Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Jileon Wide Calf Welly Review

Sorry again for my absence, I'm still alive though I just haven't been on social media for awhile. I'm still sick (and will be begrudgingly going to the Doctor tomorrow if I'm still not better) so I haven't been doing anything exciting. I've a few days off so I fully plan on resting and getting back to normal and blogging on a daily basis! It will be back to normal when I feel a little more normal ;)
Yesterday I popped down to my Nan and Grandad's and had a blast. It's so lovely down in Tipperary this time of year and I took loads of pictures on my cycle yesterday evening, which I'll share with you tomorrow. You'll see for yourself how beautiful and serene Tipperary is, and you'll realise why I love it so much!  I hadn't been down in nearly a month and missed it, so I was glad to relax in the country for a night. I took this opportunity as well to show you my amazing new Wellies from Jileon. I've had these wellies for nearly a month now and have been itching to give them a go, but being honest I don't need them in Dublin. They've come just in time though, as the last time I was down I ruined a new pair of pumps by accidentally walking through a pile of muck! In the end they were only fit for the bin so I'm glad now I've adequate footwear!

Finding comfortable wellies is a bit of a nightmare when you've a larger calf, so when I got the chance to test these wellies from Jileon I jumped at the chance! I choose these gorgeous Floral Print Wellies*. I have tons of room in these babies, and my calves are just a little bit too big for their standard wellies, so if you've larger calves rest assured these will fit you with ease. They're extremely easy to wear and to expand and are so comfy to wear, especially worn with these amazing Welly Socks* I could honestly walk miles in them! As I was in the country I also tested them out and they're 100% water and muck proof so they don't just look pretty on! Now I know I don't have any need for wellies as I'm a city girl but these wellies would be perfect for any Summer festivals or camping trips. Most of the wider calf wellies aren't exactly pretty but with Jileon you've loads of different designs to choose from. Over all I would 100% recommend Jileon Wellies and will definitely be picking up another pair in the hopes I'll get to Electric Picnic this year!

I also have a sneaky discount code for you all! Enter in FFB20 at the checkout before April 21st to get 20% off your order!
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Friday, 11 April 2014

Cut for Evans | Jumpsuit Review

So I've had enough of feeling miserable and decided to get dressed. I wanted something that's really comfortable and hassle free and I knew immediately what I was going to wear. This Cut for Evans Jumpsuit is amazing. Absolutely amazing. It's made of a gorgeous jersey fabric and is incredibly comfortable for what I'm doing today - sitting on my bum watching Criminal Minds and then going to see some friends later. It's easy to zip up and down without any help and it feels like you're wearing a stylish onesie. I plan to wear this loads this Spring/Summer and think it would be the perfect outfit to travel in. It's very lightweight and doesn't crease and can easily be dressed down with pretty sandals or dressed up with heels for a night out. 

I rocked this with my new pleather jacket from Penney's which I picked up on a well needed shopping trip last Saturday. At €31 you really can't go too wrong and it's bang on trend. I'm a huge pink fan so I know I'll really get the wear our of this! I love all the details and really can't believe I picked it up in Penney's. I kept accessories here to a minimum and just wore this gorgeous bracelet my friend Hazel got me for Christmas. I've been wearing it a lot recently and keep getting compliments, so thank you Hazel :). I added nude shoes as let's face it they go with everything! If it was running around town or something I'd add pretty nude flats as the jumpsuit is very bright and I want the attention on the jumpsuit! It's down to £25 on the Evans website so if you want it grab a bargain now!

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Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Blogging | Tips and Tricks

Every now and again I get a few emails about how to start up a blog. A lot of them being people I know in real life, which is fantastic! I love that the Blogging bug has really taken off and I'm more than happy to give them some tips and tricks of what I've learnt over my time blogging. I know how hard it is to bite the bullet in the first place  I decided to do a full post detailing everything I've come to learn over the last two years, in case any of you wants some tips and tricks for starting or maintaining a blog! know I love these types of posts, so I thought it was only fitting to add my two cents. I know I'm not a huge blogger or anything of the sort, I blog for fun and to keep my creative juices flowing. I have been doing this over two years now and have learnt quite a lot of things along the way! So I hope some of you find this helpful :)
Platform and Naming your Blog
When it comes to starting up a Blog, the first thing you need to think about is what platform you're going to use. The two most frequently used platforms are Bloggers and Wordpress. Blogger tends to be the more popular choice as it's a Google owned website and  is a lot more user friendly in my opinion then Wordpress. Blogger is my platform of choice, and the only reason why really, is when I typed "Blog" into Google, Blogger was the first one that popped up, and the rest is History. Blogger is really fool proof, and is the most user friendly. Your readers, can easily follow you through Google Friend Connect, making it easy for them to read your latest posts. It's also incredibly easy to compose and publish posts. In terms of Layout's Blogger seems to be easier to Navigate, and if you're not a whiz at HTML, you can use a pre-made template, and customize it to your liking. As for naming your Blog, have a long hard think about it, and go for something catchy, memorable and original. I went for "Forever Fabulous in Bows" as I'm obsessed with over the top bows, and anything with bows on it. In hindsight, it's probably more of a mouthful, but I don't have the heart to change it yet. My name you see on coming to my Blog is "A Plus Size Girl in a Skinny World" which I really, like and represents me more, but I'm not ready to change FFIB yet!
After you've decided on your Platform and name you're ready to rock and roll. For Blogger, I would recommend adding a few crucial widget's to your layout. It's easy to find all the available Widget's in the layout Section of your Blog, and you can add as many as you'd like. Although I will point out that it's best not to cram your Blog, as it can be difficult to get the information you want, and is harder to read! My Top Widget's to get would be "Google Friend Connect". You should also place GFC up near the top of your Blog, so if people want to follow you, it's easy for them. There's nothing worse, than searching to find how to follow a Blog.  As well as Google Friend Connect, you can also sign up for BlogLovin' which is a great for finding new Blogs, and it's a site a lot of people actually prefer to use. It's best to make your Blog as accessible If you're using social media, I would include your links to all relevant sites, as well and including an email address somewhere easily seen on your Blog, so that if anyone wants to get in touch with you, they don't have to go searching high and low. I would suggest, setting up an different email account, than your personal one, it looks more professional, and it's easier if you separate the two.I would highly recommend a side picture of yourself, and a little snippet of a Biography. It instantly makes your Blog more personal and people will be able to relate to you more. Once you have the basics of the Blog, you can now focus on the colour scheme and where you want to display everything. Blogger gives you templates for this.

I would strongly suggest altering the width's of the Blog. You can do this in your advanced settings in "Template" in your Blogger settings. I prefer them to be pretty wide, as I want my content and photo's to be easily seen, and I like to just leave my pink background peaking out at the sides, I personally think it's more appealing and easier on the eye. I would recommend a white background on your posts, as it's the easiest to read, and it looks nice and clear, if you want to go for a colour I would suggest a really light one, that isn't too distracting to the reader. In terms of font, I would stick to the old classics, and steer clear of anything too swirly and hard to read. Now onto the header. This was probably something I'm always wanting to change. I'm useless at Header's and can never fully commit to one, so until last month I ended up making my own one on PicMonkey. If you're new to Blogging, I would strongly suggest playing around with one yourself, either on Photoshop, PicMonkey or any other photo editing programmes. You can Google "How to make a header" and you'll get loads of hits, and they're quite straight forward. If you really want to, there are tons and tons of people that will customize one for you, all for relatively cheap. If you want a Blog overhaul, and have some spare cash I love Felicity Neilson for Blog Designs, She's actually created and installed my design and I couldn't be happier. Her designs are so pretty and different. She's so lovely to work with and she's more than happy to help you out with all your requirements! There's also some lovely Irish Gals that do Blog Designs, for great competitive prices! I've worked with Lauren Marie before and she's lovely! 
Blog Content:
Before you even start typing, you want to discover what you're niche is. Remember that there is a million and ones girls Blogging the same thing as you, how will you stand out?When I first started I couldn't find any Plus Size Irish fashion Blogs, so I took that and ran with it, and haven't looked back. In time I've changed my Blog by incorporating Beauty Posts, and well as some Travel posts, and a bit of lifestyle thrown in. I've learnt a lot over these two years. I got the Blogging bug, and was uploading a lot, and in hindsight, I should of been quality of quantity, but hey we live and learn! I just had so many idea's swirling around in my head, and wanted to share them, but I needed to make them more personal and more readable. The first few weeks, I really did feel I was talking to myself, now I know my posts are being read by a few of you, and I put a lot more effort in my posts (not that I didn't before, now I'm just more selective on which posts make the cut) I do think a lot of bloggers are the same, as it's just a case of finding your feet, and finding a unique writing style. I like to write, as If I'm talking to my friends. My friends, will even tell you that when they read my blog, they can hear me talking. People will want to read and interact with you, if they feel like they're your friends. If you're reviewing anything, first of all be honest. People can tell if you're being false, and they won't see your Blog as credible. I however, don't review item's I don't love. I do it as I want my Blog to be a positive place, and also for the Brands. I don't want to discredit them, and I have emailed companies in the past, explaining why I won't be reviewing the item, and in some cases(clothing) I have returned the item to them.

In terms of how often you should post, I would recommend at least three times a week. I like to post once a day, as my brain is constantly on full stream ahead, but three times a week is sufficient to build a following. If you're like me and also work you can write a few posts one night, and schedule them for during the week. If you're scheduling posts, I would suggest posting them in the morning, as I've found it better for Blog traffic. However at the end of the day it is your Blog, and you should Blog, as often or as little as you want. They're are no rules and you can find your feet as you go along. If you're lacking inspiration, I go read all the Blogs I love, and pick up inspiration. However it's never a good idea to copy someone else's posts. You can emulate them, but always put your own stamp on things, and be originally. Remember they're are a million and one Blogs in the world, and in order to stand out, you must be different. No one wants to read the same post on 10 different Blogs, as let's face it, it's repetitive and boring. If you're stuck for an idea's and want to post something, I always do "Wish List's" or I put a few outfit's together on Polyvore. It's easy (and fun) to do, and I know a lot of people like reading them in general.
The most important part of a Blog for me, is the photography. As a bit of a photo Geek myself, I'm always looking to improve. Photo's not only make the post more eye catching, it also gives a bit of life to the post, and I for one, are more likely to read a post, full of photo's than one with none. Now before I continue you don't need a fancy DSLR. They're are perfectly good compact camera's for under €100, that are great quality, as even if you want to use your smart phone, all you need is a steady handed photographer and good light. I was lucky enough to get a NikonD3100 for Christmas last year, but before that I was happily using an inexpensive Cannon point and shoot camera. My biggest pet peeve with Blogs is small photo's. It's much more visually pleasing if the photo takes up the width of the post, and in Blogger it's simple to do so. All my pictures are the biggest size, and fit nicely within the width's of my post. Small, blurry photo's make it hard to read, and enjoy the post for me personally, and would deter me from going back and reading the Blog. As well, as having your images taking up the width of the post, make sure they're all the same size. Again it's cleaner and clearer, and will make the post more fluid. PicMonkey, you can make collages, so you can make two images the same size, and it looks a lot more symmetrical and looks neat and tidy. I also love mirroring images on my Blog, for the same reason, as well as looking the effect it gives.

 If you're doing beauty related posts, clear, sharp images really benefit your post, and give your reader's what they're looking for. I personally hate stock pictures, and would really question on whether the person actually owns the product, and I feel it's a lazy way out I like seeing a product being used and loved, and would be persuaded a lot more, than a stock picture taken from Google. I like doing an overall picture of the product, in a bright place, as well as taking a closer up, and a mid shot, to really show off the product. I like including the packaging, the name of the product, all aspects that I'd like to see on a Blog, that would keep me interested. All you need is a good light (Natural is best) When you're photography make-up it's best to do it in natural light, as flash can alter the image, which is not want you want when you're trying to accurately show off a product. If your camera has multiple settings use "Macro" I've found it clearer and it picks up details that "Auto" doesn't. I like my floral background for my photo's, I find it fits into the theme of my Blog as well as looking pretty. I've also used pillowcases and white sheets to show off pictures, all you need is a bit of imagination. For both outfit, and beauty posts, I think they should be clutter free, as not to detract for your outfit, or the product, as no one wants to see clutter! After all that is done, comes my favourite part-editing. I personally love this step, and my tool of choice is PicMonkey. You can add Banner's,text's, you can crop your image add different filter's etc.. and if you upgrade for $5 a month you get all the "royal" features, it's well worth it. Just make sure you don't distort the image, as the quality will deteriorate, and an image that was once crisp and clear,will be tainted.
Social Media/Getting a Following
Social Media, is probably the most important tool in growing your Blog. For the first three or four months I didn't have a Facebook Page, or a Twitter, but once I did, I met a lot of new people and my Blog grew from strength to strength. Twitter for me, is the best tool. At the beginning I followed all the Blogs I admired, and I tweeted them letting them know.  It's always nice to get a compliment and you may even become friends with them! On twitter that also have discussions, #bbloggers (Beauty Bloggers) #fbloggers(Fashion Bloggers) #psbloggers(Plus size Bloggers) #lbloggers(Lifestyle Bloggers) would probably be the ones I would interact with most, and it's a great way to exchange links, and generate more traffic to your Blog. Twitter would be my post important Social Networking site, as most of my traffic comes from there. Whenever I post something new I link it on my Twitter. I link a post about three times in general, as I don't want to over share. I also use the most appropriate hashtag.

The most valuable way to promote your Blog, as well as discovering new and interesting Blogs, is really to interact. I can't stress the importance of this. Comment on Blogs, Tweet the Blogger to let them know you've really enjoyed their new post etc. It's called Social Media for a reason, you have to be social! If you do comment on people's Blogs don't be afraid to leave a link to yours at the end of the comment, as most Blogger's don't mind. I will say, however don't spam! Be genuine and sincere in your comment and don't comment for a shameless plug, as it just tends to irritate people. After over two years I still reply to every comment. I personally think it's quite rude to not reply to someone, especially if your Blog is still quite small. It takes a maximum of five minutes a day and it's a great way to interact with your readers. Never become too big for your Boots. If you're Blog does reach a lot of people, don't take it for granted. I always reply to Emails, Tweets, Facebook messages within reason, as the people who follow me, got me some pretty good opportunities these past two years.  

As for followers go, don't be bummed if you've only got a handful, even the most successful Blogger's start off with zero. It takes time and patience to build a following. People will want to follow Blogs,that are engaging, have good content, clear pictures and that they can relate to. Don't get consumed with it though. Your Blogs quality is not determined on how many followers you have, and over time, your followers will increase, so sit tight. In the end of the day though I must stress Blogging is meant to be fun. All you should be concerned about is enjoying Blogging, and making your Blog the Blog you want!
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