October & November Instalife

It wouldn't be an instagram post without a selfie | a little inspiration | road testing
Lusting after Isabelle Marant for H&M | Birthday fun | Homemade toffee apple
To buy or not to buy? | pretty Autumn tree | delicious dinner
messing around in the office | check out the socks-roar! | work survival kit
doodling - meet birdie & owl | sitting "frow" at the school of Grazia event
Charlie says hi! | afternoon treat | Oxford street before the big switch on
Autumn feet | Oxford street after the lights went on | selfie/OOTD at the #NBNWorkshop
I hate feeling unwell | flowers still in bloom | getting some vitamin C

It's been a while since I did an Instagram catch up. It seems like the months have just flown by, anyone else a little surprised that's we're less than a month away from Christmas, seriously where did the time go?. Anyway onto today's post, as I didn't do an October Instagram post last month I figured I would combine October & November. I think my highlights from the last few months have been busting out the cosy jumpers, and the blogger event I went to. How about you what have been your highlights? Why don't you let me know in the comment section. 

MUA Mosaic Bronzer

MUA, Sunkissed glow, mosaic bronzer, shade 2
MUA Mosaic Bronzer Sun-kissed Glow Shade 2
MUA, Sunkissed glow, mosaic bronzer, shade 2
MUA, Sunkissed glow, mosaic bronzer, shade 2

I was on the hunt or a fabulous bronzer for darker skin tones when I picked up this MUA Mosaic bronzer hoping it would do the trick. I swatted it in store and was sure I'd found the one. However when I got home and tried it there wasn't much in the traditional way of bronzing. That said there was a whole lot of highlighting and blushing going on! As you can see from the swatch on my hand there is a lovely shimmer. I've been dusting a little of this along my nose and above my brow for a highlighting effect. Then swirling a little on the apple's of my cheeks for a slightly rosy cheeked look.

I may not have found the perfect bronzer but I do have a great addition to my makeup bag. I'm loving the versatility of this little product. It's perfect for getting ready in a hurry, I think I'll be using it lots during the festive season when I have to dash straight from the office to a Christmas do.

Even though I stumbled on a great blusher/highlighter my hunt for a fab bronzer continues. Do you have any recommendations of bronzers for deeper skin tones? If you let me know in the comment section.

Christmas Gift Guide £20 & Under

christmas wish list, christmas gift guide, christmas shopping ideas, affordable christmas gifts
1. Coca-Cola salt & pepper shakers £8.99 | 2. Green & Blacks mini chocolate hamper £15.00 |  3. Primark Scarf £8.99 | 4. Soap & Glory barrelled gift set £18.00 | 5. Next jasmine & tiger lilly candle £7.00 | 6. HM clutch bag £14.99 

It's official, less than a month to go until Christmas! I'm a big Christmas fan, I go the whole hog - I'm talking; a serious feast, festive pyjama's, stockings the whole shebang. That said Christmas can be an expensive time of year, I thought it would be helpful to put together a little guide of affordable gifts for your nearest and dearest.

As a diet coke fiend the salt and pepper shakers are right up my alley, at £8.99 their an absolute steal and would fit in perfectly with any retro/mod kitchen. Tartan is huge at the moment I love how versatile it is a print i.e. boys or girls can rock it with style. This Primark scarf is no exception, I may actually treat myself to this cheeky number. I received the Next Tiger Lilly candle from the NBN Workshop I attended in October and loved it so much it had to feature in this guide.

Have you started your Christmas shopping yet, if so have I inspired you?

DIY Sheer Hem Skirt

sheer hem skirt, sheer hem pencil skirt, sheer hem, contrast hem
sheer hem skirt, sheer hem pencil skirt, sheer hem, contrast hem

Ever since this inspiration post I've been itching to make my own sheer hem skirt. I've finally got round to DIY-ing and couldn't be happier. There are two ways you make a sheer Hemmed skirt either the sew or no sew methods. If you're going down the no sew method you're going to need fabric glue or a bonding agent. On this occasion I opted for the sewing method as I missed using my sewing machine. I know it's odd but I love the clattering and whirling sound of a sewing machine.

I actually filmed a tutorial for how to make this skirt but unfortunately I've been having some technical difficulties with my camera recently. Essentially I made the mistake of buying the wrong SD card, I got a mini SD card with an adaptor from eBay. I discovered that the adaptor slows down the memory card processing on my camera and most of my videos & pictures didn't come out. Hence why I have no video for you. However I'm not going to let that stop me sharing this DIY with you. It's actually very straight forward so I'm hoping these instructions will be ok.

sheer hem skirt, sheer hem pencil skirt, sheer hem, contrast hem
sheer hem skirt, sheer hem pencil skirt, sheer hem, contrast hem
sheer hem skirt, sheer hem pencil skirt, sheer hem, contrast hem
  • Using a tape measure decide the length of the skirt (where you want the sheer hem to begin) and make a mark. I used tailors chalk for this as it brushes/washes of easily.Then cut away the excess fabric. 
  • Take your sheer fabric (or what ever fabric you have chosen to make your new hem) and again using the tape measure and chalk mark off the desired length. 
  • Use the skirt as a guide for the width of the sheer hem as you want it to fit the skirt perfectly
  • Once you have all your measurements and are happy with them go ahead and cut out the sheer fabric.
  • Sew the side seams of the sheer fabric
  • Make sure the skirt and the new sheer hem are both inside out (on the wrong side)
  • Using pins attach the new sheer hem to the skirt, keeping both the skirt and sheer hem inside out you want to pin them so the right sides are together. Doing this will ensure that the rough edges will be trapped on the inside of the skirt.
  • Once you're all pinned up pop your skirt back on the sewing machine to attach the two pieces. As I was working with stretch fabric I used the zig zag stitch. 
  • Lastly go ahead and hem the sheer fabric - again I used the ziz zag stitch for this. 
That's it your all done - see I told you it was simple! I hope my instructions were clear enough for you, If you need more detail go ahead and leave a comment in section below. Again sorry about the  lack of video, bare with me I'll be back to DIY videos soon.
sheer hem skirt, sheer hem pencil skirt, sheer hem, contrast hem
sheer hem skirt, sheer hem pencil skirt, sheer hem, contrast hem

October Favourites

October is one of my favourite months the leaves are falling, it's cold enough to wear a coat but not freezing and there's a nice crisp feeling in the air. Seeing as I love October so much I've complied a list of my monthly favourites, why not take a peek! And yes, I'm fully aware that we're now in November but I figured better late then never hey?

NBN Workshop Top Tips

nbn workshop, blog workshop, next blogger network workshop
nbn workshop, blog workshop, next blogger network workshop
nbn workshop, blog workshop, next blogger network workshop
nbn workshop, blog workshop, next blogger network workshop
nbn workshop, blog workshop, next blogger network workshop
nbn workshop, blog workshop, next blogger network workshop

nbn workshop, blog workshop, next blogger network workshop
nbn workshop, blog workshop, next blogger network workshop
nbn workshop, blog workshop, next blogger network workshop
some Instagram snaps from the day follow me @renee_made or check the #nbnworkshop
Last week I had the privilege of attending to the Next Blogger Network (NBN) Workshop. I had such an amazing time and picked up so many useful tips I thought I would share them with you. To say I was excited is an understatement, there was no way I was going to miss out. Outfit picked and the day booked of work I was set to go, not even the pesky storm and dreadful transport was going to keep me away.

I arrived and was greeted by Gemma and her bright smile made me feel at ease right away. There was a nice opportunity at the beginning of the day to grab some breakfast, mingle and chat to fellow bloggers then it was straight into the workshops. The three workshops were; branding and advertising by Abi Marvel and Emily Johnston, photography and filming with Lily PebblesVivianna and Kit. The Final workshop of the day was the one I really needed and that was design and SEO which was hosted by Faye.

I hope you're sitting comfortably, you may as well make a cuppa as this may take take a while…..
So onto the top tips!

1. Think Big
This had to be the most inspirational message for me. It made me consider what do I want from my blog and how big do I want to grow? How can what your doing on the blog right now be up-scaled in the future?

2. No Time, For Time Wasting!
Simply put if you have an idea then just go for it, what's the point in hanging around waiting  for something to happen. Nothing happens unless you make it happen!

3. Hard Work Pays Off
You have to be willing to put in the effort if you want the results - quite simple really.

4. Be Nice
You never know who you will meet and the influence they will have on your blog/life so share the love and treat people with kindness. The blogging world is a very small one and bad news travels very fast. Making an effort to get along with people will only help you in the long run.

5. Be Social
Utalise the various social networks at your disposal and make them work for you. Tweet, instagram and faceboook to the high heavens. Twitter moves very quickly so tweets can easily get lost to help keep followers updated on your recent blog posts tweet about them multiple times a day. Lily Pebbles mentioned that she tweets her link around 9 times a day!

6. Don't Be Negative Be Constructive
If you have something to say that is less than complimentary about a brand try to be as contructive as possible. You don't want to burn your bridges so absolutely slating a brand or product is never a good idea. Try to think of a way to phrase your opinion so it does not come across as an all out attack. e.g. "It didn't work as well for me as I have oily skin but would suit someone with dry skin". I think you get the drift.

7. Pinterest Inspiration
For the days when a great blog post doesn't just drop from the heavens and land in your lap, you're going to need a source of inspiration to get those creative juices flowing. Pinterest is great one stop shop for all things beautiful. You can create your own boards covering various topics. When I first started blogging I used Pinterest on a regular basis to get inspiration for my posts. In recent months I've kind of lost that, I'm determined to get back into my Pinterest flow.

8. It's Ok To Reinvent The Wheel
It's very hard to be completely original, the saying there's nothing new under the sun comes to mind. Originality is great but instead of feeling the pressure to always come up with something new you could try to put your own spin on something that has already been done.

9.Time Management
Writing a blog is like running your very own magazine so it's well worth coming up with your own editorial calendar, to keep things on track and orgainsed.

10. Out With Blogger Stats In With Google Analytics
I hadn't really taken Google analytics very seriously until I sat in on the techy session, so if your like me and a bit of a novice take note. The stats on blogger can be missleading as they include robots that trawl your site for things like search engine rankings. Where as Google Analytics only count actual page views from real people. You are also able to get a more indepth break down of your blog stats. One other thing I feel is worth mentioning, if you're used to blogger stats it can be a bit of a come down when you see your GA stats are quite a bit lower. Try not to let it deflate you, but motivate you to keep going with your blog.

11. Write A Blog You Would Like To Read
Quite simply if you wouldn't read your own blog post why would someone else? Create something you are proud of and would want to read your self, chances are other will to.

Now this is something I can freely admit I want to get better at and learn more about so I'm going to quite literally give you a list (as long as my arm)
- Pay attention to light, direct sunlight is not your friend a cloudy day can actually act as amazing natural soft box lighting.
- Consider the composition of your image, it can get a little boring having all your outfit photos with the same setup - you in the middle. Maybe stand to the side or use different angles. Also think about the background does it detract or compliment the focal point of your photo.
- Colour temperature changes by the hour so be sure to check the white balance
- Try to tell a storey through your images or inspire a mood
- Kitchen foil is great for reflecting light, no need to spend lots of dosh on equipment
- Take lots of pictures and edit down to your favourite 5 or 6
- Big clear images are more attractive
- Think about your blog layout when taking photos, is your layout better suited to landscape ot portrait images?

13. Key Words
Essentially if your post is about lipstick you should be mentioning lipstick lots. If someone searched the web looking for lipstick and you've not really mentioned it in your post chances are your post will rank lower on google.

14. How Long Does Your Page Take To Load?
Lets be real people are impatient and cant be asked to wait around for your page to load, if you want to retain followers and make reading your blog an enjoyable experience head over to GTmetrix and enter your URL it will then analyse your site and give you your load time- pretty handy!

15. Goggle+ Get On It!
Lots of people follow blogs using Google Friend Connect but with Goggle+ is set to be its replacement. It's time to get connecting the G+ way.

16. Tidy Up Your Side Bar
Simplicity is the key here your side bars should be tidy without too many icons as it can distract from the content of your blog. Try to use fonts that can be easily read, pale writing on dark back ground can also be difficult to read. Opt for dark writing on on light background instead.

17. Follow Buttons
Make it really clear how people can follow you, theres nothing worse than finding a blog you love and having to hunt around for ways to follow. Follow buttons work really well at the top of the page.

So thats it for the top tips, I hope you've found them helpful. I had the most amazing time at the #NBNWorkshop and came away feeling inspired and fired up to make my little blog amazing. It was also great to meet some fantastic bloggers in person, after following their blogs for so long it was nice to have a real life chin wag. A huge thank you to Next for putting on such a brilliant day, can we have another one please! So if you haven't signed up to the NBN, what you waiting for? Head over there now to register!

Music Monday ~ Jessie Ware Devotion

Jessie Ware has been making some serous waves on the music scene. I've featured her before on the blog, but this time I wanted to pay special mention to her track Devotion. I love how laid back her vocals are. This track is beautifully balanced with electro sounds and live instruments. I've had devotion on repeat for at least a week. I've been a fan of the album from the get go but it seems to have had a renaissance on my ipod.

Personally Jessie strikes me as being a real recording artist focused on making great music, what more could you ask for really?

Jessie is currently touring the states, I can't wait until she is back on home soil with new music and live dates. How about you are you a fan of Jessie Ware to?