Upgrading your Camera

A camera is one of my most important tools for blogging. I currently use a Canon 1100d and though it’s a decent camera for a beginner, I’m looking to upgrade it in the next few months as I want to improve my photos and get something a bit smaller in size. 

When I first chose my camera, I had a little look around the internet for the latest reviews. Obviously, buying a digital camera isn’t cheap and when you’re spending £££’s you don’t want to end up with something you’re going to end up regretting. Luckily, my camera has served me well but its not perfect. I think because my needs have changed, I’m now looking for something with a bit extra.
When you’re choosing a camera, I think its best to choose one that you’re going to be able to get a lot of use from. If you’ve been using a regular digital camera, you might want to take a step into the world of dslr’s. These can be expensive, especially if you’re buying lenses too. Lenses can actually be more expensive than the camera body. I’d actually probably recommend looking at a bridge camera first, if you want to get one a little cheaper.

The main setback of a dslr or bridge camera is the bulkiness. If I want to take it out and about, it’s a no-no as it just wont fit in my bag. For my next camera purchase, I’m looking into buying a compact systemcamera. A lot of these are smaller and less bulky so they’re super easy to fit in your handbag. You can still get great pictures with them and film videos too. I’m thinking about filming something soon so this function is pretty important. You can also buy lenses too for compact system cameras so you can get various types of pictures. 

I'll be shopping around before I make a final decision on the camera I want. Do you have any recommendations?

*sponsored content but I am genuinely searching for a new camera!

Dior Star AKA The Foundation of Dreams

I've mentioned Dior Star foundation* briefly in the past but I think its time for a dedicated blog post. Dior Star is a fairly under hyped foundation in the beauty world and I'd go as far as saying its an underrated gem. 

This is my first step into the world of Dior foundation. I'm a fan of Dior beauty in general so I had high hopes for this product and I haven't been disappointed. Housed in a glass bottle with pump, Dior Star has light to medium coverage with a 'my skin but better' finish. I've seen some reviews say that it has a dewy finish and I disagree. I'd say its somewhere middle of the road - it leaves skin looking healthy and radiant. What makes it stand out from the crowd is the texture and finish. I absolutely love that it feels light on the skin and it has good coverage. You do need to use concealer for any blemishes or redness but I find it helps to smooth pores. I use the lightest shade which does look a little dark in the bottle but once blended into the skin, its perfectly fine for my porcelain skin tone. 

This would be my holy grail base if it wasn't for one flaw - the oil control. Having a very oily t-zone, this foundation needs blotting every few hours. If you've got very oily skin, you might want to give it a miss but for normal/slightly dry and combination its perfect. Despite this, I still highly rate it as a brilliant base and if you're searching for a high end foundation then its highly recommended!There currently 20% off at Escentual here

Have you tried any Dior foundations?

5 Steps To Go From Blogger To Freelancer

It's been a year since I made the switch to freelance work. Its possibly the best decision I've made but also a scary/exciting and relatively crazy one. There is no blueprint for exactly how you should make the step into freelance employment. I pretty much jumped straight into the deep end and hoped it would work out. At the time, I was in a place of 'if I don't do this now, I'll never do it'. As its something I've been wanting to do for a while (ever since school, I always dreamt of being self employed and doing my own thing) I decided to take a leap of faith and follow my dreams. I have a post coming up over on Diary of a Freelancer on the lessons I've learnt but for now, I thought I'd give a few pointers that might help you if you're thinking of going into freelance work at some point. 

1. Get experience
A relatively straightforward approach. You don't necessarily need experience writing for different publications as writing on your own blog is putting yourself out there. As blogs generally have an informal tone, I'd recommend writing a few formal articles on your blog that you can add to your portfolio or attach as part of applications. If you're willing to write for companies for free to get experience, have a look on indeed and search for 'blogger' or 'writer' in the search bar as jobs are always popping up on there. You could also ask to guest post on other blogs too. 

2. Write a cover letter/about me 
For many freelance jobs, you may not need to send your CV. To give you an idea, I'm only just putting a CV together after a year of freelancing so at this point you really don't need one to get jobs. However, clients do want to know about what you can do - your skills, experiences, areas of expertise. Its handy to have a cover letter or an about me letter that you can send to clients when applying for jobs. If you're applying via a freelance site or via email, you'll need one. It will sound professional and help you to get that vacancy. I'll be going through this in detail very soon but for now, I'd suggest the following;

Introduce yourself
What you do - for instance, a freelance writer, designer etc
Your key skills - an example, SEO, html, photoshop etc
What you offer - a high standard of creative writing, for example.
An example of your work - link to it if you can or include it with your application.
Sign off.

This is just a very basic template but I will go thorough an example of this on my other blog very soon. 

3. Don't be afraid to use freelancing sites
There are a few freelancing sites on the net - I'd recommend using people per hour and upwork. Granted, there are a few low paid jobs on there and you have to sift through to find the good ones but its possible to get decent jobs on there and earn a decent income. I'd also suggest looking on indeed and other job sites for freelance work as well.

4. Don't set your sights too high
When you're starting out, you don't want to price your services too high as it may end up losing you work. In the beginning, I took lower paid jobs while I built up my portfolio. What you want to earn is obviously up to you but I generally think of it in terms of an hourly wage. Ask yourself how much work you can do in an hour? If say, thats writing 500 words then what you charge for a 500 word article would equal an hourly rate. Once you build up your experience, you'll be able to charge more for your skills.

5. Don't put your eggs in one basket
Sticking to writing in one niche will limit the type of work that you get offered. Try to write content in several areas. For instance, I started out writing in beauty but I'm now working more towards the travel and real estate sectors. Obviously, you don't want to spread yourself to thin. I'd also recommend getting experience in sales writing or marketing if you can as this is where many higher paid jobs are. 

I hope this was somewhat helpful if you're thinking of making the transition to freelance work. Getting started is the hardest part but once you have a few jobs under your belt, its really easy to keep getting regular work providing your offer a good service to clients.

Summer Repurchases

Do you ever find that you always seem to use up products at the same time? I still have a list of products that I need to repurchase but I made the start by picking up these three beauty gems.
I don't mind paying more for a beauty product if its something that really works. Saying that, I am a slight snob when it comes to skincare and I hate to admit that but I just find that the majority of drugstore skincare doesn't work that well on my skin. 

My ultimate favourite face mask is the Antipodes Manuka Honey Mask. This stuff is the bomb for giving your complexion a bit of TLC. Its the perfect treat if your skin is stressed, dull or just in a need of a pick me up. I also find its great for soothing blemishes and redness too. The honey scent is divine which makes it a real pleasure to use. My skin always feels clean, balanced and fresh after use and I'd highly recommend it for the majority of skin types. I got mine from Beauty Bay here as its a little cheaper than elsewhere. 

Now and again, I tend to suffer with dryness around my mouth. I actually think it may have been down to a toothpaste I was using as switching hasn't caused any problems (touch wood) so far. The best product I've found for dealing with extreme dryness is the Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream. Now, this oily cream doesn't have the most pleasant of scents. However, it is really effective on soothing and restoring dry or sore skin. I've used this on my elbows, feet, nose (its good to use in winter when you have a bad cold!) and its really does work a treat! You can also use it as a lip balm too. I only use this product at night as it does smell quite strong and its one of those oily balms that doesn't absorb well. Despite that, I've been through a few tubes of this stuff and its one I always come back too when I have any dry patches that need sorting. Its fairly cheap to pick up at All Beauty for £12.25 here. 

My hair is pretty fried right now so I've been using the Redken Extreme Anti-snap Treatment to try and strengthen the ends (a hair cut is required stat!). I've had a few bottles of this and it really makes my hair feel stronger and healthier. I'd recommend it for damaged or dry hair that needs a boost. You use this cream on your hair before heat, though I use it on dry hair too. It helps to soften and smooth and it smells incredible too. Its not super cheap but I've yet to find anything that does a similar job in making the ends of my hair look better. You can find it here at Feel Unique.

Next on my repurchase list - Kiehls Avocado Eye Cream and Collection Lasting Perfection Concealer.

Have you tried any of these products?

Soap & Glory Peach Party

I feel like I haven't blogged for ages and in truth, this little space has been neglected over the past month or so. Life has just gotten in the way recently and to be honest, I felt like I needed a break. However, I'm slowly easing myself back into blogging and thought I'd begin with a product I've been using consistently over the past few weeks. 

Soap & Glory doesn't need any introduction. I'm probably more interested in their makeup line than their body and skincare range as there's some real gems in there. Peach Party is officially a blush but I've been using it as a highlighter and its become a real staple in my makeup bag. 

Peach Party has several shimmery segments that resemble neapolitan ice cream. I guess you could use them separately if you have a very small brush, however they work best when swirled together with a fluffy face brush. The result is a shimmery peachy pink shade that would work well on a variety of skin tones. I personally find this too shimmery to be used as a blusher but as a highlighter, its perfect! It lasts a decent amount of time on the skin and creates luminosity wherever you apply it. For £11, its a job well done!

Restoring Damaged Nails

If you’re like me then your nails become damaged fairly quickly. When it comes to caring for my nails, I have a few tricks up my sleeve in order to try and restore my nails back to full health.  
I find things like doing the housework, cleaning or just day to day things cause my nails to become weak. A poor diet or overall heath can also cause damaged nails as can wearing artificial nails. A few products I use to help strengthen my nails include;

Applying a nail hardener
As nail plates often become brittle and thin, using a nail hardener will help to strengthen and condition the nails. I like the Sally Hansen ones as they’re relatively affordable and do a good job of helping to restore the nails. Its best to use a nail hardener sparingly as over using can encourage nails to become too hard and split. Once a week is more than enough.

A hand cream
I like to use a hand cream in the evening to soften my hands and promote healthier nails. I try to use one formulated with vitamin E for best results.

A nail oil
Using a nail oil helps to strengthen your nails and cuticles. You can either apply a nail oil to a cotton pad and swipe over the entire nail or apply to the cuticle area and massage in. I normally massage an oil into my cuticles as a treatment. I do this once or twice a month in combination with other products mentioned in this article.

Nail buffer
If you have ridges on your nails then using a nail buffer is the best way to treat them. Gently buffing over the nail will help to smooth any ridges and make nail polish application look flawless. As I suffer from ridges, I apply a nail ridge filler too as a base coat for nail polish.

Wear gloves
I always wear gloves in winter as the cold weather can really affect your hands and nails. It’s also a good idea to use gloves for household chores too. Water can really be damaging so for chores like washing up, it’s best to keep your hands protected.

Daily vitamin
As I’m not the healthiest person in the world in terms of diet (I’m really trying to stop eating junk food!) I take a daily vitamin to get some essential vitamins and minerals. Even if you have a decent diet, you might still need added vitamins or even a calcium tablet to strengthen your nails.

Avoid smoking
As it happens, I don’t smoke but I know how damaging it can be for your health. Smoking actually causes nails to become dry, damaged and yellow, so avoiding it will definitely encourage you nails to be healthier.

A professional treatment
Sometimes, I prefer to go for a professional manicure as a treat. I don’t paint my nails that often but when I do, having a manicure or just getting my nails painted by a technician is a real bonus. If you fancy a professional nail or beauty treatment then check out bookyourlifestyle for the latest deals.

*posted in collaboration with bookyourlifestyle