Sunday, 25 February 2018

Vero - Just a fad or the next big thing in social?

As someone who’s always eager to be an early adopter of the “next big social platform,” the news of a new app in town has always peaked my interest. As bloggers, we know all to well about the emails that drop in our inbox asking us to join the “next new best platform” for social influencers and creators alike, only to head over to the app and find a handful of people that have joined and be fairly disappointed with the interface. Vero's relaunch appears to have broken the mould, because in the past 24 hours my social feeds have been full of people looking to get in on the action. 

Vero offers an alternative to the likes of Facebook, Instagram and Twitter as it promises to break down barriers previously experienced with algorithms and ads across the other platforms. 

It’s offering creators a freedom against the struggles they may have had in recent months across other channels and allows users to get to the content they really want to see and share, without battling against ads that may interrupt their user experience. 

With its subscription based model Vero promises a “true” social platform that isn’t curated, manipulated or influenced by ‘holding back posts.’ So what’s been shared, is what you see. Something those who have been fighting for the instagram algorithm to go back to chronological order for the past few months will be pleased to note. 

The app also offers more control over who sees your post, offering its users the option to customise its audience, whilst giving viewers the option to filter the content they see, which feels like a push against the perfect curated worlds we've seen on social as of late.  

The platform also means that you can share more content, with its interface allowing you to share music, movies, books, places, photos and links, all in one slick and clean feed. 

With all of this in mind, my first impressions are that the feed is clear and engaging, promising a way to break from the mundane, which will be music to creators ears. The area where I feel Vero will come into its own is video and the variation of content available all in one place. 

The downsides? I feel the audience connection could be confusing to begin with, but this could just be new user cold feet. The subscription model may take some persuading to begin with, but the ad free feeds may offer the perfect allure. Finally, the app still has a few bugs. Users have been complaining that they can't get past the verification page, or that they can't upload content, which may frustrate impatient users and put them off the app altogether. 

The cynics are questioning why the buzz now? After all this isn't Vero's first outing as it was released years ago. I personally feel the answer is simple. Social users are becoming increasingly disheartened with the likes of the Instagram algorithm and business focused social apps and so the gap in the market becomes clear. Influencers engagement with the app offers real promise to make it the new place to be, but in reality only time will tell. I’m excited to see if the Vero app takes off, or if it will become something that sits in my app feed collecting virtual dust.  

If you want to give Vero a try, be quick, as they are offering subscription free usage for its first million users for life. 

Until Next Time 

B x 


Sunday, 18 February 2018

Style Culottes Three Ways

If you follow my antics on the blog and over on social media, you'll know that in January I vowed to have one of the biggest clothes clear outs I've ever had. I did in fact clear out 7 bin bags worth of clothes which found their way to my nearest charity shop, where I now play "spot my old clothes in the window" every morning. The idea behind my wardrobe clear out was to start building my own perfect capsule wardrobe. I've made a few rules for myself whilst shopping, so that I don't fall into old habits, the main of which is: if the item doesn't go with three things you already own, it goes back on the hanger (unless of course you have a hot date and the dress makes you feel incredible, obviously.)

With this in mind, I thought today I'd look further into my rule of three and show you how I'm styling my newest Primark purchase, which I picked up for a steal at £13.

Culottes, my dear friend, should be a staple in everyones wardrobe. As someone who is "vertically challenged," when culottes first became a thing, I winced at the thought of them cutting my leg length in half, but now I'm here to tell you all those thoughts were oh so wrong. I don't know what it is about the humble culotte, but it has the ability to pull outfits out of nowhere, to make you look put together instantly and somehow make you look like you have a little bit of style know how and so I give you, the adored culotte, three ways.

Comfy Casual

Although spring is fast approaching, theres still a chill in the air and so until the hot sun is almost at t-shirt weather, I'll be styling up bright chunky knits like this one by tucking it into the culotte for that perfect laid back, I just threw this on look.

Spring Days

For those of you partial to cheeky slogan t-shirt, culottes offer the perfect pairing for an easy to go to casual outfit. I'll be pairing mine with my maroon Converse and my favourite sunnies to dress down the look. 

Girls Night

For an alternative to the "jeans and a nice top" routine, why not pair your culottes with a cute top and some heels for girls night next weekend. The coolest way to look effortless, culottes are sure to get a few brownie points for a little style know how and leave you in ultimate comfort so you can dance the night away.

Whats your go to fashion item to make you feel put together?

Until Next Time

B x


Thursday, 15 February 2018

How I Experiment with Photography

Over the years in blogging, I've adapted my photography style each year to suit the content I'm creating. Over those years I've frequently received questions about what I use for back drops and how I take my own photos. My main answer to this is always with a little bit of imagination. Whether that be pinning old clothes to curtains for a backdrop or lying in the shower and using my foot to set the self timer, most of my shots take a good stater DSLR camera, a little bit of trial and some willingness to experiment.

Experiment with nature

Make use of what nature gave you and frame shots with blurred leaves and flowers. Explore your surroundings and think of creative ways to make your shots a little bit different. Why not check out the Lumix G Compact Mirrorless 12-60mm Lens Camera which is great for nature lovers looking to get the perfect shot.

Try different back drops 

Back drops don't have to be expensive. Its often all about looking at what you already have around you. My current back drop consists of foil cellophane that came with a PR package that I pin to my curtains with two needles at either end.

Get creative with lighting

Whilst bright white images are undoubtedly beautiful, this year I've been experimenting with colour and light. Whilst you can buy specific filters, I tend to use coloured cellophane draped over my soft box light to give my images a coloured glow.

Head for Pinterest

Pinterest is one of the greatest assets when it comes to learning all about your new camera and in turn getting stuck into it creatively. It offers loads of simple ideas, how to's and easy to use technical guides to help you get to grips with your camera and think a little outside of the box.

Wrap things around your lens

My favourite trick at the moment is wrapping iridescent cellophane around my lens. It creates such a beautiful soft focus around the edge of the image and really makes the subject pop.

Take advantage of reflections

There's nothing worse than finding a perfect spot for a photograph and realising its right by a window or that it gives an awful reflection. Why not use this to your advantage and create an image that really pops. This is also a great time to mention that your shower door offers a great resource for water droplet imagery, so get in there and experiment away.

Check out other photographers

If all else fails and you're still not sure where to start, follow the incredibly talented Kaye Ford from Fordtography. She has a fantastic twitter hashtag called KayesPortraitTips which offers tips on working with your subject, making the most of lighting and so much more.

Whats your favourite way to experiment with your blog photography?

Until Next Time

B x

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Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Why is it so hard to love yourself?

A few weeks ago on twitter I was tagged in a post as part of a brands clothing campaign which asked those tagged to share four photos that made them feel good about themselves. In my head I thought it would be easy. I'm a blogger for goodness sakes, I have loads of photos of myself. As I started to scroll through my camera roll, I found a reason to pick apart every single image I had tagged as a maybe. My nose looked too weird in that one, or I knew I wasn't happy on a day in another. After debating my options I finally settled on four. I chose one that included an outfit I adored, another including my signature makeup, the other offering a cheeky smile and the final, a silly snap of myself with a funny expression. After I posted the images I began to think about the reasoning I'd given myself for selecting each one. The whole concept behind the campaign had become lost, I wasn't picking images that I loved because they made me feel good about myself, I'd picked them for my love of other aspects. I was scared to love myself.

It feels very "anti-British' to blow your own trumpet. For we live in the country of the stiff upper lip, where we are warned not to boast of our achievements for fear of arrogance. Taught to brush off compliments with an awkward thank you and scolded for agreeing you are happy with a part of your image.

Often as bloggers we're accused of being self absorbed, narcissistic and self indulged, when upon getting to know most you find they are anything but. Those who have found an escape on the web are often some of the most self depreciating and humble people you may ever meet.

We pore over every flaw in images, we question ourselves at every opportunity and often pull ourselves down needlessly with our old pal comparison. As any wise person will tell you "comparison is the thief of joy," so it often leads to the question, why do we all so often fall into the trap?

You see as a beauty blogger, I spend an awful lot of time looking at my own face. I look at in the mirror for the hours I spend applying makeup, its there again staring back at me when I make adjustments to images in Lightroom and it pops up again in my instagram feed as I refresh my likes and follows.

I know obviously that you could argue the point that I could just stop posting photos of my own face, but I enjoy the challenge that comes with turning myself into a character, be that a being from another universe or a 20s starlet from a black and white film. Makeup offers me an escape from reality and it offers me an outlet for my creativity.

I digress. A few years ago, I hit breaking point with my blog and the imagery started to take more of a backseat. The break away helped me immensely to see what was important. No longer do I frantically smooth the texture of my skin into oblivion with Facetune, nor do I find myself uttering the words "oh I wish I looked more like her." I still have my bad days, and hell I'd be lying if I said I still didn't have those moments of doubt like the recent one that sparked this post, but I think its important to learn to love yourself for who you are as a person and know that in time the rest will follow.

If I ever have a moment of doubt now, I ask myself if I would utter these words to a friend. At this point I always find myself saying no.  So this valentines day, I am asking you to do one thing. Whoever you are loving, please leave some room for yourself.

Until Next Time

B x


Tuesday, 13 February 2018

For the love of Galentines

As a teenager I never saw myself as much of a "girls girl" often feeling out of the pack, but as I've grown older and thrown myself into the blogging world, I've come to realise that there is nothing better than surrounding yourself with wonderful, like minded women. With a friendship group of strong amazing women, comes a pack of incredible talents, minds, shoulders to cry on, points of view and endless laughter. I mean, who else will take 100 photos of you on your iPhone, just to get the right angle at your new favourite coffee shop, or tell you that you look incred on those days that often leave you feeling like a potato.

With today marking Galentines, I feel like it gives the perfect opportunity to show the number one girls in your life just how much they mean and how thankful you are for all that they do. So in honour of those special gals in your life, here's a few ways to show them any day of the year just how much they mean to you.

Surprise them with their favourite thing

Whether this means inviting them round to watch a movie and getting a surprise dominos delivered (basically my favourite kind of night FYI) or making them a self care parcel full of all their favourite beauty goodies, we all know how lovely it is to receive a special surprise we weren't expecting.

Go on a girls day out 

Have a favourite place you like to visit, or fancy a trip to the spa? Why not make this an excuse to take some downtime with your besties and make a day of it. If you're strapped for cash, why not head to the countryside for a nice long walk, or head to the beach and share a portion of chips at the pier.

Help them with something they've been struggling with

Whether thats offering to be your blogger pals human tripod, or helping them decorate a room in their new house, sometimes nothing is more valuable to a friend, than time. Just knowing you're there to lend a hand should they need it, offers the perfect foundation to any great friendship.

Write a letter

With most of us communicating daily via the WhatsApp group and wrapped up on twitter, theres something so incredibly personal and touching about a hand written letter. Put pen to paper and tell your friend about all the reasons why you think they're great, or write down one of your favourite memories together.

When all else fails, sometimes just picking up the phone, or typing out a quick message to let someone know you're thinking of them is all you need.

Until Next Time

B x


Sunday, 11 February 2018

10 Ways to Move on From a Breakup

Heartbreak hurts and with valentines just around the corner, those feelings can be intensified. Whether you’re a V-day lover or V-day avoider, it truly becomes the day where love is all around; So if you’re trying to get over someone, it can feel about ten times worse. Here’s my top 10 tips for washing “that man right outta your hair” this Valentine’s Day.

1. Screw Valentines day and choose Galentines instead. 

The 13th February marks Galentines days. Why not forgo Valentines all together, grab your besties and show them just how much you appreciate them instead. 

2. Self care = Self Love

Whether this means getting a new hairstyle, having your nails done or treating yourself to a bath and face mask at home, give yourself some time and TLC.

3. Keep Busy.

There’s nothing worse than feeling lonely, so start a new hobby, make some fun plans and keep yourself busy. It will help keep your mind off things to stay active and you may even find that you have some fun.

4. Steer Clear of Tinder 
    It may seem like a great idea for a confidence boost at the time and if that’s your thing, then crack on girl, but in my experience Tinder only seems to mask the problem and will leave you feeling empty when all is said and done. Come back later when you’re feeling refreshed and ready.

    5. Buy something that makes you feel amazing. 

    Whether your budget stretches to a £1 face mask from Primark or those gorgeous shoes you’ve wanted for a while, treat yourself, you deserve it.

    6. Get a texting buddy 

    The hardest part of a breakup in this technological world is losing the person you messaged constantly. Find a friend who will act as your texting or calling best bud, so that every time you’re tempted to text the ex you take a different direction instead. 

    7. Make a list of things you want to achieve. 

    If you’ve been with a partner a long time, or lived with them, a break up can feel like a huge part of your life is missing. Write a list of all the things you want to achieve and how you might make those things possible. Use your new found freedom to try new things and create new dreams. 

    8. Make a list of things you're thankful for. 

    I always find when I can’t see a way out of a rut, that writing a list of things I’m thankful for, makes me realise just how lucky I am. 

    9. Realise just how great you are.

    Whatever the reason, when we go through a break up, it can leave us feeling like we’re not good enough, but I’m here to tell you right now that you are more than good enough, in fact you’re incredible. You just haven’t found the right person yet.

    10. If all else fails, to quote my favourite tv show...

    “It always feels like there is just one person in this world to love and then you find somebody else and it just feels crazy you were ever worried in the first place.”

    Until Next Time

    B x 

    Saturday, 6 January 2018

    10 Tips for decluttering your life

    The new year is upon us, which can only mean one thing! No I'm not here to talk new years resolutions because guess what? We did that already. Today I'm talking about the January deep clean. You know the one we all vow to do every new year until were two hundred lipsticks deep into our makeup collection wondering who the hell owns this much stuff and if you can really justify keeping twelve different shades of magenta, because they're all just so perfect.

    Thursday, 4 January 2018

    Is the Humble Beauty Review Dead? 

    When I first starting blogging, the beauty review blog scene was in its prime. If I wanted to find out which should be my next foundation purchase, I looked to my favourite bloggers to guide me in my decision making and help me pick the right one.

    I believed their every word, and if that foundation made their skin dry I’d take a swerve, but if they fell in love, I was handing over my money to Boots faster than you can say “HERE TAKE IT ALL."

    As time has gone on, I’ve found myself using less and less beauty reviews to make my purchases, turning instead to YouTube videos where I can see how the product performs first hand.

    In a world of Facetune and fakery, (albeit this just be the fault of a few) I found it difficult to see how products really performed in images and so opted for video content instead.

    I myself have also seen a shift in my page view figures from when I first started, which could be down to me not being able to compete in a sea of review posts, or it could be that just recently we’ve seen a shift in people’s reading habits.

    Towards the tail end of this year I’ve found myself writing more about my life. My hopes, my struggles, my dreams.

    It’s human nature that we latch onto things we can relate to, hold onto and feel to our core, so is it any wonder that as it feels like the world is crumbling around us, we might forgo reading a post about the latest red lipstick and head instead to a post from a friend or someone we can relate to on a more emotional side?

    That’s not to say I don’t still hold a lot of love for the humble lipstick review, or that they hold a lack of importance. For many they offer advice and an escape from the dramas of everyday life. If they were to disappear completely, on those dreary days when life has got me down, where else will I turn to see 10 swatches of a lipstick before heading out to the shop?

    Personally I feel like the blogging world is shifting. As well as wanting to know where that gorgeous girl got the red lipstick, we also want a peek into how she feels, what her goals are and what makes her tick. Blogging has grown up around us and we're all growing up too.

    The humble beauty review will always have a place in blogging. I feel with the rise of YouTube and those that are always one step ahead of the game, that in 2018 we will see the rise of reviews in a different format and I for one, couldn’t be more excited.

    Until Next Time

    B x

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