Work In Progress // Blogging 101

Hey guys! Myself and my friend Gemma decided to tackle the subject of blogging in our podcast this week. Throughout this podcast, we collected and answered your questions from Facebook and Twitter, on blogging; every subject from how to keep your topics fresh, to how to stay thrifty with your money!

In case this is the first podcast you’ve discovered, here’s a quick run down of our podcasting plan. This is the third instalment of four podcasts that we are creating this month, and they go live every Friday. We’re having a lot of fun doing them, and we love that you guys are listening to them. So far we’ve talked about the magazine that we put together with our University, put together a playlist to showcase our different music tastes, and now we’re onto blogging!

So to avoid me rambling for another 5 minutes, here’s this weeks Work In Progress podcast, Blogging 101.

That’s it for this weeks podcast, thank you so much for listening to it! Next week we’ll be officially kicking off Summer with our final podcast! As it’s our last one, we definitely don’t want you to miss it, so be sure to tune in Friday 1 July, to get ready for Summer 2016.


Another super quick thank you to everyone that sent us questions, and again I’ll give a thanks to Gemma, she puts up with me while I laugh for a solid 3 minutes at the beginning of every podcast recording, before eventually saying “Hey guys!”

How To Blog On A Budget

If you, like me, run a blog, then you can very quickly realise that over time, you might be investing some money in it. Be it paying for a domain, to feeling the need to buy every palette as soon as it’s released, we can very quickly find ourselves needing to save some pennies, while keeping up to date with the blogging world.

So today I thought that I’d write a post with some tips on how to save money, while still producing interesting blog posts!

Be Resourceful | It may be incredibly tempting to buy new products to test and review, but why not review something you already own? Even if you’ve already reviewed it, you can do an updated or empties post!

Follow Up | Following on from my previous point, you don’t need to do reviews, you can simply update previous posts. Anything from a personal post you’ve previously shared, to a wishlist post.

Playlists | Making a sharing a playlist is fun, your followers get to know your tastes, and it’s absolutely free!IMG_7847

Collections | I’ve loved reading and creating posts like these lately. All you have to do it talk us through your existing collections!

Lists & Tips | These posts perform outstandingly well, they are so quick and simple to put together, and once more, they’re free!

Personal | If you feel comfortable doing it, why not get personal with a post? Your readers will enjoy getting to know you better, and it can feel really good to get some things off of your chest.

Reviews | If you are obsessed with writing reviews, and you don’t really want to stray from that, you can try reviewing a movie, book or tv show that you have watched. You don’t need to buy anything new, just tell your readers what you thought about it!

Those are some of my tips for blogging on a budget, I hope you enjoyed this post and it gave you some ideas! Let me know if it did in the comments, and feel free to leave any ideas you have too!

Tips For Flat-Lay Photography

If you enjoy taking photos, at some point you might find yourself stuck in a bit of a rut. Either your images aren’t looking the way you want them to, or you’ve gotten caught up in comparing your images to other peoples, and that can stifle your confidence.

So today I’m sharing 6 tips, focussing on flat-lay photography, on how to improve your images!FLATLAY PHOTOGRAPHY TIPS 2Lighting | Try getting as close to natural lighting as possible, I know it’s always one of the first things to be mentioned when it comes to any style of photography, but it really does make a difference. If you can afford to invest in lighting then you’re lucky to be able to take your photos at any point during the day, but if you’re not, I’d recommend taking your pictures in the very middle of the day, as if you take them early in the morning, they will have an orange/yellow hue, and too late in the afternoon and they’ll be blue-toned. Taking your pictures at around noon also means that you reduce the amount of shadows in the image.

Arrangement | Always try and take images with the products in different arrangements, as this gives you a lot more options for the final post. I’ve found on quite a few occasions that what I liked in front of me, didn’t really translate on camera, so if you rearrange your objects in a few different ways, you won’t be limiting yourself.

Steadiness | I’ve also found that when I’m taking photos, I tend to hold my breath, as I think that it steadies me, and ensures that you don’t have to take as many pictures, because you don’t have blurry ones where you’ve moved slightly.FLATLAY PHOTOGRAPHY TIPS 3Tricks | Blu tack! The day I learnt that you can keep lipsticks and mascaras and anything that is likely to roll, from rolling by securing them down with a little bit of Blu tack on the underneath, was life changing. It saves so much time and stress of positioning your products, only for them to slightly roll out of frame.

Props | If you’re finding your images to be too plain or boring, you can always throw in some fun or relevant props to give more life to your picture. They can even be fun to put altogether for posts that don’t necessarily have a product or ‘thing’ for you to photograph!

Fun | The most important thing about any images that you’re sharing online is to keep your unique style and character in them. Sometimes bloopers and funny shots can be the perfect one to add to a post, people don’t always want to see an aesthetically perfect image, they want to get to know you too!


Those are 6 quick flat-lay photography tips that I wanted to share with you guys, I hope some of these have inspired you with your own photography! Let me know in the comments any tips you might have, and we can all help each other out!

101 BLOG POST IDEAS

As so many of you guys have blogs yourselves, you’ll know what I’m talking about when I mention bloggers block. It happens to just about all of us at some point, and it can be quite disheartening to kick it and get back into your blogging flow. So today I’ve given myself the task of sharing 101 blog post ideas with you, to help you kick bloggers block!

This post is quite long in itself, so let’s just get straight into the post ideas!

1. FIVE THINGS TO BE HAPPY ABOUT
2. FAVOURITE BLOGS OF THE MONTH
3. FACTS ABOUT YOURSELF
4. OUTFIT OF THE DAY
5. MAKEUP COLLECTION
6. A COMPETITION/GIVEAWAY
7. BLOGGING ADVICE
8. FASHION WISH LIST
9. EXERCISE TIPS
10. FASHION/BEAUTY HAUL
11. BOOK REVIEW
12. FAVOURITE INSTAGRAM ACCOUNTS
13. ‘HOW TO STYLE’ OUTFIT POSTS
14. PRODUCT REVIEWS
15. ROOM TOUR
16. HOST A GUEST POST
17. WHAT’S IN YOUR BAG
18. PHOTOGRAPHY TIPS
19. FACTS ABOUT YOURSELF
20. WHAT’S ON YOUR PHONE
21. HOST A Q+A
22. FAVOURITE PODCASTS
23. AN INTERVIEW WITH A BLOGGER
24. INTERIOR INSPIRATION
25. A NEWS STORY
26. PRODUCTS WORTH THE HYPE
27. A DIY / HOW TO
28. HEALTHY SNACK RECIPE
29. PAY-DAY SHOPPING PICKS
30. A FASHION SHOW REVIEW
31. A STORY ABOUT YOURSELF
32. A LIST POST
33. A RANT
34. YOUR FAVOURITE BEAUTY PRODUCTS
35. YOUR DREAMS AND GOALS
36. A TAG POST
37. A POST ON YOUR FRIEND/PARTNERS STYLE
38. YOUR EVERY DAY MAKEUP ROUTINE
39. COLLEGE/UNIVERSITY ADVICE
40. A BEFORE AND AFTER POST
41. AN INSTAGRAM ROUNDUP
42. A 30 DAY CHALLENGE
43. A REVIEW OF A PLACE
45. A CONTROVERSIAL OPINION
46. YOUR HAIR HISTORY
47. A ‘GET THE LOOK’ STYLE POST
48. WHAT’S IN YOUR MAKEUP BAG
49. MONTHLY FAVOURITES
50. DETAILS OF YOUR HOME
51. YOUR FOOD DIARY
52. AN EMPTY PRODUCTS REVIEW
53. YOUR HANDBAG COLLECTION
54. THE REASON YOU STARTED BLOGGING
55. A MAKEUP TUTORIAL
56. SHARE SOME POSITIVITY
57. ASK YOUR READERS A QUESTION
58. PLACES TO VISIT WHERE YOU LIVE
59. YOUR FAVOURITE APPS
60. A ‘DAY IN THE LIFE’ STYLE POST
61. OFFER A SERVICE
62. A LIST OF LIFE HACKS
63. MUST-HAVE ITEMS
64. EMPTY PRODUCT REVIEWS
65. YOUR WORK SPACE
66. ROUND UP YOUR OUTFITS THIS MONTH
67. STYLE INSPIRATION POST
68. HOW YOU STAY ORGANISED
69. A MOVIE REVIEW
70. FAVOURITE STREET STYLE LOOKS
71. A BIRTHDAY/ANNIVERSARY POST
72. SHARE YOUR FAVOURITE BLOG POSTS
73. A GET READY WITH ME POST
74. 5 THINGS YOU COULDN’T LIVE WITHOUT
75. JOB INTERVIEW TIPS
76. BEHIND THE SCENES PHOTOS
77. A BRAND FOCUS
78. AN EVENT YOU’VE BEEN TO
79. YOUR OPINION ON A TREND
80. SAVE VS SPLURGE
81. HOW TO DE-STRESS
82. AN OPEN LETTER TO SOMEONE
83. A ‘WHO WORE IT BEST?’ POST
84. HOW TO GAIN FOLLOWERS ON INSTAGRAM
85. HOW TO START YOUTUBE CHANNEL
86. WHAT BLOGGING HAS TAUGHT YOU
87. BLOGGER BLOOPERS
89. YOUR SHOE COLLECTION
90. AFFORDABLE HOMEWARE IDEAS
91. YOUR EXPERIENCE AT SCHOOL
92. HOW TO PROMOTE YOUR BLOG
93. AN EBAY WISHLIST
94. FACE OF THE DAY
95. HOW TO STOP PROCRASTINATING
96. BLOGGING DOS AND DON’TS
97. BEAUTY HACKS
98. HOW TO GET MOTIVATED
99. THINGS TO DO WHEN YOU’RE SAD

100. YOUR FIVE YEAR PLAN

101. SEASONAL ESSENTIALS

That’s it! 101 blog post ideas, whether you’re a strictly fashion, beauty, lifestyle or travel blogger, there’s something here for everyone! Let me know any blog post ideas you have that I haven’t featured, and also let me know what your favourites are that I have mentioned.

The Ultimate List Of Blogging Resources

If you run a blog, you can spend hours searching for the right website or plugin to help you with creating, increasing engagement and everything else that comes with running an online space.

So instead of spending all of that time looking through useless sites, I’ve done it for you and compiled this ultimate list of blogging resources!

I’ve alphabetised this list in order to make navigation easier for you, but if you want to find a specific tool quicker, just CRTL+F it!

IMG_2263Ad Management

 WP125 WP125 offers everything from a one or two column ad display, and includes support. You can also show as many ads as you want, and in any order. One of my favourite things about this particular plugin is that you can keep track of how many times an ad is clicked, and it runs ads for as long as you want, and removes them for you, on the end date.

Analytics

Quill Engage This is a free tool that collects all of your Google Analytics data and emails you weekly summaries.

Apps

DWNLD For just £15 a month, you can transform your online content into a sleek app!

Colour Palettes

Adobe Colour This is perfect for creating any type of colour palette. They can be analogous, monochromatic, or customised, it’s even fun to just play and create your own palettes!

Comment System

Disqus I’m sure you would’ve come across this system on many blogs, it’s incredibly easy to sign up for, and it’s said to increase both traffic and engagement for your online content.

Competition Tool

Rafflecopter This tool is the only way I would ever run another giveaway. It takes minutes to input your terms and prize, and the rest of the work is done for you! I think this tool is an incredibly fair and fun way to run giveaways and competitions.

Focus

StayFocusd This plugin helps you stay focussed when you’re actually writing. It does this by limiting the amount of time you can spend on what you input as ‘time-wasting’ sites.

Fonts

Da Font Search by style for the exact font that you want, and download for free.

Group Work

Basecamp We’ve all encountered annoying times when you’re working on a group project and no one is sure where they stand, or what’s being done. Basecamp takes away all of these issues, by not only featuring an interactive working space, but also a real-time chat, for you to voice any concerns and collaborate even easier.

HTML

HTML Dog This site offers beginner, intermediate and advanced tutorials on both HTML and CSS. There is also a handy reference guide for HTML tools.

Image Editor

PicMonkey An insanely easy to use photo editor, collage maker, and graphic design site. Perfect for everyone and it’s free!

Photoshop The most famous photo editing software, it’s very easy to navigate once you’ve got the hang of it, and you get a professional quality service.

Easel.ly This site actually features thousands of free infographic templates which users can customise, and share their visual ideas online.

Inspiration

Uber Suggest Enter a few keywords, and have blog post ideas generated for you!

Day Of The Year Find worldwide events and special occasions to inspire blog posts!

 

Livestreaming

Twitcam Perfect for livestreaming without the cost. Here you can  livestream and talk to your audience in the live chat at the same time.All livestreams are also archived and available after you’ve ended the stream.

Online Safety

Login LockDown This plugin allow you to limit the amount of login attempts allowed from any particular IP address during a space of time.The current default is a 1 hour lock out of an IP block after 3 failed login attempts within 5 minutes.

CheckShortURL If you’ve encountered a shortened URL and you’re not sure where it leads, this site lets you ‘peek’ at the site before you click on it.

Page Annotation

Bounce If you’d like to share a webpage with someone, but you’d also like to annotate or mention a specific section this website does exactly that. It even screenshots the entire loaded page, and not just what you initially see on the screen.

Screen Recorder

Screencast-O-Matic A free and easy to use screen recorder, with no download.

Sharing

Buffer The perfect way to share a post multiple times, to various social media outlets, but with different introductions and images.

MailChimp A free system for sending an email to your entire list of contacts. You can set up automated campaigns, or design them from scratch each time.

Signature

WiseStamp Create your own unique email signature, with an automatic link to your latest blog post.

Skype Capture

Pamela for Skype This is one of the more secure and easy to use Skype recording software. You also have options of a free version, but you are limited to 15 minutes calls.

Stock Images

iStock With this site you can pay per photos, or buy a subscription, to have access to millions of free to use images.

Image.Net Another If you’re a member of the media, this site allows you access to free to use images and videos, with email updates when particular tags are updated.

Twitter Tool

Crowdfire This site is actually perfect for keeping on top of who you’re following, and who is or isn’t following you.

TweetDeck A super slick way to view and interact with Twitter. I particularly find it the perfect way to take part in Twitter chats, as you can tweet, reply and interact with so many people at once.

URL Shortener

Google The quickest way to shorten a URL, foolproof.


I hope you guys found some useful sites to use, be sure to let me know if you will start using one of these!

Still can’t find what you’re looking for? Drop me a comment with what you’re after and I’ll find it for you!

Beginners Guide To Blogging

Hey guys! Since I started my blog (1 year and 2 months ago, dear god) a lot of people that I know have spoken to me about wanting to star their own blogs, and I really endorse setting up your own place on the internet, so today I thought I’d use my experience to give any budding bloggers a little run-down on how to set yourself up in the blogging world!

backgrounder (1)Research

Before you jump right into starting your blog (there is nothing wrong with just jumping into it, but I’m just giving you some ideas based on my own personal experience) first look at some of your favourite blogs; what is it that draws you to them and keeps you returning to read? What kind of blog names do you relate to more? Do you prefer paid themes over free ones? Do you think you’ll want to start out with your own domain? These are all really good questions to know the answers to, because you’ll feel much more confident and secure in starting out.

Pick a platform

I didn’t really do a lot of research into the various platforms available for starting a blog, but I settled into WordPress very quickly because it makes everything so easy for you. I did briefly attempt to set up my own website through Wix, but that proved far too complicated for a beginner like myself. I then tried Blogger, and it was slightly easier to use and navigate, but still not straightforward enough for me, and I found the themes to be quite boring and blocky, so I did a quick google search for alternate blogging platforms, and WordPress had the best reviews, and I haven’t looked back. Even buying my own domain was incredibly simple, you just need to set up a payment option, and you’re done! WordPress even automatically redirects to your new domain!

Think about your niche

This isn’t majorly important, because I think the best type of blogs are ones that perfectly reflect the person behind them, and we don’t all fit into stereotypical niches. So ultimately, for this point I would recommend just having an idea of the direction, tone and general layout and outlook of your online space. Do you want to keep your identity private? Would you like to cover personal and deep topics? Do you you want to post exclusively makeup reviews? Do you want to be a travel blogger? Just have a general idea of what you want to write about, otherwise you will find it difficult to get your site up and going.

Write like the wind

Finally, the best advice I’ve ever been given in relation to blogging, and the best advice I can think of giving to someone who wants to start a blog: Just start writing. I wish that I had thought about the previous points before starting out, because I did experience some starts and abrupt stops, and for an awfully long time I just put the whole blogging thing off because I had no clue about what to call my blog! But if you just start writing, you can always go back and edit posts, even delete them entirely if you want to. The important thing is to just get going, we all know that I was in such a rush to get started by the time I had finally chosen a name, that by 2 months into blogging, I had no motivation, ideas or direction, so I had only written one post.


I hope that this post has helped some of you budding bloggers out! Be sure to drop me any questions you might have in the comments below!

Did you just throw yourself into blogging or did you plan everything out before getting into it? I’d love to know fellow bloggers stories!

Before and After: Blog Photography

When I started this blog I had absolutely no experience with photography, themes or the ‘layout’ of an image or post. But I can safely say that today, 4 months after launching this blog, my knowledge confidence is much greater. I know I still have so much to learn and change, but for now I thought I’d share some tips that I’ve learnt.

The before. I was very proud of my layout here, as I’d never done anything like this before, the only practise I had was copious amounts of photographing my pets. January Favourites

But now, I know that I prefer breaking my posts up, into small, more-detailed, product based images. So I had to figure out which angles to take the images from, and I’ve narrowed some of my favourites down

comp

The next most important thing after this is clutter, if you’re trying to showcase a product, you want your reader to know exactly what it looks like. It doesn’t help if they don’t know which item you’re talking about in the image. So I find it’s best to have a completely clear backdrop, with nothing but the product as the focus.

cluttered

nocluttered

Next is lighting, I know if this isn’t your full time job or hobby, you won’t have a lot of options when it comes to various types of lighting. I would heavily recommend natural lighting. Get all of your pictures taken during the day, or if needs be, any daylight time you have free before you’d like your post to be up. But even natural lighting comes with ‘dos’ and ‘don’ts’. Shooting into a window is not recommended, it makes the product appear differently to it’s reality, and usually makes the labels difficult to read. Shooting away from natural light means you get a really accurate depiction of what the product really looks like. However, if natural lighting is difficult for you because you don’t have enough spare time during the day to take your pictures, you might then want to look into artificial lighting. Now you can either go for studio lighting, or standard bulb lighting, as they both work, but they work for different types of images. Standard bulb lighting is much more suited to an image that needs ambience, and some kind of warmth. This is not necessarily the ideal lighting for showcasing make up, because you need to see it’s true colours. Particularly under standard bulb lighting, many eyeshadow palettes all appear to be shimmer based, so you can’t see which shades are matte, therefore studio lighting is better for that.

Fotor0512144056Fotor051214414

Fotor0512152247 Fotor0512152250Above all else, I think the most important thing for an image is to ensure it’s focussed, and if it is, that it’s focussed in the right area. If you use the auto function on a camera, it’ll usually focus on whatever’s closest to the camera itself, but if you use manual settings, you have to make sure you’re focussed on the product, and not the background. Here you can see the two outcomes of a picture taken with manual settings, the background in focus and the product blurred, and then the product in focus and the background blurred.

Fotor0512144949

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That’s it for the tips I have today, let me know in the comments below if you have any additional tips to share!