Tuesday 31 January 2017

January Favourites

January Favourites featuring Benefit, Miller Harris, Mac, Too Faced, L'Oreal and H&M - 1

It's monthly favourites time again! January has been pretty productive for me this year. Last year and the year before I was moving house, and everything else had to go on hold, so it has been really nice to be able to get on with things from the start this time around. In terms of my blog, I've felt a renewed sense of enthusiasm after feeling a little bit lost at the end of last year. In part, this has been due to having the opportunity to work with No7 this month - a brand I've loved for years - but also, I think, because I took some time off over Christmas to recharge my batteries and really think about what I'm trying to achieve with my little corner of the internet. Taking a break is something I'm often scared to do, but it can be invaluable in terms of putting things into perspective and generating new ideas, so I'm going to make a mental note to myself to do this a little more often! All in all, it's been a positive start to 2017. 

January Favourites featuring Benefit, Miller Harris, Mac, Too Faced, L'Oreal and H&M - 2

As well as getting started on those new year goals, January is often a time when a lot of people cut back on spending. That certainly seems to have been true for me this year, as pretty much all my favourites are rediscoveries of forgotten treasures from the bottom of my makeup drawer. I have to say, as much as I love acquiring shiny new things, there is a particular sense of satisfaction to be gained from shopping the stash, especially when you are reminded of how much you love something that has somehow slipped out of sight and out of mind.

Here's what I've been loving this month.

1. Benefit Rollerlash Mascara - My appreciation for this mascara has been something of a slow burner. When I first bought it, I was fixated on the claims about how well it curls lashes, and expected to be able to throw away my eyelash curlers once and for all. This wasn't the case for me, and I think it made me disappointed in the product to start off with. However, once I had fished my eyelash curlers back out of the bin and tried Rollerlash in partnership with them, I realised that it's actually really nice, especially for length. I usually go for volumising mascaras, but lately I've preferred the more delicate, fluttery effects of this one. 

January Favourites featuring Benefit, Miller Harris, Mac, Too Faced, L'Oreal and H&M - 3

2. Miller Harris Vetiver Insolent Perfume* - I'm sure I've mentioned this fagrance hundreds of times on the blog by now, but if you're unfamiliar with it, you can check out my full review here. This is a sophisticated and heavy fragrance, not for the faint-hearted, but I absolutely love it. I've had a few evenings out this month, and with the weather being so cold, I have enjoyed wearing this warm, earthy fragrance more than ever.

January Favourites featuring Benefit, Miller Harris, Mac, Too Faced, L'Oreal and H&M - 4

3. Mac Eye Shadow in Tempting - I'd forgotten I had this, so it was a treat to rediscover it in the depths of my makeup drawer! For my day to day eye makeup, I tend to use just one shade over the lid and blended into the crease, and bronze colours like this are perfect. Tempting is a lustre finish with a really beautiful shimmer to it. I think I have worn this just about every single day throughout the month of January.

January Favourites featuring Benefit, Miller Harris, Mac, Too Faced, L'Oreal and H&M - 5

4. Too Faced La Creme Color Drenched Lip Cream in Nude Beach worn with L'Oreal Infallible Mega Gloss in Protest Queen - I am obsessed with this lip combination. The Too Faced Color Drenched Lip Creams are probably the most comfortable lipsticks I have ever worn. They feel like a lip balm to apply, but they have a beautiful, creamy, sheeny pigmentation to them too. The shade Nude Beach is a gorgeous pinky nude which I seem to have been drawn to a lot this month. I think it has something to do with wanting spring to start right after Christmas! Protest Queen is one of L'Oreal's cream finish lipglosses from the Mega Gloss line, and over the top of Nude Beach it is just perfect. It's almost identical in colour and just intensifies the creaminess and, er, sheeniness. I've put the two together in the swatch above.

January Favourites featuring Benefit, Miller Harris, Mac, Too Faced, L'Oreal and H&M - 6

5. H&M Turtleneck (similar) - I have lived in this for pretty much the whole month. An absolute bargain, this is a fitted black turtleneck jumper with just the tiniest little design detail in the ribbing on the front. Perfect with jeans and a big fur-lined jacket during the day, and tucked into a leather pencil skirt for the evening. We've had some freezing weather in the last couple of weeks so it has been lovely to be all covered up in this. I can't find this exact jumper on the H&M website, but the one I've linked to is nearly identical and also a great price.

And that rounds up my first monthly favourites of 2017! How has January been for you, and what have you been loving this month?

Kate x

*Gifted item. All opinions, as always, are my own.

Friday 27 January 2017

Balloon Sleeves

So... another post about fun sleeves. It's official - I have a problem and need to be weaned off this addiction, stat. I mean, just look at me.

OOTD featuring Shein Balloon Sleeve Top, Topshop Mini Skirt and Zara Ankle Boots - 1

In all seriousness, I hope you don't mind another fairly similar outfit post so soon after this one, but Shein have very kindly sent me a few more pieces and it seemed like a waste of pretty clothes not to share at least a couple of them on the blog. And there's nothing worse than wasting pretty clothes... (unless you're my Dad, in which case wasting good wine is definitely worse.)

I also hope you don't mind this brick wall popping up as a backdrop again. I much prefer to do my outfit shoots out and about whenever I can, but my photographer (aka husband) is super busy with work these days and doesn't have as much time for them as he used to. I have my tripod, but unfortunately I don't live in London where I can just nip off and find a quirky little side street to take photos in without anybody bothering me. Let's just say that if I nipped off into a quirky little side street in this town, someone would pinch my camera before I had chance to strike my first pose.

OOTD featuring Shein balloon sleeve top, Topshop A-line Skirt and Zara Ankle Boots - 2

However, I want to feature more outfit posts on the blog, not less, so while I will get to more interesting locations when I possibly can, I'm afraid you're going to be seeing quite a lot of these bricks. I hope that's OK.

Anyway, enough rambling. Let's talk about the clothes!

OOTD featuring Shein balloon sleeve top, Topshop A-line Skirt and Zara Ankle Boots - 3

The top is from Shein and features these gorgeous balloon sleeves which I really love. Although it has a tweed-like appearance, the fabric is actually quite thin, but it's warm enough with a thermal vest worn underneath. Shein is cheap and cheerful, and I'm not going to pretend that the quality of this is the most sumptuous I have ever seen, but it is perfectly acceptable and I've been enjoying wearing it either like this or with jeans and boots. And for trend led pieces that you're probably not going to want to wear in a year's time anyway, I don't see the point in shelling out a lot of cash.

OOTD featuring Shein Balloon Sleeve Top, Topshop Mini Skirt and Zara Ankle Boots - 4

The skirt is years old. Every girl needs a black A-line skirt in her wardrobe and I've always liked the zip details on this one - they just add that little extra "something".

OOTD featuring Shein balloon sleeve top, Topshop A-line Skirt and Zara Ankle Boots - 5

I bought these ankle boots from Zara at the same time I picked up the over the knee boots I featured in my Bow Sleeves post. I love this pair just as much. Sleek and smart, a great shape and with a practical block heel, these go with just about everything. Perfect for day to day wear.

OOTD featuring Shein balloon sleeve top, Topshop A-line Skirt and Zara Ankle Boots - 6

Top* - Shein, Skirt (similar here, here or here) - Topshop, Boots - Zara

What are you enjoying wearing right now?

Kate x

*Gifted item. All opinions, as always, are my own.

Wednesday 25 January 2017

Trying Something Different - Elegant Touch Nails by Rosie Bea

Elegant Touch Nails by Rosie Bea 1

One of the many things I love about blogging is the fact that it pushes me to try new things. While I'm not going to get all deep and philosophical about a set of artificial nails (that would be silly), I do want to point out that I had a lot of fun playing around with these, and if it hadn't been for the incentive of creating a blog post out of them, I probably wouldn't have bothered with them at all. And that would have been a shame.

I've never been interested in false nails in the slightest. I love nail varnish and a good manicure, but I've always thought of false nails - especially the type you can pick up in a box from Boots and attach yourself - as something a little bit cheap looking. However, this nude and copper set was among the goodies I was very kindly gifted at the Boohoo Blogger Christmas Party. They're from an Elegant Touch* range by beauty vlogger Rosie Bea, and they looked so pretty that I thought I'd give them a try.

And just in case some of you are as clueless as I am when it comes to false nails, I thought I'd write about the experience too. So here goes!

Elegant Touch Nails by Rosie Bea 2

The nails come in ten different sizes, so no matter how big or small your hands are, you should be able to find something to fit. Inside the kit, you also get a little nail file, detailed instructions, and glue.

I must admit, the glue put me off a bit. Don't ask me what I was expecting - after all, they have to stick on somehow, right?! But I was worried that the glue would ruin my natural nails, and also that it might make it difficult to remove the false ones once they were fixed on. What if I didn't like them?

But in the interests of this post, I put my fears to one side and pressed on. I hope you all appreciate my bravery.

Elegant Touch Nails by Rosie Bea 3

The instructions are pretty simple. First of all, you need to push back your cuticles with an orange stick, then wipe your nails with little bit of nail varnish remover, just to clean them of any natural oils that might make it harder for the glue to stick. Finally, you need to try out the different nail sizes to see which fit best and decide exactly which nail you are going to wear on which finger. I think this is probably a lot easier with nails that are all one colour, but with this set, I had a bit of trouble. Some of them are plain, some are polka dot, and some have copper tips or copper half moons. So not only did I need to find the best fit for each fingernail, but at the same time I didn't want two polka dotted nails next to each other, for example.

Or perhaps that's just me overthinking it. Possibly.

Elegant Touch Nails by Rosie Bea 4

When I'd finally decided which nails I was going to use, it was time to break out the glue. This comes in a little tube with a fine nozzle and I found it easy to apply the recommended thin layer on each nail. I was probably a bit too sparing with the glue, due to my aforementioned fears, but the nails still stuck pretty firmly. You need to be careful to get them on straight and close enough to the cuticle without actually touching it. This is probably the trickiest part of the whole process - mine turned out reasonably OK, although I could have made a better job of it. You also need to make sure you press each nail firmly onto your fingertip for a few seconds to make sure it bonds with the glue. And voila!

Elegant Touch Nails by Rosie Bea 5

I really liked the finished result. I mean, I couldn't type or use my phone or wash my hair or pick anything up with these on, but look how pretty!

In all seriousness, now that I've tried these I might consider them for special occasions in the future. If you want instantly long and perfectly manicured nails, even a little bit of nail art with zero effort, then these are genius.

As for removing them, I'm afraid I was extremely naughty and just pulled them off my nails, which is exactly what the instructions tell you not to do. However, due to the fact that I was such a wimp with the glue, I got away with it. If you are a normal individual without an irrational fear of nail glue, I would definitely advise getting some false nail remover and soaking them in it to dissolve them properly.

Elegant Touch Nails by Rosie Bea 6

What are your thoughts on artificial nails?

Kate x

*Gifted item. some links may be affiliate links. All opinions, as always, are my own

Friday 20 January 2017

Bow Sleeves

OOTD feautring Shein top, H&M skirt and Zara OTK boots 1

I don't know about you, but I'm loving the trend for crazy sleeves right now. Whether they're ruffled, bell shaped, ribbon adorned, or, as in the case of this little Shein number, cut out and ribbon adorned, I am all over them. This black top is essentially like a cosy sweater, but then has these really interesting sleeve details. It would look cool with jeans and beat up trainers, but I also love it dressed up a little bit like this.

I found the skirt in H&M after a fairly lengthy search. I was looking for something to team with my new over the knee boots - more on these later as I'm obsessed, obsessed I tell you! - and nothing I had seemed to be quite right. Proper mini skirts just looked a bit too short and, well, a bit tarty with the boots. At the same time I wanted something that was still short enough to show them off. This one fit the bill perfectly and I think looks a lot pricier than H&M. It's a nice, thick twill material so it's perfect for winter. My only issue is there's not a huge amount of give around the waist, so it's perhaps not the best thing to wear out for a huge meal (which is precisely what I've worn it for.)

OOTD feautring Shein top, H&M skirt and Zara OTK boots 2 
The boots are from Zara and I can't speak highly enough about them. They were around £55, which I think is brilliant for a pair of Zara boots. I'm guessing the fact that they're a sock boot style makes them that little bit more affordable, and if you're like me and have regular sized feet but skinny little calves, sock boots are the best style to go for in terms of fit anyway, so it's a win win! I feel like high street boots in general have been absolutely brilliant this season and these are definitely no exception. They're a great shape with a really nice block heel and they're comfortable to walk in too. Nice one Zara!

OOTD feautring Shein top, H&M skirt and Zara OTK boots 3

OOTD feautring Shein top, H&M skirt and Zara OTK boots 4

Top* - Shein, Skirt (similar) - H&M, Boots (similar), Bag (similar) - Zara

Are you embracing the crazy sleeve trend?

Kate x

*Gifted item. All opinions, as always, are my own.

Wednesday 18 January 2017

No7 Lift & Luminate Triple Action Range - First Impressions and Giveaway

No7 Lift & Luminate Triple Action Range - First Impressions and Giveaway 1

I'm really excited about today's post. First of all, it features the re-vamped No7 Lift & Luminate skincare range, which sounds absolutely fantastic for mature skin. Secondly, there's a giveaway involved, and that's always good news, right?! 

I've been a fan of No7 for many years. Their philosophy that beauty is not just about looking good, but about feeling ready to take on the world, is one that I can wholeheartedly get behind, and in fact, their Protect and Perfect line was my first ever introduction to anti-ageing skincare. To this day, it's still my go-to if I'm ever stuck for what to buy. I've never tried Lift & Luminate before, but having read the press release about the recent improvements to this range, I can't wait to give it a go.

No7 Lift & Luminate Triple Action Range - First Impressions and Giveaway 2

No7 have recently revolutionised the entire Lift & Luminate line, so there's no better time to test it out. Taking the powerful technology from their TRIPLE ACTION serum - the UK's number one serum brand - they've added it to their entire skincare range of day cream, night cream and eye cream. No7 believes that skincare works #BetterTogether, and the new and improved Lift & Luminate range is now the hardest working in their entire arsenal, proven to deliver results against the three most common signs of ageing by visibly reducing wrinkles, firming skin and producing a more even skin tone.

No7 Lift & Luminate Triple Action Range - First Impressions and Giveaway 3

The technology in question comprises the following key ingredients:

Matrixyl 3000 PLUS - A powerful peptide blend which smoothes wrinkles to restore more youthful looking skin

Hyaluronic Acid - Provides skin firming benefits through its water retaining abilities

Hibiscus Extract - Rich in peptides and amino acids, helps support collagen production for smoother, firmer skin

Lightening Complex - Contains Emblica (Indian gooseberry) and Vitamin C, to even skin tone and fade pigmentation

No7 Lift & Luminate Triple Action Range - First Impressions and Giveaway 4

In addition to this potent blend, the day cream contains SPF 15 and 5* UVA, offering No7's most advanced protection against damaging - and ageing - UV rays. No7 claims that use of the day cream will reveal younger looking skin in just two weeks, and will protect your skin for the future with regular use.

No7 Lift & Luminate Triple Action Range - First Impressions and Giveaway 5

The night cream, which works in harmony with skin's night time renewal process to nourish and restore moisture, is supposed to offer immediately visible effects from the morning after the first use, reduced wrinkles and firmer skin after two weeks, and a more rested and radiant looking complexion after four weeks.

No7 Lift & Luminate Triple Action Range - First Impressions and Giveaway 6

The eye cream is especially formulated for the delicate skin in this area, and, it's claimed, will reveal brighter looking eyes in just two weeks. With continued use, you should see crow's feet softened and dark circles and puffiness reduced.

In trials, 88% of women saw even better results from using the new day cream together with the serum, which would seem to suggest that No7 are onto something with their #BetterTogether theory. And now that the new range is available to buy in stores, they've decided to offer a group of Thirty Plus bloggers - and some of our readers - the opportunity to see for themselves. I only received the range a couple of days ago, so I'm going to give you my first impressions now. If you want to know how it works on my skin over the next few weeks, make sure you pop back at the beginning of February to find out, as I'll be posting all about it then.

No7 Lift & Luminate Triple Action Range - First Impressions and Giveaway 7

I usually love the packaging of No7 skincare and this range is definitely no exception. It's neat, elegant and very easy to see which product is which thanks to the simple colour coding. The eye cream and serum have fine nozzles, making it a cinch to dispense the small amount of product you need without any waste. The day and night cream are housed in clear plastic jars. I know a lot of people worry about hygiene when you're constantly dipping your fingers into the product, but so long as your hands are clean there shouldn't really be a problem, and it certainly makes for ease of use.

My immediate impressions of these products are that they are all light to apply and quick to absorb. Fragrance is minimal, but what little is there is fresh and clean. If anything, the day cream feels slightly thicker than the night cream, but neither of them are at all heavy on the skin. I think I'm really going to enjoy using these products, and I can't wait to let you all know the results in a few weeks' time!

No7 Lift & Luminate Triple Action Range - First Impressions and Giveaway 8

Left - Serum, Right - Eye Cream

No7 Lift & Luminate Triple Action Range - First Impressions and Giveaway 9

Left - Night Cream, Right - Day Cream 

So, in the spirit of #BetterTogether, what could be more fitting than to try out these products alongside some of you? No7 are very kindly offering a full set to five of my UK based readers, so if you're interested in testing them out, make sure you enter the giveaway below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
As I mentioned, these products are available now, so if you don't win you can always head over to your local Boots (or Boots.com!) to pick them up. The day cream and night cream retail for £24.95, the eye cream for £17.00 and the 30 ml serum for £27.00. (They are also currently on 3 for 2, so now would be the perfect time to get your hands on them.)

No7 Lift & Luminate Triple Action Range - First Impressions and Giveaway 10

Oh, and if you're interested in seeing what some other bloggers think of this range, then make sure you check out HayleyTraceyAlexJaneLouiseLisaFrithaJo and Sareta who are also taking part in this trial.

Are you a fan of No7 skincare? Have you tried the Lift & Luminate range, and are you as intrigued by the re-vamp as I am? And do you believe that skincare is better together, or do you prefer to mix and match your products? I would love to know!

Finally, don't forget to check back here at the beginning of February to find out how I get on!

Kate x

This post was sponsored by No7. All opinions, as always, are my own.

Monday 16 January 2017

How to Hide Greys When You're Allergic to Hair Dye - My Experience With Goldwell Elumen

If you've been following my blog for a while, you'll probably know that I'm allergic to hair dye, or more specifically, to PPD, the active ingredient in hair dye. I don't want to waffle on and on about the ins and outs of hair dye allergy in this post (although if you're interested in that, I waffled on and on about it here!) Instead, I want to share a recent experience with you - one that could be helpful to anyone who's looking to disguise grey hairs, especially if you happen to be allergic to dye, like me.

Goldwell Elumen Review 1

The fact that I couldn't dye my hair was never really an issue for me until I started to develop greys. I wasn't interested in going all the colours of the rainbow, but when the greys came along, I wanted them gone quick sharp. Remember that L'Oreal advert where Julianna Margulies says, "I will ALWAYS be too young to be grey"? Yep, that. I'm sure plenty of people can relate!

So what do you do when you have grey hairs but can't colour over them? Well, as a matter of fact, for anyone with greys, it's always going to be more effective to get highlights rather than trying to dye them. As a hairdresser once explained to me, grey hairs are funny little buggers, completely different in texture to pigmented hair, and even strong, permanent dyes have a tendency to wash out of them within just a few weeks. Of course you can keep re-dyeing them if you want to, but it's high maintenance.

Highlights, on the other hand, create depth and dimension within the hair, and as soon as you get that mix of shades, the greys just seem to blend away. With nothing to wash out of them, you're basically sorted until the roots grow through. You can lighten hair with bleach - a completely different chemical process to dyeing and one which I am happily not allergic to. So for a good few years now, I've used bleach only highlights to disguise my grey hairs.

At first, this was fine, but there were always a few little niggles at the back of my mind. For one thing, most people who have highlights don't have them with just bleach, and there are very good reasons for that. Bleach will lift your natural colour, but not usually to a shade you want to be. With "normal" non-allergic clients, hairdressers use toners or dyes over the top of bleach to achieve the desired shade, and some won't even want to touch your hair if they have to work with bleach alone. I was very fortunate that I found a talented and experienced colourist who would, and that bleach - at least in his expert hands - seemed to lift my hair to quite a nice shade without the help of toners or other colourants. However, not having any sort of choice over your own hair colour is still not ideal.

The second problem, which is potentially a lot worse, is what happens if things start getting a bit too blond? Most people can just add some lowlights or even dye the whole lot back to their natural colour, but if you have a PPD allergy, you can't do this. My first colourist, Shane, understood this issue, and was always careful to give me just enough highlights to disguise my greys. This is what my hair used to look like when he was in charge of my colour, and I was always very happy with it.

Goldwell Elumen Review 3

Then Shane left. Left the salon, left town, left the bloody country. Walked out of my life and abandoned me to deal with my hair issues on my own.

Damn you Shane!

My next colourist, unfortunately, was not in the same league. She freaked out about not being able to use toners on me, and decided that the only way to keep my hair from being brassy (a common complaint when you lift with bleach alone) was to make it as light as possible. She did this by leaving the bleach on a lot longer than Shane had done, and was also not very careful about only doing my roots. I, stupidly perhaps, did nothing to stop her, and I ended up looking like this.

Goldwell Elumen Review 4

Now I'm aware that a lot of people might actually prefer this colour. It's cooler toned than what I had before, which is always infinitely more fashionable. I, however, hated it. I felt it looked harsh on me, and I really missed my warm, caramel tones. It was also a lot more damaging to my hair, impossible to manage, and the worst thing was it got blonder and more damaged with every appointment, because she just wasn't careful enough with where she was putting the bleach. Also, just look at those roots!

I was now in my nightmare situation, with hair that was too light, and unable to do anything about it. 

But then, I heard about Goldwell Elumen. (Just to be clear, I heard about it from my own research and paid for my appointment with my own money - this is not a sponsored post.) Elumen is a kind of dye that colours hair physically instead of chemically (don't ask me how this works, but it does! If you're interested, you can read all about Goldwell Elumen and the science behind it here.) Because it uses different technology, there's no nasty active PPD contained within it, and as a patch test confirmed, I'm not allergic to it! Yay!

Goldwell Elumen Review 6

Image Source

Goldwell Elumen is usually used to create rainbow colours, so if you're into mermaid/unicorn hair, it's well worth checking out. However, they also have a range of regular shades, including warm honey blondes. I found a salon near me that worked with it, and explained my situation to my new colourist, Lauren. She chose two shades - one to act as a low light to break up the excessive lightness throughout my hair, and the other slightly lighter to use as a toner on the rest. The finished result looked like this, and I couldn't be happier with it.

While Goldwell Elumen is apparently not the best at covering greys, it holds on to bleached hair beautifully, so it's perfect for me to use as a toner. A completely unexpected bonus is that my hair is also a lot softer and shinier after using this, and it seems to be lasting really well too.

I'm definitely going to keep on using Goldwell Elumen, and would recommend that anyone who's allergic to PPD or is just looking for a gentler hair colourant gives it a try.

Do you colour your hair? What's your preferred brand?

Kate x

Friday 6 January 2017

How to set attainable goals for the new year

How to set attainable goals for the new year 1 - Shein Dress OOTD

Happy 2017 everyone! Did you have a good Christmas? Mine was lovely, apart from the fact that the entire family seemed to take turns getting sick. All plans for New Year's Eve celebrations quickly disappeared by the wayside, and I ended up watching the London fireworks on TV in my pyjamas, drinking lemsip. But in the interests of starting the new year on a positive note, I won't go on about it!

How to set attainable goals for the new year 2 - Shein Dress OOTD

How to set attainable goals for the new year 3 - Shein Dress OOTD

The start of a new year always gets me excited. It's the perfect time to take stock and reflect on the achievements of the past twelve months and to set new goals for the year to come. I don't tend to make the typical health or fitness related resolutions - I've been around long enough by now to know that I just won't stick to them, and that "everything in moderation" is the approach that works best for me when it comes to diet and exercise, throughout the year.

How to set attainable goals for the new year 4 - Shein Dress OOTD

I do, however, love setting goals in other areas, not least this blog. One thing I'm determined to do this year is make sure those goals are attainable. I've always been ambitious, and I see that as a good thing, but in the past I've had a tendency to challenge myself with wildly unrealistic targets. This is counter productive, as all it does is set me up for failure and disappointment. There simply aren't enough hours in the day to start five new hobbies, excel at work, be a domestic goddess and spend more time pampering myself. As for turning into Rosie Huntington-Whitely, it's time to accept that's never going to happen.

It was my husband who first introduced me to the concept of SMART goals. Just in case you haven't heard of it, it's usually used in business but can be applied to anything. The meaning behind the acronym can vary slightly, but in essence it stands for Specific, Measurable, Action-oriented, Realistic and Time-bound. Apply those criteria to any goal you wish to achieve, and you've set yourself nicely on the path to success.

How to set attainable goals for the new year 5 - Shein Dress OOTD

Let's say, for example, that I wanted to set myself a target with my Instagram account this year. When it comes to Instagram, we all dream of having a large following, so it's tempting to set a goal along the lines of getting a certain number of followers by the end of the year. However, ultimately, that's not something I have any control over. No matter what I do, or how hard I work on my Instagram account, I can't force people to follow me (unless, of course, I buy those followers, but that's cheating, and we don't condone cheating, now do we?!) This is a good example of a non-action-oriented goal - There is no action I can take that will directly result in more followers, although of course this is what we all hope for if we create a pretty enough feed.

How to set attainable goals for the new year 6 - Shein Dress OOTD

Instead, it's better to set a goal that's more focused on building my profile and improving the quality of my images, such as getting into a regular weekly posting schedule. To apply the SMART principle to this goal, I would first need to make it Specific - that is, decide exactly what I want to post and when. It then becomes Measurable, because each week I will know whether I have met my target or not. Crucially, unlike the follower-based goal, it's Action-oriented, meaning that my own action (of posting photos) determines my success or failure. Keeping things Realistic is important - for example, one to two pictures per day is probably doable for me, but if I try for much more I risk setting myself up to fail. Finally, I need to make it a Time-bound goal, so I know exactly when I'm going to post each picture, and can make sure I have set aside the time I need.

How to set attainable goals for the new year 7  - Shein Dress OOTD

Dress* - Shein, Blazer - Zara (similar), Bag - Zara (Similar), Shoes - Topshop (Similar), Tights - H&M

By doing this, I set myself a target that I'm actually capable of meeting, which leads to feelings of positivity and, as a result, should spur me on to achieve even more. By contrast, feeling that you've failed to achieve something often leads to negativity and a slump in energy, so what on earth is the point of setting unrealistic targets? Hopefully, by approaching my Instagram goals in this new way, I should end up with a feed I can be proud of and the followers will... well, follow!

You can apply the SMART principle to any goal you want to achieve, whether that's something personal, blog related, career related - anything. I'm definitely going to use it to set new goals for my blog this year.

Have you set any goals for 2017?

Kate x

P.S. If you're based in the UK and fancy winning a Wonderbra, you can still enter my giveaway here.

*Gifted item
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