Win a £500 spending spree with UGG

It feels kind of weird writing this blog post now, considering I'm sat inside with a blanket over me, heater on, watching the rain pour down outside, but yes, apparently - dear people of the UK - summer is coming. So I have a proposition for you: why don't you go take some pictures of your feet? Okay maybe we need a little back story with this one. Slow down Steph, slow down.

So last week UGG set me the challenge to head out into the big wide world and explore my surroundings whilst snapping my new snazzy Zina sandals along the way. I've lived in this town for over two years now and prior to this mini challenge I was pretty sure I knew every nook and cranny like the back of my hand. Boy, was I wrong. So that day I gave myself the afternoon off from, well, life and decided to run wild in my home town (or at least, run wild as much as you can when you live in the quaint countryside). I explored the local markets, grabbed coffee at my favourite café (and actually sat down to drink it), I browsed the second hand stores, picked up some fresh flowers and - get this - I sat in a park and did nothing. Literally nothing.

Okay, so it wasn't quite the 'summer of a lifetime' adventure, but it was a well-needed afternoon off that was seriously long overdue. And hey, I found some new floorings (floorspiration?) for my next #IHaveThisThingWithFloors Insta snap. Two birds, one stone.

Now I guess it's time to address the elephant in the room here, because - let's be honest - you're probably not here to read about my day, are you? You guys want to win £500 to spend at UGG, don't you? Alright alright, here's how to be in with a chance of winning..

To enter, all you need to do is upload a photo to Instagram and/or Twitter by the 25th of May using the hashtag #SUMMERSAYS and tagging the lovely guys and gals at @UGGUK. And boom, you're instantly in with a chance to win a £500 spending spree AKA all the shoes! Full terms and conditions can be found here. Good luck!

*This post is in collaboration with UGG UK (duh) however all thoughts and pictures of feet are my own.*
xo

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Shopping: When to save and when to splurge

SAVE

SPLURGE

I'm an all or nothing kind of girl. One minute I'm quite literally injecting (stupid amounts of) money into my face, the next I'm searching high and low for the best deal on toilet paper. What can I say? I'm choosey about where I invest my moolah. Would I skimp out on facial fillers? Absolutely not - that stuff sticks around for a while. But splurging on scented 47-ply loo roll? Well, we all know where that ends up.

The same goes for my wardrobe (not that it ends up down the toilet..) - I love me a bargain, but I'm also partial to the odd buying binge every once in a while. I've grown up with the mentality that, if you can't afford it, you can't have it. I've never had a credit card, never used store credit, nor have I ever dipped into my overdraft. So when it comes to shopping I'm super tactical about what it is that I pick up, when I pick it up, and why. Seriously, never go shopping with me - I'm that person that spends about four hours looking through sale racks,  only to turn around last minute and put everything back on the rail. Sales assistants hate me. But, in doing that I have managed to 'skilfully' curate a closet that ticks all the boxes for me, without leaving me broke, and quite literally living in a box on the side of the road.


SPLURGE

- STAPLE ACCESSORIES
- HIGH QUALITY MATERIALS
- WARDROBE STAPLES
- ONE OF KIND ITEMS


SAVE

- TREND PIECES
- HOLIDAY CLOTHES
- GYM GEAR
- OCASSIONAL WEAR

 

WHEN TO SAVE

Whenever possible, save. This doesn't mean you can't go out and buy the things you want, but just try and be smart with it. Have you checked online for discount codes? Could you get it cheaper somewhere else? There's always a pretty penny to be saved, and hey, it adds up! I swear, even if I woke up one day to millions sitting in my bank (yes pls), I'd still shop on the high street, and I'd still scour the sales. Bargains feel good. Bankrupting yourself in order to buy the new it-bag on Instagram, does not.

Trend pieces are one thing I always make sure I skimp out on, because - chances are - I'm not going to be loving in a few years down the line. There are some things I've splurged on in the past because it was cool at the time, but now? Well, now I'm having a hard time flogging them for even a few quid. I've bought brand names before only to find an exact duplicate of it on the high street two weeks later. Better quality? Of course. But will I be wearing it in six months time to even care? Probably not.
 

WHEN TO SPLURGE

That being said, I do think it's important to invest in staple pieces whenever possible. I must've spent literally hundreds of pounds looking for the perfect white tee on the high street. They'd start out great (and so worth the £10!) but after a few washes they've lost their shape completely. A few years ago I bought a T by Alexander Wang V neck for - gulp - seventy quid, and you know what? It still looks exactly the same as the day it arrived on my door step. I must have worn it over a hundred times, taking that cost-per-wear down to a measly 7p. Call me crazy, but I'd say that's worth the initial splurge.

Another reason that I'd be more inclined to get spendy comes down to, quite simply, not being able to find anything else like it. Take a Chanel bag for example. Sure, you could buy a super cheap fake, but it won't last. And yeah, you could go and buy a really great quality dupe, but if you want a Chanel bag, you want a Chanel bag, not something that just looks like one. The great thing about designer bags is that they keep a lot of their value too, so if you suddenly decide to sell your 'Boy' bag (ahem, call me) you can be sure to get back a nice hefty chunk of the price you originally paid. And of course, if you fancy saving a bit of moneys along the way, grab yourself some second hand Chanel.

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How to track the success of your blog posts

Oh hello there Tip Tuesdays, it's been a while (I seriously need to get that tattooed to my forehead or something). I swear, if someone could gimme some tips on surviving dissertation writing whilst doing, well, life, then that'd be greatly appreciated. But anyway! Enough about me and my inability to write anything other than my name at the top of a Pages document *sob* - in true student procrastination form, I've decided to scrap the schoolwork and write a blog post instead! Here are a few of my favourite, fool-proof ways to track how popular your posts are.
 

 

Google Analytics

GA is probably the most popular tracking software around since you can do pretty much anything with it. Don't worry, I'm not going to reel off all the magical things Google Analytics can do (because I've already written a blog post about it, heh) but I will graciously direct you over to Behaviour>Site Content>Pages where you can find out everything you need to know about specific blog posts and URLs, as well as which of your posts are coming out on top. Maybe you received a referral from a super cool website, or maybe you just found the secret ingredient for what makes your readers tick. If it's the latter, take note! Of course you shouldn't churn out the exact same posts every other day (because, yawn) but if there's a particular theme that constantly comes out on top, then keep at it.
 

Social shares

Post popularity doesn't just stop at a blog post - in fact, a lot of your readers probably come from the big wide world of social media, like Facebook or Twitter. It's important to keep track of how many likes/mentions you get regarding certain posts. You want to make sure you scope out what people are saying on your own posts on social media, as well as what their friends are saying on their profile (if they share your post of course). Kinda like Facebook stalking, but this time we're calling it research. Yeah, 'research'..
 

Clicks and Conversions

Counting your clicks is especially important when it comes to working with brands or monetising your blog, as it allows you to track what's popular and what's a bit of a flop. My favourite way to track clicks (and oh, is there a lot) is just by using a link shortener like bitly. It takes an extra few seconds to do, but it means you're able to see exactly how many people click on a certain hyperlink. Perhaps your in-post links are working better than the links in your sidebar, or vice versa! Link shorteners are also great for sites like Twitter, where you've gotta make those characters count.
 

Pinterest pins

We all know how pinning stuff works, right? The more pins the better, you know the drill. One way I like to track my pins however is by searching for my own site at www.pinterest.com/source/TypeYourURLHere. There you can do a little digging and see exactly which pictures your peeps rate the most. The outcome of all this? Take more pictures like that. Simples.
 

Comments

Over the past few years the Blogosphere has seen the number of 'quality' comments decline. You know the ones I'm on about. Things like 'great post' and 'love your blog'. Sure, they're all nice messages, but it's the really engaging comments you want to focus on. The more of them you get, the better your post is performing.
 

Add This Reports

You know that little set of social icons that sneaks into the top right of your screen whenever you click on my blog? That, my friends, comes courtesy of Add This - AKA the lazy girl's answer to everything. Well, nearly everything anyway. All you have to do is input a quick code, type in a few URLs and voila. Every week (or whenever you fancy) you'll get an email telling you the amount of new visitors you've gotten that week. Where they came from, and how many people followed you on social. You don't even have to lift a finger. Huzzah!
 

Sharetally Results

Again, another lazy girls traffic tracker (do you sense a theme going on here? Who has TIME to spend four hours tracking traffic. Not me). Anyway, where was I? Ah yes, ShareTally. I'm just popping this one here as it's a recent discovery of mine, and I love it. All you have to do is type in the URL you want to track and there you have it - an overview of your social shares from pretty much every social networking site imaginable. Apart from Bebo. Is Bebo even a thing any more? I miss my other half.*

*Update: Bebo is no more. RIP Bebo.

 

 

ABOUT THE LOOK:

Remember that post where I spoke about my newly evolving personal style? To all of you that bet I would be back in my leathers in no time at all, I salute you. You know me better than I know myself. For this look I decided to try something a little bit new by airing out my shoulders and throwing my hair up in a messy ponytail - something that's become a bit of a recurring theme with my main as of late. I'm talking about the not-so-sexy buns I sports during spin classes, but still, I'm slowly getting there.

I'd also like to dedicate this blog post to my beloved leather trousers that have potentially graced this blog more than any other item ever. They died a tragic crotch-splitting death a few weeks ago. I'm slowly introducing these new shiny trews from Zara to my capsule wardrobe. I can't bend my legs in them, but whatever, who needs flexibility when you've got #style!? As for the new Ray-Bans cautiously balancing on my nose? Well, that relates back to the dissertation and my lack of sleep at the start of this post. Photoshop can solve a lot of things in life, but sometimes, just sometimes, a big old pair of under eye bags requiring an equally dark set of sunnies.
 

Aviator sunglasses by Ray-Ban Sunglasses *
Off shoulder knit by Lovers + Friends via REVOLVE *
Zara faux leather trousers with zips (Missguided version)
Boutique 9 leather court shoes (New Look version)
 

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The best places to take outfit photos

 

I'd love to scour the world in search for the perfect photo opportunity. I'd love to have Ollie capture 'impromptu' photos of me sipping from coconuts in the Maldives, or strutting my stuff through the streets of Paris, or road tripping across the states. I'd love for every outfit picture we take to look like it was taken straight from the pages of a magazine. I'd love all of these things - like I'm sure we all would - but that's not the reality.

The reality, is that I live in Cornwall. When I tell people I live here one of the first things they say is usually along the lines of how lucky I am to live in such a beautiful area. And it's true - Cornwall is pretty damn great. There's the sea, the rolling fields, the quaint seaside towns. It sounds like the perfect setting for blog photos, right? Wrong - at least, not for the style if photography I'm drawn to. I want modern architecture and Notting Hill townhouses. I want all the typical blogger backdrops, without the hassle of London living, and after (literally) a year of searching for the perfect shooting spots, I've finally figured out how to fake it. Bare with me here..


 

 

Schools and colleges

Surprise! Pretty much every outfit picture of me was taken outside of a University or College. No, I'm serious. Living in a rural area means that modern (AKA white and semi-clean) buildings are hard to come by. I searched for months and months trying to find the perfect 'does it all' spot, and it turns out it was right under my nose the whole time! These days, most universities and colleges are either brand new or recently renovated, making them perfect for pictures. They're usually pretty big as well, which means there's a lot of different spots to choose from.
 

 







Factories and warehouses

If there's one thing every town has, it's some form of industrial building. These are great if you're into the more minimalistic back drop as they usually consist of white/grey walls that are really, really tall. The hardest part is finding a warehouse that's semi-modern and rust-free. Next time you're out and about, take the back routes home - you might hit the jackpot (in the wall world, at least)..

 

 

 

 

 

Office blocks

Just like warehouses, office blocks generally mean a whole lotta wall space and windows. Again, like most of these places it can take a little bit of hunting to find the perfect office shooting spot (what even is my life) but chances are a brand new office block has opened up right around the corner of you. Thank you jesus for the increase in corporate companies. And thank you jesus for Sunday shooting days, because there's no one to look outside of their office window and laugh at you. Ahem.

 

 

 

 


Multi storey car parks

Car parks aren't my usual go-to place, but they do come in handy when times are tough. I'd recommend going to them either early (like, super early) in the morning, or midday in a bid to avoid rush hour. I mean, by all means, pose in front of parking cars and hundreds of workers wondering what you're doing, but it might make it a little easier on you if the car parks a little more empty. Take it from me. I'm a car park pro.

Where do you guys tend to shoot your blog pictures?

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Do we share too much on social media?

Do we share too much on social media? How to wear knee high boots
How to wear knee high boots outfit
How much should we share online

Last week I decided to share what was probably my most personal Youtube video yet. It was something I wasn't going to upload - and something I very nearly didn't - but it was also something I felt like I needed to say at that moment in time. I feel like this has been a bit of a running theme with my blog posts as of late. Completely impulsive, somewhat sporadic and utterly raw in their entirity (and by raw, I mean I just type and type and type until my brain/fingers stop working, hence five million typos per post). I rarely even read through half of the things I've written on here any more, purely because I know that - once I started - I'd end up over-analysing every single word I've ever written, treating it more like an english essay than what I guess is nothing but an online diary entry. 

So this got me thinking. Ten years ago half of us never would have even dreamt of writing how we actually felt on the internet. Could you imagine? Sitting down to an empty Myspace bulletin and writing about something other than the fact you had a new profile picture. PC4PC anyone? Please tell me I'm not showing my age here.

Anyway, these days, everyone and their gran (literally, my gran now has Facebook and it scares me) seems to be posting Facebook statuses or Tweets about their latest issues in life, or even their current relationship status. Personally, I love it, because hey, sometimes it's good to know that I'm not the only person in the world that cries when their hair goes wrong, or that I'm not alone when it comes to having absolutely zero idea with what I'm meant doing with my life. Stuff like this makes you feel normal (whatever the hell that means) and less of like a crazy human being coasting their way through life.

But then there's the other side of it. The nasty side. And - whilst I'm lucky enough to not be on the receiving end of it just yet - I've seen so many other bloggers suffer at the hands of others, just by sharing a little chunk of their life to the outside world. Come on, I'm sure I'm not the first person to tell you that sharing yourself, exactly as you are, completely un-apologetically, is hard. Real hard. I mean, don't get me wrong - these days I struggle to even keep my mouth shut at the best of times when it comes to, well, just about anything in life, but a few years ago that wasn't the case, and I know for a fact that it's not the case with other people tapping away on the internet either.

See, the thing is - and this goes for both real life and online life - people aren't as tough as they make out from the outside (yes, I'm talking to you too, tough guy). Thanks to our good pals the media It's now nestled in our brains that, actually, it's not cool to feel uncertain about things, it's not cool to feel depressed or anxious and oh, don't even think about talking to others about why you feel bad. That's really uncool. So here we all are, trying to be cool (or whatever adjective you'd prefer) and secretly driving ourselves crazy because we've convinced ourselves that, actually, sharing ourselves with others is wrong. Talk to a friend and you're confiding in them, type it out on the internet and you're an attention seeker.

Right? Wrong. We're all friends here. I've said it before, and I'll damn well say it again. You share your screw ups, I share mine, and then we all laugh about it a week later. You guys have helped me and I've been told I've helped some of you guys too. So, what? Are we all supposed to stop sharing our lives with each other in fear of the fact it might actually help someone - even ourselves - along the way? Doesn't that sound absolutely awful? Can you sense my sarcasm/ Anyone!?

Ladies, gents, grans, whatever. Share away. Share to your hearts content if you feel like doing it. Say nothing if you don't. Go ahead and share your latest selfie because, let's face it, you look great, and rant about how crap your day was to a stream of Twitter followers because sometimes it just feels damn good.

Now if you don't mind, I'm going to share these pictures of my shoot by Ollie the other day because, you know what? I actually don't mind my face (and thighs!) in them. Sue me.
 

So tell me, do you guys think we share too much on social media these days!?

 

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