It’s hard to believe that I’ve been bouncing around the blogosphere for coming up to 7 years! At times it has been a very steep learning curve, and other times I feel on top of my game; it seems to be a cycle of things running smoothly, and then burying myself in SEO tips, editing tutorials, and pouring over Pinterest for inspiration!

Blogging has undoubtedly helped me in my professional career as a marketer, and is a brilliant thing to have on your CV! If you dream of a career in marketing, the skills you’ll pick up from blogging can translate perfectly into your job role. When I landed my first marketing job, I had no prior work experience, but my blog meant I could tick social media, scheduling, event planning, Photoshop and more off job description straight away!

Anyway, without further ado, here are the top 10 things that I have learnt during my time blogging, and being in the blogging community!

1. How To Pretty Photographs

I studied Photography at A Level, but I’ve definitely learnt more through trial and error and experimentation as a blogger than I ever did in my studies! It makes me so happy to look back at my photographs from blog posts over the years and realising just how much the quality of my images has improved.

2. Editing With Photoshop

Before blogging, Photoshop terrified me. I dreaded having to use it at A Level, and spent most of the class asking our teacher to explain over and over how to do the most basic of edits. Blogging really motivated me to tackle my fear and learn how to use Photoshop properly.

I binge watched tutorials, and spent hours mucking about with images seeing what I could create. In my marketing role, I was using Photoshop every single day to create all sorts of promotions to tight deadlines, so already knowing my way around the software was invaluable.

3. Developing My Writing Style 

Writing for pleasure, and writing about your passions really help you develop your own unique style of writing. Visitors may initially come to your blog for your beautifully edited images, but they’ll very often subscribe and return for the personality that shines through the words!

4. Confidence 

This is arguably the most important and valuable gift blogging has given me. Since I started blogging, my confidence in my writing, photography, and in socialising, has sky rocketed!

Just last week I attended a blogging event, knowing no one, which is something I’d never have been able to do a few years back! At school I was so shy I wouldn’t be surprised if my classmates thought I was mute! But now I can chat to anyone, about anything, and probably bore them to death but you get the point. 

5. Working With Brands

I’m so grateful for the opportunities blogging has presented me with, and my experience in negotiating, meeting deadlines, and generally working with PRs has definitely helped me in my professional career. 

It’s also made me realise just how much I love what I do. I’ve wanted to work in PR or Marketing for as long as I can remember, but now I’m absolutely certain that it is where my dream job lies.

6. To Not Compare Myself To Others

Blogging has taught me how pointless it is to compare yourself to others. There will always be another blogger with better photography than me, more followers than me, but honestly, who cares? I’ve learnt to just focus on working hard and enjoying every step of the journey. 

Everyone is on their own path, completing their own journey. Celebrate the success of others and show them your support, just as they will hopefully do for you one day!

7. Blogging Is Not An ‘Easy’ Job 

It can be easy to look at your favourite bloggers online, living the life of luxury, and turn green with envy. However, what you see on a glossy blog and on beautifully edited social media feeds is only a teeny tiny snippet of that person’s day. Blogging means hours writing, shooting, editing, planning, out buying new things to feature, contacting brands and pitching yourself… etc etc. 

There’s a lot of work that goes into running a blog, and yes the rewards can be wonderful, and look gorgeous on Instagram, but its not the whole picture.

Props to everyone who manages to work full-time and run their blog, ya wee legends, you! I struggle balancing uni, blogging, and generally having a life, but I’m getting there.

8. Creating, Creating, Creating! 

To be really successful in blogging, I feel like you need to offer something a little bit unique. Blogging has taught me to become more creative, and have confidence in my ideas. You’re your own boss on here, you can post whatever you like! 

In a professional environment, you may suggest your own great ideas only for them not even to make it out of the meeting room! Here, you decide what direction you want to take your blog in, you don’t have to get it signed off by anyone else so just go with it!

9. It’s Not About The Money, Money, Money!

For a wee while I got a bit down in the dumps that I just could not afford to keep up with high end fashion trends, or buy the latest coveted, extortionate beauty products, but then I remembered; there’s absolutely no expectation for my to buy things I can’t afford. 

As above, your blog is your blog. Let your real life help you find your niche in the blogosphere. Mine? Making affordable look luxurious, showing you can live your best life without spending a bomb, and promoting ethical beauty, always!

10. Blogger Friends Are The Best 

I couldn’t write a post on my blogging experience without acknowledging the amazing people that have been brought into my life through this lovely little hobby. I met one of my very best friends, Charlotte, right back in my first few months of blogging. We planned a small meet up for South East bloggers and became best friends. Years later I still adore her and talk to her all the time. 

There are so many lovely bloggers who have become real life friends to me, and have been so much more supportive than any of the friends I had at school ever were. I could not be more grateful to these people for their constant encouragement, and truly hope they stay in my life forever.

 

Thank you so much for reading! What has blogging taught you? I’d love to know down in the comments!

 

Aileen x

Follow:

Last Friday I was lucky enough to be invited up to London by the lovely team at Alex Silver PR, for a fabulous afternoon of cocktails, nails and lash treatments, and hanging out with none other than Pixie Lott! Rocking up at The Cuckoo Club in Mayfair, I had literally never felt so cool in all my life. Despite blogging for years, I’d never made it to an event, with my anxiety usually convincing me to stay home; but not this time!

I’d been chatting to fabulous fellow blogger Natalie in the run up to the event, and agreed to meet her and Charlotte outside the venue. Once inside we wasted no time in whipping out our cameras and snapping everything we laid eyes on. The whole place looked stunning, with musicians, nails, lashes, and henna tattoo stations, a huge chocolate fountain, and a bar lined with gorgeous cocktail creations.

After a bit of mingling, I decided to hop in the queue to get my nails done, opting for a gorgeous gold & glitter combo. As for lashes, I chose the gorgeous Lily lashes; super fluttery, dainty, and perfect for achieving everyday glamour. The team were absolutely fantastic and so knowledgeable, I came away having learnt lots of new beauty secrets and clever tips.

I was a wee bit starstruck meeting Pixie Lott, having been a big fan of hers for years. As KISS’ Brand Ambassador, she was around all afternoon taking pictures and chatting to everyone. Natalie, Charlotte and I got some gorgeous photos with Pixie from the photobooth, before heading back to the dance floor for the last few minutes of the event!

Overall, it was a fabulous day, perfectly organised and without a dull moment; I was gutted when the clock struck 3pm and it was time to go home! I loved meeting Charlotte and Natalie, who both have gorgeous blogs worth checking out! When it was time to leave, we were handed goodie bags crammed with all of the nails and lashes in the range (not all lashes pictured!). All the products simply ooze luxury, whilst remaining no-fuss and affordable. You can find KISS cosmetics’ in your local Superdrug, and I would definitely recommend them!

 

Thanks again to to the team for having me, and thank you to everyone who made the day so enjoyable!

 

Aileen x

 

Follow:

If you haven’t heard all the drama surrounding a certain Advent Calendar this week, where have you been?! Beauty & Lifestyle Advent Calendars have exploded onto the shelves in recent years; it almost feels as though every brand is coming out with an Advent offering! In this post I’ll share some of my favourite calendars with you. I’ll try to keep these affordable for those of us on a budget! Personally, I don’t think I could ever justify spending over £100 on an Advent Calendar, as a student, and as a generally picky person when it comes to selecting my own products!

Morrison’s Gin Advent Calendar!

This is perhaps my favourite one offering this year! For £60, Morrison’s are offering a 24 door calendar, with a new gin inside for each day! Each bottle is 50ml, the equivalent of 2 shots. I feel like this is pretty reasonable, and fairly good value for money, with just enough gin included to give you a decent taste of it!

This is perfect for the (over 18!) gin enthusiast in your life. Are you even a blogger if you haven’t squealed over pink gin?!

There are similar calendars to this one on the market, but none this affordable, or offering such a wide range of samples!

Asda’s Cheese Advent Calendar!

SORRY haha, I will move away from food & drink ones soon, but hear me out! For a mere EIGHT QUID, you can snap up a very cheesy 24 door calendar from your local Asda!

Again, this is amazing for anyone who drools over their computer watching videos of cheesy snacks (just me? okay). Or just someone looking to be a bit adventurous, and have a bit of fun with the Advent Calendar trend!

I suppose the only gripe I have with this is that you’d have to keep it in the fridge! No displaying it neatly in your home for the best part of a month like your other calendars!

Ciate Mini Mani & 12 Days of Ciate London Calendars

See? I promised I would include non-edible calendars! For all the beauty lovers, Ciate have hit out with not one, but TWO gorgeous calendars to choose from this Christmas! At almost identical price points, you can choose the calendar based on the contents you’ll use the most! The packaging for both calendars is stunning, and I am kinda trying to convince myself not to buy both!

The Mini Mani Calendar sells for £50, and has 24 doors, hiding 23 mini nail polishes, and 1 nail file. Again, I would say this is excellent value for money. I’d also say that all the shades look really lovely and wearable, there’s not one pictured that I couldn’t imagine myself reaching for. But rather, a perfect mix of shimmers, glitters and everyday faves.

On the other hand, you could opt for the 12 Days of Ciate London Calendar, priced at £49. This calendar has 12 doors as opposed to 24, but don’t be too quick to judge, as the treats look really rather fab! The calendar contains every eyeliners, mascara, lipsticks, cleansers, highlighters, and more. Basically, by the time you’re done you’ll have a whole new make up bag!

Johnny Loves Rosie Jewellery Advent Calendar

I stumbled across this gorgeous jewellery calendar whilst on yet another ASOS binge! Packaged beautifully in the shape of a Christmas tree, this calendar has 25 pretty jewellery bits hidden inside, and is reasonably purse-friendly at £38!

If you go for this calendar you can expect 25 gold & silver toned necklaces, bracelets, earrings, and Christmassy charms! I’m extremely tempted to get this calendar as a gift, but also know they’d have to prise it from my chubby wee claws as this calendar is just perfection!

Johnny Loves Rosie is one of my favourite jewellery brands of all time, for dainty wee necklaces, dazzling earrings and pretty hair accessories; they got ya!

Bomb Cosmetics Advent Calendar

Lets just start this wee section with; Bomb Cosmetics are amazing. (No, they did not sponsor me to say that)

This is a brand I have grown up adoring. See, they stock Bomb Cosmetics’ gorgeous soaps & candles in my parents’ favourite garden centre, so whilst my parents pottered off to look at some plants, I would spend a good 30 minutes just prancing round ooh-ing and aah-ing over their products.

Back to the calendar! Bomb Cosmetics have hit out with a super affordable, but crammed to the brim calendar! This beauty will only set you back £19.99, and contains 24 soaps & bath blasters! If you, or someone you love, desperately needs some relaxation in the form of a gorgeous bubble bath, here ya go xo

 

Thank you so much for reading! Will you be picking up one of these this Christmas?

 

Aileen x

Follow:

My extensive collection of notebooks, planners, and little post it notes stuck to everything may give the illusion that I’m 100% organised all the time, but don’t be fooled! It is so incredibly easy to slip up and suddenly everything’s piling on top of you. Its almost as if the more stuff you have to do, the more difficult it becomes to do anything! If you’re anything like me you’ll spend hours worrying about your endless To Do list, whilst accomplishing absolutely nothing.

If you’re at university, the end of the semester is right around the corner and the pressure is on for all those pre-Christmas deadlines! This time of year is extremely stressful for all of us, whether you’re a student, a parent, working, or juggling more than 1! I hope that this post can provide you with some tips and motivation to conquer your To Do’s and be on your A-game!

First things first… Stop. Wait a minute. 

FILL MA CUP PUT SOME LIQUOR IN IT. Haha, no seriously, grab yourself a cuppa, a notebook and a pen and sit down. Write down absolutely everything you have to do, in order of importance. For items with deadlines, put the nearest deadlines at the top.

Don’t feel overwhelmed looking over this list; this is not your itinerary for the day!

Next, highlight or circle only the items that absolutely have to be done today.

Do not worry about anything else on the list, focus your energy only on the items you’ve highlighted. Take them one at a time, or break them down into smaller tasks, for example:

Your most pressing To Do is to write an essay you’ve left to the last minute, okay, break it down into Introduction, Theory, Methodology, Analysis, Conclusion, etc, or whatever categories fit your work!

Challenge yourself to complete one section in a set amount of time, then move on to the next, ticking them off as you go.

A Cluttered Work Space Makes For A Cluttered Mind

If you’ve been stressing over tasks, then no doubt your work space is beginning to look like an explosion of clutter, and that’s okay, it happens! To get back to your most productive self, however, it’ll help so much to start with a clean space.

YouTube is my destination of choice for desk inspiration, and when my desk is looking all pretty and Instagram-worthy, I feel so motivated and inspired to get on with my assignments!

If You Fail To Plan, You Plan To Fail

Invest in a planner, or if like me, you’re a bit forgetful, make use of your phone / computer calendars. Sync your phone calendar up with the one on your computer to you can easily add events and deadlines wherever you are!

I have both a written and digital planner, which may be slightly excessive, but I’m getting so much better at planning for deadlines.

One huge advantage of a digital calendar is reminders. Being reminded a week before your deadline, then prodded again a couple of days before, will definitely help to make sure you’ve got everything in order!

Take Time To Relax

That may sound like the WORST idea when you’re inundated with things to do, but just hear me out…

If you’re running around like a headless chicken, getting anxious and not accomplishing anything, it is not going to do you any harm to just take an hour for the sake of your sanity to just chill out.

Set a timer on your phone to go back to your list, with a relaxed, clear mind. But until then, sit down, think rationally and take a bit of time to do something that brings you joy; watch a YouTube video, draw something, sit in the garden, whatever!

Don’t Be Afraid To Cancel 

Maybe you’re procrastinating because you know you’ve got so much to do, but you promised your friend you’d meet for coffee, and now you’re struggling to fit everything into your day because of it?

I think a lot of the time we are so afraid to cancel plans because you’ll feel like you’ve let someone else down, but if your friend is a good friend at all, they will completely understand how you’re feeling if you just explain!

I said to a friend I’d go shopping with her, meaning I’d lose most of the day when I needed to do work, and I ended up cancelling the day before. She actually made a load of helpful suggestions for some things that were worrying me!

 

I hope that you can take something away from this post to help you smash your goals this month!

 

Aileen x

 

 

Follow:

With the new season in full swing, my make up bag was desperately crying out for a refresh. So what better time than when Boots are offering 3 for 2, eh? Boots in Winchester is much smaller, but so so much better than my local one, and yes, I am still offended that my local Boots still doesn’t stock NYX Cosmetics.

At the time of writing this post, I have tested a few of these products in my daily make up routine, so I’ll include some first impressions where I can!

Eyes & Brows

This whole haul stems from my desperate search for a new brow product. After falling head over heels in love with New Look’s Brow Pen, I was pretty devastated to discover that after a night out frantically jumping around to Mr Brightside, my brows were looking pretty terrible, even with setting. I picked up NYX Cosmetics’ Tame & Frame Brow Pomade, the gel formula will hopefully be much longer lasting than brow pens.

I haven’t used a brow pomade in several years, so going from a quick swish of a brow pen to actually having to get a brush and even out my brows required a fair bit of effort. However, having done my brows with this nifty wee pomade twice now, I can confirm your attempts do get better with practice, and I’m so happy with how my brows look! The brow pomade offers a more natural, but still polished look.

Keen to expand my cruelty-free make up brush collection, I couldn’t resist picking up an Eco Tools brush duo to help with my mission for perfect brows! This set is perfect for achieving neat, well groomed brows.

Finally in this category, I’ve been in denial that my favourite mascara was on its last legs for over a week now, and decided to opt for NYX Cosmetics’ Full Figured Lush Lashes Mascara. This mascara is waterproof and lengthening. On application of the first coat, I have to admit, I wasn’t too in love with it, however when I applied another coat I did find my lashes looked so much longer and fuller. This mascara may even become my new favourite!

Lips

You’d think the cool Autumnal weather would inspire me to pick up some deep reds or purpley shades, right? Wrong. Instead I’ve opted for a shimmery metallic rose gold shade from Soap & Glory. With the party season right around the corner, for me, a pretty sparkly pink is essential!

I’ve only worn this once so far, but the formula doesn’t seem too drying, a problem I keep having with matt lip creams. This winter I pretty much have a tin of Vaseline welded to my palm at all times, oh the struggles!

Face

Last, but by no means least, I popped across the road to Superdrug to pick up one of Make Up Revolution’s new liquid highlighters, in the gorgeous shade, Liquid Starlight. It’s a gorgeous pink / silvery shade that blends absolutely beautifully into your cheekbones. I am loving the liquid highlighter trend at the moment! Fellow make up addicts will appreciate the perfection of having a little row of these beauties neatly lined up on your dressing table, but also when I apply my highlighter using this I do kinda feel like some beauty scientist type, ya know?

I’d say these are more intended for evenings, events, or any time you just want to look a bit glam! They may be ever so slightly OTT for the daily grind, but if that’s your thing; you do you gal!

 

Got any new cruelty-free beauty recommendations? I’d love to hear them in the comments!

 

Aileen x

Follow: