Friday, 22 September 2017

HOW TO IMPROVE BLOG PHOTOGRAPHY - USING FREE SOFTWARE & PROPS


I think I have googled this question about a million times since starting my blog back in 2013 and have only recently improved my photography skills by far. I usually use a professional camera to take my blog pictures, but you can easily take amazing photographs using your phone if the camera has 8+ megapixels. For example, I currently own an iPhone 5s which has an 8-megapixel back camera which is more than enough to take good quality pictures for my blog or Instagram account. On the other hand, the camera that I use is the Sony DSCH400 20.1 Megapixel Digital Camera which is amazing for taking high-quality photos but unfortunately, it's not as good for filming videos.


As you can see in the collage above, the top picture looks a bit washed out and not quite professional for someone who is trying to introduce different products to their audience. However, the image below it is very bright and colourful which would catch anyone's eye from a distance as well as make an Instagram feed stand out.


To create Instagrammable photos, I use a light background like this one from Wilkos, and a few props to add a bit of your personality and unique style to the pictures. In this picture, I laid out a few different products and tried to make them look organised however if you prefer a more messy flat-lay then go ahead and do so as it might make the pictures look more interesting.
My favourite software to edit my pictures on my computer is Fotor which you can download for free here. The little routine that I like to follow to brightening my pictures is:

Brightness: 28
Exposure: 25
Contrast: -9
Vibrance: 12
Temperature: -23


This is the effect that I like to go for, which is bright yet colourful at the same time. Another software that I like to use is the VSCO app (you can upgrade it for more effects & filters) which is fantastic to use on the go when you've taken a nice picture and want to upload it straight away. If I want to create a collage or add text etc. to my photos then I turn to PhotoScape X, which is a fantastic free program but it can get a little bit difficult to use.

What software do you use to edit your images? Do you use the ones I mentioned above?

Lots of love,
Maya xo

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

REVIEW || SKINKISSED VITAMIN C SERUM


When I first came across the brand Skinkissed my initial thoughts were 'just another serum that claims to work wonders', but oh boy, did I surprise myself when I started using it...
This is a serum which consists of Vitamin C, hyaluronic acid and Collagen as the main ingredients and claims to plump up dry and dull skin, making it more vibrant and fresh as well as reducing the appearance of wrinkles and treat acne.


As I mentioned above, the serum has acne treating properties inside which is right up my alley as I've been battling with acne since I was 11 - you can read my story here. I didn't know what to think of it at first as I've tried many products and nothing really worked for me, but I think that this is a great addition to anyone's skincare routine as it really does make a difference to how my skin looks and feels. The packaging is quite cute and reminds me a bit of medicine as it comes in a glass bottle with a pipette for easy application where you can control how much product you use. I enjoy using this serum at night so it soaks into my skin and makes it nice and soft for the next day before I apply my makeup. The instructions say to use 3-5 drops on your fingers and gently massage into desired areas (I use it on my face and neck). You need to bear in mind that if you use more drops then it will take slightly longer for it to absorb into your skin, so the less you use the more efficient it'll turn out to be.
The consistency of this serum is quite watery however it feels a little bit sticky when it's applied but that goes away as soon as it's absorbed into the skin, but I find that the sticky feeling helps keep my makeup on for longer so it's a great substitute for primer!


When I get up in the morning I begin my day with a usual skincare routine, and I have noticed a big difference in the glow of my skin which makes my makeup look a lot better as I don't need to use as many brightening products to get a natural-looking glow. You might be asking yourself one question which is 'is it worth the high price tag?', well I think it is. I've had this product for a few weeks now and been using it everyday yet I still have about 3/5 of the bottle left which means that it'll last you a while. It also has a lot of nutrients in it which your skin needs, but if you were to buy all the ingredients and use them separately it would cost a lot of money and who would want to take about 7 vitamins a day when you can very easily rub some serum into your skin? I know which one I'd rather... My verdict is that this product is my new holy grail for my dull and acne-prone skin!
You can buy this Vitamin C Serum on Amazon or directly through their website here.

*This post includes a free sample and affiliate links.

What are your favourite serums? Have you ever tried this one?

Lots of love,
Maya xo

Monday, 18 September 2017

TOP 5 || £5 & UNDER


So you're curious about my top 5 beauty products that cost £5 or less? Well, you've clicked on the right post because these products will change your makeup routine forever.
You might have probably already seen some of these items in previous posts as I cannot stress enough about how good they are. Let's start off with the L.A. Girl Pro Concealers - I bet you're bored of hearing about them but they are as good as they all say! I own the shades Porcelain for highlighting and concealing and the shade Toast for contouring, even though it's a little bit too warm toned for my liking. These come in a great variety of shades, including colour correcting concealers for better coverage. I have reviewed both of these shades already, so if you'd like to see what I thought of them in detail then click here to read my post.

Talking about the perfect base, my new favourite setting powder has to be the Collection Primed & Ready Invisible Setting Powder. Not only does it provide really good coverage, but it stays put all day and has witch hazel in it to keep the spots at bay! It costs a bit over £5 on Amazon, however you can get it on Superdrug for £3.99 when it's back in stock here.

There seems to be a pattern forming as the next two products I'm about to mention are also by Collection! Maybe they're the new best affordable brand? Moving on, glitter liners have been a big hit in the noughties, but now majority makeup fanatics and artists love to use loose glitter - not me because it goes everywhere hence why I love the Collection Glam Crystals Gel Liner. These come in a big range of colours and I own about 7 of them! The gold one is my most worn one as it goes with any eyeshadow looks and creates an instant glam effect. Another product which I think goes perfectly with the glitter liners is the Collection Extreme 24 Hours Felt Tip Liner as it glides on very smoothly, even on bumpy surfaces. The tip of this liner is very thin so it makes creating a slim and precise wing a lot easier!

Now, last but not least a set of 4 Eyeshadow Brushes for 97 pence! Yup, you heard it right 97p. I use these on a daily basis, even when I want to do simple eyeshadow look but especially when I go for a dramatic smokey eye as they are very easy to use, and for less than a quid you can't go wrong! Out of all these products, I would highly recommend the brushes and the concealers as they are something I use daily.

*This post includes affiliate links.

What are your favourite affordable products? Have you tried any of the ones I mentioned above?

Lots of love,
Maya xo

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

REVIEW || ALL IN FLAVOUR SILICONE CACTUS PHONE CASE


When I was contacted by All In Flavour to try out one of their phone cases, I got very excited! I love the whole different themes they offer, especially the plants one as they're super adorable. I picked out a cute little cacti phone case for my iPhone 5s in a silicone finish as I drop my phone at least 10 times a day so I needed the extra safety!


Can we just appreciate how nice this phone case actually is? I've not seen one like it before, and I just knew I had to have it. Being a blogger and social media fanatic I have come across many different brands selling phone cases, some nice and some not as nice as others but All In Flavour has a humble but interesting collection - it was tough for me to pick just one case!!


Of course, me being me I put the case to the test and came to a conclusion that it's very hard wearing as well as gorgeous! Like I said before, I tend to drop my phone many times a day (I'm shocked it hasn't broke yet) so I usually go for silicone cases and I truly believe that I had hit jackpot with this one. It feels comfortable in my hands and isn't too think thus it does not make my phone resemble a brick which is always a plus!

Where do you usually buy your phone cases from? What do you think of this cute little number?

Lots of love,
Maya xo

Monday, 4 September 2017

FOTD || EVERYDAY AUTUMNAL EASY GLAM MAKEUP LOOK


Autumn is definitely my favourite season of the year, even though I love Summer because it usually means that I get to travel somewhere nice, but Autumn is the season of cosy clothes and nice smelling candles. What I'm looking forward to the most is being able to wear dark lipstick and dark eyeshadow without getting judged by people - no, I am not a goth.


I don't necessarily think that this is a very dark or gothic look, but for me, this is the perfect Autumnal makeup look for my skin tone and hair colour. It is very flattering and easy to create, and here are the items I had used to create it:



The eyeshadows I had used include: NYX shadow in the shade Immaculate, and MUG shadows in shades GrandstandMorocco, and Bitten. I wanted to wear a bit of eyeliner to make this look a bit more glam, but I'm out of practice and found this look glam enough to leave it as it is! The magic mascara that I've been obsessing over since the first use is the Lancome Hypnose Mascara. I love this one for elongating and volumising my lashes, it's got amazing coverage to it and I find that only one coat is enough for a full look.


If you've been after a full coverage foundation that isn't extortionate, then you need to try the L'Oreal Total Cover foundation, like, now. It glides on very smoothly and feels like velvet on my skin which is always a plus because who wouldn't want baby-soft skin? I find that the coverage of this product is very high - but I won't get into it too much as I'd like to save it for a full review. Of course, I had to use my current favourite concealer and contour shade, both by L.A. Girl as these work amazingly and the price is very much affordable! To set my foundation in place, I used the Collection Primed & Ready Invisible Setting Powder which works wonders for my combination skin, especially the oily t-zone. My favourite bronzer since 2015 has to be Hoola by Benefit which has actually lasted me nearly 2 years when I've been using it every day, so it's definitely worth the high price tag. To brighten up my face, I use my favourite Milani blusher in shade Tea Rose and Sleek highlighter in Midas Touch - I mix the pink and the white together for a blinding, yet natural highlight. My current go-to lipstick is the Colourpop Ultra Matte Lipstick in shade LAX, which was obviously applied over my favourite lip balm from Carmex.


As you can see, the majority of tools I had used to create this makeup look are by Real Techniques as they truly do amazing brushes, and I cannot wait to complete my collection! I also really want to try the Bold Metals collection, but because they're quite pricey I think I'll wait until Father Christmas pays a visit at my house! I also included a brush from MAC and Colourpop which are some of my all time favourites.


*This post includes gifted items - all opinions are my own and are in no way influenced at all.

Have you caught up with my monthly favourites post? What's your favourite autumnal makeup look? Would you try this one out?

Lots of love,
Maya xo
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