Friday, 26 July 2013

Palmer's Giveaway ends 1st August - don't forget to enter!

To be in with a chance of winning a Palmer's goody bag worth £60, don't forget to enter my giveaway before 1st August 2013!

To find out more, including how to enter, click here.

Friday, 19 July 2013

Last chance to win on Pinterest with Nissan's #MicraAttitude competition - closing date 22nd July 2013!


Do you want to win £200 worth of prizes includingBeats Sol HD Headphones, Cowshed Gorgeous Cow Duo Set, Nails Inc Beauty Club Collection and a £15 iTunes voucher?  Do you use Pinterest?

If the answer to both of the above is yes then you need to enter Nissan's #MicraAttitude competition!  It's really easy, all you need to do is create a #MicraAttitude board on Pinterest which captures the Micra Attitude of Style, Intelligence and Confidence.  You must use two images from the Nissan Pinterest board which can be found here. Make sure you tag all of your images with #MicraAttitude and #UK in the description too!

Once you've created your boards you just need to leave a comment here (the Nissan UK Pinterest board) with a link to your board and the #MicraAttitude #UK tags. The three boards that most capture the themes of Style, Intelligence and Confidence will win!  The closing date is 22nd July 2013 so get pinning! Terms and conditions can be found here or on my #MicraAttitude Pinterest board.

Step by step of how to enter:
  1. Follow Nissan Europe on Pinterest at http://pinterest.com/NissanEurope/
  2. Create a Pinterest board called "Micra Attitude"
  3. Pin at least 8 images onto your board using any of the Micra Attitude themes (Kick-ass Accessories, Gorgeous Gadgets, Energizing Activities, Daring Destinations, Inspirational Icons and Well Said Sister!)
  4. Repin 2 images from Nissan Europe's Micra Attitude Competition board to your Micra Attitude board
  5. Include #MicraAttitude and #UK hashtags within the description of each pin
  6. Leave a link to your board in the comments section on the Nissan Europe Micra Attitude board

You can check out my #MicraAttitude board here. And if you don't already use Pinterest, now might be a good time to start, register at www.pinterest.com

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Win a Palmer's Daily Facial Range Goody Bag worth £60!


I absolutely love Palmer's Cocoa Butter and oils so I was really intrigued when I found out that they'd brought out a facial range!

Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula Daily Facial Range helps achieve a more even, radiant and younger looking skin using all the softening goodness of the highest quality cocoa butter combined with key soothing botanical extracts like Aloe Vera and Evening Primrose, and boosted with proven anti-ageing ingredients. The luxurious yet affordable formulas are suitable for all skin types, including sensitive skin prone to redness, and are ideal for tackling the first signs of fine lines and wrinkles. Visit http://uk.palmers.com for more details.

Last year Palmer's ran a competition to find the face of the brand and the lucky winners were treated to a professional photo-shoot and featured in print adverts which appeared in Dare and ASDA magazines. This year they are offering three lucky ladies the same prize! All you have to do to enter is upload a photo of yourself and tell us why you should be the Face of Palmer’s! Check out the competition here www.facebook.com/PalmersUK  

In the meantime, you can win a Palmer’s Daily Facial Range goody bag by answering the question below in the comments under this post:

How many runner-up prizes are up for grabs each week for winners on the Face of Palmer’s app on Facebook?

a/ 100
b/ 200
c/ 300

Leave a comment with your answer below by 1st August 2013 - don't forget to leave your email address so I can contact you too!  Winner will be selected at random from the entries made.  Sorry, UK only.

Monday, 15 July 2013

Tips for bloggers working with PR and media agencies

I'm lucky enough to have worked with a variety of PR and media agencies in the time I've been blogging and while it isn't something I set out to do when I started my blog, it's been really interesting and exciting.  It's even something that has helped me move into a career in marketing in my real life as I had that experience of collaborating and liaising with external agencies and meeting deadlines (as well as writing content, monitoring web statistics etc).

With that in mind, I thought I'd put together some tips that have worked for me when collaborating with brands and agencies. This isn't exhaustive and is based on my personal experiences:
  • Have your contact details available - I'm not saying your name, address etc for all to see but have your blog email address and Twitter handle showing readily on your blog somewhere so you can be contacted.  If it's hidden away then people might not have that time to spend looking for it!
  • Be friendly, professional and courteous - PR's and media are people too and they're more likely to work with you again if you're nice to them, it's human nature! Don't just go to them with a "shopping list" of things to review, they certainly don't exist solely to fill up your bathroom cabinet and make up bag.  Making first contact with the PR rather than the other way round can work too - introduce yourself, your blog, what you write about, why the brand might be a good fit and also those all important web stats.  Agencies generally represent a range of brands so there's always an opportunity for further collaboration on other brands if you build up a good relationship too.
  • Don't get jealous - PR agencies have a limited number of samples and a budget (more so now than ever I think).  They need to do what's going to bring maximum return for their client and the agency so while your blog might not be a great fit for brand Y, it might be for brand X.  Some companies have a really good blogger outreach programmes and will send out samples and press releases to a variety of bloggers regularly.  I remember an event where a blogger told me about all the fab, high-end samples she was sent - so many that she was struggling to get reviews done on them all - and I definitely felt a pang of the green eyed monster.  Until I reminded myself that I was at a fab event being thrown by a brand I love, with a really great PR agency and that put my jealousy back in check.
  • Be aware of your web statistics using Google Analytics or similar - this way you track your readers, traffic (again, something which helped me in my marketing role) as this can be really important information that a media agency may need to relay to their client.  You might not think that it's important but stats do matter to PR/media.  Even if you're not the biggest blog going, being aware of this shows that you care and that you're serious about what you're doing.
  • Be honest - if you don't think a product is right for you then say so, if you have xxxx number of pageviews a month, don't add an extra zero on the end (you might be asked for a screenshot and then you're in trouble!) and if you say you're going to post something on/by a certain date then make sure it happens
  • Network - get to events if you can, maybe join a blogging network, be active on Twitter (tweet links to your blog posts, relevant industry info, follow agencies and generally just chat and have fun) and tell people about your blog!
  • Write good posts - now hopefully we all do this but what I mean is make sure your posts are accurate, informative, include relevant links, use headings which will be picked up by search engines, have good photos and are checked for spelling/typos.  I'm not saying we have to be Shakespeare here but it makes sense as people are more likely to read a well written review and brands are more likely to be impressed. 
  • Send links if you can - some PR's say that you don't need to send them links to any reviews or coverage you provide but I usually do so once as post goes live as it's easier for them to keep track of!  The internet is a BIG place when you're searching for press and media coverage (I know from experience) so anything that makes it easier is a bonus!
There's a really good post on Flutter and Sparkle which features PR's talking about how they work with bloggers and what they want, limitations, what they consider good practice etc.  You can find it here as part of a series of tips about blogging (they're really good posts actually and well worth checking out the whole series).

I'm by no means an expert and I definitely blog as a hobby rather than as a job, though digital marketing is something I find really interesting and one of my favourite things in my current role, but if you have any questions that you think I might be able to help out with do let me know in the comments below, by email to lucy@beautyandtheblogger.co.uk or drop me a tweet @lucybatb

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Sunday, 14 July 2013

The scent of summer with Melvita


These arrived in the post as a surprise from Melvita and I'm so pleased as they're gorgeous! The Orchard Body Wash in Tender Fruits smells so nice, really fruity (nectarine, peach, apricot) and fresh - just my sort of scent!  It also lathers up really well so you don't have to use loads of it.  The packaging is practical rather than pretty but it does the trick.  It's also soap free and PH neutral and won't dry our your skin.

The Body Milk in Energizing Citrus Fruit is my favourite though.  This zesty body milk contains essence of lemon, orange and mandarin, to me it smells like lemon flavoured sweets.  Maybe sherbert or  bonbons?  I absolutely love it, it isn't overpowering but it does last really pleasantly on the skin.  I'm not usually great at moisturising my body regularly but I've been using this a lot.  It contains shea butter and sesame oil so it is really nourishing without being greasy or taking ages to absorb, it feels really silky and sinks into the skin so well.  Again, the packaging wouldn't jump out at me if I saw the products on the shelf but it is functional, the dispenser bottle stops it from getting messy.

These will definitely be coming on holiday (hopefully the citrus scents will keep the mosquitos away) and I'll be repurchasing them in future too.  A few months ago I'd only really vaguely heard of Melvita but now I consider a few of their products firm favourites (read my previous reviews here and here) - I've used four of them in the last couple of days alone!

You can buy Melvita from feelunique.com* or uk.melvita.com
 

Thursday, 11 July 2013

I want to live in the country or by the sea...


As someone who grew up in a fairly rural area I was desperate to move away to a city as soon as possible and I did!  I moved overseas when I was 20 and I've never moved back yet.  After I got came back to the UK I randomly moved to Manchester and sorted a job, a houseshare and some friends (in the form of housemates, colleagues and other tagalongs).  After that me and my boyfriend settled in Greater Manchester. 

Whether it's the weather or the fact I'm getting older now, we've started looking at country houses for sale even though realistically we're not going to move for the forseeable future.  You do seem to get a lot more for your money (unless you're looking in the Lake District or somewhere on the London commuter belt).  It's like torturing ourselves with these idyllic houses in the perfect location.  We're lucky enough to be surrounded by gorgeous countryside within about a 20 minute drive and now that we have a dog it's the perfect excuse to wander around all of these lovely areas.

My boyfriend likes the sea as well and I think if it was down to him we'd eventually  move to a seaside town but I'm not really sure that would be for me.  There are some gorgeous sleepy seaside villages around but I always find them a bit cold for me up north and I wouldn't want to move too far south as it's a bit far away from friends and family.  Maybe we could always retire somehere hot and sunny like Limassol Marina - that would be really far from friends and family but at least the weather would be guaranteed!  I've never been to Cyprus (I've been to Rhodes port in Greece and that was beautiful) but everyone I know who has been has loved it.

It's funny isn't it, up until a couple of years ago I would have considered myself 100% city girl but that's definitely changing.  What about you, are you a country mouse or a city mouse?

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Tuesday, 9 July 2013

iWhite Teeth Whitening Kit Review


I've been thinking about getting my teeth professionally whitened for a while but something always seems to come up (like holidays, pugs, hair extensions...you know, all the essentials) and I never quite get round to making the appointment at the dentist.



When I was sent the iWhite Teeth Whitening Kit it was perfect timing as I had the chance to try it out before I went away on holiday. Teeth and tan = winning combination.  You wear the disposable trays for 20 minutes a day for a maximum of 5 days.  There are 10 trays in each kit, you can white for 5 consecutive days and can whiten your top and bottom teeth at the same time (which is what I did, I always think it looks strange when people whiten or veneer one row of teeth only).  They also whiten the back and front of your teeth as stains on the back can show through to the front too.

 
iWhite promises instant results and is peroxide free, using calcium based technology to strengthen teeth rather than peroxide which can be damaging.    It also came with a handy colour chart - I'd say at present I'm a Chelsea Pearl.  Essex White would be the ultimate aim for me as I love ridiculously white teeth!

iWhite is really straightforward, convenient and mess free.  Using them is really easy, you just pop each tray out of its individual packaging, pop it over your teeth and there you go.  It isn't uncomfortable to wear but I did feel a bit er..dribbly and it's kind of hard to talk while the trays are in your mouth.  The stuff doesn't really have a taste but it is kind of unpleasant if you accidentally swallow any (they recommend that you don't lie down using these and I know why!)

So did I see instant whitening results?  Um, not really.  I used these for 5 consecutive days, as instructed and I don't think I really saw a difference in my teeth, least of all the "up to 8 shades whiter" that I've seen quoted.  My teeth didn't have much staining or anything in the first place though, what I want to do is change the natural colour of my teeth to a TOWIE-white so maybe I'm expecting too much.  I've seen loads of fantastic reviews of this iWhite kit so I think if your teeth are stained or discoloured then you might well see results with this.

Here's a before and after of my teeth (argh, a close up of my teeth always reminds me why I'm highly jealous of one of my friends who has veneers!):


If you're wanting to give it a go the iWhite kit is currently available from ASOS for £25 but will also be launching at Boots* on 15th July if you're wanting to spend your Advantage card points!

Friday, 5 July 2013

It's my duty...

Not sure if I've mentioned this(!) but I'm going on holiday in 2 weeks, woo hoo! I've been avoiding repurchasing a few beauty bits and bobs because I can probably pick them up a bit cheaper at Manchester airport. I actually love flying, the only downside is all the hanging around so what better way to kill some time than in duty free?!

Here's what I'm hoping to pick up:

 
Estee Lauder Doublewear
MAC Chatterbox
YSL Manifesto
YSL Rouge Volupte
Origins Vitazing
NARS Blush
 
 
I haven't tried the Nars Blush before and though I've sniffed the YSL Manifesto I've never actually owned it but I really love the smell of it.  The other stuff I've had many times in the past and absolutely love them all. All of this is quite expensive though so I need to save money on them where I can!

Have you got any airport favourites or recommendations?  Are you going away this year?

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

What should I do for my birthday?

Photo from CMNY Cakes

Okay, my birthday isn't until September but I'm going away this month and I have my friends/family from home plus my friends/family in Manchester and my lovely boyfriend to fit into the proceedings somewhere.  As everyone works various shifts or takes holidays in September I tend to plan ahead so that people can book time off and things can be set in motion.

I can't decide whether to just get everyone to mine and have some sort of get together or to travel somewhere else.  The most annoying part is that I'll be 27 this birthday, 30 is looming nearer and nearer!  What I do quite fancy is going away for a city break somewhere, I love spending time sightseeing, going to shows and out for meals and things.

A few years ago my boyfriend surprised me and took me to London for a long weekend, we stayed in a lovely hotel, went to see a show (Jersey Boys - amazing!) and did some touristy things like the Londom Eye etc. I'd quite like to do something like that again, maybe get some Jesus Christ superstar tickets or something? In the last few years I've seen Wicked, Legally Blonde, Jersey Boys, the Lion King and Chicago - and I don't really consider myself to be someone who goes to shows!

So, what should I do for my birthday, should I persuade my boyfriend to take me away again? Do you have any show recommendations in London or Manchester?

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Monday, 1 July 2013

#MicraAttitude Competition closes on 22nd July - don't miss out on your chance to win £200 worth of prizes on Pinterest!


A couple of weeks ago I posted about a fab competition being run by Nissan UK to win £200 worth of beauty and tech goodies including Beats Sol HD Headphones, Cowshed Gorgeous Cow Duo Set, Nails Inc Beauty Club Collection and a £15 iTunes voucher.
If you use Pinterest and haven't already entered, well why not?!  It's really easy to get your entry in, all you need to do is head on over to Pinterest and create your own #MicraAttitude board which captures the Micra Attitude of Style, Intelligence and Confidence. You must use two images from the Nissan Pinterest board which can be found here. Make sure you tag all of your images with #MicraAttitude and #UK in the description!

Once you've created your boards you just need to leave a comment here (the Nissan UK Pinterest board) with a link to your board and the #MicraAttitude #UK tags. The three boards that most capture the themes of Style, Intelligence and Confidence will win the fabulous prizes on offer.  The closing date is 22nd July 2013 so get pinning! Terms and conditions can be found here or on my #MicraAttitude Pinterest board. 
If you're looking for some Pinspiration, check out my #MicraAttitude board here.  And if you don't already use Pinterest, well now's a good time to start, you can register at www.pinterest.com (I'm addicted).  Happy pinning and good luck!

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