26 February 2014

Instagram Tips

Instagram is one of my favourite social networking sites just because it allows me to be creative and fulfil my aesthetically pleasing/perfectionism needs, as well as documenting my life in pictures of course. I love discovering new ways to edit my photos and choosing new things to photography each day. Saying that, I don't feel the pressure to post every. single. day. if i don't want to or I have nothing to photograph. There's no point in getting worked up about it, after all Instagram is meant to be fun and a way to boost your creativity.

Quality over Quantity. This goes for a couple of things. First, as mentioned above, quality photographs every few days are better than a load of them each day that don't look as good. Of course if you want to, you can post anything you like whenever you like, but if you're like me, you'll want to make sure all of your posts look relatively nice together or cohesive. I just can't stand looking at my feed in grid form and feeling like it all looks mismatched. A good way to maintain cohesiveness is with filters or editing, but more on that later. Quality over quantity goes for followers as well. I only have a little group of 100 followers but I'm fine with that. You don't want 'ghost' followers or people that don't like your photos. Also, what is really annoying to me is when people overload on 'sfs' posts - you don't need to gain a gazillion followers to have fun on instagram, and plus it's pretty damn annoying for your existing followers who have to put up with it. You're sending the wrong message across, that all you want is a higher number rather than quality followers.

Editing. I like to use editing to enhance my photos rather than make them look completely different and fake. I try and use natural filters that bring out the white/brightness in my photos. If you don't want to make it look like you've edited your photos when you actually have to obtain that clean, subtle look I have a few suggestions. My two favourite apps for photo editing are vscocam which is super popular, and afterlight which is also popular - vsco is free and afterlight isn't, but it's worth it! Afterlight is just over a dollar and you'll get a lot of use out of it. My favourite filters on vsco are: M5 and T1. If you don't like the filter completely, you can always adjust it slightly with the exposure, brightness, contrast tools and more. You don't even have to use a fitler - you can just brighten your photos, etc. if you like. Afterlight is way more specific and detailed with all of these editing tools and there is a huge range of filters too. My favourites for afterlight are: coal, frost, captain and glacier under original. The photo above is edited with afterlight - I upped the brightness and exposure slightly and used a filter but adjusted it with the handy sliding bar. I find it's good to experiment with different apps and filters. Nothing is stuck in stone - if you never use a specific filter it doesn't mean you can't now.

Use hashtags. Yes, I know what you're thinking. Hashtags, really? But I find they really do help you when you're first starting off. It's a good way to get people to discover your photos and categorise your photos. You don't have to use them if you don't want to, and you can delete them later if you like. Just don't overload with #followforfollow #bestoftheday #sfs etc etc. Now that's just really irritating.

Have a good range. Take photos of different things and places that compliment each other. Try and make sure you don't have a billion photos of food all in one go, or a few dozen selfies. If you think your instagram is looking a little busy, then take a few simple photos to add to the mix. Basically, balance things out and your aesthetically pleasing needs will be filled. If you're nothing like me, then just ignore everything I've said here. Don't be afraid to try different angles or different locations or different light in your photos. Just experiment a lot.

Those are my tips for having a great instagram. I use instagram as a tool for documenting my life in a more creative and fun way and really, it makes my life seem a tad better than what it actually is. That's the struggle isn't it? If you like you can follow me on my instagram here.

23 February 2014

Sunday Stuff #005

This week I received an extremely late Christmas present since it's been in extremely high demand ever since it came out really. It's Alexa Chung's 'It'. I have yet to read it but I've flicked through it and it's just looks so cool. Alexa Chung has got to have my favourite style along with every other person on the planet at the moment. I love books like these, it's really a coffee table book or something you'd reach for for ten minutes and flick through on your bed. So I'm looking forward to getting to that when I get the chance!
Just some instagram snaps from the week. You can follow me @ohemmalouise. I haven't had much of a chance to take many photos this week. School has been hectic. I guess I jinxed it when I said I didn't get much homework. Well, Emma, welcome to Year 13.

22 February 2014

The Fox Dress

With my sheer love for smock dresses, when I saw this cute little smock dress on asos, I knew I had to buy it since it had a major price reduction. I'm really smitten with it because it has a relaxed  fit, is comfortable and the quality of the fabric is good as it's quite heavy and perfect for transitioning from summer to autumn. I personally love the potato sack look it gives, I'm always one for comfort over style, but this dress is pretty cute anyway, right?

If you were going to buy this dress, I would recommend getting it in at least two sizes down, maybe even three. This is a size 10, and if I could I'd exchange it for an 8 because it is too big around the waist though you can't really see (even though that's the style) it could be taken in. I'm not returning it because shipping is so expensive back to England, but I will learn for next time!

20 February 2014

A Wishlist

I am honestly at the stage where I want summer to be over and I want winter to come. Chances are, I'll be wishing for sun in the middle of winter once it comes around, but right now I am yearning to be able to wear knit jumpers, jeans, coats, cozy cardigans, hoodies and boots. I find dressing in the summer quite difficult because you're restricted to something that you won't feel a billion degrees in. There is so much more room for experimenting with fashion in my mind. So here are some things I am lusting over at the moment and only wish I had the moolah to go through with these purchases.

Since spying these boots a couple of days ago on the Dotti website, I would really, really like them or a similar pair. They're just so expensive though. I know I'd wear them a lot, but since I'm meant to be saving up a big price tag really isn't ideal. I am obsessed with smock dresses, having one arrived in the mail a few days ago in the form of little foxes, I really like this subtly elephant printed one. I am really in love with this sweater as well and it's something a bit different for me with the neon spots and everything. I would also really like a super fluffy and comfy sweater which is basic like this one from Glassons as I think it can go with so many things. My last fashion item I would really like is this navy striped dress because *duh* it's stripes. Also just a little beauty purchase from Lush in the form of some tea tree water which I've been wanting for literally months. I think a trip is in order soon. *tries to forget about dwindling bank account balance*

Items: (L-R) Dotti Boots, ASOS Smock Dress, Monki Jumper, Glassons Sweater, Sportsgirl Dress.

17 February 2014

Four ways to wear stripes

One. Pop on a simple black skater skirt with a slouchy cropped striped jumper like this one from Dotti. Add a little black bag for an effortless and timeless look you can wear just about anywhere. Two. Tuck a simple striped tee into a pair of black shorts. I've gone for the ripped variety as it adds a bit of contrast to the top. Add a simple black bag again and you've got a winner that is easy to pop out in. First outfit: Dotti Cropped Jumper / Factorie Skirt / Warehouse Bag. Second outfit: Dotti Tee / Supre Shorts / Vintage Bag.
Three. When wearing a striped dress, add a bit of interest with tying a light-wash denim jacket or shirt around your waist and add sandals for a perfect summer day outfit. Four. Leave your striped top over a simple skater skirt of a coloured variety. I've opted for a burgundy coloured one which compliments the black leather boots I've worn. Pop on a cardigan and tights for an easy transitional outfit from summer to autumn. First outfit: Cotton On Dress / Valleygirl Denim Shirt. Second outfit: Dotti Tee / Cotton On Skirt / Vintage Boots.

16 February 2014

Sunday Stuff #004

First of all, Happy Valentine's for two days ago. As usual, I did nothing (or went to school if that counts). I am really not bothered by Valentines at all, and I think if you have someone you love you shouldn't dictate a particular day for it, you should be showing your love for each other everyday. And that means for everyone you love, your family and friends as well as your special someone. So another Valentine's Day has passed and I'm not bothered. Something a little strange did happen on Thursday. I received a rose like the many others at my school from a seemingly secret admirer slash nice person who was thinking of me, but I really am stumped to who sent it. I wonder if I will go my whole life wondering? Haha.
Here are some of my favourite instagram snaps this week. If you would like to you can follow me: @ohemmalouise. Let it Snow featuring the author John Green will be my next read, I only wish it was snowing so I could get into the mood. I can never stray away from stripes as you might know, so I have a little blog post on how to wear stripes coming up next week. Besides having delicious breakfasts and lounging around with my cats, this weekend has been relaxing with the summer sound of the cicadas chirping in the back yard until nine at night.

Apart from that little interesting rose, I have been getting back into my last year of school quite quickly. I would be lying if I said it was stressful or I'm swamped with homework, but I know the time will be coming around soon enough. I always seem to get the teachers who rarely give out homework for some reason? Maybe it's too soon to tell.

15 February 2014

Something about hair

I'm not one for fussy products with my hair or that many products if I'm honest, but I stick to what I know works best. Since I have coloured hair, I need to use a conditioner specifically for coloured hair so the colour will stay as bright as possible. After I first got my hair coloured, I didn't use anything for coloured hair at all, but when I did I noticed a difference. I've talked about this shampoo and conditioner duo before, and wanted to try out the conditioner in the same range but for coloured hair instead. I'd say I would have to prefer the EverPure range over the EverSleek range. But this conditioner makes my hair literally so soft, full of moisture without weighing down and being too oily. The smell is a little old fashioned but smells like rosemary and mint and really comforts me before bed.

If my hair is getting oily after day old hair, I like to use Batsiste's Dry Shampoo. At the moment I'm using the volume one since I thought I'd try it out, but I prefer the tropical version which I'll be purchasing next time. Usually the bottles run out quite fast for me, although I most likely overuse it, but this one is staying put for a while because I tend to use it sparingly as a little goes a long way. My hair can become sticky and gross if I use too much, but with a few light sprays, a lot of rubbing and brushing out a little bit my hair looks glossy and refreshed. Recently I've purchased a tangle teezer after hearing great things and it is the perfect brush for sorting out your tangles with dry or wet hair. It really is no effort at all to glide this through your locks. I got the gold look compact version for a little more money so this is perfect for putting in your bag or for travelling with since it's small.

If I want to give my hair a bit of something extra I will curl a few sections of my hair with the BaByliss Pro Curling Wand which is amazing. You just wrap the hair around the wand and hold, there's nothing else to it. It's also super affordable in my eyes and will last a long time. It's the best thing for curling hair I've used and I can literally do my hair in five minutes. I use a bit of hairspray and I'm finished. If I've curled my hair the day before the next day they'll still be a nice wave there that looks really pretty. Basically, if my hair is looking a bit blah I'll just reach for this curling wand.

11 February 2014

Back to Basics

This isn't the most glamorous product, but it's something that just works. We all need a little bit of that in our lives, don't we? Now excuse me while I describe something a little, well, not glamorous. We all have blemishes at some point, and I think we'd all agree it's infuriating having them stick around for a while. I think the best thing to do is let them take their own course, but there is no harm in speeding the process along a bit with the Thursday Plantation Blemish Gel.

It's a clear, invisible gel that you pop on your blemishes morning and night and soon enough you're left with perfectly unglamorous dried out spots instead of the big, fat, ugly sore ones that you dread. This stuff is better than the plain old tea tree oil you'd get as I personally find it too drying especially if you accidentally overuse it in a spur of the moment 'I have to get rid of these!' That resulted in a terrible skin week where it was sore and dried out to the max. With this gel, it isn't so harsh but still does the same job. It's a basic product, and not very fancy at all, but things you can pick up from the chemist are sometimes the very best remedies. Plus, there's heaps of product in there and with the slightest amount used in one go, you probably won't need to buy another for your entire life.

9 February 2014

Sunday Stuff #003

This week I've been finishing the last Hunger Game's book and now I'm onto a new book which I randomly picked up from The Warehouse which is about a pair of twins on another planet. A bit strange, but I like sitting down and reading anything anyway. I have been wearing stripes as of late (nothing new here). I will never get enough and think I need at least five more striped shirts because... why not. I've changed my bedding up this week too, I wanted a bit more of a classic look with a plain white duvet and my favourite patterned pillow cases. It feels so fresh and makes my room look brand new! You can follow me on instagram @ohemmalou.

I've baked this recipe for brownies twice recently and they're the best I've ever tried. So delicious and so easy. Here's the quick recipe if you want to try: Preheat oven to 180 Celsius/350 Fahrenheit. Chop up 400g dark chocolate. Put half the chocolate and 280g unsalted butter in a small saucepan over a low heat and stir until melted and smooth. Cool slightly. Combine 2 cups/350g brown sugar, 6 eggs and 1 cup/150g plain flour in a bowl with chocolate mixture. Mix to combine. Stir through remaining chocolate pieces. Pour mixture into lightly greased slice tin lined with non-stick baking paper. Bake for 30-35 minutes. Serves 8.

6 February 2014

A Base for Pale Ladies

When I saw this for sale on asos for a super cheap price, I knew I had to have it my possession because a) I was planning on buying this in a couple of months and b) it was probably at the best price I was ever going to get it. The main reason for buying this foundation is because of the light shade. I got the 'Light Porcealian 010' to fit my pale girl needs. I gathered that if it was too light, I could mix it in with my beloved Bourjois Happy Light Foundation which is a little dark for me but acceptable in summer. Long story short, I didn't want to be looking orange when the cold weather comes around. But, really, it's perfect for everyday use in any season.

Reasons why I love this: it's amazing for pale girls and makes sure that your face doesn't look a different colour from your neck. it does a good job at making your skin look quite radiant, but not shiny at all. it is so affordable and a great beginner foundation because of this, and the packaging doesn't look cheap at all because of the glass bottle. it has SPF18 -- this is good for me as I need protection from the sun. For this reason it wouldn't exactly be the ideal night time foundation as if there is flash photography, it may make your face look like a ghost because of the SPF in it, but to me it is the epitome of the perfect day foundation that looks natural and offers medium coverage. My ONLY concern is that for me it does not work very well on top of acne as it looks very dry (but really, what foundation does?) But blemished skin can be taken care of in time and this foundation will glide over effortlessly once skin is cleansed properly and moisturised.

4 February 2014

February Playlist

I thought I'd scramble together a bit of a playlist for the month of February. This is the music I've liked listening to mostly on holiday, mainly to cure my boredom during the few hours of time spent in the car getting to holiday destinations. That's my time to compile a load of songs in a phone playlist and sit back and relax. I have found myself going back to old favourites that I never tire listening to, and incorporating a few new songs in there too.

Mostly it's the usual suspects such as Haim, a bit of The Jungle Giants, Arctic Monkeys, and a sneaky bit of One Direction in the form of the acoustic version of Happily. To me a lot of these songs are the epitome of summer and I'll certainly be listening to them for the last month of warm sunshine! Also; the band Talking Heads has pretty much rubbed off on me because it's one of my Dad's favourite bands, and while we've been away the music we've been listening to is from his phone. I love to think of what it must have been like at the time of my parents youth and all the type of music they would listen to. It really was the prime time of amazing music.

I'm making a subconscious challenge to discover different music during this month and also to listen to songs I've missed out from bands and artists I already enjoy.

February Playlist by Emma on Grooveshark

2 February 2014

Sunday Stuff #002

In the middle of last week I was off and out on the road travelling to one of my favourite spots in New Zealand, a little place called Pauanui. It's like my second home, and even now I can't wait until I get to go there again. Summer hasn't really felt like 'summer' for me until now, really. Maybe because I don't live a short walk away from a beach or the main city or anything, so I'm limited in what I can do. Most days if I want to do something, it's go to the mall. But this was a welcomed scenery change for the week with friends and family and nothing but sun, sand, and food.
I have been rereading the Hunger Games trilogy while away, and I've managed to just finish the first two books. They're such great books, and probably my favourite set of books since I never really jumped on the bandwagon of the likes of Harry Potter or anything else. They're completely easy books to read and you'll just fly through them. I can't wait until I can get Catching Fire out on DVD or even buy it because I have been itching to watch it again after my first viewing at the cinemas.
Back at home enjoying delicious breakfasts in bed again and rearranging my wall decor in my bedroom. Taking polaroids on the beach at sunset. Going out on the boat in ridiculously blue water -- one of my happiest memories of summer so far. Our new holiday cat named Pepper that came to visit us everyday. On the beach rereading The Hunger Games as usual. I woke up one morning at six to go watch the sunrise. On our first day there, feeling good to be back at my second home.

Apart from coming back from holiday, there hasn't been much happening -- I'm only gearing up for school which actually begins much too early for me tomorrow morning. So that's it with the school holidays then, how fast they have gone it's almost ridiculous. It's my last year of high school, I can't believe it!
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