How to spread the love this Valentines

How to spread the love this Valentines

Imagery by Hana Dallimore Photography

“Love is heavy and light, bright and dark, hot and cold, sick and healthy, asleep and awake – it’s everything except what it is.” William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet.

Every February 14th, around the world, flowers, gifts and cards are exchanged, all in the name of St. Valentine. When you think about it, it is such a wonderful tradition. A day to recognise the love we have in the world, and something positive amongst all the bad we hear of and endure every single day. However, I like to see it as much more of a day to appreciate all the love we have in our lives, rather than just the love we have for our partners. For as long as I can remember, my grandma has always sent me a valentines card with a big question mark, still refusing to give up that it was her. So, what I have always remembered about this day, is the love I also have for my family, as well as my romantic love. I love the cheesy, cliché gestures that are involved with this day, but I do think we all need to remember that it can be about spreading love in general rather than just containing it between two people.

Did you know, approximately 150 million Valentines cards are exchanged each year on February 14th, making it the second most popular card giving day after Christmas?

So how exactly do we ensure everyone in our lives feels loved? Well, firstly, everyone appreciates a card. It involves minimal cost and minimal effort, however can lift someone’s mood as they know you have thought of them. Let’s send everyone we love this year a card to remind them of just how important they are to you and that they are loved this Valentine’s day. And, if you are being funny about paper, just send a text with a love heart. No excuses whatsoever.

A big thing I did want to mention in this post is gifts, as well as the money we spend. Finn and I have rarely gone all out to spoil each other on Valentines, as to be honest, we both think it is a little unnecessary. You don’t need to break the bank to show someone how much you love them, and a relationship should never be based on how much money you are willing to spend on each other. It is little acts of kindness every day that build a relationship, and I am all about spending quality time with Finn on Valentine’s day, as opposed to buying a ridiculously expensive gift they he won’t even remember in a month’s time. I truly believe we should make our partner aware of how much we love them every day, and not confine it to one day when society says we should.

So, the point I am making, Valentines should be a day of spreading love, to those in your life already and random acts of kindness to a stranger. Smile as you walk past people in the street, thank someone twice for your coffee in Starbucks, send your best friend a bunch of flowers, and put your phone away for a candle dinner with whoever you choose to spend the time with. It is a special day, just all about LOVE.

Shop this Post:

 

Coat – Zara

Bag – Michael Kors

Jumper – Boohoo

Jeans – Zara

Boots – New Look

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I have not been paid to feature any brands, and all views and opinions are my own.

 

How to be a more noble you.

How to be a more noble you.

Imagery by Hana Dallimore Photography

Coming at you with one of those inspirational, be a better you posts. I love writing these, as they totally inspire me and always make me feel better for sharing something positive online. This year has already proven to be relatively negative, with all the bad things going on in the world. I swear, if I have to talk about Brexit again I am going to lose my mind. Yes, I know it is important to know what is happening in our world, but it can become very depressing if we don’t also focus on the positives. There are so many amazing things happening every single day, and there are so many amazing people doing small things each day to make our world a better place. If you have a job that doesn’t allow you to do amazing things each day, it is then our responsibility to ensure we have the traits of someone who can do good.

I consider myself to be a very lucky person. I am happy in life, surrounded by people I love, working towards dreams I am passionate about and most importantly, I am healthy. Therefore, I want to make sure that I am always helping people less fortunate than me. Even if it is a small contribution each day.

 

 

Being a more noble you doesn’t mean big gestures of kindness each and every day, but it does mean having a good attitude towards life, where you are always willing to put yourself out for someone else. I have worked in hospitality for around four years, and as you can imagine, I have had my fair share of rude and arrogant customers come through the door. Unlike 18 year old me, I have become much better at handling these situations, however it does still baffle me that people think they can act a certain way just because they are paying for me to make them a coffee. You are paying for your coffee, not the right to talk to me like a machine. As you can imagine, this has played a big impact in how I want to treat people in life. Hence, why this post is really important to me.

Always put yourself out to help someone.

The first step in being a more noble you is helping people without even having to think about it. If you see someone struggling with shopping bags in the car park, why not offer to help? If you see someone looking for 5p in the coffee queue, is it really going to hurt to give them that 5p? It is small acts of kindness that add up to a lot. If you do these things without even having to think first, you are an extremely kind and selfless person. It costs nothing to be a good person, it is just all about making an active effort to be a better well rounded person. P.s. always make sure you smile at strangers you walk by in the street!

Never let someone you are looking at struggle.

Carrying on from always putting yourself out for others, I like to use the phrase ‘never let someone you are looking at struggle’. If you can see someone struggling right in front of your eyes, is it really right to carry on with what you are doing and just let them be? A few weeks ago when I was food shopping I saw this poor mum drop a jar of baby food on the floor. She had so many bags with her and a little baby in the pushchair and there was all this glass and food on the floor. I was at the other end of the aisle, and I couldn’t believe how many people walked past, looking at her struggling to clear it up and just carried on going. Obviously, I went up and asked if she needed a hand, but she did insist that she was okay. Most of the time someone will say that they are alright, but what I couldn’t believe was how many people walked past her, having seen that she was struggling. Honestly, I thought it was quite disgusting. There are always exceptions, but if you can, always offer to help someone.

 

Make more conscious decisions.

 

So, even though I say that we should all do kind things without thinking, there are going to be some situations where we do need to think before helping. Using the lady in the supermarket again, it did cross my mind whether I should go and ask her if she needs help. A lot of people are very proud and want to do things themselves, which is fine, it just means that we need to consider the situation before offering to help. Always notice your surroundings, if someone else is already going to help and if the person in need is going to be okay or not. Each situation does require a little thought.

Don’t hide away from things you dislike in life.

One of the biggest challenges I find when you want to be kind is that sometimes you have to overcome something you are afraid of in order to do so. An example would be, if your other half wanted to do something that you don’t really find fun but you do it anyway because it would make them happy. If you are willing to do something, for the sake of someone else’s happiness, you are definitely on track to becoming a very selfless person. It really does irritate me when someone simply refuses to do something because it wouldn’t be their first choice.

Try one new thing every few months that helps someone else.

I guess in theory, we don’t always have the chance every day to do a good deed and help someone in need. However, we can make an effort every few months to try something new that is going to benefit someone else. Whether it be volunteering, giving blood or even donating to charity. Just something that is going to benefit the wellbeing of someone else and you can do without really having to take much time out of your life. Even if you try one new thing a year, you are on the way to becoming a more noble you.

Do you think you are the most selfless version of yourself that you can be?

Shop this Post:

 

Dress – Mint Velvet

Boots – Zara

Jacket – Miss Selfridge

Bag – Michael Kors

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I have not been paid to feature any brands, and all views and opinions are my own.

Your Guide to Blogging Part Time

Your Guide to Blogging Part Time

Imagery by Hana Dallimore Photography

With the new year comes new opportunities, and I have found a new leap of life in the first few weeks of 2019. So many ideas have been rolling around my mind, and the blog has been a big part of that. At the end of 2018, I saw a huge increase in the development rate of the blog, making a little money on the side, enabling me to put more time into my hobby. However, with that I also want to make sure that I get the balance right in 2019. Yes, I may be doing more sponsored work, however, I still want to use this space as somewhere to share my tips and tricks, as well as everything I am passionate about it life. So with that, today I am discussing a pretty basic topic, aimed at bloggers or those of you who are considering starting a blog. There are a lot of us now in the UK making a living from our online platforms, but there are much fewer who have the ability to do so full time. I myself, even after four and a half years, am still only part time. So, as you would imagine, I have had to budget my time wisely. I need to be spending enough time on my blog to make it desirable to prospective companies who want to collaborate, however I also need to have enough time for my actual job which pays the bills.

Blogging part time comes with so many challenges, and the biggest emotion I have felt over the years is guilt. Guilt that I am not putting enough time into my hobby for it to grow, and also guilt that I am spending too much time on it and getting distracted from my paid job.

Ultimately the only way around this feeling, and how you can just about keep your head above water is by budgeting your time. For about a year, I have had a set time during the week to blog, and try to stay as organised as possible. I work a month in advance, so for example, during January, I am spending my time getting content together and scheduled for February. Not only does this keep me sane, but it also means that if I can’t spend as much time on the blog during a week or two, I know that I still have time to get on top of everything. My average time spent per week is about four hours, just spread across two evenings. When you think about that is not much time at all. However, that isn’t my photo time. My photo budget is around 3 hours a month, which Hana and I usually do on a Sunday morning. So again, just one Sunday a month is easily doable. Having this structure can make a very big difference.

To help with this, towards the end of the year last year I also started using a weekly planner. It is has completely transformed my weeks, as I have everything laid out and I can time manage incredibly easily. They are cheap and cheerful, and will definitely help if you are struggling to blog part time.

My next piece of advice would be on content. Since my blog has gone from strength to strength, I have had an increase in companies emailing to work with me. Obviously, this is incredible and makes me feel very proud of what I have accomplished. However, these collaborations are extremely time consuming. Therefore, I have had to start thinking a little more strategically and only take on what is going to benefit me, and what I actually can manage to complete in the time frame. The majority of brands will understand your having to say no, just be sure to end the email with a polite gesture along the lines of, ‘please consider me for future campaigns’.

Ultimately, we live in a world where we have to stay on top of our bills and finances, so that of course means that work comes first. What also is really important is our social lives and time to switch off. Therefore, this all has to be budgeted into your weeks and months. We must go to work and we must take care of the ones we love, so you have to see blogging as something that must fit in with that as opposed to the other way around. Really, if you can get your head around how that works, there isn’t much else that you can do. Don’t fret if you don’t have enough time to get a post done or a social media image published, just do what you can and be proud that you are sticking to a hobby that could flourish into something so much bigger.

 

Shop this post:

 

Jumper – H&M

 

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I have not been paid to feature any brands, and all views and opinions are my own.

 

How I Built My Instagram

How I Built My Instagram

Imagery by Hana Dallimore Photography

So in the blogging industry, and pretty much any industry that uses the internet, Instagram has become the one point of call to sell yourself or your product. Since I started blogging over four years ago, everything has changed, and it has become almost impossible to thrive without using the app. Luckily for me, I have always loved Instagram and was using it way before I even started my blog. I may not be as big as a lot of other bloggers, but I am pretty proud of how much mine has grown organically. With the changes Instagram made last year it has been a real struggle to grow and build my brand, as every step has been put in place to make it almost impossible to do well without paying. Which, to a certain extent I completely understand.

Every blogger event I attended in 2018, the main topic of conversation was Instagram, and more specifically the ALGORITHM. That word has been almost as annoying as Brexit, but I get why people are annoyed, as it is the main platform we have to get our blogs seen.

I wanted to write about how I personally built my Instagram, why I love using it and most importantly how to avoid getting stressed when going through a bad spell. So, I started my Instagram in 2013 and it was originally just a space where I shared a few images of what was going on in my life, the things I loved and a lot of fashion. To be honest, this hasn’t really changed. But what was very different then was obviously just that I wasn’t as structured in how often I posted and the quality of my content was much poorer. Although, at the beginning that was fine. I needed to gradually build up my following, and to do that I needed my content to be relatable and realistic. I had never been near a camera, so I didn’t want to make out that I was an amazing photographer when I wasn’t.

In the first couple of years, I tried to post as much as possible, which would have been around 4 to 5 times a week. I then always used as many hashtags as possible, engaging with everyone on my feed. I didn’t have lots of spare time during the first few years as I was studying, but any spare time I had did go into it. After about 2 years, I then realised that I needed to do more to grow, so I googled a few ways and the biggest was engagement. From then on, I would like hundreds of photos a day from the hashtags that I used and instantly my account began to grow. I never really did the ‘follow unfollow’ tactic, nor commented on people I didn’t know, but now I do tend to try out new things each month to help with my growth. So the biggest change really in helping my account develop was liking.

In 2017 I then started to take my blog a lot more seriously, which was when I first started to work with photographers. Suddenly the quality of my content dramatically improved, and with that the rate at which my account grew. Now, please don’t think I am suggesting that everyone needs professional photos to grow, and must spend money to get likes, but for me that is how it worked out. Obviously, I wasn’t just using the photos on my Instagram, so it was justified as I was also using every single one on my blog. My advice would be, if you want to develop your content, that doesn’t necessarily mean using a photographer like I did, but it could just be bettering your own skills and developing a more structured theme. That way you have a much more desirable theme for potential followers and in turn it will become easier to organise everything as you always know what you are creating.

So that is how I built up my following, and nothing has really changed to this day. I have tried out different tactics to grow my accounts, but the ones that still prove to be the most successful are liking and following. They help me grow my account the most quickly, and as far as I am concerned, organically.

With that being said, there is one big change that I have made, purely because of the way social media platforms now work. Did you guess it? Ads. No I never buy followers, but I do use Facebook and Instagram ads. I don’t use them as much as I would for my business clients, and I only ever use boosted posts as opposed to dark ads, but I find that they are one of the only ways that my accounts now grow. My budget each month is £12 and it is an amount that I can easily justify, knowing that my account is going to grow  little during the week and be exposed to a new audience. Whether you agree with ads or not, the way Instagram has changed has made it virtually impossible to really grow without them. Companies pay thousands of pounds to advertise themselves, so why is it not okay for a blogger to advertise their own brand? The only difference between it is that the companies are advertising a product or service, whereas as a blogger we are the product and service. Don’t be afraid to use ads, and never think that you have to spend a fortune because you really don’t.

So, that is how I have grown and continue to do so. If you have any advice for me, or any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me!

Shop this post:

Coat – Zara

Scarf – Edinburgh Woollen Mill

Jeans – Mango

Boots – Ted Baker

Bag – DKNY

 

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I have not been paid to feature any brands, and all views and opinions are my own.

 

My Wardrobe Basics 365 days of the Year

My Wardrobe Basics 365 days of the Year

Images by Hana Dallimore Photography.

If I had to define my style in three words it would be classic, relatively simple and most importantly true to myself. I don’t follow trends just because other people are wearing certain things, as usually it just isn’t me. I grew up in a family where we all love fashion, so naturally it has just become a part of my life, and I have just always had a natural passion for it. Before I can even remember I was dressing myself, choosing ridiculous outfits and throwing a tantrum when being told I couldn’t leave the house in my choice of clothes.

As with everything in life, as you grow up, your style changes and transitions throughout the seasons. However, we all have key pieces in our wardrobe that never change, and become a strong part of what we choose to wear every day.

 

Obviously, there are a few pieces that we all have in our wardrobe and can’t live without, so I wanted to keep this post very specific to my style. There is no point in me writing about the things you already know, so I thought long and hard about this, trying to think of pieces that can not only work together but fit most styles. The main thing when it comes to staple pieces in a wardrobe is that they will never go out of fashion, despite the crazy trends splashed across Instagram.

Black Jeans

I mean jeans in general are just a massive staple in every wardrobe, however black just always stand out a lot more for me. There is not a single thing they don’t go with and they are perfect through the seasons, day to night, for any occasion. For my figure type I always go for skinny high waisted, however I love how other people can pull off great styles, such as black bootcut! In the Summer time my favourite style is light wash boyfriend jeans, but for my figure they don’t work at all!

Light Coloured Blazer

A blazer for me has been a huge part of my style since I was about 15. I remember watching all the women on reality programmes going out in the day in jeans and a blazer and just thinking they looked so chic. They are pieces in a wardrobe that easily make any outfit look effortlessly put together, therefore are a staple all year round. In the Winter, throw a big coat over the top and in the Summer they can turn a crop top and shorts into a much more sophisticated look. My go to shops for blazers have always been Zara, H&M and now Stradivarius.

White Trainers

 

I have not always been a trainer kind of girl, but recently I have really adopted the look and reached for them pretty much most days. Not only are they a comfortable choice of footwear, but they have now become a fashion trend, taking them from a casual look to something much more put together. One of my favourite looks over the Summer was blue jeans, white trainers and a blazer. It was an outfit that took two minutes to put together in the morning, but looked perfect day to night. My favourite places for trainers in 2018 were New Look and Dune London.

Black Over Shoulder Bag

The bag featured in this post is one that I have been lusting after for what could be years, as they are all completely timeless in design and practical in colour, texture and ease of use. I know this as I bought the nude colour a few years ago and have been loving it ever since. In December I visited by bestie who lives in Chester, where they have a huge designer outlet with a Michael Kors. I landed up buying myself an early Christmas present, and I think I have potentially used it every day. The style goes with any look, and I have quickly learnt how much of a staple piece it is in my wardrobe. Black goes with pretty much everything, like the jeans, and an over shoulder bag can be worn throughout the day, for a casual or dressed up look.

Statement Belts

A few years ago now I made my first ever designer purchase from Gucci in magical Paris. I bought the black leather belt with a gold GG, which had been on every single Instagram post that year. I know I know, it is a lot of money for a belt, but I would buy it three times over. I cannot even count how many times I have actually worn it and how much I love reaching for it when getting ready in the morning. As with the bag and black jeans, it goes with pretty much everything and completely transforms an outfit. However, even though I went for the Gucci belt, I am not saying that you need one. Any brand will do as long as it has a statement buckle and adds texture to your outfit.

Shop this Post

 

Coat – Marks and Spencer

Jeans – H&M

Boots – Ted Baker

Jumper – Boohoo

Bag – Michael Kors

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The coat featured in this outfit was part of a paid for collaboration with Marks and Spencer. View the post here.

However, this blog post was no sponsored and all views and opinions are my own.

The Kylie Jenner Generation

The Kylie Jenner Generation

Imagery by Hana Dallimore Photography

Today I wanted to talk about something that I believe is very relevant to the younger generation, all aspiring to be something in life and make a name for themselves. I too, am in this generation. Nowadays we all talk a lot about what house we want to buy, what car we want to drive and where we want to be in 5 years time. This seems like a relatively new attitude towards life, and can be perceived to be good and bad all at the same time. I have been watching Kylie Jenner grow up since I started to watch the Kardashians years ago, and have always had a keen interest in her life, mainly because we are the same age. I mean, I love watching all of them just for the pure escapism of the programme, but Kylie has always stood out for me.

Kylie Jenner has almost become the youngest self made billionaire, all before turning 22. Whether you love or hate her, no one can deny that that is not an incredible achievement.

Having always shown herself to be relatively quiet and family orientated on the show, it is very clear that her determination and passion for beauty has got her to where she wants to be. She strategically took her insecurity, her lips, and turned it into a multi million dollar business. Looking at what she has created over the last few years, at such a young age, she inspires me everyday to work hard and focus on my goals. Okay yes, maybe it helped that she had money and millions of Instagram followers behind her, but being a consumer of her products and follower of her brand, she works hard. It is amazing to see someone so young have so much drive for life,  particularly when most people I know who are mine and her age have no idea what they are doing in life.

So, how do we take a page out of Kylie‘ book?

Well firstly, being in a family consisting of 5 daughters, Kylie must have grown up with a lot of pressure to be like them. Not that there is any horrible competition in their family, but she must have had an urge to make a name for herself and create a brand that makes her different to her sisters. In fact, her sister Kendall has too by following her dreams of being a supermodel. We all conform to this pressure growing up, whether it stems from siblings or friends. Kylie used her platform and focused on not only the one thing she is truly passionate about, but also the thing she was insecure about. So, naturally, my first point would be that we need to identify our insecurities, accept them and see how we can use them to develop a name for ourselves. This could apply to anything in life. One of my biggest insecurities used to be social situations and putting myself out there. With the career path I have chosen, blogging and generally wanting to have some good friendships, I have had to overcome this. I stared it right in the face and proved to myself that I was capable of getting over it.

Secondly, Kylie has shown that by using the resources you already have you can become something. For a lot of people, like her, social media has been the key to success. However, this point again can differ depending on your situation. If you are a little lost in life, have dreams but don’t know how to make them come true, start by figuring out what you can use that is already in your life. For example, you want to be a doctor and your best friends dad is a doctor…talk to him and see how he got there and what he would suggest! In my case, I wanted to focus my career on developing my own business. My grandad owns and has been running a very successful business for over 30 years. I utilise his experience and skills, and always ask him for advice. I didn’t have to go out of my way to get there, and he is always more than happy to help. Whether you have someone directly in your life, or perhaps a little more distant, we all know someone who can help.

I think one of my favourite things about Kylie has to be her work ethic. Before even turning 22, she has earned a name for herself as the youngest self made billionaire. She may have been on a roll, but I could name a lot of people my age who would have got to a certain point and already given up, with the attitude that they had already made enough for a lifetime. I love how she has a genuine passion for her brand and her work ethic drives her to carry on. In my opinion, I truly believe that this is only the beginning of what she is going to achieve. So, what does this mean? Personally, I think it means to achieve full happiness in life you must have a passion for something that isn’t just driven by money.

Finally, Kylie may have used her social media to grow her business, but in general she is a very private person. I think she has got the balance completely right of sharing what she wants to share online, without having to share too much about her and her life. Particularly when it came to her pregnancy. I mean, I do think it is pretty phenomenal that she managed to hide her pregnancy from the whole world, considering they are the most watched family in America. She proves that even if you need social media for your business, you can also remain private and keep a lot of your life to yourself. I think social media is great, but I also think having a life offline is even more important.

Shop this post

Jumper – H&M

Jeans – Mango

Boots – Zara

Bag – Michael Kors

Jacket – Miss Selfridge

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I have not been paid to feature any brands, and all views and opinions are my own.