Sunday, 12 April 2015

A Trip To The Seaside

Merry Sunday to you, lovely folks of the internet... I hope you are well! Yesterday the fam and I went to the seaside (Mablethorpe, to be specific) to mosey along the sand and then swing home via Boston (in Lincolnshire, not Massachusetts...) It was a super lovely day, so naturally I took as many photos as I could...

What have you lovelies been up to this weekend? I hope the weather has been treating you right!


Thursday, 9 April 2015

What's In A (Blog) Name?

How did you choose your blog name? That was the question I asked (in far more words than that, admittedly) to a group of my favourite bloggers this month and I'm so excited to share their answers with you - for anyone that wanted insight onto what a kerfuffle choosing a blog name can be, this one is for you!


Back when I started my blog all those five years ago, it used to live under an entirely different name. I honestly thought that your blog name had to be the most girly, flowery, sparkle name you could possibly imagine (as that was the norm back then) so without thinking I followed suit. That is where 'Stars Glitter Magic' (I kid you not) was born and this remained my blog name for a good year before I 'rebranded' and opted for something slightly different.
  Where 'A Girl and a Beauty Blog' came from, I honestly can't remember. I know I wanted something a bit more sophisticated, incorporated that anonymity when it comes to blogging but also was clear and direct in terms of what my site was about. Ever since it's stuck and although it might not be the most catchy of names, I love how it encompasses everything my blog has to offer


Aside from actually physically creating my blog, the thing which took the most time and consideration was thinking up a suitable name. I mean, the way a blog looks changes and evolves over time, but the name you choose from day one is very often the name you stick with throughout your time blogging. From the beginning I knew I wanted something which was short, snappy, and instantly told people what kind of posts to expect (mostly craft with a bit of lifestyle thrown in). After a few brainstorming sessions I was left with some truly, truly awful pun names which were super cringey, so I decided I needed to take a simpler approach to creating a name. I decided to go with the classic blog name formula of "X + Y" (Cupcakes and Cashmere, Cotton and Curls, Paper & Stitch, to name a few), because I liked that it allowed me to separate the two main topics of my blog. I eventually arrived at Awake + Make, and it just felt right - short, memorable, and I liked the fact it rhymed. In all honesty, I was expecting to tire of it over time, in the same way that you reread diary entries from your early teens and ask yourself "What was I thinking!?". But that has yet to happen, and in fact I think I've actually grown fonder of it over time - I'm just so glad I didn't go with my original choice of 'Knit and Run'!


There wasn’t any great thinking behind my blog name - Bless the Weather. It’s one of my favourite songs by John Martyn, and I like the line "bless the weather that brought you to me”. I was designing a knitwear line at the same time and looking for a name. Bless the Weather seemed fitting for both my blog and Etsy shop. If I’m delving a bit deeper, 'Bless the Weather' sounds calming when you say it out loud, and evokes a feeling of gratitude and a love of nature. Things which I definitely try to echo on my blog. Mostly, it’s a great tune.


I love my blog name! It wasn't really something I had in mind when creating the blog, I'll be honest with you: I was just looking for names that sounded good to me, with the condition that they had to be free domain-wise, on Twitter, and Instagram. I began playing around with names I found kind of funny, because I wanted to reflect my goofy personality a bit on the blog. I was almost settled with "Warpaint Addict", but just before I was going to register the domain, I found out there's a small cosmetic company named Warpaint. Phew, that was close. I was a bit devastated at the time, but after some days of thinking (and brainstorming with the boyfriend, lol) I came up with Blush Parade... and nowadays I like it even more than my first option!

A parade is something happy, so my name naturally makes me happy. It's easy to make me happy, really (LOL). I also like that you can play with the name. "Travel Parade", for travel posts. "Baking Parade", if I ever become an evil woman like Anna and want to feature delicious and evil recipes on my blog. [Hahaha thank you Carla!!] You get the drill.

When choosing a name, I would recommend just making a list with words you'd like to have in it, and play around with them. Brainstorm different ideas. Google like a motherfudger to see if the name is tied in any way to any company or other blog. And, before registering your chosen name, just make sure that the domain is free and you can use your prefered username on your social media of choice. I would also say... let it rest for couple of days. You don't want to register a domain and regret your decision two days later, really!


Choosing a blog name is like choosing the name of your child, except your blog won't grow up, revolt against you and change its name. (Well, maybe 10 years down the line it might, because HELLO SELF-AWARE TECHNOLOGY) But seriously, picking a memorable blog name to be reflective of blog content, and not sound tacky requires more brainpower than producing a PhD probably (don't quote me, I don't even have a PhD).

'Citron and Guavaberry' was meant as a mish-mash of my two favourite fruits (citrus + guava)(guava= coral-ly), but more than anything, it sounds like a food blog. And the truth is, I hate my blog name. I'm sure everyone to an extent hates their blog name though, but at the same time, it's crazy how a blog name becomes part of someone's identity over time. (For instance, at blogging events, "Vanessa? From??") While I do loathe my blog name at times and have considered changing it, I've grown way too fond of it to do anything about it, and of course, it's become part of my identity now.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to formulate a citrus and guava cocktail recipe for the blog.


I think a big thing with blog names is don’t be afraid to change them. When I first set up my blog I put a shamefully small amount of time into thinking about the name. And because of that I ended up really disliking what I chose. It didn’t mean anything and it wasn’t catchy or special. So, when I decided to buy my domain, I changed it to Emma & The Beauty Blog. I was apprehensive to change it at first as I thought it would affect my search rankings and confuse my readers. Luckily though, it didn’t really have a negative impact. In fact, I think it made me much happier with my blog. The current name still doesn’t mean anything profound and it might be a little too long of a title but it’s much more my style. It fits more with my blog theme and overall I'm really glad I changed it.


Hi By Her Mirror readers :) I'm Hanh from Hanhabelle - a lifestyle, beauty and inspiration blog. When I decided to setup my blog I always knew I would call it Hanhabelle, it's a nickname my colleagues use to call me - either that or Han Solo! I like how it's not specific to any genre, includes my name, sounds feminine and easy to pronounce. I'm pretty fickle, so Hanhabelle is a name that I haven't got bored of and I can easily expand on without confusing my readers.


When I first started my blog, I wasn't quite sure what I would be writing about, so choosing a name that remained abstract and somewhat mysterious, while still reflecting my interests, was key. One of my shortlisted names was "pavilion", deriving from my undying love for botanical gardens. Having always been fascinated by words and their meanings, I investigated the word and found out that it's not only used to describe garden houses, but also any building or structure used for entertainment. Seeing as though I'm looking to entertain with my blog, this word felt up to the task. After a bit of tweaking, I decided on the phrase "In A Pavilion".


When I first started blogging, it was a way to fill up my time that helped me avoid doing all the things I normally do.  I wasn't enjoying school -- I didn't really want to study or even go to class. I literally procrastinated the days away for almost an entire semester.  Finally, I decided to get off my butt and start studying.  Kidding -- I decided to blog instead.  I figured if I couldn't quite bring myself to focus on studying, I should at least focus on something so I'd get back into the routine of working on something I was proud of.

That said, it's been a few years since uni, and while I love the name and what it meant to me at that time, I don't know that it's the most fitting now.  I'm starting to branch out of beauty into food and travel, and I'm wondering if it still fits.  It sort of does?  Food and travel are definitely ways I procrastinate, but I don't know if that's reflected in Procrastinating Pretty.  Not to mention, my name comes up as "The Procrastinator" and it looks a little awkward when working with brands or publications that hold you to hard deadlines!  I might change that aspect since people know my name now -- in the beginning I was obsessed with remaining anonymous!


That Grace Girl has been my social media handle since I first ventured into the world of Twitter/Facebook/Instagram etc, so I can’t for the life of me remember how I came up with it [sorry Anna!]. When it came to penning a name for my blog I realised [after a number of failed attempts!] that something fairly short, snappy, and not too niche was required; and I have to say, it’s worked well for me so far - domain name acquired hassle-free and no unfortunate acronyms

I’m currently in the process of revamping my site and creating a more ‘branded’ feel to the aesthetics, so I did [momentarily] consider a name change. However, this in itself actually got me thinking about who ‘That Grace Girl’ really is, so I wrote up a manifesto [which will be onsite once the new design goes live] to demonstrate this. Rather than making it about me as the author, I wanted the name to personify the attributes of the women who read my blog. Over the past two years I’ve gained such a supportive and inspiring readership; women who have both brains and beauty, and who approach makeup and skincare with an intelligent, enlightened approach; she is That Grace Girl.



In case you didn't know, I started out here as Mucky Face Makeup, Just Bonanas Makeup then Just Bananas... before changing completely to By Her Mirror. I wanted something that hinted at beauty, but also gave space for thoughts and personal posts - we nearly ended up as Anna's Reflections. Yeah. By Her Mirror sounds, to me, elegant and calming, things I aspire to (whilst always bringing the humour. I mean come on) and was the product of weeks of family meetings, phone calls and debates with friends, moodboards... you name it. I love it and I've realised that really, that's what matters.

I hope you guys enjoyed this post - my hugest of thanks to the talented ladies who took time out to contribute: it has been a joy to put this together. To any bloggers reading this, how did you choose your blog name - and what advice would you share? Head to the comments and let us know!


Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Goals For This Spring

It's the most gorgeous time of year and I for one am revelling in the fresh sense of hope and purpose that spring never fails to bring. Things are lookin' gorgeous, summer is on its way and it feels like the perfect time to be reflective and motivated in setting some good ole fashioned goals. Here are the things I'm working on over the next three months or so...


I'm honestly trying to not stress what grades I get, but rather focus on the attitude with which I get them; my logic is that as long as I am proud of how I have worked, the grade is a good one in my eyes. I've only got a few months, deadlines and exams left and then it is goodbye to education for the foreseeable, so one last push is all that stands between me and guilt free downtime.


At present, I have just begun Week Four of the Couch To 5k Podcast (which I started after hearing about it on Siobhan's blog) and while things are getting tougher for a total running noob such as myself, I am seeing huge rewards. My mood is dramatically better, even on days I've not run, and I'm feeling fitter already. The podcast is easy to follow, features some lovely, cheesy songs to keep you going and keeps me on track. I highly recommend.


Recently I've been doing my best to get up earlier and try out the Miracle Morning routine I've heard about in Hal Elrod's interview on The Lively Show and in his book, The Miracle Morning (you can get free chapters here, to see if it's for you!). This morning was my first attempt and while I think I've got a lot to work on, I felt so positive, happy and humbled as I started my day - I'll definitely be trying it again tomorrow!


For those that haven't heard of it, a Project365 involves taking a photo every day for a year. Once I get to halfway, I plan on sharing a post with you on my experience as it's been super challenging but rewarding too; some days are much harder than others, but sometimes things come together wonderfully and it is a great excuse to pick up my camera and get creative each morning.


This is one I'm hoping you guys will be cool with; when not working on essays/exams/not weeping over the end of my degree, my downtime will no doubt go into this space and I'm excited to try some new ideas... I'm thinking of sharing more photography and the odd spontaneous post here and there, to freshen things up for spring. Let me know if you have any thoughts/suggestions on this one!

Those are my goals... what do you guys think? Are there any areas you'll be working on too? I'd love to hear about them in the comments!


Saturday, 4 April 2015

My Skincare Journey

Today we're going on a trip down memory lane, taking a not-so-nostalgic look back on my skincare journey - from spot-ridden 12 year old armed with frothy nightmare cleansers, to a far less spotty 22 year old with quite the skincare history.

Let's delve into it, shall we?


Initially things looked good; my 12 year old birthday party involved a girly facial session in my living room, which tells you as much about me as you're ever likely to need to know! But then 12 year old Anna had her first, volcanic experiences of facial puberty and endeavoured to fight fire with fire. The result? More blemishes, with the joyous addition of desert dry, painful skin. I ditched the foamy cleansers and I've never looked back.


From around 13 onwards, with my babysitting dosh and £20 monthly allowance in hand, I made Lush my second home. I read more copies of Lush Times than you've had hot dinners. I knew the layout of my local Lush shop better than I knew (and still know) the geography of my local town. My adoration progressed from bath bombs to skincare, with Baby Face Cleanser, Tea Tree Toner Water and Celestial Moisturiser forming the backbone of my routine (propped up by generous slatherings of Cupcake Face Mask). It was a joyous, joyous time in my life.


With the extremely delayed arrival of my boobs came an unwelcome bout of moderate acne. You can imagine what a muddling time this was. I bid farewell to Lush (and regular use of moisturiser... I know, I was an impressionable young soul) and moved on to heavier options. Duac antibiotic cream and I got on well, but the effects didn't last; my efforts to take oral antibiotics never really wowwed me. Around this time however I was introduced to my truest of loves, Liz Earle's Hot Cloth Cleanser; it was a bright light during an otherwise dark time.


After some well chosen contraception kicked my skin into much better shape, I found myself largely blemish free... and how did I celebrate? By assaulting my newly clear skin with a Clarisonic every ten minutes (slight exaggeration but not far from the truth). Things got sensitive but I was so addicted to having freakishly smooth skin that I ignored all common sense and ploughed onwards. I've not touched mine for about a year now; I'm not 100% against it, but don't have the cashflow to splurge on a head every three months so it is waiting for less student-y days.


*crosses fingers and prays I do not jinx myself* The last six months or so has seen me make some awesome decisions regarding my skin. If you're after a rundown of what tips I have been using and loving, this post is for you - I've shared my little guide of what has made the biggest difference to my acne and jolly happy I am too. Not on the list, but just as effective, was my choice to apply all my skincare with a cotton bud, minimising the chance to add bacteria onto my blemishes. It's really, really helped so far. I've also realised that the expensive skincare I indulged in (during the Over Exfoliation Period) wasn't all that, that less really is more and that alcohol and lavender oil do not belong on my face. It's been a hell of a ride.

So, crew, can you relate to any of my more moronic skincare decisions? And do you have any tips you'd like to share? Shout them out in the comments because I would love to hear them!