The summer clothing sales are in full swing so I wanted to bring you a blog post with the best picks from the summer sales. I will also be updating this blog post daily as new sales or styles land so keep an eye out and make sure you've got it bookmarked. Happy sales shopping! - affiliate links Current Summer Sales:
Gifted press items featured in post - I feel as if it’s time I write an updated best fake tans blog post. One of the questions I always get asked is what fake tan I use. Just like with hair care and skincare, I don’t use just one brand religiously. I easily could be loyal and stick to one brand forever, but there are so many incredible fake tans and self tanners out there, I like to mix and match. I’ve been using fake tan since I came out of the womb, no seriously, I’ve been using it for years and have honestly used the majority of the big names on the market and feel as if I have a good insight into which the best self tanners are. Yes I’ve looked like an oompah lumped/tangerine many times but hey, we’ve all been there. Here’s a list of the best self tanners and fake tans to buy in 2019.
With every tan below I always apply before bed and sleep in it for best results, then wash off the next morning. James Read Fool Proof Tan - I didn’t think I’d like this product because I’m no longer a fan of tans that make my bed sheets change colour BUT, for fake tan beginners, who like a colour guide, this is the tan for you. I was hesitant to use it with it not being a transluscent tan (thank you world for creating translucent tans) but the best thing I did was pick up this bottle. The colour is one of the best I’ve used, incredibly natural but nice and deep. I really rate this because you don't need much to get an amazing colour, whereas sometimes I feel like I need to use a whole bottle. James Read tans do not go orange, no matter how much you put on so if you’re worried about being orange, go for James Read as the colour is definitely the most natural out of all of them. These products are also brimming with good ingredients, it’s worth spending the extra money knowing you’re putting goodness onto your skin. It makes me feel a little bit sick thinking what kind of green/orange products have been sinking into my skin over the last few years. Good quality is what your skin deserves.
Tan Luxe The Water - Tan Luxe are one of my all time favourite self tanning brands and one I would buy over and over again. If you ever read my blog post about gifting influencers, you’ll know that as influencers, we are fortunate to receive many products to trial and I have to say, I would spend all my money on Tan Luxe. It really is worth every penny. With some self tans, I feel I need to use the whole bottle to get the intensity I desire (MAKE ME SUPER BRONZED PLEASE) but with Tan Luxe water, actually one of the first ever translucent tans I ever used, I find I don’t need to put 46 coats on to get a good colour. In the medium-dark shade, I find 2-3+ coats gives me the nicest bronzed colour and I love that it comes out as clear water, it actually really doesn’t stain the bed sheets which is epic and I don't smell like biscuits.
St Tropez Purity Mousse - I was blown away when I tried this product, I’ve always loved St Tropez but felt they were quite late to bring out a nice smelling, transcluscent tan. They didn’t disappoint with their mousse, it was definitely worth the wait and smells absolutely incredible and makes my skin feel so soft on application. I was a little worried about a mousse as I find them quite drying but this softly sinks into the skin and is so hydrating. If you’re a tanning newbie but wanting translucent for less mess, I’d say go for a clear mousse over a clear water to begin with as even though it’s translucent, you can see how it’s gone on much better than a water. I find the colour of this tan is absolutely divine and again, I don’t need to apply too much of it either. I have to say, I wasn’t expecting the colour to be so beautiful but it’s one of the most beautiful bronzes I’ve ever used and I didn’t need to use much to get the colour I desired either. St Tropez came back and they’re on top form, their purity range is a game changer. Thank you St Tropez for developing such a gorgeous range. No mess and hydrated, glowing skin.
James Read Coconut Dry Oil - If you are looking for a James Read tan that’s translucent, go for the James Read coconut dry oil, it’s divine. I wore this every day on my Greece trip last year and it kept my skin SO incredibly hydrated and glowing. I can’t explain the glow I had. I like to be mega bronzed so with this one I do find I need quite a lot of layers, to be honest I end up throwing the bottle on (more than the Fool Proof tan which only takes a few layers to get the colour I like) but, it’s the perfect holiday glow. I find this is great to use when you want to look really glowy as the oil is like an at home pamper session and makes your limbs look to die for.
Isle Of Paradise Dark Drops - My fellow Yorkshire man Jules Von Hep launched Isle Of Paradise and it’s great to see it going from strength to strength. So many of my friends swear by Isle Of Paradise. Not only does it smell amazing and is packed with goodness, it’s on the more affordable scale too where tans are concerned as I do find I always end up recommending premium tans. Isle Of Paradise drops are amazing as you can up the intensity and you can add it to your normal moisturiser. I find they work so well on my face and I wake up looking as if I just had two weeks in the Bahamas, with such a natural but beautiful glow. The great thing about Isle Of Paradise is they do different colours so you don’t have to go as tanned as I like to be, you can really choose your colour, just decide how many drops you want to add. I love how clean Isle Of Paradise products are (they use organic tanning actives plus avocado, chia seed and coconut oils), meaning you're not putting any nasties onto your body or face.
Vita Liberata Invisi Mousse - Another epic mousse, there’s a reason so many people swear by this product. I’m loving that so many tans are translucent now meaning you can get changed straight after or sleep in white bed covers hooray. I find I need minimal of this to get a really dark colour, I just need to apply less on my hands, one coat is more than good enough and dark enough when it comes to my hands! If you’re looking for a really deep, mousse then this is for you. This dries super quick and is free from parabens, chemicals and uses organic botanicals for anti-aging too which is a nice little addition.
Tan Luxe Wonder Oil- I used this because I ran out of my trusty Tan Luxe water and honestly wasn’t expecting a rollerball to be so good but the smallest application gave me the best colour! It hurts a little rolling it over my bones on my legs hahaa (maybe that's just because I'm bony), and goes on like a kind of sticky oil, it’s very different to any fake tan I’ve ever used but I rub it in with a mitt and it’s worth it for the colour and smoothness. I didn't expect a good colour at all as it felt like I'd barely put any on but I was so impressed when I first used this. My skin looks so smooth after it's developed. You only need around two layers for an epic glow. I wish they’d bottle this up without the roller ball to be honest! It uses a powerful blend of plant oils and is SO hydrating.
Sienna X Spray Tan - Whilst I’m not really into ‘messy’ tans anymore, sometimes, for that gorgeous colour, needs must. I’ve been gifted a few Sienna X spray tans before and they’re exceptional, such a beautiful, even colour and I’ve ALWAYS loved Sienna X products in general but to have it at home in a spray tan is so dreamy. If it was up to me, I’d have a weekly spray tan! I always go for the darkest colour when they come round, sleep in it and wash it off the next day and it’s lovely to actually have a tanned back and super tanned face too. I find it lasts at least a week which is lovely too. Perfect pre-holiday.
St Tropez Purity Water Face Spray + James Read Face Spray -One of my top fake tan tips if you can’t be bothered to fake tan is to get a water fake tan spray (James Read and St Tropez do great ones which I've linked below) I pop it on before bed as it’s always in my bathroom on the side with my skincare, and I just spritz my face a few times, my décolletage and my hands, it means I wake up glowing with a bit of colour without having to do a full blown tan! Top tanning tip!
NYK Secrets Tan - I was so impressed when I tried NYK Secrets, a skin friendly (over 95% natural ingredients!) transparent mousse that literally glides on and gives such a dark colour after only two coats. I’ve had this on for the last week and super impressed with the colour so had to give them a mention.
Loving Tan Express Mousse - Loving Tan reminds me of the tans I used to use back in the day, incredibly quick and effective. Not everyone likes to leave their tan over night and that's probably why Loving Tan 2 Hour Express is loved by everyone on social media. It isn’t translucent but I know so many people prefer tans with a colour guide so if that's you, this is for you. There’s a reason everyone talks about this tan when it comes to making you super bronzed! The colour is exceptional. It really is an epic tan if you’re wanting an intense colour that lasts and you’re wanting a colour guide too. I always find I look ridiculous when I apply these kind of tans so don’t freak out when you do, it’ll look amazing in the morning or after two hours when you wash it off!
So there we have it, to conclude, if you’re a newbie I’d definitely go with James Read fool proof, Sienna X or Loving Tan so you’ve got that colour guide and if you’re wanting to try a tan but unsure of how much to apply, use the traffic light system with Isle Of Paradise and start on the lightest colour, for a holiday glow James Read Coconut Oil or Tan Luxe Roller will aive you the best glow of your life, opt for James Read Coconut Oil if you want more of a natural colour and the roller if you want to be a little darker, then for a day to night, easy and quick to apply fake tan with no stains on the bed sheets, you’re looking for St Tropez invisi, Vita invisible or Tan Luxe the water. My go to products for tanning and truly, all of the above are great for different reasons.
Shop the best fake tans below:
I really hope this blog post helps, so many of these tans are exceptional. It really is hard to find a favourite! It depends what mood I’m in but for me, these are the best fake tans right now.
I've been wanting to write a designer dupes post for quite some time now but as someone who loves designer (but also loves high street), I always felt like there's something a little *wrong* with people copying designer. On the flip side, I get it, maybe you don't want to spend thousands on a designer handbag and that's okay but rather than point blank copying it and going for a fake designer bag (illegal!) a dupe is a good way to get the designer look for less if you like the style. Hopefully this blog post will help you out with lots of designer inspired items without the cost of designer or hey, maybe it'll inspire you to make that life-long designer purchase instead. I always find I lust over the designer item so much, find a dupe of it and then end up going for the designer one anyway haha. One of the things I've been requested the most on my YouTube channel is a designer dupes video so I thought it was the perfect time to do a blog post featuring 12 of the best designer dupes on the high street in 2019 to go alongside my video. Open up for the best high street designer dupes!
So there we have it, whether this blog post inspires you to buy the real designer deal because let's face it, you can't beat a lifelong investment, or maybe you're just after a trend led piece and would rather go for a similar high-street version, I hope you've found this best designer dupes on the high street blog post helpful! In most cases, I'd like to say the designer version is 'the best' if the quality is good and it will last longer etc but I hope this helps!
Do you prefer designer dupes or the real deal? Watch my video below for a discussion about designer dupes and more:
BEST DESIGNER DUPES 2019 | GUCCI, CHANEL, DESIGNER SHOES, HANDBAGS & MORE - YouTube
Today I want to talk about a topic that’s been on my mind for quite some time: the ‘not an ad’ discussion. I wrote a blog post years ago about influencers and sponsored content so I guess this could be a little update on that post. For most of us, blogging started out as a hobby and we had no idea there was any type of reward let alone any financial reward from doing so. In fact when I wrote the post I refer to above, traditional jobs were still the norm and social media related jobs were only just becoming a thing. Now, people are running businesses from their homes, talking about things they are passionate about and making a living from it and I think that should be celebrated. Working hard to create content that people like and get some use out of and then being paid for it, seems to be a quite controversial matter for some reason but it is actually just a job like any other job that people get paid to do and I hope this honest chat will explain a bit more about the world of influencers, paid ADS, posts and more. Let’s discuss…
Disclosure with social media influencers: To begin with, let’s talk about disclosure: Where content is marked with AD, #ad, Ad, advertorial it means it’s an advertisement that is being paid for. There was a little bit of confusion when the new CMA (Competition and Markets Authority) guidelines launched, because people started writing AD on literally everything, to protect themselves and you know what? I get it. It’s better to go overboard than look as if you are trying to mislead or hide anything from anyone. It’s sometimes hard to keep pace with the ever changing rules in the industry so often it may just be a misunderstanding. I read the guidelines and they suggest AD (whether written as AD, ad, Ad or #ad) is the best way to disclose paid for content as a means of being completely transparent with your audience. On the other hand, if an item is given to me for free as a press sample or I’m on a trip that has been paid for on my behalf, it would say, hosted press trip or gifted press item. I wrote a blog post all about the connotations of the word gifted so for more on that click here to read my blog post on gifted influencer items because that's a sticky one in itself!
To make disclosure for both bloggers/influencers and consumers simple, the ASA (Advertising Standards Authority) rule that Ad, #ad, AD (which all mean the same thing) is the best way to mark paid for content. I asked ASA if the # is needed and I received a response to say that the declaration of paid work doesn’t have to be searchable, and as a hashtag makes something searchable using AD alone is sufficient, without the hashtag too. The hashtag can be used if desired but it isn’t a formal requirement. Now we’re clear on that, let’s talk about ADs in the influencer world. Note: I do not like the word ‘influencer’ as it suggests our primary goal is to ‘influence’ but it seems to be used universally now so that’s what I’ll be using throughout this article.
Turning work down: I speak for myself and my friends in the industry when I say I turn down a lot of work that doesn’t align with my values or my followers. For those people who do chose to be paid for talking about something they don’t really like, use or believe in, that’s up to them and it is none of my business but what I can guarantee is that both me and the majority of people I work with in this industry, agree to working and being paid for about things that they would either use, do use or would like to use and things that align with their goals and values so whether they are being paid for it or not is irrelevant. I get a little tired of seeing influencers being branded as ‘greedy’ for making a living: there will always be some bad eggs in every industry but it certainly isn’t the norm. Most influencers are self-employed, meaning we don’t know from one month to the next what money, if any, is going to come in. That’s why I think as ‘influencers’ we should be open about the money and campaigns we turn down to demonstrate that, even set against a background of not knowing whether a paid job is going to come in that month or not, we are true to our values and stick to advertising only about things we are passionate about. We can be wrongly branded as 'greedy' or 'sell outs' but would many people turn down a promotion at work, particularly if they didn't know where their next pay cheque was coming from? Probably not! But many of us do that on a weekly basis.
Unpaid work: While paid content is becoming common place, it’s also worth saying that much of an ‘influencer’s’ work is often unpaid, organic content which is watched and enjoyed by millions of people. I always think it's a shame when people do get annoyed at influencers doing paid partnerships because after all, they produce so much free content too. A natural progression from that organic type of content is that a brand will see how passionate and enthusiastic you are for their brand and will want to pay you as an ambassador of the brand and that becomes a real honour and a fully fledged partnership with a contract, a full schedule of work and tight deadlines. This natural progression in to a paid partnership along with disclosure is something that we should be proud of particularly as these are brands that we love to champion. Some ’influencers’ are frightened of the backlash from people who don’t quite understand the industry and how it works or get confused by the few ‘bad eggs’ in the industry but for most of us we have built an organic relationship with a brand which has resulted in a more contractual relationship and that’s something to be proud of. I've genuinely been called a 'greedy cow' for using affiliate links before, but if someone is paying for items out of their own money, then producing a video about those items, paying a videographer to edit it and maybe might make a few pounds if someone buys through their link *how dare they*, is that really such a bad thing? Shouldn't we be saying, actually yes, that person inspired my purchase or helped me get an outfit for a certain occasion, just like a sales assistant works on commission, why does that make an influencer greedy?
Expenses: As well as talking about the jobs we turn down, I often think as content creators it’s also worth talking about just how much money goes into this job and how much it costs to produce good quality content. I’ve always being of the mindset that you should blog as a passion and you can do that for free, but as things expand and clients want drone shots and audiences want high quality content investment is required. Ultimately we are producers, editors, photographers you name it and we need the equipment to go out and make that content, whether free or sponsored. I know the majority of influencers who do this full time spend thousands of pounds on camera equipment, the fact I had to move to London because everything seems to be here, extortionate rent rates, the videographer, photographers I pay etc, and if I didn’t earn money from the work I do I simply wouldn’t be able to create content on a full time basis. ADs in the Social Media World: I’m very lucky because I have an audience that mostly understand that whether it’s an AD or not, it’s still ’selling’ nothing other than my passion for something. Just because something is an AD, it doesn’t for a second mean that it isn’t me or isn’t my genuine opinion. Just because I’m being paid it doesn’t mean I don’t like it. There’s this idea in the world that if someone is paid, it means what they’re saying is untrue but actually, most of my partnerships come from organic love of a brand first and they then want to work with me which is wonderful. I guess some people on social media, do post about things they don’t genuinely use or like and that ruins it for us all, so be mindful of who you’re following and usually it’s pretty easy to tell when someones being genuine. Even when a new brand comes to me, please know that I invest a lot of time in trialling things (and my Mum too) before any content goes out. I actually relish in the opportunity to help new brands I’ve never worked with before, I love using them, falling in love and shouting about them from the rooftops. I also respect brands that do pay influencers for their work too. I often see people apologising 'sorry for doing too many ADs in a row' but so what? if they're all genuine, it doesn't matter. To be honest, when I see influencers doing paid jobs I'm like YES QUEEN, epic! How awesome?! It's really cool.
Industry Improvements: For me, it’s important that my disclosure is spot on as I would never want to deceive anyone, in my eyes, the guidelines are ideal to set a standard for everyone to follow and standards are important. They could be improved by being properly monitored by the ASA with feedback being provided to those who misinterpret them or use them incorrectly (because currently they are not monitored so it can be one rule for one influencer and another rule for another). I'm not at all saying I'm perfect in this blog post, but I'm trying my best with the ever changing rules. Transparency is key, but one thing I’m not a particular fan of is when people label their content with the phrase ‘not an AD’ I try to avoid doing this because whatever content I am producing is genuine whether it is an AD or not and I think that saying this discredits ADs and makes it appear that there is a difference and there shouldn’t be any difference at all. For me personally, AD or no AD, it’s still a genuine opinion and having to write ‘this isn’t an AD’ on everything should be unnecessary. I also understand why people write it, it's easier to say 'this isn't an AD' than someone waste the ASA's time investigating something but also, it shows how untrusting people have become that people are having to write 'not an AD' just because they're saying something good about something!
Phew, so there we have it, not to be a negative Nelly with this post, but just to get it out there and talk openly and honestly about sponsored content with influencers from my point of view, whether you’re someone who absolutely hates people doing ADS, you’re all for it or you don’t care either way I do hope this goes someway to clarifying things.
If you support me or my peers, thank you so much. It means everything! I think it's pretty awesome what we've achieved as 'influencers', it's always very pinch me getting to work with brands!
I don’t know about you but this time of year always inspires me to eat food that is good for me. As soon as the sun shines, I put down the Yorkshire puddings and bring out the Greek salads ha. The minute the weather starts to get better, I crave salads (with a side of carb, obv) over my usual Yorkshire puddings, put the Cheeselets down (reluctantly) and that desire for all the hot food seems to disappear (and trust me, I'm not a salad kinda girl). If you’ve been following me on Instagramyou will have seen that since moving to London I’ve been trying hard to get myself in to a routine of baking healthy snacks that I can eat on the go, particularly for breakfast. It just means I try to bulk bake on a Sunday and have something good to grab for the week ahead when I need a snack. I've also been trying to up my fibre intake so I'm trying to eat more oats and fruit/veggies when I can. I actually wrote a blog post about several ofmy favourite breakfast recipes if you missed that. Today I wanted to share my easy healthy carrot cake cookie recipe with you.
This recipe is inspired from my childhood. When I was first born my Mum would take me out in my pram each day and treat herself to a piece of carrot cake from the local bakery. I have always loved carrot cake and to this day she is convinced that it’s because she ate it everyday during the time she was breast feeding me. We will never know if that is the case or not but for sure I absolutely love it. Let's be honest, the best part is the sugary white icing on the top ha, now I need to find a healthier way to recreate that... but for now, my healthy carrot cake cookies are divine and get me through the week.
While I love a sugary treat here and there I try and stick to breakfasts that are made of healthier ingredients and this one is a winner and tastes yummy. Bake them and then grab them every morning or as an afternoon snack for the following week (or as long as they last). As always, it’s simple and I don’t do too much measuring. I need quick and easy recipes rather than faffing.
You Will Need:
- 2x Bananas
- Carrots (depends on size, I usually use 3x big ones)
- Honey (I use Manuka)
- Almond or oat milk
- Ground almonds
- Cashew or almond butter - Ginger (I use the ground powder) - Cinnamon powder - Turmeric power (I also use the ground powder) - Vanilla essence
See my Amazon listherefor my favourite healthy baking ingredients.
- Chop two large uncooked carrots into slices and blend it together with a heaped tablespoon of cashew or almond butter with a large cup of almond milk or oat milk, add a small drop of vanilla essence, cinnamon, ginger (depending on how much you want) and turmeric too. I do this in myNutribullet but any good blender will do.
- Add 2x bananas and blend. Add a small amount of honey (or substitute if vegan) too to sweeten if you like. This should look like a carrot smoothie at this stage!
- Put two large cups of oats, a small cup of ground almonds into a bowl and then stir the blended 'smoothie' mixture into this until it goes into a cookie mixture. You can add blueberries or raisins in here too if you like. I personally add lots of blueberries.
- Place spoonfuls of the mixture onto a baking tray and bake for around 30 - 40 mins at 160 degrees.
Enjoy hot or cold. Carrots add a nice natural sweetness so you'll hopefully love these. These can also be made into muffins, just do the same mixture but put into muffin cases instead. The cookies will last for 4-5 days in an air tight tin - if they last that long!
My jumpsuit / my pink circle bag and online here too / affiliate
Hello hello! Today a different and I guess 'old school' blog post from me. If you've been reading Emtalks for a while, you'll know I've got a section on my blog that I update regularly with lots of occasion wear outfit ideas in one easy placeas I'm often asked what people should be wearing or for some inspo for wedding guest, proms, graduations or the races. Today I thought I'd put together all my current top wedding guest dresses and outfits in one easy place as I cannot stop adding stuff to my wishlist. I rarely go to weddings, in fact, hello, people around me please start getting married so I have an excuse to buy all of these pretty dresses! I personally LOVE wearing white and obviously you can't wear white to a wedding but hopefully some of these beautiful outfits below will give you some inspiration if you're going to a wedding or looking for a perfect wedding guest outfit this year. If you're wondering what should I wear for a wedding? Hopefully this blog post will give you all the wedding guest dress inspiration.
MY TOP PICKS:
So there we have it, some of my top picks when it comes to what to wear as a wedding guest this year. I think these outfits are beautiful for Summer inspo too and I hope you love these wedding guest outfit ideas as much as I do!
Hello hello, I do hope you are all well. Whilst cleaning my washing machine the other day, it suddenly dawned on me just how much I’ve learnt since moving to my new place late last year and I thought it would make a great blog post to tell you all about it. I thought I’d write about 12 things I didn’t realise until I got my own ‘professional house’. The reason I say 'professional house’, is because I have lived away from home numerous times - when I was at University I lived away from home in different places (and countries) but this time it’s different as I'm not a student anymore and this will undoubtedly lead to me moving in to my own long term family home rather than returning to the home in which I spent my childhood. When I was a student I didn’t think about spending money on lovely cutlery etc, plus student flats aren’t something you spend your time designing or even tidying much because there are so many people living with you and so much going on. So, when I tell you what I’ve learnt in my ‘professional house’ I guess I really mean my non-student crib haha. So here you have it. Some other 'adulting' blog posts similar to this topic that you may enjoy too include how to save money,everything you need to know about renting or buying a house in Londonand how to set up a pension or why pensions are important!
Rose gold pans will tarnish - Rose gold pans (or copper because let's be honest, they look rose gold but really they're just spray painted haha) tarnish really quickly. I should have listened to the people who advised me when I bought them but oops, I was too excited about how pretty they look. Fun fact: just because something looks pretty it doesn't mean it’s going to be practical! I’m sure if I got the highest quality pans in rose gold they’d be immaculate but ‘rose gold’ look ones, may look good initially but after a while they look dirty! Same for all the ‘copper’ utensils I bought, they’ve all tarnished and now just look a bit, ew.
You’ll spend your life tidying up - I feel as if tidying up is a full time job, everytime I move the house becomes a mess so kudos to those of you with full time jobs AND a family! I salute you. I have a cleaner who comes round a few times per month (Fantastic Services, this service is gifted to me as a press appointment but honestly, they’re phenomenal and keep my house SPOTLESSLY CLEAN) but even with this, I still manage to make it messy after a day haha. It’s good to know they properly clean my bathrooms though as this isn’t my favourite job. Mrs Hinch, you have no need to worry just yet!
Crumbs are the devil - I find crumbs everywhere, on my sofa, in my pyjamas, in my bed. Should I stop eating bread? Absolutely not. Is it time to get a handheld hoover? Probably.
Dishwashers are as glitchy as the Instagram algorithm - Honestly dishwashers can be such a pain. I’d never had one throughout Uni so was ridiculously excited to finally get one, now I wish I hadn’t bothered. One day it works and the next day it makes my dishes dirtier. I actually think I prefer hand washing them with my trusty Fairy liquid!
Luxury cutlery is worth every penny - I compared some sturdy gold cutlery from West Elm to some ‘rose gold’ looking cheap cutlery and honestly, the gold still looks amazing but the rose gold not so much. If in doubt, spend the extra money. I’ll be getting the solid gold ones again next time.
Luxury bed linen and towels are worth every penny too - One of the best purchases is luxury bed linen. My family have always bought Christy and whilst I was kindly gifted some incredible things for my home, I would always buy the likes of Christy. It washes beautifully and my bed feels like a cloud like hotel bed, it’s definitely the best in the business.
White towels look nice but you’ll spend your life washing them - I got some grey towels from Christy and they’re incredible, fluffy and big BUT I personally think white towels look better and crisper in my home. I'm glad however that I stuck to the grey theme because I look at the white towels and they turn orange, seriously. I spend my life washing them because I am basically one big tangerine.
You’re forever putting washing loads on - I spend my life putting loads of washing on. As I said, how do people do this with kids and husbands? I salute you. I swear I only wear gym kit too!
Wooden floors are the best - I’m so happy part of the house is wooden, it’s so much better for entertaining and means I can be a clean freak. I was kindly gifted a Vorwerk vacuum and couldn’t be happier with this, it seamlessly whizzes across my wooden floor (it also adapts to carpet too) but I find wood SO much easier to keep tidy. Bearing in mind point 3 about crumbs being the devil, this vacuum helps tremendously.
Food is so expensive. And so is everything else. Bills. Life. Nuff said.
Always use tinned kidney beans in your chilli! Tinned kidney beans are safe because they have already been cooked. Dried kidney beans need to be soaked before use to destroy toxins that they contain! Thanks for this information Mama Shel and Google.
Finally, something further I’ve learnt since sharing the dishwasher issue (point 4) with my Mum is that dishwashers actually need feeding with rinse aid! I always thought dishwashers were supposed to look after me, not the other way round! Plus, playing to point 10, rinse aid is expensive!
So there you have it. I’m finally in the adult world fretting daily about whether I’ve done the washing, what I’m making for dinner, how much heating I’m using and I’m only just at the start of the journey but my Mum tells me I’m doing okay and at least I’ve got her (and the Internet) to help me when I get stuck. Obviously I am SO grateful that I have a roof over my head, this is just a lighthearted post that will hopefully make you realise white towels and rose gold cutlery aren't the things to be wasting your money on haha. Being tucked away in a cosy place that you can call your own is wonderful and I’m so happy I’ve done it but goodness, I’ve realised now just how much there is to learn about just about everything. I’ll keep you posted along the way!
Paid advertorial - As a beauty lover, it’s always exciting for me when a new brand comes to the market and ticks all the boxes. In today's beauty spotlight is Dermikelp, a brand I’ve been watching with interest since I heard about it last year. Dermikelp is a new range of body and hair care made with nutrient-rich sea kelp. Before I use new products, I always try and understand a bit about their background. I fall in love with brands that little bit more once I start to understand their story and the background of their founders - it really makes a difference to me. Dermikelp was launched by Dr Nigel Christie, a marine biologist who, in the first instance, developed kelp products for agricultural use, and following its success turned his attention to exploring the potential of sea kelp to nourish skin.
Every product in the range contains a high concentration of nutrient and mineral rich Sea Kelp which flourishes on rocky reefs off the coast of the western tip of South Africa where an icy current sweeps up from the Antarctica. It is this current that keeps the kelp in constant motion which means it grows rapids and therefore enables it to be sustainably hand harvested. Dermikelp only employ certified divers to carefully harvest mature stems by hand to ensure younger plants aren’t damaged in the process. The younger stems are then left to flourish and re-generate over 2 years maintaining a healthy environment for sea life and ensuring that nature is not compromised while enabling this amazing plant to be used for great hair and skin care too. I have taken an interest in products made using kelp in the past by taking a daily kelp capsule as I heard that it was good for growing hair. Until now though I have never used a product actually on my hair containing kelp.
There are of course many different types of kelp growing naturally in our oceans, in fact it has been used for centuries and is already available today in several luxury skin care and beauty products that Dermikelp use. So what makes kelp so special and what is extra special about this new range of products?
Dermikelp have placed their focus on a particularly special species of kelp called Ecklonia maxima. This type of kelp is extremely strong (to ensure it can continue to grow in the rapid waters it lives in). The ingredient that makes it strong is the organic gel contained within the plant. Additionally, this type of kelp contains significant amounts of vitamins, minerals, enzymes and amino acids all of which are known for their potent nourishing, hydrating and soothing properties. A plant which is so naturally high in a diverse blend of health giving minerals and nutrients makes it ideal for nourishing hair and body alike.
Sustainability really does sit at the heart of Dermikelp. Ecklonia maxima kelp is made into a concentrated liquid called CEM-K (the active ingredient in the Dermikelp® body and hair products). The special cell burst process uses every part of the kelp stem to make CEM-K without involving heating or freezing of the kelp. This maintains the nutrients and minerals inside and rather than discarding the leaves, they’re processed for agricultural use and returned to nature as nutrient-rich plant food.
For me, the combination of a product that uses such natural and nutritionally rich ingredients while harvesting responsibly (in addition to the above background, Dermikelp only harvest every two years to allow the forest to fully regenerate and continue to support the rich array of marine life) makes it a genuine pleasure to use. As you would expect from a company with strong ethics, all of their bottles are 100% recyclable too.
So there’s a lot of talking about the company ethics and the science behind the ingredients but what about the product itself? Is it good, does it work?
As most of you will know, I’m massively in to my haircare. My hair was damaged for a long time and I learnt my lesson the hard way about how important it is to take very good care of your hair. It took me a long time and some good hair dressers to achieve the good condition it is in today. I’m thankful my hair survived the early in life treatment I gave it by applying too many extensions and too much heat and I have vowed to only every treat it is with high quality gentle haircare products.
With this in mind, firstly I want to talk about the Hair Essentials Starter Kit . Dermikelp’s set contains a 2 step regime for nourishing hair. The pack contains the Cleansing Shampoo and the Hydrating Conditioner. This regime is ideal for everyday gentle cleansing and nourishing the hair, without stripping the hair of natural oils, this is particularly important for me as my hair is naturally on the dry side. The gentle formulas are suitable for use on coloured hair and all hair types, but will be particularly soothing to dry hair and sensitive scalps. I find my scalp gets quite itchy so it’s nice to use a soothing product. I’ve never really used a hair product that’s designed to be sensitive to skin and sensitive to the environment before.
This is an indulgent combination of soothing shampoo and hydrating conditioner, infused with Grapeseed Oil. The nutrient-rich and sustainably sourced sea kelp used in its purest form as CEM-K, is designed to leave your hair soft, nourished and shiny. I find after using this my hair instantly looks shiny and is definitely more manageable and soft. They also do a Nourishing Scalp Tonic to soothe the scalp which is high on my wishlist.
Second to launch is The Body Essentials Starter Kit which contains a 3 step routine for hydrating and soothing sensitive skin. The pack includes the Gentle Cleansing Body Wash, the Nourishing Moisturising Lotion, and the Soothing Cream. This regime provides a welcome relief for skin that needs a little extra TLC. The gentle formulas in these products soothe, protect and hydrate skin, without the use of harsh chemicals and perfumes.
All products are dermatologically tested, contain a clinically proven active ingredient (CEM-K) and is a non-irritant formula.
To finish, Dermikelp is sensitive to skin and sensitive to the environment, it’s good to know its a guilt free purchase. It’s perfect for dry and sensitive skin as the seasons change and of course, any sensitive scalps too.
Gifted press products featured - I’m massively into a lot of things, pizza, chocolate, travel, fitness - my life is just one big balancing act if I’m honest. Another thing I adore? Skincare. I’m very lucky that in my job, I get to trial many new products (read all about gifted press items if you're wondering why influencers are 'gifted' things) and in all honesty, it means I switch my skincare around a lot. I obviously have my hero, holy grail favourites which you’ll see on my vlogs and on the blog a lot if you’re long time readers/followers but today, I want to talk to you about some brand new skincare products I’ve been using this spring to make my skin glow. There are so many epic skincare products out there and I just love trying them all. I thought I’d do a little beauty round up of the current new skincare products I’m loving for a spring glow.
Beauty Pie Ginseng Root & Ginger Brightening Eye Fix - I’m massively into my eye creams because I rarely get enough sleep and let's be honest, my under eyes are always so puffy. Most of you know I adoreClinique Pep-Start, it’s definitely a holy grail eye product but I recently started using Beauty pie Ginseng Root & Ginger Brightening Eye Fix and think it’s the perfect early morning eye cream. They say it’s like a strength training session for your eyes (hello, yes, much needed), it’s loaded with anti-dark circle technology, a powerful root-derived antioxidant to detoxify and promote smoother skin and ginseng extract which has anti-aging and tonic virtues PLUS it reduces the appearance of redness with anti-blotch properties. Yup, you could say this little pot (and what a beautiful pot it is) is brimming full of goodness, my tired eyes absolutely love it, it’s a pleasure to apply, it's so soft and luscious and definitely makes me look more awake. It's a yes from me.
Elizabeth Arden Retinol Ceramide Capsules Line Erasing Night Serum - One of the best pieces of advice I was ever given skincare wise was to start using anti-ageing products before you start ageing. Obviously we are ageing every day, but rather than slapping loads of anti-wrinkle cream on wrinkles, try using it to 'prevent' or slow rather than when it's already happened. I personally think wrinkles are great, they mean you are living a long life but, I know many people want smooth skin. I adore Elizabeth Arden and have done for years, I was introduced to their Retinol Ceramide capsules a while ago and have been using them ever since. The perfect little capsules for travel and they're packed with so much goodness. I feel like I'm doing some serious goodness for my skin every time I pop and apply one before bed. Retinol is extremely sensitive to light and air so it's put in a special capsule and the retinol in these capsules is 76% more potent than un-encapsulated retinol, meaning you get potency on every application. The product comes out lightweight and smooth and it's designed to visibly diminish lines and wrinkles, improve skin texture and tone, radiance and clarity, minimise the look of pores and it's a non-drying formula too as Retinol can be drying. I absolutely love using this every night and sure my 60 year old self will thank me for it. If there's a skincare brand I trust every time, it's Elizabeth Arden. This makes my skin feel SO smooth and there's no excuse not to apply this/take it everywhere with you because the capsules are so handy.
Elemis Biotec Skin Energising Cleanser - I mix my cleansers up a lot, I'm a big fan of balm cleansers, favourites include Elemis Balm Cleanser,Temple Spa Cleansing MeltandClinique Take Off The Day. I tend to do a double cleanse, often using cleanser first followed by a balm. A cleanser I'm currently grabbing is Elemis Biotec Skin Energising Cleanser. I think I must have an old one because the packaging seems to have changed but I love using this on a morning, it's designed to kick-start the biotec system and preparing the skin for optimum performance, it removes dirt and impurities and my skin does feel energised when I've used it.
Beauty Pie Q1 Energy Gingseng Root & Ginger Super Moisture Cream - I mix up my serums and moisturisers a lot, there are so many good ones and favourites out there (looking at you Neutrogena Hydro-Boost Serum) but some days I feel like using a moisturising cream in the morning. It's great because you can add your favourite serums to it if you feel the need for an extra kick. This is great for mornings, using ginseng for energising, ginger for daily pollution feet (hello London ruining my skin) plus Sodium Hyaluronate for hydration. My skin feels so soft and luxurious after using this. I also highly recommend Olay Regenerist Whip as a morning moisturiser if you're looking for something that sinks into the skin and feels light-weight.
Paula’s Choice Boosters - Last but not least, Paula's Choice Boosters. Wowza, these little bottles are full of energy and are so powerful. I've noticed such a change in my skin since using them so I just had to talk about them. There are many available for different skin types and you can use them alone, together or pop a drop into your moisturiser, day and night. I personally like to use the C15 booster with 15% vitamin C and vitamin E, it makes my skin glow instantly. This is designed to smooth, brighten the skin and it feels so lightweight. There's also the peptide booster which is a blend that targets eight different anti-aging concerns, from fine line sot wrinkles and uneven complexions, as well as enhancing firmness. There's also the 10% Azelaic Acic Booster which has Azeliac and Saliculic acid and plant extracts too, great to minimising breakouts and redness, as well as sun spots. Basically, there's a booster for everyone and I love mixing and matching them depending on my skins needs. I am hooked.
Do you love switching your skincare up? Are you a skincare junkie? Which products do you like?
‘Gifted’ is a word that is popping up everywhere on social media recently and the subject is something I feel is worthy of its own blog post firstly to allay any confusion and to explain what ‘gifted’ really means. I love listening to what people have to say on different subjects, one of the most amazing things about the whole social media world is that everyone gets an opportunity to share their views and those views are often so varied and different which absolutely fascinates me. The perception I get from listening to a wide community of followers on the subject of things being ‘gifted’ is that when the word gifted is used then bloggers must be receiving everything for free. I’ll be honest, it’s for this reason I don’t personally like the word ‘gifted’ and the reasons for that will hopefully become clear throughout this post but in a nutshell, unlike a present given by a friend or family members, media ‘gifts’ usually require some work before deciding whether or not to talk about them.
There's a real divide, with many of my followers asking me for 'blogger mailing unboxing' so they can see what's new in the beauty world (as a beauty lover, this excites me so much too) and some getting annoyed and assuming I get given everything for free and therefore I must be unauthentic by talking about 'gifted' items. I'm fortunate that the majority of my audience fall in to the first group rather than the latter. I can promise you all that I love the industry I have found myself working in and absolutely love the items I receive to talk to you about but I can also 100% promise that I will never say anything good about anything if I do not like it and I can guarantee you that forever. If you watched my ‘answering your assumptions’video on my YouTube channel, I talked about this in an open and honest way but felt it needed a full blog post. So, get cosy and let's talk about 'gifted items' in the blogging and influencer world and what that actually means.
What is PR and Why? - First things first, someone who works in public relations (better known as PR) is in charge of 'deliberately managing the spread of information between an individual or organisation’, which means that basically, many brands will pay someone who works in PR to distribute news, or press samples so that their product is featured in top magazines, blogs, or gets into the hands of top social media influencers. I know people hate the word influencer but for the sake of this post, that's what I'm going to use. Any advert you see on TV or in a magazine falls in to this category and always has done. Often some brands have their own in-house PR team who work around the clock to do this. In a competitive world, they say a good PR is essential to enable press coverage, enable people to see your product and get it in the public domain so that people can choose to buy it if they wish. See it this way, if you can get a blogger with great authenticity to say how good your product is, that's great for the brand. Note: Nowadays the 'press' doesn't just mean traditional magazines and news outlets, but essentially anyone with a following could be deemed worthy of receiving 'press' samples as they have an audience, so this could be a celebrity footballer, or a blogger/Instagrammer.
What Does Gifted Mean? - Gifted/hosted/invited basically means something has been given for free or maybe discounted. It's basically a new term to describe traditional press samples. Let's go way back to the start... journalists and bloggers have always traditionally been given items that are say brand new, before they hit the shelves so they can get their reviews up quickly or test and trial new products. Starting out with my own blog, I had no idea this was a thing. I remember getting my first ever press sample through the post and my Grandma being like 'omg it's a freebie', I quickly realised that these are not freebies at all and actually, they're an integral part of my work as receiving them means I can stay on the ball with new releases and ensure the beauty section of my blog is up and running with the best launches. I get asked daily about what skincare, tans, haircare to use and I love having as much knowledge as possible so I guess brands send things so that influencers/journalists can trial their products and hopefully feature them. As social media evolved away from just blogs, you'll often see a lot of Instagrammers being 'gifted' items now too because they may feature the products on their YouTube or their Instagram rather than their blog if they don't have one.
Why Do Bloggers Get Things For Free? - I'd like to start by saying it isn't just influencers, but celebrities, journalists, TV presenters etc have been receiving things for free for years now, whether it's a hair cut, a teeth whitening treatment, a holiday or a lipstick... people just haven't really disclosed this much until recently. Some have, but many haven't. An influencer receiving a press parcel from a PR is the same as journalists being gifted items to their office to trial and review for say their beauty pages or a celebrity on the TV wearing a particular brand of clothing or carrying a branded handbag (you'll notice the Royal family are often seen carrying handbags which they have been gifted, people know they get everything for free so they don't write that this is gifted). When you see the 'best suncreams on the market' in the beauty pages for example, often the journalist hasn't gone out and bought these but has been sent them to trial and choose their favourites so they can educate the audience on which they prefer. Often I will flick through pages of magazines and I have been sent the same press items. 'PR samples', or 'press samples' are what I prefer to call them, as 'gifts' are something given by friends and family, with nothing else in mind other than the item being a present from one person to another. When someone gives a PR sample (as lovely as it is and it really helps me to do my job) generally it's because they want me to enjoy it and feature it and that's totally okay, that is one of the jobs of a PR, to get coverage for their new launches. However, whilst 'gifted' is an easily recognised term that says 'I was given this for free' which is why everyone is using it, the main reason I don't like the phrase is because there is generally work involved at the other side, should I choose to review it and therefore, this isn't a 'freebie', it's something I need to work for. One important thing to note, generally there is absolutely no obligation to post about something that lands on your doorstep, I only post about things I truly love and actually, the press samples really help me. For example, I have been able to always be one of the first on the internet to get my Charlotte Tilbury reviewslive and because I've tried so much skincare, I feel I can really offer good advice on what to spend your money on and what not to. People often come to bloggers, just as they go to traditional magazines, for honest reviews and I trial things so I can give those honest reviews and advice.
So, in summary, just like journalists receive press samples, so do some bloggers/people on social media and this is something that has been happening for years. I guess the confusion comes around because people are now disclosing this as *gifted* which is fine, as it's definitely the easiest way to say it was given for free, but it then gives people the idea that everything is free, easy and fun.
Why Are People Disclosing Gifted Items/Press Samples? - People are disclosing them (rightly so) because it's better to be transparent with your audience. I feel in most cases, it's very obvious that it's been given to you without having to write '*gifted/press sample* etc, or it's very obvious that I am on a *hosted press trip* if I tag a brand and say they've brought me somewhere but it's better be absolutely clear with your audience rather than unwittingly give anyone the impression you are trying to mislead them when all you are actually doing is your best to get great content out to your audience about a product you rate or a trip you're on. Quite often, I will re-buy products I've been gifted and continue to use them. If I love a 'gifted' item, you'll know about it as I'll talk about it. Essentially anything I feature, I like and to be honest, the things I hate I just rarely talk about. There are still many people who don't disclose and some of this is genuinely down to a lack of education in this area or misinterpretation of the rules rather than a deliberate attempt to mislead (of course there will always be a handful of people who will always try and bend the rules deliberately but I like to think that this isn’t the majority in this case). Many bloggers/influencers do not have teams of people researching and interpreting standards and it can be a bit of a mine field. For a long time I didn't realise we had to (I also had no idea we had to write ad at the start of captions on paid posts until recently) and I'm sure eventually everyone in social media will too as the regulatory bodies get better at sharing the standards. This doesn't mean I'm a bad person, it just means every day I'm learning how best to disclose, as are so many others. I personally write *gifted as it's easier or *hosted if it's a complimentary meal or trip, but I've noticed some people writing 'gifted' with the inverted commas around and can only assume this is because they're on the same wave length as me and recognise that these aren't gifts, they're work but for the sake of being transparent we have to disclose them as such. I know many old school bloggers are disclosing 'gifted' items as 'press samples' instead to avoid to misconception that they are gifts.
Authenticity with gifted items? - There will always be this debate that if something was gifted or sponsored, it lacks authenticity. I understand, I guess you just have to be mindful of who you follow, get to know them and figure out if you trust them. I can hand on heart say I only ever work with brands I adore, I only ever feature cool products, products I've used or I'm going to use and would spend my own money on. I often involve my whole family in reviewing things for my followers and get their honest opinions too so believe me, nothing is ‘free’ in this industry - there is always big work going on behind the scenes to get my content out to you and often, my content is completely unpaid if it's just a review of a gifted product for example yet a lot of time and effort goes into that work. The PR agency have no control over what I say about a product that lands at my door gifted, me featuring it is purely my own choice. I have personally turned down life changing amounts of money because I didn't feel brands suited my audience or felt the products were damaging to my audience. I am and will always remain transparent as honesty is a value I have been brought up with and I will strive to always get it right for my audience (but please note, I am only human sometimes it's easy to forget to write that it was gifted haha) and if someone bought a product I'd recommended and disliked it for some reason I would be upset about that so it's better to be upfront and honest with how a product really is. If it's good, you'll know about it because I'll do my really annoying high pitched squeal on a vlog or I literally will not stop talking about it - if there is good and bad about it then I will tell you the pros and cons and leave you to decide whether it’s the product for you, after all, we have different skin types, hair types, body types etc. Take the Neutrogena Hydro-Boost serumfor example, that was given to me as part of a paid campaign and I have been using it on and off for over a year now. I've mentioned it so many times organically because it really is that great. Same with Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream and Vichy Dermablend, two absolute hero products in my make up bag and have been for years, based on products I bought myself, was then gifted and use continually. It's a whole new blog post for me to talk about bloggers having authenticity whether a post is sponsored or not and maybe I'll write that someday too! I love it when. paid partnerships come around following on from me organically loving a product in the first place and often, they do! But todays post is about gifted items and press samples rather than paid partnerships. You can read my blog post here about bloggers and sponsored contentbut I hope to write an updated one soon!
I hope the above has helped put some context on this tricky subject. It’s always best to just talk about these things and hopefully you will agree that it’s easy to find genuine and honest people in the industry from someone who is just flogging you some detox tea for the dollar or teeth whitener haha.