Sunday, 19 April 2015

How to choose the right type of camera for you

I see so many people asking on Twitter, especially during various blogger chats, what kind of camera they should be using for blogging. It seems to me that lots of people think that you need a DSLR to be a 'proper' blogger but that could honestly not be further from the truth. There are so many different options for any budget when it comes to photography and just because you're not spending £1000 on a massive piece of kit, it doesn't mean that your photos will be any worse than someone who has every photography gadget under the sun. I'm no photography expert, but I'm hoping this post might help you decide what you really need. 

Mobile Phone 
I consciously put 'mobile phone' instead of iPhone because I'm aware that not everyone is an Apple junkie like me but regardless of make, lots of phones nowadays have absolutely brilliant cameras which, if used properly, can turn out some fantastic photos. Gone are the days when all you got from a phone camera was a blurry, grainy photo... some of the biggest bloggers sometimes use their phone for pictures because not only is it more convenient, readers often can't tell the difference between phones and DSLR! Knowing how to use your phone camera to its full potential is half the battle already won so make sure you scout out some tips and tricks kinds of posts on Pinterest, I could honestly spend hours flicking through them; I've learnt so much that I would have never figured out on my own! 

Point and Shoot 
This is where most people start, I've had a couple of different point and shoots in different price ranges, this article tells you exactly what you should be looking for as well as which ones are the best on the market at the moment.  If you're thinking of taking blogging to the next level and breaking into YouTube it would also be a good idea to consider how good the video camera is because you could then use it for vlogging and photography, killing two birds with one stone. If you're a little more on the clumsy side and you need a camera that's going to be a little more robust or you know you're going to be taking photos in rugged outdoorsy situations (or even underwater shots!) then it might be worth you looking at something like a Panasonic Lumix camera*. Depending on which one you go for these can be used to take some absolutely beautiful underwater shots which is something I've always fancied doing myself, it would make for some interesting blog posts! 

I was going to include bridge cameras in this post but then I looked at the prices and realised that they can actually be really expensive so I personally would rather just go for a full DSLR. I have a Nikon D3100 which is just under £300 on Amazon but there are obviously other newer models from both Nikon and Canon (the two brands which spring to mind when I think of DSLR cameras). In some ways I wish I'd have hung off and gone for the Canon EOS 700D because although it's a little more expensive at just over £400 it is brilliant for doing videos because it has a pull out screen which swivels round so you can see yourself and it has continuous auto focus which I don't think the Nikon D3100 has.

Having said all that, if you don't know how to use a DSLR then there's no point in getting one really, and it takes a lot of time to understand how they work. I know for a fact I don't use mine to even half of its full potential and I would imagine that I can get equally as good photos on a point and shoot as I can on my DSLR as it stands at the moment. As with iPhone photography, I think online tutorials are definitely your friend and I know that I really need to practise what I preach and get reading!

What do you use to take most of your photos?

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Saturday, 18 April 2015

Primark Haul April 2015

You might have seen me going on about mention that I'm going to Florida at the end of next month which obviously calls for one or two trips to Primark. I don't think you can beat Primark for value; you can get some nice stuff and it's cheap and it doesn't matter if you only wear it once or twice. I especially love it because they always have loads of character stuff in and although I'm not doing Disney this time, I am still doing a day at Universal so obviously I need to get something appropriate to wear that day, right?!

I'm sure you'll agree that those Marvel shorts are absolutely amazing, I'm thinking they'll be great to team with a plain vest top as an alternative to wearing a character t-shirt. The cami tops are an absolute steal at £4 each, considering you'd pay around £12 each for one of those in somewhere like River Island I think Primark is the place to be for essentials like these!

If you fancy a close up of some of the other stuff I got and a bit of narration from me then I've also done a YouTube video showing everything I got over two visits. I definitely need another shop before I go so I'll be keeping an eye out for any Primark posts/videos for some inspiration. I've got some more videos coming up, I'm just finding my feet on YouTube but I'm hoping to be able to set regular posting days so that you can all know when to expect something from me.

Let me know if you've been to Primark lately so I know what to look out for...

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Friday, 17 April 2015

April 2015 'Royally Good' Birchbox in Collaboration with Tatler

For the first time ever, I received a Birchbox this month. A box which I've read so much about over the years since it was released but never taken the plunge and subscribed, probably due to 'bad' experiences with other monthly boxes. Despite my experiences, Birchbox was the only one which had me tempted on a number of occasions, not every month, but there were some months when I seriously considered it but then money was spent elsewhere etc. because let's face it these boxes are a luxury that we don't always need and can't always afford. 

Anyway, fast forward to this month and I was asked if I'd like to receive this months 'Royally Good' Birchbox to celebrate the upcoming birth of the royal baby in collaboration with Tatler magazine. The two different boxes are aptly coloured either blue or pink and those who subscribe get the chance to pick their own Laura Mercier sample from a choice of kohl eye pencil in black violet or full blown supreme mascara. I think the opportunity to choose one of the samples is an absolutely brilliant idea and it ensures that you get at least one thing in your box that you would really like. 

I'll say now that Birchbox has lived up to the expectations I had, I was hoping it was going to impress and I can tell you that it definitely has. The brands and range of products I received are really good; exactly what I expect from a box which promises 'luxe beauty and lifestyle samples'. Unfortunately I didn't get to choose which Laura Mercier sample I got and I have to admit that I wouldn't have gone for the eyeliner if I'd have had the choice because violet really isn't a colour I'd dream of buying but then I have to admit that I do think subscription boxes should push you out of your comfort zone because otherwise, how would you ever try something completely new?! 

I shouldn't have let the colour put me off really, because it's not a Pat Butcher kind of blue (which is what I expected), it's actually really dark purple. It's not a liner you can use on your waterline as it just doesn't apply at all but it is brilliant for applying to the upper lash line; it doesn't drag or pull on the delicate skin. I tend to only apply liner to my waterline but this has forced me to try something different and I'm so glad I did! On the back of trying this, I would recommend Laura Mercier liners in a heart beat.

Korres is a brand I have a little bit of experience of, but only with their lip butters. I was really pleased to have received a travel size shower gel because I always like to have a little stash for weekends away, I was especially pleased that it smelt nice too! Not much else to say about a shower gel is there really but I do like it.

Ah a foaming face wash. I'm always a bit iffy when trying new skincare but I took the plunge with this (all in the name of research, such a difficult job) and with the few times i've used it I'm quite impressed; it's light and doesn't foam excessively, it smells good and removes dirt from your face so what more could you want... well i'd love it if I didn't have to use a separate eye makeup remover but we can't have it all can we? Probably not something I'd buy but nice to try, all the same. 

Love the shade of the Lola Barcelona nail polish, it's a Birchbox exclusive so I don't think you can actually buy the shade 'Gracia' but I really love it as a spring into summer kind of shade. One coat actually gives an opaque coverage which is something I love because if i'm in a rush I don't have to worry about multiple coats. Since trying this I would definitely look at some other Lola Barcelona polishes because they seem like quality products. 

The Inner Me Energise Me supplement tablets were a great addition to the box; something a little different to the usual kind of samples you receive in monthly boxes. There's 4 weeks supply which give you 100% of your daily allowance of lots of different vitamins including: Vitamin D, Vitamin B2, folic acid and vitamin B6. 

I've tried something from Percy Reed before but I can't think what it was but I was really pleased to find the No Oil Oil in my box because I love trying new hair stuff. It's quite an expensive oil at £14 but if something is good I don't mind paying it, I wouldn't usually pick up such an expensive bottle to 'try' so this is why Birchbox is such a good idea because it means you try things that you wouldn't normally.

Overall I am well impressed with Birchbox, it's totally blown Glossybox out of the water in terms of the products and brands they've included and even down to the design of the box itself; I love the little bag within the box. It's £10 per month (plus £2.95 p+p) which I think is a very reasonable price based on this months box. Looking back on previous boxes, none of them would have disappointed me and I can't wait to see what Birchbox brings us in future months!

Are you subscribed to Birchbox?

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Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Current Haircare - featuring the best hair brush I've ever used!

Having a bad hair day can really set a day off to a really bad start; I know that if my hair won't co-operate in a morning I end up losing my rag and it'll just go up in some sort of crap scraped back look (and I'm cursing the fact that I've probably washed it the night before for no apparent reason because I'm not wearing it down) so I like to use products that are going to minimise the risk of waking up with crap hair. 

Just recently I've got back into using the Schwarzkopf Ultime Omega Repair shampoo and conditioner* (£4.99 each, Boots)and it's actually been working better for me this time than it did last time for some weird reason (probably because I'm being less lazy and making sure I actually rinsed properly every after the minor problems I had last time I used it). Using the shampoo and conditioner leaves my hair so soft and smelling salon fresh which is always nice. I've also been enjoying using the Omega Repair Beauty Balm* from the same range; it's been really nice to use something which helps to tame frizz and keep my hair soft without piling a load of silicone serum on. Although it does still contain some silicone ingredients, it's nowhere near as heavy as some of the serums i've used in the past and I don't worry about overloading my hair with it. In fact, I could use this before and after drying with absolutely no worries at all. 

As much as I've been loving my shampoo/conditioner/balm routine lately, I can't tell you how much I have been absolutely astounded by how good the Wet Brush* is. I'll be totally honest and say that when I was sent it I didn't have very high expectations at all, I think it was to do with the design of the logo. That is so shallow of me I know, but it just looked like one of those JML things that promises to do wonders and s*** cucumbers when in reality it's just a bog standard brush. But oh-em-gee. I can see why this is the number 1 hairbrush in America because it is bloody amazing. You can use it wet or dry and I've found that it works just as well either way; this thing is so good at getting rid of knots and tangles without pulling your hair out of your head. Honestly, if you struggle with knotty hair, you need to put this at the top of your list to buy because it is absolutely incredible. I don't say this about many things but I really do 100% recommend this. It's available from lots of places but it's £8.99 on Fragrance Direct which I think is an amazing price for such a good product. 

What have you been loving for your hair lately? 

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