Beauty Blogging on a Budget

Sunday, 29 November 2015

Blogging while you're on a budget can be tough (I should know, I struggled through two years of it at Uni!), but it doesn't have to be. Today I thought I would share with you all how I save money and still keep my blog up to date with new releases, and some trusty old favourites!

Shop Your Stash

'Shopping my stash' is probably the one thing which kept my blogging spends to a minimum. Don't get me wrong, it's lovely to treat yourself to new products and high end pieces, but once you have, there's no need to only blog about them once. There are so many posts which can be created with products which you've already reviewed: makeup looks, top 10's (drugstore, high end, blushers, foundations, etc), and you can always re-review a product if your opinion has changed once the hype has worn down - I did this with the UD Naked 3 a while back and it wen't down so well. 

Collect Points

I'm signed up to pretty much every beauty points scheme going - Boots, Superdrug, Debenhams, The Perfume Shop, and most recently Heathrow Rewards (which I use in World Duty Free). When you do treat yourself and splash out on expensive makeup, you may as well reap the rewards. Points can be collected and then used when the next big 'must have' item of makeup launches - which is always my intentions when collecting these points, but in reality they're usually spent on Tampax or cotton wool when I've ran out!

Sign Up to Sales Notifications

This is something I do for both fashion and beauty items if they're particularly expensive through Shop Style. On Shop Style you can search for any item you're looking for and it'll show you all of the shops it's available at and also give you the opportunity to be emailed when the item goes on sale somewhere. This has come in really handy in the run up to Christmas too, as I've been able to get everyone exactly what they want at a bit of a discount! 

Discount Stores

I know discount stores have recieved a little bit of bad press recently, but my local TK Maxx is brilliant. It often stocks Nars, Illamasqua, Bare Minerals as well as Stila, so I love to go down and have a browse and I've found a few real bargains (even if you do have to rummage for them). There really is no point paying full whack if you can get it 50% off somewhere so definitely check out the isles of your local TK Maxx! 

How do you save money when beauty blogging?

Lots of Love,

Becky xo

Gucci Flora Glamorous Magnolia Fragrance

Thursday, 26 November 2015

Hello Beauties! I hope you're all having a great week and looking forward to the weekend - I know I am! Last weekend, I was lucky enough to be able to attend the World Duty Free staff sale, where they had tonnes of makeup, perfume, food and drink at discounted prices, which would all make excellent Christmas presents. Whilst I was there, I did manage to pick up a few different gifts for my friends and family, but of course I had to treat myself too. One of the things I picked up (along with a lot of Victoria's Secret body care) was the Gucci Flora Glamorous Magnolia perfume. 

I'm a big fan of fresh and floral scents, so this one was exactly to my taste. The fragrance is inspired by Gucci's renowned flora pattern and is described as both sensual and feminine, with top notes of freesia, heart notes of magnolia and peony, and base notes of sandalwood. I'm rubbish at describing fragrances but it's a lovely fresh and floral scent which isn't too heavy, yet lasts all day on my skin. 

The packaging is also what caught my eye, as I think the pale blue bottle and black details look so elegant and classy without being over the top. I've never been one for extravagant perfume bottles, often preferring the more understated bottles, so again, this one is definitely something that would catch my eye. 

Overall, I really love this perfume and I've enjoyed wearing it a lot recently. I think it would make the perfect gift for anyone who loves fresh or floral scents. If you're interested, you can pick up your own bottle from Feel Unique here

Lots of Love,

Becky xo

5 Tips for Starting a Successful Blog

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

In my 'Photography Tips for Bloggers' post last week, I mentioned that I often get asked 'How do I start a successful blog?' by my readers, so in today's post I thought I'd share some of the tips I've picked up along the way. But first, I'll start off by saying that success if defined differently by everybody, to some success means thousands of followers and to others, success means working with brands but this post will be based on what I think a successful blog is - building something which you can be proud to call your own, and something which makes you happy, definitely two things I associate with my own blog. 

1. Think about your brand/style

When you start your blog, it will probably only be a hobby (a time consuming one, but a hobby nonetheless), so it may not occur to you to think of your blog as a brand, but I can guarantee that as you really get stuck into blogging, you'll see your blog as your own little baby and it's definitely something which will have it's own style or brand. It's also great to think this way from the beginning just incase you one day want to take your blog full time. Branding encompasses both your aesthetic and your writing style/tone of voice. I find that both of these things come quite naturally to me as I tend to stick with my personal style and write down in a way that feels natural to me, so my blog is essentially a digital representation of myself. Your brand should definitely represent your personality, as if it's not true to you, then it will definitely be difficult to keep up long term! Your blog brand is what makes your blog stick in people's minds - so think carefully about what you want your blog to look like and what you want your content to convey. 

2. Pick a memorable name

Picking a name is what I found the hardest when setting up my blog and admittedly I rushed into my name choice (which I now regret), so it's definitely something to dwell on for a while before committing. Try to pick something short, snappy and memorable so that your blog isn't forgotten in the sea of others just like it, and if you can, let your blog name represent you or your blog niche. 

3. Define your niche

Picking your 'niche' is a tricky one as it can mean so many different things. I'd say that my niche is both the fact that I'm mainly a beauty blog and also the style of my blog, however some people find that having no niche is their niche. Think hard about what you want to write about, as this is likely to affect your chosen target audience and it definitely has to be something which will keep you interested in blogging, as it's a heck of a lot of work. Your niche isn't really something which anyone can help you with, and it might be something which comes with time (I know mine was) but it's something to bear in mind when starting your blog. Also, try to be original, I know it's easier said than done in the ever increasing blogosphere, but it's true what they say 'why have a copy when you can have the real thing...'. 

4. Choose the right social media channels for you

A lot of bloggers think that to be successful they must be on all social channels, and although it's admittedly something that I did a while ago, it's completely unnecessary. For example, I'm on Twitter as this drives the most engagement and clicks to my blog, and Instagram as my blog photos are one of the main attractions to my blog, but I've decided to leave Facebook as it just wasn't working for me. Again, I'm not on Periscope as it's not something that works for my blog, but this may be something which suits your blog to a tee. Think about the audience you want to reach and the content you want to create, and find the promotional channels which work for you. It's better to dedicate your time to few channels and do them well, than it is to be on all channels. 

5. Engage with your audience

By this I don't mean spam your link to as many people as possible, as you'll never build a loyal readership that way, but being approachable and kind to your readers will always be important. Readers often want to ask questions, and want to feel like they know the person behind the blog, so make sure you engage with your readers on a regular basis, instead of only posting your blog link - not only will you start to build an online community, but you may meet some great new friends this way, I know I did!

What are your tips for starting a blog?

Lots of Love,

Becky xo

Soap & Glory The Breakfast Scrub Review

Monday, 23 November 2015

Hello Beauties, I hope you all had a wonderful weekend! This weekend I managed to get all of my Christmas shopping done (as well as picking up a few bits for myself!), now I just need to get through the endless task of wrapping them all ready for the big day! Along with Christmas shopping, I decided to spend this weekend having a bit of a pamper night after a week of feeling rubbish. Soap & Glory are one of my favourite 'pampering' brands, as they're not too expensive, so I headed to Boots ahead of my evening of relaxation. 

Soap & Glory are also my go-to for body scrubs, as they have such a great range of products, so I couldn't resist picking up a tub of The Breakfast Scrub. The Breakfast scrub comes in a clear and pink plastic tub with a screw on lid, making it easy to grab as much product as you need, and also make use of the whole tub (as I always end up looking product when it gets stuck in tubes). I really love Soap & Glory's packaging as it has a girly retro vibe to it and it just looks nice sitting on the side of my bath, next to the rest of my S&G stock! 

This body scrub contains oats, shea butter, organic cupuacu, banana, almond extracts and lastly, honey, which all work hand in hand to clean, polish, smooth and moisturise your skin. All of these ingredients also create the most wonderful scent. In short, this scrub smells exactly like pancakes with maple syrup. It's so good that I often find myself over-exfoliting just so I get to smell the scrub for a little longer. 

Another thing I love about the scrub is it's consistency. It's a fairly thick and gritty scrub as the small brown sugar granules and almond/oat pieces work in harmony to give your body a thorough exfoliation, whilst still being gentle on your skin. I like my body scrubs to be fairly abrasive, as it makes me feel like they're going over and above what a regular body wash would give me, results-wise, so this scrub is perfect for me. That being said, I really dislike scrubs which leave my skin feeling tight and dry, so I was pleasantly surprised to find that this scrub is actually fairly moisturising and always leaves my skin feeling really soft. 

Overall, I'm completely in love with this body scrub and it's definitely one I'd repurchase again and again - even just for the scent alone! If you like sweet, cosy smells and a good pamper then I'd definitely recommend giving this a go at only £8 from Boots (here). 

Lots of Love,

Becky xo

Photography Tips for Bloggers

Thursday, 19 November 2015

photography tips for bloggers

There are two questions that I always get asked by my readers: 'How do I start a blog?' and 'How do you take your blog photos?' so today I thought I would share my tips for taking the perfect blog photo. I know there are hundreds of these posts floating around the internet, but seeing as so many of you ask me, I thought I'd share the little bit of wisdom I have, a lot of this probably won't be new information to those of you who are blog photography pro's (some I look up to: Fashion Mumblr, Frock Me I'm Famous and Birds Words), but hopefully there's something to be learnt from my ramblings! As I know some of you will ask, I take my photos on a Canon 650D which was a Christmas present from my parents a couple of years ago, and probably one of my favourite gifts I've ever received which I am extremely grateful for. 

1. Choose your style

You'll probably notice that almost all of my blog photos have a certain style or 'theme'. When I designed my blog I had a brand idea in mind and I want all of my photos to match up with this - so I like to make sure that all of my photos have a light, airy and girly feel to them, just like my blog. I don't think my style is particularly original of 'different' but it's me, and it's what my regular readers have come to love about my blog. Your style doesn't have to be at all like mine if that's not you, if crazy bright colours or minimalist monochrome is your thing then by all means go for it, as long as it reflects your brand and more importantly, your personality. 

2. Play around with backgrounds

There are so many things which you can use for blog backgrounds - magazines, faux fur rugs, knitwear, little trinkets, postcards and stationary - so make sure that you play around with them until you find a style and set up with suits you. My personal favourite is to either use the back of my cream faux fur coat (which so far has only been used for blog photos - sob) or just use my bed sheets, as they're cheap and easy - plus they're free! I like to keep my blog backgrounds fairly simple so I don't draw any attention away from the product (after all, that's what you've come here to see) and instead add in different textures to add a bit of dimension to my photos. 

3. Make the most of your camera settings

When I take my photos I like to use the AV setting as this allows me to increase of decrease the exposure and create the bright look which I love, and also blur out the backgrounds so that all of the focus is on the product. I usually have my brightness on somewhere between one or two (depending on how light my room is) which gives me my desired brightness. Don't worry if you don't have a fancy DSLR camera, even the most basic point and shoot camera or iPhones now have settings which allow you to get close up or blur the backgrounds slightly, and everything else can be done in editing! 

4. Test different timings

Now that we're well into winter, it's seriously affecting my photography, so I decided to spend a day testing out different times of the day to take my photos. It seems like a long winded process and it did take me all day but in the end I found out that in my bedroom, the best times to take my blog photos is around 8-9am and 2-3pm as this is when I have the most natural daylight. This will differ for everyone as everyone's windows will be facing a different direction and of course it varies where you are in the world, so I'd test this one out for yourself before deciding on the best time. 

5. Free editing tools are a life saver

A lot of people assume that I use Photoshop to edit my photos, but you couldn't be further from the truth. To this day, I've never used a paid-for photo editing tool to edit my blog photos as I find them completely unnecessary, especially when there's some great free tools out there. I personally use Pic Monkey to edit all of my photos as it allows me to play around with the brightness, exposure, sharpness and clarity - which is how I get my images so bright an clear. Pic Monkey now also lets you use your own fonts in your designs, so if you've downloaded a lovely free font from the web, you can add it to your designs to make them instantly different. 

6. Think about where your photos will fit into your post

I like to take my photos in bulk so that the look and feel of them is the same throughout each post, but before I sit down to take my photos I think about what I want to say in my post and the right photos for this. Sometimes I know I want to write the title of  my post on the photo so I know I need to leave background space to do this, and sometimes a really close up image of the product is needed, and other times swatches are the most important. If you know what you want represented in your post, then you'll be in a much better place when you sit down and take your photos. 

If you'd like to know anything specific, comment below and I'll be sure to answer your questions!

Lots of Love,

Becky xo

Claudia Louch Compact Pressed Powder

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Hello Beauties! You may remember a while ago that I posted about the Claudia Louch Mint Exfoliating Facial Polish, and since then I've become obsessed with the brand. They're a little bit more expensive than I would normally like, but I'm a big believer in 'you get what you pay for'. Today I thought I would share with you the latest product which I've been trying from Claudia Louch, their Compact Pressed Powder. As an oily skinned girl, I've always been pretty obsessed with powder, to the point where I feel lost without it when I accidentally leave it at home, so always relish the opportunity to try new brands and types. 

The Claudia Louch Compact Pressed Powder, like all Claudia Louch products, is 94% natural, hypoallergenic, allergy-tested, non-comedogenic (so it doesn't block pores) and free from fragrances and harsh chemicals including paragons and SLS, making it suitable for all skin tones and conditions - a pretty impressive list if you ask me, and one which is extremely important for girls like myself who do suffer with extremely sensitive skin and acne. The powder claims to set makeup and reduce shine, whilst also providing coverage, which is exactly what I look for in a powder. 

As you can see from the swatches above, the shade I have is quite dark compared to my skin tone, meaning that I can't really use it as a powder (I'd look like I'd been the victim of a particularly bad spray tan), I did put it to the test as a powder - just on a day where I didn't have to leave the house. Whilst I looked silly with my extremely dark face, the powder actually worked a treat. It managed to give me that little bit of extra coverage I need to achieve that 'airbrushed' look and also kept my skin shine free for an acceptable amount of time, so really my only complaint is the shade, which can be easily rectified with a little online shopping! As this powder is clearly too dark to be used as a face powder, I've been making the most of having it in my collection and using it as a bronzer. I often use darker face powders as bronzers and contour products as I find they have more of a natural tone to them and look less harsh on the skin, so all is not lost. 

Overall, I really did like this powder, and when my current MAC Studio Fix runs out, I will definitely consider buying the lighter shade - even if it is an eye watering £52.50! 

Lots of Love,

Becky xo

*Post contains PR samples

iPhone Diary #1

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Like most of my generation, I'm addicted to my iPhone, and with Instagram being one of my favourite apps, today I thought I would share some of my iPhone snaps with you all. It's not often that I have my proper camera with me on the go, so the majority of my 'life' photos are taken on my trusty old iPhone and never make it to the blog. If you want to stay up to date with more of these kinds of photos, you can follow me on Instagram (@RDerbyshire93). 

1. On Saturday night I headed down to the fireworks at Ealing Cricket Ground. Bonfire night was always one of my favourites as a child as I was always completely in awe of the fireworks and loved playing with sparklers, so it was nice to indulge in a childhood favourite. 

2. On Sunday I headed down to the Cenotaph in Westminster for the Remembrance Sunday service and parade. It was a great way to pay my respects to the fallen and those who continue to fight for our country, and the parade was brilliant. If you ever get the chance to go, I'd highly recommend it. 

3. I've recently started a '60 second style' series on my Instagram, where I pick a few key pieces which go with a certain trend/colour/popular item. All of the items mentioned are tagged on the original instagram post, so you can all find out where the pieces come from if you're interested. 

4. Now that the nights have started getting colder and darker (sob), I've been loving Lush bath bombs and bubble bars, with The Comforter being a definite favourite - I love how it turns your bath pink!

5. This pay day I thought I'd treat myself to a YSL lipstick. I've wanted one for ages and it was definitely the perfect little treat as I've been wearing it daily since brining it home. 

6. When I went home at the end of last week I popped into Sprinkles Gelato in town and treated myself to the biggest waffle I've ever laid eyes on - so big I could only manage about a quarter! 

7. The reason for me going home last week was to finally graduate from Bournemouth University after what seems like the longest 4 years now! It was a lovely ceremony and a great end to an era, but I'm definitely ready to get on with post grad life! 

What have you all been up to recently?

Lots of Love,

Becky xo

Afternoon Tea at Browns, Mayfair

Monday, 9 November 2015

Hello Beauties! I hope you're all well and had a lovely weekend. This weekend has been a bit of a crazy one for me - after two days away with work, I headed back home to Bournemouth for my University Graduation, then I drove all the way back to London to celebrate my Mum's 50th Birthday, so it's fair to say I'm more than a little tired at work today! 

Apart from completely wearing me out, this weekend has been lovely. It was great to see all of my Uni friends again and finally graduate after four long years! I also got the chance to head down to the Rememberance Sunday service at the Cenotaph which was a really lovely event, it was great to see the heroes of our country marching through Westminster with pride whilst the crowds clapped and cheered. 

After the service, we (my mum, dad and brother) headed down to Browns in Mayfair to indulge in some Afternoon Tea. I'd never been for afternoon tea before, mainly as I don't really like tea, but I was excited to see what all of the fuss was about. The hotel is very luxe, with no detail left unfinished, and has a traditional feel with a modern twist in certain parts. As we arrived a little early we headed to the bar first where we were served prosecco and nibbles while we waited for our table. 

Once our table was ready, we headed over to the English Tea Room to be served our Afternoon Tea. We were handed a menu and taken through all of the different options, after we had settled on the traditional afternoon tea we then wen't on to order our different teas. As I said, I'm not really a fan of tea but I ended up having two cups of earl grey, which is unheard of for me. 

After our tea had arrived, then came the cakes and sandwiches. There was a wide selection and definitely something for everyone on the plate, plus the staff were very efficient at replenishing the cakes and sandwiches - which were all lovely, my personal favourite being the red velvet cake. 

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Browns and would definitely recommend paying it a visit if you're looking for somewhere to dine in London, it was a lovely way to spend a Sunday afternoon. 

Lots of Love,

Becky xo

New In: Seventeen Cosmetics Lip & Eye Palettes

Thursday, 5 November 2015

Hello Beauties! I hope you're all well and looking forward to the weekend. Over the past couple of years, and the past couple of months in particular, high street beauty brands have really been upping their game, and are now competing with some of the higher end luxury brands - almost eliminating the need to spend a small fortune on your cosmetics. One brand in particular who have really brought their a-game is Seventeen Cosmetics. Over the past year or two Seventeen Cosmetics have bought out some show stopping products, some of which have become favourites of mine, and their latest releases are no different. 

The first new products to the Seventeen line up are the 'All Out Pout' Lip Palettes. The palettes come in two shades - Woo Woo which is the redder of the two and Fancy Free, which is the pinker of the two. Each of the palettes contains 6 shades ranging from light to dark and contain a mixture of finishes such as gloss, satin, shimmer, etc - so there's something in there for whichever look you're creating. The palettes also come with a mini lip brush, personally I wouldn't use this, but it's a nice touch that they have included it. 

Seventeen Cosmetics have also released a new range of eyeshadow palettes, and I've recently been putting 'The Big Smoke' to the test. As the name suggests, the big smoke is a smokey eye palette which comes with a little step-by-step guide on how to create the perfect smokey eye - ideal for people like me who struggle with dark eyeshadows! I really like the shades in this palette as it contains a nice mix of light and dark, and also some purple and blue shades to mix things up a little. 

Formula-wise I can't really fault these. They're no Urban Decay, but they're definitely not bad for the high street. Id say that if you like the Sleek eyeshadow palettes, then you'll definitely like these. 

Lots of Love,

Becky xo

Escentual 1/3 Off French Skincare Haul

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Hello Beauties! I hope you're all well and are having a lovely week. I'm sat on a train on my way back to Bournemouth at the moment for graduation, so I thought I'd use the time wisely to blog. Recently, my favourite online beauty retailer Escentual have been having a 1/3 off French Pharmacy products. They do this from time to time and I always use the offer to stock up on some of my favourites and try out some new products. 

This time, I used the offer to stock up on some of my favourites from the Bioderma Hydrabio range and also test out a few new products from the range. The Hydrabio range is specifically targeted at dehydrated skin and works to help your skin retain water, elevating you of that dry, tight feeling which is so common for those of us with dehydrated skin. As my skin is oily and dehydrated, I need to use products which intensely moisturise, but without making my skin feel tacky or oily, and the Hydrabio range is perfect for that. 

Firstly, I picked up one of my old favourites - the Bioderma Hydrabio Sérum Moisturising Concentrate. I won't say too much about this as I've done a full review before: here, but I love this for giving my skin that extra (and much needed) moisture boost.

Next, I repurchased the Bioderma Hydrabio Micellar Water, the moisturising cousin of probably the most well known cleanser ever. I adore this cleanser for taking my makeup off and refreshing my skin after a long day, and find that when I use this it greatly improves the condition of my skin. I've tried countless micellar waters now and I have to say, Bioderma really is worth the hype. Nothing removes my makeup quite like it and I find that it also doesn't leave me with that horrible tacky feeling that a lot of cleansing waters do.

Lastly, I decided to try the Hydrabio Exfoliating Cream. As my skin is acne prone and dehydrated, I need to use a good exfoliator which will clear out my pores without damaging my skin. As the rest of the Hydrabio range works so well with my skin, I decided to give this one a go and so far I'm loving it! It leaves my skin feeling fresh, soft and smooth without causing any irritation (my skin is quite sensitive). The cream feels quite rich and moisturising when you use it, but after washing it off you're not left with any residue - just clean feeling skin. I also found that this works excellently as an exfoliator, despite not being overly grainy, so I can definitely see this becoming a staple in my skincare routine. 

Overall, I am loving the whole range. In just two days my skin has completely cleared up, is looking less oily and feels so much more comfortable - my only regret is that I didn't buy more from the range whilst it was a 1/3 off! Oh well, there's always next time! 

Lots of Love,

Becky xo


YSL Rouge Volupte in No1 Nude Beige

Monday, 2 November 2015

YSL Rouge Volupte Lipstick No1 Nude Beige

Hello Beauties! I hope you're well and enjoyed your Haloween weekend! I spent Halloween having a scary movie night with my housemates and I think it's safe to say, I've traumatised myself for life - I'm such a wimp! Now that I'm back to full time work, I spend most of my months planning on how I'm going to treat myself when pay day rolls around...because everyone deserves a treat, right? This month I decided to treat myself to something I've wanted for years...a YSL Lipstick. 

Firstly, how can I ignore the packaging? One of the main reasons I love YSL beauty products is because of their packaging, it's luxuriously girly and completely justifies paying a little more in my opinion. Despite the packaging being the prettiest thing to ever grace this earth, it's also very functional, and I find the fact that YSL lipsticks show the actual shade on the outside extremely useful, especially first thing in the morning when you're scrambling around trying to get your face done quickly! 

YSL Rouge Volupte Lipstick No1 Nude Beige

The reason I wanted this particular lipstick so badly is due to a combination of both the shade and the exquisite formula. Nude Beige 01 is a gorgeous light pinky nude shade, perfect for everyday wear, much like Creme Cup from MAC but a little more wearable in my opinion - as sometimes Creme Cup can be a little too light for me. When I was selecting my shade it was a toss up between Nude Beige and Lingerie Pink, but I found this one to be more wearable as Lingerie Pink came across a little too light and blue-toned for my fair complexion. I'm confident that Nude Beige was the perfect shade selection for my skin tone and I've been wearing it non stop since I brought it home! 

The formula is also to die for. The formula is extremely creamy and moisturising making it perfect for this time of year, and oh so pigmented. One light sweep of this over my lips and the colour is completely opaque. The colour is also surprisingly long lasting, although the initial shine and gloss of the lipstick wares off as soon as I've eaten or drank anything, it slightly stains my lips, leaving them with a light pink wash of colour, which is just what I want as I never have time to constantly top up my lipstick! 

Overall, I am completely smitten with this lipstick and see this being the start of a serious addiction - I already have my eye on number 8! 

What do you think of YSL lipsticks?

Lots of Love, 

Becky xo


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