Sunday, 23 November 2014

Golden Sugar and Spice and All Bronzers Nice

Ultra Blush and Contour Palette Golden Sugar

''Could you beeeee. The most beautiful bronzer in the worlddddd. You're the reason that God make a bronzerrrr.''

Ain't nowt like getting your mitts on a good bronzer, is there? As a pale girl, I always found bronzers looked a bit like I'd smeared muck on me chops. But over the last few months I've embraced the bronze and now can't get enough. Although still remaining faithful to my beloved Essence Sun Club All in One Bronzing Highlighter (which FYI is the absolute BEST product I've found this year, only beating this due to it's coconut scent, find it online here). I was so excited to use this beautiful Make Up Revolution Blush and Contour Palette, in Golden Sugar, that I didn't even contemplate taking the pictures before I got my grubby paws stuck in to it. As soon as I posted a sneaky pic of this over on my instagram, I got an influx of people double clicking it. And yes. When used it is just as good as it looks.

There's a great range of shades within the palette, to suit a range of skin tones or occasions. Whether you just want a light highlighting effect for every day make up looks by using the lighter tones, or you want to create a defined contour by blending in some of the darker shades - the entire selection of shades is so versatile.  Even with my pale face, I can happily apply any of these shades without worrying about them standing out too much. You can probably liken the individual cake shades to other high end products too. For example, I'm spotting the Urban Decay Naked Illuminated in two of the shades, alongside other similarities in each.

For £6 I'm considering buying several back ups for when this runs out. Although I've been caking my face in it daily for just over a week now and there's hardly any signs of usage on the colours themselves. And apologies for the swatches below. It's hard to capture on camera how beautiful they transfer over to the skin in real life (especially on such a pale, errr goosepimply arm, haaaa).

Ultra Blush and Contour Palette Golden Sugar
Ultra Blush and Contour Palette Golden Sugar Swatches

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Cheating The Hangover Eyes

Beauty tips for brightening eyes on British Beauty Blog

The amount of Saturday dinner times mornings I've put my make up on after a heavy night out, thinking I look absolutely mint, then come to sober up and realise I look awful is too many to count. I swear you go through a 'still drunk beer goggle stage' on yourself until about 5pm the next day (after one too many gins). Over my years of living the alcohol fuelled dream, I've refined my make up bag to be fool proof when it comes to disguising those hangover eyes and with a few key bits in your kit you can blend out those bags fuss free. It seems your eyes are the part which suffer the most after a late one on the lash, so making your eyes bright is one of the most important parts of looking human again. After you've prepared your face with your favourite foundation and skin brightening tricks, it's time to perk up those peepers.

1. Conceal:
Using a product similar to Essence 'Say No To Dark Circles' simply apply it directly to your under eyes, all the way from the corner by your nose to the outer edges underneath your temples and even down to the top of your cheek bones. It's a large area to correct when you're suffering day after puffiness with a distinct greying in colour. Pat along the skin to blend, remembering that this delicate area is not to be rubbed! I always apply my concealer after my foundation, just to make sure it's really concentrated on the area's I need it, as I always find applying it before just means I rub it off when I apply my base. Some people like to conceal their concealer with a touch of powder, but I tend to just let it work it's magic alone. The pinkish tones of this Essence under eye concealer is perfect for concealing those dark circles.

2. Add a Touch of Colour:
Just a simple sweep of something like Maybelline Colour Tattoo will perk your eyes up a bit during times of hangover woe. I opt for Pink-Gold shade as it kind of works with the redness rather than against it. The gel like formula makes it easy as can be, as you can just apply it straight from the pot with your finger and the jobs a good 'un.

3. Define the Lines:
Eyebrows and eyeliner are always the key part of my make up routine most days, but when it's hangover day they help even more to 'lift' everything back to life. As mentioned in my last post about the Make Up Revolution felt tip eyeliner, it's so easy to slick on and is one of the easiest eye liners I've used for a while. For the brow game it's pretty straight forward, just do a quick brush over the brows and dab a touch of highlighter under the arch to really open your eyes up. Alongside a good mascara you've got 3 easy steps to getting your day after face on the right track!

Products featured:

Essence Say No To Dark Circles Concelear
Essence Lash Princess Mascara
Essence Hello Autumn Eye Brow Kit
Make Up Revolution Awesome Double Flick Eyeliner
Maybeliine Colour Tattoo in Pink Gold

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Making Your Blog Your Job

Okay, maybe not making your blog your job as such, but inspired by this post from Claire at Jazzpad I thought I'd give a little insight in to how my blog and online presence has bagged me a job or two. I've had so many debates on Twitter about putting blog links on CV's and in my opinion it's a vital selling point, which gives you that edge above other applicants. Yeah, you could have every degree and qualification under the sun, but degree's are ten to a penny nowadays - So, what makes you so special? It's not all about having the best blog, I mean, my blog is pretty basic and my English at times can be terrible. But it's the right people spotting your potential and your passion which will make it count.

I personally believe that whether you're applying for a job in a bar, a warehouse or an office, putting your blog on your CV helps you to stand out.

Some may disagree. I've seen people who work in hiring and firing departments express that a blog doesn't make a difference to an application process, but in all honesty, if a company was willing to overlook my personality, interests and hobbies; do I really want to work there?  I don't want to work in an environment where people are there to push buttons, file paperwork, be a slave to the grind and not have any passion for what they do. You spend over 38 hours a week at work, why would you want to work somewhere where your personality, ideas and interests can't shine through? I've been rejected from jobs, and yeah, I cried when *insert nationally renowned media company* didn't hire me for a social media job that I knew I could do so much better than other people in the interview could. In retrospect though, not getting that job was a blessing. If I did end up working there I probably wouldn't be writing this post right now. I would feel that my every online move was been watched, like they were waiting for me to say something to be called in to the office for. I want to work for a company who give you the freedom to do the job to the best of your ability, listen to your ideas and trust you to make your own calls where social media is involved. That's not slating the aforementioned company or it's employees in any way. Some people enjoy this type of job and some may enjoy their approach to social media, but for me, it's not the one. I've worked for big companies, I've even been called in to an office for putting a picture with a potato on Facebook when in working hours! I'm so lucky that now, despite Stoke on Trent being a place which somewhat lacks in social media and digital marketing jobs, I'm on to my forth role in this field. All of which I landed through my online presence supporting my CV. 

Many bloggers love writing on their own websites and would love to make it big through that alone, so their blog becomes their only source of income. I've seen lots of bloggers talking about how they made the jump in to bringing their blogs forward in to being their sole career. It usually involves a stack of savings and support from their families and friends. 

I never wanted or want that. I don't have a load of money stored away, I don't want to be 'Hello Terri Lowe' in the *real* world.

My blog is my hobby, as soon as this hobby turns in to my only source of income it drains the fun for me. It's not that I don't enjoy writing and social media in my actual *paid* job. But that's different as it's not on a personal level like my current online presence is. For me, there's a massive internal divide in my mind, which separates what I put online, what goes on in real life and what I do for my job. You'll notice I leave out names of friends who don't have Twitter, and respect when people in my life don't want to be name dropped on social media. Day to day activities aren't always written about and you'll never see a couple selfie over on my instagram. It's all very different worlds for me. But there's no rights and wrongs to what anyone does online. I never dreamt that after my degree I would land a social media job. My degree was in Crafts and my online persona at university was loosely based around that, my blog began as a Crafts based one and it's refined itself from there. Since I left uni I haven't made a single thing since. My creative energy which I once channelled in to making jewellery is now reserved for my blog and my job. So how did I go from traditional Crafts to Digital Marketing and Social Media? Well, it was a complete accident which was spurred on by fate (yes, fate.)

When I left uni I started working in a Children's Home. Yup, a unit where under privileged children lived for one reason or another. I went for this role as I had hopes of being a teacher one day, but decided to delay a PGCE for a few years whilst I saved up some money. Alas, 3 years later and I could not be more thankful I didn't pursue a career in teaching. The job itself, I really enjoyed. You basically get paid to be mates with a kid. Although their troubled start in life made it challenging at times, but it was rewarding to turn a negative situation around from them throwing a chair at you, to playing Call of Duty with them 10 minutes later. Although I enjoyed the job, the hours were impossible. You'd work a 24 hour shift and sometimes had to stay another 12 hours if the next person on shift didn't turn up. You couldn't plan life, you were constantly drained and unfortunately it just wasn't working out. 

This is where Twitter changed my career forever. 5 years ago Social Media jobs didn't even exist. I jumped on the bandwagon at the right time, and got noticed by someone who took a chance. 

After 3 months in the job, I literally couldn't take the tiredness any more. I turned my frustrations to Twitter. Although I do often roll my eyes and face palm over people moaning about their jobs on social networking, I suppose it's the way that you moan about them! Fortunately for me, my frustrations were read as a positive by the chaps at Koko Digital. As a local company, one of their owners had been following me on Twitter for a few months. When he saw I was after a new job he invited me in for a chat and it all went from there. Before I knew it I was offered a part time role as their In House Communications Executive. Although it was part time, it was the stepping stone I needed to begin my working life in the world of PR, Marketing and Social Media. The job was pretty much offered to me based on my personal online presence alone, as I'd had no professional roles in online marketing before and no formal qualifications. It only takes the right person spotting your potential to begin a new direction in life. If someone has been following you online for a while, they clearly like something about your personality. Get in to conversations on social media with people who can help you. Whether it be for future advice or job opportunities. You never know what's going on at the other end of a keyboard.

After a stint at Koko, which I enjoyed endlessly, it was time for me to move on to a full time job. Despite loving the place and the people, I just couldn't continue to live on part time wages, so that's when I landed my next job at Gandey World Class Productions. Hired initially as the PR and Marketing Junior I soon found myself in charge of all their social media channels and doing my first lot of Blogger Outreach! When I asked my standard 'end of the interview have you got any questions' question -  ''What was it about my application which bought it forward to the interview stage?'' My soon to be manager said (and I quote) ''I read your Twitter and you seemed absolutely mental, and I wanted to see which side of mental you were on, thankfully it seems to be the good side'' and a few days later, I was hired. There was even a conversation about a burn on my hand which looked like a penis. Yup. Working on shows such as the Chinese State Circus and the Lady Boys of Bangkok, it was such an interesting and varied role - especially when the Lady Boys were touring! My role at Gandey really gave me the opportunity to experiment with working with bloggers and collaborating with various brands. For their gala evenings I managed to put together some goody bags for bloggers by contacting companies who I'd worked with on my own blog, and also doing other exciting things like the Lady Boys Make Up Challenge. Bringing my blog in to this job was perfect, as it gave me the opportunity to utilise contacts I have both in industry and in the blogging world. 

After a while with the Lady Boys I felt it was time to move on again, so applied for a digital marketing job at a shoe company called Mozimo. At this point I realised that independent companies were more suited to my work ethics than big corporate brands. Once again, the stand out advantage on my CV was my blog, my social media presence and my over all personal brand. If you can market yourself and represent brands as a hobby then you can definitely do it as a job. Mozimo was an all round marketing role, where I did product photography, item descriptions, SEO, blog posts, social media and newsletters on a daily basis. It was a lot of work. But enjoyable. There's nothing better than a job where you can get stuck in and see the results happening. E Commerce is a great place to be if you want to learn more about SEO and Marketing, and definitely a place where you can transfer skills used in blogging over to! Literally everything I do on my blog from taking pictures to popping in search descriptions was utilised in that role. After around a year I started looking for another position out of intrigue and spotted a job opportunity a few miles away from where I live, so applied and now here I am today as a Social Media Manager for small domestic appliance brands!

Over the past few years I've noticed what seems to be some kind of 'movement' within job opportunities for digital marketers. Spending around 95% of my time narrating my life on the internet keeps you in the loop of what's going on around your online world. In the past 2 weeks I've caught wind of about 5 jobs which have all come up in my 'field' which people are referred me for. After spending around 3 years looking for the job which was 'the one' and struggling to even find any to apply for which were suitable for my skills, it's not only refreshing, but reassuring that companies are really investing in their online marketing teams. Not everyone who blogs wants to work in digital marketing, not everyone who blogs wants to be a blogger full time. But you never know where it will take you. It's a platform full of so many opportunities it's unreal at times.

As for what's next... Who knows? 

Monday, 17 November 2014

Freeport Fall Fashion Challenge

The #FallFashionChallenge at Freeport, Talke on Stoke on Trent Fashion blog - Hello Terri Lowe.

I've already mentioned in this post the jacket I bought as part of the #FallFashionChallenge at Freeport Talke, but here's another blog post dedicated to what turned out to be a VERY good day! Freeport is about 10 minutes drive from where I live, so I often frequent the centre when I fancy nipping to some shops but don't want to go in to the city centre. It's not the biggest place on earth, but considering how close it is, I can live with that. If you're from the area you will either have worked there yourself at some point when you left school, or know someone who did! I even remember when it used to be a Normid Hypermarket when I was a kid and we used to get an ice cream (rolled in pink sugar stuff, every time) every time we went. It's changed a lot since it became Freeport, and it's gone through the motions. There was a time where there was literally nothing there apart from Sports Direct, but now it's turned itself around and boasts quite a nice little selection of shops.

Inside Freeport today you can find the biggest Home Bargains known to man (my fave), Holland and Barratt, Marks and Spencers, GAP and Select; amongst other popular retail stores. On the day when Charl, Lilly and I were invited down, we met with the friendly chaps from Freeport HQ and were given 3 mystery envelopes to choose from. Within the envelopes there were gift cards each loaded with either £50, £100 or £150! I ended up bagging the £100 gift card, which I was more than happy with, mainly due to my constant grumbles in the run up expecting to get the £50 gift card. I'm just a spoilt brat like that though. The challenge, which we obviously all chose to accept, was to pop around Freeport and use our budget to buy a outfit perfect for Autumn parties or just the season in general. It seems we all subliminally went for a bit of a goth vibe and in the resulting images, shot by our own personal paparazzi who followed us around the day, we ended up displaying a right good range of dark and black shades.

I've always got time for a good burgundy garment, and this dress from Select features a really lovely baroque style flocked pattern. Combined with the oh-so-fluffy cardigan, it makes for an outfit I could spend hours stroking. And I do whenever I wear it. I decided to go for the dress because it's a really flattering skater style, but can be worn with heels for a fancy night out or just casually with a cardigan thrown on. I always find skater style dresses to be pretty versatile and this one is beautiful and versatile in one. Another piece I picked up, which also has a major 'stroke factor' is of course, the jacket I bought. Once again from Select. Select always surprises me when I go in, as they have some pretty decent stuff for a mega affordable price. My cardigan and dress came in just shy of £15 each, and the jacket was a snip at £29.99! The most appealing thing about Select for me though, was that certain items, such as my dress have a Made in Britain tag on it. It's refreshing to see a High Street brand channelling that kind of vibe without the crazy price tag.

The #FallFashionChallenge at Freeport, Talke on Stoke on Trent Fashion blog - Hello Terri Lowe.

The #FallFashionChallenge at Freeport, Talke on Stoke on Trent Fashion blog - Hello Terri Lowe.

Thursday, 13 November 2014

London Adventures

The other weekend I went down to London for a little adventure with my friend. It was all a bit of a whirlwind, last minute trip which didn't leave us time to do all the typical tourist things I usually do when I head to the capital. This time we went for a night out and some food mainly. And I do love a few drinks and a sneaky bite to eat. In fact, I'd say they were my main two pleasures in life. Unfortunately I didn't take my *real* camera out with me, as it's new I didn't trust myself not to break it. So unfortunately we're just going to have to settle for a few phone pictures and a few more words for this blog post. I guess this is a kind of guide to London on a budget at the last minute!?


Of course, there are a thousand places to choose from to eat when in London, but fortunately for me Ping Pong got in touch and asked if I'd like to try their menu. Yipee! Ping Pong is one of those places you always walk past and want to try when in London, but it always seems a little bit too busy to nip in at the times I go. However when I actually go there they had the swiftest system to get in to a seat as soon as possible (this wasn't even due to the fact I was reviewing them either, several people were about and got seated in super quick time before we did!). Having the meal pre-arranged obviously made the trip so much easier, not only because making a food decision had been eradicated from the equation, but because the menu at Ping Pong is SO simple with a quick service time to boot. After browsing their menu, you simply tick what you want and hand it back to your server when the come to your table. The menu was really easy to follow, with a quality over quantity approach to the selection on offer. We opted for the Ping Pong set menu for two, which came in at the bargain price of £32! £32 to feed two hungry mouths in London is a bargain not to be sniffed at. At first we were wary that we'd literally get one tiny serving of Dim Sum each, but nope! Each delicious dish was ample in size, consisting of at least three generous sized portions. Each dish tasted completely different, with the duck spring rolls being a particular highlight. We enjoyed a few cocktails to, to get us prepared for the night ahead. My favourite cocktail was the Ginger and Limoncello Caipirinha, which was a scrummy mix of fresh ginger, limes, limoncello, cachaco and chambord served in a tall glass with plenty of ice. Another cocktail I tried on the night was the Hibiscus Spritz, which came in two(?!) glasses. One contained a lovely refreshing mix of prossecco and elderflower liquor, whilst the other beaker like glass had a fizzy mix of blackcurrant and hibiscus. There was even a REAL flower in one of the glasses. I was a little confused as to how to drink it though, so I drank each separately for a bit, then mixed the remaining halves together so I got the best of both worlds, haha.The way the meal was served was also worth noting. Each 'course' came out separately, but the timing was spot on. You didn't feel as though you were rushed, but there was also no waiting in between yumming down the delicious dim sum and rice dishes. I absolutely love trying a bit of everything in new restaurants and the Set Menu from Ping Pong was the perfect way to do so. I am definitely going back!


After the meal we popped back on the underground and went for a few drinks and dances down in Camden for Nightmare Festival. Nightmare Camden is a one day event, where you buy a wrist band for 20 quid and you can go in a load of bars and clubs to see some bands do their thing.  I've never actually been out in London before, so I was quite excited, but when I got there it was all a bit weird. The event itself was awesome, the organisers had sorted it all out with military precision and the bars we went in to were absolutely fine. I just found it really weird walking around London getting tipsy and dressed for a night out when the streets were still packed to the brim with tourists and people mooching around shops! London is such a big place, and I suppose it's just the unfamiliarity of it all which I found weird. Whenever I get drunk in another city I always feel aware the first few times, but London is a whole new ball game! I'm just glad I was with someone else who knew what they were doing to navigate us around, as I am completely useless even when I'm not full of cocktails and dimsum! Alas, we stayed for a while and went to Electric Ballroom, Brewdog and Barfly and got to see an impressive line up  consisting of King Charles, Blood Red Shoes and Feed The Rhino for the low cost ticket price of £20!


I ended up staying in the Travelodge at Covent Garden, which was a great location in the end. Ditching the car at Acton and popping on the 'red line' (I've no idea what I'm on about when it comes to the London Underground) we jumped off at Holborn and took a short walk to the hotel. I've got to say, the Travelodge at Covent Garden has completely changed my opinion of them! The King Size 'Dreamer Bed' bed certainly gave you a dreamy nights sleep, and the view from the room was perfect. Granted, the facilities are all a little basic, but when you can nab one for as little as £50 if you pick the right day, what more could you ask for? It was super quiet as well, despite there obviously being a range of tourist and people partying staying at the hotel. The entire night I didn't hear a peep from any other rooms - and I usually have to sleep with earplugs in! We started the next day with the Travelodge's all you can eat breakfast. For £7.99 you can eat as much porridge and croissants and bacon as your heart desires, which is the best way to start the next day when there's always so much walking to do. After breakfast we took the short stroll to Covent Garden itself to have a quick look around. It's always one of my favourite areas to visit in London as the atmosphere is so relaxed despite the crowds of people. 

Overall I had a pretty good visit to London and packed more than I thought in to my little jaunt there. I really can't wait to go back, if only for that delicious dim sum!
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