Friday, 31 March 2017

Getting light bright photos through editing

There's nothing worse than planning a huge photo taking session only to wake up that morning to a dull cloudy day, or to take a load of photos and realise that they just didn't turn out as bright as you thought they had on your viewfinder. I used to resort to deleting the photos and starting from scratch but this doesn't always have to be the case, this is how i salvage the photos that lack a little bit of light. (hint: its really simple too!)

how to edit instagram photos how bloggers edit photos blog photos light bright photos

To do all the editing in this case i use the colour story app, i do use other photo editing apps as well but when I'm trying to add light to photos colour story is my go to. 
The three steps i take are seriously simple and the full edit takes less than a minute, it's just a matter of adjusting the curves of the photo and using my go to filter. 

how bloggers edit instagram photos light bright photo editing

1) The first step is to adjust the curves, when you first enter the "curves" section (under tools > adjustments > curves) you'll see the line is completely straight; to get used to how the tool works i'd recommend playing around with the line and seeing how the look of the photo changes when you move the middle dot. Once you're familiar with how the photo changes depending on how you move the curve you can decide what level is right for you.

2) I like to just pull the centre dot in an upward motion towards the left corner of the photo, as you can see from the second photo the line is now slightly curved. I don't like to adjust the curves too much because i still want it to look natural, but like i said once you're used to it you can decide which level of lifting is right for you. 

3) Photo editing wouldn't be photo editing without a filter so the last thing i do is apply the "pop" filter (under filters > essentials > pop) in the colour story app. Although you've already brightened the photo using the curves tool, the pop filter helps to add vibrancy to the colours and add even more light to the photo without sacrificing the contrasting colours. 

This is the photo from the original file to the final edit:

how to edit instagram photos blogging editing photos blog photos editing light bright

and another example because why not.. 

how to edit instagram photos blogging editing photos blog photos editing light bright

I often find using a standard brightening tool to brighten photos washes out the photo and makes details appear less sharp, but this method means all the colours are retained but they still don't appear over edited. 

Okay so i know it's only a short one but it's just a little method i wanted to share, there's nothing worse than taking a perfectly positioned photo only to have the light let you down, so hopefully this might help if you ever find yourself in that situation! - Maria x



Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Cleansing chronicles : Lancome Gel Eclat

I've now got 4 cleansers on the go, it's an addiction. Today we're talking about the latest addition to the line up, the Lancome gel ├ęclat. 
lancome gel eclat cleanser review blog post

If you've ever read my skincare routine post you'll know I'm obsessed with double cleansing; after makeup removal i will always use a second cleanser which also has makeup removing capabilities to clean my skin and make sure that 100% of my makeup is removed, before applying the rest of my skincare products.

Prior to this i had been using the Estee Lauder perfectly clean wash and mask to clean my face after makeup removal, but as much as i love it, it is coming to an end and with my cleanser obsession I'm always looking to try something new. I must admit the Lancome gel ├ęclat isn't actually new to me, this used to be my daily cleanser years ago (before i even had a blog) but back then i had no knowledge of skincare and had no idea what the difference between a good and not so good cleanser was. So i decided to give this a try again and see what i now think of an old favourite ..

lancome gel eclat cleanser review blog post

The cleanser is described as a pearly foam and i couldn't think of a better way to describe it, it's white in colour with a pearlised finish, and the tiniest amount lathers up into a rich foam. Like i said i have a selection of cleansers on the go, but the majority of them are gentle cleansers which i use on days when i haven't previously been wearing makeup, after using this for a while now i wouldn't look to this if i wanted a gentle cleanse. 
It's targeted towards people with oily or combination skin which i would agree with, if you have dry skin this definitely wouldn't be the cleanser for you. 

Even with oily skin i do find this to be a little bit drying, it's all okay in the long run when i've toned and applied moisturiser but if i were to skip these steps it would leave my skin feeling tight. If you're someone with oily skin and a love for powerful cleansers then you would probably love this, there's no doubt that it's a very thorough cleanser which will leave your skin incredibly clean but if you want a gentle cleanser this would probably be a little bit too harsh. 

lancome gel eclat cleanser review blog post

I do like this cleanser, it does a very good job of thoroughly cleaning my skin after makeup removal and all in all insures there isn't a trace of makeup left on my face; my love of gentle cleansers means it isn't one i'd use in the morning, but it is one i'll be reaching for as part of a double cleanse. 

Shop my cleanser collection: 

Have you got a favourite cleanser or a collection like me? - Maria x


Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. 

Monday, 27 March 2017

Wardrobe additions for spring

I love the colour pink but i never wear it, it was only a matter of time before i gave into this seasons hue of choice..and picked up some other bits along the way too.

The jacket: 

I find this time of the year notoriously hard to dress for, i always end up either wearing too little and freezing or wearing winter clothes and sweating to death. This Bershka jacket has come to solve all of my problems, could you get anymore springy than faux suede and blush pink? Nope, didn't think so. This has quickly become my favourite piece of clothing, i feel like while it's a statement piece the tone of pink means it doesn't make me stand out like a sore thumb, and because I'm someone who usually doesn't wear pink it's an easy place to start.

The shoes:

When i buy shoes it's always a really considered purchase, i've talked about it before but i usually alternate between the same 2 pairs of converse and 3 pairs of boots but i decided it was about time i picked up something new. 
The first are these Missguided boots and although i do already have a pair of black heeled ankle boots these are different..okay? The heel on these is 4.5 inches and they don't have a platform meaning they're not the most comfortable boots in the world but I'm going to reserve these for events and days where i'll be travelling by car .. rather than risking not getting a seat on the tube. A nice pair of simple black ankle boots are definitely a wardrobe staple, and I'm so happy to have added these to mine.

Also from Missguided are these slightly more day time friendly marble detailed trainers, yes my marble obsession extends to me even managing to incorporate marble into my shoes .. i know. I love these, i feel like they fill the gap in my shoe wardrobe and i now understand what people mean when they actually want to keep their trainers in pristine condition. These are perfect for matching with comfortable everyday outfits but still pull things together with their marble backing, i am in love.

Shop the post:

Bershka jacket

Have you added any items for your wardrobe for spring? - Maria x


Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.

Thursday, 23 March 2017

Are you washing your hair properly?

I'm a firm believer in doing what ever the hell you want when it comes to beauty, this isn't a "right and wrong way" to wash your hair, it's just the way i do it. So while I'm not trying to convince you this is the right way, i am hoping it'll convince you to maybe switch up the most boring aspect of any beauty routine (other than shaving your legs, of course).

how to wash your hair properly double shampooing should you shampoo twice bloggers hair care blog post

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

4 lipsticks for spring

Even if it is cloudy outside there's one sure fire way to put a spring in your step, buying a new lipstick.. 

I mean yes technically i use this excuse whatever the changing season, but i feel like the transition between winter and spring marks the biggest change in temperature, clothes and in makeup. There's something about a slightly higher temperature and a slightly lighter jacket that makes me inspired to change up my lipstick colour, these are my perfect picks for spring. 

Usually i'd associate matte finishes with colder weather but while my 4 picks are matte they aren't too heavy, two being traditional stick formulas and the other two being liquid lipsticks. 

1. NYX soft matte lip cream in Zurich
Everyone knows the NYX soft matte lip creams for being creamy, light weight and beautifully matte but Zurich in particular is my favourite for this time of year. While it is a pink shade is has a really peachy undertone on my lips, which means i'm still wearing a pink shade without it being too dark for this time of the year, or so light that it washes me out. If i think of "go to" spring colours i think of this, peachy pink is perfect for adding colour but still somehow managing to look natural. 

2. MUA luxe velvet lip laquer in Tranquility
The most affordable of the bunch is this MUA velvet lip lacquer, a traditional liquid matte formula. Although i do prefer the formula of the sleek matte me lip creams which are similar in price, it's the colour of the shade tranquility that makes it perfect for this line up. Although this is a nude shade it actually has quite a pink undertone, making it perfect for matching with slightly pink toned spring eyeshadow without going overboard. 

3&4. Charlotte Tilbury matte revolution lipsticks in Red Carpet Red and Very Victoria.

If you've read my review on charlotte tilbury's matte revolution lipsticks before you'll know i'm obsessed with the formula, these are simultaneously creamy and matte without being the slightest bit drying. The two colours i've picked are some of the most classic of Charlotte tilbury shades, and although Red carpet red makes a perfect Christmas day colour, i believe both shades are also great for spring. 

Very Victoria is the most classic nude, if nude lipsticks were in the dictionary there would just be a picture of this; while i've already included a nude in this post, i thought it would be good to also have a cream formula rather than a liquid because as the weather gets warmer i like my makeup to get lighter. Also this is a slightly more brown toned nude, if that's more your type of thing..
Like i said i actually wore the shade Red Carpet red on Christmas day, but i realised recently this is such a bring red that i had to bring it back out again for spring. I'm not usually a red lipstick person but, if I'm feeling extra Parisian or wearing a dark outfit i'll definitely be adding this to my look for  an extra pop of colour. I wouldn't however wear these particular lipsticks in summer, although the formula is beautiful and creamy they tend to be on the thicker side which i would stay away from in warmer months. 

Shop the post:

Have you got a go to lipstick for spring? - Maria x
*All products were bought with my own money, affiliate links have been used.


Monday, 20 March 2017

Should we celebrate numbers in the blogging world?

bloggers marble phone cover Instagram nails should we celebrate numbers in the blogging world

Numbers in the blogging world has become increasingly relevant to me in recent weeks, it seems to be popping up everywhere within tweets and in blogger chat discussions and it got me thinking. It actually got me thinking in the bath, but that's not relevant, other than wanting to add in that i think of most of my blog post ideas submerged in water. 

Friday, 17 March 2017

Beautiful bronzing breakfast with Sunkissed

sunkissed rapid fake tan self tan superdrug cheap fake tan affordable fake tan good fake tan

 The rooftop of Century Soho had a summery makeover on Wednesday morning, with a breakfast to celebrate the launch of the reformulated Sunkissed tan range. The roof terrace venue was bursting with colour, decorated to emulate the brands new repackaged formulas, i was instantly transported to warmer months. 

Monday, 13 March 2017

Not sleeping properly? It could be your sleep hygiene

what is sleep hygiene blog post not sleeping properly how to sleep better

If you've never heard of sleep hygiene or "clean sleeping" before, it basically refers to practices that you can do before bed or in the day to result in a better nights sleep. When i first started looking into sleep hygiene, i thought it was going to be a huge fad that only belonged to the pages of magazines that wouldn't translate into my life, but i was wrong. Sleep hygiene actually makes a lot of sense and isn't difficult to put into place. This is kind of my guide to sleep hygiene without the unrealistic expectation of asking you to not go on Instagram an hour before going to bed..


I am a huge routine person, if i could do every thing at the same time everyday i probably would and now i think about it i probably do. Waking and going to bed at around about the same time every day is the biggest factor in getting a good nights sleep, we all talk about a body clock but i don't think we actually anticipate how real and important one is. 

The point is your body needs to actually be tired enough to fall asleep at night and have had enough sleep to wake up at a certain time in the morning. You can get back into a routine by bringing the time you get into bed forward by half and hour each night and getting up half an hour earlier each day, its likely you'll struggle to fall asleep in the beginning but after about three days you'll get tired earlier each night. Move the time forward by half an hour for as long as you want, until your body is in a natural routine to fall asleep and wake when you need. 


There's a sort of checklist that goes along with making sure you're in the right environment for good sleep, the obvious being temperature control, comfort and light exposure. But i believe there's another side to sleeping environment and thats to do with association, try to avoid doing anything other than sleeping in your bed. Once you start eating and working from bed you'll start to associate your bed with being awake rather than asleep; better sleep hygiene means creating separation between being awake and being asleep and reserving your bed for sleeping rather than anything else.


Exercise is vital to getting a good nights sleep but can also hinder sleep if you don't do it at the correct time; doing exercise too close to bed time will increase heart rate and adrenaline levels and thus make it harder to fall asleep in the short term. Good sleep hygiene involves exercise during the day at a time that suits you, without being too close to when you actually want to go to bed. 


Everyone knows you shouldn't down a cup of coffee and then jump straight into bed expecting to fall asleep, but most people believe if you drink alcohol it'll help with putting you to sleep, which is far from the truth. While you might fall asleep quite quickly with alcohol in your system the second half of your sleep will be disrupted while your body starts to process the alcohol. So while it's obvious you should stay away from caffeine and foods high in sugar before bedtime, if you're really struggling with sleep particularly waking and not being able to get back to sleep, consider cutting down on the alcohol.


The last thing to consider is where you place your clock while you're sleeping, which for many goes hand in hand with where you place your phone. If you have your clock within your eye line when you're in bed you're more likely to watch the time tick away and it'll be awful for your sleep. It's the same feeling of trying to calculate exactly how much sleep you're going to get, which means you spend more time panicking that time is running out and not actually getting any sleep. What also ties in here is what you do when you wake up in the middle of the night, the worst possible thing to do is pick up your phone or look at the time. If you pick up your phone your light exposure changes and your brain becomes active, similarly if you begin to look at the clock you start to think about sleeping  which all results in not sleeping.

Is your sleep hygiene in check? - Maria x


Friday, 10 March 2017

So...? Summer mist haves

If you read my perfume collection post you'll know i'm obsessed with smelling good, but heavy, expensive perfumes aren't always best when it comes to the warmer months. So...? have just brought out their new body mists* and immediately when i first saw these i knew they were going to be perfect for summer. 

so...? summer fragrances body mists perfumes review

I have three of the body mists from the collection: Fresh musk, Pink grapefruit and Vanilla milkshake. If i'm honest they couldn't have sent me more perfect scents; grapefruit and vanilla are two of my favourite all time scents and i love a musk for a slightly more sophisticated option. 
Out of the three i'd have to pick Vanilla milkshake as my favourite, i'm a sucker for a sweet warm scent and really can you get anything better than smelling like a vanilla milk shake?? I don't think so.

All three are packed with scent, these aren't like other body mists which barely smell of anything, they really pack a punch without being over baring. If you've ever used a Victoria secret body mist these have a similar lasting power but for a fraction of the price, they last really well for a few hours and are super easy to spritz on and top up when needed. 

so...? summer mist haves fragrances review body mists perfumes so

Usually when i go away in the summer i travel with hand luggage and you know what that means? Liquid restrictions. The limits usually mean i have to leave perfume at home and i spend my whole holiday smelling like suncream and deodorant .. which isn't your classic blogger on holiday vibe.. 
I realised when i saw these that they will be perfect to take away in the summer, they're 100ml so it means i can travel with them and they're plastic so i don't run the risk of them smashing and causing trouble in my suitcase! 

Even on a day to day basis they're incredibly handbag friendly, i hate carrying around glass bottles because they add to the weight of my ever growing handbag but these won't give me that problem. 
I can see myself keeping one of these permanently in my makeup bag within my handbag, probably pink grapefruit in summer days and fresh musk in the evenings, it's always handy to know you have a nice scent ready if you need one out and about.

so...? body mists summer mists haves fragrances perfumes review


I'm feeling increasingly summery now that i've got these in my collection, you can pick up a scent from either boots or superdrug! Have you got a summer must have? - Maria x

*products have been sent to me for reviewing purposes, all opinions are my own, This post contains affiliate links. 


Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Healthy snack ideas for seriously lazy people, like me

Some of these snacks look like food for 6 year olds, but they're better for you than biscuits so we're going with it.. they also all happen to be vegan.

I feel like i need to do a little bit of a disclaimer because i am no foodie, when i say snacks for lazy people i mean it. Although i don't mind putting more effort into actual meals, when it comes to snacks i want minimal effort without eating something out of a packet. These are the snacks i turn to when it's been like three hours since lunch and you've still got about three hours until dinner.. 

vegan easy quick healthy snack ideas alpro coconut milk fruit smoothies healthy food recipes food bloggers smoothie ingredients fruit coconut milk

Monday, 6 March 2017

My perfume collection

Although i rarely dedicate entire posts to perfume it's actually one of my favourite aspects of my beauty routine. I think to be told i smell lovely is one of the nicest compliments to get, so whether i'm going to the supermarket or out for dinner i'm never without one of my favourite scents. 

perfume collection 2017 ysl black opium chanel chance eau vive marc jacobs daisy dream eden perfumes brighton

When it comes to perfume my collection is largely high end, however i have got one perfume in my collection which is ridiculously affordable, vegan and comes from a really unique brand so stick around for that in a little bit. 

Let's start off with the classic: my little bottles of Chanel. I have two 50ml bottles, one being the original Chanel Chance EDP and the other being Chanel Chance Eau Vive which only comes in EDT.  I have to admit i prefer Chance Eau vive to the original, Eau vive is a much younger scent: it's sweet, floral and literally smells of grapefruit which i love. Although its an eau de toilette, this is a Chanel eau de toilette which means it lasts longer than most perfumes from other brands. The longevity of this is amazing, i put it on in the morning when i went to Paris and i could still smell it when i got back into my bed in London that night. 

perfume collection 2017 ysl black opium chanel chance eau vive marc jacobs daisy dream eden perfumes brighton review

YSL black opium edp review perfume collection 2017

Black opium was the first ever perfume i bought for myself; its also quite a coincidence that when my mum was around my age her perfume of choice was the original Opium, so with their second generation of perfume came a second generation wearer. I bought this in Macy's in New York while i had an awful cold and no sense of smell, although i had smelt it before the first time i wore my own bottle i had to rely on my friend telling me she could actually smell it. 

This is a perfect warm winter scent, super sweet with black liquorice but not sickly sweet or cheap smelling because of the hints of black coffee. When i first smelt this i actually didn't like it but it grew on me and one day i decided i was obsessed, initially this is strong but it settles down to a sweet warm scent with incredible longevity.

perfume collection 2017 ysl black opium chanel chance eau vive marc jacobs daisy dream eden perfumes brighton review

Remember the affordable perfume i was talking about earlier? This is it. While we and my best friend were on a day trip to Brighton in the summer we came across Eden perfumes. Eden perfumes make eco friendly vegan alternatives to high end brands; so if you have a favourite high end scent you love but its too expensive or you're a vegan and its not a vegan formula, chances are Eden perfumes make a dupe. 
This isn't cheap imitation perfume, Eden have their own branding and perfumes have numbers rather than names - they aren't saying they make the same perfume that the high end brands make but they make their own version using essential oils and same notes as found in the high end brands. I have 100ml of perfume 405 which smells exactly like Lancome La Vie Est Belle but for £25..

Normally £25 perfume would be loaded with alcohol but Eden perfumes are 100% natural, made with essential oils and are still really long lasting. This scent to me is like summer, its floral while still being light and sweet, this is my perfect day time scent. 

Although not every perfume is exactly like the high end alternative so many of them are really close and really really affordable. 

perfume collection 2017 ysl black opium chanel chance eau vive marc jacobs daisy dream eden perfumes brighton review

Marc Jacobs perfumes have held a special place in my heart for years, the original "Daisy" was my first ever higher end perfume which was a gift for my birthday after a lot of hinting. Although i don't have the original in my collection anymore, i do have Daisy Dream a lighter version of the original which is quite a heavy musky scent. When it comes to packaging Marc Jacobs perfumes stand out against the rest, i mean just look at that daisy covered bottle! Now we're starting to creep into warmer months i can see myself wearing this a lot more, its not sweet like the rest so its a nice break away from the other perfumes in my collection. 

I've realised a lot of my perfumes have stories behind them.. "bought in New York", "worn in Paris" or "given as a present" but this one i bought on amazon .. 

perfume collection 2017 ysl black opium chanel chance eau vive marc jacobs daisy dream eden perfumes brighton review

Lastly we have a sub section in my perfume collection: my mini perfume collection! Aren't these bottles just adorable?? I have 3 different mini perfumes; Lancome La vie est belle, Giorgio Armani Si and YSL mon Paris. Although i love Mon Paris i just don't find it lasts very well on me at all compared to the rest, but Si and La vie both have excellent lasting power taking you from day to night. I save these bottles for when I'm travelling, so i can have high end scents with me without risking loosing or breaking a bottle.


Have you got a favourite perfume? - Maria x


This post contains affiliate links.


Friday, 3 March 2017

PMD personal microderm review

As someone who has had acne scars for years now microdermabrasion was something i always wanted to try out, but as it's a pricey process it was never really a reality for me. So you can imagine how excited i was when PMD asked if i wanted to try out their personal microderm*, i've been using this now for over a month so i think its a good time to talk through my thoughts so far. 

PMD personal microderm microdermabrasion at home review

How does it work? 

To give you a bit of background incase you're wondering "Maria what the hell is that?", the personal microderm is a hand held at home microdermabrasion system. It basically means that you can achieve the same results as in office microdermabrasion without having to pay hundreds for a few sessions and without having to go down to a skin clinic for your treatments. 
I see the personal microderm as a tiny hoover - bare with me - it works through suction to exfoliate the skin and get rid of the layer of dead skin cells that, if not removed, are sitting on top of your skin waiting to cause you problems. 

This is really powerful exfoliation, essentially renewing the top layer of your skin but without being being problematic like harsh scrubs which only make oily and acne prone skin worse. 

PMD personal microdermabrasion at home microdermabrasion review

My results?

I have to admit i've never been someone who's really into electrical beauty, i was always skeptical that i wouldn't be able to actually use the product or that an electrical device would make any difference to my skin. However, after using this for the past month i've been converted. 

I have been using this once a week for a month now and i can honestly say i started seeing a difference in my skin after the first use. It doesn't claim to have such rapid results but i think its probably because my routine was so lacking in exfoliation beforehand; there was probably so many dead skin cells on my face before i used this that i couldn't help but see a difference immediately. 

Like i said earlier i've been left with acne marks and scars for years now and i've tried so many things to fade them but i can happily say after using the PMD they're now starting to fade. This has been the only thing i've tried (and trust me i've tried a lot) which has actually worked to start fading my marks and scars to a noticeable level. 
After using this i notice my skin is so much smoother and much less uneven, i used to be able to feel rough or dry patches but now my face is completely smooth to touch. My complexion is all round brighter and clearer, a couple of weeks ago i went an entire week without getting any new spots which i think is probably a new record for me! 

In terms of helping with my blemishes i think the reason this actually works is because i no longer have the dead skin cells sitting on my face, which if they were there would be working to clog my pores and create blemishes. After all having a mixture of oily skin and dead skin cells is always going to lead to disaster, so now that i can use this weekly to get rid of them means I'm seeing my skin get clearer and clearer. 

I've also noticed how much better my products absorb into my skin now that i've been regularly using this, because the dead skin cells aren't in the way the products can fully absorb and work to their optimum level - Which is great really because if you've bought a skincare product you want it to work to the best of its ability not to be blocked by your own skin. 

PMD personal microderm microdermabrasion at home review

Extra things to consider: 

  • Before using this you have to watch either the DVD that comes in the box or one of the tutorial videos on their website, its really important to watch these because you wouldn't have any idea where to start if you didn't and you could be at risk of scarring your skin if you don't do this properly. I watched the videos and read the information provided and i had no issues at all; also is important to test it on your arm first, this helps you to get used to the suction power so you're not startled when you first do it to your face and to make sure your skin won't have any bad reactions.
  • I like to wash my face and let it dry, use my PMD and then go in with my toner, facial oil and moisturiser to finish. You have to do this on clean skin so its important not to try and do this before you've washed your face or after you've applied any skincare products. 

Overall i am amazed at the results i've seen from using the PMD for just a month, my skin is clearer, smoother and brighter. I can't wait to see what my scarring looks like in a few months!
I'm going to keep using my PMD and do an update in a few months time. - Maria x



This blog post contains a product sent to me for review, but is not sponsored and all opinions are my own, this post contains affiliate links. 

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

A crash-course in SEO terms for newbie bloggers

A few months back i didn't even know what SEO meant, chances are if you're new to blogging or you've just bought your domain you're also being exposed to the minefield that is SEO for the first time. I'm no SEO expert, my DA is something that annoys me on a daily basis and there's so much i still have to learn; but you can't begin to learn about SEO without starting with the acronyms and terms that flood every single SEO article. (I mean i've already brought up 2 and we're just in the introduction)..
Blogger Template Created by pipdig