January 2016Cherry Pie : January 2016

29 January 2016

My blogging routine

Blogging routine

I thought this might make a bit of an interesting post, at least I hope so! I've been blogging for about six years and I've now got into a real routine so thought I'd share it with you so you can get a bit of behind the scenes info.

I'm not a full time blogger as I work during the week 9am - 5pm as a PR Consultant. This means the only time I really get to blog is at the weekends. I tell myself every week that I'm going to make full use of Saturday and Sunday for blog photo taking and writing, but usually it ends up that I start taking photos around mid-morning on the Sunday.

Most of my photos are product photos and are taken on my bedroom windowsil with those handy wooden floor tile samples from B&Q, however I popped in there yesterday and picked up the marble effect sticky back plastic so now I'm a 'proper' blogger. I am keen to try and get away from flat lays on these backgrounds because it's become so overdone now but until I can think of an alternative, I'll carry on.

I use a Canon 500D for my photograph taking and I am forever learning. Vince bought me a set of lenses and a small ring light for Christmas so I'm currently trying out all the different lenses and using the light to my advantage in these dark and dreary days. It's working out ok but I always feel like there's room to improve! I do my photo editing in Gimp or Picmonkey and it usually consists of brightening them a bit!

I tend to take all my photographs before writing any blog posts. As I write this it's a Sunday evening. I'll usually aim to write my posts on the Sunday evening or even write them once I get home from work of an evening. I'm currently going through a phase of scheduling posts on a Monday, Wednesday and Friday. I was previously scheduling one week on a Monday, Wednesday and Friday then the following week on a Tuesday and a Thursday but am happy with my current set up. I was finding scheduling posts every day far too much work to cram into one or two days and I was finding that comment numbers were down because before people had a chance to find a post, a new one was popping up.

I was previously scheduling posts for 5.30pm when people would be home from work and be logging on but have recently changed this to 8.30am so people can read my post before work, hopefully. I use Tweetdeck to schedule blog promotion tweets and these are scheduled for 8.30am, 12.30pm, 5.30pm, 20.30pm and 23.30pm. I'm not sure whether I should change this up a bit more but I guess these are key times of the day for most people.

During the week I like to reply to comments on posts, return comments and get involved with Twitter chats. I'm hoping once the lighter evenings start then I can get some more photograph taking crammed into the week. I feel like this would really help a lot and leave my weekends a bit free-er for general lazing around.

I am pretty happy with my routine but as I've mentioned I would possibly like to change it up a bit. Change is always good and I'd like to get a fancy new layout for the New Year so watch this space! I'm also aiming to have one non-beauty post per week and I currently have a long list of ideas jotted down in my notebook. I think it's going well so far...

What's your blogging routine? Do you enjoy it or is it time to switch it up? Do you have any tips to share? Let me know in the comments.

27 January 2016

ghd Advanced Split End Therapy

ghd Advanced Split End Therapy

I think we can all be a bit kinder to our hair. My hair has always been super fine/thin and I was previously washing and blow drying it every single day, which I know is a big no-no! All that heat definitely can't be good for it, so now I wash it every other morning and try to have the hair dryer on a lower temperature setting. I featured the ghd arctic gold hairdryer recently, which has certainly been helping with the hair TLC.

I'm definitely seeing an improvement and now I've been lucky enough to include the ghd Advanced Split End Therapy* into my routine to give my barnet even more love and care. This lovely gold packaged tube of goodness has been helping my hair over the past couple of weeks, leaving it smelling lovely and looking in a much better condition.

The product itself is a lightweight clear cream, which you simply work into wet hair and carry on with your normal styling routine. It utilises an innovative Thermo-Marine Bonding System™ and the blend of nutrient-rich ingredients mean its binds broken hair fibres together and strengthens at the same time.

The cream leaves the hair smelling like you've just been for a luxurious salon hair cut and leaves your locks feeling super smooth and sleek and not greasy/sticky at all, which is how I've found other split end therapy products to leave it. After only a couple of uses I'm already seeing an improvment in my split ends - there is definitely less breakage in my hair and I can definitely see less split ends so the combination of the split end therapy with a heat protection spray and lower heat setting on my hairdryer seems to be a winning one.

Have you tried the ghd Advanced Split End Therapy? Let me know your thoughts in the comments.

*This post contains a PR sample.

25 January 2016

Manicure Monday: Barry M Gelly Spring Collection

Barry M Gelly Spring Collection
From L to R: Pink Lemonade, Acai Smoothie, Butterscotch Sundae, Cream Soda
Barry M Gelly Spring Collection
Barry M Gelly Spring Collection
Barry M Gelly Spring Collection
Barry M Gelly Spring Collection
Barry M Gelly Spring Collection

I've been waiting for Barry M's spring offerings to hit shelves for SO long. A few lucky bloggers received them early so I'd been seeing some good reviews and seeing how pretty they were and couldn't wait to get my hands on them. I think I'm officially ready for spring/summer now and I've had enough of the dark winter colours. My nails are well and truely ready for these pretty spring colours as well, they look fab! I just can't stop staring at my nails, the shades are so fresh and bright!

The Gelly Spring Collection is just one of the new ranges to have been released by Barry M recently. It includes four new Gelly shades, Acai Smoothie, which is a dusky pink, Pink Lemonade, which is a really pretty peach/pink, Cream Soda, which is a very pretty off-white and beige/Butterscotch Sundae, which is a gorgeous creamy butterscotch shade and by far my favourite.

As with the other polishes in the Gelly range, these have wide angled brushes to aid application of the polish. The polish also dries really fast, however as these shades are pretty light they do need a couple of coats, which can cause them to chip/smudge a lot easier. I found the Cream Soda and Butterscotch Sundae shades to be slightly thick on application, but I managed to make them work and get a nice finish.

If you've been reading my nail posts for a while now you'll now I usually really put polishes to the test with either the housework or washing up test. You can usually tell if a polish is good or not if it can hold up to potential chipping from dishes and cutlery or harsh chemical sprays. These polishes held up really well under the washing up test, with only very, very slight chipping on one or two nails so I'm super impressed. Once again Barry M have pulled out a fab range from their bag of tricks. The yummy ice-cream/sorbet shades are the perfect pick-me-up on duller days and make me really look forward to spring.

Have you tried the Barry M Gelly Spring Collection? Let me know your thoughts in the comments.

22 January 2016

Things I want to make more time for

This post has been in my drafts for quite a while now. It's been one of those ones I've been thinking about on and off and trying to decide whether to go ahead with or not. On this cold Sunday afternoon while I write this, I've decided to go ahead in a bid to give myself some motivation.

I work full time 9am - 5.30pm Monday to Friday and I know other people work a lot more hours than this or have families to look after so I'm not complaining, what I am annoyed at myself about though is how I use the time when I'm not at work. I don't feel as if I make good use of it at all. I get home from work around 6.30pm/6.45pm and sit. Sit all night long infront of the TV.

I have weekends off and I enjoy a lie-in on a Saturday morning but that leads to a lazy mid-morning and by almost lunch time I'm still sat on the sofa with yet another cup of tea. Most of the day is already gone. The same happens on a Sunday and it's half way through the day before I start any housework or take any blog photos so I feel like things need to change, which led me to putting this list together to note down the different things I want to make more time for, whether that's in the evenings or at weekends.

Up until the end of Uni I used to read all the time. I loved it. I still have stacks and stacks of books but they stay unread so I'd definintely like to make more time for reading, even if it's just a chapter a night before bed or a couple of chapters on a Saturday or Sunday morning. Reading not only opens your imagination a bit more but it helps with your writing and creativity so I'd definitely like to get back into it again, now I just need to choose a book to read.

Listening to music
I feel like the only time I ever listen to music any more is on the drive to and from work. When I was a teenager I'd pop a CD into my CD player and just sit and listen. It was great and I'd definitely like to make more time for doing this. It's not necessarily about discovering new artists, although that is something I'd also like to do, it's more about re-listening to some of my favourite albums and rediscovering what I love about them and hearing little bits that you've never noticed before.

Watching films
This is actually something my boyfriend would like me to make time for. He is really into films and he always suggests watching one during an evening but I have that 'can't be bothered' feeling, where I don't want to watch something where I have to concentrate too much. Admiteddly if I do agree to watch a film, I usually do end up enjoying it and wonder why I was hesitant in the first place. Last Friday evening Vince suggested watching a film that was only 1 hour and 30 minutes long and it was only around 6.30pm when we started watching it so I felt like I had lots of the evening left once it was over and most importantly, it was a good film so I'm really glad we watched it. I need to say yes to watching more films!

This probably sounds like an odd one but I actually often leave blogging until Sundays, which just isn't enough time to photograph and write posts for the coming week. I need to start utilising my time a bit better. I think this will become easier once the lighter evenings arrive and I can actually take photos once I get home from work, therefore spreading out the work load a bit and not having to leave it until the weekend. I would like to spend more evenings writing posts or doing general blogging admin such as replying to emails, comments and promoting posts/getting involved in Twitter chats etc. I think doing this might help me fall in love with my blog a little bit more too.

Exploring my town
Vince and I always enjoy a walk along the seafront or into the woods but I'm sure there are lots of places we have yet to discover in our own home town. I'd love to take my camera along as well as I'm sure there will be lots of inspiration for photos and blog posts along the way. This is an absolute must for me, just to get out of the house and get a little fresh air and it's something we can do on the weekend or in the evening.

What things would you like to make more time for? Let me know in the comments.

20 January 2016

Look Fantastic January Beauty Box - The Detox Edition

Look Fantastic January Beauty Box
Look Fantastic January Beauty Box
Look Fantastic January Beauty Box
Look Fantastic January Beauty Box
Look Fantastic January Beauty Box
Look Fantastic January Beauty Box

Last month I signed up to Look Fantastic's Beauty Box, mainly because the December box contained a Molton Brown body wash, which I really wanted but it turned out the rest of the box was actually super impressive. You can find out my thoughts on it here.

January was happily sailing by when through my letter box (ok I had to go and pick it up from the delivery office) dropped the January Beauty Box. I had completely forgotten that it is a rolling contract so I'd automatically receive boxes unless I cancelled the subscription but I'm really happy that I ended up receiving this box as it's another hit.

Last month was all about Christmas and the party season but this one is all about the detox, all that New Year New Me stuff and various products to help you on the detoxing journey. I'm not really one for detoxing in January if I'm honest but all of the products really appealed to me so it looks like I'm going to be detoxing whether I want to or not!

What I am loving about my rediscovery of beauty boxes is the discovery of new brands. Possibly ones I've heard of before, such as Darphin, but haven't tried. I am really impressed with the inclusion of the Darphin Micellar Water as it's a generous size and it couldn't have come at a better time as my current one is on its way out.

I'm also super impressed with the Bella Pierre shimmer shadow in the shade Earth. It's a mineral-based shadow and it's the perfect shade for me, I couldn't be happier with it and it's gone straight into my collection.

As I mentioned, the box is all about the detox so I was really interested to give the Lancer The Method: Polish a try as it is a skin resurfacing treatment, which I'm actually going to try out tonight. I'm hoping it won't be too harsh on my sensitive skin. I will report back! I'm also going to be trialling the Nuxe Nuxellence Detox, which is an anti-ageing cream, before bed times as I think it's about time I delved into the world of anti-ageing before it's too late!

So we're going to be detoxing the skin with all these lovely products but there's also a couple of items for detoxing the hair as well. Included in the box is a Kebelo clarifying shampoo and silk conditioner. The shampoo aims to deep clean the hair after the build up of lots of product, which is definitely something I need to do. The conditioner seems to be a little more general and aims to keep your hair soft and smooth and keep frizz under control. I'm really interested to use these two and see how they work out with my locks.

Overall on first impressions I'm really happy with this box. I'm glad I temporarily forgot I was signed up to the service as it was a nice surprise to get a box full of goodies after Christmas. It's also given me the chance to try some new brands I've not heard of before and have a go at a good old detox, just what I need!

Have you received the Look Fantastic January Beauty Box? Let me know your thoughts on it in the comments.

18 January 2016

If Twitter wasn't a thing

If Twitter wasn't a thing

What would I be doing?

I'm old enough to remember a world before Twitter, I'm even old enough to remember a world before social media, before Myspace, before I even had the Internet or a computer for that matter.

I'm a self confessed Twitter addict. I'm on it most of the day, some of my job even evolves around it so I can't get away from it. My boyfriend often gets annoyed at me when I'm constantly scrolling..."but it's forever moving" I reply.

Yesterday, as I was browsing through Twitter, I came across a hashtag that caught my eye #IfTwitterWasntAThing and it got me thinking about all the things I might be doing if Twitter wasn't around. Can you imagine such a world?

I wouldn't be promoting my blog post half as much
This is a big one for bloggers. Without Twitter who would we constantly promote ourselves to? We'd have to rely on Facebook of all things, where half of our audience wouldn't be reached unless we boosted the posts. Twitter is such a great platform for getting your blog posts out there to thousands thanks to those handy hashtags.

I wouldn't be talking to people with the same interests/understanding of the blogging world
Twitter is an amazing place for making friends for people like me, who like to hide behind a computer screen and aren't often that confident. It's also a great platform for chatting to other likeminded people and those that also blog. These people really understand the hard work and effort you put into something like blogging and the people I talk to are always friendly, helpful and very supportive too.

I'd be watching TV shows with no interruptions and no spoilers
I can't remember the last time I watched a TV show or Netflix series without looking through Twitter to see what everyone's saying. Twitter can be like a running commentary alongside a show and I always love checking out what everyone has to say, although I'm not so keen on having to avoid spoilers!

I'd be reading the papers to keep up-to-date with the latest news
While I still do read papers and watch the news on the TV, Twitter has definitely become the go-to platform for breaking stories. There have been SO many times when a story has broken on Twitter before any of the news companies have even got a hold of it. Amy Winehouse's death for example. Twitter is so instant that traditional media just can't keep up anymore.

There are good and bad sides to Twitter but personally the positives far outweigh the negatives. These days it's hard to imagine a world without Twitter and while we do sometimes try and switch off and take a break from it, there's no denying it's a huge part of our every day lives and probably always will be.

Where would you be without Twitter? Let me know in the comments and if you'd like to follow me on Twitter, you can do so @Cherryp13.

15 January 2016

Boots January sale haul

Matthew Williamson for Toni & Guy wash bag
Matthew Williamson for Toni & Guy wash bag
Umberto Giannini Glambox
Umberto Giannini Glambox
Umberto Giannini Glambox
Umberto Giannini Glambox
Umberto Giannini Glambox
Umberto Giannini A Curl Story
Umberto Giannini A Curl Story

When pay day rolled around on January 1 I knew this would happen...as soon as I stepped into the Christmas gift aisle in Boots a few weeks before Christmas I knew I'd find myself right back there again in the January sales. The aisles were absolutely packed full even after the Christmas rush, but everything was half price and everyone was getting in on the action...one couple had bags and bags of products, obviously buying up their pressies for the following Christmas.

I practically had to squeeze myself down the aisles but I managed to pick up quite a few good bargains, I must say I was really impressed.

I curled my hair on Christmas Day and within half an hour it fell out so I was on the hunt for some curling products to help hold the style. I was really pleased when I came across the Umberto Giannini A Curl Story set, which was £8 down from £16, can you believe it? I'm really keen to try the bendy rollers and to see if the products actually hold a curl in place! I will report back.

I also picked up the Umberto Giannini Glambox which is a really cute set of miniature products including gold and silver glitter sprays and nail polishes. I did attempt glitter roots but I wasn't able to get a good photograph unfortunately so the idea was promptly scrapped. I'll leave it to the pros! The set is really cute and has everything you need for styling including mousse, dry shampoo, backcomb in a bottle and hairspray. It was a bargain at £9 down from £18!

Lastly I picked up a Matthew Williamson for Toni & Guy wash bag set and I have to admit I did buy this just for the bag alone as it makes such a nice little bag for travelling or to use as a makeup bag. I've been eyeing this up for months and months! It contains a full size dry shampoo, which I'm looking forward to trying out, a heat protector spray and a hair oil, which I also can't wait to try out and the best thing is, it was only £6 down from £12. You would probably spend close to £6 for the dry shampoo alone.

Overall I'm super happy with the bargains I picked up, did you pick up any good bargains in the sales this year? Let me know in the comments.

13 January 2016

Zoeva En Taupe Palette

Zoeva En Taupe Palette
Zoeva En Taupe Palette
Zoeva En Taupe Palette
Zoeva En Taupe Palette
Zoeva En Taupe Palette
Zoeva En Taupe Palette
Zoeva En Taupe Palette
Zoeva En Taupe Palette

If there's one brand that I'm so happy to have discovered in 2015, it's Zoeva. I can't believe I didn't try it out earlier. I'd always seen the brushes and palettes on various blogs and I always thought it was super expensive, but when I saw the Cocoa Blend palette I thought, what the heck, and paid the website a visit only to find that the palettes are actually really reasonable. You can check out my thoughts on the Cocoa Blend palette here - it was perfect for creating a rose gold eye look.

Recently the brand released its En Taupe palette and it went straight on my Christmas list. Thankfully Santa was very kind and bought it for me and I'm already absolutely loving it. The palette contains a mix of warm and cool nudes and neutrals so there is really something to suit everyone and all skin tones. The darker taupe/brown shades are definitely very me - 'Outline' and 'Wrapped In Silk' are definitely my go to shades at the moment for greating a lovely shimmery brown look with a grey hue to highlight. I also like to pop on a bit of the 'Old Master' shade, which has a lovely golden shimmer to it with a slight purple undertone. On its own 'Old Master' is the perfect shade for wearing on a night out or special occasion if you fancy lots of sparkle.

En Taupe has a more futuristic feel to it, which may be down to the packaging, but I think the combination of shades is signifying a change in the way we do a smoky eye look. Traditionally we would go for blacks and greys but you can create something so much more everyday and subtle with browns/taupe shades, it looks fab!

Every shade is super pigmented, beautifully blendable and lasts all day long. I don't think it's going to be long before I have every single Zoeva palette as part of my collection. I also can't wait to see what the brand releases in 2016!

Have you tried the new Zoeva En Taupe palette? Let me know what you thought in the comments.

11 January 2016

Manicure Monday: Seventeen Gel Colour in Dark and Stormy

Seventeen Gel Colour in Dark and Stormy
Seventeen Gel Colour in Dark and Stormy

While recently looking at my nail polish collection I came up with the idea of this new regular feature - not exactly original I know but a good way to rediscover nail polishes I haven't used in a while and to prove that I haven't just bought them all only to use once and also a nice way to showcase any new polishes I pick up.

As I perused the shelves of Boots recently I came across the Seventeen cosmetics counter and its 'New Year New Nail Colour', in which sat some purple and blue shades of Gel Colour. Now, I'm not exactly sure if these are new to the brand or just Boots' way of trying to make a sale but I picked up the shade 'Dark and Stormy' as the name and colour seemed to match my mood at the time.

In some lights it looks like a dark purple, in other it looks blue, kind of like a stormy sky you might say. I definitely prefer any gel polishes over normal polishes nowadays, they're just so much nicer to apply, they dry quicker and obviously last longer. This one is no different, it's lovely and thick, but not thick enough that it's gloopy. It comes with a wide brush so it applies in one lovely swoop of the nail and dries super quickly too.

It claims to last up to eight days, which is a pretty bold claim and I think only possible if you're pretty much a lady of leisure and don't have tons of housework and washing up to do that puts strain on your polish. My nails started chipping slightly on day three, on day four one of the fingers of polish had a corner missing. On day five there was still only minimal chipping, still quite impressive for a working week's wear. Being a beauty blogger I don't often have the same nail polish on for more than a week so although it may not have lasted eight days like it claims too, I'm still really impressed as I've seen many polishes look a lot worse after this amount of time.

For £3.99 the Gel Colour polishes are perfect little pick-me-ups you can pop in your basket when you're in Boots, not because you need anything in particular, but you just need to browse the beauty! I'd definitely recommend picking up a couple of shades, but keep an eye out because Seventeen is often on 3 for 2.

Have you tried Seventeen's Gel Colour polishes? Let me know what you think in the comments.

5 January 2016

General goals for 2016

I don't think I made any personal goals/NY resolutions for 2015 so I thought I'd make a few for 2016. I didn't want to make the type of resolutions that I definitely wouldn't be able to stick to, such as stop eating junk food and that sort of thing, so I've tried to come up with some that I would be more likely to stick to. Just to give myself a bit of a chance!

Have more family/friends round for dinner/an evening
This is definitely something I want to do more of this year. We recently moved house and we have had two friends and Vince's family round and it's always really nice so it's something I definitely want to do more of, not that I usually do the cooking though, oops!

Keep up with my crochet
In 2015 my mum and I took up crochet and amazingly, we've stuck to it. I really didn't think we would. I thought we'd get fed up after a few weeks. Admittedly it has taken a bit of a back seat over Christmas but with our classes starting back up again this week, I want to get right back into it and finally finish a few projects.

Find a new exercise class/join a gym
2015 was also the year I took up exercise on a more regular basis, which is really weird for me! It started around February time when I took up spinning and did Yoga at home. I then went to Aerobics regularly with my sister. We did get a bit bored of the class so I've been looking for something new to take up for a while now. It's tricky to find something that's on late enough for me to go to after work so I am still searching. I will either take up a new class or sign up to one of the local gyms.

Possibly go on a short break away
This is a really tricky one due to Vince's job. He is a chef so works mornings and evenings and it's very hard for him to plan when he can take time off, which therefore means it's very tricky to plan any sort of getaway, especially as at my work I have to give at least a month's notice for time off. You can see our predicament... we did somehow manage to book a week off together in July of 2015 but we ended up having to move house so it wasn't very relaxing. I'd like to go away on a long weekend trip to Europe or even somewhere else in the UK, it would just be nice to get away and be in a different environment for a few days!

What are your goals and resolutions for 2016?

4 January 2016

Blog goals for 2016

I'm trying to make sure this isn't too similar to last year's blog goals post but somehow I think it's going to happen whether I like it or not.

Reach 3,000 followers
I know, I know, a bit of a vain one but no matter how many people say numbers don't matter, well they do and I like to know how many are following me and reading what I've got to say. In 2015 I hit 2,000 followers so my next aim, naturally, is 3,000. It would be absolutely amazing to reach such a milestone, especially when I've been blogging so, so long! If you'd like to follow me, you can do so here.

Improve my blog photography
This was a blog goal for 2015 and while it has improved, I want to improve it even further. Vince recently bought me some new lenses and a light for my camera so I need to learn how to use them and really find out what my style of blog photography is. I'd also like to take lots more lifestyle type photos as well, which means I need to get up and go places, instead of sitting on the sofa infront of the TV.

Make more blogger friends
Scrolling through Twitter I see lots of bloggers who have all become good friends and to put it bluntly, I want a slice of that action! It would be nice to have some friends with a similar interest in blogging/writing/photography. Going to more blog events is a good place to start and I'd love to go to more in the future. Getting involved in more blogger chats is also a great way to meet new bloggers so I'd definitely be getting more involved this year.

What are your blog goals for 2016?

1 January 2016

2015 blogging resolutions...a look back

Recently I've been having a lot of fun looking back at my old blog posts from 2015. I came across a post I made of 2015 Blogging Resolutions and thought it would be fun to discuss them a little further and let you all know how I did.

At the start of 2015 I declared I wanted to reach 2,000 Bloglovin' followers...and I did! I can't believe it that 2,000 people voluntarily follow this blog, letalone read it! It's amazing to me. If you'd like to help me make it to 3,000, you can do so here.

In 2015 I aimed to improve my blog photography and I am certainly more comfortable with using my camera and I personally am happy with the photos I'm producing. I do tend to have 'off' days where things don't go quite right and there is the odd time I'm not overly happy with a photo but all in all I'm pleased with what I'm doing photo-wise, although there is always room for improvement.

I also wanted to improve my blog content and include more fashion and lifestyle posts. Unfortunately I didn't do any fashion posts in 2015. I don't think they're really me, not when I literally live in black jeans and a top half of my life. I have, however, included more lifestyle content on the blog, which is still something I want to expand on in 2016.

Overall I'm pretty happy with how my 2015 resolutions turned out...keep your eyes peeled here for my 2016 blog resolutions, coming soon!

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