By Invitation Peony Noir - The Latest Fragrance From Michael Buble

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By Invitation Peony Noir - The Latest Fragrance From Michael Buble

Having already fallen in love with By Invitation, Michael Buble's debut fragrance for women, as well as the more recent Rose Gold version, it's safe to say I was pretty excited at the prospect of a third release from the perfume brand. As soon as I sniffed Peony Noir*, I knew I was going to love it as much as the others. In fact. I'm pretty sure it's going to become my go-to scent for evenings out throughout the winter.
 Best Perfume To Wear In The Evenings

Beautiful Perfume To Display On Your Dressing Table

Like the two previous fragrances, Peony Noir is packaged in an attractive round bottle with a metallic lid, although the design has been simplified slightly and I have to say, I'm a big fan of the updated version! The smoky ombre glass and touches of pink are gorgeous, and it's definitely a nice piece of eye candy to display on your dressing table.

Perfume With Black Coffee And Bergamot

Perfume With Rose, Iris And Orange Blossom

As for the fragrance, it follows the same trend as the packaging - there is something of the original scent about it, but it's more of a departure from that than the Rose Gold version was. It opens with top notes of black coffee and bergamot, instantly creating a sexy and sultry vibe, before giving way to a fragrant heart of rose, iris and orange blossom. The warm base notes are where you start to recognise the signature Michael Buble scent, as the vanilla, cedarwood and patchouli combination remain from the original fragrance, this time complimented by luxuriant sandalwood.

There is something about this that reminds me of YSL Black Opium, a fragrance which also contains notes of black coffee and orange blossom. However, Peony Noir is quite a bit lighter and has a little more sweetness to it. All of the Michael Buble fragrances are feminine and this one is definitely no exception. If you're after a perfume for evening that has that smoky sexiness to it but isn't too overpowering, this is the one for you.

Perfume With Vanilla, Cedarwood, Patchouli And Sandalwood

Feminine Fragrance For Evening

Peony Noir EDP retails for £42 for £100 ml and you can pick one up here if you fancy it.

Have you tried any of the Michael Buble fragrances? What perfumes have you been enjoying recently?

Kate x

*Gifted item. All opinions, as always, are my own.
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My Current Favourite Day And Night Face Oils

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My Current Favourite Day And Night Face Oils

I always feel as though my skin needs that little bit extra TLC in the cooler months, and perhaps for that reason, the whole ritual of my skincare routine feels a bit more like a treat at this time of year than it normally does. One thing I've particularly been enjoying lately is layering face oils under my moisturiser for extra nourishment and protection. I've been lucky enough to have been gifted two really lovely ones, and I've found one of them to be an ideal addition to my morning routine, while the other has become a night time favourite. Below, you'll find a concise review of both products, why I like to use each of them at different times of day, and links to where you can shop them.

Oh, and if it's the day time oil you like the sound of, you're in for an extra treat, as I also have a discount code which you can use to get 20% off your purchase. Read on, and all will be revealed!

My Current Favourite Day Face Oil


Dr Botanicals Moroccan Rose Superfood Facial Oil

As soon as the Dr Botanicals Moroccan Rose Superfood Facial Oil* arrived on my desk, I knew I was going to love it. It has rose in it, for one thing, and we all know how obsessed I am with rose as an ingredient. It's also pink (pink makes me happy, what can I say?!), and has the most beautiful light, sweet fragrance. 

There are a few reasons why I love using this in the mornings. Firstly, it's super light and absorbs into the skin almost instantly, meaning I don't have to wait around before applying my moisturiser and moving on to my makeup. It's also rich in anti-oxidants, so I feel as though I'm helping to protect my skin against free radicals and pollutants in the atmosphere by applying this before going out and about during the day. Finally, it has Vitamin A as a main ingredient, which helps to even out skin tone. When I apply this, I feel that my skin looks instantly clearer and brighter, with any redness calmed - definitely ready to face the day!

Dr Botanicals Moroccan Rose Superfood Facial Oil Vegan Skincare

Dr Botanicals Moroccan Rose Superfood Facial Oil Natural Skincare

In addition to Vitamin A, the other main ingredients in this product are Vitamin C, which stimulates collagen production for younger looking skin and Almond Oil, which adds moisture and also helps to brighten the complexion.

Designed to be suitable for all skin types, I think a lot of people would find this a great addition to their routine. If you like the look of it, you can find the Moroccan Rose Superfood Facial Oil here. Entering the code KATELOUISE at checkout will get you 20% off your purchase, and that applies not just to the oil but across the entire Dr Botanicals site. Their products are natural, vegan and cruelty free, and having had a good browse myself, I would say it's well worth a look as there were quite a few things that made me "ooh" and "ah". You might even, dare I say it, want to get a head start on some skincare related Christmas shopping?! (No? Too early? Ok, let's all forget I said anything and just look for treats for ourselves.)

My Current Favourite Night Face Oil


Antipodes Divine Face Oil with Rosehip and Avocado

I've already talked about the Antipodes Divine Face Oil with Rosehip and Avocado* in my Post Holiday Skincare Routine, but I'm still absolutely loving this product and it's perfect to use at night after the Dr Botanicals oil in the morning, so I just had to mention it again.

While both oils are rich and nourishing, you feel it a lot more with this one, as it's much oilier in consistency as opposed to the super light, almost watery Moroccan Rose oil. This makes it feel very comforting to apply at night. It's also packed with Vitamins, as well as Organic Avocado Oil, which boosts collagen production while reducing the appearance of fine lines and scarring. Rosehip Oil also adds moisture and repairs damaged skin. With all that repairing going on, I think that the evening is the ideal time to apply it, as it can really get to work to aid the skin's natural healing process.

Antipodes Divine Face Oil with Rosehip and Avocado Organic Skincare

Are you using any facial oils at the moment? Which are your favourites, and do you prefer to apply them in the day time or at night? And don't forget to use the code KATELOUISE for 20% off anything from the Dr Botanicals website.

Kate x

*Gifted product. Some links may be affiliate links. This poses no extra cost to you, the customer. All opinions, as always, are my own.
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My Easy Everyday Autumn Makeup

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My Easy Everyday Autumn Makeup

To be honest, every makeup look I do could be prefaced with the word "easy", and the vast majority of them with the word "everyday". But since the change in seasons has inspired me to switch my usual gold and bronze eyeshadows for something a little different, I thought I would share the results with you in a quick video. You can watch it over on YouTube, or below.

I've been loving these burgundy/toffee apple tones, and the whole look takes no longer than ten minutes to throw together. Great for busy mornings! 



What makeup have you been loving lately?

Kate x
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The Small Blogger's Guide To Sponsored Posts - 6 Important Questions To Ask Before You Start

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The Small Blogger's Guide To Sponsored Posts - 6 Important Questions To Ask Before You Start

Today's post is the latest in my series on working with brands. So far, I've covered how to decipher and deal with brand/PR emails relating to both unpaid collaborations and paid opportunities, and in the next couple of instalments, I'm going to guide you step by step through the process of working with a brand on a sponsored post.

As I've mentioned previously, I'm no Fleur De Force, but I do have a fair bit of experience in working with brands. As a small blogger myself, I feel that navigating the world of sponsored posts is harder for us than for the big successful influencers. Blogging full time is out of the question for most of us. We haven't got the weight of huge followings, a network or agent behind us, we can't afford/justify a professional photographer, etc. That's why I've specifically tailored my advice to smaller bloggers, and I really hope you find it useful.

The Small Blogger's Guide To Sponsored Posts - 6 Important Questions To Ask Before You Start

In today's instalment, I'm going to be focussing on the initial stage of the process. I'm talking about the moment you receive email correspondence from a brand, telling you that they love the content you create and would like to offer you paid work. This can be very exciting, especially for us smaller bloggers who perhaps don't get to experience it as often as we would like, and it can be so tempting to fire off an immediate response, agreeing to everything before they change their mind. Don't! Before you even think about saying yes, you need to be absolutely sure that you and the brand are on the same page, and that means understanding exactly what is being asked of you.

In my experience, the correspondence from PRs when discussing sponsored posts can often be vague and confusing, so it's really important that you ask the right questions. Through trial and error, I have learned that it's essential to be clear on the following six points before agreeing to start work on a sponsored post. Some of them are questions for the brand, while others are things you need to ask yourself. One thing is for sure, though - taking the time to consider them at the outset could save you a whole host of problems further down the line.

Street style fashion

6 Questions To Ask Before Accepting A Sponsored Post


1. Is the brand and product a good fit for my blog? 


Our blogs are built on our audiences, who come to us because they enjoy the type of content we create. That doesn't mean we shouldn't embrace a little variety every now and then, but if I were to write a post about light bulbs, for instance, I don't think it would be very exciting for my fashion and beauty loving readers! The post wouldn't do well, the brand wouldn't be happy, and more importantly, I would risk alienating my audience for the longer term. The product you're being asked to write about doesn't have to be your favourite in the whole wide world, but you do need to be interested in it. If you're not, chances are it's not a natural fit for your blog and probably not the right collaboration for you.

Tan suede skirt from Mango

2. What is the nature of the campaign, and can I deliver the content required? 


In some cases, sponsored posts can be very straightforward. You might be sent products to try out or asked to select clothing from the brand website, after which you will be free to take photos and create a blog post around the items as you normally would. Sometimes, though, there are more specific requirements to take into account. For example, when I worked with No7, I had to set up a giveaway using Rafflecopter. It wasn't something I was familiar with, so it took a little more preparation than usual. A House Of Fraser campaign I worked on earlier this year was fairly simple, but there was a requirement to focus the content on styling an outfit for a wedding, so I had to take that into account. 

When I worked on this campaign with TK Maxx, the requirements were a lot more complex. First I had to go into store with my photographer (read: husband), to meet the PR and put together a clothing rail of my favourite items. That took a good few hours, at the end of which I was gifted an outfit to style. I then had to set up a second photoshoot wearing that outfit (again, with my husband) all before actually writing the post. I don't have full time hours to devote to my blog, and Mike definitely doesn't, so it took some careful thinking and planning before I was in a position to agree.

Mini skirt and over the knee boots outfit

On yet another occasion, part of the campaign involved making a short teaser video for the brand's social media pages. This was before I had started my YouTube channel, so it wasn't an easy task for me, although I eventually found a way to do it.

What I'm trying to say here is that you need to be sure from the outset exactly what you are being asked to do. Can you find the time and do you have the necessary skills and equipment? If not, you run the risk of it all ending in tears later on.

turtle neck and mini skirt ootd

3. What is the deadline? 


I've probably covered this in point 2, but it's vitally important to know how much time you have to play with. Chances are, as a small blogger you will be working around your day job, so you need to sit down with your diary (and possibly, as in my TK Maxx example, your husband's diary!) and work out exactly when you can fit in the tasks required.

How to style over the knee boots

4. What am I going to charge? 


Sometimes a brand will have a fixed budget available, which you can either accept or not, but more often with this type of sponsored post, you will be asked to provide your rate. It can be difficult to know what to charge, but there are some examples online that suggest how to calculate a reasonable fee, and I think the table given in this article is very handy to use as a guide. 

Essentially, you need to take into account the time it will take you to do the work required, as well as your blog stats and engagement. In my case, although my monthly views are not currently where I would want them to be, I get good engagement on my posts and have a decent DA (Domain Authority - find yours here!) so I take all this into account when calculating my rate. While I think it's important to be honest and realistic, and won't be charging anything like the rates the big influencers charge, I also know that my blog has value, as does my time, and I don't see the point in committing myself to work without fair remuneration. In the case of the TK Maxx project, for example, the fee was higher than I usually charge, because there was so much more involved than simply styling up an outfit and writing a post.


Autumn High Street Fashion

The brand may accept your proposed fee, or they may come back with a counter offer. In this case, you need to weigh up whether or not the project is still worth your time, depending on what that counter offer is.

One final point on payment - make sure you clarify whether you will be paid via bank transfer or through PayPal. Some brands seem to like using PayPal, which is OK, but if this is the case I always ask them politely if they will cover PayPal's fees. If you've agreed on a figure then it's only fair that you receive all of it!

How to wear cream and black

5. Will the brand agree to proper disclosure and no-follow links? 


I have occasionally had to turn down paid work because the brand either don't want me to disclose that they've paid me to collaborate with them, or because they want me to include follow links to their site. It's maddening, but you could get into trouble and have your blog penalised for these practises, so they simply aren't worth the risk. That said, most reputable companies play by the rules, so it's not a scenario you should find yourself in too often when working on this type of sponsored post.

The Small Blogger's Guide To Sponsored Posts - 6 Important Questions To Ask Before You Start

6. Will there be a contract to sign?


I have worked on paid campaigns both with and without contracts. Usually, it is in the interests of both parties to have one as it offers mutual security. Make sure you read every word, though, because sometimes brands put requirements in there that they may not have discussed with you previously. For example, they might ask you not to work with any rival brands during the campaign and for a certain period of time after the post goes live. If there is anything you are not sure about, ask before you sign.

If there isn't a contract, I will email them something like, "Could you please confirm that I will be doing X, X and X and that you will pay me £X?" and wait for their positive response before starting any work. That way, I have written evidence of what has been agreed on in case of any problems later.

The Small Blogger's Guide To Sponsored Posts - 6 Important Questions To Ask Before You Start

Shop The Look


In my experience, being clear in your mind on these six important questions can help to make working on a sponsored post a much more pleasant and worry free experience. After all, getting paid work through your blog is a fantastic achievement and definitely one you should be able to enjoy!

I'll be following up with my guide to the next steps in the process soon. In the meantime, I hope you found this of use! Have you worked on any sponsored posts, and do you have any tips for being prepared?

Kate x

Some links may be affiliate links. This poses no extra cost to you, the customer. All opinions, as always, are my own.
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Shopping The Stash - Building This Season's Wardrobe From Last Season's Pieces

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Shopping The Stash - Building This Season's Wardrobe From Last Season's Pieces

Autumn/Winter fashion is so much fun - the soft knits, the layers, the richness of colour and texture... but it's also expensive. Thick coats, heavy boots and sturdy fabrics definitely eat into the bank balance in a way that delicate summer pieces don't, and when you throw Christmas into the mix in the middle of it all, it can be all too easy to overspend.

My husband will tell you that I live in a perpetual state of "nothing to wear", but a lot of that is fuelled by a combination of not being as organised as I should be, and liking shiny new things a little bit too much. So, a couple of weeks back, I had a big wardrobe clearout, ready for the Autumn/Winter season. And much to my surprise, I found quite a few old pieces that are more than acceptable for the coming months. This should be helpful not only for my financial situation but my sanity as well, as it's helped me to focus on things that I really need, as opposed to just whatever looks pretty in the shops. Around the same time, this documentary on fast fashion and the impact it has on the planet popped up on my radar, which is probably more important than the state of my bank balance, now I come to think about it!

As a result, I decided to make a video to share the gems I've found at the back of my wardrobe, as well as a few ideas on how I might style them up to form the building blocks of my new season wardrobe. I hope it inspires a stash-shopping session of your own! As always, you can watch it on YouTube or right here. Enjoy!



Do you rewear many of your clothes season after season? What are your thoughts on fast fashion?

Kate x
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Cosy High Street Cardigans For AW18

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Cosy High Street Cardigans For AW18

CardiganT-shirt - River Island, Skirt - Topshop (similar), Boots - H&M (similar)

In these past few weeks, dressing has been something of a delicate balance. The weather has been turning cooler, the evenings drawing in, and with the heating not yet in full winter mode, at times it has felt pretty chilly. On the other hand, the autumn season still feels quite new. The sun has still been gracing us with its presence most days, and while I have packed away my floral maxi dresses, it just doesn't feel right to be bundled up in loads of layers either. 

One item I have found myself reaching for time and again during this tricky transitional period is this soft, chunky knit grey cardigan from River Island. I've found it so useful to throw on over jeans and a t-shirt whenever I've started to feel a chill in the air, whether I'm at my desk working or out and about. For some reason I seem not to have had many cardigans in my wardrobe for the past few seasons and I have no idea how I managed without them! As this grey one is working overtime, I definitely want to look for a couple more to see me through the autumn and winter months. They're perfect for adding a cosy layer of warmth over t-shirts, blouses and dresses, and when it gets really cold, I fully intend to add them over polo neck jumpers as well!

As you know, I do like to spend a fair portion of my spare time browsing clothes online, so I've put my scrolling to good use and selected a few of my favourite high street cardigans to share with you here. Let me know which is your favourite below.

Cosy High Street Cardigans For AW18


Cosy High Street Cardigans For AW18



Are you a cardigan wearer?

Kate x

Some links may be affiliate links. This poses no extra cost to you, the customer. All opinions, as always, are my own.
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Why The Wraparound Midi Skirt Is My New Night Out Staple

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Why The Wraparound Midi Skirt Is My New Night Out Staple

Midi skirts have been huge over the past couple of seasons, and there have been a lot of different styles I've been loving, especially through the summer months. Just before I went to Mallorca, I picked up a couple of new things to wear for going out in the evenings, one of which was this scarf print wraparound midi skirt. I don't usually go for bold prints, but something about this skirt just appealed to me, and it ended up being one of my favourite night out pieces and a staple in my holiday wardrobe.

While I really do love the striking print, it wasn't the main reason why I found myself reaching for this skirt so often.

River Island Wrap Scarf Print Midi Skirt


River Island Wraparound Scarf Print Midi Skirt

First of all, there's the length. Midi skirts are so easy to wear and so elegant too - add even the smallest heel and you'll instantly look feminine and graceful. While maxi skirts can sometimes be tricky to style and mini skirts can be a little too... well, mini, there's something about midi skirts that always feels effortless.

Secondly, there's the shape. Now we all know I love to twirl around in something floaty, but the sleeker lines of this skirt are just that little bit sexier, and sometimes that's what you want for a night out.

River Island Wrap Scarf Print Midi Skirt

At the same time, the wraparound element adds a touch of fun and just lifts the piece out of corporate pencil skirt territory, in my opinion. I really love the tie detail of this River Island number as it allows you to adjust the fit perfectly to skim your hips. And just for reassurance, it actually fastens with a zip at the back, so there's no danger of any mishaps!

Why The Wraparound Midi Skirt Is My New Night Out Staple OOTN

Why The Wraparound Midi Skirt Is My New Night Out Staple OOTN

SkirtTop - River Island, Bag - Topshop, Heels - TK Maxx

Below, I've put together a selection of some of my favourite wraparound midi skirts on the high street right now. I think any of them would be simple to style up for an evening out. Just add a sleek black or white top, a pair of heels and maybe a slick of red lipstick. Voila!


Are you a fan of this skirt style?

Kate x

Some links may be affiliate links. This poses no extra cost to you, the customer. All opinions, as always, are my own.
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