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How to Create An Effective Skincare Routine on a Budget

effective skincare on a budget

Budget skincare has come a long way in the past few years and it’s likely to get even better. No doubt you’ve heard of Deciem and their affordable brand, The Ordinary, who are killing it right now. I’ve used their Salicylic acid and Retinol – both of which get the thumbs up from me.

Creating an effective skincare routine on a budget is pretty easy, thanks to some of the amazing products on the high street and internet. I admit, I used to be a skincare snob, but in the past few months, I’ve found several products that work well in harmony together for a clear, radiant complexion. If you’re looking to create an effective skincare routine on a budget, then here are a few suggestions as well as retailers that are perfect for finding skincare gems.

Cleansing

As cleansing essentially involves removing dirt and impurities from the skin, I find it makes more sense to save money on cleansing products. I love using the Salcura Daily Face Wash as it’s super gentle and makes my skin feel clear and refreshed. If you’re into more creamy cleansers, the Superdrug Naturally Radiant Hot Cloth Cleanser is a lovely option (the muslin cloth is so-so but you can buy some great cloths from Primark for a couple of pounds).

budget skincare

Toning

Toning is an essential step to remove any cleansing residue or to deal with your specific skin type. After cleanser, I use the Nip & Fab Glycolic Acid Night Pads which are around half price when they’re on offer at Superdrug and Amazon, then I follow with La Roche Posay Serozinc. Using a green tea or tea tree toner is perfect if you have oily or combination skin – Lush have a great tea tree oil toning lotion. If you’re on the dryer side, a rose water will be effective at providing hydration – I suggest buying pure rose water from Amazon or your local supermarket rather than one with added ingredients.

Serums

Remember when serums used to hella pricey? These days, it’s relatively easy to find a super cheap serum thanks to The Ordinary. As I said at the beginning, I love the salicylic acid and retinol, but I’ve also heard good things about the hyaluronic acid. I also use the Salcura Antiac Activ Gel Serum which is amazing for breakouts. If you’re searching for other affordable serums, Boots Botanics range or Una Brennan skincare is well worth a look.

Moisturisers

Moisturiser is where I tend to spend a little more money. I generally use the Bioderma Intensive Purifying Care which works well under makeup and as an evening moisturiser – it’s really light, so good for oily skin. Escentual regularly has 1/3 off French skincare promotions so it’s worth picking up when on offer. First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream is ideal for dry or sensitive skin – there are no nasties in this either! Olay Regenerist 3 point cream is something I use on my fine lines and neck and it’s definitely improved the tone of my skin – Amazon is where I tend to buy this as its cheaper than other stores. For oils, Trilogy Rosehip Oil is incredible, as is the Superfacialist Rose Miracle Makeover Oil.

Masks

If you’ve got oily skin, the Loreal Clay Mask is effective in leaving the skin feeling balanced and refreshed. Clay is a cheap ingredient so there’s little point in splashing the cash here. The Avene Soothing Moisture Mask is highly calming and cooling for dry or dehydrated skin types.

The best shops for creating an effective skincare routine on a budget are

Amazon, Superdrug, Boots, Escentual, Feel Unique, Lush

What are your favourite stores for buying budget skincare? Do you have any amazing affordable gems you want to share? Let me know in the comments!

21 Ways to De-Stress From a Busy Life

21 ways to de-stress from a busy lifestyle

The majority of us need to de-stress, either from an event like an exam or from a busy lifestyle in general. Sometimes, work, relationships, society and even blogging can get too much and a little TLC is required. I’m a huge advocate for self-care and taking time out, especially for aiding your mental health. Recently, I’ve found several effective ways of de-stressing and here are some of my favourites. Why not use some of these as inspiration for the next time you need unwind.

21 ways to de-stress from a busy life

  1. Meditation – This is one of my favourite ways to relax. I’ve been using the Calm app every night for the past few months and I’ve found it beneficial in aiding how I respond to situations. It costs around £50 per year but as less than £1 per week, it’s worth the investment.
  2. Walking – Walking is so underrated. Granted, it’s difficult to take a walk when it’s freezing cold but now the warmer weather is on its way, its perfect for taking a 10 – 15 minutes walk. I find taking an evening stroll helps to clear my mind and promotes sleep.
  3. Use a lavender spray – If you’re feeling stressed at night, spritz a little lavender spray (I use the Neom Sleep Pillow Mist) onto the back of your pillow and it’ll help you to relax.
  4. Take a relaxing bath
  5. Read a book
  6. Paint – The Wonder Forest has some amazing paint with me videos on YouTube!
  7. Cross stitch – The Make Arcade have some cute kits.
  8. Eat a couple of squares of dark chocolate
  9. Listen to music – You can get 50% off Spotify if you’re a student.
  10. De-clutter
  11. Cook up some treats in the kitchen
  12. Have a massage
  13. Take a break from social media
  14. Watch a funny show or movie
  15. Keep a journal – Writing a thought journal is a great way to clear your mind.
  16. Use a colouring book – These are surprisingly calming.
  17. Do yoga – Yoga with Adriene is an amazing YouTube channel.
  18. Go for a tea or coffee with a friend
  19. Take a power nap
  20. Have a pamper night – masks, nails, hair
  21. Spend time with a loved one

Let me know if you try any of these!

14 Epic Ideas for Your First Blog Side Hustle

14 epic ideas for your first blog side hustle

One thing I’m aiming to do more of in 2017 is to make more money online. There are plenty of ways to earn extra cash and a side hustle may be just the thing you need if your planning on earning more this year.

Why have a side hustle?

  • Supplement your income
  • Pay off debt
  • Save for a holiday/car/designer item
  • Support studying
  • Pay bills

If you fancy creating a side hustle from your blog or otherwise, I have 14 epic ideas for you.

Become a freelance writer

Maybe I’m biased because I have a site all about freelance writing – see Diary of a Freelancer here, but it’s a great way to make extra money from your blog. My free e-course teaches you all you need to know about using your blog to become a freelance writer. Freelance writing can cover crafting blog posts, long form articles, web copy, writing social media posts and sales copy.

Become a virtual assistant

What is a virtual assistant? A virtual assistant can complete tasks from scheduling social media to administration support. Many businesses, solopreneurs and bloggers require virtual assistants to help them get tasks done quickly and efficiently. Ashlee from Work From Home Happiness has a post on how to become a virtual assistant with no experience.

Be a Pinterest coach

If Pinterest is your jam, why not consider becoming a Pinterest coach? Many businesses still haven’t got to grips with Pinterest, and they still haven’t figured out that Pinterest is one of the best ways to bring traffic to your site and make sales. Gina Horkey from Horkey Handbook has a course all about becoming a Pinterest virtual assistant.

Become a web designer

Many bloggers who have knowledge of web design go on to sell their services as a web designer. Making and selling blog templates can be a great source of income – you can sell these on Etsy and creative market, or set up your own site selling them. If you want to learn web design, check out this resource list here.

Sell jewellery

If you have creative talents, why not make and sell your own jewellery. You can buy jewellery making supplies via Etsy or eBay and you can sell them on these outlets or via your own blog.

Sell prints

If you paint, practice brush lettering, or are a whizz at graphic design, consider selling your own prints. Many people love buying prints for their home and selling them online is becoming more popular. If you want to learn how to paint watercolours, check out the Wonder Forest here. You can also learn the basics of brush lettering here.

Sell an eBook/Course/Workshop

Writing an eBook or course is a popular way to make extra money. If you’re planning on selling one of these, I definitely suggest starting an email list first. You could write an eBook or course on anything related to your blog, whether it’s a recipe book, fitness guide, blogging tips, interiors style guide, fashion styling or a beginner’s guide to beauty products – the list is endless.

Sell photos

If you’ve mastered the art of photography and have the skills needed to capture the perfect photo, consider selling your photos. You could sell stock photos via your blog or you could sell photographs via Shutterstock, iStockPhoto, or similar sites.

Matched betting

Matched betting is a great way to make extra cash. I’ve earned around £500 via matched betting which has helped me to fund a masters degree. Matched betting is a risk-free (and tax-free) way of making money via online betting. I use Profit Accumulator  – this site takes you through the entire process and teaches you how to match bet successfully. You can get a free trial of the site and make up to £45 to see if it’s for you – sign up here.

Complete online surveys

Online surveys are one of my favourite ways to make extra money. If you have a free ten minutes, you can complete a survey and watch the pounds rack up. Sites I love include Mintvine, Prolific Academic and Swagbucks.

Cashback sites

Cashback sites are a gem for getting money back from purchases/subscriptions. Whether you’re buying a new phone contract, purchasing insurance, playing bingo or buying a new outfit, you can get cash back from many stores. My favourite site is TopCashback – simply sign up to the site and visit your online shop through their link. Cashback rates can vary. For instance, you can currently get £8 if you complete an online shop at Waitrose. Once the purchase has been verified, you can withdraw the money from your account and into a bank or claim it as a voucher.

Work for an online company

There are many genuine online companies offering work from home opportunities. Companies currently hiring include Leapforce, Appen online, Casting Words, Arise, Lionbridge, Balance your Books and iSoftStone. Jobs include data entry, bookkeeping, transciption and customer service.

Sell vintage clothing

If you know your fashion labels, try your hand at selling vintage clothing. Vintage pieces can sell well, as long as you know exactly what to buy. You could also try searching charity shops for nice items and selling it for a profit on sites like eBay.

Test websites

Testing websites can pay surprisingly well and you get to earn money from home. UserTesting, Whatusersdo and WebUsability are just three sites that offer work.

How I Made My First 1k Online in 45 Days

How I made my first 1k online in 45 days

Three years ago, I made the decision to become a freelance writer – it’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. That’s not to say it’s been easy. There’s a lot of hustlin’ and business analysis that’s gone on behind the scenes but if it wasn’t for my blog, I wouldn’t have the job that I do now.

Today, I thought I’d give you an insight into how I made my first 1K online. Making my first £1000 wasn’t just from freelance writing – I definitely recommend that anyone looking to make money online or by working from home doesn’t put all their eggs in one basket. It certainly pays off to be focusing on more than one income stream.

So, how did I manage to make my first 1k online in 45 days?

Freelance writing

Around 70% of my first 1k came from freelance writing projects. I had zero experience in writing for clients when I started applying for jobs and I managed to land a couple of small gigs in my first 45 days. Here’s the strategy I used at the time to gain my first gig;

The only published work I had at the time was my own blog posts and a couple of guest posts on beauty blogs. Before I applied for any writing jobs, I searched through my blog to find my best work and 2-3 posts I could use as writing samples to put forward in job applications.

I then crafted a draft application which I could send to prospective clients – view my post on 5 actionable steps to become a freelance writer to see the structure I use when writing about myself.

Armed with samples and an application template, I then searched for freelance writing jobs – the two sites I used were People Per Hour and Pro Blogger Jobs. I still used these boards today and would rank them as two of my favourite sites for job leads. You can also find some more good freelance writing boards here.

I landed a couple of small jobs on these sites – writing blogs for a language learning company and writing articles for a range of websites in entertainment, health and fashion. I won’t lie, the pay was shitty because, at the time, I didn’t realise that my writing was worth more. However, despite the pay covering my outgoings, I decided to add another string to my bow.

Etsy

To supplement my freelance writing income, I opened an Etsy shop selling blog designs. This made up around 20% of my first 1k. I’m not a web designer but I learnt how to code blogger templates via google and would tweak my own blog a lot. At the time, I saw a gap in the market for affordable blog designs so I sold them fairly cheaply but still made a profit as once I had created a template, I could sell it more than once.

I was pretty lucky that I could write about the products on my blog and link to my shop. At its peak, my blog was receiving almost 100,000 hits per month which meant a good amount of traffic to my Etsy shop.

As my freelance writing career took off, I decided to close the shop as I didn’t have enough time to promote the products, answer queries or make any new templates. However, it was a good extra source of income at the time.

If you’re thinking of setting up an additional source of income, Etsy is a great platform as it already has an audience of its own. But, if you have creative talents, you could also use Society 6 to sell your own products.

My blog

The final 10% of my first 1k came from my blog in the form of advertising, Google Analytics and sponsored posts. I used to offer small adverts on my blog for other bloggers and small businesses. It doesn’t seem to be a very popular method of making money from your blog anymore. These days, affiliate marketing and sponsored posts seem to be the way forward. Whenever I’ve written a sponsored post, I’ve been asked via email but if you’re in the UK, the UK bloggers Facebook group is a good source of sponsored post opportunities.

Google analytics isn’t something I would recommend. It took me around 6 months to earn £60 with a small advert. You could probably earn much more with another company. However, it was still a lil’ bit of passive income and it was an unobtrusive way of making money.

Remember, if you’re making extra money online, you need to declare your income for tax purposes. If you’re in the UK, you can find out more here.

How to Improve Your Blog in Just One Hour

how to improve your blog in one hour

Many of us want to improve our blogs but don’t have enough time. Whether you want to refresh your blog design, tackle social media or make your blog easier to read, there are a few simple tricks you can do in just one hour. If you want to improve your blog but your job, social life or perhaps, life, in general, is getting in the way, set aside an hour in your schedule and give your blog a boost with some of the effective methods below.

How to improve your blog

Drive traffic to old blog posts

Checking your Google Analytics is a handy way to see what blog posts are popular and are gaining the most traffic. On your most popular posts, go back and link to other related posts (this is known as deep linking). You’ll notice that I’ve linked to some of my blog posts in this article – this helps readers to find other valuable content on my site that may help them. You could also add a P.S section at the end of your blog posts with links to some of your content if you don’t want to link within the blog post.

Schedule your social media

Sharing your content via social media is the best way to help increase your views and allow new readers to find your content. I personally like Hootsuite for scheduling but you could also use Buffer too. Why not schedule your posts for the week ahead and see how it boosts your hits.

Get pinning

Pinterest is one of my favourite ways to share blog posts. If you haven’t signed up to Pinterest, I recommend signing up for a business account here. You can also easily switch a normal account to a business account too. Enable rich pins here and each time you pin content to the platform, your pins will automatically contain extra information to make them more visible. Pinterest is a great way to improve your blog traffic – find 5 other ways to improve your blog traffic here.

Plan your content

You don’t need to post every day but publishing consistently will help to increase your audience and bring traffic to your blog. How many times have you stopped reading a blog if they haven’t posted in months? You could write your ideas in a notebook, digitally via Asana or via your blog platform.

P.S. If you need content for posts or are suffering from writer’s block – check out 85 blog post ideas here.

Refresh your blog header

The visual appearance of your blog can improve your reader experience and make you feel more positive about blogging in general. You don’t need Photoshop to make a blog header as there are plenty of free tools online. Both Canva and Picmonkey are great for editing images and making a header from scratch. Canva, in particular, has many free templates that you can use.

You can find free fonts over at dafont and font squirrel

I also suggest looking at the free goods Creative Market offer each week. Every Monday, you’ll find 6 free downloads and a range of fonts, graphics and themes to choose from.

Change your blog design

Not everyone can afford to hire a web designer, and that’s OK. There are plenty of beautiful blog templates/themes which will improve your blog and make it look super pretty, as well as being functional. Some of my favourite places for blog templates include;

Creative Market

Etsy

Bluchic

Envye

Angie Makes