blogging break

If you’ve been reading my blog for the past couple of weeks, you’ll know I’ve had a fairly long blogging break. I enjoy blogging, but sometimes life just gets in the way, and unfortunately, it had to go on the back burner. My love for blogging came back as a bit of a surprise, as I typed up a mind dump of emotions and decided it was time to get back. Whilst taking a blogging break is sometimes necessary, it can be hard getting back in to the swing of things. Here are 5 tips and tricks to help you out!

Own Your Blogging Break

Make the most of it. Use it as a time to regroup and figure out what’s holding you back. Is it creative block? Get back in to reading and commenting on blogs. Reconnect with fellow bloggers on social media and gently ease yourself back in to the creative mindset. If it’s timing that’s stopping you from writing, practice some self love and relax. You shouldn’t feel compelled to blog, as for most people it’s a hobby. Take some time for yourself and come back refreshed and revitalised!

Don’t Just Jump Back In

Take some time to assess what you want from a blog. Do you want to monetise, or is it a mind dump for you. Maybe you want to work on your writing and build up a following and portfolio before monetising? Find what you want your blog to be, and go from there. Do your research, find what fits with you, your goals and your capabilities.

Plan!

Building on the previous point, but I’ve found that planning a couple of weeks worth of content has really helped me to create a schedule that I’m happy with. This way, I can plan my days as to when I’m going to blog, when I’ll do the admin associated and when to take photos.  This can’t be stressed enough. As much as I hate using cliches, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. It’s so easy to fall off the blogging wagon if it isn’t a full time job, and planning will definitely help prevent this.

Get Inspired

Blogging breaks are always harder to bounce back from when you’re suffering from writers block as well – after all it’s often writers block that caused us to take a break in the first place! My favourite place to get inspired is Pinterest. Usually searching for “blog post ideas” brings up hoards of lists provided by other bloggers to get the juices flowing! My favourites are by Sophia, Caitlin and Sally.

Optimise Your Content

Give yourself the best fighting chance. Utilise the free resources out there for bloggers, and make sure that you are truly happy with any content that you put out there. So many fabulous people in this industry have fantastic blogging resource pages available, such as Paula at Thirteen Thoughts and Hayley at Tea Party Beauty. I also have my own, which you can find here.

Although I’m not back to my full blogging capacity, I’m getting there, and there’s nothing helping me more than the wonderful blogging community. I’m excited to be back, and the above has definitely helped me!

Have you ever had a blogging break? How did you get out of your funk?

 

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B. Skin Phase 1

As I’ve got older, I’ve started to become conscious of taking care of my skin and combating the effects of ageing before they truly set in. I’m a complete idiot when it comes to skincare, I literally need someone else to tell me what I need to do, so I was happy to see that B. Skincare had age specific ranges available. I am still a baby at 24 (and no one can tell me otherwise!), so I opted for the B. Skin Phase 1 Line.

My skin is combination; oily around the forehead and jawline, dry around the nose, and I do have some problems with redness and dull skin. The Superdrug website claims that this range focuses on moisturising and boosting radiance, which, aside from the oiliness (which I can live with) covers all my bases. Lets get in to the products!

B. Treated Blemish Gel – £6.99

This is similar to one of those blemish sticks everyone used to use in the early 2000’s, but in gel form. It’s a teeny 15ml tube, and I jut apply this to any breakout areas with a clean finger. It uses Salicylic Acid to reduce the redness, but Hyaluronic acid to prevent it from drying out the skin too much. Personally I do find it quite drying, but as most of my blemishes appear around my chin and jawline, I don’t mind that too much.

B. Confident Day Cream – £9.49

This is a bit of a strange one – it’s a moisturiser but reminds me so much of Sudocream? Probably just in looks because once you start to rub it in it is really smooth and sinks in to the skin quickly. I use this in the morning after the Blemish Gel and before the Hyaluronic Acid Facial Spritz, and I’ve noticed that my base makeup doesn’t cling as much to the dry skin around my nose. It has SPF 15 to prevent against those nasty UV rays, which is always an added bonus.

B. Confident Hyaluronic Acid Facial Spritz – £7.99

I love facial sprays, so when I saw this I knew I’d love it. Again, the Hyaluronic Acid is very moisturising, and the spray itself is very misty, meaning I only use one or two sprays for my whole face. I use this after moisturising and before primer to make my skin stay hydrated throughout the day.

B. Skin Phase 1

B. Confident Moisture Gel & B. Confident Day Cream

B. Confident Moisture Gel – £9.99

Ok, so this is definitely my favourite thing in the whole range. This is possibly the most luxurious thing I have ever put on my face. I use this turquoise gel in the evening after cleansing, and it honesty makes my skin feel amazing. It plumps the skin, and makes me look super glowy. Containing Persian Silk Tree extract, it adds radiance to my skin and gets rid of the dullness that can occur after a full makeup day. If you buy one thing from this range, buy this.

B. Confident Night Serum – £9.49

This goes on my face last, after I’m fully cleansed and moisturised. This is just another moisturiser, but I plop this under my eyes only to act as a nighttime eye cream. It claims to moisturise for 12 hours, which I haven’t necessarily noticed, but I do see less eye baggage when I wake up after using this.

B. Revealed Glycolic Cleansing Peel – £7.99

This last product in’t actually in the Phase 1 range, but rather in their “All” Phase. I also haven’t tried this yet, but it says you’re supposed to use two or three times a week, and that it’s suitable for all skin types. The glycolic acid acts as an exfoliator, and this product comes with a muslin cloth to polish the peel away, and boosts radiance t the skin. Needless to say, I am excited for this one!

 

Have you tried any of the B. Skin Phase 1 range? Would you like to see my full skincare routine? Let me know!

 

Love Hannah

 

 

 

 

You can shop the B. Skin Phase 1 Collection here, and it’s currently Buy One Get On Free!

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If you read my last post, you’ll know that I’ve been having a pretty shit year. My love of makeup went on the back burner this year, so when I decided to give myself a little pick me up, I realised I was so out of touch with what was happening with UK drugstore brands. I wandered around Boots and Superdrug and packed up my little basket full to the brim of goodies to try out and blog about. So, without further ado, keep scrolling to find out what I treated myself to!

Drugstore, Haul, UK, 2017

 

Firstly, I picked up two of the Kiss Gel Fantasy press on nails, one white stiletto style with glitter, and the other a gorgeous burgundy “squoval” nail with gold glitter. I’m so bad at growing my nails, so I always buy press ons when I want to feel a little extra glam. On the end of the aisle in my Superdrug they had rows and rows of these own brand makeup blenders, at only £1! So obviously I had to get those too.  My Superdrug has also recently got the Zoella range in store, so I’ve finally been able to get a whiff of her Body Mists. I loved a few of them, and then found this little trio at just £14. The trio contains miniatures of her original Blissful Mistful, the Lets Spritz, and the newer Sweet Inspirations.

uk, drugstore, uk, 2017

I’ve had one of these Freedom Pro Contour Sticks before, and stupid me left the lid off of it and it dried out. I love the versatility of this, I’m a bit of a novice with cream products but this eases you in nicely.

Next up, eyeliners. My little sister is inexplicably good at eyeliner, and swears by using a “proper” liquid liner, so I thought I’d try the Collection Fast Stroke Eyeliner. To be honest, I’ve pretty much only ever used felt tip eyeliners, so I’m a bit intimidated by this little thing. I am excited to see if it’s any easier though. Then I saw the Rimmel Wonderwing. I’d seen adverts about this supposedly making it easier to do cat eye wings, so obviously I needed it – I’m not one to pass up help in that department. Topping it all off is the L’Oreal Le Kohl in Midnight Black. Nothing exciting here. Just a pencil eyeliner.

I’ve been seeing a lot of bloggers and gurus rave about stick foundations, so I was happy to see a drugstore alternative to some higher end brands. I grabbed Revlon’s Photoready Insta-fix in Vanilla, and I’m excited to give it a go. My skin is a bit dry at the moment, so I might have to wait until that calms down! Back in Rimmel’s camp, they’ve brought out some matte liquid lipstick in their Stay Matte range! Yay! I picked up three shades; Pitch Black, Blue Iris and Mocha. I’m so excited to see a black, matte liquid lip in the drugstore, and I have very high hopes for these!

 

drugstore

I would just like to take this opportunity to say that I think Superdrug are killing it with their brand selection, I find it so much more fun than Boots!

My local store has recently gotten Tanya Burr cosmetics, and I’ve seen great reviews of her Birthday Suit palette. The shades are beautiful, and very wearable. I also picked up an old faithful, Rimmel’s Stay Matte Translucent Powder. L’Oreals Matte Lip Paint in Nude on Fleek (come on, L’Oreal?!) is another newbie to the drugstore. This is a gorgeous colour, but there’s a bit of a funny smell to it. Still, it looks creamy so I’m interested to see how it performs.

Next up are two foundation mixers – Lumi Drops by Gosh in the shade Vanilla is a beautiful illuminator with a slight golden tint. Possibly my favourite item in this whole haul is the MUA Custom Colour Foundation Mixer in Lightening Warm. It’s a drugstore version of the oh so expensive high end white foundations, and I’ve tested it out a bit already, So far, so good! The Maybelline Fit Me Matte and Poreless is another product I’ve seen people rave about, and I do love me a matte foundation. This one will have to wait a while due to my poor dry nose!

One of the things I was most excited to pick up was the #ProArtist Freedom Naked Lipstick Palette. It has 24 nude shades, 8 of them matte and the rest sheer. I love these types of palettes, especially for travelling, so hopefully I will get loads of use out of this.

drugstore

Do I really need to comment on the Collection Lasting Perfection Concealer? Hands down the best drugstore concealer. End of. MUA have recently brought out a range of smaller palettes, and I got the matte one (am I predictable yet?).They’re mostly neutral shades, but two have a dusky purple colour tint to them, which I’m very in to at the moment. I’m looking forwards to seeing how these hold up against other MUA palettes I have.

Well done if you’ve stuck it out until here, I’m aware that this has been a lengthy one! Last two products, I promise.

The new Max  Factor Healthy Skin Harmony Foundation was an afterthought for me. Superdrug had 3 for 2 on, but I am glad I picked it up. It’s marketed as being “better for your skin than no foundation”, which is an interesting concept to me. I’ve never met a Max Factor foundation that i didn’t like, and I’m sure this will be no different.

Lastly, but by no means least, Makeup Revolution’s Luxury Banana Powder. Now, I’m going to be honest. I have no idea what this does. No idea where it goes. Or how I’m supposed to put it on. But, I don’t have one and so thought it best to get one. I think it goes under the eyes? Who knows.

And so that’s that! Possibly the biggest haul I’ve ever done on this blog, and probably my longest post to date. Seriously, if you stuck it out right down to this bit, you deserve a freaking medal. Gold star for you.

Have you been shopping recently? Or tried any of the products mentioned? Let me know!

Love Hannah.

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I’ve rewritten this post from it’s original format many times, because it keeps coming across as “woe is me” and that’s just not me at all.

I started 2017 with such high hopes for this blog, for my life, for everything. I was hyper organized, losing weight, doing well at work.

And then 2017 hit me like a tonne of shit.

It started with a cancer diagnosis. Not mine, or my partners, but one of the most important people in my life. Treatable, yes, but terrifying. I started to become angry. How could this happen to this person, who was healthy, hardly drank, never smoked, worked out 4 times a week? I started questioning whether or not it was worth looking after myself, if these things can happen to someone so healthy anyway, what’s the point? The more is thought about it, the more stressed of the unknown I got. I had to watch people I loved break down in tears, I had to explain to people why I was running out of the room on my phone crying. I got angry. I was lazy, unmotivated and took no pleasure in things I’d previously enjoyed (hence this blog not being touched since February.)

Then my partner proposed to me. On a lake, surrounded by fireflies. It was beautiful, and has truly been the shining light in the shit hole that has been this year. I started to wedding plan, everything was calming down in life, the road forward for the cancer diagnosis was much clearer and I was starting to see some semblance of my former self again. We had a family gathering in the Lake District, which was amazing and lovely, work settled down and I was in the throes of wedding planning. Then life seemed to drop shit storm after shit storm on me and my fiance.

But this experience, and other shitty life experiences that have happened in 2017 really brought to my attention how I handle stress, anxiety, and it made me open up to myself about how I was truly feeling. I was depressed. I am depressed.

I have struggled with my mental health for 10 years. It started as a seasonal thing, and over the years it seems to have become more and more year round. I’ve reached out for help twice; once when I was 17, and once when I was 20. Both times, I was turned away, told “someone will be in touch”, and then heard nothing, or “you’re not depressed, you’re just a bit sad.” Since then, I’ve refused to accept that there is something medically wrong, and resolved to handle it myself as opposed to seeking professional help. I wasn’t coping very well, and it all came to a head in the middle of July. My doctor prescribed me Citalopram, and wanted to follow up in two weeks. I didn’t find that Citalopram did anything for me, except for a slight burst of motivation, so when I went back, they upped my dosage. The doctor also deemed that I was not fit for work due to ongoing stress and anxiety, and signed me off for 2 weeks. This is when the nightmares started. After upping my dosage, I started having these horrid, vivid dreams, about insects sucking out spinal fluid and rooms full of cockroaches. I had dreams that my little sister went missing after trying to find my dogs, who had also gone missing in the middle of a sickness epidemic. I wasn’t sleeping well when I was sleeping, so I slept more. Obviously my doctor was concerned, is switching me to Sertraline and running me of Citalopram. The nightmares are still going on, I’ve been signed off for another 3 weeks (two weeks in already.)

My doctor recommended trying to get back in to the things that I used to enjoy, and I’ve been wanting to pick this blog back up since I saw my fucking domain renewal rob me of £100. I want to spend the next week focusing on this space, making it more me, making my plans for the rest of the year, and hopefully bringing around some level or normalcy. This is my last chance at this blog, if I can’t make it work this year, then I can’t make it work.

My advice to anyone out there, regardless of age or history, to not let being turned down stop you from reaching out in search of aid for your mental health. Shitty doctors? Change doctors. Unsympathetic friends/family? Fuck them, reach out anyway. Being turned away hurts, but living your life, day in day out down, depressed and terrified of the future hurts more. I promise. Just do it, help yourself. Keep trying, don’t take no for an answer. You deserve to be taken seriously, and sometimes you have to demand that.

This is the start of a very long road for me. While I dont feel any better, and possibly slightly worse, I am so thankful that I forced myself to make that doctors appointment. I’m still angry, unmotivated. I don’t sleep well and I’ve neglected to take care of myself for the whole of August. But I took the first step, and I’m so proud of myself.

Peace out guys.

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When I relaunched my blog, I knew I wanted to be well equipped enough to make the most of my corner of the Internet. I spent days scouring the Internet for tips and tricks to make sure that I had all the information I could on how to build and grow Hannah Dolled Up, and have narrowed the massive troves of information down to my 10 favourite online resources.

10 free online resources for blogging beginners

Photography

1. Picmonkey.

Picmonkey is a fantastic online photo editing website. There’s far less scope that paid-for programmes like Photoshop, but for the average blogger, it’s got everything that you could need. It’s fairly basic and easy to use, and free, with the option of upgrading to premium if you really like it.

2. Snapseed

I discovered this photo editing app through Little Miss Katy last week, and I’ve been using it for my blog photos ever since. It’s so user friendly, and the finished product looks really sleek and fine-tuned.

3. Canva 

Canva is another new discovery. It’s the perfect tool to create stunning Pinterest worthy images, header pictures, and banners of every description. When I relaunched, I used Canva to create my new header, and not to toot my own trumpet, but I’m pretty darn impressed with it.

Plugins

4. Yoast

Ok, Yoast is the best WordPress plugin I’ve come across. Everywhere you look in the blogging community, people are banging on about SEO and how important it is for growth and traffic, which is all well and good, unless you don’t have the foggiest of how to use SEO to your advantage! Yoast takes the hard work of SEO out for you, and skims through your post as your typing it. It marks your post as either red (bad), yellow (meh) or green (good), and contains tips for you to utilise. This is perfect for the SEO illiterate like me, and that’s what makes this possibly my favourite resource ever.

5. Jetpack

Jetpack is something I’ve used since I first became self-hosted. This plugin tracks stats, traffic, views and is so much easier to get your head around than Google Analytics. It also provides security to your WordPress, and stops people from trying to log in as you!

Organisation

6. Pocket

Pocket is another of the online resources I found when scouring the internet before my relaunch. It installs a little button on your browser, allowing you to save articles and webpages for later viewing. This has fast become my favourite thing, and it was so helpful whilst I was doing my research for the relaunch. You can add tags to certain pages, and browse your saved articles by these, making it so quick and easy to use. It doesn’t just benefit bloggers though, I’ve found it to be a fantastic organisational tool for recipes, and I reckon this would be perfect for students finding resources for their assignments too!

7. Buffer

Buffer is seriously one of my favourite blogging resources. It allows you to schedule tweets, Facebook posts and Instagram posts ahead of time, meaning for those busy bloggers who have a 9-5 as well, it’s an absolute dream. Buffer allows you to go through your Analytics, see what kind of influence your posts may have, how many people it can reach, and how many times someone has interacted with it. It also archives your tweets, meaning that self-promotion is easier than ever.

8. A Planner, Calendar, Spreadsheet.

Ok, this doesn’t have to be strictly an online resource, but it can be if that’s how you work. Personally, I have a note book to scribble down my ideas in, and I input all of this into an amazing spreadsheet created by Hayley over at Tea Party Beauty. It helps me keep track of my ideas, at what stage of producing them I am, as well as my blog stats, a finance tracker and even some handy Instagram hashtags to help self-promote! This spreadsheet really helps me keep on top of my blog, I’m definitely a sucker for routine!

Content and Inspiration

9. Other Bloggers

Coming up with original content in a sea of other beauty and lifestyle bloggers can be a painful and arduous task. No one wants to feel like a copycat, and no one wants to be accused of ripping off another bloggers work. That being said, there is absolutely no problem with looking to your fellow bloggers for inspiration. I scroll through my Bloglovin’ feed and it helps me decide if I’m going to write a lifestyle post or a beauty one, it gives me inspiration for future posts, as well as photography ideas. There’s no harm in using the blogging community for inspiration, just make sure you aren’t blatantly ripping them off! So many bloggers also create post ideas lists, solely to help other blog

10. Twitter Chats/Social Media in General

So this one links back to point 9. I get so much inspiration from chatting to other bloggers on Twitter, and Twitter chats are a goldmine for inspiration and post ideas. talking to other bloggers about products may make you realise that you have an unpopular opinion about a much loved product, or it might spur you on to do a haul. They post ideas on social media really are endless. Not just that, but in this day and age, the news and current events unfold on social media. Perhaps you have an opinion or a point of debate on this? Write a post!

 

Whilst these online resources are all free, they do have upgradable services which are not.  I don’t use any upgradable service, and I find the free basic packages work perfectly for me. These aren’t going to suit everyone, and some people may have other similar resources that they prefer more. If you do, let us all know below!

Do you use any of these resources? Which are your favourites? Let me know in the comments!

Love Hannah

 

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