OLIVIA, MICHAEL AND ME

Post date: 21 September 2014

Ladies and gentleman, welcome to the million dollar outfit. OK, so this look cost a little less than a million dollars, or pounds should I say as I'm a Brit, but that's exactly how it made me feel. 

I love a red dress, it makes such an impact and without being massively revealing this style was still super glamorous. The sweetheart neckline is really what makes this dress stand out from anything I've seen on the high street lately. It has a sheer top with a red embroidered jacquard style print, which basically looks like its on the skin when you put the mesh panel on top of skin.

The creators of this stunning number? Little Mistress. I know what you're thinking, Little Mistress doesn't do knee length dresses. It does now and this one is not only the perfect colour, fit and style but it's also the perfect length. It has sewn-in cup detailing so I went sans-bra, which always make me happy, and there was a double layer of underskirt and chiffon floaty overlay. 

The Olivia dress (which is obviously fate as that's my favourite name for a girl) is only £58.00 and is part of the brands collaboration with LOOK magazine so make sure you check out the other styles on the site. Oh, and if it's your first time ordering with them you get 10 per cent off by entering "IAMNEW" at the checkout.


So what does a girl wear on her feet when she's wearing a fairytale dress? Michael Kors leopard print heels of course. I've never owned a pair of designer shoes before and let me tell you, these are certainly different to wearing my usual Primark numbers. 

With padded on the soles, and a great fit - for once I was a true six instead of it coming off my foot yet a size 5 being too snug - these really are an amazing investment. I love how leopard print looks with red, so these were an obvious choice when dressing this dress. The heel is 4 inches which is the ideal height for a night of dancing.

I don't even want to wear these out of the house but I've decided the first proper outing will be my 30th birthday on the 4th October, where I'll wear this whole outfit. If you can't look super glam for your birthday then when can you.

You can purchase these heels from Daniel Footwear by clicking here and make sure you check out all the other styles, especially the Melissa x Jason Wu collection - eurgh, I need this pair. 




THE BRITISH TAG

Post date: 17 September 2014

 
The British Tag has been on the scene for a little while now but I thought I'd have a go at writing it this morning, especially with all this talk of Scotland's independence. I'm extremely proud to be British and although I don't want to get caught up in political talk this early in the morning, I do hope it's a no to independence tomorrow. Anyway, on with the show.
 
1. How many cups of tea do you have a day? How many sugars?
OK, so I don't drink tea. There I said it. I have a coffee on a morning and sometimes a green tea when I'm feeling super healthy but very rarely will I ever make a brew. That's like the most un-British thing I could have said right?
2. Favourite part of your roast?
This is easy, roast potatoes. Especially my mum's roast potatoes. But if they're homemade then it has to be Yorkshire puddings as well. And gravy. Oh, and stuffing. Plus pigs in blankets. Basically, all of it, bar the vegetables.
3. Favourite dunking biscuit?
Always a Rich Tea. But I don't actually drink tea so I dip these into orange cordial. It's totally gross I know but I love it.
4. Favourite quintessentially British pastime?
No-one does the seaside like the Brits. I love getting in the car on a sunny weekend and going to Whitby to eat fish and chips, donuts and prawns by the sea. The smells, the British sunshine, the jolly mood Brits find themselves in when faced with sand and sea. I love everything about a day at the seaside.
5. Favourite word?
Flabbergasted - it sounds totally British and only a true Brit could pull this word off in a serious manner.
6. Cockney rhyme slang?
Bubble bath - having a laugh
7. Favourite sweet?
Nestle tootie-fruites. Plus these are made in Yorkshire, which is even better.
8. What would your pub be called?
The Queen Vic of course!
 
9. No.1 British person?
You can't get any more British than the lovely Liz herself. Old Queeny is my absolute favourite British person ever - and David Attenborough.
10. Favourite shop / Restaurant?
OK, favourite British shop has Oliver Bonas. It's so quintessentially British and has everything from interiors to gorgeous dresses to coffee table books I don't need but really, really want. Food wise, I'd have to say a good old Toby Carvery. Hardly haute cuisine but really bloody good.
11. What British song pops into your head?
Spice Girls - Who Do You Think You Are. Geri Haliwell in that Union Jack is British personified.
12. Marmite?
Never tried it - suspect I'll hate it.
A Brit who doesn't drink tea, doesn't dunk and who has never tried Marmite. Flabbergasted no? There's only one answer to a question I want to know from you, what's your favourite British sweet?

 

REVIEW: EYEKO SKINNY LIQUID EYELINER

Post date: 16 September 2014

I very rarely review beauty products because I'm just not a beauty blogger. I have no knowledge of ingredients and don't really change things up to know whether something is the best in the market. Eyeliner, however, I do know about. I've been painting my eyes into a feline flick since I was 15 - that's every day for nearly 15 years apart from when I go without make-up on a Sunday or holiday.
 
It's my thing. I can do it on a moving train, I can do it sitting at my desk without a mirror, I can probably even do it in the dark. I've tried kohl, I've tried liquid liner and I've tried felt tip pens. The one which works best for my application, without a shadow of a doubt,  is the pen. I don't have the softest of touch so I deal better with something sturdy.
 
So when this Eyeko Skinny Liquid Liner came free with one of my glossies last month (I can't remember which one, don't shoot me), I wanted to give it a try.


One of the main points to eyeliner for me is longevity. It has to last all day because god forbid anyone manages to see me "without my eyes on". This was smooth to draw on, with a tip thin enough to create a seamless line under the bottom lashes.
 
The only negative point I would make is that the liquid can dry up quickly but I found just pressing it down on a piece of tissue to draw some more out soon got a smooth movement again.
 

 In terms of how I do my make up, I'll start from a point just on the outside of my eyelid and work my way inwards, through to the middle of the eye. Then I'll start at the corner of the eye and work my way back, until both sections meet.
 
Finally, I'll colour in any bits that don't have eyeliner on underneath the first line and take a thin line under my bottom lashes, joining up to the outer corner of my top lid. Sounds complicated doesn't it, but it's just how I've always done it.
 
And if I'm doing a feline flick but with no smokey eye around it, I'll add about three layers of mascara (my favourite being Clinique Extreme Lash Mascara), and a colour pop lip - this one being All About Me by Topshop.
 
If you're admiring the necklace I've used throughout this post, it's my latest jewellery addition from Elsie's Wardrobe. Founded earlier this year, this site has some amazing statement pieces and this necklace is even better in the flesh. Can you see how much detail has gone into the design? It's perfect to throw on over a simple grey marl tee and some jeans.
 
Between £12 and £16, these necklaces are so well priced, especially when you compare them to some of the tat you pick up on the high street for soooo much more (Topshop, I'm talking to you with your overpriced necklaces).
 
You can pick up my version - the Lilli Vintage Flower Statement Necklace - here or give the site a browse and see if there's anything else you fancy treating yourself to. Oh, and here's a picture of my made-up face to set you up for the day.
 

EAT DRINK DO: THE EDEN DIARIES/COLOURS MAY VARY

Post date: 15 September 2014

This weekend was mostly spent feeding my creativity at Munro House in Leeds. If you're not familiar with the city, this space houses art exhibitions alongside CafĂ© 164 and an amazing shop called Colours May Vary.
 
The exhibition we visited was by a friend of a friends. The Eden Diaries was a collective of pop-art style graphics, including typography-painted tiles, skateboards and amazing illustrations. Designed by an artist going by the name of Tone, this sort of work was just up my street. I love anything font related. I'm a font geek to be honest and I'm not ashamed to admit that.
 
I really want one of these pieces for my living room, although I'd love for a little custom piece to be created maybe. Imagine my face, pop-art style. See Mr Cool above? That's Tone - with me looking like a complete groupie.









In Munro House there's a shop called Colours May Vary which is basically heaven to me. Magazines like Betty and LOVE filled the shelves, while graphic print wrapping paper, framed illustrations and typewriters are scattered around.
 
I could have spent a fortune in this place, and definitely plan on going back to pick up some bits. If you're around the bottom part of the city (it's near the BBC building opposite the bus station), I'd definitely recommend popping in. Here are a few snaps of some of my favourite bits.






And how could I not share this picture of this beauty? He was sat outside a cobblers in town and looked super happy to be having his picture taken. Say cheese.
 

GROWING YOUR BLOG

Post date: 13 September 2014

Before I started to write this, I did think to myself “who am I to give people advice on blogging?”, but I’ve been writing this online diary for over five years now so instead of specifically giving advice, I wanted to share my experiences and what I’ve learnt along the way to help you potentially grow your blog.
 
My figures are tiny in comparison to some blogs. I look online and see that The Blonde Salad is set to make $8m this year alone. That’s through her blog, her sponsorship deals, her shoe label…all the things that come with being an international blogging superstar.
 
Even when I go onto Tots100 (not because I have a baby, but because I genuinely find some of these lifestyle blogs interesting to read), I can see that some blogs attract over 100,000 page views a month. I’m not even close to that. But what I can say is that since I started following some steps from the start of this year, I can certainly say that I’ve seen traction in my blog’s growth.
 
Plan, plan, plan
 
I never really used to give much thought into planning my blog schedule. I write for a living and my day job needs both a features list and an editorial calendar for the day/week/month. But up until the start of the new year I just wrote what I wanted to write each morning.
 
Now I have a list app on my phone which allows me to jot down ideas when they come to me (usually in the middle of the night), and remember bits I’ve seen and want to blog about at a later date.
 
I also have a calendar which I write important dates in, for example fashion weeks, red carpet events etc so now I can be prepared when it comes to outfit rundowns, which I like to put on the blog sometimes.
It also helps to see that I’m not posting too much of the same stuff. I’d really like to get some kind of routine going such as a collective of favourite reads from that week which I’ll post every Sunday morning. Getting into more of a routine enables you to have the time to plan these things in advance.
 
Be social
 
We all have Twitter/Facebook/Instagram but how many of you post things waiting for likes, retweets and comments without bothering to do any of the above for others. I’m totally guilty of it too, so I made a resolution earlier this year to try put the social in social media.
 
I started to comment on peoples pictures on Facebook, talk to bloggers I liked or had something relevant to say and left comments on blogs I enjoyed reading. I retweeted blog posts I like, I regrammed pictures with a direct link back to that blogger, if I used a picture from a blogger which I was writing about I linked it straight back to their site and I tried to show some blogging love, instead of waiting for it to come to me.
 
And it was all genuine. There’s nothing worse than receiving a comment on your blog or Instagram and reading “follow for a follow?” or “I’m running a giveaway, take a look”. You obviously haven’t read my post and I don’t follow just because you follow me. This is one element that I don’t like about the blogging community.
 
Spamming aside it’s great to become part of that community by joining in with Twitter chats which take place through the week. If you haven’t joined in on one already I’d suggest #Lbloggers which is for lifestyle bloggers and takes place on Sundays and Wednesdays from 7-8pm, #FBLChat which is a fashion, beauty and lifestyle chat and takes place on a Tuesday at 8pm, and finally #fbloggers which is purely fashion and runs every Monday and Thursday from 8-9pm. It’s easy, you just see what the question is that day and put your two-pence-worth in. I have an opinion on most things blogging related, and it’s great to read how others gauge this little online world we find ourselves in.
Snap it
 
Up until last year I was very inconsistent when it came to blog photography. I mean, some of it was absolutely shocking. I used to add so many filters (CameraBag I now hate you) that my pictures were distorted and not professional looking at all. I think that’s fine when it’s just your hobby and it’s about the writing, but for me I’m a perfectionist so I want to create a site which not only reads well, but looks nice as well. If growing your blog is important then I definitely think quality images are key.
 
I’m always drawn back to blogs with beautiful photography (ABeautiful Mess, Paris in Four Months and Gary Pepper are amazing at this) and this is why I wanted to invest in a good camera and start really thinking about how I shoot things. I bought a NIKON D3200 which I have since broken the lens on, so I’m about to buy a 55ml prime lens. I would recommend to anyone really, if you’re going to buy a camera, I’d just get the base of it and forget the lens kit. You can just go straight out and buy a 55mm one then which is a much better quality.
 
Another piece of equipment I’m about to purchase is a remote control. I can’t tell you how long it takes me to do an outfit post when I have to set my timer for 10 seconds, run back to my spot where the lighting is just right, strike a pose, run back to the camera, check the picture and then do it all over again because nine times out of ten, the image just isn’t how you want it to be. It’s all very easy when you’ve bagged yourself a photographer boyfriend but some of us are still waiting to find him.
 
I’ve also started to collect props and backgrounds for still life shots. If you see a great image in a magazine, save it. For cheap props I’ve found bits in Primark’s homeware section, The Range, TK Maxx and even auctions. I recently bought an old typewriter for my hallway table for £10 at a house auction, which looks great when used in the background of blog posts.
 
And if you’re not completely happy with an image, don’t use it. You’ll only end up stressing about it after it’s gone live and then it’s out into the world for all to see. They probably won’t notice any difference but you will.
 
The three R’s
 
For a long time I wrote what I thought people wanted to read. I couldn’t snap out of the style I wrote for my day job (which is for a business title so is far removed from the style I wrote when I’ve had things published in Company magazine and LOOK), so my blog didn’t sound personal.
But then one night I sat and wrote a piece about my weight loss struggle and boy did that go down well. It was because it was readable, relatable and real. The three R’s. Since then I’ve realised how people want to read I Heart Fashion as a blog and not a website, which I couldn’t distinguish at first. Write in which ever style you feel comfortable with but make it personal to you.
 
Oh, and double check your spelling and grammar before you press publish.
 
Push yourself
 
Sometimes we can all drop into a blogging black hole where motivation is at its lowest and we feel like pressing the Delete Blog button. But that’s the blogging god signalling to you that you need to take a break, put down the laptop and start living life. I sometimes have these breaks and they come when I start to feel like it’s a chore rather than a hobby. It’s usually after these lulls when my best ideas spring to life.
I decided this year I would really push myself to create unique content on my blog. I was interested in much more lifestyle bits and bobs now, especially interiors, so to be inspired I spent time looking at Bloglovin and Pinterest. This isn’t so I could copy ideas, it’s so I’m inspired to start thinking of new ideas for you, the readers. If there are posts which you think are unachievable give them a try. I would never put an outfit post together this time last year but now I have a room with decent lighting and a good camera then it’s not so bad.
 
I’ve also really branched out in terms of the topics I write about – I love crafty posts, so am pushing myself to do more of those and once you start pushing, then you’ll get better and better.
 
Learning the basics
 
SEO is one area I’m not very clued up on, but to get your blog noticed on search engines you’ll need to add words which will be picked up on when people search on the internet. So, for example, when you type in UK High Street Blog on Google, I should come up on the first page (sometimes I’m at number one, which makes me extremely happy). That’s because my blog title has those words in it, and every time I write a post I add the tags ‘UK High Street Fashion and Lifestyle Blog’. I have nearly 1000 posts so that really helps.
 
The title of your blog post can increase your visibility so make sure you call it something which is relevant to what you’re writing about. For example, I’ve called this post: Growing Your Blog Further instead of The Three R’s, which I was originally going to call it. That’s because when people search on Google/Bing/Yahoo they’re more than likely going to type in those words if that’s what they’re looking for.

Adding key words is super easy, as long as it flows properly with the content. Say with this post, I wanted to increase its visibility so I’ve added the words “growing your blog” a couple of times. Now, this flows properly but it also helps with search engine optimisation.

Labelling your images really helps too. So instead of saving a picture as IMG234.jpg, save it as advice-on-growing-your-blog.jpg for example. That way Google’s image search will pick that up. I get so much traffic from images I’ve used through Google so I know this definitely works.

Be your own cheerleader and link up your past posts. In here I’ve linked up to two of my previous posts, with the aim of keeping readers on I Heart Fashion for as long as possible.

And finally, get on Google Analytics and really analyse what’s happening on your blog. I realised people like to look at my blog around 1pm but I’ll still pop a post-up first thing, then use Tweetdeck to make sure throughout the morning and at 12.55pm specifically, there are links going out telling people what I’ve blogged about. Oh and I think this is pretty well known throughout the blogosphere, but if you post on a Sunday, you’re pretty much winning.

I really hope this post has been of some use and thanks for at least reaching the end. Happy Weekend lovelies and if you’d like to know the answer to anything specific drop me a line below.