What I have learned in my first year of blogging.

It’s my first blogging birthday – Hannah Lu Loves is a year old! I can’t quite believe how quickly this past year has gone. It only seems like it was Christmas 5 minutes ago. I have loved writing blog posts, working on content and my photography so this first year has been fun.

I didn’t know how it was going to turn out or if anything would actually come of it. I only knew that I wanted to blog about the things that I have been doing or enjoying. I was always getting asked where my clothes were from or what make up I was using and I thought, what better way than to blog about it!

I have learned a few things along the way which I wanted to share with you, and these might be useful if you are thinking of starting a blog yourself. So let’s get into what I have come across in my first year…

Fabulous opportunities

The plus points of blogging in my first year have meant some really great opportunities. I’ve been invited to product launches, events and even a fashion show as part of London Fashion week which was amazing! I’ve also been sent lots of lovely products to review and test out which is something that I really enjoy doing. It’s so much fun to try new brands and to write my thoughts about them. I’ve bought things in the past after reading blogs and reviews so I know how useful it can be.

Receiving gifted items is amazing and I’m so grateful for this, but if you want to start blogging, I would advise not to go into it thinking that you will be constantly receiving gifted items all the time.  This is just a small part of the process. You need to genuinely love writing, producing content and focus on that, which leads me onto my next point.

It’s hard work!

Working a full time job, running a home, having a social life and blogging, let me tell you is not easy! There are days when I get home from the office, where I’ve been looking at a computer screen all day and the last thing I want to do is carry on with more typing.

I aim to post a new blog once a week and I haven’t always stuck to this. I have so many ideas buzzing around my head and have things that I want to write about, so I would love to increase this to twice a week. That’s a new goal I’m going to try and set myself for my second year.

You really have to be passionate and dedicated about blogging, putting in the hours if you want to go the distance.

Prepare to have IT headaches

I am not what you would call an IT whizz in the slightest. To be honest, computers and technological things hurt my head! I’ve literally had to teach myself how to use WordPress, (with the help of some YouTube tutorials along the way) and learn about plug ins, backlinks, coding, SEO, the works. They don’t make it easy let me tell you! SEO is a really important topic though for bloggers and if you want your blog to grow and be noticed you have to pay attention to this.

People don’t understand it

When you mention that you have a blog, a lot of people don’t really understand it. They think you are trying to be a model by having your picture taken, or that you are only in it for the freebies. It can be frustrating having to justify to others about why you are blogging. I decided not to tell many people about it as couldn’t be dealing with all of the questions. I enjoy doing it for myself and for my readers and that’s all that matters.

Expectations from brands

I have been approached by a lot of brands in the last year and those who I’ve chosen to work with have been lovely. Some brands will give you a free range on what content you put together and others will send you a criteria of what they are looking for. I have heard some horror stories from other bloggers though where brands have asked for drafts and made endless corrections and changes to their work. This I can’t get my head around. The brand must have seen their previous examples of work/blog posts so I they should have known what kind of content to expect from them surely?

Never let a brand dictate to you what your final published blog post will be like. Your post will not seem natural and will sound like a walking advertisement.

Be assertive with brands

There are some brands out there that will contact you asking to collaborate, but then expect you to work completely for free. You wouldn’t do this in your daily life, and blogging is no different – time is money people!

I don’t think brands always appreciate the time, and effort that goes into putting together a blog post and to expect you to do this completely free of charge is quite cheeky. Be assertive but polite with them and if you want to ask regarding payment, then it’s good to be clear and upfront on this.

Brands not using your images

This is something which has bothered me over the last year. I actually read a really great blog post on this. I’m not able to link it as she has called it a day with her blog which is a shame. She was saying how bad it made her feel when she had worked so hard to put together photography for a brand related blog post, but they never used her image on any of their social media channels.

This happened to me not so long ago with one brand, and it also really bothered me. It starts to make you feel paranoid – was my image not up to their standards? Why have they been using loads of other people’s images but not mine? Is it something about how I look?  – this is a dangerous mindset to get into but something that you need to be prepared for.

Who knows why brands don’t always use the images you have worked on. If you liked them and were happy in how they turned out, just remember that. Don’t allow this to demotivate you or make you feel bad about yourself. You will also get rejections from brands, and not hear back from them occasionally. This is also something to bare in mind and its important not to let that get to you. Something better will always be around the corner!

Staying true to yourself

Being authentic is one of THE most important things when blogging. If your posts are purely just product reviews, a blog can start turning into one big advertisement zone. I can often tell when people are talking about products just because they have been paid for it. I see it a lot on YouTube when people are promoting brands, when they cannot even pronounce the name of them properly and you can tell they aren’t really into what they are trying to promote. The whole thing can come across as a bit of a sham.

For me personally, I love writing reviews on products but I also want to talk about things that are going on in my life and about places I’ve been or  lifestyle hints/tips. Variety is key!

Promotion, promotion, promotion

Writing blog posts alone is not enough. The market is heavily saturated and you need to get noticed. I have found that using other social media platforms such as Instagram and Twitter are essential for getting your name out there and gaining new readers. A good tip on Twitter is include hash tags of pages that help to promote bloggers and their recent posts. They will re-tweet for you which is a great way to gain new readers and interest.

Hopefully you’ve enjoyed reading about my first year blogging and I’m looking forward to the future and to see what else is in store for me!

Leather Jacket – Per Una at Marks & Spencer

Cream T-Shirt – Zara

Jamie Jeans – Topshop

Handbag – Jimmy Choo

The new Too Faced concealer that I cannot live without

I’m always on the hunt for a good concealer as I struggle with dark circles under my eyes and nothing ever really covers them properly. Until now that is! I recently picked up the new Born this way, Super coverage concealer by Too Faced and let me tell you, it’s a game changer. I’ve been hearing nothing but good reviews for this product so of course I just had to try it out for myself.

This has been so popular since it’s launch that it’s now ranked number 2 in the world (after the famous Tarte Shape tape) and has everyone talking about it.

Packaging

First of all, I just have to mention the amount of product you get with this. The bottle is 15ml which is a really decent size for a concealer. It almost looks like a foundation bottle and is a slightly smaller version to the born this way foundation. Up until now I have been using the Revolution Pro concealer which only last for 5 minutes and it can be a bit a pain having to keep buying replacements. So, I’m loving the generous size of this product.

Coverage

This leads me to the main reason why I wanted to write this blog post. The coverage is INCREDIBLE.

The adaptor wand makes applying this concealer really easy and I’m finding that a little goes a long way. The head is a diamond shape which helps to sculpt out the under eye area and I’ve also been highlighting my face with it.

It is quite a thick consistency but it has a lovely silky texture and it doesn’t cake around the eyes. I like the way this product dries quickly and leaves a smooth finish too. It can even cover tattoos so that will give you an indication of what a wonder product this is. 

There are 20 shades to choose from and I went for ‘Snow’ as I like my concealer to be pretty light to try and combat the darkness as much as possible. In terms of price, this retails for £24 which I feel is fair for the quality and it will last quite a while considering you don’t need to use too much each time.

Final Verdict

I think that I’ve found myself a new favourite make up item with this and will definitely be re-purchasing it when I have finished the bottle. The coverage is so impressive and it’s making a huge difference to my finished make up looks and I’m so pleased I’ve finally found something that actually covers my dark circles! Thank you Too Faced make up gods! I’ve also been enjoying using it for contouring which has been equally as good.  You can buy Too Faced products directly from their website HERE, in store, Debenhams or online retailer Cult Beauty.

Have you tried this product yet?

What are your thoughts on it and what shade did you choose?

Thanks for reading! xx

Cinere – The skincare products that I have been using this month

As most of you will already know I love trying new skincare products. I first came across the Cinere brand a while ago when I received a PR package which included a sample of their eye make up remover. I really liked this product and I’ve been using it ever since. So when Cinere contacted me to ask me to try out a few more items from their skincare range you can imagine how excited I was!

About the brand..

Cinere is a skincare brand that focuses on natural products made using only pure ingredients, herbal extracts, essential oils and other natural therapeutic elements. As a company they are passionate about quality and the science behind how their products are made.

The Products..

Gentle eye make up remover

I tend to use a lot of eye make up products from dark shadows, to eye liners, glitters and full length mascaras. To remove these, it’s important that I use a product that is gentle around the delicate eye area. This is why I personally prefer a liquid based eye make up remover than a cream, so I was really impressed with this product. It removes all traces of stubborn eye make up and feels lovely and cooling on the eyes. There is nothing better than that after a long day and when you are feeing tired.This formula doesn’t feel sticky or oily either which I have found with some liquid eye make up removers I’ve previously tried.

The main features of this eye make up remover that I like are below:

  • Gentle and non allergenic formula
  • Removes all traces of makeup including waterproof mascara
  • Conditions the eye lashes and hydrates the delicate skin around the eyes
  • The skin feels revived, refreshed, soft and clean after using it.
  • It’s safe for sensitive eyes and contact lens wearers

100% natural cleansing milk

This is a very gentle cleanser which is a milky consistency. This is slightly different to the cream cleansers that I usually tend to use so it was interesting to try something slightly different. It feels very light and smooth to touch and is a milk and gel combination formula. As with all cleansers, this rids the skin of oil, dirt and make up residue without stripping it of any natural oils. I apply this to my face with my hands and massage it into the skin. I then remove this afterwards by using a warm cloth and lightly buffing in a circular motion.

The main features of this cleanser that I like are below:

  • It’s non allergenic and alcohol free
  • Helps to keep the skin hydrated
  • Leaves the skin soft and smooth after use.
  • This has a pump applicator which is so handy to use.

Herbal Energising Cleansing Toner

Using a toner after cleansing is a really important part of your skincare routine. It helps to remove any left over oil, dirt or make up that you might have missed during cleansing. It also feels really cooling on the skin which I like. and you feel really fresh and clean afterwards. This product is soap free and can be used as part of your daily skincare routine. It is also a good way to prepare the skin before you apply your moisturiser.

This toner helps to lift dead skin cells which is great for reducing any dry skin patches. I have really enjoyed using this toner after cleansing my face and my skin feels really soft and clear at the moment. A nice smooth skin base is exactly what you want and really improves that way make up sits on your skin.

The main advantages of this toner that I like are below:

  • It conditions, nourishes, hydrates and protects whilst providing a softening and soothing effect on the skin.
  • My skin looks brighter and feels more refreshed from using this over the last few weeks.
  • It gently dissolves makeup and excess oil without drying the skin.
  • This product is infused with Lavender and Chamomile.

Hydra Plus, Timeless moisturising cream

At this time of the year, my skin tends to get quite dry, so I always like to use a hydrating moisturiser to help combat this issue. I have been enjoying using this product this month as it has kept my skin feeling silky and velvety in texture. It isn’t sticky either which always puts me off with a moisturiser. This product contains Argan oil and those of you who like your skincare will know that this is perfect for rehydrating dry skin and giving you a radiant complexion.

Again, this comes with a pump applicator which makes using this so much easier.

The main advantages of this toner that I like are below:

  • Regenerates and hydrates skin for a radiant appearance
  • Contains natural moisturising ingredients
  • It soothes, softens and hydrates dry, tired skin
  • Suitable for dry/normal skin

Final thoughts..

I always like to try new skincare products for a few weeks before I can really tell if they have worked for me or not. I have enjoyed using these products and my favourite items from the range are the toner and the eye make up remover. When it comes to cleansers I’m quite fussy and I already have a firm favourite brand that I like to use. I would say if you tend to wear a fuller face of make up like I do, that this might not be the cleanser for you. However, the toner is fantastic for that second stage of your routine and I really recommend trying this out. my skin feels great after using this on a daily basis.

Have you used any of the Cinere products? Leave me a comment below letting me know your favourite item from the range!

3 body products that are perfect if you have a sweet tooth

If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll know that I’m obsessed with body products that smell like sweets at the moment. I recently reviewed a gorgeous bubblegum flavoured lip scrub from Lush Cosmetics here and my love for sweet treats has continued to grow! I have been testing out a few brands and these are my top 3 body products for the month that are all sweet themed. If you have a sweet tooth like I do, then I can guarantee you will enjoy using these too!

Bilou body wash shower foams

I hadn’t used a shower foam before and I really enjoyed trying this! It is exactly like a shaving foam consistency and has a similar nozzle on the can. There are 5 flavours available – Fuzzy berry, Coco Cocktail, Cotton Candy, Tasty Donut and Pink Melon. The scent is more on the subtle side but it’s something a little different and a really nice sweet treat.
Priced at £3.99 each, these are also super affordable and fun to try out. You can buy these from most Superdrug stores or online here

Baylis & Harding hand washes

As soon as I spotted these I instantly fell in love with the pretty packaging. How pretty are these?! I could picture the bottles displayed in my bathroom or kitchen and they are such a sweet little addition to have by your sink.

I was really impressed at how fragrant these are as well. They smell absolutely beautiful and they leave a long lasting scent on the skin which I love. Out of the three that I tried, the Tropical Cocktail version is my favourite and it smells just like watermelon. Delicious!

View the Baylis & Harding hand wash range here.

 

Imperial Leather gel shower washes

I had to pick these up as soon as I saw them as they were giving me pure nostalgia about retro sweets from my childhood. They smell exactly like the real thing too and are literally good enough to eat.
Priced at only £1 per bottle, these were such a bargain and a really affordable little treat. I have received so many comments on these on Instagram and from being noticed on my bathroom shelf. They seem to make everyone smile! So, I think these would make great Christmas stocking fillers for someone that loves their sweets.
These are part of a great collection of gel body washes that Imperial Leather has out at the moment and they have some fab scents to choose from. You can buy these from most Boots stores or online.
Click here for the Love Hearts option and here for the refreshers option.
Have you tried these yet? Let me know in the comments! Or let me know if you have any recommendations for any other products which have a sweet theme.
Thanks for reading! x

The new metallic sparkle lipsticks by Too Faced

I am a complete magpie and anything sparkly always gets my immediate attention. So, when I discovered the brand new metallic sparkle lipsticks by Too Faced I just had to try them out!

Colour shades

There are 10 shades in the collection ranging from pretty pinks, purples and reds as well as some more daring colours such as blue and vivid purple. I was tempted to go with the gorgeous light pink shade called ‘Marcia Marcia Marcia’ but I chose ‘Miss Thing’, a pretty peachy nude shade instead. These 10 shades are inspired by the original Too faced lipstick bullets but given an updated twist. This also includes 2 new 20th anniversary shades. I’m loving the sassy shade names too:
  • Hoochie – cool brown
  • Bionic – light blue
  • Hot Flash – crimson
  • Marcia Marcia Marcia – pretty baby pink
  • Miss Thing – peachy nude
  • Pixie Stick – vivid purple
  • That Girl – warm chocolate brown
  • Trampula – electric blue
  • TF20 – vivid pink
  • Too too hot – spicy red

Formula

The Too Faced website says this lipstick range is full coverage. I personally found the coverage to be on the lighter side than what I expected after swatching them on my hand.  However, if you layer this up with a couple of coats, you will get a more intense colour which is what I prefer. The end result was a multi-reflective glitter finish with a pretty sparkly sheen.
I love the overall look of this once applied and I was impressed with the creamy formula. You can wear the lipstick by itself, but I found it also looks really nice over the top of a matt lipstick. As always with Too Faced, this range is animal cruelty free which is also a plus point.

Packaging

Each lipstick case is in a sparkly shade that matches the colour inside which I absolutely love. These looked so fabulous lined up together on the makeup counter that it made me want to walk away with all of them! The box packaging is also completely sparkly and the top of the box has a cute heart detail which shows the name of the shade. I really love the packaging of this collection and I love having this in my handbag.

Value for money?

Each lipstick is priced at £18 which is a pretty standard price for premium make up brands. The stunning packaging and the quality of this range definitely justifies this price point. Plus, you will get a lot of use out of this so the cost per wear is really reasonable if you work it out this way.
You can purchase this new collection directly from Too Faced stores or on their website here
You will also find this in department stores that have a Too Faced counter.
Have you used this latest lipstick range yet? Let me know your thoughts if you have!

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