Ten Amazing Diaries for 2016…

2016 Diaries

“Hello. My name’s Karen and I’m a stationery addict…”

Yep, self confessed and not a damn bit sorry for it. As much as technology and all it’s virtual wizardry is appealing to the masses, for me there is nothing better than good old fashion paper & pen when it comes to scheduling ahead. Very little else makes my heart skip a few beats with utter happiness than when I’m shopping for brand spanking new stationary – ESPECIALLY if it’s anything to do with planning or organisation.

However as the dawning of a new year approaches so does our need to indulge in a few ‘planning essentials’ *wide grin spreads across face*  Of course a new diary being the epitomy of my 2016 shopping list… and if you’re anything like myself that will quickly extend into new pens, new desk calendars, new wall charts, new mechanical pencils, new highlighters, new little note pads that sit neatly beside the telephone… yada yada… you get what I mean!

So today’s glorious post *happy sigh* is my top 10 pick of thee cutest and handiest little diaries on the market – as always there’s something to suit almost every demand, style and budget. The hardest decision I have to make is simply choosing which one to buy for me *Eeeeep*

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Busy B Floral Design Diary

Busy B floral

Such a clever, fun & chic planning companion… each week-to-view spread features a weekly planner opposite a page for notes and lists –  brilliant for taking care of the big stuff, and the little details. Features include a grid layout overview of each month of the year, letting you pop in appointments or events for quick reference on the go. Printed on quality paper with a soft card cover and colourful ribbon marker. It’s the perfect size for popping in your handbag. There are pages to keep a note of important numbers and contacts, a handy pen loop and elastic closure to keep everything together and a handy storage pocket every 3 months for all your bits and bobs. There’s also lots of perforated lists at the back of the diary for notes you need to scribble down and take away in a hurry. Currently £8.99.

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Kikki K: Leather Watermelon Diary

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Love the feeling of staying organised with this super cute watermelon 2016 Diary. This stylish 2016 Diary includes weekly and monthly views as well as stickers to decorate. Keep track of all your important information including Addresses and Expenses with the specially designed pages. Currently £24.00

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Paperchase: Nordic Nights Diary

Nordic Nights

This beautiful diary from the Paperchase Nordic Nights range will help keep you organised all the way through 2016. The linen cover is printed with an adorable woodland animal design and a silver 2016 title. Inside, there is a day to a page diary for the whole of 2016 giving you lots of space for all of your plans and appointments. It also has 2015 – 2017 calendars, a year planner, pages for contacts and websites as well as handy information like unit conversions, world times and international dialling codes. Finished with a navy blue ribbon page marker. Currently £12.00

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Letts: Ladydate Gold Diary 

Ladydate gold Letts

This bright metallic Gold coloured A5 diary comes with a pencil inserted down the spine. It is a week to view Sunday start format with gold foiled page edges. The diary contains a 16 page information section and has space for notes and addresses with the London Underground map. Currently £14.49

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Kikki K: Be Brave Time Planner

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If you love all things pretty, peach and feminine, this 2016 Time Planner is for you. Take it with you on-the-go and use the front pockets to keep all of life’s little essentials and important pieces of paper. Keep track of your schedule, make notes and love having all of your important information and reminders safe in one place.

Featuring both monthly and weekly calendar views for 2016 there are also pages for Addresses, Birthdays & Anniversaries, Shops & Restaurants, To Do List and Expenses. Use it every day to manage your schedule and as a reference for all your important notes and information. Currently £30.00

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Go Stationery: Watercolour Hearts Diary

Go Stationary Hearts

A stylish and practical full year 2016 diary in a week to view layout, with durable polyprop covers. Part of a range of matching stationery including notebooks. Designed and made in the UK, manufactured by Go Stationery. Currently £5.00

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Kikki K: Pink Cute Diary

Kikki K 2016 Diary

Up the cute factor with our new gorgeous pink 2016 Weekly Cute Diary. With a pretty, fresh design and featuring stickers so you can customise your look, you’ll love adding a touch of fun to each and every day. Currently £16.00

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Country Wisdom & Folklore Diary

Country Wisdom and Folklore Diary

The perfect diary for you if you care about nature, love British folklore, myth, legend, superstition and want to be green. It features seasonal information, the Wheel of the Year, sunrise/sunset and moonrise/moonset times and traditional things to make, do and see. It’s packed full of stories, useful snippets with beautiful original illustrations and plenty of space to write-in all those important appointments. Just a few of the things you can find out about include: Natural Magick, Elf Shot, Hobs, Hobthrusts & Hobmen, The Ashen Faggot, Chapbooks, Turf Seats & Bowers, Vervain, Meadowsweet, Nightjars, Swallows & House Martins and Leek & Caerphilly Tart. So, if you’re looking for a craft item to help you celebrate the passage of the year, then this could be just what you have always been looking for! Currently £12.00

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Blue Field Memories Diary

2016 blue filed memories diary

This cute week-to-view mini diary promises to put a smile on your face whenever you stop to plan your busy schedule. It includes handy stickers for highlighting special occasions, events and appointments, a 2016 & 2017 year at-a-glance calendar, contacts and notes sections, plus a pink ribbon bookmark. Currently £7.55

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Livework: Som Som Diary Scheduler

Som Som Diary 2016

The Som Som diary is a cute and well made scheduler. This diary features dated 160 pages separated into the following sections to help you plan for the 2016 year. The Som Som diary can open up to 180 degrees and will not break apart thanks to its super-strong perfect bound spine. This diary is a top pick scheduler for writing, gift, planning or articles and more. How cute are the little eyes?! Currently £13.34

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What a handsome bunch of stationery delights! What’s your favourite? Have you invested in a New Year diary yet or is it still on your wish list? Maybe you’re a digital diva who prefers to keep her busy schedule wrapped up in a virtual planner? Whatever your thoughts I’d love to read them in the comments below so do stop by and say a quick hello 🙂 Wishing y’all a fabulous weekend – only 1 more week to Christmas!!!!!! *EEEEEEEP*

Cheerio chums…

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How I Plan & Schedule My Blog Posts…

How I Plan and Schedule My Blog Posts

I’m a bit of an nerd when it comes to organisation and planning. Lists, diaries, notebooks, post-it-notes, planners… the excitement of those kind of things seems to course through my veins. Although I’ve posted hints & tips in previous features about scheduling and organisation, quite a few of you asked how I personally plan & schedule posts for my own blog.

Juggling work, life & being a busy mum (to a very active little lady) means it’s super important I keep totally focused and ahead of the game… after all, there’s only so many mental notes a bloggers head space can take. So this week I thought I’d share the planning process that works best for me & helps keep my blog schedule ticking over like a Swiss clock!

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TMP

This is what I initially schedule a blog post on when the idea springs to mind. It’s also one of the most useful little A4 sheets of paper I possess. Without this I’d be in a state of utter confusion, grappling onto my sanity. Yes, it’s that useful!

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In a very tiny nut shell, it’s simply a print out of an online planner in monthly day-to-day format. I usually print these out for at least 6 months in advance as I find myself scheduling post ideas around special future dates such as Christmas, Valentines, Anniversaries etc.

I adore the fact that I can glance at it in an instant & know what post is appearing & on what day/date. If I get a ‘EUREKA’ moment, I can very quickly whip this out, check to see what days are free for my idea to feature and get it jotted down pronto. Yep, it’s that simple.

Monthly Blog Planner

Overall it’s just a super way to keep track of what’s happening (& when) on the blog. You’ll be super surprised at how quickly the month fills up & seeing your features planned out makes you feel really efficient & in control. Say goodbye to a cranium full of cluttered mental notes 😉

TD

Okay, so my ‘Monthly Planner’ might be great to quickly plan a posts for certain dates, but what about the finer details of the feature? As I’m sure you can see from the Monthly Planner (pictured above) there’s very little room for adding masses of notes – this is where my fabulous shocking pink Letts diary earns its keep…

Blog planning

As shown above, I have a Make-Up Menu: Perfectly Plum, scheduled for 14th September. All I have to do is flick to the corresponding diary page and hey presto – I can plan in more detail until my heart’s content! A few of the things I include in my notes are:

The post title,

What photographs I want to take,

Props I want to use

Products I want to feature,

Notes about my opinions, pros & cons if it’s a product review

Any other key details I’d like to include.

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Apart from the Monthly Planner & Diary, I have a few other simple little gadgets that make planning a tad easier & more productive…

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1) Miniature Sticky Notes: These are ideal for keeping tabs on specific diary pages that you might be working on. You could even reference the colours to correspond with certain topics etc. This little post-it-note pack slips neatly into a handy little plastic folder-style page in my diary… so if you’re shopping for a new diary any time soon, be sure to check it comes with one of these plastic wallets as it’s great for storing extras!

2) Giant Paper Clips: I use these for securing my monthly planner to the inside the diary – it’s easy to remove and keeps a little book mark of exactly where it is for quick reference!

Blog plan Collage

3) Pilot Friction Pen: Basically the ink form of a pencil. This sassy little pen has a handy eraser on the end tip allowing you to cleanly erase any mistakes or juggle your posts more neatly on your schedule!

4) Removable Page Marker: If your diary doesn’t have one of these then I suggest you invest in one… you’ll spend less time leafing through lots of pages to find what day you’re on. Another little time saver 😉

How I Schedule My Blog Posts

So there you have it blog buddies, my step-by-step guide on how I plan & schedule my blog posts. Have you any tips on planning? What do you use to help you keep on top of your schedule? Whatever your thoughts do stop by to say a quick hello & let me know in the comments below!

Cheerio Chums…

Karen signature

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Fancy reading some more? Then why not feast your eye’s upon:

Helpful Resources For Budding Beauty Bloggers

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Simple Design Layout Tips For Your Beauty Blog

Blog Design Layout Tips

Blog layout is super important. It’s the first thing your readers see when they make a visit to your virtual haven. Unfortunately though, you could be the best writer this side of town but if your shop front doesn’t match the contents then you could find your readers very quickly hitting the dreaded back button… something we all want to avoid happening! Having picked up a some tips along my own blogging journey here’s a few of the things that have helped me dress-up my online design skills…

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BT1

To some this may seem a bit obvious, but creating an eye catching blog banner is essential to immediately capturing the attention of your reader & portraying what your blog is all about. Can you imagine walking along the high street and none of the stores having signage above their doors? Well, in retrospect that can lead to the same calamity if you don’t get busy with your banner.

Boasting an eye catching blog banner really helps others to immediately suss out your style & personality. It doesn’t have to be perfectly smeared in colour, in fact some of the most successful bloggers have incredibly minimalistic designs but it still gives the audience an idea of what to expect and a basic branding theme that will hopefully correspond with the style throughout your posts.

Banner

“So how do I create one of my own?”

Super easy! Get yourself over to a free online editing tool (such as Pic Monkey) and simply hit the design option. Voila… you can start creating sassy looking blog banners & graphics until your heart’s content.

Pic Monkey

If you prefer, you can upgrade to the premium service for a small monthly fee which entitles you to lots of incredibly useful features with no annoying flashing ads whilst your in the depths of creativity. They have such a huge range of fonts, themes & design features on offer you’ll be spoilt for choice. If you use it half as much as I do it’s worth every penny!

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BT2

If you find yourself blogging about multiple topics then organising them neatly into their own individual categories is hugely beneficial; particularly for readers who like to quickly visit the area that peaks their interest. It’s also a great way to help keep you on top of your post organisation too. This is pretty much ideal for those who find themselves blogging about a variety of subjects such as beauty, lifestyle, fashion etc. All your posts will still appear on your blogs initial feed page but can be separated into more specific topics too.

Categories

Creating categories is something I get asked about incredibly regularly, so if you’re still working out how to master it don’t fret… we’ve all been left frantically trying to figure this quandary out at some stage or another. The most common misconception many WordPress users tend to make is assuming these are created as ‘new pages’ when in fact they’re actually ‘new categories’. For a comprehensive step-by-step guide on how to easily create your own categories *click here* for a handy link to the official WordPress tutorial guide which gives you easy to follow instructions on creating your very own category style pages!

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BT3

Okay bloggers, this is where it gets personal. Everyone has their own unique style, vision and concept when it comes to choosing a colour scheme for their blog. However keeping the colours complimentary to each other is super important otherwise your blog page can look like an explosion in a paint factory. I always find that keeping a neutral background on my posts really helps images stand out – if there’s too much going on then it’s just confusing for the reader and begins to look incredibly messy. If you keep your colours complimentary your blog will look super professional, clean and complimentary for the reader.

Customise

Just like you would for interior design, creating a mood board of colours you’d like to use for your blog is a great way of determining what colours you might like to stick too:

mood board

Pinterest is a huuuuuge source of inspiration when it comes to stuff like the one I found above! So pretty don’t you think? 🙂

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BT4

I don’t know about you guys, but I find a screen full of text utterly overwhelming & sometimes feels like a bit of hard work to get through, however there are ways to make larger posts more appealing. A great Image can speak a thousand words by using them wisely to break up huge chunks of texts so your readers won’t feel so swamped in literature. Bullet points also work a treat for keeping your layout reader friendly too as can eye catching titles!

Post example

Another great tip is to use your side space to showcase some of your favourite posts. Many bloggers seem to overlook the the fact that their sidebar doesn’t just have to be for social media widgets etc but if you design an eye catching little graphic (again, Pic Monkey is superb for this) and upload it as an image to your WordPress media library you can add it to your sidebar & hyperlink it to your favourite post. Yep, it’s really that easy! Whilst your readers are scrolling down through your blog you’ll soon catch their eye & lead them onto other exciting posts they may have missed out on = great content for your visitors to check out & more traffic for your blog! Win win in my humble opinion.

Side Bar

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 BT5

People love personality & nothing says it better than a great profile pic to put a friendly face to the person behind the blog. When most people read a post they imagine it in the voice of the creator, of course it’s so much more easier when you can put a face to the words. It’s also a really nice addition to welcome new followers onto your little online haven. Of course this tip won’t be useful for those anonymous bloggers amongst us, however you too can still inject a little bit of personality without giving away your identity by adding a fun gravatar. Okay it’s not the real thing but if your illustration is loosely based on yourself at least it gives readers a more realistic expectation of what you may look like.

Pic Collage

When choosing a profile picture try to make it as engaging as possible. Having worked with a number of glossy magazines in the wedding industry I picked up some valuable little tips that help to really make an impact with your images. Looking directly at the camera means that when the reader spots your picture your eyes will already be firmly on them (and hopefully smiling at that!) this is why all pretty much all the shelf filling magazines in your favourite bookstore will usually have their models looking directly into the camera. Eye contact catches attention.

Don’t forget, if you’re wanting to keep everything as professional & consistent as possible it’s worthwhile having the same profile picture in all your other social media sites too. That way you’re more easily identified and very quickly recognised!

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If you fancy procrastinating a little more and checking out some of my other on blogging then *click here* for a mini library of posts that just might help you make sense of all this virtual shenanigans.

Cheerio  Chums…

Karen signature

Catch me on:

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My Top Tips On Making Your Beauty Blog PR Friendly…

Making Your Beauty Blog PR Friendly

It’s no secret that one of the biggest goals of many a beauty blogger is to collaborate with a wide range of blossoming brands, reviewing the latest lotions & potions… am I right girls? However since launching Confetti & Curves I’ve slowly watched my own blog grow from something so tiny into what feels like a full-time job. Now although I’m not by any means an expert on PR, through my own trial & error (not to mention a wholeeee lotta reading) I’ve picked up a few valuable little tricks that has helped make my blog more appealing to a range of exciting companies. So to kick off Monday’s post, here’s a few of my top tips that just might inspire any budding beauty blogger to create a PR Friendly site that will *hopefully* help welcome some great PR opportunities.

Sitting comfy? Then let’s get started…

Contact Page

phone

This is SUPER important, yet the vast number of blogs that don’t have a dedicated page highlighting how others can contact them is huuuuuge. Okay, you might have Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram… blah blah blah… but when a PR representative intends on approaching a blogger they prefer to do it privately & professionally.

WordPress makes it incredibly easy to include a contact form to your blog however do make sure your email address is also readable in plain text format. Some PR reps may need to email you without using the form. If you’re not happy sharing your personal email addy with the world then set up a free one just for your blog!

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About Page

About

Although not every one has them, I personally think an ‘About Page’ is incredibly useful – consider it a tiny intro to your online haven if you will. Although you don’t have to be overly specific, useful things to include can be your age, what country you’re living in, hobbies, interests and when & why your blog was born. It literally only needs to be a small paragraph, not your entire life story, however it helps any browsing PR reps make an instant decision as to whether or not their product are right for you.

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Social Media Accounts

Social Media

From a personal perspective I find Twitter & Instagram are by far the best for driving traffic to my blog. However whatever you’re signed up to always ensure you have your Social Media links completely accessible down the side bars of your blog, or at the very least nestled in your contact page. If you’ve just signed up to a multi-tude of online hangouts & are trying to build a following it may be useful to include any social media links at the bottom of each blog post. PR reps love to see bloggers making an effort. Showing you’re keen to subtly promote yourself will certainly give you brownie points when it comes to being approached for PR opportunities.

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Content Is Key

 note book

Okay, so lets imagine you’re a PR guru for the next big brand. Your mission, should you choose to accept, *couldn’t resist that line* is to be on the lookout for great bloggers to help showcase, promote & review your products. So what would you be looking for? Does relevant regular content, eye-catching photography, user friendly layout, GREAT CONTACT PAGE *aah hmm* &  active social media accounts seem about right? If so, then there’s your check list. Simples 😉

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TABs

Tabs

When someone stumbles across your blog they’ll more than likely take less than 5 seconds to mentally determine whether they want to hang around or click the dreaded ‘back’ button. By having a neat little row of tabs along the top of your page PR Guru’s can easily find whatever relate-able content they may be looking for. If you’re often blogging about more than one topic (i.e beauty, fashion, lifestyle, health & well being) then by organising your posts into individual tabs, new visitors can get an immediate visual of what’s on offer than having to aimlessly plunder through a sea of old posts that’s filled with features that may not tickle their pickle.

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Utilised Space

Sidebar

Think of your blog as one extreeeeeemly valuable bill board for advertising space, particularly the side bars! By creating your own little side bar Widgets (or image links) you can help show case some of your most popular posts. Remember you’re highlighting valuable content for PR gurus (and readers) by promoting some of your blogs best features so make use of the free space! Widgets are super easy to create on any editing package and you’ll be well impressed by how much extra traffic they create to other posts.

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PR Badge

PR

Not every blogger wants to be approached by budding brands however if you’re eagerly hoping to take avail of opportunities then it may be helpful to create a little PR badge to display on your blogs side wall… again another reason why that often barren space is so darn useful! I created mine on a simple editing package so it’s immediately recognisable that Confetti & Curves welcomes exciting PR propositions 😀

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Consider Your Audience

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It’s always exciting when you open an email from a company proposing to work together, however before you eagerly reply with a big fat ‘YES!’ there’s a few basic questions you need to ask yourself:

1) Does the product (or collab) fit the general content of your blog?

Meaning: will your readers appreciate it?! Blogging for PR isn’t the same as posting pics from a birthday night out with the gal pals. It has to be well thought out in terms of what the goals are. You’re no longer blogging just for personal pleasure but with a mission in mind – to promote said product or brand. Sure we all love a freebie but if you’re blogging solely to clock up a cupboard full of non purchased goodies you could end up losing the respect of your readers, not to mention having a mish-mashed blog bunged with irrelevant content. Wittering on about eyelash curlers one day & must-have potato mashers the next isn’t exactly relevant now is it?! I do hope you’re nodding in agreement here *sigh* Just don’t forget to reply back with a ‘thanks but no thanks’ email. It’s courteous, it’s professional & although the opportunity may not be right for you, there could always be a next time when it will! Alternatively, if you know another blogger that just might fit the bill you could ask to relay their details instead.

2) What’s the Terms & Conditions?

Before you agree to anything ALWAYS ensure you are 100% clear on what’s expected from you & what you expect from the brand. This is often clarifying how the post will be laid out, content ideas, images, web links to be included, correspondence addresses & if in fact any products are to be returned. Also be clear about who covers the postage and what happens in the event that something arrives damaged? Who’s expected to fork out for a broken bottle of polish or cracked eye-shadow palette? The only stupid question is one you don’t ask!

3) What’s in it for you?

Remember you’re doing this to predominantly benefit someone else… if the product ain’t free then what’s your hourly rate? Might sound harsh but this is eating into YOUR valuable time so ensure you get some remuneration from it – whether that be to keep the goods, a check in the post or at the very least shared on the company’s own social media accounts to help drive traffic and new readers to your blog!

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PO Box

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If (rightly so) you’re not in any way comfortable with sharing your address with a complete stranger via the internet but feel eager to participate in some promotional opportunities then it could be worth while setting up your own PO Box. However do keep in mind these don’t come cheap so you really have to utilise them as much as possible to get your money’s worth. One thing a PO Box will do is give you peace of mind with protecting your privacy. Check in with your local post office for more details on how to set up a PO Box or you can *click here* to view details & prices via Royal Mail’s website.

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Product Positivity

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From time to time we all take possession of products that just don’t work or generally baffle us beyond belief. That’s okay, it’s completely normal. Letting your readers know too is also okay! However there’s a rather bold & obvious line between clear constructive criticism and brand slagging. If you don’t like a product state (diplomatically) why. It’s even better to make realistic suggestions as to what the manufacturer can do to potentially rectify your grumbles. Getting drawn into a hugeeeee rant on a Sunday afternoon over a face mask that left you feeling like you’d stared into the mouth of Vesuvius may certainly capture your readers attention spans but it could end up doing damage in other ways… particularly if you’re expecting a flood of PR invitations any time soon.

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Found this helpful? Then you just might like to feast your peepers upon a few of my other blog related hints & tips:

So You Want To Start A Beauty Blog?

Keeping An Organised Blog

My Top Tips For A Healthy Blog

My Top Five Basic Photography Tips For Beauty Blogging

Do you have any great PR tips for budding bloggers? Whatever your thoughts do let me know in the comments below! As always thanks so much for stopping by & don’t forget to say a quick hello. Wishing y’all a fabulous Monday & week ahead 🙂

Cheerio chums…

Karen signature

PS: HAVE YOU CHECKED OUT THE CONFETTI & CURVES GIVEAWAY YET? *CLICK HERE* TO FIND OUT HOW YOU COULD WIN AN URBAN DECAY NAKED PALETTE OF YOUR CHOICE!

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Starting A Beauty Blog…

Start a beauty blog

A few weeks ago I posted a feature on Keeping An Organised blog, which I have to say was pretty well received *huuuuge thanks guys* Needless to say I also received a small handful of very flattering emails from four lovely ladies… Kirsty, Sheena, Sarah & Ruby *friendly wave if you’re reading gals* all individually asking for a few tips on starting a blog. Firmly affixing my thinking cap for the task at hand, I decided the best (& most obvious) way to tackle this was to write a post offering any pearls of wisdom I can seemingly ruffle up.

Now although I’ve been blogging for almost 2 whole years *whaaaat?!* Confetti & Curves is still relatively new as it’s my second blog project. My first blog was more personal, offering ramblings of everyday life. However like many new bloggers I pretty much made EVERY possible mistake in the book, which resulted in me loosing interest and *almost* my appetite for blogging. Thankfully creating Confetti & Curves was a completely different experience, why? Because I thought the process through before jumping straight in at the deep end.

Therefore, in light of my own blog journey I’ve put together this little virtual tool kit that I feel includes the bare basics for most wannabe beauty bloggers. So pour yourself a huge mug of coffee, pop your feet up for five and let’s get started…

1) A Blogging Topic

Decisions

It’s so important to have a really good mull over why you want to blog and what you want to blog about. I’m pretty sure 99.999% of my blog chums will agree that if you’re starting any blog with the hope that money and fabulous freebies are going to roll in thick and fast, forget about it. Even if you are financially driven all that takes time, investment and a whole lot of blood sweat and tears… yes I’ve no doubt can be done, as the saying goes: anything’s possible. But if you’re expecting to be the next celebrity beauty guru by Christmas, it’s time to take a nibble on reality cake. Harsh I know, but it’s true.

So instead we’ll assume you’re starting your little corner of the inter-web for pure pleasure and because you’d like to share your interests with the rest of us, right?  Creating a blog should be a reflection of your passion & personality; once you combine those vital ingredients with relatively interesting content people won’t just like visiting your blog it, they’ll love it.

However it would seem that one of the toughest questions wannabe bloggers ask themselves is ‘What should I blog about?’ If you’re not (yet) entirely sure then it’s time you nestled down with a cute little notepad (you all know my obsession for adorable stationary) and brainstorm a few ideas on paper, starting with off with your hobbies and interests. For example, just before I created Confetti & Curves I made it my mission to write down a list of things that really interested me: Make-up, Beauty, fashion, lifestyle & crafts are all topics I adore however the wedding industry is where a majority of my experience lies. Having said that, just because I’ve clocked up a good few years fluffing bridal gowns and handing out wads of Kleenex to overwhelmed brides, I didn’t want to limit myself to writing post after post on the joys (& mishaps) of making it to the alter in one mentally sane piece.

Luckily, I was able to combine ALL my interests & expertise into one neat little blog box, as they pretty much compliment each other and so far it’s worked out rather well. However if I’d have built my blog content combining a mixture of equestrian wear, chocolate sampling and nursing bra reviews I doubt very much it would’ve had the same positive response.

In other words, keep your potential blog content compatible and you’re off to a great start!

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2) Choosing A Name

 names

Before clicking the ‘JOIN NOW’ button *easy tiger* it’s important you decide on a name for your blog. Now I’ll readily admit that conjuring up names is something I hugely struggle with, simply because I maaahoosively over-think any potential options for days, upon days, upon days… to the point where I mentally squash any excitement by pensively tormenting my grey matter. Yes, I’m that bloody scrupulous!

Before setting up this blog I wrote a comprehensive list of content related words down on my pretty little notebook (you REALLY need to get one of those!) after which I mulled, reflected, hmm & haaa’d, then slammed it shut and poured a large glass of vino before declaring aloud ‘Confetti & Curves!’. The name worked perfectly for me as it’s not too generic that I’d have to stick with writing one blazingly obvious topic such as KarensWeddingTips.com but at the same time gives the reader a good clue as to what to expect from the content… no equestrian advice or nursing bra reviews here thank you very much, however I can’t say the same for chocolate sampling! *Sorry-not-sorry*

If however you’re one of those concept meandering people who aren’t entirely sure you’ll keep up the momentum with one particular topic then I’d suggest you AVOID generic names such as ‘Kellies Beauty Gossip’ or ‘Fiona’s Fashion Fix’. Instead you may be better sticking to your own name ie: karenrees.com or put a little twist on it such as emma-says.com that way if you decide to evolve your blog content down the line then you’re not lumbered with a name that doesn’t reflect what you intend to write about.

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3) Choosing Your Platform

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Okay, so this is where I really do begin to waffle as the ‘techy’ malarkey isn’t really my strongest point. Basically there are a number of various blogging sites out there (WordPress.com being just one of them) that allows you to create your very own little online retreat… an enchanting place you can fill with thoughts, ramblings, visions and old holiday snaps that will make us tilt our heads sideways in wonderment.

Three of the biggest players seem to be WordPress, Blogger & Tumbler. From a personal point of view I’ve previously tried Blogger however I wasn’t keen on the layout or design features and within ten minutes I found myself retreating to WordPress instead. Since then I haven’t looked back. However it firmly boils down to personal preference – think of it like choosing a computer or mobile phone. Some of us are devoted Apple/Mac lovers whilst others prefer the interface of Windows or Android. I found this helpful article on the pro’s and con’s of the main blogging sites *click here to read* that could be worth scanning before wading through the initial sign up session only to find it’s not for you.

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4) A Theme

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I’m by no means a professional designer, yet of all the emails I receive questions on design and layout has to be the most frequent. Thankfully starting a blog with WordPress.com makes it super easy to pick a pre-designed theme and apply it to your blog with minimal effort simply by clicking the ‘use this theme’ button. That’s right, no fancy CSS/ABC/WTF coding is required *rolls eyes* I’d personally advise you to stick with a free theme first, before shelling out £££’s or $$$’s for any of the premium designs… just so you can get used to your site and how to use the functions. That’s the fun of trial & error folks!

However if you’ve spent hours scanning through endless designs and can’t find anything that tickles your pickle, you could consider asking a creatively minded individual for help (there’s tons of digitial design diva’s out there willing to rustle you up a personally designed theme)

Things to consider before settling with a theme:

A) Is the layout easy to follow?

Having a site with flashing bells and sassy whistles may seem a great idea but if your readers find it hard to navigate they’ll not hang around for too long. I opted for using the free ‘ Bluchic Adelle’ theme which pretty much does everything I need it to do without frying any brain cells in the process. The layout is nice and clean, everything that needs to be seen is on display and it’s easy to personalise. If you’d like to see a handy YouTube tutorial on the Adelle theme *click here* to be whisked off for a mini one to one with the talented Katrina who will talk you through the entire process in her easy to follow video.

B) Is it reflective of your content?

Occasionally I’ll stumble across a blog and have to go hunting to ascertain exactly what the content of the blog is all about as nothing about the design or colour scheme is clear on what I’m expecting to read. Making a great first impression is super important in attracting new people. If the colour scheme and site content don’t marry up you could end up losing valuable readers who won’t waste time hanging around to check out your awesome articles *sigh*

C) Is the design ‘Responsive’?

Without confusing myself with techy jargon, a responsive design basically means that your layout will adjust to a multitude of screen sizes. With people accessing the internet on a variety of gadgets such as tablets, phones and good old pc’s you’ll want to ensure that your blog looks beautiful on all three. WordPress has a nifty little feature that allows you to check out what your site looks like on these devices before you publish your design. Thankfully I haven’t come across a theme (yet) that isn’t responsive and doesn’t work on a multitude of screens. However if the layout doesn’t look right on any of the preview panes I’d highly suggest you find something else that does!

D) If in doubt… resort to YouTube!

I don’t know about you but when someone is trying to explain something technical to me (that I cannot wrap my head around) it’s very likely the information will travel in one ear and back out the other, however SEEING it magically formed in front of my very eyes makes so much more sense, hence why I frickin’ love YouTube tutorials. If you need a helping hand and someone to visually guide you through the process, check out Katrina’s channel 77Webstudio for oodles of handy dandy videos on how to create your very own slice of the interweb!

5) A Few Extra Ingredients…

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Considering that I’m basing this article around creating a beauty, fashion, makeup or lifestyle inspired blog there’s a few little extra ingredients that will certainly help you along the way:

A Camera:  I’m not talking a fancy DSLR, or anything that’s going to empty the entire contents of your savings account… just a simple camera phone will do a great job of taking perfect snap shots for creating great content images. You may also want to take a look at photo editing software too, there’s a multitude of freebies out there but as always do a little bit of review research beforehand!

A mini photo studio: Okay, time to plug one of my previous posts… if space is limited in your cosy abode and you’re planning on taking lots of product snaps for reviews check out my Create Your Own Mini Photo Studio article. It costs virtually zero pennies to make and has constantly came in useful for me, in fact I use it almost every week and it saves the hassle of finding new places to take pictures.

A Note Book: Creativity can strike at any given moment, and if you’re anything like me you’ll find it’ll strike in the most unusual of places so wherever you go to always carry a little notepad & pencil that is dedicated to new post ideas. You’ll never again have to face the anguish of bloggers block if you jot down all your great musings in one handy dandy little place.

Social media: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest… the list goes on. If you’re not already signed up to various social media platforms then now’s the time to go global. Yes, it can be a daunting process putting your blog out into the big wide world but in order to gain new blog buddies, interaction and momentum it’s vital to link your blog with as many platforms as you feel comfortable with. I personally find Twitter to be exceptionally beneficial, and with over 2K followers and counting it helps boost page views and has often led to great opportunities working alongside new & established brands.

Most importantly have fun! Blogging can be incredibly time consuming but providing you enjoy it enough you’ll have no grumble with committing any spare hours to nurturing it into the little online haven you’ve always dreamed off owning. In my Behind The Blog series I always ask my interviewees what advice they’d give to a new blogger, and more than often the response is ‘Just go for it & have fun’. Until you give it a shot you’ll never know how much fun you could be missing out on!

If you’ve enjoyed reading this article you might also want to check out a few of my other little offerings that could come in useful too:

 *Top Tips To A Healthy Blog*

*Create Your Own Mini Photo Studio*

*Keeping An Organised Blog*

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Do you have any top tips on starting a new blog? I’d love to read them in the comments below, your opinions are always warmly welcomed folks so do stop by and say a quick hello 🙂 *friendly wave*

As always, thanks for reading & happy blogging…

Karen signature