Thursday, 28 July 2016

HOW TO: Blog Organisation

So, BF&L has been around quite a while now, and if you go back a few years I'm sure you'll find quite a few dodgy posts. That being said, I've kept the same sort of organisation system this entire time and in my opinion it works rather well. This being said. I don't like to force myself to publish half-hearted content. So, if I'm not feeling like posting, I won't. 

For me, blog organisation centres around three main things; notepads, a diary and tweet scheduling. I always find myself with multiple blogging notepads on the go, each with pages of ideas, lists, things to do etc. I find that if I don't write a post idea down as it comes to me, I tend to forget about it. Then, when it comes to writing a post, all I need to do is turn to one of the aforementioned notebooks, flick to the most recent page and choose a topic to write about. 

This is also where the diary comes into play. I like to write my posts a few days in advance to make sure that I'm totally happy with them by the time it comes to pressing publish. So, having a calendar or diary really helps to lay out what's going up when, and thus what to finish off first. Also, with all my upcoming posts written before me, I can distribute them evenly throughout the week. For example, rather than posting 3 recipe posts consecutively, I can spread them out by posting a lookbook and a beauty review in between them, for example. 

The other thing a diary helps with is tweet scheduling. I love using twitter to promote BF&L, and always tweet a new post's link as soon as it's up. But this even happens when I'm out and about, and have no access to the internet? Nope, it's not magic, it's the beauty that is scheduled tweets. If you know when a post is going up, you can tweet the link and schedule it for when the post is live. Amazing, ey? Personally I use Hootsuite, but I know there are many other websites that offer the same service and I would wholeheartedly recommend giving it a go. Especially if you have readers on the other side of the world, who are asleep while you're awake and posting, and will have missed your tweets during the day!

How do you stay blog organised?

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

The Holiday Preparation Routine

So, my holiday is very rapidly approaching and I'm a solid 10/10 excited. I've mentioned a bit more about what I'm doing in this post if you're interested in having a read, but I'm sure I'll be tweeting as and when I can, so if you're interested to see what I get up to, that's definitely the place to be. 

I always find myself doing the same sort of, albeit basic, beauty routine before a holiday. It's not the most complex of things, and doesn't take much time at all, but I end up doing it nonetheless. I like to make sure my skin is as smooth and soft as can be before I hop on the plane. You may think that sounds strange, but what's the first thing you want to do when the plane touches the ground in a hot country? Put on a bikini and head to the beach or pool. So prepping my skin way in advance definitely aids that happening, as you don't want to be hunting through your suitcase for a razor and body butter while everyone else is out having fun.

Another thing I like to do before I go away is tan. My boyfriend thinks I'm ridiculous for doing this, but where I'm so pale I do tend to stick out like a sore thumb and I'd much rather fake it than burn myself to a crisp.

My hair is always pretty dry, but spending a fortnight on the beach in the sun brings a whole new level of dryness. So, before (and while there) I like to apply a hella lot of hair mask and try and make my hair as strong and shiny as possible. At the moment I'm quite enjoying this Tresemme one, but I'll often just slather my hair in argan oil instead.

Finally, I like to redo both my fingernails and my toenails in a 'holiday colour'. This year I'm definitely into bright corals, and I haven't reached for a white or black polish all summer (these are my usual go-to's), which is pretty crazy for me. 

Do you have a holiday beauty routine too?

Sunday, 24 July 2016

This Week I... (#48)

Swam in the sea for the first time this year. Wow, what a scorcher it's been this week. Amazingly, despite being the definition of pale, I've not really sunburnt at all, go Becca! Swimming in the sea was so much fun, despite my boyfriend not bringing swimming shorts?? To the beach?? On the hottest day of the year?? (I should probably add here before anyone hastily jumps to the wrong conclusion, no, he didn't skinny dip in broad daylight, he just wore his normal clothes in the water).

Wandered around some ruins. My Dad and I ventured to what's left of an old royal castle, and it was actually a really nice afternoon. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not usually the heritage site type, but it was a really interesting experience, and it was nice to do something different. Also, the clotted cream ice cream we had afterwards was very much needed, and sooo delicious. 

Was forced into another bike ride. My boyfriend is a very avid cyclist, and it's fair to say I don't quite share his passion for it. I mean, I don't hate cycling, but there are many other ways I'd prefer to spend an afternoon. That being said, I had promised to go out with him, and so this week I finally did and enjoyed it marginally more than I expected.

Updated my blog design. I think I'm finally getting to a point where I'm totally happy with it, hooray. The only thing I'm stuck with is my header, what do you think? Does the new one look better than it did?

Had a spontaneous late-night Sprinkles. You know sometimes you just reaaaally fancy something, and you feel like you can't stop until you've had it? For some, it may be hard drugs, but for me this week, it was a white chocolate, strawberry and banana crepe. And, oh my did I enjoy it. If you haven't been to a Sprinkles before go!! Yes, you may leave feeling slightly full, sick and guilty about the state of your arteries/heart/teeth (or all of the above) but it is so worth it.

What have you done this week?

Friday, 22 July 2016

The America Wishlist

Very shortly I'll be jetting off to the US of A and I am soooo ready to eat nice food, be in the sun, do a hella lot of shopping, and just generally relax and not worry about boring, mundane things. This year has been very stressful - A Levels I'm lookin' at you - so it'll be nice to just do nothing and essentially just lie on a beach for a fortnight. That being said, we do have some exciting things planned, Busch Gardens anyone? 

Okay, so beauty things first; I've heard sooooo much about the Glow Kit and while I'm Stateside I'm definitely going to be checking it out. It costs $40, making each highlighter $10, which seems a pretty good deal to me - especially if they're as good as everyone has said. From one Anastasia product to the next... Their Dipbrow Pomade is something I'm very keen to get my hands on, and I'm hoping it lives up to the hype! I've currently got my eyes on the shade Taupe, as it looks similar to Mac's Omega eyeshadow which is what I use currently for my brows. If anyone's tried the shade Taupe I'd love to know what you think! Lastly, Sephora's lip products have had a fair bit of recognition lately, and I've decided that I need to try one (or ten) for myself. 

Bath and Body Works' Pocket Bacs are possibly my favourite item that they stock. Yes, they're just a hand sanitizer, but they smell soooo good. I've bought some on each of my trips to America so far, and I genuinely can't knock them, especially at only a dollar or two. 

I live on my iPad. I watch Youtube and Netflix on it, I spend hours scrolling Twitter on it, I use it as my alarm clock, I catch up on blogs on it, can you tell I use it a lot? Unfortunately, it's stopped charging very well but considering it's 4 years old and a hand-me-down from my Dad, I'm not too shocked. So, while in Florida I may have to treat myself to a new one... That being said, it may work out cheaper just to get it here, so we shall have to wait and see if I return with a good ol' Apple purchase.

And finally, the foodie bits. Pink Lemonade is my favourite drink everrrrr and I literally drink gallons of the stuff while I'm away. It's really refreshing and the fact it's not available in the UK is honestly a crime in my opinion. Lucky Charms. What would an American Wishlist be without a quick mention of the aforementioned cereal? It's amazing, enough said. Now, the sugar cookies are a bit of a random one, but I always see them on my Twitter feed and I'd love to buy a box. 

What other American products would you recommend I pick up?

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Summer Bronzin'

I love the sun. The summer is definitely my favourite time of year, besides Christmas - I loooove December 25th. I love going to the beach, having BBQs, having picnics, getting a bronzey glow; the usuals. But, being the fair skinned girl I am, 5 minutes in the sun often results in a nice lobster 'glow' - think pillar box red - thus, faking a tan is often a lot easier than attempting the real thing. 

Now, don't get me wrong. with a good SPF and a couple of weeks in the sunshine, I do manage to turn a lovely shade of brown. I just want to take a moment here to appreciate the godsend that is Neutrogena's Ultra Sheer Body Mist. We discovered this beauty while in Florida a few years ago and let's just say it's revolutionised the standing-by-the-pool-rubbing-in-copious-amounts-of-thick-white-suncream game. It's essentially just an aerosol. All you need to do is spray your entire body and you're good to go. Amazing.

However, for the majority of the British 'summer', I like to opt for a gradual tanner and use it as and when I please. Garnier's Summer Body is my current favourite (I have the darker one) and at around a fiver I cannot fault it. It sinks in very quickly and builds up a really even colour, even if only used a couple of times.

Bronzer, bronzer. bronzer... Bronzer is something I've been hesitant to use until recently as I wasn't sure that I'd ever find one that didn't make me look like a tangerine. That being said, NYC's Sunny Bronzer is pretty good at not doing such. I mean, I do use it sparingly, and with a light hand, but even still it gives a natural looking glow. In the summer, my face is always a different colour to the rest of my body. As Billy once said to me; 'your face looks like it's been in Scotland, while your body's been in Malaga.' I think that says it all really doesn't it. So thank you NYC, for saving me from ridicule from my friends

What are your favourite summer beauty products?

Sunday, 17 July 2016

This Week I... (#47)

Started the university shopping. In September I'm planning on being self-catered, and I seem to have compiled a list as long as my arm of kitchen things I'd like. (Let's be real here, how much cooking am I actualllly going to be doing?) But nonetheless, I've bought spatulas and antibacterial floor wipes ... Am I an official adult now?!

Realised I was better in the water than on it. The boy and I went to this sea water obstacle course, and let's just put it this way; I was abysmal. I mean, I have the balance of a one legged donkey so let's just say I spent more time falling off than actually on it. While we were there we also did zorbing, something neither of us had done before. This too required a good sense of balance, so you can imagine how great I was at this. Also, I had no idea how claustrophobic they'd make me feel? It was such a weird feeling being in a giant plastic ball, rolling around on the sea. 

Spent the day at Gunwharf Quays. I love this place. If you haven't been before, it's an outlet shopping centre in Portsmouth with loads of shops and nice restaurants. While we were there I actually enjoyed a free piña colada, as part of Malibu's National Piña Colada Day. Amazing. I also refrained from making any major purchases, as I'm hoping to do such when I go to America in a few weeks...

Bought blue jeans!!!!! This is not a drill!! For the past two years I've worn nothing but black Topshop Leigh/Joni jeans, so much so that it's become a standing joke between my friends. But, while shopping this week I bought these high-waisted blue ones from New Look. They're definitely not my usual taste but I think I'm slowly growing to like them. Thank you, Elliot, for persuading me to get them!!

Made the most delicious pancakes. These were potentially my best banana pancakes to date, they were soooooo delicious. I've written a full post about them here, and they're definitely worth making. I topped mine with fresh strawberries and agave nectar, and they were sooo good. 

What have you done this week?

Thursday, 14 July 2016

Banana Pancakes Recipe

These banana pancakes have been my go-to breakfast/brunch/lunch/snack you name it, for quite a while now. They're sooo simple to make, and quite frankly rather delicious. They contain three ingredients and literally only take 5 minutes to make. Compared to thick, fluffy, full-fat, American pancakes these aren't so great, but for a (kinda) healthy alternative, they get a big thumbs up from me.

So, to make these you'll need;
- 1 banana
- 1 egg
- 1 tbsp of self-raising flour
(Isn't that the easiest ingredient list to remember ever?!)

The method is very simple, simply mash the banana, add the egg and then fold in the flour. (I'd just like to point out here, that the more you mash the banana, the smoother the pancakes will be. ie if you'd rather they had chunks of banana, go easy with the mashing). And voila, your batter is ready to go. 

Once cooked, I like to add chopped strawberries and drizzle agave nectar on top. The pancakes on their own are pretty bland, so if you try these out definitely have a topping on hand. Natural yogurt would go well with them, or even ice cream if you've got some. I know these are meant to be healthy-ish, but one day I'd love to drizzle these with toffee sauce... aka banoffee pancakes!!

Anyway, enough of my pancake related rambles, I'd love to know if you give these a go!

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

3 Ways Blogging Has Changed Over The Last Few Years

BF&L has been around for quite a while now, and despite the sporadic posting, I've watched as this whole blogging thing has evolved. Now, don't get me wrong, change is good. But in today's post, I just wanted to shout out the good ol' days and reflect on just how much has changed whilst I've been around. 

First and foremost, this has now become some people's careers?!?! Back when I started in 2012 (Yep, BF&L is that old) blogging was simply a hobby for the vast majority and sponsored posts were very few and far between. I mean, bloggers were selling ad spaces as a means of generating income, not part of campaigns worth several thousand pounds, if not more! Nowadays, many are lucky enough to be part of such campaigns, and hence blogging can become a full-time job. Who'd have thought it, ey? Amazing.

The importance of photography is another thing that I'd say has changed over the last few years. It's always been important, but over the last year or so it's become pivotal, with blogs looking more and more like professional magazines. I mean, 'flat lay' has become a phrase used in everyday conversation, and some bloggers have studio lights in their bedrooms to aid their flawless photography. But, it's nice to see that written content is still equally important as it was previously. As, after all, that's how you really get to know the person behind the blog!

Tag posts. Why aren't these a thing anymore? I mean, granted, some were a bit cringe, but they were really quite fun to write. Speaking of which, who remembers the Liebster Award? I remember being nominated and feeling as if I'd made it in the blogging world.
Back in 2014 I even made my own tag, the Makeup Mishaps tag, and I'm still shocked by the number of people who have done it?!?!?!?! It's crazy. If you were one of them, thank youuuu!

Would you say that this whole blogging thing has changed over the last few years?

Sunday, 10 July 2016

This Week I... (#46)

Went to a waterpark.  Me and the boyfriend went to Splashdown this week and it was soooo much fun. Yes, it's probably aimed at a slightly younger target audience but we genuinely had the best time. Side note; the last time I went was coincidentally also the last time I wrote one of these This Week I post's, back in 2014. It's fair to say not a lot has changed there, which is marvellous, as it was just as good as I remembered. 

Drank way too many cocktails. One of my best friends is spending a month in Ecuador this summer, so on Wednesday we went out for drinks to see him off. We went to Turtle Bay, and it's fair to say we were all slightly worse for wear when we left. They were 2-4-1, how could we resist? If you ever get a chance to go, I highly recommend the Raspberry Reggae, and the Reggae Rum Punch.

Have got back into OITNB. I watched the entirety of seasons 1 and 2 when they came out, but only watched a couple of episodes in the third as I found it really dull to be honest. Butttt, due to the hype surrounding the newest season, I'm desperately trying to finish it so that I can get up to speed. Plus, where I'm no longer tied to revision, I've got more free time than I know what to do with, so it's been a great way to spend a few hours. PS if you've already seen it, please no spoilers! 

Discovered NYX at my local Boots. I've seen so many posts about this once, stupidly-difficult-to-get-hold-of-in-the-UK brand, and when I heard they were coming to the UK, it's fair to say I was more than a little excited. I've heard soooo much about the Matte Lip Creams, and I can't wait to give them a go, Stockholm I'm looking at you. If you've tried anything of the range, please do let me know your thoughts, as I don't really know where to start! (Besides getting one of everything, sorry savings!)

Have been doing GCSE geography. This week I've spent quite a lot of time helping my sister with her homework, and weirdly I've been kind of enjoying it. Geography was the subject I did best at at GCSE and it's scary how much you remember without realising. However, it's fair to say I'm glad those days are over as 'Longshore Drift' never was (and still isn't) that exciting. 

What have you done this week?

Friday, 8 July 2016

The Disneyworld Bucket List - UPDATED

Last July I wrote a post called The 2015 Disneyworld Bucket List, but me being me, never updated you on how I got on, so for today's post I thought I'd do exactly that. I had a wonderful time in Orlando last summer and would recommend it to anyone. It's hot, the food's great, the shops are huge, the people are really friendly, and above all the parks and attractions are brilliant. Can you tell I'm a bit of a fan?

Anyway, here's my original list and I think I did a pretty good job of completing it; 

1. Have a photo with Mickey, obviously. I don't think this one needs explaining, it's a must. 
- DONE! Of all the things on this list, this is the one I wanted to complete most and fortunately I did! You're never too old for a photo with Mickey and Minnie.

2. Ride Summit Plummet, again. It's the third-tallest and fastest free fall slide in the world, and I love very second of it.
- We didn't get to Blizzard Beach, so this is one I didn't get to do.

3. Try Jungle Juice. This is exclusive to Animal Kingdom and sounds delicious; orange, guava and passionfruit.
- Again, I didn't get round to doing this one either, and to be honest I'm not sure why? But if I go again, that'll definitely be happening. 

4. Go to DisneyQuest, located at Downtown Disney. It's an indoor interactive themepark which is included with your park admission, I'm just yet to visit it. 
- DONE! It's fair to say our expectations weren't particularly high for this one, but it was actually really good fun, and it's a shame they're getting rid of it!

5. Eat at the Rainforest Cafe, and buy another souvenir tshirt. I have one from each year we've been to Florida, and it's a tradition I don't want to stop. 
- DONE & DONE! The Rainforest Cafe will always be one of my favourites, the food's great and obviously the atmosphere is too.

6. Go on the Buzz Lightyear ride. I've never ridden this one before, and I'm not sure why I haven't, but that's got to change.
- DONE! It was great. I do think I lost though, so that wasn't so great

7. Get henna at Animal Kingdom. Last year I got the prettiest henna on my hand, and I'd love to get something similar this year. 
- Unfortunately this is another one I didn't get around to doing, grrr.

8. Go on the Tower of Terror without screaming. I'm such a wuss, and this is something I'm yet to do. But I'm 17 now, I'm nearly an adult?!?!
- DONE! Disney now film you while on the entire ride, and it's fair to say that I look more than a little scared in the videos, but nonetheless, I didn't scream out loud!

9. Complete the Speedway successfully. It's fair to say the last attempt I had was abysmal, and my passenger, my Dad, wasn't too thrilled by my driving.
- DONE! And I was great, for once. My Dad was more than a little impressed, so I'd definitely consider this one a success.

10. Play Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom. I'm not entirely sure what this will entail, but I've seen it mentioned a few times and I'd love to have a go. 
- DONE! Well kinda. We only had a very quick go while eating Dole Whip's one of the days, but I'm still going to tick it off

Well, there we have it. 7/10 is not bad at alllll and if I ever get the chance to go back, I'll certainly try and complete all 10!

Have you been to Disneyworld?