Thursday, 30 October 2014

October Lifestyle Favourites

October has been manic but wonderful, and I've loved my first full month back at uni - there's a lot of work but it has all been worth it! I'm here today with my lifestyle picks from the last 30 days... I hope you enjoy!

On TV: RuPaul's Drag Race is officially my life now. GET IN ON THE ACTION. I'm almost done with Season 2 and I started watching three days ago - it is a problem.
On the big screen: The girls made me watch Hercules and it was incred. Well chosen my angels!
On my iPod: I cannot stop playing Family Affair by Mary J Blige. An oldie but the ultimate goldie.
On YouTube: For me it has been all about Zoe from Zoe London's Vlogtober - that girl is a gem, so much time, and so much respect.
On Bloglovin': I am in lurve with Talkin' About M, who has not only master the perfect winged liner, but also does wonderful FOTDs that I can't get enough of.

What have you gals been lovin' this month? I am all ears!

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

My Birthday Vlog

Hey there babes, today I am sharing my birthday weekend (from about two weeks ago!) for your viewing pleasure... I hope you enjoy!

Thursday, 23 October 2014

The Blogs That I Love

A.K.A. the beautiful folks chillin' in my Blog Roll!

I am as addicted to finding fab new blogs as the next girl and loved Natalie's call for a bit more blog lovin' up in here, and I'm not just talking about the website.

Buh dum bum tss. Here all week guys.

It is therefore with great pleasure that I take you through my blog roll; be warned, it's about to get a whole lot more talented in this space...

This list is in alphabetical order, just to keep shite logical!

To start off with, it's A Girl And A Beauty Blog, AKA the place where I go if I need to be enabled. Siobhan is a gal with excellent taste, and an equally great sense of humour - definitely a joy to chat with in the comments section! I'm especially into her Sephora recommendations; I am still saving up for my first online haul!

Holly's blog Bloomin' Rouge is stunning, chocka with beautiful photos and great tutorials, as well as a good mix of lifestyle stuff too... One of the most original blogs I follow! She has a great sense of humour too... You'll see that's a recurring theme round these parts ;)

Vanessa is such a babe and easily the funniest blogger in town. Every post on Citron and Guavaberry makes me laugh, and I love the buckets of personality in each post; she truly stands out from the crowd. Plus her photos. The bomb. Dot and com.

The first photography blog I followed, Erstwhile Felicity is one of those blogs I've read start to finish and whose posts I eagerly await! Sonia's photos are simply stunning and really do tell a beautiful story (you're going to want to Pin all of them, I'm warning you now!

My latest photographer love, Helena La Petite's series on mastering the basics of photography is so ridiculously useful, you have no idea; it was the step I needed to push me into finally switching on the Manual setting on my DSLR. It is digital gold, folks - plus her photos? AMAZING.

The lovely blog In A Pavillion is one of my favourite reads and Lilly's photos are so fabulous (if you hadn't guessed already, I am a sucker for beautiful photos!) an eye out for her cracking In Seven Days Around The Web posts - great weekly discoveries well worth reading!

I discovered NoirvĂ© about a month ago and my love was instant and obsessive... She's recently become a full time freelance designer, so if you're interested in a similar path I highly recommend checking her out!

The next in the crew is the wonderful Pale Lily, whose minimalist vibes really calm and inspire me. She's the queen of a gorgeous photo (her style is insanely distinctive) and her mix of lifestyle with the odd smatter of beauty is always hugely engaging.

I've highlighted the great Sarah Nicole Hunt before in my Instagram of the Month post, and I'm about to rave again. She's a photographer and nanny with a talent for film photography, and I regularly go back to her blog just to fall in love all over again.

Last of all is the lovely lady that is Grace of That Grace Girl, who has been one of my faves since I first got into the beauty blogging world. Her photos are fab and I love that she replies to comments, taking a real interest in her readers. She's also got flawless taste; my wishlist doubles with every post!

And there you have it... Please go check out these talented chicas and let me know what you think! They are incredible. Also if you have any recommendations for more blogs you think I'd like, leave them in the comment section below!

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Making The Best of Student Housing

Living in student digs is rarely a Pinterest-worthy experience... You'll be living in the cheapest accommodation of your life, but it's going to look like the cheapest accommodation of your life too.

As a fourth year (which I freak out about regularly, by the way) I've had my fair share of student housing and like to think I've sussed the tweaks you can make that will instantly restore a cosy vibe back to your hovel-- I mean home.
  • Lighting is crucial. This was a lesson I learned in halls and a good lesson it was too. Our flat was covered in strip lighting, which really helped to add to whole prison like vibe my visitors were quick to pick up on! In January I came back with an old lamp that had previously graced our living room at home, and it made my room feel far more homey.
  • FAIRY LIGHTS EVERYWHERE. IKEA do some amazingly cheap battery powered options that are super cute too.
  • Scented candles are the one. I've currently got an array of vanilla-based beauties on the ready to help add a homely vibe (and they also helped cover up the smell of damp that permeated the room when I moved in.)
  • Become a clichĂ©d cactus owner. I owned a couple of orchids in first year and they died in no time whatsoever: my cacti are far more likely to survive and are a great way to ease yourself in before committing to trickier plants!
  • Print off a load of photos. My wardrobe in France was covered with pictures from home and it was a lovely way of feeling like my friends were there in spirit!
  • The people are what really matter. At the end of the day, the world's worst house is far more liveable when you're sharing it with great friends and I'm relieved to say I have always been extremely lucky in that respect!
What are your guys' tips for making a hovel a home?? Let me know down below!

Sunday, 12 October 2014

A Weekend Walk

Yesterday Beth, Tieran, Tom and I went for a walk and I wanted to share the experience with you!

Saturday, 11 October 2014

Instagram Of The Month: SarahNicoleHunt

You guys probably know by now that I am a bit of an Insta-fan. Nae, that sounds too soft: the truth is that "obsessed" doesn't even begin to cover it. I know I love finding great Insta accounts to follow and swoon over, so I'm thinking that every now and again I'd like to highlight a fave, who I'm sure you guys will be just as into.

Today it's all about SarahNicoleHunt, whose stunning blog I stumbled across and fell in love with in August. She's a photographer (can ya tell??) and her pics just make me feel things, man... She works as a nanny and regularly features the children she looks after, which may have something to do with da feelz.

I think she is insanely talented, and I have been p*ssing myself at her Twitter account too. She's a legit chick and so worth a follow.

Now let's just watch the magic together:

Friday, 10 October 2014

VIDEO: Our trip to Harrogate

This week's vlog was about my trip to Harrogate with the famalam! We had a ball... I hope you enjoy!

Thursday, 9 October 2014

If You Do One Thing This Month #5

...use some of these hacks to jazz up your Blogger layout!

This post is SO totally inspired by Bloomin' Rouge's great posts on techniques to try on Blogger; read hers here and here if you've not seen 'em already.

Today I've assembled a few little tricks that I've been busting out on my layout, plus some sites that have been super, duper helpful on the subject...

Build A Test Blog Site
This isn't a trick I've heard many people mention, but my God is it one that I swear by. Any complex widgets or major design efforts are always tested out on my dummy blog, and it's made my life SO much easier. I even use it to see how blog posts will actually work/look beyond the Preview option (I hate that all Blogger preview options can't be clicked through... le sigh!) This has been an amazing help and if you've not got a test blog already, get on it now!

Make Your Own Pinterest Button
Pinterest has been responsible for the rise to fame for so many bloggers out there; adding a "Pin It" button can really help drive traffic to your blog. I'd considered option for the simple, standard Pinterest button widget that is offered by the site - but having spotted a few bloggers that had their own personalised buttons, I figured I'd make my own.
This tutorial is the one that I used to host my button, which I designed for free on PicMonkey. Frankly I've never felt like more of a design genius.

Customise Your "Older/Newer Posts"
This one is a two in one jobbie... I personally hate the look of the "Older/Newer Posts" options that feature at the bottom of Blogger templates, so I've found two ways to make them more bearable. The first option is to change it to numbered pages, which I think looks far more professional. I am using Style 4 on the post I've linked, and all I had to do was change the colours to suit me and BOOM, I was off.
I've also had a fiddle in my blog posts to make sure that "Older/Newer Posts" says the title of the blog post it's referring too,  and I got the code for that here.

I hope you guys liked this post - do please let me know if you have any of your own stylish hacks for jazzing up Blogger layouts as I am obsessed with finding more!

Saturday, 4 October 2014

To Do List #2

I just went back to look at my last To Do List, and was very excited to find I could tick off everything on the list... result! I love having little goals to chip away at; every semester at uni I write myself a few things I want to achieve, and it's lovely to look back and realise that I nearly always succeed.

Here are my goals for this semester:
  1. Become majorly nerdy. We're talking going to the library by choice, sitting at the front of lectures, being the one that asks the stupid questions. SWATTING IT UP big style.
  2. Get at least two hours exercise in per week. I miss being a fitness buff and it would be lovely to get back into pole; on a similar vein
  3. Take up yoga and build my core strength. I have basically no core strength whatsoever and this is the part of my fitness I am most wanting to change.
  4. See more of my bros. I've improved from my seriously asocial ways that set in over the summer, but now I'm back at uni there some uni friends who I've majorly missed out on seeing.
  5. Become a homebody. I am terrible at tidying, horrible at housework and interior design is not my scene... yet. My room this year needs a lot of nurturing and I hope I can make the space my own, and one that is not a tip 24/7.
  6. Continue practising my photography. I'd love a new lens but I am also determined to make the most of my current one (Canon 40mm, in case you were wondering.) I feel I've improved but there is always room for more.
I love hearing what other people are working on - so now it's up to you! What goals are you working towards?

Friday, 3 October 2014

My Year Abroad: What I Wish I'd Been Told

Truth be told, my Year Abroad did, at times, truly disappoint more than delight - optimism is a hard flame to rekindle once a stranger's snuck into your flat three times after all... but that's a story for another time! I've compiled a list of the realistic things I wish I'd heard before the move to France; not the ridiculous claims about the glamour and the lifestyle (bollocks, by the way) but the nitty gritty about what to actually expect. I'm hoping this will prove at least slightly helpful to those of you who've just made your way there!
  1. Make travelling a priority: doing amazingly at a job you're never going to repeat is not worth caring about.
  2. It's not going to be the best year of your life
  3. You feel homesick, lonely and isolated.
  4. You've already had Freshers - you won't learn much from another year of partying.
  5. Foreign flus = Freshers flu x 1000
  6. You will change, for the better.
  7. Make the most of your friendships.
  8. Find every opportunity to speak the native language.
  9. French pastries are amazing.
  10. No matter how much you think you hate it at the time, you'll miss it after.
  11. Reverse culture shock is almost worse than culture shock, as it's unlikely you'll be properly expecting it.
  12. Write letters to your mum - she will love them.
  13. Find a new hobby/passion.
  14. Take millions of photos.
  16. Have your exit strategy sorted - how do you close your bank account? Cancel your phone contract? Tell your landlord you're moving out? You get the idea.
  17. Just because you didn't enjoy every second does not mean you have failed.
  18. Places are just places. Paris is just a big city. France is just a slightly less developed country. Let go of any romanticised ideas.
  20. The cheese is the bomb!
There is also the truth that other people's years look far better than reality on their Facebook/Instagram, so don't beat yourself up if it looks like you're having a lame time compared with everyone else!

While we are on the subject - this is a shameless chance to share what were some of my highlights, and I am taking it...
Have any of you guys lived abroad? How did you find the experience if you did - and if you haven't, where would you must like to go?