Returning From A Blogging Break | How To Love Your Blog Again

Monday, June 29, 2015

I think it's safe to say that most of us have had to have a break from blogging at some point in our journey. Whether it be as a result of exams, stress or just a general lack of motivation. We have decided to call it break, as assumably we do intend to return to blogging once again. But sometimes, it isn't that easy to come back and love your blog the way you once did before. You expect to find a sense of motivation returning so easily but it just isn't that simple. Especially if your break has turned into three long months without blogging, you kind of almost forget how to even blog. I think that's the reason why some of us take such long breaks, for the fear of coming back. We ask ourselves questions such as "Did people even care that I was gone?" "What can I even write posts about anymore?" "Can I even be bothered to add another workload to my schedule once again?" and it's sad because the beginning feeling of starting a blog is so exciting and then it just disappears, like you never even once loved your blog in the first place. Even though my break was only three weeks long I will admit I am struggling to get back into the swing of things. I used to only write one post a week but now I'm writing three and sometimes when you are only getting a couple of comments you wonder why you're even bothering again, so I can't even begin to imagine how people who have taken months of time off feel about coming back. So moving on from my rambling intro, here are some (hopefully) useful tips to help you love your blog once again.

1. Give your blog a make-over
Particularly if you have had a longer break from blogging, you would be surprised but we as people can change our interests more often than we actually think. The way we liked the look of our blog three months ago could change three months later, and we could find the original look we had three months ago, to now be drab and boring. Get creative with it, you could change your header, buy a new template or even change your blog's name all together!

2. Research new post ideas
Perhaps in the past you used to post the same things constantly. If you're used to posting outfit ideas every week or beauty tutorials every week, then change it up and try out something new. Sometimes experimenting is the best way to find your new niche. 

3. Give yourself a structure
I personally love schedules, particularly writing them down as I feel as though I am more likely to do something if I have made that commitment and put it in writing. Nobody will ever force you to create a post, it's your decision so when you feel confident enough commit yourself to it and once you've completed the task it will definitely become a weight off of your shoulder. I think the first post after your break is definitely the hardest, from then everything will eventually fall back into place.

4. Brainstorm
Set yourself a timer so for maybe a minute or two and list as many fun post ideas as possible. This will get your creative juices flowing and the things that come into mind first are clearly the things you consciously love the most. Hopefully the fun ideas you come up with will help you gain more motivation and happiness with your blog once again. I find that I work better under pressure and a under a time limit, the panic that sets in can sometimes be strangely exciting!

5. Read other posts
If your break has restricted you to the point where you aren't even reading other people's posts anymore then of course when you return to blogging it will definitely appear alien to you. Reading other blogs will help you to visualise and remember the structure of blogging and if you're enjoying what you're reading and are actively making comments on posts you will more likely wish you were back in the position of the blogger. Writing your own content for others to love.

So I hoped those five little tips helped some of you out there who are still fearful after returning from a long break. Blogging can sometimes be so daunting in many ways and when we have put so much time and effort into a post and not receive much response it is very disheartening but just remember the reason why you started. It wasn't for followers or comments, it was because you loved to write. If you have any useful tips besides the ones I already mentioned then let me know in the comments down below, until next time..

Have you ever had a blogging break?
post signature

My MAC Lipstick Collection

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Hi my name is Toni and I am a lipstick addict. 
Particularly, a MAC lipstick addict. My collection of 7 MAC lipsticks may seem small compared to most but I cannot exactly afford to splurge £15.50 on a lipstick every month as much as I would love to I don't think my bank balance would agree with me, haha! 7 MAC lipsticks to me is definitely a reasonable amount, although there are still more on my wish list I now have a couple of different finishes and felt my collection was definitely big enough to share with you all now. As I mentioned, I am a bit of a lipstick addict so no doubt this collection will have grown again by the end of the year and I'll definitely post an updated collection some time in the near future!

Creme D'Nude 
Starting off from the lightest to the darkest shade in my collection, this shade is definitely one of the most talked about in the blogosphere. This shade comes in a 'cremesheen' finish which is super creamy and buttery on the lips. This finish is definitely one of my favourites as it's perfect for someone like me who tends to suffer with dry lips and matte lipstick options are definitely not always the best for me. The colour of this is definitely one of my favourite nude shades, which a peachy/coral undertone I can see why it's definitely the bloggers favourite. My biggest worry with this shade is with it being so light I felt it might look like foundation lips on me but thankfully it's far from that! 

Japanese Maple
Also in a 'cremesheen' finish this lipstick is very similar to Creme D'Nude except with a slight more pink-ish undertone, when swatching this on my hand I noticed it does appear to have a very subtle hint of glitter running through it which I think is just super lovely and girly, matching of course the subtle glitter finish of the packaging of every MAC lipstick. The biggest difference between Japanese Maple and Creme D'Nude is the undertone within the nude. JM is almost like a salmon nude whereas CDN has a subtle coral finish.

Velvet Teddy
No MAC lipstick is complete without this beauty in it. I find with this shade it does tend to look different on every person so definitely be sure to swatch it before you purchase. On my lips it does have a slight reddish undertone very subtle, almost quite like a burgundy but the brown is predominantly the main colour to this shade. As I mentioned earlier with matte lipsticks my lips do unfortunately tend to dry out so I've been getting into using lip glosses for this purpose a little bit more recently and Benefit Dandelion is a perfect match for this shade. 

Creme in your Coffee
This shade basically sums me up. I am definitely your typical coffee/starbucks/costa addict and I won't lie, I did basically buy this shade for the purpose of the name. But this is definitely so gorgeous on and is very unique in my collection. The shade isn't quite burgundy nor brown nor red it's just somewhere in between the three. That probably makes no sense at all but it's genuinely so hard to describe, unless you own this shade you won't really quite get what I mean. Alongside my favourite 'cremesheen' finish this lipstick is definitely one of my favourites in my collection.

New York Apple
My first 'frost' finish, yay! I was definitely very worried about the sparkles in this being overpowering but they were far from it, they are definitely noticeable but in a subtle way. The colour of this is just stunning, I can definitely see why it's referred to as 'New York Apple'. Not quite pink, not quite blood red. I find sometimes a blood red shade can be quite intimidating but as this is on the more subtle side of things, to me it's definitely much more wearable for the daytime.

As this is a 'satin' finish I find it is of course very soft on the lips and so perfect for someone like me who is prone to dryness. This lipstick matches perfectly with the lip liner 'REDD' and surprisingly has quite a subtle pink undertone to it. I feel as though I have said that with literally every shade, haha! Unlike the 'cremesheen' finishes this does not have any sparkles throughout it however and so is a gorgeous statement red, I surprisingly didn't opt for a red lip last christmas and so I think this one might just be my go to this year. This shade is very similar to 'Carmen' by NARS except Carmen is slightly more on the blood red side.

This is another one of those not quite brown, nor red, nor purple, nor burgundy shades. The best way to describe this is, a burgundy shade with a purple undertone. As this is a matte shade of course I have to wear a lipgloss with this beauty, as this shade is so bold I tend to opt for a clear lipgloss with this one. A great dupe for this shade is the Topshop lip bullet in 'Wine Gum'. It's almost identical in fact, as you can see from the swatches above. 

So that is my MAC lipstick collection for you folks! I am in no means bragging by the lipsticks I own and I am grateful for each and every one. There will be people out there with much bigger and also much smaller collections than mine. It should be in no way a contest as to who has the biggest collection and I just thought it would be nice to have a little discussion about lipsticks below as clearly, I'm addicted. 

If you have any lip liner suggestions for any of the above shades please do let me know! 
Until next time..

What MAC lipstick shades do you have?!
post signature

Dr PawPaw Multipurpose Balm* - Worth The Hype?!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

I think it's pretty safe to say that this beauty has been floating around the blogosphere for quite some time now and so when I was contacted by the lovely Alix from Catalyst PR I was definitely interested to give this a try.

Initially, I find the idea of a multipurpose balm very unique, I've never really seen anything that you can use on both the cracks of your heel and your lips. Two very different parts of the body for sure. Upon receiving the item I could definitely see a resemblance with the Carmex balm on the basis of the packaging and the actual silicone feel to the product itself, however the Carmex is only for the lips, so Dr PawPaw had won brownie points straight away. Unfortunately, this product wasn't exactly the easiest to dispense. I had to stab it with a pen to pierce a hole in the top and then it does need a tight squeeze in order to dispense the actual product itself. 

Once I had got to grips with the product however I was definitely super impressed with the results of this formula. For the lips this product is very moisturising and for a lip balm looks even more natural than a normal lip balm. (This probably makes no sense at all, I know!) Basically, with a Vaseline or Carmex I find that my lips appear very shiny and glossy, almost like using a lipgloss whereas the Dr PawPaw makes the appearance of my lips smooth and uber soft without the glossy look to them. Now, TMI guys but I love with this lip balm it completely removes all cracked or dry pieces. Sometimes with the Maybelline Baby Lips for example, I find if you're not careful dry pieces of your skin can begin to store in the corners of your mouth, super gross I know but it happens to the best of us! Regarding staying power on the lips, mine definitely feel moisturised for a good three hours at least before I feel the need to re-apply. Which is definitely a bonus for me as I am a complete lip balm addict, I cannot go anywhere without one as I'm always so worried about my lips looking cracked. 

Now, I was definitely intrigued to see how this would work on my feet. I was more impressed with the way it worked on my heels than with my actual lips weirdly enough. Unfortunately, I am prone to my heels appearing quite dry and wearing sandals in the summer with cracked heels just isn't cute at all. Using the balm on the first try didn't make my heels feel dramatically softer but nobody is going to go round feeling my feet so I'm not too bothered about that haha! But the difference in appearance before and after, even from the first use was incredible. I have never seen my heels look better, it was crazy! They just appeared super smooth and clean almost as if I had never even walked on them, it was genuinely that big of a difference and I will 100% be taking this with me on holiday this summer! (I'd insert a photo of the difference this makes but considering it's my feet that would probably be pretty gross haha!)

Lastly, I've also tried this on my eyebrows. You can use this for nails and knees too but I fortunately do not have any dry issues in those areas. Now my eyebrows aren't particularly dry but as they are naturally quite thick and grow quite long they definitely need taming which is why brow gels have become my new best friend recently. For days when I'm not doing much besides a few errands this balm has worked perfectly for keeping them in place all day whilst moisturising them at the same time which is brilliant. Particularly now the summer months are coming in as nobody wants to have flaking, stiff hair in their eyebrows, gross! 

On the whole, besides a few minor packaging issues, I am super impressed with this multipurpose balm. Infused with fermented PawPaw which supposedly has an array of benefits, acting as a natural skin protector against sunburn and general skin irritations. Another perfect reason why this little product is perfect in anyone's cosmetic bag this summer, wherever you may be travelling. The product I was sent was in the original flavour and so I'm definitely keen to pick up this product in 'Ultimate Red' and 'Peachy Pink' as it supposedly adds a nice tint to your lips and cheeks. A tint that is moisturising at the same time sounds perfect for the summer! All three flavours are also fragrance free which may be seen as a bonus to many of you. You can purchase all three of the Dr PawPaw multipurpose balms for only £6.95 here:

Look Fantastic
Urban Outfitters
Dr PawPaw

Have you ever tried the Dr PawPaw balms?

post signature
DISCLAIMER: This post is sponsored. Anything sent to me has been marked with an asterisk (*). All opinions are my own. 

What does your jewellery mean to you?

Monday, June 22, 2015

Have you ever heard of the phrase "I wear my heart on my sleeve"? Well, in terms of jewellery for some of us this actually might be seen as true. I was recently contacted by Ryan from an online auction site where you can buy jewellery, decorative arts, antiques and collectibles. He e-mailed me asking do I have a piece of jewellery that means something to me? Ironically enough, during my exam season I have actually been wearing a bracelet given to me by mother. 

It seems quite silly really, it isn't the most expensive bracelet in the world but it definitely means something to me. A few years ago, my mum bought a set of three beaded bracelets. Each bracelet was the same, so she gave one to me and one to my sister. I think the idea of having that little reminder that I can wear on occasions where I feel I need a little bit of a boost, a bit of luck or a charm that connects me to a close part of my family. 

I think we all need that sometimes, to feel closer to family. Which shows how during events like weddings the typical saying goes 'something borrowed' 'something old' after all, everybody wants to feel a little connected to their family on their big day. What I really love about this bracelet is the different colours and textures, the beads and pastel colours just remind me of the seaside and who doesn't love the seaside? The colours are so calm and soothing, definitely another reason as to why I've leaned towards this bracelet choice during my exams. Pretty, simple and meaningful.

Do you have any sentimental jewellery pieces?
post signature
Don't forget to check out - keeping your jewellery pieces alive with meaning!

DISCLAIMER: I have not been paid to create this post. All opinions are my own. 

Life Update! Exams, Leaving College and New Blogging Schedule!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Wow, this feels super weird to be sat in my office writing posts again instead of writing up piles upon piles of flashcards, notes and listening to voice recordings of myself reciting notes over and over again. So as you may have probably guessed by that little rant and of course the title of this post, the reason for my 3 week disappearance has been my end of college exams! I did briefly mention this on my twitter but for those of you who didn't know I just felt really stressed out. If any of you have ever studied sociology at A-Level then you'll most likely feel my pain. The amount of topics included, particularly within unit four is ridiculous, I was dreading that exam more than I was with GCSE Maths and that's saying something because I hated GCSE Maths. 

Overall, my exams surprisingly went well.. I think?! I hope?! AQA were pretty fair this year and Sociology definitely could have gone worse. I also had an English exam which went fairly well too, I know you're probably thinking you've only had three exams you could have carried on blogging, but there's definitely a lot more to remember than what you would think and I really wanted to do well this year. Last year overall I came out with one mark off of an A in English and 2 marks off of an A in Sociology, so I really wanted to try and hopefully boost those grades up to an A. I will probably scream the house down on results day if I have actually managed to achieve what I set out to do. I did also have a Photography practical exam throughout April and May and I completed the Extended Project Qualification in January, which is a 5,000 word essay so this year of college may not seem that intense but when you gather it all together, it has been hectic and I just needed the time off.

First it began with missing out on blogger chats, I only took part in three a week anyway due to college commitments but then I just stopped altogether and because I wasn't interacting with other bloggers I just felt so distant and decided I needed this break with my blog to get through my exams and just work. It's so crazy to think now my exams are over that I will never go back to college again, it has been a crazy two years which have gone by so quickly. I'm super excited to begin the next chapter now in my life come September; University! So hopefully the break has paid off and I honestly just cannot wait to get back into blogging again. As regards to my schedule, I am hoping to start posting three times a week rather than just once on a Monday, two times a week at the least though, definitely. I have a lot of exciting posts coming up with some products I've kindly been asked to try out and so I cannot wait to share my opinions with you on those. One of which, is definitely a bloggers favourite so I cannot wait to give it a try, if you can guess what it is let me know in the comments below! ;)

Thank you to those of you who read my blog and comment regularly, without that I wouldn't have the motivation and happiness that I do writing posts so thank you. I hope if any of you have had exams recently that they went well and I'm sure you all will have achieved great things. 

Until next time lovelies,

What plans do you have during Summer break?post signature

May Favourites

Monday, June 1, 2015

It's official. We are now finally halfway through the year, which is crazy to think! I have all of my exams coming up this month which is super scary, revision is making me feel so distant with my blog at the moment. I just cannot wait for these next 3 weeks to be over and done with so I can get straight back into enjoying my chats and posting more often throughout the summer! As I've been stuck revising most of the month, I haven't tried out too many new products this month but definitely a good, strong couple so without further adieu, behold my May favourites...

Benefit Gimme Brow in 'Medium/Deep'
Now, I never thought I would be including an eyebrow product in my favourites, ever. May was a big turning point for me in the world of dazzling bushy face caterpillars; the world of eyebrows. Mine were awful, dire infact and I was so excited to finally get them waxed by Benefit at the beginning of the month. I visited the Curl's Best Friend Pop Up Parlour which was super lovely and I couldn't be more happier than I am with the results. Upon having my brow wax and donating to such an amazing cause, I received a free Gimme Brow and I have been loving this so much recently. It lasts all day, and is super natural on my eyebrows. As someone who never filled them in prior to this month, it's nice to find a product that looks so natural on my face. Long lasting, natural and easy to apply. It's a 10/10 from me!

NARS Stick Concealer in 'Chantilly'
An old favourite of mine but since delving into the eyebrow department I have been loving this to add definition to my eyebrows, letting them look more defined and flawless around the edges. This is great for enhancing the shape as it brightens my skin around the eyebrow area, finishing off for a crisp, clean arch. I definitely want to try Benefit High Brow eventually but this product is the perfect, finishing touch for now.

MAC Wash and Dry Bronzer in 'Matte Bronze'
Now, of course like any other make-up addict I just had to get a little piece of this new, gorgeous and of course limited edition collection. I picked up the bronzer and a lipgloss in 'Laundry list' but I'm waiting to pick up an orange lipstick to match before I give it a proper whirl. Anyway, yes the bronzer. This is definitely the perfect colour for me, very natural but easily buildable. This is also super easy to blend and of course the packaging is just stunning, definitely very unique compared to all other MAC products. I'm honestly gutted this is only limited edition, as a girl with pale skin this gives me such a natural glow. I do wish it was a little bit more long lasting however, I've noticed it tends to fade after a few hours but we can't always be perfect.

Benefit Personalised Hoola Bronzer 
Once again, a limited edition item I had to get my hands on. If you have been reading my blog for quite some time now then you will know I am a big fan of Benefit and the hoola bronzer is by far one of my all time favourites. It provides you with the perfect amount of bronze needed for the Summer and has been one of my all time go to bronzers for a very long time. So I was super excited when they finally created the option to purchase your own limited edition personalised bronzer. Fun fact, Benefit actually sent me out two by mistake!! Can you believe that?! Not like I'm complaining but it was so unexpected! 

So it's definitely a little bit of a smaller favourites than usual but unfortunately revision has kept me cooped up in my office at home and not taking romantic strolls by the make-up counter haha! Although, that's definitely a bit of a fortunate state for my bank balance! I hope you liked this post lovelies, if you have any exams or anything coming up this week then I wish you all the best of luck, I feel your pain!! Until next time...

What have you been loving throughout May?post signature

On The Gram

© Clarke Couture's Closet. Design by FCD.