Author

Anika

It feels like summer is well and truly upon us now but don’t let it slip away without making the most of the best few months of the year. Here are 5 things you can do to prepare to have the best summer of your life!

1. A New Hair-Do

A change in season is the perfect excuse to take a trip to the salon. Take a couple of inches off the ends or run some lighter tones through your locks and you’ll walk out feeling like a brand new person. I spend most of the summer with my hair up in a bun or ponytail but I still like it to look sleek and shiny. While you’re at it a mani pedi wouldn’t be a bad idea too!

2. Update Your Wardrobe

This one is a no brainer, it’s time to put away the chunky knits and brave bare legs. This year in the UK we’ve been blessed with intermittent heatwaves and temperatures hitting over 30 degrees and we’ve not even reached the height of summer yet! It’s a great chance to buy floaty summer numbers in preparation for the heat but with so many trends doing the rounds there is ample inspiration to give your whole wardrobe a new look. Try an off the shoulder dress or paper bag style loose trousers for an uber chic look without breaking the bank.

3. Make Plans

Plan to do something that you look forward too. It might be a holiday or festival that you’ve got planned this summer or even just a day trip with friends. It’s so important to take a break from everyday life and enjoy spending time with people who make you feel good. I always try and get out of the house as much as possible, even just a walk around the block after dinner makes me feel like I’ve enjoyed the outdoors just a little bit after a day stuck behind a computer screen. Make the most of the longer days and balmy weather.

4. Forget About That Beach Body

How many times have you heard the term ‘beach body’ between Christmas and now? Probably far too many like I have and I think it’s time to put a stop to it. Your body is beach ready whether you train every day or haven’t exerted yourself for 10 years. We spend too long worrying about how we look on that one holiday where we may or may not get to wear a bikini. So this summer let’s forget about crazy diets and bootcamps, the beach will be ready for whatever body you decide to give it.

5. Don’t Neglect Your Skin

The hot weather can do a lot of damage to our skin but there are a few things we can do to protect ourselves. Make sure you always use SPF, even if you plan to be inside. The SPF in face creams or makeup isn’t really good enough when the sun rays are strong. Invest in a good sun screen, not all of them are pasty and make all the bugs stick to you! My favourite is the Hawaiian Tropic Sheer Touch Ultra Radiance Lotion Sunscreen because it absorbs in to the skin really easily and smells like a Pina Colada! Secondly, drink as much water as you can. I’m terrible at drinking enough but I find carrying a litre bottle with me encourages me to drink more.

 

Let me know your plans for the summer and how you like to prepare in the comments below!

 

Fearless Saffron Top

Fearless Rose Bud Bag

River Island Amelie Jeans

Dune Jewelled Brooch Heels

Misspap Mirrored Sunglasses

 

This post is sponsored by Fearless but all views are my own. 

This post is in homage to all the smaller bloggers out there hustling in a crowded industry. Sometimes we can get caught up in the numbers game or put too much focus on the few well established bloggers and forget that there is a wealth of talent that largely goes under the radar. There are so many I would have loved to include that I’m thinking about turning this in to a series of posts. Let me know if that is something you’d like to see! I had a hard time narrowing it down to just 5 this time but I had to recognise these lovely ladies first because they have been a huge support and inspiration to me on my blogging journey.

Chloe Plumstead

www.thelittleplum.co.uk

I find myself going back to Chloe’s blog more and more. Her content takes blogging to a new level in my opinion. The topics she writes about are so individual, she looks at the industry from a completely different point of view. It’s usually the imagery that attracts me to a blog post but in Chloe’s case it is definitely her writing, not that her images aren’t stunning too! Nearly all the topics she writes about are thought provoking and make me want to know her opinion. Not every blogger would have the guts to take on some of the topics she writes about but she does it well with wit and charm. I’m sure Chloe is destined for great things in the near future.

Here are a few posts of Chloe’s that I really enjoyed reading:

Trying To Accept That I’m Not An Insta-Girl

Is Blogging Only For the Middle Class?

Holly White

www.hollylovesthesimplethings.co.uk

I love the endearing way Holly writes. She’s unapologetically open and honest about her life which is such a refreshing change in our over edited world. Although I’m a bit older than Holly I can totally relate to her posts now or remember experiencing similar thoughts and feelings when I was her age. When I scroll through some of Holly’s posts they remind me of an editorial spread in a fashion magazine. Her modelling really helps bring her blog to life and gives it a maturity beyond her years.

These are my favourite posts from The Simple Things:

Don’t Rain On My Parade

My Busyness Is Making Me Feel Like A Bad Person

Zaineb

www.zeenaxena.com

This girl is an inspiration to all us blogging business women. Not only does she have a super cute blog but she’s also the founder of Blogging Gals, an online community to help recognise and promote smaller bloggers. Blogging Gals and Zaineb have been a huge help to me since I started blogging. You can really see her passion for the industry in everything she does. She gives the best skincare advice, or any advice for that matter. If you feel unmotivated or are struggling for inspiration, that will all change after a 5 minute chat with her! And to top it all, she’s also one of the kindest bloggers you’ll ever meet.

These are a couple of posts that I enjoyed reading:

Opportunities, Travelling And Freelancing

How To Work Effectively With Bloggers

Layla Panam

www.laylapanam.com

If you’re not new to my blog you’ll have heard me talk about the importance of being true to yourself and your style. Layla is such a good example of this, she stays consistant across her blog and all her social media. She’s a great example of how building your own brand in blogging can help establish a loyal following. You always know what you’re going to get with Layla! That level of consistency and individuality makes Layla one of my favourite bloggers. Any time I need some Instagram Baddie inspiration she is my go to.

Here are a couple of my favourite posts:

Why I Don’t Want To Write Anymore

How To Start Your Own Blog

Patricia B

www.peexo.co.uk

Having one of those ‘I have nothing to wear’ days? Well Patricia is your girl. Her Instagram and the fashion section of her blog is a catalogue of outfits that literally anyone could wear. From the latest trends to classic pieces she has a post on it all. I can’t imagine the sheer amount of time and effort she puts in to creating her outfit posts and Instagram feed. But the section of her blog I love the most is the travel category. Her post on the Maldives that she captured on her iPhone reminds me that you don’t need all the bells and whistles to produce good content.

You can read these posts here:

The Maldives From My iPhone

Following Trends Doesn’t Make Your Style Boring

 

Are there any other bloggers you’re loving at the moment? I’d love to hear about them, let me know in the comments below.

I was scrolling through my Twitter timeline recently and saw a conversation between two bloggers about what a blog post should consist of. The general gist was that unless a post contains multiple Vogue worthy images and a piece of writing to rival Shakespeare then it wasn’t a legit post. I might be slightly exaggerating here but needless to say the tone of the tweets got my back up a little.

First and foremost, a post is whatever you want it to be. If you want to write the next War and Peace accompanied with a grainy image then that’s fine. If you want to share 5 glossy images of your latest purchase with no words at all then that’s fine too. Literally whatever you feel like expresses your creativity best is what you should do! And don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. There is no magic formula to creating a good post which is the beauty of blogging.

I hear some of you sceptics say “Well that’s fine but you won’t be very successful unless you appeal to brands”. And here’s what I’d say to them; if you want to blog because it’s your passion then making money is secondary or irrelevant. As long as your stay true to yourself, it will be fulfilling. If you want to blog to make money then exploit your unique take on a post to your advantage. How many times have we heard that this industry is saturated and there’s no more space for new bloggers. I think there is space as long as there is a point of difference. There’s no point in copying someones style or conforming to a standard way of blogging because it’s the done thing. That won’t get you noticed. If you’re doing something that is attracting an audience success will follow. It’s like the old saying, first they laugh then they copy. I’ve seen this and experienced this so many times in the blogging world. If you feel like you’re doing something unconventional then do more of it! Taking risks pays off.

So there really is not ‘correct’ way to blog. The more unusual and unique the better! Let’s use our platforms to force diversity in the industries we play in, challenge the status quo and pave the way for future creators.

 

These items were kindly sent to me.


Right guys, I thought I would do a follow up to my post on the Cohorted Beauty Box, which you can read here, because I wanted to make sure that last months box wasn’t a one off, value for money deal. Although I think subscription boxes are a great idea and the epitome of convienience, I’ve recently had a bad experience with one. It wasn’t a beauty box, it was a grocery subscription which cost more per week than the Cohorted Beauty Box costs per month. I thought it was pricey but was happy to pay extra for the convienience but after the boxes arrived damaged and their contents ruined, I had no response from their customer service team and no compensation. I cancelled that subscription straight away and have had a slight gripe with the concept ever since.

Before I tarnish every subscription service with the same brush I wanted to check that I wasn’t being ripped off by some other loophole that I hadn’t noticed before. I started to think about other subscription services that I’ve used and it made me realise that the value for money aspect isn’t always there because of wastage or damage etc. With this in mind, I’m going to review this months Cohorted Beauty Box to see if it can truely live up to it’s price.

Vita Liberata Luxury Trystal Minerals Bronzer – £35

Mineral makeup for the summer is somewhat of a trend but totally one worth following. Vita Liberata has to be my favourite tanning brand, their products are so versatile that they suit all shades. I know I will use this product as a bronzer or contour shade rather than as a tanning product. The value of this product is the same price as the monthly cost of the subscription box so already I feel much better about this subscription service!

Urban Decay ‘Naked’ Lip Liner – £10 (unavailable to purchase individually online)

I’d be happy with any Urban Decay product in a beauty box and if you saw my reaction to opening this box on Snapchat then you’d know I was really excited about this lip liner. It just so happens I’d been eyeing this shade for a little while so I was really pleased. Just like the Vita Liberata powder, this lip liner suits the majority of skin tones so I’m pretty confident it won’t go to waste.

Bettyhula Champagne & Spice Body Moisturiser – £12.99

Once again Cohorted have introduced me to brands I’d never heard of before. I was immediately drawn to this product because I’ve never seen a champagne body butter before which is rather exciting. This is what I especially love about this box is that it allows you to discover brands you might never come across normally.

Loewe Aura Moisturising Body Lotion – £15 (unavailable to purchase online)

I think this has to be my favourite product from this months box. I cannot tell you how good it smells! It is really feminine and light to wear which is perfect for this mini heatwave we’re going through at the moment. It’s also small enough to be travel size so this will stay in my washbag until it’s finished.

Lin & Lo Matte ‘Real Red’ Lipstick – £19

Another brand discovery this month was Lin & Lo who are also a mineral makeup brand. I always think a good lipstick is a great find in a beauty box because I know that at some point or another I will use it. And being a Cohorted box means that the brands are good quality. I really like the peace of mind that comes with quality products, I don’t have to worry about allergic reactions or the product leaking or drying up easily.

So overall this box contains £91.99 worth of product for the price of £35. Last months box was worth £106 so I think it’s safe to assume that each box will amount to £100 on average. A couple of the products included in this months edition are not available to purchase online which in a way makes them slightly more valuable as their not so easy to get hold off. Once again, I can’t find fault with the Cohorted Beauty Box and it’s definitely put my mind at rest about subscription services. I think the moral of the story is do your research before committing to a repeat purchase product or service.

 

These items were kindly sent to me. 

This month I was lucky enough to be sent the Cohorted Beauty Box for April. I’ve heard a lot about this particular beauty box, it is renowned for containing some of the most prestigious beauty brands on the market. We all know the pitfalls of any subscription service, we might like one or two of the items in the package but the rest goes to waste. This box is £35 per month including delivery, which is at the higher end of the price scale but I guess it reflects the brands Cohorted work with. To me £35 is pretty pricey to be shelling out every month just on new beauty products. I’d like to think I don’t spend that normally in a month on cosmetics (although I probably do, oops!). So is it really worth the money?

What I really like about this box is that it comes with a Beauty Box Edit booklet which gives more information about the brands and products in the box. To me, this shows a lot of thought and effort has been put in to helping the receiver use the products correctly. It’s also a great tool to gather inspiration.

Laura Geller Creme Glaze Baked Eyeshadow Trio – £25.66

I’ve never tried any Laura Geller products before, I hadn’t even heard of the brand. But as soon as I saw this Trio palette in Sandy Lagoon I had an immediate urge to try it out! The blue shade might go unused but the other two eyeshadows are fast becoming my favourite to add shimmer for a more dramatic eye look. They also contain Vitamin E which keeps your eyelids soft.

Percy & Reed Eau My Goodness Shine & Fragrance Spray – £22

Ok so a lot of beauty subscriptions use mini’s or sample sizes to pack out their boxes, but not Cohorted. This Percy & Reed Shine spray comes in two sizes, 50ml and 100ml. And yep, I got the 100ml full size in my box. I really love Percy & Reed products, having used quite a few from their range before (see previous post). In all honesty, I’d never really think to purchase this product myself, and after using it I’m still not sure I’d buy it. It’s a great product, it gives a shine and smells lovely but I just wouldn’t remember to use it. But hey, at least I got to try it.

Laura Geller Spackle Neutraliser Colour-Correcting Under Make-Up Primer – £28.34

In my experience colour correctors are hit and miss, especially if you’ve never tested them before. I wasn’t too sure on this product when I first saw it but after reading about it’s benefits in the Beauty Box Edit booklet I started to come around to it. It contains minerals, amino acids, aloe, white tea extract and lots more good stuff. In terms of performance, the verdict is still out on this one but again, I’d never have thought to try it without this beauty box.

Laura Mercier Creme Smooth Lip Colour – £22

The packaging! You guys know I love pretty looking products and this one ticks the box. I’m really glad I got this in Antique Pink, there were two other colours available with the April edition. I really have no complaints about this product, it has a beautiful finish and it very wearable. I’m not really a lipstick person so perhaps would never have bought this ordinarily, but it is most definitely something I would repurchase.

Elemis Pro-Collagen Hydra-Gel Eye Masks – £8

I’d like to think I’ve been using anti-aging prematurely but you can never be too careful. Thankfully, after using the eye masks I didn’t see too much difference to the appearance of my skin apart from looking brighter and feeling more supple. The box contained one set of the eye mask which works out to about £8. You can buy a pack of 6 for around £47.50 on the Elemis website.

So for £35 subscription for this box you would get £106 worth of product! That definitely sounds like value for money to me and I would highly recommend this subscription to anyone who wants to try some new high end brands.

 

These items were kindly sent to me.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone and bought a new beauty product after hearing rave reviews from bloggers only to be bitterly disappointed. It has to be one of the most annoying and frustrating things. It has made me really cautious when it comes to cult beauty staples these days because as the hype for it grows the cons seem to get lost along the way. And most must-have cosmetics come with a weighty price tag too so it’s not exactly an impulse buy. But recently I have come across a solution to this problem, a brand I can really trust – Charlotte Tilbury.

I had one of those moments after Christmas where I wanted to completely clear out my dressing table and start again. The only problem was, could I really part with the tried and tested cosmetics I rely on every day? The honest answer was no, it had taken too long to find products I get along with to just give them up! But I couldn’t deny that for a long time I’d been looking for more ‘efficient’ makeup.  Don’t get me wrong, I love spending hours getting ready but that’s not feasible every day. But I also didn’t want to compromise the result. After trying various samples from high street and high end brands I settled on Charlotte Tilbury and I wasn’t disappointed.

Charlotte’s Magic Cream

This cream, where do I start! Moisturiser is so important to flawless makeup. I had used the Chanel Sublimage moisturiser which was out of this world, by far my favourite although it could look a bit oily as the day wore on. But I forgave it that, probably just to justify the price. After I finished the first pot, I flitted from face cream to face cream, not liking one enough to purchase again. Until one day I receive a sample of Charlotte Tilbury’s Magic Night Cream. It immediately reminded me of Sublimage but had a thicker, more luxurious consistency which I liked. I used it at night and in the day and found that the silky texture really suited my skin. It inspired me to try Charlotte’s Magic Cream which I now use every day regardless of whether I am wearing make up or not. I will definitely be repurchasing this product.

Wonderglow Face Primer

This purchase was a direct result of my all time favourite make up tutorial. Charlotte recreated the wedding look she did for Amal Clooney which is absolutely stunning:

She used the Wonderglow primer in this look and it won me over immediately. It’s such a subtle way to highlight or achieve a natural glow. If you like BB creams or sheer coverage foundations you could probably just use this product on its own because it blurs out imperfections and brightens the skin. It applies just like a cream and makes your skin feel really soft. This has become such a staple for me because it allows me to use less foundation and concealer.

The Retoucher Concealer

Previously I had used a Mac concealer for years and years but I was never really happy with it. It was cakey and creased really easily. I did have reservations about trying a new concealer because it’s really difficult to find the right shade and texture. I decided to take the plunge and try the Retoucher Concealer, I liked how easy the application was in a pen. I was really surprised to find after using it for a couple of days that the end result looked just like foundation but with more coverage. It’s really easy to set with minimal powder so it would be hard to make it look cakey. If I had to find a negative I would say this concealer is not full coverage, if you want to hide bags this probably isn’t for you. But does have a really natural finish that could even be worn instead of foundation.

Eyes To Mesmerise

This is another product that I had to get after watching a few of Charlotte’s YouTube tutorials. It is a cream eyeshadow that has a slight sheen to it which gives a more natural look and is perfect for every dau. If you apply this with a brush it gives a wash of colour but if you apply with your fingers and then blend in it gives a much deeper colour. Either way it is easy and quick to apply. It makes it really versatile and it’s such a dream to blend – much easier than powder eyeshadows. Another great thing about this eyeshadow is that it does not crease even after 12 hours of wear. This is another product that I will definitely repurchase because it is flawless.

 

Products featured in this post:

 

Some of these items were kindly sent to me.

Finding that outfit suitable for party season is the least enjoyable part of the festivities for me. How do you choose something that will look good while you play board games with your family but also at a Christmas party? Instead of searching for endless pieces which I probably will never wear again, this year I’ve decided to keep it casual with block colours and simple tailoring. You don’t have to look like the fairy on top of the tree all shiny and sequinned to stand out. The classic look goes a long way, especially when everyone else is dolled up. For me, this look is perfect for an early Christmas lunch or a informal work do which doesn’t require too much effort. And with so much food eating and gift wrapping going on over the holidays, who has time waste on getting ready!

 

These items were kindly sent to me.