The final instalment of the summer evening edit is here and this time it is all about loose and airy fabrics. Catch the final draft of evening breeze in wide leg trousers and something easy to throw over the top for a really relaxed look.
- Rare London White Cigarette Trousers
- River Island Satin Duster Coat (similar)
- Blush Court Shoes (similar)
These items were kindly sent to me.
My last Love Me Beauty box contained all the usual amazing goodies but I was really surprised and pleased to find a few sets of the EcoTools brushes to try. I personally have never owned any of these brushes and to be totally honest, I’ve never been compelled to buy them. It might be because the packaging isn’t really to my taste or that I’ve heard mixed reviews about the brushes. Whatever the reason may have been, I’ve really looked forward to testing them out.
What I Liked
Firstly, I have to give credit to EcoTools for their environmental and sustainability commitment. I love their tag line “Beautiful You. Beautiful World.” Not many companies, inside or outside the beauty sector, have made such large and visible commitments to the environment and sourcing responsibly. Their products are 100% cruelty free and use recycled materials and renewable bamboo. As if that wasn’t enough, they also do a lot of charity work. For these reasons, they get a huge thumbs up from me; more companies should take a leaf out of EcoTools book!
So on to the brushes themselves. I was sent four sets; the Essential Eye Set, the Travel Set, the Starter Set and the Day To Night Set. Each set is packaged separately and comes with its own brush case which is great for organising all my make up brushes. I also liked how the description and use of the brushes is explained on the packaging.
The bristles on the brushes are synthetic which makes them super soft. It means that the brushes pick up powder product evenly and apply really smoothly too. For anyone who can be a bit heavy handed with the bronzer or highlighter, the Blush Brush or Angled Face Brush can help you soften the look without having to start again!
The brush sets are very affordable compared to similar brands, averaging about £10 per set depending where you shop. They’d make a great first makeup brush set for anyone who is just starting to use makeup or even for anyone with sensitive skin because the soft bristles are easy to clean.
What I Didn’t Like
I say this a lot in beauty posts, but packaging really can be a deal breaker. For me, the packaging of the sets isn’t that appealing. I understand the branding and packaging has been created to reflect the sustainability element of the business but I’m afraid it just doesn’t do it for me! I like to display my brushes on my dressing table and unfortunately I think these would stay in their cases..in a drawer.
I mentioned the softness of the brushes before but I have to say this is a downfall of the brushes too. While the fluffiness is good for face powder products, it can actually become a pain for any precision work. So anything like eyeliner, brows or applying eyeshadow in specific areas is really tricky and can become messy quickly because the bristles aren’t firm enough.
The size of the brushes are also a major issue for me. I found all of the brushes in the smokey eye kit far too big for their purpose. For example, the flat Eyeshadow Brush is really wide so it picks up more product than what is needed and causes a lot of fallout. But the face brushes were on the small side which meant that I had to apply the makeup multiple times before I was happy. This is a really annoying issue with the brushes and it’s not something I have come across before.
Overall, I’m really glad I had the chance to try EcoTools brushes. They definitely have their good points and I really like their brand message. I think the brushes are probably more suited to someone who is just starting out with makeup rather than for a more experienced person. I’d probably use some of the brushes regularly but most of them aren’t really good enough to replace what I use now.
If you haven’t tried beautyboxes before but you’d like to give it a go, I would really recommend opting for the Love Me Beauty boxes. Not only do you get really great brands like Rodial, Nails Inc and Tangle Teezer, but it is tailored specifically for you. When you sign up to the subscription you will be asked to fill in your profile. It includes things like hair, eye and skin colour, your skincare preferences and favourite makeup products so that you will receive goodies that you are actually interested in. As if that wasnt tempting enough, you can get 20% off your subscription by using code anika20.
These items were kindly sent to me.
How many times have you answered the question ‘What are you going to wear?’ with ‘Probably jeans and a nice top’. But then how many times have you struggled to find that nice top, or even the right jeans. I know I’ve done this a hundred times and I’m left scrambling around my bedroom at the last minute trying to find a good combo! But as you regular readers know I love a good pair of jeans. It all comes down to the colour and style of the jeans which can help stop that mad dash of finding something to wear before you’re due to leave the house.
I think jeans are really underrated in fashion at the moment but most of us wear them regularly. Jeans don’t have to be just for casual days or a last resort when you don’t know what to wear. The majority of my fashion posts have featured a few of my favourite jeans and you will probably have noticed that it’s usually the same three pairs! There is nothing better than well-fitting denim to get you through the day, no matter what you are doing. For me, having a versatile pair of jeans in my wardrobe that I can dress up or down is crucial. I’m really fussy about the shade and wash of the jeans because I want to be able to style them with different colours and textures. So when River Island set me the task of styling my favourite RI Denim in three different looks it was a dream come true!
Firstly, the jeans I chose were the mid blue wash Amelie super skinny ones. I immediately fell in love with the colour of these jeans, mid blue is a great shade to wear with lighter and darker clothes. And I mostly choose skinny fit jeans because they create the illusion of longer legs for us shorter girls! I toyed with the idea of distressed denim but it can be limiting if you really want your denim to be flexible.
After finding the perfect pair of jeans it is time to have fun with what to style with them. I really liked the idea of playing with textures like satin and suede to create an outfit that is more interesting than just a tshirt and jeans. Teaming these with basic or a printed tops can complete the look while still feeling comfortable.
- River Island Jeans
- River Island Satin Duster Coat
- River Island Khaki Choker V-Neck Top
- River Island Khaki Heels
- River Island Grey Biker Coat
- River Island Lip Print Bodysuit
These items were kindly sent to me.
So this is the second instalment of the Summer Evening edit with Rare London. I thought I would share with you a more relaxed look that will take you from day to night. This scuba dress is really comfortable and easy to wear on most occasions. The fit is perfect too which isn’t something I can say often with dresses. I was really happy that this dress did not need alterations and it comes with a simple embellishment around the waist so there’s one less accessory to worry about!
These items were kindly sent to me.
It’s been a while since I’ve put up a fashion only post but they’re back in full force now as I have teamed up with Rare London to bring you three simple summer evening looks. It seems like summer has finally arrived here in the UK in the form of a heatwave. I’m definitely not complaining about the hot weather but it does make dressing for the day much harder! Especially when the evenings have been as sticky as the mid-day sun, so over the next couple of weeks I will be sharing with you three outfits to help you stay cool for those summer evening occassions.
When the temperature reaches 25C the most obvious thing to do is to dress in airy, loose fitting clothes to capture as much breeze as you can. But if you have a special occasion you are attending or even going out to dinner in an upmarket restaurant, sometimes a floaty number just doesn’t cut it. Luckily for us, the bardot trend it still going strong and can work to our advantage in this heat. I love this bardot bodysuit from Rare London because it is structured but also has the feminine detail of the crochet edging. Paired with an all black outfit, or even dressed down with jeans it will suit those smart formal evening events.
These items were kindly sent to me.
Back when I was thinking about starting a blog I read so many articles and blog posts and spent hours watching Youtube videos to find out what I actually needed to start a blog. There are many helpful tips out there from experienced bloggers but it does take a bit of digging to find exactly what you are looking for because every blog is different and everyone’s style of blogging is unique. Bearing that in mind, I wanted to created a post that will let you know the basics about what is involved in starting a fashion blog, all in one place. These tips can also be transferred to beauty blogs and other niches too.
1. Decide If It Is What You Want
Before anything else you must be sure that starting a blog is what you want to do. I cannot stress this point enough because it plays a huge part in how much satisfaction you get out of blogging and how successful your blog is.
When I created mine I have to admit I had my doubts about blogging. I was torn between starting on a blogging journey or continuing with the career I had already chosen. I like to give my all to whatever I choose to do and become as successful as I can at it. I was concerned that splitting my attention between two options would compromise my commitment and ability on both. And blogging is a world away from the career I had chosen so it almost felt like I was living two lives. This is something I still battle with now because blogging is not my full time job but luckily after a few weeks of blogging I had fallen in love with it. But when life gets busy it’s usually the blog that suffers unfortunately. However, I know that blogging is something I want to continue which keeps me motivated and makes it enjoyable for me.
2. The Blog
Now that you’ve decided that blogging is for you here comes the fun part, actually building your blog. There are so many publishing tools you could use to start, like Tumblr or Blogger but if you want to blog seriously I would really recommend WordPress. This way you can choose your own domain name and blog hosting which is much easier to build a brand from. There are a number of web hosting sites that support WordPress and they will guide you through the steps of buying a domain and web hosting fees.
The name and theme (aka template) of your blog are critical. Have a good long think about the name of your blog because you don’t want to regret it in a few years. I kept my blog name as my name because it allows me to be flexible with what I post. I also think a blog named after its founder is more personal. Secondly, the theme you choose will set the tone for your blog. There are loads of free themes to choose from on WordPress so you will definitely find something you like. Keep in mind how user friendly and intuitive the theme is because anything too complicated will put readers off.
Actually setting up your blog will probably take you the most time unless you’re a tech wiz. Take your time with it and be decisive because it really is the foundation of your overall blogging experience.
3. Social Media
Having a blog is all well and good but you want people to see it. That is where your social media becomes your personal cheerleader. You need to use it to promote your blog and any new content you post. Get on as many social media sites as you can and preferably have the same name across all. Twitter, Instagram and Facebook are a must but Snapchat and Pinterest are also really useful. I would also stress keeping your social media consistant in terms of themes and the images you post. If you want to be a fashion blogger don’t post loads of pictures of food on your Instagram. Your social media should be an extension of your blog so keeping it all in sync is really important because then readers will know what to expect.
Posting on social media needs to be a daily thing to keep your followers engaged. A sign of a successful blogger is when readers want to know more about your life than just what you are wearing that day. Remember to be personable and entertaining but also remember that a blog is like a mini business so steer away from posting anything too unprofessional.
Social media is also a great way of discovering like-minded bloggers to connect and interact with. There are some fantastic communities out there like #BloggingGals, a personal favourite of mine, which support small and medium bloggers by sharing their content with a wider audience. It can get a bit lonely as a blogger so having a community you can vent too and rely on becomes very important.
4. The Camera
Imagery is everything. At least for me anyway, I always think a well written post can really be elevated with the addition of beautiful imagery. For a fashion blog I think at least one image per post is a must. There is no set minimum or maximum number of images you should include, as long as you make sure your are publishing your best work. Don’t include images that you’re not happy with just to fill the space on the page. Even a full fashion post could consist of three crisp images and still feel complete if it is well executed.
If there was one thing that stressed me out the most when I first started blogging it was how to achieve the images I wanted. Sometimes when we look through established bloggers work it’s hard to tell whether it is a blog or the next edition of Porter magazine because their pictures look so professional. While it’s not ideal to compare your work with others, you can certainly take inspiration from those bloggers. The good news is you don’t need to break the bank to get a camera which can take professional blog worthy photos. Luckily there is one go-to camera for all bloggers in my opinion and that is the Olympus Pen. It is a great beginner camera for even the most novice of photographers and allows you to capture stunning images with minimal effort. It is also a decent price, starting at around £300 depending on the spec and lenses you choose. It is a bit of an investment but it’s totally worth it!
The Pen is small and light to carry and fast at taking photos. I always have mine at the ready in my bag. What I find really useful about this camera is that it has a wifi connection which allows you to connect your phone and save photos to your phones camera roll. This makes is really quick to get images from your camera to your social media in no time at all. I also like how it has a flip down screen which makes it ideal for vlogging too. The Olympus Pen is really instagrammable itself because it is so stylish and it has lots of accessories options you can buy to make it your own.
I would also recommend purchasing a tripod whilst you are at it so you can snap those outfit shots yourself when there’s no one around to help you. A simple one from Amazon will do, you can’t really go too far wrong.
5. Contact Address
After you have set up your blog and social media you will need to create a blog email address. It’s a good idea to create a separate email address for your blog, like you would for any other job. You want to keep it separate so your inbox stays organised and you don’t miss anything. It’s also easier to keep all your blogging information in one place. Once you have done this make sure you share the address on social media. Add it to your bio wherever possible so that companies and followers know where to contact you and can do so easily. The easier you make it, the more you will be contacted. It’s also a good idea to have a contact page on your blog which is just a basic form for people to fill in just in case they missed you email address.
If you get blogger mail, or anticipate that you will then I would recommend getting PO Box address so that you don’t have to give out your personal home address to companies. It’s completely up to you but you can never be too safe these days! All you have to do is fill out a Royal Mail application form and they will do the rest. There is a charge for having a PO Box so you might need to consider how much you will use it but it is worth knowing that it is an option.
So after these five steps you should be ready to start blogging! Well almost, there is a lot more to blogging which you will soon find out but these are the fundamentals which will help set you up in the blogging world.
- Lasula Khaki Bomber Jacket (similar)
- Lasula White Crop Top
- Asos Black Jeans (similar)
- New Look Heels
These items were kindly sent to me.
Ok, these are the looks I was loving in the month of June and there is quite a lot of them! All tags to the clothing can be found on my Instagram or leave a comment down below if you can’t find what you’re looking for. Also don’t forget to check out my Depop account because I’m always adding new items for sale. Just search ‘anika13’ on the app.
View more here.
I think the question I get asked the most now is: how does blogging work? Which is usually followed by any number of these questions:
Do you buy your own clothes? How do you get noticed by brands? Do they tell you what to write? How much do you get paid? How many followers do you need to have before you can work with brands? Is it hard work? How do I know when a blogger has been sponsored to post something? Have you turned down sponsored posts? How much of other bloggers content is sponsored? And the list goes on..
If you have ever wondered about any of these questions then this post is for you! I’m aiming to answer as many questions as possible (apart from how much do you get paid because that’s a whole other post!) and be as truthful as I can be because I know this is an area of interest for a lot of people. Before I started blogging I had no idea how sponsored content worked, I’m not sure I was even aware that such a thing existed. I assumed that bloggers were sometimes paid to post about a certain products or brands but sponsored content is a lot more than just one simple transaction.
Why Do Brands Sponsor Content?
The blogging world is going through a rapid evolution. In recent years we have seen some of our favourite internet influencers move in to mainstream media, write best selling books and become multi-millionaire business people. The reason they have been able to achieve these incredible things is down their ability to attract, engage and grow their online following. If you think about your favourite top three influencers, the chances are that together they have a combined reach of millions across all their platforms. These followers are people that have actively chosen to follow them because they like the content the influencer is putting out. And there lies the answer as to why brands want to work with bloggers. Bloggers have a unique reach and influence over a large audience which is every marketing departments dream. Using bloggers to promote products ensures that their product is being seen by x amount of people with similar styles and interests. What a genius way to specifically target a demographic! It is a direct method of marketing and can generate sales almost instantly so why would any brand hesitate to take advantage of this. No matter whether the influencer uses Youtube, a blog, social media or all three, there is no doubt that their content grabs our attention and makes us want to join them and brands want a slice of that.
So that answers why the biggest bloggers attract sponsored content, but what about all the other bloggers. I would consider myself to have a modest following now but the opportunity to collaborate with brands came to me when I had no blog and as little as 2000 followers across my social media. How did that happen? Well it can be down to a number of things. Of course brands primarily want to sell their products but they also need to develop their own identity online. This is a difficult thing to do for individuals, but for bands it can be even more challenging. So, a way to do this is to collaborate with bloggers who share the same image the brand has or wants to achieve. Basically, if you fit their look they probably want to work with you. Not all brands follow this thinking but there are some that do. There is also an argument that bloggers with a small following have a higher level of engagement with their followers meaning their influence is greater. It’s debatable, but it could explain why smaller bloggers attract brand collaborations.
What is Sponsored Content?
To put it simply, sponsored content is when a brand or company pays a blogger to post about their product but the blogger is free to give their own opinions. If a blogger is paid to post content which can ONLY convey a positive messages about the brand or product then it is an advertisement. Sponsored content can be relayed in many forms such as a blog post, youtube video, social media posts, giveaways and competitions etc. Payment is typically a monetary sum but can also be paid in exchange for vouchers, products, trips and so on. For example, a fashion brand may ask a blogger to create a blog post featuring their clothes. They might send the blogger clothes to wear and then pay them for the post. Or they could provide the blogger with a certain amount of vouchers for their store as a form of payment. It really depends on the brand and the opportunity.
The main reason why bloggers accept some form of sponsored content is because it is a way for them to monetise their blogs. Why shouldn’t bloggers be paid for their hard work, and yes it is hard work. Blogging is not a 9-5 job. Most bloggers will be answering emails, taking pictures or writing posts almost 24/7. Blogging is a lifestyle which doesn’t switch off
How Does It Work?
I’ve had lots of people ask me how working with brands actually works. And the honest answer is it really depends. You can collaborate on a sponsored post with a brand who is happy to let you have free reign and create what you want as long as they are mentioned. Or you can be working with a brand who want to micro-manage every aspect of a post despite agreeing to let you write your honest opinions. This is understandable as brands are taking a risk with sponsored content. You could be paid to review a product and completely slate it, essentially the brand has then paid you to damage their reputation. That is why it’s really important to work with brands that suit your style because being constructive creates better content than just criticism.
Whichever way the brand works there are some simple expectations. For example the brand needs to be mentioned by name and links to the product you are being sponsored to promote need to be clear and easily accessible to readers. Some kind of imagery is also typically required which needs to be good quality. Increasingly brands will also require direct mentions on social media too.
How Do I Know When Content Is Sponsored?
There has been some debate as to whether bloggers need to be more open and honest about what is sponsored and what is not. Some bloggers do it so well you might never notice until you squint at the small print at the bottom of their post. Luckily there are some easy ways to spot whether a post has been sponsored.
The first thing to clarify is that there is a difference between a sponsored post and an advertisement. An advertisement is when a blogger is paid to give a positive review on a product they have been sent. In this instance you will see a lot of bloggers using the word ‘ad’ in their post titles or social media captions. They are obliged to state that it is an ad in a clear way that is understandable to their audience. There is no strict wording to comply with so the blogger can articulate that it is an ad in whichever way they choose but the message must be clear.
Where it becomes murkier is when bloggers are gifted something to review but not expected to say all positive things. There isn’t a legal need to declare it as the blogger is still open to give an honest review. However, a lot of bloggers do use disclaimers to let their readers know when they have been sent an item for review so look out for that in a blog post. The same applies to sponsored posts, the blogger is still free to say what they like about the product, but it is the brands hope that the review will be positive!
In short, look out for the wording of the content you’re reading. If you clearly see the word ‘ad’, you’re being marketed too. If you see the words ‘collaboration’ or ‘sponsor’ then the content is likely to be honest, or as honest as it can be after money or free items have changed hands.
I really hope this post has answered any questions you might have. If you want to know anything else or suggest a question for another blog post leave a comment below 🙂
- Dorothy Perkins White Wrap Jacket
- Dorothy Perkins Grey Bodysuit
- Rebellious Fashion Grey Ripped Jeans (similar)
- New Look Barely There Heels
- Armani Exchange Crossbody Bag (similar)
These items were kindly sent to me.