Wishlist // Payday Beauty Buys

Pay Day Wishlist, Beauty Wishlist, UK Beauty Blog, Things I want, Pay Day Beauty Buys

Hi everyone! I hope you're all having a fabulous weekend. Now I don't know about you but as soon as pay day rolls around each month, I get all excited at the prospect of treating myself to a few new beauty bits and bobs from my wish list. It seems to make working five days a week that little bit more bearable knowing I'll get some lovely goodies at the end of it. I've not done a wish list type post for a while either and as I personally love reading them, I thought I'd show you a few of the things I'm hoping to get my mitts on this pay day!

1. REN Radiance Renewal Mask
I've been after this REN Radiance Renewal face mask for as long as I can remember now but for a pricey £30.00, I've never had the cash going spare to purchase it. However, I've decided this pay day I'm finally going to give it a whirl. I'm hoping it will live up to all its rave reviews and give my skin a nice glow. I've been suffering with problematic skin at the moment and it seems to have lost all of its radiance. Fingers crossed this will live up to its name and help me get it back.

2. Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Concentrate
Another skin care item I've been lusting after is the Kiehl's Midnight Recovery concentrate which is a face oil designed for night time use. Much like the REN mask, I've read so many rave reviews about this that I've finally caved and thought "I NEED IT!". I'm hoping this will help with radiance too and be a nice little addition to my evening skin care routine.

3. Chanel Rouge Coco Shine Lipstick
Okay, I'm a beauty blogger and I don't own a Chanel lipstick, what is wrong with me? I own over 100 other lip products (I know, ridiculous!) but Chanel isn't one of them. I don't know why I've never bought one, maybe its the price that puts me off but I've decided my lipstick collection won't be complete until I have those pretty little C's staring back at me. The formula I'm going to go for is the Rouge Coco Shine as I think it will be lovely and glossy for the Spring/Summer season.

4. Urban Decay NAKED Flushed Palette
Being a huge lover of the NAKED 1 and 2 palettes, I'm really intrigued by their latest offering in the form of a blush, bronzer and highlighting trio. I think the peach and bronze shades in this 'Flushed' palette are perfect for Spring/Summer and it would be so handy to have for travelling. I'm always on the move so something like this would be a very pretty and handy addition to my makeup bag.

5. Topshop 'Head Over Heels' Cream Blush
I've never been a massive fan of blush but recently I've discovered a few gems and its sent me a tad blush crazy. I've always loved the look of Topshop cream blushes but as I'd never got along with blush in the past, I always gave them a miss. However, I now want them ALL and 'Head Over Heels' is at the top of my wish list. Its a beautiful orange/peach shade which is my favourite shade to wear on my cheeks and I think the cream formula will give me a lovely dewy glow. Perfect for the Spring and Summer months!

6. Real Techniques Expert Face & Stippling Brushes
After using a loving a number of Real Techniques brushes for quite some time now, I'd like to add a couple more to my collection. The Expert Face and Stippling brushes are at the top of my list as I think I'd get lots of use out of both of them. I'm interested to see how the Expert Face brush would work with foundation and the Stippling Brush would be perfect for my new found love of cream blushes.

7. MAC Strobe Cream
I recently got sent a sample of Strobe Cream in a MAC order and I've been using my tiny little tube ever since. Its a liquid highlighter that can be mixed in with foundation or applied to the cheekbones and other areas of the face that would naturally catch the light. I've been loving the effect its given my skin and it really helps me achieve that much desired dewy glow.

8. Models Own 'Fruit Pastel' Box Set
As a lover of Models Own nail polishes and all things pastel, their new range of 'Fruit Pastel' nail polishes couldn't be more up my street.  They're being sold as a set on the Models Own website for £20 (bargain!) and I can't wait to get my hand on them. I think all of the shades are beautiful for this time of year and what makes them even more special is the fact they're scented! Yes you heard that right, scented nail polish. MIND.BLOWN!

9. Clarins 'Apricot Shimmer' Instant Light Lip Perfector
I've heard nothing but good things about these Clarins lip glosses on the blogosphere, so much so that I now want to try one myself to see what all the fuss is about. I particularly like the shade 'Apricot Shimmer', a beautiful pale peach.

So there we have it, a selection of beauty products I'm hoping to get on hands on when pay day rolls around. Of course theres many more things on my humongous wish list, but we'll save those for another time ...

Whats on your pay day wish list? Have you tried any of these products?

Lots of Love,


Holland & Barrett 'Sleeping Beauty' Box



Hi Ladies! I hope you’re all well and having a fabulous weekend so far. As someone who suffers with Anxiety and Panic Attacks, getting a good nights sleep is something I often struggle with. My anxiety leaves me feeling more alert and ‘on-edge’ than I’d generally like so any products that claim to help me sleep are welcomed with open arms. With this being said, you can imagine my joy when high-street health retailer Holland & Barrett contacted me to see if I’d like to trial and review a surprise ‘Sleeping Beauty box’* full of natural products to promote a good nights sleep. I wasn’t told anything else about the box but the sentence ‘promote a good nights sleep’ was enough for me to reply with a big fat ‘YES PLEASE!’ moments later.

The box arrived for me in the post a few days later and it looked super pretty wrapped with a green silk bow (sorry I don’t have a photo of this) and when I opened it I was quite surprised by the contents staring back at me. My first thought was ‘Holland & Barrett sell beauty products?’ as I had no idea they sold anything other than vitamins, food and health supplements. I also love how much thought had been put into describing each of the products and what they were all to be used for so I knew exactly what I was doing with them. I’ve been using them all for a few weeks now and I can’t wait to share my thoughts with you all. Here’s a brief overview of each of the products, what I think of them and whether they worked for me …

If like me you often struggle sleeping, having a good pamper before bed is a great way to relax and unwind. That’s where Wonder Oil comes in, the perfect pamper product. This multi-use oil contains a blend of various oils including Olive, Sunflower, Sweet Almond, Sesame and Jojoba. It can be used on the hair, skin and nails to replenish moisture, nourish and soften. It can also be used as bath or massage oil, which is perfect for those relaxing, pamper evenings before bed. I’ve been applying it all over my body after a bath and it makes my skin feel hydrated, soft and supple. It sunk in within minutes and left no greasy residue or oily film over my skin, which oils can be know to do.

I’ve tried it out on my hair too and was really impressed with the results. It left it soft, shiny and smelling fabulous. It has a lovely citrus scent thanks to a blend of Grapefruit, Lemon and Orange and although it might not be to everyone’s taste, I love it. If you’re after a multi-purpose oil that is full f natural ingredients and will nourish your skin and help you relax before bed, this one is fabulous. I recently featured it in my ‘bath time beauty’ post here and I’ve never felt more relaxed, moisturised and ready to snuggle down in bed as I have when using this. I absolutely love this product and it’s a great all rounder for those nights you want to relax and treat yourself.

Before receiving this box, I didn’t realise that Cherries contain melatonin, the chemical your body produces that makes you feel tired  - I learn something new every day! Anyway, this Black Cherry concentrate is essentially a flavouring that can be added to warm water before bed to help you relax and feel tierd. I have to be honest and say I wasn’t overly keen on the taste, which is such a shame, as I love the concept of drinking something natural before bed that will help aid the sleeping process. I’m going to keep trying with it as it sounds really promising and anything that will help me to get a good nights sleep is worth continuing with. It can also be added to smoothies or mixed through yoghurt so I may give those a try instead and see how I get along. Obviously the taste is personal preference thought so if you know you like cherry flavours, don’t let my opinion put you off!

I’m sure you’re all aware that Lavender is known for its relaxing and soothing scent and this aromatherapy oil from Holland & Barratt is no exception. I’ve been popping a small drop of it onto my pillow just before bed (you only need a tiny amount as its pretty strong) and it really does help me relax and wind down. There’s not a great deal more to say about this other than if you like Lavender scents and need help relaxing before bed, this is a must-have. I’m going to try popping a few drops in the bath next time I use it as I imagine that would be very relaxing indeed! For only £4.99 I’ll definitely be repurchasing when mine runs out.

As I said earlier, I didn’t even know Holland & Barrett sold beauty products so to see a moisturiser staring back at me from the box was very exciting. This Dr. Organic night cream contains Argan Oil, which has become a very popular ingredient in beauty products lately. Known as a ‘wonder oil’ its meant to hydrate and nourish the skin.  This cream is very thick and luxurious so I’m not sure how well it would work on oily skin types but as I have combination skin, I find with a thin layer, I can just get away with it. Its exceptionally moisturising and feels very luxurious to slick on before bed and I find my skin feels exceptionally hydrated after using it. If you suffer with very dry skin, I imagine this would work amazingly well for you. It can also be used on any dry areas of the body too or as a hand and foot cream. Again, a brilliant pamper product to pop on before bed.

So you’re probably wanting to know if these products helped me get to sleep and the answer to that is, yes! I mean don’t get me wrong, none of these products are miracle workers and none of them will instantly make you fall asleep (they are natural after all) but if you need a helping hand to fall asleep naturally, I’d highly recommend them. I’m also really intrigued by the rest of the Dr. Organic skincare range as I love using natural skincare products and the range of products available is huge.

The ‘Sleeping Beauty’ box I received isn’t actually available to buy but the individual products are all readily available from Holland & Barrett stores and their website. However, if they were to come out with a monthly or even quarterly beauty box, I’d definitely sign up. The idea of getting a selection of natural products that will benefit me every month is highly appealing. What do you think guys, would you be interested in seeing something like this arrive on your doorstep every month? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Did you know Holland & Barrett sold beauty products? What do you think of this box?

Lots of Love,

Stock Up for Spring – 2013’s Style Essentials


Hi Ladies! Today I'm sharing a fabulous post on behalf of BANK Fashion with you all. As soon as they got in touch with me to ask if I'd be interested in collaborating on a post, I jumped at the chance. I found this a great read, its all about Spring Style Essentials and trends that are set to be hot for S/S 2013. I've also fallen head over heels in love with the featured fringe dress from BANK and its currently in the sale for only £15.00, such a bargain. I've popped a little collage together with some shoes I think would match it perfectly, also from BANK, and I now want them both - whoops. Its the perfect outfit to tie in with this seasons Monochrome trend which you can find out more about below ...

The A/W 2012 season was as opulent as it gets – jewels, metallics, luxe fabrics, and lashings of gilt brocade. It’s all a little too heavy for the warmer months ahead, so it’s time to change things up. This season, designers have given their collections a spring clean, freshening up and paring things back.

There’s something for everyone, from slick new tailoring alternatives for the office, to breezy new fabrics that are made for a weekend getaway. So get ready to strip back your wardrobe and get back to basics with these simple, chic style tips for spring.

Make it monochrome 
After seasons of colour blocking and popping shades, the time feels right to get back to black and white. Monochrome was the colour palette of choice on the runways at Celine, Jil Sander and beyond, where black and white was worn together to create delicious contrast. Michael Kors and Marc Jacobs went mod-ish with stripes, while Calvin Klein wowed with a truly grown-up take on the colour trend. One of the easiest colour combos to work into your wardrobe for spring, it’s clean, chic, and really packs a punch. If statement stripes are too bold for you, this gorgeous fringe dress from BANK shows you there are so many more ways to wear it. 

The tunic
This season there’s a new wardrobe staple in town. With sleeves or without, the tunic featured heavily on the S/S runways, with Gucci revealing a whole new luxe tunic line. Incredibly flattering on every frame, the loose-fit shape skims over lumps and bumps and keeps things light and breezy for the warmer spring weather. Designers layered the new look tunic over leggings, knee-length shorts, and skirts too, showing just how versatile this little number can be. Look out for more structured fabrics like cotton that are great for a smarter office look but, to really stay on trend, stick to the soft silks and sheers spotted at Gucci.

The new look kimono
It was hard to escape from the kimono shape at this season’s shows. Designers looked to the Far East for inspiration, and everyone from Pucci to Dries Van Noten had a new take on this classic. Haider Ackermann tailored-up with some jaw-dropping kimono-inspired suits, while Dries Van Noten kept the look laid back with longline kimonos in feminine, slouchy cuts.

Barely there
The pared back look has been taken to the next level with spring fabrics. Transparency is the watchword, with sheer fabrics floating down the runways alongside chunky transparent jewellery. Barely there dresses, tunics, blouses and trousers were layered up at Cavalli and Reed Krakoff, lending an ethereal feel to this season’s collections. Another breezy look for the warmer months ahead, this look is less top-to-toe sheer than last year’s sheer maxi trend, and more about working in sheer elements to create a sophisticated veiled silhouette.

This is a sponsored post*
 
I hope you enjoyed reading this ladies - I found it really interesting and I hope you did too!



What are your favourite trends for S/S?






The Perfect Spring Blush // Illamasqua Excite

Hi Ladies! I hope you're all well and having a great week so far. Before I get into my review I just want to say a huge thank you to everyone who read or commented on my 'Blogging Basics Tips & Advice' post - I'm quite overwhelmed by the amazing response and all the tweets and emails I've received from fellow bloggers. So without getting all soppy on you, thank you very much - it means the world to me!

Okay, so now my thank you's are out of the way, let me get back to the focus of this post - a review of my first EVER Illamasqua blush. Illamasqua blushes are one of those products that have been on my wish list for such a long time but as I don't wear blush all that often, I never liked the idea of parting with £18.00 for a product I might not get much use from. The reason I'm not really into blush is because I don't think it particularly suits me and I've never found one thats made a massive difference to the overall appearance of my makeup. However, when I spotted this gorgeous coral Illamasqua blush in the shade 'Excite' on Coco from The Beauty Milk's blog sale, I thought 'what the hell' and immediately said I wanted it. Within minutes she'd sent me an invoice on Paypal and the blush was mine.

When it arrived for me in the post, I instantly fell in love with the packaging. The shiny black square with the Illamasqua logo embedded on the front is just beautiful. It feels very sturdy too and although I didn't pay the full £18.00 price tag for it, I was very happy to see a high-end brand reflect the price of their products in their packaging. After admiring the packaging for a while, my next thought was 'holy crap, this blush is bright, I'm going to end up looking like a clown'. However, although it does look bright (almost neon) Orange in the pan and is exceptionally pigmented, when applied with a light hand and blended out its the most beautiful peach blush I've ever used. Not only is it buttery soft to the touch and extremely easy to blend but when applied on top of my bronzer, it instantly brightens up my face. As I said earlier, blush I've used in the past has never made a great deal of difference to my makeup but this one finishes it off perfectly and adds a nice dimension to my face. I really like that its matte too so I can pair it with my matte bronzer for a natural look or add a bit of highlighter on top if I want to glam things up a touch.

Illamasqua describe the shade 'Excite' as a vivid apricot on their website which sounds scary but when blended out its truly beautiful and the perfect shade for this time of year. Who doesn't love a bit of peach when S/S comes around? The formula is absolutely divine too, I've never used a blush so soft to the touch and so incredibly pigmented. As you can see form my 'finger' swatch above, with one touch you get amazing colour pay-off. I really like this as I feel its a very high quality product and one that will last me a long time. However, it is important to be careful when using such a pigmented product - a heavy hand would definitely result in some bright orange cheeks. I've been applying it with my Real Techniques contour brush, dabbing it onto my cheeks and blending to create a soft peach effect.

I am SO impressed with this blush and its definitely the nicest I've ever used it. I now want to get my hands on a few more and I've got my eye on 'Lover' next - a muted peach which again is perfect for the Spring/Summer. 

Have you tried Illamasqua blush? Do you like them as much as I do? They're available to buy here on the Illamasqua website.

Lots of Love,

Blogging Basics // My Tips & Advice



Image: weheartit (edited by me) Original Source: Link

When I first started writing Couture Girl back in November 2011, I didn't have a clue what I was doing. For me, blogging was a very spontaneous decision and as I signed up to blogger and saw at the screen staring back at me, I was flumoxed. I didn't have a clue where to begin - how do I get my blog to look nice? How should I write my first post? How to I get my photos to look pretty? Is anyone actually reading this? were just a few of the questions flying through my mind. However, after lots of trial and error and a bit of googling, I eventually found my way. Yes my earlier blog posts are a tad cringey but I like to glance back at them now and again as they remind me just how far I've come in less than 18 months. Now although I managed to find my way around Blogger, I wouldn't be where I am today without the help and advice from fellow bloggers. In the first few months of writing my blog, I was constantly searching around online for posts that would give me a bit of guidance and advice from established bloggers (by this I mean they'd been blogging for a long time) and let me tell you, I learnt a lot. To this day, blogging tips & advice posts are one of my favourite types to read. I love reading about other peoples blogging journeys and gaining some advice from their experience. 

To be honest, I never thought I'd be someone anyone would turn to for blogging advice but low and behold one of the most frequent emails I receive are from girls (and the occasional boy) asking me for some advice on starting and maintaining a blog. Its extremely flattering to receive these kind of emails and if I can help anyone and give them that little push I know I'd of loved to receive when I first started out, I'm 100% willing to. This brings me on to the purpose of this post - a guide to blogging basics. I thought it would be useful to discuss everything I've learnt over my time as a blogger from how to start a blog to promoting it and getting yourself 'out there'. I'd also like to add a small disclaimer that the 'advice' I'm giving is just my personal advice and whats worked for me. I'm by no means saying you must do these things as I realise all blogs are individual. However, if you're feeling a little lost with where to start and are looking for a push in the right direction, I hope this helps! So after the longest introduction in the history of blog posts, lets get started ...

Platform & Naming your Blog
When it comes to starting a blog, the very first thing you need to think about is which platform you're going to use. By platform I mean the place where your blog will be viewed by other people and the most popular options out there are Blogger, Wordpress or your own domain. When I first started, I actually used Wordpress but after a couple of days of faffing around, I just couldn't get to grips with it. I then decided to sign up to Blogger, a Google owned website used for composing and publishing blog posts. Its really simple to sign up, all you do is pop your email in, think of a password and wallah, your good to go. I know Wordpress is a bit more confusing and technical but if you're good with that kind of thing, give it a try. You could also buy your own domain right from the beginning which means your website is self-hosted. I'm not entirely sure how this works though as I've always been happy using Blogger. I think its best to experiment at the beginning before anyone even reads your blog and that way you can find out which platform works best for you.

As for naming your blog - let your imagination run wild and think of something catchy and fun. I actually named my blog after my love of Juicy Couture perfume and when my boyfriend said 'how about Couture Girl', I just went with it. Thanks Matt! ;) My only piece of advice when naming your blog would be to use something fairly short and easy to remember. You don't want it to be too much of a mouthful so try to keep it short and sweet. Also, don't use anything that could offend someone. Swear words are a no-go!

Layout
So after you've got your blog set up and you're ready to start posting, you might want to think about adding a few important things to your layout. When I first started, I didn't realise you had to add the Google Friend Connect widget (the thing people use to follow you) in the layout section, so for a while I wrote a blog that nobody could follow - not very useful. To add the GFC widget, all you need to do is go to your blogger layout and click 'add a widget'. You'll get a few options but the followers one is definitely the most important when starting out. Once you've added this you might want to think about adding links to the places people can contact you like your social media websites and your email address. If you don't want to share this information just yet, thats fine, but being easily contactable means the people reading your blog will be more likely to get in touch and want to get to know a bit more about you.

The next thing your going to want to think about is how your blog will look. In terms of colour scheme and where everything is placed - thats entirely up to you. However, if I was to offer any advice it would be to ensure the background behind your posts is white (its more visually pleasing to the eye and easier to read text on), stick to a none-swirly font thats easy to read and keep things simple. I personally find it very difficult to read blogs that have lots of distractions like neon colours, flashing icons or swirly fonts. Less is definitely more! I'd also consider adding a photo and description of yourself near the top of your blog. It will instantly make your blog more relatable as we all like to know a bit about the person whose blog we're reading. Make sure your newly added followers widget and contact information are near the top of your blog too, people don't like having to search for a way to follow you so make sure its easy to find and more people are likely to click 'join this site'.

Design
Blog design was the BAIN OF MY LIFE when I first started blogging. Being a complete techna-phobe I had no idea how to make my blog look pleasing to the eye. I remember using one of bloggers free templates to begin with and the most I could do was change the colours and font in the ever so straight-forward 'design' section of Blogger.  However, after reading so many other blogs with beautiful designs, I knew I was missing something. I took to Google to find the answer and although it helped me understand what I needed to do, I still couldn't do it. I managed to whip up a ridiculous bright pink header on photoshop but other than that, I was baffled. As my followers were creeping up and more faces were appearing in my sidebar every day, I knew I needed to rope in some help. This is when I took to Twitter to ask if anyone offered blog designs for a reasonable price and someone offered to make me a new header for £5.00. I immediately said yes and was very pleased with the results. However, as time went on I knew I wanted more from my design. I wanted to add social media buttons, a welcome image and pages so it was easy for my readers to find their way around. This is when I roped in the help of Felicity, an amazing blogger who runs her own design shop (find her details in my FAQ page) and she created the design I have today. 

Now don't get me wrong, I don't think you HAVE to pay for your blog to be designed, if you're good with HTML and all that technical stuff, give it a go yourself. However, if you're a new blogger and are at the 'how the hell do I do this?' stage, you might want to consider getting some help. I didn't even know people offered blog designs until months after I started blogging but I wish I'd of known sooner instead of going months with my ridiculous DIY photoshop job. So I guess my top tip here would be to do your research and find someone who can help you achieve what you want for a reasonable price. There's SO many talented people out there who do amazing blog designs so don't feel like you have to stick with a design you hate just because you can't edit it yourself. Also, if you design blogs - feel free to leave a comment on this post with the link to your design website/page - I'm sure lots of people would like to know about you!
Content
When I first started writing my blog, I was bursting with ideas and things I wanted to share but had no idea how to express them or make them readable. As you're pretty much talking to yourself when you first start blogging, its very hard to find a style of writing and stick with it. However, my advice for anyone starting a blog would be to write your blog like you're talking to your friends (without the text language - proper English people!). I always find bloggers who write in a friendly and chatty manner much more relatable and sitting down to read their blog is like sitting down with a life-long friend. Also, try to be descriptive when reviewing a product so the people reading your blog get a real feel for what your talking about. For example, instead of saying 'I like the colour of this blush' say 'I really like the shade of this blush, the pink tones compliment my pale skin tone and bring out the colour of my eyes' - it makes things much more interesting and you don't want your readers to get bored of what you're saying. As the old saying goes - content is king!

Also, lots of people worry about how often they should be posting content on their blog and its definitely something that's worried me in the past. There's been so many times when I've felt like I'm not posting enough or not being interesting enough but do you know what, its your blog so post whenever you want. I know for a fact that if I like a blog, I don't care how often they post. Of course its nice to have something regular to read but just because you don't blog seven days a week, it doesn't make you a 'bad' blogger. I'd suggest posting as and when you get the chance, maybe schedule a few posts over the weekend so you have them ready for the week ahead? As long as you aren't going months and months between posts, you'll be fine! Also, if you're lacking inspiration - read other blogs, this always helps me get my blogging mojo back. However, never copy someone else's content and ideas - thats a big no no!

Photography
One of my favourite things about reading blogs and my favourite thing about blogging is photography. For me, photographs bring a post to life and if the quality of them is bad, it can be extremely off-putting. Blurry, out of focus photos instantly put me off reading a blog post - sad but unfortunately true. One thing you have to remember when taking photos for your blog is that people are coming to not only read your review (or whatever it may be) but to SEE the product you're discussing too. If I click on a blog and see an extremely out of focus lipstick with an over exposed swatch, I'm not gaining anything from looking at those images. Make sense? So, what you want to consider is working out the best way you can take high-quality images. 

Firstly, always use your own images. Whenever you can, try to avoid using google images of products (unless its in a wish list or something like that). You don't want people to think you're being lazy by not taking your own photos so bare that in mind. Secondly, try to resize them in your blog post so they're all the same size. You can do this by flicking over to the HTML tab in the compose section and editing the height and width numbers. Thirdly, you don't need a flashy camera to take good quality images and you definitely shouldn't feel obliged to buy one just for your blog. I've always had a keen interest in photography and was very lucky to receive a Canon eos 600D as a gift from my dad last year but up until that point I was using a standard £80 digital camera. Yes my DSLR makes it easier for me to capture high quality images but if I was using it incorrectly, they'd still look rubbish. With any camera you own (even your phone if needs be), natural lighting is your best friend. I know its been said time and time again but it really does make a huge difference. I always take my photographs during the day and near a window - this way I can capture every little detail of the product I'm photographing. I also try not using a flash whenever possible as using a flash is known to over-expose images which is definitely not good when photographing makeup.

I also think its important to consider the angles and background you're using for your photos. For example, a photo taken with lots of clutter in the background isn't going to be as visually pleasing as one taken on a clean and clutter-free background. Why not try using a plain piece of white paper, bedding or a wallpaper sample to create a background with? Using something that creates a simple and visually pleasing background for the item your photographing will really benefit your images and your blog. Its also important to make sure you're photographing all aspects of the product too. By this I mean take close-ups of the packaging, the name of the product, get a decent swatch and so on. I find this makes your post a lot more interesting than one front-on shot with no other images to back up what you're saying. Also, if your camera has a macro setting - please use it! Macro settings help the camera pick up detail which then creates a sharper and clearer image.

So, after you've taken your photos - its time to edit them. Lots of people skip this step but I think its hugely important if you want your pictures to look professional. Theres so many free editing websites online and the two I use regularly are iPiccy and PicMonkey. These two websites are amazing for adding that extra bit of finesse to an image. You can use them to crop images, edit the brightness/contract etc but also to add filters, text and banners. You can also create collages which are great for outfit/Instagram diary type posts. There's lots more technical things I could go in to when it comes to photography but this post is already humongous so I might do another post dedicated to blog photography if that interests you?

Social Media & Interaction
Last but certainly not least, I want to give you a few little pointers on the humongous importance of Social Media. When you've set your blog up and got into the swing of writing your posts, its vital you sign up to social media websites. If you want people to find and read your blog - this is a no-brainer. The two websites I'm signed up to and would recommend to every single blogger out there are Bloglovin and Twitter. Of course there's other websites out there but for me, these two are the most important. If you've never used Bloglovin, its a website you sign up too (it takes two minutes) where people can follow your blog and be updated each time you publish a new post. Its great for reading blogs on the go (they have a handy app you can download) and it also gives you 'Top Blogs' and 'Up & Comings' lists which are great for finding new blogs or to be featured on yourself. Twitter is another amazing social networking site for bloggers and thanks to the #bbloggers (beauty bloggers) hash tag I've met and chatted to so many fellow bloggers. Twitter is also where the majority of my page views come from each month so if you aren't signed up already, please do. Tweet about your new posts, follow your favourite bloggers, tweet them and join in the conversation. I'm sure they'd love to hear from you.

Now we've talked Social Media, lets talk about interaction which is another massively important aspect of blogging. One of the biggest tips I could ever offer to another blogger is interact, interact, interact. Leave comments on fellow bloggers posts, follow their blogs, tweet them and let them know you enjoyed their latest post and always respond to those who tweet or email you. Seriously, being a sociable person who is easy to talk to and interact with will get you a long way. After all, if you don't follow other people and leave comments on their posts, how will anyone discover your blog? However, with this being said, please don't spam your link everywhere. Its fine to leave your link if you've left an accompanying thoughtful comment but saying 'hey everyone, come and follow my blog' isn't cool. Also, never think you're better than anybody else. Its so irritating when you read and love a blog only to be ignored by the blogger when you try and contact them. I think its hugely important to be grateful for every single person who clicks onto your little slice of the web as without them, you'd be talking to yourself. No matter how successful your blog becomes, NEVER get too big for your boots, nobody likes a big-headed Betty. At the end of the day, each and every one of us start with zero followers so don't take advantage of the fact you have a few more than someone else. Being ignorant and ungrateful will only come back and bite you on the ass. Be warned ;)

One last word of advice from me is try not getting consumed by how many followers you have. One thing I absolutely despise about blogging is how competitive it can become and how may people refer to blogs as 'big' or 'small'. As I just said, everyone starts with zero followers and we're all writing our blogs for the same reason - because we enjoy it and want to share our passion. If someone has more followers than you, thats fine. If somebody has less followers than you, thats cool too. It certainly doesn't mean their blog is better or worse than yours. Blogs are personal to each and every one of us and we should be all proud of what we've achieved, no matter what that pesky little follower number says. Try to remember that and you'll have an amazing time being a blogger!

So there we have it guys, my tips and advice for starting a blog and getting it out there. I realise this post is super long but I had SO much to say and I hope its helped at least one of you reading this. If you're thinking about starting a blog, have just started or have been blogging for a little while and are a little bit lost - I really hope you can take some advice away from this post. As always feel free to get in touch with me if you have any questions on Twitter @k_leexjx or email me at kljohnson1990@gmail.com.

Lots of Love,

NYX // Matte Bronzer & Retractable Eyeliner

NYX Matte Bronzer Review, NYX Retractable Eyeliner Reviews, NYX Cosmetics UK, UK Beauty Blog, NYX Blogger of the Month, NYX Medium Matte Bronzer Swatches, NYX Brow Retractable Eyeliner Swatches, NYX Makeup Reviews
NYX Matte Bronzer Review, NYX Retractable Eyeliner Reviews, NYX Cosmetics UK, UK Beauty Blog, NYX Blogger of the Month, NYX Medium Matte Bronzer Swatches, NYX Brow Retractable Eyeliner Swatches, NYX Makeup Reviews
NYX Matte Bronzer Review, NYX Retractable Eyeliner Reviews, NYX Cosmetics UK, UK Beauty Blog, NYX Blogger of the Month, NYX Medium Matte Bronzer Swatches, NYX Brow Retractable Eyeliner Swatches, NYX Makeup Reviews
NYX Matte Bronzer Review, NYX Retractable Eyeliner Reviews, NYX Cosmetics UK, UK Beauty Blog, NYX Blogger of the Month, NYX Medium Matte Bronzer Swatches, NYX Brow Retractable Eyeliner Swatches, NYX Makeup Reviews
NYX Matte Bronzer Review, NYX Retractable Eyeliner Reviews, NYX Cosmetics UK, UK Beauty Blog, NYX Blogger of the Month, NYX Medium Matte Bronzer Swatches, NYX Brow Retractable Eyeliner Swatches, NYX Makeup Reviews
NYX Matte Bronzer Review, NYX Retractable Eyeliner Reviews, NYX Cosmetics UK, UK Beauty Blog, NYX Blogger of the Month, NYX Medium Matte Bronzer Swatches, NYX Brow Retractable Eyeliner Swatches, NYX Makeup Reviews
NYX Matte Bronzer Review, NYX Retractable Eyeliner Reviews, NYX Cosmetics UK, UK Beauty Blog, NYX Blogger of the Month, NYX Medium Matte Bronzer Swatches, NYX Brow Retractable Eyeliner Swatches, NYX Makeup Reviews

Hi Ladies! Its the weekend once again, yipppeeee! It only feels like five minutes ago I was saying this last week but hey, I'm not complaining. I don't have a great deal planned this weekend other than a trip to the cinema and Yo! Sushi with my boyfriend which will be lovely and chilled. Anyway, before I start rambling, you may or may not know that I was chosen to be NYX April Blogger of the Month and have been sent four of their wonderful products to test and review here on my blog. I've already reviewed two of the products I was sent here if you fancy a read and today I'm going to share the other two - the Matte Bronzer* and Retractable Eye Liner*. I hope you enjoy reading my thoughts ...


[Matte Bronzer - Shade 'Medium' (£8.00)]
Ever since I discovered NARS Laguna bronzer a couple of years ago, trying ANY other bronzers has been a complete no-no for me. I mean, why bother when I've found my 'holy grail' right? Stick with what you know and all that malarkey. However, one problem I do have with Laguna is the exceptionally hefty price tag and every time it runs out, I dread parting with another £25.00. So, you can imagine my horror when it was coming to an end and my delight when NYX told me one of the products I'd be sent to try was their Matte Bronzer. I have to be honest now and say I wasn't expecting it to be anywhere near as nice as Laguna, purely because every other bronzer I've tried in the past hasn't come close. However, much to my surprise - I adore this bronzer! Seriously, this stuff hasn't been off my face since I received it in the post. 

I chose the shade Medium out of the five available (Light, Medium, Deep, Dark Tan and Deep Tan) and its perfect for my skin tone. Unlike a lot of bronzers, it isn't orange or dirty looking, but more of a natural tan shade instead. In fact, the shade is very similar to my beloved Laguna which is the reason I love it so much in the first place. As well as being a great shade, the powder itself is silky smooth, pigmented and exceptionally easy to blend. With the lightest dab the colour is transferred easily onto my brush and the buttery soft texture means application is fool proof and flawless. I've been applying it with my Real Techniques blush brush and it instantly brightens my face and gives me a healthy glow. I like the fact that its matte too so I can use it all over my face without looking like a huge disco ball. I've been popping into onto my cheekbones, temples, nose and chin - anywhere on my face that would naturally catch a tan really. However, its also designed to be used on the body so I'll be trying that out too when the weather picks up and I'm showing more skin. 

Overall I absolutely adore this product and I've been using it every single day since I received it. I love the sleek and sturdy packaging with a handy mirror and I can see this being a staple in my summer makeup bag. I'm also so impressed that it only costs £8.00 because its such a high quality product and at the same standard as my beloved NARS Laguna. I'd 100% repurchase it If you're looking for a new affordable bronzer, I can't recommend this NYX one enough. Its beautiful!

[Rectractable Eyeliner - Shade 'Brown' (£4.00)]
For as long as I can remember, I've always worn black eyeliner. For me, eye liner is a must-have part of my makeup rountine and in a lot of ways its my beauty security blanket. I'm not sure why but I don't feel right without it, my face doesn't look complete and my eyes don't stand out as much. However, the one problem I do have with black eyeliner is the fact it can look quite dramatic when I'm trying to go for a more neutral, subtle look. With this being said, I decided it was time to branch out into brown eye liner, the more subtle little sister of my beloved black. So when NYX told me one of the products I'd be sent to review was one of their Retractable eyeliners, I instantly said I'd like to try it in brown. I've been using it for a little while now and I have to say, I've been converted. It still gives my eyes the definition and pop of colour that I'm so used to but the subtle brown shade means I don't look like I'm off partying in the middle of the day. I also find it compliments my favourite gold and bronze smoky eye very well and makes my blue eyes really stand out - yay!

As well as loving the shade, I'm very impressed with the formula. With the lightest touch it delivers creamy and intense pigmentation (see swatch above) and theres absolutely no dragging when applied to the eye. I hate nothing more than eyeliners that drag and pull on my eyelids (thats a no go for such a sensitive part of our face) and luckily this one does the opposite and glides on like a dream. I also find it exceptionally long lasting considering the creamy soft formula and if I apply it in the morning, it lasts all day without budging. Whats even better about this product is the unbelievable price tag. For only £4.00 the quality of this liner is comparable to that of my £14.00 MAC pencil. Yes I know, madness! Its very handy to use too, it doesn't require sharpening and instead twists up when you're running low and it also comes in a selection of 18 different colours. A colour for every eye look you can possibly think of with an amazing creamy and long lasting formula, whats not to love?

So there we have it, another rave review of two more fabulous NYX products. I've been so impressed with the four products I've tried and can't wait to treat myself to a few more. I've thoroughly enjoyed being their guest blogger this month and I'm so impressed with them as a brand. Exceptionally high quality products for affordable prices? Yes please! If you haven't tried anything from them before - please do. You won't regret it!

Have you tried the Matte Bronzer or Retractable eye liner? You can find them both here on the NYX website.
Lots of Love,

© Couture Girl

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