Lauren's Looks

Baking | Beauty | Fashion | Chronic illness

Monday, 15 June 2015

Four really important things blogger newbies need to know

Image source: we heart it 

One year on and here I am still struggling to get a blogpost kick started. Sure, all of the ideas are there, I've even been super organised and got my notebook out definitely not pretending to be a better blogger than I am to jot down the key things I want to include, but has that helped? No, it really flipping hasn't. You'd have thought after a year of blogging my mind would no longer go completely blank every time I attempt to be even the slightest bit productive. Thanks brain, as helpful as always. 

Anyway, blogger probs aside; after deliberating over what to write about for what feels like hours I've finally decided that I'd share a few things I've learnt about blogging in the past year. Hopefully they'll be of some help to you, you can bet 'how to beat bloggers block' definitely won't be one of my tips... 

Fancy shmanzy equipment isn't a necessity
Okay, so don't get me wrong here; I'd love nothing more than to own a really expensive flash camera, but is that realistic on the budget I'm on? No, unfortunately not. I use my iPhone to take all of my blog snaps and I can honestly say if you practice your technique then photos taken with an iPhone can look just as good.

If you're a newbie in the blogging world then don't think that you need to own the latest DSLR camera. If do however happen to have the budget for one and you're passionate about photography then sure, splash out, but if not then don't waste your money. Same goes for MacBooks and what not! Photography is definitely an important factor to becoming a somewhat 'popular blogger' shall we just say but the content is what keeps people returning, in my opinion. PS- here's some photography tips for iPhone users you may find useful. 

Photo taken with iPhone 6 
Don't let blogging take over your life 
From the very start I've stuck to a 'blogging schedule' where I'll post three times a week; Monday's, Wednesday's and Friday's. However, as of late I've realised that although I'd ideally love to stick to that plan at all times, realistically it can't always happen. Life simply just gets in the way, but do you know what? That's okay because blogging for the majority of us is a hobby after all. 

Just because other bloggers upload a new post daily don't let that make you feel pressured, do what you can and if that means that one week you think to yourself 'you know what I don't feel like blogging this week' or you simply don't have the time then don't beat yourself up about it. Blog when you can, force it and you'll stop enjoying it! 

You don't have to follow the crowd
Everybody's frantically typing away at their laptops ready to upload their view on the latest eyeshadow palette, that means that you also have to do that as well, right? If that's not what you're into then, no. I first started out thinking I wanted to blog about fashion but I soon realised that even though I really do love all things fashion writing about it bored me to absolute tears. It just wasn't me. 

If you aren't passionate about something or you don't enjoy writing about a certain subject such as fashion then to put it simply, don't. Never feel you need to blog about 'popular' things in order to be a success in the blogging world. Blogging to me is all about being able to express myself in whichever way I please! 

Comparison is the their of joy 
Yes, and that saying most definitely applies to blogging. That girl you follow has thousands of followers, perfect photos, content that leaves you wanting to spend the entire night binge reading instead of actually doing something important, and what does that make you feel about your own blog? Absolute rubbish, that's what. How the heck does she do it?! I'll be honest here, I've been guilty of comparing my own blog to somebody else's myself and here's what I've came to realise... 

With blogging everybody spends different amounts of time on it, some even blog for a living and can dedicate their entire day to perfecting their latest post. You, however do it for a hobby, alongside daily chores and work, of course you aren't going to be able to achieve that level of perfect. It's impossible. A little helpful tip; always compare yourself, to yourself. Read old blogposts, you might cringe a little lot but you'll realise just how far you've come! 

So, that's what I've learnt about blogging so far, I'm sure I'll learn even more over the next year. I really hope they've helped you in some way, what have you learnt about blogging? I'd love to hear your tips/stories, 


Wednesday, 10 June 2015

My latest beauty purchases | A MAC splurge

There's one question every girl wants the answer to, and that's... Why does almost every beauty product seem to run out at exactly the same time? Oh, and we aren't talking a mascara and lipstick here, we're talking our whole damn collection. 

You know when you're getting ready and the amount of products you have in your makeup bag just start dropping like flies? Like, 'oh new concealer needed', 'that mascara needs binning' and 'that's definitely the last time I'll be able to use this eyeshadow'. *Makes a mad dash to your local makeup counter half an hour later*. 

Well, that very same thing happened to me not so long ago which of course resulted in a rather large MAC splurge. Let's just say my purse wasn't best pleased! Anyway, ramblings aside I thought I'd let you have a little nosy at some of my 'must have' products that I picked up... 

Studio Fix foundation | Shade- NW20 | Link 
First up on my 'must buy immediately' list was the Studio Fix foundation, I really can't go without it. I'm now onto my third bottle of this stuff so it's safe to say I'm a bit of a fan, and with good reason too! As far as foundations go I've never used another that compares as it gives the most flawless 'airbrushed' finish without looking completely unnatural too. All in all Studio Fix is an all round brilliant matte, medium coverage foundation that I'd recommend to all of you girls with oily/normal skin. 

Prep + Prime highlighter | Shade- 'light boost' | Link 
I've been going contour crazy as of late so this is an absolute essential of mine! Luckily they had one left in stock- mini meltdown = avoided. I love just how much it brightens up your whole face, it really helps to cover up dark under eye circles too. It's super creamy and blends like a dream which means you aren't left with those rather annoying creases under your eyes, they sure do give the game away every time. 

Strobe Cream | Link 
Being the dewy finish lover that I am this is yet another 'must have'. I've mentioned this countless times before so I shan't ramble on for too long but I like to use this as a primer to add a nice healthy glow- it also helps foundation to blend perfectly- and then mixed into a pump of Studio Fix foundation to add yet more dewy-ness. I find this really helps if you find a foundation a little too 'cakey' and want a more natural look instead! 

'Velvet Teddy' lipstick | Finish- Matte | Link 
I've been after this lipstick for absolutely ages, and no, that's not me exaggerating either. Every time I asked if they had it in stock at my local MAC counter or every time I tried to order it online I never had much luck and always left empty handed and disappointed. I was worried that this was going to be one of those products that was over-rated but much to my surprise, it isn't at all. This is just a really lovely everyday lipstick that also looks equally as nice for going out too. If you can get your hands on Velvet Teddy then I'd advise you to buy it immediately, you'll love it! 

'Russian Red' lipstick | Finish- Matte | Link 
Yet another lipstick, I'm addicted, aren't I?! Flat Out Fabulous has been a firm favourite of mine for some time now but since buying this gorgeous matte finish, dark red shade it's well and truly been beaten, I'm now going all heart eyed emoji over this beauty instead! I cannot wait to wear this on holiday when I've got a tan too, I can imagine it'll really add a pop of colour to an otherwise plain outfit! Oh, and it also makes your teeth look super white, major plus right there. 

Do you use any of these MAC products, and if so what do you think? Also, do you have any bright MAC lipsticks with a matte/retro matte finish that you'd recommend? 


Monday, 8 June 2015

Jammy Dodger cupcakes drizzled with sticky strawberry sauce

If you follow me on Instagram then you'll know that I'm a bit of a baking enthusiast that likes to tease you all with my cupcake creations on a weekly basis, apologies. I'm forever getting people ask me for the recipe each time I post a picture wether it be sticky toffee fudge, raspberry margarita or mint aero flavour! So, today I thought that I'd  better share the recipe for what seems to be my most popular batch of cupcakes ever, and that's my Jammy Dodger cupcakes drizzled with sticky strawberry sauce. 

So get your aprons at the ready, dig out your mixing bowl, and.... on your MARKS, GET SET, GOOO! Happy baking, 

The ingredients you'll need: 

•2 large eggs
•115g caster sugar 
•115g self-raising flour 
•115g margarine or butter 
•1/2 teaspoon baking powder

•175g icing sugar, sifted 
•115g butter or margarine

•Strawberry sauce
•12 Mini Jammy Dodgers 


1.) To make cakes, place all of the cupcake ingredients into a mixing bowl and whisk them all together until combined. You could use a wooden spoon if you don't have a whisk but this will take longer, and requires more effort! 

2.) Place even amounts of mixture into 6 cupcake cases. There might be a bit of mixture left depending on how big your cupcake cases are! 

3.) Bake on the second shelf from the top of a preheated oven 190 c/170 c fan/gas 5 for around 20/25 minutes. They may take longer than that though so just bake until they're ready. You can tell when they're fully baked by using a cocktail stick/something similar to poke into the middle of the cupcake, if there's mixture on the cocktail stick then they need longer in the oven and if it comes out clean then they're ready! Cool on a wire tray. 

1.) Whisk 115g worth of butter with a whisk for 5-10 minutes so it's extra fluffy and then sift 175g worth of icing sugar into the same bowl. 

2.) Combine the icing sugar and butter together and whisk for a further 5 minutes. 

3.) To pipe the buttercream onto the cupcakes you'll need to use a piping bag. You can pipe the buttercream on however you want so just choose the nozzle you like best- I used a Wilton 2D for these particular cupcakes. To finish drizzle each cupcake with a generous amount of strawberry sauce and then top with two Jammy Dodgers, as easy as that! 

What do you think to these Jammy Dodger cupcakes? For some reason they remind me of my primary school days, odd. Oh, and as always if you decide that you'd like to give these sweet treats a go then be sure to send me a picture/tag me, I'd love to see! 


Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Lauren's Looks turns 1 | My 1st year of blogging

I cannot believe I'm typing this as I really don't know where the time has gone but Monday marked one year of me having my very own blog. Yes, that's right, Lauren's Looks is now the grand old age of 1- mad I know! It's strange because you know when you feel like you've been doing something forever, but then on the other hand time has zoomed by so fast that it also feels like yesterday? Anybody else get that same feeling, just me? Well, it kinda feels a bit like that! 

For me starting a blog was a very spur of the moment decision, and truth be told it was only made out of pure boredom. I never, ever expected that I'd still be blogging one whole year later as I really didn't start with the intention to get serious about it. Looking back- as absolute cheesy as this will sound- it's perhaps one of the best spur of the moment decisions I've ever made; extremely cliché of me, I know. 

I can remember when I first started out, I was waaay too nervous to post certain things, because what the heck would people think? Now look at me, I regularly post about my battle with ME and the struggles that come along with having a chronic illness. I'm absolutely amazed at the fact I've been brave enough to do so as I've always struggled opening up about my illness, and I truly believe that blogging has helped me get over that. 

Some decide to start a blog for the followers, the 'freebies' and the popularity, I on the other hand wanted to start blogging for a completely different reason. That very reason was I felt lonely and almost as though I didn't have much of a purpose in life, I desperately wanted a new hobby to get involved in as having a chronic illness takes the ability to go out with friends, have a job and socialise away from you. And blogging has been that very thing that has filled that gap in my life, I now have something productive to do with my days when I'm unable to leave the house. So sure, I'd be lying to say that the followers and perks of being a blogger aren't a bonus but the most important thing to me has been the interaction with others and the fact I've now made new friends without even having to leave the house! 

It still astounds me a year later that people are actually interested in what I've got to say- 2000 of you to be precise- about all things beauty and lifestyle, and I'm so grateful for all of the comments and positive feedback on my blogposts. The fact that people actually take the time out to send me messages and emails almost daily means so much, that alone is one of the reasons why even when blogging can be difficult at times I don't give up. 

So, on that note I'd just like to say one HUGE thank you to each and every one of you that have taken the time out to have a little nosy at my blog. Here's to another year blogging, 

© Lauren's Looks | All rights reserved.
Blog Designs Handcrafted by pipdig