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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bare minerals miracle veil review highlighter shimmer illuminating finishing powder

During my Christmas sales haul, I definitely made the most of the knocked down Christmas beauty bundles at Debenhams and Selfridges. As well as the beautiful MUFE kit that I got, I picked up a cute little Bare Minerals kit, containing an eyeshadow, a lipgloss and the Bare Minerals Miracle Veil Illuminating Finishing Powder. I didn’t pick up this kit for anything in particular, I just wanted to try the brand a bit more, so I didn’t really have any thoughts towards the Miracle Veil, but I was excited to try it nonetheless!

I’ve never really used a “finishing powder”, I’ve always just topped up my makeup with a matte powder of some description. So, given that it’s my first ever finishing powder, I decided to give it a good old college try. I have to say, after a few times of using this, I have some very mixed feelings…

The Good

I was so pleasantly surprised when I first applied this – the glitter content makes it look quite intimidating, but it definitely applies to the face as more of a shimmer. It’s a gorgeous peachy pink colour in the tub, and becomes translucent on the skin. If you’re careful, the overall effect leaves a beautiful, glowy finish without looking like you slapped your makeup on with a trowel. The first few times of trying this out, it lasted all day, and there was very little patchiness.

The Bad

As beautiful as it is, this little bastard is messy. Are all finishing powders like this?! I opened it just now and I could’ve been a magician, going up in a puff of fabulously glittery smoke! I always find it so easy to over-apply Bare Minerals, and this finishing powder is no different. A light hand is a must, but the flawless look is achievable!

bare minerals miracle veil highlighter review swatch illuminating finishing powder

The Ugly

Ok. This is where this review gets weird. Story time! I wore this to work a few weeks ago, and everything was fine and dandy. I walked home on my lunch to grab some stuff, and when I came back, my colleague did a double take at me. As we’re a very close team, naturally I laughed and pulled a face at her, before she explained what she’d seen.

My face has turned green. Green. I looked in a mirror and couldn’t see it, but I grabbed all my unsuspecting colleagues as they walked past and sure enough, each and everyone verified that the skin around my eye sockets had in fact turned green. I was Hulking out. In a panic and unsure what had happened, I grabbed some hand towels and started scrubbing at my face until it had gone. Which it did. For an hour. And then I’m back to being Bruce Banner again.

A bit of research later, and apparently it’s quite common for this colour of cosmetic to do this when you perspire? I’m absolutely gutted because I had so much love for this product in the early days, and now I can only ever wear it in places where I’m guaranteed to not get sweaty…

I’m going to keep hold of this Miracle Veil, because I adore the finish it gives, and I’m hoping and praying that the Hulk out was a one off. I’ll keep testing and will keep you guys in the loop!

Have you ever had a product turn you green?! Is there any way around it?

Love Hannah ♥

 

The bareMinerals Miracle Veil Illuminating Finishing Powder can be found at Debenhams here.
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Does anyone else feel like Max Factor is one of those brands that consistently comes out with good, solid products, but it doesn’t get much airtime in the blogging community?

I got this little beauty in a box of free goodies after spending £15 (ish?) on Max Factor, just after Christmas. I had previously tried a wimpy little sample of it, and couldn’t remember if I enjoyed it, so when I saw the full size was on offer in the goodie box, I chucked a bunch of stuff in my basket to hit the mark.

The Max Factor Facefinity primer focuses mainly on longevity, claiming to “extend the wear of foundation”, and I used it pretty much daily through January.

The product itself comes in a plastic bottle complete with pump to help regulate usage. When I very first used this, it just kind of sprayed a gross milky liquid at me (rude), but after a few shakes of the bottle, the consistency is thicker, softer and in no way sticky – my pet peeve for a primer!

Left: blended Right: not blended

Now, normally I’m very skeptical of primers, because I’ve never found one that does what it claims to. Porefessional by Benefit doesn’t gloss over my pores, the MUFE Step 1 Hydrating Primer doesn’t hydrate me (more on that in a future post!), and because of this I very rarely buy or use primers. But good news; this one actually makes my foundation stay on all day. When I’m stressed at work you’ll often see me with my face in my hands, so even the most long-suffering of my foundations is gone by 3 o’clock. This makes my makeup last much longer than any primer I’ve used before, and it doesn’t even feel like I’ve applied that extra layer, it’s so lightweight and dreamy! The SP20 is of course an added bonus for that harsh Winter sun!

The gold and white packaging is really pretty as well, and makes the Facefinity Primer feel a lot more high end than it’s price tag! I find this best blended in to the face with (clean!) fingers, and a little really does go a long way. Like I said, even after wearing it everyday through January, I feel like I’ve barely scratched the surface of it!

This primer currently retails at Boots for £10.99, but if you’re quick there is a 3 for 2 offer going on at the moment!

Have you ever tried this primer? What were your thoughts? Let me know in the comments!

 

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