Elle’s Écrit, Ils Parlent: MyLifelines

Today marks the first post of my new series ‘Elle’s Écrit, Ils Parlent’. We’re starting with a Q&A with the lovely Abby. Abby runs the blog MyLifelines with two of her best friends and together they cover a wide variety of topics from mental health and self care, to woman empowerment. I was so excited to interview Abby, and I hope you enjoy reading!

Ellen: How long have you been blogging for?

Abby: MyLifelines was launched on September 1, 2018! So quite a few months now!

E: Where did the name MyLifelines come from?

A: MyLifelines is run by me and my two best friends, Lauren and Jordan. We have been friends since high school and one day, many years ago, we changed the name of our iPhone group chat to MyLifelines. We’ve been through a lot together and we depend on each other to get through life so it just made sense. And when we started this blog, we wanted to be lifelines to others. If you need us, we are there!

E: How do you find running a blog with your best friends? Are there any challenges?

A: It’s really quite fun to run a blog with your besties. You get to plan and come up with exciting things together and it makes it that much more thrilling. Of course, it has its challenges too. We are all trying to work better on communicating. We have to keep learning our strengths and weaknesses and use them accordingly. It’s a process but it is definitely an amazing one.

E: How long does it take you to write a blog post?

A: This is kind of a hard question for me. It definitely depends on the topic. I sometimes get overwhelmed at the start of a post. I worry I won’t do the topic justice or I get stressed about how I am going to lay it out. After I get past that, I can usually write it up in an hour. But then making it look pretty, adding graphics and editing with fresh eyes adds some time to the overall process for sure.

E: Are your family and friends supportive of your blog?

A: They are! I mean, I know they don’t go reading every single one of my posts but that’s okay. They always ask me about it when I see them. They always want to know if I’ve made it big yet lol! And they read it often enough that I do have to double think on topics before I write. Don’t want to be forthcoming, I suppose! Haha.

E: What inspired your series ‘Women Wednesday’?

A: Ooh, I love this question! But I am not going to lie, it is taking me a hot minute to come up with the best answer! My first thoughts around the series were actually different. I knew I wanted to do something that had a focus, that was a series, instead of just random blog posts, although we do have plenty of those too! I was going to make infographics on famous women and their life timelines. But then I realised I wasn’t all too good at making infographics. My skills have definitely improved over the past couple of months! I then met Annalise Mahanes (Abby’s first ‘Woman Wednesday’ post) and I work for a bosslady who has her own side business (Lela Gerald) and I though ‘why the hell wouldn’t we write about people we know, or go out and meet new people to write about?’ Lauren and Jordan loved the idea, and we’ve been doing it ever since!

E: What’s your favourite blog post you have written?

A: Good lord, I don’t know! My first ‘Women Wednesday’ post was definitely a blast to write. My latest post was on 12 things I learned in 12 months and that felt good to look back on all I’d accomplished. But maybe my favourite so far would be my Female Superhero post. We come up with our blog topics in advance. Not like way in advance, because we aren’t that organised, but a little ahead of time. This post was supposed to be on what feminism is but that week I had read a really good post about it that I didn’t think I could come close to and I was going through a little bout of seasonal depression. I just wasn’t ‘feeling it’. I was at that point where I was going to have to tell Lauren and Jordan I had nothing to post. But then I was watching Marvel movies and the inspiration just kind of hit me. I think the actual process of being hit with inspiration and then knocking the piece out and feeling good about it was better than the actual post. But hopefully people liked it!

E: I enjoyed reading your post ‘Because I am female’. What has been the response to this post?

A: I love that you brought this post up! One of my other ideas for our blog was to have go-to quotes for people because sometimes you just need that perfect quote, right? This post was my first ‘female-focused’ quote pot and I loved it. I love Chimamanda and I love female empowerment. I will say this post actually didn’t get all that much love though, only because it was one of our first and we didn’t exactly have followers back then. But I am so glad you enjoyed it!

E: If money was no object, what would you change about the USA?

A: Oh lawdddd, can I say I’d get a president? Or put Barack Obama back in the presidency? Better yet, we’d take some Michelle Obama if that is an option! That’s kinda the suckiest part about the USA right now.

E: What’s your favourite quote?

A: I ran across this quote the other day and tweeted it because I really love it. Feminism likes to get a bad rap. But this is literally all it means. It just means equality. It means changing the way women are viewed. Because right now, the view is inaccurate.

‘Feminism isn’t about making women strong. Women are already strong. It’s about changing the way the world perceives that strength.’ G. D. Anderson.

Thanks to Abby for letting me interview her! If you want to see more women empowerment, you can find her on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook and YouTube!

If you’d like to be involved in my series, please fill out this application form! I’m still working through some interviews, but I’ll get round to them soon!

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‘I Heart Revolution Nudes Chocolate Palette’- First Impressions/Review!

Hi everyone! Today’s post is a review of the ‘I Heart Revolution Nudes Chocolate’ palette.

This was a birthday gift, but it can be purchased from Superdrug and Revolution Beauty. It costs £9.

The packaging is really pretty, and it also feels really sturdy. It’s made from plastic, but it does feel quite durable. There is a mirror, which is an obvious bonus for me! The names are also printed underneath the shades rather than on the over-sheet, which is handy for those of us who always lose it! The shadows themselves smell strongly of chocolate. I personally love this, but it may not be suitable for people who suffer with migraines.

I’m a massive fan of the colour scheme. I love using brown and gold tones on my eyes. The only shade I don’t think I’d use is ‘Au Natural’. Although it looks brown, it has purple undertones that I don’t think would work for my skin tone.

Here’s the whole palette swatched.

As you can see, the palette doesn’t swatch that well. The colours don’t seem to be that pigmented, but swatches don’t always determine a palette’s quality. Some of the lighter colours also do not show up on my skin tone.

I didn’t create anything special, but I thought I’d include what steps I took to create this look.

‘Skimpy’ all over the lid and in the crease

‘Secret’ in the crease

‘Undressed’ in the crease

‘In the sheets’ on the outer third

‘Brazen’ on the outer third and a bit into the crease

‘Bodacious’ in centre

‘Pillow talk’ in centre (applied using my finger)

‘In the nude’ on inner corner/third

A combination of ‘Secret’, ‘Undressed’ and ‘Brazen’ under the lash line

I found that most of the shades performed well, with the exception of ‘In the sheets’. It was slightly patchy, and lacked pigmentation. It also had lots of fall out. Overall though, I liked the final look. It’s very similar to the style of makeup I usually do.

I hope you enjoyed reading my thoughts on this palette! Despite some of the shades not performing well, I’ll continue using it. I’ve summarised the pros and cons below!

My New Year’s Resolutions!

I have to admit, I find the ‘new year, new me’ mantra overly clichéd, but I still like to set resolutions. Mostly, I don’t stick to them, but it’s still fun to make them. This year, I’ve set lots of New Year’s Resolutions. Today I’m going to share some of them with you all!

Firstly, let’s start with my blog. I’ve set lots around my blog. I want to improve my content and aim to upload at least one post a week. I also want to improve my social media presence. I’m planning to set up a Facebook page and start using Pinterest to hopefully boost my views.

I’m not setting specific targets to hit because I don’t want to be disappointed with myself, but I do want to grow slightly. Here’s my stats for this year.

Page views: 2,372

Blog followers: 307

Twitter followers: 1,153

Instagram followers: 214

I also want to engage more with the blogging community. I’ve been reading less blog posts, and I want that to change. This month, I’ve shared my favourite posts in a thread on Twitter, and I’d like to continue with this. I’m also excited to start my new series, which will provide me with a further opportunity to connect with great bloggers.

Next are my university resolutions. I want to keep up with the readings, because it just makes everything so much easier. I’ve also resolved to get good grades, and start revising earlier. They’re pretty standard resolutions, but they’re so important.

Finally, I’ve set some personal resolutions. I’ve been doing the seven month workout challenge. Although I’ve technically completed it, I’d like to continue with the workouts. I also want to be more organised, although we all know that will be a challenge! Finally, I’d like to spend more time with my friends. I’m rarely able to see them, so I’m going to make an effort to make time for them.

Thank you so much for all your support this year. I hope you all have the brilliant 2019 that you deserve!

A Quick Christmas Tag!

Hi everyone! It’s Christmas Eve, so I thought I’d round off the festive season with a quick Christmas tag. Hope you enjoy!

I was tagged by Alison over at Little Blog of Positivity. She is so lovely and supportive, and I definitely recommend you all go and give her some love!

Anyway, let’s jump into the tag!

1. Do you prefer giving or receiving gifts?

I prefer giving gifts, although I’m not very good at it! I always try hard with my presents, but I worry that the receiver won’t like them!

2. Do you make and stick to New Year’s resolutions?

I make them, but I never stick to them! I’ve resolved to stop biting my nails for so many years, and it still hasn’t happened. I’ll definitely make some different ones this year, and I’ll post them on my blog which will hopefully encourage me to do them!

3. Have you ever made a snowman?

Of course! I’m from the U.K., so I’ve had plenty of opportunities to make snowmen. The background of my gran’s computer screen used to be a photograph of my sister and I with a snowman we had made in her garden!

4. Is your Christmas tree real or fake, and what theme do you prefer?

We used to buy a real tree, but then we replaced our sofa and a real tree wouldn’t fit in the living room now! We also have a cat who is much more of a nuisance than our old one, so we’ve opted for a fake tree the last few years.

Our tree is also white and silver, and it has been since I was younger. My dad and I always try to sneak on a few colourful decorations to see if mum notices!

5. Most memorable holiday moment?

The look on my sister’s face when she opened her iPad. I knew she was getting it and asked my parents to tell me what present it was so I could film her opening it!

6. What holiday traditions are you looking forward to this year?

My fudge cheesecake for sure! And just seeing my family. I’ve been busy with university this semester, so I haven’t been able to see them as much as I would have liked!

7. What is the best Christmas present you have ever received?

I’ve received so many amazing presents, it’s hard to pick one! Last year my best friend bought me tickets to see Legally Blonde, which was amazing! My auntie also bought me a Thomas Sabo charm bracelet one year, and I’ve loved collecting the charms!

8. What are your favourite holiday foods?

It has to be pigs in blankets!

9. What is your favourite Christmas film?

My favourite is Nativity, which is a bit of a strange choice! I also love the Santa Claus movies and The Grinch.

10. What is your favourite Christmas song?

It has to be ‘All I Want For Christmas is You’. My family laughed at me for choosing this one, but it’s definitely my favourite!

11. What is your favourite thing about Christmas?

Spending time with family and being able to relax. Usually at this time of year I get really into a book series, and I love having time to read!

12. What would be your dream place to visit at Christmas?

My mum’s house! I love her cooking too much to ever go anywhere else!

13. Who do you spend Christmas with?

I open presents in the morning with my mum, dad and sister, then my dad, my sister and I visit my grandparents while mum starts on Christmas dinner. My other grandparents and auntie visit us during the day, and on Boxing Day we also visit family.

14. When do you start getting excited about Christmas?

I was excited at the start of December! When I’m at university, I look forward to coming home and relaxing!

15. You have one Christmas wish- what will it be?

For everyone to be happy. Cheesey, but true!

I hope you all have a lovely Christmas!

Introducing…

Featured

Hey everyone! I hope you’re all well! I’m so excited to share this post with everyone!

I’ve been thinking about this project for a while now, and I’m so excited to finally launch it! So here it is.

Introducing…

ELLE’S ÉCRIT, ILS PARLENT

I’m going to be interviewing YOU for a series of special features on my blog! The posts will be written in the form of either profiles or Q&A format. It’s a perfect opportunity for you to meet new bloggers and let your followers learn more about you.

There’s no requirement other than you have to have some form of social media or blog. I’d like to feature a wide range of niches. You don’t have to be following me to take part either!

There are a few different ways we can do this. I can either interview you through DMs on social media. This is likely to occur over the course of a few days. I can also email you a list of questions and you can get back to me when you have time, or we can arrange a voice or video call that would last for no longer than 30 minutes.

I’m going to trial this between January and March, but if it’s successful I’ll definitely make it a permanent feature. I’m aiming for two posts a month, so I’m looking for at least six people to participate.

If you’re interested, please fill out this form. I’ll have a look at your social media and blog, and get back to you! I hope you’re all just as excited as me about this!

Versatile Blogger Award!

I am possibly the world’s worst blogger. I’ve been ridiculously behind on my blog, but uni is done for a month, which means lots of posts! I can’t wait to get stuck back into blogging!

Anyway, this is the Versatile Blogger tag! I’ve been tagged twice, but I’m just putting it into one post.

Firstly, I was tagged by Catherine. I really enjoy reading her content, and she is always lovely to me on Twitter. If you haven’t read her blog, please go and do so!

I was also nominated by Sasha. I met Sasha while I was doing journalism research and I am so glad that I did! She is a new blogger, so please go and send her some love!

The rules of the challenge are to share seven facts about yourself, and nominate fifteen other bloggers to do the same. Here’s my facts!

1) I normally do my Christmas shopping last minute, but I’m almost finished this year! I just need to pick up some things for my sister and my grandparents, then I’m done!

2) I don’t have my ears pierced. When I was younger, I was a dancer and a gymnast so earrings weren’t practical. My mum told me I could either quit or get my ears pierced. Luckily, I stuck to my hobbies!

3) I once left my phone on the bus a week after I got it. My amazing dad caught the bus at another stop and found it!

4) I used to be obsessed with Galaxy Bites chocolate! They were basically just little toffee balls covered in Galaxy chocolate and they were so good. Unfortunately they were discontinued.

5) Five is my favourite number!

6) I waste way too much time watching videos of people making food on Instagram.

7) I am terrible at writing poetry.

And the nominations!

Bailey Leah

Earth To Connie

Life in the Happy

Her Unusual Journey

The Isle of Ella

The Life of Sofy

The Makeup By Beth

Edits of Jo

Sam’s Blog

Forever the Wanderer

Meglio

Sophia Ismaa

Simply Chloe

Daisy Elizabeth Lifestyle

Chloe Nicole Blogs

Hope you enjoyed reading this! Let me know a random fact about you in the comments!

White Hot Chocolate Cupcakes!

Hi everyone! I hope you’re all well! I’m back with some Christmas baking inspiration!

This is definitely a well loved recipe! I adapted it from my favourite cake book ever: Cake Days by the Hummingbird Bakery! My cake book is so splattered with cake mixture it’s hard to read the recipe!

I’m not the biggest fan of white chocolate, but these cakes are definitely popular. It uses hot chocolate powder instead of white chocolate, and they’re not too chocolatey. I use either the Galaxy white hot chocolate or the Options one, but I’m sure others would do the job!

These would be a good thing to make for Christmas. They’re really easy as well! The only thing that sometimes trips me up is heating the milk. I sometimes forget to do it at the start and end up waiting for it to cool. But it’s not a huge problem!

White chocolate can also be quite unpredictable. The icing is quite stringy and the sponges can rise quite a bit! Just make sure you keep your eye on them and use your judgement. If you’re ever in doubt about if a cupcake is cooked, you can put a skewer in the centre. If it comes out clean, it’s ready!

This is the only photo I have, and I’m aware it’s terrible! I swear, I will remake these and take a picture of them! And let’s just ignore the chocolate drip on the radio! It’s from the drizzling from my Marbled Toffee Brownies!

Anyway, I hope you enjoy!

White Hot Chocolate Cupcakes (adapted from the Hummingbird Bakery)

For the sponge:

240ml whole milk

25g white hot chocolate powder

80g unsalted butter

280g caster sugar

240g plain flour

1tsp baking powder

Pinch of salt

2 large eggs

For the frosting:

60ml whole milk

30g white hot chocolate powder

500g icing sugar

160g unsalted butter

Large white chocolate buttons

Method:

1) Preheat the oven to 160 degrees c and line a muffin tin with paper cases.

2) Gently warm the milk, then add the white hot chocolate powder and stir until dissolved. Set aside and allow to cool.

3) Using an electric mixer, mix together the butter, sugar, flour, baking powder and salt on a slow speed until it resembles a sandy texture and there are no large lumps.

4) Crack the eggs into the cooled chocolate milk and combine. Pour two thirds of this into the dry mixture and mix until combined.

5) Pour the rest of the milk into the mixture and beat until smooth and thick.

6) Fill each case two third full. Bake for 18-20 minutes until the tops are golden brown and they bounce back when lightly pressed. Turn out to a wire rack and leave to cool.

7) To make the frosting, warm the milk and white hot chocolate powder together until dissolved. Leave to cool completely.

8) Sieve the icing sugar into a bowl and add the butter. Beat on a low speed until there are no large lumps.

9) Gradually pour in the milk and beat until combined. Turn the mixture up to high and beat until light and fluffy.

10) Spread the icing onto the cooled cupcakes and decorate with a white chocolate button. Store in an airtight container.