Hot Rollers for Shoulder Length Hair

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

This is my first time using hot rollers. I was recommend to try them out by my hairdresser who said she saves so much time by popping these in her hair before a night out. I opted for the Diva Stay Hot Rollers. They come in three sizes; large, medium and small with colour coded grips and big spring clips. I was really impressed with how many grips came with the rollers - more than enough and they are really easy to use. The rollers themselves are in this neat stand-up box and at first I was worried I wouldn't have enough. My hair is fine but I have a lot of it and I didn't think 20 rollers would do my whole head...

But in fact even when using small sections of hair I still had a couple of rollers left over. I used the biggest barrels at the crown of my head, the medium sized barrels around the middle layers and the smallest orange rollers underneath. They heat up in 5 minutes (door closed) and then stay hot for quite a while giving you time to leisurely put them in. 

The rollers weren't burning hot to the touch - I'd say 'very warm' so I didn't think I'd be able to achieve a god curl but I was surprised that although I could hold them they did a great job of creating big ringlets! I imagine these are better for your hair that a curling wand or straighteners as the heat levels are kept low. I left them in my hair to cool for about 30 minutes. The instructions say the longer the better. You want the rollers to have cooled down completely for longer-lasting curls. 

Removing the rollers gently (not pulling on the curl) I had a full bouncy head of curls that needed taming! The curls were smooth and soft, so I just used my fingers to comb through my hair and shape/style them. I prefer big waves to tight curls and this is exactly what I was left with. 

Diva Stay Hot Rollers* - Fragrance Direct
Leopard Print Tee* - Sugar Hill Boutique

The second time I used the rollers I was much faster at putting them in - so I think with practice it would really cut down my 'getting ready' time and whilst you're waiting for them to cool you can potter around, put on makeup and choose something to wear. I'm yet to test how long the waves last on a night out and this style is definitely bigger and bouncier than I'm used to (see my mermaid waves) - so one to save for special occasions.

Bloggers and Brands | Feeling The Strain

Monday, 29 September 2014

Let me start by saying I wrote this post last week and it has been sat in my drafts folder for days because I wasn't sure whether or not to post it. I've recently felt disheartened with aspects of blogging and at this time I wanted to share my thoughts.


A collaboration between a blogger and a brand can be wonderful. Glorious. The brand gifts the blogger with a product, or pays the blogger with actual money for featuring their stuff in a blog post. The brand are rewarded with fantastic exposure, especially if the blogger is well known and receives lots of daily traffic. And the blogger is rewarded with a lovely freebie or some pennies to go into a savings account. I'm not against sponsored content at all - I have worked with many, many brands and companies over the years and made strong connections with the members of their PR team, lovely friendships and nice neat transactions.

But recently I have been feeling the strain and stress that is associated with this type of blogging. Partly it is my own fault. I have been taking on more than I really have time for, and agreeing to work with people because I love the company or I want the free stuff. I'm not pacing myself or my workload. I hope my blog does not come across as a money making machine as it most certainly isn't. Blogging is not my full time profession and it does not pay the bills. The money I earn from blogging is small and goes into a rainy-day fund and also helps me to produce new fresh content on This Fashion is Mine. I try to keep any sponsored posts to a minimum and feature only the products and brands that I genuinely like/would recommend. I always give my honest and true opinions. I have a disclaimer that appears in my sidebar at all times.

I had a little moan on Twitter the other week about feeling a bit 'used' and 'under pressure'. What I meant was that sometimes brands seem to take advantage of bloggers and expect too much. I have set terms and conditions which I forward to the people I work with, but often my terms are ignored and their terms take precedence. Occasionally brands will try to make compromises with my rules or (I feel) ask for too much. I'm not always sure the deal I'm making is a fair one. 'Would you like to feature a dress from our site, please choose between these five dresses, please post at least three photographs of yourself wearing the dress within 14 days of receiving the item and include these two links, please ask your readers to like our Facebook page, oh and don't forget that no affiliate or nofollow links are allowed.' And that's not even an exaggeration. Crazy isn't it. And then I actually worry that the blog post I've created for this company won't be good enough! WHAT!? I worry that my post won't be up to standard for someone else, on my blog! Surely the only standard that matters is my own.

Sending a blogger a product to review is the cheapest form of advertising for a company (Ok - bit of a guess, but I imagine it is one of the cheapest forms of raising brand awareness when compared with the price of a magazine feature, TV advert, billboards, posters, leafleting and online ads such as Facebook/Google etc.) Because of this I think brands should be willing to be a little more flexible with bloggers and appreciative of the hard-work and time put in to promoting their products.
Lots of companies are doing it right. They have positive relationships with bloggers, giving them time and space to choose how and when they will review items. They fully acknowledge their blogger collective as a powerful voice and fruitful members of their PR team.

A few years ago everyone was very new to brand-blogger relationships. They existed but they weren't as wide-spread as they are today. Now brands love bloggers. We review and feature their items for very little cost to thousands of people. The opinions expressed in blogs are those of real people. Which is so much more powerful than just reading the seller's description. How many times have you Google searched for honest reviews of an item before buying it?

I said on Twitter that I would be going ahead with any scheduled collabs and then taking a break from working with brands. I don't think my blog is heavy on product-placement anyway, but personally I'm starting to feel a bit lost. I need to get back to blogging 'just because' and writing about the things I'm passionate about. And yes, I'm often passionate about products. Beauty, fashion, food, a new lens for my camera - but these items will be featured on This Fashion is Mine because I really want to talk about them, not because I've decided to 'take on the job' or I feel obliged because a company was nice enough to send me something for free.

This is not a post declaring that I will never work with brands again. Of course I will! I'll work with all the generous people who appreciate what bloggers do and give me the freedom and leeway to do things my own way ON MY OWN BLOG. I must not forget, that this website is my own to do with as I wish. I can and do turn brands down regularly, but even when I agree to collaborate, I need to remember that I run this show.

I hope my recent experiences are not a sign of things to come. I hope brands fully appreciate what bloggers can do for them and bloggers in turn, refuse to be taken advantage of. We are not PR robots who will promote, promote, promote for next to nothing in return - we are not employed by these companies, we owe them nothing. Sometimes I think bloggers sit down at their desks on a Monday morning and think 'Ok, what am I advertising this week then?' And go ahead and write up 10 blog posts about all the freebies they have received until they are fresh out of ideas. That is until the next package arrives in the post, or the next email drops into their inbox.


Since writing this post I'm starting to feel better about blogging again. I still stand by what I've said and finally plucked up the courage to post this. I'll be cutting down my brand collaborations for a while so I can concentrate on 'me' blogging. Also a little disclaimer, this post was not directed at any one brand/company in particular and should not reflect all of the collaborations I have recently taken part in or the current on-going partnerships. What are your thoughts on brands working with bloggers? Have I just had a few bad eggs, or is the whole nature of the blogger/brand collaboration shifting?

DIY Angel Wings Sweatshirt | Victoria's Secret Inspired

Saturday, 27 September 2014

A new fashion DIY tutorial for you all today! This one's a weekend project that is perfect for the upcoming A/W season; a Victoria's Secret inspired Angel Wing Jumper. A while ago I spotted the below photographs on Pinterest and I just loved the idea. I searched high and low but couldn't find this jumper anywhere, or any how-to tutorials. So using VS's iconic angel wing design, I decided to change it up a bit, and make my own with a printing technique using home-made stamps. Like those used in my DIYs here & here.


Dylon Fabric Paint
Small Sponge/Paintbrush
Sticky Back Foam
Pencil and Paper

I picked a sweatshirt in a natural pale colour to match the images I'd been inspired by. You could use any colour you like but stick to light shades. Pale blue or light brown would also be nice. I bought my jumper via eBay. It's one of those basic raglan sweatshirts that aren't particularly flattering but you can pick them up quite cheaply. It's also got a beautifully soft fleece lining. (Size small for reference.) You could use an old jumper but make sure it has a close weave and cotton is the best, so the fabric paint won't seep through the fibers.

I chopped off the ugly wrists and neckline of my sweatshirt. Cutting close to the seam will result in a off-the-shoulder style neckline (be careful not to cut out too much) and I simply turned up the sleeves to reveal that soft fluffy fleece. This material won't fray and I like the rough edge look. You could always bind the neckline if you prefer.

You need to create your feather stamps. I worked out I would need 4 different sized feathers to create the angel wings. I drew the feathers on to a piece of foam (peel-off back preferable) and cut them out. Foam is great for making stamps as you can mark out impressions by pressing in with a pencil. You now have 4 feathers of various sizes, these will make up one angel wing. But we need to replicate these feathers in a mirror-image version to form the opposite wing. Symmetry!
You can simple trace around the feathers you've already cut out (but back to front of course) so now you have pairs that are symmetrical! In total you should have 8 feathers, 8 stamps.

Now they need sticking to a sturdy piece of card (corrugated) or if you'd like to be uber-professional, a wooden block like mine! I actually stuck my feather 'pairs' on either side of one wooden block to keep things neat and tidy (and not to waste wooden blocks.) You'll have left wing stamps and right wing stamps. Organised!

You can use my rough 'wing' guide above to help you. I printed this out and used it as reference for where to place my feather stamps. Using the stamps I printed a whole design on a piece of paper first. It helped me to understand how the paint works, if I can get away with overlapping the feathers and what mistakes could be made. I recommend doing this before printing on to your sweatshirt. Once that fabric paint touches fabric, it's not coming off.

I sketched out the angel wing shape lightly on to the back of my jumper with a pencil. Pencil will wash out so don't be worried about it looking messy. I then went ahead and loaded up my stamp with paint (using a small sponge or paintbrush) be careful not to use too much (test it on paper) and started stamping from the largest feathers at the bottom, working my way upwards to the smallest feathers.

Always work with a piece of card inside your jumper to prevent the fabric paint from seeping through to the front. Have a dry cloth near by to wipe the stamp if it gets messy. And a piece of paper to remove excess paint on a heavily loaded stamp.

Leave your design to completely dry. Once the paint is dry you can secure it with a warm iron (place a tea towel between the jumper and iron if you're nervous) then it's ready to be washed! Dylon fabric paints are fantastic, I've worn and washed many things and had zero fading. They are also soft and flexible once dry and won't crack. If you've read my blog for a while, you'll know all about my love for Dylon fabric paints!

After washing my jumper I decided to blanket-stitch the neckline and bottom hem to prevent it from stretching after many wears - this is optional. Wear your new creation with pride! It's the perfect transeasonal piece to see you into the Autumn. I like to wear mine with skinny jeans and boots.

See the post where I'm styling this sweatshirt... If you liked this DIY don't forget to have a look at all of my DIY tutorials here!

5 Secret Blogger Cheats!

Friday, 26 September 2014

Bloggers need not be hero-worshiped for their good, great or 'perfect' blogs - as we all know that every so often we give into a few naughty 'blog cheats!' Blogging is hard. Coming up with fresh content all the time and keeping both yourself and your readers happy? It does not come easily. So I don't blame you for using your blogging benefits and cheeky blogger skills to get out of a few mishaps and keep everything looking just peachy. So in the most lighthearted way, I'm about to reveal five of the most common blogger secrets - you may just recognise yourself!

#1. Giving friends & family gifts that were actually blog freebies
I'm very guilty of this one - but it's not really a bad thing - I save some pennies at Christmas time and family members get great stuff! It also means I can treat friends to items I normally wouldn't be able to afford. I save up a few brand gifts here and there for giveaways on This Fashion is Mine, so we all can benefit from this blogger cheat!

#2. Making a blog post out of anything
New car air-freshener? Walking the dog in the park? Bloggers have a talent of turning the everyday mundane into interesting blog posts. I admit that I see life through 'bloggers-eyes'. Fresh ideas are everywhere and if I feel particularly stuck for new content I can always make de-cluttering my handbag sound really appealing. It takes talent to transform nothing into something, so we can appreciate the hard work that goes into this blogger cheat!

#3. Leading a double life
Don't be fooled by a blogger's Instagram feed. It may be full of picturesque scenes, healthy food, expensive flowers and brand new makeup but most of the time we're actually sitting at a cluttered desk in pyjamas, eating cold pizza. Blogging can be a bit of a false pretense - it's fine as long as you as a reader are aware bloggers don't lead perfect lifestyles and you may just be presented with the best bits.

#4. Using Photoshop to its full potential
Photoshop is a blogger's best friend. It can transform a rather dull image into a masterpiece and can work wonders for bad skin or hair days. It's a bit of a vain one but who wants to put a bad photograph of themselves on the internet? So be aware next time your reading your favourite blog, the image you see is probably the chosen 1 out of 100+ taken... and then edited to perfection!

#5. Dressing up - just for the Internet
How many times have you 'got ready' just to take blog photographs!? Countless times for me! On days where I actually have plans, I have no time to take outfit photos or set up my camera for 'face of the day' snaps. I'm too busy being busy. So on days off I still find myself with a full face of makeup and wasting a killer outfit, all because I needed to get my blog photos done! How many of you have also touched up your lipstick or brushed your hair just for a quick Instagram photo? Cheeky.


I know I'm guilty of these from time to time - do you have any blogger cheats you'd like to share? Feel free to confess all in the comments section below, we're all friends here!