world and we're not all in the same time zone. Using scheduling apps like Hootsuite and Buffer can queue your posts and they get an even amount of coverage throughout the day. This one comes with a warning to not overshare! I personally schedule tweets with a link to a blog post 3 times a day - 6am, 5pm and 11pm as these are the times when people usually check Twitter.
5 . T A L K T O P E O P L E !
See someone asking a question? Try and answer it. See someone mentioning a product that you love? Tell them! By interacting with other bloggers you make friendships and relationships and you can promote & help each other along the way in the forms of shoutouts and collaborations. Twitter chats are also a huge source of traffic for my blog and I always see a spike in stats everytime I engage in one. There's a Twitter chat for everyone, from fashion & beauty to teens & parents. To see times & dates for these chats, head over to Elaine's Twitter Chat Timetable.
What's your ultimate blogging tip?
One of my favourite scents in the whole world is baby powder. Candles, room sprays and now fragrances - you name it, I have it (and love it). I just find it so fresh and it's such a comforting scent to have, so much so that I use it almost everywhere. Whilst I was on a recent mother-daughter shopping trip in Boots, my mum spotted this Baby Powder perfume from Liberty of Fragrance. One sniff and I was hooked. Seriously, it's that addictive!
This was £15 yet Boots often have offers where you can chose two fragrances from the line and only pay £25 - if you think about it, you're getting two decent sized bottles of perfume for under £30... Crazy! This cologne really doesn't disappoint. It's subtle enough to be worn as a daily fragrance yet noticable enough to recognize the scent. It also lasts a longer time on the skin than I was expecting as I'm so used to buying cheaper perfumes that only last 15 minutes - Victoria's Secret PINK, I'm talking to you. You also get a fair amount of product in this and I can see it lasting me a long time. If you're in Boots and come across this, give it a smell! You won't regret it.
Last year, for me, was the year of the liquid lipstick. It seems like in 2014 every brand from high-end to drugstore had their own take on them. One of the most exciting and memorable makeup launches from 2014 is still a product that I'm obsessed with ten months later - the Bourjois Rouge Edition Velvets. I picked these up in the early months of last year and they're the only lipsticks I lean towards on a daily basis, so much so that I've come to the conclusion that they're the best lipsticks ever. Big statement, right? Here's why.
The thing I love most about these is the formula. They're liquid lipsticks that dry matte, to an almost powder-like finish. Unlike any other liquid lipsticks that I know of, layering is not a problem at all and you can toss on as many coats as you want without any flaking, smudging or disturbing the colour. The most impressing thing about the formulas are the staying power - seriously, I've never come across anything that stains my lips as much as these! I love that though - it means the color isn't going anywhere.
Another thing I love about these is the colour range. Peach Club is my favourite out of the three that I own, which is a surprisingly bold, opaque nude shade. Ole Flamingo! is a stunning hot pink, again with amazing pigmentation. Hot Pepper is another great shade, a post-box red that looks stunning on everyone. Boots also often do a 3-for-2 deal on these, meaning you can get 3 amazing lipsticks for under £20 which is an amazing deal!
If there's one thing I struggle to master when it comes to the whole makeup shindig, it's brows. I like to think that one day it'll be laughable to look back on the current state of my brows but for now it's no laughing matter, especially when I wake up looking like a caveman. On my whole 'brow journey' since first getting them waxed, there's been highs and lows (including the time when I got them done at a salon and they looked like upside down Nike ticks) but I like to think that I'm moving up in the whole brow-game.
One of the products worth mentioning that have improved the look of my brows is the Rimmel Brow This Way kit, a recent addition to my makeup collection. It's said to be an amazing dupe for Benefit's Browzings at just a fraction of the price & it's surprisingly easy to use. The little kit comes with a wax, a powder and two small brushes, perfect for brows-on-the-go. As for staying power it's great and keeps those tiny stray hairs in place all day.
Anastasia's Brow Wiz has been a firm favourite of mine this year and again, is super easy to use. Although this is slightly more expensive at £15.50, the steep price tag is worth it to me as you get an amazingly fine nib to add individual hairs & one of the best brow spoolies I've ever tried - the spoolie is that good that I kept it solely for that reason, even though it ran out in April! Their DipBrow pomade is a relatively new addition to my collection and although I haven't used it enough to give you a full review, I'm liking it so far!
If you're on a tighter budget & can't justify the price of Brow Wiz, Soap & Glory's Brow Archery is the next-best thing. This little pen comes with a felt-tip nib and a waxy pencil to fill in the brows. I like to use the felt-tip to fill in any sparse areas and then the pencil side to set them in place. Altogether this takes a maximum of two minutes - a perfect little product to chuck in a bag if you're running late!