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Why I stopped trying with beauty subscription boxes

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Contents of a Birchbox from 2014

Throughout the 4 years I have been blogging, I feel like I've tried every beauty subscription box under the sun. I've had subscriptions to: Glossybox, Birchbox, Latest in Beauty, Love Me Beauty, You Beauty Discovery Box in the past, and most recently, My Little Box. These of course, were not all at the same time as that would be rather a lot of pennies...

Beauty subscription boxes are fantastic in many ways. Beauty subscription sites often let you tailor your profile so that they send you products more relevant to your needs. Others let you physically pick the items that you have within the box. Many view subscription boxes as a 'try before you buy' type thing, as they are often a mix of sample size products, along with some full size ones.

At first this idea thrilled me. I loved being able to explore new brands and products that I would have never thought to use before and through subbing to these boxes, I discovered many brands that I still love and use today. I always liked the slightly luxurious element of the boxes too. Often it has been a way to try more high end, expensive brands that I never would've been able to get my hands on. The fact is, they are great value for money. If you add up the cost of everything you receive within your box and then compare to the original price you paid for the box, you've nearly always made quite a significant saving... but have you?

Do you know what? Nearly all the unused beauty items that I have piled in my room have come from, yes you guessed it, beauty subscription boxes. Don't get me wrong, I have found many gems under the lids of these boxes, however there are so many items that have come from them that are lying around in my drawers, untouched since I've taken them out the box.

This isn't the first time I've felt a bit unfulfilled with beauty boxes, even 2014 me knew something was up when I wrote a post about why I was disappointed with a Glossybox I had received!

Since becoming a student I quickly realised that beauty boxes were not really something I could justify supplementing into my tight student budget, and that it was fairly wasteful to be purchasing these boxes knowing that probably at least 2 or 3 of the products inside there would remain unused after I first intially tried them.

One of the main reasons I started subbing to these boxes was for the purpose of reviewing them. They've always been quite easy to write and photograph well. I would always find this becoming quite mundane after a few months subbing to a particular box and also became repetitive after a while. This would eventually lead me to stop feeling inspired to review them, meaning that they didn't really feel worthwhile buying. As well as this, I felt the products themselves becoming repetitive! Don't even ask me how many times I've received some kind of sample size product from Benefit, because it's definitely once (or 5 times) too many!

I'd rather spend the extra money I spent on subscribing to these boxes, on trying new products recommended to me by other bloggers and definitely think this is what I will do in the future if I want to try something new. Hit me up with your favourite product reviews in the comments, I'd love to read them!

Lottie x

Blogger events and how to have fun!

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

The first blogger event I attended/organised back in 2014! Many of these girls I am still in touch with!
So it's summer, July in fact, and as the majority of my readers and followers are also in education of some form like myself, there's time to relax and have a lot of fun. This fun can take the form of more blogger events: yay! We all should love blogger events: the nibbles, the bubbles and yes, sometimes there's even freebies, it's a rather coveted thing. But what if you are feeling so nervous about the prospect of all the new people that you can't bring yourself to attend one?

As someone who suffers from GAD (general anxiety disorder) and can sometimes find situations with new people in new places rather daunting, I've surprisingly always felt fairly at ease during blogger events. I thought I would share some of my tips with you on how to enjoy yourself and perhaps, if you're somebody who is thinking 'I'd love to go to a blogger event but I'm too scared/nervous/anxious' then this post will hopefully give you a bit more insight into what they are like and how you can prepare yourself.

I have been attending blogger events since 2014, having even hosted a couple of smaller ones myself and think they are one of the best ways to connect with fellow bloggers as you actually get to meet them face to face and maybe even make lifelong friends!
  • Start off by going to a small event (if you can). Therefore, you're easing yourself into it gently and not suddenly in a room full of 50-100+ people who you have never met before, which understandingly might be a bit much for some people to cope with on their first event!
  • Going to an event where you don't know exactly who will turn up can be nerve-wracking. Find out who else in your followers list might be going (e.g. through use of hashtags or sending out a simple tweet!) and see if they want to meet up before for coffee/a drink. Getting into a room full of people you've never seen before is far less daunting when you've got someone else by your side! A big emphasis of blogger events is on you networking and meeting new bloggers, so don't just focus on the brands and try to get a small group of you together. That way you will feel the focus taken off yourself and feel more at ease!
  • Don't feel like you HAVE to go to every single event that comes up. Events are a fantastic way of connecting with other bloggers and if I had the time and money, I'd go to every single one! However, don't go to something you perhaps don't feel like you really want to go to just because you've been invited. Perhaps if you're feeling nervous, wait and go to things that sound right up your street! It's all well and good going to say an event hosted by a make-up brand, but if that's not something you're interested in very much, then you're never going to have as good a time as if it is a brand/theme that you're very passionate about.
  • Bring business cards - this is something I see happen a lot more now at blogger events, after all, they are networking opportunities over anything else! At a blogger event, you are representing yourself, so it's a great icebreaker if you are able to discuss it with somebody else! A business card will make them more likely to remember you, and make your experience more worthwhile.
  • Wear something you feel confident in; I cannot stress this enough! If you feel comfortable in yourself and what you're wearing, you're way more likely to be relaxed and have fun. Although it can feel it sometimes, a blogger event is not a fashion contest, so just let you be you and wear your favourite outfit and the lipstick you only get out for special occasions: boss it!
  • Brand representatives want to talk to you - I definitely have felt intimidated by the thought of speaking to brands at events before, especially ones that I actually use and would love to work with, but you must remember that they are there for the purpose of talking to you! They want you to get to know their brand and what it stands for in the hope that you will like it and want to work with them. You are important for them, that's why they're there! If you're feeling worried about speaking to someone on your own then maybe try speaking to the brand with someone else or just wait for them to speak to you first, that way you won't have to struggle with how to start a conversation.
  • Enjoy yourself! Blogger events are generally really fun and well-organised by people who are passionate about blogging and what it can do, so you there's a very high chance that you will really enjoy it and get a lot more out of it than you think!
I hope these tips have helped you feel more at ease about going to your next (or first!) blogger event, and if you want to chat with me further then please message me as would love to speak to anybody about it!

Do you have any tips for bloggers at their first event?

Lottie x

Blog and Social Media stats: May 2017

Monday, 12 June 2017


Inspired by the absolutely wonderful Megan, I thought I would start publishing my stats every month. I have personally found Megan's posts so informative and as someone who is very interested in looking at and analysing statistics I thought I'd share mine with you too!

I really struggled to be active on my various blogging platforms last month. I had an absolute tonne of uni work, which is thankfully all complete. I generally struggled to find the motivation to be creative in the month of May and had many lazy evenings trying to wind down after a few weeks of deadlines that kept coming at me! I last blogged on the 3rd May, after the Blogger's who Brunch event so thought it would be interesting to see in what had happened to my stats in a month when I was very inactive.

Twitter

I reached my goal of 500 followers at the beginning of last month, which led to me doing a giveaway. I am now on 612 followers as of right now, and Twitter tells me that I have gained 70 followers in the last month (28 days) which is fantastic! While I haven't been as active as usual, I can probably say that my surge in following is partly down to my giveaway, but also the fact I met and connected with so many new bloggers at the #BWBLaunch event back at the beginning of last month. I would love to reach 650 by the end of the month.

Unsurprisingly, apart from my follower count, everything else Twitter wise was lower in this month. I only put out 61 tweets, which although may sound like a lot, is nothing for me: a self confessed serial tweeter! I definitely haven't been involved with Blogger chats much in the past few weeks which I think is probably the main reason for this. Luckily, I have the time for these once again.

Instagram

I gained 101 followers on Instagram this month which I am so pleased with! I've definitely started to try and put out better content on Instagram and vary what I post in order to avoid being 'shadow-banned' or whatever the next Instagram controversy is! My most liked post this month got 105 likes, a picture of myself wearing a bargain £6 T Shirt from Primark (they've definitely upped their game in recent months). I posted 6 times in May, which is less than normal but I'm quite surprised I managed to post at all due to the amount of times I was attempting all-nighters to finish essays...

At the moment I am definitely struggling to maintain my follower count, probably due to not posting as regularly as I had been and have been around the 470 mark for the past week, but would love to hit 500 by July 1st!

Bloglovin'

I only gained 10 followers on Bloglovin' this month and am now at 327 followers. To be really honest with you all, I haven't been trying to make use of Bloglovin' so much because I find it a bit difficult to use and I know a lot of followers I have on there aren't active anymore so don't put so much time or energy into trying to direct people towards it!

Blogger/Google Analytics

In May I had 926 page views, which is mad! I'm nearly at my target of 20,000 total blog views and hope to hit that in the next month or 2 (currently around 18,500 I think). It makes me so happy that people are still looking at and interacting with my content, even when I'm not putting out anything fresh, so thank you all! My most popular post was my 'Uni Tips: what I've learnt in first year' post, which I am so pleased that so many people have read as my advice is genuinely sincere and I do really want to help people who are in positions that I have been in and hopefully give them a helping hand. I only posted once within May, which is not great, I want to try and get myself back to posting weekly over the summer: possibly more if I can!

Overall, it's been a bit hit and miss this month. Although I have increased my followers, I haven't put out much content meaning I've also lost followers at the same time!! I'm very excited to post about my holiday which I'm going on next Tuesday to Lanzarote, and have a lot of fun things I will be up to soon and can't wait to take some pictures and be more active again.

Lottie x

Bloggers Who Brunch Launch!

Wednesday, 3 May 2017














Last Saturday, I traveled up to London for the Launch of 'Bloggers who Brunch' organised by Kirby Small. Luckily, I was planning to be back from university this weekend anyway because I was seeing Ed Sheeran on the bank holiday Monday, so I thought I'd buy myself a ticket to the event.

I met around 15 other bloggers beforehand which was lovely as I was able to put a face to a name at last. I also was so pleased to see Megan as last saw her almost 3 years ago and a lot has changed since then! We all hoarded into Starbucks/Costa and had a drink and a chat and got to know each other a bit better and then we walked to the event which was being held in Clerkenwell (London).

The event featured fantastic talks from Katie of LexiLife and Katherine on the subjects of Youtube and Photography respectively. Katie and Katherine both were fantastic at answering everybody's questions on the subjects and provided a lot of really useful insight into both these areas. I think many of us definitely felt inspired to give vlogging a go after Katie's talk!

Katherine also spoke about shoots she had done with other bloggers, some of whom were at the event which was really interesting to hear about. I've always taken my own photos for my blog but it would be fantastic to have the chance to shoot with somebody for things such as OOTD posts which as seen through other photos, she really captures people amazingly well.

It was lovely to have the chance to meet new bloggers and get talking to people from not so far away. I had some really great chats with people and really enjoyed hearing other people's thoughts on blogging and their goals for the future: everyone was lovely and very willing to chat with each other which is exactly the kind of thing you want, especially if it's your first event or you've come on your own.

Kirby did a fantastic job of organising the event, it was super stylish and chilled out which was just what I was hoping for. Everyone was really friendly and the event ran incredibly smoothly with a very relaxed atmosphere. I can't wait to see what she has in store for us next!

Kirby Small:

Twitter: @kirbysmall / @BWB_UK
Blog: www.kirbysmall.co.uk

Katie (Lexilife):

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCjf_Yy-CZV0Tq9EgU2RG9Jw
Twitter: @lexilife95
Blog: www.lexilife.co.uk

Katherine

Twitter: @k_mcmorran
Instagram: @katherine_mc
Blog: www.katherinemcmorran.photography



Let's talk about Instagram

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

(Me from 2014, how cute)
There's been so much talk about the negativity of online tools such as Instagram lately. With the issues of the 'Instabots' (if you don't know what I'm talking about, where have you been?) and the pressure to make your Instagram look prettier than everyone else's (#instagoals am I right?), Instagram isn't always the positive and useful thing it can be.

I've always enjoyed using Instagram. I love being able to flick back down through my pictures from 2/3/4 years ago and see how I've changed and remember some of the really fun things I've done in the past, it's like a visual diary which is quite cool, especially to someone who loves reminiscing

I have a personal account and a blog account and enjoy having that separation and being able to tailor what I post on each one. For example: it might not be appropriate for me to post a picture of my friends on my blogging Instagram because you're probably not all that interested and they might not want their picture being accessible to people they don't know. In the same way I probably won't go posting EVERY SINGLE make up product I buy on my personal account because that's not what it's there for and I honestly doubt my friends care about the latest edition of Glossybox no matter how hard they try. However, that's not to say there's no crossover at all!

The thing I noticed once I started posting more on my blogging Instagram again was, in a way, how rigid and structured some people's accounts are. I'm that kind of person that just posts whatever they feel may be relevant even if it doesn't stick to a 'theme' or look particularly 'aesthetically pleasing' because I'm trying to come across as genuine as I can. That's not to say that people who have these beautiful themes aren't, it just is perhaps a more rose tinted version of their lives, which I can understand.

I applaud any blogger who manages to keep up an Instagram theme because honestly I don't have the time or the patience. I'm a full time student who barely gets her work in on time, an Instagram theme is the least of my worries!

Another thing I worry about with Instagram is the idealist image that some (bigger bloggers mainly) give out to their followers. They always have perfect hair, outfits, all the latest products and some really pretty backgrounds. As someone who has always really struggled with self-confidence and body-image, I do find myself getting jealous of people who seemingly have it all, don't we all? However, I love seeing bloggers living their dream and am so proud; that 'jealousy' definitely drives me forward and makes me want to do bigger and better things!

Oh and as for the Insta bot thing, I kinda get why people do it, the pressures can be so big. However, what I don't like is people who have been working hard for years get opportunities snatched off them from people who've made it big in a very short time frame from using these methods. Some of my favourite bloggers are honestly people with 2/300 followers who have absolutely amazing content. I respect people who have gone about blogging in entirely honest and authentic way because I have so much respect for people who've worked hard to make their dreams come true.

There's definitely some more things I'd like to address in the future but these are just a few of my current thoughts on the topic. let me know what you think!

To sum up:

You are not defined by how many followers you have on Instagram
You don't always have to look 'perfect' on camera, nobody does all the time
Post what you want and do it for yourself, it's your account after all!


My favourite palette ever?

Saturday, 22 April 2017



I love eyeshadow palettes way to much for my own good. This one in particular is the Stila 'In the Light Palette'. I have raved about Stila a lot on Twitter to people looking for new brands, as Stila is a UK brand (stocked in store in M&S and I also think some Boots stores?) but I also feel that it's so underrated due to the amazing quality of all their products! 

I bought this palette around a year ago as it was on sale on their website and could finally justify buying it, so it's a bit of a throwback! However, it's not all good news as this palette as well as the 'In the Garden' palette are no longer stocked by Stila, I guess to make way for bigger and better things... how exciting!

This palette features 10 shades, a mixture of matte and shimmer including everyone's favourite nude shimmer 'kitten' and a host of other super pretty colours. These are all super pigmented and long lasting and the top left shade 'bare' also makes the perfect eyeshadow base for any look. I love how well all these shades blend together and compliment each other amazingly. It's the perfect kind of palette for lovely summer day looks but the shimmer shades give it that sense of glam as well.

Did I mention that it also came with a free eyeliner stick (which is amazing btw)

All in all, this palette is beautiful and I'm super sad they don't stock it anymore. However, having looked at their newer palettes I think I know what will be in my shopping bag once I've finished this one!

Have a lovely weekend

Lottie x






UNI TIPS: What I've learnt in first year

Sunday, 16 April 2017




Hi everyone! Hope you are all happy that it's the start of spring and the rain that's come with it and having a lovely Easter. I've (very) nearly finished my first year at university and as part of my uni tips series I thought I'd share with you a few things I've come to realise (it's a bit Kylie Jenner-esque really isn't it).

  • There will be people from home who you'll fall out with and grow distant from, and potentially never see again - I mean we might as well start it off on a light-hearted note... I've had a couple of friends from home who I've fallen out with massively since starting uni and plenty more who I've grown distant from just because of well, the distance! I feel very lucky that I still have a lovely core group of friends at home who I see a lot of when I'm back and all my friends at uni too but there are some people who I've pretty much completely lost contact with which I'm fine with.
  • Budgeting is so important - This may sound fairly obvious but I've been so bad at budgeting in first year. I've been the kind of student to always rely on the fact I have an overdraft to get me through the term. I also can't stress enough the importance of planning ahead. Plan all your meals to make sure you a) don't waste food and b) have enough food to last the week. I'm such a culprit of convenience food but I'd say the best way to budget food is to factor in an amount to spend on a big supermarket (in store or online) shop every week so you know exactly how much you have left for other things
  • I work very well under pressure - I am one of those people who if I've been told to do something will put it off until the very last minute, which rings true for uni work also. I am one of the kind of people who will smash out a 2000 word essay in a day or 2 and still get a fairly good mark! (disclaimer: would not recommend this strategy at all)
  • I'm extremely indecisive: I've considered dropping out/transferring universities at least 50000 times in first year. My uni is great and I honestly can't imagine myself somewhere else which is fundamentally the reason why I chose it and why I've also chosen to stay there for good! 
  • You have to take risks and come out of your comfort zone in order to get noticed. For example: I'd been on the mailing list for content calls from my student newspaper since freshers but didn't write any actual articles until around February time because I thought my writing would be crap and no one would want to read it! Every little thing like this will show people who you are and get your name out there as well as boost your confidence: be brave!

Hope you've enjoyed reading this post, it's not a very long one but hopefully somewhat interesting? I think I'm going to do a post about results day tips soon so if anyone would like to read that let me know!

Lottie x










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