This Week's Most Popular Posts
Instagram is the fastest growing social network, and one that provides a more visual and aspirational outlook for both bloggers and brands. The photo sharing platform offers a different way to digest information, providing followers with a simplistic visual peek into your world when words just aren't enough. Although I was massively late to the Instagram party, it's now one of my favourite places to waste a train journey or ten minutes while waiting for the kettle to boil; I've discovered amazing brands, fabulous bloggers and artists I never knew existed, just via the scroll of my home screen. Although some have seen meteoric rises to fame (who knew an Instagram celebrity was a thing until 2015?) for most of us it's just a way to provide a little insight into what we get up to - from the cake we eat, to the places we visit and those all important selfies. But how can you make sure your photos are aspirational, interesting and engaging enough to warrant a 'like'? Here are some of my top tips for taking better instagram photos that don't require anything other than an extra thirty seconds.
I love the blogging community. There's always someone to inspire me, leave me feeling motivated or simply teach me something new. The great thing about the internet is that there's room for absolutely everyone and that everyone's voice has value - be it talking about important political issues, or just how to blend a smokey eye perfectly. Although I love talking about new nail polish and the eye creams that will change your life (dramatic, me?) it's incredibly important to me that I use this site to help others; from my top tips for utilising Pinterest, to how to grow a blog audience and which bloggers I think will be the next big thing... Which is why I've introduced the 'bloggers to watch' feature into my sidebar. Each month I'll have great sites feature on the blog, all of which are definitely worth checking out for something new. This month I have five fabulous ladies to introduce you to, so sit back with a cup of tea and enjoy this edit of blogs you're gonna fall in love with...
I always associate face masks with a moment of indulgence, a relaxing session in a warm bubble bath or simply a chilled out evening in front of the sofa. However, many of the formulas are designed to provide an instant and visible result that makes them more suited to a morning routine or pre-night-out-pamper. We often forget the benefits of using a face mask before you start piling on the makeup and creating a flawless base on a Saturday night, or how they can help perk up tired skin when you've gotten to Friday morning and start counting down the hours until your weekend lie-in. I've really started to adopt face masks as a magic weapon, not only during my regular bath nights, but in the morning when I know I want to look my best. Here are five of the best that will have your skin looking much fresher, more radiant and plump in only ten minutes - perfect to wack on while you sip your morning coffee.
Although gel nails have been one of the biggest trends to hit the nail market for the best part of a decade, they come with a huge number of problems that often leave talons looking and feeling somewhat worse for wear. (Read here why I've given up gel nails for good.) I'm all for the look and longevity of a gel nail, but the practicality means they're just not feasible for a lot of us - which is why this latest launch from Barry M is so welcome. Their new Sunset Daylight Curing polish and topcoat deliver 'the look and resilience of pro salon gel nails' without a UV lamp or the expense of visiting the salon. Available in seven seasonal shades and a transparent topcoat, the formula doesn't even require a basecoat as the special formulation bonds to the nail like a gel in daylight but can still be removed with a regular remover.
Our skin can become dull, tired, flat and uneven in next to no time if we don't look after it properly, which is why regular exfoliation has been a fundamental part of my skincare routine for as long as I can remember. Our skin naturally goes through a thirty-day cycle, where over time the cells travel from the deeper layers to the surface and become full of keratin - which gives skin a rougher and uneven appearance. Although we're programmed to naturally shed away this old skin, sometimes we need a little helping hand. As we get older the 'cement' holding our cells together becomes thicker, resulting in a build-up of skin cells that makes the sloughing process more difficult to accomplish; this results in a dry, uneven, dull and less-toned appearance. By eliminating the build up of dead skin cells on the surface, the regeneration of new skin cells is stimulated which results in an improved appearance, tone, and feel of the skin - as well as a greater effectiveness of your skincare products. I use a little face scrub two or three times a week, gently buffing my face in circular motions for around sixty seconds while in the shower; this gives me the results I need without removing too much. Here are three of the current facial exfoliators in my shower that are giving me a helping hand, and the reasons why I'm turning to them for a little skincare expertise...
When I started London Beauty Queen way back in the spring of 2010, blogging was just starting to be 'a thing'. There were only a handful of us in the UK writing about lipgloss and nail polish, with readerships in their hundreds rather than hundreds of thousands - I can recall clearly reaching a 100 GFC follower milestone and thinking as though it was the biggest achievement in the world. 'One hundred people are really interested in finding out my favourite lipstick or recommendations on concealer?!' Fast forward five years and blogging is the biggest growing trend globally, with hundreds of new sites opening up daily; it's ever changing, ever evolving and ever controversial. Who would have thought even a year ago that a vlogger would be on the homepage of the Daily Mail more times than a politician? As I celebrate the fifth year of LBQ's inception, I thought it would be a good time to reflect upon what I'd learned in the last few years and how everything has changed almost beyond recognition. I hope you're sitting comfortably...
Certain fragrances instantly transport me back to times gone by, bringing happy memories to the surface that I'd pushed to the back of my mind. Chloe's iconic first scent reminds me of girls nights out and getting ready at my friend's house, styling our hair together and picking outfits while sipping wine in anticipation of the boys we'd chat to that night. She always wore Chloe (and still does,) so it instantly reminds me of those great nights when we had not a care in the world. To me, Chloe embodies a carefree and happy attitude; it's elegant and sophisticated, but still full of youth and life. I adore everything the brand launches and know I can rely on them to take me from warm spring mornings right through to summer nights along the river sipping on a glass of Pimms. This April they're launching three of their fabulous scents in mini bottles that are perfectly sized for both popping in your bag, and slipping into your hand luggage - at 20ml they're way under the airport limit on liquids, meaning you never have to panic about packing a fragrance again.
It's easy to push aside the reliable, functional products within your beauty repertoire and focus on the shiny glamorous ones instead - but where would we be without a spritz of deodorant, swipe of nail polish remover or smidge of hand cream? Hairspray for me has never been that exciting; as long as it does the job without making my hair feel like cardboard, then we're good to go. It's not something I turn to on a daily basis, but it does keep my perfectly coiffed hair in place on a Saturday night when I just want to focus on the cocktails and dancing. However, this new trio from Tresemme have totally changed all that for me, offering a really effective styling companion that makes my morning routine so much more satisfying. That's why they're my very first 'product of the week' - a new feature I'll be introducing to highlight the beauty bits you really need within your collection, cutting through the noise and highlighting the products that make a difference.
Contouring is big news; once a secret of makeup artists and celebrities, now many of us are reaching for the bronzer on a daily basis as a way of adding a natural glow. If you'd have told me a couple of years ago I would be using my bronzing palettes outside of the June-to-September window I would've laughed in your face, but alas a touch of tan is part of my regular routine. The traditional powder format can be somewhat intimidating for many, offering up a severe colour that can often be overloaded - there's nothing worse than trying to rectify an overtly orange line across your cheeks! However, the new format of contouring creams and gels helps to make the process even easier and is perfectly suited to paler complexions.
If you hadn't noticed already, then this week marks the fifth birthday of London Beauty Queen. Way back in 2010 I published my first every blog post and this site was born. The last five years have seen a gigantic change in the bloggersphere - it's practically unrecogniseable from the tiny and mostly badly-designed sites of times past. Now everything is big, glossy, polished and professional, but that's not to say it's not just as exciting. In celebration of this milestone, I asked you guys to submit questions to me that you'd like answered - covering everything from how I got started and my top tips, to where I think the bloggersphere is going to in 2015. Enjoy.
A generation of young women are often left bewildered when shopping for skincare. When you're in your teens you know exactly what products are targeted at you and what you need to shop for: blemish control and brightly coloured bottles are top of the list. When you reach your thirties and forties those fine lines start to set in, so we rush out to stock up on all the anti-ageing promises we can find to keep wrinkles at bay. However, between these two milestones there's a huge number of women not really knowing to shop for but knowing what they want to achieve - radiant, healthy looking skin that's hydrated and smooth. I can remember my twenties well and the fear of shopping for face products; I knew a fraction of what I do know, so I used to head for whatever was on offer and hope for the best. I didn't regularly start using a moisturiser until I started this site and became more and more educated as to how important a great skincare routine is; prevention is better than cure and looking after your skin in your earlier decades will pay dividends in your latter ones. However, there's a definite trend emerging for skincare that's targeted to these 'lost years', offering busy women a solution and cutting through the noise of anti-ageing creams they know they're not quite ready for.
Five years ago today I hit 'publish' on my very first blog post, following a moment of boredom which led to me claiming a URL which was set to become my virtual baby. There was no long-term plan, no strategic vision and no expectation; I never thought anyone other than a close friends would read it, let alone thousands of people across the world every single day. Half a decade later and LBQ has grown to be one of the UK's most successful, recognised and celebrated beauty blogs - which is pretty hard to believe. I've won awards, been featured in magazines, appeared on telly, spoken at events, traveled the world and become friends some of the most inspirational people I've ever met. This little site has opened up a whole new world of opportunities for me, least of all developing progressively into my full time job... Whoever would have thought that when I posted my very first feature on how to cover up the results of a heavy weekend? (What can I say, I'm older but probably not much wiser!)
The YSL Glossy Stains were one of my favourite products of last year, offering my lips a coating of subtle colour and comfortable result that lasts. Each little tube contains a formula that helps to stain the lips upon application, ensuring colour lasts though even drinking your morning latte. Topping up is a pleasure, rather than a chore, making these a great spring-time alternative to lipgloss - which we all know has a tendency to get stuck to our hair during the windy April weeks. This May YSL are adding to this soon-to-become-iconic range with the launch of a Long-Wear Push-Up Effect Glossy Stain that helps lips to look even more kissable.
Nude eyeshadow has long been the staple of every makeup collection, offering both a base for stronger colours and an understated look that works with a statement lip. I've a lot of love for nude tones and subtle colours on my lids, helping to create an effortless chic result that makes me look like 'I just woke up like this.' Although the Urban Decay palettes have taken over the nude market almost completely, it's about time we started to embrace different brands, textures and formats for a new season. This spring there are loads of new nudes hitting stores, but here are some of my favourites that I know I'll be turning to for some time.
It's been three years, but finally Deciem are able to launch the products they always wanted to. Due to a non-compete agreement with the founder's previous partner (and founder of Indeed Labs,) the powerhouse of beauty (behind everything from Fountain supplements and Grow Gorgeous, to Hand Chemistry and Inhibitif) has finally launched these two fabulous skincare products to add to their ever-growing repertoire. Hylamide SubQ was definitely worth waiting for, as both the anti-ageing serum and targeted eye formula have left my skin glowing after only a few weeks. They both contain a highly active concentrate of advanced hyaluronic complexes, next-generation peptides and technology to target rehydration both on and below the skin's surface, while visibly helping to improve lines, wrinkles, sagging skin and textural damage
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