I never, ever thought I would reach 1,000 readers on this blog.
So it has really been an exciting time; watching more & more of you come to read my posts, to chat to me (and each other) and generally just make this space so much fun. It's no huge number in comparison to some blogs, but it really is wonderful to me.
I remember starting up Tiny Paint Pot with zero readers and seeing it develop over time has left me feeling extremely happy. So, to say 'thank you,' I thought I would give away 'a little bundle of happiness' to one of you! I would love to be able to give something to each and everyone of you that takes the time to read any of my posts - but unfortunately my bank account won't let me do so!
I tried to choose things as if I were buying for a friend (and got a little bit carried away - giveaways are exciting!), so I hope there's a bit of something for everyone!
Here's what you could win :
♥ Essie Nail Polish in Chubby Cheeks ♥ Bracelets from Accessorise ♥ Notepad & pen from Paperchase ♥ Bourjois Rouge Matte Velvet in Peach Club ♥ Dream Time Bath Melt from Lush
To enter, all you have to do is simply follow my blog in some way : Bloglovin', GFC or Email Subscription, and let me know which one in the Rafflecopter box below. There are a couple of additional things you can do for extra entries should you wish, but they're not completely necessary.
This is in an international giveaway and will last for one week(conscious of getting the Lush product to you in as fresh condition as possible!). The winner will be contacted as soon as the raffle ends and will have forty-eight hours to respond with their address before another winner will be chosen. Giveaway-specific accounts will be disqualified as this is a thank you to genuine readers.
I'm no photographer or Photoshop specialist, but I thought I would share some tips of the tools that I use on a weekly basis when editing my photos. Some of these things took me a while to figure out, but they're so useful and easy to use when you get your head around them, that I thought it might be nice to share them with anyone that's interested!
Ever taken a picture, only to find it's not exactly straight? The Ruler tool is fantastic for fixing these issues. Simply draw a line over the place you would expect to be straight, then click image > image rotation > arbitrary and the perfect rotation angle will be ready & waiting.
Obviously, you will need to crop your new image, meaning you will lose a little bit of the outer edges, however, I usually find it's nothing too drastic and helps give that 'I have an internal built spirit level' look.
Save For Web
Possibly the most useful of all the tools on Photoshop, in my opinion, is the 'save for web' option. If you take pictures on your DSLR, your file size will be huge, which is great if you ever want them printed, etc. but for the purpose of your blog, a lot smaller file size will result in images loading quicker and ultimately saving space wherever you upload them to.
I personally save mine to 650px as that is the width of my blog column; meaning, when I upload them and click 'original image size' my image and text will be in perfect alignment. Which not only looks nice & tidy, but (supposedly) helps the readers eye not have to jump around the page. (This blog post may help you find out the width of your post column!)
Ah, actions. Actions are my best friend. They make editing photos so much quicker & generally make them look a lot better too. Actions essentially take away the process of layering filters & adjustments on top of each other and basically do all the hard work for you. They can be as simple as altering the brightness/contrast or can completely give your photos a whole different feel.
Some of my favourites are from Paint the Moon(they have a couple of freebies too), but there are also some great free downloads available online, particularly on Deviantart. Also, if you like the Afterlight app, then you will love Simon Filip as he has a whole set of free actions that are wonderful.
Once you have them downloaded, simply open your image (I recommend adjusting contrast/brightness manually first) then hit the play button and watch as your image transforms! Don't forget you can always adjust the opacity of your action too, in case you want things a little more subtle!
If you're generally happy with your image and just want to alter a couple of things, the adjustment layers button is for you. It's really worth playing around with the options on the list as you can really improve your image with just a few easy clicks.
Curves is always wonderful to make your whites whiter (sounds like a washing tablet advert) or your blacks darkerwhich will give your photo a bit more depth. Or if you wish to cancel out yellow tones, for example, you can lay a blue photo filter over the top to cancel them out slightly. Exposure & Vibrance can also be great little tools to pep up a particularly dark image or alternatively bring back some detail from an over-exposed photo.
I appreciate not everyone has Photoshop, but that doesn't mean you can't edit your photos. There are plenty of options on the internet that can help you, including Pixlr & PicMonkey. Also, if you're an iPad or iPhone user, it's not out of the question to edit your photos on Afterlight, Vsco Cam or Snapseed, just save at the highest quality, et viola!
I personally find PicMonkey very useful when making YouTube thumbnails as you can choose your dimensions (1280 x 720, if you're interested!) and insert pictures to your hearts content. They even have some pretty great fonts to choose from too!
I hope this has been of some interest or help! As I said, my images are never perfect & I'm definitely not a professional, but these are just a few of the things I use to help get my images to how I want them to be.
Mainly because I wear years & years out-of-date/out-of-style clothes and the majority have no real shape or fashion sense to them (painting an attractive picture or what?). However, I had a little bit of birthday money left from May & a gap in my Summer wardrobe where a kimono needed to live. I've never owned one, but love how relaxed they look & how they can make even the simplest of outfits a little bit funkier.
After spotting this one on Essie Buttons site a while back, I knew immediately that it was my kinda thing (apparently no longer available, but plenty of similar - here). I hadn't found an opportunity to wear it but after finding this simple, black cami in the Urban Outfitters sale & these brown, thick strappy sandals(which I first saw on Blue October's blog - this should just be called 'Bloggers Made Me Buy It, shouldn't it?), I knew that it would be the loose, casual Summer outfit I'd been looking for. Even if it is all dark colours... I don't actually subscribe to that whole 'dark clothes attract heat' thing!
I think the lace detail on the cami makes it a little different from every other cami out there, plus it's a nice average length, loose fitting and not see-through; which are all things I love (and are apparently hard to find on the high-street at the minute).
The sandals are unbelievably comfortable. Like... uber comfy - almost padded - with a lovely chunky heel that adds a nice amount of height and 'dressed-up-ness' to any outfit but without the crippling pain of regular heels. They're such great quality and I'm so pleased I bought them. I know I'll get so much wear out of them & they pretty much go with everything! Bonus.
As for make-up, I felt like going for a bright lip for once and opted for Bourjoir Frambourjois Rouge Matte Velvet which is such a lovely colour and definitely adds a more summery feel to a fairly dark outfit! I then paired it with just about every piece of silver jewellery I own - as I always do! My favourite at the moment is the turquoise bangle from Topshop & a dainty silver bracelet that I found in the Accessorise sale for £5!
I've had such an urge to draw lately; I couldn't wait to put pencil to paper!
I didn't know what I wanted to do, but with it being 'festival season' I thought it would be appropriate to put together some of the things I consider to be essentials! I absolutely love festivals, my last one being in Croatia for Outlook and it was amazing. I'm sadly not going to any events this year, but hoping to tick Glastonbury off my bucket list next year at least - it always looks like so much fun!
Anyway, I always find it interesting to see what people consider essentials, especially in regards to festivals. If you've never been camping before, you may want to look further than what some bloggers take, as you will almost certainly regret that jumpsuit you packed, when you're hovering over a porter-loo for dear life - half naked!
Realistically, you want to be packing things like duck-tape, beans, extra socks, plasters, clothes you don't mind being ruined, wellies, warm pyjamas and many, many waterproofs - but they don't necessarily make for the most interesting drawings now, do they? So here are some prettier essentials that will see you through a muddy weekend!
The sun is out, the weather is glorious & there's nothing better than heading outside to enjoy it.
I mean, if you're in the UK, you've got to make the most of these rarities whenever you can! So when I had an evening out planned, I thought I'd make a post & share some of my new & old Summer makeup favourites.
The general idea was dewy skin, a soft smokey eye & peachy nude lips. Nothing too heavy for a muggy evening, but a little something more than I'd wear on a day to day basis!
On my eyes I tried out my shiny new Stila In The Light Palette - now I know I'm about 10 blogging years behind with this one - but I had a Boots gift voucher to spend, and this has been on my mind for so long, I figured now was the time to invest. And I'm SO glad I chose this. It's amazing!
I applied Sunset all over the lid, Kitten in the inner corner and Gilded Gold on the outer edge and underneath my lower lashes - which are all so buttery and pigmented, it's crazy. Followed by the waterproof brown eye pencil smudged out on both the waterline and along my top lash-line. This pencil is so soft and smudgy, yet once it's set - it's staying in place. My eyelids have a tendency to eat anything I put on their, so I was amazed when I came home five hours later to see that it was still exactly where I put it! It's love.
Finally onto lips - I knew I wanted something easy as we were going to be eating (burgers, of course) so I thought the Clarins Instant Light Lip Perfector would be a good choice. However, I often find that shade 02 Apricot just doesn't have enough colour and can make me look a little bit washed out, so I decided to apply Mac's Naked Lip Liner underneath and was quite happy with the outcome!
"Commit to loving yourself completely. It's the most radical thing you will do in your lifetime."
- Andrea Gibson
In a day & age where nothing is ever good enough; fast enough; advanced enough or perfect enough, it's extremely hard to accept and acknowledge that who you are - inside & out - right now, is the best version of yourself that you can be. And that that person is amazing, worthy of love, care and respect.
Like almost everyone on the planet; I've experienced some kind of self-hate. Be it the way I looked, the way I acted, the person I thought I was - I've spent years criticising myself due to this imaginary idea of perfection. An idea implanted and passed down by the media, photoshop and general peer pressure.
At 25, I can finally say enough is enough. Life is entirely too short to hate the skin you're in. To feel bound by non-existent rules and ideals. It's time to love yourself, be kind to yourself and to shine from the inside out. Be your own superhero. Make your rules. BE YOURSELF. There's no-one else like you on this planet we call home and that in itself is a truly awesome thing.
As with everything in life; it takes time, patience and practice. I still looked at these pictures with a whisper of 'why are my thighs so big?' and 'my arms look chubby' - but that body can do good things and if I stopped criticising it, perhaps it could do even better.
So, here are some of my tips for self-love & kindness :
- be your own best friend : how many times have you run to a friend in need and given them advice? how many times have you done the same for yourself? you're worthy of your own care. eat feel-good food, listen to your favourite song, run a bath, watch your favourite episode of OITNB. laugh. repeat.
- keep moving forward : every morning is a new day, a fresh start and it's never too late to start making positive changes. you're not your past, you're the actions and thoughts of right now. make them count.
- acknowledge your feelings : if you're feeling sad, angry, disappointed; understand why. let it out. write it down. throw it away. know that it will not last forever. accept and appreciate what you're feeling, no one is happy all of the time and that's okay too.
- invest in yourself : allow yourself an hour or so of every day to do something you love. be it blogging, creating, exercising, cooking. you owe it to yourself to feel happy & you're in complete control of that.
- smile : the power of a smile is wonderful thing. try it :)
"It doesn't matter who you used to be; what matters is who you decide to be today. You are not your mistakes. You are not your mishaps. You are not your past. You are not your wounds. You can decide differently today and at every moment. Remember that. You are offered a new opportunity with each breath to think, decide, choose and act differently - in a way that supports you in a way that supports you in being all that you are capable of being. You are not less than. You are enough." - Brittany Josephina
I hope this is of some benefit to anyone feeling unworthy. It's not an egotistical thing to accept who & where you are right now and I think everyone should feel special within their own skin. I'd love to know what you think.