Sunday, 26 February 2017

Writers Block, Quality Over Quantity & Where Ellis Tuesday Is Going Next

Blogger Desk Tour Peonies

Over the past couple of weeks/months I've found myself battling some serious writer's block. For some reason or another I just haven't had the motivation to sit down and blog like I used to. As someone who used to blog three times a week, on dedicated days, it has left me feeling like a bit a failure, as I struggle to get even one blog post up a week. I was a little worried that I'd fallen out of love with blogging and with my blog's third birthday occuring in December, I had a feeling that I'd burnt myself out after three years of non-stop blogging.

I have, however, been spending all of my free time pricing up my Summer holiday to New York and seeking out solo travel, packing and city guide style blog posts and it got me thinking. Why am I not producing content that's truly helpful to anyone other than myself?

I felt like I was on the right track with blog posts like 'How to feel comfortable in swimwear' and 'Blogging, taxes & registering as self employed' but I soon returned to stand alone beauty product reviews and wishlists. Don't get me wrong, it's not that I don't like writing those types of blog posts but I'm not sure how helpful they are. Do you find them helpful or enjoy reading them?

I've currently got a little poll running on my Twitter (here) with a couple of suggestions (travel related advice, Uni/blogging advice, how to style trends and adulting/dating posts) for future blog posts and it would mean the world if you placed your vote, as to what you'd like to see more of on Ellis Tuesday. Or, if you have any specific topics or blog posts that you'd like to see, please leave me a comment below.

In addition to producing hopefully somewhat helpful content, I'm also going to be focusing on quality over quantity.

What would you like to see more of on Ellis Tuesday? What in particular keeps you coming back to my blog? Do you have any suggestions when it comes to new content/topics? And what are your favourite blog posts to read in general?


Sunday, 19 February 2017

30 before 30

30 before 30 list ideas

Last weekend I turned 25 and it really cemented just how quickly time is flying by. I honestly don't feel like I'm 25 nor do I feel like I'm a lot younger either. It's quite a strange one. However, when I turned 24 I put together a similar blog post with 25 realistic things that I wanted to do/achieve before I turned 25 and was pleasantly surprised with how many I managed to tick off my list. Having your goals written down like that makes it much easier to keep a track of how you're doing and it actually motivated me to do a lot of new things and things I'd been meaning to do for a while, as a result. Even though my 30th birthday feels like it's a long way away, here are the 30 goals that I'd like to achieve/accomplish before I turn 30;

New York - New York has been on my 'to visit' list for as long as I can remember. This year, to celebrate turning 25, I've decided to treat myself to a trip to the Big Apple. I've just booked my hotel (I'm staying at the CitizenM Times Square, which I am SO excited about!) and will be planning out my itinerary over the next couple of months. As I go this Summer, this should be one of the goals that I can tick off my list almost straight away.

Hawaii - My real dream would be to honeymoon in Hawaii but that is rather conditional on me meeting the one and getting married in the first place. Even if that doesn't happen, I'd love to enjoy my first really relaxing and laidback holiday, one where I'm not dashing around a city or meticulously planning what to do each day, like I do in Orlando.

Japan - When I was about 15 years old I saw Lost In Translation and it was one of those movies that had a massive impact on me. I could easily identify with Scarlett Johansson's Charlotte and Sofia Coppola's cinematography instantly made Japan a dream destination for me. Visiting the iconic Park Hyatt hotel, where most of the movie is set and getting a feel for the city would be incredible.

Edinburgh - This one should be the one of the easier travel related goals to accomplish, especially as I only live about an hour away from the Scottish capital. Despite visiting a number of times in my life I still haven't truly experienced the Fringe (I don't think a trip through during the Fringe to get school shoes when I was about 14 years old really counts) or spent New Year's Eve in the city, both of which I'd love to do at some stage.

Wimbledon - What I would have given to see Rafael Nadal play (my absolute favourite tennis player of all time), when he was still on the top of his game... I count down the days to Wimbledon starting every year and it's one of the only sports that I get excited about so one year I'd love to head down, even if only for a day or two, to catch a couple of matches and enjoy the infamous strawberries and cream.

American road trip - This is something I've always wanted to do too, so why not aim to get it done before I turn 30. States that I'd really love to see would be Los Angeles, Nevada, Texas and Arizona and to do it in a vintage car would be the cherry on the top.

London - Throughout the year I have to turn down many an invite to a press show, party, launch or event down in London, simply because of the time and money that I would need to put in to do so. I often feel like I'm missing out as a result. I'm now going to make a real effort to head down to London and RSVP yes to one, or a few, of those invites.

Move out of the family home - It's got to the stage where I really need my own space so this definitely needs to happen before I turn 30.

Have my own office - And when I do move out, I'll be dedicating an area or potentially a room to having a real office. I have a feeling that it will make working from home that bit easier and stop me from procrastinating as much as I do now.

A dog - I simply need a dog in my life. This is another goal that very well could be a reality as soon as I move out.

Fall in love - Sad but true; I've just turned 25 and I've yet to fall in love. People say it will happen when I least expect it and I'm hoping that that is true but I do know that I also need to make the effort to find that person too. But what do I do if the notion of Tinder and dating apps totally scares the life out of me? Any suggestions?

Do a walk for charity - After struggling to walk even a couple of feet last year due to issues with my legs and feet, I'd love to prove to myself how much I've improved and how much stronger me and my legs have become. To do it for charity would make this goal even more fulfilling.

Write for Stylist - If I could write for any publication it would be Stylist. It's time to hustle hard and work towards this goal.

Invest in the comfiest of mattresses - I know I just turned 25, not 85 but a good night's sleep and somewhere to relax/recover from another IBS flare up is a big essential for me. My current mattress certainly needs replacing so it might be time to cross this one off my list ASAP.

Spend a day at a spa - As I mentioned above, I rarely relax when on holiday so it would be nice to spend a day or an overnight stay away from home at a spa and completely switch off.

Get a massage - And whilst at said spa, I finally need to treat myself to a massage. Suffering from trapped wind in my back as a result of my IBS can feel totally debilitating and I have a feeling that a massage would just release some of that tension and soreness.

Read at least 6 books a year - For some this might sound like nothing at all but for some reason or another I buy/receive books with the greatest of intentions only for them to lay unopened and unread. As someone who studied English at University, I do miss getting completely lost in a book, so my aim is to read one every 2 months/6 a year. Now that sounds like a rather achievable goal now doesn't it?

Take a photography course - Despite taking photographs on an almost daily basis for this here blog, I really have no idea what I'm doing when it comes to aperture, lenses and all that jazz. It's time to finally make the switch from automatic mode and learn how to actually use my camera to it's full potential.

Make more videos and get better at editing - On a similar note, I'd love to get back into YouTube. I finally bit the bullet and started my YouTube channel last year but it didn't last too long. Watching videos by Anna and Alix in particular, make me want to learn how to really film and edit to the extent where I'm proud of my videos.

Start vlogging - Even though I may not lead the most interesting of lives, documenting the little things as well as the big things, would be amazing to look back on. From trips abroad to trips to the local supermarket, I enjoy watching other bloggers and YouTubers do just that and that way I'll be able to look back on some of the moments as the years presumably fly by. Would you be interested in watching?

Finally start that novel I've had in my head for years - I used to write short stories all the time when I was younger but once life got a little more hectic (Uni/work/blogging/life in general) I completely abandoned any writing. I've had an idea for a Lindsey Kelk/Sophie Kinsella style novel in my head since about the age of 18 and I'd love to actually write it down. Nothing has to even happen with it/from it but just to have done it would be an accomplishment in itself.

Go to a movie premiere/the BAFTAs - Whilst some of these are certainly more achievable and realistic than others, this one is one of those ones that might never happen but how amazing would it be if it did?

Spend the 4th of July in America - This has been on my to-do list ever since I first visited the US at the age of 11. As I've only been on family holidays, up until this point, we've never visited in the Summer months but my trip to New York this years falls precisely during this time. I'm really looking forward to seeing all of the 4th of July fireworks in the city that never sleeps.

Take a photograph every day for a year - A few years ago I used to post a photo on Instagram every single day without fail. That doesn't happen anymore but it was lovely to look back at the year that was through it. Even if I don't post the photos online, it would be great to document an entire year. Maybe this is one to do in the last year of my twenties... What do we think?

Take my parents out for a fancy dinner - Even though we're the type of family who far prefer something simple like fish n' chips or a curry from our favourite Indian takeaway, I'd really like to treat my parents to a fancy dinner to say thanks to them for everything they've done for me over the years. I don't think I could ever repay them but a nice meal should go down well. I could maybe even do this when we're next all in the States in 2018 and go somewhere like Wolfgang Puck's Grand Cafe at Disney.

Massively streamline my wardrobe - Now I'm not talking about creating a capsule wardrobe or anything like that here but rather making smarter choices when it comes to buying, getting rid of anything I've not worn in the past year or season and drastically reducing the amount of clothes I hoard. I currently have two wardrobes and two large six drawer units jam packed full of clothes and nobody needs that amount of clothes. Nobody.

Learn to drive - It's been on every single New Year's resolution list/to-do list that I've ever written and yet I still haven't got around to it. I started learning at the age of 16 but got spooked one day on a main road and never got back in the driver's seat again. Having just turned 25, it's almost been 10 years(!!) since. I'm really keen to learn in an automatic but the prices for lessons are a little bit unreal and not in a good way. I think I might just need to put some money aside for it and that way it won't feel like such a massive amount coming out of my bank account. Does anyone have any tips for getting back into driving in their twenties?

Back up my computer on the regular - Even though I'm pretty much constantly glued to my laptop and rely on it for my work and blog, I never back it up, which I think we can all agree is rather silly. I also just watched that episode of Sex and the City, you know the one, where Carrie's laptop dies on her, which always gives me the fear of the same thing happening to me. By having this as one of my goals, hopefully it will give me the kick up the backside that I need to buy an external hard drive and save regularly.

Have a proper skincare routine - Whilst I always remove my makeup at the end of the day, it's normally in a rush and I only exfoliate once in a blue moon. After giving myself a DIY facial at a recent blog event (see more here) and being blown away by the results, now is good a time as any to put together a proper skincare routine. To have one that includes a proper cleanser (not just makeup wipes), toner, exfoliator, moisturiser, eye cream and serum is a goal that I know will pay off in the long term, even if I need to start investing in it and myself more.

Love what I'm doing/where I am - Last but not least a bit of a vague one. I've always liked the adage; 'if you love what you do, you'll never work a day in your life' and it's one that I hope to have realised by the age of 30. Instead of taking a job solely for the money, working towards my goal of one day writing for a magazine/working at one and feeling settled in what I'm doing/where I'm living would be the dream.

Have you got a list of goals that you'd like to achieve before reaching a certain age or by a certain point in your life? If so, do we have any goals in common? And how many do you think I will accomplish?


Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Spa-ing with Boohoo and Village Hotels

Village Spa Deals

It's not every night that you get invited along to a spa to enjoy some relaxation, fizz and facials but that's exactly what happened when Boohoo got in touch. Myself and a couple of other Scottish bloggers, some of whom I'd met many times before and some that I was meeting for the first time, were treated to a night at Village Hotel, which is located at Pacific Quay in Glasgow, just across the water from the SSE Hydro and SECC, comprising of a gym, spa, restaurant and bar.

Boohoo very kindly allowed us to each pick something from their swimwear range to change into when we arrived at the spa and I was really surprised by the amount and variety when it came to their swimming costumes and bikinis. I don't know about you but I find it incredibly difficult to find swimwear outwith the Summer months. For some reason most shops, both online and in-store, only tend to stock really basic options, which isn't ideal if you're jetting off somewhere warm and sunny or popping down to the local pool in February, for example but I instantly had about five different options that I was obsessed with.

Boohoo Swimwear Review

I eventually opted for the Algarve Contrast Binding Underwired Swimsuit*, which also comes in a beautiful baby pink and was overjoyed with the fit. It flattered my curves in all the right places and gave my bust real support. This was particularly impressive considering the fact that I never, ever buy swimwear online. I'm always worried that it will be a waste of time either because of the fit or quality but Boohoo certainly proved me and my fellow bloggers wrong.

When we all got changed into our new swimwear not one of us had picked the same piece, which just goes to show how much there is to choose from on Boohoo. And as we all have our own style and prints/colours that we gravitate towards, it was great to see that reflected in each of our picks.

Once changed we popped on our robes and slippers and headed to the pool. It was so lovely and warm. It almost felt like getting into a bath. It was great to catch up with my fellow bloggers and even though I used to feel my most vulnerable and horrible in anything that didn't cover me up fully, I felt confident and even a little bit sexy in my new swimsuit. There was a really relaxed vibe around the pool, hot tub and sauna and that made me feel at ease too. To say that it was worlds away from my local sports centre would be a massive understatement!

Once our fingers were suitably wrinkly, we headed back through to the spa where we originally met up, for drinks and nibbles and what I was most excited for; the facial.

Village Spa Glasgow

Despite blogging pretty regularly about beauty, I rarely treat myself when it comes to my skin. At the end of the day I rush to take my makeup off and scarcely ever indulge in a spot of pampering. But after my brilliant facial, I think I'll need to seriously rethink this as my skin has never felt better!

We were taught how to do a DIY facial with some of ESPA's most indulgent products and I really loved the whole feel of the brand and the products. As it's a sensory experience, we were given two scents, both on cotton pads, to choose from and were told that from our sense of smell alone, we would pick the one that our skin needed most. I went for the hydrating scent, so obviously it worked as my skin is dry/dehydrated and we did a full facial; cleansing, toning, exfoliating and moisturising.

I cannot thank Boohoo and Village enough for the experience! Me and my Mum are already planning a little day to celebrate me turning 25 last week.

Are you someone who visits spas on a regular basis? Or even just as a treat every so often? And what do you think of the range of swimwear that Boohoo has to offer

This event was part of the Boohoo ‘Treat Yourself’ Spa Tour
For an exclusive 10% discount off treatments or food and drink at Village use voucher BOOHOO10 – For 20% off Everything at Boohoo use voucher BOOHOOXVILLAGESPA20


Sunday, 5 February 2017

Charlotte Tilbury Quick 'N' Easy 5 Minute Makeup (The Natural Glowing Look)

Charlotte Tilbury Natural Glowing Look Review

As you will have seen from the amount of times that I've raved about Charlotte Tilbury and her incredible products, both on here and on social media, you will know just how much I love CT! And she's only gone and released another gem of a product, or should I say products. Charlotte has created four different grab and go kits; the Quick 'N' Easy kits, to enhance your natural beauty in a matter of minutes. Four to be precise.

There's the Daytime Chic Look kit for instant polish, the Smokey Evening Eye kit for instant cool, the Red Carpet Party kit for instant glamour and last but not least, the set that I've gone for, the Natural Glowing Look kit.

Each kit comes with a mini tube of Wonderglow, a stunning little makeup bag, one that is exclusive to the Quick 'N' Easy sets and is priced at £55.

The Natural Glowing Look kit in particular comes with 5 of Charlotte's best-selling products. In addition to the 15ml tube of Wonderglow, this kit also comes with a full size Matte Revolution lipstick in Very Victoria, a full size Beach Stick in Moon Beach, a full size Colour Chameleon in Amber Haze and a mini Legendary Lashes mascara.

Charlotte Tilbury Quick And Easy Review

If you've wanted to try Charlotte's products for some time and haven't known where to start, I honestly couldn't recommend picking up one or more of these Quick 'N' Easy kits more to you. It's such a great way to try out some of her bestselling products with an unbelievable discount. When you consider the fact that the Beach Stick and Matte Revolution lipstick equal £53 alone, to receive another full size product, two luxury minis and a stunning makeup bag for one or two pounds more is insane! And you'll rarely see Charlotte's products discounted, which is why the savings in the Quick 'N' Easy kits are simply unbelievable and such great value for money.

All I can say is if you buy one thing from Charlotte Tilbury this year make it one of these kits!

Which of the four Quick 'N' Easy kits looks like the one for you? Have you tried Charlotte Tilbury before? If so, what are your go-to products? And if you haven't yet tried her range, do you think this could be the perfect way to do so?


Friday, 3 February 2017

My 25th Birthday Wishlist

Blogger Birthday Wishlist 2017

Next weekend I turn 25. It still feels a little surreal to utter those words and the fact that I'll be a quarter of a century old is a little mad, especially as I certainly don't feel like I'm going to be 25 by any means. But here are some of the things that I'd absolutely love to receive this year;

Every year, I always ask for a couple of new DVDs for my birthday, especially as it falls a few days before Valentine's Day, meaning there's normally some pretty good releases to choose from. This year I'd be over the moon to receive Bridget Jones Baby and Girl On The Train, both of which I missed out on when they were in the cinema. I've also been meaning to pick up How To Be Single and a couple of horror movies, namely Lights Out and Don't Breathe, on DVD too.

When it comes to all things beauty related, there are a couple of new releases which have quickly made their way onto my wishlist. Who else has Charlotte Tilbury's newly released Pillow Talk lipstick, Caroline Hirons' collaboration with Pixi; the Double Cleanse or something from Too Faced's Peach collection on their current wishlist?

And in keeping with previous birthday wishlists (see 2015 and 2016), Lush's Unicorn Horn Bubble Bar, which is only available in the run up to Valentine's Day, is a bit of a yearly tradition now when it comes to my birthday presents. I'm also in dire need of a new phone case. How amazing is this sprinkle encrusted one from Topshop?

As I'm heading to New York in a few months time (July to be precise!!), I've asked for a couple of travel related goodies this year. This Paperchase travel wallet looks ideal for keeping me and my important documents organised and this lovely little passport holder from New Look is amazing. It's rose gold and holographic! I mean, how dreamy? I'm also a big fan of taking a book with me on holiday so I'd love to receive Anna Kendrick's first memoir this year, especially as I'm such a big fan of hers. And I've been meaning to invest in a foldable/roll up water bottle to take with me when I'm out and about for a while now and this one from Accessorize looks perfect! My parents are also putting a bit of money towards my trip, which I'm incredibly grateful for and it means that I can stay at CitizenM Times Square on this trip, which I am SO excited about!

I also can't get enough of the little Malteaser Malteaster bunnies at the moment (is it bad to eat an entire pack in one sitting?) so it would be amazing to receive a pack/several on the big day itself.

I'm also tempted to treat myself to this month's Look Fantastic beauty box. I haven't been receiving them in the past couple of months and I have to admit it, I do kinda miss them.

There we have it. What do you think of my birthday wishlist? Have you seen any of the movies that I've featured in today's wishlist? What are you lusting after at the moment? And do we share any similar picks?

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