31/05/2020

The 5 Best FREE Apps for Instagram.

Good morning guys, I'm back with another Instagram related post! I've been really enjoying Instagram recently and luckily my account is still growing steadily which is fantastic news as I know the algorithm can be a bit temperamental. Out of all the social media apps I think people find Instagram the hardest to grow on, whether that's creating cool inspiring content or improving their reach and followers. So today I wanted to focus on the apps that I use and some hints and tips or curating a beautiful Instagram feed.

Before we go any further be sure to follow me on Instagram!

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28/05/2020

So You've Finished University... Now What?


If you'd asked me six months ago what I would be doing after I finished at university, my answer would be very simple: I'd have a job ready and waiting for me and I'd be moving in with my boyfriend. You see, I'm the kind of person who likes to have everything clearly planned out in my head and the thought of not knowing is super daunting. When I did my gap year, I already had my place at uni sorted. When I applied for my placement year, I was one of the first to get a job sorted. And I thought finishing university would be the same. I have good grades from a good university and a year of relevant experience so I wasn't overly worried about finding an entry level role in Marketing.

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24/05/2020

How to Grow on Instagram Fast: 1000 Followers in Under 3 Months.



After three months of posting almost every day to my instagram - I finally hit 1000 followers! This feels like a massive milestone as I remember saying when I started my account that if I ever make it that far I'll consider it a success. At the time I didn't really know how long it would take or if I would even stick it out that long - I had a blog instagram a few years ago that took me AGES to grow. I posted semi regularly (approx 3 times a week) and it took me a year to hit 300 followers. However, since then I have worked as a Social Media Manager and I feel like I understand the platform a lot better from both a professional and individual sense. So today I wanted to share my top tips on how to reach your first 1000 followers AND have a high engagement rate (Mine is 9.96%).


1. Be Consistent

There is a lot of debate at the minute as to whether posting every day or a few times a week is best. In my experience the Instagram algorithm favours consistency - meaning posting daily at roughly the same time each day. 

I would suggest looking at your insights and going to the audience tab. If you scroll down a little, Instagram will show you when your audience is most active. Aim to post everyday at this point. This will give you the best chance of increasing your reach and engagement. For me this is between 6 and 9pm so I aim to post at about 6:30pm to get the most views possible. Remember: photos on Instagram have a limited lifespan so post towards the start of your audiences most active hours. 

Being consistent with your posts not only helps the algorithm, but it makes you more memorable to your audience. If you follow 800 people and post everyday, your audience is more likely to remember your face / posts than someone who only posts once a week and may get caught up in the feed.  

2. Use Instagram Stories Daily

I know that sometimes this is easier said than done. I have days when I feel like I have nothing to post about. Like literally nothing. But Instagram stories is such a fantastic tool because it shows a less 'filtered' version of the person you follow and they're a great way to make a real connection with your audience. I know that when I watch people's stories, I like to feel like I'm getting a glimpse into their real life. It makes Instagram more personal and less polished.

On stories I still try and post things that are relevant to my niche, but you can be a bit more relaxed here. If you strictly post fashion content, showing your new makeup finds or what you're having for dinner wouldn't feel out of place on your stories.

*Top Tip* Be sure to use Instagrams built in features like gifs and the temperature symbol etc. I don't have any solid evidence but my views tend to be better when I do which makes me think the algorithm prefers it.

3. Follow loops, engagement pods etc

I think everyone has their opinion on whether using follow threads and that kind of thing is worth it. On the one hand, it's a great way for a quick follow boost, on the other: is it actually going to be worth it in the long run because your followers won't be genuine 'fans' of your content. 

My opinion is that follow threats with no firm requirement to follow back (I've seen Facebook groups that kick you out of the group for not following back all 100+ people in under 15 mins) and that are relevant to your niche are no problem. It can actually be a great way to discover new accounts and build connections. 

I have a problem with them (as I said above) when they become a high pressure thing where everyone MUST follow everyone else regardless of their gender, age, content and niche. Having an extra 300 followers means nothing if they're not interested in what you post and won't engage with it. In fact all this will do is negatively impact your engagement rate. 

My recommendation would be: be careful. By all means use some of follow threads on Twitter that are targeted to your niche, but don't rely on them. You want people to find your content organically however that being said, they can be a great way to give your numbers a boost now and then. 

4. Use Twitter to Your Advantage

Twitter has the best blogger community from what I've found. Facebook is too focused on 'follow groups' and 'engagement pods' and it all seems very fake to me. No one genuinely seems to want to connect it's just a constant stream of 'follow me, I don't care who you are, I just need 10K so brands will give me more free stuff'. I doubt most of the people on these groups have genuine engaged audiences. 

But Twitter is a more friendly community for bloggers to get to know each other and ask questions and engage with people they wouldn't have previously found. Even if you don't use your Twitter to constantly tweet about your Instagram, it's a great way to meet more likeminded people and get more involved in the blogging world. 

5. Curate your Feed with Inspiring Content

This really should have come at the start because I truly believe that without an aesthetically beautiful Instagram it probably won't go that far. That might sound really blunt but Instagram is a visual platform and we are bombarded with beautiful content on the daily. If your individual photos and your feed as a whole doesn't look stylised then a possible new follower will probably just click off your profile. 

Some of the apps that I use and their purpose:

Facetune: Renowned as the retouch app, this does way more than just give the Kylie Jenner fake waist look. Personally I don't edit my body in my photos but I do use some of the amazing tools such as 'makeup' to go over background and enhance individual colours. I could literally do a whole post about this app, I think it's one of the best on the market.

Preview / Planoly: Instagram feed planning apps. Both are free and absolutely ESSENTIAL if you want your feed to look curated.

Lightroom App: General touch ups like exposure, saturation and contrast. If you use presets this is the app to have as well.

Unfold: If you want to take your stories up a notch - this is the app for you. I use the free version but there is a paid one too. 

I'm actually thinking about doing a whole post dedicated to how to achieve a seamless and attractive feed so let me know if that's something you would like to see!


So they're my main tips! Be sure to follow my Instagram as I post daily and follow back all bloggers!

If you want to see anymore posts about instagram such as a more detailed look into some of the best photo editing apps or how to achieve a curated theme, let me know and I'll be sure to write it!
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20/05/2020

How to Spend 4 Days in Iceland.




Good morning guys! So obviously with everything going on at the minute, this post is not about a recent trip but I asked on my instagram stories and you guys still really wanted to see it - so here we are: my take on how to spend four days in Iceland! A bit of back story - I booked this trip for March 2019 after my previous relationship ended as something to look forward to. At the time, I was working a high pressure job that I wasn't loving and this coupled with the fact I'd just had my heart broken, left me in a really low place for a while. So me and my best friend decided to book a holiday and after looking around at a few places, settled on Iceland. 

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10/05/2020

How to Achieve the Perfect Glowy Base.



Morning guys! Recently I feel like I've really nailed my makeup base. After years of not wearing foundation I've gotten back into it big time and I wanted to discuss some of my favourites with you. When I put on my makeup in the morning I love the glowy, lit from within look and whilst this can sometimes be synonymous with shiny, I feel like I've amalgamated a few key products that help me achieve the perfect glowy base. 

Side note - obviously we're in lockdown at the minute and I'm aware not everyone wants to wear makeup. That's fine - but for me, I feel like if I don't do my makeup and get ready for the day, I'll just end up sitting around and watching Tik Toks all day. Which, unfortunately I don't have the time to do! So I wanted to create this post to talk about some of my makeup favourites that are perfect for spring and summer.



The Foundation and Concealer

I have combination to oily skin and I hate when foundation starts to separate and go oily. That's one of the main reasons I stopped wearing it because after about two hours it just didn't look good anymore. But a couple of months ago I treated myself to the NARS Sheer Glow and applying this was like airbrushing myself. It doesn't feel overly heavy on my skin and the coverage is buildable. I haven't found this to separate too much and it lasts pretty much all day! I find that this foundation gives such a lovey, glowy undertone to your skin that really catches the light in the prettiest way possible.

My all time favourite concealer is the Collection Lasting Perfection. This is such an OG concealer I can almost feel Zoella stirring...
But it's SO cheap and the coverage is amazing. I've tried concealers by Chanel and YSL and I always go back to Collection. With concealer I would recommend getting one or two shades lighter than your foundation for an added highlight. 


The Powder

If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen a couple of weeks ago I treated myself to the Laura Mercier translucent powder. This was my first time using a loose powder and I was a little skeptical about whether the lack of colour would make me look pallid and washed out. But there is something about this powder that just disappears into your skin when you blend it. It doesn't completely omit the glow from the foundation, but it definitely stops you looking so shiny! I have to say I'm a massive fan of this and I may be a convert to the loose powder life.

The Highlight

Nothing satisfies me more than catching your highlight in the mirror. I absolutely LOVE the Benefit Cookie Highlighter because it's just so beautiful and shimmery. This always works so well as an eyeshadow for an allover glowy look. I would definitely recommend this highlighter - I use it every single day and I'm not even close to hitting pan which is fantastic.

Now you may notice I haven't included bronzer in these pictures. I do love bronzer - I use the Body Shop Honey Bronzer every single day but I accidentally smashed it before I went to take these photos... oops. So I'm currently in the market for a new one! Let me know if I should stick to Honey or branch out? I love a warm toned bronzer that gives the affect of the sun hitting the high points of your face.


Thanks for reading guys! I would love to know your favourite base products in the comments and be sure to follow me on Instagram for more beauty content! I'll be back on Wednesday with a new post x

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07/05/2020

Lemon Drizzle Banana Bread Recipe



Good morning guys! I posted a photo of my lemon drizzle banana bread on Instagram the other day and a few people DM'd me and asked for the recipe! So since I took a whole bunch of photos I thought I would write it up - because who isn't baking banana bread right now?! This cake is super moist and moorish - you could definitely add chocolate chips or walnuts if that's your cup of tea - but I stuck with a simple banana loaf and some super easy icing. 

Ingredients

For The Cake:

- 140g caster sugar
- 140g softened butter (I use Bertolli because it makes the cakes lighter than using actual butter!)
- 140g self raising flour
- 1tsp baking powder
- 2 eggs
- 2 ripe bananas (overripe works perfectly!)

For The Icing:

- Juice of half a lemon
- Enough icing sugar to form a thick but still runny consistency. About 50g.


Method:

1) Cream the butter and sugar together until pale and smooth. I use a stand mixer but a hand whisk works just as well!

2) Add the eggs one at a time, beating until smooth. If the mixture starts to curdle, add a tablespoon of flour.

3) Mix in the flour and baking powder and whisk until combined.

4) Mash the two bananas until they are smooth and 'wet'. Mix into the cake batter and give a final whisk. At this point the mixture will probably be quite wet - this is normal!

5) Transfer into a loaf tin - be sure to grease and line the base as it will make your life a lot easier later on. 

6) Cook for 40-45 minutes or until a cake prong comes out clean at 180C. If it looks like the edges of the cake are cooking but the middle is still runny - lower the temperature to 160C for the last 15 minutes. 


7) when your cake comes out of the oven, let it sit in the tin for about 10-15 minutes before taking it out to cool.

8) To make the icing, squeeze the lemon juice into a small bowl and add the sugar a few table spoons at a time. Keep adding more until it is thick but still runny. Remember you can always add more, but you can't take it away!

9) When the cake is fully cooled, transfer to a serving plate and drizzle with the icing. Leave in the fridge for half an hour until the icing is set... if you can wait that long!


And that's it! Honestly this cake is so moist and delicious I would highly recommend. It's such a simple bake - perfect to do with kids - or just for yourself! Thanks for reading guys - I will be back with another post on Sunday x


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03/05/2020

Review: Pasta Evangelists: Fresh Pasta Delivered to Your Door?!


If you asked anyone what my favourite food is, I guarantee they would say pasta! And they would be right. Nothing beats a delicious bowl of fresh pasta, creamy sauces and maybe some warm garlic bread on the side. So when I discovered Pasta Evangelists I just knew it was something I had to try. Essentially, it's a delivery service similar to Eat Fresh or something along those lines. You order what you want from their menu of amazing options and they send it to your door! The idea is that you get fresh, authentic Italian pasta which takes minutes to prepare. 

With lockdown going on at the minute, my lovely boyfriend surprised me with a delivery from Pasta Evangelists, and I just had to write a post on my thoughts about it. I also this another post talking about how to treat your loved one in lockdown, so be sure to check that out to!



Dish Number 1: Porcini Mushroom & Truffle Ravioli

So literally within an hour of my package arriving I cooked the first pasta. Each order comes with a little booklet of the recipes but they're so super easy to make. For some context to make this pasta, I literally boiled some salted water, cooked the pasta for three minutes and melted the chunk of garlic butter that came with it. After mixing the two together I added the chopped hazelnuts and a whole lot of parmesan. AMAZING. 

For something that took under five minutes to make I really cannot fault this! I would definitely order this again however be warned, if you're not a massive fan of garlic, this pasta is SUPER garlicky! 


Dish Number 2: Fresh Pesto Tagliatelle



So I didn't think the second pasta could possibly top the first but oh my goodness it was incredible! Pesto pasta is such a simple pleasure in life but there is a difference between a jar of sauce with dried pasta, and a fresh homemade meal. The tagliatelle was super light and cooked in just three minutes which is AMAZING! Literally these meals are perfect if you're a lazy cook! The pesto itself was really rich in colour and flavour. Often I find homemade "restaurant" pesto can be a bit bland, but this was super flavoursome. I topped it with some of the leftover hazelnuts from the first pasta and a whole heap of parmesan.

Overall I will definitely be ordering from Pasta Evangelists again... It was so worth it!


If you're interested use my discount code for 25% off at checkout!

Use code "Lily Jamieson"





Thanks for reading and I will be back with a beauty post on Wednesday!
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29/04/2020

3 Amazing Home Delivery Treats During Lockdown


Morning guys! So we're about to enter our 5th (?) week in lockdown... Wow, that is simultaneously the fastest and slowest five weeks of my life. Before the sh*t really hit the fan, I decided to come home from uni to isolate with my family. This was definitely a good decision overall but it also means I haven't seen my boyfriend in 6 weeks now - the longest we've ever (obviously) gone without seeing each other. So a couple of weeks ago I decided to send him a little present in the post and after doing some digging I realised there are some great places offering home delivery right now!

1) Patch Plants


If you or anyone you know is a houseplant lover you HAVE to check out patch. They sell and deliver reasonably priced, beautiful houseplants across the whole of the UK. This is actually what I treated my boyfriend to and have to say the service and delivery was impeccable. (Though, do be warned they come in MASSIVE boxes to protect the plants!)

*Edit* Just checked the website and all deliveries outside of London are taking a minimum of 3 weeks so bare that in mind.


2) Pasta Evangelists 


Oh my god. Guys. This is something I haven't tried yet but I'm absolutely dying to... Pasta Evangelists deliver homemade, incredible pasta to your doorstep. How does it work? You choose from their weekly menu which pasta dishes you want and they send all the ingredients (including fresh pasta) to your door, next day! The meals take five minutes to cook and I have it on good authority they are incredible...


3) Letterbox Hampers


Ok if we have any foodies amongst us, there is something for everyone on Letterbox Hampers. Everything from Cheese to Chocolate to Alcohol, trust me, a treat from here is guaranteed to make anyone's week. Tempted to buy one of these for myself actually....

My sister got one of these for her boyfriend and I believe it went down a storm. I mean who wouldn't want to receive some delicious treats in the post!



I think right now with everything going on, a lot of people are feeling a bit down. And that's ok. Even if you're isolated at home and everyone you know is safe and healthy. You shouldn't feel guilty for missing normal life. I'm aware that I'm super lucky to have garden space and to live in a village where I can walk over the hills without seeing anyone... but I still miss my boyfriend and my friends and stupid things like buying an overpriced coffee in Starbucks and sitting in the park. And that's ok. So thanks for reading guys, as always you can follow me on my socials in the sidebar and I will see you on Sunday!


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26/04/2020

Top 5 Skincare Tips for Under 25s

Morning guys! Today I wanted to talk about one of my absolute favourite topics... Skincare! I think I started properly getting into taking care of my skin when I was about 19 and it's only grown from there. I really wanted to do this post because I think so many young people do not take care of their skin and in doing so are setting themselves up for the effects of ageing. Now, ageing itself is inevitable however there are things you can do to slow down the process. Remember, preventing is easier than trying to reverse the effects.

So for today's post, I wanted to share my top 5 tips for under 25's because frankly right now you don't need to be bathing in retinol every night but there are some things you should be doing!


1. Wear SPF!


I cannot stress this enough. By favourite fact is that 80-90% of skin ageing comes from the sun! That's just insane. And I'm sure you're thinking: well it's ok, I don't live somewhere sunny, so as long as I wear sun screen on holiday, I'm ok right? Wrong. Unfortunately it's the UVA rays that cause ageing and these are about the same all year round, whether you're in LA or Loughborough.

So my recommendation would be investing in a good facial SPF with at least factor 30. Personally I love the Elizabeth Arden 8 Hour Cream. It's super lightweight, doesn't feel greasy and doesn't have that horrible white, washed out look some cheaper suncreams do. Unfortunately, most good facial SPF creams are not cheap, however neither is botox, so choose wisely!


2. Drink More Water


Ok, so this one goes without saying. We all know we should be drinking more water and I am guilty of not drinking enough too. But this is your daily reminder!! Personally I love my Chilly's bottle for taking to work or the gym or even just out and about. It keeps your water nice and cold which is perfect.


3. Moisturise Twice Daily


I really hope it goes without saying but you should be washing your face twice a day and following it up with a good moisturiser. Especially if you wear makeup. Throughout the day, makeup sinks into your pores and if you're not cleaning it off adequately you run the risk of getting blocked pores... you know those little bumps you get on your forehead? Chances are that's because you're not washing your face properly. So I would recommend throwing out the makeup wipes (not only are they terrible for the environment but they DO NOT remove makeup) investing in some Micellar Water (does not have to be pricey) and a good facial cleanser. I promise you your skin will thank you for it. After you've washed your face, it's super important you rehydrate with a good moisturiser.

4. Stop Smoking and Cut Down Drinking


Guys.... I know this isn't something we want to hear but alcohol is awful for your skin. It dehydrates leaving you (and your skin) thirsty and lacklustre. Let's be honest we all know that person who goes out a bit too much and they just look knackered and tired all the time. Now I'm not saying stop drinking completely, but I am going to say be mindful of what it does to your body (not just your skin) and make sure for every drink you have, you have a glass of water alongside it. And whilst we're on the subject: please stop smoking! There really is no excuse.

5. Use a Good Acid


Now this is probably an optional step, but if you're really serious about the longevity of your youthful skin, I would suggest finding a good acid based serum. I'm going to talk a little bit about the two I use, why I use them and what they're good for!

Vichy Mineral 89 - Hyaluronic Acid: Ok this is is an AMAZING product... I seriously cannot recommend it enough. It's a plumping serum that actually works... my skin feels so hydrated and plump and amazing. I use this twice daily but it's probably only recommended to use once a day! You wear this under moisturiser and it is really fantastic.

Alpha H Liquid Gold - Glycolic Acid: Now, this is an overnight treatment I do about twice a week. You apply the product onto a cotton pad and then sweep it all over the face. Just a warning, it may make your face tingle but it shouldn't be painful. If it is remove with water. This is a fantastic treatment that essentially removes that top layer of your skin... sounds dramatic but I promise it isn't. When I've used this, I wake up in the morning with soft, fresh skin and a gorgeous dewy complexion. But be warned, if you use a product like this you MUST use suncream as well because it leaves your skin even more vulnerable than usual.

So that's it guys! Let me know your favourite skincare products in the comments below and I will see you for a new post on Wednesday!

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22/04/2020

Mini Egg Easter Cookie Recipe


This weekend I decided to do my best impression of a domestic goddess and get baking in the kitchen. Because we're all in lockdown everyone seems to baking 10x more than usual, including me! I've done chocolate cake, cupcakes meringues and now these delicious mini egg cookies. They're easy to make, really yummy and perfect for a quick treat with a cuppa tea. 

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19/04/2020

Welcome Back | Lily Olivia 2.0




Guess who's back and remembered she had a blog that people actually used to read? Yep it's me. Has my entire audience upped and left? Possibly. (It has been two and a bit years since I posted.) 

However, since getting back into Instagram and trying to post regularly on there, I've found that I've missed having somewhere where I can talk in more detail about the topics I'm interested in.

If you've read my blog before: welcome back! I've missed you all. Genuinely. Blogging was such a big part of my life and having hit 100,000 page views recently, I just feel so grateful to all the people who used to regularly keep up with my posts and support me. But if you're new here (which I suspect most people will be) I hope you stick around because I'm going to be posting twice weekly for the foreseeable future!


I'm planning on creating content on a mix of topics from fashion to food to travel, beauty, dating and university. All of my content is aimed at people who are trying to make the best of themselves - eat good, look good and treat your body and mind right.

So how are we all doing? Let me know in the comments how you're handling lockdown? Me? I'm spending my days baking banana bread, writing my dissertation and contemplating whether getting a grad job is even possible at the minute. If I'm being honest I think I'm going to go on to study a MSc in Digital Marketing next year as getting a job right now is nearly impossible. Thankfully I enjoy university and am still able to live with my boyfriend and commute to my course so it shouldn't impact my plan too much!

I'm so excited to start posting regularly on here again - you can expect them on Sundays and Wednesdays at 7am on a plethora of topics so I hope to see you back again soon!



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