Apologies in advance if this post offends, but I need to say it. My blog is just that; it’s mine. And I flat out refuse to lose my identity as a writer and a creator because of some unwritten trash rules on what other people think the label ‘blogger’ means I should be.

Over the past month or so, I’ve found myself becoming increasingly overwhelmed with other people’s expectations on what I and my blog should be. I applaud anyone who manages to maintain a daily updated blog and social platforms while juggling a full-time job, university, or parenting; I honestly salute you. But without sounding too much like JME; THAT’S NOT ME. 

I started this blog as a creative outlet for musings and things I love, things I enjoy. I never imagined making a penny out of it, and am incredibly grateful for all the wonderful opportunities that have presented to me as a result of my wee growing following.

BUT DAMN, I am not willing to change my blog to further my ‘career’. This is not a career for me; sorry not sorry. This is something I do to relax, to share things that bring me joy, it’s just something I love. Or maybe I did… I don’t even know.

I think glossy Instagram grids make it easy to forget that I am a student, I have next to no money for myself. What money I do have you can bet is not getting splashed on expensive make up and the latest cleanser or whatever; just, no.

In the past fortnight, I have found myself guilt-tripped, confused, and questioning my own status as a blogger, based on other people’s views. Can I even call myself a blogger? Well, if these are what you think the entry requirements are, I guess not. I have had noses turned up at me for using face cleansing wipes, for not buying £40 lipsticks (are you kidding me?!), that the foundation I wear costs £4.99, that I don’t schedule enough tweets, that I don’t post regularly enough, that I just do not care for blogger drama and do not wish to wade into it.

So, sorry if that’s not what you want to hear. I am utterly unwilling to become another cookie-cutter copy cat blog, and I’ll just be over here continuing to do my own thing. I absolutely refuse to lose my identity or change myself.

Personally, I think it’s really saddening that it is so widely thought that in order to succeed in this field, you need to mimic the industry leaders. This is a creative industry, but in my opinion, all shreds of creativity are starting to disappear. It actually makes me feel like giving up blogging altogether sometimes. The fact that I have been actually ridiculed and sniggered at for running my own blog the way I want to.

Somebody actually said to me, that as I do not aspire to become a full-time blogger, I do not deserve the opportunities I have been given. And to that person, I really truly hope you’re okay, please learn to appreciate your own success. We are all on our own journey.

 

Until next time,

Aileen x

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To say I was utterly spoilt this Christmas would be an understatement. Christmas 2017 was fabulous in every sense of the word, surrounded by family and loved ones. However, not all could attend, and unfortunately this was the first Christmas in many years that my wee Granny has been too ill to travel down from Glasgow for. This year I’m resolving to save some pennies and get up to Glasgow more to see my lovely extended family.

Every year my Mother warns my sister and I that we shouldn’t expect a bunch of presents, and that she’s ‘cutting back’ on Christmas, and every year I’m completely overwhelmed by her and my Dad’s generosity (and how well they know my style!).

When asked for suggestions for Christmas gifts, I noted that all my perfumes were starting to run out simultaneously, with my all-time favourite, Estée Lauder’s Modern Muse, completely empty! I received so many perfumes for Christmas I began to wonder if maybe I smell haha!

My parents gave me the beautifully packaged Viktor & Rolf Bonbon, which is a new scent for me, and I can confirm it’s already one of my favourites! My sister also gave me perfume, in the form of Calvin Klein’s Sheer Beauty, another new fragrance for my collection! This scent is very sophisticated and I feel extremely cool whilst wearing it.

My lovely boyfriend reunited me with my fragrance love, with this huuuge bottle of Modern Muse! I certainly won’t be running out of this beauty any time soon! Matt absolutely showered me with beautiful gifts and love this holiday season, and I am feeling like a very lucky lady.

Also from my lovely boyfriend; Pusheen tupperwares! These are part of a set of four adorable wee tubs, but two are permanently on rotation in my packed lunches now, so were unavailable for this wee photoshoot! I love anything with Pusheen on, as anyone who knows me may have gathered. I have Pusheen pyjamas, a calendar and plush (also from Matt!), a mug, wrapping paper, you name it!

My parents also got me a gorgeous set of Clinique skincare products, helping me fulfil my resolution to take better care of my skin and overall health. The products pictured are only a small selection from the ten or so I received within the beautiful pink package.

I’m also resolving to become a bit of a domestic goddess, improving my cooking skills and learning the art of making gorgeous cocktails. So Matt’s family also seemingly read my mind in picking out Gordon’s pink gin for me this Christmas! I adore a wee bit of gin and gin cocktails are my absolute favourites! I’ve got my eye on a few pretty cocktail shakers and am ready to get stuck in.

 

Thank you so much to everyone who took the time to write me a card, or even buy me a gift this Christmas; I am so grateful for your generosity.

Hope that all my lovely readers had a fabulous holiday season and are all fired up to smash their goals in 2018!

 

Aileen x

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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

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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

 

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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

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