Sunday, 2 July 2017

How to Grow Your Pinterest By 3000 Followers in 12 Weeks

How to Grow Your Pinterest
As far as social media goes, Pinterest is a relatively new platform that most of us are still trying to navigate and get to grips with. It's taken a little while to get there, but according to Google Analytics, Pinterest is now the second largest driver of traffic to my blog each month. When I first created a Pinterest account, I had absolutely no idea what I was doing - I would crazily pin to one or two boards and couldn't understand why I wasn't able to grow my following.

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Things to Do In Belgium: Visiting 3 Cities in 3 Days

City breaks are really my thing at the minute - with work commitments and financial constraints, it's the easiest way to explore the world without breaking the bank. Shorter breaks also mean I can fit more countries in to my tight schedule! I booked a 3 day holiday to Belgium in March with my lovely (picking my descriptors carefully as I know she'll be reading this) sister/travelling companion. We anticipated a quiet, relaxing break, but we couldn't have been more wrong. It was a jam packed few days and we managed to visit 3 cities in 3 days. Here's my recommendations for a city break in Belgium:
1. Take a river cruise in Bruges
Ok, don't laugh....I didn't actually go on the river cruise myself - my sister was really keen to experience it but I saw a curvy woman with a similar body type to me take one unsteady step into the very narrow boat and almost capsize the whole thing. So that put me off the whole boat situation as there was no way I was taking an accidental dip in that freezing cold river. For people who have no fear, however, the river cruises were extremely popular and at approximately £7 they're fairly priced for a 30 minute tour to take in those views of Bruges that you can't see on foot. We did walk a similar route to the canal boat and I can vouch for the fact that the scenery is stunning and well worth the trip.
2.  Take pictures of the colourful buildings in Bruges Market Square (The Markt)
Pastel coloured buildings are the 'in' thing in the blogosphere at the moment, so what's not to love?! The architecture in The Markt is outstanding and one of the main attractions for tourists - it's in the heart of the city where you can hop into a horse & cart for a tour, climb 366 steps up to the top of the Belfry for 360 views of Bruges or drink in the vibrant atmosphere in one of the many restaurants. If you're looking for something to eat on a budget, I'd definitely recommend avoiding the cafes in the market square area - I nearly fell off my chair when I realised it would cost £11 for a very basic cheese toastie. It's the perfect place for a drink and lots of people watching though.

3. Be underwhelmed by the Manneken Pis in Brussels
If you research 'top things to do' in Brussels, the Manneken Pis (peeing boy) statue repeatedly comes up as a must-see. I do love a bit of history and architecture so I always try to catch a glimpse of these type of things when I'm travelling in a new city. So, my sister and I set off on our little adventure on the hunt for this peeing boy and well....we couldn't have been more underwhelmed if we tried. Although it looks as though it's a pretty big and impressive statue, it's actually so small that we walked right past it. The only reason we went back to it is because there was a number of people congregating at a small alcove in the wall and we wanted to see what all of the fuss was about. I mean, I was straining my eyeballs to get a view of one of the most over-hyped statues in the world. It's probably the most famous landmark in Brussels though and this little fella has been around since 1615 so I'd recommend a quick visit just to tick it off your list!              

4. Absorb the beautiful scenery and architecture in Ghent
If you're all about exploring an Old Town and capturing some of the most beautiful views, then Ghent will be the place for you. In my personal opinion, this place is so underrated - I was absolutely blown away by the views over the canal and it was by far one of my highlights of the trip. It's a historical city with lots of hustle and bustle and plenty to see and do. It's only a short journey from Brussels and the public transport is easily accessible. I'd make sure you book out a whole day for this so you can take your time to enjoy the buildings and scenery.

5. Eat way too many Belgian waffles in every city
It's just not possible to visit Belgium without sampling scoffing some freshly cooked Belgian waffles. Now I thought I'd tasted some good waffles in my lifetime until I visited Belgium but I can tell you that no one else can make waffles quiet like the Belgians. As you can see, I treated myself to this Nutella/strawberry combination and it was absolutely delicious. You'll find so many street stalls/quirky little cafes that sell Belgian waffles and there is so much choice when it comes to the toppings. I think I came back from this trip about 3 stone heavier but I have zero regrets.

Let me know in the comments if you have any more Belgium recommendations!

Friday, 12 May 2017

Bobbi Brown Beauty Basics

Bobbi Brown BeautySo, I have a little confession to make - up until early last year, I had never acquainted myself with one of the biggest names in the beauty world, Bobbi Brown. As you can imagine, when my local House of Fraser announced they were opening a Bobbi Brown counter, I was all over it. I picked out some of the recommended classic/versatile beauty basics and I can't help but feel that I've been missing out all these years.
Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Even Finish Foundation SPF15 in Warm Ivory £34.00
I have a love/hate relationship with this Bobbi Brown foundation, while there are so many elements that I absolutely love about it, (I almost thought I'd finally found the one), my skin really hates it. It was ticking all of the boxes - the Warm Ivory matched almost perfectly with my pale skin, it blended seamlessly, it was my ideal medium but buildable to full coverage and it stayed it place pretty much all day. The SPF15 included to protect my skin was also an added bonus. However, a short while after application, my skin became really itchy and irritated to the point where I had to remove the foundation. I had noticed prior to application that it was heavily scented with lavender, which surprisingly I didn't mind. After a little further research, I found that lavender oil can be a skin irritant so I'd highly recommend that anyone with acne or problem skin stays away from this product. There's no mention of this ingredient on the Bobbi Brown website and knowing that my sensitive skin wouldn't react well to it, I wouldn't have purchased it in the first place if I had known it contained lavender. If you have dry/normal and non-sensitive skin, you'll probably find that this is an ideal foundation for you, but unfortunately, it really didn't work well for me. I'm really hoping that they bring out a fragrance free version very soon because I'll be all over that.
 Bobbi Brown Vitamin Enriched Face Base £42.00
In comparison to the Long Wear Even Finish Foundation, the Vitamin Enriched Face Base is an entirely different story. There are so many positives about this face base and I've been raving about it to everyone who will listen. Multi-use products are always a winner for me; this is a combined moisturiser/primer and anything that saves me time and effort is a definite yes from me. I usually steer clear of products with a thick consistency, but this product is oil free so works well with my naturally oily skin. The scent is gorgeous - a mixture of floral and citrus but isn't overpowering if you're not one for strong scents. At first, I tried applying this directly to my skin and really struggled to move the product around. I've found the best way to use this is to take a little product and press it between your hands to warm it slightly and then apply by pressing it gently into your face. That way, it's evenly distributed and absorbs into your skin much more quickly. It really plumps my skin and gives  a perfect, even base for your makeup or a radiant glow if you're going bare faced. I urge you to buy this especially if you're new to Bobbi Brown like me! It's on the pricey side but it's worth every single penny.
Bobbi Brown Metallic Eyeshadow in Velvet Plum £18.00 
One swatch of this at the Bobbi Brown beauty counter and it had to be mine. I'm utterly obsessed with browns and neutrals, even more so if they contain a little sparkle. The 'Velvet Plum' shade description is a little misleading - I'm struggling to find the plum colour if I'm completely honest but I'm not complaining in the slightest as this metallic brown with gold shimmer particles is much more suitable for my cool skin tone. The texture of the metallic shadow is buttery smooth; it's highly pigmented and glides onto the lid with ease. It's a versatile product that allows you to create a sophisticated eyeshadow look - you can wear this alone for a subtle effect or you can blend this out with darker tones for a dramatic smoky eye look. The most impressive aspect was the longevity of this shadow, while it faded slightly throughout the day, it still appeared to be pretty intense when it came to removing my makeup and I didn't experience any creasing on my eyelids. The only negative I have with this shadow is the immense amount of fall out during application, I guess this is to be expected from a metallic/shimmer product though so I always apply before foundation but it certainly doesn't take anything away from the high quality product.
Let me know in the comments what your favourite Bobbi Brown beauty products are, I'm keen to expand my collection!

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