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Win A Huda Beauty Obsessions Palette

I only started using Huda Beauty products in December and I fell for them pretty quickly. I was keen to try out the Faux Filter Foundation as I love a full coverage foundation, and aside from that, all I knew I wanted was some eyeshadow palettes. I swore I wouldn't buy Huda Beauty products here but after receiving the Desert Dusk palette for Christmas and two of the Obsessions palettes, I immediately changed my mind. For me, they work really well. I like a shadow that looks silky, a shimmer that glimmers and the lasting power even when using an eyeshadow primer. The Obsessions palettes are perfect for travelling with, they're a good introduction to the brand if you're new to trying them, or if you're looking for something at a specific price point. Currently there are six Huda Beauty Obsessions palettes:  Coral Obsessions PaletteElectric Obsessions PaletteGemstones Obsessions PaletteMauve Obsessions PaletteWarm Brown Obsessions Palette and Smokey Obsessions Palette. I'm giving you the chance to win one of your choice down below as a thank you for supporting me for almost four and a half years of blogging, and for bearing with me whilst I've been moving house.

UK entries only. 'Win A Huda Beauty Obsessions Palette' giveaway ends 26th August at 11:59pm. You must follow @laurahadleyx and still be following by the time the giveaway ends. To enter, follow @laurahadleyx and on Twitter and retweet the tweet to qualify, quote retweets and replies are not permitted. For an extra entry, follow @laurahadleyx on Instagram. Winner will be notified via Twitter. The prize will be posted within 15 working days of receiving the winner's details and choice of palette. No cash alternative.

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How To Create A Blog Post For All Types Of Bloggers

It may be tempting to go straight into doing your post but this can sometimes cause you trouble further down the line. Spending a bit of time thinking about what you want your post to be like is always worth it. Some of the key things to identify are what style you want the post to be written in, such as a review, chatty post or an advice piece. When you have the idea in your head, you can set out a timeline for yourself to achieve your finalised blog post, taking and editing your photos, writing your content and then doing your last checks before hitting publish. Starting a blog is quite straightforward, so to really make the most out of blogging you should plan each post out even if you're just writing for a hobby.  

Taking photos for your blog is one of the most vital elements and can really compliment what you're writing about. One of the most important things when taking your photos is to consider the lighting situation. This can make or break the outcome of your photos. Where possible try to use natural lighting as this will give the best balance. If this isn't possible, aim to use some form of artificial lighting such as box lights or similar. Think about where you'll be shooting to make sure you have a suitable background, while the use of props can really bring your photos to life. There are a whole range of camera lenses available and using the right one can noticeably improve your picture and give you different options, such as blurry backgrounds. I use two cameras for my photos, the Olympus Pen E-PL7 and the Panasonic Lumix G6. After finishing taking the photos, there are a couple of ways to get your photos onto your device for editing. One helpful article about 'How to Transfer Images from your Lumix' explains how to do this. Once your photos are on your device, you can choose which way to edit them. I edit my blog photos on Photoshop but similar programmes and websites can help you achieve the same edit.

When it comes to writing your blog post it can sometimes be the point where you don't know where to start. This is where you can refer back to your plan to see how you intended to write the post and what needs to be included, as this will help you break it down into sections. If you concentrate on a smaller section at a time, it makes it easier to write. Letting your creative mind flow is great once you've got hang of it, but even if you get stuck you can look for some inspiration and you'll soon be right on track. Once you feel that your post is finished, go back over and read through it one more time. This will help you to spot mistakes you may have missed, along with slight improvements that could be made to make your writing that bit better.

It can be easy to publish your post and think that your work is complete but promoting your post is really important to get people to be able to see your post. Think about how often you want to share it and one what platform. Make use of the photos in your blog post to include in your social promotion as this will help to catch the eye of people scrolling through their feed. The better photos you get, the higher quality your Pinterest and Instagram feeds will be, and posts with photos tend to gain more views from Twitter and Facebook. Overall, having better photos should boost your engagement and increase traffic to your site, and help you find more blogging opportunities.

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New From Fragrance Direct: Daisy Love EDT By Marc Jacobs

Marc Jacobs is one of the superior fragrance brands in the UK, and their new fragrance Daisy Love does not disappoint. Like the other scents in the Daisy range, the bottle has an oversized daisy on the bottle which is making my makeup desk really pretty as it's full of flowers now. The pink hue in the fragrance itself is complementary to the bottle design and I love the simplicity of the bottles whilst still making them look dainty and delightful. This scent is perfect for the summertime and isn't overwhelming by any means. Fragrance Direct sent me over the 30ml sized bottle to try out and review and I have to say I'm as just in love with Daisy Love as I am with the other scents in the range.

The scent was created by master perfumer Alberto Morillas and is sweeter than the original Marc Jacobs Daisy. It's a floral and fresh fragrance with top notes of Crystalised Cloudberries to give it that sweet and fruity scent, heart notes of Daisy Tree Petals for floral hints and base notes of Cashmere Musks and Driftwood for a woody, musky tone. The theme around this Eau De Toilette is to fill the air with "a contagious love of life" and is simply irresistible. The entire Daisy range from Marc Jacobs is fruity and floral with different notes depending on your taste but I seem to love them all. I originally started out with Marc Jacobs Daisy Dream as I tried a tester in Sephora in Paris and since then Marc Jacobs as a brand has been far my favourite as I tend to sway towards more light and fruity fragrances.

It lasts all day which is great for an EDT and isn't overpowering which is perfect for me. I spritz a little bit in my hair and I've already had compliments on it even though I've not had it too long. The video for the EDT is set on a beach with the sunset with the 'loves me, loves me not' rhyme which I think works really well for the fragrance as it's a clean and simple scent that is great for this time of year. Fragrance Direct currently have a saving on Daisy Love making it £32.95 from £42.00, and bigger discounts on the 50ml and 100ml bottles. 

This is a collaborative post with Fragrance Direct
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Spring Makeup From Urban Decay

Spring is finally here and it's time to switch up your makeup. A brand I love very dearly, Urban Decay, has sent over some products for me to try out. I think I own more products from Urban Decay than any other brand and they managed to send me products that were not duplicates of items I already had. I started using their makeup when the Naked 3 palette came out so I didn't have the original or the second palette and only really used their eyeshadow palettes until the last few years.

Having combination skin is one of the most annoying things about having a makeup and skincare routine. I'm trying to combat oil whilst keeping my skin hydrated. One way of helping is having a spray to hand to help your makeup last longer with a few added benefits. The Urban Decay Rebound Collagen Infused Complexion Prep Priming Spray smoothes and evens the skin tone out and provides intense hydration. It has a microfine mist and will help wake your skin up before you apply makeup, soothe the skin before your nighttime treatments and can be applied over makeup for a boost. Ingredients include chia seeds which have a rich source of Vitamin E, chameleon plant and Centella which is an ancient healing herb. Rebound is a versatile spray and can be used on any skin type which is perfect for people like me.

I originally thought the next product was a lip pencil, but to my surprise, it isn't. The Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil in Alkaline. I've used a black version of this eye pencil before and it really is a great product. With the name including '24/7', it boasts that it's long-lasting that won't budge, and from my experience from using it on my waterline, it is. For me, using products on my eyelids requires a specific primer which stops my eyelids getting watery, so I know when used in conjunction it will last until I remove my makeup. The ingredients include Vitamin E, Jojoba Oil and Cottonseed Oil which give it a creamy texture without being wet. The shade Alkaline would look beautiful against the eyes, but I think would also double as a great lip liner.

The most obvious product out of the lot is the Urban Decay Naked 2 palette which contains 12 matte and shimmer shadows that are neutral-toned including some well-known shades like Blackout. The shades are: Foxy (matte cream), Half Baked (shimmery gold), Bootycall (pale pink shimmer), Chopper (rose gold shimmer), Tease (matte taupe), Snakebite (chocolate-bronze shimmer), Suspect (beige-grey shimmer), Pistol (grey with a shimmer/metallic base), Verve (pale grey shimmer), YDK (pink-bronze shimmer/metallic), Busted (purple-brown shimmer) and Blackout (deep black matte). The palette comes with a double-ended brush to apply the eyeshadows with and comes in a tin case to match.

The final product is the Urban Decay Mega Matte Vice Lipstick in 714. I've tried a Vice Lipstick before but it wasn't an everyday shade so hard to wear frequently enough. There are actually 100 shades of the Vice Lipstick overall in various shades, and 714 is a Mega Matte which is a super-intense matte with a ton of pigment which makes it last all day. The creamy formula includes Avocado Oil, Aloe Vera, Jojoba Oil, Illipe Butter and Vitamins E and C. The smoothness of the lipstick prevents dragging on the lips and doesn't need a lip liner underneath to show off the colour payoff. The packaging is similar to a shotgun shell and has UD embossed onto it too.

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LighterLife Fast & Light Bites Review

There are quite a few different products and methods out there designed to help you live a healthy lifestyle and to lose weight. LighterLife have created products that can help with the process and make things nice and easy for you. The way this works is to fast intermittently to reduce your intake on certain days. On two days of the week you pick four products out of the LighterLife Fast and LighterLife Light Bites ranges which include porridges, shakes, snack bars, meals and soups. These will total up to give you 100% of your daily nutrition but only coming in at 800 calories. On the other days of the week you can eat what you like, however, they do recommend maintaining a balanced diet. 

The meal replacement shakes I received were the strawberry and banana flavours and contain skimmed milk and milk proteins, with sweetener. They are packaged in a ready to drink bottle which makes it nice and handy if you need to take it out with you as you are not messing around with powder and a shaker bottle. These shakes are also available in chocolate, with them all being gluten-free which can help cater to dietary requirements and only have just over 200 calories in them. You can also get the shake powder in packets if you would rather make them at home. I also received some of their original flavour porridge which is made with oats, skimmed milk powder, sweetener and oat powder. It was easy to make and can be done in the microwave or on the hob. I've always liked noodles so was intrigued to see what the Americana Chicken Noodle flavour FastPot was like. The pot only has 209 calories and is actually suitable for vegetarians. It's in a handy pot that is easy to make and could be great if you are on the go. The noodle pot can be used on either your fasting or non-fasting days.

The meal replacement bar that I tried was the Chocolate Raisin Bar which has 226 calories and can be used in place of one of your meals for your fasting days. It could also be used on your non-fasting days too. I found this bar did fill me up and gave me enough energy when using it to replace another meal. Another item in the selection was the Nut Fudge Bar which has 155 calories and is made with butterscotch pieces, sweetener and peanuts. The Chocolate Cookie Caramel flavour bar was one of the light bites choices and was a perfect tasty snack while only being 99 calories so can be part of your fasting options. The last items I tried out were the popped chips packs in the flavours Sweet and Smoky Chipotle, Pesto and Sundried Tomato and Roasted Shallot and Cider Vinegar, all being either 94 or 95 calories per pack. They are all veggie friendly and provided a nice snack to enjoy without having to feel guilty. I found that by using the 2-day fasting approaching and using these products helped to make it much easier to keep track of my intake and provided quick and easy meal and snack options.

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A Little Life Update

I've been away from blogging for a little bit now, completely not out of choice. In December I got engaged and from then on, as a couple, we began to plan an engagement party. In January we booked the venue and started to pick up decorations, invite guests and look for outfits. We thought we had everything planned out perfectly until it came to looking at dresses for me. My anxiety got worse and I tried on over 22 dresses in the end before I found the right one. So right when I'm in the middle of looking at dresses, a house popped up on Rightmove and we went to view it.

We had been saving for a house since January 2017, after using a lot of money for 'spends' in Los Angeles the year earlier. With that and closing our student overdrafts, it took a while before we were able to put money in per month to really begin the house savings. We had been on and off for a while about whether to get a new build or to go with an older house with more land and character, and both of these options obviously raised questions regarding money. If you choose a new build, you only need a 5% deposit, can save with a Help To Buy ISA which will be topped up and can have an equity loan for 20% of the costs. On the flip side, for an older house, you generally need 10% or more for a deposit, which when buying a house really makes you weigh up the immediate benefits of which type of house is better.

Anyway, at the beginning of April this house popped up on Rightmove and we went for a viewing and this strange maternal feeling came over me, and I was thinking about how lovely it would be to bring a child up in it. I wasn't expecting that kind of feeling at all. We put an offer in and left it at that for a few days. So with party planning and putting an offer in, we had our 5 year anniversary, which was spent being stressed and trying to sort things for the party out and wondering whether we would get accepted for the house. We ended up putting in a higher offer and on the 14th April it was accepted, and almost immediately the estate agents wanted us to tell them which solicitors and bank we would be using which was overwhelming giving that it was the first time buying a house. The week following from this was spent trying to organise our life and still look forward to celebrating at our engagement party. The 21st April arrived and we began celebrating but anxiety set in and about halfway through I had a bit of a panic attack. People intervened before it got too bad and I'm really thankful for that. I'm glad we had a party but to be honest the timing was all wrong (even though we had no idea about looking for a house now when we booked the venue in January). 

I'm only just getting to write this now as it took me a few days to 'recover' from my anxiety flaring up like that. I'm starting to feel a bit better and I know I've got some posts overdue but I promise that this week I am going to post again. It didn't help that people were asking at the party whether we'd decided who everyone in the wedding party was going to be, if we had set a date yet and asking what kind of wedding we wanted. Genuinely lovely questions but the timing was just so wrong. I've needed a bit of self-care before I throw myself into blogging and sorting other things out. I don't tend to write life updates but things have built up and I've been so silent about the matters that even writing a piece has been a little therapeutic. I'm hoping to begin writing about the house process, making wishlists and posting more regular updates as soon as possible.

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