Why I love to wake up at 5am, and 5 reasons why you should, too!

Why I love to wake up at 5am, and 5 reasons why you should, too!


For as long as I can remember, I've always been a morning person. I love the mornings, and if you don't, I'm one of those annoyingly chirpy people who can bounce into the office at 8am with my coffee and be as happy as larry before everyone else has woken up properly. I was always that one friend at sleepovers that would have to lie awake for hours while I waited for my friends to finish sleeping. In primary school (yes, even at aged 7!), I used to get up at 6am, head downstairs and be doing those aerobic exercise classes that used to be on TV in the living room. Do you remember those?!


I can tell a lot of you are probably reading this thinking that I've totally lost it, but just hear me out. There are so many benefits to being an early bird, and while it is a lifestyle choice, it's definitely a change that could be worth it! I wrote a similar post a few years ago, and the response to it was insane - so I thought I'd do an updated version now I've been doing it slightly longer!

Q U I E T  T I M E.

You get to start the day before anybody else. It's like you get the whole world to yourself and it's fabulous. There's no one around outside and everything is just really quiet, calm and peaceful. It's my favourite time of the day, particularly in the summer months when it's already light outside and you get to watch the sunrise, just have the time to yourself, and really set yourself up for the day.


A V O I D I N G  R U S H  H O U R.

If you're a commuter like me, you'll know how truly awful rush hour can be, and it literally drives me insane. I'll always avoid peak-time if I can help it, and being an early riser definitely helps with this. You can be out of the door and on your way before anyone else, meaning the roads and trains are so much quieter, and your journey to work is a lot less stressful!


P R O D U C T I V I T Y.

Like I mentioned before, you start your day before anyone else, meaning that you have an extra hour or two to do whatever you want with. (I used to go to this gym until I fantastically fell off the health & fitness bandwagon!) Get on top of your blog emails before work, have a wonderful breakfast, catch up with the news, or tick something off your to-do list. There is literally no better feeling than already having had a productive few hours before 9am. It's such a feel good thing and something that will never grow old.



N E V E R  B E  L A T E.

hate being late. It makes me all kinds of nervous and panicky if I know I'm late to anything, so having that extra time to get ready at my own pace, and still be able to set off early, makes me so much happier. It also means you don't start your day rushing around trying to find the things or clothes that you need and starting your day already super stressed before you've even got to work.


M O R E  E N E R G Y.

Okay, so you may have to be in bed by 9pm at the latest, but if you're like me and you're not a night owl anyway, this is totally fine because we do still love sleep. ♥ But, it does mean that you have so much more energy in the mornings and at work. Not only am I more productive with my time before work, but I've also found that I get so much more done once I'm at my desk, too - and this is because my energy levels are through the roof if I've already had a great morning. 


Have I convinced you yet? You should totally try it for a few weeks and see how you feel. I love my mornings now, and if I ever lie in past 8am, I feel like I'm wasting my morning!

Soph



P.S Featured in this post is this amazing Desenio print, head over to my Instagram to see some more that I was very kindly gifted, AND until 29th June you can get 25% off with the discount code 'SOPHIEROSIE' - valid on everything except the handpicked category!
London: Week 1.

London: Week 1.



I did it. I successfully managed to navigate myself to the end of my first working week in London and oh my, it's been a little eventful. It's been full on, there's been a lot to learn, a lot of emotions and a lot of new names to remember but I've loved it. I'm so excited to get properly started with my new job, I'm so determined to smash it and I can't wait to see what the next few months bring for me. 

I am, however, hoping that the weather cools down a little because 34 degrees on Wednesday was unbearable! I was v thankful for the office air con that day and actively avoided the tube. 

I haven't fully moved down here yet, and I'm staying with friends (and friends of friends!) for a few weeks, before spending a few months working between Liverpool and London until I can fully sort my sh*t out, basically. However, I have jumped head first into this whole moving thing and I've managed to find myself a beautiful (and Instagramable, obvs ;) ) room in a house share, managed by one of the best property agencies I've ever dealt with and I'm now a lot calmer and less freaked out about my full move in a months time. It's taken so much weight off my shoulders it's unreal.

I do keep having little 'wobbles', though. There's been a few times this week when I've thought about everything back home and I've felt totally overwhelmed and cried. It's a huge shift, a totally new lifestyle in a city that I hardly know, and every so often I'll convince myself that I can't do this. BUT, I have great friends who keep pushing me on and telling me that I've got this and then I'm normally okay... for another 12 hours or so at least haha!

I can tell the London way of life is going to take some getting used to, but for now, I've been enjoying having a little explore and taking photo's on my way to work and in between meetings. My new colleagues have already got used to this too. We went for a quick drink after work one evening, and one of the girls kept pointing out things and saying 'do you want to take a photo of this?'. I loved it.







How has your week been?

Soph

12 simple ways I'm going to be practising more self-care.

12 simple ways I'm going to be practising more self-care.


Self-care is something that we should all most definitely do more often, as it's so important for our mental & physical wellbeing. I know that I've been terrible at it recently and it's probably one of the reasons I've been feeling so anxious and overwhelmed all of the time over the past couple of months.

I think there's a bit of a misconception that self-care has to be something huge or that takes hours out of your day, such as seeing a therapist or completely overhauling your diet & exercise regime in one go. But really, there's so many little things that we can do daily to really help. And here are some of the smaller, simple ways that I'm going to try and be doing to practise more self-care.



G E T  E N O U G H  S L E E P.

I've been really struggling to sleep recently, and I'm not entirely sure why. I think it may be because I have a lot on my mind (although, I always have a lot on my mind!), but I'm going to really try and make sure I get the right amount of sleep from now on.

Whether that means switching off my phone at a certain time or downloading an app to help calm my mind before I try and drift off, sleep is v important and I don't always make it a priority. 


S W I T C H  O F F.

I might have to start out by doing this weekly, rather than daily, because I can't even pretend that I'm one of those people that isn't addicted to their phones. Because I am. Hugely. But, I do know how much good it can do to set time aside to step away from everything online. To not be clicking the home button on my phone to check any notifications every 2 minutes. To not be in a constant cycle of checking every social app and then just going back round again for hours. So, I'm going to dedicate some 'offline time' - and try and stick to it!


R E A D  M O R E.

I used to read all of the time when I was younger, and the fact that I literally never sit down with a book anymore, makes me really sad. Even if it's just for half an hour before bed, I want to bury myself in a good book again and get lost in someone else's world for a little while. I miss that.


S M A L L  S P L U R G E S.

I do love a good shop, and I'd do it all of the time if my bank account allowed it. However, it definitely does not. But, there's nothing wrong with treating yourself to something small once a week - whether it be a new nail polish or even just a magazine. Buying a small luxury just for you is a fab way of valuing yourself.


S W E E T  T R E A T S.

There's probably going to be an 'eat healthier' point in this at some point too, but it's all about balance, right? But, I'm all about treating yourself to a bar of chocolate or a sweet snack and not feeling guilty about it.


D E E P  B R E A T H S. 

This is something that I can do anywhere and it takes no time at all but could make the biggest difference. Just taking a minute to take 3 deep breaths could really help in calming myself down and re-focusing my mind when things get a little overwhelming.


H E A L T H I E R  O P T I O N S.

I told you there'd be a healthy point in here somewhere! My aim is to make one, small healthier change every week. From drinking an extra glass of water a day, to eating an additional portion of fruit or whatever it may be. Small, gradual changes and all that!


P A M P E R.

Taking an extra long shower. Sitting around in my dressing gown & reading for a little while. Actually sticking to a skin care routing. Painting my nails. Again - it's all about the little things that can lift your mood and make you feel a whole better.


F R E S H  A I R.

Having an office job quite often means that my time outside is rather limited during the week. But I'm going to make getting some fresh air a priority - be it 15 minutes at lunch time or after work, I already know that a little fresh air can do wonders!



W R I T E  S T U F F  D O W N.

I'm hoping to start keeping a little journal or pretty notebook where I can write things down. Maybe it's something that's happened today or something that's been bothering me for a while. I'm hoping getting things down on paper, whether they good or bad, may be a kind of release for my mind!


S T R E T C H.

This one may sound like a strange one, but just hear me out. I haven't stretched properly in years, but the other day I felt unusually stiff, so I spent 10 minutes properly stretching my body out like I used to when I went to dancing and gymnastics and oh my goodness - I felt so much better! I may even start adding this to my morning routine because it really did help!


M U S I C.

I used to do this all the time when I was getting ready for school, and I'd forgotten how much it can but you in a great mood just be listening to some fun and upbeat music whilst getting yourself ready for the day. Music can be such a powerful tool, so I'm going to try and use it!


How do you practise self care daily?

Soph

7 quotes to help channel your inner girlboss.

7 quotes to help channel your inner girlboss.


Every girl has those days when we just need a little extra something to help us to get up and go do some awesome sh*t with our days. And lets face it, who doesn't love those super productive days when you just feel like you've got everything under control and you're ticking off everything on your to-do list like there's no tomorrow. When you're feeling like your most confident self, when you know your worth & you won't take anything less.

So, here are 7 quotes to help you channel your inner girl boss on those days when it might be well... a little more of a struggle.



For those days when you really just... can't.
Put your hair up in a bun, drink some coffee, and handle it. 

When someone asks if you're busy today;

I'm building a brand. 
I'm always busy.

For when you just need a little reminder. 


If you don't go after what you want, you'll never have it.
If you don't ask, the answer is always no.
If you don't step forward, you're always in the same place.

No. No we did not.  


You did not wake up today to be mediocre. 

It's not about competition, it's about inspiring everyone to be their best.

Be the kind of woman that makes other women want to up their game.

A daily ritual that's worth it.


Wake up early.
Drink Coffee.

Work hard.
Be ambitious.
Keep your priorities straight, your mind right, and your head up.

And one from the #girlboss herself;

 You don't get taken seriously by asking someone to take you seriously.
You've got to show up, and own it.

Have a wonderful day!

Soph

I'm moving to London!

I'm moving to London!


The last month or so has been crazy. Like, actually crazy. I went from everything being cool, loving my job and being totally settled and loving my little life in Liverpool, to getting an unexpected LinkedIn message, followed by a quick trip down to the Capital and a job offer 4 days later requiring me to leave everything up here and move down to the big smoke within 5 weeks.

Holy moly. 

If anyone knows me, this will totally not surprise you but I basically cried for a week. I didn't know what to do. This opportunity was massive. It was a step up in my career, a chance to go and live in London and pretty much a chance to have a whole new start and a new adventure. BUT what about Liverpool? I love Liverpool. I loved my job that I had and I loved the people that I worked with. I had the best boss and I felt a lot of loyalty to him and to my job.

Eventually, and with a lot of advice from the people closest to me,  I realised that there was no way that I could pass up this opportunity. So, here we are. I worked my last day in my old office last Friday, and I have a few days off now before I head down to London this weekend to start my new job on Monday!

Help. Me. 

Just in case you didn't see my tweet a few days ago, I'm off to work in Leicester Square at some of the biggest radio stations in the industry and I could not be more excited. I'm terrified, but I'm excited.  Every time I think about it, I have a little 'omg what am I doing????' moment, but I'm guessing that's only natural for such a big move.

So, for any fellow London bloggers - please be my friend. I'm being totally serious, I'm going to need a lot of help and a lot of directing. See you soon? :)

Soph

Coffee shop musings. | 14.06.17

Coffee shop musings. | 14.06.17


It's 7am. I've been up and about since just after 5, and I'm currently sat in the corner of my favourite coffee shop waiting for my 9.30am nail appointment just around the corner. The barista's here all know me now. In fact, it's got to the point where I'll never be able to change my order here because they make it for me as soon as I walk through the door. 

But I like that.

It's like a tiny sense of belonging and community that just makes me a little bit happier.

Normally, when I'm sat here, I'm sat with my laptop. Focused on writing, editing, replying to emails and goodness knows what else. But today, I decided to leave my laptop at home and bring a book with me in a bid to try and switch off a little more and be more mindful.

But you're writing a blog post, Soph? 

I know, I know. I did start reading my book, I promise. But I think my brain needs a little more training to be able to switch off and only focus on one thing at a time. Because, as I was reading, I had this overwhelming urge to start writing. But not about anything in particular. I just want to write.

I love discovering and reading new blogs, but there are a few blogs that I've read ever since I first discovered blogging, and I'm still just as in love with them, and I think I'm slightly in love with the ladies behind them. Do you know what I mean? Those bloggers who you'd love to be best friends with because they seem like such beautiful people, are so strong and motivated and inspiring that you feel like your life would be a whole lot better if they were a part of your life?

Well, I've just finished reading a post from one of these ladies in particular. And one of the reasons I love her blog so much is because I get lost in her writing. It's like reading her diary and I love having this little insight into her life and her incredible mind. Her blog is so personal and I love that.

So, I think I'm going to give this a go. Go back to writing more personal posts. But maybe not the huge, deep & meaningful life essay kind. But ones where I just document my thoughts for the day. Any random days, nothing in particular. I don't want the pressure of having it as a 'weekly feature', because like anything you feel like you 'have' to do, I soon get bored and don't want to do that anymore.

I feel like I'm about to hit another, very steep, life learning curve over the next few months, so this could be a great release, and a way to look back with (hopefully!) fondness in a few years time.

Soph

How to smash your way through a coffee meeting, and why it's never ~just~ grabbing coffee.

How to smash your way through a coffee meeting, and why it's never ~just~ grabbing coffee.


Coffee meetings. They seem harmless enough, right? In the adult world of work and networking, there's no such thing as a 'casual coffee meeting'. If your boss, a potential employer or client invites you for coffee, don't be fooled into thinking that it's not important, because it is. It could be just as important as those meetings that take place in your office boardroom - and the person who's invited you, will have invited you for a reason and probably has an agenda as to what they want to get out of it.

Coffee meetings are such a great way of networking, creating & building business relationships and getting ahead in your career. They're a chance for you to spend some quality time with someone, where the focus is purely on you and they're beneficial for everyone, whether you're a corporate or a creative, a great coffee meeting could be really rewarding.


I've had friends tell me stories of how they were invited for an 'informal chat' over coffee with a potential employer after they'd had a first interview. Turns out, it was full blown second interview. Or how a lunchtime outing with their boss had turned into a performance review and goal setting session. Or how a last minute coffee with a potential client had ended with them signing a contract. 

So, whether you're the one that's asked for the meeting or you've been invited by someone else, what are the do's and don't for these informal-yet-super-important meetings?



D O  Y O U R  R E S E A R C H

Do you know this person well? If not, try and look into them a little (I mean, not in a creepy way, obvs), but see if you can find out about their career and a little about them. How did they get where they are? Are there any causes that they're passionate about? Is there something that you'd like to know more about?

Most people these days have an online presence, whether it be a LinkedIn page, an Instagram account, a blog or an online portfolio. A little digital detective work could go a long way! I mean, you'd never turn up to a job interview without knowing anything about the company and the business, right?

If you do know them, maybe try and get them to tell you what the agenda is for the meeting. What is it that they want to talk to you about? Being prepared will be a huge advantage.


K N O W  W H A T  Y O U  W A N T

This applies whether you're the one who's been invited, or the one who's invited someone else. How will this meeting benefit you? The last thing you want to do is waste an opportunity, and walk out kicking yourself because you didn't ask the right questions and you didn't make the most of it. So plan ahead and constantly remind yourself to ask some questions, too!




S T A Y  P R O F E S S I O N A L

This isn't a coffee date with your best girlfriend talking about the latest goss from the group WhatsApp chat. It's a networking opportunity, so be chatty, friendly and warm, but remember to stay focused, on topic and appropriate for whoever's sat across the table with you.


T A K E  N O T E S

Don't be afraid to grab a pen and paper and take some notes as you're chatting - this is particularly useful if you, or they, offer to send something across after the meeting, as you'll have more chance of remembering to do it or follow it up if they forget! But it also helps to note down things as they are mentioned, as sometimes meetings can be very content heavy, and you may forget some of the smaller details.

Although, don't write down everything, as you'll be too distracted writing to really listen to what they are saying.


F O L L O W  U P

Just like you would with any meeting or interview, it's always a good idea to send a follow up email afterwards. Whether it's simply thanking the other person for their time, arranging another meeting, or like I mentioned above, sending something across that was promised during your time with them. Let them know that you enjoyed the meeting... and the coffee!




Have you had many coffee meetings? What would your tips be?

Soph

How I've started to get my inspiration and creativity back (again!).

How I've started to get my inspiration and creativity back (again!).


Oh man, creative slumps are the worst, aren't they? That feeling of really ~really~ wanting to write or create something but your brain just having none of it. Of being sat in front of your computer for hours trying to think of something, anything. And then eventually conceding defeat and resorting to going back to just scrolling through social media for the rest of the afternoon instead. The thing is, the more you try and get out of a creative slump, the harder it seems.

I seem to have been there a lot recently, and you may have noticed blog posts over here have been totally sporadic. It's kinda just been when a tiny, little bit of inspo has hit me I've written it down straight away so as to not lose it. But, if there's one thing that hasn't changed, it's my love for blogging, and the determination to not give up.


I've had a little more time over the last week or so to work on my blog, and I've been trying a few things to see if I can get those creative juices flowing again, and it seems to have worked! I'm typing this with 5 other blog posts all set and ready to go live... I'm never this far ahead of myself!

So, here's what I've been up to to get that inspiration and creativity back.

R E D E F I N I N G.

You may have noticed (probs not), that the categories at the top of my home page have changed a little. And this was after I sat down with myself with a notebook and pen, and tried to think about what exactly it is that I want to blog about.

What do I enjoy writing about? What content has done well before? What do I want to do with my blog and what do I want to bring to the blogosphere through my content? 

Really narrowing this down, and then putting everything into categories, has really worked and helped me focus. And in turn, this new found focus has helped when thinking of new ideas and getting started on writing posts.


A  C L E A N S E.

I've decluttered my work space, decluttered my desktop and computer, and decluttered some of the blogs that I follow. I find a good tidy and clear out really therapeutic, whether that's of the flat or of a digital kind.

It may sound weird, but I felt so motivated after I'd cleared out my room & my wardrobe, I think it's the whole 'tidy room, tidy mind' thing, right? I also found having a good cleanse of my computer made me feel a lot better, too - I got rid of everything I didn't need to help me focus again.

And finally, I had a cleanse of blogs. I have so many blogs in my bloglovin' feed and saved in my favourites that I just never read anymore. So now, I just have the ones that really inspire me. The ones who's content I adore and who make me want to be a better blogger! (But, that's not to say I'm not open to finding new ones, because I've found a few of those recently too, and I love them just as much.)


P H O T O G R A P H S

Taking photos. Just because. With no particular blog post in mind or reason for them. I'm a firm believer that the more you create, the more ideas you have. So just create something. I started out by just arranging flatlays and seeing what worked. My first ones were terrible, but then I got back into the swing of it and before I knew it I had loads of photos to work with.

I'd already decided the kind of aesthetic I want to work with on my blog, so I tried to stick to this as I was taking these photos, so that I could then use them on my blog when the content ideas finally arrived. It worked a treat!


And now we're here. I am under no illusion that this bout of inspiration will stay around forever. But I'm most definitely going to try and make the most of it while I can!


F E A T U R E D 

This phone case is a City Marble case from CaseCompany - and as soon as the email dropped into my inbox, I fell in love with the idea. This idea being that you can design your own phone case, using a map of somewhere that you love. The map design is totally customisable, so you can zoom out to whole cities, or zoom in to particular streets. You can have different colours and you can add your own text and labels too.

If you don't already know, I fell in love with Liverpool when I first moved here over 3 years ago, and ever since then it's captured my heart like no other city. So, of course, I chose to have Liverpool on mine. I positioned it perfectly so that I can point out all of my favourite parts and streets, and I actually chose not to have the label on it - I just felt it was all the more personal, then. No one will really know that it's Liverpool at a glance apart from me. And well, you lot now. ;)


You can also choose what kind of case you would like, from hard or soft cases, transparent or full print or even flip cases. I opted for the full print case, and it fits my phone like a glove. It's really thin and doesn't make my phone feel too clunky like some cases do - it's perfect.


In case you haven't guessed, I love it. And I think it's such a wonderful idea - being able to take somewhere special to you around with you every day!

Soph


The phone case was kindly gifted to me by Case Company, however all words, images and opinions are my own. For my full disclaimer, please click here.
A blogging toolkit that doesn't cost a penny; How you can blog without a financial investment.

A blogging toolkit that doesn't cost a penny; How you can blog without a financial investment.


When it comes to investing into your blog and trying to figure out what's worth splashing your cash on and what's not, I think it totally depends on the blogger and the blog. You will find some bloggers who won't think twice about investing heavily into their blogs from day 1, whether it be a MacBook, a new Camera or a custom designed website, and there's absolutely nothing wrong with that! Let's face it, if we all could, we all would.

However, if you're on a tighter budget, it doesn't mean your blog has to be any less fab. Recently, I've realised that I'm running my blog without spending anything on it. Well, apart from the countless coffee's I buy when working from my fave coffee spot... but that doesn't really count, does it? ;)


So, what tools do I use?

i P H O N E  7 +

Okay, so obviously I do pay for my phone, but this isn't really a blogging expense, this is a life expense that I would need whether I had a blog or not. And believe me when I say, I couldn't run this thing without it. I use my phone for everything. From running my social media accounts, to taking and editing my photo's. 

Every single one of my photo's that I've taken that have appeared on my blog or Instagram over the last few months, have been taken on my phone. Yep, every single one. Even these Liverpool shots, and these product shots. All taken and edited on my trusty iPhone - I shall go into the apps I use in a little bit!

A lot of bloggers will swear by their cameras, and I do, admittedly have an Olympus Pen. BUT, I can't remember the last time I picked this up. I've found that the camera on my iPhone is perfect and suitably good enough for my photo's - and it's super quick to get a photo taken, edited and uploaded!


F R E E  S T O C K   P H O T O  S I T E S.

Sometimes, I'll be writing a blog post at work, or I'll have an idea for an image that I want to go along with my post, and I'll just know that I won't be able to make it look how I want to. You might have noticed that every so often, I'll use stock photo's, like the one above! I do head over to Creative Market and purchase some images, as I do think it's important to support fellow creatives when you can. But I have found 2 sites that offer free stock imagery, and if you know what you're searching for, they're fab!

They're here and here.


C A N V A. C O M

If you haven't discovered Canva yet, you need to. It's a free design site that let's you design everything from social media posts, to blog graphics & media kits, to CV's. It's super simple and easy to use, and I actually don't know where I'd be without it!



P H O T O   E D I T I N G   A P P S.

I mentioned above that I edit all of my photo's on my iPhone, and I guess there's 3 reasons why I do this.

1) I don't want to pay for Photoshop.
2) I don't know how to use Photoshop.
3) I'm too impatient to use Photoshop and I like editing super quick (i.e all photo's within minutes).

I know I know, I could probably pick it up as I go along, or I could take a course to like better myself and all that, but that would cost more money, I'm way too lazy and it just genuinely baffles me! This isn't to say though that I don't like it, because I see fellow bloggers creating beautiful imagery with it and I so wish I could!

So, what do I use?

I simply use the VSCO app, along with another app called Preview. 

I'm sure you're all familiar with VSCO by now, it's been an Instagram users favorite for quite some time, and I've yet to find another app who's editing functions and filters comes anywhere close.

Preview is primarily a Instagram feed planner. It's a free app that lets you plan your feed, drag & drop photo's easily to play around with looks, but it does also have it's own filters and edits. I use this app mainly for it's whitening function, if I'm totally honest. It's a really easy way for me to align my Insta and make sure everything is edited the same!


B L O G   T E M P L A T E S

If you've been a reader around these parts for while, you might notice that I change my blog theme up, a lot. Soz. I'm just really indecisive and I guess my blog changes with me. I did pay for my current template, however, I haven't always.

ThemeXpose have some amazing free templates, some of which I've used in the past, and a couple of which I'm currently eyeing up... I can't decide. Again!



So, there you go. If you're thinking of starting a blog but you're worried that you need to invest in all of the top tech and spend loads of money to get started, you really don't!

And if you're already blogging, what do you use? :)

Soph

Rimmel London: Super Gel Nails

Rimmel London: Super Gel Nails

Rimmel London: Super Gel Nails


I want to start this post by simply telling you how much I ADORE this product. 

I've somehow managed to get myself on a few PR lists, and every so often some of their new releases will drop through my letterbox. When they do, I'll post them on Instagram or maybe do a tweet, but I've never dedicated a whole blog post to any of them, as I'm not obliged to and I've never loved anything enough to. Until now. 

I'm a self-confessed nail fanatic. I can't go about my day with shit nails. Ever since I've had a full time job, getting my nails done has been a regular treat. And because I hate it when nail polish chips (it literally drives me insane), for the past few years, I've more often than not always opted for gel nails. 

But sometimes, I find there's a week or two in between me having to take my gels off, and getting back to the salon for a fresh set. And because, like I say, nail polish drives me crazy with how easy it chips, I've tried numerous gel polishes and even invested in my own UV lamp to try. None of them though, have compared to these new Rimmel London Super Gel polishes.


Okay, so. What's so great about them?

1. No need for a base coat. | When I read this on the instructions, I was a little dubious. I've always been told a base coat is a must, and I almost just put one on anyway. But it's true, you really don't need one. And when you think about it, not only is this less fiddly, but it basically saves you a third of the time.

2. The colours are fab. | I opted for the Purple Splash one, as it just feels super summery and light for the wonderful weather we're having at the mo. I was lucky enough to be sent 5 of their polishes, but a quick browse of their website and you can see that they actually have 25 of them! The red one is definitely next on my list. 

3. It's v quick drying. | The other thing I hate about painting my own nails normally, is the length of time you have to sit there doing nothing because they just never, ever seem to dry! I did these half an hour before I had to jump in my car, and there's not a single smudge in sight. I probably left about 60 seconds in between each coat, and it was most definitely plenty of time!

4. No need for a UV lamp. | You don't need to invest in your own UV lamp for these. You simply apply 2 coats of the colour polish, and then one of the top coat, and you're good to go!

5. It actually lasts. | I'm super impressed with how long these last - I'm still chip free. This never happens to me with regular nail polish, normally I can get a few hours if I'm lucky!



Well, there you have it. I've basically just declared my love for a nail polish. Don't judge. But do go & grab this if you're looking for a gel nail polish that lasts. Highly recommended!

Soph


(P.S I swear this isn't a sponsored post. T's just a PR sample that was sent to me with no obligations, but one that I just loved too much not to share!)
An in-depth guide to getting the most out of LinkedIn.

An in-depth guide to getting the most out of LinkedIn.




LinkedIn. Probably not the first social networking site that pops into your head, but it's most definitely an important one. I think a lot of people view LinkedIn as just an online CV for when you're job hunting, but it can offer you so much more than just this if you know exactly how to use it, and it can be a super powerful tool to grow your professional network and bag yourself new career opportunities.


T H E   B A S I C S

A professional photo. | Choose your profile photo carefully, remember that this is a professional networking site and first impressions count! Try and use a clear head shot of just you, and put on your best 'I'm v friendly and trustworthy' face. You don't need to be in a suit or have your company's logo behind you, but that group shot from your most recent night out? Probably not such a good idea. This is also important for if you're planning to attend any networking events, it's handy if you're instantly recognisable.

Your headline. | For most people, this is just their current position at their current company. But this isn't really what this is for. You have 120 characters here to quickly grab people's attention! What exactly do you do? And what exactly can you offer? Putting something different in here could really help you to stand out. Use keywords for the job or industry you're passionate about, and this could help you get picked up by clients & employers.

Customise your profile URL. | Head onto your own profile, and click on 'Edit your public profile' in the right sidebar. There then should be an option to 'Edit public profile URL' from a url with loads of random letters and numbers on the end, to something like this; https://www.linkedin.com/in/yourname/. This will automatically make your profile look more professional, and it's easier to share!



A N  A D V A N C E D   P R O F I L E

Profile summary.| This is your chance to expand on your headline and really sell yourself! Again, use all of those keywords, tell us what you do, what you're passionate about, what motivates you and what your greatest skills are. Tell us about some of your achievements. What are you looking for? Why are you a value to your employer? Feel free to inject a little bit of humour in here too, and be a little less informal. Show off your personality and think of this as a way of showing people your personal brand.

Include job descriptions. | Okay, first up, LinkedIn is not your CV, so don't just cut and paste from what you have in here because, well, that's what your CV is for. However, having a summary of what your current and previous roles have entailed, and the challenges that you face, can be super helpful. Potential clients and recruiters will often search on keywords and not necessary by job title, as quite obviously these can differ!

So, be concise, chose what you think is the most important information and the most impressive achievements, but also make sure that you don't omit any valuable info! I've read quite often that there's a general rule of thumb of 3 paragraphs or less, which should actually be plenty of room.

Embed some of your work samples. |  As well as text, LinkedIn actually also allows you to embed images, videos, documents and links to your work - so why not make the most of it? You can add these to your Summary, Education and Experience sections of your profile, so go ahead and show off the work, blog posts or projects that you're most proud of!

Endorsements. | I get the feeling that no one's really quite sure how important this part of a LinkedIn profile is, and if I'm being honest, it's the part that I pay the least amount of attention to. Yes, it's a great way of showing off your skills, but the fact that anyone can endorse anyone at the click of a button, I guess raises questions over how much it really means.

However, it can't hurt to have them, right? Your best bet is to include all of the skills that you think are the most important yourself, first. This way, people won't endorse you for random skills that aren't necessarily relevant! Include general, transferable skills as well as those more specialised ones - both are just as important!

And the best way to get yourself endorsed? Endorse others. That way, they'll be more than likely to endorse you back! Think of it as being similar to a 'like for like' on Instagram... if that helps!




N E T W O R K I N G

I mean, it's probably what we're all here for, right?

Proactively reach out to people. |  Do you remember when everyone first got on Facebook and everyone just seemed to add the whole school and you'd start conversations like 'do i know you?' ... 'nah, random add'. Please don't do that. BUT, do reach out to people. Reach out to people that you know, people who you think will be a valuable connection, that you think could really help and develop your career path, or people that inspire you. Don't just sit and wait for people to connect with you.

Send personalised messages with your connection requests. |  This is particularly useful if you're trying to connect with someone who you might not necessarily know, but maybe you look up to them, have read some of their work or are inspired by them. Send them a personal note with your request, telling them why you'd love to connect with them! This way, they won't be left wondering who you are or why you've tried to add them to your network.

Join Groups. | This was something that I didn't really know about until recently, but LinkedIn groups can be a goldmine for networking opportunities. It gives you the chance to access a whole new network of people, to find great new content to share, to meet others in your industry and to also share your own expertise!

Don't be Anonymous. | There's a great feature on LinkedIn that means you can stalk people anonymously, basically. While this is a great thing if you're trying to secretly figure out where your ex is at after you've blocked them on everything else, it's not that great for professional purposes. Why? Because if you're anonymous, LinkedIn won't tell you who's viewed your profile, either.

Being able to see who's checked you out could lead to those all important new and meaningful connections. They've viewed your profile for a reason, so if they haven't already. reach out to them!

Interact with your connections & be careful what you share. | It might sound obvious, but this isn't Facebook or Twitter. LinkedIn is a professional networking site, so don't share or like anything you wouldn't want your current boss or colleagues to see! However, DO share stuff and most definitely interact with your feed. Look for articles or other posts that may be relevant to your industry or current affairs, or just simply something that you really care about. Just like any other social media site, being active is important!


Okay, I think I'm going to stop there! Do you use LinkedIn, or have any other tips?

If you would like to connect with me, I'd love to connect with you, too! Find me here.

Soph