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5 Things I Wish I Knew When I Started Blogging

“What do you like to do in your spare time?”
“I run a lifestyle blogger, I write reviews, give fashion tips, and share my life.”
“Oh, so you’re like Tanya…Burr is it? Or Zoella? My Goddaughter loves her. Do you use a camera and video yourself?”
“I’m going to need a bigger glass of wine.”

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been in the situation above a lot recently. Whenever I happen to mention that I have a lifestyle blog people assume that I’m a vlogger like Zoe Sugg or another internet household name, or that I have had successful brand deals with the likes of Asos and Urban Decay. I’m not, and I haven’t. I’m just about on the scale and list of lifestyle bloggers, here’s five things I wish I knew before taking my place at the ‘lesser known end of the scale’.

Things I Wish I knew Before I Started

Goals are good, just be realistic.
We all dream of being big in the blogging world, some of us even dream of branching off into the freelance writing sector. But there is no point in having these dreams if you don’t set realistic goals to get there, I find that making small weekly goals for my blog are the best way of advancing. I ususally start with a research task at the start of the week, it gives me time to get any information I need for a blog post, check it hasn’t been done by other bloggers that often, that sort of thing. Once that’s done the rest of the goals are easier to break down. The point is that I break my blog posts down from the goal of “write a blog post” to four or five little goals, like “research topic”, “get outfit information such as brands and prices”, and “invent a catchy title” This way writing posts is easier and you feel like you’ve accomplished more at the end. Remember, the most you post the closer you could be to becoming the next Tanya Burr! 

Write everything down.
I can’t stress this one enough, the amount of great post ideas I’ve had late at night and have woken up not having a clue what they were is unreal! Write everything down, even if it is the smallest start of an idea, it could turn into a massive success. I prefer writing my ideas with a pen and paper opposed to typing them, it just feels a bit more creative and I can write quicker than I can type so my hands can keep up. But if you are more technological, then apps like Evernote or even the built in note app on your phone are excellent for writing those ideas on the go.

Go to brands, don’t wait for them to come to you.
The amount of bloggers out there at the moment is insane. So how do you get the brands to notice you, go to them! I have it on good authority that if you go to brands directly instead of waiting for them to notice you, you are in a better position for the prospect of working with them. Going to brands shows that you are willing to put yourself out there and are passionate about what you do. I must admit I haven’t tried this technique yet, but it’s on my list!

It’s okay to use stock photos. 
I’ve always been insistent on using my own photos on my blog, I used to hate stock photos, sometimes they can look cheap and lowers the value of your content. But then I was introduced to places like Unsplash and Gratisography.  The photos are  free from copyright restrictions or licensed under creative commons public domain dedication. This means you can copy, modify, distribute and perform the work, even for commercial purposes, all without asking permission. Which is a dream come true once you’ve seen the quality of the photos!

Stay on top of current affairs.
When I started blogging, I was determined that my blog would be a little corner of the internet untouched by the harsh realities of life. But I have since discovered that staying out to the ‘real world’ can make you seem ignorant and robotic, a lot of my audience come for a human being talking about their life. Not some automaton ignoring a highly significant event that has affected millions. Commenting on current affairs, both on a world wide scale and in your personal life is a great way to show people that you are aware of the world around you and keeps you relevant.

I hope this helps some of you out there, I know I would have loved this sort of advice when starting out. Update on ‘Hang On In There’: I’m easing myself back into blogging, a schedule is nearly sorted and content is being finalised. I’m hoping to do a bit more current affairs topical writing and I’m in love with the idea of “Get the Look” posts. If you’ve got any suggestions to what you would like to see let my know in the comments below! Thanks for hanging on. 

 

Why I’m Embracing Minimal Make Up!

Big apology’s from me! I’ve had no internet for the past two days, but now I’m back home so here is the post that was mean’t to go up Tuesday. You know what to make up for it, I’ll post a little something for you Saturday, let me know if there is anything you’d like to see in the comments below!

I cannot deny that I wear make up, it is clear to see. I’m a girl, that’s what we stereotypically do, my make up isn’t always right, it’s sometimes smeared, and patchy. But I’m not expert, I’m just a teenage girl with minimal experience plastering paint on her face to fit it and feel confident when facing the world. Particularly on a Monday morning when the late nights of the weekend are plain to see.

A couple of months ago I posted on Twitter that minimal make up equalled half the time and twice the confidence. What I didn’t expect was a retweet, a friend from school had retweeted it. After all I was declaring to the world that I, Ellie Colegate, was wearing hardly any make up, why would anyone be interested in that? I asked myself this question many times, and came up empty. But regardless of peoples opinions on make up, whether to cover or for fun, it’s up to you whether you wear it or not, if you want to cover up that freckle or blemish, or perhaps try winged eye liner because you think you will rock that look. Do it. Cause chances are, you will.

Stop reading for a moment, and find a mirror. Upon your arrival to said mirror take a look and ask yourself how much make up are you wearing. Lots? None? Minimal?

I never realised how much make up I wore until I wiped it off one day and was greeted with an abstract painting of orange and black on the wipe. Anybody would have thought I was a Netflix original series. The first time I ignored it, the second I was slightly concerned so started to pick up less on my brush, after that the orange and black paintings kept coming, I had no idea why, I wasn’t applying as much make up as before right? I’d changed the amount I picked up on my brush a while back.

Then I watched myself take off my make up, I purposely took it off in front of a mirror. To say I was a little scared would be incorrect. My real skin opposed to what the rest of the world saw was a completely different colour, that’s when I decided a change was needed. I spent a week wearing no make up, it was half term and I hadn’t planned to do a lot that required make up. I found myself feeling more confident in my skin by the time Sunday came round. But come Monday evening I was again removing a Netflix original. But then in one early morning  choice I found myself not putting on foundation and just reaching for the powder, feeling nervous nearly all day thinking that someone might comment on my appearance, but none came, no one commented, I don’t think anyone actually noticed. So when I got home I looked in the mirror and realised I didn’t actually look that bad, I looked like the Ellie I wanted to be, not the Ellie who wanted to fit it.

Every now and then I wear foundation, and I’m happy to say that I now wear a lighter shade, no more Netflix original thank you very much! But more recently I have been wear just powder and mascara, a bit of concealer here and there, but gone are my days of heavy make up and orange wipes. Minimal make up makes me feel confident in my own skin because I know that the world is seeing the real me, not just the one desperate to fit in.

Happy Make-uping!

Ellie

Looking Back At A Changing Year

Hello,
Not a quickie to today so I suggest you make a cuppa and grab your favorite bickie, I’m partial to a Highland Shortbread myself and a milky coffee, two sugars, just if you offering. Oh you’re not, that’s a bit rude!  Moving on swiftly, I found these questions on Tumblr and thought that they would be a great way not only to share and insight with you but to reflect in detail on the past year. So to mark the week anniversary of my relationship with 2015, that so far has been stressful, thanks for asking, it’s not them it’s me. I welcome you to pull up a chair and enjoy

1: What did you do in 2014 that you’d never done before?

I did more than one thing this year that I’m I have never done before, here is my list:

  • I achieved the grades I wanted a GCSE’s
  • I joined a sixth form and make some great friends.
  • I met the mayor of my local area representing my school alongside two amazing people.
  • I started this little corner in the internet that despite its small following I cherish.
  • I became more confident at social events.
  • I didn’t fall down any stairs, just up them. Don’t judge, it’s a personal achievement.

And lots more that I can’t think of.

2: Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I haven’t actually made any new year’s resolutions this year (gasp) I’d just like to carry on doing what I’m doing, oh, perhaps take more photos to share with you guys. That sounds good.  And email people that I don’t see that much more.

3: Did anyone close to you give birth?

Nope.

4: Did anyone close to you die?

Human, no. Animal, yes.

5: What countries did you visit?

None.

6: What would you like to have in 2015 that you lacked in 2014?

I dunno really, I would kinda like to have a coke bottle with my name on, I can never find one! I have specially made one, but it’s just not the same as getting excited in the shop and being two so you can drink one and save one!

7: What dates from 2014 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

June 28th, the date of my Prom.

I don’t really remember dates, I just remember moments.

8: What was your biggest achievement of the year?

GCSE’s, it was great to finally be finished, and revision was by far one of the best things ever, I created so many memories in that time its crazy!

9: What was your biggest failure?

Falling up the stairs, in public, with people, everywhere.

10: Did you suffer illness or injury?

I discovered I had a Vitamin D deficiency, but that’s about it.

11: What was the best thing you bought?

My laptop, although it has since been replaced by this beauty on which I type now.

12: Whose behaviour merited celebration?

Huh? That’s English I don’t understand.

13: Whose behaviour made you appalled?

Nothing springs to mind on this one.

14: Where did most of your money go?

Books and clothes.

15: What did you get really, really, really excited about?

My birthday, and my art coursework really, sad I know.

16: What song will always remind you of 2014?

Happy by Pharrell Williams

17: Compared to this time last year, are you: (a) happier or sadder? (b) thinner or fatter? (c) richer or poorer?

Happier, fatter probably, I actually think I’m richer.

18: What do you wish you’d done more of?

Laughing at the little things.

19: What do you wish you’d done less of?

Texting, I prefer to talk to people voice to voice or face to face. Expression is everything.

20: How did you spend Christmas?

With my family at home.

21: Did you fall in love in 2014?

Yes, with multiple famous people who have no idea I exist, success!

22: What was your favourite TV program?

Must you ask? Our Girl, by far.

23: Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

I don’t think so.

24: What was the best book you read?

Ah! That’s really difficult; I’m going to have to say… either The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern or Infinite Sky by C.J. Flood

25: What was your greatest musical discovery?

The indie/alternative genre.

26: What did you want and get?

I wanted time, and I got a three month holiday!

27: What did you want and not get?

I wanted Ben Aldridge for Christmas. I’m sad to say that I didn’t get a Ben Aldridge for Christmas.

28: What was your favourite film of this year?

Again, there is so many. To name a few, About Time, Divergent,

29: What one thing made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

New surroundings, that was even more inspiring.

30: How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2014?

Jeans and converse. Although I feel like I matured last year with my style sense.

31: What kept you sane?

My family, Emma (who you can find here), and my old art teacher.

32: Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

Ben Aldridge, Prince Harry, Ed Sheeran, Danny O’Donoghue, Dougie Poynter, and many other guys who I won’t bore you with.

33: What political issue stirred you the most?

I’m not really into politics, but probably Scottish independence.

34: Who did you miss?

My Aunties cat, some of the staff from my old school.

35: Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2014.

Always write and talk, because there is always someone listening to what you have to say.

Thanks for bearing with me on that extremely wordy post, after all this is WordPress! Get it? Back to normal next week with the first installment of Book Banter! Excited? Oh don’t show too much enthusiasm will you? It’s like getting blood out of a stone. Let me know if you enjoyed that, and I invite you to perhaps answer these questions yourself, I think you’ll learn something. I certainly did.

Happy reading,
Ellie

Mid-Month Favourites

As I sit here it occurs to me that I haven’t done anything all day apart from watch Covert Affairs and sung along to a lot of songs, badly may I add. But doing nothing got me thinking, what have I enjoyed so far this month? A lot of things, so here is my mid month favourites.

Beauty:
Shock horror! A beauty part on a book blog, this couldn’t possibly be correct? Well I went there, I happen to own a lot of beauty and hair products so I thought I would mention them, is that such a crime? My first product is ‘Clearskin® Clear Emergency Instant Spot Treatment’ aka my lifesaver, this product is the best that I found for treating spots quickly or overnight in many cases. This is product I apply if I get an unexpected outbreak of spots; it calms the redness and helps to remove it naturally opposed from squishing and squeezing them until you have red raw skin. Overall this product is pretty damn amazing for the price and quality of it; I really do love Avon products.

The main reason of my use of the spot treatment is that I have recently been using a couple of different flavoured lip balms, and every time I applied them I would get an outbreak of spots, so after some intense searching I discovered that the flavours that companies add to their lip balms can make some people have extreme outbreaks in spots. Despite this I enjoyed them before I realised what they were doing to my skin, the two that I particularly liked were: Vaseline Limited Edition Lip Therapy -Queen Bee and Avon Lush Lemon Lip Balm. So I’ll be sticking to the Aloe Vera version of the Vaseline lip therapy from now on.

Lip Balms

TV and Film:
I have been watching quite a bit of TV so far this month, but I must confess I have been experiencing a slight TV hangover (yes that’s a real thing) from a bbc drama that aired last month and was released on DVD this month. ‘Our Girl’ starring the critically acclaimed Lacey Turner, first hit our screens as a short film last year, which saw Molly Dawes join up for the army and how she coped in a world that was very different to the one that she was raised in. Now Turner reprises her role as the feisty Private alongside Iwan Rheon and rising star Ben Aldridge, tells the story of the army medic on her first tour in Afghanistan who then gets tied up in a love triangle between her superior Captain James (Aldridge) and equal raking Smurf (Rheon) . Set on the backdrop of war, this love story will have you rooting for the characters one minute, and on the edge of you seat the next. The DVD is out now, and you can see the trailer below.

The next TV show that I have been watching this month is the award-winning, extremely popular, Orphan Black. The series revolves around a set of clones that are all played by the enormously talented Tatiana Maslany, who you original see as Sarah Manning, the British punk-rock chick whose life is turned upside down when she sees a woman who looks just like her commit suicide and she sees an opportunity to assume this woman’s identity. But what she doesn’t know is that there is other people who look exactly like her. This show is funny, creepy, and just a generally great thriller that will keep you up at night with the need to watch more.

Books:
For someone who has a blog surrounding books I have only read two books this month for pleasure, and one of them was a short story so doesn’t really count. But the one that I enjoyed the most was the one that I have had to read for my A-Level English Literature class, okay so it’s actually a play, but who’s being finicky. ‘Death of a Salesman’ by Arthur Miller is a play that I have anaylsed over and over again and now know better than the back of my hand, in various essays I have looked at the relationship between characters and how the play is structured. Surprisingly, this has made me love the play a little bit more. Miller tells a story of Willy Loman, a salesman who is struggling to achieve his dream in the society of late 1940’s America and how this affects him both mentally and physically, but Miller doesn’t just focus on Willy within this tragedy. He shows us how the need for him to achieve his American Dream of being popular and well liked affects his family relationships and how he sees the world, the play is shown from the perspective of Willy so is a little difficult to understand at times, but it really does show the reader how much this man is affected by trying to be a person that has been forced upon him by the world he lives in. This play is one that I highly recommend to people to both read and to go see on stage.

So I hope you enjoyed my first favourite type post, I hope I didn’t ramble for too long. Let me know what you think of these things and perhaps share with me your favourites of the month in the comments below.

Happy reading,
Ellie